Hugo nominations were announced yesterday, and in much the same vein as last year, there’s been a bit of an uproar over the results. This year there was an organized effort by GamerGaters to troll the nominations and nominate people just to anger so-called “social justice warriors” (people who try to promote gender equality and sexual and racial diversity in fiction). In particular you’ll note that Theodore “Vox Day” Beale is nominated twice, for Best Editor, Short Form and Best Editor, Long Form. I’ve talked about Vox Day before. Once is enough. However, he’s not the only one on the list who was nominated as a result of this organized effort. To read more about the “Sad Puppy” slate, read these two posts by Steve Davidson. In short:
At its base, Sad Puppies is about a few authors who have twigged to the fact that controversy, outrage and building an army of sycophants is good for their bottom line – especially if they can gin up a Judas goat for everyone to love to hate. The fact that the prize at the end of all of this bullshit might be a Hugo Award for one or more of them – along with bragging rights over how successfully they’ve managed to
corruptfix the system – is the plum in the pudding.
In case you haven’t been in the internet in a couple years and haven’t heard of it, GamerGate is a movement of violently racist and misogynist video gamers who actively work to drive women and racial minorities out of both playing and developing video games, in the bizarre theory that video games are only for white men. They attempt to achieve this goal by sending rape and death threats to people, hacking their accounts and posting home addresses and bank information publicly, threatening mass shootings at places where video game players might be talking about diversity in video games, etc. One thing you might notice from my description is that they have nothing whatsoever to do with literary awards.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden has a post with screenshots of GamerGaters talking about trying to rig the voting. John Scalzi talks about how to vote for those nominees you feel deserve an award, and how to note your displeasure with those who don’t. io9 has a nice overview about the drama.
I am not a WorldCon member and therefore cannot vote in the Hugos. I’m beginning to think I should pony up the cash for the privilege, however. The Hugos need more people who are willing to nominate and vote for fiction on its own merit. (Incidentally, I see Ann Leckie is once again up for Best Novel, this time for Ancillary Sword. I just bought that one and can’t wait to read it.)
I feel a little bad for the authors who only got on the ballot because of this campaign. Not all of them had a say in their own nominations. It must suck to wonder whether you were nominated because you were actually talented, or only as a joke to piss people off. If I were them, I’d distance myself from the Sad Puppies and GamerGaters, to cut the stench of politics off my nomination.