Worldcon Feed

Oppression, Feminism, & Motherhood

I was on several excellent panels at Anticipation which I hope to write about later, and on one panel that was hopelessly ill-construed. It was a panel on which four white people were assigned the task of discussing whether ethnic and sexual minorities ought to write for the mainstream sf audience or whether they could or should write for more specialized audiences more connected to their concerns, and if they were to do that, how would they make it into the SF canon (this last point was illustrated by a quote from Joanna Russ.).

One of the designated panelists did not attend the convention, one overslept and missed the panel by accident, so it was me and this white guy who later remarked online that he has clearly been assigned to the wrong panel. 

This was not THE most socially awkward panel assignment I've ever been given. That would be the panel entitled "Politics & Bad Manners" at a Minnicon many years ago, where as I recall one of my fellow panelists was dressed in a monk's habit, and everyone but me had known in advance that this was the annual Libertarian revival panel. I  spent the panel defending things like the existence of public sidewalks. But this pannel at Anticipation was certainly up there.

Several audience members seemed to have a lot to say on the actual topic assigned, so I invited "Ide Cyan" and a woman whose name badge said "Isobel" to join me as panelists. "Isobel" declined, but made many productive comments from the audience. "Ide Cyan" joined me on the panel, but only after anxiously showing me her name badge so I would know who I was tangling with. She tried hard as a panelist, but also was extremely tense and trembling and talking very fast, as though frightened of me. (I think that is the first time I've ever been on a panel with someone who appeared physically frighten of me.)

The panel went how it went, which is as well as could be expected given both the panelist problem and an oddly constructed mandate. (Canonicty is a completely separate issue from the economic and artistic viability of subgenres with specialized audiences.) I'm told that Jo Walton had written beautiful and lucid panel descriptions that were then mercilessly pruned by a clumsy editorial hand. I think this panel description was one of the victims.

"Ide Cyan" argued that the central issue was oppression. I attempted to get her to unpack her argument, and asked interview style questions about what she meant by oppression. Another blogger has described her as becoming "tongue-tied" when presented with this line of inquiry.

After the panel, I invited her to join me for a cup of tea for further discussion, but she declined; she and a group of other audience members, who seemed to be a portion of Fail Fandom, left as a group. According to their blogs this group went off and discussed how appalling it is that I claim to be oppressed because I am a parent and because of where I live.

Before departing, "Ide Cyan" instructed me to read Joanna Russ's book What Are We Fighting For? Sex, Race, Class, and the Future of Feminism, a book which as it happened was sitting on my night table. A while back I blogged my dismay with the opening chapter. It is a book that Joanna worked long and hard on, the book in which she intended to reconcile socialism and feminism, and which was published too late to have the impact it might have had because it took her so long to write. (Our collective recollection is that she was already working on that book when I attended the Seattle Clarion in 1984; its copyright date is 1998.)

Joanna Russ was my first science fiction mentor. She was my professor at the University of Washington for two years. I spent many happy hours taking up her office hours when everyone else was scared to talk to her. A few decades ago, I knew her pretty well. She was in chronic pain. She was on heavy-duty anti-depressants that messed up her short-term memory in ways that were sometimes comical. She is also a genius, and I treasure the time I spent sitting at her feet (sometimes literally) listening to her hold forth.

That having been said, I don't think What We Are Fighting For? works in the way she intended. In trying to reconcile socialism & feminism, she has for the most part left out the problem of motherhood and the relationship between the parent and the State. Her discussion of motherhood is extremely slight. The most extensive passage I was able to find, via index and skimming, is a mother-blaming section on the role of families in perpetuating oppression and sexism. (p. 347) Clearly, something had to go or this book never would have got finished, but I think it is unfortunate that the oppression of mothers by the State was omitted from discussion.

So what is oppression? Its definition is not one of Joanna's central concerns in this book; she is writing for an audience that thinks it already knows what oppression is. Oppression is depression — "a feeling of being oppressed"; persecution —"the act of subjugating by cruelty";  and subjugation — "the state of being kept down by unjust use of force or authority." In my daily life, I have experienced all three in connection with being a mother and it is not a minor thing. It is a major force in my life.

I seriously doubt that Joanna Russ I know would argue that I and other American mothers are not oppressed. And I wonder by what right self-described feminists discard out-of-hand claims by individual mothers that they suffer oppression.

Is 21st century feminism really feminism at all? If it has abandonded mothers as such, it has abandoned its task of advocating the liberation of women. 

The Blair Witch Panel: Cultural Memory, Societal Resilience and Change

Anticipation (the Montreal Worldcon)

5-075 Mon/Lun 12:30 1hr30min
P21BF Human Culture
Cultural Memory, Societal Resilience and Change
Blind Lemming Chiffon, David Anthony Durham, Geoff Ryman, Patrick Nielsen Hayden

panel just about to start

Panel just about to start.


Blind Lemming Chiffon speaks for a while; Patrick Nielsen Hayden appeals to a high power for salvation.


David Durnham & Geoff Rymam begin to appear concerned.


Patrick looks at Blind Lemming wondering if this guy is for real.


Geoff Ryman touches his forehead just before putting his head down on the table.


Despair sets in. The panelist begin to look helpless and trapped. Patrick flees in terror along with a portion of the audience as Blind Lemming invites a filker up to sing a song that will clarify his argument which has thus far eluded the other panelists. 


Someone in the audence asks, "Is this some kind of tradition?" Someone else says, "No, this is not a tradition. It is surreal."

The footage cuts off with the end of the song when more of the audience flees. Footsteps are heard in the halls.

Anticipation/Worldcon travel advice: Exit 31 on the Northway, the Elizabethtown/Westport exit

For those driving to the Montreal WorldCon up 87 (aka the Northway), I suggest you make time for a stop over at exit 31, the Westport-Elizabethtown exit. Both Westport and Elizabethtown are 4 miles off the Northway. Also, if you are taking Amtrak to the WorldCon, Westport has an Amtrack station. An over-night stop-over should not be hard to arrange. (The Westport Hotel is next door to the train station.)

Westport map

David Hartwell and I are in process of opening a bookstore at 10 Champlain Avenue in Westport, which will be open by chance and appointment. To make arrangements to view our stock, call me at on my cell phone at 914-837-7623; the house number is 518-962-2346, but we lack an answering machine on that line. (Admit it: you have been harboring the secret desire to shop David Hartwell's book collection, right?) Come see our futuristic new location!

antique vehicles outside 10 Champlain

yes, let's found a bookstore in the middle of an economic downturn!

Caption: "yes, let's found a bookstore in the middle of an economic downturn!"

getting organized at 10 Champlain Avenue

I have prepared an elaborate travel information site about Westport with complete lodging and dining information in the sidebars. Westport is a great place. I can't say enough good about it.

The Inn on the Library Lawn has a book store, and even has rooms named for some of your favorite authors. Stay in the Peter Beagle room:


. . . or the J.R.R. Tolkien Room


. . . or if you dare, in the Edgar Allen Poe room!

There are many other fine places to stay in Westport, listed on my other site

I also highly recommend the B&B Stoneleigh in Elizabethtown, a great old stone mansion converted to a B&B. Serious bibliophiles might want to make an adavnce arrangement to visit L. W. Currey's which is walking distance from Stoneleigh. (Currey's is not an open shop, but he has a truly amazing stock of science fiction & fantasy, so call first to make an appointment. David Hartwell's high-end books are offered for sale via L.W. Currey.)

Do stop at exit 31 if you have the time.

Peter on the Shore

PS: If you're heading for the WorldCon by boat, we also have a very nice marina here in Westport!

The Hugo ballot: A very male fiction ballot this year

The Hugo ballot is out. Looking over the fiction nominations, it seems a very male ballot. Of the 21 authors listed in the fiction categories, four are women (19%).

Best Novel
(639 Ballots / Bulletins)

Best Novella
(337 Ballots / Bulletins)

  • “The Erdmann Nexus” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008)
  • “The Political Prisoner” by Charles Coleman Finlay (F&SF Aug 2008) – Read Online
  • “The Tear” by Ian McDonald (Galactic Empires)
  • “True Names” by Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow (Fast Forward 2) — Free download
  • “Truth” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008)

Best Novelette
(373 Ballots / Bulletins)

  • “Alastair Baffle’s Emporium of Wonders” by Mike Resnick (Asimov’s Jan 2008) — Read Online
  • “The Gambler” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Fast Forward 2) — Read Online
  • “Pride and Prometheus” by John Kessel (F&SF Jan 2008)
  • “The Ray-Gun: A Love Story” by James Alan Gardner (Asimov’s Feb 2008) — Read Online
  • “Shoggoths in Bloom” by Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s Mar 2008) — Read Online

Best Short Story
(448 Ballots / Bulletins)

  • “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” by Kij Johnson (Asimov’s Jul 2008) — Read Online
  • “Article of Faith” by Mike Resnick (Baen’s Universe Oct 2008)
  • “Evil Robot Monkey” by Mary Robinette Kowal (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume Two)
  • “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two)
  • “From Babel’s Fall’n Glory We Fled” by Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s Feb 2008)

My own reading of the fiction of 2008 suggested to me that this was a much better year for sf&f by woman than that. Of the 23 names on our Year's Best SF 14 table of contents, 9 of the authors are women (39%). (We haven't announced our fantasy TOC yet, but assuming we get all the stories on which we've requested permission, the ration there will be 12/29 or 41%.) 

Of course, we used a different sample: short fiction. Nonetheless, I find this difference striking.

And here we are:

Best Editor, Long Form
(273 Ballots / Bulletins)

  • Lou Anders
  • Ginjer Buchanan
  • David G. Hartwell
  • Beth Meacham
  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden

. . . and . . .

Best Semiprozine
(283 Ballots / Bulletins)

  • Clarkesworld Magazine edited by Neil Clarke, Nick Mamatas & Sean Wallace
  • Interzone edited by Andy Cox
  • Locus edited by Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong, & Liza Groen Trombi
  • The New York Review of Science Fiction edited by Kathryn Cramer, Kris Dikeman, David G. Hartwell, & Kevin J. Maroney
  • Weird Tales edited by Ann VanderMeer & Stephen H. Segal

Semiprozine rules change & NYRSF

Regarding the Semiprozine Hugo Award rules change reported by Cheryl Morgan . . .

Removal of Semiprozine Category
A proposal to remove the Semiprozine Hugo was passed and forwarded to Montreal for ratification. The old qualification criteria from semiprozine are now used to define what is not eligible to be a fanzine. (We’ll post the actual wording later when we get official electronic copy). The vote was 40-28, and the issue continues to be hotly debated.
. . . I note that The New York Review of Science Fiction only meets 2 or the 5 criteria for "Semiprozine", by virtue that it pays contributors (token payment: $10/review & $25/essay) and acknowledges being a "semiprozine." As for the other criteria, our circulation is well below 1,000 copies and has been for the life of the magazine; while occasional and rare issues may contain more than 15% advertising, most contain much less; and the magazine does not provide a substantial portion of anyone's income.

If -- speaking purely hypothetically and only for myself -- NYRSF stopped making token payments for reviews and essays and instead gave contributors credit toward a subscription (say, 4 issues for a review, 10 issues for an essay), then according to Hugo rules, NYRSF would be a fanzine and would compete (and perhaps even win) in that category.

Many NYRSF contributors already use such an arrangement to pay for their subscriptions, so this would not be a big change from our end. Those obsessive enough to care about such things might want to go through the past decade of Hugo Award Final Reports to see how this would have played itself out in the Fanzine category, had NYRSF been classed as a fanzine.

A quick look at this year's report suggests that NYRSF would have won in that category on first ballot. Whether things would actually have worked out that way is hard to know. That really depends on what portion of NYRSF's Hugo constituency is old-line fanzine fans and how offended they would be to see a perrenial semiprozine nominee in the fanzine category.

Though NYRSF is one of the iconic semiprozines, we are only in the awards category by a hair, rules-wise.

FURTHER REMARK: Does anyone have an actual transcript of what was said at the meeting in which the rules change was discussed? The emerging impression I'm getting from what I can gather online is that some very smart people said some unfortunate things based on perhaps foolish assumptions.

And yet: I am wary of drawing conclusions about the true nature of the discussion based on online and second-hand information, having read too many mangled accounts of the goings-on at convention panels. So. Did anyone either record or take careful notes of the discussion preceding the vote of whether to eliminate the Semiprozine Hugo category? If so, can you either publish it online or email it to me?

Note additional discussions here, here, & here. (Also there Kevin Standlee had a discussion going somewhere on his LJ which I can't seem to find now.)

David won a Hugo last night!

David G. Hartwell's 2008 Hugo Award for Best Editor (Long Form)

David Hartwell at the World Fantasy Convention, Fall 2005So, as I was saying, I didn't go to Denvention, so I was not at the Hugo Award ceremony last night. When the phone rang last night some time after midnight, I was quite solidly asleep. I stumbled around trying to find it in the dark, but it stopped ringing. I figured either David had won a Hugo or it was a wrong number and I could know in the morning. (That chances that we'd both won for NYRSF were smaller than those of a wrong number.) So now it's morning and now I know! David G. Hartwell won for Best Editor in the Long Form category (the category for book editors, created 2 years ago). Whee! Congratulations, David!

Wish I'd been there last night, though it's pretty nice in Westport, NY. My Facebook status line from last night reads, "Kathryn Cramer is not at the Hugo nominees reception; she is bathing mud-covered children following a concert in the park."

Here's Lake Champlain this morning.



Since I wasn't there, I would really like to see some photos of David winning the Hugo. Can people please send them to me?

Congratulations, David

Playing Hookey from the WorldCon


Cheryl Morgan has noted that my kids and I are absent from Denvention. Ah, I'm busted playing hookey from the WorldCon. No, I'm not in Denver, I'm in Westport, NY painting my basement and painting pictures of Lake Champlain.

SN852014Meanwhile, Peter & Liz performed last night at the Deport Theatre as part of the theater's summer apprentice program. Amazing action photos here. Today Elizabeth goes on a trip to a local farm.


SN852038This evening, the kids and I are going to an event at an "art farm." If by chance NYRSF wins a Hugo, I'm sure David will bring it home. I will, however, be in Montreal next year.

Yeeeehaaaaw! David won the Best Editor Hugo!

From Rob Sawyer:

I'm totally, totally thrilled that Bob Wilson, one of my very best friends, finally got his long overdue Hugo, and that my editor and friend David Hartwell, who, with 33 nominations to date, held the record for most nominations without a win, finally got the Best Editor Hugo . . .

David won the Best Editor Hugo!

And from Patrick Nielsen Hayden:

Hugo Award results
Posted by Patrick at 03:28 AM * 14 comments

Our incoherent congratulations to John Scalzi, David G. Hartwell, and Robert Charles Wilson, plus many other friends and associates. Also, AAAAAAIEEEEEEEEEEE!


John Scalzi, Robert Charles Wilson, & David Hartwell

This is the first time the Best Editor Hugo has been given to a living book editor. The category was felt to so thoroughly favor magazine editors that earlier in convention there was a vote, splitting the category in two, so that book editors could have the possibility of winning Hugo Awards. David won in the last year before the rules change takes effect.

Niall Harrison remarks:

Actually, it seems to have been a year for results that go against the common complaint that Hugo voters are swayed by name recognition, at least in some categories. Sure, Locus and Langford picked up their annual awards, but David Hartwell, editor of everyone from James Tiptree Jnr to David Marusek, finally converted a nomination to a win, and in doing so became the first non-dead book editor to win a Hugo (somewhat ironically, given that his omission from the winners’ list was one of the reasons behind the motion to split Best Editor into two categories).

We are walking on air. Thank you every one who supported him!

Also, our small press magazine, The New York Review of Science Fiction, finished a strong second in the Best Semiprozine category.


The complete list of Hugo winners is up at Locus. The voting breakdown is here. Our photos from last night are up on my Flickr account.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden remarks:

I don't think it's likely that I shall ever see a happier (purely from my point of view) set of Hugo results.

Hugo Nominations: Yes, we are nominees!

The Hugo Awards ballot is out, and David and I are both nominated. We're nominted jointly (along with Kevin Maroney) in the Best Semi-Prozine Category for The New York Review of Science Fiction, and David is nominated in the Best editor catgory. Here's the ballot:

Best Novel (430 ballots cast)
Learning the World
, Ken MacLeod (Orbit; Tor)
A Feast for Crows, George R.R. Martin (Voyager; Bantam Spectra)

Old Man's War, John Scalzi (Tor)
Accelerando, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit)
Spin, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)

Best Novella (243 ballots cast)
James Patrick Kelly (Tachyon)

"Magic for Beginners", Kelly Link (Magic for Beginners, Small Beer Press; F&SF September 2005)

"The Little Goddess", Ian McDonald (Asimov's June 2005)

"Identity Theft", Robert J. Sawyer (Down These Dark Spaceways, SFBC)

"Inside Job", Connie Willis (Asimov's January 2005)


Best Novelette (207 ballots cast)
"The Calorie Man", Paolo Bacigalupi (F&SF October/November 2005)

"Two Hearts", Peter S. Beagle (F&SF October/November 2005)

"TelePresence", Michael A. Burstein (Analog July/August 2005)

"I, Robot", Cory Doctorow (The Infinite Matrix February 15, 2005)

"The King of Where-I-Go", Howard Waldrop (SCI FICTION December 7, 2005)


Best Short Story (278 ballots cast)
"Seventy-Five Years", Michael A. Burstein (Analog January/February 2005)
"The Clockwork Atom Bomb", Dominic Green (Interzone May/June 2005)
"Singing My Sister Down", Margo Lanagan (Black Juice, Allen & Unwin; Eos)
"Tk'tk'tk", David D. Levine (Asimov's March 2005)
"Down Memory Lane", Mike Resnick (Asimov's April/May 2005)

Best Related Book
(197 ballots cast)

Transformations: The Story of the Science Fiction Magazines from 1950 to 1970
, Mike Ashley (Liverpool)

The SEX Column and Other Misprints, David Langford (Cosmos)
Science Fiction Quotations, edited, Gary Westfahl (Yale)
Storyteller: Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers' Workshop, Kate Wilhelm (Small Beer Press)
Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996, Gary K. Wolfe (Beccon)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (364 ballots cast)
Batman Begins Story, David S. Goyer.  Screenplay, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer.  Based on the character created, Bob Kane. Directed, Christopher Nolan.  (Warner Bros.)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Screenplay, Ann Peacock and Andrew Adamson  and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely.  Based on the novel, C.S. Lewis.  Directed, Andrew Adamson. (Walt Disney Pictures/Walden Media)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Screenplay, Steven Kloves.  Based on the novel, J.K. Rowling.  Directed, Mike Newell.  (Warner Bros.)
Serenity Written & Directed, Joss Whedon.  (Universal Pictures/Mutant Enemy, Inc.)
Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit Screenplay, Steve Box & Nick Park and Bob Baker and Mark Burton. Directed, Nick Park & Steve Box.  (Dreamworks Animation/Aardman Animation).

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (261 ballots cast)
Battlestar Galactica "Pegasus"  Written, Anne Cofell Saunders. Directed, Michael Rymer. (NBC Universal/British Sky Broadcasting)

Doctor Who "Dalek"  Written, Robert Shearman. Directed, Joe Ahearne.  (BBC Wales/BBC1)
Doctor Who "The Empty Child" & "The Doctor Dances"  Written, Steven Moffat. Directed, James Hawes. (BBC Wales/BBC1)
Doctor Who "Father's Day"  Written, Paul Cornell. Directed, Joe Ahearne. (BBC Wales/BBC1)
Jack-Jack Attack  Written & Directed, Brad Bird.  (Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation)
Lucas Back in Anger  Written, Phil Raines and Ian Sorensen. Directed, Phil Raines.  (Reductio Ad Absurdum Productions)
Prix Victor Hugo Awards Ceremony (Opening Speech and Framing Sequences).  Written and performed, Paul McAuley and Kim Newman. Directed, Mike & Debby Moir.  (Interaction Events)
(There are seven nominees due to a tie for fifth place)

Best Professional Editor (293 ballots cast)
Ellen Datlow (SCI FICTION and anthologies)
David G. Hartwell (Tor Books; Year's Best SF)
Stanley Schmidt (Analog)
Gordon Van Gelder (F&SF)
Sheila Williams (Asimov's)

Best Professional Artist (230 ballots cast)
Jim Burns

Bob Eggleton
Donato Giancola
Stephan Martiniere
John Picacio
Michael Whelan
(There are six nominees due to a tie for fifth place)

 Best Semiprozine (219 ballots cast)
Ansible, ed. Dave Langford
Emerald City, ed. Cheryl Morgan
Interzone , ed. Andy Cox
Locus, ed. Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong, & Liza Groen Trombi
The New York Review of Science Fiction, ed. Kathryn Cramer, David G. Hartwell & Kevin J. Maroney

Best Fanzine (176 ballots cast)
Banana Wings
, ed. Claire Brialey & Mark Plummer

Challenger, ed. Guy H. Lillian III
Chunga, ed. Andy Hooper, Randy Byers & carl juarez
File 770, ed. Mike Glyer
Plokta, ed. Alison Scott, Steve Davies & Mike Scott

Best Fan Writer (202 ballots cast)
Claire Brialey
John Hertz
Dave Langford
Cheryl Morgan
Steven H Silver

Best Fan Artist (154 ballots cast)
Brad Foster
Teddy Harvia
Sue Mason
Steve Stiles
Frank Wu

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer of 2004 or 2005 [Not a Hugo – Sponsored, Dell Magazines] (186 ballots cast)
K.J. Bishop (2nd year of eligibility)
Sarah Monette (2nd year of eligibility)
Chris Roberson (2nd year of eligibility)
Brandon Sanderson (1st year of eligibility)
John Scalzi (1st year of eligibility)
Steph Swainston (2nd year of eligibility)
(There are six nominees due to a tie for fifth place)

Here are Locus's comments on our two categories. Best Editor:

Sheila Williams is a first-time nominee in the Best Editor category; she took over editorship last year of Asimov's SF Magazine from Gardner Dozois, who for the first time since 1987 has not been nominated in this category (Dozois won 15 times out of 19 consecutive nominations from 1987 to 2005). Ellen Datlow has 12 previous nominations in this category, and has won twice, in 2002 and 2005. None of the other nominees has ever won a Hugo. David G. Hartwell has 14 previous nominations in this category, and 31 nominations overall, holding the record for most nominations by anyone who has not won a Hugo. Stanley Schmidt has 27 previous nominations, including every year in this category since 1980. Gordon Van Gelder has 14 previous nominations, including every year in this category since 1998.

. . .and Semiprozine:

All the Best Semiprozine nominees are veterans; the newest, Emerald City, has 4 previous nominations, and won in 2004 in the Fanzine category. Ansible has been nominated 14 times previously, and has won 5 times in the Fanzine category, and once, last year, in the Semiprozine category. Locus has been nominated in the amateur magazine, fanzine, or semiprozine categories every year since 1970 with just one exception (1979), and has won 26 times. The New York Review of Science Fiction has been nominated 17 times in this category, every year consecutively since 1989, though it has never won.


Un-Glasgow Photos

I've begun a photo album of what we did while David went to Glasgow, which features such amazing shots as James Morrow climbing a tree, the skeleton of an extinct Stellar's sea cow, and even a live bear in a dumpster.

Typepad won't let me into the Configure screen this morning, so I'll have to wait until later to do the album design work.  (Also, I've got to get on with my day in a few minutes.)


Elizabeth shows her teeth.

A tech note: The photos taken in Washington, DC are by far the sharpest, because they were taken with my brother-in-law Tom's expensive Nikon digital. The photos of kids in the kiddie pool were, in fact, taken by Tom. After DC, all the photos are taken with my video camera (most extracted from video footage).