The Hugos are once again at the center of everyone’s attention. The Rabid Puppies have dominated a number of categories (64 out of 81 entries) with a mixture of mainstream (e.g. “The Martian”) and controversial (some might even say satirical) nominees. I guess you can’t completely take seriously an outcome that allows you to list “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” by Chuck Tingle as one of the Finalists for Best Short Story.
Of course the inevitable result will be a tidal wave of rage and condemnation levelled at not only the Rabid Puppies but also the Sad Puppies camp. George R R Martin and all the usual suspects will bitterly condemn the perpetrators of this outrage and mourn for the lost chance to honor really deserving authors and works.
Oh well. In a world where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton dominate the polls for the major political parties, is it really so strange that stories like “If You Were an Award, My Love” end up as finalists for the venerable Hugos?
My sympathies are with the Puppy camp but I can see why many folks are upset with all the upheaval and disruption. But I think there are some objective facts that point to which side is in the right.
The Puppies’ claim was that the nominees for the last decade or so have been selected by a small clique of people who don’t reflect the popular taste. This was denied and the countercharge was that the puppies were just jealous no-talents. Well, how to decide the truth? Objectively let’s look at an author who is extremely popular and successful. Jim Butcher has been producing novels in his Dresden Files series since about the year 2000. He’s even had a TV series made from the books. This is basically one of the most popular authors in fantasy. And yet he was never nominated for a Hugo. That is until the Sad Puppies began nominating. Now he’s been a finalist in both 2015 and 2016. To me this seems like pretty solid evidence of the accuracy of the Puppies’ claims. Well, of course, no one is going to convert anyone on this topic. But, I think it makes sense for people to get ready for a resolution that will involve some kind of award that reflects more of the popular opinion. What will be interesting to see is where the Hugos end up. Will they stick to the narrow path they’ve been on and sort of evaporate or try to open up the base to a larger group? I guess we’ll see.