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The Hugo Awards 2015

Charles Rector's Weblog; Sep. 8, 2015; By Charles Rector
Type: Commentary

The 2015 Hugo Awards

     Have you ever taken a firm position on a subject only to realize later that you were on the wrong side and as time went on, you got to wonder how you ever took that previous position? That was my experience with
this year's Hugo Awards. When the year started, I was on the side of the slates. It seemed that the slates were a good idea given the state of the Hugo Awards. 
     How low is the state of the Hugo Awards today? In Alexiad #81, the infamous letterhack and author of so-called "historical mysteries" Eric Mayer wrote about his experience reading four of the short story nominees from the 2014 Hugo Awards. Quoth Eric:
     At least I thought I was going to be reading short stories. What I
found were...I’m not sure. An extended joke? The author’s notes for a short story just slapped into a word processing file? Some sort of weird intelligence test? Okay,I’m no literary genius but who actually understands this stuff? Anyone. Really? Is it a matter of the Hugo nominated authors have no clothes? Or maybe the readers who pretend to understand, or think they do, have no clothes either? Beats me. 
Mayer also added that:
     " [T]here’s something dreadful about Hugo nominated short stories. I agree the selection last year was awful. That sort of show-offish stuff is not real literature. It’s sophomoric college lit-mag junk. " For his part Alexiad editor Joseph T. Major added that he was, "not fond of pretentious neo-New Wave nonsense put out by people with the right selection of victim statuses."
     So what we had here was a problem that needed fixing. There were some folks who volunteered their services as slate creators who claimed to have only the best intentions. Only problem is that their slates, as actually executed, basically consisted of personal friends and professional acquaintances of the slate makers. There was a also a previously obscure publishing house associated with one of the slate makers. It appears that the slate makers were more interested in exploiting the situation for their benefit as well as that of their friends

     Additionally, they also claimed some sort of ideological justification they were stalwart conservatives acting to overturn the tyranny of decadent liberals. This was apparently done to get people who otherwise would not have cared to support their cause. The end result was a situation where the Hugo nominees for fiction were of arguably higher quality than they had been in recent years, but they were nowhere near as good as what they could have been. Given how many sci-fans have an instinctive aversion to slates and with it the idea that there are folks voting on the basis of what they have been told, not on their own reading experiences, this was a foolish move. 
On top of that, you also had the disgraceful behavior of Kary English & Rajnar Vajra both of whom proved themselves of being capable of saying or doing anything to get the award. What happened was that they accepted the nominations not realizing just how upset so many fans were about it. Then when they did realize how many fans were upset, they failed to withdraw their names from consideration. Instead, they doubled down on stupid, calling Theodore Beale aka Vox Day all sorts of names as if that would earn them the Hugos that they so clearly coveted. This was a strategy with no hope of success as shown by the fact that if it were not for Vox Day, neither one of them would have ever made the ballot in the first place.

     And how did the slate makers and their friends react when their little gambit failed to attract majority support? They reacted with all sorts of hateful behavior including wholesale name calling.
Its difficult to see how these people consider themselves to be any sort of sci-fi fans when they are so quick to get nasty

     For instance, Vox Day's colleague in slate making next year is supposed to be Kate Paulk. And how has Paulk acquitted herself the past week or so? Well, for starters, she has accused everybody who voted "No Award" for anything as being "communists." Basically, she seems to think that there is a war going on between elitist "TruFans" (TF) and the "Secret Masters of Fandom" (SMOF) who manipulate them on the one hand and the virtuous "wrong fans" having "wrong fun" on the other. All this is very interesting given that its always been my impression that TF's and the SMOF's are basically jokes among the real sci-fi fans. Evidently, the would-be rulers of fandom like Kate Paulk and her ilk cannot tell the difference between fannish humor and reality.

     In her most recent blog post at:
http://madgeniusclub.com/…/08/27/yet-another-post-hugo-post/
Paulk doubles down on being a jackass. For instance, she claims that, "It’s a shame this year’s hosts showed all the restraint of a Nazi rally along with the morals of a Soviet show trial and the taste and discernment of a cat in heat. " After going on with one vicious smear after another, Paulk finishes her blog post with the following statement: "what’s even sadder is this pathetic collection of power-hungry little Hitlers have destroyed what was once a genuinely respected award. " After reading this post, one is tempted to say that if she wants to look at a "power-hungry little Hitler," all she needs to do is look into the nearest mirror.

     What's even more depressing is that if you look at the comments to her post, all you will see is varying shades of complete agreement with Paulk with scarcely any dissent. There are two ways of interpreting this. First, that Paulk and her allies have done a very good job of cultivating an audience that they can sell a complete bill of good to. Either that or Paulk or someone working with her has been censoring the comments to remove the ones that she can't or won't answer. And it would appear that the latter is the most likely given my experience in commenting on the pro-slate blogs because with very few exceptions, all of my comments made to these blogs were either disallowed in moderation, or if approved would subsequently disappear. Even worse, one comment that I did make on a blog was altered by someone to read almost completely different from what I had posted.

     Here's another example written by the normally reliable Cathy Young on the Real Clear Politics (RCP) website. How she can claim that science fiction is under the domination of "progressive authoritarianism," just goes to show how uninformed she is. What she needs to do is to broaden her horizons by reading such traditional fanzines as Alexiad, Askance, Challenger, Fadeaway, Opuntia, The Pleasure of Ruins, The Reluctant Famulus, SF Commentary, Side Trekked & Spartacus and see for herself just how much diversity there really is in science fiction fandom. One can only wonder just what the late Forrest J. Ackerman would have made of the idea that sci-fi fandom was under the domination of any sort of mundane ideology, let alone "progressive authoritarianism."
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/…/mutiny_at_the_hugo_award…
     It might be noted that I did a blog comment that was similarly written to the above paragraph and unsuccessfully submitted it to RCP. I also wrote similar comments, addressed to different pro-slate bloggers, and none of those comments were allowed either. What this means is that the pro-slate crowd is bound and determined to get their way no matter how much damage is inflicted on the Hugo Awards, fandom or even Science Fiction itself. Truly the cure of the slates has proven to be even worse than the original disease.

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