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2015 Hugo Award Madness

By / June 19, 2015 / no comments

Frankly I’m sick and tired of all the shenanigans surrounding the Hugo Awards this year. Putting together a slate of nominees was bad enough, since it violated the spirit of the awards if not the actual letter of the rules. But that was petty, minor stuff compared to the nastiness that has gone on since.

It is clear that the Puppies (and the flames have been fanned every bit as much by the Sad Puppies as by the Rabid Puppies, so from now on I’m not going to distinguish between them) are not just out to destroy the Hugos. This is an all-out attack on Tor books, and on a small group of named individuals: Irene Gallo, Moshe Feder, Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Teresa Nielsen Hayden (who all work for Tor) and John Scalzi (who is published by Tor).

Why these people is not at all easy to work out. John Scalzi has a very high internet profile, and evidence has emerged that Brad Torgersen set out to attack Scalzi right from the start of his own career as a way of raising his profile. I don’t know of anything that Scalzi has said or done to deserve the attacks, other than being prominent and a winner of several Hugo Awards, oh, and being President of the SFWA when “Vox Day” was expelled from the organisation for making comments that were gross and offensive and indefensible.

Irene Gallo, in a Facebook post, was asked what the Puppies were. In a brief and unguarded response she described them as racist and neo-Nazis. It caused not a ripple. But “Vox Day” had taken a screen-shot of the passage and republished it over a month late, coincidentally at the same time the SFWA was announcing this year’s Nebula Award winners, and suddenly “outrage” was manufactured. (“Vox Day” objects to being called neo-Nazi, presumably on the grounds that his frequent statements that non-white people aren’t fully human or that women should be denied education and equal rights or that neo-Nazi murderer Anders Breivik should be a national hero somehow don’t count.) The orchestrated campaign produced an apology from Irene Gallo. In a comment on Eric Flint’s (generally excellent) blog, John C. Wright said he accepted the apology; later the same day he was saying that the apology wasn’t enough. The Puppies began demanding that she be sacked. Tom Docherty, the Tor MD, issued a grovelling apology and public admonishment of Gallo that outraged many in the anti-Puppy camp (Tor had not issued any similar apology when one of its long-term employees was fired for being a serial sex pest, which led to a claim that Gallo was treated differently because she is a woman). All the apology did was make Tor look weak, and the Puppies just redoubled their attack. But before her careless Facebook post, Gallo was not in the Puppy’s crosshairs.

As to why Feder and the Nielsen Haydens are getting this treatment, I just don’t know. I suppose having generally liberal principles is simply enough for them to be branded enemies of the people.

Anyway, the latest iteration of Puppy lunacy is to call for a boycott of Tor. This is naked blackmail: the Puppies are openly saying to Tor and to their parent company Macmillan, do what we say or we’ll damage your business. Actually, I don’t think they’re all that interested in the “do what we say” bit. They have identified Tor as their enemy, and they really have no motive other than to damage it. It’s a strange response, given that John C. Wright is published by Tor. But then, sense has never been a part of anything the Puppies do.

You’ll notice I haven’t provided any links for any of the stuff above. You can find it all if you really want to, I just can’t face going back and looking at a lot of this stuff. But there is one link I’ll provide.

In response to the Puppies’s boycott, there’s a call for people today to buy a Tor book. Go to your local bookshop, go to Amazon, or go to Tor itself. Tor publish a lot of great science fiction (and John C. Wright), so you’ll get something worth reading, and you’ll prove to the Puppies that the boycott won’t work.

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