Thoughts on the 2016 #HugoAwards

Last year I compared the Hugo awards to the Wacky Races, a comedic and mostly harmless event in which competitors bend the rules to get ahead…or a nomination in this case. That was before the “Sad Puppy” affair made them something much nastier. Last year the Hugos escalated from Wacky Races to twenty car motorway pile-up with some near death casualties.

The 2016 Hugo awards have just been announced and the major surprise for me was the absence of Kim Stanley Robinson on the Best Novel shortlist, but it’s like Seveneves split the vote of people who like that kind of book. Lots of people enjoyed the Jim Butcher, including myself. Alastair Reynolds gets a deserved hat-tip in Best Novella. Here’s the link to the full shortlists. All in all they are pretty good.

H P Lovecraft somehow managed to get nominated for a 1941 Retro Hugo, despite having died in 1937. Clearly some supernatural forces were at work…or some petty racists voting in revenge after Lovecraft’s erasure as the face of the World Fantasy Awards for being…a petty racist.

The obvious turd in the punch bowl is Theodore Beale for Best Editor. Other than that and a couple of stupid blog posts in minor categories, the “Rabid Puppies” turned out to be more like toothless old mongrels. They demonstrated their “protest vote” by getting some things with silly titles onto the the shortlists. In most categories that can be done with a few dozen votes.

The Sad Puppies basically had no effect at all. They “strategically” added a few books that were likely to get on anyway, one or two did.

Whatever agenda the Sad / Rabid protest vote may have served, all it is now is a publicity vehicle for a bored, ageing frat boy and his buddies. The Rabid Puppies are all teen angst and and nihilism. They just want to be angry at something and SF fandom is the only target that will take them seriously. Just tell them to fuck off. Ban Beale from being nominated for awards, and remove his supporters from the voting pool. Job done, drama over.







Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.