Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sad Puppies Rule!

and Rabid Puppies drool, of course. Over the last several days, there have been a number of postings about the Hugo Awards, a prestigious set of awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Sad Puppies movement, for lack of a better word, to take the judging out of the hands of a clique of left-wing voters, and make it friendlier to a wider range of writers.  This article seems to hit most of the high points, with a number of useful links: The Hugo Awards: How to Fight Back in the Culture War
. . . A few years back, conservative science-fiction author Larry Correia noticed that left-leaning participants at Worldcon were engaged in a whispering campaign against one of his nominated books because of his political views. Many of them had not even read his novels. They opposed him, not because of the quality of his work, but because of who he was. In effect, the Left was enforcing a blacklist in which no right-leaning science fiction writer can be allowed to win awards.

All of which sounds drearily familiar. Believe me, when you’re in my line of work, you don’t expect to win any of the mainstream awards, either. They just don’t give those things to people like us. It’s a part of our professional life that most writers on the right have just given up on. And maybe we shouldn’t have.
Voting for the Hugo Awards is available for anyone will to pay the fee to attend Worldcon, a minor cost, but perhaps a major commitment in time.
To counteract the voting bias, Correia organized a campaign called “Sad Puppies”—because, he explains, “boring message fiction is the leading cause of Puppy Related Sadness.” Which gives you a small sampling of the kind of goofy, irreverent humor with which the campaign has been conducted. The idea was simply to suggest a slate of authors Correia thought were likely to be overlooked or slighted because of their views—and to counteract that effect by lobbying in their favor.
Seems like turn about ought to be fair play, and it least it's out in the open, right?

His goal wasn’t even to win, but just to bring attention to the issue. Here is how he described it:
1. I said a chunk of the Hugo voters are biased toward the left, and put the author’s politics far ahead of the quality of the work. Those openly on the right are sabotaged. This was denied.

2. So I got some right wingers on the ballot.

3. The biased voters immediately got all outraged and mobilized to do exactly what I said they’d do.

4. Point made.
Some things are so predictable.
The goal was simply to bring the leftist bias out into open view.

But then things got out of hand. This year, the Sad Puppies campaign (and a related slate of recommendations called Rabid Puppies) swept the field. The response was a total meltdown among the leftist elites who had assumed, in previous years, that they (and their favorite publisher, Tor) basically owned the Hugos. So they did what the Left always does: they smeared everyone who disagrees with them as racists.

Correia notes that on April 6, eight different news sites, from Entertainment Weekly toThe Guardian, all published suspiciously similar hit pieces describing the Sad Puppies campaign and its organizers as racist and misogynist.  . . .Clearly, someone was feeding these sites the new official narrative, and they all swallowed it without any attempt at basic research. . .
Or as we call it now, going "Full Rolling Stone." Don't ever go Full Rolling Stone.
So for example, the original version of the Entertainment Weekly piece claimed:
The Hugo Awards have fallen victim to a campaign in which misogynist groups lobbied to nominate only white males for the science fiction book awards. These groups, Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies (both of which are affiliated with last year’s GamerGate scandal), urged sci-fi fans to become members of the Hugo Awards’ voting body, World Science Fiction Convention, in order to cast votes against female writers and writers of color.
But the article had to be repeatedly corrected, adding this humiliating admission:
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.
As the sardonic saying goes: “Other than that, the story was accurate.” Obviously, the “correction” guts the central point of the whole piece, and what is really required is a wholesale retraction. And more: any journalistic entity worthy of the name would decide that the real story is, who is smearing Sad Puppies as racist, and why?
You can read a typical factless filled rant here at Salon: Sci-fi’s right-wing backlash: Never doubt that a small group of deranged trolls can ruin anything (even the Hugo Awards).

I used to consider myself a great SciFi and Fantasy fan, but by comparison with these guys, I'm a piker. I hardly know any of the authors anymore. Maybe I'll bone up this year, and pay the $40 to support Worldcon next year and vote myself.

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