I was saddened at the results of the Hugo awards last night, but not surprised. The efforts to put story first did indeed prove just what they were intended to: the clique of voters that prefers message to storytelling also doesn’t care about quality, or even if the story is actually SFF. So… we carry on. In the coming years I do expect to see an erosion of those results, because I am an eternal optimist. I also don’t really care, because having read the nominees, the ones who won… well, this is why so many people pick up a book with “hugo” on the cover, and promptly put it back down, unless they are trying to impress some terribly literary person. They just aren’t fun to read, and in many cases are badly written. Some, while well done, don’t belong in science fiction or fantasy at all, and are only here, I presume, because they meet the expected standards of what is acceptable content.
And that is what the thought it: approved content. They completely ignore diversity unless it’s in an approved story. Or by an approved author, who can be any shade of pale as long as they say what is required. Authors in shades of other colors who don’t stick to the party line are ostracized.
Shrug. For me, I want to take Toni Weisskopf’s words to heart. “Science Fiction ought to be fun.”
For more in-depth commentary, I recommend Dave Freer’s post this morning. Or the commentary here. I really don’t recommend delving into twitter, because while there is such a thing as a sore loser, there is also the gloating (and pointless) winner. I refuse to think that the Hugo voting is not clean and above-board. I don’t think it needs to be corrupt. Look at what Orbit did this year, only releasing excerpts of it’s books, and think about why they might have done that. There are several reasons, and I think it’s the key to this mess.
And Oh, yeah, free story! Click, download, and share the link so others can enjoy too.