The Hugo Awards are dead, and the xPuppies killed them

The Hugo Awards have lost all credibility with readers, and may now be shunned by publishers.
You wouldn’t normally think of puppies as monsters bent on destroying the world, but this week, they did. The organizers of the Hugo Awards, the most prestigious fan-driven award in science fiction, announced the nominees for its 2016 awards. The SadPuppies and the RabidPuppies, the reactionaries angry at the awards for challenging their literary worldview, successfully gamed the nominations with their choices.

One of the choices, championed by the RabidPuppies, is a piece of absurdist dinosaur erotica titled Space Raptor Butt Invasion, authored by the pseudonymous Dr. Chuck Tingle.

Another title, reflecting the mini-dogs’ hatred of anti-racists, environmentalists, socialists, and all left-leaning people they label “Social Justice Warriors,” nominated a work titled, “SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police.” The foreword was written by ultra-conservative Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who said, “feminism is cancer.”

The xPuppies have a chip on their shoulder the size of the Death Star. They believe the Hugo Awards, a decades old institution which has honored the likes of Asimov, Bradbury, and Heinlein, tends to reward leftist points of view at the expense of “good,” certainly old-fashioned, shoot-em-up space opera where the usually white guy blows away the bad guy. Nuance, thoughtfulness, and a recognition of the facts of American life are for sissies, in their world.

They see themselves as reformers while ignoring pleas by credible authors to remove their books from the xPuppies’ nomination lists and flinging names at opponents like schoolyard bullies.

All this wouldn’t matter, except for the fact that science fiction readers worldwide depend on the Hugo Awards as a mark of quality. While some of the xPup-inees are worthy, such as Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, and sci-fi master Jerry Pournelle for his editing, the nomination ballot-stuffing by the xPuppies has permanently damaged the Hugos’ credibility. How can any discerning reader look at the phrase “Hugo Award-nominated” or “Hugo Award-winning,” not think of Butt Invasion, and not drop the potential purchase like a hot potato?

Likewise, how can any publisher associate itself with these kinds of brand-threatening shenanigans? They’re risk-averse enough as it is. Why take the chance with printing the Hugo rocket ship logo on its project without thinking of two years’ worth of Hugo train wrecks?

A second year of “No Award” winners will put the final nails into the Hugos’ coffin because it would demonstrate readers’ lack of faith in the award.

Hope is not completely lost, however. WorldCon, which manages the Hugos, has a chance to fix the problem with proposed nominations rules changes, though they won’t take effect until 2017, assuming they’re approved. If not, they might as well kill the awards program altogether. No one will believe in it anymore.

6 thoughts on “The Hugo Awards are dead, and the xPuppies killed them

  1. your timeline is off, the last bit of credibility was lost in 2014 when “If you were a dinosaur my love” was nominated. Tingle’s erotica has multiple Science Fiction elements that make it arguably a better nominee.
    The decline started in the 90s, as harlan ellison documented at the time


  2. Actually, it was when the president of the SFWA got a Hugo for his Star Trek fanfic a couple of years back that I took the “Science Fiction” label off my books. The Hugos have been dead for years.


  3. Joe Follansbee wrote:

    A second year of “No Award” winners will put the final nails into the Hugos’ coffin because it would demonstrate readers’ lack of faith in the award.

    To the contrary, such a vote for those reasons would demonstrate reader/voters’ faith in the award, and in particular their determination to uphold its quality by preventing aberrant results while the award is under attack by vandals.

    I have to say, as a frequent Hugo Award voter, I’ve heard more arrant nonsense about the ‘No Award’ choice over the last two years than over any other aspect of Hugo voting. Please do some reading about its entirely appropriate uses, including as a response to vandalism as has occurred these past two years. Thank you.

    — Rick Moen


  4. You’ve got it wrong, not a surprise.

    People like you have been killing the Hugos for years. There’s been close to nothing worthwhile awarded in the last decade plus.

    Sad Puppies was an attempt to change that, to restore the Hugos to being a marker of merit, not a warning sign.

    All you all greeted that with No Award. Fine. Now you get “Space Raptor Butt Invasion”, which is on the same quality plane as “If you were a Dinosaur, My Love” and “Redshirts” and “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” and the Lenke “Ancillary” series.

    Besides, you all are the people whining about author “diversity” rather than story quality, so how dare you object to gay erotica? Bigot!

    Enjoy the world you’ve created.


  5. Toni Weisskopf was entirely qualified to receive a Hugo for best editor, long form. Instead she received a wooden asterisk.

    So this year you get Space Raptor Butt Invasion.

    You picked the game. No, you don’t get to legitimately whine now that you don’t like the results.


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