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AnthoCover3_400

Up and Coming, the 2016 anthology of science fiction and fantasy writers eligible for this year’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, is now available. This award is the only award given at the Hugo Award ceremonies that is voted on by the Hugo Award voters but is not itself a Hugo Award.

Up and Coming contains 1.1 million words of fiction from newly published science fiction qand fantasy authors, and will be available until March 31, 2016.

How to Nominate for the Campbell Award

In order to be a nominator for the Campbell Award, you had to be a member of one of the following by January 31 of this year:

The nomination link is here, and nominations close March 31, 2016.

Complete List of Authors in the Anthology

  • Charlotte Ashley
  • John Ayliff
  • Lucas Bale
  • Nicolette Barischoff
  • Sofie Bird
  • Derrick Boden
  • Stefan Bolz
  • David Bruns
  • Martin Cahill
  • Aaron Canton
  • D.K. Cassidy
  • Zach Chapman
  • Curtis C. Chen
  • ZZ Claybourne
  • Liz Colter
  • Nik Constantine
  • Daniel J. Davis
  • S.B. Divya
  • Margaret Dunlap
  • S.K. Dunstall
  • Jonathan Edelstein
  • Harlow C. Fallon
  • Rafaela F. Ferraz
  • Sam Fleming
  • Annalee Flower Horne
  • Ron S. Friedman
  • David Jón Fuller
  • Sarah Gailey
  • Patricia Gilliam
  • Jaymee Goh
  • Elad Haber
  • Auston Habershaw
  • Philip Brian Hall
  • John Gregory Hancock
  • Nin Harris
  • C.A. Hawksmoor
  • Sean Patrick Hazlett
  • Holly Heisey
  • Michael Patrick Hicks
  • SL Huang
  • Kurt Hunt
  • L.S. Johnson
  • Cameron Johnston
  • Rachel K. Jones
  • Jason Kimble
  • Paul B. Kohler
  • Jeanne Kramer-Smyth
  • Jamie Gilman Kress
  • Jason LaPier
  • Fonda Lee
  • S Lynn
  • Jack Hollis Marr
  • Arkady Martine
  • Kim May
  • Alison McBain
  • Rati Mehrotra
  • Lia Swope Mitchell
  • Allison Mulder
  • Ian Muneshwar
  • Brian Niemeier
  • Wendy Nikel
  • George Nikolopoulos
  • Megan E. O’Keeve
  • Malka Older
  • Emma Osborne
  • Chris Ovenden
  • Steve Pantazis
  • Carrie Patel
  • Sunil Patel
  • Laura Pearlman
  • Samuel Peralta
  • Andrea Phillips
  • Mark Robert Philps
  • Monica Enderle Pierce
  • Ivan Popov
  • Bill Powell
  • Stephen S. Power
  • Rhiannon Rasmussen
  • Chris Reher
  • Ethan Reid
  • Kelly Robson
  • Andy rogers
  • Lauren M. Roy
  • Steve Ruskin
  • KB Rylander
  • Hope Erica Schultz
  • Effie Seiberg
  • Tahmeed Shafiq
  • Iona Sharma
  • Anthea Sharp
  • Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
  • Daniel Arthur Smith
  • Lesley Smith
  • William Squirrell
  • Dan Stout
  • Naru Dames Sundar
  • Will Swardstrom
  • Jeremy Szal
  • Lauren C. Teffeau
  • Natalia Theodoridou
  • Joseph Tomaras
  • Vincent Trigili
  • P.K. Tyler
  • Tamara Vardomskaya
  • Leo Vladimirsky
  • Nancy SM Waldman
  • Thomas M. Waldroon
  • Jo Lindsay Walton
  • Kim Wells
  • Alison Wilgus
  • Nicolas Wilson
  • Alyssa Wong
  • Eleanor R. Wood
  • Frank Wu
  • Jeff Xilon
  • JY Yang
  • Isabel Yap
  • Jo Zebedee
  • Jon F. Zeigler
  • Anna Zumbro

…which is a lot of people, but there are actually more eligible authors than that. Check out this page on Writertopia for who’s eligible this year. This year’s Campbell eligibles are those who had a first professional sale published in 2014 or 2015.

Note, however, that final eligibility is determined by the Hugo Award administrator. Of note, I think Andy Weir (not in the anthology, but mentioned on the Writertopia page) could be ruled ineligible; while The Martian was initially released as a self-published title in 2011, it wasn’t really a professional sale until 2014 when it was re-published by Crown Books. However, the audio book version was published in 2013, and that may be a sticking point. Or not.

I Wasn’t a Member, But One of My Favorites Made the Ballot, Now What?

You can become a member of MidAmeriCon II. Voting will begin in early May. I don’t know when exactly voting will close, but typically it’s some time in July.

The Hugo ceremony will take place at the convention, Wed to Sun, August 17-21, 2016, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

Just a reminder that Hugo Awards voting closes tomorrow night (July 31st) at 11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Time. You can submit or change your vote before then by visiting this page on the Sasquan site.

Note: You will need your Hugo PIN to submit or change your ballot. Please request your PIN as early as possible if you don’t have it handy.

Even if you and I have nothing in common on which we’d vote for, if you’re a member of Sasquan, please vote. Here is my Puppy-free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide if that helps you.

I want to say this about the Best Fan Writer category. I’m not voting for Laura J. Mixon as best fan writer for the following reasons:

  1. She has lobbied for the award, which I consider an automatic disqualification. Cool is letting someone know what you have that you believe is eligible. Not cool: “A vote for me sends a clear signal…” Yes, she later edited that out of her post, but that’s emotional blackmail.
  2. I consider a pro author criticizing a reviewer’s history as a pro activity, not a fan activity, and thus not fan writing.
  3. Benjanun Sriduangkaew has since been doxxed, and I believe that the vaunting of Laura J. Mixon helped that happen.

Getting back to the Hugo Awards more generally, I liked this pep talk from Cheryl Morgan.

Comments are off on this piece. Please comment elsewhere if you’re so inclined.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

The Hugo Awards voting packet is now available.

You’ll need your registration number and Hugo PIN in order to download the packet.

Haven’t yet registered? Here’s the registration page.

What’s in the Hugo Awards Voter’s Packet

The next two paragraphs are from the press release:

This free download is supplied by the creators and publishers of works that are nominated for the awards. It is free to all current Supporting, Attending and Young Adult members of Sasquan, and those who become members before 31 July 2015. Its purpose is to allow those who are voting on the Hugo Awards to be able to make an informed choice among the nominated works.

All of the short fiction and graphic novels are included in their entirety (((assuming Zombie Nation comes through!))). The packet contains the full text of three of the novels: The Dark between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson, The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, amd The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Skin Game by Jim Butcher and Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie are represented by extensive excerpts. One of the five finalists in the Related Work category is represented by an excerpt: Letters from Gardner, by Lou Antonelli. There is some material in each of the other categories except the Dramatic Presentations, but not everyone wanted us to include their work in this packet.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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hugo-awards

Hugo Award voting is now open. Voting closes Friday July 31, 2015, 11:59 PM PDT.

In order to vote, you must be a member of Sasquan, this year’s Worldcon. If you’re not currently a member of this year’s Worldcon, you can join as a supporting member for $40 or as an attending member for $210. The convention will be held from August 19-23 in Spokane, Washington.

For your reference, should you wish to use it, I’ve updated The Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide for what (I hope!) is the last time, including those who withdrew their nominations. The full ballot can be found here.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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hugo-awards

Althea Kontis shares Edmund’s statement:

My name is Edmund R. Schubert, and I am announcing my withdrawal from the Hugo category of Best Editor (Short Form). My withdrawal comes with complications, but if you’ll bear with me, I’ll do my best to explain. I am withdrawing because:

  1. I believe that while the Sad Puppies’ stated goal of bringing attention to under-recognized work may have been well-intentioned, their tactics were seriously flawed. While I personally find it challenging that some people won’t read IGMS because they disagree with the publisher’s perceived politics (which have nothing whatsoever to do with what goes into the magazine), I can’t in good conscience complain about the deck being stacked against me, and then feel good about being nominated for an award when the deck gets stacked in my favor. That would make me a hypocrite. I can’t be part of that and still maintain my integrity.
  2. Vox Day/Theodore Beale/Rabid Puppies. Good grief. While I firmly believe that free speech is only truly free if everyone is allowed to speak their mind, I believe equally strongly that defending people’s right to free speech comes with responsibilities: in this case, the responsibility to call out unproductive, mean-spirited, inflammatory, and downright hateful speech. I believe that far too many of Vox’s words fall into those categories—and a stand has to be made against it.

  3. Ping pong. (Yes, really.) A ping pong ball only ever gets used by people who need something to hit as a way to score points, and I am through being treated like a political ping pong ball—by all sorts of people across the entire spectrum. Done.

Edited to add this paragraph: the statement on the IGMS website clarifies my point #1 wass wrong, and I have corrected it accordingly. My apologies to Mr. Schubert.

I think it’s important to note these things:

  1. It’s likely Edmund knew did not know about the slates prior to nominations closing.
  2. Edmund accepted the nomination (people are given the ability to decline prior to the official nominee list being posted).
  3. Edmund likely knew others withdrew after acceptance. Edmund chose not to at that point.
  4. Edmund likely knew the ballot had been locked after two people were declared ineligible and two withdrew.
  5. Like Black Gate, Edmund’s withdrawal took place after all these events.

While that allows for some sympathy/empathy, it’s not as large as someone declining the nomination in the first place or, as Dave Creek did, asking off the slate prior to nominations closing.

The statement is significantly longer than what I’ve excerpted above, but I’d like to highlight two parts.

What About the Works Pushed Off the Hugo Awards Nominations?

I will not, however, advocate for an across-the-board No Award vote. That penalizes people who are innocent, for the sake of making a political point. Vox Day chose to put himself and his publishing company, Castalia House, in the crosshairs, which makes him fair game—but not everybody, not unilaterally. I can’t support that.

This is, my opinion, classic speaking from privilege.

You know who was really penalized? Hint: it’s not the people who were nominated.

It’s the works (and people) who were pushed off the ballot entirely.

There are works that will never receive fair consideration for a Hugo award.

Voting no award for the two puppy slates does not deprive the puppies of their Hugo Awards nominations.

That’s why I’m voting down the entire slate.

Schubert’s Comments About IGMS

As editor of IGMS, I can, and have, and will continue to be—with the full support of publisher Orson Scott Card—open to publishing stories by and about gay authors and gay characters, stories by and about female authors and female characters, stories by authors and about characters of any and every racial, political, or religious affiliation—as long as I feel like those authors 1) have a story to tell, not a point to score, and 2) tell that story well. And you know what? Orson is happy to have me do so. Because the raison d’etre of IGMS is to support writers and artists. Period.

IGMS—Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show—is open to everyone. All the way. Always has been, always will be. All I ask, all I have ever asked, is that people’s minds operate in the same fashion.

It’s published some fine writers and some fine stories. My problem with it, understandable in context, is that it’s Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show and not just InterGalactic Medicine Show. There’s no real way of promoting the magazine without the full problematic title and its problematic patron.

Much like L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future.

Yet I’m also fascinated, in the case of comparing people’s feelings about the two, how much harsher people are about IGMS than WotF. So far as I know, Card has never made a gay or lesbian (or, in this case, someone accused of same) stand in a trash can for twelve hours while screaming obscenities and epithets at them.

Scientology has, and it runs Writers of the Future.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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hugo-awards

One of the questions when faced with bloc nominating in the Hugo Awards is this: when is something bloc voting/nominating? When isn’t it?

There have been statements about the Sad Puppies slate being a slate because it’s five items in many categories: conveniently the number of possible nominations. And, while that is a compelling argument, that isn’t one I find especially convincing.

A Question Was Posed

In this comment, MC DuQuesne says:

Here’s another obvious slate that should be taken into account
http://aidanmoher.com/blog/featured-article/2015/03/final-2015-hugo-awards-ballot-recommendations/

I’m not going to respond to the sealioning in MC’s comments here (though I did cover the answers in another recent comment on the post they commented on), but Aidan’s post actually is a good compare/contrast to discuss why I believe Aidan’s post was not a slate and the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies was.

Because, frankly, if you don’t think that setting up a sockpuppet site (or a hundred), declaring a slate of “SJW” works, and infesting it with a few pets to write blog comments (perhaps even buying a few fiverr gigs for even more comments) isn’t going to happen, well, that’s naive.

So, what defines a slate, then?

Well, let’s look at a bit of unpleasant second-world history for some actual historic usage, tweets by Rose Lemberg that were storified by Charles A. Tan. Actual gulag tales there.

Clearly, we don’t mean anything that dramatic with bloc voting in the Hugos. One hopes.

For starters, there’s the obvious results-based approach. Let’s look at successful nominations this year:

Slate/List Successful Nominations Failed Nominations
Rabid Puppies (Slate) 55 12
Sad Puppies (Slate) 49 11
Aidan Moher (List) 8 34

Aidan’s list includes two Best Novel nominees, one Long Form nominee (shared with the puppies), one Best Pro Editor Short Form nominee, one Best Professional Artist nominee, and three Best Semiprozine nominees. What’s particularly interesting—and perhaps most compelling given how much of Aidan’s blog is about art—is that his sole Fan Artist nomination wasn’t on the final ballot at all. This was the sole puppy-free category, too.

A Better Measure of Influence: the MilliScalzi

Google ranks pages; Alexa ranks sites. Alexa ranks are used by all kinds of companies to measure influence. The ranking (lower is better) means: how many sites are more influential than you are?

In this case, the milliScalzi is defined as:

1000 * (Scalzi’s Alexa Rank) / (Your Alexa Rank)

Name Alexa Rank MilliScalzis
John Scalzi 84,424 1,000
Vox Day 86,085 981
Larry Correia 124,256 679
Brad Torgersen 199,682 423
Sarah Hoyt 238,721 354
John C. Wright 265,307 318
Mike Glyer / File 770 296,754 284
Aidan Moher 525,045 161
Deirdre Saoirse Moen 579,880 146

So, given that Aidan and I hang around in the same milliScalzi hood, I feel I can say about how much influence he had this year. Let’s put it this way: it only took 23 nominations to get on the fan artist ballot, and his nomination didn’t make it onto the list.

More Compelling Reasons I Don’t Consider Aidan’s List a Slate

  1. Aidan didn’t highlight his own work. Do I need to explain how the puppy slates differed in that regard?
  2. Aidan posted it on March 9th (though he’d posted novel thoughts earlier), and nominations closed less than a week later. The Sad Puppies 3 slate was posted at the beginning of February. While I could also see a case being made for people just nominating without reading, I believe the extra lead time is a significant factor.
  3. A slate with little to no effective conversions (in the marketing sense, by which I mean people taking action) is not a slate. Given that the fan artist influence didn’t push his candidate up and over, I think the “slate” argument is truly a non-starter.

Just to put this in perspective, here are my blog stats for that same period:

march9-15-stats

Still, I think it’s poor form to post one’s full nomination list if one has any significant influence—and Aiden having won a Hugo last year means he has some. There are bound to be hurt feelings about who was left out, even if they’d never say so. (And no, I’m not the least bit offended or hurt. I’m glad I’m not on the final ballot this year. I feel for my friends who are.)

Hugo Awards Nomination Ideas

I kind of like this one because I think it’ll take more pressure off people who feel they haven’t read the whole field.

  • One nomination per (some new member type) member per category;
  • Two nominations (currently 5) per supporting member per category;
  • Four nominations (currently 5) per attending member per category.

I think only having one or two things would feel less overwhelming for someone who hadn’t read as widely.

In Other News

In other news, Worldcon has a new gavel (which Rick suggested be named Grabthar’s Hammer), and master filker Tom Smith has a Sad Puppies filk. With a choir.

Puppy nominee Lou Antonelli calls me a Nazi after I tossed him off my blog. (Nazi screencap here.) Protip: when your opening paragraph asserts a position I do not hold and tries to argue with me about it, things will not go well for you.

My honest reaction was amusement: you think you’re a legitimately-nominated Hugo Award nominee for Best Short Story (and Best Related Work)—and that’s the best you’ve got? Really?

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

Summary of what’s in this post: the final Hugo Awards nomination changes, a discussion of a great post about the Hugo Awards from Baen author Eric Flint, and a constructive suggestion to those who, like the puppy sympathists, feel their own favorite works are being left out of the big table. And, at the end, I have a suggestion.

Final Hugo Awards Nomination Changes

I’ve updated the Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide to reflect the changes in the Hugo Awards nominations after two nominations were declared ineligible and after two nominees withdrew their works. The tl;dr version: Puppy-free works have been added in Best Novel (The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu) and Best Novelette (“The Day The World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, translated by Lia Belt). Congratulations to all the new nominees, and condoliolations (congratulations on having been nominated, condolences for the situation leading to no longer being on the ballot) to those who withdrew or were declared ineligible.

I’m especially jazzed about having two works originally published in other languages on the ballot, as literature in translation is so frequently overlooked.

As noted in the File 770 piece, Hugo Award administrator John Lorentz has locked the ballot, and no further changes will be made. (There were also a couple of technical corrections on the final announcement.)

Eric Flint’s Piece

Eric Flint has his own “I can tell this was written by a novelist” piece on his blog.

I’ve been doing my best to stay away from the current ruckus over the Hugo Awards, but it’s now spread widely enough that it’s spilled onto my Facebook page, and it’s bound to splatter on me elsewhere as well. It’s also been brought to my attention that Breitbart’s very well-trafficked web site—never famous for the accuracy of its so-called “reporting”—has me listed as one of the supposedly downtrodden conservative and/or libertarian authors oppressed by the SF establishment. Given my lifelong advocacy of socialism—and I was no armchair Marxist either, but committed twenty-five years of my life to being an activist in the industrial trade unions—I find that quite amusing.

Flint discusses at length the paucity of awards for Murray Leinster and Andre Norton in particular, then lists several other writers’ nomination and win counts.

What has become equally obvious, to anyone willing to look at the situation objectively, is that a third of a century later the situation has become transformed. Today, there are is only one author left who can regularly maintain the bridge between popular appeal and critical acclaim. That author is Neil Gaiman. And there are no more than a handful of others who can manage it on occasion. Perhaps the most prominent in that small group are Lois McMaster Bujold, Ursula LeGuin and George R.R. Martin.

Once you get beyond that very small number of authors, the field diverges rapidly. That handful aside, there is no longer any great overlap between those fantasy and science fiction authors whom the mass audience considers the field’s most important writers—judging by sales, at any rate—and those who are acclaimed by the small groups of people who hand out awards.

Exactly so, though I’d argue that LeGuin is perhaps less famous with mainstream, but more famous in literary circles. When I was an undergrad, I was told I couldn’t write science fiction or fantasy and work with writing faculty unless I wanted “to write like Ursula LeGuin.” I declined (because I want to write like myself, not LeGuin) and worked with a science faculty member who was an sf/f reader. (The program, then a part of Vermont College, required a faculty sponsor for the semester, but none of the writing faculty were willing to sponsor anyone writing any form of popular fiction.)

Anyone who writes genre fiction and wanted to seriously pursue a writing degree has, no doubt, run into some form of the above at some point.

Any author—or publisher, or editor—who gets widely associated with a political viewpoint that generates a lot of passion will inevitably suffer a loss of attractiveness when it comes to getting nominated for awards—or just reader reviews. Somebody is bound to get angry at you and denigrate your work, and often enough urge others to do the same.

Does it happen to people who are strongly associated with the right? Yes, it does. But it also happens to people who are strongly associated in the public mind with the left. If you don’t believe me, all you have to do is read through Amazon reader reviews of my work and see how many “reviews” are obviously triggered off by someone’s outrage/indignation/umbrage at what they perceive as my political viewpoint and have little if anything to do with the book which is theoretically being “reviewed.”

Nor does it matter very much whether the assessment people have is accurate or not. To give an example which is germane to this issue, there is a wide perception among many people in fandom—the average reader-on-the-street could care less—that Baen Books is a slavering rightwing publisher. And never mind the inconvenient fact that the author who has had more books published through Baen Books than any other over the past twenty years is…

(roll of drums)

Me.

Who is today and has been throughout his adult life an avowed socialist (as well as an atheist), and hasn’t changed his basic opinions one whit.

I’m also unhappy with the reduction of Baen to only publishing right-wing (and various other tropes) authors because I’m also a Baen author. I’m not as universally liberal as you might think, and I’ve in fact been a libertarian (both big-L and not) in the past. My religious affiliation could be best described as “Agnostic Pagan,” specifically Druidism.

Yes, it’s true that Larry Correia and John Ringo are pretty far to the right on the political spectrum and they don’t get nominated for major awards despite being very popular.

You know what else is true?

I’m very popular and further to the left on the political spectrum than they are to the right—and I never get nominated either. Mercedes Lackey isn’t as far left as I am, but she’s pretty damn far to the left and even more popular than I am—or Larry Correia, or John Ringo—and she doesn’t get nominated either.

The popular fantasy author Steven Brust, like me, is what most people call a “Trotskyist.” In a career that has now lasted thirty years, he’s picked up one Nebula nomination. On the other hand, China Miéville—another so-called Trotskyist—has gotten around a dozen nominations and won both a Hugo and a World Fantasy Award.

On the other side of the political spectrum, Mike Resnick has gotten more Hugo nominations than just about any author in the history of science fiction—he’s won five times, too—and he’s a Republican. A sometimes loud and vociferous Republican, as I can attest because he’s a friend of mine and we’ve been known to argue about politics. Loudly and vociferously.

The fact is, there is no correlation I can see between an author’s political views and the frequency (or complete lack thereof) with which he or she gets nominated for SF literary awards. The claim of the Sad Puppies faction that so-called “social justice warriors” are systematically discriminating against them is specious. It can only be advanced by cherry-picking examples and studiously ignoring all the ones that contradict the thesis, of which there are a multitude.

Exactly so. Resnick was also an editor of mine. I’ve had some great conversations with him over the years.

I believe there are three major factors involved that account for the ever-widening gap between the judgment of the mass audience and that of the (comparatively tiny) inner circles of SFdom who hand out awards. Of the three, two of them are objective in nature, which is what makes the problem so intractable. And all three of them tend to constantly reinforce each other.

The first objective factor is about as simple as gets. The field is simply too damn BIG, nowadays. For all the constant whining you hear from lots of authors about how tough things are today for working writers—which is true enough, in and of itself—the fact is that the situation is a lot better than it used to be. Half a century ago, I doubt if there were more than a dozen F&SF writers able to make a full-time living at it, and most of them were not making a very good living. Today, with a North American population no more than twice the size it was then, I figure there are somewhere around a hundred F&SF authors able to work at it full time, and at least a third of them are earning more than the median annual income. Even in per capita terms, that’s a big improvement.

Back in the old days, many of the most popular authors had a number of pseudonyms. Mike Resnick has a Rolodex full of pseudonyms. Not a joke or exaggeration. So in the old days, there was a different kind of problem: you’d like six authors, but they’d all be the same person.

The second objective problem is that due to massive changes in the market for F&SF—changes so massive that they amount to a complete transformation of the field over the past several decades—the structure of the major awards no longer bears any relationship to the real world in which professional authors live and work. That’s especially true for those authors who are able to work on a full-time basis and who depend on their writing income for a living. Award-voters and reviewers and critics can afford to blithely ignore the realities of the market, but they can’t.

Both the Hugo and the Nebula give out four literary awards. (I’m not including here the more recent dramatic awards, just the purely literary categories.) Those awards are given for best short story, best novelette, best novella, and best novel. In other words, three out of four awards—75% of the total—are given for short fiction.

Forty or fifty years ago, that made perfect sense. It was an accurate reflection of the reality of the field for working authors. F&SF in those days was primarily a short form genre, whether you measured that in terms of income generated or number of readers.

But that is no longer true. Today, F&SF is overwhelmingly a novel market. Short fiction doesn’t generate more than 1% or 2% of all income for writers. And even measured in terms of readership, short fiction doesn’t account for more than 5% of the market.

Don’t believe me? Then consider this: I have published at least half a dozen novels each of which has sold more copies than the combined circulation of all science fiction and fantasy magazines in the United States—and I am by no means the most popular author in our field.

Romantic Times gives out an absolutely dizzying number of awards each year. Here are this year’s winners. Note that quite a few of those are publisher specific. Romance is an even more overwhelmingly novel-oriented market than science fiction or fantasy are.

To give you an idea of how large that field is, I read 150 romance books last year, mostly ones published last year. I’ve only read one of the books on the list. I’ve read twelve of the authors, though most of those have been published in sf/f.

Also, I disagree with the point he then follows up with about the novel length for the Hugo being wrong. Up until 2010, I’d have agreed with him. However, with the rise of digital first publishing, many more short novels are being written than used to be. It hasn’t picked up as much in science fiction and fantasy as it has in romance—in part because it began earlier in romance with a greater number of digital-first publishers and the popularity of “category length” (read: shorter) books—but I believe that is just a matter of time.

While there are romance series, most of them are a completely different style than is popular in sf/f: the protagonists of book 1 become side characters in book 2, and vice-versa.

Is there any solution to the problem?

Well, freeping the Hugos doesn’t fix the problem, it just vastly increases the number of people who are unhappy.

In addition to being an author, I also do a lot of editing of old science fiction stories. I’ve produced by now something like three dozen anthologies of stories written mostly in the fifties, sixties and early seventies. And I can state flatly that the average level of fiction written in our field today is far higher than it was half a century ago. As fond as I am of the fiction I grew up on, the simple fact is that most of those authors couldn’t get published today.

It’s not just a matter of prose, either. Just about everything in those days was crude, compared to the situation today.

The science in “science fiction” was often abysmal, especially the biology. Edgar Rice Burroughs was by no means the only author who told stories in which humans mate with aliens and produce offspring. Thereby demonstrating a grasp of biology stuck somewhere in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries.

The settings were typically crude, too, compared to the settings of most stories today. So were the plots. There were exceptions, to be sure—and, not surprisingly, those tended to be the most popular authors.

My point is simply that there is no rational basis for thinking that the literary sophistication of the mass audience for F&SF today is any worse than it was some decades ago, and plenty of reason to think that it’s actually superior.

I agree.

Why the Quality Shift

The quality shift was a concerted effort on behalf of people like Robin Scott Wilson, who created the Clarion Writers’ Workshop in the 1960s to help improve the quality of writing in the field. These days, there are quite a few similar workshops open by audition:

  1. Clarion in San Diego (6 weeks)
  2. Clarion West in Seattle (6 weeks)
  3. Odyssey in New Hampshire (6 weeks)
  4. Viable Paradise in Martha’s Vineyard (1 week)
  5. Milford in Wales

There are, finally, also programs in writing popular fiction, including MFA degrees from both Seton Hill and the University of Southern Maine.

Knight also founded SFWA, and part of the intention of the Nebula Awards was to focus on works on literary quality (as distinct from popularity). Yet, over time, the Nebula Award and Hugo Awards nomination lists seem to be (this is a perception that I have not analyzed, to be clear) closer rather than farther apart.

Over time, Clarion has produced (let’s say 15 people average per year x 40+ years) over 600 graduates, and many of those vote or nominate. Or hold (or have held) editorial positions at some point. When you add in the members of the other groups, too, this represents a significant influence on science fiction and fantasy books and short stories.

Yet, as a counter-example, a couple of years before I attended Clarion, Gordon van Gelder was the editor-in-residence. He handed the class his slush pile, and said, “which one of these would I buy?”

The class read the stories and argued with each other and had it narrowed down to a list of five candidates. Gordon said, basically, that it was none of them. He pointed to a story by a far more famous writer and said (paraphrase), “I’d buy this one, so I could put his name in big letters on the cover and sell the magazine.”

The sword definitely cuts more than one way. As Gardner Dozois put it, people become publishable before they start selling.

A Modest Proposal

Here’s my proposal: someone (not me) should start a workshop designed for people who want to write the popular end of science fiction and fantasy, and possibly aimed at people who wish to write sf/f books (the existing workshops are mostly about short-story writing). Yes, I know that Viable Paradise is about that, but the field is certainly big enough for two such workshops.

Not only that, it could be one that valued humor more than Clarion et al tend to. (You know what’s harder than writing humorous work? Critiquing it. Harder yet is understanding how to use the critiques.)

Make it six weeks long, have authors bring complete novel drafts, and workshop the whole draft in six chunks.

Don’t make it depend on ideology, make it depend on wanting to write stronger works of popular fiction.

This would be a great place to form relationships with other, similar writers, to build interrelationships within the field (as happens with Clarion et al), and doesn’t have the problematic relationship with the Church of Scientology that Writers of the Future does.

You’re only 47 years behind.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

Two Hugo Awards nominees who were on Sad Puppies and/or Rabid Puppies slates have withdrawn their works.

Annie Bellet, author of “Goodnight Stars,” nominated for Best Short Story, announced her withdrawal in a moving post, excerpted:

I want to make it clear I am not doing this lightly. I am not doing it because I am ashamed. I am not doing it because I was pressured by anyone either way or on any “side,” though many friends have made cogent arguments for both keeping my nomination and sticking it out, as well as for retracting it and letting things proceed without me in the middle.

I am withdrawing because this has become about something very different than great science fiction. I find my story, and by extension myself, stuck in a game of political dodge ball, where I’m both a conscripted player and also a ball. (Wrap your head around that analogy, if you can, ha!) All joy that might have come from this nomination has been co-opted, ruined, or sapped away. This is not about celebrating good writing anymore, and I don’t want to be a part of what it has become.

I am not a ball. I do not want to be a player. This is not what my writing is about. This is not why I write. I believe in a compassionate, diverse, and inclusive world. I try to write my own take on human experiences and relationships, and present my fiction as entertainingly and honestly as I can.

I am proud of “Goodnight Stars.” I wrote a damn good story last year that a lot of people have enjoyed. I believe it could have maybe even won.

But it is not the last story I will write. It is not even the best story I will write. I have perhaps already written better stories this year. I will write better stories next year, and the year after, and for decades after that. I hope to be like Ray Bradbury and write every moment until I go gentle in that good night, pen in hand.

There will be other years and maybe other rockets. I don’t want to stand in a battlefield anymore. I don’t want to have to think over every tweet and retweet, every blog post, every word I say. I don’t want to cringe when I open my email. I don’t want to have to ask friends to google me and read things so that I can at least be aware of the stuff people might be saying in my name or against my name.

This is not why I write. This is not the kind of community I want to be a part of, nor the kind of award I want to win.

Incredibly moved by that post.

Marko Kloos, nominated for his novel Lines of Departure blogged about his withdawal:

It has come to my attention that “Lines of Departure” was one of the nomination suggestions in Vox Day’s “Rabid Puppies” campaign. Therefore—and regardless of who else has recommended the novel for award consideration—the presence of “Lines of Departure” on the shortlist is almost certainly due to my inclusion on the “Rabid Puppies” slate. For that reason, I had no choice but to withdraw my acceptance of the nomination. I cannot in good conscience accept an award nomination that I feel I may not have earned solely with the quality of the nominated work.

Both are very honorable positions, and, no matter which way they had gone, they’d have both made friends and lost friends. I wish them both the very best.

John Scalzi on Hugo Conspiracies

Because of the kerfluffle over ineligible work, naturally it was pointed out that Scalzi’s Old Man’s War previously qualified for a Hugo Award, though it did not win, despite having first been serialized for the web.

Scalzi’s response is interesting. The tl;dr version is: the changes in the publishing landscape between then and now have changed what’s perceived as “publication.”

Scalzi wraps it up with this point:

What would I have done in 2006 if I had been disqualified from the Hugo ballot because OMW had been serialized on my Web site? I imagine I would have been very gravely disappointed and would have probably groused privately and possibly even publicly. Then I imagine I would have put on my own big kid pants and dealt with it. Because here’s a home truth: No one is owed a Hugo award, or a Hugo nomination. If you start thinking you are, you’re the problem, not the Hugos, their administrators, or anyone else who might have ever been nominated, or even been awarded, one of the rockets.

I don’t know, John, maybe this calls for your Universal Blame Accepter role. 😉

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

In the continuing saga of this year’s Hugo Awards, I discuss commentary from Connie Willis and J. Michael Straczynski.

Connie Willis writes about why she’s turned down the opportunity to present the Campbell Award this year:

I love the Hugos. I can still remember how thrilled I was the first time I was nominated for one. It was the fulfillment of a dream I’d had ever since I was thirteen and had opened up Heinlein’s HAVE SPACE SUIT, WILL TRAVEL and fallen into the magical world of science fiction. I was nominated for a short story called “Daisy, in the Sun,” and I didn’t win–I lost to George R.R. Martin–but just being nominated and being there at the awards ceremony was more than enough, and then on top of that, I got to talk to Robert Silverberg and watch Damon Knight emcee and meet all these famous authors who were my heroes. It was one of the happiest nights of my life.

Since that first time, I’ve won Hugos, emceed the awards ceremony twice, and presented countless awards. I’ve handed Hugo Awards for all kinds of fiction to all kinds of authors, told them congratulations, beamed at them as they made their acceptance speeches, hugged them, and helped them down the dark stairs backstage afterwards. I’ve loved doing it. And I’ve loved everything else about the Hugos–the anticipation and the nervousness when you’re a nominee, the fun of bantering with George R.R. Martin and Mike Resnick and doing comedy routines with Robert Silverberg, the excitement of watching authors and artists you love be awarded for the work they do, and the joy of being in a room with thousands of other people who love science fiction as much as I do. I’ve adored every minute of it. Till now.

She continues, and I’d suggest you read her piece.

Personally, I can’t imagine being a presenter this year. Too fraught.

In a partial response, J. Michael Straczynski has a radical suggestion:

That being said, every indication is that this year the process was hijacked to a degree never before witnessed, if only because those involved seem to have made no pretense otherwise. They not only robbed the bank, they posted photos of the currency on Facebook and dared anyone to come and get it.

[…]

If, as many involved in Worldcon believe, the Hugos have been hijacked, if the slate of nominees to go out has been gamed in such a way that the Hugo vote and the awards themselves are not actually legitimate, then you have only one option.

Leave the relationship.

Cancel the Hugos.

If you, the organizers, genuinely feel that the Hugos this year are illegitimate, then why in god’s name are you handing out illegitimate awards?

My problem with that is that the Hugo Awards are consitutionally required by the WSFS constitution. The constitution takes two years to change, so changes initiated this year would need to be ratified next year, then become effective for 2017’s Hugo nominations and awards.

What is not constitutionally required is a Hugo Award ceremony.

Sure, that would hurt any legitimate winners (and the entire fan artist category in particular). But when I read Connie Willis’s piece, I wondered how many other people had been asked to be presenters and turned it down.

Instead, the winners as well as the nominator breakdowns could be circulated before the first business meeting. Or the second, so the old business could get out of the way in the first meeting.

Frankly, I don’t envy the senior members of Sasquan’s concom about now.

I can just hear con chair in memoriam Bobbie DuFault on the entire topic….

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Nepalese Sadhu man • Requires Hate, Hugo Awards, and Laura J. Mixon's nomination for Best Fan Writer

Nepalese Sādhu man in Kathmandu. Photo by dibrova

Note: the front half of this post was originally going to be separate from my post about the Best Fan Writer Hugo Award. Rick pointed out that the light opening could be seen as minimizing the subject, which was not my intent.

Is There a Statute of Limitations for Being an Ass on the Internet? (Or: Why I’m voting No Award first on the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer this year.)

Asking for a friend.

(That was a joke.)

Well, it both is and it isn’t, because I’ll bet those people who’ve known me for five-ten-twenty-more years remembered something of their own to wince about.

One of the Problems of the Internet

One of the special problems of the internet is that everything that’s a still-valid web page appears to be happening now. Save for obviously “ZOMG, how 90s” pages that call attention by their dated look and sixteen web-safe colors, things feel like they’re happening now, even when they’re not.

Sure, there are contextual clues in many pages—dates, technology choices, etc.

I’m not sure that changes the emotional weight of something feeling fresh and new, though.

Not long after I wrote my Laura J. Mixon piece on Requires Hate, I had a little nagging in my ear:

When did this happen?

Followed by questions like: am I punching down by signal boosting? Why didn’t I see what writers of color were saying about it before jumping on it?

By the time I returned to the land of real internet (instead of catching slight breezes of it in St. Vincent and the Grenadines), the initial furor had died down. I did read another piece (now gone) that made me think.

I didn’t do anything until February 8, when I added the update to the end. Almost a month later, I wrote this post. and got into several conversations about it, and updated that post accordingly.

Then the Hugo Award Nominees Were Announced

…after George R. R. Martin signal boosted that Laura J. Mixon should get the fan writer nomination, she does. Further, she’s the only fan writer standing after you take away the puppy slates’ nominees.

By the time the nominations were announced, I pretty much knew how I felt, though I didn’t really have a sense of how the actual nominations would unfold.

My Own Organizing Principles

These are some of my organizing principles, and it’s impossible to really discuss how I feel about Mixon’s post without them.

  1. I value people trying to live less hateful lives.
  2. I believe that people change for their own reasons, on their own time schedules. Which may be never.
  3. Not everyone will change for the better, and your definition (or mine) of “better” may be wrong.
  4. It’s not necessary (or even desirable) to forgive everyone who’s harmed you. It’s one’s own judgment whether that should happen.
  5. I believe shunning is evil, where shunning is defined as person A trying to encourage person B not to communicate with person C else sanctions will occur. I belonged to a cult that did shunning (Scientology) and I’m over it. Hence, I still have friends who dislike each other. Vehemently.

I’m not asking that my guiding principles be yours, but: I really believe in redemption and/or self-improvement.

I read this long piece from Abigail Nussbaum and I’m concurring—in the legal sense, meaning: I agree with her decision to rank Laura J. Mixon below No Award—but I disagree with Nussbaum’s reasons.

First, there is no question in my mind that Requires Hate/Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s behavior years ago was reprehensible. She agrees.

Second, there’s an obvious conflict of interest here: I was also eligible for best fan writer. One of the things I had to decide was whether or not I was going to nominate Mixon. In the end, I did not. So, regardless of how the nominations wound up, I’d made that choice before the nominee outcome was known.

Voting No Award for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer

My reasons, let me how you them.

  1. The events Mixon’s post mentions were, essentially, 3-10 years ago. Had they been contemporary, I’d have felt they were more relevant.
  2. Mixon’s post happened after Sriduangkaew started to get recognition and after Mamatas outed her.
  3. I disagree with Nussbaum that the topic isn’t sufficiently fannish.
  4. I agree that I think fan writer should be about a body of work and not a single post (says the person who got a quarter million hits for the best-known of my own posts last year). For a single post, Best Related Work is more relevant (as Kameron Hurley won for her “We Have Always Fought” piece).

Much of this information was available for years and only came to be posted because it affected a new writer’s career.

You know, the writing career that Sriduangkaew was now focusing on instead of harassing people.

Statute of Limitations

Most of us are never going to live the lives of a Sādhu, and I’m sure even they have moments they’re less than proud of. It’s entirely possible that some people become Sādhu because they’d done things far worse than you or I have.

The Internet allows us to hold onto hate longer and spread it farther, and that’s not always a good thing.

I don’t have an answer for what the statute of limitations should be for being an ass on the Internet. I’ll just say that the base federal (US) sentencing guidelines for involuntary manslaughter are 10-16 months.

For killing someone. (Not intentionally, obviously.)

Maybe we ought to think about this three-to-ten year thing.

No, this Does Not Mean

…that people who were harmed by Requires Hate / Winterfox should “get over it.” You have a right to feel however you feel.

I just question lowering the boom so long after the situation had changed so significantly.

Some may question: well, if that’s too late, what about Marion Zimmer Bradley?

I’ve heard no evidence that, at any point in her life, MZB felt any remorse about the part she took in raping children and allowing children to be raped (by her husband). Her only care was separating from him to reduce her financial liability. Also, half of that story (her as perp) had never been told until I broke it last year. Plus she’s dead, so it won’t affect her career, though it’s probably affected her heir and co-authors.

Nussbaum Nails How I Feel

In a later comment, Abigail Nussbaum added this, and it reflects my feelings:

My problem is with what the zeal of that exposure reveals about our community, and with the message that I think is sent by rewarding it. You and I obviously disagree about what that message is, and you may be right, but let me be clear again that we do not disagree about the harm that Sriduangkaew has caused.

Got Comments?

Respectful comments welcome. Legal threats, well, I’m in California and we have amazingly powerful anti-SLAPP laws here. (I mention this because of this comment on Abigail Nussbaum’s piece.)

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Sad Puppies

Sad Puppy • Photo by Amber West

This is a multi-purpose post about the Sad Puppies (et al) Hugo Nominations and award slates, covering the following topics:

  1. Schools of thought on voting No Award.
  2. Responding to the belief that there already had been slates in the past from “the SJWs” and explaining what’s likely a good chunk of the difference in nomination practices: the pro con vs. the fan con divide.
  3. Another less-obvious divide: Writers of the Future.
  4. Mike Scott’s proposal and Bruce Schneier’s Guest Post on Making Light.
  5. My favorite part of the Eastercon sad puppies panel.
  6. A few more links.

Schools of Thought on Voting “No Award”

Before we get into the subject, I’d like to highlight this piece by Kevin Standlee about the meaning and nuances of No Award and ranking items beneath No Award.

First, there are two major schools of thought about voting No Award for the pup-dominated categories (meaning: all but Best Fan Artist and Best Graphic Story). There are also a couple of variances, which I’ll also mention.

  1. Vote No Award below all non-puppies nominees (with or without ranking below No Award). This is pretty much what it says on the tin.
  2. Vote No Award in all categories dominated by puppies nominees under the theory that the remaining nominees don’t have fair competition. I see some merit in this.
  3. Consider ASIM in Best Semiprozine despite being on a slate. I can’t say it better than Simon Petrie says in this piece:

    So ASIM is on the Hugo ballot. We at the magazine have known about this for about ten days’ time, and have long since sent through the acceptance. But because none of us are exactly active in US fandom, we only became aware of the Sad Puppies connection very late in the piece — in fact, a scant three days before the nominations were made public, and well after all the dust had settled on the nomination process itself. ASIM was never informed about our inclusion on the Sad Puppies 3 slate — if we had been, I very strongly suspect our response would have been a resounding ‘Hell, No’ — and there was no time, nor any point, in looking to remove ourselves once we did get there.

    My own take on this is that a Sad Puppies vote for ASIM is a ‘pity-sex’ vote.

    See also this blog post by Sue Bursztynski. As a disclaimer: I have friends who are working, or who have worked, for the mag. Also, I’ve known people published there, of course. I’ve nominated it myself a time or two, just not this year.

  4. Kari Sperring tweeted: The #SadPuppies didn’t notify my liberal feminist editor Sheila Gilbert before publishing yr slate. She doesn’t endorse them. #HugoAwards

An editor being put on a slate is in an interesting ethical quandary: Hugo-winning books make more money, and an editor’s job is, in part, to make money for their house. That said, I’m not sure that Hugo-winning editors have the same revenue-enhancing capability, and I’d rather see Patrick Nielsen Hayden’s view take hold. Sorry Sheila, maybe another year.

Puppies and Allegations of Slates of Years Past

One of the things that some of the puppies believe is that the only possible explanation for the existing Hugo nominations and results is that there have been secret slates all along.

First, I’ve never heard of any larger-scale slates. I know there was a rules change to make nomination memberships close earlier than the nomination window did. That was a reaction to one specific abuse for one author (if I recall correctly, and I may not be).

Kevin Standlee, a former Hugo administrator, is a far more authoritative voice than my own:

Despite claims, I do not believe that there was ever a deliberate conspiracy to fill all the slots in every category with a dedicated “slate” of works. There clearly have been campaigns to get individual works on the ballot, some of them going beyond the technically legal.

The various other groups that compile lists of “things we like that we think you should consider on your Hugo ballot,” never go out of their way to make the number of items precisely equal to the number of spaces on the final ballot. A dedicated campaign by a noisy minority that insists that they are the Real True Fans Who are A Majority of Everyone is what is ticking people off.

He follows with a clarification:

I should have said that I do not think that before this year there was ever a deliberate conspiracy to fill all the slots in every category.

As a writer, I’ve had people solicit me for Nebula consideration by offering to send their work. That’s essentially ended with the new SFWA forums, thank goodness (because that’s how eligible works tend to be distributed).

So Where Do I Think These Voting Patterns Come From?

I think the voting patterns come from several places, but one of the largest is he cultural divide between pro-run cons and fan-run cons.

The Hugo Awards are voted upon by members of the current Worldcon, which moves about in location from year to year. Historically, there’s been a relatively stable number of voters. That number increased dramatically once online nominating and voting became available.

Fan-run cons have people working in various positions. I’ve worked in programming in some capacity at several Worldcons, several Westercons, and the regional convention, BayCon. I’ve gotten to meet a whole bunch of cool authors (and artists and all kinds of other cool people, including a few actors).

Then you’ve got the significantly larger pro-run cons. I don’t even want to know how many people ComicCon (either San Diego or Salt Lake) is pulling in these days.

You just have a far more likely chance to make an actual connection at a fan-run con, and many of the writers who’ve been nominated have shown up at the various fan-run cons. (I include World Fantasy in this genre, because while it’s a pro-level con, it still runs on fan volunteers.)

To finish this long wind-up: because fans who vote on the Hugos very often have real face-to-face connections with the people they vote for, and not for the people who eschew Worldcon in favor of Dragon Con (which is frequently on the same weekend ever since D*C moved onto Worldcon’s traditional weekend).

The Writers of the Future Issue

(Note: I wrote this section on too little sleep. I’ve edited it to make it clearer. I hope.)

It’s only in the last couple of weeks—thanks to the release of HBO’s Going Clear—that a lot of Americans came to somewhere around 1% of the awareness I had about Scientology’s evil in 1995.

Then I see quotations like this one from Jason Sanford and I want to punch holes in my desk with a fork:

This is similar to how most people in our genre support the Writers of the Future contests and programs even though they were founded by L. Ron Hubbard and receive funding from Scientology-related ventures.

Back in 1995, I was being stalked at the time for speaking out on alt.religion.scientology, along with quite a few of my friends. We had a reunion earlier this year, and Scientology goons tried to crash it. Twenty. Years. Later.

If you think the Sad/Rabid Puppies are bad (or even if you don’t), consider the Scientologists:

  1. A cult that coerces senior female members to have abortions so that they can continue working horrific hours. Listen to a few people tell their tales in the Human Trafficking Press Conference.
  2. A cult that prohibits most of its senior staff from driving, because that also prevents them from leaving. When one member escaped via car, they ran him off the road. (Read chapter 1 of Marc Headley’s book Blown for Good. A lot of the book is thick Scientologese, but the first chapter’s gripping. And documented with police reports.)
  3. The leader, David Miscavige, determines who stays married and who does not, often splitting up couples out of capriciousness. Including Tom Cruise and his three wives.
  4. Said cult has over a billion dollars in the bank.

…then consider that they suborned some of the Sad/Rabid puppies…for money. And some of you reading this, too.

Here are a few Sad Puppies associated with Writers of the Future:

  1. Brad Torgersen
  2. Kevin J. Anderson
  3. Marko Kloos
  4. Kary English

Annie Bellet was not a winner, but still promotes her progress in the WotF contest on every page of her site. Megan Grey does this just on her about page.

(The above is not an exhaustive list, just the names I know.)

Writers of the Future Is a Long Con

The purpose of Writers of the Future is for L. Ron Hubbard to get a name recognition lift when you later become famous. The entire point is to legitimize, newly, a man who threw children into chain lockers on ships.

But, you say, it has nothing to do with Scientology. The contest is run separately.

That’s what they’d like you to believe. Many people hear that, see the possibility of winning $5,000, and it shuts down their critical faculties. As Scientology intends.

Scientology, more than any other corporation I know of, is a bunch of shells with complicated interactions that were intended to be obfuscatory, but this one’s easy: the contest, part of Galaxy Press, a trade name of Author Services, which is part of the Church of Spiritual Technology. L. Ron Hubbard’s literary estate, aka the home of Scientology.

But, but, you say.

Well, I ask you: where are those books printed? Who makes them? Did you ever ask?

They’re printed by Bridge Publications, which is also owned by Scientology. This takes us to the tale of Daniel Montalvo. Here’s his lawsuit after he escaped at the age of 19 after working as a minor for Bridge Publications.

  • Working on equipment that federal and state law prohibits minors from working on.
  • Without required safety and protective gear.
  • And lost part of a finger doing so.

One of Scientology’s lawyers, Kendrick Moxon, had a daughter, Stacy, who worked at the Int base and was electrocuted due to lack of safety precautions. She worked at Gold. You may have seen Gold staff as camera and lighting (and other tech) crew for the Writers of the Future events.

I can’t begin to tell you how low the regard for human life is in Scientology. There is a lot of solidarity between Mormons and Scientologists as fellow members of new religions, but that’s a complete illusion.

For those of you who happen to be Christian and feel strongly about it, here’s an excerpt from the Assists tape Dennis Erlich posted a transcript of in 1994, part of the “past lives” doctrine of Scientology that’s part of the Xenu level:

The medical doctor is not really represented in R6. It is only the surgeon. The surgeon is shown cutting bodies to pieces. That’s the right thing to do. Actually he shreds a body down to just raw meat down to a skeleton and the skeleton is in agony and then it too is chopped up. Anyway, every man is then shown to have been crucified, so don’t think that it’s an accident that this crucifixion .. they found out that this applied. Somebody, somewhere on this planet, back about six hundred BC, found some piece of R6. And I don t know how they found it either by watching mad men or something but since that time they have used it and it became what is known as Christianity.

Translation: per Scientology doctrine, Christianity is a mass hallucination on Earth because of evil surgeons around about the time of Xenu.

That is what Writers of the Future and Illustrators of the Future are about. Getting people to pay money for Xenu and beyond. It has nothing to do with the quality of your stories or your art. It’s about adding to the long con.

They can buy respect off your future platform, then, tada! they offer to help increase your platform. Let’s arrange a book signing. Can you make it to this convention?

It’s not for you. It’s for Scientology.

Ooops I Just Won. Now What Do I Do?

Suppose you’ve won, and have just gulped, and are going to the upcoming event. I suggest you ask the following questions of any Galaxy Press staff you happen to see:

  1. Are you married? Got pictures of your husband/wife? Can I see? (Then bring out yours.)
  2. How many children do you have? Any pictures?
  3. When did you last see your children? What are they doing now?
  4. How about the rest of your family?

The main points: a) do they exist? b) when did you last see them? Pay attention to the nuances of their reactions.

The results will floor you. Guaranteed.

Mike Scott’s Proposal and Bruce Schneier’s Guest Post

I was going to comment more deeply on Mike Scott’s proposal, but I really think the commentary on voting system changes should instead be taking place on Making Light, specifically in comments on this guest post by Bruce Schneier.

Great Idea from the Sad Puppies Panel at Eastercon

I liked the poison pill nature of this, it make my inner evil genius chortle with glee.

The woman in the back of the room suggested that supporting membership $ be used to purchase memberships for the disenfranchised: fans of color, poor fans, handicapped fans, etc.

Department of Link Juice

Kevin Standlee has the “No Award” neepery guide. He also has a general Hugo awards tag that covers a lot of the quirks of Hugo voting. Kevin is one of the most thoughtful and fair people I know. Out of the comments:

Voting something below no award doesn’t decide who wins; it decides what loses last. This is similar to what I’ve often said about Instant Runoff Voting (the technical name for our voting system): It doesn’t choose the most-favored candidate; it chooses the least-disliked one.

Also, if you are new to the business meeting and proposal drafting process, Kevin has been consistently helpful about resources for that. If you want to have a shot at having your proposal heard (rather than shot down immediately by the people in the room), listening to Kevin is always a good strategy.

Bookworm Blues has a thoughtful post.

Elizabeth Bear also has a thoughtful post. She says, “This is not the first time All Fandom Has Been Plunged Into War. It will not be the last.” (The first time was the Breendoggle, which I posted about extensively last year.)

Jason Sanford has a good post with some thoughtful comments.

Cora Buhlert has a big roundup post.

Saving the most epic for last, George R. R. Martin once again proves that he’s a novelist with his three posts on the topic: one, two, and three. His three posts involve a lot of Hugo history from a pro (and neo-pro) point of view, including losing the first Campbell award (to Jerry Pournelle) and co-inventing the Hugo Loser’s party with Gardner Dozois.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Hugo Awards: Puppyflation

(click to enlarge)

I thought I’d show, in chart form, what the year-over-year changes are in Hugo Awards nominations, substantially due to the sad puppies (and rabid puppies) voting.

This year, there were almost exactly 10% more Hugo nominations than last year. Last year, there was also a (substantially less successful) sad puppies slate.

The area charts are 2015, and the lines correspond to the Hugo Awards nominations in the same categories for 2014.

Sources: 2014 statistics and 2015 statistics.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Sad Puppies

Sad Puppy • Photo by Amber West

For those who don’t know, a “filk” song is a science fiction/fantasy folk genre, generally adding new lyrics to an existing tune. Though many filk writers also write original tunes, as I pay tribute to in this post.

The rest of this post is written by my husband, Rick Moen.

People who’ve been on SMOFS for a while might remember http://filkerdave.livejournal.com/541186.html. Well, I’ve gone and done the dirty deed a second time.

Sad Puppies Aren’t Much Fun

(With apologies to Ogdel Edsl and fond memories of Dr. Demento.)

Sad puppies
Sad puppies
Sad puppies aren’t much fun.
They all fight for silenced voices,
By crowding out all other choices.
Sad puppies aren’t much fun.

Inclusiveness means broader picks,
Yet Three Body Problem gets a ‘nix’.
Sad puppies aren’t much fun.
Wright’s novellas mustn’t be ignored,
But his rocket points straight at Noah Ward.
Sad puppies aren’t much fun.

Sad puppies
Sad puppies
Sad puppies aren’t much fun.

Sad puppies
Sad puppies
Sad puppies aren’t much fun.

Sad puppies
Sad puppies.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

Update: Includes changes announced after initial nominations were announced. The only puppy-free slate changes are in the Best Novel and Best Novelette category. Ineligibility changes at File 770. Withdrawal changes at File 770.

Update 2: I’ve added those who withdrew after the final ballot into their respective categories below (because some people will be ranking choices after No Award and may wish to take these names into account). Also, for reference, here is the full ballot.

Follow, or don’t, your choice. If you are voting the strict ix-nay uppy-pay slate, here’s the options in each category:

Best Novel

Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Tor Books)
(in whichever order, followed by No Award)

Best Novella

No Award

Best Novelette

The Day The World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lia Belt translator (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014)
No Award

Best Short Story

No Award

Best Related Work

No Award

Best Graphic Story

Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt, (Marvel Comics)
Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery, written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)
Saga Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick, written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
(in whichever order, followed by No Award)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, concept and story by Ed Brubaker, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Entertainment, Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks)
Edge of Tomorrow, screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions)
(all other nominees were part of the Sad/Rabid Puppies slate. Suggest following the above two, either order, with No Award)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Doctor Who: “Listen”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Television)
Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”, written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)
(all other nominees were part of the Sad/Rabid Puppies slate. Suggest following the above two, either order, with No Award)

Best Editor, Short Form

No Award
Withdrew: Edmund R. Schubert

Best Editor, Long Form

No Award

Best Professional Artist

Julie Dillon
(followed by No Award)

Best Semiprozine

Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews
Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
Strange Horizons, Niall Harrison, editor-in-chief
(followed by No Award)

Best Fanzine

Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Lynda E. Rucker, Pete Young, Colin Harris, and Helen J.Montgomery
(followed by No Award)
Withdrew: Black Gate, edited by John O’Neill

Best Fancast

Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
Tea and Jeopardy, Emma Newman and Peter Newman
(followed by No Award)

Best Fan Writer

Laura J. MixonExcept Mixon also campaigned for a Hugo Award with emotional blackmail language, which IMHO makes her no better than the Puppies.
(followed by No Award)

Best Fan Artist

This is the only puppy-free category (as it wasn’t on their slate)! Congrats to the nominees!
Ninni Aalto
Brad W. Foster
Elizabeth Leggett
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles

John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo)

Wesley Chu
(followed by No Award)

You’re free to comment, but if you’re going to send hate comments, I’m just going to block you from commenting ever.

Note: After posting this, Rick told me later about this File 770 post, which analyzes the issue differently and compares the Sad/Rabid Puppies slates.

Related

Sir Pterry declined his nomination in 2005. Many of the comments are interesting too, including the one that J. K. Rowling and Terry Pratchett trailed just behind John Scalzi and Charles Stross in 2008.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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I was talking with Crystal Huff about getting to Helsinki, and I volunteered to put together a list of how to get to Finland for the Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon bid.

After I sat down and got started, I thought it would be interesting to put the list together in a non-US-centric way, so I started on the Wikipedia List of Countries by Population. And, as I scrolled down the list, I realized that, without specifically planning going to Finland, I already knew most of the answers about how to get there from wherever.

I scrolled to the bottom of the list, and laughed.

242. Pitcairn

As it happens, I’ve been there, so I’ve studied up on how to get there. Pitcairn, which consists of four islands—only one of which is inhabited—is one of the remotest and most difficult places to get to on the planet. It’s the last British Overseas Territory in the Pacific.

So here’s my draft of that answer. Note: it’s this difficult to get from Pitcairn to anywhere, which is one reason that residents often spend several months away at a time.

Pitcairn: If you’re one of the few dozen people from Pitcairn, it will take you longer to get to Helsinki than for the average person, but you already know that. You know all about the cruise ship schedule, and you’re no doubt hoping that something comes later than the Costa Luminosa so you’ll be able to stay on Pitcairn past February 23rd, way too early to leave for Worldcon. Eventually, the Claymore II supply ship schedule for 2017 will be posted, and you’ll probably sail for Mangareva around June. From there, you’ll fly Air Tahiti (not to be confused with Air Tahiti Nui) to Papeete. From there, you’ve got one of three possible routes: Air France/Finnair via Los Angeles and Paris (17,615 km), LAN/KLM via Easter Island, Santiago Chile, and Amsterdam (21,521 km), or Air New Zealand via some route like Auckland, Tokyo, Helsinki on Air New Zealand and Finnair, which is shorter (20750 km) than the same route through Hong Kong (21070 km). So, sure, you’d have to leave in June and you might be able to make the September supply ship back, but think of the interesting places you could stop over along the way.

A Funny Aside

When I was entering the UK, the immigration officer looked at my passport. As often happens, initially a bored immigration agent is looking for a place to stamp, then they become interested in the unusual places I have in my passport.

“Where’s Pitcairn?” he asked.

I boggled. After all, it is a British Overseas Territory, but I was actually having to resist answering, “the ass end of nowhere.” I stumbled over the explanation, then Rick piped up to explain.

“Where the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty‘ happened” is generally the simplest explanation, though not quite correct as that’s where the mutineers wound up, not where the mutiny occurred.

You can get to Helsinki even from Pitcairn. It’ll just take a while.

Pitcairn Island

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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First, congratulations to all the winners!

Wow, what a rush.

None of my four outlier recommendations made the ballot. Except one of them won in a different category, and I could just do jumping jacks about that.

Campbell Award

I’m entirely unsurprised that Sofia Samatar won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. I remember vascillating between her and Ramez Naam, my own two personal favorites out of the five.

Best Fan Artist

Sarah Webb is someone I should have known would win eventually.

The first of my recommendations, Randall Munroe, came in 9th.

Best Fan Writer

Kameron Hurley takes it! Her acceptance speech. She likely mostly won for the post that also won “Best Related Work” (below), but my personal favorite is When to Persist… and When to Quit.

Best Fancast

SF Signal. Which I should totally listen to more often. Interesting quirk: No Award had the highest number of first-place votes in this category.

Best Fanzine

Aiden Moher’s beautiful A Dribble of Ink.

Best Semiprozine

Lightspeed Magazine. Given their recent success in Kickstarter campaigns, this surprises exactly no one.

Best Professional Artist

Julie Dillon becomes the first woman to win the Hugo for Best Professional Artist as a solo artist. (Diane Dillon co-won with her husband in 1971.)

Best Editor, Long Form

Ace’s retiring editor Ginjer Buchanan won, though she didn’t have the largest number of first-place votes. Baen’s Toni Weisskopf did, but she also had less support in other places, and also had more people rank No Award higher.

Best Editor, Short Form

Ellen. Datlow.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

I was really hoping for Orphan Black, but Game of Thrones won for “The Rains of Castamere.” I’m peeved that Sharknado wasn’t on either the long list for either the long or short form ballot. It was robbed!

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Gravity. So, so, so happy about this.

Best Graphic Story

Randall Munroe, XKCD, Time.

In 2011, I first suggested Randall Munroe for Best Fan Artist. As a result of my lobbying, he got on the ballot that year (and the next), but he didn’t win.

Randall’s acceptance speech.

And Cory Doctorow accepting, dressed as an XKCD character (also a later XKCD):

Cory Doctorow accepting the Best Graphic Story Hugo Award for Randall Munroe's "Time.". Photo by Jim C. Hines

Cory Doctorow accepting the Best Graphic Story Hugo Award for Randall Munroe’s “Time.”. Photo by Jim C. Hines

My work here is done.

Congratulations, Randall!

Best Related Work

“We Have Always Fought”: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative by Kameron Hurley on A Dribble of Ink. Very much worth reading. In a related note, here’s how the lemming myth was perpetuated.

I also have a soft spot in my heart for Writing Excuses as I’ll be on an upcoming episode.

Best Short Story

“The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu published by Tor.com.

Best Novelette

“The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal also published by Tor.com. I loved the audio version last year, and love the text version as well.

This was the category that Vox Day was also in, so I note that he lost fifth place (of five) to “No Award.”

Best Novella

“Equoid” by Charles Stross also published by Tor.com. I love Stross’s work. Though I preferred his Best Novel entry to this one, I’m glad he won in a category.

Best Novel

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. This book won the Hugo, the Nebula, the Clarke Award, and the Locus Award, as well as tying for the BSFA Award. That is a very rare combo, especially for a debut novel.

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson came in 4th, and, Warbound by Larry Correia (of the voting slate) came in last, somewhat above “No Award.”

Overall

Wow, a lot of women won! (Dramatic sigh re: Orphan Black not being among them.)

The two nominations I was most excited by won. w00t!

Tor.com really did a great job.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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We arrived in London on Wednesday afternoon, and our shared ride to the Aloft hotel took 2-1/2 hours due to road closures in central London for an event.

It’s our first stay at an Aloft hotel, which is trendy and hipsterish without being too much so. The convention rate makes it affordable for a London hotel.

We got to dinner late on Wednesday after napping for several hours, and I slept very well that night.

Thursday, I only went to one panel: The Joy of Sex, which featured Artist Guest of Honor Chris Foss, one of the original illustrators of the book The Joy of Sex. The panel also included Meg Barker, who is currently researching sex manuals, and Bethan Jones a sexualities researcher.

Chris was a complete hoot.

I missed two koffeeklatsches. One I was on the alternate list for, and the other was after the panel, and I was simply too tired by that point. Pity, as I would really have loved to have gone.

Apart from that, I did a fair amount of talking to people before needing to bail for a nap in the late afternoon.

One of Rick’s relatives who lives in London came to dinner with us, and it was great to see him again.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while.

In light of my changing feelings over the Hachette/Amazon battle and reminders of same like this Salon piece, I’m changing the reading order for this year’s Best Novel Hugo nominees, putting the Hachette authors first.

Because I support Hachette in their game of chicken against Amazon.

My usual method for reading the Hugo novel nominees is: read first chapters until I get to a book I can’t put down, then finish that. Then either read other first chapters or pick which one I liked next best from the first chapters. Lather, rinse, repeat until we’re all out of time or until I’m done.

I now have all the books.

Also, in my prior piece, a badly worded sentence, when taken without surrounding context, said that I was going to vote something last.

I vote on what I’ve read. If I haven’t read it, I don’t vote for (or against) it. I also don’t vote things higher or lower because I like or dislike the author or what they’ve said. That may affect the order in which I read things, but it doesn’t affect how I vote directly. It does indirectly in that I may not get to certain authors’ works in light of my current workload.

Hope that’s clearer, because I actually felt bad that I’d failed so spectacularly until called out on that sentence.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

The Hugo Awards site has the full nomination list.

Look, I don’t vote in every category every time. I will be voting in a category I haven’t voted in before, though.

Natalie has some commentary (and quite a few comments) over on her site.

Me?

I vote for the work, not the person, but there are some people I’ll put last in the pile to read. If I run out of time before, oh well. Let’s just say that I’ve bounced out of the work of those on the slate that I’ve tried to read before and leave it at that.

What Am I Most Excited By?

Randall Munroe being nominated for Time.

Gravity.

What Omissions Am I Most Bummed By?

James Mickens.

Sharknado.

Yeah, I know. There are a lot of other things to complain about.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

Best related work: Fic by Anne Jamison, a history of fanfiction.

Best fan artist: Randall Munroe. Last cartoon of the year is 1311 and first of 2013 was 1155 (thank you @xkcdfeed). Three of note: 1158 (it’s all about physics), 1167 (Star Trek Into Darkness), 1177 (Time Robot). For those who feel he isn’t eligible, he was ruled eligible in 2011 and the rules have not changed. Further discussion here.

Best dramatic presentation, short form: Flying Tiare by Matthieu Courtois and Ludovic Allain. Made as a fan film for the airline’s 15th birthday, it’s a real look at the technology and work of commercial flying. The really cool part, though, is seeing someone go up into the jet engine and get to see the (running) engine from the inside.

I’d already posted a recommendation for: Short story: “The Slow Winter” by James Mickens, so just a reminder.

The Cambellian Anthology

The 2014 Cambellian Anthology is out! It features 860,000 words (eight-ish novels in size) from 111 different writers who are eligible for the Campbell award this year. Totally, completely free.

I want to offer my immense gratitude to Stupefying Stories for this. More than any other single award, I try to be well-read for the Campbell, and it used to be a real chore before Writertopia started keeping the eligibility list. Stupefying Stories took it to the next level with the clever idea to have an annual anthology.

Also, immense gratitude (and props) to the authors and publishers who’ve permitted their work to be included.

Special shout-out for Brooke Bolander, who is one of the eligible.

Addendum

Best dramatic presentation, long form: Sharknado. As billed. Loved it, and I’m not normally up for this kind of thing. Definitely smarter than it had to be.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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