2015 Hugo Awards Best Fan Writer: Reviewing A S Green

Amanda S Green

I am a classic Trekkie. It was my first fandom. I cut my teeth on old episodes of Star Trek. I designed my own ship, my own species, I was the navigator on that ship with cultural dilemmas around being the first of my species to serve the United Federation of Planets. My friends and I stayed up late into the night at slumber parties talking about adventures our favorite characters only ever had in our imaginations. I read the novels: Romulan Way, IDIC Epidemic, Uhura’s song. The philosophies of Star Trek molded the person I am today.

When you’re going to lecture someone in fandom for breaking canon do not do it based on someone else’s interpretation of what canon is. Know the canon yourself. Not just the “I watched a few ST:NG” assumptions. The whole sweeping complexity of thought that is Star Trek from the first episode with no William Shatner to the more recent works I admit I am not up on.

I don’t go telling Doctor Who fans what they should and should not write, etc etc. Accept someone else is the expert and let it go. Do not lecture a Trekkie on whether or not a Vulcan and a Klingon would pair up. It not only sounds condescending but also uninformed.

All of Green’s post are very well written. Except for the excessive use of acronyms which obviously speak to an in group her writing is very clear.

Only one of the posts she submitted seems to have anything to do with sci-fi/fantasy fandom and that is the one on Star Trek canon. The other two posts have to do with feminism and society in general and maybe conference attendance. Again, I’m looking for someone who is positively enthusiastic about something sci-fi/fantasy related, deep in the details and sharing the love. That is what I am looking for to give someone the label of best fan writer.

Maybe I don’t get it. Maybe she has a ton of posts on vampire-werewolf triads. Maybe she just misunderstood the assignment when she chose which works represented her as the best fan writer. Maybe I’m being too picky about what a fan is.

There’s actually some controversy (surprise) around who is a fan and who isn’t. I think fan is like just about anything. If she says she’s a fan then she’s a fan. If she says she’s a feminist she’s a feminist. If she decides she’s a man then I’ll call her “he.” I respect how people choose to call themselves. So when I say I don’t see how someone is a fan I don’t mean I don’t think they are a fan. They have self identified and I believe them.

I just don’t see what Green is fannish about. I don’t see her being a good fan let alone the best one. And if she’s going to be the Best Fan Writer then I should really be able to identify her fandom at the very least and at best how she builds up that fandom into something better and more beautiful. In my world something better and more beautiful is also infinitely diverse and contains infinite combinations.

Categories: 2015 Hugos, Hugos, reviews | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “2015 Hugo Awards Best Fan Writer: Reviewing A S Green

  1. There’s a difference, I would think, between being “a fan,” and a “fan writer,” let alone, “best fan writer.” A “fan writer” isn’t a fan who writes, it is, as you’ve suggested, someone who writes their fandom. The “best fan writer” must write the best fandom of anyone in a given year.

    • Y’know, it’s been interesting, because I’ve seen a lot of folks saying that Fan Writer should write ABOUT fandom (often with implications of what’s going on with the fans within the fandom) rather than about, as you say, “their fandom”. I think the best fan writers should write evangelically about their fandom. Even though I enjoy MGC sometimes, I do feel that they spend more effort on sermons than taking the good word to the streets. The best fanwriter, to me, is someone who can say “You need (this fandom; show, movie, author, game, whatever) in your life, and here’s why” and can really convince you that yes, you need and want to know about this new exciting thing you’ve just discovered.

      • I actually agree with that. Someone (GRRM) suggested file770 and Mike Glyer’s amazing work should be up for Best Fan Writer next year and my first thought was that he writes about fans not ___. That blank could be just about anything in the realm of sf/f but for me it does not include being fans of fans. That said… Best Related Work…

      • I agree; related work is a good place for writing about fans or the community. A few people I think would also be great in that category would be someone like the guy who runs Zenopus Archives; his scope is very narrow, focusing solely on the Eric Holmes edition of Dungeons & Dragons and some of his other writings, but he’s done an incredible amount of varied work ranging from text and manuscript analysis, creation of content for fans, and even doing give-aways of fiction written by Holmes just to get him out there are raise some awareness about a somewhat forgotten, though indispensable, figure in the history of Dungeons & Dragons.

        Ron Edwards has been writing some really good stuff about comics on his Dr. Xaos blog, as well, and he’s becoming a new favorite of mine.

        The problem I had with Mixon’s inclusion in this year’s category is that yeah, like you say, it’s a better contender for something like related work. It’s not that her piece on Requires hate isn’t good or important, but as far as attracting new fans to fandom, it does more to warn away than invite outsiders. And, in a way, that’s the problem that the Mad Genius Club writers have. Even if I 100% agreed with all of their culture warring (I don’t), I could not in good conscious look at it and say that it’s out there as an open invitation into the fandom.

        Who are some of the folks you think would be good for the Fan Writer category? Next year’s a long way off, but I really do enjoy reading and learning about new Sci-fi and fantasy stuff. More fodder for my ever growing, never shrinking, queue of books to read.

      • I admit I’ve been out of fandom long enough that I don’t have any blogs to point to. It’s part of why I love file770.com – lots of up on the current state of things people with a variety of opinions who are happy to share.

        Once I’m done reading Hugo nominees I will probably start googling for sf/f related topics I like and just spider through until I find some likeable blogs.

      • Yeah, I kinda use wordpress categories in the same way. Every once in awhile, I’ll just look to see if anyone is talking about something interesting and follow anything that catches my fancy.

  2. As far as I can tell from the fan writings most of these folks are fans of talking about Social Justice Warriors. That’s an interesting niche, but unless they’re admitting that SJWs are a fantasy construct I don’t get what it has to do with SFF.

    • One of my favorite videos right now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQZZ_jggk7Y

      Gives the whole SJW a fantasy makeover.

    • Cat

      Actually, you have a point.

      SJW *is* a fantasy construct. They have (collectively, I think, and quite possibly unconsciously) taken a some attitudes that exist in a handful of people on far-flung corners of the internet, and built a whole alternate-earth in their heads in which those attitudes are taken to extremes and held by people who control society. On Soc-Jus world you really might be taken to the gulag and re-educated for writing blog posts praising fun but mindless SF. On Soc-Jus world white men really are being shut out of positions of power and respect and sent to stand in the bread line or dig ditches while supervised by minorities and women. On Soc-Jus world, the Puppies are all brave freedom fighters, standing up for kindness and sanity at the risk of their careers and even their lives.
      They do have a fandom–it’s a kind of massive LARP going on under our noses while we look on in bemusement. They just don’t *admit* it’s a LARP, and they assign all of us mundanes the role of “Puppy-kicker” or “CHORF” (which originally meant “Christ on a rabbit farm!”) or “SJW.”

      • Cat, this is awesome! I can totally see the whole thing as an out of control LARP. They even get upset when their game is interrupted by people telling them it’s not real.

        Side topic, have you read This is Not a Game? None of the delusional politics currently being discussed but instead a really solid plot around what happens when gamers collaborate to make real world things happen. I loved it. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3535568-this-is-not-a-game

  3. For what it’s worth, I posted a detailed rebuttal of Ms. Green’s essay regarding my novel: http://www.davidmack.pro/blog/2015/06/02/write-back-not-in-anger-sfwapro/

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