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Hugo Awards nominations stir controversy

Meet the anti-PC wing of science fiction. Over the weekend, the nominations were announced for the genre’s prestigious Hugo Awards, based on votes cast by 2,122 (paying) members of the World Science Fiction Convention (or Worldcon). After a concerted online campaign, a Gamergate-affiliated group called Sad Puppies managed to fill almost all the categories with their own slate of nominees. Led by sci-fi writers including Brad R. Torgersen and Larry Correia, Sad Puppies aimed to combat the awards’ movement in recent years toward, as Torgersen wrote in a tongue-in-cheek blog post, “tedious ‘message’ fiction, depressing talk-talk stories about amoral people with severe ennui, and literary MFA novels. Not a rocketship nor a ray gun in sight.” The intervention has provoked an outpouring of indignation on blogs and Twitter. “Gamergate hijacked this year’s Hugo Awards, and loaded them with extremist homophobic authors. My husband has 4 Hugos, and I have thoughts,” tweeted Arlington’s Brianna Wu, a video game developer who fled her home last fall after facing a series of online attacks. Gamergate is a loosely organized movement of online gamers whose threats to women in the video game industry — and those who support them — became so extreme last year that they made national headlines. The Hugo uproar suggests that this series of culture wars has now overtaken the battlefield of literary awards, too. The Hugo winners will be announced on Aug. 22 at the 2015 Worldcon.

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