Monday, June 01, 2015

The Hugos again

The Hugos continue to inspire dialogue among fans, along with reviews that range from my type of capsule nothingness to really clever analysis. There's been a massive upsurge of fans actually opening dialogues and discussing attitudes and events with people they've never met, rather than staying in their own little circles of fandom. In some ways, the puppy nonsense may end up having a massively positive impact on the nature of fandom and the level of involvement people have in fandom. Whether or not the Hugos will survive as a prestigious award is still up in the air.

Of particular interest to me is this notion of giving people who you don't like bad reviews on books you haven't read. Let me make this absolutely clear: This is bad behavior. It is wrong.

If you have read a book and don't like it, then it's fine to give it a bad review. If you attempted to read a book and found you couldn't finish it because it was so bad, then yeah, give it a bad review.

But if you simply don't like the author? Giving their book a bad review without reading it or trying to read it (in good faith) is every bit as bad as, say, nominating a bunch of works for the Hugo awards without reading them first because somebody put together a slate. Yeah, I'm comparing people who give bad reviews based on how they feel about the authors to the self-called "sad puppies" and "rabid puppies". Both actions are bad faith. Both actions are wrong. Both actions are not worthy of intelligent people.

As David Gerrold says, "If you're claiming to be one of the good guys, you gotta act like it."

In addition, don't take out frustrations on the Hugo nominees. In my opinion, there are only two legitimate ways to vote in the Hugos this year:
  • The first, the one I don't agree with, is to reject all slate nominees and leave them off the ballot while putting No Award at the bottom - a complete rejection of the notion of slate nominating.
  • The second is to read all the works and put any Hugo-worthy works, regardless of how they were nominated, above No Award and leave the rest off.

  • What people shouldn't do is talk crap about nominees that had nothing to do with being on the slates. If the works are bad, feel free to dissect the works, but stop attacking the people unless they are actively being obnoxious about the whole thing.

    And lastly, counter-slates are dumb. Suggested reading lists are fine, but people should not nominate any work they have not read or seen. Period. End of story.

    If you haven't read it, it should not be on your nomination form. To nominate a work you have not read makes you a liar. I suspect there are quite a few self-proclaimed "puppies" who are essentially liars, because they nominated without reading. Emulating them is not something good people should do. So don't do it.

    And in the end, it's the fact that people used a slate to nominate works that they most likely didn't read that bothers me, not the political leanings of the works... or even the quality of the works (which is why I urge people to judge the nominations on their own merits despite the slate). The nomination process is one that only is successful if people nominate what they have read and (most importantly) enjoyed. To create a slate and have people stuff the ballot is simply wrong. That is what I object to in this whole fiasco. Again, reading lists aren't a problem as long as people actually read what's on the list, pick only what they like from it and don't blindly go along with whatever is suggested.

    What the puppies did was stuff the ballot box during the nomination process. Their pathetic and boring whines about "social justice warriors" and the evils of diversity aside, it's the act of stuffing the box that makes them the villains, not their beliefs. I have yet to see puppy supporters step up and say "I nominated this slate work because I enjoyed this (aspect of story)." No, what they say is, "I joined the slate to stick it to the SJWs." They are acting out of hate for science fiction and fantasy they don't like, not out of love for what they do enjoy.