The readership of SAB is hardly what I’d call the normal audience for science fiction, but I’d be remiss as a SciFi/fantasy author if I didn’t devote at least one column to the kerfuffle over the Hugo awards this year.
For those not in the know, the Hugo awards are voted on by the paying public. Anyone who registers for and attends WorldCon gets to vote. In other words, they’re democratic awards, rather than committee-selected. The number of voters for the awards is relatively low, so a little organization and an active fan base can go a long ways.
Larry Correia decided to take advantage of that.
He’s a bestselling author in the genre, most famously for his Monster Hunter series (which is pretty much what it says on the tin, and well worth reading), and a bit less so for his alternate-history Grimnoir Chronicles. He’s also an outspoken libertarian, particularly on the subject of concealed carry and gun control, and a general thorn in the side of liberals in the genre.
Correia has been noting for years that there’s a hard bend toward left-wing thought in SciFi and fantasy, with the major houses hardly printing anything that doesn’t conform to that worldview. He’s hardly the only one making the claim; other long-time authors, like Sarah Hoyt, state similar things, and the backlash to Orson Scott Card during the release of the Ender’s Game
movie for his gay marriage view didn’t do anything to disprove them. (Correia and Hoyt are both published by Baen books, which seems to have no real political theme, with authors ranging from full-on socialist to complete libertarian.) Further, such actions are hurting the market for those of us in the industry, and basically they’re cutting off their noses to spite their faces.
A number of Correia’s critics have said his claims are overblown and there’s no real ideological bend in the industry. Two years ago, to help make his point, Correia openly set out for a Hugo with his hilarious “Sad Puppies” campaign.
It made a few waves, but failed to make the big splash Correia was looking for when he missed the ballot by a handful of votes.
This year, he did it again.
And made the ballot.
What I find most disturbing about all of this is the response to Correia. He should be considered a model for the genre: he started out without a contract, self-published Monster Hunter International, turned it into a success, was signed by Baen, and went on to reach the New York Times bestseller list. He’s the success story authors like me dream about experiencing.
But instead, because he holds the wrong political ideas, he is to be shamed and publicly mocked.
Fortunately, Correia is more than willing to defend himself.
But it does bear some pondering: what other industries are being polarized in similar ways? Brandon Eich was forced out at Mozilla for his pro-Proposition 8 donation. Donald Sterling has been forced to sell the LA Clippers over comments made in private. How long until your political and personal views cost you a job or opportunity? Because if this is happening in an industry revolving around spinning stories from diverse sets of ideas – a place where diversity in thought should be the norm – what’s happening in places where businesses need conformity to function?