George R.R. Martin Accused of Racism, Generally Sucking After Hosting Hugos


Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

George R.R. Martin hosted the digital ceremony for the 2020 Hugo Awards, the annual event dedicated to science-fiction and fantasy writers and creators, on Friday. To celebrate a particularly diverse year of nominations — Comic Years reports that the all-female slate of Best Novel nominees was a Hugo first — Martin opted to repeatedly reference racist figures in the science-fiction community. Martin also bungled the pronunciation of several names, including those of winner Rebecca F. Kuang and FIYAH, a Black quarterly magazine run by Black writers.

The figures Martin referenced included H.P. Lovecraft and John W. Campbell. (The late author and the late editor, respectively, each won a Retro Hugo award this year. The Retro Hugos are given to creators from years when the Hugo Awards did not exist. Lovecraft won for a posthumous story published in 1945 and Campbell for editing in the same year.) “Between each segment, Martin repeatedly used his time to promote the work and legacy of Campbell, Lovecraft, and to rambled about a number of self-aggrandizing stories from his time within fandom and of conventions that he attended between the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s,” writer Andrew Liptak said in a newsletter recap of the event. Liptak mentioned that Robert Silverberg, a writer with his own racist history, also gave a speech during the ceremony. Lovecraft was xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and ardent in his white supremacy. Campbell, known for founding the magazine Astounding Stories of Super-Science — now Analog Science Fiction and Fact — as for his racist and pseudoscientific beliefs, was a peculiar choice for Martin given Campbell’s recent history with the awards.


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