Culture War

Culture Warriors Invade Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Mutiny at the Hugo Awards


The latest pitched battle in science fiction is not between space pirates and alien monsters but between fandom factions, with the Hugo Awards as the battlefield. Depending on where you stand, this fight pits either forces of progress against reactionary barbarians or the elitist establishment against anti-authoritarian rebels. The progressive elites have decisively won this round; but was it a pyrrhic victory? One thing is certain: this culture war is here to stay.

The Hugos are science fiction's Oscars, selected by fans—anyone who pays the $40 World Science Fiction Convention membership fee is eligible to nominate and vote—and presented at the annual WorldCon. Earlier this year, a large share of the nominations was captured by the so-called "Sad Puppies" slate, organized by a group of writers opposed to what they saw as a politically correct domination of the Hugos. It was the culmination of an effort that began in 2013. (The group's name is an in-joke born from a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Ad featuring dejected-looking doggies and a quip that "puppy-related sadness" was caused by "boring message-fic winning awards.")

When the nominations were unveiled in April, the science fiction fandom and much of the popular culture media had a meltdown. The Puppies were accused of "gaming the system" by voting as a bloc—and portrayed as a right-wing "white boys' club" reacting to the growing prominence of female, nonwhite, progressive voices in the field.

At the 73rd WorldCon on August 22, the empire struck back. Not one Puppy nominee won a Hugo.  In five all-Puppy categories, the top choice was "No Award," just as progressive sci-fi bloggers had recommended. At the presentation, each "No Award" was met with applause and cheers, which Puppy supporters saw as unseemly gloating at sticking it to "WrongFans." Of course, the "Puppy Kickers" (as the Puppies called them) and their mainstream media backers  saw it very differently: as a defeat for ballot-stuffing reactionaries and a victory for both quality and diversity.

So who are the Sad Puppies and what do they want? In a post-awards blog post, Puppy leader Larry Correia wrote that he started the campaign because he believed the Hugos had come to represent "tiny, insular, politically motivated cliques" that gave awards to their friends and rewarded "correct" identities and politics rather than talent.

Is this, as the Puppies' detractors suggest, all about straight white males trying to protect their turf from interlopers like the women who snagged nearly two-thirds of the Hugo nominations for fiction in 2012? The Puppies' fiction picks were indisputably male-dominated, with only three female authors out of 17; yet some of the group's most dedicated members are women such as writers Sarah Hoyt, Amanda Green, and Cedar Sanderson. (The latter two were Puppy nominees for Best Fan Writer, which recognizes sci-fi related nonfiction work for nonpaying or low-paying magazines or websites.) And Hoyt told me in our email interview last spring that her personal worst example of the Hugos' political corruption was a 2013 win for a white male: the Best Novel award to "Redshirts" by John Scalzi, a satirical riff on "Star Trek." Hoyt, who dismisses the novel as "bad fanfic," thought the award was blatant cronyism on behalf of Scalzi, a recent president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and one of the fandom's high priests of "social justice" ideology.

Then there are the politicized "message" stories. Thus, last year's Best Novel Hugo went to "Ancillary Justice" by Ann Leckie, whose protagonist belongs to a futuristic human civilization with no concept of gender distinctions and with "she" as the universal pronoun. The Best Story winner, "The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere" by John Chu, dealt with a Chinese-American man's struggles with coming out as gay.  (The "fantasy" part was a clunky plot device: a mysterious phenomenon that causes anyone telling a lie to be instantly doused in water.) Also high on the gripe list is last year's nomination for "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" by Rachel Swirsky, a short story that even some of its fans concede is not really science fiction or fantasy. It is the internal monologue of a woman who daydreams about her comatose fiancé—the victim of a hate crime by men who apparently thought he was gay or transgendered—becoming a human-sized dinosaur. 

Of course, quality is a somewhat subjective thing. Two of my friends who are avid readers of sci-fi and fantasy, disagreed sharply on "Dinosaur": one thought it was an piece of pretentious dreck whose nomination could only be explained by political correctness; another, who has little patience for PC, wasn't crazy about it but thought it was well-written and could be appreciated on merit. Yet another friend thought the Puppies had a legitimate complaint about the Hugos' cliquishness but undercut it with their own mediocre nominations. 

Perhaps the real issue isn't the quality of any specific work, or even the prevalence of "message fiction" in the genre; it's that, as cautiously Puppy-sympathetic nonfiction writer and data scientist Nathaniel Givens has argued on his blog, "the message has never been so dogmatically uniform." What's more, Givens argues, the current crop of pro-"social justice" authors who dominate the field not only use their fiction as a vehicle for ideology but seek to enforce conformity throughout the fandom, posing a genuine threat to intellectual diversity. He points out that, by contrast, the Sad Puppies "went out of their way to put some authors on the slate who are liberal rather than conservative."

Givens's observations are echoed by Hoyt, who has written on her blog about the "state of fear" that has existed for a while in the speculative fiction community—the fear of being blacklisted for having the wrong politics. While Hoyt says that this fear has lost much of its grip now that independent publishing has allowed writers to make a living outside the "establishment" sci-fi presses, the elites still control recognition and legitimacy within the fandom. Hence, the Hugos rebellion. 

One might think that "fear" is an exaggeration. But, actually, a much less-noticed controversy tangentially associated with the Hugos this year is a good illustration of the toxic climate in the sci-fi/fantasy community: the story behind the "Best Fan Writer" award to sci-fi writer and blogger Laura J. Mixon.

Mixon's prize-winning work was a long November 2014 blog post exposing Thai author Benjanun Sriduangkaew—one of that year's nominees for the John J. Campbell Award, given to the best new sci-fi/fantasy writer concurrently with the Hugos—as a prolific cyberbully and troll with multiple online identities. As a far-left "rageblogger" using the moniker Requires Hate, Sriduangkaew had terrorized the speculative fiction fandom for years, viciously assailing authors and fans on her blog and in other social media for various thoughtcrimes. Helped by her minions, she intimidated reviewers, sabotaged book promotions, and pressured event organizers to disinvite speakers. She even drove at least one person to a suicide attempt. 

This reign of terror was made possible by fandom politics. Mixon noted that, as a self-identified lesbian of Asian background, Requires Hate enjoyed support from "progressives… who appreciate[d] that—despite her sometimes over-the-top rhetoric—she unapologetically sp[oke] up for people of color and queer/ LGBTQI people, calling out racist, homophobic, misogynist content in many popular SFF novels and stories." Never mind that her "calling-out" methods included gruesome calls for murder, torture and mutilation ("her hands should be cut off so she can never write another Asian character"; "flay him alive slowly, pour salt, pour acid, dismember and keep alive as long as possible"). 

Commenters on Mixon's post mentioned instances in which moderators of online groups condoned Required Hate's bullying because they worried about silencing a "marginalized" person. They also gave mind-boggling examples of the fear she was able to inspire. Canadian writer J.M. Frey, whose otherwise well-received first novel was savaged by Requires Hate, admitted that it nearly caused her to stop writing: "I second guess everything I write now… I try to be good at representation and gender and sexuality in my books, but nobody is perfect… I genuinely feared putting more books out into the world because I was scared."

It's also telling that Mixon bent over backwards to stress that she supports the righteous anger of the "oppressed" and that most of Requires Hate's victims were themselves female, gay, transgendered, and/or nonwhite. When a commenter argued that treating members of "dominant" groups as acceptable targets was precisely the mindset that enabled Requires Hate, Mixon insisted that "a case can be made for marginalized people's right to punch up." 

Despite all these disclaimers, Mixon's exposé was too politically incorrect for some. Writer and blogger Deidre Saoirse Moen, who drafted the "Puppy-Free Hugo Awards Voting Guide," also opposed the award to Mixon, at least partly because  "it just feels like a white woman elder putting the younger woman of color in her 'place.'" That Mixon ultimately got the award could be seen as repudiating the extremes of left-wing cultural politics. But in a way, it also affirms that criticism of such extremes is allowed only from within the true faith and from within the establishment (Mixon happens to be married to Steven Gould, SFWA president until July).

In this stifling atmosphere of "progressive" authoritarianism, the Sad Puppies' mutiny makes sense. 

Those who revile the Puppies as bigots if not outright fascists point to the pseudonymous Vox Day, a.k.a. Theodore Beale, the leader of his own "Rabid Puppies" faction whose Hugos slate largely overlapped with Sad Puppies. A writer and indie publisher kicked out of the SFWA a few years ago, Beale is also a prolific blogger who urges a radical Christian takeover of America  and espouses views that actually can be called racist and misogynist with no exaggeration. (Among other things, he maintains that blacks are inherently more violent and less civilized than whites, that  female suffrage is bad because women will "vote for whomever they would rather f***", and that curtailing female education is rational because "a society that sends its women to college stops breeding").

It's hard to tell to what extent Vox Day's public persona is performance art played for shock. In any case, this year's Sad Puppy leaders, Correia and Brad Torgersen, repeatedly stated that they do not share Vox Day's views and regard him as an unpleasant tactical ally, the Stalin to their Roosevelt and Churchill. (Hoyt, in turn, has written that she find his views "repulsive.") They didn't quite disavow him; but Torgersen has told Wired magazine that even if they had, their detractors would have found some other reason to demonize the Puppies. 

Given the tenor of anti-Puppy critiques, Torgersen is almost certainly right.  Best Fan Writer nominee Sanderson, who considers herself a pro-equality, anti-misandry feminist, is far more representative of the Puppies' views than Vox Day. But she too got skewered as an "anti-feminist" for such offenses as suggesting that feminist writers who use their fiction as propaganda vehicles are doing a disservice to female authors and defending astrophysicist Matt Taylor's public appearance in a shirt with scantily clad women on it.

As for Vox Day, the Puppies say that the progressive guardians of the fandom and WorldCon voters played right into his hands by "no-awarding" the categories with only Puppy nominees. Vox had planned to instruct his followers to vote "no award" on everything, in the explicit hope that a large number of "no awards" would help him "burn down" the Hugos.

At this point, the Hugos are still standing, and the rules are being tweaked to make slate nominations more difficult (though the changes won't take effect for another two years). In the meantime, the Sad Puppies are still here, and while they may not have gone rabid they are certainly mad. To them, the Hugo results are overwhelming proof that their worst suspicions of bias and cronyism are correct: even Toni Weisskopf, a beloved editor at Baen Books whose merit was widely recognized even by many Puppy critics, was denied a Best Editor Hugo because she was on the Puppy slate. 

The next Puppy campaign to bring in more rebel voters for 2016 is going to be led by Hoyt, Green, and Australian fantasy author Kate Paulk. Says Hoyt on her blog, "We're here, we're not giving up and we're prepared to fight like girls.  May G-d have mercy on their souls."

Maybe they'll call themselves "the Mad Bitches." But, at the very least, no one gets to call them a boys' club.

NEXT: Another Day, Another Bogus New York Times Attack on Clarence Thomas

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  1. The Sad Puppies starts out as an exercise to demonstrate the intolerability of the CHORs by Larry Correia. Thus far, the CHORs have gone out of the way to prove Correia right.

    1. Nitpick: CHORFs. Cliquish, Holier-than-thou, Obnoxious Reactionary Fanatics. Kind of loses its sting without that last word. 🙂

  2. Gotta point out that regardless of the voted counted at the Hugos, every reader votes with his wallet.
    Go ahead, write a ‘correct’ fantasy. And find a buyer while you’re at it.

    1. Until recently, problem with that was that publishers are also part of the equation. You only allow shitty SJW science fiction, only shitty SJW SF gets published, SF starts dying as higher ups say “no one reads SF any more.” Correia is an excellent example – no publisher wanted to publish Monster Hunters International, I have no doubt because of its pro-gun, pro-libertarian, anti-government sentiment, so he self-published, made good sales and got picked up by Baen*, one of the few places that isn’t SJW-heavy.
      So it’s just a question if people who are SF fans want to let SJWs murder things (like Hugo awards) that fans have fond memories of, or fight back.

      *interesting thing about Baen is that they genuinely have diverse crowd over there, from what-the-fuck John Ringo, through crazy-right Tom Kratman, all the way to self-identifed Trostkyist Eric Flint, and yet they have no problems collaborating and writing different kinds of SF.

      1. So it’s just a question if people who are SF fans want to let SJWs murder things (like Hugo awards) that fans have fond memories of, or fight back.

        This is why I wasn’t entirely against John’s point of view regarding the Boy Scouts and gay leaders. The fact is that SJWs are so virulent that they destroy (or fundamentally transform) anything they touch. Institutions with tradition and history are at risk when they don’t actively protect themselves from falling into the PC pit.

        Now, I think the Hugos were shit in the first place, but that’s irrelevant to the bigger point.

        1. The destruction is the point. That’s why SJWs are targeting video games, not because they like playing them or think they could be improved, it’s to destroy something people not them enjoy.

      2. I freaking love John Ringo. I enjoy Kratman as well, though his Desert Called Peace series got a little tiresome.

        1. His “Desert Called Peace” series was awful dreck. I liked his collaborations with Ringo however.

          1. It’s weird how Baen collaboration sometimes get much better than individual works.

            1632 was an awesome book, which politically showed the difference between old-school US Left and European Left, to the point that Troskyite Flint was accused of being right-wing nut by Euro readers. 1633 was even better, though, and it’s because Webber brought some balance in.
            Likewise, Flint/Drake collaboration on Belisarius series was amazing. My favorite Drake till RCN series came.

            1. Have you read “The General” Series. It’s also by Drake, but written before the Belisarius series. And the main protagonist is sort of a futuristic version of Belisarius. I enjoyed it more than the Belisarius series. Though the Belisarius series was good also.

              To be fair, The General might seem better to me because it was written first and I read it first and thus the Belisarius series comes across as a little derivative. It’s possible if you read them in the reverse order you’ll find The General series seems derivative from your POV.


              I also agree that Weber’s influence made 1633 better.

              1. I did, and I did have the opposite impression, reading them in opposite order 🙂 General is very much “historical Belisarius events transposed to new world.” If you read a biography of Belisarius before picking it up, it really suffers. Whereas his collaboration with Flint is about historical characters placed in a new set of circumstances, which I loved. I think it’s also that Flint’s style suits me better, with more attention paid to side characters, and more humor.
                The Spartan-Nazis vs Ghost of Belisarius book in General series (don’t remember the name) was awesome, but again, you get to play “spot the historical event” and I was able to do a good job because it was mostly 30s and 40s.

                1. “The Spartan-Nazis vs Ghost of Belisarius book ”

                  That was “The Chosen”. And it was co-written with SM Stirling. SM Stirling originally created “The Spartan-Nazis” in “The Domination of Draka” series. The first book in that series was published in 1988.


      3. Not to mention, read chapter one of book one of the Honorverse series, and tell me such an illustration of the dangers of a Basic Income Guarantee could get published *anywhere* else.

    2. Go ahead, write a ‘correct’ fantasy. And find a buyer while you’re at it.

      You mean like Twilight or Harry Potter?

      1. Of course, one of the Harry Potter’s did win a Hugo. But that was back before the Hugo’s became dominated by complete crap, and frankly the author is Politically Correct from a SJW point of view.

        1. Kinda my point. Sci-Fi/Fantasy (and more of writing at large) has been wrecked with utter crap, regardless of the Hugo and well before the Puppies got started.

          Lamenting any loss of the Hugo is a token gesture at best, IMO. As somebody pointed out below, the SJWs will dominate the genre until they find out it’s too challenging and the ROI on agenda advancement is crap and they’ll move on. At least, I can’t imagine people brush up on their Asimov and look for the guy who with the best interpretation of the Seldon Plan and I can’t imagine a movement dominated by teh feelz developing a ‘plans within plans’-type long game. In the meantime, the Hugo hardly has a stellar reputation to tarnish.

          1. look for the guy at the polls that is…

          2. “In the meantime, the Hugo hardly has a stellar reputation to tarnish.”

            I kind of disagree. The Hugo has often voted for fairly radical novels. But they weren’t strictly from a post modern Leftist point of view and even when they were Leftist, they had some literary merit.

            In the last 6 years they’ve taken a nose dive. “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is much better than “Redshirts”.

    3. earlier today I followed links to find Correia’s blog and read his take down of the Hugos, before I saw this article. I had never heard of Correia before, but reading his piece made #Gamergate suddenly very clear for me.

  3. This really is a no win situation for non-SJWs. The SJW types already have the levers of powers and they aren’t afraid to use them against anyone who even slightly disagrees. They own the media, so anything they do will be reported exactly how they want with no fact checking. Also, they don’t seem to give a shit if their actions cause the organizations they are a part of to lose money or popularity, the cause justifies it all. What the fuck can you do against something like that?

      1. +you’re right(unfortunately)

    1. Levers of power can be wrested away from the lever pullers. Media can be ignored, and if you’ve spent any time at all on Correia’s Facebook page, his claim is that arguing on the internet is a spectator sport. You don’t do it to change your opponent’s mind. You do it to change the audience’s mind.

      1. Levers of power can be wrested away either violently or because the lever pullers play by fair rules. Sci-fi awards do not justify a violent response, and the whole damn problem is SJWs believe that their goals justify any behavior.

        The spectator sport of online arguments only works if the spectators see the actual arguments. Sure the participants can ignore the media, but most spectators are getting their play by play of the debate through the lens the media chooses to use. Just look how many people still think GamerGate called in a bomb threat months before the phrase was even coined.

        1. Go read Correia’s, Torgerse’s and Hoyt’s blogs. Comments are open at least on Correia’s Monster Hunter Nation blog. Heck, Larry will share stupid with folks on FB if he finds the keyboard commando ridicule worthy.

    2. *whispered, barely audible voices*

      “Be as One, join us…, join us….”

    3. Funny how almost everything you typed is the exact problem so-called SJW types exist to fight against. They own the media? And here I was under the impression that was mostly white dudes. Oh, it is!

      1. Most SJWs are white dudes or white women. It’s kind of hilarious that the groups they demonize tend to be much more diverse than their own.

        Also, as a disabled female engineer they have never fought for me. In fact they have often fought to silence me, bully me, and paint the things I’ve built as sexist against women. I express an opinion online that diverges from their own and I am told that I must be a male sock puppet, because apparently them believing that a women couldn’t disagree with them is not at all sexist (vaginas are secretly hive mind receptors dontcha know). When I made a Humans Vs. Zombies club with the first two presidents being female and half the board consistently female, they told me our player base was mostly male because sexism and that we needed to bring women onto the board to remedy this. They were unaware that I was the fucking president of the club at the time, and that both the rules and the advertising strategy was written by me and the other two girls on the board (the guys were ridiculously laid back and mostly recruited because of willingness to do labor if asked).

        They exist to fight for their own damn power, and if you don’t get in line and mouth the right words they will do everything in their power to tear you down.

        1. Good fucking god have I gotten bitter over the years.

        2. If it’s true that the only agenda of “SJWs” is to achieve power for themselves, then they’d only be doing what the white male oppressor has been doing for millenia. I personally think it’s patently absurd for their conservative opponents (who really are mostly white dudes) to a) get aggrieved to the point of insanity and b) not recognize that they’re doing exactly what they’re bitching about.

          But I also get where the complaints come from. I spend some time around those people, and they can be annoying as fuck. But their heart is in the right place, which is more than you can say for the historic white male oppressor. There are realities about unconscious bias. For example, men perceive women who speak 30% of the time in a conversation as actually speaking 50%, or something like that. An example I just read: it’s perfectly normal for all the Ghostbusters to be men, but when they are all women, suddenly political activism is going on. So the issues are very complex, and power dynamics don’t sort themselves into a fair and just distribution all by themselves. I’m sorry about your personal experience though.

          1. “At least their heart is in the right place” said no one ever who has been attacked by SJW crazies.

            1. As a perpetual target of gleeful ridicule and name-calling on this very site, because I don’t follow the groupthink of course, let me tune up my microscopic violin for you.

              You’d never flame progressives for their beliefs and statements, I’m sure.

              1. You could find more hospitable climes…..or STFU and keep doing what you do here!

                Whiny bitch!

              2. Haha probably the first point Tony has made that I mostly agree with.

                Though, groupthink? Seriously? Project much?

          2. mostly white dudes

            The demographic SJWs treat the worst the most often is their biggest opposition? It must be because they are closet racist or sexist. I can’t imagine why #killallmen attracts more male opposition than female, for example. The opposition to SJWs must be rotten pieces of shit.

            But their heart is in the right place.

            Way to conform to the “good intentions are all that matters” stereotype of progressives

            it’s perfectly normal for all the Ghostbusters to be men, but when they are all women, suddenly political activism is going on.

            If SJWs had any logical consistency, they wouldn’t like this because it is a “Mrs. Male” trope that they consider sexist. Logical consistency and SJW are mutually exclusive though.

            1. I had to look that one up. I’m sure the more committed feminists might find all sorts of things wrong with Ghostbusters–giving any attention at all to their gender, maybe.

              My own take on issues like these is to recognize skewed perspective. White dudes are in fact seen as a sort of default person, especially in certain niches like sci-fi authors. But where “SJWs” want to win social power for historically disenfranchised groups, white dude conservatives see this only as a threat to their own power. It’s the most obvious micro-dick panty wetting in the world. Just chill and enjoy the privilege you will probably always have. Plenty of straight white men are not threatened by SJWs, or are among them. They are generally pleasant people who aren’t crying all the time about the horror of having to call people by the pronouns they prefer. Having the leisure time to worry about such things is the very definition of privilege.

              1. But where “SJWs” want to win social power for historically disenfranchised groups

                Did you even read the post above by Illocust? They don’t give a shit about that. It’s just a tool to get useful idiots like you to defend them.

                Having the leisure time to worry about such things is the very definition of privilege.

                SJWs must be some of the most privileged people ever then.

              2. But where “SJWs” want to win social power for historically disenfranchised groups

                But they don’t do this. They don’t ‘fix’ anything. They get in, and attack and attack and attack everything that they see as discrimination and bias and oppression and whatever–and they do this until everyone that loved whatever they got into is gone, and there’s nothing new really being produced except what their friends–who weren’t really into it in the first place–push out halfheartedly(and they’ll only do this until the next big thing to attack comes along.

                And then there’s nothing. The whole field stands disgraced as anti-SJ and no ones dares try to do anything new.

                They’re turning towards the comic book movies now–and I hate it. They weren’t there when it wasn’t popular. Now that it is, their pet peeves don’t have, in their minds, a big enough slice–so everything must crumble.

                They bad-mouthed Superman because Supergirl did something cool for some girl scouts. They didn’t have to do that–Superman didn’t do anything wrong.

                But that’s all they know, attack, destroy, and salt the earth, and move on leaving desolation in their wake.

                And you can whine about white male oppression, Tony–but I will point out that they don’t salt the earth. That, in the supposed wake of their devastation, all kinds of philosophies and ideas spring up and all manner of innovation and growth takes place–including the whole SJW thing–which is a creation OF white males.

          3. I think they are true believers, just like these radical Islamists, who think the world will be destroyed if any point of view other than their own is allowed to exist. Therefor, anything is fair game to silence the opposition. They don’t debate, they ridicule and lie.

      2. Tony; if you have never noticed that most SJWs are white, upper-middle class, or copy white upper-middle class fashions, you are even dumber than I thought you were. The whole of the Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressive establishment is founded firmly in the power hunger of the caucasian educated classes – or such segments of them as have no talent for actually creating wealth.

        They may take the occasional Brown person under their wing, provided they keep their place, but step of of line with the Liberal Sensibility and the racism comes out.

        They are the Clerisy. They TALK a good Minority game, but their obsessions, prescriptions, tactics, and so on are all whitebread.

        Some day the Brown people of the world are going to realize they way these swine use them, and hell is going to go fr a walk with the sleeves rolled up.

    4. What the fuck can you do against something like that?

      Use their own logic to destroy them – such as this (xenophobia-comment-squirrel maligned) piece of code:

      void bfuck_open() {
      xi bal = 1;
      maybe(*d == ‘\0’) {
      perform {
      maybe(*p == ‘[‘)
      perhaps_and_equally_valid maybe(*p == ‘]’) bal–;

      C+= is the hilarious:

    5. Scifi has always been a dynamic genre, subject to upheavals and radical changes. Once people realise just how crappy SJW fiction is, the genre will simply undergo another change. No doubt we’ll experience a new Golden Age once the parasites have been swept away.

    6. woodchippers, feed them all to the woodchippers as a sacrifice to the koch brothers to deliver us from the wretched SJWs

  4. American Thinker got an article on Vox Day about his recent new book.….._sjws.html

    And the recent Hugo awards are covered by the Hitler’s Downfall parodies clips.

    1. That was great. The phrase “trigger-kin dumbfucks” needs to enter OED soon.

      1. Indeed. I lost my shit at the closing line too.

  5. As a long time SciFi fan with a a room full of hardbacks and a closet full of paperbacks, the sad puppies are correct. I increasing find it difficult to find a well written book that I will actually pay for.

    It seems that the published books, and especially the “Hugo Award Winners” are so blatantly political/social pieces with a veneer of scifi that I quickly loose interest and develop disgust.

    Scifi has always had a core of challenging established ideas, from Stranger in a Strange Land to Enders Game, but it was always done indirectly, getting the reader to entertain different ideas while not be bludgeoned with them. The new stuff is just poorly written. political treatsies with a scifi veneer. They are boring as well.

    As in academia, the political progressives concentrate not on selling their ideas, but rather on taking over the system and shutting out anything not theirs.

    Congratulations, a HUGO award now means, “This Book Sucks”. What an accomplishment.

    1. “. The new stuff is just poorly written. political treatsies with a scifi veneer. They are boring as well.”

      Oh hell, there’s not even a sci-fi veneer on a lot of this crap anymore. “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” is not sci-fi. It’s a SJW revenge fantasy. It would have been given a low grade by a 12th grade English teacher, because it’s barely coherent.

      And Scalzi’s “Redshirts” was, as described, half-ass fan fic. I freaking bought that because it had “good” reviews and he’d previously written some decent novels. As has been noted by various sources, Scalzi’s been gaming the Hugo’s for years now with his own slate. And he managed to win the Hugo 2013 Best Novel with that shitty novel. To be fair, Redshirts isn’t the worst novel I read, but it certainly did not of its own merit rate best novel of the year.

      1. Redshirts started really good, and then it completely self-destructed when it breached the fourth wall. The concept was interesting, but it was a complete failure of execution.

    2. anyone who tries to silence the opposition knows their own argument won’t sell

  6. All I got out of this article is that it shows why direct democratic procedures create more dysfunction that they solve.

    1. “All I got out of this article is that it shows why direct democratic procedures create more dysfunction that they solve.”

      The article isn’t trying to describe the actual process.

      In a nut shell and from my limited understanding, a nomination vote is held. Only the top 5 nominees from any category are eligible to win. The nomination vote is by people who bought WorldCon tickets (but you don’t have to attend). Slate voting has been going on for the last few (5 or 6?) years, dominated by SJW’s. John Scalzi being a ring leader of one group.

      The Sad Puppies group has been protesting the situation for the last 3 to 4 years. Finally they got fed up, and publically created a list of 5 nominees for most categories and block voted. (This is no different than Democrats voting for a Democratic slate).

      When the Sad Puppies had a lot of success in pushing their nominees through, the SJW’s lobbied for everyone to vote “No Award” in any category with only Sad Puppies and vote for anything but the Sad Puppies in any category with an alternate.

      The SJW’s didn’t even pretend to vote on the quality of the story. On the other hand, there’s growing evidence that they haven’t voted on the merit of a work in the last 5 years.

      1. Next year the Sad Puppies should try and get one and only one nominee in each category and leave the rest for the SJW’s.

        Then they should block vote for that one nominee, while the SJW’s split their votes.


        The SJW’s will have to “No Award” again to prevent any Puppy wins.

        I would LOVE to see this happen. Also to make it even more fun the Sad Puppies should, after nominations, really bring in #GamerGate next year to vote for the winners in large enough numbers to overwhelm the SJWs.

        1. Vox Day’s likely voting slate next year is probably No Award on Everything.

        2. “Next year the Sad Puppies should try and get one and only one nominee in each category and leave the rest for the SJW’s.”

          SP2, last year, did have only one nomination in each category, and the SJWs and CHORFs still lost their minds over it. No matter how few or how many suggestions are made, they’re going to complain. It’s not about “fairness” or “equality”, but gaming the system via sympathetic elements in the press because they know that in a straight-up, no-bull contest they’ll lose.

          (And how do you do the quoteblock thing? I can’t find anything in Google, and none of what I’ve tried seems to quote material right.)

  7. Social Justice destroys another institution, but have hope, the sock juice(tm) always ends up eating its own and then burns out, moves on.

    1. How is this their fault? The SPs started all the shenanigans.

      1. “How is this their fault? The SPs started all the shenanigans.”

        Since the SPs were specifically started in reaction to the existing in-crowd slate voting, they couldn’t possibly have been considered to start the shenanigans.

        1. SPs started as a campaign by one guy to get his book and books he liked votes. Eventually, with others involved, a persecution complex developed, and the mask slipped off, and they revealed themselves to be sad little conservative bitches declaring from their summit of authority that the game was rigged to favor less competent minorities, because duh, they were winning stuff. How they determine this in a subjective contest, and when apparently the works the SPs championed are universally considered mediocre to horrible, is beyond me.

          If those types want to make everything into a fight, they can expect that they might lose, right?

          1. LOL, do you even think about your own comments, before you write them down:

            “they revealed themselves to be sad little conservative bitches ”

            You’re posting on a site called Reason. You could try a little logic, instead of pure emotional reaction.

  8. I also am a long time SciFi fan. And i will freely admit to feeling inspired when reading Heinlein, Niven, Pournelle or anything else with a libertarian bent to it. But I mostly just enjoy good stories. I loved the original Dune. It was certainly challenging in many ways, but I am not sure one can put any specific political or ideological motivation behind it. And I can certainly tolerate left-leaning authors when I am not being beaten over the head.
    But that is the problem. These SJWs have to beat readers over the head. It is just their way.

    1. That or elect looters to order union cops to beat you over the head shoot you and your dog.

  9. Cathy Young, thanks for this piece. This is one of the few articles written that wasn’t written by an obvious supporter of the SJW’s. Most of the articles written in April were transparently biased and didn’t even attempt to show the Sad Puppy’s side fairly.

  10. So… the Sad Puppies politicized the Hugos, insisting that everyone acknowledge their agenda that, as far as I can tell, amounts to the assumption that nonwhite straight writers get an unfair advantage. They got put in their place by a majority, and are still whining like bitches about the poor plight of white dudes in a subjective popularity contest.

    Yet another friend thought the Puppies had a legitimate complaint about the Hugos’ cliquishness but undercut it with their own mediocre nominations.

    Ah, a microcosm. I totally get how insufferable what you people call social justice warriors can be. But it’s largely because they’re talking about problems you don’t care about in a language you don’t speak. I think the reason their political opponents are so feckless is because the only people who care enough are those with a real bug up their ass about the plight of the poor aggrieved white dude–to the extent that they want their own sort of affirmative action.

    1. Tony,
      Your tripe is just like SJW fiction, I start reading it but quickly lose interest. Your points are lost in the shitstorm of your mind.

    2. “So… the Sad Puppies politicized the Hugos, ”

      No dumb ass. The Hugo’s had become politicized and the Sad Puppies reacted with their own politicization. It’s ridiculous to insist they started the situation when it’s clear they were reacting to an existing situation.

      1. What was the initial politicization? Explain clearly.

        1. Damn the squirrels ate my post. I probably had too many links.

          The short version is that the politicization was widely noted by 2013. Scalzi was lobbying for his novel and a host of others in a “you’ll scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”.

          “Although the Hugos present the image of something more cosmopolitan or representative than the standard convention award, it’s becoming increasingly apparent every year that, despite being the most recognizable award in science fiction and fantasy cultural awareness, the Hugos are nothing more than an amalgamation of like minded WorldCon members, or agendized voting blocs, bent on vociferous back patting.

          Looking at Correia and McGuire and the obvious (to me) impact they’ve had on the ballot leads me to believe that the Hugo Award, which has always been an insular convention award at its best moments, has become an easily manipulated (not maliciously mind you) process that provides undue efficacy to small and dedicated fan bases. ”


        2. And here:

          “While it’s easy to complain mightily against the old Hugo crowd (that’s the one that ensures Lois McMaster Bujold is on the ballot every year or two, continue to vote for Ansible and File 770, and moan about their unsuccessful bids to ban sites like SF Signal and Elitist Book Reviews from the ballot) from our seats here at the bleeding edge of fandom, it’s also important to continue to examine ourselves and ensure that we don’t fall prey to the same insular behaviour that has caused the issues that we’re fighting against in the first place. As suggested by Landon’s research, block voting is very much alive and well in the newer Hugo voters”


  11. “Beale is also a prolific blogger who … maintains … that curtailing female education is rational because “a society that sends its women to college stops breeding”.”

    Doesn’t Ron Bailey’s new book say that this is true?

    1. The facts are right. College educated women don’t breed as much as those that don’t go, but if this is a problem or not is something to be debated.

      1. Exactly. Let’s not fall into the P.C. trap of being offended and incensed over facts we don’t like.

      2. Any culture that doesn’t have children is going to fall.

  12. Clearly those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
    This smacks of the same sort of ‘in group/out group’ clique-ism, tedious and banal writing, co-option of fiction for the sake of fiction by fiction for the sake of extraneous or external signaling, etc., that we saw with the rise of Dangerous Visions and the New Wave gang in the late 60s/early 70s.
    Tedious, tiresome, a tempest in a teapot, and ultimately all about excusing bad fiction with politically correct bad attitude.
    Yeah, Harlan Ellison wrote a few good stories. So did George R.R. Martin. They’re both still tiresome hacks.

    1. “Everyone give a hand to Harlan Ellison! Stand up Harlan. Yes, stand up. Oh, you already are.” – Isaac Asimov

    2. But where did he get the jellybeans?

  13. “The Hugos are science fiction’s Oscars, selected by fans”

    Well, the RIGHT fans, anyways.

  14. Of course, school libraries rely heavily upon the Hugo awards for their recommended reading lists for young and mold-able students. But I am sure that doesn’t have anything to do pushing a PC agenda. /sarcasm

    1. Recommended reading lists have been shit since I was a grade schooler. To this day I may be one of a select few who successfully gave a book report on To Kill a Mockingbird in front of my class without having read a single page.

      1. Right, they don’t give a fuck if students read them (though they prefer if they are forced to do so), they care about money from extra sales to captive audiences.

  15. That’s cute.

    As long as I am free to browse for good books on Amazon and elsewhere I give not one single fuck about masturbatory awards passed around a culture club.

  16. This article is spot on. Good job with the truth.

  17. i am an eminently unsuccessful author of a time travel novel. Now that i read it, i see that not only is it hideously un-PC, it is libertarian to boot. DISTANT MESAS on Amazon.

  18. The writing was on the wall the moment they started calling it speculative fiction. If the SJWs want to fuck up a genre, they should just go make up their own.

  19. This infiltration problem also plagues the LP. If 99% of the soft machine voters (according to DemoGOP counts of unverifiable secret ballots) favor the initiation of force as a Prime Directive, those factions have plenty of disposable shills available to infiltrate competitors and form a fifth column. In the 1980s backlash against communist sharpshooters gunning down civilians fleeing over the Berlin Wall, many unemployed socialists suddenly converted to “anarcho-capitalism.” They then told the LP that anything less than unconditional surrender violated the NAP. Today we are besieged by rats swimming over from the joined-at-the-hip GOP and Prohibition Parties–this bunch on a Mission from God as their Ark flounders. Their mission is to convince the LP that breeding-age females aren’t individuals and therefore women have no rights. They point to the 1st Amendment as recommending “the forced exercise thereof” and interpret the 14th Amendment to read “Every sperm is sacred…” again in defense of our non-aggression policy and not their fanatical agenda. The parallels are troubling.

    1. Some of us libertarians might argue the same about people like you–“anarcho-socialists” who infiltrated the LP, much like how the Left infiltrated nearly every legitimate civil rights group. The Left is like the rabies virus always in search of a host.

  20. No matter where you turn you’re trapped in a non-stop political rally. Even bakeries are political battle grounds for the culture wars. It’s enough to make you sick to your stomach.

  21. The LP looks for ways to avoid the initiation of force wherever appropriate. All socialists–whether of the “left” secular communist persuasion or the “right” christian national socialist persuasion of their one-dimensional scale actively and relentlessly seek to initiate the use of force to take values from others and impose ideas on them. This is political and ethical warfare. There is nothing cultural about being a looter, even if disguised to infiltrate those that aren’t.

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