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Rachel Swirsky is one of the founding editors of PodCastle, served as Vice President of SFWA, and is a prolific author as well. She’s twice won the Nebula award, and has also been nominated for the Hugo, Locus, Sturgeon, and the World Fantasy Awards. Her second Nebula win was for her story “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,” which was also nominated for the Hugo.

Like every other award-winning story in existence, you had people who loved this story, and others who didn’t. And just like the rest of us, when faced with a story they didn’t like getting such honors, everyone calmly accepted that different people have different tastes, and looked for worthy work to nominate and support for next year.

Yeah, not so much. A small group set out to harass the hell out of the author, up to and including “jokes” about killing her.

Swirsky responded with a fundraiser, “Making Lemons into Jokes,” which has so far raised more than $700 for Lyon-Martin health services, one of the only providers that focuses on caring for the LGBTQIAA community — especially low-income lesbian, bisexual, and trans people. As part of the fundraiser, she’ll be writing a new story that riffs in part on this year’s Hugo Award mess, “If You Were a Butt, My Butt.”

I asked her to talk a bit about coping with this kind of harassment. Read on for her thoughts.

Also — and this should go without saying — if you start trolling or bullying in the comments, my web goblins will ban your ass so hard you’ll spend the next month farting through your nose.

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My warm thanks to Jim for letting me come into his space to talk a bit about the fundraiser I’m doing for Lyon-Martin health services through my Patreon. We talked a bit about what subjects I might want to discuss. For Ann Leckie, I wrote about why advice to ignore the bullies misses the point. For Mary Robinette Kowal, I wrote about a few of the many threads in my life that make advocacy important.

Jim asked me to write about how to cope with harassment. That overlaps a little with what I wrote for Ann, but on her blog, I wrote about how to be part of a community that was coping, not how to be an individual who copes with being a target.

A few years ago, there were a lot of pieces circulating about how hard it could get for women online. The VOLUME of hate and harassment; the INTENSITY of it; the terrifying PERSISTENCE. It spoke not of ordinary road-rage-type flame outs, but of something with more emergent structure. Not just drivebys, but pack hounds, stalking victims.

I wrote to a woman who had published such an article. “I so admire your courage,” I told her. “I don’t think I could stand up to it. I’m a weak person.”

It’s strange, I suppose, to identify yourself as a weak person. I am, though. A long time ago, I was on a panel about apocalypses, and someone (I believe it was the keenly insightful Eileen Gunn) said that viewers and readers always identify with survivors, assuming they too would survive.

I don’t. I’d die.

That’s fine. There are zombies or there are Rachel Swirskys and the twain shall not meet, except for the bloody moment of skull-breaking and brain-scavenging. I hope the zombie comes out of it with nagging depression and Star Trek pedantism.

I could write a whole essay interrogating the concept of weakness as I’m using it, of course. But that’s not this essay. I want to talk about how I feel about myself, not culturally critique the feeling.

I am weak because I am vulnerable. It’s dangerous to admit being vulnerable. Bullies go for the vulnerable. That’s one of the things they do.

When I wrote to the woman mentioned above, to tell her that I admired her courage, she expressed concerns. In retrospect, I think she meant that it does not take unusual courage to stand up to harassment. The women who stand up to it are not superhuman. They have done and are doing a difficult thing that no one should have to do, but they undertake that labor as people, with their own strengths and stresses.

I do not need to look at that woman and think, “You are brave. I am not.”

I can look at her and think, “Courage is work you do, not who you are.”

(A complication: Some people really are less vulnerable and more buoyant than others. Often, they’re the ones who speak more, which is perfectly natural.  They do everyone a great favor by using their resources and energy to speak out. But it can feel intimidating sometimes, which is no one’s fault.)

Personally, I complain to friends a lot. I really, really like listening to the audio recording of Alexandra Erin’s John Scalzi Is Not a Very Popular Author, and I Myself Am Quite Popular. I subtweet; over time, that’s mostly become overt tweeting. I suspect specific solutions are very personal.

This I’m sure of: for me, it feels better to talk than stay silent.

If you’re vulnerable as I am, and you become a target as I have, this is the best I know to give you: You’re not alone.

Don’t count yourself out.

Best,
Rachel

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Earlier this month, I received the following Tweet:

Inkitt Tweet

Well, I do like publishing novels, so I decided to check these folks out. Follow along as we talk about some of the potential pitfalls– Oh, who am I kidding. This thing has enough traps to make Admiral Akbar hoarse.

ETA: It looks like they also Tweet-spam as @great_backstrip. Great Backstrip? I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean, but it sounds like a really bad idea for styling back hair or something.

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1. Who’s running this thing?

I eventually found the web page with their staffing information, with Ali Albazaz listed as the founder and CEO of Inkitt. Clicking on Albazaz’s link brings up … a chapter of his book. According to his Facebook page, Albazaz studied … computer science. There’s really not a lot of information on this guy, and you know what’s noticeably missing? Any experience whatsoever with publishing.

There’s even less info on cofounder Linda Gavin, though I dug up that she’d studied design and technology. Her website lists her as a graphic artist. It’s a good skillset to have, but again, no actual publishing experience.

2. Then who decides what books to publish?

Well, the Inkitt website says, “Who are we or any editor in the world to judge whether your book is worth publishing?”

Nathan Fillion - Head Shake Gif

I get the sense they don’t actually know what an editor does … or that publishing is a business.

Their model is to instead crowdsource the selection process. If readers like your story, their “artificially intelligent algorithms” will detect that, and Inkitt will offer you a publishing deal.

3. Wait, how do they know if readers like the story before it’s published?

Oh, that’s easy: they publish it.

Let me say that again. They publish your novel. If you browse the different genres, you’ll see complete novels, along with works-in-progress.

In other words, their model is to electronically publish your book, see if people like it, and then offer to … um … publish your book.

That"s Not How This Works

I refer you back to point #1, wherein I talked about wanting to work with people who actually know how publishing works, or even what the word “publish” means. This is one of the reasons why.

4. Then what are they talking about when they talk about offering people publishing deals?

From the publishing page of their site, they:

  • Design a cover for your book and edit your manuscript.
  • Pitch your book to A-list publishers like Penguin Random House and Harper Collins and–

Wait, what? They design a book cover before pitching your manuscript? That’s … do they realize publishers commission their own artists and do their own cover art? You submit the manuscript to publishers, not– Oh, forget it. Where was I?

  • If the publishers don’t buy your book, they publish it yourself.

The site says their first published book was Sky Riders by Erin Swan.

You know what I can’t find on Amazon.com? Anything by Erin Swan. They claim to have published Swan’s book, and it’s not even on Amazon? Google finds nothing except the Inkitt page for Swan’s work. You know, the page where they already published her book, just like they published everyone else’s who submitted to them?

Han Solo gif - Whatever

If a big publisher does pick up the book, Inkitt will take 15%. This is the same percentage charged by most reputable agents, except that most agents actually know how publishing works and how to submit a manuscript.

If Inkitt published it themselves? You get 50% of their net earnings on the book.

To be fair, 50% is a bigger percentage than you’re likely to get from the major publishers. On the other hand, the major publishers will actually, you know, make your book available to buy.

Alternately, you could take a few minutes to toss your work up on Amazon yourself, and start earning 70% of the cover price.

5. What’s the difference between their normal “publication” process and this contest?

According to the guidelines, the contest winner gets a publishing offer from Inkitt, but also receives — I am not making this up — “a custom Inkitt coffee mug and a custom Inkitt notepad.”

Loki Facepalm

I raised these concerns and asked questions on Twitter. Two weeks later, I got a single response.

That’s it. Nothing about their publishing experience. Nothing about why you can’t find their “published” novel for sale anywhere. But hey, at least authors keep all rights!

All rights … including first English language rights? You know, that thing publishers like to buy, the right to be the first ones to publish a book in the English language. That thing Inkitt already did.

6.Wait, did they seriously do a fanfic contest as well?

Looks that way, doesn’t it. One of their genres is Fandom, which looks to be essentially fanfiction. Which just means “fanfiction” is one more concept Inkitt doesn’t really understand.

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Look, I don’t think Albazaz and Gavin and the rest of the Inkitt crew are actively evil. If this is intended as a scam, it’s an incredibly poor one. It feels more like a vanity press, but a mangled one. Like one of those superhero mix and match books, only there was a misprint, and you ended up with two sets of legs, and Mister Fantastic’s head is coming out of the Hulk’s butt.

They don’t understand publishing, they don’t know what an editor’s job is, they don’t have a grasp on the legalities of fanfiction and licensed properties, and they don’t seem to know how to publish or sell a book. What they do have a pretty good grasp on is spamming folks on Twitter. Which is why I decided to write this little rant. Because they’re spamming a lot of people, some of whom might not recognize just how many red flags Inkitt is waving about.

If you’re interested, the wonderful folks at Writer Beware also did a write-up on Inkitt last month. Their write-up does note a press release claiming Tor Books bought Erin Swan’s book Bright Star, and that Inkitt was involved in making this happen. But Writer Beware hasn’t gotten independent confirmation. If so, good for Swan! Though I’d be very interested in knowing what kind of contract Inkitt and Swan negotiated. Particularly since Bright Star is still available in its entirety on the Inkitt website…

ETA: It sounds like Swan’s sale to Tor was announced in Publisher’s Marketplace earlier this month, which I’ll take as confirmation.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

SF/F Being Awesome: Norwescon Fundraising

Norwescon is an annual convention in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

I spoke (okay, emailed) Kathy Bond, the chair of Norwescon 38, 39, and 40, who talked a bit about the fundraising and charity work the convention does.

In 2016 alone, Norwescon donated:

Let’s look at just one of those items. From the Northwest Harvest website, “Northwest Harvest can feed a family of three a nutritious meal for just 67 cents.” That means the convention paid for more than 3700 of those three-person meals.

Where does the money come from? Short answer: from fandom. From the hard work of convention volunteers, and the generosity of attendees. Kathy explains in more detail:

“For, the scholarships and sponsorships, the money came from our general fund. After 40 years, Norwescon has been lucky to build up a cash reserve that we’re able to re-deploy. For Northwest Harvest, we raise funds by soliciting donations when people buy their memberships, selling a specific charity ribbon at the convention, and with a Charity Auction on the last day of the convention. The food is done through a combination of food drive and donating the con suite leftovers.”

That is some impressive fundraising and generosity.

Goblin: Keep Being Awesome!!!

Do you have a recommendation for a person or group in the SF/F community who deserves a shout-out for doing generous, awesome, and generally wonderful work? Let me know!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

The Week in Pictures

First four are from around home. The last three are from a visit to Potter Park Zoo yesterday.

Female cardinal

Moon over street lamp

Tulip

Sophie behind a curtain

Spider monkey hand - Potter Park Zoo

Meerkat - Potter Park Zoo

Sparrow

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday just realized there are more than two years worth of Cool Stuff Friday posts. You know, in case you’re feeling the need to lose a few hours on the internet…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Next Newsletter and Book Giveaway

My quarterly(ish) newsletter will be going out soon, assuming Klud can take time from building increasingly complex (and universally ineffective) squirrel traps. I don’t know why he’s decided to declare war on the squirrels, but one thing is clear: goblins are really bad at building traps. As in, strung-himself-up-by-his-own-butt bad.

I’ll also be giving out an autographed book to one subscriber, in my ongoing and shameless attempt to get folks to sign up.

If you’re interested in updates on stories, novels, appearances, and of course, free books, you can either go to https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/goblin-updates/join to sign up, or send an email to goblin-updates+subscribe@googlegroups.com.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Excusing Sexual Harassment and Abuse

Last month, DC Comics was in the news about long-time editor Eddie Berganza, who works on Superman. Berganza was disciplined for sexual harassment back in 2012, but it sounds like that was one incident among many. For a while, there was even”an informal policy in place that no female staff would be assigned to the Superman office, and no female freelancers would be hired.” (Source)

In other words, in an attempt to avoid further incidents of sexual harassment, DC kept the harasser on staff and chose not to hire any women to work with him.

Way to punish and exclude women because of a man’s abusive behavior!

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Over at the Mary Sue, Teresa Jusino brings us an update on the comic Rat Queens. Artist Roc Upchurch was arrested for domestic violence back in 2014, and Rat Queens co-creator Kurtis Wiebe wrote at the time:

“As of today, Roc Upchurch will no longer be illustrating Rat Queens … I am committed to Rat Queens, to stand by what it has always been praised for and to prove to the fans that they weren’t wrong in loving it.” (Source)

Fast forward to 2016. Rat Queens is going on hiatus, and artist Tess Fowler will no longer be involved. Weibe claims this is because the collaboration “wasn’t working out.” Fowler claims she was being pushed out so Wiebe could “bring in the original artist.”

Nothing has been announced publicly about whether Upchurch will be involved when and if Rat Queens comes back from hiatus, but Weibe has recently begun promoting Upchurch’s art on Twitter and the Rat Queens Facebook page. At the very least, Weibe is once again promoting a domestic abuser in connection with Rat Queens.

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Then there’s Kukuruyo, the Hugo nominee for Best Fan Artist, thanks to Theodore Beale’s Rabid Puppy slate. Kukuruyo has done a number of adult-oriented and sexually explicit works, one of which was a drawing of the 16-year-old character Ms. Marvel, naked from the waist down. (He’s since taken it down. Never mind. I had read that the drawing was taken down, but he still has it posted on his website, along with a long post about how “it’s just a drawing,” and so on.)

Theodore Beale also championed a blog post about pedophilia and sexual abuse in SF/F circles for the Best Related Work Hugo, which makes his defense of Kukuruyo all the more fascinating. Among other things, Beale argued:

  • “The age of consent in Spain is 16. Kukuruyo is Spanish, lives in Spain, and US law is not relevant to his activities.” Which he immediately follows by trying to argue about what US law says…
  • “The drawing cannot be child pornography regardless of what age the fictitious character is supposed to be. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that drawings and computer representations are not child pornography.”
    • In the comments, Beale refers to a Supreme Court decision striking down provisions against “virutal” and computer-generated images in the Child Pornography Prevention Act.
    • When another commenter pointed out that Congress later passed the PROTECT Act, which “makes it clear that obscene child pornography in any form — including cartoons — is still unlawful and not entitled to any First Amendment protection,” Beale dismissed this as “irrelevant.”
  • And my personal favorite, “I am reliably informed that Ms Marvel was 16 when she was introduced in 2013. That makes her at least 18 now, possibly 19.” Just like Superman debuted in 1938, which is why he’s now portrayed by actors aged 95 and up.

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What I find interesting is that in all three cases, we have people and organizations who have stated their opposition to sexual harassment, domestic violence, pedophilia, etc. We also see the difference between abstract statements and real actions when it comes to their friends and employees.

  • DC claims they won’t tolerate sexual harassment, but they’ve protected a known harasser for years.
  • Wiebe spoke passionately about the evils of domestic violence, but at the very least, chose not to fully separate his creation from an abuser.
  • And Beale is working awfully hard to explain why it’s okay that one of his Hugo nominees drew and sold a sexually explicit drawing of a 16-year-old girl.

I highlighted these three examples because they’re such clear cases of crap we’ve seen again and again. It’s one thing to stand up and say sexual harassment and abuse are bad things. But if you’re talking the talk and then turning around to defend or protect people who cross the line because they’re your friend, or because you think it’s easier? Not only are you not helping the problem, you’re making it worse.

I think we’re doing a better job of talking about stuff, of creating harassment policies and discussing issues of harassment and abuse. But we need to do a better job of walking the walk, too. Step one of that walk? Stop excusing gross behavior just because the perpetrator is a friend or employee.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

The Week in Pictures

A few pics from the past week…

Eastern Phoebe Finch Zoey Geese The evening robin got the worm

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday wants a team-up movie with Black Widow and T’Challa’s Security Chief.

I don’t know if it’s tacky to mention my own stuff here, but I’m going to anyway. Earlier this week, I posted some of my pics as desktop wallpapers. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out!

Now, on to the rest of the links.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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I met Lar DeSouza when he was artist guest of honor at ICON in Iowa, back in 2014. Later that weekend, I met him again as Sailor Bacon.

Lar DeSouza as Sailor BaconYou see, back in 2013, Lar was fundraising for Multiple Sclerosis research, and promised his fans that he’d dress up in the cosplay of their choosing if they raised at least $10,000.

Which they did.

He’s continued to raise money for MS research — and to dress up as Sailor Bacon — ever since. He’s also offered incentives like custom artwork and dyeing his beard an additional color for every extra $1000 raised.

If my math is right, Lar and his fans have raised around $40,000 in total to fight MS.

There’s even a new Sailor Bacon plush, with a portion of the proceeds going to MS research.

Fighting MS by con light,
Winning breakfast by daylight,
Rainbow beard that is so bright!
It is the one named Sailor Bacon!

The MS Walk was May 1 this year, but it looks like you can still donate.

I love that geeks and fandom not only work so hard to do so much for good, worthwhile causes, but that we find weird and random and fun ways to do it.

Goblin: Keep Being Awesome!!!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

My wife wanted to go see Captain America: Civil War on Mother’s Day. Because she is awesome.

I don’t have the time for a full review, but had lots of thoughts I wanted to put out there. And hey, what the internet really needs is one more place for people to discuss the latest Marvel movie, right?

If you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want to be spoiled, turn back now…

SPOILERS AHOY

Civil War Meme

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Photos Using the Late Birthday Present

For a while now, I’ve been looking at the nicer DSLR camera lenses and drooling a bit. As a late birthday present for myself, I went ahead and purchased an L-series 100-400 mm lens, which arrived on Friday. Naturally, all productivity came to a screeching halt while I ran around to try it out. If we’re friends on Facebook, you may have already seen some of the results.

The lens is both bigger and heavier than I expected. I can take pictures and get a bit of a workout at the same time. It’s got three different stabilizer modes that I need to figure out yet, and long-range handheld shots are tricky, but I’ve gotten some pictures I’m very happy with.

You can see a few more, or check out larger versions of these, at Flickr.

Red Winged Blackbird Flower Alley Geese, in silhouette Geese, with babies! Squirrel, with Nut Nuthatch Macaw Frog

For those of you who do photography, do you think I should worry about watermarking any of these? I’ve never bothered before, but I’m still very much an amateur trying to figure out what I’m doing.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Back in March, I posted about Janet Kagan’s work, which I love. Unfortunately, most of it was out of print.

Well, Baen Books has released her work in electronic form, which is awesome! They even put together a collection of her shorter work!

 

Hellspark

Amazon | B&N | Baen Books

 

Mirabile

Amazon | B&N | Baen Books

 

The Collected Kagan

Amazon | B&N | Baen Books

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go buy some ebooks!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Author Photos Proposal

As some of you know, I’m a bit of a photography hobbyist — that is to say, very much not a professional. But it’s something I enjoy, and something I’d like to get better at.

It occurred to me as I was looking at my mostly-outdated press kit pics that authors need author photos.

Some authors pay professional photographers for their author photos, and that’s great. Others go through shots their friends have taken and try to find the best ones. And sometimes we just panic and snap a bunch of selfies and hope for the best, because the editor wants it right now and I can’t find anything and I’m panicking and why can’t I just send a picture of my cat instead?

Anyway, as an idea, what would you think of me offering to do photo sessions at future conventions for authors? I’m not sure exactly how this would work, but it would be good practice and experience for me, and I’d send the authors their pics and rights to use them however they need.

While I’m not a pro, I like to think I don’t completely suck. Here are some of the pics I’ve taken over the past couple of years that people seemed to like. (Keep in mind, these were generally snapped in the spur of the moment, so I didn’t always have time to move for better lighting or background and such.)

Wesley Chu

Wesley Chu

John Scalzi

John Scalzi, with Tor Ring

Terri LeBlanc and Ann Leckie

Terri LeBlanc and Ann Leckie

Michelle Clark

Michelle Clark

Tierany Seriflame.

Tierany Seriflame

Doselle Young

Doselle Young

Anthony Hendon

Anthony Hendon

What do you think? What are the downsides I’m missing? I figure I’d need to be clear up front that I can’t guarantee perfection. On the other hand, I can probably promise that you’ll get your money’s worth. Ideally, folks get decent photos they can use, and I get to have fun practicing and getting better at something I enjoy.

I figure I could either do it informally, with folks emailing me ahead of time to set something up at a convention, or else talk to the con about maybe getting an hour or two on the schedule to either shoot outside or in a program room or…well, it would probably be best to scout locations beforehand, to be honest.

Anyway, feedback welcome and appreciated.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Anyone in the Southfield Area?

I’ll be at the Southfield (Michigan) Public Library tomorrow, May 4, at 6:30. I’ll be reading something still-to-be-decided, talking a bit about writing and my own process, answering questions, and then selling and signing some books.

All I know for certain is that I need to remember to wear one of my Star Wars shirts…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

SF/F Being Awesome: Books for Kids

Welcome to the first of what I hope will be many SF/F Being Awesome posts.

Charity Auction FlyerFor close to 20 years, Balticon and the Baltimore Science Fiction Society have been raising money to provide books to kids — particularly kids who might not otherwise be able to afford them — and to school libraries as well.

I spoke with Kelly Pierce, who’s been coordinating the Bobby Gear Memorial Charity Auction at Balticon since about 2002. The auction raises the bulk of the money for Books for Kids each year.

In the beginning, BSFS Books for Kids worked with RIF (Reading is Fundamental) to buy and hand out the books. When RIF stopped operating in Maryland, BSFS Books for Kids chose to continue, and to distribute the books themselves.

The auction is named in honor of Bobby Gear, who was a BSFS volunteer and teacher at Buck Lodge Middle School, one of the first schools to benefit from the generosity of BSFS Books for Kids.

Since it all began, Balticon and BSFS has probably raised around $50,000 to provide books to libraries and kids in need, with the bulk of that money comes from the annual auction.

Think about that for a moment. Think about how many books this group of fans has passed out. Think about how much that means to kids who might not be able to afford books of their own.

This is what I love about fandom. People don’t just get together to celebrate the stories we love. They pour in hundreds and thousands of hours of work to help others, to share those stories and books with others. To share that love.

For more information:

Thank you Kelly for taking the time to talk to me, and thanks to everyone who’s volunteered and donated and supported BSFS Books for Kids over the years.

Goblin: Keep Being Awesome!!!

Do you have a suggestion for a group, organization, or event to be featured on the blog for general awesomeness? Email me at jchines -at- sff.net, or through my Contact Form.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday just splurged on a late birthday present that should show up by the end of next week…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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A Few Hugo Requests

As we go through this strange sensation of Déjà Hugo, I had a few requests to put out there.

1. Don’t tell me, or anyone else, how to vote.

If you want to talk about deciding how you’re going to vote, great. If you want to put forth an argument for No Award or for avoiding the No Award option or for how to treat blatantly rabid nominees vs. trolling nominees vs. human shields or whatever else, fine. But I’m already starting to see people doing the, “If you vote this way (or don’t vote this way), you’re an asshole” thing.

Let me put it this way. The rabid puppies were able to make this year’s mess by lining up and following their voting orders (a tactic which hopefully won’t work very well in the future). Do you really want to follow that guy’s strategy of trying to tell people how to vote?

Some people will probably choose to No Award the whole slate. Others will try to evaluate every work on its own merit. Me, I’ll try to read and evaluate them all, though I’ll probably be more skeptical of most of the rabid works.

I’m not complaining about discussion/debate on how to respond to the rabid puppies this year. I just don’t appreciate people trying to dicktate how I should vote.

2. No asterisks, please.

I did make a crack about asterisks and the Hugo last year after the trophy was released. And I think a lot of people had a mental asterisk over the whole thing, because let’s be honest, last year was anything but normal for the Hugo awards. So yeah, I definitely get it.

But at last year’s Hugo award ceremony, they handed out wooden asterisk plaques, and later sold additional wooden asterisks.

I don’t believe this was done with malicious intent (though I obviously can’t read anyone’s minds). Maybe it was an attempt at humor, and/or to acknowledge the elephant in the room. I appreciate that the sale of the asterisks raised several thousand dollars for a good cause.

Whatever the intentions, it resulted in a lot of people feeling hurt and attacked. I know from experience how nerve-wracking a Hugo ceremony can be in a normal year. Last year, and this year, tensions and anxieties and fears are exponentially higher. And for many of the people in attendance, the asterisks felt like a big old slap in the face.

Like I said, I don’t think that was the intention. (Others will disagree, and have gleefully pointed to the asterisks as “proof” that “the other side” is evil and nasty.) In this case, I don’t think intention matters so much as the impact it had, including hurting some good, talented people.

3. Don’t be an abusive doucheweasel.

For example, here’s a conversation from last year where Moshe Feder had to delete someone’s comment calling for the Sad Puppies to kill themselves. WTF, people?

Screenshot - Puppies Should Kill Themselves

Or here’s someone suggesting the Sad and Rabid Puppies be rounded up and dropped into Daesh territory.

Puppies-Daesh

Then there’s the vitriol directed at the nominees themselves. Particularly at the women on the ballot. (I’m sure we’re all shocked to hear that women tended to get the most and the nastiest of the attacks.)

As one nominee noted last year, “We have been called assholes, bitches, mongrels, yapping curs, talentless hacks and so many more things that I can’t even name them all. I have seen at least one suggestion that all of us should be euthanized.” Another talked about the “helpful” emails they received, saying things like, “If you don’t reject the nomination, you will be forever linked with those people. Always hated.”

And whatever choice the nominees made about withdrawing or staying on the ballot, there were people who would attack them for it, calling them gutless, comparing them to Nazi sympathizers, and worse.

Gutless

SS

I’m not trying to say anyone can’t or shouldn’t be angry, or trying to stop anyone from expressing that anger. But there’s a difference between expressing anger and harassing people. There’s a difference between criticizing people who are actively trying to “burn the Hugos down,” and attacking everyone and anyone who might in any way be connected with — or being used by — those people.

I’m also not interested in debating whether one “side” was worse than the other. I’m simply pointing out that this shit happened. These are some of the public comments. Some of the emails/messages sent directly to folks were far worse.

Finally, I know there are people who delight in being abusive doucheweasels, and nothing I write here is going to change that. I guess I’m just asking the rest of us, myself included, to be careful, and to remember Wheaton’s Law.

Thanks for listening.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Help Me Share the Awesome Side of SF/F

I’m thinking about trying to do a weekly blog post highlighting some of the positive and amazing things being done by various folks in the SF/F community. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how many wonderful, kind-hearted, generous people there are in our geeked-out slice of the world.

Take Pat Rothfuss’ Worldbuilders fundraiser. Pat has poured so much time and energy into Worldbuilders. (Yes, I know some of you would rather he poured all of that time into writing, but none of us can write all the time.) In the past seven years, Worldbuilders has raised more than $3.5 million for Heifer International, helping to reduce hunger and poverty in the world.

Or look at conventions like Windycon, where fans worked to raise $753 for the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Illinois Chapter.

So I need your help. Email me at jchines -at- sff.net (or use the Contact Form) and tell me about people or groups in fandom doing good stuff. I’ll do my best to research and write them up, with links and pics and maybe even a quick interview or quote or something. And we can try at least once a week to recognize that yeah, at its worst, SF/F fandom can be a hot, flaming mess … but at our best, we are Frakking Awesome.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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