Ancillary justice wins hugo for best novel.

J-Sun

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I don't pay any attention to Scalzi's blog any more (I forget what he said but it was just one of those "enough's enough" moments) but, since you linked, I read. Seemed reasonable overall. I particularly liked the part where he talks about an author named Larry Correia trying to mobilize conservative forces with a suggested ballot that included an infamous author of questionable repute (I've never read Correia or the infamous author so all I can talk about is repute):

John Scalzi said:
Doing that changed the argument from something perfectly legitimate, if debatable — that conservative writers are often ignored for or discounted on award ballots because their personal politics generally conflict with those of the award voters — into a different argument entirely, i.e., f*ck you, we got an undeserving bigoted sh*thole on the Hugo ballot, how you like them apples.
I'd known of Correia's efforts but not of the exact contents of his ballot. Now all is clear. I firmly believe Torgersen's stories were nominee-worthy and one was award-worthy but I was surprised to see them nominated. It's not so much the politics (and I don't think it's debatable at all that, these days, the more conservative ones are underrepresented in the awards pace the random Card) as the fact that it was an Analog story and, however good, had an old-school sensawunda and love of story and positive nature that is anathema these days. So, yeah, if the infamous author is what he's reputed to be, mixing that up into the great accomplishment of getting Torgersen properly nominated is a shame and is then something I have to explain - I'm not promoting Torgersen because of Correia and a right-wing agenda (any more than I'd promote this year's Swirsky nominee for a left-wing agenda) but because I read Analog and Torgersen's the best thing in it and deserves promotion.

I just wish people would get the damn politics out of SF. We're supposed to be better than that. Isaac Asimov and Poul Anderson debating SDI in the 80s and being perfectly civil and good and both winning awards and both filling my shelves. That's my touchstone. Even in the Viet Nam war, pro- and anti- SF members took out an ad based on their position but they were still right there together as SF writers and many were probably friends with each other and this would have been one of the low points anyway. I don't think it's ever been this low.
 

J-Sun

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Just to provide the other side's POV, though it's naturally political and not much more civil than Scalzi (who just seems like a total... not admirable person):

Hugo Aftermath Post (Larry Correia)
A Hugo loser’s speech (Brad Torgersen)

I'm somewhat disappointed in Torgersen's post, unless I'm reading too much into it, in that "the cotillion" sounds possibly snide and there's a faint whiff of sour grapes but it's really pretty cool overall. I still feel like he made a mistake, in a way, being associated with the "Sad Puppies" thing (not that I don't think there are some good points in it). He's the kind of guy who could have sensible left and right wingers read him and be the kind of bridge SF needs and, while surprised that he actually got on the ballot as an Analog author, I wasn't disbelieving because, as I said, I thought he really merits it.

(I have now read a couple of chapter's of Correia's Monster Hunters International, which is not what he got nominated for but is, I think, his first book. It started out with short dumb sentences that weren't fun to read but when the action kicked in, got quite interesting. But, if it's representative, it doesn't seem nominee-worthy and seems like a kind of inverted Laundry from the very right-wing anti-government American Stross. (I haven't read any of the Laundry stuff but based on the blurbs and all, they sound similar. Stross is a computer guy whose protagonist is a computer guy who fights demons in contemporary times and Correia is an accountant guy whose protagonist is an accountant guy who fights demons in contemporary times. I don't think Joss Whedon was a high school girl, though. ;)))
 

Michael Colton

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This is one of those topics that I find very interesting (which is why I posted about it), but I have not read enough of the people involved to have an opinion from that perspective. But Scalzi's characterization of others as sour resonated with me. But as I said, I feel it would be a bit disingenuous of me to really provide any detailed opinion when I have not read everyone involved. Not sure if that is a justified reservation, though.
 

J-Sun

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Well, I don't buy the sour thing in terms of Correia - probably the best example is in this post where it's pretty clear he wouldn't decline a trophy but that he really didn't care about winning as it really wasn't the point. When I said "sour grapes" about Torgersen, I mean apart from the Correia endeavor - he has said similar things about the Hugos not being as relevant several times from a way back so he's consistent there, but he's also consistent about wanting one anyway :) and it just sounded like an inopportune time to be discussing its irrelevance right after not winning.

The part where I think Correia blows it is in throwing in a ringer with the infamous author. If you get a slate of politically incorrect but reasonably sane authors and make the liberals-of-a-certain-stripe shark tank start thrashing wildly, you've proven a point about bias but if you throw that guy on a ballot, you're going to have most everybody start frothing and so you've really proven very little. It doesn't take a liberal-of-a-certain-stripe to have a problem with him. That's not exactly why Scalzi says the part I quoted but it's in the ballpark of the point.

Anyway, it's really not worth reading all the people involved and not a good idea in principle as then you'd be indirectly encouraging other authors to make political nuisances of themselves on both sides of the spectrum because they'd see it was a way to get read. Better read people like Egan who hardly exist on the internet at all except for a "here's the science and here's the fiction" website. :)
 

Michael Colton

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I do not regularly read any of their blogs. I saw the Scalzi one because that post was retweeted all over the place.

But as far as Ancillary Justice goes (I have yet to read it), it is hard to take criticism of it winning seriously when it nearly swept all of the awards. When I get the feeling a particular award was an anomaly for political reasons I tend to check the other awards. It seems justified.
 

Rodders

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I've been meaning to download this for a while. Perhaps now is the time.
 

J-Sun

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I do not regularly read any of their blogs. I saw the Scalzi one because that post was retweeted all over the place.

But as far as Ancillary Justice goes (I have yet to read it), it is hard to take criticism of it winning seriously when it nearly swept all of the awards. When I get the feeling a particular award was an anomaly for political reasons I tend to check the other awards. It seems justified.
Well, I have read it and didn't like it so I don't think it merited all the awards and I don't think winning so many means anything, but that's just me. Still, all the awards indicate excellence but do not require it. Half a dozen people vote on the Clarke, a few hundred on the Nebulas, a couple thousand on the Hugos, (or however many for all these) - many of these are the same people, etc. It didn't win the Locus award[1] which may well have a larger voter base than the rest combined (I don't know). And we all know terrible artists have won Grammys, terrible flicks Oscars, terrible novels (before this) Hugos, etc. But I don't think Correia's point was about this or any one thing winning (after all, he couldn't have known specifically who the winners were going to be) but about an overall bias. As every single Nebula this year was won by a woman, three of the four main Hugos were won by two women and someone with an Asian-sounding name - the fourth to a very liberal Scot, I think - and the best picture went to a Sandra Bullock vehicle and Ancillary Justice itself calls everyone "she" and never specifies the gender of any character even though this seems to have nothing to do with the plot. Now, I hope everyone understands that some of my best friends are women. ;) I mean, I was thrilled that Pat Cadigan won a Hugo last year (even though it was just my second favorite novelette of the year) and I love Greg Egan's Diaspora (which calls everyone "ve" instead of "he" or "she") and so on. I'm just saying that Correia is making a point about generalized systematic bias in which (a) someone like, e.g., Torgersen is unlikely to get nominated as a white male Mormon Analog/Baen author despite the quality of his fiction and his being moderate in it. And I think someone like Torgersen is unlikely to get nominated because he writes clear optimistic stories with genuinely good, if imperfect, people in them. (I think this is actually much more important, myself.) And (b) if such people did get nominated, a certain stripe of liberals would start trashing the incorrect people without having read their work. So this guy initiated the overcoming of (A) and (B) certainly seems to have happened.

I mean, it's pretty clear that the SFWA has polarized and that the awards do seem to be suddenly statistically improbable in compensation for previous statistical imbalances and that they no more reflect middle-of-the-road consensus SF than the Prometheus awards do. Do two wrongs make a right? I guess it could be argued that it's better than the same one wrong over and over but I'd rather see some more gradual and believable adjustments brought on by genuine indisputable quality. (But since when has there ever been "indisputable quality" anyway? ;))

[1] It did win the Locus for best first novel but Abaddon's Gate by James S. A. Corey won the best novel.
 

J-Sun

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I'm curious - for those who thought the nominee selection was poor, which novels would you have voted for?
Oops, forgot this part. I think more people were complaining about this on the other Hugo thread. I can't speak to the nominee slate as I almost never read books the year they come out unless they're that dying breed of "original paperback". All I know is that I hope the Stross nominee, Neptune's Brood, is better than Ancillary Justice because I've alread bought it (now that it's out in paperback) and it's very near the top of the Pile. :)
 

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