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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

grrm
Apr. 26th, 2015 06:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Hugo Awards
This is fandom's award. I would oppose any attempt to take them away from worldcon and go to a jury.

We have juried awards. The World Fantasy Awards, for starts. That sort of approach has its own problems.

There is no Platonic ideal here.
annecorvusshaw
Apr. 27th, 2015 09:31 am (UTC)
Re: Hugo Awards
I wonder, however, after again reading Sun Tzu, if this is the war that needs to be waged. The Hugo Awards, I think, are being fought on the enemy's terms and it is putting fandom on the defensive instead of in a proactive stance. Part of what makes me uneasy about the puppies controversy is how they have set the agenda in gaming the awards and siphoning off fandom resources. Responding to this is not a long-term strategy in a culture war because the puppies are saying they will come back next year with the same tactics. It is about resources and how people are asked to use resources in this one basket. My question, for myself, is whether I would spend $40 on a membership for a convention I couldn't attend or save my money to be part of a community where I could make a difference such as Norwescon where I was a panelist (unlisted because I turned in my bio too late) in epidemiology and herbology. What is being drowned out in all the media commotion over the puppies is that people in fandom have constructive ideas. For another example, with my hypothetical $40, it is more meaningful to buy books for my family especially since a relative is soon having a child. It is more essential than a political struggle, for me, to be a knowledge nurturer for someone who is literally yet unborn. Destructive people don’t win when we are attending to and tending our alternative and creative futures, no matter what type or age. Let’s not lose track of this and be more evident about our imaginative ideas in the media, however much the puppies might yap. Fandom has a bad face now in media because of the puppies and it is essential to counter this negative media perception with we are the people of ideas and hope for better tomorrows. And this response may seem sweet and nurturing and feminine, but it's something I learned from being in the middle of a workshop on Roman combat at Norwescon. I was an "archer" with a tennis ball and the "enemy" was in the middle of combat with his back turned. I aimed. If I can hit the enemy in the back with being careful with my resources and having a creative idea, I will take a shot.

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