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Of the 2015 Hugos

Many electrons have already been spilt on this, and if you want a detailed roundup, Mike Glyer has it.

Myself, I think this is a pretty bad situation for the Hugos.

In six categories (three short fiction, two editor, and Best Related Work), all five finalists come from the slates of nominees backed not only by the mild-mannered if somewhat incoherent and inconsistent Brad Torgerson, but by another person who supports acid attacks on feminists and describes non-white people as savages. Four of the five finalists for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and likewise four out of five in the Best Fan Writer category, were backed by one or other slate. A third of the short fiction finalists, including 60% of the Best Novella nominations, are by the man who wrote a frothingly incomprehensible letter of protest to the Science Fiction Writers of America last year, complaining about the apparently unreasonable proposition that SFWA's bulletin should try not to offend its own members. Some crap is nominated every year, but this year has demonstrated how easily the system can be gamed by a few dozen people willing to spend $50 on a supporting membership.

The slate efforts claim to be about widening diversity and improving quality in the Hugo system. They have had precisely the opposite effect. No woman has been nominated Only two women are finalists in the short fiction categories; although two women are on the Best Novel list, they are the two out of five not backed by either organised slate. One of the organisers (the acid-throwing racist) blithely talks of "blowing up the Hugos". Back-slapping slate supporters are jubilant, not about getting good candidates onto the Hugo list, but about poking their "Social Justice Warrior" enemies in the eye. (And boasting about a fawning and mendacious article published on a right-wing news website by a leading supporter of GamerGate.) This is an effort to destroy, not to enlarge; to tear down, not to build.

I have no ethical problem with those whose tastes are different from mine and therefore nominate works I don't like, because they like them more than I do. I am normally sympathetic to the view that one should assess works on their literary merit, though for me that would always also include the political context in which and for which they are written; and I normally take it as a pleasure of my reading year to work through the Hugo finalists and publish my ranking of them here.

This is different. This campaign is based on spite, not love. This is people who don't actually care about the Hugos, abusing them because they are an easy target to promote their own political agenda. I don't feel any motivation to read or review the works or other finalists that they have supported (I am open to reasonable argument, and Andromeda Spaceways have indeed made one, but the bar is high). I anticipate that I will be supporting a vote for "No Award" in at least the three short fiction categories, the two Best Editor categories and the Best Related Work category. And I don't think I'll be alone.

2015 Hugos: Initial observations | Voting No Award above the slates | How the slate was(n't) crowdsourced | Where the new voters are
Best Novel | Short fiction | Best Related Work | Best Graphic Story | Pro and Fan Artist | Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), Best Fan Writer, John W. Campbell Award


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 5th, 2015 10:07 am (UTC)
The only disagreement I've seen over no-awarding among decent human beings (those who don't endorse rape or mutilation of their political enemies) has been whether, as you suggest, No Award should just go ahead of the Sad Puppy slate, or whether this year's awards are so tainted that *everything* should rank below No Award, so no awards at all are given this year in any category.
One good thing has come out of this, I suppose -- so many people have mentioned The Three-Body Problem, specifically, as a book that should have been nominated and didn't get on the ballot, that I've bought a copy, while if it had been on the ballot I'd have waited for the packet. I hadn't heard of it before, and if that's true of other people, it may have led to a nice sales boost for a Chinese writer, which may not be what the neofascist scum slate wanted...
Apr. 5th, 2015 10:11 am (UTC)
I took a photo of the nomination ranges shown during the announcement, which I haven't seen pop up anywhere else yet -- see here. Some of the jumps in threshold and maximum are quite large.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 5th, 2015 09:55 pm (UTC)
Anything passed this year needs to be ratified next year, so can take effect from the 2017 Hugos onwards. That means that nothing requiring a rule change can be done for the 2016 Hugos, but years after that can have new rules.
Apr. 5th, 2015 12:17 pm (UTC)
I'm planning to No Award anything that got a boost from a slate, without exception, because looking at the suggestions Torgersen collected makes it plain how badly slate nominations skew from normal nominations (I did a bit more extensive explanation of this on my LJ/DW.)

I do not push others to read slate works, but I intend to do so myself because I expect the sixth-place slot on my ballot to be a hard choice and I want to make it correctly.

I am very sorry for those slate members who did not agree to be on a slate, or who did not realize when they agreed how unfair a slate is to non-slate works. FWIW, for those slate members who are not Sad Puppy movers-and-shakers, I promise not to hold this against them if they reach the ballot fairly in future years.

Moreover, if the packet works by such slate members turn out to be my sort of thing, I will try to keep up with them in future years to see if I might want to nominate future works.
Apr. 5th, 2015 10:02 pm (UTC)
Having never been a Member you know the system better than me, but from an observers perspective isn't a big part of the problem that a large number of those able to nominate don't, thus allowing it to be skewed by a small organised group?

Given that we're fairly sure the majority of voting members outnumber the idiots and their recruits and have, well, taste, wouldn't part of the solution be to ensure in future years that all those eligible to nominate works are reminded to do so as well as to vote in the final ballot? Turnout for the latter has been massively higher than # nominations in every year I've paid attention.
Apr. 5th, 2015 10:06 pm (UTC)
All those extra voters must mean extra income for Sasquan in supporting memberships. Could Sasquan take the money generated by this hate campaign and publicly put it to something more useful? With future Worldcons doing the same, if this continues.
Apr. 6th, 2015 09:41 am (UTC)
Not really
A few hundred extra votes at $50 a pop doesn't add up to much.

Doug M.
Apr. 7th, 2015 08:29 am (UTC)
No woman has been nominated in the short fiction categories; although two women are on the Best Novel list, they are the two out of five not backed by either organised slate

Yeah, this isn't exactly true.

"Goodnight Stars" by Annie Bellet is nominated in Best Short Story, as is "Totaled" by Kary English.

I don't disagree with your analysis, but I wanted to point this out so there's one less point of minutiae the idiots will pick apart.
Apr. 7th, 2015 01:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Correction
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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