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April 06, 2015

Anti-SJW SF Fans Rig Hugo Awards to Fill Nominations With Their Own Picks

The word "rig" was picked for its brevity and juiciness. What they actually did was to publicize a "slate" of nominees, and suggest people vote for that slate as a bloc, in order to fill the lists of nominees with their preferences.

What's been going on in SF, with these various award situations, is that the Social Justice Warrior crowd and other leftists have been pushing their own favorites for reasons not having to strictly to do with quality -- there has been an overt push to award certain writers for simply being of the right sex/orientation/race and, of course, political outlook.

The Anti-SJW contingent has struck back, figuring they should stack the nominations with writers more congruent with their own political outlook.

There's a lot of shouting about this.

In February, we reported on the "Sad Puppies" campaign, a tongue-in-cheek bid by science fiction & fantasy (SF&F) authors to draw attention to an atmosphere of political intolerance, driven by so-called "social justice warriors," that is holding the medium back. Spearheaded by authors Larry Correia and Brad R. Torgersen, the campaign sought to break the stranglehold of old cliques by encouraging a more politically diverse group of fans to take part in the annual Hugo Awards.

A week of rumours about the campaign’s success were confirmed this Saturday with the announcement of the final Hugo Awards ballot. Authors and works endorsed by the Sad Puppies nominations slate swept the field, a reflection of just how many new fans the rebel authors have brought into the Hugo process.

Recommendations from Vox Day’s allied Rabid Puppies slate also dominated. Indeed, in the categories of Best Novella, Best Short Story, and Best Novelette, the two slates swept the entire field, an astonishing achievement for a genre some considered to be wholly owned by the social justice tendency just a few short years ago.

It's worth noting that the Sad Puppies were not the first group to propose a slate of suggested nominations. The trend was started by former president of the Science Fiction Writers Guild of America, John Scalzi, who hosted an annual "award pimpage" post on his blog. British writer Charles Stross followed his example. But there was little semblance of a backlash to either Stross or Scalzi, who were both deeply embedded in the existing clique.

Scalzi, who's very butthurt today, says that what he did is nothing at all like what the Sad Puppies did. He claims all he did was tell people that here are some under-appreciated works they might want to vote for.

That sounds like what Sad Puppies did, though.

Scalzi is, for some reason, a major leader in science-fiction, and was able to (somehow) get his novel Redshirts a Hugo award for Best Novel a couple of years ago -- despite the fact that this book is, as Sarah Hoyt put it, "fan fiction about a thirty year old cancelled TV show." (That is, Scalzi's book is in fact fan fiction about the old Star Trek show.)

This sort of heavily derivative, borderline amateur work is just not the sort of book to win Best Novel in any awards show, and yet Scalzi's pull is such that it won anyway.

Incidentally, I'm told the book is either "not bad" or actually kind of fun, being, as it is, a light Star Trek homage and spoof. That may be true, but National Lampoon's Tolkein parody "Bored of the Rings" was pretty awesome too, yet I wouldn't figure it for a Hugo award winner, nor would I expect the Austin Powers films to take home any Oscars.

All of which makes Scalzi's campaign to vote for NO AWARD rather than a nominee which lacks his exacting standards of literary merit somewhat ironic.


The chief complaint from the Sad Puppies campaigners is the atmosphere of political intolerance and cliquishness that prevails in the sci-fi community. According to the libertarian sci-fi author Sarah A. Hoyt, whispering campaigns by insiders have been responsible for the de facto blacklisting of politically nonconformist writers across the sci-fi community. Authors who earn the ire of the dominant clique can expect to have a harder time getting published and be quietly passed over at award ceremonies.

As with GamerGate, the political biases of a small elite has led to the exclusion of those who think differently -- even if they're in the majority.


Torgersen and Correia have a name for that inner circle [of cliquish, leftist fanbois]. They call them the CHORFs -- Cliquish, Holier-than-thou, Obnoxious, Reactionary, Fanatics. It’s roughly equivalent to social justice warrior, the internet pejorative used to describe politically intolerant activists who use social shaming and abuse to dominate communities (while enthusiastically painting themselves as the victims of both).

One article I'd like to see written is a more rigorous recapitulation of the "CHORFs" abuse over the years, particularly with respect to passing out awards to people based on identity politics. Some on the left claim that the Anti-SJW people are basically making the SJW bias in these organizations up, and so this nominee-gaming is completely terrible and unjustified.

I'm inclined to think the people saying that are liars, but I'd like to see an article making the case.

Argument/Counter-Argument: Larry Correia responds to a butthurt owner former editor of Tor publishing (one of the alleged leaders of the SJW clique), here.

The bit about how pristinely free of politics these awards have been until the Sad Puppies is brief and worth a read -- key down to Mad Mike Williamson discussion, just a little bit down the page.

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posted by Ace at 01:22 PM

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