April 8th, 2015


This years Hugo's

I have seen this sad puppy thing going around the last few days but I had not bothered to find out what it was about until now. It's just plain depressing.

Here's the short version: This years Hugo award nominations were heavily influenced by heavy block voting from a "poor, underrepresented, hunted down white heterosexual males" group, called sad puppies. They felt, a lot like GamerGate (and indead the actors were partly overlapping), that their hobby is ruined by other people getting a voice too in the community.

They were sucessfull in pushing several authors on the short lists that are unlikely to have made it there otherwise. Three of their list made on the Hugo ballot for best novel this year and a lot of people are considering to vote No award this year, so that the award will not be handed out at all.

It really is depressing. I love the Hugos. I read so many of the winning books and after loosing track for a while I read the 2012 winner, Jo Walton's Among Others, and it all came back to me and I fell in love with scifi all over again. I guess Among Others is one of the books that the sad puppies were complaining about, written by a woman, female hero, more fantasy than scifi, more a book about what it is like to love scifi as a teenage girl than actual scifi. To me it was proof that the Hugo's grew with me. That they were still an award you could rely on for quality and especially originality.

This year, not so much. These are the books nominated this year:

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (The first book won last year)
The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson (puppy list)
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos (puppy list)
Skin Game by Jim Butcher (puppy list)

The sad puppy nominations are easy to spot, they are all the males. Yes, also Jim Butcher was on the list. I don't know if he said anything about being nominated by the sad puppies. I doubt he feels too great in their company, but there is nothing regarding the controversy on his blog or twitter. I read Skin Game and I liked it but it is not the kind of outstanding novel I'd nominate for a Hugo.

To me the sci fi community was always a liberating place, that took me away from the narrow constraints of society. To find that parts of it are as close minded as the most backwards village idiots, I was escaping from as a kid, is really sad.