Hugo Wars: SF in the Headlines

In the science fiction community a war is raging. It’s called “the Hugo Wars,” focused on a prestigious, annual literary award called the Hugo. Author and editor Vox Day plus some other names are advocating against the left-leaning tendency of the sf community.

Now, the sf community might be a tiny microcosm of a world. However, this is important as a symbolic event, ongoing since 2014 and continuing into 2016 and beyond. As such, it’s an extension of “Gamergate”: conservative forces reacting against PC regimentation in their culture and lifestyle. And as for the Hugo Wars proper I say the following on the subject in my latest book, Science Fiction Seen from the Right:

Throughout the Westworld there has until now been a left-liberal hegemony. The repression is quite tight, regimentation and ostracism is brought to bear as soon as someone shows conservative, anti-PC opinions. But things are about to change now. The revolution is brewing, even in the microcosm of the American SF community. — It’s called ”the Hugo Wars,” a controversy of nominations etc. concerning the prestigious SF prize Hugo, awarded every year since 1955 at the annual World SF Convention. Novels mentioned in this study having earlier received this prize are for instance Ringworld, Dune and Double Star.

Tactically, what the current battle is about is a counteroffensive. The SF world has long been dominated by left-liberals, Political Correctness and ”Social Justice Warriors”. These SJWs are attacking the slightest deviation from the norm. There are many details and instances in this. I personally don’t support everything that the alleged right-wing in this business stands for. But the focus in the SF world has to be moved from PC-ism and overwrought leftism. And the raging ”Hugo Wars” (…) to me seems to be part of a trend, that of both SF grass roots and some profiles being tired of the regimentation, harassment and intolerance shown by left-leaning SF fans and critics. [p 357]

Again, this is a small affair as such – but – it has gained some notoriety. There has been some media spin, the story caught on (and in this, the leftist faction wasn’t treated with kid gloves). This is a symbolic battle for freedom and a more variegated, interesting sf literature – and, in the long run, for a more variegated literature and culture at large.

More can be read about it in Science Fiction Seen from the Right. Except for the lines about the Hugo Wars this is an essay about 20th century science fiction and fantasy, conceptualized from a conservative point of view. If there is an “SF Bible for the traditionalist,” this is it. No other modern study has taken this bold stance on the sf and fantasy genres. Is there a conservative strain in big-league sf/f by authors like Heinlein, Herbert, Tolkien, Lewis, Lovecraft, Bradbury etc.? Indeed there is. Science Fiction Seen from the Right is the proof of that.


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Three Good Reads Featured in the Essay

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