The Hugo Awards have, rather unusually, gotten themselves into the news recently. I’ve not paid much attention to the issue, but what *seems* to have happened is a leftward lurch in the nominations and awards over the last few years, with conservative-leaning authors being excluded; and so this year there have been efforts by right-leaning groups to game the system. I dunno. I don’t think I’ve ever paid ten seconds attention to the Hugo awards… or indeed *any* awards. The reason is simple: I ain’t winnin’… I ain’t carin’.
But the Hugo are all over the blogosphere these days, so what the hell, I paid ten seconds worth of attention. Now, it should come as little surprise that my idea of Good Science Fiction is the likes of Heinlein, Murray Leinster, Poul Anderson, Brin, Benford, Allen Steele, Niven & Pournelle, Piper, L. Neil Smith. Entertaining yarns with good dialogue, characters, plot and at least a passing knowledge of basic science. I’m nearly done with “Leviathan Wakes,” and it certainly has my seal of approval. All of these can, and often do, cover social issues of their day, as well as the issues raised by the science and tech suggested. What the current crop of Hugo fighting seems to be about is that recent nominations have apparently leaned hard in the direction of “social justice issue that the author uses as a club.” Basically, Ayn Rand in reverse.
Well, one title that was nominated for a Hugo in 2014 and won a Nebula in 2013, and has been mentioned by several commenters regarding *why* the new “reactionary” force popped up to take over the Hugos, is the short piece “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky. You can read the whole thing HERE; it’s not very long.
I had but one reaction to reading this apparently really popular award-winning science fiction story:
Not my cup of tea. And that’s fine, lots of people like lots of stuff that I don’t. But not only is this “story” a Social Justice Bludgeon of the most blatant kind… I have trouble seeing it as a *story,* much less a *science* *fiction* story.
“Dinosaur” lost in 2014 to “The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere” by John Chu. Here’s the synopsis via Wiki:
Some weeks prior to the beginning of the story, an unexplained phenomenon begins worldwide: whenever a person lies, water falls on that person from nowhere. Consequently, Matt decides that the time is right to not only come out to his traditional Chinese family, but to introduce them to his partner.
You can read it HERE. I defy you to point out how it’s *science* *fiction.* The basic premise is that if you tell a lie, water magically appears and rains on you, even indoors; the more untrue the lie, the greater the downpour to the point where it can drown you if you try to breathe. This is *magic,* not SF. But even so… if such a thing were to occur, the better story to tell would not revolve around a couple random nobodies and their romantical issues… it’s how the California drought was resolved *overnight.* How politicians can’t give a speech on TV anymore. How society more or less collapses in panic over the sudden appearance of undeniable supernatural miracles. How jihadis realize that they don’t need to sneak bombs and blades onboard jetliners when they can simply tell a lie or two and add a few dozen metric tons per person to the mass of the craft and cause it to crash. The tens of thousands who freeze to death in the winter because they were standing too close to someone else and got soaked. How the ISS *exploded* when the additional volume of water caused the pressure to spike within the hab modules. How NASA comes to make use of that, and how the Moon and Mars are made into warm and livable terraformed worlds. How nuclear powered spacecraft can ply the spacelanes with ease, requiring no great propellant tanks, just a few crewmen willing to tell the occasional whopper. But no.
I guess I can kinda see how people who take sci-fi awards seriously could get kinda jumpy about these things.