I was skeptical when people said the internet would explode on Saturday when the Hugo shortlist was announced. I was wrong. It blew sky high.
Here are samples of the thunder and lightning, beginning with someone who declined his nomination.
Matthew David Surridge at Black Gate
“A Detailed Explanation” – April 4
This is going to come out at some point, so I might as well say it here and now: I declined a Hugo nomination for this year’s Best Fan Writer award. I think it’s only fair to the people who voted for me to say why…
Add that all up, and I think it’s clear how extensively I disagree with the Puppy campaigns, and why I don’t want an award nomination that primarily comes from being placed on their slates. I should have investigated the situation more thoroughly in February when I found out that I was on those slates, and I should have asked to be removed then. Again, I extend my apologies to everyone for not doing so at that time.
A few concluding points:
Firstly, I want to say that while I appreciate anyone finding value in my work, I would like to ask that people refrain from voting for me as ‘Best Fan Writer’ in future Hugos. More broadly, I would like to ask that people assembling future Hugo slates not include my name in any category. That goes for Sad Puppies 4 (and future iterations), and it goes for any anti-Puppy slate that also might be put forward.
I understand there’s a slippery slope involved in asking not to be put on a ‘slate.’ Is there a difference between somebody putting forward their personal Hugo ballot and putting forward a slate? Well, I think so. I think at least in this case the differences are, one, is the person putting the ballot forward requesting that others vote the same way, and two, is there a desire in putting the ballot forward to have a major effect on the speculative fiction field as a whole. If the answer to one or both questions is ‘yes,’ I would prefer not to be involved.
Secondly, on a personal level, this whole sequence of events is working directly against the Puppies’ stated intentions. Torgersen’s consistently written about wanting to bring more people into ‘fandom,’ however it’s defined. For me, the net result of the Puppy activities has been to alienate me from fandom and the speculative fiction world. It’s not an absolute alienation, of course; I’ll still be writing here at Black Gate. But involving me in a controversial campaign without asking is not something that I find particularly welcoming, to say the least.
Frankly, it’s lucky I found out about the Puppies putting me on their slate before I found out I’d been nominated. Imagine if I hadn’t. I’d have had no reason not to accept the nomination. And in the long run that would have been embarrassing for everyone.
Finally, I understand that when somebody outside a community takes a stance that can be perceived as repudiating one faction within that community, opposing factions are likely to celebrate. I think that’s unfortunate. I cannot stress enough how much I’ve done what I’ve done because I don’t want to take sides in a dispute that is not mine. I can only say that if what I have said and done has any effect on the discussion going forward, I hope that effect will be to make the discussion one of ideas and not of personalities — that this all may move the controversy, however slightly, away from insults and toward constructive talk. I don’t say I think that will happen; but it’d be nice if it did.
“Hugo Nominations: Fan, Incoming, 3…2…1” – April 5
So ASIM [Andomeda Space Inflight Magazine] is on the Hugo ballot. We at the magazine have known about this for about ten days’ time, and have long since sent through the acceptance. But because none of us are exactly active in US fandom, we only became aware of the Sad Puppies connection very late in the piece — in fact, a scant three days before the nominations were made public, and well after all the dust had settled on the nomination process itself. ASIM was never informed about our inclusion on the Sad Puppies 3 slate — if we had been, I very strongly suspect our response would have been a resounding ‘Hell, No’ — and there was no time, nor any point, in looking to remove ourselves once we did get there.
My own take on this is that a Sad Puppies vote for ASIM is a ‘pity-sex’ vote. This doesn’t benefit the magazine, doesn’t benefit fandom, not one bit. Fans who are eligible to vote should only endorse ASIM (which, btw, will be included in some form in the Hugo voters’ packet) if they’ve read and enjoyed the magazine, and judged it worthy of the award against the current competition. That’s what voting is supposed to be about. Sometimes we forget that.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden comment on “The 2015 Hugo Finalists” at Making Light
@13 Problem is, a lot of those catagories are entirely, or almost entirely SP nominations. That Vox Day gets 2(!) nominations is beyond disgusting. Not to mention the 27 nominations for that pervert John C Wright.
And all the works published by Castalia House, whose two most prominent authors are John C. Wright and Vox Day.
This is pretty discouraging. To dominate the ballots this way means they had huge numbers of people buy memberships, likely including a lot of #GGers.
Around 199 at most, and there may have been fewer. That’s the difference between the total nominating votes cast in 2014 and 2015.
I’m not sure how to fight this, and frankly, I don’t know if I have the energy. I may just check out of the Hugos and Worldcon altogether.
Don’t. I’ve been thinking about this, and I bring you a message of hope.
It’s too late to salvage the 2015 ballot, but not the 2015 Hugo Awards. Supporting memberships are still being sold, and they can vote.
Want to strike back against the Sad Puppies and everything they represent? Buy a supporting membership. Vote for the nominees you love or like or find worthy. Do it with no agenda beyond your love of SF. Next year, buy one early enough to nominate.
We’ve been worrying about bringing on a system of warring slates. It’s unnecessary. You don’t need a slate to beat a slate. What you need are a lot more votes, chosen according to the individual voters’ preferences. It doesn’t matter if their distribution is unfocused, as long as there are enough of them.
Even if block voting campaigns manage to wedge a few nominees onto a ballot, the combined votes of all those supporting memberships applied to the five nominees in each category is going to swamp any slate-based voting that doesn’t represent a sizeable fraction of actual fannish taste.
I know that many commenters have expressed hesitation about nominating when they haven’t read everything. I have three observations.
First, you aren’t voting for the eventual winners. You’re voting for your own preferences. If you pick a nominee that other voters think is minor, your vote for them will vanish into the background haze when the nominations are tabulated: no harm done.
Second, you can do the same thing that’s done by every experienced Hugo voter I know: vote where you have knowledge and preferences, and refrain where you don’t. I nominate and vote for Best Fanartist, but in a year where I haven’t been keeping up with TV, I skip Dramatic Presentation (Short Form).
Third, when the people doing a block voting attack on the Hugos claim to practically worship Heinlein, but aren’t aware that the second huge volume of his first major biography has come out, perhaps you ought not worry about your own lack of omniscience.
I love the idea of beating the SP’s covert elitism with an answer that’s more democratic, draws more fans into voting for the Hugos, and finds its winners in the combined preferences of many more voters.
Brad R. Torgersen
“Stealing the Enterprise” – April 4
Now, obviously, no Hugo ballot ever arrives without controversy. With limited slots per category, the ballot cannot encompass everything that the field is. Each year the Hugo is a slit-lens peak at what the members of WSFS believe to be the best representative works and people, for the year prior. Many worthy works and people will have missed the cutoff. Not for lack of fan enthusiasm per se, but mainly because not everyone can vote for everything at the same time. But it’s precisely because not everyone can vote for everything at the same time, that SP3 decided to proactively and strongly suggest a roster which would — we hoped — give WSFS something different to pick from. A bit like adding a new table of steam trays at a buffet. To give people a new group of choices, from which to fill their respective “plates” during the nomination period.
Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation
This is just one little battle in an ongoing culture war between artistic free expression and puritanical bullies who think they represent *real* fandom. In the long term I want writers to be free to write whatever they want without fear of social justice witch hunts, I want creators to not have to worry about silencing themselves to appease the perpetually outraged, and I want fans to enjoy themselves without having some entitled snob lecture them about how they are having fun wrong. I want our shrinking genre to grow. I think if we can get back to where “award nominated” isn’t a synonym for “preachy crap” to the most fans, we’ll do it.
Will Shetterly on It’s All One Thing
When awards go to the best work, it’s unintentional. There are two models for awards in the fantasy and science fiction genre, and they’re both flawed. The Hugos and Nebulas are popularity contests that tell you more about how well the stories were promoted than written. The World Fantasy Awards are chosen by a committee, which means the winner is not everyone’s favorite and often is no one’s favorite. Mind you, this isn’t to knock the winners—awards usually go to decent stories, and sometimes go to great stories, but occasionally, as a critical look at the history of any of the awards will tell you, go to stories whose virtues are impossible to see now and were dubious then. That said, four points: 1. People have gamed the Hugos and Nebulas for decades. As a young writer, I first noticed it when Scott Card attended many conventions, recommended a lot of work by his fellow writers in his book review column, and generally promoted the hell out of himself. I didn’t hold that against him. He had the financial resources to do it, and he was playing by the unwritten rules. (My disappointment with Card came later, when I learned of his opposition to gay rights.)
“The Disavowal” – April 3
There’s a call in certain corners of the internet for disavowals from people on the Sad Puppies slate. Here’s mine:
I disavow racism wherever I find it.
Calling someone a half-savage because of race? I disavow it. Denying someone’s ethnicity and heritage because that makes it easier to stereotype them as white oppressors? I disavow it. Calling a whole slate racist because of someone who’s not even on it or because some of the people are white? I disavow it.
My characters come from multiple races and ethnicities because they’re drawn from the vast diversity of the world around me. I write them as faithfully and authentically as I can. If I should stumble, my hope is that the world will correct me when needed and accept an apology when offered.
Robert Reynolds comment on Kary English
As to the whole “Sad Puppies” thing-I just looked at the Hugo final ballot and noticed some troubling things. Apparently, one writer’s work is so exceptional that he comprises fully one-third of the short fiction nominees, with fully three-fifths of one category. Three of the pieces are from one book of short pieces and all of them are from the same publishing house. A publishing house edited by the source for one of the lists being circulated and urging people to nominate works from their “slate” of suggested works. That editor also received nominations in both editor categories.
Nothing made the ballot in any short fiction category from Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Strange Horizons or Lightspeed, even though the latter three were nominated for Best Semiprozine. Apparently, of the major print magazines, only Analog was worthy of notice, with four stories nominated. Asimov’s and F & SF were shut out.
Vox Day on Vox Populi
2015 Hugo Nominations – April 4
In less than an hour, the finalists for the 2015 Hugo Awards will be announced. You can watch the livestream here. Regardless of what happens, I encourage everyone to remain calm, cool, and collected. If we fail, so be it. Kate the Impaler is leading Sad Puppies 4 for 2016 and the long march continues. If we succeed, then that is one more strong point broken, but many still remain. The long march continues.
Whether we are beaten back this time or we break through the enemy lines and leave them reeling in disbelief and disarray, we will continue to methodically and patiently advance. We will defeat the SJWs in science fiction, we will break the stranglehold of the gatekeepers, we will reclaim the genre for freedom of speech, thought, and association, and we will continue to expose the pretenses and posturings and pernicious accusations of the SJWs for the lies that they are. And in doing so, we will show others, in other industries and areas of the culture, that not only is resistance possible, but that it is possible to reclaim long-lost ground. We will show them that even a small number of people who are willing to stand up and say “you shall not pass” can make a real and substantive difference.
Cedar Sanderson on Mad Genius Club
“2014 Hugo Nominations” – April 4
Pretty cool, isn’t it? I no longer feel like my vote has just vanished into a black hole.
Hugo Puppies and the News – April 4
My heart goes out to those to whom the Hugo awards mean a great deal, who have worked hard making it into something with brand recognition and significance outside of genre, and who are seeing something they love twisted and perverted in bad faith to celebrate, not art, but a triumph against diversity in art.
But the reality is, for me, that I am used to bigots dominating the conversation and being galled by my existence. I am used to people vilifying my name, my language, my ethnicity, my gender, my sexual orientation. I am used to resistance as default, as the condition by which I exist. So this year’s Hugo ballot — on which are heavily represented men far better known for advocating white supremacy, violence against women, and hatred of queer people than they are for their fiction, to the point where it appears they were chosen for their advocacy over their fiction — feels like business as usual where I’m concerned.
Brian K. Lowe
Most f/sf fans, however, will stand by and ignore/watch with horrified awe the train wreck that the Hugos will have become. Very soon, the awards will cease to have any marketing or promotional or even personal value, because it the award will no longer even pretend to honor literary excellence, but merely which side can buy the most votes by assembling the most voters.
This year it was the Sad Puppies who bought the most votes. Next year it may be the Soft Kitties. The year after that–the year after that it won’t matter because fandom will be divided into armed camps that don’t speak, don’t read the same books, and refuse to attend the same conventions.
Which will make the Puppies and the Kitties very sad.
Marie Brennan on Notes From The Teleidoplex
“My Hugo Nominations” – April 4
I don’t want to see a move toward counter-slates. I pretty much categorically refuse to follow a slate because my reading habits and preferences will never align with other people’s. I don’t have time to read comprehensively, and I won’t nominate something unless I’ve read it. The SP/RP contingent would say (and has said today) that this is why they won this year. They’re treating their gamification of the nomination process as a feature rather than a deeply divisive bug.
Paul Weimer on Blog, Jvstin Style
This Sad Puppies ballot voting and their political motivations makes the Hugo Award look like a parochial US only thing. What about fans in Britain? Germany? Australia? Pakistan? Their voices are only slowly being heard in SF awards, and with this slate, those voices are silenced completely this year.
Charlie Jane Anders on i09
Honestly, you’re never going to have a perfect system for identifying the best works of fiction published in a given year — even with a juried award, these decisions will inevitably wind up including factors that are external to the quality of the work. So the best you can hope for is that the quality of the work winds up getting considered first and foremost, over other factors. The only processes that really get you there are deliberative, involving a lot of public discussion and private rumination. That’s how you get surprising, out-of-nowhere choices. As someone who won a Hugo Award in 2012, I’m sad that there might be one less avenue out there for new writers to be plucked from obscurity and put on a stage with their idols.
Deidre Saoirse Moen
Follow, or don’t, your choice. If you are voting the strict ix-nay uppy-pay slate, here’s the options in each category:
John Scalzi on Whatever
- This year I’ll do what I always do when voting for the Hugos, which is to rank the nominees every category according to how I think they (and/or their particular works in question) deserve to ranked. Preferential balloting is a useful thing. I will be reading quite a lot.
- If, in the fullness of careful consideration, I come to believe certain nominees in a category do not merit being on the ballot at all, then I will do two things:
One, I will leave those nominees off my final ballot. If they’re not on my ballot, they can’t be ranked.
Two, after ranking the nominees I do believe deserve to be on the ballot, I will use the “No Award” option to signal that I would prefer that no Hugo be awarded, rather than to give it to any of the remaining nominees.
Allum Bokhari on Breitbart.com
What a time to be alive! Liberals write for Breitbart, a carton girl in green and purple is a symbol of terror for the authoritarian Left, and now an online campaign with a manatee for a spokesperson is exposing political cliques in the world of science fiction and fantasy publishing.
In February, we reported on the “Sad Puppies” campaign, a tongue-in-cheek bid by science fiction & fantasy (SF&F) authors to draw attention to an atmosphere of political intolerance, driven by so-called “social justice warriors,” that is holding the medium back. Spearheaded by authors Larry Correia and Brad R. Torgersen, the campaign sought to break the stranglehold of old cliques by encouraging a more politically diverse group of fans to take part in the annual Hugo Awards.
A week of rumours about the campaign’s success were confirmed this Saturday with the announcement of the final Hugo Awards ballot. Authors and works endorsed by the Sad Puppies nominations slate swept the field, a reflection of just how many new fans the rebel authors have brought into the Hugo process