‘Sad Puppies’ campaign fails to undermine sci-fi diversity at the Hugo Awards


The Hugo Awards were announced Saturday night in Spokane, Wash., and the “Sad Puppies” are even sadder.

The science fiction and fantasy awards are considered the greatest mark of fandom. This year’s awards nomination and voting process had been roiled by controversy due to a campaign by two groups calling themselves the “Sad Puppies” and the “Rabid Puppies” that have objected to racial, ethnic and gender diversity in science fiction.

The conservative activists, galvanized by the 2014 prizes, accused the Hugos of giving awards on the basis of political correctness and favoring authors and artists who aren’t straight, white and male. The Puppies successfully loaded slates for 2015 with books, stories and magazines they approved of -- mostly action-oriented tales that didn’t tackle social issues -- and urged fans to vote for them.


It didn’t work.

A huge influx of new voters declined to give awards to almost all the Puppies’ nominees (with the exception of the film “Guardians of the Galaxy”). In five categories that were comprised only of Puppy-endorsed authors and editors, voters chose “No award” rather than select a winner from the Puppy slate.

John Scalzi, a science fiction novelist and progressive who opposed the Puppies, told the Wall Street Journal that the awards were a victory for “good work.”

“A small group of people tried to game the awards for their own gain, and a vastly larger group of people who valued the integrity of the awards responded by choosing ‘No award’ over nominees they felt got on the ballot by gaming the system,” Scalzi said.

George R.R. Martin, the “Game of Thrones” creator and a multi-Hugo Award winner, had made predictions for the Hugos on his blog, writing that he expected the “Sad Puppies” and “Rabid Puppies” would not be successful.

“If the vote goes the way I am predicting, with a mix of slate and non-slate victors and a few No Awards where they were earned, I will applaud that as the best result we could have hoped for, and a victory for worldcon, fandom, and the Hugos themselves,” he wrote. “I hope at least a few of the more honest Puppies will have the integrity to admit the same.”

Author and “Rabid Puppies” organizer Theodore Beale, who writes under the name Vox Day, denied that the awards were a defeat for the Puppies. On his Twitter page, he wrote: “The scorched earth tactics of the SF SJWs proves that we are winning. This is a battle, it’s not the war. ... The SJWs in SF said they were going to send us a message. And we have heard it: ‘Bring MORE Puppies next year.’” (“SF” refers to “science fiction”; “SJWs” are “social justice warriors,” a derogatory term used to refer to political progressives.)


Author Laura J. Mixon, who won the award for best fan writer, used her acceptance speech to highlight the need for racial diversity in science fiction, Wired reported. The writer closed her speech with: “I stand with people from marginalized groups who seek simply to be seen as fully human. Black lives matter.”

The full list of winners is below.

Best novel: “The Three-Body Problem,” Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu

Best novella: No award

Best novelette: “The Day the World Turned Upside Down,” Thomas Olde Heuvelt, translated by Lia Belt

Best short story: No award

Best related work: No award

Best graphic story: “Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal,” written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt

Best dramatic presentation, long form: “Guardians of the Galaxy,” written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn

Best dramatic presentation, short form: “Orphan Black: By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried,” written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett

Best editor, short form: No award

Best editor, long form: No award

Best professional artist: Julie Dillon

Best semiprozine: Lightspeed magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner and Christie Yant

Best fanzine: Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Colin Harris, Alissa McKersie and Helen J. Montgomery

Best fancast: Galactic Suburbia Podcast, presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch

Best fan writer: Laura J. Mixon

Best fan artist: Elizabeth Leggett

John W. Campbell Award for best new writer: Wesley Chu