Via the books section of The Guardian: Hugo award nominees withdraw amid 'Puppygate' storm. Excerpt and then a comment:
Two authors have withdrawn their work from contention for the prestigious Hugo science fiction awards in the wake of what George RR Martin has called “Puppygate”, the controversy that has “plunged all fandom into war”.
Marko Kloos, whose novel Lines of Departure had been picked along with four other authors for the best novel Hugo – an award that counts Dune and Neuromancer among its former winners – announced on Wednesday that he had withdrawn his acceptance of the nomination. Annie Bellet, whose "Goodnight Stars" was a contender for best short story, also withdrew from the race.
Both writers had been included on a slate of titles pulled together by a group of right-leaning science fiction writers dubbing themselves the Sad Puppies, who had mobilised fans to pay for membership of Worldcon, enabling them to vote and thus flood the categories with their choices. Brad Torgersen, the author behind Sad Puppies, wanted to reverse what he called the Hugos’ favouring of works that were “niche, academic, overtly to the left in ideology and flavour, and ultimately lacking what might best be called visceral, gut-level, swashbuckling fun”.
But they were also on the slate for the so-called Rabid Puppies campaigners, led by the writer Theodore Beale, known online as Vox Day, an inflammatory far-right blogger who was expelled from the Science Fiction Writers of America following racist comments about the award-winning author NK Jemisin.
“It has come to my attention that Lines of Departure was one of the nomination suggestions in Vox Day’s ‘Rabid Puppies’ campaign,” wrote Kloos. “I cannot in good conscience accept an award nomination that I feel I may not have earned solely with the quality of the nominated work. I also wish to disassociate myself from the originator of the ‘Rabid Puppies’ campaign. To put it bluntly: if this nomination gives even the appearance that Vox Day or anyone else had a hand in giving it to me because of my perceived political leanings, I don’t want it. I want to be nominated for awards because of the work, not because of the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ politics.”
I've never really understood the point of such awards, except as a marketing gimmick. A good novel (especially an SF or fantasy novel) ought to challenge our vision of the world, not just agree with it–and that's regardless of whether we buckle our sashes to the right or the left. And whether a novel is really good depends on how long readers keep reading it, and discussing it.