Browse By

Belated thoughts on the Hugo Awards 2016

2 thoughts on “Belated thoughts on the Hugo Awards 2016”

  1. Lela E. Buis says:

    I generally like literary stories and am bored by mil-fic, but it’s been some time since I really enjoyed any of the Hugo winners. There was a big swing toward sentimental stories a while back that’s the latest irritant. Since I saw the results of the Eugie Foster award that “celebrates innovation,” I’m now aware of a trend toward surrealism that doesn’t much suit me, either. I think the Puppies are right that political ideologies are driving the awards. The problem has become more pronounced once they’ve set up in opposition. The culture wars in SFF are suddenly very sharply focused.

    Enjoyed your story, but I think you quit too soon. 🙂

    1. Vivienne Raper says:

      Sorry for taking a while to come back. I recently read “The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild” (http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/valente_01_15/) [which won the Eugie award] and I know what you mean. It feels almost postmodern in its surrealism. It takes fleeting references that hint at a wider fantastical reality, and exaggerates these to breaking point. There’s a sense by which objects (e.g. unicorn) in the text are simply words that no longer refer to anything. In semiotics, you’d say that the signifiers had lost their signified.

      I didn’t enjoy the story because I didn’t care. Ultimately, ‘colourless green ideas sleeping furiously’ might be an interesting grammatical construction, but they can’t threaten the protagonist or move the reader to tears. They’re not equivalent to ‘spiders the size of cats’ from a story POV.

      I increasingly think the Hugo thing is more complex than simply ideology. I went to LibertyCon over the summer and helped run a writing session at Nine Worlds in London (https://nineworlds.co.uk). Very different in culture and demographics. Looking at the photos of Worldcon, it’s a small con and a visually homogenous group of people, which owns a traditionally prestigious award. It’s possible that they’re managing to simultaneously alienate conservatives/libertarians/the alt-right AND women and minority groups. That would explain both the Puppies and the activism of authors like N.K. Jemisin.

      To give one example, I’m about two decades younger than most of the people in the MidAmeriCon photos, and I’m not young. That’s got to affect the stories that people in that community vote for and, moreover, the response that younger authors – particularly women – will get on panels, etc. You don’t even need politics to explain why Larry Correia (age 39) might have felt uncomfortable.

      You’re right the culture wars in SFF are more sharply focused. In so far as it’s about styles of fiction (which it is), hopefully it should lead to a wider choice for fans and readers.

      My novel? Thanks for the compliment! 🙂 I haven’t quit – I just think finishing is beyond my skills right now. I’m going to practice with some short fiction and come back to it 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.