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katster: (Default)
Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 09:57 pm

Over the last few days, I have been voraciously combing the internet, reading anything and everything I can find on the nominees for the Hugo awards and wrestling with my own conscience. I think I have finally come to a conclusion as to what I am going to do.

I will read all the Hugo nominees as if this were a normal year. I cannot betray my own sense of professionalism and well, I’ve read Glenn Beck and the entire Left Behind series without throwing the books through the window or across the room. I am, as I said in my earlier post, not looking forward to this. I am not reading these because the Sad Puppies demand that I must — I am because I feel an obligation to my own conscience to do so, just as I would any other year.

That said, I will rank all the nominees on either the Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies slates below No Award.

There are some things on the ballot for which it pains me to have to do this. I have loved the Dresden Files ever since my good friend Eileen introduced them to me by giving me the books for Christmas — but Jim Butcher is on the slate. Guardians of the Galaxy was my favorite movie of the year and a work I might have actually nominated if I’d felt well enough to turn in nominations. Nope. The Lego Movie is right behind it in terms of movies I loved last year, and would have been a very close #2 to Guardians. Sorry.

I am especially grieved to make this decision in cases like Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Black Gate, and Annie Bellet. It grieves me because Jen Brozek, a person I know and respect, is on the short form editor ballot and I would love to see her win a Hugo.

But I can’t vote any of these folks above No Award. I am sorry, but this is what my conscience demands of me. I will read your work in my packet. I will consider you for my own nominations in 2016 — and I plan to participate in the nomination round next year. But any ranking you may earn by the quality of your work will go after No Award this year.

I have decided this because I care about the Hugo. I have cared about the Hugo ever since I found out about it in an introduction in one of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels, and I dream of winning it someday. But in order to keep that dream alive, I have to make sure the Hugos survive. If it comes to a slate vs. slate situation, I would have even less chance of ending up on the Hugo ballot than I already did. So the only thing I can do is express my horror and displeasure at slate voting, and use what few tools I have to express that displeasure.

For those who are saying that I am only doing this because I disagree with the political stances of Sad/Rabid Puppies, I would be doing this if it were the John Scalzi/Making Light Slate of Rainbow Joy Kittens.

My mind is my own, and I make my own decisions.

It doesn’t really matter. I am just one person, and my blog is so minuscule that it won’t register. My vote is but a drop in an ocean, but it is mine. My mind, my thoughts, my opinions — they are my own.

Mirrored from katster's closet.

katster: (Default)
Sunday, April 5th, 2015 03:23 am

The 2015 Hugo nominations have come out.

Normally this is a great moment of satisfaction for me. I usually have not read all the nominees on the slate, so it’s like getting a Christmas present from my fellow science fiction geeks. Hugo nominations are generally so broad that what percolates up from the mass hive mind are usually stories that I don’t mind giving a bit of time to read and compare against each other. Most of the time, I find something interesting in this.

This process only works if it’s a true random percolation, though. The last few years, though, there has been a campaign called the Sad Puppies that suggests that the Hugo award is too liberal and too invested in identity politics, thus choosing works that are turgid and uninteresting instead of stories full of spaceships and laser guns and manly men, I suppose.

Now the first year of this slate, it fell under the radar. The second year, they managed to get a few works on the ballot — works I read, and in some cases, enjoyed. Were they truly Hugo-worthy? No, not as much as other things on the ballot, but with one exception, I didn’t mind reading them.

This wasn’t enough, I suppose. This year, the Sad Puppies managed to put together a slate. Not just one or two works in a category — that wasn’t enough. This was enough to disrupt the random percolation of works to the point where whole categories of the Hugo awards are dominated by this slate — and I wonder what I’m missing that would have risen to the level of a Hugo nomination in any other year. (I suppose I’ll find out when the long list comes out — it’ll be harder to dig up the works, but I might have to read them.)

I’ll read the works. I take my duty as a Hugo voter seriously, and I will rate the works as I see fit. I may end up ranking No Award above them all if I don’t feel any of the works nominated rises to the level of a Hugo in my opinion. It’s the best I can do in a situation I am obviously not happy about.

But I feel as if something I enjoyed has become a grim, thankless task. Politics is never far from any human endeavor, but this year, it feels like it’s all politics. Because here’s the part I elided around: part of the reason for this slate is that certain folks thought the Hugo wasn’t conservative enough.

Now I’ll freely admit, I’m not exactly conservative in my politics. I went to Berkeley, after all. But everything I was taught both in my deeply conservative home town and in liberal Berkeley is that you treat people with courtesy and respect, no matter where they’re from or what they look like. Do I always live up to this? I’m a human being, I’d be lying if I said I did. But it’s a good yardstick to work from.

There are people nominated this year that seem, from my vantage point, to go against this yardstick. Their words are, at best, ill-conceived, and at worst, vile hatred of anybody not like themselves. Bigotry and misogyny are rampant. Is this truly the best science fiction has to offer? I don’t think so, but apparently I’m wrong.

There’s a saying that when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. And while I’m not going to just toss every work on the Sad Puppies slate out without actually looking at them first — see the above about treating my duty seriously — I can understand why others would be tempted to do just that.

But it means this year’s reading will be done grimly and without joy.

I’ll probably have more to say about this in the future, as I start to read, but this will do for now.

Mirrored from katster's closet.

katster: (bookworm)
Friday, February 23rd, 2007 04:29 pm
I have entered more than a thousand books into my LibraryThing catalog. I still have a dozen and a half boxes of books to go through. Maybe more.

Just when does a book collection become 'too many books', anyway?
katster: (Default)
Wednesday, October 18th, 2006 11:57 pm
It's been a good couple of days. DJ is scared of me when I'm standing, and when I first arrive back after being gone, but as she grows used to my presence, she gets a little more trusting. Enough so that I'm sitting at the kitchen table and was able to give her a bellyrub. Zoe is Zoe, just her usual happy-go-lucky self. Last night, we had chicken for dinner, and the dogs loved that. Tonight, I was out for a bit, so I brought dinner home and shared.

Also, you haven't lived until you've had dogs wrestling across you when you're lying in bed. %)

Yesterday, I sat around, talking with folks on the net and reading Curse of the Narrows, which is about the Halifax Explosion, and why Halifax gives a Christmas tree to Boston every year. (The book's fascinating -- so much that I think I'm going to get a copy of my own. And maybe one for [livejournal.com profile] zibblsnrt too, because I like giving him stuff, and I think he'd like the book.)

Today was the busy day, since I had lunch in Berkeley and evening in San Jose. I stopped off at the base camp in between, so I wasn't gone overly long at any point. The funny part was that I let DJ and Zoe go out front while I was packing things into my car to go to Berkeley, and I left a door open. I wasn't thinking very hard, and suddenly I had two dogs in the car, ready to go. I was sorry to disappoint them. :) In Berkeley, I met with Aaron and Cathy, two folks who were instrumental in getting me through my grad program. Down in San Jose, after driving through commute traffic, I got to the Starport and was able to catch [livejournal.com profile] gridlore and [livejournal.com profile] kshandra briefly. It's always nice to see [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf, [livejournal.com profile] mdlbear, [livejournal.com profile] super_star_girl, and [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat.

Speaking of commute traffic, a few tips. One, the merge lane means "get over when it's safe", not "speed to the end of the lane and bludgeon your way into traffic." Two, there's a nifty little invention on your car which is called "the blinkers". There's probably a little lever right next to your steering wheel, and you push up to signal right and down to signal left. If you get confused, think about how you'd hit it if you were turning the wheel to execute the turn. Please use this to signal your intention before you change lanes, not during. Three, it's a stalled car and/or an accident. It's nothing special. It's probably not the president. There's probably nobody being carted from the burning wreckage with blood everywhere. Keep driving, fool, and pay attention to the person in front of you, or you'll be the one everybody's gawking at when *you* have the accident.

And now Zoe's passed out on the shelf in the kitchen, and I think DJ is on the bed, and I've been going to bed right around midnight, so it's time to turn in.

Tomorrow plans to be nice and relaxing, I'll get some necessary chores done and some studying, and then I'll meet [livejournal.com profile] luns and [livejournal.com profile] spitgirl at a place nearby (E. 14th and Hesperian, I think.) I know where both those streets are in relation to where I am, and I have a local map in the car. (It cost me $5, but $5 to be able to navigate without getting utterly lost in a maze of twisty little neighborhoods all alike and getting eaten by a grue is worth it.)

Friday night, I have tentative plans with [livejournal.com profile] damienroc in the City for dinner, which, if I'm going to do that, I'll BART in.

Saturday is devoted to packing and loading.

It's been a wonderful week so far. I'm saddened that it's more than half over.
katster: (Default)
Monday, February 13th, 2006 11:10 am
So you want to write rapturefic? I mean, you probably don't, but just in case, I figure I'd offer one quick thought. I may continue this series later, but I picked up a new book and the first page made me cringe a bit. So here is rule #1 for what not to do:

Do not name your Antichrist character Damien or Damon. I understand names are fraught with significance, but there's significance and then there's beating your reader over the head with a bloody hammer, and using that name appears slightly closer to the latter. Also, you might think you're being clever making your character Italian, with the whole Roman Empire thing, but really. It's been somewhat overdone, and yes, while I'm glad you can read a map and see that Rome is in Italy, wouldn't it be more fun to either use a country in the Roman Empire that isn't so bloody obvious or consider the whole Roman Empire thing symbolism?

...oh right, these are fundies, maybe the bleeding obvious is necessary.

Anyway, even with as much as the Left Behind books are trite and formulaic (as is the whole genre, really), the naming of their Antichrist figure as Nicolae Carpathia and the fact he's Romanian (which is still bloody obvious, but not as fracking obvious as Italy) shows that some thought was paid on the issue of names.

Speaking of which, one of these days, I need to doodle up an IN angel who happens to bear the unfortunate name of Damien. ;) But that's a story for another time.