The Hugos

I have not read all of the posts about the current Hugo kerfuffle, but I’ve read many.  One of the posts I read, the writer said something along the lines of silence on this issues is cowardice.  Well, I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m a coward.

Another article I read said that “any writer that tells you that they do not want a Hugo is lying.” I’m not going to lie.  I’d love to win a Hugo.  My first priority is finishing something good, but Heinlein was my hero years ago.  To be a Hugo winner like him?  I don’t have words to describe what that would be like.

Honestly, I don’t know if I’m a strong enough writer to ever win such an honor.  But dreams don’t have to be realistic.

This whole fiasco with the Hugos bothers me for another reason.  My writing resurgence is due, in part, to the Hugos.  As I’ve told many people, going to WorldCon in Reno a few years ago reminded me of this part of my life that I’d neglected.  What I have not mentioned often is that I almost didn’t go to Reno.  I knew what the Hugos were at the time, but I didn’t know that they were given out at WorldCon.  When I found out, that made up my mind.  I thought back to all of those paperbacks I’d read with the words “Hugo nominated” or “Hugo award winning” on them, and I knew that I wanted to be there when the next awards were given out.  I had no idea that in going to WorldCon, I’d find my people.

So, for a myriad of sentimental reasons, the Hugos are important to me.  And that’s why I’m writing this post.

As of this writing, two people have withdrawn from their nominations.  Connie Willis won’t be a presenter.  People have said that they should hand out asterisks with the awards.  George R. R. Martin has been quoted as describing the Hugos as irreparably broken.

Before going on, let me be clear about one thing: I am not on the side of the Sad Puppies or the Rabid Puppies.  In an effort to be fair, I’ve read some of their posts and I’ve tried to keep an open mind.  And, I’ve found flaws with their most reasonable points.

Torgersen wrote about what he called “unreliable packaging.” His assertion is that you used to be able to pick up a science fiction or fantasy story and know that it was about adventure, and not social commentary.  He wrote a long post going into great detail on this, but it doesn’t hold true.  Heinlein and Asimov layered meaning beneath their adventures.  That’s one of the reasons they were so good.

One of the best articles I’ve read was all about data analysis.  One of the things I like the post is that it provides disambiguation between the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies.  It also provides some interesting data about male/female ratios of Hugo winners over the years, as well as point out correlations between Good Reads ratings and Hugo winners and nominees.

Let’s be real, though.  Cold, data analysis is excellent for keeping conversations grounded, but we are way past that point now.  Good writers, innocent in all of this, have been hurt.  At least two have withdrawn from consideration for something that I dream about.

And then there’s that asshole that is saying that if he doesn’t win a Hugo, he’ll just keep doing this, year after year.  I’m not going to type his name.  I don’t think anyone should.  If you want someone out of the spotlight, then quit shining it on them.

I want the Hugos to keep going.  I have a couple of friends that were nominated this year.  I want them to have the night of their life.  I want them to win, and enjoy it, and not have to worry about their award being less than it was.  I want the tradition to continue.

I don’t have much culture to draw from.  There are no traditions that my family holds to with any conviction.  WorldCon is the culture I identify with.  I like the people that show up.  I like the celebration of science fiction and fantasy.  And I like the Hugos.

I hope George R. R. Martin is wrong about the Hugos.  I don’t want them to be forever broken.  How will I ever win one if they’re gone?

To the people that have been nominated this year: I feel for you.  Whether you withdraw or stay on, I appreciate how difficult this must be for you, and I hope for the best.

To the people that are raging about the Sad Puppies: What they did with the nominations is cheating in spirit, if not specifically against the rules.  That said, please try to keep your vitriol in check.  I’ve seen some hyperbole about feeling physically threatened by the Sad Puppies.  Don’t get this group mixed with the Rabid Puppies.  The Sad Puppies are misguided jerks, but I really don’t think they’re sociopaths.

To the people that are raging about the Rabid Puppies: I hear you.  Please try to stay civil, and not drop to the level of their leader.  I don’t expect the Rabid Puppies to be adults, so the rest of us must step up and be better people.

To everyone that loves WorldCon: Let’s learn from this.  The nomination rules can’t be changed in time for 2016, so we may have another year of this garbage, but that doesn’t mean this has to be the end.  Let’s come up with a way to fix the nomination process, so this doesn’t happen again.  My suggestion: insert an additional step to the process, at the beginning.  This first step would be open to anyone with supporting WorldCon membership, much like it is now.  Everyone can submit selections for nomination.  Then, ALL submissions would be open for vote, to move on to the next round.  Puppies could submit their slates all they want, but they would no longer be guaranteed spots the way they currently are.


I’ve linked to some of the articles I’ve read above.  Here are some others:

On The Hugo Awards and Dysfunctional Politics

The Hugo Awards: GamerGate Edition, 2015

Hugo Award Nominations spark Criticism over Diversity in Sci-Fi

The Hugo Awards were Always Political.  Now they’re Only Political

George R. R. Martin and others Speak Out Over Hugo Awards Controversy

Asking the Wrong Questions

Hugo Story Withdrawn

Two Decline their Hugo Nomination



This Week: Performances!

Tonight, I’ll be playing with the River City Concert Band.

Wednesday Apr 8, 7:00PM
11211 Point East Dr
Rancho Cordova, CA

The cost tonight is $10.  That includes getting to see the Sacramento Symphonic Winds.  It’s going to be a fantastic show.

Saturday afternoon, I’ll be playing with River City Swing.  This performance is open to the public (which I take to mean “free”).

Saturday Apr 11, 12:00PM
Same location as above

Saturday evening, I’ll be playing with the ACB Convention band, at 8:00PM.  I don’t know if it is open to the public, or just to convention members.


Crazy, huh?

This week is full of wonderful music, opportunities to meet and play with some skilled musicians, and really lose myself in the art.

The only problem is time.  How am I going to manage my job, the volunteer hours at the convention, and the convention band practices?

Fortunately, my workplace is awesome.  They let me work a 10 hour day on Monday, an 11 hour day on Tuesday, and another 10 hour day Wednesday.  I can do half days on Thursday and Friday, which will allow me to make it to the practices.

Thursday and Friday evenings, I’m filling some stage crew volunteer slots.  I’m also doing stage crew duty on Saturday, from 1:30 to 5:00.

I’m not going to have time do any writing or editing this week.  I don’t really feel bad about it.  There are only so many hours in a day, and this week, they’ve all been claimed.  I’ll just have to write twice as much next week.


Success Story! No Foolin’!

My last few posts where I’ve talked about writing have not been exactly uplifting.  I’ve talked about how I’m not writing.  I’ve talked about other ways that I’m blessed, and I’ve mentioned that I haven’t given up.  At the end of the day, my stories languished, and I felt bad about it.

Today, let’s change it up a little bit.  Today, let’s talk about an actual writing success!

This past Sunday, I needed to finish editing something to turn in to my writer’s group.  I felt pressured to get at least the first act of the novel finished.

After work on Friday, Melissa left the house with me and we headed to a Starbucks closer to our house.  A smaller venue, we sat in the corner, Melissa with her book, me with my Surface.  I hunched over my notes, and fell into my story.

Then, something wonderful happened.  I lost myself in the words.  I enjoyed myself.  I enjoyed my story!  Before I knew it, a crabby barista was telling us that we had fifteen minutes to pack up our stuff and leave.  I had completely lost track of time.

The next morning, feeling invigorated by the success of the previous evening, I made a plan to keep going.  I spent the morning editing another few chapters.  By afternoon, the kids were doing their own thing, and Melissa was off with her sister for some fun before a Garth Brooks concert.  I decided that a little Scotch might loosen me up.  Big mistake.

When it comes to alcohol, I’m a bit of a featherweight.  Alone in my garage, slightly inebriated, I thought it’d be a good idea to watch a couple of Tarantino movies.  You know, because he’s good at dialog, so it’d be like research.  Then something made me think of the movie Inception, so I put that in.  Somehow, more Scotch wound up in my glass.

The next morning, feeling a little bit hung over, I made a new plan.  More editing, less Scotch.  Melissa took me to breakfast and fed my need for greasy food.  When we got home, I returned to the garage, and tried to find whatever magic I’d found Friday night.

It took a while, but eventually, I found it.

I fell back into the story.  The stumbling block had been some seemingly insignificant detail that I needed to include near the beginning.  For whatever reason, I just couldn’t find the words.  When I found them, the flood gates opened, and I was able to tackle a chapter that had been eluding me for months.

The story drew me in.  Well after midnight, I clawed my way back into the real world, sent the story to the group, and went to bed.  I was a dragon slayer.  I was a Jedi Knight.  I had slain the monster, rescued the hostage.  I felt powerful and amazing.  I also felt exhausted.  It was time for a victory sleep.

It played out like a story, really.  Friday, the first act, introduced me to what was possible, foreshadowing what was to come.  Saturday, during the second act, my journey took a turn for the worst, and I wound up in a difficult position.  Sunday, the final act, I overcame the difficulty in a spectacular fashion, bringing the story to a satisfactory conclusion.

I still have a long ways to go with the novel, but I’m encouraged by the success.  And now that I’m warmed up, it’s time to get back to it!  Wish me luck!