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Mutiny at the Hugo Awards

31 August 2015

From Real Clear Politics:

The latest pitched battle in science fiction is not between space pirates and alien monsters but between fandom factions, with the Hugo Awards as the battlefield. Depending on where you stand, this fight pits either forces of progress against reactionary barbarians or the elitist establishment against anti-authoritarian rebels. The progressive elites have decisively won this round; but was it a pyrrhic victory? One thing is certain: this culture war is here to stay.

The Hugos are science fiction’s Oscars, selected by fans—anyone who pays the $40 World Science Fiction Convention membership fee is eligible to nominate and vote—and presented at the annual WorldCon. Earlier this year, a large share of the nominations was captured by the so-called “Sad Puppies” slate, organized by a group of writers opposed to what they saw as a politically correct domination of the Hugos. It was the culmination of an effort that began in 2013.

. . . .

When the nominations were unveiled in April, the science fiction fandom and much of the popular culture media had a meltdown. The Puppies were accused of “gaming the system” by voting as a bloc—and portrayed as a right-wing “white boys’ club” reacting to the growing prominence of female, nonwhite, progressive voices in the field.

At the 73rd WorldCon on August 22, the empire struck back. Not one Puppy nominee won a Hugo. In five all-Puppy categories, the top choice was “No Award,” just as progressive sci-fi bloggers had recommended. At the presentation, each “No Award” was met with applause and cheers, which Puppy supporters saw as unseemly gloating at sticking it to “WrongFans.” Of course, the “Puppy Kickers” (as the Puppies call them) and their mainstream media backers saw it very differently: as a defeat for ballot-stuffing reactionaries and a victory for both quality and diversity.

. . . .

Then there are the politicized “message” stories. Thus, last year’s Best Novel Hugo went to “Ancillary Justice” by Ann Leckie, whose protagonist belongs to a futuristic human civilization with no concept of gender distinctions and with “she” as the universal pronoun. The Best Story winner, “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu, dealt with a Chinese-American man’s struggles with coming out as gay. (The “fantasy” part was a clunky plot device: a mysterious phenomenon that causes anyone telling a lie to be instantly doused in water.) Also high on the gripe list is last year’s nomination for “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky, a short story that even some of its fans concede is not really science fiction or fantasy. It is the internal monologue of a woman who daydreams about her comatose fiancé—the victim of a hate crime by men who apparently thought he was gay or transgendered—becoming a human-sized dinosaur.

. . . .

Perhaps the real issue isn’t the quality of any specific work, or even the prevalence of “message fiction” in the genre; it’s that, as cautiously Puppy-sympathetic nonfiction writer and data scientist Nathaniel Givens has argued on his blog, “the message has never been so dogmatically uniform.” What’s more, Givens argues, the current crop of pro-“social justice” authors who dominate the field not only use their fiction as a vehicle for ideology but seek to enforce conformity throughout the fandom, posing a genuine threat to intellectual diversity. He points out that, by contrast, the Sad Puppies “went out of their way to put some authors on the slate who are liberal rather than conservative.”

Givens’s observations are echoed by Hoyt, who has written on her blog about the “state of fear” that has existed for a while in the speculative fiction community—the fear of being blacklisted for having the wrong politics. While Hoyt says that this fear has lost much of its grip now that independent publishing has allowed writers to make a living outside the “establishment” sci-fi presses, the elites still control recognition and legitimacy within the fandom. Hence, the Hugos rebellion.

Link to the rest at Real Clear Politics and thanks to Julia and several others for the tip.


92 Comments to “Mutiny at the Hugo Awards”

  1. The only clear winner of the 2015 Hugos was Vox Day. He set out to destroy them and that was what happened.

    • I got the sense that he wanted to prove that the opposing crowd (SJWs etc) would vote no award in a bloc, rather than risk allowing more mainstream, plot-oriented and less PC works to win awards.

      That’s how I read it.

      • Yep. And that’s exactly what happened.

        It may not have destroyed the Hugos as an institution, but their reputation has been tarnished forever. Before the Sad/Rabid puppies, the Hugos were revered the most prestigious awards in science fiction & fantasy. Now, it’s abundantly clear that it’s just another insular and exclusivist clique of elitists.

        • So you really think that John C. Wright’s truly CRAP short stories (and I don’t care WHAT his politics are, they’re crap) winning would have somehow ‘saved’ the Hugos and SFF for the masses? Really?

          • Fuck Me Ray Bradbury.
            If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love.

            Shall we go on?

            • Naming cool, fun, good science fiction and fantasy work? Sure, let’s do that! It’ll likely be way more productive than all this nonsense.

              • Sarcasm aside, I actually agree with you. Just as there are people who love the stuff I listed, so to there are people who adore John C Wright. I’m against litmus tests of any kind.

              • I wasn’t being sarcastic! Totally sincere. I think I might have seen the “F*** Me Ray Bradbury” video but don’t remember it. But like I said below, I read “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,” and liked it a lot.

                I think everyone agreed on Guardians of the Galaxy, right? Great movie!

                Oh, man, rather than all this “debate,” we could totally have done a dance-off! How cool would that have been?

      • I haven’t been following this saga that closely, except for entertainment value–as far as I’m concerned, the Hugos haven’t been worth a mug of bat guano for years–but I seem to remember that Vox Day initially wanted to vote No Award. Then he did so well in the nominations that he decided to vote for the best books. Either way, he won, because the best books would win, or the SJWs would be the ones who burned the Hugos down.

        But even I didn’t expect the SJWs to laugh about doing so. Thanks to this year’s Hugos, I now have a list of writers whose books I could never, ever buy again.

  2. Hey look gals, and guys! Live wire. Might wanna just step over that, PG. 🙂

  3. It deeply irritates me that the spokespeople for this problem have made it impossible for rational human beings to actually believe that there was a problem. Now it’s become “crazy people hallucinations we can ignore.”

    If nothing else, this whole debacle is an excellent example of how important it is to choose how you present your grievances to an audience. You’d think, as writers, this would be an obvious lesson. :,

    • I’m not sure what you mean. Seems to me that the SJWs proved the Hugos are now politically-motivated awards, just as the Puppies claimed. Now no-one has to take them seriously any more.

      Next year, the Puppies will burn them to the ground the way the SJWs did this year, and the SJWs will be whining about how that’s just so unfair!

      I’m looking forward to the Puppies nominating a pure Scalzi/Tor slate and seeing the SJWs reaction. Do they vote for them because they’re SJW fodder, or against them because it’s an EVIL SLATE?

    • The part that infuriated me the most was the false narrative that the SJWs and puppy kickers promoted through almost all of the mainstream media outlets that reported on the Hugos: that the puppies were all racists and that the movement was pushback against increasing diversity in the SF&F field. In reality, it was the thought police who saw the puppies as a threat, and they preferred to burn the Hugos to the ground than to open it up to wrongthink. True diversity means making space for political and ideological viewpoints that clash with your own.

      • So Vox Day and John C. Wright who darn well ARE racists and homophobes didn’t dominate the list (and Wright is a religious bigot on top of it)? You might want to look again.

      • “True diversity means making space for political and ideological viewpoints that clash with your own…” …especially if those viewpoints continue to reinforce the white hegemony, maintaining the power structures that keep other voices safely in the margins.

        Whatever. Ancillary Justice was a great read.

      • Just so I understand you, Joe… seriously. Someone who purports to believe in “social justice” (which is, admittedly, open to many interpretations), is part of the “thought police” who are opposed to “wrongthink”? I’m not being snarky. I’m trying to wrap my head around the concept that if you think that, say, gay people are entitled to equal rights, you are part of the thought police?

        What does “social justice” as a phrase mean to you? Is someone who believes in social justice the same as a social justice warrior, from your perspective?

        • The specific brand of social justice that I find so objectionable is cultural Marxism, the ideology that makes everything about identity politics. These are the people who say that everything is about racism, or that there is no such thing as sexism against men. These are also the people who coined the terms “white privilege” and “the patriarchy.”

          By accusing their opponents of hate speech and demanding so-called “safe spaces,” they are effectively policing thought. Case in point: confiscating and banning the “ask not for whom the puppies bay” tags at Sasquan.

          • Ummm…white privilege is a thing. It is pervasive. Pointing that out is not cultural Marxism (Marx wrote primarily about class politics, barely touched racism/sexism) and to claim otherwise is a misappropriation (apparently for the purpose of dismissing the liberal thinkers you do not like by incorrectly associating them with oft-derided communist ideology).

            What you mean is that some of those who seek social justice are trying to give marginalized voices the same shrift as those from the cultural majority, and that this is uncomfortable to the cultural majority who are used to having their voice heard all the time, no matter what, because from the perspective of the privileged individual, it seems like hypocrisy.

            Oh, and that they’re obviously communists.

            • There are people who look for excuses, and people who look for opportunities. You are the former.

              Many, many, many non white males/females are kicking a$$ in this country. They are the latter.

              I am a straight, white male who’s father is illiterate and who’s mother is a drug addict. I have been confined to a wheelchair for the last 12 years. I am 37 years old now. Please educate me as to my filthy ‘privilege’. Actually, don’t.

              Your ilk think they are so superior, sticking up for the less ‘fortunate’ – but you are really just keeping them down allowing them to buy into your excuses. Do non-whites have to work harder? Yes. Do they have more barriers? Yes.

              But overcoming such brick walls builds character, something you liberals know nothing about.

          • Also, the ones who “coined” “Patriarchy” were the ancient Greeks.

    • +! MCA Hogarth

      and seriously, “ask not for whom the bell tolls’ re guppies or puppies or duckies???

      You have to truly be a two legged calf with the head of a jacka– to get involved in such cr

      The rile, seems to me, and course I know horses better than people, but sometimes horses too eat datura/ loco weed and jump about all stiff legged braying like donkeys instead of neighing like horses.

      Something like that here, it seems. Something like thet thar.

  4. The Hugos have become like the Oscars. Mostly irrelevant. Any time quality of writing is trumped by political considerations to make a certain group of people feel good about themselves it hurts the entire genre. No matter if it is books or movies.
    Some of the books, like Anne Leckie’s, is actually a good book. But it’s being caught up in the drama in a way the author may not have intended. Just like Marks Kloos book. I have read it and I enjoyed it. It got caught up in the Puppies side of the argument. It’s not fair to either of them for others to use their books as examples of “their” arguments. The authors might have just wanted to tell the story they wanted to tell, with no agenda, and have others enjoy it.
    Both sides have some valid points, but just like politics, they have become so polarized that they “can’t see the forest for the trees.”

  5. Slating is the sort of thing that only works once.

    • Not true. Even GRRM has admitted that slating at the Hugos is a frequent occurance.

      • That’s pretty much it. It wasn’t about slating, it was about somebody ELSE slating. It is, in broad terms, the Democrats objecting to the Republicans not only because of what they believe, but on the basis of being a political party in the first place. Pot, meet kettle.

      • Even presuming that your interpretation of GRRM is correct (I disagree strongly), the tactic that worked this year won’t work the same next year. The ground politics are already changed. Writers are already saying “Don’t slate me.” To get slated is to lose. The electorate has demonstrated its opposition to slates.

        I also question how effectively the Puppies will be able to maintain their coalition in the face of a hostile electorate. “Vote with us to guarantee losing” isn’t much of a slogan to bring in supporters. At some point, people get disappointed and go somewhere else to fight.

        • Oh darn, that’s true. For an indie to get the Hugo, he’d have to have a large fan base to be mobilized. A slate guaranteed to lose due to anti-slate voters wouldn’t be any fun. An author pushing his fans to vote would be acceptable I think.

          • I think that organizing a “hey, look at indies” campaign is a good idea.

            “Let’s Go Indies!”

            It’s all in the presentation. “Here’s great stuff” won’t be shut down by the voters. Pointing out good stuff is acceptable.

            If Mr. Bestseller posted, “I talked with folks, and we came up with a list of indie Hugo contenders. Folks, these books are great reads and worthy of a rocket. Check them out.” That would fly. Pointing out good reads is never a fail.

            Alienating your voter base? That’s a fail.

            • That’s actually a good idea. The Hugo’s should represent the breadth of speculative fiction. Imagine The Martian could have gotten a Hugo or at least nominated when it was first published if a campaign like that existed.

          • Many, many authors do send out reminders to vote to their email lists.

        • I only started following this saga due to the publicity about the Hugo nominations this year, but wasn’t that basically what the SJWs said last year?

          If the SJWs wanted to demoralize the Puppies and make them go away, they should have voted for their books. Now the Puppies smell blood, and I think we all know what a rabid puppy does when that happens.

        • Well, from checking out Vox Day’s response to the Hugos on his blog, I can say that his followers are anything but disappointed. If anything, the Rabid Puppies seem to be gaining steam.

          You see “no award” as a rejection of slates. I see it as a slate unto itself. Either way, the voting was clearly motivated by politics more than merit.

  6. If slating works as the puppies proved (not endorsing them but their methods did work for the nominations), I wonder if we can get an indie block going at the Hugo Awards. Pick like one indie book to be represented and secure a slot for best novel and others and not dominate like the puppies did, which is what I think rubbed people (and me especially when one guy was like in 10000 categories) the wrong way. Hmmm, I think it can actually work, maybe the indies can join in on the fun next year!

    • Would you really want to?

      With all the proof that the votes were rigged, getting your name/book on there could point more at voting games than someone/something worthy of watching/reading …

      • Yes. The Hugos will now forever be seen by thinking readers as The SJW SF Awards. Which is fine by me.

        • I was calling it the boring-slog award myself. It was fine back in the day, when some now-classics of science fiction were nominated. People are still reading those works; they’ve stood the test of “Are people still willing to buy this book”?

          Yep. Then they took a turn for Newbery territory of boring messages. I was willing to let them stay there, then I saw the Journolist-style campaign against the puppies. I figured this could get interesting. Now I see *why* the Hugos took the turn they did, and I’m content to let them die. Some people really like their boring slogs; I’ll just continue to look at the awards as a “do not buy any book with that sticker.”

  7. I appreciate that the author linked to both “The Water that Falls on You from Nowhere” and “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,” both of which I just read and thought were really good. I’ll remember those as the good thing that came out of the whole Puppies thing.


    The Hugos are science fiction’s Oscars, selected by fans

    Then no, they’re not, because that’s not how the Oscars work at all.

    • Or, the comma serves as differentiation rather than association:

      The Hugos are science fiction’s Oscars (Their most prestigious and best known awards, this association is obvious and doesn’t need to be spelled out to anyone not named Dax the Destroyer), selected by the fans (the comma here can serve to make the following clause differentiate the two awards.)

      Its ambiguous at best, but it doesn’t need to mean what you are saying it needs to mean in order to be both a grammatically and logically correct statement.

  8. If you haven’t already, go ahead and read the article. The writer writes about the extremes of both sides with Vox Day who is a vile racist and misogynist and the Thai female blogger who harasses writers who she deems to be insufficiently unPC.

  9. I thought the real story was Robert Silverberg’s “blessing of the Hugos” by reciting the Hare Krishna song.

    Maybe you had to be there.

    • Well, I watched it. And a non-believer encouraging non-believers to recite a hymn to Krishna was certainly unusual. It was breaking the traditional social compact of non-denominational civility which rules most public fannish activities, but then, so was the rest of the night.

      So I’m sure that from now on, the Sh’ma and the Lord’s Prayer will be proffered, and will also be just as enthusiastically recited by nonbelieving fans, and that nobody will ever protest any public expression of religion in public fannish ceremonies.

      Sigh. No, of course it will be “religion for me and not for thee.” We all know it.

  10. Al the Great and Powerful

    Spout all you want, Joe, but you’re still wrong. Fans responded to a minority gaming the Hugos by reading the nominated rubbish (Wisdom from My Internet? Five John C. Wright entries?) and voting them as ‘not good enough to win a Hugo.

    And they are working to change the voting rules, NOT to ban the Puppies, but to ban slate voting tricks that let a small group push out everybody else’s vote.

    As for Vox, well, he claimed so many winning conditions he had to win somehow. Burning down the Hugos? Nope.

    But your crowing about the controversy certainly made me reconsider reading your books, and not favorably.

    • Your statement is either disingenuous or exceptionally naïve – which would you prefer to be known by?

      To claim that they’re working simply to change slate voting is an insult to anyone with half a brain. Of course it’s being done to find a way around the Puppies. No one with a dispassionate view can see it otherwise.

      SF awards, like the Oscars, have proven that you can’t win if you don’t have the right views. I’ve had people several claim they’ll never read Ender’s Game b/c of Card’s politics. A great story, and a modern classic, written off because the author has a different point of view. That’s the pettiness the Puppies are up against.

      So spout about how nothing really changed, all is well, blah blah blah, but the truth has been exposed, and methinks you’re simply mad about that. 😉

    • Agreed. And as any preschooler knows, it is far easier to knock down something that somebody else built than it is to build something of value yourself.

    • Fans responded to a minority gaming the Hugos by reading the nominated rubbish

      I heard many vowed not to read any of it and vote no award. Mind you, I did hear others say they did read and voted accordingly to what they felt, but I recall seeing a huge push to vote no award based solely on something being a puppy nomination and not that they thought the author didn’t deserve the award. If anyone has any proof or disproof please share.

      I’m more a paranormal fan so sci-fi isn’t always on my radar, but from what I’ve read, it does look to me like the puppies proved their point.

      • I read more people who actually did try to read the work nominated and found it to be dreck.

      • I don’t know of a single person who said they wouldn’t read the works. That doesn’t mean a few such don’t exist, but you have no basis for claiming this was a majority. Are you aware that the WorldCom committee sends out an email packet of the nominated works? As a voter, I had them right in front of me. Did I FINISH all of them? No. Because quite a number of them were total dreck. (Don’t even bring up John C. Wright to me who is one of the worst writers I’ve ever had the ‘pleasure’ to read and FIVE nominations of this man’s work? You have GOT to be kidding.)

        • I heard many vowed not to read any of it and vote no award.

          The commenter’s actual words. Patricia does indeed have basis for saying that’s what SHE heard, her own experience, and she never said majority.

        • That is what *I* heard, and I was curious to if I had heard wrong or not. Which is why I asked for others to chime in with what they heard. If everyone else mirrors what you said then obviously where I got that info from was dead wrong and I’ll say so.

          • There were many people proudly bragging about voting no-award without reading the work

            not to mention the issue of voting no-award in the editor categories where there were two supremely qualified Women on the ballot.

  11. I am totally baffled by a sentence such as ‘the current crop of pro-“social justice” authors who dominate the field not only use their fiction as a vehicle for ideology but seek to enforce conformity throughout the fandom.’

    Maybe they just happen to think of themselves (female, gay, trans, or POC) as human beings with interesting stories to tell. Seriously, if you happen to be someone who IS non-male, white, and cisgendered, why wouldn’t you include your feelings and experiences in your stories?

    How is this a political statement forcing others to tell (or enjoy) the same stories you do? When did this turn into a fight? You still get to write and read what you want, as do I. And I’m sure I’ll love some of those stories you love just as much.

    • I agree with what you are saying whole heartedly. But what I think the Puppies are saying is that stories are being promoted “just because” they have this content, not whether they are actually good, which is subjective, but if true they do have a point. Even GRRM said it appears that they might. What really hurt them is letting Vox Day in on their side. Makes it harder for their point to be taken seriously.

      • See, that’s the thing. I don’t think stories are promoted “just because” they feature protagonists of diverse color or gender or sexuality or ethnicity. From what I’ve heard from people who’ve read and enjoyed it, e.g., Ancillary Justice decidedly isn’t a “message story,” merely a well told story that had a message. People didn’t like it because it had a message; they liked it because they thought it was good, and it was a bonus that it could be read as having a message.

        Like, the OP refers to “progressive elites,” and it’s like, when did it become a bad thing to be either progressive or elite, nevermind both? But then, I think anti-intellectual nonsense is really just that, anyway.

        • It didn’t ever become wrong to classify yourself either of those things. And I agree about Ancillary Justice. I said that in my first post earlier about all this nonsense. It just appears to me that BOTH sides have some valid points here, and neither one wants to see the others, or even acknowledge that they might have a point.

        • Personally, I’m not worried about the stories that do win Hugos so much as the stories that can’t merely because of the politics of the author. If a book with a heavy left-leaning message were to go up against a book by a conservative author and win, I wouldn’t have any objection to that at all. But as we saw this year, the Hugo voters would rather choose “no award” over a conservative—or anyone else they deem guilty by association.

          • But as we saw this year, the Hugo voters would rather choose “no award” over a conservative

            I don’t understand why you think conservative has anything to do with it.

            The Hugo voters chose “no award” over bad books.

            All this whole thing demonstrated was how easy it was to get mediocre books on the ballot.

            • So you’re basically saying that the 2015 Hugos had nothing to do with politics at all? That the thousands and thousands of news articles, blog posts, social media rants, etc accusing the puppies of everything from racism to nazism had no impact whatsoever? That voting turnout reached an all-time record merely because the stories were bad?

              • I’m proposing that the Hugo Awards had little if anything to do with politics until the Sad/Rabid Puppies launched their offensives (ZOMG HA PUN!). I’d also hypothesize that voting reach an all-time record because the Puppies encouraged their fans/readers to buy tickets.

                As for racism . . . those weren’t accusations. Several of the authors have made racist/homophobic statements. That’s just fact.

                But basically, what it all comes down to is that the thing that really hurt the puppies was that so much of the work they ran nominated was just not very good.

                • Your revisionist history is stunning. The voices who did the most to make the controversy about race and gender were Vox Day and the SJWs. How many times did we hear “white male,” “male privilege,” or “white privilege” in the lead-up to the Hugos? Fighting racism with racism is still racism.

                  If the influx of new voters had come from the puppies, then the Sad Puppy slate would have won. It was pushback against the puppies, because of the false narrative that they were all racist, sexist bigots.

                  Look, I’m not denying that Vox Day is a racist, or that he and his people made bigoted statements. The same is abundantly true of the other side too, though. Identity politics clearly dominated the vote, regardless of the merits of the writers and editors on the ballot. Because even if what you say is true about the puppy-nominated works (and I’m not going to give you that, not when bestselling authors like Kevin J. Anderson and Jim Butcher were on the ballot), to say that about the nominated editors is utter bull-excrement.

                • Joe, discussing white privilege is not racist, nor is discussing male privilege sexist.

                  I think you need to read more about what privilege means, and be more open to understanding it.

                • We can all stand to be more open and understanding in the current ideological climate.

  12. The baffling thing was the horrendously poor quality of the works the ‘puppies’ (mainly Vox Day) chose to nominate. Of course most of them came from Day’s own publishing house, and were especially heavy with nominations for John C. Wright who is frankly a very poor writer. There were plenty of conservative leaning works people would have found it really tough if not impossible to vote against. Related Works got a No Award because the works nominated were terrible and yet the excellent Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Vol. 2 was eligible AND would have fit in the ‘puppy’ politics. Instead they included the horrible Wisdom From My Internet. There were plenty of other works if they hadn’t been pimping Vox Day and his publishing house.

    • I really wish the Rabid Puppies slate had not existed. I feel distaste for how both sides handled this, Sad Puppies and incumbents, but at least both of those sides had a point and the Sad Puppies included the entire political spectrum. Rabid Puppies was another thing entirely.

  13. I can’t attach my name to my opinion because the fear is real. So there’s that.

    I’ve been looking at submitting a sci-fi short story to a magazine (my first submission of the kind) and have been researching magazines looking for good homes for it. I’ve found that the more a periodical’s submissions page emphasizes a desire for ‘diverse’ perspectives, the more unwelcome I am going to be there, as a perspective. I get through three or four pieces, selected at random, in which a ‘diverse’ perspective has framed me and the people that I associate with and love as the bad guys. More than once, this perspective has had an outright bigoted tone to how it handles middle-class, religious conservatives. It isn’t because the writer or the main character is black or gay or transgendered or disabled. It’s that the purpose of the story is to talk about how bad they have it because of… me. How hard their existence has been.

    These stories have truth in them. I don’t think that they should not exist. But when three out of four have this as their driving purpose, I find that it is clear that I am not wanted here. It feels like professional science fiction, at least in the short-fiction world, has decided that the purpose of science fiction is to talk about the victimization of diverse people by white people. And that can’t be *all* there is. It’s just all that’s worth printing, from this worldview.

    In the context of what happened with the Hugos, what I think the Puppies did wrong is nominate themselves. If you are going to lead a revolution and be credible, you have to eliminate any benefit you get from it. That the leaders and affiliated individuals got so many spots on the slate was a shame, because it clouded their purpose beyond recognition.

    • > hat I think the Puppies did wrong is nominate themselves. If you are going to lead a revolution and be credible, you have to eliminate any benefit you get from it. That the leaders and affiliated individuals got so many spots on the slate was a shame, because it clouded their purpose beyond recognition.

      they didn’t nominate themselves.

      Larry Correa was the only person who was both on the ballot an even somewhat of an organizer of the SP campaign (and he really wasn’t running anything this year). He refused his nomination and publicly stated that he will never accept one in the future

      Brad didn’t include himself in the SP3 list, but Vox did include him on the RP list.

      Vox Day and his Rabid Puppies campaign is a different story. His recommendations were himself in both editor categories and lots of stuff he publishes (where it wasn’t a duplicate of what the Sad Puppies campaign had already published)

    • The word “diverse” doesn’t appear on Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, or F&SF submission guidelines. Perhaps you could provide a link to the magazines that want diverse viewpoints? Because these don’t.




      • Ditto Analog.


        I was thinking perhaps Anonymous was referring to semi-pro online magazines, as his/her description of the pro SF short story market (“the purpose of science fiction is to talk about the victimization of diverse people by white people”) certainly doesn’t match the mags I know.

      • Lightspeed:

        Diversity Statement: We believe that the science fiction/fantasy genre’s diversity is its greatest strength, and we wish that viewpoint to be reflected in our story content and our submission queues; we welcome submissions from writers of every race, religion, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation.

        Strange Horizons:

        Some particular things we love, or are interested in:

        Fiction from or about diverse perspectives and traditionally under-represented groups, settings, and cultures, written from a non-exoticizing and well-researched position.

        Escape Pod:

        Diversity: Escape Pod welcomes submissions from writers of all backgrounds. We are especially interested in seeing more submissions from people of backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented or excluded from traditional SF publishing, including, but not limited to, women, people of color, LGBTQ or non-binary gender people, persons with disabilities, members of religious minorities, and people from outside the United States. Our goal is to publish science fiction that reflects the diversity of the human race, so we strongly encourage submissions from these or any other underrepresented groups.



        Podcastle welcomes submissions from writers of all backgrounds. We are especially interested in seeing more submissions from people of backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented or excluded from traditional publishing, including, but not limited to, women, people of color, LGBTQ or non-binary gender people, persons with disabilities, members of religious minorities, and people from outside the United States. Our goal is to publish fantasy that reflects the diversity of the human race, so we strongly encourage submissions from these or any other underrepresented groups.

        Crossed Genres:

        Crossed Genres strongly encourages submissions from writers who identify as people of color, women, members of the QUILTBAG community, and others who are under-represented in SFF. It is our desire and intent to have diverse representation amongst our contributors and within our content. Please don’t wait for us to ask for them in a theme – we want diverse representation every month! – See more at: http://crossedgenres.com/submissions/magazine/#sthash.VutSlssB.dpuf

        Not that I think it’s wrong to promote diversity—I think it’s great, so long as your definition of “diversity” includes people who are religious or conservative. But when Anonymous says that many SF&F magazines are explicitly calling for diversity, he/she is not lying.

        • One observation: As I guessed above, these are indeed all online/electronic publications, which makes me wonder if there’s a generational difference at play. (The editors of the print mags are inheriting guidelines that have been around forever, whereas the online/e-mag editors are creating everything for themselves and might be bringing a more millennial sense of mission/inclusiveness/PC-ness/call-it-what-you-will to what they do.)

          Another observation: My pro/semi-pro distinction doesn’t really apply because some of these guys pay pretty danged well (by short fiction standards)! I can see why Anonymous is bummed.

          I will say, however, that the presence of diversity-encouraging language in the guidelines doesn’t mean Anonymous is being blackballed because of his/her identity or beliefs. Without seeing the work itself, it’s impossible to know why the stories aren’t selling. This is not meant as an insult to Anonymous, but I will say that when I first started writing short fiction I had a hard time selling it because it wasn’t good enough yet, not because I’m a white dude.

          • And an afterthought: I sold a story to Lightspeed not that long ago, and not only am I a white dude I’m a white dude who was writing about cowboy white dudes. And they weren’t oppressing anybody. I certainly didn’t get a note from the editor saying, “I like your story, but could you make the cowboys more…I don’t know…patriarchal or something?”

            I think it might be more beneficial to you, Anonymous, to tell yourself “Try, try again” rather than “They’re all against me.”

            • Yeah, I don’t feel particularly oppressed by these diversity statements either. There are times where I have felt that my kind wasn’t wanted, due to the particular brand of “diversity” that the group leaders espoused, but I’ve learned how to navigate around that. And to be fair, that’s only a minority of them in my experience. Most of them are genuine and sincere.

  14. This was a great article, because it got past the Hugo-centered perspective. Nobody is scared of their work not getting a Hugo, and I doubt anybody second-guesses their writing because it might not get a Hugo. It’s the uniformity of the current critical lens that is stifling current SFF and making authors feel as if we need to have our work vetted by the nearest sociology department before submitting it.

    I think what we’re seeing is currently popular critical theories from academia being imported into SFF by committed, prolific analysts. They certainly have a right to describe the field as they see it. But the other inhabitants of the field don’t all speak, or wish to speak, that language. Lots of the authors who want to join the field don’t want to be judged solely in those terms – especially in a genre whose attraction has always been its freewheeling openness to thought experiments. How can we maintain the field’s intellectual diversity, when so many of the loudest voices analyzing it are saying the same thing?

    What’s most ironic about this is that applying critical theories to mass culture was supposed to help academics learn about mass culture, not replace it with something that echoed our presuppositions.

  15. Oh, the horror, that a magazine should ask for stories from and about people who have been marginalized throughout history. Why, that certainly must mean that others need not apply!

    Good grief.

    You know, when I was a kid, I dreamed of being a Hugo (and Nebula) award winner. It was something I’d always wanted. Now, I’d just as soon someone shoot me in the head.

    Thanks for ruining that for me.

  16. I’m really glad I don’t give a damn about awards. Being nominated is nice, winning is an ego boost and *maybe* a PR boost as well, but, really, I think I’ll just write my books and consider each sale and each positive review an award.

  17. As someone who used to check out the Hugo [and Nebula] winners to find fresh, new voices in sci-fi, I’m disappointed with this whole debacle. Everyone keeps dropping these ‘names’ around, but I wonder how many sci-fi readers, such as myself, have never even heard of them, much less read their work?

    The most recent trad-pubbed fantasy novel I’ve read was the latest Robin Hobb. Before that, it was China Mieville’s Embassy Town. In the huge gaps between these old favourites, I’ve been reading nothing but Indie sci-fi because…it’s /fresh/ and thumbs its nose at all this political in-fighting.

    In a word, I don’t think sci-fi readers generally give a fig about any of this. We want strong, new, /stories/. The writers in these factions are politicking themselves right out of relevance to the reading public.

  18. After skimming all the threads about the Hugo’s I’ve never seen one discussion of what actual percentage of fans are liberal vs conservative and how that affects voting on awards and buying.

    I found one stat saying that there’s more people who call themselves conservatives in the US than liberal in general. But no stats of people who actually buy sci-fi, or fantasy for that matter.

    The closest I could find was small groups of religious parents objecting to witchcraft supporting books like Harry Potter and that’s pretty useless in figuring things out.

  19. It is so nice to be Indie, and not have to care about any of this.

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