Controversy at the Hugos

The Hugo Awards are regarded as one of the most prestigious in Science Fiction and Fantasy (second only, perhaps, to the Nebulas), and are often relied on to showcase some of the best work any year has to offer in these genres.  This year, however, controversy has erupted, as a group of voters calling themselves the “Sad Puppies” have managed to fill almost the entire slate of nominees, in nearly every category, with their approved candidates.  The “Sad Puppies” (and their even more radical counterparts, the “Rabid Puppies”) believe that the Hugo Awards have been dominated in recent years by minority and female viewpoints, and seek to promote works largely by and about white men.

This voting strategy is not, technically, against the rules for the Hugo Awards – voters consist, essentially, of anyone willing to pay $40 to join the World Science Fiction Convention, and there are no prohibitions against campaigning for a book or books.   However, it does highlight the fact that the awards have now become yet another battleground for politically divergent sci-fi fandoms – those who welcome the expansion of subject matters and fans to be ever more inclusive, and those who want to limit the community to its “traditional” roots – i.e., primarily military sci-fi, hard sci-fi, and space operas, starring primarily white male protagonists.  There are a number of excellent articles that have been written recently about the controversy, including those at io9, Slate, and The Guardian, if you are interested in reading about it in greater depth.


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