Do Hugo Awards Dream With Sad Puppy Eyes?
Brad Torgersen recently posted his opinions about the Hugo nominating and balloting process in what is fast becoming a tradition as sensible and esteemed as the minority response to the President’s State of the Union address. Sad Puppies III, it seems, will either destroy science fiction or tear down the pyres of injustice upon which it’s already smoldering.
Brad is my friend. He’s a more-than-fine writer, a kind and decent man, and a thoughtful commentator on all things writerly, whether you agree with him about them or not. But while I’ve not made an exhaustive survey of the “Sad Puppies” blogs by Brad and Larry Correia and others over the last two years, what I have read rather reminds me of the Seinfeld episode in which Kramer says, “They STOLE my idea!” to which Jerry replies, “Which idea was that? To spend $10 million you don’t have or renovate a building you don’t own?”
The fact of the matter is, the Hugo is set up to meet the needs of the World Science Fiction Society, and key among these is to promote attendance at its conventions and their maintenance as the preeminent of their kind. It’s their party, and they make the rules. Which is not to say Brad and Larry and the other can’t have their opinions, or state them loudly, or go start (and fund) their own shindig.
I hope the result is a reward for literary quality and skill, but both are subject to complex tastes and trends, the waxing and waning of which are fundamental to healthy society. I’m not going to pander to whatever I think is this year’s anointed minority or theme, but neither am I going to shy away from writing stories that question the firmament at both ends of the political spectrum. That’s what spec fic is for, to disturb perspectives, not enshrine them.
In the meantime, I can’t worry about politics. Having won the Writers of the Future contest last year, I’m far too busy working on my own projects to worry about what WSFS is doing right or wrong. For the record, though, my stories, “Rainbows for Other Days” and “Callista’s Delight” are both eligible for Hugo and Campbell Award nomination this year—just sayin’. I’m not going to hold my breath, and Im not going to stay up late nights wondering whether the system is stacked against me. I’m just going to keep writing, and improving, and trying to connect with my audience, and I think that’s what we all better do.