Category: worldcon

Why I Voted the Way I Did…

Why I Voted the Way I Did…

So the Hugo Award ceremony has come and gone, and the results were a Puppy rout, including five separate invocations of No Award in the five categories Pups had locked the ballot. At this point, I’m not interested in replaying the cultural war mishmash of the last seven months, to be honest. I just wanted to do a quick examination of why I voted the way I did.

First of all, I should state that I’m not a puppy. If you didn’t know that by now, I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve been dreaming of winning one since I was in high school and read Asimov’s pontificating about them, and I’ve been honored to be a participant in the process of choosing one since 2007, more or less. Some years are harder than others — the last couple have been eaten by personal problems. But I managed to vote this year.

This was my process:

1) Elimination of anybody who advocated that the Hugo Award should be destroyed. This affected only a small amount of people on the ballot, one of which was, of course the leader of one of the two slate campaigns. My reasoning for this was simple. If you express an interest in blowing the award up, then it’s fairly obvious that YOU DON’T WANT IT. This only affected three people, but eight nominations.

2) Reading all the stories. (And yes, despite my immediate elimination of the people above, I still read their stories, confirming that my decision as above was sane and rational — the works didn’t deserve the award anyway.)

3) Weighing all the stories in a complex matrix which did include, I admit, some bias against those folk who were going out of their way to accuse me, somebody who takes their Hugo voting rather seriously, of not bothering to read the nominated works. I read them — as I said, I take this *seriously*. In fact, there was a familiar name on the Puppy ballot this year — I voted for his novel to win best novel several years back. I don’t just go blindly in for the sake of diversity. This is important, Pups, as you will see in a moment.

I read and I read, and I read some more. And in the end, I backed away from my complete anti-Puppy pledge, voting for a couple of people here and there. Sadly, most of the works I did read were not worthy of a Hugo award, and I voted as such. However, I did end up giving votes to folks in both the short and long form editor campaigns — Jen Brozek is an awesome editor, and I expect she’ll win some legitimately soon enough, and I was impressed by the work Sheila Gilbert has edited.

There’s one editor I did place below no award that has the puppies screaming. That would be Toni Weisskopf, and this is my reason for doing so: I depend on the voting packet to help me with the editors. All I was given in regards to Weisskopf’s editing was a link to Baen Books. Weisskopf was not even the only Baen editor on this year’s ballot, and surfing over to that website gave me no clue as to who had edited what. If I cannot determine what you have edited, then I cannot fairly judge your work, and I must sadly concede that it is perhaps better to have no award be given than give an award which I cannot determine if the nominee is worthy.

If Ms. Weisskopf and Baen would like to prevent this in the future, perhaps either including a list of the works you have worked on in the packet or, if Baen is truly a tag-team sort of environment, mentioning what value you add to the process. I’m not all that familiar with Baen, partly because it’s not my particular cup of tea and partly because I get this feeling that I, even as a lifelong science fiction fan, am not particularly welcome in that particular publishing house.

But that’s the long and short of it. I voted based on what I read. It was a slog this year, instead of the joy it normally is.

I don’t think 2016 is going to be much better.

the letter and the spirit

the letter and the spirit

Wow, aren’t you an absolutely lovely and charming person.

The article in question (via Do Not Link) opens with this quotation:

Situational dominance is contingent on local factors.

For example, a 5’4 female teacher with a firm demeanor is situationally dominant over a classroom full of 5-year-olds. If she raises her voice, she can even be intimidating. Outside the classroom situation, however, she’s a short woman in a low-prestige profession who will have trouble commanding general respect unless there are other mitigating factors. Certainly, she’d have problems bossing around rowdy teenagers.

Obviously, the man who wrote this never met my high school math teacher.

Mrs. Bjerke (that’s pronounced Bur-KEE) was not a very tall woman, and to boot she wore thick glasses. Just looking at her, Mr. Dampier would probably just dismiss her as yet another woman who couldn’t even handle a high school class. But see, that’s where he would be wrong. Because Mrs. Bjerke was the chair of the math department, the AP Calculus teacher, and the sort of woman who took absolutely no shit from anybody, whether said person was an unruly teenager in her class or the principal of the high school. The best part? I don’t recall her ever raising her voice. Just by sheer demeanor and presence, she kept us all in line.

My junior and senior years, I participated on the quiz bowl team at my high school. The participants of the quiz bowl were the teams in our athletic league, eight schools scattered across the central part of extreme Northern California, from Yreka in the north to Red Bluff in the south. My high school quiz team was very good, but our arch-nemesis were the Miners of Yreka. They were also very good, and they played Quiz Bowl by the exact interpretation of the rules — which included challenging every question they could possibly challenge. By doing this, they were able to throw other teams off their game. Just a touch of hesitation on the buzzers could mean the difference between victory and defeat, as we learned in the finals of my junior year. I may have made all-league at Quiz Bowl, but I still sputtered all the way back home about their methods.

And I vowed that when the quiz bowl team became mine that I would make sure my team was prepared for the bloody Miners. I made captain of the team — an expected outcome, but one that I was proud of — and I started to get my team together. They were as ready as I was going to make them. Unfortunately, our advisor, the one who had witnessed Yreka’s tactics the year prior, was out on maternity leave by the time the quiz bowl rolled around.

Luckily, we knew this was coming, and the advisor asked me if I’d be cool with Mrs. Bjerke as a stand-in. Of course I was — words cannot express my regard for her. We ran our last couple practices under Mrs. Bjerke’s watchful eye, and we were ready as we were going to be. This was going to be our year.

With eight schools, we each played four other schools, and the two teams with the highest total of points after four rounds was the winner. The common gathering place for all the teams was the library at the host high school, where they kept a chalkboard with the running tallies. And it was there after our second game, watching results from the various games trickle in, that an odd score went up on the board — Yreka had defeated West Valley by a huge margin, but there was a note added that the score was doubled because they could only play one round and not two.

A moment later, the West Valley team walked in. Now, West Valley was a sister high school to mine — we were the two high schools in our district, and they were usually our bitter rivals in almost every sports competition. But at the same time, they were our sister school. So I pulled the WV captain aside and asked him what happened.

He had that anger in his eye that I knew all too well from the year before. Yreka had challenged nearly every question in the round. That’s how they’d only gotten through one round in the time allotted for two. I nodded, and told him Yreka had pulled a similar gambit the year before on us in the finals of the quiz bowl.

We got through a third game, although I was stewing a bit. It was lunchtime, and our opponent in our last game was the aforementioned Miners of Yreka. So I pulled my team together while we were eating and reminded them of Yreka’s tactics and that we’d had positive confirmation they were doing it again per my conversation with WV’s captain.

That’s when Mrs. Bjerke stepped in. “They did what?” And as we relayed the stories, the look on her face was one I knew. It was the one she used when she was disappointed with somebody. “I’ll bring it up at the coach’s meeting here.”

I wish I had been present at that coach’s meeting. I am told that it was epic, the way Mrs. Bjerke tore the Yreka coach apart on sportsmanship and his tactics, about the difference between the letter vs. the spirit of the rules, and the kind of example he was setting for high school kids.

All I knew then was the coach’s meeting had gone long, and we’d had to start our fourth game without either coach. Yreka played hard — they were still a good team — but there was something missing from their spirit. Maybe it was us, determined to crush their cheating ways. That said, the challenges from them were much less than they usually were. About midway through the first half, the Yreka coach slid in, but he just sat at the back of the room, hardly even looking at his team or seeming to care what was going on. Mrs. Bjerke came in shortly after him, and she had that expression. At the half, I asked her what had happened. She just smiled and said that they had a nice conversation about sportsmanship.

The finals were extremely anti-climactic. We played Yreka again. They did even worse than they had in the game we’d played prior. And at the end of it, the Yreka coach asked me about my college plans — he seemed rather pleased I was going to Berkeley. Whether it was the fact I was graduating and couldn’t torment his quiz bowl team anymore, or if he was truly pleased, I couldn’t tell you. But I do know that was the politest he’d been to me in two years.

What’s the point of this? Well, it’s funny how the Yreka coach was very good at following the letter of the rules without caring a whit about the spirit of them. It reminds me of a certain other situation I’ve been following over the past month, in which the prize — whether it’s the actual trophy or the more nebulous prize of annoying folks who don’t think like they do — has taken on such importance that the spirit of the rules can be discarded.

I just think about what happened to the coach who discarded the spirit of the rules in order to win.

It won’t stop them. Those who are convinced of the rightness of their cause will willfully ignore everything that doesn’t correspond to that cause. But I hope someday they meet up with somebody that won’t take their shit.

My Mind is My Own

My Mind is My Own

Over the last few days, I have been voraciously combing the internet, reading anything and everything I can find on the nominees for the Hugo awards and wrestling with my own conscience. I think I have finally come to a conclusion as to what I am going to do.

I will read all the Hugo nominees as if this were a normal year. I cannot betray my own sense of professionalism and well, I’ve read Glenn Beck and the entire Left Behind series without throwing the books through the window or across the room. I am, as I said in my earlier post, not looking forward to this. I am not reading these because the Sad Puppies demand that I must — I am because I feel an obligation to my own conscience to do so, just as I would any other year.

That said, I will rank all the nominees on either the Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies slates below No Award.

There are some things on the ballot for which it pains me to have to do this. I have loved the Dresden Files ever since my good friend Eileen introduced them to me by giving me the books for Christmas — but Jim Butcher is on the slate. Guardians of the Galaxy was my favorite movie of the year and a work I might have actually nominated if I’d felt well enough to turn in nominations. Nope. The Lego Movie is right behind it in terms of movies I loved last year, and would have been a very close #2 to Guardians. Sorry.

I am especially grieved to make this decision in cases like Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Black Gate, and Annie Bellet. It grieves me because Jen Brozek, a person I know and respect, is on the short form editor ballot and I would love to see her win a Hugo.

But I can’t vote any of these folks above No Award. I am sorry, but this is what my conscience demands of me. I will read your work in my packet. I will consider you for my own nominations in 2016 — and I plan to participate in the nomination round next year. But any ranking you may earn by the quality of your work will go after No Award this year.

I have decided this because I care about the Hugo. I have cared about the Hugo ever since I found out about it in an introduction in one of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels, and I dream of winning it someday. But in order to keep that dream alive, I have to make sure the Hugos survive. If it comes to a slate vs. slate situation, I would have even less chance of ending up on the Hugo ballot than I already did. So the only thing I can do is express my horror and displeasure at slate voting, and use what few tools I have to express that displeasure.

For those who are saying that I am only doing this because I disagree with the political stances of Sad/Rabid Puppies, I would be doing this if it were the John Scalzi/Making Light Slate of Rainbow Joy Kittens.

My mind is my own, and I make my own decisions.

It doesn’t really matter. I am just one person, and my blog is so minuscule that it won’t register. My vote is but a drop in an ocean, but it is mine. My mind, my thoughts, my opinions — they are my own.

detritus

detritus

In no particular order:

  • My souvenir book and program guide for the worldcon just concluded in Montreal came today. My cat is thankful to the committee for providing her with cat toys. Cat toys? I hear you ask. Well, you see, in order to keep the souvenir book flat, somebody attached package straps, and my cat seems to think these make wonderfully awesome toys. This is why I voted for the folks in Montreal; I knew they would be thoughtful like that. ;)
  • Had to take my car in for servicing today — it needed an oil change. Not a big deal. On the way home, I found somebody with a car that had a license plate of RIP BUD, a license plate frame that read “In memory of my son Bud”, and one of those in memoriam stickers in the back window. I understand that grief is a powerful thing, but I’ve got to wonder what the story is that made somebody feel the necessity of shelling out for personalized plates to bear his/her grief. Guess this is one of those things to file away and let the brain see how they can make fiction from it.
  • Got my first distribution of the eAPA out as the OE. It’s a bit scary being the dude in charge, but I think I can handle it. It’ll get easier from here on out, I’m sure. That said, I’ve got to start trying to figure out how to get new members — I love the ones we have, but new members are always fun. So if anybody out there reading this who isn’t already in on the fun that is the eAPA and want to join in, it’s once a month in pdf (and if you don’t have a pdf writer, I can turn it into pdf from Word or Open Office documents without a problem). The folks in the APA are nice and we don’t bite unless you ask really nicely. So come on…whatcha waiting for? Join in the fun. Toss me an email.

And I think that’s pretty much all the news that is news across the nation. At least, at the moment.

So we’ll leave this with a question: what sort of detritus is in your head at the moment?

the news from Montreal

the news from Montreal

So another Worldcon winds down. If all goes well, I should be at the next one, but at the moment I’m not expecting it to go well. However, unless things go absolutely pear-shaped, I’ll be at the one in 2011, since, y’know, it’s just over the hill from Sactown.

But that’s not the point of this post. The point is to prod at the news from Montreal. And here’s my thoughts. Note: these are just my thoughts.

First off, Reno wins the 2011 Worldcon and Raleigh takes the 2010 NASFiC. Neither of these are the unexpected results, as both were unopposed, but now we know where we’ll be hanging out. As I said, Reno’s just over the hill from Sactown, and as soon as I can scrape up the money, I’ll be buying my attending membership. I encourage all my friends to buy supporting memberships; if nothing else, you’ll get to vote for the Hugos. If you want to go all out and get an attending membership, that’s even better. Come party in Reno with me. ;)

Also, I’m fairly impressed at how well the Reno team has gotten on the ball in regards to social networking. Since Saturday, I’ve received invitations to both the LJ community and the Twitter account, and I suspect, if I were more active on Facebook than I am, I’d have an invitation there too. Well done.

Next, this year’s Hugo trophy is a work of art. Well done. I think that’s my favorite trophy of the last three years.

As for the awards themselves, the first thing that pops out is what might amount to the end of an era. Somebody other than Locus takes the Semipro award, and the category was saved from elimination at the business meeting, both of which I think are good things. I’m all about diversity in winners in the Hugo categories — in both the senses of different people winning them, and in the sense of diverse in the larger context, although I freely admit, the latter is harder. Anyway, the point is, epic moment.

Best fan writer went to Cheryl Morgan. Cheryl’s an awesome choice; I love her writing. Also, I know that she has wanted to defeat Dave Langford in honorable combat, and she’s gone and done that in dramatic fashion. As I said, Cheryl’s awesome and I’m glad for her victory in the category. (Also, that red dress is exquisite.)

On the other hand, there’s best fanzine. Electric Velocipede was the winner. This, in my opinion, doesn’t feel right. Don’t get me wrong, John Klima is also doing excellent work, and the fanzine rules as written don’t exclude him from the category, as he’s rightly pointed out. However, I’m the sort that finds the idea of paying for something that’s in the fanzine category just a little odd, as the ethics of fanzines, as I have been taught them, seem to imply that charging (or paying) anything other than the fannish usual (that is, a copy of the fanzine for a contribution, LoC, or as speculation) is just not kosher. See, I know EV is a labor of love for John, just as fanzines are for their editors, but I’m not sure Best Fanzine is the best place for what he’s doing. But the will of the voters has overruled me, and it is a diverse result, so I’m not sure if I can complain too much. Besides, it’s entirely possible I’ve been hanging out with the old fogies of fandom for too long. ;)

A quick shot of the rest of the categories: I’m sad Taral Wayne didn’t win Best Fan Artist. Frank Wu is a good guy, and a great artist, but I was rooting for Taral in this catagory. Don’t really know much about editors or the short form nominees, so can’t say much there; same with most of the fiction categories. (I failed to read most of them this year; this is something I will rectify for next year’s ballot.) Wall-E won long form, which was not unexpected. The Foglios got a Hugo for Girl Genius in the first year of Best Graphic Novel; I couldn’t think of a better choice. John Scalzi gets another Hugo, for Best Related Book this year — now he just needs to win Best Novel one of these years to complete the trifecta. And, Best Novel went to The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. I believe that makes Neil the first author to win both the Newberry and the Hugo for the same book.

Chris Garcia not only beat out No Award, but a couple actual living breathing human beings in both his categories. There’s hope for a Hugo for the fanzine lounge yet. At the same time, I’m sad that one of the living breathing human beings was Steven Silver, a person whom I’ve gotten to know through eAPA, and whose work I anticipate every month in that august distribution.

My goal for next year is to receive five nominations and thus show up on the nominations list. That would be awesome. I doubt it’ll happen, though, as I’ve not really done much to warrant the honor.

I like the new logo for the Hugo Award. It’s simple, but elegant. I like that clean style; it’s very Art Deco (I think that’s the right term) and a nice nod to the origins of fandom in those long ago decades. Well done, again.

And I think that’s most all the news from Montreal. I’ll sign off now.

Wow, it’s been a day.

Wow, it’s been a day.

Current ribbon count: 31, plus gopher ribbon, plus three I haven’t attached to the badge yet, for a total of 35.

Current fun being had: Loads.

Permission for live broadcasting from the Fanzine Lounge: Authorized.

Picture taken of me: Possibly for the newsletter, need to get somebody to snap me with my own camera, probably in my natural habitat (in front of a door).

Things that are crucial: Make up signs for the unofficial Sactown BOF in the consuite tomorrow.

Things that have made me feel really awesome: Getting a nice note from the lady who cleaned our room since we left her a tip. Getting mentioned at ribbon panel as having one of the possibly hot ribbons of the con.

And that’s about it.

More later, or you can always check my twitter feed as I can get to that on my phone and may be inclined to update it more frequently. Or not. I mean, as it is, I’ve made more posts this week than I have in weeks…

Fandom in 2014?

Fandom in 2014?

So I participate in a couple APAs. One of them is not relevant to this story. The other is.

You see, the next issue of eAPA will be its sixtieth. Since it’s a once a month APA, the sixtieth edition means that it has been going for five years. In celebration of this milestone, we’ve been asked to project what fandom might look like five years down the road. It’s an interesting question at the moment, as people I follow have been nattering about the future of Worldcon, among other things.

So here’s the question. Aside from me accepting my first Hugo at the possibly-European Worldcon of 2014, what do you think fandom will look like in five years?

(Okay, so I’m kidding on the Hugo thing, but ever since I got into science fiction enough to understand just what a Hugo was, I’ve always wanted one of them rocket thingys. Although 2014 might be a bit soon…)

Anyway, I’d really like the comments to be on my blog, so I’m funneling LJ comments over here. Also, feel free to pass this URL onto anybody who might care to comment, as this is the sort of thought I’d like to get from anybody who’s got an opinion on the matter. While this is mainly concerned with science fiction fandom (and all its various components), I’d love to hear from folks who are into anime or comics or media or games, because I suspect those fields tie into the general fandom.

Also, since Chuck, our esteemed editor, would kill me if I failed to mention this, eAPA is always looking for new members. It’s all digital, as we do it in PDF. If you’d like to hang out and wait for the open issue next month, that’s cool, but if you want to get involved in this, Chuck’s address is on the eAPA page at efanzines, which I’ve linked to above.

books! Wonderful books!

books! Wonderful books!

The collection of Worldcon books
The collection of Worldcon books

I finally got around to unpacking the 38 lb duffle and decided to take this picture. This is the collection of books I had signed at Worldcon (or otherwise was collected around that period). Technically, I got my copy of Plague War before Worldcon, but my original plans were to get it and have Jeff Carlson sign it at Worldcon — luckily, Jeff was doing a signing at the Roseville Barnes and Noble the Saturday before Worldcon. Also, the Feghoot book was a lovely parting gift for attempting to compete at Win Tom Whitmore’s Books, and is not signed, although it comes from this worldcon. There are also two unpictured books as they were not in the bag in question, but I’ve listed them below.

No, I did not have an ounce of fun in Denver. I resent the implication that I might have had fun. ;)

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Worldcon planning

Worldcon planning

I’m about to enter the pay period just prior to Worldcon. That means that I’m about three weeks out. I think it’ll be three weeks tomorrow that I get on a plane and leave for Denver. That means I need to figure out what has to be done in those three weeks.

  1. I need to get my ribbon order into the ribbon printers. I know Worldcon isn’t as ribbon-happy as Baycon (there are very few places that are as ribbon-happy as Baycon, and I have the badge to prove it), but does anybody out there care to give me an estimate of just how ribbon-happy Worldcon can be?
  2. I need to find and pack books that I might want to get signed while I’m in Denver. This will require a long perusal of the attendance and a trip to the storage shed. It’s cheaper to mail than to take the box on the plane with me — I’m already going to have trouble keeping myself to one bag to avoid the $25 charge for the second. The book box needs to be mailed no later than Monday August 4th, and probably should be mailed the Thursday or Friday prior. Also, doublecheck with Mal that the address you have is correct.
  3. I need to check with about what plans are being made that may require my technical expertise.
  4. I also need to put together an issue for the August eAPA mailing. This is mandatory for two reasons — one, I skipped July, which means I’m falling dangerously close to failing to meet minac, and two, I’m trying to make plans to meet those members whom are going to Denver. I should probably start on that sometime this week so the end of the month doesn’t creep up on me. Again.
  5. The weekend prior (Aug 2nd and 3rd) I need to make sure that most everything is packed. I need to doublecheck this on Monday. Tuesday is going to be a whirlwind of a day, as I’m working a full eight hours and catching a flight to Denver, and there will not be time for last minute packing such as I’m famous for. If I’m packing on Monday, it’s a problem.
  6. Hopefully the preliminary schedule will be up soon so I can go over it. It’s probably a good idea to walk into this at least having a vague idea what might be coming up.
  7. Anything else? I know I’m missing something, but I’m not sure what that might be. Any help from those who have attended prior Worldcons?

It is going to be an interesting three weeks.

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