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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

Frank Probst
Apr. 26th, 2015 04:12 am (UTC)
SP3 vs RP
I think it's important to differentiate the Sad Puppies 3 folks from the Rabid Puppies folks. Torgersen and Correia genuinely seem to want to support writers that they think have gone unnoticed or unappreciated. I don't approve of how they've been doing it, and I think it's ridiculous that they think they're being excluded from the "cool kids" club, and yes, they will occasionally lob a grenade just for spite (e.g., Vox Day's nom last year), but they seem sincere in terms of their support for the writers that they've picked. And Correia is still doing "book bombs" (which is when he tries to get a lot of people to buy a book from amazon on the same day to push it up into the bestseller list) for people.

The Rabid Puppies (whose slate is the SP3 slate plus a bunch of other works) seem to be pretty clear that their goal is just to blow shit up. Vox Day appears to be calling the shots there, and he's pretty much sidelined Torgersen and Correia. I think Torgersen and Correia are done meddling with the Hugos this year. I have no idea what Vox Day is going to do next. My guess is that he'll post a list of "suggested" votes in response to the "puppy-free" ballots that people have been talking about.

I think the worst-case scenario is that Vox Day picks all of the Hugo winners for this year. That would be a tragedy for the awards. I think if it happens, he'll do it again next year, too, so we'll have two years where he blows up the awards ceremony. But I don't think it'll continue on year after year. Once you've proven that you can blow something up, I think it's going to get harder and harder to get your fans to put up $40 a year just to keep ruining the same awards ceremony.

If the awards DON'T get ruined this year, than I think that Kate Paulk and the Sad Puppies 4 folks have some hard decisions to make. Vox Day will just take their slate and tweak it again next year, and Kate et al will again be bombarded with bad press for it. I think a lot of people will ask to not be included on the slate, and we'll likely see even more withdrawals than this year. Eventually, I think the Sad Puppies are going to realize that there's nothing they can do that can't be hijacked by Vox Day.
grrm
Apr. 26th, 2015 06:37 pm (UTC)
Re: SP3 vs RP
You make some good points.

I agree that we need to differentiate between the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies.
riley37
Apr. 27th, 2015 03:25 am (UTC)
Re: SP3 vs RP
"...the Sad Puppies are going to realize that there's nothing they can do that can't be hijacked by Vox Day"

Reminds me of what Belloq said to Indiana Jones: "Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away."

Kate Paulk will indeed have hard decisions to make, assuming that resigning as SP4 coordinator counts as a hard decision.

As for the difficulty of getting fans to put up $40, year after year: consider how much Glenn Beck raised for Memories Pizza. People donate large amounts to the NRA, to the ACLU, to the NAACP, to whoever they see as representing their side in Culture Wars. As long as the Hugo is a Culture Wars battleground, money won't be the limiting factor.

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