Monday, November 30, 2015

Do I want a Hugo? #SadPuppies Again

This blog is going to wander a bit, but I ask that you stay with me.

As of this minute, I'm not doing too badly in the Sad Puppy nominations. Enough so that Vile 770 is really, really rooting for me.  Solely based on the premise that I will single-handedly destroy Sad Puppies just by being nominated. No, no joke.

So, great question, do I want a Hugo?

No idea.

Some people shoot for the moon, because why not?

I say that if you shoot for the moon, you're gonna run out of oxygen if you miss. Just ask any space mission.**

Author J. Michael Straczynski (and yes, I can spell that without looking up his name) grew up with the Hugo as a mark of good writing. The Hugos were everything good about science fiction. It was how he chose what to read growing up when he borrowed books from the pharmacy book rack (he always returned them without breaking the spine, so, it's really borrowing, not stealing). And when he got a Hugo, he was moved and surprised and in awe.

The only Hugo award winning novelists I've read in the last 15 years? JK Rowling and Neil Gaiman. That's it.

I grew up with Asimov and Neal Stephenson, These people don't rate.

Sure, I've read Hugo award winning novels.  Ender's Game and Hyperion, and Dune.  But lately? Those winners are not who I read on a regular basis.

For me, it's Weber and Ringo and Correia. They're people who have fun with powered armor and wrecking worlds. Mostly Baen authors.

And no novel from Baen will get another Hugo unless it's Lois Bujold. John Ringo doesn't want it. Kratman is more on the Rabid Puppy side. Correia doesn't want it. And no one has even discussed David Weber or Timothy Zahn, which is a crime in itself.

Then again, the people I admire also make money at writing. So I'll take that.

Without anyone I admire getting Hugos, I don't have the motivation of JMS.  So, solely on my own initiative, do I want the grand prize?

First of all, I think I'll be shocked and amazed if I get a Sad Puppy nomination. Delighted as Hell. Because on the one hand? The women in charge of Sad Puppies 4 want thousands of people involved in this. That's PR I can't buy ... okay, maybe I can buy it, but I couldn't afford it.

Also, it means that a sudden and violent wave of animosity will come down on me like the hand of Satan, and I'll take that press. After all, I am a Cis White Male with blond(ish) hair and blue eyes. I'm even Catholic, so Vile 770, the Guardian, and everyone else who want to lynch the big dogs will be able to go into Opus Dei conspiracy theories instead of evil Mormon comments.

Because, yes, I can see the CHORFs spinning Vatican conspiracy theories should I get a nomination. A Pius Man will suddenly be lambasted with negative reviews. I'll get a whole 15-seconds of fame, and I'll probably end up with the usual reputation of everyone else -- evil blah blah blah.

But as I've noted before, I'm a Conservative Catholic in New York City. For me, this is called Tuesday.

Still, I'll be shocked if I get a Sad Puppy nomination. And this is knowing full well that I'm currently one of the front runners in several categories of this particular race -- best novel, best related work, and I have a chance at best fan writer. It's like the early success of Donald Trump -- the people who matter aren't paying attention to Presidential elections until next year. When the year closes out, I expect Jim Butcher to come in like the 800 pound gorilla, and his fans sweeping him to victory amongst the Puppies.  As well as everyone else.

Yes, even with ten possible nominations in each category, I don't think I have enough fans. Again, Paulk and Hoyt and Green have made one thing clear: they want THOUSANDS of people nominating authors. THOUSANDS. I'm shocked to find out I have DOZENS of fans kicking around.

And no, this still doesn't answer the question.

Is the Hugo worth it for the prestige? No.

Yes, I do like this puppy of war.
Deal with it.
You heard me, no. N.O.  Why? Because, one, I don't want prestige. I want people to like my books and pay me money for them, which means enough fame that people can ID my books, but walk past me on the street.  Also, second, because at current rate of speed, social media just makes it easier for the mindless hordes to swarm for any one candidate. The Sad Puppies say "These are the people we found fun, they won your vote. Have a nice day and decide for yourself."

The CHORFs managed to slate vote "No award" so very well.

So I'm thinking the prestige of the Hugos aren't worth the price of the materials to make the rocket ship. Because the award seems to go to the ones who can get the biggest flash mob. And if I could conjure up that many people, I wouldn't need the press, now would I?

Prestige? Nope.

However, let's think about what would happen if the impossible happened: let's say that enough people liked Sad Puppies Bite Back that I get the Puppy nomination and even a Hugo.

Let's pretend that can happen.

The only way that would happen is if a whole lot of people voted. People who not only enjoyed my work, but enjoyed my work so much that they went out of their way to get a membership in WorldCon and voted for me.

In the unlikely event I actually get a nomination -- any or all of the nominations -- and even in the more unlikely event that I win?  It's from my fans. Fans I don't even know I have.

So, if Hell freezes over, and I get a Hugo? Sure, I'd take it. Because it would be from the fans. Because those are the only people whose opinion matter worth a damn to me.

Everyone else can simply go to Hell.  Or to the comments section of File 770. Heh.

But I'm still not holding my breath.

**[Edit: I originally said Apollo 11 here, even though the failed mission was Apollo 13.  Sadly, I knew SOMETHING was off because it didn't sound right -- not enough syllables. Then I remembered that while the mission actually missed the moon, it still used the moon's gravity to slingshot back to Earth without burning up fuel because they were already beyond the point of no return. So the analogy was bad on a few levels, but right on a few others. I considered referencing The Martian, because I just finished that book, and .... yes, the inside of my head is a very dark place, and I got lost inside my head, and never went back to correct it. Oops]


  1. Speaking as a former neighbor of an Opus (Mom still is) community in their mother country, I'm less than inspired by their occasional sparks of the Christ.

    Take care

  2. Off-topic, but does the Catholic Geek Radio Show have an RSS feed I can subscribe to? I'd love to listen to you guys through Downcast. Thanks!

  3. I'd very much like to see you get a Hugo, even though I haven't read your novel yet. (It's in the queue.) And SPBB, which I did read, was nothing short of brilliant. If you win a Hugo, it will mean the war is over, and we won. It will mean that we blew the doors off the entrance to the (Very) Old (And Increasingly Dead) Boys' Club and made the award what it was always intended to be.

    As a slightly skewed-to-the-topic aside: Let's give credit to Mike Glyer for helping put SP3 on the map. He linked to me and to a lot of other commenters on the Web, and drove a great deal of traffic to SP author blogs like Sarah Hoyt's, John C. Wright's, and presumably yours, among many others. I wrote an essay about it: The way the APs could have sunk SP3 was by simply ignoring it. But no--they had to bitch and moan and make a commotion, and commotion attracts attention. I even wonder sometimes if in some perverse little corner of Glyer's mind he was intending exactly that, stirring the pot and bringing the spotlight to bear on places it had never shone before, just to make things lively. (I left fandom in the early 90s because face it, the whole thing had gotten deadly dull.) I've met and spoken with Mike Glyer, though I don't know him well, and I think it's the sort of thing he would do.

    So look at it this way: If you even get a nomination, the resulting commotion will make you famous in a way that simply being nominated would not. (I was nominated twice in 1981, and almost nobody noticed.) Grab that wave and ride it.

    Here's to commotion in 2016! Cry "Indie!" and let slip the dogs of Moar!

    1. Amen to that. True every step of the way.

      As for Mike .... I really don't blame Glyer for much of anything. His comments section are a madhouse, but welcome to the internet. That's usually why when I go after 770, I stress that it's the comment section that's insane.


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