Puppies Explain It All To You 4/17

Today a psychologist shut the doors of her virtual office after being deluged with requests for consultations by puppies.

Mainstream punditry is catching up with the story. Yet there was an unusual number of conciliatory posts, too.

A very large number of very short tweets greeted yesterday’s addition of The Three-Body Problem to the Hugo ballot. John Scalzi’s was most often retweeted. And a Chinese source announced that a movie will be made from the book.

Maureen O’Danu, whose “The Psychology of Hugo: Sad Puppies and Rabin Puppies”  was part of yesterday’s roundup, has taken all the comments and put them back in moderation.

John C. Wright posted a copy of his now-vanished comment on Vox Popoli:

Ma’am, I read your indepth psychological analysis of Brad Togersen and Larry Correia with avid interest. I am one of the promoters and founders of the Sad Puppies 3 effort, and also a writers whose work has been published both by Tor Books, and by Castalia House, which is Theodore Beale’s imprint. I have been nominated for a record-breaking six nominations thanks to the efforts of these men and my readers, one of which was later disqualified.

Hence I find myself wondering as to my psychology. Please explain my own mind to me. Am I afraid of Theodore Beale’s destructive and venomous powers, and afraid publicly to admit the same? Am I gloating over having deceived Mr Torgersen and Mr Correia into promoting my works? Do I feel the impulse to apologize to whomever it was — I was not clear on the details — that is rightfully offended that these gentlemen asked their audience to read and nominate my works? Please tell me more clearly what I am thinking, and do not leave me suspended in uncertainty. Am I a puppy greedy for what I have not earned, as Mr Correia is, or a destroyer lusting merely to inflict harm on the innocent, as Mr Beale is?

Since you know me as well, if not better, than you know Mr Beale, Mr Correia, and Mr Torgersen, all of whom are complete strangers to you, I look forward with great eagerness for you insightful and trenchant observations of my case, and your caring yet loving prescription for how the healing might begin with me.

Her no longer accessible reply was –

Maureen O’Danu: John, I deliberately didn’t mention you. I feel sorry the fact that you will have to face, for the rest of your life, that you are the face of the year the Hugos went very, very bad.

 

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The Refutation of Freud” – April 17

Yeah, somehow I doubt Larry and Brad are shaking in their boots that I am going to attack them. I know the SJWs would love it if I would do so. But that’s not going to happen. I didn’t fall for the divide-and-conquer tactics when they tried to get me to disavow Roosh and Roissy, and I’m not about to fall for it now. You don’t need to be best friends to be allies. You only need to be shooting in the same direction. The weakness of the moderates, and the reason they are so reliably ineffective, is that they would much rather shoot at their allies than at their enemies.

 

Lou Antonelli on This Way to Texas

“An orphan of the storm” – April 16

For example, the range of nominations as released yesterday for the short story finalists was 132-226, which means whatever story got the most nominations had 226 and whoever finished fifth had 132. As a result of the update, you would expect the lower range to drop because whatever story originally finished sixth was moved up. However in the case of the short story category, the higher number also dropped, from 230.

I’m not a statistician, but I’m also not the only person who saw that and realizes it may mean that “Goodnight Stars” by Annie Bellet, which she withdrew, may have had the most nominations overall.

Having the most nominations is not a guarantee of finally winning the award, but honestly I thought I did well to make the ballot in light of competition and her story had a very good shot if not the best shot at actually winning the award. The fact that she may have lost this opportunity to win a Hugo because the smear campaign conducted by the SF establishment is reprehensible.

I’ve had more than one person urged me not to withdraw from the ballot. I’m a stubborn old cuss and I never seriously considered it. But I feel very sorry that Annie felt so buffeted by the storm. I did not know who she was or about her story before the nomination, so the nomination had some benefit for me. I hope she heals from this experience.

 

Joe Follansbee

“Here’s How to Beat the Sad Puppies: Let Them Win” – April 17

What should science fiction fans who love the Hugos do now? Assuming the Puppies nominees take home one or more awards, let them have their day in the limelight. The most likely long-term outcome will be… nothing. It will have no impact. Their gamesmanship will become no more than a footnote. It’s a one-shot deal; no one will take them seriously in the future. That’s how they will lose; their awards will be forever tagged with an asterisk: “Oh, you’re the guy who won because of those Sad Puppies freepers.” It may feel good now, boys, but in a few years, you’ll put your award in a closet because you’ll be ashamed to display it.

 

Tim Hall on Where Worlds Collide

“The Hugo Fight Gets Ugly” – April 17

Slate voting has demonstrated how a tiny minority voting the same way can sweep entire categories. But it didn’t start with the Sad and Rabid Puppies. It was broken before, and it didn’t need an organised conspiracy to do it. With a small voting pool all it took was a critical mass of people with heavily-overlapping tastes to crowd everything else off the ballot. That fuelled the perceptions, true or not, that second-rate work was ending up on the ballot simply because the author was friends with the right people, and even that the whole thing was being fixed behind the scenes by an imaginary cabal.

The organisers of the Hugos need to do two things. First, they need to massively expand the pool of voters in the nomination round, and there are signs of this already happening. Second, they need to overhaul the voting system so that voting blocs, whether formal, informal or accidental, cannot dominate the nominations in the way they have been doing. If The Hugos are genuinely meant to represent the best of the year in SF&F, the finalists do need to be the choices of a representative cross section across all of fandom. At the moment, there is little evidence that they are.

 

Floris Kleijne on Barno’s Stables

“Back To The Future – of the Hugos” – April 16

(3) Taking it down a notch and reaching across the divide

Floris: To get to that point, I think it’s essential that all Tribes acknowledge their own responsibility for the whole fracas, tone down their rhetoric, and enter a dialogue about the things that they do see as positive in the other. Find common ground, explore the similarities in their opinions and objectives, and work from there. A bit like you and I are doing, assuming for the sake of argument that you’re more of a Puppies fan, and simplifying matters by sticking myself in the WorldCon tribe (both of which are probably major simplifications, if not errors). There are clearly Tribes in specfic fandom that reflect the socio-political Tribes in the world at large, but I expect that bottom-line, fans have more in common than these bickering sub-Tribes think, and that the tribe of specfic fans has more to unite than to divide them.

 

Deirdre Saorise Moen on Sounds Like Weird

“Eric Flint Speaks, and Final Nomination Changes” – April 17

The quality shift was a concerted effort on behalf of people like Robin Scott Wilson, who created the Clarion Writers’ Workshop in the 1960s to help improve the quality of writing in the field….

Over time, Clarion has produced (let’s say 15 people average per year x 40+ years) over 600 graduates, and many of those vote or nominate. Or hold (or have held) editorial positions at some point. When you add in the members of the other groups, too, this represents a significant influence on science fiction and fantasy books and short stories.

A Modest Proposal

Here’s my proposal: someone (not me) should start a workshop designed for people who want to write the popular end of science fiction and fantasy, and possibly aimed at people who wish to write sf/f books (the existing workshops are mostly about short-story writing). Yes, I know that Viable Paradise is about that, but the field is certainly big enough for two such workshops.

Not only that, it could be one that valued humor more than Clarion et al tend to. (You know what’s harder than writing humorous work? Critiquing it. Harder yet is understanding how to use the critiques.)

Make it six weeks long, have authors bring complete novel drafts, and workshop the whole draft in six chunks.

Don’t make it depend on ideology, make it depend on wanting to write stronger works of popular fiction.

This would be a great place to form relationships with other, similar writers, to build interrelationships within the field (as happens with Clarion et al), and doesn’t have the problematic relationship with the Church of Scientology that Writers of the Future does.

 

Mike Van Helder on Popular Science

“Culture Wars Rage Within Science Fiction Fandom” – April 17

Some of the authors on the Puppy slates claim to have been entirely unaware of the political aims and positions of the movement, and were thus taken unaware by the ensuing furor. On Wednesday, first-time nominees Annie Bellet and Marko Kloos both withdrew their works from Hugo consideration. Both cited their unwillingness to be nominated for what they perceive to be political reasons instead of the merits of their work, and Kloos made a further point of specifically repudiating Vox Day’s influence. This action is entirely unprecedented – no nominated author has ever withdrawn their work after making it onto the Hugo ballot. Further, the rules have no provision for what to do in that circumstance. As of Thursday night, Worldcon administrators had replaced Kloos’ and Bellet’s works with entries that did not make the initial ballot cutoff, an action which is sure to spawn even more controversy.

 

Tade Thompson

“I Own SFF Fandom” – April 14

Generally speaking, I can stand my own ground. I can tolerate people not agreeing with me and, as long as no harm is done, I think the world is big enough for seven billion opinions. I reserve the right to be loud or angry if I feel like it. I reserve the right to be wrong. I reserve the right to cry like a baby. I reserve the right to change my mind, either in light of new evidence, phases of the moon, or Yoruba ancestral geomancy. I can do that. Free speech works that way. I can talk. You don’t have to listen.

I do realise, however, that my ability to speak out, to be articulate, to fight if need be, to refuse to suffer fools, all these are determined by my experiences, my socialisation, my genetic make up, my epigenetic environment, luck, and possibly other unknown factors.

I realise there are those who are less capable of withstanding psychic insult. When I can, I like to support such people. This is how humanity works (or should work). I would love it if those who are better endowed than I in other areas would help me. Pay it Forward sounds sappy and self-serving, but it’s not too far off the mark. That’s what SAFE is about.

There are other places to argue the merits and demerits of whatever. There are loads of places to grandstand and show off intelligence and erudition, to compare metaphorical gonads. That being as it may, some victims need a place to heal. There need to be spaces where there are few demands other than sharing and healing. I feel gratified that people have come forward in namespace and behind the scenes. I hope that will continue to happen and I feel honoured to have been part of that.

But then, Hugo nominations.

 

Laura J. Mixon

“It’s Tonka Toys! All the Way Down!” – April 17

The Sad/Rabid Puppies claim a moral basis for their attack on the Hugos. They say that identity-based politics have polluted our storytelling traditions. They long for a return of the good old days when SFF stories were not about race, or gender, or sexual orientation, or cultural appropriation, or all those other pesky social-justice matters, but instead favored just-great-romps, without all the politics injected into them. And at this point my Spock ears appear and my right eyebrow floats up. I think, Fascinating.

You know what? When I read a story about a woman, especially an older woman, kicking ass and taking names in an exciting space opera or fantasy setting, I certainly don’t see politics. I see an exciting space opera or fantasy with characters I can really relate to. And I’m willing to bet my friends in the LGBTQI, dis/ability, and POC communities don’t see politics, either, when they read a story that has someone whose demographics match their own. They see that person who, like them, is fighting to find their way in the world, despite all the obstacles they face. (Obstacles that can differ, based on who we are and what we’ve encountered in our lives.) Who struggles to hold onto their humanity in the face of implacable hostility. Of denial of who they are.

The Sad/ Rabid Puppies seem to think of themselves as the true descendants of the grand masters of our modern pulp SFF tradition. I find this…interesting. The idea that stories about white guys overcoming obstacles—struggling to hold onto their humanity in the face of implacable hostility and denial who they are—is somehow less political than anyone else undergoing all those struggles—is simply so illogical to me that I can help but shrug and go, whaaaa? Because you know, the Grand Masters of SFF are my forebears, too.

 

Jeet Heer on New Republic

“Science Fiction’s White Boys’ Club Strikes Back” – April 17

Torgersen makes an error which is endemic to the Sad Puppies, conflating literary ambition with leftism and demographic diversity. It is simply untrue that ideology and entertainment are at odds in science fiction. Most major science fiction writers—including the ones who have won Hugo awards from the start—have had strong political convictions which have been reflected in their word. A genre that includes the socialist H.G. Wells, the libertarian Robert Heinlein, the Catholic conservative Gene Wolfe, the anarchist Ursula K. Le Guin, the feminist Margaret Atwood, and the Marxist China Miéville can hardly be thought of as essentially non-political entertainment.

Nor is it the case, despite what the Puppies imagine, that literary ambition is the province only of the left. Much of the best literary science fiction has been written by writers whose politics are right-wing: aside from Gene Wolfe, this includes Jack Vance, R.A. Lafferty, Robert Silverberg, and Dan Simmons. To take one example: Robert Silverberg is a conservative but his best novel, Dying Inside, is a story of a telepath, rich with allusions to Kafka and Saul Bellow—writers Silverberg was emulating. The faux-populism of the Puppy brigade is actually insulting to the right, since it assumes that conservatives can’t be interested in high culture.

 

Mark Hemingway on Weekly Standard

“Revenge of the Nerds”  – April 17

However, among certain elements of the science fiction community, there had long been a suspicion that campaigns to gather Hugo votes were more coordinated and less reflective of the fan base than they might appear.

The schism over the Hugo Awards is aesthetic as well as political. For some time now, a handful of stars in the science fiction firmament—notably popular author John Scalzi and some polarizing editors associated with Tor, arguably the most influential publisher—have been pushing to elevate the genre by embracing certain literary and political themes. Critics contend that in practice this means an overabundance of “message fiction” where, say, encounters with an alien civilization become leaden metaphors for gay rights and other politically correct themes. The fans opposed to this want science fiction to stay focused on story-telling and adventure—and they are annoyed by the attempt to banish cherished genre conventions, such as book covers with buxom babes and musclebound heroes.

The literary crowd counters that the science fiction traditionalists are a bunch of white male retrogrades. There’s some truth to at least part of that characterization—a 2011 reader poll by the Guardian produced a list of the 500 most beloved works of science fiction. Just 18 were written by women.

 

Brandon Kempner on Chaos Horizon

“Margin of Victory: Breaking Down the Hugo Math” – April 17

So we know Kirk DouPonce received 118 votes. You might want to begin thinking about that number (118) as the low end of the Rabid Puppy effective block vote. That would be consistent with the Short Story category results: 118 wouldn’t quite have been enough to push the Rzasa story onto the ballot. Still, 118 votes is a huge number, and would have been enough to sweep most Hugo categories without any support from the Sad Puppies. There were two slates, both of which were large enough to effectively dominate most Hugo categories.

 

Get John C. Wright’s Hugo Nominees Free

All of the four of Wright’s Hugo-nominated short fiction works, as well as an essay from Transhuman, are included in this special release, which is available for free from Castalia House in both Epub and Mobi (Kindle) formats and will also be available in the Hugo packet.

55 thoughts on “Puppies Explain It All To You 4/17

  1. Mixon is so full of hot air. She can read white male minds in their millions and knows what we like and what we support and what we don’t and why. There’s a word for that.

    After that word comes the Inquisition where I have to prove my bona fides and street cred by assuring self-appointed priestesses like her that I did indeed boil my rice with salt and watched the prescribed number of non-white this and read female that.

    I support art and I don’t consult a pie-chart or tabernacle deep in white homophobic supremacy central to do so and I’m sick of hearing I do.

  2. From my observation, I have serious doubts that even Mr. May’s imaginary playmate is all that terribly eager to talk to him.

    Laura J. Mixon wrote something cogent and rational, so I’m not surprised that Mr. May dislikes it, if for no other reason than it was coherent and had a point.

    Should you consider this impolite on my part, Mr. Glyer, I apologize and I have no problems with its deletion.

  3. Yeah, it’s so cogent and rational to show your love for a literary genre by continually obsessing on the idea that 3.5 billion men and 1 billion ethnic Europeans are out to hamstring your life.

    I’m trying to imagine having to look at a photograph before I enjoy a song and I just can’t wrap my head around that sort of mind-boggling stupidity passed off as “diversity.” It may be racial or sexual obsession, bigotry, narcissism or supremacy but it sure as hell isn’t diversity and it ain’t art.

    SFF has never been “stories about white guys overcoming obstacles” any more than middle weight boxing is about non-whites doing whatever imaginary thing some moron makes up for them. It’s a frickin’ demography, not an ideology. Contrary to popular opinion, Treasure Island wasn’t a big F U to anybody. Flash Gordon was ideologically white – like an Aryan? Really?

    If anyone has a problem with what some “old white dudes” did then write them a letter demanding satisfaction rather than suggesting anyone should write letters to all black people if you witness a black person being rude. Leave me out of it. I’m sick of taking it on the chin for something I had squat to do with.

  4. If a translated work wins does both the translator and initial author get trophies?

  5. @Guess,

    If they don’t they should. Translation is a miserable business prone to failure and requires a a masterful hand in at least two languages.

  6. Ah! Glad (I think?) for the Follansbee article, which helped me figure out where I’d first seen the “freeper” slang. Now that I know it means someone who cheats by stuffing ballots in meaningless online polls, I can tell what the person using it thinks of both the Hugos and SP.

    Quite useful, that.

  7. Follansbee article got me thinking maybe the Happy Kitten side should take up some of the canine tactics. Let’s consider whatever happens a win:

    1) A Puppy gets an award. Fine – it will forever be remembered as a win that happened because of voting maneuvres and political campaigning.

    2) A human shield such as ASIM or Black Gate or Guardians of the Galaxy or some unsuspecting Analog writer gets an award. Fine – it was a good candidate on a weak year. Getting nominated wasn’t his/her fault.

    3a) No Award on Puppy-infested categories. Fine – SFF fandom showed the bullies that it doesn’t want to get bullied and a slate-voting campaign is unlikely to ever make somebody a Hugo winner. Writers’ll be very unwilling to have their works on a slate, because there’s bad press and no winning chances.

    3b) No Award on Puppy-infested categories. Fine – they weren’t as good as some of the stuff they kept off the ballot.

  8. @Guess, GK Chesterton

    Seeing as it’s the work that gets the Hugo, and for a translated work the eligibility is for the work as it appears in English, I’d think there’d be rockets for both Liu Cixin and Ken Liu should The Three-Body Problem win.

  9. Mark: Has a translated work ever won a Hugo? I can’t remember any examples. If it happened in 2015, that might be the first time.

    In any event, I believe there is a general rule that the committee will provide up to three Hugos for winners with multiple creators. Perhaps that would apply to this case.

  10. To me it seems that for certain categories the Puppies aren’t as relevant as they’d like, despite it all.

    On BDP Long Form, the field of Usual Suspects is always so narrow (blockbuster “A” films, with the occasional curve ball in the mix) that I think the finalist shortlist would have turned out exactly the same whether or not the Pups had weighed in.

    As for Editor Long Form, at the very least I’m sure Sheila Gilbert and Toni Weiskopf (both of whom had previously been nominated in 2013 and 2014) would have made the ballot easily anyway had there been no Pups.

    The sad thing is now that we have cases of works and people who very likely would have made the ballot anyway, but whose presence, and potential win(s), are now tainted in the eyes of a large number of voters.

  11. Mike, if a translated work wins in 2015, then it looks like it would be the first time.

    I did a quick scan of the nominee lists for the fiction categories over the years, and from what I could make out there have been 3 previous nominations that were translated works.

    One was way back in 1963: Sylva, by Jean Marcel Bruller, for Best Novel (originally in French).

    The other two are previous appearances by our Dutch friend Thomas Olde Heuvelt: The Boy who Cast No Shadow (2013, Novelette) and The Ink Readers of Doi Saket (2014, Short Story)

  12. “””Slate voting has demonstrated how a tiny minority voting the same way can sweep entire categories. But it didn’t start with the Sad and Rabid Puppies. It was broken before, and it didn’t need an organised conspiracy to do it. With a small voting pool all it took was a critical mass of people with heavily-overlapping tastes to crowd everything else off the ballot. That fuelled the perceptions, true or not, that second-rate work was ending up on the ballot simply because the author was friends with the right people, and even that the whole thing was being fixed behind the scenes by an imaginary cabal.”””

    Quoted for truth.

  13. @ Mark Richards

    “As for Editor Long Form, at the very least I’m sure Sheila Gilbert and Toni Weiskopf (both of whom had previously been nominated in 2013 and 2014) would have made the ballot easily anyway had there been no Pups.”

    This year was SP3, as I hope people have seen mentioned one place or another. It was proceeded by SP2, which returned Weiskopf to the ballot, and SP1, which was the first one to get her successfully on the final five.

    Last year, when there were only a couple-three candidates named per category, SP2 had much less success in getting names on the ballot. (Although more successful than the year before.) It still faced outcries of illegal activity and contamination with unsavory nasty people, and wide spread declarations to No Award everything that had been on the SP2 ballot without being read – because there was a work by Vox Day on the ballot, so everyone connected with it was evil and worthless.

    The only thing that blows my mind about this being repeated again this year – despite VD not being on the SP ballot – is the way people keep acting like this was some horrible surprise that they never saw coming.

    Sad Puppies was there, visible and findable, last year. Certain high-profile authors took it upon themselves to loudly report their lack of success on the final ballot. That these authors, works, and editors were being ignored so well by other parts of fandom only goes to cement the idea of an insular, self-selecting group that thought it represented all of fandom. Or, at least, all the parts that could possible count.

  14. Overall, today’s crop of articles is more reasonable than yesterday’s. The usual Sad Puppies = Racist is there, of course, but that’s so stereotypically out of the social activist’s manual that it’s almost not worth commenting on. There’s a lot of competence, so we need more effort to be award-worthy. One has to indoctrinate, yes, but also to entertain.

    The award today has to go to the psychologist who turns her political opinions into psychological analysis. Entertaining as it is to read, I have to hope for the sake of her patients that she confines that practice to her online writing.

    And I would like to give an special lifetime award to Arthur Chu, who called Torgersen’s wife and daughter human shields, meaning that Torgersen got married two decades ago to a black woman and had children with her just so that he could have an excuse two decades later when he led a racist campaign. Count me impressed, Mr. Torgersen. That’s what I call dedication to the racist cause!

  15. “let them have their day in the limelight.”

    The question of course is to they take their day, rejoice in their gamed win and retire, or do they take the capitulation as a sign of weakness and come back for more?
    It seems (from an outsider’s perspective) that the Puppies and the Tea Party have a lot in common, and while the Tea Party politics seems to involve a lot of shouting about the virtues of bi-partizanship, that virtue is only recognised when the left goes along with what the right wants.
    The angry entitlement of yesterdays very angry puppy just doesn’t seem like something where throwing him a bone ‘s going to work.

  16. @nickpheas: If there’s any “similarity between the Puppies and the Tea Party,” it’s because both groups are composed of ordinary people who are naive enough to think that they can change a broken system by (1) following the rules and (2) voting.

    While the other side has just thrown the rulebook out the window and engaged in open thuggery and libel.

    Frankly, after watching Annie Bellet and Marko Kloos hounded off the ballot, this once sad puppy is feeling pretty damned rabid. If they succeed in getting Jim Butcher to withdraw his nomination, I’ll gladly pony up the forty bucks to help Vox Day burn the whole thing to the ground…

    And speaking of Vox: Seems he’s also a fan of Cixin Liu’s “Three-Body Problem,” which replaced Kloos on the ballot. He’s added it to his 2015 Reading List on the right sidebar of his blog, and has said publicly and repeatedly that if he’d known about it when he crafted the Rabid Puppies slate he would have nominated it. So is Liu going to be the next nominee to be hounded off the ballot by the tolerance brigade? They can still vote for Leckie or that Noah Award guy, after all…

  17. “If they succeed in getting Jim Butcher to withdraw his nomination …”

    There can be no more withdrawals. The ballots are locked and being sent to the printer.

    http://www.thehugoawards.org/2015/04/two-finalists-withdraw-from-2015-hugo-awards/

    Annie Bellet and Marko Kloos both said they were not “hounded off the ballot.” Kloos expressed his excitement on Twitter that Three-Body Problem is now a best novel nominee because of his withdrawal. It’s funny how many Puppies refuse to take them at their word. Everything’s a conspiracy to you folks.

  18. Bellet and Kloos both stated they were not hounded off the ballot.

    I’m very excited about the new non-Puppy nominee in Best Novel–“Three Body Problem.” I haven’t read it yet, but I have heard it good things about it, and also heard that it is the hardest of hard SF, exactly the Puppies’ kind of thing.

    I’m very curious to read it myself and to find out what the Puppies will think of it. Perhaps it will turn out that they themselves acknowledge that it’s a good thing two of their slate writers withdrew from that category.

    I wish Kloos and Bellet the best of luck in future years, and, since their work will presumably not be in the Hugo packet, have bought a book from each of them to see if their writing is my kind of thing.

    Regarding items from Castalia House, I can wait for the Hugo packet.

  19. @rick, probably Scalzi. Possibly Gannon, but his having quietly declined seems more likely than 3 body randomly falled between puppy nominees. Outside chance for Gibson or Grossman, but I’d say Lock-in the most likely next eligible book. We’ll find out soon enough.

  20. Gannon might have failed to get the nomination because he was only on the SP and not on the RP slate. VD replaced Gannon with Torgersen.

  21. Has a translated work ever won a Hugo?

    El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) immediately springs to mind.

  22. Petrea: That makes a good answer for trivia quiz purposes, however, the translator would not have received credit along with del Toro and the studio, the way it’s done with text fiction, so there would have been no possibility of him or her receiving a Hugo rocket.

  23. Petrea, Mike: I hadn’t even though about the Dramatic Presentation categories when I looked for work originally not in English.

    Probably since, as Mike says, there’s no rocket for whoever does the dubbing and/or subtitles.

    Besides Pan’s Labyrinth in 2007, there would have been Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2001.

    I found a couple of others that were nominated but didn’t win, including R.U.R. in the Retros for 1939 (which of course was never going to win against War of the Worlds).

  24. Wes S.: As several people have already told you, neither Marko Kloos nor Annie Bellet were hounded off the ballot.

    If anything, seeing the vitriol oozing from commentary such as yours may have been one of the factors in helping them make their decisions.

    As for Mr. Beale liking The Three Body Problem, well, he’s welcome to his likes and dislikes, and I won’t bother repeating the old adage regarding broken timepieces.

  25. I might have missed this amid all the hay in the stack, but did Torgersen also fail to be nominated, or did he decline his nom?

  26. @Doctor Science
    I am a little confused by this criticism.

    In the Pulitzer winning novel, The Color Purple, the narrator used poor grammar and spelling consistent with the level of education of the character.

    In the Exchange Officers, the narrator is a warrant officer. My understanding of military ranks, which is limited, is that Warrant Officers are not your normal commissioned officers and are not required to have a college education. Is it your expectation that narrators are supposed to have communication skills exceeding that of the characters they represent?

  27. @Lois Tilton: Torgersen’s novel was in the RP list but not in the SP list. As far as I know, he hasn’t said anything about having declined a nomination. That leads me to think that he has not been nominated, as I see no reason for him not to say it if that had been the case.

  28. @Lois

    I haven’t heard either way. My money is on him not being nominated.

    He wasn’t on the SP3 slate, and even though SPs don’t nominate strictly on the slate, his novel was an expanded version of the previously nominated work, so I imagine people wouldn’t be as likely to nominate it.

    He was on the RP slate, but even though RPs were told to vote the exact slate, SPs outnumber RPs by, I believe, about a third.

  29. With the disqualification of Jon Enzo and the withdrawal of Annie Bellet, we now have data that shows just how the Slate Voting of the RP/SP crowd hurts everyone.
    When Jon Enzo was dropped, his replacement, Kirk DouPonce was added. Hugo is nice enough to give us the range of nomination votes for each category, so we know that Kirk DouPonce received 118 nomination votes. He is on the RP Slate, but not the SP Slate, meaning that there are at the least 118 RP voters. (Before someone claims that there could have been outside votes for him, ask yourself: Who is Kirk DouPonce? Did anyone really know who he was before all of this? He did the cover art for Vox’s Throne of Bones, and that’s all I could find about him, so I doubt he had many other outside votes.)
    When Annie Bellet withdrew, the range wouldn’t have been affected had she not been the top vote getter. She was, because the top range went from 230 to 226, meaning that Annie Bellet was on top before she withdrew and had 230 votes. Many of the RP/SP crowd has pointed at that and said “See, she probably would have won. She had the most nomination votes and was forced out by the bad SF Establishment. THEY are the ones who robbed her of the Hugo, because with the top nomination votes she would have made it anyway.”
    Which is incorrect. Even with just the RP votes, Annie’s total drops from 230 to 112, which is under the low end of the range. (For the record 132 is the low end.) And that brings me to the crux of the issue, which is the opposite of what the RP/SP crowd is telling us.
    Annie got screwed BOTH WAYS by them, by the mere fact that there was a Slate to begin with.
    Had there not been a Slate by either SP or RP, Annie would have been nominated on her own merit.
    Because there were Slates, the low end of the range was 132 and Annie would have been excluded had she not been on one of them. (Which is ironic because the whole SP Mantra has been about not excluding deserving authors.)
    Because she wound up on the RP Slate she gained an extra 118 votes, putting her on the shortlist, but then decided to withdraw because of the same fact.
    Now many RP/SP supporters are blaming the SF Establishment for bullying her into withdrawing (even though she claims they did not) and blaming the exclusion on them. They claim that Annie is a talented and deserving author (hence her inclusion on the Slate) who would have made the list anyway, but fail to realize that NOBODY WHO WAS NOT ON THE SLATE HAD A CHANCE. You pointed out earlier that instead of bringing new authors to the table, as they claimed was their goal, they kicked the table over and are doing what they claimed was being done to them: Excluding worthy and deserving authors.

    I’ve been looking at all the blogs trying to find anyone who has brought this point (with the new data available which proves the point) and havn’t found anything. THIS is why Slate Voting hurts everyone, even the ‘deserving’ author themselves.

    Feel free to either leave this as a comment or use it as part of your next discussion on the sad state we’ve come to with the Hugos. I know I’ll be voting this year.

  30. @Mark Richards: The TV version of “R.U.R.” that was nominated in the 1939 Retro Hugos was an English-language production for the BBC. Even though it was based on a Czech-language play, it’s not a situation exactly comparable to the Hugos for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” or “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

  31. “The sad thing is now that we have cases of works and people who very likely would have made the ballot anyway, but whose presence, and potential win(s), are now tainted in the eyes of a large number of voters.”

    You forgot to mention that they’d be “tainted” (if indeed they are) due to political campaigning from the opposition towards that very goal. Let’s not pretend that no human volition is involved here.

  32. Rek:

    Are you saying that you think Torgersen’s prose is as carefully-crafted a piece of dialect writing as Morrison’s? Wow.

    Look, writing first-person is *hard*. Writing first-person when the person’s voice isn’t very bookish is *very* hard. I do not get the impression that Torgersen was attempting something with such a high degree of difficulty — has he said something to that effect?

    There are a lot of commenters at Obsidian Wings with military backgrounds, and I asked them to read Torgersen’s story and say whether they thought it was an accurate piece of dialect writing, or not. So far the vote is for “not”, that it’s just not very good writing.

    It’s always difficult to comment on something like this, because what I want to say is, “These are bad sentences. You need to get better ones.” I did a little close reading to give people an idea of what I mean by “bad sentences” — but it may not really work unless you, too, have read a whole lot of good sentences, first.

  33. @Doctor Science
    “Are you saying that you think Torgersen’s prose is as carefully-crafted a piece of dialect writing as Morrison’s? Wow.”

    No. I had given an example of a narrator that had used poor grammar in a widely recognized work.

    You haven’t actually answered the question. Why should I expect good sentences or good grammar from a first person narrator who is a non-college educated soldier?

  34. “Why should I expect good sentences or good grammar from a first person narrator who is a non-college educated soldier?”

    Because bad grammar and bad sentences are unpleasant to read, so a writer who intentionally employs them better be of such exceptional skill that the work is worthwhile to plod through.

  35. Rek,

    One problem in your question is the assumption that someone without a college degree shouldn’t be able to write well. And that is … well… wow!

    The other problems is when someone is using first person there are two typical venues.

    First, telling the story to an audience. Since a lot of the feelings will be conveyed in emphasis and tone, and the audience will react badly to digressions and info-dumps, a lot of what normally witten in will be left out.

    Second, the author may be writing or dictating the story. In this case there should always be an editing process, either by the author or someone else. Good editing keeps the voice without the cruft. Some of the verbosity may be kept in, especially in dialogue, since this establishes character, buy largely will be cut since as Rcade said, it makes it harder to read.

    I hope this helps.

  36. So if Torgersen’s novel indeed failed of nomination, that would seem to make it the sole failure of the RP slate of fiction.

  37. @Tintinaus

    “One problem in your question is the assumption that someone without a college degree shouldn’t be able to write well. And that is … well… wow!”

    I said they shouldn’t be EXPECTED to write well, not that they shouldn’t be able to. Almost everyone should be able to write well. Unfortunately, the average college freshman reads at a 7th grade level. Writing ability will not be much better. And cheekily, I would add that this story was set in the future and this whole education thing isn’t exactly on an upward trend. =P

    “First, telling the story to an audience. Since a lot of the feelings will be conveyed in emphasis and tone, and the audience will react badly to digressions and info-dumps, a lot of what normally witten in will be left out.”

    Good point. And the same is true about any PoV.

    “Second, the author may be writing or dictating the story. In this case there should always be an editing process, either by the author or someone else. Good editing keeps the voice without the cruft. Some of the verbosity may be kept in, especially in dialogue, since this establishes character, buy largely will be cut since as Rcade said, it makes it harder to read.”

    So your second point begins with the weasel words “may be”. (Just in case we have another reading comprehension fail, I am not… NOT… calling you a weasel.) This story is written in a conversational tone, as opposed to having a frame story where editing and translation might be part of the context (e.g., Chrichton’s Eaters of the Dead). And some of what we see Doctor Science criticizing is in actual conversations (e.g., “Rightfully”).

    Doctor Science is saying of the SP slate, ‘… I feel safe dismissing it out of hand — he’s demonstrated that he doesn’t have the minimum level of competence at English-wrangling necessary to pick lists of “the best stories”.’

    I’m shocked. I never saw that coming.

  38. “This story is written in a conversational tone”

    Yes, but it’s not done well. It takes skill to create something that is both “badly written” and readable. Torgerson didn’t pull it off.

  39. I could have sworn that I heard that Correa and Torgenson both declined at the same time, pre-first announcement, for similar stated reasons.

  40. There is a post on this site reporting that I asked Brad if he was contacted to accept a nomination an he answered that he was not.

  41. Rek, I know you are, but aren’t calling me a weasel, but if I am using weasel words as you say, what am I trying to hide or wriggle out of acknowledging? And what would change if I had said “is” or “will be”?

    I don’t necessarily agree with Dr Science that being a bad writer precludes you from being a good judge of writing. After all doesn’t the saying go: Those who can do, those who can’t become Theater and Literature critics for The New Yorker?

    The examples he pointed to were very clunky, but this could be because, as he said above, First person is hard.

  42. @Tintinaus
    “And what would change if I had said “is” or “will be”?”

    Absolutely nothing, except I would find your statement less agreeable.

    “I don’t necessarily agree with Dr Science that being a bad writer precludes you from being a good judge of writing. After all doesn’t the saying go: Those who can do, those who can’t become Theater and Literature critics for The New Yorker?”

    Or vice versa… Henry James.

    “The examples he pointed to were very clunky, but this could be because, as he said above, First person is hard.”

    Or it could be intentionally clunky, because the character is not meant to have the skills of a professional writer and, conversationally, people say clunky things. The argument against that seems to be (correct me if I am wrong)… writing first person as someone who ‘isn’t very bookish is *very* hard’, Torgesen is not a good writer, therefore he wasn’t writing that way, therefore he is not a good writer, therefore he is incapable of detecting good writing, therefore his slate does not contain good writing. I detect just a whiff of circular reasoning there.

    Of course, this may have been forgotten… but Torgersen had previously been nominated for a nebular award for Ray of Light in 2011 and a Hugo award in 2012 (losing out to Charlie Jane Anders’ excellent “Six Months, Three Days” by about a 6:5 ratio, with Ray of Light getting second place). Remember, Sad Puppies didn’t exist in 2012 and there aren’t a lot of Sad Puppies in the SFWA. So apparently pre-SP fandom and Torgersen’s author peers thought he was a good writer before he got all uppity.

  43. Rek,

    You are really going to have to explain to me what is at all disagreeable about the sentence Second, the author is writing or dictating the story. Admittedly I should have said narrator not author, but considering we are talking about a first person POV perhaps thst slip is understandable?

    Look I get you like Brad’s work and you may even really like the book the extracts mentioned by Dr Science comes from. You know who one of my favourite authors is? David Brin. According to Brad, David has said some really nice things about his work. You know what I didn’t like? Brin’s last book Existence. It was a real shocker. Being a fan of an author doesn’t mean I can’t be critical of their writing.

    Now Dr Science may be wrong and the whole book isn’t the clunky mess that the extracts he gave us make it seem to be. If so, good. But if not, then your enjoyment aside, I couldn’t judge the book to be well written.

  44. Thanks again. Somehow, I had thought they both declined their noms but couldn’t find a statement.

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