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The Hugos are fine. It’s a popularity contest with a small, self-selected sample, and frankly I ignore most everything everyone says about it (except for the juicy melodrama, naturally[1]). They’re not a bad thing at all; it’s nice that people win them and I’m glad they make people happy.

But they have an outsized profile, as argued here. Frankly, I think the guy argues his point too forcefully (“Twaddle”? Please.) but then I stopped trying to drive traffic to my blog a long time ago. He’s right about the awards having a greater significance than they can really support. They’re small groups of people getting together to vote for things they like, which is 100% legit, but should that really be the basis for the most well-known spec fic award in this part of the world? [2]

Anyway, it’s worth reading down to the comments, because one of the authors the OP criticizes, Larry Correia, pops up to justify his behavior (“The smof cabal is against me!” “It’s all just self-promotion!”) and I made the mistake of following a link back to his blog.

Because as disinterested as I am in the usual award stuff, bullshit like this quote below, about Saladin Ahmed, nominated for his debut novel, is toxic:

Saladin’s a nice guy, and beloved by SMOF (we were up for the Campbell at the same time), but I’m predicting he’ll come in last, becasue this is his only book and he’s not built up a huge SMOF backer faction yet, but just having nominated a guy with an ethnic name will make the SMOFers feel all warm and tingly inside and good about themselves, so that’ll be enough for them.

(Tyops in the original)

That’s grade-A horseshit right there. However small the nominating pool was, whatever value should be placed on the Hugo itself, they nominated the man’s book because they liked the man’s book. Attributing it to “an ethnic name” is racist bullshit.

Awards! They bring out the whacky in people. Now I’ll go back to my previous policy of not talking about them.

[1] An awful lot of people hesitate to say a book is awful unless it has won/been nominated for an award.

[2] It’s obligatory for Certain People to respond to any awards criticism by saying “Oh, so the stuff YOU like didn’t make the ballot and that’s why you think everything SUCKS!” It’s an easy response. It’s the knee-jerk response. It doesn’t fit me. To be honest, I don’t think I read a single new book or story last year. Actually, scratch that: I picked up the latest Dresden Files from the library, but I wouldn’t want to give it an award. I don’t really like reading short fiction on my computer, and most of the books I read are a few years old (or more than a few). I’m not what you’d call “up to date” and I don’t worry about it. [3]

So no, this isn’t a complaint about What I Thought Should Be On The Ballot, because I have no idea what should be on there and have higher priorities when I’m reading new stuff.

[3] Also: No, I didn’t release any new work in 2012 that could have been nominated, since that typically has to be said, too.

Mirrored from Twenty Palaces. You can comment here or there.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 2nd, 2013 01:52 pm (UTC)
Nodding. Your first graph says it all.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 02:58 pm (UTC)
Heh. Note to self: Shorten posts.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 03:26 pm (UTC)
No, no aspersions. I should have said, your first graph sums up my own feelings on the subject.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 03:36 pm (UTC)
I didn't think you were making aspersions. I was just making a dumb joke.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 03:54 pm (UTC)
Me. Caffeine. Need.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 02:36 pm (UTC)
Correia writes fun action stuff, but his blog is full of the crazy. Not Tom Kratman levels of right wing nuttery, but definitely noticeable amounts...
Apr. 2nd, 2013 03:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I visited his blog once before and found objectively dumb political stuff there. The thing is, that sort of blogging, where you identify strongly with a certain subset of people and act as though you're being victimized, can bring in a pretty sizable readership. "Us vs. Them" is a powerful way to build a community, even if it's based on a fantasy.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 02:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not impressed with this year's Best Novel nominees, even Throne. And Correia is a little, uh, opinionated.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 03:07 pm (UTC)
I haven't read them. I haven't even seen the "short form" shows. I have seen two of the nominated movies, though.

Correia seems like the type who lives in a impenetrable bubble.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 04:39 pm (UTC)
While I really doubt anyone's "ethnic name" is significant, some people do vote for awards for stupid reasons. When I won a Hugo in 1988, one guy came up to me at Worldcon to congratulate me and told me that he'd voted for my story -- not because it was the best, but because he hadn't read any of the short story nominees and mine had the best title.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 06:25 pm (UTC)
Sure. Individuals will vote for someone for all sorts of reasons: Because they like them personally, because they believe an earlier and better work was unfairly passed over, because they want to promote a particular genre.

However, as a group I think they vote for the things they love, and those oddball voters are the outliers.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 06:55 pm (UTC)
The smof cabal is against me!

even in fandom we have the soc's and the jox, clicks and imagined social groupings. Readers vs non readers.. or Readers Of One Author.. whatever.

I would think that the Smurf Cabal would be more threatening.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 07:26 pm (UTC)
The thing is, fomenting an "Us vs Them" drama on your blog is a powerful way to build a fervent community.

"Those elitists are against me and they have nothing but scorn for the things you like!"

"RAR! Don't let them get you down! You're the greatest! We want to give you money!"

It doesn't even matter how ridiculous it is. The sympathy response is powerful.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 07:54 pm (UTC)
everybody scorns what I like, but once I unleash my Garden Gnome Army upon them, they will be sorry!
Apr. 3rd, 2013 12:41 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link.

I think the best comment, by far, is from Renay at Lady Business, about why people with multiple nominations should think about recusing themselves:

"The argument that something or someone can appear three, five, or ten times, because they’re doing quality work really isn’t the point. The point is that we build ourselves and our community up by making room for new voices, that challenge and urge us to keep producing quality work. This includes making room for them in an award that still has a lot of cultural capital. It means taking risks, setting aside ego, and learning from the people around us. It means recognizing that every year those of us who have had a space on the ballot, winning or otherwise, have the ability to make space for someone else and grow the community and the range of voices and ideas, by spreading the relevancy of the award to people who have their own cultures and communities elsewhere."
Apr. 3rd, 2013 01:07 am (UTC)
That's a nice point. I know it's happened at least once, with someone who kept winning a graphic novel award, but how many writers are so self-sacrificing?
Apr. 3rd, 2013 06:12 pm (UTC)
>>>how many writers are so self-sacrificing?

Not enough of them :-)
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )