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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

0defenestrator0
Apr. 25th, 2015 11:02 pm (UTC)
The Sad Puppy drama has had me thinking a lot about the complacency of the SFF fandom lately. And your post about not being indifferent hit the nail on the head. Honestly, a big part of this slate happening is our fault. (Disclaimer: I don't mean this as a put-down, since I too am one of the ones at fault.)

We claim to be passionate about the genre, claim that awards like the Hugo are important and prestigious and mean a lot. Yet we won't put our money or our time where our mouth is, simply trusting that whoever usually votes for the Hugos will get the job done. (Some of us don't even care enough to debate the choices when all is said and done!)

I admit, when I first read that the Rabid Puppies managed to take slates with only 200 to 300 votes, it shocked me. That is a MINISCULE amount in terms of the overall SFF fandom. I know that all over the world, there are easily millions of fans. And I would like to think that a majority of them are moderate, who simply want to see the best works get recognition. Who don't care about slates or SJWs or going nuclear.

So I want to see a fourth party in this drama, if that's even the right term. A fourth party to reclaim the Hugos. This party will have one goal, to get a critical mass of SFF fans everywhere to give enough of a damn to sign up and vote for the books THEY love. Who gives a damn if the Puppies or other slates manage to round up thousands? If enough people sign up, even with an unfocused vote everyone else becomes the minority.

Of course, I know that people will always have external biases, that I'm far too optimistic in thinking that enough people would be uninfluenced by reviews they read. But I would like to have enough faith in the fandom at large to think that they care enough about the state of SFF to bring back the original spirit of the Hugos (okay, so it won't quite be WorldCon's but the fandom at large, yet in this now interconnected world isn't that a good thing?)

And, well, if there still aren't enough people who give a damn, then I have to ask: Does the SFF community deserve the Hugos? I don't mean the authors, because I know how much blood, sweat, and life in general disappears into the black hole of a novel. But do we, the fans, deserve a prestigious award that gives us a voice into who walks out with the prize?

I wonder.
demetriasii
Apr. 27th, 2015 05:59 am (UTC)
And part of the reason the rabid and sad puppies were formed was because we found out that only 500 people voted in total in 2009. It was barely any better in 2010 with about 1,000 people voting. Since then only about 2,000 people have been voting. That is a microscopic portion of the 6-8 million people who read and buy science fiction in America alone. With sad puppies 2 we barely raised the total to 3,000.

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