SAD PUPPIES: visual numbers, and who gets to be a ‘real’ fan?

ALERT: Larry Correia is doing a terrific Book Bomb for the SAD PUPPIES 3 novella nominees! Please go check out Larry’s page and support John C. Wright, Arlan Andrews, and Tom Kratman’s work! These are quality writers who deserve to be recognized, but they deserve to be read and enjoyed more.

Now . . .

A friend recently posed an interesting question: how do the attendance numbers for Worldcon compare, year to year? Accurate stats are a little difficult to come by. But thanks to the magic of Wikipedia there are some approximate stats, going all the way back to the inception of the convention. So let’s take a look at them in visual form, starting with a snapshot of totals for all Worldcon conventions, both U.S. and international:

That graph is pretty saw-toothed, mostly because international Worldcons tend to draw fewer attendees than U.S. Worldcons, with the outlier being Loncon 3, which (in 2014) had over 10,000 memberships. That was also the same year (not coincidentally?) that SAD PUPPIES 2 strongly encouraged fans of all stripes (who’d not previously been involved with Hugo award voting) to get involved. Thus there can be something of a disparity between memberships (which anyone can buy) and attendance, which is sometimes lower.

So, let’s look at another graph reflecting only U.S. Worldcon attendance without SAD PUPPIES putting its collective paw on the scale:

Still somewhat saw-toothed, but notice that the left half of the graph still reflects the relatively low numbers typified by Worldcon overall. This was because from the 1950s through the early 1970s, Science Fiction (and Fantasy) were still a fairly “closed” and combined field. The typical trajectory for most writers was to come up through the pages of the magazines, then do books. And the total number of books being printed was fairly small compared to what it was by 1985. Likewise, the total number of teenagers and adults who readily identified as SF/F fans was relatively small, compared to what it was by 1985. So Worldcon attendance was modest.

But look at what happened from about 1985 onward:

The blue portion of the graph is Worldcon. The orange portion is San Diego Comic Con. Note that San Diego Comic Con also began life with relatively low attendance numbers, which roughly matched those of Worldcon, right up until the middle of the 1980s. At which point things began to change drastically.

Now, it’s a truism that correlation does not mean causation. But I want to reiterate some things which I’ve been saying in this blog space since at least 2009, and which I’ve been repeating again since SAD PUPPIES 3 kicked off earlier this year.

1) Star Wars changed everything. Kris Rusch noted this ten years ago. Star Wars was the first mainstream fiction franchise to not only put SF/F on the international movie-making map as a source for blockbusters, it also gave birth to legions of enthusiasts all between the ages of 6 and 30. Suddenly, SF/F wasn’t just that dorky thing a few of the highschool kids and some dippy Star Trek fans did in their garages anymore. Star Wars was everywhere. It was omnipresent. Talked about at the office water tower, as well as in the gym locker rooms. Jocks could now be counted as fans. Businessmen. House wives. Fifth graders. You name it, people were excited about these movies, and they weren’t afraid to show it.

2) Once Star Wars altered the movie-making map, other franchises followed suit. Star Trek was revived on both the large and small screens. Indiana Jones successfully translated the pulp tradition for a contemporary 1980s audience. Close Encounters of the Third Kind gave us a non-B.E.M. iteration of the classic alien visitation tale. And studios began making SF/F an integral part of their yearly production plans. Because these movies were raking in the cash, while also raking in the audience. Terminator and Terminator 2 being two very notable examples. But they weren’t the only ones. The 1980s and 1990s saw hundreds of SF/F films and television shows hit the big and small screens. Spawning hundreds of millions of fans world-wide.

3) But these new fans weren’t “fans” according to the old guard who held court yearly at Worldcon. For “fandom” all of SF/F could still be contained within the literary tradition. There were obligatory nods to the motion picture and television industry, but “fandom” itself still carried on with a conversation largely internal to itself, while the explosively expanding body of total fans became truly enormous. No longer was the enterprise of SF/F contained strictly within a specific tradition, nor a specific mode, more even a specific group of cross-talking individuals. SF/F went “big” and it never looked back. If SF/F was once a garage-time activity, it went to Hollywood, took over the popular imagination, and remade the popular social landscape in its own image. All while “fandom” preferred to keep things small.

4) For fans (general) one of the new, prominent national gatherings, was San Diego Comic Con. If once SDCC had been a smallish affair similar to Worldcon, it eventually rose to become the preeminent popular expose for all things SF/F, with special emphasis on comics, movies, television, and gaming properties. Movie stars eventually began making regular appearances at SDCC, as part of promotional junkets put on by studios. SDCC therefore came to reflect — more than any other con — the successful subsuming of mainstream culture by SF/F culture, such that a runaway synergy occurred. No longer could the two things be said to be separate or distinct: SF/F culture, and mainstream culture. Not with the list of top-grossing films of all time being dominated at length by SF/F franchises. Likewise, not with SF/F books and television enjoying so much lucrative appeal.

So here we are in 2015, and everybody is a fan in some way. They have either a favorite movie or series of movies they like. Perhaps a game, or series of games? Maybe there is a television program they enjoy? And in each instance, the property in question is explicitly SF/F. You literally can’t take SF/F out of mainstream culture. By the same token, you cannot take mainstream culture out of SF/F.

Much to the chagrin of “fandom” which has (unfortunately) preferred to keep itself small. Inclusion comes with a bit of a price: you have to adopt the look, the lingo, the historical knowledge, and the prejudices of “fandom” before someone who is a fan gets to be someone who is a Fan. And there is huge resentment on the part of “fandom” if a group of people who are not properly acculturated to “fandom” come tromping through the Worldcon door; either literally, or digitally (in the form of Hugo nominations and votes.)

It is perhaps inevitable that SF/F “fandom” reacts with confusion or hostility, to people who don’t display the correct social markers, taste, and mindset. But as one fan put it so well recently, the days when “fandom” could be the arbiter of who is and is not a FAN, are gone. Dead. Done. There is no gate any more. There are no walls. The ghetto has been razed and paved over to make way for a Cineplex 16. Some fans enjoy and roll with the change. A bullish SF/F market has also meant the diversification and expansion of “flavors” from which to pick. But other “fans” dislike this open-market phenomenon, preferring to keep the trappings of the “small” era, while selectively choosing which aspects of the “big” era to adopt.

One such aspect being the enormous new push for SF/F that devotes time to pondering racism and ethnicity problems, gender and sexuality problems, and the doctrines of academic complaint, as typified by gender studies, racial studies, and certain strains of socialist economic theory. Likewise, climate change has become a favorite point of focus, to include a fair amount of dystopian and Cautionary Tale fiction.

The only problem with this being that many of the fans (big) who have continued to be enthusiastic about the BIG market, have lost interest in the literary scene. If they came to the table for the spaceships, laser blasters, and photon torpedoes in the 1970s and 1980s, they have gradually walked away from the (often) morally ambiguous, socially-conscious books and stories that began to achieve preeminence at the end of the 1990s. You could still find rousing space opera, as well as plausible “nuts and bolts” hard science fiction. But the number of stories and books devoted to social issues (especially the “subvervise” type which tend to take sidelong swipes at Western cultural traditions, and especially U.S. standards and social conventions) grew dramatically.

Pretty soon, the BIG market began to distrust the very thing it had once found reliable. SF/F in print was missing the mark, with a growing percentage of people.

So, as of 2014, we’ve witnessed yet another contraction of the traditional publishing sales numbers, for SF/F. Some of which can be attributed to e-sales altering the marketing landscape. Some of which can also be attributed to consumers having a much wider array of entertainment options than they did in the 1950s and 1960s, when SF/F movies and television tended to struggle (for matters of production value, scripting, and special effects technology) and video games did not yet exist.

But the evidence is clear. Fans have been disappointed. Both of the articles I previously linked above, talked about this. As well as the wall-building attitudes of those who seem to think that keeping “fandom” a matter of inside-baseball — and expecting outsiders to conform to “inside” attitudes, social mores, knowledge, conventions of thinking, and so forth — is a net positive. So, while “fandom” works overtime to prove its inclusivity (affirmative action for the sake of gender, ethnicity, and sexuality issues) “fandom” is still very much an exclusive operation: because if you’re not the right kind of fan, you don’t really get to be a “fan” you see.

And no, that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either.

I came of age being a FAN of things like Robotech and the original Battlestar Galactica. For several years, my SF/F reading was almost exlusively Star Trek tie-in novels. Some of which remain among the best SF I think I’ve ever read; thank you, A.C. Crispin and Diane Duane! I fell in love with the original SF/F of people like Stephen R. Donaldson, Orson Scott Card, Chris Bunch & Allan Cole, and W. Michael Gear. I got the writing bug while reading Larry Niven, and typing away at scripts for a little home-spun space opera serial airing on a local community radio station. I am not “of fandom” but I absolutely and without reservation claim the right to be a FAN, dammit. And if you try to tell me (or anyone else) we don’t belong . . . I hate it for you, bro. I’m up there with the orange people, where the genre and the industry lives. The blue people don’t “own” this field, nor are they the sole arbiters of what is quality, or worth noticing.

SPECIAL NOTE: and for that too-big-for-his-britches writer who seemed to be bragging about being out of contracts with TOR, while also telling us he’s too good for BAEN, but BAEN would throw him a contract anyway because he’s just that awesome, but he’d turn it down because BAEN can’t pay him what he thinks he’s worth . . . dude, don’t flatter yourself. Better men than you have gone to Toni Weisskopf (hat in hand) and said (like Ripley from Aliens) “Is there anything I can do?” Toni’s reply will be like Apone’s: well I d’know, is there anything you can do?? BAEN hasn’t been waiting breathlessly for your arrival on the BAEN doorstep. I am not sure anyone else has been waiting breathlessly, either.

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58 thoughts on “SAD PUPPIES: visual numbers, and who gets to be a ‘real’ fan?

  1. Perhaps I’m being snarky, but Mr. Too-big-for-his-britches would likely see a LOT of zeroes. But no other digits. I know of indie authors who tried for YEARS to get into Baen, with better sales than T-B-F-H-B, and still didn’t get a contract. Toni knows what sells, and what doesn’t. . . .

  2. I began to realize that something was rotten in the state of fandom when Bush the Younger proposed Mars missions and the response from the natural constituency for such a thing could have been written by William Proxmire. It’ll cost too much and there’s too much needing to be fixed here. They put politics ahead of making the dream real.

  3. For Pete’s sake, Brad, get a grip on yourself. Judging by this post, you’re so spun up that one more RPM and you’re going to blow up. Some other thoughts in stream-of-consciousness order:

    1) Assuming Sad Puppies had anything to do with Loncon is dangerous. I signed up for Loncon the year before, specifically because it was in London and I could get a tax write-off for a week’s vacation in Merrie Olde England. There were a lot of non-writer Americans who I talked to at the con who came specifically to see London and other parts of Europe.

    2) People have been whining about who’s a fan since 1939. Not only were people kicked out of the first Worldcon because they were handing out communist literature, but the next year’s con went to Philly because of a fan-ish pissing contest.

    3) I’m sure the advent of discount airlines and the idea of flying to San Diego when school was out of session had nothing to do with Comicon’s success. /sarcasm/

    4) Of those 10,000 who came to Loncon, only 3,000 voted, and only half of that number actually voted a full ballot. My takeaway is that, much like other elections, some people don’t care enough to vote.

    5) I know several Star Wars / Star Trek fans – coworkers of mine. They don’t buy SF books because they don’t read SF. They just watch it.

    6) obligatory nods to the motion picture and television industry which started in 1966.

    7) too-big-for-his-britches writer who seemed to be bragging about being out of contracts with TOR, while also telling us he’s too good for BAEN, but BAEN would throw him a contract anyway because he’s just that awesome – and this is why I think you need to check your blood pressure. Normal people read that as “I make around $100,000 a book [a fact he’s shared] and anybody who wants to hire me needs to show me that much money.”

    And if you don’t think a company that hires card-carrying Socialist Eric Flint as an editor wouldn’t hire Scalzi if they thought they’d make money, let me tell you about the bridge I’ve got for sale in Brooklyn.

  4. Chris, trad pub advances are pretty much crashing across the board. Any writer expecting a $100,000.00 US advance (upon arrival at a new house) — especially if (s)he has merely sauntered in the door and does not have anything specific prepared for pitching — is probably in for a rude surprise.

    I know writers who’ve made seven figures (at one point) in this field, and they’re watching their advances shrink dramatically. These are people with bigger name cachet and greater track records. Honestly, I suspect too-big-for-his-britches would be just enough of a dick to play the negotiation game with BAEN, then flounce and brag about it. Hell, that’s basically what he already did anyway: brag about how Baen would lick his shoes just for showing up at their door, at which point he’d walk away because BAEN’s not good enough for him.

    Most writers have some degree of ego.

    Not all writers hang their ego out of their pants like too-big-for-his-britches.

  5. Any writer expecting a $100,000.00 US advance where, exactly, sir, did I say “six figure advance?” I said, “Scalzi makes X per book and needs to be shown a path to make X.”

    I know writers who’ve made seven figures (at one point) as undoubtedly does the 3-time President of the Science Fiction Writers of America. Although I only know what Scalzi tells the general public of his finances, I suspect he is not at that point in his career.

    Honestly, I suspect too-big-for-his-britches would be just enough of a dick I don’t know what level of acquaintance you have with the man. Based on my personal interactions with him, I suspect you’re wrong. In any event, this petty and personal name-calling would be better done at the bar than on the Internet.

    Which cycles back to my original point – please get a grip on yourself. Running around screaming “they’re out to get me!” is a hell of a way to go through live.

  6. “Which cycles back to my original point – please get a grip on yourself. Running around screaming “they’re out to get me!” is a hell of a way to go through live.”

    Mr Gerrib, are you the same Gerrib who from time to time sends message to my blog without being able to express yourself in a clear and logical fashion? It seems you are, because here you are making the same informal logical fallacy which was his one and sole argumentative technique displayed on comments to my journal:

    It is a strawman argument to pretend that Mr Torgersen is running, or screaming, or has lost his grip, when what he has presented is evidence, numbers and charts, facts and figures, that you have not attempted to refute.

    Please understand that if you play pretend in your imagination in your head that someone has said something he did not say, and if you then refute that play-pretend imagination, you have not refuted him. Real life is defined as what does not change or go away merely because you wish it.

    If elementary logic is too hard for you, do not venture your opinions in the arena.

  7. @Chris Gerrib:

    Don’t know if you follow fares, but last summer I could have flown from Dulles to Gatwick for less, round-trip, than a ticket to San Diego. But that’s irrelevant anyway, you see the same thing at DragonCon, Salt Lake Comicon, or any of a significant number of non-fannish cons. And even in the 1980s, commercial “Creation” cons were usually significantly larger than those run by Fen.

    My point ? The cons run by Fanac are SIGNIFICANTLY smaller than other cons. Telling me, at least, that there’s a segment of fandom, a large one, that could, frankly, care less about Worldcon: it’s simply not relevant any more.

    Those of us in the, for lack of better words, “Sad Puppies” movement, WANT to make the Hugos relevant to ALL of fandom, Not just “traditional” fandom, which is aging rapidly. I had a friend at LonCon3: he noted far more mobility carts than kids. That, of and by itself, tells a story that does NOT have a happy ending.

    Oh, and Mr. Too-big-for-his-britches ?? If he doesn’t have a contract for his next work after his in-progress work, that’s not a good sign. And Toni has a nose for what sells, and what doesn’t. THAT will make the decision as to whether he gets many zeroes. . .a few zeroes. . . or NO zeroes. . . .

  8. Mr. Wright – yes I am the same Gerrib whom you called a dickless wonder on your site. (Your inability to Google or click a link continues to amaze me. I mean, if I was Joe Smith I could see some confusion, but any “Gerrib” on the Internet is me or a close relative.)

    You, and to a certain degree our host, seem completely tone-deaf. When somebody starts pontificating about a “too big for his britches” writer, accusing the pontificator of being over-excited is merely to note the obvious.

    I did refute, with facts and evidence, specific claims of our host that were wrong. It is factually wrong, for example, to say arguing about who’s a fan or politics in SF are new phenomenons. Both those examples go back to the very birth of fandom.

    The first logical fallacy here is Torgersen’s assertion that the people who attend a comic book convention give a flying wazit about what makes a good science fiction novel. Now, some do – Seanan McGuire, perennial Hugo nominee, routinely attends Comic Con. Other examples undoubtedly exist. But there are undoubtedly large numbers of those attending who simply don’t read non-graphic SF, or don’t read SF full stop, or who only care about tie-ins to a particular show or movie. And again, since only a third of last year’s Hugo attendees could be bothered to vote on the top line of the ballot, assuming that vast numbers of Comic Con attendees really care enough to weigh in is a stretch.

    The second logical fallacy is one that the various Puppies have been arguing since their inception; namely the idea that their favored works did not win because of the politics of the authors, or the related fallacy that only works which “preach” a certain social message in lieu of story win. No, the reason said works did not win is because of the collective tastes of the voters in the year in which the vote was taken, when forced to pick between five choices.

    I don’t think you could get a piece of paper between my politics and Scalzi’s, yet I did not nominate Redshirts for a Hugo and voted it third on my ballot. The year Scalzi won, two women and one minority got beat. Brandon Sanderson won the novella, beating out three women and one (very publicly) dying man. A pod-cast chock-full of last year’s Sad Puppies names (Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells and Howard Tayler) won Best Related. If you can see political bias in that, I suggest an eye exam is in order.

  9. where, exactly, sir, did I say “six figure advance?” I said, “Scalzi makes X per book and needs to be shown a path to make X.”

    One sec . . .

    Normal people read that as “I make around $100,000 a book [a fact he’s shared] and anybody who wants to hire me needs to show me that much money.”

    “Show me that much money” means BAEN would have to present him with a contract offering $100,000.00 US in advance. Since you (as publisher) cannot promise any degree of royalties for a book, regardless of how much the author may or may not be a crowd-pleaser. In other words, too-big-for-his-britches would want (at minimum) $100,000.00 US out of any publisher upon whose door he knocked.

    Which, come to think of it, might explain why TBFHB is not contracted with TOR beyond a certain point. TOR has been lowering its advances just like everyone else. A sinking tide lowers all boats. Even TBFHB’s. If he’s demanding $100,000.00 US per book, TOR may not be willing to give that to him. So he either capitulates, and signs for less up front, or he walks back to self-publishing where he started. Which might make him more money anyway. He’s certainly got the platform to sustain himself in that arena. Unless his sales figures tell him he might not do so great flying solo.

    Ah, the publishing business. So unlike almost any other.

    I like Baen’s model. But then, I’ve said so before.

  10. The cons run by Fanac are SIGNIFICANTLY smaller than other cons. Don’t you think that’s because Comic Cons are ran by full-time professionals who get paid to get as many people in the door as possible? If we hired a firm to run the Worldcon and told them they got paid on a cut of the gate, we too could have 100,000+ people at a Worldcon.

    But we don’t. We have people who volunteer to run the thing in their copious free time from their day jobs. (I know conrunners like Helen Montgomery and Steven Silver – they’re lucky to get a free dinner out of running a con.) So, no, we’re not going to get those kinds of numbers.

    I was also at Loncon. No, there were not more mobility scooters than kids. And not all the mobility-impaired in attendance were old people.

  11. Brad- remind me to not ask you for a sandwich and step on it. (Not a fan of shoe-prints on my sandwich.)

    Which, come to think of it, might explain why TBFHB is not contracted with TOR beyond a certain point. You know, if you start from the assumption somebody is bad, even the most innocent statement can be taken as Proof Of Evil (dramatic music!) More likely, the reason he’s not under contract is that he signed a contract for X number of books, and having delivered X, the contract has expired. (Contract do expire, a fact I’m dealing with in my day job right now.)

  12. The first logical fallacy here is Torgersen’s assertion that the people who attend a comic book convention give a flying wazit about what makes a good science fiction novel.

    Funny, I have attended Salt Lake ComicCon since its inception and noticed that the panels on writing are very nearly full–I have, in fact, missed out on some of them because I didn’t line up soon enough. I mean, it’s almost like those hundred thousand attendees might have eclectic tastes or something!

    Or maybe SLC is just more literary-oriented than other places.

  13. I used to give TBFHB the benefit of the doubt. I didn’t reach a hasty conclusion. But having seen the sly and sometimes subtle ways in which he will backhandedly disrespect my friends, my editors, my publishers, etc., I’ve come to conclude that the man’s simply got too much ego for his own good. Enough so that even people on his side of the ideological fence have confessed to being less than thrilled with him. I pretty much don’t interact with him any more. Nor do I seek to make the magic djinnis of Google or Twitter alert him to the fact that he’s being discussed. There was once a time when I thought you simply had to get along with this guy, to have a career in the field. Thankfully, that has proven to be unnecessary. Which doesn’t mean he can’t get my back up when he swipes at my publisher, or a friend like Larry. It just means I don’t feed the ego any more than the ego is already being fed.

    Now . . .

    A publishing contract generally specifies the following:

    1 – the parties involved.
    2 – the title and scope of the work involved.
    3 – the rights being exchanged, and for how long.
    4 – the money being exchanged, with a specific quantity.
    5 – much quibbling about secondary and ancillary rights.
    6 – a bit of language about how the publisher gets exclusive look at your next book.

    There can be more (or less) but that’s the basics. So you’re absolutely correct, contracts can and do expire. In some cases, the clauses focus on “out of print” as the expiration trigger, with all rights reverting to the author. But with the way publishing has changed, “out of print” has become a tenuous or even meaningless phrase. So now it’s a matter or arbitrary statements on time. Many new authors will find there is no time limit on a book contract. It’s good forever. And if you want your rights back, you can politely ask (and probably get them) or legally demand (and enjoy a protracted court battle.)

    The way I read TBFHB’s statement from yesterday is that TOR has either a) not offered him any more contracts or b) offered him contracts which he’s either sitting on, or has turned down. Knowing the degree to which Patrick Nielsen-Hayden likes and boosts TBFHB it would somewhat shock me if TOR and TBFHB don’t reach some kind of compromise. But then again, business is business. Money has severed good relationships before. It will do so again.

  14. The problem with Chris Gerrib’s first claimed logical fallacy is his attempt to disqualify science fiction fans because they aren’t interested in the proper medium, adult SFF tradprint novels. After all, a comic book collection might just have interest in the graphic novel and short form/long form categories, for instance. Sad Puppies has repeatedly said that the self-selecting crowd that votes for the Hugos does not encompass all of those interested in the genre, regardless of media. Worse for him, Chris seems to be making our points for us, that the Hugos has a relevancy problem and to fix that, we need to bring in a wider audience with wider tastes than the self-selecting voters, by pointing out that a significant majority of the Loncon crowd didn’t bother to vote. But his response? Disqualify people that have no interest in a specific medium when science fiction is no longer confined to novels? We’re trying to take the razor off of SFF’s throat, not cut it.

  15. The Chris Gerrib I’ve met in person is logical, insightful and informative.

    The Chris Gerrib I see online is illogical, hyperbolic and makes inadvertent racist statements.

    I must conclude they are not the same person.

    I gave up going to WorldCon. It’s a waste of time. I would pay a bunch of money, do some panels, find very few parties, and a year or two later, after they did the books, they’d send me a check to comp my badge. It’s supposedly THE place to schmooze for business. This has not been my experience.

    DragonCon gives me a badge, a guest of guest badge, two kid badges, access to a green room with a free bar. I walk in and it’s a 24/5 party. Ten minutes after arriving at my first one, a Well Known Author shouts at me as I pass across the smoking deck on my way to the Hyatt. “Hey, Mike! I need a story from you for an anthology. Got a moment?”

    I have scored a contract every year I’ve been at D*C.

    A couple of years back, we did simulcast panels with WorldCon. Everyone there was dressed in shirts and sports jackets. Everyone at our end was in T shirts or costumes. D*C provided the AV, and a quick glance at the panelists showed that the “Sharing” was so WorldCon could have enough known authors to have the panel. The next year, three of the WC guests were down at D*C.

    And has anyone from Hwood ever shown up at WC to get the most coveted award in SF for the Short or Long Dramatic Presentation?

    Because D*C gets craptons of actors, producers, directors, and in fact has bigger literary panels than WC.

    WC is a convention that used to matter. I pay so little attention I didn’t even remember until last week that I have nomable stories for the Hugos. And I’ve read much better fanfic than some of the recent winners…some of which were in fact fanfic.

  16. Gerrib,

    As to Comic Con vs. Worldcon, I think you’ve missed seeing the forest for the trees. A flat line for Worldcon and a sharp mountain for Comic Con merely shows (in visual form) what’s happened to the field as a whole. This isn’t the jalopy genre that puttered out onto the street in 1939, and rode the digests for the next 30 years. It’s gone “big,” and while movies and television and comics and games understand “big” the SF/F publishing industry (and “fandom” especially) have struggled. The audience can’t find what it used to find in the field. The audience will (as often as not) get something it specifically does not want. You do that often enough, you will lose your crowd. A bit like someone going to Coldplay concerts, and getting Conway Twitty covers. You give your audience Conway Twitty covers often enough, if they want Coldplay, no matter how good you think you are, you’re going to be playing to a house that becomes more and more empty over time.

  17. Gerrib is in denial.

    The Nebula awards were emcee’d by a woman dressed like a man who has auctioned off kangaroo scrotums and knitted uteruses at the feminist SFF convention WisCon.

    Best Novel’s main star were gender pronouns written by an intersectional ideologically and aggressively hostile towards straight white men she paints as immoral racists and sexists in her non-fiction writings.

    Best Novella was an alternate history where straight white men and the West get their comeuppance at the hands of noble PoC and history is racially reversed. It is a liberal postcolonial racial revenge fantasy.

    Best Novelette was an anti-Western postcolonialist story written by an author noted for her anti-white comments and quoted assertion that “aliens in SFF started out as the equivalent of POC natives in a colonial narrative frame” – that “escapism is geared to white patriarchy.”

    Best Short Story is dinosaur fuckery by an author endemically if not insanely hostile towards straight white men.

    Best Screen Presentation is a heroic woman.

    Best YA fiction is a intersectionalist noted for her anti-white comments and quoted assertion that the main theme of Golden Age SF “is going to a foreign culture and colonizing it.”

    Guest of Honor is a PoC gay guy who’s written comments supportive of NAMBLA.

    Two members of Nebula Weekend Tweet how no white men won an award.

    I could show the same trend at last year’s Hugos.

    Somehow, in Gerrib’s world, that’s just random stuff. In my world that’s called “same page,” and to a disturbing extent. Even more disturbing is how this racist supremacist cult prides itself on anti-racism and anti-supremacy. They are the most unenlightened crew to have ever assembled into a group in a century of genre SFF. The proof’s in the pudding. Where’s their Ray Bradbury, Jack Vance or Lovecraft? It’s mom and pop mainstream conformism further diluted by an addiction to Clarion workshops. The entire affair may as well be dedicated to destroying art, cuz that is in effect what it all adds up to. Morons don’t make art and trying to pie-chart it only guarantees even more morons. If I shove a bunch of Japanese and Norwegian Samba artists onto a “Best of Samba” CD you can scratch one “Best of…” Make that a multiplier of the stupid if the Japanese and Norwegians only listen to Top 40 Samba. Mix even more stupid in if the only ones allowed all have to believe in Chariots of the Gods Gender Aliens. That’s what produces “If You Were Ant-Eater, My Love, You’d Suck Up All Fun Into a Gender Feminist Vacuum Cleaner of Perpetual Whining and Loud Noises.”

  18. For those keeping score, over 57% of those expressions are from a specifically politicized gay ideology, all but one a lesbian ideology. Lesbians are otherwise 2% of any group. With the exception of Gravity and possibly Delany, it’s 100% intersectional ideology. That is not an accidental demographic, but one that was connived at. In 100 years of SFF, one cannot point to a similar ideological collusion to maintain the supremacy and centrality of men, whites and heterosexuals, though that is exactly the charge these morons make every single day. The self-reinforcing fallacy is that if these fem-nuts feel they have been discriminated against, whether real or not, they are not going to play fair ball. That’s where we sit today: anti-bigotry bigotry – payback and revenge. There is no other motivation for Kowal to be Tweeting no white men won an award only minutes after the close of ceremonies. Were I wrong, she would’ve been Tweeting about the stories, not the race and sex – the white patriarachy – she feels has colluded against her.

  19. Brad are you good ng to worldcon and sitting on panels ? If not, its hard to take your posts seriously. If you want more fans that like your books to go then authors they like need to attend. If your not going then you his is just a publiciry stunt.

    I voted for the chaplains legacy in the top spot at last years hugos. It was bery good.

  20. Pingback: SAD PUPPIES: visual numbers, and who gets to be a ‘real’ fan? - Todd DeanTodd Dean

  21. And has anyone from Hwood ever shown up at WC to get the most coveted award in SF for the Short or Long Dramatic Presentation?

    The Game of Thrones people have been 100% consistent about having someone present, Mike. Otherwise, not so much.

  22. @ Guess: I rather suspect Brad made no plans to attend Worldcon. Until a relatively short time ago, he was going to be deployed with the Army to West Africa, on the Ebola mission, as I recall. And he still may be deploying somewhere.

    Brad writes of the Warrior’s trade, because he IS one. . .

  23. ‘Disqualify people that have no interest in a specific medium when science fiction is no longer confined to novels? We’re trying to take the razor off of SFF’s throat, not cut it.’

    Exactly. It’s evident that a kind of Stockholm syndrome is affecting a certain segment of the author, publisher, and fan population which makes them conflate stories with books.

  24. I started reading SF in Junior High in the late ’60s. I devoured every SF book in the Casnovia, MI library. Which was small, poor, and filled with really, really old stuff from decades before. I loved SF because it was adventures this boy found cool. Gimme Doc Smith and H. Beam Piper! The moon shots on TV helped, too. BUT I quit reading SF because I started running into too much socially conscious stuff like Alas Babylon and worse. I gave up on the genre for almost a decade until I found Jerry Pournelle writing the stuff I liked and I started reading more and more. Until I started running into too much social conscious stuff. Last year I had a friend get a story in one of the “years best” anthologies. After I finished “Murder on the Aldrin Express” I had the bad fortune to NOT put away the rest of the anthology unread, because what the editor thought was “best” is exactly the kind of kultursmog that turned me off SF earlier. Sorry, SF brahmins, i can’t trust you with my time. I wanted Lucky Charms and instead of marshmallows you mixed in rabbit raisins.

  25. I grew up in SoCal and live in San Diego due to my job(U.S. Navy) and if you haven’t seen the madness that is ComicCon or Blizzcon down here you would be amazed. I grew up with SciFi and Fantasy fans who loved badass movies like Terminator, Aliens, Star Wars, Conan etc. People that love LoTR, Dune, Wheel of Time. The same people have no freeking clue what a Hugo is or what Worldcon means. I consider myself a heavy reader and I had no idea until this year. To be honest the whole thing seems like a dorky fest with less excitement than a librarian convention.

    Funny, Im a fan that came to Fantasy through watching Arnold movies, Conan and Total Recall specifically. From there I discovered D&D and got heavily into reading. The same people that are Worldcon types think Conan is racist sexist tripe that should be erased from lit history.

  26. Psh, Conan *is* racist and sexist… I mean, a swarthy menace (even swarthier than Larry Correia!) rampages through the lands whilst women varying in station from queens to buccaneers swoon for his manly manliness.

    Which is why it’s awesome. I’m fairly certain that half of the tropes and terminology used in modern low fantasy were either popularized or created by Howard.

  27. Michael – why is it illogical to point out that a for-profit event ran by professionals who get compensated based on tickets sold will have more attendees than an event ran by volunteers? Comparing the two events is like wondering why the college lacrosse team doesn’t have as many spectators as the college football team.

    (For the record, I actively vote against Worldcons that occur on the same weekend as Dragon*Con. I don’t have anything against D*C – I just see it as an entirely different animal.)

    James May – why are the Nebula Awards relevant in a discussion of the Hugo Awards? Where’s their Ray Bradbury, Jack Vance or Lovecraft? – They’re dead, Jim. Unless we want to be like Westerns and keep handing awards to Zombie Zane Grey, somebody else will get an award.

    socially conscious stuff like Alas Babylon which was published in 1959.

    I’m not disqualifying people who don’t read novels. I’m asking, if we can only get a 3rd of people who attend a con about novels to vote, why do we think we’ll get vast quantities of people who don’t read novels to vote on them?

    Here’s the bottom line – Brad is making an assumption that people who go to Comic Cons would also go to Worldcons but don’t because they’re not seeing the SF they want to see. There’s no real proof of that, just an assertion. Brad and the Sad Puppies are also making an assumption that the Hugos are important, else this whole hoopla matters not. Arguing that “Comic Con is where it’s at” somewhat defeats that assumption.

  28. “Arguing that “Comic Con is where it’s at” somewhat defeats that assumption.”

    No, it doesn’t. It supports the idea that the Worldcon crowd is a backwater of science fiction fandom and that the Hugo does more to enhance Worldcon’s prestige than the other way around. And in a time where print runs have been shrinking when science fiction in film and games have been exploding, the fact that print somehow can’t seem to capture the rising tide of the genre should be telling.

    “Where’s their Ray Bradbury, Jack Vance or Lovecraft? – They’re dead, Jim. Unless we want to be like Westerns and keep handing awards to Zombie Zane Grey, somebody else will get an award.”

    Please tell me you didn’t just write that. Talk about missing the mark. We’re not asking for the Old Masters or people to write endlessly in pastiches of the Old Masters (like Scalzi does), we’re asking for current writers to become the New Masters. In other words, perhaps the Hugos aren’t capturing the best science fiction after all. (In the Fan categories, this is true. I see more insightful commentary and stunning fan art hidden in online forums than from the nominees of the past couple of years.)

    “I’m not disqualifying people who don’t read novels. I’m asking, if we can only get a 3rd of people who attend a con about novels to vote, why do we think we’ll get vast quantities of people who don’t read novels to vote on them?”

    You have to raise the profile of the award. And when the award becomes synonymous with unenjoyable dreck not worth buying, maybe making the same type of nominees year after year in the same old way and expecting different results is more a sign of stupidity than a healthy award. And right now, the only reform movement is Sad Puppies.

  29. Gerrib,

    No, I am afraid you’re still not reading my point correctly. I never claimed Comic Con fans would go to Worldcon if only Worldcon would give them a reason. I used Comic Con in contrast to Worldcon to illustrate the divide between “big” fandom and “little” fandom. A division that “big” is oblivious to, and “little” actively fosters and protects. Because “little” still pretends that it gets to decide (for “little” and “big” alike) which SF/F works are worthy of recognition. Maybe if the Hugos were younger and had less history behind them, they’d not be worth the time and trouble. But the Hugos are a fixture in the field which I (and many others) believe are worth salvaging. Just because they’ve fallen to a place of relative irrelevance, doesn’t mean that have to stay there. The road back to relevance begins with the Hugos reflecting the tastes of a wider selection base. Thus SAD PUPPIES.

  30. A division that “big” is oblivious to, and “little” actively fosters and protects. No, “little” does not actively foster and protect. “Little” would give significant proportions of their reproductive organs* to get half the crowd that D*C does. Little can’t because the people running the event have day jobs. There are other structural obstacles, such as not being in the same city on the same weekend every year.

    Because “little” still pretends that it gets to decide (for “little” and “big” alike) which SF/F works are worthy of recognition. There’s absolutely nothing stopping D*C from having their own awards. They don’t, perhaps (I speculate) because the for-profit entity that owns it doesn’t care about awards. Perhaps they really only care about cheeks in seats.

    Hugos reflecting the tastes of a wider selection base. which cycles back to the original point – the Hugo selection base is anybody who can be arsed to vote. I’m all for increasing that number, as are the conrunners.

    We’re not for being insulted by being declared as “frauds” voting for stuff merely to check off a racial box. We’re not for people buying a ticket to vote to vote for stuff they haven’t read. We’re not for people nominating that lousy story by Vox Day just to get people mad. We’re not for people getting pissy every time somebody says “let’s keep an eye out for minority and women authors, and not let them get lost in the shuffle.” (We think you should consider women and minority authors just like you consider Sad Puppies authors.)

    * trying to keep it clean here, but the military types know what I was expressing.

  31. “We’re not for being insulted by being declared as “frauds” voting for stuff merely to check off a racial box. We’re not for people buying a ticket to vote to vote for stuff they haven’t read. We’re not for people nominating that lousy story by Vox Day just to get people mad. We’re not for people getting pissy every time somebody says “let’s keep an eye out for minority and women authors, and not let them get lost in the shuffle.” (We think you should consider women and minority authors just like you consider Sad Puppies authors.)”

    The awards have an image problem, but you chose to fight it in a way that doubles down on the image problem. Worse, by complaining about the (allegedly) vile slanders your side “suffers,” you commit the same vile slanders upon your opponents. That’s why I previously thought your were nothing more than a Clampsian troll.

    That said, if you want the respect that you want for your views, let’s start with this. Stop insulting our intelligence. Stop insulting our integrity. Stop thinking we vote for stuff we haven’t read. Stop thinking we vote out of spite. (I pushed the VD story because I thought it was good. And, while we can argue about taste, at least it was SFF, which is more than last year’s short story category could say.) Stop thinking that we’re misogynists, fascists, or whatever -ist people use to shout down others’ opinions. Stop trying to take away our voices. Stop thinking that the concerns of a small cadre of activists are the concerns of the greater fandom. Stop kneejerking when people say that the awards have problems. And, please, for the love of God or man or whatever deity or lack thereof you might cherish, stop crowing about inclusivity when your words and actions reek of excluding people. We are not the unwashed other, the barbarian at the gates. We’re science fiction fans, same as you.

  32. Dragon Con has several awards that it gives every year — though none are as prestigious as the Hugo.

  33. Stop trying to take away our voices. Nobody is trying to take away your voices. We are using our voices to criticize what you’ve said.

    Stop thinking that the concerns of a small cadre of activists are the concerns of the greater fandom. We don’t – these are my concerns, and I am a fan.

    Stop kneejerking when people say that the awards have problems. When people assert the awards have problems largely on the basis of “my stuff didn’t win!” what exactly am I supposed to do? Hand you a lollipop?

    Stop thinking that we’re misogynists, fascists, or whatever -ist people use to shout down others’ opinions. When somebody says on their blog “women shouldn’t be allowed to vote” or “blacks can’t run a modern civilization” calling them misogynist or racist isn’t “shouting down their opinion” it’s “accurately labeling their opinion.” (I refer to Vox Day here, not Our Host.)

  34. Why is the Nebulas relevant in a discussion of the Hugos? Why is the KKK relevant in a discussion of neo-Nazis? Same fish, same lake. The level of cis-whiteophobia among these morons over precisely nothing has created an entire sub-genre of SF (-less) literature and a new stable of worthless writers pushed to the front in exact proportion to who can whine the loudest about “white cis-gendered, straight men.” How many more Tweets do I have to read from this bunch about the noble truth to power anti-white racist web site MedievalPOC which maintains racist whites across centuries have all tacitly agreed to erase PoC from European history while ideological SJWs routinely wipe PoCs from European colonization and slavery? “Truth to lying” is more like it. Are you so daffy you didn’t notice Kameron Hurley packed off two Hugos telling a pack of historic bullshit about “erasure”? Did she forget the part where her darling radical feminists occupied the offices of Ladies Home Journal during the (trigger warning) Vietnam War instead of the draft board?

    My question about Lovecraft, Bradbury and Vance had nothing to do with old, it had to do with unique, eccentric and amazing talents. Where is the talent from this new school of affirmative action diversity darling cis-whiteophobes?

    I mean, have you read Laura Mixon’s new Requires Hate piece? Once again over 100 million white straight men take it on the chin by virtue of sheer paranoia and group defamation. Then she links us to another site which comments on RH and recommends “marginalized” authors. Of the 23 names I recognized 18 are feral anti-white racial bigots. That’s amazing!! How does one get that stupid, especially committed “anti-racists?” How much do you have to push around the English language, logic and reality itself to make that 18 NOT be racial bigots? The quotes from that group could fill a truck. Meanwhile 100 million white guys become women-hating racists by default. They have no names, no quoted insults, just the entire frickin’ race in America. That’s the wife of the president of the SFWA and he’s fully on board with this nonsense. And you somehow think that doesn’t translate into awards, even in the face of segregated and racial revenge anthologies currently all the rage? And which is the sole group NOT doing that? Oh, yeah, the cis-gendered heteronormative white male racists. I guess they just forgot to arrange themselves into “safer-spaces” cuz they’re sitting “higher on the privilege slopes,” as Mixon puts it.

    Why are social justice warriors always going on about racism – is it jealousy? Why do SJWs in the U.K. always go on about the English Defense League? The British Science Fiction Assoc. just nominated short stories from The Book Smugglers and Requires Hates, each of which in principle is the EDL.

    My favorite quote from Mixon is “Here’s the thing. Our community doesn’t kick people out. Ever. People can decide to leave… It’s a salient trait of our community to be tolerant.”

    Pwaah hahahahahahahahah!!!!

    So this amazing new school of SF writers you support doesn’t know the difference between something as amazingly simple to determine as racism and I’m supposed to be impressed – not only with the sheer amount of hateful garbage that comes from the crew – but their powers of hyper-perception compared to “reactionary” dirtbag right-wing cis-dinosaurs? What in seventeen hells are you people thinking about? When did the SFWA become a KKK that complains about the KKK? When did SF become this childishly stupid?

    By contrast, Santa NAMBLAs big complaint about racism is A.) Isaac Asimov told him an off-color joke at the Nebulas he got a standing ovation at. B.) James Blish publicly referring to him as a “merry negro. C.) John Campbell telling him he couldn’t market a black character. D.) Being lumped in with other black writers at conventions. That’s it – that’s the totality of Delany’s rumpus he pompously titled “Racism and Science Fiction” from 1998 which he topped off by his pathetic invocation of George Schuyler’s 1931 Black No More: Being an Account of the Strange and Wonderful Workings of Science in the Land of the Free, A. D. 1933–1940, a novel and author which, in SF terms, are nothing from nowhere. In other words Delany took 10 orders of magnitude less abuse than white authors have taken just from recent Nebula and Hugo nominees. I don’t have to dig among the stacks to find racially defamatory works like Scalzi’s cis-sandwich about white privilege. If he wrote that blood libel about Jews he’d have the Anti-Defamation League all over his ass.

    Are you starting to sense a pattern here? It never stops, not for one day. And this feral racism is shoved in our faces at awards time and we’re supposed to avert out eyes and apologize for the East India Company and phantom assaults in SFF on gays, women and PoC. Forget it. I’m not having it. I’m pushing back. Your award-nominated authors across the board of SF’s institutions are nothing more than a KKK. Save your nonsense about “let’s keep an eye out for minority and women authors, and not let them get lost in the shuffle”; it’s far worse than that. What you call “minority” and “women” are in fact a group of bigots and radical feminists, not doe-eyed innocents saying they just want to play too.

  35. @Chris Gerrib

    Chris, I did a few click-throughs looking at your profiles, and while it’s clear you’ve got a passion for sci-fi and also have a few works published, I didn’t see anything that indicates you’ve got much experience in the way of working at conventions (I expect you’ve been to many, likely both as an author guest and as an attendee). Working at cons and going to cons are very different experiences.

    I’ve been volunteering at conventions for about a decade now, from very big comic cons to small local cons, to very genre specific cons, and even one world-level con (although not WorldCon specifically). Not wanting to tarnish or boost the reputations of any one convention, I’d prefer to keep them nameless, but I find most of what you’re saying about “big” vs “little” conventions, in my experience, to be demonstrably untrue.

    Here are a few examples:
    At a “little” local convention: I was on the programming team, in charge of media tracks, and dutifully went to the programming meetings every month. No programming decisions ever got made at those meetings. I would come prepared with a list of panel ideas and potential media room screenings to each meeting, with pros and cons, and would spend the hour listening to the programming chair and his assistant go on a diatribe about how the convention wasn’t liberal enough and how the populous of the Red State we live in didn’t ‘get’ sci-fi, and we needed to get more leftist in our programming. One particular rant was about how there weren’t enough panels about sex in sci-fi (both as in male vs female as well as the act itself).

    This same convention, because of some of the same attitudes Brad is discussing (in this case literary vs movies/tv) actively drove away some major movie and TV fan clubs (each club was bringing around 50-100 attendees each time), including the local chapter of the 501st.

    At another local convention: The first few years this convention ran, the con chair was doing his best to be inclusive, find something to be a draw to all the local fan clubs, make a nice variety of programming available, and this con grew quite rapidly. Then the year after he stepped down due to burnout, the new con chair wanted to do this his way, not caring about the fans– he actively insulted several of them on their fan websites, caused a lot of contention in the con-com, which made a lot of the volunteers quit, and turned it from an inclusive ‘something for everyone’ con into ‘what I want to see’, and that was the last year that con ever happened.

    At a long-running regional con: There was a lot of contention between the regional long-term (and very left-leaning, and made no secret of their political leanings) members, and the local con-com in the red state the convention was going to be at that year. The left-leaning crew, out of nothing more than political dislike, actively sabotaged the efforts of several of those on the local committee (including an acquaintance of mine who’s a big name in the local film industry), forcing several of them to resign from the convention committee because they were unable to get anything done.

    At the comic con I volunteer with: I’m not in the upper echelons, but I work directly under two of the people who are, and I know for a fact those two do not get paid a dime for their ridiculous hours of work they put in. There are some paid positions, but they are few, and this particular comic con puts their profits back into getting bigger name guests, and into helping the local community (a lot of underprivileged kids get into this comic con for free, for instance). They also have the attitude of being inclusive and having something for everyone. Which isn’t to say they haven’t had their own problems with contention in the ranks of the con-com or volunteers, but they work those out in the interests of making the convention as fun and welcoming as they can, not trying to push a particular political agenda.

    At the World-level con I worked: This con was, by my standards, pitifully small, drawing in something like 4 or 500 attendees. This con actively discouraged cosplay, didn’t have any sort of media tracks at all, and basically was just about the literary aspect. And yet the committee in charge was complimenting the local crew for one of the best conventions they’ve had in years, and they’re making plans to come back to the area again. When you’re best year is less than 500 people in attendance you’re doing it wrong.

    Compare this to a local con I’ve worked that is very genre-specific (steampunk, in this case). This convention on its first year (I didn’t volunteer with them that first year; I heard about this after the fact when I did get involved) had the same attendance as the world-level con I worked for it’s 1 day event its first year, and has grown to have more than 1000 attendees at its second event. When I volunteered for that one, the con chair interviewed me personally to determine my qualifications and emphasized that the focus of the con was for people to have a good time. The panel discussions and activities were broad in scope and varied, and there was something for everyone. They were inclusive.

    From my personal experience, Chris, everything you’re saying about big vs little cons is incorrect. Most of the comic con people I’ve worked with have regular day jobs, just like those at the little cons. Most of the “big” cons are big because they’re being inclusive of everyone and most of the “little” cons are little because they’re actively excluding fans by focusing on a political agenda, a literary-only agenda, or similar agenda pushing. And most of what I hear from the “Sad Puppies” proponents is an accurate assessment of the way conventions are going. You’d be amazed at the number of times I hear people complain that the local “SMOF”- and “fen”-run conventions (both terms turn me off because of the implied exclusivity loaded into them) are shrinking because of the commercial cons out to make money instead of catering to the fans, when the reason the small “fen”-run cons are shrinking is because they aren’t catering to the modern fans, they’re catering to the insular SMOF and fen crowd who are, as Brad rightly points out, out of touch with modern fandom, while the big events like the various comic cons and Dragon*Con are in touch with that fandom.

    WorldCon is, I fear, in the exclusive category, not the inclusive one. I’ve certainly never had an urge to attend a WorldCon, particularly when my money can go to a convention I know I’ll have a good time at because there are things there I want to see. Looking at the programming for WorldCon, there’s very little to attract my interest, and I could look at the programming list for any comic con you care to name and I’ll find plenty that I would enjoy doing. Now, granted, I’m just one person, but when a “big” con pulls in tens of thousands and a “little” con (or even WorldCon) pulls in a few hundred to a few thousand, clearly the big con is doing something right to attract fans that the little con isn’t. Instead of claiming it’s about the money, maybe it’s worth listening to what Brad and the others are saying about certain groups of fans being excluded (whether it’s a case of politics or literary vs film media or something else is, perhaps, debatable, but the exclusion itself is clear), because from my experience, they’re spot on.

  36. And Delany mysteriously forgot this: – gay, out and black – he was published in 1962 when he was 20 and received Nebula Awards when he was 24 and 25. In other words he was immediately accepted and honored. In fact, starting at age 24 with his sixth published novel, Delany won the second and third Nebula Awards ever given for best novel, and was nominated for the 11th and 12th awards presented for best novel in Nebula history. Delany was also nominated for the 1st and 4th Nebulas ever presented for best novella, won the 5th award ever presented for best novelette, and polished that off with having two nominations in the same year for the third award ever presented for best short story, one being the winner. At that same time Delany got three consecutive Hugo nominations for best novel in ’67, ’68 and ’69, nominations for the first and second Hugos ever given for best novella, and a nomination and win for best short story in ’68 and ’70. That hardly jibes with a career that has “been strangled at birth,” and neither does N.K. Jemisin’s.

    Jemisin’s first novel was nominated for a Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Award and she had a short story nominated for a Hugo and Nebula that same year. Her second novel was nominated for a Nebula Award. Her third novel was nominated for Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. Given that Jemisin’s a writer, her grasp on what her phrase “strangled at birth” means is non-existent and her assertion imaginary.

    The purposeful exclusion of non-whites, women and gay people from SFF is an urban myth. The truth was they simply weren’t there. When they appeared Ursula K. Le Guin was published as soon as she started writing SF in the early ’60s and novels published in 1969 and 1974 each won both Hugo and Nebula Awards. Joanna Russ was gay and out and her SF was published when she was 22, in 1959. She won a Nebula in 1972 and a Hugo in 1982.

  37. Chris, look in the mirror. Every complaint and response to my list you’ve mentioned can be turned on you and yours without resorting to hyperbole.

    “Nobody is trying to take away your voices.”

    Baloney. That’s the entire point of labeling as misogynists, as facists, as sheep who don’t have the integrity to read what they nominate. Disqualify the opinion and disqualify the person so they don’t matter to the conversation. Few Sad Puppies critics have tried to indulge in anything but that.

    “When people assert the awards have problems largely on the basis of “my stuff didn’t win!”

    When people point out that the tastes of a self-selecting minority don’t line up with the market and have been heavily politicized towards the interests of that minority, asserting that the opposition is on the basis of “my stuff didn’t win” is not only dismissive and inaccurate, it feeds directly into that “Taking away voices” complaint.

    “Stop thinking that we’re misogynists, fascists, or whatever -ist people use to shout down others’ opinions.”

    I’m not Vox Day. Your complaint is with him. Now, if you want to make the argument that his beliefs (or, more likely, the beliefs of Straw Vox) somehow delegitimize Sad Puppies, James May has made a hobby of documenting the crazy and the extreme of the people who have contributed to the current Hugo state and last year’s various non-Sad Puppies controversies. The genetic fallacy deligegitimizes both sides. Of course, it is a fallacy and shouldn’t be a consideration.

    Look, I get what you are saying. See the anti-Sad Puppies as humans and as fans. That is what I’m saying they need to do towards us. I believe the two of us might agree that there needs to be a deescalation of rhetoric. However, your response to me was along the line of “but you guys really really are all the bad things we say you are.” So why do you expect us to compromise when all we hear is that our concerns are unjustified, that we are bad people who think bad things, and that we should just run along and go play, preferably in traffic? What I will say is that if you want a belief in good faith from us to you, you must be willing to reciprocate. And I have yet to see that from your side.

  38. Julaire – all I can say is what I’ve personally seen in Chicago-based cons, the smallest of which (Duckon, which just folded) was 1,000 attendees. I’ve named people personally known by me, both of whom were on the Loncon committee.

  39. Gerrib said: the Hugo selection base is anybody who can be arsed to vote. I’m all for increasing that number, as are the conrunners.

    Then for the love of God and little green apples, the conrunners need to stop screeching “THE HUNS ARE COMING” when those numbers are increased by “the wrong kinds of fans.”

    When somebody says on their blog “women shouldn’t be allowed to vote” or “blacks can’t run a modern civilization” calling them misogynist or racist isn’t “shouting down their opinion” it’s “accurately labeling their opinion.” (I refer to Vox Day here, not Our Host.)

    Vox Day is his own person and speaks for no one but himself. But it seems typical of one side of this debate to paint anyone who enjoys his writing as someone who walks in lockstep with his personal views and to paint the entire Sad Puppies movement with a Vox-colored brush. Since turnabout is fair play, I guess it would be perfectly fine to label someone who enjoys Delaney’s works as a NAMBLA supporter?

  40. Julie – the only person I’ve labeled as a racist was Vox Day. The allegation was that I was falsely labeling somebody.

    the conrunners need to stop screeching “THE HUNS ARE COMING” – they’re not. They’re laughing at you. They’re laughing because you’re storming the door as if it was locked but in reality they’re holding the door open.

  41. So how on earth are you figuring out what Loncon’s number of voters would have been without the Sad Puppies? I’ve been estimating the Sad Puppies effect on the Hugo voting as being somewhere between 161 (the number of votes for OVE) and 332 (the number of votes for WB (as show in the 2014 Hugo Statistics pdf.)) If you subtract that from 10K you don’t get 6K. Don’t tell me you are assuming that 3,500 Sad Puppies bought WorldCon memberships and *then didn’t bother to vote!* So where does that come from?

    Also, I read Scalzi’s piece, and nowhere did he say he was too good for Baen, and nowhere did he say Baen couldn’t afford him (though it’s news to me that you find an author referring to his earning status as objectionable–you never seem to have a problem with Correia doing it.)

    What he said is that the business runs on money, publishers care about selling books, and not about politics, and thus that Tor would be happy to publish Ringo or Baen would be happy to publish him, if either of them made a move in that direction.

    Which as far as I can see is both what the Sad Puppies claim to want, and what actually exists. But you can always ask Ringo to try for a contract with Tor and report back to you on whether they turn him down.

  42. You are one funny guy. If we can agree – in the year 2015 mind you – on a neutral definition of the word “racist,” I’ve got 50 for you on your side of the slate. This isn’t a question of Huns coming but of cis-gendered white men, the medieval Devil in your stinking soup. Stop pretending you’re accurately able to label anyone as anything. Like all SJWs, you wouldn’t know the word “racist” if it were tattooed on your hind end and you walked naked into a hall of mirrors. In short, if racism is what you’re against, you’re on the wrong side, and then some. I’ve already laid out a case for exactly that which would stand up in any forum using courtroom-style rules of evidence. On your side you have one guy you multiply into an army all of SFF must organize and respond to and also allegations of other people with zero quotes.

    In SFF, exactly who is it who is marginalizing women, gays and non-whites with sheer bigotry and hatred, because I’ll tell you this: in an unprecedented run of research from within the SFF community, I can’t find them.

    Quotes please, and using a dictionary, not Dworkian “principles” of women, gays and PoC are never wrong, case closed. Unless you think the word “defamation” in GLAAD and the Anti-Defamation League is a mindless whim of gossipy old fishwives, I have the proofs SJWs simply deny and hope they’ll go away. Group defamation is NOT based on a particular race and gender and it is itself defamation to say so. Let’s end this semantic gibberish and call a spade a spade.

  43. Cat: I said, “Let’s take the range of years in which SAD PUPPIES did not have a collective paw on the scale.” I didn’t say SP was responsible for 3,500 memberships. Much less votes. If you’re going to try to ding me for reading comprehension, or claim I put words into the mouths of others, look to your own house first. As for TBFHB, he’s taken swipes at BAEN before. His initial statement was that Baen would rustle him up a contract merely because he expressed interest in doing business. Better (and more successful) writers than TBFHB have gone to Ms. Weisskopf’s desk, and been forced to show proof of concept. Or at least present her with a project that she can feel genuinely excited about. TBFHB seems to think Toni would wet herself with glee merely because TBFHB decided to go slumming at BAEN; a publisher he has cleverly disdained in the past. I think TBFHB would find it a much harder thing to accomplish than he thinks. But it won’t happen, because TBFHB was merely doing rhetorical walzing for the purpose of stating BAEN is too cheap to afford his grandiose self. I understand that Patrick Nielsen-Hayden has worked hard to build TBFHB into a house commodity who can carry TOR. I suspect even Patrick has struggled in this regard, though TBFHB is always one to believe too much of his own press. It’s just that there isn’t enough there there. I suspect Toni is well aware of this. Which is why TBFHB would have to present her with an absolute knockout concept (and stick the execution!) otherwise Toni’s going to yawn and say, “Next!”

  44. Why soft soap this. Scalzi wrote a post called “The Orthodox Church of Heinlein” and put Baen squarely in its sites.

    He characterized Miss Weisskopf’s rhetoric as an exemplar of “passive-aggressive fannish xenophobia, in which the frothing distrust of people who aren’t just like you is couched in language designed to give the appearance of being reasonable until you squint at it closely…”

    Keep in mind that’s from the font of SJW wisdom that promotes the cries of people who don’t like SFF cuz it doesn’t show people just like themselves. If there is any fetish for an SF author it wouldn’t be Heinlein, who deserved his title of “The Dean of Science Fiction,” but the “Orthodox Church of Octavia Butler” worship, since it is based on nothing more than race and sex, and not art. That’s a One True Cross, not Heinlein. Without Heinlein there is no SF as we know it today. Without Butler not a leaf has stirred. Crush that butterfly and all is as before.

  45. “Kratman” and “quality” should not be used in the same sentence.

  46. Someone said: A division that “big” is oblivious to, and “little” actively fosters and protects.

    Gerrib replied: No, “little” does not actively foster and protect. “Little” would give significant proportions of their reproductive organs* to get half the crowd that D*C does.

    Pascal suggests: We’re human. We get to express our lives as paradoxes. The “little” would love to be big, but they also want badly to be “little”. I’ve been on the concom of our little con and real discussions about capping growth happen (and are approved wholeheartedly). Only partly because we have day jobs, but also because the people involved value the character of what “little” is. They value knowing everyone by name. They value the coziness of this yearly tradition. Cons *are* inclusive, but at the same time are the definition of “secret-handshake” type in-groups.

    I’ve been on the end of this question of trying to figure out how to make new people feel like they fit in. There’s a particular deer-in-the-headlights look in the eyes of first time con-goers. They’ve stepped into an alien culture. No matter how welcoming that culture, it’s still alien. And it wants to remain that way because it really does want to remain *itself*.

  47. “Better (and more successful) writers than TBFHB have gone to Ms. Weisskopf’s desk, and been forced to show proof of concept.”

    I’m pretty sure that if the concept were (arguendo) a piece of bad Lost in Space fanfic entitled (arguendo) Pink Blouses that the interview would not last very long.

  48. Brad:
    I think TBFHB would find it a much harder thing to accomplish than he thinks. But it won’t happen, because TBFHB was merely doing rhetorical walzing for the purpose of stating BAEN is too cheap to afford his grandiose self.

    You may or may not be right about John Scalzi being over-confident about his chances of getting published with the pay rates he is talking about. However, you are not addressing Scalzi’s main point, which was that publishers are businesses and that they are interested in profit, not politics.

    His assertion seems to be true. Tor publishes John C. Wright and Baen publishes Eric Flint (whatever people say about the publishers supposedly left and right-wing biases).

  49. @ Steve Poling says: “Gimme Doc Smith and H. Beam Piper!”
    QX and clear ether!
    Needless to say, I agree.

  50. @chris gerrib:
    Stop trying to take away our voices. Nobody is trying to take away your voices. We are using our voices to criticize what you’ve said.

    Bullshit on stilts.

    When a prominent authoress suggests that we *all* should not read books by straight white males for a year, that’s trying to take away our voices. When two prominent authoresses crow about the exclusion of men from the Nebula awards, that’s trying to take away our voices.

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