Monday, 20 April 2015

Hugos 2015, Sad Puppies, and "Controversy"

For those that do not know, and are at this point too afraid to ask there is an award on Worldcon dedicated to the very best works published in Science fiction and fantasy literature. As it happens a group of people was not happy with the atmosphere, and the nominations. This group of people dubbed themselves Sad Puppies. First started by Larry Correia two years ago, and now organised by Brad R. Torgersen. Simply put it is a list of works the two of them and their fans found interesting and worth notice. In order to vote you need to buy at least a supporting ticket for Worldcon which costs 40$. After that, you can first nominate the works you like for the award, and later on vote for the works that ended nominated in order to win this "prestigious" award.

The very prestige of Hugo awards is one of the disputes surrounding this year's "controversy". Simply put, some people don't like when "outsiders" organise among themselves and get the things they like nominated instead of what the "real fans of Sci-fi" deem worthy. It is like these people never ever saw a popularity contest. It is either their ignorance or their hypocrisy. I'll go with ignorance because you know, benefit of a doubt.

I think that pretty much sums it up. Some people are not happy with the fact that other people managed to vote in what they liked or what other authors suggested. And it is not like Sad Puppies is the first such list, even according to the words of George R.R. Martin.

Somehow all hell managed to break loose and various media managed to pile all sorts of accusations on Correia and Torgersen. To tell you the truth, had I not read the blogs of Martin I wouldn't even discover Correia and Torgersen. Had it not been for raging of Wendig over "Puppygate" I wouldn't even know that Hugo awards are some big deal. Well, thanks to this I discovered a whole group of writers that I would love to read some day. And a couple of writers I lost any interest in that I ever had. You give some you lose some.

What is interesting to me is how outraged people got over  a small group playing the field. Seriously? If such a small group as you make it to be managed to dominate the whole list in all categories for that damn rocket award then Worldcon really does have some issues. Clear winner in all this are the people who organise Worldcon. Their profits just increased by what seems like a large amount (we will know exact numbers once the awards are won). Which means that there is no interest from their side to change things up. More people voting is the best thing for their bottom line, and at the same time it is best thing that could happen to Hugo awards.

Things are simple for those that are not happy. Better luck next year, make a list of your own. Rally your fans. Hell, the very reason why Sad Puppies came to existence is because people felt excluded. because people felt left-out.

Of course this would not be the age of internet if people wouldn't go to twitter or their blogs and insult one another, demonise each other, and hate on the opposition like the world is coming to an end. Wendig is an excellent example. The man writes marvellously, but as soon as he gets into politics... ah it saddens me to tell you the truth. Correia on the other hand is an excellent read, his blog I warmly recommend. How the man refers to "his people" like Moses, I love it. John C. Wright is an excellent read as well. His writings are insightful, deep, and amusing. I don't like Torgersen though, he seems too soft. His writing is kind, and warm but I like that little edge. I like to see a bit of blood. And George R.R. Martin...

To me this is the greatest tragedy of them all. That because of "Puppygate" we will get The Winds of Winter probably somewhere between Judgement Day and Wonder Woman film. That is if the man does not die of cardiac arrest before that. I was great optimist in the past. but the man seems to be fooling around more with everything else than writing. And I love his writing. But damn it all, I would love if he passed on Hugos this year and focus on finishing ASOIAF instead. Seriously, now there are Hugos, then comes the American football season, then some rerelease of an obscure short story he wrote ninety years ago, and then he will remember he forgot where he is at with The Winds of Winter, and then we start again. It is frustrating for us, who want to finish this fucking story already. And yes, I do read a lot of other things in the meantime. But still, I want to finish what I started.

Seriously George, forget Hugos, focus on the Winter!

If you are interested in more details about the whole thing, you will find the links of the writers on the left side below gaming and above philosophy blogs. They all wrote at length about the whole thing. I recommend you read more than just one. You know, to create your own picture of what is true or not. And most of them are well worth a read.


  1. GRR Martin unfortunately lost the plot a long time ago, (and he's avoiding writing because he has written himself into a corner).

    I voted with both the sad puppies and rabid puppies. The deliciousness is the fact that these campaigns grew out of worldcon denying that the voting for the Hugos had become politicized. They stated that there was no secret cabal deciding who to vote, so organise your own voters if you don't like it. So the puppies did, swept the nominations on their third attempt, and were immediately decried as having 'destroyed the Hugos' because the 'right' authors didn't win. Point proven.

    1. I'm still willing to give GRRM benefit of a doubt.. even though this benefit grows thinner day by day. As I see it, he just needs to kill off people and half the problems will get solved all on their own. Here is only hoping that he managed to resolve those unresolved questions pertaining to the plot as well. Emphasis on hoping.

      It's funny how people actually hate more democracy as it ruins their plans. In my country we have a big problem with voting, as more than 50% of eligible voters never vote, but only complain when all "the crooks, criminals, and liars" get re-elected.
      To even suggest to those 50% that situation might be different if they went and voted for someone always gives the same response, they're all the same, and it wouldn't change a thing.
      I am of an opinion that people deserve what they vote for. And more people voting only demonstrates will of the people more accurately.

      I am getting off-topic here. What I wanted to say was that in the end Hugos are popularity contest no different than any show on TV where you have to vote for your favourite. Whoever gets the most votes wins, and if you can play the field you would be insane not to. As you said, puppies are under fire for doing it transparently, and not away from everyone.


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