I have been following the spats and fits and all out wars in the sci-fi and fantasy community for a very long time. Not as much as I used to, however. The realization that being a giant cesspit of liberal spewing was what was wrong with everything has rather made me lose interest.
For a brief moment, Sad Puppies galloped onto the scene and made Sci-Fi interesting again. (If you aren’t familiar with the whole thing and want to know more, watch this.) It started small. Just Larry Correia doing a little experiment. The next year it was bigger and more fun, but that really woke up the SJWs. They fought and they fought hard and dirty. Sad Puppies 3 and its companion Rabid Puppies made that year’s awards season a riot. I even joined in and I never join in with anything.
In the end, however, the results were somewhat unpleasant. You could tell, if you read a lot of comboxes, that people were getting fed up and very angry at being constantly attacked. From the next year’s results, it sure seemed like a lot of the Sads jumped ship for the Rabids. This year, even though there were some murmurings from Sad camps, they didn’t do anything. The Sad Puppies have dispersed or joined other groups.
This year the Hugo ballot comes out and what a story the numbers tell:
The Puppies pulled out. I promised you numbers, and here’s what we have.
Best Novel: 2,078 ballots in 2017 vs. 3,695 ballots in 2016, a 44% drop.
Best Novella: 1,410 ballots in 2017 vs. 2,416 ballots in 2016, a 42% drop.
Best Novelette: 1,097 ballots in 2017 vs. 1,975 ballots in 2016, a 45% drop.
Best Short Story: 1,275 ballots in 2017 vs. 2,451 ballots in 2016, a 52% drop.
Consider that with these numbers Rabid Puppies still got several works on the ballot. If I’m correct, given that Vox told them not to buy memberships, then next year the numbers are going to be even worse. The Hugos are dead, Jim. Dead dead dead.
The SJWs may celebrate all they want. They won. They drove everybody else out. They get to keep their rotting, boring corpse of an award and those nitwits think it stands for something. I mean Marvel’s CEO was wrong about diversity because Black Panther was nominated for a Hugo!
These nominations come just days after Marvel’s Vice President of Sales, David Gabriel, went out of his way to blame Marvel’s lagging sales on comics—like Black Panther and Ms. Marvel—starring people of color and women. Suffice it to say that the optics of this whole thing don’t reflect well on the publisher, but the Hugo nominations send a telling message to Marvel about just how the public actually feels about its “diverse books.”
Yes, the public. All piddly thousand of them. The fat old fools of WorldCon don’t seem to understand how sales or making a profit work. The Hugos, being nominated or even winning, have no affect on sales. Marvel’s sales continue to slump. That’s what the public feels about it and it’s got nothing to do with Marvel’s ability to promote.
The dispersal of the Puppies and the failure of an icon of SF/F might be a bit depressing to some, but the Puppies were, more than anything, a sign of shifting attitudes, of people more willing to push back. Even better than that is people willing to build something else. Rather than continuing to bathe in the corpse juices oozing from WorldCon, fans are going elsewhere and there is an elsewhere to go. Now there’s the Dragon awards. If you look in the right places you’ll see actually interesting spats and arguments: about what genre actually is, about hard science vs soft, about superversive vs the pulp revolution. Things are still young but you can see them growing.
The Hugos will no doubt continue to shuffle on for years moaning for brains as the WorldCon goers get older and fatter. By the time the corpse has gotten too rotten to move anymore, the former Puppies and others will probably have built about twenty better things and no one will miss the twitching.