Not a Blog

On the Darkling Plain

April 15, 2015 at 5:30 pm
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The longer the Puppygate Wars drag on, the more pessimistic I grow about the future of the Hugo Awards. I started out by saying that the Sad Puppies (and their Rabid cousins) had broken them, and every day and every post and blog and story I read underlines the truth of that.

My friend Janice Gelb, long time worldcon volunteer and SMOF, has suggested that the only thing we can do at this point is abolish the Hugo Awards altogether. When I first heard that notion, I dismissed it out of hand. Some good will, some civility, a mutual exchange of ideas, and surely we could find a way to salvage the situation.

I am no longer convinced of that. The Sad Puppies are digging in and doubling down, and so is worldcon fandom. Meanwhile, off in the cesspools, the Rabid Puppies grow ever more rabid. Nuclear options are being seriously considered, and Vox Day has apparently threatened that if NO AWARD wins in any category, he will see to it that no award is ever given in that category again.

My first inclination was to dismiss that threat as so much toxic wind. But I am not so sure. According to FILE 770 there have been 1352 new Supporting Memberships purchased this month, an unprecedented number. Very few of these purchases, I fear, were motivated by a sincere desire to support WorldCon. No, all these new supporting members are plonking down their money for a vote on the Hugos.

Ah, but which side do they represent? Are these members of traditional fandom, signing up to take back their awards? Are these Sad Puppy supporters, anxious to vote their slate to victory? Are these all NO AWARDers? Or maybe these are the Vox Day fans. Beale seems to have much more control over his followers than Correia and Torgensen do over theirs… the ballot actually has more Rabid Puppies than Sad ones. Could it be that Vox Day has successfully roused the GamerGate bogeyman that he was been threatening us with? No one knows. Unless…

I think it is All of the Above.

Meanwhile, two of this year’s nominees have withdrawn their stories from contention: Marko Kloos in Best Novel, and Annie Bellett in Best Short Story. I understand their desire to be out of this mess. Both nominations were, pretty clearly, due to their inclusion on the Sad Puppy slate, but neither writer was actually an active participant in the slate-making. And both were first time nominees. I remember how much joy my first Hugo nomination brought me in 1974, and I regret that these two young writers (I do not know either one, I am not familiar with their work, and I have no idea of their political, religious, or literary convictions) will think back on their own nominations with regret and rancor, rather than fondly. One’s first Hugo nomination, like one’s first sexual experience, should be a memory to treasure, not a trauma.

The flood of supporting memberships will continue, I think. I believe one can still join (and vote) up to July 1. Those 1300 new supporting members will become 1500… maybe 2000… maybe 3000. Very few of whom will bother to turn up at the con. Great news for SasQuan’s bottom line. Not so great for fandom. For worldcon. For SF. More Sad Puppies may withdraw, (I doubt very much that any of the Rabid Puppies will), like Kloos and Bellett. More presenters may withdraw, like Connie Willis. The business meeting will be loud and long and rancorous, as all these new rules proposals are debated and voted on. And the Hugo Awards themselves…

I do not see a happy outcome here.

Maybe all the new voters are Vox Day acolytes, and the Rabid Puppies will sweep the board.

Maybe the NO AWARDers will carry the day, and the night will end with no Hugos given out at all. And then Vox Day will double down next year and try to make good on his threat to make sure no more Hugos are ever given.

Maybe NO AWARD will win in the All-Puppy categories (Related Work and the three Short Fiction categories), while the other rockets go to the non-Puppy nominees in split categories. I actually thought this was the most likely outcome, until I read about the flood of new members.

Maybe some awards will go to Puppies, and some to non-Puppies. A split verdict. I don’t see this as likely at all, actually… I think those new voters are going to trend one way or another, heavily… but I supposed it could happen. And afterward, wow, what fun getting all the winners together for the traditional “class photograph.”

Any way the dice fall, I foresee lots of booing and hissing as the names are called out, lots of unhappy presenters, angry winners and angrier losers.

Only one thing for certain: no matter what happens, Vox Day will declare that he’s won.

And as for me… I don’t know right now. On odd numbered days, I lean toward opting out of SasQuan entirely. Stay home, work on the book, I don’t need this grief. On even numbered days, I am determined to go… and to go BIG. Take the Hugo Losers Party back. I started it, after all. And this year, so far as the Hugos are concerned, we are all going to be losers.

It is all very depressing.

Fandom is supposed to be fun.

Larry Correia, Once Again

April 15, 2015 at 4:25 pm
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Yes, I am aware that Larry Correia has once again responded to me on MONSTER HUNTER NATION. Thanks to the hundred and forty-two of you who emailed me to point this out.

(Some of you, I fear, just like the smell of blood. ‘Hey, let’s you and him fight.’ Pfui).

Anyway… no, I am not going to reply to his reply to my reply to his reply to my posts. This is not a fifteen-round title bout, thank you. We have reached the point of diminishing returns on this. The discourse has, I think, been revealing, and I appreciate that both of us have kept the tone relatively civil, but I sincerely doubt that either one of us has swayed the other an inch.

Larry has been declared the winner by a knockout on Monster Hunter Nation. Yay for him.

I have been declared the winner by a knockout here on my Not A Blog. Yay for me.

Have any minds been changed? Was it worth all that time, all those words?

I have no bloody idea.

I could say, “it was fun while it lasted,” except it wasn’t.

Mr. Correia and I will just have to continue to disagree.

Meanwhile, Back at the War

April 15, 2015 at 4:03 pm
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Puppygate is the gift that keeps on giving… or taking away, in this case. Just when you think you’re out, they drag you back in.

Anyway, the battles continue to rage, all over the internet.

Connie Willis has issued a statement. If there is anyone worth listening to about the Hugo Awards, it is Connie. She has won more of them than anyone else. She has presented lots of them too. Her presentations are always hilarious, if excruciating for the poor sods who have been nominated. She is the funniest woman in science fiction. You would think that Connie might be someone that both sides in this fight would listen to with respect, since (1) her politics are liberal, (2) she is religious, a practicing Christian who attends church regularly and sings in the choir. So here is what she has to say:

David Gerrold has also weighed in on the debate. David, of course, is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter, who first broke into the field on Gene Roddenberry’s original STAR TREK, for which he penned “The Trouble With Tribbles.” He also played a crucial role in the creation of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, and won all sorts of awards for his short story, “The Martian Child.” And of course, David Gerrold is also the Professional Guest of Honor at Sasquan, this year’s Worldcon. Here are some of his thoughts:

Some of you will want to comment on what David and Connie had to say. Some of you, needless to say, will want to disagree. That’s fine, but once again, I expect a respectful tone, no personal attacks, no insults. Don’t go there, or your posts will be deleted. Also don’t send me long screeds about how you mislike my calls for civility. If you want to spit and fume and denounce, hey, there are plenty of other blogs on the internet where you can do that.

Connie and David are both friends of mine. I have known David since the early 70s, Connie since the late 70s. Connie, actually, is a very good friend of mine. (Don’t be fooled if you have seen us ripping on one another at cons. That’s the George and Connie show. It’s a bit, like Jack Benny being cheap. We have fun with it. I love Connie, and I think she likes me okay too. She does have more Hugos than I do, which is very annoying and has given her a big head, but I love her anyway, and besides, the one time we went head-to-head for a rocket, I won).

That being said, do please note: I am not Connie Willis. I am not David Gerrold. Their thoughts are their thoughts, and my thoughts… well, I have posted my thoughts at great length here, you guys should know them by now. I agree with much of what Connie and David are saying, but not every word by any means.

I am going to have some further thoughts of my own in the post that follows.

House Cleaning

April 15, 2015 at 5:15 am
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The Puppy Wars go on and on.

I have made a number of blog posts about various issues raised by Puppygate, and every one has drawn hundreds of comments. FYI, I have now started closing comments on the older posts. With so many replies and replies to replies, I can’t even find the unscreened comments any more, and I don’t want more piling on. So I will let those topics move down and eventually onto the next page, but let’s direct comments to the newer posts.

Except for this one, which is closed to comments, since it is just an announcement.