Tag Archives: Hugo Awards

What do the Moribund Mammals actually want? It’s not what you think

I imagine it is a buzz being Brad Torgersen at the moment. In a short space of time he has gone from being one among thousands of vaguely successful sci-fi writers – some stories in a few magazines, an award nomination for something or other – to the notorious leader of Sad Puppies 3 : Bigots Destroy Sci-Fi. Now when Brad hits publish on a blog post, hundreds of people comment. He’s a star! But a star without a base soon falls to Earth.

Brad’s new notoriety is on loan from Messrs Correia and Beale. I have no doubt that Brad genuinely cares about sci-fi, for all of the reasons he has stated. It’s not uncommon to see writers do stupid things they will later regret as they get their first taste of public attention. Brad is a spectacular example, and like most others, will soon be forgotten as both sci-fi fandom and the SP mob move on to the next drama.

Correia and Beale, in contrast, do not care about sci-fi. They might give it a second thought, between bouts of stroking their huge ambitions, but it’s in no way their priority. Neither do they care about the Hugo awards, towards which they direct so much hate. Most importantly, Correia and Beale do not care about the faux battle between Conservatives & Liberals about which they scream so loudly, or more accurately they care only as far as it serves their goals.

Both Correia and Beale are focused on goals that lie far beyond sci-fi fandom. Both appeal, and have significant platforms, among reactionary right wing conservatives, a massive “community” that vastly eclipses the niche fandom for sci-fi books. To Correia and to Beale their battle with sci-fi is merely the latest in a long line of faux, one sided conflicts they have engineered in order to build their following in the wider world. Neither man cares at all about the outcome of this conflict, because every outcome has the same payoff, a much inflated reputation for beating up Libruls amongst an audience who enjoy that sport.

It’s because the science fiction community largely misunderstand the true motives behind the Sad Puppy campaign that it’s having such a hard time responding to it. It doesn’t matter how long and how hard you shout “BIGOT” at them, it will only ever make Correia and Beale more popular among their base. If you block their wins with No Award at the Hugos, they simply point out to their base how badly the reactionary right wingers are being discriminated against. Change the rules of the Hugos even a jot and you get the same result with knobs on “HUGOS GERRYMANDERED AGAINST CONSERVATIVE WRITERS”. Let them win and you have, of course, let them win. Establish an opposing slate and, hurrah, you have now engineered an endless battlefield that Correia and Beale can continue to loot for years to come.

But if you think clearly about Correia and Beale’s actual motivations – to gain attention and status from their right wing reactionary base – you can begin to see some effective solutions to the current problems. What those solutions are I will write about tomorrow.

Whatever happened to the Next Weird?

The first Guardian blog post I wrote (just under two years ago…how time flies!) was titled The new world of the New Weird. I wrote the piece fully aware that the New Weird had already been and gone, but with the idea that it was none the less an interesting movement in genre fiction to highlight for The Guardian readership, who likely had no idea that genre fiction was capable of such literary experimentation. I also wanted to ask where the next wave of literary experimentation would come from. After New Weird, what would be the Next Weird?

(My mind is thinking all of this over as I recover from a weird 48 hour bug, so excuse me if I drift into a slight hallucinatory state as I type.)

I’m slightly disappointed that two years on I’m still waiting for an answer. Later this week I’ll be on The Guardian books podcast talking about, among other things, exciting new SF titles for 2010. Now, its not that there aren’t any exciting titles slated for 2010. But what I can’t see are any really experimental titles. It seems that in the wake of the recession and the titanic upheavals in progress in the publishing industry, genre fiction has entered a period of profound conservatism. Much of the new genre fiction to be published in 2010 seems to be very much ‘generic’ in nature, with very little that pushes at the boundaries of genre. I think thats a great shame, because without the new ideas and energy provided by more experimental writing genre fiction quickly grows stale. And without them the Next Weird might never arrive.

But maybe I’m wrong. Are there interesting and experimental authors set to make a mark in 2010? If so please tell me, so I can track down their work.


Thrin tells us all about her Yellow Wallpaper.

The Hugo awards are open for nominations, Electric Velocipede are eligible in a few categories.

The myth-making genius of Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has just won this year’s Hugo award for best novel, for The Graveyard Book – and I can’t be the only one who isn’t surprised by the news. I knew Gaiman was more than just a great writer when I read the comic mini-series Death: The High Cost of Living in 1993. I’d already been blown away by The Sandman, but in the spin-off series featuring Dream’s older sister, Death, I found something more.

Read more on the Guardian book blog

What makes a Hugo nominee tick?

I’ve been lucky enough to interview both Charlie Stross and Cory Doctorow in the last year. To celebrate their nominations for both the Hugo and Prometheus awards, here are the two interviews again for anyone who missed them. I learned a lot from doing both interviews. Charlie has an insight into what science fiction is capable of that I had never considered before, and Cory understands the new paradigm between readers and writers better than any other writer working at the moment I believe. Continue reading What makes a Hugo nominee tick?

Season of Mists

Its that mystic time of year when the mists of fate part to reveal a veritable hoard of awards in the speculative fiction field.

The Fix is nominated for the Critters.org awards in the category of best review site. It certainly gets my vote, although I did almost succumb to the last minute temptation to throw my support behind Erotic Escapdes. Voting is open to all at the address below.


Everyone’s favorite home for off the beaten track speculative fiction Electric Velocipede has two qualifying issues for both this year’s Hugo and Nebula awards, the highest honours of the speculative fiction field. These include the obviously amazing Issue #13 featuring my short story ‘Momentum’. Nominations for the Nebula awards are open to all members of the Science Fiction Writer’s of America, whilst the Hugo’s are open to any registered attendee of the ’07 or ’08 World Science Fiction conventions. If you qualify for either be sure to cast your vote before the relevant deadlines!