The fiasco that was the Hugo Awards last night made a deep impression on me. I’ve never been of the establishment, although I had friends and acquaintances in it. As a fan, I naively thought the Hugo Awards were worth saving.
There was a story on the news not too long ago about a dog who had been cruelly tortured. Her muzzle was bound shut so tightly she would have starved had not some kind person come along and to her rescue. But she will bear the scars on her face for the rest of her life, from the bindings that silenced her. This is what the WorldCon and Hugo establishment would like to do to the Sad Puppies.
Last night was chilling. The cheers from the people who voted as a bloc to shut out the people nominated by fans, because those nominations were from WrongFans. The asterisks. One of the few people in this industry I treasure and respect, walking out of the ceremonies because they were slapping her in the face with the derision.
I can never again go to a ‘literary’ con and feel safe. These are the people who have spent months dragging people I know and respect through the mud, and my name with them. Calling me a token woman, and the other women who were on the ballot with me. Because we didn’t fit their narrative. I have no power, they have it all, and they revel in it. They have no qualms about punching down, making sure unwanted fans don’t get their noses into the establishment.
Today, they dance and celebrate, because they won. They won by voting no award as a bloc, while accusing the Sad Puppies of having done so.
No. If we had, those of us who are puppies, there would have been a different outcome. But Organized Fandom took over. I’ve never been so happy to be a part of the great disorganized mass of fans who just like stories. That’s all. We read the material, they boasted that they wouldn’t bother. We voted our hearts, they voted in spite.
This was never about politics for me. It was about getting more fans involved in what called itself the Best of SF and Fantasy. For a price, you could vote, and put in the name of the most deserving works in nominations. I’d watched Scalzi campaign every year, and Locus publish a slate of nominations, and Tor send employees to the cons with ballots clenched in their hands… And it disgusted me, as I got further into the industry and saw what was happening.
But now I see what levels they will stoop to. Last night I saw that despite the claims of people I once thought I knew, the WorldCon itself is implicit in the discrimination and wielding the power to keep things the way it has always been.
Now? I’d be afraid to go to WorldCon. They have shown how they feel, and they will treat any threats to their position with… theft, suppression of free speech, mockery, and more. There are people who will never again be able to publish traditionally because of this. And not everyone has the options to be an independent, to have the freedom I so cherish.
I can’t be involved any longer. If it were just me… but it isn’t. I have others who need me to stay out of the fight, as much as I hate it. If I keep in the frontlines, I will become a casualty, and I have people who are dependent on me, helpless in the world if something becomes of my good name. And so I must turn away, tears in my eyes, and leave the field of battle. I am sickened, but my duty is clear.
I cannot bay. I have been bound into silence. I bow my head, and exit…