When I first started posting here at MGC, it was my job to be the link-master of sorts. publishing was in the early throes of the upheavals we still see rocking its foundations. Around that time, Amazon started the pre-cursor to the KDP program. Oh the howls of outrage, howls that still sound from time to time. But times change as did my role with MGC. Today, however, I’m going back to that early role (mainly because I’m still getting over a nasty bout of a stomach virus and the brain isn’t quite back to functioning beyond “sleep” and “sick” modes. So, for those of you who might have missed some of the latest on the Sad Puppies 3 and the fall out around it, here are a few links:
From Breitbart, we have “The Hugo Awards: How Sci-Fi’s Most Prestigious Awards Became a Political Battleground“.
It may not, therefore, surprise you to learn that similar occurrences are taking place in the science-fiction and fantasy (SFF) community, too. Previously a world renowned for the breadth of its perspectives, SFF increasingly bears the familiar hallmarks of an ideological battleground.
The story begins, as ever, with a small group of social justice-minded community elites who sought to establish themselves as the arbiters of social mores. This group would decide who deserved a presence in SFF and who deserved to be ostracised.
The Breitbart article hits the proverbial nail on the head with the above observation. In a field that ought to welcome everyone and welcome what they write, there is a group that is doing its best to shout down and, according to some, ruin the careers of those who do not toe the line when it comes to who they are and how diverse they make their stories. They sneer at white males of a certain age and attack women who do not fall into step with the rest of the sisterhood. These folks have forgotten that “wrong think” has long been the foundation of science fiction and fantasy and the field has been populated with writers from every political spectrum. That, apparently, is no longer something these folks want. Well, if SP3 does anything, it shows that there is a large group of authors and readers who don’t give a flying rat’s ass about being preached to in their stories. What they want is a story that engages them, entertains them and makes them think. Story has to win out over message because what good is the message if no one reads the story?
Sad Puppies: Some responses to the fallout is from Brad Torgensen.
Others (on the leftward side of the fence) make a great big fat noise about “Speaking truth to power.” Now, the shoe is on the right foot. For a change. Again, you don’t have to like it. SAD PUPPIES peels back the foil on the stale TV dinner. SAD PUPPIES says stuff that many people mutter in confidence, but few have dared speak openly; because they know it’s going to cause an uproar. SAD PUPPIES is specific in its intention: to alter the Hugo awards process such that artists and works which would otherwise be ignored, are not ignored. It’s not a “right wing” thing. It’s a make-the-field-live-up-to-its-reputation thing, by way of the field’s self-proclaimed, “Most prestigious award.”
And here’s the mind-blower: SP3 is not a same-minded collective. We’ve actually had a tremendous amount of internal debate about how to proceed.
There is the key where SP3 is concerned. It isn’t a slate — and I hate that word because this isn’t a slate. It is Brad’s recommendations for the first round of Hugo voting. He has repeatedly stated that. They are his recommendations, just as others for years have made recommendations, yet he gets pilloried for daring to put a “slate” together. But more importantly, those included in SP3 come from more than just the conservative political spectrum. There are libertarians on it and — gasp — liberals. Their political beliefs aren’t important. What is, is the quality of their work, something those attacking SP3 completely overlook.
Then we have the Sad Puppies 3 Update by Larry Correia. You know Larry. He’s the most evil of men except for Vox. He likes guns. He’s big and scary and the delicate little flowers of SJW must have safe zones whenever he’s around because they are afraid he might turn into a berzerker around them. What they fail to understand is that they are really nothing but comedic fodder for him. Or maybe that is his real crime — he laughs at them and does so in a way that the rest of us do as well. He peels away the lies and shows that the emperor really is marching down the street naked and it’s not a pretty sight. Among the holes he punches in the SJW argument against Sad Puppies is this:
Says a SJW who grew up in the suburbs, and attended some of the most expensive schools in America, to the guy who grew up milking cows, and worked his way through Utah State, unironically.
Puppies are color blind. (No… really, come to think of it they are!)
We don’t care who you are or where you came from, as long as your writing is awesome.
Brad also responded to the detractors with Sad Puppies: the march of the straw men.
Ever since this Breitbart article appeared, a small legion of straw man arguments have been deployed against the current season of SAD PUPPIES. I was going to type up a very looooooooong rebuttal to the straw men, but Larry Correia and Sarah Hoyt already did the heavy lifting for me. Much of what I might have said, they say with superior gusto and humor. It’s a blessed thing having friends such as these. Not just under the Baen banner per se, but under the general banner of colleagues who’d like to see the field return itself to a more balanced state of being.
And that, dear readers, is the real crux of the issue. Those of us supporting Sad Puppies, even if we don’t agree with every recommendation Brad has put forth, want to see the field return to “a more balanced state of being.” I want to see books and movies that entertain. Not everything has to push an agenda. (Hollywood and NYC Publishing needs to pay attention to that.) You can still have a message in your work but you don’t have to beat your readers over the head with it. Nor do you need to act like a spoiled child on the playground pitching a fit because the other kids won’t follow your rules and that is exactly what is happening when you have authors taking to social media saying editors should stop publishing certain white male authors because they are evil white male authors or offering to help ruin careers if someone doesn’t start following the right think agenda.
Finally, we have our own Sarah’s take on the issue with When Duck Noises Fail Me. I’ll leave it to you go follow the link because it is one of her gif-tastic posts and cuts right to the chase. I’ll warn you not to have anything in your mouths when you read the post. I am not responsible for any damage done to keyboards. 😉
In case you haven’t seen the SP3 line-up, you can find it here. Full disclosure, I am on the list as are other members of MGC. However, that did not influence the writing of this post. I said basically the same thing last year and the year before. It is time for those of us who like reading entertaining stories and seeing entertaining movies to let our voices be heard. I think you will find that you are not a lone voice in the darkened woods but one of many, one of the majority who have grown more and more frustrated by what has been happening in the field over the last twenty years or so. It is, in other words, time to vote, not only for the Hugos but with our money. Indie and small press authors are out there and they are writing the sorts of books so many of us are looking for.