Take this with a grain of salt coming from a man who has never been, and never will be, nominated for a Hugo.
As I understand the story, a group of people led by the oh so charming sample of genteel masculinity, Vox Day, created a voting bloc (manned by fellow thinkers and borrowing from the GamerGate power pool) by effectively buying memberships in the World Science Fiction Convention and using that voting power to push a handful of retrograde, “space exploring and daring-doo” (read also, chauvinistic and borderline racist) stories to the forefront of the awards ceremony.
This, predictably, set off an Internet fire storm between people who think the 60’s should remain the 60’s, and conservatives who are dead set on opening new fronts in America’s “culture war” against “SJWs.”
Did this happen? Probably. Does Vox Day embody some of the worst kind of slimy anti-progressive thoughts in our country? I’m sure (based on my limited experience with the man). Are the Sad Puppies right that they’re simply doing what the “Social Justice Warriors” have been doing for years? I’m sure.
But for those who are afraid this is a setback in the cause of equality and social justice… allow me to assure you, it isn’t. Hell, in the realm of science fiction, they were abjectly defeated by the early 70’s. The most prominent creators in the fields that they once felt they held dominion are now controlled by the likes of Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams (being handed the helm from the likes of Gene Roddenberry in the process). In ever increasing numbers, readers and those consuming science fiction are demanding women that are more than scenery and yes, even representation of capable minority characters. Science Fiction is the perfect breeding ground for the sort of political and social exploration of what our civilization and culture could (and perhaps should) be.
This “new front” of theirs isn’t going to bear any fruit, and no commandeering an awards ceremony is going to change that. There’s certainly dogged resistance, but let’s be honest… those who are fighting on the conservative side of this war deep down know they’re losing. At this point, they’re merely desperately trying to dictate the terms of their surrender.
Rest easy, my friends. The only thing the Sad Puppies might do is damage the reputation of the Hugo Awards. Which, honestly, would be a pretty small and insignificant victory for those trying to resist the inevitable.