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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 01:47 pm (UTC)
I voted for Toni Weisskopf entirely on your suggestion. Otherwise, her packet submission, which is "Toni Weisskopf's work as Editor, Long Form can be found at Baen Books: www.baen.com", made it very difficult to tell if/how deserving she was or if she was just slated. And I've seen other people make the same comment.

Based on her vote totals, I'm sure she'd have a shot. If you know her, perhaps you could suggest that she and Baen put together something more substantial next year.

Also, as a first-time voter, readers voting for editors seems like a weird procedure.
Aug. 26th, 2015 01:50 pm (UTC)
I voted No Award in a couple of categories, myself, because the works were substandard. I didn't vote at all in the Editor categories because I really have no good way to judge them.

(The Puppies, alas, do not think of David Gerrold as fair. Nor you, it seems, because to some of them your HLP was proof that the "real" awards were done elsewhere and it's obvious to them that you bought all the extra memberships and votes. Never mind the literal thousands of words you've written on the subject in the past few months.)

Sorry I didn't really get a chance to say hello. Once First Night was over I had a mundane friend coming to her first convention ever, so I was spending more time showing her around and trying to help her feel welcom.
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:03 pm (UTC)
One thing that has been proved beyond any doubt by all this: the Puppies are paranoid and delusional. The story of me buying "all the extra memberships" is hilarious.
(no subject) - filkerdave - Aug. 26th, 2015 05:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 01:57 pm (UTC)
I was very happy to see Elizabeth Leggett win Best Fan Artist. She lived in Kansas City for several years and is very well-liked here, I have some of her art on my shelves, and I bought one of her prints for my girlfriend at ConQuesT earlier this year.
Aug. 26th, 2015 02:02 pm (UTC)
Just ignore them
To be honest, I don't even understand why people give this puppy minority so much attention and credibility, already reading the blog of VD makes me stun about the fact that people who aren't puppies take them so seriously.

The best for the Hugo Awards would have been if most people would just have ignored everything coming out of the mouths of those bigot people. They never were a danger, sure they managed to get people nominated, but just because normal people outside of the puppy sphere are (were?) very lazy to nominate people.

People who voted NO AWARD are IMO not very far away from the puppy mentality either, i.e. voting for political reasons, rather for people / books who deserved it.

BUT that said, let people vote for whatever reasons they like? I may not agree with those reasons, but I also don't believe that those type of people will ever become the majority, far from it. That said, I hope the majority of the fandom will stop caring and talking about those fringe groups, nominate, vote, have fun.

Also wooo for Worldcon 2017 in Helsinki! Can't wait to attend my first Worldcon :-)

Edited at 2015-08-26 02:16 pm (UTC)
Steve Barish
Aug. 26th, 2015 02:04 pm (UTC)
But what about the Asterix...
Fair disclosure: I'm a Sad Puppy voter, but like the majority (if you look at the data it's pretty clear) I voted based on my preferences. I really appreciated your comments about Resnick and Weisskopf. Both have produced excellent work for decades, and would (in my opinion) have been very worthy awardees. It's clear that the bloc of Fandom determined to "No Award" anything related to Puppydom penalized people who could and perhaps should have won. And had it not been for the "Official Asterix" incident, I would have read it exactly as you've analyzed. But that event - which I've only read about since I wasn't there and missed that portion of the stream - seemed to solidify things as a personal attack against the people nominated by the Puppies. I'd be interested in your take on what you witnessed, both what was intended and how it came across.

For the record, I'm glad THREE BODY PROBLEM won, and the editor categories excluded, don't really have a problem with the rest of the results. I'd also like the vitriol - on both sides - to stop. Not sure how that can/will happen, but as a Fan, I would like the people I'm a fan of to stop behaving like disageeeable children and get back to writing things I can buy, read, and enjoy.
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:05 pm (UTC)
Re: But what about the Asterix...
The asterisks were not, so far as I know, "official." They were something David came up with, to the best of my knowledge.
RE: Re: But what about the Asterix... - Steve Barish - Aug. 26th, 2015 04:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: But what about the Asterix... - grrm - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: But what about the Asterix... - Steve Barish - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Re: But what about the Asterix... - grrm - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Re: But what about the Asterix... - grrm - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: But what about the Asterix... - rigel_haloran - Aug. 26th, 2015 05:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 02:25 pm (UTC)
To be clear, I am one of those who thinks that slates are unethical. I've made the comparison before that they are like steroids in baseball in 1998. There was no (effective) rule against them, but everyone understood they were wrong (and if you don't believe that, then go read the stories about McGwire and androstenedione that were published in 1998).

I was cheering (albeit from a continent away) when the No Awards were announced because they represented a rejection of an attempt to cheat. I'm just as pleased each year when Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, et al. don't get into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Like the Hugo, it's the highest honour their profession can offer and they should not be able to obtain it unethically. Obviously, I'm not quite as raucous about Cooperstown, but that's because it's (now) completely predictable.

Now, I don't hold the individuals on the slates responsible in the same way as the individual baseball players who took steroids. Cheating on someone else's behalf is not something that they can be held responsible for; you can only be responsible for your own actions.
Grant Edward Stallcup
Aug. 26th, 2015 02:41 pm (UTC)

Personally, I think "The Mountain and the Viper" was one of the greatest moments on television #Chuchuchuchu

Aug. 26th, 2015 02:41 pm (UTC)
Moen's slate won
How was this not an outright victory for Moen's No Puppies slate?

Mixon's win was a solid victory for the SJWs, considering she dragged the whole Black Lives Matter idiocy into the Hugos. (Yes, black lives matter, because all lives matter. And I refuse to apologize for saying it.)

And while you did not cheer yourself, there were plenty who did. I've been told repeatedly that it's not a reflection on anyone but the Rabid Puppies, but you don't distinguish...

Finally, I wasn't aware of David Gerrold's jerk move with the asterisks. Yes, the proceeds went to Terry Pratchett's favorite charity (and if I can get a link to them, I'll send them some untainted money), but a jerk move done for charity is still a jerk move. He blocked me on his Facebook when I pointed this out.

Edited at 2015-08-26 02:42 pm (UTC)
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Moen's slate won
The Puppy-Free ballot did well, no doubt of it... but Mixon's victory was a big loss for them.

Mixon's victory was a victory for all those who oppose hatespeech.

Aug. 26th, 2015 03:24 pm (UTC)
""Let us put more "world" in worldcon, by all means.""

I agree. There are some good fantasy and science fiction non-english writers. Hope that someday english readers will have the chance to read Jean-Philippe Jaworski (if we had to translate one french author, it would be him) or Cedric Ferrand.
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:31 pm (UTC)
I was disappointed in the Editor awards
My basic approach was to take each work on its own merits, and vote where I thought it ranked among the nominees. This largely (although not completely) meant that a lot of puppies ranked below No Award (and I do admit I stopped trying to read Wright's works after trying and failing to make it through two of them).

I admire Sheila Gilbert's work, and I thought there were other worthy nominees in both Editor categories (although in both cases I left VD off my ballot completely), so I was disappointed with No Award.

I also thought Totalled was a strong story, and despite being on the puppy slates it ranked above No Award for me, sorry it didn't win. OTOH, in Novellete, I ranked No Award first with The World Turned Upside Down after; I won't say I'm disappointed it won, but I didn't think it was particularly outstanding.

There were a few categories I didn't vote in, such as the Dramatic Presentation ones, because the last time I was in a theatre was about 7 years ago, and I haven't had television service in over 13.
Alonsso Valencia
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:32 pm (UTC)
I just read about Goblin Emperor. The premise seems really interesting.
Aug. 26th, 2015 03:56 pm (UTC)
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:14 pm (UTC)
What idiocy.
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:33 pm (UTC)
Clapping at the Hugos for "no-award"
I was at the Hugo awards and I think people clapped for the no-award because they were relieved and proud that they had sent the message to the puppies that the intolerant, narrow-minded, racist, misogynistic and bigoted values that the puppies stood for was not going to be tolerated by the fans. I think the fans spoke and let the puppies know that they wanted sci-fi to be inclusive and creative. I don't think the fans were wrong to clap for no-award.
Aug. 26th, 2015 04:34 pm (UTC)
I think this hurt the writers more than anyone else. Not everyone on the puppy slates deserve the animosity they are given by the media and some were initially unaware that they were on the slate. They will be remembered as the people who "didn't belong there," and I wonder how that will impact their careers. What a choice to make when you learn you've been put on a slate. Decline or accept by the off chance that someone might consider your work thoughtfully? It may seem easy for some to say, "Well, just decline the nomination . . ." but I don't know. I haven't been in that position.

I'm sad that some people applauded during the No Awards. I'm sad that some people booed at other times. I'm sad when I read some of the vitriol going around on the media sites: bad (gloating) winners and poor losers.

I write SFF. I hope to get ye olde book out there someday. (Had a few short pieces selected for publication and even won a contest or two.) when I was younger, I was bullied. I was bullied a lot. I would come home and write about how I got some kind of crazy revenge on my assailants. Mild stuff like going back in time and changing the answers on a math test so my bullies failed. Stupid stuff. But, because of writing and because of SSF, I was able to imagine a world where I came out on top. Writing saved my life. I'm not sure where I would be if I hadn't read about Bradbury's misfit heroes in the October Country or believed in The Force. This genre was my lifeline. It inspired me so much that I wanted to contribute to it. To play in that world.

Now, it's turned into a schoolyard again in some ways.

I'm glad you didn't clap, George. Thank you for not clapping. It's so silly, but that gives me hope.
Aug. 26th, 2015 05:19 pm (UTC)
Graphic Novel...
"Graphic Novel was next, though."

No such category, and none of the nominees were graphic novels. It's called "Best Graphic Story" which is almost as bad. It's "Best Comic" in reality, only some people are afraid of the word "comic" and basically use "graphic novel" about any comic they like, even if it doesn't fit the definitions of "graphic novel". (Sandman, Watchmen, all this years nominees etc). "I don't read comics, I read GRAPHIC NOVELS".

I mean, Mr. Martin is knowledgable about comics, so it is dissapointing that he uses the "graphic novel" term, loathed as it has become by creators of comics. Gaiman would never in a million years insist his comics are "Graphic Novels".

And yeah, the "Best Graphic Story" category should definitely be renamed "Best Comic". The current name just screams of being embarrassed by comics. Very happy Ms. Marvel won though. Those first 5 issues of the comic collected in "No Normal" are a real tour-de-force.
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