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Black Gate Withdraws

We have had another withdrawal from the Hugo ballot. BLACK GATE has withdrawn from the BEST FANZINE category. You can read their reasons why here: http://www.blackgate.com/

It is uncertain whether this withdrawal will be honored, since it comes too late. Sasquan's Hugo administrators announced that the ballot was "locked" a couple of days ago, after two other nominees had withdrawn, and two other finalists had been declared ineligble. Those four were all replaced on the ballot by the "next one down," but if the ballot is indeed locked, it would appear that this will not happen in Best Fanzine.

I do wish to draw attention to Black Gate's statement that this decision was his own, and was not the result of any threats or internet "bullying." Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet said more or less the same thing in their own withdrawal statements, but nonetheless certain parties continue to repeat the charge that their fictional boogeymen, the "SWJs," bullied those worthies off the ballot. Since Kloos and Bellet have explicitly denied that, these cries of "bully, bully" can only be categorized as malicious lies. As for those who are writing Kloos and Bellet to tell them they will never read their books again... have you no shame? Truly? Have you no shame?

I feel very sorry for all of those caught up in this, especially those who were shanghaied onto a slate without their knowledge or consent. They have no good choices. What should have been a highlight of the career has been poisoned and ruined. For what it is worth, I will read their books. I have already ordered the Kloos book from Amazon, and I will be checking out the Annie Bellet short story when I can.

But I am going to be reading the other books and stories on the ballot too. I don't promise to read all of them start to finish -- I start a lot of books, but if they haven't grabbed me in a chapter or two, I put them aside -- but I will at least try them all.

BLACK GATE is advocating the nuclear option: vote NO AWARD in all categories. I understand his reasoning, but once more, I disagree. I will vote NO AWARD only in those categories where I find nothing in the category worthy of a Hugo. If I think a book or story or editor IS worthy of a Hugo, I'm going to vote to award one.

The Hugos can withstand a few NO AWARDs, in categories where all the nominees are crap. They can NOT withstand an entire evening without a single rocket being presented, where one envelope after another is ripped open and NO AWARD is announced, again and again and again.

And as flawed and damaged as this ballot is, there ARE things on it deserving of our field's ultimate accolade. Starting with BEST NOVEL, the Big One, where I know there is at least one Hugo-calibre book, and suspect there may be as many as three, or even four. Or BEST FAN WRITER, where Laura Mixon's report on Requires Hate cries out for recognition. There are some terrific movies in Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. We missed PREDESTINATION, which deserved a nod, but we did get INTERSTELLAR, which I rank up there with 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. There are editors on the ballot deserving of recognition (no, not him, obviously), there's an artist (maybe more than one, but one for sure), there's a bunch of fine fan artists...

Which is why I say again: NO to the Nuclear Option.

CORRECTION: It appears that I misread the BLACK GATE withdrawal statement. They are not actually advocating the Nuclear Option. Please read the statement for a correct explanation of how they suggest the use of No Award. We are still in disagreement, I think, but not as complete a disagreement I had thought earlier.


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Apr. 19th, 2015 11:07 pm (UTC)
Finally Got My Head Around The Issue
I had been mostly skimming/skipping these Puppy posts, but I figured after so much hoopla, it had to be at least qualify as interesting... and it is. The whole situation is mind-boggling. To wind it down to its nuts and bolts, the charge is that a vast left wing conspiracy runs the Hugos? A bunch of oppressed conservatives are fighting back. This psuedo-logic is what pushed me away from thinking I was "right wing". I also don't believe true Libertarians feel this way.

This was all much funnier when Bristol Palin was a contender on Dancing with the Stars.

The truly sad part for me is not the history of the Hugos, but situations like BLACK GATE where people truly worthy are pushed out. And even if "worthy" people do win, they will tainted as if they "didn't really win".
Apr. 20th, 2015 12:49 am (UTC)
Re: Finally Got My Head Around The Issue
It is bizarre, isn't it? I always considered myself kind of conservative, but if the Fox News crowd and Rush Limbaugh define Conservatism, then I guess I am pushed to RINO (Republican-in-name-only), which is sort of hard to get MY head around.

I wish the Culture Warriors had left the Hugo Awards alone. And I don't wanna hear any "But -splutter- THEY started it!" It's wrong. Even if you claim it as a response (which I don't fully buy), what's wrong . . . Is wrong. The ends do not justify the means. Your opponent did something you think is wrong? Fine. Object! But don't do what you claim they did wrong FIRST. That just makes You Wrong Too.

Edited at 2015-04-20 12:55 am (UTC)
Re: Finally Got My Head Around The Issue - calcinations - Apr. 20th, 2015 08:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Finally Got My Head Around The Issue - shawnbrock - Apr. 20th, 2015 11:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Finally Got My Head Around The Issue - shawnbrock - Apr. 20th, 2015 11:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 19th, 2015 11:14 pm (UTC)
Agreed on All Points
Thank you for speaking sense into the wind:

Kloos' and Bellet's decisions have been battered by the same people who don't want folks to conflate SPs with RPs. These pups seem to have no problem being disingenuous while crying foul when they perceive others being disingenuous. Throughout the SP/RP argument-chamber, this type of hypocritical whining has drowned out some of their more salient points.

I will be reading all the works on this year's Hugo ballot and voting for those that are good. Not all will be (a few I've already read are not great), but some will be--including those on the SP/RP slate (Butcher certainly, and Kloos for sure (thought he withdrew)).

I will vote No Award where appropriate, but it certainly won't be a Noah Ward sweep.

And next year, I look forward to nominating worthy works.

Apr. 19th, 2015 11:17 pm (UTC)
I tend to agree. The nuclear option just doesn't make sense in this case. It's overkill. Ok, sure, the ballot is skewed this year. Yes, there are some categories that are kind of frakked. But there are still plenty of things worthy of recognition despite that.

Going with "no award" in every category would guarantee that the Hugos would be destroyed this year, and that would be just as bad as what happened with the ballot. Possibly worse.

I think the best approach is exactly as you've described here. Recognize the material that's worthy of recognition. Doing that would at least be making the best of a crappy situation.
Apr. 20th, 2015 12:07 am (UTC)
I think the concern driving the nuclear option is if the Puppies go nuclear themselves, and unite their bloc-vote behind one of their candidates in each catagory in an attempt to game the results as they gamed the nominations.

And I haven't looked at the numbers, but it may be possible the only way to stop this tactic would be a massed nuclear NO AWARD vote across the board?

But like I say, I'm really not number-orientated enough to think about the maths of how this works in practice. But it does seem if the Puppies go nuclear and produce a voting slate across their whole membership, then they'll be able to handpick the winners. And we'll see Vox and John C Wright walk away with what, 8 or 9 Hugos between them?
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Rohini Kumar
Apr. 19th, 2015 11:19 pm (UTC)
Too many plot twists
This whole Hugo award is like an episode of House of Cards - secret, shifting alliances; influence and power on sale; wars of words on all sides.

Its a pity because to the uninitiated, like me, awards like these are my entry-point into genres I haven't previously explored. You assume that when you see that a book or short story has won an award, that it reflects the consensus view of that genre's fandom and pantheon.

Apr. 19th, 2015 11:21 pm (UTC)

I agree. I don't think it's right to vote NO AWARD when there might be a deserving recepient. I feel like that's just one more way to let this whole sad puppies silliness win.

Emma Gaia Seljan
Apr. 20th, 2015 12:11 am (UTC)
My impression is they unfortunately win anyway.
Apr. 19th, 2015 11:30 pm (UTC)
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Apr. 19th, 2015 11:49 pm (UTC)
George, you make a good point about voting for the books that are "Hugo-worthy" in their respective categories. I do have an academic question, if you will permit:

If there is only one Hugo-worthy candidate in a given ballot, and that candidate wins, does that make the Hugo "less valuable" than if it had won in a ballot full of truly Hugo-worthy candidates? Or does that simply make it the least distasteful choice?

I understand your conception of "Hugo-worthiness" as something along the lines of, "It may not be my personal choice, but I wouldn't mind if X was announced the winner. If that's the case, though, aren't you transferring your vote from the "true" winner (at least in your estimation) to a merely "palatable" candidate?

Doesn't this change the fundamental quality of the Hugo for the winner that year?

You see this kind of question pop up in terms of voting systems as well, such as first-past-the-post vs. ranked-voting, etc. etc. etc.
Apr. 20th, 2015 12:12 am (UTC)
Re: Hugo-worthiness
The circumstances of this year's ballot are unique...

However, in any year, there is the chance that the winner, or even the nominees, will not match your own choice for the best of the year.
Apr. 19th, 2015 11:57 pm (UTC)
I still feel very strongly that this threat from Vox to destroy the Hugos in the future if he doesn't get his way is something that the organizing committee should be looking at very seriously.

If Castalia House come away with any Hugos, after having delivered a threat to destroy the awards in the future, what does this say about the process?

I honestly can't see how it's acceptable for some of the nominees to threaten voters.
Apr. 20th, 2015 12:57 am (UTC)
Glad I'm not the only one to feel this way.
(no subject) - flake_sake - Apr. 20th, 2015 08:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gonzo21 - Apr. 21st, 2015 02:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - gonzo21 - Apr. 23rd, 2015 01:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - flake_sake - Apr. 23rd, 2015 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Vox's threat - nathancherolis - Apr. 20th, 2015 03:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Vox's threat - gonzo21 - Apr. 20th, 2015 07:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Emma Gaia Seljan
Apr. 20th, 2015 12:04 am (UTC)
This is sad. But withdrawal is probably the only way some nominated authors found to mark the difference with the Puppies and to show worlwide that they are not complicit in what SP&RP did. In my opinion, the worst thing the Puppies probably did, was compiling and spreading their lists without asking their consent for such an unfair campaign.
Apr. 20th, 2015 12:10 am (UTC)
Mr Martin, I've read the Black Gate post you refer to, and they're not advocating the "nuclear option" of "no award everywhere". They're allocating the sub-nuclear option of ranking all Puppy slate finalists below No Award. If followed, then this would mean No Award in a number of categories, but particularly with the withdrawal of Annie Bellet, would mean No Award in a number of categories, but not a majority of them.
Apr. 20th, 2015 12:26 am (UTC)
I'm not sure if that gets counted as the "sub-nuclear option", or if it should be considered the Tactical Nuclear Option.
(no subject) - katster - Apr. 20th, 2015 12:47 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2015 12:37 am (UTC)
Personally, I'd take VD's threat . . .
. . . That if "No Award" takes any of the categories a Rabid Pup is on the ballot, he will ensure that that award is NEVER given to ANYONE, EVER again . . .to be the equivalent of a terrorist threat.

Think about it. If the Publisher of Tor issued a statement that, in any category a Tor book or author or editor was listed, "No Award" had best not win, or Tor books would try to organize that the award would never be given again. Would this be tolerated?

Rules or no, I think such behavior is a clear threat to manipulate the system of voting via intimidation. "You better not vote an outcome I don't find acceptable, OR ELSE!"

Such behavior should result in a lifetime ban from WorldCon, and from the Hugo ballot, as voter or nominee. He should not be able to get on as writer, artist, editor, or publisher. (Rough on those poor souls who signed with his publishing house, unfortunately.) If the publisher of Tor or Baen or Random House tried this, or Jim Butcher or John Scazi, or the editor of Asimov's, or . . . Hell's bells, even Issac Asimov himself, I'd fully support a lifetime ban.

Why not Vox Day?

Edited at 2015-04-20 01:04 am (UTC)
Apr. 20th, 2015 07:38 pm (UTC)
It's an empty threat. As far as I can tell, VD/TB is not a member of Worldcon and cannot attend a Worldcon in the USA because he can't enter the country for legal reasons. You can't ban someone who isn't a member. You could ban him personally from being on a shortlist, but he isn't even technically listed as being an owner or publisher of his publishing house.
(no subject) - il_volpe - Apr. 20th, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Alternate Snowcrash
Apr. 20th, 2015 01:05 am (UTC)
Not a nuclear option
Hi Mr Martin, I may be incorrect, but I don't think BlackGate is advocating a No Award sweep. What they are advocating is that all slate based candidates be ranked below No Award, as they got in through what is in essence ballot stuffing.
This is in line with how I plan to vote as well, so I may be seeing things that aren't there.
Having said that, I will certainly try to read everything that is nominated and in the voter packet until I lose interest. As someone elsewhere said quite brilliantly, in some cases this may be with the authors name itself.
Apr. 20th, 2015 01:21 am (UTC)
Treat Castalia House like a cheater
In the Black Gate statement, John O'Neill says this year's ballot "was largely dictated by a single individual, Vox Day". If we take Torgersen et al. at their word, that SP3 was unconnected with Vox Day, we can re-state the problem this way:

1. Torgersen et al. published the SP3 slate.

2. Vox Day tweaked the SP3 slate to include more Castalia House publications, and to include himself, twice(!), as editor.

3. Vox Day then urged his fans to vote this Rabid slate *in its entirety*.

4. Analysis of the ballots indicates that the RP slate was more successful than the SP3 slate.

5. Vox Day, in consequence, profits. In an actual monetary sense, through increased book sales and publicity -- leading to deals like the one just announced to reprint Pournelle's anthology There Will Be War.

We can, if we choose, think of this as: the SP3 slate was hijacked by Vox Day for his direct personal profit. There is nothing to stop this from happening again next year --

Unless the Hugo Committee rules that Castalia House engaged in unfair ballot stuffing, and bars it from elibility for the Hugos.

Yes, the ballots have been officially closed and gone to the printers -- but I'm betting SF fandom would pass the hat and cover the cost of a corrected printing.
Apr. 20th, 2015 01:40 am (UTC)
I don't agree with you completely on every aspect of this mess, but I respect you immensely for speaking clearly about what you believe with as much objectivity and respect as you can muster. Thank you.
Apr. 20th, 2015 01:48 am (UTC)
Although I disagree with the nuclear option for the entire ballot (Dramatic Presentation and Graphic Novel are relatively untouched by the slate, for example), I do agree with the reasons that people are giving for voting No Award in categories dominated by puppies, which they are doing either because they do not think the ballot should be treated as legitimate due to the obvious SP slate influence or because they believe that it is impossible to honestly name the best people/work in a given category for this year because the SP slate crowded many or all other possible choices off the ballot
Apr. 20th, 2015 06:19 am (UTC)
What constitutes "domination" in a category?

Is Best Novel one of these categories (had three Puppies, down to two with Kloos's withdrawal). How about Best Fan Writer (four out of five)? Voting NO AWARD is those two categories in particular would be a travesty. A victory for No Award is either would be a total win for the Puppies.

And there are Puppy choices who never asked to be Puppy choices. Aside from Vox Day, is there any proof that any of the eight other editors nominated in the Short and Long form categories were part of the scheme?

As I stated several posts ago, I am against Guilt by Association.
(no subject) - smofbabe - Apr. 20th, 2015 06:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Alternate Snowcrash - Apr. 20th, 2015 09:15 am (UTC) - Expand
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