Hugosauriad 4: Cretaceous

In the deep past the Cretaceous was a period with warm shallow seas and copious sea-life. Our modern continents were beginning to take shape and on land T-Rex was doing his star turn. Along with T-rex, the other new charismatic living thing were flowers. Along with flowers came bees and butterflies.

For the Hugo Awards there’s no simple defining event for me to separate my Jurassic from my Cretaceous. I’ve simply picked the year 2000, the start (or year before the start) of a new millennium.

Change was certainly coming though. Online communities had been connecting fandom for many years by this point but the sheer volume of people online was steadily increasing. The World Wide Web had given more people an incentive to connect to the internet and internet services were becoming widespread. Blogging and early social network services were becoming more common place.

Technically ebooks existed but as yet reading online was less than ideal. I’ll confess to reading a copy of the first Harry Potter book on a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant not a Public Display of Affection). Amazon had already been operating for 6 years by 2000 but the scale of its ambitions were only beginning to become apparent. Amazon’s Kindle device would not appear until 2007 but even by that point, the online retailer was reshaping book buying.

The connectedness of fans was already reshaping fandom. There had always been connections across countries but those connections were becoming simpler, easier and more everyday. The world was changing.

The calamitous terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11 would impact world politics throughout this period. On a more basic level, the immediate aftermath led to fewer people travelling by air.

The Hugo Awards were reshaped by all these things. The awards took on more international aspects but also became, slowly and sometimes erratically more diverse.

The chapters I’ll be covering in this period are:

  • 4.1 Bones of the Earth and Scherzo with Tyrannosaur by Michael Swanwick
  • 4.2 Brontë’s Egg by Richard Chwedyk
  • 4.3 Doctor Who: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
  • 4.4 If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love by Rachel Swirsky
  • 4.5 Extinction event 1: Queen of the Tyrant Lizard by John C Wright
  • 4.6 Extinction event 2: Chuck Tingle versus the Alt Right – Space Raptor Butt Invasion
  • 4.7 Extinction event 3: Vox Day, Alien Stripper and Voting Reform
  • 4.8 The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters… by Brooke Bolander

The three “Extinction event” chapters deal with the Sad Puppy and Rabid Puppy reactionary Hugo campaigns. Chapters 4.4 and 4.5 look at different aspects of Rachel Swirsky’s Nebula Award winning story. I wanted 4.4 to look at the story independently of the Puppy antagonism towards it. 4.5 looks at the Sad Puppy reaction. Originally this was going to be “If You Were a Dinosaur…” part 2 but then I remembered that John C Wright had written his own ‘answer’ to Swirsky’s story. It’s pretty bad but a good basis on which to centre the Sad Puppies.

4.6 looks more at the role of the alt-right in the Puppy campaigns and also the weird and wonderful world of Chuck Tingle and how he fought his own campaign against neo-fascism. 4.7 completes the mini-arc with”Alien Stripper…” and the final demise of the Rabid Puppies.

4.8 brings up to 2019 with Brooke Bolander’s raptoriffic fairy tale.

Next time: A double dose of Michael Swanwick….