By The Numbers

Americans are crazy people. I’m allowed to say that right? Considering I went a long way to become one.

Which doesn’t make Americans, born and bred, less insane to me. Particularly when it comes to organizing your fun. I mean, that’s something you expect from Germans, maybe, but I’m not even sure Germans did it. (Not that I could discover in my visits, at least.)

What do I mean by that?

Okay, first be aware I spent my formative years in a country that could not organize a piss up in a brewery, a country that not only can’t make buses run on time, it doesn’t even try. I was once shocked to find there was a schedule for public buses. This after ten years of using them to go to school and being used to the usual “Wait however long – more than an hour if it was raining, for sure – then get five buses in a row” style of public transportation. A glance at the schedule told me it was lovely fantasy. My brother calls the national style “pile in, may G-d help us.” There was a meme floating around the younger members of my family on facebook showing “the queue” with a bunch of people standing in line and then “the Portuguese queue” with a pile on with arms and legs protruding. And yeah, that’s more or less true.

And then I came to the states at 18 as an exchange student. And I was flabbergasted.

It wasn’t just that the local chapter of the organization that brought me over was… organized. No, we tried to do that even in Portugal. When you’re shipping someone’s sons and daughters over the Atlantic (and sometimes the pacific) you need a modicum of organization.

No, what shocked me was that – as I got invited to speak to a lot of clubs – all hobby-clubs were organized: the local Scottish ancestry club? Organized. The local stamp collecting club? Organized. The local bird watching club? Organized. The local sewing circle? Organized. All of these had refreshments, a punctual time of meeting, sometimes competitions or conventions, and all of them followed Robert’s rules of order. The SEWING circle had motions and seconded them and followed rules. I was amazed.

Now, I’ll admit I don’t know if it’s the same in other Anglophone countries. I suspect it’s the same in Canada (motto: “We are not America. No. We really are not. Don’t make us dip you in maple syrup, you cheeky little person. Stop saying we’re just like America. We say “eh””) but I’m not sure about England and Australia.

I know, however, that in fandom the US is unique.

Yeah, yeah, yeah “World fantasy” and “World sf” go off to England, Australia, Scotland and sometimes Japan. (Pinches bridge of nose.) Guys it’s like “World baseball tournament” okay? You remove the US from the equation and the other “organized fandoms” would never have happened. They are mostly in imitation of those crazy Americans who organize their fun.

And because the future comes from America, people DO try to imitate American things, and I understand there’s even SF conventions in Portugal. Some day I’ll have to attend one and see how it is, because the mind boggles at the thought. (It’s not just the organization, it’s the ethos of sf/f conventions. For instance, in a country in which wearing last year’s fashion on the street is a solecism and everyone tries to be “normal” just like everyone else, I wonder how Spock ears are worn. I’d bet money not just costumes but anything out of the ordinary is worn only at a designated time or in a designated room, so people can avoid being “ridiculous” or looking “crazy” – in other words to save face.)

I want to say right here, not only don’t I have anything against people who organize and run conventions – some of my best friends, quite literally, spend considerable portions of their lives doing that – nor do I think it’s a bad thing to do. I think it’s a crazy thing but then I think organized sewing circles are crazy things, and all of it, including other crazy things like diners that will serve you breakfast at midnight, and drinking fountains in public buildings, and all the things that are uniquely American are a little crazy: in a wonderful way. They’re part of the reason I wanted to be one of you.

Of course, just like I became a lunatic about diners, I have this “thing” for hobby clubs. They have a huge advantage, too, because for a reclusive writer, they FORCE me to interact.

At one time I was a member of a cat rescue group, two writing groups, an exchange student program group and a needle arts group.

The last few years I simply haven’t had time, but I can tell you something: if I ever have a writers’ group again, it will go according to Robert’s Rules of Order. (By which I don’t mean my son. – rule one, everybody wear ties!)

That said… There is a difference between sewing and being in a sewing club. You can be a fanatic seamstress and cover your house in yards of stuff to the point of making a broom cozy for your broom, and not belong to a club. You can be one of those genealogists who are descended from a dinosaur G-d himself (Through Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Very common thing for European crazies. No, really) on his mother’s side, but never belong to a “divine ancestry” club. And you can have cut your teeth on your mom’s Heinlein collection (and if she was like me she still has the chewed up books AND the replacements), read everything new that you can get your hands on, watch every sf movie, AND have a light saber in your closet, and yet not belong to an organized fandom club. In fact, I’d say that probably comprises 90 % of sf/f readers/gamers/watchers/fans.

That is fine. You don’t have to belong to a club. And you don’t have to organize conventions. You might go to one every once in a while, or three every year, even, without belonging to anything.

And you can be very grateful to the people who organize conventions without thinking they are the arbiters of taste, or all that matters.

Look, let’s be blunt: in belonging to all these organized clubs over the years, there are some things I learned, which I think go back to “human social dynamics” and economics.

The first one is that most people in the club are not themselves particularly organized, though they’re often nuts about their hobby/interest. The second is that some of the people aren’t very interested in the hobby/interest but they are amazing organizers (they might have started out interested, and then got sidetracked into organizing. Or they might have come because spouse/child/cat does this, so they might as well come along.) The third is that the groups are almost always run by the second kind (not always mind. I think the Liberty con organizers read/watch more than I do) and that the super-organizers, poor things, slammed under demands and work, will often be susceptible to outside influences.

In science fiction organized fandom, specifically those that organize cons, the outside influence is often publishers. Look, as Liberty con can attest it’s a good thing to have a publisher that likes you. You get more authors coming, you get a publisher attending, you get free books for giveaways, and suddenly you’re much more than a little regional con.

This is fine, since Liberty con doesn’t give any prizes and doesn’t declare itself representative of all fandom. (Maybe Southern fandom. Or fandom that likes shooting ranges, but they don’t even declare themselves that. Oh, and if they gave a book prize, it should totally be the zap and it should be a tricked out, amazing futuristic-looking gun sculpture.)

But when you have titles like “worldcon” and “world fantasy” the unwary might think you really represent all the fandom everywhere. Heck, you might start believing it too.

Hence, the insane stuff we’ve gotten lately about how the Hugo is the award of all fandom and then, when pressed, how the hugo is the award only of ORGANIZED worldcon fandom.

It’s certainly what it has been the last few years. And that’s a bad thing. A very bad thing. What it contains is not what it says on the tin.

Organized, mobile cons are subject to pressures from publishers, to really good campaigns, and to what I call “the mind of the organizer” which means they’re susceptible to the sort of push that says “you don’t have enough one-legged Thai Lesbians winning this award, you horribly racist person.” Because organizations requires a certain by-the-numbers mentality.

Yesterday one of my eyes on twitter sent me something from a past Worldcon organizer, which was in the main sensible “we can’t stop Sad Puppies and they’re not violating any rules” except for two things: he seemed to think that someone was paying for all these memberships for everyone. (I’ve heard this nonsense floated about Larry and I wonder if they’re barking mad. I DON’T know if Larry bought a membership for his wife, but if he did I bet you that’s the extent of his buying. Yes, he’s doing fairly well from writing, which means he’s making an upper middle class income. He has five young kids and obligations. He’s not Uncle Scrooge swimming in a money bin, and he’d neither be able to buy – nor, for heaven’s sake WHY should he? – memberships for all his fans, nor is that a sane thing to posit. This is an example of “Stop drinking your own frigging ink in an effort to find wrong doing.” Campaigning is what all your side has done for years, and it’s all we’re doing.) And he seemed to think the goal of the Sad Puppies campaigns was ultimately to destroy the credibility of the Hugos.

Will someone please grab my eyes? They rolled so hard they must be in the next county.

What we actually want to do is restore the Hugos. We want winning a Hugo to mean something. Not, mind you, necessarily “This is the best sf ever” or even “best of the year” NO ONE can keep up with everything published, particularly now that indie is in. BUT we want it to be “this is memorable SF” “This is sf that a significant portion of fans will find amazing if they stumble on it years from now.”

Take as an example of something that should have won a Hugo but didn’t Barry Hughart’s Chinese trilogy. It didn’t sell much (marketing and distribution being crazy then – and now, but worse then.) It won a World Fantasy, but his publishing house didn’t even take notice. He’s written nothing else. However now that the word of mouth has had time to percolate, there are very few intense sf/f fans, of the kind who reads books, who hasn’t heard of it. And there are fewer who, reading it, don’t go “oh, wow.”

That is the sort of thing that should be winning the Hugo.

That is the kind of award that the Hugo was when Heinlein, Asimov and Ursula leGuin won it.

It wasn’t a “oh, you’re so nice, and you attend all these cons, and you’re nice to us, and your publisher sends tons of books.” No. It was a “This is science fiction that won’t be forgotten in ten years.”

Now, was ALL of it that great? — shrug – humans ran the award now as then. Some of their guesses at what was amazing backfired.

But they were by and large that type of book.

They weren’t chosen because the authors were purple one legged bi-gender dinosaurs. They weren’t chosen because the books were about the plight of purple, one legged b-gender dinosaurs. They were chosen because the books impressed the readers.

I can’t say about the other people pushing it. Some are my friends, but we’re not organized fandom (or organized anything. For crying out loud, two of us have Portuguese ancestry and that’s the sort of thing that washes out of family culture SLOWLY) so I don’t know. I know I’ve never heard anyone talk of “destroying the Hugo” as a goal. Unless “make it awesome again” is destroying it, because that’s all Sad Puppies aims to do. It aims to make the Hugo an award worth winning.

An award that is the signal of a good read.

And that’s all.

322 responses to “By The Numbers

  1. The Other Sean

    Of course Americans are crazy people. Look who we elect!

    • I said crazy, not suicidal…

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Cruz, Walker, Jindal and Haley are perfectly sane. I’ll grant you that Obama is what results from Americans trying to pass for sane by other countries standards.

    • MadRocketSci

      Newt Gingrich wasn’t insane. They keep calling us mad! But one day we’ll use our Solar Power Sat SDI laser to show all those fools at the institute. We’ll show them all! (Muahahaha!)

  2. The first one is that most people in the club are not themselves particularly organized […]. The second is that some of the people aren’t very interested in the hobby/interest but they are amazing organizers […]. The third is that the groups are almost always run by the second kind […].

    This is, of course, Jerry Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

  3. Hence, the insane stuff we’ve gotten lately about how the Hugo is the award of all fandom and then, when pressed, how the hugo is the award only of ORGANIZED worldcon fandom.

    This is the fascinating, crazy thing I finally realized reading through that making light post this weekend!

    Gamergate made my eyes glaze over, but this one is endlessly fascinating for some reason. I’ve always been a reader (not just SF/Fantasy) but the idea that I’m not a ‘fan’ because I don’t go to worldcon, which I never heard of before last year, is amazing.

    • It’s also elitist as all get out. I used to get this when I was submitting with not a hope. Some rejections said “you should go to a workshop or some cons and meet editors.” Um… we were relatively newlywed and ALL our money was going to infertility treatments, to the point we sometimes had $50 for food and cleaners all month (and even in the eighties that wasn’t easy. Particularly the cleaners.)
      Then I had two small children, and again, we couldn’t afford to pay someone to watch them while I went to one of these, much less travel/tuition.
      The same thing now. I don’t do much worldcon, unless it’s near or it’s been a VERY good year. Some years I have trouble making it to Liberty con which is only three days and the flights aren’t bad.
      So what these ah… socially conscious people are saying is “you have to be rich to play our game.” PFUI.

    • I think Gamergate is fun. The SJWs picked their next ‘target’ and was amazed when the target shot back. (Something that would have been obvious is SJWs really understood the games gamers play.)
      To me, this one is more personal, as they have destroyed one of the constants of my life, SF/Fantasy books. That SP3 is following the ‘rules’ and winning is an affront to the SJW mindset, ‘rules are for the little people’. That they think someone is bankrolling SP3 is probably projection. Very few of them could make an honest living.
      Since they have destroyed movies and tv with their prattle, I consider the $40.00 cheap enjoyable entertainment, Schadenfreude is probably a moral flaw (anytime you have to resort to German for the totally dark essence of an idea you know you are in trouble); but I will ask forgiveness for my sin later, it is way too much fun wallowing in their discomfort.

      • in the first () that “is” should be “if”. I wouldn’t comment except with is, it has the exact opposite meaning.

      • Something that would have been obvious is SJWs really understood the games gamers play.

        Truth. Folks who curl up when someone they don’t have really good reason to respect makes nasty accusations at them are unlikely to be in any way, shape or form involved in the more public gamer groups. See also, people who flip out about folks “looking at them funny” are unlikely to wear attention-getting clothing in public areas. There folks that are left have developed a habit of checking if accusations have any kind of a basis in fact… and of being more aware of manipulative jerks and their tricks!

        • Also, in some gamer forums, the usual SJW flames come across as “an awfully quiet Tuesday morning”.

      • Now, I loathe the SJWs, AND Hollywood, on general principles, but I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that they’ve destroyed Movies and TV. From where I sit, both seem to be better than I remember them being until quite recently. OK, the MESSAGES are annoying, but the quality of writing, the special effects, the material they are ready to tackle … all seem to be getting better by leaps and bounds. I don’t WATCH much of it, but that’s because I NEVER watched much of it, and frankly don’t have the stamina for season long story arcs.

        But I remember when LOST IN SPACE was considered “Science Fiction Television”, and Jesus Wept!

          • U.F.O. was worse.

            • U.F.O. kinda works for me. There’s a show that could have BENEFITTED from a season long story arc, with subplots and so on. But they gave a sense of arc, and development, and backstory. Yeah, Space 1999 was rancid goo.

              • This is one I’ve never seen.

                • It’s another Gerry Anderson live action, kind of Space 1999’s stepsister. The makeup and effects were as cheesy as you might expect.

                  • Space 1999 isn’t bad, if you’re in the mood, and the cast is pretty and the FX are pretty. But it started with blowing up the Moon and the Space 1999 people being Earth’s only survivors (or something like that) and running into people and monsters and stuff.

                    So yeah, basically the forerunner of Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek: Voyager, but I was a really little kid when it was on, and I don’t remember it well.

                    Oh, and I think that couple from Mission Impossible was on it.

                    • I liked it, though I’m aware it’s terrible sf.

                    • C’mon Sarah, ease up on yourself. It’s not like we’re talking about Land of the Giants, for Pete’s sake.

                    • Hey, I LIKED that show when I was a little kid!

                    • Martin Landau and Barbara Bain were in Mission Impossible and Space 1998. Landau won a Academy Award playing Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood. They weren’t bad actors.

                      I liked the models and production design, but most of the stories for Space 1999 – blah.
                      (I still want a good model of a Eagle and Mark IX Hawk)

                    • “Space 1999” like “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” and “Star Trek Next Generation” in that one of the greatest actors alive decided he’d rather have a steady job than run around the world doing movies or doing Shakespeare for almost nothing.

                    • RealityObserver

                      *Thank you* Sarah. I was beginning an inferiority mood swing for a while there…

                      Of course, those were the *only* “SF” shows back when I was a small boy. And I never really got into all of the other “action” type genre shows.

                      Youngest in the family – never saw the original run Star Trek, and only rarely got to see the stripped reruns… – the other things were on Saturday mornings (along with Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, etc.).

                    • Yes, exactly. It was all I had. That or the — shudder — Romanian fantasy series.

                  • Patrick Chester

                    The prequel to X-COM?

                    • Umm, nope, this one is a tv show from England, that got syndicated in the US. SciFi channel used to run it Sunday afternoons. (before they changed it to SyFy)

                    • well, it is kinda of like X-Com. Sorta.

                    • Patrick Chester

                      Sorry, was a bit of a joke on my part. I’m trying to stay up so I can wake up tomorrow morning to answer a jury summons.

                      …I think I’d rather face Mutons. 😮

                    • My understanding is that it’s kind of like X-Com without the tactical suicide squads that are the focus of X-Com.

                • I’ve been watching it occasionally on Youtube (they have full episodes there), because I had never seen it before, and it was pointed out to me a few months ago. It’s kind of interesting, in a campy, UK-ish style sort of way.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              U.F.O. had a better idea behind it than Space 1999.

              • Am I misremembering, or was U.F.O. sorta loosely a prequil to Space 1999?

                • I’ve seen some stuff that said that the first pitch for Space 1999 was as a follow on to U.F.O. with the Moon getting blasted into a wormhole as the result of a big attack from the U.F.O. bad guys, but as the show was further developed it diverged from that backstory.

                  • That makes sense. I was just going off a vague feeling that they were set in the same universe.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  IIRC there were some hints that they were in the same universe but there was nothing officially stated that they were.

          • That is the one where the far side of the moon explodes, and it somehow does not propel the moon into the Earth? After violating Newton’s Laws, the show went downhill from there.

            • William Newman

              Be fair, you’d need to aim awfully accurately to actually hit the earth. If Thor stands on the moon and hurls his mighty hammer at Earth at some ridiculous demigod-throwing-arm speed, he needs to be a mighty good shot before the outcome is anything other than the hammer zooming past the earth and off into space.

              A more serious reason to scoff, I think, is that the Moon is not the kind of compact sturdy rigid body that can plausibly take an explosive delta-V sufficient to launch it wandering like that: the stress would naturally convert it from one very big rock into into a cloud of asteroids and gravel and dust. (And then, if its trajectory passed near the Earth, tidal forces might suffice to trash any near-Moon-sized fragments that had somehow been preserved intact during the initial acceleration.)

              • It would still be, of course, the same mass, except for those bits shooting off into space around the edges. . . good thing that stuff ablates according to exposed surface area, not mass.

        • Hey, the first season was pretty good action-adventure. It was the second season they started the comedy.

          • This comment I assume is about Lost In Space, and I agree – the first season was actually good SF. From season 2 onwards the network started intervening and it became rubber-monster-suit-of-the-week, but In Color!.

            Go find the pilot and some of the season 1 shows and give it a go, and it may change your opinion.

            • The Other Sean

              I saw season 1 of “Lost in Space” on MeTV a few years back and it was actually pretty good. Not awesome, but solidly good. Doctor Smith was even more narcissistic and self-serving, but he was more intelligent about it. He wasn’t risking anybody’s life for a larger serving of support or chance at batter clothes, but in attempts to get home or save himself (even if at the expense of others). More of the challenges to face came from the hostile environment, the unknown, or sheer luck than from simple silliness by Doctor Smith. Basically, it was less formulaic and melodramatic, even if it was in black and white.

              • The thing about Lost in Space is that, if you wake up in the middle of the night when you’re sick, you think you’re watching a Star Trek episode you somehow missed. But then the main characters show up, and you realize where you are. 🙂

              • RealityObserver

                You know, the one episode that really stuck with me was “Trip Through the Robot.” At the end of Season 2. (Yes, I had to look it up…)

              • Are you talking about another series of “Lost in Space?” I only know of the mid Sixties series I watched and the theatrical movie in which Gary Oldman played Dr. Smith. Those are the only two that show up on IMDB.

                • and I can’t find any reference to any version of Lost in Space in black and white.

                  • Black and White in figurative sense? Ah, I’m missing something here.

                  • The first season of the 1960s Lost In Space series was in black and white, as in not color

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Quote From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_in_Space

                    Lost in Space is an American science fiction television series created and produced by Irwin Allen, filmed by 20th Century Fox Television, and broadcast on CBS. The show ran for three seasons, with 83 episodes airing between September 15, 1965, and March 6, 1968. The first television season was filmed in black and white, but the remainders were filmed in color. In 1998, a Lost in Space movie, based on the television series, was released.

                    End Quote

          • A late friend of mine imagined Lost in Space as written by Heinlein.

            Doctor Smith was spaced in the first episode.

            • Someday I am going to write 1984 with a Heinlein character dropped in. Or even Star Trek written by Heinlein… no, the serial numbers won’t be visible, but it will be fun.

              • Most dystopias are SF, but some are genre, and some aren’t. The first group thinks of the dystopia as a problem to be solved.

        • TV hired Lena Dunham, who is to blame for that?

          • HBO said, “Viewers like nudity!” Ms. Dunham said, “I have scripts with nudity!”

            And the rest, as they say, is history.

            • I am a firm believer that most people should not been seen nude.

              • That’s what I tell the occasional Gay man who objects to MY objection to bondage costumes as streetwear;

                “What you do in tour bedroom, with adult volunteers, is entirely your business. Please don’t tempt me to make it mine by making it difficult to NOT imagine it. You don’t want to think about me in bed with my Lady, and I don’t want to think about you in bed with your man.”

                Human sexuality is an uncomely business, unless your POV is through a hormonal haze.

              • PARTICULARLY Lena Dunham. I mean, I’m 53 and over weight and I look better than THAT.

                • Some of us hit every branch falling out of the ugly tree. Ms. Dunham climbed back up for another go.

              • “Dress so that people want to see more of you, not less.” My father always said.

            • RealityObserver

              Her story…

      • I prefer more classical sources. Hubris, meet Nemesis.

      • *sniggerfit* as a former fairly enthusiastic gamer who has shifted her priorities the whole Gamergate thing amuses me because they targeted people who, for the most part, ENJOY SPENDING THEIR FREE TIME IN VIRTUAL BATTLEGROUNDS. I’m a casual player of Star Trek Online, and imagine my surprise when I found out there are people who are such hard core roleplayers they will delete their characters and ships if they die ONCE. That’s easily a few months of doing missions, amassing items, money, gear, crafting and more… per character, per ship. That’s their idea of fun. What made the SJWs think they could shame and browbeat people who are willing and able to spend that much effort in a game… outside of the game?!

        I will be buying the US$40 membership; and frankly I’m hoping to see several good stories there this time, and probably entertain my husband as he watches me debate with myself over who I will vote for (A great AGONY OF CHOICE I tell you, if both Jim Butcher and Larry Correia are on the nomination slate!) … The schadenfreude sprinkles are just the top of a possibly delightful sundae.

        • Shadowdancer, there used to be a magazine called Dragon, put out by TSR for DnDers, and in the back Phil Foglio did a comic strip that was more or less a send up of actual gamers. One strip was entitled “How gaming prepares you for LIfe!”, and one panel concerned “standing up to the Boss”. It showed the gamer in full rant:

          “I’ve been tortured by trolls, eaten by ettins, and damned by demigods! And you think I’ll back down because you threaten to FIRE ME!!!!!!”

          😎

          • I *miss* Dragon Magazine. I would only on occasion be able to get copies, and lamented not being able to get that artwork featuring, if memory serves me (badly) an Elmore set of posters where the various fantasy villains were on one, and various fantasy heroes were on the other. As in, Raistlin Majere on the same page as several other fantasy villains like Sauruman, Polgara and Belgarath with Gandalf.

            That comic sounds like a great description for my circle of friends in college. I wonder if there are collections of that comic.

            And yes, I am crazy jealous of Larry for meeting some of the writers and artists who were huge influences on my late childhood / teenhood. (Margaret Weiss, Tracy Hickman, Larry Elmore. omgomgomg)

  4. The last few years I simply haven’t had time, but I can tell you something: if I ever have a writers’ group again, it will go according to Robert’s Rules of Order. (By which I don’t mean my son. – rule one, everybody wear ties!)

    Ties? I like ties.

  5. Yesterday one of my eyes on twitter sent me something from a past Worldcon organizer, which was in the main sensible “we can’t stop Sad Puppies and they’re not violating any rules” except for two things: he seemed to think that someone was paying for all these memberships for everyone.

    Wow, that’s really odd, because (as I commented when I re-blogged another thing this morning) I was rather startled at how over-the-top the reaction to the suggestion that publishers might make it very easy for their employees to go to conventions as a PR-and-morale thing. Good heavens, when the Air Force has figured out it’s a good idea, I’d expect folks actually in that business to be all over it from a long time ago. The response to the supposed accusation that they were being ‘bought’ was startling in its vehemence. (I can’t see any reason to silence a group of fans because they might be lucky enough to work in the business, or be close friends/married to someone who does. I want fans in my entertainment.)

    And now it’s being used as an accusation against a fan movement, well… that seems suspicious.

  6. he seemed to think that someone was paying for all these memberships for everyone.

    That seems to be one of the dumber complaints, because it’s cost prohibitive. Why would the organizers bother, when you can easily convince people to do it themselves? Most people can swing 40 bucks. (and it’s amusing to hear people say they think someone else has to pay 40 for others to vote this SP’s slate, but the only true fans are people who can afford a much more expensive trip to a convention. That was in London last year!

    • I usually assume that anything that can happen, does happen. Can people buy Hugo votes? Yes, so some people must be buying Hugo votes/

      How many votes are needed to influence the Hugos? Before Sad Puppies, the record number of votes was ~2,000. Obviously you could determine the winner with ~1100 votes, but I think the IRV system would lower that threshold substantially, since you would just need enough to keep your candidate at the top of each round. Regardless, you’re looking at something on the order of $20,000 (500 votes) to even have a shot at influencing the awards. Now Mr. Correia makes a decent living at what the does, but I’m pretty sure he’d balk at dropping 20 large just for a shot at a Hugo. You can buy a lot of ammo for that kind of money. A publishing house, on the other hand, probably spends more than that on hand sanitizer.

      In the end, Sad Puppies probably makes the Hugo’s more resistant to fraud. By increasing the total number of votes, the number of fraudulent votes that must be bought increases. At some point the returns from winning a Hugo would be insufficient to warrant the expense incurred.

      • Thank you. That was the point I should have made, only my head is not THAT clear yet.

        • And *I* should have made the point that a non-trivial amount of the anti-SP rhetoric comes from the same place as opposition to voter ID. If you’re successfully gaming or defrauding the system, you will naturally oppose any change to the system.

          Come to think of it, you see the same thing with the establishment GOP.

          Dammit, we’re supposed to be individualistic conservatives! What the hell are we doing organizing to upset apple carts?

      • RealityObserver

        Yup. If sales are good enough to drop that kind of money – why do you need a Hugo? (Trad publishers could, yes – it would be an “investment” in their entire line, not just one book or even just one author in the stable.)

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I couldn’t swing forty bucks this near, but I have hopes for next year.

    • To be honest, I got lured in partly by the chance to weigh in and partly by the dangling ebooks….

  7. Eamon J. Cole

    The brightest light SP has shone, for me, has been the one illuminating the bitter and angry people so obsessed with their closed award. Even their congratulatory and celebratory conversations are negative.

    It’s not all of Worldcon, or all of the voting block. Certainly not all of the author’s nominated. It’s the infamous minority, yet again.

    But they’re loud and their acrimony is fierce. I tire of watching people, largely older than I, gossiping and lying and smearing like the worst fantasy of a brutal middle school clique.

    I scanned through some of the Making Light thread, but I’m not going to burn the stomach acid to follow it in detail. TNH (and PNH) have always come across as the worst sort of intellectual elite: Smug, dismissive and enamored of their own clevereness with a towering assessment of their own intellectual prowess not readily evident in their behavior. The whole mocking and disenvoweling game just increases my irritation with the childish farce.

    It’s emblematic, for me, of the whole lot of the infamous minority. Willful misreading, disingenous posts, smearing and outright lies.

    If SP never does anything beyond drag these bitter slugs out into the light of day for the vast majority of fandom to see, to see and understand what’s happened to the genre and where all the intellectual condescension actually originates, then I call it a win.

    These are the “professionals” that want to maintain a lock on the character of the SF/F culture, guide what is written and control what is awarded.

    They are liars and bigots and scolds. The antithesis of the SF/F community I know.

    • illuminating the bitter and angry people so obsessed with their closed award

      Especially when they talk about voting ‘none of the above’ or something, because they don’t like the slate (which they also seem to refuse to read, or at least many of them do).

      • You mean like this display of tolerance and evenhandedness?

        #598 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2015, 11:40 AM:

        If the GG thing is proven, then anyone on the SP slate who doesn’t remove themselves from consideration is dead to me. Seriously. No buys, no reads, no recommends, no matter how good the author is.

        Yes, it’s totally unfair to their body of work. But inviting that set of Reavers to our planet is sufficiently terrible that I, personally, will not reward it in any way, nor anyone who benefits from it.

          • Eamon J. Cole

            Gamergate

          • GamerGate.

            • I guess that’s also what ‘gators’ is referring too?

              • Yes. The anti-crowd and the SJW set of SFF aren’t terribly creative with their insults.

                • The problem is ‘gators’ sounds like a cool group I would like to join, rather than an insult.

                  But man, those people hate gamergate people!

                  • The obvious assumption is that the Cool People don’t know anyone who went to U of Florida. Gainesville is so declasse, so who cares if you insult half a US state’s football fans?

                  • The little* carrier looking ships that have the water based hover craft driven by Marines are called “Gator Freighters.”**

                    *relatively
                    ** Yes, I know several of the official names for them, starting with “amphibious assault vessels” and probably expanding to every thing that has ever carried an amphibious attack; I am writing to be understood with zero research.

                    • According to John Ringo in Strands of Sorrow– Gator Navy is riverine rather than deep sea and coastal. He has some fun stuff in there about what is a tank and why would someone deamphibianize the Marines?

                      Why isn’t Ringo nominated for a Hugo every year? He writes awesome books!

                    • *eye twinkle* I’m sure that if he wants to go to Okinawa and inform those guys that they are doing it wrong, they’ll be way too busy having nifty-fits to argue with him.

                      I wouldn’t be surprised if various “gator” terms have been used for any amphibious force– rather the other way around, I’d be shocked if it wasn’t.

                      Vague memory of a Korean era family friend who was a Seabee mentioning it… apparently the Seabees have a “Gator” tradition, too.

                      A random guess showed me that the Army has a new jeep setup that’s called a gator. 😀

                      Anything cool will be shared around!

                    • Yes, and that large chunk of the Navy that is involved with transporting Marines to where they need to do Marine stuff, then getting them and their gear ashore, possibly while being shot at, and then sticking around while still being shot at to support subsequent land based doings, is known as the Gator Navy.

                      It’s not just the amphibs, it’s also the helicopter carriers now being built without a well-deck. Lots and lots of ships. And hovercraft. Etc.

                    • MARINES = My A$$ Rides In Navy Equipment, Sir!

                  • Yeah, and … well, gators and crocs are cool. And scary. Not sure why it’d be an insult to be one of the world’s longest surviving species. Clearly they’re doing something right.

          • Gamer Gate, the nut the SJWs broke their teeth on. Reavers — LOL.
            And I’m fracking bemused at “invited them into” — what? If they pay $40 who can stop them. I don’t think anyone went calling on them, but you know, with the intersection of the two fields and their now paying attention to the SJW antics, it’s inevitable.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              Larry plays more video games than I do, has spoken out on behalf on GamerGate, and has hosted some of the activists in his comments.

              VD is more outspoken on the evils of the SJW, and their impact on games and novels.

        • Eamon J. Cole

          The comment illuminates the smear pattern:

          It’s known a portion of the readership reacts virulently to GG. Connect SP to GG, with zero substantiation. Now a portion of the readership associates SP and GG automatically.

          That the referenced commenter allows for if proven marks it as a relatively moderate response.

          The lie is in place, the smear is working.

          • And what happens if GG decides they want to play? This is a group of people who have repeatedly shown that they will give thousands of dollars to charity at the slightest prevarication, from the serious to the silly. A real invasion, which is possible if these people make enough noise, is likely to dwarf SMOFs and Sad Puppies alike.

        • Sara the Red

          Well, to the person referencing “Reavers” I say: “All your chickens come home to roost” and, most especially “Can’t stop the signal!” 😀

      • Eamon J. Cole

        Proud of their refusal to read.

        In-group signalling, of the righteously bitter sort.

    • These are small, petty people. Their entire lives and self worth are tied up their control of the Hugo and possibly the Nebula as well.

  8. I can’t. I just… can’t.

    The comments and groundwork being laid by people who are against SP a week before the official Hugo announcements went out and a week after unofficial word was mailed to finalists suggests that someone, somewhere saw the finalists ballot and leaked info to individuals who could start their attacks early so when the finalists are officially announce, if any are SP candidates they can say “Look, we’ve been right all along! SP candidates are teh debil!” I’ll be called absurd, but the timing of this is all very suspicious. You can’t tell me this was a sudden groundswell of anti-SP3 from various people so soon before the finalists are announced. It stinks, and if it stinks, then there is something rotten about.

    Now, from what I can tell, Sasquan has been nothing but professional throughout the process, addressing any issues that have popped up in their hosting of the Hugo Awards. The Hugo people were courteous and polite to me when dealing with my eligibility concerns (the question came up about my first novel being published (small press) back in 2010, but was quickly taken care of when they realized I finally made enough money in 2014 to put me “on the clock”, so to speak). But their is always one bad apple in every family (there’s, like, a dozen in mine I think… at last count), it only takes that one bad apple to make the entire crop be suspect.

    I’m just… amazed at some of the hate coming in. I really am. I never really believed that so much hate could come from such an “inclusive” people. Plus, inclusion of #gamergate into the mix is absolutely hilarious, because #gamergate came about after game reviewers and press were found to be in bed with the game designers. That’s terrible, you say. That’d be like, oh, the SFWA and publishers working together… wait a minute.

    Anyway, I digress.

    They hate us. You, Portuguese immigrant who became an American and me, dirty tri-racial American with delusions of grandeur. I mean, I knew there was a strong dislike, but hate? Hate is a powerful thing which causes people to act really, really fucking stupid. Hate is fueled by fear, though, which tells me something else.

    They fear SP3. Personally, I would welcome it. It brings in new voices, new ideas, new thoughts. It makes the Hugo a true “all of SF and Fantasy” award and not just what a tiny group of individuals dictate. The cheerleader is scared that the geek is popular and seeks to undermine them. You mock my analogy, but just watch. The hate is flowing, but you haven’t seen the true shitstorm yet.

    That’ll be next week, no doubt.

    • I’m not surprised at the hate.

      It’s usually what you get when you run afoul of self-proclaimed ‘tolerant’ groups. Their tolerance evaporates like water on a hot griddle, leaving only the heat of their anger.

      SP 3 shows them for what they really are.

    • I honestly wonder what would turn up if the GG snoops started rooting around in SFF.

    • They hate us. You, Portuguese immigrant who became an American and me, dirty tri-racial American with delusions of grandeur. I mean, I knew there was a strong dislike, but hate? Hate is a powerful thing which causes people to act really, really fucking stupid. Hate is fueled by fear, though, which tells me something else.

      Look on the bright side! You can only hate someone you recognize as a person– look at all the personifications of various hateful things.

      So the ones that hate you are at least recognizing you as a person, while a lot of the nasty is just people lashing out at a strawman!

      ….alright, my idea of a bright side may be a bit odd.

      • Interesting one.

      • William Newman

        “You can only hate someone you recognize as a person– look at all the personifications of various hateful things.”

        Only by a not-terribly-useful narrow definition of “hate” as distinct from other strong negative reactions like “loathe”, I think. People don’t seem to feel much of an impulse to anthropomorphize when they loathe scavengers like cockroaches or rats or hyenas, parasites like lampreys or ticks or ichneumon wasps or cuckoos, unpleasant invasive weeds or fungi or diseases or destructive pests like termites or weevils…

        • It’s very important for figuring out what they’ll do directly– if they really do hate you, then getting them to recognize you as a person (empathy) will not work.

          If they hate a thing-which-is-not-you, then if you can crack their false notion of what you are there’s a chance.

          Personification like Death; contrast the traditional Grim Reaper with THE DEATH WHO TALKS IN CAPS AND LOVES CATS.

          Loathing is yet a different thing– I loath spiders and snakes, but I won’t go hunting for them near and far.

        • William, were you by any chance employed by Brave Sir Robin as a court musician and bard at some previous time?

          Just curious.

  9. Americans’ habit of organizations probably has a lot to do with our more-or-less functional republic. Everyone knows a bunch of the founders were Masons, but what everyone doesn’t know is that everyone was a member of one or more fraternal organizations back then and up until quite recently. (It was how we did health insurance, life insurance, and any number of other things the government and corporations do now.)
    So, you’re elected to be the guy in charge, you serve your term, the next person is elected, and you step down. Sound familiar?
    Where the organizations get into trouble is when they elect one person over and over to run things. It seems like a good idea because Suzie is so organized and so good at it, but then no one else learns the skills, no one else has that equal stake in the organization, and when people see a problem they leave it to Suzie to solve.
    Term limits would have been brilliant, but I suspect none of the founders comprehended the need, because usually Masons have the attitude of “Oh, all right, you twisted my arm this time, but if you elect me again in the nest ten years I’m going to decline!” and none of the founders seem to have thought of elected office as a career path.

    • IMHO Organizations get into trouble when (1) they forget their purpose for being, (2) they overwork the organizers until said quit and nobody can be found who will step in and be overworked like the first ones. This latter tends to go along with backstabbing and some variation of “running to Mommy cuz they didn’t do what I wanted.” Aargh.
      And What You Said about term limits being a great idea. From the point of officers who’d like to have a break, for one thing. From the point of others in the club who feel ignored, for another.

      • The other way is when you get someone who is genuinely power hungry in. They can usually get control easily enough because, well, the rest are in there for the hobby/whatever.
        For instance one of our writers’ groups (before the one that lasted 10 years) ran into this. There was this couple who had RULES. RULES I tell you. And they could sideline any of us if we didn’t follow every jot of the rule. Even though they never wrote anything and we did. Trying to fight them was impossible, because they always had “good reasons” for every rule, though those had nothing to do with “learning to write” or “Submitting.”
        They were more “fairness” and “inclusivity” and therefore excluded anyone but them. The group fell apart within a year.
        This is not a danger long term, because a) those types are rare. Or at least those types who actually work at it are rare. b) the groups tend to fall apart.
        In THIS case, though, for a long time (I don’t think anymore) there was a benefit to getting the Hugo — monetary benefit to the author and the publisher — which was practically INVITING that sort of covert or overt influence and of people who want to be viewed as king makers. Hence the problems.

        • Generally those are a risk when they take over when the normal worked-to-death fans can’t shoulder it all anymore. It’s a risk because the group will keep going on stored up good will– especially if the group has a fairly stable core membership. Usually they were part of the core membership, or close with someone who was, and they can actually be really useful if they are not the ones running things.

          The worst one I knew was gamers, actually– about ten years in, the malignant ones started kicking people out in violation of their established rules, and were able to keep it going for a couple of years as they winnowed away everyone who crossed them because…well, why would a friend act like that without good reason?

          Eventually they made some nasty accusations against the wrong person, including claims that were physically impossible…and they reduced the group to only their few friends and the people they’d brought in. The folks who were kicked out reformed, elsewhere, via one of the folks who finally figured it out contacting everyone else they could remember.

          • o.o sounds… familiar…

            • From my admittedly limited sample, I’m guessing any of the folks here who have been in guilds in an MMO have seen it happen at least once– if they haven’t gone through it a few times.

              • Well, I saw it happen with a specific gaming con where one con-com member was fairly toxic.

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                I learned a lot about failure modes of organizations from guilds or similar things. Online communities have certain patterns to them.

                I’m weak at human systems and my experience is shallow.

                • After seeing it happen a few times online, quickly, it’s easy to identify in reality– clubs that only meet once a month to once a week, vs guilds that meet at least two or three times a week. (As in an activity, not so much a “meeting.” Regular “meetings” unless it’s for RP purposes, where all the characters have to be in the same area rather than “hey, if anyone has something to talk about guild management wise, we do meetings on the first Saturday of the month” type things, are a warning sign to me….

                  • William Newman

                    Yes. I shopped for guilds some in SWTOR and was rather surprised how common it is to have mandatory meetings. (And occasionally ended up attending such a meeting, and was impressed how pure a waste of time they were.) I founded and ran a reasonably complicated open source software project and I’m familiar with many such projects, and I’ve participated in a successful long-running Go club, and there’s not much need for meetings there; I’m pretty sure there’s not a compelling functional need for meetings in typical low-end MMORPG guilds and that they are common primarily because they are scratching some psychological itch of the people who run guilds, not any functional need.

                    (I’ve also hung out in the fringes of a successful long-running robotics club, DPRG, and they do have meetings, and I can see the point: physical proximity for show and tell and swapping physical things makes sense in that activity. But for pure-information activities like Go or software development or MMORPGs, not so much.)

                    • Message boards are awesome for pure information type things– especially if folks aren’t on the same schedule, or the topic isn’t urgent.

                    • Yes. I shopped for guilds some in SWTOR and was rather surprised how common it is to have mandatory meetings. (And occasionally ended up attending such a meeting, and was impressed how pure a waste of time they were.)

                      I remember having to do some of that mandatory stuff for Lineage II – sieges, boss raids. That made sense. Mandatory meetings? Impossible when your members are scattered across the globe. The answer to that was ‘read the forums.’ And even that got too tedious for some.

                      The fleet we made specifically has, as part of our recruitment spiel, ‘you’d be out of your mind to join us, because we just don’t care! The only thing we need is that you play.” Even if it means you blow up while leaving Spacedock somehow. Nothing is required, other than ‘don’t be a jerk.’

                      We have some truly hilarious members as a result, because that apparently was the kind of line some folks were looking for. O_O;

              • Very much so. C-monsters, and worse, and yes I’ve seen it a few times, and when I did go through it it was because of jealous, petty people who didn’t have the talent or capability to honestly gain the attention they so craved. Also a vast love of drama. The people who thrive on the type of drama that so preoccupies high schoolers don’t deal well with things like ‘silly’ or ‘fun’ or ‘hilarious.’ Thus, such things cannot be allowed!

                Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

                Ultimately, that’s why the SJW attempt against gamers doesn’t work. They know those tactics, are familiar with it, it’s part of their landscape. Man the harpoons!

        • There is a way to deal with that, but you need to be a cast iron sonofabitch about it. You get enough of the others together and stright up tell the hijackers “we aren’t about inclusiveness. We aren’t about fairness. We’re about (writing in this case), and you don’t do any. Get lost, or we’ll do it for you.”

    • I recall reading that Stalin was known as “Old Iron Pants” because he was willing to sit down and stay sat until he got all that organizing work done, and they left him to do just that. Eventually they realized he’d organized everything to be run by him and his hired people, the NKVD (or whatever it was, something pre-KGB).

  10. Two thoughts, one tangental and one less so;

    1) The Japanese seem to me, from what little I know, to be organizers. Their school life, as shown in Anime at least, revolves around clubs to a degree that even American school life does not. I have read stuff by American expats living in Japan about how each department at work will organize a departmental outing. I don’t KNOW that they have adult clubs, with meetings and agendas and all, but it seems likely.

    2) One of the places the SJWs and the LIRPs val down is that they think THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO ORGANIZE.

    The whole Fannish idea of “Mundanes” plays into this.

    When I was active in fandom (say 1980-1995) there was much talk of “mundanes”. But in one of my first Cons, a Balticon, the Con hotel was also hosting a convention of professional bowlers. And by midnight, you couldn’t tell which party was which. Then a few years later Darkover was coming in to a hotel just as a convention of the permanent management team for the National Guard was leaving, and the reaction of the Guard wasn’t “look at the weirdos” but “Damn, we should have stayed for the weekend”.

    So called “Mundanes” have their own passions, and their own fandoms, and their own Cons, and they are more like Fen than not, at least in the U.S.

    I don’t think the SJWs or the LIRPs realize this. They are locked into the idea that THEY are the only educated ones, THEY are the only studious ones, THEY are the only literate ones. And they are deeply, catastrophically mistaken. They went to college! That means they MUST be smart! And they have no room in their heads for the notion that a self-taught Civil War buff, whatever his racial preferences, is probably better read on the causes of the war, the society that spawned it, the uses and consequences of slavery, and 19th Century history in general than anybody they have ever met with the possible exception of the history professors they only met at department meet-and-greets because all the classes are taught by grad students.

    They are in for a rude shock. The (extremely) Liberal Arts Colleges they got beginner degrees at don’t give them much in the way of depth, context, texture, or background. Their educations are fantastically superficial, especially if their Major was something Progressive with the word “studies” in it. They don’t have the education to fight a civil war, and they’ve been pushing for one.

    The Confederacy may have had an exaggerated idea of its martial prowess, but these Godsdamned fools are PROUD that they don’t know anything about War.

    And nobody has made them face that a Revolution is a war.

    • Dave Barry’s book on Japan is pretty amusing. And enlightening. One of his passages mentions seeing the members of a Japanese band wearing tie-dyed shirts. But since this was a Japanese band, the tie-dyed shirts all matched.

    • My favorite plumber, now retired, was a civil war reenactor and wrote westerns. He found it amusing I wanted to write a post-civil war western with alien invasion. And he was an endless source on guns and the every-day living thing. (What? Oh. It’s in the drawer, somewhere. Let me clear the backlog and I’ll put that out too.)

      • There are one hell of a lot of Common Men who know enough about the history of something that interests them to be PhDs, and who went through enough to LEARN that to be quite decent historiographers to boot. For the most part the SJWs don’t really know much history of anything, aside from that Narrative which is 7/10ths hogwash, and they don’t know ANY historiography, because if they did they would know that most of what they are spoon fed is drivel.

        • Oh Heck Yeah. The best book about the Battle of Adobe Walls (US Army vs. Comanche and Kiowa, Kit Carson, that kind of stuff) was written by someone without a PhD in history but who is passionately interested in the trails and history of the Texas Panhandle, to the point of getting permission from all the landowners to ride from NM to the battle site, following the same route the Army took in 1864. And he almost could not get his book published, because he lacks those three magic letters after his name. Yet he knows more about the topic than anyone short of Kit Carson’s ghost.

          • Mencken’s THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE was the first serious examination of the differences between American and English. Mencken never went to college and was politically incorrect to boot. I recently talked to a Professor of Modern Languages. He says that while they are “scholarly” works out there, Mencken is still acknowledged (sub rosa, anyway) as the final authority.

      • Take My Money!

  11. Another example of organized Americans are model rocket clubs. One of the best is the Pittsburgh Space Command which I was a member of for a couple of years when I was working in the Pittsburgh area. It was a big varied group of mostly guys who worked in almost every type of job you can imagine. All united to have fun launching model rockets. Art puts out one of the slickest club newsletters in the country.

  12. And he seemed to think the goal of the Sad Puppies campaigns was ultimately to destroy the credibility of the Hugos.
    —————————

    Larry’s latest post on his website points out that he determined – and publicized – after the first two years of Sad Puppies that the people handling the Hugo awards are themselves not involved in any unethical shenanigans.

    • Well, in a sense, they are right about that. We want to “destroy” the credibility of the small clique of SJW amd LIRP writers and fen that is trying to choke all the enjoy out of SF. They have been using the Hugos (among other means) as a rubber stamp to certify that They Matter. By trying to put so,e real competition in the competition, we are attempting to destroy the only thing about the Hugo that matters to them.

    • Yes, but the “the ultimate goal of Sad Puppies is to destroy the hugos” was because… I don’t know? Cheese. This person was someone who has run worldcons or at least been part of the concom. Whether he’s involved with the award I don’t know. But that someone on the inside thinks we want to destroy the award by voting our favorites is… what?

      • The logic is simple:
        • The Hugos are going to the Right Stories™ now; but
        • Sad Puppies want the Hugos to be awarded to different stories; ergo
        • Sad Puppies want to destroy the Hugos.
        Q.E.D.

        • The Sad Puppies aren’t trying to increase general reader participation in the worldcon and the Hugos. Their aim is to to exclude the honest readerly enthusiasms of large segments of the Hugo voters. –TNH

          Which aim they are cleverly attempting to achieve by increasing general reader participation in the worldcon and the Hugos.

          Parse that logic, folks. Makes my head hurt.

          • Doesn’t make my head hurt; it’s a perfectly logical inference if you think about how the SJWs and LIRPs live. They are are least dimly aware that the majority of any random sampling of people are going to believe that at least one of their Sacred Screeds is tripe. They desperately, DESPERATELY want to be an Elite, because if they aren’t an Elite then their hunger for power is just ordinary hubris instead of Leadership. So they must tightly control any group in which they participate, or they won’t be the Elite, because some bastard will point out that they have there craniums jammed up their backsides.

        • Exactly how I read it Joel. But obviously if you think the ‘right stories’ are getting it now you wouldn’t think SP would be necessary.

          There also seems to be an assumption that SP’s want no women, no minorities, all milsf, and for good and evil to be well defined.

          • Which means I support sad puppies because I’m self hating? I do like good and evil to be well defined. It’s known as good story telling (See Shakespeare, vs. Marlowe who didn’t define them well.) OTOH I also like going to those uncomfortable, no-solution places where it’s the least of two evils.
            Let me see: female, latina, likes complex story telling. supports Sad Puppies. OMG, I don’t exist! Help, help, I’m suffering from ontological uncertainty. Lend me an (existing) hand for the love of Bob.

            • I do like good and evil to be well defined.

              I do too, but that seems to be a bad thing to some people. Then again, tv and movies seem to think that if everybody is awful, that is what makes a show high quality. Not surprising if it bleeds into books…

              But the stuff about women, minorities, etc, seems to be pure fiction as far as I can tell.

              • I think it came from lit. fic. the “everybody is awrful” that and the disenchantment post WWI and romantics’ cr*p about the noble savage. Eh.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  “Everybody is awful”, except for them. [Sad Smile]

                  • I wonder if that’s part of it. By and large these are AWFULLY unhappy people. I mean, with all the health cr*p of the last few years, I’m STILL generally happy, but they aren’t at all. I wonder if they like these because because if everyone is miserable and amoral, then they’re “okay”

                    • Let us not forget Aristotle’s observation that we like characters to be as good as we are, or a little better. Encompassing in that more than moral goodness but including that, too.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      Fail discusses the mood disorder angle a fair amount. IRL, there’s a person who often enough frustrates me by talking about how many bipolars are duel diagnosis with substance abuse. Fail apparently isn’t looking for this angle, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these sorts haven’t made themselves too dysfunctional for anything but this stuff and the fight.

                    • A lot of people try to self-medicate. I suspect grandad drank A LOT because of bipolar/paranoia.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      You’ve probably heard my strong disapproval of self-medication before. The chemicals strong enough to improve severe bipolar are strong enough that one doesn’t want a jot more than one needs. Chemistry altering one’s state of mind is very easy to mis-assess with just internal observation.

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  Look at what Wright just wrote about Anti-Stories.

                  I figure he was overlooking something about Watchmen, the extent to which it served communist ends beyond the explicit pro-Soviet propaganda.

                  I’ve heard that a lot of soviet sci fi was that sort of no good, no hope, no common sense analysis flavor. I figure it served that regime’s need to have people assume they can’t fight, have no reason to fight, and what’s the point anyway.

                  I think the moderns are that, combined with the jaded literary mindset that simply cannot find the regular sort of thing stimulating.

                  • And all individuals are horrible, which is why we need daddy-state to watch them.

                  • It’s hard to say. Most early Soviet sf was either “Yay for historical inevitability” and Utopias, but there was always some satire (albeit of the West) because Russians love satire. Later on, it got grayer, and since you couldn’t satire the State, they satired humanity and science and everything else except for the State. (And the State, but in a very allusive way.)

                    OTOH, the still-popular Alice kids sf adventures in space are pretty much adventures in space with only a wee bit of propaganda, although the movie versions have a special propaganda section that allows them to have their fun the rest of the time.

                    Russians will always have a lot of depressing stuff, because they live in Russia. But some Russian lit is full of dry humor or beauty in Russian that doesn’t get translated well, and that lightens the depressing stuff in the original version.

                    • “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.”. “Metro 2033” both games that people i know swear by that i just find boring and depressing.

                  • I’ve heard that a lot of soviet sci fi was that sort of no good, no hope, no common sense analysis flavor.
                    ————————

                    I think that was just the Russian fatalism coming through. It’s something that pre-dates Soviet Communism by quite a bit.

                    • Yeah, well… If you were Russian, you’d be a depressive fatalist, too.

                      It’s a justifiable mentality, looking at history, but after a bit, you have to wonder how much of it is actually self-inflicted self-fulfilling prophecy, and how much of it is just down to Really Bad Luck ™ and poor choice of geography to set up your nation-state in.

                      Russia is probably going to be forever a nation whose history can be summed up as “And, then… Things got worse. Much worse…”.

                    • Heinlein “Bad Luck” mostly.

            • I’ve been on SF con panels where some panelist has talked about liking the villains not so bad and the heroes not so good, whereupon I declare that I had better be able to tell the difference, or I won’t care.

              • Precisely. Marlowe was probably a better technician than Shakespeare, but his plays are so full of awful people you don’t know whom to root for. Now, he died young and he might have grown up, but if he hadn’t, even if he’d lived to 100, I guarantee Shakespeare would STILL be more popular.

              • I like villains whose motivations make sense. If you have your magneto, who has real reasons to be angry, that’s fine, great even, so long as you recognize that he is still doing evil things.

                As opposed to the ‘poor evil queen, she did mean stuff but it’s only because somebody was mean to her first’ school. Which is irritating.

                • I’ve got a villain whose character was formed by a terrible ordeal in his childhood.

                  OTOH, there’s another character whose character was formed by the same ordeal in his childhood. He’s not a villain.

                  • BobtheRegisterredFool

                    I like that sort of thing.

                    Character and choices.

                    Take Hans and his father from Kratman’s Watch on the Rhine. His father beat him, and made him join the Nazis, but Hans owns his choices. Hans’ father was very angry, supposedly because of losing an arm in WWI. Hans’ lady’s father had also lost an arm, which is more significant because he was a violinist, but was still a significantly better person than Hans’ father.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Some people don’t understand the difference between “I understand his reasons/actions” and “I agree with his reasons/actions”.

                  IE the hero’s mindset is “I can understand that SOB’s reasons/actions but he’s still a SOB and I’m going to stop him”.

                  • I have actually seen a comment that explicitly stated that any merciful God would understand the reasons why someone would engage in [a list of actions that the Catholic Church condemns but modern culture approves of] and that therefore they were not bad people for doing it.

                    Mind you, no response to the question of why he limited it to that list.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      I want to ask those types “Do you expect to see Hitler & Stalin in Heaven?”

                      Sadly, while they might say no for Hitler, they might say yes for Stalin. [Frown]

                    • Some, believe it or not, say yes for both.

                    • “Sadly, while they might say no for Hitler, they might say yes for Stalin. [Frown]”

                      A cynical Brit once said that one of the great problem with getting people to understand history was that their image of megalomaniac stopped at “Hitler noisily eating a carpet” and did not reach to “Stalin quietly smoking a pipe”

                    • It’s one of the sad facts of history that, while most people are aware of the millions that Hitler killed, they’re not aware of just how many more Stalin killed.

                      And if they’re aware of how many more Stalin killed, they still likely have no clue how much Mao makes Stalin look like an amateur in comparison.

                    • The Nazi deaths were of the kind it’s really hard to gloss over. Piles of corpses, systematic targeting, lots of photographs when it got busted open….

                      Stalin seems to have done a lot more plausible deniability and/or “Oh, but we didn’t kill them, we just let them die” type thing that results in folks starving animals to death, but being unwilling to put them down.

                      China is just strange. (Yes, that’s a golden “duh” statement. They are a totally different cultural base, after all.)

                    • My dad visited Macau during the cultural revolution. There were plenty of corpses washing on shore. Our media/entertainment/etc has been an organ of the enemy for a long time. (What organ? You guess.)

                    • And this is because communists had taken over entertainment. There were — in the west — scant realistic cold war movies. Disney comics was more accurate with their Brutopia= Russia thing, and even they were more “life is awful there” than “you don’t get to be alive”

                    • Or that enthusiastic amature Pol Pot, while not racking up Stalinesque numbers, managed to account for one fourth of his country’s population.

                    • Yeah. Mao’s got the raw numbers, Pol Pot has the biggest chunk by percentage of population. On the other hand, people are kind of aware of Pol Pot. There was even a movie about it back during the ’80s (‘The Killing Fields’). And they had trials when the Khmer Rouge lost power. From what I’ve heard, the anti-Western tactic in the case of Pol Pot is to claim that he never could have risen to power if the US hadn’t destabilized the country first.

                    • Which might be true, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.
                      On the other hand, we also thoroughly destabilized Laos, as I recall, and they had no Pol Pot.

                    • My usual reaction to a claim like “they couldn’t have gotten into power if you hadn’t destablized the way things were” is to remember that the crazy Kims are an example of “stable” leadership.

                      Also tend to look to see who it was that was actually supporting them getting into power, since claims like that are usually a distraction.

            • Oh you KNOW we’re self-hating.

              After all, per at least one poster on sundry panicy threads, “sadly” (or some such), having SP nominees on the ballot last year knocked two women’s novels off, and we SP types must have viewed that as icing on the cake.

              Apparently, our wimmin members hate themselves and don’t want any off doze wimmins on zee ballot! Or something.

              Never mind not taking us at our word re: quality vs. politics. The only reason we’re doing this is politics, and “Opera Vita Astern” ‘sucks’ and has no redeeming value but Larry put that on there just to give a black eye.

              Never mind what we’ve said. We lie. Because we’re evil. And kick manatees or kittens or something.

            • Wait, wait Sarah I know the answer to the ‘self hating’ – we’re brainwashed by the patriarchy thus we don’t know how we’re self harming! DUN DUN DUUUUUUN. We slash our own metaphorical wrists as far as they’re concerned; goodness knows they wish we’d do it for real for ‘their sakes.’

              That, or the similarly stupid claim that ‘we do it for attention.’

              • (In calm, soothing, hypnotic voice) Now, now. No need to get worked up. You should just go on out to the kitchen, wash some dishes, and let your irritation wash out with the dishwater. Then make a sandwich and bring it to me, and we’ll sit and talk while you rub my feet.

                🙂

                • You forgot the hook. “Through another log on the fire.”

                • *snort-giggle* I wonder how the scolds would react to find out that Rhys is the one cooking dinners lately, Aff regularly makes sure I don’t starve, and the dishes are done by the dishwashing machine.

                  And I’m the one who gets the massages, because post-c-section, I seem to have developed muscle and joint pains.

                  That said, I miss doing housework and cooking, because I take pleasure in making delicious food and seeing the results of my work. But as I’m the sole source of food for the baby and most of his comfort, Rhys very firmly said I need to focus on baby and me.

                  So, do I still fall under the trap for listening to my husband? *grin*

          • I read that as “all milfs” and was seriously distracted for a moment. Dnamde lysdexia…

        • The Other Sean

          Many* stories that receive Hugos these days really should be getting Yugos. You know, the award for poor quality… stuff that doesn’t hang together well.

          *Not all, by any means. Phil and Kaja Foglio certainly deserved the award for Girl Genius, and Lois Bujold’s were certainly deserved. There are others that deserved and got a Hugo. But much of what gets a Hugo these days seems like drek.

      • “But that someone on the inside thinks we want to destroy the award by voting our favorites is… what?”

        A sad commentary on how blind we (as humans) can be, behind our own perceptions?

    • I think it is more gnomish than that…
      1. Sad Puppies 3
      2. ??
      3. NO PROFIT!

  13. Is “The Hugo” trademarked, copyrighted or otherwise protected? And who is the legal owner of the trademark?

  14. We Americans also have a nasty habit of using the rules to tie the powers that be in knots. See the ridiculous “Sodomite Suppression Act” initiative http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/03/26/california-attorney-general-moves-to-end-anti-gay-initiative/ in CA. (Please excuse the repetition in the phrase ridiculous initiative in CA.) One is tempted to think this is one of those guys who likes to sneak into Superbowls. He certainly wins the trolling prize. As heinous as the thing is, it’s sort of darkly humorous imagining our Attorney General fulfilling her constitutional duty to write a ballot summary. As George Takei might say while dodging bullets, “Oh my!”

    • I have to say, I wonder if the author of the initiative is a real bigot, or just a shitkicker.

      • I’m leaning toward false flag/building the strawman.

        • THAT was my thought as well.

          • I used the phrase “false flag” in a story, but now I’m seeing it in weird senses. I’m suspicious that it’s become a favorite phrase of truffer paranoid conspiracy nuts, as if someone’s afraid of the original sense.

            • It used to be that “false flag” was one of those phrases that cued you in that you were talking to someone who has been fitted for a tinfoil cap. One of the greatest sins of the Obama administration is to put conspiracy theorists within spitting distance of reality.

              • Journolist. Would never have believed it before. Not in a million years.

                • Given how all-encompassing the AP feed is, I’d assume any appearance of evidence for JournoList was just from something that they’d read on the feed and were all responding to, and any failure to find it was just me failing.

                • I’ve suspected that something of the sort existed since at least the 1980s. Too much consistency and continuity between widespread markets, in terms of which stories “blew up big” in the media, and all at the same time. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find out something like Journolist existed as far back as the time of Hearst and his Yellow Journalism, to tell the truth.

                  Our media has been compromised for a long, long time. Long enough that it’s only now that you can see the outlines of it, when you look back. The signs are there–I used to go up to Tower Books, back when that was a Thing ™ and buy a random selection of world and US national newspapers. The similarity and timing of editorials and emphasized news items only started to strike me as a bit odd after I’d been doing that for a few years–And, I’m not talking about the AP/UPI/Rueters stuff, either. What I was looking at was all bylined by local “journalists”, who all seemed to emphasize the same things at the same time and in the same way.

                  Personally, I kinda suspect that there was a sort of back-channel to many of the newswires, where Jornolist-like discussions went on beyond the sight of the public. Can’t prove that, of course, but the evidence for something like that was there, when I look back on it. When you pick up a paper from Phoenix, Arizona and there’s an editorial supposedly written by a local journalist that has all the same points made in the same way as a paper from Newark, New Jersey, and that one was written by a different journalist supposedly local to that paper, you really start to wonder what the hell was going on behind the scenes. I think Jornolist was just the first time that the curtains got pulled back. The people involved in that were waaaaay too comfortable with that way of business. I’ve not one doubt that the same thing is going on as we speak, somewhere else. There’s too much uniformity in what gets covered, and how it’s being interpreted in the media for there to be any other answer.

                  • In many cases, years ago, it was simpler. Local ‘journalists’ read the AP/UPI/Reuters story, and write their own version of it.

                  • When you pick up a paper from Phoenix, Arizona and there’s an editorial supposedly written by a local journalist that has all the same points made in the same way as a paper from Newark, New Jersey, and that one was written by a different journalist supposedly local to that paper, you really start to wonder what the hell was going on behind the scenes.

                    Sometime about the mid-to-late-90s I found that if you searched for key phrases, usually the “local reports” were just “rewrite in your own words” type things from the AP feed.

                    • The stuff I’m talking about was more along the lines of stem-winding think-pieces about “matters of import” as they applied to the paper’s locale. This wasn’t stuff like rewritten AP wire reports, it was more like “here’s what we think you should be thinking about this issue…”, and the uniformity between widely diversified regions argues that there was something going on beyond just pulling crap off the wires.

                      I think there was a Journolist before there was one, and that whatever it was, it went back a long damn way.

                      I read this stuff for years, and over a wide region. Military libraries used to spend a fair amount of money, making sure that hometown papers were available from all the major cities. Some of the uniformity can be explained by the wire services products, but a lot of it just can’t be. And, what I’m talking about is the kind of thing that went on with the Communists after Hitler had the temerity to invade the Soviet Union. Before that, pacifism and support for their fellow Socialist, good ol’ Adolf was the rule of the day. After Barbarossa lit off? He was Satan incarnate, and every good Communist was supposed to put their shoulder to the grindstone. That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about, here.

                      Didja ever stop and wonder how it was that Gerry Ford, probably the greatest athlete we ever had in the Presidency, got turned into Fumbles the Clown so quickly and thoroughly? For the love of God, he was an All-American, when he was in college. How was it that the media, from comedians to cartoonists to editorial writers started lampooning him as this great klutz, and literally almost overnight? The entire colossus of the media turned on a dime, in order to make mock of the man. How’d that come about? I remember watching the process, and being confused by the whole thing, because it quite literally blew up almost overnight.

                      Kinda funny how that only seems to happen to Republican Presidents, isn’t it? The Carter rabbit story took weeks or months to build up, and it was something that many media sources desperately tried to downplay.

                      I think there’s been something akin to the Journolist for a long damn time, at least on the side of the left. It’s really gotten a lot worse, as time goes on and the media becomes more and more a bastion of the left wing.

                    • *sad smile* I didn’t even hear about Ford existing until the Animaniacs song, and my dad explained that he’d been “really good” at sports in college.

                      I have seen nearly identical letters to the editor, and Limbaugh did great work exposing the Seminar Callers— maybe club networks?

                  • Look at some of the old archived papers in the Newspaper Archive. The bigger city dailies all went seriously left by the early 1950’s. The last conservative daily was the Chicago Tribune and when Col. McCormick died in 1955, it was quickly taken over by the leftoids.

              • Tell me about it. Weapons smuggling, pre-emptive accusations of everything under the sun (racism, etc..)

            • Well, it is awfully convenient. I still remember the novel where the hero staged a false flag attack and faked the evidence that someone else had done it as a false flag attack.

          • If I had to guess, he’s a shill for politicians trying to gut / abolish the entire initiative process.

        • False flag would suppose,that somebody on the Profressive side had that antic a sense of humor. I think it’s just somebody who wants a circus,,with clowns and elephants and dancing chickens in every corner.

  15. I’m an American, and that used to be enough. Now I go looking for my Identity so I can claim oppression and get favorable treatment. I’m a little bit Native American — more than Elizabeth Warren — but mostly from barely-literate hill stock, Scots-Irish. Jacksonian. Which reminds me of that song, “Going to Jackson,” with the poor family values often portrayed by honest country music. My people were poor, disorganized, and feisty.

    Collectivists favor processes that require attendance at meetings because they have the time and the willingness to endlessly talk required to wear down their opponents. They work together to reach goals to control others. You haven’t really lived until you’ve been mau-maued by a group that met before a public meeting to come up with strategies for making you look bad, with the intent of downzoning your property — I have. I didn’t know what Alinsky tactics were then, but I do now.

    Awards. One could just give them to the best in sales — but the bestsellers don’t need a status award. The extra value of an end-of-year award should be to highlight works that may not have been recognized because of poor marketing, jackass publishers, unknown authors, etc. The special snowflake cadres want them to go to works that reflect their desired politics and buff up their causes. While the best-sellers often deserve the award for best work — sometimes they don’t. So if there’s a role for elitism here, it’s for people who have read more and sought out obscure works to bring them forward so more readers will find them. Giving neglected work a second chance is doing the readers a favor, while trying to force-feed readers with “uplifting” messages is both condescending and in the long run damaging to the genre.

    • For an obscure works award, you want a jury, probably. And a label to that effect.

      • I’m thinking of similar “best” awards — if you truly want the best, it combines high sales as one factor with other measures of quality and entertainment value. Juried awards would be for “high literature,” which might overlap, but some are too difficult for wider audiences, while say a Harry Potter book should get awards for accessibility. Both types of awards are useful.

  16. I used to be a really active member of a sci-fi fanclub, until the entity that owned the rights to that character and universe *coughBBCcough* decided to take legal action so their official fan club would be the only one. After that little bit of fun, all my associations have been music based. Why? Because no one has time to muck with politicking when you’ve got, oh four months of one day a week rehearsals to learn Bach’s St. John’s Passion (in German). And then two months to learn the Brahms Requiem (in German, but I’ve done it before). Otherwise I’ll assist on other groups’ projects (like I did this past weekend), but I tend to remain free-floating. Me and the rest of the dandelion seeds. 🙂

  17. I said it in a couple of other places, but it’s still stuck in my head so… saying it again (raises scutum to avoid carp). I think the fundamental issue for many of the protests is that the authors Sad Puppies are bringing in are lending their prestige to the award (and are intended to!) rather than the other way around. They the trophy wife that has suddenly realized she’s 60 and has no idea how to become gracious and dignified and are frantically trying to ignore the other ladies offering advice.

  18. BTW Sarah, you’re close on the Canadian motto, but remember that it must fit on a coat of arms. Thus, for English-speaking Canadians, it’s “We’re not Americans, eh” while for French-speaking Canadians, it’s “Maudits anglais”

  19. You mentioned queueing at the beginning. Oddly enough, the Swiss have one of the worst reputations in the world for refusing to queue. Here’s a photo of a Swiss queue attached to a story about the U.S. Ambassador getting into trouble for complaining about it. The picture looks like Sarah’s description of her brother’s bus queue picture
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2900704/Diplomatic-snow-storm-erupts-American-ambassador-Switzerland-criticises-ski-lift-queues.html

  20. Americans are crazy people.

    • *sees nothing worthy of a laugh-track in that, seems sensible to her*

      After a few years around sailors and marines who were offered Nuke and, while having the sense to turn that down, were still the kind of person who gets offered nuke… it sure seems like the difference between “crazy” and “smart” is how random the logic is.

      • smartest person I’ve ever met is certifiable. Goes about a year and a half between commitments.
        He’d be fine, on his meds, and eventually the side effects built up and he stopped taking them … a few months later, (As Jonathon Winters used to say) “Back to the Zoo” There is a very, very, thin line between genius and flipping bughouse nuts

      • The logic isn’t random. It’s just the leaps that make it seem that way.

  21. The Other Sean

    On the diners and breakfast anytime thing, I have to say that diners are one of the few things (family, the Jersey Shore, and NY style pizza are the others) that I miss about New Jersey. Cincinnati has a few chain places like IHOP, Waffle House, Bob Evans, and Steak’n’Shake that are open all night and/or offer breakfast all the time, but they just aren’t the same as a real diner. Back in New Jersey, any time of day or night I could find a decent diner almost without trying, and they’d offer a wide variety of food that would be anywhere from decent to great. I’ve seen diners all up and down the East Coast, but once you get west of central PA they seem to get few and far between.

    They’re not non-existent. There’s a cluster in the Pittsburgh area, and I’ve seen a few along the major east-west highways in the Midwest. Of those I’ve stopped at in the Midwest, the menu is lacking in variety but the quality is more variable. Your basic American foods (breakfast foods plus burgers, chicken, salads, chili) are always there, but sometimes there isn’t eve a decent sandwich selection. You’re far less likely to find Italian and Greek dishes, and even mildly-more-elaborate American fare like steaks, pot roast, seafood, etc. often becomes a rarity. They might not even offer breakfast all day, and are less likely to be open 24 hours, and sometimes don’t even stay open very late. The quality can still be quite good, but it is also more likely to be mediocre. Whenever I visit family on the East Coast, I always try to get in a slice of NY (or New Haven) style pizza and a trip to a diner.

    It seems that the breakfast anytime thing may be catching on. I just saw an article online on McDonald’s piloting all day breakfast: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/can-all-day-breakfast-save-mcdonalds/

    • One of my favorite memories growing up was my breakfast dates with my dad. He’d take us kids, each in turn, to the local diner for a breakfast typical of the “Mel’s Diner” truck stop fare. Find the trucker’s favorite places to stop and a diner will be nearby. They are still around. 🙂

  22. On the genealogy back to Adam (or Christ). The US has the DAR, SAR, a Mayflower society, and many, many other highly organized clubs and exclusive membership organizations. SJW’s have been invading some of those too. There was a big kerfuffle recently over the DAR wanting to get rid of Jesus Christ in their prayers and publications. They denied the rumor vehemently (but probably because the test rumor came back negative – they would have gone down in flames if that had happened). The elitism of some of these groups is being threatened by the availability of good records so it is far easier to prove your ancestry back to a Civil War soldier, War of 1812 soldier, Revolutionary Soldier, an original Pilgrim/settler, or whatever, so any regular person might be able to prove it

    And I’ve seen some of these spurious genealogies that go back to Adam. One of them actually claimed descent through European royalty then through Norse mythology, then to Hebrew names until it hit Biblical genealogies. It really claimed things like Sven King of Norway was the son of Thor Odinsson, and so forth. And people believe it too.

    • If you can trace your family tree with any accuracy back to any royal, and hook your tree to lines at the lds site familysearch.org, you’ll end up finding a tree that traces back before Jesus. Found that after tracing my tree to King Edward. The further I go back, the more I find fanciful leaps. Can’t rely on other people’s trees without finding verification. Way too many examples abound of the mother being deceased several years before the child was born.

  23. Lee Richards

    Just for the record, if have been reading science fiction for 45 years, feeding the addiction heaviky for 30. I went to some cons in the early 2000s and still go to one very small one. I have never considered going to Worldcon, still qon’t even though I coild drive there this hear. I have used the Hugo awatds as a reading list at 2am and I am out of books but not unconsious (yes, I kindle and nook, I mentioned addiction) and the sjw are responsible for me coughing up the 40 this year for the first time ever. Not SP, not Larry, it is the whiners that have tracked mud into my house that has gotten me riled up. Now I am reading the forums, the blogs, the comments. But it was thsir posts a friend showed me that caused me to pay N play.

    I am a reader, damit, without enough shelf space to fool around with silly litfic and pc prop. I want my scifi and I want at least some of it hard.

  24. MadRocketSci

    In fact, I’d say that probably comprises 90 % of sf/f readers/gamers/watchers/fans.

    You know, I am curious about the fandom community. I’ve always loved science fiction. Occasionally I’m even in the mood for fantasy if it’s any good. I like creative fun.

    But I’ve never interacted as a fan. I’ve never gotten involved in a D&D group. (Though I did invent what amounted to a pen and paper RPG that I played with my brother and friend when in gradeschool, never knowing that it was a thing that people did.)

    I’ve never really attended a convention (I tried sneaking a look at Dragon Con, but aside from getting buried in a crush of people at the parade, I really didn’t get much further into it.)

    A. What is it like? What do you people do at these conventions?
    B. Where do you meet each other outside of the internet?

    • answer to question b: Various fan groups, and sci-fi cons.

    • Well, if you were in Denver, hopefully, health permitting, we’ll have another Hungiving this fall at Pete’s Kitchen… but we’re just the bad and the ugly.

    • Jerry Kaufman

      I was lucky enough to have the Worldcon show up in Cleveland when I was a teenager- in 1966 the Worldcon was lees than 1000 strong and I was able to meet both fans and pros. The smaller the convention, the easier it is to meet people (unless it’s so small that it’s really a tight circle of friends there to see one another).

      What do we do? We talk endlessly at parties, at panel discussions, as we bump into one another over a dealer’s table or in front of art in the Art Show. We learn in workshops on costume design or writing songs or preparing manuscripts. We listen to new authors read, or performers sing; we reminisce about the bad old days, or dance to the “Time Warp,” or try out the Pan-Galactic Gargle-Blaster in the hotel bar (if the hotel has renamed its cocktails for the weekend).

      In Seattle we meet at any of half-a-dozen monthly gatherings of different clubs, or at events at the EMP. Or we show up at bookstores for readings by local and visiting writers. (You need to live in a fairly large urban area for these to work.)

      Some of us even still publish paper fanzines and mail them to people (but usually also post them online). Having been in fandom from before the Internet, I’m still one of those evil beings.

      Jerry Kaufman