A&A and the Hugos

By now you may have heard that Abyss & Apex was on the 2015 “Sad Puppies 3″ (SP3) slate of potential Hugo nominees, in the Best Semiprozine category. (ETA: And yes, we were nominated.)

I detest the term “hate speech,” as it implies a lack of freedom of speech, but there is such a thing as “hateful speech.” Last year, both sides of the Sad Puppies controversy were guilty of hateful speech. Last year, had we been included in the small slate of Sad Puppies 2, I’d have had A&A removed.

This year, however, is different. This year SP3 has a full slate and commitment to storytelling. We are being listed with genre favorites who never seem to get nominations, like Jim Butcher for his most recent Harry Dresden novel, Skin Game, my friend Charles E. Gannon (Trial by Fire), and Kevin J. Anderson (The Dark Between the Stars.) They’re suggesting long-form Best Editors could be people like Toni Weisskopf of BAEN. And rather than the usual endless parade of Dr. Who episodes, for Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form they have episodes of Grimm and The Flash, for the Long-Form they are suggesting we nominate movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Interstellar.  Read the whole slate here.

And this is where A&A comes in. We’ve been around a long time and helped launch a lot of writing careers. Look at our awards and honors page. And yet, we’ve never been even nominated for such an award. I think a nomination would help our writers, boost to their carers. I was also offered a Best Editor, Short Form spot on the slate, and I turned it down. It’s not about me. It’s about our writers and their audience.

At least 8,000 unique users read A&A every month. We’ve spiked as high as  20K/mo. We’ve survived and grown in a marketplace that is brutal to most:–take  a look at the graveyard and see what happened to most of our competition. We made a Locus Recommended Reading list, have honorable mentions and reprints in Year’s Best anthologies.

All of this tells me that we must be doing something right.

I like to think that it’s for the following reasons, things that the SP3 campaign also stands for:

1. Abyss & Apex has a commitment to stories. Each edition of Abyss & Apex has tales in which things happen; no navel gazing or slice-of-boring-life allowed. This does not mean they cannot be literary works–see our homage to Ray Bradbury, for example.
2. Our commitment to diversity of thought. We publish no right OR left brickbat-over-the head preaching or sociopolitical commentary thinly disguised as entertainment. Stories can have political facets or even points, but they have to be -stories-. Unsurprisingly, we’ve found that diversity of thought seems to automatically breed diversity of writers. Imagine that. And I’ve brought in my friend Tonya Liburd so we can be even more diverse in thought, going forward.
(An aside : In case non-readers think all we publish is right-leaning tales where corporations are wonderful or traditional values are all that matter, we respectfully suggest they read our  “Godspeed Inc.,” “The Coin Whisperer,” or “Snatch Me Another.“)
3. Our commitment to introducing readers to new voices. As I am sure you know by now, about a quarter of the things we buy are first-time publications for their authors. We often work with authors on difficult rewrites (A&A is one of the very few markets that does so.) We like to get new voices out there  to fire reader imaginations and help our authors become known names and make more sales. We grow careers. A Hugo nomination will help us do that, increasing the visibility of Abyss & Apex.

I’d like to close this editorial with a comment from “the SAD PUPPIES: some responses to the fallout” post on Brad R. Torgersen’s blog. It addresses the concern of some that SP3 is “vote buying” or bad motives like squashing diversity of any kind. No, the Hugos are The People’s Choice Award of the genre. Thanks to SP3, people are realizing they can vote. If that makes the usual suspects a little concerned (most of whom I know and love and have voted for in the past, like fellow editors Ellen Datlow, Neil Clarke, Gardner Dozois, Sheila Williams, and John Joseph Adams), I say bring it on. Authors and publishing houses who have campaigned  in the past, however quietly, must feel like the Redcoats did during the American Revolutionary War. They may have done things the old fashioned way, and thought the revolutionaries guerrilla tactics uncouth. But, if I recall correctly, the revolutionaries won. And today, we’re allies with England.

Wyldkat says:
February 7, 2015 at 10:49 pm
. . . Sad Puppies is showing people like me, and my sister, that we do have a say in the Hugo voting.I have been a reading SF for just shy of 40 years now, but I’ve never been actively involved in the “fandom”. I never put any thought into how stories were nominated  for the Hugo, I just assumed it worked like the Oscars – publishers and other  writers did the nominating and voting. I was surprised to learn through reading Sad Puppies 2 last year that we, the fans, were the ones with the voice. I thought it was great, but not something I could participate in. The voting was done at  World Con. I can’t afford to go to World Con, perhaps the most expensive SF Con known.Along came Sad Puppies 3 and I learned that you could get a “sponsor”(she means “supporting” – Ed.)  membership and get the same opportunity to nominate and vote without having to go World Con. So, for the first time this 40 year fan gets to have her say. Maybe my little voice will amount to nothing, but perhaps the authors of those stories will be pleased to know that someone thought that highly of their work.

Sad Puppies isn’t hurting anyone, it is letting us little people, the quiet fans, know that we can join in and have our say.

– Wendy S. Delmater, Editor

Abyss & Apex
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5 Responses to A&A and the Hugos

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