Of Witchfinder and the Hugo Witch Hunt


Those of you who follow my blog on a regular basis may recall that back in November 2014 I ran a series of posts on an interview with author Sarah A. Hoyt by the Avondale United Methodist Church book club. The initial reason for the interview was to discuss her book Witchfinder, along with other questions about the writing process in general.

I bring this up to create a point of reference for those of you who may have read those blogs, or may even have attended the interview. Because, if only tangentially, Sarah has been in the news recently in regards to the Hugo Awards, and the nomination process for said awards.  Seems she is part of a group, known as Sad Puppies 3, that has taken heat for their involvement in encouraging more people to participate in the nomination and voting process for Science Fiction’s “most prestigious award.”

Let me caution anyone who sees news stories about Sad Puppies 3 and the Hugos to be very careful in believing what you are reading. There is a lot a misinformation out there by a lot of allegedly credible news sources.

The Sad Puppies have been accused of being racist, misogynistic, homophobic. We are being told that the group is a disgruntled set of white men who cannot stand that people other than white men are winning Hugo awards, and want to put women and non-whites in their places. Even the Library Journal calls Sad Puppies misguidedly misogynistic. Which is rather curious, considering the number of women and people of color (Like Sarah) who are part of Sad Puppies, along with the number of women and people of color on their slate of suggested nominees.

The story of the detractors simply doesn’t hold together. Calling women of color “white men” is the course of someone desperately out of touch with reality. One of the successful nominees happens to be another of my favorite authors, and a woman — Cedar Sanderson (still gotta purchase my copy of Dragon Noir — when I know I have time to finish this final book of the trilogy — once I pick it up I will never take a break until it is finished!)

Another complaint is how the group came in and gamed the system. They said it took just a few organized people to “take over” the awards for their own nefarious purposes.

But the numbers on the nominations shows a different tale. The total numbers of nominations went significantly up. More people than ever were involved in the process. More people makes it harder, not easier, for a small group to control the process.  This means that if Sad Puppies was a small group that took over the process, that an even smaller group than Sad Puppies has been controlling the process in prior years. This whole accusation against Sad Puppies simply proves that someone else was already controlling the process, and their control was taken away (that control was one of the allegations of the Sad Puppies).

Nor did Sad Puppies do anything clandestinely, or as a conspiracy. I am reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in Acts. 26:26 when defending Christianity to King Agrippa, that this thing was “not done in a corner.” Sad Puppies was openly on the internet for anyone to read about what they were doing and thinking. Those who are complaining now had plenty of time to know what was being done and said to organize their own counter effort of encouragement to people to become involved in the process.  That they couldn’t find those people just indicates how truly out of touch they are with regular fans and regular readers, who saw fit to take the process back.

And now that their party of control is over, what we are hearing is sour grapes, and a sort of “burn the house” down, destroy the Hugo awards. If my favorites can’t have the awards, no one should, is what they are saying. A scorched earth policy. Which is enough to show which side is sane, and which side isn’t.

So beware of what you hear, and what you believe, even from “reliable” sources.

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