I attended WorldCon in Reno in 2011. I couldn't put my finger on why at the time, but I never wanted to go back. And I didn't want to keep associating with most of the people I met there. It was just...not a great place. And it was being run by all the "cool kids," some of whom were mentioned above.

Breaking away from mainstream SFF was a great choice and I've been validated in that several times over the last 15 years.

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Kat Jones: "I vas only following orders!"

Totally clueless as to what their actions really entailed, and thoroughly unwilling to take responsibility for those impacts on other people and the larger organizations. May these people go at each other, tooth and claw until none remain. They have worked very, very hard for this fate.

That means ...

"Of all the words of quill or pen

the saddest are these:

'Vox Day was right, again'."

Fully buttered and heavily salted popcorn, engaged.

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Feb 20Liked by Michael Gallagher

Once upon a time, I WANTED to attend WorldCon and actually enjoy watching the Hugos being awarded and everything else.

I'd heard the stories and...I'd been just enough downstream of the toxic cultures brewing in academia and the entertainment industry to know how bad it was getting there. Still, one had to hope.

Then the Sad Puppies happened.

And these idiots proved Vox Day right.

That's...not quite as bad as proving Hitler right. Mussolini, maybe.

But it's pretty close.

Then the wooden asterisks hit and any respect you had for those people went away very, very quickly.

The self-censorship just to succeed at what is now a small cultural event in China?


But not surprising.

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Feb 20Liked by Michael Gallagher

I’m embarrassed that, at the time of the sad puppies, the only account of it that I read was Scalzi’s narrative. Since then, I’ve learned to add plenteous grains of salt to his pronouncements and seek out alternate sources. Is there a more accurate version of the sad puppy fracas that you can point me to?

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Considering that Eric Flint was slightly to the left of Stalin in places, that he defended the Sad Puppies at all...


Why a lot of people were very unhappy with "literary SF" and the Hugos were just part of the issue.

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lol Old Man’s War is basically Starship Troopers in the computer age

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Feb 20Liked by Michael Gallagher

Cameltoe Flipflop being censored by his fellow vile leftists is the giggle I didn't expect this morning.

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Feb 20Liked by Michael Gallagher

If the Awards must continue, I suggest reballoting and giving new awards this year. For starters, there is appreciable evidence that a large number of Chinese ballots were not counted, depriving Chinese authors of the chance to win an award. I realize someone else would have to do the work.

Should WorldCon consider banning the core guilty parties from attending future WorldCons? In my opinion, no.

The National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F.org) continues to give the oldest awards in fandom, the Laureate Awards, first given in 1941.

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Sadly? It's more a Fantasy Org. You needed something akin to what the Hugos were for all of it. The Dragons started out that way and got corrupted real quick The main reason, I suspect, George, that they have been, "fine," has less to do with their age. I fear that since anything with enough broadness and, "validity," like the Hugos were, will attract the worst kinds of unsavory people so they can turn around and bless their agenda and pat themselves on the back so hard their arm almost breaks. Similar goings on happened with the Oscars, Emmys and the Golden Globes.

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In the end, I suspect when they run out of the main, obvious, methods to giving unjustified merit out, they'll corrupt N3F's stuff as well.

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Feb 28Liked by Michael Gallagher

Calling the Hugos a woke dumpster fire is being unfair to a good old fashioned dumpster fire.

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> Will anyone who won a Hugo at this hopelessly corrupted farce of an awards ceremony be returning their rocket trophy in the wake of all this?

Well Adrian Tchaikovsky and Samantha Mills have:



I'm sure there are others. I think most of the authors involved are decent people, and it must be horrible to win, then find out it's all a horrid sham.

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That's great to hear!

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Feb 22·edited Feb 22Liked by Michael Gallagher

I've been watching the fragmentation of the SF world over the years, and I think much of it is due to...

-Purity/cancel culture creating group think - i.e. nobody dares say no to the intersectional pronoun person.

-Overlap of social and professional circles, so that people aren't always wearing the right hat when they solve a problem.

-The people who actually make stuff being too busy to organise events.

-The people who organise events not really reading as many books as they say they are, and tending towards being a bit odd.

-Everybody being overstretched and more stabby than ideal in their interactions with the world.

The point being that if "we" behave like the adults in the room and model the camaraderie of yore, maybe things will flip back to that. After all, our table is the fun one.

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Feb 21Liked by Michael Gallagher

They guard the numbers more carefully then the gold in Fort Knox or even more than the secret Coke recipe but I'd be interested in seeing what the most "popular" science fiction and fantasy books are simply based on their sales figures each year. I'd be amused if it was old perennials like Lord of the Rings and Honorverse but we cannot see the numbers and the Best Seller numbers are a game that many writers figured out long ago and arrange to have their books bought at the handful of bookstores that are part of the "counted sales universe".

I find that the best guide to buying books is friends and the comments of bloggers I read because I enjoy what they write. And yes, I was one of the puppies and then both of them and laughed and laughed at what the scumbags ruining the Hugos did again and again and again since 2015. Talk about cheapening an award to death.

I take issue with the comment about the awards for valor. You break the mold of thought on that when you think about the last stand and nobody walked away but without witnesses, was nobody brave enough to merit an award for valor....

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Since I'm the only person mentioning the military awards "system", I think your last paragraph is directed at me, and I'm a little unsure what you're trying to say.

I did my 25 years in combat arms, and I've got a pretty good idea whereof I speak: The entire system is corrupt from top to bottom, side to side, back to front, and diagonally. The abuses of it are legion, and they've corrupted it even further by making awards a part of the promotion system... If you don't have 'em, you're not getting promoted.

The corruption of the system was pretty obvious from the start of my career, back in the early 1980s. The first award I earned was an impact AAM for being the only armorer to actually pass an Annual General Inspection on the first try, and getting laudatory mention in the AGI itself. Considering that the Arms Room I had was a toxic disaster area only a month or two before the inspection, I'm pretty confident I earned that minor award. When I left the unit, I was the only PFC getting an Army Commendation Medal for service during my assignment, and I got it standing next to several Sergeant's First Class, one of whom was still giving me side-eye over the issue years later when I worked for him again. Both awards, I felt, were merited and I took pride in them.

My next assignment? I got there only a week or two before their AGI, and we did really well on that one. About all I contributed to it, given how new I was? I was there, and that was it. My squad leader was instructed to write everyone in the squad up for an award. The only thing he could think of that I'd really done was, literally, buffing the dayroom floor really well.

So, he wrote me up for that, thinking it would be disapproved. I was indifferent; I had awards I'd earned, see?

Care to guess whose award was the only one approved, and who then had to stand up in front of the battalion to get it, hearing that citation for "buffing the dayroom floor"? Yeah. Me.

The awards system lost its sheen for me, that morning. When you're getting mocked, rightfully, for something like that? Sorta damages the value of the rest of the awards.

Nothing else I saw in the rest of my career did anything to improve my jaundiced view. I did what I had to for my guys, took what I was offered in terms of my own awards, 'cos that was part of the game. I did draw the line at doing what a lot of other senior NCOs did, and writing up my own awards... If it wasn't worth their time for them to write me up, screw it. I'd obviously done nothing to deserve anything.

Whole thing blew up for me in Iraq. Word came down "Write up your achievements on this tour, we gotta do your award..." At the time, I was detached as a liaison to division headquarters, and basically just holding down a desk chair nights. My response was "Yeah, ain't done nothing, don't worry about it..." which got "You gotta... SFC and above are all getting Bronze Stars, it's your only chance..."

Now, that pissed me off. I was running the S2 shop when we deployed, and my guys were spread all over the unit once we were on the ground. One of my Sergeants was on the Personnel Security Detachment, and generally out of the wire doing convoys at least once or twice a week. Several IED strikes, several firefights; in one of them, he saved the life of an Iraqi civilian under fire. Seemed to me that was worth some recognition, ya know?

Nope. Didn't qualify, under the matrix. And, the worthless ass running his section didn't even fight for him. So, he was getting nothing, and I was gonna get a Bronze Star for meritorious paperweightery? Yeah; no.

Told my boss that if he dared write me up or had me in an awards ceremony of any kind, I was going to embarrass him, the commander, and anyone else involved. I refused to participate in that bullshit, because that was the one goddamn thing I had left by that point: My self-respect.

They took me at my word, and somehow "lost" my invitation to the awards ceremony they held for themselves right before we redeployed. When I returned to the unit, right before departure, I was standing around in the Operations Center just BSing with everyone, and someone handed me a folder with a lower-than-Bronze Star award in it. I looked up at my boss, made eye contact, and made very, very sure that he saw me walk over to the shredders and run that entire shameful packet through the noisiest one we had. I then walked over to the Personnel section, pulled a fifty out of my wallet, and told the NCOIC that I wanted her to make sure that nothing whatsoever got transmitted to Department of the Army in regards to that award. The entire lot of them, NCOs to officers, watched me do that, with open jaws. I walked back to where I'd been talking to people, didn't say another word, and continued my conversation. I think I'd made my damn point... All of them had their little Bronze Stars.

Now, here's the point of that wall of text: D'you think that they earned respect, wearing those? Or, that anyone saw those awards as anything other than rank careerism? They did the same thing in Vietnam, having standard "packages" of awards for people, depending on rank. Generally, a draftee would have to about out-do Audie Murphy to get any recognition; it was a closed shop, and the career guys were taking care of themselves. Nobody who actually spent time out on the line in Vietnam accorded the slightest bit of respect to anyone for an award, unless they also knew "the rest of the story". If you were a staff officer in Saigon? Zero respect; even if you'd earned the damn thing through some unlikely set of circumstances. If you'd been "...in the shit...", then an award might get you something in the way of respect and admiration. It wasn't automatic, at all.

In my case, after I did that in Iraq? I had multiple junior enlisted come up to me and shake my hand, saying they'd heard about my little spectacle, and that they felt like they had to say something. Even guys I'd ridden hard for not meeting standards, and who I thought hated my ass, were coming up and shaking my hand. The whole thing was surreal, the diametric opposite of what an ideal system of awards would accomplish; I got more respect and affirmation from my juniors for refusing the award and shredding the one I got than I would have gotten for just going along with the whole sorry charade.

System's broke, yo... And, it's no better out in the "valor" part of the system. Had the Colonel been there to witness the epic effort my Sergeant made to save that Iraqi civilian? He'd have probably gotten recognition for it. As he had no witnesses, besides the dumbass NCO who told him to "...stay back..." and let her die? No award; if the guy had fought for it, now that I think about it, he'd have had to highlight his own cowardice and inability to function under fire. Which probably explains a lot... Nonetheless, there were other witnesses they could have found, it was just that they didn't want to take it any further for a lowly Sergeant. And, in a headquarters where the coffee boys are all Lieutenants, at a minimum? Yeah. Nobody cared.

My take on the whole thing is that the current awards system is corrupt, venal, and ought to be shut the hell down for a couple of generations until the Army gets that careerist crap out of its system. Until then? No awards, for anything. Once they last currently serving member retires, then maybe bring something back that doesn't make us look like Banana Republic dictators, with all the flipping little colored ribbons "for excellence". Good Christ, even the Boy Scouts eventually cut back on the merit badge bullshit...

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Feb 21Liked by Michael Gallagher

Also, it appears that 600-1000 Chinese nominating ballots may have been discarded, thus depriving deserving Chinese authors of recognition.

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Feb 20Liked by Michael Gallagher


Look, folks... Here's the thing: The error is not the essential corruption of the SFWA, WorldCon, and the Hugos. Those are organizations populated by human beings, and as such, they have definite life-cycles. Right now? You're seeing the death-rattle before they die and get replaced.

Every organization, regardless of purpose, inevitably becomes corrupt and venal. Every award program follows the same trajectory as the parent organization. It is unavoidable, and simply to be dealt with accordingly.

What's happened here is what we can term "careerist/apparatchik capture". The exact precise set of people who should never be put in charge of anything have wound up in charge and destroying the organization. Terry Pratchett, if you missed it, had Mrs. Evadne Cake as an avatar of this sort of person. They show up, they gradually take over while colonizing the place with their own kind, and soon enough, the organization has been hollowed out and is being worn by them the way an ant gets worn by cordyceps...

So, if you're looking for any merit at all, in any award program? LOL... Oh, my sweet summer children... I weep for your naivete, and mourn your apparent initial encounter with reality.

All these things are 'effing corrupt. All of them, whether you're talking the Academy Awards, or the Byzantine awards system within the US military. If you see someone with an award, the only thing you can count on, reliably, is that that person knows the right people, and those people like them.

Even things like the Medal of Honor are corrupt; the number of guys who've been turned down for BS reasons, despite ample valor and outright suicidal heroism, is legion: That's why they're still issuing awards that they've reconsidered from WWII and Korea, after initially turning them down.

If you use the awards a work has been given (note: GIVEN, not "earned") as a criterion for merit and virtue, you're sadly oblivious. I cannot recall the last Hugo Award book that I read that I enjoyed or found at all worthwhile. The ones from my youth, when the whole thing was at least a little bit more virtuous? A few are worth the acclaim. Most were not, starting about 1970.

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Feb 20Liked by Michael Gallagher

This exercise (which should have surprised exactly nobody) hasn't been a waste of time at all.

It's so flagrant and over the top that trying to justify it makes the justifier look even more foolish.

In addition, it's brought the Hugos out to the wider world and again, the flagrant, toxic behavior is very difficult to justify, bringing more discredit on the organization.

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Feb 20Liked by Michael Gallagher

There is another issue. The people who counted votes and made decisions on ballots this year overlap substantially with the people who counted ballots in recent years. One might wonder if 2023 was a unique event, or if past vote counting was also adjusted, just more competently.

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As was observed...the rot began with keeping the Trekies/Trekers/etc. out. The rot was just made very apparent and very obvious to many with the Wooden Assterisks incident. This is just a replay of the same trash as that...just worse, really.

Scalzi should just keep his gob shut. He's partly to blame for this as it was. Not that he will. We all know the man and know he can't help himself...annoying and ridiculous as he is.

As for the take? Yeah, they were already dead and just a shambling zombie of its former self after Gerrold handed out the Assterisks. It died because of all the bogus No Awards they did, basically for very similar reasons they pulled this stunt this time.

When you have no integrity in the first place in a space that CALLS for it...

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