As I noted last week, the finalists for the 2015 Hugo Awards have been announced and a firestorm of controversy has erupted. Some background here on the Black Gate blog and from George R. R. Martin, who has weighed in with a series of posts.
I have been an SF reader since I was 10 or thereabouts (since a school librarian gave me a copy of Robert A. Heinlein’s Red Planet), and a fan (in the sense of attending conventions and participating in fanish activities) since 1971. There have been controversies since then, but in all that time I have never seen anything like the controversy that has ensued because of the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies successful attempt to grab the Hugo nominations. Nothing else comes close.
My first reaction was one of incredulity, then horror, then anger. I’m still pissed off. The integrity of the Hugos has been compromised and the continuity with the past that is part of their brand has been broken. As well, the campaign has brought out a lot of nastiness, most (but not all) coming from the Puppies side, which seems to have accumulated a few of the wackos from GamerGate. As several non-American fans have pointed out, it’s managed to export the insanity of the U.S. culture war that’s currently going on into an area where it doesn’t belong and is most definitely not welcome. And in case you think I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, the controversy has attracted a fair share of attention from the mainstream media.
I have decided that I will vote on the Hugos this year and have purchased a supporting membership in Sasquan, the 2015 World Science Fiction convention. My first reaction was just to vote No Award, but I finally decided that it wouldn’t be fair to some of the authors, who through no fault of their own, have been tarred with the Puppies brush. So I will look at the nominations and judge them by my own standard of quality. I may very well vote No Award on some of them, but it won’t be automatic.
For coverage of the ongoing controversy, the best place to go is probably Mike Glyer’s Hugo winning File 770 site, which has been providing daily updates that are far more comprehensive than anything I could put together. George R. R. Martin, has sadly been side tracked from finishing Winds of Winter and has written a long and thoughtful series of posts starting with this one. Finally, there is the Black Gate blog, which ended up on the Rabid Puppies slate and scored a nomination through no fault of the publishers (it’s a good site and deserved the nomination) and author and blogger Matthew David Surridge, who declined his nomination and explains why in this lengthy post.
I’ll have more to say about this later. I will probably post about my voting choices once I’ve had a chance to read the stories and think about the other categories.
Update: Update: For a look at the three people behind the two Puppies slates, here’s an article from the Daily Beast. They do not seem like a very cuddly bunch.