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Black Gate Withdraws

April 19, 2015

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We have had another withdrawal from the Hugo ballot. BLACK GATE has withdrawn from the BEST FANZINE category. You can read their reasons why here:

It is uncertain whether this withdrawal will be honored, since it comes too late. Sasquan’s Hugo administrators announced that the ballot was “locked” a couple of days ago, after two other nominees had withdrawn, and two other finalists had been declared ineligble. Those four were all replaced on the ballot by the “next one down,” but if the ballot is indeed locked, it would appear that this will not happen in Best Fanzine.

I do wish to draw attention to Black Gate’s statement that this decision was his own, and was not the result of any threats or internet “bullying.” Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet said more or less the same thing in their own withdrawal statements, but nonetheless certain parties continue to repeat the charge that their fictional boogeymen, the “SWJs,” bullied those worthies off the ballot. Since Kloos and Bellet have explicitly denied that, these cries of “bully, bully” can only be categorized as malicious lies. As for those who are writing Kloos and Bellet to tell them they will never read their books again… have you no shame? Truly? Have you no shame?

I feel very sorry for all of those caught up in this, especially those who were shanghaied onto a slate without their knowledge or consent. They have no good choices. What should have been a highlight of the career has been poisoned and ruined. For what it is worth, I will read their books. I have already ordered the Kloos book from Amazon, and I will be checking out the Annie Bellet short story when I can.

But I am going to be reading the other books and stories on the ballot too. I don’t promise to read all of them start to finish — I start a lot of books, but if they haven’t grabbed me in a chapter or two, I put them aside — but I will at least try them all.

BLACK GATE is advocating the nuclear option: vote NO AWARD in all categories. I understand his reasoning, but once more, I disagree. I will vote NO AWARD only in those categories where I find nothing in the category worthy of a Hugo. If I think a book or story or editor IS worthy of a Hugo, I’m going to vote to award one.

The Hugos can withstand a few NO AWARDs, in categories where all the nominees are crap. They can NOT withstand an entire evening without a single rocket being presented, where one envelope after another is ripped open and NO AWARD is announced, again and again and again.

And as flawed and damaged as this ballot is, there ARE things on it deserving of our field’s ultimate accolade. Starting with BEST NOVEL, the Big One, where I know there is at least one Hugo-calibre book, and suspect there may be as many as three, or even four. Or BEST FAN WRITER, where Laura Mixon’s report on Requires Hate cries out for recognition. There are some terrific movies in Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. We missed PREDESTINATION, which deserved a nod, but we did get INTERSTELLAR, which I rank up there with 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. There are editors on the ballot deserving of recognition (no, not him, obviously), there’s an artist (maybe more than one, but one for sure), there’s a bunch of fine fan artists…

Which is why I say again: NO to the Nuclear Option.

CORRECTION: It appears that I misread the BLACK GATE withdrawal statement. They are not actually advocating the Nuclear Option. Please read the statement for a correct explanation of how they suggest the use of No Award. We are still in disagreement, I think, but not as complete a disagreement I had thought earlier.

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