Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Pounded Puppies, Or The Adventures Of Hurricane Hugo

Doctor Science over at Obsidian Wings has a pretty good rundown of what's going on with this weekend's Hugo Award nominees in sci-fi, and the nasty proceedings that followed.

The bottom line is that a couple of male, white sci-fi authors with a conservative bent put together a slate of nominees for their fellow travelers to vote for.  They were able to make some headway last year, but this year nearly all the nominees were on one of two slates, one made by author Larry Correia, and the other by America's Favorite Techno-Racist(tm), Vox Day.

Since Day was involved, that attracted the Breitbart crew to further the cause, and the results were pretty predictable:

This year there were two, largely overlapping "conservative" slates: Sad Puppies 3, put together by Brad Torgerson, and Rabid Puppies 2015, by Vox Day. The result: the Best Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Related Work, Editor (Long Form), and Editor (Short Form) categories contain *only* Puppies nominees, all others have been shut out. Only two non-Puppies are in the Best Novel category and in the two Dramatic Presentations, and there's only one each for Pro Artist, Fanzine, Fan Writer, and the Campbell Award.

Correia turned his own nomination down out of some goofy act of selflessness, or something.  Vox Day on the other hand sees this as the first step in the destruction of sci-fi publishing houses like Tor Books, and in the Grim Future of White Supremacy, all authors are Vox Day.

Some of the other nominees turned down their nominations because they realized they were being used by the various "Puppies" campaigns as cover to deter calls of racism/misogyny, but Doc reminds us that it's all manipulative nonsense.

What's kind of stunning to me is how resolutely the Puppies have ignored issues of *quality* in assembling and arguing for their slate. Last year's slate was unbelievably, insultingly weak -- and I say that as someone whose fiction reading is mostly fanfic. I know a *lot* about bad writing, but I also know the difference between "bad, but I like it" and "objectively well-crafted". Since Torgerson put together the SP3 slate, I feel safe dismissing it out of hand — he's demonstrated that he doesn't have the minimum level of competence at English-wrangling necessary to pick lists of "the best stories". 
I often enjoy things that aren't even trying for excellence, but that's not what awards are *for*. Part of what bemuses me about the Puppies is that having high standards, believing in excellence, thinking that there are objective standards of value that don't have anything to do with popularity — these are all things I associate with traditional conservatism. And yet the Puppies seem to be doubling down on a pugnacious rejection of high literary standards — and, in their work, even such bourgeois affectations as grammar. 
Another reason I won't vote for anything touched by the Puppies is that two of the most prominent people involved -- indeed, the two most likely to benefit from the slate -- are IMHO actually evil. 
As a rule, I don't believe in calling a person "evil". Every human is capable of evil actions as well as good ones, you can't split people into neat "good" and "bad" piles. 
However. Sometimes there are people who are pretty consistent about doing evil and seem to be proud of it, so it's fair to just cut to the chase and say they're evil people. If they do something nice, then you can be surprised.

He's of course talking about Vox Day, real name Theodore Beale (a guy who rides that "white people are genetically superior to others" train like a boss) and his sidekick John C. Wright, who once called the writers of Nickelodeon's Legend of Korra series "traitors" and termites" who needed to be "exterminated" .

Nice couple of guys, who ended up with a bunch of Hugo nominations between them.

But why do I saw Wright and Beale are the most likely to benefit from the slate?

Wright's case is obvious. With 6 nominations in 4 categories, he has a pretty good chance of adding "Hugo Award-Winning Author" to his resume. 
Beale, it turns out, is the founder and maybe editor-in-chief (it's not clear) of Castalia House, a small independent publishing company (supposedly) based in Finland, which ~~somehow~~ managed to put out nine Hugo-nominated works in its first year of operation. 
That's just another way this conservative, partisan SF movement is like conservative American politics: look for the grift. Most of the people on the Puppy slates won't get Hugo Awards, but they'll find themselves with bad reputations in the fandom and the industry for years to come. Beale and Wright, though, may well get richer -- while still being admired for their forthright courage against lefty bullying by the followers they've led to harm.

Needless to say, No Award is looking like it might sweep the Hugos this year.

1 comment:

mellowjohn said...

"Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared humbled..."
and i'm sure that lasted right up until the cameras were turned off.

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