kaffyr: (NaruOMG)
[personal profile] kaffyr
So. The Hugos. 

Once upon a time, for a short while, I was an enthusiastic Old School SF fan. I attended Worldcons, read through everything nominated for the Hugo awards, (at least those things I could get my hands on) and voted happily. I eventually gafiated lo these three decades gone now, and I know well that the Hugos are as likely to be popularity contests as they are to be signifiers of quality.(Often popularity and quality overlap, which is not quite totally germane to this.) Still, the Hugos have a place in my memory and in my heart, because they are part of what introduced me to a) some pretty decent writing and b) fandom - which is, possibly, even more important.

That's why I was disheartened to learn that a group of people who believe that fandom has been improperly taken over by folks who aren't, by and large, white, cis-gendered, straight males (and a few good-looking white-cis-gendered straight females) and who have apparently dedicated themselves to fighting the good fight against such people, have succeeded in loading the 2015 Hugo Awards ballot with nominations for books, stories, television episodes, fanzines, movies, etc., etc.  that they believe are more worthy. They invited folks with whom they are sympatico, including many in the G*merg*te community to join them in block voting for those worthy offerings. They thus succeeded in filling up many, if not all, the slots in most, if not every, Hugo category.  

It makes me sad and angry for several reasons. Not least of which is, of course, that I have slid into that spectrum of fandom that these folks, the self-named "Sad Puppies," call Social Justice Warriors, or SJWs. Perhaps I always had that bent, but it's gotten more pronounced over the last nine years or so - hey, just about the same time period that I've been in online LJ/DW, Who/fanfic fandom! Hmmm.... But I digress. Yes, I like to think of myself as a progressive, so I imagine I'm immediately classed by these folks as "the enemy." Their loss, not mine, but as you can imagine, I'm not happy to see what they've done. 

There are other reasons I'm unhappy with this. As much as I know the Hugos have always been political in some ways, have always been popularity contests in some ways ... I still respected them, and thought that other fans respected them, too.

This move doesn't signal either respect for the field of science fiction (which is, as we know, what I point to when I say "science fiction") or for fandom. And that makes me angry.

Yet another reason: there are, perhaps, some books, stories, movies, etc., on the "Sad Puppies" slate that would be worthy of peoples' time and votes - but because they have been placed on the slate, a lot of people who want to protest the Breitbart-like reactionary mouth-frothing and self-pity-sodden moves of the "Sad Puppies" will vote No Award rather than vote for them. And that's understandable, given that apparently most of those whose work is on the SP slate have allowed their names to stay on that slate, which doesn't, in my opinion, speak well for them. Still, their works should have stood or fallen on their own, not because of an admittedly fully understandable reaction against the SP. 

So why should I care? After all,
I haven't gone to a Worldcon since 1986 or so, and I fell out of the habit of reading a lot of SF or fantasy as well. (Why? Because Fanfic ... ahem ....) It's probably true that few people outside the world of science fiction fandom pay attention to the Hugos, although they are better known to the general public now than they might have been 30 years ago, when I was still voting for them. And this could easily be dismissed as a tempest in a teapot. But it angers me that people whose philosophies are, by their very nature, exclusionary and reeking of fear and hatred of change and the new, are doing this to something I care about.

Especially when these people have the unmitigated gall, or apparent cultural tone-deafness, to say they are doing it in the name of inclusion and returning the Hugos to diversity and anti-authoritarian forward thinking. No, really, that's what they're saying. Because John W. Campbell-White-Guys-Finish-First SF is under attack from everywhere - everywhere, I tell you ... sweet, weeping jesus. Haven't these guys ever read The Futurians, or The Way The Future Was? Even some of the stalwarts of White Guys Finish First SF were the kind of people from whom the Sad Puppies would recoil in horror.

Anyhow, here are links to a few current news pieces and opinion pieces about the fun and games (not all of which are in lockstep with each other.)

Here are thoughts by people I
 trust and respect about said fun and games.

Here's a link to the official Hugo ballot, and a link to what would be the "No Sad Puppies" ballot. 

Date: Sunday, 12 April 2015 05:16 am (UTC)
ext_26142: (Steve Shield by beccadg)
From: [identity profile] beccadg.livejournal.com
Some people have said it would be best to vote for what you wanted to vote for in the first place...

Upon a good deal of reflection I think they're right. I think to vote any other way is to surrender your freedom to vote how you want to the bigots. I mean voting against people who appeared on their slate solely because they appeared on their slate is ultimately no different than voting for people who appeared on their slate solely because they appeared on their slate. Either way, you've allowed your choices to be dictated by the slate, and the bigots who put that slate together. John Scalzi said, "I’m not inclined to punish creators strictly on the basis of who has nominated them, or why." Charlie Jane Anders said, "The best you can hope for is that the quality of the work winds up getting considered first and foremost, over other factors." I think the fairest thing to do for yourself, for the creators who've been nominated, and for the non-bigot voters who participated in the nominating process is to make full use of your freedom.

...but the problem with that is the slate people will undoubtedly take credit for any win...

You should no more let what the bigots will do dictate your actions than you should let what the bigots have done dictate your actions. Teresa Nielsen Hayden said, "Want to strike back against the Sad Puppies and everything they represent? Buy a supporting membership. Vote for the nominees you love or like or find worthy. Do it with no agenda beyond your love of SF. Next year, buy one early enough to nominate." It seems like one of the things getting lost is that even at the nominating stage not all of the voting was being done by the bigots. Eleven out of the seventeen categories has at least one nomination that did not appear on the bigots' slate. Those were clearly voted for by people not voting from the slate. It can be inferred by those nominations, and other factors, that some of the other nominees who did appear on the slate where voted for by people besides the bigots who were voting strictly from the slate.

I think the biggest thing the bigots did was expose how difficult choosing nominees for the six categories they dominated are without some kind of a guide. Hell, even if you do have a guide. For four of those six categories the Sad Puppies couldn't come up with five things/people to nominate. Just look at the entry numbers for those six categories --
Best Novella (201 entries)
(The Sad Puppies listed 3 choices, not 5.)
Best Novelette (314 entries)
(The Sad Puppies listed 4 choices, not 5.)
Best Short Story (728 entries)
(Okay, this is where limited knowledge/choice wasn't the problem.)
Best Related Work (346 entries)
Best Editor, Short Form (187 entries)
(The Sad Puppies listed 4 choices, not 5.)
Best Editor, Long Form (124 entries)
(The Sad Puppies listed 4 choices, not 5.)

Date: Tuesday, 14 April 2015 06:30 am (UTC)
ext_26142: (Captain Jack/Ianto Hug by beccadg)
From: [identity profile] beccadg.livejournal.com
...an you have my respect for putting the information together.

Thanks! I wasn't sure how interested anyone besides me would be once I got it put together, but I hoped that since I found it interesting someone else might.

Teresa's comments are extremely logical (but then, she generally has a lot of good sense.)

*Nods.* I clearly should be following her more generally. It was nice seeing that Jim C. Hines, and John Scalzi weighed in on the situation. I'd always had the impression they were cool people, but it's still nice when people you think are cool show you just how cool they actually are. 8-)


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