After three conventions in five months - in Kansas City, Houston, and Oklahoma City - I have to say I have not seen any animosity against the Sad Puppies effort, and in fact, many statements of support.
The Puppy Kickers would have you think that if you are a Sad Puppy and you go out in public, people will spontaneously attack you in righteous indignation. The fact is, the s-f literary establishment is cliquish and, while the Puppy Kickers have been feeding each others' nutty outrage (nutrage?), most fans don't care as much about the Hugos as they do, and many fans have over the years noticed the social inbreeding and the tendency to ostracize anyone who doesn't fit into their narrow political parameters. I've seen and heard many fans express satisfaction that someone has stuck it to the snobs.
The leading lights in literary s-f are on a political spectrum with Obama on the right and extending God knows where to the left. And as for God, forget it. Any professions of faith get you branded an idiot at best, usually a bigot. The characterization by Tor Editor Irene Gallo of the Sad Puppies as neo-nazis, homophobes and racists is pretty much the party line.
There are a lot of Christians and Republicans between the west bank of the Hudson and San Francisco, but these people don't seem to know it. The Puppy Kickers are scattered all across the U.S. - John Scalzi lives in Ohio, George R.R. Martin in New Mexico - but let's face it, wherever they live is a little suburb of the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
In the places I have been this summer, the fans - if not people of faith and Republicans themselves - know people who are and have friends who are, and they don't have that visceral hatred towards the average American that the Puppy Kickers have. If the U.S. had a parliament instead of a Congress, we'd have a Republican Prime Minister. As someone who's followed politics both personally and professionally for as long as I have. I know the only reason the Democratic Party gets as many votes as it does is the relentless ballot box stuffing in the big cities. Most Americans vote Republican.
Most people also identify themselves with some religion. But it seems the Puppy Kickers don't seem to know anyone who goes to a church, mosque or synagogue, or who votes Republican. Being privileged by birth, wealth, or political correctness, the Puppy Kickers see no reason to be fair or care about the conditions that led to the slapdash backlash against their cliquishness.
The assertion the elites didn't orchestrate efforts to nominate certain works each year is specious. A friend asked me at one of my recent conventions if I think there is a blacklist against aspiring authors. I told it it wasn't necessary, the opinion leaders are so uniform in their outlook any formal list or slate was unneeded. For the last few years, all I had to do was look to see what Scalzi, Jim Hines, Rachel Swirsky and Mary Robinette Kowal was blogging about to know what was going to be on the Nebula and Hugo ballot.
The fans in the heartland know and recognize the narrow base of social acceptance in literary science fiction and most are happy to see some backlash against it. Fandom remains open and accepting of all types of people in a way that literary s-f left a number of years ago.
The Puppy Kickers cite well-known authors who are known conservatives - Mike Resnick and Larry Niven are two - but they came up through the ranks years ago. People like Larry Corriea and Brad Torgersen have entered the field in the past ten years, and have seen and felt first-hand the snubs and insults of the snobs. Both were nominated for the Campbell Award for Best new writer in their first year of eligibility. They didn't win. Now, that award allows you two years of eligibility, and over the years many writers have has two shots at winning - but neither Larry nor Brad were even nominated in their second years of eligibility.
The Puppy Kickers would assert it's because as people got to know them better, they realized they sucked as authors. I suspect it's more likely they were shunted aside because they do not conceal their Mormon faith.
In 2012, when Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee for president, most of the leading lights in the s-f literary world combined their hatred for people of faith with their hatred for Republicans by attacking Romney in the most vile language. Quite frankly, I personally believe there are some things you should never say to or about people, regardless of the subject. In light of the attacks on Romney, is it any wonder all the Mormon s-f writers went off the reservation? It's almost a human rights issue - "you can't say that about one of my coreligionists.
I doubt most of the Puppy Kickers have any Christian friends, and certainly no Mormons. But here in Middle America there are plenty of Christians, Mormons, and even - as Jay Lake used to say - "low church atheists" - people who don't believe in the supernatural, but, like Jay, didn't mind if you needed a faith.
I remember when Jay said the source of so much ill feeling were the "high church atheists" - people who didn't believe in God, and wanted to stamp out your religion, too. Jay was a smart man and a nice guy.
As I have made the convention circuit, I have been heartened by the many people who have been kind and supportive of my work, and either supportive or tolerant of the Sad Puppies effort. It reminds me that most people are thoughtful and considerate human beings, and the internet is a tool that is - like the machinery left behind by the Krel as depicted in the s-f classic movie "Forbidden Planet" - letting the darkest and worst innermost aspects of human nature loose upon the land.
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