This is what class looks like.
Longtime online pal Marko Kloos is so classy, he even apologizes for being a little rude when he correctly identifies a rude individual.
Winning a Hugo, up to now, has always been very valuable for a science fiction writer.
If you're like many of us, you want to find a magical story that will divert you from the drudgery of reality, without having to wade through the crap. Just give me the good stuff. So, it's incredibly alluring to see that list posted up on the wall of your local book store with the Hugo winners by year. I've been guilty of having perused the list, found a title that I haven't yet read, and pulled it off the shelf and immediately gone to the cash register. It's that simple: I didn't have to read the slush pile.
I know that I'm not the only one. As do smart people like... well, like Marko Kloos.
Marko, however, found himself in a very weird situation. He had written a very compelling page-turner, which would have found itself in the running for a Hugo anyway-- but which was pushed to the short-list by an unsavory person.
Vox Day, AKA Theodore Beale, is not a person I would invite into my home. He is racist. He is misogynistic. He was expelled from the Science Fiction Writer's Association because of his attacks on fellow writers based upon their race and gender. He is bitter. The funny thing is, the man can write. If he weren't so obnoxious, he probably would have won something by now. But there are lines which you cannot cross without having some backlash, and he crossed them. He will never win an award in science fiction.
To make up for this, Beale/Day came up with a scheme: pack the nominations. Campaign on fairness! Your favorite writers have no chance to win, through no fault of their own! Though they have wrought the best stories, their only sin is that they are white males! The P.C.-minded establishment wants a multicultural field of nominees, at the expense of Quality! Hell, it sounds good. We all just want the best writing. Who cares what color or gender the author is? We all hate reverse discrimination, because it's just another kind of discrimination, right?
When I saw that online pal and best-selling author Larry Correia was being labeled as a racist (!) and misogynist himself, I began to think, Yeah, I can understand why you'd get ticked about these things. Larry's a good man. Larry is not a racist. He may be a conservative, but he's not a woman-hater. Larry's writings depict strong woman characters, multiple cultures in his good guys... anyway, you get the picture. So Larry's corner started up a little group called the Sad Puppies. And frankly, I was on board.
Then Vox Day starts up the Rabid Puppies. He endorses a group of authors for Hugo nominations, and they get short-listed. Marko Kloos was one of the authors.
For a few days, it was heady times at Castle Frostbite. Think about this: You're nominated for the Hugo --one of the most well-known awards in your profession*-- and word is that you've got a very good chance of winning it. Heinlein won that award. Asimov won that award. Clark. Le Guin. Dick. Niven. Haldeman. Gibson. Card. Those are the giants on whose shoulders you will get to stand. I'm not gonna lie: I'm giddy just knowing a guy who gets to have his name mentioned in the same lists as those people.
The same rocket ship badge that is on every paperback of Stranger In A Strange Land could be on your books.
But then comes the crashing reality, which is that people would associate your nomination with the unsavory person who put your name on a list that he advocated be nominated.
Some stains you can never wash clean of.
So Marko, faced with that situation, quit. He pulled his book Lines Of Departure out of the running.
He took his ball (which he was winning with), and went home to Castle Frostbite.
Drop the mic.
He'll write more. And we'll get to read it. But when he takes the awards, it will be on his terms, and not via some shady deal co-opted by a shady jerk. Hey, Vox? Marko was never your kind of people.
*Though, apparently, not really as critically-judged as you might hope. "Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by supporting or attending members of the annual World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon..." LawDog writes on his disappointment about the process.