As Jason pointed out, this year’s Hugo Awards produced everyone declaring victory. It would almost be refreshing to hear someone say they lost. So I will.
I started writing scifi last year to have fun and get to know fun people. Watching this year descend into political bickering over an award was not fun and quite frankly bored the hell out of me. To each his own I suppose, but is this really the future of scifi? If so, nuts.
Of course, it doesn’t look like I went down alone. Despite the hype, there are plenty of losers. I mean it seems obvious that unless Vox’s other name is No Award, he didn’t win. And no offense to Jason, if you find yourself saying things along the lines of “just wait till next year”, or “you haven’t seen us really fight”, well… let’s be honest with ourselves… your side lost. Take it from someone who spent years watching the Chicago Cubs. And it wasn’t just the puppies. Jason rightly pointed out that the showing for No Award was a Pyrrhic victory at best, whether the people realized it or not.
Clearly some didn’t realize it since they cheered for No Award. That was bad form, and a bit telling for those that cheered. But it is unfair to paint everyone in fandom with that brush, as Jason seemed to be doing. George RR Martin has now reported he didn’t cheer, those around him didn’t, and he thought it was bad form too. As it is, he (an unquestionable part of fandom) was against No Award from the outset. Why artificially expand the scope of your enemies by writing off potential allies? Also, it felt inconsistent for Jason to heap scorn on the applause, while apparently supporting the chuckles emanating from a certain skull fortress. Shouldn’t Vox have been sighing with melancholy while quietly saying “I wish it didn’t happen this way”?
I think GRRM earlier this year said that the Hugo Awards were in uncharted waters. As it turns out, Camestros Felapton managed to make a map (reposted at SSF) showing the political terrain of the “puppy kerfuffle”. Most were ok with it. As for me, I didn’t get how I’d fit into the picture. I clearly side with GRRM’s position, and am extremely liberal, but my writing appears at SuperversiveSF (and will at SciPhi). Heck, SSF allowed me to publish an essay critical of the puppy slate strategy. So it can’t be all that rabid can it? Or was I invading from the left? I hope not. Not my style.
Sadly, it sounds like Camestros’s skill will be required again next year. By then continental drift will have pushed everyone further away, except the sad and rabid islands which, if Jason is correct, will merge to form a single, more heavily armed, land mass.
Is this really what people want? I don’t. Not fun.
As far as I understood, the idea here at SSF is to challenge nihilism. But declaring one will abandon one’s principles (namely play the system or outright cheat) to get an award, because someone else is doing it, is definitely nihilistic. Values have meaning for oneself, or they don’t. So I don’t get why Vox finds any traction here, beyond emotional provocation.
Ok, perhaps it makes sense to do something which reveals cheating is possible, supported or engaged in by others, or perhaps to let others experience the receiving end themselves. But if that is the point, the mission was accomplished back at this year’s nomination process, and repeating it does nothing but make one the monster one set out to fight.
Honestly, if the method didn’t produce a clear win, alienated potential allies (people sympathetic to some puppy complaints were turned off by the slate), and is something you’d rail against when others do it… shouldn’t the idea be to not double down on that method next year?
That doesn’t erase complaints raised by many puppies, it just suggests other strategies should be sought to address them. It is hard to imagine that alternatives based on one’s natural virtues, rather than the perceived vices of others, could do any worse than the method chosen this year (and suggested future abuse). This is true for both winning awards and bringing the scifi community together… which is the ultimate goal, right? And the bonus is you get to walk away feeling clean.
I realize this is still pretty close after the event and cathartic “wait till next year” venting is natural. I watched the Cubs, I know. I just hope that as the months pass and a new year begins, it will come to be recognized as catharsis and not wisdom.
P.S. – Before I could place the post above, Jason added a new post calling for unification. I don’t think that is a bad idea in itself. The question is unification to do what exactly? The devil will be in the details of specified goals and methods. If it is to build a stronger force to do exactly the same thing as last year, well then my argument and recommendations above stand.
Regarding the name change. Just puppies is better, more positive sounding, than sad or rabid puppies. However some may see that as a tantamount admission that both groups were the same all along. Plus, if the idea is to reach people in traditional fandom as well, who might have sympathized with your issues but disagreed with the methods, then you might want to break symbolically from the past and change it to something non-puppy related. Why not something scifi related? You guys feel like you’re being alienated from the award’s processes, right? Treated as if you’re invading scifi fandom? So why not go with ‘aliens’?
By the way, at first (very quick) glance I thought the caption read “Adfertote Plus Cthulu”.