Hugo Aftermath

Wth a bit of luck this should be my last blog post on this subject.

We’ll start with this extract from a post by George R. R. Martin

I had picked Mike Resnick in Short Form and Toni Weisskopf in Long Form, and indeed, each of them finished above all the other nominees in the first round of voting… but well behind No Award. This was a crushing defeat for the slates, and a big victory for the Puppy-Free ballot of Deirdre Moen. Honestly? I hated this. In my judgment the voters threw the babies out with bathwater in these two categories. Long Form had three nominees who are more than worthy of a Hugo (and one, Jim Minz, who will be in a few more years), and Short Form had some good candidates too. They were on the slates, yes, but some of them were put on there without their knowledge and consent. A victory by Resnick, Sowards, Gilbert, or Weisskopf would have done credit to the rocket, regardless of how they got on the ballot. (All four of these editors would almost certainly have been nominated anyway, even if there had been no slates).

((Some are saying that voting No Award over these editors was an insult to them. Maybe so, I can’t argue with that. But it should be added that there was a far far worse insult in putting them on the ballot with Vox Day, who was the fifth nominee in both categories. Even putting aside his bigotry and racism, Beale’s credential as an editor are laughable. Yet hundreds of Puppies chose to nominate him rather than, oh, Liz Gorinsky or Anne Lesley Groell or Beth Meacham (in Long Form) or Gardner Dozois or Ellen Datlow or John Joseph Adams (in Short Form). To pass over actual working editors of considerable accomplishment in order to nominate someone purely to ‘stick it to the SJWs’ strikes me as proof positive that the Rabid Puppies at least were more interested in saying ‘fuck you’ to fandom than in rewarding good work)).

I also misliked the roar of approval that went up at the announcement of the first No Award. I understand it, yes… fandom as a whole is heartily sick of the Puppies and delighted to see them brought low… but No Award is an occasion for sadness, not celebration, especially in THESE two categories.

I can’t find myself disagreeing with any of that. Sending the Puppies packing is being spun as a great victory, but in reality it’s nothing of the sort. At best, it’s a stalemate. Nobody has won, and the rhetoric from both camps suggests the chance of avoiding a repeat performance in 2016 is very slim.

Swamping the nominations ballot by block voting a slate was a dick move that was always going to provoke a backlash. It was a major escalation in a turf war that pre-dates the Puppies’ campaigns, and goes back several years. In recent years there has been an active campaign from some quarters to marginalise conservatives and libertarians out of fandom, with concerns being dismissed as “Old men yelling at clouds”. Rhetoric like “The dinosaurs are going extinct and we’re the comet” give that game away.

If the Hugos are to remain relevant, they have to get back to being a celebration of the best in Science Fiction & Fantasy rather than a battleground in a bitter turf war between two warring tribes, neither of whom exactly have clean hands. Those who care about the award also need to make up their mind exactly what The Hugos are supposed to represent. Are they Science Fiction’s equivalent of The Oscars, showcasing the best of the genre to the wider world? Or are they more like the CRS Awards, celebrating the favourites of a small community within a much larger fandom? And the moment it’s not quite either of those things, and it can’t be both.

My position at the moment is still “A pox on both camps”. When one camp places the odious John C. Wright on a pedestal, and the other still considers a great many known acolytes of Requires Hate to be respected members of the community, both sides play games with motes and beams when it comes to guilt-by-association. I am not buying either sides’ partisan narrative, echoed in their respective agenda-driven and nuance-free media channels.

As long as this nonsense goes on, while I continue to read SF, I refuse to identify myself as part of SF fandom. My fandom is, and will remain, music.

This entry was posted in Science Fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Hugo Aftermath

  1. Colum Paget says:

    As ever Mr Martin shows himself to be better human being than most of SF. That said, I am more ambivelent to ‘no award’ than him. There’s a way of looking at the ‘no award’ slate, that it’s a means of saying “We’re not going to fight over this, we’re effectively just going to make it like the awards never happened”, some people view that as burning down the house, but I can see it as a way to deal with the situation that’s equally fair to everyone. That said I don’t think that was the real agenda behind ‘no award’. But then, in some of those categories, what are you going to do? We can’t be giving awards to Mr Day and Mr Wright, I don’t think.

    # a big victory for the Puppy-Free ballot of Deirdre Moen.

    Ah, Ms Moen again. Her name keeps popping up. She’s come out of nowhere to ally with requires_hate (or ‘Bee’, as she calls her) while admitting she’s ignorant of how we got here. Now she’s on the anti-puppy bandwagon. This is someone to keep an eye on.

    # Swamping the nominations ballot by block voting a slate was a dick move
    # that was always going to provoke a backlash. It was a major escalation in a
    # turf war that pre-dates the Puppies campaigns, and goes back several years.

    I agree, and it is a turf war. In the end it’s less about diversity and more about who, and who’s mates, gets to be nominated for awards or gets to be on panels at cons. Many of the footsoldiers think they’re fighting for fairness, but the generals are people like Vox Day and Requires Hate, and they are fighting for their own self-interest. ’twas ever thus.

    # In recent years there has been an active campaign from some quarters to
    # marginalise conservatives and libertarians out of fandom, with concerns being
    # dismissed as Old men yelling at clouds. Rhetoric like The dinosaurs are going
    # extinct and were the comet give that game away.

    I totally agree, although I think the range of people being marginalized is far wider than that. There’s a new line of rhetoric appearing targetting ‘white feminism’. Old-school feminists are the people who have stood up against the extremes of SJW madness, and they are the next group in the crosshairs. Basically anyone who disagrees with the ideology is going to be purged. It’s a ‘first they came for the white guys’ situation.

    Of course, marginalizing these viewpoints was one of the things that created an echo-chamber of groupthink where the likes of requires_hate could thrive. I don’t doubt that similar things are happening among the puppies too.

    # Are they Science Fictions equivalent of The Oscars, showcasing the best of
    # the genre to the wider world?

    No.

    # Or are they more like the CRS Awards, celebrating the favourites of a
    # small community within a much larger fandom?

    Yes. How can they be anything but this? How many people actually vote for a Hugo compared to the number who read, watch, or play science-fiction media? Furthermore, audiences at SF cons are very white, middle-class, old and left-wing, they don’t represent national demographics or the readership of SF. People who don’t fit into that description don’t feel comfortable at cons, so the membership is skewed, and always will be.

    # My position at the moment is still A pox on both camps.

    Me too. We should be the ‘pox party’ or the ‘poxsters’.

    # still considers a great many known acolytes of Requires Hate to be respected
    # members of the community,

    I’m prepared to give many of the acolytes a break. Most everyone in leftist SF was an enabler of RH at some level, though many now deny it. The truth is that the acolytes were, in some ways, her victims. She played them, used their ideological commitments against them, and they are the kind of people who are easily led. For all that many people in SF make claims to a kind of faux intellectualism, a lot of them are not too wordly-wise. RH landing among them was like Professor Moriarty finding himself among the keystone cops.
    Hopefully some of them now are a bit older and wiser.

    # both sides play games with motes and beams when it comes to guilt-by-association.

    That’s certainly true, and both sides misbehave in similar ways, and then object that the ‘other side’ is doing something that they’ve been doing themselves.

    # I am not buying either sides partisan narrative, echoed in their respective
    # agenda-driven and nuance-free media channels.

    Yeah, I have to say, the way this was handled by online leftist channels was eye-opening, wasn’t it? Makes me doubt a lot of what they say on every topic.

    # As long as this nonsense goes on, while I continue to read SF, I refuse to identify
    # myself as part of SF fandom. My fandom is, and will remain, music.

    Me too, but then why do we need ‘fandom’? You can be a consumer of a thing, and enjoy it, and even produce some of it, without being a ‘fan’, surely?

  2. Tim Hall says:

    I fiind the whole thing dispiriting. Everyone is doubling down and their positions are becoming more entrenched. Try to suggest compromises or suggest that not everyone on the opposing side is a demon and you get shouted own with canned talking points.

    You have a point about why we need a fandom. We can still read books without needing a community around them, especially if the community has become toxic.

    Despite it being only thirty miles away, I didn’t attend LonCon last year. I have several friends who did go, and asked me if I was going. I felt that in the wake of Rossgate the atmosphere was just too unpleasant, and I’m not good at walking on eggshells. Since then it’s only got worse.

  3. Colum Paget says:

    # I fiind the whole thing dispiriting.

    Ditto, but it’s educational. I’ve learned a lot about human nature in the last five years.

    # Everyone is doubling down and their positions are becoming
    # more entrenched.

    Yep, and notice, these are the very people who are promising us a world where everyone’s going to live in diversified harmony. Much as in the Soviet system, the people who sing the hymns loudest are often those closest to the devil.

    # Try to suggest compromises or suggest that not everyone on the
    # opposing side is a demon and you get shouted own with canned
    # talking points.

    Yep. A lot of this is just people getting off on hate. People love to hate, for many it seems to be an essential part of their nature, without someone to hate, they’re lost.

    # You have a point about why we need a fandom. We can still
    # read books without needing a community around them,
    # especially if the community has become toxic.

    Or we could start a parallel community of our own. The only problem there is that it will have to be an exclusionary community, otherwise the extremists will come in and take it over. It’s a sad state of affairs, but it’s the reality.

    # Despite it being only thirty miles away, I didnt attend LonCon last year.

    I did, but it will be one of the last ones I attend.

    # I felt that in the wake of Rossgate the atmosphere was just too
    # unpleasant, and I’m not good at walking on eggshells.

    Ditto, and I’ve always challenged people when they say biggotted things. Got to say, even people who were boarderline nazis took that better than the ‘social justice’ SF crowd.

    # Since then its only got worse.

    Yep. We need a new community and a new ideology that challenges both the SJWs and the ‘god and guns’ crowd. SF is devoid of new ideas anyway, what’s been written since neuromancer that anyone can say is *really* significant? Time to split and start afresh.

    Colum

  4. John P. says:

    Out of curiousity, how often does an award (in this case a Hugo) actually matter? I mean in real terms of putting money in people’s pockets. I don’t recall ever thinking “oh, it has an award so I’ll have some of that” or “I’ll get that because it is on an awards list”.

    Personally, when I’m looking for a book, the title & cover make me notice it, then I read the blurb. If it still sounds OK, I’ll open it randomly and read a page. If it still seems attractive and the price isn’t extortionate then I’ll buy it. I’ve been doing that for 40 years and I’ve had very few where I’d rather have bought something else so it’s worked for me.

    In fact, if I hadn’t read this blog I wouldn’t even have noticed this was happening. So from my perspective, the Hugo’s and all the participants look like a self obsessed bubble that has no relevance to the real world. Am I alone in that view?