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Next Year's Hugos

The Hugo Awards for 2015 have been announced, the rockets handed out, the post-mortems written and published. You can read analyses all over the internet. My own thoughts on the results can be found below, so I won't recap them here. The Great Puppy War is over.

Or is it?

That's the question. Where do we go from here?

I know where I'd like to go: back to normalcy, as old Warren G. Harding once said.

No one who truly cares about science fiction, fantasy, or fandom could possibly want a Second Puppy War. The past half year has been deeply unpleasant for writers and readers on both sides. Next year's worldcon is in Kansas City, and it would be great if the Hugo ceremony next August could once again be a celebration of excellence, rewarding all the writers, editors, artists, and fans who had done outstanding work in 2015.

Can that possibly happen? Can we remember that "we are all science fiction," as some of the ribbons I saw at Sasquan proclaimed? Can we have a reconciliation?

I think there's a chance. But a chance is not a certainty. It depends. Mostly, I think, it depends on the Sad Puppies.

We already know that VD Beale and the Rabid Puppies are going to try to do it again. They want to destroy the award, and they will no doubt do their damndest, and there will be a rabid slate. Nothing can be done about that... except to ignore the troll. Fandom -- liberal and conservative, Sad Puppy and Truefan, have all been paying too much attention to Beale. Our links and denunciations have driven his page views higher and higher. And too many people empowered VD and his slate... either by voting for the work he slated (often unread) or by voting AGAINST the work he slated. We should not be giving these toxic clowns the power to sway our votes either way. Beale will do a slate, no doubt. Just ignore it. Nominate and vote as if the Rabid Puppies did not exist. That's certainly what I intend to do.

Which brings me to the Sad Puppies. Brad Torgersen has retired from the fray, he tells us. There will be a Sad Puppies 4 campaign, but it will be run by Kate Paulk. It is my understanding that she does not intend to generate a slate, but rather a recommended reading list, similar in scope and intent to the LOCUS Recommended Reading List, or that of NESFA, or LASFS. I think that's good. Unlike the Torgersen list, which was carefully "curated," Paulk has said that her list will focus on the works that receive the most suggestions from those participating, that it could include "even David Gerrold" if a lot of people suggest him. I think that's VERY good. Could it also include "even" N.K. Jemisin and Rachel Swirsky and Ken Liu and Mary Robinette Kowal? Even better. Not that I think it will... the Puppies may not be all conservative, but certainly more of them tend right than left, and their literary tastes undoubtedly run to more traditional forms and styles too. But if Paulk is honestly willing to consider all the suggestions she gets, without litmus tests, I applaud that. It should enable her to produce a recommended reading list that is far more varied, and far more interesting, than the SP3 slate.

Slating was one of this year's big problems. It was SLATING that produced the avalanche of "No Award" voting in this year's Hugo balloting, the widespread perception in fandom that the slated nominees were illegitimate. If there is no slating (save for the Rabid slate, which I fear is inescapable), I think fandom as a whole will be far more open to the suggestions of the Sad Puppies.

Let's make it about the work. Let's argue about the BOOKS. And yes, of course, it will be an argument. I may not like the stories you like. You may not like the stories I like. We can all live with that, I think. I survived the Old Wave/ New Wave debate. Hell, I enjoyed parts of it... because it was about literature, about prose style, characterization, storytelling. Some of the stuff that Jo Walton explores in her Alfie-winning Best Related Work, WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK SO GREAT? That's the sort of debate we should be having.

The elimination of slates will be a huge step toward the end of hostilities.

But there's a second step that's also necessary. One I have touched on many times before. We have to put an end to the name-calling. To the stupid epithets.

I have seen some hopeful signs on that front in some of the Hugo round-ups I've read. Puppies and Puppy sympathizers using terms like Fan (with a capital), or trufan, or anti-Puppy, all of which I am fine with. I am not fine with CHORF, ASP, Puppy-kicker, Morlock, SJW, Social Justice Bully, and some of the other stupid, offensive labels that some Pups (please note, I said SOME) have repeatedly used for describe their opponents since this whole thing began. I am REALLY not fine with the loonies on the Puppy side who find even those insults too mild, and prefer to call us Marxists, Maoists, feminazis, Nazis, Christ-hating Sodomites, and the like. There have been some truly insane analogies coming from the kennels too -- comparisons to World War II, to the Nazi death camps, to ethnic cleansing. Guy, come on, cool down. WE ARE ARGUING ABOUT A LITERARY AWARD THAT BEGAN AS AN OLDSMOBILE HOOD ORNAMENT. Even getting voted below No Award is NOT the same as being put on a train to Auschwitz, and when you type shit like that, well...

The Pups have often complained that they don't get no respect... which has never actually been true, as the pre-Puppy awards nominations of Correia and Torgersen have proved... but never mind, the point here is that to get respect, you need to give respect.

And before any of the Puppies jump on here to say, "you did or first," or "you did it worse," well... I think you're wrong, but we've argued it before, and there is no point in arguing it again. A lot of things were said during the past few months. Do we want to keep rehashing them endlessly, or do we want to move on?

I am very proud of what I did with the Alfies; the reactions of the winners, and the way the awards have been received by fandom, pleases me no end. Sometimes it is better to give than to receive, and I got as much joy from giving out the Alfies than I have from receiving any of my Hugo awards, Nebulas, or World Fantasy Awards.

But I don't want to have to give them again.

I voted No Award in several Hugo categories this year, because the finalists were unworthy of the rocket, but I was not pleased to do so.

I would rather not have to do that again either. Next year, I hope, the Hugo ballot will present me with so many excellent choices that No Award will be ranked last in every category.

If there are fans of good will on the other side who share these hopes, be they liberal or conservative, left wing or right wing, great... I am holding out my hand. Let's talk about books. We may disagree... probably WILL disagree... but that's not the end of the world, or even the Hugos. That's just fandom. If you have ever been to a con, you'll know that the best panels are the ones with a little lively disagreement.

((And for those of you who would prefer to continue to call names and throw stones and talk about cabals and conspiracies and death trains... sorry, not going to engage. Hatespeech is not lively disagreement. I am too old, too smart, and too rich to waste my time with assholes.))

Comments

jordan179
Sep. 1st, 2015 05:33 am (UTC)
Why should people end the war? Because it is bad for SF, bad for fandom, bad for worldcon, bad for the Hugos.

On the contrary, I think that after your clique goes down, everything will be just peachy-keen. Or at least not as bad as it is now.

Or, alternately, after Worldcon changes the rules so that the Hugos become obviously a clique award, and fandom grows a new award system.

You're assuming that the Hugos are only meaningful if your bunch controls them. And you can't even see the arrogance in that assumption.

Beale is right. Not about racialism, not about international finance, but on this. Rather than let you lot squat like toads in the ruins of the Hugos, better to burn them down!
grrm
Sep. 1st, 2015 05:42 am (UTC)
You're delusional.

There is no clique. Conservatives and Christians and Mormons and people of other religions have been nominated for and won Hugos. All this has been discussed and demonstrated time and time again. If you want details, read my original posts from April and May.

But it doesn't appear that you care about facts; your mind is made up, and since you categorize those who disagree with you as "toads," it would seem you are not interested in civil discourse either.

Enough. Go spew your nonsense elsewhere.
kevin_standlee
Sep. 1st, 2015 04:11 pm (UTC)
WSFS is currently considering a system that is intended to reduce the influence of small cliques to influence the final ballot well out of proportion to their actual number of votes. (For example, having 15% of the electorate capture more than 80% of the finalist positions.) If, as some contend, there have been Sekrit Slates behind the awards for many years, that should take care of those Sekrit Slates just as much as it does Official Out Front You Must Vote This Way Slates, since the algorithms are based on the pattern of correlated ballots, not what people call themselves. (The proposed change passed this year is up for ratification next year, with every attending member of Worldcon eligible to debate and vote upon it in person in Kansas City.)

In any event, the final ballot continues to be a system that is not susceptible to small cliques, given that the Instant Runoff Voting system generally produces the result most favored by an absolute majority of the members voting in the election. I remain puzzled why people who seemed to have no problem with 15% of the electorate controlling most of this year's nominating process objecting to nearly two-thirds of the electorate (in Best Related Work) saying flat-out that none of the finalists in a category were worthy of the Award.

If the Hugo Awards and Worldcon are so repugnant to you that you want them destroyed because you are so convinced that you are the Only True Believers, then what is stopping you and your fellow True Believers from creating the One True SF/F Award Run by Real Fans for Real Reasons, and founding the One True SF/F Genre Convention Run by Real Fans for Real Reasons? You do know that nobody is stopping you from doing that, don't you? As long as you don't use anyone else's property (like, say "Hugo Award" and "Worldcon"), you can create any old award and set up any sort of convention you want. What in the world is stopping you? If you are really right, and you certainly sound as though you're convinced that your opinion is the One True Opinion, and that the only reason anything else won was due to people cheating in some way, then go create a system that works.

In case you never figured it out, Worldcon and the Hugo Awards aren't run by some Big Entertainment Company that sells tickets and that you hire to entertain you and pay dividends to some owners. They are volunteer events, run 100% by volunteer labor, by non-profit organizations who spend any surplus funds for the good of fandom, and whose rules are made by those people who actually care sufficiently to show up and work at the fairly difficult process of democracy. (Personally, I wouldn't have minded actually being able to see more of this year's Worldcon instead of presiding over eleven hours of WSFS Business Meetings, but I agreed to do the job, and so I did it.) You want to remake the Worldcon in your own image, then you and people who support you have to start showing up and working. If that's too much work, then go make your own event and your own award, and surely if you're the Real Solution, then the free market of ideas will prove you right, won't it?
hand2hand
Sep. 1st, 2015 08:41 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU!

And thank you for all you do for fandom.

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