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Challenge Delivered
Apr 21, 201512:18AM

Category: Writing

Dear Fellow writers, particularly in SF:

My first novel featured a female lead, bunches of mixed race characters, and a positive portrayal of a sex worker who was a bisexual Asian/Hispanic.

I then wrote a trilogy where one of the two leads was black.

I stuck a female into a special ops team in a functional role.

More mixed race, discussions of reproductive choice, and of the excesses of Fascism.

The richest, most powerful person in my main universe is a mixed Asian/African/European woman.

I've written atheists, Muslims, fundamentalist Christians, people with medical and physiological handicaps, Pagans, and others I don't keep track of, because I think of people as individuals, not stereotypes.

More importantly, my readers, of every one of those demographics, have written me fanmail about the accuracy and positiveness of those character portrayals.

So, unless and until you've done the same, take your statements about "ultraconservative," "right wing," "Read less white males" and "privilege," and shove them up your ass.

Then write the story where that was a pleasurable and positive learning experience for you.

I Remain
Apr 16, 201501:48AM

Category: Writing

Today, two writers pulled their names off the Hugo ballots.

Cited was the indirect association with Vox Day, who may be the most hated man in SF. Also cited was the harassment they were obviously getting.  They each expressed their thoughts differently on these.

On the second:  Congratulations, "tolerant" "liberals," especially those of you with multiple chrome phallus statues. You've successfully protected your precious award from a gay woman and an immigrant.  You just keep on talking about tolerance.  We hear you.

As to the first:  I very much sympathize with the writers' positions. It's not easy taking flak for someone else who deserves it, even if it's misplaced.

However, this behavior is dangerous.  

It gives Vox more control over the Hugos.  All he has to do to prevent someone winning is have his psychophants (sic) nominate them, and they have to withdraw in shame.  And he can even endorse someone AFTER they're balloted, and there will be a pall over their win.

Also, if his endorsement was genuine (He IS a sci fi fan, after all), then you've narrowed the number of potential candidates his fans will vote for, thus increasing the odds another of his nominees will win.

Yes, he's a troll and an asshole.  He trolled SFWA into removing him, even though per their own bylaws the officers have no authority to do so.  He might be planning a lawsuit as we speak.  NEVER think you can win against a man like this.  He is narcissistic, vicious, and an expert at manipulation.

The only way to win is not to play.  If his endorsement was serious, then it's still real. You can't control the personalities of people who read your work.  If he was trolling, you're playing into his hands.

Participants:  Ignore the man. Vote as your conscience dictates, on the quality of the work, only. To do otherwise gives him what he wants.

Well, That Was a Fair Trial...
Apr 14, 201510:39PM

Category: Writing

http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2015/04/ill-casting-final-hugo-vote/

 

And here was our exchange: 

 

Mike Williamson  Apr 2 (12 days ago)

to Info
I intended no "Disrespect for the institution" by my accidental early announcement, which I deleted once I was aware of the matter.

I did not receive the full email, and was not aware of the tradition of waiting for public announcement, which I support.

I apologized to the committee, who assured me it wasn't a problem.

Had you, or any other offended party, informed at once, I'd have removed it at once. As it was, I heard from a friend about 24 hours later.

Your actions are a textbook example of the problem. Rather than communicate, you'd rather rage in public. You did nothing to address the matter, but only used it for clickbait.

The SP slate included quite a few liberal authors, had you bothered to actually look at the proposed authors, rather than scream and leap.

I, for one, am nowhere near "conservative," and disdain the association.

It is unfortunate that rational discourse has become impossible with certain elements of fandom.

As to TNH's ridiculous and egotistical assertion that only certain fans are really fen:

http://www.michaelzwilliamson.com/blog/item/who-s-a-real-fan

I would hope for more mature behavior from people with such credentials.

Thanks

Mike



Steve Davidson - Amazing Stories
Apr 2 (12 days ago)

to me
Mike,

I mentioned the circumstance, I did not name any names.

I have looked at the slate. My argument clearly states that it has nothing to do with the individuals involved or the works in question. It addresses the methodology.

I do not believe that the Hugo Awards are a proper venue for political action.

I'm sorry you got caught in the cross fire. I do however believe that you should have checked before announcing.

I made a distinction between fans and "politicized fans", nowhere did I suggest that the people involved are not fans.

Nowhere did I mention Teresa Nielsen Hayden.


steve



Mike Williamson <mzmadmike@gmail.com>
Apr 2 (12 days ago)

to Steve
If you see "politicized fans," it says more about you than about others.

And what "Checking" was I supposed to do? My point stands--bunches of people, including you and TNH, apparently started twitstorm about how I was ruining things. None of you took the time to send a polite reminder, which I would have heeded. It was 24 hours later when a friend more familiar, having been nominated before, made mention to me.

[EDIT:  NOTE: I BELIEVE THE OTHER EARLY ANNOUNCER WAS A NON-SP WRITER WITH TOR. SOMEHOW, THAT WRITER GETS BOTH A PASS, AND THEIR WRONG ASSIGNED TO SP.  THIS IS WHAT PASSES AS JOURNALISM IN THIS DEBATE.]

You speak in similar tones, I assume you are similar in outlook.

I don't believe anyone is trying to ruin, usurp, or otherwise damage the Hugos.

Again, that, to me, says more about you than others.

I would actually have preferred one of my other works of the year, which I feel was a story with serious merit. But then, it is a popularity award, and always has been. The Nebulae are the professional award. This is a fan award.


Steve Davidson - Amazing Stories
Apr 3 (11 days ago)

to me
Mike,

and its obvious to me that you read things through heavily tinted glasses.

Who should you have asked? How about the awards committee?

I think its pointless for us to trade emails.

steve



Mike Williamson
Apr 3 (11 days ago)

to Steve
To ask them, I'd have had to know to ask them. I assumed such info would be in the email--and it was, just buried.

But, you likewise could have asked me, as a courtesy, rather than assuming my intent was to "denigrate" the awards.

There's your tinted glasses.

It is indeed pointless. You have labeled me a villain without knowing me, and are uninterested in polite discussion.

In any case, the awards committee, whose opinion matters, assures me it's not a problem.

The George Is The Dragon
Apr 11, 201504:24PM

Category: Writing

George R.R. Martin (grrm) replied to a comment you left in a LiveJournal

post (http://grrm.livejournal.com/417812.html). The comment they replied to
was:

> GRRM said, “If the Sad Puppies wanted to start their own award… for Best
> Conservative SF, or Best Space Opera, or Best Military SF, or Best
> Old-Fashioned SF the Way It Used to Be… whatever it is they are actually
> looking for
[emphasis mine]… hey, I don’t think anyone would have any objections to that.
> I certainly wouldn’t. More power to them.”

> Joshua, on April 9, 2015 at 9:24 pm said: If gays want to have their own
> pizzas places that cater their weddings, hey, I don’t think anyone would
> have any objections to that. I certainly wouldn’t. More power to them.

Their reply was:

 Subject: Re: That sounds familiar...

  Oh, nonsense.

 ~~~

Okay, so you're one of the richest, highest paid writers in the world, but you couldn't be bothered to click on a link to find out what one side of the debate was before putting fingers to keys?  Professional much?

Seriously, 7th graders fail papers for doing that.

https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/announcing-sad-puppies-3/

As I've said before, and to you, the recent decade of Hugo winners show a spectrum of Writers of Palor, mostly left leaning, largely from a couple of publishing houses.  Again, this is not evidence of collusion, but it is evidence of incestuousness.

We're writers and fans who want more diversity in the Hugo. Writers of color. Immigrants.  Citizens of other nations.  Politics across the spectrum.  You can talk about it all you want, but when you use the epithet, "Many of them conservative," you attempt to condemn by association everyone in this fight who isn't.

You don't know what we want or why we're upset?  Here's a headline for you: RICH WHITE MILLIONAIRE AUTHOR WITH 9 NOMS AND 6 WINS SAYS "LET THEM EAT CAKE!"

And yes, Joshua's comparison IS correct.  "Sure, these people are part of our society, but they're not the part of society we want to deal with, so they should just go away.  They can have something separate, but equal, but it won't really be equal."

BTW, the Prometheus Award, that you're not sure where it's awarded, is often awarded at Worldcon, often in a bar or restaurant, because "Real" SF won't acknowledge it.  This year it's at Marcon.  But hey, you're sure it's a worthy award. You just couldn't be bothered to look it up.

We write SF and related works, we do SF art. That makes us part of SF fandom, and part of the culture.  We are not the "Wrong" type of fans, and anyone who thinks so is the wrong type of fan.

How's that Iron Throne padded with $100 bills feel, George?  I bet it's comfy.

Oh, yeah--you also like that people have to shell out at least a couple of Jacksons to vote, to keep the award "Special."  So special that most of the world can't afford to participate.

But we're the hateful conservatives.  Got it.

The Graying of the Hugo
Apr 11, 201501:12AM

Category: Writing

Several years back, when I was still a SFWA member, there was a huge panic over the "Threat" of electronic publishing.

Think about that. In an organization of writers of speculative fiction, there were a large number of people who wanted to shovel back the tide.  The smart ones got into it on the ground floor and are making money. Some of them fought it for years and didn't.

The second part of the discussion was a writer complaining about "pixel-stained, technopeasant wretches" giving work away for free online, thus watering down the paying market for "real" writers.

I had a very polite discussion with Piers Anthony, who expressed the opinion that while online presence was probably marketable, he didn't see how it could compare to a "well-run ad campaign."

Of course, an ad campaign costs money for either publisher or author, and if the publisher, it cuts into their margin for other matters, including paying the writers, which is why it's generally reserved for well-known, big-selling authors.

At the time, I'd written five books in two years, but was still largely unknown.  I pointed out that one of my free satirical pieces had been Farked, and gotten a half million hits in under 24 hours.  There's no way I could have bought publicity like that.  It was off the cuff snark that took me perhaps two hours, for which I might have eventually been paid $200.  Which would you rather have, $200 now, or half a million prospective readers for the future?

Piers was absolutely correct, but he was also speaking from a zone of comfort in an established position.

I attended SFWA functions at Torcon, where I tended bar, Loscon, and then Philcon.  The staff of SFWA knew who I was.  They greeted me on sight by first name. When I pulled out cover sheets of my next book ("The Hero"), one of the officers said, "Oh, a collaboration. Who's John Ringo?"

At that point, John had about ten more books than I did, including three NYT bestsellers with David Weber.

But the in-crowd hadn't heard of him.

And thus it often still is.  The in-crowd goes to the meetings, to the literary conventions, the writer that goes with them gets known, and then gets mentioned by friends, blogged about, and eventually, gifted with suggestions of awards.

Think about winners the last few years.  Are they good?  Generally. Popular? Within a small subsect always.  Not always among SF fans overall.  Can you think of any winners, where you'd think, "This other book that came out that year was better. Why didn't it win?"

George RR Martin laments the "marketing" that has come to the Hugos, that the Old Way is no longer respected. 

That's because an NYT bestseller with 13 books out was unknown to the people who promote the award.

And this is not their fault. When Piers and George started selling, there was no internet, and bookstores, quite common, if they sold SF, had a section with most of the current releases and staff who knew what they were.

It is no longer that time.  There are works that were promoted for the ballot this year that are good works, two of them from friends, and I never knew these works existed.  There's just no way to track the huge disbursement of SF.  We won.  Nerds won the culture war. We're everywhere.

We're so everywhere we don't even know who each other is anymore.

It used to be that the World Science Fiction Convention was THE place in the industry, and everyone knew everyone through no more than two connections.

Now, though, the comic cons, GenCon and DragonCon get more writers, and more readers, than Worldcon.

The only reason the internet wasn't used as a huge pimping and platform tool until now is because so many of the younger fen had no idea what the Hugo was, or how it was decided.

Once they discovered it, these young kids, in our thirties and forties (!) realized the only way to get seen was to make use of technology.

Piers laments free content (or did. That was some years ago).  George laments internet marketing. But both are here to stay, and I doubt most younger fen have any objection at all.

There are rumblings, proposals, and I fully expect that next year, there will be a dozen slates on major blogs promoting works for the Hugos.

So how is that bad?  Works you've not heard of will be mentioned, where you can easily see them. This translates as more sales for the authors. (My piece, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QZV08SW?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwmichaelzwi-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00QZV08SW, when promoted, shot back into the Amazon top ten for Political Humor.  It had been #1.  Most of you have never heard of it until now, of course.)  It translates into more visibility for the award, more participation, more works proposed, more slated.

This is not the end of the Hugos. It is the rebirth.

Let us not rally the old guard to protect it from the future.  Let us celebrate it.

So is Worldcon.

My daughter's first event was at 10 days old.  She's 17, has been to 17 Pennsics, 15 Windycons, 17 Marcons, dozens of Capricons, Libertycons, numerous other cons as one-offs. She runs my booth when I'm on panels.  She runs my booth at Comic and Anime cons, because she speaks that language.  She reads Molly Harper, Tamora Pierce, TA Barron, Piers Anthony, occasional Niven, Heinlein, Burroughs, lots of manga, some comics, she games a bit, cosplays. 

She has probably been to more events and conventions than you.

Today, she asked me, "So how do you get a Hugo?"

I explained that last year's Worldcon members, and this year's, can nominate, and this year's can vote and then nominate for next year, either supporting or attending.

She replied, "That's it?  From a small convention like that?" (She just finished running my booth at Indy Comic Con, with 30,000 attendees.)

Raised in fandom, child of an author who's been published since she was five, a dealer and attendee since before she was born, she:

A) Didn't really know what the Hugos are, and

2: Finds Worldcon to be small, unimpressive and not of note.

I guess she's the wrong kind of fan, too.

Don't worry. In twenty years, all 50 Worldcon attendees can vote each other a Hugo and be impressed with each other.

What Does Diversity Look Like?
Apr 09, 201511:21AM

Category: Writing

According to certain...well, all critics, the "Sad Puppies" slate of works are by authors who are all white, conservative males, and probably racist.  It's AN END TO DIVERSITY in the Hugos!

So, I thought, for reference, we should look at what diversity looked like in 2012:

And 2013:

 

Now, there are some decent people there, and some are my friends.

But apart from not discriminating against those with terrible fashion sense, I'm not seeing much ethnic diversity, and if you research the people in question, you'll find little political diversity.

Now, I "look" white, and am, except I'm an immigrant, thus an outsider to America, and have been discriminated against (and if you don't believe immigrants get discriminated against...I don't think any rational discourse between us is possible), and of course, there are various "white" ancestries. Mine includes recent Irish, which wasn't well regarded even a generation back, and Welsh, and "Scotch" as it was called, when my English mother dare marry beneath herself.

As far as politics, which are none of your business, but here goes:  I endorsed allowing gays to serve in the military when I was active duty back in the 1980s, before DADT was even a thing.  I'm areligious.  I think marriage should be a private matter without government definition of participants.  I don't "carefully manage" my blog posts because I support free speech.  I'm not sure where one commenter got "ultraconservative" from that.

I encourage the other nominees this year, whether SP endorsed or not, to post their images and backgrounds in comments, and I'll transfer them into this thread for comparison to the "diverse" Hugos of 2012 and 2013.

Cedar Sanderson, finalist for Best Fan Writer:

Cedar considers herself apolitical. She was a military brat, homeschooled, and is currently a non-traditional student who supports herself largely with her writing while taking a full course load.

 

The clown at the top, that is.

Chu's post assumes that the only reason Brad would marry a black woman is to use her for political gain and cover.  If he can conceive of marrying and reproducing with someone for such reasons, it means he's considered them. Racist.

There's no evidence that Brad has ever done so, but Chu assumes this must be the case.  Why? Because he's a racist.

He assumes that the black woman is either too stupid or too gullible to recognize such a fact, and can't divest from it.  Racist.

He seems unaware that she is both liberal, and possessed of a PhD in liberal arts.  Or did he assume that wasn't possible because she's a black woman?  If so, racist.

As a minority himself, he has no doubt experienced prejudice and bigotry, but is quite willing to use it as a weapon.

He's quite willing to use the black woman, AND THE MIXED RACE CHILD, to make his racist point.

That makes him a racist without any honor or decency.

And in fact, in a healthy marriage, the partners ARE each other's shield, sidearm, support and reinforcement.

But then, if you take your cultural advice from a former game show contestant, don't expect deep thought.

I'm not the oly one to see it, btw:    https://twitter.com/shoe0nhead/status/585707429473755136/photo/1

Allegations of Ballot Jacking
Apr 08, 201512:15AM

Category: Writing

Apparently, certain "Tolerant" "liberal" elements with a record of winning the Hugo are claiming some conspiracy exists to stuff nominations, compare notes, secretly manipulate a ballot and feed the information to the Illuminati or Aliens or something.

Sounds like they think "we" did what they did.


From my POV, Brad asked if he could promote me, I said, "Sure," remembered I had another story, mentioned it here, forgot all about it because I had no expectation of making it. Then I got an email.

As far as Vox Day endorsing me, I know he copies some of my gun related essays. I find him to be a troll and scientifically illiterate, blogged about that a few years back, and ignore him. No point in arguing when we aren't ever going to agree.

I'm glad he liked Wisdom, and appreciate the boost, but the first I was aware of it was after I got notified and someone else mentioned he'd endorsed me.

But hell, you can find my stuff on sites across the spectrum, some loathing, some loving. 

I'm not narcissistic enough to cruise the web looking for mentions of my name. Nor would it matter if I did--what can I do to stop it? And why should I?

I swear, these people with 20, 30, 50 nominations seem to be getting awfully butthurt over some of us getting one.  I wonder what that says?

And I have no idea how 60 some people would keep something like this secret.  Could be why I wasn't invited.

Or, maybe it doesn't exist.

Bringing the World to Worldcon
Apr 06, 201510:34PM

Category: Writing

There's been much debate about revising the rules for the Hugo Award, but there's one aspect that everyone has either missed or been afraid to touch.

Some history:

The then grandiosely named World Science Fiction Convention started in 1939, with about 200 people.  It wasn't held during WWII, and it stuck to larger, American cities--New York, Chicago, Philly.

The first one outside the US was Torcon in 1948.

The first one outside North America, was Loncon in 1957, thus finally making a valid claim of "World" after 18 years.

In 1970, Germany hosted, bringing Europe into the SF "World."

Australia came on board in 1975, actually bringing in another hemisphere.

It wasn't until 2007 that Asia merited note, with Yokohama.

Now, an astute observer will notice that all those countries are progressive, wealthy, nations of privilege, mostly Western, and certainly all in the upper echelons of economic success.

Supporting memberships at this point are $40 US.

There are people in the US for whom $40 is a stiff part of a budget.  Beyond that, I just heard from two of my fans in India and Bangladesh. My Bangledeshi friend works for their DoT as a senior engineer, and earns a princely $150 a week.  He's managed projects where the repair cost for the road was estimated at a half million, and been told, "You have $5000." (Adjusted to US currency.)

I send Najmul e-copies of my books for free, because not only can he not find them, he couldn't possibly afford them.  He's currently doing some training in Australia, and glad to be there, since he has much less worry about roving gangs, or if a neighboring country will build another dam and cut off his water supply.

He bought a supporting membership at $50 AUS, being most of a week's disposable income for him--and remember, he's one of the better paid people in that country--and since he's a fan of several others, we've all sent him a large package of SF to read, electronically.  I informed Brad Torgersen, and quite a few of the other writers he has promoted are doing likewise. I will also forward any ebooks from other known authors to him.

But, a "World" con should be more accessible to the world.  SF fans in developing or struggling nations should not have to balance a supporting membership, to an event they can never afford to attend in person, with daily necessities.

If you look at the membership lists for any Worldcon, you will find almost no participation from Africa, East or South Asia other than Japan and Korea, or much of South America.

I propose a supporting membership should be $5. It's arrogant and elitist to proclaim to be a world event, then to price three fourths of the world out of it.

This will need to be brought up at the WSFS business meeting and voted on.  On the one hand, it will mean less money per supporting member. On the other hand, it will mean more members, more inclusivity, and a better reach of SF to the world as a whole.

It's time to put the World into Worldcon.