Worldcon was this weekend in Spokane, which meant smoke! Sad and Rabid Puppies! And an end to what I fear is just one chapter of the Hugo Award drama. If you missed the announcement, No Award won in the five categories with only Sad/Rabid Puppy nominations. Most of the Puppy nominees also lost in the other categories.

To put this in some perspective, in the 60 years prior to this, No Award won five times. It won five times last evening alone, although maybe "won" is the wrong word.

Some quick thoughts:

1. Once again, apparently the only way to reach the Hugo stage? Stairs. No ramp.

2. On a much happier note, SASQUAN did provide a sign language interpreter throughout the ceremony, something I hope future Hugo Award ceremonies will continue to do. My understanding is that a sign language interpreter was also at the business meetings, so yay.

3. Also, having an actual astronaut announce the winner of the Best Novel Award? And getting a Worldcon badge up to the International Space Station? TOTALLY RULES. Well done, Sasquan. Well done.

4. Speaking of Best Novel Award, I'm pleased to see that a novel originally written in Chinese won an award at a _World_con.

5. And yes, my neighbors really did break out into a noisy, unrelated block party, complete with booming music and some firecrackers, well after midnight while the Hugo Awards were going on. Late night parties on the weekends aren't all that unusual for them, but I like to think, in my head, that they were celebrating the Hugo Awards. Or at least the astronaut part of it. And yes, I did spend a not insignificant part of the pre and actual ceremony chatting on topics including spanking, cider, maple syrup and Arrow. These sorts of conversations just happen.

6. And now onto the Puppies:

During the ceremony, Twitter exploded with (expected) accusations about voting.

Over on Chaoshorizon, Brandon Kemper has run some initial analysis on the voting numbers, determining that of the 5950 people who voted on the Hugo, about 10% were Rabid Puppies, and about another 10% were Sad Puppies, for a 20% Puppy total, more or less, with considerable overlap.

Kemper also estimates that about 2500 voters voted No Award out of principle, and another 1000 voters ended up joining this group anyway, for a total of 3500 voters - or about 59% of the vote. I think Kemper's estimate of the number of voters who voted No Award out of principle is a bit high: the estimate is focused on the voting totals for Best Editor, categories that the Puppies swept, but categories that included some qualified people who might have been nominated/won in previous years, and one person, Mike Resnick, who has been nominated, frequently, in the past. But Best Editors are also relatively opaque categories, which in the past have tended to garner fewer nominations/votes (a typical voter comment is "Yeah, I have no idea what books X person even edited") and I think that opaqueness may have affected the vote here.

That suggests that, despite current claims on Twitter that the voting was completely political and voters didn't even try to read the Sad and Rabid Puppy nominees, a good half - and perhaps more - of the voting members did. That theory is borne out by a win for Guardians of the Galaxy, which was on the Puppy slate. Had Hugo voters voted solely based on politics/sticking it to the Puppies, I think one of the non-Puppy films (Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Edge of Tomorrow) would have taken it. Edge of Tomorrow even killed Tom Cruise over and over, so it had a lot going for it, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier had Black Widow.

Voters liked Guardians of the Galaxy more, suggesting that Hugo voters did take voting seriously, did not just dismiss the Puppy ballots offhand, and chose things they liked.

6. Wired has an interesting interview with multiple Puppies here. It includes the phrase "faceless minions," used unironically.

Also, it discusses the hopefully-this-year-only Alfie Awards, which went to, among others, Annie Bellet and Marko Kloos - two writers who withdrew their names from consideration after getting nominated.

7. I am a little skeptical of current hopes that if everyone who voted this year nominates next year, we'll have a Puppy free/slate free ballot. Skeptical mostly because the list of recommendations that I see tend to vary wildly (as they should) and rarely if ever agree with me (also as they should). Almost none of the things I nominated made it to either the actual ballot or the alternative, Puppy free ballot (determined from the long list). This includes popular, widely read things - the AVClub, for instance, which I nominated for Best Related Work, and which is one of the 1000 most visited websites in the U.S. and one of the 3000 most visited websites world wide, was not on the long list at all. My guess is that more nominators are just going to result in a wider spread of works, not necessarily in eliminating future slates.

8. Something I did nominate, that made it to the long list but was probably cut out by the Puppy balloting (it didn't earn the needed 5% of the votes, but it might have without the Puppy ballot): When It Ends, He Catches Her, by Eugie Foster, who died tragically young last year. Still highly recommended.

9. And on a completely different note, while many of you were having fun at Worldcon, some of us were having fun at FakeCon. Warning: includes squirrels.
Quite a lot of people just directed my attention to The Sasquan business meeting agenda, which will be discussing some proposed changes to the Hugo Awards. As a short fiction writer and a novel reader, I'm an interested party, sorta, I guess, but budget limitations mean that I won't be making it to Sasquan this year. So here are some initial, not necessarily well thought out thoughts.

Which I will cut for those of you whose eyes are already glazing over. )
The Hugo ballot has changed again, with a press release for this that includes the hopeful phrase: "The ballot is now going to the printer and there will be no further revisions."

I feel we all should, as a group, respond to this in two ways:

1. Buy the poor SASQUAN committee, who did not ask for any of this, a round of drinks.

2. Watch this again:

Edit: SF Signal has the final list of nominees here.
I've debated whether to blog about this weekend's Hugo nominations. Given the amount of ink that's been spilled already, adding more, especially at this stage, may be unwise. But as a Hugo nominator/voter, I am tangentially involved in this. So, here we go.

Cut to spare those of you with no interest in the Hugos and science fiction inside baseball, or who cannot take any more of this. I understand. )
Wow. Hadn't realized just how much time had gone by since I blogged here. Partly this has been illness; partly the complete lack of a blogging bug. But, still, a few random things from here and there:

1. A biography/history that for once, I don't have any real complaints about: Superman: The High Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero. Definitely on the popular side, with sex! Murder! (Ok, to be fair, insinuations and discussions of murder.) Flying accidents! Lawsuits! Quotes from basketball players! Gossipy little tidbits! A failure to completely get all the decisions made with Smallville! (We all feel you there, Mr. Tye, we all feel you.) Interviews with all of the (not murdered) still alive people involved with Superman! Analysis of why the dude is so popular. The book stops short of reviewing Man of Steel, since it went to print before the movie, but otherwise does a pretty thorough job of following Superman through newspapers, comic books, radio, television and film. Nothing deep here, but a fun pop culture history with more Superman gossip than you probably ever needed to know.

2. I'm not against the general idea of leaving politics out of Hugo voting, but if you really want me to seriously consider, say, your novelette for a major literary award, it might help if you did not spend the day spreading false allegations about a professional writers group that I happen to be a member of.

Just saying.

3. Speaking of the Hugos, I seem to have most of my plans in place for my upcoming trip to World Con and Shamrockon in August. This is my first trip to the UK in awhile, and my first trip ever to Ireland, so this should be interesting. Also I will be crossing the Irish Sea in a boat, which should be very interesting, so this is a general warning to those I'm meeting in Dublin that I don't expect to be overly coherent at first, especially if Macnamman mac Lir chooses to be unkind. Let us hope.

4. On a World Cup note, I was very sad to hear that today's headlines about the Biter From Uraguay did not, in fact, mean that the World Cup is now featuring teams of vampires biting each other between ball kicks. World Cup, you disappoint me. On the other hand, VAMOS COLOMBIA!
Brandon Sanderson has a post up about the Hugo Awards as a whole and the Wheel of Time nomination in particular.

In the spirit of his final paragraph, allow me to say that right now, the major reason I am unable to read all the works in the novelette and novella category has nothing to do with the nominated authors, their politics, their ability to write Latin, or the stories themselves, and EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT WINDOWS 8.1 SUCKS. MIGHTILY SUCKS.

Specifically, it does not like Adobe Digital Editions, a program I have used for YEARS to organize, open and read epubs and pdfs. Windows 8.1 allows the program to open, kinda, but then has FEELINGS about whether or not you can actually read the file. Microsoft will helpfully point out the other reading apps available, but a: most of my ebooks are NOT from Amazon/Kindle, Barnes and Noble/Nook, or Kobo Books, so shut up Microsoft; b: the Kindle app on Windows 8.1 didn't open up the epub file either (however otherwise it is a very nice app and does not crash my system, so kudos Amazon); and c: I don't want to have to jump through a lot of different and competing reader apps just to open up a 36 page book.

As it turns out, if you restart the computer several times Windows 8.1 will grudgingly admit that just maybe Adobe Digital Editions has a right to exist and be used, and hopefully - hopefully - I will manage to get the rest of my books to open up in it. (That particular epub was DRM free.) HOWEVER.

This is only the start of many issues that I have with Windows 8.1. Auugh. I will adjust, I know, and at least this time Windows hasn't added that terrifying paperclip thing, but seriously, Microsoft, can you try checking with users to find out what they actually want and need before launching Windows 9.0? Thanks muchly.
So if you missed it, the Hugo Award nominations were announced over the weekend. You can find the list here:

Cut for those of you that don't care about the Hugo awards. )
For the record, my actual plan, before tonight, was to write a nice quick "Congrats to all the Hugo winners!" and leave it there. (Although, you know, and even though the Hugos are still getting awarded as I type, congrats to all the Hugo winners, especially Betsy Wolheim who won for a very, very long overdue award for Best Editor, Long Form. Like 25 years overdue. That was great. Onwards.)

Then, first Worldcon failed to provide a ramp to the stage. Then, Worldcon decided to do a live broadcast through UStream, which was going great until the Best Dramatic Presentation, short form. Among the nominees was a small show that you might have heard of, called Community, owned by a little company you also might have heard of called NBC Universal. Do we remember my recent ranting about NBC? Yes, yes we do. Also nominated were some episodes from Doctor Who, owned by the BBC, U.S. broadcast rights owned by BBC America, and an acceptance speech from last year's Hugos, whose copyright status no one cares about. To the surprise of no one, Neil Gaiman won for his Doctor Who episode, climbed up the stairs (I did mention I'd be ranting) and right in the middle of his speech those of us watching saw this little cheery message:

"Worldcon was removed due to violation of terms of service.
Click here to discover related content on Ustream!"

The violation was a copyright violation, either for the Doctor Who or (more likely) Community clips.

As I type, Worldcon is still banned from UStream.

So that was fun. Or, you know, not.

(Worldcon/Chicon 7 says that the clips were pre-approved. I suspect we'll all be hearing a LOT more about this. My favorite Tweet so far:

"RT @DanielSolis: Best Short Dramatic Presentation (2013) goes to the raging reaction of everyone watching the #Hugos @ustream."


The ramp, part two:

I'm still upset about this.

I'm hardly the only writer, much less the only member, of the science fiction community who uses a wheelchair or mobility scooter or other device. It's common.

And I am serious: the last thing I want is to have a ramp brought out especially for me or any other wheelchair user. I want it there already, so that no one has to make a fuss, nothing special has to be done, and so I and everyone can be fully part of the community.

I'm repeating myself, I know, but maybe I have to, in order to be heard. And I suspect this year the only thing that will get heard is the UStream irritation.

Hugos post

Sep. 2nd, 2012 09:44 pm
I noted this already on Twitter, but I'll just repeat this here.

As I type, the Hugo and related Awards are being awarded, on a stage in a Chicago hotel. To reach the stage, you have to climb three steps.

No ramp.

Same as last year.


As I also mentioned on Twitter, in the unlikely event that I'm ever nominated for a Hugo, I don't want to have to have a ramp put there for me.

I want one already there. For everybody.

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