The first thing that sprang to my mind was a very touchy subject. I know it’s hard to imagine now, but in the not-too-distant past, there was a time when Harry Potter was universally loved. I, however, never particularly liked it. The movies were okay, but I didn’t even make it more than a chapter or two into the first book. (Less controversially, and more currently, I’d have to go with any Marvel or superhero-related property.)
Controversial authors leads me to the topic that’s actually on my mind this morning. The Hugo Awards were just announced on August 1st, and I’ve seen some grumbling in and around my circles about it. I don’t know what the grumbling is specifically about this year (a brief perusal of the award winners does not reveal anything obvious to me), but I do know that since The Puppy Wars of 2013-2017 there has been a great deal of divisiveness in the world of readers, authors, and publishers about the Hugos and, well, books in general.
It reminds me of, and reinforces, my recent despondence about the prospect of ever publishing a book. I feel like I should scratch that childhood dream and potential retirement plan off the list forever. There’s so much focus on the author’s personality, their reputation, their politics, their connections, their fandom, their “celebrity,” and yes, sadly, their ethnicity and gender, that what they actually write is irrelevant. The craft of writing and storytelling appears to be meaningless in the modern world of publishing, so what’s the point?
It’s a bummer, is what I’m saying.
It’s hard enough trying to ignore all of one’s inner critics to write fiction, but it’s even worse when there’s a horde of external forces running around with torches and pitchforks. It leaves me not wanting to go anywhere near readers, writers, or publishers for fear of being tainted by that stain of divisional ugliness that permeates the industry these days.