by Doctor Science
In our discussion of the Hugo nominees we talked a little about Larry Niven's Ringworld, which won the Hugo, Nebula *and* Locus awards -- but not necessarily because it's a good *story* (in the sense of "plot"). What makes Ringworld an sf classic is the world-building.
World-building as a term is normally used only to talk about sf & fantasy, but it's a perfectly valid concept and source of literary joy, something that people read for.
Hugo voters tend to be *really* heavy readers of sf&fantasy, right? Now, although some writers of literary fiction are master worldbuilders (Dickens, Joyce, and Faulkner, for instance), it's not something that their genre emphasizes: lit fic's core value and joy is prose style. I think readers who really love world-building will tend to find and stick with sf/f, because that's the genre that gives them the most consistent rewards. And *that* means that the population of Hugo voters will be enriched for lovers of world-building.
Which means that the Hugo will be tend to be awarded not for "literary worth" (whatever that means -- writing style? characterization?) or even for being "the best story" (in the sense of having the best plot), but for world-building and other science-fictional values.
And the thing about world-building is that it's *always* political. Even if the author just takes pseudo-medieval England or decadent interstellar empire off the tropes shelf, that choice is still a *choice* about what sort of politics are interesting, useful, or heroic.
Science fiction has *always* been about politics. To suggest that politics doesn't belong in science fiction is somewhere between wishful thinking and flat dishonesty. You may protest that we're talking about the writer's political views, outside of those expressed in the writing, but for sf/f that's a really hard line to draw.
In her essay From Elfland to Poughkeepsie, Ursula LeGuin wrote that
in fantasy there is nothing but the writer's vision of the world. There is no borrowed reality of history, or current events, or just plain folks at home in Peyton Place. There is no comfortable matrix of the commonplace to substitute for the imagination, to provide ready-made emotional response, and to disguise flaws and failures of creation. There is only a construct built in a void, with every joint and seam and nail exposed. To create what Tolkien calls 'a secondary universe' is to make a new world. A world where no voice has ever spoken before; where the act of speech is the act of creation. The only voice that speaks there is the creator's voice. And every word counts.I think LeGuin underestimated how many ready-made tropes are available to the lazy fantasy writer, but it's generally true that in fantasy and in SF the writer is God of their subcreation more than in "realistic" fiction. And it's IMHO perfectly legitimate to say, "this person has horrible opinions about people like me, and I don't want to visit the world where they are God."
And that's the thing: the political differences in SF that are causing trouble are over the value of certain kinds of people, not over ideas. Of course people take opinions about their personhood personally, it would be bizarre not to. Refusing to spend mental time in a world where the creator despises you is basic self-protection, especially if the "real world" is one where you're already a second-class citizen.
It's enough to make you wonder why someone like Vox Day would even want me as a reader, when his Mother's Day post says:
But never be tempted into misogyny by the bad behavior of one, one hundred, one thousand, or even one million women. They are the fate of the human race. They are the fate of the Western sub-species. They matter.I mean, why does he even want my respect, when he has only the most maggot-ridden respect for me? It reminds me of old-fashioned aristocrats, who despised the peasantry but expected to be admired by them in return. Spoilers: I may be a peasant, but VD is not an aristocrat and I wouldn't admire him if he was. Nor, more to the point, am I likely to read his writing in an "objective, open-minded" way -- and it would be foolish of him to think otherwise.
So, honor those who reject the nihilistic hedonism of feminism despite being literally inundated with its dogma from their earliest years and fulfill their primary destiny, that of motherhood. Whether she fulfills it gracefully and well or grudgingly and incompetently, she has done her duty. Respect that she has played her part in the miracle of life, honor her for doing her part in turning back the dark void of universal entropy.
It's not nothing. It's not a minor thing. Without women, there is no Man.
 The last phrase is one I picked up from Warren Norwood, whose sf career was sadly brief. I think Norwood used the phrase in every one of his novels.