Apr 22, 2014

In Which I Can't Separate Art From The Artist

A little while back, the Hugo Awards were the subject of controversy, following the backlash against Jonathan Ross being announced as the host for this year's awards.

Now it seems that there's going to be another sticky issue. The nominees for the 2014 Hugo Awards have been announced. I'm thrilled to see a couple of writers I know have been nominated.

Also on the list is Opera Vita Aeterna, a novelette by Vox Day.

Vox Day is the pen-name of Theodore Beale, To say I disagree with his views on women, race, theology, and the issue of rape would be a massive understatement.

A major recurring theme in SFF is that people of various ways of life can co-exist, and not just co-exist, but become more prosperous as a result of co-existence and co-operation. Whether it's Star Wars, Mass Effect, Star Trek, Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings, an overriding message of SFF is to set aside differences, to learn from each other, and stand for something better than base instinct and aversion to those who aren't like us.

There's a limit to how far I can separate a piece of art from the artist who created it. That limit is pretty low for things like the kind of hate preached by Vox Day, particularly when it comes to written fiction, since so much of the author comes through.

I don't believe Vox Day deserves this award. I'm actually quite shocked enough people like him to get him on the nominees list. I'm not the only one to feel this way, and like Ceilidh over at Bibliodaze, I feel there is no place in SFF for someone who genuinely believes that same-sex relationships should be criminalized, who regards women's rights as a disease, who believes that marital rape does not exist, and who believes that non-white people are in every way inferior to white people.

The SWFA expelled Vox Day, a former lifetime member, following calls to do so after his racist attack on N.K. Jemesin. He's not welcome with them, and he shouldn't be welcome with the rest of us.

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