The Hugo Awards vs Sad Puppies
Ever since 1953, receiving one of the Hugo Awards has been a science fiction and fantasy author’s dream. Some of the incredible authors who have lived that dream are Alfred Bester (The first to win “best novel”), Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher, Arthur C. Clarke, John Scalzi, Brandon Sanderson, Philip K. Dick, Mira Grant, and George R. R. Martin. You know, just to name a few . . .
Now, it’s no secret that the Hugo awards have, through their long history, been a little biased. The first female winner of a Hugo award was Marion Zimmer Bradley in 1963, 10 years after the Hugo awards started. It took 5 years for the next female author, Anne McCaffery, to win an award. That has slowly been changing. Progress, am I right? But is there a group fighting this change?
Sad Puppies is a group started in 2013 by authors Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia, in reaction to what has been characterized as “niche, academic, overtly [leftist]” nominees and winners in opposition to “an affirmative action award” that preferred female and non-white authors and characters.” This has led many to claim that this group is full of racist and sexist authors who want white supremacy to reign at the Hugo awards. This image is not helped by the fact that most of the nominees Sad Puppies supported were white males . . . and in fact, the 2015 Hugo awards were dominated by white male nominees.
Now it is important to know that Sad puppies broke no rules with their proposed slates, but many authors and fans feel that they “played dirty” and took advantage of a loophole in an “Arcane voting process,” helping to convince more people than ever to pay the membership fee and vote in the 2015 Hugos. 65% more people voted than ever before voted before the voting closed on July 31st. A grand total of 5,950 ballots were cast. In fact, George R. R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones and arguably one of the most popular authors of our time, called it a:
gathering to defend the integrity of the Hugos
He also said:
This will be the most dramatic Hugo night in Worldcon history.
And it would be hard to argue otherwise. However, the night ended without a single Sad Puppies endorsed candidate winning. In fact, there were 5 categories where only Sad Puppies nominees were up for an award, but the Rocket was still denied to them instead going to a “No Award” decision. George R. R. Martin said this in regard to those decisions:
I understand it, yes … fandom as a whole is heartily sick of the Puppies and delighted to see them brought low … but No Award is an occasion for sadness, not celebration.
To read more of his comments click here.
But how much of the Puppies reputation for being sexist, racist, and anti-gay is true? Larry Correia tells it a different way, saying that they are fighting against authors personal beliefs preventing them from being nominated. In fact, he wrote a long message to George R. R. Martin and anyone else who cared to read, stating his feeling regarding the matter and some of the things Martin had said, even going as far as to say; “Mr. Martin, we didn’t start this.” You can read the whole message here.
Whether you support the Sad Puppies, fight against them, or are just hearing about this (as Ozzy would put it) crazy train, it is worth looking deeper than just the surface argument. Do you think that authors are being blocked from being nominated due to personal beliefs? Or do you think that the Sad Puppies are just racists and sexists bent on influencing and ruling the Hugos? Let us know in the comments. The Hugo Nominees for 2016 are being announced later in the month on April 26th, and the Sad Puppies have not, as yet, released a 2016 slate. For all those who are interested, click here for the results of the 2015 Hugo Awards.