I’m under some fairly serious deadline pressure right now and will be for a couple of months. So I won’t be writing the sort of long essays I did last year on the subject of literary awards in general and the Hugo awards in particular. That said, since the nominations for this year’s Hugo awards have now been published and it’s obvious that the Rabid Puppies have been up to some mischief again, I figure I should say a few words.

Let me start by quoting something that George R.R. Martin said in a recent post he made on his “Not a Blog” blog:

Sad Puppies 4, this year headed by Kate Paulk, changed its approach and produced a recommended reading list, with anywhere from one to ten suggestions in each category, rather than slating four or five. The process was open and democratic, which Sad Puppies 3 often claimed to be but never was. Paulk also avoided the ugly excesses of the previous campaign, and never stooped to the sort of invective that her predecessor, Brad Torgersen, had been so fond of, with all his talk of CHORFs and Puppy-kickers. For all this she should be commended.

I agree with George and I think that’s as much as needs to be said on the subject of the Sad Puppies. Whatever I think of any specific recommendation they made is neither here nor there. The Sad Puppies have as much right to make recommendations as does anyone else. Locus magazine does it routinely and no one objects—nor should they.

The situation with the Rabid Puppies, however, is quite different. It’s obvious that they voted as a disciplined bloc again this year and they have enough supporters to make a difference in at least some of the categories. They also, this year, used the sleazy tactic of including in their slate a number of works by authors who have no connection to them at all and who might very well have gotten nominated anyway. They did the same thing in a number of other categories, such as best editor.

In short, the only difference between the Rabid Puppies this year compared to last year is that they have gotten slimier. This should come as no surprise to anyone, since slime is pretty much Theodore Beale’s stock in trade.

The question which arises—which is what I want to address in this essay—is how people planning to vote for the Hugo awards should handle the issue.

The way it was handled last year by a very large number of voters was to use a club labeled “No Award” and wield that club with no discrimination at all. In any category where the Puppies’ slates predominated, these voters simply smashed the whole category—often at the expense of authors and editors who were quite blameless in the affair and at least some of whom probably did deserve to win the award.

I thought the tactic was stupid last year, but I understood why so many people fell back on it. Most Hugo voters were caught off guard by the surprising effectiveness of the combined slate tactics of the two Puppies factions. By the time they realized that the Hugos had largely been hijacked, it was much too late for anyone to organize an effective response. Willy-nilly, what happened was that people turned “No Award” into their own counterslate.

Well and good. But this is 2016, not 2015, and if anyone has been caught by surprise this time around you must have been asleep. This time, you’ve got no excuse for reacting emotionally without thinking it through.

We all have mottos and axioms that we often use as guidelines to get through life. One of my very favorites since I saw the movie (A Man For All Seasons) when it came out half a century ago, is this line by Sir Thomas More:

Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world… but for Wales?

The line is occasioned by Sir Thomas More’s reaction to being betrayed by someone who was given a bishopric in Wales in exchange for his treachery. The point being made here is that selling your soul to the devil is a dumb thing to do under any circumstances, but for Wales?

What are you, a complete idiot?

Which brings me to the point of this essay:

Theodore Beale and the people who follow him are idiots. They are petty chiselers and pipsqueaks whose notion of “the righteous battle against leftist wickedness and social justice warriors” is to try to hijack a science fiction award.

A science fiction award? Meaning no disrespect to anyone who cares about the Hugos, but the very fact that Beale and his gaggle of co-conspirators think this is a serious way to wage political struggle should tip you off that they’re a bunch of clowns with delusions of grandeur.

So treat them that way. This time around—remember, it’s 2016, not 2015—don’t hyperventilate, don’t work yourself up into a frenzy, don’t overact. Just treat the nominations the same way you would in any other year. Ignore who nominated who because, first, it’s irrelevant; and secondly, if you do you will be falling for a hustle by an idiot like Beale—which makes you an even bigger idiot.

Is anyone who’s planning to vote for the Hugos so ignorant or so stupid that they really think authors like Neal Stephenson, Jim Butcher, Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Alastair Reynolds and Stephen King need a slimeball like Theodore Beale’s approval to get nominated for an award? Are they so ignorant or stupid that they think editors like Toni Weisskopf, artists like Larry Elmore and movie directors like Joss Whedon and Ridley Scott are in the same boat?

Grow the fuck up.

Just vote, that’s all. Take each category for what it is and vote for whatever or whoever you think is most entitled to the award this year. Do NOT use “No Award” unless you really think there’s no work or person nominated in a category who deserves it at all.

It’s bad enough under any circumstances to behave like a child having a temper tantrum.

But for Beale?

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90 Responses to BUT FOR WALES?

  1. Accustomed as I am to the brilliance and precision of your word choices, I’m going to have to mark up your use of the term ‘idiot’ to describe Theodore Beale as a symptom of the time pressure you are experiencing. Surely, you could have found a better word.
    You do better, I note, in your use of the terms ‘sleaze’ and ‘slime’ to describe the tactics of the Rabid Puppies this year, and you include the descriptors ‘pipsqueak’ and chiseler,’ and my favorite so far, ‘clowns with delusions of grandeur.’
    THAT’S the Eric Flint I know! THAT’S literate invective! Or, at least close to it, because I know you could do so much better.
    But then you return to the term ‘idiot’ in reference to Beale, except from the context, you have redefined it to mean ‘person I don’t like.’ But you cannot hide behind the pretense that this is, in fact, what you mean, because you go immediately into accurately applying the meaning of the term – a person who is stupid, of low intelligence- to those who would regard the numerous talented authors, editors, directors and artists as being functionally equivalent to a Beale-clone. Yes! You are right! Any person who votes ‘No Award’ in a category because the believe it will bring discontent to the nominators is, in fact, stupid; a person of low intelligence. And Theodore Beale is not a person of low intelligence.
    At some point in the months ahead, you will find yourself tasked with writing once again about the topic. It WILL happen. Could you not devote a small bit of that time to coming up with some better terms to describe Beale’s role in the furor?

    Eric, it may be a waste of time to rend a man with imprecatory language; but ‘idiot?’

  2. Terranovan says:

    I would agree with the response suggested here to the Rabid Puppies’ tactic of nominating people they’re unconnected with. But I am a little confused by your characterization of it. How is this tactic slimy or disreputable? It looks to me like this is – instead of a slimy political tactic – the Rabid Puppies being relatively civilized and mature for once.
    Please note, I did say “relatively”. I’m not in a position to judge the quality or lack thereof for either the Puppy slates or the books excluded from them, as I don’t think I’ve read a single one of them. This is not, therefore me defending any of the Puppy slates or anyone associated with them.
    I partially concur with Pat Patterson’s request expressed above regarding the invective. Beale doesn’t need to be insulted with mere epithets any further. However, I disagree on what I’d request instead of the epithets. You’ve made an excellent case against him already, and now you’re just preaching to the choir.
    This typed in realization that I’m just a fan/Internet commenter, and have no right to be telling you what to (not) say about someone you evidently feel strongly about. Apologies for any implications to the contrary.

    • quelfromage says:

      Well – If I were to say “Adolf Hitler LOVED this type of story!” to those for whom the name Adolf Hitler evokes a reaction on a scale of distaste through revulsion into hatred this “endorsement” is a way of NEGATIVELY endorsing. Thus, slimy and disreputable.

      • Terranovan says:

        That assumes that the Rabid/Sads are operating from the assumption that they’re hated and loathed, and that the reaction they’re trying to provoke is from the people who hate them. By that logic, the KKK would endorse Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders for president. (Their endorsing Barack Obama would just make most of the electorate say “Whaaat the heeeeck?”)

        • snowcrash says:

          With regards to the Rabids, this is entirely accurate. They, much like any troll-harasser movement, are fairly aware of the wider opinion regarding their nature, and actually seek it out – see Day’s gleeful adoption of the “Most Despised Person in SF” moniker, as well as his hanger-ons pride in eliciting any sort of adverse reaction.

          Given this, yes, they certainly are more than happy to act in a way where they hope their stink rubs off on someone else.

  3. I remain bleakly amused by the fact that George’s echelon — which was so fond of deploying invective like racist and misogynist and homophobe against myself and anyone else laboring under the Sad Puppies 3 banner — continues to cry piteously over the fact that we invented an accurate acronym for their behavior. Acronyms (in fannishness) are a hoary old tradition, going all the way back to the original protestants who GAFIAted from the pure faith, upon deciding that Fandom (note the caps) was driving them batty.

    If George’s echelon dislikes being described as histrionic, then please, let them reduce the volume of their histrionics.

    If George’s echelon dislikes being described as cliquish, then please, let them cease with the clubbish, insular, exclusive tone and tenor of their rhetoric, not to mention behavior.

    If George’s echelon dislikes being described as holier-than-thou, perhaps George can whistle up Steve Davidson at the next Worldcon, and tell Steve Davidson to put a sock in it. His fellow travelers in Fandom, too.

    If George’s echelon dislikes being described as obnoxious, perhaps they should re-think the No Award tactic, which made a smoldering crater out of the 2015 Hugos, and directly violated the stated principles of all those who claimed block votes are against the spirit of the Hugos — except when they do it.

    If George’s echelon dislikes being described as reactionary, perhaps they shouldn’t preemptively (again) coordinate and launch anti-Puppy media smears and attacks, in the vanguard (and immediate wake) of the release of the final ballot.

    But hey, what do I know? I wasn’t even involved with Sad Puppies 4, nor did I even vote in the nomination period. I deliberately kept myself entirely out of things for this latest go-around, and George is still invoking my name. I suppose Sad Puppies wounds George in a deep place, and he will forever associate my name with the wounding.

    I say, the rot was already there — with the Hugos, with Worldcon — long before myself or Larry Correia decided to care enough, to rock the boat.

    Look to your own house, George. Maybe Vox Day is lighting it on fire, but at this point, I sorta have to think Vox Day is the Frankenstein’s Monster. He is the dividend of perhaps 20 years of increasingly politicized invective, voting, blogging, etc., by a group of fans and professionals who seem to want SF/F to be a monoculture — in thought, word, and deed. That was bound to birth a backlash sooner or later. And the extent to which Trufans and their professional allies stick their noses in the air and hold their pinkies high, the Rabids will redouble their efforts to chess-game the WSFS into reacting itself into a corner of true and permanent irrelevance.

    Indeed, why for Wales? George knows. It’s his hill — the sacred space of Worldcon — he’s defending.

    • Hampus Eckerman says:

      Still foaming at the mouth, Brad?

    • snowcrash says:

      Once again, I’m glad to see that Brad is holding other people to a higher standard than he expects of himself. It is truly a dignified approach.

    • Ah, the Pravda 770 crew, come to enforce the correctness of our thinking. I bid thee a mighty fine hello, comrades. The Peoples Republic of Science Fiction is well-served by your noble efforts! Which way to the gulag? I think I missed the cattle train.

      • RDF says:

        That’s right, Brad – people laughing at you on the Internet for being a self-righteous fool with no sense of perspective is JUST like Stalin shipping dissenters off to the Gulag.

        Thank you for educating us. We know we can always depend on you to be the voice of reason and moderation.

      • Hampus Eckerman says:

        “Pravda 770”. “The Peoples Republic of Science Fiction”. “Which way to the gulag?”. Everything is a socialist conspiracy, is it?

        Grow up.

      • Seth Gordon says:

        Brad, if anyone sends you to the metaphorical gulag, it will be Vox Day. His is the Stalin to your Bukharin. You helped elevate him to his current position of influence, and now he and his faction have repaid the favor by making you and your faction irrelevant.

        Good luck in your future show trial.

    • I see you haven’t lost your talent for picking a fight you can’t win, Brad. Good luck demonizing George R.R. Martin, who reached out to the Sad Puppies, engaged in an ongoing dialogue with Larry Correia and urged fans to vote for all nominees on the merit instead of using No Award across the board.

      Thank you for CHORF, though. Its non-ironic use in a Hugos discussion is a handy way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    • Karen Robinson says:

      Shouldn’t either “histrionic” or “holier than thou” be some other word starting with the letter F? Unless now we’re all HCHORs instead of CHORFs, in which case, carry on.

    • nickpheas says:

      You wrote about Dignity Culture last year. Is this an example?

    • Dear Pravda 770 crew,

      I would never expect the members of the Committee to recognize when there is something rotten in the Peoples Republic of Science Fiction. The Committee exists for the sole purpose of defending the fractured, peeling patina of the PRSF — at all costs. Agreeing among yourselves (heads nodding, all around the soviet) that problems are only ever external, nobody has to stop and wonder if maybe the bread lines and the crumbling infrastructure aren’t a sign that something is terribly wrong with this latest iteration of the Five Year Plan.

      I am quite sure that — given enough re-working of the Hugo voting and nomination rules — the PRSF can sufficiently end intrusions by all unwanted parties. The Hugos (hermetically sealed against the marketplace; more than ever before) will attain their highest level of Trufan purity. No more untermensch scurrying about, mucking up the process. The monoculture will give itself gold stars aplenty, on all the appropriate foreheads — like North Korean general officers, receiving medals — and laud its mighty victory over the hated immoral capitalist swine pigs of the South.

      I have no doubt you will bury us all, comrades. No doubt whatsoever.

      • Hampus Eckerman says:

        I take it you wanted to give us an example of histrionics.

      • First we were Soviet commies (“Pravda 770”), then Chinese commies (“People’s Republic”), then Nazis (“no more untermensch”), then North Koreans (no metaphor, you just flat out said it).

        If you had just switched our enemy designation to one more country, it would have been Labored Metaphor Bingo.

      • Paul Weimer says:


        I tried my absolute best to see the Puppy point of view last year. I bent over backwards to see it your way. I was polite, kind, and tried to engage in dialogue with a number of Puppies.

        What did I get for my efforts? My efforts at trying to see the opposing side? For trying to listen, reason and talk in a measured manner?

        What I got, from you, in particular, is that you thought I wanted to send you off in a box car to Siberia.

      • Mike says:

        It’s always sad to see a grown man descend to the point where he thinks using Red Scare words like “comrade” and “Five Year Plan” are magic bullets that will win any argument.

    • Curtis says:

      Brad, BZ. That was well said.

    • Greg M. says:

      Brad: Some honest and serious questions:

      Was this rot in the Hugos present when Larry was honored with a Campbell nomination in 2011 (one of only five writers so honored)?

      Was it present when you were honored with a Campbell nomination in 2012?

      Did you think it was a little weird when Larry made a campaign in 2013 about how he could never win a Hugo when, just two years earlier, he’d beaten out 100+ writers to be one of only 5 Campbell nominees?

      Do you consider it an honor to have been nominated for a Campbell? If not, why not?

      Does this whole thing exist because Larry thinks he should’ve beaten Lev Grossman for the Campbell?

      Do you think “Wisdom from My Internets” deserved to be nominated for a Hugo?

    • Bibliotheca Servare says:

      *hug* You go, Mr. Torgersen! I was glad I hadn’t taken a sip of my coffee when I read Martin’s post. “Invective”? Seriously? …anyway, massive stupidity and blatant dishonesty/blindness to reality aside (seriously. No wonder he can’t finish Winds of Winter…), I hope you and yours are doing great. God bless you, sir. (I hope you don’t mind the *hug* lol…I’m a hugger even electronically…sorry) :-)

  4. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 4/27/16 One Pup, Two Pup, Mad Pup, Sad Pup. | File 770

  5. bitty says:

    While I didn’t always agree with everything you said last year, I really appreciated what you said and the work you put into it. Enough so that I nominated one of your posts. I want to thank you for being a voice of intelligent reason.

  6. Laer Carroll says:

    SICK PUPPIES is what I label the Pups. They suffer under several delusions.

    DELUSION 1: the Hugos are worth lots of money to authors. An award there does get a few extra buys by readers and libraries, but not much.
    DELUSION 2: the Hugos confer literary merit on a work winning an award. They simply mean a goodly number of people liked the books/stories/whatever. IE, they were popular.
    DELUSION 3: the biggest, is that fans can be herded into a corral of the Sicko’s choice. Dear God, CATS are positively meek compared to fans!

    • Aimee Morgan says:

      “They simply mean a goodly number of people liked the books/stories/whatever.”

      When there are fewer people casting votes for the Hugos in 2014 than there were students at my high school (in suburban PA), you have to really stretch to consider that a “goodly” number. Sure, more than a few hundred may have liked it, but only a few hundred bothered to vote for it.

  7. For those of you who are tired of the Hugo awards, there are alternatives:

    National Fantasy Fan Federation (Founded 1941)
    2016 Neffy Award Cycle

    In 1949 we gave our first Neffy, to Ray Bradbury.

    For 2016 the award categories are listed below. “Paper” publication is a book from a traditional publishing house. “Electronic” publishing is modern self-publishing via SmashWords, Amazon Kindle, etc. but includes “Print on Demand”, e.g., Third Millennium. The length divisions for written works are based on the published recommendations of Eric Flint on his blog. (Hi, Eric) Series novels must have had at least one novel published in 2015.

    Best Paper Novel (more than 100,000 words)
    Best Paper Series Novel (more than 3 Volumes)
    Best Paper Short Work (less than 100,000 words)

    Best Electronic Novel (more than 100,000 words)
    Best Electronic Series Novel (more than 3 Volumes)
    Best Electronic Short Work ( less than 100,000 words)

    Best Fan Author
    Best Fan Artist
    Best Fan Editor
    Best Fanzine
    Best Fan Web Site
    Fan of the year

    Best Pro Author
    Best Pro Artist
    Best Pro Editor

    Best Live Film
    Best Animated Film
    Best Video (includes TV series)

    Best Comic Series
    Best Comic Single Issue

    Best Paper Game
    Best Electronic Game

    Heroic Achievement

    To nominate, you must belong to the National Fantasy Fan Federation, but electronic memberships are only $6 at N3F.org. (and, truthfully, papermail memberships are volunteer-intensive). When you join, you will be sent a nomination form.

    George Phillies
    — Writer, SF novels including Mistress of the Waves, The Minutegirls, The One World, This Shining Sea; in progress: The Girl Who Saved The World

  8. Pingback: Hugo Stuff | The Arts Mechanical

  9. James May says:

    And what Wales motivated you to write two posts last year which can at best be described as disingenuous? A panel at WorldCon, meeting the mighty GRRM? Hobnobbing at the Nebulas with the mighty Chris Kluwe? Given your stated principles of racial-sexual group defamation regarding Beale, I can promise you that the crowd you provided covering fire for is full of Beales. In short, you have no principles, just Wales.

    If I were on a panel with you, Mixon, Scalzi, and Martin, I’d tear you down in detail on this issue with no notes or preparation. Or course we’d have to agree in advance for one single definition of the term group defamation without mitigations, disclaimers, punching up/privilege theory and all the other sleights-of-hand and pathological lying which powers this zany feminist movement in the first place. The truth is the cult you defend has made all straight white males into Beales by virtue of skin and sex, or mere disagreement with mental cases like Judith Butler. Everyone from Burroughs to a straight white male forklift driver today is guilty of oppressive heterosexuality, misogyny, racism and homophobia.

    You’re are living in an upside-down world which is typical of ideological fun factories. You defend a cult full of the Beales you say you despise while that cult portrays a world of Beales which doesn’t exist. Only an irrational paranoid could conclude with zero evidence All-Story, Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, Astounding, Galaxy and the Mag of F&SF all colluded to Jim Crow noble women, PoC and gays and that straight white males continue to do so 100 years later. But lo and behold, our feminists rightly conclude romance fiction today, despite a similar demographic spike in the sex of readers compared to early 20th century SFF, is just business and marketing. And let’s just ignore the men using aliases there. Feminists rightly conclude that about romance fiction because they don’t wear insane-goggles when they look at things dominated by women. Suddenly the world returns to normal, except the part where these same feminist openly collude to Jim Crow straight white males in SFF every single day. Since you must have access to Twitter I must conclude you have no access to principles which might benefit us all.

    Good luck at your next panel. Pray I am not on it. Here is the truth: for all your preening about Beale and everyone else on the wrong side of this rat-cage of gender feminism, the only ones in 100 years of SFF to have produced segregated rooms, dinners, anthologies, awards, reviews and even bragged about it on Twitter (Kowal, Bradford, Goh, Patel) is the cult you are laying smoke for. The number of racial-sexual slurs from the 50 most activist members of the SFWA alone easily amounts to a couple thousand in just the last 3 years vs. statistical zero on the other side. That’s what real research looks like. Keep chasing salvos all you want, you are no man of principles standing against a tide as did Bradbury, Serling and Feldstein. You are what they feared the loss of: equal protection, due process and free speech in an institutional arena. You’ll probably understand that if you ever have a son standing in a Title IX kangaroo court powered by the rape culture theory of these relentless fanatics.

    • clif says:

      come on James … what language is that?

      Eric Flint is worth a thousand of you and would clean your clock in any kind of panel or debate or whatever.

      • James May says:

        In 1955, the top 40 magazines in America combined sold about 100 million copies per issue. 11.8 million of those were aimed at men, 51.4 million aimed at women.

        Far south of there we may have had 500,000 copies of all SF pulps sold per issue that year. Ursula Le Guin looks at that and calls SF pulps of that era an example of “male elitism.” Joanna Russ writes about suppressing women’s writing. To right that imaginary wrong, we now have a diversity movement. If that’s not ideological lying, what is?

        The truth is women were pandered and marketed to in astonishing numbers compared to men. Is that English you can understand?

        • clif says:

          is there a point in there somewhere? Have you found your reading glasses? I hate it when I lose mine.

          many thanks to Camestros Felapton for the translation!

          • Bonnie McDaniel says:

            Heh. Actually, Eric Flint (and every other site where James May comments) needs a third wave lesbian feminist automatic comment replacer, which would read:

            “Hey, I lost my reading glasses again!”

            That would make more sense than anything he actually says.

        • Bonnie McDaniel says:

          In 1955, the top 40 magazines in America combined sold about 100 million copies per issue. 11.8 million of those were aimed at men, 51.4 million aimed at women.

          So? This has nothing at all to do with the culture within the SF community, and what percentage of male/female, white/POC authors those pulp magazines had. Which you acknowledged with this:

          “Ursula Le Guin looks at that and calls SF pulps of that era [italics mine] an example of “male elitism.”

          Yup. Sure enough. Not “the top 40 magazines in America.”

          But hey, you’re just throwing out your usual bovine excrement, so I don’t expect you to do some actual, you know, logicking.

          • James May says:

            Those stats proves women read, edited and wrote what they wanted to. They didn’t care for SFF. Magazine are magazines and it is a lie of omission to claim SF pulps had some extraordinary culture apart from all that. It was about ad dollars and sales. If an SF editor could’ve beat the competition and increased sales, they would have. Did Dorothy McIlwraith, Mary Gnaedinger, Judith Merrill and Cele Goldsmith all hate women? Why the double standard for romance fiction? No one’s buying your nonsense any more than mid-century American women were buying SF. You’re using the irrational suspicion of any male-heavy demographic which is feminist “logic,” not human logic. Somehow, romance fiction exists in some other world where innocent marketing and sales once again become reality. What about Field & Stream and Cosmopolitan. Do they exist in separate worlds of feminist reality as well? Go back to your site with its reviews of “Bitch Planet” and “Lumberjanes,” because that proves you’re so genre neutral with no dog in the hunt. You’d be better off reading Standard Rate and Data than worshipng Le Guin’s every utterance as fact. If anything, those stats prove female elitism, if anyone was dumb enough to think like that in the first place.

            • Bonnie McDaniel says:

              Those stats proves women read, edited and wrote what they wanted to. They didn’t care for SFF. Magazine are magazines and it is a lie of omission to claim SF pulps had some extraordinary culture apart from all that. It was about ad dollars and sales. If an SF editor could’ve beat the competition and increased sales, they would have. Did Dorothy McIlwraith, Mary Gnaedinger, Judith Merrill and Cele Goldsmith all hate women? Why the double standard for romance fiction? No one’s buying your nonsense any more than mid-century American women were buying SF. You’re using the irrational suspicion of any male-heavy demographic which is feminist “logic,” not human logic. Somehow, romance fiction exists in some other world where innocent marketing and sales once again become reality. What about Field & Stream and Cosmopolitan. Do they exist in separate worlds of feminist reality as well? Go back to your site with its reviews of “Bitch Planet” and “Lumberjanes,” because that proves you’re so genre neutral with no dog in the hunt. You’d be better off reading Standard Rate and Data than worshipng Le Guin’s every utterance as fact. If anything, those stats prove female elitism, if anyone was dumb enough to think like that in the first place.

              “Hey, I lost my reading glasses again!”

        • Tasha Turner says:

          Delusions. Women make up 50% of the population. In English speaking countries around the world non-whites make up the majority. 25% of the US population is non-white. Many of us not white males enjoy SFFH.

          The Hugos are voted on by Worldcon the world is much larger than the United States. I know this concept is hard for you to wrap your head around.

          It is not a false thing that writers and readers who aren’t white men enjoy books written by and about people like them. Surprisingly to you, I know is quite a number of white men, also enjoy books written by and about people who aren’t like them. It’s makes the books more interesting to them.

          This doesn’t mean all books/shorts/fans/movies/etc. by and about white males are bad or never get nominated or win a Hugos. It still happens all the time. The problem seems you are unable to:
          1. Read the Hugo finalist list
          2. Read the Hugo winner list
          3. Figure out who on the list is White and Male and wrote about White Males

          You might want to work on your reading comprehension which seems to have failed you for 25-30 years of Hugo winners and nominees.

          • James May says:

            You need to work on your own reading comprehension, starting with this: “1955,” and then this: “American.”

    • RDF says:

      James May says:

      Oh brother, here we go…

    • RDF says:

      James May : You’ll probably understand that if you ever have a son standing in a Title IX kangaroo court powered by the rape culture theory of these relentless fanatics.

      Hmm… http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SayingTooMuch

      So, James, tell us more about your son…

  10. Rick Moen says:

    Pretty sound advice, on the whole. But I think you still got something important wrong, Eric:

    Do NOT use “No Award” unless you really think there’s no work or person nominated in a category who deserves it at all.

    Like many commenters, you speak, here, as if the voter specifies only one thing in each finalist category, as is done in most American political elections — but Hugo voting has for decades used ranked-choice voting, and it’s always been appropriate to insert No Award into your six allowed ranked choices for each category, below choice you think belong on the ballot and above those you don’t.

    Let me cite a famous example, 1987’s Best Novel Hugo. Voters (in composite) voted:

    1. Speaker for the Dead, OSC
    2. The Ragged Astronauts, Bob Shaw
    3. Count Zero, W. Gibson
    4. Marooned in Realtime, V. Vinge
    5. No Award
    6. Black Genesis, L. Ron Hubbard

    (Elron’s work was nominated through an organised effort from Happy Fun Cult, you may recall.)

    Voting on merit is a damned good idea. As you say, avoiding overreacting is a superb idea. But such avoidance includes correct, appropriate use of No Award wherever the voter believes that entries below it weren’t special enough to be in the running.

    Which isn’t necessarily an angry or punitive view. I love the Dresden Files. Last year, I was generous and put Skin Game just about No Award, mostly because the scenes with Hades as fanboy won me over, but I could easily have reversed those — because the Hugos are supposed to be what we think is best for the year, not just what we like.

    Also, as long as I’m on the subject, if the voter (for whatever reason) thinks a category shouldn’t exist, that’s another perfectly appropriate, traditional use of No Award. E.g. I’ve lately thought that splitting Best Editor Long Form from the former Best Editor Hugo was a blunder: Voters lack any real basis for a rational vote.

    It looks to me like the 2015 final vote for Best Editor Long Form demonstrated that exact problem. Final rankings were:

    1. No Award
    2. Toni Weisskopf
    3. Sheila Gilbert
    4. Anne Sowards
    5. Vox Day
    6. Jim Minz

    The only finalist who submitted example materials to the voters was Sheila Gilbert, who helpfully provided a list of the 17 books she edited in 2014, plus opening chapters of 13 of them. Anne Sowards listed titles she edited, but no representative content. Toni Weisskopf sent a thoughtful one-paragraph statement that she’d decided to submit nothing because ‘editor long form’ covers such a wide breadth of work that she’d have to send all the books Baen published in 2014.

    Which was fair enough, but, all in all, Hugo voters had nothing to go on unless they happened to also be extremely well-connected industry insiders. (The other two nominees provided nothing.) I reluctantly concluded the category needs to go.

    The only way to rationally vote that belief is:

    1. No Award

    And that’s the way I voted. I am accordingly a bit annoyed when people imply this is an improper use-case for that choice. How would you vote if you honestly thought a voting category needed to be eradicated, and when only a single nominee provided meaningful information?

    — Rick Moen

    • Mike says:

      I told Toni herself (via her forum) that I don’t know how anyone could vote for anyone in this category. The best editors improve the work they edit as invisibly as possible, so how are we supposed to know who they are and what they did?

    • Thomas Monaghan says:

      Well ask Patrick Nielsen Hayden about why he pushed to split the editor category? Of course the reason can be easily deduced by the fact that before the split PNH had no chance of winning a Hugo as an editor but after the split he’s won it 3 times.

  11. Rick Moen writes “Which was fair enough, but, all in all, Hugo voters had nothing to go on unless they happened to also be extremely well-connected industry insiders. ”

    There is the option of buying books and reading them; at a book a week, the editors might be covered adequately with a title list. I agree that so many novels are now written that you may simply miss the editors who were nominated.

    I agree that I somewhat lost interest in the Hugo lists when I found the people preparing the lists had fine tastes that just did not happen to match mine. Their mileage varied. Worse, I discovered writing fiction, which tends to distract from reading, it taking much more time to write, e.g., Mistress of the Waves than to read one of our host’s excellent books.

    • Rick Moen says:

      I’ll note in passing that the ‘read all the books edited by the nominated author in the year in question’ (leaving aside practicality) might work for some editors at some houses, but definitely not all: Baen, for example, is known to practice a team-editing model. Anne Swards was kind enough (like Sheila Gilbert) to furnish for the Hugo Packet the titles of books she edited. Is Penguin Group USA (Sowards) likely to assign each book entirely to one editor? I have no way of knowing. It seemed a more likely bet with DAW Books (Gilbert), that being a much smaller house.

      2015 was the first year in a long time that I made a very determined effort to be fully informed in every voting category. Before then, I usually skipped Best Editor Long Form and sheepishly assumed I’d failed for lack of time and energy, but close scrutiny in 2015 showed it really wasn’t me. It really is a category in which it’s nearly impossible for everyone but (maybe) a few industry insiders to know enough to cast an informed and careful vote.

      — Rick Moen

    • nickpheas says:

      We buy books. We read them.
      Generally though we’ve not the first clue who edited them, and we’ve not much idea how much they contributed to the creative process.
      It is sometimes possible to spot poor copy editing, but without access to the original manuscript, it’s very hard to spot good copy editing.

  12. Perhaps for editing read a reasonable sample, especially when it is team edit?

    Reading new authors (people where quality coutns) rather than best selling leads authors (where dollars count) might be a simplification.

  13. Eric Schultheis says:

    No Award has another constructive use. If you read a truly exceptional eligible novel last year, then you might consider it the best novel of 2015. The items that make the ballot then have to rise above the standard of that novel to earn your Best Novel vote. No Award sometimes means that the best works weren’t on the final ballot.

    • Rick Moen says:

      What Eric Schultheis said. And, again, IMO the 2015 ballot furnishes an example. When I read Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation (first of his Southern Reach trilogy of novels), it struck me, along with The Goblin Emperor, as really extraordinary and a good bet for Best Novel, and was among my nominations.

      Annihilation was of course not on the Hugo Best Novel final ballot. Kevin J. Anderson’s The Dark Between the Stars (first volume of Anderson’s The Saga of Shadows trilogy) was.

      I have absolutely no problem with people loving The Dark Between the Stars, but like other Kevin Anderson novels before it, it was just not my cuppa at all. His sentences have a prose style that suggests he buys them at Ace Hardware by the board-foot, and, a hundred pages in, I realised there were a huge number of characters but I didn’t care about any of them, or about the looking shadows of darkness, the alien starship drive, the gas-giant race, or any of the rest. So I concluded that In My Very Arrogant Opinion it just didn’t belong on the ballot, i.e., wasn’t among the best SFF novels of the year, and therefore ranked it under No Award.

      As Eric Schultheis says, that’s a perfectly constructive, and intended, use of No Award. No anger, no reacting emotionally without thinking it through, and in fact I felt sorry I’ve not liked any of Kevin’s novels because he’s a great guy, just the normal operation of WSFS voting, exactly the way it’s supposed to work.

      And whenever a (in my opinion) leading work like Annihilation is missing from the final ballot and one that made the cutoff like The Dark Between the Stars (in my opinion) cannot compare at all, I really should rank it below the infamous Noah.

  14. Pat H says:

    I plan to do as I always do. I at least start to read every work in a category. If I am not qualified for a category (Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form being an example) I don’t vote. For at least some of us last year, No Award really did mean we found nothing that we personally considered Hugo worthy in the category.

    I have to say that I agree with Rick Moen. I have not voted in either of the Best Editor categories, because I have no means to judge between the nominees. Yes I read the books, but where do I find the contribution of the editor?

    So this year, I’ll probably do the same. I was happy to find several of the works I nominated on the final list (first time nominator!) I’ll start all the other works, but well, I’m over 60 and life is too short to read books I don’t like.

    • Rick Moen says:

      Pat H.: The best advice on the two Best Editor categories I’ve seen is Kevin Standlee’s characterisation: ‘Editor-Short is effectively a proxy for ‘Best Magazine or Anthology’. Vote for editors who produced magazines and/or anthologies you thought best. Editor-Long is effectively a proxy for Best Publisher, although it’s trickier here because the same publisher can have multiple editors.’

      As Kevin suggests, it’s (in my experience) at least possible to guesstimate which specific editors did a great job selecting, arranging, and polishing magazines and anthologies. For editors of books and other long-form works (are there any?), opaqueness is a serious problem.

      What WSFS should do about this mess is a separate discussion.

  15. xServer says:

    I will do what I did last year: I will read and judge the material honestly based on what I see and how I feel about it. That’s all you can do.

    Editor is tricky. I really have no way to know for sure how much the editor has shaped the work. That said, when I nominated best novel candidates I also nominated their editors because I assumed that they had a hand in making the books great. Some of my choices made it to the final ballot and I will vote accordingly there.

    Vox Day isn’t my piper and I’m not dancing to his tune.

    • David Lang says:

      Re: judging Editors

      If the Edirot continually produces good books, they are either extremely lucky, or a good editor (and it does take a good editor to know when NOT to make changes to a book)

  16. Greg M. says:

    Agree with the overall thrust, but I would recommend leaving all Castalia House nominations (think there are 13) off the ballot, period. Those clearly don’t deserve benefit of the doubt.

    By contrast, “Folding Beijing,” Andy Weir, “Obits,” “Penric’s Demon,” “Sandman: Overture,” and the vast majority of unwilling Rabid conscripts almost certainly would’ve gotten on the ballot on their own substantial merit, so should be treated as normal Hugo nominations.

    • David Lang says:

      Why should Jerry Pournelle’s nomination for “There Will Be War Volume X” be eliminated based on who published it?

      Jerry started the series long before that publishing house existed.

      • snowcrash says:

        Speaking only for myself, I have a low threshold for arseholish-ness, and I have a *very* low threshold for institutionalised arseholish-ness. If Castilia, and it’s principles, have decided that they will consistently in such an unprofessional manner, that a key plank of their publicity seeking platform is conduct like this, I have no qualms about ignoring their works in their entirety.

        Dr Pournelle is an accomplished individual, and I wish him all the best in finding a different publishing house.

  17. Johnny says:

    This is still happening?

  18. Cmm says:

    I kind of resent the assumption from Eric (whose work here and in books I generally like) that the No Awarding was merely a wholesale rejection of the slating. The vast majority of the nominations that made it through were simply not good. With maybe 2 exceptions, they ranged from just not ready for prime time to truly godawful and/or not even appropriate for the category.

    My general inclination minus slates would be to rank everything on my ballot (exception below) and save No Award for truly unworthy stuff. With slated works, my inclination is that slated works should be below No Award in protest of the slate except if the quality is such that the work earns its way above the line. I think 2 slated works got there for me. Everything else I didn’t even have a pang about ranking below No Award because the works SUCKED.

    It’s also telling that all the post Hugo handwringing has been about Toni Weisskopf being denied unfairly. Not about Wright or VD or Lou Antonelli or Michael Z. Williamson being robbed of a deserved prize. Because even the ringleaders know those works were not Hugo worthy. Weisskopf is one of the few Puppy nominees who probably would have been there anyway.

    I also think that Editor Long Form is not really anything I can tell anything about as a reader, I don’t think it should be a fan-voted category, and I vote it as No Award for that reason. I think it should be replaced by a peer-voted award determined by authors, editors, and others inside the industry who have a clearer picture of how the editor influences the final product. I think there is a non-trivial number of voters who vote that particular category that way so there is a certain weight toward No Award even in non puppy times, that may not be present in other categories.

    TLDR: Anyway my main point is that the No Awarding was not a simple backlash against slating; plenty of people set out to ignore the whole thing and read and vote the same way they always did, and discovered that the quality of the nominees was terrible. And I wish this would stay in the historical narrative of the 2015 Hugos as they mercifully recede into the past, because the narrative of “everyone voted No Awards to shut out and punish the slates” distorts what really happened and mischaracterises the effort many people put into reading, thinking about, analysing, and reviewing works even though they hated how the works got onto the ballot.

    • Protest Manager says:

      So, where’d you rank “The Day the World Turned Upside Down”?

      Did you vote in 2014? Did you vote to “No Award” “If you were a Dinosaur”?

      Did you vote to “No Award” “Redshirts”?

      Just looking for some quality metrics here.

  19. Gary D says:

    Eric must be mellowing in his old age to call that group sleaze and chiselers is mild for him.

  20. Greg B. says:

    Eric, after reading your post and reading/scanning the comments of my fellow readers/”fans”, I’m afraid our comments DO prove your points! Paraphrasing Shakespeare, “Much ado about …”! May favorite quote/paraphrase/scene from “A Man for All Seasons” was when More (Scofield) was arguing with his son-in-law over the steadfastness of the letter of the law versus expediency for perceived justice’s sake. More asked his s-n-l if in searching for the Devil, chasing him across the countryside of England, if he’d knock down this law, and that statute, uprooting laws like obstructing hedgerows, to bring him to bay. His daughter’s husband enthusiastically agreed that technicalities should not get in the way of “justice”. More then confronted him with, (paraphrase) ” When you have ripped asunder all the laws and norms of the land in pursuit of the Devil, when you have cornered Evil, and he turns about and confronts you, what will protect you, what shelters you now from Satan?!” I always took that scene to illustrate the necessity of law, cooperation, and civility (“couth”) to have a workable society. Even if you may be disadvantaged by law, as More was mortally so! Law can and is changed. So are award voting rules! Otherwise, things do “go to Hell in a hand basket!” People, be civil, calm down! Even if this is “just for Wales!” Take care!

  21. Protest Manager says:

    1: “But for Wales” is one of the great lines from a movie / play that has many great lines.

    2: “Is anyone who’s planning to vote for the Hugos so ignorant or so stupid that they really think authors like … Jim Butcher … need a slimeball like Theodore Beale’s approval to get nominated for an award? Are they so ignorant or stupid that they think editors like Toni Weisskopf … are in the same boat?”

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that Jim’s only been nominated twice, both on SP / RP slates, and Toni’s the same. No?

    So yes, given the political bigotry of the normal Hugos crowd, the only way they’re going to get nominated DOES appear to be because of the actions of Beale.

    3: Contra GRRM, IIRC Brad only started talking about CHROFs after the anti-Puppy reactions, including the vile and dishonest accusations of racism against him and Larry, came out.

    Kate’s “reacting” differently because she’s being treated differently.

    But noticing that would require GRRM to pull his head out of his fifth point of contact, and he seems unwilling to do that.

  22. Sithicus says:

    You shouldn’t fear Vox. You should fear what comes behind him if things don’t change.

  23. Proving the wisdom of Eric Flint:

    Nominations for the 2016 National Fantasy Fan Federation Speculative Fiction Awards have been completed. The Neffy is one of the oldest literary awards in fandom, having been given since 1949 (or, perhaps, 1941). N3F members were invited to submit nominations for a long list of categories. Only a few categories actually received nominations. Nominations were actually received for Best Novel, Best Paper Series Novel, Best Editor, Best TV Show, Best Comic, and Best Film. There were no nominations in the short fiction categories.

    The 2016 Neffy Award nominations are:

    Best Novel
    Somewhither—John C. Wright
    Shadows of Self—Brandon Sanderson

    Best Paper Series Novel
    163X—Eric Flint
    Schooled in Magic—Chris Nuttall
    Safehold—David Weber

    Best Editor
    Peter Buch (Elsewhen)
    Sheila Gilbert (DAW)
    Toni Weisskopf (Baen)

    Best TV Show
    Sense8 Season 1 Jonathan Strange miniseries
    The Expanse
    Jessica Jones

    Best Comic
    Astro City
    Girl Genius

    Best Film
    What We Do in Shadows
    The Martian
    The Lobster
    Ex Machina

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