This is being hailed by the Anti-Puppies (Angry Kittens?) as some sort of victory, since the Puppy slate didn’t win, but that seems, to me, to have gotten things utterly wrong.
What happened has confirmed 100% what the problem is. Rather than allow a good story that just happens to have been written by someone with the ‘wrong politics’ (or just someone who was nominated by the Puppies) they’d rather nobody won at all and are willing to block-vote on that basis, whereas the Puppies were happy to divide their votes based on personal assessment of merit throughout their slated offerings.
There’s absolutely no way, whatsoever, that you can argue this hasn’t been politicised now, nor can you argue that this politicisation is not to the detriment of what are supposed to be awards based on talent, not political orthodoxy.
I’m on the left, I’m progressive (in the proper meaning of the word) but I simply can’t simultaneously claim that political ground AND seek to silence others or demand that any and all kudos can and should go to people who agree with me on every point or who use their work to preach (rather than their work being informed by their politics).
A good example of this, for me, would be Peter F Hamilton. He’s right wing, I’m left, but he writes fantastic space opera that deals with interesting technological and social questions, yet no Hugos for him. Politics have nothing to do with whether he’s a good, popular writer or not.
The hope for me, and I think for a lot of Puppies, that was by demonstrating the problem they would prompt a correction of the problem. Instead the awards system seems to have doubled down which leaves two paths:
- Escalation (a single Sad Puppies nominee).
- Fixing the problem (this seems massively unlikely given what’s happened).
A possible third would be to set up a new award, or to boost a different award, but the false narrative about Sad Puppies (similarly to the one about Gamergate) is so powerful that people will hate and/or ignore it anyway.
I don’t know where this goes from here, but it’s not a victory for anyone.
It has, however, demonstrated blatantly that the Sad Puppies were right.
*The Sad Puppies is a protest movement against politics rather than talent having determined who won the Hugo Awards (science fiction and fantasy book awards) for the past few years. In protest they created a slate of titles for ‘block voting’ in an attempt to counter this corruption by showing what the problem was, in order to encourage reform.