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Hugo Aftermath

We are back from Sasquan, where we saw friends, bought books, were wined and dined by editors and publishers, partied, breathed a lot of smoke (cough, cough), and attended the Hugo Awards.

By now most of you reading this will know what happened. The news has been all over the internet. You can pretty well tell how the evening went from the reactions. The Puppies are howling in outrage and anger, while simultaneously claiming it as a great victory and what they wanted all along. Fandom is mostly relieved. No, not a great Hugo night -- how could it be, with so many No Awards -- but not nearly as bad as some had feared either.

And my own reactions?


I did pretty well handicapping the awards. Missed a few, sure, but I got more right than wrong. Actually, my predictions were more on the nose than they have been for a decade or so. Maybe the slates and their opponents simplified things, in a weird way. Anyway...

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer was first up. It went to Wesley Chu, as I'd hoped, and as I predicted that was a harbinger for the rest of the night. Chu defeated four Puppy nominees, and his win was the start of a landslide. The Puppies lost and lost big; not just defeated, but routed, finishing behind No Award in almost all cases.

I totally whiffed on Best Fan Artist. I picked Brad Foster to win, and he finished last. But Laura Mixon won Best Fan Writer (YES!), a big win over both the Puppy nominees, the Moen faction, the Nuclear Option, and the allies and enablers of Requires Hate. It was a great moment for fandom, and Laura gave a moving and eloquent acceptance, best speech of the night.

I missed on Fancast, but hit on Fanzine (JOURNEY PLANET) and SemiProzine (LIGHTSPEED), both popular choices that the audience applauded loudly. Julie Dillon won Best Professional Artist. I'd called that one too. At this point I was 5-2 as a handicapper.

Then I hit a bump. Two bumps, in fact. Both editing categories went to No Award.

I had picked Mike Resnick in Short Form and Toni Weisskopf in Long Form, and indeed, each of them finished above all the other nominees in the first round of voting... but well behind No Award. This was a crushing defeat for the slates, and a big victory for the Puppy-Free ballot of Deirdre Moen. Honestly? I hated this. In my judgment the voters threw the babies out with bathwater in these two categories. Long Form had three nominees who are more than worthy of a Hugo (and one, Jim Minz, who will be in a few more years), and Short Form had some good candidates too. They were on the slates, yes, but some of them were put on there without their knowledge and consent. A victory by Resnick, Sowards, Gilbert, or Weisskopf would have done credit to the rocket, regardless of how they got on the ballot. (All four of these editors would almost certainly have been nominated anyway, even if there had been no slates).

((Some are saying that voting No Award over these editors was an insult to them. Maybe so, I can't argue with that. But it should be added that there was a far far worse insult in putting them on the ballot with Vox Day, who was the fifth nominee in both categories. Even putting aside his bigotry and racism, Beale's credential as an editor are laughable. Yet hundreds of Puppies chose to nominate him rather than, oh, Liz Gorinsky or Anne Lesley Groell or Beth Meacham (in Long Form) or Gardner Dozois or Ellen Datlow or John Joseph Adams (in Short Form). To pass over actual working editors of considerable accomplishment in order to nominate someone purely to 'stick it to the SJWs' strikes me as proof positive that the Rabid Puppies at least were more interested in saying 'fuck you' to fandom than in rewarding good work)).

I also misliked the roar of approval that went up at the announcement of the first No Award. I understand it, yes... fandom as a whole is heartily sick of the Puppies and delighted to see them brought low... but No Award is an occasion for sadness, not celebration, especially in THESE two categories. For what its worth, neither Parris nor I participated in the cheering. And the two No Awards dropped my score to 5 - 4.

Which brought us to my own category: Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. I was the designated acceptor for GAME OF THRONES, and I had some words from David Benioff and Dan Weiss in my pocket, but I didn't think I would get to use them, and I didn't. Even so, my call was wrong. I'd predicted "The Mountain and the Viper" would lose to DOCTOR WHO. Instead we lost to ORPHAN BLACK. The Doctor finished second. It is telling that the three shows that were on the slates -- us, THE FLASH, and GRIMM -- finished at the bottom, below the two the Puppies ignored. This was a clear defeat for the Pups, and another victory for Moen's Puppy-Free ballot. Plainly a lot of voters ignored the shows on the slates. Nobody at HBO or GAME OF THRONES had any contact with the Puppies, mind you, and I am pretty certain the same was true of GRIMM and THE FLASH. By slating us, the Pups effectively destroyed our chances. I don't mind... much. ORPHAN BLACK is a worthy win, an excellent show long overdue for some recognition, and GOT had won three years in a row. Even so, there's a part of me that would have liked to have seen how GAME OF THRONES did against ORPHAN BLACK on a level playing field. Even chances we might have won a fourth, I say. But we'll never know. The Pups poisoned the well.

Dramatic Presentation, Long Form went to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. The only candidate from the slates to win all evening. I called that one. If not for the slates, I think GUARDIANS might have won even bigger... Puppygate drove some voters to the unslated CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER, I think. But a win is a win is a win. I was 6-5 by this point.

Graphic Novel was next, though. Another miss for me. I had loved MS MARVEL (yay! a very fun read, a great new character for the Marvel universe), but I predicted SAGA for the victory, and MS. MARVEL took the rocket. Should have gone with my heart instead of my head. 6-6. Urk.

That was followed by two more No Awards, for Related Work and Short Story, both of which I called correctly. Related Work was the weakest category on the ballot, with two truly odious finalists. "The Hot Equations" was the strongest of the bunch, but not strong enough to cop a Hugo... not when people like Gilbert, Weisskopf, and Resnick had already been passed over. In Short Story, "Totaled" was probably the strongest slate nominee on the ballot, aside from Jim Butcher... but the tide was running strong by then, and it was swept under. Which brought me to 8-6 as a handicapper.

I had picked NO AWARD in Novelette as well, but I missed that one. Nobody ran a strong race, but in the end the Dutch author Thomas Olde Heuvelt eked out a narrow win with "The World Turned Upside Down" and took the rocket. He was the only non-slate nominee in the three short fiction categories. Novella did go NO AWARD, which anyone could have predicted by this point.

I did not cheer for the No Awards in Related Work, Short Story, or Novella either, but those decisions did not disturb me as much as the votes in the editing categories. The people around me were not cheering either. The mood was somber rather than celebratory, at least at the front of the hall. Even David Gerrold said, "Let there be some winners, please," as he clutched the last batch of envelopes. Voting in these categories was very much a painful choice. What was worse, No Award or giving our beloved rocket to an unworthy nominee? There's no good answer.

The night did finish on an up note, however. The "big one," Best Novel, went to THREE-BODY PROBLEM by Cixin Liu, accepted by his translator, Ken Liu. That was pleased me greatly, and not just because I'd called it. (Fwiw, I would have been pleased by a GOBLIN EMPEROR win as well, and a win by Anne Leckie or Jim Butcher would not have disturbed me unduly). It's a strong book, an AMBITIOUS book, a worthy winner... and the first Hugo to go to China, which is cool. Let us put more "world" in worldcon, by all means.

All in all, I finished 9-7. And left the hall feeling pretty good. My worst fears -- a Puppy sweep, or across the board wins by the Nuclear Option -- did not come true. It wasn't perfect. I would have liked to see a couple rockets handed out in editor, and I would have liked less cheering for No Award, but it was a night I could live with.

The vote totals, when we saw them, were overwhelming. Conclusive proof that Puppygate was never a war between the Puppies and the "SJWs," as their narratives would have it. There were no SJWs, then or now. There were only the Puppies... and the rest of us, who weren't Puppies, and did not like having their choices imposed on us.

Oh, and before I close this, a few final words. Ben Yalow won the Big Heart Award. VERY cool; Ben is a SMOF, one of the people (oft vilified by the Pups) who work behind the scenes to put on these cons we love so much. He has been giving tirelessly of himself for decades, and it was great to see him get some recognition.

And the ceremony itself was terrific. The dynamic duo of David Gerrold and Tananarive Due were a delight from start to finish. David had vowed to keep politics out of the awards, and make the ceremony fun for everyone, and he did just that... even when he was being upstaged by the Dalek. I would think that even the most rabid of Puppies would have to acknowledge that David was as fair as he was funny. When some booing broke out in the hall, he moved to quell it instantly... and, even more crucially, he insisted that the crowd hold its applause until after all the nominees in a category had been read... a real kindness in my estimation, saving some of the Puppies from real humiliation. You're a good man, David Gerrold.

The bits by Connie Willis and Robert Silverberg were very funny as well. I used to say that they should let Willis and Silverbob present the rockets every year, and I still think that would be a good idea... but now I'd add Gerrold to the list as well.

That's all for now.

Next rock, I will talk about my Hugo Losers Party, and the Alfies.


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Loren Schmidt
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:15 am (UTC)
Somewhere R. A. Lafferty Smiles
Continued on next rock, indeed.
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:35 am (UTC)
Could you please enlighten us new comers about Hugo voting procedure and rules?
First I would like to thank you for introducing how to register for World con and vote for Hugo a couple of months ago. Excuse my ignorance, but that was the first time I heard about how we can get involved in Hugo. Following your instruction, I registered as a supporting member and received the "package". As a Chinese reader and a big fan of Three-Body Problem (I first read it as instalments published in Sci-fi World back in 2007), my main goal was to vote for Three-Body Problem (of course after reading some works in the package, I had voted in some other categories as well). However, it still confused me (and my friends) a lot how the vote is counted and how the result is decided. Your entry today gave me some more insights of the voting but brought more confusion. What is "puppy", and what is "puppy gate"? What is between "puppy" and "slates"? Does the voting goes like how the Olympic Committee decides which country hold the next Olympic Games? I would truly appreciate it if you can enlighten me (and other new comers). Thanks a lot!
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:48 am (UTC)
Re: Could you please enlighten us new comers about Hugo voting procedure and rules?
Oh, boy.

The Hugo votes are counted by a preferential ranking system called "the Australian ballot." Essentially a series of run-offs.

Puppygate... scroll down and read my earlier posts. I've devoted thousands of words to explaining this mess. Hard to do so in less.
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:37 am (UTC)
As a WA resident, I was very worried for you guys there. I am glad you came out of our state with no more than some coughing, and didn't have to be evacuated from the fires.

Keep on being your fantastic self! <3

Aug. 26th, 2015 04:46 am (UTC)
I think I managed one good call (Ms Avenger: interesting that current graphic novels have such a strong set of female leads, and not just the pneumatic bimbo variety)

I did not vote in the editor categories as I wasn't sure what to look for.

The one literary category (other than novel) where I did vote NA was the one category where an award was given.

At least I was voting as an individual! On the whole, I'm happy with who did win and offer them my congratulations (even if I only voted for one of them!)
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:09 am (UTC)
Thanks for answering my question above! It is still screened so I cannot reply to the thread. That was very helpful. I didn't know that Three-Body Problem barely squeezed in. Could you please share some more details if any? Thanks a lot!
(no subject) - wendyzski - Aug. 26th, 2015 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:50 am (UTC)
George I have been very moved by your passion for Worldcon and the Hugos. You probably don't remember, but I said as much to you during your signing (I was the guy with the old paperback of Dying of the Light). Your blog posts here made me want to attend the convention. Sasquan was my first Worldcon (or convention of any kind), but they've found a lifelong fan in me.

I tried to go about this convention with the eyes of a puppy. In other words, I was on the lookout for behavior which might ostracize conservative fans. I even wore a tea Party pin on my lanyard for the first few days as a sort of social experiment. I probably spoke to a hundred people over the course of the convention, and I really only ran into one person that was an asshole about the pin. Ditto with the panels. A woman on one panel went off on a tangent about religion and compared Donald Trump to a Lovecraftain horror (granted, that latter part was pretty funny, I could see there being tentacles and ichor under that hairpiece), but that was the lone anomaly. The overwhelming majority of the people and panels were delightful and indifferent of the political spectrum of who they were talking to.

All of this talk about a TOR clique and conservative fans being corralled into a dark corner seems like fiction to me. All of the people I talked to were fans first, and political entities a distant second. It's disappointing that the puppy slates effectively gimped the Hugos this year, but the massive turnout was undoubtedly thanks to the fans such as yourself, who encouraged people to come out and support Worldcon and the artists deserving of an award. The voting results sent a strong message to the Puppies, and I can only hope that the fans who came out to defend this years Hugos will remember their fervor for next year's nominations.

Edited at 2015-08-26 04:54 am (UTC)
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:33 pm (UTC)
Liberals are certainly a majority in SF fandom, but there are still plenty of conservatives. In a con of thousands, hundreds are likely to be conservatives.

But the truth is, politics are seldom discussed or even mentioned at most cons. It is a love of SF and fantasy and fandom that brings us together, and those are the topics that dominate.
politics and politics - eeanm - Aug. 26th, 2015 03:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Two Words, Ryan - Greg Price - Aug. 26th, 2015 04:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Two Words, Ryan - rjcollins - Aug. 26th, 2015 04:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:51 am (UTC)
Ben Yalow
Due to family, career, life, EVERYTHING, I've been unable to attend Worldcon for DECADES. So I am very pleased to hear about Ben Yalow. LONG overdue recognition, he's been a tireless moving mover for YEARS. Good for him!

As for the puppies... I'll grab this from a comment on a Facebook post discussing the topic – 

"Then I'LL say it, sounds like a bunch of "old white privileged males flinging poo because..." stories about the stuff they like and about THEM no longer dominate what's being published and read - or win awards. But guess what, the SF and Fantasy world has expanded beyond nerdy white boys, and so has it's writers and readers and it's fandom. Their attitudes are a shame because some of them are stonking good writers – and I DO like me a brilliant ripping yarn or some rollicking batshit-insane space opera. Keep writing good stuff, your audience will make nice at you. Win awards the old fashion way, earn them with great writing that grabs people."

Aug. 26th, 2015 06:13 pm (UTC)
RE: Ben Yalow
So congratulations on denying the Hugo for long form editor to a qualified woman! Way to fight the patriarchy!
Re: Ben Yalow - grrm - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: Ben Yalow - edgehopper - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Um... not Ben Yalow - samuraiartguy - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 05:01 am (UTC)
Ben Yalow won the Big Heart Award.
And tremendously well-deserved it was, too. The next day at the Business Meeting, Ben was recognised to speak on some topic and while he was on the way up to the microphone Kevin introduced him as, "Mr. Yalow, or, I should say more correctly, Mr. Big Heart" and everybody just rose up and cheered.
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:36 pm (UTC)
And then Kevin Standlee noted that the applause would not be counted against his time, which was also funny and charming. Applause usually does count against the debate time.

Edited at 2015-08-26 04:37 pm (UTC)
Ben Yalow's standing O - Greg Machlin - Aug. 26th, 2015 05:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Ben Yalow's standing O - solarbird - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 05:07 am (UTC)
I don't know if you believe in these things Martin ("greater evil" and "lesser evil"), but I think these No Awards was the "lesser evil".

All these No Awards... really, it's sad, but... it had to be done, right?

I mean... You do not expect that next year the Puppies attack again, right?

Edited at 2015-08-26 01:08 pm (UTC)
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:35 pm (UTC)
The Rabids will do it again, certainly. The Sads have announced a fourth campaign, but I live in hope that they may conduct it in a less divisive way.
Aug. 26th, 2015 05:11 am (UTC)
I've been avidly following the puppy saga for months now and have greatly appreciated your cogent and what I see as scrupulously fair writing about it. So, I closely followed from home and I'm relieved at the results and appreciated the lack of gloating from the various sources I read from. Saw one of my favorite bloggers who I've read for years now, got to do a bit providing some asterisks for y'all and briefly met up with you. That was a nice "it's a small world" tickle.
Aug. 26th, 2015 05:14 am (UTC)
Here here! I want to thank you for educating us on not only puppygate, but the Hugo process as a whole. I voted (and attended.) This year I'm keeping a list so that I can nominate for next year. I didn't cheer the no awards, but I was glad to see that short story and novella did go No Award as I felt the nominated works there were abysmal. I read a lot of short stories, anthologies and novellas. I'll be keeping track so I can nominate the works I believe are Hugo-worthy.

Again, thank you for taking the time to educate us and remind us of the importance of nominating and voting.
Aug. 26th, 2015 05:22 am (UTC)
As a first time voter, I had a difficult time making a choice in the editor categories. I wasn’t sure what to look for, but I did my best to research and make an educated choice. I wish there had been awards in those categories.

It sounds like we’ll be dealing with a slate again next year. I wonder if they'll be springing for attending memberships to vote against the ratification of E Pluribus Hugo in the business meeting, as well.
Aug. 26th, 2015 05:24 am (UTC)
Dunno man, i think this whole community is a bit too invested in this culture war.

Its cool when gamergate et al does it because they're all young impeteous children who were raised on the internet going at it.

Its depressing when the worldcon community does it, you all should be better at communicating if you're readers and writers. Not to mention much older and wiser.

Blaming the puppies for the sins of vox day or beale or whatever his name is, hes a convenient boogyman for you to justify the childish behavior displayed by this crop of Fandom. That definition includes the puppies, because while theyre not blameless, theyre also not the bullies.
Aug. 26th, 2015 05:27 am (UTC)
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James Cowling
Aug. 26th, 2015 05:52 am (UTC)
Editor awards
I was under the impression that the Hugos for Editor are for work published in 2014, and not lifetime achievement awards. I was also under the impression that Weisskopf refused to provide a list of edited works. Would that not mean that nobody could have cogently voted for her?
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Editor awards
Toni is the top editor/ boss at Baen Books. You can pretty much assume she has a hand in everything Baen does, just as Jim Baen did when he was alive. It is true that she provided less information for the packet than the other editors.
Jamaal Mac
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:04 am (UTC)
Mr. Martin, I'm not sure on your position regarding these questions but I've been wondering.. When you are writing your novels, do you have a room full of material surrounding you? Things like pinup boards, maps, calendars, and notes to the point where you can stand up and walk around the room with everything at your fingertips? Or do you just use the encyclopedia that is your mind?
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:38 pm (UTC)
A bit of both.
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