Death Rides A Puppy 4/21

Featured in today’s roundup are David Gerrold, Vox Day, Jim Wright (no relation to John C.), Jason Cordova and Jason Sanford, Amanda Green and Edward Green, Mick and Mackintosh, Alexandra Erin, Philip Sandifer, plus all the other woofers and tweeters.

Eric James Stone

 “Ruminations on Nominations” – April 20

  1. Voting: Various people have suggested voting “No Award” above any of the Puppy nominees regardless of the merits of any particular nominee, as a way of protesting the use of bloc voting for nominations. I think that’s an understandable reaction, and it’s not against the rules, so I do think that’s a valid strategy. But I think it’s unseemly; not as unseemly as bloc voting, but still unseemly.  I don’t think it’s right to punish all the nominees on the Sad Puppies slate because they swept most of the available spot on the ballot, because I doubt any of them had any idea that was going to happen.  This whole Sad Puppies seems to have grown out of what happened a few years ago when some people in the WorldCon community deliberately snubbed Larry Correia because of his politics and religion. Larry decided to push back, and received pushback on his pushback, and things escalated from there. It’s time to stop the escalation. I think George R.R. Martin, John Scalzi, and many others have the right idea: check out the individual nominees, and vote based on whether you consider them worthy or not. If that means “No Award” in some categories, so be it, but I think you should at least give the nominees a fair look.
  2. Self-Correction: Given the reaction this year, I think it’s fair to say people should be on notice about what it means to be on a slate, and a blanket No Award strategy for any nominees who are willing participants in a slate next year would be appropriate. Also, people will be alert to warn others who might have missed this year’s controversy as to what being on a slate means. With regard to the Sad Puppies campaign, I hope that if they do decide to continue with Sad Puppies 4, it is with a recommendation list far broader than a slate of nominees. Hopefully, next year slates will not be a problem, and so amending the rules (which takes two years) will turn out to be unnecessary.


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“There is a theme” – April 21

This is an interesting exercise in rhetoric. Mr. Gerrold clearly wants us to be very impressed by his feelbads, and thereby convinced of the pure and utter evil of those who would cause such feelbads.

With all due respect, Mr. Gerrold, you’re not exactly convincing anyone. We’ve read STARTREKSHIRTS. We’ve read “If a Dinosaur Had a Cookie, My Love”. We’ve read “I am Chinese and I am Gay”. We’ve read LOOK MA, I CAN DO WHAT DAVID SILVERBERG DID NEARLY 30 YEARS AGO. The only soaring that is taking place here is the Muse of Science Fiction leaping out the window in protest. More interesting is Mr. Gerrold’s threats of unpersoning and banishment from that fine community of SF fandom, which of course proves exactly what we’ve been saying from the start.


Edward L. Green on Facebook – April 21

And when the SP/RPs do the same next year? Declare the war is over, and the Hugo is done. Business meeting votes to retire the award and box the rocket.

And when we bury it, we tell the world that Vox Day, Larry Correia and Brad R. Torgersen killed it.

Every time the Hugos are mentioned in the future, we say that same thing.

Vox Day, Larry Correia and Brad R. Torgersen killed it.

Now, I admit, at least one of those people seem to not care in the slightest that will happen.

But I suspect Correia and Torgersen might care. Or not. Hell, maybe they want their one lasting literary accomplishments to be to destroy a prestigious award like the Hugo.

Wouldn’t that look kinda neat of the cover of a novel?

“From The Author Who Helped Killed The Hugo.”

Now some might say ‘Those guys weren’t part of the RP Slate. They may have hung around them, and maybe spoke with them, but they weren’t part of it.” Correia and Torgesen are trying to distance themselves in a not distancing kind of way from this madness.



Jim Wright (of Stonekettle Station)  on Facebook – April 21

Some day, I hope to be on that stage receiving my own shiny rocketship, should that particular fantasy ever come to pass I’d like to think it was because I earned it on the strength of my ability and not because a bunch of you people stacked the ballot box for political reasons.

As to the Con itself, I don’t care about controversies. I. Don’t. Care. We’re gonna have fun. Repeat, we’re gonna have fun, huge goddamned fun, with a lot of really, really amazing and fun and talented people. If you’re determined to be miserable, don’t come. Please.

And on that note: for minions who plan on being at SASQUAN, I’ll be happy to meet up and share a drink and a story or two – especially if you’re buying.

Look for me, I’ll be the guy in the hat.


Alexandra Erin on Storify

“Gamergate, Sad Puppies and the default narrative” – April 19

Alexandra Erin discusses how both GG and the Sad Puppies are both operating under the fallacy that the narrative that most closely aligns with their own world view and politics is the one “without politics”



Philip Sandifer

“Guided By The Beauty of Their Weapons: An Analysis of Theodore Beale and His Supporters”  – April 21

All of these tropes are, of course, immediately visible in the Sad/Rabid Puppy narrative of the Hugos. Torgersen’s paean to the olden days of science fiction is straightforwardly the golden age myth. The claim that a leftist cabal of SJWs, the details of which are, as is always the case with these things, fuzzy, but which at the very least clearly includes John Scalzi, Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and the publishing house Tor have since taken control of the Hugos is a classic stab-in-the-back myth. And the Puppy slates feature heroic men (Torgersen and Beale) who speak truth to power and call excitedly for the people to rise up and show their freedom by voting in complete lockstep with them. It’s a classically fascist myth, just like Gamergate (gaming used to be great, then the feminist SJWs took over the gaming press, and now Gamergate will liberate it) or Men’s Rights Activists (of which Beale is one).



Steph Rodriguez in San Francisco Book Review

“War of the Worlds: Slate Voting Games”  – April 21

“In science fiction, you cannot be an out-of-the- closet conservative without people sticking their nose in the air,” said Torgersen in a telephone interview from his home in Utah. “Science fiction is almost overwhelmingly, very progressive, very liberal, and there’s a monoculture that is formed, and, if you’re not part of it, you’re on the outs.”

…For science fiction author and Hugo Award winner Kameron Hurley, she noticed a definite shift in the science fiction community over the last five years, in terms of hosting a more diverse group of authors, whether it be male to female ratios, or even a more culturally varied lineup.

“Science fiction award ballots in 2009 through last year became more diverse and as it got more diverse, it started to frighten people, and they didn’t want their own slice of pie to get eaten by everyone,” Hurley explained. “[This year], there [are] nine nominations that come from this tiny, little [publishing] house in Finland, which one of the organizers of the slate, [Theodore Beale], actually owns. So, it’s an incredibly tiny minority. It’s not even really representative of science fiction publishers, let alone the full breath of science fiction.”


David Gerrold on Facebook – April 21

Some people have posted notes that suggest they believe that the host of the Hugo Award Ceremony will use the podium as an opportunity to take revenge on the sad puppies with some scathing ridicule.


Absolutely not.

The Hugo Award Ceremony is the highlight of the fannish calendar. It is the most important fan event of the year. It is not a place for petty grudges, it is not a place for divisiveness. It is a celebration of excellence. It is a celebration of our community. And most of all, it is for the nominees — it is their moment to be recognized as the best in the field. And this year, despite the slate-mongering, despite the rancor, there are still many qualified works that have fairly earned their place on the ballot.

This is my commitment. We will do nothing to spoil their evening. We will honor them, we will celebrate them. We will congratulate them if they take home a trophy, we will give them an “attaboy” even if they don’t take a trophy home.


David Gerrold on Facebook – April 21

An open letter to Brad Torgersen,

Dear Brad,

It looks to me that there is a part of this situation that you have not considered.

Regardless of how you have justified yourself, you have failed to understand several things:

The Worldcon is created fresh every year — it’s a self-assembling village. It requires the work of hundreds of fans who volunteer their time and energy to have a five day celebration of science fiction. It belongs to no one. It belongs to all of us, regardless of politics, regardless of skin color, regardless of who we love, regardless of gender. It belongs to all of us — in the traditional sense of the word “all” — with no one and nothing left out.

While you may believe your slate-mongering was a moral act, a justified act, a pushback against some kind of social justice tyranny — at least that’s how it’s been characterized by some of those who favored the slate — while you may feel that your actions are not blameworthy, you have hurt the entire community.


Mick from Mick on Everything

“Why We Need Sad Puppies” – April 20

[First-ever post on this blog.]

Query: with everything I just wrote, does it surprise anyone still reading that I didn’t know I could vote on the Hugos until Sad Puppies 2? I was shocked to learn it. No wonder the insular cliques are running the show, the rest of us don’t even know we’re supposed to be contributing to the script!

The only way to change that is to erect a big tent and get everyone in. People like the trufen who scoff at me are already there. Sad Puppies have showed the rest of us that we can join too. And as a bonus, since SP3 started, I have a list of new authors to check out so long I can’t even remember them all at once. Everybody wins!

That’s what it’s really about. I just spent 1,300+ words telling you why my fandom should count. That doesn’t invalidate anyone else’s fandom. I am still laboring to understand how “fandom” became a contest. My whole life, “fandom” has meant that I can share books, and games, and movies with people with similar interests, and they will share theirs with me, and we will both get enjoyment.

Now, “fandom” is being construed to mean the taste-makers, the CHORFs who get to tell the rest of us how awful we are for simply enjoying our entertainment. I have rarely been so enraged as when I read Making Light, or George RR Martin’s attempts to sugarcoat the groupthink, with the supposed kingmakers telling me that I don’t matter. As if my 25+ years of actually reading and supporting these genres makes me unworthy of their eminence. As if they and their ilk are better than the rest of us.


Jason Sanford

“Thank you to our genre’s many volunteers (and please don’t attack them)” – April 21

One of the most disgusting things I’ve seen since the launch of the Puppy campaigns is how people are attacking these genre volunteers. Some of these attacks are subtle, such as the Puppies saying Worldcon and the Hugo Awards don’t represent the true fans (whatever that means). But if you’re saying that, then you’re also saying everyone who volunteers to make the Worldcon and the Hugo Awards happen aren’t true SF/F fans.

Other attacks aren’t subtle, such as the attempt to create insulting names to call our genre volunteers. Or saying you’ll destroy the Hugo Awards, which amounts to an attempt to destroy the work of generations of Worldcon volunteers merely to accomplish your political goals.

I recently read a comment which sums up the pain many of these volunteers are feeling over having something they love turned into a political football. Chris Barkley, who is a long-time WorldCon volunteer and has worked on the Hugo Awards, recently wrote the following:

“As someone who has been deeply and personally involved with the Hugos Awards for the past 16 years, I find this…situation, extremely distressing. I, and many others involved with the Worldcon and the Business Meeting have worked VERY hard to make the award categories inclusive, fair, engaging and most importantly, relevant, in the 21st century. To see all of that jeopardized, by people who should know better, for all the wrong headed reasons, is something I never saw coming…”


Paul St. John Mackintosh on TeleRead

“Hugo Gernsback: The man who put the Hugo – and the bad karma – in the Hugos” – April 21

The sad Sad Puppies saga in the Hugo Awards casts an unflattering light – in fact, two lights – on the man whose name they bear: Hugo Gernsback, “who founded the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories and who is considered one of the “fathers” of the science fiction genre,” as the Hugo Awards Wikipedia page says. In fact, in 1960 he received a special Hugo Award as “The Father of Magazine Science Fiction.” And the two lights are: first, Gernsback’s personal ethics when dealing with his stable of pioneering science fiction authors, which according to quite a few sources, were shoddy. And second, the whole notion of “good old-fashioned SF and fantasy, the stuff the readers really love,” as George R.R. Martin described it, which Gernsback personified and which many Sad Puppies proponents have claimed to be defending.


Tim Hall on Trebuchet Magazine

“Watching the Hugos burn. Sci-Fi Controversy Wreaks Havoc” – April 21

[Largely repeats two of Hall’s blog posts referenced earlier, for those who’ve been tracking these roundups since the beginning.]

At this point, the Hugo Awards of 2015 look as good as dead, and everyone is now fighting over a corpse. Whether The Hugos can be salvaged in future years is another matter, and it does need a consensus on what the awards actually represent, and who they belong to. At the moment it’s degenerated into a fight to the death which will only destroy the object being fought over. Science Fiction itself is the loser.

Maybe cooler heads will prevail in 2016. A few people have tried to build bridges and find some common ground, but they’re still being drowned out by the louder and angrier voices.

There do need to be changes, and there is still the chance that some long-term good can come out of this mess.

Slate voting has demonstrated how a relatively small 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.


R. C. Hipp on The Drakehall Broadsheet

“Shakespeare and that Sad Puppies Thing” – April 21

…Othello wins hands down because the titular character has a full blown panic attack.  Contemplating Desdemona’s (invented) betrayal and the reparative action required of him by the demented Man Code of his time (murdering her), Othello becomes so unhinged that he babbles half-incoherently before falling “in a trance” to the stage.

Yup, that’s a panic attack.

You probably get the idea that while elves and aliens are important to me, so are more meaty and realistic things.  I like to see race, gender, and religion in my speculative fiction.  I like to read about mental illness (and wellness).  If the characters are fighting a daemon or a mega corporation that’s all well and good.  But when it becomes clear the dragon is a stand-in for something else, something I or my friends have to deal with in real life, that’s when I’m jumping up and down in my seat.

So I don’t get the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies.

If you haven’t heard (you probably have, I’m about two weeks late to this party and in Internet Years that’s a millennia) a bunch of dimbulbs worked together to ensure that only “fun” stories were nominated for the Hugos this year.  “Fun” as opposed to “niche, academic, overtly [leftist]”.  Mainstream escapism for the overprivileged as opposed to anything else.


Amanda S. Green on Noctural Lives

“An update, a thought or two, and a snippet” – April 21

Frankly, I am more than disappointed with how a number of them have reacted to the current situation. Here are authors who ought to know better trying to get their peers and fans to vote No Award ahead of nominated works simply because they don’t like they think something made it onto the ballot. They don’t give a damn about the author or the work. They are making a “statement” — well, I hate to tell them this but it is a chickenshit statement and one that shows just how petty they are. I have looked at the ballot and there are works on it that I have a pretty good idea I won’t like — and yes, they come from one of the so-called slates. But I am not going to vote No Award because of the slate it was on. Nor am I going to vote No Award because I think I won’t like it. What I will do is read it, as well as the other entries. Then and only then will I cast my ballot. The only way I will vote No Award is if I think a work — after reading or watching it — is not worthy of being awarded the Hugo. Too bad others can’t do the same.


The Prussian on The Prussian

“Don’t Bring A Toothpick to a Tank Fight” – April 21

Before I go on, let me say that I don’t give a damn about literary awards.  I’m a reader, not a writer, so I have no financial interest in the awards, and that is the only reason anyone should be interested in them.  I’m only interested in good books – words put together on paper in a new and interesting way.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that getting an award is a bad thing or that they only go to crappy authors.  Obviously not – Neil Gaiman and Harlan Ellison have won multiple Hugos and V.S. Naipaul won the Nobel Prize for literature.  But on the other hand, neither Nabokov nor Borges ever won the Nobel Prize in literature, and Ray Bradbury never won a Hugo, and Terry Pratchett, Michael Moorcock and J.G. Ballard were never even nominated.

So, yeah.  For someone who cares about writing and literature, the awards are irrelevant.

…Now usually in these issues, I wind up by pointing out that this is dangerous, because it opens up the field to truly scary types.  That’s not true here – as I’ve said, awards are pretty meaningless, so we’re not really playing for high stakes.  Just a word of warning: if you are relying on SJWs to defend issues that actually matter – anti-racialism, women’s emancipation, free speech, the defense of civilization – you are relying on people who cannot even rig an award competently.


Sci Phi Journal

“Lou Antonelli’s Hugo-nominated Short “On A Spiritual Plain” Available for Free” – April 21

You can get Lou Antonelli’s “On a Spiritual Plain” for free in EPUB and MOBI The download also includes the story of how “On a Spiritual Plain” came to be included in Sci Phi.


Jason Cordova

“#FreeSpeech” – April 21

I’ve been having a <<censored>> day so far, trying to <<censored>> <<censored>> before I <<censored>>. It’s a <<censored>> way to live, but hey, gotta <<censored>>, am I right?

A lot of <<censored>> have been contacting me this week regarding <<censored>>. One of the things I like to <<censored>> is that <<censored>> is open to the <<censored>> of <<censored>> speech. <<censored>> speech is one of the most important basics of our <<censored>> nation, yet the muzzle of <<censored>> has been slowly being applied to the <<censored>> mouth over the past 50 years. Not only is our <<censored>> of speech being attacked in the name of <<censored>>, certain individuals and groups are now <<censored>> their own allies, feasting upon them as the Ouroboros does its own tail. But it’s <<censored>> <censored>> who are <<censored>> and <<censored>>. Do I have that right?

<<censored>> of <<censored>> — it’s why we have such a great <<censored>>.


glaurung_quena comment on More Words, Deeper Hole

The theory is that one nominates the best stories you’ve read in the past year — stuff that knocked your socks off. Judging by the quality of the puppy slate, I can only conclude that they have very loose socks


Damon G. Walter on Patreon

Damien Walter is creating Nothing

Other than the things I already do.



165 thoughts on “Death Rides A Puppy 4/21

  1. James May: I’m not your editor, nor do you want me to be. There are things you want free rein to argue that I am not hosting. When I saw your allusion to the Jews in Hollywood float by I swatted the comment, I didn’t edit it.

  2. “I will say though – look at the upticks in registration and say again with a straight face that 80-85% of the voters have been marginalized.”

    It is a fact that 80-85% of us were marginalized in the nominations process. Look at the ballot. The choices of 150-250 people fill five entire categories and five other categories have four out of five. The other 1,200 nominators put almost no nominees in most of the ballot.

  3. Well, Mr. Glyer, this will be my final comment here. Comments were closed off to us community wide using arrogant and confusing rules about my-house-my-rules with Banhammer and yadda yadda. But no can ever figure out the rules other than “I said so.” If you haven’t figured out by now we don’t like that then you don’t understand how Sad Puppies happened. HTML is not a secret held by some guild and we don’t like be answered with “because I said so.” However we do like to treat people the way they treat us.

  4. I will say though – look at the upticks in registration and say again with a straight face that 80-85% of the voters have been marginalized.

    I think a more accurate phrasing of the situation is “80-85% of the voters who nominated works this year have been marginalized.” The RP and SP factions, by nominating mostly a prescribed list of candidate works across the board, dominated most of the nominee slots with their choices, despite being only 15-20% of total voters who nominated works this year.

    One of the reasons there has been negativity directed toward slate voting is that 80-85% of people nominating works this year for the Hugos saw slim-to-none of their nominees make the final ballot, so they feel disenfranchised and, yes, marginalized.

  5. Well, shall we wait and see if James May can actually stick the Flounce, or if he stumbles into the usual Flounce and Return.

  6. “One of the reasons there has been negativity directed toward slate voting is that 80-85% of people nominating works this year for the Hugos saw slim-to-none of their nominees make the final ballot, so they feel disenfranchised and, yes, marginalized.”

    Sure, but we are all literary SJW fascists. If the Puppies call us names and rail against our oppresion long enough we will eventually realize how wise they are and embrace their insight.

    Or, we will keep nominating and voting for books they hate long after they are all in adult diapers because book nerds are extremely long-lived and resilient. Definitely one of those.

  7. “And if you don’t, you reward gaming the process and allow the awards to be tainted and devalued. It sucks all round. Thanks a million, puppets.”

    I find it very amusing that on the one hand SJWs are claiming that all their options suck, and on the other, declaring that I’m going to claim victory no matter what.

    “We’re told over and over by Puppies and their supporters that bloc voting is within the rules. No Award is within the rules.”

    Why do you keep repeating yourself over and over and over again. Go ahead. No Award everything. Neither I nor anyone in RP objects in the slightest. Bloc voting is fine. No Award is fine. If that’s what you want to do, then do it.

    “Vox Day is counting on you thinking emotionally, not seeing your way through to minimizing the losses. He’s very public about it, as he thinks no amount of logic, reason, etc. will sway the traditionalists.”

    It won’t. They don’t think, they react by feel. I do find it very funny that I can tell them exactly what I’m going to do, and because they are such emotional basket cases, they assume I must be bluffing and are subsequently shocked when I go ahead and do exactly what I said I would.

    I said last year that I didn’t game anything, and that if I gamed something, everyone would know it. And yet, they learned nothing from that. At this point, I’m mostly curious how many times they have to be hit over the head before the lesson sinks in.

    It’s like they’ve never even heard of game theory. “We’re going to teach them a LESSON!” That’s the thing, you’re really not. All you’re going to do is either confirm or falsify a hypothesis.

  8. Mr. Incredible: You mean you killed off real heroes so that you could *pretend* to be one?
    Syndrome: Oh, I’m real. Real enough to defeat you! And I did it without your precious gifts, your oh-so-special powers. I’ll give them heroics. I’ll give them the most spectacular heroics the world has ever seen! And when I’m old and I’ve had my fun, I’ll sell my inventions so that *everyone* can have powers. *Everyone* can be super! And when everyone’s super…
    [chuckles evilly]
    Syndrome: *no one* will be.

  9. A lot of the people who voted unconnected to SP or RP voted for themselves (based on posted ballots). This is one of the reasons there are almost as many entries as voters, and I’m not seeing why I should be sympathetic to people like that complaining that their votes were washed away or drowned out. It’s pretty entitled to expect that voting for yourself and getting ten more friends to do so as well should garner you a Hugo nomination, and yet that’s supposed to be more sympathetic and representative of the soul of fandom than SP or even RP.

  10. Oh wow, I didn’t realize that every supporting member of Worldcon had created their own Hugo-eligible piece of media. Dang, it’s like we’re SFWA up in here.

  11. Gee, with each ballot having 5 slots to nominate in 17 categories, the fact that the number of ballots was about equal to the number of entrants means that there was a HELLUVA lot of consensus on the things voted for.

    Basic math eludes some people, apparently.

    (Note: I’m using Human’s math. I feel he’s puling his numbers out of the aether)

  12. I think (their statement is a lot ambiguous, but I’m squinting and trying to figure it out) that “human” is referring to the fact that in a normal Hugo nomination vote*, there is a long tail of works which have been nominated on a handful of ballots. The leap to assuming that those nominations are down to “voting for yourself and getting ten more friends to do so” is unsupported, but that never stopped a puppy from making an assumption before. I’m not sure quite why “human” feels that even their theory of a nomination process where people who get the blind support of themselves and ten friends don’t make the final ballot** is worse than a nomination process where Theo Beale gets a hundred “friends” to vote in lockstep and does make the ballot.

    *I’m assuming, for lack of a reference to anything that better suits the bill, that “posted ballots” refers to the list of nomination counts in the award statistics that are put out at the hugo ceremony. (e.g.
    ** the lowest number of nominating votes required to get on the ballot in any category this year appears to be 23 in the Best Fan Artist category

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