Packet Advice

Now that the cat it out of the bag (it was the easiest way to hide him from the feds), it is time to ask for help, advice, suggestions for the Hugo Packet! No request yet from Worldcon but I should imagine they’ll stuff quickly when they ask for it.

  • Firstly I’m not aiming to win this thing and I don’t like to feel like I’m competing unless the stakes are really low or absurd. However, I would kind of like my Hugo packet stuff to be so really good that people say ‘I’m voting X number 1 but Camshaft Ferple’s Hugo Packet was really good even if I’m putting him 6th’.
  • Secondly, I’d rather have more than less. I can see advantages to less as a voting strategy but I’m more interested in people finding something they like.
  • Thirdly, variety is good – so different styles of things rather than multiple examples of the same style of thing.
  • Fourthly, it has to be fan-writing obviously but that is a fluid category.
  • Fifthly, I’d prefer to avoid Puppy related stuff but I’m open to suggestions – and the posts on Vox Day’s attempt to spoil Collapsing Empire’s sales may be topical. Also, the stuff on the Dragon Awards may seem off in a Hugo packet, so I’m less keen on that.
  • Sixthly, I have no issues with putting daft and silly stuff in there. It’s part of the brand 🙂
  • Seventhly, politics is fine so long as it has SFnal elements IMHO.
  • PICTURES – yes, they can make file size big and upset some ebook formats and aren’t accessible to everybody but for many of us, a visual/spatial aspect is super important for making sense of things.

This post was the first cut of possible things. Some things I can just link to or have part 1 of and a link maybe?

So…ideas, suggestion, tips, faves, advice (I will have stuff copyedited (!) so don’t tell me that a hundred times! ) – put it in the comments and I’ll get to work! 2017 posts only obviously




35 responses to “Packet Advice”

  1. I still think Beware The Cat was fascinating (and strangely on-brand with Timothy around!)
    The Too Like The Lightning discussion was really good as a moving set of chats in the comments but I’m not sure how coherent it will be as a set of static articles. You should certainly include the final review though.
    The Scolzie cover generator is a must.

    I get why you’d want to avoid much of the post-puppy analysis stuff, as it’s very very inside baseball (and possibly incomprehensible without three years of backstory), but it’s a pretty common theme in what you cover so as you suggest the Confunding Umpire bits might work – it’s a fairly standalone story and people may know the basics or at least recognise the names.

    Clearly there should be some Timothy Reviews but I’m agnostic on which ones. I think some artwork articles as well – I’m going to put in a bid for Triceracopter (but I’m biased!) and screaming panic blob guy.


    • Good points. I think I may have the lead into the Beware the Cat projects and then links (also a lot of it is somebody else’s work obviously, even if they are very long dead).

      Too Like the Lightning – review plus links seems like a good idea.


  2. Here are the ones I selected when I created your entry in the Hugo Nominees Wikia. Note that they were really only taken from the first 5 months of the year, but they were the ones done during that time which I felt provided a good cross-section of the different types of fanac that you do.

    As far as packet composition, I’m nobody, but here’s my two cents, based on how I approach reading the packet entries:

    I personally think that the Beware the Cat series was very interesting, but it’s not what I’d choose for the packet, 1) because it is so very long, and 2) because it’s not really genre.

    I agree with something Mike said — that traditionally Fan Writing wasn’t necessarily genre-related, it often involved very esoteric subjects and/or humor. But there was one Finalist last year who I put last on my ballot because their examples were mostly 1) not genre, and 2) long lists of links without any actual Fan Writing by that person involved. That’s just my personal preference — but note how fiction which is not markedly genre (such as Passing Strange) does not seem to do as well with the voters; there will be people like me who are expecting genre connections in the writing.

    The other thing to remember is that the Hugo voters are going to get a massive amount of reading material in the packet. I think it is better to include a number of short-to-medium-length pieces which those who are less patient can read to completion. If you want to put a really long one in, at least do it at the end, so that they don’t see the length and decide to nope out of reading your submission before reading anything else.

    I recommend hyperlinking the title of the submission pieces to each of the original pieces online, but including the full actual text in the submission, except in cases where that won’t work (such as the Create Your Own Fake Collapsing Empire Cover). Limit the number of straight links without accompanying full text, because there will be a significant contingent of people reading the packet who are only going to read the packet and not click links or look at things online. At the very least, put most of the standalone links at the end of the submission under “If You’d Like To Read More”.

    Okay. Maybe that was 10 cents. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The Jordan Peterson stuff was quite good, I thought, and would be a good example of your more serious work.

    For a certain value of serious of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d go with a nice mix of the serious and the funny. My suggestions would be some of your Too Like the Lightning analysis, maybe some of your Star Trek Discovery reviews, the roundtable discussion with Susan and Tim or maybe some of Susan’s writing tips, the intro chapter of McEdifice with a link to where to find the rest. Oh yes, and Tim’s La-La Land review, since I loved that one.

    Echoing several of the others, I’d avoid Beware the Cat, because fun as it was, it’s not really genre. Ditto for Peterson, because he’s not genre related either, not to mention very tedious. I’d also avoid most of the puppy related stuff except for something that works without context like the cover creator.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Here’s what we posted for Rocket Stack Rank last year.

    We got fussed at a little because the page itself is all content that wasn’t published in the year of eligibility, but they eventually decided to let us get away with it.

    At the last minute, we decided to produce PDF files with screen shots of selected articles. That got us some complaints from fans who said those were useless and that we’d have done better to just give a link to the one page if we weren’t willing to format something special.

    We’re still trying to decide what to do this year . . .

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I do recall that your pdfs didn’t format very well, but web->pdf never goes very easily. I’d say you should definitely package up some selected reviews in a more “standard” presentation so people unfamiliar with RSR have something to start by reading. Not everyone will be familiar with the style of the site so an example of one or two of the ranked pages would still be good, if you can get around the formatting issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eric has some ideas for doing what you suggest, but our big project for this month is going to be converting Rocket Stack Rank from the Blogger platform to self-hosted WordPress. That may not leave much time for anything else this year. But we’ll see.


  7. Susan, obviously, in her guise as Triceracopter and in her cogent literary analysis — maybe a few eps of “Ask a Triceratops”? (you’d have to explain about the fungal future)
    One of the round table discussions with you, Tim, Susan, Mr. Atomic, maybe.
    Neato graphics like you have on the covers.
    DEFINITELY a link to and first chapter of McEdifice.
    Tim’s La La Land review.
    A Disco review… I forget whether you liked the one that was nominated or not. Whichever one is most cogent, maybe.
    Link to make your own book cover.
    That one Sunday Beer you mentioned, as representative of them all.

    Possibly Teddy’s pathetic Scalzi attack attempt, BUT wouldn’t it be funner to completely ignore him? He’s ginned you up as one of his enemies, so he’s gnashing his teeth that you’re nominated. Imagine his further ire when he opens the packet (you know he’s got a supporting membership) and sees no mention of him at all? It’s just what he deserves. The Pups can now go off into the obscurity and ignominity they deserve.

    TLTL stuff is too long and esoteric. Beware the Cat doesn’t quite fit. The non-podcast podcast was fun, but way too long and we need to ignore li’l Jonny too, b/c who needs an even worse xerox of the Pups? The Scrappies haven’t done anything.

    No Pups, no Scrappies, none of them, I sez, save the oblique reference in Make Your Own Cover.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, and there MUST be a link somewhere to Panic Blob, and how he’s become the graphic that best represents many of us the last month/week/day of Hugo voting. Did he appear in the run-up to last year’s votes? Your homegrown graphics and the cover generator really set you apart from the others in the category; even if you don’t win, people will have a laugh at the silly pictures.

    The more I think about it, the more I like ignoring Pups/Scraps/Pulprev. They’re of the past now, so let’s have some current and future stuff. Nothing of the past except Susan, I say!


    • Pups and Vox in the Bumper edition but minimal pups in concise edition (some passing mentions eg I want the Le Guin & Science two parter in the packet but that refers to a shifty essay at Castalia that is needed for the essay to make sense)


      • Yes, but you have to see him in action to really appreciate Panic Blob (Is his name Bob, then? Bob the Blob?). So a link to a post about/featuring him in the Bumper version.

        I mean, even if one isn’t familiar with the whole Tim/Mr. Atomic/Susan ecosystem, everyone can appreciate a good Panic Blob.

        I don’t remember the LeGuin posts so I have no opinion as to whether they should be in.

        But I encourage no pups in the concise version. Everyone’s tired of them, and you certainly have more than enough other good-quality stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The Le Guin posts were when a Castalia blogger tried to portray her science as bad in Lathe of Heaven and Lefthand of Darkness but in the process got his own science wrong and Le Guin (naturally) was spot on. I like them because I get to be mean about Castalia, squee about Le Guin and do some science writing about Global Warming.


      • Hmmm… the fact that I don’t remember posts with all that in them means 1) I didn’t think they were among your best work B) my memory’s going or mi) all of the above.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve gone back and read those posts and do not recommend them being in the packet. Definitely NOT in the short one. You might have liked them, but they’re really not the best examples of your work — basically a fisking and they get a bit… rambly and people’s eyes are going to glaze over and stop caring. A bit slight.

        Tim’s La La Land review holds up, though, as does McEdifice.

        Liked by 1 person

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