But I’m not here to talk about that. It just so happened, given the context, that I decided to see if Jason Sanford had blocked me yet (he hasn’t). In checking his twitter account, I saw he posted about the nomination period for the Nebula Awards coming to a close.
I remember as a young man in the 1970s being really impressed with science fiction novels that won a Nebula or Hugo Award. Certain experiences over the past few years have led me to become less impressed. More accurately, I think they meant something once, but they’ve lost their luster.
I tried to find the quote from Jeannette Ng (she hasn’t blocked me yet on twitter either) that said something about how these awards are on their way to becoming more significant now that marginalized and suppressed voices are more prevalent in SF/F.
First of all, the copy I currently possess is a first edition. Like I said, the first printing of this tome was in 1980, and according to the old fashioned stamps in this library book, it was first acquired by my local library system on January 24, 1980. It’s like holding a piece of history in my hands.
The first 22 chapters are interesting, but also made up of long lists of ancient science fiction stories, their authors, which magazines they appeared in, the editors, and occasionally what was going on in the world around them. A tad dull overall.
Anyway, the blog post focused on the Retro Hugos, which are sort of “lifetime achievement awards” for science fiction and fantasy authors who were active before the Hugo awards existed. Being an “older fellow,” I’ve read more than a few in my day, plus a lot of old school Hugo Award Winners. That is, science fiction Hugo winners before the Hugos (in my personal opinion) became less about the quality of a story and more about the “wokeness” of the tale and the writer (both being a necessity these days it seems).
Published in 2001, all of the advice about how to publish, market, and, of course, win awards (Card won two Hugos, a Nebula, a Lotus, and in 1978, the John W. Campbell [now renamed Astounding] Award for Best New Writer) are outdated and useless.
But his lessons on how to write remain pretty much timeless, especially when you are actually learning the craft rather than trying to promote a social position, attitude, or bias (I say that knowing that all stories contain the biases of their authors, but lately, it’s gotten so much more obvious and even blatant).
Interestingly enough, the article I found as a pingback to Updexnews.com used the phrase “racist history” as part of the link when referring to my Silverberg article, and I hadn’t intended to call Silverberg a racist (really, I’m shocked I haven’t gotten even a single piece of hate mail yet).
On this twitter account, I found the following image posted prominently. It was the first indication I had of yet another WorldCon social purging by the righteous (yes, I’m being snarky…I’ll explain below).
EDIT: I picked up some additional material on the twitter stream and thus the content. Any changes I’ve made in this blog post are bolded.
I started following fantasy author Jeannette Ng on twitter after she gave a rather “unusual” acceptance speech upon receiving what used to be called a “Campbell Award.” I recorded my reactions HERE.
I follow her, not because I’m likely to read anything she’s written, or even that we agree on much (if anything), but to understand differing points of view. Most of the time, I don’t give her much thought, but today, I saw a thread on twitter that caught my attention. I only read part of it since, due to the nature of twitter, threads get nested in interesting ways requiring a lot of clicking and time to open them and read.
So I took a screenshot (several actually, and I edited them together) to capture what I thought were the most representative points. Apparently, the discussion was about what got various people interested in Science Fiction and Fantasy (SF/F). However it was also a debate regarding progressive vs. traditionalist voices in SF/F, and if it were possible to speak to the positives of what an author crafted while setting aside the more “difficult” aspects of their life (More text beyond the screenshot).
Update:Someone I know on twitter captured a much more straightforward vision of this thread Here. Since people sometimes delete their material, I redid the screenshots and updated the image below. Oh, and Ms. Ng, if you ever get around to reading this… “Stale, pale, male crowd.” Cute.
an American editor and convicted child molester. Kramer lives in Duluth, Georgia and was a co-founder and part-owner of the Dragon*Con media convention. Kramer has also edited several works in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Before pleading guilty in 2013 to three counts of child molestation, Kramer was the subject of a long-running legal battle that began with his initial arrest in August 2000.
The word DragonCon got my attention. DragonCon has been associated with more conservative elements in Science Fiction and Fantasy. In and of itself, that means nothing. If you’ve been sexually abusing children or been into child porn, you are evil and deserve to be in prison, regardless of your politics.
But what gets me is that certain demographics in SF/F fandom seem to give other, similar people a pass because of their politics and because they are feminists, or at least they seem to do so.
There are now over 200 comments on Mike Glyer’s commentary on Ng and Campbell, and of course, they all damn Campbell, some even comparing him (more or less) to Mussolini. Further, one person said that anyone with even the tiniest hint of actually liking anything Campbell ever did is considered a fascist sympathizer. Really. I had heard of Campbell, but before this, I never had any idea about his political beliefs.
However, even according to Wikipedia, while he may or may not have been a fascist, he certainly was a racist.
His opinions go far beyond the occasional “joke in bad taste,” and many well known authors, including Michael Moorcock and Isaac Asimov, lambasted Campbell for his even then unpopular and heinous ideas.
I seriously doubt he was a racist, at least in the dictionary definition sense, but assuming Bradbury had character flaws and perhaps some dated beliefs given that he was born in 1920, that doesn’t change his influence on the field of science fiction, nor make him unworthy of being honored.
Author Jeannette Ng – image found at the Angry Robot website
Here we go again. British fantasy writer Jeannette Ng was presented with the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer at Worldcon recently, the 47th winner. Of course, she accepted the award, and then began to rip the late John W. Campbell apart, calling him, among other things, a fascist. An edited copy of her acceptance speech is hosted at Medium.com with the profanity removed.
I looked up Campbell, not knowing much (if anything) about him personally, and found he held a bunch of “difficult” attitudes, but then again, he was a product of his times, having been born in 1910 (he died in 1971 at the age of 61). There’s no denying that Campbell shaped much of 20th century science fiction, having discovered talents such as Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, so it’s certainly understandable that, based on his career, he is worthy of having a science fiction award named after him. Does he have to be a perfect person by 21st century progressive, politically correct standards to still be considered significant?