(All terms/titles used in this post are used solely for convenience of conversation and are not intended to indicate this author’s personal beliefs either way. Cool with that? Hope so.)
All I see in the Facebook news feed today is stories linking to discussion of the Hugo Awards and how the “Sad Puppies” lost because none of their nominees won any awards, or how the fact that the “Sad Puppies” won because some awards went to no one at all, instead of to any of their nominees, thus proving their point that the Hugo Awards are now politically motivated.
News flash: everyone has an agenda.
The SP contingent espoused the view that the “Social Justice Warriors” (SJW) had co-opted the nomination and award system to push their “agenda” of diversity and blah blah blah.
The SJW folks (if that’s who they really are) said that the SPs were a bunch of racist, homophobic, old white guys, and that they (SJWs) don’t have an agenda.
If you vote on something, you have an agenda. If you vote FOR something, it suits your purposes. If you vote AGAINST something, it suits your purposes. If you REFUSE to vote for something, it suits your purposes.
That’s called an agenda, folks. Sorry, but if you cast a vote, you have a reason for doing it.
Now, does that mean that you’re voting because you are a racist, homophobic, transgender?
No. If you vote for something that is supposed to have a criteria to determine the best, and you stick to that criteria, then you still have an agenda: to uphold the criteria.
I don’t know the folks running the SPs or any of the SJW folks. I know PEOPLE. Well, to be fair, I have met a couple of people at various events. It’s not like I call them or we have lunch. Literally, it’s
X: “Hi, I’m XXXXX, nice to meet you.”
ME: “Hi, I’m a nobody that is still trying to get published.”
X: “Well, keep at it.”
You get the idea.
When it comes to awards like the Hugo, I don’t know if there are specific criteria about what constitutes the “best” work in each category, or if the rules simply stipulate rules of release, etc.
I. Don’t. Know.
What I know is, if you ask me to vote on which book/story I like better, that’s my opinion. If one of the nominees is the story of a six-legged, asexual, anthropomorphic cat battling to save the family litter box from an infestation of Neblurbian spacegrubs…..
It probably won’t get my vote. Not really my cup of tea, based on that. I probably won’t read it, given my lack of available hours.
[Actually, I call dibs on this idea… maybe an online serial…]
Not that I shouldn’t read it, or at least try to, if someone I trust tells me that “No, it’s not what you think, dude.” At least then I’d have a little bit more info to go on than before, but it would still be down on my priority list behind my day job, bills, mortgage, family, and trying to write my own damned stuff.
And I’m sure that’s a problem with a lot of voters: lots of material, but a dearth of time available to consider them all.
So, what am I trying to say, really? I guess, like most fans, I just want to read good stuff. If it’s good, and I have the time to read it, I don’t care who wrote it.
Do I want to be beat about the head and shoulders with socio-political commentary when I’m trying to enjoy a book? No.
Can you put socio-political commentary in your book?
You’d better, because that’s what (the best) Science Fiction and Fantasy has been doing since the beginning.
Awards are nice, but frankly, I long for the day when someone comes up to me and says “I read your book, and I really liked it. It was entertaining, and made me think about some things I hadn’t considered before.”
That’s a win in my book.
Now if I could just get a win FOR my book, lol.