Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Hugo Withdrawal

I see that the fanzine BLACK GATE has withdrawn from the Hugo race, after being slated by the Rabid Puppies and nominated (perhaps) as a result of that.

You can read their reasons here:

This is the second year that BLACK GATE has refused a nomination, so one certainly has to admire them for their consistency. And no one can deny that this is a very difficult decision for those, like BLACK GATE, that were put on the ballot by the Rabids without their consent (it is an easy decision for the Rabids themselves and their allies, of course, most of whom are squealing as happily as pigs in shit).

Since I'm on record as urging the "hostages" to stand their ground, I can't applaud this decision. But I will not criticize it either. They had a tough call and they made it, consistent with their own politics and principles.

I will quibble, however, about one of their assertions: that even if BLACK GATE had elected to remain on the ballot, they had no chance of winning. I am not going to go so far as to say they were the favorite... but I think they would have had a shot. All five of this year's nominees were on the Rabid Slate, yes. But two of the five -- BLACK GATE and FILE 770 -- are clearly hostages, slated without their consent. Despite the success of No Award in last year's voting, I think the presence of so many hostages this year changes the equation. My hope is that fewer fans will resort to the Nuclear Option. If so, I think FILE 770 will win here... but BLACK GATE would have given Glyer's zine its strongest competition. Oh, and yes, No Award will be contending too. TANGENT might have a very slim outside chance.

BLACK GATE's withdrawal changes all that, of course. The big question is, what takes its place? Whatever it is, I'd say that it instantly becomes a major contender here, just as THREE BODY PROBLEM became a contender last year after Marko Kloos pulled out of novel. My guess is that the rocket goes to either FILE 770 or the new nominee...

(One also wonders what will take place of the "The Commuter," the Thomas Mays nominee in Short Story. Mays has also withdrawn).

Sixth place has never been so crucial.


May. 1st, 2016 10:50 pm (UTC)
What do we do?
But what can we do as individuals?
May. 1st, 2016 11:25 pm (UTC)
Re: What do we do?
Read. Nominate. Vote. Urge others to do the same.

Also, always, as hard as it is, I think we need to try and take the high road in these online debates. We should not descend to the level of the Rabids, or even the worst of the Sads. No matter how tempting, returning vitriol for vitriol gets us nowhere.

We should talk about the books and stories, first and last.
May. 2nd, 2016 06:24 am (UTC)
Re: What do we do?
Over at Black Gate (in the comments) we readers thought of lighten the mood a bit. This is the result:
Please help make this a thing - and please help keep this fun.

Arguing and fighting last year didnt work. Now we should try it with laugther.
May. 1st, 2016 11:11 pm (UTC)
Speaking as one of last year's winners, I was similarly disappointed and for the same reasons, although also similarly I respect the logic. This year I was happy to recognise Black Gate as a nominee on its own merits and I think a lot of other people did too (how many, we don't know until August ... but I think Black Gate was one of several nominees that came to the attention of the traditional voting population through the 2015 events, and is now in their minds quite legitimately).

My approach to the final ballot this year is very simple; I will not reject anyone purely for being on the slate but will take all nominees that I believe are deserving and consider them on merit. Those who I believe are ONLY on the ballot due to slate voting and are not deserving of the honour, will continue to go below No Award on principle.
May. 1st, 2016 11:31 pm (UTC)
Hello! Your entry got to top-25 of the most popular entries in LiveJournal!
Learn more about LiveJournal Ratings in FAQ.
May. 1st, 2016 11:54 pm (UTC)
Makes sense
I understand both sides of the debate but people are sometimes known by the company they keep. They want to protect their brand. It is a sad decision but a rational one.
May. 2nd, 2016 01:00 am (UTC)
And I was just going to post this news in your other Hugo thread.

The real problem is that the nominees that I'd be happy to see withdraw (like, for example, anything associated with STD) will stay on the ballot.

I don't see that Related Work can be saved this year.
May. 2nd, 2016 01:48 am (UTC)
A chance to see where the rabbid hole goes...
I suppose we'll now get to see whether the Pupz have prepared booby traps in sixth (which is assuming they have way too much control)

I agree that the only way to approach this mess is to vote on nominee merits. I actually tried hard to avoid the No Vote option last year, but the standards I apply will be lifting this year.

Looking ahead, I think it has to be concluded that the system is being effectively 'gamed' by a dominant slate, and a method needs to be developed for reducing the power of slate votes in the nomination phase (which I take to be ones with an identical voting pattern... maybe 5 of 6? One thought to join the doubtless many already expressed: reduce the voting power of any identified slate whose number exceeds a certain percentage of the total.)
NB: I'm not talking about the voting phase which, as far I can tell, seems OK.
May. 2nd, 2016 04:08 am (UTC)
There were two such proposals given first passage last year that are up for ratification this year. Changes to the Hugo Award rules must pass at two consecutive Worldcons' WSFS Business Meetings, to prevent changes of a highly emotional or local nature from overwhelming the process. So if either or both of them pass, we'll see next year if they have any effect.

The World Science Fiction Society is run by its own members, not by a President or a Board of Directors. Changes are slow, because it takes time to get a bunch of people to agree to any changes. There is no Strong Man who Gives Orders. That's very dissatisfying to people who want Direct Action Now. And unfortunately, since our rules have generally assumed that all members act in good faith, they are subject to being exploited by people who do act in bad faith.
May. 3rd, 2016 12:39 am (UTC)
'Slate' voting could be viewed as meat puppet voting. The dead shouldn't dictating what the living vote for.

Not that I have any say in how the process is adjusted, of course, but what you say about it is good to hear.
May. 2nd, 2016 02:31 am (UTC)
Watch tonight's episode of GoT!!! It just made my entire week better so I'm sure it'll have to cheer you up.
May. 2nd, 2016 02:39 am (UTC)
Coudn't win?
> I will quibble, however, about one of their assertions: that even if BLACK GATE
> had elected to remain on the ballot, they had no chance of winning.


You could be right. I think the folks who are paying close attention might've given Black Gate a fair shot... though I believe that the Rabid Puppy brand is so powerfully toxic that it'd take a TON of good will to overcome it.

Frankly, I doubt we have anything like that kind of good will. File 770 might. We'll see.

Was it tempting to stay in and find out? Of course! But the cost of that was keeping the sixth place nominee off the ballot. Once I realized that, it seemed pretty clear what the right thing to do was.

Anyway, thanks for the kind words.

John O'Neill
Black Gate
May. 2nd, 2016 02:47 am (UTC)
Re: Coudn't win?
You're welcome.

Good luck to you with the fanzine. I hope that one of these years you get the chance to compete for a rocket against four other worthy nominees in a fair contest. Y'know, the way it used to be...
May. 2nd, 2016 08:20 am (UTC)
Re: Coudn't win?

I nominated BG without even knowing it was on the Rabid slate and would certainly have voted for you guys as a worthy winner. I hope one day I'll get a chance to do that without the shenanigans. But be aware that yes, there would have been good will and genuine support!
Frank Probst
May. 2nd, 2016 02:47 am (UTC)
Black Gate, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King
I was fairly certain that they were going to stay in this year and am disappointed to see them decline, but I agree with your analysis. And now either File770 or the newcomer will probably win. My money's on the newcomer.

Short Story will probably go to whoever replaces Thomas Mays.

Short Form Dramatic Presentation will probably go to Jessica Jones over Dr Who, and the rest of the noms (all RP picks) will probably come in way behind.

I still think there may be more withdrawals. Neil Gaiman tweeted that he wished he'd have known he was on the RP list when he accepted the nomination. I suspect he's considering withdrawing, but that nom went to two people, so they're probably talking it through.

And that leaves The Big Dog: Stephen King. He may not have been aware of the puppy shenanigans before, but he's bound to learn about them soon. He may not get involved in all of this, but if he does, it's a game changer, and I would LOVE to see Stephen King versus Theodore Beale.
May. 2nd, 2016 02:52 am (UTC)
Re: Black Gate, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King
King's "Obits" just won the Edgar Award. It's a strong story, and a worthy contender. But I can't imagine Steve getting involved in this stuff. Which may work against him. The Rabids won't actually vote for him, any more than they will for Gaiman or Stephenson, and there will be some Nuclear Option voters who will rank "Obits" below No Award because Guilt By Association.

May. 2nd, 2016 03:16 pm (UTC)
Someone over at Making Light said that the rule they were going with this year was to compare the Sadly Rabids nominations to their own: If they felt the work was as good as the worst of their own nominations, it would go above No Award. If they felt that the work was not as good as their least favourite of their own noms, it would go under. The point being to provide a filter, for "something was good, and might have gotten on the ballot legitimately had it been given a chance to".

In the mean time, TNH argues quite eloquently
I'm also irritated by being asked to give the Pups' nominees a fair chance. They've already had one. Asking for more amounts to special pleading on behalf of the Pups' preferred works and authors.

If a Pup-favored book or story was published within the year of eligibility, it has already had the same chance to be read, generate word of mouth, and find its audience, as all the other books and stories published during that time. And if, after having had that chance, it only got onto the Hugo ballot because it was on the Puppy slate, then it's reasonable to say it didn't please the readers anywhere near as much as the work it displaced.

Why should I allow myself to be guilt-tripped into giving the intrusive work an extra-special second chance? It hasn't earned it. That extra measure of attention is supposed to go to nominees that get onto the ballot by being good.
I find myself sympathetic to both those positions.
May. 2nd, 2016 10:05 pm (UTC)
The problem with TNH's argument is that line "it only got onto the Hugo ballot because it was on the Puppy slate."

Truth is, there's no way anyone can know that. Not me, not you, not TNH. On Hugo night, when the nominations are announced, we can see that story X got 205 nominations and edged out story Y that got 190, but even if story X was on the Puppy list, there's no way to be sure whether it got on the ballot ONLY because of those votes.

Sure, we can make guesses. I suspect strongly that nothing that Castalia House published would have made the ballot without the Rabids. But the hostages? Neil Gaiman? Neal Stephenson? Stephen King? Lois McMaster Bujold? BLACK GATE? All of those would have been on the ballot irregardless, I am pretty sure... but I can't prove it.

And then there are the in between cases. We can't know about them at all.

Also... TNH speaks of a second chance, but how about a first chance? Thing is, there are hundreds of books and stories published each year. Any single reader -- me, for instance -- can only be aware of a small per centage of the total. Long before the Pups, whenever a Hugo ballot came out, I would find it contained a mix of (1) stories I'd read and liked, (2) stories I'd read and found wanting, and (3) stories and books I had not read, and in some cases had not even heard of. The third group was often the largest. In those bygone days, of course, I would then seek out and read the nominees and authors I'd been unfamiliar with... and in some cases, find myself some new favorites,

What's happening now that's changed is that (3) is made up largely of Puppy nominees. When I read those stories, I am not giving them a second chance, but a first chance. Last year, reading group (3) moved most of them into group (2) for me, since the majority of the Pup choices were unimpressive. But even that, not all. I think Kary English's story in Short Story showed real talent, as did the story that Annie Bellet withdrew. Both of them might have made the ballot even without the Pups. Oh, and I became a Marko Kloos fan after reading the novel the Pups nominated, which Marko then pulled from the ballot (yay for him). Before the ballot, I had never even heard of Annie Bellet, Kary English, or Marko Kloos.

Which is a long way of saying... I continue to believe we should read the stories, and judge them on their merits.
May. 2nd, 2016 11:19 pm (UTC)
What I did last year, and what I expect to do again this year, is to look through the things that *should* have been nominated, the things that got driven off the ballot, because there will likely be some gems in there. Unfortunately, we can't do that until the full nomination details are released, which isn't until after the ceremony.

The difference between your position and TNH's is, I think, that in other years all those (3)-category works were ones loved by fans who thought they were the best the year had to offer. They made it onto the ballot because they had inspired *enough* fans to love them and nominate them to pull them out of the pack, which made them worthy of further consideration. And this year and last, the stories chosen weren't loved and weren't chosen as the best. Even the hostages aren't there because the nominators think they're any good, they're just there to be, well, hostages.

You argue that in other years, you were giving those (3)-stories a "first" chance, which is fair because some of the works in every category were new to almost everyone. TNH's argument appears to be that even though you weren't involved in their first chance, you're giving them their second chance even though it's your first look at them. This year, the first-pass filter to get on the ballot at all wasn't respected.

Anyway. As I said, I find myself sympathetic to both the "didn't receive a fair first chance, doesn't deserve an unfair second one" argument and the "if it's not as good as my least favourite nominee, it shouldn't have been nominated" one. I'm less inclined towards treating the Sadly Rabid nominees as if they'd gotten through the normal filter, but I think I understand why you want to do that.

Thank you for your time.

Edited at 2016-05-02 11:22 pm (UTC)
May. 2nd, 2016 03:18 pm (UTC)
It appears that comments with links are auto-flagged as spam. When you have a moment, would it be possible to un-flag my previous one?

May. 2nd, 2016 09:49 pm (UTC)
I review comments on a regular basis, and either unscreen (ninety per cent of the time) or delete them (the other ten per cent). However, I don't spend all my time here, so often hours or even days can pass between the time a comment is made and the time it is unscreened.

Sometimes, when I get too busy, one of my minions does the review for me.
May. 2nd, 2016 10:59 pm (UTC)
I realised that as soon as my non-link-containing comment got screened. Thanks again.
Glenn Hauman
May. 2nd, 2016 06:46 am (UTC)
Honorable concessions and withdrawal from the field
George, I have to disagree with your urging hostages to stand their ground. While I've written about it in some depth at ComicMix (http://www.comicmix.com/2016/04/28/glenn-hauman-neil-gaiman-does-not-need-a-pity-hugo-award/), it occurs to me that with you, I can make my argument using extremely familiar metaphors-- to wit, "Game Of Thrones" and football.

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the 1940 college football game between Cornell and Dartmouth. Cornell came into the game with 18 straight victories over two years, while Dartmouth was 3-4 that season.. Dartmouth led 3-0 with less than a minute to play. A referee made a mistake on the field and ended up giving Cornell a fifth down instead of turning it over to Dartmouth. Cornell scored a touchdown on the fifth down and won, 7-3. The mistake wasn't discovered until after the game was in the books and officials viewed the films.

The president of Cornell sent an offer to Dartmouth offering to forfeit the game, if they would accept it. Dartmouth did. Because that was the honorable thing to do. To claim a tainted victory would be unsportsmanlike.

(Note that fifty years later, a similar last-minute fifth down happened between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Missouri Tigers, which has cast doubt on Colorado's claim to Division I-A's 1990 national championship ever since.)

As for the second metaphor: "Game Of Thrones" was Emmy nominated for Best Dramatic Series in 2012, but lost to "Homeland". Would you think it fair that GOT won if a slate had put GOT on and kept "Homeland" and "Breaking Bad" off the final ballot? After all, "Game Of Thrones" was good enough to get nominated anyway, so it's no big deal if it would have won against a weakened field, right?
May. 2nd, 2016 10:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Honorable concessions and withdrawal from the field
I think it is insulting and borderline offensive to talk about Neil Gaiman and Lois McMaster Bujold and Neal Stephenson winning "pity Hugos." I do understand the point you're making, but you don't need to couch it in such terms.

As to the issue... no, the situation this year is far from ideal. As I said at last year's Hugo Losers Party, the scenarios the Pups have created make losers of everyone, even the winners. I know many of the hostages, and I know none of them wanted to be slated, and all, I am sure, would rather be competing against legitimate nominees, the best the year had to offer.

That's not possible, however. We have a bad situation here, and we need to make the best of it. Your solution, having Neil and Neal and Lois and the rest withdraw, makes the bad situation much much worse, from where I sit. It hands VD a total victory.

My own priorities? I think that in all cases the Hugo should go to a work worthy of the Hugo. Something very good at minimum, and preferably great. Something that will not make fans of the future do a double-take when they see it on the list of winners. Neil Gaiman and Sandman? Great stuff. Certainly worthy.

(And you keep talking about how Neil does not 'need' a Hugo, and ignoring his partner on this, the artist. Neil may have a shelf of Hugo awards, but the artist doesn't. This would be his first, and may be the only shot he'll ever have at one. Also, if you going to argue that someone who has won Hugos in the past does not need any more, you should be consistent and extend the principle to all the other perennial winners. Mike Glyer does not 'need' another Hugo either. Connie Willis does not need any more. Dave Langford probably did not need that tenth Hugo of his, and certainly not the fifteenth. Etc Etc Sometimes a writer or artist does indeed decide to retire or decline a nomination -- Neil himself has done that, just a few years back -- but most are always glad to add one more to the mantle. I can't blame them. That's only human.)

As for your second metaphor... hoo hah, you really know nothing about the Emmy Awards, do you? It's ALL 'slates' and campaigning. has been for decades. HBO promotes and campaigns for its shows, sends out screeners, takes out ads. Starz does the same for its slates, ditto Showtime, CBS, Fox, NBC, ABC, A&E, the History Channel, everybody. All campaigns, all the time. You don't promote, you don't compete, you don't get nominated. In the end, though, the campaigns cancel each other out and the best stuff rises to the top anyway... usually.

Glenn Hauman
May. 3rd, 2016 12:52 am (UTC)
Re: Honorable concessions and withdrawal from the field
My argument is not that someone who has won Hugos in the past doesn't need more, it's that someone who has won them in the past doesn't need tainted ones. Think of it as the corollaries to "when you get to the end zone, act like you've been there before" and "pride demands you let the easy pitches go by".

As far as handing VD a total victory, by not voting slated works down, he is instead handed the power to decide the winner and losers when his slate gets all the nominations. I'm not sure that's preferable.

I agree that it's not entirely Neil's call to withdraw, and your point is taken about the PR competitions in Hollywood usually balancing things out... although I also noticed you didn't answer the hypothetical. ;-)
May. 3rd, 2016 03:06 am (UTC)
Re: Honorable concessions and withdrawal from the field
You can only compete against the competition on the field.

You've used a couple of football analogies, so I'll reply with one. Looks like Tom Brady will be suspended for the first four games of next season for Deflategate. Now, if one or more of the four games that face the Patriots during that span should win, will their victories be "tainted?" Should they eschew winning a "pity" victory over the poor Pats? Will you urge them to withdraw or forfeit? Somehow I don't think they will.

Giving VD the power to deny rockets to the likes of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Neal Stephenson simply by typing their names? How can that be preferable to... well, anything?

I don't know who said "pride demands you let the easy pitches go by," but it sounds like bad advice to me. Pride be damned. This is the World Series. When an easy pitch goes by, you crush it. At least if you do if you want your team to win. And make no mistake, Neil and Neal and King and Bujold and the rest are on our team, not VD's.

Glenn Hauman
May. 3rd, 2016 04:04 am (UTC)
Re: Honorable concessions and withdrawal from the field
Of course there's no taint about beating the Patriots on general principle sorry, reflex.

There's no taint about beating the Patriots without Brady because Brady is being penalized for cheating, for giving himself an advantage to beat other teams-- the definition of unsportsmanlike conduct-- within the internal rules. The analogy doesn't hold. A closer one would be a bus driver diverting the Giants from playing at all and putting in the football team from NYU.

"Giving VD the power to deny rockets... simply by typing their names?" He's already denying rockets simply by not typing names. For example, notice there's nothing from Tor Books or tor.com on the ballot this year. And in categories where his slates lock up every slot, he selects who walks home with one.

Yes, this is the World Series-- 1919, and Neil Stephenking is playing for the Cincinnati Reds with the added knowledge that the game is fixed in advance. You can be proud of how well you played, but can you really be proud of that win?
May. 3rd, 2016 09:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Honorable concessions and withdrawal from the field
Actually, there are two nominees from Tor.com in the novella category.

As for your baseball analogy... maybe the playoff round was "fixed," but the World Series is not. I want Neil and Neal and Stephen King and Alastair Reynolds and Lois McMaster Bujold to take the field. If they don't, much lesser works may end up taking home the trophy.
Frank Probst
May. 2nd, 2016 10:44 pm (UTC)
RE: Honorable concessions and withdrawal from the field
I think you're doing everyone a disservice by calling any award a "Pity Hugo". The voters showed last year that they are perfectly capable of giving No Award in a category if they don't think anything is Hugo-worthy. When Orphan Black won last year, no one called it a Pity Hugo just because some of the other noms were on the RP slate.

As for your Cornell versus Dartmouth game analogy, the comparison just doesn't work. We don't know--and we'll probably NEVER know--what would have made it onto the ballot without Beale's minions being involved. There's no way to tell an RP ballot from a non-RP ballot. People can guesstimate, but they'll still just be guessing. There's a big difference between people who willingly associate themselves with Beale and those who want nothing to do with him. Many--if not most--of the people on his list probably didn't want to be there. They shouldn't be penalized for it. And this year, they all know that the voters are willing to vote No Award in many categories, not just one or two, so they all know they might get what is essentially a slap in the face from the voters. Read/watch the works on the ballot and vote the way you would vote in any other year. Don't let yourself get trolled by Beale.
Glenn Hauman
May. 3rd, 2016 02:47 am (UTC)
Re: Honorable concessions and withdrawal from the field
Actually, we'll have a very good idea what would have made the ballot right after the nomination data is released. Say what you will about fandom, but they do a pretty good job with stats.

Take a look at the analysis at http://www.rocketstackrank.com/2016/04/analysis-of-slate-voting-for-2016-hugos.html and https://chaoshorizon.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/analyzing-the-2016-hugo-noms-part-1/ for the start of the analysis for this year. Subtract the pups from the final nomination tallies, and Bob's your uncle.
May. 3rd, 2016 03:20 am (UTC)
Re: Honorable concessions and withdrawal from the field
All the number crunching is pretty interesting, I will allow, but I am not entirely persuaded of its accuracy.

It will be fascinating to see this year's raw nomination totals.

One factor I think is key is the nomination totals in the down-ballot categories. We know that 4000 people nominated, almost twice the previous record... but we don't know if they nominated in all the categories. My guess is no. In the "big" categories, like Best Novel and Best Dramatic Presentation, the Rabids were not able to sweep. Those will be the very categories where, at a guess, all 4000 people, or close to that, made nominations.

But how many nominated in Short Story, Related Work, Professional Artist? Three-quarters of the total, half, less? We will know a lot when we know that.

We may well need EPH and 4/6, I cannot deny that... but I continue to believe that turnout is a key as well. Strong turnout, as in Best Novel, gets legitimate works on the ballot. Weaker turnout, and the slates rule.

But we'll know for sure when we see those numbers.
Frank Probst
May. 3rd, 2016 04:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Honorable concessions and withdrawal from the field
We actually DO know the total number of nominating ballots for each category--that's posted on the website for the Awards right after the name of the Award. Best Novel got 3695 nominating ballots, etc. But I'm mistrustful of any number crunching that goes from those numbers to the number of Beale's minions.
Frank Probst
May. 2nd, 2016 10:49 pm (UTC)
RE: Honorable concessions and withdrawal from the field
Oh, and while I'm at it, please be considerate if you go to the awards ceremony. Kary English may or may not have deserved a Hugo, but she didn't deserve to have a big asterisk shoved in her face, and she sure as hell didn't deserve to hear raucous cheering and applause when she lost to No Award.
May. 3rd, 2016 12:07 am (UTC)
Re: Honorable concessions and withdrawal from the field
I agree. I voted No Award in some categories myself, but not happily. No Award is an occasion for sadness. Sometimes you have to shoot Old Yeller, 'cause he's gone rabid, but that's never a HAPPY thing to do.
May. 3rd, 2016 05:30 am (UTC)
re: hugos
I thought that the worst category was the Related Works section. The stories there are horrible, especially when there was a great book by Ms. Day You are never Weird on the Internet that should be there.
May. 3rd, 2016 07:49 pm (UTC)
Re: hugos
The Felicia Day book certainly deserved a slot, I agree. I also thought the WHEEL OF TIME concordance would have been a very worthy nominee, and a fine way to honor both Robert Jordan and Harriet McDougal. A shame they got puppied out.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

Latest Month

September 2017


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner