The table shows Hugo Finalists for Best Novel by publisher for the period 1985 to 2005. I want to quote this later but I can’t really link to a Google Sheets pivot table. The back story is the coda to the Debarkle Jim Baen chapter got way too long and recent comments from Eric Flint added new material. So the 2006/7 aftermath to Jim Baen’s death is now a separate chapter. It’s structurally and tonally quite different and features more Hugo stats nerdery.
This was an inevitable episode that was never going to have either the charm, humour or intrigue of earlier episodes. It does have some powerful emotional moments but I found those undercut by a couple of big issues. Lots of answers but few surprises.
Before we dive into spoiler territory, just a fresh reminder that Disney still haven’t paid Alan Dean Foster the money they owe him.
Not another chapter today. There will be a short pause, which I’ll explain shortly. First though, I’ll give you all a sense of what’s coming up.
We are about mid-way through Part 1: Beginnings. There are six chapters go and the finally chapter brings things to 2010 and catches up with all the players we’ve met at the end of the first decade (or start of the second depending). The chapter after next one, will be the Larry Correia origin story, followed by the first book review chapter looking at Monster Hunter International. I’ll then swerve off course into our first Meanwhile chapter which will look at the Iraq War, Marriage Equality fights and the election of Barack Obama with comments and perspectives from the characters we’ve met so far (also the flippin’ Global Financial Crisis which, oddly, was less talked about). From there, an even more huge diversion into RaceFail2009 in the second Meanwhile chapter. Diversions all done, we close with 2010 with the boards all set up and all the pieces in place [for Wagner fans, Part 1 is like Das Rheingold, all the best tunes are in the next opera].
If you read the outline I posted on February 2, you will notice that a chapter got skipped between the Vox Day chapter and the SFWA chapter. So a couple of things about that chapter:
The plan was to have a chapter looking at Tor and Baen up to mid-2000s along with ebooks and Amazon etc. As soon as I started pulling notes together for that chapter it was obvious that the right story to write was a biography of Jim Baen. It covers Tor, Baen Books, Tom Doherty, Hugo Awards and innovations like ebooks, fan engagement and (sadly) has a distinct conclusion in 2006 with Jim Baen’s untimely death. Of course Jim Baen himself had zero to do with the Puppy Kerfuffle but the nature of influential figures is that they cast a long shadow.
Now, as it stands, it is definitely not a hit piece or an attack on Jim Baen but…yeah, I’m going to give it a week. I will add a disclaimer and I don’t think somebody reading it in good faith will see it as an attempt to malign him. However, in the circumstance and given how certain former Puppies regard me, I’ll wait until next week before posting it.
This is just some background for the next Debarkle chapter looking mainly at Baen (that was always the plan, prior to recent events – I’d already started the chapter).
Looking at story categories, Tor Books has had 106 works as Hugo finalists. ISFDB lists “10038 publications not in a publication series” for Tor. Baen Books has had 12 works as finalists (including stories from Jim Baen’s Universe) and according to ISFDB “3758 publications not in a publication series“. The ISFDB entry numbers is a very rough way to get a sense of the relative volume of the two publishers, particularly as the ISFDB listing will include works republished that were originally published by different publishers. Even so, the hit rate for Tor is proportionally higher but not vastly so. If I cut off the Hugo numbers at 2013 to remove the Sad Puppy influence and backlash, as well as the Tor.com novella explosion, Tor has had 55 finalists and Baen has had 10. So about 5 times the number of finalists but about 2.7 times the amount published — again, a better hit rate than Baen but not so much bigger as to think Baen had a particular disadvantage.
The numbers are a bit too fuzzy to be sure I’m not comparing apples and chromebooks. More of a sanity checks. Any ideas of tightening that up as a comparison?
The rules for the Nebula Award have changed over time but at the point of time we have reached (the middle of the first decade of the 21st century), the process to select the finalists included both a nomination phase by members of the SFWA and also a jury. Each category had a jury that had the power to add additional nominees to the list of finalists so that works of note which might otherwise have been missed could be part of the final vote. The juries were drawn made up of SFWA members appointed by the President.
In 2005 Vox Day (as Theodore Beale) was included in a Nebula Award jury for the second time having previously served on the jury for Best Novelette. Coincidentally, over at his World Net Daily column in February 2005 he also touched on his thoughts about science fiction in a column provocatively entitled, Why Women Can’t Think. Day’s target in the column was feminist academics but also suggests women are weaker academically:
In our whistle-stop tour of the history of science fiction, we have met publishers, editors, writers, fans, fan clubs and conventions. However, the organised aspects of science fiction include other kinds of groups. Science fiction is many things but one thing it can be is a commercial endeavour, and the nature of capitalism means that the economic interests of fans, publishers, editors and writers are not always the same (even when a fan is also a writer, editor and publisher!).
In 1934, Donald Wollheim (who would later help lead the Futurians) sued Hugo Gernsback after Gernsback failed to pay Wollheim and other writers for stories they had written and Gernsback had published. I doubt that was the first pay dispute between science fiction writer and their publisher but it certainly wasn’t the last.
Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Sydney time which is still Sunday in most countries) . It’s fine to be sad, worried, very worried, angry or maybe even happy (or all of those things at once).
Please feel free to post what you like (either troubling news or pleasant distractions) in the comments for this open thread. [However, no cranky conflicts between each other in the comments.] Links, videos, cat pictures 🐈 etc are fine! Whatever you like and be nice to one another 😇
Baen author Larry Correia is currently banned from Facebook for bullying but has back-up account for his fan page on the lesser-known social media service MeWe. I thought readers would be interested to know about a new project he is working on. Not sure what you’d call it? Muck raking? Quixotic quest for revenge? Doing his utmost to make a bad situation worse for fun and profit? Not sure.
“I have a favor to ask (and if one of the mods could put this in the Facebook group too, that would be great). This is directly related to Toni getting kicked out of WorldCon. This is for a project someone is working on. I don’t know how it will proceed yet. I need examples of writers/editors/fans who WorldCon is perfectly comfortable with, and their shitty posts, tweets, memes, of things that aren’t “inclusive”. (advocating violence, shooting cops, killing Trump, celebrating Rush’s death, putting us in reeducation camps, whatever. If it makes you feel not included, I’d like to know) If you don’t have a screen cap but are going from memory, that’s fine. (that standard of evidence is perfectly acceptable for the “exposes” they utilize) I know this is “political”. I know this may make some of you here uncomfortable, which is why I don’t want debate or infighting, just gathering evidence. This isn’t about right or left, this is about cancel culture being fucking evil, and people needing to stand up to it. If you don’t like it, keep on scrolling. Not up for debate. Post them in the comments if you’ve got them.”
What is interesting from the comments is…well there’s nothing interesting in the comments. I think he imagined there would be all of these great examples of famous authors saying terrible things but people didn’t have much. I’m surprised they haven’t found more.
You will all note the rhetorical sleight of hand at the start. Toni Weiskopff has not been kicked out of Worldcon. She’s no longer Guest of Honour, not banned from attending. Of course, that would make Larry’s project even harder if he had to find a Guest of Honour with dubious comments that had been brought to Worldcon’s attention and then they didn’t disinvite them?
Well that was very entertaining. As always an episode that is night on impossible to review without spoilers, even though the biggest twist was one I think most people had guessed. Aside from that, this was one of the most integrated of the episodes since the external-world plot was introduced. As our sitcom history has reached the 2010s, the inspiration is the mockumentary style of Modern Family. That’s a surprisingly effective medium as it allows several characters to talk directly to camera about the plot. Meanwhile Darcy finds herself part of the show and Monica gets a new toy.
“Oh,” I said “I’ll write a long series exploring parallels between the Sad Puppies and the 2020 election” That’ll be clever. What does flippin’ Brad Torgersen do? Just flippin’ spells out the thesis of the whole thing directly:
“In 2015 Toni Weisskopf got more first-run votes for Best Editor Hugo than any prior winner, ever. Hell, she got more votes than many of the prior winners combined. And the Woke Children used 2,500 scab “votes” to trash Toni’s win — cough, not too different from how a hundred thousand Biden “votes” magically appeared overnight in key counties, back in November, cough — because they’ve always hated Baen as a business, and Toni by association, and also because the “wrong people” both nominated and voted for her. (see my essay, “The Mote in Gernsback’s Eye.”)”