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I Boycott World Fantasy

Extollager

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#62
If the revised version of the award is to be named for a person, how about William Hope Hodgson? He wrote weird science-fantasy, weird horror, etc.
 

Extollager

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#65
I think William Hope Hodgson was sometimes referred to as Hope Hodgson. The award could be designated the Hopie, which is almost the Howie, which would give us a bit of continuity with the earlier name for the World Fantasy award. Winners could smugly refer to their having the Hopie during cocktail conversations and impress people who would hear it as the Hopi, suggesting one has been recognized by Native Americans for some kind of achievement.

Moreover, the award design could look impressive on one's mantel, suggesting that one had, in former times at least, been physically fit in an exemplary way -- since Hodgson along with being such a great fantasist was a bodybuilder. One could base the award design on this portrait:

Yes, I think the Hopie is an idea whose time has come.
 
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lynnfredricks

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#66
I think it's only polite to avoid a repeat of the situation in which a great writer is handed an award that is intended to recognise their achievements but that also commemorates someone who thought he or she was subhuman and disgusting.

re Noah Berlatsky: He characterises ST Joshi as "probably the world’s leading Lovecraft scholar." Is there another way he characterizes him that I missed (I did skim a little)?Am I a social justice warrior?
Here is the section just on Joshi.

========================================

Noah Berlatsky:

Unsurprisingly, Lovecraft enthusiasts don’t support the idea that his work should be cast into the howling darkness. In August, S. T. Joshi, probably the world’s leading Lovecraft scholar, bristled at the suggestion that Lovecraft’s racism should disqualify him from reverence. According to Joshi, only five Lovecraft stories have racism “as their central core.” Besides, he argues, it is “a tad risky to judge figures of past historical epochs by the standards of our own perfect moral, political, and spiritual enlightenment.”

========================================

This appears to characterize Joshi as a reactionary apologist for Lovecraft. As presented, he seems to suggest that Joshi is part of the "problem".

This is what I don't understand: we believe some things are right. We believe, for example, that race, sex, age or disability should not determine people's worth, and that no one should be insulted or made to feel uncomfortable because of what they are.

When Lovecraft was writing, some people believed that the colour of someone's skin or their sexual preferences made them inhuman and worthy only of death. These beliefs led pretty directly to mass murder, where millions of people were killed in an industrialised genocide.

We now think that those kind of beliefs are wrong. Lovecraft espoused many of those beliefs quite enthusiastically. We therefore believe that Lovecraft's beliefs were wrong.

Am I a social justice warrior?
"We believe..." - No, you cannot make assumptions about people's beliefs, even if they are standing in the same room as you and were brought up in the same family as you. You cannot make assumptions based on living in the same neighborhood, region or country. You can, in many places, assume everyone is going to conform to behavior that is legal under the laws of the country where you are.

"Their beliefs lead..." - No, not everyone's racial bias led to the actual Holocaust, or any other mass extermination of human kind. Those who actively supported the Nazis had something to do with that. The Nazis also co-opted the works of others to support what they did, and not all the creators of those works had any choice in the matter. Did Lovecraft's works have any role in the Holocaust?

"We think now..." - No, all humans do not share the same collective beliefs in any time period. People you choose to associate with may share some collective beliefs, but all humans in the world that are alive now do not.

...that race, sex, age or disability should not determine people's worth, and that no one should be insulted or made to feel uncomfortable because of what they are.
I can personally tell you that, at this time and place, I believe that too, and that I do not see myself as a social justice warrior.

I acknowledge that I have a lot yet to learn about life, and Ill never learn everything I want to learn. I have had a good number of adventures in my life so far, living abroad, living a multi-cultural life, and failing to become very proficient in other languages beyond just getting by. What I have observed so far is that humans do not conform to a single metric. Lovecraft was a human.

Many of Lovecraft's professed beliefs are repugnant to me, too, but I can separate that from my analysis or appreciation of his literary body of work. Some people cannot do that, and act on a need to derail appreciation or scholastic discussion of his work, or imply that those who do enjoy his works are condoning all of Lovecraft's personal beliefs. Whatever label you want to place on people who do that, it is at a minimum, impolite.
 

w h pugmire esq

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#67
I am just this morning reading "The White Ship" in volume one of H. P. LOVECRAFT COLLECTED FICTION: A VARIORUM EDITION. It is such a beautifully written and imagined tale, and I drink in the loveliness of its poetic prose. The story is lengthier and has more substance than I recalled. Lovecraft penned this wee gem in October 1919, before ye advent of Weird Tales got Lovecraft musing about writing for any kind of market--he was just a poet getting in touch with his Muse. S. T. has written, in An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, "The plot of the story clearly derives from Dunsany's 'Idle Days on the Yann' (in A Dreamer's Tales, 1910), but there the resemblance ends, for Dunsany's tale tells only of a dream-voyage by a man who boards a ship...and encounters one magical land after another; there is no significant philosophical content in these realms, and their principal function is merely an evocation of fantastic beauty. HPL's tale is meant to be interpreted allegorically or symbolically and as such enunciates several central tenets of his philosophical thought, principally the folly of abandoning the Epicurean goal of ataraxia, tranquility (interpreted as the absense of pain) embodied in the land of Sona-Nyl." One wou'd not think that such a story wou'd inspire future Lovecraftians to pen sequels, but at least one has been publish'd in the rather ghodawful anthology, Cthulhu's Heirs. (I cannot now remember the name of that sequel, and I toss'd ye book into my recycling bin aeons ago.)
 

Hex

Write, monkey, write
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#68
This appears to characterize Joshi as a reactionary apologist for Lovecraft. As presented, he seems to suggest that Joshi is part of the "problem".
I'm afraid that once we're into the realms of "appears", it might seem that we're down to personal interpretation again. He really just characterised him as a leading Lovecraft specialist. Also, I suppose as far as the blogger is concerned, Joshi is part of the problem since he disagrees that the use of Lovecraft is inappropriate.


"We believe..." - No, you cannot make assumptions about people's beliefs, even if they are standing in the same room as you and were brought up in the same family as you. You cannot make assumptions based on living in the same neighborhood, region or country. You can, in many places, assume everyone is going to conform to behavior that is legal under the laws of the country where you are.
I am happy for people who do not believe those things to come out and say so.

I think, also, that discriminating against people on the basis of skin colour etc is illegal, at least in the UK.

But actually, I can make some assumptions about the SFF community's attitudes on some of these points, because they have been discussed in a fair bit of detail. Not least when the whole requireshate fiasco occurred.

"Their beliefs lead..." - No, not everyone's racial bias led to the actual Holocaust, or any other mass extermination of human kind. Those who actively supported the Nazis had something to do with that. The Nazis also co-opted the works of others to support what they did, and not all the creators of those works had any choice in the matter. Did Lovecraft's works have any role in the Holocaust?
I didn't make the point sufficiently clearly. The kind of visceral disgust that Lovecraft appears to have felt for people who were not among the white chosen few, is characteristic of the kind of belief that led to the Holocaust. I don't suggest that he would have supported the extermination of the peoples he wrote about, but the feeling of threat and disgust is very similar to those who justified and perpetrated the Holocaust.

The idea that, for example, people of Jewish descent, or Roma, were like a pestilence, or vermin, is a motif in Nazi propaganda. I did not say that "everyone's racial bias led to the actual Holocaust", my point was that the kind of beliefs Lovecraft espoused were the kind of beliefs that led to the Holocaust. Once you dehumanise someone, it is easier to kill them, and he didn't seem to believe that some groups of people were actually people.


"We think now..." - No, all humans do not share the same collective beliefs in any time period. People you choose to associate with may share some collective beliefs, but all humans in the world that are alive now do not.
I think your point about this is quite clear. I don't believe I suggested I was speaking for everyone in the world, but I hope this rejection of racism reflects the views of many fans of Science Fiction and Fantasy in the US and UK.


I can personally tell you that, at this time and place, I believe that too, and that I do not see myself as a social justice warrior.
I am glad that you believe these things. I think that people believing them makes the world a better place.



I acknowledge that I have a lot yet to learn about life, and Ill never learn everything I want to learn. I have had a good number of adventures in my life so far, living abroad, living a multi-cultural life, and failing to become very proficient in other languages beyond just getting by. What I have observed so far is that humans do not conform to a single metric. Lovecraft was a human.
Unfortunately, there are many human who do and believe awful things. Being human isn't a reason for being respected or used as a representative of a whole community's approval.

Many of Lovecraft's professed beliefs are repugnant to me, too, but I can separate that from my analysis or appreciation of his literary body of work. Some people cannot do that, and act on a need to derail appreciation or scholastic discussion of his work, or imply that those who do enjoy his works are condoning all of Lovecraft's personal beliefs. Whatever label you want to place on people who do that, it is at a minimum, impolite.
I agree -- I enjoy his work (well "enjoy" might not be the right word. I appreciate it). However, I do think it's rude to expect POC writers to appreciate an award (and a bust) commemorating someone who argued they were subhuman. Really, very rude. And once we recognise that he had these opinions, I think it's a bit rude to expect anyone to appreciate such an award. Anyone who believes in things like equality and being polite, anyway.

As Jo said further up the thread, the issue is that he doesn't represent modern SFF. I don't want to be represented by someone who had those views. Of course I don't think you're a bad person if you do want him to keep representing the sff community (because that would be very stupid), but I don't want it for me.

Gosh that's an appallingly long post.
 

lynnfredricks

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#69
I'm afraid that once we're into the realms of "appears", it might seem that we're down to personal interpretation again. He really just characterised him as a leading Lovecraft specialist. Also, I suppose as far as the blogger is concerned, Joshi is part of the problem since he disagrees that the use of Lovecraft is inappropriate.
That is how I interpreted the blogger's presentation of the quote from STJ, yes. He's leading us to water but falls just short of shoving our snouts in the bucket.

I think, also, that discriminating against people on the basis of skin colour etc is illegal, at least in the UK.

But actually, I can make some assumptions about the SFF community's attitudes on some of these points, because they have been discussed in a fair bit of detail. Not least when the whole requireshate fiasco occurred.
I don't have a enough of a feel yet of the tone of SFF Chronicles to conjecture, other than the HP Lovecraft forum has a very high signal to noise ratio, thanks to some of the regular, extremely well read participants. But in general, as in everywhere in the world? I have met all kinds. I think its more likely we gravitate towards engaging those who have similar views as incompatibility becomes apparent rather quickly.

Once you dehumanise someone, it is easier to kill them, and he didn't seem to believe that some groups of people were actually people.
Yes. Lovecraft wrote some dehumanizing things, and there's ample evidence that many of his views changed over his lifetime, especially as he got to know individuals of a specific group he previously maligned. Better, but not entirely reformed.

I think your point about this is quite clear. I don't believe I suggested I was speaking for everyone in the world, but I hope this rejection of racism reflects the views of many fans of Science Fiction and Fantasy in the US and UK.
There's an optimism among many of the SFF community that is uplifting to me personally too. What I find troubling is the end-justifying-the-means methodology.

As Jo said further up the thread, the issue is that he doesn't represent modern SFF. I don't want to be represented by someone who had those views. Of course I don't think you're a bad person if you do want him to keep representing the sff community (because that would be very stupid), but I don't want it for me.
I don't particularly think he's necessarily the best representative of the fantasy genre (qualifying that as "in the English language"), but also I do not believe any living author does either when looking at the historical commonalities shared by the genre, and even if I happen to respect their writing. Go back far enough, find who influenced who, until you have a broad root of commonality. Some people won't like the selection, even if the selection had significant influence on the genre. But the influence should be measurable, shouldn't it?

So for me the process is the issue - and so I commiserate with messire Pugmire and company.
 

Randy M.

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#72
Here's a thought for someone who has access to an ear in the committee (doesn't that seem like an appropriate metaphor for a conversation evolving from Lovecraftian fiction? a disembodied ear, maybe the chair-ear of the committee?), why not institute a change every 10 years or so?

The first representative was Lovecraft, covering the 1930s. The next representative could cover the 1940s (Fredric Brown? Sturgeon? Kuttner/Moore? -- that one could be a Janus-like statuette and no one could write behind its back), the next could cover the 1950s (Jack Finney? Ray Bradbury? Richard Matheson? Anthony Boucher or Herbert Gold?), the next the 1960s (Le Guin? Peter Beagle? Ellison? -- oh, yeah, no controversy there), and so on.


Randy M.
(Occurred to me after sending, if it purports to be a World Fantasy Award, we might want to invite the world -- 10 years the Borges, 10 years the Garcia Marquez, 10 years the Calvino ...)
 

steelyglint

Ancient leather-bound bookseller, all edges gilt.
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#79
I'd quite like the award to be a statuette of an Ur-Vile, a beast from Donaldson's 'Covenant' series.

But only because I'd like to see what someone else made of his descriptions.

.
 

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