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Five reasons why the ‘Battle for Pop Culture’s Soul’ isn’t about ‘white men’

WIRED has written another ‘Puppies are evil’ screed about the 2015 Hugo Awards controversy:

'The battle for pop culture's soul'. My emphasis added

‘The battle for pop culture’s soul’. My emphasis added

There are many reasons why I might be “angered” by previous Hugo winners.  And none of them are anything to do with ‘the increasingly multicultural makeup’ of the awards:


Science fiction’s most prestigious award‘ for Best Novel was decided in 2014 by fewer than 4,000 voters.


The Best Short Story for 2014 got onto the ballot with fewer than 43 nominations.


Popular blogger John Scalzi has won as many Hugo Awards (inc. best fan writer) than Arthur C. Clarke and half as many as Isaac Asimov – author of I, Robot. He also has 90K+ Twitter followers.

John Scalzi Twitter feed

As George R. R. Martin points out in the Wired article:

George R. R. Martin

You need either a Reader’s Choice Award with tens of thousands of voters OR a juried award like the Man Booker Prize. The Hugos are neither.


Just three online magazines and three print magazines contribute 50% of finalists for best short story, novelette and novella. With the online magazines – arguably less due to quality than the ease of sharing free stories.


Literary writers with MFAs and degrees in English have dominated the Hugo ballot (for short fiction) in recent years. These prize-winning ‘sci-fi & fantasy’ writers often – in my opinion:

Yep… “Activists” are “angry” about these issues. The Hugo Awards – with their 60-year history – deserve better than to dismiss their concerns as the privilege of ‘white men’.

UPDATE: Factual correction made on 02/11/2015 to Asimov and Clarke’s Hugo-winning record. Asimov’s Wikipedia entry has two ‘award’ sections – we saw the first, not the second. Thank you to Aaron at File770 for the correction.

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