Got back from the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab to find that the internet blew up in my absence. Since I knew the Hugo nominations would be announced on Easter Saturday, this was inevitable. And I thought long and hard about whether I was going to make a public post or just lock it to the folks I trust, but I've decided I'm not going to let fear rule me. I'm going to do my best to be a Voice of Reason. Considering the fact that in other circles I'm considered The Mean One, this may be difficult, but I'll try.
Disclaimer: Larry Correia and Brad Torgerson are friends of mine. I do not know Vox Day, and have never had a conversation with him, though I have on occasion visited his blog, and I've read (and enjoyed) some of his fiction.
First of all, congrats to all the nominees. Special shout-outs to Kevin J. Anderson, Jim Butcher, John C. Wright, Tom Kratman, Gray Rhinehart, Annie Bellet, Kary English, Carter Reid, and Bryan Thomas Schmidt. I look forward to reading the Hugo voter packet once it's ready.
I am somewhat gobsmacked by the reaction, though I suppose I shouldn't be. I've been trying to unpack my own reaction to the reaction, and it boils down to a few points:
1. The Hugos are a fan award, and the "fans" in this instance are the ones who buy at least a Supporting Membership to Worldcon. The fact that more
fans found out they could do this, and blew at least forty bucks of their hard-earned money in order to make their voices heard, thus putting more
money into Worldcon coffers? Is a good thing
. The fact that those fans might not be the Sorts Of People that "fandom" is used to having vote on "their" award? Is also a good thing. Because, you know what? The award belongs to them too. Everything should be turned upside down on occasion; it lets in air and light.
2. I keep seeing people saying that they're going to vote "No Award" for anything and anyone who appeared on the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies slate. I am gobsmacked by this reaction as well. Are you seriously going to punish Jim Butcher, Kary English, John C. Wright, and all the others because of how you think
they got on the ballot? Because of who supported them? Do you honestly think they don't belong there?
This strikes me as petty, and beneath us. I thought we were better than that. But apparently there are Cool Kids, and there are the Cooler Kids, and then there are the Great Unwashed. If giving everyone a fair shake--by actually reading the works and voting accordingly--makes me one of the Great Unwashed, well, I'll stand proudly with them. And if your conscience is clear when you vote No Award over the godfather of an entire freaking genre without even reading him, well. I guess it's your conscience.
3. The idea that the nominees aren't "real" and should have an asterisk or something on their win. I'll be succinct here: Bull fucking shit. Jim Butcher is, as said earlier, the godfather of an entire genre and helps writers out wherever he can. Kevin J. Anderson has written more books than God and also helps out new writers. John C. Wright is generally the smartest guy in any room and has books published by Tor, which is not precisely easy. Kary English won Writers of the Future, which is also not precisely easy, and she is lovely. Toni Weisskopf manages--very well!--a publishing house that gives no shits about the politics of their writers. Are you seriously telling me that these luminaries don't belong on the ballot
4. On "fixing" this "problem": The thing is, no one did anything against the rules. Anyone and everyone is free to suggest their own slate based on their own agenda. Others probably will, next year. As far as I'm concerned, the more the merrier. The way to combat speech you disagree with is not to ban that speech, it's more speech
. So. You don't like how this panned out? Start your own campaign. Come up with your own slate next year. Get your friends who read SFF involved. Let them know that they can be involved
, for crying out loud. I keep seeing, again and again and freaking again "Oh, wow, I did not realize I could actually have a voice in this, how cool."
We don't need to shut it down. We need to pump it up.