A Loss of Perspective – A Guest Post By Amanda Green
This weekend, the final Hugo ballot was revealed. In case you’ve been off-line, under a rock, deep in a cave or otherwise cut off from the internet, what is usually a rather ho-hum announcement from a fan perspective has taken on the characteristics of a farce. Accusations of ballot stuffing, fraud and worse have been flying, but only in one direction. The folks on the receiving end of the accusations are frankly sitting back shaking their heads and I don’t blame them. Heck, I’m doing the same thing.
You see, what happened is that conservatives made it onto the ballot. Worse, these conservatives are white and male. But the problem is that at least two of these so-called conservatives really aren’t – conservative, that is. But that doesn’t matter. Why? Because the evil overlord of the universe, Larry Correia, dared do what authors have been doing for years when it comes to the Hugos. He asked his friends and fans to vote for him. Then he suggested that they consider voting for other writers who happen to write entertaining fiction, not message fiction that hits us over the head with a hammer.
Each year at WorldCon, the Hugos are presented. It is a “big deal” for some in the field, mainly because of the cachet they seem to feel is still attached to the award. The problem, in my opinion at least, is that the award really isn’t that relevant any longer. The nomination process is flawed and is the determination of what is or is not eligible. Look at this year’s nominations for Best Novel. There are five “novels” in the field, including Larry Correia’s Warbound. But the fifth “novel” is anything but a single work, no matter what the committee decided. That “novel” is Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. The last time I looked, WoT was comprised of 14 novels. Yet, the committee says it is a single work under the rules of the award.
So, my first question is this: if WoT is a single work, why isn’t Larry’s nomination for The Grimnoir Chronicles instead of for the third book of the series?
My next question is why aren’t those crying foul over Larry, Vox Day, and others being on the ballot also gnashing their teeth because of the vast body of work represented in WoT as compared to the other works in the category? And, yes, I know the answer. They are happy to let anyone but Larry win in the category because he refuses to apologize for being proudly cis-male, libertarian, gun owner, father, and the author of books people want to read because they are damned fun stories.
And that latter is something those screaming about Larry, Vox, Brad, et al., being nominated seem to forget matters when it comes to the Hugos. The Hugos are a popularity contest. Nothing more and nothing less. According to the Hugo rules, “Each member of the administering Worldcon, the immediately preceding Worldcon, or the immediately following Worldcon as of January 31 of the current calendar year shall be allowed to make up to five (5) equally weighted nominations in every category. “ Nowhere does it say that only authors, editors and publishers can nominate or vote for Hugo award winners. These rules specifically leave the voting open to fans, those folks who actually buy and read the works in contention. Not the “pros” who vote for their friends and fellow SJWs in the industry.
So, what did Larry do to bring down this latest attack by the GHHers and SJWs? He conducted Sad Puppies 2. He reminded folks that Warbound was eligible for a Hugo this year and asked that they consider voting for it. Despite what at least some of his detractors have alleged – and I really do have to wonder at their sanity for taking on a man who has already proven he can shred them with logic and facts and never break a sweat – he did not stuff the ballot box nor did he buy memberships for all of his friends and families and then vote for them. Yes, I have seen at least one post where they said they’d like to see the IP addresses of the votes for Warbound to see how many came from Larry’s computer. Even if Larry had considered doing such a thing, trust me, he’d be smart enough not to vote multiple times from the same IP address.
Making matters worse, at least in Larry’s detractors’ eyes, is the fact that he also listed other authors and recommended his fans consider voting for them. This “slate” has been the cause of much gnashing of teeth which, in its own way, is funny because this is exactly what others have done for years. Just as past winners have campaigned by “reminding” their readers to vote for them (check out last year’s winner for best novel. I’ll let you exercise your google-fu to find the different posts. But, to help you, the winning novel really was nothing but fan fiction for a sf series that first started in the 1960’s.)
What the whiners aren’t pointing out as they attack Larry is that he didn’t list one title per category, at least not for the major categories. In fact, going to his Hugo slate post on his blog, he never once said that his readers have to vote his way. What he did say was that the titles were his slate. He also noted that it was important to vote if you’ve paid for your WorldCon membership. But that, according to his detractors, was stuffing the ballot box.
My biggest issue in all this is that those who are yelling the loudest aren’t talking about the quality of writing. They aren’t discussing the number of books read. They aren’t even willing to admit that maybe people like Larry and Brad and others received enough votes to be included on the final ballot because readers finally stopped sitting on their hands and voted for authors they enjoy reading. No, these detractors have resorted to calling names and miscasting people. Why? Because they don’t fall into lock step with what the current politically correct mantra happens to be.
Instead of crying because authors who write books people enjoy reading – why else would someone supposedly as vile and evil as Larry be a multiple-time NYT best seller? – have made it onto the ballot, perhaps they ought to ask why more of their cadre weren’t? Of course, that might require some introspection, true introspection, and that is something these folks don’t do. They’d much rather condemn those who don’t agree with everything they say.
They aren’t asking why WorldCon is dying. If more than 5,000 people actually attend – real figures and not the inflated figures so many cons seem to put out – I’ll be surprised. Now, look at other cons, vibrant and healthy cons. Cons that have tens of thousands of fans attending. Those are the cons the literati of SFF – the SJWs and GHHers – hate. Why? Because they aren’t the cool kids there. But at WorldCon, just as with SFWA, they are the cool kids and what they say goes.
So, be prepared for the barbs to continue to fly because of the Hugo ballot. Those protests are the screams of terror as power slips from their fingers. Poor dears.
Or, as they say down here, Bless their hearts.
As for who to vote for, that’s up to each person who is eligible to vote. Me, I say vote for the works you enjoy reading because you enjoy them. That’s what the Hugos are all about, no matter what the other side says. Otherwise, there’d be a roomful of stuffy professors judging the writing skills of the authors. In the meantime, I have my popcorn, I’m in my comfy clothes and I’m ready to watch the show because, if the GHHers and SJWs aren’t careful, Larry will decide that it is really worth his while to respond – with facts and figures – to their accusations. That is when the real show will begin.