The Fellowship of the Puppy 5/8

aka The Puppies Who Circumnavigated the Hugos in a Slate of Their Own Making

Today’s basket of puppies comes from Alexandra Erin, Lisa J. Goldstein, Chris Gerrib, T. C. McCarthy, Matthew Bowman, Erin Bellavi (Billiard), Brandon Kempner, William Reichard, John O’Neill, Laura Liddell Nolen, Spencer Shannon and L. Jagi Lamplighter. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day mickyFinn and Dawn Sabados.)

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies Review Books: MADELINE” – May 8

madeline-209x300Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired) …

In the interest of a fair review, I made myself flip through the rest anyway. What I picked up is that the character of Madeline is everything that Feminazis say they want in a “strong female character”, as we are told from the beginning that she’s not afraid of anything, including mice and a tiger in the zoo.

Are we supposed to impressed? Mice aren’t scary and the tiger is clearly in a cage. Does anyone think this precious little snowflake would have lasted five seconds against that tiger in a real fight? Hell no! She wouldn’t have. Not even five seconds and that’s the truth this book takes such pains to conceal from you.

SJWs want us to believe that women are just as strong as any man but then they stage this kind of ridiculous pantomime where we’re supposed to be impressed that they aren’t frightened of zoo animals. But it is the SJWs who are sexist against women by suggesting women should be afraid of caged animals and tiny rodents.

Anyway, it seems like Madeline isn’t such a “strong female character” when her appendix gets inflamed! She cries like a little girl, and guess what? That’s right, a MAN comes to her rescue.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 5: Novelettes” – May 8

We’ve left short stories and are now in the land of the novelettes.  And the first story here, “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, is also the first story on the ballot not from the Sad or Rabid Puppy slate.  As you probably noticed, I’ve been struggling with the puppy-related stories, so I was glad to see something different.  And at first I thought my optimism would be rewarded — the writing is clear, with a light magic realist touch, and the situation — man dumped by his girlfriend — is interesting and relatable, at least in the beginning.

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Really?” – May 8

The only freely-available Hugo novella I have been able to find is Arlan Andrews’ Flow. I just finished reading it, and am frankly underwhelmed.

 

Pamelibrarian

“Championship B’Tok” – May 7

So.  The Hugos.  Up until this year I was not aware that this was a vote-by-random-people-with-memberships award.  As I’ve mentioned, I’m not really an awards person at all.  I tend to disagree with all the award-winning choices and therefore don’t put much stock in them.  It’s very political … which this year’s Hugo Debacle (I think it deserves capitalization after all of the drama generated) aptly demonstrates.  Many other bloggers and authors have explained it much better than I can, but I was curious to read some of the short stories and novellas that were up for awards.

I’d read a book by Edward Lerner a long time ago: it was Fools’ Experiments.  I remember that I didn’t really like it because it seemed silly, but I had hoped that Lerner would grow as an author and clean up the writing a bit.

I think things got better.  They’re not fantastic or mind-blowing or OMGREADTHISNOW, but I rather enjoyed Championship B’Tok.

 

 

Matthew Bowman on Novel Ninja

“Fake Geeks Go HomeL A Hugo Fisk” – May 4

This would be entertaining if it weren’t so sad. After all, as I keep saying, we’re not asking anyone to vote without reading. That would be a heck of a lot easier. And why would anyone pay forty bucks to vote if they didn’t actually care about the topic?

Remember, your own side is buying votes for other people. If suggesting to other geeks that a Worldcon supporting membership is worth them buying themselves is bad, how is it okay for the anti-Puppy crowd to actually buy votes?

 

Erin Bellavi (Billiard) on Toasted Cheese

“Negotiating Social Media for Writers: A Conversation With Jim C. Hines, Mary Robinette Kowal & Kameron Hurley” – May 7

TC: Of course, one drawback of the internet is the anonymous hate and trolling that sometimes goes along with having an online presence. Can you describe a time when you had to deal with hate and/or trolling?…

MRK: Yesterday. So, I decided that it would be a nice thing to offer to help people who couldn’t afford a supporting membership for the Hugo awards, by doing a drawing to give some away. This led to cries of “Vote buying!” even though I wasn’t up for an award. My feed became infested with people associated with GamerGate. So I did something I call “politeness trolling.” Which is that someone says something hateful to me, and I answer them with a request for clarification, often accompanied by an apology. More often than not, this actually leads to an interesting conversation.

And the ones that are just trolling me? Heh. I grew up in the South where we’re taught to say, “That’s nice,” instead of “Fuck you.” I can bless someone’s heart all day.

 

Brandon Kempner on Chaos Horizon

Hugo Award Nomination Ranges, 2006-2015, Part 2 – May 7

The Hugo is a strange award. One Hugo matters a great deal—the Best Novel. It sells copies of books, and defines for the casual SFF fan the “best” of the field. The Novella, Novelette, and Short Story also carry significant weight in the SFF field at large, helping to define rising stars and major works. Some of the other categories feel more like insider awards: Editor, Semiprozine. Others feel like fun ways to nod at the SFF fandom (Fanzine). All of them work slightly differently, and there’s a huge drop off between categories. That’s our point of scrutiny today, so let’s get to some charts.

 

William Reichard

“So if a Puppy wins a Hugo…will it be a real award then?” – May 8

Honest question. Will it be used on book covers?

“Winner of the top prize from the morally bankrupt and politically corrupt organization of strongarming fools and their sycophants that I spent two years excoriating in every venue I could think of!”?

 

John O’Neill on Black Gate

“The Top 50 Black Gate Posts in April” – May 8

Looking over our traffic stats for last month, I want to give a shout-out to M Harold Page, who managed to heroically crack the Top 10 without once mentioning the Hugo Awards or Rabid Puppies. Well done, Mr. Page!

He was the only one to accomplish that extraordinary feat, however. Every other article in the Top 10 for April (and more than a few in the Top 25) directly addressed the ongoing Hugo Awards controversy, which began on April 4th when Worldcon announced the nominees for the 2015 Hugo Awards — a group which usually represents the finest science fiction and fantasy of the year, but this year was largely dictated by a single individual, Vox Day (Theo Beale), and his Rabid Puppy supporters, who crammed the slate with 11 nominees from Theo’s tiny publishing house, Castalia House, and nominated Vox Day personally for two Hugo Awards.

Not coincidentally, Black Gate received the first Hugo nomination in our history, and one of our bloggers, Matthew David Surridge, was nominated for Best Fan Writer, both as a direct result of being included on the Rabid Puppy slate. We declined those nominations, for reasons that I think should be fairly obvious.

 

The Writers Life eMagazine

“{Virtual Book Tour} A Book Chat with Laura Liddell Nolen, author of ‘The Ark’” – May 6

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I love visiting the sites of authors I respect, especially the ones who also do a great job of keeping their blogs up. There’s been no shortage of big names making public statements lately: Mary Robinette Kowal, George R.R. Martin, John Scalzi, and plenty of others have had lots to say about the Sad Puppies’ slate of Hugo-nominated works. Right now, GRRM has had the most activity on his site I’ve seen in a long time. It’s clear that he is still as invested in worldcon as he ever was. In other words, his mind-blowing success hasn’t changed his passion for the form. Given his tenure, his opinion is not to be taken lightly. Last week, he made something like three posts within 24 hours. I can’t look away.

 

 

Spencer Shannon on Dig Boston

“Alternate Universe: Queer/Trans Narratives Mix for Fun Effect in New Performance” –  May 8

The event will bring together a menagerie of local speculative fiction writers in one room, and will allow attendees to connect directly with writers who share a desire for inclusive, radical creativity in the media they consume. Author and editor K. Tempest Bradford will serve as MC—she immediately said yes when Jarboe reached out to her about WF&S. “[Bradford is] a pretty vocal feminist and anti-racist who uses her platforms to question old guard and mainstream, and she’s so charismatic, too. I thought she’d be a good fit as a prominent personality who also immediately sets the tone that this event isn’t about the old guard or the mainstream,” Jarboe says. “In fact, you can truly love speculative fiction and comics and games and see the mess that is the Hugo Awards this year, and Gamergate, and all that nonsense, and be like, ‘Whatever, I’ll start my own thing.’”

 

L. Jagi Lamplighter on Welcome to Arhyalon

“Tempest-in-a-teardrop” – May 8

Amusing pro Sad Puppy comics by our dear friends Codex & Q.

See the first comic here

I believe:

Larry Correia is the bear

Brad Torgersen is a carrot

Sarah A Hoyt is the mouse

John is the raven

The figure with horns is Vox Day

 

Codex & Q at Tempest In A Teardrop

About

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294 thoughts on “The Fellowship of the Puppy 5/8

  1. snowcrash @ 6:53am

    “Stross’ site, where in essence they said that Castalia has no involvement with Scandawegian fandom”

    That’s very interesting. Other than its books by the military historian (Israeli) the science fiction authors Castalia House publishes seem to be basically American. So what following does Castalia House have in Europe? None at all?

  2. Brian Z,

    from what I can tell it’s Finland based because the sysadmin that Beale uses is from the area? Markku Koponen?

  3. “All those kids who grew up on Harry Potter, Twilight, DIvergent, etc. are going to be the next generation of SF/F readers and fandom. Anyone who thinks that publishers and awards should continue to pander exclusively to people over the age of 40 is missing out .”

    This is true, but bear in mind that the puppies frame this around bringing in *new* fans. Torgersen specifically points to the popular growth of fandom as evidence that the Hugos are out of touch with what the people want. Their are a lot of gnarls in their model of reality.

  4. Matt Y @7:30am

    I thought you were asking whether the Hugo winning works have liberal ideas in them. (I think a lot of them do. Some may also have libertarian ideas.) Not whether the central theme of the work was a political message. For example, Ancillary Justice describes a society with more fluid gender roles than ours – I didn’t say the book is “a book about gender” or “it pushes a political agenda.”

    I’m curious, about your view though: if an author doesn’t beat you over the head with a political point, do you think one can still discern something of the author’s politics from reading the work? Is it easier to do so if the author’s political view is something one already knows?

  5. >> “Brad Torgersen [said that] WorldCon insiders always vote for lefty message over telling a good story (a rough paraphrase). Nick Mamatas demolished that idea ages ago. I have no clue why anyone is still arguing about it since it has been shown to be obviously untrue.” >>

    Because without it, there’s no Puppy argument to be made any more. If it’s obviously untrue (and I’d agree with you that it is), then the Puppy position boils down to “books I don’t like are winning because they get more votes.”

    You can move on to that to ask how many conservative-message Hugo winners there have been, as if that implies some sort of skullduggery (it doesn’t), but you might as well just start asking whether SF readers in general lean toward progressive goals.

    At the very least, you’d have to try to ground your implication in history — was there a period when conservative-message works won Hugos as often as not? Or as often as liberal-message works? Or non-message works?

    [And you’d have a hard time with a lot of that research, since a work like STARSHIP TROOPERS, to pick one handy example, has both liberal and conservative ideas in it.]

    But in the final analysis, without the spurious claim that SJWs are voting for stuff they don’t like because they want to give the award for reasons other than excellence, there’s no case to be made any more for the Puppies. Trying to change the question to ask whether a case can be made for something benign doesn’t make it non-benign, even if it exists.

    “Novels of conservative message” don’t have some sort of right to win the Hugo on a regular basis, any more than “novels of liberal message” or “novels with mermaids in them.” And there’s no reason to expect even distribution of American political-spectrum viewpoints across the winners.

  6. Brian Z: “Ancillary Justice describes a society with more fluid gender roles than ours”

    No. It doesn’t. It’s blindingly obvious you haven’t read the book, and your repeatedly making claims about something when you haven’t actually read it is pathetic and childish.

  7. I’m with JJ here, the world of Ancillary Justice does have gender roles, just the POV character doesn’t seem to much notice them because they’re about humans, and they’re not a human, no more than the gender of my dogs matters much day to day and strangers mix up what they are all the time.

    It’s a space opera with a touch of MilSF – it ought to be a firm puppy favourite frankly.

  8. Brian Z:

    Castalia House is totally unknown in Sweden anyhow. And from the finish people I’ve spoken to, it is unknown in Finland also.

  9. Castalia House is only a year old. This is why nobody knew or cared about this small publisher before Rabid Puppies, one goal of which is VD’s misguided attempt to bring some respectability to the company’s name.

    “Putting lipstick on a pig” is the applicable phrase, I believe.

  10. I’d guess they care more about the “official” imprimatur that will allow them to tick that box in other membership bylaws. I noticed in reading about a certain organization to which a certain person no longer belongs that the organization requires members to be “professionally published,” have received certain amounts of money, etc. I will note that this is only speculation on my part. I have an MBA and studied things like “using the law for competitive advantage,” so it’s how I’d think about it if I were really crafty and ambitious and had a big chip on my shoulder is all I’m saying. Such a press would be able to turn out at a prodigious rate and if other awards are as narrow-margined as this one, it could pretty quickly look like the only dog in the junkyard.

  11. Sorry–press could turn out “high-quality writing free of any agenda or bias whatsoever.” Comments don’t seem to like ironic brackets.

  12. Will: “dog in the junkyard”

    It’s amusing that your phrasing is so aptly-chosen.

  13. Will: “I have an MBA and studied things like “using the law for competitive advantage,” so it’s how I’d think about it if I were really crafty and ambitious and had a big chip on my shoulder

    Fabricating an enemy in order to enrage fans and drive sales would sure be dirty.

  14. Yep. You might even think that such a press would win either way: either it wins a lot of awards and gets that PR, or it gets more entries that don’t win in which case it has stats for its contention that it’s being deliberately ignored, which could conceivably be a selling point to some audiences.

  15. There could be all kinds of reasons this wouldn’t work; again, the two facts just kind of jumped out at me in their simultaneity.

  16. Will,

    I can’t remember who told me, but apparently Castalia House isn’t a certain organization qualifying market. I have my doubts that they’ll ever be.

  17. I was just trying to parse that…it seems to say sold “into” a qualifying market, but I’m not sure what that means.

  18. To qualify a new Qualifying Professional Market, it must be found acceptable to the Membership Committee. In particular, it must satisfy the following criteria for a given date range to qualify for membership purposes:

    Payment for all works of fiction (other than reprints or serializations), either in advance of publication or on publication, at the rate of either (a) at least $2000 for a single work or (b) at least 6¢/word and

    Must have published consistently for a period of at least one year before the market will be considered qualifying; and

    Must have a print run or circulation of at least 1000 copies, or the equivalent in other media (e.g., demonstrated downloads in electronic media); and

    Is not vanity press or other type of author-paid or fee-charging press, as demonstrated such as (1) by having published at least ten distinct works by different natural persons during the date range; and (2) by authors not having paid or been requested to pay fees or give consideration of any kind.

    Again, I’d say if they met these and weren’t granted the market, it would be…something of a stink. But I obviously don’t know any of the details of how they operate.

  19. Also, I’d read that as $20,000 for a license to mint as many SWFA members at $2,000/pop as I wanted. (Provided I had an army to buy or download at least 1,000 of each.) But with the first 10, I wouldn’t guess that would be tough.

  20. “it must be found acceptable to the Membership Committee”

    Now, I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that phrase offers a LOT of wiggle room.

  21. Castalia may very well be able to qualify at some point. When the publisher is the heir to a significant amount of money and can afford to throw away cash on books that don’t earn out, the payment qualifications are not hard to meet.

    I don’t know that it’s a big deal, especially now that self-published authors are eligible to join SFWA. A few Puppies may get inside the SFWA door and piddle on the carpet, but they’ll essentially get the same thing that they’ve gotten from Hugo voters: a lot of pointing out that they’re behaving extremely badly, and not much else.

  22. While I understand that such a plan might be in Beale’s wheelhouse,

    reading between the lines of his blog, he was uh… asked not to continue with his original publisher. So he set up his own imprint.

  23. @alexvdl Yeah, but they’re just as happy with a new reason to yell conspiracy, aren’t they? (To Mokoto’s point: that just makes the enemy real, which sells even better.)

    @JJ except, seriously, they think they’re winning. I keep wondering what they’re winning, but whatever it is, they’re very sure of it. They wanted this…why not the Nebulas too?

    On the self-pubbing thing…are they equal voting members? There must still be some advantage…

  24. From his blog:

    Will Castalia House make certain its books qualify the authors for SFWA membership, and possible future expulsion?

    It will take at least one year before Castalia House could possibly become a qualifying venue. So, it’s not what we would consider a priority. We do expect to have the necessary 10 authors as well as meeting the minimum print run and revenue requirements.

  25. Alexvdl: “it must be found acceptable to the Membership Committee”

    Now, I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that phrase offers a LOT of wiggle room.

    Not as far as I can see – you’re overlooking the fact that it lists criteria and then states “The SFWA Membership Committee will evaluate the material and add it to the list of qualifying markets if/when it meets the criteria.”.

    But here’s the kicker that VD, Soopergenus taht he is, has overlooked:

    [Criterion 4] – Is not vanity press or other type of author-paid or fee-charging press, as demonstrated such as (1) by having published at least ten distinct works by different natural persons during the date range; and (2) by authors not having paid or been requested to pay fees or give consideration of any kind.

    Any party may request a venue be evaluated (an applicant, the publisher, another author, etc.) but must submit proof that the market meets the criteria.

    That is, the party requesting evaluation must submit proof of a negative. Can you *prove* that an author was NOT requested to give “consideration of any kind”?

    I imagine for most people, it would be sufficient to state that they didn’t and have no author contradicting them. However the Membership Committee would be well within their rights to consider VD’s word less that trustworthy and stick to the strict letter of the rules, requiring him to prove a negative. For the broadest interpretation of “any consideration”. For each and every author.

  26. @cpaca True, and yet, they might make a lot of noise about that process. I mean, think about this time, when they don’t even have any proof.

  27. CPaca: but it further reads

    “In particular, it must satisfy the following criteria for a given date range to qualify for membership purposes:”

    To me, that reads “It must, at least, satisfy the following criteria” but it doesn’t say that is the sum total of the criteria that must be me.

  28. Will: “I keep wondering what they’re winning, but whatever it is, they’re very sure of it. They wanted this…why not the Nebulas too?”

    All SFWA members have equal rights. Self-published authors still have to prove they’ve met the membership criteria. I think the Nebulas would be harder to game than the Hugos; however, that is something I am sure SFWA will address if and when it becomes an issue.

    As far as “what they’re winning” I think they had a fundamental misunderstanding of how and what the Hugos, Worldcon, and the WSFS are, and their “strategy” was based on that misunderstanding. The lead canines genuinely have them all convinced that there really is an “Us” vs “Them”.

    Witness the guy here the other day who kept insisting that he was going to be addressing “the WSFS” with the Puppies’ concerns. He just couldn’t “get” that the WSFS is like a SFF Brigadoon — it appears out of the mist, once a year at Worldcon, exists for a few days and holds a few meetings, then disappears back into the mist until it appears again somewhere else next year.

    He seemed convinced that the WSFS is a club with which he can negotiate; that if the Puppies hold the Hugos hostage, the WSFS will be “forced” to give them concessions. What the Puppies fail to understand is that there is no “Them”; that all of the rest of us nominate what we like, and in a good year, we’re lucky (and happy) if a few of the things we nominate make it onto the ballot.

    Why he and the Puppies think they are such Super Special Snowflakes that they would be entitled to any more than the rest of us is a mystery — but hey, spoiled little kids always believe that they’re entitled to things when, in reality, they’re not. And the rest of us have no motivation to negotiate with any of them or listen to their whining. We’re just going to fix the rules to make it a lot harder for them to piddle on the carpet.

    So what are they “winning”, apart from bad reputations, and the scorn and dislike of all the people who’ve been participating in the Hugo Awards in good faith?

    Nothing, really. But I don’t that most of them are bright enough to have figured that out yet.

  29. Brian Z @ 11:50 am

    Ancillary Justice wasn’t gender fluid. The people of Culture in the Culture series are gender fluid. It’s from the POV of a character that has a problem with gender specific pronouns, there’s no fluidity of genders involved.

    But to answer:
    ‘if an author doesn’t beat you over the head with a political point, do you think one can still discern something of the author’s politics from reading the work?’

    Depends. Am I able to tell Philip K Dick’s politics from Maze of Death? If I’ve read Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land I might have a hard time making such an assumption about Heinlein. Actually that’s a separate point in general, even if you could would that mean you’ve discerned the authors politics or only those of that moment? I will say I read often and typically never consider creating in my mind what opinions the authors may or may not hold. There are occasionally clues, some less subtle than others though.

    ‘Is it easier to do so if the author’s political view is something one already knows?’

    If one goes looking, one typically finds

  30. @Brian Z.:
    “Craig R., when you break into an ongoing conversation and make up stuff about what people said to you without reading it, that is not dialogue, that is drive-by vandalism of dialogue. Cut it out, please, and read other peoples’ comments more carefully before you reply.”

    Whoa there, did I magically intercept some private e-mail exchange? This is a public discussion thread on a web log whose author has elected to be open to the public to read and comment upon. If you do not wish for outside voices to be heard, take it to e-mail.

    As an apparent RP/SP supporter you should, in theory, be open to hearing all facets, for they are claiming that the field is somehow being artificially constrained.

    But now you have to contend with this presumed/presumptuous gadfly who wants to know why you appear to be supporting the SP/RP position when the major tenet (indeed, as far as I can tell, the *only* tenet) of justification has, by your own admission, been proven false. Or, is it really that you are trying some rhetorical device whereby you say that *somebody else* has proven “x” false, and therefore *you* can avoid actually admitting that “x” is false.

    Claiming that SF/F can and does contain a “message” is something that is a given, and that the “message” can be all over the political/philosophical range. Indeed, any writer with the absolute least amount of self-awareness is going to have to admit that how they write, in world-building, in characterization, in plot, in plot devices, biases and resolutions is going to be informed by the author’s own biases and opinions on that political/philosophical spectrum, whether or not the author is even aware of them.

    As an example, someone, here on FILE770, recently remarked that a certain author’s work had women so empowered that : ” is so filled with women with agency that quite frankly they have ceased sounding like women.”

    Now I frankly don’t think that that commentator is, in a reasoned thought, going to come up with the deliberate construction that says, explicitly, that women who are empowered and able and willing to make decisions about their own lives and work towards goals they have set for themselves, on their own, rather than goals set by somebody else, actually cease to be women. What I do think is the thought that women should neither have nor express, to the presumed level of a male character’s agency, have their own decision-making authority/ability is something that that commentator has as an underlying assumption of their worldview, the same an another writer in the Puppy stable seems to think that there is no unconscious element at all in the attitudes or positions expressed as shown in the body of that writer’s work.

    So, if one can now admit that writing, in all genres and forms, shows a political or philosophical bias, *what does it matter* if a work shows “lefty,” “conservative,” “libertarian” or “skin-head” sensibilities? Sometimes such writings show the viewpoint that the author wishes to see happen. Or the writing can be such that it shows the (in the author’s world-building) inevitable end result if a trend is allowed to go forward unchallenged. For example, I seriously doubt that Susan Matthews sees the judicial and government system portrayed in her “Jurisdiction” universe as a desirable outcome. Or the cautionary story of Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale.” Other times the situations in the story are ones that the author’s characters seem to create for themselves from whole cloth, with no apparent input from the author. The viewpoints are there. The work cannot be written without those viewpoints.

    I have fun reading the novels in David Weber’s Honor Harrington series. I am eagerly awaiting the next volume in the Safehold series. I find the very conservative economic bias shown in both series’ to be unconvincing, heavy-handed and distracting. But the writing itself is good enough that it doesn’t get in the way of the story (too much). There’s message there, but there’s also quality story-telling. So far as I can tell it seems to be commercially successful. The writing is solid, workmanlike and competent. To me the Safehold books are Hugo award quality. Evidently there are an insufficient number of like-minded WSFS who agree with me. My reaction isn’t to tell people that there is some cabal preventing his work from winning time and again. My reaction is to ask people to read the books and to consider if those books are, in their opinion, worthy of the award. But certainly my reaction would not be to tell people to, in effect, ignore the quality of other works out there. Frankly, if I were an author who had penned some of (or most) of the short fiction and novelettes on the ballot this year I would withdraw it, because I wouldn’t want my readers to think that this was an exemplar of my work.

    Again, what really matters to the subject at hand, the nominations and the voting, is the skill, craft and imagination of the works being considered. And, if the entire stated purpose of the SP/RP campaigns is to ensure that the works nominated reflect the best the field can offer, to those who have bothered to consistently put up their hard-earned dollars, why did not the nominated slate consist of so many works of abysmal quality?

    From the cheap seats here, it really looks like what has happened has been that a couple of authors have been upset because there were an insufficient number of people to like what they wrote enough to consider that work “Hugo Quality”. It wasn’t a matter of the past voters didn’t like the political overtones, or the voters didn’t like the religious beliefs of the writers, or the voters were playing some sort of affirmative action game. It was that the quality of the work was not up to the level that was considered appropriate to win the award. And if you don’t think the work is really up to snuff to *win,* why would somebody even *nominate* it?

    And again, if you really are upset because you feel somebody is intruding on your conversation, in a public forum, where the expectation is that any number of people will read, and comment, you had really either take your conversation to e-mail or make a telephone call.

  31. Alexvdl : To me, that reads “It must, at least, satisfy the following criteria” but it doesn’t say that is the sum total of the criteria that must be me.

    You are correct as far as THAT sentence goes. However, it doesn’t stop there. It proceeds to:

    – List the criteria AND
    – then say “The SFWA Membership Committee will evaluate the material and add it to the list of qualifying markets if/when it meets the criteria.

    That sentence takes away the leeway the sentence you quote may have allowed.

  32. AAARGH!

    Para 10 should read :
    “why did the nominated slate consist of so many works of abysmal quality?”
    Rather than: “why did not the nominated slate consist of so many works of abysmal quality?”

    Systems needs a preview mode….

  33. Matt Y, I was thinking of “fluid gender roles” in a more traditional sociological sense and I think you are referring to a sciencefictional one, hence perhaps a disagreement rooted in wording choices, and I don’t object to what you just said. It looks like we are basically in agreement about how political views can be more (or less) apparent in various works of fiction.

    Craig R.,

    Thanks for offering this interesting and constructive reply. Perhaps I should not have singled you out: many others also replied to my statement to you that Brad Torgersen made that up and it’s obviously not true with “there you go again trying to justify the puppies.”

    “As an apparent RP/SP supporter you should, in theory, be open to hearing all facets,”

    I appreciate the qualifier “apparent,” at least. I admit that I’ve said things like “I can see why John C. Wright might be angry when Entertainment Weekly essentially called him a white supremacist” or “I’m not a Jim Butcher fan, but come on, is he seriously that much worse a writer than Mira Grant?” or “I can see from her Ravencon report that Kate Paulk and her friends care about science fiction.” But that doesn’t make me a “RP/SP supporter.” To be “one of them” would imply that I subscribe to or advocate the beliefs (or at least, in a literary group, the tastes in fiction) common to one or the other of them.

    On the question of whether someone like me might read, say, a novelist’s depiction of cultural/linguistic gender blindness, and go “hmm, that’s an interesting idea,” whereas a “Conservative” might conceivably read the same thing and go “what a liberal idea, how annoying!”, I’d like to endorse what Steve Moss said on May 10, 2015 at 7:21 am:

    The best writers, like Zelazny, either inprint no political messages within the story or, if they do, it is either so subtle as to be inoffensive or, alternatively, written in such a way that just about anyone can accept it and find it non-offensive.

    Every page of Lord of Light oozed Social Justice, from its opening quote from the Dhammapada to its closing mediation on the cycle of life, but nobody could say it wasn’t great book.

  34. @Brian Z: “Matt Y, I was thinking of “fluid gender roles” in a more traditional sociological sense and I think you are referring to a sciencefictional one, hence perhaps a disagreement rooted in wording choices, and I don’t object to what you just said.”

    I am now just shy of halfway through AJ, and you are spouting nonsense. The Radchaai, at least as seen through the narrator, do not have “fluid gender roles” in any sense. They have no gender roles. Their imperial language doesn’t even support the concept, and the whole thing is a very minor aspect of the book. It’s only relevant because outside the empire, gender designation does matter, and while the narrator is in such places, she is handicapped by not being able to discern gender reliably. (Imagine if you were stranded among aliens who all looked alike to you and were insulted that you were unable to tell them apart by scent. Same thing.)

    Frankly, I suspect that if the author had used “he” or even “it” instead of “she” as the narrator’s translation-to-reader of the Radchaai third-person singular personal pronoun, nobody would have blinked. Readers of the English language are used to male-default pronouns in such situations. Instead, because she opted for the just-as-valid “she,” lots of people who haven’t read the book think it must be soft SF, sociopolitical speculation about gender norms with a little action thrown in as window dressing.

    It’s not. You’re wrong. Simple as that. Either read the book or shut up about it.

    As for the “apparent SP/RP supporter” charge – if you’re not, you do an uncanny impersonation of a Puppy pretending not to be one. However, the hallmarks are there: a willingness to speak from ignorance about works you haven’t read, refusal to acknowledge errors of fact, shifting the goalposts rather than concede that a Puppy talking point doesn’t hold up, and generally giving the Puppy arguments full credence while appearing not to even understand the non-Puppy objections.

    Or, to put it another way: if you’re not a Puppy, you sure do bark like one.

  35. Rev. Bob, you are not usually the one dishing out the most insults around here, but either I must correct a false impression I had formed earlier that you are a decent fellow, or you could pause for a moment and reflect on a distant time when the world was not yet awash in ad hominem and reconsider your poorly considered, mean spirited and closed minded remarks.

    I got the same award packet extract you (presumably) did, which was enough for me to determine to my satisfaction that Ancillary Justice wasn’t the best work of the year in my personal opinion. It was also enough to know that she imagined “Radch” who don’t teach children to perform distinct gender roles, give them clothing with gender markers, etc., etc., etc. You can call that “fluid gender roles” or not, and I don’t mind either way, but your attacks on me for calling it that are just tired and petty.

    As for your other, um, “remarks” about my character, do I sound really like a “puppy” to you because I prefer not to use your approved set of code words to smear and attack others?

    I’ve said from the start that the whole puppy thing was a dumb idea and that lefty-message-over-story excuse has holes in it big enough for old Grinch Correia to stash hundreds of stolen Hugos. You willfully aren’t listening, but that is entirely your problem.

  36. Brian Z: “I got the same award packet extract… which… was also enough to know that she imagined “Radch” who don’t teach children to perform distinct gender roles, give them clothing with gender markers, etc., etc., etc. You can call that “fluid gender roles” or not, and I don’t mind either way, but your attacks on me for calling it that are just tired and petty.”

    Brian, you are making this all up. As it happens, I just started re-reading Ancillary Justice a couple of days ago. Every single comment you have made on what the book is ostensibly about is untrue. Making repeated false claims about what a book contains certainly falls under the category “tired and petty”.

    As for you “not being a Puppy”, on what do you think people here are going to base their opinion of you? On your repeated insistence that you are not a Puppy — or on the fact that you have consistently repeated and re-repeated more than a dozen different Puppy Talking Points, in thread after thread after thread?

    People here are smart enough to develop their own opinions of you, no matter what you tell them they are “supposed” to think about you. If so many people have drawn the conclusion that you are a Puppy (and at least a dozen people here have pointed that out), then instead of blaming other people, you should be asking yourself why they’ve come to that conclusion.

  37. @Brian Z:

    What JJ said. Also, I bought Ancillary Justice and the sequel directly, rather than dealing with voter packets. I am reading the full books, not extracts. I have, quite literally, put my money where my mouth is.

  38. Everybody’s favorite crush, Alexandra Erin : Only the introduction, where I explain my purpose, is original. For about a week now I’ve been toying with a special guest review by a character called “Jeremy Hammond” that would have been based on James May’s signature style,

    Might I suggest “Jim Wood” as an alternative?

  39. Anna Feruglio Dal Dan : Schmuck is not American English, it’s Yiddish, a language just as rich and capable of subtle insults as anything Shakespeare ever wrote.

    With respect to our Jewish friends, who I’m sure are entirely capable of snark and disparagement as anybody else who came into contact with the Germans, the English are capable of mortal insults <b.simply by twitching an eyebrow.

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