Lets get the awards themselves out of the way first. As you’ve all heard by now, the Puppies were shut out. The community managed to successfully defend themselves at the first level. Congrats to all of us, I’m proud. :)
I had thought it possible there would be some disruption of the awards. Not necessarily anything physical, but maybe booing or chanting or yelling, which would slow things, stop the proceedings, and need to be dealt with. Before I arrived in Spokane I had been half-expecting it. There was not a peep. If there were any puppy supporters in the audience they were well behaved. I will admit that I am partially impressed that they managed to keep their civility about them. The entire thing went off without a hitch.
But by the time I actually walked into the auditorium, I no longer expected the Puppies to be a problem, because this was just the continuation of their entire week-long trend.
Long time readers may be aware I’m a bit of a drama-chaser. I don’t like it personally in my life, cuz who has the time for that shit? But I love to watch it. So I was seeking it out. I made many of my panel choices based on things I thought may draw puppy ire. I went to John Scalzi’s reading, which was hilarious and delightful. There was not a single bit of contention. No boos or hisses or people standing up to ask jerk questions. Maybe this is because John Scalzi is razor sharp and intimidating to anyone without genius-levels of charisma and IQ, and they were scared to speak out. Maybe they were intimated by such a large room full of huge Scalzi fans. I don’t know.
I went to the panel on “Writing About Controversies” which was unofficially THE panel to discuss the Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy situation. I thought maybe here, of all places, someone would stand up to ask a challenging question during the Q&A. Nothing.
I went to a handful of social justice panels, thinking maybe someone would boo or challenge there. The rooms were more intimate, the audience smaller, and the panelists fairly low-level and unthreatening. I left early out of boredome in several cases.
I attended the business meeting where the rules changes were discussed to address the puppy problem. Here, I thought, is a perfect place for them to strike. It is a very formal, palimentary system (more on this later, it was fascinating!), and it would have been pretty easy to sabotage. I saw one issue run off the table just because it was contentious and there was enough bickering and debate that time ran out on it. A group of less than a dozen puppy-supporters could have thrown a serious monkey wrench in the whole thing simply by exploiting rules without doing anything against the letter of the law (as they like to do). They could have tried continually calling points of order, or offering amendments, debating rulings, objecting to proceedures, etc. They could have run out the clock on everything. I’m sure there’s some way of dealing with this, but it would have gummed up the works if they did it smartly. Nothing at all. It’s like they weren’t even there.
I know there were some around. I ran into one at my hotel’s breakfast bar, and we had a good little discussion. It was very civil, and we went away with respect for each other as human beings. I talked to a couple friends who also ran into a puppy or two. But all in all, it was like they weren’t there. Turns out they are cowards in real life, and only strike out at others when they can do so comfortably from behind the safety of their keyboards.
One may think “Isn’t it possible they are just good people, who don’t want to disrupt a party and ruin the days of other people for no reason? Why are you Saying they are cowards, rather than that they are civilized people?” Nay, I reply. When they can hide behind screens and keyboards, and don’t have to see the faces of the people they are hurting, they are more than happy to destroy someone’s day. They are *gleefull* about it. They cackle about how good it feels to see an anthill and start stomping it (which is a direct quote from a puppy commenter on my blog, I’m not making shit up). I don’t do Twitter myself, but I hear you can see all sorts of abuse on there right now.
But lets grant that those online comments are from the worst fringes of the movement. The fact remains that the puppy supporters were excited to vote a slate so they could hijack the Hugos for their self-aggrandizement. And as I predicted in “Why Vandals?” none of them bothered to show up for the actual party. If the party was left just to them, they’d have a nearly empty convention hall and no one to run it. They do not care about the con, or the people who attend it. They didn’t attend the business meeting to try to make things better. They didn’t put forward any bids to host the 2018 WorldCon. That they didn’t try to further mar the convention by ruining things in person isn’t a mark of civility, it’s simply the modus operandi for internet cowards.
It really dawned on me just how worthless the Puppies are when I went to the business meeting, and during the watching of the fan-recognition part of the award ceremony. These are people, later on in their years, who have been SF/F fans for significantly longer than I’ve even been alive. They’ve spent *decades* of work putting together these conventions. They are dedicated, and in love. They aren’t the authors, they don’t get the accolades themselves. They’re just passionate about SF. I really came to realize how much WorldCon is by and for the fans. I was very disappointed that more puppies didn’t come to the con in person. I was very disappointed that ALL the puppies didn’t come to the con in person! They would have seen that joy and passion for themselves. Maybe that is part of the reason why the puppy supporters who did come didn’t boo or shout or try to disrupt anything. They saw the love and the passion for themselves, and couldn’t bring themselves to be assholes any more. The ones who stayed home, safe behind their keyboards – they are the ones who will continue to be dicks. Because they were cowards, and wouldn’t come to see what they were vandalizing in person. Assholery feeds on cowardice, which leads to further assholery, in a neat little circle. It’s fitting.
The true realization of just how awful they are didn’t hit until the nomination stats were released afterwards. Before that point, it was just a theoretical “Man, I wonder how the year would have been different.” Afterwards, you could see exactly which stories were obstructed by the Puppy’s spite. Which authors were denied the recognition for great work. There are some truely fantastic stories that would have gotten nominations if not for the Puppy’s vandalism. Most tragically, a story by Eugie Foster would have received a nomination. Eugie Foster died tragically last year. By all accounts, she was an amazing person and a great writer. Who knows if she would have won? But now she’ll never have the memorium of “Hugo-nominated author” that she should have received. Because of the Puppy’s butthurt. I’ve tried to engage them before, and be reasonable. After today I’ll go back to that. But for today, I’m allowing myself to be angry. Fuck those guys.
You actually want to engage people who avoid fair discussion like the plague. I guess you are a drama chaser. I would argue that there isn’t anything reasonable about arguing with unreasonable people who never address any points you make though.
I’m really beginning to see your point. /sigh
“If there were any puppy supporters in the audience they were well behaved. I will admit that I am partially impressed that they managed to keep their civility about them.”
If you want to find the source of all the hate, fear, bad manners and general ill behavior in this entire affair, go look in a mirror. I paid money and voted for books I liked, YOU burned the thing down yourself. The true joke is, you think you won.
You have no idea whatsoever who you are dealing with, at all. All you ever do is project your own feelings, thoughts and fantasies onto people you don’t know. This does not look good on you, and a very large number of people are seeing it. That was the point. Get it yet?
Sad Puppies civility was always a given, and you know it. Nobody involved with Sad Puppies has been talking about creating trouble at WorldCon. All that talk has been originating from people like David Gerrold, GRRM, Vonda “I’ll Walk With You” McIntyre, and assorted other twerps who seem to really want to see fisticuffs. Every one of them too fat and/or too old to get out of their own way as well.
That’s because you really, really don’t know who you’re dealing with. Nobody I have anything to do with would ever start a fight or even a shouting match over something so utterly trivial as a book award where less than 5000 people even voted. Fighting is for drunk morons. Even drunk off my ass I’m smarter than that.
Can’t wait to watch your guys rushing to give away memberships and stuff the nomination ballots. Tell me you haven’t been in planning sessions for how that’s going to be done, see if I believe you.
“No boos or hisses or people standing up to ask jerk questions. Maybe this is because John Scalzi is razor sharp and intimidating to anyone without genius-levels of charisma and IQ, and they were scared to speak out.”
No, much more likely is that nobody wanted to hear anything the little bench had to say. He’s not that clever, you can predict what he’ll say about almost anything with 100% accuracy. Just stick your finger in the air, feel which way the breeze is blowing and that’s where you will find Scalzi. When the wind changes, so does he. On his blog he argues like an internet troll. In person he just shouts down whoever might dare ask a question. I’ve seen more intimidating fire hydrants. What John Scalzi is, is abrasive and combative. Who needs that at a con that’s supposed to be fun?
“Turns out they are cowards in real life, and only strike out at others when they can do so comfortably from behind the safety of their keyboards.”
You really, really don’t understand anything at all, do you? Puppies are getting everything we want. You, personally, are giving it to us. We said you’re a bunch of hate filled, malicious, petty, violent, morally repugnant little twerps who put politics ahead of a good story every time. We said, for three years now, that all we had to do was show up and express a preference, and you, Mr. Brodsky, would go full-mental. And for three years, we have been 100% correct.
Why the hell would I fly all the way to rain soaked Washington and be subjected to sneers, spitting, theft, shouted curses and so forth when you’re giving me exactly what I want already? I can stay home and get what I want. Thanks!
What I and every Sad Puppy SF fan wanted was for you geniuses to admit none of this is about stories, or books, or fun, or entertainment, or indeed anything at all other than politics and shit heads throwing their weight around. We were rewarded beyond our dreams this weekend. Behold: the Ass-terisk! Symbol of the Sad Puppy victory. Tremble before our power!
“When they can hide behind screens and keyboards, and don’t have to see the faces of the people they are hurting, they are more than happy to destroy someone’s day. They are *gleefull* about it. They cackle about how good it feels to see an anthill and start stomping it (which is a direct quote from a puppy commenter on my blog, I’m not making shit up).”
Yeah, I’m the one who said that. I don’t like red ants. They bite. If you are one, you just felt my boot because you and your little friends have been biting me these last twenty years at least, and making it really hard to find anything worth reading. Hugo award = don’t read it or you’ll be sorry.
Tell me again how I MADE you vote for Noah Ward because I dared to nominate Toni freaking Weisskopf for best editor. Tell me how I made you so utterly predictably vote for the execrable ““The Day The World Turned Upside Down”, a story so annoying it should be labeled “burn before reading” to protect the public. The joke which was the dinosaur poem pales in comparison to this new low. A story you voted for purely because = politics.
Red. Freaking. Ants. Kick the hill, watch them go berserk, start biting each other and setting shit on fire. From a safe distance, because I am not a moron. Give the ants a chance to bite me? You’ve got to be kidding.
You have no idea who you are dealing with. See you in Kansas. Meaning I’ll see you, you will not see me. But you will feel my boot, as Noah Ward wins again and again, voted for by YOU. Again. Or it’ll be next year’s “The Day The World Turned Upside Down”. Either way I’m still proving my point and you are still feeling my boots.
And Brodski? I did not vote for Noah. I voted for what I read. YOU voted for Noah. Just keep that in mind, slate voting slate voter that you are.
Please continue your crying, your tears feed me. :)
“Tell me again how I MADE you vote for Noah Ward”
I managed to get through the short stories before I realized that the puppies were nominating stories that just weren’t good. Why vote to give an award that says “I thought this was awesome!” to mediocre writing? If nothing deserves to win, and nothing does win, then everything is working correctly.
Even still, I’ve been able to extract value from them.
I’ve talked before about what makes SF&F, SF&F. While the SP nominations ran from good (don’t neglect Totaled and Goodnight Stars) to bad, they were all, according to my inner metric that I don’t really understand, SF|F.
Conversely, stories such as “When water falls upside down, my love”, however well written, however emotionally intense, are neither SF nor F. Again, that’s according to my poorly understood inner metric.
If only we could have nominations that are (a) SF&F and (b) good.
“If nothing deserves to win, and nothing does win, then everything is working correctly.”
I’m sorry Billy, “When the world turns upside down” won a Hugo. This destroys your “quality” argument forever. I read all of them, and John C. Wright at his most bombastic was head and shoulders better.
Just admit your hate, and your life will probably improve. Deeply held hatred interferes with digestion I’m told.
If you want to claim that you are being civil you might want to try being civil. You can’t be this rude and aggressive and then simultaneously claim that anyone calling you rude and aggressive is off mark.
Of course I’m rude and aggressive. I’ve been getting called a racist/bigot/homophobe/Nazi since the nominations came out. Its making me want to use my loud outdoor voice.
Our host said: “I will admit that I am partially impressed that they managed to keep their civility about them.”
Meaning he clearly thinks “Puppies” are some sort of shambling uncouth monsters. Being a Puppy, this is insulting.
Usually I punch people who insult me like that in the face, when they do it in “Real Life”. Never happens in real life though. Ever. People know enough to keep that shit to themselves. Even really stupid, really drunk ones.
On the internet, people are a bit more free with the lip. Really not a even tiny bit sorry if you were offended by my rude aggression in response.
Still looking forward to Noah winning all the Hugos again. Explain to me how that’s not going to happen.
I’d hesitate to call this victory. From my perspective it looks like you’ve destroyed the village in order to save it. The only saving grace is that the best novel (IMO) won the Best Novel prize – thanks to VD, ironically enough. Oh, and this year’s Best Short Story was better than last year’s.
I’ve one question. In your opinion should the Hugos be something that’s open to all fans of SF and/or F who pay $40, or private to those in the con-going community? Many of your arguments appear to hold together better if I use the latter definition, rather than the former.
> In your opinion should the Hugos be something that’s open to all fans of SF and/or F who pay $40, or private to those in the con-going community? Many of your arguments appear to hold together better if I use the latter definition, rather than the former.
I do think they should be open to all fans willing to pay the $40 supporting membership. That’s how I got started, it was a couple years before I got up the nerve to attend IRL. It’s really important for those too shy to go, or without the resources to travel, or who are in other countries. And this year proved that the fandom can defend itself from attacks by hostile minorities. The low cost of the supporting membership helped that greatly. I think those motivated by spite in partisan wars would be willing to pay a great deal to attack those they consider “malicious, petty, violent, morally repugnant little twerps”, and having a groundswell rise up to repudiate them is easier when the price is lower, whereas you aren’t going to get that many more fanatic ant-stompers.
I would, however, GREATLY encourage EVERYONE to attend, at least once. It is amazing fun, and highly motivating. And more than anything else, I think seeing that love of SF Lit, and SF Fandom, would bring all but the most devoted Puppies around.
Great, your answer has helped me refine something that’s been puzzling me for a while. There’s a continuum of views about the relative importance of Worldcon and the Hugos. The extremes seem to be:
(a) The “con-centric” position. “Worldcon! it’s fun! you go to all these interesting talks and readings! There’s Parties! Oh, and there’s this award ceremony thing at the end, for some spaceships thingies.”
(b) the “Hugoers”. “The Hugos! One of the great awards in SF&F! Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein! Dune, 2001, Omelas! And there’s this odd little convention thing that happens around the awards.”
NB. It’s a continuum, those are the extremes.
You seem to be more Worldcon than Hugo, you write passionately about the convention and the community. I’m closer to (b). It’s about the Hugos more than Worldcon. Litfics in cheap fantasy suits are in no way heirs of Clarke and Asimov, and I can influence this outcome by nominating and voting (1). The con? Well, that’s 8 time zones away, and even if I went, I probably wouldn’t enjoy myself.
(1) This shouldn’t need saying, but I didn’t nom or vote slate. Read->Like->Nominate. Read->Judge->Vote. Easy.
That’s a really good point. Thanks, I will keep that in consideration.
Re 1 – you have my admiration sir. If everyone did that I don’t think there’d be a problem. Do you do the supporting membership?
As for going to the con in person – in 2017 WorldCon will be in Helsinki. Might be worth popping over for a bit! I won’t be there myself, too much money and too much jet-lag. But hey, that’s why it’s a WorldCon, not a USACon.
I gotta say, I was surprised by this: “Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein! Dune, 2001, Omelas!”
I agree Those Who Walk Away From Omelas is an incredible story, and rightly known as one of the grand classics. I love it, and so do many others. But it seems to me to be almost completely the reverse of what “old school” SF readers would like. It is pure message fic. Honestly, it’s barely even a story, it has no characters or plot, it’s just a punch in the feels. It is only borderline SF/F. I’m doubting myself a lot right now, even kinda questioning if you meant Omelas as a joke, even though I don’t think you did. If you have a moment, do you care to explicate on why Omelas works for you?
Well, I’m not 100% sure why I said Omelas, either. It definitely wasn’t a joke. It was probably a lazy pattern match of “SF&F classics”, particularly since I wanted a F rather than another SF in there. That being said, I’ll defend my choice.
Firstly, character & plot aren’t necessary. Remember I consider “The Last Question” (tLQ) to be great. That has little plot and less characterisation. If I have said C&P were necessary earlier, I was wrong. I must be, if I consider tLQ to be great.
It’s far more than “just a punch in the feels”. It’s a philosophical thought experiment and I like those a lot. Both tLQ and Omelas have this intellectual and philosophical depth to them, and Omelas far more so than tLQ. Part of what makes SF & F great is the ability to strip away the contingencies of the here and now and look at deeper matters, and both Omelas at tLQ are great examples of this.
I’m going to expand on the philosophy because I can “show” far better than I can “tell”.
Firstly, I’m not sure it qualifies as message fic. Aside from exposing a hole in Utilitarianism (which is a perfectly worthwhile endeavour), what is the message of Omelas? If it’s that those who walk away are good and those who stay are bad, then I disagree. If they walk away, yes, they’ve given up their good life, but the child’s still being tortured. All that’s happened is that they’ve moved the child outside of their sphere of morality and basically washed their hands of the problem, that strikes me as being an easy way out.
What other courses of action are there? Rescue the child? Is it right to rescue the child and thereby destroy everyone else’s society? What if it were possible to substitute for the child, taking it in turns? Would this be voluntary or compulsory?
It also works really well as a political philosophy test case. Consider; According to “greatest good to the greatest number”, Omelas is a good society. How do other visions of the good society stack up? It’s unjust according to Nozick; it’s unjust according to Rawls, but your model of society must be able to isolate the child as “the worst off in society”. Individualism obviously achieves this, but can alternatives work?
Creating ad-hoc post-facto reference classes to isolate the child is considered cheating (you should know that from HPMoR).
If you look at society from a class perspective, then each class, taken in aggregate, is better off in Omelas than in any other fictional city (by definition). Therefore, one can’t at the same time criticise the society of Omelas, hold that society should be thought of as a set of classes, and hold Rawls’ Theory of Justice.
Well, OK, then what about intersectionality…
… as I said, great philosophical depth.
Groovy, thank you. :) I agree on all points, with the exception that I do consider it message fic. I think “message fic” is just the lay term for “work that attempts philosophical depth”, and whether a story does so well or does so poorly is the difference between good message fic and crappy message fic.
A philosophical work asks questions. A message fic tells you with the one right answer and makes you feel pain if you disagree.
I find questions far more interesting than answers.
I think we have orthogonal categories. It’s possible to have:
little/no philosophy and not be a message fic. (e.g. If you were a dinosaur ?)
philosophy and not be a message fic (e.g. the Last Question ?)
little/no philosophy and be a message fic. (e.g. The water that falls on you from nowhere?)
philosophy and be a message fic (Atlas Shrugged?)
If the examples don’t work for you, please substitute in your own.
>A philosophical work asks questions. A message fic tells you with the one right answer and makes you feel pain if you disagree.
Ah. Huh. That sounds like a good distinction, I will attempt to start looking directly for these two things in the stuff I read, see how it plays out. If this works out, I have hopes I could grow from this exchange of ours! :)
I remember that story. I thought it was cheap.
The true man goes and lets the kid out of the box or dies trying. The ones who just walk away are wankers. The ones who stay deserve to be nuked.
Liberals seem to have difficulty with this concept. No moral compass.
You seem to be incapable of differentiating between Sad & Rabid Puppies.
The “rudest” behavior that I saw was in the liberal media outright lies that had to be retracted about the Sad Puppies Slate.
The Entertainment Weekly story was even retracted under the threat of a lawsuit.
The second rudest behavior I saw was outright cheers, jeering, and general nastiness when “no award” was block voted ahead of people that were actually in attendance. You might even wish to read George RR Martins discussion of how he thought that behavior was rude, nasty and uncalled for. He also discussed lock-step voting against the editors to be a mistake and bad behavior.
Your discovery that the Sad Puppies you actually encountered were nice people who thought the Hugos have been hijacked by a small group of people (2,500 according to ChaosHorizon and confirmed in my statistics) and an even smaller group of people who nominate the same stuff, authors and whatnot.
The only argument the Sad Puppies made about WorldCon itself was that it was a tiny con and the voters were not reflective of the general SF reading public. This is just a fact. Worldcon is tiny compared to any of the large cons.
A second argument Sad Puppies made is that there is a hard core of Hugo voters who vote in lockstep. See – it happened in the no award block vote against anything.
Sad Puppies did not wish to just throw sand in the works of WorldCon itself. That was never a stated objective. Your belief otherwise is not supported by any evidence.
> who thought the Hugos have been hijacked by a small group of people
And they were shown to be very wrong when a record number of voters repudiated their actions.
> Worldcon is tiny compared to any of the large cons.
Aye, that it is. The pups are more than welcome to start giving out their own award at any of those larger cons if they wish. They can give it to whoever sells the most copies, or whoever has the longest name, or even do a popular vote at one of those other cons! It’d be their award, to award however they wish. I’ve written before that I think this is a swell idea, and would love to see it happen.
> WorldCon itself was that it was a tiny con and the voters were not reflective of the general SF reading public.
Interestingly, the Puppies also claim that it USED TO be reflective of the general SF reading public. But the cons that gave awards to Heinlein, Clarke, and the rest were *much* smaller. This year had a record number of voters, by a good margin. Which con is more representative of the general SF reading public?
Yet the Puppies really like the results of those past, less-representative cons, and are very displeased with the result of the record-breaking 2015 WorldCon. They claim to want to reflect the taste of the general SF reading public, but they are obviously terrible at it. Perhaps if they stopped confusing what THEY like with what the general public likes it would help, but I’m not sure they have the capacity to understand that those could be two different things.
“And they were shown to be very wrong when a record number of voters repudiated their actions.”
Seriously? How were we wrong when you slate-voted No Award to keep Toni Weisskopf from winning because of mindless politics? She got more votes than any editor ever has. We said you would do it out of pure spite, and you did it.
It was predicted. We were not wrong. That ass-terisk you’ve probably got displayed somewhere in your home is tangible, physical proof of just how massively not-wrong we were.
I am not a puppy but when I was at the Business Meeting on Sunday and there were two puppies. Maybe that number is not significant to you but in the interest of fairness and accuracy, they were there.
Thank you :)