Yet More 2015 Hugo Reactions

Yes, we’re still talking about the 2015 Hugos, so here are the latest links:

George R.R. Martin shares his impressions and experiences of the Hugo ceremony and also compares his predictions to the actual wins. What I find interesting is that he still seems to believe that Captain America: The Winter Soldier finished in second place in the best dramatic presentation long form category as a result of an anti-slate backlash, when it’s really just another symptom of the changing demographics of fandom, since Captain America: The Winter Soldier is not just an excellent movie, but also a favourite of many younger female fans.

Aaron Pound offers a detailed analysis of the Hugo voting data and in particular attempts to figure out how many puppy voters of either type there actually are.

Abigail Nussbaum, another potential nominee kept off the Hugo ballot by puppy shenangigans, offers her analysis of the Hugo results and also wonders what the approx. 900 to 1000 supporters of both puppy slates will do next year. She ends with an appeal which I fully second, namely that the nearly 5000 Hugo voters who are not puppies (as well as the other approx. 5000 non-voting Sasquan members) should take their nominating powers serious next year and nominate works they loved and enjoyed.

At NPR, Tasha Robinson points out that the puppy defeat may not be as decisive as it seems at first glance, since the puppies still forced all of fandom to deal with them and their largely imaginary complaints first, forced Hugo voters to read the works they put on the ballot (and contrary to what the puppies claim, most of us did read them or at least tried) and also managed to push works that a majority of fans would probably have preferred off the ballot.

Dara Korra’ti of Crime and the Forces of Evil also believes that the victory over the puppies may not have been as decisive as many believe, for the triumph of “No Award” was only the least bad outcome, not exactly a good one. And besides, the puppies have already said that they’ll be back next year and Vox Day is still trying to recruit GamerGaters.

At Reason, Peter Suderman points out that science fiction fans are always fighting over something or other and that the 2015 Hugo controversery is just the latest reiteration of that fight. However, Suderman believes that the fight will not destroy the genre nor the Hugos.

Eric Flint, who is generally considered a neutral voice in this debate by virtue of being a left-leaning Baen author, weighs in on the Hugos as well with a post that may be summed up as “a pox on both your houses”.

Eric Flint starts off by responding to Amy Wallace’s article at Wired to which I linked in my first post on the Hugo results. In particular, he takes issue with Amy Wallace describing puppy preference in science fiction as follows:

Would sci-fi focus, as it has for much of its history, largely on brave white male engineers with ray guns fighting either a) hideous aliens or b) hideous governments who don’t want them to mine asteroids in space? Or would it continue its embrace of a broader sci-fi: stories about non-traditionally gendered explorers and post-singularity, post-ethnic characters who are sometimes not men and often even have feelings?

Eric Flint offers a number of examples of writers whose work is enjoyed by the puppies and points out that quite a few of these works have female protagonists, characters of colour and LGBT characters, so Amy Wallace’s claim that the puppies only want fiction about “brave white male engineers with ray guns” can’t possibly be accurate. Except that the prominent spokepuppies explicitly stated that they championed exactly the sort of fiction Amy Wallace describes, most notably in Brad Torgersen’s infamous “Nutty Nuggets” post (I don’t really have to link to that again, do I?).

Of course, much of the fiction the puppies actually nominated doesn’t actually match the criteria they set out, as the dominance of dull Christian religious message fiction in this year’s and last year’s Sad Puppy slates proves. What is more, it is notable that none of the right-leaning authors with diverse characters that Eric Flint names were actually on any of the puppy slates with the sole exception of Brad Torgersen’s own story The Chaplain’s Legacy, which was nominated in 2014 (and which coincidentally I would subsume under Christian religious message fiction, of which the puppies seem to be quite fond).

For a neutral of sorts response to the 2015 Hugo uproar, I actually prefer this post by C. Joshua Villines to Eric Flint’s. Villines also makes some good points about how to address common puppy grievances.

Frank Wu extends an olive branch to the puppies by offering to read puppy recommended work and put them on his own recommendation list, if he enjoys it, and calls for others to do the same. It’s generally a good post and nice gesture (though the puppy shit in the comments shows that it will likely not be accepted), if not for the entirely unnecessary slam against urban fantasy and “mopey teens in dreary dystopias”. Never mind that urban fantasy and YA dystopias are severely underrepresented at the Hugos anyway.

Aliette de Bodard, another potential 2015 Hugo nominee kept off the ballot by the puppy tactics, makes a point that’s very similar to the one I made in my first Hugo reaction post, namely that the wins for Liu Cixin and Thomas Olde Heuvelt prove that the Hugos are finally becoming more international and willing to look beyond Anglophone SFF. She also writes:

different stories speak to different people. A thing that I like might be one that turns you off, and vice-versa. To say that a thing that I like is not “proper science fiction”; that SFF fans need to reclaim the field against the kind of thing I write; that people like me having success and being nominated are a sure sign the field is headed downhill?

Uh. Read that thing I wrote again please.

I wholly agree with her points. Don’t like a particular story, novel or whole subgenre? Fine. But claiming that this story, novel or subgenre is not proper SFF, that it shouldn’t be nominated for awards and best shouldn’t be published at all? That’s not okay.

And yes, it’s only the puppy side that wants works they don’t like excluded from the genre altogether. The rest of us may not particularly care for one work or even a whole subgenre and we might be rather miffed to find those works forced down our throats via the Hugo ballot, but we don’t claim that these works are not SFF (except Wisdom from the Internet, because it really has no connection to the genre) nor do we deny the right of those works to exist (not even Wisdom from the Internet).

Though it seems that – at least judging by this post at Black Gate from what seems to be a moderate Sad Puppy supporter – US conservatives genuinely seem to feel that WorldCon fandom wants to exclude them and dislikes the stories they favour. Apparently, they also still seem to think that their tastes represent the majority of fandom, even though the Hugos have decisively proven the contrary.

Talking of tastes, hardly any of the puppies have ever said what was so great about the things they nominated or even why they liked them. The closest we’ve come to that were statements like “Jim Butcher is very popular”, “Kevin J. Anderson has written and sold a shitload of books”, “Marko Kloos has a really great ranking at Amazon.com” and “Toni Weisskopf is a great editor and lovely person”. None of which really explains why they considered these particular works worthy of nominating them.

Meanwhile, Ann Leckie provides a primer for the various puppies and everybody else about how to graciously react to not winning a Hugo. For let’s not forget that this whole thing started because Larry Correia was really pissed that he did not win the Campbell Award back in 2011.

Finally, here is David Gerrold’s Guest of Honour speech from Sasquan reprinted in its entirety. He doesn’t directly address the puppy mess, though the indirect implications are pretty clear.

And last but not least, here is a lovely webcomic about the puppy campaign and the reactions to it.

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