I can’t remember when I last read science fiction and have no idea who won the Hugo Awards in the past couple of decades.

But this year’s fascinating battle is also about politics and opposing, passionate forces at odds so I found myself following the battle over the Hugo Awards this year and the power struggle that played out online last night.

Here’s how it went down. In short, anyone who joins the World Science Fiction Society gets to vote on nominees and winners for Best Novel, Short Story, etc.

Seems like a very democratic process, no?

Well, this year, a disgruntled group that believed the membership was leaning too far left and no longer focusing on old-school “hard” scifi organized a slate of candidates, pushed for a significant number of new members to join who would support that slate, and loaded the nominees with those favored by the slate-creators.

Fearing that voting for their actual favorites would split the vote and allow the slate to win, the rank and file exercised its option to vote No Award as the winner in many categories. That’s what happened last night.

No rules were broken and the ceremony (which ran online as well as at World Con) was handled with remarkable grace and humor by authors David Gerrold and Tannarive Due.

Now, slate-folks are saying it proved the whole thing was political to begin with. Others are saying the No Award push was necessary to prove it wasn’t political.

Like I said, fascinating. What do you do when you feel an organization has been corrupted? And what do you do when you feel your organization is being corrupted by people who believe they are uncorrupting it? And how do both sides–and the organization–survive such a battle?

You don’t have to make a giant leap to make this an analogy for today’s political world.

And, for the record, I didn’t care much for “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which won the Hugo for Best Film.