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Hugo time! Your packet is available! 2018

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4 minutes ago, mormont said:

But we both know that never existed, not even close. 

Agreed on this. The perpetual slant in the genre, and in publishing generally, in the past was not remotely fair in the past. It was an injustice to those who were kept out of the limelight despite their best efforts and fine work that merited as much or more acclaim than that of their more successful peers.

Two years, it's absolutely worth considering what the factors are. For example, perhaps it's merely a network effect -- it's been noted two of the primary sources fans are using for recommendations are heavily used and populated more by women than by men -- and this is leading to strong pressure that biases results to one gender rather than another; it may be worthwhile to get more diversity in engagement in those networks to perhaps help all eligible works to get a fair shake. But it's not actually important, in and of itself. Twice is coincidence. Three times, well, that will seem like a pattern, but we'll have to wait until next year.

There are reasons to think it's an over-correction to the Puppies, and will sort itself out.

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Just now, mormont said:

See above. That there may have been a political component does not invalidate the worth of the ballot: nor is the scenario you suggest the same as, or even equivalent to, the scenario that actually happened. 

Implicit in your post is the idea of an 'ideal ballot' that actually represents the best stories that were published that year, irrespective of the gender or race or sexuality or other status of the writers who wrote them. But we both know that never existed, not even close. 

Two wrongs don't make a right. The voters are supposed to vote based only on the qualities of the works, not on the identity of the writer. Celebrating this kind of identiarian bias when the "right" groups benefit from it and decrying it when the "wrong" ones did in the past is hypocritical and counter-productive.

And it's not like female short fiction writers need extra help these days. Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, F&SF, Asimov's and most other major venues in the field are very much pro gender diversity and publish about equal amount of stories by women and men.

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18 minutes ago, David Selig said:

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Nor does an immense oversimplification of a complex problem make an argument. 

Whatever voters are 'supposed' to do (and that in itself is a fraught statement), they have never voted purely on merit and likely they never will. It's really not even possible to nominate purely on merit, because you can't read everything. You read stuff you come across, and the stuff you come across is inherently dictated by a slew of personal prejudices.

22 minutes ago, David Selig said:

Celebrating this kind of identiarian bias when the "right" groups benefit from it and decrying it when the "wrong" ones did in the past is hypocritical and counter-productive.

In what ways is it counter-productive?

22 minutes ago, David Selig said:

And it's not like female short fiction writers need extra help these days.

I think this is a very contentious statement, and for one thing it ignores intersectionality. Publishing white female writers does little for women of colour. 

22 minutes ago, David Selig said:

Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, F&SF, Asimov's and most other major venues in the field are very much pro gender diversity and publish about equal amount of stories by women and men.

Citation?

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I could buy more into the argument of agendas and politics at play for the Hugos in general if the nominations and votes were made by a very small select closed committee as in other literary awards.  However, there are thousands of people who are able to nominate and vote for the Hugo/Campbell/YA awards from all over the world.  And the reality is the majority choose not to participate in nominating and voting.

 

Last year for Helsinki there were 10,516 Worldcon members.  I don’t know the breakdown of the membership types so I don’t know how many of those were eligible to nominate for this year’s awards but let’s assume at minimum at least 5,000 were eligible.  Yet looking at the nominations statistics for this year’s award, only 1,534 people chose to nominate books for Best Novel and the numbers only went down from there for the other categories – down to 344 nominations for Best Fan Artist.

 

The reality is it doesn’t take a large number of nominations to get onto the Hugo ballot for a number of categories.  Only 57 nominating votes were needed to be on the ballot for the Campbell award, 69 for Best Short Story, and 52 for the YA Award.  Within the 5,000 members any number of groups have the opportunity to get together and take over a category or two the way the Sad Puppies did a few years ago.

 

And then stepping away from the nominations to the awards themselves…again you have low voter turnout.  I don’t think they have officially announced the number of memberships for San Jose but if I remember correctly the number they stated at the Closing Ceremonies I think we can again go with 5,000 eligible to vote for the awards.  Yet only 2,336 voted for Best Novel, 1,996 voted for Short Story, 1,336 voted for YA, and 1,356 voted for the Campbell.  It only took 324 votes to win the Campbell and 454 votes to win Short Story.

 

So the reality is there might be an agenda for some members with their voting.  To the extent the awards reflect that agenda…well it’s because they are the ones nominating and voting.  Worldcon membership is not 100% female social justice warriors.  If people have an issue with who and what is being nominated and winning, there is a way to change that.  Worldcon memberships are open to everyone.  It does not cost a large amount of money to get a membership that allows you to nominate and vote.  And it does not take that many votes to get a nomination or a win.

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5 hours ago, Ran said:

 

Speaking of Campbells, has anyone read Jeannette Ng's book, Under the Pendulum Sun? The premise sounds interesting.

I loved Under the Pendulum Sun and put it on my nomination list. I am also not alone in this opinion, since may people at File 770 and on Polish feminist genre site Lewa ręka fantastyki praised it enormously. OTOH it is very much a gothic novel (as some reviewer wrote "in this book you won't find any heights that aren't wuthering", so it is not to everybody's taste, obviously.

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3 minutes ago, Bastard of Godsgrace said:

I loved Under the Pendulum Sun and put it on my nomination list. I am also not alone in this opinion, since may people at File 770 and on Polish feminist genre site Lewa ręka fantastyki praised it enormously. OTOH it is very much a gothic novel (as some reviewer wrote "in this book you won't find any heights that aren't wuthering", so it is not to everybody's taste, obviously.

Sounds terrific! Love Gothic literature.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, lady narcissa said:

  If people have an issue with who and what is being nominated and winning, there is a way to change that.  Worldcon memberships are open to everyone.  It does not cost a large amount of money to get a membership that allows you to nominate and vote.  And it does not take that many votes to get a nomination or a win.

I think a little easier said than done. Anyone who says, "Hey, lets get out the vote for male writers to diversify the nominations," is going to be looked at very dubiously. And for good reason, this early out. If this is a situation that's going to run on for a number of years, then I suppose that may be what will ultimately happen, but I don't think anyone is going to feel too good about it.

 

ETA:

 

@mormont

I don't have the stats on gender balance at Tor.com and other outlets, but a statistician commenting on things at File 770 said that he found lots of 45-55 balances when he was trying to see if results could be explained by there being far more women being published than men, or vice versa. I did a count at Tor.com since 2017, and it stands at approximately 41 female-identifying - 36 male-identifying.

I learned one interesting thing while I was doing it, though: at the end of July 2017, it was 30-11! And then there was a sudden swamp of men, to the point where it doesn't seem like coincidence but likely a mandate or correction, presumably when people started pointing out that there seemed to be a strong bias in one direction.

ETA: Lightspeed, I get a count of approximately 28 female - 32 male  in 2018.

Edited by Ran

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9 hours ago, Errant Bard said:

ETA: regarding politics, look at Valente, whose absence of nominations to award has obviously nothing to do with what is written in her books. I see her latest being labelled... was it "inconsequential and frothy"? Yet Novik won a bloody Nebula with Uprooted.

Wait, are you saying Valente doesn't win because of politics, or because her books lack politics? Or.. Like actual question I don't know what you're saying here.

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2 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Wait, are you saying Valente doesn't win because of politics, or because her books lack politics? Or.. Like actual question I don't know what you're saying here.

No, I'm saying she loses votes because people don't like her personally, yet those people will invoke writing style as an excuse while happily giving an award to a story with the same writing style. It was just to illustraye the point that it's always about politics, even in the subgroup currently on the upswing.

Oh, and I'm not certain Valente would win even if noone cared about anything but her writing, but she probably would get more nominations. I for one think her books are vastly superior to an award winner's like Novik, so yeah but ymmv.

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It's worth considering that Uprooted won more than just the Nebula and a Hugo nom. The BFA, the Mythopoeic, a WFA nomination, #2 in the Locus awards -- all of these have some (sometimes substantially) different voting bodies, so it clearly connected with a wide genre readership, some of which likely voted for the work with less political/personal reasons than Hugo voters might.

Valente hasn't had much attention from the Hugos since 2014, despite a steady output and nominations and wins in other award categories, and I suspect you're right there are largely personal reasons as for why. But an alternative reason that comes to mind -- and I'm not sure if it's a good one -- might be that she has experimented a lot with her writing, and this has led to a lack of reliable predictability that has driven away people who prefer to know what they're getting when they pick up an author's story.

 

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7 hours ago, mormont said:

Nor does an immense oversimplification of a complex problem make an argument. 

Whatever voters are 'supposed' to do (and that in itself is a fraught statement), they have never voted purely on merit and likely they never will. It's really not even possible to nominate purely on merit, because you can't read everything. You read stuff you come across, and the stuff you come across is inherently dictated by a slew of personal prejudices.

How is it a fraught statement? Seems about as obvious and non-controversial as it gets to me.

And the problem is that some voters seem to not even try to vote in an unbiased manner and are proud to only vote for works by "marginalized" writers and not even consider the works of cis white dudes. Now, I doubt that there are many cases of such blatant bias in action, but the voters in most categories are only a few hundred, so you don't need much to swing the results. Usually it's probably less overt - "These two stories seemed equally good to me, but I want to promote diversity so I will put the one by the Asian woman first and feel that I've done my bit for the cause of diversity".

7 hours ago, mormont said:

Citation? 

That's my impression from reading them regularly. Ran's stats seem to confirm it.

 

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