Read about the Worldcon supporting membership grant recipients, in their own words.

When I offered to sponsor people who couldn’t afford supporting members for WorldCon, I also said that I would share as much as I could about who received these membership grants. With their permission, here are 83 entries from people who received a supporting membership. This isn’t all 100, because some people didn’t feel comfortable having any form of their information out there. With the ones that agreed, I redacted their identifying information, but otherwise am presenting them unedited.

It is interesting to read this cross-section of folks who are serious lovers of SFF, but can’t afford to attend conventions. What I love best about this collection of paragraphs is that it really makes it clear that people who love SFF come from every walk of life. Liberals, Libertarians, moms, students, teachers… we all love this geeky stuff.

But here, you can read about them in their own words.

  1. “I’ve been a general geek/nerd my whole life. I’ve read most of the big names, many of the little names, and anything from Award Winners to cheesy media tie-ins, Grimdark to old school adventure.I am a “”fan””, but I’ve never attended a con. Not for lack of wanting, simply could never justify the expense when there are always bills to pay.I’ve honestly never really cared about the Hugos before. I’ve seen it talked of as the best, and I’ve always checked out the shortlist for interesting reads, but never knew one could simply join and be heard until recently. Unfortunately, it’s yet another Fandom cost I can’t really justify.

    At any rate, I’d like to thank you for being one of the voices of reason during this episode in the community. And for making this offer in the first place.”

  2. I started reading SF/F as a young teen and into my early 20s until I overdosed on fantasy and my love of Romance took over (started with Heyer at somewhere between 10-12). Returned seriously to SF/F via Bujold, Asaro and Lee/Miller in the late 1990s. Attended Denvention where Lois was GoH in 2008. Good times (apart from the 3+ months lasting con crud, ho boy). Not active in fandom because I was busy breeding and exhibiting cats for many years. Now that I’m retired from that I’m sadly very broke (as we say in the fancy, cats don’t cost a small fortune, they need a large one and then some 🙂 so $40 is out at the moment but ever since the Sad/Rabid thing started I’ve been feeling something I care about is under attack.
  3. I have always been interested in genre fiction, but before now never really dreamed of being a hugo voter. I’d be really excited to read all of the nominated works and vote for whatever I think most deserves the prize. I’m really grateful to get a chance to join in the process. Thank you for doing this. Poor college kids have a shot at participating in something meaningful.
  4. I am a wife, mother, hobby book blogger, and an avid reader and lover of SFF in many forms. I’ve always wanted to make my voice heard, but since my husband lost his job right after our son was born, I haven’t been able to read the newest works available, or support the work being done in the SFF world. I have considered myself part of fandom (or many ransoms) for at least 10 years, and the troubles of the SFF worlds are showing themselves in comics and gaming as well, and it frustrates me that someone would try to shut out diverse voices in all of these related fields.
  5. “Being a brazilian SFF fan, I’ve always watched enviously as american an european fans talked about going to cons like it’s not an incredible privilege to be able to just “”swing by”” a place and experience the beating heart of fandom.
    We don’t have cons around here (some comic cons, of course, comics people are better with that) and our community is scattered through this immense country. It’s hard to find people, hard not to feel alone. I’ve been reading/watching SFF for 23 years and it took a lot of digging on the internet before I found other brazilian fans. But finding the anglophone online fandom? That was easy as browsing the Geocities directory or finding the right LiveJournals (because that was how it was back then. Nowdays it’s all about Tumblr, of course).
    That was because you are organized, because the community created the cons and the cons sustain the community. You have a beautiful thing going on with that cycle and I’m sure not everyone sees how fantastic it is, how great it is just to have someone to disagree with. Disagreement means there are enough of you to have different opinions. Different opinions are what makes meaningful conversation possible, and conversation means the narrative changes. SFF is a gigantic conversation about humanity, society and what is what. So, please, do not break this. The rest of us, all around the world, are watching and hoping.”
  6. i attended Worldcon for the first time last year, and I would really like to be able to continue to have a voice in SFF convention fandom, and the Hugo Awards. SFF is important to me, and I believe we should all be able to see ourselves in the genre, and in the Hugo Awards.
  7. I’m a 26 year old woman from [Canada]. I have enjoyed reading fantasy novels since elementary school, and have more recently gotten into sci fi by way of dune. I went to school to get my degree in biology, found out there are no jobs for someone with an undergraduate degree in biology, so I followed my passion and have started a business making glass beads and sculptures. I would love to scrape together the money for a supporting membership but $40 is quite a few beads to sell! I would very much appreciate the opportunity to vote if my name is chosen.
  8. I am 48 years old and have been reading sci-fi/fantasy since I can remember reading. My interests range from hard science to soft science sci-fi. I also am very partial to the areas that overlap between sci-fi and horror or fantasy or crime/thriller. I try to keep up with the Hugo’s each year and try to read as many of the nominees/winners as I am aware of. I was the president of the sci-fi group of the college I attended, as well as convention manager for the annual convention held by that group.
  9. I can’t afford the cost right now because I’ve just barely gotten settled from a nice/job changed in December, and then had surgery a few weeks ago. But if not for that, I would have loved to buy a membership and be able to vote for not only the Hugo Awards, but the site selection for upcoming cons. I am frustrated at the current system and the large number of people who feel that no one nominated this year should be proud of their “tainted” nominations; while I’m opposed to the slate, there are others who got there fairly, who deserve us to take the time to read and vote. Regardless of if I’m chosen, thank you for steering up to give less financially stable fans a chance to be part of the process.
  10. “I’ve been a close to lifelong reader of science fiction and fantasy, but only became an interested follower of the Hugo Awards in the past few years, when I realized how easy it was to find most of the short fiction nominations online…and from there to discover how much SFF short fiction in general is available for free on my favorite authors’ websites and various other places online. I was also pleased to find that the Best Graphic Story category had been added to the awards, since comics are another of my passions. (I was less pleased at how repetitive the initial years of this category were, and how underrepresented [imo] DC and Marvel Comics have been among the nominees, but I do see signs of change in those areas.) Unfortunately, though I’ve recently become more invested in the Hugos as an outside observer, these past few years have also been years of underemployment and some pretty crippling student loan debt for me, and a supporting membership just hasn’t been feasible.Regardless of whether I’m selected as one of the people to receive a supporting membership, I wanted to thank you and everyone who’s matched pledges for this effort. It’s really lovely to see a response to the Puppies slates that involves explicitly welcoming people into SFF fandom and doing your best to strengthen and grow that community.”
  11. I’m a part-time federal employees who had to cancel vacation because of sequestration and other DC shenanigans. I like Tori Amos, Nine Inch Nails, Fleetwood Mac, and Halestorm. Tattooed, ponytailed, and unrepentant.
  12. Hi Mary 🙂 I’m a writer of four years, currently unpublished and seeking an agent. I’m married, and a mother of two boys, ages 5 and 2. I’ve loved SFF since I was a kid, begging my mom to let me stay up and watch Star Trek: TNG with her. As a teen I read David Eddings, Harry Potter, of course, and Tolkein, along with school stuff. Now, my tastes lean toward epic fantasy or YA Adventure fantasy. Despite that, I enjoy just about anything with magic! Thank you for this opportunity!
  13. “I’m a retired commercial fisherman (not horrible successful one at that) living on SS retirement benefits. Although a life long SFF reader, I’ve never voted on a Hugo before; but because of all this “”flap”” I feel I’d like to cast a vote for books that I enjoyed, and not because they’re on somebody’s slate. I feel slightly outraged at the thought that somebody out there is trying to “”game”” the awards. That “”Hugo Award Winning Author”” or “”Hugo Nominated Author”” sticker has always been a sign to me that the story was probably pretty good. I’d like to personally thank you for lending your wordsmithing to help the rest of us understand what this controversy is about and for the time and effort to help spread the voting block a bit wider.
    /a tip of the hat and a warm handshake.”
  14. I’ve been reading science fiction since I was in junior high school, which was a long time ago. I really started loving science fiction when I found Ursula K. LeGuin. (I was a Biology major in college and don’t know whether that makes me hard or soft — probably soft to an engineer.) I want to be part of a solution, not part of a problem. I don’t want, any longer, to sit back and say that the problem isn’t my problem. It is — and I want to help.
  15. “Hi Mary,I read a lot of manga and can’t believe Hunger Games wasn’t more recognized by the Hugos. I hope some of the nominees are good enough to vote for.Thanks”
  16. Hi Mary. I’m an avid SFF reader and a fantasy writer. I’m also a stay at home mom in my spare time. I’ve been wanting to get more involved in the SFF community, and a membership to WorldCon would be a great way for mw to do that. Given my current occupation, a membership is a luxury I can’t currently afford. Thank you and the other sponsors so much for offering memberships. This is such a great community.
  17. Of course I’m steamed about this whole affair– but as a bookseller, I read and recommend a lot of SFF. It’s important to me. I want to enjoy it and I want other people to enjoy it! I also can’t afford a membership and everything else I need on my weekly pay. I’m on my phone and can’t type very well using it but if you want to know more about me, I’m also on Twitter ([redacted]).
  18. “I’m an aspiring SFF writer and long-time listener to Writing Excuses (since sometime early in Season 1, in fact). I think I first became aware of your work through your guest appearance there, or possibly through your Big Idea at Scalzi’s blog, and it’s been on my List for a while now. It took me a while to get around to it, but I’m on Glamour in Glass right now and having a grand time. (The List is currently slated to take rather longer to complete than I have life remaining, and I have two young kids, so don’t consider it any slight to you that it took a while).I’ve wanted to vote in the Hugos for years now, especially in the years since they started making many of the nominations available digitally to voters, but it’s never quite been in the cards financially when Hugo time rolled around. I’m hoping to make it in to the voting one way or another this year, but doubt I’ll be able to spare the money; the chance to get a voting membership for free means a lot to me, particularly given the significance of this year’s Hugos. I’m disappointed that the ballot this year has been engineered the way it has – there’s likely to be somewhat less that I’m interested in reading this year than normal – and I’m still struggling with what to do where the Sad Puppies nominations are genuinely good pieces of work.”
  19. “Mary,I love this post and fully agree that the SFF community can’t disregard new fans when we are all finally starting to get the recognition that so many wonderful authors and works deserve. I’ve wanted to join World Con and vote on the Hugos for several years but have yet to take that step. Hopefully I will be one of the lucky ten chosen and will be able to add my voice to this year’s cacophony.”
  20. “Hi,I am a 52 year old fan, who has been disabled since 2002, and whose father worked on the original Star Trek series. I’ve published one short SFF story and raised three fannish boys. Unfortunately I have been out of work for three years, earning literally 350 dollars last year and no dollars this year. (I have started a little business that will hopefully be lucrative later in the year.)Anyway, my middle son (who works in gaming, on [redacted]) has been supporting the family and I don’t want to ask him to chip in for a supporting membership for me. If would be great if someone could sponsor me.”
  21. I’ve been a fan of SF and fantasy since the 1970’s when I discovered Andre Norton. I’ve read voraciously for years and actually managed to attend one convention. (Loved it – too invested in raising my family to afford another.) I ran a SF critique group in 2004, and watched several of our members become published. I’ve never been able to afford the supporting membership to participate in the Hugos; nor can I now. I’m awaiting my disability hearing while living on 600.00 a month. It doesn’t cover meds, much less votes. Thank God for libraries! Anyway, if I’m chosen, I promise to read all entries and vote for the one in each category that I best like. I promise to read broadly and nominate according to my favorite works for next year. And I thank- you for this kind offer. Either way, I thank-you for such a gracious way of explaining and encouraging the true development of diversity in our wonderful arena.
  22. I’m a student from Finland who is currently writing a master’s thesis on the information-seeking behavior of science fiction and fantasy writers. I’m also a writer myself. Living in the northern and less populous part of Finland, I haven’t yet had an opportunity to attend a SF & Fantasy convention. Getting a supporting membership to Worldcon would ease my situation a little bit.
  23. I love to read SFF. I mostly like the lighter themes. But I worked at a bookstore for 10 years and read many different kinds while I was there. Right now I’m unemployed but enjoying reading ebooks from the library. That’s where I found your writing.
  24. I’ve been a part of both fandom and just being a fan for years, then I launched into the life of being a step mom to two wonderful boys and had a little girl of my own and the finances that allow for conventions have gone to soccer games and dance classes and getting them reading SFF too. I have great hopes as they grow that my husband and I will be able to rejoin the fans outside of our immediate area and the internet. But despite all of that neither of us has ever stopped being connected to the community as readers and supporters and, at least in my case, aspiring to join it as an author. I’d love to be involved in the voting and planned a membership this year, but unemployment said that $40 buys a lot of diapers. 🙂 So if we can get some help joining up we’d love to, and if not we’ll still be reading and watching and maybe joining up next year.
  25. As a reader of science fiction and fantasy from the mid 90’s, until the late 2000’s I was a fan of many nominated novels, but I could never figure out why in the recent years they left me so disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I mostly lean libertarian, any conservative values I may have are fiscal. But this is not about politics, it’s about merit, and now I know that the hugos has lost much of its meritocracy. I still get angry over how Robert Jordan was treated by the hugos over his career, but Sad Puppies has helped revive my excitement in the hugos, as well as my faith in the process, and I want to show my support. 🙂 Thanks.
  26. I read SFF and have done my entire life. But I’ve never felt a good enough fan to go to a convention or get involved in awards. I’d like to change that – I can’t afford conventions this year but I want to understand what is going on and be a part of it.
  27. I love science fiction and fantasy. I’m more of a science fiction guy but I love them both. I’ve always been fascinated by the Hugo award, and I’ve set a goal to read all Hugo award winning novels. (Though, I’m currently less than a third of the way there.) I’d love to participate in the voting process.
  28. I’m a massive SFF fan, but am in a crappy minimum wage job; I’d like to vote in the Hugos (and have a friend who ALWAYS votes and always obtains all of the things to vote on, so I can do so in an informed way by borrowing the things to vote on from him) but I just can’t justify the outlay when my daughter needs food and clothes.
  29. I have been a huge science fiction and fantasy fan for my entire life and have always followed the genre awards, not just the Hugos. I’m always excited to see my favourite writers win an award and in the back of my head I always dream that I will win one day, too. Vox Day and his foul supporters are ruining something that I love and I don’t want them to do that but I don’t have the money to stop them. My credit card is maxed out, I’m underemployed, and I have trouble affording food, let alone the $50 Canadian the vote would cost me.
  30. I just found out about the controversy a few days ago from facebook and just became a “friend” of Larry. I am a teacher and an aspiring writer of speculative fiction. I have written several short stories as I improve as an author. I love “Writing Excuses.” I need to become more aware of this community and being a member would help me. Thanks.
  31. “I’m a longtime fan of F and SF. When I was younger I used to help run conventions that I lived near (Wiscon then later Minicon) due to health and financial issues I had to stop attending Cons but I still love the stories.
    I want to see the best pieces win and the only way to judge that, is to read them.”
  32. “I’m a 27-year-old relative newcomer to fandom. I attended my first con two years ago (the first annual, now defunct Backwoods Comic Festival in Louisville, MS) and have been to a handful of others since. I’ve been reading SFF since I was 13, but I wouldn’t say that I was REALLY into it until I got a Kindle for my birthday about four years ago. Having a Kindle made it possible to read immense tomes and epic series’ (serieses? series’s? whatever.) because I actually had room to store these monstrosities. I want to become more active in the SFF community by voting for the Hugos, and I can’t afford to do this on my own (I work in TV. In Mississippi. Bad life decisions, anyone?). Even if I’m not chosen at random, I will still feel like I’ve participated in the process by submitting this, so thank you for this.”
  33. “I’m forty-four, and I’ve been reading F&SF since I was maybe eight years old. Started with the Narnia books, after the TV broadcast of the animated The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, quickly moved on to Asimov’s Lucky Starr, and never looked back. Now I’m a children’s librarian.I wish I could really articulate why I’d like to have my say, beyond an admitted visceral dislike of Vox Day, but in the end? It just feels important. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to afford a supporting membership, and had resigned myself to the fact that it wasn’t going to be possible this year.”
  34. The Hugo controversy has renewed my interest in reading more new short fiction. I’m going to try to read as many 2015 Short Stories as I can. So I am better prepared to nominate for next year’s Hugos.
  35. I have been a life long fan of science fiction. Having started reading as soon as I could get s library card .Now as a disabled vet my fixed limited income allows me a library card and access to ebooks. I have been lucky enough to meet Joe Haldeman in person and even chat with Harlan Ellison. My dream is still to attend a World Con and we m a Hugo nomination
  36. Aspiring writer here who would like to make sure that future sci fi and fantasy awards aren’t restricted to the few who meet a certain predefined set of rules. Seems to violate the entire premise of being sci fi or fantasy writer.
  37. “I have wanted to be involved in Hugo voting since I learned I could be. Last year I splurged and bought a voting membership for the first time. It was a lot of fun reading the nominations. It’s been a rough year and I can’t justify money for a membership right now.
    I’m an aspiring writer and lifelong Sci-Fi fan, veterinary technician and mother. Your Teddybear spider story is one of my favorites.”
  38. I never realized that Hugo awards were fan-voted, not juried or industry-selected. I want to vote! Everyone should vote! The first SFF I ever read was The White Mountains, which I found in my Jr. High school library. I’ve been reading the genre ever since.
  39. I’m a community library tech in Canada, and I am always trying to improve our Sci Fi/Fantasy collection, because I think it is rather pathetic. I can usually get our collections manager to order the Hugo award winners and nominees which has been awesome, especially lately because it has been such a cool mix of writing styles. I was thinking it would be neat to participate, but find spending 50$ just to vote/nominate is a little hard to justify.
  40. I am a supporter of the local library system and believe that reading is the key ingredient of education. Anyone can better themselves by taking advantage of your library!
  41. My husband and I have attended WorldCon twice in the past decade. We’ve been debating buying supporting memberships to vote this year since the shortlist was announced. (I confess that we failed to vote last year, despite having supporting memberships for LonCon3.) We can swing one membership easily; two is more of a challenge.
  42. My wife and I write and publish under the name [redacted]. We are both lifelong fans of SFF and we are deeply committed to representation and diversity within our genre, both by writing it and by promoting other works with good representation through social platforms. We think the pushback from these so-called “Sad Puppies” is both deplorable and alarming. Of course we work in a political industry, but this is rather extreme. Unfortunately, as we are both disabled and currently on a fixed income, we can’t afford a WorldCon membership, and we would dearly love to be able to vote for books that deserve consideration based on artistic merit, not based on conservatives whipping up votes from a relatively small pool of nominators. Thank you -so much- for taking this stand and offering this opportunity.
  43. Hi Mary! I’m a 25 year-old graduate student working in a male-dominated field. I’ve decided to spend 2015 only reading books by women and POC. It’s required me to do some research and be more thoughtful about what I pick up to read, and, so far, I’ve been BLOWN AWAY by the books I’ve read, many of which I’d never heard about previously. I want to make sure these amazing books get their fair chance at recognition, and I think it’d be great if all fans had a chance to see themselves reflected in their favorite stories.
  44. “Hi!I’m an aspiring writer and a graduate student in anthropology at the University of [redacted]. I’d like to have a supporting membership for several reasons. While this year’s Hugos are controversial, they are also especially important this year because of that controversy. In a way, the Sad Puppies have brought even more awareness of the need for diversity and intersectionality within SFF … perhaps in a few years we’ll look back and see the way they had the opposite of their intended effect.Another reason why I would like a supporting membership is simply because I cannot afford one at this point. As I said before, I am a graduate student and it seems to be in our nature to be “”starving academics”” … I am no exception. 🙂

    Finally, I’d like a supporting membership simply for the experience of reading all the nominees and then voting. I’ve never done it before, and would look forward to the process if selected.

    Thanks for reading (if I’m selected! yay!).

  45. “Scifi/fantasy has gotten me through the worst times in my life and made the unbearable, bearable, because I could escape for hours at a time to worlds completely unlike my own. I ran away to Tembreabrezi and Narnia. I went on missions with Friday and walked the pattern with Corwin. I rode a dragon with Lessa, and learned about ruthlessness on Arrakis. I learned the magic of Xanth. Terisa Morgan and I sat for hours in front of mirrors waiting for our Geradens. And through it all I learned how to better relate to the people of my own world.I’d love a membership, of course, but apart from that it’s lovely to see everyone else’s comments about how and why they love the same things I love. Thank you for doing this, for bringing people together.”
  46. “I voted in the Hugos last year and it was great fun. I’d been playing with the idea with the idea of getting a supporting membership before then, but the strangeness of last year and getting the Wheel of Time on e-book spurred me on last year. I was able to read the nominees while I was on my maternity leave (well, not ALL of WoT).Things are a bit more tight this year with the baby and all. I have already read one of the nominees for Best Novel, The Goblin Emperor, and look forward to reading many of the other nominees.”
  47. I’m a writer, artist, and single mother with two daughters. The three of us love science fiction and fantasy books. My youngest prefers graphic novels while my eldest reads through my high school favorites at lightspeed! We attend cons and are a part of the culture and community both online and in person. We see the need for diversity at every level, from the book creation and marketing to who is deemed welcome and worthy to attend events and speak about Sci fi, fantasy, and so forth. This is a wonderful undertaking. Here’s to opening up the gates to all!
  48. I am a sci-fi/fantasy/horror writer and fan. I would appreciate adding to the diversity of the fandom world. Thanks.
  49. I’m a speculative fiction fan for over 35 years now (ever since I saw Star Wars in the theater as a boy). I’ve long thought about getting involved in World Con but with a family to raise, job, etc., it seemed like a waste of precious resources. I am involved with organizing and planning [redacted convention].
  50. I like to think of myself as a second generation nerd. I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy from my parent’s bookshelves. I still have most of those books and comics. I wouldn’t be the person I am if they hadn’t been fans. Last year I convinced at least a few reader friends to buy supporting memberships. This year I can’t afford to buy one myself because the bookstore I worked at closed and I’m currently unemployed. Working with books for 15 years showed me how passionate readers can be. If more fans knew about Hugo voting works, I think more people would support WorldCon, and the voter pool would be larger. The idea that the Hugo Awards can be tarnished in this way is depressing. If I’m ever eligible for a Hugo I want it to mean something.
  51. “I have a long rant on my Facebook, under this name, about the Sick Puppies. I would love to have a supporting membership. I am on disability, and therefore have no extra income, but I would like to be able to vote this year.Thank you.”
  52. “Dear Mary,First, I’m so glad you’re doing this. Every year I read the Hugo nominations, and I was surprised this year to see so many of the same name on the ballots, and when I heard why, it made me quite upset. Speculative fiction is a genre of change, a genre that, at its best, embraces the ‘other.’ It’s sickening when something I cherish so much becomes the impetus for tyrannical behavior that speaks more of third grade playground drama than an award that celebrates art.A little about myself: I’m a fledgling writer–I’ve had a couple of speculative fiction short story and poem sales, and I am working on the 2nd draft of my first novel. To make ends meet, I work three jobs–I’m an English adjunct instructor, I tutor, and I work at a used bookstore. I read about 100 books a year, and almost as many short stories–some of my favorite venues for those being Tor.com, Lightspeed Magazine, Clarkesworld, and Strange Horizons. I only mention this to show that I keep up with current fiction.

    I’d like a supporting membership to honor my love of speculative fiction, to honor the art that’s made me into an optimist and dreamer; to honor the fiction that always looks to the unreal and the someday possible, and therefore shapes futures.”

  53. I wrote the first dissertation devoted to the complete works of [redacted]. I’ve been teaching as an adjunct: $2200 per class, max. 7 classes per year. I just don’t have the extra funding to support cons as much as I would like. I know SFF and fandom, and I would like to be a part of this important conversation. My academic email is [redacted]. If I am in class, please leave a phone message. PS: You and Scalzi and so many others have done a fine job with SFWA and promoting new writers. Thanks not just from me, but from so many of us who love your writing and professional service.
  54. Hello, Mary, thank you so much for the kind offer and effort to organize this! I’ve attended one WorldCon in the past, and would ordinarily happily buy a supporting membership this year to help preserve the spirit of the Hugos. However, we had to move this year for my wife’s [redacted] post-grad-school fellowship and I have had trouble finding steady work since the move, hence money is tight. Even if I don’t land one of the memberships, thank you again for everything you do to support SFF! Favorite bit of SFF? Eesh, where to begin… just looking at my bookshelf and selecting the first of many favorites to jump out at me, Silverlock by John Myers Myers.
  55. I’m a fan of science fiction and fantasy, with a preference for the kinds of stories that open new worlds and new ideas to me. My parents claims I taught myself to read by the time I was a year old; I don’t remember, so I just kind of take their word for it. I’m 34 this year, and still banging on rough drafts that I hope to polish enough to submit to publishers and perhaps one day be able to put an award on a shelf next to a published book. I’m not a fan of reactionaries who try to hijack things in outrage over their privilege being taken down a notch, particularly when the claims they make are demonstrably false. I’d like to have a supporting membership to take part in making it clear that people who want to close off and shut down attempts to open things to the marginalized aren’t going to have anyone just bow down to them. I am myself a minority group member, as I am both an asexual and of a non-binary gender, identifying as agender and using xe/xer/xyr as my pronouns.
  56. “I am a UK citizen living in Canada with my Canadian spouse. We had to leave the UK when her last visa expired because I did not earn enough to qualify her for a spousal visa (I was in the process of finishing a PhD; I’m now looking for postdoctoral jobs that will qualify); now we are in Canada the reverse is true, I cannot work and I am only here on a visitor’s visa and we live with her parents. The rhetoric in my country is so exclusive and hateful towards diversity and immigration; I’m hoping that we will be able to change that with our elections next month. Now it looks like the same kind of rhetoric is being spouted about the Hugos, and I would really like to participate in that discussion. I was unable to attend Loncon 2014 for financial reasons; it would be good to be able to participate in the Hugo Awards despite those restrictions. I’ve taken the Hugos as a good guideline for what’s worthwhile in SFF for a few years now, often seeking out works that have won (especially if they have beaten other works I’ve really liked).Also, if I were selcted and next year I have a job and possibly a spouse with a visa I would like to be able to pay back this scheme and contribute a supporting membership to another person who cannot afford it, if possible.”
  57. “Hiya,
    I’m a teacher (college prof) but a really poorly compensated one. I write across genres and have just finished a degree. I have been horrified in waves by the various controversies that have roiled the SFF world over the last few years. Is this normal? Please say no. :-)Thanks for doing this! Hope I can participate, as I’d like to read and fairly evaluate the entries, which I imagine far too few people will do.
    Thanks!”
  58. I’d like a chance to give back to the SF/F community and to offer a fair shot if the “puppies” are deserving of any recognition.
  59. My introduction to SF/F began when I was six and my mother read me The Hobbit and The Lord of the RIngs as a bed time story. I’ve been reading it on my own since I wasn’t much older than that. I’d love a supporting membership because I’d like to start moving from just being in the SFF Community and being a fan, to being active in the fandom. I’d buy my own membership, but I lost my job 18 months ago, and have gone back to school full time to change careers (sadly the library field is shrinking, accountants on the other hand…. And they’re both just organizing data and getting into a format that people can find and use, right?)
  60. “I’m a British fan, 54yo, who has only started going to cons in the last few years. I can’t get to Seattle, and being unemployed, I can’t afford even a supporting membership this year.Other random facts can be discovered by reading my LJ at [redacted]”
  61. I am a long time reader of SF&F who has been meaning to buy a supporting membership for the last couple of years. Financial issues involving car repair, job loss and new children has made doing so… problematic. While things are starting to look up, I cannot in good conscience purchase one at this moment. Either way, regardless of whether I am selected or not, thank you!
  62. I’m a lifelong fan of SFF, but only rarely in fandom; I’ve spent most of my adult life in relative poverty and even a supporting membership to WorldCon has been more than I could afford. I consider myself a writer, although my published work has been almost entirely in games – mostly through [redacted].
  63. love SFF pretty much all I read. Didn’t realize community was in such turmoil. Maybe if I got involved would become a part of the solution not the problem.
  64. I’m an aspiring writer of fantasy, and I’ve always lurked on the fringes of fandom; I haven’t had the chance yet to break into actual fandom, but I’d love the chance to feel more a part of the community I love.
  65. I’m a fledgling writer and longtime sf reader, and I’ve wanted to participate in the Hugos for years. After going back to college, money has been too tight, alas, to make that happen. Just earlier today, I found myself thinking, “well, maybe once I’ve made my first sale, I can buy a membership. I’ll deserve to cast my vote, then.” But maybe that’s nonsense– maybe my voice is worthwhile now, even though (or perhaps *because*) I’m nobody special. I love that you’re offering memberships to those of us who couldn’t otherwise vote in the Hugos– that’s truly making the community more inclusive.
  66. I started reading SF when I was in 6th grade and my brother handed me a copy of Zahn’s first Star Wars novel, Heir to the Empire. I got teased endlessly all throughout middle and high school for my love of SF and later Fantasy, but clung to it because it spoke to me as a lonely kid in a bitty little town. I’d like a supporting membership because while I am generally a very liberal person, my tastes run the gamut of authors who represent the conservative and liberal voices of SF&F, i.e. Heinlein and his Starship Troopers, Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, LeGuin and her Left Hand of Darkness, and so much more. If it’s engaging and entertaining, I’ll read and recommend it. For me, SF&F is about creating and exploring new worlds, not setting narrow parameters and excluding others. Thanks for enabling those who cannot afford membership to have to opportunity to participate.
  67. “I’ve always been an avid reader and writer, and lately the Hugos have been coming to my attention because a couple of my friends are supporting members, and they talk about it and agonize over their vote choices to me, and we discuss what they’re reading and sometimes they recommend things. Normally I would be able to afford this myself, but coincidentally the first year I’ve felt a more pressing need to make my voice heard is also the year I’m digging out from under a year of emotional to physical hell, so it’s less feasible for me to afford it right now…. also I see you’re coming to [redacted], hopefully I can see you there and say hello in person!”
  68. “My husband’s been out of work so long that we’ve run out of unemployment. So the con is impossible for us.I’ve been going to WorldCons on and off since 1981, and I hate to see all this rancor.”
  69. Thank you for everything you do! This was a very well-reasoned and articulate reply. I’ve been reading sci-fi and fantasy since I was a kid, negotiating a deal with my parents for books in exchange for good report cards. My uncle was really the only adult in my life that shared my passion, and he loaned me a copy of Anne McCaffrey’s Harper Hall trilogy right before he passed, which remains one of my most treasured possessions to this day. I’m not in a desperate situation for money right now, but my budget is tight and when I first read about all this I was bummed that it wasn’t an amount I could really spare. I like fandom best when it is people talking about stuff they love rather than stuff they hate, and I appreciate you helping to facilitate this!
  70. Thanks for the opportunity to expand my horizons. I’m a 53 year white female who has medical issues. Money’s tight within my part-time budget so springing for a membership is out of my range at the moment. I’ve been drawn in by the many varying views on the two prevalent sides of the issue.
  71. I’ve been going to cons since ICFA in 2001, when I was one of the [redacted], and as a teacher of kids from very diverse backgrounds, I’m really interested in reading and writing works they can connect with. I’m currently suffering from an extreme case of Poor, but would really like to be able to vote for these awards.
  72. “I’m a soon-to-graduate college student. I’ve always been interested in science fiction and fantasy–sometimes when I hear the cool things people were doing in high school (starting businesses, extensive charity work, running marathons), I joke that I was becoming familiar with a wide range of science fiction and fantasy works. I think the mind-opening perspective fantasy and science fiction can bring contributed to my decision to major in International Development. I’ve always followed the Hugos but I’ve never bought a membership since I’ve never had an extra $40. I’d love my voice to be represented in the voting though–I’ve always felt like a minority as a woman who loves hard science fiction.”
  73. I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy and now write it myself. If I had known that the Hugos were open to voting like this I would have bought a membership years ago.
  74. “After many years of studying and doing graduate research in Biochemistry, I have reached a point in my life where I can’t pretend to myself any longer that I might ‘one day finish a story’. I decided to stop holding myself back and to take this year to wholeheartedly dedicate towards improving my skill at spinning stories in the hopes that I might at last produce a complete piece of work that isn’t too full of rubbish.During my first serious forays into the community of creative writers, I encountered Writing Excuses which is by far my favorite source of writing wisdom! It’s not just that you guys gift us with practical advice – you guys also show us how one should conduct oneself as a writer and friend to others in the field. Hearing your stories made me more confident and excited to go out there and join real writing communities instead of hiding off by myself, feeling embarrassed about my underdeveloped storytelling skills. My goal is to finish my story this year and perhaps join the Writing Excuses Retreat!For now, however, I am financially strapped. I feel guilty even purchasing a supporting membership for Worldcon when I can’t be sure I will have enough grocery money to last me the month. I’m totally fine with following Worldcon from a distance, for now, but since you were offering Worldcon supporting memberships, I thought – why not apply? Thank you for being such a positive figure in the field, Mary! You, Brandon, Howard and Dan are people that always make me feel cheered up and motivated to write.”
  75. “I am 61 years old and have been reading SFF for over 50 years. We used to attend Worldcon, but haven’t been able to afford it for many years. These days my husband and I are both on disability. Once, I attended 8-10 cons a year, and lately it’s just the 2 or 3 where I am on staff.I read as much diverse fiction as I can. I like hard science fiction, space ships in a future where we have spread beyond this fragile small globe. I am terribly excited by Ann Leckie’s books, as well as Bujold, Sharon Shinn, Elizabeth Moon, Connie Willis, Zenna Henderson, Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Esther Freisner, Scalzi, Pratchett, Dickson, Jo Clayton, CJ Cherryh, Jo Walton, Dianna Wynne Jones, Tolkein and CS Lewis, Andre Norton (when I was 12, a librarian told me these were “”boys books””, I checked them out anyway!), Linnea Sinclair, Kate Wilhelm (including her recent mystery novels), and many others. I’m also a fan of Georgette Heyer, and immensely pleased by crossover regency/SFF books like yours and Patricia Wrede, and a few of the things that Bujold has written. I’m also a big fan of D E Stevenson, so it isn’t all SSF.I’m female, liberal, Christian (and strongly dislike the hate groups that call themselves Christian). I’m a burned out programmer, a fiber artist, and in a wheelchair for the last 12 years. In High School, I refused to take home EC and took drafting instead, the first girl to take it at my school. I was angry that they made me take the test for “”Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow””, and was almost as please by having the highest score, as I was with being in the top 1% in math. In my spare time, I translated a 16c German cookbook, the hard way – looking up virtually every word.”
  76. I’ve never been to a fandom con. A million years ago I went to GenCon and was treated like crap by vendors because I was a teenaged girl. A decade ago I went to ComiCon a few times and the shine wore off pretty fast. I’ve been an SF/F reader since I had my own library card but a lot of what I liked was “junky” “soft” stuff and I never felt like a real serious fan (or fen or what have you). I tried to push myself into reading some of the more classic, “hard” SF a long while back thanks to Neil G’s book of introductions and essays, and in the past couple of years, I’ve funded a bunch of Kickstarters and IndieGogo campaigns to directly subsidize work that piqued my interest. There’s a lot of great stuff out there.
  77. I’ve been reading Sci-Fi/Fantasy since I could read. First book was probably the Hobbit, but it was the first of many. First time I ever knew I could vote for the Hugos was last year when Jordan was up and people were talking about what a great deal it was to get a supporting membership and get e-book versions of the entire Wheel of Time. I didn’t, due to procrastination. But I figure I might just do it this year, even if I don’t get picked by you. Thanks for the chance!
  78. When I was seven, my parents read me The Chronicles of Narnia as a bedtime story, followed each morning at breakfast by a fairly thorough exegesis about the Christian underpinnings and the moral and narrative choices involved in the various installments. Even now, despite losing my faith in God, I am still prepared to strenuously argue that reading Magician before Wardrobe might render you soulless. I’m in my thirties now. I’ve read a lot of good works, and a lot of bad stuff. I’ve idolized good writers, and learned some of them are really cool people. I’ve learned about others who leave me confused as to how someone so hateful or closeminded can write something I enjoyed, and of course, I regret the resulting taint to the works that I can’t ever read in good faith any more. I am a librarian, and I buy the SF and Fantasy collection for an entire county. I try to stay on top of recommendations and awards, to have a wide variety of perspectives and types of stories represented – but I’ve always been hesitant to be involved personally. With the fracas last year, and the chaos this year about the Hugos, and ideological lines being drawn, I feel like it’s time to become involved. Sadly, because of the whole librarian thing, school debt and bad pay means that the price tag on involvement is a little high this time around. Regardless, I’ve decided to be part of the process, and I’m budgeting for a supporting membership next year.
  79. I have been drawn to Science Fiction and Fantasy, for as long as I can remember, starting first with Shapechangers by Jennifer Roberson in 4th grade, since then I’ve read a plethora of books. I’d like to have the membership because as a transwoman of partial color, it was the diversity in my reading that helped shape who I am today.
  80. “Hi Mary I’d love to have a supporting membership so I can vote for the Hugo’s and do a little but to help keep things level. Unfortunately funds are a bit tight right now.So if you can let me take one of the donated memberships I’ll put it to good use. Thanks so much for doing this!”
  81. “I’ve been a member of fandom even before my first convention in 1981. By 1985, I was working conventions, particularly [redacted], where I eventually was the [redacted], and [redacted], where I am the [redacted]. I also worked on two WorldCon bids, [redacted] and [redacted]. I voted for the Hugos every year I was able, and I would definitely appreciate the opportunity to do so again this year.By the way, we have met, briefly: I watched your puppetry performance at [redacted]
  82. “I thought I would love to try voting and choosing the next year’s nominations.I am a humble reader from [redacted], Czech Republic, Europe and I would like to apply (or rather “”apply”” as I suppose this is going to be a rather friendly, not-so-official offer from you) for the World Con supporting membership.I am an aspiring F and SF writer, with some minor publications in the [redacted] and anthologies with short stories from various competitions. Since I am a teacher of English at a secondary school by profession, I try to follow quite a lot of English-based magazines, because it gives me the freedom to indulge in some top-quality speculative fiction and keep up to date with modern English writing at the same time. I have only very recently started to write in English, too.

    The ability to vote for the Hugo Awards would give me some great reading experience and insight. I could offer my keen reader skills, an open mind not touched by conventions and last but not least the cultural background of a Czech culture, unique and self-contained, the culture that gave birth to golems, robots and some of the classic fairytales.”

  83. I have been involved in attending and staffing cons since the mid-1980s, and primarily staffing as that is the only way I can afford to attend in most cases. (I’m the costumer who [redacted]) I was pulled in at the last minute to be on staff at [redacted], and as a result I (eventually) received a membership refund which included nominating rights for the following year. I took it very seriously, but I was not able to afford a supporting membership to vote on my nominations. I promise that I will at least attempt to read all the nominated works (can’t promise that I’ll get all the way through) and will vote for what I consider the best works in each category. I have gotten so much out of fandom over the years, and want to continue to take part in the conversations about what we are, where we come from, and where we are going.
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