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Not a changeling.

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  • 1 week

    The final show has aired, the final canon ships have been launched, the final spoiler warnings have been lifted, and we now find ourselves in a brave new era ...

    ... an era where the pony infosec parody account @ShiftOnSecurity is no longer anonymous.

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    19 comments · 341 views
  • 3 weeks
    Not dead

    ... though not for lack of trying. In between a layoff and a vacation at my new job, I've been working the work of three people. (At least I've been earning double paychecks due to all the OT.) The death march hopefully should ease up this week.

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    10 comments · 308 views
  • 10 weeks
    Songs of the Sisters: Acquiring Horizon words

    (Tagging Administrative Angel since its sequel is ONLY in the book until September!)

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    12 comments · 617 views
  • 10 weeks
    The roller-coaster continues

    Bronycon was straight-up one of the best weekends of my life.

    I'd love to gush about it. And I will! But I've been home for less than 24 waking hours. And in that time, I have:

    • Called 911
    • Threw out a friend's back (not related to the above)
    • Had my rent raised
    • Discovered a black mold infestation

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    36 comments · 585 views
  • 11 weeks
    Songs of the Sisters: Second printing incoming

    I thought I had over-ordered.

    EVERYONE sending books to the last Bronycon's Golden Oaks Bookstore did. But I was being more daring than most.

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    12 comments · 420 views

MLP's Hugo Award nomination: Into the culture wars · 2:47am Apr 27th, 2016

Fellow bronies: Brace yourself for incoming fandom drama.

And here's the weird part — this time, it's not actually our fault.

For the second year in a row, the Science Fiction and Fantasy (SFF) literary fandom is going into a mass meltdown over the long-running and prestigious Hugo Awards. The finalists were just announced, after thousands of readers cast thousands of ballots for things they thought were the best SFF of the year. Over the award's 60-year history, this has been an organic, chaotic process, in which everyone agitates for their personal favorites and the top five vote-getters float to the top of each category — but the past few years have seen organized voting campaigns whose participants were encouraged (blatantly, or nod-nod-wink-wink-ly) to fill out ballots with a "slate" of the same five nominations to fill up each given category. There was enough of a critical mass of slate voters — about 10% to 20% of the electorate — that this became a numerically dominant strategy. The end result was that, for many categories, the preferences of good-faith voters picking their personal favorites did not appear on the final ballot, only the five items chosen by the slate organizer.

To make things worse, one of the groups that offered a slate did so with the explicit aim of vandalism — their leader saying "I wanted to leave a big, smoking hole where the Hugo Awards were. All this has ever been is a giant ‘f*ck you’." [1]

As it turns out, the Hugo Awards have a category for "Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form" — which includes television episodes, or media presentations up to 60 minutes in length — and this year there's a nominee on it that might be familiar to all y'all:

Here's where we become a football in someone else's game: That My Little Pony episode almost certainly became a finalist because it was listed on the slate of the vandals.

It is ambiguous whether the nomination was serious and ideological (the episode in question is about Starlight Glimmer's "equality cult", making it a potential political statement), or whether it was a "joke" nomination in the same vein as short-story finalist Space Raptor Butt Invasion, but in either case it was pretty transparently proposed as a slap in the face to Hugo voters.

If you don't give a crap about SFF or American culture wars, that should be all the context you need to understand what has other people upset, and help you avoid falling into the drama if you stumble into someone slamming MLP. This goes, however, much deeper. It gets long and messy below the break.

Right. (deep breath)

Puppies, Sad and Rabid

So the slate that filled up 63 of the 85 nomination slots this year is known as the "Rabid Puppies" list. The Rabid Puppies are, essentially, Vox Day and his personal army.

There are very few people who I consider to be genuinely terrible human beings, but Vox easily clears that bar. The tip of the iceberg: He is the only person ever to be expelled from the Science Fiction Writers of America (for using their official twitter feed to broadcast a racist attack on a black author). He has suggested that religious practices like honor killings, throwing acid in women's faces, and even genital mutilation benefit women because they prevent female independence and promiscuity. [I'm not linking to Vox's website to source this, but it's easily googleable. -h] These sorts of statements are part of a larger pattern of delighting in deliberate provocation; he also promotes a whole constellation of loathsome fringe-right-wing beliefs, but really those are just cherries on top of the sociopath sundae.

The thing is, this isn't Vox's first spin around the Hugo carousel — and this is a lot bigger than a single loathsome troll. The "Rabid Puppies" are so named because they are a spin-off group of the "Sad Puppies", who are now in their fourth year of a campaign to place Puppy-preferred works on Hugo ballots. Years 1 and 2 amounted to very little (getting a few specific works on the finalist ballot, to sink to the bottom of final voting), but 2015 — Year 3 — saw the Puppy movement ignite. In 2015, five categories had no finalists that weren't Puppy picks (there would have been more, except that 7 Puppy nominees ended up declining their nomination amid the controversy, leaving several other categories with a single non-slate nominee). Those five categories ended up with voters overwhelmingly choosing to issue "No Award" rather than give it to a slate-supported candidate — a safety valve that, until then, had only been used a handful of times in the award's entire history. In the meantime, the debate over the Puppies' actions raged like a wildfire through SFF fandom.

So what was this about? It depended on who you asked, and when you asked them. By the time it hit the mass media it became "Right-wing extremists are politically hijacking the Hugos", but the reality is much more complex. Let's rewind some.

The third Sad slate launched with a manifesto against storytelling diversity and trope subversion. (Because apparently what speculative fiction needs is more nostalgia-tinted space operas rather than pushing at today's frontiers?) Upon reading that, a broad coalition of SFF fans expressed mild disapproval of the Puppies' category-filling tactics, and then everyone sat down and sipped tea together and tut-tutted about literary fiction instead.

No, just kidding. The actual debate went off of the political cliff and spent several months mud-wrestling in the bottom of the fever swamps. The vast reduction of gender/race diversity in the Puppy finalists (and the views of their leaders) became evidence that both flavors of Puppies were right-wing cabals looking for straight-white-man fiction. The immediate hand-wringing over diversity (and the views of previous Hugo finalists) became evidence that anti-Puppies were SJWs who cared more about affirmative action than good storytelling. The arguments on both sides became further evidence that the opponents of your preferred side were dragging the fight into the culture-war arena, and then the culture warriors got involved and the whole debate became the Israel/Palestine border writ literarily. (Meanwhile, Vox Day gleefully threw rhetorical bombs around, and became the de facto face of Puppydom, to everyone's regret.) Sad Puppy leaders later unraveled into weird accusations of a cabal of left-wing Secret Masters of Fandom who applied ideological tests to keep right-wing authors off the Hugo ballot — never mind that all of them were Hugo finalists before the Puppies started up, and were no less right-wing at the time. (Then they decided that SMOF wasn't pejorative enough and came up with CHORF, labeling everyone who disliked slating a Cliquish, Holier-Than-Thou, Obnoxious, Reactionary Fanatic. Look, I don't make this stuff up.) Meanwhile, some big-name authors/editors heavily invested in the pre-Puppy Hugos went off the rails too, with wild accusations of Puppies bringing in voting ringers from video-game culture warriors Gamergate (because apparently it's impossible to find a few hundred conservatives who like science fiction, or because conservative sci-fi lovers weren't "real" fans). Puppies claimed the victim mantle as targets of the "not a true fan" attacks, and anti-Puppies claimed the victim mantle as targets of award vandalization.

The sad part is that there were a fair chunk of the Puppy population who really did seem to want to shake the Hugos up in a non-culture-war way — and even though the early Puppy years had political overtones and the Rabids flat-out claimed a right-wing mantle in their slate posting, Sad Puppies 3 did bring up some legitimate literary arguments about what sort of SFF should be represented in the awards, such as whether the Hugos should focus on literary quality or on popular enjoyability. This probably gets closest to the core grievances back before politics took the argument over.

(My own opinion on that is that the Hugos should be more of an award for the hard-core fanbase — and recognize works the elite enjoy. The reward for popularity is popularity; the reward for writing something deep but unpopular is critical acclaim. It's the "Featurebox vs. Royal Canterlot Library feature" debate, writ larger, with statues. But that's an issue that got lost in the culture wars, and an issue I think it's possible to have a reasonable debate on without getting into the culture-war issues.)

Cue 2016

Something remarkable happened this year — the Sad Puppies looked at their 2015 slate-nomination success and the backlash that saw them outnumbered by an order of magnitude when angry fans voted No Award, and decided that they wanted to get away from the culture-war aspects and join in the nomination process in the way that anti-Puppies said had always been acceptable. (The Sads, in other words, listened to their critics, and that alone makes them worthy of applause.) They put together a recommendation-collection website with a totally open process — anyone could go into the comments and leave a nomination for something they liked, and then their recommendation list would be compiled simply by choosing the works with the most comment approvals. While this did lead to a few politically charged works making it onto their list, they don't seem to have solicited culture warriors, and the non-Puppies whose list analysis I've read have found the recommendations to be generally high-quality works.

The Sads also deliberately released recommendation lists much larger than the number of nominations each voter was given — meaning that each voter had to choose for themselves which of the listed works was most worthy. There were still a few minorly problematic aspects of it — such as their refusal to remove authors who asked to not be in the compiled recommendations — but on the whole, they ended up with a system that seemed very similar in degree and kind to the other compiled recommendations from various SFF fan groups. (For one comparison, here's the Bay Area Science Fiction Association's list, which for novels is 13 recommendations instead of 10.) The consensus around SFF fandom seems to have largely been to welcome them to the table, though some still held grudges; personally, I read through the Sad Puppies' list when considering my own nominations, and ended up nominating a few works they listed as well as a number from other rec-lists and a number of my own choices.

The Rabid Puppies, unfortunately, doubled down, and went with the same vote-five-in-lockstep plan. As we just discovered, this led to them dominating the finalists and sweeping six categories (green works are Rabid Puppy slate works), locking 90% of voters out of having any say in those nominations. If last year's history is any indication, this will lead to the same Hugo-voting firestorm and the same culture-war antics and the same mass No Awarding and the same hurt feelings on all sides.

Honestly, despite their past aggressions/transgressions, I feel sorry for the Sad Puppies this year. They engaged with their opponents and made a sincere attempt to have their preferences matter in a way that everyone would appreciate — and then got backstabbed by their former allies, their own choices steamrolled off the ballots the same way that non-Puppy voters' did.

Further Reading

My unsourced explanations here are taken from my personal reading from both sides of the drama throughout last year's Hugo season. If you'd like to dig deeper, this is just scratching the surface — but be careful, it's very easy to fall into the outrage pits.

For a more measured view, a good place to start would be the Livejournal account of George R. R. Martin, who was one of the few heroes of last year's drama — staking out a moderate anti-Puppy position, but engaging with their arguments respectfully and equally criticizing anti-Puppies for the widely-held anti-slate view. He also tried to set a positive example by creating the "Alfie Awards" for those knocked out of Hugo contention by last year's drama. GRRM has posted commentary on this year's ballot already. Another great resource is Mike Glyer's File770.com — which last year became the hub of the wheel, posting a relentless stream of updates from both sides in daily Puppy-related summaries, letting everyone (even the Rabids!) speak for themselves and present their own arguments without editorializing. The Puppy factions seem to have decided he's anti-Puppy, but there's no better single place to find out what both sides think, and he's in the rare position this year of being a Hugo nominee both via the Rabid slate (for Best Fanzine, File770.com) and as a non-slate candidate (as Best Fan Writer).

There are several pieces linked in post comments below that are good as well.

Here's Where We Come In

Anyway, where does this leave My Little Pony, being drawn into the middle of this firestorm? Probably nowhere good.

The good news is that — if the nominated episode is seen as a legitimately worthy work — it might actually have a chance at opening people's eyes to the show, rather than being irreparably tainted by association. Already, there are signs in the SFF community discussion that the anti-Puppy backlash will not be quite so knee-jerk this year. There are a couple of mitigating factors — first, the big anti-slate statement was already made with last year's shutout; second, there are two new rules which will almost certainly be ratified before the 2017 Hugos, which change the nomination process to prevent slates from locking up categories; and third, because the Rabid slate was crafted to include some works which were actually popular and might have been legitimately nominated on their own merits. That means that non-Puppy Hugo voters might decide that some of the Rabid Puppies' picks (despite their stated ill intentions) are better choices than a blanket "No Award".

The bad news is that, as noted, the circumstances will probably provoke an instinctive gut reaction against the show from a lot of voters. If it's seen as a "joke" nomination — "Hey, lawl, let's put My Little Pony up against these really smart sci-fi dramas!" — then it's going to land below the other shows on many ballots at best, and below No Award at worst. This particular episode is also going to catch culture-war fire, because of the whole thing about Starlight Glimmer and the equality cult; it's already been cited a bit in right-wing circles as a Take That against affirmative action and other social-justice/equality arguments, and we should only expect to see the heat around that argument grow as its nomination drags MLP into the popular consciousness.

One piece of good news for us bronies is that the Hugos are … not a public vote exactly, but a vote open to any member of the public who cares enough to get invested. All registered members of MidAmericon II, this year's Worldcon SFF convention, are eligible to cast a vote on the final Hugo ballot. You don't even have to attend the convention! The catch is that a membership is a minimum of $50, so you really have to care about the process, at least enough to fork over the dough.

The Hugos have already dealt with enough drama — if you don't have a dog pony in this fight, and all you care about is MLP representation, the best thing for everyone is to stay on the sidelines rather than introduce yet another voting bloc to the mix. But if you're interested in SFF as well as ponyfic and willing to do some reading on all the nominees, that $50 is an excellent investment. Not only do you get to have a tiny say in whether MLP wins a prestigious SFF award (you'll probably be one of about 6,000 voters), but your supporting membership will get you a Hugo voter packet, filled with electronic copies of some of the year's best SFF (…and the troll crap from the Rabid slates) across 17 writing, art, and media categories. To register, go to the MidAmericon II website and buy a membership (for attending the convention itself, or a "Supporting" membership if you don't plan to go).

Either way, it's gonna be an interesting couple of months, and a lot of people who know nothing about MLP are about to get a look at the best and the worst of our fandom.


4/27 edits: Minor wording fixes throughout; refined the discussion of how to get involved; re-sourced some links to remove the footnotes; added "further reading" paragraph; added section headings.

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Comments ( 132 )

This is such an unfortunate mess. My hope this year is that there won't be quite the same slates = no award reaction as last year, but who knows.

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Oh, wow.

Man, I am really glad I got most of my fighting about this out of the way over at Bad Horse's House of Literary Criticism and Emotionally Exhausting Philosophy over the weekend.

... oh, man, who am I kidding.

Nothing is over.

Ughhhh I thought that stupid puppy war bullshit had gone away. Looks like it rages yet.

My personal guess is that the MLP nomination is a mix. We know that bronies have a large Chan-culture element, and (based solely on my personal experience) a larger right-wing/libertarian component than a lot of fandoms out there. So I wouldn't be surprised if there are a number of legit bronies among the Sad or Rabid Puppies. And I do think that The Cutie Map is the most solid episode, especially two-parter, that the show has done. (There are a lot of episodes I think are better, but most of them have a glaring flaw or two that would make me hesitate to nominate them for anything.)

Then other Sad or Rabid Puppies would think it was a joke and join in. So I'm sure some of the nominations were not in good faith.

That said, I do think it's a good episode to have nominated in the sense that it's well written, accessible, and a solid example of the show. I'm comfortable with writing off anyone who complains about it specifically (rather than just in the context of slate voting) as either complaining based on perceived ideology or snobbishness.

Yikes. That sounds like a lot of fandom drama. :twilightoops:

but your supporting membership will get you a Hugo voter packet, filled with electronic copies of the year's best SFF (…and the crap from the Rabid slates) across 17 writing, art, and media categories.

I must be misinterpreting this. So I pay $50, and I get eBooks etc. for everything on all 17 slates? Wait, the new Star Wars is on that list. That doesn't get bundled in, does it?

Yeah thanks to that comment section I started learning about all of this literally today. Er, convenient timing, I suppose.

I could be wrong, but I feel bronies alone have enough numbers (and a willingness to shell out money) to easily vote mlp to the top, which, if that happened, could cause an even bigger shitstorm? Maybe? Who am I kidding, I hardly know anything about any of this.

Sounds like it'll be a blast though. Weeeeeeeee.

That is… messy, to say the least. :rainbowderp:

I should also note that anyone who buys a membership to vote this year will be able to nominate for next year's Hugos. And I kinda have a book actually being published this summer...

I mean, I'm just saying. :duck:

Never had heard of this quagmire until now. Is it bad that about halfway through reading this, I was quite literally pouring myself a scotch? :rainbowderp:

/it's good scotch, so of course it wasn't bad. ;)

What happens is that you get eBooks/electronic copies/etc for all of the finalists whose publishers decide that they wish to include the work in the voter packet.

Historically — because winning the award is a big deal, and because (before the kerpupple) the voter base tended to be a few thousand fans, many of whom had already consumed the works — publishers basically donated copies of all that stuff to Worldcon, and Hugo voters got a crapton of free stuff dumped in their lap. The big caveat here is that this drama has increased the voter pool by a massive margin, and many people are now joining the con just to vote, so publishers' incentives may align differently.

But chances are high that, at a minimum, you'll get significant excerpts of five novels as ebooks, plus all the novellas and short stories, plus most or all of the works in other categories. (My big pleasure reading from last year's Hugo ballot was the entirety of five great graphic novels.) The feature films are very unlikely to be in the nomination packet, because MPAA, and because they're all such blockbuster hits that the studios can safely assume you've seen them already.

Honestly, considering MLP'd reputation overall outside the fandom...

I am not getting my hopes up that this will result in anything positive for the show.

It would be nice, but... :applejackunsure:

That still seems like a good deal. I'll have to look into it some more.

Thanks for all the info, Horizon. :twilightsmile:


I could be wrong, but I feel bronies alone have enough numbers (and a willingness to shell out money) to easily vote mlp to the top, which, if that happened, could cause an even bigger shitstorm?

I'm gonna be the killjoy here and say that people shouldn't be doing affinity voting in these things. If you think the Cutie Map is genuinely worth winning Best Short Form? Go nuts. If you literally haven't seen anything else in the category? Maybe don't vote in it.

Also too, a sidebar: something that always gets sidelined against the more salient issues but that I nontheless think is worth mentioning in a broad overview of the Hugo's is that money and careers are involved.

I don't mean prize money. I mean that your publisher being able to put "Hugo-nominated" in front of your name has a measurable effect on sales. Being able to put "Hugo Winner" in front of your name has a much larger measurable effect on your sales and opens doors in Hollywood and allows you to command larger advances and more favorable terms whenever you go to sell a book. If you win the Big One, Best Novel, it's a shit-load of prestige and basically guarantees you a presence on the A-list for the rest of your professional life.

The Hugo is the only genre fiction award that really does this. The Nebula has a lesser impact, but still an impact, and the Campbell is only cared about by people who are... the sort of people who pay fifty bucks to actually vote in the Hugo's. The Edgar Awards (mystery) and the RITA Award (romance) aren't cared much about at all even amongst readers of those genres.

Basically there's cash and prestige involved here. If you were a struggling writer who managed to get critically noticed in 2014 or 2015 in a downticket category and thought you had a real shot until this bullshit rolled into town, you may, in fact, have been materially harmed. Not actionably harmed, but... well, it might have kneecapped your career when you were just starting out or struggling.

This seems like an opportunity for a Pyrrhic victory at best. Even with the apparent reforms among the Puppies, I worry that this nomination is just going to taint us by association, only more so if it gets support from a wave of previously nonvoting bronies. I wonder if the best outcome wouldn't be the producers declining the nomination.

I do wonder sometimes if we give awards a tad too much power.

You should DEFINITELY submit this to EQD as an editorial.


Basically there's cash and prestige involved here. If you were a struggling writer who managed to get critically noticed in 2014 or 2015 in a downticket category and thought you had a real shot until this bullshit rolled into town, you may, in fact, have been materially harmed. Not actionably harmed, but... well, it might have kneecapped your career when you were just starting out or struggling.

The problem is that the current shit storm is because Sad Puppy authors and fans think they were getting overlooked for reasons that had nothing to do with merit and being materially harmed by non-literary considerations. It can go around in this circle for ages. Either money and careers will have to stop resting on it eventually, or someone will always feel like they're getting screwed until the culture wars die down. (So, basically, forever.)

You would think after Boaty McBoatface, we'd have learned that participatory democracy is as much a responsibility as a right.

I remember this drama from last year, and I'm surprised the Hugo committee didn't learn its lesson.

So basically,

This was a very interesting writeup, thank you for doing it! I'll have to think about getting into that side of SFF culture.
Speaking of which, are there internet cultures you DON'T have a claw in? The list seems to grow shorter every day...

Making changes requires votes at two conventions in a row. I think they did the first vote on some stuff last year, but it has to be approved this year.

This is such a mess… and yet I kind of what to hear this story told over a campfire, set to some catchy banjo music :pinkiecrazy:

In this year alone there have been many such examples of vocal minority voting blocs hijacking online elections. For example, Boaty McBoatface won a contest to name a British research ship, and hockey bloggers got John Scott (a hockey player more known for fighting, who is no longer on an NHL roster) voted as one of the captains for the NHL all-star game. One might even include the GOP primary on this list (Trump has only a plurality of support among Republicans), though his support is presumably genuine and not an attempt to troll the GOP.

The Hugo Awards in particular beg the question: in this age of cultural fragmentation and political polarization, is democracy broken?


I'm gonna be the killjoy here and say that people shouldn't be doing affinity voting in these things. If you think the Cutie Map is genuinely worth winning Best Short Form? Go nuts. If you literally haven't seen anything else in the category? Maybe don't vote in it.

I would take it a step further: if you find the Rabid Puppies' actions to be deplorable, voting for MLP for the sole reason of "because ponies" is no better.

This did actually occur last year, both with some authors requesting they not be considered pre-nominations, and a couple of them withdrawing after being officially nominated. Remains to be seen what will happen this year.

Though it's safe to say that M.A. Larson is being... very M.A. Larson.


Right, I haven't been following this super closely but I was thinking of Horizon's mentions of that in the post. The question is whether a TV studio backed by a huge toy company is willing to make any power moves on such a delicate topic. I guess we can probably trust Hasbro to do whatever seems least likely to court controversy, which in this case may actually be the best guiding principle.

I assume you're referring to the British government's responsibility to its people to follow through with a democratically decided name, right?

That's a thing that can happen? How, and who do I talk to?

Georg #27 · Apr 27th, 2016 · · 11 ·

3899549 I haven't followed it too closely, but my general take on how the sturm und drang of the event started went roughly:
Hey, the Hugos used to mean something, and now it has become a lefty echofest where only books with reliably straight-left piles of tropes even have a chance. Let's see if we can get Author X nominated for his good book.
Time passed, Author X was nominated... and stomped unmercifully (and in public) by the nominating group for not adhering to the standard-left piles of tropes. A number of other well-selling authors of general rightish persuasion took note. A certain amount of verbage was exchanged. The relative merits of If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love, the 2014 Hugo short story winner (Correction: Finalist) was discussed. An idea was floated. "Hey, what if we nominate a set of worthwhile stories and see if we can't get them the recognition they deserve?"

Which the leftish clique who had run the Hugos for several years reacted to much like salt on a slug. The rest is history. (and interesting fireworks)

Sad Puppies 3 did bring up some legitimate literary arguments about what sort of SFF should be represented in the awards, and whether the Hugos should focus on literary quality or on popular enjoyability. This probably gets closest to the core grievances back before politics got in the way.

(My own opinion on that is that the Hugos should be more of an award for the hard-core fanbase — and recognize works the elite enjoy. The reward for popularity is popularity; the reward for writing something deep but unpopular is critical acclaim...)

Yeah, personally I don't mind if the Hugos are a little less literary. The Nebulas already seem to be literary AF, and I can't stand it. Redshirts wasn't a great novel or anything, but 2312 was just an ugly mess. I don't care if KSR is a literary genius; he needs to learn how to write a plot and at least one sympathetic character before I agree to read anything else he writes.

And the results are in! The winner of this years Hugo is... Donald Trump? Motherfucker!

When the Wheel of Time series got nominated for the Best Novel Hugo in 2014, Brandon Sanderson did a blog post on this point that I think was very well stated. It was about what Hugo voting should be, and the attitude potential Hugo voters should take into their decision process. I figure I'll link it here.

You might start with this link.

But I'd probably also consider PM'ing Themaskedferret. She blogged about the Hugo nomination earlier today and she's a blogpony. She's probably the best source of good information on how to submit an editorial and whose desk you might want to get it on.

Thanks for that. It was a very well put blog. Always encouraging to see there are still sensible people who have a voice.

Thanks for writing this, it has been quite insightful. Once again, I'm reminded of that quote, allegedly by Ghandi: "Western civilization? That would be a good idea."

P.S. Fimfiction renders links in blog posts with rel="nofollow" which search engines do not follow, so you didn't have to worry about that.

Well, "The Cutie Map" has at least two things going for it. a) It's an interesting, unusual episode which explores themes non-fans won't have expected from a TV-Y show. (After all, many of us fans didn't!) And b) as bookplayer said earlier, it's accessible. You really don't need to know much about the series to understand what's happening. I don't think it should win against that competition, but it certainly isn't as out of place as some people will no doubt think.

Excellent piece, horizon. Thank you.

I will vote beneath No Award, sight unseen, anything produced by Vox Day or his crowd. It will be shit with no literary merit whatsoever. The stuff by others on their slates, I will give a honest consideration.

They did; the anti-slating amendment to the Hugo rules passed handily. It needs to pass again this year, and given the noted neanderthal supremacist Theodore Beale's (aka Vox Day, aka VD) shit-flinging antics, it will pass again.
There is no leftist clique running the Hugos, never has been. The Sad Puppies are entirely deluded on this subject, and VD is full of shit (but then again, he always is). As for the IYWaDML: a) it's an excellent poem / short story; b) certainly enough specfic to fit in; and c) despite what the Puppies are saying, IT DIDN'T WIN A HUGO. It won a Nebula and was nominated for the short story Hugo, but the winner was John Chu's The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere. The only reason they're butthurt about it is because it is about homo- or transphobic bigotry.

Hi, I'm over from the land of SF book fandom, mostly to say: ummm, yeah, sorry for getting Vox Day all over your fandom. That was a really good and comprehensive article on what has been going on though.
Although I hope people on my side of the fence will keep calm, this is the intranet so I'm sure that you'll be seeing at least some dismissive or rude comments that appear to be coming your way, and I can only apologise in advance and say that the vast majority will be motivated by frustration at Vox Day locking up the system with his own choices, not by any real hostility towards MLP.


I'm gonna be the killjoy here and say that people shouldn't be doing affinity voting in these things. If you think the Cutie Map is genuinely worth winning Best Short Form? Go nuts. If you literally haven't seen anything else in the category? Maybe don't vote in it.

This is why I haven't personally ever voted for the Hugos in spite of being aware and opinionated about the whole mess for a few years now. I don't really have the time to go through the whole packet, and I don't want to vote if I haven't.

3899682 Of all the people on Fimfiction, I'm most disappointed to see you fall into believing the "leftish clique" nonsense, especially without even the understanding that Dinosaur wasn't a Hugo winner, just a nominee.

There's no clique, there's just the people who cared enough about the awards to bother to keep voting through the years.

Beyond that, I'm eternally tired of the idea that the Hugos need to award books that are fun and full of explosions like the good old days over books about social issues. I've read Heinlein, Clark, Le Guin, Asimov, I know how silly that suggestion is when applied to what's actually in classic science fiction.

Personally, I'm still trying to figure out how a bunch of white males have the takeaway that, holistically, they've gotten the short end of the culture stick. Or is this more of a "disturbing new trend we have to nip in the bud lest our thousands-of-years dominance of perceived culture is ever challenged" sort of thing?

Yeah, I know that "reverse racism" (actually just racism) exists. Yeah, I know that situationally, any one gender group can be marginalized, insulted, or maligned. But framing this as a holistic trend always comes across as freaking out against the person who hit you with a squirt gun at Normandy.

EDIT: See 3902116 above for how I am wrong here.

Thank you so much for writing this.

As good as MLP is, the sad truth is that a very selfish and mean person wanted to wreck something that other people cherish; that is an attitude contrary to the show's morals and, as much as I do not want to say this, the MLP fandom should politely request that the nomination be withdrawn. Please do not think that I am saying this out of anger. I am saying this because MLP does not deserve to be associated with Vox Day and the Rabid Puppy lunatics.

I got a supporting membership last year to, essentially, take Old Yeller to the woodshed. I will do so again, taking even less pleasure this year than last year.

Wow. Just wow. At least a lot of the Puppies seemed to learn from this... though I'm not sure why they can't just vote how they want to vote. I suppose to present a united front to propel their choices onto the ballot, but still.

In any case, I'll assume my usual drama position, as far away from it as possible. Here's hoping there's minimal splash damage on bronydom.


the MLP fandom should politely request that the nomination be withdrawn

I guess we'll put that proposal before the governing body...? :rainbowhuh:


That did not come out right. My brain has yet to brain today.

I mean, that the fandom should acknowledge the circumstances by which the episode was nominated and state that it was not done fairly.

I withdraw my :rainbowhuh:!

And substitute a :pinkiehappy:.

My favorite part is:

The way Starlight Glimmer is an almost exact analog to Ted Beale, a.k.a. Vox Day: a disgruntled outsider who wants either to remake the world of SF in his image or burn it to the ground...


Democracy will always be broken, because any attempt to artificially manipulate the process will always win over a simple attempt at majority consensus in all but the most overwhelming of situations. This is nothing new. The only recourse to prevent dominance by an single ideology's attempt to manipulate the process is to have a number of artificially-manipulating power blocs maneuvering against one another to manipulate the process. This is why democracy basically always boils down to a two-party system after a few years.

(Edit: removed distracting mentions of "pure" and "representative" democracy that were functionally irrelevant to the point.)

Here's a link:

To an article Wired ran last October about the 2015 Hugo Awards kerpupple--lovely word, horizon! The reporter interviewed a bunch of the people involved, so you get to hear them in their own words.

Mike Again

everypony is terrible :raritydespair:

Also I figured the Hugos would have fixed this mess by now. Mais non.

3899834 You're right, IYWADML was a Hugo finalist in 2014 (and corrected). However, you're not going to get me to defend Vox. Nope. (Sometimes I don't think even Vox can defend Vox)
3899874 If so, the letter requesting the removal should start, "Dear Princess Celestia..." :scootangel: (Seriously, I think it deserves a place on the slate. It's one of the deepest MLP (two words that normally don't go together in normal conversation) stories in the series so far.)

That's how I approached the whole thing last year. Extending No Award beyond that can only exacerbate bad feelings across the board, which is what happened last August. Just ask VikingZX and see how he compares the No Award advocates to Nazis.

Ehhhhhh... not really? Canada's had three parties for a while now; though the New Democratic Party has never gotten their leader in the Prime Minister's seat, they've won far more seats in the legislative branch than pretty much any American third party from the previous century. Are you counting the idea of coalitions (which often form in European countries) as part of your definition of a two-party system?

We're all flawed. We all have our good and bad points. Even Vox Day. (Or rather the man behind the character, if you believe—as the author of 3899955 's article does—that he is a manufactured persona.)

I know firsthand how tempting it is to lose all faith when you're exposed to too much drama, to too many people who value a cause or an ideology more than basic decency, to people who crow over suffering simply because that suffering represents an abstract victory for a point of view.[1] I know how hard it can be. But never lose faith in mankind's ability to also do good. Because when that happens, we really *do* lose, and the consequences of that are far greater than one silly science fiction award.

[1] I'm not singling out Vox or even the Right here; individuals exemplifying these traits exist across the spectrum.

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