The hijacking seems stupid and boorish. But, have the Hugo’s ever really been representative?
Also, kudos to Cory for managing to squeeze in two amazon affiliate links into an editorial post about the Hugos.
Elizabeth Bear has some interesting comments on this particular tempest.
The Internet, folks!
adult thug-children trying desperately to make the real world conform to their fantasy fap world.
Check the 24th Amendment for an enlightening historical perspective. You want to make it democratic? Take away the poll tax.
Yeah, that was really crass. I guess Mr Doctorow needs to have some work done on the house or something.
The funniest thing about the Sad Puppies is that their decrying of the “SJW” direction SF is taking just proves they’ve not really read much SF! >.<
I bet they’ve read all of these!
Anyone actually know why they call themselves the Sad Puppies? I’m loath to dig into their screeds/manifestoes/“well-reasoned arguments” in search of the answer.
The whole Sad Puppies thing is repulsive and the guy behind it is a shit. That said, realize that it isn’t exactly cut and dry.
First, there was a non-sexist and non-racist grumbling about 2014’s awards. The 2014 short fiction in particular was almost utterly devoid of sci-fi and fantasy. Seriously; all four of those short stories were squarely literature, some had literally no sci-fi fantasy elements at all. Forget social justice, it just wasn’t sci-fi or fantasy. I am all for social justice stories, but come on man, for the Hugo’s it actually has to be sci-fi or fantasy. Grumbling that 2014 had some literary navel gazing is valid criticism. I’m not sure how this little coup was engineered, but I wouldn’t be shocked if a non-trivial portion of those who went along with the list had no clue about the origins and were voting against literary navel gazing, which is, in my opinion, perfectly valid. I think that the 2014 list was kind of shit too.
Second, the Sad Puppies list isn’t nothing but racist and sexist stuff. Part of why the cute little ploy worked is because the people tossed on the list had literally nothing to do with the list and don’t stand for the kind of crap what-his-face stands for. The is like if a KKK guy puts out an Emmy voting list that included Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, or whatever the hell kids with TVs watch these days and claiming credit when they get nominated.
Lines of Departure, one of the novels on the best novel list, is straight up probably best the military sci-fi have ever read. It knocked my socks off when I read it. It burst to the top of Amazon charts for a reason. It is just damn good and it deserves to be on that list. I would happily compare Lines of Departure with classic Starship Troopers. Skin Game is from a very long lived and well loved urban fantasy series that sells like mad. Perhaps even more fascinating is that Goodnight Stars, on the short story list, was written by a self identified queer socialist lady who in her blog post was kind of repulsed by the whole ordeal.
So, please don’t associate the authors nominated with the list. More then a few have spoken out at how queasy being on that list has made them feel, and at least one nominated author from the list pulled out.
My point is, it isn’t cut and dry. There is good sci-fi and fantasy that was nominated this year; don’t automatically assume it has anything with the nasty sexist undertones from the guy who put out that list.
edit: Made grammar more goodest.
Eh, I’m not concerned for the award itself, though it is a troubling situation considering the groups involved.
I mean, really, the Hugo Awards have always been a popularity contest with a tiny voting pool, rather than a mark of quality.
To put it in perspective, Luke Burrage’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, a relatively unknown show that is exactly what it says on the tin, manages to pull more listeners per week(ish - not always a show every week) than the largest Worldcon Attendance/Hugo Voting pool to date.
The Hugos are well known, but in the end, no matter what happens, it’s not a big deal. They’re a popularity contest that a tiny amount of people vote on. If they’re broken, while that’s unfortunate especially considering the reasons and people behind it, in the end the worlds of Sci-Fi and Fantasy have not lost much.
The funniest thing about it is that the Sad Puppies, like the gamergaters, are like idealized textbook versions of classic-definition SJWs (whiny, entitled, constantly hammering on about persecution and unfair bias where none exists, hyperbolic to the extreme, completely dishonest about their methods, goals, and reasons, and immune to logic, who fight almost solely for the purpose of fighting rather than to advance any genuine social goal or actually leave the world a better place, despite their rhetoric claiming that is what they seek to do). They are exactly the sort of people they claim to hate so much.
I only ever use the Hugo nominations and its ilk as a filter, a suggested reading list if you will, nothing more. This year’s nominees for best novel are a sad and sorry lot. Just finished ‘The Three Body Problem’ by Cixin Liu. More science fiction like that in this world, please!
EDIT: Maybe not sad and sorry so much as not to my taste.
I suspect that the problem is not going to be the results(even if the slate were universally dreadful, it’s just one year); but the (effective) demonstration that any structure whose architecture failings have historically been disguised by low stakes, traditionalism, goodwill, inertia, or a variety of other structural forces are actually pretty trivial to crack. Doubly so if you are not concerned about whether they survive after you are finished with them.
There are systems built substantially on the presumption of malice, the-letter-of-the-law-because-the-spirit-isn’t-enforceable, and grimly entrenched interests slugging it out (see also: the electoral and regulatory processes with actual money and power attached); but those are fairly horrible places, typically characterized by levels of nastiness that would dissolve any voluntary association, obscured from outside view by a morass of highly technical paperwork.
The demonstration that a competent(but hardly exceptional or difficult to replicate) effort is enough to shove the organization in your chosen direction has the nasty tendency to ensure that all future changes will occur either by similar means, or by fiat as the much-rattled old guard circle the wagons and try to stop that from happening. Either outcome is likely to go poorly.
Hell. Yes. The Three Body Problem was amazing. It radically reshaped my view on Chinese sci-fi. If there is more of that hiding in China, someone needs to throw some money at some translators right away. Anyone who has not read it needs to stop what they are doing and read it now.
I am also kind of surprised The Martian didn’t make any lists. That is another novel that just blew me out of the water and came out of left field.
They’re a bunch of sons a’ bitches?
The Three Body Problem is probably victim #1 in this whole mess, as by most rights it should have gotten into the Best Novel shortlist. (And didn’t partially because the SP compiler hadn’t heard of it, and said later that he would have put it on the list otherwise). That’s the cheif failing of slates, that they don’t reflect the choices of the nominators, they reflect the choices of the slate compilers.
I believe that “The Martian” was actually previously published in 2012, so is not eligible this year. Though, if I hear things right, there’s going to be a possibility for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form in a year or so.
I’d heard that the group was trying to show how arbitrary and silly the criteria for the Hugos was in an attempt to get the procedure updated. I don’t know if this is true but this it certainly makes me wonder. If someone actually knows, I’d be interested to see the context surrounding the issue.
This is disheartening to hear about. A friend of mine is nominated for best short form editor, and I can’t help but think that her anthology Chicks Dig Gaming might be an especially delicious target for Puppygaters.