A lot of people on my FB list have been discussing the current brouhaha over the Hugo Awards.
Basically, an old and respected award slate was hijacked this year by a group calling themselves “The Sad Puppies” because they feel that too many authors who deal with subjects like diversity, sexual fluidity, gender issues, and other fairly important modern concerns are getting all the nods, purely out of “political correctness” and that their kind of SFF (white male protagonists with either the best killing skills and/or the biggest technologies save the planet of the USA from evil aliens, afaict) is just being passed over and denigrated because of some form of guilt-induced need to reward (presumably) bad writing that covers subjects other than what they want to read.
The Sad Puppies (seriously, they call themselves that) then allied themselves with someone named Vox Day (and then a related group was formed, called – I kid you not – the Rabid Puppies) and while Day says he is not a racist, he is on record as saying some very, very racist things.
They proceeded to buy a fuckton of memberships, and nominate a slateful of stuff by people they liked. Curiously, many of these writers publish through a Finnish publishing house owned by … Vox Day.
Anyway, it’s sad. Some writers, in a effort to distance themselves, have taken their offerings off the nominations list, because they were nominated by these – er – Puppies and they don’t want to get an award by manipulation. And that’s really too bad, because, as far as I can tell, Hugo nominations do not grow on trees, or even common shrubs.
Now, I’m going to assume that you all know about Gamergate, and RoK and all those so-called “men’s rights activists” whose sole purpose and modus operandi seems to consist of making threats against anyone they don’t like, but only the female ones, because Reasons.
Rape threats, death threats, we’ll-publish-naked-pictures-of-you-so-you-lose-your-job threats – they’ve done things like that.
Well, oddly enough, there seems to be some “crossover” from those people to these Puppies-people, and so some of the tactics from that have emerged.
It’s toned down, and mild, but they managed to scare the owner of Tor Books enough that when one of his editors described the Puppies on a private Facebook account as “extremists”, he gave her a public reprimand in the form of a disclaimer that she should have stated up front she wasn’t speaking for Tor Books.
That’s right. She.
Any number of men, including men who work for Tor, have come out saying almost identical, maybe even worse, things, sans disclaimers, and not a word was said. But a woman who edits at Tor – well, we couldn’t let that pass, could we?
I think Tom Doherty owes Irene Gallo an apology, preferably a public one. Because he could have pointed out that the Sad and Rabid Puppies – junkyard dogs that they are – waited three goddam weeks before complaining (so, I mean, how hurt were they, really?), that only a drooling fool would confuse Gallo’s personal FB page for Tor’s corporate stance, and that if they really believed it was libel, they should hire a lawyer, because Tor stands by the right of its employees to freedom of speech.
It was a golden opportunity to be brave and honourable.
Like the Hugos, those moments don’t come down the pike every day.
My own disclaimer: I don’t have anything to do with the Hugos. I don’t know any of the people involved, although I am on a few writers’ FB feeds and follow a few blogs. But I know the smell of fear when I encounter it.