First, some background...
Since I don't play video games, I was only a spectator in GamerGate--and saw that it seemed there were serious problems with incestuous relationships between game makers and magazine reviewers. Still, it wasn't my fight or my world. The same goes for the Hugo awards and the Sad Puppies mess. Just like modern television, I rarely read science fiction that is happening now, instead, I occasionally read old stuff, so I hadn't and haven't read any of the books either nominated or discussed surrounding this year's Hugos. However, I read (a fellow Dwiggie) Sarah Hoyt's, blog from time to time, have read Larry Correia's posts on the controversy, and have seen the way their (and Brad Torgerson's and others) desire for the Hugos to be based on writing merit, instead of insider connections and polemical leftist writing (aka: boring politics-based tracts), has been denigrated as a bunch of skummy white guys proposing a misogynistic and racist set of nominations. Just as with GamerGate, that simply isn't so.
In case you haven't been following...three years ago, an author wrote in a blog post on his website a list of titles that he thought were deserving of Hugos. He also noted that the actual list of nominations and awards in the last few years seem to be dominated by a small clique of authors and publishers who leaned leftist, and who wrote in a didactic, leftist, SJW way--which this author (Larry Correia) thought was very boring and not indicative of the best of science fiction. He picked the name "Sad Puppies" because the leftists always seemed to him to behave like sad puppies. He did this in part to provoke a reaction from the clique which seemed to be dominating the awards and predicted he would be labeled as an evil, racist, misogynist bastard. He was 100% correct.
The backlash was outsized: he was blasted for daring to suggest a different set of titles and slammed as an obvious racist for not jumping on the bandwagon to promote transgressive leftist art. The insiders went absolutely insane trying to circle the wagons and exorcise the evil.
In short, they dramatically proved his point.
The next year, he did it again and got the even more of a reaction, but also a wider notice.
This year, he handed off the creation of the slate of nominees to Brad Torgerson, and the slate of suggestions succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. When the list of nominees for the Hugo came out a few months ago, almost every single slot in every single category was claimed by works suggested by Sad Puppies. (Also by Rabid Puppies, led by Vox Day, who seems to delight in pressing buttons by posting openly misogynistic things around the internet. Whether he is doing this out of conviction, or just trolling to piss people off is hard to tell. He has, however, pissed off lots of people, especially people fond of Sad Puppies, because the the tar he is covered with keeps splashing on them.)
In response to this success, the insiders again circled their wagons. Often proudly crowing that they would never read any of the SP nominations, and would never in a million years consider voting for them on merit, they urged their followers to basically write in "No Award." Despite a deserving and diverse group of nominations on the ballot, last night, none of the SP nominations won. Instead, the Hugo voters preferred to give no award, and to not even give them the benefit of a legitimate look, than choose from the nominees suggested by SP. (Well, it is democratic, you might ask, isn't this just democracy working? Yes, however, the SP voters had multiple nominations to choose from and therefore diluted their vote, while the insiders dedicated themselves to the "No Award" option. In other words, the SP's spit their vote.)
So when a friend (and another fellow Dwiggie) posted a link to the Wired magazine coverage of the awards, and claimed it as a clear explanation--which it certainly is not--it's as biased as much of what the MSM has printed about this year's controversy--I felt compelled to respond. First a snippet from Wired:
But in recent years, as sci-fi has expanded to include storytellers who are women, gays and lesbians, and people of color, the Hugos have changed, too. At the presentation each August, the Gods with the rockets in their hands have been joined by Goddesses and those of other ethnicities and genders and sexual orientations, many of whom want to tell stories about more than just spaceships.I responded with this:
Early this year, that shift sparked a backlash: a campaign, organized by three white, male authors, that resulted in a final Hugo ballot dominated by mostly white, mostly male nominees. While the leaders of this two-pronged movement—one faction calls itself the Sad Puppies and the other the Rabid Puppies—broke no rules, many sci-fi writers and fans felt they had played dirty, taking advantage of a loophole in an arcane voting process that enables a relatively few number of voters to dominate. Motivated by Puppygate, meanwhile, a record 11,300-plus people bought memberships to the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, Washington, where the Hugo winners were announced Saturday night.
This one (written back in April), which was a statistical analysis of nominees over time, is better. The Good Reads score versus Hugo winners is important. Since about 2000, the books fans seem to like and the books that win Hugos have been diverging. Also, Hugos are supposed to be awarded democratically based on the voting of readers, but the number of voters is actually very small.
Before SP began posting suggestions (SP1 was originally nothing more than a blog post), only about 2,000 SF fans voted for the Hugos. This year close to 6,000 did--and that's the stated end goal of the leaders of the SP movement: to increase the number of voters, so that it returns to being a fan-based vote, instead of a vote of only a small contingent.
As for the leaders of SP being "3 white men", I'm assuming one of those three is Vox Day--who isn't any part of SP at all, but runs a separate slate called Rabid Puppies, and most SP folks are not fans of his. As for the leaders of SP, it's generally regarded as Larry Correia, who ran it for the first two years, then Brad Torgerson, who ran it this year--and who is married to a black woman and has a mixed race child, Sarah Hoyt--a woman (full name: Sarah Marques de Almeida Hoyt) who is a native of Portugal, has a very thick accent, and has written about how her kids were discriminated against in school because a teacher viewed them as "Hispanic", and Kate Paulk--who will run SP4 next year. Not 3 men, and not all white.