And rightly so. A fanzine author realizes who was always to blame for the destruction of the Hugo.
So fuck John Scalzi anyway.
Fuck his sense of entitlement. Fuck his arrogant, unilateral “fix” of things he didn’t understand, which weren’t actually broken to begin with. Fuck his self-promoting crusade to prove that a merely world-famous, best-selling professional author with an international following of devoted groupies, whose “fan writing” blog is devoted to the ideas and concerns of professional SF authors qua pro authors, and whose grasp of what a fan writer is came by way of the modern equivalent of reading it off a cereal box, can still drum up enough ignorant first-time voters to win himself a Best Fan Writer Hugo because gosh darn it, people like him. And the rules didn’t explicitly say he couldn’t. And because he tapes bacon to cats, I guess. Woo….
So as far as I can see, John Scalzi created the blueprint: providing both proof of concept and implicit permission for the Sad and Rabid Puppy ballot stuffing campaigns. The fact that they didn’t also win the rockets suggests to me that they weren’t as good at marketing (and were aiming at some rather tougher nuts to crack, in voting number terms – Scalzi was sharp enough to notice that the fan categories had long been low hanging fruit for wrangling a short list nomination), but what they did wasn’t materially or morally different from what John Scalzi did. Neither one violated the letter of the law, and both dismissed or ignored the spirit. If the actions of the Puppies were blameworthy, so were those of John Scalzi.
If what he did was okay within the rules and therefore okay, then so were the Puppy campaigns. The fact that John Scalzi is a funny, likable guy who tapes bacon to cats doesn’t change the moral quality of his actions, it just distracted a bunch of people from noticing it. Think of him as the Daenerys Targaryen of burning the Hugos to the ground, if you like – the Mother of Dingbats.
She’s correct. John Scalzi was absolutely the inspiration for the Sad Puppies, although he wasn’t the only one. It was the entire Tor Cabal, scheming and plotting to win as many awards as possible, then waving them in the face of better, better-selling authors like Larry Correia, that made it clear that the awards were no longer anything but a popularity contest.
Larry proved his case with the first Sad Puppies campaign; all the subsequent Puppies campaigns were intended to do was to underline for the entire world his original point that the awards no longer had anything to do with literary quality in the science fiction genre. And the Rapid Puppies in particular succeeded in doing that to perfection; literally no one takes the Hugo seriously as a statement on literature anymore now that Space Raptor Butt Invasion, Stix Hiscock, and N.K. Jemisin have permanently stained what was once a substantive award.