Sunday, April 20, 2014

The 2014 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on the Nominees

The nominees for the 2014 Hugo awards were announced last night, and now I can reveal the news that I've been sitting on for one of the longest weeks of my life: I am nominated in the Best Fan Writer category!  I want to congratulate my fellow nominees, Liz Bourke, Kameron Hurley, Foz Meadows, and Mark Oshiro (who together make up what I think is the most female-dominated slate in the category's history).  I also want to thank everyone who nominated me and encouraged others to.  It's been strongly implied, but I'll just say officially that I will be attending LonCon 3 this summer and plan to be on hand for the Hugo award ceremony.

It's terribly gratifying to receive this nomination, especially at the end of a nominating period in which so many wonderful, smart people said such lovely things about me and my writing.  I'm particularly thrilled because, to the best of my knowledge, I'm the first Israeli to receive a Hugo nomination, and for that to happen at a convention that will be particularly accessible to Israelis and where I know that there will be a large Israeli contingent feels very appropriate.  In addition to the fan writer nomination, I'm also nominated as one of the editors of Strange Horizons, which received its second nomination for Best Semiprozine, so congratulations to Niall Harrison, Brit Mandelo, An Owomoyela, Julia Rios, Sonya Taaffe, Rebecca Cross, Anaea Lay, and Shane Gavin.

All that said, I spent the last week less in anticipation and more in trepidation, because as much as I appreciate being nominated for a Hugo I knew that my pride in my nomination would depend a great deal on the makeup of the rest of the ballot, and more than any other year I wanted this one's nominees to be ones that truly reflect the excellence and diversity of the field.  As you'll know if you've seen the ballot, my hopes were rewarded in only a very partial fashion.  The 2014 Hugo ballot is weirdly bifurcated.  The "bottom half," of the ballot, comprising the publishing, fan, and Campbell categories, seems made up, for the most part, of online fandom's dream nominees.  The best fan writer category is not only dominated by women but made up solely of online writers.  Blogs and online magazines dominate the fanzine and semiprozine categories.  There are more women in the professional and fan artist categories than I think have ever been nominated.  I'm particularly pleased to see several nominees that I championed on the ballot, some of which--like Mandie Manzano and Sarah Webb in best fan artist, or XKCD's "Time" in best graphic story--make me think (rightly or wrongly) that my endorsement played a real role in getting them a nomination.

But then you come to the fiction categories.  Though best short story is solid, the other three categories are not simply dispiriting or embarrassing, but downright infuriating.  Let me be clear: Vox Day is a despicable person whose repeated racist, sexist, and homophobic behavior towards specific members of the genre community as well as the community as a whole should make all decent human beings recoil from his presence.  That I received my first Hugo nomination on the same ballot that bears his name leaves a vile taste in my mouth.  That the rest of the fiction ballot feels, as several people have noted, as if it's recapitulating the culture wars only makes this nomination worse, and confirms me in my feeling that the only people who benefit from award campaigns are those with large and devoted fanbases--whether those fanbases are motivated by love of a particular writer, or the desire to stick it to the lefties (or, as is most likely, both).  One can only sigh at Larry Correia's Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles (serious, sigh) making it onto the best novel ballot, or Toni Weisskopf's best editor, long form nomination.  (As for the Wheel of Time series making it onto the best novel ballot, I'd just like to say to anyone who voted for this: feel ashamed, because you don't even have the excuse of being a reactionary troll to justify your bad taste.) 

All of which leaves me feeling very conflicted.  I want to be happy about my nomination and the nominations of so many wonderful and worthy people.  But I also can't ignore that this year the Hugos have shown their underpants, and the inherent problems of both the award's system and the ways in which it is being increasingly gamed, to a far greater degree than ever before.  The fact is that when the outside world talks about this slate of nominees, what they'll note is the absurd nomination of the Wheel of Time series, and that when we look back on this year, what we'll remember is Vox Day.  I'd like to believe that the changes I'm seeing in the smaller, less talked-about categories are creeping upwards, and that in a few years time we'll see them affecting the fiction categories as well.  But I remain uncertain, and that's not the feeling I wanted to have on the day after my first Hugo nomination.

51 comments:

Peter said...

Congratulations! I didn't submit a ballot but now am regretting it. But your nomination for best fan writer is well-deserved, both for this blog and for Strange Horizons. As far as blogging, you demonstrate quality over quantity and every post grabs my attention (something that the most esteemable of daily bloggers fail to do).

Also, while I don't get as enthusiastic about Ancilliary Justice as other bloggers and fans, it is a fine novel with wonderful ideas. I really can't envision a scenario where it doesn't win, unless another large blok of voters rallies around WoT.

Looking at the ballot, I'm thinking it is also a year for several female winners, not just nominees. Seems appropriate, given the online discussions over the past year, particularly around SFWA.

Michael C. Rush said...

Wow. Talk about leaving a nasty taste in one's mouth...most would say I'm definitely a "leftie," but this venomous-yet-self-aggrandizing post lost you one regular reader.

Paul Weimer said...

The fact that Vox Day is on the same Hugo slate as my own first Hugo nomination does sour the taste of my nomination, its true.

However, I am comforted by the fact that this is not the first time this has happened. Its a black eye, but its not a mortal wound.

Mr. Furface, Attorney at Law said...

First of all, congratulations on your nominations.

Regarding Best Novel, I wonder how you can get so wound up about Jordan or Correia's work appearing on the ballot when Ancillary Justice is presumably the frontrunner. Its structure is questionable, its dialogue is overstuffed, the themes raised are rather pedestrian, and the much-proclaimed statement on gender is but a pseudo-analysis.

I am happy for Leckie's debut success. With regards to SF at large, though, a field that unironically raises Ancillary Justice for its highest honor has deeper problems than the ones you complain about in this post. Or, let me put it this way: the fanbases of Correia and Leckie are two sides of the same coin.

Mr. Furface, Attorney at Law said...

I'll also echo Michael's post. Granted, Vox Day is an unpleasant person, but there is something a little odd about one Hugo nominee immediately trashing most of the Hugo fiction choices upon nomination.

Ken Marable said...

I can only speak for myself, but in general, life is better focusing on the positive - you were nominated for a freaking Hugo!! Congratulations!

Sure, other categories appear... problematic (to put it politely), but there are good and bad years for all categories. If one group wants to turn the nomination process into a political statement, that's too bad, but like Paul says above "Its a black eye, but its not a mortal wound." Enjoy your nomination, and especially the fact that, like you said, it's largely an "online fandom's dream nominees."

There are places to fight the battles with the likes of Mr. Beale. But right now, right here - don't give him that power to dominate the conversation. These Hugos might temporarily be known for their presence on the list, but in the long term, I find that highly doubtful. Controversies like this tend to loom large in the present, but fade with history, especially around awards like this (whether they are Hugos, or Nebulas, or Emmys, or Oscars). In the long term, we remember the great works and progress of a field, not the controversial shortlists that 5 months from now no one will be talking about anymore.

Things like "There are more women in the professional and fan artist categories than I think have ever been nominated." That is a sign of major change and progress. That is a sign of the future.

Personally, I see several new writers and publications (especially in the categories of fan writer, the 'zines, and fancast) that I haven't read before. I look forward to reading your site and others during the voting process. Maybe it's just me, but I find that a lot more exciting than getting worked up over someone whose biggest impact on SF/F will probably be a footnote mention about being one of the only people kicked out of SFWA. If the fiction categories aren't all that exciting, it gives me more time to focus on these other ones. But that's just me.

Either way, congratulations and good luck!!

amcorrea said...

As a long-time reader of your work here and at Strange Horizons, I wanted to send you my hearty congratulations for your nomination...how exciting! And how wonderful that such excellent writing and criticism is getting the recognition it deserves!

דונה דגן said...

Abigail! Contact me, it's Donna! So good to find you!
donnadagan@gmail.com

Sith Lords said...

It's not just the Hugo nominations -- our entire civilization is bifurcated, and it's getting worse. Where is this is leading is difficult to say, but surely this level of political rancor is not a sign of a healthy civilization, but one that is headed for some kind of vast war or breakdown.

bibliolicious said...

I don't think I've actually said this properly, so: congratulations! I'm completely delighted your writing has finally had this sort of recognition, and I cheered when your name was read out at Eastercon on Saturday evening. :-)

Furface:

"there is something a little odd about one Hugo nominee immediately trashing most of the Hugo fiction choices upon nomination"

You can't have read very much of Abigail's previous work if you think anything could stop her being brutally honest about which Hugo nominations she thinks are rubbish.

scipiosmith said...

Congratulations on getting the nod.

While I can understand people (it's not just you, but yours is the only blog I read regularly) getting upset about Vox or Correia et al, I do not understand at all the rancour being shown towards Wheel of Time. This is a series that was a giant in its genre, made Tor the behemoth it is today (and half the short-fiction nominations this year alone wouldn't be here without Tor, not to mention past fiction nominees in all categories or, indeed, Liz Bourke) and was written by a man who was one of the true gentlemen of the profession and, by all accounts, the soul to kindness to his fans while he lived which seems to be enough to get John Scalzi a regular slot on the ballot.

Plus, unlike Leckie, Stross, etc, Robert Jordan won't ever get another shot at recognition by a field which owes him a great debt, so why are people reacting to this in the same way as they are to fandom's own Front Nationale?

ciaracat said...

Hello! I'm new to your blog. Congratulations on your Hugo nomination! I'm really excited for you, and I wish you the best of luck.

I came to your blog because of your nomination, in fact.

This post here is the first of yours I've read, in which you're talking about how infuriating it is to be on the same ballot as a person who is hateful to groups of people because they're different from himself. I have a lot of problems, myself, with people who are hateful to others who are different from themselves.

And then at the end of that same paragraph... you hate on me. Because I'm different from you. Well, actually, it appears, because my tastes don't overlap completely with yours. Glancing down your list of posts, it looks like our tastes overlap quite a lot.

Please don't get me wrong. You're welcome to hate the Wheel of Time series as much as you want. Please, hate away. Tell us what you hate about it. Please talk to us about the novel(s) you think are superior, and should be voted for in its stead. Please talk to us about what you'd have loved to see on the ballot instead. Please vote for something else in its stead when the ballots become available to us.

What I don't understand, though, is why your hatred of that piece of fiction means that those of us who love it should be hated on.

Yes, I nominated the Wheel of Time series on my nomination form this year. Along with 4 other novels. And quite a few other things, on down the ballot. I do not yet know whether I will vote for it on my final ballot, much as I've enjoyed the story over the years. I haven't read the other four nominees yet. I'm reading the first one now, and like I do with all categories, I will consider all of the nominees as fairly as I can before I cast my final ballot. I will be SO excited if I love one of the other nominees more than I love the Wheel of Time. That's why I participate in this process. I'm looking for more sf/f to fall in love with.

Please tell me - will you be including any materials in the voter's packet that comes out later in the year? Or would you consider writing a post, and linking to it on your home page here on your blog, pointing us to a sampling of your best examples of your craft from 2013?

I'm sure I'm not the only one coming to your blog for the first time because your name is on the Hugo ballot and we need to make a voting choice. I'm clearly not the only one who nominated the Wheel of Time series. I'm certain I'm not the only one such who is deeply immersed in sci-fi/fantasy. I'm not sure you want us all to be immediately slapped with "Oh. She hates on me, just because I differ from her a bit. This will make it really difficult to make a fair judgement of her work, and how it compares to others in her Hugo category this year." If hating on fellow fans who differ from you a bit isn't what you're all about, help us see. Please.

Thanks.

Jesse said...

Do forgive me for getting personal, but if you feel so strongly about Day, why not withdraw your name from the competition? Coming from you, I think it would be a very powerful statement supported by many people that may, in fact, change how the award is organized...

ciaracat said...

Jesse, you're right. the rules of the Hugo awards can be changed. They're OUR rules. All you have to do is attend the WSFS Business Meetings at WorldCon, and follow the instructions outlined here:

http://www.thehugoawards.org/changing-the-rules/

zahrawithaz said...

Congratulations! Your nomination is extremely well-deserved, and I love that you are continuing your honest appraisal of the Hugo award, its strengths and its problems, continues even with your name on the ballot.

I also appreciate your thoughts as someone who was surprised by exactly the bifurcation you describe, but was unable to put it into words. Do you think that the gap suggests that the demographics of those who nominate in the "bottom half" of the ballot are very different from those who nominate in the more "mainstream," for lack of a better term, categories? It does seem like two very different sets of readers, in terms of generation, gender, politics or something else...

scipiosmith said...

It's entirely up to you, obviously, but I wouldn't withdraw your name from contention, not when it seems to mean a lot to you to get on the shortlist. Everyone who might be swayed by such a gesture is already on your side and your enemies will only applaud (and possibly mock) your downfall. Better to go all out to win and then speak from a position of prestige and authority.

Though I'm not sure how a rules change could help in this situation. The only option I can think of is vetting the shortlist before publishing, which would make the award less democratic and prove Correia and the rest right.

Zahrawithaz: the explanation is quite simple: Larry Correia marshalled his fanbase to get certain entries on the shortlist in order to prove a point/make people like Abigail flip their lids.

ciaracat said...

Note: this isn't the first time someone marshalled their fanbase to get something nominated that didn't belong on the ballot. And look what happened (in the Best Novel category):
http://www.nesfa.org/data/LL/Hugos/hugos1987.html

Make good use of the "No Award" option in your ballots if you read the materials and don't think they deserve to be considered, folks. It's a good safeguard against people trying to game the Hugos to make a statement.

(It's been noted, though, that you should use "No Award" with care - be sure to rank everything on the ballot in that category if you're going to use it, or you might wind up helping the entry you're trying to vote down.)

cheerful iconoclast said...

I understand why you don't like "Vox Day." Likewise, I think that Corriea's nomination -- for this one in particular -- is stretching it a bit. Though, in fairness, last year's winner, Redshirts, ain't not Stranger In a Strange Land or Left Hand of Darkness.

But why object to Toni Weisskopf? Baen publishes some of the best-selling sf around. Whether you like Space Opera or not, Honor Harrington and Miles Vorkosigan have certainly led to its revival. If she gets the Hugo it is long overdue.

cheerful iconoclast said...

I meant "ain't no" rather than "ain't not." Typo.

In any case, I plan to read all the stories and vote on the ones I like the best. If that vote goes to Vox, so be it. (I haven't read any of his fiction.) I will say that I do object to the Wheel of Time, for the simple reason that it's not a novel. That rules was obviously put in place for serialized novels, not multi-book doorstop series.

Dave Hester said...

I'm surprised by how many of your readers don't understand why WoT's nomination is embarrassing. The Hugos are meant to represent the best of SFF. Do you people honestly count Robert Jordan's meandering, repetitive, sexist, derivative epic among SFF's best?

ilaniel said...

The fact that the Wheel of Time is eligible makes me raise my eyebrows. I mean, really? Yeah yeah, multi-part serialized single work rule, I get it, but in this case in particular it seems so silly. The Hugo Award is meant to honor work in speculative fiction of the last year. Having a series that began literally 30 years ago on the ballot just doesn't seem to be in the spirit of that award at all--not to mention the original author isn't even alive to see it. Bleh.

42ndblog said...

I came here because I wanted to see what the best fan writer nominees are like. I've felt that the best fan writer is suppose to be someone who brings together the diverse fan community. After reading this post and the post of the other fan writer nominee's reaction, I'm disappointed. They all seem upset that the "wrong" fans got invited to the party. Apparently if you are a Wheel of Time fan (a large group), Mormon (a religious ethnic group of several million people), or Conservative (half of the US population), that you are not suppose to be a fan of science fiction and fantasy and you are certainly not suppose to be involved in the Hugos. Or if you belong to one of those groups you should be, at the very least, embarrassed about who you are. It is sad for me to see that Abigail Nussbaum, Kameron Hurley, Foz Meadows, and Liz Bourke are just bullies. I don't want to have to vote for Ms. No Vote over any of them, but I can't support bullies. I feel embarrassed that I nominated any of them for this years ballot.

The Bookwyrm said...

Can you be any more pretentious? I guess your opinion is just as valid as the next persons, but seriously, can you hear yourself? You don't agree with someones politics, so you would like them and their fans censored. Very tolerant of you. Even John Scalzi, who no foaming at the mouth conservative, thinks you Larry Correia/ Vox Day haters are being ridiculous. I believe that if Robert Heinlein was up for an award this year you people would be going insane, since he was obviously of a more conservative nature than yourself, and you would be trying to censor the crap out of him. Sci-fi/fantasy has room for all points of veiw, not just the Social Justice Warrior PC view. Power to the people, NO CENSORSHIP BY ELITIST SNOBS!

Jamie said...

Ah, the censorship argument raises its ugly, strawman head. I think that Randall Munroe has put it best here: http://www.xkcd.com/1357/

I think you have misread John Scalzi too; apart from anything, he's admitted he might have been wrong (http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/23/and-now-rebuttals/), and nothing in his posts before that suggest that he thought anyone was being 'ridiculous'.

Abigail, my congratulations. You're usually the first place I turn to in hope of a review of something that piques my fancy, and if I'm lucky enough that you've published an opinion it's never less than fascinating and thought-provoking. Best of luck with your nomination, despite the shadow Day and Correia have cast over this year's ballot.

scipiosmith said...

Dave: I can't judge because I don't read SF, only fantasy. But, aside from not understanding how any award that once shortlist an acceptance speech from the previous years awards still has the audacity to claim to represent the best of the genre, all your criticisms are subjective: you say its repetitive, I could respond that the repetition is a theme. You can call it sexist and I can point you to Leigh Butler's recaps where she argues for the feminist message of the series. The only salient fact is that this is a significant work beloved by millions and as such has ever right to appear on the ballot.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

I'm long overdue to reply to the many comments on this thread, and since quite a few of them repeat points already made, I'll just reply generally.

First, I want to thank everyone who has offered their congratulations.

Second, the suggestion was made that a better way to express my dissatisfaction with the ballot would be to decline my nomination. To begin with, I'm not sure that's possible. I already accepted the nomination when it was offered to me a week before the ballot was announced (without knowing, of course, who the other nominees were). In addition, I'm not sure who this is supposed to punish - the only people it makes trouble for are the award's administrators, who aren't responsible for how the nominations shook out. Finally, I don't see how diminishing one of the most female-dominated categories on the ballot would do anything but please the gang of racists and misogynists who have infested the fiction categories - it seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face. And also, I don't want to.

Third, I'm seeing a lot of commenters here declaring that my revulsion towards Vox Day counts as unthinking political partisanship or a prejudice towards conservatives. I can only assume that the people arguing this don't know who Vox Day is, and haven't been exposed to his greatest hits, such as calling a black SF writer "half-civilized" or musing approvingly of acid attacks against women (see more here). If this is what people mean when they say "conservative," then I have no problem owning up to being prejudiced towards conservatives. But I suspect that most conservatives would be justly disgusted with Day's behavior, and with the idea that the Hugos are recognizing him.

Fourth, I'm also seeing several people complaining that my comments about the Wheel of Time books constitute a prejudice in themselves. There is an unfortunate tendency among genre fans to trot out these sorts of arguments, and behave as if such imaginary prejudice is any way comparable to real oppression and persecution. To be blunt, no one ever got turned down for a job or a loan for liking certain books. No one ever got treated as if their personal safety or bodily autonomy was of lesser or no importance because of their literary taste. Being criticized for your taste in books, or for how you chose to deploy your Hugo nominating privileges, is in no way like racism, and I do not appreciate being told that I am just like a racist for speaking my mind about other people's taste and choices.

Fifth, to expand some more about the Wheel of Time nomination, I stand by my original comment. The nomination for a book series is absurd on its face. The Wheel of Time series had fourteen chances to be nominated for a Hugo and was passed up every time. There was even an additional chance this year, to nominate the final book in the series, which was similarly passed up. To give the entire series a nomination as some sort of lifetime achievement award is not only ridiculous but contrary to the spirit of the award. The purpose of the best novel category isn't to give fans of a particular series a happy, but to recognize excellence in the field. In the nearly thirty years that the Wheel of Time books have been around, I have yet to see a single compelling argument for their excellence (and quite a few compelling ones for their being generally rubbish). In fact, almost everyone who has argued for the series being nominated this year has made the same arguments offered by several commenters here - that the series is "important" (how? As far as I can tell Jordan is significant mainly for proving the commercial viability of the extruded fantasy product marketing category), and that people like it. You shouldn't, to my mind, get a Hugo for that.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

Oh, and one more thing: John Scalzi is a fine blogger and often says very smart things, but I'm sure that he would be the first to object at the notion that he is somehow the voice of fandom and that his determinations set the tone for what is or is not reasonable, as some commenters here seem to be suggesting. On the matter of whether Day and the other Sad Puppy cadre's nominated works should be taken "on their merits," I strongly disagree with Scalzi's stated opinions. I'm much more of the opinion expressed by Kate Nepveu, Shweta Narayan, Rose Lemberg, secritcrush, and rushthatspeaks.

Phillip Miehm said...

So, clarify this for me please. What, exactly is wrong with Larry Corriea? Have you actually read the Grimnoir books? I thought they were pretty good, and certainly worth a fair shot at the Hugo. It was certainly one of the two most enjoyable books I read this past year. I just don't see any way to really take issue with the book if you've never actually picked it up and read it.

tegerian said...

If you cannot manage that, then perhaps you should make a stand and decline the nomination. If the presence of those other nominees is that offensive to your sensibilities it would seem the best way to make a statement, otherwise it simply sounds like pretentious whining.

J Van Stry said...

You know, I hear a lot about Vox Day's 'racism' and 'sexism' so I went and looked at all of it, and to be honest, I don't see it. The whole thing looks seriously manufactured. People hated him because they disagreed with him and because he's such a wise ass they just manufactured a whole bunch of stuff against him because they couldn't win an argument with him.
But please tell me what YOU are going to do when people show up to protest YOU for being an Israeli? That makes you just as racist as Vox as far as a lot of people are concerned.
The only ones 'bringing down' the award are the people standing up and screaming about how upset they are about the WRONG PEOPLE being nominated. I could easily scream that your award is sexist because no men were nominated. The award is supposed to be about Merit, about the story. Wouldn't it be nice if it could go back to that?
Yes we all know that it hasn't been for some time now, and that a lot of the hugo's given out were for things that were complete crap over the last decade. And as for people 'campaigning' for a particular book or author? How do you think Scalzi won? People have been campaigning for the award for many years now. But no one said anything until Larry Coreia decided to do it.
And picking on Toni? Please! You're only doing that because Larry nominated her and you're just following the herd.

Calvin Dodge said...

"such as calling a black SF writer "half-civilized""

That "black SF writer" has been spouting racist anti-white comments for years. Has she been shunned by good folk, too?

Calvin Dodge said...

There's a well-known political philosophy whose adherents racked up the biggest kill score (100 million or so) of the 20th Century. If you feel _so_ bad because you're on the same ballot as someone who says (sometimes, anyway - other times people just lie about what he said) bad things, I trust you will show even more revulsion the next time an adherent of that murderous ideology shares a ballot with you.

You know, like that fellow whose first name matches the name of the most populous country ruled by folks who also claim allegiance to that murderous ideology.

Oakden said...

It is this kind of political rant that is quickly destroying any last cachet the Hugo's have. FYI, Toni Weiskopf is a better editor than you will ever be if for no other reason than she selects and promotes stories on the basis of how good they are, not whether they hate the same things she does.

Tim said...

You have not seen any evidence of the excellence of WoT? Really? I am not a huge fan, but I do own all of them. And as I recall, they sold an ungodly number of them.
You may not like it much, but you are competing for my beer money. And Robert Jordan did a hell of a job competing for it for a lot of years, and Sanderson did a good job of continuing it.
As far as racism, calling someone half civilized, unless you are doing it because of their race, is not racist. I have known a lot of half civilized people, some white and some black. Near as I can tell, the veneer of civilization is pretty thin on a lot of people anymore.
Sounds to me like you need to work on your jealousy issues. Meanwhile, your blog posts have pretty much decided for me that I won't be sampling your works.

Regular GeoX said...

Awesome. The creepy Day fans crawling out of their cesspit. How 'bout not pretending that you had ever heard of Abigail, or that there was ever ANY chance you wouldn't been a fan? Really, no one here is stupid enough to believe that.

Calvin Dodge said...

Creepy Day fans? What about the creepy Nussbaum fans, like the following?

"In any event, after a perusal of the five nominee's sites, I found that Abigail Nussbaum of Asking the Wrong Questions is the best of the Best Fan Writer category." - Vox Day

http://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/05/religion-is-evil-proof.html

Dave Hester said...

I think I'm just going to skip the comments section from now on. This is embarrassing.

Danny Sichel said...

Sometimes, good authors can be bad people. They can have loathsome, actively hateful opinions on one topic or another, but still produce very good fiction. So I read VD's story, doing my best to ignore the public persona that VD has presented over the years.

And you know what?

It's a terrible story. It's not good at all. It's got loads of potential, none of which is fulfilled. It's boring and flat. It's undeveloped and empty. And it's got theological arguments that are, within the context of the narrative, blatantly flawed.

Ideas are cheap -- execution is what counts. VD botched the execution so badly it's like a narrative version of Mike the Headless Chicken.

Unknown said...

Look, it's without a doubt your right to disagree with WoT's nomination. BUT to say that those who disagree with you and voted for it should "feel ashamed" for having bad taste (ie not yours) is disgusting to me. With Vox Day you have a good moral foundation to argue from. With WoT you're basically attacking people for disagreeing with you on a semantic point (does WoT fit the rule as intended?) or possibly from just the point of view of just not liking the series...neither of which is a very good reason to tell people to feel ashamed.

Unknown said...

Look, it's without a doubt your right to disagree with WoT's nomination. BUT to say that those who disagree with you and voted for it should "feel ashamed" for having bad taste (ie not yours) is disgusting to me. With Vox Day you have a good moral foundation to argue from. With WoT you're basically attacking people for disagreeing with you on a semantic point (does WoT fit the rule as intended?) or possibly from just the point of view of just not liking the series...neither of which is a very good reason to tell people to feel ashamed.

Regular GeoX said...

Personally, I'd substitute "embarrassed" for "ashamed." Can't speak for anyone else, though.

ciaracat said...

Abigail, I'd like to apologize for the tone of my first comment. When I replied, it was with no knowledge of the people whose presence on the ballot enraged you. Now that I've done my research, I see that what they have done and continue to do is many, many, many orders of magnitude different from the attitude you expressed towards WoT fans. I had no idea. I should have researched before I spoke, and I apologize both for not doing such research and for painting you in the same light as these people.

I stand by my assertion that my (and others') fondness for WoT doesn't make us crap voters or fans, but you're absolutely entitled to your opinion and the right to speak it. Which you don't need any of us to tell you, of course.

I also stand by my wish of the best of luck to you on your run for the Hugo.

Rick Bennett said...

Well, I guess I'm gonna be considered a "bad guy" here. Not that I'm a fan of this Vox Day. Frankly, never heard of him before, and don't really care. I do, however, like the work of Larry Correia. I also love Spider Robinson's stuff, and Terry Pratchett's, and Jim Butcher's, and Robert Asprins, and Piers Anthony's. I have a wide range of writers who's stuff I enjoy. So I was bombing around the internet looking at Hugo award stuff and this site popped up. And right there in it...Larry Correia and "big sigh" together. And then later in the article was stuff like "the right people", and frankly, that disturbed me. See, I've heard terminology like that before, having been born and raised, and lived in South Carolina all my life. "right people" was always code for nasty. "our kind of people". Those words and other code words like that were usually uttered by racist, bigoted assholes. Whether it was whispered our stated out right, you just knew that something was off. And as I read some of the comments, I kept thinking to myself..."why Larry?". He's not racist, hell, he's a minority. He's not sexist, the protagonist of Warbound is a female teenage girl who's a bigger badass than all the rest put together. Maybe it was MHI. But his cast is wildly diverse, from rednecks to rich kids, from a religious black male to a orcs being the good guys and just about everything in between, with the bad guys in the last two books being white males in power. Can't be that. So, what is it? Maybe it's his politics. Personal freedom and responsibility. Maybe it's because he is in favor of guns ownership under the 2nd? I mean, lets face it, the guy knows his shit having been an instructor and trainer for years, and frequently obliterates the opposition talking points with facts. Or maybe it's just that he isn't the "right people". Minority male, believes in equality and not reverse superiority. Decent guy. Writes stories that I actually want to read. Or maybe, maybe it's the fact that he actually mobilized a fan base that most writers would give their left genitalia to have and proved the hypocricy in the system.

Good for Larry. I'm still nervous about the "right people".

Sheep said...

I read a lot of SciFi. I've never heard of you and still not sure how I got here. However, reading you hate filled intolerant post, I know I won't come back.

Tredegar Trafalgar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve poling said...

Since you risk forever associating your name with Vox Day and Larry Correia, you can ask that your name be removed from the Hugo nominations. Courage of your convictions, and all that.

Douglas Pettit said...

Yea please ask to be removed from the Hugo ballot. That way I will not have to rank "no award" above you.

Douglas Pettit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Editor said...

With the Hugo voting closed, I can say you received my vote for best fan writer. I voted for you because I found your writing to be a thoughtful, well written analysis of works in the genre. Several of the other nominees did not receive my vote, because their submitted works were primarily mean-spirited cultural attack pieces. I'm in SF&F for the stories - for good, well written fiction and literary/media criticism. The spectacle of fugghead wars is of no interest to me. Their only contribution is to make impossible any sane discussion of key issues.

Standback said...

Online fandom won, at every single step. God bless :)

scipiosmith said...

@Standback: and yet, at the same time, fandom has seemed more united as a result of this than it has in my recollection (how many big blowups have their been since the nominations were announced?). Clearly we need a conservative presence on the shortlist every year in order to maintain this concordia ordinum. Which is just as well, since I wouldn't bet against sad puppies not becoming a fixture.

Oh, and commiserations to Abigail, but I'm sure that you, too, will also be a perennial for many years to come and have many more chances at the win.

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