|Formation||8 January 2013|
|Purpose||Hugo Awards nominations|
|Larry Correia, Brad R. Torgersen, Kate Paulk, Sarah Hoyt|
|Sad Puppies Think of the Children Campaign|
Sad Puppies was an unsuccessful right-wing anti-diversity voting campaign run from 2013 to 2017 and intended to influence the outcome of the annual Hugo Awards, the longest-running prize (since 1953) for science fiction or fantasy works. It was started in 2013 by author Larry Correia as a voting bloc to get his novel Monster Hunter Legion nominated for a Hugo award, and then grew into suggested slates, or sets of works to nominate, in subsequent years (led by Correia in 2014, and then Brad R. Torgersen in 2015). According to the Los Angeles Times, Sad Puppies activists accused the Hugo Awards "of giving awards on the basis of political correctness and favoring authors and artists who aren't straight, white and male".
For the 2015 Hugos, the Sad Puppies slate and overlapping Rabid Puppies slate, run by Vox Day, swept several entire categories of nominations. During final voting at the Hugos, however, all except one of those categories was voted "No Award"; in that category, Best Film, the Puppies nominated already-popular films. In the following year, the Sad Puppies campaign was changed to use ranked recommendation lists rather than a slate, though the Rabid Puppy campaign did not follow suit. Only two categories were swept by the campaigns and subsequently voted for "No Award", and the only Puppy nominees to win categories were ones by popular creators unconnected to the campaigns, such as Neil Gaiman. The Sad Puppy campaign did not return in 2017, and the Rabid Puppy campaign only mustered an estimated 80–90 members and 12 nominations. That year, the nominating rules for the Hugos were changed to limit the power of bloc voting for small sets of works. Neither campaign was run in 2018 or has been run since.
The World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) gives out the Hugo Awards each year for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. Works are eligible for an award if they were published in the prior calendar year, or translated into English in the prior calendar year. Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by supporting or attending members of the annual World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, and the presentation evening constitutes its central event. The selection process is defined in the WSFS constitution as instant-runoff voting with five nominees per category, except in the case of a tie. The awards are split over more than a dozen categories, and include both written and dramatic works.
For each category of Hugo, the voter may rank "No Award" as one of their choices. Voters are instructed that they should do so if they feel that none of the nominees are worthy of the award, or if they feel the category should be abolished entirely. A vote for "No Award" other than as one's first choice signifies that the voter believes the nominees ranked higher than "No Award" are worthy of a Hugo in that category, while those ranked lower are not.
During the period the Sad Puppies campaign was active, the ballot consisted of five works for each category that were the most-nominated by members that year, with each member being able to nominate five works per category. Initial nominations were made by members in January through March, while voting on the ballot of five nominations was performed roughly in April through July, subject to change depending on when that year's Worldcon is held. Worldcons are generally held near the start of September, and take place in a different city around the world each year.
Correia started the first Sad Puppies campaign in 2013 when he mentioned on his blog that one of his works, Monster Hunter Legion, was eligible for that year's Hugo Award for Best Novel.[non-primary source needed][self-published source?] The name for the campaign originates in an ASPCA ad featuring Sarah McLachlan, and a joke attributing puppy sadness to "boring message-fic winning awards". The first campaign focused mainly on nominating Monster Hunter Legion.
The second campaign started in January 2014. Seven of the twelve 2014 nominees made it to the final ballot, in seven categories, including Correia's Warbound.
One of the seven nominees—Toni Weisskopf for the Best Professional Editor (Long Form) category—finished above last place. Warbound ended in fifth (last) place. One of the nominees, short story "Opera Vita Aeterna", was ranked below "no award" for the category, therefore ranking sixth place out of five.
Brad R. Torgersen took over the third campaign, announcing a slate on February 1, 2015. Torgersen argued that popular works were often unfairly passed over by Hugo voters in favor of more literary works, or stories with progressive political themes. The slate nominees were predominantly male but included female nominees and nominees of various racial backgrounds.
A second slate, the "Rabid Puppies", was announced a day later by writer and publisher Vox Day, who had written "Opera Vita Aeterna", taking most of the items from the Sad Puppies slate and adding additional works to form a similar but not completely overlapping slate. While the Sad Puppies slate was listed as "recommendations," Day explicitly instructed his followers to nominate the slate "precisely as they are."
Each put forward a similar voting bloc that came to dominate the ballot. The Rabid Puppies slate successfully placed 58 of its 67 candidates on the ballot. Two of the nominations were for Day himself, and eleven were for works published by his small Finnish publisher Castalia House, where Day acts as lead editor.
The campaigns triggered controversy among fans and authors, with at least six nominees declining their nomination both before and, for the first time, after the ballot was published. Many people advocated "no award" votes, and multiple-Hugo-winner Connie Willis declined to present the awards. Tor Books creative director Irene Gallo, on her personal Facebook page, described the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies as being "unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic" and "extreme right-wing to neo-Nazi (...) respectively". though she clarified that this was not the official position of Tor Books.
Various media outlets reported the two campaigns as stating they were a reaction to "niche, academic, overtly [leftist]" nominees and winners in opposition to "an affirmative action award" that preferred female and non-white authors and characters. The slates were characterized as a "right wing", "orchestrated backlash" by a "group of white guys" and links and parallels were identified with the Gamergate controversy. George R.R. Martin called the controversy "Puppygate". The Rabid Puppies faction has been described as members of or sympathetic to the alt-right political movement. Conservative journalist David French, who supported the campaign, characterized the negative responses as "leftist" and "slanderous".
In all, 51 of the 60 Sad Puppy recommendations and 58 of the 67 Rabid Puppy recommendations made the final ballot. In five categories, "Best Related Work", "Best Short Story", "Best Novella", "Best Editor (Short Form)", and "Best Editor (Long Form)", the nominations were composed entirely of Puppy nominees.
All nominees in the Puppy-only categories were ranked below No Award, and therefore no Hugo was given in those categories. In all other categories except "Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form"—that is, in the categories "Best Fan Writer", "Best Fancast", "Best Fanzine", "Best Semiprozine", "Best Professional Artist", "Best Graphic Story", "Best Novelette", and "Best Novel"—all Puppy nominees were ranked below No Award; this was also the case for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The only winning work to appear on a Puppy slate was the film Guardians of the Galaxy.
The nominees were announced in April 2016, with several nominees from the two groups appearing on the list, though fewer than the prior year. 64 of the 81 Rabid Puppy nominations appeared on the final list. John Scalzi stated in a piece for the Los Angeles Times that the change in process for the Sad Puppy 4 list, as well as the larger overlap in both lists with more generally popular works, meant that many of the works on the final ballot such as those by prior winners Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson were unlikely to owe much of their success at the nomination stage to their presence on the Puppy lists.
For the final Hugo ballot, three of the Best Novel finalists were mentioned on the Sad Puppies' recommendations lists, all five of the Best Novella finalists were mentioned, as well as three of the Best Novelette finalists, three of the Best Short Story finalists, two of the names up for Best Fan Writer, and four of the Best Long Form Dramatic Presentation.
In the final vote, items on the longer Sad Puppies recommendation list won in the fiction categories of Best Novella (Nnedi Okorafor), Best Novelette (Hao Jingfang) and Best Short Story (Naomi Kritzer). Items on the Rabid Puppies' slate won only in the Best Novelette category. The Guardian described the results of the final voting as a defeat for the Rabid and Sad Puppies; in two categories, the results were "No Award"—Best Fancast and Best Related Work—while the remaining winners were either assumed not to be on the Puppies' recommendations lists or, like Gaiman, were largely seen as unconnected to the groups.
A change in the Hugo award nomination process starting with the 2017 awards was implemented to reduce the power of "bloc" voting.
For the 2017 Hugo awards, in January 2017 author Amanda S. Green announced on a shared blog run by Torgerson, Paulk, and others associated with the campaign that author Sarah A. Hoyt would run the Sad Puppies 5 campaign, and that same day announced on the Sad Puppies 4 website that a website and recommendation list for Sad Puppies 5 would be forthcoming. No such campaign was ever created. A Rabid Puppies list for the year was created by Vox Day containing 22 items across the categories, 11 of which ended up on the shortlists; a further 5 received enough nominations, but were disqualified as ineligible. Several categories contained no Puppy nominees, including Best Novel, and none had more than a single nomination. None of the slate items won. An analysis by Mike Glyer of File770 estimated that the number of Rabid Puppy slate voters was around 80–90. No Sad Puppy or Rabid Puppy campaigns have been run since.
- Schaub, Michael. "'Sad Puppies' campaign fails to undermine sci-fi diversity at the Hugo Awards - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved September 29, 2018.
- Barnett, David (April 26, 2016). "Hugo awards shortlist dominated by rightwing campaign". Retrieved September 29, 2018.
- Hurley, Kameron (April 9, 2015). "Hijacking the Hugo Awards Won't Stifle Diversity in Science Fiction". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
- Schneiderman, Miles. "Sci-Fi Fandom Declares Victory After Reactionary Nominees Lose Big at the Hugos". Yes Magazine. Yes Magazine. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
- "The Locus index to SF Awards: About the Hugo Awards". Locus. Archived from the original on January 3, 2010. Retrieved April 21, 2010.
- "The Hugo Awards: FAQ". World Science Fiction Society. Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
- "The Hugo Awards: Introduction". World Science Fiction Society. Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
- "The Hugo Awards: The Voting System". World Science Fiction Society. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "Worldcon 75: 2017 Hugo report #2" (PDF). Worldcon 75. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 15, 2017. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
- "The Hugo Awards: Hugo Award Categories". World Science Fiction Society. Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
- "World Science Fiction Society / Worldcon". World Science Fiction Society. Archived from the original on April 14, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
- Correia, Larry (January 8, 2013). "How to get Correia nominated for a Hugo. :)". Monster Hunter Nation. Archived from the original on August 10, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
- Wallace, Amy. "Who Won Science Fiction's Hugo Awards, and Why It Matters". Wired. Wired. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
- "2013 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. Archived from the original on July 17, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
- Dashoff, Todd (2013). "2013 Hugo Award Statistics" (PDF). LoneStarCon 3. p. 19. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 24, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
- Reynolds, Glenn (April 28, 2014). "Politics don't belong in science fiction". USA Today. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- "2014 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. 2014. Archived from the original on July 11, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
- 2014 Hugo Awards, at TheHugoAwards.org; retrieved August 23, 2015
- Torgersen, Brad R. (February 1, 2015). "SAD PUPPIES 3: the 2015 Hugo slate", Torgersen Blue Collar Spec Fic. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- Anders, Charlie Jane (April 4, 2015). "The Hugo Awards Were Always Political. But Now They're Only Political". io9. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
- Italie, Hillel (April 17, 2015). "Hugo Awards reflect sci-fi/fantasy divide". Associated Press. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
- "Gender Balance in Hugo Nominees". Retrieved August 15, 2019.
- Biedenharn, Isabella (April 6, 2015). "Correction: Hugo Awards voting campaign sparks controversy". Entertainment Weekly.
- Waldman, Katy (April 8, 2015). "How Sci-Fi's Hugo Awards Got Their Own Full-Blown Gamergate". Slate. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- Flood, Alison (April 9, 2015). "George RR Martin says rightwing lobby has 'broken' Hugo awards". The Guardian. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- "Yhdysvaltain scifimaailmassa riehuu sota, johon Game of Thrones -kirjailijakin on sotkeutunut – ja kaiken keskiössä on tämä kouvolalaismies". Nyt.fi (in Finnish). March 6, 2015.
- Grigsby, Susan (April 13, 2015). "Freeping the Hugo Awards". Daily Kos. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
- Flood, Alison (April 17, 2015). "Hugo award nominees withdraw amid 'Puppygate' storm". Retrieved September 29, 2018.
- Anders, Charlie Jane (April 15, 2015). "Two Authors Withdraw Their Work From This Year's Hugo Awards". io9. Gawker Media. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
- Standlee, Kevin (April 27, 2015). "Edmund Schubert Withdraws from 2015 Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
- Standlee, Kevin (April 16, 2015). "Two Finalists Withdraw from 2015 Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
- "Hugo Award nominations spark criticism over diversity in sci-fi: Sci-fi awards have been roped into a furore". The Daily Telegraph. April 8, 2015. Archived from the original on April 7, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
- "Hugo Awards Withdrawals". Locus. April 15, 2015. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
- Baker-Whitelaw, Gavia. "Why sci-fi authors are angry with Tor Books". dailydot.com. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
- Internet Explodes Around Irene Gallo, by John O'Neill, at Black Gate; published June 10, 2015; retrieved February 20, 2016
- Cox, Carolyn. "Tor Condemns Creative Director Irene Gallo for Posting About the Rabid/Sick Puppies on Her Personal Facebook". The Mary Sue. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
- Walter, Damien (April 6, 2015). "Are the Hugo nominees really the best sci-fi books of the year?". The Guardian. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- McCown, Alex (April 6, 2015). "This year's Hugo Award nominees are a messy political controversy". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- "Hugo Awards nominations stir controversy". The Boston Globe. April 7, 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- Biggs, Tim (April 9, 2015). "Gamergate-style furore after sci-fi awards hijacked". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- Marcotte, Amanda. "The alt-right attacks sci-fi: How the Hugo Awards got hijacked by Trumpian-style culture warriors". Salon. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
- French, David (April 8, 2015). "Social-Justice Warriors Aren't So Tough When Even 'Sad Puppies' Can Beat Them". National Review. Jack Fowler. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
- "How conservatives took over sci-fi's most prestigious award". vox.com. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "2015 Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. August 23, 2015. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
- "Introducing Sad Puppies Four: The Bitches are Back". Mad Genius Club. September 3, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
- "Vox Popoli: Rabid Puppies 2016: the list". March 25, 2016. Archived from the original on March 25, 2016. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
- Barnett, David (April 26, 2016). "Hugo awards shortlist dominated by right-wing campaign". The Guardian. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
- Scalzi, John (April 26, 2016). "The Hugo finalists: John Scalzi on why the sad puppies can't take credit for Neil Gaiman's success". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
- Hoffelder, Nate (August 21, 2016). "On the Sad Puppies "Defeat" at the 2016 Hugo Awards". The Digital Reader.
- Hugo Awards 2016 (accessed January 4, 2016)
- Barnett, David (August 21, 2016). "Hugo awards see off rightwing protests to celebrate diverse authors". The Guardian.
- McCarty, Dave; Quinn, Jamison (2016). "Analysis of the E Pluribus Hugo Nomination Process Using Normalized and Anonymized Historical Nomination Data" (PDF). Report to the MidAmeriCon II Business Meeting. MidAmeriCon II. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 14, 2016. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
- Green, Amanda (January 10, 2017). "Sad Puppies 5 and recommendation lists". Mad Genius Club. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
- Green, Amanda (January 10, 2017). "Sad Puppies 5". Sad Puppies. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
- Glyer, Mike (April 4, 2017). "Measuring the Rabid Puppies Effect on the 2017 Hugo Ballot". File770. Retrieved April 11, 2017.