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Voting for the 2017 Hugo Awards Has Closed, and the Sad Puppies Were Nowhere to be Seen

News is by definition the reporting of recent events, but sometimes it is equally important to note when an event does not occur.

On Sunday, the voting period for the 2017 Hugo Awards ended. According to the announcement, a total of 3,319 votes were cast (compared to 3130, 5950, 3587, and 1850 in the past four years).

You can see the list of candidates on the Hugo Award website.  What you won’t find is any sign of  the influence of the Sad Puppies. According to author Sarah Hoyt, the organizer of this year’s Sad Puppies, that’s because there was no slate this year.

Starting in 2013, the Sad Puppies (and its Rabid Puppies offshoot),  were either a concerted attempt to introduce a right-wing slate, a regressive slate, an indie slate to the Hugo Awards, or, an attempt to wrest control of the Hugo Awards from an insider clique, prove there was a clique in control of the Hugos, or simply to sow chaos. (The descriptions varied depending on who you asked, the year, and how much they had had to drink).

This year, however, there was no coordinated Sad Puppies campaign. As Hoyt explained in June on her blog and on the Mad Genius Club blog, that was by design.

From Mad Genius Club:

If we’d planned to do something different this year, I’d have passed it on to Amanda early.  But since what we’re planning has no defined deadline, as soon as we get it up (eh) in the next couple of months, we’ll be fine.  And we want to make sure we do it right.

So, originally, we’d planned to do nothing, and let Sad Puppies ride into the sunset with Kate’s campaign, which did everything the left claimed to want and yet was still subjected to the same complaints as ever.

But the problem with a decentralized, almost leaderless campaign is that it’s prone to be high jacked, and we realized late last year that if someone didn’t announce then someone who was wholly (really) in the rabid camp was going to take it, and make it sound like the campaigns were always one.

Hoyt went into greater detail on her blog;

THE POINT of the fight for the Sad Puppies was never to get the Hugos, to conquer the Hugos or to hold the Hugos in perpetuity. It was simply to show that the fight was rigged and in the possession of a small clique.

THIS was amply proven by Larry and Brad, and if more was needed, Kate did a double reverse maneuver and actually proved that even if you did EVERYTHING they wanted you to do from open nomination, to more than the slots per category, to actually attending conventions and being very very nice, they would still attack you if you weren’t one of the club.

So if you were wondering about the status of the Sad Puppies, the official word is that they have accomplished their goal and retired from the field.

image by Jeff Kontur

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Ed Bear July 20, 2017 um 10:58 pm

I think the Sad Puppies did us all a service. Having proven that the Hugos are in the hands of a small clique, they can be pretty much ignored as a guide to "best of for year for " unless and until the situation changes.

Daniel W Kauffman Jr August 11, 2017 um 6:44 pm

I went to WorlldCon for the First and last time last year, and will spend my money on other Cons and probably get my tips on authors Ineed to read from the Dragon Awards

Chris Meadows July 21, 2017 um 12:11 am

Indeed. Also, you should ignore the Oscars, because they’re in the hands of a small clique, too. Really, what do all those professional film makers know about picking movies we ordinary people would actually like to see?

Hell, when you get right down to it, pretty much any award is "in the hands of a small clique," since by definition only a small number of people actually gets to decide it, leaving everyone else out in the cold.

Unless it’s something like a national Presidential election where everyone gets to vote…

…and given that’s how Donald Trump ended up in office, maybe we should just ignore that one, too.

Daniel W Kauffman Jr August 11, 2017 um 6:50 pm

Not the Dragon Awards "Dragon Award winners will be selected by all fans – not just Dragon Con members or attendees – in an open nomination and final voting system." So I guess that fulfills your "Unless it’s something like a national Presidential election where everyone gets to vote" OH I see you don’t really support letting the lupen masses make their own choice of it not result in what their "betters" approve of?

Henry Vogel July 21, 2017 um 7:35 am

Chris Meadows, anyone who registers for Worldcon can nominate and vote for the Hugo Awards. It is open and very specifically pushes itself as a fan award. Further more, when the Sad Puppies claimed the Hugos were controlled by a small clique, those heavily invested in the Hugos denied that claim. So, your argument flies directly in the face of what the Hugo in crowd claimed during the lead up to the entire Sad Puppies saga. Conversely, the Oscars make no pretense to being a popular award (that’s why The People’s Choice Awards exist, right?) nor does that apply to many other awards, including the other well-known science fiction award, the Nebula.

If you really want to dig into the history of the Sad Puppies and the Hugos, I expect Sara’s column will provide plenty of that history (admittedly, from the Puppy POV), but my take on the whole situation is that initial criticism of clique-control of the Hugo was met with claims that no such thing existed and that the Hugos were open and welcoming to all. When the Sad Puppies gathered enough support to land several individual entries on the ballot (only one per category, note)–most of which I found as deserving as most other entries–the "open and welcoming" Hugo regulars rallied to vote every single Puppy nominee below 'No Award'.

Essentially, everything played out exactly as Larry Correia (Sad Puppies founder) predicted. That could have been the end of the whole matter, except the Hugo clique insisted Correia was completely wrong and that he had proved nothing. That remains their claim to this day, despite watching the same thing play out during two more Worldcons.

Nate Hoffelder July 21, 2017 um 8:59 am

I wasn’t convinced that there was a clique controlling the Hugos until George RR Martin said as much:

Chris Meadows July 21, 2017 um 1:38 pm

Henry, you know what "sarcasm" and "irony" are, right?

Henry Vogel July 24, 2017 um 7:14 am

Chris, I do, but I’ve seen your arguments advanced seriously by others too often to assume sarcasm anymore. This is, I think, one of the great problems with modern internet arguments–absolutely ridiculous arguments are put forward in such complete seriousness that I find myself forced to assume as much all the time.

My apologies for taking you overly literally.

Will Entrekin July 21, 2017 um 9:33 am

"It was simply to show that the fight was rigged and in the possession of a small clique."

So was publishing. Still is if you’re looking at it from a corporate perspective.

Thing is, I don’t think anyone from a corporate perspective (either publishers or those who cover publishers) would say that anything was rigged or in possession of a small clique.

Further thing is they no longer need to because over the past several years they’ve lost a lot of relevance. That "small clique" has both broadened (with Game of Thrones and superhero blockbusterdom — science fiction and fantasy have gone totally mainstream) and opened (thinking specifically of Hugh Howey and Andy Weir here. Some of the publishers are now known more for glacially long response times than for quality science fiction.

I think all those things are good, but I think the Puppies mostly just happened at the same time, rather than really effecting anything themselves.

Nate Hoffelder July 21, 2017 um 10:48 am

this is a very good point, Will.

Smudge July 21, 2017 um 10:47 am

Yaaawn. If the Sad Puppies proved anything it is that there is a group of people that control what gets nominated and what does not and subsequently what wins and what does not.
I have thought the Hugo’s were crap for well over 10 years now. A book winning the Hugo means nothing to me as to whether I will buy it or not. A long time ago a Hugo winning book would cause me to pick it up and look at it but now a days that is not the case. If I hear good things about a book in the circles I frequent then I will check it out regardless if book was nominated or won anything.
As to liberal/conservative leaning books one only needs to remember that it is science fiction and fantasy where any crazy idea, opinions, types of government etc might work.
Are there books that push a specific agenda (pro/anti religion, LGBTQ, etc)? Sure I guess, but then those books are not typically well recommended on those merits rather is the story and writing good.

tired July 21, 2017 um 11:29 am

If you have no understanding of the topic, you shouldn’t reply. There are awards decided by a relatively small panel of judges and there are populist ones open to all to participate in and judge if they so desire. The Hugo award is the latter type and not the former. That is the ENTIRE POINT OF THE CONTROVERSY is that the Sad and Rabid Puppies used the fact that it was open to all to hijack the awards. Your post demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge of what was going on.

I still tend to discredit the idea that a secret cabal was pushing an agenda. The works that were nominated are well written and represent a diverse selection of perspectives and cultures. The puppies camps pushed poorly written sf that in most cases represent conservative white hetero male Americans exclusively that typically replace insight with violence.

tired July 21, 2017 um 11:30 am

That was in reply to Chris Meadows, it didn’t thread right.

Bill Smith July 21, 2017 um 5:40 pm

I love how the Sad Puppies (and Rabid ones) try to paint themselves as "hey, we were just following the rules, we did everything they asked us to do and they still were so, so mean to us."

Actually, they did everything they could to antagonize, insult and belittle everyone in scifi fandom who wasn’t embedded within their movement. And in the end, scifi fandom said that they could stand up to a couple thousand people trying to bully everyone else. Contrary to their assertion that their type of fiction was more popular and more deserving, they proved that they were a very vocal but small movement.

Help Save Jane Austen's Great House: Critical Linking, July 24, 2017 July 24, 2017 um 6:37 am

[…] Well. Bye. […]

Roberto July 25, 2017 um 7:58 pm

If you bare with me, I´ll tell you the 2 things I don´t like about the sad puppies.

I grew up in the late 70´s and 80´s behind the Iron Curtain. Unlike many of my fellow Eastern Europeans, my country was quite open regarding western sci-fi, so we had access to the likes from Asimov, Borges, Clarke, Dick, E… Tolkien… Zelazny. From A to Z, the finest was being published in Hungarian. Nonetheless, with only 20-30 publications a year, I was overwhelmed learning about the seemingly amazing production of over 1,500 to 2,000 books (I thing that was the figure?) a year in the US alone, back in the best years of the 80´s for the publishing industry.

See – we were sorta spoiled in Hungary. Had nothing to choose from, still got everything from Foundation to Lord of the Rings. Sure, many books were still forbidden or censored, but we didn´t had a choice. Which in retrospective was also kind of cool, because it made me read literally (hah!) read EVERYTHING! We did have no other books.

Now.. would I have been living in the US in those days, I can´t even imagine how I could have hand-picked the right books – "right" in terms of "making you want to read even more". Sure, for an US fan, there was Locus, but Locus was dry and maybe too short on most of the books anyway. And so we come to the AWARDS (fanfares in the background, please)…

When I moved to Western Europe in 89 for my studies, I tried to get my hands on EVERYTHING sci-fi related I might have missed out in the previous years. Of course I was blown away by the sheer amount of suddenly available books, authors and topics!!! And my best and most reliable guide for first choices was the HUGO and NEBULA and LOCUS and DICK and BSFA nominations and awards. It worked as a BIAS for the Hungarian editors in the decades before, why should I turn for less? So I somehow assumed (and hoped for) that these books will represent somehow a common core value, regarding quality, idea or otherwise.

And let me tell you, although this whole stuff here is not to be misunderstood as a general praise for either of those awards (or any award system, come to think of it), they DID, as a bare minimum, pre-selected Thousands of other books for me.

Yeah, sure, I might have missed out on a few very good and very interesting books on the way – but keeping me reading these books definitely led me to reading more and more ever since.

I don´t care about "inner circles" or anything. And I do enjoy military sf as much as any other kind, and even at my age with a full-time job, family and about a dozen other hobbies I still manage to get my 30-40 books read in a year, so obviously I am not only looking up the awards as some sort of grocery list. But with all this being said, the one thing that makes me really angry about the whole puppies story is that they tried to take away the CREDIBILITY of one of those pre-selecting tools! And by god (or God, if you will), we don´t have much of those left in our day and age!!! What do you want to rely on, amazon stars? Blogs for 30-40 returning readers? (Unless Nate here wants to do a Best Scifi of the Month regular? 😉

We have lost so many fix points in our previous 2 decades and the whole internet rush (which I on the other hand love and use daily, btw!), and yes, I might be a sad mumbling oldie now, who wants his old habits and things staying the way they were "in the good old days", but please think of the HUGO as one of the few things still standing for a pre-selection of good literature. If you take away the credibility of that, soon this will devalue the whole thing, even for those who wanted to hijack it to get in the ballot (as I suspect, by the way, for the reputation they sought, which is based on – bingo! – the very credibility of that award!)

If a group of writers get together to do something to promote their stuff, that´s okay as long as they don´t kill off something which has worked in many different ways for many different people of various generations.
Rather, BUILD something new, something valuable and reputable of your own.

(This is, what most politicians don´t understand, either.)

Oh, and if you were counting… the second thing I don´t like about the sad puppies is the hijacking of that name. Sad puppies I like, I want to comfort, I want to help. These guys (and occasionally, ladies) don´t deserve those kind of emotions in my opinion with their behaviour and intent.

This Week in Fandom, Volume 59 – Organization for Transformative Works August 15, 2017 um 5:02 pm

[…] The Verge published an article which commented that “This year’s sweep by female creators seems to be a strong repudiation of anti-diversity groups.” In previous years, the so-called “Sad Puppies” and “Rabid Puppies” groups had deliberately subverted the nomination and voting process. As The Digital Reader explains (in their own words): […]

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