De Gustibus – David Pascoe

De Gustibus – David Pascoe

With the madness raining down from on high in a flood of mixed metaphor vitriol the anti-fun crowd have been spewing their hatred with predictable and familiar, if disappointing, illogic. Those seeking to prevent puppy-related sadness Sad Puppies (I’m not a puppy, personally, and I’m depressed, not sad) are hatey mchaters, secksissss, racisssss, homophobisss, and any other -isss you can imagine. We cheated. We bloc-voted, which isn’t cheating (witness the efforts of Hugo-winners-past) but should be (except when they do it; that’s just clever self-promotion). We GASP may not have informed those we put on the slate. We- but you get the picture.

In retaliation measured response, the wise and not-at-all vindictive luminaries of literary SF are recommending their fans vote NO AWARD rather than allow their the good name of the Hugo to descend to the level of mere adventu-, ahhh, fu-, ummm, mere escapist pulp (yeah, that’s the ticket).

What’s bugging me, here, is the entire concept of the Hugo award. See, I get a “Best Novel” (or other category), but when you have a subset of any given group vote on it, you don’t end up with the best: you end up with the favorite. Not necessarily the same thing. I suppose, if you could get all readers of scifi to vote every year, you could reasonably call the winners the best of that year. Except they’d still just be the most-liked. Upon what criteria can we even determine what is best in life story?

There are standards of craft that should be met. Is it readable? How’s the grammar, generally? How about continuity? Does the dialogue work? How about world-building? Are the major conflicts resolved? These are all questions of craft, and basic ones, really. Then there are slightly more esoteric subjects. Do the characters’ relationships encourage readers toward poor life choices (I’m lookin’ at you, Twilight) or lead one to believe humanity is doomed by its own hand, and that’s a good thing? Does the story keep readers up until all hours of the night, just to find out what happens next? (I could argue that as a simple, albeit unverifiable objective standard. But I won’t.) After all, as Mrs. Dave points out, some readers are simply more self-disciplined than others. We are not them. “Just one more chapter,” gets one exiled to the couch, where there may be light. The sleeping chamber is for just that, after all. Well, not just that…

The Hugos aren’t, and never were, for the BEST work, according to anything resembling objective criteria. The only criteria we could possibly use is most bought, whether through sales numbers (Hah!) or money made. How commercially successful is any given work? In that case, the aforementioned Twilight would win handily. As would any of the Harry Potter books. Let us not speak of Fifty Shades (after all, it’s as scifi as If You Were A Dinosaur-).

What I’m coming down to is the individual Hugos are misnamed. They aren’t the Best of anything, let alone the entirety of the genre I know and love best. Despite what it says right on the packaging! (And despite the unexpectedly honest blathering of a certain former editor, if you claim it’s the best of a genre, then everybody who wants to gets a say.) They’re simply the favorite of the subset of readers who happened to buy memberships to any given year’s World Science Fiction Convention. And that’s fine. I don’t actually have an issue with that, as such. However, there are a goodly number of people in the world who will look at just such a label (XXXXX, Winner of 20xx Hugo for Best Whatever) and make the assumption that this is the best the field had to offer that year. An understandable and logical assumption. And when it’s some silly saurian revenge fantasy, they’re going to form a poor opinion of my genre. And that vexes me.

It further vexes me when people who should know better encourage their followers to vent their spleen in such a childish manner: “I’m taking my rocket and going home!” When, instead of reading the nominated works, and judging them based on inherent merit, these giants of the field recommend torpedoing anybody’s chance to win. (Never mind that the ballots will almost certainly reflect a vote for 1) Ancillary Sword, and 2) No Award.) After all, any work holding a nomination is on the ballot because a sufficient number of people willing to pay to nominate chose to do so. And if this is a popularity contest, then let it be so. Don’t game the system just to spite a group of people who only want fun books to read (well, we don’t want only fun books. We want fun and challenging books, with interesting worlds, genuine characters, etc, etc.)

I didn’t really want to talk more about the Hugos, Puppy-Related Sadness, and the infantility (shut-up, spellcheck) of NSJWP and its adherents. It tires me. And so, let me end on a high note. I’d like to offer my congratulations to my fellow Mad Genii, Dave Freer, Amanda Green, and Cedar Sanderson, who are all up for Favorite Fan Writer, and major congratulations to Jason Cordova, who is up for the Totally-Not-a-Hugo Campbell Award for Favorite New Writer. Congrats to Toni Weisskopf and Jim Minz of Baen Books for keeping me in crack providing such excellent mental fare to the story-starved masses. Congrats to all of the other nominees, and I’m delighted to see such a tough field. I’m joyful to have such difficult decisions to make this year. It is my hope and prayer that I can say this again next year.

291 responses to “De Gustibus – David Pascoe

  1. Everyone knows what is best in story is to crush your wordcounts, see them written before you and hear the lamentations of the naysayers. (Or SJWs, as desired)

  2. Technically, by those standards, Academy Awards aren’t the ‘best of’ anything either. Not are juried awards, because then its just the jury’s favorite.

    • Weird how that ends up working out, huh?

      • There can be advantages in blind testings. See Bottle Shock.

        Ultimately, the best awards are bench-marked for consumers. The genius of Siskel & Ebert was that regular viewers learned how to triangulate between Siskel, Ebert’s and their own preferences.

        • Maybe the Hugo’s need an Electoral College. After the nominations, fandom votes for authors and editors who were not nominated that year. The top dozen or so vote-getters receive a voter packet with all of the stories stripped of identifying information – no titles, no author names, maybe change character names – and the panel votes on which one was best. Only after the votes are tallied are the blinds lifted.

          Obviously it wouldn’t be perfectly blind, a cabal could coordinate to get a story nominated, get a large number of members on the selection board, and then have those members read the cabal’s choice prior to reading the voter packet. It might be more trouble than it’s worth.

          • We live in a Google world. This wouldn’t work.

            And character names are traditionally an important factor in sf/f. Changing them would be ruining the story.

        • I agree that awards are bench marks for the consumer. I just wish the bench mark was closer to what I like to read. Hence my pleasure at the ballot this year.

    • Sara the Red

      You mean, *gasp* awards don’t actually mean anything? Shocking. /sarcasm

      • Sara the Red

        (not saying awards are bad, mind you, just that the folks losing their minds over the Sad Puppies fail to grasp the ephemeral nature of awards…)

      • I don’t recall reading any Hugo winners, though likely have; I was a Science Fiction Book Club member lo! those many years ago. Haven’t read much new SF of late except for Analog.

  3. DrTanstaafl

    I’m a little confused here. I shelled out my money for Sad Puppies because it tickled my fancy and I’m thrilled to be reading sci-fi again that I like. But I didn’t really look at the rules. Don’t I get a vote in the finals? If so,why won’t the puppies get more votes than No Award? Looking at the graph of numbers, it certainly looks like there will be more puppy votes…

    • It’s complicated (I’m shocked a mess of fen would come up with a complicated voting system. SHOCKED, I tell you! (Also, it’s not theirs, originally. It’s an Australian system, and I’m not sure they’re thee ones that came up with it first.) and I expect Cousin Kate the Impaler can give us a primer should we need one. Basically, it selects for whichever option is least hated (which explains how something like Ancillary Justice or Red Shirts wins in any given year, and how someone like Toni or Larry doesn’t (shorthand: Larry wouldn’t win unless he was up for a Hugo that awarded the person over the work, blah blah blah).
      Effectively, If everybody but SP3 supporters votes for their favorite first and then No Award second, No Award will take it. Unless a particular SP3 nominated work has more than half of the votes in the first place. It’s a great system for electing a least-hated candidate that most people can work with (and will likely trend toward centrist positions) but is terrible for deciding a “Best of” situation. And, yes: you still get a vote, and it still counts.

      • The solution is for everyone to go to Brad Torgersen’s site and have him set up a poll for SP3 nominees. Everyone votes on their choices, and the winner in each category is the choice each and every sad puppy votes for as number one. Will we be accused of collusion. Well, honestly, they are already saying worse things, but what exactly is telling the warrior shock troops to all vote no award in advance of the voting. Sounds like collusion to me.

        • Isn’t collusion exactly what all voting campaigns are aiming for?

          • Indeed, and getting who you want to win the campaign is what is important. If only we could get the dead of Chicago to vote the SP3 ticket for the Hugo 🙂

            • Bjorn Hasseler

              Whoa! Once the dead start voting, the Daley machine is going to want a necromancer to control them. Then we’ll have no choice but to appeal to Jim Butcher and Larry Correia for Harry Dresden and Earl Harbinger to join forces.

          • Collusion is what they’ve been doing for years. They’re just upset that we’re better (well, more numerous) and that we’re doing it publicly.

            • Yeah, we’re not really good at colluding. You people are like herding fracking cats.

              • Cats frack? Don’t let the Environmental Lobby (a wholly pawned subsidiary of OPEC & Gazprom) find out!

              • OK, now we need to get Shadowdancer to do a graphic of a bunch of cats, wearing hard hats and vests, working on a drilling rig. 😀

                • Dang you! Now I’ll waste half my day thinking up a cat-friendly degreaser.

                  • richardmcenroe

                    Oxyclean in the washing machine. Don’t know how friendly it is but the cat purrs like hell when I let it out after the spin cycle.

                  • Dawn dish soap – and it insta-kills fleas too!

                    • It does? Tell me more, PLEASE! My dog had them bad last year; OK for now, but, who knows what evil lurks out there in the grass? (The Shadow do,)

                    • Oh, yeah, dawn doesn’t hurt them either. We used it when we got Havey who had been living off a restaurant’s dumpster and was coated in THICK yellow grease that nothing else could dent.
                      Even after the Dawn, we had to rub corn starch in his fur and brush it out like five times.

                    • Generic stuff does, too, but Dawn is a known to not have nasty perfumes or cause tummy trouble option.

                      As I understand it, any detergent would work on the bugs– I’ve used my laundry treatment bottles on spiders and hornets. Since they breath through their joints, it blocks that, so they can’t breath.

                      Our cats got fleas (from the kids playing out back in the grass….) last year, and the fluffy one was actually jumping into the tub to be washed at times.

                    • If they have a specific sleeping area, sprinkle 20 mule team Borax in their bed. This does wonders to drive the fleas away, so they don’t immediately pick them up again after bathing. Probably doesn’t work as well if their sleeping area is the foot of your bed, but you can sprinkle it in your carpet and it will work until the next time you vacuum.
                      Also if your cat isn’t amenable to bathing, Seven dust (found in the gardening section) sprinkled on and rubbed into the fur WILL get rid of fleas, but it has a distinct odor and tends to rub off on anything the treated critter rubs up against, so you will want to leave the dusted cat/dog outside for a day or two, and be aware that you will smell like Seven dust if you pet them.

                    • RealityObserver

                      Hmm… Never used it for fleas. Considering what it does to my hands, though, I can see it.

                      Lots and lots of cats, though. Seems everyone around here does their own oil changes – and thinks that they can have a two hour lunch or something while it drains… I have never figured out though, why cats seem to think an oil pan is so interesting.

                    • I think it’s a camouflage instinct. Mine roll in loose dirt.

                • With “Huns are fracking cats”?

              • Herding cats is easy: Put a chunk of tuna wherever you want the cats to be.

                Says the man who nearly dislocated his shoulder getting one of the cats into the cage this morning.

                • You haven’t met Fíne (Cat #4) here. Walks away from tuna, or any canned cat food for that matter, looking repelled. If’n it ain’t presented in crunchy bits, it ain’t food.

            • There are problems I have with the underlying political philosophy of the movie M*A*S*H, but it has some of my favorite lines in cinema. Such as this one from the football game: “Their ringer just spotted our ringer.”

              • Randy Wilde

                I liked the cheer the nurses were doing.

                Yes, sometimes I have the sense of humor of a 7th grader. And no, he can’t have it back.

          • Well, not originally. Originally, Sad Puppies was after strictly ONE thing, and that was proving that the process wasn’t equitable. It proved that, to the extent that no reasonable person could look at the evidence and come to a different conclusion.
            Subsequent years have had more challenging goals.
            SP1 was designed to DEMONSTRATE that there was no access to the table. SP2, SP3, and presumably SP4 are attempts to FORCE access to the table.

        • Not a good solution, then all the SJWs simply hate on those selections and they lose.

    • You can vote.

      The problem is that a lot more people vote for the award than for the nomination.

      Mind you, if puppies get riled up, that may mean the puppies win.

      • Yep, I paid my money and will be voting, but I didn’t nominate* anything. A whole lot of other people will be just like me.

        *If TXRed will hurry up and publish Blackbird I will be nominating it for next year. So I may as well start promoting it now, to be sure it gets on the SP4 slate.

        • I paid for the supporting membership, just now. First time.

        • May. *desperately hunts around for container of reader-treats to use to assuage hungry reader* It’s coming out in May. The cover is well in progress and so are the edits.

          • Get Sarah to send you some of those newly legal edibles they have in Colorado. Then your readers will hardly notice the month of April.

            • Funny story kinda related to that: A Schwan’s truck used to stop by the place I used to work. Talking to the driver one day, he told us about the best sale he ever had. Had this lady that he hated to stop at because she would go through the entire catalog, slowly, and generally order 1 thing…after about 30 to 45 minutes. One day he trudges up to the door and as soon as she opened it, he could smell the burnt pot, and there was the last little bit of residue in an ashtray sitting on an end table when she let him in. He said you could tell she’d finished it probably 15 to 20 minutes before he got there. She started going through his catalog and bought at least one item off of every page. Her bill ended up being over $500!

              • That deserves a like button.

              • We used to have Schwan’s trucks. Their ice cream is the best ever made.

                • There were half a dozen of them at an auction here a month or so ago. I couldn’t believe how cheap they went, 2006-2008 with 125k-175k and I don’t think a one went over $3000. I kicked myself later for not buying one, but I just don’t have a use for one, now if they were four wheel drive I could jerk the box off the back and put a flatbed on it and have a deuce and a half.

            • There’s been some complaints from people coming from CO with baked goods who got arrested for possession. “But they’re legal in CO!” doesn’t seem to be working well as a defense with the Dalham and Hartley county judges.

              • And frankly I’m allergic to the stuff. So is Dan. Well, not allergic, intolerant. He throws up; my throat and nose swell and I pass out. Yes, we were lots of fun in college. Yes, we warned both boys about possible inherited tendencies, when they were of an age where this might appear at parties.
                I remember once, shortly after we moved to CS, we went into a village in and it was thick in the air. We quickly ran out. Because as Dan said “the alternative was becoming the amazing throwing up, passing out Hoyts.” 😛

                • My husband gets really, really bad hay fever– to the point that our old neighbors smoking it had a worse effect that grass season.

                  • Probably allergic to geraniol, then. (The green smell in all kinds of grass.) Although if he’s not allergic to roses and geraniums, too, it’s probably something else.

                    • Not roses, definitely, not sure about geraniums. Or maybe he just puts up with it, he does a LOT of that unless it sends him into a full-on miserable sop.

                    • Well, you can be allergic to the pollen of grass, or other compounds in grass. I only found out it was geraniol the few years that it got really bad (I’d walk by people mowing the grass and have problems, or walk by roses in church and start to feel yucky). But moderate avoidance made it go away, mostly.

                    • Good point, comparing my own reactions to secondhand pot smoke (in college) to (actual) grass season 😉

                • I don’t recall actually throwing up, but I have a cast iron stomach, and it would make me sicker than a dog and really want to throw up. I liked the smell of it, but as far as actually inhaling the stuff, no thanks, I can just chug some hydrogen peroxide and get the same effect.

                • RealityObserver

                  I just get the most incredibly intense migraines, with no other symptoms. Only takes the slightest whiff, too.

                  Yep, I was fun in high school, myself. Don’t know how many Saguaros I gave dancing lessons to…

                • Sarah, both you and Dan can cross Amsterdam off the bucket list then.

              • Ya’ll ain’t in Colorado no more, as you seem to recognize, are ya’ll?

          • YAY! Another book to add to my stack!

      • The best case scenario right now for the fascists is that they succeed in blowing up the Hugo’s for 2015. But that’s just going to get us pissed off. Right now we’re irritated. Look at what we’ve accomplished. Imagine what we’ll do when we’re angry.

        • Yeah. Not only might it push me into buying a membership in WorldCon 2016, but I might even attend!

          • Attend? Attend!!?? Do you really want to spend a fair sum of money and a perfectly good weekend to go hang about with those booty snitches?

            Well, if you must, you must. Be careful to take an ample supply of cracker ball quips to make those crackers’ heads explode and find out ahead of time where the Barfly Suite will be.

            • Yes, because the next step after taking the rocket ship from them is to go to where they are and laugh in their face. Most progs don’t really believe their crap, they just mouth the platitudes because that’s what good, smart people say. If those positions become sources of general ridicule, then the uncoordinated, poorly-dressed fascists will see their support shrivel up like male genitalia at Wiscon.

            • Heather’s going to be a number of the Baen Barflies there.

          • It says something about this issue that it makes going to Kansas City in August sound tempting.

            • WorldCon 2016 is going to be in KC?

            • KC is actually a doable drive for me. If next year gets particularly entertaining I might consider going.. Just to see people’s heads explode.

              • No fear. Kate is leading. It will be … amusing.

              • KC is a doable drive for pretty much everybody east of Denver. Not a particularly exciting drive, mind you.

                • Kansas. Six nukes short of a pool table.

                  • Kansas: Better weather than South Dakota.

                    • Funny story, I had a friend who was from South Dakota, right on the line with North Dakota. He told about his grandpa living on the place when it was first surveyed. The homestead predated the states and straddled the line. He thought he was in North Dakota, but the first time the surveyors came through they said he was in South Dakota. A couple years later they came back through and decided he was in North Dakota, another couple of years went by and they came back through and said the first set of surveyors was right and he was in South Dakota. He told them, “Thank God, I didn’t want to have to go through another North Dakota winter!”

                    • I considered putting the following in my comment above:

                      South Dakota: Better weather than North Dakota.

                      North Dakota: At least we aren’t Canada, eh?

                  • Pleeze stop! That made me laugh so hard it still hurts!

                  • Down around Wichita, there used to be 18 Titan II missile launch complexes. Now imploded, for coming on 30 years,

                    • When the fuming nitric acid cloud started east across the farmland, they decided the Titan sites had outlived their usefulness. All to the good, I grew up inside the fallout cloud if they ever got hit.

                    • Yep. Nasty pair of propellants. System designed for a 7-year life; came up in ’63, went down ’84-’87. Too much trouble to keep as equipment broke down and there were no replacements. One left as a museum south of Tucson. I recommend the tour if you’re in the area.

                    • RealityObserver

                      Never worried about fallout, myself. Of course, my first sojourn in Tucson covered several of those years – I would have BEEN the fallout.

                • It’s downhill all the way! And I’ve read an explanation of how Kansas IS flatter than a pancake.

              • Umm, which Kansas City? Not that it matters, I doubt I’ll make it, although I am going to go to this years, since it is only an hour and a half away.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              I think talk at MGC is that some of us are going to see if we can attend.

          • I’ll bring baklava and possibly other food. We’ll be driving. You could fly here and drive with us!

            • You have no idea what it’s like to be trapped in a vehicle with a historian for 12 hours. 😉 Even I can hardly stand it, and I’m by myself.

              • Can’t be any worse than someone who sees every junk car and can tell you in great detail why it’s cool or not.

              • OMG. We’d love that. If Robert is still in state, he’d eat it with a spoon. You forget two of us are amateur historians (Amateur only in no degree) and two others are very interested. Please?

                • RealityObserver

                  Can you guys find a good deal for a bus rental?

                  Quick – hands up – how many here are amateur historians? (No, NO, NO! I *did* not say anything about “jazz!”)

              • Growing up I spent prolonged hours in a car with a person who had a degree in history (English), whose profession was law. He had grown up much the same, only Daddy’s father had taken his degree in American History. I thought that it was normal to be told history for miles on end.

                The Daughter used to claim that I had taken her to every battlefield involved in the Late Great Unpleasantness. Then I pointed out that we hadn’t even begun to visit all the sites in those states which we had been to and in which battles had occurred, not a one in Tennessee or Georgia, ‘and dear, look it up.’

                • My dad does that too, CACS, only we got to go to Roman and Celtic sites and historically important castles.

                  • Few things like that in this country.

                    I have taken The Daughter to the Cathedral in Santa Fe, which is decidedly Spanish, and not at all modern, but not really ancient.

                    I grew up near one of the oldest standing houses in Pennsylvania — not real old by European standards.

                    Closest we have to a castle is Biltmore, up in Asheville, which is more of a chateau.

                    I recall that there are some fake Roman ruins in Delaware, follies in one of the Dupont’s gardens.

                    • RealityObserver

                      Compared to Europe, even San Xavier (1783) is a flash in the pan. Beautiful job of restoration, though.

                      Did you visit San Miguel (1710), also? Last time I was there (1993?) it was just about to finish collapsing…

                    • My mom’s dad made his bread and butter* in monument restoration. Churches, palaces, some as far back as the middle ages.
                      *When not being Edward D’Eath’s father.

                • Ha! You have just described my childhood! OTOH, it’s great for a history test, when all you have to do is think back on the Civil War and other battlefields you’ve visited. I just wish I’d learned to read a landscape when I was a kid, instead of by taking some archaeology classes in college.

            • I’ll vouch for Sarah’s baklava. Best I’ve ever eaten, and I come from the land of Greek Diners (Charlotte NC and environs.)

        • Yep, they have awakened us

      • Yesterday over thirty people asked me how to sign up…

      • I was a LonCon attending member and I’ve already bought my memberships for Sasquan and MidAmeriCon, so I’m guaranteed voting rites through 2017 (unless they change the voting requirements before then). Hoping Helsinki wins the 2017 bid; I’ve never been to Finland and could use it as an excuse to go.

        WorldCon isn’t getting rid of me or my votes anytime soon.

    • Yes, you do. You don’t get a vote in NEXT YEAR’S Finals.

  4. BTW, I’ve been poling around a lot of the blogs about the slate (mostly by following trackbacks to Brad’s announcements) and dropping mostly some of the same concepts I’ve been posting on FB threads. One thing I’ve noticed, VD’s appearance on the ballot has driven Clammy into troll overdrive. He’s hitting them all.

    • The dread one has that effect. I think more people are upset about his two nominations than they are about all the other sad puppy nominees. Especially since it punctures their bubble about how we’re all the same, doing the same thing, in the same way. Rabid puppies was different slate, after all.

      • But not a different enough one that they can’t use it to attack Brad’s list. (I’m also working on saying list instead of slate. I’ve been trying to push the idea that not all voters voted the same, (which they didn’t last year) to counter the whole Mindless Bloc Vote idea.)

  5. “Mere escapist pulp”: have any of the no-award and former-TOR-editors bothered to actually read the Bio of Hugo Gernsback? The inventor/master of PULP fiction? Of all people, Gernsback would indeed measure best as most profitable, best sales, big circulation, loudest fans. Check out his wiki. His magazine Radio News has the banner “Radio’s Greatest Magazine”. Certainly modest in his self-appraisal as editor.
    Were the Hugo’s of the past decade fun escapism pulp, I personally would have enjoyed them. I am not opposed to having new theories and concepts of ‘social justice’ (whatever the h*ll that is other than white-male bashing) in stories, but it has to make sense, add to the plot, and still be enjoyable.
    I most recently have been reading Alma Boykin’s Cloplatschki Series, and while I will say I have read more about women’s menstrual cycle in the last week than I would have imagined; I can’t find fault with the topic. It is well written into the narrative, important to the plot line, respectfully circumspect and should be read by all female SJWs to remind them how darn lucky they are to live in an age where the whole topic is NOT important to the plot line.
    But they (SJWs) just don’t get it. A pious, respectful woman serving and thriving in a male dominated society, contributing and achieving by doing instead of whining just doesn’t make the same statement as an in-your-face accusation of how culturally deficient I am to enjoy entertaining stories.

    • The whole point for SJWs is to screech. They are harpies they can’t do anything else. If they had the ability to succeed they’d be busy to screech.

    • Which poses the question: should the award for most influential work go to the story which converts X many people into SF/F fans or to a work such as If you were a dinosaur … which causes X-plus people to abandon the genre as hopelessly vapid?

    • I do remember those discussions from the time I dipped a toe into Finnish fan circles way back in the early 80’s, there was teeth grinding over the fact that the genre was seen only as entertainment, and great cheering whenever one could point out something which delved into ‘serious’ subjects, like, I don’t know, racism and stuff. Mostly all the subjects favored by SJWs now. And more often than not it seemed that only grim treatment could be seen as serious enough. Or literary enough. (Didn’t stay. They were not my people).

      Well, I do have a theory. Maybe a lot of the fans had come in because they had found something fun to read, and had fallen in love with the genre because of that. Maybe most of them had found those fun books while still quite young themselves. Perhaps they had been teased about their favored reads. They don’t want to be seen as stupid kids. ‘Adult’ stuff seems to be often quite serious and grim… (and often boring, but maybe that is required too for the adult/literary status) hey, this has that type of books too, see! How many of YOU will read stuff that is THIS grim? (We are very adult, see!).

      Then many of the fans maybe get stuck with that. Instead of getting to the point where they decide than damn, I read whateverthehell I want, and screw your opinions, I don’t care what you think, they still feel kind of guilty of perhaps liking the fun stuff too and are willing, openly, to only talk mostly only about the serious books and claim they value only those… (or they stop reading the fun stuff because, or if they still read them they figure out convoluted theories of why the fun stuff is actually really complicated and reflects something about societal values of its time and all that, whether it does or not, and ignore the ‘old-fashioned’ values which may be there too, or maybe go for the hipsterish ‘it’s all ironic’ save. Or keep reading but only behind locked doors).

      Images. Can’t let that ‘this has very literary and serious stuff published, we are very adult’ one lapse, or who knows, maybe they’d have to stop reading altogether. 😀

      • Obviously, some people read Upton Sinclair’s “the Jungle” and feel wondrously uplifted by the concerns of exploited immigrants and unsanitary conditions. Hopefully, none of them ‘enjoyed’ the actual conditions and exploitation, but in this world, hard to tell.
        I have always considered such authors, and novels to be in existence simply to torment kids in High School English classes. I got caught having to read Steinbeck’s “East of Eden”. All I remember is that if you want to kill someone, make lots of home-canned green beans and then there is some poison that mimics the food spoilage.
        Now, I know neither of these authors are quite in the same class as Swirsky’s “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”, which is some sort of psychotic acid trip genre, and I’m sure it has a message somewhere; the best I can figure out is “Kill all the white men, and I’ll laugh with glee”. I can only wonder; is that really what we want the Hugo’s to represent?

        • Heh. That type of message fiction does, I think, sometimes have a point, but part of the point is that it is useful only in a certain time and certain place, if it can bring something that should be fixed into the attention of people who can perhaps then start doing something about it. And after that moment, well, if the story is well written and does describe the problem accurately there is some historical significance.

          But the big problem with such stories, even when there is a problem which should get attention, is that more often than not the story ends up delivering the wrong message. And the fact that there is not even all that damn many important messages everybody should notice around at any given time, so more than half of the writers either keep using the same ones (including ones which were important about half a century or a century ago but have since been mostly solved) or invent theirs out of thin air because right now it seems everybody and their cousin is trying to write a story with A Message.

        • Regular water bath canning cannot get hot enough to kill botulinum spores. If the food you’re preserving is low-acid, like vegetables or meat, the bacteria thrive in the low oxygen environment. That’s why you have to pressure can low-acid foods and it’s strongly recommended that you boil them for several minutes before eating to denature the toxin.

          Also, with the decline of home canning, botulism has become far less common, so it’s not a great murder technique.

        • I read that, maybe in HS, coulda been college. Lots more interesting that Anna Karenina. And The Odyssey–thought the one I read must have been a lousy translation, because anything that long-lasting had to be good.

          • The Iliad and Odyssey work really well as audiobooks. Some of the audiobooks use translations by poets that actually add a bit of stuff, but that’s what you expect from an oral ballad tradition.

      • It is an interesting conundrum. The pretentious weenies look down on SF/F because it isn’t “seriouz” literature, so the social climbers in our field attempt to rig the awards to make it seem SF/F is more literary and thus deserving of respect and academic study and college tenure track the emoluments thereof. They do this blithely unaware that it simply makes them more laughable to the snobs whose real purpose in decrying SF/F as trash is to bolster their own self-importance and therefore SF/F can NEVER win their approval.

        Meanwhile, the socially upward mobile look down upon those of us who, if we liked literary works, would read literary fiction rather than SF/F and aren’t at all embarrassed by our “low-brow’ tastes. Worse, we are now openly despising them and mocking their pretensions, meaning they are caught in a classic social-climber trap: those whose approval they desire will never accept them while those whose approval they disdain are openly contemptuous of their aspirations.

        • I got the idea that those who refer to their work as “speculative fiction” do so with their pinkies out, to show that it is not mere fantasy or popular science fiction, but rather “a work of literature.” Which seems to be working, except with those folks who want their adjective back. When I see “a work of speculative fiction” in the description, I can be pretty sure 1) no werwolf vs. accountant fights, 2) lots of long words arranged in grammar of near-Germanic complexity, 3) lots of lofty discussions of meaningful ideas, and 4) it won’t appear at any bookstores within a 150 mile radius except maybe that little used place in Amarillo after someone else buys it from Amazon. And 5) that I might ILL it from the library but I won’t squander $30 for a copy.

          • Too bad, I like the term. It *fits* so much better than “scifi/fantasy”– it’s “what if….?” stuff.

            Then again, given a chance I could make an argument that Harry Potter was science fiction, given the lack of the supernatural– it just wasn’t hard scifi because it didn’t get into how the “wizarding” vs “muggle” groups were caused.

            • I agree, and there are writers fighting to reclaim the term from the lit’rary crowd. The WWI-era books I’m working on fit “speculative fiction” as well as they do alt-history and sci-fi.

          • Yep, I view speculative fiction as akin to speculators, you might get lucky and find a gem, but it’s enough of a gamble that you don’t want to spend bery much money on it; and certainly not any that you can’t afford to lose.

    • They’d probably tell you they don’t see what bearing some dead white guy has on the award.
      (yes i know he was jewish…)

  6. See, I get a “Best Novel” (or other category), but when you have a subset of any given group vote on it, you don’t end up with the best: you end up with the favorite.

    It isn’t just ending up with the favorite, it is ending up with the one that caught at that moment. Who knows if it will stand up in time, or if it will be remembered as the literary equivalent to the big hair/parachute pants fashions of 1980’s.

    When I was a young newlywed The Mother-In-Law was all a-twitter about the then hot Judith Krantz romance novel. Everyone was reading it. (I never did.) Now if you google the title you will get many listings for items related to a character in SuperMario. Buried down the lists are a couple on the Krantz novel.

    • There is an entire genre of film commentary devoted to “what film won the Oscar and what ignored film(s) should have won in any given year.”

  7. But until the last few years, most Hugo voters nominated and voted for exceptional works and people, and most have stood the test of time. You might argue about some of the New Wave stuff, but even those picks are reasonable ones.

    Of course, people used to vote recreationally on the best stories in every magazine issue or anthology, ranked in order. Letter columns were full of reader critique. So maybe fandom today is not as used to critical thinking as our predecessors, or too many fans have been shamed out of holding strong individual opinions.

    But maybe the voting system used to be different? I admit with shame that my eyes were glazed over during discussions of vote rules in fannish histories.

    • maybe fandom today is not as used to critical thinking as our predecessors,

      Nyahhhh — couldn’t be that. Why, used to be our schools didn’t even have critical thinking as a pedagogical goal, just reading, writing and arithmetic.

  8. Last week I picked up a hard-scifi anthology at the library that looked interesting. The editors are correct – it is diamond hard, with very good use of science in all the stories (although the one based on certain probability theories left me scratching my head, both for the concept and the writing style.) BUT most of the stories are downers. Even the ones that should be up-beat have a down feeling. The writing is tight and well done, the writers use science very well, but the collection left me a little depressed. Would I vote it “the best of [thing]?” If the competition was well written and encouraging, probably not. But that’s my taste, based on what I like. I don’t know anything about the authors involved or their other works, and don’t really care.

  9. Jah, Shure — Awards are not signs of merit, they are merely stamps of approval on the packaging.

    Even when the awards were (relatively) untainted a major new work by (established author) was not held comparable to a work by (up-and-coming author). Doubt not that the grammatical games Heinlein played in Moon would not have been so readily accepted had they been played in somebody else’s first novel.

    This effect is even more notable in the Oscars, where a best-acting award is more likely to go to a performance “against type” than for a performance representing a summation of decades of the actor’s on screen persona. (Ever notice how successfully Billy Wilder played against Fred MacMurray’s “nice-guy” screen persona to portray truly nasty characters, or how Sergio Leone inverted Henry Fonda’s screen image?)

    I could easily build an argument that it is desirable to keep the Hugos exactly what they had become: a stamp of approval by a small activist community that warns more discriminating* readers to avoid at all cost.

    *Heh.

  10. Does the story keep readers up until all hours of the night, just to find out what happens next?

    This is the real measure for me. I can point to a whole slew of problems with Twilight but I read every one of those dumb (and longish) books in a week.

    The next measure is how many times do I want to re-read it.

    • The next measure is how many times do I want to re-read it.

      Then there’s the Princess Bride measure of how often do I find myself approaching complete strangers to encourage them to ‘read this book!”

      • Or quoting in normal conversation.

        • You keep using that word.

          I live for the day when the GOP fields a presidential candidate able to tactically deploy that phrase in debate.

          • The “there you go again” for the 21st century.

            I could see either Cruz, Paul, or Walker using the line, and Hillary is dumb enough to give them an opening.

            • And, cue the two days of screeching about white male Rethuglicans taking in funny accents to belittle minorities in 3…2…1…

          • Randy Wilde

            A Republican candidate using it tactically?

            Inconceivable!

  11. The phrase “Tempest in a Teacup” did spring full born into my head today over this.
    I would submit that all SF fans do vote, early and often with the only votes that really matter, coin of the realm. If only total book sales by the major publishing houses was not the province of green eye shaded, sleeve gartered, mystical accounting shamans, and determined only by the reading of entrails of small furry creatures, we might actually be able to determine the most popular works of the past year. But that can never be. That would be as bad as telling the voters the true cost to them of the ACA. Everyone knows that writers are fragile creatures that must be treated with the same care as rare mushrooms, ie kept in the dark and fed a diet of crap.
    I do agree that any award focused on just the past year is a popularity contest pure and simple, and when you restrict the voter population to a small cliquish group it can and obviously has become a means for that clique to reward goodspeak from their precious flowers.
    A much fairer measure of “best” might IMHO be to count total sales over the course of at least ten years. Not just the current darlings, but note the ones with legs, with staying power. Once upon a time those in the know would look to what the libraries were buying and what they kept over the years for an approximation of long term interest. May still be true, but with the advent of e-books and indie I believe many of the old markers must be called into question, and perhaps new ones developed.
    Part of me wants to just say let the whiney SJWs have the Hugo, let it be their ever so special way to feed the feelz. But then I think of the horrible damage they’ve done to budding and potential SF readers who take at face value their claim that the Hugo winners and nominees are the best of the best. How many fans have bought that load of garbage and simply turned away to other genre or simply sworn off reading as unsatisfying and not the fun they thought it should be?

    • Well, Princess Tempest Teacup WAS raging last night. Apparently $40 is white privilege. This from someone who grew up more affluent than I could dream of.

      • I did find it interesting that while she still lists herself as a “consulting” editor for Tor, they themselves have removed any mention of her from their web home page. Not to spread rumors, but I did read a credible report that she was let go due to her divisive and inflamatory web activities. Or perhaps she just wasn’t very good at what she did. As we all know times are tough, and to stay viable sometimes a business simply has to prune the dead wood and focus on what works.

        • You can generally do well in life by either being nice or by being exceptionally competent. The nicer you are the less competent you need to be and vice versa. Incompetent a-holes are usually the first against the wall or under the bus.

          This is why I work so hard to be good at my job.

          • Elwood P. Dowd: Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

            • Yes, but some of us cannot do pleasant. It’s hard to be a nice person when you evaluate everyone around you on how strongly you desire to light them on fire.

            • Folks always recommend pleasant. For others. It makes things easier for the recommend-er.

              I suggest “not unpleasant without cause.”

              • I rather thought Hannibal Lecter seemed a very pleasant chap. A few unsavory habits, no doubt, but really quite a charming man.

            • That’s all well and good, but I think we’d be better off listening to Jake.

      • Isn’t $40.00 kind of like two hardbacks (especially with the sales taxes being what they are now days)?

        • The point being that clearly the publishing industry only supports white privilege. Princess Teacup worked for the publishing industry therefore Princess Teacup’s livelihood is all about maintaining white privilege.

        • yep.
          Less. A hardback is $30.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          As someone who in a first world English speaking country cannot really afford the $40 now, yes.

          Brad’s had someone, I suspect a false flag agent provocateur, come in and propose that Paulk turn Sad Puppies 4 into a charity for funding supporting memberships for people in the third world.

          The Novel category of the Hugo’s is for someone who can get their hands on and read last year’s hardbacks. Big Publishing charges high rents for these. The supporting membership is the cheapest part. Okay, my costs were in gas and opportunity, not cash, but I’m not super well read, and maybe my opportunity cost would calculate to a fairly high value.

          Whether someone can and does read new stuff in qualifying markets is far more of a limiting factor.

          I’ve yet to find that the color of my skin gets me any money, much less that much.

          • Brad’s had someone, I suspect a false flag agent provocateur, come in and propose that Paulk turn Sad Puppies 4 into a charity for funding supporting memberships for people in the third world.

            Two problems with that immediately jump out:

            1.) People who spend their own money to get the nominees and a vote have skin in the game and should take the matter more seriously

            2.) Sad puppies would be accused of vote-buying you could smell the scorch marks.

            • That’s the funny part. As I remember the proposal, it was “Hey, you’re being accused of buying votes, so you should make a fund raiser to buy voting opportunities for places that don’t speak English!”

        • I’m seeing one, and maybe a well-used PB. Still, some will be worth that.

        • more like a hardback and a paperback.

      • “Well, Princess Tempest Teacup WAS raging last night. ”

        I recommend you rephrase that with Kate’s catch phrase; she is a GHHer after all.

        *spew warning*

        ‘Well, Princess Tempest B-cup WAS raging last night.’

    • It might be argued that at a time in the past, when SF fandom was primarily focused on the (few) magazines and was carried on in the letters pages of Analog, Galaxy, Fantastic et al that the Hugos served a genuine purpose, advising the casual fan and new fan of which books were widely read and discussed and thus should be incorporated into one’s reference points for engaging fans already versed in the genre.

      It doesn’t seem likely that such is today the case. By that light the Hugos are an anachronism, a relic which has been captured by a forlorn band waving it as “proof’ of their group’s relevance.

      It might be interesting to not fight to reclaim the award but rather to establish a competing prize, named for Jules Verne or Cyrano de Bergerac, exalting the Human Wave side and outpolling the Hugos (as well as actually helping sell books.) Leave the SJWs their precioussss Hugo to clutch to their shrunken bosom and croon to.

      As I’ve said elsewhere: I haven’t cared who won the Hugo in something like four decades, ever since I put off my fankid kneepants and dressed in trousers and kilts like the big kids, deciding for myself what was worth my time to read.

      I support the effort to wrest control of the awards from the booty snitches who have insinuated themselves, Wormtongue-like, into positions of power, but ultimately, I just don’t care.

      • The argument against your position is the same as the argument against abandoning the GOP and starting a third party. The Hugos are known by pretty much everybody with more than a passing familiarity with SF. It would take decades for a new award to achieve the same reputation, and in that time it would be susceptible to infestation by the fascists, making the process moot.

        The fascists have tarnished the Hugo brand, but the SP campaign has made Instapundit, Brietbart, and the Guardian. Anyone interested in SF knows that there’s a fight on, and will know the winner. If we win, more than a few people will take a look at what is now winning Hugo’s, and if they like what they read it will go a long way to rehabilitate the brand.

        • The counter here is that no real world harm results from abandoning the Hugos. The Proglodytes will destroy the awards rather than see them go to “unworthy persons.”

          They have already said so.

          Second, the hugos have already long since forfeited their function as signalling good stories and now merely signify “good” stories.

          Establishing a Sad Puppies Award would signal to the larger world that the the Hugos have become party favors for the in-crowd.

          OTOH, the Sad Puppies have already served that purpose. If they can rescue the Hostages without overmuch collateral damage, so much the better. Win or lose, we know who will get blamed for the destruction of the awards in the ensuing tantrum.

          • The Proglodytes will destroy the awards rather than see them go to “unworthy persons.”

            They have already said so.

            I am reminded of a story concerning King Solomon and a baby.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Sad Puppy slate and Rapid Puppy slate are already effectively awards.

          • masgramondou

            Sucks to be a hostage

          • Sane people tear down the existing structure when they want to rebuild. Even if this destroys the Hugo, that would be better than leaving it there to lie.

      • Randy Wilde

        If named after Cyrano, there can also be an associated Neuvilette (I think?) award for the SJWs.

      • You wear trouser AND a kilt?

        • Never at the same time although I have been accused of skirting the issue. When I was younger members of the opposite sex were overhead saying about me that “they’d a kilt for those legs.”

          Swimming and running track will do that for you; I was a 2-miler and might have kept it up long enough to be quite good at it if we’d had audio books on MP3 players back then.

    • Apparently over on Monster Hunter Nation, I have now made Kevin Standlee mad (which really wasn’t my intention, as I was really kinda angsting defiantly. Possibly I brought up high school flashbacks).

      Pointed out that the “rule” against posting slates is purely social, and that people not on the inside had no idea it existed. Also pointed out that any list of Hugo eligibles, or any Hugo recommendation list, is technically the same thing as a Hugo slate. I think this is logical enough, but apparently not everyone sees it that way. Mr. Standlee notes that persons like myself will have only ourselves to blame when the Hugo rules change.

      At this rate, we will never be able to say in conversation, “X should win a Hugo.”

      • Perhaps a secret cabal of publishers/editors can meet in secret each year and ‘select’ the Hugos without any outside influence. This would protect everyone, as you could no longer say “X should win a Hugo” and thereby subjecting a SJW to cognitive dissonance. Unfortunately, it is fun to watch their heads explode.

      • How would the enforce that? Declare anything put up on a slate ineligible? Throw out nominating ballots that were similar (how similar, how many deviations from the slate are allowed before you are no longer voting the slate)? If a nominating ballot is deemed to be following a slate in one category, is it discarded entirely or would non-slate votes in other categories be counted?

        Finally, who changes the Hugo rules and how is it done? If it’s the membership of WSFS at large, well we’ve done a lot to increase that pool. If it’s a committee chosen by WSFS membership, that’s going to be our next target.

        • “Finally, who changes the Hugo rules and how is it done?”

          Basically, you have to be present at the WSFS Business meeting at the WorldCon.

          • Twice. They can’t — legally — change them this year.

            • I’m curious if they’re going to go the “Pluto” route and damn the rules.

              • Put champagne on ice for that. It would prove the Sad Puppies’ point beyond a doubt.

                Although after the public exhibitions we’ve seen, it’s clear the Sad Puppies were vindicated. When George R.R. Martin’s only attack is that the Sad Puppies were right, they didn’t think everyone should be involved, we are plenty vindicated.

      • …persons like myself will have only ourselves to blame when the Hugo rules change…

        So we’ll have been asking to be “legally” excluded from any further chance at a Hugo nom? Because that’s how it reads to me…

        • Well, I suppose that if the committee already has enough money, you could start having nominations and Hugos only voted on by Worldcon full memberships, or only by members of “official” sf clubs of some nature. But every Worldcon convention committee needs the money, unless George Soros is funding them all of a sudden. So that’s really the only serious change.

          There have been various other proposals for rule changes with various amounts of stupidity in them, however, and I’m sure somebody will try to get them done, for amusement or for spite. This could happen, although barely anyone can bestir himself to get up in the middle of Worldcon and go to a business meeting. So you need a lot of bright-eyed, organized people who love to study Robert’s Rules of Order and read bylaws, and who will actually be going to Worldcon and being involved the next few years.

        • Oh, yes. Indeed, for some of them:

          There is no way to fight abusive rules-lawyers by writing stricter policies. The only method that has ever worked against abusive rules-lawyers is moderators empowered to say, “You’re being an asshole, and now you are banned,” and powerful gatekeepers behind the moderators supporting them when the rules-lawyers attempt to shriek for redress.

          That’s a comment on “Making Light.”

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I’ve said this before.

        A competition that penalizes a competitor for violating rules that are advertised is not fair.

        In a situation like this, where insider collusion with favored competitors is suspected, an ‘insider’ insisting on compliance with secret rules must be suspected of fabrication or selectivity.

        My understanding is that Standlee works for an entirely different part of the organization from that handling the vote. Combined with the carelessness and poor self-control exhibited in the thread where he was banned from MGC, his claim of being an authoritative insider seems dubious. It seems more likely that he is an interested party acting purely on emotional investment.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          rules that are not advertised

          My apologies for the error.

        • No, he actually is an insider, and he’s reliably done a lot of good work for conventions, and specifically Worldcon, for years and years out in California and such. I don’t know him personally, but I think I met him once; and I do know people who know him well and like him, some of whom are conservative, libertarian, military sf fans, etc.

          Having a nasty temper online doesn’t always translate into having one in real life. I know several people who have been avid flame warriors from the days we were all on Usenet, but who turned out to be teddy bears in Real Life. (And of course there are people who are reasonable online and rats in real life.)

          That’s the disconcerting thing about this campaign. It’s like a psychology test.

          • I think the internet is the sort of mask people wear to porn parties in Stanley Kubrick movies. You can hear the real person slipping out behind them.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            My understanding is that he is an insider for a specific part of World Con that is not the part that actually runs the Hugo.

            I think the analogy I pulled out was someone in the city Fire Department being very outspoken on a hiring decision inside of the Police Department.

            If you have someone in the latter situation who can reliably be set off in public whenever the issue comes up, and who isn’t carefully measuring what they say, you can make some guesses about how they are wired.

            I’m a mite too touchy over the secret rules in a public competition issue.

      • “Apparently over on Monster Hunter Nation, I have now made Kevin Standlee mad”

        Congrats.

  12. The thing is, all awards boil down to “We like this”, not “This is great”. The trick is to understand who “we” is.

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is made up of Actors, Directors, and film techs. The Actors and Dorectors tend to take themselves frightfully seriously, so a Frightfully Serious film has a better chance of winning an Oscar than a beautifully crafted piece of fluff that is going to be remembered long after the Oscar winner is remembered only by film historians.

    The people who judge tye Pulitzers and the Nobels are also prone to such crap. Consequently, the Nobel Peace Prize is now a sour joke and the Pulitzer prize isn’t even THAT respected.

    Sad Puppies is about changing who the “we” of the Hugos is, because in some ways the “we” that it has been recently has made the awards for Novel and Short Story the literary equivilent of a “Mr. yuck!” Sticker.

    • “Pulitzer prize isn’t even THAT respected.”

      Considering the fact I have referred to it as the Pulletser prize…

      • Or the pullet surprise.

        • Is that when she hides in the rafters and flies at your head when you go to collect eggs?

        • Hey, now, I have six dozen eggs in the kitchen. Please to not malign the pullets.

          Um, anyone need some eggs?

          • When I factor in the gas money, I believe it would be a net lose.

            • Unfortunately, yes, and don’t forget you’d have to overnight (unless you’re crazy enough to do twenty hours straight on the road).
              Which illustrates what Europeans never do quite comprehend about the USA nicely, doesn’t it? Bearcat and I live in the same state, and the speed limits between he and I range from 50 mph to 80mph.

      • Walter Duranty won it. To do the Hugos justice, I’m not sure we’ve ever managed something quite that spectacular.

  13. After all, as Mrs. Dave points out, some readers are simply more self-disciplined than others.

    I am very self-disciplined about reading.

    I don’t stay up until midnight reading unless I’ve already tried, several times, since it’s Time For Bed to put it down and fall asleep.

    • I don’t allow myself to bring books to work to read at lunch, and haven’t for years, because I can’t just read for 30 minutes if I am interested.

      • The bathroom has only short stories. Otherwise I get captured and then can’t get up and off the potty for HOURS.

      • What you need is an anthology, or something else broken into bite sized chunks. The Federalist Papers rocked for this purpose for me.

        • I don’t actually read a lot of short stories. If I want to slow down my reading I read non-fiction instead of novels. I can actually read a history book in chapters…

          • Try two books “The Time Traveler’s Guide to the Middle Ages” and the same to Elizabethan England (or Tudor. I don’t precisely remember the title.) They’ve been my read-in-bits books this month.

            • Witchfinder was the first one like that for me – read a chapter and put it down. Specifically so I could come back to it tomorrow and savor it. I normally devour books, but Witchfinder was one that I found myself compelled to put down just to stretch out the length of time I was immersed in that book.

      • I stopped bringing books to work because I had a tendency to also want to read them while driving home.

        • Professor Badness

          Boy does that sound familiar!
          I’m glad to know I’m not the only one.

        • I still bring my tablet to work, but I try not to read on it at work. That 30 minutes always seems to turn into 4 hours.

        • Having learned how to feed audio books through my car’s audio system I no longer mind traffic jams, viewing them as an opportunity to read a few more pages.

          Sitting in the driveway at home/work to listen to “just a few more pages” is a bit of a problem. It would be handier if audio books did a better job of indicating paragraphs and page/chapter breaks in advance of reaching them.

    • We’re all very disciplined around these parts: we make sure we don’t waste time sleeping when there are good books to read!

    • When she was very young we got a book mark for The Daughter which read:

      I wish I may I wish I might stay up and read this book all night.

  14. The best explanation of the Hugo voting system is — oddly enough — at the Hugo site: http://www.thehugoawards.org/the-voting-system/

    • masgramondou

      And even better – if you go here (http://alumnus.caltech.edu/~copeland/work/ then look for “Gernsback Meets Aristotle” ) you can find the source code used to tally the ballots and check that the description of the process is what is actually implemented

      It occurs to me that I may be able to partially reverse engineer some of the balloting to see if there really was bloc voting in the past.

  15. Does anyone else think that Patrick Nielsen Hayden is engaging in some sort of malpractice by loudly and longly condemning a slate that includes an author published by his company (John C. Wright) and a novel that is actually a TOR work (The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J Anderson)?

    Has he actually come out and said anything against these people? I know his wife has, but I would be curious to find out if he himself is out there slandering his own authors and books.

    David

  16. Apropos of absolutely nothing, I just reviewed Sabrina Chase’s novel on my blog and on Amazon. It’s “The Long Way Home.”

  17. BTW, I know virtually nobody reads my WP blog, (Which in a negative feedback kind of way, makes me post less) but I’ve written my own article about the results. Since it’s not packed with links, no trackback traffic…. but if anyone’s interested:
    https://drmauser.wordpress.com/2015/04/05/2015-hugos/

  18. Pingback: Da Tech Guy Blog » Blog Archive » The Hugo Awards, LBJ and the Retaking of the Little Congress