Leave the Puppy, Take the Cannoli – 4/30

All the myriad realities parade through today’s roundup, arrayed by Jason Sanford, George R.R. Martin, John Scalzi, Vox Day, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Alexandra Erin, Tom Knighton, Anna Butler, Matt Hotaling, Ann Leckie, Katya Czaja, Rich Horton and Declan Finn, plus a few less easily identified others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day James H. Burns.)

Jason Sanford

“When science fiction authors are no longer grounded in reality” – April 30


First off all, if what [John] Ringo says was true why would science fiction have first begun hitting the bestseller lists in the late 1970s and early 1980s? Those were the decades when Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and many other top SF authors landed massive advances and sales for their novels. Most of which, I should note, were not published by Baen, which wasn’t even founded until 1983.

But we don’t have to go back to the ’70s and ’80s to prove Ringo wrong. For example, the April 2015 Locus Bestseller List had only one Baen title on it (which is Ringo’s Strands of Sorrow, which debuted at number 5 on the list). That’s one title out of 25 novels on the different Locus Bestseller categories for April. The March 2015 list had no Baen titles and neither did the February 2015 list. The January 2015 list had a single Baen title on it.

A similar pattern emerges from the last few years of the Locus Bestseller lists, which cover genre sales in the hardback, paperback and trade paperback formats….

And it isn’t only the bestseller lists showing this pattern — all of this is backed by sales figures from Bookscan, the publishing industry’s system for tracking book sales….

If you are going to make a provocative statement like Ringo’s, you need to back up your words with, you know, some facts. You need to show that you actually understand reality and aren’t simply saying whatever pops into your head.


George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“More Hugo Musings” – April 30

BEST SEMIPROZINE. This category has always pissed me off, since it was created largely to kick LOCUS out of Best Fanzine, where it was winning every year. Of course, once Semiprozine was created, LOCUS proceeded to win that a bunch of times too, until the rules were jiggered once again to kick it out once more. (This is one reason I oppose jiggering the rules, even to stop the Puppies). They really ought to call this category BEST SEMIPROZINE THAT ISN’T LOCUS. But they don’t. We have five finalists here, only two of which are from the slates… and one of those, ANDROMEDA SPACEWAYS IN FLIGHT MAGAZINE, has been loudly declaring that they were not informed and never asked to be on anyone’s slate. I am really only familiar with LIGHTSPEED and STRANGE HORIZONS from this category. Both of those are pretty good. If anyone has an opinion to offer on the others, do speak up. If I have time to check them out, I will… if I don’t, I will abstain in this category, i.e. not vote. I won’t go NO AWARD, since I do think the two semipros I know are worthy. Not as worthy as LOCUS, mind you, but there you are…


Daniel on Castalia House

“Snapshot in Time: The 2002 Hugo Recommended Ballots”  – April 30

Possibly because of the records that have been legitimately broken, there have been a few minor misconceptions recently that a number of other events associated with the 2015 Hugo Awards process are unprecedented. One of these has to do with recommendation lists.

By merely examining a single category (best novel) on the NESFA Recommendation list from 2001 (which promoted candidates for the 2002 Hugos), a few myths are easily dispelled:


John Scalzi on Whatever

Redshirts as a Social Justice Cabal Hugo Pick” – April 29

[First and second of 13 tweets in series.]


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Compare and contrast” – April 29

The SJWs in science fiction believe that if they can control the narrative, if they can convince the media to tell the story their way, they are going to retain their control of the science fiction establishment. They are given every opportunity to spin the narrative and make their case; Brad, Larry, and I were contacted by a Wall Street Journal reporter yesterday, which was a welcome change from most of the coverage that we’ve been seeing of late, but so too were John Scalzi and George Martin.

It’s just like one sees on the cable news. If a talking head has on a liberal guest, the liberal appears alone to sell the narrative. If a talking head has on a conservative guest, a liberal guest usually appears to dispute the narrative. And although it is only a guess, I suspect that the way that the story is likely to go will be moderately anti-Puppy, in light of the reporter actually “playing devil’s advocate” in conversation with me.


L. Jagi Lamplighter on Superversive Blog

“Signal To Noise” – April  22

Ever wonder why the opposition—whatever side you are not on—only ever seems to attack and quote the outliners on your side? The most horrible folks? The most obnoxious comments? How they never seem to get the point? How the throwaway line you, or your favorite blogger, tossed off when you were pissed off is repeated everywhere, while the strongly-reasoned arguments are ignored?

This is why.

To them, that throw away line is signal—because its on the subject they care about. To you and your blogger friend, it’s noise.

So, next time you feel the urge to bridge the endless gap—and maybe talk to that crazy lunatic on the other side who used to be a bosom buddy—try this simple trick:

Pick the lines the other person says that upset you the most. Ignore them. Just pretend that they are not there. Pretend that they are static. Noise.

Because, chances are, that to him, it is just noise.

And you’ve been missing the signal, tuning it out, all along.

Then, listen closely to whatever he seems to think is the most important part–even if it sounds like mad nonsense to you. NOT, mind you, what he says at loudest volume—that is likely to be noise, too—the part he speaks about fervently or with reasoning.

From there, you can often find a bridge, a common point of agreement—because at the very least, you now know what the important issues actually are.


Bojoti in a comment on Arhyalon – April 29

I think what the TrueFans and Sad Puppies don’t realize is that they are being watched by the great unwashed masses, hoi polloi, the little people of science fiction. Some of the behavior and rhetoric is so hateful and venomous that I regret my membership. Authors were saying that the new members didn’t love science fiction; they were claiming that they didn’t even read! Some were even saying stupid things like the Koch brothers bought my membership. TrueFans were disgusted by the thought of new members. They like the WorldCon being small and are actively against new members.


Chaos Horizons

“Declined Hugo and Nebula and other SFF Nominations”  – April 28

[Needs also to deal with the less-easily-researched self-recusals from awards that led to people not being nominated at all, therefore not registered as declining.]

Since Chaos Horizon is a website dedicated to gathering stats and information about SFF awards, particularly the Hugos and Nebulas, a list of declined award nominations might prove helpful to us. There’s a lot of information out there, but it’s scattered across the web and hard to find . Hopefully we can gather all this information in one place as a useful resource.

So, if you know of any declined nominations—in the Hugos and Nebulas or other major SFF awards—drop the info on the comments. I have not included books withdrawn for eligibility reasons (published in a previous year, usually). I’ll keep the list updated and stash it in my “Resources” tab up at the top.


Hipster Racist

“The Anti-Geek Manifesto #gamergate #sadpuppies #sjw” – April 30

But fucking #gamergate? Who could possibly fucking care, at least after the age of 14? I mean, there is serious shit going on in the world, and you’re worried that some pink haired hipster chick with a nose ring sucked a bunch of dicks to get her game a good review? I mean, I read about “Depression Quest.” Anybody should have been able to figure out she spent a lot of time on her knees to get any recognition for that crap.

“Ethics” in “game journalism?”

“Game Journalism?” Holy fucking God, we had Judith Miller writing in the New York Times about non-existant Weapons of Mass Destruction and you’re worried about “ethics in game journalism?”


Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies and Magical Thinking” – April 30

So, I’ve characterized the line of thinking behind the Puppies’ discontent as being unable to understand when reality runs in ways that are counter to their tastes/beliefs without imagining some kind of dark conspiracy or cabal (or “clique”, to use their preferred term).

This belief is so strong that a combination of confirmation bias and the effect of “believing is seeing” causes them to interpret all available information in ways that point to the existence of the cabal, even when this requires them to imagine that people are meaning the exact opposite of what they say.


Tom Knighton

“Thoughts on ‘slate’ voting”  – April 30

Yeah, trust Vox to not make it any easier on us.

However, it’s worth noting that a number of Vox’s “Dread Ilk” have stated quite publicly that they didn’t nominate just as he wrote them down.  Why is that?  Probably because people who value individualism tend to be individualists.  Getting any collective of individualists to do anything exactly as you want makes things like cat herding appear to be simple matters.  No one is the boss of us unless we want them to be, and even then, we’ll disagree with them all we want.  I sincerely hope some of the ilk stop by and tell us how they didn’t nominate a straight slate either.

Lockstep, we ain’t.


Anna Butler

“Links To Blog Posts on Writing” – April 30

The Clusterfuck that is the Hugo Awards: If you hadn’t heard this already, then the Hugo Awards this year have been torpedoed by a coalition of white, reactionary, middle-aged male writers who call themselves the ‘Sad Puppies’ and who hate women/gays/anyone who isn’t them. They’ve gamed the system to get all their books put in for awards, and effectively destroyed any credibility the Hugos had. Sad.


Matt Hotaling in The Beacon

“Hugo Award for Science Fiction not looking so progressive this year” – April 30

At the end of the end of the day and when all the hate and bile is removed from the conversation, the core of what both sides want doesn’t sound too unreasonable. The conservative nerds simply demand excellence from their media, they want the very best that the great wide geekdom has to offer; they recognize work on all of its merits, what it does, not just what it contains. The conservative nerds have no problem if their media contains progressive themes or characters, or if it comes from creators of diverse backgrounds, they simply feel that everything should get its fair shake, nothing should elevated simply because it has progressive representation. The new liberal nerds simply want broader, equal representation of all genders, races, and creeds. They want to create a climate where is it is not just acceptable to play with progressive content, but encouraged. They don’t want representation to be pandered to, they want representation done well and recognized.

The two ideologies at the base of each side of the argument are not mutually exclusive; the only thing standing in the way from the two sides making truly great sci-fi together is that the most vocal members of each group are also the most toxic.

Sad Puppies’ coup of the Hugos went too far; its list is not just a slap in the face to progressive works, but is an outright regressive move as it includes more than one openly homophobic writer.


Rich Horton on Black Gate

The 2015 Hugo Nominations – April 30

To take one more example, hopefully close to the hearts of many reading this: I have to confess that I never nominated Black Gate as Best Fanzine. (I nominated it as a Semiprozine back in the print days, to be sure.) The reason: I simply didn’t think of it as a Fanzine. But it is, really, and (leaving my contributions out of the mix), I honestly think it’s a damn good Fanzine. So I’m glad to have this whole matter bring to my mind the notion that Black Gate is eligible for a Fanzine nomination. At the risk of campaigning, let me suggest that people keeping reading it through 2015, and if it seems to hold up, nominate it again next year.


Ann Leckie

“Hugo Voting Is Open” – April 30

When I first voted for the Hugos, several years ago, I didn’t fully understand the voting system, or how No Award fit into things. But I’m going to be entirely honest, I have felt the need to use No Award in at least one category every single year that I’ve been eligible to vote. No, I’m not going to say what I’ve No Awarded over the years. Nor am I going to tell you whether or how to deploy No Award yourself, if you’re a Hugo voter. That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself, for your own reasons.


Katya Czaja

“Vogon Poetry and Rabid Puppies” – April 30

Not every species can appreciate Vogon poetry. It turns out, I don’t appreciate Vogon poetry.

The Rabid Puppies claim they want stories with better ‘plot’. “So the conservative SF fans can get together and let their hair down and talk about stuff they want to talk about (like books with actual plots and dialogue)” (John Ringo)

I’m currently about 80 pages into a RP nominated novel and I have finished several of the RP short stories. Sure, the stories have plot, but plot alone is not enough. The dialog is wooden. There is a whole lot of telling and very little showing. The prose doesn’t sparkle, it doesn’t even shine. There are more characters than a Russian novel and less characterization than Twilight. In other words, it is not the kind of fiction I enjoy.


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Moderates gonna moderate” – April 29

[Second and third of four verses]

They do not like me here or there

They do not like me anywhere

They do not like me on the Net

Because they are so moderate


If only I would be more nice

And pour out sugar in place of spice

Then it would all be duly meet

We’d march off to our brave defeat


Declan Finn

“Puppies Come to WorldCon” – May 1

…If you haven’t read the last two blogs, you might be new here.  This started with a thought: what if Sad Puppy authors were SWATted (part 1)? Then it sort of drifted from the “ringleaders” in part one (Correia, Torgersen, Hoyt) to “mere” supporters in part two (Kratman, Ringo, Weber)….


[WorldCon is practically empty, for a Con. A borderline ghost town of two thousand people.  If DragonCon is New York City, WorldCon is Detroit.  Suddenly, the ground shakes. The front windows rattle. It feels like an earthquake!  Suddenly, the squeal of brakes as a tank rumbles to a stop outside.]….

[Gerrold straightens.]  And another thing–

[Larry whistles]  Wendell’s Roughnecks!  Charge!

[Two thousand men and women, all wearing a t-shirt with a cuddly manatee on the front, all invade WorldCon, en mass, with Schardt, Lehman, and Paulk leading the charge.  David Gerrold is lost in the stampede.]

[Sarah rolls her eyes and smiles] Show off.

[Kratman]  Outstanding!

[Knightman shrugs] I’ll go park the tank.

[Everyone disperses]

[Scalzi, still under a pile of carp] Had enough? I’m invincible! I’ll bite your legs off! Hello!  Hello! All right, we’ll call it a draw! Hello?

~The End~

I want to thank all of the people who have made these go over so well, including Tom Kratman, Sarah Hoyt, Brad Torgersen, Tom Knighton, everyone who has shared this throughout the net, everyone who offered suggestions, and even those who asked to be apart of it. I’m honored, touched, and a bit surprised that something that started as a “fever dream” has been suggested (seriously) for a Hugo.


263 thoughts on “Leave the Puppy, Take the Cannoli – 4/30

  1. I was toying with Voting purely on merit but between the dreadful quality and Mr Beale’s posts here. Well to borrow a phrase, he’s forcing me to, I don’t want to but he’s making me do it.

    I will be voting for Kary English in the Campbell so all is not lost.

  2. Daveon, you mean even if SP4 lists 7 or 8 per category the ultimate effect will be the same? That would be depressing!

  3. Basically yes, we’ll know for sure in August, but in Best Novel Trial by Fire wasn’t next on the list… Nor was Brad’s book, but did he turn down or withdraw?

    Hard to say with Novelette because the SP slate only had 4, RP had one extra.

    All I can say is from the numbers less individual works are being nominated per voter now than 6 years ago… Draw your own conclusions…

  4. On a positive note, go to Locus and check out all the cool stuff coming out in the rest of 2015. Looks like might be a dozen books Hugo-worthy books here. What if in 2016 we are all poised at the brink of destruction but when we finally take pen to ballot we suddenly realize that we have a shared love of literature.

  5. Tom, you need to consider the more important question, was the kicker the five of diamonds or the queen of hearts

  6. dang, accidental repeat post, the first one wasn’t showing up for some reason

  7. ‘I agree, if TB can win categories’

    I should have said, too, NOT BECAUSE IT’S TB. If anyone had done what he’d done, it’d be the same. The posturing and threats just make it easy to dislike him and turn him into a cartoon villain so that it’s all about him. It’s not. It’s not who he is, it’s what he did.

  8. ‘They may consider the strategy of creating an environment where if nominees do not vocally distance themselves they will be effectively blocked from consideration for a literary award to be unethical.’

    It’s probably better, if difficult, to separate the motive from no-awarding from TB. It’s a response to a tactic viewed as unethical or dishonourable or a breaking of community norms. TB is obviously a divisive figure and toxic enough for people to look askance at people who support him, but no-awarding shouldn’t be about him, it should be about, well, first and foremost responding to the quality of the ballot, but in this case responding to gaming the nominations. The debate should be about whether it’s a good or effective or, yes, ethical strategy in response to that, NOT to the personalities of the people who carried out the gaming

  9. There will be a Castila a slate

    You’re overlooking one problem with a castilia slate: Theodore Beale has no work ethic, and pays out no advances and so had to rely almost exclusively on John C. Wright to produce enough works to fill the slate out on behalf of Castilia, and VD still had to resort to outright cheating in one case to fit Wright’s trunk fics under the “must be published in 2014” requirement and got it disqualified as a result.

    There’ll come a point, if not next year then the year after, when Castilia House will simply not have enough stuff to make up anything even approaching a slate.

    The Sad Puppies have more legs than VD’s slates, largely because they haven’t chewed most of their own off; Such is the problem with rabid puppies.

  10. Ok, I’ll give you that – I didn’t think it would happen next year. I was assuming he’d do it next year and then, after rule changes make it almost impossible, he’d claim victory and move onto something else.

  11. Nick Mamatas –

    Really? Using incomplete quotes to make it appear that I said something I didn’t? How droll.

    I’ll give you points for being much better at it than most of the people here, though. You present a wonderful facade of reasonableness.

  12. If you really somehow think not including the valuable minerals bit of your quote, when it was in response to me talking about topsoil only and not making any mention of valuable minerals below in the first place is somehow a torture of your text, well that’s on you. But here you go—now everyone knows that topsoil doesn’t really count *unless* you were going for valuable stuff beneath it…which in my example I wasn’t anyway.

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