To my friends and fellow fans who might not be able to afford a Worldcon membership

Earlier today, Mary Robinette Kowal offered 10 (now 20) supporting (voting) memberships to the World Science Fiction Convention in 2015 to fans who might not otherwise be able to afford a supporting membership. The membership allows fans to vote for the Hugo Award, which is often considered to be the most prestigious award in science fiction.

I know that I have friends and fellow fans out there who can’t afford a supporting membership, and so, taking a page from Mary’s book, I am offering 5 supporting memberships for Worldcon for people who can’t otherwise afford one.

Part of the fun of the World Science Fiction Convention is being able to vote on your favorite works from the previous year, and that $40 supporting membership is difficult for some folks. If you can afford, it, I encourage you to get a supporting membership. If you can’t afford one, shoot me an email at feedback [at] jamietoddrubin [dot] com with your contact information. Also, because of the controversy surrounding the Hugo Awards this year, I want to be clear that for folks who get these supporting membership: please don’t feel constrained in your vote. Participation in the fan process is all that I am hoping for.

Next week, I’ll pick the 5 names randomly from the requests that I get, and buy the memberships through the Sasquan website on their behalf.

ETA (4/15): All 5 supporting memberships have been given out to folks making requests. As it turned out, I had exactly 5 requests for a membership through today, so that made things easy.

4 thoughts on “To my friends and fellow fans who might not be able to afford a Worldcon membership

  1. Well done, Jamie.
    As I’ve said many times, in MRK’s thread and elsewhere, a lot of people in Europe, longtime SF lovers, have no clue about what’s going on here. But Hugos mean something to everybody (even though it’s true what GRRM says about the fact they are a Worldcon’s creation). Also because Hugos are the way many get introduced to SF – displaying “Hugo Winner or nominee” on a book cover *does* matter.
    So, let’s keep them as open as they could be – let’s encourage as many people as possible to participate and vote/support what they like, and the hell with politics. We get enough of that in life anyway.
    Kudos to you, Mary and any other helping achieve this.

  2. Did you check with the Hugo folks before offering this? Because it really looks bad from the outside.

    If the SP group is not buying memberships for their members but the other side is, doesn’t that mean one side had to resort to actually buying votes to try and get people to reject the SP ballot? I really doubt you could convince the Hugo admins to look the other way on something like this. You’d want them to come out and publicly say it is okay before engaging in this kind of behavior.

    On top of that, what happens if someone openly says, “I cannot afford to go but with your help I’m going to vote for Vox Day for editor” and you refuse to buy them a membership? Doesn’t that mean you are trying to rig the pool of voters?

  3. AV, as I see it, there are 2 benefits to a supporting membership that have nothing to do with voting. The first is the feeling of participating in fandom–just feeling like you are a part of something.

    The second is more applicable to folks who can’t otherwise afford a membership: you can trade in a supporting membership for a full one. And a full membership allows people to attend the convention itself. $170 might be out of reach for some folks, but $130 might not be, so if I can help with a supporting membership and folks are able to trade up for a full one and attend Worldcon, I think that’s great!

    Finally, regarding voting: it doesn’t matter to me how someone votes, or even if they vote at all. People can vote for whoever they like, or they can take the membership and not vote at all. My experience in the science fiction/fantasy community has always been a positive one. Many of the people I grew up reading and thinking of as my heroes, have helped me along the way in my writing career, whether through mentoring, or just making me feeling welcome. This was in part because I was fortunate enough to be able to afford to attend conventions and participate in the process. I know that there are people out there who can’t afford that. I’m just trying to pay it forward.

  4. Jamie,

    Thank you for your response.

    I do not doubt your intentions are noble, but you have to admit on the outside it can easily be taken the wrong way. Wouldn’t it just make more sense (considering the overflowing controversy this year) to run it by Worldcon or at least give them a heads up so they know this is not a coordinated effort to buy back the Hugos? They have already cleared the various Puppy slates of any wrongdoing two years in a row.

    Think about it: How much damage would it do if the Worldcon folks determined this was a ballot stuffing attempt while the Puppy campaigns were not? Again, I’m sure both you and MRK have nothing but honest intentions, but this is obviously a direct response to the Puppy campaigns and if it backfires on you…

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