The Hugo Awards 2015: Looking Back and Moving Forward

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The 2015 Hugo Awards have come and gone, but many members of the sci fi and fantasy community are still processing this year’s controversy.

Although the “No Award” option trumped puppy-nominated authors by a long shot on Saturday, it’s hard to see the night as a total victory given the many writers that were still slighted by the ballot (not to mention the bigotry that this year’s Awards revealed within the sci-fi and fantasy community).

Author Tobias Buckell used data from the results to create a mock-up of what the ballot could have looked like without puppy interference, as did io9. The Sad Puppies had an estimated 500-400 of this year’s 5,950 total voters. The Rabid Puppies reportedly had 550-525 voters, with the combined puppy electorate making up an estimated 20% of total voters.

“No Award” took the prize in 5 different categories, and has now been presented a total of ten times in the Awards’ history. The most recent instance prior to this year was in 1977.

Following the ceremony on Saturday, George R.R. Martin held the “Alfie Awards,” (named after author Alfred Bester), in which he honored Patrick Rothfuss, Ursula Vernon, Jo Walton, John Joseph Adams, and Liz Gorinsky (all of whom who would have been on this year’s ballot if not for the puppies). Martin also bestowed an Alfie on Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet, who withdrew from consideration after being nominated as part of the puppy slate.

This year’s controversy also brought unprecedented attention to the Hugos. In light of that new mainstream coverage, fans like Rose Fox are working to address misconceptions about the history of genre writing, particularly the mistaken belief that sci-fi or fantasy was ever a “straight white man’s game.” Authors from marginalized groups have always been a part of these genres, and in condemning the puppies, we shouldn’t also compound the historic erasure of women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ authors.

Puppygate wasn’t a reaction to some sudden arrival of diverse voices; it was a reaction to a new breed of online hate groups. Diverse authors have always been a part of sci-fi and fantasy, and, no matter what the future holds for the Hugo Awards, they’ll be around long after the bigots have died out.

(via io9)

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