It is incredibly sad that an award first awarded in 1955 has become such an embarrassment to the world of Science Fiction. First up, I think award ceremonies are ridiculous as a basic premise be it for little league or the Oscars. But award ceremonies are pervasive and insidious events that are here to stay even in the literary world.
In recent years there has been a cancer that has infected the Hugo Awards, political correctness at any cost. This cancer really came to my attention this year as my Twitter account exploded with outrage over the amount of categories in which there was no winner. Any member dues paying member of WorldCon can nominate a candidate for a particular category and then vote for the ultimate winner from a shortlist. Unfortunately, that short list has been carefully culled to represent the political values of the controlling clique of voting members. All integrity about the quality of the writing has disappeared from the award in favor of a left leaning political agenda. The whole debacle can best be summed in in one tweet.
There have been an incredible amount of stories, blogs, and opinion pieces on this years Hugo Awards. I’m not going to add to the copious amount of justification or vilification that has already been spewed on the subject. The award has been tainted, it’s nomination and receipt thereof rendered meaningless. Political agendas and the incessant need to cram that agenda down the throat of others is quickly rendering modern society a chorus of perpetually angry voices more intent of winning their argument than finding common ground.
What truly happened at this year’s Hugo’s was the destruction of any legitimacy of the once proud award and the future of the award. If we must have award ceremonies for literature and art then be honest about the intent. If you want to push a social agenda then name it something like “Social Justice Literary Award” or “Traditional Values Award”. A work of art, which is what the written word truly is, should be judged on its merit and not its political agenda.
Pushing social and political agendas in the written word has always existed, be they works of fiction or fact, they are called opinion pieces. Opinion pieces are propaganda and should be read as such. They have always existed and always will but propaganda isn’t worthy of an award. Literature with a viewpoint is fine but I’m tired of all the commotion and shouting. I just want to read good stories that are well written that aren’t trying to shove political agendas down my throat. I don’t care what your politics are, I have mine and you have yours.
Just stop the nonsense, if there must be award ceremonies and awards then award works of art that elevate the art form regardless of the politics of the artist.