The Hugo Awards, which won creative prizes at the 77th World Sciences Fiction Convention last night in Dublin (Ireland), was one of the largest occurrences in genre writing. The Hugos are celebrations for some of the best of years–so get out your notepad and ready to write down some of the catch up recommendations–highlighting science-fi and fantasy in movies, TV, comics, criticism, fan work, and more.
In her first novel in the Lady Astronauts series, Mary Robinette Kowal took home the prestigious Best Novel A prize for The Calculating Stars, on an alternative earth where an unexpected meteoric crash creates a new type of human space race. https://jerban.com/ Also noted was the Archive of Our Own fan works that won the best “related work” in a historic win for transformative works— which led to a twisting period in which nominees asked any audience person who had ever contributed to the archive to stand up and take part in them and to bring up a good part of the audience. Go yell to all your friends and partners because that’s pretty wonderful.
Spider-Man has been awarded the 3rd volume of Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s magnificent fantasy series Monstress, winning Best Graphic Story, Charlie Jane Anders, and Annalee Newits ‘ Our Opinions are Correct, taking best prize from the Fancast last weekend; and Je, in the categories “The best dramatic presentation” and “The good place,” respectively in the category “Long form and short.”
I have won the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer (2000) and the John W Campbell Memorial Award (2009). I am a previous recipient. I think I’m the only one who won the Campbell’s two, which, I believe, provides me the distinctive permission to comment on the Ng’s comments, received from the field in a blended way.
I believe she’s correct— and apparently— to comment. There are plenty of indications of the odious and deplorable views of Campbell. Heinlein apologists, for instance, like to say (likely properly) that Campbell (Heinlein based the novel on one of Campbell’s tales) efficiently commissioned his horrible, racist, authoritarian, eugénic-inflected yellow peril novel Sixth Column. For JWC who liked to micro-manage his writers, this seems to have been parallel to this course: Campbell leaned hard on Tom Godwin to kill the girl in’ Cold Equations’ and turn his story into an parable about the follies of women and the role that men take to the cool, hard facts of life in order to accept them.
Thus when Ng held that Campbell was “liable for a tone of scientific fiction, which is still haunting genre today. Sterile. Male. White. Exalting imperialist, colonizer and industrialist aspirations,” she was factually right.
Not only in fact right: right to say this now too. Science fiction (like many other organizations) takes its past and its present into account. We want to find out what we can do to deal with the lengthy reach that flawed (mostly men) horrible thoughts had on our areas. We try to reconcile the legacies of faulty individuals who share in their cruel, harmful treatment of females the excellent actions and the fine art of. They followed an example set from on high and fandom, at the very detriment of many people who came to fandom for safety and sanctuary and community. These men were not an aberration.
It’s no coincidence that white nationalism as a cultural phenomenon was a first organized manifestation and that while Fandom joined forces to strongly dismiss its white nationalist wing, they were not (all) entertainers who showed up to raise problems in someone else’s society. They were a white nationalist wing. This call (to hijack the Hugo prize) came inside the house: these boys were there forever and we would let them take it away, even as they chased females, queer individuals and racialized individuals from their fields, in the name of “tolerance.”
They joined Gamergate, then took up /r / the Donald, and were part of the avant-garde of the movement, which put a white supremacist boorish in the White House.
We have a real, direct outcome for the future that we come to between the story we tell about us, and our past and future. White supremacistic folklore, including the ecofascism that claims that we can prevent climate change only if all the brown peoples are murdered, comes directly from sf folklore, where a subclass mob quickly goes down to consume and/or rape them, regardless of the real manner in which disasters go down.
When Ng took the microphone and said the truth about his legacy, her importance was not reduced: she recognized it. Campbell’s odious thoughts matter because a giant in the field, who made a lasting impact, was important. There is no one disagreeing. What we want to discuss today is and implies what that mark is.
Scalzi points out that in our society, there are still individuals who knew Campbell personally and who have taken many more steps to idolize and honor the Campbell authors under his wing. And there are individuals, and I lift my hand again, who are on the ground because it was formed by Campbell as a location where they could prosper. Many, though not most of these people understand about his shortcomings, but it’s difficult to see someone personally or professionally who has no loyalty to him point them to both in force and unpleasantly. In abstract terms, they consider Campbell and his legacy as an barrier to be overcome. It’s profoundly uneasy.
He is not wrong, and the people who considered Campbell to be a friend are rightly sorry about the complete significance of his legacy. For them, I feel. The man who was there for you and handled his dog with kindness and dotted his children with the man who alienated and wounded the individuals with his cruel dogma is difficult to reconcile.
That’s the thing here: neither of Campbell’s facets cancel the other. It is also true that none of those damages cancel his kindness for people to whom he was kind. Likewise, it is not true that any good acts done by some people can repair the damage he has suffered by others.
Life isn’t just a booklet. Through good deeds, your sins can not be paid off. The excellent deeds of your sins are not cancelled. You live side by side with your sins and the good actions. In superposition, they co-exist.
For our misdoings you (and I) can (and should) atone. The individuals we have wronged we can (and ought to) excuse them. We need to do these stuff not because they erase our misdeeds, but simply because not learning to be better is the only thing worse than really being incorrect.
People are faulty ships. The conditions around us–our social standards and institutions–can be designed to take our worst or best to the fore. We can invite Isaac Asimov to speak against us, in which he literally teaches people how to tame the females, or we can establish and implement a code of conduct that would bounce anyone, up to and including the Con Chair and the Guest of Honor who has attempted a stunt like that.
Together we create conditions that favor sociopathy or generosity through our standards and institutions. The bad behavior of the people who have been victims of the same behavior is not only cruel; it is also a disruption of the flawed ships who struggle with their own contradictions and baselines. Create an atmosphere where doing stuff that will lead to your expulsion from your society–in 10 or 20 years ‘ time–will be nobody’s kindness.
Today there are some crazy guys whose road to crapy dudehood began when Isaac Asimov watched tutorials on how to tackle females without their permission and thought the chuckle approval of all his colleagues was sure to mislead any doubts. Those guys don’t get a pass, because they’ve learned from their society and leaders ‘ poor example, but if they had better examples they may have been distracted from the road to shitful dudehood. They may have not scarred and harmed numerous females on the manner to their full blown shitlords from the larval stages of shitfulness and may have spared themselves the destiny of disliking and being excluded from a society they joined in pursuit of fellowship and mutual support. The friends of these poor boys may not have to fight to make these crazy boys harmful.
The speech of Jeannette Ng was precisely the language that our field wants to listen to. It is particularly important that she has dedicated much of it to solidarity with the demonstrators of Hong Kong, given the increased significance of the Chinese public and of the fandom in SF, exposing authors to possible career reprisals from a major translation industry. There are a number (excellent, devoted) Chinese fans who make noises about a Chinese Worldcon for years, and speeches such as Ng’s have to raise your questions: if that ever happens, can they get a visa to participate?
Back when the misogynist / white supremacist wing of the SF began to organize publicly to purge the sphere of the wrong fan and writer, they spoke about people such as Ng. I believe that this is ample proof that she is right.