If—

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are claiming trophies that they think they’re due,
If you can nominate the works that please you,
While letting others have opinions too;
If you don’t get yourself provoked by slating,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And don’t blackball the people you despise:

If you can blog—and not make blogs your master;
If you can list—and not make lists your aim;
If you respect the winners and the losers
And try to treat the finalists the same,
If you hold back when words that have been quoted
Are turned against you by black-knighting fools,
And let your favorite authors get outvoted
Without rushing to fiddle with the rules:

If you can vote for what you find deserving
Without throwing a tantrum when it’s lost,
Or posting angry rants that look self-serving,
Or calling other people’s writing dross;
If you can cultivate some introspection,
Stop ramming through amendments at each Con,
And when trolls pop up in your comments section,
Stifle the urge which says to you: ‘Pile on!’

If you can celebrate the best among you,
Not shunning those with whom you disagree,
No rabid puppy’s evil league could troll you,
Nor faceless minion, ilk nor manatee;
If you accept no magic bullets fix this,
And get back to the spirit of Worldcon,
Yours is the Rocket, and everyone’s shortlisted,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Fan, my son!

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Tingling

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Tingling and tingling in the Hugo packet
The buck who cannot hear the buckaroos;
Slates tore apart; the Cabal could not hold;
Mere trollery was loosed on the Worldcon,
The fanosphere was loosed, and everywhere
Hypocrisy and cliquishness were found;
The SMOFs lacked all conviction, and the worst
Were full of disingenuosity.

Surely nullification is at hand;
Surely another Shunning is at hand.
Another Shunning! Hardly are those words out
When some free read on Kindle Unlimited
Tries to hook your short attention span:
A shape with raptor body and the abs of a man,
Or something else completely overdone,
Is pounding its own butt, while all about it
Facepalm the despondent SF fans.

The Ustream plays again but now I know
That our coming Fannish generation
Is vexed to nightmare by a rocket trophy,
And which hard bud, his retweets rising fast,
Campaigns towards Helsinki for an award?

Night Raptor Ballot Invasion

Awards season had come to Hugolandria, an awards season with such a quantity of hacks that it was as if their hack prose had been wrapped in hack clichés, bathed in the hack ink of the porn author Tingle, and flung into a puppy mill that descended toward the deepest crevasses of Tinglethengen, the hacks of which were so legendarily hack that the fans would cry out in joy as the Space Raptors of the Tinglethengenflagen filled their final ballots, giving them one last Tingle before absolute hackness fell upon them, made yet even more hack by the injury sustained from a falling trophy.

 

Amendment

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I scowl in frustration at the half-finished cover. Damn those line breaks that appear when you convert to a new file format. I should be studying for my final exams, yet here I am trying to edit my science fiction story into submission, to bring it under control. Today I have to drive 165 miles to downtown Seattle to meet the enigmatic CEO of Schneier Enterprise Holdings, Inc. As an exceptional voting systems security expert, his time is extraordinarily precious – much more precious than mine.

It’s a quarter to two when I arrive. The elevator whisks me at terminal velocity to the twentieth floor. “Mr. Schneier will see you now.” says an attractive, impeccably dressed blonde. “You don’t need to knock – just go in.”

“I have some questions, Mr. Schneier.” I swallow nervously, placing my 4,000-word tale of sizzling human on gay dinosaur action on the table.

He fixes me with a stare. “Elections organized by an unincorporated literary society are all about people. Directing their energies. Power is acquired by assuring yourself you were born to control things. A man who takes full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything to which he is justly entitled.”

My heart is pounding as I feel the delicious electricity between us charging. My inner T-Rex roars.

“I’m aware that this is a dark path I’m leading you down, Tingle, which is why I really want you to think about this. You’ve already signed an NDA.” He hands me a piece of paper. “This is the amendment.”

 

The Day after Christmas, 2065

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“So join, read, vote. And fifty years from now, when your fannish grandchildren ask you, ‘Say, gramps, what did you do in the Great Hugo War?’ you’ll have an answer for them.”

In my post-worldcon blog post last August 31 (( http://grrm.livejournal.com/440444.html )) I expressed the hope that the ugliness of 2015 could be left behind, that Fandom and Puppydom could coexist in peace. That’s still my hope. And right now I am feeling a little more hopeful than I was in August. People are talking books, not trading epithets…

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good read.

– grrm, December 24, 2015


 

The Day after Christmas, 2065:

“Say, gramps, what did you do in the Great Hugo War?”


“Some said I wasn’t a real Fan. No credentials! I voted after a LiveJournal appeal from grrm, who in addition to Max Headroom and THE ARMAGEDDON RAG wrote a series of epic fantasy novels that got adapted into a cable show.”


“Wires transmitting radio signals, right? LiveJournal’s better than Facebook. But gramps, what’s a series of epic fantasy novels?”


“As the Big Five collapsed, earnings… let’s not talk about that. Fandom splintered into fractious online subgroups, and mega-authors had to choose between positioning themselves as a mega-brand, in thrall to some corporation, or as a mega-fan, exemplar of the imagined community spanning the sequestered subcultures.”


“Sounds like a rhetorical tightrope.”


“It was tough on authors who spent decades in the fandom of printed books – like Pournelle’s 18-volume THERE WILL BE WAR you got for Christmas.”


“Are those Man-Kzin stories canonical?”


“Absolutely. Look. We were spread so thin that finalists in Best Novella, Novelette or Short Story were thrown out because they didn’t meet the threshold of five percent of nominating ballots cast.”


“What determined eligibility, gramps?”


“Word count.”


“You’re old! Why didn’t the mega-fans like grrm and Liu Cixin and Rudy Rucker just plug in their wires and explain to all fans of text-based, linear, narrative, noninteractive science fiction that they needed to pull together, honor its practitioners and save a dying art form? I mean, you and grandma made me this set of THERE WILL BE WAR from hand grown, scudded, pounced, and bound calfskin.”


“Rucker did. Liu Cixin was torn between Arthur C. Clarke and the MMOG future, and he imagined – wrongly, as we now know – that Anglosphere fans could repair the Hugos on their own. grrm made a few human mistakes, but he did his best and – thank Ghu! – in the end, everybody started pulling together.”


 

Top 10 Ways to Be Sure You Are Definitely Not Nominating a Slate

10. Share a Facebook meme asking everyone to post a word describing how they feel and their favorite class of mammals, then unfriend all the apoplectic marsupials.

9. Try to avoid the nominees whose names are worth the most Scrabble points.

8. Go back to the place where you got your Siamese cat and ask if they have any Bobtails.

7. Ask random strangers on the subway what their Kindles recommend.

6. Check that your nth-most popular author’s blog doesn’t get more than n times as many page views as most authors.

5. Vote for the writing that falls on you from nowhere.

4. Sneak into the File 770 meetup where they decide which are the slate-free candidates and scramble the letters on their Ouija board.

3. Spend more time reading than you do arguing about Benjanun Sriduangkaew on the internet.

2.  Whatever you do, don’t take a quick peek at the Nebula shortlist to get some fresh ideas.


And the #1 way to be sure you are definitely not nominating a slate:

1. Read no science fiction writers for one year.

The Night They Drove Old Hugo Down

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Virgil Canine’s the name and I bought lots of books from Baen
‘Til Noah’s cavalry came and one-star reviewed them again.
In the summer of ‘one-five, on the ballot, we had survived.
By August 23rd, Sasquan had fell.
It’s a time I remember, oh so well.

The night they drove old Hugo down,
And all the Daleks were singing.
The night they drove old Hugo down,
And all the primates were flinging.
They went, “Nya,nya,nya,nya,
Nya,nya,nya,nya,nya,nya,nya,nya,nya.”

Back at a con in Tennessee, one day they called to me,
“Virgil, quick, come see, there goes Sad Puppies 3!”
Now I don’t mind we’re misunderstood, and I don’t care when you vote for what’s good.
You rank what you liked and no-award the rest,
But they should never have booed for the very best.

The night they drove old Hugo down…

Like Correia before us, we will talk to fans,
Like Torgersen before us, we will not disband.
He picked just five friends, a dumb mistake,
But that’s an error we will not make.
We’ll say to those who came to gloat,
You can’t make a pup drop out when she’s here to vote.

The night they drove old Hugo down…