The Hugo – Part the III (and his butler)

Or, alternately, really paying attention when George RR Martin plays peacemaker.

I agree with a lot of what he says here. But it always seems like there is a certain line or creed he has to fall back on every time.

To start with I can only agree with what he says about Beale, aka, Vox Day. The man has an appetite for destruction. And some dubious theories that make me want to go hang out with some 9/11 conspiracists.

He has a list of names that are not acceptable and some that are acceptable:

I have seen some hopeful signs on that front in some of the Hugo round-ups I’ve read. Puppies and Puppy sympathizers using terms like Fan (with a capital), or trufan, or anti-Puppy, all of which I am fine with.

Martin is fine with Fan and trufan (although his spelling earlier is the much more explicit Truefan). But he accepts no name that either 1) does not depend on the existence of the Puppies 2) is not derogatory to anyone that doesn’t fit his definition of “fan”.

He is fine with Fan (with a capital F he states) trufan (or Truefan) or anti-puppy. The third term requires the existence of the puppies, but designates nothing of said group except whoever they are, they are not them. That leaves two terms that end up stinking of some elitism. Remember his definition of fan from my post first post:

A fan is not just someone who reads SF and fantasy. A fan is a member of a community called “fandom” whose roots go back to the 1930s.

Fans are tolerant, friendly, good humored, warm, welcoming. They love worldcon, they respect and value the Hugos, they honor fannish tradition

One can only imagine what sort of steps you have to climb to achieve “fan” with a capital F, or trufan (Truefan). Because a fan (small f) is not even someone as lowly enough to have merely lined his pockets all these years.

Now, I attempt to pride myself on being as fair as possible. It is possible that Mr. Martin is a very busy man and these things are all unconnected. But, if I am being too generous, what does this mean? What is someone who just reads [and if we are talking about his material – watches][and purchases – i.e., pays your bills] SF and Fantasy? Trough boy? Nothing? For that person is not even a fan by his definition.

And what picture does this paint as peacemaker when you insist on the few names that are intrinsically divisive? Anti-puppy while still divisive at least designates something objective as in being against a certain group that goes by the name Puppies.

But Fan? trufan (Truefan)?

Absolutely agree with him on slates. If there was slating by the non-puppy side before, at least they were very subtle about it. I haven’t been able to scrape up anything about slates prior to the puppies. And in relation to my Hugo Part Deux post, I think reading lists are a fine idea for Puppies 4.

But, but, but, with a caveat. I am for competing lists. Mr. Martin mentions the Locus Recommended Reading list (which I notice has Gardner Dozois as one of the choosers – I’ve seen him a couple times at Norwescon, very entertaining guy and probably one of the most trusted names in the genre) and the NESFA (check out their press, they have some damned fine collections).

But why not a competing list? That should have been the original idea! Sure, it may have taken a couple more years of persuading and selling to get the word out. The slating spoke of an impatience on the part of some people.

Here is why I am in favor of multiple reading lists (although it is nice to see that the Locus and NESFA lists did not overlap a lot). It is simply impossible to discover, on one’s own, quality material, especially award worthy quality material. Although the book covers will frequently let you know, a ton of shit flies off the presses each year – and that’s not just another crack at James Patterson!

It would have to be a cultivated list. Simply reading a list of what one individual has read in a year’s time is of no interest. I care as much about what Mr. Martin or Baxter or Scalzi has read in the last year as I do about what Hurbert Stinkenhemenburgermaister the 4th has read this year. Because those are the results of personal subjective tastes, proclivities, and circumstance.

Although one fears that such a fine idea may be a tad too late. With 3000 additional people ready to vote next year any Puppy reading list is probably going to be ignored or shot down if any of its list makes it on the ballot.

Take a consideration of what a fine idea this is. I do tend to enjoy science fiction and fantasy that has a hero in it, or, at the least, someone I want to come out victorious in the end. I don’t enjoy message fiction (it is very hard to do) which, I have heard, is in a lot of modern science fiction, and I am of a conservative bent. I admit, I would not enjoy a book with man on man sex in it. And I am one of those rare men that also would not enjoy woman on woman sex either. I do not enjoy the viciousness of a Joe Abercrombie story.

Such a list would, assuming it not too restrictive, be something I may appreciate. One does not grow wise by plugging into only MSNBC or only FOX News (no, really, you need more than one news source nowadays) same goes here.

The parameters for such alternate lists would have to be wide. For instance, I would probably not read off of a Christian Science Fiction list because most of Christian fiction (and I assume other religions follow the same pattern) sucks a big one. I also probably wouldn’t read from a feminist or LGBT list either. These are too exclusive. A Catholic list I may look at, I like me more than one Catholic writer: R.A. Lafferty and Gene Wolfe spring to mind.

Paulk has said that her list will focus on the works that receive the most suggestions from those participating, that it could include “even David Gerrold” if a lot of people suggest him. I think that’s VERY good. Could it also include “even” N.K. Jemisin and Rachel Swirsky and Ken Liu and Mary Robinette Kowal? Even better. Not that I think it will… the Puppies may not be all conservative, but certainly more of them tend right than left, and their literary tastes undoubtedly run to more traditional forms and styles too.

Actually I found out about David Gerrold, specifically his, The Man Who Folded Himself, from a Sad Puppy that praised it, namely Mr. John C. Wright. Rachel Swirsky will never find herself on that list with a dinosaur story. One thing I think will be true of the list, if it turns out aright, is if it isn’t actually science fiction (or even fantasy) it isn’t going to be on the list.

Frankly I don’t give a shit (I’m repeating myself for the third post now) who is on the list (or any list) because I care about the story. I don’t know what Martin means about it being even better if the three ladies and the supposed Asian guy were on the list as opposed to just David Gerrold. Is he saying that it would be even better because they are woman, one black and an Asian man? Then I can’t understand what he says later:

Let’s make it about the work. Let’s argue about the BOOKS.

Are we saying that people are being kept off Hugo lists and recommendation lists because they are either not white, female, or asian? Nah, we’re not saying that are we? Certainly we are not saying that about women in general. Women have been kicking ass in science fiction and fantasy for decades now. I really don’t know about ethnicities in science fiction, its not something I “check up on” when I am enjoying a book.

[Although I have to say I just looked up Mary Robinette Kowel – red head! I have an authoress crush, never read her.]

Are we saying they should be put on the lists because they are not straight white males? If they produce work worthy of being on a recommendation list, and/or winning a Hugo or Nebula, then why the hell not? Is anyone claiming they should not be because they are not straight white males?

No one is claiming that. But it would be just as bad to put them on there merely because they are not straight white males.

Is that happening? I don’t know. Why does John Scalzi think POC’s (God I hate terms like that) need charitable help getting into Cons? Does he really think POC’s need charitable help getting into Cons? There are poor white people too. No, really, I’ve seen them. I gave money to one on a street corner the other week. He might have later driven away in his BMW, but still… Why isn’t there a more general fund for the poor to get into Cons? Or do we not want poor white people at Cons? I get that poor white dudes are assholes and all, I used to be one. I don’t get it. There may even be poor white LGBT people out there who cannot afford to attend exactly like a POC cannot.

Why you discriminating, huh?

Sorry, son, you may be gay and all, and we’re all for that, we’re on the winning side of history and all, but you white, so you just run along and get yourself a nice boyfriend and all.

See ya!

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