Sad Puppies the engladdening
Less than an hour ago, the finalists for the Hugo awards were announced here at Norwescon. I would like to say that the room was packed. However, this reporter tries to stick with the truth when truths are available. Out of a gate of “about 3000 to 3200” per the gentleman at the computer, there was less than 45 people in the room for the announcement. That counts everyone from the announcers to the videographer to me.
As, by the time you see this, the lists of finalists will be all over Fandom, it’s going to be no surprise to anyone who cares that between sad and rabid puppies, it was nearly a sweep. With a couple notable exceptions the crowd didn’t seem to care. (or if they did they usually hid it well) The announcer said that they were making the announcement publicly to “Make more visible” The award process, and how the award is voted on. And went on to say that they encourage more people joining the roughly 2,000 voters that nominated authors. She went on to give “official twitter hash tags”… (really? Is nothing real anymore without a freaking hashtag?) Explaining that the award is meant to “recognize excellence” in SF&F, and made a point of mentioning “valid nomination forms” (which made this reporter a little suspicious). It’s worth noting that not only were there less than a corporal ‘s guard here for the announcement, there were less people voting than attending this regional (certainly not a DragonCon, in spite of having George RR Martin as GOH), and most of the lesser known awards had between around 200 and 700 people total vote. Some of the most interesting conversation was after the announcements were over, more on this later.
The Campbell award announcement was met with polite applause, as was most of the best fan writers, however what must have been the local favorites, Spring, and Stiles, where greeted with significant enthusiasm. The best Fanzine announcement for Journey Planet was also a huge local favorite. Tangent SF&F on-line, was rather popular, but nothing on JP.
The next thing of note, and proof that the crowd wasn’t strictly anti puppy, when Jennifer Brozek was announced, there where huge cheers. I had heard of hisses and boos when Vox Day was mentioned, however let me be clear that I saw none of that. If the crowd was displeased with his being nominated, they didn’t show it, they didn’t clap, but they didn’t boo either. It is notable that even the best editor awards were chosen by under 900 people.
With best long form dramatic presentation, we finally break 1,000, 1,285 people voted for that and there where laughs and some woo-hoos when Lego made the list, as well as some laughs when R.R.R. got the nod for graphic story.
The only source reaction I saw was when Mad Mike (Michael Zealand Williamson) Got the nod for Wisdom from My Internet. There were claps but it wasn’t nice… Goodnight Stars was a very popular choice, the cheers stopped the announcer for a few seconds. Best novella though seemed to upset some folks at the end there was an almost stunned pause before a “polite golf clap” and move on. Finally Ancillary Swords, received a small cheer, the rest of the finalists got silence.
What was a little more interesting was listening to a presenter afterwards discussing strategies for winning, and the nominees at the photo op after asking the photographer if they should do a Sad Puppies pose. So there you have it, not much drama here, the few of us that cared enough to come to the announcement were FAR better behaved than I’m sure the blogosphere is right now. Signing off from Norwescon, this is William Lehman, goodnight and good luck.