Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hugos: Related Work

I hate the Related Work category.

The first year I did the Hugo thing, 2015, it was all of this dreadful Puppy slate stuff. One guy submitted a huge pile of anti-Hillary tweets, and the inimitable JCW opined at length about how much he hates people like me and the people I hang out with. In 2016 it was the year of the pedophile, in which the submissions included gross pedo scenes under the ostensible guise of crusading against it, wherein I was rudely reminded why I never could stand Marion Freaking Zimmer Bradley.

This year starts out with a depressing reminder that Carrie Fisher is dead. The Princess Diarist tells the tale of her metal bikini, and her fling with Harrison Ford. It’s cute and charming, but Carrie is no longer with us, so it’s not like she would ever know if she won. It would be a nice gesture, but I’m not voting for Carrie.

Next is Sarah Gailey, who is also up for the Campbell Award as a prenovelist. JJ linked a story of hers about a woman trying to cut a deal with the devil to save her wife, which I thought was interesting given that the Rabid Puppies’ pick also wrote a devil story. Devils are hot in 2017.

She’s up for related work for “The Women of Harry Potter” posts on And I’m going to have to pass, because I think Harry Potter’s kind of past its shelf life for 2017 awards. There was discussion on File 770 about how even though Cursed Child made it technically eligible for best series, the nominators didn’t go there.

Similarly, seeing youngster Neil Gaiman present a grandfatherly retrospective in The View From the Cheap Seats reminds me I’m middle-aged.

I get more of an actual grandparently sensation from Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg by Robert Silverberg and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Fairwood) and Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016 by Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer). Probably because I read both of those authors when I was very young. Two of my favorite fantasy grandparents deliver sage elder wisdom for whippersnappers everywhere. Grandpa Silverberg snared me right away, talking about travel and adventure and a holy building in Suriname. Grandma Le Guin reassured me that it’s okay not to write hatchet jobs of despised books, even though sometimes it’s fun to read a good hatchet job.

Which brings me to The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley (Tor Books). In the excerpt, she talks about how G*merG*te, a recent brouhaha involving women, video games and modern journalism relates to the Sad/Rabid Puppies phenomenon that got me interested in the Hugos in the first place.

I resisted 99.99% of the temptation of posting screenshots that authenticate my gamerhood, since I’ve been one since blue-book-AD&D days, and I kept it down to this Star Wars Galaxies screenie from when I used to be a Twi’lek dark jedi.  Around this time (approx 2005) I was extremely involved in the gaming scene; I did a bunch of blogs and wrote for others, using various nyms, some of which are still connected to this blog.

These days I play only a handful of games, mostly Blizzard, with minimal human interaction. No, it’s not because of gamer sexism … it’s because of G*merG*te. The community is too polarized and inhibited and angry. While I take no sides on G*merG*te, and have never written a single word for/against it, I stand firmly against (a) internet abuse/bullying; (b) racism/sexism/homophobia/discrimination; (c) unethical journalism; (d) silencing people for their content as opposed to their conduct. Since that pits me against two sides that both fight dirty, I shall gracefully step away from the combat zone until the dust settles. 

On the bright side, since I’ve pulled back from my favorite hobby, I’ve been writing novels -- hopefully ones that will edge me toward game-related storytelling, and therefore I should also thank G*merG*te for rapidly escalating the toxicity so as to make that decision easier.

Now I could spin a lot of pixels talking here about my life as a gamer, and my feelings about G*merG*te and the events and culture surrounding it, or I could dump it all metaphorically into the space opera series I’m writing after Sonny Knight. I think I’ll go for the latter. Maybe I’ll figure out how to write corporate-friendly science fiction by then and someone will actually buy it. Until then, I don’t feel like participating in the discussion at all.

So I’m going to vote for Grampaw Bob (1st because he actually hangs out at these conventions and loves them) and Nana Ursula (2nd because she’s more of a sometimes attendee), while dreaming of living in a world that they had more of an active hand in designing.

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