The science-fiction and fantasy literature world might seem by its nature to be forward-thinking, but it hasn't been free from the kinds of culture wars embodied by last year's Gamergate controversy—a fact aptly illustrated by this year’s nominations for the genre’s (arguably) most prestigious awards, the Hugos. The tastes of the voting audience for the Hugos (comprised of the attendees of the World Science Fiction Convention, or WorldCon) seem to have grown more diverse in recent years. And their selections have reflected that: Last year's awards were swept by writers of color and women, myself included. So it was a surprise when a majority of voters woke up April 4 to a nomination slate almost exclusively overrun by novels, stories, and related fan efforts promoted by a small group of writers who claim the Hugos are turning into affirmative-action awards catering to left-wing ideologies. Their efforts to influence the voting process are led by the novelist Larry Correia and the Internet personality Theodore Beale, who's best known for his desire to deny women the right to vote and his firm belief that black people are “savages.”
When I won two awards last year, it seemed like an impossible achievement for me, because I knew the history of the Hugos. I knew they historically rewarded popular work, set in the kinds of old, colonial, dudes-rule-everything universes that my work explicitly challenges. I never thought I’d be more than a fringe writer, but I also didn’t believe science fiction was going to change, or that I’d be part of making that happen. I figured it would continue to tell the same old stories about the same old futures until the last of its readers died out, and that I’d be shouting for a more humanitarian future at the margins with others like me. But, like our wider culture, science-fiction and fantasy fandom grew and shifted; and with it, our vision of the future changed, too.