Posted by: Matt Y | 04/11/2015

Sad Puppies Aren’t Much Fun

I keep not updating this blog because I write all over the place among tons of social media and figure anyone who even gives a damn about my opinion has already had their fill. But I’m going to chime in with my opinion about the Hugos and Sad Puppies anyway.

Who am I? No one really. I’m writing a sci-fi book and I wrote a book of short horror stories. My investment in this whole thing isn’t really from a professional standpoint though, it’s as a fan. I love genre and the Hugo awards are one of the more respected accomplishments and traditions in the field. Just like any other award I’ve disagreed with the winners versus my personal preference, sometimes even what’s nominated. Which is not in any way disrespectful, it’s just the opinion of one person of works that impacted them on a personal level more.

Which is kind of the point. If you don’t know what is going on with the Hugo awards this year or what Sad Puppies is check out for what is probably the most even coverage of the ridiculous situation. Basically a couple of years ago Larry Correia, author of the Monster Hunter International series, came the the conclusion that there was some sort of underground leftist Social Justice Warrior (aka SJW) cabal that had infiltrated and had taken over the awards and formed a group to take back Sci-Fi. Depending on what Sad Puppy you speak to this influence is obvious because of the awards going to liberals, or because literary works are winning versus non-literary, or books with progressive themes they feel are being pushed over classic adventures, or because more women and diverse authors are being nominated. When you take a look at the Hugos either historically long term or short term, well, that seems to be more of a paranoid delusion than having any basis in reality. If anything I’d argue books with plots that were politically heavy and with a heavier literary emphasis were more common in the Hugo awards in the past than with the more recent award winners. So what did they feel the answer was? To hijack the awards via slate voting, justified because the imaginary liberal Illuminati did it first or some bullshit.

I’m completely against this idea. As I said even when I disagree on the noms or winner I didn’t mind, I’m one person it would be utterly ridiculous and vain to assume my experience is reflective universally and I think it’s great that books I never even heard of are given recognition because that means I’ve now been informed of them and can add them to my To-Read list. Ancillary Justice wasn’t a book I enjoyed but it received tons of positive feedback and recognition via several awards apart from the Hugos. For a first time author that’s amazing and I wouldn’t want anyone to take that away. Block voting though doesn’t allow for people vote for personal impact that a work has had on them, it’s people voting along the lines of an agenda instead of merit instead of one person, one vote.

Sadly, there are folks over-reacting against the dreaded ‘SJWs’, and folks reacting back to them, and back and forth and back again, each using the slights of the other (real or imagined) to explain why it’s okay for them to be an asshole and a hypocrite. I heard someone say that people are addicted to being offended and it certainly seems that way. It doesn’t matter the justification, folks just seem to get off on being offended and arguing to score internet points in a conversation where neither side ever changes the opinion the started out with.

I’ve done that garbage. I even understand the anger at people attempting to hijack an award, especially one that has such a long respected history such as the Hugo awards. I’m angry about it. At the same time, fuck it. We don’t need to make rule changes or fight bullshit internet battles over who is the most worthy to get a trophy.

The thing is the people trying to organize this block voting are scared. They don’t deserve scorn and vitriol but pity. They’re frightened that this niche that used to belong to a few has broadened to include many. That this box they’ve mentally shoved sci-fi into has been breached and is being taken over by people who don’t write or do things that fit their very narrow definition of the term(which is ironic given that Sci-fi is one of the most experimental and speculative genres). They’re fighting a battle that has already been lost no matter how many awards they try to take over. They can take them all over and it still wouldn’t make a dent in the fact that the demographics keep changing, the ways people read and publish have changed, the authors and what and even how they write have grown. No amount of block voting or internet arguments can change the march of time and progress. A couple of writers with a stick up their ass can’t dictate what the genre is or where it is going no matter how many block votes they do. No matter what ideological stance you take or personal opinions you have, there are so many options to get your work out there that no one can stop you and the only person holding you back is yourself.

A lot of people are wondering how do we stop these Sad Puppies from doing this next year? I think that’s the wrong discussion. Instead if you feel an author is worthy of your time and praise is being left out of being recognized for their work instead of freaking out because an agenda driven mob voted for others, go out of your way to give positive feedback to the authors you think deserve it. Being nominated and/or winning a Hugo is great accomplishment. I’d bet though than many authors would be just as happy if their fans sent them messages telling them how much their work impacted them. Or write Amazon reviews, or get the word of mouth out on your favorite authors. Changing the rules because some punks want to tear down rather than build up means they’ve accomplished something. Don’t tear down. Be a positive change. Let your favorite authors know you support them and spread that positivity, whether they’re a conservative, religious, liberal, rastafarian, pastafarian, or practice Bokononism, let them know you’re there and appreciate the work they do.

Build up and reach out instead of fighting some random stranger on the internet. An award is something that sits on a shelf. An appreciative audience is so much more rewarding. Be a change for the positive instead of getting dragged down in the mud with the shit-slingers. The only thing that accomplishes is getting covered in shit.


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