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Wednesday
Apr292015

A bystander's view of the Hugo Awards

I have always been a lurker in the world of science fiction. From when I trekked to the Seattle Coliseum to hear Gene Roddenberry speak in the 8th grade, to sitting in on one of Connie Willis' classes at the Hugo House three years ago, to waiting in the wings when Harlan Ellison was elected to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. I even cut my writerly teeth by attending Orson Scott Card's Literary Boot Camp in 2006.

But it wasn't until Hugh Howey invited me to submit a few stories to the Apocalypse Triptych that I actually had some synthetic, nano-tech-infused skin in the game. And because of that, I joined the World Science Fiction Society so I could officially vote in the Hugo Awards. Not for myself (I don't even pretend to that kind of greatness) but I had hoped to vote for The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin.

Much to my chagrin, this amazing book didn't make the ballot because a disgruntled group of conservative writers who felt slighted by the Hugos decided to emotionally vomit all over the voting process.

It's much more nuanced I'm sure, but to an outsider, that's what it looks like.

*Tantrum. Barf. Point fingers of blame.*

And I get it. I love Orson Scott Card's work and have always found him incredibly supportive of struggling writers. But I disagree with his political views, which have begun to obfuscate his stories. And I've participated in online writing communities where people were banned for unpopular opinions, which never sat well with me.

While it would be easy to block all the people I disagree with on social media, I don't, because living in that kind of monoculture bubble starts to feel...creepy...like the Stepford Wives. And I don't want to live in an echo chamber.

But holy gazortz, for this group to throw a hissy-fit and just burn the thing down is pathetic, and just plain unproductive. People tend to be builders or wreckers, and this type of action speaks volumes about who they really are.

Writers easily fall into tribes. And award shows like the Hugos are always a vexing combination of brilliant, dazzling work, and a high school popularity contest. But this year, it's a meanlingless pile of slag. ALL ABOARD!!