Over at File 770, the web form of one of the longer running SF Fanzines, Mike Glyer is mocking the “Sad Puppies” campaign to present WorldCon/Hugo voters with a broader spectrum of authors than just those on the left,
I’m not going to get into the whole history of the campaign, It’s all around, although best explored on Larry Corriea’s blog, Monster Hunter Nation.
Anyway, after reading the post this morning and mulling over a response during idle moments at work, I decided to post a reply. And if, by some chance, it would end up mysteriously lost in the Ether, I decided to copy it here as well. Now mind you, I don’t have a dog in this hunt. Technically, Kiwi is eligible as a Novelette, but the chances of it getting nominated, let alone winning are infinitesimal. But the whole experiment in exposing the political bias in the electorate and the unbelievable shitstorm it generated last time was pretty amazing to watch. And I thought I’d inject a little reality into the discussion.
So, without further ado:
Getting a Hugo for Larry Correia was never a part of the agenda. Indeed, if he had actually won an award, he would have lost his argument.
The overall question is: Is it appropriate to judge a work on the basis of the author’s personal/political views, or only on the work’s actual merit? This is a question fandom really should reflect on.
If the Hugos could be voted on in some kind of double-blind method, where the name and personal history of the author wasn’t known, would that help make the award truly reflect the best of that year’s SFF? Well, this is of course impossible.
So we are left with: Are the Hugos an award based on the quality of the fiction, or are they an award for authors based on their political views? And does the Hugo/Worldcon electorate specifically lean Left/Liberal? The starting assumption, based on the recent nominees/results was yes, but to test that assumption one would need to put some quality fiction from authors of different political viewpoints on the ballot. (The fact that this took a special effort tended to reinforce the premise). If the vote was based purely on quality, some of these works could at least be expected to place well. If the vote was based on the author’s politics, that could also be seen by the results.
Indeed, in the frenzy of reaction and attempts at blacklisting, and the promises of so many to not even CONSIDER reading the works on the proposed slate, so that no proper judgement of quality could be made, the premise was proven to be correct.
Now the experiment should be repeated for validation. And if the Hugos truly are being awarded based on politics instead of quality, calling the Hugo an award for the best in SFF would be an utter falsehood.
If you read the comments on the File 770 post I linked above, you can see what I was talking about in my second to last paragraph, when one fellow said:
Well, now I know what to autorank below No Award should any of the obvious Puppy only items make the final ballot.
No consideration made that any of these items might actually be good, well, other than the carve-out he made for Guardians of the Galaxy, which was on Brad Torgersen’s list.
So in consideration of that comment, I appended this to my response:
Oh, and Tom Galloway, are you suggesting that you would vote against anything on Brad’s list, REGARDLESS OF QUALITY? Would that not make you part of the problem? You should vote for quality regardless of who is supporting the nomination. Brad’s list is no different than TOR pointing out which of its products are eligible this year. It has no power beyond informing the electorate of possible candidates. They must still make the ultimate decision.
So, we now wait to see if the comment ever comes out of moderation. It was posted 2/3/15, at 12:36 AM.
[ETA: for some reason, Search engines direct a lot of people to this particular article. But if you’re interested in the issue, there are a lot of better ones on this site. Please stick around and check them out.]