Hugos! and NecronomiCon!

CliqueThe Hugo Awards were last night. I did not stay up to watch the livestream because I’m an old lady (they didn’t even START until 11pm EDT). However plenty of people did, so there are a lot of postmortems floating around.

You may remember the controversy a few months ago when the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, a group of angry conservatives who felt that the reason they weren’t winning Hugos was because of a secret liberal conspiracy and not because they failed at writing good books, teamed up with GamerGaters and stuffed the Hugo nomination ballots with tons of their own works. Even after the ineligible works of theirs were disqualified, a lot of the awards were entirely filled with puppies nominees. Vox Day, head of the group, threatened that they would continue to hold the Hugos hostage every year until people finally gave in and voted for him. Later, when it became apparent that a lot of people were planning to vote “No Award” in those categories where they felt none of the nominees deserved it, Vox Day and the other puppies decided that losing was actually a moral victory for them and that had been their plan all along.

Speeding trainANYWAY. Last night were the Hugos, and here are the results:

  • BEST NOVEL: The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Tor Books)
  • BEST NOVELETTE: “The Day the World Turned Upside Down”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lia Belt translator (Lightspeed, 04-2014)
  • BEST GRAPHIC STORY: Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt, (Marvel Comics)
  • BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM: Guardians of the Galaxy, written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company)
  • BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM: Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”, ” written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)
  • BEST SEMIPROZINE: Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
  • BEST FANZINE: Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Colin Harris, Alissa McKersie, and Helen J. Montgomery
  • BEST FANCAST: Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
  • BEST FAN WRITER: Laura J. Mixon
  • BEST FAN ARTIST: Elizabeth Leggett
  • Best Novella: No Award
  • Best Short Story: No Award
  • Best Related Work: No Award
  • Best Editor Short Form: No Award
  • Best Editor Long Form: No Award

Congrats to the winners! And congrats to No Award most of all. Not a single puppy won an award. The puppies believed that they were taking the awards out of the hands of a liberal minority hell bent on forcing diversity on the world and putting them into the hands of a silent conservative majority, but from the results of this vote, it’s pretty clear that silent majority doesn’t exist. I guess now we wait to see what next year’s awards will bring.


We'll be backFor further reading:

Chuck Wendig: “The Obligatory Hugo Awards Recap Post

Nicholas Whyte: “Hugo Awards 2015 – full analysis

Tobias Buckell: “What the Alternate Hugo Ballot Would Likely Have Been

Wired Magazine: “Who Won Science Fiction’s Hugo Awards, and Why It Matters



That Cthulhu Sunrise was very tasty.
That Cthulhu Sunrise was very tasty.

So I went to NecronomiCon Providence this weekend! Sort of. I wasn’t actually registered for the con itself, but I went to some of the peripheral events, including the Eldritch Ball, Lovecraft’s 125th birthday celebration, and the dealer’s hall.

NecronomiCon is a conference celebrating the work of H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft was a Providence native and many Providence landmarks made it into his books. Miskatonic University is thought to be modeled after Brown University. Lovecraft’s grave is famously inscribed with the words I AM PROVIDENCE. When I was living off Hope St in Providence, I walked through that graveyard very often.

A tiny Cthulhu on Lovecraft's grave
A tiny Cthulhu on Lovecraft’s grave

The con happens every other year (though this is only the second time it has run), and has attendees from all over the world. Many of the panels are academic, and the con makes it quite clear that though they love his work, Lovecraft’s bigotry and racism are not being overlooked. The setting of the con is gorgeous, with events taking place in the Biltmore Hotel, the Providence Athenaeum, and the First Baptist Church in America.

Overall, a very enjoyable con, with a lot of friendly and enthusiastic attendees. Walking through the city, it was very easy to pick out the con goers out of a crowd. Some of the local response to the con seemed a little stilted (“Hey there NecronomiCon attendees! Boy am I a big fan of that…” *looks at smudged ink on hand* “…Cathy?”) but I may actually register for the con next time and attend it for real.

Big Nazo's Intergalactic Band
Big Nazo’s Intergalactic Band

“A starship, not a nuclear missile”

This'll be me soon.
This’ll be me soon.

I’m heading out to the airport soon, but I thought I’d mention some of the updates to the Hugo Awards controversy that have happened in the last few days. You can refer to my last post for a more in depth run down of the events, but in short:

Connie Willis was invited to present the Hugos this year, but declined. She wrote up her reasons in a blog post titled “Why I Won’t Be a Presenter at the Hugo Awards This Year“, but they boil down to the fact that the Sad Puppies et al. have threatened to continue to spam the Hugos with their own nominees if they don’t win this year, and Connie refuses to host the awards and pretend everything is fine and dandy.

In my own particular case, I feel I’ve also been ordered to go along with them and act as if this were an ordinary Hugo Awards ceremony. I’ve essentially been told to engage in some light-hearted banter with the nominees, give one of them the award, and by my presence–and my silence–lend cover and credibility to winners who got the award through bullying and extortion.

Meanwhile, one of the nominees from the Sad Puppies slate, John C. Wright (who shows up an unprecedented six times on the ballot, three of which are under “best novella”) had one of his stories disqualified because it had been previously published on his website in 2013 and was not eligible for a 2014 award. Additionally, Jon Eno, nominated for Best Professional Artist, had no eligible works in 2014 and was also taken off the ballot. Apparently the Sad Puppies have seen John C. Wright’s removal as further proof of the liberal conspiracy that has taken over the Hugos, since in 2006, John Scalzi was nominated for his work, Old Man’s War, despite having been serialized on his own blog in the year previous. Why was Scalzi considered eligible then, and Wright disqualified for the same thing now? Scalzi points out that nearly a decade has passed since then, and ideas about self-publication have changed in the meantime.

In 2002 there was no Kindle, no Nook, no tablet or smart phone; there was no significant and simple commerce channel for independent publication; and there was not, apparently, a widespread understanding that self-publishing, in whatever form, constituted formal publication for the purposes of the Hugo Awards. 2013 is not 2002; 2015, when Mr. Wright’s story was nominated, is not 2006, when OMW was nominated.

Indeed, it was only two months ago that SFWA decided to allow self-published authors to become members of their organization. Self-published authors have done a lot of advocacy to be considered professional authors in the last few years, and as a result of that, self-publication is now counted as publication for the purposes of award eligibility. Times change.

Finally, George R. R. Martin has been writing extensively about the controversy, holding a long conversation with Sad Puppy coordinator Larry Correia. Not surprisingly, GRRM has been quite verbose on the topic. I’ll link you to his most recent post. You can find the rest on his blog if you’re so inclined.

If I could clap my hands and make everybody play nice, I would, but I do not have that superpower. But it is interesting that you talk about “scaring the hell out of authors” on your side. Fear is a big part of this. People on the other side of the fence are scared as well, and when people are afraid, they lash out. Both sides here feel they are being attacked, and the war of words just seems to keep escalating, and all that can come of that is mutually assured destruction.

I like to think the Hugo represents a starship, not a nuclear missile.

Well said, George. And now I’m off to Ireland.

Hugo Nominations 2015, now with more scandal!

hugo 1 Hugo nominations were announced yesterday, and in much the same vein as last year, there’s been a bit of an uproar over the results. This year there was an organized effort by GamerGaters to troll the nominations and nominate people just to anger so-called “social justice warriors” (people who try to promote gender equality and sexual and racial diversity in fiction). In particular you’ll note that Theodore “Vox Day” Beale is nominated twice, for Best Editor, Short Form and Best Editor, Long Form. I’ve talked about Vox Day before. Once is enough. However, he’s not the only one on the list who was nominated as a result of this organized effort. To read more about the “Sad Puppy” slate, read these two posts by Steve Davidson. In short:

At its base, Sad Puppies is about a few authors who have twigged to the fact that controversy, outrage and building an army of sycophants is good for their bottom line – especially if they can gin up a Judas goat for everyone to love to hate.  The fact that the prize at the end of all of this bullshit might be a Hugo Award for one or more of them – along with bragging rights over how successfully they’ve managed to corrupt fix the system – is the plum in the pudding.

In case you haven’t been in the internet in a couple years and haven’t heard of it, GamerGate is a movement of violently racist and misogynist video gamers who actively work to drive women and racial minorities out of both playing and developing video games, in the bizarre theory that video games are only for white men. They attempt to achieve this goal by sending rape and death threats to people, hacking their accounts and posting home addresses and bank information publicly, threatening mass shootings at places where video game players might be talking about diversity in video games, etc. One thing you might notice from my description is that they have nothing whatsoever to do with literary awards.

hugo 2Patrick Nielsen Hayden has a post with screenshots of GamerGaters talking about trying to rig the voting. John Scalzi talks about how to vote for those nominees you feel deserve an award, and how to note your displeasure with those who don’t. io9 has a nice overview about the drama.

hugo 3I am not a WorldCon member and therefore cannot vote in the Hugos. I’m beginning to think I should pony up the cash for the privilege, however. The Hugos need more people who are willing to nominate and vote for fiction on its own merit. (Incidentally, I see Ann Leckie is once again up for Best Novel, this time for Ancillary Sword. I just bought that one and can’t wait to read it.)

I feel a little bad for the authors who only got on the ballot because of this campaign. Not all of them had a say in their own nominations. It must suck to wonder whether you were nominated because you were actually talented, or only as a joke to piss people off. If I were them, I’d distance myself from the Sad Puppies and GamerGaters, to cut the stench of politics off my nomination.

Hugo noms, synopses, and other things

A list of things in no particular order:

In my writing group last week, someone mentioned Miss Snark’s blog, which I hadn’t visited in a while. I checked out her posts on synopses and I think for the first time I actually understand how to write a synopsis. I’d always fallen into the trap of condensing each chapter into a paragraph, so my synopsis was just an extremely condensed version of the book. For one thing, that made it very hard to keep within the page count (most agents want your synopsis to be between 1-3 pages, and that’s reeeeaally difficult if you’re doing it this way.) For another, it was just a list of plot points without much character involved. Reading Miss Snark’s critiques showed me that you need to forget the chronology. Talk about the plot as it specifically relates to the character arc. Cut out the subplots and the minor characters. Focus on the key emotional turning points of the story. I wrote my synopsis on this advice and realized that the key emotional turning points of my novel really need some work. That’s a problem for draft 2.

Rob loaned me The Walking Dead omnibus 1 and 2. I’m just about done with 1. I don’t enjoy it as much of the show, and I’m curious what sort of world the author lives in that only men know how to shoot guns and only women know how to do laundry. Half of the women I know in real life are proficient with guns (and half the men I know aren’t). Everyone can do their own laundry because they’re not infantilized man children who go from mother to wife without having to fend for themselves a day in their lives. I’m glad that the women in the book eventually are taught how to use guns, though the fact that the women still all vote for the men to lead them because they want to be ‘protected’ is more than a little annoying. I’m not asking for anything extreme here, just a little dose of reality in this post-apocalyptic world.

In bigger news, Hugo Award finalists were announced on Saturday. You can look at the full list here. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie is my pick for Best Novel, even though I haven’t even read it yet. Given everything I’ve heard about it, I’d be really surprised if it doesn’t win. I do hope to read all the Best Novel nominees soon (except perhaps the Wheel of Time series… which totals 4.4 million words).

You might also notice that noted bigot Vox Day, who I’ve written about here, is on the list for his novelette “Opera Vita Aeterna”. Some people believe that that nomination was politically motivated. Vox Day and Larry Correia also recommended 12 other works, 7 of which made it onto the list of finalists. Were these nominations made to annoy people? Very possibly. But, as Scalzi points out, they have as much right to be on the list as any other book, and they should be judged on their own merits. Voting against them for political reasons will only prove the point they’re trying to make.

Further reading/viewing:
Quick 2014 Hugo Nomination Thoughts and No, The Hugo Nominations Were Not Rigged by John Scalzi
My open tabs by Mur Lafferty
SFF180 Special | 2014 Hugo Finalists: That Awkward Moment… (YouTube) by