Vox Day and the Hugos – Why We Should Just Say No.

Vox Day and the Hugos – Why We Should Just Say No.

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Trigger Warning: Racism, sexism, homophobia, rape apologism, some truly heinous stuff. Approach with caution.

Today, the Hugo Award nominations were released. Given how strong a year it was in science fiction as well as for fandom activity, the finalists are ultimately a strong and diverse bunch, although there are notable exclusions. The lack of YA, for example, is glaring given how well science-fiction driven stories have fared in the category recently. Still, there was much to celebrate. Ann Leckie’s universally adored debut Ancillary Justice was nominated for best novel, as was Parasite by Mira Grant, the pseudonym of Seanan McGuire, making this her 4th consecutive nomination at the Hugos. Fan writers such as Mark Oshiro, Foz Meadows and the wonderful Book Smugglers also received much deserved acknowledgement for the great work they’ve put in, and we’re delighted for them all.

And then there’s Vox Day.

Theodore Beale, known best by his pseudonym of Vox Day, is a science-fiction writer and a bigot. He has described homosexuality as a “birth defect” and that others must “help them achieve sexual normality”, claims that “it is absurd to imagine that there is absolutely no link between race and intelligence” and says there is no such thing as marital rape. When author N.K. Jemisin (a woman of colour) called him out in a speech she gave at Continuum in Melbourne, Day responded in terms I can only describe as abhorrent:

“It is not that I, and others, do not view [Jemisin] as human, (although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens), it is that we simply do not view her as being fully civilized for the obvious historical reason that she is not… The laws [Stand Your Ground Laws’ are not there to let whites “just shoot people like me, without consequence, as long as they feel threatened by my presence”, those self-defense laws have been put in place to let whites defend their lives and their property from people, like her, who are half-savages engaged in attacking them.”

There you have it. Vox Day dismisses a woman of colour and calls her an uncivilized half-savage who shouldn’t be surprised when she’s shot. This man is a sexist, racist homophobe rape apologist who has the gall to claim he is a victim while dragging good people like Jemisin through the mud for daring to call out his bigotry.

He’s also just been nominated for best novelette at this year’s Hugo Awards.

This man ran to be president of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) and 10% of that organisation’s voters were fine with nominating him. He was eventually expelled from the group, although as this Hugo nomination shows, clearly there is still some level of support for him.

I fully understand the uncomfortable paradox that comes with being a fan of something or someone that is extremely problematic, to say the least. This is nothing new to publishing itself, let alone science-fiction. Orson Scott-Card, anyone? Some of us have the ability to bridge that gap and turn off our brains, allowing us to enjoy the art separate from the artist. However, that’s not what’s going on here. This is essentially the sci-fi community validating the heinous words and actions of Day, even as they took active steps to say No to his bigotry. This is rewarding a man who viciously verbally attacked a woman of colour by implying she should be shot because oh look he’s such a good writer.

This is not on.

There’s only one way to deal with people like Day, who see themselves as above basic human decency, and that is to cut them out of the community like a tumour. Shun them, ignore them, no-platform the hell out of them. Our conventions, our fanzines, our anthologies, our community is not open to people whose racist arguments could have come straight from the mouths of slave-owners.

To do anything less is an insult to those who attacks those who we claim to be allies of.

 

110 COMMENTS

  1. Yep. Shunning with extreme prejudice is really the only proper response. I would never suggest that someone like Vox Day should not be allowed to speak. I WOULD say that no self-respecting person or organization should give him a platform or promote his work, let alone nominate him for an award.

  2. I have sat through WSFS meetings and, unlike other organizations I’ve dealt with, they are very serious about following their own rules, even if they don’t like them. To exclude Theodore Beale from Hugo nominations would require changing the rules of how the Hugos operate. It’s been done before and I’m sure will be done again, so have at it.

    • The SFWA had no trouble ignoring their rules and even making things up to reach the result they wanted. This is the future we all want?

      • Indeed. The Leftists should be warned that they will reap what they sow. The leftists ignore the rules, they shouldn’t be surprised when the laws they pass are ignored by their opponents (see Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and all the heavily armed and armored militiamen that came to his defense. The Fed SWAT was forced to stand down. There will be more of this as Pax Americana declines.)

        • do what? I love it when Right wingers get mad because they experience what freethinkers used to get hanged and burned at the stake for, I mean hard right wing people actually did do that, it’s a wonder the literati don’t want more of that in the Sci-Fi they publish since that would mean promoting ideas they don’t support in the medium, except, righties do the same stuff and whine when it happens to them. And Clive Bundy makes your martyr list you are total fool to being with.

          • To be clear: Beale used an SFWA channel to broadcast a violent racist screed against a colleague. Up to that point, however offensive his comments were, in private SFWA fora or elsewhere, we tolerated his repugnant presence. He has the undoubted right to hold and propagate whatever damnable opinions he chooses. He does not have the right to associate us with them, and nothing in any set of Rules says he does.

  3. Want to write longer comment but jaw dropped too far, blocking keyboard. What in the actual hell? I’m dumbfounded that a genre that helps open minds thrive can also attract such horrible people.

    • I know and agree with you completely. It’s insane that some people want to restrict books and clamp down on speech based on the author’s political views — it’s straight out of the era of the Hollywood blacklist. I hope Ceilidh realizes what a dark, scary road she’s embarked on.

  4. “I WOULD say that no self-respecting person or organization should give him a platform or promote his work, let alone nominate him for an award.”

    And yet… we did.

    We tried to strike him down and he has come back stronger than ever. The more we shun and mock him, the more followers he gains. He engaged John Scalzi and won (we can’t deny he has more website hits than before the fight–numbers don’t lie). This is like telling people not to rubberneck at an auto accident.

    The worst part of it is… what if he is actually writing well enough to justify the award? What if he did, in fact, write the best novellette this year? What if he deserves that Hugo? We either give it to someone we despise or we vote in someone who wrote something that was not, in fact, the best. Our award is soiled no matter what we do.

    We are going to lose to people like him.

    • So everyone must follow a specific line of beliefs to be part of the club? No wonder you feel you will lose. Quite an exclusive club. “Believe what you want, as long as it is what we want you to believe.”

      His beliefs are certainly at odd with many values, but many of you might try reading them rather than just piling on them without really seeing what is said.

      How funny that we have come from the “I disagree with you but I will fight for the right to say it” to “You have to believe a certain way or you are _____.” (Fill in the blank with whatever horrible terms are the favorite today.)

      • Apparently, Correia thinks so. Why else would he have put Vox Day on the “Sad Puppy Hugo Slate”? Why else would people have VOTED for Vox Day, other than personal loyalty?

        • I’ve been a Worldcon voter for I think 15 or 16 years and been to about a half-dozen [Japan was amazing]. I was one of the people who nominated Coreia’s slate because I like Theo Beale/Vox Day’s work immensely.

          There is not a whole heck of a lot of work in the space that deals with a middle-earth like world – with different races living together – that explores religion in a realistic way. The religions of most fantasy worlds ring hollow and non-congruent to actual people of faith. Vox Day’s works in his fictional Selenoth world are detailed and treat religion with a depth that I’ve not noticed in really any other authors in the space. Something unique and valuable, at least to my eyes.

          • “His fictional Selenoth world” seems like “Middle Ages Christendom + OMG ELVES!” So the religion struck me as less “deep” than “cribbed.” Which is fine in fiction, but the depth of the world seems to be the primary non-political justification for the work’s nomination as ONE OF THE BESTEST THINGS EVAR (2014 EDITITITION).

            So the whole thing leaves me scratching my head. It’s badly written and pretentious, the storyline is nearly non-existent, and it kind of beats you over the head with trite messages. I *thought* “don’t write boring ‘message fiction'” was Larry Correia’s Cardinal Rule of Writing. But it turns out he’s blown away by “boring message fiction,” so long as he agrees with the message. “Don’t write boring message fiction” was really just Correia’s custom-built truncheon for beating liberals over the head.

    • “what if he is actually writing well enough to justify the award? What if he did, in fact, write the best novellette this year?”

      I’ve been struggling to read through “Opera Vita Aeterna,” Vox’s Hugo Award-nominated novelette.

      Just typing that made my fingers bleed a little. But trust me, this is bad, bad writing. It’s a storyless mess, stiflingly dull, pompous, pseudo-erudite, and humorless. I was initially curious because a few people had compared it to Game of Thrones, which is true in the sense that there are way more people, places, and societies/organizations/sects than a reader can comfortably keep track of.

      The highest praise I can give “Opera Vita Aeterna” is that it doesn’t require a trigger warning. Which is more than I can say for Vox himself.

    • “The worst part of it is… what if he is actually writing well enough to justify the award?”

      May I quote the second sentence of the novelette?

      “The pallid sun was descending, its ineffective rays no longer sufficient to hold it up in the sky or to penetrate the northern winds that gathered strength with the whispering promise of the incipient dark.”

      It may win, place or show in the Bulwer-Lytton Contest, but I don’t think there’s any danger of his writing being good enough to actually win a Hugo. This nomination was a stunt, and was in no way based on the quality of the writing. The prose is awful and tedious, there’s no actual character development (or actual, fleshed-out characters at all), no emotion, no drama, no STORY. It’s basically a religious screed, and not in the least bit a gripping one. I read it because I wanted to fairly judge all of the nominated works on their own merit, but if it were not for the manufactured controversy and cries of “YOU DIDN’T GIVE IT A FAIR CHANCE!” I would have tossed it aside after that second sentence. That’s not a sentence that’s part of any Hugo Award-winning story. That’s rubbish.

  5. It is one thing to read literature (in any genre) that includes racist, bigoted, or homophobic characters. After all, we know they do exist and a story requires both a protagonist and at least one antagonist in order to function. It’s probably not even necessary that this “bad person” be somehow “saved” or “deleted” at the end of the story. Clearly Voldemort continued on for 6 more books, and Snape…the great mystery…was there till the end too. However, it is quite another thing to deal with authors who not only believe those positions but make public comments regarding them, and in the process, denigrating others. This guy needs to understand his personal attacks are not welcome, both within the SFWA and in society in general.

    • They say that SF is the Literature of “If”. Every SF story can, in a sense, be construed as a long-form answer to the question “What if…?”

      What if… a sophisticated computer could think, feel, and act like a human?

      What if… a stowaway on a spaceship became subject to the cold equations of reality?

      What if… a human boy were raised on Mars by Martians?

      And: What if… Vox Day, and the “bigots”, “homophobes”, “anti-feminists”, and “right-wingers” turn out to have been right after all?

      We readers of speculative fiction have no trouble imagining a world in which faster-than-light travel, telepathy, and artificial intelligence are become real. As SF fans, we must likewise allow ourselves to speculate about a positive future in which the human race returns to its traditional racial, erotic, sexual, and social structures. To fail in this is to destroy our own credibility as open-minded people.

      • ” As SF fans, we must likewise allow ourselves to speculate about a positive future in which the human race returns to its traditional racial, erotic, sexual, and social structures.”

        Isn’t that something Handmaid’s Tale already did (and rather competently at that) ?

  6. One question, has anyone read the story in question? I’ve heard a number of criticisms of the author, but none of the writing.

    • I don’t think that an author who calls fellow authors subhuman deserves to have his work judged on it’s own merit.

      • Carol, they don’t even read the comments, let a alone the books. Andrew is a perfect example. He thinks Vox stated that Jemisin is sub-human. The truth is that Vox’s statement indicated that HE is sub-human when compared to Jemisin, although a more civilized sub-human.

    • I’ve not read the story in question but I’ve read some of his other stories.
      Here’s a sample of A Throne of Bones:
      “The dead goblin didn’t have any answers for him, and the gaping mouth gaping loosely open made it look about as stupid as Forex was feeling”

      here’s another sample.
      “The guide was very nearly as unfriendly as a dwarf too, the man who was presently calling himself Nicolas thought, vaguely annoyed at his inability to crack the man’s reserve.”

      that’s my riposte to Vox.

      • For comparison, a sample of yamamanama’s writing:

        “I heard you walking around up there, and I couldn’t really see you. Thought you were Selinian, or worse, Pannonian agents. I’m Cantianilla, by the way. Cantianilla Vasilescu, if you were wondering. Veridiana told me to wear it with pride because it’s part of who we are, for better and worse. I’m not sure but for what it’s worth, there’s a lot of people with that kind of family name, Vasilescu and Gavrilescu and Stefanescu and a bunch of other people with -escu at the end. Mine reminds me of basilisks. Do you know what a basilisk is? There’s a folktale about a feathered lizard that can turn a man to stone with its gaze. But maybe I’m mixing them up with dinosaurs. Those were real, but they didn’t have a petrifying glare or anything. I see you know Anysia. So, what are your names, wayfarers?”

  7. I don’t think the question of separating the work from the creator isn’t as cut-and-dried as all that. It’s easier to accept things which are historical — I don’t really have a problem with enjoying Wagner’s operas, or Shakespeare’s plays, but the conflict is there. And then we get to the more recent things like Orson Scott Card, which feels a lot more personal to many of us, since, well, he’s still RIGHT THERE telling many of us that we shouldn’t exist.

    But Vox Day is in a category all by himself. I wouldn’t blame anybody for still loving ENDER’S GAME, but not giving “Opera Vita Aeterna” a chance.

    I also strongly suspect that, given how poorly he writes online, the story may not actually be worthy of nomination in the first place by quality alone. Still, if I were voting this year, I’d feel obligated to read it, and vote based on its inherent quality.

    But I wouldn’t blame anybody else for making a different choice.

  8. > There’s only one way to deal with people like Day, who see themselves as above basic human decency, and that is to cut them out of the community like a tumour. Shun them, ignore them, no-platform the hell out of them.

    That was the theory behind expelling him from SFWA, right?

    Well, that certainly worked out well.

    Might want to work on coming up with a second way there.

    • Literary merit?

      I could bet my beagle drunk, and he could still write better and more clearly than this racist scumsucker.

  9. “I fail to see how a writer’s politics has anything to do with the literary merit of his work.”

    Really, I’m sure George Orwell or William Golding or Iain M Banks or Stephen King or Harry Harrison or Ray Bradbury, to list a few off the top of my head, might disagree.

    • “I’m sure George Orwell or William Golding or Iain M Banks or Stephen King or Harry Harrison or Ray Bradbury, to list a few off the top of my head, might disagree.”

      Why would they? He’s in no position of power where he can force his view of things to become reality, is he? Does he seek such a position of power? If not, and from what I can tell he is not, he’s merely writing stories. But let’s say you’re right, and they would disagree with my statement. So what? I could probably pull other names out that would not disagree, and all we’d be doing is trading arguments from authority.

      Regardless, the operative question in this circumstance is whether those stories (or really that one particular story) are any good or not. If good, it ought to get a vote, regardless of our opinion of the man who produced it. If not, not.

    • I’m sure, Stephen King — being as he is, a liberal’s liberal, who thinks that only people with low IQs join the military — would certainly disagree. Of course his politics conform to the litterati.

      • Is that a claim King actually made, or something you happen to extrapolate from his writing ?

        Because I don’t think that military characters in King’s fiction have any notable intelligence handicap compared to “average horror novel character”

  10. I fail to see how his personal politics has anything to do with his writing. The 1st amendment protects speech (writing) we don’t like as much as that we do. I’m more than capable of working with someone I find morally reprehensible, as I currently living in a country with a president I feel the same way about. So what difference does it make what he says. If the writing is liked, like the writing.

    It’s about time we grow up and stop trying to force others to dislike someone we dislike. You are not the morality police. Thank the gods we don’t have one of those (yet). If he gets enough votes, he wins. That means his work was the best. How is anyone else diminished by this result?

    • It seems you need a primer on the First Amendment:
      https://xkcd.com/1357/

      As the Hugo voting process is not controlled by the government, the First Amendment does not apply. Freedom of speech does not provide freedom from responsibility. Mr. Day is fully at liberty to publish whatever sort of horrible bigotry he may wish in his novels. Anyone with a scrap of human decency is equally at liberty to say that we should not honor such a person with one of the most prestigious awards in SFF literature.

      • Anyone who cites that XKCD comic, I ask two questions:

        1) So were you for or against the boycott of the Dixie Chicks about a decade ago?

        2) So does that mean the Hollywood Blacklist was cool?

        As for me, Vox Day may be despicable. That’s beside the point. I am sacred that political correctness is metastasizing from the universities and into the real world as the thin skinned graduate and seek to impose their intolerance elsewhere. So no were are looking at a society where if you fail to tow the party line absolutely people will seek to destroy you. The First Amendment is important, but I want a culture of free speech where society knows that sticks and stones may break our bones but even argumentum ad hominem will never hurt us.

        VD may be an asshole, but the right to be an asshole is an underrated freedom.

        • 1) I defended the right to boycott the Dixie Chicks, even as I said I thought it was stupid and, honestly, it made me pay more attention to their music than I otherwise would have, so in that sense it backfired.

          2) The Hollywood blacklist, on the other hand, was being imposed by the House Unamerican Affairs Committee, even if in an informal way, simply by ‘we will arrest and target you for working with these people, even if we have no proof they ever did anything wrong or illegal’. I mean, you can try to argue that it was ‘voluntary’, but how voluntary is it really to be told ‘we will arrest and interrogate you and possibly freeze your assets or throw you in jail if you associate with these people’? That absolutely /was/ the government trying to censor people and cover it up by doing it at one remove.

          I would also point out that what we’ve found more and more is that yes, words really /can/ hurt you. There are lots of different ways they can hurt. Often times they hurt more and longer and more deeply than just being punched does. The fact that the damage is harder to see with the naked eye doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. And only someone who have lived a life of incredible privilege would resort to that particular phrase. Because really, at the end of the day, privilege is getting to ignore those words and what they means about society because it doesn’t affect you personally. Broken bones heal more easily than broken souls or spirits or hearts. And if the only kind of damage you recognize is physical, then I want you nowhere near me or anyone I care about.

          • “I would also point out that what we’ve found more and more is that yes, words really /can/ hurt you.”

            Citation needed.
            Current studies are remarkably inconclusive (especially if you don’t forget the causation!=correlation rule)

            P.S.:
            And you can’t break a soul because that isn’t a thing that even exists beyond the realm of fantasy (heart you can break, preferably with a thin, sharp object)

      • Let’s not confuse what he says in his blog, with the content of his fiction. And really, do you actually have an “acid test” for every author that you read? And if so, will this extend to CEOs of company’s whose products you buy? Slippery slope, IMO.

    • “The 1st amendment protects speech (writing) we don’t like as much as that we do.”

      You should probably read the xkcd on the First Amendment thanks: http://xkcd.com/1357/

      He can write whatever he wants, and we get to say that he’s a horrible human being that shouldn’t be supported. We get to criticize him, not read his work, and stand up and say, “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t be encouraging awful racist douchebags by giving them awards.” The government isn’t involved so the First Amendment has literally NOTHING to do with it.

      • Actually, I really don’t need to. I do not require an internet meme to understand the meeting of freedom and liberty. If that was your primer, that is rather sad. I would suggest you open a book and read the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers to be come better educated.

        By establishing the 1st Amendment the founders made sure that the government would have no ability to stop free speech. This ensures that narrow minded fools in the private sector cannot take their petty little emotionally driven egos to the state and then have people silenced.

        If you don’t understand that the 1st Amendment guaranteeing free political speech is the very reason that we have things like facebooks, and millions of other books available at our finger tips (many written by reprehensible asshats like Mr. Vox), then you really don’t grasp even the basics, and I am sorry for your.

  11. Some writers should be locked in their closets with a typewriter….and fed through a mail slot. But unless WSFS is going to take away awards from authors that have engaged in domestic and sexual assault (DB & HE), yet won Hugos, I don’t see that engaging in boorish speech ought to be disqualifying.

  12. As abhorrent as I find this man and his opinions, I believe that his stories should stand or fall on their own merits. Should he win, it should be made clear that it is the story, not the person, that is being honored.

    He is the savage; he is the one who is uncivilized. He is the antithesis of all that is good and decent.

    That said, I reiterate, let the work be judged on its own merits.

  13. I like Vox Day a lot, even though he’s often wrong about things.

    Perhaps the context of the Vox purging is becoming blurred. JK Nemisin started it by using a GOH speech to attack another SFWA author (And I think her characterisation of “stand your ground” laws as a conspiracy created by white people so they can legally shoot black people is as bonkers as anything Vox said), and Vox hit back, using some rude and un-PC language. Vox’s side of the spat got reposted everywhere, while Nemisin got hagiographed as some kind of undeserving victim (a role she’s happy to play). The issue doesn’t lend itself to oversimplicity, but Vox was the provoked one here, and it’s important to remember that.

    Obviously I would like to see his work win whatever award it deserves to win, because I support free speech (think before you reply…am I necessarily talking about the US 1st Amendment?)

  14. Keep him close, see which of the SFWA members stand up for him or befriend him, and keep note of them as well. His attitude doesn’t exist in a vacuum; if he had found no willing ears for his poison, he would have gone elsewhere long since. Focus on finding the limits of his bigotry/racism/sexism/whatever, and all his sympathizers. Then expel the whole mess at once. And move on. He doesn’t even deserve as many words as this.

    • Why not just have them put against a wall and shot? Isn’t that where you are heading?

      Freedom isn’t free. We are often forced to tolerate foolish ideas. Words are not weapons. They are just words.

    • Hmm I seem to remember another group who did things like this, keeping note of political opinions and attitudes and then telling someone in authority about them… hmm what did they call that?

      Oh yeah, that was called “denunciation.”

      What did they call those people? It was, was … Oh, yeah, KGB.

  15. I’ve read some of the horrible stuff Vox Day writes on his blog. I don’t know which is worse, the fact that he writes it or that he has fans who gobble it up.

    However, I do think you have to make a distinction between the writer and the writing. Does the story have merit? Is it fully of racism and misogyny like his blogging?

    This is a tough one, because Day is such a terrible person. But the question is not just about Vox Day. It’s about a consistent policy. If, as someone says above, work by writers who commit domestic and sexual assault have been honored, then what’s the policy? Where do we draw the line? Spouting bigotry is unacceptable, but sexual assault is okay? Really? And once you start banning writers for being idiots, how many are going to be left?

    • You make a valid. point. We’re dancing perilously with a totalitarian thought process. I’d read his works and had no idea about his dimwitted politics. I could have cared less until the ’cause heads’ started screaming and lighting their torches.

      I’ve often wished actors and other performers of late would shut up and simply perform, tired of hearing their politics and random ramblings. Now I find myself wishing fandom would do the same.

  16. Having now started reading the work in question, I think this entire argument is moot. I don’t think anybody is going to have to boycott this based on Vox Day’s personal beliefs.

    To the work’s quality, I can say that it’s not as bad as “Eye of Argon.”

    • This was kind of what I was expecting. I will read it for myself when I get the packet but I don’t expect to be torn between my disgust at giving awards to people who express repellent views and my unwilling recognition of true literary greatness.

      • I think, in PRACTICAL terms, the bigger problem will be people who haven’t read WHEEL OF TIME being able to judge it… if a voter hasn’t read it yet, I don’t think there’s any real chance they’ll manage to read it before voting time.

    • Anyone that would compare a Hugo-nominated work to “Eye of Argon” in any format doesn’t really have much credibility.

      It might be bad, it might be good, but it certainly isn’t CLOSE to the class of “Argon” if it was nominated… or even PUBLISHED, in this day and age.

      • Have you read it?

        First, I said it WASN’T as bad as “Eye of Argon”. Second, it was published by a small specialty indie press that doesn’t do distribution, but specializes in “Christian fantasy”, so the bar to publishing is much lower, and “publishing” doesn’t actually say anything about quality. (This is a step above self-publishing, and plenty of self-published stuff is good, and plenty of indie specialty press stuff is good — the fact of self- or indie- publishing doesn’t suggest that something is BAD. But it also doesn’t say anything about whether something is GOOD. The fact of its publication isn’t any sort of evidence for or against it.)

        Third, my argument here is that its nomination for the Hugos was because of partisan political reasons, rather than its quality.

        My argument is, “It wasn’t good enough to be nominated for the Hugos, because its quality was too low, therefore, the reason it was nominated was something else, such as the author’s sociopolitical views.”

        Your argument is, “It was good enough to be nominated for the Hugos because it was good enough to be nominated for the Hugos, which demonstrates its quality.”

        Well, there’s a certain tautological attractiveness to your argument, but, really, it straddles the line between tautology and begging the question.

  17. “This man ran to be president of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) and 10% of that organisation’s voters were fine with nominating him. He was eventually expelled from the group, although as this Hugo nomination shows, clearly there is still some level of support for him.”

    SFWA has ~1800 members. Fewer than 50 of them voted for him as president that year. Most of those were reactionary weasels.

    Are you meaning to conflate SFWA and this Hugo nomination? Because SFWA doesn’t have anything to do with the Hugos. Their award is the Nebula.

    As far as I can tell, it’s 68+ followers of Larry Corriea who go this novelette on the ballot, following all the rules. What would you have the Hugo committee do? Disregard the WSFS constitution?

    The way to deal with this, if you really don’t like that novelette (and judging from a sample of Beal’s fiction I read today I can’t imagine that I will) is to rank every single entry in the Best Novelette category, including No Award. (If you rank No Award, then rank anything lower than that, but don’t rank *everything* in the category, you can actually end up helping your lowest ranked vote win. Oddities of instant runoff voting.)

  18. I tried to read Day’s nominated story. Ummm… I found the writing to be sub standard, the characters one dimensional, the plot unimaginative. I therefore reserve my first amendment right to NOT vote for it. This in no way obstructs Mr. Day’s ability to say what he wants, but I also have the right to not read him any more. Simple as that.

  19. I’ve followed some of the furore around Vox Day aka Beale for a while now. In my opinion the best thing to be done about him is to ignore him. To do otherwise – even in an article like this – is to give him positive reinforcement.

    I say this from personal experience with members of the fanzine ‘community’ who flamed, bullied and trolled me. Part of my learning curve was when I took the offending parties’ details, including links to their libelous fanzines, OFF my website. I received numerous emails from an ‘anonymous’ person using a pseudonym; this person wanted the details left on my website. Apparently they were getting traffic from my distress at their bullying. After that, I stay off their websites, I don’t read their fanzines and I don’t respond to their shit.

    I say all of this NOT to say that victims should remove themselves but to say that giving people like VD air space is to give them positive reinforcement and a greater readership than they’d ever have otherwise. My website averages well over 600 visits a day. Based on comments from other fanzine people, I’m guessing that’s more readers than VD’s blog would get even when he provokes a shit storm. Let’s deprive him of the traffic.

  20. I’ve left stories completely unranked on my Hugo ballot before, because I strongly disliked them. It had nothing to do with my opinion of the author as a person (for instance, I met one particular author at Worldcon ’09 and had a very pleasant conversation with her, and her nominated story in a subsequent year was just *awful*).

    And the interesting thing is… if I leave an entry unranked, nobody except me knows if I do this because I find the author to be a horrible person, or because I find the entry to be horrible.

  21. In better days, people were easily thrown out of the city and the gates were locked behind them, let them starve. We need a system like that today, people like Vox Day need to die on the vine. Anyone who holds such opinions should not be allowed in society, it doesn’t matter what the quality of their “art” is. I’m sure that there were many people who thought Hitler was a good painter.

    • Who, pray tell, built the city and fed its people? Who manned the gates? I suspect you’ll find that the mason, the farmer and the soldier have not traditionally held the political views of today’s approved science fiction authors. It’s much more likely that if the mason, farmer, soldier abandoned the rule of law and took your methods, it would be you looking forlornly up at the closed gate and dying on the vine.

      The world’s history is cyclical. You would be wise to consider that before you start advocating large scale expulsion and implied killings of large segments of the population, on the premise that it will be ‘your’ side doing the expelling and the killing.

      • That’s an excellent rebuttal, Alexander. Blackadder might also consider the political orientation of the majority of citizens with military experience and the majority of citizens who own firearms before he/she/it advocates for pograms against the politically incorrect. His/her/its plan could backfire badly.

        • Or perhaps Blackadder should just go forth?

          One sees a lot of wingnut hankering for secession and Civil War II. The last few months I’ve seen as much or more of it coming from the moonbat lobby. They seem to look forward to it because the last time was so easy and because next time simply must play out the same way.

          They’re not merely stupid, of course, but also stark raving mad.

    • Wow. Just wow. I’m a minority female–biracial, immigrant–who has had racial and ethnic epithets thrown at me and grew up in an era where gals like me were not really represented in magazines or entertainment media. I’ve had my siblings refused service and I have been called “Spic” and not allowed in certain homes for being so. So, Vox Day’s misogynistic and offensive positions disgust me.

      And the lynch mob comments here disgust me. We are supposed to learn from the past. The ones holding the correct positions for their day get to do the lyncing, huh? The “toss them out and let them starve”? We do not learn.

      How about civil disagreement. How about critiquing and having proper respectful debate even when we think the other person is, well, really, really off or a even a nutter.

      I’d like to think the first amendment isn’t just about gov’t and the individual. I’d like to think it’s about a decent, civil, tolerant society.

      I see a lot of intolerance here, from both sides. And that sure makes me sad. Spewing hate doesn’t heal, and becoming lynchers doesn’t solve the problem. Vox Day should be refuted– without resorting to verbal nooses and hangmen. I”m quite sick of “they don’t think like us so we’ll hate them to death, those non-conformists.”

      Vox Day is welcome to sit next to me at a supper table. I’ll happily disagree with him and tell him he sounds hateful and cruel and is not living out the love of any God he lays claim to. I’d pass the bread and salt and ask him over and over to ponder and reconsider, wear the other’s shoes, find a meatier heart, soften the rhetoric, if nothing else. And even if her persists, I’m not gonna stab him with my fork.

      I’m not gonna join a lynch mob, thanks.

      • Art thou betrothed? After hearing a lot of nonsense from both sides, I just want to go off and raise my plants and animals, and not be bothered by these crazy people. For gosh sakes, look up a Tomorrow People (1974) episode Blue and Green!

        • John, more than betrothed. Blissfully wed for 3 decades to a man of gentle and kind disposition and comely form who supports my science fiction and fantasy addictions. :D Lucky me. I think raising plants and animals has got to be healthier than word-wars, huh?

      • A “lynch mob” is when people grabbed a black man who was falsely accused of attacking a white woman, or, occasionally, just of being uppity, and then murdered him.

        Like, dead. Killed dead.

        We’re talking about observing that a particular person is a dick — a fact that isn’t even in dispute; even his “supporters” acknowledge that he’s a racist dick — and also a terrible writer, and that maybe there’s something suspicious about a person who’s a terrible writer getting on the Hugo ballot and maybe it looks like he got on BECAUSE he’s a dick, and maybe other people should take that into consideration, and consider the “don’t vote for the dick” thing.

        You ARE allowed to not vote for someone because he’s a dick.

        • You DO realize that prior to the lynch mobs in the post bellum south plenty of white people in the west were lynched as well yes? That a lynch mob is just a group of vigilantes who decide to hang someone without trial yes?

          Or is your grasp of history on par with the level of “tolerance” on general display here?

          • In any case, you’d agree that what a lynch mob ISN’T is “people wanting to not vote for a guy, because he’s a dick”, wouldn’t you?

          • In general, yes, however let us note: We’re discussing writers and an excess of pedantry seems to be the order of the day in liberal circles anytime anyone uses a metaphor.

        • “A “lynch mob” is when people grabbed a black man who was falsely accused of attacking a white woman, or, occasionally, just of being uppity, and then murdered him.

          Like, dead. Killed dead.”

          Yes, and I responded to a post offering that this person in “better days” would have been excluded from society and left to starve. Metaphor of violence for metaphor of violence because someone says or does something the majority disapproves of. Symbolic killing

          I think speaking of someone with whom we have philosophical, political, religious, etc, disagreements as if they are no longer worthy to live is scary.

          Not voting for a work or not liking a person, sure. Going on an on with the epithets is acting no differently than Vox Day when he speaks repulsively about others. It’s the same coarse weapon. He thinks some folks are beneath him. Now a bunch of people think HE is beneath them. And death to the repulsive, yes?

          How civilized. Martin Luther King and Gandhi wasted their deaths if we haven’t learned to speak to each other to change hearts, rather than toss obscenities at each other and wish deaths upon those who differ.

          • Mir,

            As a big fan of Vox, and his writing, I have to say that reading your comments has been heart-warming. Thank you so much for your dignified humanity. It is deeply appreciated.

            James.

        • it’s pretty disgusting to compare an actual lynch mob to people boycotting this man’s work. That’s right, boycotting – people might use overinflated metaphors, but they’re really talking about boycotting anything he’s written and refusing to support people who support him. Hardly a just comparison. Criticizing a bigot who proudly brags about beating women and thinks that rape is make-believe is absolutely not the same as dragging people out of their homes and hanging them from the highest tree.

          (And the use of “lynch mob” to defend someone who’s virulently anti-black looks really suspicious to me.)

          If you want to defend him, go right ahead. Just be sure to check out some of his blog posts – his racist tweets barely scratch the surface of his misogyny and racism. Just like I choose to not read Orson Scott Card anymore and I threw my Marion Zimmer Bradley books in the trash, I choose to not support Theodore Beale in any way.

  22. One thing which I haven’t seen brought up: it’s not the sane people who started this. Larry Correia came up with the “Sad Puppy Hugo Slate” thing himself. And actual authors like Correia and Sarah Hoyt are on it — people whose politics I disagree with, but who actually know how to write.

    And then we’ve got Theodore Beale. Who’s also on it.

    And he CAN’T write.

    So why was he on the “Sad Puppy Hugo Slate”? Only possible answer is “because of who he is rather than what he wrote.” The “Sad Puppy Hugo Slate” is clearly based on the politics of the authors rather than the quality of the writing.

    That means that the “voting based on who someone is rather than what someone wrote” has already happened. Saying that we should judge the work based on its own quality rather than its author means that WE have to, but THEY don’t.

    That said, in this case, the question is moot. The work sucks, so on its merits, it will rank below “No Award”.

  23. Well, it sure does sting when you’ve got strong emotions and a desire to Be Nice on your side, and the opposition has unpopular but accurate scientifically-supportable observations on some issues and blunt-force opinions on others. You’re mistaking a popularity contest with a technical award. Vox Day wasn’t nominated for Miss Congeniality. He may be bigoted, even wrong in the personal opinions he holds. You may find him offensive. Has anyone read the story that was nominated? It was a masterpiece, and I’m not even a fan of his stuff. I tried reading one of his better-reviewed works, “A Throne of Bones” 3 times before giving up.
    The world is full of great people, especially artists, who weren’t nice. Imagine a world without Beethoven. He was a foul, vile, abusive and spoiled dumpster fire of a human being in his personal life. Imagine if the world was as close-minded as Celidhann. Imagine a world without greatness.

    • Of course I read the nominated story. I’ve read worse — I’ve even WRITTEN worse — but none of it was professionally published.

      It’s so clearly substandard that it’s obvious that it was only nominated to tick off people. The rest of the “Sad Puppy Hugo Slate” has actual authors who wrote actual stories: I don’t agree with Sarah Hoyt’s politics, for instance, but nobody can deny that she’s a hell of a writer. I haven’t read Correa, but everything I’ve heard of him suggests that I’ll really enjoy his stuff when I do. Dan Wells is fantastic. Everybody on the slate, except for Theodore Beale, is at least a competent writer, and most of them are excellent.

      And then there’s Vox Day, who’s orders of magnitude worse than the rest. Which is why HE’S the one people are complaining about. It’s blatantly obvious that, while the REST of the slate is “moderate-to-conservative writers who actually deserve Hugo nominations”, Beale sticks out as “person who’s just there to piss off people who are against idiotic bigotry.”

  24. I have been reading sci-fi/fantasy since I was a boy in the 70s. I devoured books in the genre while growing up and still do. It NEVER occurred to me to check into the politics of the authors to see if they were “suitable” for me. I either liked the books or I did not.

    When did the SFWA and the Hugo’s become politicized? I am sure that Heinlein’s politics were not always popular. Was he attacked?

    Pretty shameful that a genre that encourages open mindedness and thought, is being controlled by intolerant folks who judge an author’s politics before the quality of his/her work. As I read on Correia’s blog, Polanski is still being honored by Hollywood; so seems extremely hypocritical to me.

    What I hate seeing, more than anything, is righteous tyranny. It is happening from both sides of the political spectrum. And I actually expect more/better from the liberals, as their message is USUALLY about tolerance.

    But frankly, I am not sure who stands for “I hate what you say but defend your right to say it” anymore!

    And this “controversy” over SFWA and the Hugo’s… it looks to me like a really BAD case of adolescent cliques going after each other. Time to grow up, people!

    • Was HEINLEIN attacked for his politics? Seriously?

      There were four books in my local town library where I grew up of critical attacks of Heinlein’s politics and writing. From all sorts of different perspectives. Anti-Heinlein literary criticism was an actual DEWEY DECIMAL NUMBER in my local library.

      Trust me, the attacks on Heinlein’s politics did, and do, make the Vox Day stuff look invisible by comparison.

      • @ian osmond – I am well aware of how Heinlein’s politics were received in the public sphere. My question was regarding his relationship with the SFWA and WSFS. He was obviously a Hugo’s darling, but I have no knowledge about his direct relationship with the WSFS or SFWA.

        • Did Heinlein ever hijack a SFWA official media channel to sort out a personal issue?

          Also, your implicit comparison of Heinlein to this particular story in question is offensive and brought me emotional distress ;).
          I am contacting my lawyer ;)

  25. If you don’t like Vox’s work, don’t vote for it. I think you should vote for the best work nominated, but don’t automatically dismiss something because you think the author is an ass or you disagree with his/her politics.

    But Celidhann, as far as the controversy of Vox and Jemison, you seem to be ignoring quite a bit of the lead up to his comments. Also, in reading what he said, I have a different view of the meaning than what you got out of it.

  26. kamas716, I don’t think he’s being an ass. He IS an ass.

    I just love how everyone begs “keep the art separate from the artist”. Have we really become that stupid? Sorry, but when you support is work you support him.

    And Modern Primative, don’t try to sound smart. You might hurt yourself. Please go sign up for the manned Mars mission. Won’t miss you.

    • And someone telling me that I am out to get her because I now have the right to defend myself in Texas is perfectly fine and has no fault? Yeah, right. That is proper decent behavior. Opposing that is EVIL.

      Makes me glad I don’t buy much current SFF today. Fortunately some of the older stuff is coming out on the Kindle at somewhat reasonable prices. I don’t recall any of this “so and so is evil” stuff growing up, yet it is quite widespread now. So much for tolerance….

  27. Let the work be judged on its own merits: Vox day is scum and his writing, fiction and blogging, is even worse.

    What seems to rile him up the most are critiques of his writing – so I think people should focus on doing that. Don’t turn him into a martyr. He’s not worth it.

  28. […] Vox Day and the Hugos – Why We Should Just Say No. | Bibliodaze: “There’s only one way to deal with people like Day, who see themselves as above basic human decency, and that is to cut them out of the community like a tumour. Shun them, ignore them, no-platform the hell out of them. Our conventions, our fanzines, our anthologies, our community is not open to people whose racist arguments could have come straight from the mouths of slave-owners.” […]

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