Diversity of belief

There is a post here: http://www.thepassivevoice.com/08/2015/fans-try-bringing-diversity-of-thought-to-sci-fi-literature-and-that-scares-liberal-elitist-gatekeepers-to-death/ which via a comment has brought some visitors (hi!) but which was originally from here: http://chicksontheright.com/blog/item/30184-fans-try-bringing-diversity-of-thought-to-sci-fi-literature-and-that-scares-liberal-elitist-gatekeepers-to-death

It is yet another spin on the Sad/Rabid Hugo Kerfuffle and it has nice idea behind it. I know I’ve promised a Karl Popper post and have not yet delivered but one of Popper’s key ideas is the notion of an Open Society. Essentially a society in which ideas can be discussed freely and evaluated by individuals. Although the notion is political in nature it is closely tied to Popper’s epistemology which avoids dogmatic certainties and instead relies on a more evidential and provisional notion of truth. An open society is one that can adapt and change when reality runs counter to expectations.

So there is potential for an interesting claim there: perhaps a claim that the Hugo awards have become dominated by a single set of ideas and that this has stifled the dialog of ideas that the genre of SF/F is unique at providing. Sadly the article is largely just a rehash of same complaints and semi-truths. Even so there is enough to go on to consider whether the Puppies brought a diversity of ideas with them.

In terms of the banner award of Best Novel the answer is no. The Puppy nominees for best novel are OK books but don’t contain any new or particularly interesting ideas that an interested reader won’t have read before. Whatever Skin Game or the Dark Between the Stars have to author as novels might be, new and original ideas are not their strength. Beyond the novel and into the other works there are arguably some interesting ideas in Kary English’s Totaled and Lou Antonelli’s On a Spiritual Plain has a somewhat original take on death but neither are presenting ideas that would have been shut out of recent iterations of the award. John C Wright’s stories have some interesting ideas but each of his works intentionally invoke other stories and classic themes of fantasy and science fiction. Even the notion in One Bright Star to Guide Them of an adult returning to a fantasy world they met as a child is not new or an idea that the Hugo nomination process would avoid.

Looking over the categories it possibly only the the Best Related Work category that could even come close to representing an attempt to introduce more diversity of ideas. Of those the Hot Equations is unexceptional in its ideas, Letters from Gardner is primarily an autobiographical account of the writing process, The Science is Never Settled contains some original ideas but only when the author gets himself confused and the less said of Wisdom from My Internet the better. That really leaves only John C Wright’s Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth as the soul puppy contribution to ‘diversity of ideas’. So was that work the payload of all this angst ridden process? That seems unlikely and it runs counter to the other claims made by puppy supporters that they were trying to AVOID politics and heavy message fiction.

I guess we can just chalk it up to another spin of the Puppy narrative.

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