If you pay any attention to bookish news, you’ve probably seen the kerfluffle over the recent Hugo finalist list. If you haven’t seen anything, a quick rundown: there is a group out there, apparently started by author Larry Correia, who calls themselves the Sad Puppies. They took umbrage at last year’s Hugo winners, saying that they believed the winners were chosen based on criteria other than literary merit. Specifically, they derided people called “Social Justice Warriors” (or SJW) and said they skewed the voting to lean heavily towards authors who are non-white or non-traditionally gendered and so on. In retaliation, they decided to take advantage of the Hugo voting rules to skew this year’s ballot towards their own picks. One of the most heavily represented authors this year, therefore, is John C. Wright, a man who thinks gay people should be exterminated. The contention of the SPs is that Wright would never have gotten on the ballot because of his personal views.
They’re probably right. Recent years have seen a tremendous backlash against authors/actors/public figures who openly espouse those kind of views. For example, Theodore Beale (aka Vox Dei) was booted out as president of the SFWA for similar issues. I’m not sure how I feel about excluding author’s works based on their personal views, but that’s a topic for a different post.
I fully admit that when I saw the finalist list over the weekend, before any of the internet rage started, my first thought was “Oh boy, this is going to get ugly, because I bet I know what happened.” After having some time to sit on it, read a few articles by others, and really ponder things, here are my thoughts: