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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 08:48 am (UTC)
I saw that ceremony on my feed live and I really want to get to a WorldCon within the next few years. I do know two people whose novels are coming out this year and I think that they are both strong contenders (and hell I should try to nominate my story from the Daughters of Frankenstein even if I think that Megan Arkenberg probably deserves it more). But I suppose the main thing is that we should all get nominations in for next year and try to stem any future slates.

Glad that Wesley won. I met him at Convergence last year and he's a really great guy. We talked about a mutual friend as he was signing books. Didn't get to talk to him this year.

But it was definitely a strange year.
Aug. 26th, 2015 08:51 am (UTC)
Speaking of Saga, I only read one book in the series (forgot which one) but is that writer that they meet - the one with one-eye and a big white beard who at one point points out that the opposite of war is actually sex - is that writer supposed to be Samuel Delany? It seems like a tribute, but I'm not sure.
Aug. 26th, 2015 10:06 am (UTC)
I understand you have a lot of respect for Weisskopf, but she didn't provide any information to voters about why she should have won, she says they team-edit in Baen. And Baen have a widely-known policy of "not getting in between the author and the reader" - in other words, doing as little editing as possible. So there weren't many positive reasons out there for people to vote _for_ Weisskopf.

(I think this is a general problem with that award. Stories you can read, movies and shows you can watch, art you can look at - but the work of an editor? Yes, we know they do important work, but it is invisible to the reader)
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:22 pm (UTC)
Well the problem with editing is that at best it can be invisible. Like stage lighting, it is only noticeable when it's really fancy or it's very bad.
Aug. 26th, 2015 10:48 am (UTC)
Best Novella
I've been looking at the nomination statistics and "The Slow Regard of Silent Things" was relatively close to getting in. A pity, I think it would have been worthy of a Hugo, despite how atypical it is as an story. But well, c'est la vie. Alas, it's not the only work that has suffered this year.
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Best Novella
Realizing that Slow Regard was eligible and really close to being nominated, but got bumped out by the Slate was a real disappointment for me. I really enjoyed it, and while I haven't read that many novellas, and so have little foundation for knowing what would and would not qualify for a Hugo, I thought the story did all sorts of interesting things, which would make it a worthy contender. Very disappointing discovery :(
Abraham Limpo
Aug. 26th, 2015 10:52 am (UTC)
Thanks for the coverage!
I want to thank you for your personal coverage of the Pre-Hugo Brouhaha. I usually check the hugo's results to see what was good to read (usually, at the time the hugos come, there are paperback editions I can afford :D ), but thanks to all the info you put on the hugos I'm considering attending the next worldcon and if not, at least participate in the voting.

I'm waiting to read about your Losers party ;)
Aug. 26th, 2015 11:24 am (UTC)
Looking at the vote count, I suspect that had Toni Weisskopf chosen to include even so much as a list of what she had edited in 2014 in the voter packet, she would have won a Hugo. That omission certainly cost her votes, and it was really close.
Aug. 26th, 2015 11:27 am (UTC)
On Editors
FWIW, I voted No Award in the editor categories, treating it as a vote against slating. Like Moen, my view is that No Award was aimed at rejecting slates in the nomination process. I think all the nominees in question will find little harm to themselves, their careers, or their feelings in this case, recognizing as they must that the No Awards were for the most part a firm rejection of slates rather than of them. (Although in all honesty I'll add that my own feelings on Weisskopf in particular are not too charitable, given that she seems to have actively embraced the Puppies the last couple of years.)

Edited at 2015-08-26 11:32 am (UTC)
Aug. 26th, 2015 01:13 pm (UTC)
RE: On Editors
Like many people, I have difficulty with the editor category, especially in long form. Unless we know the raw material, it's hard to know how good an editor someone is. In short form, you can judge by the quality of the anthology or magazine. (For example, I know from Wild Cards that you're a good editor.)
Re: On Editors - renepavan - Aug. 26th, 2015 03:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: On Editors - hippoiathanatoi - Aug. 26th, 2015 03:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 11:28 am (UTC)
I'm glad to hear that it was a good time there in Spokane, despite the puppy-mess.

I just wanted to say something about the editor categories. I was a first time voter and while I am a long time fan of speculative literature, I was never particularly interested in publishers or editors. If I had voted in a normal year, I would have simply not voted in these categories and left them to the people who knew the folks on the ballot.

Problem was, there was one guy, I knew: Vox Day. And not knowing how many pups would get involved I really did not want to see my vote against him got to waste. Among the other editors I only knew the ones mentioned by you and Jim Hines. Not really enough to go by. I considered putting them above "No Award" ,but I would not have known in what order. So while I went with vote on merrit in the other categories, I went with straight anti-slate in these two.

That's just my story, but I believe that might have been the motivation behind the editor "No Award"s for several other voters too.

I can only speak for myself but I hope that those on the ballot who were deserving of a Hugo were not personally hurt by the no-award vote. Contrary to the literary categories the votum was not a votum on merrit but against the slates (at least in my case in those two categories).

Edited at 2015-08-26 11:31 am (UTC)
Aimee Morgan
Aug. 26th, 2015 11:32 am (UTC)
No war, no politics
Nope. No war. No SJWs. No politics. Just a whole bunch of works and people who were ignored and/or slighted because the wrong people supported them.

Don't pretend it didn't happen. You admit that works were downvoted because Puppies supported them. You admit that you would have liked to see how the competition would have gone had certain works not been supported by the wrong people (heck - you might even have gotten another award!) But it was all the Puppies' fault. Had they not had the temerity to get involved in the Hugos, none of this would have happened. Had they not had the impertinence to suggest works for nomination, this kerfuffle would have been avoided. Had they not had the unmitigated GALL to suggest that Toni Weisskopf might be worthy of a Hugo, she might have actually won.

Yeah, right. Pull the other one - it has bells on it.

The Sad Puppies said "here's a bunch of good stuff that's Hugo eligible this year. Read it, and if you agree you can nominate it for a measly $40". And peoples' heads started to explode. Oh My GOD!!!!!!!!! It's a bunch of conservative hateful white Mormon men trying to eliminate diversity in SciFi!!!!! Except, it wasn't, and the Sad Puppy list of suggest works had men and women, gay and straight, of various skin tones, and assorted politics ranging from libertarian to unknown (but probably more progressive than I).

Don't worry though. The TruFen wanted to send a message, and they did. Even without the Asterisk awards, we got the message.

And the message was "Needs more Puppies."
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:58 pm (UTC)
Re: No war, no politics
Aha, one of Teddy Beale's rabid fools shows up to spout the party line. Nice pile of Puppy poop you shat there.

Take it back to the kennel, please.
Re: No war, no politics - renepavan - Aug. 26th, 2015 04:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: No war, no politics - the_corbie - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Marco De Sanctis
Aug. 26th, 2015 11:39 am (UTC)
on what inspires you
I know this question has no matter with your post, but I want to know...when you make up a character for a story, do you ever get inspired by people in your life, maybe friends or relatives? And do you make them say something that those people would actually say?
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:58 pm (UTC)
Re: on what inspires you
Sometimes. Not often.
Aug. 26th, 2015 12:11 pm (UTC)
Before Sad Puppies came along, Toni had never received a Hugo nomination. Zero. Watching her get ignored was one of the things that spurred Larry Correia into starting Sad Puppies. If anybody deserved the Hugo, it was her.

This year Toni got a whopping 1,216 first place votes for Best Editor. That isn’t just a record. That is FOUR TIMES higher than the previous record. Shelia Gilbert came in next with an amazing 754.

Logically you would think that she would be award worthy, since the only Baen books to be nominated for a Hugo prior to Sad Puppies were edited by her (Bujold) and none of those were No Awarded.

Toni Weisskopf has been part of organized Fandom (capital F) since she was a little kid, so all that bloviating about how Fandom is precious, and sacred, and your special home since the ‘70s which you need to keep as a safe space free of barbarians, blah, blah, blah, yeah, that applies to Toni just as much as it does to you "trufans". You know how you guys paid back her lifetime of involvement in Fandom?

By giving 2,496 votes to No Award. SHAME.

So what changed, WorldCon? We both know the answer. It was more important that you send a message to the outsiders than it was to honor someone who was truly deserving, and that message was "This is ours, keep out". Well, the mask has come off for the world to see how the sausage is really made.

The real winner this year was Vox Day and the Rabid Puppies. Yep. You don’t seem to realize that Brad T., Sarah H., and Larry C. were the reasonable ones who spent most of the summer talking Vox out of having his people No Award the whole thing to burn it down, but then the "trufans" DID IT FOR HIM. He got the best of both worlds. Oh, but now you’re going to say that Three Body Problem won, and that’s a victory for diversity! Except for the inconvenient fact that, uh, THAT was Vox’s pick for best novel. That’s the one most of the Rabid Puppies voted for too.

Here’s something for you people to think through: the only reason Vox didn’t have Three Body Problem on his nomination slate was that he read it a month too late. If he’d read it sooner, it would have been an RP nomination… AND THEN YOU WOULD HAVE NO AWARDED IT.
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:01 pm (UTC)
Did you cut and paste this from Larry's blog, or Brad's? Sounds strangely familiar. As in, word for word.

If you want to discuss the issues, fine, but please think for yourself. That was the problem with the slates. Too many pups just trotting along behind the Big Dogs.
Aug. 26th, 2015 12:25 pm (UTC)
From where I was sitting — several thousand klicks away on the other end of the Ustream — it sounded less like a roar of approval than a vocalised sigh of relief, and I think the applause was in that vein. The mood of the crowd might have run to more vocal exhibitions, but David Gerrold kept a cap on that, I think, letting the audience relieve the pent-up pressure but not letting it get out of hand.
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:36 pm (UTC)
I was in the audience and I'm inclined to concur with this. Still wasn't crazy about all the no awards (though that was my top vote in a few categories) but I understand the reaction, particularly when the first one was announced.
Aug. 26th, 2015 01:21 pm (UTC)
I agree with you on No Award going to the editor categories. And I agreed with what you said here previously about voting a strict Puppy-free ballot. I understand that people wanted to send a clear message about bloc-voting. However, the Puppies have shown us that they would be completely incapable of hearing this message. For them, this only confirms that their fight was justified. They see this result as an anti-Puppy bloc-vote protesting what the Sad Puppies pitifully still insist was a list of suggestions. (The Rabids, of course, are idiotically proud that theirs was indeed a slate.)
Bob Jenson
Aug. 26th, 2015 01:38 pm (UTC)
I did poorly...
Well, my voting record compared to what won was pretty dismal - only about 25% matched up with the winners. Of course, I didn't vote for who I *thought* would win but who I *wanted* to win (or not)so I guess they don't count as predictions.
I guess if we can thank the puppies for anything is that they galvanized the fan base. I was planning attending Sasquan since back in the days when sad puppies were only known for their TV commercials so I was going to learn of the Hugo voting process one way or another. But I did talked with a lot of people who were actually motivated to vote in response to the puppies. And I have to say the vast majority of them claimed to have voted with their heads. I would have loved to talk with a puppies supporter - a calm, level-headed conversation if it would have been possible - but I did not run across any. Any that were vocal, at least.
Aug. 26th, 2015 01:41 pm (UTC)
What did you think of the asterisks?
I'm glad that you mentioned the cheering for "No Award". I have been wondering also what you thought about the "asterisk" tokens/coasters that were apparently handed out to nominees before the ceremony, and displayed and discussed on stage. Maybe that's something you are planning to discuss along with the "Alfies" in your next post, but it seems like it might be something to add here.
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