If You Were a Puppy, My Love 4/23

aka “Catch A Barking Star, Tell Me Where the Hugos Are” 

A combination of new voices speaking out and old hands breaking silence feature in today’s roundup. Cheryl Morgan, T. L. Knighton, Arthur Chenin, T. C. McCarthy, David Gerrold, Melinda Snodgrass, Vox Day and Chris Meadows are among those who chimed in. (And title credits go to File 770 consulting editors of the day, ULTRAGOTHA and Laura Resnick.)

Cheryl Morgan on Cheryl’s Mewsings

“Puppygate – Winners and Losers” – April 23

Has fandom lost? Well obviously if VD and his pals win a bunch of Hugos then we will have done this year. But the final ballot hasn’t happened yet. I understand that Sasquan took an additional 1350 supporting memberships in the two days after the Hugo finalists were announced. I suspect that more memberships are still being bought. Sasquan is on course to be the first Worldcon ever to have more supporting memberships than attending, and probably the third largest Worldcon ever. Some people, I know, are convinced that all of those new members are VD loyalists who will vote as he directs. Personally I’m not so sure.

It’s not just those 1350 or so new members (presumably all voters) that we need to think about either. Given the way that nominating eligibility works (members of last year, this year and next year’s Worldcon), there must have been at least 12,000 people eligible to nominate. Only 2,122 people actually did so. And in the Puppy-dominated short fiction categories the largest number of nominating ballots was 1,174.

What would have happened if all 12,000 eligible WSFS members had cast nominating ballots? Well in Novel, where there were 1,827 ballots cast, three non-Puppy works became finalists.

It is certainly true that a small number of people voting for a slate has far more influence on the nominating ballot than a larger number of people voting independently. But there is a limit. With enough people voting, even a slate becomes less effective.

So my first point is this: VD didn’t win the Hugos, we (collectively) gave them to him by failing to use our votes. Obviously there are good reasons why people don’t participate even though they have the right to do so, but if we want to fix the Puppy problem one of our main priorities ought to be to increase the level of participation in Hugo voting. I do, as you might expect, have ideas about how to do that, which I’ll address in a later post. For now, however, fannish outrage at Puppygate is doing a fine job of encouraging people to vote.

My second point, of course, is that if enough of us vote in the final ballot then he won’t win that either.


Kevin Standlee on Fandom Is My Way of Life

“Behold, the Gavel of WSFS” – April 23

LoneStarCon 3 agreed when I asked to fund the purchase of a new one, and a few days ago I finally got around to ordering it

Gavel of WSFS ph K Standlee


T. L. Knighton

“Anti-Hugo Shenanigans” – April 23

Many of the Sad Puppies crowd is well aware that things are getting ugly.  The CHORFs, as we well know, seek to do nothing but destroy their enemies with whatever tools they can manage.  One of those tools are negative reviews on Amazon.

But, the question is, how on Earth can you tell someone didn’t read the works versus just didn’t like them?  Well, let me paint you a picture.


Arthur Chenin on In Which I Geek

“Don’t be a sad puppy about the Sad Puppies” – April 23

Where Chris [Garcia, on Nedvana Podcast] and I disagree is in how much damage has been done.  He thinks the Hugos are irreparably damaged whereas I think they just got an embarrassing black eye.  He thinks that the Hugo administrators failed in not disallowing the Sad/Rabid Puppy slate nomination ballots.  I agree with Kevin [Standlee] that the Hugos have rules for a reason and that we need to work within those rules or else we truly are the controlling clique the Puppies claim we are.

So how do I see things playing out?

Two things are going to happen this year at Sasquan.  First, there is going to be the World Science Fiction Society business meeting chaired by Kevin Standlee that will address the issue of changing the rules to prevent slating from occurring.  I don’t know what those exact changes are going to be but like Kevin  I hope they go for something simple like instituting a 3/6 or 4/8 rule [1].  The other is that we will know who, if anybody, won any awards.  Vox Day actually did something miraculous by inflicting his slate on the short list, he managed to unite fandom a task akin to herding cats.  I fully expect No Award to win most, if not all, the slated categories.

“But wait,” I hear you cry, “Didn’t Vox Day threaten to burn down the Hugos if No Award wins any of the writing or editing categories?”  Yes, he did and I fully expect him to try.


Max Florschutz on Unusual Things

“Speaking on Hugos and Sad Puppies” – April 23

Goats and sheep are not latrine animals. They go wherever. And they don’t care after that. So their pens? They pooped everywhere.

I apologize for those of you who might be off-put by the discussion of so much poop. It isn’t going to get rosier from here, though.

Anyway, these little guys could poop like nobodies business. And they would fill the bottoms of their pens with it. And I’m not exaggerating there. The bottoms of their pens were packed down straw, dirt, and poop. Hard as rock, slightly smelly … and oh, after a few months, a foot or so thick. That’s right, you could walk up to the side of these pens and look at the side railings. A foot thick or more of compact manure. It didn’t bother them. It was dry and mixed with straw leftovers. And they were only in their pens a few hours a day anyway. But it had to be shoveled (well, forked with a pitchfork, since it didn’t cut easily under a shovel blade) every few months because it would get high enough that eventually they would be able to jump out of their pens.

And guess who had to do that? Yup. Me. I was a manure shoveler from the moment my parents decided I was old enough to shovel. Sometimes it went to straight to the garden. Other times it went to one giant compost pile or another. I’m talking emptying piles of poop ten by ten by two feet … and doing six of them. That’s a lot of poop….

So, what’s the point of me telling you this? Pretty simple: I’ve shoveled my fair share of crap. I’ve experienced it on a daily basis. I’ve shoveled, and shoveled and shoveled. And you know what I’ve learned about it?

There are times when it’s worth it to shovel crap, and there are times when it isn’t. And dealing with the endless, recycled crap that the anti-sad puppies crowd continues to spout? Not worth my time.

Look, I’ll admit that no one is flawless. And the Sad Puppies clearly swept the Hugos, much to their surprise. As a result, SP4 will probably be even more interesting to follow. But when it comes down to looking at one side or the other, I’m on the side of the Sad Puppies here, because I know crap, and there’s so much of it coming from the anti-sad puppies side it’s not just filling the pen, it’s burying the occupants, the producers, and their allies.


David Gerrold on Facebook – April 23

Tananarive Due and I have now gone through two meetings and three drafts of the proposed Hugo Award Ceremony script.

Every draft has been passed before the Hugo Award administrators, the senior officers of the Con Committee, and several others whose advice is needed. Notes have been passed back and forth. Adjustments and tweaks have been made.

But here’s the important part. Here’s the part I want to stress: From the very beginning, the commitment has been to recognize that the Hugo Award Ceremony is the highlight of the fannish calendar. It is a celebration of the genre, it is a celebration of the community, it is most of all a celebration of the nominees. The evening is for them — it is to honor them as standard bearers for excellence in the field.


David Gerrold on Facebook – April 23

Okay, @Karl J. Martin. Here’s the challenge. If you can raise $25,000 to be split between the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund and The Orangutan Foundation, I will host the Hugos in a large purple dress. With shoes to match.

Go for it.


T. C. McCarthy

“How I Spent Easter: Tweeting #HugoGate #GamerGate #Sadpuppies #Hugoawards” – April 6

The 2015 announcement of the Hugo nominees was met with so much asshattery that I broke my 4 years of silence on the issue, and tweeted/posted all my thoughts regarding the left side – the establishment side – of the SFF community. I documented the entire weekend on video so you could see the rage in my eyes, the anger in my face, and what I look like when I don’t shower. Click above on my facebook and twitter links to read about all the drama…

(Don’t be expecting another ShayCarl here is all I have to say.)


Melinda Snodgrass

“Puppies! – My Two Cents” – April 23

Science fiction is now a world wide source of entertainment from our movies to our TV shows.  Shouldn’t our prose also try to reflect this wonderful kaleidoscope of human diversity?  In fact prose is probably the best place to present this fascinating dance of differing outlooks and beliefs, to speak to and hear from people who aren’t just like us.

I think it deepens and enriches our genre when we have women, and people of color and the LGBT community, and different religions or no religions discussed and explored.

Over the years I’ve had people ask “what do you do?” and when I tell them I’m a writer their initial reaction is “oh cool”.  Then they ask what I write and when I say science fiction the reaction becomes “Oh, that’s kid stuff.  I don’t read science fiction.”  By broadening our field to include this rich symphony of different voices I think science fiction has graduated from being that “Buck Rogers, kid stuff” into a genre which is perfectly positioned to discuss big issues and the deepest human motivations in really interesting ways.

This isn’t to say there isn’t a place for some good old fashioned buckle and swash, but that shouldn’t be the entirety of our field.  Let’s not eat just vanilla ice cream or sing one kind of song.  Let’s explore all of the wonder that the minds of humans can imagine.  I see no evidence that the buckle and swash is being forced out in favor of a more diverse fiction.  The pie is getting bigger not smaller.  More books are being published.  More voices are being heard.  Today readers have an expansive feast to be enjoyed.

What I’m trying to say is none of us should be afraid.  It’s a small blue dot and because of advances in technology we have the ability to hug each other close and face the void united in our humanity and celebrating our differences.


Laura Resnick in a comment to Melinda Snodgrass – April 23

Actually, I have decided I am totally on board with 100% RELIABLE & COMPREHENSIVE PACKAGING as a standard for book covers. I think this is a great idea!

Yes! I advocate packaging of books to warn me that the female characters in a novel are all coat-holding carboard cutouts and the male characters address them as “cupcake” and “baby doll” and “cutie.” Packaging that would warn me that the writing is so convoluted and pretentious, or so clumsy and tepid, one can only wonder at what the English language ever did to make the author hate it so much. Packaging that would alert me that the characters are all stereotypically tedious action heroes who shoot everything in sight and make “clever” puns after killing someone. Packaging could warn me that every black character in the book is a servant, every Hispanic person a criminal, every woman a sex object, and every atheist an Evil Marxist Villain.

This would be a GREAT system, and I fully support it!


 Vox Day on Vox Populi

“A Thing to Remember” – April 23

In any event, I stand with the Dread Ilk. I stand with the Rabid Puppies. I stand with the Evil Legion of Evil. And I stand with #GamerGate. We don’t reject anyone out of hand for simply existing or disagreeing with us. We don’t demand that people think exactly the way we do, we don’t expect them to march in lockstep with us, nor do we police their thoughts, speech, beliefs, or works. And we don’t need anyone. If you don’t like where things are going or how they are being done, you’re free to leave at anytime.

I supported the Sad Puppies goals, even though I believed that their failure to grasp the true nature of science fiction’s SJWs meant their well-intentioned attempts to reach out to the science fiction left and find common ground were likely to meet with eventual failure. But I have been wrong before, and so I saw no harm in the attempt. I did not use them. I did not need them. I

won’t abandon the Sad Puppies. I will support Sad Puppies 4 and Kate the Impaler. I won’t disavow them when I disagree with them in the future, just as I did not when I disagreed with them in the past.

Evil-Legion-of-Evil_Vile-Faceless-Minion_512x512 from Vox Popoli

Chris Meadows on Teleread

“Why the Hugos are broken, and who’s breaking them now”  – April 23

The Internet Breaks the Hugos

Whether you’re for the Puppies or against them, there can’t be any argument that the Hugo nomination and voting process is badly broken. The interesting thing is that the process hasn’t changed appreciably for years or even decades. It didn’t just break on its own. No, the same thing happened to it that happened to so many other processes and industries that had long been taken for granted. The Internet happened…..

So, here we have the Hugo Awards, adapting their voting process to the Internet by making it possible for associate members to enter ballots by web instead of just mailing them in as before, without taking into account that the Internet makes it possible to organize concerted campaigns by letting people post communications to everyone else on the Internet. Something like this was inevitable. Perhaps the only thing to be surprised about is that it didn’t happen sooner. (And, given that this is the third year in a row there has been Puppy activity, and it takes two years to implement Hugo rule changes, perhaps the Worldcon folks should have started considering this problem a little earlier, before it became the full-blown crisis that it is this year.)

And this could be only the beginning. When I was chatting with SF and romance novelist Mercedes Lackey the other day, she made this prediction:

I cannot WAIT until someone lets the Romance Writers know about this, and how to get a book on the Hugo ballot.

Romance readers outnumber SF readers by about 100 to one, and a very high percentage of them would be gleeful to only pay $40 to get one of their beloved writers an award.

Romance writers are extremely savvy women about energizing their fan bases. They were using social media for that long before SF writers started.

I want to see their faces when Diane Gabaldon takes the Hugo in 2016.




113 thoughts on “If You Were a Puppy, My Love 4/23

  1. Steve Moss: What you call ‘reacting emotionally’ — by which I assume you mean deciding one will probably put No Award at or near the top ranking for several categories — is what I call rational game-theoretical tactics.

    I.e., the only way to change the incentives where they matter is to put 2016 and later nominees on notice (through 2015 voting) that it’s in nominees’ interest to disavow any slate campaigning for them that comes to their attention, and in the interest of fans to inform nominees of such campaigning so they have time to make clear their wishes.

    Now, you could call that calculation correct or incorrect, but to me it sounds pretty cold and bloodless, which I should know because it’s mine, I’m Norwegian-ethnic, and as a rough generality we do cold and bloodless rather well.

    Where do you get off assuming ‘reacting emotionally’, and cui bono from your so doing? (I’m kidding in that last bit — sorta-mostly. Personally, I’m fronting for the Discordians.)

  2. @Steve Moss: Any change in public perception will depend on how well the parties involved get their message out. “No Award” is not a recent creation, voters have used it routinely in the past. I’ve been reading through the ballot and will put some stories below No Award. I don’t think they deserve a Hugo. I won’t vote No Award for everything, because some stories do.

    I’m not sure where the tactics are– Torgersen noted, recently, that SF&F started losing readers as the genre became popular in film, television and video games– And that’s why it happened, that’s it right there. The same thing happened with RPGs in the ’90s, and it wasn’t due to a social justice vampire and werewolf conspiracy. Video games passed a necessary threshold and most of the people who were there to beat monsters up and take their stuff moved on to other ways to do that. It’s why “how do we get kids interested in RPGs” is a topic of conversation. Everyone can see the gray hair in the demographics.

    (The solution has not been to drive out people who like to play Nobilis or Everway. It has been: Make games kids like. Get them interested.)

    A comparable effort on the SF&F side would be– Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, all of the books that have gotten kids (and adults) reading SF&F. J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins have done more to save the genre than every puppy stacked in a wiggling tower. They did it without an ideological struggle– They just wrote stories people wanted to read.

  3. Rick Moen- I’m 25% Norwegian, 25% Danish, 25% Swedish, with the rest being a mix of Dutch, English, German, Irish and Scottish. So I know about the cold blooded part. My mother was capable of making Hannibal Lecter look like a teddy bear at times.

    If you think you have a good bet, go for it. I’m only sharing my thoughts. And I confess to some self-interest, both negative, positive and sheer curiously.

    rcade, etc- Jim Butcher fans know about the nomination. There was a thread on his message board which was beginning to get involved until the moderators shut it down. It devolved into politics and he doesn’t let politics get posted on his site. It’s one of the no goes.

    But do as you like. I’m only sharing my thoughts which may well be wrong.

  4. I think it unlikely that Butcher will lose to No Award, even if he finishes below No Award. My guess is that the Liu or the Addison will win, and that the relative rankings in the detailed results will be of interest only to those heavily involved. The greater likelihood is for No Award to win in most if the short fiction and editor slots.

  5. James: From my understanding, Leckie had one of the nominations at a walk, even with the puppy slates.

  6. I’d guess Liu or Leckie has the highest chance of winning, and then Addison and Butcher are roughly tied, and Anderson is in last place.

  7. James, I don’t think, even if he weren’t on the ballot for puppy reasons, he would win. Why? Two reasons:

    1. Those who haven’t read the 14 previous volumes are unlikely to.
    2. Often a mid-series volume isn’t strong enough to win.

  8. @Deirdre, re: Dresden/Butcher:

    At this point, I think Changes had the best shot at a Hugo. It followed the title by changing so much about the series that we’re still dealing with the new direction and its implications for the future. Ghost Story was a close second in that it showed the first of those upheavals, but I still think Changes tops it. At this point, we’re solidly in the new path and Skin Game is another mid-series book. Yes, it’s building to new developments, but it’s not a milestone in the series.

  9. Rev Bob. It just goes to show how variable people’s tastes can be. I thought that changes was Butcher’s worst Dresden Files book.

  10. @Tintinaus:

    I don’t want to go into too much detail, both because it’s off-topic and due to spoilers, but I compare Changes to Luke’s arc in Star Wars: ANH. Luke gradually gets everything from his old life scoured away, narrowing his focus at the critical moment to precisely the single-mindedness he needs to have. After the Death Star explodes, the moisture farmer is gone, replaced by a proto-Jedi.

    I trust you see the parallels? 🙂 Granted, the endings are quite different, but it’s that stripping away that captured my attention.

  11. Rev Bob,

    My issue was the pacing. All the frantic action seemed not to be for its own sake but to force Dresden towards one desperate move.

    Also, I remember thinking that at least when James Bond went from action scene to action scene, at least he has a cushy first class air flight half way around the world to rest up during before having more snot beat out of him at the next locale.

  12. Deirdre Saoirse Moen: agreed on both points, plus there’s a general tendency of urban fantasy to be weaker at the Hugos. (Consider that McGuire has been nominated for her zombie books but not Toby Daye, and Aaronovitch, Jacka, etc. don’t show at all.)

    Others: I guess Addison or Liu purely on the strength of reaction I see from people who read them. The Leckie might also suffer a bit from some people not wanting to have a repeat. But it would hardly be an upset if she were to win. All three books are better than the winners from some other years.

    (I regret that Bennett’s City of Stairs didn’t make it, but we can’t have everything.)

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