The Hugo awards are a a set of awards given out to the most celebrated works in Sci-fi and Fantasy throughout the past year. The debate has raged on about award shows being ‘rigged’, and how easily controlled the general public is by creating social standards based off of ‘prestigious’ awards and who wins them. We’ve all questioned the Oscars, the Grammys, apparently even the Teen Choice awards too; lets tack the Hugo Awards onto that list as well. This wild act of control was more blatantly done than some other award shows. Somehow through a loophole, a ‘political’ group came into being; the Puppies, containing subset groups the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies; and the puppies came out to play.
Brad R. Torgersen and Larry Correia were the originators of the Sad Puppies, and Theodore Beale the originator of the Rabid Puppies.
The Sad Puppies is a group that claims to want to bring the esteemed nature of the Hugo awards back from it’s lessening standards in recent years of nomination and winners; years showing significantly more diversity than ever before. Theodore Beale leads the Rabid Puppies, which is in alignment with bringing back the “true” standards for Sci-fi and fantasy. The two groups have two very different ways of approaching the same goal. Torgersen and Correia are trying to state they only care about making sure that the integrity of the literature and works still stand the test of time, while Beale is openly against diversity and gender equality and uses these views in gaining support from extremists.
Here is my first issue with the Puppies group as a whole. Their continued association with Beale. No matter what the Sad Puppies claim to stand for separately from Beale, his image being in alignment with their goal will always cause their mission to be skewed, and seen as an anti-diversity act towards the Sci-fi world. Perhaps his frustration is from being voted 6th in 2014 for his best novelette nomination, and falling behind the option of ‘no award’.
In a Wired article Beale was quoted as saying “‘I have 390 sworn and numbered vile faceless minions—the hardcore shock troops—who are sworn to mindless and perfect obedience,’ acknowledging that his army wasn’t made up solely of sci-fi fans.” (Amy Wallace, Wired) Beale has already responded to the article with a post on his own blog where he corrects this statement. “I have 400 Vile Faceless Minions, not 390, and the number is growing daily.” I have to admit this is terrifying to me. Sure all he wants to do now is control some awards ceremony, but when I hear people start talking about mindless drones hellbent on obeying your orders to perfection… *shudders*
Beale is on a different level then the general public, but to know he has self proclaimed ‘minions’ gives me the hebe-jeebies. If maintaining a connection with his group is the only way to sustain a platform large enough to produce ‘change,’ (or the lack of) isn’t this clue enough it’s time to rethink what you stand for? Beale is volatile, to say the very least.
My next issue is that it seems that the general consensus of the Sad Puppies is that no one wants to see great works fall through the cracks due to an over excitement from the public voting about who is ‘gay’ or not. Sad Puppy co-head Brad R. Torgersen seems to feel it will become that way. They want the works winning these awards to live up to the standards set in place for each of the previous winners. “Well I just don’t want to see this beautiful system we set in place, decades/centuries ago, fall to pieces due to an ever changing social environment” (the devil’s advocate says understandingly in my head). I feel that this is an argument frequently used when trying to stunt change for personal benefit. Fall back on history and our forefathers; they were smart and they built our nation. In 1953 do you think that the average voter or author involved with a Hugo award was going to be a lesbian of color, or any gay man? I’m going to safely say no. Given that socially we are growing evermore diverse, wouldn’t it be expected that the change will happen in our literature as well, and that fighting it only keeps us from experiencing the potential of our new masterpieces we miss by only looking at puppy-supported nominees? Their argument feels hypocritical after I imagine all the works lost because of their actions to keep works from not being lost.
The Puppies are afraid of the public missing a true work of art. Well apparently the general public is as well! They voted “no award‘ to a few categories that the Puppies had influenced and filled it with their own nominees. Instead of accepting change into the ceremony, and recognizing new styles and voices to reach readers, the Puppies (the cutest of all the tiny house hold friends) have decided to claw at the past, keeping us from all moving together into a fantastical future of Sci-fi.