Superversive: Puppy Pictures, Please

The beautiful and talented Mrs. Wright has written a column attempting to explain the obvious to the oblivious:

The Bifrost Between Calico and Gingham

I have been asked what the Puppies—Sad and Rabid alike—are objecting to? If they are not racist or homophobes—ie, if it is not the author’s identity that they object to—why do they think that so many of the stories that have been winning the Hugo and the Nebula are receiving their awards for the wrong reasons?

I think I can explain. I will use, for my example, the short story that won the Hugo in 2016: “Cat Pictures Please.”

I must admit I had trouble seeing why “Cat Pictures Please” was the best story of the year. I’d read stories last year that I thought were significantly better. It was cute, but I had trouble seeing how it measured up to “Scanners Live In Vain” or “Flowers For Algernon” or “Nine billion names of God.”

But I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt here. It is possible that many of these voting are young enough that they haven’t read the stories that made this one seem derivative to me. If so, this story would seem much more impressive.

And tastes differ.

That’s okay.

My gentle wife is considerably more generous in her judgment than am I.

I believe the gap between the puppy kickers and the sad puppies was trenched deliberately. It is not because they misunderstand us that they hate us; they hate us because we love science fiction for its own sake, as an imaginative exercise opening realms of wonder. They see science fiction as they see all things, as tools useful for social engineering and thought policing. We seek to free the mind, they seek to chain the mind.

I would prefer that I am wrong on these points and Mrs. Wright be right. I wish this were merely a matter of misunderstanding, or differing tastes.

Nonetheless, the attempt to cross the gap between the puppy kickers and the sad puppies is laudable. Blessed are the peacemakers.

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