Voting for the Hugo Awards closes at the end of July. The awards, which honors science fiction or fantasy works and achievements, are presented annually at the World Science Fiction Convention or Worldcon. A nomadic convention, the 73rd Worldcon is named Sasquan and will be held in Spokane, Washington in August.
Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen only by supporting or attending members of the convention. The nominations for this year have garnered controversy because the majority of the selections were of a slate of names promoted by Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies. The groups which have a common goal of combatting the trend toward equal representation in science fiction effectively mobilized their supporters to ballot. Riding on the backlash against whom they derisively nickname Social Justice Warriors, those proffered by the group dominated the nomination list. 60 of the 84 nominees were Sad Puppie/Rabid Puppie choices. Neither group offered picks for Best Fan Artist which means five nominees are unfettered by the controversy.
However even some of those deigned to be worthy of the groups’ approval withdrew their name from nomination. And a scheduled presenter dropped out due to the controversy. The majority of the nominees are white males, and it’s no surprise that the groups have ties with Gamergate. Vox Day, who spearheads Rabid Puppies, challenges the need for women’s rights, and his viewpoints have been categorized as those of a white supremacist.
Hooray for Hollywood?
Both television series and movies are eligible for Hugo Awards in the categories Best Dramatic presentation, Short Form and Long Form. The pilot episode of The Flash, Game of Thrones “The Mountain and the Viper” and Grimm “Once We Were Gods” were either Sad Puppie or Rabid Puppie choices as were The Lego Movie, Interstellar, and Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s interesting that in naming Guardians, Sad Puppies deleted the name of the orginal screenwriter, Nicole Perlman in favoring of naming James Gunn as the sole writer.
None of the Hollywood writers or studios have come forward to remove their projects from consideration. Neither Grimm Co-Executive Producer Sean Hayes nor nominee Greg Berlanti who are both openly gay have spoken or Tweeted about it. Nor has Perlman who advocates for women in science. George R.R.. Martin has appealed to fans to vote for the awards, seemingly questioning the influx of new Sasquan members and encouraging fans to “help protect the integrity of the” awards.
Along with the nominees, voters can cast for “No Award” which essentially says the nominees are bullshit and underserving of the award. It does matter where that “No Award” is ranked on the ballot. Names above it means that they are deserving of the award while those below shouldn’t get shit. Many advocate voting “No Award” to nullify the impact of the right wing groups.
Supporters of GamerGate have been referred to as Death Eaters, and it is interesting that voting closes on the Gryffindor’s birthday. Before it’s too late, voters and the sci-fi community might want to ask themselves, “What Would Harry Potter Do?”
P.S. He’d vote “No Award.”