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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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Aug. 26th, 2015 06:05 am (UTC)
Hi George,

I'm a big fan of your work and have a question for you: Is Longclaw really Blackfyre, the bastard sword of the Targaryen kings? Searching through the books I found the description of both blades to be almost identical.
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:39 pm (UTC)
Re: - axe383 - Aug. 26th, 2015 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
ASOIAF - harryberger89 - Aug. 26th, 2015 05:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ASOIAF - grrm - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ASOIAF - el_peluzza - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:09 am (UTC)
I was extremely critical of the Puppies,
especially so after reading your blogposts about them.
I think your response was well-reasoned.
It came from a place of nostalgia and personal feelings, but you provided facts for your claims as well!

What happened at the awards however was very ugly,
and it kind of proved them right in a way.
I would have preferred to just see them get two wins from their slate,
in the editing categories, and perhaps one in the Short Story one,
and be done with it.

The way it happened, REAL block voting occurred against them,
where many people did not read the works at ALL,
and which was mostly based on the belief that the goal of the puppies was:
"Having less minorities and women win a Hugo this year!"

You never fielded this claim, and I think good of you for that.

However, is it true that you gave your little "Hugo-Looser-Trophies" not to nominees, but to Non-minees this year?
That seriously cracked my perception of you as one of the only reasonable people in this thing.

I have to agree with Correia though in the end,
when he says that Three Body Problem as best longform was not a great win for anything, when you consider that it almost made the Rabid Puppies slate,
and people would have voted against it en block if it had.
Thinking of this makes me sad.
Aug. 26th, 2015 07:08 pm (UTC)
First off, I'm really skeptical that Three Body Problem really did "almost" make the Rabid Puppy slate. That sounds like the sort of story made up after the fact. I don't have any proof of this, but I'm suspicious.

Second, if that's true, that the only reason it didn't make the slate is because Beale hadn't gotten around to reading it yet, then it proves one of the complaints about the slate: that it wasn't a carefully considered list of what was best according to its makers' criteria, but whatever items happened to cross Mr Beale's desk.

Third, if it had made the slate, it would have conspicuously stood out as by far the best work of fiction on the slate. The slate nominees weren't voted down because the Wrong People nominated them, but mostly because they were just lousy nominees. Proof? Guardians of the Galaxy was on the slates, and it won anyway. But that was a good movie.

Fourth, if 3-body had been on the slate, and had been voted down, that would have proven what the anti-slate forces have been saying all along: it's not really the works, or who likes them, it's that they were put on the ballot by a slate. That's what happened to Toni Weisskopf.
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:45 am (UTC)
To me it just proved larry corriera right. "Trufans" would rather burn the award down than give it to people not in the clique or people who refuse to bend the knee. Its plain for the world to see.

Now we wait til next year where this happens all over again.
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:42 pm (UTC)
There is no clique, and no bending the knee. Correia is wrong.

Fandom would rather not give it an award than to give one to work they deem unworthy of a Hugo. (In their judgement, of course. Opinions may differ). That's what happened in Short Story, Novella, and Related Work.

As for the editor categories, well, I've stated my feelings about that, I will not repeat myself.
No Award - Vivienne Raper - Aug. 26th, 2015 04:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: No Award - grrm - Aug. 26th, 2015 07:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 07:05 am (UTC)
Saying Puppies poisoned the well seems like Stockholm Syndrome to me. You yourself said there were worthy candidates on the Puppy slate. The people who voted explicitly against Puppy-slated candidates weren't Puppies - they were petty and spiteful offendatrons (and probably didn't actually read the nominated works).
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:44 pm (UTC)
Thousands of people voted. Some did not read the work, one may assume. But many did. There are reviews all over the internet that prove that. The readers were not impressed, by and large.

There is no way to know how many read the work, how many did not.

There is also no way to know how many Puppies read the work before nominating. Some, certainly. But many just voted the way that Brad and Larry and Teddy B. told them too.

Two wrongs don't make a right, true. Just a mess.
(no subject) - filkerdave - Aug. 26th, 2015 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 07:16 am (UTC)
Ah, Mr. Martin, you disappoint me. I hoped that the voting would open your eyes, and you'd see what your beloved Trufans have become since you claimed before that Trufans would be the ones voting according to merit. Now, the best you are capable of doing, is ranting over Vox Day being on a list, instead of condemning your camp for throwing two of the great editors under the bus.

You can console yourself that Game of Thrones lost because it was on the list suggested by Puppies. But doesn't that make it even worse? That means, your Trufans voted according to politics, and not merit. Which is something Correia was telling us all along, for 3 years in a row now. Torgersen was the one believing in your fandom.

You are happy that Three Body Problem won, but that was Vox Day's number one pick as well. The only reason why it wasn't on the Rabid Puppies' list is because Day finished the book a month too late. How does it make you feel, knowing that if Vox Day put that book on Rabid Puppies list your Trufans would nuke it out of the sky?

Why don't you tell us anything about the numbers needed to get the book you want into the race? Because the numbers I saw are pathetic. Puppies demonstrated that they are not the ones voting mindlessly because someone told them to. Their votes are equally distributed among the candidates. This indicates they were voting according to their own opinion, and for whose work they thought has most merit.
That cannot be said for Trufans. Now, there we have block voting. The numbers are astonishing.

Way to go cutting your own nose in order to spite your face Trufans. Way to go.
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:47 pm (UTC)
These are your views. Obviously, I disagree.

Please don't swallow Beale's "that is what I wanted all along" lies.
(no subject) - astalnar - Aug. 26th, 2015 05:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 07:18 am (UTC)
As a reader, I think the editor categories are the hardest to vote in - while authors and works are prominent, editors are not, and particularly in the Long Form category you have to really work to even know who edited what. Even then, their work isn't obvious. (It's a little easier with Short Form since the editors' names are on the anthologies or whatever, and clearly they chose the works included.) It's displeasing that several really worthy candidates lost out, but it's not surprising.
Aug. 26th, 2015 07:21 am (UTC)
Is there an award that you hope for more than any other?
Are there any awards for books, television or anything else that you would feel most satisfied or honored by?

Also: Please let Sam live a long and healthy life. I've always thought that he would have been the best "king" (outside of Jon Snow or, perhaps, Tyrion).

In a perfect world, I've always thought that men like Jimmy Stewart (the man from real life OR the Mr. Smith version) would have made good political leaders. Whereas Frodo might get all of the glory, it was Samwise Gamgee who carried him up the mountain.

My preference for the endgame ruler of the Seven Kingdoms:

1.) Jon Snow
2.) Sam
3.) Tyrion
4.) Daenarys
5.) Stannis
6.) Ser Jorah
7.) Jaime Lannister (strange...but there is something noble hiding in his heart)
8.) Bran Stark
9.) Arya Stark
10.) Brienne
Aug. 26th, 2015 07:44 am (UTC)
if you register for the voting process do they send you the books for free(after you have paid membership)?
As someone trying to write an AU series (which I think comes under the category of speculative fiction) I realised I should take an interest in the industry... Certainly your posts about the Hugos have made it seem like a fascinating field.
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:48 pm (UTC)
You don't get the books for free, but you get a "Hugo packet," which contains electronic versions of the short fiction, and usually some excerpts from the novels. Sometimes entire novels, but not always.
(no subject) - filkerdave - Aug. 26th, 2015 05:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 07:45 am (UTC)
Hey George,
Indeed, all in all, it was as good a night as it was going to be.

Do you think we should expect the same battle next year ?
Obviously the puppies won't catch fandom sleeping again but will people turn out to vote every year (in big enough numbers) to keep them at bay ?

Aug. 26th, 2015 03:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Encore
There will be something next year. Whether it will take the same shape or not, I have no idea.
Aug. 26th, 2015 07:48 am (UTC)
One of the great problems of the editor Hugos is that no-one outside the author-editor relationship can really tell what the editor did. A good editor is invisible. And publishers don't really help, since (checks) who is the editor? My UK first ed of Dance with Dragons doesn't say.
I put Shiela above the line, didn't vote for any of the others, because I have no idea what Toni's contribution was, and she chose not to tell anyone what books she'd even edited, and in general I see Baen sliding from being a significant house under Jim to a milSF niche under Toni. What's to reward?
Matt Hebert
Aug. 26th, 2015 07:57 am (UTC)
Where do all the rockets go?
So, what happens to all the No Award rockets that were not handed out. Do they have them ready? Or, since they know ahead of time, do they not put ones together for those categories?
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Where do all the rockets go?
Any leftover rockets will probably get passed on to the next worldcon. The rockets are the same every year.

The bases are another matter, since each con designs its own.
Aug. 26th, 2015 08:13 am (UTC)
The low snark of high bealed pups

Someone somewhere referred to this type of behavior, whether it's Puppies or GamerGaters or Tea Party supporters, as "Wound Collectors." They hug each imagined insult tightly to them and lash out because of their internal (and false) narratives. I'm not sure how to deal with such a large group of angry people in so much pain that they'll want the world to burn.
Alternate Snowcrash
Aug. 26th, 2015 08:26 am (UTC)
Thank you
Hi GRRM, just wanted to thank you for your thoughtful words throughout this kerfuffle. You - along with Mike Glyer and the lovely mob at File 770 - have given me, a second time voter, an understanding of the perspective and value of the Hugos that I would otherwise have lacked.

I've also heard of you did with the Alfie Awards, and I just want to say, you sir, are a mensch! That was an amazingly gracious gesture, and was in the best traditions of Fandom. And man it looked fun! Kudos!
Aug. 26th, 2015 08:30 am (UTC)
Disappointed with the "No Award" votes
I attended the Hugo Award ceremony and was surprised at the cheers at "No Award" votes, especially with regards to the editor. I'm not a writer, so I don't feel that I'm qualified nominate nor vote for the category (and I didn't). I recognized that worthy 2015 recipients existed, but in many cases weren't on the ballots to be voted for due to the manipulation of the nomination process. I am partially at fault for not participating in the nomination process up to this point: I will make an effort to do so in the future.

That said, I'm not sure that there is any method that will prevent manipulation of the best editor category. The only classes that I would consider qualified to nominate and vote for best editor are writers, other editors, and publishers. If other fans feel the same, and also don't nominate or vote, then slates will rule the nominations for this category.

So, to me, it seems like future awards for best editor will either go to undeserving recipients, or the category will be "No Award" from now on.

For other categories, I have high hopes that Bruce Schneier's nomination proposal is ratified and is found to be effective.
Cristina Maca
Aug. 26th, 2015 08:30 am (UTC)
The day the Puppies saved the Hugos
I have to confess, as an European who could not afford to attend most WorldCons, I never paid too much attention to the Hugo Awards; never bought a supporting membership. Hell, in one of the Worldcons which I did attend, I didn't even vote.

That has changed now. And forever, I think.

Never have so many fans in so many countries bought Supporting Memberships for a WorldCon as at Spokane, and now there's a lot of impetus regarding Hugo nominations for 2016. Fandom has mobilised itself as never before. This year's evil asteroid came too close—we won't let our guard down again.

And even if I deeply regret this year's casualties of friendly fire in the editing categories—which mean little outside of the anglophone world, so I confess that my own votes were based on the opinion of someone I trust—I have to say that the Sad/Rabid Puppies have given a big push to the Hugos. We ought to be grateful to them.

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