Before this month, how many people had heard of Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day)? Come on, let’s have a show of hands. Nobody? Same here. I had never heard of the man. Somehow his accomplishments had escaped my notice. However, he is on the national radar now, as he has managed to subvert the Hugo Awards. Not only has he received two nominations for his own work, but his publishing house has won nine nominations. He accomplished this through a political and financial campaign that took advantage of how the awards are run.

Edward LearHe’s been working up to this. He was dumped out of the SFWA a while back for racist comments on Twitter and is currently engaged in a culture war that has reached at least as far as the Wall Street Journal. Beale argues that the awards are biased toward liberal views, while conservative viewpoints are shut out. In order to push this agenda, Beale has borrowed the cloak of “traditional” SF&F, which he says should be about space battles and high fantasy quests.

He’s got some pretty bitter and abusive conversations going on, especially picking prominent women as targets, and is making a big noise ahead of the Hugo vote. Of course, the man might just be acting on his principles, but I’d like to suggest this is a publicity campaign–a chancy one, but still a publicity campaign. Whatever the result of the Hugo vote (they could vote for no award), the man’s name is still up there on the marque in lights.

Illustration by Edward Lear, 1894.