Socialist Worker

Science fiction fans reject racism at Hugo awards

by Liam Currie
Issue No. 2502

The Hugo Awards are the most prestigious set of awards for science fiction and fantasy writing.

In recent years they have been mired by controversy.

This year racists organised to exclude black authors from the awards.

Right wing writers organised factions to influence the outdated voting system to create white-only slates.

George RR Martin

George RR Martin

The factions proposed slates for 15 out of the 16 categories.

Brad Torgersen, one of the faction organisers, argued that works nominated to the awards are “niche, academic, overtly to the left in ideology and flavour”.

This is really a right wing response to the opening up of the awards, and sci-fi more generally, to groups in society other than white men.

Sci-fi fans organised against the reactionaries.

George RR Martin, author of A Song Of Ice and Fire which the TV series Game of Thrones is based on, said that this was a “gathering to defend the integrity of the Hugos”.

A record 11,300 registered to attend the World Science Fiction Convention where the awards are voted on. Almost 6,000 voted.

Every single slate the factions proposed was voted down. In categories where faction slates were running unopposed fans voted for a “No Award”.

Donald Trump’s campaign appears to be giving confidence to reactionaries. Online campaigns like Gamergate are part of the same fight over what culture should look like.

George RR Martin expressed doubt that the Hugo Awards could be repaired after last year.

But it seems as if anti-racists have put a stop to the carnival of reaction.

Laura J Mixon won the best fan writer award. She said, “I stand with people from marginalised groups who seek simply to be seen as fully human.

“Black lives matter.”

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