Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Nightmare at the Hugo Awards: No Award “Wins” Five Times…including for Best Editor Categories

with 50 comments

Folks, right now, I’m not happy. As a writer and editor, I look forward to the Hugo Awards ceremony every year to see what other people active in science fiction and fantasy think of other writers and editors.

This year, apparently the other active writers and editors in my field think that no awards at all should be given out to editors. Because that’s what “won” at the Hugos this year — No Award — in both “best editor, short form” and “best editor, long form.” (These were two of the results of the 2015 Hugo Awards; go take a look at the rest if you are so inclined. I’ll wait.)

Look. I understand that the SF&F community has been rent asunder over the past few years. But one thing I thought everyone could all agree on was that books do not produce themselves.

To have a book that reads well, you need not only a good writer with an interesting plot and some excellent characterization, but a highly competent editor to pull the story into its best-possible form.

Why? Well, the best writers in the world can and often do make mistakes, and it’s up to your handy-dandy, trustworthy, hard-working editor to fix them.

The people who were nominated for Hugo Awards all have a great deal of experience as editors behind them. None of them were people who just came in off the street and started editing yesterday; most have edited for at least ten years, and some a great deal more…even the casual fan is aware of Toni Weisskopf of Baen Books and Sheila Gilbert of DAW Books, to name two fine editors who were passed over for “no award” in the long form category, because these two ladies have had long and successful careers as editors to date.

How “No Award” can be voted for by anyone in good conscience over either of them bothers me.

Quite frankly, even though I’ve not been a fan of Vox Day as an editor or a writer, I don’t see how “No Award” can come before him, either. His authors have all sworn blind that he is as hard-working as any of the other editors who were nominated, and he’s been in the SF&F field for quite some time.

Editing awards are about simply that: editing…and who’s good at it.

And speaking of Vox Day solely as an editor — solely for the work he has done — if he’s been nominated for an award, dammit, he deserves to come in ahead of “no award” just like all the other hard-working editors in these two categories.

As a hard-working, lesser-known editor, let me be the first to say, “Boo, hiss!” to the Hugo Award voters who decided to turn the editing awards into a mockery — all because some respondents apparently did not like the Sad Puppies and/or Rabid Puppies, and decided to throw their votes away rather than vote for any of the people who’d actually done the work to help put high-quality books and magazines up for sale.

Hugo Awards committee people, I don’t blame you for this nonsense. You did your best with a bad hand, and I appreciate the hard work and effort you put in.

I do blame the campaign in the media, that has done its best to devalue the hard work of people of various races, creeds, ethnicities, and sexuality/gender preferences. Because I am tired of the narrative framing already, that somehow voting for “No Award” has brought back the “integrity” of the Hugo Awards…as that is simply hogwash.

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 23, 2015 at 5:15 am

50 Responses

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  1. I believe the fans, thousands of them, were voting their displeasure at Vox Day and those who think treating people with respect is political correctness run amok and promoting bloc voting to fill up the ballot slots to exclude candidates they don’t support. If you analysis the voting over 40% of fans were voting No Award over anything touched by Vox Day. His supporters were No Awarding those they see as political/cultural enemies. It is unfortunate that some good editors were caught in the political war the Puppies started.


    August 23, 2015 at 5:45 am

    • Thank you, eleming. I appreciate your comment.

      You are quite possibly right.

      I’m not a fan of Vox Day at all. And I’ve never ID’d as any kind of puppy. If the Rabid Puppies voted “No Award” as a protest, I can see where the two “protest groups” (the anti-any Puppies and the RPs) cancelled out a lot of good editors, just as you said.

      What frustrates me, though, is this: Editors work hard. There aren’t many awards for them. Most of the time, only other editors really know what you’re doing.

      So when the Hugo Awards decides to go with “no award” for whatever reason, it looks really, really bad.

      Barb Caffrey

      August 23, 2015 at 6:08 am

      • There was a lot of Internet chatter of how to vote for editors as the Hugo packets sometimes did not include what they worked on last year. You have to be a really connected fan to get opinions about editors from those they edit and work with and then you have to question how honest is an evaluation from a writer about their editor.
        Contrary to some Toni Weisskopf is not universally liked and some disagree with her few public comments.
        His wife corrected John C. Wright’s report on what happened. It is difficult to say what went on but it was not PNH loudly cursing at her. His wife says he had not responded to emails from her he disagreed with and was angry with both John C. Wright and with her approach after he had refrained from responding to multiple emails from her. Not his best behavior but loud cursing and storming out during the ceremony is also not the best response from Puppies and supporters. Vox Day manages to bring out the worst from a lot of people.
        Editors who were left off the ballot because of the slate voting were more generally recognized for their contributions last year, people like John Joseph Adams and others, which angered some fans about the category nominees.


        August 30, 2015 at 5:26 am

      • Oh, yes. I agree 1000%, Elemming. Vox Day indeed brings out the worst in people. He seems to enjoy it, too — and whether it’s performance art, as I believe Larry Correia called it, or some aspect of VD’s personality that VD has learned how to capitalize on to keep him in the news all the time, VD certainly gets under people’s skin.

        Yes, I saw Ms. Lamplighter’s response. She said, more or less, that PNH had said something like “tell that ass you’re married to” something or other. Meaning the only objectionable word was either “ass” or “asshole.” (I don’t feel like typing asterisks or dollar signs today; I think kids around age 14 know all the words in existence anyway. I know I did.)

        Elemming, I’m aware of some long-term undercurrents regarding Toni W. I like her, personally. I see her as someone who’s done very well with a difficult hand; imagine being the ex-wife of a major publisher, and suddenly having to run the place after your ex-husband dies, or your daughter with him will receive little? (Plus, it was also Toni’s workplace. Adding a little bit of extra stress to an already stressful situation.) Then, she lost her husband — a very good man who loved her very much by all accounts.

        I think she’s done a phenomenal job, because of all that hit her within the span of a few, short years. As I’m a widow also, I commend her for that. And I also think she’s a very good and solid editor who understands the SF&F field extremely well.

        That said, Sheila Gilbert certainly is a well-regarded editor. She, too, was snubbed.

        Anyway, Elemming, I understand where some of the folks from the traditionally published community are coming from. John C. Wright was nominated for a number of awards in the past. Brad Torgersen was nominated for awards, too. As was Larry Correia. And I don’t think any of them won, did they? So all of that has to be factored, from their side — surely they see it as sour grapes.

        But from the Sad Puppy side (again, I don’t get the Rabid Puppies at all and have *zero* truck with VD), you have folks like Kary English, not a Puppy, who got nominated and was rebuffed. Sheila Gilbert, not a Puppy, nominated and rebuffed. Jim Butcher, not a Puppy, nominated and rebuffed.

        It doesn’t look good at all, when you see all that.

        And the people celebrating when the No Awards were read — what in the Hell was that about? Why celebrate something like that? And to get mad when people booed, because the boos showed a frustration with the entire process — what the Hell was *that* about, either?

        That’s why I wrote my follow-up post yesterday about all that. I want to see a healing happen, even though I don’t know how it will come about. I want to see SF&F come together, somehow. (Or at least try to.) Because right now, a large group of fans are alienated for whatever reason. And that is *not* good and it should *never* be celebrated.

        Barb Caffrey

        August 30, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    • Agreed. It’s sad good people got caught in the fray. Worse, it’s possible some of them may stick in people’s memories as “that Puppies nominee” and get snubbed if they come up again in future years if the Puppies’ influence has been minimized. For example, Toni Weisskopf has been nominated before the Puppies were even a factor; will she be “that Puppy bloc nominee” from now on because she didn’t ask to be stricken from the ballot due to Puppy influence? It would be a pity if so; I’m a big fan of Baen and think it and Toni have done a lot for SF, fandom, and books in general over the years. I’ve hoped she’d win before, and have voted for her every time.

      But this kind of nonsense just can’t be allowed to persist. It’s just fine to make general recommendations, but not to fill out a whole sample ballot and tell your followers to nominate that way. (Sadly, the Puppies seem to have a hard time telling the difference.)


      August 23, 2015 at 9:05 am

      • You are aware, of course, that the Sad Puppies mostly recommended — and very few voted exactly the same way — whereas the Rabid Puppies (Vox Day’s group) co-opted some of the Sad Puppies’ choices and then voted en masse as a bloc?

        But yes, other than that, I agree with you — if you put “Rabid Puppies” in there instead of just puppies. (I know many of the Sad Puppies, and I know they’re not folks who just blindly follow anyone. Whereas Vox Day’s group, I don’t know hardly any of them — but so far, they seem to be taking credit for this. So why not give it to them?)

        Barb Caffrey

        August 23, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    • If you are the kind of person, who votes based on who nominated someone, then you shouldn’t be voting at all.
      It really is a pretty stupid excuse, and a very childish one. ‘Oh, you were nominated by someone I hate, so therefore I hate you too!’


      And now that the votes have been published, we can see that Three Body Problem won SOLELY because Vox, and his ‘minions’ all voted for it, in a block. If they hadn’t it wouldn’t have won. So does that mean that Three Body Problem should get an asterisk? That they should give back the award? That the book is worse now, because heaven help us all, Vox Day LIKED IT.

      The award should be done away with. It’s just plain stupid now.

      John Van Stry

      August 24, 2015 at 1:42 am

      • I agree with you. I think every person should read as much SF&F as possible and then figure out what he or she thinks is good or bad. You should only use your own, best judgment — and if you can’t do that, you shouldn’t be voting.

        And you’re right about the whole thing with “The Three-Body Problem.”

        It seems to me, the longer I study this issue, that the folks I call “the in-crowd” — the long-term SF&F gatekeepers, for lack of a better term — actually voted the same way in many respects as Vox Day and the Rabid Puppies.

        So that must mean, ipso facto, that any award given at all came by those auspices. Meaning it all should get asterisked…right?

        Barb Caffrey

        August 24, 2015 at 1:54 am

      • But you think it’s OK to be the type of person who nominates and votes a slate because someone told you to? The data clearly shows that Puppies nominated who they were told to. The Puppies also made it clear that they broke no rules in gaming the nominations so they should not whine if fans choose to show their oppostion to slate voting by checking the No Award option which also breaks no rules. What is irionic is that Puppies claim their slate is needed because a secret cabal controls the nominations and keeps things they like from getting on the ballot – and yet the novel they liked best made would have been left off the ballot because of the Puppy slates and only made it on becasue 2 slated works withdrew

        John H

        August 29, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      • John, I don’t agree with you. But as I’ve said before, I’ll try to answer what I can — as I don’t have all the answers, and can’t.

        What I think you need to consider is this: First, there’s a big difference between the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies. The SPs are mostly idealistic in their opposition, while the RPs have a scorched earth philosophy (to put it mildly).

        The reason most people get them confused is because Brad Torgersen and the SPs called it a slate. Then Vox Day co-opted most of the SPs recommendations and put them out as the RPs slate — and the RPs, from what I can tell, did tend to vote in lockstep. Whereas the SPs didn’t do that quite so much.

        Anyway, everyone must vote his/her conscience, and I have no trouble with that.

        The problem I have with “No Award” in the editing categories — and remember, that’s solely what I am talking about here — is that it completely disregards the fine work done by editors.

        Finally, John, what I lament is the idea that because one group did something the other group found objectionable, the first group can turn around and do something the second group finds objectionable.

        And again, I’d not care that much except that voting “No Award” took out the editing categories.

        Some did vote “No Award” out of principle, and I’m aware of that. But I do wonder if they’d have cheered the “No Awards” if they’d realized that they were playing into the hands of Vox Day and his RPs.

        Barb Caffrey

        August 29, 2015 at 8:20 pm

  2. As I see it Vox is the only one who actually ‘wins’ this year. A lot of people decided to burn their house down rather than let it get infested with ‘Vox’ or the Sad Puppies. What I don’t think they realize is that if Vox decides to go through with what he threatened earlier when the TruFen were championing Noah Ward is that he actually has a large enough following to Noah Ward the next several years.

    Plus, what they just did, with the No Award and the subsequent cheering and the ‘Asterisk’ was show they are no better than spoiled little brats who didn’t get their way. They would rather stomp their feet and pout, and then take their toys home so no one can win rather than let someone else win. The four year old world view isn’t supposed to be what adults aspire to.


    August 23, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    • I’m trying to keep a cool head but the thought that keeps going though my head is “Now who are the Real Haters?” [A Very Annoyed Book Loving Dragon]

      Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      August 23, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    • I agree with you entirely. Vox Day wins and the rest of us lose. I fail to see how this is anything anyone should be cheering over; that the folks in Washington (at the World Con) allowed cheers for the No Awards and didn’t like the boos that they also engendered is just sad. And calling it the “year of the asterisk” and believing this would be the end of it?


      Very juvenile. (Just as you said.)

      And we’re supposed to be grown-ups, so this is ridiculous. What are the kids who read SF thinking as they watch this nonsense?

      Barb Caffrey

      August 23, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      • Very disappointed. Based on the report of one man who took his boys to WorldCon and witness the “awards” thing.

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        August 23, 2015 at 10:39 pm

      • Yeah. I am also disappointed.

        I try to be as professional as I can in all my dealings. Apparently these folks do not care about such things?

        Barb Caffrey

        August 23, 2015 at 10:49 pm

  3. One problem with a reward for editing, is that if an editor does their work well, the result is invisible, while if they do it poorly, it’s obvious.


    August 23, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    • Yup, they are the Offensive Linemen of the writing world.


      August 23, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    • Yep. That’s why the Hugo Award was once so important; it was a bunch of writers and editors who presumably know good work voting on who did the best work of the year.

      Now, though — any award that would rather give out _nothing_ (“No Award”) than to a real, live human being has devalued itself beyond repair.

      Barb Caffrey

      August 23, 2015 at 10:24 pm

  4. I just shake my head as an author and an editor. Although I liked the tweet where someone said, “That’s it, I’m changing my pen name to No Award”. LOL! 😀

    MRS N, the Author

    August 23, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    • Smile

      Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      August 23, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      • Hey, Paul…did you ever think it would be that easy to win a Hugo before? 😉 (I can’t help but continue in this vein for a while. Better to laugh than cry…right?)

        Barb Caffrey

        August 23, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    • Yep. If we did that, we could all say we’d won a Hugo this year. 😉

      Thanks for the good laugh, Mrs. N. 😀

      Barb Caffrey

      August 23, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      • LOL! My pleasure. 🙂

        MRS N, the Author

        August 24, 2015 at 7:52 am

  5. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    This is pure common sense. Of course if common sense had been in the puppy kicker minds none of the last several months would have happened.


    August 24, 2015 at 12:46 am

  6. Personally, I did vote Sheila and Toni above “No Award”, however, I do have to disagree with one of your statements:

    “And speaking of Vox Day solely as an editor — solely for the work he has done — if he’s been nominated for an award, dammit, he deserves to come in ahead of “no award” just like all the other hard-working editors in these two categories.”

    No one deserves an award (or voted above No Award) just because they are hard working.

    You can be hard working and still not produce award-worthy material. I voted quite a few below No Award because, in my mind, they were not award-worthy work (including in the editor categories). I disagreed with editor categories going to No Award, but in other categories, it doesn’t matter to me how hard any of them worked, I felt all of their results were simply not Hugo award caliber in my mind.

    And as for “No Award” being used as a slate rebuke with unfortunately collateral damage like Sheila and Toni, I can certainly understand those who felt that sort of rebuke was necessary. Looking at what would have been nominated (including most likely Eugie Foster’s final story before she passed away), there were far more people than just Sheila and Toni who were hard working and did great work who were not even nominated so that we could vote on something like “Wisdom from the Internet.”

    At least Sheila and Toni were nominated (which, as I hear, is an honor itself). A larger number were denied that specifically because of Puppy slates. I am sorry the editor Hugos went to No Award, but if being nominated but losing to No Award is a harm, then I would argue that not even being nominated at all because of Puppy Slates is a greater harm. I can’t blame those who want to make it clear that the slates were a deep violation of the spirit of the awards, even if it unfortunately means people like Sheila and Toni don’t get to win.


    August 24, 2015 at 9:53 am

    • Just realized that was a long-winded way to say:

      1) No one deserves an award just because they work hard.

      2) Shelia and Toni are far from the only ones who lost out this year.


      August 24, 2015 at 10:19 am

      • I understood you the first time, Ken, but it’s OK to clarify just in case someone else didn’t get it.

        And yes, on those two points, I certainly agree with you.

        Barb Caffrey

        August 25, 2015 at 12:25 am

    • Ken, thank you for your well-reasoned response.

      I agree with you that “hard-working” and “Hugo-worthy” are not synonymous. I just have a problem with editors not getting an award at all at the Hugos, considering how few editorial awards there are in the first place.

      As I’ve said in other places, the only person who appears to be “winning” here (definitely in the Charlie Sheen sense, BTW) is Vox Day. He wins, and the rest of us all lose.

      I fail to see how that is a good outcome, which is why I wrote this blog in the first place.

      Remember, there’s a world of difference between the Sad Puppies (SPs) and the Rabid Puppies (RPs) who followed Vox Day’s lead. The SPs mostly wanted inclusion. The RPs wanted to burn the Hugo Award down to the ground, and from what I can tell still do.

      So when you read online things by SP writers like Sarah Hoyt and Amanda Green (two women I highly respect for their mentorship of small press and self-published authors), please keep this in mind. They are frustrated at the lack of inclusion more so than anything else. They are female writers who believe story should conquer all — and it’s hard to disagree with that. (Even folks like Mary Robinette Kowal don’t disagree with that, BTW, though they do clarify their meaning somewhat.)

      Thank you for what you said.

      And for the record, I can sympathize with people who were frustrated in that “best related work” category because there are four things _I_ would not have voted for in that category. I also was frustrated in the best novel category, where I would’ve surely placed Emily St. John Mandel’s “Station Eleven” and Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s worthy YA novel SPIRAL PATH (one of the best novels I’ve read in several years, that, and written in a matter-of-fact, unassuming way that I found remarkably appealing). No one took up for SPIRAL PATH but me, because it was put out by the Book View Café author consortium rather than a major publisher…yet it is an excellent book, one that I believe will stand the test of time. (Many, including George R.R. Martin, have pointed out the injustice of Emily St. John Mandel’s novel not making it to the Hugo slate.)

      Barb Caffrey

      August 25, 2015 at 12:24 am

      • With all of the buzz I have heard about Station Eleven, I’m surprised it didn’t make the… uh… “medium list” of top 17 or so nominees. But it’s definitely on my reading/listening list now! Thanks for another recommendation for it. Hadn’t heard of Spiral Path before, but will look into it now.

        Hopefully we can have a good outcome from all of this by having everyone talking about what they love and why at nomination time, rather than afterwards. It seems there’s a lot more talk of “Why wasn’t this nominated?!” after the fact than beforehand. No slates and counter-slates, no organized campaigns, no sticking it to the SJWs/SPs/RPs/CHORFs/alphabet soup – just each of us individually saying “I love this story/artist/editor/etc. because…”

        So, here’s hoping for some really interesting discussion of what stories everyone loves and why – especially in January and February when we are nominating. I know I will be paying more attention next year. Thank you again for the recommendations!


        August 25, 2015 at 8:40 am

      • You’re most welcome, Ken.

        Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s SPIRAL PATH is the third book in her “Night Calls” series featuring Alfreda “Allie” Sorensson. It’s frontier fantasy, but Ms. Kimbriel wrote both NIGHT CALLS and KINDRED RITES long before Patricia C. Wrede came up with THIRTEENTH CHILD and the whole idea of frontier fantasy became an actual genre.

        Anyway, I’m glad that Book View Café is around now, because for whatever reason, no big publisher was interested in the third book of this excellent series. (Possibly because the first two were written so long ago, granted.) And it truly is a wonderful series…I really hope Ms. Kimbriel will write a fourth book in that series, and soon, because Allie’s adventures really call to me as a person. (They are uplifting. I don’t know how to explain this very well; I did review SPIRAL PATH at SBR a while back…let me go grab you a link:

        Hope that helps!

        Barb Caffrey

        August 25, 2015 at 8:45 am

  7. Hmmm… since I don’t write science fiction, or should say haven’t finished one, maybe the pen name Noah Ward is a viable option! And I appreciate the hell out of my editors and A & B readers! 40 years of writing tech documents means I need ALL the help I can get. This was absolutely pathetic, and an indictment of Tor and their cabal of supporters. They burned their own house down, and PN Hayden’s behaviour toward L Jagi Lamplighter was abominable. Someone should have decked him for that on the spot!

    Old NFO

    August 24, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    • I really don’t understand why Patrick Nielsen Hayden treated Ms. Lamplighter like that. She has no control over what her husband does, just as PNH has no control over what his wife does as they are independent people — together and stronger as marital partners, sure, but still independent people in their own right.

      I mean, if my husband Michael were alive, he’d laugh at anyone who thought he could control me. (Or that I could supposedly control him.) Because that’s NOT what marriage is about.

      Anyway, my thought regarding PNH’s reported behavior is this — I think he and his wife have been very put-upon for a while now. They have taken a lot of flack for the entire “us vs. them” movement (otherwise called by various names and you probably know most of ’em). Some of that flack is undoubtedly undeserved, while other bits possibly are deserved.

      When you’re under a great deal of stress for a long time, you can do and say remarkably ill-advised things. It takes you a while to realize that what you did under stress might not have been what you would’ve done otherwise. And it takes an even bigger person than that to apologize for his/her actions while under stress; most people prefer to forget what they’ve done and said under stress because it is so out of character for them, for example.

      All I know is that it’s impossible to blame Ms. Lamplighter for her husband John C. Wright’s words, deeds or actions. They may be a married couple where they disagree on many things, but love each other deeply despite their differences (or maybe even because of them), for all I know.

      But what I do know, as a widow, is that I would not and do not disrespect the spouses of authors I don’t personally get along with (not that there are too many of those, but I’m sure there are a few). Because there’s no need for me to do that.

      As a person, I try to understand others. So maybe that’s why I’m taking this tack rather than excoriating PNH as so many others are.

      Personally, I wish he would go take a vacation (if he and his wife can afford one), and forget the Internet for a while. I think he’d be a whole lot happier. And he might come back from that vacation with a realization of what I’ve said all along: We in SF&F have more IN COMMON with each other than we do with anyone else.

      It’s a shame that this field continues to rip itself asunder. Truly.

      Barb Caffrey

      August 25, 2015 at 12:32 am

      • If you watched the Hugo’s online you would think some people won due to the excessive cheering for the No Award wins. I was at the Business meeting Sunday where a lady stated that she helped organize the No Award voters.

        Thomas Monaghan

        August 25, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      • Wow. Just…wow.

        Organizing No Award voters? Really?

        (I trust you, Tom. But…really? Why would anyone think that’s a good idea? Especially when they’re anti-slate and all?)

        Barb Caffrey

        August 25, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      • PNH not deserved? He pushed to get the Long Form Editor Hugo created and had won 3 of the last 8 of them. Tor Editors had a total of 5 of them and 18 nominations in those 8 years. They didn’t get nominated this year due to the Puppies and I’ve been told without Puppy votes PNH would have won a sixth Hugo. The making light forum for which he and his wife are responsible have been as nasty as possible to all of the Puppies.

        Thomas Monaghan

        August 25, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      • I think he’s a good editor, Tom. A very good one.

        But yes, he and his wife haven’t seemed to see any difference between the Sad Puppies (who are mostly idealistic) and the Rabid Puppies (who mostly seem anarchistic). And they certainly do not seem to have been very nice, no.

        I still think if everyone who is still enraged (whether they’re pro-puppy, anti-puppy, or completely puppy neutral) could step back and take a few deep breaths, we’d all be better off.

        Barb Caffrey

        August 25, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      • According to JGL:
        “First, I think John has made it sound a bit worse than it was…but this is not his fault. I did not repeat to him all of what PNH said because I did not him to get upset during the reception. (I was afraid he would be very angry if he knew someone had sworn at his wife.)

        Mr, Nielsen Hayden did shout, swear, and stomp off…but he was shouting and swearing at/about John, not at me personally and, actually, as far as swearing, he just used the phrase “tell him to shovel it up his…” You can figure out the rest.”

        Comments from “…the 770 blog, that wretched hive of scum and villainy…” — John C. Wright

        “Based on reports she’d written several e-mails which he’d ignored. Chasing after him at a con and forcing him to engage with her in a public place reads a lot like harassment to me.”

        “It seems pretty aggressive to me that she approached PNH demanding his attention. Not innocent at all. If she really wanted to make nice, she could have written a letter.”

        “I am trying to imagine what Mrs. Wright could have said to PNH to elicit [the oft-cited response]”

        Some suggestions by various people:

        “Hello, my name is L Jagi Lamplighter. You ignored my emails. Prepare to be Olive Branched.”

        “He didn’t mean to call you and all of your colleagues Morlocks and Christ-hating crusaders of Sodom.”

        “From past dealings with Christianist types, my money would be on some variation of “we want you to know that we forgive you”. “


        August 25, 2015 at 11:49 pm

      • I think what PNH reportedly did to Ms. Lamplighter was flat-out wrong, itavan. Make no mistake about it.

        I hope he will apologize to her.

        The problem he has is with her husband, it seems to me. Not her. It is not gentlemanly, nor is it particularly well-behaved, to do what he did at the World Con.

        I don’t think she harassed him at all, for the record, from what has been reported.

        All I know is, the rancor many people in SF&F has is real, and I wish I had a way to heal it. I don’t.

        I do know that Ms. Lamplighter didn’t deserve to be treated that way. And I wish that PNH had thought of it another way — how would he feel if it was his wife someone was yelling at, and telling her “go tell your husband to shove it up his” you-know-what?

        Remember what I said before, where I think PNH needs to take some time away from the Internet and relax? I definitely still think that; I also think that if he weren’t so upset, and if he hadn’t stayed upset for months and/or years, he wouldn’t have yelled at Ms. Lamplighter. (Yelling at John C. Wright, if he must, at least would make a certain amount of logical sense from his perspective, no doubt. But yelling at Ms. Lamplighter for the sins of her husband — unnecessary and very juvenile, IMO.)

        Barb Caffrey

        August 26, 2015 at 7:03 am

    • We have only heard the Wrights’ side of the interchange. It may be true or blown out of proportion. Really, what they consider “swearing” is ridiculous. I’d like to hear the PNH side before I judge. No doubt he was unfriendly, but was he really abusive??


      August 25, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      • Yeah, I can’t really judge this, either, Itavan. All I can say is that I hope this didn’t happen the way it’s been described by John C. Wright.

        Barb Caffrey

        August 25, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      • My guess, itavan, from what little I know and what has been reported in various places, is that he was angry, but not really with her. If you can forgive my armchair psychology, I think he was angry at John C. Wright. And rather than remember that Ms. Lamplighter is in the same place _he_ would be, if someone was mad at _his_ wife but took it out on him instead, he yelled at her for whatever reason.

        Is what he did abusive? Probably not. (It would not likely be legally actionable, if you’re wondering.) But it wasn’t particularly good behavior, either. And I feel bad for Ms. Lamplighter; she’s as much caught in the middle as anyone. She writes for Tor, and I’m sure she respects the editors and art directors and everyone else there highly…maybe she was trying to say that, it came out awkwardly, and PNH let the stress get to him in some way? (That’s the best possible face I can put on it.)

        As it’s now in the rear-view mirror, though, all we can do from the peanut gallery is tell ourselves that if we’re ever in a similar situation as PNH, we have to remember to keep our cool better than that.

        Use it as a teachable moment, in short. (Would I prefer we could use our mythical time-travel ability to go back and try to stop it, though? Sure. But again…mythical. ;-))

        Barb Caffrey

        August 26, 2015 at 7:07 am

  8. […] (3) Barb Caffrey – “Nightmare at the Hugo Awards: No Award ‘Wins’ Five Times…including for Best Editor Categori… […]

    • Worldcon moment. Guinan’s Lounge with Larry Niven and 7 other fans. Cabaret singer starts singing. Her last song. An anti Sad and Rapid Puppy song which she sang as loud as she could plus she encouraged the audience to join in. One of the interesting happenings at Worldcon.

      Thomas Monaghan

      August 25, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      • I definitely do not understand that, Tom. Don’t see the point of it, except to rub it in — and really, why do it? (Aren’t we supposed to be adults?)

        Barb Caffrey

        August 25, 2015 at 2:11 pm

  9. I think for readers to vote for best editor is a bit ridiculous and I generally don’t vote that caregory. Unless you have the original manuscript and markup, how would you know how good a job the editor does? Some books I think are ‘waaaay too long and wordy so IMO the editor may have done a bad job, but I’ve also heard that “big” authors can override their editor, so I realize it may not be the editor’s fault.

    Mamatas or Stross deconstructed a poorly written passage from Jim Butcher’s book a while back, and it appeared the editor could have done a better job. I commented that meant the editor had done a lousy job and someone immediately replied that his editor was fabulous. Yeah, right.


    August 25, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    • You’re absolutely right that most of us haven’t any idea who edits any given manuscript well. Most of us judge a good editor by the books that are put out under his/her name (with editorial credits) — but even that isn’t the whole story, as you’ve said.

      Yes, big name authors can and often do overrule their editors. So all any given editor can do is say, “Hey, I’d like this better another way,” and hope the writer in question agrees.

      But if the writer in question doesn’t agree — or worse, doesn’t understand where the editor is coming from — you end up with a bloated mess. (Which, for the record, I don’t think any of Jim Butcher’s novels have been. Though I do think the fifth book of the Harry Potter series might qualify; that book could’ve been cut down by 90 to 100 pages and it would’ve read much better, IMO. But J.K. Rowling apparently did not agree.)

      Barb Caffrey

      August 25, 2015 at 2:16 pm

  10. […] often the distressing things that seem to draw people to my blog for whatever reason. And the Hugo Awards controversy has drawn people like nothing else in recent memory. Only my posts on the Wisconsin recall elections […]

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