Anybody here following the kerfluffel over this year's Hugo Award nominees?

In (very) brief, basically a couple of groups nicknamed Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies put forth their choices for the nominations for the Hugos and succeeded in getting most of them on the short list for final voting.

There is outrage. Lots of personalities and politics involved and threats of 'destroying the Hugos' etc. Connie Willis has declined to be a presenter this year. David Gerrold, who I believe is the master of ceremonies this year, is well and truly caught in the middle.

Last night, JMS had this to say and suggest:

Quote:
Originally posted by Fans of J. Michael Straczynski

I generally refrain from commenting on the kind of internecine warfare that crops up here and there in the world of fan and pro SF, but I did want to throw out a comment, and a suggestion, in light of the current fracas going on with the Hugo Awards. Not to stoke fires, but to perhaps resolve this one.

We must not fool ourselves when it comes to voting blocs: they have always been with the Hugos and, lest the pro world get off too easily, the Nebulas to a degree. Every award is, to some extent, a popularity contest. I have seen awards go to folks who, in my very subjective perspective, didn’t deserve them, and seen others who were infinitely more deserving go unrecognized.

Nor is this confined to the SF/F genre. How many Oscar winning films went on to fade away, replaced by films that never won but had more enduring value? How many actors with tremendously important careers have never won an Oscar, and how many flash-in-the-pans carried them home?

That being said, every indication is that this year the process was hijacked to a degree never before witnessed, if only because those involved seem to have made no pretense otherwise. They not only robbed the bank, they posted photos of the currency on Facebook and dared anyone to come and get it.

On the one hand: yes, the rules have been bent and perhaps even broken before. On the other hand, there is a point at which the system supported by those rules becomes broken. The latter seems to be what many people are saying, including Connie Willis in her post this evening explaining why she has refused to hand out the Hugo awards this year.

Those who apparently quite openly hijacked the Hugos have stepped up to make their statement and back it up.

The question now is: will the Worldcon organizers do the same?

Meaning:
Like most people, I’ve known women who have been in abusive relationships. Their boyfriends, lovers or husbands knew how to play the game to keep them close, knew how to work the system to keep from being penalized for their behavior, and when asked “well, why don’t you just leave him?” they often don’t have a better answer than “I’m stuck with him.”
Until the day comes when they realize they aren’t stuck with those guys, that they can simply…walk out the door. They leave the relationship unless and until they can be sure that the situation has changed. Or they simply don’t come back.

If, as many involved in Worldcon believe, the Hugos have been hijacked, if the slate of nominees to go out has been gamed in such a way that *the Hugo vote and the awards themselves are not actually legitimate*, then you have only one option.

Leave the relationship.

Cancel the Hugos.

If you, the organizers, genuinely feel that the Hugos this year are illegitimate, then why in god's name are you handing out illegitimate awards?

Asking fans to vote “no award” moves the responsibility from your shoulders – where, as organizers, that responsibility must rest – to the fans. As keepers of the rules and defenders of the integrity of the awards, you must not ask the fans to fight your fight for you. This is your burden, not theirs.
When someone tampers with medicine bottles, or motherboard chips are hacked at the place of their manufacture, if what is being *offered* is not what was being *advertised* there is an everyday, commonplace remedy: you do a recall. You stop making them until the tampered medicine, or the hacking, or the falsity is eliminated.

Those who are behind the current scandal (and god knows there’s always a “current scandal” somegoddamnwhere in SF/F) took a stance and exploited the current system. I don’t care for the results any more than anyone else, but you can’t say they didn’t stand up.

Fine and dandy.

Now it’s your turn.

If you feel the awards are legitimate, that the system was gamed but ultimately reflective of…whatever the hell they’re supposed to be reflective of this year…then regardless of the point of view of those involved, you should give the awards and stop complaining.

But if you genuinely, truly, down to your socks feel that they have been compromised to the point where they are no longer legitimate, then you are honor bound to cancel the awards.

Take the Hugos made this year and recycle them to next year. It’ll save that year’s ConCom a buttload of money. If it happens again, you cancel again.

And you keep doing it until either the system is amended, or the perceived abuse of the system ends.

Leave the relationship. Take the tainted Advil off the shelves. Be responsible. Don’t look to “no award” to save you from having to take a hard stand.

If the Hugos are not given out this year, it's not the end of the world. Next year there will be another WorldCon, another Hugo presentation, and in the interim, perhaps improvements in security measures can be made to safeguard the integrity of the award.

WorldCon has always been about more than the Hugo awards. They are a celebration of all aspects of Science Fiction and Fantasy, pro and fan alike. They are an opportunity to explore ideas, fete and favor this year’s best and brightest, to honor a genre that looks to the future with courage.

The awards recognizing that genre must be no less courageous.

It’s a binary decision, nothing more, nothing less.

If the Hugos this year are legitimate, however much gamed, then hand them out and stop yelling.

If the Hugos this year are not legitimate, then don’t hand them out.
Now then, I don't really follow the Hugos or Worldcon but I have a distinct memory that this same thing, perhaps on a smaller scale, happened last year - and possibly even the year before.

Now, there are two things I've heard more than once that make this a little complicated. One, that according to the Worldcon bylaws, the Hugos have to be awarded every year. That entirely rules out JMS' suggestion that they not be. Second, any rules changes have to be either approved or discussed by two (possibly consecutive) Worldcon meetings.

Which is why many people are suggesting the use of the 'No Award' option to eliminate the Puppies slates of choices.

I'm certain JMS is right that there have been campaigns and slates in the past, in every Hugo award ceremonies. My question is, if this did indeed happen last year, why the heck didn't the fans who didn't like it, DO Something About It?!? The way it stands right now, it looks to me, admittedly a complete outsider, that everybody simply sat around and waited for Somebody Else to do something.

Well, they didn't. And to my mind, that makes this whole thing the fault of everybody who didn't step up and campaign to get those who are being called 'true' fans to buy voting memberships and campaign for the books and stories that they really felt did deserve the award. Because the 'Puppy' campaigns were done in the open so this shouldn't be any surprise to anybody.

NOW there's a push to get people to buy voting memberships and it seems to be succeeding. But it may be too late because the short list of nominees is already made. As somebody has said elsewhere, no matter what, this year's Hugo award winners are always going to have an unseen asterisk after them with people wondering if the award was really deserved.

Note that I completely left out what the 'puppies' aims were all about because it doesn't really matter. What matters is that they did something to get their aims and the rest simply didn't.

If anybody has different views, I'd love to hear them.

Jan