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Who Really Runs the Hugo Awards?

In a surprising development, the dispute among “Trufans” “SMOFS” “Sad Puppies” and “Rabid Puppies” has produced a result: We now know exactly who runs the Hugo Awards. It turns out to be Mrs. Gladys Knipperdowling, of Grand Rapids, Iowa.

Mrs. Knipperdowling, 81, came forward yesterday to reveal that she has personally chosen all Hugo winners and nominees since 1971 when her aunt Betty “got too old and cranky,” as she put it in an exclusive interview. “I wouldn’t have said anything about it,” she added, “but then I heard there was all of this trouble.”

Asked about the people usually accused of picking the Hugo winners, Mrs. Knipperdowling became confused. She claimed never to have heard of the Nielsen Haydens at all, and when John Scalzi was mentioned, she asked, “Is he the nice young man in the bow tie?”

Asked about social justice issues and diversity, and whether those had any influence on her choices, Mrs. Knipperdowling did not appear to understand. After some explanation of various issues, we tried to explain “Gay” “Bi” and “Trans,” at which point she told our interviewer, “Oh, we don’t talk about that.  Or race.  Or religion.  People just are who they are, God bless them.”

We wanted to know, when she completes the list, what does she do with it?  “I just mail it, you know.  To the Post Office box.  The one in Schenectady.”

Asked how she ended up in the position, she replied, “I guess I sort of inherited it.  One day Aunt Betty just said, ‘Oh, I’m tired of this.  You do it.’  She used to spend hours reading that stuff so she could pick what was best, and then she’d just send the list along, you know.  But I do it different. I don’t like to read. Except Cosmopolitan and The Economist.”

What is her method for deciding who gets on the ballot and who wins?

“Well, I try to find nice people,” she said.

Gladys Knipperdowling says she sometimes asks her neighbors who should win a Hugo, especially, “that dear Mr. Choudhury next door.”

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A Suggestion for the Resolving the Hugo Controversy

Guest Post by Paarfi of Roundwood

While I myself am not excessively familiar with the many nuances and details of the “Hugo Award Controversy,”  I am reliably informed that it has caused no small degree of acrimony within the community of those who concern themselves with letters—I say those, but it is only fair to observe that I, myself, am part of this community in my role of historian, while continuing to be, for obvious reasons, one whose experience is external to the community and, therefore, to the acrimony.  Indeed, it is exactly this—my simultaneous involvement, and, if the reader will forgive my use of the word, externality–that could, and perhaps does, provide me with a unique and potentially valuable perspective.

I would like, with this in mind, to make certain observations. To begin, I believe—indeed, if I may be permitted to say so without giving undue offense (a circumstance which the present situation renders extremely undesirable, however tempting it may be to do so deliberately, or how simple it may prove to be to do so accidentally), it is so obvious as to require no evidence beyond what has been frequently placed before the public eye—that some of the suggestions for resolving the matter go, in severity, far beyond what is called for by the crimes committed. In particular, I speak of those who wish their opponents summarily brought to the Executioner’s Star, in some cases advocating this without even the formality of a trial. Must I remind my reader that we are literary individuals, concerned with culture, education, and, in general, the higher, even spiritual, concerns of humanity? To so much as suggest one’s opponent in this matter be deprived of life goes well beyond what ought to be reasoned, scholarly debate—a debate we ought to encourage, but which excessive punishment will only stifle. Hence, I believe we ought to drop even the discussion of repercussions to our enemies that go beyond a severe flogging, or perhaps minor mutilation for the most extreme cases. If I may be permitted to share the lessons of my own land, when scholarly debates threaten to break out into hostility, it is nearly always sufficient to “round up”, as the saying goes, the most egregious of our enemies and forcibly enlist them in the army, and send them to the White Rocks region near the borders of Suntra, where their aggression can be put to good use, and where their fate will serve as a most stern reminder to others of the importance of civility in all disagreements concerning the Arts.

And yet, there is one other matter which, were I to fail to discuss it, would leave me culpable in the same way Biernet is culpable in the well-known children’s tale of that name for not mentioning the frayed rope holding the bucket of chalk:  It would seem that Lord Hugo has acquired a great deal of influence within the community—influence that, no doubt, is merited. And yet, with all that has happened of late, I cannot help but wonder why Lord Hugo has failed to make his own wishes, feelings, and desires known. Speaking for myself, should I ever acquire similar influence, and should this produce such hostility and acrimony among various partisans, I would, without question, see it as nothing less than my duty to make my position on the matter clear, even if doing so would to a certain degree compromise the dignity that those who remain apart from these conflicts naturally assume.

Therefore, to resolve the matter, I beg to submit that all discussion of such issues as voting, granting of honors, and giving of such artifacts as may honor one or more persons or institutions be temporarily suspended until Lord Hugo himself should deign to make his position on this matter clear.

I hope this humble suggestion makes a small contribution to restoring peace and harmony within the community of letters.

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Gaming the System

This blog post is about the current Hugo Award Nominees LeCompton Constitution in Kansas in 1856.

I’ve heard it said that the slave power “gamed the system” and that this is wrong. I say that’s nonsense. Sure, they stuffed the ballot boxes–but how is that any different from what the free state supporters did? How is stuffing ballot boxes any different from trying to convince people to vote your way? Look how many new voters the slave power brought into the political process. I say the free state supporters are just elitists and poor losers.

(Note for the humor impaired: I don’t really say that.)