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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 05:31 pm (UTC)
That is quite a bit of drama...
...for a SF awards ceremony.

I consider myself a real geek. I inherited a love for science fiction and fantasy from my dad. I began collecting comic books from about the age of four-years-old. I started reading ASOIAF shortly after the first printing. I also write my own science fiction/fantasy stories too (although I have never attempted to have them published). During college and graduate school, I started a book club that focused upon "geek" literature. At the same time, I am deeply conservative when it comes to socioeconomic politics (from more of a libertarian perspective).

Still, my political, social or economic views don't prevent me from enjoying the things that I read or watch. It is a shame that we cannot simply enjoy a work of fiction for what it is.

Life is too short to be so easily offended.

Edited at 2015-08-26 05:31 pm (UTC)
Aug. 26th, 2015 05:32 pm (UTC)
Make no mistake, this was the nuclear option. No puppy nominee finished above No Award except Dramatic Long. Worldcon said loud and clear "If you're on a (these) slates, we don't care about your work. you're tainted" )

Here's the problem. Vox has clearly stated that he's going to run a slate next year, with the intention of running the board again and nuking with No Award in all categories. Looking at the nomination and final numbers hes probably got 700-1000 people who will vote lockstep with what he wants, which would pack the noms with his choices. I don't see him copying the SP slate again. He wants to show his power. He could go many ways, but 2 are likely. First is candidates that would be completely unacceptable. Second is to pick what he thinks would be the nominees anyway in order to spike them by association. I think the first is more likely.

The only way he doesn't run the board is if there is a counter slate that a vast majority of the people who voted against him can agree on, at which point he starts crowing about how he was right all along, "See! These hypocrites didn't have a problem with slates, as long as it's their own slate"

If you think this year was bad, hang on. Next year is going to be worse.
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:12 pm (UTC)
I hope you are wrong.

We shall see.
Next year's noms - Frank Probst - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - the_corbie - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 05:33 pm (UTC)
Incident with L Jagi Lamplighter
I have been a supporter of the anti-Puppy movement and don't particularly like the Puppy supporters. But the incident between Patrick Nielsen Hayden and L Jagi Lamplighter has caused me some great discomfort.

One of the things that I thought the anti-Puppy movement had going for it was a general tendency toward civility. Was there any good reason for Mr. Nielsen Hayden to go after Lamplighter when his real target was John Wright? Was there any blowback against Nielsen Hayden? And what on EARTH was he thinking? He seems to be laying low....
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Incident with L Jagi Lamplighter
Uh... I don't think PNH is "laying low." I assume he is busy, just as I am. I just got home yesterday myself, and there is a huge pile of things to attend to.

Until we hear from PNH or some third-party witnesses, we won't really know what happened at the reception. I would suggest we withhold judgement until we are in possession of all the facts.
Greg Machlin
Aug. 26th, 2015 05:50 pm (UTC)
First Worldcon!
Damnit, George, I wish I'd known you were so approachable. I saw you at one of the front tables in the exhibit hall on Friday, and said 'hey,' and you said 'hey,' back, but you had a baseball cap on and I figured you probably wanted to wander anonymously.

Anyway, my first Worldcon was awesome, so I wanted to thank you for that. Between getting to meet Mike Resnick (who I strongly believe will be on the ballot again) and Ben Yalow in person, and getting helpful feedback on my story "A Lot of Deaths," and meeting a girl, it was an intense, amazing five days.

I voted for Sheila Gilbert (Jim Hines and you both had positive things to say about her); I suspect that next year, editors will not be no-awarded now that people fully understand the slating problems. I ranked GOT second, but put Orphan Black first; I love them both, but GOT the TV series already has three Hugos, and Orphan Black has a much lower budget and much less exposure.
Greg Machlin
Aug. 26th, 2015 05:51 pm (UTC)
Look forward to seeing you next year
...is what I forgot to add. Until next year!
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:03 pm (UTC)
I'm so happy for everyone that works on Orphan Black! No offense to Doctor Who or Game of Thrones intended. I love both. Well, I love the former. My feelings on the latter are...complex and very conflicted. I still love the novels, though. It would take a red comet hitting Westeros for me to start disliking those. Regardless, both shows are fantastic productions that are worthy of praise.

But Orphan Black seems to have been the little show that could since it first starting airing. Small network, small production, "unknown" actors. It's been overlooked so many times in favor of bigger, more mainstream productions that it's often felt downright criminal. The show has been outstanding from the start -- writing, acting, suspense, issues it's dealing with, etc. -- and it's long overdue for it to get some more recognition. It's nice to see a small, brilliant production that's doing big things also get a big win even if the conditions that led to it weren't ideal. Now Tatiana Maslany just needs to win that much-deserved Emmy...

Ok. Enough Orphan Black gushing from me!

It's sad that so many cheered for "No Award." As you've eloquently stated so many times, those really aren't wins for anyone.
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:07 pm (UTC)
I cannot disagree about ORPHAN BLACK. It's a good show, and the performance(s) by the lead actress is just astonishing. I am glad to see that she is finally getting some Emmy love this year.
(no subject) - clonedllama - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:12 pm (UTC)
Doing some more detailed breakdown of the voting, I think you can isolate about 2500 anti-Puppy slate voters in every category but the two Dramatic Presentation categories, with about 1200 of those being "strict anti-Puppy" voters who even took it to the Dramatic Presentation categories, hurting you in the process. That analysis is based on the following votes:

Best Novel: People of good faith can disagree on which novel deserved to win this year, but I think exceedingly few people of good faith could have read Skin Game and thought it should go under No Award. Looking at the pass for 4th place after the 3 non-Puppy nominees won 1st-3rd, you can see that about 2700 people put No Award ahead of the two Puppy picks.

Best Novelette: Very few reviewers I've seen have liked "The World Turned Upside Down," it seems unlikely that ballots that went "Upside Down," No Award, then the 4 puppies were good faith merits votes. There were about 2600 that voted that way.

Best Editor (each): As you and many others have said, Toni Weisskopf deserved an award on merit, and the commentary among reasonable neutrals seemed to agree with that. The same goes, if less so, for Mike Resnick for short form. Again, about 2500 voters put No Award first.

Best Dramatic (long): Tougher to isolate because Guardians won, but I also find it implausible that a good faith merits vote would put No Award ahead of both Interstellar and Lego Movie. On the 4th place pass, about 1200 people did so.

Best Dramatic (short): Again, I find it implausible that a good faith merits voter would put No Award ahead of "The Mountain and the Viper," much less the other three Puppy candidates. Again, about 1200 people did so.

2500 people was a solid plurality, about 40-45% of voters, who voted on an anti-Puppy slate alone without reading the works or knowing the editors' work. That block dominated every category except dramatic presentation. That may not be a win for the nuclear option, but it was a win for the, let's call it, "tactical nuclear option," and that's pretty sad.
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:15 pm (UTC)
We don't really know who read the works, and who did not.

I know a number of people who read the Puppy nominees and did not like them. With a few exceptions... a lot of good things were said about "Totalled."

Mine is a small sample, of course... but there is no way to know for certain.
(no subject) - edgehopper - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dhw - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dhw - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:23 pm (UTC)
I disagree when you say the puppies destroyed your chances. Everyone involved knows your stance on the whole thing, I don't believe a single voter changed their pick because GOT was slated.

Orphan Black beat the rest fair and square, and I was hoping you'd acknowledge that.
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:27 pm (UTC)
I didn't say "destroyed" our chances. But being slated definitely cost GOT some votes. That's clear as day. Without the Puppies, it might have been a closer race.

I expected to lose, as I said in my predictions... but I expected to lose to DOCTOR WHO. I am pleased it was ORPHAN BLACK instead.
(no subject) - lordevaco - Aug. 26th, 2015 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:49 pm (UTC)
I am happy to know your an Orphan Black fan, for some reason I didn't think you would like it. I was wondering what your opinion is on Doctor Who? If offered would you ever write an episode?
Aug. 26th, 2015 06:55 pm (UTC)
Maybe when I am finished with Ice & Fire. Right now I don't even have the time to write episodes of my own show.

I like DOCTOR WHO, on balance, though I find it terribly uneven. I do think that having three or four episodes on the Hugo ballot every year is a bit much. One episode, fine. Leave room for someone else. In a sense, the Whovians were proto-Puppies, not simply nominating their favorites, but trying their damndest to crowd everyone else off the shortlist in the process.
(no subject) - rightwardelk58 - Aug. 26th, 2015 07:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2015 07:06 pm (UTC)
You inspired bloggery.
Aug. 26th, 2015 07:11 pm (UTC)
By the way, George. This GOT videogame you're helping as consultant, is it the mobile game Warner Bros is making?
Aug. 26th, 2015 07:16 pm (UTC)
I suppose if you look at the Best Editor Hugo as some kind of lifetime achievement award, then Toni is well-deserving. But if it's a measure of how good a person was in the last year of publishing, I'm not sure Baen did anything so notable as to be Hugo-worthy. 2muchexposition, on the other hand, had an exceptional year -- but of course she got knocked off the ballot and went home with an Alfie instead. So my vote for No Award wasn't that I thought Toni was unqualified so much as if Liz wasn't going to win a Hugo, I'd be damned if I'd give it to someone less deserving due to a temper tantrum by some whiny entitled jerks.
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