hugo awards

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Honestly I’m just tired…

So anyway if nothing else last night’s Hugo Award ceremony is pretty much the last nail in the coffin for the relevance of so-called “old guard” science fiction and fantasy. CoNZealand can issue all the mealy mouthed apologies they want but when it comes down to it they were still the ones who booked Martin full-well knowing the guy has a long, long, long history of chauvinist community exclusionism.1 Everything that happened last night—and I do mean everything—was blindingly obvious from a thousand paces.

Oh but, yanno. Marin is Famous™. And if nothing else Worldcon can always be counted on to kiss the asses of anyone it feels may bring it even the teensiest, tiniest bit of cultural relevance to its table.

Incidentally, the rough estimate is that there are about one thousand people that regularly attend Worldcons. One. Thousand. When it’s held in larger cities, i.e. with populations in the millions, it scrapes up into the higher four digits.

I live in a city of about 300,000 people. Our local annual media convention got around 5,000 attendees the last time it was run. It’s considered tiny for its type.

When Worldcons are held in similarly sized cities they struggle to get numbers in the hundreds.

And to be super clear about this: this is by design. It’s an open secret that there are people associated with Worldcon that want to keep it small and cliquish and closed to outsiders—by which yes you may absolutely read “anyone not a white American man”, give or take a degree or two—and they want to do that while simultaneously wanting it to be seen as the “premiere” driving force in science fiction and fantasy. It’s all the kids who were2 laughed at and spat on at school stomping off to make their own Cool Kids’ Club so that for once they can be the biggest fish in the smallest pond and shove all the even nerdier losers into lockers.

Is it any wonder, then, this long, slow, wheezing stumble into irrelevance?

And, to be clear, I do think think there’s something salvageable there. The Hugo Awards themselves are evidence of that; evidence of a growing diversity and a youthful energy. So is the anger things like last night provoke. But nothing is going to change, not really, when the next two years’ of Worldcons have snapped back, rubber-band-like, to the comfortable mediocrity of being hosted in the United States, and nothing is going to happen when guests of honor continue to be all white and awards hosts can’t even be bothered to learn to pronounce people’s names in prerecorded video.

Nothing here is new. And it is systemic, it’s connected.

And I’m just so fucking tired.

  1. However he isn’t, at least to my knowledge, a “missing stair“, as they say, which makes him the “non contentious” choice to represent the Famous Old White Men of SFF. Yes, we really, really are at the point where “doesn’t sexually harass, assault, and/or creep on attendees” is the fucking bar that people are trying to clear. []
  2. Or at least felt like they were… []
2020-08-02T09:30:05+10:002nd August, 2020|Tags: cons, fandom, hugo awards, sff, worldcon|

Verse interlude.

My name is fen
and wen i win
an award at
a convenshin

i close my eyes
and count to three
and wait for men
to ’splain to me

how i haf sore
misunderstood
and haf won naught
and am not gude

at writing, nay
nor at case law
and shude sit doon
and shut my craw

RuinsPlume does it in verse.

(Psst there’s more; go read the whole thing.)

2019-09-25T08:50:29+10:0025th September, 2019|Tags: ao3, fandom, hugo awards, poetry|

Culture gap.

Transformative fandom sees [social media] as a space for play, because if we’re talking about our fandom in a public space, that in itself marks it as a space we are not using professionally. So it’s a reasonable place to put “.000000000435% Hugo Winner,” or “30-50 feral hogs in a trenchcoat,” or “I am Batman,” or any of the other things we say in publicly-readable social media as jokes. They’re the kind of things we would have put in email sigs back when we were all on listservs, because they’re the kind of jokes that only really work in public or semi-public, where they can be seen by people who don’t already know you well and function as a tribal marker–like wearing your sports team’s jersey.

Putting that in an email sig, when most of us only use email today with friends who don’t need to have the joke repeated, or in our mundane, professional lives? Isn’t a joke. Can’t be. What you are suggesting is a serious attempt to leverage the cachet of the win into some sort of professional advantage, in contexts where that would be seen as pushy at best.

It’s the equivalent of That Guy who sits on a con panel surrounded by a wall of his own books and brings them up every time he answers a question.

Your well-meaning suggestion for how to “correctly” express our excitement? is coming off as telling us to be That Guy.

ellen_fremedon on culture.

For a longer comment thread (and in reaction specifically to this) about AO3/transformative versus con/oldskool fandoms.

Also kind of nails down for me why I find the whole AO3 Hugos wank debate so fascinating, since I am, indeed, someone who’s tried very hard to keep my fannish and “pro”/semi-pro identities very separate, and who found it very confronting to realize that was unusual in con fandom…1

  1. To the point that it was actively detrimental to my career; my agent/publisher absolutely expected that I’d monetize my fandom base, even if it wasn’t outright stated in exactly those words, and the fact that I didn’t… was a problem. []
2019-09-23T09:46:35+10:0023rd September, 2019|Tags: ao3, fandom, hugo awards, sff|

Gatekept.

But, says JJ at File 770: If the members of AO3 get to call themselves official Hugo Award Winners, then so do all of the commenters at File 770, and so do all of the people who’ve had works published in Uncanny Magazine — and at that point, the official term “Hugo Award Winner” has lost all meaning.

Does File 770 tell its commenters, “you are wanted; you are an essential part of this blog site; it was created so you would have a place to make these comments?” Does it say, “we have created tools that let you post and edit and seek out comments like yours; please send us feedback on how to improve the comment threading?”

Do the authors who are published in Uncanny, choose what they get to publish there? Are they welcome to join a committee and shape the rules for what Uncanny will publish? Does Uncanny say, “Please send your creative works to us; we want them all; this magazine exists to showcase as much of your work as you are willing to share?”

Neither File 770 nor Uncanny was created to support all of the people involved in it equally. Neither of them allows random people to become contributors to searchable, front-page content. Neither of them says: “Your works are welcome here, even the ones that are antisocial, even the ones we personally don’t like, because this is your home if you want it to be.”

AO3 is not a curated collection; it’s a community.

I am done with listening to gatekeeping men who want to put lines around our creativity, who want to declare that while yes, two authors can both win for “best novella” and a team of 6 can win a “best fanzine” or “best podcast” award, a team of a million can’t possibly win the “best related work” award.

elf on communities.

2019-09-20T07:25:52+10:0020th September, 2019|Tags: ao3, fandom, hugo awards, sff|

Die mad about it.

If a segment of fandom wants to come and tell me that my campaign to see the Archive of Our Own recognized as a marvel, a miracle of collaborative international action from thousands of fans across the world, after watching Livejournal blast my communities into nothing and AVOS rip del.icio.s to shreds, was somehow antithetical to what the Hugos stand for, come on. Bring it to me and make your case. If you want to compare my work promoting the Hugos to other communities outside the tiny circle of WSFS voters to the work of Nazis and fascists, come on, you bloviating fleshbags. I’m waiting. If you want to tell people that joking around about a Hugo Award win is somehow robbing the award of something irreplaceable, it’s on you to convince me how some fans jokingly writing “.0000000001% Hugo Award winner” devalues the Hugo Awards sitting on my mantle for the work I’ve done on Lady Business. Come on, if you’re so certain, so sure, that the joy and pleasure I’ve watched fans experience after being recognized by other fans, is somehow harmful to the Hugo Award—tell me just how the undermining of the award is going to go. Show me where other Hugo Award winners have expressed the dire prediction that their award is now worthless, just worthless! I expect citations of where they’ve tossed it in the trash. I’ve read lots of your very sad internet tears already and haven’t been convinced, and I’m pretty sure I have more Hugo Awards than most of the people complaining.

renay is part of the .0000000001%.

renay, of course, has been championing the AO3-for-Hugos push since 2014.

See also:

And for lolz:

(“World” Science Fiction Society. Uh-huh…)

2019-09-19T15:50:47+10:0019th September, 2019|Tags: ao3, fandom, hugo awards, sff|

Women’s writing.

According to Kevin Standlee, the Hugo goes to “whoever the [Hugo] Administrator identified as representing the platform called AO3”, but as near as I can tell there is no such person or people.

The Hugo was awarded to the AO3, as a project of the OTW. That’s all the little rocket ship says.

The WSFS position, as I’m beginning to understand it, is that there are no actual human beings who have a right to public credit themselves with the AO3 Hugo win, and that’s kind of a problem for me.

fairestcat on who gets credit.

Compare and contrast this.

2019-09-18T08:33:47+10:0018th September, 2019|Tags: ao3, fandom, hugo awards, sff|

Oh, AO3, no.

So the AO3 put out a statement “reminding” all its users that they are not actually Hugo Award-winning authors and honestly I think that means it is now law for all AO3 users to put “Hugo Award-Winning Author” in every social media profile they have.

Not to mention that this post in particular from Kevin “Fun Police” Standlee pretty much makes it obligatory for fandom to try and get fic to win in every length category in 2020.1

But how do I do that, Alis?

You buy a supporting membership to CoNZealand. It’s NZD 75 (a little less than USD 50). It allows you to both nominate and vote for the Hugos, and you’ll get a voter packet of nominated words, so it’s pretty much the best way to cheaply pick up the “best” (commercial) SFF of any one year, regardless of any other considerations.

Incidentally, pretty much the reason fic doesn’t already routinely smash the awards is because, a) people don’t think about it as eligible,2 and b) when they do fandom tends to be so broad and fractured compared to the teeny tiny incestuous world of American SFF publishing that the vote is massively split.

  1. It seriously will not be hard; the voting pool for the Hugos is a few thousand people, max. Given that popular fics in major fandoms can get literally multiple orders of magnitude of engagement above and beyond that… []
  2. See also: fandom cultural cringe. []
2019-09-15T11:00:34+10:0015th September, 2019|Tags: ao3, fandom, hugo awards, sff|

Buh-byyyyeeeee…

The Campbells are gone (or at least renamed).

Also big shout-out to the announcement post’s hand-wringing description of Campbell’s provocative editorials and opinions on race, slavery, and other matters, which.

2019-08-28T08:02:19+10:0028th August, 2019|Tags: books, culture, fandom, hugo awards, pop culture, sff|
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