George RR Martin has urged “every true fan” of science fiction and fantasy to vote for this year’s Hugo Awards to “help protect the integrity of the rocket”.
The 2015 Hugo Awards, honouring the best science fiction and fantasy works and achievements of the previous year across a number of categories, including books, television, film, and fanworks, have been beset by controversy this year.
A number of the nominees for this year’s awards were on lists recommended by two groups calling themselves Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, and by fantasy author Vox Day, all of whom are allegedly right-leaning.
The Sad Puppies campaign stems from a belief that progressive authors and fans have become increasingly more prominent in the science fiction and fantasy fandom.
Members of the World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) vote on the Hugo Awards, and rank the nominees for each award. Anyone can pay to become a member.
Martin, who has won Hugo Awards in the past, is urging people to vote, saying in a blog post that “every vote will count”.
According to File 770, an SFF blog, more than 2,300 ballots have already been cast for this year’s awards, and membership of this year’s WorldCon in Spokane, Washington, is close to double that of last year’s event, which was held in London.
Martin said in his blog: “Who are all these new Supporting Members? Are they trufans rallying to the defense of one of our field's oldest and most cherished institutions? Are they Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies, Happy Kittens, Gamergaters?... Are these the Neo-Nazis and right-wing reactionaries we have been warned of? The truth is...no one knows. We may get a clue when the ballots are opened and counted, but even then, the numbers may well just say, ‘Answer cloudy, ask again’.”
Voting for the Hugos closes on 31st July. The award winners will be announced at this year’s WorldCon, which is held from 19th to 23rd August.