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Hugo Nominations and Awards - 2020 Winners Announced

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1 hour ago, Caligula_K3 said:

I really enjoyed both A Memory Called Empire and This is How You Lose the Time War - of the Hugo nominees I read, they seem very deserving.

As someone who's way out of the loop: what's the deal with Campbell?

From 1937 until 1950, John W. Campbell was the most dominant figure in American science fiction, and before that and for part of that time he was also one of the most significant authors (as Don A. Stuart) in the genre as well (his classic "Who Goes There?" became the famed John Carpenter-directed horror film The Thing). The period after 1950 was his decline, and as even his friends and former proteges would say afterward, his last two decades (he died in 1971) were a time when he was much diminished, increasingly close-minded and bigoted.

As editor of Astounding and (for a time) Unknown, many of the most famous writers (Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, etc..) of the Golden Age of Science Fiction found a supporter and champion who shared with them many ideas that went on to become classics, and who generally did a great deal to almost single-handedly pull science fiction out of the pulps and begin to be considered as a more serious genre, a development that later helped lead to the national and international fame of SF authors beyond the bounds of the genre (hence Heinlein and Clarke being interviewed on national television by Walter Cronkite about Apollo 11). 

But, he was a conservative, with some deeply unpleasant ideas -- in particular racist and sexist views that would lead him to reject a novel for serialization by Samuel R. Delany (whom Campbell thought of as highly talented) because it had a black protagonist and to reject the serialization rights to Haldeman's The Forever War because it had female soldiers. It should be noted these events were in the 60s, after a point in time when many saw a change in him. He had expressed racist beliefs before, including suggesting that it would have been better for industrialization to bring about the end of slavery in the early 1910s than to suffer the Civil War and Reconstruction and everything that came from it, and so on.

At the same time, he was also a bit of a crank, and became increasingly so in the mid 50s and on. He played a direct hand in helping L. Ron Hubbard develop what would become Dianetics -- I think this was probably one of the most illuminating chapters of Nevala-Lee's book -- for a time, and pushed more and more junk science in his magazine, believing in ESP and perpetual motion machine and other such nonsense.

But again, this was always well after his heyday. So, what was his crime in the 40s? Primarily providing some strictures to what writers could write -- he didn't want stories where aliens beat men, and in general wanted humans as the main characters, and had a patriarchal view of how characters could be depicted -- and he was not open to hiring writers who did not fit his notions (this was not about women, BTW, as a number wrote for him, but I guess race... though I can't recall of any black writers who tried to get hired in the 40s by him).

Because of his great status, he is considered by scholars and many writers and readers as the most important editor the genre has and ever will see, and because of that status the Hugo Awards hosted for several decades the Campbell Award for Best New Writer.. until last year, when a recipient, Jeanette Ng, denounced him and his name being used for an award for new writers, many of whom Campbell himself may well have rejected had they tried to get hired by him back in the day for being non-white, non-binary, homosexual, etc. The award was renamed to the Astounding Award, acknowledging him and his magazine more indirectly, and now the issue is that GRRM spent 90 seconds too long discussing Campbell in the context of the award's history and why his name came to mind for the award because of how many young writers he had helped, and that Robert Silverberg, named Campbell the greatest of the greats when talking about the editors of the past that he had worked with.

4 minutes ago, David Selig said:

What did Campbell do in 1944 that was impacted the field so negatively?

I, too, would share this question. It was wartime, most of the big names were busy, and almost all of the most popular works -- then and now, if we look at what's getting reprinted in collections of classics -- of that year  were published by Campbell.

Nevala-Lee's biography of Campbell and his main writers has very little to say about that year besides the publication of "Deadline", the story that led the FBI to investigate whether the writer, and Campbell as his editor, had been using leaks of information from scientists working on the nuclear bomb. 

 

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6 hours ago, David Selig said:

A lot of the most vocal people in the community have become ridiculously woke and have mastered the art of being offended by anything. It's embarrassing.

People on Twitter were even saying GRRM is transphobic because he made a joke about about the Oscar statues not having penises or something like that. It's insane.

Does this really surprise anyone? Do people have so limited memory? Do people have no historical knowledge?

Reality check: when people go for an extreme position, sooner or later, some people with that mindset will target everyone else (and this also means literally everyone posting in this forum, don't pretend you never committed any kind of wrong-think) for any reason. Which also means that, sooner or later, you'll find yourself thinking "this has gone too far". The only unknown is where your own red line will be. We know well what the reactionary/conservative/GOP view is: any change is already one change too many, and their redline was at the very beginning of the whole trend (and for some, that "very beginning" was the desegregation back in the 1960s...). Some gamers had their own lines years ago (which seemingly wasn't that far from many conservatives). For people like Rowling, the redline was quite farther, but still way different from what it would be for the bulk of the left/progressive side. Still, we're coming to a point where people like Obama and Margaret Atwood think this is sometimes going too far. So, eventually, people will have to come together and see which boundaries should be set, what should truly be considered "going too far" - if only because it's just silly or ludicrous and makes a joke of the whole movement -, or if we should just go with the flow and literally burn everything down and opt for a genuine tabula rasa - basically like the Khmers Rouges.

It's been a very long time since I've come to the conclusion that if I wanted to apply my very own purity test to everyone, I would end up putting even my best friends against the wall, because there will always be some (to me) important issues, me and them would strongly disagree about. So I have to cut some slack to people, it's a vital necessity for life in any kind of society. And here, I talk about current living people; for dead people, well, they're dead, you can't punish them, so the whole damnatio memoriae temptation is just asinine and petty, as far as I'm concerned, the past is past and we can't change it (yet).

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8 hours ago, Ran said:

The issue, I think, was a lack of immediate feedback. ConZealand should have patched someone in by speaker phone when George was recording these whose job was just to make sure everything was said right, both coaching right beforehand and calling for a re-recording if there was an issue.

All of the nominees provided phonetic pronunciations of their names (even me) and anyone with a name that they often had mispronounced also recorded the correct pronunciation and sent it in. All of this material was available to the ConZealand organisers and I assume would have been available to George as well.

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but GRRM must have spoken for a couple of hours total, and Campbell came up on more than one occasion

A fan-edit of the entire ceremony that omitted the more tangential speeches came in at about 1.5 hours, eliminating around 1 hour and 50 minutes of things unrelated to the award ceremony at hand (this included a lot, but not all, of GRRM's speeches and all of Silverberg's).

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These awards have become extremely political and it's really no coincidence that white men have barely wbeen nominated for anything in the fiction category in the last 5 years.

Several other publicly-voted (with far less barriers) awards have also shown the same phenomenon, most notably the GoodReads Awards which has hundreds of thousands of votes. In those cases women have also had far greater success than men for the last several years, with no agenda in place. Amusingly, the Dragon Awards which were specifically set up in 2016 to exclude the "normal Hugo crowd" and reward the Puppies have seen many of the Hugo nominees also place very highly in recent years, which shows a much more widespread movement in support of those authors, even in awards designed to try to exclude them. In general genre discussion of new books, it's been overwhelmingly books by women which have dominated in the last few years: Gideon the Ninth and A Memory Called Empire are easily the two-most-discussed new genre books of last year going by discussion boards, Reddit etc.

This was easily the strongest Best Novel lineup for decades. I was very critical of the Hugos a few years ago (well, more like a decade ago) for too much giving awards to "usual suspects" (reaching an all-time nadir with Scalzi winning for the dreadful Redshirts, although Gaiman winning for the distinctly minor and disposable The Graveyard Book wasn't great either). Since that time they have improved immensely.

Maybe men should up their game and write more good books?

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As someone who's way out of the loop: what's the deal with Campbell?

John W. Campbell was an influential editor of short fiction via the magazine Astounding Science Fiction, which he edited from 1937 to 1971. He is credited with beginning the careers of all of the "Big Three" of science fiction writers who dominated the field from the late 1940s to the early 1980s (Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein), as well as a slew of others such as L. Ron Hubbard, Theodore Sturgeon, Clifford Simak, A.E. van Vogt and Lester del Rey. He also wrote fiction himself, but the only story of long-lasting note was Who Goes There, which was adapted as the film The Thing From Another World (1951) and its 1982 remake, The Thing. Campbell's primary contribution to the evolution of the field was rejecting "pulp" stories in favour of stories more rooted in real scientific principles and ideas.

Campbell's influence on the field started waning in late 1950s, and he was pretty much out of the loop by the time of the New Wave in the 1960s. He adopted a position that the American Civil War was unnecessary because mechanisation would have made slavery obsolete by 1910 anyway. However, he at times adopted contrary positions praising slavery as an institution, saying that black people were better of as slaves in the USA than as free people in contemporary Africa and pointing out that some people "enjoyed" being slaves. Michael Moorcock in particular seemed to take delight in pointing out his increasingly xenophobic views through the era of segregation and civil rights, which polarised the SFF field in the late 1960s. A 2018 biography confirmed that Campbell had profoundly racist views, comparing black girls to "domestic animals" and angrily speaking out against the Civil Rights movement. In his later years he became a big fan of Hubbard's Dianetics philosophy (which eventually evolved into Scientology) and became a stringent critic of government health measures. He was a denier of any correlation between lung cancer and smoking until just before his death, and adopted a strong interest in pseudoscience that alienated many of his former writers.

It also turned out that Campbell held a strict policy of not publishing works featuring protagonists of colour, even by white authors; he also refused to publish works by authors of colour as well, turning down Samuel R. Delaney even after he had built up a considerable critical reputation. He was known to also hold forth fairly outdated views on women, although he did publish a few stories (such as CL Moore and Leigh Brackett).

A number of SFF writers and critics hold Campbell to be of prime importance in the evolution of the genre, but quite a few others (Delaney, Joe Haldeman, Michael Moorcock, Alfred Bester, Kingsley Amis) thought his importance was massively overstated and overrated, and his key influence - wanting stories a bit more sophisticated than Flash Gordon - was not exactly revelatory even at the time. It is notable that early allies and friends of Campbell later turned on him and held his views on women, race, science and politics in contempt (Asimov in particular thought he went completely off the rails in his last two decades).

Between the 2018 biography and Jeanette Ng's speech at the Hugos last year, it was pointed out that Campbell's undoubted important contributions to the genre in the 1940s should not excuse the gatekeeping he practised to stop people he didn't like getting into the genre; ultimately he may have done more harm to the field than benefit.

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now the issue is that GRRM spent 90 seconds too long discussing Campbell in the context of the award's history and why his name came to mind for the award because of how many young writers he had helped, and that Robert Silverberg, named Campbell the greatest of the greats when talking about the editors of the past that he had worked with.

GRRM repeatedly referred to the award as the Campbell Award despite it being officially renamed and Silverberg's comments praising Campbell come after he also went to sexism town on NK Jemisin for having the temerity to win three Hugo Awards in a row and make a "political" speech (which was pretty mild and seemed to merely reflect on the bemusing fact that no black author had won a Best Novel Hugo until 2016).

The tone of the ceremony was profoundly out of keeping with the direction of movement in the last decade, which has been much more forward-looking. I understand GRRM wanting to provide context for newcomers, but he didn't really have the time to do that and his constant invocation of things that happened in the 1950s or 1970s was completely meaningless to young fans of the genre wanting to hear about these nominees and their contributions to SFF, not what Damon Knight may or may not have said to someone at a WorldCon before their parents were born.

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7 minutes ago, Werthead said:

GRRM repeatedly referred to the award as the Campbell Award

He referred to it as the Campbell Award for the era when it was the Campbell, and the Astounding for the present. The award was not (and really cannot) be renamed retroactively.

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Silverberg's comments praising Campbell

When talking about the great editors of the past he had worked with when presenting the Editor awards. To not mention Campbell, the editor of Silverberg's early fandom and early professional career, would be a falsehood.

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I understand GRRM wanting to provide context for newcomers, but he didn't really have the time to do that

ConZealand gave him the time. This was strange new ground for everyone. Now future Worldcons, if they ever have to deal with a global pandemic that forces a shift to a virtual award ceremony, will have some things they can learn from.

 

 

Edited by Ran

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It's really great how many people are so keen to say people shouldn't be offended by GRRM's speech or whatever coz they didn't think it was that bad. Like no with no context it might not have been but clearly in the context of an award and industry in recent times making steps and efforts to be more inclusive, it felt to a lot of those people who had felt more included that powerful people in the genre are still trying to slam the door in the face. Even if you don't think that's fair, the right response is to engage and figure things out, not to just denounce the people complaining, or, you know, this weak bullshit:
 

 

(I hope in time GRRM comes back with a better reflection on the reaction than that, because he's defo better than this weaksauce deflection)

 

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He referred to it as the Campbell Award for the era when it was the Campbell, and the Astounding for the present. The award was not (and really cannot) be renamed retroactively.

The award has been renamed because the name evoked a time when the field was exclusionary against people like many of the current nominees. Even a modicum of reading the room should have made anyone realise that repeatedly dropping the name "Campbell" was going to be a red flag to a bull. In the context of writing a book about the history of SFF publishing or a documentary series about the field's history, repeatedly bringing up his name would have been appropriate. In the context of an award ceremony in 2020, it was not.

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ConZealand gave him the time. This was strange new ground for everyone. Now future Worldcons, if they ever have to deal with a global pandemic that forces a shift to a virtual award ceremony, will have some things they can learn from.

To give an extremely detailed history of the Hugo Award and SFF fandom in the 20th Century is something better explored in another context, like a book (GRRM told some of these same anecdotes in Dreamsongs more than a decade ago) or some kind of documentary series. Presaging each category with 10 minutes of obscure trivia was pointless because not a huge number of people cared, the few who did care probably already knew these stories and it had little to do with the current nominees. In the context of the award ceremony, the preambles should have been much shorter, as has been the trend for the last decade (and which GRRM had previously expressed delight with, since it meant being able to hit the bar or the Loser's Party much earlier than the grim days of the 1980s and 1990s when 3 and even 4-hour ceremonies were not unknown) and more relevant.

There also seemed to be a distinct lack of thought applied to the large number of European-based nominees, as the ceremony did not begin until midnight and lasted until close to 4am BST.

I agree ConZealand made a lot of bad calls, not just GRRM by himself, and they probably okayed his idea for a potted history of the Hugo Awards as the theme for the evening, so it was a group issue. I also agree - obviously - that GRRM did not want to hurt anybody and did all his planning in good faith, thinking it would be funny and interesting. Clearly it backfired hugely, which George seems to have belatedly realised.

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It is very hard to engage with people with many different shades of feelings as if they are a monolith. Better to engage with the ideas behind those feelings. From what I can see, the basic idea is that they believed that with the renaming, Campbell's name would never be mentioned again in any context, hence the first stirrings of outrage at the Retro Hugo result, and now this.

 

 

 

Edited by Ran

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14 minutes ago, Ran said:

It is very hard to engage with people with many different shades of feelings as if they are a monolith. Better to engage with the ideas behind those feelings. From what I can see, the basic idea is that they believed that with the renaming, Campbell's name would never be mentioned again in any context, hence the first stirrings of outrage at the Retro Hugo result, and now this.

 

 


I think focusing just on Campbell is to misunderstand or misstate what seems to be the majority of the complaint, which is that after a few of years of changes aimed at making the awards more inclusive, GRRM which gave people the impression that he preferred the old days (something which I think people took as the whole theme of the evening, not just GRRM, like Adam says), of which the Campbell mentions was only a part.

Like everyone else I really doubt that GRRM meant to imply that the Hugos were better when they were sexist and racist but it's pretty obvious why people would be upset at the implication, by one of the most major figures in the industry.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

A fan-edit of the entire ceremony that omitted the more tangential speeches came in at about 1.5 hours, eliminating around 1 hour and 50 minutes of things unrelated to the award ceremony at hand (this included a lot, but not all, of GRRM's speeches and all of Silverberg's).

I was just watching this (linked below if anyone else wants to see it), because I admitted defeat after about 90 minutes and went to bed (I'd probably have finished watching it live if it had been earlier). It's definitely a lot snappier in this form, I think there could have been an ideal ceremony that was midway between this cut and the original.

I thought there were some good acceptance speeches, particularly Neil Gaiman's emotional tribute to Terry Pratchett.

 

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10 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

 


I think focusing just on Campbell is to misunderstand or misstate what seems to be the majority of the complaint

I went to bed after the Fan Writer award was presented. But for the period I was awake, Twitter was aswarm almost exclusively with George talking about the reason the award was started and first named for Campbell, with some passing mention of his also mentioning Ellison. File 770's comment thread was almost entirely devoted to the Campbell thing to begin with, as well. People were saying it was time to "retire GRRM" on Twitter within the first half hour. The pronunciation situation was something that became more of an issue later in the broadcast, and I've already remarked on that. I certainly do not ascribe to malice on anyone's part that it happened, but there were obviously failures in conceptualizing how to get this done under the constraints they had.

10 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

gave people the impression that he preferred the old days

I think people need to look at the start and see how much focus he gives to newcomers. This is a constant theme with him, in fact, when he does panels on fandom and so on. He wants more people to become part of the fandom. He wants them to become part of a tradition that stretches back to 1939. So he talked about when he was a new fan, and a new writer, and a new editor. Because that connects him to the new people today. Or at least, that was, I think, his intention.

There doubtless is a cultural gulf, but the sense of being new, of being part of something grander than oneself, of meeting your heroes and so on, is something he's experienced and everyone ought to be able to find common ground on.

10 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

Like everyone else I really doubt that GRRM meant to imply that the Hugos were better when they were sexist and racist but it's pretty obvious why people would be upset at the implication, by one of the most major figures in the industry.

Yes, the leap to assuming bad faith bothers me most. Everything George said and did to help fight back the Puppies (undiscerning acolytes of Campbell and his worst literary impulses, many of them), to help raise up new writers, is quickly forgotten because he took too long and talked too much about the history of the convention and its participants as if it was all aimed as a slight.

It's unfortunate.

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Quite the kerfluffle.

How I usually talk about accounting standards that have changed is “now known as ASC 842.”

So, perhaps, “the award now known as the Astounding Award”? Might have been the better way to phrase a discussion of the award.

There’s been a lot of Worldcon controversy, recently. I suppose that’s good; it means Worldcon is still relevant.

Men just really have to learn to stay away from squicky jokes like “she was conceived at a WorldCon”...it’s about the verbal equivalent of Harlan Ellis pinching Connie Willis, IMO. There are jokes or statements that just don’t play well to a larger crowd.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

It also turned out that Campbell held a strict policy of not publishing works featuring protagonists of colour, even by white authors;

That's not true. Here is one example of a work with a black protagonist that he not only published, but also asked the author for several sequels despite some of Analog's readers reacting pretty negatively to it - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Man's_Burden

He not only bought this story and the sequels, but also according to the their author Mack Reynolds, he was the one who suggested to Reynolds to write them and defended them against the objections in some of the letters Analog received after their publication.

Here is an interesting passage from Eric Leaf Davin's invaluable work "Partners in wonder" on this topic:

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To begin with, there is Delany’s unwarranted presumption that in 1967 Campbell had an all-white (and presumably racist) “poor benighted” readership, to which he catered. But, as early as 1955, just as the civil rights movement was beginning, Campbell proudly boasted of his magazine’s substantial black readership and the reasons for it (and at the same time giving us a glimpse of his attitudes toward race and color). “As our circulation records show,” he told a private correspondent, “we have sales peaks near . . . the Negro districts of large cities. Seemingly, many Negro readers appreciate our attitude that it is important to be human; they seem to like our attitude that Man is important beyond the narrow limits of race or creed or color.”

Perhaps it was this disdain for racism (and the knowledge of his substantial black readership) which prompted Campbell to publish several stories by “Mack” Reynolds featuring black heroes before Delany even began writing science fiction. These stories started with the incendiary “Summit” (Astounding Science Fact and Fiction, February, 1960). This story portrayed a kind of “Black Power” revolt by American blacks seven years before the purported conversation between Campbell and Delany’s agent.

Campbell subsequently printed Reynolds’ 1961—1962 series of “Black Man’s Burden” stories, beginning with “Black Man’s Burden,” Analog, December, 1961—January, 1962. These featured a team of highly educated and charismatic American black protagonists attempting to unite an Africa still ruled by European powers (which it still was in the early 1960s) in an anti-imperialist war of liberation. In early August, 1967, only weeks after Campbell’s June rejection of Delany’s novel, Reynolds thanked Norm Metcalf for a letter of praise about stories such as these, saying, in part, “I could use the ego-boo. I’ve just got several letters [seemingly in July], through Campbell, beefing about the very things in my stories that you like. I think about half the readers figure I’m a commie, and the other half think I’m a fascist.” Such objections to the stories did not seem to bother Campbell. Perhaps this was because, as Reynolds later stated, “these stories were written at a suggestion of John Campbell’s, and whole chunks of them were based on his ideas.”

Thus, despite some strong reader opposition to Reynolds’s racially and politically provocative stories featuring black heroes (unlike anything else then being published in the field), Campbell continued to publish them. Indeed, claimed Reynolds, Campbell did not always agree with what Reynolds (a supporter of the Socialist Labor Party) said, “but would defend to the death the right to say it.” In this case, however, that may not have been necessary, as, according to Reynolds, “The serial was so successful that John Campbell ordered a sequel.

“Border, Breed, Nor Birth,” the immediate sequel to “Black Man’s Burden,” appeared in two installments (Analog, July-August, 1962) and was just as popular with Campbell’s readers as the first tale. In this story (written, according to Reynolds, per Campbell’s order and containing Campbell’s ideas), one of the leaders of the black anti-imperialist fighters emerges as the mythic hero of a united African revolution against European white rule—and Campbell’s readers rated them the best and second best stories in their respective issues in subsequent An Lab voting! Obviously, Campbell was giving his readers the kind of stories they (and he) wanted.

The popularity of these stories with the readers gives us an opportunity to see just how absurd some of the charges against Campbell are. Recall from the previous section the charge which Damon Knight claimed H. L. Gold made against Campbell—that Campbell threw away readers’ votes for stories and made up the percentages in the An Lab balloting. Let us assume this was true. Then it would be Campbell who was responsible for rating these stories featuring a black hero as the best and most popular in the magazine. This would make Campbell a major champion of black science fiction and Delany’s allegations would have to be completely false.

 

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BTW, it's an absolute travesty that Emergency Skin won the novelette award. It's by far the worst Jemisin work I've read and really one of the worst stories I've read in years. It's 30 pages rant saying over and over and over again that the richest men are totally evil and useless and the world would become an utopia almost overnight if they leave it". It's like a reverse Ayn Rand with the same complete lack of subtlety.

Omphalos should have won this category by a country mile.

Edited by David Selig

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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

This was easily the strongest Best Novel lineup for decades. I was very critical of the Hugos a few years ago (well, more like a decade ago) for too much giving awards to "usual suspects" (reaching an all-time nadir with Scalzi winning for the dreadful Redshirts, although Gaiman winning for the distinctly minor and disposable The Graveyard Book wasn't great either). Since that time they have improved immensely.

Which is good news. Now that the whole Puppies affair is pretty much over, people can once again vote on the genuine quality of the works and not nominate them or then vote for winner based on ideological preferences. If this at long last manages to bring the best lineup since this millennium began, or close to it, it's great - I might be terribly wrong, but I'm assuming the general production has been as good over the last 20 years, and that there are enough books being written so that we don't have crappy years with barely a worthy novel around and awesome years with a dozen masterworks being published.

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I thought GRRM's hat routine was funny, and I did find myself engrossed when he talked about his first con experiences, but overall I didn't sign up for so much reminiscing, and tuned off during Silverberg's speech.

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2 hours ago, David Selig said:

Here is an interesting passage from Eric Leaf Davin's invaluable work "Partners in wonder" on this topic:

I recall that Nevala-Lee relegated the existence of Reynolds' contribution to the footnotes, and he ended up responding to Davin's remarks and added information about "Black Man's Burden" and its sequels on his website in a way that I recall was a bit unsatisfactory. He essentially dismissed it because the characters "sound just like John W. Campbell", which doesn't really strike at the fact that Campbell heavily encouraged writing a series of stories about black protagonists overthrowing white regimes in Africa. And that these stories were quite popular with the readership, too. This really complicates the picture, but again, Nevala-Lee is fairly dismissive.

I think a more fruitful way to look at it -- and it's a way Davin and Nevala-Lee didn't -- is that the Campbell of the early 60s was likely less bigoted than the Campbell of the late 60s, after the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. It was clear he became increasingly reactionary against the social forces of the time (see his denigration of the students murdered at Kent State). 

None of which has anything to do with his contributions in the 40s as an editor, of course.

Also, GRRM has offered remarks at File 770, batting down one rumor that was running rampant, that they had asked him to re-do pronunciations and he had refused (in fact, they asked him to redo three segments, two of which he did, the third which he couldn't because he did not have the props).

 

 

Edited by Ran

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28 minutes ago, Ran said:

Also, GRRM has offered remarks at File 770, batting down one rumor that was running rampant, that they had asked him to re-do pronunciations and he had refused (in fact, they asked him to redo three segments, two of which he did, the third which he couldn't because he did not have the props).

I just noticed in the Chairs' apology on the CoNZealand website they say:

Phonetic guidelines were made available to us, and we did not overcome the challenges we faced.

They say they 'were made available to us', however they don't say that they were made available to GRRM, which is consistent with what he's saying on File 770. I wonder if in all the complex work to set up the virtual ceremony they failed to arrange passing along the phonetic guide.

That said, GRRM could probably have tried a bit harder to find out how names were commonly pronounced, it wouldn't take much searching on the Internet to discover that Siobhan isn't pronounced with a 'b', for example.

40 minutes ago, Corvinus85 said:

I thought GRRM's hat routine was funny, and I did find myself engrossed when he talked about his first con experiences, but overall I didn't sign up for so much reminiscing, and tuned off during Silverberg's speech.

I think if it was a 'GRRM talks about his Con experiences' panel then I think it could have been a good one, there was just a bit too much of it for an awards ceremony introduction.

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

I recall that Nevala-Lee relegated the existence of Reynolds' contribution to the footnotes, and he ended up responding to Davin's remarks and added information about "Black Man's Burden" and its sequels on his website in a way that I recall was a bit unsatisfactory. He essentially dismissed it because the characters "sound just like John W. Campbell", which doesn't really strike at the fact that Campbell heavily encouraged writing a series of stories about black protagonists overthrowing white regimes in Africa. And that these stories were quite popular with the readership, too. This really complicates the picture, but again, Nevala-Lee is fairly dismissive.

I think a more fruitful way to look at it -- and it's a way Davin and Nevala-Lee didn't -- is that the Campbell of the early 60s was likely less bigoted than the Campbell of the late 60s, after the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. It was clear he became increasingly reactionary against the social forces of the time (see his denigration of the students murdered at Kent State). 

I agree with this. Campbell's views changed quite a bit over the years. He became a bitter old man in the 1960s.

And if people want to make an argument that he was an overrated editor, they are more than welcome as far as I am concerned, that has been my view for a long time. IMO it was great that F&SF and Galaxy appeared in 1950 and gradually took the genre in a different direction. But just screaming "Racist" and "Fascist" (he was never a fascist, BTW, that word has a specific meaning which isn't "everyone you disagree with politically") and dismissing him completely isn't the way to do that.

Edited by David Selig

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