On the Hugos: The Good, the Bad, and the Awful Trolls from Hell
Posted April 22, 2014on:
Hugo nominations are out, and there’s some good stuff, some awesome stuff, and some excruciatingly awful crap.
But before we get there, the good: holy shit there are some amazing folks being nominated. The Book Smugglers got nominated for Best Fanzine, as did A Dribble of Ink. Skiffy and Fanty was nominated for Best Fancast. The list for Best Fan Writer has Liz Bourke, Kameron Hurley, and Foz Meadows on it. ANCILLARY JUSTICE is up for Best Novel. And Benjanun Sriduangkaew got nominated for the Campbell!
The awesome: QUEERS DIG TIME LORDS got nominated for Best Related Work. Something I’m actually in! This is very exciting.
And then there’s the bad stuff.
Okay, look. Everyone complains about the Hugos. It’s a fan rite-of-passage, it’s something that happens every year because certain things get on and other things don’t. Everyone has opinions. In those cases the right thing to do is usually to shrug, admit the Hugos are flawed, celebrate the winners, and work to see that things get better next year.
This isn’t that.
This is about what I and a lot of other people felt when we saw a novelette by Vox Day and a novel by Larry Correia make it on to the ballot, after a campaign to get voters to do just that. This is the about the sense that we are being maliciously provoked by a bloc of ultraconservative fans who hate that the genre isn’t all about them anymore.
This is about the horrible realization that they are using the Hugos to troll us, and enjoying themselves immensely while doing it.
And it’s also about the fact that I didn’t want to say anything about it at first.
Okay. I was bullied a lot as a kid. I know what it looks like, and what it feels like. I know what’s it’s like when someone writes something hurtful on a poster you spent all weekend making, or takes a picture of you just so they can laugh at it later. I know how it feels when someone takes something you love and uses it against you. And that is sort of how this feels.
I didn’t want any part of it. Not at first. My instinct is always to hide, hope they don’t see me, hope they go away.
But then I read what Natalie Luhrs had to say about standing up.
I used to be afraid to speak. Instead, I read. That is how I participated in the community. I still read.
But I am no longer afraid to speak.
She said that despite having tons of miserable trolls come into her space and try to shut her up.
And it’s funny, because I do speak, on lots of issues, every week in my political column. But even there I can feel myself trying to stay on this side of it, trying to stay “safe.” I’ve discovered, though, that even when I do that there will be trolls who want to shut me up.
If I stay safe or stay silent then the other voices get to keep the entire field. And that’s not right.
So. What’s going on here is malicious. Nobody should use the Hugos to make not just a political point, but to actually try to upset other parts of fandom. And there is nothing that’s going to make me believe that’s not what this is.
I don’t particularly care to read their works and judge them on the merits. I also don’t care to engage with these trolls.
But I do care to speak. I may not be much of a deal in the SFF world, but I have my tiny little voice and I shall use it.