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#1
Old 04-06-2015, 12:41 PM
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2015 Hugo Award Nominees

The list is out for this year's Hugo nominees.

http://thehugoawards.org/hugo-hi...5-hugo-awards/

This probably veers into GD territory (mods: please move if appropriate), but there's already considerable hubbub over this year's slate. There's a fan group affiliated with Gamergate calling themselves "Sad Puppies" that has openly gamed the nomination system to get a bunch of their picks onto the ballot. They did a bit of this last year, but they're doubling down this year. They believe politics have been at work to allow women and minorities to get nominations and to win these awards and also to choose more literary works vs works that appeal to a mass market.

So, they've stacked the deck both with stuff that appeals more directly to a mass market audience and also by nominating works from their own stable of conservative white male writers (including one nominee from "Patriarchy Press").

As a result, there's already a counter campaign to vote against them, as they did last year, by choosing a "No Award" vote over their candidates.

So, lots of drama in this year's ballot. Should be fun to watch from the peanut gallery.

Last edited by Great Antibob; 04-06-2015 at 12:41 PM.
#2
Old 04-06-2015, 01:56 PM
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According to the writer, there's no such thing as "Patriarchy Press"

Quote:
I have to confess, I'm surprised by how many people don't get satire. "Patriarchy Press" is a joke, folks. Actually, someone on Amazon didn't like the book because of some of my jokes about Christianity. They didn't have a problem with the jokes about Islam, Judaism, Buddhism or Shintoism. Or straights, gays, bis, liberals, conservatives...it's not as if my snark isn't egalitarian. Of course, that might be the problem for the narrow-minded. Just because I thought a gay pirate was called a "Swishbucker," and an oil sheik was a brand of condom... - See more at: http://michaelzwilliamson.com/in....mus1KVji.dpuf
(Note--I've never read anything by this guy and his jokes sound pretty damned lame.)

Note 2: Looking at Amazon, it looks like a collection of dumb jokes and puns my dad would tell, if my dad was vaguely right wing. "I learned on the internet that Pico de Gallo is not a Spanish Conquistador". It doesn't seem SFnal at all but it's in a category nobody really cares about ("Related works") so who cares?

And I don't see any unexpected names on the list of novels (other than "Marko Kloos" who I've never heard of) or novellas or short-stories. Kevin Anderson and Edward Lerner might be conservative. Two out of five of the "Best Novel" writers are women. I know Jim Butcher and Kevin Anderson are white, I have no idea of the race of the others.

Frankly, I'm more concerned about the N.K. Jemisin situation: if she's getting death threats, internet-exposed, etc (and I have no reason to assume she's not), that's much more troubling.

Frankly, this sounds like a controversy trying desperately to happen.
#3
Old 04-06-2015, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
Frankly, this sounds like a controversy trying desperately to happen.
That seems to be where the "Sad Puppies" folks are trying to do - desperately create some kind of controversy. To the extent it's working, it appears to be backfiring. They've got a lot in common with the Men's Rights folks, with all the attendant baggage.

As for Kevin J Anderson and Jim Butcher, from what I gather, they don't really sympathize with the cause at all and weren't part of any of the shenanigans. They were picked to represent common man "mass market" novels.

I'm no fan of Anderson, but personally, I'd also be miffed somebody decided to pigeonhole my writing as lowest common denominator and involve me in some pet crusade without my knowledge.

Likewise, several short fiction nominees were nominated without their knowledge in the scheme, but many of them turned down the nominations, as many of them were keeping track of events more closely.

Last edited by Great Antibob; 04-06-2015 at 02:06 PM.
#4
Old 04-06-2015, 02:39 PM
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I'm pretty sure Butcher's been nominated before. He certainly deserves it. Anderson, much less so.

That said, these sorts of shennanigans have gone on since like 1958+/- when a bunch of fans were "bribed" (with pizza or burgers or something) to vote for the excretible The Forever Machine, an absolutely worthless novel that is only notable for creating a fake science that's dumber than the unholy bastard child of Christian Science and Dianetics would be. (Fake science in the sense that Asimov's "Psychohistory" is a fake science, but a cool one.)

I'm also ok with Hugos being less "highfalutin'" and an organized movement to make them less literary and more "good reads" would be fine. If it wasn't being done by a bunch of apparently racist, mens-rights twerps. When Hugo and Nebula winners differ, the Hugos tend to be "fun to read" while the Nebulas tend to be artsy-fartsy crap...which is why Hugos tend to hold up better overall than Nebulas (when they don't overlap).

Last edited by Fenris; 04-06-2015 at 02:40 PM.
#5
Old 04-06-2015, 02:56 PM
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I looked at some of the stuff being said. I suppose I should be angry, but instead I'm just plain sad.

The people involved are hatemongers, with a long, long history of the ugliest online behavior. They think that calling someone a Social Justice Warrior is a slur. They want to return the world to way it was, with white patriarchy as the default setting. Seriously, not as satire. All they're proving is that you can get a like-minded block to be cohesive, you know, like the Indiana and Arkansas legislatures.

They have no place in the modern world and they know it. So they stir as much shit in the smallest pots they can find. And when the backlash occurs they get outraged.

The backlash will occur. It's the end of history, for them at least. Their flares will get smaller and smaller. Yet innocent people will be hurt in the process.

And that's why I am sadder than I am angry.
#6
Old 04-06-2015, 03:24 PM
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The novel section is the only section I pay attention to. What the sad puppies may not realize is that if their campaign is successful, all it'll do is delegitimize the Hugo Awards. Or maybe they do realize that. Jerks.

Anyway, I've read two of the five nominees, and the prequel to a third one. Ancillary Justice was spectacular, and I look forward to its sequel: it's one of the most creative ideas I've encountered in SF in awhile. Skin Game was good, but not Butcher's best IMO, and I'd be slightly disappointed if it won. The Goblin Emperor was very, very good, although the naming conventions drove me up the wall. I'll need to track down Sword as well as the other two.
#7
Old 04-06-2015, 03:43 PM
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The "Best Related" category is almost always a sad case in itself. At best, there is one worthy title among 2 pieces of junk and 2 Big Names Do a Throwaway Book entries... and one of the latter wins.
#8
Old 04-06-2015, 04:51 PM
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As a clarification, I'm not aware of a documented relationship with Sad Puppies, Sick Puppies, and Gamergate. They have a lot of overlapping anti social justice believes, so it wouldn't shock me to see significant overlap as the Puppies get press and I think they'll keep tilting at the same windmills. The Puppies pre-date Gamergate by a few years.

I've never been on top of the short stories or through novellas categories, so I really can't speak much to them. If the Puppies promoters think Ancillary Justice only won a Hugo because its politics were left leaning, please show me a better novel. I loved AJ and would gladly read anything that is better. I'll recommend a novel to my dad or friends when we're on the subject of sci-fi books, but AJ is one of the few I've gone out of my way to bring up. The previous time I went out of my way to discuss a book was Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land and Moon is a Harsh Mistress to ask how they had let me go so long without exposing me to them.

LHOD, I read Ancillary Sword and was a bit disappointed. It has "second novel of three" syndrome, where it seems to be more about setting up the pieces for a third part than telling its own story. To an extent, AJ left significant loose threats, but it also tied many more up. AS tied fewer and left a lot hanging. That said, the first third of AS was a bit slow as it had so much to set up for the second and third act, so I understand it's sometime necessary to lay the groundwork.
#9
Old 04-06-2015, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by HookerChemical View Post
If the Puppies promoters think Ancillary Justice only won a Hugo because its politics were left leaning, please show me a better novel.
Seriously. I picked it up from the library on a lark, like I do a lot of fantasy/sf/spy fiction every year. Most of what I read is dross to mediocre, but this one blew me away, and I told a lot of people about it. There's no way it was a pity award.

I appreciate the heads-up about AS; I might wait on it after all until the third book is published.
#10
Old 04-06-2015, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
I appreciate the heads-up about AS; I might wait on it after all until the third book is published.
Amazon claims a release date in October, so it's probably in the middle of editing and release to the printers.

I'll agree you should wait. Very much middle book syndrome. It seemed to just be setting things up for the third.

Functionally unimportant and quite mild spoilers:

SPOILER:
Rather than the galaxy wide implications out of the first book, AS takes place around a single backwater planet, with a bunch of unimportant characters, and for which a major conflict is apparently defined as deciding which set of china to use - no, really, a friggin' china set.
#11
Old 04-06-2015, 07:13 PM
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I'm following this thread with interest, because it lets me see how people outside the science fiction fan/pro world are looking at this.

First, a bit of history. This started three years ago when Theodore Beale (aka, Vox Day) started urging people to vote for a couple of his works because he was standing up to the Political Correctness Brigade. Beale was an asshole of the first degree (he is the only person to be kicked out of SFWA) and loves to piss off women with his sexist and racist rants (AFAIK, he has no connection with Gamergate, though I wouldn't be surprised if he supported it). It got a couple of his stories onto the ballot, but they didn't come close to winning.

Last year, a similar group did the same thing. Again, they put several works on the ballot by block voting. Again, the works didn't win.

This year was slightly different. Though the group was somewhat to the right of center, their goals in making up the ballot was to "take back" the Hugos for Real Science Fiction™ and to honor popular works that had been overlooked.

There are many problems with this. First of all, their definition of Real Science Fiction™ is restricted to hard SF and space opera; the soft sciences are sneered upon. It's also disturbing that The Three-Body Problem wasn't on their list: it's filled with the type of hard SF speculation they claim to love. The fact that it was written by a non-white author makes it look like they are what people accuse them to be.

One point of contention was a work nominated last year, "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love," which won the Nebula. There is certainly room for healthy debate as to how science fictional the story is (I think of it as similar to Pamela Zoline's classic "The Heat Death of the Universe," which used a science metaphor to create an emotional effect), its nomination is not the death of the genre.

Also, they misunderstand the genre. Brad Torgerson, who put together the slate pointed that they wanted something like Star Trek, which inspired people to make devices like communicators and such. As David Gerrold pointed out, that was only a side point to Star Trek; its main message was social, not hard science.

The talk about popularity, of course, is nonsense, especially once you get away from novels. It's impossible to determine how popular a story is. The nominees may have been popular, or they may have been hated. Of those on the slate ranked by Tangent Online's Recommended Reading List, three were 0 star recommendations (which means an OK read) and one was a one-star rec (out of three). Most weren't mentioned because they were in small press and obscure sources -- which kind of makes the argument about popularity a little thin (as a comparison, the Nebula nominees had 9 stories on the Tangent list, three of them three-star stories and another three two-star stories).

And is John C. Wright really the best writer working today? I can't think of any year where an author had five stories up for a Hugo.

The big thing about the Sad Puppies is that they can't accept the fact the the genre is changing. More women and nonwhites are becoming involved, and the Internet means the barrier to starting a magazine is going down. SF is moving toward a more literary emphasis. I'm not entirely happy with that -- I'm not a literary writer, so I constantly need to up my game -- but it's not like this is going to make any difference in the long run.

But the worse part is that they decided to game the system. There are around 1000 voters nominating for each category. There are hundreds of stories written each year. A group of 100 people voting as a block can easily get all their choices on the ballot. And this just opens the door to other blocks; maybe there will be a left-wing SF backlash. Maybe people who love fantasy will decide on a slate. Maybe someone will come up with a slate featuring only minority authors. And suddenly it's not about what story is considered the best, it's about which bloc can motivate the most people.
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#12
Old 04-06-2015, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
It's also disturbing that The Three-Body Problem wasn't on their list:
Good point. Their talking points sound good until you look even the slightest under the surface.

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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
And is John C. Wright really the best writer working today?
This was my big sticking point. I will argue there's never been any author who's written 5 deserving pieces in a single year over the history of the award. And that includes some incredibly prolific writers like Asimov.

Wright would have had to experienced the single greatest writing year of the last several centuries to achieve it legitimately, and, to be honest, he did not.

Last edited by Great Antibob; 04-06-2015 at 08:56 PM. Reason: too honest...
#13
Old 04-06-2015, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
(AFAIK, he has no connection with Gamergate, though I wouldn't be surprised if he supported it).
In the SFWA thread on this, somebody called Beale literally the poster child for Gamergate.

Quote:
The big thing about the Sad Puppies is that they can't accept the fact the the genre is changing. More women and nonwhites are becoming involved, and the Internet means the barrier to starting a magazine is going down.
I didn't understand this until I read more about it, but apparently there were two independent and only slightly overlapping slates of recommendations.

Torgeson's slate was the Sad Puppies, and deliberately sought to be more diverse. He did, in fact, include women, including a (self-proclaimed) queer woman and other non white men.

Beale's slate was the Rabid Puppies. Most of the final nominations, including most of the Wright stories, came from that slate.

I've never read anything by anybody on the ballot (checking: I have read a couple of stories by Michael Flynn) so I have no idea of the quality of anything.

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Originally Posted by Great Antibob View Post
This was my big sticking point. I will argue there's never been any author who's written 5 deserving pieces in a single year over the history of the award. And that includes some incredibly prolific writers like Asimov.
Just a nitpick. Asimov is legendarily famous for his nonfiction, but his entire career of short fiction from 1939 until he left fiction in 1957 would be a good year for hundreds of other writers.
#14
Old 04-06-2015, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
I
The talk about popularity, of course, is nonsense, especially once you get away from novels. It's impossible to determine how popular a story is.
Bwah?

You make some good points, in the stuff I've removed, but....it's pretty easy to tell how popular a story is. "Nightfall" or "The Last Question" or "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" or "By His Bootstraps" (less so nowdays) have each been reprinted a ton of times in anthologies*. "Fruit of Knowledge" by C.L. Moore has been reprinted once, as far as I can tell, in a multi-author anthology. Let's not quibble about whether "Fruit of Knowledge" is better than the other works I listed**, but it is clear that it's less popular.

Am I misunderstanding what you meant?


*I'm not counting single author collections.

**It is, but let's not quibble.
#15
Old 04-06-2015, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
First, a bit of history. This started three years ago when Theodore Beale (aka, Vox Day) started urging people to vote for a couple of his works because he was standing up to the Political Correctness Brigade. Beale was an asshole of the first degree (he is the only person to be kicked out of SFWA)
They didn't kick out Harlan Ellison for sexually molesting Connie Willis (he did the "honka-honka" thing with her boobs on a stage because...boobs!). And...actually I wouldn't expect them to. What did Beale do that was so bad? I've never heard this before.
#16
Old 04-06-2015, 11:47 PM
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@Fenris
Here's a pretty good contemporary account from Jim Hines.
http://jimchines.com/2013/06/rac...am-news-at-11/

Basically, Beale wrote some fairly unpleasant and racist stuff about N.K. Jemisin, and then sent that stuff out on the SFWA Twitter feed. Here's a sample of the piece, grabbed from Hines' account.
Quote:
…it is not that I, and others, do not view [Jemisin] as human, (although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens), it is that we simply do not view her as being fully civilized for the obvious historical reason that she is not.
If you poke around, you can find screencaps of the actual text sent.

Last edited by Scruff; 04-06-2015 at 11:50 PM. Reason: fix spelling
#17
Old 04-07-2015, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
They didn't kick out Harlan Ellison for sexually molesting Connie Willis (he did the "honka-honka" thing with her boobs on a stage because...boobs!). And...actually I wouldn't expect them to. What did Beale do that was so bad? I've never heard this before.
Harlan Ellison is an asshole, but at least he can write. Beale has no redeeming qualities whatsoever that I can see.
#18
Old 04-07-2015, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
Bwah?

You make some good points, in the stuff I've removed, but....it's pretty easy to tell how popular a story is. "Nightfall" or "The Last Question" or "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" or "By His Bootstraps" (less so nowadays) have each been reprinted a ton of times in anthologies*. "Fruit of Knowledge" by C.L. Moore has been reprinted once, as far as I can tell, in a multi-author anthology. Let's not quibble about whether "Fruit of Knowledge" is better than the other works I listed**, but it is clear that it's less popular.

Am I misunderstanding what you meant?
Over time, yes. Stories appear in anthologies.

In the past year, no. You can track a book's popularity by its sales, but short works appear in magazines, whose sales are determined by the package, not any one particular story (and newsstand sales -- which are vanishing -- only fluctuate due to the names on the cover). And for webzines it's impossible to determine anything about how many people are reading it. Pageviews? But that includes those who look at the story and read only the first line or two. Chat on message boards? Sure, but which boards and who was talking?

On additional issue is that many of the people who voted for these slates never read the works they were voting for. How did they know they were Hugo-worthy? Because they agreed with the politics? Is every work by an author who shares your politics automatically one of the best of the year?
#19
Old 04-07-2015, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
Over time, yes. Stories appear in anthologies.

In the past year, no. You can track a book's popularity by its sales, but short works appear in magazines, whose sales are determined by the package, not any one particular story (and newsstand sales -- which are vanishing -- only fluctuate due to the names on the cover). And for webzines it's impossible to determine anything about how many people are reading it. Pageviews? But that includes those who look at the story and read only the first line or two. Chat on message boards? Sure, but which boards and who was talking?
Gotcha--I thought you meant that you couldn't tell historically what stories were popular, not which current nominations.
#20
Old 04-07-2015, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Scruff View Post
@Fenris
Here's a pretty good contemporary account from Jim Hines.
http://jimchines.com/2013/06/rac...am-news-at-11/
It's even worse than that. In 2013 I remembered Beale from an earlier set of attacks on another SFWA site. He's an Internet troll and extremely proud of it. He claims he can't be faulted because he has Native American heritage and so he's the insulted minority that others just talk about. If you mixed several of the worst banned posters from here and distilled them, you'd get him. Yet he has followers, rabid ones.
#21
Old 04-07-2015, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
They think that calling someone a Social Justice Warrior is a slur.
Isn't it? I always think of the term as being akin to white knight. Their cause may be just but they are doing it mostly for attention. Sort of like the guy who yelled at the Chik-Fil-a girl thinking he would be praised for his wonderful Youtube video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
Torgeson's slate was the Sad Puppies, and deliberately sought to be more diverse. He did, in fact, include women, including a (self-proclaimed) queer woman and other non white men.
I was totally uninformed about these factions before this. I went back and read some of Torgeson's blog posts. I didn't see anything unreasonable in my skimming. His main theme was that nominations in the past were controlled by snobs who think that if you are not in the elite crowd you have no business voting. I can't know what is in his heart but so far I don't see anything particularly bad even if I don't necessarily believe it. Beale is of course a complete asshole.
#22
Old 04-07-2015, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
I was totally uninformed about these factions before this. I went back and read some of Torgeson's blog posts. I didn't see anything unreasonable in my skimming. His main theme was that nominations in the past were controlled by snobs who think that if you are not in the elite crowd you have no business voting. I can't know what is in his heart but so far I don't see anything particularly bad even if I don't necessarily believe it. Beale is of course a complete asshole.
It was Beale's slate that carried the day in the categories other than Best Novel - it was his suggestion to nominate three novellas by John C. Wright, for one thing. I cannot believe that three of the five best SF novellas of the year were written by one person, no matter who it is. The whole thing is a damn shame for those of us that just want to get some recommendations out of this.
#23
Old 04-07-2015, 02:02 PM
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Y'know, the more I read, the more I see "Sad Puppies" point.*

http://madgeniusclub.com/2015/04/02/...ss-of-puppies/


*I can't tell how linked Beale is--I read several pages of blog entries by Wright and Torgensen and barely saw any mention of him.
#24
Old 04-07-2015, 02:13 PM
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Interesting commentary by Arthur Chu.
#25
Old 04-07-2015, 03:21 PM
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Pratchett did make the final Hugo ballot for Going Postal. He declined the nomination.

There are many reason why Pratchett wasn't nominated more (humor works are always given short shrift in any award that doesn't have a specific category for them), but the facts refute that entire post.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 04-07-2015 at 03:22 PM.
#26
Old 04-07-2015, 03:37 PM
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Ok, so he was a finalist for a Hugo once. True, the post was wrong, but the overall point is still quite valid. And there's little-to-no humor in Thud, Night Watch, Hogfather (more in that one) and several others he wrote.
#27
Old 04-07-2015, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
Pratchett did make the final Hugo ballot for Going Postal. He declined the nomination.

There are many reason why Pratchett wasn't nominated more (humor works are always given short shrift in any award that doesn't have a specific category for them), but the facts refute that entire post.
I'm not sure that SadPuppies even know what their point is anymore. Flipping through their website, most of their arguments, like the Pratchett one, don't really make sense. So far as I can tell, they were initially motivated by the Beale's thing, and than when they realized they could manipulate the voting that way, are basically struggling to find some sort of ex-post-facto reason for doing so.

Or basically what Fenris said in his first post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenris
Frankly, this sounds like a controversy trying desperately to happen.
#28
Old 04-07-2015, 03:43 PM
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As far as I can tell, it boils down to a fight between the "Lit'rary SF: IT'S ALL ABOUT BEING AN ARTISTE!!!!!" crowd and the "IT'S ALL ABOUT HOW FUN THE STORY IS: FUCK ART!!!!!" crowd. (Despite the moron writer from Salon in BrainGlutton's link. But Salon tends to reduce everything to "Bad Conservatives"/"Good Liberals", regardless of appropriateness or relevancy)
#29
Old 04-07-2015, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
Y'know, the more I read, the more I see "Sad Puppies" point.*

http://madgeniusclub.com/2015/04/02/...ss-of-puppies/


*I can't tell how linked Beale is--I read several pages of blog entries by Wright and Torgensen and barely saw any mention of him.
FWIW, that website is blocked by my filter as a malicious website.

The Chu story is pretty great, though, and I love the point that a shoddily-designed democratic system is just asking to be taken over by the worst people. I suspect the ultimate upshot of this whole thing will be that the Hugos stop being a pure people's choice award.
#30
Old 04-07-2015, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
As far as I can tell, it boils down to a fight between the "Lit'rary SF: IT'S ALL ABOUT BEING AN ARTISTE!!!!!" crowd and the "IT'S ALL ABOUT HOW FUN THE STORY IS: FUCK ART!!!!!" crowd.
Well, no. That's if you ignore the people whose nomination slate actually won out.

Torgeson's side, who actually were more about their own version of hardcore SF and less about the literary side of things, didn't get much to show for it, except slightly in the best novel category.

The Vox Day/Beale crowd, who actually got most of their nominees through, are outright trolls, and rather openly racist/homophobic/sexist ones at that. And actually fairly conservative, as, for whatever reason, they themselves made part of the story the plight of the put-upon conservatives vs the liberal elites running things now and in past years. They have embraced the literary vs mass market appeal argument somewhat, but it's not the only argument they make.

The downside is that from now on it really does look like the nomination will turn into a party system, with each interest group advocating for their preferred slate of candidates.

Last edited by Great Antibob; 04-07-2015 at 04:00 PM.
#31
Old 04-07-2015, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Great Antibob View Post
Well, no. That's if you ignore the people whose nomination slate actually won out.

Torgeson's side, who actually were more about their own version of hardcore SF and less about the literary side of things, didn't get much to show for it, except slightly in the best novel category.

The Vox Day/Beale crowd, who actually got most of their nominees through, are outright trolls, and rather openly racist/homophobic/sexist ones at that. And actually fairly conservative, as, for whatever reason, they themselves made part of the story the plight of the put-upon conservatives vs the liberal elites running things now and in past years. They have embraced the literary vs mass market appeal argument somewhat, but it's not the only argument they make.
Fair enough....I'd forgotten that there were 3 sides here.
#32
Old 04-07-2015, 04:05 PM
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I apparently wasted my time reading a lot of novels and stories, and nominating the ones I liked best: the way to make an impact is to vote in lockstep with like-minded folks. What was wrong with the biography of Robert Heinlein, by the way, that it couldn't get a nomination? I know that there were some fans back in the day who thought his work didn't have the superscience adventure that they wanted, and instead featured the impact of technological developments on ordinary people.

Charles Stross, who knew Pratchett reasonably well, writes about the Hugo issue here http://antipope.org/charlie/blog...omment-1967774
#33
Old 04-07-2015, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
As far as I can tell, it boils down to a fight between the "Lit'rary SF: IT'S ALL ABOUT BEING AN ARTISTE!!!!!" crowd and the "IT'S ALL ABOUT HOW FUN THE STORY IS: FUCK ART!!!!!" crowd. (Despite the moron writer from Salon in BrainGlutton's link. But Salon tends to reduce everything to "Bad Conservatives"/"Good Liberals", regardless of appropriateness or relevancy)
It's really about people who vote for works they think are the best of the year, and people who think that those choices are political in nature and thus needed a different political slant. There was no "liberal bloc" voting for the Hugo and coming up with a slate.

Fandom is changing. At best, their complaint boils down to "Kids these days don't like what I like."

And the Hugo has recently gone to popular works such as Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, American Gods, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Fire and Redshirts recently. It's not like it's only going to obscure literary novels.

I do note that in the past few years the short story winners were by Ken Liu, Ted Chiang, and John Chu. All were fine stories, so I wonder what they find objectionable about the choices? (I think Chiang is probably the best SF writer working today, and Liu is very close.)

I'd also love to ask the people pushing the ballot if they read all the books on it.
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#34
Old 04-07-2015, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
As far as I can tell, it boils down to a fight between the "Lit'rary SF: IT'S ALL ABOUT BEING AN ARTISTE!!!!!" crowd and the "IT'S ALL ABOUT HOW FUN THE STORY IS: FUCK ART!!!!!" crowd. (Despite the moron writer from Salon in BrainGlutton's link. But Salon tends to reduce everything to "Bad Conservatives"/"Good Liberals", regardless of appropriateness or relevancy)
From the 2dn link in the OP:

Quote:
Here's another quote from Torgersen which does a pretty good job of explaining their stance:

Quote:
In the last decade... we’ve seen the Hugo voting skew ideological, as Worldcon and fandom alike have tended to use the Hugos as an affirmative action award: giving Hugos because a writer or artist is (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) or because a given work features (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) characters.
So, yeah, it's a conservative-v.-liberal issue from Torgerson's POV. Put another way, it's an Angry White Male issue.

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 04-07-2015 at 04:30 PM.
#35
Old 04-07-2015, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
(I think Chiang is probably the best SF writer working today, and Liu is very close.)
I'd fully agree on this and don't know why the guy doesn't write more.

Also good (in short story format) is Tim Pratt.
#36
Old 04-07-2015, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
From the 2dn link in the OP:



So, yeah, it's a conservative-v.-liberal issue from Torgerson's POV. Put another way, it's an Angry White Male issue.
Then Torgerson's a moron too.
#37
Old 04-07-2015, 05:09 PM
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Then Torgerson's a moron too.
Absolutely. Granted, the literary-v.-popular-SF element is also in play here. But Chu is making a larger point, and by no means a moronic one, about democracy in the Internet age.

Quote:
One of the false promises we’ve been made that people keep buying into is that the Internet is a “democratizing” force, that the digital world gives us instant access to the real vox populi, that the simple fact that anyone can leave a comment, or answer a poll, or submit an entry to a contest means that everyone does, and therefore opinion of “the Internet” is everyone’s opinion.

This is obviously false. It’s obviously false for the same reason that crowd-funding randomly decides to give one guy in Ohio hundreds of thousands of dollars for potato salad and why huge blatant hoaxes can stay up on Wikipedia for five years unchallenged, and why random, not-particularly-charismatic people become “celebrities” overnight for no good reason.

It’s obviously false in the way that comments sections actually representing “reader reactions” as opposed to a horrific cesspool of three people shouting racial slurs at each other is false. Everyone who says “Never Read the Comments”–which, these days, is anyone with any sense–is implicitly admitting the promise of Internet democracy has failed.

The problem with democracy in general isn’t so much that people are “stupid” or “evil” or the other nasty things that people who rag on democracy like to throw out, it’s that there’s a ton of decisions to make and people are busy. The “vote” doesn’t end up being among everyone but among the tiny subset of people who really care about that question, which isn’t necessarily correlated with being right about that question–often, in fact, it’s the opposite.
#38
Old 04-07-2015, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
Pratchett did make the final Hugo ballot for Going Postal. He declined the nomination.

There are many reason why Pratchett wasn't nominated more (humor works are always given short shrift in any award that doesn't have a specific category for them), but the facts refute that entire post.
Somehow, I doubt that the poor sad little put-upon puppies would have had the guts to use Terry Pratchett as an example for their cause if he was still alive and able to respond.

(If we each give up, say a day off of our lives, can we use that to resurrect him just long enough for him to write a response?)
#39
Old 04-07-2015, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
Somehow, I doubt that the poor sad little put-upon puppies would have had the guts to use Terry Pratchett as an example for their cause if he was still alive and able to respond.

(If we each give up, say a day off of our lives, can we use that to resurrect him just long enough for him to write a response?)
I'm in.
#40
Old 04-07-2015, 05:57 PM
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I'm learning a lot in this thread. One specific thing I learned is that John C. Wright has just gone off my "To Read" list.

I was leaning towards the Wright is a weenie side when I read his multi-page rant about how sooper-evvil cartoon Korra (The sequel to Avatar) was because the last 10 seconds had (trigger alert, apparently) two young women holding hands as they ventured forth into the unknown. Apparently this traumatized Wright and his kids. (Some guy's funny/angry rant about Wright's hysteria, with links to the original screed

But that's not as far as it goes:

Wright, speaking of Pratchett, discussing euthanasia.

Quote:
I sat and listened to pure evil being uttered in charming accents accentuated by droll witticism, and I did not stand up, and I did not strike the old man who uttered them across the mouth: and when he departed, everyone stood and gave him an ovation, even though he had done nothing in his life aside from entertain their idle afternoons. Only I did not stand, being too sick at heart. I did nothing, I said nothing. Was this Christian humility on my part, or merely the cowardice of the silence good men which allows evil men to triumph?
A) I retract any sympathy with the Sad Puppies
B) This is repugnant, regardless of your opinion on euthenasia. He's upset with himself that he didn't punch Pratchett in the mouth? Holy shit.

I don't agree with a single thing Harlan Ellison has ever said politically, and I think he's a douche...but I can still read some of his stuff. LeGuin when she's on (The Dispossessed) is brilliant even when I think her point of view is totally wrong (despite it being ambiguous, her sympathies clearly lie more with the commie planet's ideas. Mine don't). It takes a lot to get me to dismiss an author out of hand. But regretting that you didn't punch Pratchett for an opinion you didn't share? That's one thing that will for me.

Life is too short and there's too many books I want to read (and reread) to waste time on people who pre-disqualify themselves.

PS--Chuck, Exapno, anyone more into the actual awards: Why isn't there a category for "Best collection of old stories" or something? NESFA and Haffner Press (to name just two) do a hell of a job preserving old SF and should be recognized. It'd be like a "Best Revival" Tony Award.
#41
Old 04-07-2015, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
Why isn't there a category for "Best collection of old stories" or something?
"Best Editor" comes closest, though it's a bit different from what you want. The editors of really good anthologies are usually nominated, even if they don't always win. I've found a good ones by digging through the old nominations.

Gardner Dozois, for example, deservedly has a ton of Hugo's for his editing, usually including his annual anthology of the year's best. I'll read just about anything he's edited.

It might be worthwhile to introduce a "best anthology" or "best classic anthology" category, but there really just aren't that many in any given year.
#42
Old 04-07-2015, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Great Antibob View Post
"Best Editor" comes closest, though it's a bit different from what you want. The editors of really good anthologies are usually nominated, even if they don't always win. I've found a good ones by digging through the old nominations.

Gardner Dozois, for example, deservedly has a ton of Hugo's for his editing, usually including his annual anthology of the year's best. I'll read just about anything he's edited.

It might be worthwhile to introduce a "best anthology" or "best classic anthology" category, but there really just aren't that many in any given year.
Dozios tends to lean a hair more towards the "artsy" side than the "storytelling" side, but overall he's great.

I don't know if there's a real distinction, but for me "anthology" means "more than one author", "collection" means "bunch of stories by one author (Kuttner/Moore aside. ).

Collections seem to get no love at all. I'd love to see a "best anthology" and a "best single-author collection" (or better, a "best classic--say, no story less than 10 years old?--single author collection")
#43
Old 04-07-2015, 06:39 PM
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Hugos are owned by the World Science Fiction Convention. Every year at the Worldcon, those who are interested stage a meeting to look at categories. I think a category has to be voted on two consecutive times to be added, although a Special Hugo may be awarded by a particular convention.

There's a huge, long history to what Hugo categories exist. Many people insist there are too many categories. Many people insist there are important categories missing. The resulting Hugos are the compromise between them. Pretty much everybody agrees that only new work should be rewarded, though, which is probably why collections and other historical works are set aside.

Disclaimer: I've never been part of this, and I'm only reporting what I've heard and read about over the years. Lots and lots of fan politics are involved.
#44
Old 04-07-2015, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
PS--Chuck, Exapno, anyone more into the actual awards: Why isn't there a category for "Best collection of old stories" or something? NESFA and Haffner Press (to name just two) do a hell of a job preserving old SF and should be recognized. It'd be like a "Best Revival" Tony Award.
World Fantasy has an award for best anthology, but that's gone to both new and original ones. It also tends to go to original anthologies. There's also a World Fantasy Award for Best Collection, which goes to reprint stories from a single author. WFC has a different system than the Hugos; something like the Sad Puppies could never happen.

The Locus Awards also have categories for Anthology and Collection, and often go to reprint anthologies.

Note that there is precedent for removing nominees from the ballot. In 1989, P. J. Beese and Todd Cameron Hamilton did exactly what the Sad Puppies are accused of doing: buying up memberships in order to push their novel, The Guardsman. The committee removed it from the ballot (though they were listed for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, which isn't technically a Hugo). In this case, though, the committee couldn't really do the same thing without an even greater shitstorm.
#45
Old 04-07-2015, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
Note that there is precedent for removing nominees from the ballot. In 1989, P. J. Beese and Todd Cameron Hamilton did exactly what the Sad Puppies are accused of doing: buying up memberships in order to push their novel, The Guardsman. The committee removed it from the ballot (though they were listed for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, which isn't technically a Hugo). In this case, though, the committee couldn't really do the same thing without an even greater shitstorm.
Somebody brought this up on the SFWA thread and was told that it was supporters who did the block voting and the authors were exonerated. How they knew there was no communication between them all, I can't say.
#46
Old 04-08-2015, 12:45 PM
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Ok--as long as this thread is quiet, I'm gonna hijack with a semi-unrelated question:

Reading all this current stuff led me to find that that Vox cretin wasn't even the first person to be expelled from the SFWA*. I keep finding cryptic references to "THE LEM AFFAIR" with the SFWA

Here's what I've pieced together:

1) George Zebrowski wanted Polish author Lem to be granted an honorary membership in the SFWA because....reasons.

2) Poul Anderson (then head of the SFWA) said "Sure, whatever" and did.

3) Lem said (or had previously said) < something bad > about Philip Jose Farmer. Also, depending on who you believe, Philip K. Dick may or may not have accused Lem of embezzling money for translating one of Dick's books (Frederik Pohl, bunches of others say Dick did this, Dick says he doesn't...but years later and Dick is not a reliable source. So...who knows?)

4) Farmer blew up and demanded Lem be de-Honorary Member'd

5) Big debates. Turns out bylaws forbade honorary membership anyway, if the person had been published in the USA.

6) Honorary Membership revoked.

7) Lem says "Big deal "

So....two questions:
A) The above roughly accurate?

B) The bit that every reference seems to miss: What exactly did Lem say about SF in general and/or Farmer in particular?




*Let's not quibble about "expelled". That's what the blogger said and I'm using his term.

Last edited by Fenris; 04-08-2015 at 12:49 PM.
#47
Old 04-08-2015, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
As far as I can tell, it boils down to a fight between the "Lit'rary SF: IT'S ALL ABOUT BEING AN ARTISTE!!!!!" crowd and the "IT'S ALL ABOUT HOW FUN THE STORY IS: FUCK ART!!!!!" crowd. (Despite the moron writer from Salon in BrainGlutton's link. But Salon tends to reduce everything to "Bad Conservatives"/"Good Liberals", regardless of appropriateness or relevancy)
One of the SP complaints is that the Hugos aren't giving awards to entertainments like "The Avengers" - which won the Hugo in 2013...
#48
Old 04-08-2015, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
3) Lem said (or had previously said) < something bad > about Philip Jose Farmer. Also, depending on who you believe, Philip K. Dick may or may not have accused Lem of embezzling money for translating one of Dick's books (Frederik Pohl, bunches of others say Dick did this, Dick says he doesn't...but years later and Dick is not a reliable source. So...who knows?)
Lem was extremely critical of western SF, claiming most writers were interested in adventure tales and sales than pushing literary boundaries (very nice coincidence given the current state of the Hugo's). That it was mostly poorly written and conceived. He did use some of Farmer's books as examples, so it wasn't a personal insult but a professional one. Some SF writers naturally took offense at this, particularly Farmer.

Philip K Dick reportedly thought Lem was actually a pseudonym for a committee of communist writers designed for thought control through American SF publications (note: Dick was known to have mental health issues), though Lem was actually complimentary of Dick himself in general.

Lem himself claimed he accepted the honorary membership in an attempt to change attitudes about writing from within the organization and that he wasn't successful, therefore uninterested in signing up for active membership.

Here's what SFWA has on its FAQ on the matter:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SFWA
While it is true that Lem was unpopular with some SFWAns for his opinions, there was apparently a miscommunication about the meaning of the term "honorary" membership. According to the SFWA by-laws then in force, honorary membership was intended not as an "honor" but as a means to extend benefits of SFWA membership to individuals who would otherwise be ineligible, such as SF writers who had not published in the U.S.

(Another honorary member was J.R.R. Tolkien, whom SFWA assisted with regard to an unauthorized U.S. edition of Lord of the Rings. As soon as an authorized edition was published in the U.S., Tolkien joined as a duly paid-up "Active" member.)

When it was noted that Lem's work had been published in the U.S., making him ineligible for further honorary membership, he was offered full, voting, Active membership. An individual SFWAn offered to pay for this membership, in case the currency transaction was an obstacle. Lem declined both offers.
Some other writers claimed it was out of spite than strict adherence to the rules (which were enforced haphazardly anyway), but it was likely to be a mix of both some spite and the actual case that he was no longer eligible for an honorary membership.

Last edited by Great Antibob; 04-08-2015 at 01:32 PM.
#49
Old 04-08-2015, 02:07 PM
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Thanks! I finally found some of Lem's actual words, and he sounds like Grandpa Simpson. An irrelevancy shaking his cane at people impotently as he sneers about ideas he no longer understands.

From here

Note that this is largely impenetrable because of the "Author A said < see document C > about Author K who objected to Author G's interpretation of < document X> written by Author A1" crap.

A few relevant excerpts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lem
Just as the "normal" literary world has its congresses and PEN Club conferences, sci-fi also has its conventions. Since the prize-winning books are very bad, the conventions are largely devoted to costume dances, parties, and mutual flattery. The whole phenomenon would not be worth further discussion were it not that sci-fi appears to have been elevated to a level of both kitsch and mystification that make it a force to be reckoned with. By kitsch I mean a literary form that claims to be a mythology of technological civilization while in fact it is simply bad writing tacked together with wooden dialogue.

< snip >

For years I suffered from the optimistic delusion that I had now plowed through enough of the bad books to get at the truly great ones. I wrote "critiques" in the "fanzines," on the naive assumption that I could alert readers to how awful the writing was, how hackneyed were its stereotypes, and how many opportunities are missed by the authors of this art form. As a result, judging by the fans' irate responses in letters columns, I have become something of a pariah.

Actually, my efforts were wasted since the readers are fans of science fiction and not literature; the very things they cherish are the ones most likely to make me ill. My actions were hopeless because the value judgments I was rendering were based on the worth of literary achievement unknown to the fans. Someone who had not read War and Peace might presume that Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind is the definitive work on war and peace. Hence it would be impossible to make clear to him in theoretical terms that this was not the case. Similarly someone who has never loved might assume that the acme of this experience is in genital contact. The analogy is reasonable since most science fiction is to authentic scientific, philosophical, or theological knowledge as pornography is to love.

To me pornography is not evocative of erotic stimulation but of gynecology and anatomy, which I once studied. Similarly science fiction does not convey to me the fate of man trapped in his own devices but rather removes itself from human concerns through deceptive ballyhoo. I have nothing against entertainment, even if it is nonsense. But idiocy that passes itself off as Faustian mythology is a cultural cancer.

A year ago I was voted an honorary membership in SFWA. I accepted the honor because I had not given up on working toward reform from within. Now I wonder why I ever bothered trying. Possibly because to this day the phenomenon of science fiction fascinates me. After all, the Americans are not stupid, nor could the market affect all of them with opportunism. That said, I am amazed at a situation for which no word but "terrible" will do.

< snip >

In search of answers to these questions I read the SFWA bulletins. Poul Anderson, a noted sci-fi author, gives his colleagues some advice in the latest issue: "Think of Heinlein's warning—we are competing for our readers' beer money." He goes on to write that unless we clear away every barrier that would block the reader's understanding and pleasure he'll say "to hell with it" and head for the corner bar. Robert Heinlein, an author of the older generation, is a legendary figure, a classical sci-fi writer who lives on in "fandom" through anecdotes about him and dedications to him of bibliographies and monographs.
We Europeans shouldn't smile too smugly at this. We had better admit that in a sense Heinlein and Anderson are right, especially when we consider that the corner bar now also has a television set that shows, among other things, football games. Which of us literati, Shakespeare included, could hold a candle to a championship game? In this light the question is no longer to choose this book or that, but books vs. bar. And if that is the choice then we are all beaten.
I can't find the stuff where he criticizes Farmer at all or singles out Dick.

Also, at least based on the translations I've read of Lem, he is in absolutely no position to criticize anyone about...well...anything, literary, popular or kitsch.

Also there's speculation that Zebrowski wanted the honorary membership for Lem specifically (as opposed to any other author in the world) because Zebrowski speaks Polish and was hoping for work translating Lem.
#50
Old 04-08-2015, 02:20 PM
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Corrected link

Lem was an Internet troll before the Internet.
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