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March 24, 2015

Distant thunder, and the smell of ozone
Posted by Teresa at 07:08 PM *

I’ve been keeping an ear on the SF community’s gossip, and I think the subject of this year’s Hugo nominations is about to explode.

Let me make this clear: my apprehensions are not based on insider information. I’m just correlating bits of gossip. It may help that I’ve been a member of the SF community for decades.

If the subject does blow up, I may write about it in this space. In any event, watch that space.

Comments on Distant thunder, and the smell of ozone:
#1 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2015, 07:41 PM:

Oh, dear. Either the Annoying Right-Wing Puppies are getting nominated, or the Annoying Right-Wing Puppies aren't getting nominated? Or there's (gasp) other politics in fandom?

#2 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2015, 07:50 PM:

Or there's (gasp) other politics in fandom?

It's all about taxation of trade routes to the Outer Rim.

#3 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2015, 07:54 PM:

2
I thought it was about ethics in game journalism. Or something.

#4 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2015, 08:54 PM:

Vague prediction: Suspect it will be less about the sad puppies than about "callout culture," possibly intra social justice circle conflict.

#5 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2015, 09:17 PM:

There's a long history of really terrible stuff getting nominated and sometimes winning. I doubt there will be that much kerfuffle. I think there will be a range of stuff nominated, and on the whole I think that reflects the range of our community. If it's only the Sad Puppies nominated, that will be bad; if I agree with every nomination, that in some ways would be worse.

We'll see when Easter comes around, and the nominations become public.

#6 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2015, 09:29 PM:

I thought it was about ethics in game journalism.

No, no, it's about states' rights!

#7 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2015, 09:40 PM:

It could be an effect of both SP and identity politics issues. I imagine there would be reactions in some quarters if the Best Novel nominations were for works by Vandermeer, Bennett, Gladstone, Butcher, and Correia as a result of the intersection of SP influenced ballots and other preferences.

#8 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 01:35 AM:

I suppose my question is: will this year's argument explosion contain anything not covered by last year's?

(I don't expect anybody here to know the answer.)

#9 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 01:38 AM:

The official shortlist announcement will be on April 4th.

#10 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 01:43 AM:

Mm, my question adds nothing to what people are already speculating on. Let me amend with a possibly related newsclip:

"Gen Con has released an official letter to Indiana Governor Mike Pence regarding Diversity and SB 101. http://files.gencon.com/Gen_Con_Statement_Regarding_SB101.pdf"

(That's Gen Con, the largest gaming convention in the US; and SB101, the Indiana state bill for which I do not have a moderate description.)

#11 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 02:55 AM:

Well, the Hugo awards were mentioned on Breitbart back in early February, so I suppose anything is possible.

#12 ::: Arthur Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 05:52 AM:

Two efforts to make the Fan Writer Hugo one for investigative reporting might have something to do with that.

#13 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 06:35 AM:

One clear possibility is for there to be an explosion over the nomination (or otherwise) of the individual behind Requires Hate/Benjanun Sriduangkaew.

BS made it onto the Campbell shortlist last year, and emitted at least one work of short fiction in the time period eligible for the 2015 Hugos that is, in my opinion, potentially of Hugo grade.

(I suspect the individual behind the multiple pseudonyms/sock puppets now has cause to regret the effect of their earlier bullying on their subsequent writing career, but I think further commentary is inadvisable.)

#14 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 06:46 AM:

I wish I had even the faintest idea what Teresa is talking about, but I'm sure it will be juicy.

I'll get a comfy chair, some blankets, and some hot chocolate.

#15 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 08:26 AM:

P J Evans @3: That. The self-valorizing sociopath contingent seems to be involved. I don't know who else might be.

Emily H. @4, James @7: Less callout culture; more sad puppies and identity politics. And I'm pretty sure it isn't limited to the novel category. It may affect the entire ballot.

You know what? I find myself missing Jim Baen. His aesthetics were not my aesthetics, but he had a real understanding of fandom and the greater SF community. I like to think he'd have seen the danger in associating with a semi-anonymous bunch of irresponsible, resentment-driven malfeasants who have no stake in the well-being of the SF world. Larry Correia and the other sad puppies might have listened to him.

The hardcore Gamergate contingent favors tactics like verbal abuse and intimidation (including death threats), doxing, identity spoofing, and a wide range of dirty tricks. Some of them find it amusing to call down SWAT teams on their targets. This is not just your everyday People Behaving Badly on the Internet.

When you invite thugs into your argument, you're not using them as shock troops; they're using you as cover. And you're pretty much guaranteeing that at some point in the future, you'll wind up feebly protesting that you had no idea they'd do that. And maybe you didn't; but you did know they were thugs.

Tom Whitmore @5: That's how it tends to happen inside the community. From what I'm hearing now (but haven't been hearing about earlier), we either have outside involvement, or there's been a depth of conspiracy within the community that's a scandal in its own right. It's possible we have both.

Andrew Plotkin @8: Some of the same, I think; but bigger, more disruptive, and possibly more damaging. @10: Indiana's SB 101 is odious, but it's too new. The timing doesn't work out.

Charlie Stross @13: If RH/BS gets dragged into this, it'll be as further evidence that our institutions are more vulnerable than we've assumed.

#16 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 08:30 AM:

I am reminded of the bit in a later Dorothy Sayers book where Freddy, I think it is, who is an affable, slightly dim gentleman, mentions that the markets are twitchy. His superpower is finance, and he can't explain it.

Or the fellow from The Vor Game who just knows what the weather readings are because he's been doing the reports for so long.

Thanks for the warning, Teresa. I will try to be well-rested that weekend and thus better able to handle any reactions.

#17 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 08:34 AM:

Teresa: he had a real understanding of fandom and the greater SF community. I like to think he'd have seen the danger in associating with a semi-anonymous bunch of irresponsible, resentment-driven malfeasants who have no stake in the well-being of the SF world.

That's a state of mind I will attempt to emulate over the next few months.

(I am really glad I don't have a dog of my own in the races this year.)

#18 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 08:43 AM:

Tom Whitmore@5: If it's only the Sad Puppies nominated, that will be bad

That is not impossible. This year, unlike last, they issued a full slate. If they all vote for the same five works, while the rest of the world divides its votes between, say, eight different works, they could take the entire ballot.

On the other hand: a. last year showed that they did not in fact all vote for exactly the same works, e.g. Correia got a lot more votes than Day, and b. There will be some splitting of the vote this year, because VD has issued a list which overlaps, but is distinct in some respects.

#19 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 09:36 AM:

Hopefully Fragano will once again be able to call the year's Hugo the NoBeale Prize.

#20 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 11:18 AM:

15
I remember that there was one nominee in 1984 whose supporters (a very small group, maybe a dozen people) managed to get him onto the Campbell Award ballot, but not the Hugo section they were trying for. They were sufficiently obvious that the committee noticed them. (And sufficiently unfamiliar with the voting that their final ballots were mostly invalid.)

The rules on nominations did not, at the time, cover organized ballot-box stuffing. If they still don't, maybe they should.

#21 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 11:38 AM:

PJ Evans @20: How would one write the rules to prevent ballot stuffing? It seems trivially obvious that buying a bunch of memberships for one's supporters, that is, paying them to vote, is wrong. How does one find such a thing, how does one prevent such a thing?

#22 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 11:46 AM:

I see that the committee is still announcing the Hugo nominations on the Saturday before Easter. Scalzi has eloquently explained why that's pretty much the worst time to do that announcement, from the point of view of getting the genre, and authors, useful publicity. If this year does erupt, that practically guarantees that whatever coverage does appear on Monday & Tuesday will be about the angry tweets and blog posts, with very little coverage of the actual work. I realize that the announcement is timed for people at a convention, and I appreciate how special that is, but...

#23 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 11:51 AM:

@21 - Yup, the conventional sense of "ballot stuffing" is in an election where each voter gets one vote, and miscreants create fake ballots. In the case of an award, where anyone can buy the right to vote, encouraging more people to buy a membership, and asking them to vote a certain way isn't ballot stuffing. Someone buying multiple memberships and voting all of them is, but how does the committee detect that if they use fake names? If someone buys multiple memberships, and gives them as gifts to people, and those people happen to vote the way their friend and benefactor would like...is that strictly speaking against the rules? (don't know -- haven't read them)

#24 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 12:07 PM:

TNH @15: When you invite thugs into your argument, you're not using them as shock troops; they're using you as cover.

Just admiring this. You know, this is a general principle I wish was more widely understood. By, like, government leaders.

#25 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 12:11 PM:

I'll be at Minicon watching the announcements, so I guess I get to look forward to lively discussion afterward.

#26 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 12:25 PM:

21
The problem would probably have to be handled at the back end, by making it possible to rule nominations invalid, for actual reasons that would need to be made available to the committee - not one person's opinion.

What got attention in 1984 was a group of nearly-identical ballots, from one single address, with memberships paid for by consecutive money orders. (All but maybe two of the dozen nominations for that particular author were on ballots from the same identifiable source. That was another point.)

#27 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 12:27 PM:

janetl@23:In the WSFS constitution, this section seems to cover the outright ballot stuffing:
Section 6.2: Natural Persons. In all matters arising under this Constitution, only natural persons may introduce business, nominate, or vote, except as specifically provided otherwise in this Constitution. No person may cast more than one vote on any issue or more than one ballot in any election. This shall not be interpreted to prohibit delivery of ballots cast by other eligible voters.

I don't see anything prohibiting buying memberships and giving them out as gifts. As a practical matter, I see on the Sasquan site that it only supports buying up to 10 memberships at a time--although you could do that multiple times. Seems like doing that in the numbers needed to effect the outcome would be a pretty expensive method of making a point.
Far more likely is just encouraging ones fans.

#28 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 01:25 PM:

I think I hear the same thunder:

https://twitter.com/booksmugglers/status/580720241837256704

For those who don't want to go to Twitter for whatever reason: that's The Book Smugglers saying that Wisdom from the Internet by Michael Z. Williams is apparently getting a Related Work nomination. That's on the Sad Puppy slate. Note that nominees are usually requested not to mention that they have been nominated until the formal announcement, which I bring up as evidence that the Sad Puppies literally give not the slightest whit of concern for the actual culture of the Hugo Awards community.

#29 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 01:33 PM:

I just took a look at the Sad Puppies slate, and at least at this point, I'd say they're not trying to stuff the ballot box-- they've got multiple entries in most categories.

#30 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 01:38 PM:

When googling to find out more information about what might be going on, I saw that Breitbart writers posted about the Sad Puppy Slate in February. That would be a way to get what TNH #15 called "outside involvement," wouldn't it?

Oy.

#31 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 01:47 PM:

And rereading I note that Randolph #11 already made the same point. Oh well.

#32 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 02:01 PM:

Teresa:

Yeah, it seems like there's this awful pattern that comes up a lot in social media outrage campaigns, in which there's a large pool of basically normal, decent people who have some kind of ideological disagreement, and then a few sociopaths who glom onto the debate and start acting really abusively--doxxing, sending death threats, SWATting, getting people fired, posting really vile lies about people online, etc. And the decent people say "well, maybe those guys go too far, but at least they're on our side, and besides, the other side is just as bad." And since most causes can find a few sociopaths willing to associate with them, that's always true. Even if one side has 10x as many sociopaths doing nasty stuff, the members of the sociopath-heavy side will more easily remember that guy on their side who got fired and swamped with online death threats than the ten people on the other side who got the same treatment.

There's some kind of broken software in humans that makes us very willing to support almost limitless nastiness to "them," once we feel like we're in an us/them battle and we can see cases where some of "them" did some really outrageous nasty stuff to some of "us."

I think a similar dynamic happens in terrorism a lot--for every one person who will mail someone a bomb for his cause, there are hundreds who would never do such a thing, but who have a certain amount of sympathy for (and may support in other ways) the bomb-mailer--after all, the other side does nasty stuff, too, so they have it coming.

#33 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 02:10 PM:

I had figured it was going to be about Benjanun Sriduankaew -- either getting a nomination, or one of the "investigative journalism" pieces about her getting a nomination.

I'm almost relieved if it's the Sad Puppy slate getting nominated -- I feel like that's actually less likely to cause a huge amount of rancor (at least in my neighborhood of fandom.)

#34 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 02:37 PM:

So it occurs to me to wonder, just as a pure hypothetical, whether "No Award" has ever come in first in a Hugo category.

#35 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 02:43 PM:

Several times in Best DP, it would seem.

#36 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 03:06 PM:

#34, Heather Rose Jones:

Sure, No Award has won, if not very often.

I recall Suncon in 1977, Best Dramatic Presentation. Nominees, released in 1976, were Carrie, Logan's Run, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Futureworld. I hear tell that none of them were first-rate SF films, though now that I look at the list, it seems odd that 39 years after their release, I haven't seen a single one of them. Probably should see TMWFtE sometime, at least.

Paradoxically, on that same evening, at the same ceremony, the Suncon committee-- empowered by the Hugo rules to give out one award at their discretion-- singled out another SF movie. The Special Committee Award went to George Lucas for "Star Wars (bringing back a sense of wonder)." Producer Gary Kurtz accepted on his behalf.

Star Wars opened in May of 1977, and the award capped a summer I recall as filled with wild enthusiasm, and multiple return trips to cineplexes, among SF fans of my acquaintance.

After that point in the Seventies, science fiction films generally improved.

Somebody has recently turned up audio tapes of that Hugo award ceremony, and made them available as MP3 files.

#37 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 03:34 PM:

#36: "Futureworld," which ran on "ThisTV" last year, was really, really bad. Low-budget, low-ambition, shlocky looking. Bad TV movie quality.

I'm kind of afraid to rewatch "Logan's Run," which I knew was flawed but that I still enjoyed Back Then.

#38 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 03:38 PM:

Bill Higgins -- Beam Jockey @36 Nominees, released in 1976, were Carrie, Logan's Run, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Futureworld.

I have seen 3 of them (and for reference I was born in 1975). Carrie is a superior 70s supernatural horror film, most of whose best parts have been endlessly recycled in later horror films. The Man Who Fell To Earth just barely holds up, due to trying to do (and mostly succeeding) that kind of vague surrealness that films of that era sometimes went for. Logan's Run is hilarious, even when it's actually trying to be funny.

#39 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 03:58 PM:

janetl #22: I just love Scalzi's way of turning a phrase: I would lick a wall socket before I released the news on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter.

Though "jane" might have topped him: WWJD? Not announce on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter. Even he’s dead then.

#40 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 05:19 PM:

Logan's Run is ... not nearly as good as the book, in my opinion, but it does do some interesting things as a movie of its time and a movie of that era of SF. The costumery is interesting to look at, in a "studying the futures of the past" way. The fact that they actually depicted the "If you're bored put yourself into the teleporting randomizer for people to have sex with you" mechanic from the book is interesting, and very, um, seventies.

Many of the other changes from the book, I dislike, though in general the images in the movie are interesting (and the cavalcade of imagery and action set-pieces is one of the book's strong points).

The acting is ... of its era. Very of its era. And potentially hilarious to a modern viewer for that reason. :->

#41 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 06:35 PM:

Carrie 6: Yes! That's just it. I'm totally stealing that.

#42 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 06:37 PM:

Xopher, it's not original to me, but I don't remember where I saw it. The formulation I first encountered was "It's not about Zoe Quinn, it's about states' rights!"

#43 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 06:48 PM:

P J Evans @20: There've been quite a few controversies over real or alleged grabs at the Hugo. L. Ron Hubbard's novel Black Genesis was openly booed at the 1987 Hugo ceremony in Brighton (see Dave Langford on the subject), and came in behind No Award.

There was a more substantial dust-up over voting irregularities in the nominations for the 1989 Hugos. Some precedents established at that time:

1. Do not buy wholesale quantities of supporting memberships using sequentially-numbered postal money orders purchased at the post office nearest the hotel where the local convention is held, while said convention is going on.

2. Do not take out one of those supporting memberships in the name of an established member of the community who isn't in on the gag. If you feel you must, make sure it isn't in the name of someone who'll decide to go to the worldcon at the last moment, try to buy an attending membership, and be told that he already has a supporting membership -- and moreover, has already nominated and voted in the Hugo Awards.

(There was definitely smoke coming out of that gun.)

3. If an unremarkable first novel makes the ballot, both of its co-authors get nominated for the John W. Campbell Award, and one of them gets nominated in a third category that's normally hard to break into, the SF world is going to notice the anomalies, fast, and will openly discuss them.

To flesh out item #3 a little more: the co-authors, who hadn't been responsible for the spoofed memberships, were indignant about the worldcon's public but otherwise fairly discreet acknowledgement that there had been irregularities in the voting. This is excusable. They were beginning authors, and couldn't see how unlikely the nominations were. They took the position that if the worldcon committee hadn't said anything, nobody would have noticed there was anything odd about the ballot.

They were wrong. People in the SF community who followed the Hugos knew almost instantly that there had been ballot tampering, and which works and creators had benefited from it. The public discussion that followed was unavoidable. The other reason the authors were wrong: people initially assumed that the authors were responsible for the tampering. The subsequent discussion is what exonerated them in the public eye.

Lydy Nickerson @21: I'd give the Hugo administrators the right to confidentially inform their Chair and some designated fraction of WSFS that some of the votes or voting patterns look dodgy, and should be examined before anything's decided. What counts as "dodgy" is a moving target, so it shouldn't be too tightly defined. Deciding whether the votes in question are legitimate should be a much stricter process.

What would I consider dodgy? Obvious gaffes like the ones in 1986, of course. With computerized voting systems, I'd look for some of the same characteristics you see in spamming and astroturfing. You know the drill:

-- Too many similar submissions from one IP address, or from a small group of closely related IP addresses, or from addresses used for other malfeasance.
-- Inadequate differentiation, esp. minor quirks or errors duplicated in supposedly unrelated ballots.
-- Voting an agenda and nothing else. Real fans will have at least a few opinions about other categories.
And so forth.

It must of course be recognized that fans are entitled to vote for an agreed-upon agenda, if that's what they want to do. The difference, I think, is between fans voting for an agenda because they care about SF and the Hugos, and think the agenda will move them in some desired direction; and people using the Hugos as a mechanism to forward some agenda other than recognizing the best work done in the field in the past year.

Let's say a lot of votes come in for a work that's unlikely to inspire such enthusiasm, like an obscure and unremarkable first novel, or the second volume of a series whose first volume hadn't come close to getting nominated, and many people professed to find unreadable. That would be odd. It suggests the existence of other agendas, like "We're trying to recycle our creepily problematical founder figure into a lovable old pulp-era SF writer."

The other thing that would set me off -- and here you see my background as a TAFF administrator -- would be lots of ballots with similar voting patterns coming in from voters with no prior history of participation in the worldcon or Hugos. A history of other fannish activity would be a strong extenuating circumstance. Having them all have inexpensive supporting memberships would be an aggravating one.

Newbies arrive in ones and twos. I don't believe in the existence of genuine newbies who all arrive holding the same opinions.

Would all this be an administrative headache? Absolutely! But as long as we keep the price of supporting memberships low enough for impoverished students and overseas fans with disadvantageous exchange rates to participate in the Hugos, we're going to be vulnerable to well-heeled troublemakers.

Steve Halter @27: I'm sure that someone I know remembers what problem they were addressing with the "natural person" provision. If I knew which one it is, I'd ask them.

Any volunteers?

Kevin Maroney @28: Yup, that's one of the datapoints. You can read a sample of the book here. Short version? It's an amateurish e-book that has nothing to do with science fiction, except that its author has written some.

It has sold some copies, though it hasn't sold terribly well, especially considering how "hilarious" its five-star reviews say it is. Its ranking may change if this issue blows up, so for the record, at this moment it's:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,576 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#32 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Humor & Entertainment > Humor > Politica
Vide supra, passim.

#44 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 07:04 PM:

Ah, I realised after I found the word "Identitarian" and the hating on Scalzi and others that Breitbart is certainly a right wing media outlet. It's funny how they take things out of context and build a picture of opression.

(I note too that Ayn Rand might object to being called an "Objectivist libertarian")

#45 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 07:14 PM:

Actually, one comment on the Breitbart article had a link to a blog post setting out what the "Human wave" SF should be about. It seemed rather a return to the 'golden age' of SF, although it seems a bit mixed up to me, and of course it basically disowns the last century of non-populist experimental and not so experimental writing in SFF.

#46 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 07:26 PM:

Guthrie @44-45: If they're participating because they love the genre, and they're into old-fashioned SF virtues, then surely they'll have nominated The Three-Body Problem.

Let's see if they do.

#47 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 07:29 PM:

Sigh. I was really looking forward to reading for the Hugos again this year. Last year was a lot of fun, except that I was underwhelmed by many of the Sad Puppy nominees. I know that there's some good conservative-leaning SF out there. In the last couple of decades, I've found some tucked away in various corners of the Baen catalog. I don't know anything about David Drake's personal politics, for example, but some of his military SF can be downright haunting.1 And of course, there's a long history of religious science fiction stretching back at least as far as C.S. Lewis and his space trilogy.2

If we're going to go through more Hugo drama this year, could we please at least get some good stories out of it?

1In particular, Drake seems to have a knack for portraying good soldiers—people who care about professionalism, and about their peers—who find themselves thrust into morally murky situations. When you've got nothing else, professionalism can be an awfully slender reed to lean on. I should try to read more than a tiny handful of his short stories.

2C.S. Lewis had some very fannish enthusiasms, and he wrote a marvelous letter reviewing Childhood's End.

#48 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 07:38 PM:

Teresa@43:That "natural person" wording does seem interesting. Either anticipating some large advances in AI or maybe against corporations.

I agree that some sort guard against dodgy voting would be useful and your suggestions seem in the right direction although the exact wording would be tricky (and all sorts of fun to pass).

#49 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 07:46 PM:

Teresa (43): Is the "natural person" specification the one about someone having bought a membership for their teddy bear?

#50 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 07:49 PM:

David Drake is a very good writer.

#51 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 07:52 PM:

Eric K., I'm with you 100%, except for the assumption that religion is conservative. If anything it's radical, and it leans left. Right-wing CHINOs lie about that a lot.

David Drake can be a serious and thoughtful writer. He's not responsible for the excesses of his fans.

You've probably had Lois Bujold's work recommended to you. Have you tried David Weber?

#52 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 08:01 PM:

43
lots of ballots with similar voting patterns coming in from voters with no prior history of participation in the worldcon or Hugos

That. Also. (Yes, it did get run by higher-ups.) It was like having a neon-painted, strobe-lit semi, with speakers playing loud hard rock, sitting out front. I recall that most-but-not-all of their final ballots were ruled invalid because we checked the signatures against the nominating ballots from the same names. (They were noticed in the first place because they only nominated stuff by a then-minor East Coast writer. Who just happened to have gone to school in that town.) We could see his girlfriend and a few other people nominating him, but it was the ten people at one address, with no history of convention-going, that set us off. And that was at least half the nominations for those works.

A lot of this is knowing fans and how the process usually works.

#53 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 09:41 PM:

It's a lot harder to verify signatures these days, because of online voting. I have a lot of faith in the people running the Hugos this year, so I'm hoping everything will work out appropriately as far as the actual awards go.

And, as was commented above: No Award is always a good option.

#54 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 09:43 PM:

So, taking for the sake of argument that the Sad Puppies haven't done anything actually against the rules, and that their organization and slate are effective in getting works on the ballot, what do we do about that?

One obvious solution is to try to do counter-organization: get one or two people with better taste to put forth their own competing slates. Scalzi springs to mind as a likely choice. (Except of course that I suspect he'd rather have painful eye surgery.)

I realize that fannish tradition has so far tried to keep outright politicking out of the nomination process. Would we rather dismantle a half century of tradition, or we would we rather let Correia and VD take over? Having things go on as they went previously doesn't seem to be an option.

#55 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 09:48 PM:

Mary Aileen@49:If that is the reason, it is way better than my imaginings. :-)

#56 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 09:53 PM:

Eric K, consider this a second recommendation for David Weber's work. I'm particularly fond of his Safehold novels, since they're a really interesting mix of military SF and discussions of religions, but his Honor Harrington novels are also favorites (military SF and interstellar politics).

#57 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 09:57 PM:

Modifying the nominations to allow only one work / author per category would limit the effect of slate voting. Voters following a slate would have to choose, and the probability of a slate being able to flood a category would be much reduced.

#58 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 10:17 PM:

Allowing only one nomination per category is probably too extreme, but reducing the number of nominations per category to three or four might be possible. Or increase the number of nominees on the ballot to six or seven, while holding the nomination limit steady at five would work. I'd prefer to have at least two works per category reflect actual uncoordinated enthusiasm on the part of the fans.

#59 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 10:30 PM:

If you're interested in changing the Hugo rules (like, for example, limiting the number of items one can nominate as James or Steven suggests), it would have to be done at the Business Meeting at Worldcon. While the conventions have a lot of discretion about how they can manage the Hugos, it's not absolute. There are several Business Meeting regulars who are more than happy to help newcomers figure out reasonable wording to get the result they want, and how to manage the deadlines properly: Kevin Standlee springs immediately to mind, but there are others.

And if you want to change things, show up at the meeting. I've seen Patrick there, doing his part (and I go less frequently than I should). The meetings are open, scheduled not too early in the morning, and are actually less intimidating than they appear. They are slow to change things, but they do. And in this case: "them" is "us", if you're a Worldcon member. Part of your membership is the right to attend the Business Meeting, and vote.

#60 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 11:06 PM:

Well, part of your *attending* membership. I think the supporting membership doesn't come with business meeting rights.

I looked into Worldcon but it would blow a year's worth of my con budget on a single event (two years if it's not in the US) and that's not happening.

I wish those who do go to Worldcon well. They will be deciding any change to the rules of the Hugos for me, so I hope they'll consider carefully.

#61 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 11:36 PM:

Steve Halter @ 27: 25-30 years ago, nominations were light enough that they could be gimmicked for modest amounts of money; now it \might/ be too expensive, depending on whether there's somebody with deep pockets and an interest in the outcome. (In the last 30 years, some pockets have gotten pretty deep -- even though I doubt the Koch Bros. would bother to be involved in the Hugos.) Note also that true gift-giving would be one thing, but "giving" the memberships (supporting only) and sending in ballots in their names would be simple fraud.

Bill Higgins @ 36: I never saw tMwFtE, but it had good reports at the time. I did see Carrie later, and thought it could have struck a chord with fans -- one of the abused finally getting to strike back. My read at the time was that Star Wars had so much more appeal that the nominees faded by comparison, but I never asked anyone else how/why they voted.

Stefan @ 37: I remember Cinefantastique Quarterly's headline: "Logan's Run: the SF Boom Starts with a Bomb".

TNH @ 43: another principle: don't buy memberships at the local convention for people most of a thousand miles away; when caught at this, don't make up a bogus story involving people taking a long road trip, not registering at the con, and spending a trivial time there -- and getting into some areas where a horde of unregistered people wouldn't have been admitted. Generalizing: lies are like Jenga towers -- they get more unstable as they pile up.

wrt the "natural person" rule: a teddy bear may have been the proximate cause, but there was a history -- including somebody buying a membership for their pet rock. (IIRC, the committee told the buyer that the rock couldn't vote.)

#62 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2015, 11:53 PM:

TNH @43: 1987 Hugo ceremony in Brighton (see Dave Langford on the subject)

Entirely tangential: I remember hearing Kelly Freas pitching Artists of the Future at some con or other, 'round about then. Sounded like a good deal: no entry fee, submissions judged by professionals, with personalized, individual feedback, can re-enter as often as you like until you win, with a new round happening every quarter.... Hell, the worst thing that could happen was that you'd win right off the bat.

So I finally got around to sending in a submission. Crickets. I think it was on the order of a year before I even heard whether they'd received my submission. More crickets. A year or several to find out I "didn't win."

Several years later, though, I did receive a nice, fancy, obviously expensive, oversized magazine touting the program...with a huge pic of HUBBARD on the cover....

#63 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 12:20 AM:

WRT David Drake & David Weber recs: what are a couple of good titles to start with?

#64 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 12:55 AM:

For Weber, the Honor Harrington books should be started at the beginning. List (of all his series) here. They're the ones that people get really excited about. His other series don't have the following, or at least they didn't when I was in the store.

For Drake, it's more difficult: there are fewer stand-out series. I really liked what he was doing in Cthulhu short stories back when he was just starting, but that's not the most popular. His military SF started with the Hammer's Slammers series: they didn't grab me, but they did grab the MilSF readers a lot. He's also done pure fantasy, historical fantasy, and a lot of unclassifiable stuff. He's pretty prolific (151 titles listed). His fantasticfiction bibliography is here -- I'd want to sit down and talk about what you're specifically looking for before I'd recommend a series of his.

#65 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 12:58 AM:

For Weber, I'd recommend either _Honor of the Queen_ or _Path of the Fury_.

#66 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 01:30 AM:

Seconding the recommendation to read Honor Harrington in order -- they follow a chronological sequence, and without knowing what happened in previous books you may become confused.

Path of the Fury is a stand-alone, and is my personal favorite of Weber's books. I strongly suggest getting the later edition with attached prequel; it has deeper characterization.

#67 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 07:21 AM:

Tom Whitmore, #64 -- "For Weber, the Honor Harrington books should be started at the beginning. List (of all his series) here. They're the ones that people get really excited about. His other series don't have the following, or at least they didn't when I was in the store."

You may be a little out of date. The Safehold series (mentioned by Benjamin Wolfe in #56), which began with Off Armageddon Reef in 2007, has at least as large a following as the Honor Harrington books at this point. I learned this when the sales force asked me to stop putting "BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE HONOR HARRINGTON BOOKS" on the front covers of new Safehold titles. Almost without exception, each new Safehold book has hit the NYT list at a higher level than the previous one, so it's pretty clear they have an avid following.

On a different note, I don't understand why people use fantasticfiction.co.uk for summary bibliographical information about SF&F writers, when it seems to me clear that the Internet SF Database is vastly more comprehensive, detailed, and accurate, and also more frequently updated. As an example, here's their David Weber summary.

#68 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 07:42 AM:

David Goldfarb, #54: "One obvious solution is to try to do counter-organization: get one or two people with better taste to put forth their own competing slates. Scalzi springs to mind as a likely choice. (Except of course that I suspect he'd rather have painful eye surgery.)"

You're right that he'd be disinclined to any such project, but in fact that's because he's opposed to it on principle. I know this from personal conversation with him, and I take the same view.

"I realize that fannish tradition has so far tried to keep outright politicking out of the nomination process. Would we rather dismantle a half century of tradition, or we would we rather let Correia and VD take over?"

I suspect there are a few other options. I actually think that the Hugos get better, overall, the larger the number of people who nominate and vote, and I think that measures to make it easier to do so will improve matters in the long run even if they temporarily give a boost to ill-natured initiatives like the one under discussion here.

#69 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 07:56 AM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ #51: In fact, I am more frequently a source of enthusiastic Bujold recommendations than a recipient. I am awaiting the new Cordelia book very impatiently indeed. And I do enjoy the occasional David Weber story, when I'm in the mood for military SF.

And I absolutely agree that there are both radical and left-leaning religious movements. Distributivism scarcely appears to exist as a live political philosophy in our day, but there's no denying that when Chesterton heard a proposal to shave the heads of poor children in the name of hygiene, he countered with a proposal to overthrow the entire modern economic order: "With the red hair of one she-urchin in the gutter I will set fire to all modern civilization."

And this gets back to why I was so frustrated with last year's Sad Puppy slate. As I understand it, their argument goes something like this:

  • They think that conservative SF is under-represented in awards voting, especially works with military and religious themes.
  • By nominating slates of more conservative works, they hope to increase the visibility of conservative SF and secure it the position that they think it deserves.

But where the whole process broke down was the actual stories they nominated. Was that really the best conservative-leaning SF of 2013? My evaluation of those stories ranged from "A competent enough media tie-in, but not really Hugo caliber" (for the The Butcher of Khardov) all the way down to "You've got to be kidding me." The contrast is especially stark if you compare the Sad Puppy nominees with the 1939 Retro-Hugo nominees from the same ballot. Compare their military SF to E. E. Smith's Galactic Patrol or their religious nominees to C. S. Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet, and it's tempting to conclude that modern conservative SF is in very bad shape indeed—or that they've doing a terrible job of choosing which conservative SF to promote.

I certainly have no objection to political SF. Two of my favorite Heinlein stories are The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (a tale of libertarian revolution) and Coventry (where a stereotypical libertarian very nearly does get turned into thin strips of Objectivist Jerky, to borrow a phrase from Scalzi). And many of the 2014 Hugo nominees had interesting political themes, ranging from Ann Leckie's almost genderless society to Charles Stross's tale of interstellar debt. And as discussed up-thread, there are skilled conservative SF writers still writing today.

So my fundamental objection isn't that the Sad Puppies nominated a bunch of conservative SF. I could imagine a world in which they had picked out strong, interesting stories with political themes, a world in which reading their Hugo nominees was an actual pleasure. I mean, I'm not going to read all the conservative authors published by Baen, etc., in any given year, but if somebody else wants to pick out the best of those stories and nominate them for the Hugos, I would be happy to give them a read alongside everything else.

But in the world that actually exists, we're left discussing such questions as, "If the first 10 pages of a Hugo nominee are obviously insipid, under-performing writing, does a conscientious reader have any obligation to finish it?" Frankly, I feel like I'm being trolled.

#70 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 08:30 AM:

A few points unattached to anything specific in the thread:

* I've heard it observed that last year was in fact a notably strong year in all the fiction categories, so knowledgeable non-SP nominators probably spread their picks across a larger-than-average number of works, making it even easier than usual for a focussed campaign for a few specific works to have a big impact.

* I've been hearing (note, once again, not from any insider sources) that the number of nominations was significantly down this year from last. 1,923 people nominated last year. Now, granted, nobody expects Sasquan in Spokane to draw as many attendees as the near-record number at Loncon, but still, every single one of the over 8,000 supporting and attending members of Loncon was eligible to nominate in this year's Hugos, so why did so few do so? Examining this question seems to me more worthwhile than contemplating drastic reforms like reducing the number of works each member can nominate.

* Those of us who are annoyed by the stick-it-to-the-SJWs tendentiousness of the SP campaign should probably keep in mind that not everyone endorsed by the SPs necessarily asked to be. Also, that the SPs and their supporters are themselves as capable as anyone else of producing work worthy of awards. Fairmindedness and good judgement are not virtues that come prepackaged alongside artistic and storytelling ability. I hold in high esteem a lot of books and stories that were written by people who did crappy things at times.

* Regarding Best Novel: I've heard that three of the five finalists are SP-endorsed. (Which, see above, doesn't in itself guarantee that any of them are unworthy of a Hugo.) I don't know what any of those three books are. I do know the identity of the other two, and I don't think anyone in this conversation will regard them as unworthy candidates. (Disclaimer: Neither of them are books Teresa or I worked on in any way.)

Finally, to summarize how I feel about the rights and wrongs of all this:

* I'm unaware of the SP campaign doing anything that violates the rules.

* That said, lots of behavior that is reprehensible, all the way from "dubious" to "scummy" to "downright evil," violates no rules, regulations, or statutes.

* To my mind, a coordinated effort to push a slate of candidates for an award like the Hugos doesn't even rise to "scummy"; I would call it "dubious" at worst.

* But: Deliberately reaching out to outside groups that traffic in threats, intimidation, doxxing, and "SWATting", and urging them to buy Worldcon memberships and nominate in the Hugos -- in effect, inviting them into our community -- rises all the way to "downright evil." We know this happened; we don't know the full extent of it.

#71 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 08:48 AM:

Eric K makes a very good point. The SP partisans claim that the SFF world has been systematically dissing work from writers with conservative political or religious points of view. But this argument relies on carefully forgetting the existence of certain very conservative writers, such as the ultra-orthodox Roman Catholic Gene Wolfe, or the unabashedly right-wing Tim Powers, both of whom have been lionized for decades by the predominantly liberal-leaning SF world. It's almost as if what the SPs are defending isn't so much "conservatism" as "their group of buddies with a shared taste for ultra-violence in fiction." It's like accusing America of hating rock music because your favorite Norwegian death-metal band isn't topping the US charts.

#72 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 08:53 AM:

The solution to odious speech is, as always, more speech -- possibly there is room for a publicity campaign directed at people KNOWN to be eligible to nominate (surely various worldcon-related groups still have those databases?) when noms open and, say, a month before they close, suggesting ways they can find lists of eligible works or otherwise making the task of TELL ME YOUR FAVORITE FIVE THINGS THIS YEAR RIGHT THIS SECOND less daunting.

Mind, I doubt many of the "Woohoo, all the WoT in ebook form for $40!" crowd are going to stick around, but some might.

#73 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 08:54 AM:

tnh@43: "I'd give the Hugo administrators the right to confidentially inform their Chair and some designated fraction of WSFS that some of the votes or voting patterns look dodgy…"

Oh, but can't you hear the whining of the sad puppies? Their jurisprudence (as well as Justice Scalia's) seems to be, "Nothing in the rules? No problem!" That's why they're so fond of fixed rules and bright lines—these things can be gamed.

tnh@15: "When you invite thugs into your argument…" Surely they are already there, or at least thug-wannabees? Last year I spent time drinking poison reading the worst of these. The fantasies of violence in "self defense" were especially ugly.

Steve Halter@27, CHiP@61: there's plenty on the radical right as could buy enough supporting memberships out of small change, and at least one of the sad puppies has ties to the organized radical right. But it's hard to see how this could be implemented without raising all kinds of red flags.

#74 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 09:16 AM:

Eric K@69: "I feel like I'm being trolled."

They've invited the trolls in, haven't they?

"Compare their military SF…" I made a similar comment about their religious sf in last year's discussion, mentioning Blish, Walter Miller, Tolkien, Lafferty, and Wolfe. This is an august company, and I don't think they're even on the board in an honest competition.

And, after all, aren't Leckie's books military sf?

The thing I hate about this is that these games involved cheating good authors and worthwhile books out some visibility and, if I am serious about voting, pushing me to read at least a bit of works that are to me a huge waste of time.

pnh@70: "Deliberately reaching out to outside groups that traffic in threats…"

Oh, no. The involvement of those groups was always a high probability; SF and fantasy fiction are the bases of sf and fantasy gaming, after all. Still, there are few good reasons to tease those dragons.

#75 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 09:21 AM:

Patrick @ 70: Damn. That excludes at least two novels that I really felt deserved to be on the list right there.

Patrick @ 71: One of the really telling things about the SP list is that for two years running it's excluded Weber and Ringo. They fill most of the slots that the rhetoric suggests for inclusion -- right-wing, ignored for awards, published by Baen, sell well -- but either both of them have told the SP leaders in no uncertain terms that they don't want to be associated with them, or the SP's are afraid that they wouldn't generate enough outrage. Both have a record of interacting well with others.

#76 ::: Dragoness Eclectic ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 09:29 AM:

I must point out that LonCon probably saw a flood of new, previously unknown voters because the Hugo voting package included free e-books of the entire Wheel of Time series. I know that's why my spouse got a membership. He voted, too.

So, you can have a flood of new voters for reasons unrelated to ballot-stuffing.

#77 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 09:38 AM:

The preferential voting system on the final ballot is designed to prevent a small minority of voters from choosing a winner that the majority dislikes. It's designed to make sure that vote-splitting doesn't matter; it tells people "You don't have to vote tactically, you can choose your favorite works and the system will make sure the best work wins."

What the Sad Puppies are attempting to do is break the Hugo system at the nominating stage, where vote-splitting does still matter, by trying to force their nominees and their nominees alone onto the final ballot. If they were pushing one or two items in each category, I would agree that their activity was merely distasteful, and that the best remedy was increased participation. But when they try to prevent the broader fan community from having any representation whatsoever on the final ballot, well, I think "dubious" becomes far too mild a word to describe their activities.

(Some of them may be too stupid to realize that's what they're doing. I am not sufficiently generous of heart to accept gross stupidity as mitigation of bad behavior.)

If they manage to sweep an entire category—or more than one category—with a single slate of nominee chosen through coordinated bloc voting, they will have managed the impressive feat of rigging the Hugos in a way the Hugos have never been rigged before, because until now no large group has been unscrupulous enough to attempt it. They'll have pointed out a systemic flaw in Hugo voting procedures, a way to violate one of the Hugo's core voting principles, that we've gotten away with ignoring because nobody's exploited it until now.

I think systemic flaws should be addressed with systemic reforms. Allowing only five nominations for seven spots on the final ballot, or three for five, or four for six, may be a drastic change, but it's much less drastic than the changes that will occur if the Sad Puppies succeed and we do nothing in response. If they show people by example that they can win Hugos through tactical voting that blocks real competition from even appearing on the ballot, it will happen again and again, and it will become harder and harder for work to make the ballot without an organized campaign in support. I don't want good work to need that sort of block voting. Whereas if we change the rules so a block voting campaign can't shut out other voices, then there's a hope that they'll get tired of nominating crap that gets crushed on the final ballot, and either give up altogether or at least be more selective about the works they choose for their slate.

#78 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 09:47 AM:

Randolph @74:

"The involvement of those groups was always a high probability; SF and fantasy fiction are the bases of sf and fantasy gaming, after all."

No, they really aren't. Yes, a lot of people who play sf and fantasy computer games read sf & fantasy novels, but a great many of them don't, and I'm not sure there's all that much more of an sf readership among HALO players (let alone CALL OF DUTY or GRAND THEFT AUTO players) than among the populace at large. Sure, the vast majority of the sf&f ideas in the games originated in books, but the primary influence is film.

#79 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 09:48 AM:

Randolph @73:

"That's why they're so fond of fixed rules and bright lines—these things can be gamed."

This, on the other hand, is so true it makes me shudder.

#80 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 09:57 AM:

There is no way to fight abusive rules-lawyers by writing stricter policies. The only method that has ever worked against abusive rules-lawyers is moderators empowered to say, "You're being an asshole, and now you are banned," and powerful gatekeepers behind the moderators supporting them when the rules-lawyers attempt to shriek for redress.

Of course, then you need to make sure there's a procedure to prevent abusive moderation, but that's hardly a deal-breaker.

#81 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 10:00 AM:

As witness the currently proposed ballot measure in California, the "Sodomite Suppression Act." The powers that be have literally no way to squash it, despite the fact that it explicitly calls for **legalizing the extrajudicial murder of citizens**. They have no power to squash it because discretion was previously abused to squash ballot measures that the POTB simply disliked or disagreed with.

There is currently investigation going on into ways to (a) give them back some discretion to go NO, BANHAMMER on proposed ballot initiatives that have done all the relevant paperwork, and (b) secondarily instituting a check to catch any future abusive banhammering.

(he is very unlikely to be able to get enough valid signatures to get it on the ballot. It is still odious in the extreme)

#82 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 10:08 AM:

In the case of Weber and Ringo, I suspect that the receipt of ridiculous sums of money has put them into a state of "I feel that warm, happy glow of professional acceptance. You guys go on without me. I'm gonna go down to the bank, cash another check, and bathe in hundred dollar bills."

Joking aside, Weber leans way-rightish, but I don't see him as being particularly doctrinaire. My last encounter with Ringo over politics was unpleasant, but people do change and Ringo is certainly experienced enough to recognize a scam when he sees one.

I'd hoped for better from Williamson. Is Kratman a sad puppy? My own encounters with him have always been pleasant.

One more Baen writer to recommend is Eric Flint. I don't see him as being a brilliant writer, but he definitely produces a fun read.

#83 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 10:17 AM:

Regarding changing the rules: first, can you imagine the screams? 'We managed to get a ballot consisting of works people actually liked, breaking the stranglehold those nasty leftist people had on the process, and then they changed the rules to stop it happening again!'

Also, I think expanding the number of works on the ballot might have problems. For one thing, it would mean people who rely on the Hugo packet (which I know is not guaranteed) would have to read more in the rather short time available. For another, I feel that the voting system works better with a fairly small number of candidates; if there are a lot (and all have a decent degree of support, which the nomination process ensures) the order of elimination becomes rather random.

On another topic: I get the sense that this year's SP slate is rather different in spirit from last year's. Last year's focused on the need for more representation of conservative works; this year's is advertised as being about straightforward popular works, as opposed to nasty elitist stuff. There's a political subtext, in that these works are allegedly being excluded because the annoying SFF establishment is too focused on leftist politics; but it does mean that the works nominated don't necessarily share the outlook of the promoters. Notably, Mr Day is not on this year's list (and has therefore created a rival, though overlapping, list of his own). So it may be a bit unfair to hold all the faults of last year's list against the present one.

#84 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 10:20 AM:

I've overedited a post several times. I'm trying to find a way to say a few things and NOT say one.

Is this group notable enough that authors should be specifically distancing themselves from it? I think of them as an obscure bunch.

I notice they chose a Jim Butcher book. Odd to see something on their list I paid money for and read on purpose.

Do you think Jim Butcher knows they exist?

Every time I try making this post, it sounds like I'm telling Jim Butcher that he shouldn't associate with Those Sort Of People, and he should take a stand, or a loyalty oath, or renounce his heliocentric ways or something. If I were granted five minutes to attempt to influence Mr. Butcher I would spend them entirely differently. Like "I want to see you start a new series in a different universe."

... according to Amazon, it turns out he's doing just that. Well then I'd ask him about what he's doing for tabletop gaming these days or something.

#85 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 10:28 AM:

pnh @ #71:

I can only speak for myself, as usual. I quite liked the Monster Hunter International and Grimnoir series by Correia. They're well-written and tick a variety of boxes in the multiple check-lists of "I like this". So, why not?

I was somewhat concerned with some of the stuff that Correia wrote and once he sided publicly with "this is too fringe for me to be happy with", I stopped buying anything by him.

Not because of his views, per se, but from the "this is not going to end well at all" connotations of the crew he decided to run with.

This has actually effected my book-buying habits. I used to check the upcoming Baen Monthly Bundles monthly (well, check the upcoming listed 3 every 2 months or so) and if there were 2-3 books that looked interesting, I'd buy it. Good value for money and some variety.

But, now, there's almost always one Sad Puppy in the bundle and since I refuse to pay for Sad Puppy books, I look every once in a while (twice, I think, last year, one bundle rejected, one bought). It's not much money, I guess, for Baen Books. And I would not be surprised if people with my behavioural pattern are outweighed by people having almost the opposite reaction.

#86 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 10:29 AM:

Add to the list of well-respected politically conservative writers Robert Silverberg, Gregory Benford, and Larry Niven. Honestly, there is no shortage of conservative political thought in SF.

There is no doubt that Ann Leckie's novels are military SF of the grittiest sort.

I have a pretty definite memory of the "natural persons" rule for Hugo voting being triggered by a few people purchasing memberships for their stuffies, and then trying to vote them. Whether that was done as performance art or as a deliberate attempt to get more than one vote, I do not know.

#87 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 10:29 AM:

Kratman has a novella from Castalia House (an e-book imprint which seems to be mainly VD plus some John C. Wright) on the SP slate.

The original rhetoric around the SPs had a lot to do with the idea that real popularity (as defined by sales) was on their side, as against an elite cabal of left-wing figures in shadowy control of the Hugos, so I would expect the bathing-in-money thing to be a plus from their perspective. OTOH, the original SP was a way for Correia to satisfy his own longing for prize-related validation, and either Weber or Ringo on the same slate would blow him out of the water on a popularity basis. The record does not show that the SPs have been careful to run their choices by the authors in question first.

#88 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 10:41 AM:

If, as Steven desJardins suggests, the SP slate sweeps the nominations in a category, I think that No Award may become favourite there.

#89 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 10:45 AM:

AlexR, #82: "Is Kratman a sad puppy? My own encounters with him have always been pleasant."

I don't know about Sad Puppy-hood, but he's a Nazi apologist and rails about "transnational progressives". Or used to, at least, and I haven't heard anything about him changing his ways. The announcement on RPG.net of his permabanning from their forums has links to some of his statements, by his own words. So, y'know, there's that.

#90 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 10:53 AM:

cd @ #89:

Kratman is also the author of one of the worst MilSF books I've had the displeasure to read. If the size of someone's breasts is actively a plot point, there's something... .objectifying about the book.

It seems the 1.5 years since I read it has unmellowed my opinion from "I cannot in good conscience recommend this to anyone" to "one of the worst"... If you follow my habitual "I write something about everything I read" stream, it's 2013, #103.

#91 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 10:59 AM:

Sandy B@84: If they do take over the ballot*, I would bet on Jim Butcher to win. While I find it highly improbable that his is the best SFF novel of the year, I wouldn't consider him an inherently unworthy winner.

Patrick@70: Why do people not nominate? Well, one reason may be that they are not familiar with many of the categories (short fiction, semiprozines, fancasts, etc. - also artists, whose work they may have seen, but not recognise). I would guess that most WorldCon attendees read novels, but in many cases not till they have appeared in paperback, which is often too late for Hugo nominations. Once we have a list of finalists we can go out of our way to look at them, but at the nomination stage one can't look at everything eligible, so it's going to depend on everyone's natural reading/viewing habits. An added factor this year may be that, as I understand it, there is less of a divide between book and media fandom in the UK than in the US, so that a lot of WorldCon attendees may have been primarily media fans.

*Which I now realise Patrick says they haven't - which, by the way, implies they are not marching in lockstep, which is a good sign - but still, hypothetically.

#92 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 11:01 AM:

Regarding the Breitbart connection, that piece seems to have come out Feb 5, if I can trust the publication date, and to be eligible to nominate, people had to have their membership by Jan 31, so people who first heard about it from Breitbart wouldn't have been able to participate in this year's nominations.

I have been tracking the Sad Puppies, in part to see what they had to say for themselves, because (like many people here I suspect) I periodically make a point of checking out ideas that are different from my own. One thing I've been noticing is the number of mentions of Sad Puppies--often with the same wording--on blogs that appear at a brief glance to be mostly about something else, guns being a favorite subject. It may be that the Breitbart piece didn't trigger conservative attention but was rather responding to it.

I wonder if there would be any way to sort "people who read a lot of science fiction but don't go to cons and don't usually nominate," who should be as free as anyone else to nominate, since a fan is someone who loves SFF, from "people who only read science fiction, if at all, to support a conservative cause." Because I have kind of a feeling that the latter are the potential Hugo voters the Sad Puppies have been trying to bring in.

I guess you could look for "the same trivial errors present in a number of ballots" still.

#93 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 11:03 AM:

@ 61 -- It's gonna take me a few minutes to get over the pet rock thing. Dying here.

#94 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 11:11 AM:

One of the things nibbling at the edges of my imagination that bothers me most about the situation under discussion is this: Just like some of the people (I was going to say "trolls", but let's keep this neutral) who destroyed the usefulness and community spirit of some of my favorite Usenet groups without ever doing anything "against the rules", I have to wonder whether those who want to change the direction/flavor of the Hugo Award system would not be just as happy to utterly destroy the usefulness of the awards as they would be to win them.

This makes me much sadder than the possibility that someone might win a Hugo through underhanded means.

#95 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 11:33 AM:

David Goldfarb @54: So, taking for the sake of argument that the Sad Puppies haven't done anything actually against the rules, and that their organization and slate are effective in getting works on the ballot, what do we do about that?

Read their works and rank them in the final ballot on the basis of their observed merit.

What else should we do?

Correlation does not imply causation: just because a work appears on a log-rolling slate, it does not follow that it is automatically without merit. It might, for example, have been added by over-enthusiastic fans mistakenly convinced that this is the Right Thing To Do.

(Having said that: what makes these log-rolling lists pernicious is the fact that the sound of a lot of voices chanting in unison can swamp the much quieter voice of an author without a faction whose work should, by rights, be placed before a broader audience. In the long run, this degrades the quality of the awards as a guide for reading/viewing.)

#96 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 11:52 AM:

Patrick, #67: Ah, thank you! I'd forgotten (it was late) that the book which includes both Path of the Fury and the prequel is actually called In Fury Born.

Steven, #77: I am going to tentatively endorse your suggestion of limiting the number of works which can be nominated in a single category to at least 2 less than the number of slots on the final ballot. That seems to be the least-radical change which would be likely to defeat the nomination-rigging strategy. If there's some enormous problem with this approach, I would appreciate having someone explain it, because I don't see any significant downside.

Of course, even if such a change were to be proposed and passed at Sasquan, it would still need to be ratified at the 2016 Worldcon before it could go into effect.

Alex, #82: I've known Mike (not closely, but as an acquaintance at cons and SCA events) for somewhere close to 30 years. He's always been right-leaning, but in the last decade or so it's taken on a much nastier edge. I suspect he's succumbed to the process I call "falling down the Fox hole".

Andrew, #83: first, can you imagine the screams? 'We managed to get a ballot consisting of works people actually liked, breaking the stranglehold those nasty leftist people had on the process, and then they changed the rules to stop it happening again!'

Translation: "We managed to exploit a loophole so that only works that we personally like would be represented on the ballot, and now they've gone and closed the loophole! Waaaah!"

Really, my issue with the Sad Puppies is not that they want more diversity in Hugo representation. It's that they want less.

#97 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 12:08 PM:

I may note that any change in the rules to limit the effects of the SP will be self-validating to them -- much of this was started as a proof (to themselves) that they were really among the oppressed. So would wins for No Award in categories where their slate holds all the slots.

Not that I would shed many tears for that sort of self-pity.

#98 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 12:21 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ #64: I would happily take you up on more Drake recommendations. What are one or two starting points that are well written and have something interesting to say, outside of Hammer's Slammers?

Patrick @ #70: …but still, every single one of the over 8,000 supporting and attending members of Loncon was eligible to nominate in this year's Hugos, so why did so few do so?

In my case, because I spent much of 2014 reading for that year's Hugos, or exploring urban fantasy and fun stories from the Ilona Andrews backlist (more Innkeeper Chronicles and The Edge romances, please, though the latter is officially not going to happen). This stuff feels pretty far outside core Hugo territory. My Hugo nominations would have been:

  1. Lock In.
  2. Oh, wait, The Just City isn't eligible this year.
  3. The Three-Body Problem.
  4. Did I watch any new SF movies this year? I think just Guardians of the Galaxy.

It hardly seemed worth the effort of nominating two books, though now I'm regretting that decision. My problem is that, given a limited allotment of reading time for SF, it's tempting to lag one year behind and devote lots of time to reading the Hugo nominees. (I make a point of buying the Best Novel nominees if I like them, and the shorter categories may inspire me to follow a new author.) To fix this, I'd probably need somebody to curate lists of "good stuff you might have missed this year," preferably multiple such lists representing a broad range of authors. Otherwise, there will be lots of years where I'm too busy reading other stuff to nominate responsibly.

But I can still give recommendations from the backlist! For authors mentioned in this thread:

  • Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark is an early novel of his that deserves to be far more widely read and remembered. It's a marvelous take on Arthurian legends set in the 1500s in urban Europe. As for Tim Power's more recent novels, I tend to either decide that they're brilliant or I bounce off the book with great force.
  • For me, Weber mostly counts as fun reading when I want something light. In addition to the obvious recommendations that other people have already made, I'm fond of his stories set in Keith Laumer's "Bolo" universe1, particularly "A Time to Kill", which is about reconciliation in the aftermath of war. (And if you like Weber's sort of military SF, you might also like Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series, which combines enormous fleet battles with deeply-felt arguments against torture and war crimes.)

So I'm inclined to agree with Patrick @ #71 and James @ #75: Last year's SP slate seems to have been more about a particular sub-tribe than about conservative SFF as a whole. Even if you limited me to "commercially-successful conservative SFF authors who arguably get overlooked at awards time," I could probably do a lot better than some of last year's SP nominees.

Sandy B @ #84: Yay, Jim Butcher! His Dresden Files may have started out as fun beach reading, but it has gotten steadily better over the course of 15 books and a bunch of short stories. I think Butcher suffers from much the same awards difficulties as Pratchett and Bujold and arguably Steven Brust: His best stuff is part of a long series, and it's hard to pick out one book in isolation and say, "Yes, this one." But Skin Game was a really fun book, and I loved the bit with Hades and Cerberus.

1Keith Laumer wrote several "Bolo" stories, about AI-controlled tanks. These tend to feature heroic sacrifice and various Vietnam-era themes. But since Laumer's death, the Bolo stories have become something of an ongoing shared-world project over at Baen, the object of which appears to be making readers cry at the heroic deaths of the tanks.

#99 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 12:28 PM:

You know, as long as we're looking at MilSF, Tanya Huff does the Valor books, which I thought were very fun. The first one was Valor's Choice.

#100 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 12:32 PM:

1. Demonstrably, the field has no shortage of prominent, popular, conservative writers who've gotten nominations and awards for their work. The same goes for religious writers, and writers who use military settings and themes.

So what's the actual reasoning? I suspect it goes something like:

"My books aren't bestsellers or award nominees! It must be because I'm conservative!/I'm religious!/I write military SF!"
Otherwise, they'd have to believe that their books aren't popular or admired purely on their own merits.

2. The Hugo Awards have a very clear rationale. As long as the works in question meet the minimal requirements for their category, Hugos go to whatever the electorate votes for. The Hugo administrators have never had to rule on whether fantasy is eligible for an SF award, or a Related Work is actually related, or a professional writer can be Best Fanwriter. The voters decide. If enough voters think James Bacon and Chris Garcia's Hugo acceptance speech qualifies for Best Dramatic Presentation (short form), it'll be there on the ballot next to episodes of Doctor Who and Community.

This makes it difficult to argue with the (untampered-with) Hugo results. If you don't make the ballot, it's not because some nameless Powers That Be have it in for you. Your work isn't on the ballot because the worldcon-attending Hugo-voting readers weren't moved to nominate it. You can at most remind them around nominating time that your work exists. You can't force them to like it.

This is the same reef that's wrecked a thousand other ingenious schemes to publish or promote works the reading public finds uninspiring. You can't force people to read books they don't want to read, or enjoy books they don't like.

What the SPs are saying, when they object to the free and unfettered Hugo Awards, is that the Hugos have the wrong electorate. The voters are defective, and ought to be replaced by other voters who'll prefer the Sad Puppies' work to that of writers like George R. R. Martin, Jo Walton, Ann Leckie, or Michael Swanwick (to take some examples at random).

This isn't going to work. The worldcon is not going to remake itself to suit them.

The good news is, nobody's stopping them from organizing their own fandom, running their own conventions, and giving out their own awards. Granted, that's a lot of work; but hey, so's the worldcon.

#101 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 12:37 PM:

Patrick @70:

I can only speak as to my reasons, not the reasons of the other 6000+ members of LonCon who have not made any nominations this year...

I don't feel qualified to nominate.

Until I started writing this message, I thought I had read two novels that qualified. It turns out I read three (I think). I do not think that is a sufficiently broad base to judge if something is nomination-worthy.

I likewise feel underread to be a good judge for any other category, even ignoring the issue of accurately judging if a particular story was a short story, a novelette, or a novella.

So, extrapolating from N=1, maybe a large number of the other non-nominators have not read enough SF/F to feel comfortable nominating this year.

#102 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 01:15 PM:

James @97:

I may note that any change in the rules to limit the effects of the SP will be self-validating to them -- much of this was started as a proof (to themselves) that they were really among the oppressed.
Sure. As long as they can insist that they're oppressed, they don't have to admit that few readers care for their work.
So would wins for No Award in categories where their slate holds all the slots.
Voting "No Award" for a bad slate has the virtue of being the appropriate response.

I take it as given that their attempts at self-validation and self-valorization will succeed, since they're the only audience they have to satisfy. I've seen that same maneuver done by people and groups that had far less to work with.

The trick is to not care what they think about themselves. It will be enough if we can keep them from interfering with SF's institutions.

#103 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 01:29 PM:

Andrew @ 91: Actually, the SP's could be voting in lockstep even if they only succeed in getting two or three novels on the final ballot. Suppose the two (non-SP) novels with the most nominations get 150 and 120 votes, and 100 SP's vote in lockstep for the entire slate (with each book getting a few genuine nominations from non-SP voters). Then you would expect to see only part of the SP slate making the final ballot.

The real test will be in categories like short story and fanzine, where the top vote-getters typically receive many fewer nominations than in the novel category. I haven't seen any rumors about that, one way or the other.

#104 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 01:35 PM:

Nominating for the Hugos for the first time this year was interesting; while I read a moderate amount of new fiction (when I can claw out the time to do so), I've always thought of the Hugos as "the best the field has to offer in a given year" and that feels like a bar that much of what I read doesn't cross. Much like Buddha Buck at 101, I feel underread to make that kind of judgement - when I was filling out my nominating ballot, I kept having the thought of "[book X] was good, but maybe not Hugo good" - which may not be the right mindset, but that was my perception.

#105 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 01:41 PM:

Teresa @ 100... If enough voters think James Bacon and Chris Garcia's Hugo acceptance speech qualifies for Best Dramatic Presentation (short form)

I feel oppressed that my nominee "Avengers 1978" didn't make it to that category's finals in 2013.

#106 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 01:53 PM:

#77 ::: Steven desJardins

My guess was that the long SP slate represented a willingness to risk losing by splitting their votes in an effort to find the best/most popular conservative sf. It's going to be hard to test whether that's the case, or they're hoping to swamp categories. Even if it's the latter, they could overestimate how many votes they can bring in.

My previous prediction was that there were going to be more slates. My new prediction (held with rather less conviction) is that this may hit the mainstream media.

Teresa, I've wondered about conservative sf conventions, probably based on milsf, but I haven't heard about efforts to start them. On the other hand, if preparation was in the preliminary stages, I wouldn't necessarily hear about it.

#107 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 01:56 PM:

Benjamin @ 104:

This is why Mike Glyer at File770 keeps saying that there is a two-step process: did you read it? did you like it? Then nominate.

Personally, I'd throw in an extra filter of "Do I think this is conceivably of Hugo stature?", but that also doesn't require a lot of reading.

#108 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 02:11 PM:

James #107:

In that case, of the (updated count) 4 SF/F novels I've read which were first published in 2014, all four pass the Mike Glyer's filters, but only two pass your additional filter.

I guess that makes it easier for us "light" readers: If I've only read 4 qualifying novels, it's easy for me to decide which up-to-5 to nominate. If I had read and liked 10 new novels, well, then I have to filter further.

And... damn. I had thought the cutoff date was 31 March, not 10 March.

#109 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 02:11 PM:

@95, Charlie Stross: that stiffling of quieter voices arguably already happened last year, when Sofia Samatar frex not quite managed to get on the Hugo novel ballots because of that organised Sad Puppy campaign pushing her off.

I personally have made the decision to disregard everything coming on the ballot through such organised, politically motivated campaigns and I wouldn't want to see people who want to see science fiction & fandom to evolve further to start engaging in it in "self defence".

#110 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 02:16 PM:

James at 107: That's what I wound up doing in the end. When I had more items for a category than slots, I weighted by my own internal "Hugo quality" metric, but failing that, I nominated what I enjoyed. If I wound up reading good lines out of it to my fiancé, it's probably worthy of nomination out of personal enjoyment.

#111 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 02:22 PM:

Yes, there's no reason to read a lot, given that you're just putting things forward for consideration: you aren't at that point asserting that it is the best, just that it's worth considering for that title. But you have to read something, and be impressed by it - and that certainly isn't true of everyone. I had, I think, read one Hugo-eligible novel by the cut-off date, and didn't think it outstanding: (I've read another since, and thought that much better).

I think in normal circumstances it's quite reasonable that the nominators be relatively few; picking out the candidates can be seen as a job for those who have been following the field through the year; once there's a list, more people can look at it and form a judgement. But of course in the present situation that's a problem, when there's an organised bloc in favour of certain works. Still, it's not clear more nominators would solve the problem, given that those nominators are still going to be divided.

#112 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 02:39 PM:

Is there anything in the nominating materials making it clear that when you nominate, you're just nominating what you're enthusiastic about, not saying what you think deserves to win?

#113 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 03:02 PM:

If you're enthusiastic about it, then you presumably think it's good enough for something. And it might just be the best work in a "bad" year.

I think the problem is when you feel only tepid appreciation for the eligible works you've read, but still feel that they'd be better than a lot of the crud out there.

#114 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 03:28 PM:

Nancy@113:There really isn't anything telling you what to vote for in the novels other than word count. Vote as you see fit. That being said, it is called "Best" Novel so that is kind of a clue as to the direction of voting.
For example, here is my slate for Best Novel:

Hawk, Steven Brust, Tor
Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie, Orbit
Echopraxia, Peter Watts, Tor
My Real Children, Jo Walton, Tor
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison, Tor

My process was to look over the books I had read during the previous year that came out in 2014 and figure out the five that I thought were the best. By best, I mean that they seemed well written to me and I enjoyed them more than other books I had read during the year.
Now, this "best" judgement is purely subjective--others could lay out all their books and pick the ones the cat lays on.

#115 ::: Wendy Bradley ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 03:34 PM:

I went to, and hugely enjoyed, Loncon, but I'm still baffled by the "entire WoT" thing. I failed miserably to download/upload/get it from the website onto my kindle app. I actually went and *bought a blasted kindle* just so I could do the connect-with-a-cable-because-it's-too-big-a-file-to-email thing. On, as it happens, the day they took down the link. *bangs head repeatedly on desk*

#116 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 03:35 PM:

Erik K @98

There's a body of Drake's work that is about what soldiering does to soldiers. This is the main matter of the Slammers stories, but culminates in his Reaches trilogy (Through the Breach, Igniting the Reaches, Fireships) and in Redliners.

Seas of Venus is an interesting one too, in this context: it's explicitly a take on a classic story by Kuttner and Moore, so there's your retro bring-back-the-old-days card punched.

The Reaches books are far-future adaptations of the life of Sir Francis Drake, and are quite a lot of fun in between being very serious. They're some of my favorites among his work. (There are few legit opportunities to say "Do you think God cannot hear us because we are not on Venus?" but believe me when I say I take every chance I get.)

Since finishing Fireships and Redliners, it seems like he's gotten something off his chest. His Daniel Leary novels are lighter space opera,* inspired by Patrick O'Brian.

More generally, I think Drake's in an odd place. I kinda suspect, on no direct evidence, that he probably votes Republican. He's certainly in with your generally-conservative Baen-slate milSF crowd, right? But at the same time, he's too smart and saw too much to make any kind of excuses for Vietnam, which was a big touchstone there for a while. He has clearly generalized that attitude: throughout the Slammers stories, there are very few examples of people who start wars and get what they want. It's almost always something that you do if you absolutely have to, or else something you did because you're a fool and you're going to get what's coming to you. And he was writing matter-of-fact of-course-women-will-be-soldiers milSF way way back in the 70s. (With a prominent, if sinister, gay character, for that matter. Not exactly a poster child for representation, as Steuben could be read as a villain, but it's still a bit surprising for 70s-vintage milSF (and I'd argue with that reading, especially based on Caught in the Crossfire.)

*Apparently that's what he was trying to do with Through the Breach, but it got hijacked along the way. Thus, 'something off his chest.'

#117 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 04:54 PM:

I fixed it, Andrew.

#118 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 05:03 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @100: The good news is, nobody's stopping them from organizing their own fandom, running their own conventions, and giving out their own awards.

And then there's the small matter of reputation and influence. How many publishers will put "Sad Puppy Award Winner!" on the book jacket? And how many readers will pick up and buy a book as a result?

#119 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 05:32 PM:

Eric K (98): I'm fond of Drake's RCN/Cinnabar/Leary-Mundy* series. The first one, With the Lightnings, is weaker than many of the later ones; the series really picked up with the second book, Lieutenant Leary Commanding.

*not sure of the official series name

I second Cat's recommendation of Tanya Huff's Valor books.

#120 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 05:40 PM:

tnh@100: "The voters are defective…"

Obviously, they must "dissolve the people and elect another." (Conservatives who get pwnd by commie poets ought to at least have the grace to look embarrassed.)

"You can't force people to read books they don't want to read, or enjoy books they don't like. "

But you can sometimes persuade an additional minority to register and vote, enough to swing a low-turnout election.

"My books aren't bestsellers or award nominees! It must be because I'm conservative!/I'm religious!/I write military SF!"

That for some, but also "I want to trash things" for others.

Cat@92: "It may be that the Breitbart piece didn't trigger conservative attention but was rather responding to it."

It may even have been quiet crowing. It also may be an attempt to gather support for extensive harassment of people who object to this conduct.

Heather Rose Jones@94: "…destroy the usefulness of the awards…"

I think this is the case with at least one of these. To go by their nonfiction writing, they are in love with death and destruction. It is astonishing to me that more of the man's supporters do not recognize how much this is like the classic Roman Catholic villain.

#121 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 05:41 PM:

Evidently at least one thing I heard early on, and passed on to this discussion, is not true. Nominations are up this year, not down: 2,122 ballots, to last year's 1,923.

#122 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 05:49 PM:

Patrick, #121: That's good news. Just as in regular elections, the more people who participate, the harder it is for a single bloc to game the system.

#123 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 06:25 PM:

Thank you, Teresa.

Can anyone tell me about Charles Gannon? I notice that as well as (despite?) being on the Sad Puppy slate he has a Nebula nomination, which might mean he is worth checking out.

#124 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 06:28 PM:

I'd second Mary Aileen's recommendation of the Leary/RCN novels; to over summarise they're Napoleonic-War-in-Space with both the whimsy and savagery that sometimes gets left out of those sort of novels (both -in-space and regular versions). They're very much about the people on the spot having to deal with fools on their own side and monsters opposing them (and sometimes vice versa). The first one, With The Lightnings, is in the Baen free library.

#125 ::: Brad DeLong ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 06:54 PM:

The Goddess Athene speaking to Penelope in David Drake's "Odyssey" Former Slammer battalion commander Danny Pritchard speaking to Marilee Slade in David Drake's "Cross the Stars":

>Force accomplishes a lot of things. They just aren’t the ones you want here. Bring in the Slammers [Regiment] and we kick ass for as long as you pay us. Six months, a year. And we kick ass even if the other side brings in mercs of their own--which they’ll do--but that’s not a problem, not if you’ve got us. So, there’s what? Three hundred thousand people....

>So, you want to kill fifty kay? Fifty thousand people, let’s remember they’re people for the moment.... You see, if we go in quick and dirty, the only way that has a prayer of working is if we get them all. If we get everybody who opposes you, everybody related to them, everybody who called them master--everybody.... They’re not dangerous now, but they will be after the killing starts. Believe me. I’ve seen it often enough. Not all of them, but one in ten, one in a hundred. One in a thousand’s enough when he blasts your car down over the ocean a year from now. You’ll see. It changes people, the killing does. Once it starts, there’s no way to stop it but all the way to the end. If you figure to still live here on Tethys....

>What do you think the Slammers do, milady? Work magic? We kill, and we’re good at it, bloody good. You call the Slammers in to solve your problems here and you’ll be able to cover the Port with the corpses. I guarantee it. I’ve done it, milady. In my time...

Much of David Drake's best work is horror. Many of David Drake's fans, however, don't seem to read it as horror, somehow...

#126 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 06:57 PM:

@Andrew M I exchanged several facebook PMs with Gannon, when he messaged me after I referred to him as a "conservative author" on Torgerson's blog.

He was quite polite and friendly, and I felt like we had an enjoyable discussion. He seemed a nice gentleman, which I know does not guarantee he will also seem that way to others, or at other times, but I put it out there for what it is worth.

I suspect the Sad Puppies have little pull with the Nebulas, so he probably got Nebula nomination for reasons of writing excellence, rather than politics; I would expect something better than the usual Sad Puppy offering. I have not read it myself, however. No matter how nice Mr. Gannon was, I figured with the Sad Puppies pushing him, he didn't need my help, and I researched in other directions.

But if he seems to be in your genre preferences, I'd say he's probably worth checking out. I'd be interested to hear what you think.

#127 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 07:18 PM:

Y'know, I recall seeing nominations ballots with only three lines per category. Am I misremembering? Or did that change? Or was it never part of the rules?

If you want a really random recommendation list: NESFA provides a place where any of its members can write down their recommendations, and the entire world can read them. Go to nesfa.org, look down through the navigation column to "Yearly Hugo Lists", and follow that pointer.

#128 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 07:34 PM:

"Once it starts, there’s no way to stop it but all the way to the end."

That's quite close to what a feminist theologian I read says on peacemaking: War can be prevented but seldom stopped once it's started. (My distillation of her words.)

#129 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 07:36 PM:

Well, I didn't manage to submit a ballot last year, because I held to the notion I shouldn't vote unless I'd read everything or almost everything in a category.

I will try harder this year. I will try to read everything in the Hugo Packet (except works by Correia and Day, about which more below), and (especially with novels) read enough of them to decide whether to eliminate them. I will also read anything I can get my hands on without spending money I don't have (I only have a membership because my friend bought me one, and because I'll work Access again, though not as hard as at LonCon, where I only got to ONE panel).

Then I'll vote based on what I know.

No work by Correia or Day (or anyone else who I think is personally involved in attempting to subvert the Hugo process) will be marked on my ballot. Any category that includes them WILL have a preference marked for No Award after the worthy nominees.

I will hold nothing against nominees just for being on the slate. I quite enjoy Jim Butcher's work, for example, even though it's problematic for a few reasons, and AFAIK he hasn't been involved in this atrocious behavior.

Barring curveballs, I WILL submit a ballot this year.

I just read a mid-grades book that was published in 2014. Of course a mid-grades book has no chance of winning a Hugo (even YA has a hard time, though it has happened), but I really think A Snicker of Magic is of Hugo quality. Its title and cover (a four-scoop ice-cream cone) make it look like a bit of fluff, but it actually gets into some deep stuff, and it's just beautifully written. The sentences aren't complex, but they're just flawlessly crafted, and the protagonist is a believable 12-year-old girl (with a gift for words, naturally, since she's also the narrator). There's also a wheelchair-using character, and it's not a plot point that he uses a wheelchair, he just does.

"No, I don't have a crush on him," the protagonist tells her mother about someone at one point. "It's not a crush. It's more like an expand. I don't feel weighed down by him, I feel bigger, and lifted up." [quoted from memory, because I had to return the book]

We could do with more of that kind of writing.

#130 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 07:50 PM:

And yes, I'm quite comfortable having a bias in favor of works included in the Hugo packet. I want to encourage publishers to include nominated works. Adding my grain of sand to that side of the beach-sized balance strikes me as appropriate.

#131 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 09:03 PM:

Patrick writes in #:

...it seems to me clear that the Internet SF Database is vastly more comprehensive, detailed, and accurate, and also more frequently updated.

I would like to know the story of how the ISFDB came to be. It is a truly marvelous thing. And, in some of the stuff I do, quite useful.

I imagine that somewhere, high upon a cool green mountain, there is a monastery filled with ascetic scribes, each unswervingly devoted to the curation of bibliographic truth. In its library lie row upon row of carefully-preserved magazines, smelling of musty pulp. Beyond those are shelves of obscure hardcovers and gaily colorful Ace Doubles. Down the hall is a room of softly whiring servers, their status LEDs burning like votive lamps.

Tenders of the ISFDB flame, thank you.

#132 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 09:04 PM:

Oops. Sixty-seven. As Patrick wrote in number sixty-seven.

#133 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 09:18 PM:

I don't suppose they could give a special award for saddest puppy and be done with it.

Buddha Buck @108: I also thought the cutoff date was Mar 31.

#134 ::: Dela ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 09:47 PM:

I think the question of why so few WorldCon members vote on the Hugos or nominate works is an important one. And I think some good answers have already been given here.

Some additional information that would increase understanding of this would be finding out (perhaps via a professional, well-run survey, which probably won't happen) might be:

Who are WorldCon attendees? Do they read sf/f? (This isn't a given; I meet people at every con I attend who tell me they're not sf/f readers or are no longer sf/f reader or don't read much sf/f.)

Of those who read sf/f, how much new/eligible fiction do they read? Do they read only novels? What percentage of them read short fiction, related works, fanzines, etc?

What percentage of registered WorldCon members (1) know the Hugos exist, (2) know they can nominate and vote, and (3) know how to do so? How many of them care? How many members don't participate because they don't understand the rules and the process?

How many know whether what they've read this year is eligible (was published in the timeframe), or whether it's a novelette? Or whether an artist they like is pro or fannish? How many know what "semi-prozine" means or whether they have read one?

In years when I register for WorldCon, I rarely nominate, because it's so confusing, I'd have to care a lot more than I do in order to feel motivated. I seldom vote, since I haven't read all the works on the ballot (and I'm probably not the only one who feels I shouldn't vote at all when I'm only familiar with 3-4 of 30-40 items nominated).

To me (and I'm probably not alone in this), the whole Hugo nominating and voting mechanism seems very insider-ish, elaborate, and complicated, and the process seems to expect or require that one have an encylopedic familiarity with everything published or produced in sf/f, and with all of the subcategories and classifications, and with what's been released or produced within a specific calendar period (and I don't ever know what that calendar period is). And I'm just not invested enough in who gets that trophy to dive into learning all this.

I don't have a constructive suggestion for changing this; but that's my take on why more people who could nominate and vote do not do so.

#135 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 09:54 PM:

Andrew M @ 123 - Gannon is definitely conservative politically. Having said that, he writes (IMHO) a damned fine MilSF novel, which (surprisingly for the libertarian Sad Puppies) has very explicit anti-corporatism tones. He's also personally polite, and has explicitly stated his distaste for and disagreement with the harsh rhetoric of the Sad Puppies.

In short, he's worth checking out.

#136 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 10:12 PM:

xopher@129:I agree with you with respect to Correia and Day (and anyone else engaged in the outright attempts at subversion). I read both their entries last year and in addition to not caring for their methods, doubt their work has improved in the intervening time.

#137 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 10:56 PM:

I read the first page or so of Day. I wrote better things when I was in high school.

#138 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2015, 11:30 PM:

I second? third? the recommendation of Tanya Huff's Valor novels.
I don't recommend David Weber's Honor Harrington books. I read the first three in the series, and stopped. I liked Honor, and loved the treecat. The suspense and action sequences are well done, but there were what seemed to me like great, big blobs of conservative rhetoric. I recall long scenes of politicians arguing in a way that didn't advance the plot at all, but did present a lesson in the Evils of Politics, or the Corrupt Nature of Unions. The balance tipped, and I just wasn't interested in reading another.

#139 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 01:21 AM:

On the question of "why don't more people nominate/vote for the Hugos", here's my history.

I've only recently re-engaged with Worldcon (after a long hiatus sparked by the limitations of grad school). In my previous sporadic Worldcon attendance, I may have voted a couple times but I never nominated. My book buying was limited to paperback so by the time I'd read a book, it was well past any nomination eligibility. And I didn't really participate in "fannish culture" in the sense of fanzines, fan art, etc. etc. The professional editor and artist categories were opaque to me (and what was the point of nominating or voting for pro artist since I was traded around among the same three or four guys all the time). And I wasn't that into short fiction -- not the sort that was published in the magazines, which is what counted back then. So all in all, I had no basis for having opinions or caring about outcomes.

The biggest difference this time around? Now I'm a professional author and feel much more as if I have both a stake in and a responsibility to the community as such. And as an author, I've made it my business to be much more aware of the current incarnations of fannish activity (which are easier to follow now that most of it has moved online). I don't actually read that much more fiction in its Hugo-eligible window than I did last time around. This is mostly because I have much less time for reading now, since a lot of that same time and energy goes into writing. (Also a much more demanding job than I had two decades ago.)

But I still feel I have valid opinions and input. Because the very fact that I have limited reading time and energy means that I'm drastically pre-screening what comes under my eyes. And I try not to waste my time continuing with stories that don't meet my quality criteria. So even if I end up nominating every single piece of SFF fiction I manage to read (and remember) during a year, I'm content to think that those are most likely the pieces I would have liked even if I'd read twice as much.

It isn't a perfect system, but it's a moderately valid one.

#140 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 01:37 AM:

In the past, I've asked myself when nominating, "Is this work better than the average work that gets on the ballot in an average year?" If it is, I figure my nomination is probably improving the quality of the ballot. If it's not, or I'm not sure, I tend to defer to the opinion of what I presume are better informed voters. So I'll often nominate one or two works in a category, but I'll rarely nominate five.

This year, I knew the Sad Puppies were trying to stuff my ballot again, so my criterion was, "Is this work better than the average work on the Sad Puppy slate?" I also made a concerted effort in the last week of voting to read as much short fiction as I could, using whatever recommendations I could find. I ended up with at least six works in each fiction category that I was comfortable nominating—once I found myself dropping stories I was a little reluctant to drop, I decided I was satisfied with the caliber of my choices.

#141 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 01:44 AM:

Charlie Stross @95: Your last paragraph makes explicit an assumption that I (perhaps wrongly) left implicit: that the Sad Puppy nominations are crowding out worthier works that don't have an organized bloc pulling for them. The choice I see is: allow that to happen; or turn the Hugo nominations into a contest between, effectively, political parties. Quite possibly we dislike forming political parties more than we dislike letting some crowding go on. I just wanted to see some discussion of the point.

#142 ::: robert west ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 01:45 AM:

Wendy, the size of the file was sufficiently large that Amazon's personal-document-delivery-service wouldn't upload wirelessly to a kindle. To get it on mine, I had to pull it onto my computer's hard drive and then use calibre to upload it to my kindle.

#143 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 02:06 AM:

Re "long scenes of politicians arguing" (janetl #138):

This is my principal problem with the Safehold series, which has some highly engaging characters and a lot to say about religion and naval warfare. But Weber, like late Heinlein, is in desperate need of heavy editing that he (presumably by virtue of his success) is not getting.

Recent Safehold novels -- like anything in the second half of the Honor Herrington series -- include endless scenes of people sitting around in offices (rooms, halls, sanctums) talking about politics, political expediency, and what the hell they ought to be doing next. And by "endless" I mean "fifty pages of dragging hell" endless.

I just want to get to the next sea battle, space battle, or scene involving a sympathetic character in which something actually happens. Weber, sadly, is making me work much too hard for those.

#144 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 08:34 AM:

Albatross @32:

Yeah, it seems like there's this awful pattern that comes up a lot in social media outrage campaigns, in which there's a large pool of basically normal, decent people who have some kind of ideological disagreement, and then a few sociopaths who glom onto the debate and start acting really abusively--doxxing, sending death threats, SWATting, getting people fired, posting really vile lies about people online, etc. And the decent people say "well, maybe those guys go too far, but at least they're on our side, and besides, the other side is just as bad." ...

There's some kind of broken software in humans that makes us very willing to support almost limitless nastiness to "them," once we feel like we're in an us/them battle and we can see cases where some of "them" did some really outrageous nasty stuff to some of "us."

I don't support it. I have sworn eternal opposition to it.

This is a lesson I learned a long time ago, when fandom ran on mimeography and postage stamps, and I was still getting my feet under me as a fanpublisher. I discovered that if I argued in print with certain people -- say, Ted White -- among the letters of comment would be a few really unpleasant ones, often from people I'd never even met, saying "Bwah hah ha, that was great, you really stuck it to that jerk Ted White."

I learned that if you're going to argue in public, you have to keep an eye on people who claim to be taking your side, because they may be saying or doing things you emphatically disapprove of.

My time on the internet expanded that lesson. I learned that wanna-be thugs are always out there, listening for fights they can join, or for anything that sounds like permission to mistreat some identifiable group. The real-world content of the arguments they join isn't important. What they want are situations where they can bash people and break stuff. If you don't curb them, more of them will keep showing up until there's nothing left to break.

I also learned that when people who are inclined to misbehave get to egging each other on, they can all end up behaving far worse than any of them would have imagined doing on their own.

And I learned that destructive behavior thugs pick up in one fight will get re-used in later ones. Don't cheer for them today unless you're prepared to have the same thing done to you tomorrow.

I am against the belief -- not yours, but I hear it a lot -- that social behavior on the internet will always devolve into brutality and chaos. That is so wrong, and so counterproductive. It disheartens the best of us, and encourages the worst.

This is Civilization 101, and civilization has rules. What is wrong to do to me is wrong to do to others. Social behavior on the internet has to be policed, just like social behavior anywhere else. Getting people to accept that is always going to be a struggle. We might as well get to it.

#145 ::: Andrew Woode ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 08:44 AM:

As a first-time con-goer at Loncon, I did make the effort to nominate (in at least some categories including Best Novel) both last year and this. In both cases I discovered I had read very few qualifying works - I tend to be a bit behind, and read quite a lot in library copies whenever they arrive locally - , and this year's deadline saw a mad scramble to find lists of suitable works, and buy and read several before the deadline. I don't regret the last-minute rush at all (as it made me read some excellent books), and I was determined to have my say (and perhaps dilute certain other votes), but I can see why others in a similar situation might have given up at that point. One disappointing fact was that some novels which had a good reputation proved not yet to be out in electronic format in the UK (unfortunately, it was getting a bit late to risk ordering physical copies by the time I really started paying attention).

#146 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 09:14 AM:

Within SF, we have awards for all kinds of special things. We have a libertarian award, and a feminist award, and an award for alternate history and an award for fantasy the Inklings would have liked. These were all set up and organized by people who like that stuff and want to give it something.

I've been saying for years that we ought to have an award for MilSF and that it ought to be a mini triumphal arch with the author's name on it. It's kind of interesting in the light of this Hugo campaigning, that the feminists and the libertarians etc have done the work of organizing themselves into giving out specific annual awards for the stuff they like while the MilSF people never have.

#147 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 09:51 AM:

Jo @146: funnily enough, that's exactly what a MilSF-writing friend of mine (not a sad puppy guy) was saying over coffee yesterday.

I nominated this year. Alas, my reading is woefully behind the times. I discovered that one person I was going to nom for a Campbell stopped being eligible in 2013. Meanwhile, I just finished Addison's "The Goblin Emperor" yesterday, and if I'd read it during the nomination window I'd probably have voted for it ...

#148 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:08 AM:

dela@134:I can see how it all looks intimidating at first glance. But, the actual nominating and voting is pretty (deliberately) free form. At its most basic, it is: Vote for what you think deserves the award for whatever criteria you want.
My personal criteria are that I liked it and the writing is well done. Both are pretty subjective measurements.

#149 ::: zanzjan ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:53 AM:

Just finding it incredibly disheartening that we're here again. )-:

#150 ::: Cath ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:21 AM:

I too am in the camp of do the best you can with what you’ve got.

I don’t have the time to read and watch and listen to everything eligible. But I don’t believe that I must exclude myself from nominating thereby. I do read about 50 novels a year, and I’m selective. Recommendations by friends, mentions by bloggers I trust, plus my favourite authors where I’ll buy everything they publish. After that, I ask myself, “Did I love the book?” “Do I think it would look comparable to the rest, quality-wise, if it made it to the final ballot?” Love and quality, of course, being totally subjective terms. So I had no trouble finding five novels to nominate. Were they the absolute best of the field? Maybe not, but I felt they deserved recognition. I left some categories blank (podcast). Others, such as best artist, I nominated one person, but again under the criterion of excellent, not best.

I do intend to try and make notes about the short fiction I read next year, in hope that the fabulous stories I read in January don’t fall out of my memory by 14 months later.

#151 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:22 AM:

Steve Halter @ #114: Thank you for your nomination list. It turns out that I need to take back what I said earlier—I did read enough SF to nominate for Best Novel this year, including 3.5 of the 5 books on your list. Apparently, my real problem is that I can't remember which books were published in which year, and I don't read enough author blogs to see the eligibility lists.

Pfusand @ #127: Thank you mentioning the NESFA nomination lists! If I had seen those, I probably would have remembered enough eligible books to nominate. It might be worth trying to organize a website with links to such Hugo nomination/eligibility lists, to help jog people's memories.

Devin @ #116, Mary Aileen @ #119: Thank you for the Drake recommendations!

#152 ::: sebastian ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:43 AM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 144: Thank you.

#153 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 12:08 PM:

Now, while there aren't any particular rules telling you criteria to use to determine what to vote for, there is a general assumption that you are voting for what you think of as the best.
This is where the Sad Puppy methodology seems to run in the face of expectations. There seems to be some voting just because it is on a list regardless of whether the items on the list are actually good or not. This is at the least irritating to people actually trying.
Of course, what is good or not is open to debate and we did seem to see some people in last years discussions whose concept of good veered considerably off of what I would think of as good.
Actual ballot stuffing is outright against the rules and hopefully the good people at Sasquan/Hugo HQ will be able to detect this.

#154 ::: Brad R. Torgersen ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 12:16 PM:

First gentle suggestion: Perhaps instead of assuming what any of us think or feel, someone could ask us what we think and feel. About why Sad Puppies 3 exists, and why it's received so much enthusiastic support from fans; fans who are every bit as in love with this field as anyone who is a regular with WSFS. But who don't ordinarily get to have their voices counted when it comes time to bestowing the field's so-called "most prestigious award."

Second gentle suggestion: anyone who thinks Sad Puppies 3 is a "right wing" operation, hasn't examined the 2015 slate of suggestions, nor talked to any of the non-right-wing participants who agreed to climb aboard. The slate covers a range of work from a range of people. Dismiss it as "right wing" only if you're comfortable being shown to be factually wrong.

Third gentle suggestion: instead of instantly decrying and turfing the categories (when the results are released next week) perhaps some of you can read the works, and make a decision based on your enjoyment of the works. That's really all Sad Puppies 3 is about. We identified authors, artists, and works which we knew would struggle to find recognition without some active effort on our part.

In other words, we did precisely what John Scalzi said we should do.

"It’s actually true, so let’s say it again: change the Hugos by nominating, voting and participating, or (much more slowly and far less reliably) actively making your case to the people who are nominating, voting and participating. As a pro tip, explicitly or implicitly disparaging their intelligence, taste or standing to make choices when you try to do that is unlikely to persuade them to decide anything other than that you’re probably an asshole."
- John Scalzi, April 5, 2013

#155 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 12:19 PM:

Mr. Torgerson: Many of the inhabitants of this blog's commentariat DID read all the Sad Puppy nominees last time (or put a good college try in on every work).

Despite however they get on the ballot, reading before voting is a widely accepted custom around here.

Very, very few of the commentariat around here found any of the nominees that got on the ballot because of Sad Puppy efforts last year to be ... even mediocre, in terms of text quality.

I personally would be exceedingly pleased to find that the quality of the SP nominees was higher this year, but I somehow think they're being voted for by content and not by overall excellence of writing, at least not how I judge excellence in things I read.

#156 ::: Brad R. Torgersen ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 12:34 PM:

Elliott: well, taste is taste. Not every nominee will suit every taste. I think some of SP3 will do well with some readers here, and not with other readers here. What I am addressing was the comment, "How do we combat and/or what do we do about Sad Puppies next year??" As if it's a foregone conclusion that the works on the SP3 slate don't deserve to be on the Hugo final ballot. This tells me there are people inclined to turf a SP3 (or SP4, SP5, and on into the future) candidate merely for being part of the slate. I suppose that's a position, of a kind. I just don't think it's a very good position. SP1 and SP2 were different from SP3. The objective of SP3 has been to bring a spotlight onto authors and their works; authors and works which might have otherwise stayed off-stage. Regardless of ideology. Regardless of who their publisher is. Regardless of whether or not the old guard in WSFS thinks a person or a work is "worthy" by the old guard's estimation.

#157 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 12:51 PM:

Brad Torgersen@156:Actually, your quote of: "How do we combat and/or what do we do about Sad Puppies next year??" isn't a comment here. Perhaps you were thinking of somewhere else. Also, if SP3 is completely different than SP1 or SP2, maybe a different name would have been in order. Like, "Cool Books I Like" or something.

I like Butcher's books quite a lot. He didn't quite make my list, but I wouldn't have any particular objection if he made it as a nominee. My experience with Correia's work from last year was highly negative and I don't see a great need to put myself through that again. I don't generally like Anderson's style, but would probably at least try the book. I haven't read anything from either of the other two authors on the list and so will try them if they are nominated.

#158 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 12:56 PM:

Mr. Torgerson: If you actually read the thread you'll find that that opinion is stated nowhere in it.

In fact, the main thrust of this thread has been, "If bad actors working under the flag of the Sad Puppies (whether or not related to the slate's organizers) take actions to swamp legitimate nominations, what effect will that have, and what reasonable rule changes could be made that would cover it without harming legitimate nominations?"

Legitimate nominations, for Hugo purposes, being individuals voting their own personal preferences for what belongs on the ballot/to win.

If that's all that's going on this year, then the more the merrier: increased nominator pools only make the Hugos better.

#159 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 01:00 PM:

Brad R. Torgersen @ #154, #156:

There's a bit of a difference between "Here is a slate, btw it's just a recommendation" and "here's a bunch of works that you may find interesting. They're in these categories. If you find them to be in the top #5 of the ones qualifying for nomination, here's how you nominate" (bonus if there's not 5 in any category).

That definitely takes the whole "here's a list of works to put in the nominations" right out of the whole comms. Admittedly, it makes it much harder for people to just take the categorized lists as-is and slap them into the nomination ballot, but I think that's worth the whole "we're not preparing people's ballots" smell. It would also go a long way to rehabilitate y'all, in my eyes.

As listed above, the whole "sad puppies" business is why I have now stopped buying and reading Correia's books, so to some extent, your campaign ha at least one documented misfire. Sorry about that. I'll read books by authors whose political (and/or religious) views I don't agree with, up until I perceive preaching (in the books, or on blogs). I believe I am not alone, but I honestly can't be arsed to prove it one way or another.

#160 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 01:06 PM:

I see that Mr Torgersen has made himself heard here. Thankfully his buddies and buddettes have not attempted to flood this place the way they currently are doing over on Pat Cadigan's Facebook thread. Thankfully for their derrieres.

#161 ::: Brad R. Torgersen ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 01:20 PM:

In point of fact, Larry Correia did several successive book bombs to not only encourage people to read what was on the SP3 slate, but to also buy the works (and therefore support the authors in ways which actually matter to those authors' pocketbooks.) No one was ever encouraged to support anything sight-unseen. What was encouraged was this: the Hugos are a voted award, and you need to have a supporting or full membership in one of three different conventions in order to cast nominating votes, so this is your chance as a fan to make sure your voice counts.

I've seen several suggestions in this space that Sasquan (or future Worldcons) could (or should?) find technical excuses to begin throwing out ballots. Either during the nomination phase, or the final voting phase.

I guess that would be the logical check-mate move, by any person or group of people who wish to anoint themselves as the ultimate taste-makers and worthiness-deciders. But I'd suggest it's a poor idea. The Hugo (and the Nebula, and so many other SF/F awards) already struggles for relevance in the broader marketplace. Discovering or inventing technical excuses to keep the "wrong" people from participating, merely reinforces the current perception (by the larger SF/F crowd) that Worldcon and the Hugos are an "in" operation for "in" people, and that a Hugo nom or win (on a book cover) doesn't tell you anything about the book. Other than that it was an "in" selection.

Many readers have even confessed to me that seeing "Hugo" or "Nebula" on a book is now off-putting. They've been burned too many times in the past, picking up and reading a thing with those accolades; and walking away disappointed. Having put my finger to the wind these past six years, I think the preponderance of this phenomenon (among the readership) is troubling. And is yet another reason why SP3 is what it is, and we are doing what we are doing.

#162 ::: Anonymous Regular ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 01:21 PM:

It seems to me that if you intentionally manipulate the system to get stories on the ballot, you're also displacing other stories off the ballot. There's a fixed number of slots, after all. If the reason for pushing stories onto the ballot is to give those authors "a voice", are you not also then denying that same "voice" to whoever is displaced?

Isn't circumventing the (flawed, probably not easily improved) normal mechanisms for stories ending up on the ballot ultimately betting against those so-promoted stories being good enough to get there under their own power?

I mean, yes, as a reader/fan/voter, one remains always optimistic that everything that ends up on the ballot is worthy of a Hugo (the field is too large for the reverse to ever be true, that everything worthy of a Hugo can end up on the ballot.) There may very well be stories pushed to the top of the pile this way that deserve to be there, that are worth reading, that will be hard to read without being aware that it didn't necessarily get there on its own merits. Last year's experience (and yes, I read them all) does not lend confidence that quality was a prime consideration in works selected for such queue-jumping promotion. Some were decent (but not exceptional) stories. Some were really, really *bad*.

And given how the "SP" slate seems to have aligned itself (or directly includes) groups & individuals with an undeniable history of violent, exclusionary rhetoric... It seems to me you ultimately accomplish nothing beyond doing a grave disservice to the entire SFF community, to the authors and stories you arbitrarily displace, and to your own chosen slate of authors and stories. Is that the "voice" you so desperately want to promote -- one of bullying, exclusionism, the self-righteous embrace of dishonesty -- and what's the long-term expectation of where that leaves any of us?

#163 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 01:33 PM:

Jo Walton @146

"I've been saying for years that we ought to have an award for MilSF and that it ought to be a mini triumphal arch with the author's name on it."

Straight out of Spinal Tap:

"This is what I was asked to build--right here, it's specified, 18 inches! I was given this napkin!"

#164 ::: Brad R. Torgersen ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 01:45 PM:

One thing, about using Jim Baen's name in this context. Jim Baen is gone. We cannot speed dial eternity, to ask Jim his opinion. There is one person who knew Jim probably better than Jim knew himself, and that person already gave her blessing to Sad Puppies 3; with a caveat that she'd like us to try to be on our best behavior during what's going to be a contentious award season.

I'd like to see that person get her due. I'd like to see Jim Minz get his due. I'd like to see Dave Drake get his due. I'd like to see Dave Weber and L.E. Modesitt, Jr. also get their due. And so on and so forth. Not with a win per se. The objective of SP3 (or iterations beyond) is not to replace one set of taste-makers, with another.

For me, my personal motive is to see the names of many terrific old (and new) editors, writers, artists, etc., engraved into the history of this award. It is the touchstone of the field, above any other. And there are men and women who have given much to this field who've somehow always been passed over or passed by, at Hugo time.

Again, a win can't be guaranteed. Nor would I want such a guarantee. But a nomination? To see a person who has labored long in the genre(s) of SF/F have his or her name added to the notes of the field's grand old award?

That's worth something. Yes, even rattling the cage. And making people uncomfortable.

#165 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 01:54 PM:

Anonymous Regular #162 It seems to me that if you intentionally manipulate the system to get stories on the ballot, you're also displacing other stories off the ballot. There's a fixed number of slots, after all. If the reason for pushing stories onto the ballot is to give those authors "a voice", are you not also then denying that same "voice" to whoever is displaced?

Here's the thing: this is a feature of the awards. One work pushes out another. There can only be one winner*. There can only be limited number of nominees. If one thinks something is Hugo worthy then one's vote may push out another (perhaps equally worthy) work. It happens.

To put it slightly impolitely, if a cranky faction of fans with unusual theories of how the system operates campaign for works they like for whatever reason, that's pretty much fandom as usual. The usual answer is to bring in more cranky fans with their own (different) unusual theories**. As I understand it the concern is that the situation may have attracted people who would prefer to destroy the award and fandom.

* Except when there isn't a winner or there are joint winners. Bear with me.
** Exactly who is in which group of cranky fans I leave to the reader.

#166 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 01:56 PM:

Neil W @ 165... There can only be one

Clancy Brown would agree with you.

#167 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 02:01 PM:

Brad, #154: [F]ans who are every bit as in love with this field as anyone who is a regular with WSFS. But who don't ordinarily get to have their voices counted when it comes time to bestowing the field's so-called "most prestigious award."

May I gently ask why these fans "don't ordinarily get to have their voices counted"? Do they not have the same ability to nominate and vote as any other fans? Or do you mean something else by that?

#168 ::: Bruce ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 02:06 PM:

Brad @161

>'Many readers have even confessed to me that seeing 'Hugo' or 'Nebula' on a book is now off-putting.'

John Campbell Awards stole twenty or thirty bucks off me before I realized it was a deliberate fraud on John Campbell's good name. Yes, still bitter, you thieving slanderers. Hugo Gernsback, Heinlein, Anderson, Niven- weren't writing tall tales based on political correctness. They wrote tall tales based on gadgets. Niven's latest, 'The Goliath Stone', not on the Sad Puppies list, is eligible for nomination. Good read too. Nanotech, biotech, a tall tale stretching points from the stories about Stallone's steroid/HG intake.

#169 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 02:08 PM:

Any ballot sent by an actual human being who actually read the works they are nominating is by definition a valid ballot, and will never be thrown out by any reasonable set of Hugo rules. Nobody in this thread is advocating ANY policy change that would throw out such a ballot.

There is some worry that people have glommed onto the SP suggested slate to do something else: something fraudulent, namely putting in ballots for set groups of works regardless of the individual's reading taste or even whether the individual exists or reads SF at all. Mechanical reproductions of the same slate, sent in thoughtlessly, are invalid ballots, and if collusion to create waves of such could be shown, then the concom should step in to avoid this distortion of the actual desired Hugo process: where fen vote on what fen like.

People who read the works they nominate for and vote on are VALID HUGO VOTERS, and getting more of them can only be a good thing.

#170 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 02:21 PM:

Brad R. Torgersen @164

"even rattling the cage. And making people uncomfortable."

Care to unpack that a little? What is this cage, why don't you simply unlock it and go home? Who do you believe has put you in this cage? It can't be the Nielsen Haydens, as I don't imagine a NYC-based lifestyle has much room for cage-storage.

As to making people uncomfortable, the main discomfort I'm seeing in this thread is people who are uncomfortable with a) the idea that organized factional nomination* will push more popular** works with more numerous but less-organized supporters off the ballot, and b) that there may be unpleasant and uncivil actions taken by a minority of supporters, along with a hope that leaders would discourage those types of supporters.

Are you meaning "make people uncomfortable" because you have read what those people have actually said and you're in favor of the things they have actually said they're uncomfortable about? That is, you're hoping to see less-deserving works nominated, and you're hoping some of your erstwhile comrades will abuse people who might vote differently?

Or are you talking about some hypothetical people other than the people in this thread, and these hypothetical people are just uncomfortable when they see a shortlist that includes all the deserving works that make them happy and also a few other works they think shouldn't have made it?

If the latter, I would suggest that you consider others' opinions as you ask to be considered: read what they have written before you make assumptions about what they find uncomfortable.

*Or less-legitimate tactics like membership-packing, but presumably you don't support those, do you?
**And thus, since it's a popular award, more deserving.

#171 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 02:28 PM:

Brad R. Torgersen @154: In future, please read the thread before commenting. It's the polite thing to do, and it reduces error and confusion.

#172 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 02:29 PM:

Brad, I see in your posts something I've seen in other SP posts: a combination of coveting and disparaging the Hugos. I find it...difficult to parse. If you don't like them, why do you want one? If they actually negatively affect your sales, then the argument that the Hugos are biased because so many of the SP sell well, then again, the argument seems confusing at best.

#173 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 02:55 PM:

The difficulty I have with how SP3 has been presented is fairly simple to state:

If it is meant as a corrective -- that is, saying "in addition to works / people recommended through other channels, you should consider these before nominating", then it is very badly presented indeed, as it looks like a set of recommendations on their own. In that case, Brad should be as upset as anybody else at the very suggestion that anyone would have taken the list as a simple slate to enter into the nominations.

If it is meant as a set of recommendations on their own, then (like many other people) I find it at a gut level unlikely* that, given the explicit basis for the recommendations -- that they reflect the model of "old-time" SF -- they don't include a number of very much stronger works in the past year (The Three-Body Problem, stories from Hieroglyph, etc.).

Finally, the claim that the works put forward on the SP3 list (aside from Skin Game) are more popular, or more likely to be popular with a broader audience, than books such as Ancillary Sword and Annihilation (both of which are likely selections from within the standard WSFS fold) would seem to have no obvious ground in fact.

*Make that incredible.

#174 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 02:59 PM:

Brad R. Torgeson @ 164: "I've seen several suggestions in this space that Sasquan (or future Worldcons) could (or should?) find technical excuses to begin throwing out ballots. Either during the nomination phase, or the final voting phase."

That, I suppose, is a matter of taste.

Ballot stuffing should be watched out for. I would suspect it when a slate is announced by people who have, in the recent past, claimed the contest is rigged. I'm sure I'm not the only person who is willing overlook cheating a cheater in the name of justice--how many great adventures have that as their heart? So there might be people supporting your slate who would cheat.

It would only take a small number of them to either unfairly skew the vote in favor of their choices, or, if caught, make a whole lot of innocent people supporting your slate look bad. Pointing up in advance that cheating--actual cheating, not simple slate-making--will be watched for acts as a deterrent in everyone's interest, especially in a contentious election.

(Except that hypothetical person who just wants to fuck shit up. I've known the type elsewhere.)

That said, if I were the one looking over those ballots, I'd err on the side of counting one--or a thousand--which look a little funny but which I wasn't convinced was fraudulent. That's my consistent philosophy about voting and I don't see any reason not to follow it here. If a lot of people decide to vote that slate within the rules? Okay by me.

Knowing as I do that no voting system other than yes/no up/down consistently gives good results, I'm intrigued by the idea of having fewer votes per category per voter than there are slots per category. That strikes me as a change that might give more interesting results. I wish it'd come up in some other context, as I suspect it'll be a little while before it can be coolly evaluated.

I do find it odd that you don't care to name Toni Weisskopf in your note when you name others. I haven't seen the slate, but if she's on it, she's certainly deserving. She can't turn out that much commercial product--which at Baen occasionally contains some actual gems--without being a fine editor. I don't know who she's running against, but I wish her well and will cheer if she wins.

I especially wish her well because some of the people who are vocally "on her side" seem to be embarrassing her, from the tone of how she's addressing them and asking them not to act up. It's not a terribly great way to be treated, in my opinion, by people whose careers you've helped nurture and whose pocketbooks you've helped line, but I'm sure those folks see it differently.

Again, I suppose that's a matter of taste.

I myself would vote for anyone who wrote a sufficiently good book. I even liked that Hitler painting that got auctioned off last week. He's no Georgia O'Keefe, but they were pretty flowers. So I'm not down with the idea that someone putting forth a slate--and I have seen comments that said this or said as much--will give me boy cooties if I touch them with my vote.

But then, I'm not a fan. I've been to two Dragon*Cons and the Heinlein Centennial. I was going to MidSouthCon this year with my daughter and her excellent mother, but my oldest friend's memorial service kept me from it. I did put my daughter up to buying her mom a WorldCon membership for Kansas City--news flash! Johnnie admits to ballot stuffing!--but that's about it.

But I do have an L. E. Modesitt, Jr. book, which I enjoyed immensely, sitting within arms reach--oh, look who published it!--and like Jim Butcher almost as much as Charlie Stross.

So maybe I'm not your target audience. I mean, I'm not sure that David Weber is due a Hugo. My daughter might disagree with you, and I sure can't knock a treecat, so there's that. I also remember how much I liked David Drake's first Hammer's Slammers book, though I read that same friend's copy of The Final Encyclopedia in that same apartment and thought it much better.

I don't read enough current SF to vote in good conscience, though I usually end up reading Hugo nominees--novels, at least--sooner or later and find them mostly fine. I'll be curious to see if this effort brings me writers I didn't know and, if so, whether I like them (important) and, if I do, whether they bring me something new in the process (even more important).

Like you say, it's a matter of taste, so good for y'all for being willing to rattle the cage.

I doubt you're making as many people as uncomfortable as you might think, and suspect you may be making people uncomfortable you'd rather not be, but that's your problem, not mine.

So, my best wishes! And may good books win!

#175 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 03:19 PM:

Brad R. Torgersen@154: "In other words, we did precisely what John Scalzi said we should do."

That would include inviting the thugs in? (See tnh@15 for context.) Some serious abuses are likely as a result, perhaps even some crimes. It's not that important to me who gets nominated. The balloting procedures in place are pretty good, and a poor nomination is likely to end up below "No award" in the final count. But bringing in people who want to blow the whole thing up is shameful.

And, if "many readers have even confessed to [you] that seeing 'Hugo' or 'Nebula' on a book is now off-putting"—what? did you interrogate them?—why not create a MilSF award? I think publishers would be delighted to feature it on the covers of the winning books.

#176 ::: Brad R. Torgersen ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 03:22 PM:

Lydy: that's a fair question. Let me address it in several parts.

As an aspiring author (many years ago) I daydreamed about being within grasping distance of a Hugo. Once I began publishing, however, and actually made the ballot (and got a closer look at how the Hugos are selected, who selects them, and what the net dividends of a nomination or a win are) the shine wore off the apple.

Anecdote: when I was the rare triple nominee (Hugo, Campbell, Nebula) in 2012, it was exciting. Then a major agent and two significant editors confessed to me that all of these awards -- even with a win -- were neutral or even negative predictors of sales. I could not take a win or a nomination for any of them into a negotiation, and use them as enticement, or leverage. Plus, they come attached with no cash prizes. At least an Analog readers' award win -- of which I have several -- nets me a check. Writers of the Future too.)

So, for me, would it be nice? Sure. But the real win was taking my hard SF track record to Baen, and being welcomed to the Baen roster. If a Hugo win is a grape, a contract with a major SF/F publisher is a watermelon.

Which does not of course address the historical legacy of the award. Which is where I have much stronger feelings. Because I know and am friends with many significant authors (and a few editors) who've been around this field far longer than I have. And they just never seem to be on the Hugo radar. They've certainly accomplished enough to warrant at least a nomination. Because this is The Award of the field after all. But the needle seldom quivers in their direction.

It's a bit like the Stanley Cup. Every Hugo final ballot adds another layer to the base of the cup, with names inscribed on it. Those names and the titles of those works will be on the base of that cup forever. Like Romans passing through Gaul and leaving inscriptions on a boulder: we were here, we came to such a place, and were counted. So, if myself and the others can manage to secure a nomination for Kevin J. Anderson or L.E. Modesitt, Jr., it's a good thing (in my book) because these men will not be allowed to pass from the field without the field's most venerable touchstone having their names (and the titles of their works) inscribed on it.

Lastly, just because the Hugo doesn't currently rate highly with some SF/F consumers, that doesn't mean it has to stay that way. There are times when the Hugo selection and broad consumer agreement coincide. There are many times when having broad consumer enthusiasm is a detriment at the awards table, because many voters operate with the tacit assumption that something with broad appeal or success either a) doesn't need a Hugo, or b) anything commercially popular must be mediocre.

Now, taste is taste. And my personal objective is not to be a taste maker.

But I do think the Hugos could stand to be a little more representative of the field at large. Especially of authors like Drake, and many others, who've done tremendous work and have helped grow the field. Yet they never come up on the final ballot. Getting their names and works recognized is worth the time and trouble of disturbing the Worldcon status quo.

Who knows, maybe Kevin or Dave or Lee might even win?

And maybe if more people like Kevin and Dave and Lee win and/or are nominated, more readers will come back to trusting the "brand label" of the Hugos? Because right now, the label's rep is shaky with a lot of folks. Some of whom have been reading in this field for decades. I know. I've talked to them face to face. They are an audience which (by their own words) feels left out of the equation at awards time.

SP3 is an open, honest attempt to have it so that these consumers don't feel left out anymore. And so that many artists and editors and writers who might be left out too, are not left out.

#177 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 03:28 PM:

Brad Torgersen @ 164:

Here's the thing. In Sad Puppies 1 & 2, a noisy minority (about 10%) of the Hugo electorate put a selections of works on the ballot, apparently largely at the suggestion of a pair of (at best) obnoxious writers. The other 90% of the electorate then read said works and found them (at best) not worthy of awards.

Now you come along and explicitly announce that you're "taking up the torch" of the Sad Puppies. I know you're military, and I know you know what the Marines say about something that happens three times, so there is significant and legitimate doubt about the good will of your project.

Regarding the "taste-makers." All indications are that the people supporting Sad Puppies are a minority. Those nominations that got on the ballot last year did so with approximately 10% of the ballots cast, and judging by the final round votes, the best showing was around 30%.

Or shorter - so far, Sad Puppies are a minority. In any situation in which a small minority attempts to dominate, the majority will not be very happy about it.

#178 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 03:30 PM:

John A., #174: I'm intrigued by the idea of having fewer votes per category per voter than there are slots per category.

Just for clarification, no one has suggested that this be applied to the actual Hugo voting, and I would not support that suggestion if it were to be made. What was mentioned upthread was the idea of having one or two fewer slots for nominations in any given category than there are slots on the final ballot. I can see several potential upsides to making that change, and no significant downside; as I said before, if anyone else sees a major problem with it, I'm willing to listen to their argument.

(BTW, I'm sorry to have missed the chance to meet you FTF at MidSouthCon. Maybe next year?)

#179 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 03:34 PM:

Brad Torgersen:

You write: Then a major agent and two significant editors confessed to me that all of these awards -- even with a win -- were neutral or even negative predictors of sales - I have to admit that sounds to me like "they support me in emails." Which editors? Why is Tor, for one, so busy pumping their authors at Hugo time if it doesn't matter?

because the Hugo doesn't currently rate highly with some SF/F consumers assertion without evidence. And which set of consumers? The set (like a coworker of mine) who will fly to San Diego for the day to spend 14 hours at a Star Trek convention but doesn't buy any novels (Star Trek or otherwise)?

#180 ::: Wendy Bradley ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 03:38 PM:

robert #142 Thanks: I'm extremely reassured to hear I wasn't just being irredeemably klutzy! I'm disappointed because I'd always intended to go back and read the entire WoT once the set was complete - I believe I said so when I reviewed one or two of them for Interzone back in the mists of history. But I'm buggered if I'll go and pay for them again! Loncon didn't answer my emails and I guess I'm still trailing a little annoyance about it, although I appreciate it's rather irrelevant to the rest of this thread. Let's put it this way: when I was on an Eastercon panel about the year's Hugo noms I assiduously made sure I read all of them. Last year I had every intention of being a well informed voter but was defeated by the technology. And, yes, I realise the nominee packet is a privilege not a right, but it's a bit pointless if it doesn't *thump* actually *thump* work *thump*. And now I have to go and bandage my forehead and sand my desk again.

#181 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 03:39 PM:

Lee @ 178: I said it wrong! But I swear, that's what I meant. Thanks for the correction. I meant to have the kid and her mom look you up, but then, I mean a lot of things. I contain minitudes.

Brad R. Torgeson @ 176: "It's a bit like the Stanley Cup. Every Hugo final ballot adds another layer to the base of the cup, with names inscribed on it. Those names and the titles of those works will be on the base of that cup forever. Like Romans passing through Gaul and leaving inscriptions on a boulder: we were here, we came to such a place, and were counted."

I hear you, brother. Just please remember that you gotta leave your mark can have a variety of outcomes, not all alike.

#182 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 03:39 PM:

To the general issue, I think what we're looking at here is a common radical-right electoral tactic in the USA: swing the poor-turnout primary, so that the choices in the general election are limited. But US general elections are not ranked-choice, and "None of the above" does not appear on the ballot. The most likely outcome of stacking the Hugo nominating ballot with works that don't appeal widely is that "No award" rises in the final counts. The main problem I see with a small group stacking the nominating ballot is that authors who might otherwise get wider attention from the broader are being pushed out in favor of a narrow group that has turned out for the nominating ballot. Which is a problem, and mean to the authors affected, but not a disaster.

And, by the way, if anyone is hoping to get respect for their work or their politics through this kind of skullduggery, they are doing it wrong. If someone wins government office through these practices, they win: there's real power associated with office. The only result of winning a literary award through manipulating the balloting process is short-term gain in publicity, and this may even be wiped out by the bad publicity that manipulating the balloting process produces.

#183 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 03:41 PM:

Brad, my understanding is that the Hugos have always had about zip influence on sales. As a previous editor of mine explained, the only affect any of the SF field's awards has on sales comes from the Hugo for best novel: in the past, books that won the Hugo tended to stay in print a bit longer than books that didn't. That is all. As she was editing since the early 1980s, and her anecdata went all the way back to working on Robert Heinlein's later work, I'm inclined to take her word for it.

(And today? The format switch to e-books and the ability to reprint profitably in very small batches means that nothing need ever go out of print, so even that point is moot.)

Your point about wanting the awards to be "a little more representative of the field at large" is a good one. But what is the field? Expecting the Hugos to do a good job of representing the entire glittering constellation of sub-genres we now see grouped under the rubric of "science fiction and fantasy" is a bit futile, in my view: we could award the best novel Hugo to a representative of a different sub-genre every year and not loop back for a decade. Consider: steampunk, space opera, urban fantasy, grimdark fantasy, cyberpunk, milSF, new weird, Lovecraftian, feminist SF, TV spin-off, movie spin-off, humor, world SF ... and note that these are marketing tags. We get plenty of work that straddles sub-genre lines, and plenty of items that transcend them. (Is "Ancilliary Justice" a work of feminist SF? Or space opera? Or something else?)

At the end of the day, all the Hugos are is a beauty pageant, voted on by the attending and supporting members of the WSFS. It can't really be comprehensive, and the only way to influence the winning list effectively is to change the demographic make-up of worldcon going fandom.

#184 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 03:45 PM:

Brad Torgersen: As I mentioned several times up-thread, I have no problem with seeing political, conservative, military or religious science fiction on the ballot. All of these can—and have—been done well, in various combinations.

However, I read the SP 2014 nominees, and I was not impressed overall. I had no particular objection to your two stories, and I rather enjoyed Dan Well's. But I personally found several of the SP nominees to be poor representatives of science fiction in general and "conservative" science fiction in particular.

[I]nstead of instantly decrying and turfing the categories (when the results are released next week) perhaps some of you can read the works, and make a decision based on your enjoyment of he works.

Last year, I did exactly as you suggest. The result? If "Sad Puppies" were an actual publisher, I would no longer being willing to bet my time or money on books carrying their logo. This is capitalism 101. The only way I'm going to be happy about future SP slates is if they nominate fiction that surprises and delights me.

However, I do think that organized Hugo slates are in poor taste, and if they become routine, I would support changes to the nominating rules to prevent any one prepared slate from dominating a category. I much prefer books selected by a wide variety of individual readers according to their personal tastes. I would love Hugo reading to be fun experience, showing the richness and diversity of the field—not a painful slog through a single set of nominees chosen by one organized group of readers.

#185 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 03:50 PM:

Brad:

I'm finding myself a little baffled here.

You say that the authors supported by SP are both much more popular than recent Hugo winners and non-SP-nominees, and that your nominees would never get on the ballot without concentrated campaigning. (I'll assume for the moment that the more nefarious deeds that have been suggested were all on the part of individual bad actors and not condoned by the compilers of the SP slate, if indeed they happened.) I'm having a lot of trouble reconciling these; wouldn't a "Hey, it's Hugo season, a supporting membership costs $X, go nominate your favorite novels!" message have been just as effective if you truly believe most SF fans prefer the SP-nominated novels to the rest of the field?

As an aside, I don't think Hugos should be an award for putting in time or effort. Kevin J. Anderson is certainly prolific, but that doesn't necessarily mean he should be "on the Hugo radar"; it's entirely possible to be prolific, popular, and even good (I don't think I've ever read anything of his, so I can't comment one way or the other about that) without being labeled the Best of the Best.

#186 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 03:57 PM:

I think I worked out once that my Graphic Novel Hugo was worth about $1600 in extra sales. (My publisher and I were stuck at the table and bored.) That's not my cut, btw, that's the total sales...I actually make about $400 extra, I think.

Did get at least two really neat convention invites that I likely wouldn't have otherwise, though, so I'm not complaining at all. And it's impossible to figure out the various intangible benefits, of course. (I personally get a lot of mileage around the house with "Don't look at me like that! I have a driver's license! And a Hugo Award! I am a competent adult! Now please open this jar lid...")

But as a gateway to fame and fortune...err...no.

At the same time, I have a really hard time seeing how "Conservative milSF writers win these at a higher percentage than would normally be indicated by Worldcon voting demographics!" is going to magically increase the Hugo-winner's sales. I mean, if you're looking for a tale of military might, my weird little tale of lost wombats and gods is not gonna scratch that itch. How does the SP3 slate make the Hugo tag worth any more sales to the winner?

#187 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 04:09 PM:

Bruce @168 Yes, imagine Heinlein* or Niven** discussing the ethics of homosexuality in a story! Just as well they stuck to apolitical tales of giant railguns on the moon and organ cloning.

* The Number of the Beast (1980)
** How the Heroes Die (1966)

#188 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 04:12 PM:

Neil W: also, what could possibly be more space operatic than rum, sodomy, and the lash? (Ahem.)

#189 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 04:15 PM:

As an aside, I'm having trouble imagine Worldcon attendees actually agreeing to any one political orthodoxy. I mean, have you ever tried discussing politics at Worldcon? When I've done so, it's reminded me of Burya Rubenstein from Charles Stross's Singularity Sky:

"How about a post-Marxist theory of post-technological political economy, and a proof that the dictatorship of the hereditary peerage can only be maintained by the systematic oppression and exploitation of the workers and engineers, and cannot survive once the people acquire the self-replicating means of production?"

…except that I'm pretty sure I could find opinions much weirder than that in any given corridor at a typical SF convention.

Now, I could easily believe that the Hugos do not represent the taste of the median science fiction reader. By necessity, the median science reader is mostly interested in Science Fiction 101, and typical Worldcon attendees have already read that stuff by the shelf, and they're typically looking for something that opens up whole new possibilities. But this is not unique to the Hugos—most literary awards seem to have a similar skew. Otherwise you'd just reprint the bestseller list and be done with it.

#190 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 04:24 PM:

The Hugo may not bring in much income, but, when I am backstage and see a first-time winner unable to breathe, I probably can safely assume that money is the farthest from that person's mind and heart. It's nice when you have tangible proof that your craft has successfully reached out to others.

#191 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 04:27 PM:

Charlie, #183: the only way to influence the winning list effectively is to change the demographic make-up of worldcon going fandom

Or, more accurately, Worldon voting fandom, since you only have to have a supporting membership to vote.

Which ties back into Teresa's analysis @100: What the SPs are saying, when they object to the free and unfettered Hugo Awards, is that the Hugos have the wrong electorate. The voters are defective, and ought to be replaced by other voters who'll prefer the Sad Puppies' work to that of writers like George R. R. Martin, Jo Walton, Ann Leckie, or Michael Swanwick (to take some examples at random).

And also... isn't "changing the demographic make-up of the people who vote for the Hugos" exactly what this alleged reaching-out to the GGers is all about?

lorax, #185: it's entirely possible to be prolific, popular, and even good ... without being labeled the Best of the Best

THIS. As a personal example, I really enjoy Mercedes Lackey's books; she's a good storyteller and writes a lot of things that appeal to me. But I don't, by and large, consider them to be potential Hugo material, with the possible exception of the Vanyel trilogy at the time of its publication. And while her books are wildly popular and it would not surprise me if one or more of them had been nominated for a Hugo, I don't believe that has happened... and I don't consider this to be a tragedy or a miscarriage of justice. What makes any of these guys any better?

#192 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 04:32 PM:

Thanks, Cat and Chris, for the advice regarding Gannon.

I totally agree with Charlie Stross that no single set of awards can be representative of the entire, very diverse, field. Regarding what does tend to get nominated, I had an epiphany a little while ago. There was a discussion on Scalzi's blog in which it was mentioned that certain subgenres tend not to be represented, and it struck me that really no subgenre is well represented; that is, core works of well-defined subgenres tend not to be nominated - not epic fantasy, not urban fantasy, not MilSF, not steampunk. (Martin writes sorta epic fantasy, but not core. Bujold and Scalzi write sorta MilSF, but not core. And so on.) The kind of books that get nominated are those of which you can really only say 'It's science fiction' or 'it's fantasy', or in some cases, like The City and the City, just 'it's speculative'.

I think this makes sense, because the core works of subgenres are largely directed at fans of that subgenre, while the Hugo voting system rewards works that have cross-group appeal, and the nominations typically reflect that - it does not always work perfectly, of course. So Hugo-nominated works are very diverse, but somehow limited by that diversity.

I have sometimes wondered whether it would make sense to have an award that was structured like a dog show, with the Best in Show chosen from among the winners of Best in Class - that would ensure that each area within SFF had a fair chance. Though there would have to be a 'utility' class for works that did not fit into any more specific type. And it's not clear how it could be judged - how many people would be able to make a fair choice between works of many subgenres?

#193 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 04:33 PM:

188
Also including dinosaurs?

#194 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 04:40 PM:

Serge Broom@190: "…when I see a first-time winner unable to breathe…"

Brad Torgerson@176: "Every Hugo final ballot adds another layer to the base of the cup, with names inscribed on it. Those names and the titles of those works will be on the base of that cup forever."

That makes sense. Honors and medals are especially important to military people. Not getting awards must gripe.

And, Brad, you still haven't addressed the thugs.

#195 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 04:42 PM:

PJ Evans... How could we forget the dinosaurs?

#196 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 04:45 PM:

Andrew M: one aspect of the awards culture that annoys me significantly is the procrustean annual cycle. (The Campbell award for best new writer is an exception, with two years of eligibility.) The problems are:

a) If the cycle is "best item in category published between January 1st and December 31st", and nominations close in February (as is the case for the Nebulas), this puts anything published in the back half of the year at an instant disadvantage (because there's less time for voters to read it).

b) Very worthy items can be trampled flat in a bumper year, while in a mediocre year "no award" might credibly win. Example: the retro-Hugos for 1954. How the hell were the voters meant to pick, as best novel, one of "Fahrenheit 451", "Childhood's End", "Mission of Gravity", "The Caves of Steel", or "More than Human"? If making a list of the 100 most important SF novels of the 20th century, I can see all of that shortlist belonging there. "Fahrenheit 451" won by a whisker, but, really and truly, they're all milestones of the genre and none of them would have been seen as a weak choice, absent that year's extraordinary competition.

Personally, I'd like to see a rolling decadal prize for the best SF/F novel of the immediately-preceding ten years. (Each year, votes are cast for a shortlist of ten nominated novels. Shortlisted works can re-appear unless and until they win; a given year's winner is thereafter disqualified from future eligibility because it already won.) So, for example, 2015 could see a comparison of anything published from 2004 through 2014. Unfortunately, there's a delayed-gratification aspect to this: it's not topical, it's not immediate and relevant, old books might win (if they are seen to have stood the test of time over the medium term).

#197 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 04:45 PM:

Teresa, #15:

When you invite thugs into your argument, you're not using them as shock troops; they're using you as cover.

(See also Randolph, #175.)

I feel I am missing an important development. Please, where is "inviting the thugs in" documented?

#198 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 04:49 PM:

Teresa @100: The good news is, nobody's stopping them from organizing their own fandom, running their own conventions, and giving out their own awards. Granted, that's a lot of work; but hey, so's the worldcon.

If your aim is to re-privilege your own set of preferences, a beta-male move like setting up your own awards defeats the purpose. It inverts the desired structure of who's dominant and who's niche. Specialized awards are for specialized people. The whole point of x-normativity is to center x as the standard from which others deviate.

#199 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 04:52 PM:

UrsulaV@186: I was about to say that your Hugo nomination (not the win) earned you a few bucks from me, because that's why I noticed Digger in the first place. I suppose that's part of the argument for campaigning for nominations: that the attention that comes with being on the shortlist might pull in new readers.

I was about to say that; but then I remembered that, in fact, what pointed me to Digger was the discussions people were having during the nomination period. (And, given the online availability, what actually converted that to money was that the book grabbed me so thoroughly that I really, really wanted the bound version to linger over.) So I suppose I'd say that the award process earned you a few bucks from me.

#200 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:01 PM:

Eric K @ 189:

When I've done so, it's reminded me of Burya Rubenstein from Charles Stross's Singularity Sky:

"How about a post-Marxist theory of post-technological political economy, and a proof that the dictatorship of the hereditary peerage can only be maintained by the systematic oppression and exploitation of the workers and engineers, and cannot survive once the people acquire the self-replicating means of production?"

…except that I'm pretty sure I could find opinions much weirder than that in any given corridor at a typical SF convention.

I'm sorry, but I don't get what's weird about common sense. It sounds perfectly logical to me.

#201 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:02 PM:

dotless@199 -- Hey, I'll take it! I'm delighted that you enjoyed it!

I also want to add that, flippant comments about the money aside, the hyperventilation in the backroom re: Serge Broom's comment is a memory that I would absolutely cherish if I remembered any of it at all. I don't, because I was hyperventilating, but I cherish the blank space anyway, because dude! Hugo!

I think that winning a Hugo is awesome! I wish there was a way that every deserving writer could! But that's a separate discussion from how we're supposed to make money on the things, which I don't think we are, or probably ever were, for that matter.

So I'm genuinely curious as to how voting conservative milSF slates are going to earn more money, since as far as I know, 'twas never thus.

#202 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:04 PM:

Charles @196:

Conversely to your point (a), books published early in the year may have problems of being clearly remembered (or remembered as eligible) by the time the nomination period opens. At least two of the eligible books I've read surprised me with their publication dates (when I double-checked) as being in 2014. I had thought they were earlier.

It would be an interesting research project for someone to plot Hugo nominees against publication date to see if there is a clear bias for early or late works.

There is a clear belief in the US at least among the Academy Awards that movies late in the year are more memorable to the nominating and voting contingent, so studios which think they have an Oscar-contending film will aim for and October-December release. This is also motivated by the desire to get a bump in ticket sales from the award nominations, which wouldn't happen if the movie was out of the theaters by award season.

As for your (b), I would support an award structured similar to the US "Baseball Hall of Fame", where a work is eligible only after it's been available for a number of years, so it's lasting legacy can be judged. The was the hall of fame is structured is that a player is eligible 10 years after retirement, and in a multi-vote "approval" style ballot, requires votes greater than a certain threshold to be voted in, and greater than a lower threshhold to remain on the ballot. Multiple winners can be selected in a single year. (the exact details aren't quite like that anymore, but that's the idea). In the "SF Hall of Fame" model, all 5 of the works you cited from 1954 would make it, but perhaps even a Hugo-winner might not, because it didn't have a lasting impact.

#203 ::: Charlie Stross smells a fresh, bridge-damp troll ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:10 PM:

Laertes @198: If your aim is to re-privilege your own set of preferences, a beta-male move like setting up your own awards defeats the purpose. It inverts the desired structure of who's dominant and who's niche.

Bizarre jargon: check.

Posting under an existing commenter's handle, but content is utterly inconsistent with commenter's existing posting history: check.

#204 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:11 PM:

The view-all-by matches up, though, Charlie, which means they have to know the right email address to use with the handle.

I don't think the comment is out of line to things Laertes has posted before on the same view-all-by (and the jargon used is all intersectional-feminism jargon except the sarcasm quote of beta-male).

#205 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:12 PM:

Bill Higgins -- Beam Jockey @ 197: "I feel I am missing an important development. Please, where is 'inviting the thugs in' documented?"

This is currently circumstantial at best. It's worth being wary, but until and unless it's happened, I don't see the point of calling someone to account for it. Trust but verify, as they say.

Randolph @ 194: "Honors and medals are especially important to military people."

And to competitive people generally. And to those who fight for justice and freedom generally. Those of us who think of ourselves in the latter category typically seek them for others, but that we find them important is indisputable. I want Viola Liuzzo's marker repaired or replaced every time the kluxers and their ilk deface it, and I'd cheerfully take the payment out of their skin.

#206 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:14 PM:

Elliott, Laertes: if this isn't trolling but sarcasm, Poe's law applies all too easily!

#207 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:19 PM:

Charlie, #203: In addition to what Elliott says @204, Laertes' comment pretty well echoes my own immediate reaction to the idea of "why don't they establish their own MilSF award?" -- because that wouldn't be good enough. They want to WIN, and that means the whole ball of wax.

#208 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:21 PM:

UrsulaV@186: I'd never heard of you before seeing your Hugo acceptance speech. I started following you on Twitter, and then Livejournal. I tried reading Digger online, and liked it but found reading like that didn't suit me. When I saw that you'd be in a con dealer room, I bought a copy of the Digger paperback and two prints. I think that ran to about $60? That was last summer, so 3 years after you won the Hugo. These effects may take awhile!

#209 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:24 PM:

janetl, #208: If you like Digger, try some of Ursula's other stuff as well. Especially the things she's got up under the pen name of T. Kingfisher; I nominated The Seventh Bride on this round of Hugos.

#210 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:26 PM:

On the idea that feminists and libertarians have their own award, but MilSF doesn't. My take is possibly that both libertarians and feminists have to organize things themselves. Military and quasi-military types are waiting for orders from the higher ranks, and instructions in the manual.

#211 ::: Glenn Glazer ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:34 PM:

After reading through all of the messages so far, I feel the need to provide a slightly different perspective, the convention organizer perspective.

The selection process for the Hugos is laid out in the Constitution and is transparently available for anyone to read or review. It is crucially important that that process consist of mechanical steps that minimize any kind of judgement call made by the Hugo Administrators.

I encourage everyone to to engage in lively debate about who has and will won or lost, but at the end of the day, it is the voice of the voters that made those choices, not the administrators.

I am only one voice at the business meeting. But for the sake of future Worldcons and their Hugo teams, to prevent them from being embroiled in any way in a scandal that would wreck and institution many of us cherish, I will categorically reject and fight tooth-and-nail to prevent any amendment to the Constitution which seeks to require the Administrators to determine the validity of ballots based on anything that is not a mechanical criteria such as having a valid membership. The Hugo Administrators must be able to stand back and above the process or all credibility is lost.

In particular, requiring the administrators to validate based on what was nominated (not what category, but the work or person themselves) or on attempts to guess what the nominator was thinking or intending, are completely off the table for me.

O, that way madness lies; let me shun that.

#212 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:40 PM:

Magenta @210: the Libertarians have their own award -- the Prometheus Award by the Libertarian Futurist Society, sometimes known (tongue-in-cheek) as "the Libertarian Futurist Society award for the best Scottish Socialist SF novel of the year" (Ken MacLeod has won it three times).

The MilSF folks don't, as far as I know, have an award. I wonder why?

#213 ::: Michael R. Johnston ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:41 PM:

In post #154, Brad Torgerson described those voting for the SP slate as "fans who are every bit as in love with this field as anyone who is a regular with WSFS. But who don't ordinarily get to have their voices counted when it comes time to bestowing the field's so-called 'most prestigious award.'"

Um... why, exactly, don't they "get" to have their voices counted? I've been aware for more than 20 years now that if I paid the fairly reasonable supporting membership cost, I could nominate, and then vote for, the works I felt deserved a Hugo. What, exactly, was stopping these fans you describe from doing that?

#214 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 05:42 PM:

Magenta Griffith @210 - I'm not sure I agree. To turn stereotypes around, military types would only need one person to make the plan to get it done; get four libertarians or feminists together and you'd end up with six different awards.

#215 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 06:03 PM:

#196 ::: Charlie Stross

I agree that the current schedule makes it too hard for people to read much in the nomination period.

A ten year nomination range seems too long, but I can't come up with an argument for why. Five years feels better for some reason.

#216 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 06:05 PM:

Personally, I would like to see a multi-year eligibility period, if only to fold paperbacks in with their hardcover! I can't afford the cost for hardbacks (or early digital, if I got into that), or the shelf space.

#217 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 06:13 PM:

Brad Torgersen: I suppose you think it's clever of you to argue with things no one has said here, and to misrepresent things that have been said. If so, you are mistaken.

I know that quite a few SF-related forums will put up with that kind of behavior, or at least pretend not to notice it. Making Light isn't one of them. If you want to participate in our conversations, you'll have to deal honestly and respectfully with your fellow participants.

We appreciate disagreement. We require good faith.

#218 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 06:16 PM:

@213 That's a very good question and one I'd like to see answered as well.

#219 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 06:35 PM:

Laertes @198:

If your aim is to re-privilege your own set of preferences, a beta-male move like setting up your own awards defeats the purpose. It inverts the desired structure of who's dominant and who's niche. Specialized awards are for specialized people. The whole point of x-normativity is to center x as the standard from which others deviate.
Zero rancor, but what is this I can't even. Like, I'm not sure I believe in the existence of beta males, much less understand what a "beta-male move" might be.

Igor deeply puzzled. Laertes unpack?

The preferences I was privileging were the Hugo voters'. If the SPs object to the voters liking what they like, what legitimate options do the SPs have, other than setting up another version of fandom that has the characteristics they desire?

#220 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 06:50 PM:

If the SPs object to the voters liking what they like, what legitimate options do the SPs have, other than setting up another version of fandom that has the characteristics they desire?

I'm not Laertes, but I think what zey were getting at was that instead of setting up a parallel fandom, the other option is "taking over the fandom that exists and making it privilege our priorities."

Specifically, that doing it that way is a dominance move that proves that their views are the normative, normal, ordinary, non-pathological ones, and that the views they are replacing are clearly inferior.

#221 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 06:52 PM:

Teresa: I think Lee @207 does a good job of rephrasing Laertes in plainer language.

#222 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 06:56 PM:

220
and I suspect that that would be a big mistake on their part - people who aren't into that particular worldview would stop coming. Fewer attendees, less money, smaller convention; repeat until no convention.

#223 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 07:12 PM:

I'm doubtful of the idea of rolling eligibility for the Hugos; for one thing it seems best adapted to novels, and doesn't fit well with the other categories; for another, I think there's an advantage in the award coming quite early in a work's life, so that it can serve as a recommendation (and I'm fairly sure Hugos do boost sales sometimes, though the extent to which they do so no doubt depends on many imponderables).

What might be a good idea would be to start an new award with rolling eligibility, which would balance the Hugo by supplying a rather different perspective, and relieve it of some of the pressure of having to represent all that is greatest and best in science fiction.

#224 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 07:17 PM:

Andrew M @ 192: Your observation about works that are at the core of well-defined subgenres doing poorly in the Hugos is deeply interesting, in the sense of "That sounds incredibly plausible, and I'll have to think about a while before I decide if I believe it (and to what extent I do so), and I *will* think about it."

#225 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 07:18 PM:

"The MilSF folks don't, as far as I know, have an award. I wonder why?"

I thought the Hugo award was the MilSF award? MilSF certainly seems to win the Hugo fairly often - "Ancillary Justice," "The Vor Game," "Barrayar," "Forever War," "Forever Peace," "Downbelow Station," "Mirror Dance," "Deepness in the Sky, "A Fire Upon the Deep," just to name a few, would seem to qualify - or do some of these stories of soldiers and revolutionaries, fighting with guns, fists, bombs, robots, lasers and spaceships not count as MilSF for some reason?

#226 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 07:19 PM:

PJ Evans @220: quite possibly the worldcon would shift from being in the USA around 50-66% of the time to being outside the USA 70-80% of the time. There are already runs of 2-3 years at a time when it's outside the US, and it's noteworthy that the SP faction, while vocal, seem to be very much a nationalist phenomenon. American exceptionalism (which their ideology tends to go with) doesn't travel well.

#227 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 07:21 PM:

An award of their own wouldn't satisfy.

A dive into Sad Puppy related blog posts (Torgersen and Correia are the ones I found most readily--there are surely others) indicates that this movement springs from the same resentments that animate the more-familiar-to-me gamergate and MRA/PUA* communities.

It's said that those are separate phenomena, unconnected to one another or to Sad Puppies. This is untrue. The distinguishing mark to look for is the sneering at "SJWs," or "Social Justice Warriors." That beast has many heads, but only one heart.

See, for instance, Torgersen:

People got into SF/F in large numbers because of the adventure, the gosh-wow-gee-wiz worldbuilding, the broad-chested heroes and buxom heroines, the laser blasters, the starships zooming at warp speed to save the day, etc. Our genre still preserves a patina of swashbuckling, but it’s usually only that: a facade. Nowadays you’re liable to be served up a lecture on Womens Studies, versus getting taken for a ride with the Gray Lensman

I'm not a bit surprised to find that "SJW" appears forty-one times in the resulting comment thread.

Their Own Award won't scratch the itch that these guys got, because they feel that they shouldn't have to set up their own award. They're entitled to the big one, the one with the proud name and the long history. Stories that explore, say, what gender might mean to AIs are regarded as "preachy" and belong in their own little niche categories.

"We aren't a category," they seem to say. "We just are. You are a category."

They're revanchists, not separatists. To set up their own awards would be to accept that their perspective is merely one among many, and not the dominant one. (In PUA-speak, a "beta male" is a weakling who doesn't forcefully assert his superiority over women.) Their view is that they deserve the Hugos, and books that make them feel preached at (because brown people, or women, or whatever) should have their own little niche awards.

*A "PUA" is a "pick-up artist." If you're up to date on your tetanus shots you can google it, but it's mostly exactly what you'd expect.

#228 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 07:25 PM:

226
Possibly - but a lot of fans in the US can't afford to travel overseas much. (My budget for conventions is 'when I win the lottery'.)

#229 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 07:37 PM:

I was particularly amused by David Gerrold's takedown of a rant by William Lehman.

Shorter Lehman: "I hate how stories have gotten to be all sociological and try to rewrite our world with their SJW cooties all over them. We should go back to the RIGHT kind of sci-fi, like Star Trek: sci-fi with gadgets in it that inspire children to grow up to be engineers who build amazing stuff!"

Shorter Gerrold: "Um. You do realize Roddenberry was deliberately writing a racial utopia, and had as one of his goals changing the way society viewed entire ranges of downtrodden people? IDIC? Sound familiar? I think the Star Trek you remember watching when you are a child is lacking some of the features that the Star Trek I wrote for deliberately put on screen every week."

It's sort of depressing that most modern shows are not as diverse in skin color of the actors on screen (main cast and background crowd scenes) as Star Trek deliberately made itself in the mid-60s, but the fact remains that "SJW bullshit" was a good bit of the DNA of Star Trek, from the outset.

People looking for Ur-texts to back up a GamerGater/Red Pill view of the world should use something besides Star Trek, is what I'm saying, because obsidian-hard SF forged in the vacuum of space and the hearts of dying stars it ain't, and never was.

#230 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 07:37 PM:

Elliott Mason @220, P J Evans @222: I'm not too worried about that. Unlike these sad, sad individuals, I've seen what happens when you try to force fandom to go whither and do that which it will not.

#231 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 07:47 PM:

Cath @150: "I don’t have the time to read and watch and listen to everything eligible. But I don’t believe that I must exclude myself from nominating thereby."

Renay, who is part of the Ladybusiness blog, started up a Googledocs spreadsheet that lists works and people eligible to be nominated for the Hugos. That spreadsheet helped me very much this year in figuring out who edited what, which stories I could find where, and what to read and look at this year. It was Extraordinarily Useful to me and I thank her very much.

If something like that could be more widely known, and more widely contributed to so it was even more accurate, it might help others eligible to nominate, too.

On the subject of Hugo translating into money, Kameron Hurley credits her Hugo win last year as one factor that lead to larger advances.

#232 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 08:02 PM:

#219-222: Beta dominants (not just males) exist, but they are not what Laertes is (possibly arguendo) casting them as. AIUI, Betas are the non-absolute dominants, who are willing to yield to the folks who "need to be top dog"... but (1) they're still dominants, and (2) they tend to buy into the power structure, because they're doing okay. (IIRC, Mirror-Spock actually explained it pretty well. ;) )

"Taking over the system" can mean either of two things: One is an outsider move, an intergroup attack. That's occasionally attempted by gammas or worse, but that rarely succeeds, because they've already found their place in the system, and it takes more than one "win" to jump up to alpha status. Indeed, trying it risks losing such status as they do have, precisely because it is an outsider move. (See also, the Peter Principle. ;-) )

What does often succeed, and is another way to "take over the system", is a "palace coup", which is a fight among alphas, and occasionally a beta trying to move up to alpha status. There, the attackers have no intention of changing the system, they just want to take over the top slot. But to do that, the attacker actually needs to already have a fair bit of power within the system.

The confused example many of the SPs are likely thinking of is the way the Tea Party has gained power within the GOP... while that may have started as a attempt at outsider takeover (AIUI, the TP did start with real populists), it was soon co-opted by a palace coup (the Murdoch/Koch coalition). Which didn't sweep the field, but they were credible enough to gain a strong position. But the Sad Puppies aren't alphas in the Worldcon heirarchy (do people still say SMOFs?). They're not even betas -- this round they've been trying to "recruit" betas, but even that's not going to work the way they think: If the "real" authors they're using get Hugos, they'll be getting them on their own merits, and they won't "owe" Correia, Beales, etc. a damn thing.

And yes, as PJ Evans points out, there's another difference between the TP/GOP case and this one: The Murdoch/Koch coalition had a tangible objective -- gaining control of the resources (money and income streams) and media-control systems, that were held by the existing Republican Party. But with the Hugo awards, the Sad Puppies are trying to take over something that's ephemeral by design. I'm not sure what ongoing resources the WSFS actually maintains, but I'm their real power base is in social capital, and at that, mostly horizontal connections rather than vertical power. That sort of structure can't be "conquered" (at least, not that way), and I'm pretty sure that's exactly why the Worldcon and Hugos are set up the way they are.

So, fine, the Sad Puppies can get places in the nomination, maybe even grab a prize or two. But it doesn't put them "in charge" of anthing, and doesn't even improve their position for next year. And if they try to "take hostages" or otherwise damage the system, their victims just use their social connections to reform into a new group with improved defenses.

#233 ::: Brad R. Torgersen ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 08:04 PM:

Stross said, "and the only way to influence the winning list effectively is to change the demographic make-up of worldcon going fandom."

Which is precisely what SP3 has been about from the start. Inviting people to the party who've not tended to be invited to the party. The party has always been there, and the door has always been open. But not everyone has been aware of the party's existence, nor has everyone known that you can participate without being physically present. As one woman on my FB page noted, she's been reading SF/F for decades and had no idea the Hugo could be voted on by "average" fans like her. So, while it's never been a secret that anybody can be part of the party, awareness of the party (and the workings of the Hugos) hasn't been as common as it probably should be. Especially not among readers who have loved reading, without being aware of or needing to dive into the particulars of "fandom" as defined according to the old rules, pre-Star Wars.

My data confirms Patrick's: 2,000+ nominating ballots. A record for Worldcon.

Awesome. More people for the party. The broader and wider the voting base, the more I think the award reflects the interests and enthusiasm of the whole of SF/F. Make the big tent bigger.

#234 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 08:07 PM:

David Harmon (216): Have you tried the library?

#235 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 08:11 PM:

Brad, you are aware that most of those new nominating voters will be attending members of the immediately previous worldcon who hadn't nominated before, mostly because they're British (or other European) and skew -- by US standards -- left wing and female?

#236 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 08:14 PM:

And looking at what posted while I was writing, I'm seeing that the "beta male" usage is actually a "term of art", where the art is apparently "bullying".

#237 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 08:31 PM:

Andrew M #223:

I doubt that introducing rolling eligibility to the Hugos (or any other award) is a magic bullet solution, else why did the Nebula stop using it? Works can be (dis)advantaged whether they are released early or late within the eligibility window; I think of it as a feature of the system not a flaw.

The few times I have nominated, it's on the basis of what I have liked* & considered to be worthy of nominating (i.e. would like it given a chance in the final ballot). I don't always agree that the eventual winner was the best work out of the final nominees but rarely (almost never) think that it didn't deserve to be on that final list. Last year was an exception where I thought at least one work in the final ballot didn't deserve to be there (and yes it was from the SP slate).

*I only ever nominate works that I have seen/read which is as it should be. I wonder how many of last year's nominations were a straight cut & paste of the SP slate? This is a problem: the SP slate encourages voters (not necessarily intentionally) to nominate works without having seen/read them. It encourages voting for a "side", not on the merit of the individual work(s) which is damaging to the Hugos (mainly in the nomination stage). I am heartened by last year's result: the final voting showed that voters assessed the final nominees on merit. The system is not broken.

#238 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 08:32 PM:

Laertes @227, et al.: Assuming "beta males" exist, could anything be more failure-mode beta than bragging and puffing themselves up, whining about how they don't get enough respect, and plotting elaborately deceptive seduction scenarios to ensnare women who wouldn't have them on any other terms?

I've been around the supposed alphas of this scenario when beta males started acting like that. It was fascinating to watch the alphas' noses tip up, up, up -- unconsciously, I believe -- and their expressions turn wooden, as they tried to hide how distasteful they found it.

¿Quién es más macho, Pat Cadigan o los Perritos Tristes y los PUAs?

Pat Cadigan es mas macho.

Correcto. Pat Cadigan es mas macho que los Perritos Tristes y los PUAs.

#239 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 08:34 PM:

Bill Higgins@197, John A Arkansawyer@205: For "thugs" see Patrick Nielsen Hayden@70, last paragraph. Patrick is certain that it has been done, and that's good enough for me.

Short digression: JAA, the common usage of "circumstantial evidence" means unreliable evidence. In law, however, circumstantial evidence refers to all evidence that is not provided by an eyewitness and includes most scientific evidence: DNA, fingerprints, ballistic studies, and so on. Circumstantial evidence is often more reliable than eyewitness evidence. We give far too much credit to our fallible memories.

"Beta male?" Are we talking about captive wolves or free humans here? (It turns out that the idea of "alpha wolf" was based on studies of groups of captive wolves randomly thrown together. In nature, wolves behave differently. For more, follow the link.) But, basically, that's the same thing as Lee@207 said without the jargon. "They want to WIN, and that means the whole ball of wax." Right. But no-one gets the whole ball of wax, except for the whole of the voters.

Glenn Glazer@211: "In particular, requiring the administrators to validate based on what was nominated (not what category, but the work or person themselves) or on attempts to guess what the nominator was thinking or intending, are completely off the table for me." I think those are off the table for most of us. But you go on to generalize, and there I think you have a problem: fixed sets of mechanical rules are subject to "nothing in the rules" attacks.

#240 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 08:37 PM:

Brad Torgersen @233: You haven't yet responded to the remarks I've addressed to you.

#241 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 08:51 PM:

Randolph @239: Nobody but the Red Pill folks think the Alpha/Beta thing actually means anything (much less what they say it means), but they use the terminology a lot in very self-consistent ways.

#242 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 08:52 PM:

Randolph in #239 suggests I reread PNH in #70:

* But: Deliberately reaching out to outside groups that traffic in threats, intimidation, doxxing, and "SWATting", and urging them to buy Worldcon memberships and nominate in the Hugos -- in effect, inviting them into our community -- rises all the way to "downright evil." We know this happened; we don't know the full extent of it.

Randolph:

Patrick is certain that it has been done, and that's good enough for me.

Ah. I had inferred that if this had been done, it had been done in a public place, where one could perhaps examine that communication. No?

#243 ::: L. Jagi Lamplighter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 09:03 PM:

I got to watch Sad Puppies put their slate together. I think it might be important for people to know how it was done.

Brad posted publicly that he wanted suggestions.

People posted the names of works they really liked and would like to vote for. Anyone who wanted to could comment. Brad did not police the commenters on ideological grounds.

Brad combed over these nominations and did his best to put together a slate of options based on this list of stories that people thought were really worth reading.

The reason I mention this is: these were not someone's pick of stories that were supposed to meet some political standard.

These were a list of stories fans really liked to begin with.

#244 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 09:09 PM:

@239 Randolph -- I always liked the version that one would of course prefer a beta to an alpha, as the alpha release is often barely functional and breaks constantly, while one hopes the beta would at least allow for playtesting.

#245 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 09:13 PM:

243
So are all the other nominees.

(Note that I have read Weber and Drake. I don't know that they're writing Hugo-winning quality stories - but writing books that people will buy, in hardback, is pretty damned good.)

#246 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 09:25 PM:

"...Make the big tent bigger..."

First though the cage must be rattled.
And the metaphors must be mixed.

#247 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 09:31 PM:

Elliot Mason @ 229... Yup.

"I was suggesting that Mr. Spock could probably translate it, sir."
"I assume you're complimenting Mr. Spock on his ability to decode?"
"I'm not sure, sir."
"Well, here's one thing you can be sure of, mister: leave any bigotry in your quarters. There's no room for it on the bridge."

- social justice warrior James T Kirk in 'Balance of Terror'

#248 ::: L. Jagi Lamplighter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 09:35 PM:

#245 -- I assume that the general nominations are worth reading, or at least that those who nominated them think so.

But the issue of whether the Sad Puppies books were picked for quality or for some other reason occasionally has been raised.

So, I thought that the fact that they were chosen by a process of a mini-nomination might be of interest to someone.

It is quite different than if, for instance, they were chosen by a group of authors getting together and just picking each others stories--without regard for whether readers like the works or not.

#249 ::: L. Jagi Lamplighter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 09:42 PM:

Hmm...Tone of voice does not come over well in print. ;-)

When I said: or at least that those who nominated them think so.

I did not mean it to come off as snarky, though looking back, I realize that it could.

I just meant that I assume the average Hugo voter is sincere.

#250 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 09:52 PM:

L. Jagi Lamplighter@249:Yes, the average Hugo voter is sincere.

#251 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 09:53 PM:

I accept that quality was a consideration in choosing the list, and that a greater effort was made this year than in the past in trying to choose works that would have broad appeal.

I do still have two big issues, though.

First is that a large number of the movement's supporters—I don't claim to know what percentage, and fervently hope it's small—will nominate the entire list in a deliberate act of tactical voting.

Second is that exactly five nominees were chosen in most of the fiction categories, and no more than five in any category. If the intent were not to encourage the sort of tactical voting I deplore, if the authors of the list really intended this as a resource for recommended reading, there wouldn't be any reason not to include six or eight or ten works in a category.

(And, of course, if all they wanted was to have the type of works they prefer represented, and not to crowd out other perspectives, two or three works in a category would be plenty. Looking at the full list, I see that there are many categories which have fewer than five suggested nominees, which does make me feel slightly less angry about the tactics employed.)

#252 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:02 PM:

Glen Glazer @ 211... The cure might br worse than the disease, in other words.

#253 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:03 PM:

I accept that quality was a consideration in choosing the list, and that a greater effort was made this year than in the past in trying to choose works that would have broad appeal.

I do still have two big issues, though.

First is that a large number of the movement's supporters—I don't claim to know what percentage, and fervently hope it's small—will nominate the entire list in a deliberate act of tactical voting.

Second is that exactly five nominees were chosen in most of the fiction categories, and no more than five in any category. If the intent were not to encourage the sort of tactical voting I deplore, if the authors of the list really intended this as a resource for recommended reading, there wouldn't be any reason not to include six or eight or ten works in a category. To me, this is the smoking gun indicating that the organizers definitely intended to encourage bad-faith tactical voting.

(And, of course, if all they wanted was to have the type of works they prefer represented, and not to crowd out other perspectives, two or three works in a category would be plenty. Looking at the full list, I see that there are many categories which have fewer than five suggested nominees, which does make me feel slightly less angry about the tactics employed.)

#254 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:04 PM:

Darn it. I waited ten minutes after getting the Dread Server Error to repost, to make sure it was really gone, and then it popped up. Sorry about the near-duplicate.

#255 ::: L. Jagi Lamplighter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:06 PM:

#251 ::: Steven desJardins
A lot of it had to do with how many works were suggested to Sad Puppies.

A friend did a flow chart of the suggestions posted publically. There were 30 in the short story category, for instance.

#256 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:07 PM:

Jagi Lamplighter @243: 1. Please spare us the red herring. No one here has ever said that the works and authors in question have no fans at all.

2. Your explanation isn't believable. If it were just a matter of picking "stories fans really liked", there'd have been no need for for a dishonest, self-serving, multi-year campaign to mess with the Hugo voting, because what the untampered-with Hugo Awards do is determine which stories the voters like most.

The point of the Sad Puppy campaign is to make some voices matter more than others, so that people and works the SPs approve of can get nominations and awards they wouldn't ordinarily receive.

3. It's something of a departure for you to be taking up cudgels in a forum like this. Shall I take your presence here to mean that your husband, John C. Wright, has gotten onto this year's ballot?

#257 ::: L. Jagi Lamplighter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:18 PM:

Hello, Teresa, thanks for hosting us all.

I hope you don't mind my posting when I have not visited before. I have friends on both sides of this issue, so thus, sympathy for both sides.

I watched the Sad Puppies process this year. Fans of the movement might make all sorts of comments about motive or outcome, but Brad, who put the actual slate together, is very conscientious and concerned with fairness and quality.

It's all public, so anyone can go look at the comments and count the number of stories suggested, etc.

My big hope is that Skin Game will win. I have been a huge fan of Butcher for years, and it would be really nice if he actually got some kind of notice for his excellent work.


#258 ::: L. Jagi Lamplighter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:24 PM:

>No one here has ever said that the works and authors in question have no fans at all.

There's a big difference between "no fans" and "really good."

So far, the people I've seen online, or run into in person, who have started reading the SP3 works-(who had not read them before SP3) have all said, "Hey, this is actually pretty good!"

This included people like the gentleman at File770, who is by no means a fan of Sad Puppies, but who posted that he rather liked the recommended story he tried.

#259 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:29 PM:

L. Jagi Lamplighter: I am curious, did you nominate for the Hugo's?

#260 ::: Lou Antonelli ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:29 PM:

As another interested bystander, I'll vouch for L. Jagi Lamplighter's comments.

#261 ::: Lou Antonelli ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:30 PM:

As another interested bystander, I'll vouch for L. Jagi Lamplighter's comments.

#262 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:30 PM:

(retyping comment)

First, I have a question: What would be the impact of increasing the number of finalists in each category, or maybe just in some?

Also, I thought SJW stood for Single Jewish Woman; mystery solved.

I hope this comment isn't too terse; I was going to write something else, but forgot what it was.

#263 ::: L. Jagi Lamplighter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:34 PM:

#259 ::: Steve Halter
Do you mean was I nominated? Or did I vote?

I neither nominated nor voted, which hopefully answers your question.

#260 ::: Lou Antonelli
Thanks.

#262 ::: iamnothing
>Also, I thought SJW stood for Single Jewish Woman; mystery solved.

Lol That made me smile.

#264 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:36 PM:

L. Jagi Lamplighter @258, nobody here has stated or implied that the Sad Puppy slate is, was, or will ever be, uniformly dreadful fiction. But there's a big, big difference to me between, "hey, this isn't bad" or even "hey, this is pretty good" and "oh-my-ghod-I've-just-read-this-awesome-thing!"

Don't get me wrong. "Pretty good" is fine; it's enjoyable; I've read lots of "pretty good" novels and stories in my life and I don't regret reading any of them. In fact, I'm grateful to the authors for writing them. But, frankly, I'm not nominating "pretty good" for a Hugo, and I'm certainly not voting for "pretty good" to win.

My personal criteria for Hugo nominations and votes is that I've cornered all my friends and tried to browbeat them into reading this terrific story I just read. And I rather expect that I'm not alone in this.

#265 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:37 PM:

Glenn Glazer @211: So you'd want a system where it's still relatively easy for factions and pressure groups to meddle with the Hugo voting, but the administrators would be prohibited from even mentioning that there was something dodgy about some of the ballots they were receiving? I don't see the benefit.

There are two things I think you must not know. The first is that the Sad Puppy campaign is not the first attempt to meddle with the Hugos, not by a long shot; and there's no reason to believe it'll be the last. The Hugo Awards are valuable.

Second, it has been standard practice for a long time now for Hugo administrators to bend way over backward in order to count as a vote every scratch or blot on the ballot that looks like it might have been made on purpose. The voter's intentions are already the most important principle in counting Hugo votes.

#266 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:40 PM:

Cassy B. @264: Yes, that's it exactly.

#267 ::: L. Jagi Lamplighter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:44 PM:

#264 ::: Cassy B

Sorry, I wasn't clear:

The Sad Puppies state was all stories that the contributors thought were so awesome, they were planning to vote for them that year. They shared their choices, and Brad picked from them.

But many of these were stories that the SP3 people felt the general public had not had a chance to become acquainted with.

If you look at the list, there are many stories listed that don't come from authors involved in Sad Puppies. But they were stuff that people really loved.

Everyone's first choice was The Martian...there was much crying and gnawing of puppy teeth when it came out that it was not eligible.

But I suspect that the guy who wrote The Martian doesn't even know Sad Puppies exists.

#268 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:45 PM:

UrsulaV #244: LOL!

General question about terminology: I had thought "Sad Puppy" was "our" term for the Correia/Beale state, but their visiting defenders seem to be using the term themselves. Was this actually their own self-identification, or are they taking it up?

#269 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:46 PM:

Gaah, "state"->"slate".

#270 ::: L. Jagi Lamplighter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:48 PM:

#268 ::: David Harmon

Sad Puppies is the official name.

It is taken from a humorous post of Larry Correia's a few years ago where he claimed that the leading cause of sadness in puppies was good books getting overlooked by the Hugo.

#271 ::: Lou Antonelli ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 10:50 PM:

David - It always seems to have been called Sad Puppies. There are many historical precedents where a term that might have been considered a slur is adopted by the subject of the attack by way of preemption.

If the principals had been serious, then they would have called it the Despondent Dog project.

#272 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:03 PM:

Brad R. Torgersen @233:

As far as I know the only requirements to attain a Worldcon membership, and thus vote on the Hugos, is to pay the supporting membership fee and be alive and breathing during the nomination and voting periods. I have never seen any Worldcon committee refuse to take anyone's money.

First, I've been in fandom since 1974, have worked for several Worldcons, and observed those folk running them for most of that time and have not seen any concom try to bar any segment of society from joining any Worldcon.

Second, I vote for what I like to read. I tried to read the books et alia that the Sad Puppies promoted last year...I found them unreadable.

There have been some years where my financial position didn't allow me the funds to vote -- but I submit to you that the real bar to more people voting is that they don't know about Worldcon. Just knowing that the Hugos exist doesn't mean your average everyday reader will realize they can vote for them, much less that they have to buy a membership to do so. Some of them would not do so, even if they knew about it and had the funds to do so.

I think you're attempting to impute the Sad Puppy authors lack of success to malice on the part of some mysterious gatekeeper(s), rather than their works not appealing to the taste of that year's voters.

#273 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:05 PM:

Brad, #233: Is this what you meant back @154 when you talked about fans who "don't ordinarily get to have their voices counted"? Because you've been asked twice what you meant by that (@167 and @213), and have not yet provided an answer.

Elliott, #241: "Red Pill"? Isn't that one of the things some men think are clever to say to imply that a woman is menstruating? (ref. Scalzi WRT the failure mode of "clever")

#274 ::: L. Jagi Lamplighter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:12 PM:

#272 ::: Lori Coulson

>I think you're attempting to impute the Sad Puppy authors lack of success to malice on the part of some mysterious gatekeeper(s), rather than their works not appealing to the taste of that year's voters.

No, I don't think so. There was some concern about gatekeepers the first year of Sad Puppies, but Larry Correia, a statistician, investigated and came away convinced that the process was fair.

The main concern of Sad Puppies is that good authors are being overlooked.

So their effort is to A) increase visibility of works they like and B) increase the visibility of the Hugo voting process with fans.

It was mentioned above more than once that the number of voters this year was larger than previously...this implies that Sad Puppies succeeded, at least in part, in making the Hugos more visible to fans--fans who care enough to lay out the price of a supporting membership, at the very least, to let their opinions be known.

Ideally, this will turn out to be a good thing for all the authors involved...Sad Puppy and otherwise, as fans on both sides will discover new authors.


#275 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:17 PM:

Lee #273: I think it's more likely a Matrix reference.

#276 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:25 PM:

L. Jagi Lamplighter #270: OK, thanks for the info.

#277 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:27 PM:

L. Jagi Lamplighter@274:The increased number of voters doesn't necessarily correlate to the effort of the SP group. Note that last year had record attendance and all Loncon voters are eligible to nominate.
Also, I would note that not being nominated doesn't equate to being overlooked. Butcher, for example, is a NYT bestselling author. Hardly being overlooked as far as number of readers.
If by overlooked, you mean that authors aren't getting nominated, there can be a variety of reasons for this. In some cases, an author may consistently produce good but not great books.
In others, an author may produce a great work but not be well known for some reason. In this case, trying to get the author more widely read is certainly a good thing. Of course, good vs. great is a subjective measurement that may vary between voters.

#278 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:31 PM:

274
I think they're assuming that lack of nominations means lack of readers, when, as far as I can tell from the rare occasions when I'm in a bookstore (they're scarce in my extremely-urban area) it's more likely because, although they're popular - there are a heck of a lot of milSF books on the shelves! - they aren't the light-up-my-life quality that I'd be looking for in nominees.
(Ancillary Justice has that quality. So does The Forever War. What I've read of Weber and Drake and Sterling doesn't do that for me. I was unimpressed with Ringo for various reasons, including the quality of his writing.)

#279 ::: L. Jagi Lamplighter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:43 PM:

#278 ::: P J Evans :::
>I think they're assuming that lack of nominations means lack of readers

Quite the opposite, actually.

Sad Puppies started with the question: why are books that are so financially successful not getting votes?

Butcher is a perfect example. Harry Dresden is the favorite current series of many friends. People rave about his books. They are really, really good...and they are financially successful. But Butcher has never gotten even a Hugo nod.

#280 ::: PO ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:50 PM:

Just adding my perspective on the voters, as someone that is counted as a Loncon/Sad Puppy 2 Voter (though I didn't nominate this year due to a combination of traveling on the nominating weekend and forgetting my password. oops)
Also, apologies for all the writers that I recognize up above, but the commenter that I first remember reading as specifically "That Author" and not just the next book down the sci-fi shelf at the Library, is actually Ursula V and Digger, way back before it went pay-to read for a little time.

Though I came to the Hugo voting through Correia's blog, it's because I originally thought the Hugo was similar to the Cambell/Nebula/etc awards in that it was a committee award. Even after I eventually heard that it was a voted award, I always heard it described as a WorldCon member vote. So I thought it was only for people attending. It wasn't until Sad Puppies that I learned about Supporting Memberships, and how they allow you to vote even if you won't be able to attend the Con.

So yes, Sad Puppies did lead to atleast one fan finding out that he could vote for the Hugo.

#281 ::: L. Jagi Lamplighter ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:52 PM:

#280 ::: PO
;-)

#282 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:58 PM:

Someone mentioned above that series don't tend to get nominations, and I think that's true; if we're going with popular series, the Claire and Jamie books by Diana Gabaldon would certainly qualify. They're hugely popular time-travel stories; I love them as much as I love the Dresden Files, and, like the Dresden Files, they're among my most-frequently-lent-to-people books (and on my "pre-order" list; now that Pratchett's dead, there are all of three authors I purchase books by in hardcover, and Butcher is one of them). The issue with both of them, though, is that it's the entire body of work which is impressive. I can't point to any book and say "yes, this". What I love about both series is the world itself; I often comment on how much I like that Butcher brings back what in other books would be throwaway characters (Butters springs to mind, for instance) and builds them into real people, so that Harry's Chicago feels actually populated. The Vorkosigan books work better (for me, anyway, I can't speak for The World In General) individually. I suspect part of that is that Bujold consciously made each book a different genre while setting them in the same world, so that you have a mystery, a spy thriller, a comedy of manners, etc. Meanwhile with the Dresden books, I can't recommend "Skin Game" to someone who hasn't read at least the previous... oh, six, I guess; the emotional stakes would be so much lower, it would be a waste of a good book. There's a particular accomplishment in writing a series which is separate to (but not exclusive of) writing a standalone novel, and I wish there was an award for it*.

*If there is, for the love of little green apples, someone tell me so I can see what it's been awarded to. I love a good series.

#283 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2015, 11:58 PM:

L. Jagi Lamplighter -- lots of my favorite authors have never won a Hugo, this supposed lack doesn't diminish them in my eyes.

My yardstick for a worthy Hugo nominee? Is it as good, and world-rocking, as Dune? For short stories, how does it measure up to say, Asimov's Nightfall, Bradbury's There Will Come Soft Rains or Zelazny's A Rose for Ecclesiastes?

If it can't grab me in three paragraphs, you've lost me -- and woe betide any author who inspires me to hurl the book across the room while pronouncing the Eight Deadly Words.

I LIKE military SF -- I read Stirling and Dickson and Turtledove -- and as someone who has run a convention with its own awards (OVFF and Pegasus, respectively) I do not respect anyone who thinks manipulating either the nomination process or voting system is a good idea.

#284 ::: PavePusher ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:06 AM:

@ Teresa Nielsen Hayden #217

"Brad Torgersen: I suppose you think it's clever of you to argue with things no one has said here, and to misrepresent things that have been said. If so, you are mistaken."

Mdm, yr cmpltly slf-nwr rny cld spply ntn f blcksmths.

#285 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:07 AM:

Lee @#273: No, as Tony Zbaraschuk says, it's a reference to the red and blue pills in the first Matrix film. The idea is that one takes the red pill and wakes up to the real world in which Wimmin aren't really oppressed, as one's been taught to believe all one's life; instead they have the upper hand and are using Feminism as a cudgel to keep men down.

#286 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:16 AM:

Teresa... I was wondering how long it'd take for trolls to show up on the trail of Mister T just like they did today on Pat Cadigan's Facebook thread on this subject.

#287 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:21 AM:

@284:

Ah, looky here, we got ourselves a troll...

Nothing in the "view all by" and shilling for Torgersen, who seems reluctant to respond to remarks that have been addressed to him.

#288 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:22 AM:

Serge @286: SNAP!

#289 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:24 AM:

Carrie, #285: Ye ghods and little fishes. The sheer amount of WTFery in that defies description. I tell you what, I'll be happy to swap bodies with any one of those guys and let them see exactly how much of the "upper hand" women have, in this culture or any other. And no, I won't give it back, either.

That said, I have in fact heard the phrase used in exactly the way I described -- "Boy, she must have taken the Red Pill today!" -- so apparently there's at least some independent usage going on there.

#290 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:27 AM:

Lori @ 288... Some of the comments made by the trolls to Cadigan could be described as occupying the high ground only if one starts at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. An example would be "Well, *I* never heard of Pat Cadigan until today", and worse ones that I will not repeat. At no time did Mister T ask them to be a bit more civil.

#291 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:30 AM:

279
All I can say is, they have a private little fantasy world there. It doesn't seem to have any connection with the one I live in.

#292 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:31 AM:

:reads #284:

Oh. Oh honey. This isn't going to end well. For you, I mean.

Lee, #289: Yeah, I know this because I have a friend who hangs out in Red Pill on Reddit--apparently she enjoys being enraged. I don't get it, but de gustibus.

I've never heard that particular euphemism, but it's a fairly intuitive one, I guess.

#293 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:34 AM:

Serge @ 290: Oh joy. I suppose sock-puppets will be next.

Should we start a betting pool on how many and how soon?

#294 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:39 AM:

Or we could go to sleep and wake up to a field of socks napalmed by Teresa.

#295 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:42 AM:

294
I thought she used a flame-throwing disemvoweller.

#296 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:58 AM:

That must be the new model.

#297 ::: Charles Gannon ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 01:25 AM:

I read the mentions about me with some interest. I find it interesting that people seem to believe they know my politics. I have found, over time, that since I follow no party line, that this tends to get me branded as "other" by many persons who insist on assigning codified political identities (since, at some point, I am likely to hold an opinion that diverges from their own).
Furthermore, I endeavor to constrain my comments to the modes of discourse and argumentation employed, not to political partisanry of any kind.
What people read into all that is, ultimately, their own affair.
For myself, I lament the polarization of so many discussions in this country, currently. Its impact in SF is simply diagnostic of a wider problem that I believe has many causes, but fairly consistent effects: the generation of a shirts/skins mentality that has more to do with counting coup than exchanging ideas. The ubiquity of this problem stems, I believe, at least as much from the discourse impacts of social media as from actual policy frictions.
If people are so kind as to consider picking up any of my books (or looking up my non fiction, which dates mostly from my career as a tenured professor), I would ask people to read my words as I try to read those of others: without preconceived notions derived from presumed signifiers of my "sympathies."
Thanks, and best of luck to all the nominees of all the awards: I am delighted by the broad range of tastes in our field, and remain mindful that the common thread in all SF/F is that of alterity. Which is, in itself, a common point and priority that should bring us together more than differences of approach should divide us.

#298 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 01:46 AM:

Why is it that people who take pride in other people not knowing their politics tend to have boringly predictable political opinions?

#299 ::: PavePusher ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 02:10 AM:

@ 298 Steven desJardins, prbly bcs y r strtypng n bsnc f vdnc. Mch lk mst f th flks n ths cnv.

#300 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Really Not In The Mood ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:13 AM:

PavePusher @284:
Strike one.

PavePusher @299:
Strike two.

If the next comment in this otherwise adult discussion does not add to it rather than detract from it, I'm sending you back to your room without your supper.

Useful strategies for adding to a conversation include bringing new information in, discussing the substance rather than the participants, addressing specific comments, and treating the other people as actual human beings. A good question to ask yourself before posting is, "does this comment make people smarter, wiser, or more joyful?" If not, then consider abandoning at preview.

The kind of sniping you're engaging in, on the other hand, makes conversations worse. Knock it off, or you'll be gone, having done nothing more than increase the antagonism that many of the people in this thread would dearly love to reduce.

(Honestly. You have the entirety of our beautiful and complicated civilization to draw on, the limitless possibilities inherent in a keyboard to work with, and the infinite riches of the human brain to bring to the task, and this is the best thing you can think of to do with them?)

#301 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:29 AM:

So I get that the general feeling is pushing a specific slate is over the line, but what I'm not getting here is other nuances of the dividing line. What's a reasonable “Hey, this is really cool, you should vote for this!” enthusiasm?

Is any blog post which says “This is a thing I think you should vote for!” beyond the pale?

If so, that would explain people posting Hugo Eligibility Posts for their own work but staying resolutely silent on what they're voting for, a behavior which has, actually, confused me for a long time.

Is any public lobbying seen as declasse? Not being a zine reader, I don't know if a feature of some zines was/is declaiming on what should win a Hugo.

Can you do it in person? If so, is it just one on one lobbying?

What's the line?

(I knew about Supporting Memberships a long time ago, but my finances and general focus don't make it reasonable for me to vote on a regular basis. I can see how learning about the overall procedure would be a (pleasant) surprise to those less plugged into con fandom, though.)

#302 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 04:13 AM:

Recommended reading lists are fine, enthusiastically talking up works is fine, encouraging people to join the Worldcon and vote for the Hugos is fine.

Saying "If we cast our ballots based on our individual personal judgment, we'll split the vote among the dozens of works we all like, so let's all agree to vote for the same few works" is not fine.

My perception of the Sad Puppy campaign is that it is in intent and effect far closer to the second than to the first. Anything that encourages voters to set their own preferences aside is bad.

#303 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 05:28 AM:

I think I have another name to add to the people who won't get a number on my Hugo ballot no matter what. In this case it's a history, mostly elseweb, of talking down to people, smugly imparting "superior wisdom," and not responding to any challenges or discussion.

I've been skipping his comments for a long time. Coming here and acting that way crossed a line, though. And trailing trolls...well, that's an example of "inviting the thugs," isn't it?

#304 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:54 AM:

kate @301 - "So I get that the general feeling is pushing a specific slate is over the line..."

This depends on the line we're talking about. There was already a heated discussion going on over the last few years over how much self-promotion by authors (and other award-able entities) for awards was good for the awards and fandom in general. No one was too excited when Larry Correia suggested that his work was both popular and Hugo worthy, but was not winning because the voters didn't like his subgenre or him (possibly due to his politics). No one got too excited when he put together a list of works that he thought weren't getting nominated for the same reasons as him (the SP1 slate). This is essentially what cranky fans, groups of fans and authors have done for a long time; not best practice, or especially classy, but pretty much as expected.

People got excited when Vox Day, who has made a number of enemies in and out the SF field, jumped on board SP2* and brought in both his SF fans and also some of his non-fiction fans, some of whom seemed more interested in other topics than what is the best SF has to offer; almost as though the quality and popularity of the work were irrelevant to their goals.

Someone who has paid more attention may want to correct me on this.

* Was this called the Great Fan Swap or something?

#305 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:11 AM:

(Oh boy, this is making me so glad I didn't get That Email this week.)

Incidentally, those folks who think that books in series don't get nominated are slightly wide of the mark. What I think happens is that after the first couple of titles, fans become accustomed to an on-going series and discount the level of novelty or life-changing insight attached to any given new book in it. So you can pick up a position in the shortlist for book 1 or 2, but thereafter the probability of being shortlisted drops rapidly unless you do something really radical.

Short fiction set in an ongoing series continuity is of course another matter entirely, and may well be voted for by people who haven't read the books. (e.g.: last year's Hugo for best novella.)

Incidentally, I haven't been following the SP3 issue outside of this forum, and I have a question: if Jim Butcher's "Skin Game" is on the SP3 list, does anyone know if he is aware of this or campaigned for it?

(Asking because I'm interviewing him at Dysprosium next weekend for his guest of honour program slot.)

#306 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:40 AM:

kate @ #301: Is any blog post which says “This is a thing I think you should vote for!” beyond the pale?

Interesting questions. And I can only give personal answers.

I have no problem with award eligibility posts, because (1) I appear to be terrible at remembering which works belong in which year, and (2) I can't tell the difference between a novella and novelette.

I also had no particular problem with the organized fan effort that got the Wheel of Time on the 2014 ballot. I only read the first 600 pages or so before getting bored and giving up, but I can't deny that the fans were very sincerely enthusiastic, and that the Wheel of Time has been deeply important to a lot of fans. And Branden Sanderson wrote a remarkable essay about the Hugos to the nominators:

“But Brandon,” you might say, “everyone says the Hugo Awards are a popularity contest. Shouldn’t we prove how popular Robert Jordan is?”

Well, yes and no. The Hugo Awards are a popularity contest—but they should be a fiction popularity contest, not an author popularity contest. The Hugo Awards were founded in the 1950s by dedicated sf/f fans who saw mainstream literary awards ignoring science fiction and fantasy. This award was founded to combat that, to show off the brightest and best fiction the genres had to offer.

…When I first started voting for the Hugos many years ago, a long-time fan impressed upon me the importance of my responsibility. Each work must be judged independently of its author, and must be judged against the competition in its category. We, as fans, use this award to proclaim to the world the fiction we are proudest of.

Sanderson's essay was a remarkable contribution to the Hugo discussion, and I recommend the full essay to anybody who's interested in these questions.

And similarly, NESFA lists that Pfusand mentioned at #127 don't bother me, because they seem to be compiled from individual member lists, because they contain 0 to 18 works per category in no particular order, because they describe it as a "list of Good Stuff to read", and because there's no organized campaigning around it—just a single blog post.

Of course, this leaves another question: What kinds of campaigning would be in poor form? Well, Sanderson gives one good hypothetical example in his essay:

In this, I wish to hold up George R. R. Martin as an exemplar. He wants dearly to someday win a Hugo for best novel, a distinction that has eluded him. I’ve heard him speak about it. The thing is, he could win the award in a heartbeat; he has by far the biggest fanbase in our community. If he asked them each to pay for a Worldcon supporting membership and vote only for him, he’d win by a landslide.

He’s never done that because he knows that this award has only as much integrity as we give it.

And again, I think the same considerations—if not even stronger ones—apply to organized campaigning for a specific slate. It's one thing for a group of fans to say, "Hey, shouldn't the Dresden Files be nominated for a Hugo this time?" And it's another thing to distill recommendations down to a list of 5 works per category and to try to push everybody else out of the Hugos. I even have an intuition that the rules of good behavior vary by size: a random unknown blogger has far more leeway than John Scalzi, and John Scalzi, in turn, has more leeway than somebody like Neil Gaiman. Poor Neil Gaiman can't even wander around the booths at ComicCon anymore because the enormous crowds of his fans apparently cause safety issues.

#307 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:56 AM:

The Vox Day thing last year kinda pissed in the punchbowl and I think people are still tasting that in their minds. The rest of it? I just think about Harry and Stu in T. Campbell's Fans! and kinda wish he were writing it again fresh. He'd have a lot of fun or something like it with Stu 2.0.

#308 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:57 AM:

Charlie -- while I don't know about Butcher, I do know that the Puppies didn't ask their candidates whether they were OK about appearing on their list. So he might be entirely unaware of the campaign.

On campaigning -- it used to be that writers didn't do this at all. In this millennium, I've seen it slowly become more and more accepted that people do it.

I've opposed this and I've never done it. I didn't even remind my husband to nominate before nominations closed.

The reason I don't do it is because it seems to me so horrible -- campaigning to get honoured is like pestering somebody to tell you they love you, even if they do say so, you wouldn't feel the joy of being genuinely appreciated. And doing it cynically for the career advancement without any joy or honour is repulsive.

I think the kind of gaming the system we're seeing now is the natural result of allowing this creeping campaigning, and all of it should stop.

I appreciate this is an extreme view.

#309 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:59 AM:

Me @ 307: Why oh why didn't you wait long enough to think of Stu.0? It's not funny now.

#310 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 09:00 AM:

By the way, I like MilSF and I agree it's won Hugos in the past. But so have feminist SF, libertarian SF, and alternate history works, and they still have their own awards in addition. I didn't mean to say they should go off and play in their own sand box and leave the Hugos alone, just that it's odd that this part of fandom has never got organized to give anything back to their writers acknowledging the best book in their category every year the way lots of other subgenres have.

#311 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 09:21 AM:

Em @ #282: I agree that it might be nice to have a Hugo for Best Series. Fundamentally, series seem to be a different form of art than novels. For example, if you took Bujold's Memory by itself, it would be interesting novel of repentance and personal growth. But if you consider it as part of series that includes the glorious "fake it 'till you make it" antics of The Warrior's Apprentice and the mature leadership of "The Borders of Infinity", well, then Memory becomes a bitter lesson in why the trickster archetype just isn't enough. (And to be fair, nobody can say Bujold has been deprived of her fair share of Hugos; she's currently tied with Heinlein.)

Similarly, although none of the individual Dragaeran novels has ever won a Hugo, the series as a whole has explored many new possibilities for fantasy, and it has done so with undeniable style and charm. And to use an example from this thread, while any individual novel of The Dresden Files might arguably fall below Hugo caliber, if you consider the series as a whole, the character arcs do become impressive: the personal growth, the mistakes, and the moments of repentance all add up. (And there's something to be said for the sheer difficulty of pacing a series so that it holds up as well as the Dresden Files have after 15 books.) In a normal year, I would probably rank Skin Game near the middle of my ballot as an individual novel, but if there were an award for Best Series, I could imagine myself nominating the whole thing someday.

The problem, of course, would be the voting logistics. You can't seriously expect Hugo voters to read 4,000+ pages each of several different series before voting. But I think that one of the difficulties of nominating for Best Novel is that nobody is quite sure what to do with solid novels in impressive series, particularly series which start out with a fun minor novel, and which gradually become remarkable.

#312 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 09:44 AM:

Jo Walton @ 308: I hear you. I don't care for campaigning, either. I'd rather have it happen in the open in a fair and balanced manner if it's going to happen, but I'd rather it didn't.

I also think you're in a going-to-happen zone for a while and need to deal with that, which sucks.

Eric K @ 311: And now I wonder: Would this hypothetical "Best Series" be for any art form?

If the series is different from the novel--and there's a case for that--is, say, Babylon 5 taken as a whole more like a story arc of DS9 or more like the whole Wheel of Time?

#313 ::: Bob Muench ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 09:49 AM:

I keep saying to my kids--"If you don't like what's for dinner, get a job and go make your own."

If you don't like the politics involved, then set up an agency, put a few million into it to fund it in perpetuity, and make your own award system. And make it so big that the Hugo's will hide their head in shame.

#314 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 10:05 AM:

I think we've seen a rise lately of the "This is my stuff that is eligible from last year" posts. I don't have a problem with those, because a year is long and memory is short and people are prolific. And while "in case you'd like to vote for them" is obviously implied, it's just that...more implied than demanded. I do those myself, and people frequently ask for links to it or where it can be found (or if they don't see it, ask me to make one.) I'm glad to see such lists myself, because frequently I'll see a story and go "Oh! I read that in February, I'd forgotten that was eligible, but it made my brain melt!"

Get to "Let's get this on x ballot!" and one feels a trifle queasy. Start to wander into "this is the year we take back the awards" rhetoric as occasionally happened a few years ago and it gets weird.

It's the difference between "hey, I did a thing!" and "hey, I want you to do a thing!" I guess.

#315 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 10:20 AM:

What UrsulaV said @ 314.

#316 ::: Jelliphiish ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 10:36 AM:

An itinerant lurker writes:
@ 310 Jo and others on the general theme of 'What gets nommed and what wins in the end'. I agree on the whole, I think the Fans in any particular sub-genre that's won in the past have chosen for the quality of the fiction/other item being nominated, rather than the adherence to an individual creator (although, I guess we can see the converse eg. the WoT inclusion last year being a bit of a fan-slide trend AIUI) .. and their choice then stood the test of wider attention when read and considered etc. This is as it should be, having evolved that way by the wider fandom to represent the Best of the Whole. It's how we feel we should be seen..

I know from my own experience, as I've Adhered or returned to certain books/other works I've loved the most, when my nomadic reading habits have steered me elsewhere.. That would be one of my own markers for a nomination - has it stayed with me/haunted my head? It'd have to have to be a qualifying piece that also ticked my other boxes for the WOW/sens-of-wonder, and the 'pimp it round all my friends/random strangers too' criteria.

I find myself wondering about the nature of the fans in a particular sub-genre too, and the choice or decision to not put forward nominations historically. As in, a sub-genre in itself may appeal to a kind of fan that maybe wouldn't normally choose (or, indeed, know) to place a nomination. Maybe it's within the natural predisposition of the character attracted to the particular $subgenre?

#317 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 10:39 AM:

It's also seems fine to me to say, "Hey, I liked reading this so much I nominated it. Maybe you would like them also."

#318 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 10:57 AM:

#306 ::: Eric K

Thanks for the link to the Sanderson essay.

Does anyone know the link for the Correia essay in which he looked at the statistics and concluded that gatekeepers weren't a problem?

#319 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 11:00 AM:

A few thoughts:

a. On campaigning, I sympathise with Jo's view that one shouldn't campaign for oneself, but of course that doesn't mean that there should be no campaigning at all. I think that in the last few years there has been quite a lot of gentle campaigning, not so much 'VOTE FOR THIS!' as 'Hey, have you noticed....?', and that this has on the whole been a good thing. If people were making choices in complete isolation from one another, one could end up with a hundred people/works, each with two votes. (In fact something like that does seem to be happening in the short fiction categories; perhaps there should be a bit more campaigning there.) It's helpful to see what sort of things have a lot of support. This also allows good candidates which wouldn't have been immediately obvious to emerge, e.g 'Time' last year, or Frederik Pohl for BFW a few years ago. (I agree with all those who say publishing a complete slate is not a good idea, especially if one is in a position of influence.)

b. As a corollary of that, it seems to me not particularly surprising or shocking that Mr Torgersen has not consulted the authors on his list - it would in a way make things worse if he had. (He has, I believe, removed at least one pick because the author objected, but that's not the same as actively seeking approval.)

c. The series Hugo: I support this. (The idea was discussed last year, and I had thought that there would be a proposal at the Business Meeting, and came to the meeting largely in order to vote on this and on the YA proposal, and then neither of them came up. And I won't be able to attend another business meeting before, at earliest, 2019....)

But anyway: I believe there is a real gap here. I think that WoT is a novel within the meaning of the act, and its individual volumes are not, so proposing it for Best Novel was the only coherent way of honouring it within the existing system; but it was obviously very unsatisfactory, putting it up against regular one-volume novels; and in any case there are many series which can't be considered novels, since their parts are individual stories, and yet are best appreciated as a whole. (There is a difference here between various kinds of series - of which Jo has an illuminating discussion at Tor.com - in some the individual works have much more independence than in others.)

There is a problem, as Erik says, in that one could not read all the works of a series in the time allowed. (Some will have read them already, of course, but in general it ought to be possible to read them during the voting period, so that the voting is not just a counting of fans but an actual consideration and comparison of works.) But I think it's possible to approximate this by having people do what I did with WoT, mugging up on the overall shape of the series and reading one volume. (There's already one award, Best Editor Long Form, where it isn't really possible to read all the relevant material, and one has to vote on the basis of samples.)

Another objection to this proposal I sometimes here is that we don't want to encourage people to write enormous series. But they don't seem to need much encouragement. And if we gave the award in the year in which a series was finished...

#320 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 11:06 AM:

I've been reading through Torgersen's blog and am finding it an odd mix. As near as I can make out:
Science fiction is doomed as sales decline because the voices of real fans aren't being heard.
Comic con is really big! The rest of those people are clearly doomed.
Lots of exhortation to take back the field, awards, conventions from people who don't really understand things.
...
Obviously, he is angry about something, but I'm not sure that something really exists. The exhortations are odd as they go against my experiences at cons and on the internet. The people I meet are generally friendly and happy to talk about whatever it is that they are a fan of. What people are fans of is diverse and far ranging. If one group isn't interested in what you are, the next one probably is or maybe they'll like something you hadn't ever seen before.
This isn't to say that unfortunate things don't happen at cons or elsewhere--unfortunate things happen everywhere. But, they are more the exception than the rule in my experience.

#321 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 11:13 AM:

320
Lots of exhortation to take back the field, awards, conventions from people who don't really understand things.

[wry] Gee, where have I heard that kind of talk before? [/wry]

===

Campaigning - I'd prefer not having it, but I can see why people do it: it's a big field, and there's no way you can even hear about everything that's eligible, particularly in the shorter forms. I don't want the Hugos to have active campaigning like the Oscars, where films get a limited release just to make them eligible a year earlier than they otherwise might, and there are ads and Ghu-knows-what-else pushing them in the newspapers where most of the (limited number of) voters live.

#322 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 11:51 AM:

Idumea Arbacoochee @300: I'm in complete agreement, not that there was much chance I wouldn't be.

PavePusher, an essential part of making an argument is making the argument, i.e. actually writing it down. If all you post is unearned snark, then you're just taking cheap shots, and we don't need to waste our time on you.

#323 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:03 PM:

Serge @294: "Field of Napalmed Socks" is the name of my next band.

#324 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:05 PM:

Would a series Hugo be limited to finished series?

#325 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:09 PM:

Mr Torgersen and Ms. Lamplighter,

The Sad Puppies have a easily visible history of openly nominating conservative works for political reasons. Anyone who cares to read the Sad Puppy blogs for the nominating periods for the Hugos of last year and the year before has seen it. It is fairly standard practice to look at present behavior through the lens of demonstrated past tendencies.

So there are the outright admissions by Sad Puppies that the Sad Puppy campaign is about drawing more attention to conservative works that Sad Puppy spokespeople think are being unfairly penalized for their author's politics. In addition, Sad Puppies tell us that they like adventure, exploration, discovery, manly men who stand up for chivalry and freedom against incredible odds, buxom women, explosions, guns, and excitement. Then they turn around and nominate _Opera Vita Aeterna_ which is noticeably lacking in any of those things. It does, however, feature an author with well-known ultra-conservative political views.

It is not knee-jerk prejudice or indeed even unfair that people have noticed that and mentioned it to others, and that people are drawing conclusions from that past behavior.

And this year, the Sad Puppy slate includes "Wisdom From My Internets" which seems (I admit to only having read the beginning) to be a cross between The Notebooks of Lazarus Long (except with the SF removed and only the political remarks) with Rush Limbaugh, (again, with the SF removed.) I can imagine that the Sad Puppies, being conservative, might think that spelling the president's name with a zero in place of an O is the height of cleverness, deserving of a Hugo, but aside from that, it doesn't seem to have much to offer. Nor does it have any SF (unless it changes farther on in the book, of course.) Naturally it looks as if it was nominated for political reasons, since if you took the politics out, the book would consist of page numbers.

This kind of thing is where people are getting the impression that the Sad Puppies are about politics and are using the "worthy works" as a smokescreen to confuse the issue. And this kind of thing is why the assertions of merely wanting to nominate the best SF are greeted with skepticism and mostly disregarded in the non-Puppy portion of the ensuing discussion.

Mr. Gannon views the increasing political polarization of our country with sorrow. So do I. There was a time when I had conservative friends who were a lot of fun, knew interesting old-time stuff, could tell the most amazing stories, and did not insist that liberals were traitors who should be exiled at best.

#326 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:14 PM:

Lydy... :)

#327 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:19 PM:

It'd be nice if authors didn't have to campaign, but what are they to do if their internet presence is limited or if publications like Locus don't review their work? Me, I want them to let me know that their stories are out there.

#328 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:27 PM:

kate, #301: I pretty much agree with everything Steven says @302. In addition, I don't see any problem with authors putting up posts on their personal blog at nominations time, saying "This is what I've had published in the last year that's eligible, and in what categories." I may have forgotten that Story X which I read early in the year is eligible, and I always have trouble with the wordcount categories. What's a longish short story, what's a novelette, what's a novella, what's a shortish novel? The author knows, and I don't mind her telling me.

I suspect (but I'm not an author, so I could be wrong) that authors not talking about what they're personally nominating / voting for is a form of professional courtesy.

The SP2 slate got some bad press last year because they didn't contact authors about being on it, and a couple of said authors got pissed about that. And at least one author this year has formally requested that his work be withdrawn from the SP3 slate, for the same reason -- he wasn't asked, and he didn't want to be associated with it.

Re individuals (not authors) pushing specific works, a couple of years ago I was pushing Roll a D6 as hard as I could for Short Form Dramatic Presentation, because damn somebody did a lot of good work on that and it was funny as hell. But apparently I was the only one who felt that way. So it goes.

Eric, #311: IIRC, a series becomes eligible for nomination in the year that it ends -- that's why WoT as a whole was on the ballot last year. Which is hard on an author who's intending to keep writing in that series, to be sure. I wouldn't object to a category for "best series with a book published in the year of eligibility", though.

#329 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:35 PM:

Wisdom from my Internet is an interesting choice.

There's this thing people do when they're being faux-civil and they want to be sure it's not mistaken for the real thing. The smirk that accompanies an over-sweet "have a nice day." The little tell that says that I'm going through the motions of behaving myself, but I want you to know that I'm getting a big kick out of annoying you.

The inclusion of Wisdom from My Internet, which at first glance looks very like a lightly-edited compilation of tea-party chain emails, sort of looks like that smirk.

#330 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:47 PM:

I'll confess to having a hard time remembering what is eligible for nomination and when. Would people think it too pushy if the publishers put up a list of the books/short stories/whatever that are eligible at nomination season?

Love the idea of a Hugo for Best Series and one for YA.

#331 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:48 PM:

Lee: Strictly what the current rules say is that a work published in parts is eligible in the year in which it ends. Whether a work published in parts is equivalent to a series is a highly contentious issue. On my reading, the rule actually distinguishes between series and WPiP, and the Hugo administrator's judgement last year was that WoT could reasonably be considered a WPiP rather than a series. But others disagree.

In any case, if there were a series Hugo there would have to be a new rule. The proposals I have seen before now have suggested it should be for finished series. I'm a bit scared that if it were for any series that had had a work published that year, we might get a new version of the Doctor Who/Girl Genius phenomenon, with the same series winning over and over again. On the other hand, requiring that the series be finished would fit series like WoT which are moving towards a conclusion, but not those like the Vorkosigan series which are open-ended. (But perhaps in them it's easier for the individual novels to get nominated.)

The proposals I've seen before now also suggest that the award should not be given every year, but should cover a four- or five-year period.

#332 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:55 PM:

One wrinkle I see with waiting to nominate a series until it has concluded -- what if the death of the author is the reason for the series ending?

I'm firmly in the camp of giving people flowers WHILE they're alive. The same with awards, I really want the author to be able to be there to receive the award.

#333 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:55 PM:

A number of posters, notably Brad and Jagi, have suggested that most of the SF readers they talk to did not know that the Hugo Awards are a popular award voted on by members of the WorldCon. I find that a confusing suggestion. The most cursory review of the history of the Hugo makes it clear that it was invented and instituted by WorldCon fandom. The quickest Google will tell you that the award is given by the members of the World SF Convention. Long, long before I ever attended an SF convention, I knew how books won the Hugo. I also noted (as much as a 10 year old can note) that stories that won the Hugo were stories I tended to like.* So I have to wonder just how committed these readers are to the genre and culture of SF.

And if they aren't members of the culture of convention-going science fiction readers, then why do the Hugo Awards matter at all? If these readers do not find that the stories that are winning Hugos are stories they like, then it seems they should conclude that the Hugo Award-voting community is not something they want to join. If, on the contrary, they do like the award-winning stories, but like something else better, then they can join the rest of us in button-holing our friends to exclaim "well yes, that winning story is good, but X by Y is just as good and you should read it too!"

I don't actually have any problem with groups of fans getting together to promote a book or story that they think is really great, as long as that promotion takes the form of telling everyone they can make stand still for it about how great it is. I do have some problem with rallying non-fans who have never been to a convention to purchase voting memberships to promote a non-sf cause. I had a problem with it when the Scientologists did it. I'll have a problem with it if it turns out to have happened this year.


*This has not changed over time

#334 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 12:55 PM:

Brad @ 176: I think that your description of the history and intent of the SP is somewhat whitewashed. You pick out the calm and laudable points made over the last few years, and carefully ignore the invective and overtly political goals that have been stated by various proponents of the movement. I also think that, in the end, your choice of the word "consumer" at the end of the post is illuminating. To me, sf and fandom are not commodities that I purchase. I read sf because it fills my mind and heart with wonder and joy, inform my daily life, and help me face some of the weird problems of being alive in a modern age. I participate in fandom because it is the tribe of my heart. It seems to me that you are attempting to recast the Hugos as a commodity, rather than an honor bestowed by my community. Why you want an honor granted by my community when you apparently have no respect for my community remains a puzzle which you have not solved for me. I mean, you don't actually want a Stanley Cup, do you? You don't play hockey, and if someone gave you a Stanley Cup, with all that history inscribed upon it, wouldn't it still be a bit weird and a bit meaningless? It's not the thing you're doing, after all.

#335 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 01:22 PM:

What bothers me about SP3 is that it is not merely about reminding a particular subculture of readers that they too can nominate for the Hugos, or putting forward a general list of recommendations for those readers to consider, but rather focusing efforts on a particular slate of nominees. That crosses a line for me; it's a fuzzy line, but it's definitely there. (The SP campaign's past history, unpleasant associations, and all that certainly doesn't help, but the problem would be there even if SP3 were instead SP1.)

I also think that the felt need to use a nomination slate, rather than rely on the tastes and individual decisions of likeminded readers once they have been reminded that they can nominate for the Hugos, betrays a certain lack of confidence in the stated justifications for the Sad Puppy campaign. But that's perhaps a different issue.

#336 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 01:28 PM:

#333 ::: beth meacham

The problem is that if you already think you know something (in this case, having a belief that the Hugo is a juried award), you probably won't bother to check it.

Fandom-- even just convention-going fandom, even just the online fandom which is connected to convention-going fandom-- is huge, socially speaking. There are any number of subgroups that don't communicate with each other very much. I don't think this is anyone's fault.

This gets to what I think of as a fannish trait which I share and appreciate, but which has serious social limitations. (I realize I'm taking my chances saying this. It's a generalization, and I could be wrong.)

Fans tend to be revolted at advertising. I'm not just talking about the ancient and almost forgotten custom of going to the bathroom during commercials, I'm talking about feeling as though there's something morally wrong with advertising, or at least as though it's something too boring to spend time doing.

I feel as though emotional manipulation is a low thing, and people should be able to know what they want and act on that without being pushed into it.

Admittedly, the sf we love had eye-catching covers, but at least there weren't unending public reminders from people with vested interests trying to get us to want it more than we did.

There are advantages and drawbacks to detesting advertising, not that there's anything wrong with a small publisher putting up a party flier in an elevator. The big advantage is lower redundancy in our environment. The drawback is that sometimes information doesn't get conveyed at all.

#337 ::: Jelliphiish ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 01:28 PM:

Lee @328 The Roll a D6 .. not seen that before.. that's proper ace.
Ta muchly.

#338 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 01:44 PM:

Xopher Halftongue@129: Actually, both the works of young people's fiction which have received the novel Hugo - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and The Graveyard Book - were published as Older Children's/Middle Grade, not as YA. The status of HP becomes wobbly later in the series, though in Britain at any rate they are still normally shelved with the older children's books. Gaiman seems to be a border-crosser; you can never know what shelf a shop will have him on. (The same applies to Coraline. I have seen Coraline shelved as children's and The Graveyard Book as YA, and vice versa.)

beth meacham@333: I think you have touched on something important. I should stress: I agree with you. The Hugos were created by a particular community to honour things that that community values. Because of the contribution that community has made to the development of the genre, the Hugos have acquired more prestige than fan awards typically do. But if you don't sympathise with that community, it doesn't really make sense to try to change the awards; the right thing to do is to pay less attention to them.

But I think there is a problem, in that the community often refers to itself, not as 'The WorldCon community' or the like, but just as 'The SFF community', and refers to its members as 'fans', which is confusing to those for who 'fan' simply means 'enthusiast'. Others, I think, are legitimately puzzled by this: they may be thinking 'I'm a fan. I'm part of the SFF community' (i.e. the broad community of readers). 'Why doesn't this represent me?'.

I think a lot of the problems of the Hugos come from people exaggerating their importance. It's felt they ought to represent the whole of science fiction, so that anything which is excluded from them is being excluded from science fiction. I think we ought to accept that the Hugo voters are of course only part of the wider community of enthusiasts, and the Hugos are the awards for part of the spectrum of science fiction; because not all enthusiasts take part in organised fannish activity; because many of those who do are interested in media rather than books; and because even in the world of books there is too great a diversity for one awards process to cover everything equally. In that case people can disagree with the Hugo voters without feeling threatened by them.

(Which, I should stress, does not mean we shouldn't be trying to draw more people in. It would be good, and I think possible, if there were ten thousand voters in the Hugos. But that would still only be a fraction of the wider community of enthusiasts.)

#339 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 01:55 PM:

Andrew M @ 338: Just FYI--middle grade is younger than YA, and YA includes "older children." It's usually listed as about "12 and up," or something like that. I'd say all of Rowling's books were published as at least borderline YA, and Gaiman's Graveyard Book, too. The publisher lists it as Grades 5 through 8, and 10 and up, but it's over 300 pages long, so . . . borderline, depending on the reading ability and attention span of the young person on question, usually. (Length is one of the criteria dividing MG and YA--MG books tend to be shorter than YA.)

#340 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 02:06 PM:

If the Sad Puppies want a Hugo they need to up their game.

They could start by reading and discussing Singularity Sky, which gives standard MilSF a well-deserved shellacking, while suggesting some interesting further directions for the sub-genre. They might also consider the second half of Niven's Protector, which also suggested some interesting directions in terms of weapons and technology... and let's not forget Zelazny's Lord of Light and Creatures of Light and Darkness both of which might provide some interesting jumping off points for MilSf... Maybe they should reread the so-far published Chtorr books, take another look at Brin's first three Uplift novels, and someone up above mentioned De Vinge... William Barton's When Heaven Fell also comes to mind.

The Sad Puppies need to read and learn to apply some philosophies which aren't right-wing, imagine good people who are not necessarily Christian (I'm not disparaging the religion in science-fictional terms - Canticle for Leibowitz was amazing - but the right-wing, Christian warriors in space schtick is already old, senile, dead, buried, and dissolved to dust, now competing with Cthulhu as science fiction's primary eldritch horror.)

The Sad Puppies also need to work on their prose (here's a hint - study the poets and write some poetry yourself) and maybe workshop their stuff and push each other to improve in both matters of concept and execution.

Meanwhile, stop whining.

AND FOR THE SAKE OF ALL THAT'S HOLY, STOP TRYING TO REWRITE STARSHIP TROOPERS!

#341 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 02:23 PM:

Andrew M @338: Part of what you're seeing is an historical artifact. As recently as the 70s, it was perfectly possible to read all the sf novels published in a given year, all the short fiction, and see all the movies and television that the genre generated. Admittedly, you'd have to be a bit fanatic to do that by the late seventies, but in the fifties when the Hugos were first developed, that was easily possible. And at time, there really was essentially one community. It was fractious and fractured, with various fusses about who was more a fan, and what particular fanac was most meritorious. (And there was an acknowledged group of people who were not a part of the community but who liked to read sf. They were called "readers" which either was or wasn't a pejorative term, depending on context.) All this is before my time, you understand. But the Hugos were developed when there was, plausibly, only one field.

I'm just old enough to flinch at the word "fandoms" and to avoid using the term sci-fi. But I acknowledge that the word fandoms is necessary. The field is much much larger than it was, and so has had a certain amount of fragmenting. Whereas "fan" used to mean belonging to a very particular community, it no longer does. There are multiple, complexly overlapping communities. The community that is involved in voting for the Hugos overlaps with many other communities, and has strong historical roots in the "original" fandom of the 1930s. It is demonstrably not the same community as the community that valorizesthe SP, although there is certainly overlap.

The language we developed to describe ourselves and our passions developed in a vacuum, when we were in some sense the only game in town. The language has been slow to change. There are a lot of issues of identity on the table in these conversations. Who is and isn't a fan, what that means, is at its core an identity issue, and cuts close to the bone. And although it is painfully unpleasant, communities are defined by who they exclude, as well as who they include. My biggest objection to the SPs is that they appear to want my toys, but don't seem to want to play with me. I'm willing to share my shiny rocket ship, but they should be nice to me on the playground, you know?

#342 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 02:24 PM:

And I suddenly realize that I'm old. I just wrote the word " as recently as the Seventies." Oh, dear.

#343 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 02:26 PM:

Andrew M @331: it's useful to make a distinction between a series and a setting. A series is a sequence of stories or novels intended to be read as a statement, whereas a setting is a sandpit in which various stores can be played out.

The Wheel of Time is a series. Star Wars is a series. Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica are series. Dr Who or Star Trek or the Vorkosigan books are settings. The distinguishing feature is the overall story arc.

A series award in my view would go to a sequence of, at a minimum, 3 books or episodes (or equivalent quantity of shorter works) that tell a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. A win would disqualify that series -- but not other works in that setting -- from being considered subsequently.

Ultimately I see this as highlighting the need for two award categories -- for best multi-episode story, and for best world-building.

But I suspect this is too abstract to be voted on easily.

#344 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 02:46 PM:

#340 ::: Alex R.

I haven't read all that much milsf, but it does seem to converge towards something not too wildly different from modern militaries, and it probably shouldn't.

Would anyone like a separate thread about milsf?

#345 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 02:46 PM:

Strikes me that SP supporters coming here consistently say: (1) that they are disinterested outsiders when they are not and (2) that politics has nothing to do with it. I suppose this is the Sad Puppy party line: "It's not about politics, it's about good authors who are overlooked."

#346 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:05 PM:

Andrew @225:
Yes, exactly this. Which is why, I think, some people are upset by more non-MilSF works being nominated for the Hugo, since those MilSF fans regarded the Hugo as "their" award.

Speaking of which, why does John Hemry (aka Jack Campbell) never get mentioned in lists of MilSF writers? He's 100% MilSF, and prolific.

Also, +1 on Goblin Emperor. I've read it twice already, which is a serious rarity for me. I seldom re-read books at all.

#347 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:11 PM:

Mary Frances: It looks as if British and American practices differ: here 'older children's' is either 8-12 or 9-12, and YA is generally equated with teenage. (We don't use the term 'middle grade', because we don't have grades.) Harry Potter was originally marketed as 9-11. The Graveyard Book, at 10 and up, clearly lies on the border, but I've seen it described as middle grade in a number of places, and it seems to have been promoted as such. In any case I do think these books come out of the children's book tradition, rather than being the kind that's deliberately conceived as for teens, and that's a rather important point about them.

Charlie Stross: I agree with that distinction; and it seems to me that it's series, in that sense, which need an award (which could cover both those whose parts are stories in their own right, like Vlad and Harry Potter, and those which are just one continuous narrative, like Lord of the Rings and WoT). I do wonder if when the Hugo rules say that series are not eligible, that was originally supposed to mean open-ended series, what you are calling settings, since the dominance of the beginning-middle-end series is quite a recent thing. (As recent as the seventies, at least, in fantasy, and more recent in SF.)

Lydy Nickerson: Thanks, that's helpful. I see that the fragmentation of the field is something more recent; but I think the distinction between (active) fans and readers, which goes back further, is important. There's a narrative I sometimes hear which goes like this: once upon a time organised fandom really did represent everyone who was interested in science fiction, but it no longer does, so it is no longer doing its job and should be sacked. To which I would want to reply that no, it never did represent everyone, so that isn't a fundamental change; but it can still be the case that it is well-placed to make recommendations, and its recommendations are worth listening to.

#348 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:19 PM:

Alex R @340: "AND FOR THE SAKE OF ALL THAT'S HOLY, STOP TRYING TO REWRITE STARSHIP TROOPERS!"

I dunno. I've read a lot of really enjoyable fiction that's been rewrites (with varying degrees of looseness) of other stuff; generally C.S. Forrester with other characters (Patrick O'Brian), dragons (Naomi Novik), on land (Cornwell), in spaaaaaaaaace!!! (Feintuch*, Drake, Weber, various others), etc. though some of them are rewriting O'Brian's original rewrite. I'm not a particular fan of Jane Austen, but the Austen rewrites are generally very well received as well, I understand. There's also a lot of enjoyable high fantasy that's a Tolkien rewrite. There's a lot of fun to be had in a good rewrite.

*If you like MilSF, I can't recommend the Nick Seafort series enough, provided you also like Everything Being Terrible All The Time.

#349 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:23 PM:

If you like MilSF, I can't recommend the Nick Seafort series enough, provided you also like Everything Being Terrible All The Time.

This is exactly why I stopped reading it years ago.

#350 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:30 PM:

*If you like MilSF, I can't recommend the Nick Seafort series enough, provided you also like Everything Being Terrible All The Time.

Disagree strongly: that series made my skin crawl. Not because it's MilSF, but because $AUTHOR seemed to love his hangings at the yard arm a bit too much.

#351 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:34 PM:

...because $AUTHOR seemed to love his hangings at the yard arm a bit too much.

I'd forgotten that bit, but you're 100% right. Another reason why I stopped reading the series.

#352 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:39 PM:

Which books are rewrites of Starship Troopers?

#353 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:42 PM:

Alex R., #340: But some of the rewrites of (and rebuttals to) Starship Troopers are very good! I'm especially fond of Haldeman's Forever War, Scalzi's Old Man's War and Steakley's Armor. The latter, admittedly, has a decidedly odd structure, but it captures a fascinating emotional state: stubborn perseverance in the face of absolute despair.

And as much as I love Singularity's Sky's takedown of hackneyed space battles, it achieves that effect by pitting humans against post-humans who barely seem to notice that there's a war going on. But much military SF addresses other topics: the nature of leadership, the daily life of soldiers, the horrors of war, and the personal transformations that occur when people become soldiers. These topics are best discussed at a human scale. For example, would the chilling passage that Brad DeLong quoted at #125 really be made better by the post-human technology of the Festival? I'd argue no.

Charlie Stross, #343: Oddly, I tend to think of the Vorkosigan series (from The Warrior's Apprentice through "Winterfair Gifts" or so) as one long story arc: Admiral Naismith, born out of desperate invention; Admiral Naismith, the competent professional; Admiral Naismith, the failure; and Miles Vorkosigan, who has to pay the price and decide who he's really going to be. While some of the individual episodes certainly deserve their Hugos, I value the whole arc of Miles' character development.

I do agree with your other examples. But there are other tricky cases out there, where a series has both per-novel plot arcs (that may or may not rise to Hugo quality) and a deeper character arc that gains successive weight with each passing book. Very few novels manage to capture a life's worth of growth and change, except for a few remarkable outliers like Jo Walton's My Real Children. Series can do this, with or without a global plot arc.

Again, I'm making a purely artistic argument here, to explain one reason why Best Novel is an awkward fit for certain works. But just thinking about the voting logistics for a Best Series award gives me a headache.

Josh Berkus, #346: I mentioned John Hemry/Jack Campbell briefly upthread. The action in his books is very much standard military SF: wormholes, fleet battles, etc. It's good fun if you like that sort of thing. But the real charm of his books, as far as I'm concerned, is the way John Geary's willingness to treat prisoners according to the strictest military honor actually pays off. Because Geary is honorable, enemies actually surrender to him instead of fighting to the death. This is, of course, a political point, and one which touches on current events. But I enjoy politics in my SF; they're part of the human condition.

#354 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:44 PM:

Which books are rewrites of Starship Troopers?

I don't think anyone is literally rewriting Starship Troopers (except perhaps John Ringo) but that's the MilSF vibe as I receive it.

#355 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:44 PM:

348
Forester re-writes: also Alexander Kent, whose bokos I liked.

#356 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:52 PM:

#348 through #351

"Seafort is Hornblower on downers." as someone once described it.

That just about sums it up in one sentence.

#357 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 03:56 PM:

Andrew M @ 347: Yeah, that makes sense. I thought it was a bit odd you used the phrase "Older Children's/Middle Grade" when (so far as I knew) most British publishers just classify everything as "Children's," for the most part. But Middle Grade to US publishers and reviewers is definitely aimed at children in the 8-10 year old age range; YA is from there on up to Adult, though there has been some tendency to group books as "Older YA" and "Younger YA" lately.

It's all a bit moot when it comes to fantasy, to my mind, since that's always been a sort of an "age-range-irrelevant" category; it used to be fairly common for fantasy novels to be published as hardcover-YA and then resold at adult paperbacks . . .

#358 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 04:26 PM:

I think there's definitely an element of uniqueness as a qualifier for Hugo-worthiness in my mind.

I mean, does Terry Pratchett deserve one? Sure, no doubt. For which book? Uh... Yeah. Problem there. (Retrospectively, maybe Small Gods?) This is something we can observe in the Vorkosigan books: as I believe Jo Walton pointed out, the major books win Hugos, the slighter entries don't even get nominated. (I love Cetaganda, but it's just not the same kind of thing as Memory.)

I think the same thing affects Brust and Drake: the bodies of work meet the standard for the award, but none of the individual novels hits the mark on its own.

The Oscars seem to solve this (at least in my Scalzi-dependent understanding of Academy politicking) by giving out parallel Best Picture and Best Director awards while also considering the director the main creative force behind a picture. So they're kind of giving out "best novel" and "best author" awards, and they can therefore hand out a "Best Director" to a less-than-landmark picture from an under-honored director as a way of making up for missing his or her best work.

Dunno if that's the best way to do it: it seems like a dumb hack, but it also seems to work okay.

#359 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 04:32 PM:

Josh Berkus @ 346... Hemry/Campbell isx not on those MilSF lists? How strange. (By the way, I was pleasantly surprised when I found that his "Imperfectg Sword" tuckerized me, not one, but twice. Bob Denver's Gilligan also was tuckerized)

#360 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 04:40 PM:

Mary Frances: I think publishers just say 'children's', and then specify an age-range, but booksellers divide them into 'older' and 'younger', with the cut-off at either 8 or 9. But certainly childhood is taken to end at 12, and a new range to begin at 13.

I had supposed that 'middle-grade' was the same as our 'older children's'; but if it ends at 10, that would imply that YA begins at 11, which means it would gobble up large parts of the traditional children's field. If we need to distinguish between older YA and younger YA, I do wonder how useful the classification is.

#361 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 04:51 PM:

beth, #333: And if they aren't members of the culture of convention-going science fiction readers, then why do the Hugo Awards matter at all?

This is the flip-side of "Oh, I'm not a FAN, I just read the stuff," and no less snide. (It's also an excellent illustration of the reason a lot of younger fen think the Worldcon SMOF community are a cliquish bunch of snobs.)

Because the Hugos are supposed to represent the best-quality standards of science fiction. Not just "the science fiction read by people who attend conventions". If someone reads and loves science fiction, they should be able to vote on the Hugos whether or not they ever physically attend a con.

This is why I'm annoyed with Brad for not answering the question that's been posed to him multiple times about exactly which fans "ordinarily don't get to have their voices heard" at Hugo time. Because if he means that there are a lot of fans who, for one reason or another, simply don't know (1) that the Hugos are a thing and/or (2) that they're allowed to nominate and vote by purchasing a supporting membership to Worldcon, then I'm in fairly strong agreement with him. Worldcon and the Hugos do a miserable job of promoting their presence outside of the convention-going community, and the results are predictable. I'm all for widening the pool of nominations and votes to include people who are primarily readers rather than con-goers. It is ABSURD that this award, arguably the most prestigious in the SF/F community, is normally decided by fewer than 2,000 votes, when there are hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who read and love science fiction.

Andrew, #338: And here you are arguing the other side of my position. I appreciate you laying it out so well; while I still disagree, I feel as though I now have a much better understanding of where what reads to me as "only con-going fen really matter" snobbishness comes from.

Alex, #349: Heh. I'm with you on the Seafort books. I read and enjoyed the first one, somehow missed the next two, and picked up the fourth... and there had been no character growth at all for the protagonist over the course of about 40 in-story years. He was still "stuck in that place", like Benjamin Sisko at the beginning of DS9, and there was no indication that he was ever going to get out of it. It rather soured me on the series as a whole, and those books went to my ex in the divorce.

Feintuch himself showed up once in one of my Usenet newsgroups, and I took the opportunity to ask him about that. From his response, he considered it a feature rather than a bug. Mileage varies, of course, but that confirmed for me that I'd made the right decision to jettison those books.

(Spider-Man has a similar arc, in that he basically spends the rest of his life trying to atone for one thing he did. The difference is that Spider-Man doesn't consider everything else he ever does to be rendered totally worthless by that one thing.)

#362 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 04:52 PM:

UrsulaV@244: snicker. Thanks.

Cat@325: "if you took the politics out, the book would consist of page numbers." Snicker, snicker, snicker.

#363 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 05:09 PM:

Brad Torgersen can't answer questions because late last night I suspended him for 24 hours. I was having trouble getting his attention, and I figured he might notice being unable to post.

If you want him, I'll let him out early. Give me a few minutes.

#364 ::: Brad R. Torgersen ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 05:17 PM:

Jo Walton,

Actually, Sad Puppies 3 did contact the majority of its proto-participants, to see who would or would not like to participate officially. I think we had a few who got missed -- understandable, considering the volume of names and e-mails flying around in January. A few people turned us down. Only two got put on the list without an explicit "yes" (by accident) and were removed when they asked to be removed; without rancor.

So, no, we didn't draft anyone against his or her will. Especially in a high-profile category like Best Novel. Every single Sad Puppies 3 Best Novel suggestion, was contacted, and approved being on the slate. In some cases, enthusiastically approved.

#365 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 05:21 PM:

Honestly, not being a con-goer and only a fan in the loose sense, I'd never even considered the possibility of voting on the Hugo before the kerfuffles of the last few years - though I have thought of it as "the popular award" for SF. I guess that goes to Lee and Beth's points.

P.S. There have been quite a few quietly brilliant lines in this thread, but Lee's "those books went to my ex in the divorce" should win the splorf award for understated damning. (And Ursula's "would at least allow for playtesting" @244 definitely wins the splorf award for best recontextualization.)

#366 ::: Brad R. Torgersen ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 05:21 PM:

Teresa: I am cursorily following the thread as best as I can, in between other things requiring my attention. Last night was pretty busy for me. No eyes on this space as a result. Didn't notice your questions, or your ban. A man gets banned for not seeing a question? Pray tell, what is the burning question that must be answered, lest a chap be banned?

#367 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 05:26 PM:

I'm a little bemused by the fact that the Hugo award is prestigious being used as a stick with which to beat it. It is prestigious. That's kinda cool. And suggests that, perhaps, it's not utterly irrelevant to how people perceive the field. We may not make perfect choices (we in a very general sense, I've voted exactly twice in my life), but it still remains the premier award in the field. If it were entirely out of touch, if it never reflected the interests of readers, then it wouldn't actually be prestigious. The argument seems to be that since it's so prestigious, we need to more carefully control how it's handed out, because... and here I get lost. Most arguments that I've seen of late seem to want it to more accurately reflect market forces. Better sales should mean a better chance at a Hugo, I guess. But if that's what we want, couldn't we just short-circuit the whole thing and give it out based on Amazon ratings or best seller lists? I think that the Hugo has its prestige is partly because it is not a mindless reflection of market forces. It is a considered assessment of quality by a somewhat diverse number of people. Increasing the diversity of the membership is a good thing. But if the actual goal is to make the award a direct reflection of popularity, then I'm dubious. A lot of people do make a distinction between "fun to read" and "really good." And they make that distinction when they vote, too. Demonstrably. And that is, I think, a good thing.

#368 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 05:40 PM:

Brad, #366: Dude, you're not helping your cause.

My question, asked twice already by me plus once by someone else, starting back @167, is this: who, exactly, are those fans you refer to who love science fiction as much as any of us but "don't ordinarily get to have their voices counted" come Hugo time? Are they fans who can't afford to buy a membership to vote? Who don't know that they can buy a membership and vote? Who don't know that the Hugos even exist? Who just don't vote, for reasons known only to themselves? Or something else altogether?

#369 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 05:50 PM:

Mr. Torgerson -- none of the fans I know consider themselves to be "consumers" of F/SF. We're fans, it's our enjoyment of the literature, media and other components that makes us members of this community. The fact that YOU think we're "consumers" raises a whole fleet of red flags to me.

All of the authors I have been privileged to know became authors because they wanted to tell stories, not because of the money it would bring them. (Which, in many cases, wasn't much.)

Who are these people whom you claim are not "being heard, not being invited to the party?" Neither Worldcon NOR the Hugos have ever tried to shroud their existence from the general public, our doors have always been open to anyone who wants to participate.

Those of us who consider SF fandom our extended family don't believe in forcing ourselves anyone -- we don't proselytize. Nor do we have overflowing treasuries that would allow us to do more advertising.

#370 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 05:54 PM:

Ohno second, that should read "don't believe in forcing ourselves ON anyone."

SIGH.

#371 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 05:55 PM:

He does like to set himself up as the victim.

#372 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 05:56 PM:

370
Brain moving faster than fingers.
I know that feelling well.

(and I'm letting that tipo go through.)

#373 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 05:58 PM:

366
Here, a time-out is not a ban. It's supposed to be a notice to think about what you just said, and maybe reconsider it. (Note that other sites also do time-outs, with bans for more serious offenses.)

#374 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 06:06 PM:

Brad @ 366: This isn't your blog, so maybe you should ease up on the hoity-toity high horse?

If you post here, the general expectation is that you're willing to engage in a conversation. Treating somebody else's site as a medium for you to lecture the other readers is impolite at the least, like pulling out a bull-horn at a dinner party. That seems like pretty basic civility, in my opinion - and that was how you've been coming across so far. If that's not how you intended to come across, then my apologies, and please take this as a little feedback that you're not presenting yourself the way you would like to be seen.

So, just in case you're having trouble with text search, the very few points Teresa raised in directly addressing you were:
"In future, please read the thread before commenting."
"I suppose you think it's clever of you to argue with things no one has said here, and to misrepresent things that have been said. If so, you are mistaken."
"If you want to participate in our conversations, you'll have to deal honestly and respectfully with your fellow participants. We appreciate disagreement. We require good faith."

I'm now curious myself whether you take these as reasonable guidelines for discussion. If you do, and your posts which seemed to be pushing those guidelines were honest mistakes, then we should be able to have a decent discussion. If you don't subscribe to those basic principles, it's hard to see this going anywhere good or productive.

#375 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 06:18 PM:

From the "Sad Puppies 3" announcement:

As noted earlier in the year, the SAD PUPPIES 3 list is a recommendation. Not an absolute. Gathered here is the best list (we think!) of entirely deserving works, writers, and editors — all of whom would not otherwise find themselves on the Hugo ballot without some extra oomph received from beyond the rarefied, insular halls of 21st century Worldcon “fandom.”

Which is where YOU guys come in. Everyone who’s signed up as a full or supporting member of either Loncon 3 (last year’s Worldcon) or Sasquan (this year’s Worldcon) or MidAmeriCon II (next year’s Worldcon.) If you agree with our slate below — and we suspect you might — this is YOUR chance to make sure YOUR voice is heard.

Key phrase: "If you agree with our slate below — and we suspect you might." Compare the Sanderson essay. It would be easy for any moderately popular blogger to pack the Hugo nominees by publishing a list, and by encouraging everyone to vote for more-or-less the proposed slate. Neil Gaiman or J.K. Rowling or G.R.R. Martin have certainly had the ability to do it for a while now. But as Jo Walton points out, where's the fun in that?

I'm actually a little bit disappointed to hear that all the Best Novel nominees allegedly gave their approval to a major organized slate like this. If we choose to go down this route, Hugo awards will mostly go to authors who believe in organized self-promotion. But I've never thought that the organized politicking and advertising of the Oscars was a model worth emulating.

#376 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 06:33 PM:

One suspects that the reason Brad Torgersen doesn't answer the question about the group that is being shut out is that the answer is "white conservative men" who don't like seeing "their" Hugo going to "social justice warriors" and "beta males" (and wimmin's and colored folks.)

That's why they don't set up their own award--that would be admitting defeat. They don't want to be equal to all the others, they want to be better, like it was in the good old days.

It's not about a genre, it's about "ethics in gaming journalism." Or SF awards, in this case.

#377 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 06:46 PM:

Lee at #328: I remember you talking about "Roll a D6"; I tried to watch it at the time, but for some reason I've never been able to watch Vimeo vids, so I couldn't nominate it. I just tried again, and nope, vimeo still doesn't work on this machine.

As for recommend lists, I really like what Scalzi has been doing for at least the last few years, and probably longer (they blur together): opening up a thread for authors and other creators to mention works of theirs which are eligible, and another one for fans to enthuse about things that they think should be nominated. Each thread gets hundreds and hundreds of posts, and it serves as an excellent reminder of things that I, for one, might have forgotten about/not realized were eligible. And a oops-I-better-read-that-fast reminder of things that I was meaning to read before nominations closed.

If the compiler(s) of the Sad Puppies list got upwords of 20 nominations for some categories of their list, why didn't they just put out a list with all the nominations on them? Why cut them down to exactly ballot-size? Didn't they trust their readers to be able to choose for themselves?

#378 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 06:47 PM:

Doug, #376: Yes, one might easily assume that. But back @154, Brad suggested (gently) that, instead of assuming, we might ask what the SPs are thinking and feeling.

THAT IS WHY I'M ASKING.

I can think of several potential answers to that question, and I don't know which one Brad is thinking of, or whether it's something I've missed altogether. So I'm doing what he asked us to do -- I'm asking him directly who and what he means by that phrase, before engaging on the basis of possibly-unwarranted assumptions.

#379 ::: Wyldkat ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 06:59 PM:

#368 Lee :: "who, exactly, are those fans you refer to who love science fiction as much as any of us but "don't ordinarily get to have their voices counted"

Well, me for starters.

I have been reading and watching SF for over 40 years now. I grew up reading the works of some of the greatest SF writers. However, I never got involved in fandom. I have known about the existence of the Hugo Awards for many years but I did not know how they were selected. I always assumed they were like the Oscars, selected and voted on by the other SF writers and editors. It was during the fall out following Sad Puppies II that I learned that we, the fans, are the ones doing the voting. But, I was told, the voting was done at World Con. World Con is perhaps the most expensive SF con known, way too expensive for this working class citizen.

When Sad Puppies III started is when I learned that World Con has a supporting membership - something that I never saw mentioned in the advertisements I might add - and that the cost for that was within my range.

As a *direct* result of Sad Puppies I finally, after being a SF/F fan for 40+ years, got to nominate stories that I thought were outstanding works for a Hugo.

I had a blast doing it and hope to be able to find stories I like that much this year so I can nominate them for the 2016 awards. I have been quietly spreading the word to other SF/F fans, like me, who didn't know. So, who know 2016 could be an interesting year.

So, folks, there is the answer to your "where are they" question. We are right here. We have been here all along. It is just that some of us are not able to go to cons for physical or financial reasons.

#380 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:11 PM:

Brad Torgersen @364

"Only two got put on the list without an explicit "yes" (by accident) and were removed when they asked to be removed; without rancor."

Make that three people. Charles Gannon (nominated for Best Novel on the Sad Puppy Slate) told me he found out about the Sad Puppies slate _three days after_ it was published. While he did not ask to be removed, he still counts as someone who got put on the list without an explict yes.

Which makes me wonder if there might be more. It's probably hard to keep track of a list of sixty-some odd nominations.

More generally, about Hugo voting, I've been reading SF since I was, oh, about eight. So 1971 or so. I remember I started with The Star Beast because it had an interesting cover. I've been going to cons since 1982, I think. SF/F is 90% of what I read for fun. I average 3 cons a year; I've made costumes, I've done a *lot* of filk, I've written fanfic. And I learned that I could vote on the Hugos about 3 years ago. From this I get 2 things.

1) It's not obvious even to people who read a lot of SF and participate in traditionally fannish activities that you can nominate/vote on the Hugos and how to go about it. I think the Hugo Administrators would like more nominators and voters, but the Hugos need more publicity in order to get them.

2) I'm probably not as liberal as they come, but I'm as liberal as anyone I know. It seems unlikely that conservatives are being deliberately kept in ignorance.

#381 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:12 PM:

Registration information for this year's Worldcon for anyone who is following this who doesn't already know it, can be found at sasquan.org

#382 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:14 PM:

Mr Torgersen: Well, you didn't contact Dave Creek and you also didn't contact a friend of mine who you nominated.

I'm sorry if I jumped to conclusions, but as I had two clear cases where I knew as a fact that you hadn't contacted your nominees, it seemed more likely that you hadn't contacted any of them than that I happened to have run across the two people you forgot to contact.

I didn't think there was anything wrong with you not contacting people, by the way -- if it really was a "recommended" list, you wouldn't. Lots of people have put books of mine on their random blog recommendations lists without ever asking me. I wouldn't expect it. It's not normal. Contacting them makes it much more of a campaign and much less of a listing of stuff people like.

#383 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:20 PM:

Steve Halter @320:

I've been reading through Torgersen's blog and am finding it an odd mix. As near as I can make out:
-- Science fiction is doomed as sales decline because the voices of real fans aren't being heard.
He's wrong on both counts.

SF/fantasy sales are not in decline. There are the usual shifts in the overall balance -- print sales are back in force after that e-book bump, indy bookstore sales are up and climbing -- but we're a pretty stable genre.

Military SF is no exception. Lots of titles are getting published. Popular authors and series are getting plenty of attention and selling plenty of copies.

As for fans not being heard, that's just nuts. The voices of fans are being heard as never before. The internet's been great for that. Reader forums and reader culture are healthy, diverse, and almost intimidatingly self-confident.

You know who Brad Torgersen's "fans whose voices aren't being heard" are? They're THE LURKERS WHO SUPPORT HIM IN E-MAIL. There isn't a shred of evidence that they exist, and there's no earthly reason they can't speak for themselves; but for some magical reason they'd rather cluster worshipfully around Brad Torgersen and let him do the talking for them.

They're the incognito prisoner being held hostage in Spain. The thirty million dollars stashed by Mrs. Miriam Abacha, widow, in Nigeria. The almost-ready-to-patent engine that runs on water. They're only in the story to get you to listen to the speaker and do as he says.

-- Comic con is really big! The rest of those people are clearly doomed.
True. ComiCon is really big. I'm dubious about the doom part.
-- Lots of exhortation to take back the field, awards, conventions from people who don't really understand things.
On that one, he's off the deep end. You can't take back the field if no one's taken it in the first place. Which they haven't. It's still there, and every kind of SF that's ever been popular is still being written, published, and read.
Obviously, he is angry about something, but I'm not sure that something really exists.
I think it exists. I think it's the difference between how important and successful Brad Torgersen thinks he should be, and how important and successful he feels he is.

What the hell, he's going to damn me as a SJW anyway...

YOU MIGHT BE A STRAIGHT WHITE GUY OF A CERTAIN AGE IF: You look at your unsatisfactory achievements and decide the system must be broken.

See Laertes @227. A sense of injured privilege is what PUAs, Gamergaters, and Sad Puppies have in common. Their fury at SJWs comes from a sequence of assumptions that's very common in individuals and groups that are smarting from a sense of wounded self-importance:

1. I have less power than I feel I should have.
2. I feel those people over there have power I don't have.
3. They must have stolen mine!

And poof, there's their evil enemy, made to order.

Gamergaters think gaming belongs to them, and should answer solely to their preferences. PUAs hate women who selfishly consult their own feelings and preferences, then turn them down. Torgersen wants awards to go to the people and works he thinks should win, rather than the ones the voters would naturally vote for.

In the long run, this is doomed. What the Sad Puppies are doing will not make disinclined readers love their work or respect them as authors -- readers really are stubborn that way -- but they might conceivably do a lot of damage along the way.

Back to Steve Halter:

The exhortations are odd as they go against my experiences at cons and on the internet. The people I meet are generally friendly and happy to talk about whatever it is that they are a fan of. What people are fans of is diverse and far ranging. If one group isn't interested in what you are, the next one probably is or maybe they'll like something you hadn't ever seen before.

This isn't to say that unfortunate things don't happen at cons or elsewhere--unfortunate things happen everywhere. But, they are more the exception than the rule in my experience.

That's always been my experience, and I've been in fandom for more than 35 years.

Fandom runs on love and joy. It won't run on other fuel. You can't use hatefulness to make yourself king of the hill.

If there's a secret of fannish success, it's to engage with other people, get to know them, and help make them happy. If you're a writer who craves a certain kind of recognition, that means writing books readers like, not complaining that readers like the wrong things.

#384 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:27 PM:

Wyldkat, welcome to Making Light!

Do you write poetry? If so, feel free to share it on the Open Thread.

#385 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:27 PM:

Erik K @353

The other thing I like about Hemry is that a lot of his books are devoted to questioning both the power structure and the morality of the (thinly disguised) American military -- especially when you get to his series on naval law (in space, of course). Has he never been nominated for a Hugo?

#386 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:33 PM:

My apologies for the double-post. Internal Server Error bites again.

#387 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:36 PM:

Brad Torgersen @366:

Teresa: I am cursorily following the thread as best as I can, in between other things requiring my attention. Last night was pretty busy for me. No eyes on this space as a result. Didn't notice your questions, or your ban. A man gets banned for not seeing a question? Pray tell, what is the burning question that must be answered, lest a chap be banned?
Tough beans. If you won't read, don't comment. This is a conversation. We aren't meekly assembled here to listen to you. That goes for the rest of the pups as well. Love your vowels while you've got 'em.

Moving on, I think you're lying when you say you didn't notice my remarks to you. But if I'm mistaken about that, and you really did miss that many comments addressed directly to you by the moderator, you are tragically slow on the uptake.

#388 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:38 PM:

Josh Berkus @ 386... He's never made it to the finals. I nominate him every year anyway.

#389 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:38 PM:

Lori: Think of it as the Internal Server getting overenthusiastic when you comment.

#390 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:56 PM:

383
-- Lots of exhortation to take back the field, awards, conventions from people who don't really understand things.

And it sounds remarkably like all the conservatives (read also as Straight White Men) wanting to Take Back The Country from the groups they think shouldn't have any power. (I have suggestions for them, but not in this blog. Nothing that would get disemvoweled, but still, not here.)

#391 ::: Lou Antonelli ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:57 PM:

Jeez, Teresa, don't you think you're being a bit harsh on Brad?

#392 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:59 PM:

Wyldkat, #379: Thank you for responding. If you and other people like you are who Brad is talking about, then I agree with him -- see my comment @361 for my reasons. I would love to see more people who are primarily readers being able to vote, feeling that they and their opinions matter as much as those of people like me who go to a lot of conventions. (I'm a dealer. Conventions are literally how I make my living.)

BTW, do you use that nick elseNet? I may remember you from way back in the Usenet days.

#393 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 07:59 PM:

ML user interface tip for Brad Torgerson

If you're too busy to read everything in the thread, do a find-in-page (ctrl-f in some browsers) for "brad" or "torgerson" to find just the comments addressed to you. That way you know you won't miss anything where someone was directly addressing you or your arguments.

#394 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:06 PM:

For a long time didn't realise that I could nominate/vote for Hugos. I don't think that means that they're unimportant to me. It was here I discovered I could.* I said, "I thought that was only for these particular people, not for people like me." And a whole bunch of people went, "Yes, you can vote! You just have to do this."

They didn't go, "Yes, you can, and you should vote for these people!"

If you're encouraging people to vote because they didn't know they could, you don't then have to give them a specific slate to vote for.

Brad suggested upthread he wanted to make people uncomfortable, and that new (chosen) works being in the Hugos would do that. I am uncomfortable, but it's because people, who I thought were good people, are acting as they are.

I am not always very good with words, so I hope this makes sense.

*I haven't. My best book of 2014, for instance, was Anathem. So I was only (checks) six years behind.

#395 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:07 PM:

Thanks, Teresa - I'm doing my best to try to remain civil and courteous. It's not easy, because I've helped run the Pegasus Awards, and I know of two ballot-box stuffing attempts for those awards during the time I was in a position to observe them.

This subject tends to push my buttons, I know how hard my committee worked to make the process fair, and I know many of those working on the concoms for various Worldcons are equally scrupulous about the Hugo award procedures. And then the SPs and their ilk come along and decide that they obviously know more about the field than the rest of us.

When will the money-focused folk realize that financial success doesn't always translate to winning awards? If it did -- Ironman, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers would have been sporting a cubic buttload of Oscars.

#396 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:11 PM:

Lou Antonelli @391:

Jeez, Teresa, don't you think you're being a bit harsh on Brad?
No. Not a bit. Not in the slightest. Especially considering some of the things he's said here, and the much nastier trash he's talked elsewhere.

Also, I'm the moderator, and he's been trying to ignore me. It cannot prosper.

#397 ::: Lea ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:13 PM:

>>> I have to wonder just how committed these readers are to the genre and culture of SF.

I have been following this discussion and the 'sad puppy' thing with interest, but I wanted to respond to this. There are a huge number of people who read, even read all the time, who are not in these fandom things. Thy don't pay attention to the awards. They don't go to cons. It would never have dawned on me that you could just pay for a membership and vote for something like this is.

Leaving aside the politics for a bit, it doesn't make sense to discount people who don't know this as not being commuted enough. The only commitment required to be a fan of reading any genre is a library card and time.

And I do rather hope butcher gets nominated since skin game was very good, but I didn't buy a membership, didn't vote, etc.

#398 ::: Lou Antonelli ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:15 PM:

You misspelled my last name.

#399 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:15 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 344: I haven't read all that much milsf, but it does seem to converge towards something not too wildly different from modern militaries, and it probably shouldn't.

If we weren't living in the non-Cold War version of "America the Beautiful", it probably wouldn't.

My friend down the hall at work who is a reserve officer and who's had some interesting times in Kosovo and Afghanistan (that time, I believe he was attached to John Ringo's old unit) and I have talked about this. My interpretation of what he's told me is there are a lot of military folks reading MilSF for reasons not unlike people in other non-majority groups read the books they do: They want to read stories about people like themselves. So (this is my thought) perhaps to have stories about people like themselves, people shaped both by the lives they've chosen and the circumstances they're in, the circumstances of those stories--not only the universals of military life but the specifics of modern warfare--will often resemble today's world.

#400 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:31 PM:

Lou Antonelli @398: Fixed. Sorry about that. The new lenses are a couple of days out.

#401 ::: Brad R. Torgersen ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:34 PM:

Teresa,

This entire thread is now over 50,000 words long. I am wagering even you can't remember every detail of every post.

My impression (at this point) is that you're assuming I am here with my fingers crossed behind my back—skulduggery!—in which case you're reading me only to the point that you think you can find a reason to exercise your moderator power.

I came to make the case for SP3. It's germane to what's being discussed here. Because this thread is obviously chalking the cue for further anti-SP3 outrage and criticism; come April 4th.

Maybe I missed some questions. But if I am not going to be given the benefit of the doubt (questions or no) then the dialogue truly is ended. Good night.

#402 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:43 PM:

Don't let the door hit you on the ass.

#403 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:49 PM:

Brad, there's this wonderful thing called a "mouse" that will let you scroll to any comment in the thread. There's no need to memorize each and every post.

You have the technology, you can be stronger, faster...wiser?

#404 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:51 PM:

Re: Brad #401: Well, there's the first flounce. How many bingo squares has he covered... so far?

Regarding categorization of the Harry Potter series: My understanding was that Rowling was purposely having her characters age at a rate matching her readers... so it wouldn't be unreasonable if they crossed a boundary over their seven years.

#405 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:53 PM:

Teresa@383:Yes, that is all pretty much agreeing with my impression. Basically, he/they are building up a straw army armed with assertions of "just being helpful."
When legitimate questions are asked (multiple times) then the traditional response is the flounce off in assumed righteous injury. And, we see just that at 401. (Again with no attempt to actually answer questions.)

#406 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:54 PM:

405
And with the apparent assumption that the only other live person is Teresa. Does he actually read?

#407 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 08:55 PM:

Brad Torgerson: Um, well, trying not to be rude here, honest, but TNH is the original poster, and she's the moderator of this thread. That means (at least so far as I can tell, at least here at ML) that she reads every single post AS moderator, and responds to those addressed to her. That's what most of us do, usually, even those of us who don't comment often. If I do post, I always check back (sometimes doing a search on my name) to see if someone has responded, and if they have a question for me, I try to answer it. Isn't that what having a conversation about a topic is?

Sorry, all. I don't like contributing to a potential pile-on, particularly in a thread where I really haven't had all that much to say--but I suddenly got this awful flash: "Wait, you mean I've been doing it wrong?"

#408 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 09:03 PM:

Lee @378,

I respect your courtesy, but unfortunately, people of ill-will can abuse that courtesy to obfuscate their true intentions. Are you familiar with the concept of "Sea lioning"?

The worst part is that the facade of courtesy they adopt can fool people of actual good-will into supporting their cause, not realizing that people like Vox Day (a truly vile human being) and his ilk are behind it all.

Evil (and make no mistake, this is some evil crap they are trying to pull) must be exposed.

#409 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 09:07 PM:

Here's what I don't get...

(Okay, no, I get it, I just have this stupid faith in humanity holding me back, I guess, and I am trying to act as if we are all actors in good faith with our own views that respect the right of everyone to have access to the fiction they find most enjoyable. I know I am wrong out of the gate on that one, but bear with me while I maintain a polite fiction of my own.)

See, we have Torgersen saying--I think, and feel free to correct me if I am wrong--that the Hugos are not representative of certain reader's tastes, and that some people now see a Hugo and think they WON'T like the book. (That last may be bleed over from Cadigan's Facebook thread, but I saw it go by there, at least.) That the Hugo is now in some cases a....Women's Studies...thing. And also it has no money and doesn't lead to sales, because apparently people who like that kind of fiction vote for it and the people who like other stuff don't like the stuff that wins Hugos.

So...um...isn't the system working GREAT?

I mean, there are more books than I can read in a lifetime of libraries. I rejoice at the opportunity to scythe things off my reading list, because I can't even keep up with the output from my friends!

And if there's an award that always goes to Stuff I Don't Like, and I know that if I pick up a book with that award on it, I probably won't like it...that's awesome for me! The Man Booker prize is fabulous, because I'm gonna hate anything that wins it! I could hug the Bram Stoker because I probably haven't the faintest interest in anything it winds up on! I don't do RITAs!

And this makes my life easier! These books maybe well be good and brilliant books, but they are not MY books, and they should absolutely get a bunch of awards for being awesome and my path and theirs will not cross and everyone is happy.

What I don't do is demand that any given award cater to my taste, because why would it? It rewards that thing over there, and of course there should be awards for that if it's good, I just won't vote on them because I don't care for that thing.

So if you don't like the Hugos because they are not manly hairy-chested SF, and you feel like they reward a thing you don't read...then...why try to muddy the waters?

I'm not saying "Go make your own award!" (although if you do, I suggest the Golden Chesthair, which could have one helluva brilliant statuette) but why try to gatecrash an award that is functioning already as a filter for Stuff You Don't Read Anyway?

Do Sad Puppies just have shorter to-be-read piles than the rest of us? Or is the "The Hugo now marks stuff I don't like!" perhaps a trifle overblown as a concern?

Or is this comment too long already?

#410 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 09:16 PM:

UrsulaV #409:

*nodding head*
I tend to take things at face value when I first encounter them, assuming that people are acting in good faith but being observant for discrepancies.

With SP, the stated aims & the actions are not consonant, and when queries are made about the apparent inconsistencies, the responses are (have been) consistently telling.

#411 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 09:43 PM:

UrsulaV @ 409,

These people think the Hugo IS their award. And it's true, it used to be--SF used to be predominantly white men. Oh, there were exceptions, but they were, clearly exceptions.

The SF world, thankfully, has grown more inclusive since then--but these guys, being white men, want their exclusive playground back.

It's all part of the same movement, its why Vox Day ran for SWFA President a while ago, it's what drives the whole Gamergate debacle.

And really, with the Republican party publicly and wholeheartedly embracing racism, sexism, homophobia, and every other form of bigotry on the national stage, is it any surprise that men in other spheres are inspired to similar stands?

#412 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 09:47 PM:

Charlie Stross @305

Regarding whether Jim Butcher knew about Sad Puppies--Charles Gannon didn't, until 3 days after the slate came out. Why not ask Jim when you interview him (or before if you feel like he might want the heads-up,) and see what he says? I'm curious to know too.

#413 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 09:57 PM:

Doug @412 - And if these guys were all veterans of the hairy-chested glory days, I'd get that!

But demographically, aren't most of these people younger than I am? (I'm 37.) Certainly if they're inviting Gators in, (I say if) their median age is waaaay young. Most of them surely can't remember those glory days because they weren't conceived yet. (Seriously, I've got socks older than some Gamergators.)

I dunno, maybe it's all just reading like angry-young-man energy and I'm assuming they're younger than they are because they're recruiting from a group that I know skews young...

#414 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 10:10 PM:

I think UrsulaV has the right of it: "What I don't do is demand that any given award cater to my taste, because why would it?"

I'd suggest a corollary: The Hugos Are Not About You, rather, they're about what the members of the Worldcon liked the best. If you think they're about you, rather than what the readers liked best, you're deluding yourself. In fact, you're setting yourself up for a profound disappointment when you are unable to compel the membership of the Worldcon to conform to your opinion on what is true and right in the world. And no, the inability to convince the members of the Worldcon of this fact does not mean that you are somehow a persecuted minority. It may just mean that different groups of people have different tastes, and dictating taste is a poor choice at the best of times. Trying to convince people to try something new is fine, trying to mandate that they do is rude.

To work off of UrsulaV's comment in a different way: the Hugos are, for me, a generally good way for me to find stories that I'll enjoy. Accordingly, those who want to bend the Hugos to their own beliefs are telling me, by their public conduct, that I had best look for my entertainment from other authors.

#415 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 10:11 PM:

Lee and Jeliphish, thanks for recommending Roll a D6. It's thoroughly charming.

#377 ::: Cally Soukup, at this point, I'd like for vimeo to work on your computer. I don't know if this might help-- it does look like vimeo has a lot of playback problems.

#399 ::: John A Arkansawyer

Oddly enough, I reread "America the Beautiful" recently-- it's dystopian, but at least from here, I'd kind of like to see the dignified classical smugness. It may be worse than what we've got, but at least it's different.

And I'm sure that the preference for milsf that's not wildly different from the present militaries isn't just military people, it's civilians who've been reading milsf that's not very speculative and want more of the same. There may even be something about the contemporary military which makes it a particularly satisfying setting for stories, though I haven't heard about there being a lot of non-sf milfiction.

Riding a Red Horse had an interesting intro about the future of warfare, but I read about half of the collection, and all that promising speculation wasn't used.

I'm writing up a post about the relative cheapness and ease of nominating and voting for the Hugos, and I want to check to make sure I've got things right. I'll note that I can't find a full list of what a supporting membership gets you on the Sasquan website.

Here's what I *think* you get: three years of nominating for the Hugos. One year of voting for the Hugos. Three years(?) of site location voting. I think you get the print materials (progress reports and program books, not sure about the pocket program and at-con newsletters).

Such electronic copies of nominees as the publishers chose to provide.

Anything else?

Does an attending membership include additional years of Hugo nominating and voting?

In addition to Sasquan link about the Hugos is there anything else I should include in a "you, yes you, can get involved in the Hugos" post?

#416 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 10:24 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz: Thanks, that did help. I could watch it, though only in little chunks. Still, better than nothing. Yes, that's an excellent video, and I'm sorry I didn't see it when it was eligible.

#417 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 10:28 PM:

Dear all:

At 10:35 I'm going to shut this thread down for the night. We'll be back in the morning, NYC time.

See you then!

#418 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 10:33 PM:

413
I have sourdough starter older than most of them (srsly - started in 1978)

#419 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 11:06 PM:

Folks who talked about where the line falls: Thank you, that's helpful. (For me, to be quite so allergic to friendly urging is a little peculiar, but were I to be a consistent voting member, I'd pay attention to that.)

Brad, if you come back at any point, or Ms. Lamplighter -- The thing I'm not getting here is, I would think y'all Sad Puppy folks got the idea, with the SP #1 and #2 slates, that the Hugo folks got antsy at specific slates being put out. So (to paraphrase Cally), why keep doing it? Why not do it as a general suggestion thread?

It seems mildly odd to me, to so determinedly do something that's been explicitly called out as against the customs of the country.

Actually, that's a question for Lou, too, although I had the impression you weren't in on the organizational aspects of this.

#420 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2015, 11:44 PM:

Wyldkat @368: Welcome both to this thread and to Hugo voting! If you have more to say I look forward to reading it.

#421 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:20 AM:

I am chairman of this year's WSFS Business Meeting, which is open to every attending member to attend and participate in. That means you can make proposals, debate them, and vote on them. Non-attending (supporting) members can submit proposals, but since they're not attending, they can't vote upon them. There are no proxies and no remote participation, and you don't vote for delegates or a Board of Directors. Every member represents exactly one person: him/herself.

There are procedural rules. These rules are the same for everyone. If you run afoul of them (like submitting proposals after the deadline), you're not being singled out; it means you didn't read the instructions.

If someone has a proposal to make and wants help putting it into the correct technical format, contact me and I'll help you do it. If you propose something that I know from experience is unlikely to pass, I'll warn you about it, but you're welcome to submit unpopular proposals. Just be aware that one of the rights that any deliberative assembly has is to not have its time wasted, and if you propose something that a supermajority (particularly a 3/4 or more supermajority) thinks is hopeless, they'll kill it without debate.

Any two members (either attending or supporting) can submit a proposal to the Business Meeting. If it passes one year, it gets sent to the following year's meeting where it must pass again before it goes into effect.

Bias alert: there is a pending constitutional amendment (co-authored by me) that if ratified will add a third stage to the constitutional-amendment process. Anything that passes one year and is ratified the next will have to be re-ratified by a ballot vote of all of the following year's members, including the non-attending members. This will slow down changes to the constitution, but will give all of the members, not just the attending members who come to the Business Meeting, a voice in the process. (Because I'm one of the co-authors of the original proposal, I'll be recusing myself from presiding over this year's meeting when the proposal comes up for ratification this year.)

#422 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:25 AM:

Doug, #408: And what just happened @401 is in fact the traditional response to the aggressive courtesy I was deploying. I've been around for a while too. When dealing with people-who-are-skirting-the-thin-edge-of-being-trolls, one good response is to give them exactly what they say they want and back them into the corner with it.

Nancy L., #415: I would classify all of Tom Clancy as non-SF milfic, just to name one well-known example.

And I think your idea of a "how YOU can nominate and vote for the Hugos" post is outstanding.

Cally, #416: Here's Roll a D6 on YouTube, if that helps.

#423 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:38 AM:

415 ::: Nancy Lebovitz - I think supporting and attending members have all the same rights except attendance itself, plus voting in the WSFS meeting, as Kevin Standlee points out.

However, I believe only that year's site selection and Hugo voting is included. It's just the Hugo nom rights that carry over.

#424 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:58 AM:

UrsulaV @413

Not sure it works like that. There's a substantial atemporal aspect to early reading, I think: All the old golden age/white-dude's-club books are still out there. If you got into SF based on an older person's recommendation (your mom or dad, your school librarian, whoever) they're probably thinking "what did I like at that age?" and they're reasonably likely to hand you Heinlein or McCaffrey* or Asimov. Unless they're pretty clued-in, they're unlikely to hand you Leckie or Walton.

From that kind of background, I could easily see how someone in their 20s could nevertheless have a formative impression of "how it used to be."

Personally, I certainly have a pretty clear internal narrative of the impact on the field of books like, say, Downbelow Station or Neuromancer, both of which were published before I was born. I think the older material remains more accessible and feels more contemporary than is the case with music or TV or movies, like if you're watching an old movie you do kind of viscerally know that it's old. Casablanca doesn't feel like a movie that came out last year, so a young person watching it and loving it and wondering why this year's Oscar winners weren't like that is likely to feel nostalgia instead of betrayal.

*I got started on McCaffrey (and Niven). It took me a couple of years to catch up to anything she'd written since my birth, and this was fifteen, sixteen years ago. So there I was in the mid-90s, forming a baseline impression of what SF was based on pretty cutting-edge 70s tech.

#425 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:21 AM:

Wyldkat, #379: "When Sad Puppies III started is when I learned that World Con has a supporting membership - something that I never saw mentioned in the advertisements I might add - and that the cost for that was within my range."

I'm glad you found out!

I think we may have, oh, just a wee outreach problem here. It's a big topic shift and perhaps deserves its own thread, but what would people say to serious outreach in this area? Suppose we had, oh, 10 or 20,000 supporting members nominating and voting in the Hugos? Would this perhaps be a good thing?

There is a general problem that the cooperative nature of Worldcon and the Hugo Awards is not widely understood. It is important: these are the awards given by the fannish public and the convention, because it is an independent cooperative organization funded by membership fees, is not beholden to any business or business organization beyond sf publishing as a whole.

#426 ::: Wallace ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 04:40 AM:

TNH at #387, to Brad Torgorsen

>I think you're lying when you say you didn't notice my remarks to you.


I don't think that's the sort of remark editors should make about fellow professionals. Just my 2 cents.

#427 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 06:03 AM:

Wallace @#426

You appear to to have no posting history whatsoever, yet leap out from under your bridge with a snide remark. Is this really the impression you want to give people?

#428 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Still Not In The Mood ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 06:54 AM:

Wallace @426:

You're interrogating the comment from the wrong perspective. It's got nothing to do with Teresa as an editor and Brad as a writer. It's simply the kind of comment a moderator makes to someone who is not contributing constructively to the conversation. This holds true even if the moderator is a mere nobody and the commenter is Homer himself*.

And really, you can't carry on a workable online discussion any other way. If people's different positions in the world† entitle them to different levels of moderation—if someone is exempt from criticism on the strength of their "Do you know who I am?"—then we get one of three things: a field of flaming sockpuppets, famous and important people behaving terribly whenever they please, or stifled and uninteresting conversation.

That's just not how we roll here on Making Light. Don't like it, don't comment.

-----
* Or another Greek of the same name
† as opposed to their positions in the community. A generally interesting and constructive person having a bad week gets more rope than someone who never gives good value in the threads. And moderators must always be treated well‡.
‡ But then, I would say that.

#429 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 07:49 AM:

Ursula V @409 (unserious version) - I know several people who would be interested in a Golden Chesthair Award, because they really like chesthair, but would then be disappointed because the technothriller/milsf/space opera stuff is of no interest to them.

(serious version) I agree up to a point. But when the Hugo award says that something is the Best Novel in science fiction and someone who likes science fiction doesn't like anything it's been given to for many years, and nothing they like seems to even get nominated, I have a little sympathy for them.

THEN someone comes along and says "It's just some people who vote on it, and they don't like you or your science fiction because of [politics]", it's possible to see how it gains traction even amongst people with good intentions.

(Should they have previously learnt more about how the Hugos are awarded? Sure. Yet many people who follow the Oscars only have the vaguest idea what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is. I have a friend who reads upwards of 30 SF novels a year, and goes to Star Trek conventions of various sizes, and he can't tell you the difference between the Nebula, Clarke and Hugo. There's a spectrum between deeply involved and completely disinterested where the SPs have found a constituency.)

#430 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:16 AM:

I would like to read*--and while I'm not looking for an editing gig, I'd snatch it if it were offered--a collection of classic--let's say pre-New Wave, just for grins, since my Golden Age of SF is as much Ellison and LeGuin as it is Heinlein and Clarke, kind of a minority position, I think--designed to show writers like Heinlein in the best possible twenty-first century light.

*even more than reading it myself, I'd like to have it available to loan out.

#431 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:34 AM:

Randolph @425

I agree that it would be good to make more SF readers aware that they can, for $40 or $50, nominate and vote on the Hugos.

The Sad Puppies think that they are some kind of majority. I think they're wrong. Let's pull in a lot more avid SFF readers and find out.

What would be some good ways to do that?

#432 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:51 AM:

From what I can tell, the number of people voting on Hugo's is gradually rising. This is a good thing. If, as noted above, there are more people nominating this year than last, that is exciting as last year was quite good.
So, the word does seem to be slowly getting out there. How to effectively increase the rate of change is a good question.

#433 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:58 AM:

The electronic packets are probably contributing to the rise. One thing i'd like to know is that, while the number of people who vote in the finals has gone up, has there been any change in the number of preliminary voters?

#434 ::: Wallace ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 09:39 AM:

Thanks for that Idumea@428. I get your point about moderators and commenters on this site inthis case so I'll narrow it down for this site to say that I don't think moderators should say they think anycommenter is lying without evidence. Other errors,fine. Lying, not fine.

#435 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 09:59 AM:

Serge Broom @433, My first con was probably thirty-five years ago, so I'm definitely in that convention-going fandom subset of SF fans.

However, I can't afford to go to Worldcons unless they're hyper-local to me. So I only go when they are in Chicago (and not always then).

The last Chicago Worldcon, I got (to my utter surprise and complete delight) the Hugo Voter's Packet. I'd never voted at the previous few Worldcons I'd attended, because as a rule I'd only read two of the nominated novels, none of the shorter works except perhaps one short story, and seen maybe two movies; not, I thought, a fair basis on which to judge. But here was a PACKET! With the candidates! Which I could read, and judge between! I've voted ever since. And that's given me confidence to NOMINATE, which I'd never had before.

So, yes, the voter packet is a helluva good outreach program to attract new Hugo voters, even ones that did know that the Hugos were voted at Worldcon. I've been passing the word ever since to my SF-reading friends that they, too, can possibly (not, alas, guaranteed) get a packet of high-quality SF for the low-low price of a supporting membership to Worldcon, and, oh, by the way, they can NOMINATE and VOTE for the Hugos, too! I've gotten some traction, too. Although the Orbit-UK thing last year may have harmed my sales pitch somewhat...

And, no, I do not recommend a slate to nominate, and I do not tell people how to vote. That's between them and their reading list. (Although, to be fair, during the year I'm likely to buttonhole people and say "have you read this amazing thing????" -- but fair's fair, they buttonhole me right back with the amazing thing they just read. Isn't that how it's supposed to work?...)

Cassy

#436 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:01 AM:

I think a sea lion just sneezed under a bridge. Ick.

#437 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Still Not In The Mood ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:09 AM:

Wallace @434:

Obviously, we all have our opinions about these things. I'm sure Teresa will see yours when she next reads this thread.

Do you have anything substantive to say about the topic at hand?

#438 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:14 AM:

Wallace @ 434

You seem to have strong views about how moderators should moderate. So do Teresa, Idumea, and the rest of the site's moderators.

I'm interested in, and willing to defer to, the opinions of this latter group since they've built up, and maintained for more than a decade, a place to which I return regularly and almost always find myself instructed, entertained, and enlightened. I'm inclined to do that even on occasions where I think they've made a bad call, and on topics on which I disagree with them profoundly (neither of which apply in this case, if anyone's wondering.)

I'm wondering whether there's anything that should make me equally interested in, and inclined to defer to, your opinion. Your comment history at this site doesn't suggest anything of that sort. Why not introduce yourself, and - if what I've said in the paragraph above is news to you - find out a little bit more about the people you are talking to? You may find you have a more productive discussion if you do.

(Contents may settle in transit/Exact color of the product may vary from that depicted in the packet/Your free subscription refunded in full if not fully satisfied.)

#439 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:22 AM:

Apropos the Hugo voters packet, and the Orbit/2014 mess ...

The 2014 worldcon was one of the biggest ever, with close to 10,000 attending members. While it was gratifying to be shortlisted, it was also kind of worrying for me: "Neptune's Brood" was in print in hardcover when the nominations were anounced and was due out in paperback only weeks before the con. If it had been included in its entirety in the Hugo voters packet, the packet could well have eroded the sales of the higher priced UK edition -- if just 5% of the eligible voters downloaded the packet, read the e-copy and decided not to buy it in paper thereafter, that'd be up to a 20% cut in the UK hardcover sales.

Tim H*lman, CEO of Orbit, had four of the five novel shortlisted works in print in the UK. From his point of view, not putting them into the voters packet was a no-brainer. All things being equal there was an 80% probability that an Orbit author would win (as was in fact the case), while making the books available free would have dented sales of some of the works. (Bear in mind that at the time, Hachette, of which Orbit is part, was involved in a protracted pissing match with Amazon, with horrible effects on their sales figures.)

Now, I think Tim could have handled the way the Orbit decision was announced better. And there were other ways to get the books into the hands of voters without denting the sales track. (Allocate a marketing campaign to give £1 Amazon/Nook/iBooks e-coupon gift vouchers for worldcon members, for example. Or arrange a promo sale with a discount code available in the voters pack. Or something.) But his business logic made sense, from a bean-counter point of view, in the UK marketplace. (It would make a lot less sense in a US worldcon, for example, where the market for those books is bigger and the membership numbers are generally smaller.)

#440 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:26 AM:

@ Devin 424 - You may have a point there, though it seems pretty hit-or-miss to me...Heinlein was positively saurian for young me (sorry, everyone) and I came up on McKinley and Pierce and lots and lots of media tie-in novels. (And Piers Anthony, though I appear to have suffered no lasting harm.)

I knew a lot of kids reading the Salvatore Dark Elf books and the Star Wars tie ins. Never saw any of them read a Heinlein juvenile. And those books weren't winning Hugos either, so...

I am totally willing to accept that my experience is/was not typical and hinges entirely on the whims of the B Dalton bookbuyers in my immediate area circa 1988! I'm just saying that if you go onto an online game server full of gamers in our supposed demographic, there will be eleven hundred Drizzt Do'Urdens and not a single Podkayne. And if these are our hypothetical demographic taking back the Hugos...

Well. Color me puzzled.

#441 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:54 AM:

Ursula V.@440/Devin@424

As someone who's a touch older (mid-forties) I'm inclined to agree with the view that there's something odd here. Among my formative teenage sf experiences were a) a book of Hugo and Nebula award winning stories from 1972/3 containing Gene Wolfe's 'The Fifth Head of Cerberus'; Clarke's 'A Meeting with Medusa'; Poul Anderson's 'Goat Song'; Harlan Ellison's 'On the Downhill Side'; Joanna Russ's 'When It Changed' and perhaps a few others ('The Queen of Air and Darkness' - maybe?) I no longer have the book, but the stories are still very much with me, and shape my sense of what e field can and should be.

So even back in the 80's the kind of fiction which took the social attitudes of the 50's and projected them into the future struck me as a bit out of date. But is seems to be what a group of people ten and twenty years you get than me feel the field has always been about. It's all very strange.(Of course, I'm British - that may make a difference.)

Another one of my formative influences was an anthology of material taken from New Worlds, edited by Michael Moorcock, With that in mind, I'm inclined to finish by asking:

'What is the Exact Nature of the Catastrophe'.

#442 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 11:02 AM:

Wallace @434, what makes you think I have no evidence?

#443 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:01 PM:

I remember the issue with last year's packet and Orbit's decision made sense, but I'm not sure it negatively affected the number of voters for that category. An e*packet probably didn't hurt the income of writers though for shorter length, and
may have raised the reader's awareness of those writers. It may have increased the number of voters for those categories. But I speculate. Folks like Kevin McCarty would know for sure.

#444 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:09 PM:

Cassie B@ 435... I started voting regularly in 2008, if I remember correctly. Part of the reason is that. Until then, i'd buy a book, but wouldn't read it until the year after the year it was eligible for a Hugo. I've become better at this, partly because of the packet. :-)

#445 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:11 PM:

I wonder if Tor, Baen, etc, might be interested in printing a single-page "this is what the Hugos are; if you google "hugo supporting membership" you should find the current WorldCon" ad/blurb/thing.

And how much it might cost WSFS to pay for such an ad to be printed in the back of, say, second books of popular series?

#446 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:19 PM:

UrsulaV, #440: Adding a bit of anecdata -- I've heard people in the age group just below mine complaining that their kids / kids' friends don't seem to like Heinlein. One memorable quote: "I keep shoving Heinlein books into his hands, but I don't think he even looks at them." The mindset appears to be, "Here, you'll love this, I did when I was your age." But the world has changed a lot since then. Some older works do stand the test of time fairly well; others don't, and it's not up to us to tell younger fen what their opinions should be. And an awful lot of Heinlein is, frankly, dated; some of it still gets a pass as "comfort reading" for me, but that nostalgia factor isn't going to apply to today's teens and 20somethings. The vibe I get, that "if today's kids would just read Heinlein's books, The Scales Would Fall From Their Eyes and they'd love him as much as I do", is fallacious.

#447 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:20 PM:

I've been a print-SF fan and occasional congoer for decades, but have never seriously considered attending the Worldcon, because I don't enjoy large cons (I've been to Minicon a couple times and that's almost too big for me, to give you an idea). I knew in principle that I could buy a supporting membership and vote the Hugos, but didn't feel particularly motivated to do so ... until last year, when SP2 (or was that SP1? I'm a little confused about the timeline) irritated me enough not only to vote, but to write two lengthy blog posts explaining what I voted for and why. (They are still near the top of my site, if you're curious.) I meant to nominate this year as well, but was so busy with work that I didn't read very much new fiction at all, so I didn't bother.

What gets my goat about SP3 is that its boosters don't seem to have taken on board any of the criticism sent their way last year. Advocacy verging on nomination-stuffing, check. Association with the worst wretched hives of the Interwebs, check. No recognition that maybe there is a difference between "commercially successful" and "worthy of consideration for an award showcasing the very best the genre has to offer", check. Insistence that people are voting/nominating their politics rather than their honest critical opinions, check. (This is not to say that I think those two things are always unrelated -- I myself have given up on a lot of contemporary MilSF because the works' politics make my teeth ache, and that would make me disinclined to nominate any of it. I do, however, think there is such a thing as observer-independent quality in a work of art (in the sense defined by Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) and I think basically all of SP2 failed that assessment.)

Having said all that, absolutely a broader subset of fandom should be encouraged to participate in the Hugos, and better outreach and publicization of the process would definitely help. But reducing the cost of a supporting membership to circa US$10 -- or maybe there should be a Hugo-only membership level at $10 -- would also help, and might be more effective.

#448 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:39 PM:

446
Heck, I don't want to re-read a lot of Heinlein's stuff, and I'm in the age group that's supposed to like him. I find that newer writers fit me better than he does. (Asimov doesn't do much for me, either.)

#449 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:47 PM:

Elliott @445 For that matter, an ad at the end of an e-book saying

"Did you like this book? Want to see it win a [year] Hugo Award? Go to [url] for information on how to nominate and vote for the Hugo Awards--Science Fiction and Fantasy's Fan-Voted Award!"

might be very effective and would cost the publisher basically nothing; it's not an extra page, but only a few electrons and the time to proofread them.

What if publishers just made it a standard part of their e-book formatting? What if one publisher did it? Even if the others didn't follow suit, a fan nominating because of an ad in one book would be reasonably likely to nominate others as well.

#450 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:49 PM:

Ah yes, the YA vs What I Read Back Then problem. Because guess what, there are now entire shelves of books, nay, a genre with its own aesthetics and goals, aimed at the people who are recommended SF books older than their parents. I didn't read Heinlein knowingly until I was an adult (there was one story I read and disliked because it was rambling and dull, and I think that was Heinlein) and I found it completely dated and full of things presented as revelations that I learned in eighth grade. I read Asimov occasionally and can enjoy it as a historical artifact.

I once subbed in a sophomore English class where they were doing a unit on SF. Victory, right? Except they were reading six short stories by four male authors, at least three of them white, two of them dead, and not a single copyright date after 1970. Meanwhile, in a remedial reading class at the same school, the teacher walked in and said, "I'm on chapter four of Hunger Games," and the students erupted into enthusiasm because she was reading a their book. Their book, not hers. The same way Uglies et al were my sister's books, not my mother's or a guidance counselor's or any kind of teacher's.

There is a world of difference between, "I liked this when I was your age, whippersnapper," and, "Are you into fairies? Okay, you need to read some Holly Black. Maybe Prineas, too-- that's shelved in the kids' section. Oh, and there's a new Catherynne Valente I haven't read yet, but I loved the first two, and she has another couple books downstairs with the adult stuff if you like those." One is patronizing, the other participating.

(That said, I wish more thirteen-year-olds read Mercedes Lackey, because then there would eventually be more thirty-year-olds who lovingly mock the books, and mockingly love them, and can understand how something can be pretty terrible yet formative.)

#451 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:51 PM:

Cat @ 449: Are you contemplating a web page maintained by the publisher? Worldcon, per se, doesn't have a stable web address, it moves with the times. And I foresee kerfuffles about publishers "unfairly" being involved in the Hugo process.

#452 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:52 PM:

Lee @ 446: As someone who has often had to deal with the "Give kids the Heinlein juveniles if you want them to read sf!" cry among older sf readers, I'd like to add one thing. It isn't just that the world has changed, it's that an awful lot of later writers did grow up reading Heinlein, and the Heinlein juveniles, and the field itself has been changed. It's no slap at Heinlein to say that the books he wrote in the fifties and sixties would likely not win a Hugo today, and certainly aren't as mind-blowingly exciting as they were when a lot of us Older Folks first read them--why would they be? They'd be Heinlein-derivative, at best, if they were being written and published today. We don't need (as someone said upthread, in another context) a rewritten Starship Troopers; for good or ill, we've got the original.

Which, I suppose, is a long way of saying that people who lament the fact that "they don't write sf they way they used to" are kind of missing the point: the books people write today were influenced by the books "they used to write," but they aren't, can't, shouldn't be the same book. The field has grown, as well as the world around it. Personally, and probably speaking tangentially, I believe that if Heinlein were still writing today he'd have no problems winning a Hugo--but he'd be writing different books, books influenced by whatever he read as a young reader . . . if you see what I mean.

#453 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 12:58 PM:

I'm 51 and grew up reading Heinlein but not just Heinlein. There was also Ellison and Zelazny and Bester and Kornbluth and Norton and, well all sorts of science fiction. Some of it had square jawed heros but certainly not all.
So, unless the SP were locked in some odd enclave that edited out everything except hard core Campbell, the SF world has not matched their vision for a very long time.

#454 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:08 PM:

What what it's worth, I know two men who read to their kids, and Heinlein has gone over well, though that's hardly the only thing they're reading to their kids.

When I was a kid, I read some old fiction-- Moby Dick, Kipling, Mark Twain.... and liked it. I would have thought that part of liking sf is liking strangeness, and that would include stories from that very strange place, the past.

I'm not saying I only liked old stories, but I wasn't repelled by them.

For that matter, weren't the loony tunes cartoons of my childhood (late fifties) out of date by then?

#455 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:09 PM:

@452 Mary Frances - And the corollary there is that I honestly don't think Heinlein could get a publisher for his juveniles today...unless they'd kept pace with the rest of the field, which I assume he was a savvy enough commercial author to do.

The whole argument is weird. I guess that's what I keep circling back to. Lionizing a group of old masters and saying "They couldn't win a Hugo today!" while simultaneously claiming that stuff that sells better SHOULD win, except some of the stuff that wins does sell really well, and some of the stuff that used to win would likely absolutely tank in the marketplace today...

I dunno. I can't find a thread to pull that makes it fall into a cohesive set of beliefs that one could get somewhere with, beyond "I feel entitled to this and I envy other people who got it because it should be mine!"

And that's just so...banal. And I don't know what they expect to happen. What's the victory condition for it?

Say the Sad Puppies work out a method for legally sweeping the Hugos every year. Do they actually think that the people who like different SF will just sit in the audience and applaud and say "I guess you sure showed us!" year after year? I could be wrong, but I imagine after a brief upheaval, they'd stop caring, stop voting, and go find a different award.

And then presumably the Sad Puppies will want that one, instead.

I just don't get the endgame on this sort of thing...

#456 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:14 PM:

@ 454 Nancy Lebovitz -- Oh, I loved Twain. And Poe, and Doyle and Kipling.

I think, though, that it's one of those things where the 1970's reads as a lot more dated than the 1870s. The 1870s are a different world. Heinlein, for me, read like an avocado and orange dinette set.

#457 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:16 PM:

Zack, #447: I agree that a "voting membership" for $20 or less would help a lot; many fen are unemployed, on disability/fixed incomes, or otherwise financially strapped. The last time this idea came up, the immediate response was, "But the cost of the Hugo packet itself is more than that!" Well, I don't see any reason why the voting membership would have to include the e-packet; that could be one of the perks associated with the more-expensive supporting membership. Remember that the e-packet itself is only a few years old; a voting membership that didn't include it would only be putting people back in the same position we ALL were a decade ago, having to seek out the nominees on our own. How quickly we become spoiled.

Mary Frances, #452: Yes. The oft-heard complaint of, "Heinlein couldn't win a Hugo today!" contains an unexpressed assumption -- that a book like the Heinlein books of the 50s couldn't win a Hugo today. And the answer to that is, I should hope not! If Heinlein were still alive and writing, he wouldn't be writing 50s-style fiction; he'd be writing something contemporary, and there's a good chance that the Heinlein-worshipping crowd wouldn't like it.

#458 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:27 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @454: Oh, I'd never say don't read (or give) your kids Heinlein! Or any of the other sf books that I read when I was a Young Person. But don't give them the books you once loved assuming that they will react the same way you did, once upon a time. What I usually say to people promoting the Heinlein juveniles in particular is: If the child is already reading or interested in sf or fantasy, then offer them those books--being very clear that when they were published does make a difference. Share, yes, because believe that can make a huge difference in how a kid reacts to a book, but don't try to replace--and don't just assume that the books that were your entry-level drug to the field are still going to work the same way on your kids.

I read old mysteries growing up. I loved them (still do). But I was always very aware that they weren't just set in the 1930s, they were written in the 1930s . . . and that shaped my expectations somewhat. Sharing "old" books with kids, especially older sf, can add a level of sophistication to their reading that can be very exciting to all concerned. But there is a difference between arguing that "these books still have something to say" and arguing that "these are the books that should still be being written and winning awards." The books written today that have the same impact as the ones written fifty years ago are likely to be different books--in part because of the influence of the books written fifty years ago. It's a natural growth that some people don't seem to want to acknowledge and (like UrsulaV) it sort of puzzles me.

Another thing that always puzzles me as an old Heinlein fan is: when did Heinlein become the pattern-card for MilSF? Seems kind of an odd fit to me, Starship Troopers notwithstanding . . .

#459 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:29 PM:

Nancy: The thing is, for me at least, that there's a difference between the stuff I read to learn about how people gone by saw their world (already-past, then-present, and then-future) and what I read for dreaming of possibilities now. Some older work continues to feel connected to the present as I experience, some not. And - and this is my point, insofar as I have one - Sad Puppy types seem to fixate on Heinlein and a few others, and want today's youth to deny and disengage from everything about their lives that makes those guys feel past rather than present.

That, I think, is what sets folks off. Not "Here is this marvelous thing I loved, which has remained an influence, and which tells you some things about the hopes and fears that helped shaped the world we live in now" but "here is the mold into which you ought to want to fit, and you should not want what the Master did not foresee, or foresaw and rejected, because that makes you bad, so get in line and dream the dream I approve for you".

#460 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:33 PM:

We're unlikely to see a book more like a modern version of a traditional SF novel than Cixin Liu's The Three Body Problem. I loved it. I nominated it for a Hugo. But I still love Heinlein too.

#461 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:36 PM:

Steve Halter @453: It's possible they are in that sort of enclave. Campbell died when I was an infant, so I have never had the opportunity to read new fiction that he edited or wrote, but he was directly or indirectly a huge influence on what I read growing up, both from reading older SF (e.g., what my mom had read when she was growing up in the 50's and 60's), and from reading authors I liked who had been "trained" by Campbell. I read Heinlein and Asimov, Clarke and Niven, Sheckley, etc. I didn't read Andre Norton, Le Guin, Ellison, etc, as they weren't as "hard SF" as I had come to like.

To this day, Analog is my go-to SF magazine, and feels it carries on Campbell's legacy, despite it being longer since Campbell died than the time he edited it. Others also carry on his legacy (a lot of Baen Books strike me that way).

I am not in a Campbell-only enclave, and I'm glad for it. But I can see how it might actually be possible.

#462 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:38 PM:

#457 ::: Lee

Damned if I know. Scalzi and Stross show some influence from Heinlein, and it doesn't seem to have hurt them.

Heinlein had some notable virtues (one of the important ones for me is a conviction that the world is an interesting place, full of details which interact with each other), and if he'd been born more recently, that would have still been present and worked to his advantage.

He wanted to entertain, even if what he did doesn't work for everyone, but I think this would have made him more likely to write sf which would turn out to be popular.

It's not obvious which traits are The Essential Heinlein, nor even quite what the hypothetical is.

If it's what if the actual Heinlein stayed healthy enough to keep writing for an extra decade or two, we get something not too different from late Heinlein.

If it's what if (and we're not doing real world-building here) the Heinlein of Have Spacesuit, Will Travel were somehow writing now without having lived through the intervening decades, I don't know what we'd get, but I'd read it. If Heinlein (HSWT) had lived through the intervening decades, I'd definitely read it.

I'm thinking about that chapter in Goedel, Escher, Bach about winning a Subjunc-TV, in which the counterfactuals get wilder and wilder, not to mention Silverlock, some of Duane's Young Wizards novels, and Laubenthal's Excalibur for the vision of Atlanta in heaven. The imagination doesn't believe in time and space. I've listed sweet visions of all the good things together, but I think the real emotional imagination is about all the strong stuff, good and bad together, without the logical connections.

Then I'll go read some early Jane Jacobs, and sober up.

#463 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:41 PM:

Brad 401: My impression (at this point) is that you're assuming I am here with my fingers crossed behind my back

Well, the fact that you lied about contacting everyone (see Jo 382 and Cat 380) makes me (for one) suspicious that you may have lied about other things as well.

Maybe I missed some questions. But if I am not going to be given the benefit of the doubt (questions or no) then the dialogue truly is ended. Good night.

Oh, bullshit, Brad. You're flouncing because you don't want to answer Lee's question, because an honest answer would show what you're really up to, and you can't come up with a plausible lie. And she's asked the question repeatedly, and named you each time.

And this is not the first time "the benefit of the doubt" has been used to mean "the privilege I'm used to."

#464 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:43 PM:

Lydy @ 451

What I was envisioning was a year-specific announcement. Perhaps I should have written it as

"Do you like this book? Would you like to see it win a [year of publication] Hugo? Go to [url for supporting memberships for WorldCon of subsequent year] to find out how to nominate and vote for the Hugos--Science Fiction and Fantasy's Fan-Voted Award!"

It does require that publishers know in December of year N (or maybe June of year N) what the url will be for supporting memberships in the year N+1 Hugos, which won't actually happen until August of year N+2. I thought that WorldCons were organized way ahead of time, but would this be too far ahead?

Zack @ 447, The Sad Puppies did improve a couple of things (some of which I suggested to them after the Hugos, actually, though I have no reason to think that is why.)
1) Instead of just taking the picks from a single writer they asked among their fellow puppies for suggestions. I had envisioned a sort of voting process, but instead they had a small number of Sad Puppy authors choose the slate from among those suggestions. I'm hoping this may lead to an increase in quality; we'll see.
2) They changed to a less-jerkish spokesperson, and they toned down the jerkish rhetoric a bit. I realize it may be hard to believe, but the current spokesperson at his worst has not managed to approach the excesses of the previous one. Though it is early days yet, I agree.
3) They did not nominate anything by Vox Day.

They also worsened some things. Nominating a full slate in almost every category gives the impression that they want, not just a presence in the Hugos, but to own the nominations entire. I don't think it will work yet, because I doubt they have the numbers to outmuscle the very most popular nomination or two in the more popular categories, but I look at it and wonder.

#465 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:49 PM:

@ #353 ::: Eric K

But some of the rewrites of (and rebuttals to) Starship Troopers are very good! I'm especially fond of Haldeman's Forever War, Scalzi's Old Man's War and Steakley's Armor. The latter, admittedly, has a decidedly odd structure, but it captures a fascinating emotional state: stubborn perseverance in the face of absolute despair.

I'm not so much talking about the "armored up" aspect of Starship Troopers. What I'm seeing is authors coming at the military narrative in the same manner as Heinlein, and frequently without Heinlein's self-awareness that as an author he was creating a fictional world where fictional things were true. Combine that with authors who lecture, trying to impart a lesson about the real world, but lecturing without Heinlein's charm, eduation, or ...dare I say it, wisdom, and you can get a Starship Troopers "clone" even without a single armored suit. I think there are other kinds of MilSF narratives out there, but authors need to consciously get out of Heinlein's shadow and tell them.

I think that when critiquing MilSF you've pretty much got to start with an awareness of Starship Troopers; it's the Ur-Narrative of the genre. I suspect (grabbing the obvious counter-example) that the narrative of one of Star Trek's "Federation Marines" would be very, very different.

And as much as I love Singularity's Sky's takedown of hackneyed space battles, it achieves that effect by pitting humans against post-humans who barely seem to notice that there's a war going on. But much military SF addresses other topics: the nature of leadership, the daily life of soldiers, the horrors of war, and the personal transformations that occur when people become soldiers. These topics are best discussed at a human scale. For example, would the chilling passage that Brad DeLong quoted at #125 really be made better by the post-human technology of the Festival? I'd argue no.

I half-agree about the "human scale" of things. That being said, it would be very interesting indeed to see what "boot camp" is like for one of those post-human soldiers, and that sense of the future is what I'm looking for in Science Fiction. Dan Simmons came fairly close in discussing Colonel Kassad's training in Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, including the security breech that had one of the factions (can't remember what they were called) subverting Kassad's training from the very beginning.

David Weber, for example, does a great job with the "horrors of war and personal transformations of those who become soldiers," but the technically fascinating post-human boot camp (or whatever) is definitely missing... Honor of the Queen is a great book, and I literally read my first copy of the book until it fell apart. But without that interesting view of future science Honor of the Queen is not Hugo-worthy - which is why the Sad Puppies need to raise their game.

Honor of the Queen is the best argument I've read that there needs to be a separate MilSf award.

The Sad Puppies are completely insensitive to something really important. The "old white guys" who won Hugos 30-50 years ago and are presumably heroes to the Sad Puppies had amazing game where science is concerned. In 1966 Heinlein was talking about a self-aware computer (who may actually feel guilt,) orbital bombardment with an electromagnetic catapult, and the sociology of polyandrous marriage. Niven talked (talks) about all kinds of science-fictional goodness, ranging from ringworlds to Orion drives to an alternate theory of evolution, with brilliant aliens who are not other human political factions dressed up with tentacles. I suspect that any of us could rant about his aspect of Sad Puppy blindness for hours, but...


@ #446 ::: Lee

I've heard people in the age group just below mine complaining that their kids / kids' friends don't seem to like Heinlein. One memorable quote: "I keep shoving Heinlein books into his hands, but I don't think he even looks at them."

I've been there myself. I ordered all the Heinlein juveniles in paperback, feeling very confident that if I just gave my son the right one first, he'd Get It. Unfortunately, for whatever reason he got the wrong one first, and they didn't take. (My son is a major reader of factual military history, so I was going to start him off with Space Cadet, but I think he got into Podkayne first and that just killed Heinlein for him.)

#466 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:51 PM:

#458 ::: Mary Frances

My recreational reading was basically unguided when I was a kid, and while there were some things I didn't learn as a result, I'm not convinced it was a dead loss.

I read old books, and I was vaguely aware that things were different, but I was reading for the story and the emotional high points and humor. I wasn't very analytical, and I wish I could have that part of my brain back sometimes.

#467 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:52 PM:

456
For some reason, my brain decided that was a dinette set where the chairs were made from very large avocados and oranges...

#468 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:58 PM:

464
There's a Hugo website already: what if it had, on its front page, a notice that 'you can nominate and vote for the Hugos, and here's where you go to find out the details'.
For that matter, WSFS should do this, too, and they'd have the convention site addresses. Tie the existing pieces together, instead of adding more disconnected pieces?

#469 ::: Bruce ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 01:59 PM:

Alex R @340 If the Sad Puppies want a Hugo they need to up their game.

Yeah, mostly crap. But for Riding the Red Horse VD bagged Eric Raymond, Jerry Pournelle James Dunnigan, William S Lind. Later he published Martin van Creveld. I hereby command, conjure, and abjure Steven Brust to edit an SF collection including David North, Paul Krugman, and maybe Khameni as return of serve. Though North would probably flinch from Krugman.

#470 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:00 PM:

Nancy @ 466: I don't think we disagree. My reading wasn't especially guided as a child, either, and letting kids loose in a library to find what they want is an ideal I ascribe to, strongly. But I have worked in a public library, and when adults ask for guidance . . . well. Telling the adults "don't try to point your kids towards anything in particular, just let them read/encourage them to read what they like" doesn't work, trust me. They'll do it, one way or another.

So, anyway. Just a different end of the question, I suspect.

#471 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:03 PM:

Weirdly enough, I don't think of Starship Troopers as being much like most modern milsf. While, strictly speaking, it's milsf (I use the definition of "sf about people in a chain of command"), I think of milsf as having crucial plot points dependent on tactics, and ST has rather little in the way of battles.

You pretty much have to be Tolkien to get me to put in enough work to visualize a complex battle situation.

That definition could go a long way toward explaining why I like Bujold while disliking most milsf-- Miles is *never* in a chain of command.

#472 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:03 PM:

P J Evans @ 467: You know, I actually had to live with an avocado and orange dinette set, once upon a time. Trust me, a dinette set made out of actual fruits and vegetables would have been more attractive. And probably more functional . . .

#473 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:11 PM:

#469 ::: Bruce

Not to nag, but "command, conjure, and abjure"....

Abjure means to renounce.

#474 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:14 PM:

Mary Frances @ 470 -- Heck, I'd probably settle for "don't mock your child's reading choices."

My mother, with the best intent in the world, was determined that I would read The Classics (not of SF, but in general) and when I came home with horse books and Star Trek novels, would roll her eyes and say "Garbage in, garbage out."

I won't swear there's not a nine-year-old girl out there who would enjoy "Two Years Before The Mast" but I damn sure wasn't it. That I did not pitch reading as an instrument of torture is a minor miracle, and I still knee-jerk hard against attempts to funnel kids into reading improving literature, regardless of the intent of the giver.

#475 ::: ebear ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:18 PM:

I'm interested in this meme that women and brown people and queer people dislike things that are fun. Considering that I have a pretty good career in writing things that are fun, at least according to my readers and me (I can't imagine spending a year or three working on something that bored me, and I have a really low tolerance for reading boring and irritating books), and it's my experience that the stuff everybody else uses as a medium of trade pays my bills just as well as this "money" that apparently only white men have access to, why wouldn't I want as wide a readership as possible?

I feel like a problem arises when people who are used to being the target demographic of most entertainment get uncomfortable when there is stuff that includes other people too, and it gets widespread attention. Insecurity, perhaps?

#476 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:21 PM:

About wriers who would have adapted to the later literary scene... There is one writer who did exactly that. Jack Williamson went from the 1930s' "Legion of Space" to 2001's "Transformation of Earth".

#477 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:23 PM:

Correction... That book was "Terraforming Earth".

#478 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:27 PM:

I read Heinlein juveniles in elementary school, and read his adult books starting in middle school (pretty sure I read Stranger in a Strange Land in 6th grade, or maybe 7th).

It took longer to realize how toxic some of those books are. Being a white gay male, I saw the homophobia in SiaSL and The Puppetmasters by early high school; the sexism took longer, and the racism longer still.

I would not give a single one of them to a child today.

#479 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:38 PM:

UrsulaV @409:

O-M-G ... laughing ... to ... hard ... to ... breathe. "Golden Chesthair" indeed. Maybe the last round could be a chest-hair ripping competition?

Zack @447:

Speaking as a fan who just on this thread found out about supporting memberships, I don't agree that the price is a serious obstacle; at least, I'd like to see some research that it is a major reason not to join before WorldCon lowers it. Considering that I'm spending $100 per year to help keep Borderlands Bookstore open, and have spent more than that on a single hardback, $40 seems pretty reasonable already.

I think the much bigger problem is awareness and accessibility. First, see the number of fans here on ML who never knew about supporting memberships before. Second, even knowing about them from here, it took me quite a bit of clicking around to find where I could sign up for one. I know it makes sense to WorldCon that supporting memberships should be under "Conference Registration", but I can't imagine it makes sense to anyone else. So if WorldCon wants more supporting members voting, step #1 is to have a clear and easy way to sign up for a supporting membership.

The reason NOT to lower the membership price is that a $10 membership would make ballot-box stuffing (either organized or spontaneous) 4X cheaper. This means that you don't want to lower that price until you've tried other avenues of increasing membership ... assuming that WorldCon even wants more voting members, which it's not clear that it does.

I strongly suspect that one way or the other, WorldCon will need to take on stronger anti-ballot-box-stuffing measures in upcoming years. I'm not just talking about SP3, or even primarily about them, since they've been pretty much completely ineffective so far. I'm talking about: what happens when the next Stephanie Meyer to come along decides she wants a Hugo and pitches her Twitter followers to win it for her?

#480 ::: Bruce ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:45 PM:

@473 Nancy L-

Abjure means to renounce.

Yeah, but Lincoln said 'command, conjure, and abjure' that way. I think he was kidding.

#481 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:45 PM:

My childhood library was well-stocked on the classics of the scifi genre, and didn't have much in that area that was modern, even by the standards of the 80s. All of Heinlein's juveniles, lots of Norton, Asimov and Clarke and so forth... I remember finding Dune and being so excited because it wasn't quite as old-fashioned as the Heinlein was. And I devoured that stuff, because it was what I could find in the genre I loved.

This did not actually have the effect of instilling a deep love for those writers in me. I am sure that "The golden age of science fiction is twelve years old" is true for many people, but when I got to college in another country and discovered modern science fiction and fantasy? I never looked back. It was like stepping out of a well-furnished room with all the windows drawn into giant park with plenty of wild bits. I could read stories about women who weren't the spunky sidekicks to men! The technology sounded like things I saw and used myself! It was amazing! The golden age of science fiction for me is right now. There's a good set of older stuff I'm happy to keep reading, but new books keep coming out that keep raising the bar even higher. It's glorious. I want it to keep getting better forever.

And so nostalgia for an older style of literature doesn't sit well with me. Not the personal affection sort of nostalgia, as I'm as prone to that as anyone and find it quite harmless, but the kind that follows up pleasant old memories with "If only everyone would still--!"

The old stuff isn't going away. And awards are generally about recognizing what's new, aren't they? It would feel very strange and stagnated indeed if we were still giving out awards this year to books published this year that sounded as if they were published in the 60s.

#482 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:46 PM:

I want to point out that lowering the bar to participation in the Hugo selection has a specific problem which no one is addressing. The lower you make the bar, the less involvement and commitment one has to have in order to participate. Before I go any further, I wish to agree violently with everyone who wants to argue that using money as a filter for commitment is a terrible filter which has all sorts of problems. However, it is at least a measure. One of the values of the Hugo award is that it is given by an electorate who are engaged and involved, and have proved it by time and money. I'm not sure that the Hugo would be as reliable an indicator of a book I might be interested in if it the majority of the voters are people who read one book, liked it, and plunked down less than the price of that book to vote for it. I would really, really like it if a lot more people who read widely in the genre and have strong opinions were more involved. But I'm not sure that's what you get if you lower the bar significantly. As you lower the cost of participation, you also lower the cost of ballot stuffing, and when you couple low cost with online voting, the probability becomes higher. I don't mean this to be an elitist argument. I am not saying that I want the Hugos to be voted on by the rarified, mythical true fan. But I do want the voters to be at least somewhat involved in the genre.

#483 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:46 PM:

Having placed some Heinlein juveniles in our daughter's way and seen her not devour them, her mom and I have been perfectly happy to see her gulp down L. Frank Baum* and David Drake, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, Zita the Space Girl and pretty much anything beginning with Star, be it Trek, Wars, or...well, I guess that's about it...and movies from Marvel and Miyazaki.

Her mom and I are Heinlein fanatics. If our kid doesn't get the bug, I doubt most kids will.

What I would like the sort of anthology described for is to give readers first discovering SF a fair shot at getting authors vital the field's history and development.

Like praisegod barebones @ 441 and Steve Halter @ 454, I, too, experienced almost all SF into the early eighties as one big field. Heinlein was Bester was Merrill was Cordwainer (either one) was LeGuin was Dick was Clarke was Moore was Silverberg was Leiber. The similarities far outweighed the differences. Soon, they'll all be far enough in the past for that to be true again.

*Oh, the irony!

#484 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:46 PM:

I think a reasonable minimum we could expect the Hugoes to implement is making a page on the main Hugo Awards site that explains in accessible, newbie-friendly language how you nominate and who gets to vote, that:

a. is prominently visible and findable from the main Hugo Awards landing page and
b. contains within it, during nomination and voting seasons, a WORKING link DIRECTLY to the relevant page inside the current Worldcon's website (and possibly to the "buy a pre-support" page for the anointed next Worldcon) where you can buy a supporting membership.

This is not difficult. It would take a bit of web development time to set up, and about twenty minutes of volunteer labor 3-5 times per year to update the links as necessary and check that they're working.

But nobody's done it.

#485 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 02:52 PM:

And, I should update and read before I post. Josh @ 479 also brings up the problem of ballot-stuffing.

#486 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:00 PM:

You know what, John A Arkensawyer @ 483? I'd go fall on my knees in prayerful gratitude of someone would publish anthologies of that sort for both/either sf and fantasy, because I teach the stuff! These days I teach it to older students who are taking an elective because they have a choice, they are interested in the field (however they got interested), and they want to find out more about it. I taught a short college-level course in Fantasy Lit last year, and I could not find a suitable anthology. Something like Shippey's Oxford Books of Fantasy/Science Fiction would have been fine, and within my price range, but they're out of print. I finally wound up using PNH's New Magics, which is a good anthology but doesn't offer much historical context (or try to; it is aimed at an entry level audience for contemporary stuff, in my opinion--and well aimed, too, but that's another story), supplemented by handouts and whatever I could put together off of the internet. It worked, but it would have been so much easier and more effective to have an anthology that genuinely offered both current works and historical context . . .

#487 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:01 PM:

Elliott Mason @484: Are you volunteering to do it? If so, Kevin Standlee is the obvious person to talk with. His contact website is up at #421 in this thread.

#488 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:04 PM:

I'm pleased that my suggestion of outreach is being seriously discussed—thank you all.

Lydy's qualms about "lowering the bar" are, I think, worthy of attention. If the bar were lowered to $0, and all readers voted, how closely the nominations and award winners mirror a ranking of sales?

The point of any art award is exactly that it is not a popularity contest: that works are chosen on the basis of some merit. Popularity counts: if the work isn't read widely enough, it will never get on the board. But if it is the only criterion, the award becomes a ranking of sales. How we broaden the base of the Hugo Awards—and the comments here have convinced me that that is a worthy goal—without turning them into a copy of sales figures seems to me the question worth asking.

#489 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:05 PM:

Tom Whitmore: I quit understanding how you write a webpage when CSS became mandatory. I used to handcode in HTML 3.2, but apparently now that doesn't work anymore and the user interfaces of all the "easy to use" software gives me hives and causes me to make stupid-looking sites that don't actually work.

I wouldn't mind signing up to be the person in charge of remembering every year to go find the working click-for-membership pages and providing the links to a person or a web form to update the How Hugos Work And How To Vote For Them page, though.

#490 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:11 PM:

P J Evans@ 468

It would be top-notch if the book notices could point to a stable url which then linked to the correct url for the worldcon in question, yes. Possibly the "Hugo Awards for Newbies"-type page that Elliot is suggesting would be a good stable url for same?

#491 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:14 PM:

Randolph @488:

I think the bigger danger would be that the Hugos would become a measure of how big your online social network is. If box-stuffing wars became commonplace, then the Hugos would really be decided by Scalzi, Gaiman, Takei, Meyer and a few other internet stars.

#492 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:18 PM:

I've been reminded that I need to explain what I'm doing when I moderate, to keep readers from wondering and worrying about it.

So, in re iamnothing: yes, he got zapped. No, it wasn't a summary execution. It was the last scene in a much longer story. ML newbies should not imagine that the same thing will happen to them. You have to work at it to get to that point.

Those who are curious, and are familiar with the quirks of View All By, can spool back and see history as it happened.

#493 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:20 PM:

Elliott Mason #484:

But, but but, isn't it already there? The "Participate" menu item in the banner, top & centre on the frontpage? And it drops down to additional information. (A website's frontpage has to do many things. I don't think there's much more they can do to signal how one can participitate in the Hugos without eroding the other requirements of a frontpage.)

#494 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:23 PM:

People don't remember how much odd, non-engineering-oriented fiction John W. Campbell published, just like they don't remember that Jim Baen published Joanna Russ.

#495 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:28 PM:

Soon Lee @493:

It does link to a lot of additional information. What it does *not* link to is an actual registration form; you have to find that yourself.

#496 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:32 PM:

Brad R. Torgersen @401: See, now, those are exactly the kind of unthinking cheap shots that make people dislike you, especially in situations when you haven't offset any of the nastiness by engaging with them in more positive ways. It does you no good.

Also, your argument is a false comparison. Here's the home version of the game, and thank you for playing.

#497 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:33 PM:

Re: anthologies, I took a SFlit class at MUN, and we used a combination of two anthologies which managed to do the job pretty well. I'm trying to remember which ones they were*; one was edited by Dozois, IIRC**. For novels we had Frankenstein, The Time Machine, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

The professor did say that he wasn't up to speed on recent SF, and I don't think that there was anything published since the nineties in there, but they were a pretty good overview of the field up to that point.

*Have I lost my syllabus? Yes. Did I get the books out of the library? Yes. They had a pretty good selection, though.
**One had a black cover and the other I remember as having a vague-pastel-shapes cover. Which describes roughly 90% of things. Heh.

#498 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:39 PM:

494
The Campbell who published Heinlein in the 40s was the Campbell who published Dune and Dragonflight in the 60s.
(I suspect the Sad Puppies prefer not to remember that.)

#499 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:43 PM:

Why are people talking about what would happen if everyone who reads SF voted in the Hugos? IMO, it's not a relevant question. The Hugos don't belong to the set of all people who read the genre; they belong to the worldcon, and the people who attend and/or support it. The set of all people who read SF can start their own award.

#500 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:44 PM:

We've had suggested the Golden Chesthair and the Triumphal Arch for a MilSF award. I semi-seriously propose a bust of Heinlein in Naval Academy Uniform.

Alex R @465: I would pay good money for a decent post-human bootcamp. Preferably something that's not my first two stabs:

1. Become aware in [bizarre combat chassis]; download combat training; dropped into a fight where every goes wrong immediately. (story takes place over about ten seconds sidereal time)

2. Simulate very possible situation endlessly. Including ones that teach [unintended ethical lesson].

(I would probably pay for a fair stab at those two to be honest)

#501 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:46 PM:

Apologies for the double-post, but a quick hunt through my shelves found the anthology I DID buy for that class, which was The Science Fiction Hall of Fame (v.1, 1929-1964), ed. Robert Silverberg. Whatever the other one was was the one edited by Gardner Dozois* and at least one other, and contained "The Girl Who Was Plugged In", "The Ship Who Sang", and "Burning Chrome". At least, I think I remember those stories being in it; we certainly read them**, and they're not in the Silverberg.


*"An SF anthology with Gardner Dozois as one of the editors" is possibly the least-helpful description of a book that isn't "the cover was BLUE!", I know. :p
**I got to write a paper titled "Radar Love: Long-distance Romance in the Futures of McCaffrey and Tiptree", so that's always fun.

#502 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:52 PM:

P J Evans @498: Exactly! Campbell published all kinds of things. The notion of John W. Campbell as the tireless defender of rivets and realism is sadly ahistorical.

I have no problem seeing how he connects with the winners of the Campbell Award. If someone is the hottest new writer in the field, Campbell would definitely have wanted to be the first address on their story submission list.

#503 ::: Niall ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:54 PM:

Cat @ 464:

3) They did not nominate anything by Vox Day.

The Sad Puppies slate doesn't include anything by him, but ... he posted his own "Rabid Puppies" slate, which overlapped significantly with the SP slate but also included more John C Wright and more of him.

I do wonder whether, in the categories where SP proposed fewer than 5 works, some of the SP nominators will go and get some additional ideas from the RP slate. The Editor Long Form SP list, for instance, includes four names, and the RP list includes those same four names plus VD.

(The threshold in Editor Long was 48 nominations last year. VD got 69 nominations to get on the ballot in novelette. 69 nominations would, in fact, have put him #3 in the Editor Long category last year, comfortably on the ballot.)

#504 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 04:05 PM:

BTW, another reason you can't lower the price of supporting memberships too far is that there are costs and labor associated with them. Worldcons can't afford to subsidize those memberships, and they usually don't have the spare labor to administer a system that's much more complicated than the one we have now.

#505 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 04:15 PM:

504
At the very least, the costs of printing and mailing out stuff - even if you do it electronically, there are still costs associated, because someone has to do that work.

#506 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 04:46 PM:

UrsulaV @ 409: "So if you don't like the Hugos because they are not manly hairy-chested SF, and you feel like they reward a thing you don't read...then...why try to muddy the waters?"

It is a matter of lineage, of pride of place. Brad puts it quite clearly when he writes @ 176: "It's a bit like the Stanley Cup. Every Hugo final ballot adds another layer to the base of the cup, with names inscribed on it. Those names and the titles of those works will be on the base of that cup forever. Like Romans passing through Gaul and leaving inscriptions on a boulder: we were here, we came to such a place, and were counted. So, if myself and the others can manage to secure a nomination for Kevin J. Anderson or L.E. Modesitt, Jr., it's a good thing (in my book) because these men will not be allowed to pass from the field without the field's most venerable touchstone having their names (and the titles of their works) inscribed on it."

(Note with a sigh the requisite references to Romans, sports, and men.) In summary: it is theirs; it has been taken from them; they will win it back. They are a sub-genre that believes themselves to be the genre.

Which is strange: as sub-genres go, they certainly aren't the one with the silent numbers. When the sad puppies* speak ominously of "the masses of sff fans who haven't been voting," my first reaction is "Oh, you mean genre romance readers?" Or if sff romance readers have been voting, they haven't been voting for that portion of their reading list. A selection bias would make sense: there is a general understanding that romance is a "guilty pleasure," not to be thrust into contests of good taste. (I'm not condoning that perspective, mind.)

My sense is that milSF feels itself relegated to a similarly marginal position. Oh John Ringo No captures the zeitgeist: we may read milSF, but it isn't something we should be proud of. It is a little silly, isn't it? If you're used to your interests being enshrined at the center of social space, that comes as a double insult: not only aren't you not on top anymore, but now you're supposed to keep your guns and uniforms discreetly out of view?

Insofar as sad puppyism is a response to the transformation of milSF into a Guilty Pleasure, I can't help but a bit sympathetic. It's no fun to feel as if you ought to be embarrassed about what you like. But the attempt to drive it (back) into the center of the genre, on the assumption that any other arrangement could only be the result of elite snobbery and/or political correctness gone amok--that's as clear a case of entitlement as you'll find.

* if any self-identifying sad puppy cares to suggest an alternate appellation, I'd be happy--eager, actually--to use it.

#507 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 04:47 PM:

(This thread is moving faster than I can easily keep up with; apologies.)

Lee @457: Exactly. The difference between $10 and $40 only doesn't seem significant if you've never had to live on $100 (or less) a week. I have the impression that this is a major reason why the younger fan demographic considers the Hugos not for them.

Regarding the Hugo packet, "$10 to vote, $40 gets you e-copies of all the fiction!" might actually draw more $40 memberships than the status quo.

Cat @464: Taking suggestions from a broader pool does seem like a step in the right direction. As does distancing themselves from Vox Day, although it's not clear to me that they were ever terribly fond of him in the first place.

I didn't follow spokespeople's antics terribly closely last year and I don't plan to this year either, but ... let's just say, you know those people who had to move out of their houses this past year because of death threats from what seems like an ideologically-related movement? Some of them are friends of friends. I don't have a lot of slack to cut Internet reactionaries just now.

ebear @475: re "get uncomfortable when there is stuff that includes other people too and it gets widespread attention", a friend of mine proposed the following analogy: suppose your musical taste is very narrow, Top 40 radio hits and nothing but. One day the Top 40 radio station in your city hires Andy Travis, who switches to a new format including all sorts of other stuff. There'll still be the occasional Top 40, but only if Andy likes it, and Andy's picky. You might be moved to write a cranky letter to the owners. And the owners' reaction is probably gonna be "we hired Mr. Travis because we were bored with Top 40. If you insist on listening to nothing else you can still get 'em on tape."

The analogy breaks down because (a) it's a lot easier to read nothing but the particular subgenre of SF you like, today, than it would have been to continue listening to nothing but Top 40 in your car, in 1978; (b) a "cranky letter to the owners" is not what we are dealing with here. Still, it's the only analogy I've found that gives me any handle on what is going on in the Sad Puppies' heads on an emotional level.

Josh @479: re cost, see Lee @457. I understand where you are coming from on the ballot box stuffing but I don't think $40/vote represents a significant hurdle for an organized campaign and therefore I don't think lowering the bar will be a problem. I do agree that awareness and process accessibility are a big problem, but I'm worried that it might be harder to change that than to introduce a new, lower-priced membership tier. (For instance, note how Scalzi's criticism of the timing of the Hugo ballot announcement has been completely ignored.)

Lydy @482: The "younger fan demographic" I'm thinking of does demonstrate their engagement - with fanfic, with cosplay, with lengthy critical essays (sometimes the format is a little GIF-heavy for my taste, but you cannot fault their analytical chops), with just about everything but money.

I can't think of a good way to engage that as a filter, though.

#508 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 04:58 PM:

heresiarch @506: "Oh John Ringo No captures the zeitgeist: we may read milSF, but it isn't something we should be proud of. It is a little silly, isn't it?"

That's a beautiful example of how the SPs and everyone else seem to be on different pages about what people do/don't like about their favorite stuff.

I understood Oh John Ringo No to be criticizing the unrealistic portrayal of very nearly everything (particularly since the book in question was supposed to be a near-future technothriller), the misogyny, the stereotypical conception of MANLINESS, and the main character being really quite an awful person and therefore not a good wish-fulfillment audience-surrogate protagonist. "MilSF" was only being dissed to the extent that any of these things are furniture of the subgenre.

They seem to be under the impression that this is a criticism of the implied politics of the entire subgenre. I can get there from here -- see what I wrote on my blog about "the literary merit of right-wing SF" -- but you don't have to make this set of mistakes when writing MilSF, and indeed I have several books on my shelf that don't.

#509 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 05:11 PM:

Zack @507:

This is just to say

I have taken
the line breaks
that were in
your comment

And which
you were probably
unaware of
until you hit post

Forgive me
they were distracting
so intrusive
and so unnecessary.

#510 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 05:12 PM:

Teresa: the comment you're responding to @492 doesn't show up in the thread (although it is in the VAB).

#511 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 05:13 PM:

Zack #507:

Riffing off that: it's the people who are nostalgic for Top 40 music from the 70s (to pick an arbitrary decade), who are upset because the Top 40 of today doesn't play 70s-style music anymore. You can still find 70s-style new music, and the occasional 70s-style song might find its way into the Top 40, but that will never be good enough. They want to change the Top 40 so it only plays 70s-style new music.

#512 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 05:24 PM:

Wallace @426:

TNH at #387, to Brad Torgorsen

I think you're lying when you say you didn't notice my remarks to you.

I don't think that's the sort of remark editors should make about fellow professionals. Just my 2 cents.
Hello there, effectively anonymous first-time commenter who's saying something tendentious on behalf of another commenter who's flounced. What you have there is a stone dead non-issue.

Brad Torgersen was at no point treating me like a fellow professional. The same goes for his behavior towards all the other pros in this thread, of whom there are more than you might imagine.

(Note: I don't think pros are deserving of any more consideration and politeness than anyone else; and in my opinion, neither should you. It's a false value.)

I've been treating Brad like a commenter on Making Light, which is what he is when he's here.

As it happens, I think it can be quite appropriate to call someone out for lying when they appear to be doing so shamelessly and repeatedly. Selling some stories doesn't give anyone the right to do that, and you have a very strange view of the industry if you think it does.

#513 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 05:42 PM:

Charlie Stross @436:

I think a sea lion just sneezed under a bridge. Ick.
Isn't language wonderful? Less than a year ago, no one would have known what to make of that sentence.

#514 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 05:53 PM:

Em @ 501: The SF Hall of Fame anthologies are terrific, and very useful, and still in print. The Gardner Dozois anthology you used may have been one of his "Year's Best" collections--also terrific, in my opinion, but obviously narrower in focus. Unfortunately, I needed a parallel fantasy Hall of Fame anthology, and anything I could find was out of print . . . which annoyed and puzzled me, quite a bit, actually.

But I do second your recommendation. The Wesleyan Anthology of SF is also good, goes up to 2008, is reasonably priced and still in print, for another recommendation. But a fantasy reviewing the genre? Not so much available, it appears.

#515 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 06:07 PM:

praisegod barebones @510: I know. Idumea Arbacoochee nudged me because I committed an intervention without leaving any markers or explanations. She was concerned about onlookers who might have seen iamnothing momentarily bob to the surface, then vanish again in a vast silent swirl of muddy water.

One of the odd features of VAB is that it really is A, including unpublished comments that can't be read from the normal front-end interface.

#516 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 06:12 PM:

Regarding Heinlein, he's got a triple barrier for current readers -- all have been mentioned in parts, but just to round them up: 1) Yup, dated. The assumptions of the 70's and earlier don't necessarily fly today, and they're not old enough to invoke "the past is a different country". 2) The Suck Fairy and her sisters have been through with a vengance. 3) "Hamlet is derivative" -- Heinlein's work is so fundamental that much of what was new and excellent when he published, is now routine (and yes he was good, but not on Shakespeare's level).

To my mind, Asimov gets hit even harder with those, and there's a lot of others in their company.

Mercedes Lackey: Aside from the "comfort reading" factor, Valdemar is notable in that we get to see a writer mastering her craft, and gaining skill over time. As I've said before: In Arrows of the Queen, you can see the "seams" in the novel -- the second in the trilogy is much smoother, and the third is showing some polish. And then over the later books and trilogies, we can continue to follow her development as a writer, with increasing expertise and facility of style. This is an object lesson for aspiring writers: "You will get better".

By the way, UrsulaV: May I say that you are being exceptionally witty in this thread? Totally turning out the bot mots....

#517 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 06:24 PM:

It would in fact be possible to rewrite The Hugo Awards web site so that the only thing it told you was geared toward people who know nothing about the award and want to be involved. It would do that by sacrificing everything else the site needs to do. For example, information on how to submit works (you can't). Information about past winners. Information about eligibility. We could throw it all away and put a single page with nice big type optimized for one and only one purpose. But we're not going to do that. Instead, (as noted above), there is a Participate tab, under which the first entry is I Want to Vote, the first paragraph of which reads:

Each year’s Hugo Awards is run by the individual World Science Fiction Convention hosting that year’s Hugo Awards. For information on voting on any given year’s Hugo Awards, go to the Worldcon web site and follow the link to the current year’s Worldcon.
As long as we want a completely different organization running each Worldcon, and as long as we want that organization running that year's Worldcon, this is in my opinion the best we can expect.

It's more difficult than you think to remember to edit all of these links every single year. (I'm one of the people who has to do it.) There is a sidebar on the existing Hugo site that points to the two seated Worldcons. It has not been uncommon for months to go by before someone notices that we forgot to update it. I know it sounds easy, but you have to remember to do it.

Of course, we could centralize everything, have every Worldcon run by the same body, have the Hugo Awards run by the same committee every year, and then nothing would ever move. I don't see this happening. (Although it's clear from the messages we get at TheHugoAwards.org, many people, including professionals within the SF/F industry, think there already is a single central body that administers the Worldcon and are surprised to hear that there isn't a Board of Directors making the decisions.)

-=-=-

Regarding those who would have us have a stronger "anti-ballot stuffing" policy: How? As long as the individuals are casting their ballots (as opposed to someone "voting the phone book"), the fact that there might be a whole bunch of identical-looking ballots listing every candidate from someone's "slate" isn't something you can prohibit. Unless you think you want to give an individual person the power to decide whether you are a "worthy" voter or not.

It really doesn't even matter if the person voting paid for his/her own membership or not. I paid for my wife's membership; would you suggest she's not allowed to vote? If I bought my mother (the person who turned me on to reading SF/F) a Worldcon membership, would you prohibit her from voting?

Be very wary of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Furthermore, proposals that amount to an individual deciding whether other people are "worthy" to vote amount to living down to the deprecations the Sad Puppies made in the beginning when they insisted that votes were being ignored/thrown away because the "wrong people" were nominated.

If there is some sort of "sweep," then IMO the San Puppies will never ever be able to legitimately claim that the administrators were suppressing their votes in any future year where they don't control things.

-=-=-=-

For those who ask what they think the "end game" of the SP campaign is and what they would do if they could destroy the credibility that the Hugos have accrued over the years: I don't think they care. If they can destroy the Hugo Awards, they will declare victory and preen about how wonderful they are for having destroyed them.

#518 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 06:29 PM:

@ 516 David Harmon -- Suddenly I feel crass!

I have woefully little novel insight into the situation--I gotta try to make up the slack somewhere.

(And I totally agree re: Lackey--but her quality as a comfort read is extraordinary. I don't expect immortality for my own work, or even to age all that well, but "I read them when I'm sick or sad or lonely" is the thing I aspire to most. Comfort is woefully underappreciated in the world.)

#519 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 06:39 PM:

Kevin Standlee @517: If they can destroy the Hugo Awards, they will declare victory and preen about how wonderful they are for having destroyed them.

I’m pretty sure they want to own the Hugo Awards — not in a technical sense involving administrating the awards, but in the sense of having their tastes consistently endorsed by the outcome.

If they destroy the awards, they’ll blame their opposition for it.

#520 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 06:46 PM:

There is a diary today at daily Kos, about what conservatives want when they say they want their country back. It's relevant, I think, in that it's the same mindset.

#521 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 06:48 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @499

But if the readers bought supporting memberships, wouldn't they count as supporters of WorldCon? Obviously only a subset of science fiction and fantasy readers are going to do this just because they saw an add in the backs of their books, but if they did--wouldn't that be okay?

Niall @503

Regarding Vox Day--yes, he's still a Sad Puppy, there's no doubt about it, and I'm not arguing otherwise. I'm sure the saner heads among them wish like crazy they could be rid of him, but he is not cooperating. It's easy to get into bed with a jerk. It's harder to get out again.

Zack @507

I'm not by any means arguing you have to sympathize with them or listen to their spokespeople. I'm very sorry for those people who have had to hide from right wing thugs and can understand why you would be minded to Cut No Slack right now.

heresiarch @506

The Sad Puppies is actually their own name for themselves. At one point last year I think they tried to change it to Evil League Of Evil, but it doesn't seem to have taken. I try not to gloat about the name they chose but every now and then recognition of its appropriateness creeps guiltily across the back of my mind.

#522 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 06:49 PM:

I do want to say (with the fast-growing thread making it harder for me to find who said it as I'm running out the door) that Scalzi's arguments about the announcement date were not ignored -- they were indeed looked at by a lot of people concerned with the nomination process. The arguments just weren't agreed with enough to change what the administrators were doing.

#523 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 06:50 PM:

The onosecond has struck!

an *ad* in the backs of their books.

#524 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 07:13 PM:

Teresa, #499: The Hugos don't belong to the set of all people who read the genre; they belong to the worldcon, and the people who attend and/or support it.

If that's the case, then the Hugos should not be representing themselves as awards for "the best science fiction", but as awards for "the best science fiction read by the Worldcon clique".

Now, if what you mean by that is "they belong to the people who are willing to self-select into that group by paying a membership fee," that's a different claim and one I don't have an issue with. But it didn't sound to me as though that was what you were saying. I really would like to see more people who read and love science fiction voting on the Hugos, whether they attend conventions or not.

Kevin, #517: Y'know, that sounds a lot like you sniping down someone else's reasonable suggestion (1) by Patiently Explaining why it would be Absolutely Impossible to implement (where "absolutely impossible" appears to be a synonym for "not the way things have been done") and (2) using a shit-ton of Excluded Middle fallacy in the process. This is the same kind of thing I see happen every time somebody makes a suggestion about increasing the accessibility of the Worldcon to people who are younger, poorer, or both, and I tell you what, after a while it gets really fucking old.

Also, AFAIK, no one has proposed any actual "anti-ballot-stuffing" policy. Teresa did mention, back @43, that there are some things she would consider signs of "this is dodgy, and should perhaps be more closely examined":

What would I consider dodgy? Obvious gaffes like the ones in 1986, of course. With computerized voting systems, I'd look for some of the same characteristics you see in spamming and astroturfing. You know the drill:

-- Too many similar submissions from one IP address, or from a small group of closely related IP addresses, or from addresses used for other malfeasance.
-- Inadequate differentiation, esp. minor quirks or errors duplicated in supposedly unrelated ballots.
-- Voting an agenda and nothing else. Real fans will have at least a few opinions about other categories.

(There is more context in her comment than I've quoted; I recommend that if you want to engage with this, you read all of it first.)

#525 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 07:17 PM:

Zack @ 508: I understood Oh John Ringo No to be criticizing the unrealistic portrayal of very nearly everything (particularly since the book in question was supposed to be a near-future technothriller)

Thank you, Zack. You have just crystallized something that'd been running around in my head for years, literally, that I only just caught. I'm afraid it involves a disagreement with you.

I've long wondered why a book written more to me as an audience (Kushiel's Dart) and one not so written (Ghost) occupied the same low-rent soft porn niche in my head. All things being equal, especially the quality of the writing, I'd expect to value the book written in a niche I like (pansexual) over the one with an ideology I don't (male supremist).

One of the relative virtues of Ghost and the books following it is that they are thoroughly, obviously, and (I think) deliberately unrealistic. I mean, the guy randomly knows, fbpvnyyl naq pneanyyl, gung tvey'f zbz? Come on! And he finds a pbybal bs ybfg Fpbgf va Nfvn? I realize the Gor Effect will make some readers swallow this whole. I suspect most don't.

I suspect I slightly underrated the book, that I fell into the trap of not believing the author was doing something on purpose, because I sometimes underrate people with whom I disagree.


the misogyny, the stereotypical conception of MANLINESS, and the main character being really quite an awful person and therefore not a good wish-fulfillment audience-surrogate protagonist.

If there are enough books being voluntarily read, consistently over time, with a particular viewpoint expressed in them, I assume those readers share something of that viewpoint. There are people for whom at least the bolded part up there does make a good wish-fulfillment protagonist, especially given a different set of norms.

As for horrible human beings and human beings doing horrible things as protagonists, I would submit Kaleidoscope Century and An Exchange of Hostages for your consideration.

And now another thought begins to surface, again making Ghost look relatively better*:

Ghost is paleoconservative; Kushiel's Dart is neoliberal.

I'll have to think that one over.

*"There's always a choice! This one is a choice between 'bad' and 'worse'--which is a difference much more poignant than that between 'good' and 'better.'"

#526 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 07:33 PM:

525
At least, with An Exchange of Hostages, change happens, and it changes more as the series goes on.

#527 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 07:35 PM:

Lee @524 If that's the case, then the Hugos should not be representing themselves as awards for "the best science fiction", but as awards for "the best science fiction read by the Worldcon clique".

Who's to say that the WSFS can't call the winners of the Hugo Award "the best science fiction"? The people who are giving the award think it's for "the best."

In any award situation, one should always mentally include the words "according to the people giving the award." This applies to everything from the Hugos to the restaurant ratings in your local newspaper.

#528 ::: Deirdre Saoirse Moen ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 07:43 PM:

First, let me say: I'm not under embargo.

I'm in sort of an ironic situation, because the fan writing I'm best known for last year was about the life of a social conservative (Moira Greyland) and indeed the foundations of how she became so. And, were I in her shoes, I may well have followed the same path: her parents both identified as gay and raped her repeatedly; her mother is well known for being an icon in feminist spirituality.

So, despite the narrative that was in fact used by Sad Puppies favorite Vox Day in several of his blog posts, I don't fit the slate because I am a liberal feminist writer (and bothered to critique one aspect of what Mike Resnick said).

Nevertheless, I'm in the very weird situation of feeling that if I were shut out because of Sad Puppies 3, I'd feel less hurt than being shut out because, once again, what happens to the disadvantaged in science fiction fandom is examined about as much as the tortured child in Omelas.

Here's my modest proposal: a voter/nominator must hold an attending membership in one of the qualifying conventions, and nominating or voting makes that membership non-transferable.

Granted, I don't know what percentage of Hugo nominations or votes come from supporting members. Yes, it would make nominating more expensive, but that makes block voting at least more expensive.

#529 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 07:56 PM:

Aww. I missed a chance to contribute to the drama. Also to post the official YouTube link to "Roll a D6" (thank you Lee @422) which might have actually contributed something.

@Nancy Lebovitz, 344: "Converge towards ... modern militaries, and it probably shouldn't." Thank you for having a thought I have almost-had, and expressing it where I could find it. I might even say converge towards Vietnam-era militaries. I want to say "There's more novel weapons and tactics in the Deliverator bit of Snow Crash... " but I wouldn't be able to write the other clause of that sentence. Is "Reskinned Vietnam-era MilSF" its own genre or just the bottom 90% of a better genre?

@ Skinny Puppies: I am always fond of people who won't bother to read my words but expect me to read theirs. Also I am fond of the "I didn't notice the suspension, because I am important and busy, but within less than eight minutes of being reinstated I had a post up" coincidence. Delightful! (5:08, TNH says "Give me a few minutes"; 5:17 Brad posts.)

@ Paying for a Hugo vote: I am, I learn, a "reader" and not a fan. Which is fine and grand; I knew there was a distinction and now I have the vocabulary to match. I am, like Wyldkat, a person who didn't realize that voting for the Hugos was something I could do. I am unlike Wyldkat, in that I am not likely to do so in future. I'm not a fan, and I'm happy voting directly with my dollars, in bookstores. I will note in passing that the Puppies' idea of Hugoworthy material and mine seems to have almost no points of correspondence.

#530 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 07:57 PM:

Deirdre @528 Hey wait a minute! If you restrict voting to WorldCon attendees, *I* would never get to vote!

I don't have the kind of money it takes to go to WorldCon even when it's in the country (or rather I could, if I was fool enough to take it out of my retirement account, but I won't do that.) So that would bar me from voting for not being rich.

I only recently started caring about the Hugos. But I find that idea rather upsetting.

#531 ::: Blume ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:01 PM:

#498 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 03:39 PM:

494
The Campbell who published Heinlein in the 40s was the Campbell who published Dune and Dragonflight in the 60s.
(I suspect the Sad Puppies prefer not to remember that.)

What are you trying to argue? That Dune was some how a bad book or that people can't like Dune and Heinlein?

#532 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:03 PM:

me, #524, and Kevin: My error, someone did suggest an actual anti-ballot-stuffing measure -- Steven DesJardins @58. His suggestion has the significant advantage of not requiring the vote-counters to make any kind of determination at all; he proposes that the number of nomination slots per ballot in any given category be one or two fewer than the number of candidate slots on the voting ballot. IOW, if you want to keep the number of final slots at 5, allow nomination of only 3 or 4 works in a category; if you want to keep the number of nomination slots at 5, increase the number of works on the final ballot to 6 or 7. This would have the effect of making it vastly more difficult for even a concerted "vote the slate" effort to game the system, and it could be implemented (in a couple of years) by way of the regular "submit it to the Business Meeting and let people vote on it there" process.

I frankly don't see any major downside to this. If anyone else does, I would appreciate hearing it. Note: I don't consider "but the number of nomination slots and the number of voting slots must be equal!" to be a disqualifying condition without a much stronger reason than "just because".

#533 ::: Deirdre Saoirse Moen ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:06 PM:

Cat @530:

I said *attending membership*, not *attendee*. Totally different levels of cost.

Though not an insignificant jump.

#534 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:14 PM:

I find myself wondering what problem making the Hugo voting more accessible is trying to solve. I worry that it's that we're trying to please the Sad Puppies. In which case 1) fuck that noise and 2) can't happen, anyway. Is the voting process broken? I'm not clear that it is. The institution of a supporting membership is of long standing, and seems to work pretty well, to me. The information on how to become a voter isn't instantly obvious, but a very little amount of work on Google will provide that information.

To be clear, I had absolutely no idea how the Hugos were chosen for the first ten or so years of my fannish existence. (I was a reader before that, and had even less of a clue.) I was perfectly happy borrowing books from the library that said Hugo Winner on them, and generally wasn't too interested in the entire thing. Over the years, I became more interested. I also started reading more current fiction, and buying and borrowing books that were of recent publication. Until my reading habits changed enough that I was reading stuff recently published, voting for the Hugos wasn't relevant.

I've voted for the Hugos twice, so far. The proximate cause was Chicon being close enough to actually go to a Worldcon for the first time. I kind of really liked being in the auditorium when Jo won for _Among Others_ which I not only had voted for, but considered one of the best books I had ever read in the genre. It was exciting.

I don't feel that my path towards becoming a voter had any stumbling blocks put in the way by WSFS. Mostly, it was me and where I was and how I was interacting with my fanac and my fiction reading. And greater visibility would probably not have gotten me involved earlier.

I find it...I'm not even sure what. People talk about feeling disenfranchised from the Hugo process. It reminds me of the various ways, over my life, I've assumed I was unwelcome and unwanted in various fannish venues. Every time I actually ventured forth, I was welcomed and felt at home. The barrier was always me, and never them. I do not know what to do about this automatic assumption of disenfranchisement which so many fans, including myself, have. It is a weird aspect of our subculture, one that both separates and binds us. I don't know what to do about it. But I suspect that most of the ways of tinkering with the Hugo voting process won't address the root problem.

#535 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:16 PM:

Deidre @533 Oh, I'm sorry; I didn't realize those were two different things... (googles) I'm not finding the difference... wait. You mean pay for a membership as if I were going to go, and then not go, saving myself the travel and room costs?

So instead of me paying $40 to vote, you'd want me to have to pay $210 to vote?

I... don't think I would vote then. I'd basically have to give up a local con to afford it. If you mean to drive me away, it would work, probably

I don't like that proposal at all. Fortunately I don't think you can get it past the business meeting.

#536 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:17 PM:

I have been trying to find this out by googling, but either the answer isn't out there or I'm looking in the wrong places. Can any one tell me just how long the category of "supporting member" has existed? I haven't been to many Worldcons in my life, but I have a vague memory (probably back in the days when attending membership was cheaper) of there only being one category of member . . . unless you were a site-supporter, buying a "pre-membership" (can't remember what they are called, either, which is brilliant of me--not) in order to support a particular site selection bid. And I'm not sure that that was quite the same thing, particularly since it had to be bought at at a con (I think). Or was it?

I suspect it isn't relevant to the current situation at all, anyway, but I was trying to figure out the original logic behind the "supporting membership" category and for that, I thought I'd need some history. So--people who know more about the history of Worldcon than I ever will, any answers? Did people who bought memberships to support the alternate sites--the ones that didn't win--also get what would now be called a supporting membership? Or . . . why and how did "supporting membership" become a thing, does anyone know?

#537 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:21 PM:

Er--I should specify, I'm not building up to an argument for doing away with supporting memberships, or for any rule change at all, for that matter. I'm just curious about attitudes, and how they might have shifted or developed.

#538 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:31 PM:

498
How about that they're wishing for something that didn't exist even when they were younger?

#539 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:34 PM:

536
I know they had supporting (aka non-attending) memberships at least as far back as 1979. I'm assuming they existed before that, but I have no handy documents to check.

#540 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:36 PM:

Blume @ #531 writes:

> What are you trying to argue? That Dune was some how a bad book or that people can't like Dune and Heinlein?

I'm not the original poster, but I took it as simply saying that Campbell did not have one dimensional tastes, and perhaps also that his tastes changed over time.

#541 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:37 PM:

Mary Frances #536:

You could have bought a Supporting Membership at ConAdian (1994), the first to have its own website, so there have been Supporting Members for at least twenty years.

The Hugo awards have moved with the times albeit at a sedate (some say glacial) pace but I think there are good reasons to make changes to the WSFS constitution hard to achieve: having to garner enough overall support to pass one year & having to wait a year until the next meeting for any change to be ratified means that any change must have strong and continued (at least over two years) support of its members.

#542 ::: Deirdre Saoirse Moen ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 08:48 PM:

Cat @ 535

I typically pay around $150 for Worldcon attending memberships, but that's because I presupport and vote, too.

I don't know what percentage of nominators are supporting members (and never attending members). For nominations, generally you have to be a member (supporting or attending) of either this year's or last year's or next year's con.

My idea was that one of those three would have to be attending. Not every year.

Now, not knowing what percentage of people would be shut out by this, I don't know how good a proposal it is. If 1-2% of the traditional nominating pool would be shut out, that's really different than if 15%-20% are.

It's just the easiest thing I can think of. Every proposal would shut out some people who shouldn't be. Unfortunately.

#543 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 09:05 PM:

Kevin Standlee #517: So, you're saying, that with several people working on the website, there's no possible way to set up an E-mail reminder for the lot of them, rigged for delivery next year after site selection? I call shenanigans, given I could do that on my home computer.

UrsulaV #518: Naw, you're being insightful too, and definitely not crass. Also, you're not "pointing it at" individual people, but the Sad Puppies are pretty ridiculous, so why not laugh? It's way better than flaming them, and I for one couldn't hope to match Teresa's sophisticated forbearance (special sale on rope today!) with Brad &co.

And like I've said upthread, this sort of move does seem to be one of the reasons why the Hugos and Worldcon are set up the way they are. That's why I don't think they're a long-term threat -- they're already triggering immune responses, and do you really think they can keep mobilizing their troops year after year? I don't ... at least not like what they've been trying. And I do see some chance of them evolving into an ordinary fannish contingent that just adds to our numbers, which would be M.F.A..

#544 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 09:07 PM:

P J Evans@538:I think that's close. There are a number of interesting memory biases that can contribute to this. So, it is possible some of the SP's actually recall the world as they describe. It's also possible that their assertions don't match their memory but are just there as a self justification.

#545 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 09:09 PM:

Deirdre @542
Presupporting? I'm not familiar with that either (googles some more) so it's buying a part of membership in a Worldcon that might never happen, and it's cheaper but maybe some other bid wins and you wasted your money?

Because that wouldn't work for me; I'm not the gambling type. I realize it's a mental limitation but there we have it.

And while not being able to vote in the Hugos is rather an upsetting idea, if I spent money to be able to vote and then the bid went elsewhere and I couldn't vote after spending even more money than it costs now, words would not be able to encompass the incandescence of my rage. It would approach Sad Puppy proportions.

So it's better that I stay away from that kind of thing.

And while buying one attending membership would let me nominate for three years, it would only let me vote for one.

I like the "let's get more people involved" solution. If we get more science fiction and fantasy reading people involved in WorldCon, most of them won't be Sad Puppies and Sad Puppy control over the nominations is reduced.

And nomination and voting remains something I can afford to do, so I make no bones about having a personal interest in this.

#546 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 09:14 PM:

Mary Frances, I know that voting in site selection gives you a supporting membership in the winning convention, no matter who you vote for, and has as long as I've been involved (my first worldcon was in 1980). Back then you could convert to attending for no more than an amount equal to the voting fee, but that is no longer true. It is still true that voting in site selection, and converting promptly, is the cheapest way to get a membership, but you will have spent your money two years in advance.

#547 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 09:14 PM:

545
'Presupporting' means that you supported the site that won the bid before site selection.
Everyone who votes in site selection gets an attending membership, as I understand it, and if you pay more money, you can convert it to attending (cheapest early on, goes up as the convention gets closer).

#548 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 09:14 PM:

Dierdre @542:

It also depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to reduce the pool of nominators, to make it resemble the average WorldCon goer more than it does now, then your proposal of requiring an attending membership (if not actual attendance) to nominate would serve that end.

But it seems to me the discussion here at least is leaning in the opposite direction, to enlarge the pool of nominators. It seems to be taken as accepted one of the Sad Puppies complaints (backed by first-hand testimony of affected folk here) that many people don't participate in the Hugo process because they don't know they can, or think it's other-people, not them.

I'm fairly certain the "how do we stop ballot-stuffing" discussion stopped short of making it harder for "legitimate" fans to participate. Rather, I think "we" support the honest participation of more fans, but oppose their manipulation (e.g. pulling in more fans but telling them how to nominate/vote).

#549 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 09:17 PM:

548
That's how I feel.
A lot of fans can't afford to go to conventions outside their area, or can only do it once in a long while: for them supporting memberships are how they take part.

#550 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 09:22 PM:

The problem I'm trying to solve by making nominating and voting more accessible (in the sense of getting the word out that they're more accessible than a lot of people know, not changing policies) is partly getting more people in on something they'd probably enjoy and partly diluting whatever voting blocks might form.

#551 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 09:31 PM:

Charlie Stross @439 -
I actually ended up liking what Orbit did. Putting a significant excerpt of the novels in the Hugo voter's packet, followed up by lowering the price on all the e-book versions seems reasonable. I just wish they'd announced that they were going to lower the price at the same time they announced they were only offering an excerpt.


UrsulaV @455
@452 Mary Frances - And the corollary there is that I honestly don't think Heinlein could get a publisher for his juveniles today...unless they'd kept pace with the rest of the field, which I assume he was a savvy enough commercial author to do.

I've argued before that Heinlein, if he hadn't changed a word but was writing today, of *course* would have a hard time winning a Hugo. If his books were published as-is today they'd be ignoring the vast conversation that occurred in SFF between then and now.

BUT, if Heinlein were still alive and writing today, he would have lived through all that conversation and, being a highly intelligent and savvy writer, would be writing different things in conversation with all the SFF in the last few decades.

That river has passed. You all can't cross it again.


Lydy Nickerson @534:
I find myself wondering what problem making the Hugo voting more accessible is trying to solve. I worry that it's that we're trying to please the Sad Puppies. In which case 1) fuck that noise and 2) can't happen, anyway.

No, desire to increase participation in Hugo nomination and voting pre-dates Sad Puppies, AFAIK. Most members of WSFS who care at all would welcome more participation. The more people involved the better the results.

It's not as simple as lowering the cost for a supporting membership, though changes to the constitution to address that have been proposed (and passed, I think, but don't have time to look).


I wonder if publishers might have some concerns about WorldCon receiving extra money above a "Voting membership" for a "Voting membership plus Hugo Voter Packet", contents supplied for free by them.

#552 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 09:48 PM:

P J Evans @547
'Presupporting' means that you supported the site that won the bid before site selection.
Everyone who votes in site selection gets an attending membership, as I understand it, and if you pay more money, you can convert it to attending (cheapest early on, goes up as the convention gets closer).

I think you mean "Everyone who votes in site selection gets a supporting membership, as I understand it, and if you pay more money, you can convert it to attending (cheapest early on, goes up as the convention gets closer)."

Which is true.

#553 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:03 PM:

Lee @524: Did I just hear you volunteer to work on the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee and do the work?

David Harmon @543: Did I just hear you volunteer to work on the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee and do the work?

What you're talking about as "exclusionary" and "shenanigans" are IMO "the people who are willing to do the work have done what they're doing. If someone else wants to do the work, they're going to have to step forward and do the work and convince the WSFS Mark Protection Committee [the group that manages the Worldcon service mark on things like The Hugo Award] that they can do it better than the people who are doing it right now."

Mary Frances @536: As far as I know, Supporting Memberships go back nearly to the beginning of Worldcon, and possibly before the Hugo Awards. In any event, they're mentioned in the earliest copies of the constitution I can find online, that being in the 1970s.

The way I've characterized it is that what we call the supporting membership is your actual membership dues to the World Science Fiction Society for that year. The difference between that and the cost of an attending membership is the "convention supplement," required of attendees. Just like many organizations require you to be a member to attend their annual event, but also charge a fee on top of already being a paid-up member in the Society, WSFS requires everyone to be a member, and includes the cost of membership in the attendance price.

Cat @545: Worldcon bids cost money. Rather large amounts of it. (The 2002 San Jose bid had a budget of about $30,000, not including the personal travel expenses of the people doing the bidding.) Bids have to raise money to pay for the cost of bidding. So they solicit donations in the form of "pre-supporting memberships" (and many other names and levels) that are donations from people who think that Site X would be a good idea and want to help pay for the campaign, including the parties. If the bid wins, you usually (not always) get credit toward your membership in the winning Worldcon. If the bid loses, the bid thanks you for your support.

It's not as though these bids are being submitted by well-funded Convention & Visitor Bureaus. They're completely fan-run and paid for our of our pockets. On top of that $30K that San Jose in 2002 budgeted and raised -- we ended up not spending all of it because our primary opponent dropped out at the end -- I spent something around $50K out of my own pocket traveling to promote the bid and then the Worldcon over a six-year period.

In any event, if you want to be a member every year (so you can both nominate and vote on the Hugos), but can only attend now and then, what you want to do is vote in site selection every year, even if you mark No Preference ("I Don't Care"). When you do so, the money you pay to vote on Site Selection buys you a supporting membership in the Worldcon two years from now (including Hugo nominating/voting rights). Then at that Worldcon, you vote on the election for the two-years-hence Worldcon, paying the fee then, and the cycle continues. (I've been doing this continually now since 1984, so I'm always buying my Worldcon membership N years in advance, where N has varied between 2 and 3.)

UG @551: In fact, WSFS did pass a structural change that allowed the Advance Supporting Membership fee (what you pay to vote for site selection) to go down, and as soon as the new rules was in effect, Worldcons lowered the ASM (and the Supporting membership, which is based on the ASM) from $60 to $40 immediately. Based on the current structure, it's unlikely to go any lower than that.

#554 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:16 PM:

Kevin: From this seat, when someone is sussing out whether an idea makes sense in light of details they know they don't have all of, and whether there are reasons it might or might not work that they want to keep in mind, and like that, swooping in with "Did I just hear you volunteer to work on the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee and do the work?" feels very squelching. They're not nearly to the point of working up a specific proposal and the work of steering it through - they're many steps from that. And for some of us, the charge that if we're not immediately prepared to engage in those administrative stages we should just shut up and drop the whole thing is an unpleasantly familiar suppressive one.

Since I don't think, given what I've read from you over the years, you have such an intent, I thought I'd point it out. More actively: I've seen you provide generous support to measures you don't approve of so that they get a fair hearing. That's excellent stuff - I've cited your history of it as an example of Doing Administration Right in other contexts, in fact. But right here it seems...mismatched to those particular threads of conversation.

In the spirit of fairness, I will admit to having been in kind of an unsettled state since Teresa's "this is the Worldcon award, and others can go do their own thing" post. But then I may well not be the only one in that state, too.

#555 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:22 PM:

552
Yeah, brain fail.

#556 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:25 PM:

Um, in my #554, I write as if I think marketing work is about business meeting proposals. I don't, usually. I blame my brain for getting a couple steps ahead of my fingers.

#557 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:30 PM:

One of the things I don't think we've talked about specifically is that the participation of actual members of Worldcon is pretty low. Weren't something like 10,000 people eligible to nominate? Of which we saw, estimated, just over 2,000? A 20% participation? What percentage of the membership actually votes on the Hugos? Less than 50%? If I were WSFS, which I so am not, that would concern me a lot more than outreach to other parts of fandom. If I can't even get my own members to be involved, why would I spend time and money trying to promote to other groups? The Worldcon members actually know what's going on. I got an email reminding me that I was eligible to nominate, which I did not do. And regret not doing. The reasons are personal and complicated but boil down to the usual: insufficient time, reliance on someone else to do the work. If a demonstrably engaged electorate can't be arsed, is getting people with less investment in the whole process a good move? I think if I were allocating resources, that would not be where I put them.

There is a counter-argument that increasing involvement from outside sources will revitalize the community, and help stimulate the Worldcon membership to become more involved in their own damn convention. But I think if I were concerned about participation, I would start by trying to understand why people who are eligible don't vote, and addressing that problem. My best guess is that if you dealt with that in a useful fashion, it would also help make the process more accessible to other people. But I'd start with my core constituency, me.

#558 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:39 PM:

Bruce @554: Fair enough. I'm a little cynical, because of experience with people who show up every year (different people each year) with Grand Plans and who never follow through. I've come to the conclusion that "The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good," and that while what we have now isn't perfect and can be improved, it's never going to be perfect because perfection would require unanimous agreement about what was perfect.

As one of he very small number of people who actually do most of the editing work for TheHugoAwards.org, it's hard not to take this stuff personally, particularly when people imply rather airily that it's easy to do all of this stuff and no work at all. When other people told me, "If you're so smart, why don't you do the work," I took them at their word and that's why I work on the things that I do.

Thank you for the kind words about my attempts to administer things evenhandedly.

Lydy Nickerson @557: You are right that about 20% of the people eligible to nominate last year did so. What you may not be aware of is that this is a huge improvement over past years. You're also right about Worldcon when you say "that would concern me a lot more than outreach to other parts of fandom." In fact, Worldcons' outreach has been mostly to its own membership, encouraging existing members to vote first, and this has actually been successful. Go back through the detailed voting numbers (the past decade or so are included on the year-by-year results on the Hugo Awards web site) and you'll see that voter turnout is surging mightily.

However, you say, "If I were WSFS, which I so am not..." but then say you got a reminder about voting, which implies that you're a member of Worldcon. In that case, you are WSFS. And so am I. And so is every other member of Worldcon. WSFS isn't some external entity that you can separate from Worldcon. Every member, including all of the Sad Puppies who bought memberships in Worldcon just to vote their slate, is part of WSFS. If enough of them join and participate, they get to take over. That's how the system works.

#559 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:40 PM:

Presupporting! That's the word I was looking for. Thanks, all.

Kevin @ 553: If there were supporting memberships as they now stand as early as the 1970s, that's far enough back for them to have been considered something separate from both attending memberships and presupporting memberships from fairly early on, and therefore to have had a purpose separate from both of those types of membership--I think? Your discussion there is slightly confusing. I know that the presupporting memberships were always intended to help fund a particular bid, but I always thought (my first Worldcon was 1980--hi, Lenore Jones!) that putting in a presupporting bid counted towards something no matter what city finally won the bid. I wasn't sure if it counted towards a supporting membership or an early attending membership, and your response to Cat seems to say one thing in the first paragraph and another in the third . . . or am I misreading? (Which is entirely possible.)

Again, I am emphatically not proposing any change in the rules, and I have nothing but respect for the people who are willing to put the effort into any organizational structure; you'd have to put a gun to my head to get me to a WSFS business meeting, and I'm the sort of person that people at the business meeting should probably bar the door against--organizational structuring or restructuring is not a talent of mine, really. Trust me. But I was thinking of the way that the Hugo Voters Packet went from "Wonderful Gift from Publishers, Editors, and Authors" to "Something Members Are ENTITLED To," without anyone noticing at first, and I was wondering if a similar shift had occurred with the concept of supporting membership somewhere way back when. As I said, probably not relevant, but I was curious about the genesis of the concept and couldn't find anything to satisfy my curiosity, so I thought I'd ask.

#560 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:51 PM:

Normally, if the bid you're presupporting loses, you get nothing. No credit towards a supporting membership, no credit towards an attending membership, nothing. There may have been rare exceptions, in the long history of the Worldcon there have been exceptions to practically everything, but it would be really weird for a winning Worldcon bid to give you a discount because you gave some other group money.

You may be thinking about the discount voters get. If you pay the fee and vote in site selection, you automatically get a supporting membership, and you get the opportunity to convert that supporting membership to an attending membership at what is generally a pretty favorable rate.

#561 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 11:01 PM:

557
The year I'm most familiar with is 1984: about 6600 eligible to vote for Hugos, and the number of valid ballots was about 1480.

#562 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 11:04 PM:

Mary Frances @559:

A long time ago, when I was first learning about how bids for Worldcon worked, and supporting and presupporting memberships worked and all, I recall hearing of a "presupposing" membership, which worked the way you were suggesting (gives you a supporting membership regardless of the winning bid).

But now that I understand the process better, I can't figure out how in the world that would work. If I were to buy a pre-selection membership of any type in a WorldCon, the money doesn't go to WSFS, it goes to the bidding con-committee. A winning com-committee is under no obligation, legal, moral or otherwise, to honor my "presupposing membership" in the doomed Ithaca WorldCon bid.

My feeling is that "presupposing membership" was a joke I didn't get at the time, and if it was a common joke, maybe I wasn't the only one who didn't get it.

#563 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 11:08 PM:

I just checked with the Frisbie, and he says supporting memberships go back to before 1972.

#564 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 11:34 PM:

Mary Frances @559: I think I've confused you with terminology. Let me try it again, and leave out everything about bids. In the information below, none of the money goes to a Worldcon bid. It either goes to a seated Worldcon as a membership to that convention, or it's held in trust and then turned over to the winning Worldcon committee after an election.

For a Worldcon, there are two basic levels of membership, and have been for as long as I'm aware:

1. Supporting: Gets publications and Hugo/Site Selection voting rights. Doesn't get to attend.

2. Attending: Gets everything the Supporting members get, plus the right to attend.

When you vote on where we're going to hold the Worldcon N years from now (N=2 currently), you pay something called an "Advance Supporting Membership" fee in order to vote. This money goes to the winning Worldcon bid, and makes you a Supporting member of whichever bid wins. I is possible that when you say "I always thought... that putting in a presupporting bid counted towards something no matter what city finally won the bid," that you're thinking of the money you paid to vote on the election itself. That's why we call it an "Advance Supporting Membership" and not the old name "Voting Fee."

The way site selection works is that we only allow the people who put up the money to buy a Supporting Membership in Worldcon N vote to decide where that convention will be. That means they have to buy their Supporting membership in advance if they want to be part of deciding where that future Worldcon is going to be held.

"Pre-Supporting" is not "Advance Supporting." I'll address the former in a separate reply.

#565 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 11:38 PM:

Lydy, #534: I find myself wondering what problem making the Hugo voting more accessible is trying to solve.

The problem that there are a lot of dedicated science fiction fans out there who, for one reason or another, have never become connected to the con-going fannish culture and therefore don't vote in the Hugo selection process, and I see no reason to consider them any less deserving of participation than you or I. Which is sort of the same thing Brad said, but he seems to think that all of those people are Sad Puppies fans and I disagree.

Voting for the Hugos is in some ways no different than voting for President. The more people who cast votes, the harder it is for any special-interest group to get a stranglehold on the process. That's the other reason why I'm in favor of making the Hugo voting more accessible.

Mary Frances, #536: I'm pretty sure that supporting memberships go back at least to the 70s (when I went to my first Worldcon), and quite sure that they were around in the 80s (when I had been in fandom long enough to be more aware of these things).

At a typical Worldcon bid party (whether at another Worldcon or at any other con), you can buy a "pre-supporting" membership, often at several levels of participation; sometimes one of those levels is humorously called a "pre-opposing" membership. Most bids convert their pre-supports to supporting memberships (at least) if they win and you have voted in the site selection. Once the bid has been awarded you can buy either an attending or a supporting membership, whether you pre-supported or not. This has gotten much easier in the last couple of decades, since it's now possible to buy your membership online; prior to that, you either had to go to a con yourself and pick up a membership form off the freebie table, or know someone who was going to a con and could get one for you. (Or, I suppose, send a SASE to the bid's postal address and have them mail you one back, but I never had to do that.)

Buying a pre-support for a bid that doesn't win doesn't get you anything AFAIK. It's like venture capital, in a way; if the thing you're financing doesn't make, you lose your investment. But that's why pre-supports aren't typically very expensive, and a fair number of people will buy one for every bid that's running, to get the supporting membership if it wins. (I won't buy a pre-support for a Worldcon bid I don't like or wouldn't be able to attend, but that's my personal decision.)

Kevin, #553: What you heard was me saying that
It would in fact be possible to rewrite The Hugo Awards web site so that the only thing it told you was geared toward people who know nothing about the award and want to be involved. It would do that by sacrificing everything else the site needs to do. For example, information on how to submit works (you can't). Information about past winners. Information about eligibility. We could throw it all away and put a single page with nice big type optimized for one and only one purpose.

is (1) a false dichotomy, (2) an Excluded Middle fallacious argument, and (3) shenanigans. And that this isn't the first time I've heard that kind of argument in these discussions, not by a long shot. And that if I can see it, I'm pretty damn sure a lot of other people can too, and it's not doing a thing for either your persuasiveness or your credibility.

Lydy, #557: That's a valid and well-articulated point.

Kevin, I would be extremely interested in your input to the idea sketched out @532. If there's no compelling reason to reject it, this is something I might be able to write up and submit for consideration at the Business Meeting.

#566 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 11:39 PM:

Buddha Buck @562: I've never heard of any bid selling any type of pre-supporting membership that was good for any bid but their own, and for a good reason: the money is spent. They don't put it in a trust fund. They spend it on bidding. In effect, every bid mortgages its Worldcon, and only the winning bid gets to redeem the mortgage; the others are bankrupt.

However, because fans are clever and love to play games, it's pretty common for bids to come up with cutesy names for different levels of bidding support, such as "Pre-Supporting" for a basic level, "Pre-Opposing" for people who want to donate money to help the parties but don't want to be seen to be actually supporting your bid, and in this case "Pre-Supposing" just because they're being clever. Bids often have a more expensive support class called a "Friend," and thus some bids have had an even more expensive class called "Enemy" for the same reason of being clever.

All of this is entertaining to regular attendees, but can be confusing to newcomers.

#567 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 11:39 PM:

Steven desJardins and Buddha Buck: Thanks. I figured I was misunderstanding something. I wasn't distinguishing between what Kevin Standlee said about "presupporting" and what he said about "voting in the site selection," and I should have been. My apologies, Kevin.

P J Evans: 1972 is certainly far enough back that whatever "supporting membership" originally was intended to do, it's had time to develop in all sorts of ways. I suspect it likely wasn't part of increasing participation in the Hugo voting, then, but probably was part of "increasing participation in and support for WSFS," in general, which makes sense--and the Hugo voting would have been part of that. Thanks.

#568 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 11:41 PM:

We cross-posted, Kevin, but you've done a solid job of clarifying matters--thanks again.

#569 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 11:58 PM:

Lee @565: Okay, you're probably right. It's just that in my own experience, many people talk and almost nobody does anything. Someone who wants to take on the job of redesigning things is welcome to submit their proposals. If it's practical, we're apt to do at least some of them. Mail sent to The Hugo Awards contact address goes to me and to the other members of the committee that manages the site.

I'm not going to give a personal opinion about the idea mentioned @532 @58, because as Chairman of the Business Meeting, I might have to preside over the debate. I do think it's an intriguing idea, and certainly more practical than anything that requires Administrators to (in effect) decide whether a given voter is "worthy enough" to vote. I did mention the idea on the SMOFS e-mail list (a list of conrunners with an emphasis on Worldcon; it's not really secret and anyone who really is interested in the discussion can sign up for it) as well.

If you are interested in proposing it to this year's Business Meeting and want my help drafting it, let me know. I can't co-sponsor proposals (remember, I'm already going to have to recuse myself once for an issue for which I'm one of the sponsors), but helping people draft proposals is part of my job description for the 2015 Worldcon.

Issues that I think anyone wanting to chase the @58 idea will need to consider are:

1. How many nominations per category per member?
2. How many finalists per category?
3. What, if any, adjustment to the 5% rule (WSFS Constitution section 3.8.5) is needed as a result of 1 and 2?

#570 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 12:57 AM:

I'd consider making a proposal, if the final ballot makes it clear that there's a problem that needs to be addressed. I'm still not sure what the best solution is; quite a lot depends on how strongly the business meeting feels about either reducing the number of nominations allowed (which, in the absence of a real problem, I'd hate to do) or expanding the number of items on the final ballot (which I would be okay with, but I suspect a lot of business meeting attendees would hate).

Another potential solution I've come up with would involve a second, weighted round of voting. The first round would proceed exactly as before, producing (usually) a list of five nominees. The second round would begin from scratch, but with ballots that had fewer nominees on the final ballot getting more weight. (For example, if your ballot had two or fewer choices on the final ballot, it would have full weight. If you have three choices on the final ballot, it would be given half weight, and if you had four or more choices it would get zero weight.) The top three choices from the second round of voting, subject to the 5% rule, would be added to the final ballot, if not already present.

In the event that there is an organized block voting campaign, this would probably ensure that at least three nominees not from the slate being pushed make it onto the final ballot.

The major advantage of this change is that I think it would almost always have no effect, unless there was an organized and effective campaign to push a particular slate, or in cases like the "Best Episode of Dr Who" category where there is no organized campaign, but more diversity would actually be welcome. And from the voter's perspective, the process would work exactly the way it always had: it would just be one of those weird little complicated rules, like the "No Award" showdown, that make the process theoretically fairer but almost never make any difference. The major downside is it's more complicated administratively. I would want feedback from past Hugo administrators on how big a burden this would be before I decide if it's worth the trouble.

#571 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:13 AM:

570
My first thought is that it would make the process longer as well as more complicated. It could cause problems for those people who use mail-in ballots.
Limiting the number of nominees to one or two fewer than the number of slots is probably easier - and what I recall is that a lot of nominating ballots don't fill all the slots - it isn't a requirement, although I can't say that that's always clear to voters. (Neither is it necessary to rank every nominee on the final ballot.)

#572 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:24 AM:

Eh? Oh! I meant "the administrators begin from scratch with the same ballots". The voters would nominate in exactly the same way they always have.

#573 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:17 AM:

Kevin Standlee @558: "However, you say, "If I were WSFS, which I so am not..." but then say you got a reminder about voting, which implies that you're a member of Worldcon. In that case, you are WSFS."

Busted. Totally busted. Mind, I've attended precisely one Worldcon, and been a supporting member for another whole Worldcon. So, toe in the water, but not really getting along swimmingly, yet. But, yes, a member. Intending to support Sasquan, as well, though there's no way I can attend.

#574 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:33 AM:

Lee @ 565: "The problem that there are a lot of dedicated science fiction fans out there who, for one reason or another, have never become connected to the con-going fannish culture and therefore don't vote in the Hugo selection process, and I see no reason to consider them any less deserving of participation than you or I."

I'm still failing to see how this is a problem, precisely. In part because "deserving" seems like such an odd choice, as if there was an entitlement that was being withheld. You go on to argue that a larger voting pool makes it harder for special interest groups to hold sway. I am not sure how true that is. The difference in scale between a national election in the United States and the number of science fiction fans one might potentially persuade to vote seems significant. And the most likely way to rally people to the polls might well play out much the way it is on our current national political scene, which involves radicalizing and mobilizing narrow segments of the population, especially in the primary.

Broader participation makes things different, but I don't necessarily see better. If there was some way to leverage this into a more diverse and active fan community, I think that would be great, and would be a huge benefit to fandom and probably the field. But I don't really see how increasing the number of voters does that.

#575 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 04:28 AM:

I wouldn't be so worried if the Sad Puppies had pushed better-written books.

The Wall of Time nomination did make sense in terms of the serial works rules, in a way that the Diskworld would not.

I think with Doctor Who the 50th Anniverary was an element. I don't think anything was quite good enough to win, but it didn't feel that bad.

But the whole Sad Puppy movement is based on an idea that the material was being unfairly not-noticed, and what they managed to prove was that their work wasn't as good as they thought. Assume a writer produces something in the MilSF sub-genre that really is special, and the Sad Puppies push hard to get it nominated. Yes, it makes me a little uneasy, but would that be so bad?

What we got was some un-special work pushing out work that could plausibly win.

I am wondering if a Sasquan supporting membership was a mistake. I shall get the programme book, but I am wondering if voting for the Hugos is going to have any meaning. How much will the Sad Puppies manage to do?

I think we actually have a Worldcon, after decades of World=America, but I am not sure that the Sad Puppies have noticed. They're the past.

#576 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 04:49 AM:

Dave, the mad thing is that the 2014 novel winner (by a large margin) was MilSF.

#577 ::: Deirdre Saoirse Moen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 06:46 AM:

Okay, I'm done noodling about mucking with the supporting membership's meaning.

Moving on....

I like the idea of adjusting it so that # of nominations is less than the number of items on the final ballot.

Rather than reducing the number of nomination possibilities (say 3 for 5 nominees), I'd rather enlarge it (say 5 for 8, subject to the 5% rule). I'm even open to the idea that 10 is possible for the categories of enthusiastic nominating/voting (e.g., Best Novel).

I'd also like to consider what might need to be done about how to handle block voting in the sense that it might make the 5% cutoff limit strange if the block were large.

(For those who don't know the 5% rule, essentially, if the Nth place nominee didn't get 5% of the vote, they don't make the ballot. This may need adjusting if block voting is the new normal; it has cut out several potential Hugo nominees before.)

#578 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:13 AM:

Neil @500: there are aspects of what you're asking for (posthuman boot camp) in Hannu Rajaniemi's Quantum Thief trilogy. (However, it's so post human that "boot" and "camp" would be quaint historic anachronisms.)

#579 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:53 AM:

Ultragotha @551: I just wish they'd announced that they were going to lower the price at the same time they announced they were only offering an excerpt.

Unfortunately it's very common for publishers announcing a cheap ebook promotion to put an embargo on the news until the promo goes into effect. The thinking behind this is that if we announce, "hey, Charlie's new novel will be half price next week!" a lot of ebook customers who might otherwise have bought it at full price will shrug and add a reminder to their calendar/wish list.

(I am informed by my editor at Ace that this has happened in the past -- a promotional deal causes a short term drop in sales, and therefore reduces profitability. Which is why, for example, I was cautioned not to announce that "The Atrocity Archives" would be $1.99 in the US ebook stores for the second half of March until the price drop actually showed up. Which it is right now, at least for another couple of days.)

#580 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:05 AM:

Niall McAuley :wrote @ #576

Dave, the mad thing is that the 2014 novel winner (by a large margin) was MilSF.

Indeed it was, and a worthy winner too. I just hope the SP slate doesn't force book two (Interlude with tea break) off the ballot.

Presumably it's not the sickpuppy definition of MilSF?

Body count too low?
Lacking fleets of space battleships?

Or is it simply that it wasn't wrotten by "One of Us"?

(And that is such a wonderfully apposite typo that I'm leaving it in.)

#581 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:15 AM:

Just going on the furniture and surface identifiers, Ancillary Justice doesn't include very many grunt's-eye-level squad tactics scenes, and there is no rescue-important-damsel-and-return-to-base plot.

I think Tanya Huff's Valor books are much more the kind of thing Puppies expect in their milSF (though possibly still containing unacceptable amounts of girl cooties and SJW thought).

#582 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:17 AM:

Niall McAuley @576 makes a very good point, and while not being a con-goer I don't have anything to say about changing rules for Hugo nominations I do have things to say about books. (As an aside, though, despite never having attended a con I've known for a long time that you get to vote on the Hugos by buying a membership for Worldcon, and that "supporting memberships" were a thing.)

There's been some concern expressed that making the Hugo nomination and voting process easier would give the Sad Puppies what they want. I don't think that's the case. We've had one or two Sad Puppy supporters say the way they learned they could vote was through the actions of the SPs, and we've seen Brad Torgersen's claim that they want to give a voice to more fans. But that doesn't seem consistent with the actual behavior of the SPs.

Based on the history of SP1 and SP2, on Brad's statement quoted in #227 about what he feels SF should be, and on his statements in the thread it's clear that it's not that they just feel that not enough fans are voting, but that the fans who do vote are voting for the wrong things. A turnout twice or three times what it was in 2014 that still resulted in a victory for Ancillary Justice would, I think, not have satisfied the Puppies - it's a great work of SF with interstellar empires and AI and really cool SFnal ideas, but it has women who serve more than a decorative role, and gender roles and structures that are not the 1950s USA in space. So I suspect it is exactly what the Puppies see as the problem, not the solution. Likewise with this year's Three-Body Problem - as many people have noted, and I agree, it's very much SF of the old school. But once again, the women are not just buxom decorations to serve as love interests or objects of rescue (or, perhaps, male fantasies with big breasts and big guns), and the men aren't lantern-jawed Americans, so it doesn't meet their criteria. I doubt these are explicit in most of their minds; these books just don't feel like what they're looking for, don't hit them in their comfort zone.

They're not going to be satisfied with more voters. I doubt they'd be satisfied with winning the Hugo, if what it means is people shrug and say "Well, look at what went on with the nominations, we've had bad books win the Hugo before"; they want the rest of SF that features women and brown people as authors, characters, and fans to acknowledge their supremacy as the One True SF.

#583 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:20 AM:

Kevin Standlee @517: Thanks for those very informative comments.

Just to clear up any confusion: I've never said that Hugo administrators should determine whether a voter is "worthy". The whole idea of judging "worthiness" was one of Brad Torgersen's many lies. The following was another one, from comment 161:

I've seen several suggestions in this space that Sasquan (or future Worldcons) could (or should?) find technical excuses to begin throwing out ballots. Either during the nomination phase, or the final voting phase.
Which is completely false, as he knew when he wrote it.

What I posted was a largely theoretical discussion of characteristics that could indicate that something odd was going on in the Hugo nominating or voting process that might merit a closer look before the results are announced. If that closer look confirmed that something dodgy did appear to be happening, further investigations might well be in order. That's all. The criteria I discussed are purely diagnostic. I said nothing about actions that might result.

(If you want to see comparable diagnostic criteria being used to investigate an online book-promotion scheme, read the Absolute Write Orangeberry Book Tours thread. It's short -- only 83 messages. Condensed version: various normal features of book blog sites used by the promoter don't pass muster when checked for appropriate levels of individual variation. Further investigation follows.)

Onward. I'm going to explain something Kevin Standlee knows better than I do.

There's a world of difference between "there are odd patterns showing up in the Hugo ballots" and "there's something wrong with this voter." The first is a legit subject for the administrators to consider. The second is not. Hugo administrators check to see whether the person who's submitted a ballot is the same person who holds a membership that entitles them to vote. They don't inquire into the state of the voter's soul. If someone who qualifies as a natural person has an appropriate worldcon membership and hasn't voted yet, they can vote. Worthiness simply doesn't come into it.

Let me repeat: the whole voter worthiness thing, and the idea that ballots might be excluded on those grounds, was a complete red herring introduced by Brad Torgersen to muddle the discussion. Furthermore, it's not the only fictitious element he's dragged into the thread. He's been expertly spreading smelly brown stuff all over this discussion.

-=-=-=-

And one more bit from Kevin:

For those who ask what they think the "end game" of the SP campaign is and what they would do if they could destroy the credibility that the Hugos have accrued over the years: I don't think they care.
Some of them might care, but I'm pretty sure others don't. Whether you think they're a good thing or a bad thing for other reasons, the Sad Puppy campaigns must inevitably diminish the credibility of the Hugos.

#584 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:25 AM:

Elliott Mason @ #581:

I wonder what they'd say about Rachel Bach's Paradox series? It's eminently readable MilSF, says this MilSF (and other SF and fantasy) reader.

#585 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:40 AM:

#553 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2015, 10:03 PM: Did I just hear you volunteer to work on the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee and do the work?

Nope, still shenanigans. That wasn't a proposal to change the website, it was pointing out that it is technically and practically trivial to set up a reminder for yourself, for when the website you volunteered for needs its predictable yearly update. You don't even need E-mail -- if all the volunteers put reminders on their phone/calendar/etc, surely one of them would successfully be reminded to go back and update the information for the upcoming Worldcon.

Being one of The Few, The Proud, The Volunteers, means that you might not have the resources for major changes or continuous maintenance. It does not entitle you to blow off:
(1) a public-facing problem,
(2) that impairs your Marketing Committee's core purpose,
(3) and needs attention once a year,

with "well, if you want it fixed, you volunteer". Especially when the report is coming from someone who's not a Worldcon member, and is therefore in your target audience.

Seeing that doesn't make me think "oh, they need help and I should help them". It makes me think "oh, they aren't taking their work seriously, why should I do their work for them"?

#586 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:02 AM:

Kevin Sandlee @553

Thank you for explaining. I am sorry I misunderstood--the whole presupporting/preopposing thing got kind of confusing for someone coming at it from a standing start, and I was replying to someone who appeared at the time to be advocating the end of supporting memberships allowing a vote in the Hugos (which no longer seems to be an issue) so that I would have to spend quite a bit more to vote, when I can't actually attend anyway.

I have no problem with WorldCon bids requesting presupport--and even no problem with supporting them myself as long as that support reliably converts to a supporting membership which allows me to vote on the Hugos.

At this point I am confused again about whether this reliably converts to a supporting membership so I will probably continue on as I have, but once I understand the system better, I may start using the Advance Supporting Membership myself.

Thank you for taking the time to explain.

#587 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:06 AM:

With regard to Nancy's definition of MilSF (involving people in a chain of command) I'd argue that the sequel to last year's Hugo winner is more MilSF than it was. In the first novel, the main protagonist was (in the present time) outside the chain of command, whereas in the second, the protagonist is at the top of the chain.

I, too, hope it didn't get forced off the ballot by lesser works. While most of the aspects of it which won the first novel the hugo (in my opinion) are here, now they are not novel, and thus less impressive. But what does seem novel, especially for a MilSF novel, is that it more directly turned the protagonist's whole chain of command almost explicitly into Social Justice Warriors than almost any MilSF novel I've read.

#588 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:17 AM:

It strikes me that the proposal for restricting the number of nominations would have another advantage; it would make it easier to nominate. In principle it shouldn't, since no one is obliged to fill out the whole nominating ballot, but in practice I see lots of people at nominating time saying 'Oh dear, what should I fill out my ballot with?', and it's understandable that they feel under pressure to do so, especially when controversial issues are at stake.

I think that the number of nominators will always be relatively small (compared both with the final voters, and with the world at large), because a lot of people aren't familiar with magazines, short fiction etc., and a lot of people don't read novels when they first appear. Nevertheless, it could be larger than it is now.

#589 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:29 AM:

Cat @ 586: Hey, I was confused, too, and I have bought both attending and supporting memberships over the years! Since I contributed to the confusion, I'll try to lay it out as a non-expert now understands it.

I'd say the answer is, IF the site wins the bid, then any "presupporting" money might go towards supporting memberships for contributors . . . or might not, because it may well depend on how much money the new Worldcon committee has in the kitty, and no one knows that ahead of actually winning the bid. That's sort of like "placing a bet," as you indicated above. The "advance supporting membership" doesn't go to any particular (potential or otherwise); it goes straight to WSFS, so whoever wins the bid, they get the money and you'd get at least credit towards a supporting membership, with the potential to convert to attending at a bargain, maybe. (Not sure about that, and I suspect it depends on variables that can't be predicted ahead of time.)

And for the record, I do think that doing away with supporting memberships is generally a Bad Idea. People who are interested in the Hugos should have an option to support WSFS, to participate, even if they never are able (or willing) to attend a Worldcon . . . and aside from some blue-sky, "throwing ideas around" (discussion is always useful to test-drive that sort of thing, as it were), I'd say that's the consensus in this thread, too.


#590 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:36 AM:

To be fair, I don't think the SPs are actually focused on MilSF: Correia writes only fantasy, and their "best" candidates for Best Novel this year are urban fantasy (the Dresden Files) or space opera with a military component but not true MilSF.

What they want is unironic narrative with simple values of relative good and bad, so you know who to cheer for, as I parse their overall preferences, and they value action over, say, descriptive prose or complex characterization.

There's a political element to this, but an SP-style piece of work could be entirely lacking in issues which are significant to real-world "politics". However, their preferences are influenced by a lot of elements which are characteristic of the right side of the current American culture wars.

Assimilating those values to the way the Hugos "used to be" is, of course, a piece of fiction. The first Hugo winner for Best novel was a sf/detective novel with telepathy and a Freudian structure. The first quarter-century of nominees and winners include The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, A Case of Conscience, The Man in the High Castle, The Squares of the City,Flowers for Algernon, and Nova, to name a few. There are even two "anti-Heinlein" books: Panshin's Rite of Passage, implicitly critiquing the juveniles, and The Forever War, a response to Starship Troopers.

Although there were certainly a number of SP2 supporters last year who seemed to honestly bounce off Ancillary Justice -- which may be Space Opera but does not hew to the values above -- what really seems to get them worked up is Scalzi's win for Redshirts.

#591 ::: Niall ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:41 AM:

Re: the restricted nominations, I see that it would prevent a bloc locking up an entire category, which is good, but a question -- what do we think it would do to the spread of non-bloc nominations?

I can see one argument which says: it's more likely that two arbitrarily chosen voters will happen to agree about their favourite three books than their favourite five books of the year, so you'll get consolidation of nominations.

I can see another argument which says, if you have two arbitrarily chosen voters who happen to be nominating the same five books, and they have to narrow it down to three, they're likely to do it differently, which will lead to some dilution of vote.

I don't know which would be more important in the real world; but unless I'm missing something, the latter behaviour might make it easier for a bloc to get on the ballot, even if they can't lock an entire category. If your bloc's slate goes down from five to three, you'll still all be nominating the same three.

#592 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 11:05 AM:

Cat @521:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @499

But if the readers bought supporting memberships, wouldn't they count as supporters of WorldCon?

They'd be supporting members. Kevin's explained what that means better than I can, so check out his comments.
Obviously only a subset of science fiction and fantasy readers are going to do this just because they saw an add in the backs of their books, but if they did--wouldn't that be okay?
Sure. And if that was what had happened, no one would have a problem with it. But that's not what's been happening.

The Sad Puppies aren't trying to increase general reader participation in the worldcon and the Hugos. Their aim is to to exclude the honest readerly enthusiasms of large segments of the Hugo voters.

Here's the trick: unless they're incredibly organized about their reading and voting (which is uncommon, but it happens), normal Hugo voters fill out their nominations by sitting back and trying to remember what new works published in the past year struck them as really good. It's a diffuse process, but when you combine many such ballots, a few names will gradually sort themselves out of the background noise, and you'll have your slate of candidates. It's one of the things Australian ballots are good for.*

Obviously, this comfortably fuzzy process is subject to outside influences. Reminding voters of the work you had published during the target year makes them likelier to remember it while filling out their ballots. It can also help to put out a striking podcast or issue of a magazine just before nominations open.

Locus and NESFA do their bit by compiling substantial lists of (in their opinion) exceptionally good work that appeared during the target year, and making those lists public. These aren't rigid slates. They're whatever NESFAns and Locus reviewers think was good, so they offer a broad sample of the field. If there's any single I'd do for newbie voters, it would be telling them the lists exist and how to find them. And of course, there's nothing keeping other groups from compiling their own lists. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

Putting out a formal slate of nominees is where people start to get uncomfortable. First, if you simply love those works and creators, why not just communicate that enthusiasm to others? Why make it a "these and no others" fixed ballot? It also makes an uneasy combination with rhetoric about increasing reader participation in the Hugos. "Let's bring in a wider range of readers so they can vote for our narrow range of preferred nominees" is bound to be a problematic position.

Second, while there's nothing wrong in theory with supporting a specific short list of nominees, pre-made slates can also be used like an old-fashioned voter palm-card list by people who don't follow SF, have no real personal preferences, and wouldn't normally vote. Pushing a pre-made slate isn't necessarily evidence that something like that is happening, but it opens the door to letting that happen.

The next one is in my opinion where the behavior goes over the line: openly inviting gamergaters to buy memberships and vote the SP agenda, specifically in order to f*ck up the Hugos and stick it to the SJWs.

Sound unlikely? Apparently there are screenshots. I haven't asked to see them because I'm trying to steer clear of insider information while this discussion is running, but I know the person who has them is very reliable.

=================

*It's also the reason why voters shouldn't worry so much about nominating works which they enjoyed, but which might not be the "best" according to some daunting imaginary standards. If other readers don't think it was top-notch work, they won't nominate it, and your nomination will just be part of the background noise from which other nominees arise. Eventually, the writer or artist or editor you nominated will read the long list of nominated works that gets distributed after the awards are given out,** find their little handful of votes, and in most cases feel immensely encouraged that someone thought their work was worth nominating.

**All the nominations are tabulated and made public, as are all the eliminations and vote redistributions that happen during the final count. The Hugos are a transparent award. That's as opposed to the Nebulas, which just have a transparent trophy.

#593 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 11:07 AM:

Kevin Standlee... Do we have no more than five nominees in each category because it is a traditional number in Awards? I am curious.

#594 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 11:10 AM:

Niall, I think you're right—limiting the number of nominations might have the perverse effect of making block voting more effective in some circumstances. Say there are 100 voters for the straight Sad Puppy ticket, and suppose that under the existing system, non-SP voters would give three novels more than 100 votes each. Then the SP's would succeed in getting two of their five choices on the ballot. Whereas if we reduced the number of nominations per person to three, if that reduced nominations for each of the non-SP books by ten or twenty votes, then maybe only one or two non-SP books would end up over a hundred votes, and the SP's would get all three of their choices on the final ballot.

On reflection, I think the second-round weighted voting system I suggested in #570 works better in diminishing the effectiveness of block voting without otherwise affecting the system, but I am concerned that it may unacceptably increase the amount of work Hugo administrators would have to do. (I think, in practice, if there was no block voting then there would be not all that many ballots that picked three or more of the nominees, so the second round wouldn't take long to do. Just use the original results as a starting point and subtract the ballots with reduced weight. Maybe even make the second step optional, so the administrators can skip it when it obviously won't affect the results.)

#595 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 11:16 AM:

Teresa @ 592: A small correction. The nominating statistics for the most popular works are made public, but there's a cut-off below which statistics aren't released. For example, last year, only the number of nominations for the 16 most popular novels was made public. Anything that got fewer than 66 votes was left off the list.

#596 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 11:28 AM:

If there is proof on the Gator thing (and it is certainly wretchedly plausible, since Beale threw in with them early in one of his desperate bids for fanboys) I will be angry, and a little frightened, since coming to the attention of that particular group has proved very unsafe.

At the same time--and this is the part that frustrates me--a vote from someone who wants to watch the world burn is just as good as a vote from someone who read and agonized and voted for books they loved, and the judges can't distinguish because then we careen down the slippery slope--and the extra maddening bit is that there doesn't seem to be anything to DO about it!

How do you bring the weight of community disapproval on someone who isn't part of the community? Gators don't care about literary SF, they'd be trolling it for the lulz. "I can stomp on a thing you care about because you caring about it gives me power over you," is the entire modus operandi. And people with no stake in something beyond "hurr, hurr" achieve a depressingly great immunity.

...I got nuthin'.

*throws hands in air, wanders around aimlessly*

#597 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 11:34 AM:

Teresa@592:
"That's as opposed to the Nebulas, which just have a transparent trophy."

lol

Steven@595:Yeah, I liked seeing the full list of nominations. Anyone know why they stopped doing that?

#598 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 11:40 AM:

If the GG thing is proven, then anyone on the SP slate who doesn't remove themselves from consideration is dead to me. Seriously. No buys, no reads, no recommends, no matter how good the author is.

Yes, it's totally unfair to their body of work. But inviting that set of Reavers to our planet is sufficiently terrible that I, personally, will not reward it in any way, nor anyone who benefits from it.

#599 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 11:40 AM:

#590 ::: James

I think you're on to something there with idea that they want straightforward moral situations.

I've read the two easiest-to-access short stories nominated ("Totaled" and "Tuesdays With Molakesh the Destroyer"), and that's a clear characteristic, and they aren't milsf at all. They're also at least decent stories.

#600 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 12:13 PM:

Cat @586:

From what you're saying, I take it that you have a supporting membership in this year's 2015 Worldcon. This means that you were eligible to nominate in the 2015 Hugo Awards and will also be eligible to vote on the final ballot for the 2015 Hugo Awards. It also means that you'll be eligible to vote on where we hold the 2017 Worldcon.

Not too long from now, the 2015 Worldcon will issue the Site Selection ballot, listing the four sites that filed to host the 2017 Worldcon. (Also None of the Above ("I hate them all"), No Preference ("I don't care"), and write-ins, but let's not get side-tracked.) At that time you can use that ballot to vote on where we hold the 2017 Worldcon. To do so, you have to pay the ASM ("voting fee"). That money doesn't go to a Worldcon bid. The ASM/voting fee (probably $40-$50 depending on what the bids decide amongst themselves) is a supporting membership in the 2017 Worldcon no matter who wins. The current Worldcon holds the money in trust and gives it to whichever committee wins the election.

Therefore, the way you can be sure of having a supporting WSFS membership (and thus being eligible to vote on ever Hugo Awards) is to always vote in every year's Site Selection. As a bonus, you're guaranteed the lowest-possible WSFS membership rate by voting. (Details upon request.)

Again, "Pre-Supporting" (and similar-sounding names) are about bids, while "Supporting" and "Advance Supporting" are about actual Worldcons.

It takes a couple of years to "get on the horse" because you have to buy a membership to the current Worldcon, then vote on the two-years-hence Worldcon, then repeat the process the following year, but thereafter you're only paying one fee each year. It's just that you're paying it to the two-years-hence Worldcon, while the current Worldcon is based on what you paid two years previously.

#601 ::: SorchaRei ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 12:17 PM:

I think discussion that equates SPs with MilSF lovers misses the point. What they are looking for, as near as I can tell:

-- heroes who look and think like they do
-- morally clear cut situations (I think they allow one "things are not as they seem" reversal per novel, so long as the "new" good guys also look and think like they do)
-- moral dilemmas of the sort that feature two competing moral imperatives, but which are resolved when you discover that one of these is camouflage for something bad

These things can be had in all sorts of SFF, not just MilSF. And some books and stories that have these features are also good by my standards (which tend to favor character development and interesting worldbuilding).

One major difference between the SPs and me is that I think it's great when all kinds of SFF are published and enjoyed, even stuff I am heartily bored or annoyed by, whereas they appear to feel threatened when people publish and enjoy stuff that is not in their wheelhouse.

#602 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 12:38 PM:

Abi: I don't really feel a need to wait, personally. What follows is something I know you saw at the time, but bears repeating for those who missed it or aren't connecting it with current events. The Sad Puppies led off with (and returned to, the following year) Theodore Beale, the guy who said, of N.K. Jemisin:

"Jemisin has it wrong; it is not that I, and others, do not view her 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."

And (at the same link):

"Unlike the white males she excoriates, there is no evidence to be found anywhere on the planet that a society of NK Jemisins is capable of building an advanced civilization, or even successfully maintaining one without significant external support from those white males. If one considers that it took my English and German ancestors more than one thousand years to become fully civilized after their first contact with advanced Greco-Roman civilization, it should be patently obvious that it is illogical to imagine, let alone insist, that Africans have somehow managed to do the same in less than half the time at a greater geographic distance. These things take time.

"Being an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature by 'a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys' than an illiterate Igbotu tribesman has of how to build a jet engine, Jemisin clearly does not understand that her dishonest call for 'reconciliation' and even more diversity within SF/F is tantamount to a call for its decline into irrelevance."

And so forth and so on.

Nobody can write that and be a decent human being, and nobody can choose someone who wrote that to participate in an effort to shape the collective identity of science fiction and be a decent human being. OK, in theory you could, under a variety of carefully rigged circumstances. But the SPs are in none of them; they're claiming that people who write things like that represent sf fandom as it should be. And that really does make them the self-chosen enemies of the rest of us.

Let them explain to the rest of us how in fact they do think of us as fully human and equal participants in the very complex undertaking that is society, and show us how they are purging their ranks of racist sexist hate mongers and cultivating better habits of thought, and keep it up for some years, and I might have time for them. Or I might just keep spending time with those who never called others' humanity and civilization into question in the first place and so have no evil shameful stupid rhetoric to walk back or clean up after.

#603 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 12:44 PM:

Addressing several: Something I've observed, particularly from the vantage of TheHugoAward.org, is that there seem to be a lot of people who are potentially eligible to nominate works who try and find ways to disqualify themselves. They say things like:

  • "I didn't read every single work of SF/F that came out last year, so I'm not qualified to nominate."
  • "I'm not an expert in literature, so I'm not qualified to make nominations."
  • "I can't think of five things in every single category, so I'm not qualified to nominate." (This sometimes is formed as "...so they'll invalidate my ballot."

All of the above are completely wrong. You're not required to fill out every single space on the ballot. (I don't think I have ever done so myself, and I've administered the Hugos three times.) You could fill in exactly one nomination in one category and it would be equally as valid as if you had filled out all 85 slots (including the Campbell). In the years I administered the awards, the every-space-filled ballot was the exception, not the rule.

TNH @592 explains well the crowd-sourced nature of the nominations as envisioned by the members of WSFS who set it up over time. Nominate what you personally like, and we'll converge on what the members as a whole liked.

(Incidentally, one of the other groups who gets together to talk about what they liked and what they though worthy of an award is the Bay Area Science Fiction Association. Their recommendations are posted (along with those of other people) on the Hugo Recommendations LiveJournal, itself a sort of crowd-sourced version of "I like this and think you should nominate it.")

Serge Broom @593: Five is simply the traditional number. To my knowledge, it has been five from the beginning of the two-stage ballot process.

Steven desJardins @594: I don't think your second-round-weighted voting system would be very easy to administer, personally. I think it would be easier to do the weighting in one pass. At the moment, the order in which you nominate works isn't relevant; they all are equally weighted. It would almost certainly be easier to administer a system whereby your choices were weighted just like the final ballot, and Instant Runoff Voting (the preferred term for the inaccurately-named "Australian" ballot) applied. The wouldn't stop dedicated blocs, though.

#604 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 12:44 PM:

Teresa @592

Thank you for clarifying. I seem to have both misunderstood and given the wrong impression.

I emphatically agree that the Sad Puppies' actions are not the sort of thing I was describing--the Sad Puppies are making an effort to attract conservative fans and only conservative fans to diddle the Hugos. That is not the same (though it would in principle overlap somewhat) as a set of fans drawn simply from people who are reading SFF books, some of which they might like enough to be attracted to the Hugo voting via an ad at the end.

The misunderstanding was because I took your response at @499 to be (potentially) opposing any attempt to widen the pool of people who buy supporting memberships to vote on the Hugo, rather than just bad faith attempts to skew the voting pool. That didn't seem ...er... "Making Light"-like to me, so I checked rather than making assumptions, and now I am glad I did.

I have an appointment in 17 minutes; I will try to come back later and read more carefully to see if there are other things I should respond to.

#605 ::: Mark Bernstein ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 12:48 PM:

This may ramble a bit.

Quick background, since I rarely if ever comment: Been an SF reader for 50 years or so, attended my first con and first Worldcon in 1974, have been to a dozen or so Worldcons since (most recently San Antonio, as part of the Detcon1 NaSFiC committee), and have been to a few Business Meetings.

Overall, I don't think anything is broken enough to need a fix. Any system is imperfect, and is likely to be gameable. If the SP slate dominates this year, well, I'd rather wait and see what happens next. It's possible, I think, that it would encourage more people to nominate in future years, which would, I hope, dilute the impact of an SP-sized block.

Block voting by a subgroup within fandom does happen. To pull a different recent instance, my personal opinion is that nominating Chris Garcia's Hugo acceptance in the Dramatic Presentation: Short Form category was cute, but ridiculous. So SP may be the most recent and visible example, but it's not unprecedented.

For a long time, I held to the "I haven't read enough stuff to be a valid nominator" viewpoint. I've stepped away from that, in great part because it really is impossible to keep up with everything these days, and will nominate things I think are worthy. (My nominating ballot this year included one Novel, one Short Story, one Related Work, and full slates for both Dramatic Presentation categories.)

These days, I buy at least a supporting membership every year, which wasn't always true. And the electronic packet is definitely an incentive, which I admit may be a bit crass. On the other hand, I don't regard the packet as any sort of entitlement. If a publisher or author chooses to not include a work, I can't see that as something to criticize. In novels especially, there can be, as Mr. Stross pointed out, a significant economic impact from giving it away, and I'm happy to buy nominated novels, as I did with Neptune's Brood. (I do wish Orbit has included their excerpts in ePub, not just PDF, but that's a quibble.)

I'm comfortable with the current cost of a supporting membership. (Granted, I can easily afford it.) I don't have particularly strong feelings about the Hugos belonging to Worldcon fans, but I do think lowering it too far would make it much easier to organize a block.

#606 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 12:51 PM:

One thing that clearly annoys some people, including at least one noisy SP, is that we use Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) and not First Past the Post. (The latter being what most US jurisdictions use for most elections.) FPTP is a horse race: whichever candidate has more votes than any other candidate wins. In a five-way race, that means you can win even if almost 80% of the voters hated you. FPTP is highly susceptible to dedicated minorities, whereas IRV usually breaks them up. Indeed, we could say that an IRV election doesn't necessarily choose the most favored candidate, but instead the least disliked candidate. Because of the IRV mechanics, the winner of the election cannot be opposed by a majority of the electorate, even if the candidate wasn't the first choice of a preponderance of the voters.

There have been cases where a candidate was leading at the end of the first round but eventually ended up finishing last because the candidate was ranked either 1 or last (or not at all) on all ballots. Polarizing candidates unable to obtain a first-ballot majority are unlikely to win an IRV election.

A dedicated bloc vote setting out exactly five candidates in every category is an attempt to exploit a known vulnerability in that it assumes that if your only choices are from the slate, you must choose one of them. As pointed out much earlier here, it's equivalent to how the ideologues work to dominate the primary elections in the USA, thus making it difficult for the electorate as the whole to have a final choice that includes any moderate voices.

The Hugo Awards (and Worldcon site selection) have a realistic safety valve to such tactics: No Award (None of the Above). Unlike mundane elections where NOTA is symbolic only and the election is won by the second-place finisher (that happened last cycle in a race in Nevada where I live), No Award is real: it means nobody won. This isn't theoretical: No Award has won several times, albeit the last time it happened was in the 1970s. There have been years when a particular category's nominations were considered so bad that there were dedicated campaigns for No Award. (I remember one for Best Fanzine; it didn't succeed, but NA placed second as I recall.)

By the way, I would encourage people to not blow off No Award and None of the Above as unrealistic theoretical candidates that can never really win. Westercon uses a system similar to Worldcon to select its sites. In 2011 in San Jose, there was only one candidate on the ballot. That site's bid committee managed to sufficiently cheese off the electorate to the point where it didn't win. (Technically, None of the Above didn't win, but instead a write-in for an ineligible hoax site; the effect is the same.) The only candidate on the ballot lost the election, and the following day, the Westercon business meeting selected a different group (the committee behind the party hoax), which went on to hold the highly-successful Westercon 66 in Sacramento in 2013.

(The conrunner in me starts thinking about the practical implications of having multiple Hugo categories fall to No Award. Fortunately, most Worldcon committees buy their rockets from the same source, so the rockets themselves are interchangeable. A Worldcon with a surplus of rockets can donate them to a successor, who won't have to spend as much on custom zinc-chrome casting.)

#607 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 12:53 PM:

I suspect, Bruce--and Abi can correct me if I'm wrong!--that Beale is obviously written off, and we can almost use that as a goes-without-saying. Those bridges have not just been burned, they've been sown with salt and then somebody burned the salt, too. But he's not on the SP ballot.

The distinction here for me is that some of the Sad Puppy slate may not be conversant with the SPs at all. (I have no idea if Mr. Butcher knows they exist--for his sake, I hope he is blissfully ignorant.)

Mr. Torgersen's representations aside, a number of people on the slate this year and in years past have been blindsided by their inclusion. (I recall Howard Tayler coming out strongly against it when he learned he had been included some years ago.)

That said, if I discovered that I had been nominated (I am not under embargo, purely hypothetical) and that the driving force had been a slate of hypothetical reactionaries--Whimpering Kittens, let us call them, who engaged in what I believed to be direly unethical behavior--I would find myself on the horns of a dilemma. Do I refuse the nomination after having accepted it, because WK were terrible? Or do I go "Well, maybe it wasn't all WK, maybe I'm just really good and they happened to agree with me, but so did a bunch of other people?"

I'd like to think that I'd hand in my nomination and say "Not this year, you will not use me as a figurehead for being horrible." And then go engage in a lot of soul-searching as to why WK found my work emotionally congenial. But that's easy for me to say--I've already got one of the things. I might feel differently if I had been blindsided by this chunk of fandom politics and what I perceived as a great honor had suddenly been tarnished in front of me.

#608 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 12:59 PM:

Bruce Baugh #602: When I read taurine faeces like that, I really wonder how people like Beale can manage complex activities like tying their shoelaces.

#609 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:06 PM:

UrsulaV... What do you have against kittens that you must make them whimper?

#610 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:09 PM:

Fragano... I understand that Social Disease blames the Germanwing crash on the co-pilot not getting enough blowjobs from georgeous women.

#611 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:09 PM:

Ursula: Yeah, I'm definitely cutting slack for people who end up dumped on these things without any effort on their own. I want to see that they got notified by someone worth heeding, and then give them time to respond - it's not like a lot of authors aren't busy, stressed, fighting with depression, etc. I was thinking of the people who were and are quite happy to keep associating with Beale and who act like him on their own initiative.

Right now, for instance, I see no reason to think poorly of Jim Butcher about this whole thing.

Fragano, this is my opportunity to recycle a story from a friend of mine in the roleplaying game industry, about a place he worked for a while. At first, he said, he wondered how it was that despite making such awesome games, the boss could end up doing the occasional howlingly stupid thing. Then, as time went by, my friend wondered how it was that the company ever managed to make a good game, given just how many howlingly stupid things the boss did. Finally, in the stretch before the company went under, my friend started wondering how it is that day after day the boss could eat his breakfast cereal and not drown in the milk.

Ever since, that's been my internal benchmark, and that crowd's got a lot of people who definitely trigger the breakfast-cereal pondering.

#612 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:17 PM:

I've never voted for Beale for anything, and am unlikely to unless he starts running for things that I think he's a good fit for. (Speculations as to what those would be aren't really necessary to this conversation.) But I acknowledge that members of our wider fannish community may read his fiction and, for whatever reasons, find value in it.

But GG is of a different order of magnitude. I used the term Reavers deliberately. They—or the people who go where they go; I don't care to have a No True Gamergater discussion—spread wanton and vicious destruction. They're toxic to the very idea of community. They target joy. They treat engagement as vulnerability.

Someone who invites them† into our community* for any reason is anathema, and their cause with them. I will not associate with anyone who knowingly associates with them or benefits from their presence. Hard line.

This is my line. It's not required to be anyone else's line. I can see how an author, seeing themselves nominated, would want the prize enough to put up with the distasteful means of getting there. I'm sorry for people in that place.

But I, personally, have to have a good strip of salt-sown land between me and that kind of toxicity.

-----
† as a group. Obviously, individuals within the SF community may participate in GG and I won't be any the wiser. Probably for the best, that.
* before we go there, no, that is not the same as communicating a link before they start making up stories.

#613 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:19 PM:

Mark Bernstein@605: I agree that the Garcia nomination was ridiculous, but it's worth remembering that it was a bit of a fluke; some Game of Thrones episodes were nominated above it, but were taken off the ballot because of the nomination of the whole series in Long Form; without that it wouldn't have reached the shortlist.

#614 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:24 PM:

The thing about the Gamergaters is that they aren't an organized group--oh, quite a few of them congregate at 8chan and various MRA sites, but there isn't any sort of leadership. They are more like a pack of rabid wolves.

And this SP list thing seems tailor made to draw them in. Oh, everything is calm now, but it's like the calm before the storm. And Brad Torgesen's rhetoric in this thread sounds like the rumble of thunder.

Look at GG, look at Elevatorgate (the atheist version of GG), look at Vox Day's previous attempts to dominate the SF community, and then look at the SP lists, and tell me this doesn't seem like exactly the sort of thing that will summon the misogynist hordes?

#615 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:25 PM:

I saw Garcia's Speech getting nominated as playful. By the way, isn't that our very on Kathryn from Sunnyvale in the background? Yes it is!

#616 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:25 PM:

How would one go about finding out about the GamerGate* thing? If the Sad Puppies† are inviting GG into this, that's calling in the thugs indeed, and I think everyone they've nominated deserves to know about it.

*: If you look for "gamergate" on Wikipedia, you get a page about ants with a crossreference link to "GamerGate controversey". I find this oddly fitting.

†: Who on earth gives themselves such a name?

#617 ::: wyldkat ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:30 PM:

Thank you to all who have welcomed me.

#384 ::: Lori Coulson
Do you write poetry?

Hi Lori. No, I when I have time to write, I do Light SF and Urban/Dark Fantasy. ;-) Still working on that.


392 ::: Lee :::

“BTW, do you use that nick elseNet? I may remember you from way back in the Usenet days.”

Hi Lee. Yes, I use the same nick in various places, but it is not as unique as I thought it was I started using it lo-those many years ago. ;-)

#425 ::: Randolph :::

“… but what would people say to serious outreach in this area? Suppose we had, oh, 10 or 20,000 supporting members nominating and voting in the Hugos? Would this perhaps be a good thing?

There is a general problem that the cooperative nature of Worldcon and the Hugo Awards is not widely understood. It is important: these are the awards given by the fannish public and the convention, because it is an independent cooperative organization funded by membership fees, is not beholden to any business or business organization beyond sf publishing as a whole.”

*this* fan would say YES. Three times over Yes. The more fans you can get involved in the voting the more likely it is that the winning stories/art/novels will be the works that are remembered years if not decades later. –grin-

#604 ::: Cat :::

“Sad Puppies are making an effort to attract conservative fans and only conservative fans to diddle the Hugos”

**cough** Not exactly true. I might be a bit more conservative that other people, so I would not be the fan some might want, but I took the information and passed it to a friend who, like me is a 40+ year SF fan, and is more interested in rousing stories than the politics, what-not of the writer. Last I heard, he had passed it on to his husband. ;-) It is spreading past the original posts like a slow burning brush file.

#618 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:33 PM:

It strikes me that figuring out exactly what "they" (the Sad Puppy supporters) want is probably both not terribly useful and perhaps impossible. Some subset of "they" want straightforwardly-told stories with clear heroes and villains. Some subset want military SF. Some subset want books without girl cooties. Some, to the extent that Beale's supporters and GGers are involved, want to drive women out of SF both as authors and as fans as much as they possibly can. There's no obvious single set of motives or preferences here.

#619 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:39 PM:

Lee @524:

Teresa, #499: The Hugos don't belong to the set of all people who read the genre; they belong to the worldcon, and the people who attend and/or support it.
If that's the case, then the Hugos should not be representing themselves as awards for "the best science fiction", but as awards for "the best science fiction read by the Worldcon clique".
It's not a clique. Anyone can join.

It's really hard to come up with a balloting system that reflects the preferences of people who don't join, don't nominate, and don't vote. Possibly we need to recruit more telepaths.

Now, if what you mean by that is "they belong to the people who are willing to self-select --
Nominating and voting take effort. Anyone who does it is self-selecting. You can only get around that by randomly trapping specimens in bookstores and movie theatres, and forcing them to fill out Hugo ballots; and the agitation experienced by some specimens during this procedure introduces other varieties of sampling error into the results.
-- into that group by paying a membership fee," that's a different claim and one I don't have an issue with. But it didn't sound to me as though that was what you were saying.
The term I've heard used most often is "community of interest": the set of all people who care enough about the genre to keep track of works and their creators, buy a membership, and vote in the Hugos.

It's the same kind of fuzzy line that gets drawn around the communities that support and vote for the various fan funds -- TAFF, DUFF, GUFF, etc. -- that underwrite exchanges of visits in person by fans from widely separated parts of the world. Not everyone follows the fan funds or contributes to them, and not everyone votes in their elections, but as long as the people that do so are roughly the same, everyone feels it's basically fair, and the institutions go on running.

I really would like to see more people who read and love science fiction voting on the Hugos, whether they attend conventions or not.
First question: how do you make them do it?

Second question: what do you think supporting memberships are for?

Third question: What makes you think the results would be all that different?

This last matter is covered in the opening scene of Skiffy: A Love Poem, the ultimate novel of life in SF editorial. The sorrowing Women Warriors of Skiffy gather around the slain form of editor Benjamin Deerfield. Then, taking heart, as one they clasp the Enchanted Plasma Runesword of Quality Skiffy and intone the magic formula, "...for Quality Skiffy is Entertaining Skiffy!" There's either a blinding flash of coruscating light or a coruscating flash of blinding light, I forget which, and after that it's all pretty much what you'd expect.

(You may not believe that Skiffy: A Love Poem exists, or that it's a copiously illustrated novel-length work, but it does, and it is.)

Back to the point. The good stuff is the entertaining stuff, and vice-versa. The good stuff sells. The work readers love enough to nominate and vote for is also the work they buy, recommend to their friends, and talk up to strangers on buses.

There's some mismatch between sales and award nominations, but since my own entertainment purchases aren't conducted entirely on the basis of what's the best and finest work the field has produced this year, I don't feel I really have any room to talk. Still: the good stuff sells, and is enjoyed.

Onward. Could you please be a little nicer to Kevin Standlee? I know his prose sounds stiff and oppressive, always has; but sniping at him won't change that. I know because -- it grieves me to admit this -- I tried it once when I was younger, and it had no perceptible effect. No matter what you do to him, he's always going to be Kevin Standlee. But he belongs to the small community of people who, year after year, do the vast amount of organizational and administrative work it takes to keep the worldcon and the Hugos running (Tom Whitmore is another), and IMO he's due his bit of respect. When you're talking about how the worldcon and the Hugos work, he's solid straight through.

Also, AFAIK, no one has proposed any actual "anti-ballot-stuffing" policy. Teresa did mention, back @43, that there are some things she would consider signs of "this is dodgy, and should perhaps be more closely examined"
Thank you for recalling this to the thread's attention.

You remind me that there's another one I meant to include: look closer if there's an anomalous ratio of copies sold to votes cast for a book. I'd be the last to say that sales are an exact mirror of a book's quality, but if readers love a book, they tend to buy copies of it.

It's hard to generate fake data that has the complex texture of reality. May the problem forever prove intractable.

#620 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:39 PM:

Kevin @606: I don't like IRV myself, but that's because in the voting methods arena I'm a self-declared Condorcet partisan. I think that it would be a major uphill futile battle to replace IRV with a Condorcet method, so I'm not going to bother. At least IRV is better that FPTP.

#621 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:40 PM:

To clarify what I'm talking about in comment 612: I welcome new voters into the community. Spreading awareness of how to vote to fans who might want to but haven't known how, or known they could, is an unalloyed good in my book. Those fans are welcome in my virtual home. Even if they vote for things I don't like. Even if the things I don't like win.

People who invite the Reavers in for the wrecking value are anathema. If there's a slate associated with them, it's anathema. If they have a brand, or an identity, it's anathema. Because I can make no compromise with people who see joy as an exploit vector, or people who would benefit by their presence.

And again, this is my line. It's not a recommendation or a requirement to be friends with me.

#622 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:43 PM:

Carrie @ 616 - The wikipedia entry is a bit special, owing to the Gator hordes having descended on it as well--there was a large, weird scandal there that involved Byzantine wikipedia politics and descended a bunch of people screaming slurs at the founder on Twitter.

I find myself reluctant to get into detail on the topic for the same reason I don't mention a few individuals by name on the internet. Summoning Bloody Mary is a social gaffe, summoning Gators by invoking the name is merely tiresome and dangerous.

#623 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:44 PM:

Abi, your thoughts re Gamergate are all yea and amen to me.

Doug, I think it's easy to underestimate the extent to which Gamergate is a thoroughly steerable mob. Their culture is set up with major vulnerabilities to anyone willing to persist at manipulating them, predisposed to a bunch of right-wing hatreds and easy both to guide and goad.

#624 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:47 PM:

Teresa @ 619... The good stuff is the entertaining stuff

Everything that happens in life
Can happen in a show
You can make 'em laugh
You can make 'em cry
Anything
Anything can go....
The clown with his pants falling down
Or the dance that's a dream of romance
Or the scene where the villain is mean
That's entertainment!
- from "The Band Wagon"

#625 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 01:52 PM:

I'm not sure this has been discussed before, but how many women belong with the Forlorn Young Canines?

#626 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:01 PM:

Carrie @616:

This vox.com article is a decent early-stages explanation, back before "ethics in game journalism" became the punchline to a thousand unfunny jokes.

What to be aware of since then is that a group of poorly-behaved people organizing on a variety of sites have continued and extended the worst of the behavior to people (primarily women) not in gaming: doxxing people, massive quantities of verbal abuse, rape and death threats, calling SWAT teams to their houses, physical stalking, et cetera.

There are people who identify as Gamer Gate supporters who insist that this group of people are not Gaters, and that Gaters are also being targeted. (There are also people who identify as Gamer Gate supporters who deny that these things are happening and claim that the targets are simply seeking attention.) It's an amorphous, leaderless group, so plausible deniability is definitely a key aspect of the culture around the hashtag.

My experience as an observer is that GG substantially right-wing in visible politics, and targets women (particularly those who identify as feminists) disproportionately and with disproportionate viciousness. There's also a large strain of transmisogyny to be found in the hashtag.

There's also a phenomenon known as "sea lioning" because of this comic. That's when someone will start arguing with anyone who makes any assailable general statement about GG. They are relentless and exhausting in their insistence that every generality must be proven to acceptable (to them, which is to say never) original sources. They're attention vampires. (I expect that, no matter how carefully I have written this, I will now see several of them appear on-thread.)

Speaking as a moderator, I'd prefer if this thread doesn't turn into a full-scale discussion of GG. If this information is not sufficient, I'd suggest that people do their own research online and get a feel for where the facts and disputes lie. Or not—it's exhausting and wretched stuff, full of every kind of miasma.

#627 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:04 PM:

620
I;m not sure there's any balloting method that doesn't have at least one major problem. But I like to think that IRV at least produces a result that people can live with.

(Explaining how IRV works, though: that's a real pain. Been there, done that, borrowed Frisbie's spare rocket from 1972 to do so, and got the passing grade to show for it. And the fun of putting together the slide show for the awards, a couple of months later, along with weighting all those bases (modeling clay and birdshot) the day before.)

#628 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:05 PM:

I've been reading SF for over 60 years now, starting with Heilein's Rocket Ship Galileo. Closer to 68 years, if you include the Oz books and Andrew Lang. There was a time when I could afford to buy essentially every SF paperback and magazine that came out, and I was just a kid with a couple of bucks a week in my pocket. Nowadays, even with e-books and a much fatter wallet, there's just no way to keep up, and I don't try -- which is why I wouldn't feel honest about voting for a Hugo.

My tastes in SF, unsurprisingly, have changed considerably since 1952. As a (now retired) practicing "hard scientist" (organic chemistry) I have no bias against "hard" SF. Kim Stanley Robinson surely qualifies as that, though his politics are as far from those of the Sad Puppies as possible. But I'm also a fan of China Miéville, Jo Walton, Iain M. Banks and Gene Wolfe.

#629 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:10 PM:

abi @626, I have a female friend who works in the video-game industry. From what she's told me, everything you've said about GG is correct... except that they're even more toxic (yes, really) than you've described. My friend has asked all of her friends to unfriend her on Facebook and otherwise disassociate themselves from whatever online presence she has left, because the poison splashes. And to never, ever post her real name anywhere online.

Seriously. I had a long, long talk with her about this, and went away seriously needing a drink. And I don't drink.

Reavers is a good name for them.

#630 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:18 PM:

Teresa @619: Is there by any chance a place where one[1] might acquire a copy of Skiffy: A Love Poem"? It's the sort of thing that (a) sounds potentially wonderful and (b) I never would have thought existed.

[1] and by "one" I mean "I"

#631 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:26 PM:

Serge #610:

Somehow, my brain is getting stuck on what kind of policy you'd propose to prevent that happening in the future. (Maybe _The Rainbow Cadenza_?)

Abi, Bruce, etc. re GG:

Isn't this the outline of a lot of entertainingly tragic stories, both fiction and nonfiction? As a way of winning my conflict with you, I invite in the Reavers/Barbarians/Romans/whatever. The story ends with the thing we were fighting over either in flames or under the control of the folks I invited in to help me take it over.

The other theme (again present in plenty of fiction and history, and not a small amount of present-day US politics) is the fact that it is often possible to hold some big valuable and vulnerable thing hostage until you get your way. It doesn't take many ambitious and amoral people in the position to do that, before your whole valuable system is constantly under threat--give us what we want, or we'll wreck it for everyone including ourselves[1].

Re SPs and alternative awards:

I don't have much of a puppy in this fight, but it seems like a MilSF-specific award, or maybe a conservative-specific award, would be a positive outcome that is at least achievable. If there can be a Prometheus award for libertarian SF, there can be an Attilla the Hun in Space award for conservative SF. Now, that might not accomplish the personal goals of many of the original SPs--there are a lot of conservative SF writers, so there might be a lot of competition for the awards, and it might be a very long time indeed before (say) VD wins one in a fair vote. But it would offer a pretty natural face-saving place to direct the interest generated by the SPs, in a way that would actually make the wold a better place.

[1] The real trick, which is pretty-much universal in politics, is that the sociopaths at the top who are playing chicken with the generation ship's life support system manage to use a bunch of bugs in the human brain to convince their non-sociopathic followers that somehow, this is really okay and it's all for their benefit.

#632 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:32 PM:

The discouraging thing--among a bouquet of discouraging things--is that literary SF, when you get right down to it, is a very small world. 8,000 people at a Worldcon was considered extraordinary.

Invoking the fandom of a different media--in this case, video games--opens up a massive difference in scale. GTAV sells more copies before breakfast than a bestselling SF author will move in a year.

The subreddit that merely watches and comments on the worst excesses of GG has a population of 6000 and some. The one where a chunk of those in question actually congregate is over 20,000. It is impossible to derive numbers on how large the movement is--much smaller than they used to be, well-padded out with socks--but still even if one takes the most wildly optimistic and conservative estimates, it's a lot of unpleasantness.

We are a tiny little tribe used to engaging in internal bickering, and suddenly somebody decided that they could win the fight over who has the best yurt by bringing their buddies the Mongols in to arbitrate.

#633 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:34 PM:

Albatross, I think it's a different though related story: Having already abandoned morality and shared humanity in the pursuit of personal and tribal supremacy, the schemers make monsters who demonstrate what's already true of their creators. The people who make use of the Reavers don't seem in any danger of losing control of them.

#634 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:34 PM:

PJ Evans @627 -- I will attest to the modeling clay and birdshot. I was there. That's one of the reasons the bases for 1993 and 2002 are blocks of wood wide enough so they won't fall over easily ("stable" is one of my criteria for Hugo bases).

#635 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:35 PM:

@ 631 Albatross - Heh. Great minds...

#636 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:46 PM:

634
Yeah, cast ceramic wasn't a great idea, although they looked good.

#637 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:49 PM:

UrsuaV and abi: Ah, thank you for the info, but I was imprecise in my phrasing. I know what GG is; I'd like to know if it's true that the Sad Puppies have been courting them.

#638 ::: wyldkat ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 02:59 PM:

#625 ::: Serge Broom ::: “…how many women belong with the Forlorn Young Canines?”

**Raised eyebrow** Why on Earth does our gender matter? I have yet to see a person’s private parts read, let alone express an opinion on SF/F.

For what it matters, there are at least half a dozen of us, perhaps more. You can’t always tell by screen names. ;-)

#639 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:01 PM:

albatross @ 631: _The Rainbow Cadenza_ is one of the few books that left me apoplectically furious. Moreover, I'm pretty certain that getting those resentful children free sex would not, in fact, cure the problem.

#640 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:04 PM:

(and thank you, T, for the kind words back at 619 for both me and Kevin!)

#641 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:06 PM:

wyldkat: It matters because the Sad Puppies seem (from the outside) to be mostly the kind of Men who like to Explain Things. A gender ratio close to sci-fi fandom as a whole would say something about the movement...and a significantly-more-unequal one would say something else.

#642 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:12 PM:

wyldkat... See Carrie S's comment as for why I asked. It was a quite reasonable question to ask. Besides, noms-de-blog that'd suggest a person of one gender may turn out to be otherwise.

#643 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:14 PM:

Carrie S @637 Torgersen on GG+SP:

GamerGate appears to be the one topic everyone is prepared to spout volumes about, but precious few people understand in detail. Almost everyone who got up on a high horse about it, did so with virtually no understanding of the chain of events. They just wanted an excuse to bash (insert target here.) Suffice to say, video games are a multi-billion-dollar industry, and a large hunk of the games played are explicitly SF/F. I see no reason to divorce this segment of the audience (players) just because of a tabloid gamer news kerfuffle that went viral.

Reavers are a huge chunk of the spacefaring population. I see no reason to denounce them just because they've got avant-garde ideas about starship decor.

#644 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:17 PM:

wyldkat @638:
Why on Earth does our gender matter? I have yet to see a person’s private parts read, let alone express an opinion on SF/F.

And if a person's private parts were the relevant part of gender, that would be totally not a topic. But gender-related cultural factors do creep into how people treat one another, both individually and collectively.

#645 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:17 PM:

I hadn’t made the connection between GG and the Reavers from Firefly before. It seems an especially apt one, since the guy who coined the name of the movement (GG, that is, not the Reavers) is the actor who played Jayne.

#646 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:20 PM:

Avram @645:

At the kids' request, we did a Firefly binge a couple of weeks ago, and the similarity struck me. It seems a workable analogy.

(Though of course Jayne himself was no friend of the Reavers in the show.)

#647 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:28 PM:

Laertes @643, anyone who would be so clueless (or insensitive) as to describe GG as "a tabloid gamer news kerfluffle" is either a useful idiot for the GG-ers or a GG-er himself.

And as I mentioned before, GG was not a stand alone incident--"Elevatorgate" (in the atheist community) preceded GG by several years, but was just as vicious--and many of the "veterans" of Elevatorgate went on to become members of GG.

Go to We Hunted the Mammoth, a site dedicated to observing the MRA sites, for ample evidence that all of this is interconnected, at least in spirit, even if Mr. Torgensen isn't actually a GG.

#648 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:29 PM:

Laertes, thank you. Being willing to describe GG as "a tabloid gamer news kerfuffle that went viral" tells me some things about Mr. Torgersen.

#649 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:31 PM:

TNH @619: Like Tom, thank you.

People who want to read things less stiff should follow my LiveJournal, where I don't exclusively talk about Worldcon, WSFS, and the Hugo Awards. Yesterday, for instance, I wrote about the hot-air balloon that came uncomfortably close to crashing into my house. Other topics are apt to cover trains (my other hobby) and maybe things like the rabbits that live around my house when I get a chance to post pictures of the bunnies.

#650 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:33 PM:

Wyldkat... One more thing. A person's gender and/or privates is not an issue for me. Ask around if you don't believe me. That being said, unless I completely misread everything I've heard about the Forlorn Young Canines, it is quite reasonable to see that gender and privates do matter to them. So, please skip the raised-eyebrow-in-mock-surprise.

#651 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:34 PM:

I'm not sure the Reaver analogy works, just because the Reavers were never developed beyond psychopaths.

By contrast, the GG have a clear agenda: they want to restore the society where white heterosexual men have all the authority.

Now, this agenda is often concealed by obfuscation (notice Torgensen's refusal to say anything concrete in this thread), but there are plenty of people who will come right out and say it. (Again, check out We Hunted the Mammoth, it's...enlightening.)

And the reason they are so vicious is that they can feel their privilege slipping away, and they don't like it.

#652 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:36 PM:

Kevin Standlee... I'd like to thank you and others for doing what you do.

#653 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:36 PM:

Kevin Standlee... I'd like to thank you and others for doing what you do.

#654 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:39 PM:

Doug @ 651: The Reavers analogy works for me, because a return to "the society where white heterosexual men have all the authority" is exactly the type of disaster that the Reavers visited upon non-Reavers. From my perspective, it's all the same end result.

Folks of all genders can be conservative, liberal, or any shade in between, but their behavior marks the difference between SP, GG, and not.

#655 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:45 PM:

@ 638 Given that a few years back, one of the principle founders of the SPs was prone to expressing the belief that women should be banned from writing SF, it does not strike me as surprising that one might be curious as to demographic makeup.

I would also be rather curious as to the overall demographics of Hugo voters, for that matter. It might be interesting, or enlightening, or quite dull, but as I do not know it, I am curious.

#656 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:47 PM:

Torgersen can believe whatever wrong-headed tosh he wants about GG. I'm only interested in whether he, or anyone on behalf of SP, reached out and invited them in. I'll await evidence and developments before I come to any conclusion, even for my own further actions.

#657 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 03:51 PM:

A weakness of the Reavers analogy is that the film Serenity reveals the Reavers to be victims themselves, forced against their will to be monsters by the actions of a government seeking to create a safe culture. That feeds pretty well into reactionary rhetoric.

#658 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 04:25 PM:

Steven, #570: Would you like to work together on considering how to write up such a proposal, and the conditions under which it might be seen to be necessary? My e-mail is fgneqernzre@zvaqfcevat.pbz; feel free to drop me a line. Yes, this is the sound of me volunteering to do at least some of the work -- although I think there are aspects of the issue on which your grasp seems to be stronger than mine.

Lydy, #574: I'm still failing to see how this is a problem, precisely. In part because "deserving" seems like such an odd choice, as if there was an entitlement that was being withheld.

I didn't want to engage with this until Teresa had weighed in on my response to her @499, which she now has. I've been getting a sort of "only fans in the con-going community really count, and the Hugos belong to them" vibe from some of the comments here, and that's where "deserving" came from.

It seems to me that the Hugos should "belong" to anyone who reads and loves SF/F and who is able and willing to buy a Worldcon membership (supporting or otherwise) for the privilege of voting -- whether or not they attend conventions. I now think that Teresa and I are on the same page there, and I misread her @499. (But I will note that at least one other person upthread had my same taken-aback reaction, so it wasn't just me.)

And I think there has been a definite problem with Worldcon not promoting that knowledge, of itself and of the Hugos, to that wider community. If you don't happen to fall in with a group of people who talk about cons and Worldcon and the Hugos, it's often very difficult to discover them. I was lucky -- the SF club in my hometown threw its own local con and had members who went to Worldcons and would happily discuss them. But I was reading SF/F long before I found that club, and I had no idea.

Dave B., #575: If you don't vote, you're ceding that much more power to the SPs. This isn't a matter of "vote against anything they nominate", but of "your opinion about the best choices isn't necessarily going to be in lockstep with theirs, and merits being heard".

Teresa, #592: Sound unlikely? Apparently there are screenshots. I haven't asked to see them because I'm trying to steer clear of insider information while this discussion is running, but I know the person who has them is very reliable.

Holy crap. I hope that if there are indeed screenshots, they are made public at some point. This is the kind of information that should be part of any sort of transparent process.

UrsulaV, #596: This is another reason that I support spreading knowledge of the Hugos and the voting process to SF readers who aren't necessarily con-going fans. I believe that there are more of them who are decent people than who would throw in with the GGers (because to believe otherwise is to concede the battle without a fight), and the only thing we can do about the scenario you posit is to swamp the toxic votes with more votes that are honestly cast.

SorchaRei, #601: One major difference between the SPs and me is that I think it's great when all kinds of SFF are published and enjoyed, even stuff I am heartily bored or annoyed by, whereas they appear to feel threatened when people publish and enjoy stuff that is not in their wheelhouse.

I think that's an excellent and accurate point. And that is one of the traits which causes people to label them "right-wing", because they share it with other right-wing groups ranging from the KKK to the Avengelical Christians.

Andrew, #613: I would have thought Garcia's speech a better fit for Best Related Work, where it would have the benefit of the "meta" factor. ;-)

Wyldkat, #617: The person I knew who went by that nick had red hair and lived in Tennessee some 25 years ago. If that's you, you'd remember me from the local SCA group.

I took the information and passed it to a friend who, like me is a 40+ year SF fan, and is more interested in rousing stories than the politics, what-not of the writer. Last I heard, he had passed it on to his husband. ;-) It is spreading past the original posts like a slow burning brush fire.

I consider that to be good news.

Teresa, #619: As I said above, I think we're actually on the same page here and I misread you.

First question: how do you make them do it?

Obviously, you can't make them. But just as obviously, if they never find out that they can, they certainly won't! I think we may be having the fannish equivalent of the "equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcome" discussion here. I'm advocating for the former, not the latter.

Could you please be a little nicer to Kevin Standlee?

Point taken. This entire thread is making me testier than usual, and he caught some backsplash both from that and from a couple of other discussions elseNet.

Kevin: I apologize for getting snappy with you. Also, I'd like to thank you for the information about the Advance Supporting Membership thing, which I had not previously understood and will now be doing on a regular basis.

UrsulaV, #622: My understanding is that when the dust settled, Wikipedia had declared that it was indeed all about ethics in video game journalism. I've been hesitant about using them even to look for primary sources (on anything) since then.

Edmund, #630: Hi! Fancy meeting you here...

Side note: Boy, I wish my attempts to push "Roll a D6" had gotten that much attention in the year it was eligible! But I'm still glad people are enjoying it now.

#659 ::: philrm ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 04:27 PM:

Avram@657: The Alliance government wasn't trying to create a safe society, they were trying to create a passive society.

#660 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 04:35 PM:

Kevin Sandlee @ 600

I currently have a Supporting Membership for WorldCon2014; I will be getting one for WorldCon2015 so as to be able to vote, as well as nominate (already done) in the 2015 Hugos. I will watch for the notification about Site Selection; thank you for explaining how to do it.

Wyldcat @ 617

It is indeed true that one result of the Sad Puppies has been some liberals, like me, getting so annoyed by "make their heads explode" rhetoric and "the typical Hugo voter is so sick of people reading" rhetoric that we waded in to vote for books we liked specifically to oppose the Sad Puppies But that was an accident as far as the Sad Puppies were concerned.

What I'm keeping in mind here is who the Sad Puppies were *trying* to attract, and it certainly wasn't liberals, not with that kind of talk.

They were only trying to attract conservative fans. Correia's blog was quite clear about it, back in the days of Sad Puppy 1. There are relatively new Puppies who are unaware of this history, but you can work your way back through Correia's blog and find it easily enough.

Theophylact @628

I think you should nominate and vote in the Hugos despite not having read all the SFF published in a given year. Why? Because nobody can read all the SFF published in a given year and the Hugo administrators would still like to have some nominations to tally, please, and they have to come from people like you, who haven't read everything.

I didn't read everything either (good grief; how could I?) and I nominated and will be voting. You probably read at least as much as I do.

#661 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 04:48 PM:

Lee @ 658 and others:

I just drafted a proposal. The gist is:
1) increase finalists to 6 from 5
2) decrease nominees to 4
3) scrap the 5% rule

Anybody interested, email me at cgerrib at comcast dot net.

#662 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 04:57 PM:

Ginger @ 654,

Good point, the end result is disturbingly similar either way. I hadn't thought of that.

Though I wasn't trying to downplay their evil--I was just thinking they reminded me more of The Handmaid's Tale.

Abi @ 656, based on that comment of Torgersen's, I'd say he IS on the side of the Gamergaters, even if he didn't actively participate in the worst excesses.

#663 ::: Brad DeLong ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 04:58 PM:

>But some of the rewrites of (and rebuttals to) Starship Troopers are very good! I'm especially fond of Haldeman's Forever War...

IIRC, *Heinlein* was very fond of Haldeman's "Forever War"...

#664 ::: Brad DeLong ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 05:00 PM:

>#581 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:15 AM: Just going on the furniture and surface identifiers, Ancillary Justice doesn't include very many grunt's-eye-level squad tactics scenes, and there is no rescue-important-damsel-and-return-to-base plot.

It does too have a rescue-important-damsel-and-return-to-base plot!

#665 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 05:11 PM:

Is it possible that this entire scene has done exactly what the Sad Puppies push wanted from the outset? We are having discussions about what we like to read. We are sharing our favorite authors and books from the last year in the hopes of garnering attention for this award, and really, it hurts no one! People are reading more books. People are talking about books. People are getting fired up on both sides...but they are getting fired up about BOOKS!
This may be seen as a naive view of the situation, but I really don't think the Sad Puppies have hurt anything. Sad Puppies have made BOOKS a topic of conversation in a society where today's average person is constantly assaulted with visual media and interactive gameplay. Hooray for discussion! Hooray for Sad Puppies and Whimpering Kittens! Hooray for Books!

#666 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 05:16 PM:

Lee@658: The story of the Garcia nom makes sense in context. The previous year, Gollum's acceptance speech at the MTV awards had been nominated for BDP short form (which makes sense, as it was a dramatic presentation). Then, Chris Garcia accepted his award for Best Fanzine in a rather demonstrative way, and Jay Lake, one of the hosts, said 'Now we know what will be nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation in 2012'. And people took it up and ran from there.

Theophylact@628 and Cat@660: One doesn't need to read everything in order to vote, in any case, since there is a limited number of nominees. I do think that one ought, in the categories in which one is voting, either to read everything nominated or decide not to read it, for reasons (where reasons may be ethical, or may just be 'after two chapters I found it deadly dull'). (For this reason I would be wary of an increase in the number of nominees.)

I also agree one does not need to read everything (or even everything that looks plausibly Hugo-worthy) to nominate, since at this point one is only making suggestions.

#667 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 05:18 PM:

(For this reason I would be wary of an increase in the number of nominees.) But on the other hand, deadly dull is an award criterion.

#668 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 05:18 PM:

worldcon.org has been stable ever since I've been paying attention...?

#669 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 05:30 PM:

James @ 665: I don't know if you've ever hung out around here before, but we discuss books (even BOOKS!!) we like all the time. Even when I was a Baen Barfly, we discussed books all the time.

Point #2: The SP -- from the very beginning -- made it clear that they did not like the "wrong sort" of people winning awards, nor did they like the diversity of authors that have been nominated. Several leaders in the SP community have made it very clear that they don't have much tolerance for anyone unlike them, and have actively wished us ill. No amount of good intentions will overcome this for me. The end results do not, in my humble opinion, outweigh the means used. The only good to come out of this is the ease with which I can now identify the people who wish I didn't exist, so I can not only avoid them, I can support others like me, and with a purpose.

David @ 662: I didn't think you meant it intentionally, but your experiences hadn't led you to the same perspective as mine. The Handmaid's Tale is a different kind of oppression.

#670 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 05:33 PM:

James @665, since Sad Puppies was founded to get Larry Correia a Hugo (and persists in that effort to this day, by the way) it seems pretty unlikely that the actual point of the Sad Puppies (cleverly hidden for three years) was a lively discussion about books that aren't even Larry's.

That said, sure, a lively discussion about books is good. I enjoy it too. But *we* did that. Not the Puppies.

#671 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 05:35 PM:

James @665 ...do you think we didn't talk about books before?

Half of us are authors and editors or otherwise in the industry. Books are, I daresay, probably the single thing we talk about most. It's our JOB.

In fact, the fact we gotta talk about this crap instead of awesome books we think are Hugo-worthy and OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS is a major downer.

#672 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 05:38 PM:

James, #665: Sad Puppies have made BOOKS a topic of conversation in a society where today's average person is constantly assaulted with visual media and interactive gameplay.

First off, welcome to Making Light!

Second... Really? You're saying this on a blog run by two BOOK editors, where BOOKS are a topic of conversation on a regular basis? You're suggesting that "today's average person" is any more aware of BOOKS now than they were two years ago?*

I would say that "naive" is putting it rather mildly.

* Note that this doesn't imply anything about how much they were aware of books before; I simply don't think anything has changed in the wider world as a result of this.

#673 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 05:39 PM:

Chris Gerrib@667: I'm not sure if I misled you there, but just in case; 'for this reason...' was meant to go with 'one ought... to read everything', not with 'deadly dull'.

#674 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 05:43 PM:

Andrew M: I think I understood you. I'm merely of the opinion that life is too short to read bad books, and I'm not opposed to saying "bounced off this one hard - bottom of the pile" when picking awards.

#675 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 05:55 PM:

Kevin Standlee @517: It's more difficult than you think to remember to edit all of these links every single year.

It's more difficult than you think even when you remember how difficult it was last time. Only way I've ever managed it was to keep a running list. And then, you still have to remember to update the list.

#676 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 05:57 PM:

Kevin @ 603: Did you read my proposal at 570? It looks to me like you only read what I said in 594, made a wild guess as to what I was proposing, and then posted objections based on that wild guess. In particular, I never suggested considering the order in which the voter lists the nominees in a category, or giving some of a nominator's votes in a category more weight than others, which seem to be key elements of the fantasy proposal you're attributing to me.

#677 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 06:04 PM:

Steven desJardins - I read your proposal, and I don't understand how it would work. I really think that, if we're going to change the WSFS constitution, we ought to keep it simple.

Thus 4 nominees for 6 slots and no 5% rule.

The 5% rule in practice has meant we get a short ballot on short stories, which is the one place we ought to run long.

#678 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 06:05 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @592 Sound unlikely? Apparently there are screenshots. I haven't asked to see them because I'm trying to steer clear of insider information while this discussion is running, but I know the person who has them is very reliable.

I have also seen them with my own eyes in both the comments to one of Torgerson’s blog entries in January and as an addendum by Correia on his blog post discussing Sad Puppies.

Abi @598 and 612: It was seeing those invitations to GG to get involved that made me decide to leave the Sad Puppy nominees off my ballot entirely. I won’t even vote them below No Award because they’d still be counted if I did. I was actually more willing to read any nominees of theirs that ended up on the ballot this year than last year. They seemed, at first, to at least be giving a sop to works they liked as opposed to works they just thought would poke sticks in “SJW” eyes like last year. But after seeing that, no way.

#679 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 06:22 PM:

Sandy B. @529: Of course you're a fan. Attending the worldcon and/or voting for Hugos is not what defines fandom.

Sometimes I think what defines fandom is worrying about whether you're excluded from it.

#680 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 06:26 PM:

Cat @530: Nobody's going to restrict Hugo voting to attendees. Supporting memberships have been around forever, chiefly because people like you exist.

#681 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 06:30 PM:

Doug says: "I'm not sure the Reaver analogy works, just because the Reavers were never developed beyond psychopaths. By contrast, the GG have a clear agenda: they want to restore the society where white heterosexual men have all the authority."

I assume this is ironic? From my perspective as non-heterosexual, possibly non-white, possibly white, (depends on who's looking and in what century) and non-male, a society where white heterosexual men have all the authority looks pretty psychopathic.

I'm just sayin'.

#682 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 06:38 PM:

Others seem to have things that interest me in hand, so I'd like to wade back to the "when are we worthy to nominate" part. Has anyone done a writeup of the zone where it became increasingly difficult to actually read everything or nearly everything likely to be worth nominating?

I was born in 1965, with brothers a decade or so older than me. Memory tells me that as the '70s went on, I found it harder and harder to keep up with everything mentioned in zines and review and letter columns as worthy of our reading attention, and that by the time I was in college in the latter '80s, it no longer felt possible to be current on everything that had a chance of being part of that year's best, while having the rest of my life. But that's me - others read faster or just plain more per day/week/month/year.

Certainly I feel comfortable now saying "no, no single person can keep on top of it all", but it's interesting to me how much interior barrier there is to accepting that this leads to "and therefore it's entirely sensible to nominate based on what part I did read".

#683 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 06:44 PM:

P J Evans @539: Supporting memberships have been around for at least as long as Patrick can remember, which takes it back to January 1975. My sense is that they've been around since the dawn of fannish time -- the cost of attending conventions is actually less of a problem now than it was in the early days -- but I can't put a date on it.

Paging the Permanent Floating -- does anyone know when supporting memberships started? If not, do you know who we should ask?

#684 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 06:49 PM:

Gmrgtrs are like reavers in that they're invasive, implacable, and either indifferent or hostile to the values of the communities that they attack, and you'd be right to conclude that someone who brings them to your door means to do you harm.

#685 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 06:52 PM:

Teresa @680

Regarding restricting Hugo voting to attendees:

Someone was actually wondering if it would be a good idea in this thread, which was what I was reacting to. They changed their mind later and in any case at some point in the discussion I realized it would be pretty hard to get through the business meeting.

So I'm cool now. But thanks.

#686 ::: John Cobalt ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:00 PM:

Euhm for those uninitiated about GamerGate:

http://wiki.gamergate.me/index.php/GamerGate

Let's take "What GG is about" from the horse's mouth instead of various claims that is yet unsubstantiated. Also just for the record, if GG is a bunch of harassers then why would they even bother keeping up appearances and also.. would x thousand "trolls" be able to do that? Yes I know, applying occam's razor is tedious.

#687 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:01 PM:

My first thought was of the Reavers in the Thomas Covenant series, but the it works out to much the same thing.

#688 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:01 PM:

683
That's why I went to Frisbie. I know he's been around since at least 1972. (He has a spare rocket from that year. Claims he's going to get the placque engraved sometime, for 'Best Unpublished Short Story' or something equally silly. He took the rockets on the plane with him that year, including through what was then called security.)

#689 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:03 PM:

abi 621: I'm on board with that. And in fact I don't think an organized campaign against the Reavers and their lickspittles would be a bad thing.

abi 621: (Though of course Jayne himself was no friend of the Reavers in the show.)

Jayne was a much better person than Adam Baldwin. If AB had been writing Jayne, he'd have sold out to the Reavers and abandoned the others, and claimed they deserved what they got.

ULTRAGOTHA 678: With you there, as long as you make due provision for people who were included in the SP list without their knowledge or consent, contrary to Brad Torgerson's lies.

#690 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:03 PM:

686
Nice move for a first appearance.
Not a good move, though, you understand.

#691 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:03 PM:

P J, the obviously correct thing to engrave is something like "Most Covert Award-Winning Undertaking".

#692 ::: John Cobalt ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:05 PM:

690
Well I'm sure that you would dismantle anything false you saw on the interwebz if you saw it?

#693 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:41 PM:

"Somebody is wrong on the internet."
- xkcd

#694 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:41 PM:

John Cobalt @692 One problem that Gamergate has had is that anyone can #gamergate. Am I now a (inaccurately as that page says) gamergater? I hope not, because everywhere gamergate goes, all kinds of trolling, insults and harassment seems to follow.

Which is not to say you, or any of the gaters you know. It's those third party trolls and harassers.

#695 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:47 PM:

Straight line. 10-foot pole.

#696 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:48 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @687: Wasn't that Ravers, rather than Reavers? (Which nowadays would make one imagine evil beings who possess people and make them go to loud parties with lots of flashing lights and drugs.)

#697 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:52 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 696 That was a really fun Samurai Jack episode...

#698 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:53 PM:

I'm pretty sure supporting memberships weren't discussed back in the days when memberships to the Worldcon were in single-digit dollars (though they might have been) -- and that runs up into the 1960s. People who wanted to support, just bought a membership. I know there's no distinguishing between types of memberships in the membership list in the 1947 or 1953 Worldcon program books (the earliest I have immediately to hand) -- and I believe that supporting memberships existed by 1970. I don't recall if they existed in 68 or 69 -- I attended (and worked on, in a minor capacity) those two, so I wasn't paying attention. But I recall (perhaps incorrectly) that Heidelberg had them.

The rise in cost of membership made them much more attractive. That's right around the time when they started deciding the location by a vote that wasn't just at the business meeting of the convention the year before, which is about contemporaneous with multi-track programming (starts in 1970 -- was Heidelberg single or multi-track?).

Through the 50s, membership was less than $5 (generally $1). But $5 bought a lot more (compare the price of an X-Men #1 in 1963 with the price now, he says wryly -- 12c went pretty far up).

But I don't have specific dates to hand. ISTR that Nycon in 67 was $5, and people were incensed about the price even a year after the con. Ted White would remember....

#699 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 07:59 PM:

Andrew M @666:

It's not obvious (I had to have it explained to me when I objected), but dramatic presentations need not be fictional. See the 1970 Hugo Awards, where the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo went to "TV Coverage of Apollo XI". Therefore, Chris Garcia's on-stage melt-down, while not a fictional production, was a "dramatic presentation" in the strictest technical sense.

Members of WSFS have been known to be whimsical at times.

Jacque @668:

The Worldcon.org web site is "stable" in the sense that it doesn't go up and down constantly, but it's remarkably difficult to update, and the WSFS Mark Protection Committee has been studying proposals to fix things for years. I have some hope that we'll see some change this year, probably to something more like the structure of Westercon.org. Further discussion of this is probably out of scope.

Steven desJardins @676:

Yes, I did read your proposal @570. That is the one that I said would be much more difficult to administer than applying IRV to the order in which you list your nominations.

I was not responding to "a wild guess at what [you were] proposing," nor was I attributing a "fantasy proposal" to you. I was speculating on what kinds of changes would be practical to implement.

Let me try again. You asked my opinion of the proposal you made @570. My opinion as a past Hugo Awards Administrator: Your proposal @570 is unworkable, or at least adds substantial extra work on the administrators. However, I could be completely wrong about this, and you could possibly convince the Business Meeting that you're right. I've certainly been wrong before about guessing what the members of WSFS are going to do. Contact me (see below) if you want to try and submit a proposal.

Chris Gerrib @677:

If you want technical advice on the format of your proposal, write to wsfs-business@sasquan.org -- that goes to the entire 2015 WSFS Business Meeting head-table staff including me.

There is also a Guide to WSFS Business Meetings on the 2015 Worldcon web site. (It's not hidden or secret; it's under "Hugos & WSFS / Business Meeting".)

TNH @683:

The table of historical Worldcon membership cost data (inflation corrected to 2013 when the analysis was done) has entries back to 1963, and a note at 1960 about an "overseas rate" that may be the equivalent. Bear in mind that Worldcon attending memberships were less than $5 until 1970 (about $30 today), and thus the need for a reduced price voting-only membership was substantially less that it later became).

We can say for certain that they've been around for more than forty years, and thus are not some sort of recent innovation.

Aside:

The Secret Masters of Fandom can't be all that good at being secret if they have a web site and an annual convention.

#700 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 08:00 PM:

If the worst happens, is it too late to buy a supporting membership?

#701 ::: Mike Glyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 08:00 PM:

Tom Whitmore: The 1946 Worldcon also sold supporting memberships, for $1.

Supporters were promised the convention publications.

See -- http://fanac.org/fanzines/Pacificon/Pacificon1n1-02.html

#702 ::: Robert West ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 08:04 PM:

What happened in 1976 to drive the huge price increase?

#703 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 08:06 PM:

701
Hi, Mike!

#704 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 08:18 PM:

Ginger @ 669, Lizzy @ 681, I regret that my poor wording led you to think I was downplaying the threat of the GGers. I realize that they pose a very real threat of physical violence, particularly to women.

To clarify, my point was that the Reavers were mentally ill--they were driven insane by a government experiment.

To suggest that the GGers are mentally ill is an insult to the mentally ill. They aren't insane, they are EVIL. They deliberately follow a belief system that advocates violence as a means to securing or maintaining their authority.

The SPLC has already declared some MRA groups as "hate groups", and GGers as a whole also fall into that classification. They are no more "mentally ill" than the psychopaths.

Sorry for the rant, it's just a touchy subject. The mentally ill don't deserve to be lumped in with people like Vox Day or Anders Breivik.

#705 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 08:20 PM:

TexAnne @700
If the worst happens, is it too late to buy a supporting membership?

In order to vote on the final Hugo ballot? No. You can still buy a supporting membership to Sasquan between now and when the voting window closes. Though I would not recommend waiting until the last minute because you need time for your membership to be processed, your PIN to be created, and the notification to be e-mailed to you.

#706 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 08:20 PM:

Oops, last word of the second to last line should be "KKK", not "psychopaths."

Time to stop posting for the night.

#707 ::: John Cobalt ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 08:46 PM:

@694 & @704

There is no "membership" in regards to GamerGate just as there isn't any membership cards dealt out to feminists. Calling GamerGate a hate movement is like calling feminism a hate movement because of e.g. #KillAllMen or let's take this fine example: http://www.vice.com/read/is-reducing-the-male-population-by-90-percent-the-solution-to-all-our-problems

If people is getting harassed, I suggest they contact their local authorities, it has nothing to do with GamerGate. It's simply not in anyones interest to do so. Let's assume that my previous occam's razorcut is correct for the sake of argument, what benefit would anyone from GamerGate have in sending threats? Surely these women aren't speaking out _FOR_ corruption?

#708 ::: TexAnne, paging Idumea ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 08:51 PM:

I believe that Mr. Cobalt is arguing in bad faith.

#709 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 08:54 PM:

Texanne... I am shocked by your suggestion.

#710 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 08:55 PM:

Ultragotha, 705: Thank you.

#711 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 08:58 PM:

Mr. Cobalt seems to have little, if any, grasp of grammar or punctuation.

Methinks Mr. Blueballs doth protest too much. I am unaware of any feminists who have sic'ed the local SWAT team on any GGers, nor have any of these guys had to go into hiding to escape potential violence.

#712 ::: John Cobalt ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:07 PM:

@708 & 709
Okay, so by pointing out silliness in a similar sort of organization implying that there is also silliness in GamerGate I'm in bad faith. Okay well then I'm speaking to what might as well be rocks.

@711
I'm not a native english-speaker. Ad hominem is always great, it encourage discourse.

#713 ::: Anne Zanoni ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:12 PM:

Lee #96: Yes, I've known Mike as you have: slightly and in the same venues. Haven't spoken with him in some time, although I still tease him about "being that guy who sold me the funny Libertarian bumper stickers" for years. If he's fallen down the Fox hole... 8(

Really, my issue with the Sad Puppies is not that they want more diversity in Hugo representation. It's that they want less.

Yes. This.

#714 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:18 PM:

Kevin @ 699: Well, your objections are entirely unrelated to my proposal. I accept that you didn't understand what I was suggesting; I would accept "If you explain your proposal again, more carefully, so that I understand it, I will give an opinion on whether it's workable"; I do not accept "Even though you've told me that I completely misunderstood your proposal, I continue to insist that it, whatever it may actually be, is unworkable." That's not a position a reasonable person can take.

Let me try to explain it better, this time advancing from a simplified form of the proposal to a more complicated one.

HYPOTHETICAL PROCEDURE #1: First, count the nominations and assemble the ballot as normal. (I'll assume that there are five nominees on this preliminary final ballot, although that's not essential.)

Then, for each category, go through the ballots again and recount them, this time throwing out all the ones which list the exact five nominees which made it onto the final ballot. If the work with the most votes in this second count isn't already on the final ballot, add it to the final ballot.

Explanation: For the sake of argument, assume the Sad Puppies practically all vote for the same five candidates, and the regular voters mostly vote for different candidates, with little overlap. If the entire Sad Puppy slate sweeps the final ballot, then throw out the obvious block votes, recount, and add the new top vote-getter to the final ballot. This ensures that at least one non-SP nominee makes it onto the final ballot: either it's already there in the first round, or it gets added in the second round.

Unintended consequences: Practically none. Absent concerted and successful block voting, there will be almost no ballots that contain all five nominees, and the result in the second round count will be practically the same as the initial count.

HYPOTHETICAL PROCEDURE #2: Same as #1, except this time, in the second round you throw out all the ballots where four or more nominations made it to the final ballot, and add the top two vote-getters in the second round to the final ballot, if they're not already there.

Desired Effect: If the Sad Puppies succeed in getting all five of their nominees onto the final ballot, then in the second round all their block votes are thrown out and two non-SP works get added. If they get four on the final ballot, because one non-SP work outpolled all of theirs, then in the second round all their block votes get thrown out, and the #2 vote-getter in the second round comes from the regular voters and is added to the ballot. If they get three on the final ballot, because two non-SP works outpolled all of theirs, then no ballots end up being thrown out, the second round count is the same as the first round count, nothing gets added. Result: whatever the SP's do, at least two works not on their slate make the final ballot.

Undesired results: It's a bit more likely that through chance and good taste some people will pick four of the five nominees, without being part of any organized effort, and their ballots will be unfairly thrown out in the second round. But there should be few enough innocent ballots affected that it's unlikely to change the result.

HYPOTHETICAL PROPOSAL #3: Same as #1 and #2, but this time you throw out ballots in the second round that have three or more of the nominees from the first-round voting.

Pro: If the SP's get three of their choices on the ballot, then this adds a third non-SP work to the ballot.

Con: It gets much more likely that innocent ballots get thrown out in the second round, potentially even enough to change the second-round result.

Fix: Instead of throwing out the ballots that got three out of five right, weight them a bit less heavily. Keep throwing out ballots that got four out of five right. If there's really massive block voting, this will still end up adding an extra work or two to the ballot. But it's unlikely to change anything in more ambiguous, or innocent, cases.

Basically, what I proposed in 570 was Hypothetical #3, with the fix. A rule that if the administrators notice obvious block voting, they can add works that were crowded off by the block votes to the final ballot, would have similar effect. My proposal is basically a way to implement that idea in a purely mechanical way, without relying on administrator discretion.

Chris Gerrib's 4/6 proposal is simpler, and may be better for that reason. But the idea I had above is a smaller change in effect, even though it's a bigger change to the rules: unless there's an organized and successful effort to pack the ballot, it almost certainly makes no difference either in how voters vote, or how the votes are turned into results.

#715 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:23 PM:

Let us all point and laugh at comment #712, without further engagement.

#716 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:29 PM:

Even if we assume that all Gamergaters are arguing in good faith, then one must conclude that they are the least lucky human beings in the planet, given the terrible things that happen to so many of those they come in contact with.

Blame third party trolls if you like, but even if you wish to believe that you are the Silver Surfer, I am afraid that Galactus is still in your wake, and it is only sensible of any community to immediately shun you in self-defense, less they attract some portion of the dreadful ill-luck that follows in GG's wake.

#717 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:32 PM:

Mr. Cobalt, we are discussing people attempting to game the system, involving awards given to authors, editors, and published works. Someone showing up with less than stellar writing skills, arguing for the SP team, is going to be viewed as suspect.

If English is a second language for you, I can understand your failure to grasp the finer points. My apologies.

The GGers have a record of threatening those with whom they disagree with violence. There is evidence that the Sad Puppies are inviting the GGers to the party...to help trash it.

I am not amused.

#718 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:33 PM:

Ton, #698: My first Worldcon was Suncon in 1977. I had just graduated from college, moved to Florida, and started a new job; I hadn't gotten a paycheck yet, and I was so flat broke a pancake with a harelip could have spit right over me. I had something less than $100 to get thru the whole con on, once I'd bought my bus ticket. IIRC, the price I paid AT THE DOOR for a membership was $25, and I couch-surfed and ate from the consuite and managed to meet a couple of people who lived near me and could give me a ride home and actually had a few bucks to spend in the dealer room thereby.

These days $100 won't get you an attending membership even at the cheapest rate, if you're starting from scratch as I was then. And that's a problem. But it's not the issue we're discussing here, and I'm only telling this story as historical artifact, to demonstrate that attending-membership prices were quite low as late as 1977.


#719 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:35 PM:

TexAnne @715 I was gonna declare a bingo.

#720 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:38 PM:

Mike Glyer @701 -- but wasn't the attending membership also $1 at that point? (And the TASFIC had 300 supporting members in 1952, apparently.

And I forget who asked (and I started writing this before realizing I could answer to some extent, and it's cumbersome to search while previewing) but 1976 was MidAmericon (now I): and they wanted to use a larger, more expensive facility than folks had. The change from under 1,000 attendees (pre-1967) to regularly beating 3.000 (starting 1974) led to diseconomies of scale: once one needs that larger venue, the price per person goes up significantly. Membership numbers are at The Long List of Worldcons if you'd like to do your own analysis.

#721 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:38 PM:

TexAnne @ 715... Cue in my impersonation of Brian Blessed laughing.

#722 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:39 PM:

UrsulaV @ 716... I seem to have misplaced my Ultimate Nullifier. Can I borrow yours?

#723 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:51 PM:

Serge @ 722 - In this timeline, only the hero known as the Moderator wields such terrible power.

#724 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:58 PM:

UrsulaV @ 723... Even Thanos quakes in his big boots at the mere mention of the Moderator.

#725 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 09:58 PM:

This will be my first WorldCon, and while I was looking forward to voting for the Hugos (I did not nominate as I am a year behind in reading) I will be disappointed if I wind up with only Bozos R Us' juried list of exactly the junk I don't like to read as my only choice. The Hugos were only a small part of why I was excited to finally get the membership though - I realized at DragonCon last year that my favorite panels were always the author ones.

One thing I do worry about - since the rumor is that the ballot has been fouled by Reavers buying supporting memberships, what are the odds that they convert to attending memberships? These folks don't actually read or want to interact with the rest of us, do they?

#726 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:06 PM:

Steven desJardins @714

While you are of course free to propose any change you want, I'd like to suggest that proposing something that makes the eyes of one of the more dedicated living WSFS rules geeks glaze over should indicate how difficult it might be to sell it to the membership as a whole. This doesn't mean that I think you don't mean well.

The easier it is to explain a proposal, the more likely it is to get a fair hearing. (The "4 and 6" proposal regarding number of nominations/number of finalists per category is fairly easy to explain.) If the members can't understand it, they're likely to just vote it down without comment.

#727 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:08 PM:

nerdycellist @ 725... I wouldn't worry if I were you. Enjoy the worldcon and ignore the idiots.

#728 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:15 PM:

Bruce Baugh @554:

Kevin: From this seat, when someone is sussing out whether an idea makes sense in light of details they know they don't have all of, and whether there are reasons it might or might not work that they want to keep in mind, and like that, swooping in with "Did I just hear you volunteer to work on the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee and do the work?" feels very squelching.
Honest, Kevin Standlee always sounds like that. I have to think that if he were capable of changing his tone, he'd have done so by now. Which is not to say that it doesn't feel very squelching.
In the spirit of fairness, I will admit to having been in kind of an unsettled state since Teresa's "this is the Worldcon award, and others can go do their own thing" post. But then I may well not be the only one in that state, too.
I should have been clearer. Those of us who love SF and love fandom know in our hearts that the Hugo is ours. One of the most upsetting things about the Sad Puppy campaigns is that they're saying the Hugo shouldn't belong to all of us, it should just belong to them.

But there's also the real-world entity called the Hugo Awards. It's a genuinely valuable thing, worth a significant bump in sales for any book that can put Hugo winner or Hugo nominee on its cover. The Hugo has more prestige than any other award in the field, and also has more real-world credibility.

Like many other fannish institutions, the Hugo Award has had little or no legal protection during most of its existence. It gradually occurred to various people that it would be way too easy for some other convention to claim it was the worldcon, and hand out awards called Hugos.

Relevant datum: worldcon committees are discontinuous, and every worldcon is a separate organization. This makes it hard to claim you're a single organization that's been using "worldcon" and "Hugo Award" since the dawn of modern fandom.

Some indeterminate but very large amount of work, extending over many years, went into formalizing the idea that there's a thing called the World Science Fiction Society (unincorporated), to which we pay membership dues. (I don't recall that rubric ever being mentioned when I was on the committee of the 1978 worldcon, but it's a good unifying piece of worldbuilding detail, so I'll accept the retcon.) Additional work went into trademarking Worldcon and Hugo Award.

When I say the Hugos belong to the worldcon, I'm talking about the literal legal status of the award. But I also know that one of the biggest reasons the rocket is magic is because it spiritually belongs to all of us who love SF.

=================

I've been thinking about the aspects of the Sad Puppy campaigns that bother me most. So far there are three.

First, there's the Best Related Work category. That's where the reference works wind up. Good reference books are labors of love, especially that last 10% of quality that takes 50% of the total labor. People who create reference books get one shot at the Hugo.

Did you see Amazon's sample text from Wisdom from My Internet by Michael Z. Williamson? Apparently it's on the Hugo ballot in the Best Related Work category. Williamson didn't know to keep his gob shut until the official announcement. @booksmugglers picked up and tweeted the story, and Kevin Maroney reported on it here.

That is a thoroughly bad book, including its frontmatter and interior design, and it's not a related work. It's just a nonfiction book published in the appropriate year by a Sad-Puppy-approved author, so they tossed it onto their stupid slate. I expect there are other SP titles in that category, so more than one book that would have been a nominee for Best Related Work has been displaced.

Sheeeit. At least Chris Priest and I got to lose to Isaac Asimov's posthumous memoirs.

Second: the nominees on the Sad Puppy slate who got onto the ballot. Indications are that a fair number of them, maybe a majority, are respectable members of the SF community who, for one reason or another, are approved of by the SPs while not being ideologically Sad Puppies themselves.

This means they've dreamed of winning the Hugo, just like all our other writers and artists and editors. They might not have had any real expectation of winding up on the ballot this year, but that doesn't mean they didn't wish for it with all the pure luminous desire of Ralphie wishing for a Red Ryder BB gun.

They've been put in a horrible position. I mean, I've wanted a Hugo since I was in middle school, but I dreamed of being given one by SF community, not Larry Correia.

I think at least two of those nominees turned down the nomination. I hope they someday get a real one.

Third: the ballot itself. This grows out of wondering why so many Sad Puppies are suddenly out and about on forums they don't normally frequent, belatedly spreading this new and not very believable line about how the whole Sad Puppy thing is motivated by love, rather than spite and resentment. They sure haven't felt the need to spread this line before now. Neither have they put a lot of effort into hiding the spite and resentment.

So why are they doing it now?

When you're nominated for a Hugo, you're contacted ahead of time by the Hugo administrators, who check to make sure you'll accept nomination. If they're going to have to add the next-highest nominee in a category, they want to do it before the general public sees the ballot, so that no one knows who's the lowest-ranked nominee.

If the SPs got all or most of their slate onto the ballot, and those people had their nominations confirmed by the Hugo administrators, and they were comparing notes behind the scenes, they'd be uniquely able to reconstruct most or all of the final ballot.

So.

I think they've succeeded in f*cking up the ballot beyond all expectation, and they know the SF community is going to explode when we see it. Look at Brad Torgersen's first comment in this thread. I couldn't figure out what he was on about when he first posted it. Now I think it's one big steaming pile of special pleading from start to finish, all of it intended to deflect fannish wrath when the ballot's announced.

I don't like it, but it does fit all the known data. Wouldn't it be nice if I turn out to be wrong?

#729 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:25 PM:

TexAnne, P J Evans, Lori: should I instantly disemvowel comment #712, or let it stand as an object of contemplation and wonder?

Pick whichever option seems most fun.

#730 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:27 PM:

Albatross @631: There you are. I was wondering where you'd disappeared to.

#731 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:33 PM:

Teresa @ 728 - See, I disagree only with your second to last line, because my experience with the SP types is that they LOVE fannish wrath. It's validation of the enemy and that means they're winning and getting under the enemy's skin.

It is possible that Mr. Torgersen has a shred more community spirit than other SP's I've seen go by, but I am highly skeptical. I gotta assume by past action and association that he's thrilled to see it stuck to the SJW's.

Honestly, if everybody said "Okay, fine," I suspect they'd lose half the thrill.

#732 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:33 PM:

Serge, Ursula @724: You know that means I can still be beaten by Squirrel Girl.

Nerdycellist @725: Really, don't worry. I have yet to meet one of them who's brave in person. If any exist, they'll be busy on other fronts.

#733 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:34 PM:

Teresa, I say leave it as it is -- I just came back to ask if I'd stepped over the line with either of my responses to him (711, 717), and if so to tender my apologies.

But if PJ Evans and TexAnne say disemvowel, it won't bother me at all if you do so.

#734 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:36 PM:

Teresa, if you can beat Squirrel Girl, I will pour every iota of my energy into getting you a special Hugo for Best Impossible Feat next year.

#735 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:38 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 729, Given that I have a personal friend who is, incidentally, not a journalist of any type, but a woman who has the temerity to be actually employed in the video-game development business (no, it's not JUST a boy's club), and whose life has been drastically and hellishly impacted by GG, I see nothing "silly" about them, regardless of what @712 thinks.* This is far beyond "can't you take a joke." This is destroying people's lives. For the yucks.

*wow, is that a run-on sentence. I hope people can parse it properly....

#736 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:39 PM:

Kevin @ 726: That's a reasonable and rational critique, related to the actual content of my proposal. Thank you for being constructive.

#737 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:40 PM:

Ursula -- A piquant round of fannish wrath is one thing, but I think they may be up in the range where your name is so thoroughly mud that future philologists will use it to figure out what the word "mud" is in otherwise untranslatable alien languages.

I do hope I'm wrong about that.

#738 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:45 PM:

Teresa... James Gunn is on Facebook. Maybe someone should suggest adding Squirrel Girl and the Moderator to the Milano's crew.

#739 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:54 PM:

Teresa, #737: The problem here is that it's an unequal contest. We can make their names mud. They can make our lives, and the lives of anyone we know, a living hell. These are not equivalent situations.

I've said before that the only reliable way to be permanently rid of a stalker is for the stalker to die. That's still true.

#740 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 10:56 PM:

nerdycellist @ 725: I haven't been to all that many Worldcons, certainly not as many as I'd like to have attended, but one thing I'm pretty sure of--at Sasquan, you will find congenial people who love what you love. It's generally a big enough crowd that even the worst Blocs of Annoying are fairly easy to avoid.

The Hugo Ceremony itself may be unpleasant--with sheer rancor on both sides quite possible. But again, it should be possible to sit with congenial people and cheer for your favorites. And if the slate turns out to be an utter disaster, which I'm still hoping it won't . . . well. There's always the possibility of playing a drinking game while watching the simulcast. (And saying "wait until next year.")

Really. Worldcons are fun.

#741 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 11:02 PM:

729
I was more in the point-and-laugh category, mostly because I don't think he's worth the effort, based on his first comment. (Does he seriously think no one here knows anything about that mess?)

#742 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 11:22 PM:

Teresa, much thanks for your #728. Equilibrium restored.

#743 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 11:25 PM:

Lee, Cassy, I know what they're doing. I want the Justice Department to declare them a criminal organization and hit them with felony charges. It would not be an excessive response to their actions.

These are the people the Sad Puppies have invited into our annual gathering.

#744 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 11:31 PM:

Dear hearts, will you forgive me for turning off comments for another night? I can't stay up to keep an eye on things. I'm crashing as I type this.

See you all in the morning.

#745 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 02:44 AM:

(mod privilege: reopening a thread to post a comment, then closing it again. Because time zones.)

John Cobalt:

The substantive points you raise have already been discussed up-thread, just as your appearance was predicted.

But I am curious, because I collect those linguistic quirks that arise when native speakers of other languages learn English. Can you tell me what your mother tongue is? At what age did you learn English, and in what context? I’m always interested in new patterns, and yours doesn’t match any that I recognize.

#746 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:14 AM:

Abi: All I know is that he doesn't hail from Ars Technica. They tend to know what "ad hominem" means.

#747 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:16 AM:

Eric K @ 63: sounds like the Puppies were focusing more on purity of thought (or even their specific circle?) rather than merit. They aren't alone in this; David Friedman once told me he saw this in the Prometheus award, which he felt should have gone to at least one Cherryh work.

UrsulaV @ 91: happy to be amusing....

EricK @ 98 (on not nominating due to reading last year's works): yes, only more so. Until I retired and started having more time to finish library books before somebody else wanted them, I was 1-2 years behind on novels; I'm still almost nowhere on short SF. I still have >40 shelf-feet of unread books; even if I decide I've declined to pick them up enough times that I never will pick them up, it's a lot of books -- and because I paid retail for most of them I feel foolishly guilty about not reading them first.
      I did send in a few nominations, mostly for obscure films (e.g., Particle Fever for Related Work), and I'm kicking myself for not listing Exo -- a lot of wish-fulfillment potboiler, but Ghu can he dream.

Stross @ 226: fact tweak: there have been 2 cases (1994-5 and 2009-10) where a Canadian Worldcon has been followed by a non-NorthAmerican Worldcon. There have been no sequences of 3, or sequences of two non-NA. (Closest was 1985 in Melbourne then 1987 in Brighton.) The US share of Worldcons has never been as low as 50% except for arbitrary very brief periods; in this millennium it's 57% (to date) or 62% (including decided upcoming).
      opinion on your prediction: ISTM there aren't enough Worldcon-style fans outside NA to make that shift yet. Might happen with a seriously pared-down Worldcon -- IFF that move didn't also pare down the number of people willing to work. OTOH, some non-NA Worldcons get lots of help from US fans; some of those might help more in an interim, out of disgust with the puppies.

Em @ 348: yes, but those aren't a lot of people rewriting ONE work -- and a work of debatable quality.

For all the people correctly pointing out that the Hugos are decided by a small fraction of readers: do any of you feel that the unheard majority slant differently (in politics, preference, or anything else) from the people entangled enough to vote? ISTM that this is the fundamental flaw with the claim Torgersen never backed up; I know plenty of fellow readers who would rather spend the ~$40 on books they've chosen (after suitable agonizing) than on a vote and the chance of a packet of books they might not care for, and most of them lean wrt SP in the direction of a Spider Robinson rudeness about people on fire. (It's tempting to call Torgersen et al today's Spiro Agnew, with their claims of a Silent Majority; however, their cheating isn't outright illegal.) TL;DR version: IMSWAG, there's no huge difference of preference between people who read more than a couple of SF novels a year and people who vote.

General question: are the Hugos so much more prestigious than the Locus awards that one and not the other is worth stuffing? SP seem to think so -- or maybe they just figure the smaller voting pool of the Hugos is easier to gimmick. Do people think that the Locus awards are more sales-bound?
      The Hugos are under attack, so I don't think dropping the cost of a supporting membership is plausible just now -- but longer-term might be different.

Cat @ 464: In theory, the earliest a work could be published is >3 months \after/ the selection of a Worldcon that would consider it for a Hugo. e.g., the 2015 Worldcon was selected on Labor Day 2013, and will consider works ostensibly published in 2014. ("ostensibly" since I've lost track of fiddles about cover dates et sim.) In practice getting a notice-of-URL into the earlier eligible works could be a problem; I'm still remembering my panic at finding out how far in advance a scheduled book is typeset, the one time I helped typeset a book for a commercial publisher. The people here who work seriously with commercial publishers can comment on how late in the schedule one line (and/or QR code) could be dropped into a previously-set page.

Kevin @ 566: pre-opposing was created because the boyfriend of the potential 1980 chair wanted to express his dismay at the possibility of her being extremely busy (on top of a full-time job) for two years. (And she was; back then, committees were small enough that she did most of the text entry of some of the PRs.) My suspicion is that it became simply a way for the well-heeled to give bid parties more money (especially if they bought pre-opposing for all but one bid -- I know there are people who presupport competing bids), but I've never asked.

TNH @ 583: As a remedy to suspicious-looking ballots, would you have supported putting an extra nominee on the final ballot last year, as was done in 1989?

Kevin @ 606: Because of the IRV mechanics, the winner of the election cannot be opposed by a majority of the electorate. Doesn't this hold only if all of the electorate understands that they should rate all of the nominees, instead of skipping the ones they don't like? (Discussion here last year made clear that this is not understood.) IIRC, in many cases where the victor won a close decision they did not have a majority of all ballots, indicating that there were a significant fraction of voters who didn't rank everyone. Or does the must-exceed-NoAward rule include ballots discarded due to exhaustion in the NA count?
      Also, I doubt that No Award has no dollar cost; at this point I wouldn't be surprised if the bases cost as much as the rockets if not more, and some of them are enough work that they have to be ordered before counting is finished. Not that I disagree with your support of NA -- in fact, I'd argue for making trophy plates for NA categories and giving them, on trophies, to WSFS History for permanent exhibits of sanity -- but the loss could be measurable. (Not huge in the era of million-dollar Worldcon budgets, but measurable.)

Robert West @ 702: grossly simplified explanation: Worldcon growth went exponential, and an inexperienced bid winner panicked (very publically. They caused themselves more grief by stating that getting into the convention without paying would constitute theft of enough value to be a felony.)
      Tom @ 720: as someone who saw what use they made of the hired facilities, I'd consider that claim bogus. The masquerade was run in hotel space, which suggests the Hugos could have been there as well if they hadn't been trying to tart up the ceremony; junk that disaster of a play (and its budget), and the rental facilities aren't needed. Note also that their at-the-door rate was higher (\before/ correcting for inflation) than 1980, which actually needed a full-time convention center rather than just a part-time auditorium. (I never saw their budget -- but I'd be astounded if their hired facilities in Kansas City cost as much as the ones in Boston.) They also chose other extravagances, such as large full-size PRs and a color Program Book cover, that were uncalled-for if they were seriously worried about money. And they claimed to have been unprepared for large crowds despite the steady growth in attendance; if they'd had their heads out in the air they would have known what they were in for. OTOH, they were merely stupid; in the next few years, bids with inadequate facilities tried to use the 1976-7 attendance slump (significantly caused by those managements rather than a popped bubble, and apparently overreported (just another management failure), to "prove" the adequacy of those facilities.

#748 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:35 AM:

I see Torgersen has a bit of a spiel up on his blog with quotes from this discussion carefully excerpted and "misunderstood" to show how Teresa in specific and all those other SMOF elitists in general want to restrict the Hugos.

#749 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:39 AM:

748
With all his answers to the questions he was so carefully ignoring here?
[Drops opinion of him another notch. Considers making hole in floor, decides that it would make Management very unhappy.]

#750 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:41 AM:

@748 Steve Halter - If one subscribes to the theory that he's trying to ameliorate the backlash to a Sad Puppy slate being perceived to "game" the Hugos...good lord, he's bad at it.

I can't seriously believe they're trying very hard to spin the SP thing as a super positive totally normal thing to general fandom, because if so...good lord, they're bad at people.

#751 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:41 AM:

749:No, he's still carefully ignoring giving any answers to those questions.

#752 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:45 AM:

UrsulaV@750:I think he is good at talking to people who already completely agree with him. Less good at talking with everybody else.

#753 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:45 AM:

Steve Halter: One of his minions was out preaching that line on Twitter yesterday, and got smacked down.

Torgersen doesn't surprise me. "Retreat to home turf; continue argument without opponent present" is a standard trollish endgame strategy.

#754 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:46 AM:

CHip, #747: do any of you feel that the unheard majority slant differently (in politics, preference, or anything else) from the people entangled enough to vote?

No, I don't believe they would. I don't think there is any Silent Majority of non-voters whose inclusion would skew the Hugos in a significantly different direction -- unless someone is making a concerted, deliberate attempt to attract one subset of those non-voters at the expense of every other.

I am aware of the existence of the Locus awards, but in all honesty, I don't know enough about them to comment. I could not tell you a single book that's won a Locus award without actually looking at the history. But I don't know how typical I am of the "average" reading-and-voting fan.

#755 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:47 AM:

Teresa, 729: let 712 stand like a pair of trunkless legs.

#756 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:54 AM:

abi, #745: I suspect that my guess as to Mr. Cobalt's native language would be needlessly inflammatory, so I shall keep it to myself.

#757 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:55 AM:

Steve @748: that would explain last night's twitter sealion then.

(NB: Be it decreed that internet sealions go "honk! honk!" in mournful tones, with links to this wondermark strip. And should be consistently mocked in these terms.)

I am currently feeling really pleased that I haven't received the "you have been nominated for a Hugo -- do you wish to accept?" email this year. It means I can go nuclear on my blog if this thing goes the way I expect it to go without accusations of being self-serving.

#758 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:58 AM:

Teresa@753:Yes, it bears a resemblance to the concept of counting coup.

#759 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 10:59 AM:

BROWSER ISSUE:

Viewing this comment thread using Firefox 36.0.4 on Mac OSX 10.10 I had some really weird rendering problems -- it was taking whole seconds to scroll down a single screen of comments, and it got worse the more comments were added. Rendering is fine in Safari so it's not hardware/OS related, it's a Firefox thing.

Is anyone having problems viewing this page in Firefox on Windows or Linux? If so, there may be a CSS problem somewhere in ML.

#760 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:00 AM:

Charlie @757 It means I can go nuclear on my blog if this thing goes the way I expect it to go without accusations of being self-serving.

No accusations of being self-serving? Which internet are you on, and how do I connect?

#761 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:01 AM:

Appropriate, as #712 appears to have been written by a legless drunk.

#762 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:04 AM:

Charlie @759:

Firefox 35.01 on Windows 8 shows no problems.

#763 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:05 AM:

Neil @760: okay, without accusations of being obviously self-serving (viz. trying to nobble the opposition).

I'm pretty sure that per the SPs I'm one of those liberal east coast elitist social justice warrior gamma males or something (but their good opinion matters little enough to me that I can't be arsed going and finding out).

#764 ::: Cadbury Moose spots spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:06 AM:

If the SPs have managed to stuff the ballot, I will consider getting a supporting membership purely for the satisfaction of voting for Noah Ward if the choices are not of an acceptable standard.

#765 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:07 AM:

@ Charlie

Firefox 36.0.4 on Linux and no problems.

#766 ::: Cadbury Moose does not spot spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:09 AM:

Silly Moose! Check nym as well as message before posting.

Also, will not be at Eastercon due to Reasons.

#767 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:11 AM:

Charlie: Safari 8.0.4 on OSX 10.10.2 here, no particular problems.

#768 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:12 AM:

Edmund Schweppe @630

You can get a copy of Skiffy: A Love Poem by applying to Patrick Nielsen Hayden. It is a hard copy manuscript (since it can't really exist in any other form), and it is shareware. You would be on your honor to send money to the author. Name and address are on the box.

And no, even in this era of electronic publishing, it can't really be published. Editors can think of more things to do with a ream of paper than you can.

She said mysteriously.

#769 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:19 AM:

Okay, forget safari or firefox on non-OSX platforms; is anyone else having problems scrolling in this discussion using firefox on OSX? (If not, it's my profile being weird, not the browser.)

#770 ::: cheem ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:34 AM:

@769, is the scrolling better or worse in the preview screen. The scrolling is definitely a bit janky on Firefox (36.0.4 on OS X), but much smoother on the preview screen.

I posted another comment to that effect, but it seems to have been devoured by the server. Chrome does not exhibit this janky scrolling behaviour.

#771 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:38 AM:

CHip @747:

Doesn't this hold only if all of the electorate understands that they should rate all of the nominees, instead of skipping the ones they don't like?
No, I don't think so. When you leave a candidate off your ballot and if your ballot runs out of options because everything you ranked has been eliminated, you're now abstaining, and in a technical sense you're no longer part of the electorate.

Because of the "No Award Showdown" rule, if you voted NA, even if you didn't rank the eventual winner, you still expressed an opinion that you opposed that winner; however, you were in the minority.

I can't think of any IRV scenario under WSFS rules where the winner is opposed by a majority of the electorate who expressed an opinion either directly (by ranking it) or indirectly (by leaving it off their ballot and voting No Award in any position). If you neither ranked the winner or NA, it's the same as if you didn't vote at all.

#772 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:40 AM:

Charlie @769, working okay for me, firefox 36.0.4 on OSX 10.8.5

#773 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:43 AM:

Okay, folks, I just have a borked Firefox profile. (Moans and clutches head.) Nothing to see here ...

#774 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:43 AM:

One ray of sunshine in the doom-and-gloom scenarios being proposed here: As I understand it, the SP didn't actually put out a slate covering all 85 possible ballot slots (including the Campbell). Therefore, even if every one of their slate make the shortlist, there will still be some people on the ballot in some categories that aren't part of the SP slate.

#775 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:47 AM:

Kevin Standlee: Yeah, they did. Some of the less popular categories don't have a complete slate, but there appears to be some names in all categories--including three names in the Campbell. Unless I'm missing one . . .

#776 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:49 AM:

Oops--my apologies. You *meant* a complete list of five in every category, adding up to 85. Sigh. Math was never my strong point . . .

#777 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:53 AM:

@Charles Stross #763

Not so sure about that. A quick google search shows that Vox Day apparently thinks pretty highly of your work... I bet that makes you feel warm and fuzzy.

#778 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:55 AM:

Charlie Stross @ #769:

Just confirmed that it scrolls materially slower than I would expect in Firefox on OSX. Both scrolling using the touchpad and by dragging the "page marker" in the scroll bar are materially slower for this page than for other pages. Interestingly, switching between other tabs is also much faster than switching to the tab with this page in it.

#779 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 11:58 AM:

Supporting membership datum: I bought supporting memberships in 1973 and 1974, mainly because I was a high school student in Springfield, Oregon, without means to travel to Torcon and Discon. At the time the supporting membership category was easy enough to find and affordable for a broke rural kid to buy. I even voted for the Hugos both years (and still have the program books somewhere. Alas, I'm in the process of moving the collection so "somewhere"="some box either in the garage or at the other location." I.E.--"it's in the other house." ;-)).

#725 nerdycellist--As others have said, there'll be plenty of options to avoid Those One Does Not Wish To Encounter at Worldcon. Feel free to look me up if you want to find a like-minded soul...I know I'll be at one table occasionally but I'm not certain where NIWA (Northwest Independent Writers Association) will be located.

And an observation re #712--dang, the phrasing reminds me too much of some of the comment spam I've been getting on my own blog. There's been some interesting patterns to it (namely, which pages they're picking).

Further thanks to all, as at least one comment spurred some thoughts that affect the current outline of the WIP. Not at all related to the subject of the post, thankfully, but enough to make me work out a plot hole in a future scene. It wasn't one comment but several--so thanks, folks.

#780 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 12:07 PM:

A quick google search shows that Vox Day apparently thinks pretty highly of your work...

Vox Day likes tuna that tastes good, not tuna with good taste...

Sorry Charlie.

In case someone outside the US doesn't get the joke...

#781 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 12:25 PM:

TexAnne @755:

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair?

(So sorry, could not resist...)

#782 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 01:01 PM:

Matt @777: Imagine my joy at knowing that Vox Day likes my work. Not.

(Seriously, I have no idea what he sees in it. It's full of unreliable narrators, LGBT protagonists (I'm working on PoC), set-ups where there are no good guys and the bad guys turn out to have unexpect humanizing characteristics, and strong female protagonists. I've actually speculated that the VD personna is a deliberate piece of internet performance art ... but he's been consistently vile for too many years for it to be an accident. So: baffled, me.)

#783 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 01:19 PM:

It occurs to me that even if the Sad Puppies all 1) read everything on the slate before nominating it, 2) read other works also and 3) pick their nominations without fear or favor, neither consciously nor unconsciously swayed by the slate, it *still* distorts the nominating process.

Because the slate distorts what they read in the first place.

The only way for the slate not to distort the nominating process would be if it made no difference to what they read either. And making a difference is precisely what they want to do, so in that case it would be a failure as far as they are concerned.

I put up a longer post about this at my blog, if people are interested in pursuing it more deeply.

Teresa @728

"The upsetting thing about the Sad Puppies is that they believe it doesn't belong to all of us, but only to them.
(imperfect paraphrase; current setup does not allow cut-and-paste).

Yes, this exactly, and *this* is what I thought you meant. The Sad Puppies are part of the body of fandom (won't speculate on which part) but they want to be in charge.

#784 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 01:25 PM:

Charlie Stross@782: "I've actually speculated that the VD personna is a deliberate piece of internet performance art ... but he's been consistently vile for too many years for it to be an accident."

Or it could be performance art scripted by a vile author. Perhaps he has chosen the devil's side. The man keeps reminding me of Blish's black magician, Theron Ware, and I am not sure why.

#785 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 01:57 PM:

I read some seven hundred posts in this thread last night. It wouldn't have taken me so long, but my homework kept guilting me, so I read it along with two acts of a late Shakespeare play and got to bed around 2:00, with visions of shepherds and kings singing about sea lions on Bohemia's rockbound shore before turning back to statues pursued by a sock puppy. Dancing (a sad ballad to a jig) in my head, they were.

Unless I only dreamt they did.

#786 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 02:14 PM:

Alex R. @780 -- and now you know why I keep apologizing to my young cat, Charlie.

#787 ::: Bob Tibbly ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 02:29 PM:

So I am getting the best way to stop the hateful SP group is to be hateful to them. Seems like a silly plan to me.

#788 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 02:36 PM:

Bob @787: not only is that a silly plan, it's your silly plan -- I don't see anyone here proposing it as a course of action; if you do, would you mind citing a comment number I can track down?

#789 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 02:46 PM:

Bob @#787

Bad puppy, no dog biscuit.

#790 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 02:50 PM:

Hi Bob @787. No one actually has a plan for stopping the SP. The closest I've got is to award Larry Correia a Hugo, possibly Best Fanwriter maybe? He's certainly got a lot of fans talking! I don't think that will stop them in the long run though :(

The plan is to avoid any harm they might bring to the awards (and fandom more generally), and maybe incorporate any good ideas they have along the way. How's that?

#791 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 02:50 PM:

Bob Tibbly @787: Perhaps you're confusing honest declarations of "I do not like this thing people have done, and find it inappropriate of them to have done so" with cruelty. I might have more sympathy for this sensitivity if some of the people in question hadn't so often made their own honest declarations of disliking my very existence. Merely disliking the actions those people have taken, and saying so, seems far less "mean" as these things go.

#792 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 02:54 PM:

TexAnne #755: The lone and level sands stretch far away?

#793 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 03:13 PM:

So I am getting the best way to stop the hateful SP group is to be hateful to them.

I doubt there's any way to develop good strategy without knowing exactly how the Sad Puppies fouled up the nominating process. Appropriate actions could range from doing nothing to declaring that the nominating process is invalid.

Before any kind of harsh action could be taken there would have to be very solid proof available that bad actors had somehow intervened... dates, times, IP Addresses, log files, etc. which clearly demonstate a high level of unfairness on the part of the Sad Puppies.

In the end, I suspect that the pain of not getting a Hugo will be less than the pain of being regarded as dishonest by one's professional peers. This does not mean that anyone needs to be treated badly.

#794 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 03:20 PM:

@Neil # 790

Honestly, I'd be ok with Correia winning a Hugo. He's a solid urban fantasy writer with a large fan base of people that really like his work. I could probably say the same for most of SP nominations in the Novel category. Do I think he, or any of the other SPs actually wrote the best novel last year? No. But then again, I hardly ever think the Hugo winners are the best (last year being a rare exception).

What I wouldn't be ok with is some of the more questionable, politically motivated nominations in some of the categories winning.

#795 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 03:27 PM:

Following up on Beale, and perhaps other of the puppies, I think what I see in him is a conscious decision to pursue good ends through evil means. In his own theological terms, I believe this is the despair of god which is said (by Aquinas, it seems) to be the greatest of sins. And Beale, believing and educated Roman Catholic, who has even written Aquinian fanfic, surely knows what Aquinas said about despair.

In my terms, I would say that people who take this view have been seduced by destruction. They are not likely to leave that path with anything less than conversion experiences. Which are, more-or-less, miracles, and nothing we can count on or bring about.

#796 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 03:30 PM:

Neil W @790

I don't think awarding Larry Correia a Hugo would make the slightest bit of difference. Six months would go by, the good feeling from the first would wear off, and he would want another.

Bob @787

It's not hateful to be annoyed when someone is trying to game the Hugos--not even game it to get in, anymore, but game it to keep everyone else out. It's not hateful to point out what they are doing; it's not hateful to disagree with it; and it's not hateful to ask politely what they mean when the people gaming the nominations say it's only to give a voice to some people haven't been able to make their voices heard.

#797 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 03:31 PM:

Charlie Stross at #759, 769:

I've had the same problem on this thread, and there were a few others as well. I'm on Firefox 36.0.3 (haven't restarted to update yet) and OSX 10.10.2.

As cheem at #770 states, though, the preview screen scrolls normally.

#798 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 03:34 PM:

Randolph, I really like "seduced by destruction".

#799 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 03:55 PM:

@cat #796

The biggest problem I have with SPs is them claiming that they're giving voice to an ignored audience. Anyone can register and vote, so if they were being ignored, it's because they weren't getting involved in the first place. Now that they've made their fan base aware of the Hugo, I don't see how that claim can be viewed as valid any more.

That being said, I do think (or at least hope) that most of the SPs are legitimate sf/f fans that voted for things they liked, so I don't really have an issue with them carrying the nominations.

I expect next year will see a rise in voters hoping to counter the SP influence, which means even more fans voting on the Hugo.

#800 ::: ebear ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 04:01 PM:

Do previous-year Worldcon members have the right to vote on the final ballot, or only to nominate? I just realized I don't definitely know the answer.

#801 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 04:09 PM:

ebear @800

Only nominate. I nominated this year on the strength of my 2014 Supporting membership but will need to buy a 2015 Supporting membership in order to vote. And nominate next year, of course.

I should probably get mine soon, before the rush.

#802 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 04:10 PM:

ebear @ 800 - you must be a supporting member of this year's Worldcon to vote on the final ballot.

#803 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 04:31 PM:

Bob Tibbly @787

A word to the wise, as the saying goes

Introducing yourself to a group of people you haven't talked to before by insulting them rarely leads to a productive discussion. The fact that you've started off at the relatively low end of the insult scale may make you feel as though you're engaging in reasoned discourse; but it's likely to be n unsatisfying simulacrum of the real thing.If I were you, I'd try again.

Matt @777, 794: your opinions are intriguing, but seem somewhat eccentric to a fuddy-duddy conservative like me.

I suspect there are a lot of authors who are 'solid writers...with a large fan-base'. But the idea that people that have said out to disrupt something will quietly go away when they're given what they say they want strikes me as inconsistent with what I know of human psychology.

If 'solid authors' are going to be rewarded with Hugos, I'd suggest starting with authors who have just got on with the job, rather than the people who make most trouble when they don't win.. Anything else seems like incentivizing bad behavior.

That said, I've really loved all of the Hugo winning novels I've read since regaining an interest in the award in about 2009, so giving it to run of the mill work in the interests of peace and harmony, would, even if it worked, come with a significant cost as far as I'm concerned. (And something can be a great novel, even if it's not the best I've read in a year. Much as I loved Ancillary Justice - and I really did - it didn't blow my mind in the way that Hild, for example, did.)

#804 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 04:41 PM:

Proof-reading fail @803

'Set out', not 'said out'.; 'an unsatisfying' not 'n unsatisfying'. Can't even blame autocarrot for those two.

#805 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:06 PM:

I have to bow out of the substantive discussion because work, but I can also confirm that scrolling long discussion threads on this site is slow in Firefox on OSX, and not slow in Firefox on Linux (same version, synchronized profiles) and I have reported this to Mozilla.

#806 ::: John Layton ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:06 PM:

@Matt #799

Well said. If the process is an open vote to any fan who wants to be a member and registers the logical response to wanting more representation is to make other folks aware of the process and let them participate. This is what SP did. If you want more representation of mil/sci-fi, progressive sci-fi, message sci/fi, or stories about ponies with jetpacks inform the pony/jetpack crowd and get them to participate.

Here, before the nominees have even been officially released, to begin scheming ways to circumvent the participation of a group of fans you don't like is, well, Orwellian at best.

The primary difference I see so far is SP says "Come on folks, lets all participate and vote on what we like" and fans vote on work they like. The correct response to this is say the same thing to your fans and readers, and we then have everyone participating. To brainstorm ideas on how to prevent votes from counting from people you disagree with seems like exactly the thing everyone doesn't want in the Hugo process, right?

#807 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:12 PM:

John Layton @ 806 "Come on folks, lets all participate and vote on what we like" would be much more believable if the SP folks weren't ranting about "whisper campaigns" and "gatekeepers" blocking the good stuff because it wasn't written by a person of the "correct" race or sex.

#808 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:17 PM:

John Layton @806 "Come on folks, lets all participate and vote on what we like"

That's a sunshiney way to describe it. A quick visit to Torgersen's blog, with or without a dive into the comment threads below, reveals a lot more hate and resentment. It sounds a lot less like "hey let's all join in this awesome thing" and a lot more like "hey, here's an opportunity to stick it to some people we hate."

To brainstorm ideas on how to prevent votes from counting from people you disagree with

I feel you. Showing up when there's already 800+ comments in a thread, one hardly wants to read before posting. Still, it's considered good form in general, and especially so here.

#809 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:23 PM:

"Hell hath no fury like a vested interest masquerading as a moral principle", and so we now have various new posters chiming in and supporting each other while pushing their view of the position.

Curiously it appears to be the exact reverse of what is actually being done, so maybe they need to reset their moral compass?

Can someone check the sock drawer please, it seems to be leaking?

#810 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:25 PM:

praisegod barebones @80-3
Much as I loved Ancillary Justice - and I really did - it didn't blow my mind in the way that Hild, for example, did.)

Am I misremembering, or does Hild not have any fantastic elements to it? I read it as straight historical fiction.

#811 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:27 PM:

The primary difference I see so far is SP says "Come on folks, lets all participate and vote on what we like" and fans vote on work they like. The correct response to this is say the same thing to your fans and readers, and we then have everyone participating. To brainstorm ideas on how to prevent votes from counting from people you disagree with seems like exactly the thing everyone doesn't want in the Hugo process, right?

I believe the primary concern here is that the Sad Puppies hijacked the nominating process by bringing in ringers in the form of Gamergaters who were told, "Voting for this slate will annoy the SJWs and strike a blow against feminazis."

Obviously bringing in ringers is very different than saying, "This group is under-represented, let's get them to participate more."

Or to be a little blunter, have the Hugos been steeplejacked?

#812 ::: Lady Kay ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:28 PM:

#757 Charlie Stross . Thank you for spelling out the connection between sealions on the 'Net and the comic. I'd seen both and failed to make the connection.

dn't wnt t b dstrctve, bt m nw bsssd wth th d f bng dsmvwld. t's tht fscitn wth stndng t th dg f clif nd thnkng bt stppng vr. Cn prtty pls b dsmvwld wtht msbhvng?

I want to thank the moderators in this thread for helping the commentators find their best angels, if those angels can be found.

#813 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:30 PM:

SP is starting with a false premise--that there are secret gatekeepers controlling what gets voted on.
There aren't.
It is very simple--
Step 1: Join the Worldcon and vote on what you like.
That's it. There isn't a step 2.

Last year's SP3 included some works that were pretty clearly not of Hugo caliber. Because they weren't well written, not because of who wrote them.
This year SP3 insists it isn't like SP2 but yet retains the name and so invites comparison. The methodology of proposing a slate to vote for also invites suspicion. Saying you are trying to get overlooked authors on the ballot isn't a bad thing, but there are lots of authors who haven't been on the ballot who aren't being championed by the SP's. Obviously there is more involved in their criteria than they mention.

#814 ::: John Layton ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:34 PM:

@Laertes #808
I am not invested enough to hate anyone in this, but all the blogs relinked throughout this stuff seem to have comment sections filled with hate and resentment. Just like comment sections in most of the rest of the internet.

I couldn't decipher exactly what you meant by the last point. 800 posts is on the long side, but most of the posts were short and I've been reading it off and on most of the day (along with other blogs). I would tend to agree that reading before responding is a good idea. So is brushing my teeth and being courteous to strangers, and I promise to do all three without being admonished.

I am having the same scrolling issues some others have so I did not navigate up and identify @Steven desJardines #714 in my original post, I just generalized that plans to circumvent a fairly simple voting process may have elements of looking too deeply into the abyss.

If the object is maximum fan participation for a fan award then SP getting a bunch of new voters involved is a good thing, even if they don't agree with you. As I said before the obvious response would be mobilizing more people to provide an even broader cross-section of fandom, not eliminating anyone's voice.

#815 ::: Lea ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:37 PM:

These folks don't actually read or want to interact with the rest of us, do they?

Regarding new voters brought in, I can't imagine why you would assume they don't read. As has been mentioned, there are quite a lot of people out there who are readers but haven't traditionally participated in this particular group or voting...

(I can't speak to interactions. But there seem to be a few who have waded in and attemted to interact)

#816 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:41 PM:

John Layton, please be explicit. The procedure described in #714, that you object to, would counter an organized bloc of voters who tried to drive all other works off the ballot by voting in lock-step for an organized slate. It would do so not by taking any works that the bloc voted onto the ballot off of the ballot, but by putting additional works onto the ballot: unsilencing voices that the organized bloc had silenced.

Is it your claim that it is the intent of the Sad Puppies to prevent works not approved by them from appearing on the ballot, and that any attempt to stop them from doing so is illegitimate? If so, what is the nature of your objection?

#817 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:41 PM:

Ultragotha @810

A short answer would be: I think it depends how you take Hild's reports of her visions,

A longer answer would be: if I recall correctly, I think it came close to being on the Hugo ballot, for whatever reason. You'd have to ask people who nominated it what they were thinking; but if it had been on the ballot, I'd have regarded it as de facto speculative.(I'd say it's not historical in the way Wolf Hall, for example, is, since if I've understood correctly, lots of what reads as historical background in Hild is a bit speculative.)

An even .longer answer would look at parallels between Hild and, say, Sarah Canary. I'm hoping someone smarter and more perceptive (and less tired - it's past midnight here) than me will write it.

I wouldn't want to deny that it's a borderline case. But I think my initial point still stands: I think there's a distance between 'not the best book of the year' and 'run lof the mill, with a solid following'.

#818 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:42 PM:

Whoops, beg pardon: "If so" in my last sentence should of course be "If not".

#819 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:43 PM:

814
The objection is not to new voters, but to new voters who have an particular agenda that apparently doesn't include many (if not most) other voters, some of whom are participating in this thread.

Also, sites with lots of hatred in the comments are not sites most of us wish to frequent, and they suggest that the owners of said sites may prefer that kind of content.

#820 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:45 PM:

John Layton - it's possible Sad Puppies will do something good for the Hugos. The Devil can quote scripture when it serves him, clouds have silver linings, insert cliche here.

Having said that, when somebody comes up to you and calls you a fraud (which *I* have been, on Torgersen's and other blogs) and otherwise insults you, assuming they have your best interests in mind seems naive.

#821 ::: Andrea Phillips ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:46 PM:

Popping in from the gaming trenches, here -- it's my understanding that there aren't that many 'Gaters anymore, in the grand scheme of things, as I understand. Between 200 and 500 based on analysis of the Twitters and chans. (Or a more comforting framing, no more than a dozen in each state.) That's an overwhelming amount when working together to harass an individual -- especially considering that many brag about having literally hundreds of sock puppets to make themselves look bigger.

Still, assuming that every one of them had the funds to buy an attending membership, that strikes me as enough to seriously skew the nominations, but ultimately not enough to win a slate uncontested. And even assuming the majority of them wanted to go to the expense of multiple memberships, the committee were keeping a sharp eye on households with many multiple memberships by matter of tradition already, weren't they? Because this game has been played before?

Which means in the end, I do believe the vote is more likely to be swayed by honest-but-nontraditional Hugos voters than by the Gaters proper. As with any balloting process, the way toward the most valid result that the majority will be pleased with is to simply get out the vote.

#822 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:46 PM:

And here is the false premise in your argument:

the obvious response would be mobilizing more people to provide an even broader cross-section of fandom, not eliminating anyone's voice.

No one on Making Light has proposed eliminating anyone's voice. The objections, in the main, are to those participating in gaming the system in order exclude participants they believe to be inferior (i.e. female, liberal, gay, etc.), and using people who get a kick out of harming others to do so.

They don't want to participate -- they want to control and exclude those they consider "not worthy."

This isn't about giving the "unheard" a voice -- it's about making the only voices to be heard in the system theirs. I can hear the strains of "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" even now...

#823 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Grantor of Wishes ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:53 PM:

Lady Kay @812:

Your wish is my command. Just think of me as your rather short fairy godmother, albeit with rather more snark.

#824 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:54 PM:

Andrea Phillips @821:

It doesn't take an attending membership (currently $210) to vote for the Hugos -- all that is required is a supporting membership ($40). I think most of them could cover that amount.

#825 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:57 PM:

I just popped into Torgerson's Facebook page -- it's like wading in raw sewage. I should have followed my first twitch and not bothered.

#826 ::: Andrea Phillips ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 05:57 PM:

Lori @824: Sorry, mis-type on my end, I did mean supporting memberships. I still believe spending multiples of $40 for the lolz would be prohibitive to a fair shake of Gaters, who are often very, very young.

#827 ::: John Layton ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 06:02 PM:

@Steven desJardins #714
This is the first year I have really followed this discussion, and I did not focus on it in time to vote on the nominations this year anyhow. In business terms, you are saying that there was collusion involved in a rubber stamp ballot, and you are suggesting further collusion to negate the effect of those people. I had that old moral lesson about two wrongs recited to me from about age 2 to 17.

Furthermore, if we are clear that everyone on any side is saying "Read the books prior to nominating or voting" then everyone is participating within the spirit of the rules, correct? I read sci-fi. I nominate sci-fi I liked. I vote on nominations I read and liked.

I can't comment on the intent of SP. I've posted over there perhaps once more than I have posted here. I have no dog in this fight, other than the entertainment value. I'm just stumped how you can be angry at someone you say is manipulating the system, and then plot to manipulate that same system to stymie them, lol.

Is anyone arguing that more people participating in an award as historic and prestigious as the Hugo is a good thing? Regardless of whether their opinions match mine?

#828 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 06:03 PM:

Lea@815: nerdycellist wasn't referring to new voters brought in in general, but specifically to the GGers. That isn't obvious from her comment alone, but if you trace it back, that's how 'Reavers' is being used.

I said a while ago that the Hugo process is meant to be a consideration and comparison of works, not just a counting of fans. The voting system, I think, is meant to ensure that. Another feature that has a similar effect, which I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned yet, is the 25% rule; if the votes in a category don't equal twenty-five percent of the votes in the most popular category, no award is made. This puts pressure on the voters to consider everything, and not just to vote in those categories where they have favourites. So I think it's damaging when people sign up in order to vote for particular works. Urging people to sign up is fine; setting before them, independently of that, works that deserve their vote is fine; but saying 'sign up and vote for this' is a different matter. (I do think, by the way, that the idea suggested earlier, of putting a notice in books saying 'If you liked this book sign up and vote for it for a Hugo', is problematic for the same reason.)

#829 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2015, 06:03 PM:

Andrea, it's cool -- I can remember the time when I wouldn't have been able to cough up the $40. (Hell, there have been times in my "adult" life when I wouldn't have had it to spare.)

I think the fol