Voting has ended for this year's Hugo Awards. However, that doesn't mean the pups' Hugo positioning is anywhere near finished. As a result the genre is currently in a 1984-style doublespeak world where up is down and, most importantly, losing is being redefined as winning.
At least, that's my take of the latest comments from puppydom.
As has been reported at length, the main premise of the puppies' Hugo Award tantrum was that science fiction and fantasy had moved away from from the golden days of old. To quote puppy ringleader Brad Torgersen:
"The book has a spaceship on the cover, but is it really going to be a story about space exploration and pioneering derring-do? Or is the story merely about racial prejudice and exploitation, with interplanetary or interstellar trappings?
"There’s a sword-swinger on the cover, but is it really about knights battling dragons? Or are the dragons suddenly the good guys, and the sword-swingers are the oppressive colonizers of Dragon Land?"
For Torgersen and the other puppies, the original sin of today's science fiction and fantasy is that it's too political. That SF/F stories are no longer merely good yarns but also include lots of politics and deeper meaning and unsettling literary crap.
Which is completely inane, because genre fiction has always been political. And literary. And pulpy. And every type of story in between.
I mean, does this mean 1984 wasn't a true science fiction novel? Or that the countless other literary and political-themed novels which won the Hugo Award don't belong in our genre?
The answer to these questions should be obvious.
The problem for the puppies is they miscalculated about the outrage arising from their actions. As record numbers of people turned out to vote in the Hugos, the pups realized they'd overreached. It's one thing to organize block voting on a preliminary ballot which few people actually take part in. But not being humiliated by a vote of "No Award" when thousands of people are taking part — that's a much harder accomplishment.
Because of this some of the puppies are now saying that they want "No Award" to win. That this will prove their point about the Hugos. Adam-Troy Castro suspects a conspiracy theory. Others I've heard from wonder if this is part of the pups' long-term plan to destroy the SF/F genre.
I don't believe there's any conspiracy or long-term plan at work here. Instead, the pups are panicked. Their little protest has galvanized the genre against them. If anything, their support in the genre is weaker than it was before they began their Hugo campaign.
They know this. They won't admit it, but they know it.
At least, that's my take on the whining we're hearing from their doghouse.
We won't know the ultimate outcome of all this until the Hugo Awards are announced in a few weeks. But just because the pups say losing is now winning doesn't make is so. And no amount of 1984 doublespeak can change this truth.