“We have cleared Space Doors . . .”
By now you’ll have gotten word that Sasquan, the 73rd annual World Science Fiction Convention, has officially released the 2015 Hugo awards final ballot. It’s a done deal. Set in stone. These are the nominees selected via democratic process — with a record 2,100+ nominating ballots! — for your review, during the 2015 Hugo awards season. We at SP3 offer our hearty congratulations to all of the authors, editors, and artists included. The Hugo is the most venerable touchstone of the field of Science Fiction & Fantasy. We’re glad to see that this year’s ballot is unusually cosmopolitan in its composition, featuring numerous veteran authors and editors, as well as many new authors and editors who are adding their unique flavor to the field as a whole.
It was both a duty and an honor to be able to shine a light on the path to this final ballot. Each and every individual on this ballot has poured his/her heart and soul into the individual works. It’s refreshing to see so many names (from across the spectrum of the field) being engraved into the history of the Hugo, for the very first time. Likewise, it’s a treat to observe the many announcements now being released on social media — a celebration of achievement that is well-earned and well-deserved!
Now, obviously, no Hugo ballot ever arrives without controversy. With limited slots per category, the ballot cannot encompass everything that the field is. Each year the Hugo is a slit-lens peak at what the members of WSFS believe to be the best representative works and people, for the year prior. Many worthy works and people will have missed the cutoff. Not for lack of fan enthusiasm per se, but mainly because not everyone can vote for everything at the same time. But it’s precisely because not everyone can vote for everything at the same time, that SP3 decided to proactively and strongly suggest a roster which would — we hoped — give WSFS something different to pick from. A bit like adding a new table of steam trays at a buffet. To give people a new group of choices, from which to fill their respective “plates” during the nomination period.
“You do this, you’ll never sit in the captain’s chair again . . .”
For our efforts, Sad Puppies 3 has endured a lot of criticism. We were warned we were breaking the rules — though no rules have been violated. We were also told that we were defying the “natural order” of things, by people who consider themselves gatekeepers of the field, and deciders of what the “natural order” is supposed to look like. Now, personally, I am an Army man, so I know all about protocol and procedure. But I also know that there are times when the spirit of the law has to trump the letter of the law. And in point of fact, no law has been broken. At worst, we merely re-programmed the simulation so as to see if we could effect a different, positive outcome.
Did we blunt a few beaks along the way? You bet. That was unavoidable. Especially considering the fact that some of our critics have themselves (in the past) been very adept at operating “quiet” campaigns within WSFS. SP3’s chief difference being a) we did it honestly and openly, while b) inviting the entirety of the SF/F professional and fan world to spectate and participate.
We still maintain that the Hugos ought to not be the personal plaything of a small group of taste-makers or industry-insider personnel. We’ve been amused by the fact that some of the sharpest anti-SP3 barbs have come from a particular industry insider who recently lost her standing with a major publisher. It seems the near-predestined course of events . . . hasn’t worked out the way this insider expected them to. We understand her frustration, without necessarily sympathizing. SP3 doesn’t want to replace one set of inevitabilities, with another set. Rather, we’d like to scuttle the entire concept of the inevitable. Get rid of the taste-makers. Liberate the award. Some folks are objecting strongly to this. Others are cheering us on like crazy.
Whatever the case, SP3 is again proud to see so many deserving individuals and works on the 2015 ballot. We hope everyone enjoys reading and reviewing the voter packet which will soon be distributed! It’s going to be a great summer!