3…2…1..let’s do this.
It’s April of 2016, and the Hugo Awards nominations have been made public. If you don’t know what the Hugos are to the science fiction and fantasy genre (or don’t care), you might want to leave now. I’ll forgive you. If you stay, I’ll assume you already know last year’s Hugo history.
Predictably, the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies, in order to counterbalance the evil Social Justice Warriors perverting their beloved spec fiction genres, have once again tried to overwhelm the nominating process. The Sad Puppies, led by Kate Paulk, chose a slightly more modest and balanced strategy this year, offering up a menu with many works that probably would have been nominated anyway. The Rabid Puppies, led by Vox Day and Castalia House, have adhered to their apocalyptic BurnItAllDown! ethos.
Seeing as how the RP slate appears to essentially be social media marketing for Castalia, I honestly don’t think they’d know what to do with a current Hugo if they won one (hint: Chuck Tingle has some raunchy suggestions.)
Basically, some very good authors got nominated by some rather awful and/or misguided and/or bitter people, as a way to claim a hollow, unearned victory if those authors win. Some authors have been distancing themselves from the fray. Many of the nominated authors did not want to be on a Puppies nomination list, asked to be removed, and were ignored. Some authors will probably remove themselves, while others will stick it out on their own merit and ignore the Puppies. Some nominating categories were completely swept by active and avowed Puppy candidates, which will probably lead to more ‘No Award’ situations at the actual WorldCon event. Some formal and informal news outlets and blogs have better accounts, if you are really interested.
At least one author (Dr. Chuck Tingle, of Amazon Kindle Dinosaur Erotica fame) was apparently Puppy-chosen for his potential shock value to the fainting left-wing violets. Which shows the former might not understand fannish humor on the left. Because Tingle…Tingle is like ‘Robot Chicken’ meets Larry Flynt, with a generous helping of meth. He’s filthy and hilarious. But I read andy offutt in his heyday, so don’t go by my tastes, please.
I’m probably a bad person for laughing my ass off at this year’s nominations. The entertainment value alone is priceless. I am about as likely to write something worthy of being nominated as I am to be the first mayor on the Moon, so I normally wouldn’t care about the Hugos. But this year at WorldCon (MidAmerica Con, by its formal name), the Hugo nomination and voting procedures are going to be changed by attending members. Which is why memberships on both right and left, conservative and liberal, have soared this year.
Even more sobering, the 2017 WorldCon will be held in Helsinki. Castalia is nominally based in Finland, even though many liberal and progressive locals that I’ve contacted knew very little about Vox Day and Castalia before this broke last year. So odds are, the voting procedures will get snarled in even more chaos this year, leading to many years of Hugo battles to come. (Great. How many more Pie Fight GIFs do I have to find now?*)
I’ll probably buy a membership in support this year, if some art money comes in. But I’m not going. I would not be attending if I won a major lottery tomorrow, because MidAmerica Con is in Missouri, one of Those Four States which I am very leery about supporting with my tax dollars.
But it’s going to be an interesting summer.
*This year’s GIF comes from the movie Bugsy Malone, which I fondly remember for its weird!fun parody of Prohibition gangs, and one killer theme song. Which actually has some bearing on the current Hugo pie fights. It’s a sweet song, and you really should go listen to it. Isn’t one of the enduring rallying cries of science fiction and fantasy: “We could have been anything that we wanted to be?”