Let’s get one thing straight from the outset: I don’t have a horse in this race. I never voted in the Hugos, never bought or read a story because it won one, and I’m not nominated.
Hell, yesterday morning I would have been hard pressed to remember it was a literary award.
But then a friend posted a story, and this other story. And it led to a blog. And that led to another blog. And that led to another blog. I tried to talk about it with other authors, and found myself telling off someone who didn’t know the difference between doxxing and harassment.
Suddenly, I had an opinion about the Hugos.
And I really didn’t want one.
And I certainly didn’t care about a writing award. Let’s get real for a minute here. I write stories about formerly enslaved werewolves who fight monsters in Pittsburgh. I can’t afford an editor, make my own covers, and every single agent, publisher, and literary magazine sent me the exact same rejection letter, ‘Unique voice, obvious talent, not quite right for us.’
The chances of me ever being nominated for any literary award are slim. Most people see werewolves, a Latina protagonist, her demisexual brother, their multi-racial crew of friends and family, and immediately become disinterested.
I write these stories because I like them. I think other people will too, some day. But I’m not counting chickens. Hell, I don’t even have a basket for my eggs!
I have exactly zero horses in the Hugo Awards. Whoever wins or loses does not help me. It does not sell my books. It does not affect my life.
I read a lot the last day. And I mean a lot. You know how I tore through a novel last Friday? Now imagine me wanting to know what’s up with the Hugo Awards. I’m pretty well caught up to speed.
See, somebody got nominated and lost. They heard/decided it was because they had the wrong politics/writing style. They have no concrete proof of this. It’s just what they heard/decided. And was compounded by alleged ‘attacks’ by people at the awards (no proof, no video, no audio, no tweets, no names, just their story).
So, obviously, it was time to take Sci-Fi and Fantasy back. From whom? I’m not sure. They don’t name names. It’s just from, you know, them.
For the last three years, they have been making a list of ‘appropriate’ Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and telling people only to vote for that list. To the point that now they have several categories were only the ‘right’ kind of stories have been nominated.
Nothing they have done is against the rules, per se.
But, my dear Sad Puppies (seriously, that’s what they call themselves), if the Hugos weren’t political before they sure as hell are now. Your shadowy cabal of Literary Social Justice Warriors (if it ever existed) never campaigned openly and online for their favorites, managing to stack entire categories with only what they deemed ‘acceptable.’
The alleged schemers and string pullers didn’t have people renouncing their nominations and refusing to present.
But you do.
You’ve successfully become the very thing you fought against: Politicizing the Hugos. Congratulations.
I’m going to go back to work now. Some of us still have to make a name for ourselves.