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September 3rd, 2013

Fictionlet

Brigid slammed open the door. “Greg! Greg, you miserable little popinjay, don’t just sit there staring at me with your mouth hanging open, get up! Come on! We’re celebrating!”

Greg blinked at his obviously-already-sloshed roommate, as outside one of Brigid’s co-workers honked the horn of his car several times to hurry along proceedings. “Hello? What brings on all this indecent merriment?” said Greg.

“The entire office is having a party,” Brigid said, “and we’re all supposed to bring guests. Since I don’t have a date, I’m taking you. Now come on!”

“Yes, yes,” said Greg, standing. “I get that part. What I want to know is why?”

“It’s huge!” said Brigid. “It’s colossal. It’s a first in the entire history of the company and quite possibly in the history of American business!”

What is?” demanded Greg.

“You won’t believe it,” said Brigid. “I e-mailed a client about a work order they sent over…”

“Yes…?”

“And they sent me a reasonable response!”

Greg sank back into his chair. “…for real? You wouldn’t lie to me about something like this?”

“You should have seen my boss!” Brigid said. “She wept openly.”

“I don’t blame her,” said Greg.

-The Gneech

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Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

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Diversity in “the fandom” (by which I mean a broad umbrella term that encompasses SF, fantasy, comics, conventions, and such related geeky pursuits) is a big issue lately, which is an awesome thing. But it’s one of those things which, because it involves human beings, tends to be complex and confusing at times.

I’m thinking just this moment of John Scalzi, who picked up a Hugo at WorldCon for his book Redshirts. I have not read the book myself, but Mrs. Gneech has and declared it an enjoyable read– I don’t have any doubt that it deserves the award. And Scalzi is certainly someone who at least tries to champion the broadening of horizons.

And yet… well, and yet… given recent events, I’m not sure how I would feel in Scalzi’s place. Scalzi, like so many Hugo winners, is yet another privileged white dude, and on some level, does that cheapen the accomplishment, no matter how hard he may have busted to get it?

I ask this because, although I’m certainly nowhere near being in contention for a Hugo myself at the moment, given my upcoming career change it’s not an unreasonable goal for me to shoot for… and I am also yet another privileged white dude. Scalzi and I share a lot of qualities, and a lot of opinions, and a lot of sensibilities, so it’s not hard for me to project myself into that place and wonder how I would feel there.

Certainly if he has any of these thoughts, he hasn’t said so, and I honestly don’t know if it wouldn’t be churlish if he did. The whole topic is fraught with peril. If you are a Scalzi here, what are you supposed to do? Turn down the Hugo? Recuse yourself from the running all together and throw away a valuable career opportunity? Use the moment to call for change (while still benefiting from the system)? Or just do as he has done, smile and say “thank you” and be yet another privileged white dude who won an award when some other just-as-talented, just-as-worthy author not in that category didn’t?

I don’t have a good answer for this. I’m open to suggestions!

-The Gneech

Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

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