Monday, April 28, 2014

Politics and Science Fiction Writing -- a Toxic Mix

(1991 Hugo award, From

I said in a previous entry that I would not discuss politics on this blog. There's enough nastiness out there as it is, on many levels, and this isn't a place for a rehash of my own or anyone else's politics.

But apparently, like everywhere else these days, there's politics in the science fiction field. I stumbled across this blog post ( from Larry Correia. I've read a couple of his novels, found them pretty good, but haven't been able to pick up any more of them because of finances. So, I was surprised about the content of the blog post.

The Hugos are the top award in Science Fiction. To win one is a career enhancement that never goes away. They've voted on at World Science Fiction Convention every year. And like other awards, people pitch for their favorites, either their own work, or someone else' they really like. And that seems to be a problem for some people.

Before I continue, I do not chose the authors I read for their politics. I chose to read them because I enjoy the stories they tell and allow me to escape the real world and all it's politics. It's the same thing with the music I listen to. I care about the song or the music. I don't give a damn about their politics. Actors and actresses, the same thing. I'm sure that my politics and some of theirs are 180 degrees different from each other. But I don't care about politics with these people --- I listen/read/watch them to get away from the politic

Yet there's some people who are more concerned about politics then the quality of the writing. Mister Correia's recommendations for the Hugo have raised the hackles of some people, not because of his recommendations, but because of Mister Correia's politics.

The point of the post is not to excoriate one side or the other. The point of this post it ask why do politics rear its ugly head in what should be a wide open, free-wheeling genre. I am probably being naive in believing that those stories that win the Hugos deserve to win them, regardless of the author's politics. But, apparently if you don't follow the party line, you become a danger to the establishment. In his blog post, Mr. Correia writes the following:

I’ve said for a long time that the awards are biased against authors because of their personal beliefs. Authors can either cheer lead for left wing causes, or they can keep their mouth shut. Open disagreement is not tolerated and will result in being sabotaged and slandered. Message or identity politics has become far more important than entertainment or quality. I was attacked for saying this. I knew that when an admitted right winger got in they would be maligned and politicked against, not for the quality of their art but rather for their unacceptable beliefs.
Mr. Correia states that he has been accused of "fraud, vote buying, log rolling, and making up fake accounts." and being called "a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, a rape apologist, an angry white man, a religious fanatic, and how I wanted to drag homosexuals to death behind my pickup truck."

And this hatred all because he recommended some stories to be considered for an award......

I didn't take his word for it -- I went looking to find the bias Mr. Corriea was talking about. I found this: 

This page has a lot of links: There are a few blog posts about the politics included in that list of links, on both sides.

Science Fiction, unlike a lot of other generations, is an exploration of the future --- All futures, not ones that you, the reader, agree with. I'm not a fan of post-apocalyptic novels or Hunger Game-type stories, or tales in which the writer hits you over the head with their ideas on how humanity should live. But there is room for all sorts of stories, and if someone whats to wear his politics on the sleeve, or hang it around their main character's necks, they have every right. But the important thing is the story, not the author's politics. 

Apparently, one nominee has political views that a few find offensive; as I have never read or even heard of this author before, I have no idea how offensive his views are. Has this man committed a crime? Not to my knowledge. What one person might find offensive, other people will shrug off. People are flacking for both sides, painting this author as either a wingnut or a man with strong views that others don't agree with.

As I'm not involved in the award voting, I feel no strong urge to find out anything more. There are going to be people who are going to vote against this man because of their view of his views, rightly or wrongly. They won't be voting because they like or dislike the story in question --- the story may be brilliant or be the worse piece of drek ever to be nominated. Their vote will be because they like or dislike the author, or their perception of him, no matter what the truth is. And that lowers the prestige of the Hugo.

So, I don't care about real-life politics in my sci-fi. So stop trying to impose it on me, the reader, either through the novel or through the awards.


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