Wading Into Dangerous Waters: The Hugos

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Wading Into Dangerous Waters

This year’s Hugos.

The Hugos are awards given to outstanding Science Fiction and Fantasy writing. For those who don’t know, if you pay to be a member of WorldCon for a year, you get to vote on what should win a Hugo award for that year.

DISCLAIMER: I have never voted. I was a member back in 2001, but that’s just because my home town of Philly (which I hadn’t been to in over a decade) was hosting ‘The Millennium Philcon’, because fandom cannot resist a bad pun. I also have read none of the writing up for votes this year.

Typically, unless you are part of these circles, this seems to happen magically.

Over the past few years, there has been a push for more inclusive titles. Books and novels and poems written by people who aren’t white, cis*, males. Because diversity is a good thing, reading things by people with different experiences and backgrounds makes for new stories.

The group known as “The Sad Puppies” objected that people were putting diversity over quality. That these works were getting votes because they were different, not because they were good. They put forth a voting slate (which is very uncommon for the Hugos) of what they felt to be good writing. Some of the writers on their slate are not affiliated with The Sad Puppies.

Other people, such as Jim Hines, argued that The Sad Puppies only like a narrow subset of the genre, and that just because the more diverse novels didn’t fill that niche doesn’t mean that they aren’t good writing. He also suggested the that ‘Puppies’ are ‘sad’ because they’re not getting Hugos and it’s a lot of sour grapes.

Having read a little of Jim Hines, but none of the other authors in question, I’m not prepared to speak to anyone’s quality of work. But, the Hugos will be awarded tomorrow.

It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out.

* cis – When your genitalia matches your gender identity

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I’d Make A Good Henchman

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Most people I know, when dealing with things that get in their way [that may or may not be bureaucracy], rant and rage at it. They look for ways around it and curse at its very existence.

Me? I rationalize it.

That car going slow? They might have a learners permit and a nervous mother giving too many directions at them.

This form I have to fill out? They just need proof that the request was legitimate.

The DMV? They’ve had too many people try to do shady deals and have to do it this way to make sure you’re legally the owner.

I can rationalize nearly anything. I’ve convinced my co-workers why we need to fill out this form or do that training- just based on things I’ve speculated. I’ve come to recognize the fact that this makes me an excellent 2nd in command.

I’d be the perfect henchman.

I’d make the evil overlord’s commands sound like the only rational option. I can think of reasons why anyone would do nearly anything. Sometimes, I don’t like the reasons- greed, pride, fear, hate – but I can usually recognize their motivation and often empathize with them.

This ability really shines when I’m creating a plot and filling my world with people.

How do you deal with roadblocks?

On Being Selfish

[Blog Note: Sorry for lack of updates. 4th of July is a pretty busy time of year for the Hazelwoods and there were some life things, but I’m back!]

On Being Selfish

Some people out there are selfish. They think of themselves first, second, and last. Everything they do, they ask, “how will this benefit me?” They will happily crush you to get ahead.

Or so I’ve been told.

I’m sure that those people are out there. I’ve been fortunate enough not to run into them.

What I run into are the self-oriented.

These people think about themselves and their partner or child first, second, and penultimately. They still try to make the best out of whatever comes there way.

BUT.

They listen. They care. They just aren’t habituated to think of others. If you mention someone who needs help, or tell them about people who are suffering they’re ultimately eager to help. They just won’t see it or offer help until asked. Sometimes, they’ve tried to help in the past and been burned by it. But for the truly self-oriented, it just doesn’t occur to them. Just like characters, everyone reacts a certain way for a reason.

For those people, I try to be patient and understanding. I just have to remember to verbalize my needs.

Father’s Day

Yesterday, I celebrated father’s day by visiting my dad. The same dad that, when I decided with less than 2 days notice, already had a room booked for Balticon and was thrilled to have me come so he could introduce me to his writer friends.

Yesterday, I got home and picked up the book on writing, bird by bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott that I’m halfway through re-reading. My late step-dad gave it to me years ago when I was little and living at home because I’d always wanted to be a writer. It’s still a highly recommended book on writing 20 years later. He inscribed it:

To: Morgan on Her Birthday

Following a dream takes work. Work and the dream will follow.

[Step-Dad]

I know how very fortunate I have been to have had such supportive and encouraging fathers. I’m thankful for all their support and encouragement.

Pictured with my parents at my wedding, step dad and mom to the left, dad to the right, me in the middle holding white and red roses.

With my parents, at my wedding, several years ago.

Not everyone has a father. Not everyone has a good relationship with their father. For those of you without, I hope your family now- birth family, made family, or found family loves and cherishes and pushes you to grow.

I hope all of you find people who will support your dreams and help you do the work to make them a reality.

Why We Read

Stories capture our imaginations in many ways. We all are drawn to stories for different things.

Some people are character driven. They love to find a character that they can join for the ride. Whether it’s someone they deeply identify with, someone they admire, or finding out how someone so different from them thinks. The character’s growth is the reason.

Some people are world driven.They love to find a new world to explore. Different ecosystems, taking evolution in a new direction, an exploration of a different time and place. Just reading the worlds and the cultures that are somewhere between completely alien to societies we have here on earth. The diversity of life is the reason.

Some people are puzzle driven. They want a mystery. They want clues and to be able to see if they can guess where the author is going before the protagonist can. The challenge is the reason.

Some people are action driven. They love to see the fight, the battle, the confrontation. Fulfilling some of their inner power fantasies, the fast motion, the clever tactics. The fight is the reason.

Some people are relationship driven. Friendships, family, lovers, enemies–whichever their preference, they read to see how the characters relate to each other. They want to see people come together or suffer as they’re torn apart. Human interaction is the reason.

Some people are plot driven. They just can’t wait to see where the author goes next. How the character handles the situation and where they go next. The journey is the reason.

The good stories combine these aspects and draw in readers looking for different things – uniting them and weaving the elements together.