The Hugo Awards are tonight.
But time-travel Hugos are much more fun.
So let’s go back to… oh, we’re here.
[insert public domain photo of a dog I can’t be bothered to locate.]
So what have we learned?
Well, for one thing, much as I complain about the Hugos, my Hugo winner choices are only slightly different:
1955 was just no. 1965 and 1995 Hugo voters disagreed with me, awarding the Hugo to Leiber’s The Wanderer and Bujold’s Mirror Dance. 1995 was a seriously backwards year.
And what else have we learned? No matter who tries to take over, not much has changed.
1955: The Hugos have long celebrated crappy books.
1965: The Hugos have long been influenced by the weird, the progressive, and the literary.
1975: The Hugos have long recognized conservative works by conservative authors… and they do “message fiction,” too.
1985: The Hugos have long recognized non-literary, fun novels. Especially in recent decades.
1995: There is no such thing as Affirmative Action at the Hugo Awards. It’s called fandom. (Though the Hugos could definitely benefit from some sort of positive action system. Let’s World Cup it!)
2005: The Hugos have only very recently returned to their roots (hello again, 1965!) by going all progressive and literary and messagey and that’s awesome, but they’re still white as hell. And, oh, you’re back, Pew-Pew-Space-Cadet. The Stuck Puppets seem to think you died after 1985.
2015: *sigh* I’m sad.
I’m sad that this controversy has given a platform to a bunch of racist, intolerant pricks with terrible taste. I’m sad that the best the “SJWs” could give us is a space opera sequel, (though I am looking forward to it hitting the small screen, although I expect the most we’ll hear from the critics are the same things I’ve been saying: “This is it?”). I’m sad that the best the “SJWs” could give us is a very safe throne inheritance novel with conservative themes, (and if there is a sequel where Maia finally gets his bearings and shakes up the establishment, I’ll eat my words). I’m sad that the one non-Western author we get on this list was added after a post-puppet shame shuffle, and did not appear on the original list, (and that it is an approved and stamped publication from a nation heavily criticized for book censorship). (Not that the free market system doesn’t also only reward authors who tread lightly.) I’m sad that the “SJWs” who gave us these things don’t actually exist.
I’m sad that I see more windows to the weird, the sublime, and the non-Western on other 2015 award shortlists. I’m sad that Nina Allan’s surreal and exploratory The Race was almost completely ignored by awards this year. I’m sad that Nnedi Okorafor’s more subversive alien invasion novel has been just as ignored, (though might Lagoon be eligible next year because of the late US publication date? Might she Silverberg herself with her other 2015 release The Book of the Phoenix?). I’m sad that there are probably dozens of more worthy 2014 contenders that escaped my radar. I’m sad that my wandering eye is more tempted by this year’s uppity literary shortlists.
I’m sad that the idea of a group of well-read, passionate readers organizing and campaigning for specific books to make it on the shortlist sounds like utter brilliance. I’m sad that that sounds just like fandom and I don’t want to be a part of it. I’m sad that the Ploppies’ accusations are completely false, that there are no organized “SJWs,” that there is no literal “Literati.” I’m sad that these shortlists are mostly influenced by unaligned commercial interests, hurtful social networks, fannish adherence to the mainstream promotional bandwagon, and a few publishing powerhouses in a marginalized publishing industry.
So why the fuck are you so sad, Smegma Plotters?! I should be sad! I read the historical Hugos and it was 50% everything you people say the Hugo voters conspire against, regardless of the decade! And nothing’s changed! What the hell are you idiots complaining about?!
The SPud Uglies don’t know what they’re talking about. That’s what we’ve learned.
So there. Seven decades of Hugos. A few years of bullshit arguments. Did I miss anything?