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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:


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?


Apr. 24th, 2015 11:30 pm (UTC)
I went to my first world con in San Antonio, and was gleefully surprised about the Hugo Packet. And I voted. I bought a supporting membership for London world con and was disappointed about the lack of full novel/novellas (unlike lonestar) due to publisher snitfits. And I voted, though I was confused as to why some of them were on the ballot. I wasn't going to buy a supporting for Sasquan because if the packet didn't have all the (written) works, why bother? But because I believe that the Hugo award should mean quality, I went ahead and got a supporting membership. If there's no or minimal packet I probably won't again. Unless it comes back around to driving distance for me, of course.
Apr. 24th, 2015 11:49 pm (UTC)
The packet is a relatively new addition to the Hugo process. I think it's great for the short fiction, but I have reservations about including complete novels... as do most publishers.
Apr. 25th, 2015 06:25 am (UTC)
Frankly I'm happy to get the packet for the short fiction.

I read a lot of short fiction all through school but since leaving seem to be somewhat cut off from that form and I find myself voting with my time/dollars for novels from authors I know are good writers.

But I miss the short fiction so getting some pre-vetted (if skewed this year) short stories is a draw as far as I'm concerned. Plus finding good writers I've never heard of and can now keep track of.

Win all over the place.
Apr. 25th, 2015 07:21 am (UTC)
For a long time I wasn't involved at all in the Hugo voting, as I usually hadn't read all (or even most) of the novels, let alone the shorter works.

Then I heard about the voter pack in 2009.

I've bought a supporting membership and voted ever since, and discovered some fantastic authors I'd never heard of before.

I can understand the reluctance to include a complete novel in the package, but I have bought so many books by Hugo nominated authors simply because I got to read one of their novels as part of the package.

(Admittedly a lot of those are Seanan McGuire / Mira Grant books, but that's because she's so bloody prolific!)

Last year there were a few novels which had sample chapters. And although I knew I'd buy (or had already read) them, I didn't feel that the sample was enough to convince me to vote for them. I'm sure we've all read books that started out great, then fluffed the ending.

I suspect that the puppies will be making sure that we get full texts of their nominations. If the others don't, will that affect their chances?

I've bought my supporter's membership for this year, and will at least be attempting to read everything as I did last year. (One or two nominations were just so bad I couldn't finish them.) I'll vote for anything I think is worthy of a Hugo, then for No Award.
Apr. 27th, 2015 06:33 am (UTC)
I've always thought that the packet should not include the novels. The novels are all generally available for sale. Yes, that means that a voter who wishes to be informed before they vote may need to pay up to $100 if they don't have any of the finalists already. But I have always thought that including the novels was too much of an incentive to become a supporting member.
The argument for the other elements including the shorter fiction is higher, since many of them are not generally available for sale at the time of the vote.
Apr. 25th, 2015 02:43 am (UTC)
Please don't join the Worldcon just for the voting packet. The packet is intended as an aid to members who want to vote, not a draw in itself. Join because you want to attend, or (if not attending) because you support the Worldcon or because you want to express your fannish activity by voting for the Hugos. But not for the packet.


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

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