One of the most coveted awards in literary history, particularly in the genre of science fiction is the Hugo Award for Best Novel. This award has been given out every year since 1953, especially after the holding of the annual World Science Fiction Convention or WorldCon. For 2015, the winners announced were Katherine Addison for ?The Goblin Emperor?, Kevin J. Anderson for ?The Dark Between the Stars?, Jim Butcher for ?Skin Game?, Marko Kloos for ?Lines of Departure? and Ann Leckie for ?Ancilliary Sword?.
In a report from the Guardian, one of the most respected science fiction writers, George RR Martin, has called out the awards, saying that a group of right wing science fiction writers have ?broken? the award?s integrity.
A further uproar was felt throughout the science fiction community when the newest winners of the award were said to be closely aligned with a group called ?Sad Puppies?. The conservative themed group has made it a mission to combat what they called the Hugo?s tendency to reward ?literary? and ?ideological? titled work.
There have been other critics, who took to Twitter to ventilate their thoughts on the whole controversy. Amongst them were Catherine Lundoff and Joe Abercrombie as well as Stanislava D. Kohut.
As for the so-called Sad Puppies, their main proponent is Brad R. Togersen together with Larry Correia. Togersen explains, ?(The Hugo Awards) are skewed more and more toward literary (as opposed to entertainment) works which have barely have any science fictional or fantastic content in them.?
This was seconded by Correia, who said, ?This is just one little battle in an ongoing culture war between artistic free expression and puritanical bullies who think they represent ?real? fandom. In the long term, I want writers to be free to write whatever they want without fear of social justice witch hunts, I want creators to not have to worry about silencing themselves to appease the perpetually outraged.?
The conflict has become messy, according to a report from www.avclub.com. One challenge to the position of the Sad Puppies, penned by Charlie Jane Anders of io9 said, ?But this year?s list of nominees seems to herald the beginning of the Hugos becoming ?political? in the sense that each ?side? will have its own recommended slate of nominees. People won?t get to spend months chewing over the best things they read in the previous year and grappling with their own consciences about what to nominate ? instead, each side will have to decide early on which standard-bearers to double down on.?
Image courtesy of Creative Commons contributor Mark Shalcross.