January 2024 Archives

You've probably seen news reports that the Hugo awards handed out last year at the world science fiction convention in Chengdu were rigged. For example: Science fiction awards held in China under fire for excluding authors.

The Guardian got bits of the background wrong, but what's undeniably true is that it's a huge mess. And the key point the press and most of the public miss is that they seem to think there's some sort of worldcon organization that can fix this.

Spoiler: there isn't.

(Caveat: what follows below the cut line is my brain dump, from 20km up, in lay terms, of what went wrong. I am not a convention runner and I haven't been following the Chengdu mess obsessively. If you want the inside baseball deets, read the File770 blog. If you want to see the rulebook, you can find it here (along with a bunch more stuff). I am on the outside of the fannish discourse and flame wars on this topic, and I may have misunderstood some of the details. I'm open to authoritative corrections and will update if necessary.)

I am seeing newspaper headlines today along the lines of British public will be called up to fight if UK goes to war because 'military is too small', Army chief warns, and I am rolling my eyes.

The Tories run this flag up the mast regularly whenever they want to boost their popularity with the geriatric demographic who remember national service (abolished 60 years ago, in 1963). Thatcher did it in the early 80s; the Army general staff told her to piss off. And the pols have gotten the same reaction ever since. This time the call is coming from inside the house—it's a general, not a politician—but it still won't work because changes to the structure of the British society and economy since 1979 (hint: Thatcher's revolution) make it impossible.

Reasons it won't work: there are two aspects, infrastructure and labour.

(I should have posted this a couple of weeks ago ...)

2024 looks set to be a somewhat disruptive year.

Never mind the Summer Olympics in Paris; the big news is politics, where close to half the world's population get to vote in elections with a strong prospect of electing outright fascists.



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