Bad Puppies! Sit! Stay! Heel!
For the second year in a row, nominations for the prestigious Hugo Awards for science fiction & fantasy have been swept by the Sad Puppies & Rabid Puppies, two groups of authors and fans who oppose left-wing domination of the community.
The Sad Puppies were formed in 2013 by bestselling author Larry Correia, amidst growing domination of the Hugo Awards by left-wing cliques — who, in 2012, successfully agitated for the cancellation of an appearance by British comedian Jonathan Ross at the awards due to fears that the entertainer might make a “fat-shaming” joke.
Correia, along with a number of other conservative and libertarian-leaning authors, contended that a large chunk of Hugo voters voted on the basis of authors’ personal political beliefs rather than the quality of their writing. The Sad Puppies aimed to change that, by nominating authors on the basis of perceived quality rather than perceived politics. The Puppies have a particular opposition to “message fiction” — works that are primarily intended to convey a political message rather than tell a good story.
The Puppies will no doubt be happy to take credit for the appearance of these works and others on the finalist list. But, as with “Guardians of the Galaxy” last year, their endorsement probably doesn’t count for much in the grand scheme of things. “Seveneves,” one of the most talked-about science fiction books of 2015, was already a heavy favorite for an appearance on the finalist list for best novel.
Likewise, Gaiman’s long-awaited return to the beloved Sandman universe means his finalist listing in best graphic novel was the closest thing to a shoo-in that the Hugos have. If “The Martian” hadn’t been a finalist in its category (best dramatic presentation, long form), people would have been stunned.
In these cases as in several others, the Puppies are running in front of an existing parade and claiming to lead it. Few who know the field or the Hugos would give the slates credit for highlighting works and authors already well-appreciated in the genre, many of which have appeared this year as finalists for other awards or on bestseller lists.
Conan! What is best in life?!
To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!