Soon — as in Saturday — we will learn who has made it to the final ballot for the Hugo Awards. In case you aren’t already aware, there are those who are up in arms and crying that the sky is about to fall. Why? Because someone has dared to try to upset their apple cart. You see, there are folks out there who think the Hugos should actually be for the best science fiction and fantasy and not necessarily for message fiction that puts the message before the story. Some of those folks are people like Brad Torgersen and those who support Sad Puppies 3.
Contrary to what others are saying, SP3 is not about pushing forward a libertarian or conservative political agenda. In fact, if you look at everyone on the SP3 “slate” (it’s not really a slate as much as Brad’s recommendation based on his own reading and/or viewing), you will see people from across the political spectrum. You will also see that it is not an all-white, all-male listing. But, of course, SP3 detractors are quick to overlook or dismiss that.
Comes now the latest attack, a piece of whiny, “I’m not going to let them take my toys” piece written by Steve Davidson on the Amazing Stories site. It really is one of the biggest whinefests I’ve read in a long while and that’s saying something considering some of the things already being written about the upcoming Hugo announcement.
(One has to wonder why all the angst and foot stomping before the final nominees are announced. Do they have inside knowledge or what?)
Anyway, on to the post.
This announcement has already been pre-empted by at least two individuals who were informed by the Hugo Awards Committee of their impending nomination last week as is customary (done so to give folks the opportunity to decline).
I know of one and it was an honest mistake. The author in question did not know he wasn’t supposed to make the announcement and, once he was told — and not by anyone who is currently whining about what he did — he removed all posts referring to his nomination.
This is as fine an example of disrespect for the institution as one could hope for – but not at all surprising given the constant disrespect that has been on display for the past two years from the Sad Puppy crowd.
Disrespect? Hardly. Honest mistake, yep. If it were disrespect, the author in question would not have taken down his posts referring to his nomination. As for the alleged disrespect by the SP crowd, I do so love general condemnations without specific allegations or proof. But it is so much easier to just toss out allegations like that and hope the readers buy into it.
Right now they’re probably anticipating the announcement with a certain amount of glee, since “leaks” (from the nominees most likely) seem to be indicating that a goodly percentage of those on the final ballot were championed by the Sad Puppy recommended voting slate.
The only “leaks” I’m seeing are coming from Davidson and his ilk and they are all whining and crying and gnashing teeth. Just check out the Making Light blog for prime examples of such behavior.
Some have even voiced the fear that one or more fiction categories for the award may consist entirely of Sad Puppy nominees (or potentially worse, a combination of Sad & Rabid Puppy nominees).
That prospect is an entirely unwelcome one.
Oookay, I’m assuming he means that someone other than those supporting SP3 are worried. Why are they worried? Because their own nominations might not make each slot in the different categories? Or are they afraid because people like Brad managed to show readers — and are they the ones we, as writers, should be asking what is the best in the field? Or are we at the point now where the Hugo is only to be decided by a small group of writers, agents and editors? — that they can have a say in how the awards are decided? It sounds to me like Davidson and those who think like him don’t want anyone else playing in their sandbox, that they believe they, alone, are qualified to determine what works are worthy.
Funny, I always thought those who bought our books and went to see our movies and read our fanzines and blogs were the ones with the final voice. But then, I’m one of the unenlightened who believe that story is more important than message. Silly me.
Sad Puppies puts out a recommended Hugo voting slate under the false flag of seeking greater recognition for deserving yet underrepresented authors. They do so by by creating a false equivalence between a voting slate with a political agenda behind it and non-politicized eligibility mentions.
Okay, now I’m going to laugh hysterically. Saying that Jim Butcher has the same political views as Brad, or that Brad has the same political views as Kevin J. Anderson is ludicrous. Sure, the first year of SP, and even SP2, had a definite conservative bent to it. But not this year. Davidson is, at best, misrepresenting what Brad did and is doing a disservice not only to his — Davidson’s – readers but to each author and artist on SP3.
But that’s not what is really going on. At its base, Sad Puppies is about a few authors who have twigged to the fact that controversy, outrage and building an army of sycophants is good for their bottom line – especially if they can gin up a Judas goat for everyone to love to hate. The fact that the prize at the end of all of this bullshit might be a Hugo Award for one or more of them – along with bragging rights over how successfully they’ve managed to
corrupt fix the system – is the plum in the pudding. (You’d think that a handful of creative, think-outside-the-box science fiction and fantasy authors would be embarrassed to be caught red-handed copying Fox News’ methods, but if you think about that for a second…)
OMGF, does he really believe this bullshit? I would recommend he look at the tactics of his own side in all this. Look at the lies they printed and have spread about Larry Corriea. All that SP3 has done is help educate fans of science fiction and fantasy who remember what it was like to race out to buy the latest Hugo nominees because a nomination was an almost automatic guarantee that the book or short story would be entertaining and make you think. Oh, wait, that was back when story mattered more than message. Silly me, I keep forgetting that things have changed.
And these folks condemning SP3 wonder why readership for sf/f has decreased and why so many readers are flocking to indie published science fiction and fantasy.
Right now, a lot of involved folks are starting to seriously ask how fandom is going to handle this growing problem.
Hmm, so “fandom” is worried about what the fans think are good books. How many of this so-called fandom actually read the books they nominate for the award, much less all the books (titles) that make the final ballot? Or are they simply voting based on who the author is and if they are the “right” sort of author.
Funny, when an award is supposed to represent the best in a field, who decided this inner star chamber gets to have the final word on not only who can nominate or recommend something, much less what titles should win?
There’s strong evidence to suggest that Sad Puppies, or some faction of Sad Puppies, have begun to engage with the GamerGaters.
Oooh, GamerGate. We’re going to tremble in our boots because SP3 might be — MIGHT BE (again, no supporting facts and then some hand-wavium to say, well, maybe not SP3 but some faction of it. I guess Davidson is striving for plausible deniability) — involved in GamerGate, the big bad boogie man of feminists everywhere.
I’ve been reading a lot of the proposed solutions. They range from giving the Hugo Awards committee more power to identify block voting, to countering Sad Puppies with a different voting slate.
Funny how no one worried when their side published their own recommendations for the Hugo. Those were okay. But when someone like Larry or Brad — who have the poor taste to be published by that evil publishing house Baen — should do so, everyone gets their knickers in a twist. Funny, too, how he seems to forget that there were counter-SP recommendations last year. Oh remember the crowing from folks like Scalzi after the Hugos were announced because no SP nominees won. But that was okay because SP evil and everyone else good.
The real, long term solution is to create more participation in the voting – by people who will not be trying to turn the Hugos, Worldcon and fandom into yet another mundane political arena.
Funny, that is exactly what SP3 has tried to do — but because it is doing just that, it gets denigrated. If that wasn’t the case, why all the hand-wringing and teeth gnashing. Oh, wait, I know. The fact that those helping spread the word of SP don’t buy into the cause du jour method of writing means they are wrong thinkers and trying to politicize the award.
Give me a break.
I’m going to place ANY nominee that is associated with advancing a political agenda BELOW No Award. If that means that No Award is my top pick in one or more categories, then so be it. (I’ll read the works in the voters pack so I can rate the works as #1 behind No Award, #2 behind No Award, etc.)
So much for the purpose of the Hugos which is to recognize the best in the genre. How is Davidson going to decide this? That’s easy. If it is a nominee from the SP side of things, he will no vote, no matter how good the work. Very open minded of you, sir. Not that it surprises me.
I’m hoping that others will see their way clear to adopting this method of protesting the corruption of the Hugo Awards.
Corruption?!? I would suggest that by judging something based only on what he perceives as a political agenda is the real corruption of the system. I doubt he will even glance at a SP nominee for fear he might become tainted by the “political” aspect of the work. As I said earlier, real open minded of him.
Individuals who find themselves on a voting block who want to avoid being ranked below No Award should immediately remove themselves from those lists, or make a public statement disassociating themselves from that list.
Okay, I will do that at the same time as all those supported by John Scalzi, the folks at Making Light, you and all the others condemning SP3 distance themselves from your “slate”. You can condemn the writer but condemning the work without reading it is the height of hypocrisy. Not that I expect Davidson to admit it. After all, that wouldn’t fit his own agenda of making sure the evil old libertarians and conservatives crawl back into their corners and never come out again.
There is more and you can read it. What really bothers me about what Davidson has to say is simple. Here is a man who is using his role as editor of what was once one of the pillars of the sf/f magazine world to promote his own political agenda. But he is not honest enough or forthright enough to say so. He would much rather throw out unsupported allegations and use hot button words to trigger reactions. How can an editor of a magazine that covers sf/f refuse to consider that there are other viewpoints other than his own and that those viewpoints should have the same right to be read as his own?
More than that, how dare he suggest that an award for the best in the field be decided by tossing out works that aren’t politically of the right vein? Who made him and those who believe as he does our nannies?
Most important of all, why is he whining so loudly now, before the nominations are announced? Is he really that scared that he and the others who thought they had a stranglehold on the award might have lost their leverage?
All I know for sure is the next week or so is going to be interesting and not necessarily in a comfortable way.
(Full disclosure: I was honored when Brad added my name to the SP3 “slate” for best fan writer. I know this post will mean Davidson will no award me if I wind up being nominated. But I believe the Hugos aren’t the property of a few people but of all those fans who are willing to pay for their membership or supporting membership to WorldCon and I applaud Brad and all the others for educating the fans. Too many did not know they had a voice in the awards and that, I am certain, is what really scares the Davidsons of the world. They are terrified that the real fans, the ones who buy the books and go to the movies, will finally find their voice.)