In Memoriam

The Hugo Award voters paid me the signal honor of burning down two or perhaps three whole categories of awards merely to prevent me from being awarded the spaceship which the breakdown of the votes shows I was due.

I am humbled by the laud shown my work: it is not everyone who can point to the smoking wreckage of a great city whose fanes and temple, colonnades and palaces, baths and coliseums and alabaster towers the burghers burnt with their own hands to prevent falling into his.

Even stranger to behold the beast-yowling burghers dancing with odd jerks of the elbows and knees around the bonfires of their own homes where all their best beloved scrolls and trophies burn, as if some signal victory is won, while the putrid smoke climbs up forever.

Nevertheless, I take no joy and proffer no vaunt. I am no barbarian, but a Christian conqueror, and I pity even my foes. Therefore let us take a moment of solemn silence to doff our helms and lower our eyes for the dissolution of a once great institution.

This is what the Hugos once stood for:

  • “Allamagoosa” by Eric Frank Russell [Astounding May 1955; Sci Fiction, 2004-09-15]
  • “The Star” by Arthur C. Clarke [Infinity Nov 1955]
  • “Or All the Seas with Oysters” by Avram Davidson [Galaxy May 1958]
  • “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes [F&SF Apr 1959]
  • “The Long Afternoon of Earth” aka “Hothouse” by Brian W. Aldiss [F&SF Feb,Apr,Jul,Sep,Dec 1961]
  • “The Dragon Masters” by Jack Vance [Galaxy Aug 1962]
  • “No Truce with Kings” by Poul Anderson [F&SF Jun 1963] tied with (2) “Savage Pellucidar” by Edgar Rice Burroughs [Amazing Nov 1963] tied with (3) “A Rose for Ecclesiastes” by Roger Zelazny [F&SF Nov 1963]
  • “Soldier, Ask Not” by Gordon R. Dickson [Galaxy Oct 1964]
  • “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” by Harlan Ellison [Galaxy Dec 1965]
  • “Neutron Star” by Larry Niven [If Oct 1966]
  • “Light of Other Days” by Bob Shaw [Analog Aug 1966]
  • “The Last Castle” by Jack Vance [Galaxy Apr 1966]
  • “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” by Harlan Ellison [If Mar 1967] tied with (2) “The Jigsaw Man” by Larry Niven [Dangerous Visions, 1967]
  • “Nightwings” by Robert Silverberg [Galaxy Sep 1968]
  • “Dragonrider” by Anne McCaffrey [Analog Dec 1967,Jan 1968]
  • “The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World” by Harlan Ellison [Galaxy Jun 1968] tied with (2) “All the Myriad Ways” by Larry Niven [Galaxy Oct 1968]

That same year, the winner for Best Dramatic Presentation was 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) [Paramount] Screenplay by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick; Directed by Stanley Kubrick; based on the story “The Sentinel” by Arthur C. Clarke.

And, likewise, that same year, a Special Award was given to Neil Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin, and Michael Collins – for The Best Moon Landing Ever.

That Special Award, to my knowledge, has never been granted again, because we are the generation that had the moon and lost it.

So for such works the Hugos once stood. For what do they stand now?

The nihilists voted for nothing. No one is surprised.

* * *

My fans voted for the works of mine they read and judged worthy in record numbers. (In terms of raw votes, my nominated works received more votes than some of the masterworks mentioned above.)

But those who are enemies of all honest men turned out (as expected) in even more record numbers: however, listening to the backstage chatter among voters after the awards, I heard not one comment, no, not one, of someone who said they voted for ‘No Award’  on the lack of merit of the works nominated.

To be sure, some now might say in public that my work was without merit. (Indeed, there are those that claim that the use of nicknames in One Bright Star to Guide Them is proof of some flaw in the authors’ craftsmanship.) Let us note, for I was there when and after the event happened, and I had put my badge under my coat, and stood and walked, and I heard them talking, and I know what they said in private.

The comments I overheard were all the same: the No Award voters wanted to express their party loyalty to the Morlocks, a political faction that wants the Hugo Award to be awarded on the basis of political correctness, not on the basis of the merits of the case. This is like judging a beauty contest based on whether or not the young woman supports gay marriage, rather than on her beauty.

The ones I call Morlocks are the highpriesthood of a political party devoted to nihilism, Christ-bashing,  White-hating misadry and political correctness. They are liars first, last, and always, and they lie even when nothing comes of it and no point is served.

Surrounding them are a large body of largely innocent and easily distracted dupes addicted to outrage which are best called Eloi. They believe any lie, no matter how outrageous or easily refuted, provided it strokes their need for self-importance and outrage.

These are not people of sterling mental health. The Morlocks and the Eloi are true believers and true dupes who truly tempt each other in to ever darker and more degenerate practices.

These flabby and flabby-headed gray-haired hippies never outgrew the smug and unintelligent delight of High School sophomores in striking poses allegedly in rebellion against the Victorian morality and Victorian working conditions of the English middle and lower classes of roughly the time when HG Wells penned his famous work. These ideas were fifty years out of date when they were first promoted in the Summer of Love, and by now are a full century past their sell by date.

But these simplistic yet stupid ideas give the Eloi something to distract them from the tiresome business of thought, and fill their empty lives with a sense of crusading self-righteousness. It is a convenient form of martyrdom that involves no blood, a convenient form of heroism that involves no sweat, a convenient form of victimhood that involves no tears.

There is no argument about the lie, whatever it is, the Morlocks have released to the press that day, no facts given, no quotes that are not misquotes, and no answers to any rebuttals or demands for full information. Fact-checking and the orderly question and answer of challenged thought are intellectual artifacts used by rational men to investigate, debate, and think about the truth. Thought is the enemy of addiction to that brain-altering drug called outrage, and is avoided scrupulously, diligently, and completely.

So the Morlocks simply tell the most unconvincing and transparent lies in as many public fora as possible, as loudly and often as possible, and never, ever, ever answer any challenges, questions, or requests for proof.

All discussion of the lie is ruled out of bounds and beyond the pale.

And the Eloi, as intellectually castrated herd-animals must do, simply believe the lies and repeat them, and never look up from their grazing. Any sheepdogs barking to awaken the herd to their danger are called wolves, intruders, and enemies, and the Eloi ignore them, or, if roused, stone them.  Such is life in the Dark Ages of today, where thinking and reason have been decreed to be hate crimes.

The tactic is simple and endlessly repeated.

All the Morlocks have to do is tell the Eloi that today’s designated scapegoat, a stranger of whom none has previously heard, such as Vox Day, has violated a pristine principle of which none has previously heard, such as an alleged gentleman’s agreement against slate voting.

The screaming nincompoops will then disavow this outrage in thunderous yet shrill exhalations of nonsense, filth, and fact-free verbal blither for the required period.

They all act as if the stranger and the principle allegedly violated are matters of common knowledge and ancient tradition.

The fact that slate voting has happened routinely previously, and will happen again next year led by their own Morlock leadership, of course, never troubles them.

The ancient tradition of tomorrow will be something new and different, and the common knowledge vanished down the memory hole. We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

So to stop the imaginary menace of Global Slate Voting (or whatever the cause of the day might be) the lying Morlocks tell simple and simple-to-refute lies to the gullible Eloi, who cavort and scream on cue, keeping up the riotous and mindless convulsions as long it needed for whatever it is the Morlocks that season want destroyed to be destroyed.

This season, it was the Hugos.

So this was not a literary contest but a political contest. One side, mine, wanted the Hugos to return to their original purpose of being awarded on merit for imaginative and well crafted science fiction. The other side wanted the awards to be given only to those who supported and spread the poisoned political talking points and pet causes activists of grievance-mongering identity politics support.

I am not surprised, but I do think it unfortunate for friend and foe alike, that we lacked the numbers this year to overcome the opposition.

No matter. We knew the war would be long and ongoing. We no doubt must wait for those of the older generations, ossified beyond redemption and semi-senile in their sins, to die off and clear the way.

My only emotional reaction, if I can be said to have one, is this: I have pity for the voters who did not give Toni Weisskopf (the editor at Baen Books) an award, or the wildly popular and talented Jim Butcher (author of the Dresden Files urban fantasy).

The slate voters voting No Award preferred to burn down their own house rather than allow these two figures, (and me) to take our rightful places at the head of the feast table.

Pity, I say, not anger, because the fans who cast their votes for political reasons I know to be men and woman who enjoy the awards ceremony, and take pleasure in the glamor of the award.

I suspect (and intend, if my fans and readers will aid the plan) that next year will have similar results, and that No Award will sweep the categories: and the year after that as well, and after that.

At a certain point, after some years of this, the fans who enjoy the award ceremony will notice that it has been despoiled of all meaning.

No one will be particularly interested in going to a ceremony where a spokesman for far leftwing activism stands at a podium and announces, for the third or fifth or tenth year in a row, that fandom regards its own genre as having produced no works worthy of any recognition.

Honest onlookers will conclude that this is the case. Honest onlookers will take voters at their word, and conclude that the science fiction that wins the WorldCon award is unworthy of recognition. The onlooker will turn to other genres, or other fandoms.

The political activists who have invaded the Hugo Awards process have no one to blame but themselves, and yet some little but real joy will have been extinguished in their lives, and a little more darkness will grown in their hearts.

The Sad Puppies this year gave the Morlocks the chance to mend their ways and return to the original meaning and intent of the Hugo Awards, that is, giving the award to the best science fiction story. The proffer was rejected with contempt.

The Eloi, until now, enjoyed the convention and the awards. Handing out a little statue of a rocket to whoever told the best space story of the year is not a very refined or complex joy. It is simple, straightforward, and something common to all mankind. We like applauding. We like to praise those we like.

It is a simple pleasure.

And that simple pleasure was taken away from the Eloi because of the petulance of their own actions, and the malice of the Morlocks who lead them.

I sat in a darkened theater listening to the Morlocks leading the Eloi in cheers of sickening self righteousness, cheering for the destruction of their own simple pleasure. The master of ceremony, prancing and mincing on the stage, in severe tones told us that booing the No Award was untoward and not allowed, but no cross word was spoken to those that cheered the arson.

I assume the debacle of self-immolation is being celebrated in all the usual quarters by all the usual suspects. What fools these Morlocks be.

What next?

We honest men and lovers of SFF cannot simply walk away from the cesspool of political correctness and Morlockery, and find some other place, some new award, to be our home.

Our fathers pursued a strategy of cost-effective retreat in their generation, and all that happened is that the Morlocks of that generation followed them.

The cesspool spread from one college to the next, from one newspaper and film company and publishing house to the next, from one circuit court to the next, from one stater to the next, until the whole landscape was submerged in sewage from coast to coast.

This is the world we inherited, thanks to the willingness of our fathers to live and let live with avowed enemies and retreat in disgust from institutions they corrupted.

If we start our own new award, the Morlock cesspool-dwellers will follow us, seek entry, and corrupt it. That is what carrion do.

If we retreat or show weakness, the gibbering baboons will rejoice, can claim the heap of poo they have shoveled together in their own camps and kitchens is their mountain of victory. One need only look at the world of painting and sculpture to see the result of that.

The self-destructive nature of Morlock psychology requires that they attack us, and never cease. So this year’s effort to pursue a moderate and measured response failed.

War without mercy or let is all that remains.

The greatest danger is to ourselves from ourselves. We must steel our hearts against the temptation to give into bitterness or hate.

Hate is their diet. We are motivated by love of the genre, the simple pleasure of reading, and delight in all things in the cosmos, from the normal romance of man and wife to the sublime glories of spinning galaxies, clusters and superclusters in the vast and burning cathedral of light we call the universe.

All that is ours. Our works and our ways should and do reflect this, including our works of art.

They are perverted sexually, mentally, and in all ways. Their petty acts of outrage-masturbation and self righteousness harm them as well as us, and are quite unsightly to boot. A pool of sticky liquid best left unidentified: That is theirs. Their works and ways reflect this, including their works of art-hatred.

Let us not be cruel and let us not be unloving.

It is out compassion for them which should burn like fire and stoop like avenging angels to obliterate the foetid slagheaps they have made. We must drive them from the field, back into their unsightly warren holes and pest holes, then we must cleanse the leper, forgive, and rebuild.

We must not become them. We are the builders, the creators, the makers of what makes science fiction great. They are the poop-flinging monkeys, the harpies, the despoilers, the barbarians.

We can prosper without them, and they cannot live without us, because without someone to build up, the destroyer has nothing to destroy.

For the love of Mary Shelly, who invented our beloved genre, and in honor of all those greats who filled our reading lives with dreams as bright as fire, we cannot let them turn the greatest form of literature the modern world will ever know into the dreary wasteland of postmodern dreck.

To arms!