Growls of the Day 4/12

Will George R.R. Martin accept Vox Day’s challenge to debate? John C. Wright asks, “Did I get too many nominations?” and names folks he thinks are guiltier of that than he is.

Kevin Standlee warns the future is now — while David Steffen proposes the Mulligan Awards to supply the do-over some fans already want.

Wil Wheaton says “Me, too” about George R.R. Martin’s “Tone” piece, then gets smacked by John Skylar for his trouble.

That and more in today’s roundup.

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Show or skedaddle” – April 12

I think it would be more interesting to debate your demand for no tolerance of hatespeech and the proper limits of free speech. There is also the strange contention that Requires Hate and I “are twins. Mirror images of one another.” You made the assertion. You have neither recanted nor apologized for it. Therefore, it seems a reasonable subject of honest dialogue and debate, given that I very much disagree with the assertion. Alternatively, we could debate the long term ramifications of the No Award tactic, the quality of the 2015 Best Novel shortlist compared to past Hugo shortlists, or any other aspect of Puppygate that you might find interesting.

The point, Mr. Martin, is that you said debate and honest dialogue are important. You are one of the biggest and best-known figures who claims to be on the side of those you call “the good guys” in SF fandom. I am the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil and a rising figure in science fiction. If you cannot bother to engage in honest dialogue with me, then why should any of the less famous, less notorious, less influential individuals on either side of the ideological divide in science fiction bother to do so either?

I’m entirely comfortable with the idea of an open, all-out ideological war. War-War is intrinsically more entertaining than Talk-Talk, after all. Are you?

Now, it’s possible that you didn’t mean what you wrote. It’s possible that you are just another posturing SJW, who puffs and preens and bluffs until he is called out, then promptly runs away. Many of my readers, who are also your readers, believe that. But I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt that you transparently were not willing to give me.


John C. Wright

“Did I Get Too Many Nominations?” – April 11

I am not so impertinent as to dispute the tastes or judgment of the fans who ponied up the money and took the time to nominated me. They are my employers; their word is my law.

So far, in this tempest in a teardrop (it is too small for my teapot) there has been exactly one of my detractors who claimed my work was undeserving of notice, but countless detractors calling me a racist misogynist bigot ballotbox-stuffing flying purple people eater.

I will leave the flying purple people eating accusations unanswered for now, because they are trivial, irrelevant and stupid.

As to those who claim that we are introducing foreigners, gamergaters, or the unwashed masses into the pristine tower of science fiction, the numbers speak for themselves. We can take the Amazon rankings of books as a rough measure of the popularity of a work.


Aaron Hughes on Fantastic Reviews Blog

“IT’S MADNESS!” – April 11

I think the reason the conservative press has been so wrong about this is these are people used to analyzing political issues, and the Hugo Awards are NOT a political contest, at least they weren’t until this year. I offered this analogy:

For a lot of science fiction and fantasy fans, the Hugo Awards are a highlight of the year, like March Madness to a big college basketball fan. Imagine some right-wingers were upset because they believed the NCAA selection committee had disfavored conservative evangelical schools in the past. And they managed to get a group of their people on the selection committee. So all the fans eagerly awaiting the bracket announcement are shocked and outraged to see that the tournament doesn’t include Kentucky or Duke or Wisconsin or 23 of the AP Top 25 teams. They’ve all been left out in favor of Bob Jones U., Liberty U., etc.

There would be a giant controversy, and the people who caused it would claim that it’s all part of the liberal vs. conservative culture war. But it is not. It’s a war between college basketball fans and the fucking assholes who wrecked March Madness.


Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“The Hugo Awards controversy: a personal response” – April 12

I find my overwhelming emotion over this whole fuss to be one of profound sadness.  I honestly think that the extremists on both sides are callously and deliberately prepared to destroy the Hugo Awards – their credibility, meaningfulness and historical status – rather than see a different viewpoint win out.  To my mind, this is far beyond any question of motive or political persuasion.  It calls into question the basic sanity of those involved.

You see, I’ve personally experienced what happens when an entire society – an entire nation – gets caught up in ideological extremes.  I’ve seen – with my own eyes – left-wing terrorist bombs that shattered the bodies and destroyed the lives of the innocent.  I’ve seen right-wing terrorists respond in precisely the same measure.  I’ve helped to pick up the pieces of the bodies afterwards (and I mean that literally).  I’m not going to go into detail about the atrocities I’ve seen, heard, felt, smelled . . . the memories haunt me still, and sometimes move me to tears without warning as faces come flooding back into my mind.  (I’m blessed beyond measure to have a wife who accepts me despite those memories, and does her best to help me deal with them when they rear their indescribably ugly heads.)


Kevin Standlee on Fandom Is My Way of Life

“You Only Get One Shot at the 2015 Hugo Awards” – April 11

Among all of the shouting over the 2015 Hugo Awards “Puppygate” and the calls to vote No Award is floating around something procedurally pernicious and that I encourage anyone who sees it to stamp out. That is the assumption that if the members of this year’s Worldcon vote “No Award” on everything or substantially everything on the Hugo Awards ballot, that’s okay because “the Retro-Hugos will cover it” or “Worldcon can hold a new election for 2015 next year.” Both of these wrong….

So don’t let people talk you into voting No Award solely because you think that there will be some sort of do-over in 2016 or 2065 or whatever. It’s not going to happen. As with any Hugo Awards election, I would encourage any member to use his/her right to vote No Award when you think that the candidates you rank below it or leave off your ballot don’t deserve to be on that ballot, but don’t do it just because you think you’ll get a second chance with a new set of nominees.


Tom Mays on the Improbable Author

“Labels, Libels, Hugos and the Future” – April 11

Ideologically and in terms of taste and preference in stories, I side with the Sad Puppies, but I’m not of the opinion all the Hugo and Nebula winners of the past won unjustly. I don’t necessarily agree there was a secret, organized cabal manipulating the Hugos from behind the scenes, but I have no evidence either way to refute the personal experiences many of the Puppies say they’ve seen and endured. My personnel belief is that there may have been some manipulation, but the main reason the awards have increasingly gone to “liberal” works (and a shit-load of Doctor Who) is that WorldCon is a self-selecting electorate. Con-goers and con-volunteers appear to skew progressive around the country. Sometimes SF/F cons represent the only place folks can safely let their freak flag fly. WorldCon may represent a convention which has allowed that skewing to become entrenched, with progressives taking and keeping leadership roles, then slowly pushing conservatives to the fringe, consciously or subconsciously making them unwelcome or unappreciated. Power concentrates. As that happens, votes for classic-plot SF/F fall off and votes for socially progressive SF/F that reaches past current norms and boundaries rises, especially if the voters can exhibit their sense of social justice and commitment to diversity by awarding them to authors of color, female authors, LBTGQ authors, etc. It was less a conspiracy than a clique, all trying to one-up one another. And if you look at the abysmally low number of voters that usually participate in the Hugos, it doesn’t take much to forever lock the awards into a one-sided bias as strong as a conspiratorial cabal.


George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“One Nice Night” – April 12

With all that being said, it’s nice sometimes to restore one’s faith in humanity, and I did some of that last night at my theatre. Magician Francis Menotti was performing at the Cocteau, and I went down to catch his act. Francis was wonderfully entertaining, and the crowd was great too. Old people, young people, kids, black people and white people and brown people, men and women, all ooohing and aaahing at the magic and laughing at the jokes, enjoying adult beverages (well, not the children) like our famous Burning Tumblewheel and our new White Walkers. They all came out smiling, and lots of them stopped afterwards in the bar to chat with me and Francis. One young couple were making their first visit to Santa Fe; they had just gotten engaged, and the two of them were bright-eyed and excited and glowing. Made me feel good just to meet them.

That’s what worldcons used to be like. Should be like. Could be like again.

Last night restored my faith in people, a little. It’s not fandom that’s toxic. It’s the internet.


PZ Myers on Freethought Blogs

“The Sad Puppies are goddamned idiots” – April 9

And science fiction has always been this way. It’s always been a genre of new ideas and experimentation. It’s not like all of a sudden in the 2000s a few social radicals have hijacked the field and sent it off into wild new directions, discombobulating all of their readers. They’ve always done that. It’s got a readership that loves being discombobulated and twisting their brains around strangeness.

I see someone accusing authors of “defrauding” their readership because they are creative and explore novel ideas and think about more than just the gobbledygook pseudomechanics they’ll use to make their spaceships fly, and I see the real fraud: that is a person who does not understand science fiction and fantasy in the slightest.


R. Jean Mathieu on R. Jean Mathieu’s Innerspace

“On the Hugos and Positive Censorship” – April 12

I have discovered that most of the Valiant Sixty, the original Quakers, were anti-Semite, Islamophobic, and anti-pagan. But they, too, like Dr. King, Bob Heinlein, Orson Scott Card, Tom Jefferson, and Woody Allen, like, if you wish, Malcolm X and Confucius and Sun Tzu and Gandhi, have an inner light. And while corrupted by their frailties, their work can and does transcend them, so that Jefferson can write “all men are created equal” and Card can write Petra and Barclay and Penington and Penn and Fox can write that “all who are brought into the world have that of God inside them, whatever their externals in creed or color.” Transcending the writer and the reader is what writing is for.

When Ender’s Game hit stores, I watched the very female clerk recommend it to a family, speaking knowingly of both the book and the movie. When I asked how she could, she shrugged and said “if I only read people I could agree with, I wouldn’t have anything to read.” Knowing her politics later, I concurred that she was right.

I do not care what the author has done, or what she believes, I care about the work. Is the work good? Does the author destroy the work by injecting ideology, as Heinlein does after Stranger in a Strange Land (and even Stranger gets iffy)? Does the author’s ideology befog their minds, so that Jack London can only write worshipful, inferior Peoples of Color or “credits to their race”? Does the author commit both errors at once, and so write Perdido Street Station?


Mark Ciocco on Kaedrin weblog

“Link Dump: Hugo Reactions” – April 12

This will most likely be my last post on the subject, though I suspect I’ll get pulled back in depending on how recklessly No Award is deployed in the final tally. For the record, I think Sad Puppies 3 was far more successful than anyone thought (which includes them) and as such, I’m going to be somewhat leery of slates in the future (my preference would be for Sad Puppies 4 to simply encourage participation and maybe include an open post about eligible books as opposed to a straight slate). I have a hard time believing most of the conspiracies being thrown around, and am emphatically against the abuse that’s been generated (which goes both ways). I don’t like guilt by association and generally assume good faith in participants. Many nominees are being thrown under a bus for petty reasons, and that seems silly to me. As always, I plan to read and vote accordingly.


David Steffen on Diabolical Plots

“Announcing The Mulligan Awards” – April 11


You already have or haven’t.  The nominations will be based on Hugo nomination numbers rather than being a completely separate procedure.  Each year the Hugo committee publishes a list of the top 15 nominees with voting counts for each one.  The Mulligan nominations start with the Hugo nomination list, but estimates what the top 5 would be in the absence of the voting bloc.

How will it do this?  Well, since the bloc has succeeded so thoroughly in sweeping the ballot, this implies that the members of the group followed their leader’s orders and voted slavishly for everything suggested.  This should make them easier to spot in the nomination numbers because there will be some things from the voting bloc’s slate that didn’t get votes from anyone else, or almost no one else.  That lowest number will give an estimate of how many actually followed orders–the lowest rather than the highest because some of the voting bloc’s choices may have been popular in their own right, and perhaps could have made it on the Hugo ballot without collusion.  Then, by subtracting the estimated bloc count from all of the nominees that came from the bloc’s slate, that will be a rough estimate of what the ballot would look like without the bloc’s effects.


Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“What A Mess” – April 11

This concerted, seemingly coordinated effort to attack the No Award idea suggests that the slate voting is vulnerable to it.  In other words – if it weren’t a concern to the puppy folks (of whatever breed), they’d be harping on something else.

Let’s be clear, when I say the voting No Award idea I mean voting against slates:  where a category is completely slate-derived, place No Award in the number one slot and nothing else on the ballot;  where a category is comprised of both slate and non-slate works, give the non-slate works due consideration, place them on the ballot if you think they deserve to be, in whatever order you choose and then stick No Award immediately below them.


Jamie Todd Rubin

“To my friends and fellow fans who might not be able to afford a Worldcon membership” – April 11

Part of the fun of the World Science Fiction Convention is being able to vote on your favorite works from the previous year, and that $40 supporting membership is difficult for some folks. If you can afford, it, I encourage you to get a supporting membership. If you can’t afford one, shoot me an email at feedback [at] jamietoddrubin [dot] com with your contact information. Also, because of the controversy surrounding the Hugo Awards this year, I want to be clear that for folks who get these supporting membership: please don’t feel constrained in your vote. Participation in the fan process is all that I am hoping for.

Next week, I’ll pick the 5 names randomly from the requests that I get, and buy the memberships through the Sasquan website on their behalf.


Wil Wheaton on Wil Wheaton dot Tumblr

“George R.R. Martin is currently writing” – April 12

George R.R. Martin is currently writing an absolutely phenomenal series of posts about the Sad Puppy dickwagons who have utterly destroyed the Hugo Awards (at least for this year, and possibly forever) because they are self-appointed right wing culture warriors.

It is very much worth reading, especially as a part of the history of the culture wars being forcibly injected into literally everything in the world by time-rich and determined assholes who just can’t handle the reality that the world is changing to be more diverse and inclusive.

But even if you don’t read it (and you really should), look at this from a post on his Livejournal (it is a testament to how much I like and respect George that I am not making a single Livejournal joke right now). That’s George R.R. Martin using the Greyjoy icon in his post. He’s using it the same way any of us would use it, except that he’s George R.R. Motherfucking Martin and he invented it.


John Skylar on Talebearing

“wilwheaton” – April 12

Let me ask you, wilwheaton: DID YOU NOMINATE FOR THE HUGOS?  If you did, more power to you.  If not, stop calling the SPs dickwagons and own up to your responsibility for this outcome.

I’d also like to point out the irony of Wil appending the phrase “dickwagon” to his post here while linking a post by GRR Martin saying how we need to maintain a civil tone in opposing the SP objectives because it will better sell the message that the SPs are problematic.  Good job missing the point.  But I digress.  I was discussing taking responsibility.

I’ll own up to mine: I didn’t nominate for the Hugos this year.  I didn’t have the disposable income, or at the very least, didn’t have enough that I thought it would be valuable to nominate.  And you know what?  I’m hitting myself for it now, because I oppose the SP agenda and I think they’ve compromised the literary merits of the award.


Brad R. Torgersen

“Flaming rage nozzles of tolerance” – April 12

Remember, the doctrine of the self-blamers. They believe everyone is born to hurt. You hurt people even when you are not hurting anyone. Your very existence hurts someone somewhere — at least if you are classified (according to the heirarchy of hurters) as being a prime source of psychic wounding.

So, either you get on-script, rip your shirt, beat your chest, and go on the attack against others, or the commissars will turn you into a target.

Last week Larry Correia and I were caught being fatally off-script.

The commissars (always self-designated) and their media enablers, reacted with knee-jerk efficiency.


Damien G. Walter

The Only Thing You Need To Do To Fix The Hugos – April 11

The Hugo awards do not need to be fixed. They are doing what awards are, in part, there to do. Providing an arena for the debates that in turn power change. Some rather loud, selfish men are shouting their half of the debate. Good. The mass of people who might otherwise have stood silent on the sidelines have been motivated to act against them. Let the Puppies shout and bellow as long and as loud as they like. The actual changes that will follow their actions are not likely to please them at all. Publishers aren’t racing out to buy more books with space rockets by right wing reactionaries. Quite the opposite. Readers aren’t being persuaded of the joys of old school sci-fi by having it rudely thrust in their faces. Quite the opposite. In contrast, the issue of diversity has this year been spot welded to the Hugo awards by the laser beams of focused outrage. And that’s no bad thing.

66 thoughts on “Growls of the Day 4/12

  1. If you are using a word to mean something other than the actual definition, you are missing the waters. There is no good reason to do so. If you want to accuse all of the SP supporters of nominating in lockstep, *say that*. But you can’t say that, because it’s already demonstrably false. So you fall back on false statements based on false definitions. I’m done responding to a false position. From now on I’m just going to point out the falsehood and wait for you to correct it.

  2. ‘If you are using a word to mean something other than the actual definition, you are missing the waters.’

    If you are going to insist that people who use a word in a narrow sense must also be using it in the broadest possible sense you aren’t trying to have a conversation, you’re trying to win a conversation.

    ‘From now on I’m just going to point out the falsehood and wait for you to correct it.’

    So pointing out that people have been rather obviously and consistently using the term in a narrow sense (cf Kevin Standlee) when you try to insist that now the term MUST be use in the broadest possible sense is the same as lying. That’s a very broad definition of lying. Is bogging a conversation down in definitional haggling a rhetorical dodge with a name, I wonder?

  3. No, I’m saying that you were using it incorrectly the whole time. GRRM agreed that slates have been around for decades and that SP just did it way better, because he knows what a “slate” actually is.

    This sort of thing, meaning recommendations and “for whom I’m voting” lists – i.e. slates – are ubiquitous in any other awards arena. Games, movies, etc. SP is nothing surprising to anyone who exists in other types of fandom.

  4. ‘No, I’m saying that you were using it incorrectly the whole time. GRRM agreed that slates have been around for decades and that SP just did it way better, because he knows what a “slate” actually is’

    So people are clearly drawing distinctions between the two types. One was minor and frowned upon but tolerated, the other comprehensively gamed the Hugos. If you know this what the hell are you on about?

  5. Mr S1AL – which dictionary are you citing, please? And are you being a strict prescriptivist, or a strict descriptivist?

  6. Nigel – The repeated statements that slates had never existed before. I’m saying that’s factually incorrect.

    Danny Sichel – Merriam-Webster, and soft-descriptive. I’m not even sure how this could be interpreted as prescriptive.

  7. Are there any other examples of sequels from actual family members?

    Well, there’s the New Testament, but given the discrepancies, there’s some question as to whether Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were just transcribers as they claimed, or whether they had authorial input.

  8. Calbeck on June 11, 2015 at 8:43 am : – yeah, yeah, we get it. Aaron is vile. Aaron is shutting down conversation. Aaron is drawing lines in the sand.

    What you haven’t actually argued, in the face of Aaron’s specific statements is that Aaron is actually WRONG. That failure is quite telling.

  9. Mike Glyer: Your Yeoman Moderator: (Imagining File 770 done as the opening credits of The Love Boat.)

    “Gopher, why are we going so slowly?”

    “It’s Glyer, Captain. He’s taking a break from rowing and asking to be let back on board the ship so he can use the bathroom.”

    “Well, tell him to squat over the side of his dinghy and then get back to work!”

  10. CPaca: “It’s Glyer, Captain. He’s taking a break from rowing and asking to be let back on board the ship so he can use the bathroom.”

    Cracks me up!

  11. Ed: Ok, You people are book mad,

    Not me. I only say I love books so I can get them into bed…

  12. Gabriel F. : Has anyone besides Stella and I read Peter Clines’ Ex series?

    Yes. They were neat but I wasn’t too impressed as, is common with zombie apocalypses, they didn’t seem to *go* anywhere or explore themes.

    By contrast, I’m working through the Powers series on the Playstation network. It’s a departure of sorts from the graphic novels (Christian/Diamond’s character, for example) – a little low budget, but a stimulating exploration of things like celebrity and duty and what it really means to be confronted with the temptation of power.

    And despite the low budget effects, Wolfe (Eddie Izzard) genuinely creeps me out. Every superhero setting needs a villain like him to scare the crap out of wannabe heroes.

  13. Laertes : So I just finished The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and how on God’s green Earth was that not on the Hugo ballot for Best Novel?

    Go read Touch. Same author, probably better.

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