It seems that not everybody is happy about the Sad Puppies project and Brad Torgersen has some thoughts about it.
I don’t usually take to fisking the comments of others in the field, but the recent words of Teresa Nielsen-Hayden simply demand it. Since my inception as a professional, I have made the case for an “open” system. No barriers. Not on writers, and not on fans. Publish, connect with your audience (for fun and profit!) and for God’s sake, no more gatekeeping of the “ghetto” that is the literary Science Fiction and Fantasy field. Writers are writers are writers, and fans are fans are fans. My reasoning along these lines is not original to me. Others were saying similar things ten-plus years ago. But now it’s gotten to the point that certain would-be gatekeepers have become so thoroughly convinced of their station — and so absolutely sure of your unworthiness to partake — that it’s time to stand up.
Sad Puppies 3 terrifies SMOF queen (and former TOR editor) Teresa Nielsen-Hayden because she knows that TruFans (the dyed-in-the-wool, insular, legacy group of fans who cluster about World Science Fiction Convention) are a dying breed. She knows that if enough glare is placed on the award (the Hugos) and enough “outside” fans (you and me and the rest of the universe) come to claim our place, then TruFans are done. Their relevance will be at an end. They had a good run, got big heads, decided they could begin trashing whomever they felt like, and now the mask is being cast off — at the end, when TruFans are imperiled by the harsh light of reality.
TNH: I should have been clearer. Those of us who love SF and love fandom know in our hearts that the Hugo is ours. One of the most upsetting things about the Sad Puppy campaigns is that they’re saying the Hugo shouldn’t belong to all of us, it should just belong to them.
This is a very Kafka-esq example of narrative-spinning. Sad Puppies 3 has always been about bringing new people to the Hugo process; from the very start. We never said the Hugo was ours, nor did we claim it should be ours. We claimed it belonged to no single person, nor any special group. It was (and is) the award of the field. Of all Science Fiction & Fantasy. It’s not Teresa’s personal property. It is not the property of the TruFans. Nor the SMOFs. Teresa is not even playing for the undecideds at this point, because this is pure dog-whistling for the other TruFen; the people who’ve convinced themselves that they (and they alone) are the only ones who can appreciate, love, or enjoy, SF/F. Teresa is telling a fairy tale for the morale of TruFans, because Teresa knows the cause is lost. The flame of the TruFen is dying. No more gatekeepers. No more SMOFs. No more big fish in small fishbowls. No more taste-making.