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April 10th, 2015

OK, I'm just going to say one thing about the Hugos: It's all about WorldCon, just as GRRM says, in his recent discussion where he gives very good reason why this is not something trivial, but is the ending of something that he and many had every right to consider special. It's a stupid and pointless bit of drama which has just happened, and the entire process has cheapened everybody. I also agree with his solution, which is to soldier on and treat your voting seriously, because that's the honourable way of acting. Go down with the ship, I say.

But (and I have no gloat in me when I say this at all) he was talking about something that for me is already in the past: he already had a Hugo at his fourth (?) WorldCon when, by contrast, I was teaching myself assembly code on 6502 chips and "Wargames" was playing in the theatres. From my personal perspective, what happened here was that the Hugos were pwned, and the moral of this lesson is that any institution anywhere can be attacked from anywhere else on earth at any time because we communicate in networks now, and institutions are made of thought and word.

In my lifetime, since "Wargames" popularized this problem, every democratic institution, every nation, and every religion has been transformed by communication and commerce at a distance. The Hugos are just one more of these. Rather than trying to save them, or perfect the voting method, or firewall them in some way, let them be what they have always been, with all their capriciousness and fallibility, and eventually the perverse seriousness that the "shrieking hunters" have placed on them in this current cultural battle will fade away, and they'll still be there for the people who value them for what they are: a selective celebration of our art and craft.