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Me and the Hugos

Let me begin with the basics:

Who owns the Hugo Awards?

You know, looking back, I am probably partly to blame for some of the misconceptions that seem to exist on this point. For years now I have been urging people to nominate for the Hugo Awards, and saying things like "this is your award" and "this award belongs to the fans, the readers." I felt, and still feel, that wider participation would be a good thing. Thousands of fans vote for the Hugos most years, but until recently only hundreds ever bothered to nominate.

Still my "it is your award" urgings were not entirely accurate.

Truth is, the Hugo Awards belong to worldcon. The World Science Fiction Convention.

The first worldcon was held in 1939, when 200 fans got together in New York City. The first Hugo Awards were given in 1953, at a worldcon in Philadelphia. No awards were given in 1954, but in 1955 they returned, and have been an annual tradition ever since. Me, I was five years old in 1953, so it was some years later when I became aware of the Hugos. Can't recall exactly when. I did become aware, though... and I soon learned that "Hugo Award Winner" on the cover of a book meant I had a damned good read in my hands.

I attended my first worldcon in 1971. Noreascon I, in Boston. By then I was already a "filthy pro," with two -- count 'em, two -- short story sales to my credit, and another half-dozen stories in my backpack that I thought I could show to editors at the con. (Hoo hah. Doesn't work that way. The last thing an editor wants is someone thrusting a manuscript at him during a party, when he's trying to drink and flirt and dicuss the state of the field. What can I say? I was green. It was my second con, my first worldcon). In those days, the Hugo Awards were presented at a banquet. I did not have the money to buy a banquet ticket (I was sleeping on the floor of a fan friend, since I did not have the money for a hotel room either), but they let the non-ticket-holders into the balcony afterwards, and I got to watch Robert Silverberg present the Hugos. Silverbob was elegant, witty, urbane, the winners were thrilled, everyone was well-dressed, and by the end of the evening I knew (1) I wanted to be a part of this world, and (2) one day, I wanted to win a Hugo. Rocket lust. I had it bad.

((Never believe anyone who states loudly and repeatedly that they don't care about awards, especially if they don't care about one award in particular. Aesop saw through that okey-doke centuries ago. Boy, them grapes are sour. If you don't care about something, you don't think about it, or talk about it, or try to change the rules so you get one. The people who keep shouting that they don't care if they ever win a Hugo are the ones who want one the most, take that to the bank)).

Two years later, the worldcon was in Toronto... and I still did not have enough money for the banquet, even though I was an awards nominee. Not for a Hugo, though. That was the first year they gave the John W. Campbell "new writer" award, and I was one of the nominees. Toastmaster Lester del Rey, for reasons known only to him, presented the awards in reverse order, starting with Best Novel and ending with this new award, so by the time he got to the Campbell, the hall was largely empty except for the nominees. I lost. (But went on to sell an anthology of stories by the Campbell nominees, so in that way the award did a huge amount for me). But hey, it was an honor just to be nominated. (It really was. It really is).

The next year, in Washington DC, I lost my first Hugo. "With Morning Comes Mistfall," nominated in Short Story. The same story lost the Nebula earlier that year. (By a single vote, the sitting SFWA president told me afterwards... which impressed on me right then that Every Vote Matters). At Discon I finally had enough money to buy a banquet ticket. I sat at a table with several other nominees. They all lost as well. Meanwhile, one table over, the rockets were piling up. We all made jokes about being at the wrong table.

Then came 1975. Worldcon was in Australia. I could not afford to go, even though I was once again a Hugo nominee, this time in novella. "A Song for Lya" became my first Hugo winner, in an upset over the Robert Silverberg novella that had earlier won the Nebula. Ben Bova (editor of ANALOG) accepted on my behalf. I was sleeping when they rang me up to tell me. Thought I was dreaming. But no, it was real. The rocket arrived a few months later (Ben Bova gave it to Gordy Dickson who gave it to Joe Haldeman who presented it to me at Windycon).

I have won a few more Hugos since, most notably at Noreascon II, where I won two. That was especially satisfying. The same city, the same hotel, and the same toastmaster as in 1971, when I'd stood in the balcony lusting after rockets. Dreams can come true, I told the crowd when Silverbob gave me the first Hugo. When he gave me the second, he chided me for being greedy. The crowd laughed, and so did I.

I will always treasure those memories. One of the greatest nights of my life.

I returned to losing the next year, at Denvention. Have won a few and lost a few more in the years and decades since. But I never fail to attend the ceremonies, and I never ever fail to nominate and vote (well, okay, I think I missed a year in there when I lost track of the date).

That's the short version of Me & the Hugos, or What the Rocket Means to Me.

You will all have noted, no doubt, a common thread here: worldcon.

The Hugos belong to worldcon.

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, worldcon was the center of fandom. It was the oldest convention, the largest convention, the annual "gathering of the tribes" where fans of all sorts got together. Regionals were few and far between until the 70s, and even when they became more numerous, none of them ever came near Labor Day, worldcon's traditional dates. Comics fans came to worldcon, "media fans" came to worldcon (though the term "media fan" did not exist), costumers and filk-singers came to worldcon, game-players came to worldcon (though there was not much gaming, and the term "gamer" did not exist either). In time, though, as each of these sub-fandoms grew larger, they began to split off and form their own conventions. Suddenly you had comic cons, and Star Trek cons, and costume cons, and so on. Worldcon still offered panels and tracks for these areas, but fans whose main interest was in Trek or comic books or costuming began to drift away. The World Fantasy Con was born, for those whose interest was more in fantasy and horror than in SF. "Book cons" were born, like Readercon, for the prose lovers.

Worldcon continued... but the steady growth that had characterized worldcon through the 60s and 70s stopped. That 1984 worldcon in LA remained the largest one in history until last year at London. Meanwhile San Diego Comicon and Gencon and Dragoncon grew bigger than worldcon... twice the size, ten times the size, twenty times the size... Dragoncon even went so far as to break with a half-century old fannish tradition by moving to Labor Day, worldcon's traditional date, a date that had up to then been inviolate. And why not? Dragoncon's attendees were fans, sure, they were comics fans and Star Wars fans and cosplay fans, and some were even book fans... but they were not "trufans," as that term was commonly used, and they didn't care when worldcon was.

(The term "trufans" is an unfortunate one in this argument, since some of the Sad Puppies and their supporters take it amiss, and understandly, when told they don't qualify. The term is a very old one, however, probably dates back to THE ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR, a parody of PILGRIM'S PROGRESS about the search for "true fandom." Like "SMOF," it is at least partially a joke. And if any of this paragraph makes any sense to you, you are undoubtedly a trufan... but don't worry, you don't need to know what a mimeograph machine is to be a real fan, I swear).

You can still make a case for worldcon being the center of fandom as recently as 1984... but after that, well, "fandom" began to assume new meanings. There was no longer just one fandom, there were several. Comics fandom, media fandom, etc.

That's all great. I have attended many comicons over the years (I attended the very first one, even before my first SF con). I have written for TV and film, and been a guest at media cons. I love comics, I love TV, and I love film... but most of all, I love books, which is why I go to worldcon every year. There are many fandoms now, but worldcon fandom is MY fandom.

And worldcon fandom owns the Hugos.

Worldcon fans invented them, tended them, wrote the rules, designed the rockets. Worldcon fans tradmarked the name, and defended the mark when other (non fannish, none SF) groups tried to give their own Hugo awards. And it is because of all this history, all this passion, all this care, that the Hugo has remained the most prestigious and best known award in our field.

(In my Not So Humble Opinion, anyway).

Other conventions have other awards. Wiscon has the Tiptrees. The World Fantasy Con presents the World Fantasy Awards, or Howards. The Bram Stokers are given by the HWA, the Nebulas by SFWA. Libertarians have the Prometheus Awards, though I don't know where they give them out. I just came back from Norwescon, where they handed out the Philip K. Dick Award. We used to have Balrogs and the Gandalfs, but they went away. The Japanese have the Seiun awards, the Spanish have the Gigameshs, the Czechs the Newts. Australians have Ditmars, Canadians Auroras. Gamers have Origins Awards, comic fans have Inkpots and Eisners.

I don't denigrate any of these awards. I've won an Inkpot, I've handed out an Eisner. I won a Balrog too, but it was smashed before it reached me. I have a Newt and a bunch of Gigameshs and even a Seiun. Awards are cool. Awards are fun. Or should be. I don't expect I will ever win a Tiptree or a Prometheus or a Dick, but that's fine, I applaud them all the same. Writing is a hard gig, man. Any recognition is a plus. Big or small, any award is a pat on the back, a way of saying, "hey, you did good," and we all need that from time to time.

If the Sad Puppies wanted to start their own award... for Best Conservative SF, or Best Space Opera, or Best Military SF, or Best Old-Fashioned SF the Way It Used to Be... whatever it is they are actually looking for... hey, I don't think anyone would have any objections to that. I certainly wouldn't. More power to them.

But that's not what they are doing here, it seems to me. Instead they seem to want to take the Hugos and turn them into their own awards. Hey, anyone is welcome to join worldcon, to become part of worldcon fandom... but judging by the comments on the Torgesen and Correia sites, a lot of the Puppies seem to actively hate worldcon and the people who attend it, and want nothing to do with us. They want to determine who gets the Ditmars, but they don't want to be Australians.

The prestige of the Hugo does not derive from the number of people voting on it. If numbers were all that counted, worldcon should hand the awards over to Dragoncon and be done with it. (Though I am not sure that Dragoncon would care. Years ago, the LOCUS awards used to be presented at Dragoncon. I attended one of those ceremonies, the last time I went to Dragoncon. Charles Brown handed out the awards in a cavernous hotel ballroom that was ninety per cent empty. The same ballroom was filled up standing room only for the following event, a Betty Page Look-Alike Contest. Which tells you what Dragoncon attendees were interested in. Which tells you what Dragoncon attendees were interested in... and hey, I like Betty Page too. A few years later, LOCUS moved its awards to Westercon, where they always draw a big crowd.

The prestige of the Hugo derives from its history. The worth of any award is determined in large part by the people who have won it. Would I love to win the Hugo for Best Novel some day? You're damned right I would. But not because I need another rocket to gather dust on my mantle, as handsome as the Hugo trophies are. I want one because Robert A. Heinlein won four, because Roger Zelazny and Alfred Bester and Ursula K. Le Guin and Fritz Leiber and Walter M. Miller Jr and Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl and so many other giants have won the same award. That's a club that any science fiction and fantasy writer should be thrilled to join.

Only... here's the caveat... I wouldn't want to join the club because I was part of someone's slate, or because my readers were better organized or more vocal than the fans of other authors. It is not easy to win a Hugo, and it is especially hard to win the Big One -- Hugo voters a tough crowd, one might say -- but if that honor ever does come to one of my books, I hope it is because the voters did actually, honestly believe I wrote the best novel of the year, a work worthy to stand on the shelf beside LORD OF LIGHT and THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS and STAND ON ZANZIBAR and THE FOREVER WAR and GATEWAY and SPIN and...

Elsewise, hell, what's the point? I can go down to the trophy shop and buy myself all the bowling trophies I want, if the point is just the hardware.

Which brings me to the subject of campaigning, but I will address that another day, in another post. I have a couple of other things I want to discuss first.

[[Once again, comments and dissent are welcome, but I expect courtesy from all parties. And yes, that means those of you who are on "my side" as well. Let's not throw around insults, or charges of misogyny and racism, please. And Puppies, sad or happy, if any of you feel inclined to reply, please avoid the term "Social Justice Warriors" or SJWs. I am happy to call you Sad Puppies since you named yourself that, but I know of no one, be they writer or fan, who calls themselves a social justice warrior. Offending or insulting posts will be deleted. We can disagree here, but let's try for respectful disagreement.]]


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Apr. 9th, 2015 02:39 am (UTC)
I'm confused. I guess I'll wait until you talk about the 'campaigning' aspect, because I simply don't know enough about the Hugo awards process and traditions to draw any real conclusions yet.

Frank Probst
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:51 am (UTC)
Did they read the stuff they nominated?
I guess my big problem with slate voting is that I seriously doubt (and I could be wrong--if anyone knows to the contrary, please correct me) that most people voting for the slate have actually read many of the works that they're voting for. While what they're doing is totally within the rules, I think you're acting in bad faith if you nominate something that you haven't even read. I expect my Hugo Nominees packet to have five good works in each category. I generally don't even nominate in the short fiction categories, because I just don't read that much short fiction every year outside of the Hugo nominees.
Apr. 9th, 2015 04:02 am (UTC)
Re: Did they read the stuff they nominated?
This is absolutely my suspicion, too, and I think it's in some ways the most egregious way the Puppies have broken the unwritten social contract of the Hugos.

You don't nominate what you haven't read. It may not be "cheating", technically, but it's lying, implicitly.
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:53 am (UTC)
This whole thing just disheartens me and leaves me baffled. The Hugo for best novel has always been a must read for me (in the many instances where I hadn't read the winning book). And I fail to recall a disappointment using this formula.

This year's Hugos have my vote for a sabbatical (let it be 1954 again) and a rule rewrite for next year. Sadly...
Apr. 9th, 2015 05:21 am (UTC)
I'm afraid there can't be a rule rewrite for next year. Any change that is agreed this year has to be ratified next year, and so can't take effect until the 2017 Hugos at the earliest. Or possibly 2018 -- there's a proposal that was agreed last year and is up for ratification this year to add an additional year to the process.
(no subject) - chris_gerrib - Apr. 9th, 2015 01:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:07 am (UTC)
I feel for those nominees who weren't consulted before being placed on the block slates.
I find the most distressing aspect to this whole mess is the effect it will have on the win chances for those nominees who were placed on either the Sad Puppies 3 slate or the Rabid Puppies slate or both without their prior, informed consent.

More than a few of those on the Puppy block slates were not asked about their approval or even notified before being included on it. The editor of the wonderful Black Gate was never contacted prior to inclusion on the Rabid Puppy block slate, nor were the people at Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine contacted by the Sad Puppy people. I sincerely doubt that Game of Thrones producers Benioff and Weiss were asked by Ted Beale if it was acceptable for an episode to appear on the Rabid Puppies slate. Many of the nominees are distancing themselves from the whole thing altogether, simply accepting their nominations graciously without reference to either block slate.

The problem arises from the inevitable "No Award" backlash against the entirety of both Puppy slates. While I am inclined to support the idea for any nominee who willingly supported being included on the block slates, I am disturbed by the fallout which will affect those who were never asked about inclusion. There are some wonderful nominations included in the block slates who well-deserve to be considered. Sadly, they may not have a chance simply because of the growing drive to list block slate nominees below "No Award" without regard to whether they wanted to be on the block slate. That would be a shame.

Will the chances of a Hugo win for the Game of Thrones episode be reduced by the "No Award" backlash against all nominees who appeared on the Puppy Slates? A Game of Thrones was included, again likely unasked, on the Rabid Puppies slate.

I don't see a painless way out of this dilemma . We don't have any way of knowing which nominees made the ballot based solely on their inclusion on one of the block slates. We don't know which of those candidates on the block slates were contacted in advance and agreed to inclusion and which were never contacted at all. We don't even know if those contacted in advance were actually given honest information about the block slates. How are we to distinguish between those who might deserve to be below "No Award" and those who are innocent? Should we even bother or should we just let it go, as some have suggested, and consider the 2015 Hugo an aberration? Will the vocal minority go away if we ignore them?

I'm torn between support for punishing the brazen attempt to politicize the nominations and seeking some other way which won't be detrimental to those who are involved in the whole mess without their consent.

We have a tough choice to make. I have read many of the articles discussing this issue. I have been particularly impressed by the posts made by GRRM above and some others such as Charlie Stross, John Scalzi and especially a wonderful post by Elizabeth Bear regarding the issue of block slate voting.

To Lou Antonelli (and to Brad Torgerson and the rest of the Puppy advocates),

Perhaps instead of trying to game the Hugo nominating and voting in favor of your own political and social views you should consider simply creating your own "Conservative" SFF awards? You already have the SASS. What is stopping you from doing that? Are you perhaps concerned that the response would be less than enthusiastic? Plenty of awards already exist, so why not another designed specifically with your viewpoint in mind?

Edited at 2015-04-09 03:19 am (UTC)
Apr. 9th, 2015 05:37 am (UTC)
Backlash is inevitable only if Puppy opponents play the same game
The problem arises from the inevitable "No Award" backlash against the entirety of both Puppy slates. While I am inclined to support the idea for any nominee who willingly supported being included on the block slates, I am disturbed…
You’re right to be disturbed, but do note that a backlash is only inevitable if the Puppy opponents put politics above honest judgement. As John Scalzi (with whom I by no means always agree) pointed out at the beginning of this kerfuffle, hacking the Hugo nominations is actually not that big a deal: It just gives some works the chance to be judged on their merits by the voters. By all means vote “No Award” if, in your honest opinion, the works below that point do not merit an award. Another benefit to voting honestly is that you don’t have to guess the political involvement or non-involvement of the author. Let the work stand on its own.
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:08 am (UTC)
WorldCon Controls
My feelings are similar to yours, George, right down to the sentimentality about the Hugos' history and a wish that I might someday win one.

My main concern, as I've said elsewhere, is that this is event will delegitimize the Hugo award in the eyes of many serious fans and writers. In his recent Salon article, Arthur Chu points out that the organization funding the construction of the Washington Monument was hijacked by Know-Nothings in response to a donation by the Pope, and that this caused other would-be supporters to keep their distance for a generation. As you say, there are many awards, and it would be easy to transfer the flag, as it were, to the Nebula or some new fan-based award. That would make me sad.

But all of the solutions I can come up with for 2016 and beyond seem to ratchet up the politicalization of the award rather than ameliorating it.
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:11 am (UTC)
One of the things I've always appreciated in listening to you talk, is the love of conventions, and the world within them. It's nice to see it here, no matter what others will say.

For myself, it strikes me that it is very much a culture war, defined along generation lines. The openness of the SF fan culture has allowed for so many different kinds of people to feel welcomed and safe and it is my hope that all this SP stuff doesn't make someone who isn't white, straight, or traditionally gendered feel as if the scene and the work isn't for them. Just the same as I hope that someone white, straight and male/female and conservative feels as if the scene is for them (I don't buy the whole 'leftist conspiracy agenda' any more than I do 'Jews Rule Hollywood' and 'the Moon Landing was Fake'). Any attempt to define SF as one specific thing is always going to be answered by someone else as something different, and new generations, with new concerns (and old concerns) are always appearing. It's just the natural, healthy way to be in the genre.

At any rate, man, best of luck with the conversation here.
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:13 am (UTC)
I would be amazed if Correia, Torgersen, Hoyt and the other authors who publicized SP3 were not already members of Worldcon. As for them getting their fans involved - doesn't Worldcon invite them to do that?

The Hugos may belong to Worldcon, but Worldcon has always opened its doors to sci-fi fandom as a whole, whether they are casual readers or dedicated conference-goers.

If this is the case, why is the influx of new fans a problem? And why is their difference of opinion with certain Worldcon attendees relevant? It's perfectly possible to agree with Worldcon's overarching mission (to select the best in sci-fi) and yet disagree with the direction taken by some of its members.

Your argument implies that new fans are only welcome if they have no disagreements with the most active clique at Worldcon. But if Worldcon wanted to be an insiders' award, why do they remain open to all of sci-fi fandom?

To modify your earlier analogy, it's the equivalent of Australia granting voting rights to Kiwis and then complaining when they make use of it.

Please don't kill Jamie ;_;

Edited at 2015-04-09 03:14 am (UTC)
Apr. 9th, 2015 04:15 am (UTC)
Prepare ye to be amazed!

Larry Correia on Worldcon: "I went to 13 cons in 2014, from 500 to 150,000 people. I love cons. However, the only place I’d be likely to find more people who actively despise me and want me to die in a fire than WorldCon would be WisCon. Which is on my list of places to visit, right after Mordor and Hell."

Vox Day on Worldcon: "I will confess that if Worldcon blows its own brains out in a fit of petulance, I will definitely laugh."

The ringleaders of the Sad and Rabid (respectively) Puppies do not seem to hold warm feelings in their heart for this community that you profess to believe they are attempting to enrich.
(no subject) - grrm - Apr. 9th, 2015 06:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rolandthtg - Apr. 9th, 2015 01:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - daveon - Apr. 10th, 2015 02:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Nopes - igotbupkis - Apr. 11th, 2015 04:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Nopes - jere7my - Apr. 11th, 2015 04:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smofbabe - Apr. 9th, 2015 04:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - allumbokhari - Apr. 9th, 2015 05:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smofbabe - Apr. 9th, 2015 07:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - allumbokhari - Apr. 9th, 2015 12:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smofbabe - Apr. 11th, 2015 10:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - il_volpe - Apr. 9th, 2015 04:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - riverpa - Apr. 9th, 2015 05:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - il_volpe - Apr. 9th, 2015 08:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - il_volpe - Apr. 9th, 2015 08:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:14 am (UTC)
Maybe next time, everyone who wants a membership will have to register as either Liberal, Conservative, Philistine, Nothing But Spaceships, or I Just Vote Based On The Cover Illustration.

Then they'll have a primary, with the top vote getter from each party getting on the ballot for the "general election".

People won't even have to read the works, and it'll be cumbersome as all get out, but at least everyone will know that the author or editor they vote for agrees with them on abortion.
Apr. 9th, 2015 08:04 am (UTC)

I can't decide between the spaceship or the cover categories...

Apr. 9th, 2015 03:22 am (UTC)
As with all fan-based awards (And I've noticed this as an Australian who was nominated for a Ditmar, once upon a time, when the Universe was still warm after the Big Bang etc) that the people who win fan-based awards are also those who are very fan-active. they volunteer, they participate, they're there holding fort in the room-party arguing over Heinlein. They're supportive of new writers, they get around.

And come awards time, they get awarded for it. It's completely organic. The community activism, volunteer ethic is in it's nature largely liberal because it has to be. Fandom as we know it would die if it was completely predicated on Capitalistic Success.

I found a lot of folks on the Sad Puppy slate not to be fan-active. Even Requires Hate was a *known* figure, at least). Conservative publishing is at the moment niche publishing, and perhaps it conspired its own obsolescence: in Brad T's post there were a number of people who said they "No Longer Read Science Fiction". One wonders if they stopped *before* or *after* the decline of the right-leaning SF novel and the subsequent rise of the "lefty liberal" kind. In which case the finger of blame is pointed in utterly the other way.

I did find the inclusion of GamerGate troubling, as they are purely a group motivated by the *consumption* of a thing rather than it's *creation, marketing and associated employment* of a thing. Someone pointed out rightly that the idea of the Consumer dictating the artist was the equivalent of people harassing GRRM to pump out a sub-par rushed Winds Of Winter, with all the associated threats and rude comments. This is not a philosophy that the SF community needs to encourage.
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:41 am (UTC)
But isn't that precisely what Torgersen, Correia & co are doing? They may be doing it via blogs and social media, but why should that matter? It's still organisation, and we do live in the age of the internet.

I think this a problem of perceptions. Those who don't move in conservative circles are likely to see the people from Castalia House as unknown outsiders who aren't active in the sci-fi community. But they (and the sci-fi fans who have built a pretty sizeable community around them) would take issue with that.

I must also disagree with your characterisation of GamerGate. I've covered that movement extensively, and if there's one thing they *really* hate, it's artists being dictated to.

(no subject) - punktortoise - Apr. 9th, 2015 11:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lostlibarian - Apr. 9th, 2015 07:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - javaed_ggz - Apr. 9th, 2015 11:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ravenshrike766 - Apr. 10th, 2015 01:35 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:27 am (UTC)
I have to say, I'm doubtful you'd feel this way if a campaign had been started to increase the presence of women/minorities/homosexuals in the Hugos. Given your history of name-calling conservatives (using phrases like "teabaggers" yourself, while asking people to avoid using SJW) and ranting against them, I can't help but see all of this as a justification for you to be upset with people you dislike for advancing their cause.
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:32 am (UTC)
I don't know most of the Sad Puppies. It remains to be seen whether I would dislike them if I did.

I do disagree with them. That's different.

The Tea Party members called themselves "teabaggers" when they first began. They only backed off when Keith Obermann explained on air the sexual meanings of the term. All this is well documented.
(no subject) - yagathai - Apr. 9th, 2015 03:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Yes Ofcourse
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:56 am (UTC)
Why not ask?
"If the Sad Puppies wanted to start their own award... for Best Conservative SF, or Best Space Opera, or Best Military SF, or Best Old-Fashioned SF the Way It Used to Be... whatever it is they are actually looking for..."

"But that's not what they are doing here, it seems to me. Instead they seem to want to take the Hugos and turn them into their own awards. "

George, a simple question.

Throughout this post, you talk about what it seems to you to be what the Sad Puppies team wants, what you speculate their goals may be based on, apparently, third party information.

So why not just ask them?

Vox Day: voxday.blogspot.com
Larry Correia: monsterhunternation.com/
Brad: bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/

There they are. They have blogs. They're easily contacted by email. Why not quote them, ask them what they're after. Ask them if it's true that they despise all the Worldcon fans.

Why aren't you talking to them? Why aren't you asking them what their motivations are, their perceptions, what they want - and responding to that? Why speculate?

And by the way, Orson Scott Card was torpedoed from writing a Superman comic because of his political views. That's the sort of politically motivated gatekeeping Sad Puppies speaks of.
Apr. 9th, 2015 07:10 am (UTC)
Re: Why not ask?
I have been reading MONSTER HUNTER NATION and Torgersen's blog, and all the comments, since this fracas started.

(Vox Day is another matter, and one I will speak to separately).

I AM talking to them. Here. If they want to come and join the conversation, they are welcome. So long as they follow my rules -- courtesy and all that -- they won't be banned or disemvoweled, and I won't unscreen any comments heaping abuse on them.

I am not going to post on their sites, however, because they would not give me the same assurances, and I have no wish to subject myself to an onslaught of abuse and name-calling and threats. Unmoderated comment threads are the devil's asshole, and I see no evidence of any moderation on either of their sites.

Correia and Torgersen themselves write relatively calm and cogent posts, arguing their points (though I do sense an anger in the former that I don't see in the latter)... but down in the comments section, the Puppies snarl and bite unrestrained.

That's exactly the sort of discussion I don't want to be part of, and will not allow here, under my own internet "roof."
Re: Why not ask? - juliansinger - Apr. 9th, 2015 07:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Why not ask? - ravenshrike766 - Apr. 10th, 2015 01:48 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 9th, 2015 04:00 am (UTC)
What's your take on the 10+ articles or so that have appeared on major media outlets like The Telegraph and Entertainment Weekly that all condemn Sad Puppies as racist/sexist/homophobes who have hijacked the Hugos? Several of them have had to print retractions, begrudgingly I'm sure, at the behest of their legal departments.

In a previous reply, you wanted to see proof of the supposed blacklisting of conservative authors, but in reality your side doesn't even need them. For the past few years, the media could openly condemn any conservative they wished without retribution. Their works would then be shunned and panned en masse. It hasn't been until recently that people have begun to hold the media accountable.
Apr. 9th, 2015 06:21 am (UTC)
This is a huge issue that probably deserves thousands of words all by itself. I don't have the time or the energy.

Let me say, in brief, that the state of today's journalism is deplorable, and what passes for internet journalism is the worst. Objectivity and fact-checking seem to have gone by the wayside.

However, both sides are guilty of this. The EW article that was retracted was one-sided and biased... but no more than Breitbart's coverage of the issue, with all its bull about "authoritarian" writers and cliques of SJWs. And Breitbart, unlike EW, has issued no apologies, corrections, or retractions.
Reply - catastronauts - Apr. 9th, 2015 06:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Michael Mischnick - Apr. 9th, 2015 04:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 9th, 2015 04:06 am (UTC)
Sad Fan
Sci-Fi/Fantasy opened my mind and my eyes to new possibilities. While my literature teachers were getting me to read Mark Twain and Charles Dickens in middle school (which I did like, by the way), I also pillaged the library for all the Ray Bradbury books I could find. I still have a copy of "R is for Rocket" that I never returned because I loved it so much. (My parents did have to pay for it and made me work it off by mowing the lawn, which I gladly did.)

Those stories showed me new worlds and new thoughts. New ideas. Ways that things *could* be. Imagination. Mystery. Fantasy. Horror and innovation. Anything was possible. These stories turned me into an idealist--one that tries to see the very best in people and in situations.

I read about aliens and ghosts and carnivals and time travelers. I read these stories with an open heart. I read things that stopped me mid-sentence, things that made me say, "That's what I want to do for a living; I want to write something wonderful."

Ray Bradbury never made me believe that because I was a girl, I wouldn't be able to do that. I still believe that I can do and write anything. But it is harder as a girl. Even though I have felt that sting, it hasn't deterred me.

When I read Dune, I remember being old enough to understand the politics of the novel, the commentary. And I remember the feeling I got when those epiphanies happened. Like I was in on some big secret--same as Herbert. It made me look closer at the world around me. It made me want to read more works that challenged me to think about society in new ways.

Where has this wonder gone? This openness? This challenging of the status quo?

I remember seeing Captain Kirk kiss Ohura on television. It was the first biracial kiss on T.V.. To me, this was sci-fi/fantasy making social statements, and in some ways, paving new ground for equality and tolerance. Now, it seems that this genre is chasing social discourse instead of creating it--either with intent to embrace it, or with flaming torches and pitchforks.

Isn't this the genre that draws outside the lines? That makes new rules? That's what I thought it was--a literary realm that outshines all other genre by imagination alone.

I'm sad that some people are trying to take this away from me, and take it away from other writers.

I wish Mr. Togerson knew one thing: I want my genre back. It belongs to all of us, no matter the creed, culture, gender, or sexual orientation. And someday, if I am ever worthy enough to be considered for any of these awards, I want a diverse chorus of competitors standing there with me. Who would want to win any other way?

Thank you for your posts so far. I will read the next as they come in.

CatAstronauts out....
Apr. 9th, 2015 04:23 am (UTC)
In my book it's really not that complicated...
First of all, Mr. Martin, thanks (from someone who has been a con chair and worked albeit minorly on a worldcon) for explaining the awards so well.

But as with many things, art is imitating life. A small, ideologically motivated group is taking advantage of voter apathy to push what would otherwise be a side agenda forward among a larger more centrist group. I guesstimate there are about 9-11k eligible voters at any one time (assuming worldcon membership is what it used to be). Typically, nomination voting has run <10%.

If you increase participation, you increase diversity in voting, which makes it much harder for any slate, regardless of agenda, to dominate. The question then becomes, how to increase participation? And while certainly a valid issue, I request suggestions be limited to the Hugos and avoid the thorny meta-issues of the day..

With that asked, I look forward to your continued comments...
Apr. 9th, 2015 04:28 am (UTC)
Looking in on this issue
I vividly remember my first con. My father took me on a business trip to Boston in 1978 and surprised me with a trip to Boskone. I have been to many since, especially once I started writing RPG supplements.
I also remember my first SF novel - a second printing of A Princess of Mars; my father's. He had firsts of all the other Barsoom novels and on his 60th birthday I gave him a first of Princess - signed.
I also recall, vivedly, BucConeer in '98. I got to talk to CJ Cherryh again, and she was as nice as always. I got to meet a few authors I hadn't met before.
And I had someone curse me and tell me I didn't belong with 'decent people'. I was wearing a crucifix and a brown scapular. Theman in question was very clear that my religion barred me from being able to be smart enough to enjoy SF.
By Torcon (where I was briefly able to speak with Mr. Martin - you were very gracious for a man in such a hurry at the time!) my partners were asking me to stop wearing my religious medals and scapular, or at least hide them, because they noticed much frostier attitudes when I was with them and they were visible.
At Denvention in '08 my friends told me that they were literally concerned for my safety. I laughed it off - it's a con! I've been going to them since I was 12! I've had perfect strangers pay for my cab and get me to my room safely when I was drunk! But that was two days before people kept 'accidentally' bumping into me and clawing at my crucifix and scapular as they 'righted themselves'. The same 2 men and 1 woman over and over until I got security.
I don't go to WorldCons anymore (although I still support it), I stick to regional ones about tabletop RPGs where I know the organizers (or am an organizer).

Personal anecdotes? Sure.

But I have a lot of friends with very similar anecdotes. Sometimes worse, especially from the women. We love SF, we love fantasy, we love the same books, the same movies, the same filk, the same TV shows and sometimes we are told we aren't allowed to because we disagree about things outside of fandom.
We write stories, and songs, and create art, and all sorts of things. And people tell us out work is bad not because the creation is of low quality but because of *who we are* as creators.

I have spent most of my life as a WorldCon supporter and attendee. I have never, and will never, vote for a work I haven't read. I also never judge the quality of a work based upon things like 'is the author a woman?' or 'is the author a member of a political party?'.
[Remember when you didn't know and couldn't find out unless you met them at a con?]
But I have heard and seen people urging others to both vote for works because of details like skin color regardless of the quality of the work. And sometimes this urging includes 'even if you haven't read it'. Look around the internet, you will see this from some shocking places.

I know almost nothing about Sad Puppies except what I read this week on the webpage of two of the guys organizing it. What I read there was a call to judge works on their content, not on who writes it.
This sounds like simple common decency, to me. I don't see how such a statement can be controversial.
I read the slate (some of the works I have read) and for once in my life read about the authors to learn things like their skin color. The list includes men, women, and people of color. It seems no different than the suggested lists that have been floating around the internet for some time.
So I looked at twitter and such to see why people are upset about them.
It looks very familiar, and not in a good way.
[I was also reminded of Vox Day. I laugh out loud whenever I think about that guy. I mean, who names themselves' the voice of God' AND mangles the spelling? I mean, come ON!]

Again, my toe is in the water with Sad Puppies but as a guy just looking in from the outside it really looks like there are plenty of people judging works by the author's race or creed rather than by the quality of the work.

This can only hurt the art we claim to love so much.
Apr. 9th, 2015 06:28 am (UTC)
Re: Looking in on this issue
Thanks for this.

I am sorry for the bad experiences you had at worldcon. Honestly, that shocks me. No one should be treated that way.

I am in agreement with the Sad Puppies that works of art should be judged on their merit, not accordingly to the political or religious beliefs of the writer, and certainly not on account of sex, race, ethnicity, and the like. But it seems to be that this is exactly what the Puppies have NOT done. All the works that their slate pushed off last year's ballot... did they read them? Did they judge THEM dispassionately, according to their content?

Maybe some did. Some, plainly, did not, as their own comments on the SP blogs make plain.
Re: Looking in on this issue - Thomas Monaghan - Apr. 9th, 2015 11:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Looking in on this issue - ksavagexxx - Apr. 9th, 2015 03:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
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