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Some thoughts before the Hugo Awards - Garwulf's Corner: The LiveJournal
The musings of Robert B. Marks - author, editor, publisher, and researcher

Robert B. Marks
Date: 2016-08-20 19:33
Subject: Some thoughts before the Hugo Awards
Security: Public
Location:In my chair
Tags:factual errors, hugo awards, puppy wars, the guardian
So, first off, I’m not planning to watch the Hugo Awards tonight.  I’ve got a few reasons for it – for one thing, I don’t have to cover it for anybody, so there’s no professional need or desire to watch it as it happens.  And, after last time, let’s just say that when the “will they or won’t they?” is “burn down the Hugo Awards again,” pain avoidance becomes a worthwhile thing.

(But, do you know what IS on tonight?  LoadingReadyLive!  Seriously, it’s great comedy, and it’s happy, fun stuff, and they do it live on Twitch!  I’m going to watch that...we should all go and watch LoadingReadyLive...why are you looking at me like that?)

But...I haven’t sealed myself off in a bubble.  Every now and then I check in on it.  And today, just to check in and see what is happening, I did a Google search on “Hugo Awards,” and came across this article in The Guardian.

And I saw RED.

I covered the Puppy Wars last year for The Escapist in Garwulf’s Corner.  I didn’t provide a lot of links in the article (right or wrong, it was a decision made for personal reasons – I had been a member of that community, and it broke my heart to be talking about people I liked and respected doing bad things, and I didn’t want to compound it all by linking to it), but I DID provide them to my editor – this was one case where I didn’t get so much as an inch of editorial leeway.  Regardless of what my opinion might be, or if it was right or wrong, I had to be factually CORRECT.  If I couldn’t provide a link to a claim about who somebody was or what they had said, it got cut from the installment.

This article in the Guardian, however, is just plain wrong – and I mean FACTUALLY wrong – from the first paragraph.  The Sad Puppies this year didn’t state that they wanted to “poke the establishment in the eye” - they straight-up declared that they wanted to widen the Hugo voter pool to the point that it was not only more representative of fandom as a whole, but so wide that nobody could game it.  When this article isn’t putting words in people’s mouths, it’s conflating groups.  If you go by Damien Walter’s vision of the battle over the Hugos, there a war going on against a hardline conservative group called the Puppies who want science fiction to be dominated by badly written right-wing stories...that next to nobody reads and never get adapted to television (and how Walter came up with the latter part of THAT idea is beyond me – I have yet to meet a fellow author who doesn’t want their books to become bestsellers).

(I did send a letter to the Guardian’s editor pointing out the factual errors with sources for the corrections, and hopefully they’ll correct it.  But still, it went up in the first place.)

We live in a world where so many things that could bring joy are being turned into battlefields.  But, as Penn Jillette once said, the cure for bad speech is MORE speech.  We solve these problems by talking about them, and discussing them – finding common ground where we can, and finding a way to take a live and let live attitude when we can’t.  But this can’t happen when the discussion is being defined by articles that are little more than slanderous attacks.

If you want to disagree with the Sad Puppies, or the Rabid Puppies, or the Hugo Defenders in print, then go ahead and do it – that’s what free speech is for!  But if you’re going to do that, at least take the time to do some basic research and fact checking.  Otherwise, all you’re doing is making things worse, and making it harder for those who actually do care about it all to fix things.

And if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go watch something uplifting.  Whatever occurs during the Hugo Awards can wait until tomorrow morning.

Update: Just took a deep breath, decided "what the hell," and read the list of winners, and...

Oh, thank God, they didn't blow it up this year.

There's a long way to go to undo the damage, but not throwing authors under the bus left, right, and centre is a good place to start.
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