Congratulations, Rabid Puppies! Thou hast conquered.
Last night’s Hugo Awards ceremony featured a significant first: Nora Jemisin became the first novelist in science fiction history to win three consecutive Best Novel Hugos, once for each volume in her Broken Earth trilogy (the concluding volume, The Stone Sky, won last night’s prize); in addition to the unprecedented honor, Jemisin had another first, with her acceptance speech, which may just be the best such speech in the field’s history.
Other works and creators honored last night include:
Best novella: All Systems Red, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
Best novelette: “The Secret Life of Bots,” by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, September 2017)
Best short story: “Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™,” by Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex, August 2017)
Best related work: No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Best Graphic Story: Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood, written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
Best Editor – Short Form: Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
Best Editor – Long Form: Sheila E. Gilbert
Let’s consider the best speech in the science fiction field’s history by the greatest science fiction writer of all time.
oh um okay so I I had started developing this whole superstition where I only went Awards if I don’t show up and my friends are texting me so I can’t read my speech stop okay all right so let me get to the speech this has been a hard year hasn’t it a hard few years a hard century for some of us things have always been hard and I wrote the broken earth trilogy to speak to that struggle and what it takes to live let alone thrive in a world that seems determined to break you a world of people who constantly question your competence your relevance your very existence I get a lot of questions about where the themes of the broken earth trilogy come from I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m drawing on the human history of structural oppression as well as my feelings about this moment in American history what may be less obvious though is how much of the story derives from my feelings about science fiction and fantasy then again science fiction and fantasy are microcosms of the wider world in no way rarified from the world’s pettiness or prejudice but another thing that I tried to touch on with the broken earth trilogy is that life in a hard world is never just the struggle life is family blood and found life is those allies who prove themselves worthy by actions and not just talk life means celebrating every victory no matter how small so if I stand here before you beneath these lights I want you to remember that 2018 is also a good year this is a year in which records have been set a year in which even the most privileged blinder of us have been forced to acknowledge that the world is broken and needs fixing and that is a good thing stop texting me and that is because acknowledging the problem is the first step towards fixing it I looked at science fiction and fantasy as the aspirational Drive of the zeitgeist we creators are the engineers of possibility and as this genre finally however grudgingly acknowledges that the dreams of the marginalized matter and that all of us have a future so will go the world soon I hope fairies and yes there will be naysayers I know that I am here on this stage accepting this award for pretty much the same reason as every previous best novel winner because I work my ass off I have poured my pain onto paper when I could not afford therapy I have studied works of literature that range widely and dig deeply to learn when I could and refine my voice I have written a million words of crap and probably a million more of me and beyond that I have smiled and nodded while well-meaning magazine editors advised me to tone down my allegories and my anger I didn’t I have gritted my teeth while an established professional writer went on a 10-minute tirade at me and basically as a proxy for all black people for mentioning under-representation in the sciences I’ve kept writing even though my first novel The Killing Moon was initially rejected on the assumption that only black people would ever possibly want to read the work of a black writer I have raised my voice to talkback over fellow panelists who tried to talk over me about my own damn life I have fought myself in the little voice inside me that constantly still whispers that I should just keep my head down and shut up and let the real writers talk but this is the year in which I get to smile at all of those naysayers every single mediocre insecure wannabe who fixes their mouth to suggest that I do not belong on this stage but people like me cannot possibly have earned such an honor and that when they win its meritocracy but when we win its identity politics I get to smile at this people and lift a massive shining rocket-shaped finger in their direction I’m understand so how many of you all saw like Panther okay probably my favorite part of it is actually Kendrick Lamar theme song all the stars the chorus of it is this maybe the night that my dreams might let me know all the stars are closer let 2018 be the year that the stars came closer for all of us the stars are ours thank you
Moving. Deeply moving. (wipes a solitary tear away) You lift that massive shining rocket-shaped finger to the sky, you inspiring token for the savagely untalented! No one can ever take away those unprecedented three consecutive Best Novel Awards from you, although they’re desperately going to want to do so once they realize just how completely they have destroyed the credibility of their own awards.
You see, my dear SF-SJWs, this is what a smoking hole looks like.
A legitimate award-winning science fiction writer, Robert Silverberg, begins to grok.
I have not read the Jemison books. Perhaps they are wonderful works of science fiction deserving of Hugos every year from now on. But in her graceless and vulgar acceptance speech last night, she insisted that she had not won because of ‘identity politics,’ and proceeded to disprove her own point by rehearsing the grievances of her people and describing her latest Hugo as a middle finger aimed at all those who had created those grievances.
But that’s what the Hugo Award is now. And that is all it is. Which is exactly what I told the Rabid Puppies would happen. Our actions could never have sufficed, but their reactions did.