If you’re like a lot of gamers, you probably read a lot of science fiction growing up. Whether it was Star Wars novels, Isaac Asimov, Heinlein or Halo, you may very well have had a bookshelf full of the stuff. But odds are you don’t anymore, and you might not even know why. I know I didn’t. I used to read a lot of sci-fi magazines, and then I gradually stopped because the stories just didn’t seem to interest me. Looking back, I know why: the same people we’re fighting against in GamerGate won the battle to determine what books were published.
How The SJWs Stole Sci-Fi
The people we now call Social Justice Warriors have (until a very short while ago) completely controlled the science fiction and fantasy publishing industry, and the result was something out of a GamerGater’s fever dream. If you were a new or mid-list author who didn’t espouse the “right” political views, you had no chance of being published. Even Orson Scott Card, quite possibly the most popular sci-fi author alive today and whose Ender’s Game has sat at or near the top of the bestseller lists for over a decade, faced massive boycotts and organized campaigns for his beliefs on gay marriage.
Almost any author who didn’t tow the SJW line was out, and that line moved further and further the more the SJWs consolidated their grip on power. Last January, an editor at Tor, the largest science fiction publishing company, called for a quota where every book must contain at least one transsexual character. This February, SJWs started a campaign telling people not to read any straight, white, and male authors at all.
What happened when the SJWs took over is an abject lesson for the gaming industry: sales of science fiction books utterly tanked. What was once a thriving genre is almost utterly dead.
For the same reason that no one wants to play Depression Quest, no one wants to read boring books that shove fringe values down the readers’ throatS. You can see the top sellers in Science Fiction for 2012 here. Every book on the bestseller list was either five or more years old or a Star Wars/Halo tie-in novel. The lone exception, A Rising Thunder, was actually published by conservative publishing house Baen Books. The top selling book, Ender’s Game, is now over 20 years old. When it came out, Clinton was still in his first term, the biggest game system around was the Super Nintendo, and the world was still astonished at the graphics in the game Myst.
The rot was at its worst in the Hugo and Nebula Awards, the most prestigious awards in the industry. Awards that used to go to titles like Dune, Ringworld, and Neuromancer became the province of titles like The Lady Astronaut of Mars and the execrable If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love. The latter is almost a parody of SJW thought: it’s a short story about a gay paleontologist who gets beaten up by working class whites, whose fiancee (It’s not a hundred percent clear why she’s marrying a gay man) fantasizes about him turning into a dinosaur and killing them. By 2014, books like SJW novel Ancillary Justice (Slate boasts that it “forces the reader to confront gender“) were beating out the likes of Neil Gaiman and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.
Followers of GamerGate will immediately see the parallels: a self-declared “elite” pushing an agenda on a hostile audience. Heavy promotion of creators that no consumer enjoys, while anyone who doesn’t have the right political beliefs is shunned and ignored. And like Gamergate, there was a backlash.
Invasion Of The Sad Puppies
Several authors, tired of having their work ignored because they were not the “right” color, sex, or sexual orientation, organized a campaign to get books that readers actually enjoyed into the Hugo Awards. The campaign was started a few years ago by urban fantasy author Larry Correia, who called it the “Campaign to Combat Puppy-Related Sadness,” aka “Sad Puppies” (the joke being that Mr. Correia thought that horrible books winning awards was making puppies sad).
Correia put together a slate of books he felt were more deserving and took them to his readers, asking them to pay the $40 membership fee required to vote in the Hugo Awards nominations. Since normally only a thousand or so people vote in the nominations, it didn’t take many fans at all to swing the awards.
The campaign is now in its 3rd year, and this year it was led by Brad R. Torgersen, with a similar slate called “Rabid Puppies” organized by Vox Day, who we’ve interviewed previously at Reaxxion. After several months of campaigning, the nominees for the 2015 Hugo Awards were announced yesterday, and the Sad Puppies absolutely crushed the SJWs. Despite a considerable amount of opposition, the puppies won 61 out of 85 total nominations.
As we’ve seen with GamerGate, only a small fraction of the total consumer audience of any entertainment product hews to SJW ideals. They’re a small, active, and vocal minority that gets what they want because people usually don’t care enough to tell them to shut up. Whenever they push things too far and people realize their agenda, the backlash is tremendous. More people voted in the Hugo nominations then in any time in recent history, and the only categories the SJWs won were the ones where the Sad Puppies didn’t nominate anything.
The backlash from the people who didn’t win has been glorious to behold. GamerGate opponents in particular have been apopletic with rage. Arthur Chu went on a two hour long Twitter rant. Brianna Wu accused GamerGate of somehow hijacking the awards and “ballot stuffing” in order to win. Chris Kluwe said that one of the Sad Puppies organizers “deserves to be shot.” Gawker-run io9 complained about an “organized backlash” against “people of color.” Go to any Twitter account of a GamerGate opponent, and you’ll see spasms of rage like you’ve never seen before.
Turning Back The SJWs
Social Justice Warriors are on the defensive. The public is wise to their tricks and they’re quickly finding out that no one likes them. Expect more incidents like this in the future, as people who are smarter, better organized, and wealthier turn against the mob and stand up for reading books and playing video games that people actually enjoy. In particular, the Sad Puppies juggernaut shows no signs of stopping. While Brianna Wu talks bitterly about “fake memberships,” the committee behind the Hugo Awards seems overjoyed that more people than ever are taking an interest in it.
The nomination stage of this year’s Hugo Awards are over, but the voting for the awards themselves is still to come. If you’d like to participate, you can buy a Supporting Membership here. This will get you voting rights for the awards, as well as an electronic copy of every nominated work. With 85 nominations this year, that’s an incredible amount of reading material for your money. And thanks to the Sad Puppies, most of it will actually be good.