Leaked emails show organizers of the prestigious Hugo Awards vetted writers’ work and comments with regard to China, where last year’s awards were held.

Organizers of the Hugo Awards, one of the most prominent literary awards in science fiction, excluded multiple authors from shortlists last year over concerns their work or public comments could be offensive to China, leaked emails show.

Questions had been raised as to why writers including Neil Gaiman, R.F. Kuang, Xiran Jay Zhao and Paul Weimer had been deemed ineligible as finalists despite earning enough votes according to information published last month by awards organizers. Emails released this week revealed that they were concerned about how some authors might be perceived in China, where the Hugo Awards were held last year for the first time.

    • Flying Squid
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      983 months ago

      These events keep getting held in places like China and Saudi Arabia, where the organizers know they are going to have to make major concessions to those governments, because the organizers care far more about money than they do the event. At least that’s my theory.

      • @[email protected]
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        273 months ago

        using money to project their influence and values overseas, sport-washing and peddling fossil fuels…

    • @[email protected]
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      123 months ago

      It’s a better argument to not trust the awards admin with anything from now in, given that they did that independently and removed a ton of Chinese authors from the ballots.

      • Schadrach
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        63 months ago

        This isn’t the first time the Hugo has been subject to controversy, about a decade ago most of the awards went to “no award” and the nominees got “asterisk awards” because a group openly coordinated to nominate a slate of works (which they claimed others were doing less publicly in the past). The voting rules were changed over this one.

    • teft
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      1523 months ago

      I’m $ure the deci$ion was completely unbia$ed.

    • @[email protected]
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      963 months ago

      The Hugos have always been a clusterfuck. Explaining all the nuance is beyond a single comment (I can’t even find a good writeup) but it boils down to the voting committee largely being opt/buy-in. If you buy a membership to the World Science Fiction Society, you get to vote on where WorldCon will be held which means you are voting on where The Hugos will be held. You ALSO get to vote in the Hugos themselves

      Yes, that sounds really shitty but it is also why the Hugos are a lot more prestigious than a Goodreads award. People need to give enough of a shit which, historically, has resulted in more people who actually have read multiple entrants.

      Of course, a couple years back we had the “sad puppies” incident where a bunch of racist incels basically voted as a bloc to shut down people of color and non CISHET male voices.

      And… a lot of signs point toward “China” having gamed the system again. Whether that is a focused effort by the CCP or just passionate Chinese SFF fans is up for debate*.

      As for excluding authors? I very much assume that is just a function of operating in China. The CCP cracking down on the event would not end well for anyone involved.

      Personally? I think this is yet another indication that the Hugos, like most “old guard” SFF, can fuck off. It was just a few years back that George R R Martin rambled and talked about the good old days while butchering every single “ethnic” name on the ballot. I think the issue of “who gets to vote” is still a major issue but I also think there is absolutely zero reason that an event about celebrating forward thinking should restrict itself to an in-person gala. That shit should be going above and beyond vtubers and focusing on new voices who might have a day job because being “a full time author” is increasingly impossible for any newbies.

      *: Because China actually has a ridiculously strong SFF community. In large part because there are authors who are very much pushing the boundaries of what they can and can’t say to actually tell interesting and thought provoking stories in the way SFF has always been able to.

        • Optional
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          113 months ago

          Indeed. Quite decent.

          See, Chinese fandom is relatively isolated from western fandom. And the convention committee didn’t realize that there was this thing called the WSFS Constitution which set out rules for stuff they had to do. I gather they didn’t even realize they were responsible for organizing the nomination and voting process for the Hugo awards, commissioning the award design, and organizing an awards ceremony, until about 12 months before the convention (which is short notice for two rounds of voting. commissioning a competition between artists to design the Hugo award base for that year, and so on). So everything ran months too late, and they had to delay the convention, and most of the students who’d pitched in to buy those bids could no longer attend because of bad timing, and worse … they began picking up an international buzz, which in turn drew the attention of the local Communist Party, in the middle of the authoritarian clamp-down that’s been intensifying for the past couple of years. (Remember, it takes a decade to organize a successful worldcon from initial team-building to running the event. And who imagined our existing world of 2023 back in 2013?)

          The organizers appear to have panicked.

          • Optional
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            133 months ago

            lolyikes

            The fallout from Chengdu has probably sunk several other future worldcon bids—and it’s not as if there are a lot of teams competing for the privilege of working themselves to death: Glasgow and Seattle (2024 and 2025) both won their bidding by default because they had experienced, existing worldcon teams and nobody else could be bothered turning up. So the Ugandan worldcon bid has collapsed (and good riddance, many fans would vote NO WORLDCON in preference to a worldcon in a nation that recently passed a law making homosexuality a capital offense). The Saudi Arabian bid also withered on the vine, but took longer to finally die. They shifted their venue to Cairo in a desperate attempt to overcome Prince Bone-saw’s negative PR optics, but it hit the buffers when the Egyptian authorities refused to give them the necessary permits. Then there’s the Tel Aviv bid. Tel Aviv fans are lovely people, but I can’t see an Israeli worldcon being possible in the foreseeable future (too many genocide cooties right now). Don’t ask about Kiev (before February 2022 they were considering bidding for the Eurocon). And in the USA, the prognosis for successful Texas and Florida worldcon bids are poor (book banning does not go down well with SF fans).

      • @[email protected]
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        3 months ago

        Weird that the Hugos wouldn’t have excluded John Ringo and crew for being literal fascists, unless they open their slackened jaws for… Not even criticizing China? Depicting mecha Wu Zetian?

        • @[email protected]
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          43 months ago

          ringo and the sad puppies were only “acknowledged” because of the mass backlash. Otherwise, it was business as usual.

          That is why I think the issue is less the works and more the venue. Because having a racist piece of shit present is one thing. People get mad. They move on because they need the blurb to get another printing from their publisher. But if the CCP gets angry? People start disappearing faster than Jack Ma.

      • @[email protected]
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        63 months ago

        I did not know any of that. I always just figured Hugo award books would at least be good, and that was about as far as my thinking went.

        • @[email protected]
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          43 months ago

          I mean, they almost always are. You just have to understand that, much like with the Oscars (?), it is the SFF (mostly SFF writers) community voting on themselves. And, memes aside, good movies usually win at the Oscars. Sure they favor period pieces and character studies but those are generally well acted and directed. They may just not be “entertaining” to the masses.

          That said, ever since Martin decided he should talk about how great a bunch of transphobes and racists were while butchering the names of up and coming authors because he couldn’t be bothered to read a pronunciation guide, a lot of great authors have started doing their own “awards” blog posts. Which are always nice.

          • @harry_balzac
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            13 months ago

            This is probably the most helpful comment for me. I enjoy reading scifi and I’ve often used the Hugos as a barometer. Not anymore. Time to start checking blogs of good authors

            Any recommendations?

      • @[email protected]
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        13 months ago

        What’s some good “new guard” SF you’d recommend? I don’t read much anymore but I randomly stumbled upon and really enjoyed Megan O’Keefe’s Protectorate trilogy which is a typical space opera but with a female protagonist and openly queer characters and a couple interesting twists (unlike the Three Body Problem whose plot was as pretentious as it was bland and did not live up to even a hundredth the hype but I digress).

        • @Thrashy
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          23 months ago

          The ironic thing about parent comment is that for as much as it bashes the Hugos for being part of the “old guard,” they’ve actually been very good about surfacing and including queer- and minority- centric stories and works by authors with identities that have historically been excluded from the discussion. Arkady Martine won Best Novel in 2020 and 2022 with two entries in a series featuring a lesbian main character, with imperialism’s effects on those who are colonized as a major driver of the plot. Between 2016 and 2018 N.K. Jemisin swept the Best Novel award for successive entries of her Broken Earth trilogy, which revolved around themes of racism, environmental cataclysm, and slavery. The year before that the winner of Best Novel was Cixin Liu’s Three Body Problem which was the first time a work originally published in Chinese won, and then the year before that Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice won, which created a massive uproar amongst the more reactionary types in SF fandom for positing a civilization where the only recognized gender was female (this is super unfair to the book, through, because there’s so much more going on thematically beyond that one small world-building choice!).

          In fact, the way that the Hugo voting has swung noticeably towards exploring issues of imperialism, colonialism, and identity is what prompted the Sad Puppies campaign that OP mentions. What he doesn’t mention is that the Hugo voters overwhelmingly rejected that campaign, and the organization made changes to prevent any future attempts. That part of what makes what happened with the 2023 Hugos so surprising and appalling – it’s completely out of character with the recent history of the awards and the organization to meekly knuckle under and self-censor for fear of angering Chinese authorities, when it’s been so bold in standing up to outside influences so recently. I expect that steps will be taken to prevent a repeat occurrence.

          • @[email protected]
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            13 months ago

            Not sure why you are painting me as some intentionally misleading anti-hugo monster (or why you are caping for the Hugos) but… okay. You probably missed the part where I pointed out it is still a prestigious outlet that carries a lot of weight and even that the buy-in voting is a necessary evil. But hey, I am sure you missed that part while you decided to paint me as some mustache twirling villain.

            Yes. More people of color and fewer cishet stories have been spotlighted. In large part because that is where SFF has gone. The very nature of SFF is to explore fantasy worlds through the lens of social issues. Always has been. And that is why the sad puppies “movement” became a thing. Because you basically had “This is the world as it is becoming” versus “Yeah, but what if strong men were still the heroes”. It was a symptom of the ever increasing conflicts that manifested as Gamergate in the video game space and the alt-right in “politics proper” as it were.

            And yes. Jemisin swept in 2018. In 2020 we had George R R Martin shitting on the “ethnic” names while making it a point to talk about all the great transphobes and bigots who came before. Which continues to be the Hugo’s problem. Because they can’t control how the people vote. But they can make sure to highlight that it is still an old guard institution.

            Amd, much like with the Oscars needing to give a rapist who fled the country a standing ovation every chance they get, any author who wants to have a career needs to grin and bear it because that translates to publisher deals and money.

            And that is why I encourage people to actually go to the blogs of their favorite authors (because many have them these days) and read what they are recommending. It doesn’t have the same weight but it is also a way to sift through the bullshit without the vibe of “We aren’t racist. See, we gave an award to the black chick”

          • Cosmic Cleric
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            13 months ago

            That part of what makes what happened with the 2023 Hugos so surprising and appalling – it’s completely out of character with the recent history of the awards and the organization to meekly knuckle under and self-censor for fear of angering Chinese authorities, when it’s been so bold in standing up to outside influences so recently.

            Has there been a change in organizational staff to account for this?

              • Cosmic Cleric
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                13 months ago

                I was actually asking about when the 2023 administrator started her position (was she there for a long time or newbie), in relation to when the event in China happened, but your information is actually good to know too, so thank you.

                I had not been following this at all, so I was just wondering if new management came in and then this happened immediately, or was it old existing management that for whatever reason changed their mindset to allow something like that to happen later on.

                • @Thrashy
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                  Ah, my bad… There’s a core of people attached to Worldcon Intellectual Property who are supposed to support the hosting convention’s committee. This included Dave McCarty (who was removed from his position within WIP back in January as this situation evolved), and it seems like he pulled together a support team of experienced hands when it became clear that the Chengdu committee had not realized the extent of their responsibilities and couldn’t assemble a local Hugo committee capable of handling everything in the time available. So while it would be convenient to say “hey, the local committee is ultimately responsible for the way the Hugoa are run!” that’s only sort of true at the best-run of cons, and certainly not true in the case of Chengdu.

                  People who’ve been doing this for a long time and should have known better ran scared from the Chinese government’s censorship bureaucracy, for shortsighted and poorly justified reasons. The good news, such as it is, is that as that has been revealed the folks responsible have been removed from their positions, but it’s still disappointing to find out about. I worked with Dave McCarty in the runup to a previous Worldcon and I would have expected better of him.

    • @[email protected]
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      363 months ago

      The worst thing is that the organization censored things that even the CCP doesn’t - several of the excluded books are freely sold in China. Self-censorship is a hell of a drug.

    • @randon31415
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      53 months ago

      Same way Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the labor party: Only those with paid memberships can vote on stuff (e.g. where the awards will be presented in the future). China paid for enough new memberships to flood the vote with people that voted to hold it in China.

      • @[email protected]
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        53 months ago

        Weird comparison. I don’t think the least Tory-lite leader of the Labour Party in the last 30 years was voted in as a Chinese conspiracy, as you are implying.

        • @randon31415
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          13 months ago

          No, China didn’t have anything to do with Corbyn. Just, right before he took control of the party, the party leaders tried to vote him out. There are over 10 million labor voters, but at the time there were only 100,000 paid labor memberships, who were responsible for voting in the party leader. Corbyn got 50,000 (out of the 10 million) new paying members on the rolls and went over night from being on the edge of being expelled to becoming the party leader.

          Same thing happened here: a very large group (all scifi readers) assuming that paying members would have ideals proportional to the larger group - but that smaller group can be manipulated through a large influx of single issue voters.

          • @[email protected]
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            03 months ago

            Firstly, I’m not really sure where you are getting your figures. There were 200,000 paid members under the previous leader and it went up to 600,000 just before he was elected.

            Secondly, it seems like you’re attributing this sharp increase to a third party nefarious action. I would assume that it were simply a larger portion of those 10m voters deciding to register membership in order to vote in a leader more in tune with their party values.

            I take the point that a small group only needing paid membership to vote is open to manipulation. However, I don’t really see a comparison between these two events.

            • @randon31415
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              23 months ago

              I misremembered the number of members - looks like it went up much more drastically than I recalled. And I never said that either were “nefarious actions”, just that a huge influx of new voters with different opinions can alter outcomes.

      • @GhostFence
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        -63 months ago

        Oh man, how long before China has enough global power to censor what we watch in American cinema/TV? Or are we already at that point??? 😱

        • @[email protected]
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          23 months ago

          We kind of are? Although, it is mostly at the same level the US has been. Mainstream movies aren’t going to have things that will anger significant markets. Similarly, a decent number of the long living live service games have “china” versions that do stuff like get rid of skeletons and so forth.

          It is obviously speculation, but a LOT of what went wrong with Rise of Skywalker has strong hints of being about the Chinese market.

          • Even the people who hated TLJ with every fiber of their being kind of noticed that Rose Tico almost completely disappeared. And… part of that is speculated to be because Kelly Marie Tran was getting a lot of traction due to the constant bigotry and hatred thrown at her for being asian in a “white” franchise. Except… she is ethnically Vietnamese.
          • The force ghosts don’t have their blue tint which is speculated to be about making it less obvious they are spirits/ghosts
          • TLJ literally ended with “Our elders fucked up and the world is possibly a worse place than it was before The War. But now we are rallying behind a former slave, a scoundrel, and some homeless chick all while force powers are being spread among the proletariat”. ROS IMMEDIATELY retconned all that to “The slave is a goober who belongs with his own people and that homeless chick has a direct connection to the ruling class. Also, the real heroes are our ancestors”.

          Which… again, kind of mirrors how the US and its holy concepts are treated. Take a look at mainstream action movies from basically the 70s to the 10s. The enemy might be a rogue general or CIA operative but you’ll have a heroic US soldier/marine around to counter that out and show that the vast majority of the military are good people (and we still see the impact of that with people trying to reconcile the US military waiting to see how Jan 6 would shake out…). Same with how Democracy is good and amazing and only ever fails because of outright fraud rather than gerrymandering and stupidity/bigotry.

          Just… the main difference is that you can still watch a movie about a squad of US Marines raping and murdering their way through a warzone in the US. Whereas that gets outright banned in China and can lead to a visit to the reeducation camps if the creator lives in China.

          • @GhostFence
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            13 months ago

            I’m not entirely clear on where you’re drawing the line here but American cinema has a rich history of promoting mistrust in the U.S. Government. Eagle Eye, Three Days of the Condor, All the President’s Men, Dr. Strangelove, and the Watchmen, all were mainstream movies produced in that 70s to 10s time period. Some or all of those depict institutionalized corruption on a level you’d probably not ever see coming from China.

            • @[email protected]
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              13 months ago
              • Three Days of the Condor: Rogue CIA op “exposed” by a loyal CIA agent
              • All the President’s Men: About the law and the good parts of the government uniting to stop a criminal president
              • Dr Strangelove: Rogue general with the POTUS et al trying to prevent world war 3
              • The Watchmen: You mean Alan Moore’s wank rag? I don’t think anything about that story is coherent enough to really over-analyze. But the HBO sequel series very much focused on the idea of The Good Cops/Supes
              • Eagle Eye: Did ANYONE watch this? So I’ll talk about Enemy of the State instead since that is an awesome movie. And it very much is about a rogue senator (?) and the NSA overreaching and is stopped by the good government agents and Big Willy Style

              I don’t think it is even a conscious effort most of the time. But it very much pervades US media. And a lot of it even boils down to the actual military propaganda like NCIS or Bradley Cooper’s The A-Team. It is the idea that we are Americans and we are exceptional and we truly value individualism and everyone should praise the NCOs who are going to fight the good fight and make sure they never do anything bad no matter what the evil officers tell them… so make sure to shoot that kid your Sergeant is telling you to because that fucker totally has it coming.

              Mostly I am just trying to point out that we are already adjusting “global” media to placate major demogrpahics. The main difference, like I said, being that pissing off the US Government means republicans won’t watch your movie. Pissing off the CCP means you need to be careful any time you are flying in the Eastern hemisphere.

              • @GhostFence
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                13 months ago

                Three Days of the Condor: Rogue CIA op “exposed” by a loyal CIA agent

                The crucial point is CIA op. The CIA had an oilfield contingency plan. That’s the organization, not just one corrupt individual. Definitely borders on institutional.

                All the President’s Men: About the law and the good parts of the government uniting to stop a criminal president

                “He also states the cover-up was not only intended to camouflage the CREEP involvement, but also to hide “covert operations” involving “the entire U.S. intelligence community”, including the CIA and FBI.”

                Sounds pretty institutional to me when two whole organizations are involved in corruption.

                Dr Strangelove: Rogue general with the POTUS et al trying to prevent world war 3

                Okay, then institutionalized stupidity.

                The Watchmen: You mean Alan Moore’s wank rag? I don’t think anything about that story is coherent enough to really over-analyze. But the HBO sequel series very much focused on the idea of The Good Cops/Supes

                Oh come on, the Government had collateral damage galore in Vietnam. And the killing of war protesters. All institutionally orchestrated.

                Eagle Eye: Did ANYONE watch this? So I’ll talk about Enemy of the State instead since that is an awesome movie. And it very much is about a rogue senator (?) and the NSA overreaching and is stopped by the good government agents and Big Willy Style

                The NSA is an institution and they blew up those civilian targets. Nobody stopped that. That’s what triggered everything else.

                But this is my main point here:

                Mostly I am just trying to point out that we are already adjusting “global” media to placate major demogrpahics. The main difference, like I said, being that pissing off the US Government means republicans won’t watch your movie. Pissing off the CCP means you need to be careful any time you are flying in the Eastern hemisphere.

                Yes, China is creating censorship of the worst form imaginable. And it is affecting what we Americans are able to see on cinema. All the downvoters on here see nothing wrong with this picture?

                • @[email protected]
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                  Oh come on, the Government had collateral damage galore in Vietnam. And the killing of war protesters. All institutionally orchestrated.

                  And “Vietnam was bad” is a fight the US had long since lost. It is very acceptable to say “things were bad” then and it has increasingly become one of those “See, we don’t fall for propaganda. Look how much we learned from the last time we entered a conflict we didn’t understand with goals that weren’t well articulated and rules of engagement that were the worst of all worlds”. And if it isn’t obvious: am I talking about Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Iraq, Afghanistan, or (Erastil protect us) Israel?

                  But the institution is bad

                  Yeah.

                  It is the idea that we are Americans and we are exceptional and we truly value individualism and everyone should praise the NCOs who are going to fight the good fight and make sure they never do anything bad no matter what the evil officers tell them… so make sure to shoot that kid your Sergeant is telling you to because that fucker totally has it coming.

                  Again, this IS how the US does propaganda. We like to pretend we are all unique individuals with maximum agency because FREEDOM. And that is how we somehow decided that “a few bad apples” doesn’t ruin the bunch. And pretty much the basis for all the actual direct funded propaganda. Parts of the institutions are bad but the boots on the ground are heroes so you better fucking thank Chet Hanks for his service if you want some salmon.

                  And… again, you are kind of falling for it hook line and sinker. Don’t worry, I also didn’t realize how pervasive this was and even pointed out that stuff like the Call of Duty games were “shockingly not ‘rah rah america’ because the bad guys are US generals”. It really was the Bradley Cooper A-Team (which… I actually really liked) that made it obvious that… that is the point. The generals might make you do horrible stuff so you shouldn’t feel bad if you rape and murder a family because you can’t tell the difference between one set of brown people and another. But the men in the foxhole next to you and the NCOs who relay those orders are all good and heroic people who are just doing their best".

                  And once you realize that is the formula? It becomes REALLY obvious how much media is “propaganda” whether it is directly funded by the US military or just people emulating the folk tales they grew up on.

                  And it is VERY important to understand that. In the same way it is important to understand that not all pro-China spin is “And we only avoided war because general sexy china guy believed Amy Adams and chose to not escalate” or “China was kind enough to give a rocket to Childish Gambino and Boromir because they truly believe in science and humanity” and a lot of it really is the kind of stuff we saw in Rise of Skywalker.

                  Because, yes, I am sure at least a few of those stories are outright thought crimes as far as the CCP is concerned. But a lot of it is going to just be a case of, to use an American term, someone not thanking the troops before a set or being overly critical of the brave men and women of the mujaheddin. It won’t get someone outright banned, but it does lead to the discourse of “Well, they just get too political” which hurts the bottom line in other ways. It is just… because the CCP, “hurts the bottom line” really means “gets your whole event investigated by the CCP”.

    • @fedroxx
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      deleted by creator

      • @khannie
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        263 months ago

        I don’t even know where to start with this it’s so nonsensical. Sure there are rights in China but to compare it favourably to the US smells so bad I find it hard to believe anyone could genuinely believe it.

        I’ve spent about 6 months in both countries over the course of my life (I’m old) and China is far, far more oppressed than the US. The population there are entirely cowed, can’t express themselves freely on social media, until recently couldn’t even decide the number of children they could have, can’t protest in numbers, can’t send end to end encrypted messages, can’t access the full internet, can’t use a VPN without risk of being prosecuted and on and on and on.

        Sure the US has it’s flaws but trying to say China is doing better from a rights perspective is just bananas.

      • @[email protected]
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        1. Freedom of Speech and Expression

        2. Freedom of Press

        3. Freedom of Religion

        4. Right to Peaceful Assembly

        5. Right to Fair Trial

        Aren’t all of these rights quite a lot weaker in China? None of this is a problem of course if you keep your head down or be a bootlicker, but not having to lick boots is pretty much the motivation for human rights.

      • @[email protected]
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        You can say “death” on youtube videos in the U.S. … Please find a popular bilibili video uses 死 (actual character for “death”) in the subtitle, instead of 亖 (pronouned the same, but means “four”).

        U.S. definitely is not a country that respects basic human rights, but at least they don’t need repos like these to speak on the internet: https://github.com/houbb/sensitive-word/ . You can find the sensitive words here: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/houbb/sensitive-word/master/src/main/resources/dict.txt

        Most of these are sexual words, but it is not hard to see that basically everything related to politics is a sensitive word, including names of politicians, current or past; political organization, position no matter they are pro or anti CCP; and political events, anywhere from massacre, protest, to just congressional meetings.

        Many other words related to human right and economics. For example, words like 中国孤儿院 (chinese orphanage), 中国民主 (Chinese democracy), 中国特色 (Chinese specialty), 中国石油腰斩 (Chinese oil stock lowered 50%), 你乃人民 (you are the people) and many many more.

        • @[email protected]
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          -43 months ago

          YouTube censors thousands of words, including ones relating to death, so that may not be the best point of comparison.

          And before you say, “they don’t censor them they just demonetize them!” that’s functionally the same thing in a capitalist society.

          Censorship is more than just outright deletion, suppression and control can also be censorship. You lack a lot of freedom of speech in both platforms, it just plays out differently.

          (Also YouTube does outright delete a lot of content for pretty suspicious reasons so don’t get too excited even then.)

          • @khannie
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            03 months ago

            And before you say, “they don’t censor them they just demonetize them!” that’s functionally the same thing in a capitalist society.

            Sorry but this is absolutely false. Lots and lots of people post videos to YouTube without a profit motive, myself included.

      • @Coreidan
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        Did you forget about tiananmen square? Hong Kong protests? I think you did. Or you’re a boot licker.

  • @[email protected]
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    1363 months ago

    Fuck China and their censorship, the Hugos should be ashamed to bow down to it. Literally the genre that calls their nonsense out.

    • @maness300
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      413 months ago

      It’s bigger than “China and their censorship.”

      The problem, as always, is maximizing profit. As long as people put profit before everything else, whoever has the most money is going to control what happens.

    • @redhorsejacket
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      333 months ago

      Fwiw, this is not a case of China stepping in and censoring anything about the awards. Rather, it’s a case of the Hugo administration in the West self-censoring their nominees because they feared China might step in if they didn’t get ahead of the curve.

      Of course, that doesn’t really change the situation, but we shouldnt get the story twisted here. The blame falls on the administrators who were so afraid of a threat that they imagined that they caved to non-existent demands, rather than the Chinese (at least for direct fault, since you could argue the Chinese government’s policies indirectly led to this situation and I wouldn’t fight you on that).

      • @[email protected]
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        163 months ago

        Your point would be more reasonable if we didn’t have a precedent of things like that happening with them before. I’m not saying the administration isn’t to blame, as well. But acting like they shouldn’t be concerned about repercussions is disingenuous, at best.

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        123 months ago

        How do we know that? It might well have been part of the agreement to host the awards, a direct or indirect request not to allow certain authors, books, or topics deemed offensive to the CCP.

      • Cosmic Cleric
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        03 months ago

        Fwiw, this is not a case of China stepping in and censoring anything about the awards. Rather, it’s a case of the Hugo administration in the West self-censoring their nominees because they feared China might step in if they didn’t get ahead of the curve.

        You’re making an assumption that verbal conversations, ‘off the record’, didn’t happened beforehand.

    • @[email protected]
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      -143 months ago

      China didn’t have anything to do with it. They censored books that were already translated and selling in china, and Chinese authors.

      • @UnderpantsWeevil
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        3 months ago

        China = Censorship.

        It’s impossible to believe that a pro-China author might have been censored at a western organized and operated media event. There’s no way that a wildly popular domestically written and published and Galaxy Award winning sci-fi novel “We Live In Nanjing” got left off the list because it was too pro-China!

        No. If novels and authors were excluded from the list - if R. F. Kuang and Jiang Bo didn’t make the list - it must be due to the villainous Chinese censors doing Evil China Stuff, and not a bunch of elderly Euro-Americans felt like trimming the pool back to an almost exclusively western and white author pool.

  • @TheFonz
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    1303 months ago

    Way to lose all credibility in one event

    • @Ensign_Crab
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      3 months ago

      I mean, that depends.

      There was a campaign from 2013 to 2017 by rightwingers to game the Hugos by buying non-attending memberships to worldcon and nominating works they deemed to be sufficiently non-woke. Thing is, there’s one nominee they couldn’t game: “none of these.”

      So most of the time where the only nominees were gamed, membership voted that there was to be no award in that category that year. The exceptions were authors that likely would have been nominated anyway due to name recognition, like Neil Gaiman.

      The award can maintain its integrity despite the committee’s lack thereof if Worldcon members vote for no award to be given in the categories leadership fucked with.

      • @khannie
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        273 months ago

        That’s a great example and entirely valid.

        On the flip side though I can’t imagine many countries where awards would be vetted simply because it might upset the host. It’s a terrible idea IMO and does take away from whoever actually won this year. They’ll be left to question whether they won fairly because a competitor was excluded for China’s benefit.

        I think this specific example does damage the integrity of the awards.

  • @Burn_The_Right
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    1123 months ago

    I really used to think highly of the Hugo Awards. Now I just see them as an empty scheme to make rich people richer. The Hugo awards should not be taken seriously at this point.

    • deweydecibel
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      No awards should if they’re connected to industry insiders.

      I’m legitimately flabbergasted every single year by the sheer number of people who think shit like the Oscars or the Emmy’s mean anything given the degree of bullshit that goes on behind the scenes, and some of it out in the open.

      They’re industry circle jerks for marketing and giving favors to friends. It’s insane we give them any credit at all. But if the Game Awards have proven anything, it’s that the only thing you need to make an award show “legitimate” is a lot of money to market it enough year after year.

      • Optional
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        23 months ago

        “This is not a pipe”

      • @[email protected]
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        It’s amazing how often people are told, en masse, to like something or give it credence simply because it’s being marketed as something that they should like or trust, and they just sort of go along with it. Of course, if it didn’t work, the advertising/marketing industry wouldn’t be as big as it is…

  • @Nobody
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    313 months ago

    Organizers also flagged comments that authors, including Barkley and Sanford, had made about the merits of holding the awards in Chengdu and whether they signed or shared the open letter.

    Even if you don’t criticize China explicitly in your works, you are still subject to the Chinese social credit score for everything you say online.

    Science fiction is supposed to be about looking to the future in creative ways. Stifling creativity for state interests is repugnant.

  • morriscox
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    293 months ago

    Well, there’s going a lot of credibility going poof.

  • @[email protected]
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    Ask lemmygrad why this happened, they’ll have a theory absolute factual reason why China was right to do this.

      • @UnderpantsWeevil
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        63 months ago

        The Hugos has been targeted for political manipulation for at least a decade now. Go back and look up who the “Sad Puppies” were, as an activist organization trying to influence nominees/winners.

        I don’t think its unfair to say these awards have become dogshit over time, thanks to the way they’ve been manipulated by outside agitators to push this or that political message. I think its a stretch to say the problem is “capitalism” per se, but it is absolutely about conflating economic success with legitimacy of message. Hugo awards are a marketing tool for authors and boosted sales mean higher profiles which means more money for the next round of novels.

        This creates some real perverse incentives when it comes to submissions/awards, particularly when “China Good/Bad!” readings of certain novels become this cause du jour for activists with little actual interest in the literature itself.

    • @stoly
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      123 months ago

      Tankies can justify anything

  • Optional
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    273 months ago

    from the excellent antipope article posted earlier:

    A commenter just drew my attention to this news item on China.org.cn, dated October 23rd, 2023, right after the worldcon. It begins:

    Investment deals valued at approximately $1.09 billion were signed during the 81st World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) held in Chengdu, Sichuan province, last week at its inaugural industrial development summit, marking significant progress in the advancement of sci-fi development in China.

    The deals included 21 sci-fi industry projects involving companies that produce films, parks, and immersive sci-fi experiences …"

    That’s a metric fuckton of moolah in play, and it would totally account for the fan-run convention folks being discreetly elbowed out of the way and the entire event being stage-managed as a backdrop for a major industrial event to bootstrap creative industries (film, TV, and games) in Chengdu. And—looking for the most charitable interpretation here—the hapless western WSFS people being carried along for the ride to provide a veneer of worldcon-ness to what was basically Chinese venture capital hijacking the event and then sanitizing it politically.

    Follow the money.

  • @feedum_sneedson
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    223 months ago

    “she was dimly aware of somebody screaming, and after a few moments realised the sound was coming from her” - Neil Gaiman; every book.

    • @[email protected]
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      163 months ago

      I’ve only read a couple of his books but don’t remember this specific trope. Can you give notations?

      And even if you dislike this trope and think it’s lame does that mean he should be booted out of the Hugo awards?

      • @nyctre
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        3 months ago

        The more popular an artist, the louder the haters /shrug

      • @feedum_sneedson
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        -163 months ago

        well I must say Sir, my head is also wobbling with indignation

          • @feedum_sneedson
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            03 months ago

            only a total twat would sit on the internet doing that kind of shit, or asking for it 😂

    • @[email protected]
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      Yeah, he does like to play around with the sometimes confusing, fragmentary, and disorienting nature of subjective experience, especially during traumatic events, doesn’t he