CORRECTION: After misinterpreting reports in other news publications, EW published an unfair and inaccurate depiction of the Sad Puppies voting slate, which does, in fact, include many women and writers of color. As Sad Puppies’ Brad Torgerson explained to EW, the slate includes both women and non-caucasian writers, including Rajnar Vajra, Larry Correia, Annie Bellet, Kary English, Toni Weisskopf, Ann Sowards, Megan Gray, Sheila Gilbert, Jennifer Brozek, Cedar Sanderson, and Amanda Green.
This story has been updated to more accurately reflect this. EW regrets the error.
Many science fiction writers are up in arms with a slate of Hugo Awards nominees lobbied by two groups affiliated with last year’s GamerGate scandal, Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies.
Sad Puppies broadcast their selection on Feb. 1, writing: “If you agree with our slate below—and we suspect you might—this is YOUR chance to make sure YOUR voice is heard.” Brad Torgerson, who runs Sad Puppies along with Larry Correia, complains that the Hugo Awards have lately skewed toward “literary” works, as opposed to “entertainment.”
Torgerson also writes that he disagrees with Hugos being awarded for affirmative action-like purposes, as many women and writers of color went home with awards in 2014: “Likewise, we’ve seen the Hugo voting skew ideological, as Worldcon and fandom alike have tended to use the Hugos as an affirmative action award: giving Hugos because a writer or artist is (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) or because a given work features (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) characters.”
The other lobbying group, Rabid Puppies, is run by Theodore Beale (who goes by the name Vox Day). As The Telegraph reports, “Members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have called for Beale’s exclusion from the group after he has written against women’s suffrage and posted racist views towards black writer NK Jemisin.”
Writer Philip Sandifer wrote on his blog Sunday, “The Hugo Awards have just been successfully hijacked by neofascists.” Sandifer’s post, which is worth reading in full, addresses what this disaster means for the sci-fi world:
To be frank, it means that traditional sci-fi/fantasy fandom does not have any legitimacy right now. Period. A community that can be this effectively controlled by someone who thinks black people are subhuman and who has called for acid attacks on feminists is not one whose awards have any sort of cultural validity. That sort of thing doesn’t happen to functional communities. And the fact that it has just happened to the oldest and most venerable award in the sci-fi/fantasy community makes it unambiguously clear that traditional sci-fi/fantasy fandom is not fit for purpose.
As writer Joe Abercrombie put it:
The Hugo Awards have never looked less like the future of anything.
— Joe Abercrombie (@LordGrimdark) April 4, 2015
The Hugo Awards winners will be announced on Aug. 22 in Washington.