If you have no idea what the Hugo Awards, are, they’re, like, the biggest deal in science fiction and fantasy writing. For anyone who writes in these two genres, winning one is like winning the Grammys or an Oscar.
Unfortunately, literary fiction has not been immune to personal politics. And we aren’t talking about the “did you hear what she said about so and so?” kind. We mean liberal vs. conservative.
Disclosure: I’m no long-time follower of the Hugos, so I’m commenting by what I see as I learn more.
Essentially the issue boils down to what conservatives, libertarians, and other “non-conformist” ideologies feel is a politicizing of science fiction literature by the left-wing of the group, led by former Sci-Fi Writer’s Guild President Jon Scalzi and Patrick and Teresa Nielsen-Hayden of Tor Books. The right-wing/no-wing side believe left-of-center types have used the Hugos and other sci-fi/fantasy awards to promote works by other lefties or “diversity”, aka giving awards to women/people of color/different sexual orientations BECAUSE they are non- straight white guys, as oppose to being great writers worthy of nomination. So about two years ago, some openly conservative/libertarian authors started the “sad puppies” group, named to be sarcastic about bleeding-heart liberals who always profess to do something to help “the children” or “sad puppies.” AKA, the name is supposed to mean “vote for our nominations or you’re killing sad puppies”, something to that effect.
The counter-argument from the left was that for most of the history of book publishing, straight white guys have dominated and their reaction now is due to feeling threatened by women/POC/DSO taking awards from them so they’re lashing out. They NEED the diversity in the awards, they argue, since this is the only way individuals in under-represented groups (count the number of big-time Hispanic male authors, and get back to me) can have a shot at winning.
Well, it appears the Sad Puppies won. The 2015 Hugo Awards nominees are (apparently) mostly individuals who were being pushed by Vox Day and some other right-of-center sci-fi authors for the nominations. This has caused a huge firestorm of protest from those considered to be “social justice warriors”, i.e. who were (allegedly) punishing non-conformists by denying them the opportunities to get books/short stories published or nominated for awards, and those who think, after finally being included in the normally “straight white guy” world of sci-fi/fantasy literature, are being pushed back by those who (allegedly) want the 1950s back.
I’ve heard of the Hugo Awards before, and I knew they were prestigious. I had no idea the political ideology fights were so intense. It kind of stinks, in my opinion, because this means any and all nominations will be subject to what side of the aisle you’re on- and if people happen to read any of my Watchdog.org op-eds, like here and here and here, I’ll lose any possible chance i have of being “politically-neutral” and this eligible to offend no one if some magical unicorn came to me and .convinced its flying sea-monkey friends to nominate me for a Hugo. That’s about the only chance I will ever have to win one, and if I’m ever nominated, let alone win one, I’ll have to come up with something gross or crazy like jump out of a moving car or publish a sex tape or something.
Feel free to share your thoughts about the Hugo award nominating process or this year’s choices. Who do you think will win?
photos are not mine and are republished as ‘fair-use’ under U.S. Copyright laws.