So apparently someone figured out how to rig the entire nomination process for the Hugo Awards, by a slightly more advanced version of the same method that made Corey in the House for Nintendo DS the highest rated game on Metacritic and is sabotaging countless of online polls every year. The Huge Awards, which apparently are a pretty big deal among sci-fi writers, are selected by a jury, but the members of the jury can only pick from a list of five works that have been voted highest by a much much larger group. Since there are hundreds of books and stories that could be voted into the top 5 and peoples taste differ greatly, it doesn’t actually take a very large number of votes to get into the final selection. When 98 books got 1% of the votes each, the one with just 2% of the votes would still be at the top. So instead of simply saying “Hey, let’s all vote for A!” two guys called on all their supporters and said “Hey, let’s all vote for A, B, C, D, and E!”. And apparently they got enough people to go along with it so that over 70% of the candidates they wanted ended up in those Top 5 lists for all the categories.
The main reason that everyone is now getting upset about it is that the whole thing started because some people thought there have been well to many homos and negros getting awards the last few years and they need to take action to make it fair again for the quality work of white american men. And apparently they are using “Social Justice Warrior” as a non-ironic term on their personal websites, which should tell you quite a bit about them even if, like me, you don’t know anything else about them. So yeah. #Hugogate?
But I can’t really get myself to care, even as a queer aspiring writer with a neurological impairment. Because Hugo or not, it’s still just a literature award. It’s nice when you get a high profile award because it’s free publicity, but in the end all such awards are always popularity contests by their very nature and don’t really tell you anything about the quality of the story. They are about as useful as a George Martin quote on the cover. In a world where big publishing houses decided which writers could be read or not, the publicity from an award was probably more valuable (though no more useful), especially for small writers who didn’t have good personal connections with the people who decided who would be printed and advertised. A world which no longer exists. I can just write what I want, let people read it, and let those who like stuff like that share among each other who and what they recommend. We don’t need anyones approval to write what we have fun to write and share it with others. Of course, there probably isn’t much money to be made, but so what?