Friday, April 24, 2015


We are having spring here. The grass is green. The trees are leafing out. I have seen flowers, and I am hearing new bird calls. Migratory birds are back, birds that warble and trill rather than going "chirp, chirp, chirp" like English sparrows.

It snowed a couple of days ago, but there was no accumulation.

The reading at Dreamhaven went well. All the chairs were filled, and I sold some books. Ruth Berman gave me a ride home, which was wonderful, and I am very grateful.

More About the Hugo Hooroosh

From facebook:

I was reading George Martin's Not a Blog and noticed something. Larry Correia was up for a Campbell Award for best new writer in 2011. He didn't get it and -- per him -- at a bad time at Worldcon. Brad Torgerson was up for a Campbell and a Hugo in 2012 and got neither. But you are only eligible for a Campbell for two years after you first publish. It looks as if both these guys had fast and very promising starts to their careers. (A Campbell is not chopped liver. Being up for a Hugo a year or two after you first publish is not so bad. In addition, Correia was on the New York Times bestseller list in 2011.) This is Puppy # 3 this year, which means Puppy #1 was in 2013. Okay, two years after not getting the Campbell, Correia began an attack on the Hugos, because he felt the selection process was unfair. I don't know if Torgerson joined Puppydom in its first year or a year later. In either case, he was campaigning against the Hugo a year or two after he was first up for the Campbell and Hugo. This seems to show a huge impatience. It wasn't as if these guys watched the Hugo process for ten or twenty years and decided it was unfair. They decided this almost as soon as they were published.

I have been a Hugo nominee once, 25 years after I was first published. When I got the Tiptree Award, almost 20 years after I was first published, people assumed it was for my first novel. No, I'd had three novels previously published, but they more or less sank like stones. It was frustrating and angering and depressing to work for 20 years before I got much attention. Did I think the award system was fixed? Not that I can remember. I thought life was unfair. Looking back, I think I didn't write enough and my writing wasn't a kind that got quick attention. Point is, Correia and Torgerson came into the field, were noticed at once, and decided this notice was not enough, because they didn't win the Campbell and (in Torgerson's case) the Hugo. The award system must be crooked.

I realize my description of my career sounds like a whine. Whining is not bad, now and then. Trying to destroy the Hugos is not good.

What I notice is how hard people work in order to succeed, and I also notice that many people work equally hard and write well and don't pile up money and awards. I think someone should have taken Correia and Torgerson aside and told them writing is a very difficult line of work and maybe they should get MBAs.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Facebook Comment

I am mining facebook again, since I make a lot of comments there. This is in response to post-apocalypse stories that seem overly cozy. The one being discussed (one I don't know) was described as so beautifully crafted that it made the ruined world seem tidy.
I read SF as a kid, because it was about the real world, which included nuclear holocaust and McCarthyite witch hunts. I guess one of the appeals of good SF is horror and despair, and the roughness of SF, the lack of polished style, may have contributed to a sense of reality. Would you polish your sentences, if you were dying of radiation sickness? --I don't like genre horror, maybe because the horrors in horror are not usually real ones. But since I don't like genre horror, I haven't read enough to be sure why I dislike it.

Affirmative Action

I got ticked off at a facebook comment that said white writers don't write about PoC. This made me write a rant about how I have been writing about PoC, GLBT people and women for something like 40-50 years. I am an effing affirmative action policy with a keyboard. However, this essay is better than the rant.

I don't mind white writers blaming themselves for not being diverse enough. I don't mind white readers blaming themselves for not searching out diverse writing, which does exist and is not that hard to find. I mind people making sweeping generalizations that blame ME. No. I've been doing my part. Now you do yours. Less blame. More action.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


I am doing a reading at Dreamhaven books on Wednesday, April 22nd. The time is 6:30 pm. The address is 2301 East 38th Street, Minneapolis. I wouldn't mind some company.

I'll be reading from the new collection, Hidden Folk, of course. I plan to read "The Puffin Hunter," which is my current favorite of the stories. It really is nifty.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Hugos (Of Course)

I spent the past weekend at Minicon. I had four panels spread over four days, so I stayed at the con hotel, which is in the middle of a suburban wasteland. Since I did not have a car, that meant I was trapped. It was too long a period. I alternated between being hyper, due to a lot of input, and crashing in my hotel room thinking dark thoughts about life.

This is the problem with going to a 1,000 person con if you are an introvert.

I got back home exhausted and discovered the Hugo Award nominations had been gamed. In case you don't know, two groups of right-wing writers (the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies) put together slates and organized their followers to (a) buy supporting memberships to the World Science Fiction Convention and (b) nominate only the names on the slates. This gave each of the Puppy candidates a block, and they won many places on the final Hugo ballot.

(The Hugo is selected by members of the World Science Fiction Convention. It's the fan award for SFF. Many readers of SFF don't to Worldcon and don't buy supporting memberships, but the Hugo is the best we have as a popular award given by readers. As a rule, only a few of the Worldcon's members nominate, which makes the nomination process easy to game. Many more people vote on the final ballot.)

It is not against the Hugo rules to block vote, but it's against tradition and unfair to the writers actually liked by the con attendees. Some good writing did not make the final ballot, kept off the Sad and Rabid Puppies.

The Rabid Puppies apparently solicited GamerGate folk to help in this process. If you recall, the GamerGaters are the people who threaten to rape and murder women in order to drive them out of gaming. One female game designer moved out of her house on the advice of the police.

For more details, see this. In addition, here is a post by long-time SFF editor Patrick Neilsen Hayden. And here is writer Charles Stross's take on the situation.

John Scalzi, among many others, has suggested a response: the rest of us should get supporting memberships and vote for the people on the ballot who are not Puppies, then vote "No Award." The Hugo use an Australian ballot or instant runoff. If enough people do not list the Puppy candidates at all, then the non-Puppies or No Award will win. A lot of people are buying Worldcon supporting memberships at the moment.

I figure this is the best solution for this year. The Worldcon con committee will have to figure out how to handle the awards ceremony, and the Worldcon rules committee will have to take a look at nominating and voting rules. But I am on neither.

While I put together this informational post, I did some Googling. There are some really nasty people on the Internet, and some of them are Puppies. I think this is a serious situation. People who threaten to throw acid, rape and kill should not be ignored.

Anyway, I am back from Minicon.