From the Pen of Matt K

A comment over at Brad R Torgersen’s blog, concerning the honesty, decency, and morality of voting as a way of making political statements:

“What are the Hugo Awards?

The Hugo Awards, to give them their full title, are awards for excellence in the field of science fiction or fantasy.”

First two sentences of the Hugo Awards FAQ, on the official Hugo Awards website.

To vote based upon any other criteria besides “excellence in the field of science fiction or fantasy” thus is inappropriate.

Voting “No Award” over a work that one thinks has been “nominated inappropriately” is really a vote against the process of nomination, and should take place in a different venue, at the WorldCon business meetings where the Hugo rules can be discussed for possible change.

Voting “No Award” over another work based on your perception of the ideological views of the author is a stand that you should make with your pocketbook, or your own internet pulpit, and not by subverting the Hugo process for your own preferred social or political purposes.

Voting “No Award” over a work because it doesn’t contain the requisite number of women/gays/minorities portrayed in the politically correct fashion of the week actually does superficially start to bear on the idea of the merit of the work. However, only someone who has lost all sense of the real purpose of art could believe the idea that the faddish political checklists of the day have anything to do with “excellence in the field of science fiction or fantasy.” Excellence in the field of social and political propaganda is quite a different category entirely, one with which historically prominent figures named Adolph and Josef were very familiar, back in my grandparents’ day. Many of us are tired of being told that “science fiction” which scores highly on that particular metric is the best that the field has to offer today — especially when it only tangentially seems to be science fiction at all. As has been noted elsewhere many times, political art is to art as military intelligence is to intelligence. In deference to our host, I’ll say that I suspect that comparison may be somewhat unfair to military intelligence.

If you think the field can do better than John C. Wright, Jim Butcher, Brad Torgerson and Vox Day, then prove it next year by working towards getting your preferred works nominated. Any other response betrays someone not really concerned about the Hugo Awards as such, but only about making sure that the “right” people/works win, and it dooms the Hugos to continue their 10+ year slide into irrelevance.

Of course, within the frame of the publicly-stated underlying purpose of Sad Puppies, the Hugos are already irrelevant. Evidence has proven the hypothesis. Experiment concluded. Case closed.

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