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Debunking the Matamas Challenge

04.08.2015, noahward

“Firstly, by way of background, The Mamatas Challenge was a comment by author Nick Mamatas on John Scalzi’s blog:

“If the Hugos have really been dominated by leftist material that prized message over story since the mid-1990s (Brad’s timeline), it should be very simple for members of the Puppy Party to name

  1. one work of fiction
  2. that won a Hugo Award
  3. while foregrounding a left message to the extent that the story was ruined or misshaped
  4. per set of winners since 1995.

That’s all. Just a list of twenty books or stories—a single winner per year. Even though a single winner per year wouldn’t prove domination, I’m happy to make it easy for the Puppies.”


This challenge set forth by Mr. Mamatas is flawed for a multitude of reasons.


– The first and most obvious being how Mamatas first requests ‘Puppies’ to name a single work following his criteria, until he later suddenly decides that he needs at least nineteen more.

– The second is how Mr. Mamatas demands that these works of literature need to have won the Hugo award, a mere Hugo nomination is not deemed enough. Apparently otherwise it might be too easy to point out which nominated works were too left, even for the traditionally left leaning Hugo electorate. (If you were a Hugo nominee.)

– The third is the requirement that the story was ruined or misshaped by a foregrounding left leaning message. When any familiarity with the Sad Puppies 3 slate would suggest that the primary gripe behind the slate was,; as Brad Torgersen put it, affirmative action — which would make demographics paramount over content and quality. Thus Mr. Mamatas is requesting ‘Puppies’ to defend a straw-man of his own making, while he himself holds it at a gun point. Not to mention how individual preferences do affect how a story is judged by its reader.

– The fourth is how Mr. Mamatas states an arbitrary date as an absolute.

– The fifth is how he finally demands at least one such Hugo winner per year to prove that the Hugos were dominated by leftist material. Although there are limitations to what Hugo categories are accepted; namely only books and stories.

– The sixth; he states that were such a list produced, it still would not prove a single thing.

– And finally the seventh, it is not very polite to call an author’s work ruined or misshaped message fiction.


Therefore, at its very heart the requirements of ‘The Mamatas Challenge’ were designed to be as impossible as possible to meet, and even if someone were to pull it off, it still would not count for a single thing. Certainly, he has made it easy for the ‘Puppies’ out of the kindness of his dear heart.


But there is a very, very simple flaw in this particular challenge. You are only required to list 20 Hugo winning works from a limited selection of categories, but nowhere does it actually ask anyone to explain why. Therefore, I think I could just nominate every single work since 1995 from the following categories: Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette, and Short Story. A total of around 80~ Hugo winning works that were ruined or misshaped by leftist foregrounding.


If you disagree with me, then I am more than happy to present the:




I want you to prove that the Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette, and Short Story categories have not been dominated by left leaning preferences. How you can prove it:

a) For every Hugo winning works since 1995 in the following categories; Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette, and Short Story,

b) With at least 100 words; explain how those works are leaning towards the right spectrum of politics,

c) While the right to accept and reject the given explanation remains with the domain of the ‘Puppy’ party,

d) And finally the ‘Counter Mamatas Challenge’ will be defeated if at least 50% of the listed works are judged to reside within the right spectrum of politics.



In order to help you get started; below you can find four examples of how it is done, albeit in regards of the left spectrum of politics:


2014 Best Novel: Ancillary Justice.

– The English language has two gender pronouns, male and feminine. Not to mention that as far as the entire English speaking community is considered, from professional speakers to unprofessional, errors in the usage of gender pronouns lean exclusively in favour of the male pronoun. In other words, women get called ‘he’ and men do not get called ‘she’ by mistake. Not to mention how historically, and even currently, the male gender pronouns can be correctly used to address individuals of unknown gender.

– Therefore, in Ancillary Justice, the decision to use ‘she’ instead of ‘he’ for a ‘genderless culture’ can be attributed to feminist gender politics, which traditionally lie within the left spectrum of politics, simply for its discordance with basic English grammar.


2013 Best Novel: Redshirts.

– When you read this particular work, one of the most notable qualities of its written form is how often the sentences end with the word: ‘said.’ In other words, the quality of writing is no different from the efforts of an unwilling third grader who must finish an English assignment with some kind of dialogue.

– Additionally, in chapter six, the usage of the word ‘blowjob’ was repeatedly used in a manner that implies that human genders are social constructs, rather than something biological. The left spectrum of the politics is in favour of the hypothesis of gender being a social construct, when the scientific evidence suggest otherwise. You can read more on that topic if you refer to the Norwegian paradox.


2012 Best Novel: Among Others.

– A work often described as a love letter to Science Fiction and Fantasy. Yet were it not for the beginning of the novel, it could not be considered to be a work of fantasy literature. Not to mention that were anyone to consider the beginning of Among Others to be a description of mental health problems of the heroine herself, it reveals that this particular work is nothing more than regular fiction. (Where nothing really happens.)

– Thus were we to consider how a work that barely registers as Fantasy literature wins the Hugo award for best novel, it is not very difficult to suggest that left leaning politics played a role in the voting process. Ergo, the Hugo voters at the time wanted to award a woman author, even if it meant voting for a work that hardly registered as either Science Fiction or Fantasy. (Right spectrum of politics: equality of opportunity. Left spectrum of politics: equality of outcome.)


2010 Best Novel: The Windup Girl.

– A setting that has been ravaged by both global warning and is abused by evil Western mega corporations that basically control almost everything. Now who could spot some leftist leanings in the very setting of this novel?

– Moreover, the basic plot premise is that natural seeds are somehow magically immune to the diseases and plagues that ravage the dystopian world the Windup Girls. An idea that does not have much of scientific backing if you give it any serious thought. Therefore, it can be summed up as nothing more than magic. Which is reminiscent of the spiritual naturalism that is often associated with the left spectrum of the American politics.

– Additionally, the novel also comes with its share of ‘Patriarchy Porn,’ which appears to be a shared literature interest within the group of left leaning authors.

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