At the seventy-third annual Worldcon science fiction convention on Saturday night, social justice warriors did their best impression of the nightmare firemen of Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451, choosing to burn down the Hugo Awards and damage science fiction instead of seeing works of heretical authors outside of their exclusive clique winning awards.
Earlier this year, Breitbart reported on the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies voting slates, which swept many major categories for the Hugo Awards, science fiction’s coveted fan-voted awards. This year’s Hugos were hotly anticipated: fans and industry insiders alike were curious to see if social justice could come together to act with the uniformity of thought of the Borg to overcome the Puppy’s nominations.
The Puppies slates have been characterised by some in the media as “raging white guys” upset that sci-fi is providing a home for more diverse voices. But a quick glance at the authors they actually chose for their slates shows this to be nonsense.
What the Puppies represent, say organisers, is the insistence of fans and many writers themselves that awards should be judged solely on quality, and not become backslapping circlejerks for social justice groupies and their favourite minority of the month.
That’s not just mud-slinging, by the way. The social justice tendency, here as elsewhere, is driven by anxious white middle-class bloggers and authors who turn their noses up at the tastes of the proletariat. They’d rather celebrate books about coming to terms with the disabled transgender experience than a good story about aliens and ray guns.
Sadly for them, they’re in the minority: Puppies authors tend to sell a lot more books, which supports the Puppies’ claim that all they’re fighting for is quality and popularity over well-meaning but boring identity politics. This class war of working-class fans and populist authors versus the PC liberal elites is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Hugo drama.
The social justice warrior onslaught was co-ordinated on the blog of Tor books editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden and his wife Teresa. Patrick and Teresa are, if you like, the Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine of this space opera. Breitbart legal will not allow us to identify which one is which.
According to fiery gaming and sci fi pundit @Daddy_Warpig, the opposition to the Sad & Rabid Puppies slates took the form of encouraging voters to choose “no award” for an award category unless a work with appropriate politics was available. Taking it a step farther, many SJW zealots proved their commitment to tolerance, openness and variety by vowing not to read a work found on a Puppies slate under any circumstances.
Like the Death Star’s visit to Alderaan, the results of Hugo Awards voting were ugly and unprecedented. 5 major categories including best novella and best short story went with “no award.” To put that in perspective, in the previous 60 years of Hugo Awards, a total of 5 “no awards” have been given previously.
Puppies supporters say that slew of “no award” wins this year can at least partially be attributed to the fact that SJW votes were concentrated on that choice, while Puppies votes were distributed between as many as four deserving authors. The “no award” results in the novella and short story categories are a particular slap in the face to ordinary fans, who remember the genre’s roots in short-form pulp magazine writing.
Doesn't the super-villain always set off the self-destruct when his underground lair is overrun by heroes? Just a thought. #HugoAwards
— Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) August 23, 2015
“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.”
Vox Day, an author and publisher who assembled the Rabid Puppies slate, agreed. “The scorched earth strategy being pursued by the SJWs in science fiction is evidence that we hold the initiative and we are winning,” he said.
“The fact that the SJWs would rather give out no award rather than honor an influential editor like Toni Weisskopf of Baen Books or science fiction grandmaster John C. Wright demonstrates the extent to which science fiction has been politicized and degraded by their far-left politics.
“The SJWs will try to portray this as a victory – they would try to portray suicide by self-cannibalism as a victory – but anyone who knows anything about history understands the significance of one side resorting to burning down its own houses in order to deny it to the enemy. That is a defensive tactic borne of desperation.”
Like the empire at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, the forces of social justice believe they have the rebel puppy alliance on their knees. What they don’t realize is that the puppies are already plotting their approach to 2016, which may not include a large army of Ewoks, but certainly will include many more pissed off fans.
Science fiction fans of all types are left, like the punters in Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, unable to grok how their supposed fellow fans could choose to harm not only the awards themselves but the wider industry with vindictive, nihilistic self-immolation.
Social justice warriors beamed down to sci-fi like an away team of red shirts with phasers set to kill. They were not picky about whom they killed. 2015 thus represents the beginning of the end for the Hugo Awards, because SJWs forgot one thing: in fandoms, puppies breed like Tribbles.
As Day puts it: “The primary effect of what happened at the Hugo Awards ceremony tonight will be to convert many Sad Puppies into Rabid Puppies. They said they wanted to send us a message and we heard it loud and clear. The message we heard was: ‘bring more Puppies.'”
The facts of this case are the same as in gaming and in every other industry that social justice warriors touch. They do not care about art forms. They do not care about science fiction. They do not even particularly care about talent. They care about enriching and ennobling themselves and their friends, and pushing a twisted, discredited, divisive brand of authoritarian politics.
Worldcon is now designing a Byzantine new rule system designed to thwart a Puppies resurgence in 2016. But anyone who loves sci-fi knows that no matter how air-tight the bad guy’s rules seem, the good guys will find a way through. Does anyone really think SJWs can design anything without leaving an unguarded exhaust vent?
Emboldened by the success of GamerGate in resisting cultural meddlers and authoritarians in video gaming, sci-fi fans resistant to identitarian politics are fighting back. Every year their numbers are growing, and they are more disciplined, more relentless and more determined than their social justice foes.
It’s yet another front in the culture wars that might finally be turning in the direction of common sense and ordinary fans, and ringleaders like Day, Correia and current Sad Puppies organiser Brad Torgersen are the maverick commanders. In the immortal words of Lieutenant Rasczak: “Come on you apes, you wanna live forever?”
Vox Day’s forthcoming non-fiction book, SJWs Always Lie, contains a foreword by Milo Yiannopoulos