Hugos 2017, part 2

Best Graphic Story

Best Editor: Short Form

Best Editor: Long Form

Best Professional Artist

Best Semiprozine

Best Fanzine

Best Fancast

Best Fan Writer

Best Fan Artist

Best Series

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

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Hugos 2017, part 1

Best Novelette

Best Short Story

Best Related Work

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

How Mad Genius Club Banned Me

Mad Genius Club, the joint blog of notable Sad Puppy activists such as Kate Paulk, Dave Freer, Amanda S. Green and others, banned me. There’s nothing special about that, of course. Blogs can ban commenters they don’t like for any reason, and that’s fine. Nobody has freedom of speech on other people’s websites.

If that was the whole thing, I’d be just slightly amused, but there’s more (and I must admit that I’m giggling a bit). They went through the trouble of writing a blog post about the incident. Naturally, I’m humbled by the attention of this bunch of professional writers, but I cannot resist commenting on their statements briefly.

I also have the screencaps of my offending comments, and reading them alongside the mad geniuses’ explanations is rather funny.

In case you didn’t go through the link to read the whole thing on Mad Genius Club, here are some of the highlights:

Unlike other sites, we don’t take glee in banning people and we bend over backwards to avoid doing so. We give warnings and then we warn again. In all the years of MGC, I can count on one hand — and still have fingers left — the number of people we have banned.

However, we have learned over the last few years that whenever we come to Hugo time, we get a few folks who come over with the sole purpose of condemning anything that doesn’t have to do with Fandom. We anticipated it would happen when the Dragon Awards were announced and then when the winners were named. What we didn’t anticipate was that one of the prime suspects would continue to ignore the warnings and then accuse us of doxxing them because we told that person that the only way they would be allowed to continue posting here is if they posted under their real name.

Yes, this person came back and accused us of trying to dox them.

Yes, that person’s comments have been deleted because they were told that was what would happen if they posted again under an alias.

I don’t have access to all (or most) or my deleted comments, but I guess these last few comments are enough to demonstrate how I “condemn anything that doesn’t have to do with Fandom”.

In the MGC post post All Hail the Dragon! Jason Cordova wrote (after complimenting the trophy’s design): “I can’t wait to see the final tally numbers of just how many people actually participated in the selection and voting process.”

The comment thread looked (and still looks) like this:

all-hail-the-dragon01

When the Dragon Awards were given out and voter figures were not released, there were a couple of comments that have since been deleted:

spacefaringkitten
September 5, 2016 at 2:36 pm
Aaaaaaaand did we see the numbers? Nope.

Amanda
September 5, 2016 at 4:32 pm
[…] either use your real name and quit the concern trolling behavior pattern (you show up on all the Hugo/award threads and hardly anywhere else, you derail with either irrelevant or marginally relevant comments, and you’re way the hell light on facts, even when what you say is technically correct) or quit commenting here. Your call. […]

spacefaringkitten
September 5, 2016 at 10:45 pm
Whoa, trying to doxx people who disagree with you is not cool.

It’s your blog, of course, and it’s your right to prevent people from voicing opinions differing from yours if that is what you want to do. I don’t want to disturb people’s safe spaces and can stop commenting.

However, I have tried to state my opinions respectfully and politely here, even when other commenters have called me names and hurled abuse around.

“Derailing” the discussion with “irrelevant” comments is a bit confusing accusation. Releasing the voting numbers was explicitly discussed in the post I was commenting on. I said that I wasn’t sure they would be released and was told I was trying to smear the awards or something. Well, now they haven’t been released and to the best of my knowledge will never be. If you have different information about the matter, I’ll happily admit I was mistaken.

Well, now, I’m the first to admit that “trying to doxx” is probably too harsh a term to use in this context. After all, MSG people were not about to release my personal information without my consent, only demanding that I provide it.

Disagreeing with Sad Puppies can fill your social media with all kinds of garbage, though, and that is not something I’m interested in seeing in my personal accounts. For example, just today a dude called Thomas Monaghan tweeted me this out of the blue:

That doesn’t bother Spacefaring Kitten, but I can live without my real-life friends and family seeing this sort of nonsense. That’s why I’ll have to respectfully decline MGC’s offer and refrain from commenting there in the future.

So, that’s what went down, basically. But there’s more in today’s Mad Genius Club post. I’ll quote it below and add comments there.

 

Here’s the thing. When this person showed up, casting aspersions and making thinly veiled accusations against the Dragons, I did some checking. With only a very few exceptions, they had only commented on Hugo-related posts. This person — because it isn’t hard to find out who they are — is someone who does not tolerate what they see as dissenting opinions on their own social media pages. This is a person who has attempted, and on occasion, succeeded in having people kicked out of cons for being wrong-thinkers. I could go on and some of the others here may.

I have commented on Hugos and Dragon Awards, true. That’s about it as far as facts go in this paragraph, I guess. Kicking wrong-thinkers out of cons, huh? I’m sure I’d remember that. My social media is not in a language they understand, so I have my doubts about their knowing what opinions I tolerate there or not.

However, here’s the thing. It takes a lot to get a bunch of writers to get together to discuss what should happen on a blog, even a joint blog. The fact that this person took the majority of us out of writing and work to do just that says a lot. So, before you see it on Vile 770, yes, we did delete comments here. This was done after warnings — which you can find still in the comment sections on at least three recent posts. Did we like doing it? No.

We want free discourse here. As writers, we hate silencing discussion. But that isn’t what happened here. There was no discussion. There were thinly veiled attacks on a new award and why? Because it didn’t go the way certain parts of Fandom apparently thought or wanted it to. It’s not enough that they have turned the Hugos from a fan award, something it was founded as, to a Fan award. Now these folks are trying to tear down a new award because it let everyone vote — without paying for the privilege to do so.

Riiiiiight. I did guess right whether the Dragon Award voter numbers would be published or not, but this is a bit much, isn’t it. I have to say I didn’t realize I was tearing down a new award with the comments that were quoted previously in this post. 😀

So there it is. A very infrequent commenter was warned and chose to ignore the warning. That person then chose to use inflammatory comments to accuse us of something we were not doing, specifically of doxxing them. That person is no longer welcome at MGC unless and until they follow the rules as set out first by Dave and then reiterated by several others of us. But to accuse us of doxxing, when we are asking nothing more than to post under a real name, a name many of us already know, is disingenuous. We are not the ones with malicious intent.

Well, no matter how hard the MGC people try to trick me to doxxing myself, it is not something I plan to do, so I guess I’ll just have to turn down that offer.

Spacefaring Hugo Ballot 2016

There are 28 hours left before this year’s Hugo winners are announced. Due to timezones, I’ll have to wake up in an inhumane time to follow the stream. In the state I’ll be in, I am probably not going to remember what I voted for first in every category, so I’ll write it down here as a reminder for my tired self on tomorrow night.

Best Novel

  • Nothing.

Yeah, that’s what I did: left the novel blank. I didn’t manage to read all of them, so this seemed like the reasonable thing to do.

Best Novella

  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson

Okorafor’s Binti was very good as well, but in the end the concept of Perfect State won me over.

Best Novelette

  • And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead by Brooke Bolander

Best read of the bunch, even though the prose could have been less purple in places. Stephen King’s Obits and Hao Jinfang’s Folding Beijing were also good, but they either had all the weaknesses of a Stephen King story or relied too much on coincidences to make the narrative work for me.

Best Short Story

  • Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer

How can you beat cat pictures? There’s just no way. Asymmetrical Warfare by S.R. Algernon and Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuch Tingle were also above No Award on my ballot.

Best Related Work

  • Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini

It’s a decent book, probably. I find it hard to read Wolfe the way Aramini does, but in an overall terribly weak category this is the best thing.

Best Graphic Story

  • Invisible Republic vol 1 by  Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman

Not enough science fiction comics are based on Irish anti-war folk music.

Best Dramatic Presentation / Long Form

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Dramatic Presentation / Short Form

  • Doctor Who: Heaven Sent

Best Professional Editor / Short Form

  • Ellen Datlow

Best Professional Editor / Long Form

  • No Award

A protest vote.

Best Professional Artist

  • Larry Elmore

Best Semiprozine

  • Strange Horizons

A coin toss between SH and Uncanny Magazine.

Best Fanzine

  • File 770

Best source of what went down in 2015.

Best Fancast

  • Tales to Terrify

Best Fan Writer

  • Mike Glyer

Best Fan Artist

  • Matthew Callahan

Absolutely breathtaking.

The John W. Campbell Award

  • Andy Weir

Sheer aspiration porn.

That’s it. Let’s see if any of my picks wins this year.

 

 

No-awarding Editors and Avengers

I’m filling out my Hugo voting ballot and deciding what is going to float and which finalists will sink under the No Award option. Contenders who end up underwater will include, among others, all book editors and all the avengers.

My final votes in the Best Professional Editor (Long Form) and Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) categories — that is, book editors and movies — look like this:

Best Professional Editor (Long Form)

  1. No Award
  2. Sheila E. Gilbert
  3. Liz Gorinsky
  4. Jim Minz
  5. Toni Weisskopf
  6. Vox Day

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road
  2. The Martian
  3. Ex Machina
  4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  5. No Award
  6. Avengers: Age of Ultron

I don’t think that any of the novel editors does a bad job (ok, maybe one of them). This is strictly a protest vote against the insane category. How can anybody who is not an industry insider come to any conclusion about who is better than someone else in turning mediocre books into great ones? I have no clue.

Thinking about my own tastes, Gilbert’s list of edited works looked a little better than Gorinsky’s or Minz’s, but readers don’t have access to the editing process that we are really supposed to judge here.

The best alternative for this silly category I can think of would be Best Publisher, so I thought about that for a minute. With these editors, that would be DAW (Gilbert), Tor Books (Gorinsky), Baen (Minz & Weisskopf) and Castalia House (Vox Day).

So, what were the publishers of the year’s best novels?

If the Hugo finalists in the novel category are supposed to indicate which publishers really scored last year, that would be Orbit, Roc, Del Rey and William Morrow. Orbit has in fact two titles in there. No editors working for these publishers are on the Hugo ballot, even though the Hugo nominators consider their end products to be the best in the field.

On the Nebula ballot, the novel finalists’ publishing houses are: Orbit (twice, again), Tor (twice), Baen, Del Rey and Saga. At last some familiar names! However: Gorinsky didn’t edit the Nebula-nominated Tor books (Barsk and Updraft) and Minz didn’t edit the Nebula-nominated Baen book (Raising Caine) — nobody knows what Weisskopf edited because she keeps that a secret.

Yeah. Is this a strange list of best editors in the business or what?

Ok, how about the movies, then? The picks from 1 to 4 require no explanation. Mad Max is a masterpiece whereas The Martian, Ex Machina and the new Star Wars were all solid and enjoyable films. I am a bit saddened by the fact that the end of Ex Machina was so predictable. It was the only movie that wasn’t a sequel or an adaptation with a blockbuster budget and I liked the acting and the atmosphere quite a bit.

For Avengers, there was very little hope, considering my visceral hate of Captain America. He is the most boring and stupid creation in the history of human entertainment and he ruins every film that features him (becoming an agent of Hydra cannot be a bad career move for him). I also found out that I dislike Thor very much. Hulk and Iron Man should dump their loser friends and do it fast if they wish to end up higher on my ballot that sixth in a field of five in the future!

thumb down.gif

Aspiration Porn — Campbell Nominee Andy Weir

Category: John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
Slate:
Rabid Puppies

I think there’s still time to tackle a few Hugo nominees — or maybe not, because, as you know, Bob, John W. Campbell Award is not a Hugo. Still, I finally read The Martian, so let’s discuss Andy Weir for a minute.

As I have written earlier, Weir has ended up as a weird political football in the Hugo culture wars. Last year, various Sad/Rabid Puppy activists (such as this one) considered the fact that Weir hasn’t won a Hugo as proof of the literary feminist-communist social justice bias among the Worldcon fans. However, when the final numbers were released, it became clear that without the Puppy campaigns to mess things up, Andy Weir would have been a Campbell Award finalist (and The Martian would have almost made it into the ballot as well — even though it’s possible that it would have been judged ineligible). Instead, four Puppy authors of relatively unknown works were nominated alongside the eventual Campbell winner Wesley Chu and Weir was left on the sixth place (and out of the ballot).

This year, Weir is up there and he got the kennel votes as well.

Original The Martian is better than the Ridley Scott adaptation everybody’s probably seen. In it, the astronaut protagonist gets into more different kinds of trouble and sciences his way out of it, explaining what he does in his log entries. For me, reading the text that supposedly makes up those entries is a more engaging experience than watching Matt Damon do it.

The usual complaint against hard science fiction writing is that it’s technically bad, especially with characters, but Weir manages to write an entertaining superhuman. Come to think of it, that’s what astro/cosmo/taikonauts practically are.

While watching The Martian, I remember enjoying the cosmic visuals, but the reader of the book doesn’t have that and she has to be kept in awe of the science. It was quite impressive, considering that the natural sciences interest me very little. Still, Weir was able to force me into the aspiration porn mindset — ISN’T IT GREAT THAT THE HUMAN RACE HAS DONE SUCH A WONDERFUL THING AS GOING TO SPACE (AND MOSTLY ALSO MAKING IT BACK ALIVE??!!). Yeah, it is. Little less bable about making water and oxygen wouldn’t have hurt, but I guess that really paying attention to these technical details was what Weir’s project was about.

Andy Weir’s own story as a writer is another tale of aspirational pornography: he took some years off to write novels that nobody would buy, started to post his fiction online for free when that didn’t work out and slowly accumulated a readership of likeminded people. The Martian becoming a professionally published novel, a huge bestseller hit and later on a blockbuster movie was just a coincidence. Isn’t it great that a space nerd, who just does what he loves, manages to do such an awesome thing? Yeah!

So, nevermind Donald Trump and Vox Day and all the other party poopers, the human race can pull off pretty great stuff. Like in this video.

The Martian isn’t the best novel I’ve read lately, but I enjoyed it.

Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Score: 8.5/10 (and as a Hugo finalist in the Best Dramatic Presentation: Long category, I’ll give The Martian 7/10).

 

Other posts of interest:

Wrapping Up the Related Work Category, And a Personal Note

I’ve read and reviewed — or, in one case, at least interrogated a bit — all the five Hugo awards finalists in the Related Work category. Here are the links in case you want to take a look:

I especially recommend the Vox Day piece. Despite the odious subject, I had sort of fun writing it, and exploring bizarre and alien ways to think about things is always a somewhat SFF-nal experience.

But yeah, there was a lot of toxic stuff there (60%, to be exact), and this category was hit especially bad by Vox Day’s/Theodore Beale’s slate-nominating campaign that was meant to destroy the Hugo awards. Well, the award is still here, and plans are underway to make sure it’s going to survive and become more resistant to gaming, so I’m not worried.

In fact, my optimistic prediction is that the Rabid Puppy contingent will stop trolling the Hugos now that they have done everything they could with the memberships purchased last year — they could nominate this year but cannot vote now and cannot nominate next year. If they want to keep going, they have to give more money to the social justice acronym smurfs who run Worldcons, and, even if they do it, the rule changes mean that they can’t do as much damage in the future.

However, let’s give them slow clap for managing to really mess up the ballot this year.

slowclap

There are related works that deserve a bigger applause, of course. Many interesting things were left off the ballot, for example:

Any other good suggestions?

No matter what the trolls come up with, we can celebrate the good related work stuff by taking a look at it and having a good time.


And finally, the personal note I promised in the post title:

Anybody who is paying attention has probably noticed that I’m not going to review all (or even most) of the 85 Hugo (or Campbell) nominees this year. There’s two weeks left before the voting deadline and I’ve written about 5 of them — so, even though I have numerous superpowers, being able to produce 5.7 blog posts a day is regrettably not one of them.

I have a good reason for this sorry state of affairs, though. We had a new baby added to the family last month and the lovely little rodent has been stealing significant chunks of my spare time since then. So, blame him.

I’m not that late with my reading, though, so maybe I’ll be able cover one or two categories more, or at least a couple of interesting finalists. I was thinking of the Campbells, or possibly the Graphic Story, but we’ll see.