A couple of years ago a few science fiction writers had finally had enough. They started a campaign called Sad Puppies (on the grounds that the stifling political correctness of the Hugo Awards was leading to an epidemic of Puppy-Related Sadness). The idea was to nominate a few works that were deserving of awards, works written by authors who did not toe the party line. The idea caught on and enjoyed modest success last year. This year another campaign with similar objectives joined the fray, Rabid Puppies.
The Sad Puppies brouhaha over the Hugo Awards has been rather enlightening.
Now if you’re not a science fiction fan you’ll probably be asking what on earth are the Hugo Awards? Well they were, at one time, the most prestigious of all science fictions awards. Their prestige came from the fact that the awards were voted on by fans. If you happened to like science fiction you could buy a supporting membership at the Worldcon convention and you could vote. As a result they tended to reflect the tastes of ordinary science fiction fans. For quite a few decades the system worked fairly well. The works that won Hugo Awards up until about twenty years ago have generally stood the test of time and are generally still regarded as classics of the genre.
Now you might think that no-one could have a serious problem with all this. And you’d be wrong. Enter the Social Justice Warriors (SJWs). The same mindless Stalinist drones who control academia, the media and these days just about every aspect of life and culture turned their attention to the Hugo Awards. And they were shocked. Many of these awards were being given to men, or heterosexual women, or even (God forbid) white people. Some (horror of horrors) even espoused vaguely conservative views. One or two even confessed to being Christians. And these evil white cis-gendered racist homophobic transphobic people were being given these awards merely on the grounds that their books were good and fans liked them. Clearly this had to be stopped.
And it was stopped. By the beginning of this decade the SJWs had effectively taken over the awards. If you failed to write books that promoted goodthink then you could forget winning a Hugo Award. If you hoped to win an award then the only safe course of action was to stick to writing books about black lesbians. There was no need to write books that were actually good, or even readable. If you subscribed to the party line you were safe. if you questioned the party line you would become an unperson.
One thing that both Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies were very careful to do was to play strictly within the rules. Their intention was to demonstrate that the leftists controlling the awards had been bending the rules for years in order to ensure that only leftist-approved authors could win, so it was obviously essential for Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies to be scrupulous about not breaking any rules.
And despite the unhinged claims of the leftists that the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies were aiming to ensure that only evil white heterosexual patriarchal males would get nominated both the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies included works by women, blacks and even (gasp!) liberals among their recommendations.
The assumption behind both the SP and RP campaigns was that the leftist bullies running the Hugos would hysterically overreact to any threat to their cosy little club. Which is of course exactly what happened. The leftists responded with a vicious hate campaign, with intimidation of moderates and will libelous personal attacks.
You might be wondering why any of this matters. It matters for two reasons. Firstly, the whole affair has been a superb microcosm of the culture wars, revealing in a very clear manner the lengths to which leftists will go in order to keep control. And secondly, while this might be a very minor battlefield on a very obscure front of the culture wars it’s one of the very very few battlefields on which conservatives are actually taking the offensive.
You can keep up with the progress of the battle on the blogs of Larry Correia and Brad Torgensen, the two prime movies behind Sad Puppies, or on the blog of Vox Day, the man behind Rabid Puppies.