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Shame on me for not looking at these earlier. But I will be prepared as we move forward.

From the agenda here.

D.1 What Our Marks Really Are: This is basically a maintenance thing for mark protection that allows faster response times by the MPC for what notices it includes in its publications. Considering right now there’s an inflexible two-year constitutional amendment process in place, seems like a smart move. (I don’t recall there ever being meeting controversy about mark protection for as long as I’ve attended. It’s an important but unexciting thing.)

D.2 The Reasonable Amendment: This is an amendment for Nominee Diversity, which is the amendment we ratified that says you can’t have more than two works in the same category that are from the same dramatic presentation series or written by the same author. All this amendment does is change “WorldCon Committee shall make best efforts to notify those…” to “WorldCon Committee shall make reasonable efforts to notify those…” which seems, well, reasonable to me.

D.3 Make Room! Make Room! This amends section 3.2.8; currently that section allows the Committee to relocate a story to a more appropriate Hugo Category if it’s within 5,000 words or 20% of the new category limits. The amendment would get rid of the 5,000 words, so the requirement will just be within 20% of the category limit. The reason for this is the marketing/perception of novels and novellas versus their actual word count, which most nominators are not going to know and means that novels are getting nominated as novellas on occasion and vice versa. This effectively changes the “wiggle room” between novella and novel to be 8,000 words instead of 5,000, which seems fine to me.

D.4 Name That Award: This is for the naming of the YA Award, assuming that it passes. Considering I’d like the YA Award to have some name (and for it to pass) I’m in favor. We’ll see what the offered names end up being. There’ll be runoff voting on them.

D.5 got postponed indefinitely so I’m not going to bother looking at it.

D.6 The Division of the Hugo Award Best Novel Category: Basically they want to split the Best Novel Hugo into Best Fantasy Novel and Best Science Fiction Novel, since there are a lot of other awards that have things split up by genre. I’m… not really in favor of this as such. First, it introduces a serious inconsistency into the awards, if you’re going to split novel up but not any of the other lengths. The unique aspect of the Hugos until now has been that all the spec fic gets to ride together, and the divisions are based almost entirely on length rather than segregation by subgenre. There is a definitional issue here as well; the discussion basically wants to use publishing-derived categorization, but that seems like something of a nightmare for administration purposes because nominating fans are likely to go by what they perceive its category to be, not necessarily what the publisher says. There’s plenty out there that straddles the line… depending on how you define it. This sounds like serious fan-wank waiting to happen. I’m also not really in favor of anything that’s going to make life easier on the “my genre is better than your genre” crowd, but YMMV.

On the other hand, I’m generally in favor of anything that means there will be more rockets, because I don’t think a few more awards is going to dilute the impact of winning a Hugo. But god save me from anyone who would use the dual existence of the novel category to try to kill novelette YET AGAIN under the banner of “there are too many Hugos.” Or more accurately, god save them from me.

D.7 Reorganization of the Best Related Work Category: So this is basically another “This is how the Locus Award does it” case, which wants to split “Best Related Work” into “Best Non-Fiction Book” and “Best Art Book.” I think there’s an issue here to begin with by calling out the categories as “Books.” While the written definitions are a little looser, particularly for Non-Fiction, it gives the impression that only books are welcome in the categories. But consider this year we had a series of blog posts from Tor.com nominated, and previously entire seasons of Writing Excuses. I wouldn’t be surprised in the future if we get some trans-media stuff, more things like post series, who knows what else. I’d rather not see those fringe-y, related works that really don’t fit neatly in the other categories get left out because we’ve felt the need to more rigidly define them. I consider the nebulous nature of “Related Work” to be a feature, not a bug in this sense. Also questioning seriously if “Best Art Book” is really going to have enough nominations in it yearly to make it a viable and vibrant category.

D.8 Best Dramatic Presentation Reorganization: basically wants to rearrange the two current dramatic presentation categories so we’ll have Dramatic Presentation Long Form, Dramatic Presentation Episodic Form, Dramatic Presentation Short Form, and Dramatic Presentation Series. (So yes, we’d be having four categories instead of the current two.) I actually kind of like the idea of splitting up Episodic Form and Short Form, in the sense that episodes have really drowned out anything else short and speculative from the category for quite some time. This could make room for some really interesting stuff… or it could just create a category that’s not going to get a lot of traffic. Only time would tell on that one. But I’m really questioning Best Episodic Form versus Best Series… which is basically cutting between stand-alone episodes of anthology series versus long-arc series. Are there enough anthology shows versus long-arc shows to fill out two categories? Don’t know, don’t watch that much television. I don’t object to this as much as some of the other proposed reorganizations of categories, though again I’m wondering how this’ll sit with the “we give too many Hugos out” crowd.

Originally published at Alex Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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File 770 posted the Sad Puppies list (slate? what? We’ll get in to that in a moment) last night, and here. My knee jerk reaction:

I’m not proud that this is my initial reaction. But I’ve got 3 years of good reasons to feel really gun shy on this. It’s not like we all came together after Sasquan and hugged it out. There was nasty, horrible shit raining down long after the convention had been laid to rest.

Is this a slate? Several of the categories have more than five possible choices. Does that make it a rather truncated long list instead? From File 770, it sounds like this was recommendations-based, spreadsheet included. Does that make its existence no longer a political jab? What does this do to writers who said they categorically do not want to be on a slate, ever, ever, ever? Do they ask to be removed? What about writers who just want nothing to do with any of this, slate or no?

I know for a fact that at least two of the people on that list weren’t asked if they were okay being included. I would not be shocked if most/all of the other unexpected names (Alyssa, Nnedi, Ann, etc) are in the same boat. Not cool.

But it’s just a recommended list. But it’s got the “Sad Puppy” name all over it and all that goddamn baggage.

Because this is the thing. After three years of slates and shouting and people being intensely shitty, after the porous barrier between sad and rabid and the fecal stench known as Beale that clings to everything, I cannot fucking trust any of this.

So is it a recommended reading list, innocently offered? Or is it a Trojan Horse, intending to get people to maybe think hey, we don’t really need to ratify those WSFS amendments everyone voted on last year when we were almost universally pissed off about a slate rolling the Hugos. See, it’s not so bad. Let it go. And then next year it starts all over again because nothing’s been fixed.

Or is it a way to try to fuck over a lot of writers who don’t want anything to do with this, because suddenly they’re on the damn list, and no one knows if it’s a slate or not, but there’s the knee jerk feeling of if these assholes want a thing, I don’t.

Or is it a way to score some cheap points because if these writers end up on the final ballot and win (or score over No Award), look at all these SJW hypocrites, see they’re okay with slates as long as it’s people they like. That’s certainly consistent the Wile E. Coyote-style Sooper Genius I’m Totally Playing Six Dimensional Chess nonsense we perennially get told is really going on, you know, where people get roundly slapped down by the community and then loudly proclaim that it’s what they wanted all along. (PS: You’re transparent. We know it isn’t.)

And is the very existence of this post (and ones like it) going to be used to add to the carefully curated sense of grievance that’s been fueling this entire stupid, stupid fight?

This makes me so angry, because I’m already seeing people getting dragged into this bubbling cesspool of bullshit and paranoia. And I hate thinking like this. I hate it. I want to believe the best in people. I want to believe in good intentions, and change, and moving on from bad times.

But I’m also not a fucking idiot, and I can remember further back than yesterday. I remember the last three years that led to me fucking dreading the Hugos this year because I knew the drama would be inevitable. I remember the incredibly fucked up (and at times racist, misogynistic, homophobic) things that have been said about friends of mine and writers I deeply respect. And I remember the transphobic shit that got spattered on Sasquan right next to the puppy ribbons very clearly.

I’d like to believe the best of you, Sad Puppies. But I can’t. Give it a few years of people not treating the fucking Hugo awards like some Game of Thrones-lite eliminationist slap fight and maybe I’ll be able to. (Though the forgive and forget threshold of others is certainly not dictated by my comfort level.) But this year I’m paranoid, and I’m mad, and you’ve fucking earned it.

Additional: Please read Catherynne M Valente’s post on the topic. Cora Buhlert has much more measured commentary than mine as well, and I totally agree with her commentary about branding.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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All (except one, sadly) of these are Hugo Eligible in 2016. Just sayin’. And you literally have no excuse to not watch them. They are available online, streaming, for less than the price of a movie ticket. Links are to the trailers on youtube.

**I cannot speak for availability outside the US. Input from readers in other countries welcome.

  1. Ex Machina – available from Google Play, iTunes, PS Store, and others for $4.99. I’m sticking my flag in this one and calling it the best science fiction movie of 2015. You have no excuse if you consider yourself a fan of the genre. (My review at Strange Horizons.)
  2. It Follows – available for $4.99 basically everywhere. Look, this movie is excellent and scary as hell, and I’m recommending it despite the fact that I really don’t like horror movies. (Totally Pretentious podcast episode for this movie.) [Sorry to report that this film technically is not Hugo eligible for 2016 because it released in festivals in 2014.]
  3. What We Do in the Shadows – available for $9.99 on a multitude of online streaming services. This is a mockumentary about vampires living in New Zealand, and absolutely hilarious. Swearwolves!
  4. Infini – available for $3.99 from Google Play, Vudu, Youtube, and Amazon. Currently on Netflix for free with subscription. Fucked up space zombie alien thriller that I needed a hug after.
  5. Turbo Kid – available on Vudu and Google Play for $6.99. I reviewed it in the first issue of Mothership Zeta. Sparkle unicorn BMX apocalypse, DO NOT SAY NO.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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Edit at 0820 on 8/25: Due to writing this post at the end of an extremely long day, I misunderstood section 3.6 and got a few things wrong. It should be corrected now; thanks to Cheryl Morgan and Kendall for keeping me on the straight and narrow.

This post is only intended to examine the potential for “No Award” to structurally damage the Hugo Awards, because I’ve now witnessed this odd rumor in a couple different places. I have less than zero interest in debating the righteousness or wrongness of people voting No Award, or discussing my own votes, or pontificating about how it might or might not affect the reputation of the awards. But matters of fact? Let’s get those straight.

Basically, voting No Award in the Hugos has zero effect on the inner workings of the awards themselves. The end. Votes of No Award over successive years might arguably have some kind of negative effect on the voting population, but will not affect the continued existence of the categories or anything like that.

Quick summary: The Hugo categories themselves are enshrined in the WSFS constitution. The only way to add, remove, or alter them is with a constitutional amendment, which takes two years to accomplish. The amendment has to be proposed one year and passed at the business meeting, and then ratified at the next year’s business meeting. You can see this process in action with the proposal of the “Best Series” category for this year. Nothing in the results of the Hugos can actually alter the existence of the awards themselves.

If that’s good enough for you, stop there. Otherwise, I’ll go ahead and get granular.

Let’s take a quick look at the places “No Award” appears in the WSFS constitution. Please note that as of this writing, this is the 2014 WSFS constitution. I don’t think it contains anything we ratified during the business meetings this weekend. But I promise, there was nothing related to “No Award” in the amendments we did ratify.

Section 3.6: “No Award”. At the discretion of an individual Worldcon Committee, if the lack of nominations or final votes in a specific category shows a marked lack of interest in that category on the part of the voters, the Award in that category shall be canceled for that year.

Note the phrase “marked lack of interest.” Lack of interest would be indicated by lack of voting/nominating; a vote of “No Award” still counts as an actual vote.

Under 3.8: Tallying of Nominations: 

3.8.3: Any nominations for “No Award” shall be disregarded.

Pretty self explanatory; nominations for no award will be disregarded when it comes to tallying the nominations. It’s always an option on the final ballot, after all, as we’re about to see.

Under 3.10: Voting:

3.10.3: “No Award” shall be listed in each category of Hugo Award on the final ballot.

Also pretty self explanatory. “No Award” is always an option for voting.

From Section 3.11: Tallying of Votes:

3.11.1: In each category, tallying shall be as described in Section 6.4. “No Award” shall be treated as a nominee. If all remaining nominees are tied, no tie- breaking shall be done and the nominees excluding “No Award” shall be declared joint winners.

3.11.2: “No Award” shall be given whenever the total number of valid ballots cast for a specific category (excluding those cast for “No Award” in first place) is less than twenty-five percent (25%) of the total number of final Award ballots received.

3.11.3: “No Award” shall be the run-off candidate for the purposes of Section 6.5.

This determines how “No Award” is tallied from the ballots. So hey, you could technically win jointly with “No Award.” That’s… a thing. Also, this makes it so that categories that are very small and ignored relative to the total number of ballots get an automatic No Award. Note this doesn’t eliminate a category through lack of apparent interest, just makes “No Award” automatic if very few ballots are received. The categories still exist as required by the constitution.

That’s it. Those are the only places “No Award” is even mentioned in the constitution.

Fun fact: Worldcon committees are allowed (but not required) to make one and only one special Hugo category that will just exist for that year:

3.3.17: Additional Category. Not more than one special category may be created by the current Worldcon Committee with nomination and voting to be the same as for the permanent categories. The Worldcon Committee is not required to create any such category; such action by a Worldcon Committee should be under exceptional circumstances only; and the special category created by one Worldcon Committee shall not be binding on following Committees. Awards created under this paragraph shall be considered to be Hugo Awards.

I don’t believe this has happened during the time I’ve attended/paid attention to WorldCon, which has only been since 2008, but it sounds cool. (And has been used in the past to experiment, such as in 1988 when Watchmen won “Other Forms.” Wikipedia also has a list, though some of those categories were once in the WSFS constitution and then subsequently removed.) Anyway, notice with this, it’s also in line with 3.6; the concom has some discretion when it comes to administering the Hugo categories, but its choices are not in any way permanent. The categories themselves make up sections 3.3.1 through 3.3.17 of the constitution of the World Science Fiction Society. And the constitution can’t just be changed on a whim:

Section 6.6: Amendment. The WSFS Constitution may be amended by a motion passed by a simple majority at any Business Meeting but only to the extent that such motion is ratified by a simple majority at the Business Meeting of the subsequent Worldcon.

So if anything were to be changed structurally about the awards themselves, the administration, the categories, anything, the only way to do that is to get an amendment to the constitution passed by a simple majority at the business meeting, and then ratified the next year.

This would be why there was so much excitement about E Pluribus Hugo and 4 and 6 this year; both will structurally change how nominations are done and finalists are decided for the Hugos. Both got a majority vote at this year’s meeting, but will have no effect unless and until they are ratified in 2016–at which point they will change how things go in 2017.

The conclusion is, the Hugos can’t be structurally destroyed by a single messy year. Or two. Or ten. It would take a majority at two consecutive business meetings to do that. Destroyed socially? Rendered a travesty because they delivered results you personally dislike and thus the Hugos Are Over? That’s for people to argue who have a lot more patience, endurance, and time to waste than me.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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As before, here I’m going to be free with my commentary instead of limiting myself to mostly parenthetical statements. Amendments will be referred to by name. For details and summary, please see the Sasquan agenda.

Liveblog for Saturday here.

Liveblog for Sunday here.

Playlist for all segments of the business meeting here.

Saturday Meeting

This meeting was relatively short, because the room was needed for other programming at 1300, and plus they wanted to have the WorldCon chairs photo session. Important points:

  • The meeting started off with the official site selection for 2017. Helsinki won, and presented the con heads and their website. They received a check for $23,000, passed on from the last of Millenium Phillcon’s funds.
  • The “Story by Any Other Name” amendment from LonCon 3 was passed and added to constitution. This will close the audiobook loophole, for example, allowing stories that originally appeared as audiobooks to be considered with their fellow works of fiction instead of as podcasts or related works.
  • “WSFS Membership Types and Rates” amendment from LonCon 3 passed without objection and was added to the constitution.
  • “Hugo Finalist” amendment from LonCon 3 passed without objection and was added to the constitution. This was just a word term change.
  • Starting on new business for this year–this is stuff that if passed will go on to be ratified (or not) next year in Kansas City. This is where things started getting contentious.
  • The 5% Solution passed. (Thank fuck.)
  • The Multiple Nominations amendment passed.
  • Nominee Diversity was laid on the table to be taken up on Sunday after EPH was considered.
  • Tom Monaghan (apologies, I believe I have been spelling his last name wrong this entire time in my liveblogs, mea culpa) attempted to permanently adjourn the business meeting for this year and thus kill all remaining business. I found this personally very aggravating, as it seemed to be a very transparent attempt to get rid of all potential discussion and fixes with regards to the Hugo issues. Monaghan had already made it pretty clear to anyone who could overhear him arguing that he was a “puppy” of some stripe, including complaints about people defaming puppies in debate, which were for the most part not supported by the chair. The motion was ultimately disallowed due to arcane parliamentary stuff, but I think that it would have failed anyway if put to a vote.
  • The meeting ended with a motion, unanimously approved, that when the business meeting did finally adjourn on Sunday, it would be in memory of Bobbie DuFault and Peggy Rae Sapienza.

Sunday Meeting

This is where things got really contentious.

  • E Pluribus Hugo was taken up immediately via suspension of the rules. Passed via serpentine.
    • Ramez Naam, who is a writer, made the point beautifully about why slates are pieces of shit (my words, not his) by naming a sampling of works and authors who got screwed by the slates this year.
    • The point was made again and again that it’s total bullshit that 10-15% of the electorate can entirely control who shows up on the ballot.
    • Dara Korra’ti (I hope I spelled her name right) made the point beautifully across EPH and 4/6 that in a system without parties, an organized party will prevail. And she had every right to indicate that this was political because it’s been made so explicitly political by the people who started it.
    • A lot of people complained that EPH is complicated and that will alter how people vote. Considering it is about how nominations are counted, not indicated by members, I don’t really buy this argument. Also, the current system is complex in its own right as well. If you asked me to explain preferential voting to someone, I don’t think I’d be able to do a good job of it.
    • Anyway, I’m glad EPH passed. What I’m really hoping is that once they’ve got the nomination data they requested, we’ll get a good presentation about how it would have changed things this year, and we can move forward.
    • Also a point to consider: anything we voted affirmatively on this year is not yet part of the constitution. Nothing changes unless and until these are ratified next year. So by the time we take up this business at next year’s meeting, we’ll be well aware if the Hugos are once more covered with puppy shit.
    • I still believe that if EPH stops Doctor Who from dominating short form drama, that is a feature and not a bug.
    • EPH has a built-in five year sunset clause by amendment.
  • 4 and 6 also passed on a serpentine vote. This one made me kind of crazy because we spent a ridiculous amount of time noodling about if we’d use the numbers 4 and 6 or something different, and then just used 4 and 6 anyway. Much like how 90% of the time we just use the chair’s suggested debate time after 10 minutes of arguing about allowing more or less. Hrngh.
    • So noted that supposedly, this system can work in conjunction with EPH just fine. Though in my opinion, if we were to ratify EPH next year, I’ll feel a lot less compelled to ratify this one as well unless someone makes a compelling argument as to the contrary.
    • Just another shout-out to Dara, whose points on this as far as 4 and 6 doing nothing to discourage slating, were totally on point. This method could defeat one slate if it didn’t have great discipline. But if we start getting in to slates and counter slates (very likely if things continue in this year’s melodramatic style) it’s going to be a fucking mess for anyone who doesn’t want to slate.
    • This one lacks a sunset clause. I think at this point, everyone was getting pretty tired and we just didn’t manage to get the timing right on amending it.
  • Nominee Diversity passes on a serpentine vote. Not much to say here other than I was in favor of it because I’m in favor of anything that spreads the love, so to speak.
  • Best Series, by request of its originator, was moved to a committee, to report back next year. (I think he realized that everyone was getting very tired and cranky and things were not looking that friendly for a contentious subject.)
  • Electronic Signatures returned with new language from the committee. This then became a giant clusterfuck that took 30 minutes to resolve and I still don’t know why. Eventually, this too passed. It should be noted that this allows the use of electronic signatures but the means are at the discretion of the WorldCon.
  • Meeting was then adjourned in memory of Bobbie DuFault and Peggy Rae Sapienza.

PLEASE NOTE: I am now going to start going through my previous liveblogs and try to correct some name misspellings. Please bear with me.

I also have some thoughts on the Hugos, and maybe I’ll type those up at some point. But this post is already 1K words long, and my liveblog from today was almost 3K. I’m getting pretty worded out, here.

See you in Kansas City next year, space cowboys.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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Just what it says on the tin. As a note, for my liveblogs I generally try to keep my commentary to standalone statements or parenthetical statements. I do my best to summarize fairly from what I can hear and process while pressed for time. This post is all me.

I have no intention of reproducing the summaries of the resolutions and amendments here. Please see the Sasquan agenda, I will refer to them by name.

Playlist of all the 2015 meetings on youtube is here.

Preliminary Business Meeting (Thursday)

Liveblog here.

So the entire point of the preliminary meeting is to set the agenda and debate times for the main meetings, which is actually extremely powerful and should not be discounted. This is a great place to strange resolutions and amendments in the cradle, so to speak.

The big take-homes:

  • The two year eligibility amendment got killed
  • All other proposed amendments (E Pluribus Hugo, 4 and 6, the 5% Solution, Best Series, Nominee Diversity, Multiple Nominations, Electronic Signatures) made it through with varying amounts of debate time set
  • All amendments originally voted on at LonCon last year were assigned debate times, to be ratified or not in the main business meetings.
  • The electronic signatures amendment, which is supposed to make remote site selection easier, got referred to a short-term committee to come up with language that didn’t suck.
  • E Pluribus Hugo (referred to hereafter as EPH) and 4 and 6 (4/6) were specifically assigned to be debated and voted on for Sunday. This is unusual because there isn’t normally a Sunday meeting. But this takes the two most contentious amendments (the ones that will affect Hugo nominating/voting) and attempts to give them a day of their own. Assuming we manage to get everything else done by the end of business on Saturday.

This meeting was pretty rowdy for a preliminary meeting. I expect things are only going to get more energetic as time goes on.

Business Meeting Number One (Friday)

Liveblog here.

The start of this meeting was devoted to taking care of business that should have gotten done at the preliminary meeting and didn’t. Here are the highlights:

  • The YA Hugo Committee reported that a YA-focused award is a proper request and necessary, but a YA award may not fit in with the normal Hugo methodology. So we should think perhaps something more Campbellian. The committee wants to continue study of the topic for another year and was granted permission.
  • All of the eligibility extensions were passed.
  • The resolution requesting anonymized nomination data for this year’s Hugo’s be provided was passed and Sasquan’s Hugo administrating team expressed their intention to comply with the resolution, which is technically non-binding. Hard data for this year’s clusterfuck will be provided before the Sunday meeting to the people (presumably EPH) who requested it. Other people can request the data, but it will not be simply posted publicly.
  • There was a “Committee on the Whole” regarding EPH and 4/6. This wasn’t for substantive debate, but rather consideration of technical issues. EPH presented their methodology and I was honestly impressed. They’ve converted me to their side and convinced me that they can help deal with the administrative issues; the 2016 Hugo administrator stated that he would also be working with the EPH people no matter what to help them refine their method. For 4/6, it was decided that the actual numbers (number of nominations you make versus number of nominees per category) would be decided on Sunday by fill in the blanks voting rather than burn the limited time today.
  • Just as a note, I consider the potential of EPH to break accidental Dr. Who domination slates a feature, not a bug. I am really fucking tired of seeing one show completely dominate a short form category that should rightfully even have podcasts in it.
  • Millenium Philcon (2001 Worldcon) finally has distributed the last of its funds and been formally discharged from duty.
  • We took up the Popular Ratification amendment from LonCon3 for voting. This amendment would have put WSFS business up for popular ratification (vote by all members of WSFS, which literally means all members of Worldcon, attending and supporting) after passing two rounds of the Worldcon-based WSFS business meetings.
    • This would have made amending the WSFS constitution a three year process, which I wasn’t wild about, but also had a five year sunset clause, after which it would have required re-ratification.
    • One of the main concerns about this seemed to be the power of mob voting by supporting members, thanks to the ample demonstration by the puppies this year. This is not a fear I’m that convinced about, considering popular ratification doesn’t allow for anything passed by the business meeting to be modified, etc. Just voted up or down. Word case scenario, nothing gets done for five years if the trolls are that dedicated.
    • It should also be noted that anyone has a right to present new business to the WSFS meeting, whether they are in attendance or not.
    • Kevin Standlee made the point that it’s time for supporting members to get treated like actual members. I tend to agree with this.
    • This would also have been, in my opinion, an important measure for keeping the WORLD in WorldCon; it would have given power to people remotely and internationally. There are plenty of reasons people can’t make it to the WSFS meeting even if they attend WorldCon; there are many more people who would like to participate in the community who are continually blocked by the stranglehold that America holds on the convention.
      • ETA: Point well-made to me by David Clements just now. One problem that does need to be considered is the language barrier. Having voting on resolutions available is not really inclusive if people can’t understand what they’re being asked to vote on. Even a “plain language” explanation of an amendment would be American English. So this is something that needs to be addressed by another attempt at this kind of proposal.
    • Also, one would hope that this would encourage broader involvement by making voting more accessible. The harder you make participation, the fewer people participate. We see that again and again. Make it easier, you’ll get more people who will become interested and get involved.
  • But anyway, you’ll note that all this is in past tense, because Popular Ratification got voted down in the business meeting, 69 for to 99 against. Which I am, as you might imagine, very unhappy about.
  • The open source software resolution failed after a lot of linguistic nitpicking.

What I’m most disappointed about is the failure of the Popular Ratification. I also really, really didn’t like a sort of implied insult to all non-attending voters; people brought up again and again that these resolutions were just too complicated, etc. People just wouldn’t care. While I admit there’s an argument to be made there (please see voter ennui in the US) the implication that no one could possibly care of understand what’s going on at the business meeting so it’s okay to exclude them is pretty upsetting to me. Particularly because if we want to continue to pretend we are an internationally-minded body, it behooves us to make the proceedings accessible internationally. And not just to people rich enough to attend.

Final note: Even the Worldcon chair acknowledges I am dapper as fuck. Thank you.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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I ended up browsing a bit on File770 and saw the latest collection of news, which included this astounding example of hollering before you’re hurt from David Pascoe writing on Sarah Hoyt’s blog:

While there’s a good deal of speculation over whether such a motion will even get approved (what then, would supporting members get for their hard earned filthy lucre? How could WorldCon possibly garner any kind of diverse, international support by shutting out anybody who can’t afford to fly across an ocean to come to the majority of conventions?), that it’s not reduced to backroom rumor mills is a sign of how strong the desire is to keep out the undesirable types.

A few points after reading the post:

  1. As a queer pinko liberal SJWer hell bent on destroying everything that makes America great(TM) I would stand against that kind of resolution so fast that the air displacement would break the sound barrier. In reality, I (and I surmise a lot of my filthy brethren and sistren) want supporting memberships to be cheaper. Because greater accessibility to voting is a good thing, always.
    1. I don’t have a problem that the self-named puppies want to nominate things they like. I never have, because I’m an actual adult human being who isn’t threatened by people disagreeing with me. It’s okay to not like things as long as you’re not a dick about it!
    2. I do have a problem with the fact that the puppies aren’t acting like puppies–they’re acting like seagulls. As in making a lot of noise and shitting all over everything. Which is, by the way, a classic example of being a dick.
    3. It’s also okay if things I don’t like get awards! Things I don’t like get awards all the time! Almost nothing I ever think should get an Oscar gets an Oscar, for example. I might grumble, but I haven’t made it my mission to personally destroy the Academy Awards because it’ll make people who have sinned by disagreeing with my taste upset.
    4. Considering the go-to whinge on the puppy side seems to be the ceaseless butthurt over If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love, the hypocrisy is just astounding.
  2. As a note, I’ve heard a couple suggestions that there should be some kind of test to force people to prove they’ve read the works they’re nominating/voting for. I would also vote against that so fast I might injure myself. Making voting less accessible doesn’t help anyone. Or at least not anyone I’d want to help.
  3. If there is a more lovingly self-pitying way to characterize those who disagree with one’s position than calling them “puppy kickers,” I have yet to hear it. Barf.
  4. Speaking of making life hard for anyone who can’t fly across the ocean to attend a convention, how about we stop holding so many WorldCons in the US? Helsinki in 2017. Just sayin’.

If I wasn’t clear enough, the ego-stroking conspiracy paranoia about limiting voting memberships? Appears to be just paranoia. The lovelies at File770 helpfully provided the supporting link for current business on the WSFS agenda for this year, and destroying all those who dare disagree with my taste in escapist fiction being a giant dickbag about voting memberships isn’t on there as of yet. Since there’s some new items on there, a quick run through of thoughts:

  • 4 and 6: still in favor of this
  • The Five Percent Solution: YES STILL IN FAVOR
  • Best Series: They’re no longer trying to destroy novelette to make room for this category. I generally tend to be of the mind that more rocket ships to go around is a good thing, but on the other hand, I have no desire to sign myself up for that amount of reading. On a third hand (because I’m an alien creature) maybe it would encourage people to finish up their goddamn series in a timely manner instead going on and on for like 20+ books. Probably not, but I could hope. On the fence, still thinking about it.
  • E Pluribus Hugo: Still can’t wrap my brain around this. Still think it’s needlessly complex. Still willing to be convinced, but as that might well require a powerpoint presentation, I doubt that will happen.
  • Multiple Nominations: Ensuring that a work can only be in one category? I’m in favor of that. Spread the rocket ships around, etc. I also consider it necessary if Best Series if going to be a thing.
  • Nominee Diversity: I’m so goddamn tired of the dramatic presentation short form being the Best Doctor Who category. Also, whether the author is someone I personally like or not, I don’t think any one person needs to have a lock down on all or most of the slots in a category. Stop being greedy. (Though I think some clarification is likely necessary when it comes to authors, for example, how that works in a co-author situation, etc.)
  • Two Year Eligibility: The part of me that never has enough time to read thinks sure, why not. The part of me that understands math points out that if there’s a two year range of eligibility, you’re really just doubling your field. Not in favor. Could potentially be argued around, but not bloody likely.
  • Electronic Signatures: Seems like a no-brainer. Will hopefully help give site selection another little boost when it comes to trying to diversify Worldcon geographically.
  • I Remember the Future: Sure, why not.
  • Hugo Eligibility Extension for Predestination: Again, sure, why not.
  • Hugo Nominating Data Request: It would certainly cut down on the speculation in all quarters. I’m in favor of more data being available–so long as anonymity is guaranteed.
  • Open Source Software: Sure, why not? Is there a reason to not?
  • MPC Funding: Another sure, why not?

NOTE: I will be attending all of the WSFS meetings at Sasquan unless something actively prevents me from doing so, since it’s been asked a couple of times. And if there is wifi to be had, I will be liveblogging at this space. If there isn’t wifi, I’ll livetweet from @katsudonburi. I just type a lot faster (and more coherently) than I can swype tweets into being, so keep your fingers crossed for wifi that won’t make my wallet cry.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

katsu: (Default)

Guess I missed some WSFS excitement while I was at Weddingpalooza over the weekend. (Weddingpalooza, ie two weddings in one weekend) went swimmingly, by the way. I looked dapper as fuck and danced (including the Time Warp) until I could dance no more because my back wasn’t being an asshole this weekend. Shocking, considering I spent three nights on a fold-out couch bed belonging to my best friend, which she fondly calls “the iron maiden.”

Geek weddings are the best, by the way. Just in case you forgot.

Anyway, these amendments. I was already planning to get my ass to all the WSFS meetings at Worldcon this year–and if there is wifi to be had, I will liveblog them. Otherwise, expect a lot of tweeting. Some of the proposed amendments are really interesting, but let me get this one out of the way:

Best saga? Are you fucking serious? And this is worth killing the novelette category over? WHAT?

Honestly, I wouldn’t even care if the proposal was to just add this “best saga” category. Hell, I’d probably even vote for it then, as long as the eligibility process made sense. (Which I’m not convinced it does as worded, by the way.) I’d think hey, that’s fun, and probably then never cast an actual vote in the category because I don’t have time to read an entire goddamn series, let alone multiple ones, in the time between the nominees being revealed and voting closing. And that’s fine. If you have more time than me to read, more power to you. Hell, I’d also support a Best YA Hugo and Best Interactive Story (ie video game) as well because I think there’s some great art going on that’s not getting recognized. (And while I’m writing a wish list, I’d also like a puppy and for someone to fix the Best Fancast so it’s just Best Podcast.)

But why the fuck is this proposed at the expense of the novelette? Was someone savaged by a novelette as a child or something? Supposedly this is to reflect changes in publishing, but I honestly don’t buy that premise at all. There are a lot of series today, sure. But there are also a lot of novellas and novelettes being published stand alone by people trying to hold on to the cutting edge of electronic publishing. The industry is still shifting, and we know not where it’ll end up.

I also think it’s pretty goddamn unfair to lump novelettes in with novellas, just because there’s a certain amount of detail and complexity of plot one can develop per wordcount, and a story that’s 10k words is going to set about things very differently than a story that’s 30k words. I’ve written (and had published) short stories, novelettes, and novellas. Yes, there’s a sort of spectrum at the borders between the categories (welcome to the hell I experience as a geologist every day, kids), but a 5k story is very different than a 12 k story is very different from a 25k story in structure and technique and let’s not pretend otherwise.

And seriously, if the idea of adding yet another Hugo is impossible and some category has to fall under the ax, why novelette? Why not best long form editor? Most regular readers probably have no idea who edited their books and no good way of finding out.

Finally, it’s a bit bullshit that if series are special and need their own hugo, the individual novels within can still be nominated for best novel. As far as I can recall, there is no other category like that. Spread the love if you’re going to spread the love. Yes, nominating a novel from the middle of a series is a tough row to hoe because a lot of people (like me) will give it a go and then drop it if reading the rest of the series is necessary to understand its supposed good qualities due to the required time commitment; that said, is giving series their own category really going to help that issue out? Or are you just going to basically pit dedicated fans of one series against dedicated fans of another?

Admittedly, I’d pay to watch a brawl between Jim Butcher fans and GRRM fans. Bonus for costumes worn.

(Anyway, yes. I will be voting against this amendment.)

Other proposed amendments:

4 and 6: I really like this one, actually. Allowing fewer nominations than there will be ultimate nominees makes total control of a ballot via logrolling much more difficult, and then expanding out to 6 nominees instead of 5 will hopefully provide for a wider array of nominees! Yes please.

The Five Percent Solution: Getting rid of the fucking 5% rule THANK YOU. This rule has acted to the detriment of the short story category since its addition, and it needs to go. I think we’re getting a mini Renaissance of short stories (and novelettes, THANKS) thanks to a wide array of well-edited paying markets, so vote spread is going to happen. More riches for us to read!

E Pluribus Hugo: This amendment is too complex for me to understand on a Monday morning after only one cup of tea. This does not bode well, but I will attempt to read it over again when I’m not suffering serious post-wedding fatigue.

It’s going to be an interesting WSFS meeting. I better bring an umbrella to shield myself from the intensity of the rules lawyering.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

katsu: (Default)

[ETA 5/3/15: It seems I was unclear that by a recommended reading list, I mean a large list with things added throughout the year that I can then winnow down myself. Not a short slate of nominees sized specifically to fill or partially fill categories. I have updated the post to reflect my position more accurately.]

I’ve been meaning to write this post for nearly a week, but work has been absolutely batshit and promises to continue to be so for another two weeks. So yay for the lunch break blog post, right? This is to say, if this is not particularly coherent or well-organized, please forgive me.

I was at Penguicon over the weekend, which was a fabulous convention, by the way, marred only by the fact that the assholes in the room next to mine would not shut the fuck up at four in the morning. But everything to do with the actual convention was lovely and full of chocolate glee, and I’m extra happy to have gotten to be on panels and then do karaoke with Steven Saus, Sarah Hans, and Michael Cieslak, to name just three of the many lovely people I met. (I met more lovely people, but their business cards are currently out of my reach and I’m complete shit with names. Sorry, everyone.)

By the way, karaoke? I still fucking kill it when I do Tribute. My demon voice cannot be stopped.

Anyway, on Sunday at Penguicon, I ended up setting off a discussion about Hugo nominations mostly because I was grumpy and wanted to go over what actually happened when the SFWA bulletin blew up (tl;dr version: “Haw haw ladies!” “Could you please not?” “Fuck you liberal fascists!” “No, sirs, fuck YOU.”) as opposed to what’s being incorrectly summarized everywhere, mostly by people fighting about the bullshit puppy slates. But anyway, after I got things going, two gentlemen started arguing about the Hugo nomination process, and I feel like a total asshole because I didn’t catch either of their names, but they both had extremely valid points.

Most Excellent Dude Number One has several working ideas on ways the WSFS constitution could be amended to de-fang slates so this bullshittery cannot happen again. (As I pointed out, well, in a couple years at best, since you can’t amend the WSFS constitution overnight.) Most Excellent Dude Number Two didn’t think that was any kind of solution, and that the only real way to fix things was some serious get out the vote effort.

Honestly, I’m not sure if either way works. I’d have to see some convincing math on any WSFS amendments and have a good long think about if it’s going to actually fix a problem or just make things worse. (Though I think there could be something to limiting nominations to three per category, say. That would shake things up a bit at least.) And it’s also a fact that the nominating and voting statistics for the Hugos are nothing short of embarrassing.

LonCon3, which I believe is now officially the biggest Worldcon ever, had 8784 attending and supporting memberships, which would be the people who could nominate and vote–and this doesn’t even count the attending members of the previous Worldcon, who could also vote! The most nominating ballots were cast for novel, with a total of 1595, just 18% of eligible members. The rest of the categories had far fewer nominating ballots, coming in at 3.6% to 11.3% of the membership. Actual votes cast tended to be about three times higher than nominating ballots. Still embarrassing, but slightly less so.

So yes, there’s definitely a get out the vote problem, though I’m left wondering just what WSFS can be expected to do about that, other than finding ways to make voting and nominating more accessible. I’d be in favor, for example, of severely lowering the price of supporting memberships, in order to open up the process particularly to people in non-US countries who are already getting screwed by the exchange rate. Education efforts? Maybe.

But as sad as the actual voting numbers are, the real problem is the nominating numbers. And I don’t honestly think that’s something that can be fixed easily by amending the bylaws.

Forgive me if I assume my personal experience can stand at something close to average, but I think the nomination issue isn’t really one of accessibility. There have been many years past when I haven’t nominated for the Hugos at all outside of dramatic presentation, because I quite literally had not read anything that had come out that year. There is a lot of good literature out in the field, and a lot of bad. I have only a very limited amount of time to read. The only reason I’ve been reading much newer stuff lately is because I’ve been trying to help with the occasional podcast for Skiffy and Fanty, or because I have writer friends who have new things coming out, so I make it my business to actually read them. (And I don’t do that nearly as often as I should, sorry guys. I’m such a shit.) But there’s also a very real reason why, on the podcast, you hear me mostly on movie episodes, and why here I mostly talk about movies. Movies are a much smaller time commitment, and I know I can sit down and get through one in normally less than two hours and still be able to have thoughtful opinions.

I’m not going to nominate things I haven’t read. I’d like to think most people who are interested in the Hugos are honest enough to not nominate or vote for things they haven’t read. So I’m thinking what we have is a big blob of voters like me, who have no idea what the fuck we’d even nominate because we haven’t really read that much, and in fact we’re waiting for the list of nominees to come out so we know what we should be reading.

Is that something WSFS can really fix? I guess you could argue for some kind of juried award, but then you’re only as good as your jury.

This is the point where I obviously speak only for myself, but what I need is help, to be honest. I don’t need someone breathing down my neck and telling me I need to nominate when I have no idea what the hell I’d even nominate. Some of it’s a self-actualization issue, where I need to just get off my ass and find the time to read more, and try to read things the actual year they come out. But it’s pretty overwhelming, guys. We are blessed to live in an age where your genre choices are not limited to what you can find on the spinny racks at the grocery store, or on that one shelf in your local library where the dude with the funny-smelling coat always hangs out. Which is awesome! But it also means that there’s so much coming out every day, at some point book mountain gets so high that you’re like fuck this, I don’t even know where to start so instead I’m going to make myself a cup of tea and play World of Warcraft while Captain America: The Winter Soldier plays on the TV in the background.

I’m sure this does not reflect on me well as a human being. I also know I used to read a hell of a lot more back before I didn’t have a full time job and a part-time writing gig and a daily commute during which reading tends to give me severe motion sickness. But here it is, the call for help. I seriously need some helpful soul, or maybe some kind of crowd-sourced thing that can tell me what I should be reading as things come out so I’m not floundering under drifts of pages on book mountain when the Hugo nomination period opens. Preferably some recommendation engine where my fellow writers, bless you guys I love you all but damn I know how we are, are not allowed to nominate or push their own books. I don’t want reviews, I don’t even want opinions, I just want a simple but large list of titles and authors and maybe a helpful link where someone can say hey, I think this book should totally get a Hugo and/or other award or is just awesome and you should read it anyway, and then other people who agree can maybe give it a plus one, and that’s it. Let me form my own opinions.

Does something like this already exist and I’ve just never seen it because I’m a failure at google? Is this something a complete computer incompetent like me could set up on her own site pretty easily? I’d do it in a heartbeat if I knew how.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

katsu: (Default)

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, these last couple of days. Well, as much thinking as possible considering I’ve been getting about five hours of sleep a night and work is slowly consuming my brain, my soul, and probably my major viscera. (But hey, workshop day is tomorrow! Then I get to relax have severe panic about all the end of month work that I didn’t get done because of the workshop wheeeeeeee.)

Anyway. I’ve been thinking drawing the line. You know. The Line. The Line That Must Not Be Crossed.

It’s an expression that can have some real macho bullshit baggage with it, I guess because it makes for nicely threatening language. See anything involving foreign policy. But that’s not what I mean, here. It’s not about denoting territory in a power struggle, be it between international powers or people. It’s not about maintaining physical safety. Those are the lines you draw outside of yourself, whether you’re a country or a parent with a cranky toddler or someone trying to hold the distance between you and an evil shitbag that doesn’t comprehend the meaning of No–and that’s a whole different matter.

The lines I’m thinking about here are the ones you draw inside yourself. They’re part of the way you define and shape yourself into the person you want to be. They are yours–only yours. You don’t get to force your configuration of internal borders on anyone else, and no one has the right to reach into you and redraw those boundaries.

These internal lines read: if I do this, if I am a part of this, I will no longer be the person I am or the person I want to be. I will no longer be right with myself. Crossing these internal lines will probably never hurt you physically, but will wound you in ways that never heal.

And make no mistake, other people aren’t going to have the same internal lines as you; it’s never easy to hit a point where you think something is unacceptable, but your friend is okay with it. Being human ain’t easy because no two of us are exactly the same, and that’s another thing you have to decide for yourself.

But these lines are important. These are the lines you draw between yourself and the dark.


So why all the navel-gazing? It’s not really my style when I’ve got movies I could be bitching about. As you might suspect already, this is another dispatch from the gift that keeps on giving: this year’s Hugo short-list. In my previous post, I said I’d be doing my best to read all the entries with an open heart. It was the best I could come up with at the time, because my first urge is always to ask what’s fair.

But then I made the mistake of getting lost down the comment rabbit hole of Natalie’s post, and one of the people there invoked Orson Scott Card, Roman Polanski, and Woody Allen as similar situations to the Vox Day being a Hugo nominee. (Insert your own feelings here on if you think that’s even a fair comparison to make on the scale of artistic merit versus complete shitbaggery.) And god I wish he hadn’t done that, because I’d almost managed to stop picking at this particular scab and let it retreat to no more than a nagging itch.

I’ve already searched through this little sector of my soul in relation to Orson Scott Card. (For me, he’s the only really pertinent example, because in all honesty I’ve never really liked Woody Allen’s work.) I fought with myself, blood was drawn, wounds were taken, and I came to the conclusion that I have a line. There is a point at which I can no longer separate the art from the living artist. I cannot escape the fact that my support of their art, however miniscule in relative scale it may be, implicates me in what they then use their platform to do and say. It makes me complicit, if only peripherally, in the harm they choose to do. I said of Orson Scott Card:

If you can separate the art from the artist, maybe that makes you a better person than me. Feel that way if you like. But I cannot support someone who believes that me and many of the people I love and esteem are not full human beings.

If that’s true for OSC, whom I have met and actually liked as a person, it’s just as true for Vox Day. And I’m ashamed of myself for not having considered this sooner. Though I guess that explains why I’ve been so damn uncomfortable about this entire mess.

I may still read Vox Day’s story if it’s in the Hugo packet, because what little of his prose I’ve seen has been downright florid, and I have this “hobby” (some might call it a “problem”) where I watch or read terrible things and then go on seething rants about the awfulness I witnessed. So I might give this embarrassing shitstain in the shorts of humanity that much of my time. Or I might just watch a couple episodes of Master Chef reruns instead. The series where it’s all kids is super cute, after all.

But I will not be putting Vox Day above the No Award line. I gave up Ender’s Game because being right with myself was more important than a novel I treasured as a teenager. This isn’t even a contest.


You don’t have to agree with me. I don’t expect you to. These are my lines, not yours.

Feel free to discuss this with me. Feel free to offer me arguments (I’ll do my best to consider) or ask questions if you’re going to actually listen to the answers. If you think less of me as a person for my melodramatic little choice, well, it is what it is. This is personal. I didn’t make this decision for you, and I sure as hell didn’t make it just to spite some guy I wouldn’t recognize if I bumped into him on the street.

It’s the end of the day, and I feel right with myself.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

katsu: (Default)

I edited my post from yesterday to add this, but I’m going to make it as a statement all its own too (with a little expansion), since I don’t think I made this point as strongly as I wanted.

While my sideeyeing here is mighty, I’m going to do my best to give the fiction in the Hugo packet an open-hearted read, within time constraints. I feel like if I’m going to complain about this uber-pathetic deck stacking, then it’s my obligation to not play into the game by letting my choices be made by anything outside what I read in the stories. This might be a good place to whip out that old Samuel Clemens chestnut about not wrestling pigs (because you both get dirty and the pig likes it). I’m pretty sure whichever way the awards fall this year there will be politics invoked as the reason whether it is or not.

I’m also well aware that I’m operating from a pretty privileged position here, so please don’t read this as a finger-shaking exhortation or some kind of judgment. (And feel free to argue with me on this one, I’m just doing my best and my best ain’t perfect.) At the end of the day you do what you have to do to be right with yourself. Where you draw the line for yourself is your choice, not mine. Relevant update on this notion here.I’ll be doing my best to read everyone fairly… minus one.

To be honest I feel a bit bad for anyone that’s gotten unwittingly caught in the crossfire of Correia’s incredibly unsubtle “sad puppy” campaign thing because it adds an unhappy shadow of doubt to the nominations, and that seems unfair. Then again, guys, you got nominated for a Hugo! It’s not like you need some random person on the internet feeling bad at you for that.

Also, you should read Kameron Hurley’s post. And remember that this kind of stuff ain’t new.

That is hopefully all I’m going to need to say about that. I might try to blog a bit as I’m reading. If I have time to read.


Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

katsu: (Default)

I know, I drop off the internets for two weeks (I have a massive slate of excuses that I’m planning to elaborate on…soon-ish) and then two posts in one day! Zomg! But the Hugo nominations just got released, so I’m going to react in between moving my plate so my cat can’t get to my sandwich.

So, here’s the list of nominees!

First off, I’ll cop immediately to the fact that I don’t have as many opinions as I would like about most of the categories because the amount of reading I got done last year was somewhere between deeply pathetic and downright sob-worthy. (And much of what I did read was not published in 2013. Boo.)

I’m super happy for Sofia Samatar; Selkie Stories Are For Losers is one of those rare 2013 stories I did actually read and I loved it so much I nominated it so woo! I helped!  The Graphic Story category is very exciting this year (and god I’m already looking forward to throwing Ms. Marvel on the 2014 ballot, you have no idea) and I’m very happy to see Gravity and Pacific Rim in the Dramatic Presentation, Long Form category. Also An Adventure in Space and Time and The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot are my faves out of the Best Doctor Who Dramatic Presentation, Short Form category. Semiprozine and Fanzine both look exciting this year. And Skiffy and Fanty got nominated in the Fancast category and I love that podcast ferociously so YAY.

Standard congratulations to everyone who got nominated, particularly the five writers up for the Not a Hugo award!

So then there are the things that I’m just sideeyeing so mightily.

First off, Wheel of Time. The whole series. In best novel. Look, I get that it’s technically okay by the letter of the rules, but seriously? I just… I can’t even. And don’t take this as me just being some WoT hater. I mentioned the nomination to Mike, who has read the series and owns many of the books. He likes that massive wood pulp trainwreck in his own way. And when I told him about the nomination, he frowned and said, “Really? That had better not win.” SO IT’S NOT JUST ME.

I’m super disappointed that Her didn’t get nominated in the dramatic presentation, long form. I’m guessing it’s because it wasn’t as massively popular (or well-advertised) as any of the other movies, but goddamn it was phenomenal. (It very much deserved the Oscar it received for best screenplay, and every one of its nominations.) And of course Europa Report, but I had no illusions about that one even having a chance since it was a relatively teeny independent film.

Then the dramatic presentation, short form category. The Best Doctor Who category. But really, The Name of the Doctor? And frankly, I have such a hate/love relationship with The Day of the Doctor that I just can’t even start on that. I guess I’m just glad The Time of the Doctor didn’t get a nomination or I might have punched my fist through my laptop screen. Boy I can’t wait until next year when The Loofah of the Doctor and The Worrying, Hairy Mole That Should Probably Get Looked at of the Doctor battle it out against Game of Thrones: The Lion and the Rose. (I have never watched nor read GoT, and yet it’s very likely even I would vote for that episode because I am an adult human being with an internet connection.)

And then there’s this thing where my sideeyeing hits the sort of level that might indicate incipient eye strain. Natalie Luhrs posted at her blog and there’s also a bit about it over at File770, which is basically the fact that several of the nominees were on sample ballots pushed by the dreaded Vox Day and the not-dreaded-and-is-probably-a-perfectly-nice-dude-in-person-but-online-sounds-like-a-real-asshole Larry Correia.

Now, I have no idea about the quality of most of the work on the ballot this year. I didn’t put nominees in a lot of the categories because I didn’t get to read much new stuff, which is kind of the point. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t nominate things you haven’t read. And for all I know right now, these are all equally fantastic damn stories; I look forward to finding out when I read them. In fact, I had no thoughts beyond, “Oh hey, good for you Brad Torgersen, two nominations!” and so on until I heard about this grossness. (Exception: I did think, “Wow, the Prince of Darkness got nominated for a Hugo? What the hell does that story do, press and iron your shirts while you read?”)

People post their personal ballot picks all the time. I actually look at those when the nomination period is drawing close so I can try to squeeze in a few more things to read and get a better spread on my own nominations. But there is a subtle but very important distinction between, “So this is who I’m going to nominate” and actively exhorting your followers to pony up the $40 for a supporting membership and participate in a “Sad Puppies Hugo stacking campaign” because it’ll… make liberals cry or something.

Bonus points for VD trying to blame it all on the subject of his massive internet hateboner, John Scalzi:

It should be interesting to see how this all turns out. But after John Scalzi – how entirely unsurprising – laid the groundwork for the open politicization of the Hugo Award, it was inevitable that what had always been done quietly behind closed doors would come out in the open.

See! He totally did it first! We’re just doing it better or something!

I get that there is an element of politics inherent in award giving, particularly when it’s “big” awards–all you have to do is observe the Academy Awards to see that. And I get that there is a lot of deck stacking when it comes to platform. (Shit, man, I was just bitching about how a movie I thought was fucking amazing didn’t get a nomination because it was insufficiently popular.) Yet all you have to do is really look over the nominations to see that it’s not just the 900-lb gorillas that get on the slate for these things.

While it might feel good to tell yourself that the only reason the people in your in-group aren’t raking in all the awards is because fancy schmancy people who write stories you don’t like because there’s too much global warming and not enough guns are having a massive circle jerk and didn’t invite you, it’s also pretty goddamn sad. It’s “you plebes just don’t get my genius” in a different form.

It just seems really…pathetic. Yeah, that’s the word I’m looking for.

ETA on 4/20: And since I feel like I didn’t make this point strongly enough in the original post–while my sideeyeing here is mighty, I’m going to do my best to give the fiction in the Hugo packet an open-hearted read. Because if I’m going to complain about this uber-pathetic deck stacking, I feel it’s then my obligation to not play into their game by letting my choices be made by anything outside what I read in the stories. I’m also well aware that I’m operating from a pretty privileged position here, so please don’t read this as a finger-shaking exhortation or some kind of judgment. (And feel free to argue with me on this one, I’m just doing my best and my best ain’t perfect.) At the end of the day you do what you have to do to be right with yourself. Relevant follow-up here.

TBH I feel a bit bad for anyone that’s gotten unwittingly caught in the crossfire of Correia’s incredibly unsubtle “sad puppy” campaign thing because it adds an unhappy shadow of doubt to the nominations, and that seems unfair. Then again, guys, you got nominated for a Hugo! It’s not like you need some random person on the internet feeling bad at you for that.

Anyway, good luck to all the nominees! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

katsu: (Default)

Hey guys, I made the last half an hour of the WSFS Sunday business meeting. There was some site selection stuff for bids 2016+, if you’re interested in that check my Twitter right now before I get all tweet happy and run the tweets I did about that off the page. I wasn’t intending to do anything further, but the committees have been announced for the YA Hugo and Membership issues we referred to committee yesterday.

The names were listed on powerpoint slides. Per Donald Eastlake, these ought to be going up online on the LoneStarCon 3 website in relatively short order. You can also ask for a copy of the slides by e-mailing Donald at bm@lonestarcon3.org.

However, for your viewing pleasure, the names of those on the committees, as typed by me. My apologies for any misspellings caused by fumbling during my frantic typing.

YA Hugo study committee: Dave McCarty as Chair

Members: Jodie Baker, Adam Beaton, Warren Buff, Johnny Carruthers, Martin Easterbrook, Chris Garcia, Helen Gbala, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Tim Illingworth, Fara Menelsohn, Sue “Twilight” Mohn, Helen Montgomery, Cheryl Morgan, Kate Secore, Kevin Standlee, Adam Tesh, Peter De Weedt, Tehani Wessely, Clark Wierda, Lew Wolkoff

[Looks like my volunteerism was quite unnecessary, I can't say I'm sorry. Honestly I was kind of scared out of my mind, though part of me insists it would have been super interesting and an opportunity for learning, etc.]

WSFS Membership Types and Rates Committee: Colin Harris as Chair

Members: Eemeli Aro, Adam Beaton, Gary Blog, Ken Bloom, Warren Buff, Donald Eastlake, Martin Easterbrook, Janice Gelb, Kevin Hewitt, Tim Illingworth, Kevin Maroney, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Mary Kay Kare, Priscilla Olson, Mark Olson, Howard Rosenblatt, Kevin Standlee, Ian Stockdale, Adam Tesh, Leslie Turek

And a couple other committee notes, just in case you’re interested because why not I wrote it down anyway. I just recorded the chairs for these, though.

Mark Protection Committee members listed on slide, and when their terms end.

Nitpicking and Flyspecking – Kevin Standlee as chair

HEROW – Perrianne Lurie as chair

FOLLE committee – continues unchanged

WSFS business meeting was adjourned at 1132.

ALSO! Worldcon 2015 will be in Spokane! (Apparently it will be known as “Sasquan.” Well okay then.) Kevin Standlee tweeted the GOH list. They beat out Helsinki by 35 votes. I don’t know anything more about it, since I missed that part of the meeting because I was at the Broad Universe RFR. I went second and kicked all the ass, thanks for asking.

Have a fun rest of Worldcon everyone!

Originally published at The sound and nerdery of Rachael Acks. You can comment here or there.

katsu: (Default)

PLEASE NOTE: My profound apologies in advance to anyone whose name I missed or misspelled. If you stumble across this blog and would like me to correct it, please just comment!

People are still filing in and dealing with the sign up sheet, so it’ll be a few more minutes before we get started. I’ll update this post as things happen. If you’re not sure what will be on the agenda today, you can get an idea from yesterday’s liveblog.

Also as a reminder: If you are someone who is interested in the YA Hugo issue, VOLUNTEER TO BE ON THE COMMITTEE. To do this, you need to speak to Donald Eastlake, the chair, before close of business on the Sunday meeting. Just stop by one of the meetings, he’ll be at the front.

And now I will eat my apple while I wait for things to get started…

1009: Meeting is called to order. Donald covers the procedure about speaking, etc.

1012: Kevin Standlee has uploaded the raw video from yesterday. Asking for donations to cover the high speed internet for the upload.

1014: Going over what we’ll be voting on today, quick review of the committees, noted the newly created committee yesterday.

1016: No objections to agenda as stated.

1016: First item: Worldcon Publications constitutional amendment. Five minute debate time. But I think we’re debating the amendment to the motion first.

1017: Lisa Hayes, author of amendment: The idea is to remove the financial burden of the paper publications by telling Worldcons to just charge people who want paper pubs instead of paying for it themselves.

1017: Colin Harris: Publications are not defined in the constitution, not everyone gets sent everything. The practice of publication distribution isn’t very consistent. Thinks it’s best to not put specific details, since it’s not defined in the constitution that Worldcon even has to be five days or in the summer, for example. Wants to just simplify the language even more so that committees can operate on common sense.

1020: Lisa Hayes doesn’t feel that her original language was not overcomplicated.

1021: ???: It’s nuts to try to figure out how much something costs up front.

1022: Amendment passes with simplified language.

1023: Back to the original motion, which is now out of debate time. Moved and seconded to extend the debate time by five minutes. Less than 2/3 in favor, debate time not extended.

1023: Motion is passed.

1024: Now on to No Representation Without Taxation amendment.

1024: Priscilla Olson says that this amendment was not intended to keep poor or young people from voting, but we’re all in this together. Notes that the original name “No Cheap Voting” was unfortunate. [Personally, I don't think this new name is any better.]

1026: Against, Christopher J Garcia: as a broke American, feels this disallows a minimum of participation. A voting only membership would be the most basic way to spread participation in the Hugos and WSFS as a whole.

1027: Dave McCarty (sp? sorry!) This would dissociate the Hugos from WSFS and the Worldcon if a voting only membership was created. This is heinous to him.

1027: Against, Warren Buff: Agrees in principle that we should keep the membership rights together. Feels the next amendment would do a better job of it. In favor of the next amendment, against this one.

1028: Glen (????): If you can have a Hugo only membership, you can have a site selection only membership. And thinks this is distorting and weird.

1029: Against, Perry (???): This sends the wrong message to fandom at large. Says this is exclusionary and gives the idea that we don’t want them to participate. Does not want to unbundle rights, but is against setting a minimum price.

1031: Rick Kovalick: ”I don’t trust Worldcon.” Something to do with the best dramatic presentation category.

1031: Against, Stephen (didn’t catch last name): Why are people trying to circumscribe innovation? This will lock the price in, which is bad. Worldcon should be inclusive.

1033: Mike (???) moves to refer this to committee, since membership is ill-defined in the constitution. Motion is seconded.

1034: Kevin Standlee: Moves to amend the motion to commit by referring the Keep Us Together motion to committee as well. Seconded.

1036: Okay so first we have a motion to commit both items at the same time, then we have to vote on the motion to commit for real. This is complicated shit.

1037: Motion to commit both together passes. Motion to send both to committee passes. Donald Eastlake will now take volunteers and appoint the committee. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS ISSUE, TALK TO DONALD ASAP AND VOLUNTEER.

1039: Now time for the WSFS Accountability Act of 2013. Starting off complicated by proposing to clarify the text. The new text is… not something I’m going to type out for you. But it’s a lot shorter, I’ll tell you that.

1041: New text read a second time by Donald.

1042: Dave McCarty suggests a change to the changed language. Wants to change “person submitting” to “persons certifying and submitting.” No objection to changing that language. No objection to the new language for the amendment.

1043: Issue is called to vote without debate. No objection. Motion passes.

1043: Expansion of Best Fan Artist category.

1044: Joshua Kronengold speaks for: fans work in all sorts of media, he wants to clarify this will be for all media, not just for visual artists and cartoonists. Also wants to clarify the public display of qualifying art must be non-commercial like with fanzines.

1045: Ben Yalow against: Supports the non-commercial in, since that’s a good clarification. But does not like opening it in to performance media. Most performance media is already covered by dramatic presentation. Moves to strike all changes but the “non-professional”. Seconded.

1046: Not all performance art is covered by dramatic presentation, such as musicians. Agrees that things shouldn’t be qualified for more than one category, feels that this would narrow things too much.

1047: Colin Harris for amendment to the motion: we do have ways to recognize things like music, such as best related work. Doesn’t feel we should be shuffling animation and filks into what has always been a visual art category.

1048: Seth Breitbart: This is for an artist, not for a specific work of art.

1049: Kevin Standlee asks to have the modified language read. Asks for unanimous consent for… something, and nope.

1051: Rich (???) feels that other types of art are adequately covered and costuming for example is more a craft than an art (at which point a low murmur sweeps over the crowd because THEM’S FIGHTIN’ WORDS).

1052: Debate time has run out. Motion to extend debate by five minutes is passed.

1053: Colin Harris again, asking unanimous consent to change his amendment language again to add back in that conventions are okay for display so that there’s no ambiguity. Unanimous consent is not given.

1054: Move to suspend rules to allow this amendment without unanimous consent.

1055: The added language passes. And now back to the original amendment to the amendment. Yes it really is getting this convoluted.

1055: Donald reads the new language…

1056: Chris Garcia likes this for retaining the word cartoonist. He feels removing the word would strike a blow against the long history of cartoonists in fandom.

1056: (???) The addition of ‘any medium’ does include cartoonists.

1057: Priscilla (???) Most of us are not qualified to discern between art and crafts, dramatic and not. Thinks opening up this category really starts blurring the lines about what we want to do.

1058: New language for the amendment passes.

1058: Move to extend debate time is seconded but does not pass.

1058: The amendment with the modified language passes. This means that fan artist is still basically defined as a visual category, but the constitution is clarified to note that display of the art is non-professional.

1059: Moving on to candidate elections.

1100: Mark Protection Committee election: no objection, the members are elected for three year terms.

1102: Next, the amendments proposed by the committees.

1103: Two-Thirds Is Good Enough, Part 1Kevin S in favor, pointing out that everywhere else in the constitution, a supermajority is 2/3 and not 3/4. Consistency.

1104: (???) “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Doesn’t think it’s necessary.

1104: (???) Extensions should be hard to get; should require more than a simple majority. But does not think they should be that much harder to get. Extensions have provided good candidates in the past and will continue to do so.

1105: Merkel (???)

1105: Kate Seacourt: Do we really need to be ANY MORE SURE OF OURSELVES to extend eligibility than we are to amend the constitution that gave us the power to do this in the first place?

1106: (????) We only have one shot at the extension vote, we should get it right.

1107: Howard Rosenblat (????) Agrees with Ben Yalow’s analysis. 2/3 super majority is the standard. 3/4 sends a message, that’s not one we want to send.

1107: Debate is up. Motion passes.

1108: 2/3 is enough part two, move to call to question. And this one passes as well. [This was pretty darn funny, actually. You can't call to question until someone speaks, so someone said, "I refer you to the points previously made" then it got called to question again. Okay maybe you had to be there.]

1109: We Don’t Need Another HEROW. Basically the HEROW gets passed every year, can’t we just make it permanent? There are currently 3 extended eligibility clauses in the constitution. Anything not originally in English already gets an extension. The critical mass of active nominators remains US members, and that’s likely to continue for a long time. So let’s just permanently extend for the works first published outside the US. Notes several advantages. He exhausts the time in favor.

1114: Mark Merkelson against: argues that markets are converging, for example because of the rising popularity of ebooks. The day will come when this is not necessary. Thinks we should keep it every year and hope for the day we won’t need it.

1116: (???) against: Something not published in the US is not significantly disadvantaged.

1117: A question about the language I am confused sorry.

1118: Ben Yalow against: It used to be hard to get overseas books. A good British author will have his books immediately known in the US. The markets have converged.

1119: Debate exhausted, motion to extend debate fails.

1120: Vote is called. Have to do this one as a serpentine. 49 in favor. 32 against. The motion carries and will appear next year for ratification.

1122: Financial reports.

1123: Ben Yalow proposes new business, removing the parts of the constitution that restrict the regions for the elected members of the Mark Protection committee.

1124: Ben Yalow for: The zone system was originally to move the Worldcon around. We got rid of that in everything but the Mark Protection Committee. No reason to keep it.

1125: Kate Seacourt against (???) Given what the committee does, and since trademark rules vary, it might be valuable to retain people who can speak to local issues when they come up

1126: Mark Merkelson–I kind of missed his points. >.> Sorry.

1127: Kevin S against: Feels there is still some value to having regional diversity, questions if people would be so happy if all nine elected members came from California.

1128: Andrew (???) Feels that the geographical movement of the Worldcons and with members elected at each Worldcon means ensures regional diversity.

1130: Motion to refer this to a committee. Motion fails.

1132: And then the new amendment passes.

1134: Meeting is adjourned.

ETA1: Corrected name spelling of “Collin” to “Colin.”

ETA2: More name corrections thanks to the lovely commenters. :)

Originally published at The sound and nerdery of Rachael Acks. You can comment here or there.

katsu: (Default)

Normally I don’t bother putting my notes online until after the convention because I’d rather be going to more panels and taking more notes, but I wanted to put this up immediately because I consider it important and there weren’t a whole lot of people at the panel. And while I’m sure a lot of vets already know this stuff, I didn’t. Hell, I didn’t even know I could go to the WSFS meeting last year! (If you are at Worldcon, GO TO IT.)

First off, let me explain why you really really should care about the WSFS meeting. This is the place where amendments to the constitution of the WSFS are decided. Which means, in a very practical sense, this is how we decide how the Hugo Awards will work. (Among other things, obviously, but to me the Hugos are what has my attention.) Never forget that the Hugo Awards are ours. They belong to everyone who attends Worldcon or has a supporting membership.

There are a few items I personally consider important this year:

1) The YA Hugo

2) The “No Cheap Voting” motion

3) Trying to kill the fan category Hugos

So yes, I think this thing is important. I think you should consider it important too. And here’s what I learned from just going to this panel. I feel more prepared for the preliminary meeting tomorrow morning. (Hope I’ll see some of you there.)

* * *


Martin Easterbrook, Mark L. Olson, Kevin Standlee (K)

The preliminary meeting doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s where the agenda is set and THAT IS HUGE.

One of the items is object and consideration which is special motion. If 2/3 of the people in the room say “this is stupid, we shouldn’t discuss it” then the motion is killed. The person who made the motion isn’t even allowed to explain when this comes up. This means “we don’t even want to discuss this.” This is generally just supposed to be to kill turkeys; people will vote to keep motions even if they disagree with them as long as they seem like they should be debated.

One year they killed four motions in five minutes because someone kept throwing in censures for individuals they didn’t like.

This is not going to be a good meeting for frivolous motions. (There is a lot on the table.) Apparently in a past year there was a motion objecting to Pluto’s demotion.

This is a democracy where there are no elected representatives. If you want something to happen, you need to get out there and convince people to vote. Also need people who know the business meeting process well.

Mark: The single most important thing you can do in submitting new business (after just being substantive) is doing a good write-up of it. Express it in good, clear writing!

Audience: People familiar with the business meeting will help you write your motion often even if they disagree with it.

Audience: Is it required that the person who proposed the motion be there at the meeting?

K: No, but if you aren’t there, others will be able to interpret it as they like. The proposer gets to make the opening argument but that’s it. Once you submit a motion you lose complete control of it.

K: There is no point in debating constitutional issues on motions at the preliminary meeting. But you can propose to fiddle with them at the prelim meeting because that is the place where it can be killed or sent to the next meeting. Motions can be amended at the preliminary meeting and those are given five minutes of debate. (So people can take a proposal and really just rewrite/change/regroove it if they’re good at this.)

The motion is not yours any more. The only way to change a motion once it’s hit the meeting is with these amendments.

Mark: You can get into amendment wars if you think a stupid amendment is proposed. You cannot amend an amendment while it is under discussion.

K: Amendments are a pretty low ranking motion. You can stack up motions of different primacy.

Objection to consideration can only be done IMMEDIATELY. It has to be the first thing that gets done.

You are supposed to stand and be recognized; if you are physically unable you can call out. You can’t get in line by standing and waiting. You have to be recognized by the chair.

You don’t have to know all the rules. The chairman is supposed to know them and will help you. You can make parliamentary inquiries.

Objection to consideration is only for a constitutional amendment. You cannot object to consideration of an amendment. You have to just vote it down.

Things that are not constitutional amendments will be decided at the preliminary meeting.

Martin: “Tabling” a motion means two different things in American vs. British English. American = not going to come back to it, British = take it up immediately.

K: Use of “Table” as a verb is thus discouraged.

Moving on to Saturday. The agenda is set, the frivolous amendments have been killed, all non-amendments have been dealt with.

Mark: Committees are normally for incoherent motions. Happen maybe one out of three years.

K: First person recognized gets to speak. There is set debate time, divided between the two sides. There is a time keeper. Once you have finished giving your statement you sit down. The sides take turns until no one else wants to speak, you run out of time, or the meeting approves by 2/3 to end debate. A 2/3 vote can also extend the time. Normally time extensions are done by unanimous consent.

Don’t object just for the sake of form. It wastes everyone time.

Closing the debate and calling the question are the same thing.

[They use Roberts Rules of Order]

“I move to call the question on the stack” – that means getting them all over with.

Note: Debate does not have to be factual. You cannot interrupt people to correct them.

Mark: WSFS does allow the point of irrelevant interjection.

K: Sometimes amendments/procedure will eat up all the debate time and you have to ask more time to actually debate the motion itself.

Martin: If you have limited time, you really need to get your best speakers lined up and ready to go. Sometimes your supporters can be your worst enemies if they are incoherent ramblers.

Amendments are allowed that day. They are move to amend motions.

K: You can’t bring up amendments that were dealt with on the previous day unless there are weird circumstances.

If the chair rules on any procedural motion and you don’t like it, you move to “appeal the ruling of the chair.” Then the chair has to explain what they did and why, then you say why you didn’t like it, and debate ensues. “Those who wish to sustain the ruling of the chair…” It takes a majority opposed to the ruling of the chair to overrule; a tie means the chair’s ruling remains.

Unanimous consent

Aye and nay are rarely used: people started shouting

A lot is done by uncounted shows of hands rather than counted shows. If the vote is close enough, they do serpentine, where all one side will stand, then count off one by one.

Almost everything requires a majority vote. The chairman only votes if his vote will actually have an effect on the outcome.

If something is voted on this year, it DOES NOT take effect next year. It has to go to the next Worldcon, get approved there as well, THEN it goes into effect the year after.

Sunday is for site selection questions.

Mark: The formality is there so we can find out what people at the meeting actually want, not just what the loudest people want.

K: The WSFS is a LARP with Roberts Rules as the rulebook. There are people who go just for the entertainment.

Mark: I encourage you to come. If you speak, do your best to speak clearly.

Martin: Because of the restricted time, it can look like a cross between a magician and a sumo wrestling match if you don’t understand the rules.

Originally published at The sound and nerdery of Rachael Acks. You can comment here or there.


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