I’m Not a Fan of Science-Fiction and Fantasy?

So I’m still following the Hugos … and I’ve noticed a worrying conception forming. A conception that has sprung both from conversations over on my other blog, and from public statements from the anti-puppies, the insular group. As I’ve been reading through and following along, I’ve come to an interesting—and worrying—possible conclusion.

I may not be a Science-Fiction and Fantasy fan.

Which is shocking. I always thought I was one. But no, according to a lot of these posts and comments I’m seeing and reading, I am not a “fan.” Or, to use the terms that some of the insulars have started to use, I am not a “trufan,” a term which, quite honestly, reminds me quite a bit of the ridiculous amount of self-inflicted (and mostly declarative) segregation in the gaming community between the “PC Master Race” and the “Console Gaming Peasants.” The console gamers aren’t really gamers, you see. They’re just casuals.

The problem is that where in the gaming world, a lot of the big, respectable organizations in gaming don’t really acknowledge this subset mentality because let’s face it, it’s not healthy for the gaming community at all, right now the Sci-Fi/Fantasy community seems to be doing the exact opposite. The big names, the big groups who should be recognizing this for the crappy, base-splitting ideology that it is, have instead decided to run with it, and many seem to be trying to exploit it in one way or another. It’s like if a car dealership during the McCarthyism era had seized on the idea and used it to sell cars. “Filthy commies drive [rival dealers brand],” they say. “You’re not a filthy commie are you” (Disclaimer: for all I know this actually happened, which in hindsight would be both amusing and terrible)?

So, where is this going, this whole “fans” versus “trufans” mentality? Nowhere good, that’s for sure. I mean, I’d always considered myself a fan of Science-fiction and Fantasy, even from a young age. Crud, the books I write and sell now, I’ve filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy. But in the interest of full disclosure, apparently I can’t just claim that anymore. So, here’s how I arrived at that conclusion, along with the smattering of commentary I’ve picked up that challenges that conclusion.

When I was eight, I read The Hobbit, followed by The Lord of the Rings. I’ve always assumed that was fantasy. This might not be the case anymore. But for me, it was fantastic, and a whole new spectrum of reading opened up in front of me. From Tolkien I jumped to Salvatore (starting with the Drizzt series), Brooks (Shannara), Prachett (Discworld), Clarke (Rama), Zahn (known for Star Wars books, but he wrote a ton more), Douglas (standalone fantasy), Crichton (Jurassic Park is science fiction, or at least that’s what I thought), Wies, Bradley … and dozens of other authors, far too many for me to ever remember. If it was Science-Fiction or Fantasy, and was in my library, I probably read it. When I went to college I wrote what was Science-Fiction and Fantasy (or, at least, it had magic and crazy future tech and space travel, and even my dedicated class on the writing of Science Fiction said it was Science Fiction … though I guess that was wrong). When I published, I published what I thought was fantasy. Apparently … it’s not? And apparently … I’m not a Science-Fiction and Fantasy fan?

The reason’s I’ve picked up for this have varied. But there are two that really stick out to me as quite alarming and worrisome. The first is that yes, I had been reading, but that I hadn’t been reading the right authors, and therefore I’m not a Science-Fiction/Fantasy fan. I’ve had his argument proposed to me as a way to distinguish between ‘real fans’ and ‘people who self-identify as fans but aren’t.’ Apparently, if you’re a ‘real fan,’ you’re reading Sci-Fi/Fantasy from some list of “approved” authors (this is my word for it, I’m sure others have used a less-forthright term for it). I’ve seen this argument used in several places online recently, with regards to the Hugo Awards, as a way to “separate” the ‘real’ readers of Science-Fiction and Fantasy from those who are … I don’t know, just pretenders because they’ve only read Harry Potter, The Dresden Files, and Lord of the Rings so far? And who picks these “approved” authors in the first place? Am I supposed to find this group and appease them to be a “real” Sci-Fi/Fantasy reader?

I’m seeing startling similarities here between the “Glorious PC Master Race” and the “Filthy Console Peasants” already. Except most don’t take that one seriously.

Apparently, though, according to these stances, part of what makes me a “Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan” is having read certain authors. I can still read the other stuff, but if I haven’t read this stuff, I’m not a real fan? I guess?

The other argument I’ve seen is about as blunt, and about as odd (and again, from the insular group). This stance argues that there are “fans” and “trufans,” and that the difference is that the “trufans” are the ones that go to and host cons. Somehow, this gives them an inherent superiority over those plebs who can’t attend a con or aren’t interested in it.

Now look, I get that some of these cons, in the past, have tried to be as open as possible. And I suspect that now, quite a few of them probably don’t like seeing this attitude spring up, unless they’re one of the ones that doesn’t want non-“trufans” to attend.

But this attitude? Not cool. When I was a kid, my family didn’t have money to play with. My parents were up to their eyeballs in debt between being self-starters of business and buying a house. There were weeks when bean for lunch and dinner on the table were all we could afford. We didn’t have money for extravagance. And we lived in the middle of nowhere, Alaska, too. There wasn’t even a road out. You had to fly or take a boat.

So conventions? HAH! Those were for well-to-do people. So my friends and I would talk Sci-Fi and Fantasy on our own. We never went to any conventions. We’d all read books and chat about them the same way people chatted about television shows and games (which we would chat about too). We mused on the martial talents of dark elves and debated on the endings of Sci-Fi mysteries. We had fun. We enjoyed it.

So that makes us lesser fans, apparently. Weird. And even now, I don’t have the money to make it to conventions unless it’s local and I get a good deal. I’m an author, and that means I don’t have much dough to play with. Until now, I’d always assumed that was fine. I have plenty of Sci-Fi/Fantasy interested friends both in real life and online that I can chat with about it. I didn’t see any problem with it.

Others are arguing differently. I’ve not made it to a con, so therefore I’m not a Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan. You can only be a “trufan” if you have the time and money to go to a con. More importantly, my opinion is therefore as a result, like a “Filthy Console Peasant’s,” of less value automatically until I’ve attended one of these cons and become a real fan. Reminds me a little of Pinocchio trying to become a “real boy.” Except here, I think the nose is growing quite a bit.

Look, I understand that different cons cater to different audiences. But one thing that’s certainly true as much with con organizing as anything else is that you can’t say one thing and claim another. And right now, to my eyes, this seems to be the real tipping point for the Hugos. The Hugos site itself, in its FAQ, says that the award is for “… excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy.” And so the war really seems to have turned into a battle of who gets to say this. Currently, the argument from the insulars seems to be in part one of disassociation, of pushing away anyone with differing opinions and labeling them “not real fans” since they have to abide by this stance that the Hugos are “open” to all Sci-Fi/Fantasy fans. I really don’t want to get into the meat and potatoes of that fight because there’s a lot more to it, and I’m speaking about the disassociation in and of itself, rather than the relation to the Hugo Awards, but that seems to be in part where it’s coming from. A bunch of authors on both sides are waking the slumbering masses of what were once considered Sci-Fi/Fantasy fans in order to vote, but now, in order to throw doubt on the whole thing, some are arguing that some of the fans aren’t really fans, and are clamoring to discredit those they don’t agree with as “not fans.” Sort of in the way the “Glorious PC Master Race” followers will attempt to decry others opinions on the same game by making the claim of “You’re playing it on a console and therefore not truly experiencing it, therefore your opinion does not matter.”

Except the difference I’m seeing right now is that while the gaming community rolls their collective eyes and, at least at the commercial, publisher and review level, ignore most of that, the book industry/fandom/whatever seems to be diving right into it and actively encouraging it. Which, in my experience with other fandoms, is a recipe for disaster. Because I’ve seen what happens when this kind of mentality sets in.

It breaks things. Breaks them hard. Often kills them, or severely weakens them.

And that could happen here. I’ve got to be honest, if we’re going to judge the quality of a “fan” not based on whether or not they have an interest in Science-Fiction or Fantasy, but by whether or not they’ve read “approved” authors, or whether or not they’ve attended a con (or the “right number” of cons, or the “right cons,” as this venue eventually follows), then we’re going to build a fandom that a lot of people won’t want to be a part of. Nobody wants to walk in to a discussion about a book only to be told up front that unless they’ve read the author’s notes, they aren’t even welcome in the group and haven’t really “read the book.” That individual will walk away, and even if they do decide to stay a reader of that book, how likely are they to ever talk about it with anyone ever again?

That’s the future that the Hugos are barreling towards at the moment, and worse, those driving the train seem blind to the afteraffects of it and the ridiculousness of the whole thing. And hypocrisy—the insular group, the one most often self-associated with being the “progressive, open, and inclusive group,” is the same one producing a lot of these “fan/not-fan” mentalities. Already during this whole thing I’ve been told (or heavily insinuated at) that I am “probably not a real Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan” by those who are very openly anti-puppy. And as someone who writes what I thought was Science-Fiction and Fantasy, that’s a troubling development. If I, someone who writes and publishes Sci-Fi and Fantasy, am not a “real” Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan, then who the heck is? Is there some form I need to fill out? A license to apply for? Am I going to have to sit in front of some board of approval and answer trivia questions to prove I’m a “fan?” Attend a certain number of conventions to earn my “street cred?”

At the end of all this, if you were hoping for a conclusion, well … there really isn’t one. Because this whole thing is still up in the air, still ongoing. The walls are still being built, and right now is the time to decide whether or not we’re going to keep building them to keep the “wrong fans” out and the “trufans” pure, or if we’re going to tear down the walls and stop. At the moment, though, I don’t see that happening. There’s enough big voices with weight behind them that are determined to keep building these walls, to keep their fandom exactly the way they want it, that I don’t think these walls are going to get torn down.

And with that in mind, I have to ask … why would anyone want to be a part of that fandom? Which brings me back to the question posed in the very title of this blog: I’m not a Science-Fiction/Fantasy fan?

It’s a question I’m asking myself. For a long time, I proudly considered myself one. But now … yeesh, I’m not so sure anymore. Because if I have to have read “approved” authors or attended a set number of cons before I can call myself a fan … well … who’d want to be part of a fandom that’s that anal?

At the end, though, I think I can probably still say I’m a fan of Science-Fiction and Fantasy, at least for now. Because at the end of the day, while those who are pushing to wall of the fandom like this may be fans of Sci-Fi/Fantasy, at the end of the day, and what they’re fans of more, is something else. Sort of like that “Glorious PC Master Race” crowd. It’s not really about the books, and the magic, and the spaceships. It’s about something else. And while times may change so that whatever that group is pushing becomes what, in the public eye, determines whether or not you’re a fan of Science-Fiction and Fantasy, at the moment, I’m still going to hold that it’s a love of magic, spaceships, futuristic events and ideas, and fun.

If the day ever comes that I feel the need to carry a mental “Sci-Fi/Fantasy” card with a checklist of the “approved” activity in the back pocket of my mind just so I can voice my appreciation of the genres, though, I guess I’ll just shove all my books over to “Fiction” and call it a day.

After all, last I heard, no one was basing something as bland as “reader” on specific authors or the number of cons attended. So I guess I’ll always have that?

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42 thoughts on “I’m Not a Fan of Science-Fiction and Fantasy?

  1. Hi Max! I’m here through File770, which just linked to you post.

    I understand your frustration at feeling like an elite group is trying to exclude you from fandom. And I wanted to pop in and say: it ain’t so.

    IMHO, and in my (very limited) experience, WorldCon and the Hugos are all about being open. To everybody.
    That’s why the convention travels all over the world – so everybody has a chance to participate. That’s why anybody can join the convention and nominate – because it wants to be a popular award, not a limited one.

    That’s also why every single year, you hear cries that “the ballot is awful” and “the Hugos are broken” – because there are very few people whose tastes match the whole of the average popular vote, and also because there are different streams and clusters in fandom, and quite often – every cluster gets in a few nominations, because that’s how clustering works. This isn’t ideal, but it’s actually pretty much exactly what you actually want for the Hugos – everybody contributing their voice; representation of different streams and factions (probably of the most popular within each); and the occasional phenomenal breakaway success that crosses borders and streams. If you want something that even aspires to represent everybody, I think this is pretty much the direction that you want.

    Now, it’s true that there are different branches of fandom. And there’s the branch that’s basically “the community that’s formed around particular fan conventions,” and yeah, sometimes they’ll refer to that specific community as “fandom” or as “trufen”. But “fandom” here is an abbreviation, because “the community that’s formed etc. etc.” is unwieldy, and “trufan” might have some unfortunate implications, but in practice it’s a tongue-in-cheek name for a particular type of community and person – they aren’t “true fans” any more than convention SMOFs are actually Masters of Fandom or are actually secret.

    Here’s the thing:
    I have never seen WorldCon enthusiasts speaking out against fans who “like the wrong things.” Quite the opposite – there’s widespread acceptance that the field is vast, that taste is subjective, and that SF&F has room enough for multitudes.
    I have seen individual criticisms. Dismissal of some books as childish, or commercial, for example. I don’t know if that kind of thing bothers you. Personally, as long as it’s kept focused, I see this as being typical personal opinion – I don’t think think there’s a significant difference between a fan dismissing Forgotten Realms tie-in novels as commercial, and a fan dismissing literary fiction as pretentious as navel-gazing. Those are both legitimate criticisms of those types of work. And any individual piece will rise or fall on its own merits and flaws, and on what the voting base actually values.

    The other thing I have seen is, I’ve seen others – particularly Puppies – saying that WorldCon is exclusionary. Making claims like the one you’re making, that WorldCon enthusiasts are deliberately snubbing fans like you.
    But I’d take those claims with a grain of salt. The phrase “trufan” has been around since the 50’s, and doesn’t seem to have dented your enjoyment or your “fandom membership” much until now.
    Has anybody actually said “You don’t belong”? “You aren’t welcome”? As you put it, “You may not be a Science-Fiction and Fantasy fan”? Has anybody actually said those words?
    If they have, I’d love a pointer – I’d be pleased to go and respond to them, probably at similar length (and with similar content) to what I’m writing to you.
    But if the idea that the non-Puppies don’t want you is coming primarily from accusations made by the Puppies themselves, I’d think long on hard on how well those accusations are supported.

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    • Thanks for the reply. And I appreciate the look into how the term “trufan” has come to be and what it’s supposed to be. I can see it being tongue-in-cheek, though personally, to me, it seems that lately people may have been using a little less so. But it was also something I really hadn’t heard thrown around except in very scarce passing until this year … where now it seems to be being used a lot. Maybe I’m wrong and now I’m just noticing it a lot more because of the whole Hugo kerfluffle.

      As far as disparaging things—exclusionary, “You don’t belong,” etc. Most of that’s come from three places:

      1) The File 770 comments, which make some opinions very clear. Just today, for example, someone asked if the whole thing bringing in lots of new votes was good, and the response was that the new votes were “worthless,” because they were bought, and coming from those “away from the bulk of fandom and creators.” And giving this post’s comments about Vox Day, it’s clear they’re not a puppy themselves. And that’s just a short time after you found this post.They’re an insular. Now I know that the internet is a unfriendly place—no one goes there to be loved, after all—but some of the attitudes and opinions that I was speaking of here come right from my time on File 770. But not entirely. There is also

      2)Reddit, and the internet at large. I hang out on writing forums, chat rooms, etc. And while yes, again, there’s the core concept understood here that this is the internet, and people can say anything … There are a lot of very vocal and nasty anti-SP people out there who itch to go on the offensive. And there’s a lot of people who have just outright said “leave.” This is where most of the talk of “approved” books comes in, because there are people out there spouting nonsense about how if you haven’t read a set list of books or authors, (some have even named them) you’re not a real fan. I had one debate with someone who insisted that anyone who applied to Worldcon but then voted for any SP work was not a real fan, and wasn’t a Sci-Fi/Fantasy reader, but an outside who’s vote shouldn’t count. I couldn’t get them to articulate why that was.

      3) Real Life. Yeah, people in real life are talking about the Hugos (depends on who you know, at least). And again, like chat rooms, people say some interesting stuff.

      Now look, I’m wise enough to know that most of what these people say doesn’t hold much water. And I’ll definitely say that I knew full-well that my question of being a Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan was mostly hyperbole—I know I’m a fan of Sci-Fi/Fantasy as well as a contributer. But it was based off of the interactions and opinions of people that I’ve been reading for the last few months, taking those elements to their conclusion (which in some cases was not very far to walk).

      There’s an old saying that “Actions speak louder than words.” Which is why I think some people get so defensive when anything that remotely insinuates they may have done wrong rolls across the path in front of them, and they demand “100%, concrete proof that they said exactly this one specific thing.” It’s sort of a hang-up of “Oh, you have to prove this, nothing else” and a way to ignore more subtle (even if unintended) actions.

      Combine that with people’s tendency to take what was said and go one step further, and you have a voice saying “Worldcon is for the fans” and then three followers that take that to mean “And NO ONE ELSE!” and then take to the internet to spread their inferred message.

      The Hugos, for example, might be great, but after reading File 770s comments for a while and seeing some of the comments posted by those who are going (or claim to), I’m not sure I’d ever want to go. There are posters on there and elsewhere online, who are questioning one’s “fan-ness” or insisting, insinuating that unless you’ve read the “magic bullet” author your opinion as a fan is less valid or invalid. They may never outright say something that sums that up, but they take a roundabout method; tone and their actions give it even if they aren’t saying it. And some just do.

      I’ve said it before (here or elsewhere), I’ve seen this exact scenario sweep through fandoms before across the internet (the best example being the hilariously shattered Sonic fandom, which has something like 20+ different zealous factions mostly at each others throats). I’m seeing a lot of similar dialogue getting thrown around, a lot of opinions and stances that lead to the same thing: A fandom splitting because groups no longer consider the others “true fans.” All it takes is a look on r/books and the statement that anyone SP associated, reader or otherwise, is a “diet racist or f****** cowards or possibly both” to see that there’s some problems.

      Is my opinion because I browse the net? Sure. But it really does feel, at least to me, and not based off of what the SPs are writing, but off of what’s being directed at them, as if a lot of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy community is having a “get off our lawn moment.” The problem is that up until now, the lawn’s been shared by everyone.

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      • I definitely hear you. I’ve been frequenting File770 in the last week or so, and while I’m enjoying a lot of the conversations there, there’s also a lot of venting and sniping at various Puppy-related individuals. I don’t like that element at all, and I’m sure it’s downright hostile to other people coming in.

        Let me offer you one point for consideration, though. Puppies vs. non-Puppies is currently a political arena, and a very charged one. It’s no surprise to me that arguing over the Puppy campaigns is getting strong reactions, and that the hostile reactions sting most. (This is also the case in the other direction, where non-Puppies see the Puppy campaigns as a hostile attack, which IMHO does not excuse hostility to individuals in return.) Unfortunately, politics and culture wars tend to push each side to be more and more radical, and it’s basically awful all around.

        What about when you set the Puppies aside, and just talk about the actual work that you enjoy? What happens when you talk, not about the battles over the Hugos, but about the field of work that the Hugos were created to celebrate?
        Because, throughout the web, and including on 770, people light up when they talk about books. Some people have books they love, and they love talking about them. I’m seeing lots of recommendations, lots of callbacks to old favorites, lots and lots of enthusiasm and discussion.
        Some people have books they loathe, and they love venting about those just as much. And as long as you’re OK with other people not liking something you do like, and vice versa – which I think, when it comes to books and stories, most of us understand pretty well – talking about them is just fantastic.
        (If somebody says “If you liked [Book X] you’re a moron,” then yeah, leave the conversation.)

        Could I ask you a personal favor? I’m seeing a lot of digital ink being spilled over the Hugos; much much more than about the individual nominees. And while there are a fair number of reviews of the whole ballot, most of them seem to be coming from the non-Puppy side – and they’re predisposed to dislike the work, both because it’s often not the type of thing they read, and because HugoPuppyPocalypse. But I’ve seen very little being written about the work – particularly the various short fiction categories – from the pro-Puppy side, and that’s who I’d actually really love to hear.
        It sounds like you enjoyed some of the Puppy nominees. Could I ask you to name something you liked, and talk about it for a few sentences? Say what you liked about it? Ideally, any one of the short fiction categories (because those are the ones that interest me most, personally).

        This isn’t a purity test; I’m genuinely feeling short on discussion. Here’s my personal guarantee:
        1. If anybody responds mockingly, I will personally growl back at them in the comments.
        2. If you’re interested in hearing other people’s responses or counterpoints to your opinion, say so. If you aren’t, I’ll personally growl at anybody arguing with anything at all. My basic point here is, I want to hear your opinion, and there’s no reason you should feel attacked for having one.
        3. If it’s a short piece (novella or less), I’ll take your recommendation and read the story.

        Not much of a guarantee, I confess 🙂 But what I’m trying to say is: You’re a writer! You’re a reader! You’re a fan! Yours may be one opinion among many, but hey, so is everybody else’s. I’m sorry you’ve been made to feel your opinion’s unwelcome, and I want to say that I, personally, do welcome it.

        (I don’t know that I represent “fandom” at large. I don’t think anybody, personally, does. But I do like to think this is more than just me.)

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        • Well, it can’t hurt to share my opinions of the nominees, though I’ll do so with a disclaimer: I have not read all of them, nor am I a voter in the 2015 Hugo awards. I’ve read some of them, but strictly as an exercise of “Oh, hey, that sounds interesting,” and the one that was my personal fave didn’t even make it onto the ballot. I don’t have the finances at the moment to afford a sasquan membership; my budget is razor thin for the time being, and so I couldn’t participate in any capacity outside of commentary. So my posts and thoughts are external observations. I do note, however (and I have said this before so it bears repeating here) that as I have gotten older, the volume of books that I’ve read that carry awards from things like the Hugos has been steadily declining, as I’ve felt more and more that the quality has declined. It may be that if I reread the books of my youth I’d find differently, but that’s just a personal feeling on the topic.

          Anyway, in response to asking after the short story nominees, I have read The Parliament of Beast and Birds by Wright and Turncoat by Steve Rzasa. I have not read any of the others. As for what I thought of them, I thought Parliament was quite possibly the most literary one. It was definitely a story that asked the most of its audience, and the more the audience was willing to put into it, the more they would probably get out of it. It definitely wasn’t my favorite, but I’m not the biggest fan of self-questioning fiction without more behind it anyway, and that’s hard to do in a short story.

          Turncoat, on the other hand, was the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s not “high-brow,” and if one is familiar enough with the conventions of Science-Fiction, it’s definitely predictable (I mean, the title explains it all). That said, it’s certainly not poorly written, and I did enjoy reading through it. It’s an exploration of a distant, future possibility certainly enough. I enjoyed it more than Parliament, but only because of the context of each work. Thrown next to each other, I’d have to spend some time weighing each side by side before making a choice.

          No, the story I saw suggested for nomination that I enjoyed the most, that did not make it due to I believe some timing on when it had been released, was Tuesdays with Molakesh the Destroyer, which subverts an old trope (old man moves in next-door to a teen and, through forced contact, teaches them a life lesson) and turns it on its head by making the old man a retired demon from hell. Not only did the story subvert the classic pattern of this kind of story by doing that, but it then subverts the subversion and plays it straight at the end: The kid learns something, etc, etc, and the story ends sort of like you actually expected upon seeing at the beginning.

          That was my personal pick of the few I read, and I remember being bummed when it didn’t make the nominees for whatever reason. I don’t know how it stacks up against the rest of the short story entries (particularly against Totaled, which seems to be a strong favorite and one I should read at some point in the future, but I personally loved Molakesh, and let out a few good laughs while reading through it as it subverted my expectations and then wrapped them back around again, all wrapped in a spin on the classic “coming of age experiences” story.

          If it was a time thing that got it bumped, I really hope it gets nominated next year. I loved it.

          Now, at some point, to read Totaled.

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          • Many thanks! Much appreciated 🙂

            I’ve actually seen a few nods to Molakesh – I think in the comments responding to Brad Torgerson asking for recommendations – and I just put it on my Kindle the other day! The good news is, the timing issue is simply that it was published January 2015, so it’s relevant to next year’s Hugos, not this one. Worth remembering to remind people about it next nomination period 🙂 At any rate, I’m bumping it up to the top of my To-Be-Read list.

            Thanks!

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          • Just read Molakesh, and I really enjoyed it! Thanks for the recommendation – it was unusual, well-written, and I really liked it. I’m gonna go see what else I can find by the author or in this magazine…

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            • You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed it, and hopefully it makes the nominations next year!

              (Speaking of checking out the author’s other works, I need to do that too, or at least add her to a watchlist)

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            • Apparantly both she and Peter Beagle participated in an anthology devoted to purple unicorns, so (A) I am somewhat bug-eyed at the very existence of this anthology, and (B) I have oh-so-much short fiction already on my Kindle, still unread, but I’m very inclined to add this one too…

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            • I spotted that one, and quietly added a few of her writings to my Amazon book list. I look forward to seeing if everything else she’s written is as entertaining and unique as Tuesdays with Molakesh.

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            • Apparently the anthology’s credo comes from this anecdote:

              One piece of advice was always put forth your best work. Never, never phone it in. “If you agree to write a story for a purple unicorn anthology,” they said, “you better write the best d*** purple unicorn story you can.”

              With an outlook like that to story craft, and the oddball premise, and Peter Beagle, and a chance to read something else by Megan Grey, I really want to read this book.

              And this kind of chain of enthusiasm and exploration, friends, is why I have a reading list as high as the Empire State Building…

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    • Standback, I’m, apparently, in the same boat as Cedar. I’ve been attending the local Con (InConJunction) since the _first_ (#35). I’ve missed only one, due to being in a wheelchair. I also have 1 book published, yet by _their_ standard, I’m not a “TruFan.” Their “standard” is “attend WC _every_ year,” which *few authors* can afford. But, _Publlisher (Big 5) employees_ can, because their *company* pays for it. In most years, there are *less* than 1,000 nominators/Voters (last year ~800). If you _guess_ at the other 4 sending just _50_ apiece, that means *37.5%* are *probably publisher employees.* It’s not a far stretch to believe they will “nominate/vote” for authors/books published by _their_ employers. Adding just _200_ more “nominators/voters” almost offsets the _Publisher_ employees. Sad Puppies, added a lot more than “200 extras.”
      I’ve been an _attending_ member of *2* WC’s and didn’t know I could nominate/vote on Hugos. (I’m a supporting/_voting_ member this year.); Therefore, I’m the “worst nightmare” of the “entrenched Publisher contingent.” A) I don’t live/party in NYC. B) I _Live_/attend Con’s in the MidWest. C) I’m not a “Liberal Progressive,” politically. BTW, I’m planning to buy a “supporting membership” for 2016, as well, so they have dual reasons to hate me. Their “exclusively dominated House of Cards” is collapsing, and, in their minds, they are losing “control.”
      The _truth_ is that with Print On Demand, they already have. The Trad. 5 Publishers, no longer control what people are “allowed” to read. Indie outstrips traditional in sales, and readership.

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    • Standback I hope you do not mind if I chime in here (let me say that first). As a person who has been reading science fiction and fantasy since the 1970’s and has been attending conventions since the late 80’s-early 90’s (I honestly cannot remember if my first was late 89 or spring of 90) I honestly did not know we could vote for a hugo at all. I attended first and then later vended at Silicon,BayCon,TimeCon,Confused (aka Condemned those who were there will get it),DundraCon (back when it was small) etc. Not one panel. Not one person when asked “how do Hugos get voted on supposedly knew. That includes the WorldCon table at said events handing out flyers for WorldCon memberships. I think that is a fairly good indicative of being told “you dont belong” or “you arent welcome”. I wouldnt say its really about politics at all or at least not for all of us that consider ourselves part of the rank and file. At least not for Sad Puppies 3 (which is where I came in). I am not a writer but I am a voracious reader. The Hugos used to be an indicator that a story was good. Honestly that changed about 10-15 years ago in my opinion. Red Shirts I wasnt impressed with at all. It basically came across as silly star trek parody (though I admit I loved Old Mans War by the same author). Dont even get me started about the short “If you were a dinosaur,my love”,which honestly is somebody musing about it and not actually having it happen (typically an immersive world is a staple of fantasy or at least the line is blurred like in the original Lord Fouls Bane series). The use of Trufan as used on Makinglight by the posters there came across very much not just as trufan,but true fan when taken in context. Most of what has won Hugos in the past decade or been nominated actually has a lower selling rating and/or a lower review rating when compared to things that did not make the list that year. This is because the voting for the supposed “Worlds oldest and most prestigious Science Fiction Award” has been voted on by a small amount of people compared to those who do attend conventions and buy science fiction and fantasy novels. To give an example in the late 1990’s (right before the .com bust) Baycon in California had an attendance of appx 4000 people. That is more people at that one convention than have voted on Hugos in many years.An example of this is the 2014 Hugo ballot count for best novel was 1595 nominating ballots. Yet for the decade I asked at 2-3 conventions a year I got the run around. All SP3 did was tell people how they could vote and some suggestions of what these authors thought were good and to check them out and if you liked them nominate them. This is what caused the blow up. Scalzi had been doing his own “award pimpage” (his term not mine) for years it turned out (I hadnt even gone to his blog until the end of last year). When a group tries to keep its voting block small,gets upset when the people who buy those books get involved and tells us we are part of GamerGate or worse it also tends to make you feel as if you are not welcome and do not belong.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There is a lot that is wrong with this ‘fandom is exclusionary’ argument, but it starts with “…to use a term some of the insulars have started to , I am not a Trufan…”

    Use of that word started way, way back in fan history. Way back. And if you’d have bothered to engage with the history of fandom just a little bit before deciding to exclude yourself, you’d know that and the intent of using that word to describe individuals or (Trufen) groups. It’s generally approving, a recognition that someone is involved and contributes to the community in positive ways. Sometimes its snarky, referencing someone who is too involved or someone who thinks they are the shiznit, but aren’t.

    Of course anyone who reads the lit or engages with it regularly in some fashion (games, film) is a ‘fan’. And of course there is a term used to describe those who are more deeply involved and recognized for their contributions, and that term is Trufan.

    Trufen contribute in all kinds of ways – working on cons, publishing ‘zines, writing blogs, reviews, organizing online communities.

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    • Thanks for the reply. This makes sense, and in that token context, it would seem that some of my worries and grief are baseless. Not being a con-goer, the Hugo kerfluffle (I am really liking that word today) is the first time I’ve come across it and seen it used to differentiate between different aspects of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy fandom.

      Honestly, there’s probably a better word for it, but you’re right, it’s entrenched, and it’s been around for a while, so best to get used to it and make sure the context is understood.

      (It sort of reminds me of the old joke “Your epidermis is showing”)

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    • You’re right in saying this *was* the definition, for a long time. But, some want to change, and make it exclusionary to *their* benefit. Being an author, “contributes,” just not the same was as “Con goers,” do. Without authors, there are _no readers_, to attend Con’s.

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      • Walter – I’m a “Trufan”; I have published and contributed to fanzines (both my own and others) since the early 1970s.

        I have attended and primarily worked on conventions since the 1970s (head of security, manager of the Hugo Awards banquet, gopher, registration, programming).

        I used to write letters to the magazines (when there were more than 3 digests on the stands).

        I’ve never expressed a desire to change the usage of “Trufan”. It’s definition is enshrined in fan history. Some individuals may (though I doubt it) be using the phrase in the manner you suggest, but they and anyone else using the word in that manner are doing so incorrectly.

        You do, however, reveal something interesting in your statement – “Without authors, there are _no readers_, to attend Con’s”

        You perceive a distinction where there is none. There are no distinctions between authors and readers at cons. ALL attendees at traditional, fan run conventions, are fans and members of the convention. Some may be appearing on panels (both “pro” and fan).

        The only traditional distinction between the two groups has been the tongue-in-cheek phrase “filthy pro” to designate those who make money of some kind from their involvement, be it selling stories, or artwork, or editing for pay, etc.

        This deliberate lack of distinction seems to be a problem for many to get their heads around. And may be part of the reason we are experiencing this “divide”. There are only FANS at traditional conventions. That description comes FIRST.

        They may be neofen (those just getting started), or BNFs (Big Name Fans, – fans who are widely known and admired) or Trufen (those who regularly – not occasionally – produce and contribute to the community – and NOT by writing something that fans buy, but by contributing their time, money, expertise, services, etc), Hucksters (fans who sell stuff in the dealer’s room – again, this is mildly pejorative since, once again it involves money, and fandom is not about money) or SMoFs (only as applied by others to an individual and either in a mocking way or as recognition that the individuals is a very involved and influential individual).

        All of these – and much more history, definition,usage & etc., can easily be found with simple google searches for – fan speak, fannish glossary, fan history, etc., etc.

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        • I have to add:

          The distinction you make, and the fact that you say you “contribute” by writing strongly suggests to me that your perception of conventions (traditional) and fandom comes from a non-traditional background.

          You seem to be suggesting (though it could just be my impression of your statement) that “authors” are somehow distinguished, if not elevated, to some kind of lofty status – perhaps similar to the acting ‘stars’ that are paid to attend gate show conventions where they appear on stage – distant from the attendees – and later sign autographs for pay.

          Having such a view suggests to me that you’ve not attended traditional conventions, because the difference between traditional conventions and gate shows is readily apparent. All of the “stars” mix freely throughout the event; They sign autographs, but they don’t charge for them. They go to the same parties as the other attendees.

          In the vast majority of cases, they even pay their own way to attend. Some folks (usually panelists – who, again, are drawn from both fan and pro ranks) sometimes get their membership fee comped or reimbursed – depending on individual convention policy.

          In fact, the only time I can think of that not everyone attending can go to an event is when someone holds a private party in the hotel room they themselves are paying for.

          Traditional cons and fandom are truly egalitarian. The only distinctions are for those things that people have earned for themselves that are recognized by the community: an author who has won awards is held in high esteem and may be accorded some deference – but equally so for a fan who has contributed on a long-term, consistent basis in ways that are recognized by the community.

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  3. Hi Max

    Just a note: “casuals” is an entirely different derogatory term in gaming, usually referring to people who don’t play that much games, and more recently mobile-only gamers. In my experience, it doesn’t relate to the PC vs Console platform scuffle.

    The other thing I would note is that given that you seem to define “trufan” as someone with the time and money to go to a con, and that you say that there is a faction that believes that only those who are in this category have a say in the Hugo Awards.

    I would say that this doesn’t really tally, what with the very existence of the Supporting Member category (which is for people who are unable to attend, but can still vote and nominate for the Hugos).

    But if there are indeed such parties, I would have the same response as I do for those who try to push out people for being “fake geek girls” or fans of paranormal romance or fanfic writers – fandom is a big tent, and not everyone loves the same way you do. After all, there shouldn’t be any gatekeepers.

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    • “Casuals: Console VS Mobile” might depend on where you hang your hat. I’m a PC Gamer foremost, and tend to spend a lot of time on sites like PC Gamer in addition to r/games and other gaming news sites, and there’s definitely a vocal and established “accusation” from the “Glorious PC Gamer Master Race” that console gamers are “Casuals” (which for the record, as I own a 360, and a Wii, is part of the reason I disagree with the assessment). Like I said though, nobody really takes that very seriously, and even the sites themselves (PC Gamer, for example) are quick to disregard it or even point out that they own and play console games. There are, however, those who say it quite seriously.

      The comment before yours pointed out that I seem to have picked up an incorrect definition of “Trufan” or at least, inferred improperly it’s use in the greater Sci-Fi/Fantasy world. Which, as someone who really hasn’t followed that world until now, is my mistake. However, it does make me wonder how many have made the same (incorrect) assumption as I did after digging into the whole Hugo thing (and for the record, someone on File 770 correctly guessed that this incorrect view came from reading a few posts on GRRM’s blog, which apparently had some issues with that?).

      It does make me glad, though, that we’re both in agreement that there shouldn’t be any gatekeepers.

      No labels. No segregation. No divisions. Let the work stand on the merits of the work (even if some may disagree on what those merits should be … but that’s another post).

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      • I hadn’t been familiar with the phrase “trufan” either until GRRM mentioned it, in one of his first posts on the subject of the Hugos. The very first time he mentioned it, he explained it meant “the WorldCon community,” and immediately qualified:

        (The term “trufans” is an unfortunate one in this argument, since some of the Sad Puppies and their supporters take it amiss, and understandly, when told they don’t qualify. The term is a very old one, however, probably dates back to THE ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR, a parody of PILGRIM’S PROGRESS about the search for “true fandom.” Like “SMOF,” it is at least partially a joke. And if any of this paragraph makes any sense to you, you are undoubtedly a trufan… but don’t worry, you don’t need to know what a mimeograph machine is to be a real fan, I swear).

        I know the Puppies have been swapping that and calling themselves “wrongfans having wrongfun,” which I definitely find amusing, and a good articulation of their argument (which is not to say I agree with it entirely, and particularly the implied accusation that by calling themselves “trufans” the WorldCon folks are calling other fans “wrong”).

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  4. You know, I’ve seen a lot of posts and comments talking about how those awful people over there who call themselves TruFans are telling everybody else that they don’t belong, that they like the wrong things for the wrong reasons, et cetera… but I haven’t actually seen the posts where it’s happening.

    And weirdly, a lot of the people who are going on about how those awful TruFans are trying to control what people like and who gets to be a real fan? These seem people make posts where they talk about what real SF/F readers like, what’s really worth reading/watching, suggesting that people who claim to like other things are lying for some sketchy political reason, et cetera.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think that some people are trying to whip a load of resentment to get people agitated enough to march in lockstep behind them, and accusing others of doing the thing that they’re doing as a sort of distraction/alibi.

    Something to think about.

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    • Falls both ways, though. In good conscience, I couldn’t look at your comment and say “Well clearly this could only apply to ______” because what you’ve described is a very common and easy tactic *cough, Entertainment Weekly, cough*.

      It’s definitely worth thinking about, but unless there are SP-supporters going around pretending to be anti-puppies just to say things that will get the other side riled up (which approaches Bond levels of ridiculous paranoia), I’m going to go with the Occam’s Razor approach and assume that if they say they’re anti-SP and act like they’re anti-SP, they are.

      It doesn’t mean that the anti-SP side would take them either if they were, as a group, “grading” some of the comments (then, again, maybe so), but anyone can claim kinship with anyone online.

      Thanks for the comment though, it’s worth keeping in mind at all times in this current climate.

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  5. Hey Max, a new reader also arriving via the File770 link.

    Great essay, and spot on. I think it very accurately expresses what a lot of “fans” are experiencing in this Hugo business. As someone who was professionally involved in the field in the late 80s and early 90s and who has been a consistent reader of SFF since I was a kid, I’ve observed it happening in the past, but never to this level. I haven’t been involved in “fandom” for years but over the last decade was finding less and less SFF that was decently written and appealed to me. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve re-engaged with the field more directly that I’ve discovered why, and the reasons are precisely the one’s you’ve outlined.

    Steve Davidson is correct about one thing: There have always been “Fans” and “fans since the beginning. In the very early days of SFF there was actually little distinction, but as the field grew over decades, there were always factions, including “Trufans” and “SMOFs” but they generally controlled their own environments (cons) and not necessarily the field as a whole. That, unfortunately, is no longer true.

    These days, “Fans,” especially those cognicenti who see themselves as tastemakers, include a large number of professionals. And the lens through which the quality of written SFF and by which awards are awarded has generally ceased to be whether a work is good or excellent SFF and become a question of how “progressive” a work is. That’s it. If it’s not “progressive” it will be shunned, no matter how popular.

    Having read many, many “reviews” of the Hugo nominated works by the anti-Puppy crowd, this is demonstrably clear. Aside from the shocking revelation that these reviewers did not like works they admitted they were constitutionally predisposed to not like, the reasons given are routinely questions of the lack of “progressiveness.”

    And the comments on your essay only serve to reinforce your points.

    Standback says “I understand your frustration at feeling like an elite group is trying to exclude you from fandom. And I wanted to pop in and say: it ain’t so.” Sorry to say, but it is indeed so. While the Hugos have theoretically “open to everybody” the truth is that the nominations have been easy to quietly control behind the scenes by a small group of motivated fans and pros; heretofore it only took a small number of nominations to get on the ballot. No, it’s not a “secret cabal” or anything like that; it wasn’t particularly secret. Standback wants to be pointed to the exact word “you dont’ belong, you’re not welcome” and this is typical sophistry. When the SFF you like is derided as “crap” because it doesn’t hit the right progressive buttons, the actual words don’t need to be uttered. (But I do like the veiled, passive-aggressive pseudo-threat in his last sentence. Classic.)

    I equally love Mr. Davidson’s comment about you not “bothering” to learn the real history of fandom before you “excluded yourself.” That’s even more classic. The “Trufans” who “contribute” to the “community” aren’t driving you out, dude, you’re excluding yourself! It’s kind of a new Cultural Revolution.

    Ms. Erin wonders where people like us are being told they don’t belong because we like the wrong things for the wrong reasons because she hasn’t seen where it’s happening. I guess she doesn’t read her own blog or her comments on File770. Perhaps she’s unaware that someone must therefore be writing under her name.

    I don’t think they realize they’re making the Puppies points for them. Something to think about, indeed.

    I’ll be interested in checking out some of your work.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for reading, and I’m glad to hear that some of what I wrote resonated. I hope you enjoy the rest of what I have to offer as much, if not moreso, as this.

      As far as the whole war over the Hugos, from my own personal standpoint, this is only the beginning, and while there’s a chance that things could calm down, based on the reactions of the sides so far, the insular group seems to believe that if they dig in and shout loud enough, the other side will falter. But the risk with that is their shouting will tend to wake up all the fans who have been, until now, slumbering. Because they don’t know if those fans will support them or not … and right now, based on their attitudes and behavior, I would hazard a guess that most of them would settle for “not” and flex their muscles to do nothing more than remove the annoying shouters so they can get back to peaceful enjoyment of their material.

      I pointed this out to one staunch anti-SP, and their reaction was incredulity. They didn’t believe that such a thing they disapproved with could exist in numbers of that magnitude. And to be honest, I don’t think anyone knows for certain, though looking at the sales numbers probably gives us a decent estimate. Based on that, there’s a very silent but powerful group out there that likes a lot of the fiction that isn’t being acknowledged and is even being publicly insulted. Fiction that isn’t lowbrow stuff either, but stuff that continues to sell in large numbers to some large group and keeps these books coming. Which is why some of the SP side has brought up sales numbers—clearly there is a very large mass of buyers who have been peacefully slumbering until awakened.

      And if that giant wakes up, there’s no going back. Does it exist? Based on what I understand of the readers I know and the sales I’ve admittedly only moved over in passing, there is. I know quite a few people who read and enjoy stuff that the insulars group has outright dismissed … and the only reason there hasn’t been a backlash is because almost all of those that I know who read that stuff also aren’t following the active fandom. They’re asleep, enjoying book after book. They are people who don’t follow the fandom on twitter or through blogging. They just buy and read book after book.

      Comparatively, since the insular group is very active and very conscientious of their following, they don’t have a giant to raise. So they shout.

      But if the insults get dire enough, and the shouting loud enough, the sleeping giant will wake up, and like any sleeper, swat at the itch bugging it. And that usually leads to a squishing, rather than a mutual truce.

      So, will it be over this year? No. I’ve said before that next year will be the one to watch, because that year will likely be the point where things have gone on long enough that the sleeper will awake. And when they do, well … that’ll be worth watching.

      Liked by 2 people

      • fans have always outnumbered Fans, if you take my meaning. Fandom (as opposed to fans) has always been fairly insular; the real nerds who don’t really relate to normal society. Most of the people I know who read SFF regularly (and there are many; the friends who kept me connected to SFF in the dark days by suggesting new, actually interesting reading) don’t go to cons, other than ComicCons (NY, Denver, San Diego) and pay absolutely no attention to the Hugos. I’ve spoken to many of them, and while the $40 cost of a supporting membership isn’t worth it to many of them, I have convinced a few to join up.

        I think the Puppy-Kickers are going to be surprised.

        I agree next year will be the interesting year. Sad Puppies isn’t going away (the Puppy-Kickers’ claim that we’ll just get bored and go away notwithstanding). And Vox certainly isn’t going away.

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      • I pointed this out to one staunch anti-SP, and their reaction was incredulity. They didn’t believe that such a thing they disapproved with could exist in numbers of that magnitude.

        The Pauline Kael effect. Ms. Kael is credited with having said that she didn’t know how Nixon got elected, as no one she knew voted for him. (That wasn’t exactly what she actually said, but it was close enough.) The more echo-chamberish a group gets, the more they believe that their opinion is rightfully the majority one … or should be.

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  6. I have been reading sf for more than half a century. I wandered (mostly unnoticed) the fringes of LASFS in the ’60s. I have always had an abiding interest in the history/influence of sf, especially as it has spread, Los-Angeles-like, through popular culture. I am a fan, not a Fan (or, as active members of the subculture once referred to themselves, a “Faan”). I visit eFanzine.com to see how current “actifans” view the state of sf. and its wider cultural ripples, in their publications. Yet I could care less about BNFs or SMOFs. I’m a reader. A fan. As. Max, are you.

    I still feel the Puppies are barking up the wrong tree and, at best, act from assumptions antithetical to the roots and mulch up from which the forest, against which they lift their legs, has grown.

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    • Well, the question, if you see my reply to another comment directly above yours, is which part of the forest is who peeing on, and what will happen when the forest reacts and the Ent march begins?

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  7. You are most certainly a fan. Only a fan would care enough to write this and to hear the feedback. Good for you–don’t give up.

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  8. Oh boy, people are still going on about this… I found this article through a SFSignal link. I followed the File770 compilations at first, and left when it became the same circular arguments over and over. It’s clear to me that most commenters there do not care one bit about listening to different points of view, and that they are only interested in expressing their loathing. Another thing I found surprising is how much some people care not about the awards themselves, but about their control of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe it’s just me, but people involved with literature really seem to like circlejerking. Maybe it’s because it combines something they like doing (writing) with the bonus of reinforcing one another?

      Liked by 2 people

  9. @Lostsailer:

    When I said that Max was “excluding himself” I was referring to this: “why would anyone want to be a part of that fandom? ”

    Max presents a view of Fandom (I did not question his perception) and then makes it clear with his rhetorical question that he would not want to be a part of it.

    This post more than many has made me realize that there is a large segment of people out there – including you, perhaps including Max – whose perception of the institution of fandom is far off the beam.

    My perception of your perception is that you think fandom is something that just happens and that somehow, over the past couple of years, an undesirable element has, through fair means and foul, seized control of it, to the detriment of many.

    Fandom is a movable, mutable culture. It has an origin, one that can be verified by anyone caring to look into it. It has customs and practices that can be learned (and even questioned!). It has institutions (Worldcon, Hugo Award and far many others).

    The only way to take over a culture such as Fandom is to seize whatever zeitgeist happens to be occurring at the time. In other words, the people/groups who you perceive to be in control are not – they’re riding a wave of something amorphous and circumstantial, and happen to be visible and making the right points enough to appear to be influential.

    Within fandom at least, that is entirely fleeting.

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    • Mr. Davidson, I’m not surprised you miss the point and make unwarranted assumptions.

      Your claim that my perception of fandom is “far off the beam” is one of those erroneous claims. Though I haven’t been active in fandom activities for years, my history with SFF is similar to yours. I used to attend cons, even appeared on panels, though con-culture was never an attraction for me as it was for you. Yes, fandom is a movable culture and there have always been fannish disagreements as you well know. I knew Lester del Rey and watched he and Isaac Asimov frequently at loggerheads. The difference is they were still friends.

      The problem today is that fandom now trumpets being “inclusive!” But Max’s point, which I agree with, is demonstrably true: in the wake of the Advent of Puppies, Fandom is busy erecting walls to keep out the undesirable element. The element that’s not politically correct. And the message on the walls is “get with the progressive program or get lost.”

      While the majority of fans (and Fans) go about their business, whether that’s cosplay, filking, or just being passionate about SFF, your claim that there’s in-group “in control” is simply not true. It’s not a dicatorial control, it’s more subtle and insidious than that. It’s a small number of con-runners, vocal Fans, and more importantly a cadre of pros, writers and publishers that set the agenda. It now matters more an author’s (or fan’s) progressive politics, their gender or minority status that sets the agenda. When it comes to awards like the Hugos, that “control” is just more concetrated.

      I know you know all this. And I well understand why you are protecting your version of “fandom.” But claiming that Max (or I) is “excluding himself” is self-serving. The thing is there are a lot of us “fans” who love SFF, read SFF, and write SFF but aren’t part of the “Fannish” culture. Which makes it our genre, too. Yet if we involve ourselves in something like the Hugos, we’re deemed the barbarians at the gates. And we are. And when we try to enter, we’re told that the SFF we like (to read or to write) is “crap” because it’s not progressive enough for what you term the “zeitgeist,” we’re not excluding ourselves, we’re being excluded. We are part of fandom, yet why would we want to be part of a Fandom where there are progressive checklists and ideological purity tests?

      I do give you kudos for reviving Amazing Stories. And I understand that the market for short fiction is a very tough one, and “progressive” short fiction seems, at the moment, to cater to a ready market. That may not last. But I do wish you success with it.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I attended my first sci-fi con this year and had a great time. I was considering attending WorldCon 2016 because it’s within driving distance, but I’m going to wait to see how Sasquan turns out.

    I’m not a Puppy, but I learned about the Hugos from the kerfuffle. I didn’t come to the party early enough to nominate (and wouldn’t have followed the slate because I’d read only two of those works at that time and wouldn’t have voted a slate, anyway, because I have vastly different reading tastes), but I thought it would be fun to join and participate in a genre that I’ve long loved. It’s not been as much fun as I thought. Rather than have WorldCon or the Trufans welcome new members, there’s been an ongoing outpouring of hatred, resentment, and belittling.

    If the Trufans and their following decide to go the No Award route, I’ll quietly retreat to my library and forget about attending WorldCon. I’m going to continue enjoying science-fiction no matter the outcome.

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    • I haven’t been to a con in years and was never really interested in con-culture, but back in the day I used to go to many of the East Coast cons, like Balticon and Boskone, before they were finally banned from all the hotels in Boston and had to relocate to Springfield (I think I was a the last “Boston” Boskone, one of my first cons and it was off-the-rails; people tripping in the halls, something like 3 fire alarms pulled in the middle of the night–I wonder why they were banned from Boston…).

      But cons can be fun. Even Sasquan could be fun, even if many (though not all) fans will be well aware of the Hugo fight, so it might get political. Regional cons are more locally focused and have their own traditions that have nothing to do with the politics of WorldCon. One con I used to attend had a later-night (9pm) panel that was a Bulwer-Lytton bad-fiction contest that was usually hilarious.

      If most people are there to talk SFF and party, it can be a lot of fun. If people are there to grind political or SJW axes, then not so much.

      I’d just say don’t give up on cons, if you enjoy them, based on whatever assholery happens at Sasquan.

      Like

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