Last year's Puppygate was an ugly affair. I am not going to rehash it here. My views are all on record, my original blog posts still up for anyone who wants to go back and read them. The last thing I want... the last thing anyone who truly loves science fiction, fantasy, and fandom would want... would be to have to go through the whole thing again in 2016. Whatever your view of how the Hugo Awards turned out at Sasquan, I think we can all agree that we would like MidAmericon II's awards to be more joyful, less rancorous, less controversial.
And maybe... just maybe... we'll get our wish. Call me naive. Call me an innocent. Call me too trusting by half, too nice a guy to see how things really are... but, really, I am starting to have some hope. All over the internet, people are already talking about the Hugo Awards, making recommendations, discussing the work... the WORK, the things we love, the stuff that unites us instead of the stuff that divides us. I've been trying to do my part, here on my Not A Blog, and will continue to do so. Over at FILE 770, similar discussions are taking place. And on many other websites, blogs, and bulletin boards as well... including Sad Puppies 4.
Yes, the Sad Puppies are doing it again. ((No big secret, that was announced even before worldcon)). Discussions of possible nominations in all Hugo categories can be found on their SP4 site here: http://sadpuppies4.org/sp4-recommendations-pages-and-faq/ Go check it out. You can even join in. So far as I can tell, you don't need to be a Puppy to recommend.
As of a few minutes ago, there were 159 'thoughts' in the Best Novel section, which suggests a healthy level of participation. And, I am pleased to say, almost all of what follows seems to be honest and enthusiastic discussion of the work. I am seeing very little name-calling compared to what we saw in Sad Puppies 3, a dearth of references to CHORFS and ASPs and Puppy-kickers and that perennial favorite, SJWs. I am not seeing any "nominate this, it will make their heads explode" posts that we saw so often last year.
Instead, people are recommending books. A very wide range of books. Sure, new works by familiar Puppy favorites like Larry Correia, Mike Williamson, and John C. Wright are being recommended (no surprise there)... but so are works by Neal Stephenson, James S.A. Corey, Naomi Novik, Victor Milan, Terry Pratchett, S.M. Stirling, Ian Tregillis, Ernie Cline, Elizabeth Bear, Gene Wolfe, Michael Moorcock, Orson Scott Card, Greg Bear, Kate Elliott, and many others... including the latest Marko Kloos, and... wonder of wonder... novels from N.K. Jemisin and Anne Leckie!
There are some really good names on that list. Some really good books. (And many I have not read yet, but will look up now). And there's an amazing range of literary styles, subgenres, and... yes... political and religious views. And all this is to the good.
(Similar discussions are taking place on Sad Puppies 4 for the other categories, though Best Novel has the most participation).
For decades now, LOCUS and NESFA and other fan groups have produced reading lists at year's end, long lists generated by recommendations from their editors/ members/ etc. If at the end of this process, Sad Puppies 4 puts forth a similar list, one that has room for BOTH Larry Correia and Anne Leckie, I don't think anyone could possibly object. I won't, certainly. A list like that would not be a slate, and the whole "slate voting" thing will become moot.
And that would be great. That would mean no Puppygate II. That would mean a spirited literary debate about writers and books without the acrimony and the name-calling. From that debate a truly democratic and diverse ballot could emerge, one that represents all tastes. That would mean no 'No Awards' at Big MAC II, and the Hugo ceremony could once again become a joyous celebration of the best and brightest in our field.
In my post-worldcon blog post last August 31 (( http://grrm.livejournal.com/440444.html )) I expressed the hope that the ugliness of 2015 could be left behind, that Fandom and Puppydom could coexist in peace. That's still my hope. And right now I am feeling a little more hopeful than I was in August. People are talking books, not trading epithets...
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good read.