Since When Is Life Fair?

Damn you Eric flint, for writing this excellent essay and distracting me when I’m supposed to be writing! (Not really, Eric, you’re awesome and your cap is awesome).

In this excellent essay, Eric demonstrates that the fundamental charge underlying the recent Hugo kerfuffle is valid, that the nominations in recent decades have diverged from the tastes of the broader market. He goes on to argue persuasively that this is an inevitable phenomenon for any award, and not the dark ideological conspiracy imagined by the puppies campaigners.

To which my reply is, so what if it was?

Why would anyone think the Hugos SHOULD reflect the mass market in the first place? As I told Brad Torgersen early last year before attempting to bow out of the ensuing train wreck, it’s the WSFS’s show. They make the rules, and if the puppies or anyone else doesn’t like them they are free to create and fund their own award. I’ve seen awards that are explicitly only open to women or minorities or people who reside in Alabama. So what? Other awards are only looking for stories with certain outlooks or themes. So what? Clarkesworld, Analog, Asimov’s, and the editors at Tor and Daw and Baen all have their own interests and tastes, their own slice of the market they believe they can serve, and so that’s what you send them. Sometimes they tell you what they are looking for. Usually you take a stab. Often, what they tell you turns out to be wrong. So what?

Is it really such a shock or disgrace if the group funding the award honors their own collective tastes–just like every professor teaching in every MFA program anywhere on Earth? So what? The market already rewards the crowd pleasers, and if the problem is that some up-and-comer thinks he needs a Hugo for the publicity boost–well, the Hugo doesn’t exist to promote up-and-comers, it exists to sell tickets to WorldCon, to pay omage to Hugo Gernsback, and to do whatever the heck else those who put up the purse and throw the shindig want it to.

Those who don’t like it are free to complain. They are also free to write whatever they think will win a Hugo, or to promote WSFS memberships among their fans and friends, and so add diversity if they see it lacking, without stooping to petty games and mudslinging.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. I have word count targets to meet.

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