Sasquan was not my first WorldCon — that honor goes to Constellation, which took place in Baltimore in 1983, and where I met my husband. Our first date was cruising the art show, and discovering we liked all the same pieces of art. So, 30 years later, we went to LoneStarCon for the 30th anniversary of our meeting, and of course we had to go on a date through the art show to commemorate it. But I digress.
Sasquan was my first WorldCon as a pro. And that was very exciting. I served on three panels, and I had a Kaffeeklatsch at which REAL ACTUAL GENUINE TOLARI SPACE FANS showed up. For that, color me astonished. Weighing the number of books I’ve sold against the odds, I figured it would be a few years yet before I would actually run into someone at a con who had read my books. As introverted as I am (I am an extreme outlier on introversion scales — it’s very hard to get more introverted than I am), I have been fine with that. I prefer not to be noticed, in real life.
The other cool thing that happened, along those lines, was when a young woman came alongside me, walking down a hallway, to let me know none of the book dealers in the hucksters room carried my books. She’d gone looking for them there, because she wanted to have a paper copy for me to sign.
Wow. Just wow.
I spent some time in the SFWA suite, usually keeping an eye on the smoke out the window. Friday was definitely the worst day for that; that day, authorities announced that air quality was unhealthy for all groups, as you can see in this pic I took late Friday afternoon:
I never thought I’d go home to cleaner air in Pittsburgh than in Washington state, but that is the case. The whole state of Washington seems to be on fire, and the situation is serious, with deaths among the firefighters (may they rest in peace, and my sincerest condolences to those they left behind).
And — the Hugo Awards. By now, anyone interested knows the results: the Puppies were shut out. The name-calling has begun, we who voted against the Puppies are “CHORFs” and “SJWs” and whatever epithet occurs to the Sad Puppy leaders (a spectacle of grown men whining because they’ve never won an award), and Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day) posted a mushroom cloud on his website/blog/whatever.
Remind me, please: What grade are we in?
It all puts me in mind of the many, many times, as I was growing up, that I voiced an opinion my father didn’t like, and he demanded, “Who told you that?” as if I was utterly incapable of thinking for myself. The Puppies insinuation that some shadowy group is controlling the Hugos is insulting to you, me, and all of fandom. There is no cabal, there is no conspiracy, there is only Fandom, a diverse group of people, all of whom have minds of their own. And Fandom rose to the challenge presented by a small group of males who want to control what the rest of us can vote for on the Hugo ballot.
(A small number of men trying to control our choices. Where have we seen that before?)
Fandom defeated the Puppies. Soundly. The Puppies are, of course, claiming victory. Losing is winning, and winning is losing, dontcha know, and it’s hard to make out a human shape in all that contortion. No matter what the Sads say, this isn’t about bringing back a golden age that never existed, this is about a small group of petulant losers who tried to take our award away from us, and we said No, you can’t have it.