Hugos 2017: a tale of puppies.
April 4, 2017 7:26 AM   Subscribe

The 2017 Hugo Finalists and Campbell Award Finalists have been announced, for works in science fiction and fantasy. For the first time since 2013, there was no clear Sad Puppies slate/list of recommendations (context). The Rabid Puppies slate, lead by extreme right-wing author and editor Vox Day, was largely successful in its (limited) slate, and File 770 has a breakdown of how many "Rabid Puppy" works made it to the final slate.
posted by flibbertigibbet (169 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
 
There's a tiny bit of puppy shit, but in general I'm very happy with these. Best line up they've had in years - since the puppy business began, in fact.
posted by Artw at 7:30 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Miéville? Gaiman? GoT? This isn't a slate, this is like some dinkwad calling himself the People's Democratic Socialist Liberalist Greenish Party, "nominating" Barack Obama in 2008, and then claiming credit for his historic win on behalf of the PDSLGP.
posted by Etrigan at 7:31 AM on April 4, 2017 [33 favorites]


I'm happy with these options. The flipside to that is, of course, the voting packet will be less exciting because I've already read or bought all but one of the novels. I really hope Monstress is in there, though.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:31 AM on April 4, 2017


Now for some opinions:

The Rabid Puppies slate is continuing its tradition of picking 'big names' to insert into their slate to help them claim wins (either by making people 'reject' the big names because of the association with the slate, or by claiming a win should the big name win); notably, Game of Thones, Mieville, and Gaiman. I rather doubt that China Mieville, an avowed socialist, and Vox Day, a self-described Christian Nationalist, agree on much of anything.

I'm thrilled that Ada Palmer's profoundly weird book, Too Like the Lightning, made it to Best Novel. I like it but find it a bit "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" and do not think it should win, but I did nominate it.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 7:32 AM on April 4, 2017 [15 favorites]


Clipping's album was nominated!
posted by Mavri at 7:34 AM on April 4, 2017 [20 favorites]


Huh, I apparently nominated Clipping in the wrong category. I tried 'related work'; it is apparently a 'dramatic presentation'.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 7:36 AM on April 4, 2017


I rather doubt that China Mieville, an avowed socialist, and Vox Day, a self-described Christian Nationalist, agree on much of anything.

VD has been saying for many years that he thinks Mieville is the one of the best current authors.
posted by 445supermag at 7:37 AM on April 4, 2017


TBH I do my puppy contamination assement by running by the list and looking for obvious shit like Vox Day for editor or his blog or whatever, no point in paying attention to their attempts to latch on to anything that was going to be there anyway.
posted by Artw at 7:47 AM on April 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


I think some of the line-ups are a bit weak (for instance I liked Brooke Bolander's And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead last year a lot, but Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies is starting to make Bolander's work feel a bit "second verse, same as the first" to me).

But! Wholly made up for by the excruciatingly great novella line-up! I'd personally back A Taste of Honey.
posted by monster truck weekend at 7:52 AM on April 4, 2017


Time to change the award to a statue of Picard facepalming?
posted by thelonius at 7:57 AM on April 4, 2017


Y'ALL BURIED THE LEDE

YOON HA LEE'S ON THE MOTHERFUCKING BALLOT

HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLL YES
posted by suckerpunch at 8:02 AM on April 4, 2017 [12 favorites]


Very happy to see Becky Chambers in novels, that book and A Closed and Common Orbit are just great, and got me through a recent period of sleeplessness. Ninefix and Obelisk I also like, though Obelisk maybe suffers from being second in a trilogy. And as a lovecraft nut I am very happy to see Dreamquest in the novelas, which is a really great reversal of the Lovecraft story.
posted by Artw at 8:03 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm partway through A Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, which is (I gather) the book before A Taste of Honey. I like it a lot and am excited that there's a sequel since it seems a bit grim and I'm hoping for a...well, probably not a happy ending per se but a not too grim ending.

But: And I say this as one who is not in a position to nominate or judge Hugo candidates, so take it with a grain of salt:

These should have been nominated, and frankly the short story should win:

Short story Applied Cenotaphics In The Long, Long Latitudes, by Vajra Chandraskara, which is frankly the best science fiction story I have ever read in my entire life.

Sofia Samatar's The Winged Histories. It is slightly more difficult than some of what's nominated, and it does not cohere as much as, say, an NK Jemisin novel tends to, but it absolutely belongs on that list.

For fan writing, I really like Achilles, Powder and Lead and Marooned Off Vesta, although neither of them update often enough or are comprehensive enough to really seem like good nominees. But both are deeply, deeply interesting on SF.
posted by Frowner at 8:07 AM on April 4, 2017 [13 favorites]




This is the first year with no white men nominated for best novel. In fact the only white men in the fiction categories are the puppy picks. I also find it hilarious that the pups got enough nominations to get two pro artists on the ballot only they hadn't bothered to check either of them were actually eligible. So yes, still some bits of puppy stuff on there, but otherwise this looks like a super great ballot to me and there's a dozen categories where I will have to do some serious ranking to pick my favourite.
posted by penguinliz at 8:08 AM on April 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


Of the six novels, four are by women, two by Asian authors, one by a black author.

Obviously the puppies will have a highly contrived explanation of why that means they're winning, but equally obviously they're not winning.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:08 AM on April 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


Oh man I'm so glad that Splendor and Misery made it! If you haven't listened to it yet, seriously, go do it. It's astounding.
posted by a hat out of hell at 8:10 AM on April 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


Becky Chambers, yay! I found her books heartening and a refreshing change from how grim even non-grimdark stuff feels lately. For anyone who likes her but didn't see this post at The Book Smugglers: SFF in conversation with Becky Chambers: The case for optimism.

And I'm always delighted when Ursula Vernon gets more recognition for her brilliance.
posted by Lexica at 8:12 AM on April 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


My favorite quote so far is from Richard Gadsden on File770:

"Well, I might not have got my country back from the Brexiteers, but I damned well got my Hugo shortlist back from the puppies."

From the ones I've read, it's a really great list, now to read more!
posted by tavella at 8:16 AM on April 4, 2017 [10 favorites]


This is going to be one of those difficult years to pick my votes for best novel. Also, the puppy shit can be swept under the Noah Ward carpet and ignored for the year, which is nice. I honestly worry for John C Wright's health, given the stress of being one of the figureheads for a wannabe Nazi. I've only read Ander's and Chamber's books (which are both incredible), but I know they'll have competition from the others.

On the other hand, I won't be ranking Mieville that high this year. I've tried and bounced off that book at least four times so far. I'll make it through eventually, but, as exciting an experiment as it was, it just didn't end up up to snuff. I honestly wonder if Last Days of New Paris, a much better book, would have made it instead without the RP push. Of course, it was explicitly anti-Nazi, so that rules it out for that crowd.

I registered for the past two years so that I could vote. This year, I'm not so certain. I'd be lying if I said that the potential voter's packet isn't a strong motivation to register as a supporting member.
posted by Hactar at 8:19 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I hadn't been really paying attention to all this until the last couple days, and I was sort of shocked to discover the extent to which Vox Day et al had already given up. Sure, he published a list of recommendations, but with only one or two nominees per category, you can't really call it a slate. And in his blog posts announcing his picks, he basically says that the E Pluribus Hugo rule changes make the lock-step slate voting that he deployed to such effect in 2015 basically useless, all while declaring that the passage of EPH is exactly the victory he was looking for all along, and that the Hugos are tired anyway, and the Dragon Awards are where it's at now.

If "success" for the puppies in 2015 had only meant getting one of their nominees into most of the categories, I don't think most of SF/F fandom would have even noticed that they existed.
posted by firechicago at 8:24 AM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Which ones are fun and escapist without also being white male wish fulfilment? No sexual violence. Asking for a friend.
posted by alasdair at 8:24 AM on April 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


I sincerely hope they are happy with the Dragon awards and devote as much attention to them as possible.
posted by Artw at 8:27 AM on April 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


I'm ... I don't like to trash-talk other authors, but I'm not happy to see that particular Becky Chambers novel on the best novel shortlist. She's a good writer: I'm sure she can (and will) do a lot better. (Confession: I have a mad hate on for "teching the tech", Star Trek style, especially in space opera. Also for aliens who are humans in funky latex face-paint, starships bumping into asteroid fields, and about two other cliches per page of that novel. YMMV and it's just a matter of taste, of course, but I'll be happier if the win goes to any other novel on the shortlist, and I bounced hard off two of them.)
posted by cstross at 8:38 AM on April 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


I rather doubt that China Mieville, an avowed socialist, and Vox Day, a self-described Christian Nationalist, agree on much of anything.

VD has been saying for many years that he thinks Mieville is the one of the best current authors.


The Puppies slates were explicitly not about quality, but about fighting back against the perceived bias of the Hugos and critics against "real" manly-man cracking adventure stories in favor of "pink" SJW fee-fee sobfests. So VD slating Miéville because of the quality and ignoring the politics is at best watering down his stated purpose.
posted by Etrigan at 8:46 AM on April 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


Splendor and Misery previously. A well-deserved nomination.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:52 AM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Of the novel list I've read "All the Birds in the Sky", "A Closed and Common Orbit", and "Death's End". I haven't read "The Obelisk Gate", but its predecessor "The Fifth Season" was terrific. If it lives up to the first one, it would be my favourite.

After that I'd say "Death's End", then "All the Birds in the Sky". I didn't think "A Closed and Common Orbit" was as good as its predecessor: I really liked the flashback storyline, but the present-day one seemed a bit weak.

I really loved China Mieville's novella "This Census Taker" but can see why many people wouldn't like it: it's low-key and allusive, like peering at strange shapes through the fog.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:57 AM on April 4, 2017


Which ones are fun and escapist without also being white male wish fulfillment? No sexual violence. Asking for a friend.

I haven't read "A Closed and Common Orbit", but its predecessor would have fit the bill. "All the Birds in the Sky" as well, but it does have mention of rape, but if I remember correctly, that's all it is, a mention.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:59 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure A Closed and Common Orbit is the one your're looking for. Reading A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet beforehand not absolutely essential, but they are both quick reads so I would do so.
posted by Artw at 9:06 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Best Related Work looks genuinely readable this year, THANK GOODNESS (and Hugo voters).
posted by mixedmetaphors at 9:07 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Clipping's album was nominated!

Wut? Here it is on Bandcamp, with more music from this Los Angeles-based noise-rap trio, and Sub Pop posted the full album on YouTube as a single video/audio track.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:14 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the links, f.l.t. I picked up a copy of Splendour and Misery at the Sub Pop store at SeaTac, only to come home and realize I no longer have a working CD player. It's been sitting on the shelf for 6 months.

The kicker: I just got an audiocassette as a Kickstarter reward. I can play that, but not a CD.
posted by Banknote of the year at 9:24 AM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Has anyone ever won both a Tony and a Hugo?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:27 AM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Daveed technically has a grammy from the cast recording. He's going for the first ever THG life.
posted by cmfletcher at 9:32 AM on April 4, 2017 [14 favorites]


But will he go full EGOTH?
posted by zombieflanders at 9:33 AM on April 4, 2017 [9 favorites]


Very few of my nominations ended up on the final ballot, but I'm very glad to see a proper ballot again. It looks like I have a lot of reading to do over the next few months. I'm particularly excited to see that Too Like the Lightning is up for Best Novel, because I've been wanting to read it since it first came out. It's not been released in the UK, though, so I haven't been able to. Fingers crossed it'll be in the voter packet.
posted by Law of Demeter at 9:40 AM on April 4, 2017


Has anyone ever won both a Tony and a Hugo?

Mel Brooks
1975 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation for Young Frankenstein
Multiple Tony Award for The Producers.
posted by JohnFromGR at 9:44 AM on April 4, 2017 [32 favorites]


I bounced off Too Like the Lightning and I concur that as likeable as Chambers' novels are, they're not really award-quality at this point. I am however stoked to see Yoon Ha Lee and Nora Jemisin on the ballot. Yoon is incredibly creative, and The Broken Earth series from Jemisin is just a tour de force.

I'm also stoked to see some worthy entries on the Series Hugo list. Bujold will win easily, but I'm happy to see Max Gladstone and Naomi Novik on it: there are so very many series out there, that in this instance I think it really is an honor to be nominated.
posted by suelac at 9:47 AM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm ... I don't like to trash-talk other authors, but

And yet you felt obliged?

I hear your preferences, but I specifically enjoy characterizations that blend the idea of aliens with very human qualities, and there's a long tradition of that in literature. It's possible to do it badly; I think Chambers does it really well. I don't see that her book is more full of cliches than any other book (and less than ATBITS, though that was quite deliberate there, for better or for worse), though of course everyone has cliches that are just pet peeves.

I get that you don't like her choices; I don't expect you to, but I think you're being a little harsh. Writing a book that conforms to your preferences about cliche -- which are not universal -- is not identical to writing a better book.
posted by jeather at 9:53 AM on April 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


Miéville? They should have nominated Steven Brust and Eric Flint so we could've hit the SFF Trotskyist trifecta.
posted by graymouser at 9:54 AM on April 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


God that Clipping album is amazing...how have major afro-futrist works done at the hugos? Has Janelle Monae been nominated?
posted by PinkMoose at 9:55 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


A Closed and Common Orbit is different enough from A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet that I didn't realize it was a sequel at first. I get what cstross is saying about it - a lot of the scifi in this scifi story is very handwavy. It reads like an upbeat, common people kind of Star Trek story. And that is totally fine by me.

I do think the aliens are a little more than humans in rubber masks, but you get more of that in the first book than A Closed and Common Orbit. But that's at the species/cultural level. The individual aliens that you meet are very much people and not stand ins of their entire races.
posted by thecjm at 9:59 AM on April 4, 2017


I nominated Electric Lady when it came out, but it didn't make the ballot. I stand ready to nominate Monae's next album, though!
posted by restless_nomad at 10:00 AM on April 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


I'm partway through A Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, which is (I gather) the book before A Taste of Honey. I like it a lot and am excited that there's a sequel since it seems a bit grim and I'm hoping for a...well, probably not a happy ending per se but a not too grim ending.

For what it's worth, I found A Taste of Honey to be just as dang impressive in every way but also a bit... lighter, maybe, in a good way. However you feel about the ending to A Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, I think you will enjoy the sequel.

Seconding The Winged Histories, best novel I read in 2016, a true shame it wasn't nominated. There will come a day that folks won't be able to write about the history of epic fantasy without at least touching on Samatar's work.

Also yay clipping.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 10:02 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Has anyone ever won both a Tony and a Hugo?

Mel Brooks
1975 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation for Young Frankenstein
Multiple Tony Award for The Producers.


Wait so Mel Brooks is a member of the EGOT club and has a Hugo? Does that mean he's the sole member of the EGOTH club?
posted by Green With You at 10:08 AM on April 4, 2017 [9 favorites]


That's a really solid ballot. I'm delighted that "All the Birds in the Sky" got nominated. Also, "Hidden Figures" (hey, if "Apollo 13" got nominated, why not "Hidden Figures"?). And "Ballad of Black Tom" was an absolute kick in the head and I hope it wins.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:20 AM on April 4, 2017


Frowner, we have similar tastes because I think I nominated both the Chandraskara and Winged Histories.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:21 AM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


I really came around on Ninefox Gambit. That opening battle scene is just a confusing jumble of technobabble and similar nonsense, which immediately put me off. But, I grew to like the main characters a lot and am now looking forward to how that series progresses.
posted by graventy at 10:25 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I ended up in a weird conversation about music just about the time I found Splendor+Misery. This dude was claiming that music had reached its most perfect form in the era of Bach and that nothing new could be done, nothing interesting was left.

I really didn't know how to explain to him the wonderousness of that album. So instead I just shook my head and thought to myself "damn, dude, you are missing out."
posted by nat at 10:26 AM on April 4, 2017


Daveed Diggs is apparently pretty thrilled to be a Hugo finalist.
posted by tavella at 10:30 AM on April 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


Too like the lightning is sensational; I hope it wins.
posted by dhruva at 10:38 AM on April 4, 2017


I was concerned Chuck Tingle wouldn't be on this list this year but there he is nominated as a Fan Writer. And he has responded to the nomination.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:44 AM on April 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


> "Does that mean he's the sole member of the EGOTH club?"

I think so. If you *really* stretch, you could maybe say James Earl Jones, but you have to count his honorary Oscar in 2011, which is probably reasonable, and also count the Star Wars/Empire/Jedi Hugo wins as including him, which probably isn't -- they're generally considered as going to the director(s) and writer(s).

Some others come close, but Whoopi Goldberg wasn't in any of the ST:TNG episodes that won the award, so I don't think she counts even if you stretch, and while Beauty and the Beast was nominated for a Hugo it didn't win, so Alan Menken isn't EGOTH.
posted by kyrademon at 11:00 AM on April 4, 2017


So there was an internal Sad Puppy revolt and so the vote was split and nothing got on, or did Sad Puppies just not want to vote once Sarah Hoyt was responsible for it? Or is it that the Puppies overall were too busy stumping for Trump to affect the ballot much?
posted by corb at 11:31 AM on April 4, 2017


Young Frankenstein also won the Nebula, so Mel Brooks is surely the world's only ENGOTH?
posted by Aznable at 11:32 AM on April 4, 2017 [9 favorites]


I figure the Puppies realised that it was pointless and gave up.
posted by jeather at 11:43 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


So there was an internal Sad Puppy revolt and so the vote was split and nothing got on

It got weird? I'm an outsider to SFF fandom despite being an SFF fan, so I'm trying to reconstruct drama that I only tangentially know about.

Basically Sarah Hoyt was going to run it in an unorthodox way:
This year the Sad Puppies (5) will host a page, on which you can make recommendations, and which will, every month, give you a collated list of the 5 works with the most votes, in each subcategory (if we have that many, of course) and if/what awards they’re eligible for. The list will also include mystery, where a lot of the indie are quite good and by and large unnoticed.
I just can't find any proof that that happened anywhere, so I think there was no official one. Earlier, in the same post, she says:
But Sarah, you’ll say, how can you lead Sad Puppies 5, when you’re not going to nominate and vote on the Hugos.

Well, as much as I hate to say this, the Hugos as the award Heinlein won, are dead. There is nothing that can be done. I’m not a necromancer. In that sense the Sad Puppies won. We proved the game is rigged, and we can walk away.

Only not.

We’re still in the middle of a culture war.
And the last update I saw was this from Sad Puppies 4:
In the near future, this site will be shut down and a new site for Sad Puppies 5 will go live. In the meantime, if you have any books, movies, etc., you think award-worthy, please list them in the comment section. Your recommendations will be migrated to the new site when it is ready.
So as far as I can tell, it just fizzled and nothing was done, but I'm finding it difficult to find information from after that SP4 post or the post linked in the OP. I might be wrong and it might be up! But if it is, I cannot find it.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 11:50 AM on April 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


Frowner, we have similar tastes because I think I nominated both the Chandraskara and Winged Histories.

I am really excited that others have read the Chandraskara - my SF group read it but so often I read a short story I like and I never, ever meet anyone else who's even heard of it.

I mean, IYAM that story does everything - its language is complex, it plays some games with the history of SF, it has a lot of stuff that gives the impression of being SFnal if you are neither Tamil nor familiar with Tamil history, it talks about how to do art and politics in a way that's realistic and not preachy...

Actually, can I recommend another thing that talks about how to do politics in a way that is realistic and not preachy? There's....okay, yes, it's a fanfic. But it's very, very good - it's one of only a handful of long fanfics I've ever read which I experienced like I experience original work. I can't google it because I can't google fanfic at work, but it's called "Heelstone", it's on Ao3 and it's by luminous grey. It's a sort of Harry Potter one, but it's really about resistance and colonialism and prisons...it has a prequel whose name escapes me which is useful to read first but not essential, which is also really good. And it introduces an entirely new and plausible kind of magic for HP-world. It has outstanding original characters - truly original and fully realized.

I feel like I learned something about how to write political ambiguity from reading it, and as much as I like satire, fluff and sentimental romance, that's not something I usually say about fanfic.
posted by Frowner at 11:53 AM on April 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


I think the Rabid Puppies contingent was smaller (under a hundred this year) and focused on a single nominee per category, and the Sad Puppies turned into more of a general nominate this bunch of people rec-fest rather than an single slate. And the specific power of slate voting only works if your group votes for a single set of slate-filling candidates, vote for some set of this long list doesn't really do the trick and you just end up being another part of the normal Hugo nomination pool.
posted by tavella at 11:54 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


> "Well, as much as I hate to say this, the Hugos as the award Heinlein won, are dead."

It is pretty astounding that they are still nattering on about how Heinlein couldn't win a Hugo Award these days in spite of the fact that Heinlein won *two* Hugo Awards LAST YEAR.
posted by kyrademon at 12:07 PM on April 4, 2017 [16 favorites]


I've not read Ninefox Gambit, but Yoon Ha Lee's short stories "Combustion Hour" and "Variations on an Apple" remind me so much of my early reactions to The Shadow of the Torturer, science fiction projected so far into a speculative space that it might as well be mythic fantasy. I'm considering making, "This story is about the eschatology of shadow puppets" into a future cross stitch.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:10 PM on April 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


I can understand why someone would bounce off of Too Like the Lightning but I love that weird book so much
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:10 PM on April 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


It is pretty astounding that they are still nattering on about how Heinlein couldn't win a Hugo Award these days in spite of the fact that Heinlein won *two* Hugo Awards LAST YEAR.

Yeah, but that was the nostalgia vote. I think they're fundamentally right that if you took a Heinlein book, re-wrapped it with a new author with similar biographical data, and claimed it was a new book, there's no way it would win. Times, and the SF community, have definitely changed, and there's way less tolerance for colonialist narratives.
posted by corb at 12:35 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


The Puppys' Zombie Heinlein writes Star Trek novels without Roddenberry's embarrassing politics. Vampire Heinlein likely writes polyamorous supernatural romance for a quick buck.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:48 PM on April 4, 2017


Chuck Tingle got nominated for Best Fan Writer I'M SO HAPPY LOVE IS REAL

Seriously though, with all my love and respect to the other nominated writers, Chuck Tingle should win. Tingle's post-Puppies Twitter feed alone has been a master class in blithely deflecting trolls with warm inclusive positivity, support for marginalized artists, and gonzo surrealist erotica. And really, isn't that what the best scifi is all about?
posted by nicebookrack at 12:48 PM on April 4, 2017 [9 favorites]


If you woke Heinlein from the grave and set him to work on a novel there's no way he'd just write one of his old ones either.
posted by Artw at 12:51 PM on April 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


For that matter, how do we know that Chuck Tingle isn't Vampire Heinlein? Have they ever been seen together in the same place?
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:54 PM on April 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


It is pretty astounding that they are still nattering on about how Heinlein couldn't win a Hugo Award these days in spite of the fact that Heinlein won *two* Hugo Awards LAST YEAR.

The Sad Puppies aren't really big on logic, consistency, or really in general just not being a bunch of raging bigoted shitholes. These are people that compare Correia's glory-seeking to resisting the Nazis*. At least the Rabids are upfront that it's about harassment and/or trolling without wrapping it in a bunch of sanctimonious and wildly contradictory revisionist fanfic.

* Note that they have a lot of sads about actual Nazis getting punched, yet also say stuff like the Nazi “knife in the back” story "was grounded in reality" completely straight-faced. And yes, that's a direct quote.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:02 PM on April 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


This post reminded me to buy my membership. I'll be attending my first ever Worldcon, which is literally a childhood dream of mine. I'm excited beyond words. If any MeFites will be there, we should definitely have a meetup.

Also, what's this voting packet? Do I get PDFs of the nominated works or something?
posted by Kattullus at 1:08 PM on April 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think they're fundamentally right that if you took a Heinlein book, re-wrapped it with a new author with similar biographical data, and claimed it was a new book, there's no way it would win.

That's hard to reconcile with Scalzi's success. Granted, Old Man's War didn't win when it was up. But it's not like the SF community is rejecting an author with a very Heinleinian voice, writing often about similar things, putting in weirdish sex, weird takes on religion, writing from a kid's point of view sometimes... even the politics aren't *that* far removed from what you get in most before-crazy Heinlein novels.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:09 PM on April 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


The complaint about Heinlein is just a bizarre one to make in general. Of course a Heinlein writing today wouldn't win a Hugo... we already saw that work 50 years ago! It's like being pissed that you can't get famous in 2017 by painting a Rothko. No shit.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 1:18 PM on April 4, 2017 [12 favorites]


The voter packet is an initiative originally set up by jscalzi and more recently run by the worldcon itself to try and get as much of the Hugo-nominated content as they can and round it up in one convenient package for Hugo voters to download. In the past it has included complete novels as PDF and epub, but it's dependent on what the publishers want to provide, which is sometimes whole novels and sometimes only excerpts. You usually get a lot of the short fiction (although most of the short story and novelettes are online anyway), and samples of the nominated fanzines and semiprozines and works by the artists, and occasionally whole novels from people nominated for the Campbell award. You can't count on anything being included, but there's usually a good selection of stuff to read. I don't know how the publishers will choose to handle Best Series, it will be interesting to see if any publishers opts to provide the whole series - Tor, who publish the Craft Sequence, has previous form for including the whole of the Wheel of Time series in the packe when that was nominated - but I'm guessing you'll mostly get the first book or an excerpt.

(I'll be in Helsinki! I vote meetup.)
posted by penguinliz at 1:47 PM on April 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


That's hard to reconcile with Scalzi's success. Granted, Old Man's War didn't win when it was up. But it's not like the SF community is rejecting an author with a very Heinleinian voice, writing often about similar things, putting in weirdish sex, weird takes on religion, writing from a kid's point of view sometimes... even the politics aren't *that* far removed from what you get in most before-crazy Heinlein novels.

Sorry, I was posting from mobile and didn't explain my thoughts well enough. Mea culpa.

When I say that I don't think Heinlein writing today could win a Hugo, I say that for many reasons, including the fact that Heinlein - born as the century was, who gained most of his formative socialization in the 1930s and 1940s, during which period he fought in WWII and was exposed to military cohesion - despite being, I feel, one of the finest science fiction writers of the age, was very much a product of his time. He was undoubtedly, as Asimov put it, "flamingly liberal", especially on sexual and other mores for someone born in 1907, but his sort of "feminism for tomboys who become nubile girls who attach themselves ultimately to men" was a thousand percent a product of a time where that could exist relatively unquestioned.

I don't think this is unique to Heinlein - you see it also with even the gentle Dr. Asimov, who would opine cheerily about pinching women, or really any of the greats of that time. They grew up in a time where they felt much more entitled to women, where even the women they thought they were treating as equals had to be half-a-step behind. Look at Robots of Dawn, for example - even the brilliant women there are defined by their sexual dysfunction. Likewise, I believe Heinlein believed himself to be racially expansive, and I know he served in a desegregated military, but his works likewise reflect the racial progressiveness of the 1950s, not that of today.

I don't think Heinlein's works, much more to the right after he married his beloved Ginny, can be dismissed as "crazy", but I'm not even talking about that so much when I say that Heinlein couldn't win awards today. That may be true, but I don't think that's the biggest factor that would strike against it. The biggest factor is that Heinlein possessed an upbringing that makes him alien and kind of horrifying in many cases to many of us, today, on a reread. It's impossible to read an adult book of his without cringing at least once.

Where does this fit into the Puppies, and why is it even a problem? It's not, exactly - like, one would want to think that you could read a Hugo-winning book without cringing! That should be a good thing! But it becomes a problem when you remember that the country isn't moving forward at the same rate all over. Some pockets of the country are, effectively, still living in 1940, culturally. Others are not.

So, at least personally, I distinguish a difference between someone who's writing and speaking in the culture they know, which happens to be unintentionally offensive - (I'd place Orson Scott Card here, for example, who is influenced by his Mormonism but not trying to convert others, or Elizabeth Moon) - and someone who is writing deliberately to try to bring about their freakish retrograde dystopia, like Tom Kratman, or Vox Day. And I think that in many cases, we are rightfully trying to exclude the bigots (Kratman, Day), but don't really make a lot of room for nuance for people who are products of their culture - OSC got boycotted up the wazoo for statements that didn't even enter his books, for example.

Now, are award shows the appropriate place for that discussion? Maybe not! But that's an entirely separate question from "does this feeling impact awards".
posted by corb at 2:15 PM on April 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


The biggest factor is that Heinlein possessed an upbringing that makes him alien and kind of horrifying in many cases to many of us, today, on a reread.

Exactly!!! And this gets at the difficulty of the past, and the difficulty of time. Past people are strange and horrifying! Ourselves as past people (hello I'm an Old!) are strange and horrifying! It's, in fact, really really difficult to read genre fiction of the past and try to figure out a good reading strategy. (This is basically what I devote my entire science fiction class to doing.)

I mean, we all love at least some old SF, but there's that element of horror and weirdness in the past that can't be smoothed away. And when our present recedes into the past, it will be there too.
posted by Frowner at 2:28 PM on April 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


As has been explained to you many times, among other things OSC wrote about an adult man raping a 12yo girl as a corrective. And he certainly has a bunch of homophobic content in his books that only counts as relatively tame considering he actually believes that LGBTQ people should be classified en masse as enemies of the state and their behavior to be made illegal (again).
posted by zombieflanders at 2:32 PM on April 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


I don't think Heinlein's works, much more to the right after he married his beloved Ginny, can be dismissed as "crazy"

I wasn't thinking of his turn towards more right-wing stuff so much as I Will Fear No Evil etc. after he had his... I forget what it was. Some kind of vascular brain thing?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:50 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Vajra Chandrasekera (please note the spelling) is such an astonishing and incisive writer about speculative fiction that I actually like his nonfiction better than his fiction! I quoted him ("Excisions") in a speech I gave last week to a bunch of free software nerds and I hope they follow up and read a bunch of his writing. I nominated his short story "Sweet Marrow" for the Hugos and hope he makes it onto a future ballot.
posted by brainwane at 2:51 PM on April 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


(In re OSC, I think a lot depends on when you stop reading him - his work is always weird with a distasteful and problematic element, but up through the late eighties, he's - IMO - wrestling with hard problems and coming to interesting, albeit extremely Mormon, conclusions. Wyrms, for instance, is about as weird a book about colonialism and abortion as you could hope to see. (It's the only one I ever reread.) Songmaster is a book that is...extremely disturbed and wrong about gayness, but it's disturbed and wrong in a way utterly different from and much more personal than Card's later work.

I think, in fact, that early Card precisely represents the problem of the past and of otherness that corb is talking about. Early Card isn't, IMO, totally run by "I am right and Others are bad"; he's very much on the "I am bad and everyone is bad and I am not exactly sure how to figure out how to extricate oneself from the badness of the world". And yet, yeah, you can't read him without flinching all the time. Early Card is a good example of someone whose worldview is strange and repugnant but who none the less has some interesting stuff to say in addition to the strange and repugnant elements.

Obviously, no one is obliged to read things they find horrible and repugnant (except maybe if you're really doing, say, a comprehensive survey of popular American SF, etc). It's just that sometimes you want a reading strategy for the past (and the Strange and Repugnant) because you want to understand the past, the Strange and Repugnant or the field.
posted by Frowner at 2:56 PM on April 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


I wasn't thinking of his turn towards more right-wing stuff so much as I Will Fear No Evil etc. after he had his... I forget what it was.

I'd say all the stuff about how awesome it is to literally be a motherfucker is, if not crazy, at least worthy of a collective "uh, dude, WTF?"
posted by zombieflanders at 3:00 PM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Here's Heelstone by fluorescentgrey which Frowner mentioned above. And Frowner, one of my Best Novel nominations was Known Associates by thingswithwings, a Captain America fanfic novel.

I also nominated the short story "Everything That Isn't Winter" by Margaret Killjoy, which has military SF elements in a setting and with kinds of characters I feel like I don't assume I would see in stuff that gets marketed as "military SF" -- I'd be curious how it reads to people who really like Heinlein-y stuff.
posted by brainwane at 3:06 PM on April 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


Known Associates is really awfully good. I stopped halfway through because it was, in its way, fairly demanding and wrenching reading, and also because my Steve is fundamentally Speranza's Steve. But yeah, KA has some extremely strong, plausible, well-researched characterization going on, and it absolutely deserves an award of some kind.

I think that Heelstone, which is also pretty wrenching (in places, for me) is easier for me to read because it's set in Harry Potter Magic World, which feels more distant to me. KA's Steve is basically People I Know Except My People Don't Have Superpowers, and that brought it right down home.
posted by Frowner at 3:13 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


thecjm: "It reads like an upbeat, common people kind of Star Trek story. "

She came from Vulcan, she had a thirst for knowledge.
She studied astrophysics as St. Shatner's College
that's where I...caught her eye.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:39 PM on April 4, 2017 [16 favorites]


I said, pretend you got no trilithium.

She just laughed and asked, wait, what rhymes with trilithium?
posted by asperity at 3:47 PM on April 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


Oh man speranza and thingswithwings and their Captains America are so fucking good. I'll throw Copperbadge's name onto the pile. If we've got best Fan Writer & Artist & Zine Hugos, then surely we can throw Best Fan Fic (I will settle for Best Captain America Fan Fic) into the mix and copyright infringement be damned. (Also the Internet will explode.)

There are already pro writers who were/are also fanfic writers; there are have always been fic writers filing off the serial numbers and republishing their fanfic as original or pastiche fic, and the quality of the writers is improving all the time. Who and what will be the first* fic-writers and fanfic that break out of fan critical acclaim into pro critical acclaim? And what will be the fan and pro reactions?


*or has it already happened, e.g. Naomi Novik's nominated Temeraire series explicitly began as an Aubrey-Maturin AU fic that went feral
posted by nicebookrack at 4:17 PM on April 4, 2017


I am so happy about Splendor and Misery's nomination (it honestly did not occur to me that it would be eligible for Dramatic Presentation (Short) because I am so used to seeing TV episodes in that category), and Arrival, and Abigail Nussbaum for Best Fan Writer. And hooray for the end of the slates. It's so nice to look actually forward to reading most of the fiction nominees for the first time in years.
posted by creepygirl at 4:59 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I too am vexed that none of Janelle Monáe Afrofuturistic robot apocalypse revolution albums and aesthetic have ever been nominated.

Has Welcome to Night Vale ever been Hugo-nominated? I feel like some of the Doctor Who radio dramas have been, but would Night Vale be in the same category since it's not based on an existing property?

Stuff from the first page of my AO3 bookmarks updated in the last year that I will fight to defend as literature: From Out the Ocean Risen by bluestar, Pacific Rim as first-contact cosmic horror story; Dresden Files/Welcome to Night Vale mashup Love Is All You Need to Destroy Your Enemies by shadydave, which balances canon-welding AND carefully plotted time-travel AND swoonworthy canon romance; Sorrowful and Immaculate Hearts by frequent MeFi subject Unpretty (previously), the platonic ideal of a "DC universe where moms are awesome and raise their kids right. Now with more melanin and queerness." Indirectly includes #weedhorse69 (previously), which I will fight to defend as literature AND the greatest Superman story everrr
posted by nicebookrack at 5:04 PM on April 4, 2017


Oh duh, Chandrasekera is already on this ballot as one of the editors of Strange Horizons. SH is up for Best Semiprozine.

Incidentally, I think it's also worth noticing that British journalist Laurie Penny (previously) is a finalist for John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, for her fiction work, and that commentator Ta-Nehisi Coates is on the ballot for Best Graphic Story as writer of Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet. So if Penny, Coates, and clipping all come to Worldcon, well, that would be pretty neat!
Who and what will be the first* fic-writers and fanfic that break out of fan critical acclaim into pro critical acclaim? And what will be the fan and pro reactions?

*or has it already happened, e.g. Naomi Novik's nominated Temeraire series explicitly began as an Aubrey-Maturin AU fic that went feral
Novik, yeah. Zen Cho as well. (And E.L. James is also worth mentioning as an aside, since her Twilight fanfic turned into 50 Shades of Grey, which did not get critical acclaim but it sure sold a lot.)
posted by brainwane at 5:35 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I mean, we all love at least some old SF, but there's that element of horror and weirdness in the past that can't be smoothed away. And when our present recedes into the past, it will be there too.

It's almost alien terrain, albeit not future-looking.

I've never gotten the point of the retro-Hugos, honestly. The stories that are getting nominated aren't necessarily the stories that we would consider great today or the stories that people would have considered great at the time -- they're the stories that people today remember and think are still good. I can all but guarantee that there are hidden gems somewhere that are far superior to anything that makes the ballot.

Most of the ballot looks spectacular. Quibbles, though, because they're way more fun than points of agreement: Like a lot of people, I bounced off the Mieville. Unlike almost everyone, I realized halfway through _Obelisk Gate_ that I despised every one of the characters, so I'm not thrilled that it might win again. I'm somewhat curious about how the Vorkorsigan saga qualified for Best Series,(*) given that _Gentleman_ was printed in 2015, but I'm glad it made the list.

I'm also kind of annoyed that "Hidden Figures" made the Dramatic Presentations list rather than the "Related Work" (where I nominated it), because that pits it against "Arrival".

(*) Maybe. If I'm reading the Best Series writing correctly, it's possible that *any* series qualifies -- if I'm right that that (1) shared universes seem to be explicitly allowed, (2) making a story freely available online counts as publication (we saw this in _The Martian_), and (3) there's no minimum word count for the part of the series that needs to be released in the year of nomination, then a 50-word drabble published on AO3 by an anonymous writer is enough to qualify the series, but I hope that someone was screening more thoroughly.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 5:42 PM on April 4, 2017


Bujold also wrote fanfic (though she's said that the rumor that Shards of Honor started as a Star Trek fanfic are not true.) So did Paul Cornell and Sarah Monette (Katherine Addison), so that's more Hugo nominees. My guess is that very few rising young F&SF authors these days will not have at least dipped a toe in fanfic at some point in writing their "first million words", though probably few will admit it publicly.
posted by tavella at 5:44 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


brainwane: I don't just mean pro writers who were/are also fan writers; I'm talking about fic writers explictly writing fanfic for an assumed fanfic audience that breaks out into wider pro-fic critical acclaim & awards like the Hugos. (So not pro-fic-written stuff like Wicked by Maguire, nor 50 Shades, which was NOT critically acclaimed.)
posted by nicebookrack at 5:47 PM on April 4, 2017


I'm not sure if any of the Lovecraft circle quote count, but Bloch would be closest?
posted by Artw at 5:58 PM on April 4, 2017


Looks like the puppies assholes have almost completely failed. Perhaps this will be the last of them.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:00 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


No, no, they've got to be horrible offended at being No Awarded next. There's a lifecycle to these things.
posted by Artw at 6:05 PM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm happy to see Seanan on the ballot again.

I am glad I'm not a Hugo voter because I do not think I could decide between The Geek Feminist Revolution (which blew my tiny little mind) and The Princess Diarist (I love Carrie Fisher and this would be her last shot even if she can't enjoy it).

"lien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex by Stix Hiscock (self-published)"

Um....new ripoff of Chuck Tingle, I presume?
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:22 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I was so happy about this ballot I bought a supporting membership to vote. There is so much good stuff that I can overlook the turds trying to get into the punch bowl. Nice try, turd merchants!
posted by RakDaddy at 8:47 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I am also stoked about clipping. making the ballot. I am a little surprised that it only takes about 100 votes to get nominated in the Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) category though. They did campaign hard for it on Twitter (giving out download codes to anyone willing to consider them for the Hugo ballot) and their pitch ("Why not clipping. instead of 5 Doctor Who Episodes") was compelling.

Some History too -- not a lot of music in the Hugos:
- Splendor & Misery is the first musical work to be nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form).
- but, Paul Kantner & Jefferson Starship's 1970 Blows Against The Empire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53WPcHogkRk was nominated for the old combined Best Dramatic Presentation category (it split in 2003 I think).
- as far as I can tell, only one other album of music was ever nominated but it was in "Best Related Work" (usually a category for non-fiction writing) and that was Seanan McGuire's folk CD "Wicked Girls" in 2012.

Hopefully we see more sci-fi concept albums push for nominations in the future. Since the TV industry doesn't lobby hard for Hugos, it is very reasonable to try certainly.
posted by 3j0hn at 9:03 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]




Looks like the puppies assholes have almost completely failed. Perhaps this will be the last of them.

Well right now they seem to be gloating that the Hugos numbers are down and the awards are failing, etcetera. So maybe? Hopefully they'll busy themselves awarding each other Dragon Awards.

I'm just happy there's so many strong shorter works out there, and that it's easier than ever to access them. Listening to all these stories is going to make my work next month a lot more pleasant..
posted by happyroach at 11:27 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


brainwane, nicebookrack: Seanan McGuire's Incryptid series is also fanfic (OC Buffyverse) with the serial numbers filed off. I don't remember offhand whether McGuire's gotten a Hugo nod for anything in that series, but she herself has been nominated for a zillion Hugos and won at least two?
posted by adrienneleigh at 12:02 AM on April 5, 2017


brainwane

"Everything That Isn't Winter" by Margaret Killjoy, ...I'd be curious how it reads to people who really like Heinlein-y stuff.

Heads up. My reaction is probably diametrically opposite of yours and I didn't try to sugarcoat anything.

Ok, first its not like I want that five minutes of my life back, but the author broke my suspension of disbelief four times in a short story. The intro was short, sweet and plausible, that's good, so was the stalk. When the narrator shot the kid, she said she blew him off the cliff. Ah, nope. If it's a one shot kill the body just crumples, no flying around from a penetrating wound. That happens so much in books and movies I've learned to quickly get back in the story.

Then she states her heart arrhythmia is a reaction to killing with no prior mentioning of clinching of orifices to prevent her body from purging itself. That's a weird thing to leave out. The return to home and prepping for an assault was good until the shells fell and destroyed the lodge.

If your going to use artillery in a story, you should be familiar with the concepts of; spotter round, walking the rounds on target and fire for effect. Having the first two shells destroy the target totally blew me out of the story and once out I wanted to know why use such an oddball shell as HE-tracer? If I hadn't planed to write this that would have been the end of reading the story.

Maybe because I was getting back into the story her search for her old man seemed to lack intensity and then again with the heart. What's being foreshadowed? The trek and battle flowed well (it didn't kick me out of the story, but the author is ignorant about tourniquets too). Finally the chief warrior is reunited with her mate and we find that massacring a dozen kids has provoked an epiphany and she has started to regain her ability to communicate her feelings. Presumably, this will allow them the work through their sexual disengagement and live happilier. The heart thing was a indicator that combat is a metaphor for fear of intimacy and rejection. Unfortunately I can't buy into that metaphor at all.

...kinds of characters I feel like I don't assume I would see in stuff that gets marketed as "military SF"

I felt Killjoy was trying to sketch someone like Ripley in Aliens but it came out kinda like Vasquez with a happy ending tacked on. Even David Drake, way back when he was retelling a conscript army in Viet Nam as Hammer's Slammers short stories, had occasional nurturing men and hardened women. It didn't turn out well because it was David Drake writing about Viet Nam.
posted by ridgerunner at 3:55 AM on April 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I am kind of surprised at the Becky Chambers love. I just started "A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet" this morning after having it on my to-read list for ages and am already annoyed enough at the writing style that I'm thisclose to quitting it. Does it get better?
posted by corvine at 4:06 AM on April 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I liked it a lot, but it doesn't get different.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:26 AM on April 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


"pink" SJW fee-fee sobfests.

“pink”? Has the SubGenius meme-complex been assimilated into the alt-right?
posted by acb at 5:54 AM on April 5, 2017


Um....new ripoff of Chuck Tingle, I presume?

They really haven't got his charm down.

Also a reminder that the object of their saurian obsession, If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love, is still rather wonderful and you should all read it.
posted by Artw at 6:54 AM on April 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


I didn't particularly think "If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love" was award-worthy -- it was charming, but slight. The difference between me and the puppies* is that I shrugged and said, "Huh, well tastes differ," and they viewed it as the summation of everything that's gone wrong with the world since, say, the Council of Chalcedon.

*Well, one of MANY differences.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:20 AM on April 5, 2017 [7 favorites]


> "I didn't particularly think 'If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love' was award-worthy ..."

Yet another weird footnote to their rage at this piece is the fact that it didn't actually win.
posted by kyrademon at 7:34 AM on April 5, 2017 [10 favorites]


"pink" SJW fee-fee sobfests.

“pink”? Has the SubGenius meme-complex been assimilated into the alt-right?


Previously pink.
posted by Etrigan at 7:48 AM on April 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Chuck Tingle obliquely confirms that Stix Hiscock is a dangerous REVERSE TWIN and no substitute for the real thing.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:49 AM on April 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


Neither humour or originality are Puppy strong points.
posted by Artw at 8:50 AM on April 5, 2017 [6 favorites]


Yet another weird footnote to their rage at this piece is the fact that it didn't actually win.

I think it's more that the story exists in the first place. The fact that it was popular, and that it condemns gay bashing is what the Puppies object to.
posted by happyroach at 9:12 AM on April 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


I didn't like that story making it to the Hugos, but it wasn't because it condemned gay bashing, because fuck gay bashing. At least for me, it's more like - the Hugos are supposed to be the veryvery best in the industry, like stories that blow your mind and knock your socks off. When a story that's just okay, but not great, gets on, it makes it look like there weren't any great stories that year, and that kind of plays into existing bullshit stereotypes people have about how SF&F is just trash. So it's possible I get more protective about the Hugos because I still feel like there's a lot of stigma about this stuff, and I really want newcomers to see that it's totally Real Literature.

But that's kind of the problem with popular awards at all - like we wouldn't have needed the Doctor Who Rule (that hit GoT this year) if Doctor Who weren't sweeping due to a dedicated fan base. Fanbase isn't necessarily choosing just on raw quality, but what they want to see rewarded.

So it still bothers me, but it's possible I'm just a grumpy old man yelling at clouds about it.
posted by corb at 10:11 AM on April 5, 2017


Well, 'If you were a dinosaur' actually did knock my socks off. And every year there are things I think were absolutely clearly undeserving, sometimes they are the winners. This is true of every literature award ever.
posted by jeather at 10:19 AM on April 5, 2017 [7 favorites]


Also the quality argument doesn't really cut it when the puppies have yet to nominate anything that wasn't utter garbage except for the gotcha stuff that was going to get in anyway. You can't exactly make arguments on prose style or science fictional content when John C. Wright's shitty wannabe Lewis crap is your go to for short stories.
posted by Artw at 10:22 AM on April 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


Accusing a work of not being "Real Literature" just because it's not 100% serious or doesn't fit neatly into a category of some misty watercolor memory definition of traditional SFF is exactly the shit the Puppies have spent the last five years pulling. And unless "newcomers" is supposed to be limited to narrow-minded Comic Book Guy wannabes, there are tons of people coming to SFF from Steven Universe or Squirrel Girl or Overwatch or any of a number of works that don't adhere to a bunch of bigoted nutjobs' concept of the genre.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:35 AM on April 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


FWIW, "If you were a Dinosaur" is if anything, more literary fiction than SF&F. In fact, one of the things the Puppies have been screaming about is the presence of more literary stylings in SF&F, as opposed to more meat and potatoes stuff. Y'know, like what 70s SF&F was all about.
posted by happyroach at 10:43 AM on April 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


Oh no, they'd fucking hate 70s SF, too many "messages"*. I think the current puppy-meter is set to pre-WWII for proper SF.

* The avoidance of messages is, again, why they exclusively nominate cack like Wright's far right christian propaganda pieces and blogs by actual nazis.
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on April 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


No, no. 70s SF with the *correct* messages are okay. I.e., Pournelle, late period Poul Anderson.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:52 AM on April 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


I'm with corb on this. My personal reaction was that Swirsky's piece wasn't very good, and certainly wasn't SFF, and that it was somewhat embarrassing that it was a finalist at all.

I accept that there's something about it that other people really loved, and that it accordingly deserved to be on the ballot, because friends whose opinions I respect have said so. (I find it really hard to fathom, but I accept it.) But, on this narrow point, I can't really blame people who saw it as a sign of the Hugos going off the rails.

Obviously, this is in no way an endorsement of—or even slight sympathy with—what some of those people did in response.

(See also Ancillary Justice, where I loved and supported what Leckie was trying to do, but thought that the writing was so wretchedly dull that I only barely made it through the book. I am never going to put myself through the sequels, and it's been hard to shake the feeling that its support owed more to politics than, say, literary merit or being enjoyable to read. And yet I have friends who are good writers and editors who think it's well written! Life is a diverse tapestry.)
posted by Shmuel510 at 11:07 AM on April 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm with corb on this. My personal reaction was that Swirsky's piece wasn't very good, and certainly wasn't SFF, and that it was somewhat embarrassing that it was a finalist at all.

I accept that there's something about it that other people really loved, and that it accordingly deserved to be on the ballot, because friends whose opinions I respect have said so. (I find it really hard to fathom, but I accept it.) But, on this narrow point, I can't really blame people who saw it as a sign of the Hugos going off the rails.


Again, I don't see why "a piece I disliked was on the ballot" is proof of the Hugos going off the rails, because if there are not multiple examples of that every year for every person I am surprised. I truly disliked ATBITS, but I don't think that its support is due to politics and I'm not sure why anyone's first thought for what they consider an unworthy nom would be "politics!" instead of "rich tapestry" for any example of this.
posted by jeather at 11:20 AM on April 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


And as a reminder, this is a grudge they have kept going since 2013.
posted by Artw at 11:28 AM on April 5, 2017 [4 favorites]


Again, I don't see why "a piece I disliked was on the ballot" is proof of the Hugos going off the rails, because if there are not multiple examples of that every year for every person I am surprised.

Go back and look at Jo Walton's Hugo reviews - there's been at least a couple head-scratchers pretty much EVERY year.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:44 AM on April 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


In re Ancillary Justice and its prose: Now, it so happens that I run a science fiction class/reading group off and on. We were operating pretty steadily when AJ was published and we read it as part of a "revisionist space opera" block alongside Player of Games and On A Red Station, Drifting.

Everyone in the group was gripped by AJ, and read it straight through. We did not find the prose boring/difficult/ineffective, and we certainly found it at least as effective as the Banks.

Obviously whether prose is effective or not is an individual thing, but our whole group thought it absolutely gripping. We read plenty of contemporary SJW science fiction, so it's not as though we needed to cling to AJ because of its politics.
posted by Frowner at 11:57 AM on April 5, 2017 [6 favorites]


I felt AJ's prose to be precisely targeted for the narrator's backstory. If that had been the prose style in most other books, I would have rebelled, and can understand why it was a turn-off.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 12:20 PM on April 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm with corb on this. My personal reaction was that Swirsky's piece wasn't very good, and certainly wasn't SFF, and that it was somewhat embarrassing that it was a finalist at all.

I accept that there's something about it that other people really loved, and that it accordingly deserved to be on the ballot, because friends whose opinions I respect have said so. (I find it really hard to fathom, but I accept it.) But, on this narrow point, I can't really blame people who saw it as a sign of the Hugos going off the rails.


Did you read The Leviathan, Which Thou Hast Made by Eric James Stone (aka The Mormon Space Whale Rape story) which was a Hugo nominee in 2011?

Because if you think the Hugos were just fine and non-embarrassing with the Stone story on the ballot, but went off the rails just three years later with the Swirsky story, I guess our tastes vary quite a bit. I didn't care for the Swirsky, but find it way less embarrassing than a number of other Hugo nominees in the past 15 years or so.
posted by creepygirl at 1:08 PM on April 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


I'm wondering about 9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9: is there any way it could've been eligible for nomination this year? I found it really refreshing and nicely creepy, but the mode of delivery was admittedly unorthodox…
posted by LMGM at 1:18 PM on April 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


find it way less embarrassing than a number of other Hugo nominees in the past 15 years or so.

I will take If You Were a Dinosaur My Love ahead of every Mike Resnick story that has been nominated in the past 15 years.
posted by penguinliz at 1:28 PM on April 5, 2017 [4 favorites]


Well, look on the bright side. If the Puppies had not made that non-winning story into a scapegoat, they would not have ironically brigaded for a Chuck Tingle dinosaur porn story. Without Chuck Tingle's glorious counter-trolling, the last year of Hugo drama would have been a completely joyless nerd vs. nerd flamewar.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:28 PM on April 5, 2017 [15 favorites]


the puppies have yet to nominate anything that wasn't utter garbage except for the gotcha stuff that was going to get in anyway.

Tuesdays with Molokesh the Destroyer! Though that was admittedly Sad rather than Rabid.
posted by corb at 2:36 PM on April 5, 2017


Eh. "If You Were a Dinosaur My Love" is no less an SFF story than Kim Stanley Robinson's "Ridge Running", which was a nominee way back in 1985. There's one paragraph in that which refers to anything typically SF-y, and the story works perfectly well with it removed (or turned into a non-SF-y version.) "Established SFF author writes something more literary than usual, still is treated as SFF" is not something new.
posted by tavella at 3:14 PM on April 5, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think the Sads had Binti on their not-a-slate rec list last year. While I don't think Binti was as good as Lagoon or other stories, it didn't suck.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:24 PM on April 5, 2017


That's just one of their dumb gotchas though, so can be ignored.
posted by Artw at 3:33 PM on April 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


The response to "Dinosaur" is fairly representative of the way the right poisons a culture. It wasn't just "Dinosaur", IIRC -- if I remember right, pretty much every short story that year was either queer-themed (as a focal point, not just had gay characters) or really heavily focused on colonialism. I remember at the time thinking that I'd vote for pretty much anything silly just for a change of pace.

And, in response, the puppies focused entirely on Dinosaur (written by a woman, natch) and decided to nuke the Hugo awards, which not only meant that we dealt with the puppies but that any criticism of the prior year became politicized. I was foced to defend a set of stories that I found tedious to a bunch of angry people when what I really wanted to do was grumble that I hoped we'd gotten most of the coming-out metaphors out of our system.

(And I hesitate to say that for fear it will be argued to death. Which says everything you need to know about what the puppies did. )

(As far as Ancillary Justice goes, I enjoyed it way more the second time around. The middle book, though, was terrible, and the only reason I read the final book -- which was excellent-- was because several people encouraged me to.)
posted by steady-state strawberry at 4:16 PM on April 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


So, were the Sad Puppies too embarrassed to roll their schtick out again this year, or too disorganised?
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:27 PM on April 5, 2017


(Ah - on preview, asked and answered.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:28 PM on April 5, 2017


I think they were largely absent last year, or at least near completely drowned out by the Rabid effort. So I guess mainly we're looking at Vic Day getting fatigued this year?
posted by Artw at 5:37 PM on April 5, 2017


If your name is stupid you are at risk of getting autocorrected, it seems.

Also it seems that rule changes this year may have limited them. - though I thought EPH didn't hit till next year?
posted by Artw at 5:57 PM on April 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


EPH is already in, and VD reduced his slate to one or two items per category in response.
posted by penguinliz at 7:28 AM on April 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'd say that's a comprehensive win for it then.
posted by Artw at 7:45 AM on April 6, 2017


Obligatory Hamilton: Can we get back to politics books?

The debate about If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love seems like it's been done before, likely in last year's Hugos thread. So I'm going to set that aside and focus on how damn excited I am about this year's slate. Aside from the few puppy nominees that trickled in, my first impulse is to wish that I could stay home from work for a month and just read/watch/listen to *everything*. I follow best novel most closely, and thanks to Hugo speculation threads on r/printsf I had already read 4 out of 6 of those. I have read none of the novellas/novellettes/short stories, and tend to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what's out there, so I'm glad to have the finalists list and your lovely recommendations to go on. My thoughts on the books I have read:

Too Like the Lightning: Ooh, boy. This one was kind of a mess, and I found it difficult and frustrating and horrifying a lot of the time. It was also very strangely compelling, unique, and ambitious. Ada Palmer is so damn smart and sometimes she can't get out of her own way. I was so conflicted about it, but I've also read the sequel and I think it redeems a lot of things, while still being messy and at the same time extremely carefully planned. I'm glad this one is nominated because I want more people to read it so we can talk about it, but I think the sequel Seven Surrenders is more deserving of a win for next year (and I get to vote next year!).

Ninefox Gambit: Really cool and creative space battles. Fantastic characters. A clever narrative structure. I'm really curious to see where it goes with the next book. This one is my current frontrunner.

The Obelisk Gate: Yeah, it wasn't as mind-blowing as The Fifth Season, but Jemisin is wonderful and I really enjoyed seeing all the pieces get in place. I'm expecting a strong finish in book 3.

All the Birds in the Sky: A really cool hybrid between sci-fi and fantasy, embodied in the two main characters. Charlie Jane Anders is a wonderfully creative and hilarious person who I get to go see host a super awesome event in SF when I can make it over there. Her sense of humor and oddball creativity shines through in the book just like it does in person. However, it suffered from some uneven pacing and felt choppy.

I'm planning to read the other two after I get to their predecessors. I will admit I liked Three-Body Problem but bounced off of The Dark Forest, though I didn't try very hard because it was during election and other stress. I might start with A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet because non-grim space alien adventure sounds like something I need these days.

Also planning to read most of the Novellas, short stories, etc. etc. I just listened to the clipping. album yesterday and I think it deserves more listens. I wish there were more hours in the day where I could just binge on all this stuff.
posted by j.r at 10:07 AM on April 6, 2017 [3 favorites]




Abigail Nussbaum: The 2017 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on the Nominees
posted by Artw at 12:17 PM on April 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


Too Like the Lightning: Ooh, boy. This one was kind of a mess, and I found it difficult and frustrating and horrifying a lot of the time. It was also very strangely compelling, unique, and ambitious. Ada Palmer is so damn smart and sometimes she can't get out of her own way. I was so conflicted about it, but I've also read the sequel and I think it redeems a lot of things

That's interesting, because I've read some online reaction that TLL was amazing, but the sequel is just pretty good. Looking forward to reading both, her blog is great.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:46 PM on April 6, 2017




Chrysostom, that is really interesting to hear! Maybe for those people it's typical second-book syndrome, where the first was so new and different that a second book in the same world/same style doesn't feel as groundbreaking. For me it could have been the reverse--I found the style off-putting the first time I encountered it (weird antiquated mannerisms, unusual messing with pronouns/gender, breaking the fourth wall all the time), but for the sequel I was more used to it. Plus the first book felt like mostly setup, and we got the payoff in the second.

I should explore Palmer's blog; her responses to reader questions around the internet have been really interesting and kind. Happy reading!
posted by j.r at 1:32 PM on April 6, 2017


Like last year, the DEVILS were so excited about being DEVILS that they forgot to register important website names of their scoundrel ways. This year they are playing scoundrel pranks again, but now instead of learning about common devilman topics like having a lonesome way or crying about ethics in basement dwelling, this site can be used to PROVE LOVE by helping all with identification of a REVERSE TWIN!

Forget the Hugos, ⭐️Dr. Chuck Tingle for President 2020⭐️
posted by nicebookrack at 2:35 PM on April 6, 2017 [9 favorites]


Imagine writing dinosaur erotica not to bring pleasure to yourself or anyone else or even to turn a profit, but solely to be a dick to other people. Imagine the effort that takes, all the opportunities to reconsider, to look out the window and think ...
posted by Countess Elena at 5:33 PM on April 6, 2017 [7 favorites]


I bet the Hiscock isn't even good dinosaur erotica.
posted by Artw at 5:37 PM on April 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


Once again, Chuck Tingle is knocking it out of the park.

wired.com has a a plot rundown of the Stix if you want to know.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:59 PM on April 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


So while we're talking about Chuck, you all know about the page he set up to compare sales of Scalzi's latest with Vox's parody, right? [spoiler: MeFi's own wins, "looks like love is still real, buckaroos"].
posted by Pink Frost at 2:02 AM on April 7, 2017 [2 favorites]




Where to Find the 2017 Hugo Finalists For Free Online

File770 again... used to be SF Signal used be my reliable site for links to all nominated short stories, but sadly they shut up shop in 2016. :-(
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on April 7, 2017


Meet the Hugo-Nominated Author of Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By the T-Rex

tl;dr: He's a she, and she's not exactly thrilled to be part of VD's idiocy, but she's getting a huge boost in sales. Looks like another scheme backfired on the puppies.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:28 PM on April 7, 2017 [7 favorites]


Oh! Well, I'm glad it is innocent of purpose, anyway.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:50 PM on April 7, 2017 [3 favorites]


For those who've read Seven Surrenders: I forgot most of the character details from book one. I was actually skimming through book 1 and doing a cliff's note version for myself, but --

How accessible is Seven Surrenders if you only vaguely remember where everyone ended up at the end? I remember a lot of the big bombshells but sometimes I can't remember why the bombshells mattered, because I'd need to remember the interconnected web...
posted by flibbertigibbet at 7:34 PM on April 7, 2017




flibbertigibbet, hover here to see Too Like the Lightning spoilers.
posted by j.r at 10:33 AM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


Thanks! I'll probably get started on Seven Surrenders soon, then.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 4:39 AM on April 11, 2017


Thanks, j.r. Turns out I will definitely need to reread it.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:10 AM on April 11, 2017




Fix the Slating Problem Forever

The only thing that gives complete protection is a combination of 3SV and either EPH or EPH+. Given our experiences the past three years, it seems wise to err on the side of caution and approve both 3SV and EPH+.
posted by Artw at 10:49 AM on April 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


Am I fandoming correctly or incorrectly that one of the things I'm most excited to go to at my first Worldcon is the Business Meeting? Actually, might even be the event I'm looking most forward to.
posted by Kattullus at 2:24 PM on April 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


That's probably Worldconning correctly. Buncha weirdos...
posted by Artw at 2:24 PM on April 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


Oh, the Business Meeting was, arguably, the *only* entertaining part of MidAmericon II.

This is highly unusual, mind you. In a normal year, it's supposed to be dull.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 4:47 PM on April 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


I've never been, but from everything I've read, "dull" is HIGHLY charitable.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:40 PM on April 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


Clarke award finalists:

A Closed and Common Orbit, Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton)
Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
After Atlas, Emma Newman (Roc)
Occupy Me, Tricia Sullivan (Gollancz)
Central Station, Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)
The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (Fleet)
posted by Artw at 6:03 AM on May 3, 2017 [3 favorites]


"dull" is HIGHLY charitable.

In non-Puppy business, we managed to insert a definition of "North America" into the Worldcon rules and ... pretty much nothing else.

No, I take that back. We added "Best Series" on a trial basis.

But the Puppy business will probably continue having fallout for the next few years. And it's interesting to watch the sausage getting made, as it were.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 6:30 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]


Best Series doesn't feel like a long term keeper to me. You expend all the currently active big hand series , and then what?
posted by Artw at 7:01 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yeah, maybe it could be a special award only given out every 10 years or something.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:50 PM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


And you can only cast an educated vote if you read 20+ books, half of which are probably filler.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:13 AM on May 4, 2017


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