I have now read my Hugo packet, including the bland to execrable Puppy contributions that were slated by Mr Torgersen and cohort. I have no problem putting them uniformly below No Award or leaving them off the ballot entirely. The good news is that some works slated shine next to the works that they were slated with, so that’s something, anyway.
As has been noted, both slates are naked examples of cronyism. Which, you know, happens in the real world, so the Puppies are merely doing what the Old Boy’s Network has done for years, only less honestly. Unfortunately, the self-proclaimed leaders of both packs have done a terrible insult to their nominees by the very nature of their process.
Basically, what Mr Torgersen and Mr Beale have said to not only their chosen nominees, but also to the world, is that the works they nominated are so bad that the only way any of them can possibly have a chance is through gaming a loophole in the Hugo awards nomination process. How must that make the authors feel? To be told, by your supposed friends and allies–even your employer or publisher in the case of Castalia–that you are not good enough to win on your own merits, so here, let us fix the contest for you, so that you can… still probably not win.
That is not a friend or ally. A friend or ally signal boosts great work—reads it, talks about it, loans out their own copy, writes reviews on Amazon or a blog, buys dinner, watches the dog so that the author can attend a reading. Whatever. A friend and ally does not shit in a pie crust and stare at you until you eat it with a pained smile. As the saying goes, with friends like that…
I don’t blame the slated nominees who withdrew their work for whatever their own personal or professional reasons. And I certainly understand why some of them feel insulted and even ridiculed by those who claim to be “helping” under-represented authors get exposure. This is the sort of “exposure” granted by anonymous assholes who post stolen, nude photos of celebrities on Reddit. Mr Torgersen and Mr Beale have pantsed a slate of nominees, encouraged fandom to stare at their underwear, and seem completely oblivious to the fact that maybe, just maybe, that wasn’t a nice thing to do. And, in so doing, the Slaters have shown their own respective asses, and they are not pretty.
So, hey, have a happy kitten to brighten your weekend!