Sad Puppies and a Microwave

Tonight was the Hugos. If you haven’t heard yet, the Sad/Rabid Puppies got shut down HARD.

Naturally, both sides are claiming victory, but as someone who wasn’t in either camp, I can only go with my observations and my gut. So I’m gonna tell you a story. Maybe two.

I used to live with someone who was emotionally abusive and manipulative. Of course, I didn’t see it until the end, when we were on the verge of breaking up. Then the physical separation began, and as luck would have it, I was exiting first (not pursued by a bear, thankfully.)

And I owned the microwave.

My mom was helping me with the move, as she had the Biggest Vehicle and lived nearby. So we were there, doing our final sweep, and she picked up the microwave.

The Ex said “Hold on I need that. You can’t take that.”

I froze. I hadn’t even thought about what to do with it. Part of me was considering leaving it there for the last two weeks so she’d have something to cook with. The other part of me said “you do that and you’ll never see it again. And it was not cheap. And it’s brand new and why can’t you keep your nice things for once?”

Ex was glaring at me fit to burn a hole in my forehead and Mom noticed.

Mom picked up the microwave.

Ex: “I still have to live here for two more weeks? What am I gonna DOOOOO?”

I look at her, look at Mom, I didn’t know what to say.

“You can’t take that. I need it.”

Mom walked out with the microwave.

I followed, feeling the Ex’s angry gaze the whole time.

Later I asked Mom, “Why didn’t we just leave it there? I didn’t know what to do.”

Mom said, “I was considering it until she started yelling at you. I refuse to reward bad behavior.”

So here’s the thing. I’m seeing some of my author friends on Twitter looking over the long lists and saying, If not for the Puppies, some of them would have been on the short list and maybe even won.

And that sucks.

But because “No Award” was given in the tampered categories, it says that the Hugo voters valued all those non-Puppy nominees enough to NOT give their award away to a shortlisted Puppy.

All of them. Whether they were at the top of the short list or the bottom of the long list. They are ALL winners.

By refusing to reward the bad behavior of the Puppies, the Hugo voters showed what really mattered to them – the writers, artists and editors that make up the SFF community.

And the Puppies, in their pursuit of prizes, have now outed themselves as people who would rather tear that community apart than coexist with it even though the diversity of it seems to terrify them.

When you refuse to coexist with others, you tend not to get invited to any of the cool parties. And when you work in a field like writing, where it feels like a constant game of Bacon Numbers (you know Scott, Scott knows Chuck, Chuck knows Mur, Mur knows Matt, JC knows Scott, hey Chuck knows JC too, etc) then you probably don’t want to piss off entire swathes of people in the field, especially not on a night where All The Big Names Get Together in a Giant-Ass Convention.

And especially not in an age where social media is so omnipresent.

Because of social media I’ve been lucky enough to discover some amazing authors. And also to meet a handful of them. And the thing I notice is that they all seem to support each other. Even the rivalries tend to be friendly-envious* “Goddamnit that guy is so good I hate him why is he so good” sort of fake-rivalries.

So congratulations, Puppies, you’ve succeeded in shooting your reputations right in whatever a reputation’s equivalent of a foot is. Was it worth it?

*There needs to be a word to describe this feeling of being envious of your friend but still really happy for them. Frienvy? Frenvious?

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