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Well, if you’ve been following the Sad Puppies story, the votes are in. Rather than swallowing their pride and liking something on the merits, the Social Justice Warriors out of spite voted for no awards to be given in several categories.
Before the Hugos were a proxy for politics, they were about good science fiction. I’ve got a book on my shelf, or in a box, or maybe my brother has it, that is a compilation of Hugo winning stories from the ’50s and ’60s. Some of the stories are fantastic, amongst the greatest things I’ve ever read. Some aren’t all that great in my estimation, but they got the award because other people disagreed with me. It’s about the science fiction, not about the politics, right?
Even if it isn’t about the politics on the surface, it usually is in the end. It seems a group of people realized that A) it’s a major career boost to have that “Hugo Award Winning” on your dust jacket, and B) A relatively small group of people could swing the voting one way or another. And so the Hugos in recent years have gone to a small, poorly written, and overwhelmingly leftist set of stories.
The Sad Puppies slate, more than anything else, was about putting the science fiction back into the awards. Not every story can be “Flowers for Algernon,” but we can do better. The Rabid Puppies, on the other hand, were about extracting revenge. They’re looking to push right-leaning authors, and rub the whiny leftists’ faces in it. As a fan of the genre, I don’t think obsessive right-wing literature will be much better than obsessive leftist trash, but as a culture warrior I appreciate the fight-to-the-last-breath mentality.
Which brings us back to “No Award.” The triumphant Breitbart article I linked up top is calling this a win. Quoting from Vox Day (who, if you haven’t been following along, leads the Rabid Puppies):
The SJWs will try to portray this as a victory – they would try to portray suicide by self-cannibalism as a victory – but anyone who knows anything about history understands the significance of one side resorting to burning down its own houses in order to deny it to the enemy. That is a defensive tactic borne of desperation.
Maybe, but the first historical example I think of is Napoleon’s army reaching the ashes of Moscow. Tactics born of desperation can be pretty dangerous. As the saying goes “If you’re not willing to shell your own position, you’re not willing to win.” It may be that the future of science fiction will be this sort of proxy political knife fight.
If you want to see the future of science fiction in person, you can get your front-row seats at next summer’s WorldCon in Kansas City. If you’re joining the metaphorical knife fight, remember the first rule: Bring a metaphorical gun. And the second rule: bring lots of friends with metaphorical guns. What better friends to back you up in a sci-fi gunfight than other Ricochetti? Join us for the Ricochet WorldCon Meetup while you cast your vote for next year’s Hugos. Or just attend the meetup. Because frankly, Ricochet Meetups by themselves are pretty awesome.