Looks Like the 2020 Hugo Awards Once Again Sucked


George R.R. Martin –
Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Well this explains it. The article George R.R. Martin Accused of Racism, Generally Sucking After Hosting Hugos (also found at Vulture) contains a link to my December 5, 2018 blog post Is SciFi Author/Editor Robert Silverberg Really Racist and Sexist (or has the internet once again lost its mind)?. It’s gotten hundreds of hits in the last day or so, and I couldn’t figure out why.

Interestingly enough, the article I found as a pingback to Updexnews.com used the phrase “racist history” as part of the link when referring to my Silverberg article, and I hadn’t intended to call Silverberg a racist (really, I’m shocked I haven’t gotten even a single piece of hate mail yet).

On this twitter account, I found the following image posted prominently. It was the first indication I had of yet another WorldCon social purging by the righteous (yes, I’m being snarky…I’ll explain below).


Screenshot from twitter

Based on that alone, it looks like Martin simply blundered in pronouncing unfamiliar names and was immediately branded a racist by the petty slights of the hypersensitive.

But when I searched for the #HugoAwards hashtag on twitter, I came up with a whole bunch of criticisms, including those by Dag-Erling Smørgrav (no blue check mark, but he sure has a lot to say) about how Martin knew exactly what he was doing and did it anyway, citing famous but apparently social justice “troubled” authors Robert Heinlein and H.P Lovecraft.

Then, on the Official 79th WorldCon twitter account, came a recording of Jeannette Ng’s (who astonishingly hasn’t blocked me on twitter yet) acceptance speech (I didn’t bother listening to it) for a Hugo for “Best Related Work.” This was for her last year’s acceptance speech of the John W. Campbell award, which she then proceeded to trash. She won a Hugo for an acceptance speech calling Campbell (who admittedly had a “difficult” past) a racist, thus forcing the award to be named something more generic and inoffensive. Okey-dokey (Oddly enough, she featured prominently in a blog post I wrote just a few days ago).

Some bloggers, such as Hugo nominee Cora Buhlert and Camestros Felapton attempted to take a somewhat higher perspective by presenting analysis and statistics of the awards respectively (although the latter’s link to The Puppy Kerfuffle Timeline did remind me that some people have a tough time letting go of the past).

And no commentary on yet another WorldCon disaster would be complete without consulting the folks at File 770 and their latest essay Pixel Scroll 8/3/20 Undeserved Loss And Inaccessible Healing.

That’s where I took the screenshot of Ng’s twitter commentary which states amazingly:

The Hugos gains more legitimacy, more relevance, more clout from the participation of marginalised writers than we do from them. Without us, they stop being the future.


Screenshot from twitter

Tade Thompson, the person Ng was responding to, was lamenting how he (yes, I checked his personal pronouns which he displayed on his twitter account) was devalued by “old/dead racist bigots” and threw in the proverbial towel.

But Ng’s statement at least suggests, along with a few things I’ve quoted her as saying before, that because some otherwise very famous, very talented authors, luminaries in the history of science fiction, have also held “unpopular attitudes” (really, I’ve been reading Heinlein for decades and I had no idea, I just liked his books), all white men both in the past and present, are now evil unless they can show their official social justice credentials…but they’ll have to work at it.

No, she didn’t really say that, but for years, I’ve suspected it would come to this.

Also, for years, I’ve said that I thought there was room enough at the table for ALL people, for authors from everywhere, representing the widest possible number of perspectives. However, it’s not, nor will it ever be truly inclusive, if you include “marginalised writers” whilst throwing out the old guys. Not all of us are Hitler.

I’m sure I’ll never be a good enough writer to win an award, Hugo or any other kind. Today, I found out, I wouldn’t want a Hugo award even if I were offered one. Just me showing up (assuming the world governments will ever open up the planet again) at a WorldCon as a white, American, cisgender, male who is actually married with children and grandchildren would likely get me hung up by my proverbial thumbs, all in the name of “social justice” and “pale, stale white, males are not wanted” and “we don’t serve your kind here.”

To put it another way, “why give money to people who hate me?”

Expressed differently, for yet another year, WorldCon makes me feel “icky”. Were there other, more sane and stable activities present at this virtual Con? Probably. But other people who have been more involved already chronicled them.

Disclosure. Before I went to bed last night, I considered writing a commentary on all this, but I was too tired and frankly, not in the mood to confront this level of hostility. But once again, insomnia became my unwelcome guest, and for lack of anything better to do, I tackled this. Yes, I’m tired and grumpy, and if my mind were clear and my soul refreshed, this might have turned out a lot differently. It didn’t and so be it. I may or may not return to this topic later.

But I mean, why bother?

Addendum – The Next Morning: Scrolled through Jeannette Ng’s twitter account just now and came across someone’s suggestion that Ng should be nominated for a “Best Related Work” Hugo for 2021 for denouncing George R.R. Martin. Remember, she won a “Best Related Work” Hugo this year for denouncing John W. Campbell last year. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around how you can win a prestigious science fiction and fantasy award for expressing an opinion about people who, while talented and famous, are also very opinionated (who’s opinionated?) and caustic. Thankfully, she had the grace to say that, if nominated, she would turn it down.

ng again

Screenshot from twitter

To be continued…maybe.


10 thoughts on “Looks Like the 2020 Hugo Awards Once Again Sucked

  1. I briefly considered wading into this topic on my own blog, then rejected the thought. For one, it will serve no purpose. People like Ng, Jemisin and those who follow them are lost to the hate in their hearts. They cannot be reclaimed or redeemed.
    Two, and regarding your point about letting go of the past, I severed the chains of that past earlier this year. I will not let those chains get shackled to me again by wading back into that cesspool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think after last year and the year before that, I didn’t think it could get any worse, and I figured a “certain demographic” had a total lock on WorldCon, so people like us would be excluded permanently. I was shocked when the drama unfolded yet again. I wonder if they need it for some purpose and that having control isn’t enough?

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the problem with sheltering an outrage mob. Once they’ve driven away the *Wrongthinkers* they always turn on their handlers.

        Outrage is the only thing they exist for. They must always have a target to destroy and now the GRRM’s and others who cheered them on six or seven years back are the targets.

        I have no sympathy for them.


      • There was a gay pride parade a few years back and the organizers refused to let gay police officers wear their uniforms in the parade because it would be “triggering.” I mean the officers were gay, so it’s not like anyone would reasonably believe they’d harbor ill-feelings for other gay people. In the end, they’ll subdivide and subdivide, turning their much vaunted “inclusiveness” into a collections of 46,568 different “marginalized” groups, each one competing as to which one is the greater victim of the others. I know Jews who are friends with Muslims and Christians who are friends with atheists, and conservatives who are friends with liberals, and it amazes me that, in my experience anyway, conservatives seem more tolerant of diversity than progressive leftists. No, it’s hardly perfect. My Dad had some poor opinions of Mexicans, but he was also born in the 1930s and had a tough time adjusting his attitudes. The more you carve out distinctions, the more reasons you create to dislike what you’re not.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the folks I follow (and I’ll be hanged if I can remember who) has said that part of the problem stems from the fact that many of these people are working under a false assumption. They seem to think that the seats at the table are limited, finite. The only way they can get a seat is to displace someone else. When in fact the table seating is not finite. The table can be as big as we need it to be, just drop in the leaf and add more seats. No one has to be displaced.

    When that table was first set, SF was an all encompassing term, now we have subgenres. 🙂 SpaceOpera not your thing, no problem, we got Cyber Punk, MilSF, to name a few. Pull up a chair, have a seat and lets tell tales. Everything old is new again.


    • That’s my point exactly. SF/F has always been about pushing the envelope, considering the new and the unique, exploring the impossible. If you like X and I like Y in SF/F, there’s bound to be authors out there to accommodate both of us. Since the Hugos aren’t based on an objective judgment of quality of writing, I guess I can’t ask for that from the winners or the nominees, but it would be nice.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not as fond of Heinlein’s works as I used to be when I was younger, but there’s no denying he’s one of the Grandmasters of Science Fiction. Flawed human being? Absolutely, but next time you think of him and start feeling arrogant and self-satisfied, look in the mirror and let your own demons whisper from the reflection. Because I don’t like bullies, woke or otherwise, I’m posting this:


  4. I suggest you check into what GRRM actually *did*, namely rambling on for longer than the actual awards. The “When the Toastmaster Talks Less” cut is *much better*, and it cuts *half* of the ceremony. The concom changed the ceremony from a 2 hr slot to 3.5 hr slot because of GRRM’s prerecorded ramblings, and they should have known better and cut them.

    Nobody appreciated being kept up late — especially at timezones which were not NZ — and missing their panels as a result (which happened). It was a major concom failure for everyone’s name to be mispronounced — even though *they had all been asked for and submitted pronunciation guides* — even the really easy ones. GRRM has said the concom never passed the pronunciation guides on to him! Unbelievably incompetent.

    The awards are picking really, really good stuff which is a blast to read (mostly rollicking adventure stories, with a few big ideas in there); they deserve a better ceremony. No toastmaster at all would have been a better ceremony.

    Maybe you didn’t do your homework before posting.


    • I never said that I approved of GRRM’s behavior, and thank you for your input (did you attend, because if you did, that insight, especially if objective, would be valuable). Maybe GRRM is a total troll. My objection is the spillover, not only into the past, as if no one born before 1990 could possibly have been a good author or a good person, but all authors who are not POC are in the “pale, male, stale crowd” as Jeannette Ng put it. And yes, I did my homework, but tons of other people covered the rest of WorldCon proceeding. Since I’m the blog owner, I have freedom to express my opinions, at least here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.