jeffsoesbe (jeffsoesbe) wrote,

Thoughts on two internet SFF controversies

There's two controversies going around the blogs recently.

- "Realms of Fantasy has too many covers of naked chickies for you to leer over and objectify"

My summary: Doug Cohen (aka douglascohen) and Warren Lapine, the Art Directory and new publisher of Realms, were taken to task by K. Tempest Bradford at a con for the Realms covers. Her very valid point was that too many covers (and interior art) in the past featured nearly naked chickies, usually in bikinis of various sorts, for the readers to ogle. She was looking for a change in this situation with the new ownership, including more gender equity on partially-clothed cover subjects, but based on what she'd seen so far was not pleased.

Links: Post about the con discussion on Tempest's blog; Post in response on Doug's LJ.

My thoughts: I think Tempest is exactly right. Selling fantasy using the monthly equivalent of the Speculative Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover doesn't give me a good feeling about the field. But I also think we need to give Doug and Warren the benefit of the doubt and give them a little time to establish their own trends in their work on the magazine. They certainly sounded like they understood what Tempest was saying, in the the conversation as recounted in her blog article.

I wonder if Doug, who also reads the submittals for RoF, will get a spate of stories that would be well served by art involving butt-naked boyies. I know *I've* got a couple where the story art could certainly be along that line.

- "Those Hugo Awards shortlists, they have Teh Suck About Them"

Writer Adam Roberts reviewed the Hugo Best Novel shortlist and found it severely lacking in terms of daring, literary qualities . Abigail Nussbaum was similarly unimpressed (part one and two). John Scalzi (one of the Best Novel nominees) weighted in on Whatever. John Picacio responded to Adam's feedback on the Best Artist nominees.

My thoughts: The word "best" is way too subjective, even for an award that is as subjective as the Hugo Awards. After all, the Hugo awards are voted on by whoever decides to pay money to possibly attend the World Science Fiction Convention (or, as I did, pay money to get to vote on the Hugos). When I nominate and vote I'm voting for my favorite works of the year (most of my definition of "best", in this context) and I don't think that I'm alone in this opinion. If the Hugos were stated as the "Favorite Novel/etc", Adam might not have had the same posting even if he would have (probably) had the same opinion about the nominated works.

In the end it's an award, with a set of selection criteria, voted on by a certain group of people. It's fine to disagree with the nominated works and offer your own opinions, or to even disagree with the criteria, but saying bad things about the group of people who are doing the voting might not be the best way to affect change (as Scalzi mentions in his post).
Tags: genre, hugos, writing

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