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Fanageddon

The membership numbers for Sasquan continue to climb higher and higher. In the past, worldcons in major metropolitan areas like LA, Chicago, Boston, and London have boasted the largest membership numbers, while those in smaller and more out-of-the way locales have been smaller. Spokane is about as small and out-of-the-way as worldcon sites are like to get, and therefore might reasonably have been expected to be one of the smaller worldcons in the past decade.

But this is no ordinary year. Thanks to Puppygate and the Hugo War, Sasquan's membership numbers are way higher than anyone could have expected. The little con in Spokane even has an outside chance of eclipsing the record membership totals set last year by London.

FILE 770 has the numbers: http://file770.com/?p=22097

What's even more unusual -- though perfectly understandable in context -- is that this huge upswell is for SUPPORTING memberships, not attending. In other words, these are people who want to vote on the Hugo Awards, but have no actual interest in attending the worldcon.

But who are they? Are these new members Sad Puppy fans, signing up to vote the Torgersen/ Correia slate to victory? Are these the Rabids, the lockstep legions of Vox Day? Or is this fandom, gathering to defend the integrity of the Hugos? Pronouncements abound, but no one really knows, and no one is likely to know until the envelopes are opened. This will be the most dramatic Hugo night in worldcon history. But not in a good way.

Myself, I think it's All of the Above. Fans on both sides -- or all three sides, if you want to draw a line between the Sad Puppies and the Rabids -- are laying down their money to cast their vote. I also think the votes may be way closer than some of the people on "my side" think. I am sensing way too much complacency from fandom. The Puppies dominated the nominations by mustering 200-300 votes for their slate, out of 2000; the fans seem to be counting on the "other" 1800, the voters who scattered their own nominating ballots, to outvote the Pups. And yes, 1800 beats 200 every time... but that does NOT account for all these new members.

However this goes down, we will see more Hugo ballots cast than ever before. If any of this matters to you -- yes, YOU, reading this right now -- you can and should cast one of them. It will cost you $40, and you have until July 1 to sign up. Go to:

https://sasquan.swoc.us/sasquan/reg.php

Looking at those membership numbers, especially the number of Supporting Members as opposed to Attending, makes me wonder -- are any of the Puppies actually planning on coming to Sasquan? If their slate should prevail and win a bunch of rockets, who is going to be there to accept them? We know Brad Torgersen cannot attend, since he is being deployed. I believe that Larry Correia had also stated that he won't be going. So... who will?

Comments

( 104 comments )
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ravenclaw_eric
Apr. 25th, 2015 03:45 am (UTC)
If this hoo-rah ends up attracting more people to traditional SF fandom who previously weren't aware of or participating, I can't say that's a bad thing.
llambertlawson
Apr. 25th, 2015 04:13 am (UTC)
Let us not let cower. Stand. Fight. Vote.
unclfester
Apr. 25th, 2015 04:19 am (UTC)
Use of the word fandom
GRRM:

I take some um-bridge in your appropriation of the word fandom (lower case) to include only those fans whose view of Puppygate coincides with your view. the word fandom is a general and generic term used to identify those who are fans of a genre such as Science Fiction/Fantasy. If you want to distinguish between those you share your views and those who disagree why not use the term truefan(as that already has a definition which is generally similar to yours) or capitalize the word as Fandom to distinguish those who agree with you on the issue and those who disagree but are still fans of the genre. Appropriating the word fandom is not only inaccurate but hurtful to not only many fans of the genre generally but to those who are specifically fans of your works while disagreeing with your political views generally or specifically on the Puppygate issue. I believe your use of fandom has the effect of delegitimizing and alianatng that portion of your fandom that disagrees with you on Puppygate.

P.S. I feel a special kinship to you as I was raised not far from Bayonne and spent much of my summers in my youth at the Bayonne pool. However, I am mortified that you are a Mets fan. As someone raised in New Jersey I can categorically state that "It Is Known" that the only acceptable options are the Old Brooklyn Dodgers, the Old New York Giants, or if you have turned to the dark side as myself the New York Yankees.
grrm
Apr. 25th, 2015 05:49 am (UTC)
Re: Use of the word fandom
I was a Dodger fan as a kid, and of course, as a fan of the Bums, I hated the Giants and Yankees. But all true Dodgers fans became Mets fans after 1962. Going to the Yankees... shocking.

Sorry, we disagree on fandom. The Puppies are the Puppies (that's the name they gave themselves), and fandom is fandom (the name we give ourselves).
THE Fandom - questron - Apr. 25th, 2015 11:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Use of the word fandom - chazmccl - Apr. 25th, 2015 11:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Use of the word fandom - unclfester - Apr. 26th, 2015 04:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Use of the word fandom - apostle_of_eris - Apr. 25th, 2015 05:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
richardthe23rd
Apr. 25th, 2015 04:29 am (UTC)
Larry keeps claiming credit for putting people on the ballot, I'm surprised he wouldn't want to show up to claim their awards. Oh wait, I forget, that's why he turned down his nomination. Because this ISN'T ALL ABOUT HIM.
plutherus
Apr. 25th, 2015 04:56 am (UTC)
100 new members?
Well, obviously I can't speak for all the new supporting members, but I am one of the 1000.

I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make it to WorldCon, despite it being only a few hours from me. But I was inspired to at least get a supporting membership this year mostly due to your writings on the subject.

I was initially going to vote a pure non-puppy slate, but I've decided to at least take a look at them. Whatever the reasons they were nominated, they were nominated.
Alternate Snowcrash
Apr. 25th, 2015 05:23 am (UTC)
Get your vote on....
I've been reading SF&F for almost all my life, but have never really considered myself to be a part of "fandom". One reason is geography - not a lot of cons and the like in South East Asia. Another is just old-school keep-your-head-down-ism.

This will be my second supporting membership, after last year. The Free WoT deal was too good to pass up (even though I wound up not voting for it). The actions of SP2 last year, where there were just obviously terrible candidates pushed me to vote instead of just collecting the packet.

This year will be driven by a couple of things - my disappointment with myself for not nominating anything, and with my increasingly intense disappointment of the works and methods of the Rabid Puppies. It lacks transparency, is undemocratic, and has is so clearly driven by narcissism and naked self-interest that I see no other decent action other than to increase my participation.

As last year, I'll try to read the works nominated. I'll give them a shot. But for all works, slate or non-slate, there is a limit to how much I will put up with. I'll give it till the first chapter, or for the first hour, or till I see the authors name (there was a novella last year which was eye-watering in how terrible it was, and the writer is now up for Best Editor? Sorry, I think I have a good idea of the individuals capabilities)

I will rank all works, but one thing is for certain. If the work is on the Rabid slate this year, I'll be placing them below No Award. If it's not, it has a chance - but not a guarantee - being ranked above NA.

Now, time to go read the Three Body Problem . (Oh, and Station Eleven is on the to-read list - your recommendation counts a lot, as it lead me to the Long Price Quartet , so let's see how it goes!)
ffutures
Apr. 25th, 2015 09:08 am (UTC)
Re: Get your vote on....
If you don't like them, don't vote for them at all, rather than putting them below No Award - the voting system will count that vote if there's no clear winner when higher ranking votes have been taken into account.
peerchen
Apr. 25th, 2015 07:02 am (UTC)
3 scenarios
First: As a German I always wonmdered where I am at all this. I didnt even heard of Puppygate until a week ago (and other fans in Germany have the same problem), lewt alone that we understand it. I dont know how many people outside the US know which author/publisher belongs to wich party or owns a gunshop or a head shop or whatever... (i havent even heard of Vox Day)

But anyway, since the Sad puppys somewhat distanced themselves from the angry ones and in the last post they claimed that anyone can nominate (and I think thats sincere) I see three different outcomes:
1. Everyone can nominate next year on the puppy slate and much more people participate and its a great succes. It will be continued and the Worldconpeople decide to reach out more (?) and the Hugos will change for the better. That is what the sad puppys saying they want to archieve.
2. Everyone can nominate but the attendance and the results are not that much different than without the slate. The whole movement somehow looses momentum - in one moment they had their own slate in the next, they just use the normalnomination process in a slightly different way. The Sad Puppy slates fizzle out over the years to become a footnote in ten years time. This is what I would expect to happen if not for outcome number 3:
3. Everyone can nominate and as a result Rubina Gomolka, the black, gay, atheistian (is that a word?) author from Russia, who is a close friend of John Scalzi and writes about gender roles in a great commuinst future, is sweeping the board with her tremendous work. The rabid puppys are notr amused and calling the sad puppies "traitors", "turncoats" and "pushovers" and will continue to destroy the hugos with No Votes. Some sad puppies will agree that this isnt the outcome they originally bargained for and splinter groups are formed. The Hugo will becomne a battlefield for a fan-civil-war about the futile question who reads the "right" work.

The problem is: In the moment you dived fans into "right" and "wrong" you discover that you start to fracture the fanbase. And thats not a good outcome.
riley37
Apr. 25th, 2015 07:06 am (UTC)
shades of fandom
Anyone who seeks to communicate an exact meaning is gonna need a more precise term than "fan" or "fandom". Such terms may emerge... and people who don't like clear, precise thought are going to keep muddying the waters.

I am a Supporting Member. I am not a trufan, nor a fannish fan. I would rather eat maggots than study the Worldcon list of acronyms and in-jokes. I'm in for the vote, and not for the "community".

If Worldcon considers that a contradiction, then Worldcon has some decisions to make. When the rules on paper don't match the reality in practice, then it's time for one or both to change, until they match. There's a proposal to make supporting memberships (in future years) only available to those who have previously attended the meatspace face-to-face Worldcon gathering. That would accomplish certain goals; whether those are the True Goals of Worldcon is beyond my ken.

One can say that the divisions are the Sad Puppies, the Rabid Puppies, and the Puppy Kickers. Are those the only three categories worth articulating? That mapping puts me and the Neilsen Haydens in the same box; would they agree on the accuracy and completeness of a mapping which lumps them with a zealously non-fannish fan such as myself?

Slytherin House defined itself as the House for those with cleverness and ambition. It also defined itself as the House of the purebloods. Eventually those two definitions came into conflict. Same may happen for Worldcon: a commitment to define group identity by background, such as purebloods or trufans, will sooner or later come into conflict with any other benchmark of group identity.
grrm
Apr. 25th, 2015 03:44 pm (UTC)
Re: shades of fandom
What do you have against fandom? Just curious. You seem adamant that you do not want to be a part of the community.
Re: shades of fandom - riley37 - Apr. 27th, 2015 01:25 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: shades of fandom - grrm - Apr. 27th, 2015 07:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
grrm
Apr. 25th, 2015 03:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Why I joined
As you know, I am opposed to the various proposed rules changes.

The current rules are fine.

Fandom just needs to VOTE.
Re: Why I joined - brgibbons - Apr. 25th, 2015 06:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Why I joined - Robert West - Apr. 26th, 2015 01:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Why I joined - demetriasii - Apr. 26th, 2015 05:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Why I joined - apostle_of_eris - Apr. 25th, 2015 06:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
cinder92
Apr. 25th, 2015 10:07 am (UTC)
New members
This is a good thing. Many new members and many people are actually hunting for the specific works and reading. I have read many new short pieces by authors lately like Ms Bellet. I have some issues with the story but it made me cry. So the writing was very good.

As to how many are trufans and others who are partial to the So argument, I have no idea. It may be a 50/50 split.

I am reminded of the Chick Fila controversy and that people came out in the thousands to support Chick Fila with orders. Of course the permanently outrages college groups are busy banning them on campuses.

My discomfort is the sense of shouting down other voices as not proper , not saying the right things.
flake_sake
Apr. 25th, 2015 10:09 am (UTC)
Hm, I think I'd like to come back to that Yeats quote:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

The good thing about democracy though, is that also the people full of passionate intensity get the same one vote that those who lack conviction doo.

The new voters probably come from all sides, but I don't see a reason to believe that the relative dimensions of the groups will change much from the nominations.
nojay
Apr. 25th, 2015 01:03 pm (UTC)
Don't worry, be happy
I think you'll find that most of the folks who got supporting or attending memberships specifically to nominate and vote for the Hugo slate(s) have already done so, and that time has now passed. Supporting memberships taken out after the nomination period ended are mainly being bought by folks who wouldn't normally have any kind of Worldcon membership in a given year but have felt it worth doing so this year, and they are almost certainly going to vote as the Hugos are the main reason they dropped their forty bucks on the membership at such a late date.
vdevilleneuve
Apr. 25th, 2015 02:44 pm (UTC)
Question supporting VS attending
Do you know whether for the voting the numbers will be known to the detail that supporting and attending votes can be differentiated? I am sure it would put further fuel on the fire, but at least people would know what really happened...

Supposedly also, all these extra votes will bring in quite a lot of extra funds. 2500 extra supporting memberships is a hundred thousand dollars of extra money. I get the nagging feeling there will be many more. Any idea how that money will be spent?
grrm
Apr. 25th, 2015 03:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Question supporting VS attending
Up to the Spokane concom.

Some of it will be "passed along" to the upcoming worldcons -- Kansas City in 2016, and whoever wins the 2017 site selection.
Re: Question supporting VS attending - nojay - Apr. 25th, 2015 07:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Question supporting VS attending - vdevilleneuve - Apr. 26th, 2015 06:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Question supporting VS attending - vdevilleneuve - Apr. 25th, 2015 07:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Question supporting VS attending - grrm - Apr. 25th, 2015 07:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Question supporting VS attending - vdevilleneuve - Apr. 26th, 2015 06:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Question supporting VS attending - riley37 - Apr. 26th, 2015 07:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Shinanite
Apr. 25th, 2015 04:40 pm (UTC)
I got my supporting membership because I'm part of the slate that wants worldcon in Helsinki 2017... I had such a great time in London last year (my very first Worldcon) and I want to go again on my continent :)

Though after all this Hugo stuff I guess I should remember to vote on those too this year...
grrm
Apr. 25th, 2015 05:29 pm (UTC)
Yes, please do.

I am also a supporter of the Helsinki bid.
arwel_p
Apr. 25th, 2015 07:13 pm (UTC)
Getting back into Worldcon
I'm one of the new supporting members - I wasn't planning to buy a supporting membership until 2017 because I want to vote for the Dublin 2019 Worldcon bid, as it's probably the next Worldcon I'll actually be able to attend, but frankly I was so outraged at what the Puppies have done that I wanted to do my bit to try to correct the situation.

I first found out about the Worldcon and the Hugos (and how they're awarded) from reading one of Isaac Asimov's anthologies of Hugo winners back in the early 70s. At the time I never anticipated going to one (if I hadn't only just graduated and not yet started my first job, I might have gone to the 1979 Worldcon, but as I didn't have any money then I had to wait until 1987, which was my first-ever SF convention (talk about diving in at the deep end!)). I've actually attended the Worldcons in 1987, 1990, 1994, 1995, 2005, and 2014, and was a supporting member of most of the Worldcons in the 90s, though I've not been since as I've been earning a lot less money this century than I did in the last century.

I'm guilty of not nominating for the Hugos in most categories, as I simply don't read enough brand new fiction to be able to make a meaningful selection in the limited time available for nominations (though I have been known to nominate certain TV series (*cough*) and movies), but I do vote in categories where I've been able to catch up and cast an informed ballot. I daresay that most Worldcon members take a similar view, which is why nominators are such a small proportion of the total membership. As you can tell from the years I was a member, until last year the Hugo Package was not a consideration in governing my becoming a supporting member, as it didn't exist. I've still not read the Wheel of Time, despite downloading it last year - life's too short, as I am becoming acutely aware as I get older! I've seen some proposals in the post-Puppy discussions to limit Hugo nomination and voting to just attending members - as someone who tends to attend about once a decade I'd be very unhappy if something like that was introduced. In the past I've been a supporting member just to support the institution of Worldcon, or in order to cast a site-selection ballot.
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