I’ve been watching the recent unpleasantness between the states of Science fiction with no little interest, both because I sort of have a horse in the game (as a reader, and as an author) and because I sit firmly in the Story over Message camp, also known as the Sad Puppies. Admittedly I came late into the game, as I didn’t vote or blog for SP 1, or 2. Oh I knew of them, but I was fairly sure that Larry was tilting at windmills. The entrenched authorities were too well established I was sure, and there was no way in hell that anyone was ever going to change the game. I figured it was sort of like trying to fight against the Tenure rules in the .EDU system, the only way we were going to change things was generational change, and so I’ll just keep my head down and try to get my stuff read, writing off the idea of ever being able to count on the Hugo Rocket as a guarantee of a well written, quality story, worth spending my hard earned buckage on.
But Sad Puppies two was successful enough that I started to change my thoughts. When I looked at the Roster of recommendations for Sad Puppies three, I decided that maybe, just maybe, we could win this thing. There just might be enough other people that were sick of looking at the back of a Hugo award book, reading the blurb, maybe the first page or two, sighing, shaking their heads, and looking for something published by Baen, or by an author they already knew was good. So I read what was said, and I put in my two cents worth (see https://otherwheregazette.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/destroy-the-myth-destroy-the-culture/ https://otherwheregazette.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/myths-take-two/ and others). I had read the comments after SP2 that “well, if you don’t like what’s being put forward, join and vote”, so I joined… So I voted… So did many others. Only to be told, “what the hell are you doing playing in our sand box? We have it just the way we want it, go play in your own sand box” Of course they didn’t put it quite that way, what they said was “this award is for the Trufans to decide on, if you want to award your type of fiction, get your own award.”
Then I saw authors that were nominated for the award either by SP3 or by “Rabid Puppies” the dream child of Vox Day, get shamed and harassed until they pulled their nominations. Now that’s a damn shame. See, to show you what a wrongfan (not a “TruFan” their phrase, not mine) I was; until this shitstorm, I had never heard of Vox Day. I would have guessed it was some sort of pseudo Roman Celebration by some Frat or other… Oh I went to two or three cons a year, and about 16 SCA events a year, but I didn’t get in to the politics, which made me apparently, not a real fan, gosh, now I know how Pinocchio felt… (smirk, my library has about 600 SF/F titles displayed, all of which I’ve read at least three times, that doesn’t count the boxes I have in storage, and the books I’ve given away because they weren’t worth saving, but I’m not a fan, I’ve won con contests for costuming and gotten comped for the next year, but I’m not a fan… Committed filk, worked security… you get the picture) To politicize the award to the point where the people on the short list for it will withdraw their names from consideration because of the poo flinging and the screaming of the monkeys watching the new monkey try for the banana, well, I’m sure that RAH, IA, ACC and the boys (and girls) would be SOOOO proud./sarcasm\
However, there is a small beam of light in all this darkness. I have a modest proposal. We’ve been told to start our own award, instead of “Stealing ours” and I think we should do so. As the Razzies are a counter to the Oscars, so too should we have an award for the worst of the crop. The stuff that, the only reason it could possibly have gotten published was either due to its propaganda value and message, with no story and frankly no redeeming virtue, they were ten pages short of the standard size for their rag and no one else would contribute, or the author is sleeping with the publisher… We could call it the “dinosaur”, in token of the concepts that 1) this sort of writing is or should be extinct, and 2)in honor of one of the worst of the worst, “If you were a dinosaur…” I’ve seen some of the stuff that is supposed to be the best message fiction including “The day the world turned upside down” these are Dinosaurs indeed. It should be limited to articles, shorts, novellas etc done for PAY, I don’t want to pick on guys that are giving their work away, but if you’re charging for it, hey you obviously think you’re ready for prime time… must be first SOLD (I don’t care if you put out teasers before, or a very different version, or serialized it in your blog, when did it go on sale for money?) in the calendar year of award, and any other considerations that a rules committee can come up with. Nominations by ANYBODY, one nomination per person please. It should be tied to a con, (gosh I wonder if I could get Dragoncon interested…) The rest of this I haven’t figured out yet.
Well, this was written before the awards where given out yesterday. Now I’ve seen what the voters chose. Bravo. The gatekeepers have proven that they would rather burn it down than allow an outsider an award. Voting No Award, rather than give the Head editor of Baen publishing an award, in spite of her receiving votes than any editor in history. Awarding based seemingly strictly on this slate : http://deirdre.net/the-puppy-free-hugo-award-voters-guide/ and including some work that is frankly crap (so remember folks, it’s EVIL to suggest a slate, unless you’re suggesting that people vote a strait slate to keep the “wrong people from winning”). Making sure to come up with that ever so cutesy set of exclamation points, “Oh, it makes an asterisk? Implies that the winners this year didn’t really win anything, because there was cheating? Why gosh, we never considered that.” wink wink, nudge nudge. (the fact that their candidates won across the board, just makes it more ironic that every one of them gets the asterisk)
I had no idea who Vox Day was before this kerfuffle started, as I mentioned earlier, but damn! That guys been living in the heads of the self anointed intelligentsia of the field for so long apparently, that he’s got them wired like a Marionette. His position was “No award the Hugo into non existence,” and he’s well on the way, thus proving that as the Late Great RAH put it: “you know how to lead a pig, Boy?” is effective.