According To Hoyt

Burning Down The Field in Order to Save It

So, I thought I didn’t care about the result of the Hugos, because in making the establishment lose their collective sh*t at the “non approved” nominations, we’d proven our point: that there is a political color bar in SF/F; that the self-proclaimed elites of sf view what fans like as problematic and therefore view the supposed “fan” award as the toy of the glitterati; and that NATIONAL PUBLICATIONS marched in lockstep with the narrative of a tiny clique over an award that in the past has sometimes been given with hundreds of votes (after which display it’s pretty hard to claim that the left doesn’t have a death lock on the media. And btw nothing was weirder than being told by the National Media we were the ones wanting to drive people off the field, while nominee after nominee was hounded off the ballot by leftist who — since WE have no political color bar — were often their co-believers.)

Turned out I did.  Yesterday was even more of a victory to the Sad Puppies than I expected.  And I wish it hadn’t been.  And I’m absolutely serious about this.

I don’t mean I wish a different set of books/stories had won.  That is only to the extent that the DELIBERATE and PARTISAN slighting of such unexceptionable luminaries as Kevin J. Anderson and Jim Butcher (Yes, yes Three Body Problem.  Well, I didn’t find it worth it, but I bet you half the people who voted for it voted either under the illusion they were favoring Chicoms OR as a slam against the puppies.But quite beyond that the block voting for the clumsy Ancillary “but pronouns” would have won first place if it weren’t Australian Rules) is a blot on the face of our genre and makes me sigh and roll my eyes.

No, I mean that the display of naked bias and, more importantly, of infantile foot-stomping and the clever-dumb insults only toddlers could think brilliant BEFORE and during the presenting of the awards makes me, today, embarrassed to call myself a science fiction and fantasy writer and, for the first time in my life, wondering if it’s time we came up with another word.

I’m just going to put it out there, without further elaboration, that adults don’t put on a panel on a subject that presents only ONE SIDE of that subject and that blatantly lies (“against diversity; mostly male” etc.) in front of a national audience.  Adults, at least ones who haven’t crossed over the line of senility, don’t create an asterisk to assign to this year’s awards.  (And for the person who played so dumb in the comments as to pretend they don’t know why an asterisk is offensive — yes, that’s why you weren’t approved — that is the mark used before/after dubious sports wins.) Adults don’t create little skits about defending the Hugos from death (particularly given what they’ve done to the Hugos’ prestige) and adults DO NOT say you shouldn’t boo no-award.

Another thing adults don’t do — or at least not adults in any definition I personally know — is slate: that is blindly vote for a list provided to them.  And that’s exactly what the Puppy Kickers did.  They voted, blindly and without reading the works (remember they bragged about that all over twitter) for the PK slate, including “no award.”  All this supposedly “opposing” a slate that we told them WASN’T a slate but a barely followed list of suggestion.  (And all you have to do is look at the vote totals to see that proven.)

Another thing (and this has me giggling this morning) adults don’t do is go to a blog that has nothing to do with Vox day and start crowing in the comments how they defeated Beale.  (No, I’m not approving you either, you clever fools.  I’m shocked you have the brainpower to push buttons on a keyboard.) You know what? I have my disagreements with Beale, as in most of the things we think are diametrical opposites and I often disagree with everything he writes, including the and a.

Until today I viewed him as a mirror of the SJW posturing.  I retract that and I give him full measure of applause.  Yes, his views are still repulsive and he still makes my skin crawl as often as the Marxists do, but you know what?  At least he has a brain and uses it.  Those of you celebrating might want to take a deep breath and wonder — for just a minute — if you did anything more than what Theodore Beale wanted.  Because from where I’m sitting, the man that set out to destroy the field and prove that everyone calling themselves its leadership were mannerless and brainless children not only won last night, he won walking away. He won without DOING anything.  He won by convincing yourselves to hit yourselves repeatedly with the obvious hammers of partisanship, lack of care for quality and INTEREST in the health of the field.  And before you died, you gloated you had won.  The mind boggles.

Well done, Vox Day.  My laughter is tinged with tears because I don’t know if the field I loved will ever recover from stupidity displayed in such an open manner. I think today I prove the Valentine Michael Smith adage that sometimes you laugh because it hurts too much to cry.

NO ONE can look at those results and think the puppies supporters vote in unison for some imagined agenda.  Not even the rabid puppies supporters. I think KJA and Butcher suffered from “most beautiful girl who doesn’t get invited to prom” syndrome (I was there, once upon a time, where guys self-shot-down because “surely she’ll laugh at me.”  Yeah, I ended up having a date, but there was a reason I thought badly of myself.) I think most people thought “Oh, they’ll sweep it in a minute.  Let me lend my support to the small but deserving Three Body Problem, so the field doesn’t look like ignorant asses. And I think that’s a shame because two men with such following would have lent their luster to the award and helped rinse it from at least a decade of mostly forgettable work that toted the right party line.

That is my only lament as far as the Hugos go.

Oh, sure, my editor, Toni Weisskopf, who has done more to keep this field alive than the rest of the field combined, deserved an award.  But I don’t think she deserved the award that was preceded by the classless and infantile display we watched last night.  Also, she knows she has not only the heart and respect of the fans, but the heart and respect of every author who’s ever worked with her.  Unlike past Hugo award winners in that category, about whom former editees trade horror stories on line and out.  So, I think in a way she already has the award of being the best-loved editor/publisher in the field. No, on consideration, I’m glad that Toni wasn’t besmirched with “the asterisk Hugo” awarded by people who if they were not too old would certainly be toddlers. (Only toddlers at least lack the experience of the world to know that with their “clever digs” they’re actually making fools of themselves.)

So while I am not upset at the results (except insofar as it proves a large number of my field is running the Marxist malware to such an extent that it will vote a slate to avoid an imaginary slate) I am upset at the display of infantility or senility or perhaps roboticity in my field yesterday (Though who would program robots that way?)  No one watching that live stream — and there was a lot of it captured and it will be replayed — can imagine that those who proclaim themselves the “intellectuals” of our field have an IQ above room temperature.  And certainly no one can imagine they have an emotional maturity above that of a toddler displaying to one and all the magnificence of the turd just deposited in the middle of the floor.

Before the pre-Hugo show was done a good number of you, by email, by PM, in private groups and on the phone were yelling that next year we No Award everything and BURN IT ALL DOWN.

The temptation is great, and I know it’s what Beale wants, and OF COURSE can manipulate the SJWs into doing.

However…  However… if we burn it all down, what we’ll be doing is destroying forever the reputation and the history of the award Heinlein (among others) won.  And while the last few years have gone a long way towards doing just that, I — like my comrade at arms and brother-of-the-heart Brad Torgersen — would prefer if we could save it.

I confess that job is going to be ten times as hard now, as people in the public at large aren’t likely to understand when leadership changes and that we aren’t the same idiots on display last night.

On the other hand, did you think it would be easy?  Did you think it was just a game? The effort to bring dignity and meritocracy to science fiction is like any other battle in the cold civil war: they will bring unreasonable force to bear on it, seeing it as part of a greater battle.  They’re not afraid of destroying that particular portion of the culture in order to “save” it.  Meanwhile we’re hampered by actually wanting to save the thing we’re fighting for.  And regardless of what else happens we can be sure that people like Beale are all for setting it on fire from the other side.

Impossible, you say?  Nah.  It’s a million to one chance.  We can’t lose.  But it might take years and years and we need to keep that in mind.  We need to commit and stay strong.  Anything worth doing is going to take years of fighting.

I’m not going to cry out for “No Award” because politics is downstream from culture, and if you guys want decent governance for your grandchildren, we need to take beachhead after beachhead and restore it to health NOT allow the other side to burn it down because if they can’t have it no one can.  I couldn’t much care about the Hugo, but I care about western civilization and it’s time we started fighting for it.

So, for next year, I give you Kate Paulk running the platform of bringing in more and more voters.  MOAR.  Sad Puppies IV the Embiggenning.  (Though none of us will do more than snicker if, since Amanda and I are helping Kate, you call it “Sad Puppies IV, the Embitchening.” We know the other side is going to call it that anyway, and we say “Yeah, and how” in advance.)  We’re here, we’re not giving up and we’re prepared to fight like girls.  May G-d have mercy on their souls.

And to every one of you, my friends, This One Is For You.