Glenn Hauman: Kicking Puppies
The Hugo Award nominees for the best science fiction of 2014 have been announced. And this year, there’s some major controversy; a number of people have stuffed the ballot box, and oddly, they don’t care who wins.
This takes some explaining, and some wading through muck.
First, let’s talk about Theodore Beale aka Vox Day, a man who was so offensive he was kicked out of the Science Fiction Writers of America and is apparently not smart enough to spell the name of his own blog correctly. He founded his own publishing line, Castalia House, in 2014, and has scored nine nominees on the Hugo nominating ballot this year. Beale was also nominated as Best Editor twice– again, a man who can’t spell his own blog name.
Friends of Beale (using the name “Sad Puppies”) and Beale himself (under the banner of “Rabid Puppies”) set up a coordinated campaign to
stuff the Hugo nomination ballot box “save” the Hugos from being won by an imaginary cabal of social justice warriors and English majors, and did so by embracing the #Gamergate community.
However, believe it or not– there is a bright spot.
How, I hear you cry, can there possibly be a bright spot in a slate that has a nominee published by Patriarchy Press?
Because they failed to corrupt the Best Graphic Story category, adding only one item to the nominees. Moreso, the other nominees in the category—
- [[[Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal]]] written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt (Marvel Comics)
- [[[Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery]]] written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)
- [[[Saga Volume 3]]] written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
- [[[Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick]]] written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
—stand in strong repudiation to the “values” that the Puppies espouse. Every one of the stories feature strong women, feminists all, many of them multicultural… gosharootie, there’s even a Muslim teenager in there. And, even more annoying to the Puppies, they’re popular.
Now, I am not insisting that you go out and get a membership for this year’s Worldcon just so you can vote for the Hugos and correct the deficiencies in this year’s ballot. But I would like to note a few things.
- The comics that are listed are much much much more popular than the Puppy nominees for novella, novelette, or short story. In fact, I’ll bet all the money in my wallet right now that not only have the graphic novels sold better than any of the novella, novelette, or short story nominees, but that none of them outsell any monthly comic book in the top 200, and probably the top 300.
- I feel a little sorry for Carter Reid being pulled into the middle of this mess, but I can’t help being amused that the Puppies rallied behind a strip called Zombie Nation, which certainly describes the puppy voters in my mind, just mindlessly shambling along.
- I don’t ever want to hear people claim that the ballots for the Eisner and Harvey Awards are rigged ever again. In fact, if you haven’t voted for the Harvey Awards, go do so now.
- Other people have spoken in much greater detail about the topic: Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Paul St. John Macintosh, Mike Glyer at File 770, Andrew Wheeler (come back!), and Charlie Jane Anders, among many others. Go read them for a much deeper backstory.
- 2015 Hugo Award Finalists Announced (thehugoawards.org)
- Harvey Awards Nomination Ballot for 2015 now online (comicmix.com)