I’m fed up with the Hugos. Not the awards themselves, but in the stupid, pointless and vitriolic campaigns by the Puppies – both Sad and Rabid – to swing the vote in a way that in no way serves to promote the work of themselves and their bestest buds.
I suppose I should bung up some links to get you who haven’t been following up to speed: just one second…
Right. That’s that out of the way. Now here’s my perspective.
I am a man. I’m white. I’m middle class (by upbringing if not by dirty dirty moolah). I’m heterosexual.
I also love reading books by people who aren’t like me.
I love books with black, white, gay, lesbian, intersex, disabled protagonists. I like to read thought-pieces on politics and society, whether left-wing or right-wing – if they’re well-written I’ll read them. Some I might disagree with. Some might make me feel uncomfortable. Some may challenge my preconceptions or just make me massively angry. But how are we to learn if we don’t empathise, don’t explore the lives of others? How are we to grow, to make ourselves stronger if we limit our intake to that which we already know?
There is a place for the kind of fun novels that the Puppies promote. Although I detest the political agenda that seems to dominate their thinking (and what is it but the last fearful grab for power that’s been theirs solely by accident of birth, and now they feel slipping away?) I don’t have a problem with the writing in itself. Unless it’s bad.
But I am fed up with this non-controversy. I am fed up with science-fiction/fantasy being tarred with this pathetic mudslinging. I am fed up of talking about it.
So I am hereby launching my own group. Let us be known as the Joyous Puppies. A group that delights in diversity, who feels that there is room for all members of the writing community to be who the hell they want, to write what the hell they want for the sake of producing great stories.
The SFF world has never been in ruder health. Hell, all of writing is in a golden age. Never has there been more diversity; never have I seen more people reading, talking about, loving books. Finally, after years of being a slightly embarrassing secret, readers and writers from all walks of life are stepping out into the sunlight, stretching, and taking a good long look around them.
Let us celebrate all voices. Let us promote authors who don’t have the fortune that we’ve had. Let us read widely; let us learn and be challenged – hell, let us argue passionately about the merits of particular writers on the basis of the work they produce, not what they look like or where they come from.
Let us celebrate a community where there are no hard and fast rules about what we can write or who can join. Let us be open to all.
Let us dance and sings and get drunk and pass out in the dewy grass and wake with blinding hangovers in the blazing sun of an alien world.
Let us reclaim the SFF world for great books and let’s celebrate those books.
Joyous Puppies – saddle up and ride out!