Hugos and Puppies and Chorfs, Oh My!
- Well it’s April and that means it’s time for science fiction and character assassination. This year will mark the fourth iteration of the greatest literary experiment since the invention of the apostrophe. At this point the whole saga has become too long and complicated to rehash in detail but the argument in a nutshell is that the Hugo Awards had become a very in-bred mutual admiration prize that a surprisingly small number of voters controlled. The Sad Puppies claimed that the prizes no longer reflected the kind of stories that the majority of sf buyers wanted but rather a literary style that was heavy on progressive social messaging and flavor of the day affirmative action representation. In fact what they claimed was that a small group of like-minded authors and the publishers who printed their works (call them the Gatekeepers) basically agreed on a slate ahead of time and because of the small attendance were able to dictate the winners based on their progressive sensibilities. For this assertion the Puppies were mocked and reviled. So they formed a slate of their own and captured almost all of the nominations. The panic and anger this engendered is hard to exaggerate. Some of the publishing professionals used their media contacts to get multiple news sites to characterize the Sad Puppies as racist, sexist white supremacists. Interestingly several of the puppies were various combinations of non-white and non-male. But the truth is no excuse for ruining a perfectly good narrative. By convincing the larger sf community that evil men were co-opting the venerable Hugos the Gatekeepers were able to recruit a couple of thousand new voters who used the “no-award” option to punish the puppy nominees. And just to show how petty these gatekeepers were they handed out asterisks at the award ceremony to nominees just to show them how illegitimate their status was.
- This year the Sad Puppies have decided to take the high road and make the program more inclusive allowing anyone regardless of sensibilities to nominate works. This has garnered them less hate (slightly) from the Gatekeepers. However, a very large section of the Sad Puppies has migrated to the Rabid Puppies. These are followers of a fellow called Vox Day who so despises the Hugo Gatekeepers (or Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) as he calls them) that burning down the Hugos is actually more desirable to him than reforming them. Now the Rabids are generally a prickly crowd and tend to bite friend or foe when the whim strikes them. But how can you fault someone who nominates a story for a Hugo called “Space Raptor Butt Invasion.” If the Rabids manage to capture a substantial proportion of the nominations pandemonium (and hilarity) will ensue. The character assassination will be phenominal. But it is instructive to see just how easily the progressives crumble when exposed to just a small fraction of the unfairness that they dish out to conservatives. Very instructive.
- So Bravo Puppies (Sad and Rabid). Long may you gnaw your chew toys.