Since setting out my initial thoughts on this years' Hugo Awards this morning, I've had the opportunity to read many other responses, reactions and opinions. With very few exceptions, they've been profoundly troubling to me - on both sides of the fence.
Let me state bluntly my point of departure for this discussion. Most of my readers know I'm a man of faith and a retired pastor. It therefore probably won't shock you to learn that my foundation is the Golden Rule. In the Christian faith this is found in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31, and can be paraphrased in the time-honored expression "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". In the context of this debate, if I look for courtesy and reasoned discourse in others, I need to conduct myself accordingly - otherwise my expectations are invalid. I know many on both sides of this debate will scoff at that and call it wishful thinking (or something less polite). That's their privilege. I'll adhere to the standards by which I try to live (not always successfully, I fear).
My overwhelming emotion in this whole mess is sadness. I'm watching people tear apart one of the great institutions of science fiction, purely because they can't bring themselves to agree that every fan of the genre has a place within its tent. It's not one side doing it - it's both. The SJW's, who consider themselves 'true' Fandom, insist that SF/F is their genre and they alone get to decide who and what belongs to it. Those of a more conservative and/or orthodox bent disagree, and say that political correctness should not be the standard against which works of imagination and literature should be judged - but they can be very disparaging of the other side in how they go about that. (Perhaps that's not surprising. Mutual tolerance and respect have been largely conspicuous by their absence in this field for many years.)
Last night the SJW's triumphed - for now - and deliberately shut out the 'other side', not on the basis of literary merit, but because they regarded it as 'Wrongthink' and unworthy of a hearing. My friend Larry Correia summed it up very well.
“I said the Hugos were dominated by cliques that cared more about an author’s identity and politics than the quality of their work,” Sad Puppies founder Larry Correia told Breitbart. “Tonight they proved me right.”
Brad Torgerson pointed out:
Toni Weisskopf pulled over 1,200 first-place ballots. That’s amazing. Consider that Lou Anders got 207 first-place ballots in 2011. So, Toni Weisskopf rocked the professional long-form category. Unfortunately, the Trufans and their politically-aligned allies decided that destroying the village was necessary to save the village. It was more important for the Trufans that people lose, and get nothing, than that the “wrong” people win. If that’s worth gloating over — you who gloat — look into yourselves and see the black, shriveled, grinchy hearts that beat.
That's sickening - and he's absolutely right, IMHO. The invitation from the MC to cheer, but not boo, the 'No Award' results says it all. The bias evident in the entire presentation was beyond caricature. The perspective of these self-described 'true Fans' is perhaps best summed up by this comment from a reader at File770.com.
... the Puppy campaigns are just another tendril of a shoggoth we’ve seen many times over. It surfaced in GamerGate and the SFWA Bulletin flap, it rampages across Fox News, and its glazed eyes peer back at us from the MRA, PUA, KKK, and Tea Party movements. It howls with the screech of every toddler ever forced to share his toys and speaks with the soft words of every sexual predator who has slipped something into a drink, of every employer who has seen an employee’s skirt as reason enough to deny them a promotion, and of every abuser who’s shed crocodile tears while promising never, ever to do it again… right before picking up another couple of six-packs. Their arguments are flimsy because they only exist as recognition signals and cheap disguises. The reality lies underneath, in their privileged sense of entitlement: This belongs to me, and you can’t have it because you’re not one of us.
I, for one, am very glad to see fandom standing fast upon this bridge, facing the Balrog with those immortal words that nobody here needs me to repeat.
On the other hand, it's both a Biblical phrase and a readily observable truism that "those who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind". The Puppy campaigns now know beyond any doubt that the other side will ignore the rules and expressed expectations of their own awards, disregard the actual individuals and/or works nominated for awards, and vote against them solely on the basis of ideology rather than merit. The SJW's need not be surprised if the same tactic is now employed against them to an ever-increasing extent . . . and it will be, in future Hugo campaigns. There's no doubt about that at all. As Vox Day pointed out:
No doubt George Martin, John Scalzi, David Gerrold, The Guardian, and the rest of the SJWs will try to portray this as a resounding defeat for us, but keep this in mind: the side that resorts to a scorched earth strategy is the one that is losing and in retreat. All they have accomplished is to convert many Sad Puppies into Rabid Puppies.
They have talked about sending us a message, and we have heard it. I don't know about you, but the message I heard was "bring more Puppies."
I'll give the penultimate word to my friend Sarah Hoyt.
I have my disagreements with Beale [Vox Day], as in most of the things we think are diametrical opposites and I often disagree with everything he writes, including 'the' and 'a'.
Until today I viewed him as a mirror of the SJW posturing. I retract that and I give him full measure of applause. Yes, his views are still repulsive and he still makes my skin crawl as often as the Marxists do, but you know what? At least he has a brain and uses it. Those of you celebrating might want to take a deep breath and wonder — for just a minute — if you did anything more than what Theodore Beale wanted. Because from where I’m sitting, the man that set out to destroy the field and prove that everyone calling themselves its leadership were mannerless and brainless children not only won last night, he won walking away. He won without DOING anything. He won by convincing yourselves to hit yourselves repeatedly with the obvious hammers of partisanship, lack of care for quality and INTEREST in the health of the field. And before you died, you gloated you had won. The mind boggles.
Well done, Vox Day. My laughter is tinged with tears because I don’t know if the field I loved will ever recover from stupidity displayed in such an open manner. I think today I prove the Valentine Michael Smith adage that sometimes you laugh because it hurts too much to cry.
. . .
So while I am not upset at the results (except insofar as it proves a large number of my field is running the Marxist malware to such an extent that it will vote a slate to avoid an imaginary slate) I am upset at the display of infantility or senility or perhaps roboticity in my field yesterday (Though who would program robots that way?) No one watching that live stream — and there was a lot of it captured and it will be replayed — can imagine that those who proclaim themselves the “intellectuals” of our field have an IQ above room temperature. And certainly no one can imagine they have an emotional maturity above that of a toddler displaying to one and all the magnificence of the turd just deposited in the middle of the floor.
I would not have been so blunt in expressing my opinion . . . but I can't disagree with her.
I believe that writing to entertain my readers is more important than trying to indoctrinate them with my ideology. I'll try to remain true to that in my books, and in my interactions with others. However, that's going to be more and more difficult for all of us in the science fiction and fantasy field. We're going to be inundated with shouts and screams from both sides: "You're either with us, or against us!", and all that sort of partisan pressure. The challenge for all thinking persons, whatever their ideology or way of life, is going to be to keep their sanity and objectivity in the midst of the chaos.