The 2015 Hugo awards were given out over last weekend, at Worldcon in Spokane, and the meltdown is ongoing. The commentary on this at the follow-up post at According to Hoyt has gone over 1,000 comments, a record that I haven’t seen on a blog since the heyday of a certain blog that is not mentioned any more (but whose name referenced small verdantly-colored prolate spheroids). I’ll admit, right from the get-go, that as a writer and blogger I have no real dog in this fight over the Hugo awards – not even the smallest of timid and depressed of puppies, but I did feel enough of an interest in it to post about it a couple of times. I merely observe with sympathy as an interested internet ‘friend’ and fan of some of those who are deeply involved, rather than a directly-involved author. I love Connie Willis’s books and Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga, used to love Marion Zimmer Bradley – alas, my collection of her books is now boxed and moldering away in the garage . My science fiction and ‘con’ activity extends only as far as having an entire run of Blakes’ 7 taped on VHS from when it was broadcast on KUED in Salt Lake City in the 1990s, having gone to the Salt Lake City ‘con several times, and once to the Albuquerque ‘con’ when it happened to be on a weekend at the time I was TDY to Kirtland AFB for a senior NCO leadership class. I had a marvelous time, on all those occasions … but my personal writing concentration is on historical fiction, and to a lesser extent, socio/political blogging.
An excellent run-down of the whole Sad Puppies 1-3 background contained in this post – yes, it would otherwise appear to be yet another convoluted inside-baseball saga, of interest only to those directly involved – but this kind of stuff counts in the long run. It’s pop culture, of course – but pop culture is upstream from political culture. What is in the movies, books, games, on television and in social media eventually ties into the larger issues. Indeed, some would suggest that pop culture frames and sets the agenda, especially with people who aren’t political junkies.
I agree with the above-linked author Rob, at SF Author, that shutting out perceived Puppy nominees with a “No Award” is a move that will backfire on the social justice/politically correct brigade. It’s a poison pill, devaluing what had once been a valuable award property for any author or editor, an award that was a major signifier of quality in speculative fiction. It’s not the quality of the story being judged – it’s the political opinions or the connections of the author himself, or the bona fides of the party/parties which nominated the work in the first place that is being rewarded … or in the case of No Award, not acknowledged at all. How very Stalinist; how very lock-step the march to judgement is. Voting No Award on an ideological basis risks the very real possibility of reducing the thing itself to a relatively meaningless rocket-shaped knick-knack. The properly-accredited insiders will log-roll and award it to each other for small-appeal and mediocre work at smaller and smaller cons; meanwhile those authors writing ripping good yarns that readers actually want to go out and read will cheerfully ignore the whole thing in favor of something more meaningful … such as generous royalty payments at the end of every month.
It would also seem, from posts and comments by attendees at the ‘con, and at the awards ceremony itself, that the speakers and a large part of the audience behaved quite churlishly to certain authors and nominees … which is just another brand on the fire, and cause for a good part of the 1,000+ comment string. Seriously, what Hugo nominee with any self-respect will want to go to such an event in future?