Last year, when the Sad Puppies scored their first hit against the Hugos, I was of the opinion that Larry Correia shouldn’t come to the ceremony. I felt that “While his attendance may irritate some people, it will give them the opportunity to either shun him, or show their good graces by accepting him anyway. Either option will be a bit of a loss. Showing his contempt with a pre-emptive rejection of the entire affair is the best possible play, as far as I see it.” Larry must have been thinking something along the same lines, because he didn’t attend.
That was true for last year’s Hugos, when the Sad Puppies first sallied forth to strike a blow for their side. You don’t stick around after something like that. Catch ‘em off guard, hit ‘em, then dance out of reach. This year is different. Because this year the narrative has changed. It’s no longer “Screw those elitist jerks. Let’s show ‘em what-for, ha!” It’s now “We’re taking back the Hugos! For fandom!”
I won’t comment about the narrative itself, as much more articulate people have already said it better than I can. But this obviously implies something very different for Larry’s personal involvement. Specifically – he should attend WorldCon this year.
Last year was a proof of concept, or a display of strength if you will. A magnificent Counting Coup. But all that gets you is praise and glory. You can’t hold ground with a hit-and-run attack, you have to actually occupy the territory. In the realm of fancons, occupying territory consists of getting people from your side to show up physically at the con (and hopefully enjoy themselves). Literal boots on the ground. And how do you get people to show up to a con? Give them what they want. You are their admired leader, they would love to see you in person, to watch you treading upon the newly-conquered land of the enemy. Go to the con.
Maybe organize a dinner event. Maybe contact the con organizers and ask for several panels. Larry is a huge draw. You know how thrilled the programming department would be to have a best-selling author volunteer to talk for an hour? They’d be ecstatic! And Larry’s fans would love it!
More importantly, word would spread that yeah – Larry, Brad, and the rest of the Sad Puppies are actually serious about this. The number of people on Larry’s side who are willing to go to these cons would grow yearly. If they enjoy themselves, they’ll keep coming back. And that’s really the key: people held together by a sense of community, that want to keep coming back and seeing each other, and the leaders they admire, year after year. That’s how you create a demographic shift, so that the Hugos represent your side just as much as the other side – get your side to want to show up.
Sure, it’ll be uncomfortable for the first year or two. Was retaking territory from a hostile force supposed to be easy? Nothing worth doing was ever done without struggle. You can hang back and hope the troops set up a nice comfortable green zone for you to walk into. Or you can lead from the front.
I love watching this play out, and I’d like to see it continue. I hope Larry Correia comes to Sasquan.