Hugo Reactions Roundup and Thoughts

Well, it’s been a full week now since the announcement of this year’s Hugo Awards finalists, and we’ve all had some time to process the fact that allegedly human trash fire Vox Day and his Rabid Puppies slate fucked the whole process up and ruined a lot of fun for a lot of people for the second year in a row. The Rabid Puppy slate placed 64 of its 81 candidates on the ballot, at least one in every single Hugo category, sweeping six categories entirely, and securing all but one slot in an additional four categories. In terms of how this measures up to last year’s fiasco, it’s a sort of good news, bad news situation.

The bad news, of course, is that this is still a thing that is happening, at all and that the Rabid slate was, if anything, more successful than last year’s in spite of nearly double the number of nominating voters participating in the process. The good news is that these results indicate several of things:

  1. As suggested by last year’s No Award votes, the vast majority of the influx of new voters are anti-Puppy.
  2. BUT, when it comes to nominations, those new voters are honest ones who continued the Hugo tradition of nominating things that they actually like and want to see win, and there is no evidence of competing slates or any other attempts to “fight fire with fire.”
  3. While the new voters’ lack of slate or bloc voting makes for a very fractured pool of potential nominees, allowing the Puppy slate a low bar for success, there’s no evidence that the Puppy bloc saw any significant increase in numbers.
  4. While the Puppy slate did succeed in getting a lot of nominations, the slate this year was not (quite) as irredeemably bad and transparently Vox Day/Castalia-serving as it was last year. In order to make some kind of statement about something or other, it includes quite a bit of work that looks to be worth at least attempting to consider.
  5. It appears that the Sad Puppies (yes, they’re still around, kind of) had no measurable effect on anything at all with their recommended reading lists. I think we can safely ignore them forever now and deal with the actual menace that is Vox Day.

Followup bad news to this good news, though, is that with such a mixed bag of nominees–everything from obviously trolling picks like Chuck Tingle’s “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” to the apparently unironic Rabid nominations for Best Related Work to several picks that almost certainly would have made the ballot regardless like Daniel Polansky’s The Builders, Neal Stephenson’s popular Seveneves, and Hollywood blockbuster The Martian–there’s not clear answer on how to respond to the slate. Sure, there are some obvious categories for a No Award and several nominees that are clearly out of place in other categories, but things are definitely not as cut and dried as they were last year, when it was very reasonable to deny the legitimacy of all slate picks. This is something that I will address more fully at a later date, however. I will likely blog my way through the voter packet when it arrives in a couple of weeks and talk some more then about how terribly wrong and mistaken I was in my own predictions for this year’s awards, which were based on my clearly very incorrect theory that the Rabid Puppies would have lost a significant amount of interest in the Hugos after last year.

I didn’t write a hot take of my own last week, though I did read plenty that were various degrees of useful, informative, and insightful. The best early-ish posts on the matter that I came across:

The Puppies themselves had typically asinine responses:

  • Vox Day posts about “Making the Hugos Great Again” in which he spends a couple of thousand words wallowing in schadenfreude and mocking John Scalzi because Vox really, really hates John Scalzi. It gets weird.
  • The Sad Puppies apparently have no official opinion, judging by the lack of updates on their site.
  • However, Kate Paulk has some mouth noises to make about how all the finalists “earned” their nominations, but also that as long as everyone follows the rules–the letter of, obv, not the spirit of, because respecting social contracts is for liberal wimps or something–people can pervert the process as much as they can get away with. A+ principles, Kate Paulk.
  • Brad Torgersen is predictably incoherent and rambling. Something, something CHORFs. Something something Brad Torgersen’s persecution complex. Something something Dragon Awards.
  • Larry Correia says we should have negotiated with him when we had the chance and so we are getting what we deserve. Okay, but I’m still not sure what Larry Correia ever wanted except to win a Campbell because he’s a sad little pissbaby who never learned to be a gracious loser or appreciate the honor of even being nominated for a major award. Also, I guess he wants everyone else to have the same low brow, trashy “literary” tastes as he has, but just saying that sounds unreasonable and stupid because you can’t just dictate to everyone else what they ought to like.
  • Puppy darling John C. Wright has a ton of bloviating opinions if you care to try and decipher his writing style, which I would describe as mid-19th century douchebag eats an SAT vocab study guide. He accuses GRRM of not even reading the nominees, which GRRM responded to the other day.

Several of the slated writers and publications have had responses as well:

In more big picture stuff:

I’m not sure how much I’ll be writing about the Hugos after this. I certainly intended to blog my way through the voter packet when that comes out, but at this point I’m going to just wait and see what that entails. Some of the Puppy picks I have already read. The Best Related Work shortlist, for example, I have read parts of and think it would be an absolute punishment (probably the Puppy intention) to read much more of. So, we’ll see. I may have thoughts on it, I may not.

While I didn’t want to clutter up this last week’s Weekend Links with Hugos stuff, probably further links of interest will show up there unless there’s another sudden, large influx of stuff that I want to share.

As far as my own reaction to another year of Puppy garbage–I was angry as hell last week, but after a few days to think about it I just feel sad and drained by the whole thing. It’s exhausting and disappointing and not much fun in spite of the occasional mock-able Puppy post on the topic. I’d much rather be talking about books I loved last year and discovering the work that other people loved enough to nominate than responding to the petty, childish antics of a bunch of people whose only goal seems to be to shit all over the things that other people love.

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