Of Conservatives And Conventions
I became aware that something was going on between ConCarolinas (a science fiction convention in Charlotte) and my friend John Ringo, in a tiny private group on Facebook. This is literally the group for my innermost circle, the people I trust.
They were talking about Ringo being Mau-Maued out of ConCarolinas.
I perked my ears up at this, first because of course, ConCarolinas has been a Baen adjacent con, meaning that Baen authors have more or less always attended, and I’ve heard stories of “so we were at con Carolinas, when—” and second because I lived in Charlotte for seven years and still have friends there.
It’s been known for years – as long as I’ve been published in SF/F – that conservatives get invited to be guests of honor at conventions far less often than leftists in SF/F and infinitely less than red-diaper-babies in SF/F, but ConCarolinas seemed like a weird place for a conflagration of snowflakism.
I went over to John Ringo’s page and read about it. As far as I could tell, a bunch of people on Twitter had been badgering both the con-committee and the other (very leftist) guest about inviting someone who was… what the heck was he? I don’t know.
In the beginning, the accusation against him was that he was “Puppy Adjacent.”
For those of you wanting to follow this at home, the score card is this: Five years ago, my friend Larry Correia started a movement called Sad Puppies, which was a half joking attempt to get books not of solid leftist bent (not even right wing, just not preachy left) nominated for the Hugo, which used to be one of the most prestigious fan awards in science fiction.
When Larry tired of the game after two years, my friend Brad Torgersen took it over…
It was supposed to be me, but a cancer diagnosis and emergency surgery stopped it.
Brad ran it creditably, suggesting fan-favorites who had never got nominated (over the last decade, the Hugos have become a log-rolling club of leftists.) He got people who’d never before nominated to nominate, increasing the number of people involved by three fold. And we got practically everyone on our suggestions list on the ballot. (Ours because I was involved both in planning and defending the guys, as was my friend Kate Paulk and my friend Amanda S. Green.)
Imagine our surprise when we found out that:
- We’d promulgated an immutable slate, that had to be voted for in order. We must have managed that by cleverly telling people to read and vote for those they liked, or add others, or whatever, just get involved.
- We were against the participation of women, people of color, and people of different gender identification and orientation in science fiction and fantasy. (How we were supposed to divine all that except perhaps women, is beyond me. And even there, there are gender neutral names.) The fact that three of us, in the “inner council” were women made no difference. Since we’re not leftists, we’re obviously not “real women.”
Oh, by the way, we also nominated women, people of color, and I think at least one gay person for the Hugo. That most of those recused themselves had nothing to do with us, and was a function of the attacks by the left, who threatened to destroy careers of those who stayed on the ballot, or promised them they would get nominated by them next. (On the eve of never, I’ll wager.)
- We’d done this to oppress people by being gatekeepers. Note our coalition was one best selling author (Larry Correia), a promising beginner (Brad Torgersen), a midlist author (me), and two indie authors (Kate Paulk and Amanda S. Green). None of us had or had ever had gatekeeping powers. In fact, the people who called calumnies against us to Entertainment Weekly (who later retracted) and other national publications were gatekeepers, since everything points to their working for TOR.