So I wrote the other day about the speech guidelines for the upcoming Hugo Awards ceremony. Quite a few people in the genre have commented about the issue, including author and critic Ian Sales, who stated:
Really, Ian? I'm an American and the Worldcon is in Britain, so I simply have to "deal" with my concerns over these speech guidelines curtailing discussions of politics in our genre?
Just so no one misunderstands, Ian later states that he is clearly referring to free speech issues:
It's nice to believe that the science fiction and fantasy genres—and indeed, all of literature—are based on the free-flow of ideas and words. But this has never been true. There are certain people and themes and motifs and beliefs we are supposed to accept without questioning if we want to be a part of the genre, and likewise certain people and views who are not supposed to be a part of genre discussions. And if you dare to raise a point which the dominant genre voices disagree with, they simply dismiss your concerns as if what you're saying couldn't possibly matter.
That's what Ian Sales is doing by saying that free speech is a US argument. He is too smart a writer and critic to be dismissing views like this, but there he is, still dismissing away.
As Damien Walter said in response to Ian's comments, this year's Hugo Award speech guidelines "seem to be about stopping an embarrassing scene" when the genre might need just such a scene because of the issues we're dealing with.
So true. Sometimes the genre needs a scene. Unfortunately, the scene many in the genre want is merely more of the same old same old.