|Thoughts on the Hugos and the Puppies
||[Apr. 23rd, 2015|01:39 pm]
the Hugos and the involvement of the Sad and Rabid Puppies (Mike Glyer has done a wonderful job to document everything over on File 770). I'm not really writing to argue for a specific action, more to make clear how I think myself here.This will be a mishmash of various thoughts on |
First, by an effective slate campaign, the Hugo shortlist has become dominated by the selections of a few people, more specifically Theodore Beale, Brad Torgersen, and Larry Correia. I don't really care about the why here, but I strongly resent that only three people - who appear to be close friends - have acted as the gatekeepers instead of a thousand. By this they have hurt the integrity of the Hugo award itself.
Second, by doing this they haven't broken any written rules about the Hugos, but they have broken an unwritten rule: that every person who nominates or votes should have read the work themselves and judged it worthy of the award. Some people take this very seriously, including me. We take it so seriously that we don't think of ourselves as well-read and well-oriented enough in the field to nominate. I know Kevin Standlee and others have argued for making it easier to vote, not harder, but the tendency is very much there. The slates very much act as a betrayal against this.
Third, any institutional reaction to this will be a long time coming, and I won't be able to influence that myself (since I won't be at the WSFS business meeting). (I've seen some comments about that being unfair. It is. But the alternative is far worse - WSFS is a meatspace organisation organising a meatspace event, and opening the doors to proxy voting can cause all sorts of havoc given prior experiences. The choice is between "unfair" and "grossly unfair".)
Fourth, even if the Puppies and others, like Eric Flint, have a point in that there is a growing disconnect between the popular sf fields and the Hugo electorate, this has always been a weak barrier. While it's true that the Worldcon electorate has chosen from a rather narrow list within the published sf field (witness eg the long list of nominations for Bujold - and I like Bujold), there has been a clear route for aspiring authors to get onto that list: go to Worldcon, and make friends there.
Sure, not every author is able or willing to go to Worldcon. Not fair. But not every worthy author gets published either. Not fair either.
Fifth, to me the Hugos aren't like the Oscars, who are primarily about commercial achievements in the field. I want to give the Hugos to the works that stretches and expands the field of science fiction and fantasy the most: picking up new questions, giving new tools to other authors, and so on. Sometimes, that means going over some old field again, if only to look at it with new eyes (like John Scalzi did in Redshirts). In short, the Hugos should be the science fictional vanguard of science fiction. They should be good reads, but they should stretch your mind, too.
Given my third point, the goal to me here must be to protect the integrity of the Hugo awards. Having one or two works in the shortlist that are there from a campaign isn't good, but doesn't really hurt the integrity of the award. Having three or more does hurt it. Either it makes it impossible to choose a worthy winner, or it defaults the winner.
So what am I going to do? I'm going to put every slate candidate below No Award. I know that it is unfair to Kary English, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and others who were placed on the slates without their own volition or without any real knowledge. But this situation is already grossly unfair to everyone but Theodore Beale, Brad Torgersen, or Larry Correia. What I need to do is help protect the integrity of the Hugos for the coming years.
I will still give those a fair
chance read when I get the packet. If nothing else, I might nomimate them next year.