The Hugo Awards, honoring the best in science fiction, were presented this weekend surrounded by a nebula of controversy. Amy Wallace has a lengthy write-up at Wired explaining everything, but the short version is… Well, there is no short version.
The award nominations, which are open to attendees and supporters of the annual WorldCon, became a battleground for the current diversity debate, as various factions calling themselves “Sad Puppies” and “rabid Puppies” attempted to take back the awards from non-white men by proposing a slate of awards by mostly white guys, aka traditional SF writers. What happened at the actual winners was dramatic: memberships soared, and in the categories that were dominated by Sad Puppy nominees , “No Award” was the winner.
You can read the case against at right-wing site Breitbart, in a piece written by a close associate of one of the Rapid Puppy leaders.
What I find kind of weird about all of this is that SF, at least in its more formalized, post fandom era, has always been a medium of diversity, where ideas about societies where none of our preconceived notions were the norm were explored, and social commentary was a powerful focus. Some of this commentary was even written by white cis men. I realize that “SJW” has become a pejorative term for SOME, but social justice has long been a theme of some of the greatest SF novels. And while the current diversity of authors and ideas is to me, a powerful and positive aspect of the genre, we shouldn’t forget the pioneers of diversity who led the way. I also find it odd that some in SF fandom would want to close the borders when it has long been a place where very fluid ideas about gender flourished.
So anyway, YES some awards were also given out. “No Award” prevailed in Best Novella, Short Story, Related Work, Editor Short Form, and Editor Long Form. Actual winners are below (And yes it’s a very diverse and gender balanced list.)
The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Tor Books)
“The Day the World Turned Upside Down”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lia Belt translator (Lightspeed, 04-2014)
BEST GRAPHIC STORY
Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt, (Marvel Comics)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM
Guardians of the Galaxy, written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM
Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”, ” written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)
BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST
Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Colin Harris, Alissa McKersie, and Helen J. Montgomery
Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
BEST FAN WRITER
Laura J. Mixon
BEST FAN ARTIST
JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.