The final slate for the 2015 Hugo Awards will not be officially announced until Saturday, April 4, but people are already raising a hue and cry about us Sad Puppies and Irritated Kittens and how dishonest, dirty, bad, and wrong we all are. Fortunately, we are all quite capable of defending ourselves and our campaign.
Brad Torgersen, the standard-bearer for Sad Puppies 3, was the first out of the gate:
See, Worldcon is like the proverbial nail house. In the 1950s it was nestled in among the fresh post-war suburbs, bright and pretty. The people who lived there were young, or at least younger than they are now, and quite proud of their house and its vibrant, if eccentric, collective personality. For much of the 1960s and into the 1970s, the little house retained most of its original flavor. New folks were brought in, some of the originals left, or died. The culture and basic mindset of the house was kept the same. And everything seemed more or less fine . . . until a guy named George Lucas showed up with his gargantuan set of plans for a huge, gleaming city called Star Wars. Suddenly, skyscrapers and apartment complexes and freeways and all manner of businesses began to shoot up around the house. Until, in the year 2015, the house has become an anachronism. Cheered by a few. Ignored by most. Intensely proud of the fact it defies the world around it. Crumbling at the foundation. And also intensely interested in making sure nobody from the sports bar or the yoga studio or the Gold’s Gym down the street, comes into the little dilapidated house, and puts his or her feet up on the use-worn coffee table.
Because anyone who is not a blooded member of the nail house, doesn’t get to be a “real fan.”
But the award for “real fans” gets to be “the most prestigious award” in SF/F.
See how that works, folks? It’s Taste-Maker 101 strategy. A few, deciding for all.
You’re the outsiders. You are not the real fans. You don’t get to have a say in the Hugos, because you’re not welcome at the table. You haven’t been to two dozen Worldcons and volunteered a thousand hours in various chore-laden positions on the concom or the gofer staff. You didn’t earn your cred, man! Get off their lawn, man! Screw you guys and your video games and your 21st century pop culture sci-fi! So you like The Avengers and the Marvel Cinematic Universe? You’ve got a Storm Trooper costume? Maybe you play Skyrim or Borderlands? Puh-leaze! That doesn’t count. Only real fans get to decide what SF/F is important and worthy of recognition! The other 399,997,500 “fans” out there? You didn’t pay your dues. You don’t belong. (Read more here and here.)
Brad's remarks were soon followed up by others:
- Piers Plowman and the Hugo Awards (Novel Ninja): This writer correctly points out that anyone can plunk down the money for a supporting membership, that we Sad Puppies and Irritated Kittens followed the rules in that regard, and that the increased participation that has resulted from our campaign can only be a good thing for WorldCon and the Hugo Awards.
- Sad Puppies Update: Honesty from the Other Side (Monster Hunter Nation): Larry Correia's post here contains a link to the other side's freak-out and his own response. "But it is too late now, Teresa. The Sad Puppies voters got involved with WorldCon, paid their dues, and bought memberships so they could participate. The problem is that they’re the *wrong* kind of fans. You guys should have just been honest to begin with and none of this would have ever happened."
- All the Scarlet Letters (Sarah Hoyt): "One of the most interesting things – and by interesting I mean scary – about the reaction to Sad Puppies 3 is that many people who are anti-puppy (always wanted to write that) were mad at Brad for 'not telling people you were putting them on the slate.' [...] What are the Hugos? They’re awards, right? They’re awards given, supposedly, for the best science fiction and fantasy of the year, right? In theory, theoretically as it were, who is supposed to nominate: why, Lord love a duck, right? Any reader of science fiction who pays at least the supporting WorldCon membership. And who gets to make recommendations for nominations? Well, from what I’ve seen over the years, anyone with an interest in sf/f. I could, tomorrow, (well, not tomorrow, but at the beginning of the next set) put my list of recommends on the blog, whether I meant to vote for them or not. (I.e. whether I paid the membership or not.) Readers, reviewers and various other side-spurs of science fiction do that pretty much every year. So, if I did that, would I have any obligation, no matter how remote, to tell people I was putting them on my slate? Why? I mean, I might, as a friendly gesture, send a note saying 'I love your books and I’m putting such and such on the slate.' BUT WHY would I HAVE to? I mean, when I won the Prometheus and the two other times I’ve been nominated, all I got was an email saying 'you’ve been nominated.' No one warned me. And trust me, ten years ago that announcement would have frozen me solid, instead of causing me to dance in my office. That is because ten years ago, I lived in a state of fear. And the fact that my fear was real and serious is justified by that accusation to Brad, 'You bad bad man, when you decided these people deserved awards, you didn’t TELL THEM you were putting them on a recommend list.' I lived in fear because of the implied end of that sentence 'And you knew that because you associated them with you, a known conservative, we would make their lives miserable and do our best to end their careers.'"
My personal comment regarding this controversy is this: Most on the anti-Puppy side are out-and-proud progressives who, more than likely, oppose real-world attempts to police the franchise and ensure the eligibility of every participating voter. I would also bet solid money that many of these folks also sympathize with "mandatory voting" proposals and a whole host of other reforms to "increase participation" and "promote democracy." But now that a grass-roots rebellion is threatening their "safe space", they've completely changed their tune. How interesting.
I don't think anyone should vote in an American election unless he or she is a confirmed citizen of the US and has made an effort to stay informed on the issues; likewise, I don't think anyone should vote in the Hugo Awards unless he or she is truly a fan of literary science fiction and fantasy. The trouble is, my definition of a "true fan" is very much at odds with, say, Hayden's. I think anyone who has read SFF for a solid chunk of his or her conscious life and can cite works from the past year that he or she has enjoyed counts as a "true fan;" the anti-Puppies - who constantly tout their commitment to inclusivity - wish to apply other litmus tests that, low-and-behold, favor the fandom's elite 1%. The hypocrisy here is striking to say the least.
Update on Tuesday, 6PM - I also urge you to check out Larry Correia's latest: The Melt Down Continues. Lots of good stuff there.