More 2015 Hugo Reactions

I posted my massive Hugo reaction post yesterday with links to other reaction posts. But considering that the 2015 Hugo debate started well before the nominations were announced and lasted through the entire period between the announcement of the nominations in April and the announcement of the winners last weekend, it was obvious that the post-Hugo discussion would go on for a while longer as well.

So if you’re not all-Hugoed out yet, here are the latest reactions:

At Teleread, Chris Meadows offers an extensive postmortem of the Hugos and the puppy affair with lots of links to various other reactions.

Font Folly also offers a round-up of reactions and quotes from mine, including embarrassing typo (I know how to spell “coincidentally”, honest).

Tegan Moore shares her experience of the Hugo ceremony from the POV of someone who was there and not a fan of the puppies and their tactics.

On the other hand, Jennifer Brozek discusses the Hugos from the POV of an unwitting slate nominee who ended up under “No Award” through no real fault of her own. Coincidentally, the anthology Chicks Dig Gaming, which Jennifer Brozek coedited, was pushed off the ballot by puppy shenangigans, so she lost two awards to the puppy mess.

At Comics Alliance, Andrew Wheeler celebrates the Hugo win for Ms. Marvel and notes some similarities between comics and the SFF genre in the struggle for more diversity. He’s certainly right about Ms. Marvel (though my first choice in the graphic novel category was Saga) and coincidentally also about the increasing diversity in the US comics sphere.

Now comics – like SF for that matter – have always been a medium where minorities found some degree of welcome. After all, the superhero comic was basically created by the children of Jewish immigrants. Nonetheless, comics had their share of issues, particularly with regard to women creators. I was a massive comics fan in the 1980s and 1990s and remember that at the time, white British men were at the top of the heap as writer of US comics, joined by some white American men, while Asian and Hispanic men were some of the most popular artists. Women, however, were largely absent and it certainly showed in the way female characters were portrayed. Character diversity was decent with regard to race and ethnicity, but then I was an X-Men reader and the X-Men had always been the diversity comic. LGBT characters were still rare, though there were a few. Hell, I actually read Northstar’s officially coming-out in Alpha Flight (though every regular reader had guessed long before, because the hints were very blatant) and remember what a milestone it was, even though the issue in question seems painfully earnest twenty years on.

I walked away from mainstream US superhero comics in the early 2000s, when it seemed that new storylines coming out where just the umpteenth retread of stories that had already been told three times before and usually better, too. I didn’t start paying attention again until fairly recently and noticed to my surprise that many of the big name writers and artists were now women, that plenty of characters had come out as gay in the meantime and that some long established characters had handed over the shield/hammer/mantle to women or people of colour. Which pleased me to no end, though again there were plenty who had problems with the fact that a woman was now wielding the hammer of Thor, yet had accepted without complaint when Thor passed on the hammer to a horse-faced alien and turned into a frog!

At Playboy of all places, Noah Berlatsky points out that women and minorities aren’t actually new to science fiction and fantasy, but have been part of the genre all along, even though they are often erased. And for the record, I did not know that Arthur C. Clarke was gay.

As for the puppies themselves, they’re whipping themselves into a frenzy how those evil Social Justice Warriors would rather burn down the Hugos than give them to the puppy candidates and how they want to take over the world and kick everybody else out of the genre (Uhm, no, puppies – actually, it’s you who want to kick out works and authors you don’t like) and how it’s all a Marxist/Tor/Alinsky conspiracy. In short, the usual puppy talking points. The indomitable Mike Glyer at File770 has a round-up of puppy (and other) responses for those with the stomach to wade through them.

Though I do want to point out this article by someone named Mytheos Holt at a site named The Federalist, because it’s simply so over-the-top. It starts off by comparing the imaginary cabal of Social Justice Warriors to IS and then just keeps going on about how the Social Justice Warriors are waging a “war on nerds” and a “war on art” (which is strange, since the puppies usually state that they want SF to be entertainment rather art and some of them are actually quite vocal anti-art) and they would burn Mozart and Shakespeare (I didn’t know either was nominated for a Hugo).

At Shabogan Graffiti, Jack Graham attempts to analyse the puppy mindset in general and their victim complex in particular and also draws parallels to tactics of far right groups in general. It’s an interesting post, though Graham’s taste in movies is very different from mine.

For a moderate, i.e. not frothing at the mouth, reaction from the puppy camp, there is this post by Nathaniel Givens. Unlike most other reactions from the puppy side, he does acknowledge that flooding whole categories with slate nominees was not a good idea, that “has sold a lot of books” is not actually a valid criteria for awarding anybody a Hugo and that some puppy nominees were of poor quality (though we don’t necessarily agree which nominees those are).

However, he also believes that the various puppies had legitimate grievances, that a shadowy conspiracy of Social Justice Warriors has hijacked the Hugos and intends to kick out conservatives and that many Hugo winners of past years, including last year’s winner in the best novel category Ancillary Justice, only won because of political correctness and not because of merit. Which is, frankly speaking, horseshit. It’s all right if he doesn’t like Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword. After all, tastes differ and there are plenty of Hugo nominees and even winners I don’t like either (e.g. Orphan Black, which won this year in the short dramatic presentation category). But that doesn’t mean that those winners are not legitimate and only won because of political correctness/logrolling/conspiracy. It simply means that my tastes are out of touch with those of the majority of Hugo voters.

Indeed, Adam-Troy Castro points out that the no-awarding of puppy nominees does not mean that straight white Christian men, conservative authors and adventure-focussed science fiction will never win Hugos again or that the lives and careers of slate nominees are irrevocably ruined. It merely means that fandom was really, really pissed off at the slate voting tactics of the puppies and voted accordingly.

Matthew Foster whose late wife Eugie Foster very likely lost a Hugo nomination to the puppy shenangigans, Chuck Wendig and John Scalzi agree that the reason the puppies lost so decisively is that they decided to be massive jerks about their campaign and actually became ever worse and frothier over the summer. And no one likes arseholes regardless of political affiliation.

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