Amid all the back and forth between the Sad Puppies contingent and the Puppy Haters, we’re seeing a lot of people coming out of the woodwork to relate their own experiences with the Hugos, and how it illustrates Larry and Brad’s point. The typical post goes something like this:
“I’ve been reading Science Fiction for (30/40/50) years, and I used to always look for the books that said they were Hugo Award winners on the cover, because they were the best. But then after a while, I started to like them less and less, until now I see the Hugo Award sticker as a warning sign. I never knew that I could have a say in the award before, until I heard about this.
I’ve started enjoying SF less and less over the years, and I’ve been reading less in General. But now I’ve found some new authors, and I’m really enjoying what I’m reading. Write more!”
And that is rather telling. This is your typical Sad Puppy voter, someone who has been disappointed by the politically correct drek put out by the major publishers, who don’t even seem to care that their sales are falling as long as their message gets out. These are not gamers, or fly-by-night political operatives looking to get a shot in at the SJW’s. These are people who care deeply about the genre, and who are just now discovering that they have a voice, and that it’s worth the $40 to them to try and bring it back to greatness.
The Puppy Haters dismiss them at their peril. And they are imperiled. The more they talk about the Sad Puppies having “Gamed” the system (without apparently being conscious of how they supposedly did so) the more they miss out on the most important question. WHY? Brad could have put up his list of recommendations, and perhaps nothing at all could have come of it. But instead, something about the campaign resonated with people. People who love science fiction. People who had given up on voting in the Hugos when their nominations never made it (not knowing about the Cliques and their power-brokering, which was much easier when the electorate was a fifth of the size it is today.) and those who never knew they could vote for what they think is best.
If the Puppy Haters don’t take a moment aside from their reflexive hate and pause to think about where all these people have really come from, they will find themselves even more overwhelmed and cast aside on the ash-heap of irrelevancy.
But they are so un-self-aware that they don’t even notice that when they talk about the great authors and novels that have won the Hugo in the past, the names and titles they rattle off are all the ones that pre-date their influence. They don’t list the people they’ve rewarded for their politics among the greats (And at least in this, they are correct).