Hugo Admin Team Members Resign, But Why?

hugo

Found at io9.gizmodo.com – No image credit available

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Over the past several years, I’ve watched WorldCon repeatedly implode.

Well, not exactly. It imploded in 2018 in a very spectacular way. WorldCon 2019 didn’t exactly implode, but then again, Jeanette Ng’s “acceptance” speech of the John W. Campbell award (now renamed “Astounding”) was her long awaited stab at a long-dead science fiction icon which spawned more of her displeasure at the “stale, pale, male crowd,” as well as a long list of other award renamings. The irony is that Ng also won a “Best Related Work” Hugo for 2020 because she complained about Campbell the year before. A rant wins you a Hugo. Who’d have thought.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, famed writer George R.R. Martin was accused of racism at the totally tanked WorldCon 2020. On top of that, the World Fantasy Con in the same year wrought its own disasters. If you read those blog posts, you’ll see the collection of “usual suspects” who complain about everything and anything that’s even a hair out of place compared to their high and mighty expectations.

Now we come to this, which I found online at Locus Magazine, a small article called Hugo Administration Team Resigns.

In the words of the prophet, WTF?

I won’t bother quoting it since I’ve supplied the link and since the write up is very small. You can read it for yourself. It doesn’t say much more than the Hugo Awards admin team released a statement on twitter announcing their resignation. It doesn’t explain why they quit but this screenshot from twitter may provide a tiny bit of insight.

hugos 2021

Screenshot from twitter.

What position were they placed in as @KHLazarus mentions? Cora Buhlert says they did good work, but if so, again, what happened? nchanter_x also mentions the admin team being put in a “position,” but I don’t know what that means.

Yes, every time I admit I don’t know something about the dark underbelly of science fiction, I get castigated by “real fans” who apparently don’t have a life or a job, but can spend their every waking hour immersed in toxic fandom.

Fortunately for me, @demoographics also admitted to “obviously missing a bunch of context,” so I guess I don’t feel so bad now.

@asfi made my day by stating:

Very sorry to see this. I hope the internet peanut gallery takes this as a sign to dial down the weaponized entitlement (but of course they will not).

“Weaponized entitlement” is a great way of describing the “movers and the shakers” who have nuked WorldCon and the Hugos over the past several years.

@ClaireRousseau said:

I’m really sorry to hear this – yours & Marguerite’s presence on the new team kept me hopeful back in January but I am worried for the con and the awards now.

She should have been worried ever since 2018 if not before.

I kept scrolling, but there were no additional details as to the events leading up to the resignation.

When I was a much younger man, I bought science fiction novels because they’d won a Hugo, a Nebula, or some other coveted award. I used to think they meant actual quality in writing and maybe once upon a time they did. Maybe it’s like @KariDru said (see the screenshot above).

Me, every hear when the Hugo noms come out “OMG we live in a golden age of literature and people finally appreciate marginalized creators! Oh to win a Hugo someday…”
Me at some point that same year: “WTF did Worldcon do NOW?”

I’d hardly call the current state of popular SF/F literature a “golden age.” In fact, since it represents “woke” over quality, quite the reverse in my opinion. No, that doesn’t mean I don’t support “marginalized creators” and after all, there are an infinite number of seats at the table. There’s no reason to cast aside one writer or artist because your feel you must favor another (is there?). But anyway…

WorldCon 2021 will take place in Washington D.C. in December this year, which makes it more or less within travel distance of me. My brother lives in Arlington, so I’d have a place to stay nearby. As I said, as a younger man, I really admired these awards and the people behind them. I never imagined attending a WorldCon back in the day because…well, I’m just an “ordinary” guy and what would I have to say to all of these SciFi luminaries?

Then I found out what’s behind these “luminaries,” at least in the last few years and frankly, no thanks.

[I should point out that almost all of the people I quoted above (and provided links to their twitter accounts) would probably have fits if they ever read this. I took a look at their twitter profiles and yes, based on how they describe themselves and the content of their tweets, they’d scrape me off of the bottom of their proverbial boots like they’d stepped in doggy doo]

shark

Photo: Discovery Channel

My brother is a scuba diver and for decades has gone on shark dives. I, however, have no desire to participate and associate with the human equivalent of our toothy undersea friends.

Maybe I’ll never know what happened. I certainly won’t consult a certain “fanzine” and it’s rather mean-spirited proprietor to find out. I reached out to him with an olive branch and it was thrown at my feet along with him torching any bridge I might have tried to build. Such is toxic fandom.

flamethrower

By Dr.LoveGore – found at longlivethevoid.com

My writing has been slowing down again after it picked up a few months ago. This time it isn’t the pandemic, the government lockdown, and the naysayers. Not sure what it is this time. Maybe I’m just getting tired of all the negativity associated with the industry.

Addendum: Found this:

matt

Screenshot from social media

11 thoughts on “Hugo Admin Team Members Resign, But Why?

  1. Maybe you can answer something that it not clear to me. What if any relation exists between the organizers of events like WorldCon and the actual publishers of books and magazines who supply the financial resources and distribution channels for sci-fi, horror, and other genres deemed related to niche readerships? If the Hugo, Nebula, and other literaey awards boards are independent organizations, whence comes their funding? I presume they must provide a working function that makes their evaluations meaningful, thereby boosting sales and revenues for publishers and authors. If, then, these “advertising” auxiliaries make themselves odious, do they not destroy the very industry that feeds them?

    Pardon me if I view this from my professional perspective as a systems engineer. I can’t avoid looking at the larger picture of energy and informational flows and processes — in this case comprising the outputs of writers, the inputs of cash, the processes of evaluation, and the resulting products of the whole system.

    You seem to have described a form of sabotage to this system, that has been perpetrated systematically during the past several years. Therefore I wonder that none of its presumed or potential beneficiaries (besides yourself) has been working to repair the broken system. I suppose some may have mistakenly thought that an increase in notoriety might boost revenues. That’s a very short-lived technique that carries the risk of blowing up the system by alienating its consumer base. Perhaps that is what’s happening now. If I were a publisher trying to invest resources in order to generate profit from sales of publications, I would likely be looking somewhat skeptically at the fan conferences that are not actually promoting and encouraging the qualities of writing needed to support my business.

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  2. Now is the winter of our DisCon tent
    Made glorious summer by this fan of Woke;
    And all the clouds that lour’d upon our Worldcon
    In the deep bosom of social media buried.

    With apologies to the Bard.

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    • You’re reaching way back into events that lived and died in 2015 and I wasn’t even mentioning the “puppies.” And when you say “our” floors, who are you representing?

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      • Hmph. Yes. Those of us that tried to make those awards mean “quality writing” gave up after that. The consensus is best expressed as “If that tiny group of people is truly enjoying sticking their heads up each other’s asterisks – why should we bother?”

        Personally, I don’t even look at the nominations any longer – I know that not a single one will be by anyone that is better than sixteenth rate (if that).

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  3. I’m still hoping to see a reply here from someone who is able to “follow the money” sufficiently to answer my system questions above. Are the awards organizations funded entirely by revenues from fan conferences, or do they receive support from publishers? In what degree, if any, do publishers rely upon the awards to boost sales? Has the realization yet spread widely that the awards no longer represent the intrinsic quality of good storytelling that has been usurped by questionable political values that are not even popularly represented? If the existing fan conferences and the now-questionable awards were to languish for lack of interest, would the sci-fi publishing industry collapse, or would the publishers seek an alternative means of advertising? Further still, is there room for some entrepreneurs to set up competing conferences to capitalize on better qualities in writing? I suspect that, as in virtually all other endeavors, the ability to produce revenue is the ultimate impetus that allows any of this activity to exist, proceed, or prosper.

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    • That’ a complex question. AFAIK WorldCon finances the Hugos, I’m certain the rocket statues are paid for, and by extension the costs born by WorldCon.

      The publishers can provide books for the WorldCon memberships to judge the nominees on, though they don’t always do so: caveat it depends, and varies according to publisher.

      As for whether the publishers benefit, my understanding is that Tor like to support the Hugos and strives to get them for the books they publish (as in support the nominations etc).

      Tradpub is going through a period of change, but their collapse will be predicated on things other than the Hugos.

      Finally, are you aware of the fan nominated Dragon Awards, which were created after the events of previous Hugo ceremony disputes.

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    • Admittedly, the internal workings of WorldCon and the whole Hugo nomination process seems rather mysterious to me. What has become apparent in recent years is that differing factions within the organizational process are vying for control adding a sense of disorganization and competing priorities to the Con. While historically the Hugos have been considered the very top layer of awards for SF/F, within the last five to ten years and perhaps longer, they seem more to represent the will of the World Science Fiction Convention members (only paid up members can vote) for social justice and including “marginalized voices” (not only people representing various social constructs in the West, but writers and artists from countries that have not been represented in science fiction/fantasy historically). Yes, there’s still an internal struggle of some sort that pushes back, so currently, as far as I can tell, there is no single, unified voice representing these Cons or the Hugos. I have to assume that with the passage of time, one faction will emerge to drive the Cons in a singular direction. Relative to actual creative quality over “justice” issues, I suspect the latter will win, quality will diminish as a requirement for attention, and thus the Hugos will only be valuable to the same folks who advocate for and support vandalizing statues and looking department stores.

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      • The Hugos have always been property of the WorldCon, but back when I was a lot younger that meant a lot more than it does now.
        Arguably, the decline in the stature of the Hugo as representing a broad church began after the LA con back in the 1980s when the decision was made to no longer grow the size of the WorldCon, because the increasing costs being born, and by cost I mean the debt that might build if any convention failed, had grown beyond the risk of amateur con committees.

        The rise of commercially run conventions appealing a specific part or parts of fandom, centered around media properties signaled that the fans of SF&F genre could make profits for professional organizations. That was when the writing on the wall started.

        What we are seeing now is equivalent to post WW2 Seed Cooperatives that became irrelevant once seeds became so cheap that they no longer served a purpose.

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      • Thanks for trying, James and Ashley, but I’m still not seeing the money trail. Regardless of internal political squabbling between factions, the ultimate fact is that money is required to conduct a conference, be it for fans or any other kind of consumer or commercial interest. If I’m not misunderstanding, WorldCon is essentially the same as any commercial trade show, whereby publications are the basic product lines and there are also some peripheral products like T-shirts, costumes, trinkets, memorabilia, et al. Each participant pays to attend or to represent their products, which (hopefully) pays the costs of renting the venue, hiring security and support personnel, developing entertaining content, and numerous other costs. Such shows are like other kinds of entertainment, and they must be profitable or they cannot continue to be produced. If they provide a service to publishers that increases their sales, then publishers have an impetus to contribute to their funding as some portion of their advertising budgets. But I emphasize again, they cannot exist if they cannot at least break even financially. I doubt that anyone would exert the effort to produce such extravaganzas unless there is actually some positive profit in the long run. Even amateurs need to pay for their interests. Unless they can do so by maintaining sufficient interest in their endeavors, they cannot continue them.

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      • WorldCon is an amateur organization with lots of smart, keen, and motivated by what’s referred to as ‘egoboo’ for those fan for whom running a convention is their fannish activity. It sounds odd, but think small cooperative made up of people who have an interest in running a convention for the pleasure of having run it.

        As I understand it, convention fandom is its own thing, with its own culture and trying to frame it within a commercial perspective runs up against the goal is to break even, or with the smallest profit margin possible, which is either used to aid charitable causes, or pay of failed WorldCon debts.

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