The Book Booth: The Hugo Award Kerfluffle Edition

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Image: BoingBoing

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. @SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore here, as well as a brick and mortar storefront mini-store in Hoquiam, WA at 706 Simpson Ave (Route 101 South). Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: The Hugo Award Kerfluffle Edition

In the course of its history as a genre, Science-Fiction has always had political tensions. One can look at the beginnings in Jules Verne, who was a fairly bourgeois in his subject matter and H.G.Wells who was an avowed socialist. One can certainly read The Time Machine as a metaphor for class struggle. So, I suppose, that this years Hugo Awards are now a source of controversy isn't that remarkable. It seems that a right-wing group, calling themselves Sad Pupping has hijacked the rather arcane nominating process and called upon the vicious GamerGaters to lend them a hand. BoingBoing has an overview here.

And as Katy Waldman at Slate notes, the nomination process has long been manipulated in the past, but by individuals hoping to win something. She points to Orson Card Scott, among others.
Hugo Award Nominations

Another excellent discussion by Arthur Chu can be found at Salon, where he laments the intersection of lazy democracy and internet trolls.

Needless to say, there has been a great deal of backlash from the science-fiction community. Two nominated authors, Annie Bellet and Markos Kloos, have felt compelled to withdraw from the competition, as io9 reports.
Hugo Award Nominees Withdraw

Meanwhile George R.R. Martin has also weighed in. While apparently the nominations were within the "rules", he nevertheless deplores the developments.
Hugo Award Rules - Time to Change?

Internet security guru Bruce Schneier has some suggestions on how to change the process here.

And in wrapping up all the news about the Hugos, I think the best analysis of the whole darn thing comes from writer and old friend Eric Flint, who assesses the whole political background and wonders if the awards are meaningful anymore. H/T to Steve Timberlake!
Are the Hugo Awards Still Significant?

We'll note the passing of Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass this week. He was certainly no stranger to controversy himself and might have been amused by the Hugo Kerfuffle.
Gunter Grass Moves On

And whatever you may think of Hugo Chavez, his presentation of Open Veins of Latin America to President Obama brought the author Eduardo Galeano to prominence. I read Open Veins years ago and it is a brilliant and difficult study, well-worth reading. Al Jazeera has an appreciation here.
Eduardo Galeano Open Veins

In not so controversial news, the world of book collecting still seems vibrant, according to Steve Rosenbush at the Wall Street Journal. Here he talks about collecting and why you may want to take up the hobby yourself. http://www.wsj.com/articles/in-this-digital-age-book-collecting-is-still-going-strong-1428894136?utm_source=Publishers+Weekly&utm_campaign=cee2e42222-UA-15906914-1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0bb2959cbb-cee2e42222-304469193

It seems that librarians like to mix it up as well. The New York Public Library recently discovered a large stack of librarian reviews of childrens books and some of them are priceless. Not everyone is a fan of Green Eggs and Ham! Who knew? http://mentalfloss.com/article/62612/18-retro-reviews-childrens-books-new-york-public-library

Finally, belated birthday wishes to author and Portland, Oregon's own Beverly Cleary, who recently achieved the age of 99. In celebration, Flavorwire featured 25 vintage covers from her classic books.
Beverly Cleary

A most excellent weekend to you all. Happy reading and please let us know what words are stirring you!

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  • Matthew Lane

    "It seems that a right-wing group, calling themselves Sad Pupping has hijacked the rather arcane nominating process and called upon the vicious GamerGaters to lend them a hand."

    Hahahahahahahahahaha, no.

    Firstly they weren't right wing, they were just anti authoritarian left, which is not a stance of the right, it's a stance o pretty much anyone whose not an SJW.

    They didn't hijack anything, they simply put up a suggested nomination list, the same way the very people complaining about suggested nominations lists did: Scalzi I'm looking at you & your award pimpage lists from 2006 to 2011.

    The nomination process is actually incredibly simple: Purchase a worldcon membership, get the right to nominate. Pretty simple, nothing esoteric about it.

    An lastly, Gamergate had nothing to do with the Sad Puppies list.

    Sad puppies not only predates Gamergate by 2 years, this years nominations required last years membership & so the people capable of nominating predated the mainstream medias "Johnny-come-lately" attempt to pin this on Gamergate (made by Gawker because Gawker is still butthurt over losing a million plus dollars in advertising revenue over their reporting of gamergate last year).

    Maybe do some original research on this topic, rather than just regurgitating what you heard from other blogs, because otherwise you end up with Chinese whispers, much like you have here.