Whazza Hugo? It's a prize.*
...And, as has become the custom, there's an ongoing whinefest from all sides over the fact that if you want to vote for who gets a Hugo, all you have to do is become a supporter of the the next WorldCon SF convention, which is around $40 to $50. That's it; they send you some junk (books and such, IIRC) and a ballot, you pick your faves. Done.
--But, you see, some Hugo voters (some of them probably from Day One) are not voting on which stories they like but nominating and voting to make some kind of point or further some goal. This is outraging other Hugo voters, who are doing much the same but on the opposite vector.
Mind you, there is no telepathy involved, no lie detectors or truth drug; no one knows what any given Hugo voter has in mind but themselves. Even what any voter publicly claims as a motive may, in fact, be a lie.
Other than the WorldCon poll tax, this is the way voting for politicians and suchlike works, too. You never get to know what's inside other people's heads when the dirty rotten so-and-sos vote and you sure as hell don't get to police it. When it comes to voting, the outcome is determined by the people who show up.
When you try to get folks to show up and vote your way, that's not "gaming the system," it's how the system works. Doesn't make any difference what your way is, either; you can be a commie or a far-right royalist conservative or a libbytarian or a syndicalist or a Wobbly or whatever.† You can be great company or a nasty choad but you still only get one vote and so do all your pals. If you want your views to prevail, you need to be asking people who have the same darned weird ideas as you to show up and vote. The future belongs to the people who tick the boxes on the ballots and not to any group of self-appointed curators, no matter who they are or what they hold dear.
The whining is unaesthetic, but look at it this way: as long as they're all struggling to be the heap big boss opinion-molders of Science Fiction (as if!), they're kept well away from anything that actually matters, like raising the property tax or voting to water down the milk. They're all practically public benefactors that way.
* It's some kinda Science Fiction prize for stories of various lengths plus artwork and related folderol. I
noticed awhile back it was not a surefire guarantee I was going to like
a book and just ignored it. The award itself consists of a streamlined
rocket ship on a wood base with a nice plaque, plus your publisher gets
to mention "Hugo-winning" every time your name comes up. (I gave myself something similar: I bought an unpainted solid metal V-2 model. I keep it with my SF books. It looks kewl.)
† I can just about go down that list and name a writer for each one, most of them widely popular even among people who would find their politics repugnant. If you're liking stories on the basis of the writer's ideological compatibility with yourself, that's your lookout -- but you're going to miss a lot of fun.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
8 months ago