Last night, the shortlist for the 2015 Hugo nominees was released. What we saw has sparked anger, disbelief, and all kinds of handwringing.
The driving reason behind is who and what was nominated. For the last several years, there has been a loose coalition of angry straight white cis male authors who have decried the “liberalism” in modern Speculative Fiction. Because gods forbid that a literature genre with a history of radical progressive politics keep true to its history in the age of White Man Persecution.
(For those that don’t know, this gang of merry idiots believes that works are being selected for the Hugos based not on “merit”, but on politics. I can hear them whine and gnash their teeth already over the need for their idea of the “meritocracy”, and how it can go stick its collective head up its collective kyriarchal ass.)
Last year, N. K. Jemison, whom I admire greatly, dropped a call to arms during her WisCon Guest of Honor speech. She warned us that the Brad Torgesons, the Breitbarts, the Michael Z. Williams of SF/F fandom had an agenda. That they would come for us the same as they had came for the other marginalized voices of our Community.
We didn’t listen then. Could we have stopped the travesty of the 2015 Hugo nominee shortlists if we had organized ourselves into an opposing bloc? I don’t know- but what I do know is that we didn’t try.
We, as Community, sacrificed the history of our fandom on the altar of the status quo. We ignored a call to action, we chose not to fight. We did not ride with our partners and colleagues, and we chose comfort and apathy over blood, sweat, tears, and work.
We made this mess by refusing to aggressively attack the virulent racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism embedded in the Old Guard. We, through inaction, gave the right the soapbox they craved.
We did this, and now is the time to, in Nora’s words, fucking fight. Kick out those in our community who do harm, raise up the voices of those in our midst who are shouted over. To protect the ideal we hold true: Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.