Monday, April 10, 2017

What Hugo Discussions Reveal

Take it away Eleanor!

Reading through coverage of this year's Hugo nominated works, both in mainstream media and in the on-line circles thrilled by the results of E. Pluribus Unum, it's striking how little conversation there is know...the works themselves.

From Wired:
Another is that Best Novelette has lately emerged as a microcosm of the Hugos’ move toward gender and racial inclusion. Women have won the category four of the last five years, and all of this year’s nominees are women—except for Hiscock.
Nowhere in that article do they actually discuss the novelettes nominated by the women.  They mention that they are women, but don't really care to talk about the works themselves. 

Not surprising, given that these people don't read.

Consider Fuzion's coverage:
It’s because of interest from communities of fans (like the body that makes up the Hugo Awards voting committee) who make the effort to critically analyze the titles despite the fact that Marvel doesn’t do the best of jobs when it comes to promoting them effectively.
Yeah, except they don't critically analyzes the titles beyond a simple gender and race count.  That's not critical analysis, that's simple social justice scorekeeping.

These people don't read.

Let's check io9:
The Hugo Awards nominations were released this week, featuring some of the best and brightest works in science fiction and fantasy— most of which are relatively well known. Then, there’s one nominee for Best Novelette, a short story hardly anyone had even heard of... until now. It’s called Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By the T-Rex, by Stix Hiscock. 
All they want to talk about is Stix Hiscock.  They haven't read any of the other nominee's works, and have no intention of doing so.  Reading and talking about the best novelette stories is so passé.

These people don't read.

Check out the File770 thread where people talk about the nominees.  It's all pricing and tangential issues.  Nobody talks about the works themselves.  Scan the front page and look for any analysis of the works themselves at all.  There's no there there.  They've got Camestros Felaptron doing some analysis but he works in the sad, old Damon Knight style wherein he focuses on who people hang out with far more than what they actually write.

They don't want to talk about ideas.  They don't want to talk about ideas.  They only really want to talk about people.

Small minds.

Now, take a look at the front page of the Castalia House Blog.  On any given day, they've got six or seven reviews of works that talk primarily about what is in the work itself.  They read and analyze the things they've read, not who said what about whom, and oh my god did you see the dress John Scalzi wore on Tuesday it made him look so fat!  It's this dedication to reading and discussion of the works that first drew me to the Castalia House Blog, and it's the reason I'm proud to be a regular contributor.  It's a blog about ideas - a strange thing for a sci-fi blog in these strange days, to be sure.

But you know who talks about ideas?

Great minds.


  1. Y'know, getting nominated for a Hugo has had an almost negligible impact on our traffic, despite 2/5ths of our content being available free online to read.

    1. That makes it clear that Hugos do not matter.

  2. Hey, I read those novelletes. (Well, ok. I've read two of them, and liked both, but I don't get to read the magazines like I used to. But "The Jewel and her Lapidary and the Tomato one were both lovely.) In the novella category, I have read all of them. And I liked most. My favorites are probably "The Dream-quest..." and "Downfall of the Gods"(K. J. Parker is awesome! I love his books/stories/worlds!) (I actually have read MOST of the works nominated this year, including either all of or part of each of the books in BEST SERIES.) So, please do not say that folks who vote for the Hugos do not read. We do. I do. I read A LOT.

    1. The proof is in the pudding.

      Show me who's talking about them - the works and not the authors - because I can't find anything beyond the most cursory mentions.

      Contrast with the sprawling conversation about the contents of Castalia House's latest offering, The Corroding Empire. Or the multi-blog sprawling talk about Rawle Nyanzi's "Sword and Flower", or the...well, you get the idea.

      If the Puppy Kickers are talking about the Hugo nominated works beyond, "Yay, Vaginas!", they're doing a great job keeping it under wraps.