Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hugo Fallout, Part Two.

My pick for Best Novel won! Congrats Three-Body Problem! The turnout last night was larger than any previous Hugo ceremony, with thousands of more voters coming out of the woodwork precisely because of the controversy. It's not rigged. Either by complacency or a gaming of the rules, a group of writers and fans decided to go the electoral route rather than a one-to-one counting of ballots. As a result, we got slate voting that is arguably more powerful because a small contingent of like-minded fans can push their unknown favorites upon the rest of fandom precisely because the rest of fandom was not organized this way. Most people, before now, would have pushed their individual choices forward as their five favorites of the year, and we'd get a natural progression of titles that would float to the top. But this time, and increasingly so for two more years, the organized Sad Puppies pushed out individual choice for their followers. As a result, merely because they were organized, they were able to put their favorites almost unanimously across several categories, including almost half of the novels in the main category. What was my take? I hated the fact that what was originally the fan-favorite award had been gamed. I think it violated the spirit of the law, even if it never violated the law. Cream is supposed to rise. It isn't supposed to be chemically enhanced and forced into whatever model by a handful of envious writers and fans. Vox Day, or Mr. Beale, was the most vocal of these. I chose to ignore slates this year, even though my stand is quite unforgiving. I read and judged everything from as much of an open mind as I could get. The fact that SO MANY people came from out of the depths of fandom to vote as they believed right, despite what happened out of complacency with the original nominations, vindicated the Hugos. Normal people like me forked out the $40 supporting membership fee and voted online for our favorites, and even more fans decided to travel to Spokane and show their support for the spiritual grandaddy of all SF awards in spite of the controversy. The results were astounding and rather frightening. There was a major backlash against the Sad Puppies in the final polls, whether it was a direct attack on their methods for pushing their favorites, or whether the stories or editing just didn't live up to the standards of being a Hugo winner. Almost across the board, I agreed with the choices, except for one. I read and really enjoyed Kary English and voted Sad Puppy in that regard. Her works were absolutely Hugo Worthy and superior over the other choices. The only Sad Puppy choice that won is too humorous to mention, but I will anyway. For dramatic presentation, long form, (Movies) Guardians Of the Galaxy won. It probably would have won in any case, because it has the most entertainment value, hit for hit, than any movie I could name for the last five or ten years. I wouldn't have minded if Interstellar or Edge of Tomorrow had won, either, but in this case, I did vote for Guardians, myself, and it won. Just because the Puppies slated it doesn't mean it is bad. I decided that from the very start, and I even put it on my blog at the breaking of the whole story. My take on Mr. Correia? Well hell, I've been a fan of his since reading Hard Magic and I'm still a solid fan through all the MHI. I recognize him as talent, even if it is of a specific urban fantasy and hardware-action gore bent. I like those kinds of books as much as the heavily intellectual and philosophical. I'm still going through all the runner-ups of every year and deciding, after the fact, what I would have chosen for the Hugo during that year. I find that I don't often agree with the actual winning title, but one thing I have noticed is that I have almost 100% loved every single title that made it to the nominees. Mr. Correia is one of them. And just because he didn't win that year doesn't mean he's been slighted. It means that he's joined the ranks of some of my absolute favorite books, Like Anathem by Neal Stephenson or Earth by David Brin. Those didn't win Hugos for their years. Hell, neither did Dune. Herbert shared it with This Immortal in 1965 as a tie. Life is weird, and not all Hugo winners stand the test of time, while some runner-ups do. The Hugos aren't infallible, but even their losers are freaking amazing. An attempt to short-circuit that rising cream function only serves to weaken the power it wields, and I think we all figured that out, in the end. We make of the awards what we want. If we want to just make it a battleground between different flavors of popular fiction, then we get this controversy. If we put aside all such differences and aim to draw out the new classics that will stay with us forever, then we'll get the Hugo's original or evolved intent. I choose to put my time and energy into building something great. I do NOT want to see my passions wasted. I'm pretty sure that what we saw last night was fandom rising to the challenge and saying no to the shit. It's all our problem. We let it get this far and allowed a small minority of others dictate what our top choices should have been. We should have been more involved in the get-go, discussing our favorites for the year and be more generally serious about propelling the best of the best. Yeah. I'm serious about the Hugos. I think we all should be. It hasn't fallen into anyone's hands. It's organic and flawed, but when enough people stand up and say something, IT IS HEARD. Categories with nothing but slate choices were given NO AWARD. I just wish I hadn't been so complacent before this blew up.

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