Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Hugos

I've known for a long time -- since the early nineties at least -- that the Hugo Award wasn't all that and a bag of chips.

Most of the time, the blurb: "Winner of the Hugo Award" meant that the book inside wasn't going to hold my attention, and would -- on occasion -- make me wonder why I wasted my money.

Long time Gentle Readers know that Larry Correia and I are friends. Anyone who bought a copy of Monster Hunter International saw a quote from this blog on the cover of that tome -- of which I am still humbled that Larry would do so. A couple of years ago, Larry stated that the Hugo Award had been taken over by Leftists With Agendas, and that Hugo awards were being given to reward ideological goodthink on the part of writers, rather than storytelling.

He was pooh-pooh'd. So he started the Sad Puppy campaign to prove that ideology mattered more than story-telling as far as awarding the modern Hugo.

He was right. Holy [deleted] was he right.

The vitriol aimed at Larry Correia, Brad Torgersen and the writers they recommended has been sickening. The lies, the slander and the spittle-flecked libel they have endured has been eye-opening.

Equally impressive is the mental contortions that the defenders of the status quo ante bellum (Trust me: anyone who doesn't think that the Sad Puppy campaigns triggered a war in literary circles might want to get his head-space and timing checked. Just saying.) are going through to justify their actions. I'm here to tell you, some of their thought processes are downright schizophrenic ... and that does a grave disservice to schizophrenics everywhere.

Apparently when the entire sodding world thinks that the Hugo Award is: "the premier award in the science fiction genre" (Wired magazine); "undoubtedly science fiction’s premier award" (Tor.com); "among the highest honors bestowed in science fiction and fantasy writing" (LA times); and "science fiction's most prestigious award" (Salon.com) what the world actually meant is that the Hugo only belongs to a small group of dedicated WorldCon members -- nobody else counts, doesn't matter how much of a Science Fiction Fan you are, it's not your award.

Usually followed up with something along the lines of: If you don't like it, there are plenty of other awards out there.

Well, yes, but when was the last time anyone saw a Tiptree Award seal on the cover of a book? Quick! What is a Prometheus Award and what was the last book cover you saw one on?

Huh.

Now I discover that Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet -- both nominated by The Wrong Kind of People this year -- have withdrawn their works from nomination.

And, since Annie Bellet is a bi-sexual, card-carrying Socialist her getting hammered by the Righteous Indignation of the Agenda Mandarins kind of puts the lie to the claims that Sad Puppies is all about patriarchal white male conservatives.

Sigh.

Both are excellent authors, and both deserved their nominations. They both deserve their shot on the stage, and I'm afraid that neither one will ever get another nomination.

The Powers That Be at the Hugo have already made some claims about "re-writing" things in a couple of years to "make sure" that any evil like Sad Puppies never darkens their happy little Nerf World ever again.

And once the Leftists With Agendas find out that Marko is a full-on wookie-suiting, gun-loving libertarian, they'll drop him so fast people on the far side of this little green dirtball will get whip-lash. And Annie will have to kow-tow to the right people, and somehow I don't think kow-towing is in her nature. I could be wrong ... but I don't think so.

Truth be told, I'm getting angry enough that two excellent authors are getting the shaft because they dare to hang out with Doubleplus Ungood Badthinkers that I'm wondering if a Hugo delenda est option isn't preferable.

Raze the whole thing to rubble and cinders; see what rises from the ashes.

LawDog

29 comments:

Old NFO said...

Sad isn't the word, but since this is a family blog, I'll refrain from saying what I really thing... *&^&$$&*(!!! Asshats...

The Scribbler said...

I've been trying to organize my thoughts into something cohesive to post. Thanks for doing it for me.

Farmgirl said...

I've been contemplating creating my own awards, given at my whim, for my own reasons... If only because I have a brother who does awesome things with metal, and an endless supply of gen-u-wine historical reclaimed barnwood... And my given-at-whim awards would have at least as much authority about what's the best in anything as the Hugos do about sci-fi, at this point.

At least my way there'd be only one opinionated power mad harridan to suck up to. Plus, I could give LawDog here the very first ever Award For The Best Book Never Written.

Majorly Disappointed said...

I was cheered when I saw his name on the Hugo Nominations list. Hey, a book I thought was pretty good made it. Hey, several of them! Maybe this year my vote will count!

But I'm disappointed in the way things shook out. Majorly disappointed. And calling someone a $hitbag did nothing to lower the rhetoric.

Dang. I hate finding out authors are human. Another illusion shattered.

Wick said...

Sigh. Even if the Hugos were broken, Larry's fix was a bit like trying to fix a broken video card with a pick axe.

I've seen plenty of vitriol from both sides, usually with folks making it a point to overreact.

Celeste said...

I'm sorry, sir, I've been reading your blog for a long time and enjoying it, but we'll have to agree to disagree on this. Bloc voting is cheating, morally if not technically-- anything but voting specifically what *you* thought was the best book that year is against the entire point of the Hugos-- and I'm very sorry to see you defend such abhorrent tactics. If you read the posts by those two authors you mentioned, they both are angry not because of "Agenda Mandarins" (really? ad hominem attacks?) but because they feel their nominations were given because of their perceived political leanings, not because of the quality of their work. Bloc voting is wrong. The Sad Puppies are the one that screwed this one up.

Robin said...

Celeste,
I do hope, for the sake of principled consistency, that your political affiliation is independent...

Diamond Mair said...

I've enjoyed Larry's writings from the first time I read anything of his; he provides truly enjoyable escapes from the day-to-day.
I haven't followed the Hugo debacle, {other than through posts by yourself and Bayou Renaissance Man} primarily because I don't read a lot of sci-fi. Larry's works, YES, every time, and Peter's, but other authors just haven't captured my interest. That said, I've a notion that I will be buying, at least their first books, Marko's & Annie's. ;-)

Semper Fi'
DM

Tim Covington said...

I'm an avid science fiction reader, and even before Sad Puppies happened I knew that a Hugo meant that I most likely would not like the book.

C. S. P. Schofield said...

Celeste,

Block voting has pretty clearly been going on for quite some time, but the block in question was an inner circle clique. Sad Puppies 3 is a campaign to do exactly what all the people outside of that clique were invited to do after last year; register and make our voices heard.

Well, now we find that, dearie me, the clique didn't really mean that. We're only allowed to make our voices heard if we agree with THEM.

OK, gloves off! EITHER voting for the Hugos is open to any fan interested enough to go to the trouble and pony up the cash, OR they are a minor award belonging lock, stock, and barrel to a small fannish clique. If the inner circle moves to change the rules, we will know it is the latter.

Library-Gryffon said...

Celeste: It is my understanding that Sad Puppies has nothing to do with why Marko and Annie withdrew their works, but rather that they were also on Vox Day's Rabid Puppies slate.

As I understand it SP are "not good people" while Vox Day and RP are "very, very bad people". And therefore any book listed on the RP slate must be written by an author who is at least as bad a person. So they must be hounded from the fold, no matter what, no matter how good their stories are.

Though it also seems that stories people want to read is NOT a criteria for an award by the current clique running the Hugos, but rather "literary"-ness, the stuff that made most of us tear our hair out in college lit classes because it was So. Damn. Boring.

Those who have at least sustaining memberships by some date get to vote, having (hopefully!) read the nominees, and they should vote on which they think is really the best book.

If SP is bad, then anyone saying, "Hey I think work X is really good, and should be considered for award Y" is bad, because basically that's what the slate was, suggestions of works they felt deserving of nomination. I'd be very, very surprised if everyone who considers themselves an SP nominated every single work on the SP slate, and only works that were on it.

(And since I'm coming into this whole thing really late, like years late, please feel free to correct any misconceptions I've got!)

tweell said...

It's been obvious that the Hugos were controlled by a small group for over a decade now. Look at the number of votes for the major categories in years past and they vary only by a few.
Then Scalzi had a successful Hugo blog campaign for his rather mediocre (and entirely derivative) book Redshirts. But he was the President of the SFWA, so I'm told that doesn't count. Ahem.
IMHO, the Puppies have been doing nothing that wasn't already done before, it's just that they aren't the correct type of fans and are doing everything openly. The horror!
I've been seeing a lot of suggestions of No Awarding before any Puppy nominations by the SJW group. What they may not realize is that if they succeed, Vox Day and his Rabid Puppies will No Award everything in 2016. Hugo delenda est indeed!

Tam said...

I have it on pretty good authority that Marko wasn't "hounded" into or out of anything.

But if it keeps your sociopolitical worldview intact to imagine that's how it went down, knock yourself out.

Jeff Gauch said...

Celeste, SP is not about bloc voting. It has always been about getting SF fans - not just Fans - involved in the Hugo process, as the award was designed. What is referred to as the SP "slate" was merely a list of suggested works. At all times the overarching instruction was to read and nominate deserving works. That is why even though I signed up for Sasquan because of SP, I didn't nominate anything. I didn't feel that I had read enough in the field to say what the best works were. I intend to read everything in the voter's packet and choose what I consider the best of the nominees, and I'm sure the rest of the SP voters will do the same. I have no idea how Rabid Puppies did their business, that wasn't my circus, those weren't my monkeys. And the CHORF's are committed to destroying the Hugo's via their "Noah Ward" campaign on the theory that if they can't control it, nobody can have it. They love SF like Ike loved Tina.

There is good news regarding the CHORF's attempt to change the rules to reestablish their power. Rule changes for the Hugo's currently require two years: A change is proposed at one Worldcon but doesn't take effect until it is passed at the next Worldcon. And there's a pending rule change - that could take effect at the end of Sasquan - that would extend the process to a popular vote at a third Worldcon. The next Worldcon is MidAmericaCon in Kansas City, right in the middle of America's heartland. Nothing but red states for a thousand miles in every direction. If the CHORFs manage to get a rule change proposed at Sasquan, I'm sure that a large number of Sad Puppies will upgrade their supporting memberships to attending memberships, which will give them a say in rule changes. This past year has shown that SP's are far more numerous than the CHORF's.

And even if they do succeed in turning the Hugo's into a minor award from a small convention, there is enough interest in a truly representative award that Sad Puppies will probably morph into what the Hugo's claim to be and once were.

Library-Gryffon said...

I do quite understand that Marko wasn't hounded, but I had been given to understand that he didn't want to be associated with RP and didn't want the potential of having to feel beholden to them.

Which is fair enough.

I don't know enough about the whole thing, except to have figured out that a lot of people don't like Vox Day with a passion, and won't even read, never mind vote for something from his publishing house, and by extension, anything he gives a recommendation to. If 99% of readers say "Great book, great characters, great plot!", and VD is one of that 99% there would seem to be some who will write the book and the author off forever. And sadly, it seems that many of the less than 2000 who voted on the Hugos before SP started getting more people to get memberships are in that camp.

Joe in PNG said...

The thing with Marko reminds me a bit of a bit from "Starship Troopers". To prove a point, Mr. DuBois gives Johnny a first place award for a race, one which Johnny only placed third.
Better an honest third place than an empty first.

Wombat said...

Good to see some new posts!
I can't say I follow the Hugo's or the disagreements in literary circles (I prefer more of the vintage sci-fi), but reading this makes me want to check out the authors mentioned. It also confirms my view that it is better to pay attention to authors and stories than to awards. Film awards seem to have little to do with the quality of the film and it comes as no surprise that literary awards are more political than meritorious.

Mike Van Pelt said...

I lost most interest in the Hugo awards some time ago. I've subscribed to Analog since 1971, and am a fan of what "all the right people" dismiss with a sneer as "Analog stories". I'd do a quick skim of the publishing history of the nominees each year... Few or none from Analog. Winners ... rarely from Analog. For Pete's sake, Stan Schmidt never got a Hugo for best SF magazine until the year he retired.

I don't know if Vox Day is the kind of person the usual suspects claim he is. I'd never heard of him until this uproar. But I do know that I do not trust the people telling me what kind of person Vox Day is to not make up everything they've said about if he's to the right of Nancy Pelosi.

Maybe he really is a Nazi klukker. But I'd need to read his actual stuff myself to be sure.

Anonymous said...

LD:
Didn't find a contact anywhere on the blog, so I thought I'd ask here:
Have you been worked harder to cover officers attending the dog & handler to-do in Paris, TN?
I wouldn't have known anything about it, but I was out that way Sunday & ran across a unit from Victoria County, TX. I figured your county would have some folks gone TAD to that.
Hope they got there early enough to attend the World's Biggest Fish Fry, but I doubt any outfit would approve that much time in advance of the event.
--Tennessee Budd

JohninMd.(HELP?!??) said...

Sad puppies was about getting more fans to read books, and vote for the ones they liked best. If that's block voting, so sorry.
Hey, Dawg, any thoughts on the fracus in Garland? That near your bailiwick?

Anonymous said...

I used to think that if I left them alone, they would leave me alone in turn. I have learned over the years that is not a viable option. When I realized that entire shelves at the local bookstore purporting to be new SF/F consisted entirely of bodice-jerkers with rockets on the covers, were-seals and preachy homo-erotic alien goodthink 'message' fiction (NTTAWWT), I concluded that we are up against an enemy that never sleeps.
The only proper response to the SJW:
http://thomaslegion.net/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/civilwarcannonscivilwarartillery.jpg
It's the only thing they understand.
In the immortal words of Cersei Lannister, "Power is power."
Go broke buying powder and shot, but not one dime for tribute.
Put your money where your mouth is and drive the enemy from the field.
Support only the authors you like by buying their work for yourself and as gifts for others.
Spring the 40$ for a voting membership and then vote the Hugos.
Crush your enemies. Drive them before you. Relish the lamentations of their loved ones

Eboreg2 said...

'Dog, you might want to hear about this. Apparently, a Virginia gun chain known as NOVA Firearms is opening up in Arlington to supply firearms to federal and law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, a bunch of pink-pantied liberals got their knickers in a knot and decided to boycott the entire strip mall that the shop is opening up in, especially since it's two blocks away from an elementary school and they want to think of the chiiiilllllldren. What do you say? Gun-lover run buycott?

Mark Horning said...

The Prometheus is of course the award given to the "Best Libertarian Science Fiction Novel." It's also a freakin' gold coin, (specifically a Bullion Eagle)

And if you haven't read The Unincorporated Man you really need to.

Dan said...

Hi LawDog:

Thanks for all the informative police related topics and other info. Keep up the good work.
Dan
Police Cartoons

Anonymous said...

Happy 4th of July, Lawdog!

Ulises from CA

MAJ Arkay said...

I pay little to no attention to various writing awards, as they all have a political agenda going to some extent.

However, they do tend to cause authors and publishers to focus on what's currently popular, and that's almost never what I want to read.

Since I got my e-reader, I've found some great storytellers who happen to self-publish. It's so easy to do on Amazon Kindle that there are scads and scads of self-published books worth a look. Some you'll immediately dismiss as garbage (read the negative reviews before the positive reviews to see why), and others will suck you into a proper science fiction story.

Some recommendations to get you started:
Rodney L. Smith's Kelly Blake series (Scout Force, First Command, and a couple others so far)
Christopher Nuttail's The Empire's Corps series (10 books so far)
Kindal Debenham's Jacob Hull series (3 so far)

From there, you should find lots of good, classic science fiction.

Anonymous said...

Lawdog,

We miss you!

Imamontanalady

FiftycalTX said...

Please let me know if you post anymore.

Seth said...

There have been "recommendation slates" for many years; e.g. Locus publishes one. But Locus doesn't publish precisely 5 entries in each category and suggest a bloc vote for them, Locus recommends many choices. The same with other legitimate recommendations. Listing precisely 5 and telling people to nominate them is an attempt at bloc nomination, something that people have always known was possible but was considered wrong. When it happened, there was a predictable backlash against it, and people voted the bloc-nominated entries below "No Award".

As for who "controls" the Hugos, it has always been the people who bothered to nominate and vote (in order to do which, they needed to buy a membership in the Worldcon).

The only "evidence" that there has been any previous invidious control, bloc voting, etc. is that the items some people like didn't win. Very often, my preferred items didn't win either, but I attribute that to other people having different tastes, not to evilness.

Now, the rules are being changed so that a block of nominators will have power proportional to the size of the block, rather than an organized block having disproportionate power. Some people are objecting because they think that being able to organize, say, 35% of the nominators should give them 100% control over the ballot rather than two of five nominees.