I was going to drop the Hugo awards until next Spring at least. After all, other than the list for the noms coming up, there shouldn’t have been anything going on. Then THIS showed up from Wired. And it’s the biggest pile of crap that I’ve seen in this entire mess. Which is saying a lot. I’m going to point out that Amy had the opportunity to interview everybody involved on the puppy side, but ignored Sarah Hoyt’s large contribution in favor of the narrative. The same narrative that came out of the Tor press release right after the nominations were announced.
She starts off with Marko Kloos, who withdrew his nomination under pressure from the puppy kickers. Now I don’t know what the pressure was, but I can guess based on things that others have said. Mr. Kloos did a GREAT disservice to his fans who nominated him by withdrawing under the pressure. No pressure or disparagement was placed on Mr. Kloos by any of the puppies because they understand the reality.
As for the slate, while certainly many of the authors were men, that wasn’t the reason the stories were chosen.
The stores were chosen because a bunch of us had read them and like them regardless of the authors’ whatever they had between their legs or tint of melanin. Of course that just resolves down to just being a “loophole” as far as the puppy kicker narrative is concerned. A narrative that Amy repeats right from the original Tor press release.
As well as the spin that the puppies are somehow regressive for wanting readable SF.
It looks an awful lot like a counterrevolution—a push by once-powerful forces attempting to reclaim privileged status. Nowhere is this revanchism playing out more vividly than in the culturally potent literary subgenre of science fiction.
Yet another line that’s been spun out from the puppy kickers from the beginning. Of course she follows up with yet another line of the “the puppies want this” without, well actually quoting any puppies. Now I know that she talked to Brad and maybe Larry. There’s also the fact that both Larry And Brad have written at length about what’s going on. But Amy would rather allude to what the puppies said rather than actually showing her readers what they said.
Now, all the various Puppies insist they’re trying to expand, not reduce, diversity (at least as they define the word). They say the Hugos have gotten snobby and exclusionary. The Puppies hate the politicization of a genre they love and want to return it to its roots: exploration of the unknown and two-fisted adventure.
The fact is, as shown by what I’ve written here and reported, the Hugos HAVE gotten “snobby and exclusionary.” The farce that was the Hugo awards show this year demonstrated that as nothing else could.
Amy goes on to tell us what Larry was thinking:
But Correia had some serious complaints. He felt that the Hugos had become dominated by what Internet conservatives call Social Justice Warriors, or SJWs for short, who value politics over plot. When Correia unleashed the Sad Puppies campaign for the second time, in 2014, two particular Hugo contenders really set his comrades off. One, a short story by John Chu called “The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere,” depicts a gay man who decides to come out to his traditional Chinese family after water starts falling from the sky on anyone who tells a lie. And in Ann Leckie’s debut novel Ancillary Justice, most of the characters in a far-future galactic empire do not see gender, which Leckie conveys by using only female pronouns.
Now as far as I can tell the big complaint about “The Water” was that it wasn’t SF. The complaint about “Ancilliary” was that the gimmick was old and wasn’t enough to carry a story. The big issue with both was that that they were both on the ballot as affirmative action candidates rather than the quality of the story.
Of course she end the article buy lauding perhaps the biggest asshole of the whole thing GRR Martin.
Which brings us back, in a roundabout way, to Martin. He has attended almost every Worldcon since 1971 and has won four Hugos and lost 15, not counting any related to the HBO show. So Martin says he can say with utter sincerity that it is an honor merely to be nominated—not because the Hugo is a hoity-toity accolade bestowed by Ivy Leaguers, as the Puppies charge, but because of the caliber of past winners, men and women alike.
Martin, the son of a longshoreman, rejects the idea that anyone has been excluded from the Hugos for being too lowbrow or politically incorrect. But, he says, it’s not a popularity contest, either. “The reward for popularity is popularity! It’s truckloads of money! Do you need the trophy, too?” he asks. “Can’t the trophy go to the guy who sells 5,000 copies but is doing something innovative?” Of course, that’s easy for someone of Martin’s stature—and success—to say. But it’s hard to argue with his lament about the hateful discourse and the name-calling that the Puppy-scuffle has prompted. At one point earlier this year, Martin was so despairing that he blogged that the Hugos had been broken. “I am not sure they can ever be repaired,” he wrote.
By the time he shows up in Spokane, however, Martin is more optimistic. Sanguine enough, in fact, to plan a Hugo Losers Party, a tradition he’d started back in 1976 but then let fall into other hands. Martin prints up invites—“Losers Welcome. Winners Will Be Mocked. No Assholes!”—hires a band and a caterer, and rents a 12,000-square-foot historic mansion. The party starts right after the Hugo ceremony ends, and winners who show up are required to don rubber coneheads. Losers get magic markers to write on the cones.
After midnight, Martin takes to a balcony to announce that, for the first time, he will bestow his own awards—dubbed the Alfies in honor of Alfred Bester, whose book The Demolished Man won Best Novel at the first-ever Hugos in 1953. “This year all of us were losers,” Martin says, explaining that the Alfies, made at Martin’s expense from streamlined 1950s hood ornaments, are his attempt to take a little of the sting off.
Before the Losers Party hits full swing, Worldcon releases data that allows a look at a parallel universe where the Puppies hadn’t intervened. That lets Martin give trophies to the people who would have been on the ballot if not for all the barking, as well as some extra winners decided “by committee, and that committee is me,” Martin says. Sci-fi writer Eric Flint gets an Alfie for his “eloquence and rationality” in blog posts about the Puppy kerfuffle. Legendary author Robert Silverberg, who has attended every Worldcon since 1953, receives an Alfie just for being himself.
The biggest cheers, though, break out when Martin honors Annie Bellet and Marko Kloos. The new data show Bellet would likely have been on the ballot even without the Puppy slates; the Alfie clearly stuns her. In her acceptance speech she says she wants the Hugos to “be about the fiction. And that was important enough to me to give one up.”
By turning down his Puppy-powered nomination, Kloos had made room on the ballot for the winner, Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem. Kloos tells me he was thrilled to have played even a small part in honoring the novel, and earlier in the evening he’d posed for photos with the book’s translator. Now, standing on the balcony with Martin, Kloos grips his hood ornament and grins broadly. “I may get nominated again,” he tells the partygoers. “But knowing why I got this and who gave it to me—tonight, this beats the shit out of that rocket.”
Who, along with Patrick Nelson Hayden and David Gerrold worked so hard to create the narrative and ended up covering themselves in crap. Which leads to the question, “why didn’t Amy interview Mr. Neilson Hayden?” He’s been in the middle all of this and while the puppies have all been available and quotable, the key player for the status quo has been silent. Maybe it’s time we heard from the powers that be what they want. Directly from them and not through the press releases and proxies. It’s time that all the curtains were pulled back and everything brought into the light. Before going forward we should know the motive behind E Pluribus Hugo and the rest. The puppies have said their piece, it’s time that the other side came out and told us what they are about. Of course that will never happen as long as they can fling crap like this and get away with it.
The Hugo Awards
Update: Another take.