Note: This is about the Sad Puppies/Hugo flap, but I hope it’s more than that. You can skip it if you want to.
I am what some call a Social Justice Warrior (“SJW”). Not that I crusade for liberal causes; other than voting and contributing to a few, I don’t get much involved. But the Sad Puppies and their allies would call me an SJW for that alone, or because I believe awards should go to stories that are more than just popular, or for a hundred other reasons. Fine. Call me what you want. It just shows how short-sighted such labels are, because in the end, I read the same stuff you do.
The Puppies put Jim Butcher on the Hugo ballot. I love Jim Butcher’s books. Larry Correia would have been on the ballot if he hadn’t taken himself off. I enjoy his books a lot. Most of the other Puppy offerings I am unfamiliar with, but my point is made. They want books that have spaceships on the cover to be about space exploration and high heroics. Well, guess what? So do I. You want proof? Read “The Invisible City.” It’s about a guy who ends up in a (mostly) invisible city. Truth in advertising. End of plug.
But I also believe that the influx of new authors who are not white males is a good thing. The only thing wrong with saying, “F/SF is a wide field with room for all kinds of authors and stories,” is that it implies we’re still writing and reading in a ghetto. We should be saying, “Literature is a wide field with room for all kinds of authors and stories.” Instead of fighting amongst ourselves, why aren’t we fighting to break out, into the “Fiction” section of Barnes & Noble, instead of being stuck off to the side like we’re not good enough?
The problem with the “Puppy” point of view (and those fighting so hard to preserve the status quo) is that we are fighting over the last doughnut in the apartment when we live over a bakery. The Hugos are voted on by a few thousand people at best. There are billions of readers out there, most of whom couldn’t name an SF book that hadn’t been made into a movie if you offered them a suitcase full of cash.
Given the undeniably wide spectrum of SF and fantasy we write, why get into a brawl over limited resources when there’s a world out there for the taking? I mean, c’mon, if anybody knows how to conquer a planet, it’s us.