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More on PuppyGate

I was wandering around the Intarwebz this morning, looking for further updates on PuppyGate, when I happened to visit Charles Stross’ blog and saw this earlier post of his, where he put up a reaction to the whole tiff over Clean Reader. What really made me giggle, though, was this remark:

It’s enough to drive anyone to drink, and indeed, “novelist” is right up there with “farmer” and “quality assurance engineer” in the alcohol consumption career stakes.

Me, I am both a novelist and a Quality Assurance Engineer! (I kid you not, this is my actual day job title.) It’s probably a good thing that I am not also a farmer, otherwise I would have to drink all the vodka.

And I gotta say, the whole PuppyGate thing–involving nomenclature which, from where I sit, is an insult to good puppies everywhere–has me wistfully eying the distinct lack of vodka in the house. In no small part because, as reported by James Nicoll and followed up upon by Dara’s post today, the Puppy Brigade is making no bones about being prepared to take down the Hugos if the current movement to vote No Award on everything wins out this year.

Lots of people with way more stature than me in the genre are speaking up on this–names like Scalzi, Martin, Wendig, Stross, Kowal, Hurley, and others. It’s also come up in discussions amongst the members of NIWA, since I realized, well, shit, we’re going to be trying to sell books at this coming Worldcon. Wherein tempers are likely to be running high. I warned NIWA last night that we might want to be on the lookout for this when we’re running our table in the dealers’ room, just in case any challenges arise to our ability to cordially and civilly sell our titles.

That I have to think about this at all makes me both angry and sad.

I don’t want the toxic politics of the broader U.S. culture to be infecting the genre I grew up on. I see a lot of cane-shakery from the Puppies about a loss of a sense of wonder in recent Hugo lineups–but y’know what stomps all over my sense of wonder? Knowing that there are people out there who are going to not only sneer at anything I write just because I’m female (and prone to writing heroines of color, women in positions of power, and queer people), but who will actively work to shout down anything I and authors like me try to do.

It’s enough to make me disenchanted with the publishing industry at large, and the US SF/F branch of it in particular. I’m a super-tiny fish that’s barely entered the pond–but I’m seeing pollution in the waters up ahead, and I seriously have to ask myself, do I want to swim there?

‘Cause right now, I’m thinking not.

I’m really hoping this particular oil spill can be cleaned up. I’m hoping that Wendig’s take on the matter is right and that SF/F (as well as society in general) will continue to move in a progressive direction. But right now the dinosaurs are still thrashing, and it’s very easy for tiny critters like me to get squashed.

And since that’s all bleak and everything, here. I think I need to close on a reminder of the joy of actual puppies, so here, have a pic of a happy corgi!



(Spotted on: PixGood)


On how I will be voting on the Hugo ballot this year

For the first time since 2007, Dara and I will be going to Worldcon. We’ve come out of the mire of the financial hits leveled at us by several consecutive years of medical crap, and moreover, the convention’s taking place in our home state. We can drive to it. Even better, I and several other authors in NIWA are banding together to run a table there. We’ve got books. We’re gonna sell ’em.

The thing that makes me sad and tired and wary, though, is what’s happened with the Hugo ballot this year.

As y’all may remember, since Dara and I semi-regularly post about this, there’s a broad ultra-right-wing conservative clique within SFdom. They’ve been up in arms lately because the wrong things have been winning Hugos. And by “wrong things”, I mean “things created by women, people of color, and queers”. They’ve pushed back against this with an organized rush to get things they consider acceptable onto the voting ballot.

And the particularly vile part of this: they’ve reached out to GamerGate to pull them in on these shenanigans. All in the name of getting additional recruits for their declared war on “social justice warriors”.

(About that phrase, by the way: I’m now ranking “social justice warrior” right alongside “political correctness” on the list of phrases that set my teeth on edge. I’ve said before that if the first words out of your mouth on any issue are “political correctness”, then you are part of the problem. Likewise, I here and now state for the record that if you are the sort of person to dismiss progressives and liberals as “social justice warriors”, you are going to have to work very, very hard to get me to respect and take seriously anything you have to say. Do not bank on your success in that regard.

Besides, me? Totally a social justice healer. But I digress.)

Dara has written up a comprehensive post on the matter, and what attendees of Worldcon can do about this to cut this and future Hugo shenanigans off at the pass, in the name of trying to keep the award from becoming entirely meaningless. Her recommendation: vote “No Award” on any category overloaded with the nominees from the voting bloc in question.

I will be following Dara’s recommendations, because it is deeply disheartening to me to see SFdom becoming, more and more, a microcosm of the same “us-vs-them”, toxic tribalism that has infected US culture in general. If you’re going to Worldcon too and therefore have the ability to vote on the Hugos, I encourage you to consider doing the same.