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Two Hugo-Nominated Authors Withdraw Their Works From The Awards This Year

This is what THIS puppy thinks of the Sad Puppies


We’ve been writing a lot about the Hugo/Sad Puppy Controversy this year – particularly the thorough responses by George R.R. Martin about what the Hugos have seemingly become. Well, now other authors are expressing their dissatisfaction with what the Hugos have become by withdrawing entirely from the proceedings.

Two authors who ended up on the Sad Puppies slate (or the copycat slate, Rabid Puppies) of nominees for the Hugos have decided to withdraw their names from the nominations: Marko Kloos, who was nominated for his novel Lines of Departure; and Annie Bellet, who was nominated for the short story “Goodnight, Stars.”


In a statement, Kloos wrote:

It has come to my attention that Lines of Departure was one of the nomination suggestions in Vox Day’s “Rabid Puppies” campaign. Therefore—and regardless of who else has recommended the novel for award consideration—the presence of Lines of Departure on the shortlist is almost certainly due to my inclusion on the “Rabid Puppies” slate. For that reason, I had no choice but to withdraw my acceptance of the nomination. I cannot in good conscience accept an award nomination that I feel I may not have earned solely with the quality of the nominated work.


Meanwhile, Bellet talks about how this whole controversy has put a damper on the proceedings, and on any pleasure that might have come from winning:

I am withdrawing because this has become about something very different than great science fiction. I find my story, and by extension myself, stuck in a game of political dodge ball, where I’m both a conscripted player and also a ball. (Wrap your head around that analogy, if you can, ha!) All joy that might have come from this nomination has been co-opted, ruined, or sapped away. This is not about celebrating good writing anymore, and I don’t want to be a part of what it has become.

I am not a ball. I do not want to be a player. This is not what my writing is about. This is not why I write. I believe in a compassionate, diverse, and inclusive world. I try to write my own take on human experiences and relationships, and present my fiction as entertainingly and honestly as I can.

I’m sure that some people might use this to defend the Puppy slates, saying that if people wouldn’t backlash the backlash, these authors wouldn’t be pulling out, and see, NOW who’s stifling talent! However, the authors are both responding to the fact that they don’t want to have anything to do with a slate that would stifle diverse, inclusive voices. What’s more, they don’t believe that a slate should exist that pushes nominees forward based on politics rather than on the quality of the work – which is exactly what the Puppies are purporting to fight against. I hope that the Hugos can find its footing again, and that the backlash against increased diversity won’t be successful in hindering the efforts of this awards show that is supposed to represent the best in sci-fi and fantasy. We should be encouraging increased, and diverse participation, not coming up with reasons to say too different, too much, too soon.

(via io9, image via Bev Sykes on Flickr)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.