Annie Bellet and Marko Kloos have withdrawn their nominations from the Hugo ballot. Both were part of the Sad and Rabid Puppies slates. They join Matthew David Surridge, a fan writer who declined his nomination before the nominees were announced.
In an emotional blog post, Bellet writes:
“I am not doing it because I am ashamed. I am not doing it because I was pressured by anyone either way or on
any “side,” though many friends have made cogent arguments for both keeping my nomination and sticking it out, as well as for retracting it and letting things proceed without me in the middle.
I am withdrawing because this has become about something very different than great science fiction. I find my story, and by extension myself, stuck in a game of political dodge ball, where I’m both a conscripted player and also a ball. (Wrap your head around that analogy, if you can, ha!) All joy that might have come from this nomination has been co-opted, ruined, or sapped away. This is not about celebrating good writing anymore, and I don’t want to be a part of what it has become.”
Bellet’s story, “Goodnight Stars,” was a favorite on the slate, and one that even many non-Puppy voters agreed was worthy of the rocket. Shortly after the nominations were announced, she distanced herself from the politics surrounding the Puppy slate, but also beamed with pride at her nomination, asking to be judged for her story’s merits not her background:
“I am a socialist, if I have to quantify my political leanings…
I am queer in that I am an out bisexual who has had more female partners than male….
My nominated story features a non-white female protagonist. Most of my stories do, actually. I think the world is a very interesting and diverse place, I grew up in a multi-ethnic and diverse family, and I don’t see our future becoming less diverse so I choose to write about a world that has as many different people in it as I can dream up.
Honestly, the thought that the above information would change whether or not my story gets read and considered, in either direction, makes me a little sick to my stomach.”
You can read “Goodnight Stars” here.
“…regardless of who else has recommended the novel for award consideration—the presence of “Lines of Departure” on the shortlist is almost certainly due to my inclusion on the “Rabid Puppies” slate. For that reason, I had no choice but to withdraw my acceptance of the nomination. I cannot in good conscience accept an award nomination that I feel I may not have earned solely with the quality of the nominated work….
Thank you to everyone who voted for “Lines of Departure” because you read the novel and genuinely thought it worthy of award recognition… But keeping the nomination is not a moral option at this point, and I hope you will understand.”
Additionally, Connie Willis wrote a lengthy post declining a role as presenter during the award ceremony. Hopefully we are getting close to the bottom of this Hugo mess, but I expect there’s going to be more puppy-related messes to wade through before Sasquan.
— Michael Senft