Hugo 2017: Fanwriter

The finalists are in and the long journey to Helsinki* has begun and so it is time to start working through finalists category by category. As in previous years, my choice of category is done on what I find easiest to write about. I’m starting a little earlier this year because 1. I don’t think we’ll see the same kinds of changes in finalists we saw last two years and 2. there are more finalists per category and most are serious contenders so there is more work to be done.

Fanwriter is as good a place to start as any 🙂

802 ballots cast for 275 nominees. Votes for finalists ranged from 80 to 152.

  • Mike Glyer
  • Jeffro Johnson
  • Natalie Luhrs
  • Foz Meadows
  • Abigail Nussbaum
  • Chuck Tingle

That is an impressive array. It divides into three chunks. Chunk one: established fan writers: Mike Glyer, Natalie Luhrs, Foz Meadows and Abigail Nussbaum. Chunk two: Jeffro Johnson, the Rabid nominee but one with a track record of informed fan writing on genre issues. Chunk three: the inimitable Dr Tingle. The discussion below is in no particular order.

  • I’ll discuss Jeffro Johnson first. Yeah, sorry but Castalia House affiliated and volunteer for the Vox Day human ammunition brigade. His boss sees his work as no different from Stix Hiscock’s lame Tingle imitation. The nomination is part of the ongoing Castalia House PR stunt (which includes treating child abuse as a joke) and Vox Days ongoing tantrum about Scalzi/PNH/Tor/N.K.Jemisin/WSFA***/That-kid-who-teased-him-in-kindergarten. Vox himself conceded last year that you can’t separate the Castalia House nominees from him and his issues. So Jeffro, below No Award you go. But, that’s my policy and even a Rabid Puppy deserves due process.
    • Jeffro’s own blog is here and the link should take you to 2016 posts
    • I can’t get the Castalia house blog to filter just on Jeffro’s posts but this link should filter on 2016 a lot of Jeffro’s posts here are either news round-ups or puff pieces for Castalia House but there are also pieces on the pulp traditions and tabletop games.
    • Jeffro is a competent writer with clear interests in SF and the history of the genre. I can’t say I’ve found any one of his pieces particularly compelling but I’m not really interested in his subject matter. Arguably though, he’s the strongest Rabid nominee we’ve seen who wasn’t either a hostage or co-opted from a Sad Puppy slate.
  • Mike Glyer. Host of File 770 and veteran of fandom. As well as being the central news source of things fannish.
    • A 2016 File 770 as a PDF fanzine is here
    • File 770 the blog is here – technically you can filter on Mike Glyer as a post author, but as he runs the blog, it will throw up nearly every post.
    • As I said last year, Mike Glyer is one of those key people in a large community that helps a community exist. News, history and insightful articles are part of that but also the more sad work of obituaries of notable fans. I’d be happy if he won.
  • Natalie Luhrs – in my post last year on this category I specifically mentioned Natalie Luhrs as somebody who should have been a finalist but who was excluded due to Rabid antics.
  • Foz Meadows – another writer who I’ve linked to previously, most notably for this piece at Blackgate that made baby-vox cry
  • Abigail Nussbaum – the finalist I’ve read the least of. No reason why – I’d even had her blog marked as one I should read more of back in 2015 but…I’m lazy and neglectful of the things I intend to do 😦 [That’s another silly side-effect of the attention I pay to Puppy and Rabid misbehaviour – it means I’ve read more Jeffro Johnson posts about stuff I wasn’t interested in than an interesting blogger writing about stuff I am in interested in. ]
    • Her blog is here
    • In 2017 she also started writing an SF column for New Scientist (but that’s not eligible stuff for this year’s Hugos, obviously)
    • What can I say! Another clearly worthy winner!
  • Chuck Tingle – the wild card! Chuck came to fame via strange quasi-parodies of obscure subgenres of homoerotic Kindle porn. In 2015 his book titles became in-jokes among fandom and then, probably missing the joke, Vox Day nominated a Chuck Tingle book as part of his 2016 Rabid Puppy slate. At which point VD discovered he had inadvertently summoned a being with more memetastic powers than VD could have imagined. Chuck’s metafictional persona is a timeline jumping paladin fighting to make love real while battling his chocolate milk addiction and weird monsters from the void.
    • You can follow Chuck on Twitter to learn about reverse twins, the void and drinking too much chocolate milk.
    • Or he has a bunch of weird parody sites such as Buttbart or his recent capture of
    • Chuck’s trolling of the Rabids was very funny but I really didn’t like the suggestion that he be nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation. However, I think he is a 100% legit nominee for Fan Writer. Humour is a core part of fandom and SFF goes with absurdity like cheese & wine, peanut butter & jam(jelly), chocolate & coffee etc. But, probably not going to put him number 1.

So, how will I vote? Don’t know. One of Glyer, Luhrs, Meadows, Nussbaum at 1, then Dr Tingle, then the inimitable Noah Ward. Poor Jeffro – sorry but no place on the ballot for Castalia and given he’s aligned with those who think the Hugos are an indication of bad quality, then he can’t possibly want one.

The Hugo Packet contributions will make a big difference to my final vote I think. The main thing is what a great line up! Also what a clear repudiation of that stupid ‘burn a category to the ground’ rhetoric from the Pups in previous years. We’ve had two+ years of Sad & Rabid nonsense in this category but now that interference has died down to a pathetic lingering whine, the category is more competitive than ever! The main lingering effect is several nominees who should have already won a Hugo for their work.

*[not literally – can’t make it 😦 ]

**[PS Thanks to people who nominated me in this category. I have mixed feelings about that kind of attention but that’s my own silly set of hang-ups. I appreciate it.]

***[The World Writers Science Society Fantasy Fictioneers of Alberta Association]

20 thoughts on “Hugo 2017: Fanwriter

  1. “His boss sees his work as no different from Stix Hiscock’s lame Tingle imitation.”


    How could you be so wrong about this?

    No one is this stupid.

    I mean you don’t even know simple SFF canon that is not only writ large all over the Internet but is common knowledge!!

    How can you even talk about the Hugos without even common knowledge of it.

    Of its past

    Of the great works

    That inform the authors in the present.

    Stix is no Tingle imitation.

    Both authors are pastiche of the one true progenitor of dinosaur rape erotica Christie Sims with her 2013 magnum opus “Taken by the T-Rex”


    If you can’t get your Rex ravishing right what good are you?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Coincidentally, Christie Sims’ works were the first dino erotica I came across, long before I heard of either Chuck Tingle or Stix Hiscock. Christie Sims is two college students BTW who use erotica writing to supports themselves. They also write big foot and were-hedgehog erotica (unless I have them mixed up and someone else wrote the were-hedgehog thing).

      And that’s the extent of my embarrassingly broad knowledge about the seedy underbelly of the SFF genre that is monsterporn.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. My scattered thoughts. I think Luhrs, Meadows, and Nussbaum are the easiest to compare to each other, as they work in similar ways (blog + posts elsewhere) and have some overlapping interests. Mike is quite hard for me to evaluate objectively because of too much time spent at F770, and also his emphasis on news is different from the others. Jeffro…quite apart from the CH connection, I feel I gave him a fair look two years ago when he was first slated in, and concluded he was a perfectly decent writer with a massive blindspot about how his own levels of knowledge might not be other peoples. I suppose I might evaluate any non-CH stuff that he puts in the packet, but right now I’m comfortable saying that he’s not capable of being a finalist on his own merits.
    And as for the esteemed Dr Tingle, well….I’m glad his nom came in Fan Writer rather than the frankly silly Related Work suggestion, because he’s done some genuine fan writing to judge on. My current thought is that that work is extremely funny, but there’s not that much of it compared to what some other finalists have done, and although quantity doesn’t trump quality I can’t see me putting him above the other 4.


    1. If you’ll forgive me spamming some links while I get my thoughts together. I have all of Luhrs/Meadows/Nussbaum on my feedly and enjoy them all:

      Natalie Luhrs: Does a pretty regular Links Roundup, which usually has some interesting commentary. Did a worthy-looking series of poetry earlier last year, which I’m sure was good but I have no appreciation for poetry so can’t really judge.

      The Locus piece you mentioned was interesting, and I also found this to be very strong:

      Fox Meadows: I liked this on Gentleman Jole and The Red Queen, especially since later comments by LMB show Meadows was pretty much spot on:

      Elsewhere, she’s written some interesting stuff for on adaptions and a review at Strange Horizons where she thinks my least-favourite book in the Craft sequence is actually the best (which reminds me that I should probably read the damn thing again to see if I’m totally wrong!)

      Abigail Nussbaum: Lots and lots of good stuff from her – many reviews of books and TV/Movies. I’d point to a couple of long and thoughtful reviews: and

      Also at Strange Horizons on the Clarke Award shortlist and a really good long piece on Person of Interest on a site I’d never heard of:

      Like you I’d be happy with any of them plus Mike as a winner. I’ll have to wait for the packet to totally make up my mind, but right now I think that Nussbaum’s reviewing output puts her at the top of those three for me personally – I particularly like reviews. Comparing those three to Mike is the trickier question tbh, and I doubt I’m going to be able to be objective.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “a perfectly decent writer with a massive blindspot about how his own levels of knowledge might not be other peoples.”

      In other words, your typical high functioning Puppy.

      One day, I’m going to tell you all my opinion of Marc Aramini as a Gene Wolfe fan.

      And it will be brutal.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Is ‘WSFA’ in the Johnson write-up deliberate? I can see how it might be, but I wasn’t sure.


    1. Yes, it was my acronym joke about how WSFS and SFWA get conceptual mangled together – but given my level of typos I probably should have made the joke clearer.


      1. Ah, now it makes sense – I was wondering what the Welsh Schools Football Association had done to upset him.


      2. Well, them as well. He was always last to be picked and then they always made him the goalie. “one day” he said to himself, on a particularly cold morning on the outskirts of Aberstwyth, “I’ll be avenged on the WSFA!”. Just at that moment an icy-cold soccer ball went ‘wack’ on the side of his face. That made him temporarily forget about the Welsh Schools Football Association but imprinted an abstract hatred against the letters WSFA in his subconscious.

        On reflection, this story might actually be about me rather than Vax Doy and does explain why I went to all that effort to frame FIFA for corruption. Also, it wasn’t in Wales.


  4. I nominated Luhrs last year and this. So if I was voting (which alas I’m not — sure wish I was getting this year’s Hugo packet instead of the previous two), I’d probably go Mike, Luhrs, (the others), Tingle, No Award, and Jeffro would not even get his pixels ticky’d on my ballot. Ditto everything else from Castoolia Hut.


    1. I’ve read Luhrs’s blog more often than Meadows’s.

      There’s an irony here that I may write about: when you are ranking things (in this case writing) and those things are very close in value/quality/etc, the difference in ranking will almost necessarily come down to relatively trivial differences. I may vote for whoever makes the most typos 😉


    2. I do think that Luhrs would have been a worthy finalist last year, but I don’t think that’s the case this year. The Locus Reading List analysis is good, as is the WFC article and the Silencing Tactics article. But that’s about all I can find of substance for her 2016 SFF Fan Writing. While I realize that other peoples’ mileage may vary, I don’t consider the Hamilton piece in the packet to be SFF fan writing, nor is the Romance piece. And when I went looking for more of her SFF Fan Writing work this year, I was sorely disappointed.

      The vast majority of it is linkrolls — but without any of the added context such as Mike provides on File770, so while they may provide value for her blog followers, I don’t consider them to be substantive fan writing.

      I’m sorry that she was pushed off the ballot last year by the slating, but I don’t believe in giving Consolation Prizes For Past Injustices in following years, so she will be last on my ballot before No Award and Jeffro. 😐


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