I’ve been an sf fan since that fateful day in 1970 when I discovered Dangerous Visions, and found a copy of an oldish issue of Galaxy with the cover torn off on my way home from the library.
I had read some science fiction previously-already in my headboard bookcase were copies of Dune, Stranger in a Strange Land, and I, Robot. There was Tolkien and a volume of Lovecraft’s tales.
So when I say that I’ve loved sf almost all of my life, I’m not kidding.
Somewhere in there, I procured copies of the best stories from The Hugo Winners, in three volumes. Those were fantastic pieces in every sense of the word, the highest art, and I cherished them along with the Nebula Awards winners volumes that came out every year.
Those stories were so good that those awards meant something to me-a standard of excellence perhaps.
Along the way to adulthood and beyond, I subscribed to the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and, later Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. I even dabbled in writing, and IASFM’s then-editor George Scithers wrote me a couple of letters back that I still refer to, about professionalism and the need for plot.
Even went to a few conventions, as the annual ChiCon was easy to get to by bus or train or even automobile, later. I started voting for the Hugo Awards after finding out how from a Klingon sometime in the early 80s.
As a card-carrying adult, those stories and awards still mean something. They have the air of authenticity about them. Or had.
While I’m fully aware that I’m a nobody, and won’t be winning any awards any time soon, I have feelings about that, and feel like expressing them.
I’ve seen many, many posts and blogposts and scholarly articles about the 2013, 2014, and 2015 ramping-up of the “Sad Puppies” gambit. I’ve seen a couple that defend the Sad Puppies, or enjoy the “whining” of those who oppose that slate of stories and authors.
This could be a tempest in a teapot. The “New Wave” thing was embers when I started serious reading. I was on both sides. I like science in my science fiction, though I also like literary quality. You can have both.
I dislike the term Sci-Fi, which to me refers to bad B-movies and whizbang stories where the science and fiction are secondary to slam-bang action. Military sf mostly falls into this category. I tend to dislike military anything-it glorifies war, which I hate.
Joe Haldeman would be excluded from that, naturally.
I like “speculative fiction” or “science fiction”. The latter, preferably, because spec-fic also allows fantasy into the process. I still subscribe to IASFM and F&SF.
Derivative fantasy has ruined bookstore sf. Can’t find good sf on the shelves anymore because Terry Brooks and Stephen Donaldson…but I’ll save my riff on that for another post.
And these “Sad Puppies” and “Rabid Puppies” want to ruin the Hugos, analogous to that set of political operatives that want to ruin the definition of “fact” and “truth”, to pervert them to mean whatever they want, and for the same reason:because they CAN.
I don’t buy all the window-dressing about restoring action-oriented sf, and all of that. It’s a reaction to the camp that prized that stupid post about reading only LGBT stuff for a year. It’s about polluting our precious bodily fluids, about racial purity, about restoring the status quo of old white men sitting in judgement of everything.
I’m an old white man. Fuck all of that.
Can’t really afford it this year, as I’m on Gov’t disability and that political bloc has maneuvered my food stamp benefits down to 18 dollars a month, and are trying to cut off my health benefits, but I’m voting.
I don’t want the Hugo Awards to die, any more than I want me to die, because of some asshole’s idea of eutopia or purported exclusion. It’s a merit award-it’s been noted that scores of excellent sf writers have never even been nominated.
I mulled over whether to vote for Noah Ward or do something else. Screw Noah Ward. The real questions for me involve whether Jeff VanderMeer or William Gibson wins the best novel Hugo, and other things of that nature.
I plan to vote as if the miserable bitches don’t even exist. And I’m going to keep on voting, and I plan to vote for some of those writers who haven’t been nominated, just because.
Join me, won’t you?
George RR Martin