The Nebula Award winners were announced last week. The Nebulas are the other major annual SF/F Literary award, and the Hugos and Nebulas are held in similar esteem.
For those unfamiliar, the Nebula Awards are given by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America organization. They are the professional group for SF/F writers in the US. One can join the organization if one is a professional, published SF/F author. Only members can nominate and vote for these awards. They are the more professional and exclusive of the two major awards. Sometimes they are considered “too detached” from the average reader for this reason – a niche that was filled by the popular-voted Hugo Awards instead.
Of course, The Martian was every inch a Campbellian movie, while Fury Road was almost entirely New Wave.
Guess which aesthetic dominates and excites the imaginations of SF/F’s cognoscenti?
My personal stance has always been, “To hell with the hoity-toities! Give me my space cruisers and galactic adventure, like that which fired my imagination in the beginning!” But this is a very passé attitude. Nobody wants nuts-and-bolts SF/F anymore, do they?
I recall a time when there used to be an award that was considered more for the common man. An award that kept the genre grounded, rather than spinning off into Ivory Tower ponderings and abstractions. An award that nominated blue-collar writers like Brad Torgerson. An award known as The Hugo.
But Brad was key in turning that award into a Culture War battleground. Until that is resolved, there is no Hugo Award. (Well ok, the novels are almost untouched. But the other categories are suspended.)
Now Brad is complaining that the only awards that are left are those of the fancy-pants literati, when he was party to vandalizing the alternatives. Yes – it WAS nice to have a place where many different types of people could come together in appreciation of the genre, and could talk with each other like civilized humans despite our differences. It IS unfortunate that those commons are vulnerable to razing by the spite-fueled barbarians, so that now the only places of discourse left are the Walled Gardens and Ivory Towers that are able to defend themselves by excluding the hoi polloi.
But the balls it takes to complain about it, when you were the one to lead the charge! The chutzpah! The willful blindness and lack of self-awareness! It’s breathtaking.
Brad – go fuck yourself. You live in the world you helped create.