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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Grist for the Mill » Does Anyone Have an Opinion About This? (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Does Anyone Have an Opinion About This?
Robert Nowall
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It did used to mean something to me...but that was long ago, and I've read too many widely-praised award-winners that I thought were just awful. Might attract my attention...and, I've also got to say, the writers I liked to read are either (a) dead or (b) inactive.

Don't know if any of those "awful" stories sold well, either on the strength of their award winning or the praise they received. One of the positions taken is that the nominees from one side weren't selling well. Do sales equal merit? Might be an indicator but I can't say it as absolute.

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extrinsic
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What matters is culture awards are a perceived career marker and springboard. Award winners are more sought for by publishers because award winners are recognized as proven revenue performers.

A consideration for award culture influence is whether readers, writers, editors, and publishers are as blissfully oblivious about composition merits as each other. Uh-huh. Film theaters then television, then VHS followed by Internet -- assembly line immediate, effortless self-gratification access destroys culture, per Ray Bradbury. Here comes the incendiary Beast of mass culture majority rules force majeure censorship, per Bradbury, too. I memorized a favorite poem today.

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Disgruntled Peony
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God, I need to read more Bradbury. I've read Farenheit 451 and a couple collections of short stories, all of them a very long time ago. I loved them so...[/tangent]
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wetwilly
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quote:
God, I need to read more Bradbury
This is true of every person ever. However much Bradbury you read, you should read more.
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MattLeo
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I think people are too optimistic about what an award like the Hugo can achieve. My expectations are low, therefore I tend to see the glass as half full.

Take a look at the list of Best Novel winners. Now if you have a certain mentality you can look at this list and see it as splattered with inexplicable choices, which of course it is. But what's more remarkable to me is how many of the choices seem pretty reasonable, or in some cases unquestionable landmarks.

The Hugos are not a literary award, although given the constraints of nomination it's not a popular award either; the only people who have reason to participate (unless they're recruited to support slate) are people who keep up with the latest book releases and subscribe to several magazines, enough to have an opinion about *last year's* stories. That's a vanishingly small segment sci-fi fandom.

So the Hugos are an award for giving pleasure to the hardest of hard-core fans, nothing more nor less. They're not a imprimatur of literary merit, nor a prize for general popularity. They're not the *people's* Hugo , nor are they the *fans'* Hugo. They belong to the people who regularly attend Worldcon.

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Robert Nowall
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Point of order: this year, they failed to award five Hugos to anybody. MattLeo: your statement implies that, in these categories, nobody got any pleasure from anything in them at all.
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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
MattLeo: your statement implies that, in these categories, nobody got any pleasure from anything in them at all.

No, in this case it implies a reaction to outsiders trying to take over the process. But, yes, normally when an individual fan votes "no award" it means none of nominees gave him enough pleasure to warrant a prize. If nominations reflect the normal voters then "no award" should very seldom win.
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Robert Nowall
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Or, to put it another way, "in order to save the Hugo Awards they had to destroy them."
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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
Or, to put it another way, "in order to save the Hugo Awards they had to destroy them."

No, I think it's more accurate to say that the Hugo's voting base (which doesn't include me) was so put off by the puppies' tactics this year--and the company they chose to bring into it (Vox Day) that they reacted strongly. In the case of the rabid puppies, I can't say the voters over-reacted. And in the case of the sad puppies, well, they chose to lie down with the rabid ones, they shouldn't be surprised that they got up with fleas.

Mary Robinette Kowal pretty clearly voiced my take on the whole thing here.

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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
Or, to put it another way, "in order to save the Hugo Awards they had to destroy them."

I respectfully disagree.

As far as I can see it's only the outsiders' uninformed notions of what the Hugos are supposed to be that was destroyed. The Hugos aren't proof that a particular story is "really the best one this year"; nobody who's been paying attention could possibly believe that. It's a token of appreciation from the hardest of the hard core fans.

That's why FOUNDATION'S EDGE won in 1983. It was a good, but not particularly great novel by a fan-favorite author who after a thirty year wait gave them another book in a beloved series. It was a great big sloppy "thank you" kiss, not a carefully calculated assessment of literary merit.

I think REDSHIRTS won, not because of ideology, and certainly not because it's a landmark novel, but because Scalzi goes to Worldcon every year and makes himself available to fans. People like him and whatever they think of his politics they think he's a mensch. After he'd been asked to the dance three times, enough of them thought it was Scalzi's turn that he got the nod on the fourth. That may offend people who want the Hugo to be some kind of quality seal-of-approval, but it's the fan's award and they can give it for whatever darn reason they want. And if they decline to give it this year they can give it again next year and it'll mean just as much (or as little) as it ever has.

I'll reiterate: the Hugos don't belong to science fiction writers, or readers, or even casual fans. They belong to people who make participating in sci-fi fandom a big part of their lives -- maybe two or three thousand people out of seven billion souls on the Earth.

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extrinsic
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WorldCon and the Hugos' culture indeed revolve around fantastical fiction fan participation, more so the social network occasions fan conventions afford. Social networks are the culture; the Hugos are the flagship of the culture -- flagship, the Raison d'๊tre (reason for being) of fan culture networks, including WorldCon. Otherwise, fan conventions are only make-believe and play.

Though the Slates' superficially politically motivated and intangibly though really personally motivated maneuvers drew objections, and none were substantively supported or rebutted, nor were any factions positions or objections substantively supported or rebutted, the Slates and all other factions raised one codetermined and valid point -- though few, if any, appreciate the point.

Yes, the Slates' overt political point is valid -- persons of or aligned with Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic Patriarchal Christian (WEIRD PC) identity are under siege and the besieger is "Political Correctness" "Social Justice Warriors" Thus WEIRD PC's anti-PC rhetoric. Contention interaction at least, if not confliction, confrontation, and conflagration. Some of the vitriol from the assorted factions rises to the conflagration level, surely, or falls, actually.

No less do other assorted self-interest identity groups know they too are under siege. Dissent at least is the order of the day.

What all share in common, Slate, pro-feminist, pro-gay (LGBTA), pro-anti-PC, pro-ethnic minority, pro-FanCon harmony, pro-Christian, pro-secularism, pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist, pro-socialist, pro-humanist, etc., is each asserts rights, entitlements, and privileges of natural and political, social, intellectual, spiritual, etc., empowerment.

What each and all overlook about empowerment, and the intangible though actual point the gamut raises, is empowerment is as much responsibility, accountability, obligation, and duty as right, entitlement, and privilege. Actually, responsibility, etc., is more pertinent, partly because the social responsibility gamut is broadly overlooked, partly because individuals individually and group bodies collectively owe to each and another mutual efforts and contributions and participation to common good, predominately because no individual is an island.

No individual nor faction body can provide all an individual and individuals need to healthily thrive and prosper and contribute to common good, let alone a "greater good's" factional prosperity. Humans are social beings in more than entertainment social networks and occasions, again, let alone provide for wealth and power concentration. Humans are social beings in how we each individually and collectively provide for the common good.

Someone grows the grain, someone grinds the grain, someone makes the bread, someone distributes the bread, someone consumes our daily bread. The common good for a simple example -- each contributes and participates according to an individual's interest, aptitude, and ability. The age of presupposed independent existence never existed and is long gone in the mists of the past if it ever existed. Not, as the Slate would have their way, WEIRD PC capitalism, nor as other factions would have it, social justice socialism; rather capitalism and socialism partnership for the common good.

The way most would have it, though, is one faction's dominance and other factions' subservience to a presupposed "greater good." That is a zero-sum scenario: one entity gains at the proportionate expense of one or more other entities' loss. The net of which is loss, at least because such transactions superficially appear to balance on a ledger; losses come from transactional waste, like middle persons and power and wealth mongers rake off a share and add no value. More so, due to closed-circuit transactions rob Paula to pay Peter. A pyramid scheme, a hierarchical progress trap. Real gain, real progress is when all individuals, the common good, gain and none lose.

Did the Hugo controversy net gain for a common good? Net loss for all parties and factions, except WorldCon. WorldCon membership doubled, membership dues revenue jumped, and WorldCon and the Hugos attracted public attention heretofore unprecedented. Ideally now, WorldCon will continue to garner lively participation and enhance the social society's contribution to common good. Not, though, a scheme that WorldCon arranged to happen, though the social association I expect appreciates what happened. Nothing like controversy and scandal to generate word-of-mouth buzz.

The contentious factions do not appreciate they were partners who exerted mutual efforts, though contentious, and accomplished a mutual outcome; that is, fan social culture increased in popularity. Now only if the mass appeal surge takes persistent hold. Fan conventions mass appeal can only grow popularity!?

[ August 28, 2015, 02:50 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Robert Nowall
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Another point of order: the right to vote for the Hugo Awards is dependent on paying a price for doing so. I've never indulged myself to do so.

Does anybody really think the Hugos can be taken seriously after this year's fiasco? It's reported there were only five "no awards" in the entire history of the Hugos before this year---which equaled that.

Since, I gather, the WorldCon committee members are planning some substantial rule changes and a more Byzantine nomination procedure, and the factions are planning ways to defeat this plan, I see a serious decline in interest in the awards.

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Robert Nowall
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By the way, here's a link to what one side really thinks of nominating and selecting Hugo winners:

http://www.locusmag.com/News/2015/08/alfies-awards/

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Meredith
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And here's a link to what G.R.R. Martin thought of the Sad Puppies.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/20/george-rr-martin-hugo-awards-vote-game-of-thrones-science-fiction

Really, it's time we all put this one behind us. Most of us learned in high school, if not earlier, that awards frequently go to those we, personally, don't consider the best. And the world continues to turn anyway. Just wish the puppies had been that grown up.

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Meredith
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This. Yes, this.

http://www.playboy.com/articles/women-sci-fi-hugo

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Robert Nowall
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I think it's an open ended question as to which side is "grown up." As I recall---what I've gleaned over the years from reading this and that---the Hugo Losers parties usually involve the losing nominees, and that "who should have won" also includes them and does not involve handing out bogus awards to non-nominees.

I'm also sure both sides won't "put it behind them." This will go on next year.

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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
[QB] the Hugo Losers parties usually involve the losing nominees, and that "who should have won" also includes them and does not involve handing out bogus awards to non-nominees./QB]

I think people have lost sight of something important. Cons are about fun and celebration. If it's fun, it's legitimate. If it's celebration, it's legitimate. That's the source of the Hugo Award's mana.

All awards are on a fundamental level bogus; it's the feeling we imbue it with the makes it meaningful. If George R. R. Martin ever hands me a "bogus" trophy, I'll display it on my mantlepiece with pride.

I absolutely agree the Sads will be back next year, because they won't stop until someone hands them a Hugo. But that will never happen because the hardcore fans control the ground rules and they'll never forgive the Sads for messing with their party.

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extrinsic
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Fame is a bee.
It has a song —
It has a sting —
Ah, too, it has a wing.

——— Emily Dickenson

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Robert Nowall
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There is one thing I'd like to see---I don't think I'm likely to see it, though---I would really like to see some hard numbers on the total votes for each nominee.

I know rough numbers for how many eligible voters (voters who purchased the right to vote in this contest) there were---up considerably from the usual, I believe---but I'd like to see precise numbers on all of it, nominees and "no award" categories.

Right now one group is claiming victory for getting so many "no awards"---but the other group is claiming victory in proving the first group would rather see "no award" than an award to someone from their group.

But, far as I know, they aren't releasing totals. Nothing I've seen so far reported any. I may be wrong about this---anybody got a link?

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extrinsic
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2015 Hugo tally PDF, from the Hugo site.
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Robert Nowall
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Thanks, extrinsic---that is the most interesting data sheet I've seen on it. I haven't time to thoroughly digest it---but I'll note in passing that the actual voters are about half the numbers reported for potential voters.
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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
I'll note in passing that the actual voters are about half the numbers reported for potential voters.

Numbers reported by who and who are the potential voters? The latter, paid dues members?
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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:

but the other group is claiming victory in proving the first group would rather see "no award" than an award to someone from their group.

This persecution narrative is ridiculous. If you actually knew many of the kind of hardcore fans that attend cons you'd know they don't care about a writer's politics when it comes to what they read. That's how they awarded (communist) Fred Pohl an Best Novel in 78 and in the same year give (not very communist) OSC the John W. Campbell award. In fact I believe the first year an openly gay writer won a major award (Melissa Scott's 1986 Campbell) was the same year OSC won for his novelization of ENDER'S GAME. How much more politically eclectic do you need fans to be?

I expect Vox Day is beyond the pale for most fans, but I don't think the fans had any pre-existing animus toward Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen; they just liked ANCILLARY JUSTICE more than they liked WARBOUND, and Mary Robinette Kowal's LADY ASTRONAUT OF MARS better than THE EXCHANGE OFFICERS. Getting nominated twice without a win is hardly a sign the fans were against you; it took Scalzi four nominations to win his first Hugo.

But if the fans didn't have it in for Sads before, they certainly do now. The numbers show a clear and overwhelming rejection of the puppies. With the exception of the movie Hugo, every other award's ranking goes like this: everyone not on a puppy slate > no award > anyone on a puppy slate.

The Rabids of course wlll twist this into some kind of moral victory. Maybe the Sads too. It's the same kind of logic that sees your ex-girlfriend get a restratining order as a win because it means she's still thinking about you.

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Disgruntled Peony
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Honestly, the whole thing just seems silly to me... I get why people feel like it's a big deal, but I've never had a fondness for politics. They could always just start a new award instead of terrorizing the Hugos. In my experience, it's generally better to lead by example than to force others to have the same opinion.

[ August 27, 2015, 07:03 PM: Message edited by: Disgruntled Peony ]

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Robert Nowall
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Didn't think they published the totals---back in my heyday, they generally didn't.

I see voting is done by the Australian Ballot, I think it's called. Never been a particular fan of that format...but it is an established form. I can't see if it had any particular impact.

I did add up vote totals in the first round for the "no award" prizes. Wanted to see how close they were---after all, a group voting for the single category of "no award" might have an advantage over splitting votes five ways.

Didn't work out that way: "no award" had the majority in all five categories. Seems "no award" was running nearly two to one in the fiction categories...but the best editor categories were considerably closer, one by only a few dozen votes.

*****

For what it's worth...I don't think I'd ever heard of Vox Day before this whole thing blew up. I certainly have heard of Larry Correia and Brad Torgerson---I've corresponded with the latter; he used to hang out 'round here.

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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
For what it's worth...I don't think I'd ever heard of Vox Day before this whole thing blew up. I certainly have heard of Larry Correia and Brad Torgerson---I've corresponded with the latter; he used to hang out 'round here.

I actually feel sorry for Correia and Torgersen ; I think they genuinely believe their not winning a Hugo was some kind of miscarriage of justice. It's a bit like the time a friend of mine had an affair with a married man who talked his reluctant wife into opening their marriage for that purpose. I knew everyone involved and knew it would end badly, but sometimes you have to let people find out for themselves.

I don't feel sorry for Vox Day because he's got everything he wanted out of this. He's a troll and a griefer, and this will probably prove to be a big marketing boost for Castalia House.

As an interesting side note, it's worth reading the blog entries that won Laura Mixon the "Best Fan Writer". In them she exposes the activities of left-wing troll and cyberstalker Benjanun Sriduangkaew (aka Requires Hate). That right there should prove the rejection of the Puppy slate was because the awards were subverted by some kind of queer cabal.

The fans repudiated, not right wing politics, nor left wing politics, nor even politics per se. They repudiated letting politics spoil their fun.

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MattLeo
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Here's an interesting post by David Gerrold in which he shares a Sad Puppy's view of events https://www.facebook.com/david.gerrold/posts/10206341590230973.
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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
Originally posted by MattLeo:
Here's an interesting post by David Gerrold in which he shares a Sad Puppy's view of events https://www.facebook.com/david.gerrold/posts/10206341590230973 .

Honestly, that's the most interesting piece I've read about this whole thing so far. Thank you for sharing.
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extrinsic
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Within and without sociology is a phenomena known as child bodies. An individual or group assumes its rights, etc., and opinions are objective and must be obeyed, subject to first-resort punishment for infractions. The position treats any perceived individuals who are not the group's identity matrix as children to be subjugated, scolded, ridiculed, mocked, and subjected to castigation. Castigation ranges from verbal to physical abuse and beyond to the ultimate social being punishment -- shunning, short of the penultimate shunning -- capital punishment. In essence, treating adult persons as child bodies, a violence of demotion, at least, if not oppression, if not murder.

A progression of somewhat enlightened social regard for others who misapprehend an implied human social contract of or not of an individual's identity matrix starts with information: For your information, we don't eat with our elbows rested on the table. Caution is next, then adjustment, correction, castigation, punishment, and, overall, social behavior control.

However, the order of the day is punishment first, last, and always for any and all, even imagined, social slights. Bodies' presence themselves, in person or virtual, is slight enough, generally, to provoke punishment.

The latter is the basis of civil protests. A group "gets in the face" or "on the news" of another group or individual to assert the protest group's rights, entitlements, privileges, and opinions. Confrontation, even if passive-aggressive, tu quo-que argumentation, (you do it too); that is, the protested individual or group asserts self-interest rights, etc. The punishment for the protest group is the heavy and eager hand of force majeure law enforcement and legislation that favors whichever group is hegemonic for the situation, each treats the other and all contention as child bodies. Not to mention, the protest group treats and acts itself as a child body, bodies, from asserting self-interested rights, etc.; in other words, selfish, childish assertions, if not demands. Temper tantrum.

Civil disobedience is a noble and honored tradition for information, caution, adjustment, maybe correction, no more, of social injustice, and natural human right of free speech. However, immature civil disobedience and immature response thereto are selfish and irresponsible, are antisocial.

What's the "real deal?" Simple -- available resources are inadequately abundant to fulfill all interested individuals' needs and desires, across cultures and across the globe, in enclaves, and in the smallest social units. The population and resource availability quotient is heavily weighted to scarcity of supply and enormous demand for inclusion. Such is publication culture. Grown up -- publication culture expects quality over quantity.

Again, I don't see quality in the culture, which would be an adult response to rejection and exclusion; I see a general culture of mediocrity one iota above a wasteland of vanity mediocrity.

To understand more clearly, note that mature quality is a matter of responsibility, accountability, obligation, and duty to self as much as duty, etc., to society. In other words, quality of character responsibly, maturely serves the common good's overall gain; in other words, makes a self indispensable to the common good; in other words, contributes to and participates in the betterment of all.

Wanna get rich and famous from writing? Write more appealingly, accessibly, comprehensibly, and responsibly than the fray.

Yet how does a writer write in support of a controversial social-political position without lecturing and preaching? Simple answer; complex application: Mature dissimulation. Popular and critical acclaim derive from:

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —
Emily Dickenson

Modalities of mature dissimulation revolve around adult learning, not pedagogy (child learning), even for actual children. The point, if a misnomer, of pedagogy is adult learning, learning to be an adult. Childhood is a time of pretend, make believe, play, imitation, emulation, at being an adult, with, hopefully for children, child consequences for social contract infractions: tolerance and forgiveness, though with information, caution, adjustment, "as lightning to the children eased".

"Information" is the art of dissimulation, what Connop Thirlwall labels practical irony. A mature narrative ironically portrays options and ramifications of social and antisocial behavior, not commands, corrects, castigates, or punishes, not directly confrontational -- informs, perhaps cautions.

If only the first salvo in the Hugo conflagration had been mature instead of childish selfishness and treating others as child bodies. However, that microcosm is the state of being currently of the macrocosm and is very much in the public debate that is current events.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: When I became an adult, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11, (though most any culture's mature spiritual and public sayings, proverbs, informations express similar meanings.)

[ August 28, 2015, 12:06 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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MattLeo
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I think Frederik Pohl's GATEWAY is a great example of how to do political commentary in a story. It's very subtle and personal in focus rather than baldly polemical.

I think I mentioned elsewhere that I'm working my way through H. Beam Piper's entire oeuvre. His stories often contain extraneous bits of crude anti-leftist polemic, but I think some of this was publisher-bait. I wonder whether John Campbell realized he paid twice for virtually the same scene, once in the Paratime stories and another time in the Future History series. But fundamentally Piper was a history-buff. That gives his stories' political context enough complexity that readers can construe them different ways if they so wish.

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Robert Nowall
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quote:
Honestly, that's the most interesting piece I've read about this whole thing so far. Thank you for sharing.
Yeah, me too.
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MattLeo
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I think Burnside's depiction of the Sad Puppy program as a "recommended reading list" rather than a slate is a bit problematic, in that the Puppies actually *called* their recommendations a "slate".

However, I think Burnside's inside story of what it was like to be a Sad Puppy nominee at the con shows that Gerrold's discouraging of booing for "No Award" was a mistake. Normally booing a winner is rude, but since there was no winner to be rude to it would have been healthier to let people feel like they can express themselves.

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extrinsic
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Though of less quantity and less qualitative vitriol, Burnside uses similar name-calling division and exclusion and inclusion assertion tactics as the other factions, no matter which ones. Burnside is somewhat more mature than the fray though no less self-interested. At least he's bitter the Slates spoiled his candidacy potentials.

George Washington bemoaned party politics for their polarizing effect and bandwagon effect. True liberty, true freedom, true empowerment derive from individual, responsible, privileged care given as much to the self as care given to common good. Vonnegut's notorious asterisk marks his self-aware hypocrisy; that is, he knew he was biased and selfish and strove to appreciate his otherwise responsibilities to common good. Breakfast of Champions' centrally is really about consciously, responsibly, critically thinking for the self -- a moral duty -- or others will, to theirs and the self's detriment. ***wheels.

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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
Though of less quantity and less qualitative vitriol, Burnside uses similar name-calling division and exclusion and inclusion assertion tactics as the other factions, no matter which ones.

Because he feels hurt. That's what I think's the really interesting thing about this piece is that he's totally honest about that. That's something you can work with. When Torgersen claims he doesn't really care about the Hugos, it makes you want to throw your hands up in despair. He's rather be thought an interfering busybody than someone whose feelings can get hurt.

I was thinking today about the process of learning to take a punch. Getting punched hurts; knowing it's coming is scary. It can feel humiliating at first. But eventually you learn to shrug it off. It's not because you're really any tougher, it's because experience has taught you to distinguish between pain and injury.

How much trouble we cause ourselves by not understanding that distinction.

The Rabids want to destroy the awards. The Sads want to be included. So reprehensible as the Rabids may be, their tactics are rational, but the Sads' tactics are not. It doesn't make sense to call people names like CHORF if you want to be included; that's burning your bridges.

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Meredith
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And Torgersen is a military man. You'd think he'd have been taught better strategy than that.
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extrinsic
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CHORF used to be an acronym interjection, CHrist On a Rabbit Farm, circa 2003. Now a very adult crowd has reinvented the meaning to mean an ugly nasty mean name-calling name with as well ugly nasty mean connotations: "CHORF: It's a Word Now." Was an ugly word before, now even uglier yet. Name calling . . . At least WEIRD PC is a politer though demeaning euphemism acronym (not my invention) of a neutral phrase for much uglier offensive terms, not the other way around -- meany, mean, meaner, meanest. Time for a soap wash of mouth and ears.
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Robert Nowall
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My sympathies here---as if you guys can't tell---lay with the Sad Puppies, and to a certain extent with the Rabid Puppies.

It's a matter of a familiar pattern repeating itself. An organization---really it could be anything, and it has been anything---starts out as apolitical. Then it comes to be dominated and controlled by a certain kind of group with a certain kind of mindview. They take things over, they control debate even when they participate in it...and claim the high moral ground because of their views. They preach things like tolerance but they aren't very tolerant in their activities and actions.

And when called on this, by those who don't necessarily share their views, or don't share all their views, this group reacts with anger and venom and goes on the attack.

I know we're not supposed to talk politics here on these boards, part of the agreement in signing up, but there's no way to avoid it under the circumstances. I don't think it's any great secret that these people are often called "liberals."

I've seen this process in action in a lot of things---in fact, I walked away from an Internet Fan Fiction community because of this process. It seems to be unavoidable---but one can fight one's fights with the hope of victory, however hopeless it might look at the moment.

Now if the Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies, say, get tired of this and give up the fight---one might call it "moving on"---well, the other side wins. I can't see all of them doing that.

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Robert Nowall
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Putting in a separate post. A sidebar issue.

I note that for Best Novel, the novel that won held a plurality in the first count (though "No Award" came on strong in the runoff.)

I've heard, also, it being said in media reports that this is the first time a Chinese writer has won a writing Hugo Award.

I'm none too sure of that---I'm sure there's a list of winners on Wikipedia or somewhere else but I haven't the time to wade through and figure out the ethnicity of past winners.

But, given the great struggle for the soul of the Hugo Awards that went on...is it possible that this book really was the best novel of the year?...or were some of the voters tempted to vote for it just because the writer was Chinese and they never gave a writing award to a Chinese writer before?

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Meredith
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I haven't read THE THREE BODY PROBLEM, but I first heard of it on "Writing Excuses", where it received high praise.

Best of the year? That's always going to be a subjective answer. And that's the crux of this problem. I bet you and I would rarely, if ever, agree on that. And that's okay.

As my father would have said, "It's a difference of opinion that makes a horse race."

I just don't think it's very grown-up behavior to start calling people who don't agree with you names and try to blow up the awards if you don't like the winners.

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extrinsic
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My sentiments lay with the creative arts, no particular faction otherwise. I feel no faction or outspoken individual showed their best creative expression or character for this ongoing and likely to escalate social war. The field is too crowded with mediocrity and jostlers for pride of place preeminence and, as in all hierarchies, limited available space at the apex.

Publication culture is an ever more crowded field and no less restrictive field. More writers; stable number points of access; fallen and disintegrated audience numbers; and a rat fight in a blighted and confined neighborhood cage for access to momma rat's dry teats.

On the other hand, generally, writers and readers don't know what they don't know about creative arts and won't learn, believing that good enough is what they have accomplished to date and suits the market, which no more knows than the producers and consumers; no more than a minimal effort is required.

An apt belief -- one, a best though mediocre effort competes with other best though mediocre efforts; two, the state of global literacy is at an average level comparable to seventh grade language arts and sciences instruction, not learning, which lags behind instruction; three, the fantastical fiction field generally resists, if not refuses, sophisticated narrative modalities, not sophisticated language arts and sciences, rather, overly experimental narrative sophistication: metafiction, abstract philosophical tableaus, overly moralistic law tableaus, archaic and obtuse culture references, etc.; in other words, literary fiction, which too entails anymore weak language skills.

That's three resistances of fantastical fiction culture, many more could be named; though they all orient around effort expended or shortfalls thereof. The fact of the matter is television and Internet entertainments foster immediate, effortless self-gratification -- that's the state of creative arts and their competitions.

However, the adult-in-the-room caveat is twofold, one, a more competitive field transcends social politics, res ipsa loquitor, the thing speaks for itself; in other words, an artwork appeals on its own merits, not its politics.

Two, that sophisticated language and creative arts are not overly complicated, overly complexified, overly obtuse in any regard, that simplicity can be complex if artfully managed and of a universal appeal. Language skills require only effectual transmission and reception.

However, the cream of the crop are prone to excesses of obtuseness caused by overly much summary and explanation, tell, static voice as like life is a state of stasis, missed content, weak organization, unsettled discourse modalities, misapprehended dramatic effects, and grammar misapprehension habits too numerous to iterate. Frankly, what acrobatics readers do is amazing, that they make sense of insensible content and organization.

The assorted categorical genre audiences waned since the 1950s heyday of pulp digests; each of the genre audiences numbered into half million eager followers then. Nowadays, they number about one hundred thousand per genre, including literary fiction, excluding western, which evaporated, despite a quadrupling of population since.

Publication culture bemoans and blames aural-visual media channels for attracting away consumers. Okay, yeah, so that's how life is. Wrong. How life is is publication culture does not compete, makes no effort to be competitive. The response is obvious: Make an effort and rejoin the creative arts competition that the human conversation is.

[ August 29, 2015, 12:01 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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All I think I will say about all of this is that there appears to have been some confusion about how representative the SF/F fandom community is of the general SF/F readership.

SF/F "Fandom" is actually a very small percentage of the general SF/F readership, and most SF/F readers would be surprised to learn that there are any other SF/F conventions around besides the various "comic cons" which tend to receive huge publicity and attendance (and are not "true" SF/F conventions as SF/F "Fandom" recognizes them).

Therefore, the awards given at such SF/F conventions are completely unable to reflect the interests, tastes, preferences, etc of the general SF/F readership.

I remember hearing that when Lester del Rey was involved in book editing and publishing, he could not be bothered to send editors to any of the SF/F conventions because such attendance would have little or no effect on book sales and therefore wasn't worth the time, money, or effort.

It seems to me that those writers who sell well should laugh all the way to the bank, and forget about the awards given out by such a small percentage of their (or anyone's, for that matter) readership.

Also, I would like to thank MattLeo for providing the link to David Gerrold's reposting of Ken Burnside's post, and to thank David Gerrold for reposting it.

I think it may be the most balanced recounting of what has occurred of any that I have read.

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LDWriter2
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
Putting in a separate post. A sidebar issue.

I note that for Best Novel, the novel that won held a plurality in the first count (though "No Award" came on strong in the runoff.)

I've heard, also, it being said in media reports that this is the first time a Chinese writer has won a writing Hugo Award.

I'm none too sure of that---I'm sure there's a list of winners on Wikipedia or somewhere else but I haven't the time to wade through and figure out the ethnicity of past winners.

But, given the great struggle for the soul of the Hugo Awards that went on...is it possible that this book really was the best novel of the year?...or were some of the voters tempted to vote for it just because the writer was Chinese and they never gave a writing award to a Chinese writer before?

Coming in late to this party but it could be both. The book could very well be Very well written with a great plot and world. But at the same time it could have been tied with others and it was the being written by a Chinese or maybe a nonWesterner? that placed it over the top. A lot of that going around lately and not just in SF awards.

At the same time these are subjective awards. Hugos have been around for a long time and many know of them. I know of one writer who has been here before who won one and was excited about it. They are looked on as a huge pat on the back from fellow writers.

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Robert Nowall
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I do know that, when I looked for a copy of it in the local Barnes & Noble, there were none. Out of stock or not stocked? I don't know, but it wasn't there. (Forgot to check the local Books-a-Million when I visited today.)
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