I know I’m a bit late commenting on the Hugo awards, but the recent Hugo awards controversy annoyed me enough I wanted to comment with my own super controversial opinion on the Hugo awards. I apologize before I tell you because I know that it’s going to surprise and possibly upset some people, but the award for the best science fiction story, novel, etc should go to the, wait for it… Best story.
Basically what I’m saying is that most of the people involved in the argument are wrong regardless of which side you’re on (though I’ll admit if it makes you feel better that some are more wrong than others). If you’re voting for people instead of the work of fiction they wrote you’re wrong. I can understand not voting for someone if you really dislike them simply because you don’t want to support them. But voting for someone because they are a white male, a black Hispanic woman or an aboriginal Australian when you don’t believe their story is the best is just wrong and it doesn’t really matter why you’re doing it. Ignore the author and vote for the story you like the best. That’s what the award is for.
There are plenty of authors around who make fantastic work who I wouldn’t want to spend time with. H. P. Lovecraft wrote some of my favorite horror stories and he’s a racist who couldn’t live in New York because there were too many minorities. I’ve heard stories that Isaac Asimov wasn’t easy to be around, A lot of people dislike Orson Scott Card for reason’s I won’t get into here and anyone who has been around science fiction has heard stories of Harlan Ellison but Nightfall, Ender’s Game and City on the Edge of Forever are still fantastic stories even if you dislike the author. (I’m also aware of the issues around City on the Edge of Forever and have looked at both versions.)
I have no problem with people putting together a list of stories that they think are the best though it seems clear that isn’t going to be a good idea. I’m also very pleased that more minorities and women are writing science fiction. Part of the reason I read science fiction is to see the world from the point of view of people who see it different from me. And if they write the best science fiction story in their respective categories they deserve to win, but honestly anyone who votes for them because they are a minority or a woman when they don’t believe it’s the best story is voting wrong.
So that’s basically it. My controversial opinion about the Hugo Awards is that the rabid people on both sides of this are idiots. If I heard someone saying that women or minorities shouldn’t be involved in science fiction I’d have a hard time not punching them in the face. It’s 2015 and we are supposed to be past that type of thing. But I really don’t feel much better about the people on the opposite extreme. If you won’t vote for someone just because they are a white male then there is no difference at all. If you assume someone is racist because they disagree about what the best story then you need to consider that they might just like something different than you and that’s O.K. and if you vote for someone who didn’t write the best story to make a political point you’re helping to prove the people on the other side right.
Overall I really hope that in the next years the Hugo can return to an award that is about the best in science fiction stories and not about who is writing those stories because in the past I have always enjoyed the ability to read some very good stories and get a feeling for the state of science fiction. Honestly, in a perfect world I would love to have people read the stories without knowing who the authors were, but that isn’t feasible so people just need to get over it and vote for the best story so I have something good to read.