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: Tuesday, 7 April 2015 04:24 pm (UTC)
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Nice)
From: [personal profile] mishalak
I have two somewhat positive ways to look at this.

One, is that this is just death. Everything dies in time and Worldcon is going to die just as so many other literature focused SF conventions have died. Part of the cycle of life that institutions die when they get old and having a 75 year run is better than a lot of institutions. That is nearly four human generations and even more fan generations.

Two, is that this a moment of crisis that will cause renewal. The Hugo Award rules and voting population are... well they are not very representative of anything. The whole reason they can be gamed is because of low voting and nominating numbers compared with the size of the convention and the size of fandom. Perhaps this problem will mean that people who care might actually do something to make a larger Worldcon community.

Date: Saturday, 11 April 2015 05:20 pm (UTC)
cygnia: (uh-uh)
From: [personal profile] cygnia
What's been really irritating me on one particular geekery forum I frequent is the sheer amount of "Hugos are still relevant? LOL whatever..." attitude (that said attitude is from ciswhite straight dudes is PROBABLY just a coincidence, of course...*growls*)

Like it's soooooooooo edgy to be apathetic.

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 05:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brithistorian.livejournal.com
I had been considering buying a supporting membership to Worldcon this year so that I could vote in the Hugos for the first time ever. After this, I'm even more undecided - on the one hand, I feel like it's somewhat more important that I vote, given the recent shenanigans, and on the other I'd prefer that my first Hugo voting experience be a positive one, which this wouldn't be. :\

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 07:56 am (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (librarian)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
It just seems incomprehensible that anyone would do something like that. :/

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 09:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
OMG...this is terrible. WTF is wrong with the world. Why is it, every time we move forward, we take two steps back.

Generations from now, even something as 'small' *coughs* as this will be looked upon with a frown. Do they NOT get the stupid irony of their 'inclusiveness' horse shit?! SciFi has always, ALWAYS been about diversity, going up against insurmountable odds, being the odd one out and winning, the movement forward in thinking, society and ideas/ideals. This is beyond a joke. This is frigging horrifying and enraging...wth.

The SJWs? Yeah, they have gotten worse. And they are their own brand of hate-mongering and fear. They are one of the main reasons I avoid Tumblr as well. There are several different types of blindness. One can be 'progressive' and still be REgressive. They are not immune to this phenomena. *Sigh*

*Hugs you*

Edit: Okay. Read some of what these 'vaunted thinkers' within the articles had to say. To say I am disgusted is an understatement. Fucking neanderthals. THESE are the 'leaders' of SF?! Count me out then. @#$%ing hell...
Edited Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 09:46 am (UTC)

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 11:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] supergee.livejournal.com
Robert Heinlein imagined someone like Vox Day and called him Nehemiah Scudder. The Puppies didn't deliberately keep his bio off the ballot, but there's a certain appropriateness.

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 02:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cygnia.livejournal.com
I've been angry about this entire case. The fact that they actively courted assholes from Gamergate to help stack the ballot proves they're bigots.

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 02:40 pm (UTC)
liadtbunny: Disney Cartoon Lion (Bulman not happy)
From: [personal profile] liadtbunny
Boo! They've missed the point of what SF is.

Date: Tuesday, 7 April 2015 05:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tardis-stowaway.livejournal.com
Yeah, I've been following this mess with furious disappointment. The fact that they set out to completely take over many categories shows that their agenda is not really about getting recognition for the sort of stories they like but about taking things away from those they regard as aligned with SJWs/progressives/intellectuals.

The only comfort I can find from this is to consider the quote attributed to Gandhi: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." In the struggle between the reactionary old boys' club and those who think speculative fiction should be inclusive, thoughtful, and forward-looking, we seem to have reached the stage where they fight us.

For further reading, this I appreciated Arthur Chu's article on Salon discussing this situation and contextualizing it in the history of small groups of determine, loudmouthed trolls gaming democratic systems and screwing things up.

Date: Wednesday, 8 April 2015 01:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apostle-of-eris.livejournal.com
The Iron Dream for retro-Hugo!

Date: Thursday, 9 April 2015 03:51 pm (UTC)
ext_26142: (10th Doctor Certified Geek from ???)
From: [identity profile] beccadg.livejournal.com
First, let me say, "Thank you," for sharing all of this information. I find it both deeply depressing, and frustrating, but that's not your fault. Second, I feel the need to mention part of my strong emotional reaction comes from having been initially excited by seeing among the finalists Skin Game, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lego Movie, and Grimm. Those are all things I love. Some of them are things I might have voted for if a) I had the money, and b) I didn't deeply resent having to chose between voting for something I love knowing the Rabid Weasels also like them, or voting against them just because the Rabid Weasels also like them. I hate just the thought of being stuck in that bind so deeply I'm not sure if I'd spend the money even if I did have it. I'd really like to vote for Skin Game and Grimm. Okay, I'd have a nervous breakdown trying to pick which of the movie finalists I liked best. I might vote for Edge of Tomorrow (which the Rabid Weasels apparently didn't care for) just because I think it is the movie finalist that has been the most under appreciated, if I had the money, and wasn't put off the idea of voting for the Hugos all together.

Date: Wednesday, 15 April 2015 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flowsoffire.livejournal.com
Heard from this, and it sounds terribly disheartening. Always so awful when great events are taken over with such drama and awful attitudes that just… ruin what the spirit is all about.

*hugs*

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