Hugo away now.

So, this year I joined WorldCon for the first time (as a supporting member) and got to vote on the Hugos.

I’ve been a science fiction aficionado most of my life. 50 years, or close to it; way back in the 1960’s, before I could even really understand what I was reading, I got hooked by a two-volume set of A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, edited by Anthony Boucher.

I was thereby introduced to A.E. Van Vogt (The Weapon Shops of Isher), Poul Anderson (Brain Wave), Alfred Bester (The Stars My Destination), George O. Smith (“Lost Art”, which is part of the great Venus Equilateral), and Nelson S. Bond (“Magic City”) among others. I later re-read them all in the light of somewhat greater maturity and understood that I had been reading classic SF from a golden age that had just preceded my own life. But that was the trigger that started me off reading SF nearly half a century ago. And it colors my appreciation of modern SF quite a bit.

You may notice that I have carefully avoided using the term “fan”. That’s because (and in someone else’s construction that I saw a couple of days ago) I’m a fan, not a Fan. I’ve been to exactly three SF conventions in my life, and I can name them easily: NorthAmericon in 1979, Rivercon V in 1980, and our local InConJunction 2 in 1981. NorthAmericon was as close as I’ve ever come to attending WorldCon, given it was held to give US fans something to do since WorldCon was being held in England that year.*

I stopped going to the local ‘con after one try because, frankly, I didn’t (and still don’t) like most of the people who were running it back then. Fen qua fen ordinarily give me the willies, and these folks were exceedingly strange, even for fen. (Some of us who were less than cordial about them were wont to refer to their SF club The Circle of Janus as “the circular anus”.) Anyway, as a card-carrying introvert even back then, I quit going to SF conventions about the time I was 22.** Fuck, I don’t even go to GenCon, and it’s here every year until the SJWs force it to move because they don’t like our governor. Which would be a pretty stupid reason to move it, but they’re SJWs, so I digress.

Over the years, particularly after Heinlein died, but moreso after Poul Anderson died, I sort of lost interest in “modern” science fiction, because most of it was new-agey, touchy-feely, socially-aware, globull-warmerongering-friendly feminist pap. And today, so much of it is post-apocalyptic “we’re doomed anyway” downer shit. (The Black Tide Rising series by John Ringo being a notable exception to the mill run of such.)***

But then I found Baen, and authors who were actually writing the kind of science fiction I wanted to read. Even if Eric Flint is a red diaper baby. I still like his stuff, and he has a good editorial eye. Plus, he likes a lot of the same authors I do 🙂

(Oh, and by the way: In the main, I hate fantasy, or what we used to call “sword and sorcery” (with a couple of significant, classic exceptions). I wish the fantasy genre had never gotten bound up with science fiction. They are completely different genres, with different sets of fans, and other than their common speculative nature, they really don’t deserve to be lumped together. But that’s a bone to be picked another day.)

So where am I going with this?

The year of the *.  (No, that’s not a footnote.)

I admit, fully and openly, that I sided with the Sad Puppies, and voted as one (which is not the same thing that the CHORFs**** are calling “voting the SP slate”, since there wasn’t a goddamn SP slate). I have sat here for many years and idly wondered from time to time just exactly who the fuck decided that certain Hugo winners ought to have a Hugo. Finding out that the Hugo voting has been largely taken over by the Social Justice Warrior (SJW) crowd AKA CHORFs went a long way toward explaining that to me.

I was not aware of Sad Puppies, by the way, until this year, which was its third annual iteration. And I’m not going to get into the Rabid Puppies vs. Sad Puppies distraction; I don’t know who Vox Day is, and I don’t much give a fuck, other than that he seems to be a raging asshole.

And as I said on Facebook yesterday, I’ve never bought a book because it had a sticker on the cover proclaiming it to be a Hugo winner or nominee. Someone else (I think one of Hoyt’s Huns) mentioned dollars as votes. Just so.

The fact that the number of No Awards for the Hugo in its entire history just doubled over the weekend tells me that the CHORFs are fully in charge and have no intention of relinquishing their hold (or what they perceive as their hold) on SF fandom. While I agree that the Puppies won by losing (and thereby proving what a total group of childish assholes the CHORFs are), it doesn’t mean I have to like it. And I don’t.

By all accounts, Toni Weisskopf really deserved a Hugo for Best Editor (Long Form), but because she was Puppy-tainted, she came in second to No Award.

And I read, critically, both KJA’s The Dark Between the Stars and Cixin Liu’s The Three Body Problem. (I tried to read Ancillary Sword, but the first chapter defeated me; I simply couldn’t be moved to care. The Goblin Emperor was crap from the first sentence. And I’m not a Jim Butcher fan; sue me.) Liu’s book was good, and I enjoyed it. But Anderson’s book was better and it deserved the Hugo. It didn’t get it because Anderson is smeared with the Puppies (plus he’s not a darling of the SJW crowd).

It just gets worse from there so there’s no point in discussing it.  Then there was the just-plain-nastiness of the SJW crowd, starting with “you can cheer the no-awards, but you can’t boo them.”  Fuck you, assholes.

The Hugo is finished as a serious award. It was finished anyway, years ago, because it was only voted on by a self-selecting group that either attended WorldCon or bought a supporting membership (after that became possible). When that group became slanted to the SJW/CHORF crowd, the awards started tilting toward the type of SF that I described as being distasteful to me, above. And now that the proggies have full control, they’re unwilling to let go of it, even when the awards they’re giving are going to pedestrian crap, or aren’t going to anyone (No Award) no matter how deserving.

There’s apparently going to be a Sad Puppies IV, but with all due respect to the organizers, I don’t think that’s the appropriate response. The Hugo is old and busted; something else needs to take its place. Whatever that something is, it needs to be disassociated from WorldCon (something else that’s old and busted), and made more accessible to the body of fans who actually buy and read the books. It’s clear that WorldCon and the World Science Fiction Society no longer represent a vital cross-section of fandom, and indeed, there seem to be a lot of fans out there who don’t know what either of them OR the Hugo are.

Regardless of the awe and respect that many fans have for the Hugo, it is clear that the sand of cultural progressivism has jammed its gears. When you’ve butted up against that immovable object with your irresistible force and still haven’t been able to budge it an inch after repeated tries, it’s time to walk away and try something new.

It’s a big multiverse. There’s room for more than one award in Science Fiction.


* And at which it was my supreme pleasure and privilege to meet Forrest J Ackerman.  And setup and run his slides of the Ackermansion, which I got to visit two years later.

** Which doesn’t mean I don’t go to conventions of any sort. I’ve been to national and regional conventions of my college service fraternity, and I spend far too much time going to Masonic events, and I haven’t missed a Grand Lodge convocation since 2000. In fact, my wife and I are getting ready to run the Indiana hospitality suite at the 2015 Supreme Council session of the AASR-NMJ. But that’s different; the people who attend such things aren’t fen. They’re grownups. Well, by and large, anyway.

***My preference is what Sarah Hoyt calls “Human Wave” SF.

**** Here, let me Google that for you.