Anyone can join. Anyone who joins can vote. Just, well, if you value your right to live a peaceful, unbullied existence, vote RIGHT. Or is that left? Er... vote CORRECTLY.
Enter Larry Correia, a friend of mine and one of the nicest, most accessible and honest people I know. If you manage to refrain from telling him how he should think, calling him nasty names, or claiming that the entertainment he enjoys is unworthy, he's a wonderful guy. Funny, humble (kinda), eager to share his knowledge on how to become a bestselling author. A real decent sort. Husband to an amazing lady and father to several awesome daughters.
Larry, however, doesn't play well with others when those others want him to conform. He has a loud acerbic potty mouth and he uses it to cry foul in hilarious fashion whenever fouls are thrown.
Larry and the Hugos are not friends.
Three years ago, Larry grew tired of the prevalent idea in the Worldcon community that the only Right and True SF/F deserving of awards also conveyed a Message. Or were written by minorities. Yanno, like women, People of Color, non-heterosexuals, and the like. Because white straight men are, naturally, incapable of writing great SF/F. Or something.
Larry - who, it should be noted, is NOT white - decided to do something about it, and Sad Puppies was born. (Check out Larry's own Sad Puppies blog tag for a more complete history. Just get popcorn and a very comfy chair, first.)
Sad Puppies set out in tongue-in-cheek fashion to expose the bias of the majority of the Worldcon voters by asserting that the then-current voting norms were "the leading cause of puppy-related sadness." The movement urged followers to get involved in Worldcon by voting for well-written fiction that was more entertaining than preachy. Larry proposed a list of worthy titles, but never once suggested that his followers should limit themselves to his favorites.
Three years later, the suggested Sad Puppies 3 - The Saddening - slate dominated the nominations. The vocal message-and-minority loving Worldcon members had a complete breakdown. As they've been doing for years, they've attacked Larry personally, calling him a racist and a misogynist. Brad Torgerson - a white, straight male who only coincidentally has been married to a black woman for the last 21 years - has been helping run the movement this year and got painted with the same brush.
Possibly worse, the authors of works on the Sad Puppies slate have been maligned, regardless of the quality of their work (more on that, below).
Last night, Entertainment Weekly stepped in it. Big time. In a truly reprehensible bit of "journalistic" laziness, the writer (who I'm not naming because shaming her for her laziness isn't the point, and she's obviously not actually affiliated with either side beyond her 30 second bit of "research" for her article) presented the following headline:
Hugo Award nominations fall victim to misogynistic, racist voting campaign
Yeah. The article followed suit, claiming that the Sad Puppies only wanted white males to win... utterly ignoring the presence of women, minorities, and homosexual lead characters in the Sad Puppies slate.
Larry, no stranger to controversy or to lies being spread about him, took to Twitter and Facebook and quickly disabused Entertainment Weekly. As of this morning, when I finally noticed this delicious bit of fun, the article bears a new headline (Correction: Hugo Awards voting campaign sparks controversy) and has been greatly altered. The following disclaimer appears at the top: