It is that time of year again when the nominations for the Hugo Awards start rolling in. To hear some folks talk about it, the Hugos should be about writing and related work that is of the “right” sort. You know what I mean — it has to be “meaningful”. In other words, it has to fall in line with whatever the current cause du jour is, as determined by the social justice warrior set. The problem with this is multi-fold but it comes down to this: if you are more worried about making sure the work is “meaningful” and politically correct, you are not voting for the best book or related work. The “best” is that book or related work that read by the most people and that entertains them. But writing an entertaining story is no longer enough, at least not if you listen to those same folks. You have to be on the forefront of making sure you “educate” your readers into the right think. Only then can you worry about the storytelling.
Several years ago, Larry Correia started the Sad Puppies to counteract what was already going on. Whether folks like to admit it or not, before Sad Puppies, people were putting together voting slates and recommending that their fans vote as they said. Larry put together a slate but his was different. His slate was his own personal voting list, a recommendation of sorts for those of us who were tired of the books that didn’t entertain. Sure, a lot of the authors on it were libertarian or conservative, but not all. Just as some of the authors were male. But there were female authors listed as well. But Larry was evil for putting Sad Puppies together. How dare he use a cute icon to push his slate of evil conservative male writers? How dare he do what everyone else was already doing! Bad Larry. Evil, hatemongering Larry.
The attacks on Larry and those taking part with Sad Puppies increased when Vox Day was included. If Larry was evil in their eyes, Vox was the Anti-Christ. Vox had made the supreme mistake of not rolling over and playing dead when attacked by the darlings of SFWA. Do I agree with everything that Vox has said over the years? Hell no. In my opinion, Vox enjoys stirring the pot and does so with gusto. But the fact that he was doing nothing that the other side wasn’t doing, and louder, and yet he is the one who was censured and booted from SFWA speaks volumes. It’s okay to attack and to be racist and crass and crude and rude if you are not a conservative white male. (BTW, Vox is not technically white, not that the other side will admit it.)
This year, the wonderful Brad Torgersen has picked up the mantle of leading Sad Puppies and has, for his trouble, been attacked and lectured about how he is destroying the integrity of the award. Why? Because he is making recommendations of who to consider voting for — after you read their books and stories. Wow! I guess making an informed decision is now seen as destroying the integrity of an award that has long since lost its relevancy in the reading public’s eyes. For more on what Brad has faced since he announced his selections for Sad Puppies, check out this post.
Full disclosure here, Brad has listed me, as well as Cedar Sanderson and Dave Freer, as three of his picks for Best Fan Writer. I’m honored and thrilled to be included on the Sad Puppies list for this year.
Now, all of this is a lead up to the notice that now is the time to get your popcorn and beverage of choice because the internet is already exploding as SJWs read the Breitbart article about Sad Puppies. I’ve already seen one author call it misogynistic and say SP3 pushes the conservative political agenda. Both accusations are ludicrous. The article itself is even-handed and links to examples of the attacks that have been leveled at Larry et al. But I guess we aren’t supposed to expose the other side’s conduct to the light of day. That’s just mean of us. Instead, we are supposed to bow our heads and go along like good little sheeples and watch them destroy this genre that so many of us love.
As for the accusation that the SP3 slate is conservative, well, that ranks right up there with another attack I saw claiming Jim Butcher is a fascist simply because Brad has listed him as one of his recommendations for Best Novel. Of course, the person making the attack admits that they have never read anything by Butcher — nor will they now because he must be evil because Sad Puppies is evil.
Look, I really don’t care what an author’s politics or religion or sexual preference or anything else about them happens to be, as long as they aren’t beating me over the head with it and demanding I join in lockstep with them. What I do care about is reading a story that entertains me. The characters can be straight or gay or bi or whatever. I don’t need to know what they are, unless it is pertinent to the story. The same thing goes for race, color or creed. If it is pertinent to the story, put it in. If not, leave it to the readers’ imagination. But that’s just me.
None of that matters, as I said, if I’m not entertained.
As for the Hugos, I have read a lot of what Brad recommended. I’ll be reading the rest of the recommendations over the next month or so. Just as I will be reading other books and short stories. Why? Because I want to make an informed decision when I fill out my nomination slate. I will read whatever makes the final ballot. And guess what, when I do, I will be looking for stories that are the most well-written, most entertaining, not the ones that aim to raise my social consciousness.
I guess I’m just a cretin and just as evil as Larry and Brad. Funny thing, I’m happy with that.
(See Tuesday’s post for more on Sad Puppies 3)