Puppies Blanked; Hugos Intact

I read a fair amount of scifi as a kid, but am still bewildered by the vast array of speculative fiction writers. Seeing the Hugo Award medal on a book used to be a decent indication that it would be worth reading, but I had been wondering if the Hugos would be heretofore suspect. According to an informative article from Wired, all is well for the moment.

Briefly, Larry Correia, Brad Torgerson and some other authors were upset that Hugo winners included progressive voices, and started the Sad Puppies to push for more traditional storytelling:

… Correia had some serious complaints. He felt that the Hugos had become overly dominated by what he and others call “Social Justice Warriors,” who value politics over plot development. Particular targets of Puppy derision include two 2014 Hugo winners: John Chu’s short story, “The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere,” in which a gay man decides to come out to his traditional Chinese family after the world is beset by a new phenomenon: whenever a person lies, water inexplicably falls on them; and Ann Leckie’s debut novel Ancillary Justice, whose protagonists do not see gender. Leckie conveys this by using female pronouns throughout.

BTW, Correia lost out to Leckie in 2014.

An even more right-wing author named Theodore Beale started the Rabid Puppies, and swears he will be controlling the nominations process from now on:

“I have 390 sworn and numbered vile faceless minions—the hardcore shock troops—who are sworn to mindless and perfect obedience,” he said, acknowledging that his army wasn’t made up solely of sci-fi fans. On the contrary, “the people who are very anti-SJW said, ‘Okay, we want to get in on this.’” When I asked him how he might deploy those people in the future, he continued, “It’s very simple. The dark lord speaks, the minion acts.”

But while the puppies certainly did control the nominations, other authors like George RR Martin urged fans to show up and vote to defend the integrity of the Hugos. Over twice as many fans voted as ever before, and blanked the puppy-endorsed nominees. In categories stuffed with puppy-approved authors, fans chose, “no award”. Five categories ended up with no award in 2015 – as many as had been given since the awards started in 1953. Pyrrhic, but effective.

A more comprehensive victory would include taking the nominations process out of the hands of anyone’s minions, but we’ll have to see what the Hugo committee can do about that.

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