Sunday, April 05, 2015

The 2015 Hugos

People that share the literary tastes of Theodore Beale (AKA Vox Day) and Brad Torgersen, in that order, have managed by disciplined voting for similar slates to vote an inordinate number of their preferred choices onto the final ballot for the 2015 Hugo. The mostly overlapping slates bill themselves  as the Rabid Puppies (Vox Day) and the Sad Puppies (Torgerson), in order of effectiveness.

Well played. Six nominations for John C. Wright is a powerful triumph for diversity.  Because just one wouldn't be diverse enough.

Also, nine nominations from an obscure Finnish publisher that, by complete coincidence, was reportedly founded by and is edited by Vox Day.

This of course, crowded some reportedly pretty good works off the ballot.

As usual, I think John Scalzi has the right of it.

Some people have taken the position that the block votes have crowded several works that most deserved the Hugo off the ballot entirely, and where that happened all slate nominees should be rated below No Award.

If you have good reason to believe that a work that was significantly better than any of the nominees never got on the ballot because of strategic puppy voting, I am not sure you would be wrong to do so.

Also, the nominees that I know had full knowledge of and approved of the shenanigans will be so far below No Award on my ballot that they will be off the ballot. By my current reckoning that's Beale, Kratman and Wright, although Beale would earn the same position on his merits as an editor.

The Rabid Slate is informed by Beale's explicit preference for racist, anti-sufragette Christians without charity, especially if he publishes them, but he's willing to make exceptions if he can keep Scalzi or other people he loathes off the ballot.

The Sad Slate is more complex.

1) They heartily disapprove of "Social Justice Warriors", which apparently means people whose views on race,  gender and homosexuality that they do not share are noticeable in their fiction. Straight White Males have no advantages at all in the 21st. c. United States, and it is a total buzzkill to suggest that they do, when we should just be enjoying the pwewpewpew of blasters and the woosh of the rockets. Also, for some of them writing a lesbian into the the story is SJW pandering, unless she's hot.

2) They believa recent Hugo nominees are too literary and elitist. We need to nominate more people with a lot of readers. Except Scalzi, because 1).

And 2) is rubbish. Yes, a lot of people liked Twilight and Outlander. Nothing wrong with that. How many transitioned to reading a lot of SF outside of the Sparkly Vampire and Time Travel Romance genres?

And using "best read" as a proxy for best is flawed. A writer who has spent 20 years nurturing his fan base will sell more, all other things being equal. And likewise, better marketing support yields better sales, mutas mutandis.

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