Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: First video games, now scifi. Is everything I love beyond redemption?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    5,500

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    3,106
    When the crazy gets to me, I spend more time offline, where RL is a bit less extreme. It's as if the internet filters out all the moderates, the undeclared enemy of all.

    Thanks for introducing me to the chilling neoreactionary movement via links in the article; had heard of some of the kooks but not the movement itself. Systematic non-systems thinking, wow. Wish I could say more.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    18,329
    It's a tempest in a teacup. And seriously, parallaxicality, you're reading Gawker? They make the National Enquirer look good. If you're really interested in this subject, check out File 770. Though you might be overwhelmed - they have lots of quotes from lots of links.

    The issue here is about the Hugo awards, which gives awards out for science fiction and fantasy works each year. It's a popularity contest where anyone can vote if they pay $40. There's a nomination phase and a final voting phase. For the things that most voters are interested in (like novels) 200 votes would be large for any particular nomination. For other things it's smaller, so it doesn't take that many people to swing a nominating vote, if you get them to all vote for the same thing.

    For a few years, there have been some authors that have been claiming a systemic bias in voting pushing messages over story. Three science fiction/fantasy authors have been putting out directed voting slates they think will correct this. Brad R. Torgersen and Larry Correia head the "Sad Puppies" group. They're decidedly right wing politically, but seem to be generally regarded as "okay" people.

    Then there is Theodore Beale/Vox Day who heads the "Rabid Puppies" group. He's a misogynist racist troll that would be little known as a writer except for his antics (which among other things makes him the only person to get kicked out of the SFWA). He isn't so much interested in changing the Hugo awards as destroying them.

    Sad Puppies tries to distance themselves from Rabid Puppies/Vox Day. I don't think many are listening though. They both had similar slates, though it was the Rabid Puppies slate that had six nominations for John C. Wright. (This is a guy that got very upset over two women holding hands in an animated show.) Anyway, Vox Day gets the attention since he's such an obviously awful person.

    Last year they had some success on the nominations, but this year they ran away with them, which has upset people interested in the Hugos. There's been the claim that "Gamergaters" were responsible for this year, but I think that's unlikely. This didn't really seam to catch the attention of the gaters until after the nominations were a done deal . . . and somebody mentioned "gamergate." I think it's far more likely the Puppies just managed to build on last year's momentum a bit with people that were already likely to follow them.

    I've never cared that much about the Hugo. I mostly noticed it if an author I liked got an award, but it has never mattered to me in terms of buying decisions. I have no way of knowing if there's anything I'd perceive as a substantial bias, though it's pretty clear to me that "Sad Puppies" represent minority demographic. I couldn't care less what Vox Day thinks.

    Whatever else, it's clear that the Hugo nominations can be easily gamed, and the internet makes it far more likely. I expect some rule changes in a couple years. In the meantime, there seems to be an explosion in people buying tickets so they can vote. I suspect a lot of these don't like the Puppies.

    And if you're going to get upset, well, sorry, but there are people who have different views than you do, and you're far more likely to see them on the internet. I think there is a general problem in how people react, that is causing more polarization in views rather than less, with people each going to their own echo chambers and more quickly seeing different viewpoints as evil.

    By the way, if you want to see another science fiction author/troll scandal going in a rather different direction, look up "Requires Hate."

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    5,500
    And seriously, parallaxicality, you're reading Gawker? They make the National Enquirer look good. If you're really interested in this subject, check out File 770. Though you might be overwhelmed - they have lots of quotes from lots of links.
    Thanks for the link. You're right though, it is a bit overwhelming. As for Gawker, to be honest I'd never read another page of that site in my life; I stumbled across it while following Gamergate on Google Trends.

    As for the implications of this, well, a number of my favourite scifi novels (Dune, Neuromancer, the Foundation series) make much of their Hugo wins; if this becomes a trend it will retroactively damage them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    3,841
    Hmmmmm.
    White-supremacist, bigoted, in favour of rape, pillage and burn policies?
    Have you ever watched Game of Thrones?

    John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    10,250
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD View Post
    Hmmmmm.
    White-supremacist, bigoted, in favour of rape, pillage and burn policies?
    Have you ever watched Game of Thrones?

    John
    Do note that GRRM does not advocate white-supremacist, bigoted, pro-rape, pillage, and burn policies in his non-fiction writings. Vox Day does.

    Both Vox Day and Torgerson were publicly whining about last year's Hugos having insufficient numbers of white male heroes and too many heroic people of color and women. Bizarrely, Torgerson was also complaining that a literary award was becoming too literary. I've been reading far less sf in the past decade or so than I read earlier, as I have less time (commuting from New Haven to New York via MetroNorth supplies a lot of reading time, and I'm no longer doing that). I've never found the Hugo Award to be too useful in book selection mostly as I have found a lot of the winners are not to my taste (not literary enough ). For this slate, one of the writers on the list for best novel is someone whose writing I've found appallingly bad.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    17,608
    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    As for the implications of this, well, a number of my favourite scifi novels (Dune, Neuromancer, the Foundation series) make much of their Hugo wins; if this becomes a trend it will retroactively damage them.
    I doubt if anyone who knows how the Hugos work has ever actually let them influence their reading choices. Publishers like to mark up their covers with awards; authors enjoy receiving awards. But classic novels of the kind you mention will stand on their own merits, no matter what happens to the Hugos, and their sales are unlikely to be dented by current Hugo shenanigans - the sort of people who buy books just because there's an award mentioned on the cover are the sort of people who don't know much about how awards work anyway, so they'll be blithely oblivious to it all.

    Grant Hutchison

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    5,500
    Yeah, of course you're right; I must admit in retrospect that was a fairly stupid comment. After some consideration, I think what really bothers me about this is that at heart I'm a Roddenberry, and I really hate the idea that the future of SF seemingly belongs to Orson Scott Card. But, maybe that's a bit too political.
    Last edited by parallaxicality; 2015-Apr-18 at 05:15 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    17,608
    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    Yeah, of course you're right; I must admit in retrospect that was a fairly stupid comment. After some consideration, I think what really bothers me about this is that at heart I'm a Roddenberry, and I really hate the idea that the future of SF seemingly belongs to Orson Scott Card. But, maybe that's a bit too political.
    I'm pretty sure the future of SF is under no threat from a bit of self-important fuss over the Hugos.

    Grant Hutchison

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    11,496
    HPL wasn't very evolved in terms of his views--but he could write.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    8,787
    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Both Vox Day and Torgerson were publicly whining about last year's Hugos having insufficient numbers of white male heroes and too many heroic people of color and women.
    Can you back that accusation up? With actual links to things that Torgerson actually said/wrote?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    10,250
    He did say this "In the last decade... we’ve seen the Hugo voting skew ideological, as Worldcon and fandom alike have tended to use the Hugos as an affirmative action award: giving Hugos because a writer or artist is (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) or because a given work features (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) characters." (https://www.weeklystandard.com/artic...ds_921774.html)

    I've not read most of the authors listed in their slate, although I have tried to read Kevin J Anderson. Appallingly bad; I found Dietrich Kuchemann to have better plotlines, more literary merit, and better drawn characters. (and I'm using these words in their literary sense -- plot as in the plot of a story, and characters as in the human or quasi-human beings who inhabit the story).
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    8,787
    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    He did say this "In the last decade... we’ve seen the Hugo voting skew ideological, as Worldcon and fandom alike have tended to use the Hugos as an affirmative action award: giving Hugos because a writer or artist is (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) or because a given work features (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) characters." (https://www.weeklystandard.com/artic...ds_921774.html)
    What he's saying there is that they're selecting winners based on the wrong criteria. That's not really saying that there are too many of the wrong sort of people getting awards, is it?

    Assuming for the moment that we don't know whether they were voting for Hugo's on the basis of the writers' (or characters') group-membership instead of the works' quality, would you agree or disagree with the argument that they shouldn't vote based on the writers' (or characters') group-membership?

    Actually, that's not even the right question - regardless of what criteria you think is the proper criteria, do you think it indicates racism on my part if I say that I think the votes should be based on the quality of the work, and completely ignore the writer's skin color?

    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    I've not read most of the authors listed in their slate, although I have tried to read Kevin J Anderson.
    Do you think that their slate doesn't include enough (or includes too many) of the right/wrong sorts of authors/characters?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    17,608
    I've read Torgersen's first short story collection, which means I've read a significant proportion of his published work. It's workmanlike stuff, but it didn't grab me with either its style or content. He interleaves the stories with biographical notes, which show that he has received early praise from the likes of Stan Schmidt and Mike Resnick, and he seems to have developed a rather puffed-up feeling of entitlement as a result. (I can only read so much of a writer declaring how proud he is of what he does without beginning to retch slightly.) He also seems to have a pretty limited idea of what science fiction is and does - I have the distinct impression that in his view it's the job of modern science fiction writers to write the way the Golden Age writers wrote. He doesn't seem to get the idea that other writers and readers may have other valid preoccupations.

    There's an interesting graph of the gender distribution of Hugo nominees here. There have been two dips towards gender balance: one in the early nineties, and one in the last few years (until this year), but mainly it's been around 80% male. We know what has caused this year's spike back towards 80%, but what happened the last time?
    Has "affirmative action" been involved in these two excursions towards 50%?
    If it has occurred, what kind of affirmative action was it? Vincent Maphai recognizes (I think usefully) two kinds of affirmative action: "fair equality of opportunity" and "preferential hiring". Torgersen seems to think that "preferential hiring" has occurred (authors being nominated simply because of the perceived underrepresentation of their ethnic group or gender in previous nomination rounds), and he says that he supports "fair equality of opportunity" (authors being nominated purely on the merit of their writing). However, his view of what constitutes good quality writing seems so narrow that I doubt his ability to judge the merit of nominations outside his own limited scope.

    Grant Hutchison

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    10,250
    I don't think that either the Sad Puppies or the Rabid Puppies (do note that in real life, rabid puppies are put down) would set off this kerfuffle had they not basically spent their time whining about the "wrong" people getting awards, about literary qualities being given too much consideration for a literary award, and (the wrong sort of) politics pushing its nose into the tent.

    I read much less sff than I once did. For one thing, I no longer need to spend three hours per day commuting to New York, and I no longer have access to the New York Public Library (almost certainly the best public library in the Western Hemisphere). For another, the authors who I've found consistently enjoyable are either dying or cutting back on their production. I've never found either the Hugos or the Nebulas to be very useful, as I tend to read hardcover fiction when it shows up in the libraries, before it gets the awards, and I've found many of the works given either award less than satisfying, at least on the second or read.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Nowhere (middle)
    Posts
    36,941
    Does anyone really think that games and genre fiction are "beyond redemption"? Sure, they've been hijacked by loud bigots lately, but that's hardly permanent or unique to those categories of entertainment; everything that is followed has some bad followers. Those donkeys don't really represent the majority, they represent the biggest and shrillest noisemakers.

    If anything, pointing out the scope of the problem makes it more likely that the rest of us will want to do something about it. I see this as a long term problem to be solved, not something "RUINED FOREVER".
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    18,329
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    Do you think that their slate doesn't include enough (or includes too many) of the right/wrong sorts of authors/characters?
    A key problem for me is that it *is* a slate. If they had focused on, say, pushing one work per category that they thought was worthy but being ignored, it wouldn't be such a big issue. Or if they had made twenty suggestions per category, it would be different. But they instead had a tightly focused slate that mostly swamped the nominations so others were left out.

    I wasn't terribly impressed by works I looked into, and some of the authors didn't impress me much either. That said, I didn't do anything like a comprehensive review, and I generally ignore the Hugos, so I can't make much comparison to other years. Generally they don't concern me much. However you slice it, Hugo awards can only represent a small part of the science fiction output each year, so can't be very representative.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    8,787
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    There's an interesting graph of the gender distribution of Hugo nominees here. There have been two dips towards gender balance: one in the early nineties, and one in the last few years (until this year), but mainly it's been around 80% male. We know what has caused this year's spike back towards 80%, but what happened the last time?
    Don't we need to know the percentage of sci-fi authors who were male before we can decide the meaningfulness of those statistics? Gender balance in sci-fi is a worthy goal, but the Hugo's would have to follow that, not drive it.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    18,329
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Torgersen seems to think that "preferential hiring" has occurred (authors being nominated simply because of the perceived underrepresentation of their ethnic group or gender in previous nomination rounds), and he says that he supports "fair equality of opportunity" (authors being nominated purely on the merit of their writing). However, his view of what constitutes good quality writing seems so narrow that I doubt his ability to judge the merit of nominations outside his own limited scope.
    Having read some of his comments, I agree that he has a narrow view. Everyone has biases, but I don't presume my biases about what I like should represent what everyone else likes. He hasn't made a persuasive argument as far as I'm concerned.

    I suspect a big issue here for him is that it turned into an internet fight some time ago, and as so often happens with controversial subjects, he's had a lot of negative reaction, a lot of it extremely angry. The internet seems to amplify these types of arguments horribly, and I suspect he feels they've been pushed into a corner, but also of course, he's found support from like-minded people which helps support his beliefs.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    17,608
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    Don't we need to know the percentage of sci-fi authors who were male before we can decide the meaningfulness of those statistics? Gender balance in sci-fi is a worthy goal, but the Hugo's would have to follow that, not drive it.
    We sure do. That's why I introduced Maphai's distinction between "fair equality of opportunity" and "preferential hiring". We can't understand those lurches between 80% and 50% until we know the population of published works from which the Hugos are (allegedly) chosen.

    Grant Hutchison

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    5,563
    Science fiction is mostly literature of looking forward, I think Niven had it correct in some of his novels where in the world of the future almost all humans on Earth will be various shades of brown.

    Trying to hold onto some synthetic idea of racial or sexual superiority in any forum is kind of like trying to outlaw the tides. This too will pass.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    4,051
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    Science fiction is mostly literature of looking forward, I think Niven had it correct in some of his novels where in the world of the future almost all humans on Earth will be various shades of brown.
    They already are, or rather, it's been that way for as long as there have been people.

    No one is actually white, not even albinos.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •