Worldcon, Hugos, etc.
So I was going to do a long blog post, but jet lag hit, and the snakelet is keeping me very busy. Nevertheless…
I’ve said a lot of what I wanted to say here. All I’m going to say in addition to that is: different stories speak to different people. A thing that I like might be one that turns you off, and vice-versa. To say that a thing that I like is not “proper science fiction”; that SFF fans need to reclaim the field against the kind of thing I write; that people like me having success and being nominated are a sure sign the field is headed downhill?
Uh. Read that thing I wrote again please.
I am very glad that Liu Cixin/Ken Liu and Thomas Olde Heuvelt showed us the Hugos aren’t necessarily the province of Western Anglophone works; that Worldcon is going to be in Helsinki in 2017; that we will continue to strive for greater diversity and inclusiveness in the field.
And I would also like to thank the 73 people who nominated “The Breath of War” for a Hugo Award for Best Short Story–I’m deeply touched and very appreciative.
Finally: this year saw a record number of Hugo voters and an amazing turnout. If you were one of them, remember that next year you can nominate the works you loved, so start keeping an eye out for the stuff you love this year (and for the love of God please, let’s not do counter-slates). I will, as usual, recommend stuff as the year goes on, and make a blog post closer to the deadline with a recap of what I loved. I encourage you to do the same.
PS: Worldcon was lovely! Except 9 hours of time difference, which turns out to be quite difficult to catch up on…
PPS: I debated over whether to leave the comments open. I reserve the right to borrow Scalzi’s Mallet of Loving Correction.
Sorry. Comments are closed on this entry.
“All I’m going to say in addition to that is: different stories speak to different people. A thing that I like might be one that turns you off, and vice-versa. To say that a thing that I like is not “proper science fiction”; that SFF fans need to reclaim the field against the kind of thing I write; that people like me having success and being nominated are a sure sign the field is headed downhill?
Uh. Read that thing I wrote again please.”
This sounds a lot like the things a lot of the Sad Puppies were saying.
As someone new to fandom, as in new to doing anything more than just reading, this Hugos thing has been horrifying. Both sides constructed straw man armies to fight rather than really look at what each other had to say. Some really vicious attacks were launched, some really nasty things were said and the fact that so many people decided that no awarding works and nominations based on who liked them rather than their literary merit was very depressing. Although not as depressing as the cheers and celebrations this behaviour attracted.
I found merit with some of the Sad Puppies arguments, disagreed with some others and found some incoherent and confusing. Same for the anti-puppies.
I voted this year, and I believe that I can vote next year too. But if this ugliness is Fandom then I’ll walk away after that. I want no part in it, the enjoyment I’ve found so far is massively outweighed by the shock and disappointment.
I’m… not quite in agreement? That is not what I saw the Sad Puppies say. The rhetoric that was used was deliberately exclusionary (as in “vote for this and stick it to the Social Justice Warriors”, or “let’s keep those people out of our Hugo ballots, which they don’t deserve”).
For the record, there has been stuff said I disagree with (just to start with, death threats weren’t cool, and I was uncomfortable when people cheered for No Award. The result didn’t strike me as worth celebrating, whatever side you were on). But slates aren’t ok. Massive bloc voting for said slate isn’t ok (and I have it on good authority that massive block voting wasn’t a thing until this year). And there was also a concerted attempt to argue that works like Rachel Swirsky’s and Ann Leckie’s (and plenty of others) weren’t Hugo worthy, and couldn’t possibly have won without a conspiracy. And yeah, sometimes stuff I like wins a Hugo, sometimes it doesn’t–but to argue that work isn’t proper SF (there was PLENTY of that), or isn’t Hugo worthy as a objective criteria, and wouldn’t have got on the ballot if people weren’t voting “politically”? No.
And if this had just been about making a recommendation list for works with “conservative”  leanings for the Hugo Awards, then I wouldn’t be arguing like this (I will point you to GRR Martin’s posts, which showed clearly that there was little bias against straight white men and/or conservatives in the Hugos. There is also a post by Nicola Griffith on Charlie Stross’s blog, which also shows very clearly that Hugo nominations haven’t kept up with gender demographics).
I put “conservative” in quotes because it’s going to cover different actual political leanings depending on where you live.
“I am very glad that Liu Cixin/Ken Liu and Thomas Olde Heuvelt showed us the Hugos aren’t necessarily the province of Western Anglophone works…”
This is an interesting point.
In all the discussions about Hugos and Puppies, I have not seen many comments on the fact that this is awarded at the WORLDcon, according to WORLD Science Fiction Society rules. One of the Lead Puppies used an outdated and offensive word in reference to The Three Body Problem. Most of the puppies have never bothered to promote any translated works. Hell, they even characterise American Liberal politics as too left-leaning.
I am a dedicated SFF fan from India who has bought supporting memberships for Worldcons and nominated & voted in Hugo awards for a long time. I feel quite invisible in the fandom (non-puppies are equally blind to me) and these wins give me a little bit of hope.
Siddharta: yes. I agree. People outside the Western Anglophone hegemony are invisible 🙁 (even stuff that gets published in English in, say, India or Singapore doesn’t make it. For something called “world con” that’s a little bit… problematic). Thank you!
I have to say..I agree Mrs. Bodard..because as a person knew to fandom, I find myself writing stories that I want to see myself in. Simply because, I like seeing myself in things. Because I often ask myself, where are the POC magicians? Where are the LGBT magicians? The Puppies kept talking about quality, but I find quality in work that isn’t usual. Your work (from what I’ve read of it is just soo, soo lovely). N.K. Jemisin. POC who want to make a different..that’s my two sense
I’ve definitely started seeking out more science fiction published overseas. I’m loving Clarkesworld’s effort in particular to publish Chinese SF in translation; I don’t always like the stories, but sometimes I do and all of them have been interesting.
My husband and I have a lot of discussions about liking a thing vs. thinking that a thing is excellently done. He has very narrow tastes but recognizes that there are excellent things outside that narrow band that are still excellent even if he doesn’t like them. (The movie “Only Lovers Left Alive”, for example.)
Personally, every vote of mine for No Award was based on my perception of the nominees’ quality. (For what it’s worth, some of the categories where No Award took the top spot were not ones that I had voted thus, and that had been my top vote for at least one category that wound up having a winner.) I don’t like slates, but since we couldn’t know for sure whether a particular nominee made it onto the ballot solely because it was slated until the voting data came out, I considered all of the nominees anyway.
It was lovely to see you at WorldCon!
@Rowland Smith: Thank you!
@Genevieve: it was lovely to see you too! And yes, I agree. I recognise some stuff is excellently done but isn’t for me (or more accurately isn’t right for me at this point in time. My reading tastes vary a lot across time, I’ve found).
What Clarkesworld is doing is excellent, and I hope 3 Body Problem’s win encourages more initiatives like this.
Thanks for actually reading the first chapter of your book… when I go to a reading of a new-to-me author that’s what I’m looking for. We want to be upsold, that’s why we’re there. 🙂
I spent much of the con going to readings, I think that’s my game plan for future WorldCons as well. I’m sorta glad the programming wasn’t as strong as LonCons for this reason.
Ian: thank you! I wasn’t sure how familiar the audience was with it, but given that it had just come out I figured I might as well 🙂
I sadly didn’t have much time to attend programming this year. Hope next year is better! (and glad you had a good time with readings. There were some terrific folks there).