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2015 Hugo Awards Discussion
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Murrin,

Pretty much. I sat through two presentations explaining EPH and one gentleman who tried to explain it to me personally three times I still don't grasp it. It makes a manual review of Hugo balloting very difficult. I'm voting against it at next years Business Meeting but it has a lot of momentum right now.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a very good series of articles/essays about the Hugo Controversy by author Eric Flint (GRRM is going to nominate him for a fan-writing award next year).

He makes a couple of really interesting points that I haven't seen anywhere else. Although he is solidly anti-Puppies, he sees some merit in their criticism that (for whatever reason) the Hugos (and the Nebulas) have become disconnected from the contemporary state of science fiction and fantasy publishing. To say that the scene has changed dramatically over the last 30 years is obvious. What is less obvious to a casual observer like myself is that awards like the Hugos and Nebulas have not adapted or altered to reflect that change.

One of the most interesting aspects of this relates to the high status that short fiction has for these awards and how little status series have (e.g. Steven Erikson has no Hugo nominations). Flint's point is that while short fiction has traditionally been a staple of SF/F it has become relatively much less read by people. (I have read very little SF/F short fiction over the years, and none at all in the last decade.) The focus has turned decisively in the direction of the novel, and even more so in the direction of the multi-novel series (to the benefit of the publishing houses and the detriment of the actual stories, IMO, but don't get me started! Laughing)

Another point that he makes is that as the field of SF/F has expanded it has become impossible for voters to survey the whole of the potential field. This means that the awards move more towards being an honour bestowed rather than something someone 'wins'. (This may always have been the case, but it would not have been obvious to someone like myself who reads a lot, but isn't involved in nominating or voting.)

Another interesting thing about the increased size of the genre's field is that people who read a lot of it come to appreciate innovation, writing quality and novelty as well as good storytelling. More casual readers, who make up the bulk of the genre's audience, are primarily concerned with reading a good story and so long as the writing is good enough they are not that worried about the other more 'literary' aspects.*

For this reason contemporary Hugo voters are likely to be more interested in new and 'literary' voices and recently this has shown in where the the awards have gone. While popularity may not be the best guide for quality, there has, up to relatively recently, been a fairly consistent correlation between the two. (Although why John Scalzi's Redshirts won in 2013 is a good question?)

There may then be a bit substance to some of the Puppies criticisms, but, if there is, they have mostly missed the implications of that substance (and (possibly for political reasons) using tactics and methods that undermined their position, attacked something that didn't even exist (the notorious SJW cabal)).

u.

* A point Flint makes again and again is that the importance of the awards financially is relatively small. Many successful writers in the SF/F genre pay no heed to awards at all, and more importantly still, publishers are much more interested in levels of book sales than awards.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uss,

Scalzi won because he is popular with WSFS voters. There are problems one of the difficulties is that I, at 44, am a younger member of WSFS. "Fandom" is "greying". It is resistent to change that could help it reach out to younger spec fic readers. Not sure how to overcome that.

The one irony of the Puppies actions this year is that it has made people aware of the Hugos again. I'd like to see that used in a positve constructive fashion.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SerScot, I can understand why Scalzi might be popular, I've read his Old Man's War series and enjoyed the books very much. Looking at his nomination history it might be a bit like the Oscars where someone popular, who has regularly been nominated but never won, is given an award for a lesser work as recognition of their overall contribution.

I also understand that an organisation like the WSFS is under no obligation to alter how it does things. I suppose the divergence comes when there is an implicit understanding that the awards represent the 'best' in the SF/F field, and actually they no longer do (if they ever did). A relatively small group like the WSFS is going to develop traditions and connections that bind that group quite tightly, thus creating a natural resistance to change. That the Puppies have a certain basis for their criticism doesn't mean that they are in any way justified in how they've behaved, or that the WSFS has to take on board what they say (beyond responding to their gaming of the nomination process).

So long as the membership is happy with how things are done, the organisation should be free to go on in whatever manner it chooses.

u.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forgive me, but the question I have upon reading this thread is: Were the Hugo awards becoming political before the Puppies, in that preferences were given to stories that met certain political criteria?
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Forgive me, but the question I have upon reading this thread is: Were the Hugo awards becoming political before the Puppies, in that preferences were given to stories that met certain political criteria?
I believe the answer is: almost certainly.

The members of Worldcon decide what's important. Sometimes it's an "entertaining" story, sometimes it's a more diverse writer, and sometimes it's literary pretension! It fluctuates and almost never follows a "scripted agenda".
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Forgive me, but the question I have upon reading this thread is: Were the Hugo awards becoming political before the Puppies, in that preferences were given to stories that met certain political criteria?

If they were it was the unspoken consensus of the membership rather than, as Orlion puts it a 'scripted agenda'. The two main organisers of the Sad Puppies slate were both nominated for Hugos, Larry Correia (2014), and Brad Torgersen (2012). Neither won and they seem to have taken it personally, and ascribed their losses to the machinations of a left-wing, SJW conspiracy. This conspiracy was so entrenched that the Puppies were able to dominate the whole nomination process in 2015 and in four categories get their whole slate nominated (shutting out anyone else's choices) Rolling Eyes

As I've said upthread, the tendency of a relatively small niche group like SFWS to drift away in terms of taste from the rapidly growing mainstream is a fairly natural development rather than some 'political agenda'. If the Puppies were really concerned with exclusion or discrimination they could set up their own awards, with their own 'agenda'. There is plenty of room for them in terms of fandom and audience.

However, that is not what they are about. They see themselves as victims of some nefarious left-wing conspiracy. And rather than do something positive about it, they have chosen to attack the SFWS and damage the Hugos.

u.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend,

That's certainly the Puppies contention. They complain that books and stories with lots of :pew, pew: or :clang, clang: were being ignored in favor of more highbrow and PC works.

I disagree. I think the Hugos should be about more than merely "good" books. I think they should be nominating works that hqve a literary element and as such those devoted to mere Space Operas are disappointed by where the Hugos have been going.

YMMV
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SerScot wrote:
They complain that books and stories with lots of :pew, pew: or :clang, clang: were being ignored in favor of more highbrow and PC works.

I would not call literary aspirations "political". I would call that a disagreement on what good sci-fi is.

But selecting nominees "on the basis of identity politics" is political. That's requiring nominees to serve an agenda, rather than display literary finesse.

If true. This is why I am asking.

(Please let's keep the pejorative terms like "PC" in the Think Tank where it belongs. I am sure you don't think you are insulting someone when you use it, but you are -- especially when it is misapplied, as you have done.)
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend,

That's the terminology the puppies, Rabid and Sad, are using and why I used it to describe their purported beef.

For example here's the leader of the Rabid Puppies in his own words:

http://voxday.blogspot.com/2015/09/weaponized-codes.html?m=1

http://voxday.blogspot.com/2015/09/eminently-predictable.html?m=1
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Foz Meadows wrote a good essay about why the whole thing about people rewarding books because they depict people from certain background is missing the point.

As she concludes:
Quote:
I guess what I want to say is this: despite what the Puppies think, the rest of us arenít interested in diversity without quality, and as weíre all acutely aware, the failure mode of diversity is stereotype, which concept isnít exactly on handshake terms with quality in the first place. That we want to celebrate historically silenced voices and perspectives doesnít mean weíre doing so purely to spite you, or that weíve lost all sense of judgement: if our tastes extend to seeing in fiction those versions of ourselves youíre disinclined to write, then who are you to tell us we arenít entitled to our preferences? Nobody is saying you canít tell your stories; we just might not want to read them, the same as you evidently have no desire to read ours. Thatís not the genre being attacked Ė itís the genre changing, and whether you change with it or not, weíre still going to like what we like.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm Murrin wrote:
Foz Meadows wrote a good essay about why the whole thing about people rewarding books because they depict people from certain background is missing the point.

As she concludes:
Quote:
I guess what I want to say is this: despite what the Puppies think, the rest of us arenít interested in diversity without quality, and as weíre all acutely aware, the failure mode of diversity is stereotype, which concept isnít exactly on handshake terms with quality in the first place. That we want to celebrate historically silenced voices and perspectives doesnít mean weíre doing so purely to spite you, or that weíve lost all sense of judgement: if our tastes extend to seeing in fiction those versions of ourselves youíre disinclined to write, then who are you to tell us we arenít entitled to our preferences? Nobody is saying you canít tell your stories; we just might not want to read them, the same as you evidently have no desire to read ours. Thatís not the genre being attacked Ė itís the genre changing, and whether you change with it or not, weíre still going to like what we like.
She seriously needs to take a class in sentence structure and punctuation. Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
I'm Murrin wrote:
Foz Meadows wrote a good essay about why the whole thing about people rewarding books because they depict people from certain background is missing the point.

As she concludes:
Quote:
I guess what I want to say is this: despite what the Puppies think, the rest of us arenít interested in diversity without quality, and as weíre all acutely aware, the failure mode of diversity is stereotype, which concept isnít exactly on handshake terms with quality in the first place. That we want to celebrate historically silenced voices and perspectives doesnít mean weíre doing so purely to spite you, or that weíve lost all sense of judgement: if our tastes extend to seeing in fiction those versions of ourselves youíre disinclined to write, then who are you to tell us we arenít entitled to our preferences? Nobody is saying you canít tell your stories; we just might not want to read them, the same as you evidently have no desire to read ours. Thatís not the genre being attacked Ė itís the genre changing, and whether you change with it or not, weíre still going to like what we like.
She seriously needs to take a class in sentence structure and punctuation. Laughing

Wow...I must drive you crazy, then. Big Grin

Whether the awards were already political---that's one thing. But what the Puppies did [especially the Rabid ones] is make sure that, from now on they almost surely always WILL be political [or at least under the suspicious cloud].
I keep wanting to ask the particular Rabid one [Vox Day] a variation/twist on the old "Wouldn't be a member of a club that lets someone like me in"---why would he want an award from people whom he doesn't respect, and who don't like him? [[cuz I don't buy any crap about fixing/restoring the genre or the award]] He just likes to spout [nothing wrong with that, its fun]---and he realized exactly how much cash/celebrity/notoriety there is to be made as a light in the "Anti-PC Brigade."
But everyone wants to monetize their image.
But it's hard to get behind someone who seriously believes [among other things] that Women's Rights are a major cause of the ongoing/eventual take over of Europe by Islam/Jihad.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nah, you're fine. It's your style. But she's trying present herself in a certain way, and doing it badly. Maybe she loves James Fenimore Cooper.

See how the above paragraph is not just one sentence? Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm Murrin wrote:
Foz Meadows wrote a good essay about why the whole thing about people rewarding books because they depict people from certain background is missing the point.

It's a good essay alright, thanks for linking it Murrin.

Her point about how difficult it can be to give concise punchy answers to certain criticisms is reflected in her essay. It's like you have to keep backing up to another layer/level before you can even start to address the point.

u.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that stories from the point of view of the unprivileged have, for decades if not centuries, gained a certain amount of literary attention, and not without dissension. It's sort of funny that fantasy/sci-fi, which struggles to be considered 'literature' at other times, may may be encountering the squabbles and partisanship which 'real literature' suffers with.

But are the Puppies only doing in full view what their nemeses had been doing secretly up until that time?

Or are they a group of hyenas who have moved into the bucolic watering hole and There Goes The Neighborhood?

The fact that people resent them doesn't really point in one direction or another.

Which means, for me at least, it comes down to how much conspiracy there actually was prior to the advent of the Puppies. It is the nature of conspiracies that they are poo-pooed, especially by those who participate in them. So I guess the most reliable guide is the statistics.

Have the Hugo awards changed over time to disfavor the science in the sci-fi, and the fantasy in the fantasy?
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not really, no.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend,

Quote:
Have the Hugo awards changed over time to disfavor the science in the sci-fi, and the fantasy in the fantasy?



If that is the case why did the "hard" sci fi book The Three Body Problem win this year. And the hard scifi novel Ancillary Justice win last year? I grant you that Redshirts won in 2013 because John Scalzi is popular. That said I wouldn't call his victory a "conspiracy". A popular candidate won.

The Puppies are creating the thing they claim already existed by advancing "slate" voting.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ann Leckie's novel is not hard sci fi; it's space opera.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Murrin,

Okay, what's the difference?
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