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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?


Kells O'Connor
Apr. 25th, 2015 12:27 am (UTC)
Personally I don't like that this is the method the hugo's are determined, since theoretically someone with enough money and fake names could stuff the ballots for anyone. It also encourages a popularity contest, which isn't exactly what awards are usually about. If the most popular "fantasy" books won then the Twilight books would have won a couple. On the other hand the method for choosing the academy award winners or the grammy's are pretty lame too, and internet voting is hardly accurate due to bots. And a secret panel of judges doesn't always work since there can be corruption in that too (see IGF for a great example of that.)

But hopefully the whole thing sorts itself out and the right people win some awards. I'm obviously not a part of "The Fandom" but I'm a fan of SF and fantasy, and I've followed the Hugo Awards for about a decade. I always assumed a council of elders selected the winners based on merit, not an election. It'll be interesting to see if the system changes after all this drama.

But uh, yea, may the best man or woman win. <3
Apr. 25th, 2015 12:53 am (UTC)
Our field has many awards. The Nebulas are voted by the writers, the members of SFWA. The World Fantasy Awards are a weird combination of popular ballot (the nominations) and jury (some nominations, final selection). Other awards are all jury.


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

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