Debarkle Chapter 70: Life After Campbell

A perennial question about the Sad Puppy campaign and the Rabid Puppy campaign is whether they were a single phenomenon with two flavours or two separate things that operated together for a while. There is not a single answer to the question. Even an attempt to sort the original Evil League of Evil into Sad and Rabid groups has ambiguities: where should Baen author Tom Kratman be placed or Castalia author John C. Wright? Post-2015 hostility between Vox Day and Sarah Hoyt made the political distinction a little clearer but even that became blurred when Hoyt endorsed Donald Trump.

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Writers of the Future and Hugo Awards

Usual story, I wanted to say something very briefly and then wondered what the facts were and before you know it: spreadsheets!

So Writers of the Future finalists and Hugo finalists (written story categories Novel, Novella, Novelette, Novelina), who is both of those things? This is what I got just on a quick match:

WoF YearQuarterWof TitleWriterHugo TitleAwardYearFinalist
2015Second“Poseidon’s Eyes”Kary EnglishTotaledShort Story2015Kary English
2010Third“Exanastasis”Brad R. TorgersenRay of LightNovelette2012Brad R. Torgersen
2007Third“Obsidian Shards”Aliette de BodardThe Jaguar House, in ShadowNovelette2011Aliette de Bodard
2005First“Betrayer of Trees”Eric James StoneThe Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast MadeNovelette2011Eric James Stone
2004Fourth“In Memory”Eric James StoneThe Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast MadeNovelette2011Eric James Stone
2003Fourth“Into the Gardens of Sweet Night”Jay LakeInto the Gardens of Sweet NightNovelette2004Jay Lake
2003Fourth“Gossamer”Ken LiuThe Man Who Ended History: A DocumentaryNovella2012Ken Liu
2002Second“Rewind”David D. LevineThe Tale of the Golden EagleShort Story2004David D. Levine
2002Fourth“Windseekers”Nnedi OkoraforBintiNovella2016Nnedi Okorafor
1992Fourth“The Winterberry”Nicholas A. DiCharioThe WinterberryShort Story1993Nicholas A. DiChario
1987Second“Jacob’s Ladder”M. Shayne BellMrs. Lincoln’s ChinaShort Story1995M. Shayne Bell
1987Second“The Language of the Sea”Carolyn Ives GilmanThe Ice OwlNovella2012Carolyn Ives Gilman
1987Third“Living in the Jungle”Martha SoukupOver the Long HaulNovelette1991Martha Soukup
1986Fourth“The Old Organ Trail”Bridget McKennaThe Good PupShort Story1994Bridget McKenna
1985Third“Recalling Cinderella”Karen Joy FowlerThe Faithful Companion at FortyShort Story1988Karen Joy Fowler

Am I missing anybody? I’m guessing yes, just because of how people can style their names differently. Suggestions? The purpose is to see when peak Writers of the Future as a pathway was. Early 2000s?

Debarkle Chapter 69: Life After Puppies — Hugo Awards 2018

Convinced in 2015 that the Hugo Awards were heading towards an inevitable decline, the Sad Puppies celebrated the arrival of the 2016 Dragon Awards as the final nail in the coffin of the venerable Hugos. Membership numbers for Worldcon remained strong[1] even if the number of Hugo voters declined from the peak of 2015[2]. The Dragon Awards in the meantime struggled with their own capacity to publicise themselves, with the size and scope of Dragon Con overshadowing the award ceremony which was forced to compete with a plethora of other events.

A more dramatic change was noticeable in the gender balance of the Hugo Award finalists. 2007 had seen a remarkable lack of representation of women writers in the main story categories (Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story), with only one woman finalist (Naomi Novik). From that nadir, the number of women finalists increased until 2014 and the impact of the Puppy campaigns. However, even the Puppy years avoided the low point of 2007 and ten years later a majority of finalists were women. The underlying trends had continued during the Puppy years, even if the impact of the slates had masked the changes. From 2016 onwards the winners of those four categories would all be women. Transgender authors and authors using non-binary pronouns were now visible in the Hugo Awards further breaking down the stereotype of the male science fiction author.

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Susan’s Salon: 2021 October 24/25

Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Whatever Standard Time, which is still Sunday in most other countries). It’s fine to be sad, worried, vaccinated, unvaccinated-yet, 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 😇

Not quite a Shang-Chi Review

I watched the latest Marvel movie last week as a way of celebrating being able to go to the cinema again. I don’t have a lot to say other than it is very entertaining. Some brilliant fight sequences, particularly in the first half. The second half is more overtly fantasy and the film almost stalls as it transitions from one plot (and style) to another.

Aside from the martial arts, the other strength of the film is the two leads, Simu Liu and Awkwafina who have great chemistry and charm. It’s about as light-hearted as a film about the son of a grief-stricken abusive dad/super-villain can be.

Not much else to say, so here is a poster from a different part of the multiverse.

Foundation Episode 6

The show has been taking its time by introducing the background and a broader plot about the fall of the Galactic Empire. However, if the pace was slow it was still moving. Episode 6 was a case of the show spinning its wheels without really going anywhere. There are some good bits but what momentum the story had in the previous episodes got caught up in dithering. Spoilers follow.

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Currently Reading: A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik + current state of Hugo reading

I’m going through the Lodestar nominees currently. I did just finish T. Kingfisher’s A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking which is currently winning all the awards. It was great fun and well-deserving of all the praise it is getting but I don’t have much to say about it for a review. Reminds me of Murderbot in that’s another set of stories which I really like but don’t actually have much to say about.

I’ve now moved on to Naomi Novik’s new series, a magical school setting but with a more brutal twist or rather an acknowledgement that magical schools in literature have a disproportionate fatality rate compared to your average high school.

I’m mindful that having a whole big heap of time to read EVERYTHING and yet somehow it is October already and the Hugo voting deadline is fast approaching! I don’t think I’ll get to read all the Lodestar finalists.

I’ve fallen behind on novellas. I’d been doing pretty well and then I stalled on The Empress of Salt and Fortune…oddly. I had it as an audiobook and just couldn’t get into it at all and had to keep restarting because my mind would wander and I’d realise I’d lost track of the story. Gave up on the audiobook and went to the ebook version and enjoyed it. Just not the right kind of pace for an audiobook for me I guess.

Susan’s Salon: 2021 October 17/18

🥁

Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Whatever Standard Time, which is still Sunday in most other countries). It’s fine to be sad, worried, vaccinated, unvaccinated-yet, 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 😇

Debarkle Chapter 68: History Rhymes — Nebulas 2019

One of the contradictory themes of the 2015 Sad Puppy campaigns was its dual claims of tradition and change. Brad Torgersen had sought a traditional publishing path within science fiction, seeking a mentor from an influential editor (Mike Resnick) and publication in one of the longest-running science fiction magazines, Analog. However, the Sad Puppy campaign would quickly shift to claiming that it was championing the new independent paths to publishing created by the proliferation of ebooks and ebook readers. In the 2015 Sad Puppy slate, Torgersen had in particular included independent author Annie Bellet as an example he could cite of the Sad Puppies introducing independent writers into the Hugo nominations. That many independently published writers were already present in the shorter fiction was not something acknowledged by the Puppies nor was the fact that the most notable bête noire of the Puppies, John Scalzi, had self-published his first science fiction novel on his blog.

In the chaos and bad blood of the 2015 Hugo Awards, Annie Bellet had withdrawn after the Puppy sweep of the nominations became clear. While the maelstrom that was the Puppies dominated science fiction news in 2015, other significant changes were occurring. 2015 also marked a major change in the membership eligibility rules for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). After a referendum of members, the SFWA amended its rules to make it easier for self-published and small press writers to become members[1]. Bellet had been a member of the SFWA prior to the rule change but was part of a growing number of independently published authors joining the SFWA.

The territory of science fiction publishing was changing during this period. New small publishers focused on ebooks were coming into being. From 2016, the newly created Dragon Awards featured some finalists from new publishing collectives such as Chris Kennedy Publishing[2] particularly in the military-SF and space opera subgenres. Ironically, after a busy year in 2017, Vox Day’s own boutique publisher Castalia House effectively withdrew from science fiction publishing in 2018[3].

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