Up and Coming, the 2016 anthology of science fiction and fantasy writers eligible for this year’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, is now available. This award is the only award given at the Hugo Award ceremonies that is voted on by the Hugo Award voters but is not itself a Hugo Award.
Just a reminder that Hugo Awards voting closes tomorrow night (July 31st) at 11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Time. You can submit or change your vote before then by visiting this page on the Sasquan site.
Note: You will need your Hugo PIN to submit or change your ballot. Please request your PIN as early as possible if you don’t have it handy.
Even if you and I have nothing in common on which we’d vote for, if you’re a member of Sasquan, please vote. Here is my Puppy-free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide if that helps you.
I want to say this about the Best Fan Writer category. I’m not voting for Laura J. Mixon as best fan writer for the following reasons:
Getting back to the Hugo Awards more generally, I liked this pep talk from Cheryl Morgan.
Comments are off on this piece. Please comment elsewhere if you’re so inclined.
The next two paragraphs are from the press release:
This free download is supplied by the creators and publishers of works that are nominated for the awards. It is free to all current Supporting, Attending and Young Adult members of Sasquan, and those who become members before 31 July 2015. Its purpose is to allow those who are voting on the Hugo Awards to be able to make an informed choice among the nominated works.
All of the short fiction and graphic novels are included in their entirety (((assuming Zombie Nation comes through!))). The packet contains the full text of three of the novels: The Dark between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson, The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, amd The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Skin Game by Jim Butcher and Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie are represented by extensive excerpts. One of the five finalists in the Related Work category is represented by an excerpt: Letters from Gardner, by Lou Antonelli. There is some material in each of the other categories except the Dramatic Presentations, but not everyone wanted us to include their work in this packet.
Hugo Award voting is now open. Voting closes Friday July 31, 2015, 11:59 PM PDT.
In order to vote, you must be a member of Sasquan, this year’s Worldcon. If you’re not currently a member of this year’s Worldcon, you can join as a supporting member for $40 or as an attending member for $210. The convention will be held from August 19-23 in Spokane, Washington.
For your reference, should you wish to use it, I’ve updated The Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide for what (I hope!) is the last time, including those who withdrew their nominations. The full ballot can be found here.
May the odds be ever in your favor.
My name is Edmund R. Schubert, and I am announcing my withdrawal from the Hugo category of Best Editor (Short Form). My withdrawal comes with complications, but if you’ll bear with me, I’ll do my best to explain. I am withdrawing because:
- I believe that while the Sad Puppies’ stated goal of bringing attention to under-recognized work may have been well-intentioned, their tactics were seriously flawed. While I personally find it challenging that some people won’t read IGMS because they disagree with the publisher’s perceived politics (which have nothing whatsoever to do with what goes into the magazine), I can’t in good conscience complain about the deck being stacked against me, and then feel good about being nominated for an award when the deck gets stacked in my favor. That would make me a hypocrite. I can’t be part of that and still maintain my integrity.
- Vox Day/Theodore Beale/Rabid Puppies. Good grief. While I firmly believe that free speech is only truly free if everyone is allowed to speak their mind, I believe equally strongly that defending people’s right to free speech comes with responsibilities: in this case, the responsibility to call out unproductive, mean-spirited, inflammatory, and downright hateful speech. I believe that far too many of Vox’s words fall into those categories—and a stand has to be made against it.
- Ping pong. (Yes, really.) A ping pong ball only ever gets used by people who need something to hit as a way to score points, and I am through being treated like a political ping pong ball—by all sorts of people across the entire spectrum. Done.
Edited to add this paragraph: the statement on the IGMS website clarifies my point #1 wass wrong, and I have corrected it accordingly. My apologies to Mr. Schubert.
I think it’s important to note these things:
knew did not know about the slates prior to nominations closing.
While that allows for some sympathy/empathy, it’s not as large as someone declining the nomination in the first place or, as Dave Creek did, asking off the slate prior to nominations closing.
The statement is significantly longer than what I’ve excerpted above, but I’d like to highlight two parts.
I will not, however, advocate for an across-the-board No Award vote. That penalizes people who are innocent, for the sake of making a political point. Vox Day chose to put himself and his publishing company, Castalia House, in the crosshairs, which makes him fair game—but not everybody, not unilaterally. I can’t support that.
This is, my opinion, classic speaking from privilege.
You know who was really penalized? Hint: it’s not the people who were nominated.
It’s the works (and people) who were pushed off the ballot entirely.
There are works that will never receive fair consideration for a Hugo award.
Voting no award for the two puppy slates does not deprive the puppies of their Hugo Awards nominations.
That’s why I’m voting down the entire slate.
As editor of IGMS, I can, and have, and will continue to be—with the full support of publisher Orson Scott Card—open to publishing stories by and about gay authors and gay characters, stories by and about female authors and female characters, stories by authors and about characters of any and every racial, political, or religious affiliation—as long as I feel like those authors 1) have a story to tell, not a point to score, and 2) tell that story well. And you know what? Orson is happy to have me do so. Because the raison d’etre of IGMS is to support writers and artists. Period.
IGMS—Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show—is open to everyone. All the way. Always has been, always will be. All I ask, all I have ever asked, is that people’s minds operate in the same fashion.
It’s published some fine writers and some fine stories. My problem with it, understandable in context, is that it’s Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show and not just InterGalactic Medicine Show. There’s no real way of promoting the magazine without the full problematic title and its problematic patron.
Much like L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future.
Yet I’m also fascinated, in the case of comparing people’s feelings about the two, how much harsher people are about IGMS than WotF. So far as I know, Card has never made a gay or lesbian (or, in this case, someone accused of same) stand in a trash can for twelve hours while screaming obscenities and epithets at them.
Scientology has, and it runs Writers of the Future.
One of the questions when faced with bloc nominating in the Hugo Awards is this: when is something bloc voting/nominating? When isn’t it?
There have been statements about the Sad Puppies slate being a slate because it’s five items in many categories: conveniently the number of possible nominations. And, while that is a compelling argument, that isn’t one I find especially convincing.
Here’s another obvious slate that should be taken into account
I’m not going to respond to the sealioning in MC’s comments here (though I did cover the answers in another recent comment on the post they commented on), but Aidan’s post actually is a good compare/contrast to discuss why I believe Aidan’s post was not a slate and the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies was.
Because, frankly, if you don’t think that setting up a sockpuppet site (or a hundred), declaring a slate of “SJW” works, and infesting it with a few pets to write blog comments (perhaps even buying a few fiverr gigs for even more comments) isn’t going to happen, well, that’s naive.
So, what defines a slate, then?
Well, let’s look at a bit of unpleasant second-world history for some actual historic usage, tweets by Rose Lemberg that were storified by Charles A. Tan. Actual gulag tales there.
Clearly, we don’t mean anything that dramatic with bloc voting in the Hugos. One hopes.
For starters, there’s the obvious results-based approach. Let’s look at successful nominations this year:
|Slate/List||Successful Nominations||Failed Nominations|
|Rabid Puppies (Slate)||55||12|
|Sad Puppies (Slate)||49||11|
|Aidan Moher (List)||8||34|
Aidan’s list includes two Best Novel nominees, one Long Form nominee (shared with the puppies), one Best Pro Editor Short Form nominee, one Best Professional Artist nominee, and three Best Semiprozine nominees. What’s particularly interesting—and perhaps most compelling given how much of Aidan’s blog is about art—is that his sole Fan Artist nomination wasn’t on the final ballot at all. This was the sole puppy-free category, too.
Google ranks pages; Alexa ranks sites. Alexa ranks are used by all kinds of companies to measure influence. The ranking (lower is better) means: how many sites are more influential than you are?
In this case, the milliScalzi is defined as:
1000 * (Scalzi’s Alexa Rank) / (Your Alexa Rank)
|John C. Wright||265,307||318|
|Mike Glyer / File 770||296,754||284|
|Deirdre Saoirse Moen||579,880||146|
So, given that Aidan and I hang around in the same milliScalzi hood, I feel I can say about how much influence he had this year. Let’s put it this way: it only took 23 nominations to get on the fan artist ballot, and his nomination didn’t make it onto the list.
Just to put this in perspective, here are my blog stats for that same period:
Still, I think it’s poor form to post one’s full nomination list if one has any significant influence—and Aiden having won a Hugo last year means he has some. There are bound to be hurt feelings about who was left out, even if they’d never say so. (And no, I’m not the least bit offended or hurt. I’m glad I’m not on the final ballot this year. I feel for my friends who are.)
I kind of like this one because I think it’ll take more pressure off people who feel they haven’t read the whole field.
I think only having one or two things would feel less overwhelming for someone who hadn’t read as widely.
In other news, Worldcon has a new gavel (which Rick suggested be named Grabthar’s Hammer), and master filker Tom Smith has a Sad Puppies filk. With a choir.
Puppy nominee Lou Antonelli calls me a Nazi after I tossed him off my blog. (Nazi screencap here.) Protip: when your opening paragraph asserts a position I do not hold and tries to argue with me about it, things will not go well for you.
My honest reaction was amusement: you think you’re a legitimately-nominated Hugo Award nominee for Best Short Story (and Best Related Work)—and that’s the best you’ve got? Really?
Summary of what’s in this post: the final Hugo Awards nomination changes, a discussion of a great post about the Hugo Awards from Baen author Eric Flint, and a constructive suggestion to those who, like the puppy sympathists, feel their own favorite works are being left out of the big table. And, at the end, I have a suggestion.
I’ve updated the Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide to reflect the changes in the Hugo Awards nominations after two nominations were declared ineligible and after two nominees withdrew their works. The tl;dr version: Puppy-free works have been added in Best Novel (The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu) and Best Novelette (“The Day The World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, translated by Lia Belt). Congratulations to all the new nominees, and condoliolations (congratulations on having been nominated, condolences for the situation leading to no longer being on the ballot) to those who withdrew or were declared ineligible.
I’m especially jazzed about having two works originally published in other languages on the ballot, as literature in translation is so frequently overlooked.
As noted in the File 770 piece, Hugo Award administrator John Lorentz has locked the ballot, and no further changes will be made. (There were also a couple of technical corrections on the final announcement.)
Eric Flint has his own “I can tell this was written by a novelist” piece on his blog.
I’ve been doing my best to stay away from the current ruckus over the Hugo Awards, but it’s now spread widely enough that it’s spilled onto my Facebook page, and it’s bound to splatter on me elsewhere as well. It’s also been brought to my attention that Breitbart’s very well-trafficked web site—never famous for the accuracy of its so-called “reporting”—has me listed as one of the supposedly downtrodden conservative and/or libertarian authors oppressed by the SF establishment. Given my lifelong advocacy of socialism—and I was no armchair Marxist either, but committed twenty-five years of my life to being an activist in the industrial trade unions—I find that quite amusing.
Flint discusses at length the paucity of awards for Murray Leinster and Andre Norton in particular, then lists several other writers’ nomination and win counts.
What has become equally obvious, to anyone willing to look at the situation objectively, is that a third of a century later the situation has become transformed. Today, there are is only one author left who can regularly maintain the bridge between popular appeal and critical acclaim. That author is Neil Gaiman. And there are no more than a handful of others who can manage it on occasion. Perhaps the most prominent in that small group are Lois McMaster Bujold, Ursula LeGuin and George R.R. Martin.
Once you get beyond that very small number of authors, the field diverges rapidly. That handful aside, there is no longer any great overlap between those fantasy and science fiction authors whom the mass audience considers the field’s most important writers—judging by sales, at any rate—and those who are acclaimed by the small groups of people who hand out awards.
Exactly so, though I’d argue that LeGuin is perhaps less famous with mainstream, but more famous in literary circles. When I was an undergrad, I was told I couldn’t write science fiction or fantasy and work with writing faculty unless I wanted “to write like Ursula LeGuin.” I declined (because I want to write like myself, not LeGuin) and worked with a science faculty member who was an sf/f reader. (The program, then a part of Vermont College, required a faculty sponsor for the semester, but none of the writing faculty were willing to sponsor anyone writing any form of popular fiction.)
Anyone who writes genre fiction and wanted to seriously pursue a writing degree has, no doubt, run into some form of the above at some point.
Any author—or publisher, or editor—who gets widely associated with a political viewpoint that generates a lot of passion will inevitably suffer a loss of attractiveness when it comes to getting nominated for awards—or just reader reviews. Somebody is bound to get angry at you and denigrate your work, and often enough urge others to do the same.
Does it happen to people who are strongly associated with the right? Yes, it does. But it also happens to people who are strongly associated in the public mind with the left. If you don’t believe me, all you have to do is read through Amazon reader reviews of my work and see how many “reviews” are obviously triggered off by someone’s outrage/indignation/umbrage at what they perceive as my political viewpoint and have little if anything to do with the book which is theoretically being “reviewed.”
Nor does it matter very much whether the assessment people have is accurate or not. To give an example which is germane to this issue, there is a wide perception among many people in fandom—the average reader-on-the-street could care less—that Baen Books is a slavering rightwing publisher. And never mind the inconvenient fact that the author who has had more books published through Baen Books than any other over the past twenty years is…
(roll of drums)
Who is today and has been throughout his adult life an avowed socialist (as well as an atheist), and hasn’t changed his basic opinions one whit.
I’m also unhappy with the reduction of Baen to only publishing right-wing (and various other tropes) authors because I’m also a Baen author. I’m not as universally liberal as you might think, and I’ve in fact been a libertarian (both big-L and not) in the past. My religious affiliation could be best described as “Agnostic Pagan,” specifically Druidism.
Yes, it’s true that Larry Correia and John Ringo are pretty far to the right on the political spectrum and they don’t get nominated for major awards despite being very popular.
You know what else is true?
I’m very popular and further to the left on the political spectrum than they are to the right—and I never get nominated either. Mercedes Lackey isn’t as far left as I am, but she’s pretty damn far to the left and even more popular than I am—or Larry Correia, or John Ringo—and she doesn’t get nominated either.
The popular fantasy author Steven Brust, like me, is what most people call a “Trotskyist.” In a career that has now lasted thirty years, he’s picked up one Nebula nomination. On the other hand, China Miéville—another so-called Trotskyist—has gotten around a dozen nominations and won both a Hugo and a World Fantasy Award.
On the other side of the political spectrum, Mike Resnick has gotten more Hugo nominations than just about any author in the history of science fiction—he’s won five times, too—and he’s a Republican. A sometimes loud and vociferous Republican, as I can attest because he’s a friend of mine and we’ve been known to argue about politics. Loudly and vociferously.
The fact is, there is no correlation I can see between an author’s political views and the frequency (or complete lack thereof) with which he or she gets nominated for SF literary awards. The claim of the Sad Puppies faction that so-called “social justice warriors” are systematically discriminating against them is specious. It can only be advanced by cherry-picking examples and studiously ignoring all the ones that contradict the thesis, of which there are a multitude.
Exactly so. Resnick was also an editor of mine. I’ve had some great conversations with him over the years.
I believe there are three major factors involved that account for the ever-widening gap between the judgment of the mass audience and that of the (comparatively tiny) inner circles of SFdom who hand out awards. Of the three, two of them are objective in nature, which is what makes the problem so intractable. And all three of them tend to constantly reinforce each other.
The first objective factor is about as simple as gets. The field is simply too damn BIG, nowadays. For all the constant whining you hear from lots of authors about how tough things are today for working writers—which is true enough, in and of itself—the fact is that the situation is a lot better than it used to be. Half a century ago, I doubt if there were more than a dozen F&SF writers able to make a full-time living at it, and most of them were not making a very good living. Today, with a North American population no more than twice the size it was then, I figure there are somewhere around a hundred F&SF authors able to work at it full time, and at least a third of them are earning more than the median annual income. Even in per capita terms, that’s a big improvement.
Back in the old days, many of the most popular authors had a number of pseudonyms. Mike Resnick has a Rolodex full of pseudonyms. Not a joke or exaggeration. So in the old days, there was a different kind of problem: you’d like six authors, but they’d all be the same person.
The second objective problem is that due to massive changes in the market for F&SF—changes so massive that they amount to a complete transformation of the field over the past several decades—the structure of the major awards no longer bears any relationship to the real world in which professional authors live and work. That’s especially true for those authors who are able to work on a full-time basis and who depend on their writing income for a living. Award-voters and reviewers and critics can afford to blithely ignore the realities of the market, but they can’t.
Both the Hugo and the Nebula give out four literary awards. (I’m not including here the more recent dramatic awards, just the purely literary categories.) Those awards are given for best short story, best novelette, best novella, and best novel. In other words, three out of four awards—75% of the total—are given for short fiction.
Forty or fifty years ago, that made perfect sense. It was an accurate reflection of the reality of the field for working authors. F&SF in those days was primarily a short form genre, whether you measured that in terms of income generated or number of readers.
But that is no longer true. Today, F&SF is overwhelmingly a novel market. Short fiction doesn’t generate more than 1% or 2% of all income for writers. And even measured in terms of readership, short fiction doesn’t account for more than 5% of the market.
Don’t believe me? Then consider this: I have published at least half a dozen novels each of which has sold more copies than the combined circulation of all science fiction and fantasy magazines in the United States—and I am by no means the most popular author in our field.
Romantic Times gives out an absolutely dizzying number of awards each year. Here are this year’s winners. Note that quite a few of those are publisher specific. Romance is an even more overwhelmingly novel-oriented market than science fiction or fantasy are.
To give you an idea of how large that field is, I read 150 romance books last year, mostly ones published last year. I’ve only read one of the books on the list. I’ve read twelve of the authors, though most of those have been published in sf/f.
Also, I disagree with the point he then follows up with about the novel length for the Hugo being wrong. Up until 2010, I’d have agreed with him. However, with the rise of digital first publishing, many more short novels are being written than used to be. It hasn’t picked up as much in science fiction and fantasy as it has in romance—in part because it began earlier in romance with a greater number of digital-first publishers and the popularity of “category length” (read: shorter) books—but I believe that is just a matter of time.
While there are romance series, most of them are a completely different style than is popular in sf/f: the protagonists of book 1 become side characters in book 2, and vice-versa.
Is there any solution to the problem?
Well, freeping the Hugos doesn’t fix the problem, it just vastly increases the number of people who are unhappy.
In addition to being an author, I also do a lot of editing of old science fiction stories. I’ve produced by now something like three dozen anthologies of stories written mostly in the fifties, sixties and early seventies. And I can state flatly that the average level of fiction written in our field today is far higher than it was half a century ago. As fond as I am of the fiction I grew up on, the simple fact is that most of those authors couldn’t get published today.
It’s not just a matter of prose, either. Just about everything in those days was crude, compared to the situation today.
The science in “science fiction” was often abysmal, especially the biology. Edgar Rice Burroughs was by no means the only author who told stories in which humans mate with aliens and produce offspring. Thereby demonstrating a grasp of biology stuck somewhere in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries.
The settings were typically crude, too, compared to the settings of most stories today. So were the plots. There were exceptions, to be sure—and, not surprisingly, those tended to be the most popular authors.
My point is simply that there is no rational basis for thinking that the literary sophistication of the mass audience for F&SF today is any worse than it was some decades ago, and plenty of reason to think that it’s actually superior.
The quality shift was a concerted effort on behalf of people like Robin Scott Wilson, who created the Clarion Writers’ Workshop in the 1960s to help improve the quality of writing in the field. These days, there are quite a few similar workshops open by audition:
There are, finally, also programs in writing popular fiction, including MFA degrees from both Seton Hill and the University of Southern Maine.
Knight also founded SFWA, and part of the intention of the Nebula Awards was to focus on works on literary quality (as distinct from popularity). Yet, over time, the Nebula Award and Hugo Awards nomination lists seem to be (this is a perception that I have not analyzed, to be clear) closer rather than farther apart.
Over time, Clarion has produced (let’s say 15 people average per year x 40+ years) over 600 graduates, and many of those vote or nominate. Or hold (or have held) editorial positions at some point. When you add in the members of the other groups, too, this represents a significant influence on science fiction and fantasy books and short stories.
Yet, as a counter-example, a couple of years before I attended Clarion, Gordon van Gelder was the editor-in-residence. He handed the class his slush pile, and said, “which one of these would I buy?”
The class read the stories and argued with each other and had it narrowed down to a list of five candidates. Gordon said, basically, that it was none of them. He pointed to a story by a far more famous writer and said (paraphrase), “I’d buy this one, so I could put his name in big letters on the cover and sell the magazine.”
The sword definitely cuts more than one way. As Gardner Dozois put it, people become publishable before they start selling.
Here’s my proposal: someone (not me) should start a workshop designed for people who want to write the popular end of science fiction and fantasy, and possibly aimed at people who wish to write sf/f books (the existing workshops are mostly about short-story writing). Yes, I know that Viable Paradise is about that, but the field is certainly big enough for two such workshops.
Not only that, it could be one that valued humor more than Clarion et al tend to. (You know what’s harder than writing humorous work? Critiquing it. Harder yet is understanding how to use the critiques.)
Make it six weeks long, have authors bring complete novel drafts, and workshop the whole draft in six chunks.
Don’t make it depend on ideology, make it depend on wanting to write stronger works of popular fiction.
This would be a great place to form relationships with other, similar writers, to build interrelationships within the field (as happens with Clarion et al), and doesn’t have the problematic relationship with the Church of Scientology that Writers of the Future does.
You’re only 47 years behind.
Two Hugo Awards nominees who were on Sad Puppies and/or Rabid Puppies slates have withdrawn their works.
Annie Bellet, author of “Goodnight Stars,” nominated for Best Short Story, announced her withdrawal in a moving post, excerpted:
I want to make it clear I am not doing this lightly. I am not doing it because I am ashamed. I am not doing it because I was pressured by anyone either way or on any “side,” though many friends have made cogent arguments for both keeping my nomination and sticking it out, as well as for retracting it and letting things proceed without me in the middle.
I am withdrawing because this has become about something very different than great science fiction. I find my story, and by extension myself, stuck in a game of political dodge ball, where I’m both a conscripted player and also a ball. (Wrap your head around that analogy, if you can, ha!) All joy that might have come from this nomination has been co-opted, ruined, or sapped away. This is not about celebrating good writing anymore, and I don’t want to be a part of what it has become.
I am not a ball. I do not want to be a player. This is not what my writing is about. This is not why I write. I believe in a compassionate, diverse, and inclusive world. I try to write my own take on human experiences and relationships, and present my fiction as entertainingly and honestly as I can.
I am proud of “Goodnight Stars.” I wrote a damn good story last year that a lot of people have enjoyed. I believe it could have maybe even won.
But it is not the last story I will write. It is not even the best story I will write. I have perhaps already written better stories this year. I will write better stories next year, and the year after, and for decades after that. I hope to be like Ray Bradbury and write every moment until I go gentle in that good night, pen in hand.
There will be other years and maybe other rockets. I don’t want to stand in a battlefield anymore. I don’t want to have to think over every tweet and retweet, every blog post, every word I say. I don’t want to cringe when I open my email. I don’t want to have to ask friends to google me and read things so that I can at least be aware of the stuff people might be saying in my name or against my name.
This is not why I write. This is not the kind of community I want to be a part of, nor the kind of award I want to win.
Incredibly moved by that post.
Marko Kloos, nominated for his novel Lines of Departure blogged about his withdawal:
It has come to my attention that “Lines of Departure” was one of the nomination suggestions in Vox Day’s “Rabid Puppies” campaign. Therefore—and regardless of who else has recommended the novel for award consideration—the presence of “Lines of Departure” on the shortlist is almost certainly due to my inclusion on the “Rabid Puppies” slate. For that reason, I had no choice but to withdraw my acceptance of the nomination. I cannot in good conscience accept an award nomination that I feel I may not have earned solely with the quality of the nominated work.
Both are very honorable positions, and, no matter which way they had gone, they’d have both made friends and lost friends. I wish them both the very best.
Because of the kerfluffle over ineligible work, naturally it was pointed out that Scalzi’s Old Man’s War previously qualified for a Hugo Award, though it did not win, despite having first been serialized for the web.
Scalzi’s response is interesting. The tl;dr version is: the changes in the publishing landscape between then and now have changed what’s perceived as “publication.”
Scalzi wraps it up with this point:
What would I have done in 2006 if I had been disqualified from the Hugo ballot because OMW had been serialized on my Web site? I imagine I would have been very gravely disappointed and would have probably groused privately and possibly even publicly. Then I imagine I would have put on my own big kid pants and dealt with it. Because here’s a home truth: No one is owed a Hugo award, or a Hugo nomination. If you start thinking you are, you’re the problem, not the Hugos, their administrators, or anyone else who might have ever been nominated, or even been awarded, one of the rockets.
I don’t know, John, maybe this calls for your Universal Blame Accepter role. 😉
In the continuing saga of this year’s Hugo Awards, I discuss commentary from Connie Willis and J. Michael Straczynski.
Connie Willis writes about why she’s turned down the opportunity to present the Campbell Award this year:
I love the Hugos. I can still remember how thrilled I was the first time I was nominated for one. It was the fulfillment of a dream I’d had ever since I was thirteen and had opened up Heinlein’s HAVE SPACE SUIT, WILL TRAVEL and fallen into the magical world of science fiction. I was nominated for a short story called “Daisy, in the Sun,” and I didn’t win–I lost to George R.R. Martin–but just being nominated and being there at the awards ceremony was more than enough, and then on top of that, I got to talk to Robert Silverberg and watch Damon Knight emcee and meet all these famous authors who were my heroes. It was one of the happiest nights of my life.
Since that first time, I’ve won Hugos, emceed the awards ceremony twice, and presented countless awards. I’ve handed Hugo Awards for all kinds of fiction to all kinds of authors, told them congratulations, beamed at them as they made their acceptance speeches, hugged them, and helped them down the dark stairs backstage afterwards. I’ve loved doing it. And I’ve loved everything else about the Hugos–the anticipation and the nervousness when you’re a nominee, the fun of bantering with George R.R. Martin and Mike Resnick and doing comedy routines with Robert Silverberg, the excitement of watching authors and artists you love be awarded for the work they do, and the joy of being in a room with thousands of other people who love science fiction as much as I do. I’ve adored every minute of it. Till now.
She continues, and I’d suggest you read her piece.
Personally, I can’t imagine being a presenter this year. Too fraught.
In a partial response, J. Michael Straczynski has a radical suggestion:
That being said, every indication is that this year the process was hijacked to a degree never before witnessed, if only because those involved seem to have made no pretense otherwise. They not only robbed the bank, they posted photos of the currency on Facebook and dared anyone to come and get it.
If, as many involved in Worldcon believe, the Hugos have been hijacked, if the slate of nominees to go out has been gamed in such a way that the Hugo vote and the awards themselves are not actually legitimate, then you have only one option.
Leave the relationship.
Cancel the Hugos.
If you, the organizers, genuinely feel that the Hugos this year are illegitimate, then why in god’s name are you handing out illegitimate awards?
My problem with that is that the Hugo Awards are consitutionally required by the WSFS constitution. The constitution takes two years to change, so changes initiated this year would need to be ratified next year, then become effective for 2017’s Hugo nominations and awards.
What is not constitutionally required is a Hugo Award ceremony.
Sure, that would hurt any legitimate winners (and the entire fan artist category in particular). But when I read Connie Willis’s piece, I wondered how many other people had been asked to be presenters and turned it down.
Instead, the winners as well as the nominator breakdowns could be circulated before the first business meeting. Or the second, so the old business could get out of the way in the first meeting.
Frankly, I don’t envy the senior members of Sasquan’s concom about now.
I can just hear con chair in memoriam Bobbie DuFault on the entire topic….
This is a multi-purpose post about the Sad Puppies (et al) Hugo Nominations and award slates, covering the following topics: 1. Schools of thought on voting No Award.
Before we get into the subject, I’d like to highlight this piece by Kevin Standlee about the meaning and nuances of No Award and ranking items beneath No Award.
First, there are two major schools of thought about voting No Award for the pup-dominated categories (meaning: all but Best Fan Artist and Best Graphic Story). There are also a couple of variances, which I’ll also mention.
So ASIM is on the Hugo ballot. We at the magazine have known about this for about ten days’ time, and have long since sent through the acceptance. But because none of us are exactly active in US fandom, we only became aware of the Sad Puppies connection very late in the piece — in fact, a scant three days before the nominations were made public, and well after all the dust had settled on the nomination process itself. ASIM was never informed about our inclusion on the Sad Puppies 3 slate — if we had been, I very strongly suspect our response would have been a resounding ‘Hell, No’ — and there was no time, nor any point, in looking to remove ourselves once we did get there.
My own take on this is that a Sad Puppies vote for ASIM is a ‘pity-sex’ vote.
See also this blog post by Sue Bursztynski. As a disclaimer: I have friends who are working, or who have worked, for the mag. Also, I’ve known people published there, of course. I’ve nominated it myself a time or two, just not this year.
An editor being put on a slate is in an interesting ethical quandary: Hugo-winning books make more money, and an editor’s job is, in part, to make money for their house. That said, I’m not sure that Hugo-winning editors have the same revenue-enhancing capability, and I’d rather see Patrick Nielsen Hayden’s view take hold. Sorry Sheila, maybe another year.
Incidentally, I’m with @matociquala. I will never agree to be part of any award slate, nor vote for anyone who agrees to be part of one.
— Catherynne Valente (@catvalente) April 8, 2015
— Wesley Chu (@wes_chu) April 8, 2015
— MichaelDamianThomas (@michaeldthomas) April 9, 2015
— Nightjar UrsulaV (@UrsulaV) April 9, 2015
— Suzanne Palmer (@zanzjan) April 9, 2015
— P Nielsen Hayden (@pnh) April 9, 2015
One of the things that some of the puppies believe is that the only possible explanation for the existing Hugo nominations and results is that there have been secret slates all along.
First, I’ve never heard of any larger-scale slates. I know there was a rules change to make nomination memberships close earlier than the nomination window did. That was a reaction to one specific abuse for one author (if I recall correctly, and I may not be).
Kevin Standlee, a former Hugo administrator, is a far more authoritative voice than my own:
Despite claims, I do not believe that there was ever a deliberate conspiracy to fill all the slots in every category with a dedicated “slate” of works. There clearly have been campaigns to get individual works on the ballot, some of them going beyond the technically legal.
The various other groups that compile lists of “things we like that we think you should consider on your Hugo ballot,” never go out of their way to make the number of items precisely equal to the number of spaces on the final ballot. A dedicated campaign by a noisy minority that insists that they are the Real True Fans Who are A Majority of Everyone is what is ticking people off.
He follows with a clarification:
I should have said that I do not think that before this year there was ever a deliberate conspiracy to fill all the slots in every category.
As a writer, I’ve had people solicit me for Nebula consideration by offering to send their work. That’s essentially ended with the new SFWA forums, thank goodness (because that’s how eligible works tend to be distributed).
I think the voting patterns come from several places, but one of the largest is he cultural divide between pro-run cons and fan-run cons.
The Hugo Awards are voted upon by members of the current Worldcon, which moves about in location from year to year. Historically, there’s been a relatively stable number of voters. That number increased dramatically once online nominating and voting became available.
Fan-run cons have people working in various positions. I’ve worked in programming in some capacity at several Worldcons, several Westercons, and the regional convention, BayCon. I’ve gotten to meet a whole bunch of cool authors (and artists and all kinds of other cool people, including a few actors).
Then you’ve got the significantly larger pro-run cons. I don’t even want to know how many people ComicCon (either San Diego or Salt Lake) is pulling in these days.
You just have a far more likely chance to make an actual connection at a fan-run con, and many of the writers who’ve been nominated have shown up at the various fan-run cons. (I include World Fantasy in this genre, because while it’s a pro-level con, it still runs on fan volunteers.)
To finish this long wind-up: because fans who vote on the Hugos very often have real face-to-face connections with the people they vote for, and not for the people who eschew Worldcon in favor of Dragon Con (which is frequently on the same weekend ever since D*C moved onto Worldcon’s traditional weekend).
(Note: I wrote this section on too little sleep. I’ve edited it to make it clearer. I hope.)
It’s only in the last couple of weeks—thanks to the release of HBO’s Going Clear—that a lot of Americans came to somewhere around 1% of the awareness I had about Scientology’s evil in 1995.
Then I see quotations like this one from Jason Sanford and I want to punch holes in my desk with a fork:
This is similar to how most people in our genre support the Writers of the Future contests and programs even though they were founded by L. Ron Hubbard and receive funding from Scientology-related ventures.
Back in 1995, I was being stalked at the time for speaking out on alt.religion.scientology, along with quite a few of my friends. We had a reunion earlier this year, and Scientology goons tried to crash it. Twenty. Years. Later.
If you think the Sad/Rabid Puppies are bad (or even if you don’t), consider the Scientologists:
…then consider that they suborned some of the Sad/Rabid puppies…for money. And some of you reading this, too.
Here are a few Sad Puppies associated with Writers of the Future:
Annie Bellet was not a winner, but still promotes her progress in the WotF contest on every page of her site. Megan Grey does this just on her about page.
(The above is not an exhaustive list, just the names I know.)
The purpose of Writers of the Future is for L. Ron Hubbard to get a name recognition lift when you later become famous. The entire point is to legitimize, newly, a man who threw children into chain lockers on ships.
But, you say, it has nothing to do with Scientology. The contest is run separately.
That’s what they’d like you to believe. Many people hear that, see the possibility of winning $5,000, and it shuts down their critical faculties. As Scientology intends.
Scientology, more than any other corporation I know of, is a bunch of shells with complicated interactions that were intended to be obfuscatory, but this one’s easy: the contest, part of Galaxy Press, a trade name of Author Services, which is part of the Church of Spiritual Technology. L. Ron Hubbard’s literary estate, aka the home of Scientology.
But, but, you say.
Well, I ask you: where are those books printed? Who makes them? Did you ever ask?
They’re printed by Bridge Publications, which is also owned by Scientology. This takes us to the tale of Daniel Montalvo. Here’s his lawsuit after he escaped at the age of 19 after working as a minor for Bridge Publications.
One of Scientology’s lawyers, Kendrick Moxon, had a daughter, Stacy, who worked at the Int base and was electrocuted due to lack of safety precautions. She worked at Gold. You may have seen Gold staff as camera and lighting (and other tech) crew for the Writers of the Future events.
I can’t begin to tell you how low the regard for human life is in Scientology. There is a lot of solidarity between Mormons and Scientologists as fellow members of new religions, but that’s a complete illusion.
For those of you who happen to be Christian and feel strongly about it, here’s an excerpt from the Assists tape Dennis Erlich posted a transcript of in 1994, part of the “past lives” doctrine of Scientology that’s part of the Xenu level:
The medical doctor is not really represented in R6. It is only the surgeon. The surgeon is shown cutting bodies to pieces. That’s the right thing to do. Actually he shreds a body down to just raw meat down to a skeleton and the skeleton is in agony and then it too is chopped up. Anyway, every man is then shown to have been crucified, so don’t think that it’s an accident that this crucifixion .. they found out that this applied. Somebody, somewhere on this planet, back about six hundred BC, found some piece of R6. And I don t know how they found it either by watching mad men or something but since that time they have used it and it became what is known as Christianity.
Translation: per Scientology doctrine, Christianity is a mass hallucination on Earth because of evil surgeons around about the time of Xenu.
That is what Writers of the Future and Illustrators of the Future are about. Getting people to pay money for Xenu and beyond. It has nothing to do with the quality of your stories or your art. It’s about adding to the long con.
They can buy respect off your future platform, then, tada! they offer to help increase your platform. Let’s arrange a book signing. Can you make it to this convention?
It’s not for you. It’s for Scientology.
Suppose you’ve won, and have just gulped, and are going to the upcoming event. I suggest you ask the following questions of any Galaxy Press staff you happen to see:
The main points: a) do they exist? b) when did you last see them? Pay attention to the nuances of their reactions.
The results will floor you. Guaranteed.
I was going to comment more deeply on Mike Scott’s proposal, but I really think the commentary on voting system changes should instead be taking place on Making Light, specifically in comments on this guest post by Bruce Schneier.
I liked the poison pill nature of this, it make my inner evil genius chortle with glee.
The woman in the back of the room suggested that supporting membership $ be used to purchase memberships for the disenfranchised: fans of color, poor fans, handicapped fans, etc.
Kevin Standlee has the “No Award” neepery guide. He also has a general Hugo awards tag that covers a lot of the quirks of Hugo voting. Kevin is one of the most thoughtful and fair people I know. Out of the comments:
Voting something below no award doesn’t decide who wins; it decides what loses last. This is similar to what I’ve often said about Instant Runoff Voting (the technical name for our voting system): It doesn’t choose the most-favored candidate; it chooses the least-disliked one.
Also, if you are new to the business meeting and proposal drafting process, Kevin has been consistently helpful about resources for that. If you want to have a shot at having your proposal heard (rather than shot down immediately by the people in the room), listening to Kevin is always a good strategy.
Bookworm Blues has a thoughtful post.
Elizabeth Bear also has a thoughtful post. She says, “This is not the first time All Fandom Has Been Plunged Into War. It will not be the last.” (The first time was the Breendoggle, which I posted about extensively last year.)
Jason Sanford has a good post with some thoughtful comments.
Cora Buhlert has a big roundup post.
Saving the most epic for last, George R. R. Martin once again proves that he’s a novelist with his three posts on the topic: one, two, and three. His three posts involve a lot of Hugo history from a pro (and neo-pro) point of view, including losing the first Campbell award (to Jerry Pournelle) and co-inventing the Hugo Loser’s party with Gardner Dozois.
I thought I’d show, in chart form, what the year-over-year changes are in Hugo Awards nominations, substantially due to the sad puppies (and rabid puppies) voting.
This year, there were almost exactly 10% more Hugo nominations than last year. Last year, there was also a (substantially less successful) sad puppies slate.
The area charts are 2015, and the lines correspond to the Hugo Awards nominations in the same categories for 2014.
Sources: 2014 statistics and 2015 statistics.
For those who don’t know, a “filk” song is a science fiction/fantasy folk genre, generally adding new lyrics to an existing tune. Though many filk writers also write original tunes, as I pay tribute to in this post.
The rest of this post is written by my husband, Rick Moen.
People who’ve been on SMOFS for a while might remember http://filkerdave.livejournal.com/541186.html. Well, I’ve gone and done the dirty deed a second time. ## Sad Puppies Aren’t Much Fun
(With apologies to Ogdel Edsl and fond memories of Dr. Demento.)
Sad puppies aren’t much fun.
They all fight for silenced voices,
By crowding out all other choices.
Sad puppies aren’t much fun.
Inclusiveness means broader picks,
Yet Three Body Problem gets a ‘nix’.
Sad puppies aren’t much fun.
Wright’s novellas mustn’t be ignored,
But his rocket points straight at Noah Ward.
Sad puppies aren’t much fun.
Sad puppies aren’t much fun.
Sad puppies aren’t much fun.
Update: Includes changes announced after initial nominations were announced. The only puppy-free slate changes are in the Best Novel and Best Novelette category. Ineligibility changes at File 770. Withdrawal changes at File 770.
Update 2: I’ve added those who withdrew after the final ballot into their respective categories below (because some people will be ranking choices after No Award and may wish to take these names into account). Also, for reference, here is the full ballot.
Follow, or don’t, your choice. If you are voting the strict ix-nay uppy-pay slate, here’s the options in each category:
Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Tor Books)
(in whichever order, followed by No Award)
The Day The World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lia Belt translator (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014)
Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt, (Marvel Comics)
Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery, written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)
Saga Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick, written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
(in whichever order, followed by No Award)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier, screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, concept and story by Ed Brubaker, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Entertainment, Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks)
Edge of Tomorrow, screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions)
(all other nominees were part of the Sad/Rabid Puppies slate. Suggest following the above two, either order, with No Award)
Doctor Who: “Listen”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Television)
Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”, written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)
(all other nominees were part of the Sad/Rabid Puppies slate. Suggest following the above two, either order, with No Award)
Withdrew: Edmund R. Schubert
(followed by No Award)
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews
Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
Strange Horizons, Niall Harrison, editor-in-chief
(followed by No Award)
Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Lynda E. Rucker, Pete Young, Colin Harris, and Helen J.Montgomery
(followed by No Award)
Withdrew: Black Gate, edited by John O’Neill
Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
Tea and Jeopardy, Emma Newman and Peter Newman
(followed by No Award)
Laura J. Mixon — Except Mixon also campaigned for a Hugo Award with emotional blackmail language, which IMHO makes her no better than the Puppies.
(followed by No Award)
This is the only puppy-free category (as it wasn’t on their slate)! Congrats to the nominees!
Brad W. Foster
(followed by No Award)
You’re free to comment, but if you’re going to send hate comments, I’m just going to block you from commenting ever.
Note: After posting this, Rick told me later about this File 770 post, which analyzes the issue differently and compares the Sad/Rabid Puppies slates.
Sir Pterry declined his nomination in 2005. Many of the comments are interesting too, including the one that J. K. Rowling and Terry Pratchett trailed just behind John Scalzi and Charles Stross in 2008.
I was talking with Crystal Huff about getting to Helsinki, and I volunteered to put together a list of how to get to Finland for the Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon bid.
After I sat down and got started, I thought it would be interesting to put the list together in a non-US-centric way, so I started on the Wikipedia List of Countries by Population. And, as I scrolled down the list, I realized that, without specifically planning going to Finland, I already knew most of the answers about how to get there from wherever.
I scrolled to the bottom of the list, and laughed.
As it happens, I’ve been there, so I’ve studied up on how to get there. Pitcairn, which consists of four islands—only one of which is inhabited—is one of the remotest and most difficult places to get to on the planet. It’s the last British Overseas Territory in the Pacific.
So here’s my draft of that answer. Note: it’s this difficult to get from Pitcairn to anywhere, which is one reason that residents often spend several months away at a time.
Pitcairn: If you’re one of the few dozen people from Pitcairn, it will take you longer to get to Helsinki than for the average person, but you already know that. You know all about the cruise ship schedule, and you’re no doubt hoping that something comes later than the Costa Luminosa so you’ll be able to stay on Pitcairn past February 23rd, way too early to leave for Worldcon. Eventually, the Claymore II supply ship schedule for 2017 will be posted, and you’ll probably sail for Mangareva around June. From there, you’ll fly Air Tahiti (not to be confused with Air Tahiti Nui) to Papeete. From there, you’ve got one of three possible routes: Air France/Finnair via Los Angeles and Paris (17,615 km), LAN/KLM via Easter Island, Santiago Chile, and Amsterdam (21,521 km), or Air New Zealand via some route like Auckland, Tokyo, Helsinki on Air New Zealand and Finnair, which is shorter (20750 km) than the same route through Hong Kong (21070 km). So, sure, you’d have to leave in June and you might be able to make the September supply ship back, but think of the interesting places you could stop over along the way.
When I was entering the UK, the immigration officer looked at my passport. As often happens, initially a bored immigration agent is looking for a place to stamp, then they become interested in the unusual places I have in my passport.
“Where’s Pitcairn?” he asked.
I boggled. After all, it is a British Overseas Territory, but I was actually having to resist answering, “the ass end of nowhere.” I stumbled over the explanation, then Rick piped up to explain.
“Where the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty‘ happened” is generally the simplest explanation, though not quite correct as that’s where the mutineers wound up, not where the mutiny occurred.
You can get to Helsinki even from Pitcairn. It’ll just take a while.
For years, I never really thought about what verb to use when reading audiobooks. I discuss my shift in verb usage from “listen” to “read.”
Mary Robinette notes some good things for the future of audio-first books:
Woot! The motion to make audio books officially part of the Hugo fiction categories passed. Still needs to be ratified, but Yay!
— Mary Robinette Kowal (@MaryRobinette) August 16, 2014
Last year, she was disqualified for Best Novelette in last year’s Hugo Awards because it was audio first and the posted story on her blog had some small staging directions. Thus, the administrators ruled it would qualify in Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. Sadly, it lacked the number of votes to make the nominating cutoff in that particular category.
This year, it was published on Tor.com and won Best Novelette.
A few months ago, I had a conversation on Twitter with Colter Reed. He said he’d “read” an audiobook, and the usage stuck out to me.
I realized today that I have only read the abridged audiobook of @EntreLeadership. Just bought the full book.
— Colter Reed (@ColterReed) March 23, 2014
@csreed I still can’t reconcile “read” and “audiobook.”
— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) March 23, 2014
@deirdresm I decided to just use read for consistency and simplicity. Audio-, digital, or paper… it’s all read.
— Colter Reed (@ColterReed) March 23, 2014
@deirdresm Though some prescriptivists will likely cringe.
— Colter Reed (@ColterReed) March 23, 2014
@csreed I’m not one of those, just hadn’t really thought it through. It’s a book regardless. You’re right.
— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) March 23, 2014
— Colter Reed (@ColterReed) March 23, 2014
Audiobooks are really taking off, and a lot of people read them. (See what I did there?)
I’ve moved away from them myself, for various reasons, mostly that I tend to remember books better when I read them by eye rather than ear.
I’m very aware, as my very literate father’s eyesight has degraded, that reading a book with one’s eyes is a privilege not everyone has.
Some people prefer audiobooks for other reasons, like making a long commute easier.
Still, it’s a book—or a story—and we “read” those.
Accordingly, my usage of the term “read” has changed.
First, congratulations to all the winners!
Wow, what a rush.
None of my four outlier recommendations made the ballot. Except one of them won in a different category, and I could just do jumping jacks about that.
Sarah Webb is someone I should have known would win eventually.
The first of my recommendations, Randall Munroe, came in 9th.
SF Signal. Which I should totally listen to more often. Interesting quirk: No Award had the highest number of first-place votes in this category.
Julie Dillon becomes the first woman to win the Hugo for Best Professional Artist as a solo artist. (Diane Dillon co-won with her husband in 1971.)
Ace’s retiring editor Ginjer Buchanan won, though she didn’t have the largest number of first-place votes. Baen’s Toni Weisskopf did, but she also had less support in other places, and also had more people rank No Award higher.
I was really hoping for Orphan Black, but Game of Thrones won for “The Rains of Castamere.” I’m peeved that Sharknado wasn’t on either the long list for either the long or short form ballot. It was robbed!
Gravity. So, so, so happy about this.
Randall Munroe, XKCD, Time.
In 2011, I first suggested Randall Munroe for Best Fan Artist. As a result of my lobbying, he got on the ballot that year (and the next), but he didn’t win.
Randall’s acceptance speech.
And Cory Doctorow accepting, dressed as an XKCD character (also a later XKCD):
My work here is done.
Congratulations, Randall! ## Best Related Work
“We Have Always Fought”: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative by Kameron Hurley on A Dribble of Ink. Very much worth reading. In a related note, here’s how the lemming myth was perpetuated.
I also have a soft spot in my heart for Writing Excuses as I’ll be on an upcoming episode.
“The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu published by Tor.com.
“The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal also published by Tor.com. I loved the audio version last year, and love the text version as well.
This was the category that Vox Day was also in, so I note that he lost fifth place (of five) to “No Award.”
“Equoid” by Charles Stross also published by Tor.com. I love Stross’s work. Though I preferred his Best Novel entry to this one, I’m glad he won in a category.
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. This book won the Hugo, the Nebula, the Clarke Award, and the Locus Award, as well as tying for the BSFA Award. That is a very rare combo, especially for a debut novel.
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson came in 4th, and, Warbound by Larry Correia (of the voting slate) came in last, somewhat above “No Award.”
Wow, a lot of women won! (Dramatic sigh re: Orphan Black not being among them.)
The two nominations I was most excited by won. w00t!
Tor.com really did a great job.
We arrived in London on Wednesday afternoon, and our shared ride to the Aloft hotel took 2-1/2 hours due to road closures in central London for an event.
It’s our first stay at an Aloft hotel, which is trendy and hipsterish without being too much so. The convention rate makes it affordable for a London hotel.
We got to dinner late on Wednesday after napping for several hours, and I slept very well that night.
Thursday, I only went to one panel: The Joy of Sex, which featured Artist Guest of Honor Chris Foss, one of the original illustrators of the book The Joy of Sex. The panel also included Meg Barker, who is currently researching sex manuals, and Bethan Jones a sexualities researcher.
Chris was a complete hoot.
I missed two koffeeklatsches. One I was on the alternate list for, and the other was after the panel, and I was simply too tired by that point. Pity, as I would really have loved to have gone.
Apart from that, I did a fair amount of talking to people before needing to bail for a nap in the late afternoon.
One of Rick’s relatives who lives in London came to dinner with us, and it was great to see him again.
I’ve been meaning to post this for a while.
In light of my changing feelings over the Hachette/Amazon battle and reminders of same like this Salon piece, I’m changing the reading order for this year’s Best Novel Hugo nominees, putting the Hachette authors first.
Because I support Hachette in their game of chicken against Amazon.
My usual method for reading the Hugo novel nominees is: read first chapters until I get to a book I can’t put down, then finish that. Then either read other first chapters or pick which one I liked next best from the first chapters. Lather, rinse, repeat until we’re all out of time or until I’m done.
I now have all the books.
Also, in my prior piece, a badly worded sentence, when taken without surrounding context, said that I was going to vote something last.
I vote on what I’ve read. If I haven’t read it, I don’t vote for (or against) it. I also don’t vote things higher or lower because I like or dislike the author or what they’ve said. That may affect the order in which I read things, but it doesn’t affect how I vote directly. It does indirectly in that I may not get to certain authors’ works in light of my current workload.
Hope that’s clearer, because I actually felt bad that I’d failed so spectacularly until called out on that sentence.
Note: I later changed the rule below due to the Amazon/Hachette tiff, putting Orbit books first.
Essentially, my policy is one Rick uses for other things: make it easy for me to help you. Orbit isn’t.
John Scalzi discusses Orbit’s decision to only include previews of their three nominees here.
This year’s kind of rare—I spent my year reading out of genre and have read exactly zero of the nominated novels.
My usual rule for book-length works is:
If it’s not in the Hugo Voter’s Packet, I don’t vote for it.
This year, I need to modify that:
If it’s not in the Hugo Voter’s Packet in complete form, I don’t vote for it.
Why? Because not providing a nominated book says to me that the Hugo Awards aren’t perceived as valuable by the publisher. Why should I reward that?
Meanwhile, this weekend attendees at RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans are getting a thumb drive with 349 books. Self-published books, granted, but who has more to lose (or gain) than they do? (I have one of those, fwiw, Felt Tips: Office Supply Erotica, edited by Tiffany Reisz.)
There are a few modifiers to my rules:
If I read a book in a Hugo packet and I love the book, I will buy it if I hadn’t already. So, in that sense, being nominated already means I’m more likely to a) read the book and b) buy the book than any other random book published last year.
I no longer read print books, and not being a Kindle person, I don’t do ebook library loans.
In general, there are 1-2 Hugo-shortlisted novels per year that I’d buy. Stross wrote my favorite book, and the nominated book is the third in a series (and I haven’t read the first two in that series). Ann Leckie’s been getting a lot of buzz, I just hadn’t gotten around to buying and reading her book yet. And I’m so far behind on Mira Grant books that it’s not funny (though this one’s in a new series, so there’s that). All three are affected by Orbit’s decision not to put entire books in the packet. Here’s the joint post by the three affected Orbit authors.
I’ve already established that I’ll be putting Larry dead last. (Edit: to clarify, I mean in reading order. Since I haven’t yet read his book, I’m not sure where I’d rank it on the ballot, but I can say it’s unlikely I’ll get to it during the voting period.) Why? I don’t mind hearing people say, “I liked this, it’s eligible, I think you could check it out,” but I think that putting together a slate crosses the line. (This is aside from any issues of what he did or didn’t recommend.) So he goes after the whole Orbit crowd.
(cue dramatic music)
I guess I’ll go about finally reading The Wheel of Time then. (Those books on the shelf? Rick’s. I almost never read incomplete series.)
Tentative reading order, possibly to be modified later:
If Orbit provided full books, my reading order would likely be:
I was asked on LJ what the problems were with PDF:
Total pain in the ass.
I honestly can’t get into a book that takes that much attention just to read. I’ve tried before, and not voted before. The last time I tried was a Cat Valente nominee (Palimpsest).
The Hugo Awards site has the full nomination list.
Look, I don’t vote in every category every time. I will be voting in a category I haven’t voted in before, though.
Natalie has some commentary (and quite a few comments) over on her site.
I vote for the work, not the person, but there are some people I’ll put last in the pile to read. If I run out of time before, oh well. Let’s just say that I’ve bounced out of the work of those on the slate that I’ve tried to read before and leave it at that.
Randall Munroe being nominated for Time.
Yeah, I know. There are a lot of other things to complain about.
We don’t know each other, but we have something in common: a former relationship with Scientology. Only I didn’t grow up at its centre, then in East Grinstead, Sussex, the way you did. I got in when I was 18.
I read your piece Storms and how they start, and I get that Jonathan Ross is your friend. That isn’t a problem for me. What is a problem? Is failure to understand that your friend was always a problematic choice for hosting the Hugos, which I will get to.
One of the problems of the culture of Scientology is that you’re not supposed to talk about things that other people do to upset you, lest you yourself get told to get to Ethics and write up everything you’ve done. Or, worse, have to pay for a bunch of sessions to “handle” the whole thing. It takes the stiff upper lip thing to the next level, so it’s hard to hear a bunch of complaints and realize there is legitimacy to them.
Your dad was one of the most problematic people in Scientology. He ordered false information put in US security agency computers. He was involved, though not to the point of being an unindicted co-conspirator, in Operation Snow White, the largest civilian intrusion into US government systems to date. He took over for Jane Kember after she was convicted. Your dad, as Public Relations official for the Scientology’s Guardian’s Office Worldwide, was involved in cleaning up L. Ron Hubbard’s PR disasters, such as the chain locker abuses on the ships, particularly the incidents involving children. One disaster was throwing Mary Sue Hubbard under the bus after she was convicted in Operation Snow White. (She arguably got the best treatment by Hubbard of any of his wives.)
But still—David Gaiman was your dad.
Before we go further, I’d like to say: thank you for being a better person than he was, speaking as someone who was harassed by techniques your dad took a hand in developing.
However, better is relative here. I think the statement you made about your affiliation with Scientology (“As a child, I suppose I was as much a Scientologist as I was Jewish, which is to say it was the family religion. Am I now? No.”) was disingenuous given that a) you married a Scientologist before (not Amanda, obviously) and b) non-Scientologists don’t fork over $35,000 for obscure religious level contributions of benefit only to long-standing Scientologists. Sure, I believe you’re not a Scientologist now.
Still, that conditioning is hard to break. Hubbard and David Gaiman, among others, developed strategies specifically for silencing critics. So I can’t help but wonder if there’s a part of you still stuck in the “what are your crimes?” victim-blaming of critics that your father perfected.
Given that kind of a background, I can understand why you might have overlooked why Jonathan Ross was a problematic choice.
The best explanation I’ve read is Patton Oswalt’s post about rape jokes:
In fact, every viewpoint I’ve read on this, especially from feminists, is simply asking to kick upward, to think twice about who is the target of the punchline, and make sure it isn’t the victim.
Now, with that in mind, let’s look at these ten moments of Jonathan Ross’s. I’ll pick three.
What the people tweeting didn’t like? They didn’t want a Hugo announcer to kick downward. They had a reasonable fear that he would.
Look, I get that comedians tend to go too far. It’s how they find out where the edges are. But as a culture, SF/F fandom is still trying to cope with how to stop kicking downward. For that reason, Ross was simply the wrong choice. Oswalt again:
We bomb all the time. We go too far all the time. It’s in our nature. […]
I’m a man. I get to be wrong. And I get to change.
What I’d like, Neil, is for you to consider one thing: maybe the people who objected to Ross had a valid point. And maybe you just didn’t see that point while reeling at the backlash.
It’s not too late to look again in a new unit of time.
Best related work: Fic by Anne Jamison, a history of fanfiction.
Best fan artist: Randall Munroe. Last cartoon of the year is 1311 and first of 2013 was 1155 (thank you @xkcdfeed). Three of note: 1158 (it’s all about physics), 1167 (Star Trek Into Darkness), 1177 (Time Robot). For those who feel he isn’t eligible, he was ruled eligible in 2011 and the rules have not changed. Further discussion here.
Best dramatic presentation, short form: Flying Tiare by Matthieu Courtois and Ludovic Allain. Made as a fan film for the airline’s 15th birthday, it’s a real look at the technology and work of commercial flying. The really cool part, though, is seeing someone go up into the jet engine and get to see the (running) engine from the inside.
I’d already posted a recommendation for: Short story: “The Slow Winter” by James Mickens, so just a reminder.
The 2014 Cambellian Anthology is out! It features 860,000 words (eight-ish novels in size) from 111 different writers who are eligible for the Campbell award this year. Totally, completely free.
I want to offer my immense gratitude to Stupefying Stories for this. More than any other single award, I try to be well-read for the Campbell, and it used to be a real chore before Writertopia started keeping the eligibility list. Stupefying Stories took it to the next level with the clever idea to have an annual anthology.
Also, immense gratitude (and props) to the authors and publishers who’ve permitted their work to be included.
Special shout-out for Brooke Bolander, who is one of the eligible.
Best dramatic presentation, long form: Sharknado. As billed. Loved it, and I’m not normally up for this kind of thing. Definitely smarter than it had to be.
Yes, I’m recommending a technical paper written by a Microsoft researcher for a Hugo Award for Best Short Story.
There is a narrative in there….about the 2nd person narrator, son John, and the generational differences in chip design between the two of them.
As a child in 1977, John had met Gordon Moore; Gordon had pulled a quarter from behind John’s ear and then proclaimed that he would pull twice as many quarters from John’s ear every 18 months. Moore, of course, was an incorrigible liar and tormentor of youths, and he never pulled another quarter from John’s ear again, having immediately fled the scene while yelling that Hong Kong will always be a British territory, and nobody will ever pay $8 for a Mocha Frappuccino, and a variety of other things that seemed like universal laws to people at the time, but were actually just arbitrary nouns and adjectives that Moore had scrawled on a napkin earlier that morning.
John learned about the rumored Intel Septium chip, a chip whose prototype had been turned on exactly once, and which had leaked so much voltage that it had transformed into a young Linda Blair and demanded an exorcism before it embarked on a series of poor career moves that culminated in an inevitable spokesperson role for PETA.
He would then throw a coffee cup at the speaker and say that adding new hardware features would require each processor to be connected to a dedicated coal plant in West Virginia. John’s coworkers eventually understood his wisdom, and their need to wear coffee-resistant indoor ponchos lessened with time.
First, Lisa Hertel corrected me on my previous calculations: Finland’s hotel price was €80 ($106), not $80, but it also included breakfast and taxes. Thanks for the catch.
Rick Kovalcik additionally pointed out that Finland’s hotel rate also included wifi and taxes. Thanks!
I’m not going to do the re-calculations, but you get the point: it tips things more in Finland’s favor despite my gaffe.
Then, the other night, a friend of mine and I were doing travel window shopping on Facebook chat, and he booked a one-way ticket from Oakland to Oslo for under $300 on Norwegian Air Shuttle.
I’d missed the news, later posted to my blog entry, but Tommi added a comment to my post: Norwegian Air Shuttle (a low-cost carrier) has just announced US routes. Their five US cities are: Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York City (JFK), Oakland, and Orlando.
More on that in a minute.
Next year’s Finncon, the Finnish national convention, is going to be in Jyväskylä, the 7th largest city in Finland. It only has air service from Helsinki on Flybe, but people generally get there by train or road.
Airfare from Oakland to Helsinki one-way is $576.40, but that includes (remember, low cost carrier) no bag, no meal, and no assigned seat. That’s $94 extra.
One plus was that there’s zero penalty for flying only one way (verified by checking other cities).
I don’t know why it wouldn’t show return flights (suspect their site can’t handle long connects), but I didn’t dig too deeply into it. Flying to/from Sweden (ARN) was $1265 on Norwegian with basic extras. Flying to/from Helsinki same dates (July 8-18) on SAS and partners was a hair under $1500. It was $1510 looking on United, but all segments were actually on Lufthansa. I don’t generally book LH for long haul as I like my economy plus thank you very much. For long haul, it may literally be a lifesaver.
Also, I’ll note that there’s a lesson in this: when searching for the least expensive of non-specific dates, as I was in my last post, is a very different problem space than searching for specific dates. If you don’t need to be anywhere at any time in particular, you can always pick the best fares.
For JFK-GEG (Spokane), the lowest fares next July-Aug are $590 rt on Alaskan, basically 10% more than the fares I found out of SFO. 10-20% higher than that was not unusual, though. In general, Spokane’s numbers vary a lot, which indicates that they are frequently hitting capacity even this far out.
Cheapest flights to HELsinki are $914 on Turkish, meaning a change of planes in Istanbul, or about 15% less than the fares I found from San Francisco.
Okay, I’m being obnoxious with the post title. Granted. And I will concede that there are many good reasons to vote for a particular site over another, one of which is that you think that a given committee will deliver a better convention.
I’m not talking about those reasons.
I know I’m an experienced traveler (and known for same), so I tended to hear people’s travel-related objections to the various proposed Worldcon sites more than other people did.
Here are some of the actual objections I heard about the Finland 2015 Worldcon bid:
Well, then you should actually only vote for Worldcons outside the US because when you travel there, you’ll only have to deal with the TSA half as much, assuming that your last flight is an international flight. (Example: Helsinki-Frankfurt-San Francisco rather than Helsinki-NYC-San Francisco)
If you don’t have to connect to a domestic flight in the US, then you only have to deal with the TSA on your outbound flight.
Or you could move to San Francisco; we don’t have the TSA there (we have CAS).
So apply for TSA Pre-√. (This assumes Southwest is not your carrier of choice.) For US Citizens and permanent residents, I recommend applying through Global Entry, which also gets you quick immigration. Other programs like NEXUS (Canada) and SENTRI (Mexico) can participate.
And, bonus, Global Entry also means you get the fast immigration line into New Zealand, so you’ll be all set for 2020.
What does Pre-√ get you? The front of the line, even at airports with no Pre-√. The short line (I’ve never seen it more than 4 people long) at airports that do. No taking shoes off. No porno scanner. No unpacking into six bins (I seriously am not exaggerating here, I’ve actually needed six bins more than once). Most people will not need to unpack anything.
On the way back, you can skip the long immigration and customs lines. Stand at the kiosk, answer the questions, look at camera, fingerprint scan, take the receipt, you’re done. It has saved me over 20 minutes at times, though the minimum it’s saved is about a minute and a half.
Recent report from a travel friend, arriving back in the US from Rio:
At IAH (Houston). Sprinted to USCIS (US Customs and Immigration Service) because I’m a noncitizen and I had to beat the São Paulo flight that arrived at the same time as us. Managed to be first in line at immigration, and jetsetr still beat me through using Global Entry after sauntering down from the aircraft.
English isn’t the first language of aliens, either, but we supposedly love them and crave first contact.
There have been four Worldcons in countries/regions where English was not the first language: Heidelberg (1970), The Hague (1990), Yokohama (2007), and Montreal (2009).
I’d argue that average Finnish command of English easily exceeds that of the average in Montreal. Like the Netherlands, English is very commonly spoken. In fact, I’d argue that the average Finn speaks English at least as well as the average American.
Look. I’ve been to a lot of airports in a lot of countries. I think I can safely say that if I can find my way around airports in countries where the non-Roman alphabet makes no sense to me, so can you.
Much as English is the international language of aircraft controllers, almost every sign in almost every airport in the world is in whatever the country’s native language is — and also in English.
Every flight readerboard I’ve ever seen is also in English. Every ATM I’ve seen has English as an option, even in countries that don’t get a lot of American tourists (e.g., Myanmar).
Fuck Isaac Asimov.
You can have your NASFiC wherever. Let the Worldcon location be freer.
Even Asimov knew how to take a ship. (Hint: Cunard still offers the same transatlantic service it did in Asimov’s days, just less frequent. If you want to go to Europe and don’t want to fly from North America, that (or another line) should be part of your plans.
(For those who don’t know, Asimov never drove or flew. Ever.)
Get a travel battery. Call the airline, tell them your CPAP’s model number. They will have their medical department clear you. Call to re-confirm 72 hours prior to flight.
It’s not rocket science.
I will admit to having screwed this up once. I’d had a ticket glitch on a United award ticket (during the merger last year) and my clearance got disconnected from the reservation when my ticket blipped out of existence. I’d called to reconfirm one ticket but forgot to check the second. The Swiss airline captain had to call to ground to get clearance. Fortunately, there was documentation on my other non-glitchy reservation. It is possible to get it cleared in flight like that, but I wouldn’t recommend it — it’s awfully embarrassing.
From a perspective of someone who flies a lot — a 10-11 hour flight, like one to Europe, really is the best length. Shorter flights break up sleep habits too much.
You know what? It happens. Maybe this particular Worldcon isn’t meant to be for you. None of us know for sure we’ll be able to do anything two years hence, so why hold up other people’s fun? Vote “No Preference.”
I know of people who’ve been to Worldcon under some pretty gruesome medical situations — mid-radiation, mid-chemo, and, in the case of a friend, post-terminal diagnosis.
Some conditions are showstoppers for travel, some aren’t. You’d be surprised at what people can travel with, though. I’ve heard stories about extreme medical tourism to Thailand in particular (and if you’ve been to Suvarnabhumi airport and seen the ads, you’ll understand).
I once heard the Hugos disparagingly described as an award ceremony held by “people who can afford a thousand dollar weekend.” He wasn’t wrong.
San Francisco to Spokane is $546 for next summer. San Francisco to Helsinki’s $1079. Spokane’s room night rate was $139. Helsinki was $80.
For one person, a flight and five nights would therefore wind up being $1251 for Spokane and $1479 for Helsinki. True, Helsinki’s higher, but it’s not as much higher as you might think.
Yeah, but I’m not traveling alone, you say. Fine, for two people sharing a room, Spokane would be $1787 ($894 pp) and Helsinki $2558 ($1279 pp), or $385 more per person.
Or, put another way, from San Francisco, one person going alone to Spokane is pretty much a wash, cost-per-person-wise, with shared accommodation in Helsinki.
Now, I’m not saying the costs aren’t real, or that they’re insignificant. I’m just saying that people were probably not looking at the whole picture or considering that they have two years between now and then.
I’m also going to say: consider the inverse case. Consider how many foreigners would come if it weren’t for the TSA, if costs weren’t so daunting, and if there weren’t language barriers.
I, for one, would like to hear more from the rest of the world, and that means holding Worldcons there.
Those of you who haven’t been paying attention may not have known about the recent uproar about the the semi-prozine Hugo category.
Essentially, for many years, the nominee list had become so stagnant that the sentiment among many SMOFs was to do away with the category entirely.
In 2009, Weird Tales won the Hugo in the category. In 2010, Clarkesworld won. These two wins were the second and third wins for fiction ‘zines ever in this category. Some saw new winners and nominees as signs of life in the semi-prozine category. Rather than axe the category entirely, a committee studied the issue and made a proposed constitutional amendment, which was voted on Friday.
One SMOF I spoke with before said vote occurred wasn’t convinced there were enough eligible ‘zines to warrant a category. I hauled out my iPad, fired up Safari, and performed a search on Duotrope: 126 markets (including those currently temporarily closed to submissions) paying semi-pro rates for science fiction alone. 74 markets if you exclude those temporarily closed. This convinced the SMOF that there were valid entries for even the narrower category.
Now, granted, not all of them may qualify under the other rule constraints (e.g., frequency of publication), and it’s also true that even “for the love” markets that offer token payment will qualify payment-wise under the proposed Hugo rules.
The changes in the constitution voted on Friday (which will need to be ratified next year) would mean that four out of the five nominees this year — all but Interzone — would be ineligible after next year.
What does that mean for the average sf/f writer, though?
With all the heavyweights out of the semi-pro weight class, there will be a lot more room for a lot of great ‘zines that have been overlooked in this category. Sure, we’ll still have some glossy ‘zines like the New York Review of Science Fiction, but the semi-pros will no longer be competing against Locus.
The secondary effect of this is that there will be more recognition of some very good semi-pro markets, and this may lead to more recognition of the writers submitting to them, too. Of course, there’s room for more non-fiction ‘zines, too.
Woke up at around 8:30 (unusual for me), dragged self down to the buffet and had some moderately miserable food. (Buffets? Generally suck.) Rick trundled off having snacked on fruit, etc.
Mike and I went to go print up BayCon fliers  and then got back just in time for peak line length at registration. Lucky us! Missed the Welcome to Reno Panel, but got to see the last five minutes, as I came early for the next panel.
…Which happened to be John Scalzi’s “A Trip to the Creation Museum,” which was fascinating and horrifying at the same time.
Next, we went to Opening Ceremonies, where all the guests of honor and special guests, were introduced, including the one and only Doctor Demento. I remember listening to him in my teenage years a lot; frequently we’d be coming back from some event or another on his broadcast night and con the school bus driver into tuning into his show. Later on, he showed a video for “Fish Heads,” featuring a very young Bill Pullman.
This year’s writer guest of honor is my own personal favorite writer, Tim Powers. I’ve been a fan of his ever since The Anubis Gates first came out and a friend pressed a copy into my hands. After that, I met him at conventions, and he was one of my instructors at Clarion when I went in 2002.
Rick and I went to separate events after that; he went to the Dr. Demento show, where I went to a panel about the revenge of the nerds — specifically, how geeks are now portrayed differently in media. What surprised me most about that panel, I think, was that no one mentioned CSI. The omission is particularly notable when you consider panelist Connie Willis’s daughter, Cordelia, is herself a CSI.
Then Rick and I went to dinner at Famous Dave’s Rib’s, which turned out to be quite excellent. One snafu, my fault: I intended to order green beans and was insufficiently specific, so I got brown beans. They were okay, but I only had a couple of bites. The ribs were mighty tasty.
When we returned, we headed for the party floor. The San Antonio bid for 2013 is running unopposed, so going to the party was a formality, mostly. While there, I got to catch up with writer Carol Berg, whose first book was published around the time of the Chicago Worldcon in 2000 — I remember sitting in the audience and listening intently to the first novelists. I read several of the books, including Mindy Klasky’s The Glasswright’s Apprentice, but Carol’s novel Transformation remains the favorite of the books I discovered from that panel.
After my visit to the party floor, I got caught up talking with Ctein, who was out in public using his iPad. I said I’d really liked his iPad article and we discussed the very different ways we use our iPads. Another guy was hovering nearby and started asking questions — he’d been considering buying an iPad of his own.
 Oh, btw, announcing the Writer Guest of Honor: Brandon Sanderson!
It’s clear to me that Randall Munroe is a fan even though his fan art is outside fanzines.
I offer these three examples from 2010 as proof.
Link to original post on LiveJournal.
Skipped all the panels, hung out in Autographings for a while, took a nap, then went out to dinner with Serah Eley, Erin Cashier, Lawrence Watt-Evans, and others. Great fun!
It was mostly a Viable Paradise alumni gathering, though not strictly so.