You know, I must admit I’ve been tempted to talk more on here about the Hugos, since every post I’ve made about the Hugos has gathered far more attention than any other post I’ve made. Honestly, this isn’t much of a surprise. People love intrigue and dispute, and most of the other posts I’ve made on here are far more straightforward. Also educational, which is a struggle for the attentive reader at most times.
But I really, honestly, don’t want to post that much about the Hugos and the Sad Puppies thing. Not all the time, at least. And here’s why.
I grew up on a small farm. Nothing big, mostly subsistence, but a farm nonetheless. We were rural—really rural—and on a budget. I remember the day we finally got the indoor plumbing hooked up and we could simply turn a faucet and bring water to the sink or the tub, without having to haul it in via bucket from outside. I remember when the power poles were finally extended to our house and we had electricity all the time, not just when we were running the generator (the rest of the time we used propane lighting).
I also remember our animals. We had goats. We had sheep. We had ducks. We had dogs. Cats. Chickens. Geese. Pigs. Even two donkeys at one point. And many of these animals had pens.
Now here’s something to understand about animals, especially goats and sheep: They poop. A lot. And I mean a lot. These little guys are unholy producers of poop. Since we had a large garden, some of it could be recycled (oldest fertilizer known to mankind). But before it could be, it had to be shoveled.
Goats and sheep are not latrine animals. They go wherever. And they don’t care after that. So their pens? They pooped everywhere.
I apologize for those of you who might be off-put by the discussion of so much poop. It isn’t going to get rosier from here, though.
Anyway, these little guys could poop like nobodies business. And they would fill the bottoms of their pens with it. And I’m not exaggerating there. The bottoms of their pens were packed down straw, dirt, and poop. Hard as rock, slightly smelly … and oh, after a few months, a foot or so thick. That’s right, you could walk up to the side of these pens and look at the side railings. A foot thick or more of compact manure. It didn’t bother them. It was dry and mixed with straw leftovers. And they were only in their pens a few hours a day anyway. But it had to be shoveled (well, forked with a pitchfork, since it didn’t cut easily under a shovel blade) every few months because it would get high enough that eventually they would be able to jump out of their pens.
And guess who had to do that? Yup. Me. I was a manure shoveler from the moment my parents decided I was old enough to shovel. Sometimes it went to straight to the garden. Other times it went to one giant compost pile or another. I’m talking emptying piles of poop ten by ten by two feet … and doing six of them. That’s a lot of poop.
I got compensated for it, though usually not quite as well as young me would have liked. Obviously we ate because of it (garden), but later on I was able to make a small bit of a business shoveling and selling manure to other people who wanted natural fertilizer for their gardens, and that worked pretty well. I fill trailers with goat and sheep poop, shoveled all by hand. I didn’t like it, but it had to be done. For years.
So, what’s the point of me telling you this? Pretty simple: I’ve shoveled my fair share of crap. I’ve experienced it on a daily basis. I’ve shoveled, and shoveled and shoveled. And you know what I’ve learned about it?
There are times when it’s worth it to shovel crap, and there are times when it isn’t. And dealing with the endless, recycled crap that the anti-sad puppies crowd continues to spout? Not worth my time.
Look, I’ll admit that no one is flawless. And the Sad Puppies clearly swept the Hugos, much to their surprise. As a result, SP4 will probably be even more interesting to follow. But when it comes down to looking at one side or the other, I’m on the side of the Sad Puppies here, because I know crap, and there’s so much of it coming from the anti-sad puppies side it’s not just filling the pen, it’s burying the occupants, the producers, and their allies.
And that’s not worth shoveling. It’s endless. No amount of reason, logic, common sense, public opinion, or sophisticated speaking is going to stem the tide. It’s going to keep coming, and if I wanted to devote my time to talking about the Hugos here every day, I’d end up ensnared in the same discussions, rehashing the same points, the same research, because the goalposts and definitions on the side of the insulars are so fluid they barely touch the ground, much less have wheels.
Now, I’m not saying its everyone on the side of the insular group who’s gone completely off the rails. Every so often I see a smaller voice, mostly drowned out under the tirade of internet/twitter-poop, who’s asking valid questions. Occasionally a dialogue ensues, and whether or not that individual changes their mind, rational, respectable debate happens, and both parties walk away satisfied with “agree to disagree.” No racial slurs. No SJW scare-words. Reasoned, rational, human interaction.
But that’s the minority. The majority? Well, that’s summed up pretty nicely in some of the “journalistic articles” we’ve seen over the last week. Hate-spewing personal attacks. Slurs. Insults. Calls to nuke the Hugos all together (If I can’t have it, NO ONE CAN mentality). Vile, baseless accusations treated as truth by wide swaths of insulars because it’s what they want to believe, regardless of the truth of the matter. Recycled accusations and misattributed numbers and quotes, all of which get disproven by those shoveling the crap, only for the same group to ignore that and retread the same ground the next day.
Crap. Endless piles of crap. I have a lot of experience with crap. Enough to know when it’s not worth shoveling. Not for me. Because I’m a small enough author that no one cares if I shovel back over from my little corner. And whether or not I shovel definitely isn’t going to affect my sales. I already know from my fans that a good number of them didn’t care about the Hugos up until now. Not because they weren’t fans of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, they definitely are, but because none of them really cared about a lot of what the Hugos were awarding. Some of them had never even heard of the Hugos.
But regardless of how much I shovel, it’s not going to make a dent. Like mindless sheep, those producing the steady stream of crap aren’t about to be deterred by how much of their crap gets shoveled aside by others. They’re just going to keep producing it. Keep manufacturing it. Spewing it out at the world.
And every so often, there might be a particularly grievous, potent, smelly lump of excrement that wafts its way across the internet, to roll down the giant pile and bump up against the side of my “barn,” and I’ll grab the pitchfork and get to shoveling, because who wants that excrement around? But overall, at this point, there are plenty of people who’ve done the shoveling, and are in a situation where their doing the shoveling makes sense. They’re the ardent defenders of the sad puppies, and I respect them for doing that. That’s a lot of crap to deal with.
But it’s crap that, over in my little corner, doesn’t make too much sense for me to deal with, especially as the aforementioned defenders are already doing quite well shoveling it back onto the growing pile. Every so often I might pitch in, but they’ve got the situation well in hand, and ultimately I’m not adding too much to the discussion.
I agree with Sad Puppies. The Hugo awards? Definitely very cliquish. Definitely a “cool kids club.” I don’t think any award, group, or anything else that proclaims itself a representation of an entire genre should be allowed to get away with playing pat-on-the-back favorites. Especially when so many of them are politically/ideologically motivated. Groups are okay. Insular groups suck.
In the end though, it isn’t really my fight. There isn’t much I can add. There isn’t much I can’t do that already isn’t being done by a legion of other much more well-read and publicized combatants. And, at the end of the day, despite the large numbers my posts on Sad Puppies and the Hugos pull in, I honestly kind of doubt that too many of those numbers translate over to book sales.
Simply put? I’m not getting paid enough to deal with this crap. So I’ll leave it to those who are.