April 10th, 2015


The Hugo awards II

I kept up with GRRMs very leveled and sophisticated posts on the whole Puppygate issue and I also read Larry Correia's long and rambling answer and since I don't want to give myself high blood pressure during pregnancy I need to write my thoughts on this down somewhere.

Correia essentially complains that people did not like him at the WorldCon because of his political views and that he did not win anything. He complains that the preferences of "his kind of fan" are slanted and somehow considered “wrong”.

The whole post reeks of butthurt privilege. Certainly conservatives constitute at least half of the US electorate, so he might have experienced a sort of climate change, when entering the literary community, but I wonder if he, for all his victimization fantasies, has ever actually considered that, within the society of scifi readers, his tastes are an actual minority opinion? That books of his tastes did not win so often/ or get published so often, simply because the readers did not enjoy them so much?

I don’t find it surprising that a field like fantastic literature that constantly dreams up new societies and new cultures, does swing more into a progressive direction than a conservative one. You start to dream, because reality isn't enough and your imagination can do so much better. Does it not make sense that people, who imagine living with alien life, have an easy time accepting that all kinds of humans are equal? Does it not make sense that they want to move society forward instead of conserving the status quo?

Part of why I always loved the scifi community is because it is so very open to new things and ideas. I doubt that anyone considers the old school things Correia feels are so persecuted actually “wrong” (unless he lies and actually does mean open racism and sexism, by his vague descriptions). I think people are simply more interested in more novel and creative ideas. It is a matter of taste. Might be that imagination has a liberal bias, but you can't force people to like what you like, even by sweeping a literature prize with a very small electorate.

An example: If a novel treats women like things that are just there for decoration that simply disagrees with my taste. To me it is bad literature because it is bad depiction. You could also write about dogs and constantly talk about their quacking and their scales (although if it is cats, it’s cleary 5 star scifi). A good author needs to be a good observer and if I feel that an author is too narrowminded to be a good observer, he loses appeal.
They claim they miss the good old “to boldly go, where no man has gone before” but when it comes to imagining new ways of life, they want to stay, where men have been staying since forever and where women should never go away too far from the kitchen.

Considering how small the electorate for the Hugo was, it always did an amazing job of representing scifi fans and the reason why it became such a powerful award even to people like me (who didn’t have an idea how it was even chosen for a long time), is because picking up a Hugo book hardly ever disappointed.

So since the Hugo has been reliable for over 60 years it makes sense to me to support it now and try to keep it that way, by adding my voice. I refuse to believe that the puppies are what the majority of scifi fans want, but if that majority doesn’t participate, they will ruin the Hugos anyway. So, I bought a membership. Has the added bonus that I can vote for the WorldCon to be in Helsinki in 2017, where I could actually attend it. I read only a few stories on the ballots but let’s see with how much I can catch up until end of July.