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  1. Following the recent announcement of the 2015 David Gemmell Legend Award winners I thought I'd bring up a topic that's been circulating hotly around the internet for the last few months. Is the fantasy/science fiction genre really dominated by white males? Why? There are of course plenty of arguments both for and against; but the majority of the internet seems to be clamouring for a fairer representation of gender and race in awards such as the DGLAs. These awards - along with many 'recommended' lists by both authors and bloggers - do seem to be dominated by this single demographic. The debate was sparked earlier this year, when the Hugo Awards were surrounded by a controversy that came to be dubbed 'Puppygate'. I don't claim to know all the finer details, but it boils down to the fact that a couple of authors who had been previously nominated for the award believed that the only reason they didn't win was because the voting was stacked in favour of minority authors. They started a campaign, calling themselves the 'Sad Puppies', claiming that the 'true spirit' of the Hugos (i.e. celebrating 'fun and traditional' science fiction) was being taken over by women, LGBTQ and people of colour, and that these people were only getting the votes because of their gender, race or sexual preference. This campaign encouraged people who sympathised with this view to vote only for authors the Sad Puppies told them to, which of course excluded most of the minorities mentioned above. The Gemmell Awards have also been criticised because all but one of this year's shortlisted authors falls into the 'white male' category. I found it interesting that, when reviewing my own reading so far in 2015, 33 of the books I've read were indeed written by (white) men, while 5 were written by (white) women. Although I never actually consider the gender or race of an author before reading a book, I've come to realise that maybe I should; and that maybe I should make more of an effort to balance out the kinds of authors I read, particularly since I also publicise my reviews on my own personal blog (which, looking at my review archive since starting the blog in 2013, does lean heavily and embarrassingly in favour of white male authors). With this in mind, I'm interested to know what people's opinions are about the following: The Hugo Awards/'Sad Puppies' controversy? The Gemmell Award shortlisting? How different genders/races/sexualities influence and/or are represented in your own reading? The SFF genre and how certain authors are 'pushed' on readers (e.g. Amazon recommendations, prominent displays in Waterstones, etc.)? Anything else you may have come across relating to other issues in this genre? There's a really good article here on Fantasy Faction summing up the Hugo stuff, along with several others elsewhere on the site for those who are interested. I look forward to hearing people's thoughts!
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