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Worldcon is dead. Bury it, and the Hugos, and be done with it.

So the big Facebook news for the last day or so has been that Jon Del Arroz, an up-and-coming SF writer, has been banned from attending Worldcon.

Why?  Because he planned to wear a body camera.

OK, I’m being vague.

Jon Del Arroz is a conservative Hispanic science fiction writer.  You can see his Amazon author page here.  With the disclaimer that I haven’t read any of his stuff myself (yet), there are folks out there like Moira Greyland Peat* who say it’s good stuff, and that Del Arroz himself is a fine gentleman.  I’m inclined to take their word for it.

Del Arroz was going to wear a body camera to Worldcon because he and his family have been threatened and doxxed.  Worldcon, in response to his statement that he would be wearing a body camera because he felt he might be attacked during the con, demoted his full membership to a supporting membership (i.e., “no ticket for you!”)  Why?  Well, to quote Larry Corriea, “They banned a dude because he’s got the wrong politics and he’s loud and annoying about it?”

Two years ago, I said I’d be perfectly happy to see Worldcon fold up tent and have that be the end of the Hugos. I haven’t budged from that position.  There are other awards (the Dragon, for instance) that have a much more open and fair process, and which aren’t subject to the whims of the tiny fraction of fandom — mostly the SJW branch of fandom — who buy either a full or a supporting membership in Worldcon to vote for them.

The banning of a conservative SF author from Worldcon simply because there are people out there who dislike him enough to attack him personally and physically, prompting him to make it clear that he’ll be documenting everything that happens while he’s there, is just more proof that the powers that be at Worldcon have lost any authority they have to administer the most ancient and hoary of SF awards.  And that they have been completely overtaken by the proggy wing of fandom, i.e., most of the people I ever met at cons who are the reason I haven’t been to a con in over thirty years.

This makes several consecutive Worldcons where the SJW contingent has held the upper hand.  It’s time either to get some fairness and balance into the process, or to just let the damn thing die.  And given the leadership they have, the latter is more likely than the former.

[Updated to correct my misspelling of Del Arroz’s name.  My apologies.]

* Moira is the daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen, the former a lesbian who divorced her husband and took up with another woman, and the latter a pedophile (finally convicted and sentenced to prison, where he eventually died).  You can purchase her recently-released book on the subject of her childhood and what a pair of slimy human beings her parents were at this link. Or — and this is most likely if you grew up reading MZB’s books — you can go on believing the fairy tales told about them.  Whatever.  I stand with Moira.

Hugo away now (part 2)

I’ve written before about my attitude regarding WorldCon and the Hugos — short synopsis, overrun by progs and no longer worth the dime.

SJWs being SJWs, it’s only gotten worse.

A panelist’s bio on the WorldCon site, apparently lifted from another website (and we’ll not go into the ethics and general laziness of that; the con should have required each panelist to provide their own picture and bio) was edited to “normalize” the odd gender pronouns the panelist preferred — apparently because whoever was formatting it for the WorldCon website thought they were typos.  Not going into that insanity either; it’s been well covered by Mad Mike and crew on Facebook.*  Bottom line is that this “triggered” the panelist, who got all huffy and opined that it would not feel safe at WorldCon.  (In other words, the usual snowflake response of someone who doesn’t understand that the world doesn’t give a fuck about its pretentious bullshit.)

So now, the whole LGBTQwhateverthefuck community is up in arms and the WorldCon committee is finding itself bombarded by demands and general pissyness from said community.  It was gigglesome to start with and now it’s completely off-the-rails insanely hilarious.  This sad person has decided to form a so-called “Queer Rapid Response Team” for WorldCon.  Now, given that I’ve never heard of this person and never read any of their work, their authority to do something like this escapes me; but there you have it.  Apparently due to the preferred pronoun “gaffe”, the queer community has decided that they are going to be suppressed at WorldCon (the opposite is more likely true, since most of WorldCon these days is SJWs), so this “team’s” brief is “about making sure [they’re] allowed to operate within the convention itself.”  Give me a fucking break.  Have you never BEEN to a convention?  Nobody fucking cares about your quirks.

I submit to you that this is another self-inflicted wound in the entirely-avoidable Death of a Thousand Cuts being suffered by WorldCon over the past half-decade or so, which are entirely due to its Gramscian capture by nutbags on the left.  When Mad Mike says on Facebook, “When you watch WorldCon self-immolate”, followed by

it’s pretty clear that the non-unhinged contingent is just sitting back watching the world burn at this point.  Well, and snarking about it, of course.  Because it is entirely snarkalicious.

My advice?  Fuck it, support and attend LibertyCon and/or DragonCon, or one of the other ‘cons where normal, rational people organize and attend.  Nominate and vote in the Dragon Awards, screw the Hugos.  They’re toast.

Heinlein was right, although the progs ruling WorldCon would never admit it:  These are indeed the Crazy Years.


* I’m surprised this hasn’t shown up on his blog yet.  I suppose he’s been busy 🙂

Hugo away now.

So, this year I joined WorldCon for the first time (as a supporting member) and got to vote on the Hugos.

I’ve been a science fiction aficionado most of my life. 50 years, or close to it; way back in the 1960’s, before I could even really understand what I was reading, I got hooked by a two-volume set of A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, edited by Anthony Boucher.

I was thereby introduced to A.E. Van Vogt (The Weapon Shops of Isher), Poul Anderson (Brain Wave), Alfred Bester (The Stars My Destination), George O. Smith (“Lost Art”, which is part of the great Venus Equilateral), and Nelson S. Bond (“Magic City”) among others. I later re-read them all in the light of somewhat greater maturity and understood that I had been reading classic SF from a golden age that had just preceded my own life. But that was the trigger that started me off reading SF nearly half a century ago. And it colors my appreciation of modern SF quite a bit.

You may notice that I have carefully avoided using the term “fan”. That’s because (and in someone else’s construction that I saw a couple of days ago) I’m a fan, not a Fan. I’ve been to exactly three SF conventions in my life, and I can name them easily: NorthAmericon in 1979, Rivercon V in 1980, and our local InConJunction 2 in 1981. NorthAmericon was as close as I’ve ever come to attending WorldCon, given it was held to give US fans something to do since WorldCon was being held in England that year.*

I stopped going to the local ‘con after one try because, frankly, I didn’t (and still don’t) like most of the people who were running it back then. Fen qua fen ordinarily give me the willies, and these folks were exceedingly strange, even for fen. (Some of us who were less than cordial about them were wont to refer to their SF club The Circle of Janus as “the circular anus”.) Anyway, as a card-carrying introvert even back then, I quit going to SF conventions about the time I was 22.** Fuck, I don’t even go to GenCon, and it’s here every year until the SJWs force it to move because they don’t like our governor. Which would be a pretty stupid reason to move it, but they’re SJWs, so I digress.

Over the years, particularly after Heinlein died, but moreso after Poul Anderson died, I sort of lost interest in “modern” science fiction, because most of it was new-agey, touchy-feely, socially-aware, globull-warmerongering-friendly feminist pap. And today, so much of it is post-apocalyptic “we’re doomed anyway” downer shit. (The Black Tide Rising series by John Ringo being a notable exception to the mill run of such.)***

But then I found Baen, and authors who were actually writing the kind of science fiction I wanted to read. Even if Eric Flint is a red diaper baby. I still like his stuff, and he has a good editorial eye. Plus, he likes a lot of the same authors I do 🙂

(Oh, and by the way: In the main, I hate fantasy, or what we used to call “sword and sorcery” (with a couple of significant, classic exceptions). I wish the fantasy genre had never gotten bound up with science fiction. They are completely different genres, with different sets of fans, and other than their common speculative nature, they really don’t deserve to be lumped together. But that’s a bone to be picked another day.)

So where am I going with this?

The year of the *.  (No, that’s not a footnote.)

I admit, fully and openly, that I sided with the Sad Puppies, and voted as one (which is not the same thing that the CHORFs**** are calling “voting the SP slate”, since there wasn’t a goddamn SP slate). I have sat here for many years and idly wondered from time to time just exactly who the fuck decided that certain Hugo winners ought to have a Hugo. Finding out that the Hugo voting has been largely taken over by the Social Justice Warrior (SJW) crowd AKA CHORFs went a long way toward explaining that to me.

I was not aware of Sad Puppies, by the way, until this year, which was its third annual iteration. And I’m not going to get into the Rabid Puppies vs. Sad Puppies distraction; I don’t know who Vox Day is, and I don’t much give a fuck, other than that he seems to be a raging asshole.

And as I said on Facebook yesterday, I’ve never bought a book because it had a sticker on the cover proclaiming it to be a Hugo winner or nominee. Someone else (I think one of Hoyt’s Huns) mentioned dollars as votes. Just so.

The fact that the number of No Awards for the Hugo in its entire history just doubled over the weekend tells me that the CHORFs are fully in charge and have no intention of relinquishing their hold (or what they perceive as their hold) on SF fandom. While I agree that the Puppies won by losing (and thereby proving what a total group of childish assholes the CHORFs are), it doesn’t mean I have to like it. And I don’t.

By all accounts, Toni Weisskopf really deserved a Hugo for Best Editor (Long Form), but because she was Puppy-tainted, she came in second to No Award.

And I read, critically, both KJA’s The Dark Between the Stars and Cixin Liu’s The Three Body Problem. (I tried to read Ancillary Sword, but the first chapter defeated me; I simply couldn’t be moved to care. The Goblin Emperor was crap from the first sentence. And I’m not a Jim Butcher fan; sue me.) Liu’s book was good, and I enjoyed it. But Anderson’s book was better and it deserved the Hugo. It didn’t get it because Anderson is smeared with the Puppies (plus he’s not a darling of the SJW crowd).

It just gets worse from there so there’s no point in discussing it.  Then there was the just-plain-nastiness of the SJW crowd, starting with “you can cheer the no-awards, but you can’t boo them.”  Fuck you, assholes.

The Hugo is finished as a serious award. It was finished anyway, years ago, because it was only voted on by a self-selecting group that either attended WorldCon or bought a supporting membership (after that became possible). When that group became slanted to the SJW/CHORF crowd, the awards started tilting toward the type of SF that I described as being distasteful to me, above. And now that the proggies have full control, they’re unwilling to let go of it, even when the awards they’re giving are going to pedestrian crap, or aren’t going to anyone (No Award) no matter how deserving.

There’s apparently going to be a Sad Puppies IV, but with all due respect to the organizers, I don’t think that’s the appropriate response. The Hugo is old and busted; something else needs to take its place. Whatever that something is, it needs to be disassociated from WorldCon (something else that’s old and busted), and made more accessible to the body of fans who actually buy and read the books. It’s clear that WorldCon and the World Science Fiction Society no longer represent a vital cross-section of fandom, and indeed, there seem to be a lot of fans out there who don’t know what either of them OR the Hugo are.

Regardless of the awe and respect that many fans have for the Hugo, it is clear that the sand of cultural progressivism has jammed its gears. When you’ve butted up against that immovable object with your irresistible force and still haven’t been able to budge it an inch after repeated tries, it’s time to walk away and try something new.

It’s a big multiverse. There’s room for more than one award in Science Fiction.


* And at which it was my supreme pleasure and privilege to meet Forrest J Ackerman.  And setup and run his slides of the Ackermansion, which I got to visit two years later.

** Which doesn’t mean I don’t go to conventions of any sort. I’ve been to national and regional conventions of my college service fraternity, and I spend far too much time going to Masonic events, and I haven’t missed a Grand Lodge convocation since 2000. In fact, my wife and I are getting ready to run the Indiana hospitality suite at the 2015 Supreme Council session of the AASR-NMJ. But that’s different; the people who attend such things aren’t fen. They’re grownups. Well, by and large, anyway.

***My preference is what Sarah Hoyt calls “Human Wave” SF.

**** Here, let me Google that for you.