Wired Vs. Breitbart Over Hugo’s No Awards

Posted by August 23, 2015 Comment

1996Last night, the Hugo Awards presented at WorldCon saw a number of No Awards given yesterday. Liveblogged by io9 here.

And two very different takes on whys and wherefores, one from Wired, one from Brietbart.

You may be familiar that an organised campaign by groups The Sad Puppies and The Rabid Puppies saw a number of conservative-leaning sci-fi works and creators added to the nominations list this year, in some categories taking the entirety of the nominations, as a response to what they saw as political-minded nominations pushing out their favoured choices. Without seeing the obvious irony in that.

A response being that some Puppy-slate authors withdrew their nominations to allow others back onto the nomination list, and people were encouraged against to vote against the Puppy slate, or to vote No Award when there was no option to do so.

And that’s the response that has clearly won, as the Hugo Awards saw none of the Puppy slate win, and No Awards given to those categories that they dominated completely. As many getting No Awards as have ever had in the sixty years of the Hugo Awards. Which led to some special response as reported by Wired.

Late Saturday, Worldcon released data from a parallel universe, one in which the Puppies hadn’t intervened. That let [George RR] Martin give trophies to the people who would have been on the ballot. Sci-fi writer Eric Flint got an Alfie for his “eloquence and rationality” in blog posts about the Puppy kerfuffle. So did legendary author Robert Silverberg, who has attended every Worldcon since 1953, just for being himself.

The biggest cheers, though, broke out when Martin honored two people—Annie Bellet and Marko Kloos—who’d been first-time Hugo finalists this year until they withdrew their names. The new data showed Bellet would’ve been on the ballot anyway; the Alfie clearly stunned her. “I want these awards to be about the fiction,” Bellet said, “and that was important enough to me to give one up.”

The Wired piece has its biases, talking to all sides about what happened. Most clearly expressed when they bring in other stories as back up,

Consider: A woman named Adria Richards Twitter-shames two white dudes for cracking off-color jokes at PyCon, a tech developer conference (and then is fired and fields murder threats).

You can’t claim a lack of bias if you tell that story without mentioning that the white dude got fired first. But on the other side, Breitbart go to the far extreme, claiming,

The social justice warrior onslaught was co-ordinated on the blog of Tor books editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden and his wife Teresa. Patrick and Teresa are, if you like, the Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine of this space opera. Breitbart legal will not allow us to identify which one is which.

But they do rather accurately reflect a flaw in the Puppies’ campaign,

Puppies supporters say that slew of “no award” wins this year can at least partially be attributed to the fact that SJW votes were concentrated on that choice, while Puppies votes were distributed between as many as four deserving authors. The “no award” results in the novella and short story categories are a particular slap in the face to ordinary fans, who remember the genre’s roots in short-form pulp magazine writing.

What the Puppies have ensured is that no one will ever vote for them because they’re tainted by ideology. That anything they promote now has the kiss of death. Breitbart says,

The facts of this case are the same as in gaming and in every other industry that social justice warriors touch. They do not care about art forms. They do not care about science fiction. They do not even particularly care about talent. They care about enriching and ennobling themselves and their friends, and pushing a twisted, discredited, divisive brand of authoritarian politics.

Again, the irony is palpable here.

Man, I almost long for the Jonathan Ross controversy of a few years ago instead.

(Last Updated August 23, 2015 2:15 pm )