So last year, there was a lot of controversy over a couple of conservative writers pushing for various conservatives’ work to get on the Hugo ballot. And this year it happened again. As noted at the i09 link, it’s not like Hugo awards were purely about merit (no awards are) but explicitly politicizing them (in the name of fighting back against the oppressor minorities and feminists! who deny white men their rightful awards) isn’t going to help.
That said, the nominee list includes Ann Leckie, who I hear is brilliant (I don’t believe she’s part of the “Sad Puppies” slate), Jim Butcher, whom I like a lot (I don’t know I’d pick any of the Dresden files as Hugo material, but I don’t read enough current books to really judge), and The Goblin Emperor which I’ve heard well-recommended. It has three stories by John C. Wright; while I’ve heard Wright’s fiction is good (despite his right-wing views. And his right-wing views. And his ignorance about comic books. And sexism) I doubt it’s that good (but in fairness, haven’t read it, don’t know).
John Scalzi suggests fans do the same as with any ballot: read the stories, vote for the good stuff, vote no award when appropriate (it’s an option). Jim Hines says read the stories if you want, but if you don’t want to read works by anti-gay or racist writers, there’s no reason to force yourself. Here, Scalzi mocks the idea of a sinister conspiracy (which the slate supposedly fights against) and points out not all the “Sad Puppies” are necessarily part of the movement or aware of the issues. Abyss and Apex likewise points out that just because it was on the Sad Puppies list doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve an award (I’d agree, though as they’ve published me twice, I’m not completely objective).
Matthew Surridge has a really detailed thoughtful analysis of Brad Torgersen’s claims (Torgersen is a prime mover behind The Sad Puppies) that the Hugo Awards are selling out the genre, going for literary snob-value and left-wing politics instead of the entertaining adventures people really want to see. Surridge shows that a)what we’ve got now isn’t that different from the way things used to be; and b)adventure and popular stories do indeed win awards still.
This part is actually a fairly familiar refrain for a movie lover: that the Oscars are obsessed with ART! instead of with movies people actually like. Or that the Oscars are obsessed with BOX OFFICE! instead of merit. I think Surridge makes his case that Torgersen is dead wrong.