Hugo Nomination Reactions or Why the Fuck is this Controversial?

Odd. I’d have thought that this year’s Hugo shortlist was pretty much uncontroversial. I mean, we have a healthy representation of women and writers of colour, most of the nominations went to works and writers that are popular or at least talked about, there are very few “What the Fuck?” nominees compared with other years (e.g. last year’s nominees included a filk CD and a Hugo acceptance speech from the previous year). Sure, there still are issues, particularly with certain categories, but there always are issues.

Which is why I was surprised to find that this year’s Hugo slate is apparently considered highly controversial in certain corners of the SFF community.

The opening volley was fired by Justin Landon at Staffer’s Book Reviews who asks if we can stop talking about the Hugos now and then proceeds to make a lengthy post about the Hugo awards and why they are irrelevant and incestous. Now Justin Landon actually makes a few good points, e.g. that the fanzine category is problematic, since it privileges print fanzines over online SFF sites and that always the same handful of fanzines get nominated, probably because print fanzines in general are dying out. And there clearly are biases among Hugo voters. For example, an urban fantasy novel, no matter how good, will never get nominated for the Hugos or any SFF genre award, not even when written by Seanan McGuire (note how she gets nominated for her zombie tales rather than for her urban fantasy), while a certain sort of very dull hard SF by male writers gets nominated almost by default and John Scalzi could probably get nominated for his shopping list at this point.

However, it’s not John Scalzi or Kim Stanley Robinson whom Justin Landon singles out as unworthy Hugo nominees (he actually thinks Robinson’s 2312 is the only truly worthy nominee), but Lois McMaster Bujold and Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant and he’s rather rude about it, too (and I don’t even like the Mira Grant books). Basically, he is enraged that Lois McMaster Bujold has won as many Hugos as Robert Heinlein, when the two of them shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence, let alone placed on the same level. I actually agree with that point, since Lois McMaster Bujold is lightyears better than the grossly overrated Heinlein. He also believes that Seanan McGuire only got five nominations because she managed to leverage her fanbase to vote for her and thus skew the nominations. Oh yes, and he says that she’s no Ursula LeGuin and compares her to soap opera star Susan Lucci while he’s at it. Given the low standing of soap operas in the SFF community (though there are indications that there is something of an overlap between soap opera and SFF fandom – for more read my upcoming linguistics paper), this is doubly insulting.

Now it’s telling that Justin Landon only singles out the two female nominees in the best novel category for criticism, even though he doesn’t seem to like John Scalzi’s Redshirts either. Oh yes, and he complains that Livejournal fandom (which is heavily female dominated) has skewed the nominations and that Doctor Who is consistently popular (again, many modern Who fans are women). Now I don’t actually think that Justin Landon has a problem with women in SFF, especially since he suggests two books by women, Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear and The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin, as replacements. And indeed either book would have been a good choice and I would prefer them both to the Mira Grant zombie novel or 2312. He also states that he would like to see Liz Bourke and Kameron Hurley in the fan writer category, another point I agree with. Nonetheless, the fact that Justin Landon is condescending towards the two female nominees he does not agree with, but not towards the male nominee he does not agree with (Scalzi, since he actually seems to like 2312 and Throne of the Crescent Moon), leaves a bad taste in my mouth and also obscures what good points Justin Landon makes, namely pointing out the issues with the best fanwriter category.

To be fair to Justin Landon, it’s not just the women he singles out for criticism. No, he also complains about Larry Correia mounting an aggressive campaign to get himself nominated, a complaint which would have been valid, except that Larry Correia is nowhere in sight on the Hugo shortlist (He was nominated for the Campbell award a few years ago and lost out to Lev Grossman and was not very gracious about it), though some of the people he recommended are (who may well have gotten there without Correia’s help). In fact, I strongly suspect that Justin Landon has a serious problem with urban fantasy – the subgenre to which both Seanan McGuire’s and Larry Correia’s work belong in the widest sense – as well as with SF that privileges character development over ideas and technology (Lois McMaster Bujold, Doctor Who and Redshirts belong into that category – also, they are not serious). Which is his personal preference, but guess what? My tastes don’t necessarily match the Hugo voters’ either (nor Justin Landon’s). But then I’ve long given up on the illusion that the Hugos or Nebulas necessarily truly represent the best the genre has to offer.

Aiden Moher largely echoes Justin Landon’s complaints, though he at least managed to be less condescending about it. Though I honestly wonder why so many people seem to dislike Seanan McGuire. Now Seanan McGuire did say something in an interview about a year ago that I found incredibly problematic, but the SFF community at large did not pick up on that at all, so I guess I was the only one bothered. Nor does she strike me as particularly in your face about self-promoting – John Scalzi is a lot more blatant IMO. So really, why the dislike for Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant? Could it be because she’s a) a woman and b) writes urban fantasy?

Yeah, I guess I just answered my own question.

Adam Callaway also agrees that the Hugos are broken and that a new award, SFF’s equivalent to the Booker or Pulitzer, should be established. However, unlike Justin Landon and Aidan Moher, he doesn’t put down individual writers and offers constructive criticism instead.

Larry Correia, very vocal author of the Monster Hunter series, comes from a completely different political direction than Justin Landon and yet his criticism of this year’s Hugo nominations sounds eerily like Landon’s, though Correia saves his condescension for John Scalzi, Jay Lake and Kim Stanley Robinson. Wait a minute, an avowed rightwinger like Larry Correia condescends only to white men, albeit white men of the political left, whereas Justin Landon, who probably is nowhere near Correia politically, condescends to women? Wow, the world is really messed up.

Larry Correia also repeats something that I’ve frequently heard from SFF writers on the right of the US political spectrum (Sarah Hoyt is another example), namely that those nasty leftists in traditional publishing and among the SMOFs (which means Secret Masters of Fandom, for those who were as baffled by the acronym as me) are keeping them down and keeping them and the works they like from getting awards and getting published anywhere except at Baen and that they are indeed out to ruin SFF by turning it into politically correct grey goo. Now there may be a grain of truth to those complaints – though last I checked Orson Scott Card was still in print and he’s not being published by Baen and Lois McMaster Bujold keeps getting nominated for Hugos in spite of being published by Baen. And there’s definitely an anti-Mormon and anti-Southern bias in the American SFF community, which frequently annoys me, particularly when directed at writers who have done nothing to deserve it such as Stephenie Meyer or Brandon Sanderson. However, those posts inevitably construct ridiculous straw Communists which apparently dominate publishing and SFF fandom in the US (folks, you’ve never seen a Communist, because they’re pretty damn rare in the US – I can only think of two explicit Communists in the SFF community and neither of them are mainstream figures), which renders the critiques useless, even if they make a few good points now and then.

A Seattle based musician named Vixy responds to Justin Landon and points out that hey, things are changing and the genre is getting more diverse, as evidenced by the Hugo shortlist. And if the genre isn’t changing into a direction that Justin Landon can approve of, then that’s his problem, not the genre’s. Vixy also criticizes Landon’s condescending tone, particularly towards women writers.

At the World SF blog, Lavie Tidhar responds to Justin Landon and points out that the Hugo namination slate is getting more diverse, which is a good thing, whether you agree with those particular nominees or not. Lavie Tidhar also takes up a discussion that came up in the comments to Justin Landon’s post – the fact that Hugo voting is restricted to WorldCon members (or those willing to shell out fifty dollars for the privilege) and that WorldCon is overwhelmingly held in North America, which makes attendance very difficult for SFF fans in other parts of the world. This is a point I agree with, especially since WorldCon is hardly ever held in Europe (approx. once every ten years) and mostly in Britain at that. Next year’s WorldCon will be held in London, a city that’s bloody expensive. Still not sure if I’ll be going (and attending non-European WorldCons is out of the question for me for health and money reasons), though if I don’t I probably won’t get another chance for ten years. And mind you, I am a pretty damn privileged as a white western woman from a visa-waiver EU country. An Asian, African or Latin American fan is in a much worse situation.

Jim Hines, last year’s winner of the best fan writer Hugo, actually preempts the sort of outraged reactions by Justin Landon and Aidan Moher and writes a parody of them. The most shocking thing about this is how eerily similar Jim’s parody was to the actual “The Hugos are broken – the books I like did not get nominated” posts that popped up a few days later.

Cheryl Morgan highlights the various women nominated for Hugos at For Books’ Sake. At her own blog, she also gives some background on the situation in the short story category, where there are only three nominated stories this year rather than the usual five. Plus, she calls a certain genre commentator “wrong as usual”, which I read with a certain amount of glee, because I’ve had my share of disagreements with that person. Not naming the person, because to name them is to summon them.

Meanwhile, Robert Jackson Bennett attempts to categorize awards according to who gets to vote for them. This is one of the least biased posts in this debate, if only because Robert Jackson Bennett doesn’t personally have a horse in this race nor does he particularly care.

At The King of Elfland’s Second Cousin, Chris Gerwel offers a brief summary of the discussion and attempts to define what the Hugos are good for. It’s another thoughtful post by Chris. Honestly, if we want to see some new names in the fan writer category next year (and I think we all do – no offense to the repeat nominees), Chris Gerwel should be one of them.

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61 Responses to Hugo Nomination Reactions or Why the Fuck is this Controversial?

  1. Andrea says:

    I have to agree that there was a touch of “urban fantasy cooties” (with a side order of YA cooties) floating around some of the reactions. [Not to mention that the Bujold/Heinlein disparagement was an excellent way to ensure losing this reader to your argument.]

    There’s so much talk about how the Hugos are “broken”, when it seems to boil down to “the Hugos are nominated by a relatively small amount of people, who like books that I don’t like”.

    • Andrea says:

      Er , by ‘your argument’, I mean ‘his argument’.

    • Cora says:

      It’s a pity that he had to marr those parts of his argument that are actually good with the disparagement of Bujold and Seanan McGuire. And yes, both urban fantasy and YA have cooties, as far as Hugo voters are concerned, though one of the Harry Potter novels actually won a Hugo – oh shock and horror – beating out one of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire novels, too.

      And yes, a lot of these discussions boil down to “not a whole lot of people nominate/vote for the Hugos (or can nominate/vote) and their taste does not match mine”. But then, the other awards are not necessarily more democratic either. The Nebulas are voted by SFWA members, the Locus Award votes are theoretically open to everyone, but they privilege subscribers to their mag and also strongly privilege their “recommended choices” (which are usually not the works I would choose or recommend) and all the other major awards (Dick, Clarke, BSFA, World Fantasy Award) are juried. And all those who want the Hugos to be a juried award should take a good look at the discussions and disagreements and general problems that crop up with the various juried literary fiction awards and the juried SFF awards as well – Christopher Priest anyone?

      • Andrea says:

        I have no problem with another major SFF award, one which is generally nominated by anyone who chooses, and then maybe the top nominations are judged by a panel. Presuming the problem of people trying to rig the nominations could be overcome, it would at least provide an award which doesn’t require “club membership”.

        I’m sure the result would still be full of books I’m not interested in and don’t think are very good. 🙂 Which is true of all lists all over the place.

        One of the things which certainly occurred to me during these arguments is that “best SF” is such a broad thing to try and list. If I had enormous amounts of cash, I’d even sponsor myself some awards myself, with categories like “most interesting female characters” and “most nuanced exploration of gender roles” and “most unexpected worldbuilding”. It would be the kind of MTV awards of the SF world. If I ever win Lotto, I’ll have to revisit the idea. 😀

        • Cora says:

          I think the fact that SFF is becoming an increasingly broad field is part of the problem. The current discussion (and last year’s discussion about the Clarke and the previous year’s about the Nebula awards) is actually a symptom of this. We have traditional works and writers nominated alongside various newer trends and styles, we have young writer, many of them women or writers of colour or international writers, nominated alongside established genre giants. Ditto for the other categories like dramatic presentation, fan writer, fanzine, etc… As a result, there are lots of people screaming that the books and writers they personally like aren’t nominated.

          I really like your awards categories BTW.

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  3. Let me start by saying that I haven’t read any novels by Seanan McGuire. I’ve seen her sing and not been all that impressed. On the other hand, that merely means that I’m not in a position to evaluate her work. I rather like urban fantasy. I am a middle-aged male. On the other hand, I’m not white.

    Nonetheless, I would like to see more SF, of the types written by Robinson, Bujold, and John Barnes (who did not get a nomination) in the Hugos. I am also happy to see that a diverse range of authors and subjects have been nominated, and that they include people of colour.

    • Cora says:

      I’ve never had the pleasure (or not depending upon your POV) of hearing Seanan McGuire sing, though I quite enjoy her urban fantasy novels. My favourite of her 2012 books was actually Discount Armageddon, but that would never have been nominated for a Hugo, considering there is a girl in a pink miniskirt on the cover. And if I had to pick writers of urban fantasy I’d like to see nominated for a Hugo, neither Seanan McGuire nor Larry Correia would be my first choice (that would probably be the criminally underrated Rob Thurman). But then, apart from Neil Gaiman and Seanan McGuire and maybe Emma Bull and Charles de Lint back in the 1980s, explicit urban fantasy writers rarely get Hugo nods.

      Like I said, I’m not much of a Robinson fan, but I’d be thrilled to see more novels like Bujold’s period. John Barnes would have been a good choice as well. And I think that the Hugo nominees of this and recent years show that the genre is getting more inclusive, considering that we’re seeing more women, people of colour, GLBT people (not sure if there are any this year, but last year’s slate had at least two) and international writers (this year’s nominees include at least three writers who are not from the US/UK/Canada/Australia) among the nominees.

  4. Madame Hardy says:

    A quibble on an otherwise-excellent essay:

    “(folks, you’ve never seen a Communist, because they’re pretty damn rare in the US – I can only think of two explicit Communists in the SFF community and neither of them are mainstream figures), ”

    Steven Brust isn’t mainstream? Or a “Trotskyist sympathizer” doesn’t count?

  5. I am in general agreement with your post, but I do want to try and clarify something about where Worldcons are held, because I’ve heard it suggested (not necessarily by you here!) that WSFS should “order” Worldcon to be held in places outside of North America more often.

    1. You can only hold a Worldcon in a place where a group of people bid for it. It’s like the joke about asking Ghod to let you win the Lottery that ends with Ghod saying, “Meet me halfway: buy a ticket!” If people don’t organize a bid for a given site, that site will never host a Worldcon. And bidding is expensive. I chaired the bid for 2002 that eventually led to ConJosé and in the end it cost me roughly USD50,000 out of my own pocket. That’s not money the convention reimbursed me, nor the roughly USD30,000 the bid itself raised and spent to promote itself. That’s expenses I personally incurred chairing the bid.

    2. The members of Worldcon once voted to require that every other Worldcon be held outside of North America. The following year’s Worldcon was in Germany. The fans there voted to repeal that provision, as they had no interest at all in being “forced” to hold a Worldcon every other year.

    3. North America is Big. (Los Angeles-Boston is approximately the same driving distance as London-Moscow, according to Google Maps.) Even within North America, you’re very likely to hear people complain about how awful it is that Worldcon is held in far-away cities like Boston or Los Angeles or Chicago or Montreal instead of being held In My Backyard. Even within North America, you generally are only going to have a Worldcon near you (for various values of “near”) about once a decade.

    3A. You can’t please everyone, and “nearby” is relative. While promoting San Francisco for the 1993 Worldcon at a convention in San Jose (less than 80 km/50 mi away, with regular commuter train service between the cities), I was sincerely told by too many people that San Francisco was “too far.” Some of these same people didn’t even attend the Worldcon in downtown San Jose because it was “too difficult” to get there. (Despite there being 24 hr light rail service and plenty of parking garages — essentially unless it happened to be in a semi-suburban location with free parking not more than 5 miles from their homes, it was Too Far Away.)

    4. Worldcon members passed a rule change not long ago (it first takes practical effect this year) that has the effect of allowing Worldcons to charge somewhat less for their Supporting Memberships than they had been doing. (I can explain the details of what was keeping the price up above USD50 if you want to know.) This means that the 2015 Worldcon, whoever it is (and note that Helsinki is one of the cities bidding), is likely to be able to charge only USD40 for their Supporting Membership.

    5. Worldcons are conventions of around 5000 people who have come to expect a certain level of amenities. The number of places around the world where you can get those amenities are limited. And 5,000 turns out to be a really awful number of people for cost-effectiveness. If attendance was less than 1,000 or more than 10,000, the cost per member (and thus the cost the convention would have to charge) would be substantially less than it is today. (Again, I can elaborate if anyone wants to know more about it.) The last two British Worldcons were in Glasgow, and the complaint then came that “it’s too far away to travel to” even from people from within the UK! The places with sufficient facilities are, generally speaking, inherently expensive, and if they happen to have sufficient facilities and are less expensive, they’re likely to be very inconveniently located for most people. (Winnipeg, for instance, on whose committee I served in 1994, had nice facilities in a fine city and cost a fair bit less per member to run than most Worldcons, but was perceived as very difficult to get to even for people within North America. Reno in 2011 also wasn’t too bad, but again was perceived as inconveniently located.)

    So really, there’s no conspiracy. It’s impossible to run a Worldcon that costs $25 to attend with a 5000-room cheap hotel connected to it with lots of cheap, good food right around it and also that is located in a major metro area with cheap, convenient transportation links to everyone in the world. (I’m not being sarcastic! It’s just what people actually want; they simply can’t have it.) If you can’t travel, the best you can do to continue to participate is to buy a supporting membership (and actually to vote in Worldcon site selection, which amounts to buying your supporting membership to Worldcon N+2 every year at the lowest possible price) and plan for that once-a-decade shot when Worldcon is within easy travel distance.

    • Cora says:

      Thanks for the clarifications, Kevin.

      And for the record, I don’t think that there is a conspiracy at work to keep Worldcon in North America, but that it’s due to the demographics of the SFF community (which are changing). And World Fantasy Con isn’t any better (though held in the UK this year). Though I have to point out that the UK (or Finland for that matter) are not in easy travel distance for most of us in continental Europe either, since getting there requires boarding a plane or a ferry or a train through the channel tunnel for the UK. Which isn’t that much of a problem in this age of low cost airlines, but was actually what kept me from going to Glasgow in 2004.

      As far as I know there were only two Worldcons where I could have gotten into my car and driven there: the German Worldcon in Heidelberg you mentioned, which would have been really convenient since I have relatives there, only that it happened in the early 1970s when I was a baby, so the only way of attending would have been if my (non-fannish) parents had taken me along, and the Dutch Worldcon in The Hague in the early 1990s (which I would have attended, if I’d known about it). That said, I think Helsinki would be a great choice, especially since most Finns speak English, so North American visitors wouldn’t feel lost.

      As for facilities, I’m probably spoiled, because in Germany most major and many not so major cities have convention facilities capable of handling such an event (for example, Heidelberg is not really a major city and doesn’t have an international airport either). But that’s something of a cultural quirk, because German city councils really like conventions and the guests they attract. It’s easy to forget that other countries are different.

      • Farah Mendlesohn says:

        Just to add, and these days that $60 buys you five novels and a bunch of short stories, so it’s not even “support” as such.

        • Farah: Yeah, but there’s no guarantee that it always will do so. The Hugo Voter Packet is provided at the option and goodwill of the nominees and rights-holders, and there’s no entitlement. Nominees can choose and have chosen to decline to make their works available in this way. Unlike, say, the right to vote and to receive Worldcon publications, the supporting membership cannot really be said to include those items. Indeed, if we as Worldcon runners ever started touting that loudly, it seems likely to me that many of the rights-holders would stop giving us the material, because from their point of view we’d be trying to trade off of their intellectual property without adequate compensation. So it’s a very sensitive subject.

          • Cora says:

            Even though he’s gotten some heat for self-promotion in this debate, we actually have John Scalzi to thank for the existence of the Hugo Voter Packet.

            • Farah Mendlesohn says:

              I don’t regard what either he or Seanen do as self-promotion. Self-promotion is the people (and I’ve seen them) who respond to every question, “well, in *my* book”.

    • Robert West says:

      I’d be fascinated to know the details of what was propping up the supporting membership cost.

      • The reason why the rules were indirectly forcing the Supporting membership prices higher than necessary (and higher than Worldcon committees really wanted them to be) is complicated, and has to do with the interaction between the rules on how much you can charge for the Advance Supporting Membership (Voting) fee and how much you can charge people to convert their voting membership to an Attending membership. The full version, going through it step by step, is in a reply to a comment on my LiveJournal. As I warn people over there, it’s “Inside Baseball” and quite technical.

        The 2010 WSFS Business Meeting in Australia passed, and the 2011 Meeting in Reno ratified, a change that allowed the price to drop. This first affected the 2014 Worldcon site selection held in 2012 in Chicago. Loncon 3 is only charging US$40 for Supporting Memberships, and we can expect whoever wins the 2015 race being conducted in San Antonio to also charge only $40, not $50 or more as recent Worldcons have been forced to do, because they’re no longer so constrained by their initial pricing.

        On the other hand, at the moment a Worldcon could, if it wished, set up a class of membership that cost less than a Supporting membership and still had the right to vote for the Hugo Awards. When this came to the attention of certain SMOFS, they reacted with horror, and will be submitting a proposal to this year’s Business Meeting that effectively sets a floor on membership prices and prohibits a Worldcon from selling any membership that includes voting rights for less than the cost of a Supporting membership.

  6. Steven Brust doesn’t count as a mainstream figure?

  7. Kate Elliott says:

    Thanks for this round up and your cogent discussion of it.

  8. a-cubed says:

    The Clarke Award is a fairly recent invention which was specifically set up as the right way to answer a gap in the “awards market” for a juried award for SF (in the UK). Rather than criticise the BSFA awards (similar to the Hugos, voted on by paing members of the British Science Fiction Association) the people behind it added to the field by setting up their own award, getting Arthur to agree to be its patron and sertting it up using a different mechanism. It’s been a general success but has supplanted rather than replaced the BSFA awards because it’s a significantly different mechanism and so serves a different purpose. Authors nominated for both feel extra good about themselves and (rightly, IMAO) feel that they have achieved something more than if they only get nominated for or win one of the two. The Hugos and Nebulas are similarly different and, for example, see Jay Lake’s squee about getting a nom for both – fellow authors and a broad range of fans both felt that a recent story of his was very good and honoured him for it and he felt buoyed by the double-hit.
    The very worst aspect of the original article I’ve seen is the suggestion that WSFS/Worldcon have no right to the Hugo name (which is ONLY important because of the long history of the awards which is pretty consistent in its mechanisms despite multiple small changes of the rules over the years). The Clarke Award folks did exactly the right thing and if the original article author was honest and had a sufficiently good point he could set up an equally significant (to the Clarke) new award which would do the Hugos no harm and SF good as a genre. But, mostly he’s blowing hot air out of the wrong orifice.
    (PS, I have no problem with YA or even children’s SF/Fantasy but I did think it was a tragedy that Harry Potter won a Hugo. That’s because it’s badly written and there has been so much better written books of a similar nature written by people like Diana Wynne Jones and Diane Duane to name just two, who’ve never been nominated or won, much less received the general and critical press attention of Rowling.)

    • Cora says:

      Thanks for the history behind the Clarke awards, of which I at least wasn’t aware. And I agree that creating a new award is probably the best solution for this issue. I seem to recall that a couple of years ago some women writers who were dissatisfied with the dominance of white men in the SFF awards and with the fact that crossgenre work often didn’t garner a nomination in any genre award proposed creating their own award. Sadly, nothing ever came of that.

      I suspect Harry Potter won the Hugo more because the series was this massive genre-transcending phenomenon than because of its literary qualities. And looking at what else was nominated that year, Nalo Hopkinson or George R.R. Martin probably would have been a better choice. And especially with YA books, what is popular does not necessarily match what is good. There certainly is better YA vampire fiction out there than Twilight. Though Harry Potter was honoured mainly because it was the biggest genre phenomenon since approx. Star Wars, not because it really was the best book out there.

      • Andrew Trembley says:

        Say what you will about Harry Potter, the series did get boys and girls reading, and not just reading Harry Potter novels.

        • Cora says:

          Oh, I enjoyed Harry Potter and The Hunger Games and liked Twilight better than I thought I would. They were not the best or most original books out there, but they captured the imaginations of millions of readers, not all of them kids. Several of my students got into fantasy via Harry Potter or Twilight (The Hunger Games wasn’t that popular in Germany, until the movie came out) and eventually started branching out towards other genre books.

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  10. David Greybeard says:

    The Hugos just aren’t important as they were, say, in the 1970s. There are so many more awards now, it’s nearly ridiculous. I prefer the Locus Awards and the SF Site’s Reader’s Choice Awards. They both snap a better picture of the best of the years.

    • Cora says:

      Neither the Locus nor the SF Site Awards reflect my tastes most of the time, though they probably do a better job at reflecting the tastes of the majority of SFF fandom (which is huge) than the Hugos at this point. And let’s not forget that e.g. the Romantic Times Awards and the Ritas, though awards for another genre, nonetheless end up lauding several SFF works every year. The RT Awards even have separate SF and fantasy categories.

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  12. James May says:

    Are you suggesting the NBA and NHL are unhealthy? Is their goal to score goals and baskets or be a diversity pie-chart? In reality they are a natural and accidental expression of a sub-culture. When art is politicized in such a manner, THAT is unhealthy, not only for that art, but for whatever other system is targeted. The world is not the United Nations – the United Nations is the United Nations. Social engineer a thing, and you kill it.

    By the way, I’m glad you consider the following awards, none of which I can win because I am white, as unhealthy:

    The Hurston Wright Foundation
    Black Writers Alliance Award
    Celebration of Black Writing
    Black Publishers & Writers Awards
    New Voices Award
    The Dickerson-Du Bois Undergraduate Award
    BCALA Literary Award
    Asian American Literature Award
    Coretta Scott King Book Awards
    The Unpublished Writers Award
    Black Mystery Writers Awards
    National Council for Black Studies Writing Award
    AAMBC Literary Awards

  13. John Fiala says:

    I’d like to point out that the Worldcon is not outside of North America ‘Once every ten years’. In the last ten years (2004 – 2013) the Worldcon was in Glasgow; Yokohama, Japan; and Melborne, and next year (2014) will be in London. That’s more like ‘Once every three years’.

    Otherwise, I enjoyed your post!

    • Cora says:

      What I meant to say (and think I did say, though I might have expressed myself poorly) was that Worldcon is in Europe every ten years. Of course, there are other Worldcons outside North America, such as Melbourne and Yokohama (which is great, because Australian and Asian fans deserve to have Worldcons, too), though North America still dominates.

      Otherwise, I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  14. Gary V says:

    Full disclosure: I am a fan of Larry Correia and many other Baen authors (including Eric Flint, who’s as left as Larry is right), because I enjoy an adventure novel, not a novel preaching to me on politically correct subjects.

    I am taking issue with your statement: “Wait a minute, an avowed rightwinger like Larry Correia condescends only to white men, albeit white men of the political left, whereas Justin Landon, who probably is nowhere near Correia politically, condescends to women? Wow, the world is really messed up.”

    You are implying that those of us on the right are condescending to women, while those on the left are not. This is in fact the exact opposite of reality. I realize that your perception might come from American media, which is just another arm of the Progressive party, so I wanted to straighten things out. Conservatives believe in individuals, while Liberals/Progressives believe in groups.

    On the right, as an individual, it does not matter your race, creed, or sexual orientation. You are treated as an individual, not as a member of a group. Your success or failure is dependent on yourself.

    On the left, as an individual, you are treated as part of a group that has been ground down for millennium, and obviously need help. You can’t possibly succeed without some elite leftist giving you help. And that is called condescension.

    The American media and the liberal elitist educators have had plenty of time to brainwash everyone who doesn’t undertake to find out the truth themselves. They’ve used “perception is reality” to great effect, unfortunately. I suggest reading “Liberal Fascism” by Jonah Goldberg if you want a true history of Liberals/Progressives.

    • Cora says:

      As a matter of fact, I’ve read and enjoyed several Baen books and authors over the years. If you enjoy classic space opera like me, then Baen often is the only choice these days. Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter books have been on my “to get” list for a while now (so many books, so little time), if only because they seem to bring a very different perspective to the urban/contemporary fantasy subgenre. And I’ve never understood those SF fans who refuse to touch a Baen book regardless of author and content, because they are depriving themselves of some really good books.

      The remark you criticize was actually intended more as a jab against Justin Landon than Larry Correia. Now I don’t know Justin Landon and in fact I’d never heard of him before I read his Hugo post, but I suspect that he considers himself political liberal/left in some way. Yet he still manages to make condescending remarks about two women authors whose works he doesn’t approve of in a way that’s definitely not politically correct, whereas Larry Correia – a rightwing, pro-gun author – has nice things to say about the female and non-white nominees and only criticizes the white men. So basically Larry Correia did not match the stereotype of the racist, sexist conservative, whereas Justin Landon’s critique manages to come across as sexist, even if that’s probably not what he intended. In general, I’ve found (American) authors/fans from the conservative side of the political spectrum generally polite and friendly (Tom Kratman, another Baen author, comes to mind), even if I disagree with them politically, whereas some on the left side of the spectrum have been rather rude.

      • Gary V says:

        My point is that the “stereotype of the racist, sexist conservative” is entirely made up by the Liberal American media and educators. The reality is that you’ll mostly find condescension on the left, not the right.

        Regarding Larry’s books, you should make them a priority to purchase and read 🙂 Not just the Monster Hunter books, but also the Grimnoir Chronicles. Larry sure can write awesome adventure stories 🙂

        • Farah says:

          I frequently have to remind leftist male writers that the post 1960s feminist movement was ver much a reaction to being at best, patronised, and at worst, sexually exploited, by their brothers on the left.

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    Constructive criticism is usually looked upon as being politically incorrect.

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