It’s been awhile since I jumped into something head first, but frankly, this time I have to. If you’re like me, and I know probably most of you are, you don’t catch all of the news that journalists, newscasters and bloggers throw at us daily. I mean c’mon if you had the time to sit and glean through every single article, every snippet of data and buzzword, you wouldn’t have a life and you’d probably be broke. Which we can’t have happen. That’s why I make posts like this one: Through My Eyes, is just that, a review, a discussion, a glimpse into what I am thinking about a subject, and today’s is a doozie! #SadPuppies & The Hugo Awards.
Maybe you’ve seen this logo on a Science Fiction or Fantasy novel you’ve purchased and read. The Hugo Award is one of the most well known, and prestigious awards for sci-fi/fantasy authors. Think of it as the Grammy for those writers. For a long time diversity has been pretty lacking in the genre. Even today you could still say that the representation of authors is not that diverse. Walk down the isle at your local Barnes & Noble and note the names: Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, George R. R. Martin, R. A. Salvatore. The field has been dominated by men for a very, very long time. For the past several decades, there has been an influx of women authors into the genre. Skilled, talented writers like Jacqueline Carey, J.K. Rowling, Shanna Germain and Suzanne Collins have done wonders for breaking into this, mostly male-dominated, genre.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the blame for this doesn’t lie within the laps of these authors (male or female). It is not Robert Jordan’s fault that he writes such breathtaking, imaginative works like The Wheel of Time series. In fact, this isn’t about laying blame at all. It’s about people who have dreams and a desire to share their art, taking the steps to break into a genre and do so. For quite some time, that is exactly what has been happening. Writers have been taking Science Fiction & Fantasy and telling their stories to those of us who love the genres.
Why are you all worked up then? This is a good thing right? That brings us to the crux of this post. A group called #SadPuppies and one of their ringleaders in particular, Brad R. Torgerson. One of the things that is sad (perhaps the real reason they are called the Sad Puppies) is when someone cannot appreciate a change in their particular circle. With this influx of new blood to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, a group of writers and fans has banned together to attempt to thwart what they consider a leftist conspiracy to insert minority issues such as gay and transgender topics, sexism and feminism. The worst part of this, they succeeded because no one was really paying attention.
I am guilty here. One of the first things I learned in the military was to stand up and say when I am wrong. Frankly, I am in the wrong here. As a writer I haven’t been as involved in the community as I should have, as a reader, I have allowed my narrow tastes to keep me from experiencing other writers. The great thing about admitting when I am wrong, it shows me what I can do to fix it. Now, how did these Sad Puppies succeed? They did it by following the rules. They got their friends, their fans, and other writers together. They made sure they had people paying for membership to vote in the Hugo awards and those people voted.
Which really means, those of us who find those topics to be of vital importance failed. I can tell you now, that next year, come the time for Nominations I will not sit idly by while a group of people who don’t understand one of Charles Darwin’s famous quotes, attempt to suppress the amazing stories of awesome writers.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, but rather, that which is most adaptable to change.”