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Who Won Science Fiction's Hugo Awards, and Why It Matters


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Science Fiction and Fantasy are now a giant industry thanks to Hollywood... but let's not forget that this econoic powerhouse came out of a SUPER NERDY little cliquish group that met at "cons". That is why everyone should care about the recent unpleasantness at the Huge Awards.

One thing that comes out of this story is that George R. R. Martin is a prince among men.

He really is:

Martin, the son of a longshoreman, rejects the idea that anyone has been excluded from the Hugos for not being either highbrow or politically correct enough. But just being popular shouldn’t be enough to win, he told me on the second day of Sasquan. “The reward for popularity is popularity! It’s truckloads of money! Do you need the trophy, too?” he said as we sat in his hotel room overlooking the convention center and the Spokane River. “Can’t the trophy go to the guy who sells 5,000 copies but is doing something innovative?”

I didn't realize that the Hugo's Puppygate is another manifestation of the culture wars:

Consider: A woman named Adria Richards Twitter-shames two white dudes for cracking off-color jokes at PyCon, a tech developer conference (and then is fired and fields murder threats). GamerGate makes a political movement out of threatening with rape any woman who has the temerity to offer an opinion about a videogame. A certain strain of comic book fan goes apoplectic whenever Captain America gets replaced with a black man or Thor gets replaced with a woman. This is more than just hatred of change: When Thor once got replaced by a frog (yes, that really happened) no one uttered a peep (or a ribbit).

The Culture Wars are raging at the highest levels (and all corners) of American society. Substitute weaponry for verbiage, and this could easily be the stuff of a sci-fi novel.

Now, in the same year that the so-called mens’ rights movement was driven into a froth by Mad Max: Fury Road, in which Charlize Theron seeks to rescue a bunch of women from sex slavery (and Max is little more than a sidekick), another flashpoint emerged: Puppygate.

A set of truly qualified literary expert judges would elevate the importance of awards like these.

...or is the point of these awards that the fans should have a say?

It's what is done for movie festival like the Cannes Festival, the main prizes like the Golden Palm are awarded by a jury of international renown artists (from all the kind of arts that can be used in movie making).

True.

In any case it's fascinating that SciFi is so much more mainstream now than it used to be.

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