In January of
2013, Larry Correia, author of the series Monster
Hunter International
, posted a blog post about "How to get Correia nominated for a Hugo." It was a post about ethics within voting for the Hugo Awards for World Science Fiction Society
Achievement. It was essentially Correia and a handful of authors versus an
established Leftist front within Science Fiction. From that one post, Correia
and his allies started what would become the movement that is now known as Sad
Puppies. The movement has led to a liberal backlash that has the most leftist
of them going insane.
The Hugos have
generally been a big deal in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Notable names like
Asimov and Heinlein have won the award. To get a Hugo award is to say that you
hit in that weight class. It’s the Oscars of Science Fiction and Fantasy–both
books and movies.
Five years ago, author Larry Correia dismissed the Hugos as being
nothing but a "circle jerk" of Social Justice Warriors and leftists. According to Correia, like the Oscars, the
Hugos have been slowly consumed by liberals over the course of the past 25 years. The names they nominate are less about good, entertaining
fiction, and more about politics.
Imagine if
Steven Spielberg only made blockbusters like Indiana Jones and never got
an Oscar.
For example,
everyone has at least heard of Game of
Thrones
. The books have sold millions, but the author, George R.R. Martin,
has only received a single nomination. Harry
Potter
author J.K. Rowling won a Hugo once, and was nominated one other
time, and was never allowed on the slate ever again. Many other bestsellers
within SF have been left by the wayside and completely ignored. If you are
unfamiliar with names like David Weber or Timothy Zahn, just know that they have been bestsellers for over 25 years, and
have never even been nominated for a Hugo.
It’s like the
Oscars ignoring The Lord of the Rings
entirely (which nearly happened).
As Correia has stated, Hugo nominees in recent years are the
"correct" people. What people? One person, Ann Leckie, got an award for her
first novel, Ancillary Justice, and
her only claim to fame is that she had a blurb from the former President of the
Science Fiction Writers of America, John Scalzi. This is the Hugo equivalent of a good review
from the head of the Screen Actors Guild netting you get an Oscar. Leckie won,
though her competition was the entire ten-book epic known as the Wheel of Time, which has a fanbase comparable to that of Lord
of the Rings
.
In movie terms, this is like an independent art house film
winning over the entire works of Alfred Hitchcock.
When Correia pointed out that the Hugos did not represent
SF, but merely a small clique at WorldCon SF convention, there was a massive
leftist backlash from the establishment SF authors and publishers. There have
been articles declaring him a racist, misogynist homophobe exercising his white
privilege. He has received death threats. One
of the larger names in SF publishing, Tor Books, went after Larry Correia’s publisher on their blog. The
Nielsen-Haydens
, editors for Tor (one former, one current) fully support the
Hugos, stating that there’s nothing wrong with them at all–but Tor has
had 40 nominations for best novel from 1986-2015.
At the same time, the former President of Science Fiction Writers of America John Scalzi waged an internal purge of
their membership.Former members–such asSarah Hoyt–andcurrent
members
protested the
ideological litmus test SFWA was using.
Imagine if Peter Jackson asked why the first two Lord of the Rings films didn’t get many
nominations, and in response Universal Studios and the Screen Actors Guild
called for his head (and the heads of his supporters).
Correia was told no, the Hugos represent all of Science
Fiction
. At which point,
he said, "You want to bet?"
Enter Sad
Puppies.
The movement is officially
titled "Sad Puppies Save the Children Campaign"–a title chosen to deliberately
make fun of leftist causes (the tagline is: "Because boring message fiction is
the leading cause of Puppy Related Sadness"). Correia’s stated goal is to
promote good SF–books that are fun, enjoyable, and not necessarily approved by
the "correct" people. He has been joined by Brad R. Torgerson, among others
(there is another version, led by Vox Day, called "Rabid Puppies").
Sad Puppies is simple. The
supporting members have their fans vote for who they want in the Hugo categories. The nominees for the Hugo are
assembled from the voted collected. From
there, the supporters push those books (and tv shows, and movies, and editor,
et al).
Sad Puppies is now in its third year, and the name-calling and
death threats its members are being attacked with have gotten worse. There are even authors like K. Tempest Bradford
declaring that one cannot be a fan of SF unless you’re the correct kind of reader, enjoying the
correct kind
of SF by authors of the correct gender and/or ethnicity.
Then, less than a month
before the Hugo nominations were posted, a former editor of Tor Books insisted that the Hugos only
represent the people who attend World Con.
But, to quote the SF TV show Babylon 5: The avalanche has already
started, and it is too late for the pebbles to vote.
Also, given the statements
made by that former editor of Tor, that means Tor knew the outcome of the initial voting ahead of
time
, which is against the rules.
When the Hugo award
nominations came out, it looked like the Sad Puppies slate, including
apolitical authors like Jim Butcher (author of The Dresden Files), as well as conservative Catholics like John C.
Wright
(author of … a lot).
Even better, right wing writer Vox Day had elements of his Rabid Puppies slate
nominated (his own version of Sad Puppies, only where he picks his own
candidates personally).
Forces
in establishment SF have not taken this well. Since the Hugo voting ballot
operates by rank (voters rank their preferences for awards), the author and
former SFWA President John Scalzi went on his page
and suggested a campaign to "No
Award" the Hugos over Sad Puppies
. This is basically a leader in the SF community telling the
voters to say, "We don’t want anyone to win."
John Scalzi has even gone on his twitter account and accused
Correia of starting Sad Puppies in order to get himself a Hugo. That might be a
valid point … if Correia hadn’t refused his Hugo nomination.
Then there came an Entertainment
Weekly article, headlined: "Hugo Award nominations fall
victim to misogynistic, racist voting campaign.
" It was an article written
without talking to a single Sad Puppy supporter, and the headline is a good
example of the tone of the entire article.
Even better, seven other news outlets published
nearly the exact same article. At the
same time.
Let us ignore that the new Hugo slate includes women and
Hispanics. Since this began, the Sad Puppy people have undergone accusations of
being evil white men. It’s what makes "racists" of Vox Day (though
he’s Native American), or Larry Correia (who’s Portuguese). It makes
misogynists out of Sarah Hoyt (from Portugal) or Cedar Sanderson … and no,
they are NOT transgender, they were born women, and remain women.
Then there’s the EW correction, which noted that the EW
author, one Isabella Biedenharn, didn’t talk to anyone on the Puppy side. In the tradition of Rolling Stone, one need not complicate a strong narrative with
facts.
However, we can all take some advice from Sad Puppies. It took a few years (this is Sad Puppies 3,
after all), but it has taken over. Correia and Co. simply rallied the troops to
the polls, and got out the vote. It took time, but they eventually won.
In short: in a battle between the establishment leftists and
the "outsiders" of many stripes, the leftists lost. The culture wars are winnable. A little
sarcasm, a little reason, and the war is over. The left is nothing but a pile
of steaming, impotent rage. The more they lose, the more twisted up they
become. The more they lose, the more they lash out and alienate everyone around
them.
In Graham Greene’s short story, A Hint of An Explanation, he noted that evil always overreaches,
and breaks its own hands. The overreach is palpable at this point. The prime
example is when Puppy supporter Brad Torgersen posted a picture of his family on
Twitter to show that he’s human. After that, someone
called his wife
(who
happens to be black) a "human shield."
Evil overreaches.
For further updates on the Sad Puppy ordeal, you can visit CedarWrites, AccordingToHoyt, Monster Hunter Nation, Novel Ninja,Tom Knighton’s blog, and Brad Torgersen’s blog.