Live from the Kansas City Convention Center: Damien Walter: Hugo Awards: Reading the Sad Puppies' Pets:
With this year’s Hugo awards coming on Saturday night in the US...
...I thought I’d read some of the authors championed by the [Sad] Puppies. (Don’t ever say I don’t do anything for you.) If you find meaning in straight-to-video Dolph Lundgren films, then Larry Correia’s novels will be your kind of read. Correia, accountant-turned-author-turned-Sad-Puppies-creator, kicked off his Monster Hunter series with Monster Hunter International, about an accountant whose boss turns into a monster. So he shoots him. In fact, much of the Monster Hunter series relies rather heavily on people the hero doesn’t like turning into monsters… so he can shoot them. Sadly, Correia’s books are not quite awful enough to be good. They’re just mediocre. That’s fine--Dolph Lundgren movies are also often mediocre, but plenty of people like them. But did Lundgren’s Masters of the Universe deserve to take the 1987 Oscar over Oliver Stone’s Platoon? I don’t think so--and in that same way, Correia’s novels in no way merit consideration for the Hugos (thankfully, he only made the 2014 longlist).
These are amazing times for science fiction and fantasy storytelling... Ted Chiang... China Miéville... Alan Moore... Claire North... an exciting debut from Laurie Penny and a TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods following in the footsteps of Game of Thrones… I could go on. And the hack writers and sloppy sentences championed by the Sad Puppies deserve no place in that picture; for their politics, yes, but also their sheer shoddiness. But the Sad Puppies don’t want any of their books to end up on bestseller lists or TV screens. It’s the same frustrating paradigm that British MP Michael Gove hit upon when he said that people were sick of experts, or what Donald Trump plays upon when he rails against “professional politicians”. We’re seeing the Dunning-Kruger effect played out on a mass scale, and the Sad Puppies are just a speck in that wider problem.