It looks like that 2016 will be remembered as a turning point for a lot of matters about modern-day fandom and for all the turmoil connected to the awards. I wrote about it a few months ago (here) and sadly I’ve to say that things have not improved so far.
The online debate after the last WorldCon reached a new level of bitterness and the echo in the mainstream media has been, if possible, even worse than at the start of the Sad Puppies / Rabid Puppies campaign. The public image of the sci-fi fandom could be compared to a downsized version of a noisy political debate, with very few attention to what really matters: the business of acquiring and selling good stories, no matter who write it and why.
A few days ago, the first edition of the Dragon Award has been endowed, marking a milestone for a lot of people (me included). This is a simple concept, assign awards based on public consensus. A fan may register at the site (no charge), he/she will receive the necessary link to vote and every vote counts – no matter if you’re a fan, a professional or whatever else is in between. This is a step in the right direction, aimed to create (or renew) the ties between fandom and creators.
In the past, I’ve been critic versus associations like SFWA or HWA. I still think that they have to perform a robust reality check and finally get thru arguments that have overridden their reason to exist. A writer is a writer, no matter his or hers background. Associations exists to help such writers to access to the markets and to support whatever legal activity to defend their rights. Today they are defending the politically correctness of the field, it’s not the same thing.
This is a big field, with room for everybody. It’s up to the markets to decide what books will be successful or not, what careers will bloom or vanish. So Hugos and Dragons may coexists without any real problem and any possible convention may be held, supporting what should be more important for everybody: create good stories for the audience. The readers should be involved more in the process, not less. Create a gateway thru the meanings of associations and entry fees it’s not the right way to do that.
Time to reconsider what’s going around, folks. It’s not too late to get back on the right path.