Sad and Rabid Puppies: Politicization of the Hugo Award Nomination Procedure
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Originally a conservative genre, in the second half of the twentieth century, science fiction (sf) became a discourse whose progressive presentation of virtually all controversial political issues and critical questioning of the political status quo have remained unmatched in the so-called popular culture, among others. There is no other literary convention that so boldly challenges such issues as racism, sexism, social justice, and ecological devastation. However, the progressive stance of many science fiction writers, editors, and readers has been, in recent years, challenged by loose coalitions of groups calling themselves Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, who have acted against what they perceive as the repression of more traditional voices in science fiction communities. The paper will seek to explore recent political shifts within the science fiction fandom, with regard to oppression involving gender, class, race, and ethnicity. I will provide an account of the fandom’s political tensions, disentangle some of the convoluted discussions that have taken place across blogs, Twitter accounts, and Facebook pages of those involved in these debates, and specifically address the controversies related to the 2014 and 2015 Hugo Awards. I will also attempt to illuminate the violent conservative backlash that the aforementioned groups launched against the perceived political correctness and repression of certain viewpoints within sf communities.
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