nominees bowing out; a variety of puppies and responses

On top of everything below, I’m mad that this Puppies slate-voting/nominations-gaming stunt happened this year in particular.

I know that’s selfish, but we don’t get a lot of Cascadian Worldcons; I know, I’ve been involved (at low levels) with a few failed bids. But more, a friend of mine won the competition to do the Hugo Award base. I was really happy for him, and now he gets to deal with this.

I mean, the whole mess is overtly political bullshit, done for overtly political reasons, mostly – when it comes right down to it – for spite, to Show Those People What. And while plenty of people have been hurt by this – to the distinct pleasure of some on the Puppy side, since after all, that’s kind of the point – it’s a little more personal when it’s people you know.

Anyway. I’ve assembled a bunch of links off to other people talking about the Puppies, including – talking of people being hurt by it – Annie Bellet removing her story from the ballot, and Marko Kloos removing his novel. I had most of these already yesterday, but I wanted to keep one day clear of it.

Here are all of my posts on the topic so far; they’ve also all been added to the Sexism and Racism in Geek Culture masterpost, which is on the left in “Collections.” Or, you know, right here.

  • On Buying some Hugo Awardstm, and voting No Award
  • We’d Better All Be Ready To Go To The Business Meeting, on gaming the rules change process itself
  • On Brad Torgersen and Crocodile Tears, and the Correia/Torgersen attempts to distance themselves from the white supremacist they invited into their campaign
  • A Predicable? Doubling Down, wherein I respond to Brad Torgersen’s assertion that anyone opposing the Puppy slate are Leninist Communists
  • Some Puppies Are Deleting Things, wherein I repost and/or link to caches of material various Puppies – mostly John C. Wright – have tried to hide via deletion or just pretend never happened. Too bad that’s not how the internet works, guys. Also wherein I get accused of libel by John C. Wright for quoting John C. Wright. That’s not how libel works, either. Possibly to be followed by John C. Wright coming over here and yelling at me for this, too, because wow, John C. Wright vanity searches a lot, and this will totally come up in John C. Wright’s John C. Wright search results. Hi John!

eta: I am adding to this list as I find more things today, some of which are kind of hilarious, some of which are kind of pathetic, some of which are both. Enjoy?

help nwcMUSIC 2016 happen

After all the Puppies mess of the last week or so, something important to me got a bit lost in the wash:

I’m taking a sabbatical from the Norwescon concom next year, but I want nwcMUSIC to live on; they need several people to take my place.

They’re going to break my job up into multiple smaller jobs, which is good and right, and needs to happen. I built that festival on force of personality, and it’s time for me to step away. But I will help. I will throw you data, I will throw you files, I will throw you everything I can.

I won’t be on the committee, but I will aid whoever replaces me, because I want this thing I’ve built to survive my departure.

So please, go look, and even if you’re not a person who should do this, even if you’re only vaguely interested, please, please, go tell your friends anyway. And ask them to tell their friends. We want the widest possible net to be cast here.

And send them all to this link for more information:

http://crimeandtheforcesofevil.com/blog/2015/04/back-from-nwc2015/

Again, please, please, please spread this around. nwcMUSIC has the tools, it has the momentum, it has the mindshare – it just needs a few people to step in and run the various parts. We’ve built a hell of a thing here, and it’s been a lot of fun; now help Norwescon find those right people to replace me, so we can keep this party going.

since some puppies are deleting things

Hey, looks like some of the Puppies are deleting embarrassing things! Too bad that’s not how the internet works. If you know of more, let me know! I’ll add them to this post.

John C. Wright’s ‘The Perversion of a Legend’, archived on the Wayback Machine. Excerpt:

A children’s show, of all places, is where you decided to place an ad for a sexual aberration; you pervert your story telling skills to the cause of propaganda and political correctness.

You sold your integrity out to the liberal establishment. In a craven fashion you deflect criticism by slandering and condemning any who object to your treason.

You were not content to leave the matter ambiguous, no, but had publicly to announce that you hate your audience, our way of life, our virtues, values, and religion.

[…]

Mr DiMartino and Mr Konietzko: You are disgusting, limp, soulless sacks of filth. You have earned the contempt and hatred of all decent human beings forever, and we will do all we can to smash the filthy phallic idol of sodomy you bow and serve and worship. Contempt, because you struck from behind, cravenly; and hatred, because you serve a cloud of morally-retarded mental smog called Political Correctness, which is another word for hating everything good and bright and decent and sane in life.

I have no hatred in my heart for any man’s politics, policies, or faith, any more than I have hatred for termites; but once they start undermining my house where I live, it is time to exterminate them.

He’s still got his post up about how he regrets not punching Terry Pratchett in the face, though. Don’t worry, John, I’ve saved an archive.

Here’s some commentary Correia and Torgersen probably wish they hadn’t said in a pro-Sad-Puppies* podcast and almost certainly wish somebody hadn’t transcribed (hi), given how much they’re trying to distance themselves from Vox Day now:

In response to a question about their decision to bring in Vox Day to the Puppies effort:

Correia: Last year, given that my goal was to get these people to demonstrate to the world what they’re like, so I was going though, I was looking at shorter work – I really did like the story… I really did like it… my fanbase, they liked it too… so when I was putting together my slate… I started looking at it, said, okay, I like this story, they hate him, they look under the bed for him before they go to sleep at night, and he’s like the devil to them. But […] in the history of art, scumbags have created art. Okay? Otherwise there’s a lot of, you know, Roman Polanski is going to have to give a lot of Academy Awards back, okay?

Correia: Well, here’s the thing, and actually, I know the guy? I don’t think he is [a scumbag], I think what it is is that he a guy who is an internet curmudgeon who likes to pick fights with people, who got in a fight with a racist, and said racist things, in response to somebody who is hurling racist slurs for years. However, one person was from the approved clique and therefore got a pass, and the other guy is, you know, Satan-slash-Hitler, and the end of the world. So I threw him on there because I did [ed: like? knew? unclear] him, I liked the story, oh boy, that was… that caused some controversy…

Correia: But here’s the thing. People who are still bringing that up, it shows that they are not, they don’t, it’s all about politics. So last year I nominated a guy who said things they don’t like. Every year they nominate people who say horrible things about others that aren’t part of their pretty little, part of their clique, that’s fine. They have given awards, they’ve given lifetime achievement awards, to people who are public supporters of NAMBLA. Okay? They, this week they’re going to back for another author who said extremely racist comments, and got called on it, and now they’re trying to explain what she really meant to say.

Correia: So the thing is, for them, it’s not about right or wrong, it’s about part of my tribe or not part of my tribe. So at the same time, yes, I did nominate this guy’s [Vox Day] story, I certainly, who else did I nominate? They ignore everything else on there…

Torgersen: I agree with Larry, in fact, I’ve been talking about this online […] we’ve seen a lot of what I would call activists – and some of them try to be writers, but really they’re activists first – try to come into this genre, supposedly the dangerous genre, if you remember Harlan Ellison’s anthologies that he put out a few years ago… now the genre doesn’t want to be dangerous, the genre wants to be safe. And you have all these people scurrying around calling people names – character assassinations, people get mobbed on blogs, y’know Elizabeth Moon was a a victim of that not to long ago, every year it seems there’s somebody who’s a new victim.

Torgersen: And they don’t even have to necessarily be in the genre? Who was the British guy who was going to be [Jonathan Ross]… I thought that was a great idea… to me, he was going to bring a lot of clout to the Hugos and the Hugos were really going to get a nice spotlight. Well, what happened? Almost immediately, as soon as he was named, as he was going to be the guy, people had a freaking cow. And they were saying, “oh it’s not, he’s gonna make it so I can’t be safe at the Hugos.” Which, okay, I’m sorry, I’m military, a lot of this talk about safe spaces is complete crap and it’s silly and it’s juvenile and it’s infantile, and they won, and they got him taken off. […]

Torgersen: Almost every year there’s some controversy over something somebody’s written where they get accused of having fun wrong. You know, Larry has brought this up many times, in the genre now, you’re having fun wrong, you get accused of cultural appropriation, you get accused of racism, you get accused of sexism, you get accused of trans gender phobia – the activists have really tired their best to make the genre become a game of political correctness. And, most people are running scared. Authors, like Larry said, are terrified of “what can I write?” I see that all the time with new authors now, what can I write, what can I write? […]

Torgersen: We have a lot of people militating in the genre to try to force – for instance, Orson Scott Card got kicked off a comics thing not too long ago because activists were trying to punish him for some things he had said… [ed: that GBLT people should be illegal, and also, being on the board of the National Organisation for Marriage, and anti-marriage-equality political action group] […]

Torgersen: More and more of the genre is becoming obsessed with making political points, making sociological points, the Hugos have become this football for activists and other people who want to make a political point. And it’s like people have forgotten about the whole point of this enterprise, which is adventure, exploration, and if there’s a message, that’s the passenger. […]

eta: There is a report going around that Mr. Correia changed his Reno, Nevada Worldcon report, editing it from a largely positive report to one that better fits the current narrative. This is untrue; there is a recent addendum, wherein he says he was intentionally leaving out the negatives, and that he was “still afraid of” “the TNH crowd,” but the body of the text has not been changed. (Current version, Mar 16, 2015 10:05:33 GMT version in Google’s cache (scroll down). This addendum is accurate as of 9:15am Cascadian/Pacific, 14 April 2015.)

eta2: Multiple people (including commenter Matthew B., below) are pointing to a later version of Mr. Wright’s comments in his Legend of Korra deleted post, wherein he asserts that the “instinctive reaction of men towards fags” is “beating them to death with axhandles and tire-irons.” Here is a screen capture; here is the blog post talking about it at Obsidian Wings. This is in neither archive.org capture, but was reported to be in a January 28, 2015 Google Cache record. This cache is no longer available; the current Google cached version is from April 9th (indicating the page changed at or around then), and the comment in that version is not the same. I am slightly hesitant about posting this because I cannot personally access the (now-expired) cache, but as several people confirmed the quote at the time (see comments at Obsidian Wings) and screencaps were posted (see links), and none of the cacheing we do have contradicts the implication of an edit on or around April 8th or 9th, prior to the whole article’s deletion, I’m going ahead. Also, I have seen almost exactly the same line delivered by a variety of religious fundamentalist sources; I accordingly find it credible.

eta3, I guess? 2015/04/29: John Ringo posted a ranty rant rant about “Understanding SJW Logic” and how it is “destroying science fiction” and ranting about his sister being “a radical gay” and so on. And then he deleted it several hours later. Sorry, John, that’s still not how the Internet works. Here’s the header:

*: This is contested. I took the phrase “Full disclosure: AISFP was included in the 2015 slate” to indicate involvement in selecting the slate, which for me, indicates pro-Puppy support, as did listening to the episode. However, commenters on Twitter have indicated they are not a pro-Puppies podcast in general; see this comment thread below for details.
 
 
eta: HELLO EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET, starting with Cory Doctorow and Seanan McGuire readers but then it kind of exploded from there!

I’m actually a geek musician most of the time, despite all these Hugo/Sad Puppies posts as of late. You can listen to our new neo-Celtic fantasy novel soundtrack album by clicking on the play gadget in the upper left. Or you can pick tracks here:

http://music.crimeandtheforcesofevil.com/album/bone-walker

Also, all of my posts on this topic can be found in my Sexism and Racism in Geek Culture masterpost, which is on the left in “Collections.” Or, you know, here.

And welcome! ^_^

eta2: Well, that’s neat – I didn’t even know this style divided comments into pages. At least there’s UI for it, way down at the bottom.

speaker two needs more work

Speaker two, out of the gate, actually sounded a little better than speaker one. Particularly the tweeter, since with some cajoling, it actually came back online with less effort than the tweeter in speaker one.

So of course I started with speaker one, because yeah, it’s do the worse case first, see what I get. And that came out pretty well. So today I’m working on speaker two, the one that had all the extra crap like fibreglass insulation inside, and start taking it apart.

I get the tweeter driver taken apart, and the foam (like in speaker one) is made pretty much out of spiderweb and motor oil at this point, and I replace it, and then I look at the driver dome diaphragm.


That’s not good

So yeah that’s not good at all. So I work on pulling it off, and it’s not easy, and in fact it’s very not easy at all in ways it should be, and I’m thinking, oh, this is not good, and then I manage to wedge it out of the driver.


oh ick


Yeaaaah, something crawled up there and died

It took a lot of work to get all of that out of the dome and also all of that out of the slot where the driver cone lives (and yeah, it was in there too), and to be honest, I’m really confused that this tweeter worked at all, much less as well as it did.

Anyway, I did all the things I did on the other speaker (rebuilt the crossover, changed the design like in speaker one, added in the new compensation circuit like in speaker one, pulled out the giant twitter rheostat, added a standard quarter-inch connector, also fixed some physical oddness in the back panel that wasn’t in speaker one), and put it all back together pending the new dome.

This is playing back the track I was using most often as a reference before. Once again, given the condition of the cone, I’m astounded it sounds this good. You can hear some of the problems the damaged cone is causing, nonetheless. This one makes it more obvious – lots of sibilance hiss that isn’t in the recording.

But yeah, that’s really most of it. Need a new part, I can order that, the rest is cosmetic. I’m going to build some mini-screens to hide those air-holes in the front, since they aren’t cosmetic; I’m not sure what to do about the outsides or the grille yet; it’ll need something. I could felt them, I suppose, but… I’m not sure. Might be fun to go all brass and stuff, why not?

a predictable? doubling down

Over the weekend, I called out Brad Torgersen for trying to play bad cop/completely psychotic cop with Vox Day as the latter, following a weird post of Torgersen’s which was half-distancing, half-ante-upping, and literally calling everyone who would vote NO AWARD over slate candidates an asshole. The problem with the distancing part is that he and Correia actively recruited Vox into the fold – but, again, see the link.

I wasn’t going to write about this today, but… I can’t not, because his follow-up appears to be some sort of fierce yet hilarious doubling-down. Honestly – and I swear I am not making this up, go read it yourself if you don’t believe me – he’s saying that if you’re against the Sad Puppies slate manipulation of the Hugo process to take control over most of the literary awards, you are a Leninist Communist.*

No, really. Here’s a screencap of the tail end of his post.


Nick Mamatas, please call your office

Also, from the same post, the Chick-fil-A corporation is apparently similarly heroic – he doesn’t use that word, but that’s what he’s saying – for daring to go, as he puts it, “off-script.” Just like he and Correia and Vox Day claim to have done. To eliminate Mr. Torgersen’s euphemism, the Chick-fil-A corporation is heroic for actively supporting and promoting, via money and corporate action, official government discrimination against LGBT people. Just like the Puppies are heroes, apparently, for rigging the Hugo Awards with a bloc slate vote.

Apparently. And critics of that are, presumably, see above.

Hey, don’t blame me, it’s his simile. Also:

Because only supporters of corporations which promote government discrimination against queers are truly Free People, just like only blocs of fans voting the same identical ballots so they can “stick it to” the “SJWs” are Free People. Apparently.

But, you know, politics had nothing to do with the Puppies. They’re just Promoting Good SF. It’s the people upset about slate blocs who are the Commies.

I’m just… wow. I mean wow. Isn’t it great, what the Puppies have brought to fandom? Wow.


*: At least one commenter disagrees, asserting that the opposition to Sad Puppies are actually Nazis. Glad to have that cleared up.

eta: Some Puppies appear to be deleting things and/or pretending things don’t exist. Too bad that’s not how the Internet works.

on brad torgersen and crocodile tears

Sad Puppy slate organiser Brad Torgersen howls against people using Vox Day against the Puppies slates, railing against the “wild wolf” Vox day, and saying anyone who would vote NO AWARD against the Puppies is a giant asshole. (And he uses that word, so I use it here.)

I’ve also had Torgersen/Correia fans come to me, saying Vox Day isn’t representative of the slate.

I have a big problem with that. Here’s why.

Correia and Torgersen brought him onboard. Actively. Here’s a pro-sad-puppies podcast talking about that decision, back in March, before the shortlist came out. Here’s Brad Torgersen in particular way back in January defending Vox Day, describing him as a “gentleman.” I didn’t have to go digging for these; I spent 30 seconds using DuckDuckGo. It’s that easy to find.

This whole Puppies thing has been a bit abstract for me. Yes, as an active target of that political wing – the anti-gay, anti-women side of it, I mean – I have strong personal feelings. But my campaign is and has been against slate voting in general, which is why I continue to feel that No Award is critical against all slate candidates.

If slates work – as, so far, they absolutely do – they will continue and multiply. The only way to prevent this is to make sure they do not work. Pending rules changes, this is our only option to stop the Hugo Awards from being slates-ad-infinitum.

But this? This obsfucation, this shuffling shifting of blame, this transference of responsibility? This makes me angry. The leadership of the campaign actively made the decision to bring in Vox Day and people like him. So it is impossible to argue Vox Day is not representative; they chose him as one.

Vox Day is inarguably viciously racist, homophobic, and really, really hates women, arguing such things as women find rape and murder attractive (and that this is objective fact, of course), and that marital rape does not exist because marriage is irrevocable consent to sex on demand. And so on – the list is endless!

And none of this – none of it – can be pretended to be any kind of surprise. The man is infamous. He is a walking, writing cartoon of the ultra-right. He was booted from SFWA after using SFWA resources to promulgate a white supremacist rant against another SFWA writer, and his ejection was one of the nebula of triggering complaints floating around when the Puppies were getting started.

In short, all of this was obvious, and they brought him in anyway, by conscious and deliberate choice. And now they’re crying when people talk about it, and pretending it isn’t their fault, and alleging that by talking about it, we’re being so unfair, that we’re “assholes,” and ruining the Hugo Awards.

The audacity is breathtaking. Go to hell, Torgersen. You made this bed. You can lie in it.


eta: A… predictable? and yet baffling? double-down by Torgersen. I mean wow.

eta2: My latest post on Hugo slate voting is over here; there’s a master post here.

we’d better all be ready to go to the business meeting

The Sad/Rabid Puppies have already moved to threats. That’s good. It gets everything right out into the open, so we all know the grounds we’re operating on here.

Specifically, if fans use their fully-legal voting rights to vote NO AWARD in any Puppy-controlled Hugo Award category – something which I strongly urge be voted in every such category – and thereby undo the 10%-of-voters gaming-of-the-system that the Puppies engineered, herr oberpuppyführer Vox Day says:

If No Award takes a fiction category, you will likely never see another award given in that category again. The sword cuts both ways, Lois. We are prepared for all eventualities.

Now, this is what I expect out of this sort of crowd, by which I mean, the sort of crowd who thinks that Naziism has more “truth” to it than, say, equality for women – and let me assure you I am not exaggerating, let me quote him for you on that:

National Socialism is not only human logic, it is considerably more logical, and truthful, than Communism, feminism, or secular Zionism. That was part of the tragedy of Germany’s descent into it. Unlike the first two ideologies, it actually functioned effectively.

But lets get back on track, and look at those numbers above. I knew the Puppies bloc – the bloc voting their slate – was a minority in fandom. It’s only yesterday that I found out how small. They’re ten percent.

Ten percent voting in a block got this motley gang of white supremacists, vicious homophobes, misogynistic GamerGate opportunists, and innocent-bystanders-slash-human-shields complete control over most of the fiction awards.

And now we’ve been told that if we don’t sit there, ignore our legal voting options, and give them the trophies that 90% of fans did not want them to have at all… they’ll destroy the awards forever, or at least try.

It reeks a bit of desperation. I don’t think they understood that NO AWARD is a real thing, and now they’re going with threats, and claims of omnipotence, at least in planning. I think the NO AWARD movement has them destabilised.

But even without that, the rules can and will be changed. It takes two years, but unless they’re going to brownshirt-up the business meetings for the next two Worldcons, those rules changes are going to happen and this is going to be stopped…

…but then again, they do say they’re prepared for all eventualities.

Maybe they’ve tipped their hand. Maybe brownshirting up the business meeting is exactly what they mean to do. Come in a bloc, ram through round one of any rule changes they might want (like getting rid of NO AWARD, perhaps?), and most importantly, block any attempt to work around their awards manipulation. That’d be real high on their agenda, given that they’ve already announced they’re going to do all this again next year.

They are all about the politics, after all.

Maybe we all better be ready to go to the business meeting. Turnout is usually small. Maybe this year, it needs to be large. Maybe it needs to be very large. I don’t know what, yet, can be done to stop slates – but something has to happen, or it will be slate vs. slate as far as the eye can see, because political parties work, whether you like it or not. And I’d prefer rules changes to diminish the effectiveness of slates to a slate-vs-slate non-solution.

So I think we have two agenda items:

  1. This year, vote NO AWARD.
  2. Come to the business meeting at Worldcon, and stay there, to make sure it sticks.

eta: The Guide to WSFS Business Meetings. Read this before the meeting!

eta2: This post has a follow-up, here.

the second turntable video: the burke-gilman troll on gramophone

We’re uploading a set of videos, about one a month, of various tracks off of Bone Walker, all being played on different players, since that seems to be a thing with turntables. This one’s “The Burke-Gilman Troll,” on a gramophone!

Video provided by The Hand of the Wolf, a fellow supervillain and fan. Thanks, Hand! The location of your secret lair is safe with us.

on buying some hugo awards, and voting NO AWARD


Boom

A lot of people reading this won’t know: there is an award called the Hugo, for science fiction and fantasy literature and fannish activities. There are also awards for movies and film, but the big ones are for the written word. It’s shaped like a rocket, with a base that changes every year.

These awards are nominated and chosen via vote, by members of the World Science Fiction Society, which mostly means Worldcon members. Voting is entirely optional. It’s also possible to join the society (via a “supporting membership”) without attending the Worldcon. That’s pretty cheap, which is important here.

The voting system is reasonably sound, overall, but it has a major vulnerability to gaming. And that vulnerability is: anyone can join the WSFS. It costs $40. If enough people do this and all nominate the same things in lockstep, then they will have all of their choices nominated.

This hasn’t been done before. Oh, there was a case in the late 1980s when the Church of Scientology had a bunch of well-scattered members all acquire memberships in order to buy L. Ron Hubbard’s Mission Earth: Volume 1 a nomination for Best Novel, but it finished behind “NO AWARD.” That’s important, and we’ll talk more about that below.

But as you can see, this is a known vulnerability. In part as a result, and in part in an attempt to maintain the integrity of the award, there has been a long-standing social agreement that people would not campaign, much less exploit the process via slates and bloc voting. This agreement has not even been implicit, but discussed and debated and regularly brought up. People brush up against it pretty regularly; there has been a lot of debate about writers such as John Scalzi and Seanan McGuire posting to their blogs about what works of theirs are eligible, and a lot of argument over whether this constitutes campaigning.

But all of that aside, it’s held up acceptably well. And the only reason it’s worked – the only reason publishing houses haven’t been breaking the system for decades – is that gaming the system isn’t economically effective. The cost needed to buy enough voting rights to capture an award’s nominations via slate voting is much greater than the added economic value of the Hugo Award(tm) label being stuck onto anything.

But political spite-voting has no interest in cost vs. reward; it’s about anger and retaliation, and people will spend anything on that. Anything.

There is a wide rightist/racist/misogynist swath within fandom. It’s led by people like Vox Day, who is, as I have discussed before, an avowed white supremacist. You might recall he was booted out of the Science Fiction Writers of America, for using SWFA resources to promulgate a racist screed against another SFWA member a couple of years ago.

These fans have become increasingly angry over the last few years as women and queers and people of colour – and works about the same – have been nominated, so they started a campaign last year to nominate a slate of acceptably-rightist and rightist-compatible works. Their justification for throwing out the social agreement has been that the wrong people are winning, therefore it’s obviously already rigged by bloc voting, despite the lack of any such evidence, by “social justice warriors”; therefore all rules are off and they can do whatever they want.

Last year, they failed. Some hoped that would be the end of it, but those hopeful people underestimated the power of spite, and this year, the same group succeeded. The “sad puppies” (or “rabid puppies”) slate captured most nominations, including two nominations for Christian supremacist and white supremacist Vox Day himself. Baen Books’s complicity in this – because hey, if you don’t have to pay for it, suddenly vote-buying does make sense – have led some to boycott the imprint.

In order to achieve their result, the Puppies engaged in a massive “voter registration campaign,” mass slate voting, and overt campaigning which included reaching out to the misogynist harassment and hate-group #GamerGate, trying to get more votes from anyone willing to “humble” and “hurt” the “social-justice warriors.” As some of the Sad Puppies have been willing to admit in great detail, it’s about the “wrong” kind of stories winning – or, even, existing.

As with GamerGate, they are now attempting to pretend this had something to do with quality of work and types of work – anything but the real issue. But with samples of now-Hugo-nominated works like this being only the beginning, few people are taking that argument seriously. They’ve also claimed that the works nominated as of late aren’t enough about SF, but that’s pretty hard to sustain when one of their fan-writing slate favourites is mostly a rightist political blog.

They also talk about reaching out to “new voters” within fandom; I’m sure those GamerGate guys are serious science-fiction readers. Totally into it.

Some fans are considering counter-slates for future years. I cannot state strongly enough: This would be a disaster. And not just because it would insure the Puppies more slate victories. To reply with counter-slates would be to enter what in foreign affairs is called a Red Queen’s Race – a continuing escalation of resource expenditure to less and less effect resulting eventually in structural collapse. (See also: wars of terrorism, current case study: Syria. But I digress.)

Fortunately, there is an alternative. Remember, above, how I mentioned that Mission Earth: Volume 1 finished behind NO AWARD?

If NO AWARD wins, no Hugo in that category is awarded. This has happened before – not since 1976, I think, but it has happened.

NO AWARD short-circuits the Red Queen’s Race. It makes all slate efforts null and void, as long as fans collectively decide not to award any award in slate-controlled categories. It burns most of one year, to save the rest. Compared to the alternative of competing political slates that reduce the value and meaning of the award to absolutely nothing on any axis – other than spite – it’s a dramatically better option.

NO AWARD is an available tool, requiring no rules changes. It’s a tool that has been used before. And it is the only answer to this situation. If the only way to win is not to play, NO AWARD is not playing.

Fortunately, you don’t have to vote NO AWARD in all categories this year. A few categories have one or more nominees which are not on the Sad Puppies slates; one is entirely Puppies-free, since they did not nominate in that category. This means no best novella; no best novelette; no best short story; no best related work; no best editor, short or long form. It’s a heavy price, but it’s the only alternative to political voting as far as the eye can see.

This is a list of nominees which did not appear in any form on the Puppies slate. When voting, vote for any of them, in whatever order you prefer. And then beneath that, vote NO AWARD, and do not put any Puppy-nominee on any ballot at all.

It’s an unfortunate thing to have to do, particularly for anyone who might have no role in this other than having been picked for the Puppy slate without cooperation. But if you want to stop this political slate-voting while it can be stopped, NO AWARD is the only option that could work. Do the math; nothing else available under current rules stops this from happening continually. To prevent slates (of any kind) from occurring, the act of slate-voting has to become utterly futile. And this is the only way to achieve that.

So to save the Hugo, WSFS members must vote, must not include any Puppies nominees, and must include NO AWARD.

I urge everyone to do so. Vote, and vote NO AWARD.

ps: You want to know the really pathetic thing? One of the Sad Puppy rallying points is their assertion that Heinlein couldn’t win a Hugo these days. They didn’t even include the new Heinlein biography in their slate, thus insuring it couldn’t win. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s hilarious.


eta: Scalzi has weighed in on the Secret Social Justice Warrior Cabal theory that the puppies use as an excuse for their slate. NO AWARD is still the only answer, but his commentary on their use of him as a scapegoat is amusing.

eta2: I missed Jim Hines’s post on this, wherein he takes apart some of the arguments made about NO AWARD somehow being cheating… while slates are just fine. Apparently. Does that make sense? No, but it doesn’t have to.

eta3: George R. R. Martin has been promising to weigh in for a while, and has; his post is worth reading, I think.

eta4: I have a follow-up post with additional thoughts regarding Vox Day’s threat to end the Hugo Awards entirely over here.

back from norwescon with a big announcement

Back from Norwescon! Here’s what opening ceremonies looked like from the orchestra pit.


It’s All Bendy

And I ran into Aang and Kyoshi, who I thought I’D NEVER SEE AGAIN AAAAAAAAAAAAA or something:


WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!

The panels I was on were really well attended, the Leannan Sidhe show I was playing went really, really well, and PDX Broadsides and Bards of a Feather made great first-time Norwescon impressions, and Saturday night was standing-room-only, but the big news for me, personally, is:

I’m stepping down from running nwcMUSIC.

This is a big deal for me; it’s been my baby, but after six years running music at Norwescon and five years building nwcMUSIC as a festival, I need to hand it to other people. I’ve built a legitimate programme here, and I’m really excited that it has momentum and all the tools are in place and everything – but it’s time for me to step down.

The position I’ve created has been, frankly, too much for one person. Certainly for non-supervillains. So there will be several far-more-manageable positions created by my departure.

There will be opportunities like Concerts Lead, Daytime Programming Lead, Publicity and Communications Lead or whatever they end up calling it, possibly a Special Events/Filkcircle Lead. There will be non-lead positions, like Concerts Second (what I’ve called “Water Fairy,” ably managed by Anna in the past), Concert Sound Engineer (replacing the most excellent Jen and John after six years), possibly Videographer (if K decides to move on as well), and so on.

It’s been very hard work, and I’m glad they’re breaking it down into more positions moving forward. It needs to be; nwcMUSIC has been personality-driven this whole time, because really, that’s how a lot of these things get going. Supervillains got FORCE OF MIND, after all. But a lot of times, that’s how these things end, too, when that personality steps away, or is killed by James Bond, or whatever. Job hazards.

But I promise this: you will not be going in unaided. I will share everything I’ve done and learned. I won’t be on the convention committee next year, but I really, really, don’t want to see nwcMUSIC go away. It’s built up into a nice community (that I want to continue to be part of, as a musician), it’s a really good educational experience for the participants, it promotes participation in your own culture, and it’s a heck of a venue for nerdy and geeky artists.

So someone – several someones – need to take my place. If no one does, it really will go away, and I don’t know anyone who wants that. So please – even if you aren’t the right person for any of these positions, cast that net wide, and pass along the news to everyone you know.

And contact Norwescon Special Events – specialevents@norwescon.org – to get involved. It’ll be a couple of months before much happens for 2016, but they’ll want a list of potential people as soon as possible. This is a big change for Norwescon, too.

I said this at the last show, but thank you again to everyone who has come and played; everyone who has come and participated; everyone who has come and been part of an audience; thanks to K Wiley, videographer, who has worked his ass off to get us livestreaming; and most of all, thanks to Jen Kilmer and John Seghers, who have been our amazing sound crew these past six years. Without them in particular, quite literally none of this could have happened.

We’ve got a hell of a thing here. Keep nwcMUSIC going. I’ll help. And contact specialevents@norwescon.org to join in, today.

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The Music

THE NEW ALBUM