I was indulging one of my vices (reading other people’s blogs, Sarah Hoyt’s in this case) and noticed in the comments a quote from a different blog. That particular quote had some disparaging thing to say about the Gemmell Awards. I’m not going to bother linking to the quoted blog because I’m not directly responding to the argument there, which concerned the number of white male authors nominated for awards, specifically the Hugos. I will quote the relevant passage, because it’s representative of a pretty common attitude. It also kicked off a train of thought that should be addressed. Namely, the how relevant the Hugos are compared to the Gemmells.
The Gemmell Awards are named after David Gemmell and focus on heroic fantasy. The Hugo Awards are named in honor of Hugo Gernsback, who published the first magazine devoted entirely to science fiction, Amazing Stories. The Gemmell Awards specialize in heroic fantasy, while the Hugos encompass the entire sff field.
Here’s the quote:
“Why not just let the works speak for themselves?”
The issue is that when we let the works speak for themselves, we wind up with the Gemmell Awards: 70,000 votes (several orders of magnitudes greater than the Hugos), and every single nominee for Best Novel is a White Dude. Every best debut novel is a dude, most of them white.
Of course these comments are totally bogus. I’ll explain why in a second. But it got me to thinking, always a dangerous thing.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, in addition to the shortlist for the Gemmell Awards, the shortlist for the Hugo Awards, was announced recently. And the internet has been having a major hissy fit ever since.