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What Now?

For all of you who are sick of Puppygate... I am too, but there's still a few more things that I need to say. Another day, maybe, and I will move on to happier topics.

Yes, I know about Larry Correia's response to my earlier posts and I will reply to him here... but not just now. There's another topic I need to cover first, one that I have been leading up to all along -- what the hell do we do now?

Whether you think what the Sad Puppies did is right or wrong, it's done. The ballot is out. It is what it is. So the ball is in our court now. What to do?

(Here is where I will probably piss off everybody on the anti-slate of this mess. Sorry).

Over at Making Light, and on several other sites, various rules changes are being proposed to prevent this from happening ever again. There are so many different proposals they make my head spin. More nominating slots, less nominating slots, weighted voting, eliminating the supporting memberships, outlawing slates, limiting nominees to a single nomination, juried nominations... on and on and on. The worldcon business meeting is never exactly a funfest, but if the proponents of half these proposals show up at Sasquan, this year's will be a nightmare. And will probably still be going on when MidAmericon II convenes.

I am against all these proposals. If indeed I am at Spokane, and if I can get myself up in time for the business meeting, I will vote against every one of them.

Most of them, frankly, suck. And the mere fact that so many people are discussing them makes me think that the Puppies won. They started this whole thing by saying the Hugo Awards were rigged to exclude them. That is completely untrue, as I believe I demonstrated conclusively in my last post. So what is happening now? The people on MY SIDE, the trufans and SMOFs and good guys, are having an endless circle jerk trying to come up with a foolproof way to RIG THE HUGOS AND EXCLUDE THEM. God DAMN, people. You are proving them right.

I hate what the Puppies did. It was based on false premises, and though it was not illegal, it was mean-spirited and unsportsmanlike. So how about we do NOT prove them right by rigging the rules against Sad Puppies 4? How about we try to be better than that? There is nothing wrong with the Hugo rules. If we want to defeat the Puppies, all we need to do is outvote them. Get in our own nominations. This year, the Puppies emptied the kennels and got out their vote, and we didn't. Fandom danced the usual, "oh, too busy to nominate, I will just vote on the final ballot," and for that complacency, we got blindsided. We lost. They kicked our fannish asses, and now we have the ballot they gave us. If we don't want that to happen again, we need to get out our OWN vote.

But let's not give in to our worst impulses. I do not want to disenfranchise anyone. (Well, okay, maybe a few, rabies is dangerous). The fandom I joined in 1971, the fandom I love, is open and friendly and welcoming, and has room for every shade of political opinion and literary taste. Those are values worth defending, a culture worth fighting for.

Oh, and there's another (lesser, admittedly) reason not to change the Hugo rules. The Nebulas. I have been a SFWA member since 1972, and I swear, the organization spends half its time arguing about the Nebula rules, year after year, decade after decade. I have seen a dozen "reforms" in my tenure, all in the interests of making the voting "more fair," but no matter what rules we adopt, a couple years later the bitching starts and members start demanding we change them again. It's endless. We do NOT want to open that Pandora's Box at worldcon. Change the rules to deal with the Sad Puppies, and a year or two from now we'll be changing again. Aside from adding the occasional category, or splitting one, the Hugo Awards have operated more or less the same way for decades, and that stability is part of their prestige. Let's not mess with that.

Which brings me to another proposed countermeasure: the No Award strategy.

This comes in two flavors. The hardliners propose we vote NO AWARD for everything. Every category, even the ones where the Puppies have no nominees. No Hugo Awards at Sasquan, whatsoever. We'll show them. Rather than letting them move into our house, we will burn it to the ground. "We had to destroy the village in order to save it." It worked so well in Vietnam.
All I've got to say about this idea is, are you fucking crazy?

The other approach is less radical. Vote NO AWARD in all the categories that are All Puppy. In the others, chose between the nominees (there are a few) that did not appear on either the Sad Puppy or Rabid Puppy slate, and place all the rest, the SP/RP candidates, under No Award.

That's less insane than the "No Award For Everything" idea, but only a little bit. Sorry, I will not sign on for this one either. For a whole bunch of reasons. For starts, the Puppies are already proclaiming that "No Award" equals victory for them (though sometimes it seems as though they believe anything that happens constitutes victory for them). Also, near as I can tell from reading the blogs, it appears that some of the Sad Puppy candidates never consented to joining their slate, and that none of the Rabid Puppies were ever asked if they wanted to be included (I am ninety per cent certain that none of the films or TV shows in the two Dramatic Presentations category were ever contacted). There are also a whole bunch of people -- all the editors except Vox Day, for starts -- who may or may not have been contacted. No one has said, no one talking about it, we just don't know.

Also... really, when you come down to it, this whole "were they contacted?" thing is a false issue. Torgensen says he contacted almost everyone, but missed a few. Some of his slate say no, they never heard from him... but does it really matter? I have been trying my damndest to get Alan Lee and John Howe nominated for Best Artist for years, and I never asked if I could. This year I wrote a long post about the brilliance of STATION ELEVEN and why it should be nominated in Best Novel, and I never contacted Emily St. John Mandel to ask if I could. I will not condemn Brad Torgensen for failing to do what I never do myself.

I do not believe in Guilt by Association, and that's what we'd be doing if we vote against every name on the Puppy slates simply because they are on the slate. That was a classic weapon of the McCarthy Era: first you blacklist the communists, then you blacklist the people who defend the communists and the companies that hire them, then you blacklist the people who defend the people on the blacklist, and on and on, in ever widening circles. No. I won't be part of that.

I have looked over the ballot, but I have not read all of it. Will I read all of it? Well, not every word.... but I will at least glance at every nomination. I know, from past experience, that there are some very talented writers on the list. There are also some very bad writers, and at least one whose picture probably appears next to MEDIOCRE in Websters. There are a lot of writers I have never read before, whose work I need to sample. Torgensen has claimed that the Sad Puppies slate is diverse, and a cursory glance at the names suggests he is not wrong.

I intend to consider every story and every finalist in every category, and vote for those that I think worthy of Hugos. I will vote NO AWARD, I promise you, but only where No Award is warranted. (Truth be told, I vote No Award every year in almost every category. Usually not in first, admittedly... but I don't just look at a category and rank them one to five in order of preference, I rank the ones I think rocket-worthy above No Award, and the ones I don't below).

This ballot is the worst I have ever seen, admittedly, and there are stories and writers on it who are not fit to polish a Hugo, much less win one. But there's good stuff as well, and talented writers whose work I have enjoyed, and I am not going to vote against them just because the Sad Puppies like them too.

As I get further into my reading, I will let you know my thoughts on what I've read. But that may be a long process, so be patient.

Honestly, I don't think any of the choices we have now are good ones. All roads seem to lead to perdition, but each of us will need to walk the one we think best. Meanwhile, I urge everyone who is reading this to go to the Sasquan website and join the convention. Attend if you can; if not, join as a Supporting member, just as the Puppies did. It is too late to nominate, but not too late to vote. The Puppies will be getting out their vote, you can be sure. We need to do the same, unless we care to see some poor guy hand Vox Day a rocket.

I wish I was more optimistic about how all this is going to turn out.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

(That's Yeats, not me. Just to be clear).

Comments

( 303 comments )
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weirman
Apr. 10th, 2015 11:50 am (UTC)
I've only managed to attend WorldCon once (TorCon 2002 - Knight of the Lamprey Pie!) but I've made an effort to be a Supporter in most of the years since because I believe in supporter the things I enjoy. I've also tried to vote for the Hugos each year that I've been a supporter. I don't nominate because I'm not good at all in keeping up with current novels and shorter fiction. I usually don't get a chance to read any of that until they're nominated, in which case I've suddenly got a Must Read list.

So I've been trying to decide what to do this year with the whole Sad Puppy thing going on. I've done a lot of reading on both sides of the argument and I side with those who believe that the slate did a disservice to the award, the nominees and the fans. I'm sad that this controversy is going to have an impact on the nominations as I read them. It's going to be very difficult to separate my appreciation (or lack thereof as the case may be) for a story due to the politics behind them.

I was stuck between not supporting this year or trying to go with one of the No Award routes but after reading this post my mind has been made up. I agree wholeheartedly with the destroying the village to save it analogy. And I too don't want to see the Hugo nomination and voting process changed because of this whole mess.

So instead of abstaining or defaulting to No Award, I'm going to do my best to read the nominations and vote on their merit alone. I can't guarantee that I'll be able to view some of the slate choices with an unprejudiced mind, or that I won't be tempted to vote against them by virtue of their company but I'll do my best.

Thanks so much for sharing your views. They were a big help.
sabotabby
Apr. 10th, 2015 12:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for these posts.
rumata
Apr. 10th, 2015 12:25 pm (UTC)
Off topic, my apologies
But you're going to love it.
socksonafox
Apr. 10th, 2015 12:39 pm (UTC)
This is so on point. Thank you for sharing. Additionally your love for STATION ELEVEN is fantastic. That truly was the best book of 2014 and I have been (obnoxiously) trying to get everyone to read and love it! :)
etcet
Apr. 10th, 2015 12:39 pm (UTC)
I'd been reading all, et refraining from commenting, but I have to give you a fistbump for the Yeats.
chriss_m
Apr. 10th, 2015 12:42 pm (UTC)
Been a while...
Okay! First of all, please forgive my picture, this LJ account is from way back when I was still but a teenager.

And before getting into it, I think it's important to make my politics clear. Because this is hugely political. I am a lifelong liberal - I was a member of the British Liberal Democrats until a few weeks ago (feel they've become slightly too right wing). I am pro gay marriage, pro equal gender rights, pro choice, pro every typical liberal position you can have.

Only, I also have another value I hold firmly to. And it's a value that I thought was at the heart of liberalism, that was a requirement of self describing as a liberal. Freedom of speech, freedom of expression. Equality is the ideal of liberalism, of course, but freedom of speech is surely the first principle.

That's how I approach my politics. I find Vox Day's views deplorable, as I do Wright's. But that does not mean they deserve to be blacklisted, slandered, have their books burnt (which I've personally witnessed be done to *liberal* author and feminist Christina Hoff Sommer's works - yes, by a 'social justice warrior'). And the means I just described are only the explicit forms of discrimination I've witnessed against writers from the right. Author Sarah Hoyt, who I believe describes herself as a libertarian, wrote a blog post detailing what it's like to be of the right. She humorously compares it to living in Stasi Germany. If you happen to let on that your views aren't of the mainstream left, she argues, you can quickly find yourself shunned or excluded.

I don't know if Sarah Hoyt's paranoid or telling the truth, because I'm not an author, and I don't move in that world. But I don't find it unbelievable. Not after witnessing people within that world chat online, not after seeing one of the Sad Puppies be bombarded with accusations that he was a white supremacist, only to in the end need to prove he wasn't by uploading a picture of his black wife. Which they then went on to say was despicable, because he was using his wife as a human shield, and that this definitely proves he's a racist!

The 'they' I'm talking about here aren't anonymous internet crusaders. They are named people within the media. The person I was talking about just then was Arthur Chu, a particularly vicious and nasty media person. But he's of the left, so it's fine. Or least you'd think so, because you'll never see his peers call him out. He's only one example.

So, after having been witness to the way actual public figures treat these authors, it's easy to believe Hoyt. After all, if the media figures can be this vile, can you even imagine what the typical troll is like? I use Twitter, so I don't need to imagine. Again, I've witnessed it. When the seven articles calling the Sad Puppies racist, homophobic, misogynistic, etc, came out, the social justice trolls crawled out from under their bridge. As one of them said (again, another media figure, Bob Chipman), there's no such thing as bad tactics, just bad targets.

That's why I find myself, a lifelong liberal, ardently defending figures from the right. These social justice warriors (which is really just a mildly offensive pejorative, and one that many of them actually like) often hate liberals, too. Liberal writer David Auerbach has written a fantastic piece on this, the split within the left. And I think, because of the vitriolic and censorious nature of so-called social justice warriors, you will continue to see more liberals support the Sad Puppies.

Edited at 2015-04-10 12:48 pm (UTC)
ihatenamessono
Apr. 10th, 2015 06:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Been a while...
that piece being called: "jenesuispasliberal". hopefully you can find it in google if you're interested as it's genuinely interesting.

and yes while i disagree with vox day on well... just about everything that doesn't mean you can call him whatever you like and besmirch him.
if you only believe speech that you agree with or that doesn't offend you should be heard, you do not believe in free speech.
Re: Been a while... - grrm - Apr. 10th, 2015 07:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Been a while... - ihatenamessono - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jere7my - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Been a while... - Alvaro Garces - Apr. 10th, 2015 06:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Been a while... - the_anonymi - Apr. 11th, 2015 04:06 am (UTC) - Expand
claireeddy
Apr. 10th, 2015 12:43 pm (UTC)
I wish you were here so I could hug you. A calm voice in a wild storm...
trulyfoxsmart
Apr. 10th, 2015 12:57 pm (UTC)
hugo-nots
I think both sides protest too much. LC talks about how writer's of his supposed ilk are bullied out of contention, yet ignores (that I can see) Orson Scot Card's Hugo win. What's the difference between Card (a Mormon who has publicly supported fighting against gay rights) and LC? Tone, maybe? I'm guessing it has more to do with the quality of their work.

See, if you differ politically but have deep respect for each others' work, you put aside political differences and cheer the work. I would suspect that as much as GRM hates the Dallas Cowboys, he would still likely applaud the career of Emmit Smith, an incredible athlete and all-around nice guy. Even if GRM and OSC differ on some (many?) political issues, they could mutually support the stellar work each has added to the genre.

This is where the debate looses flavor. Correia hasn't earned the right to say, "I'm being ignored because I'm conservative". He's not sold enough books. He's not wowed enough fantasy fans. For all anyone knows, he's being ignored because he's just not reached that pinnacle of literary greatness.

Look...having been in a band in a local music scene (Dallas) where our style of music was very much outside what was considered cool or relevant, I get the feeling that you're ignored because of that fact alone. But the fact was, we simply didn't have enough fans to warrant discussion in the local music rags. Had we ever reached critical mass, with legions of fans, and THEN were ignored....I might have had a case. Instead, I was one more guy outside the cool club, feeling like they were excluding me, not on artistic merits, but on social and clique factors.

It's a tired story and not worth revolving. Who cares about rules? The best bands often aren't in The Rock & Roll HOF. That's an absolute fact. The best authors often win no awards. Who cares if some guys game the system for a few years? Relax. Roll your eyes and read what you want to read, celebrate those you love and move on.
bradrtorgersen
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:38 pm (UTC)
Re: hugo-nots
There is no possible way Orson Scott Card would ever win a Hugo or a Nebula in today's political climate. Really, Card walked out on the field in the 1990s and kind of didn't look back. He blazed on the ballots for a few years in the late 1980s, but eventually decided the field didn't want him (and he didn't want the field) when it became clear there would be no peace between himself, with his beliefs, and the field as a whole. Especially inside SFWA, an organization Card has described thus: a place where people constantly preach Bolshevism, while oppressing the peasants.

If the only response to complaints of, "Conservatives get a raw deal," is to quote a Hugo win from 1987, or to cite Heinlein (who has been dead since when?) I am afraid people simply don't want to look at what the field has become since the turn of the century. Not since Moskowitz threw out the Futurians has it been more clear who is (and is not) wanted in the field, from a political standpoint. At least when it comes time for the awards and the recognition.

You can make a wad of cash. Larry Correia does. Larry Correia makes more money than any four dozen Hugo short fiction winners combined, just on royalties alone.

But good luck getting an award.
Re: hugo-nots - grrm - Apr. 10th, 2015 09:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hugo-nots - bradrtorgersen - Apr. 10th, 2015 09:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hugo-nots - grrm - Apr. 10th, 2015 10:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hugo-nots - ladyanag - Apr. 10th, 2015 11:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hugo-nots - bradrtorgersen - Apr. 11th, 2015 03:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: hugo-nots - grrm - Apr. 11th, 2015 05:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jere7my - Apr. 10th, 2015 11:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hugo-nots - Loren Schmidt - Apr. 11th, 2015 01:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: hugo-nots - Alvaro Garces - Apr. 10th, 2015 07:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
rachelepstein
Apr. 10th, 2015 01:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on all this. I had been following the story, but I hadn't yet realized it was still possible to become a supporting member and vote. I look forward to reading the nominated works and voting!
jenniferpowell
Apr. 10th, 2015 01:19 pm (UTC)
types of votes
I want to strongly disagree that the discussion at Making Light is looking for ways to shut out the puppies. I've read the whole discussion, slowly and carefully, and it's clear they are trying to find ways to keep any group from taking over the ballot. Not to shut them out, but to keep them proportional.

Not that there aren't a few people who would like to squish the puppies, but that's not the focus of the conversation there.

And there are a couple of good ideas of how to do that too, and I think they are worth considering.
kalimac
Apr. 10th, 2015 01:23 pm (UTC)
It's not that the Puppies got out and voted and the rest of us didn't. It's that they voted for a slate and we voted for our own personal preferences, and thus scattered our vote. The only way to defeat a slate, without prohibiting it, is with another slate. That will mean essentially introducing political parties into the Hugo nominating and voting process. If by saying that they won because they outvoted us, then political party slates is what you want.
bfkelleher
Apr. 10th, 2015 01:26 pm (UTC)
Confused on Rabid Puppy versus Sad Puppy
What exactly is the difference between a Rabid Puppy and a Sad Puppy?

Is one more zealous than the other? Do they have different views?
grrm
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Confused on Rabid Puppy versus Sad Puppy
There is some overlap... but yes, there are considerable differences as well.

The Rabid Puppies are a one-man show spearheaded by the most toxic personality in the field.

The Sad Puppies are more of a group effort, and more diverse.
Re: Confused on Rabid Puppy versus Sad Puppy - jeffr23 - Apr. 10th, 2015 05:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
newversailles
Apr. 10th, 2015 01:30 pm (UTC)
Cracks in the Foundation
George,

I agree with much of what you’ve written, but there are some fundamental questions you’ve neglected to answer, in my opinion.

First, what is the exact nature of the “problem”? Your complaint seems to be that Sad Puppies breached a group norm against campaigning, or at least campaigning *too formally* or for the *wrong reasons,* since you concede it’s always been tolerated to an extent. Maybe for a small afternoon book club it would have been reasonable to expect participants to police themselves according to such nebulous soft factors, but high stakes require stricter rules than relying on a respect for prevailing norms. A simple longevity or attendance requirement would address complaints of opportunistic voting memberships, but this raises the additional unanswered questions of what being a true member of WorldCon and what the Hugo’s themselves actually mean and represent.

It seems those organizing and participating in the Hugos have for some time been trying to have it both ways: an award widely perceived as representing sci fi fandom yet administered by a small and tight-knit sci fi community. This may have been tenable in the pre-information ages, but it inevitably becomes unworkable as sci fi gains popularity and the stakes grow and grow. Maybe the organizers didn’t explicitly state the Hugos represent any more than their small conference attendance (I’m guessing they walked a fine line there), but they certainly were aware of and didn’t attempt to correct that popular perception.

The cracks have always been in the foundation. The Hugo’s need to decide what they *are* and be explicit about that. Or if they choose not to decide, they must accept the tides as they come.


Edited at 2015-04-10 01:33 pm (UTC)
nelc
Apr. 11th, 2015 09:08 am (UTC)
Re: Cracks in the Foundation
The Hugos are a genre literary prize decided by a large jury of well-read and knowledgeable fans, who between them have sampled most of the field in any given year, and as such, have a good chance of picking works for prizes that most less-dedicated fans will also like. (Up to this year, anyway.) It is representative without being definitive.
firstashore
Apr. 10th, 2015 01:35 pm (UTC)
I doubt it's a coincidence that these Conservative fans have used a tactic straight out of the "How To Get George W. Bush Elected" school. It's textbook Rove Doctrine.

I think if it were up to me, I'd just re-open the voting for another week or two.

If, after all this fuss and publicity, the Faithful don't come out and swamp the nominations with a genuine reflection of the opinions of the whole wider SFF community, then damn it - the Sad Puppies deserve their victory.
Alvaro Garces
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:44 pm (UTC)
Excellent idea. Let's ignore the voting rules and keep the voting open until you approve of the results.

Instead of saying such things, why don't you support the changing of the voting rules so that in future years we can adopt a system that would guarantee fair representation to everyone, puppies or not puppies?
(no subject) - firstashore - Apr. 11th, 2015 05:05 am (UTC) - Expand
daniel_pina
Apr. 10th, 2015 01:41 pm (UTC)
God DAMN, people. You are proving them right.

Isn't the fact that you had to make this post already a proof that they were at least partially right?

In his blogs, Larry Correia mentions the use of under-handed schemes by a certain group of people to get the winners they want.
You claimed this wasn't true, yet here we are with a set of proposals to bend the rules of the Hugo awards to prevent certain authors from getting a prize.

So which is it? Conspiracy or not?
grrm
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:15 pm (UTC)
It wasn't true.

But some of these proposals would make it true.
(no subject) - daniel_pina - Apr. 10th, 2015 05:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ihatenamessono - Apr. 10th, 2015 05:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Apr. 10th, 2015 07:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Alvaro Garces - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
that'll - ihatenamessono - Apr. 10th, 2015 09:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: that'll - grrm - Apr. 10th, 2015 09:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: that'll - ihatenamessono - Apr. 10th, 2015 09:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ian_cd - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ihatenamessono - Apr. 11th, 2015 11:03 am (UTC) - Expand
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