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.



“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


Yes, we understand: you need to lay into Codex & Q with both barrels, but are stymied by the limitations of public decency. Here’s an insult generator for all your invective needs: have fun! And you’re welcome.

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

  1. “I therefore suggest that rebranding the Rabid Puppies as the Wily Coyotes would be the acme of all available options.”

    Well, they do have the resident SOOOOOPER GENIUS….

  2. @Brian Z:

    FWIW I predict that when we have full access to the stats and eliminations for this year it will turn out that the sad puppy bloc vote will have been relatively small compared to the rabid puppy bloc. I don’t think this is because VD has more fans the BT and LC, but because BT and LC’s fans probably cared more about the works than the RPs and didn’t just follow the slate. But this is all a guess.

  3. influxus you may well be right.

    If so, Mike needs some more titles to get him through to August.

    Shut Not Your Doors to Me Proud Puppies
    Rise O Puppies from your Fathomless Deeps
    There was a Puppy Went Forth
    The Dalliance of the Puppies
    When Puppies Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d

    and of course

    O Puppy! My Puppy!

  4. Heck, why not just go with it.

    O Puppy! my Puppy! our nominations done,
    The blog has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
    The Hugos near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
    While follow eyes the steady slate, the ballot grim and daring;

    Anyone want to take over?

  5. Brian Z: “If “you” means me personally, this isn’t my first WorldCon, I’m not part of a movement, and I share neither Brad Torgersen’s taste nor his politics.”

    And yet, you’re quite happy to repeat, ad infinitem his Puppy Talking Points.

    My daddy always said to me, “you cant tell what sort of person someone is by how they talk — rather than what opinion they tell you you should have of them”.

    Brian Z, either put up, or shut up. This constant pretending by you that you’re not a Puppy, even as you continually post one Puppy Talking Point after another, is just tedious.

    I can’t figure out if it’s that you’re incredibly stupid — or that you’re just delusional enough to think that everyone else is.

  6. Hard to go wrong with Phillip K Dick.

    Does Vox Day Dream of Electric Puppies?
    A Hugo Darkly
    We Can Slate if for You Wholesale
    The Golden Retriever
    Puppy Variety
    The King of the Puppies
    The Cosmic Puppies
    The Game-Players of Hugo
    A Maze of Puppy

  7. Brian Z on May 8, 2015 at 9:48 pm said:
    “If Brandon Kempner will be at Sasquan, maybe I should ask if he’ll co-sponsor my amendment to no-award categories for which less than a fifth of eligible voters nominate.”

    That’s a terrible idea.

    The Hugos are supposed to be an exuberant celebration, not an exclusive and pinched list looking for excuses to disqualify things off the ballot.

    The Hugo ballot has always, so far as I can tell, erred on the side of inclusivity rather than exclusivity, even to the point of not defining what SFF is, but leaving that judgement up to the voters.

    The people who nominate for Hugos are the fans who are deeply invested and deeply care about SFF and about the Hugos.

    But, as has long been noted, they are a small minority of fandom.

    Should they have all their insight and reading and sorting and sharing of loved works obliterated because a larger population of more casual fans don’t do it too?

    This proposal seems to me to be cruel and punitive in many directions, either or both forcing casual fans to read and do more than they enjoy and punishing the devoted fans for not having an army of minions and lackeys to back them up. One part of fandom will be set against another over guilt and get-out-the-vote drives.

    This proposal would turn what is a thoughtful and celebratory process into a slog of mandatory voting and rules-lawyering political campaigns.

  8. @Will No apologies needed. By all means, riff away, share the joy. Propriety be damned, throw in some puns while you’re at it.

  9. 12 Puppies

    And some classics:

    20,000 Puppies Under the Sea (in a Submarine, to Clarify I am Not Talking about Drowning Puppies)
    Journey to the Center of the Puppy (in a Miniaturized Ship, to Clarify I am Not Talking About Exploratory Surgery on Puppies)
    The Day the Puppy Stood Still
    The Puppy from the Black Lagoon
    Abbot and Costello Meet the Puppies

    Apologies in advance if any of these have been done. We really do need that database that was mentioned above.

  10. Clearly, I need to clarify.

    Yes, given his obvious pathologies, of course VD is having fun doing this. When I say “It’s not fun,” I mean for the vast majority not sharing those pathologies. Even Brad Torgersen is clearly not having the fun he anticipated.

    Consensus and the NESFA Recommended Reading List: Never the twain shall meet. The initials are there because those are all our individual recommendations. Any member can put an item on the list, without regard to whether anyone else agrees. It’s not “NESFA” as a collective entity recommending *anything*.

  11. Peace, I hear you saying two slightly different things. First, WorldCon “errs on the side of inclusivity rather than exclusivity,” which is admirable. But then, WorldCon members who don’t nominate short fiction (the vast, vast majority) are just “casual” fans (unless, hypothetically, they could be roped into being minions/lackeys)? If the Hugo Awards really need to depend on such a small group of hardcore participants that they are a tiny fraction even of regular WorldCon attendees, I almost fear for the award’s survival.

    Again, I hope it is clear that my picking an arbitrary cut-off number was not to be cruel or punitive, but to think about how the award functioned in the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc., might be different than today.

  12. @Brian Z:

    You appear to have gone from failing at math to flunking history. Might I suggest doing some research before venturing further opinions?

  13. Lis, sure, of course NESFA doesn’t tell anyone what to think – it is a social group that talks and argues about favorite books. Like Baen barflies, and so on and so on.

  14. Brian Z, that’s very considerate of you to worry about the award’s survival. I mean it’s only been going for half a century, and recently has had more participation than it ever has.

  15. Rev. Bob, you understand full well how the 80s was different from today, but if you don’t like what I’m saying or if you don’t think I put sufficient thought/research into it before mentioning it, that’s fine.

  16. @Peace “The Hugo ballot has always, so far as I can tell, erred on the side of inclusivity rather than exclusivity, even to the point of not defining what SFF is, but leaving that judgement up to the voters.”

    I’m with you on what I think is the gist of what you’re saying here. I knew virtually nothing about the Hugos before this year other than that it usually meant something good to read. But now I’m starting to think it’s exactly right the way it is. I want to be in a tent as big as the universe itself. A circus of circuses.

    If it’s not big enough to handle this, it probably doesn’t mean much and I’d probably read more of the genres smarter people would end up gravitating toward. I dare say that’s already happening…from what I understand, a lot of what I used to think was sci-fi is now speculative fiction or fantasy or whatever. To be honest, I don’t care all that much what it’s called, though I always seem to end up back at sci-fi. I have to say, further agreeing, this discussion has made me realize that sci-fi is still my main tribe, VDs and all. We’ve had VDs for a very long time, and they’re stubborn, and they, um, are, um, uncomfortable, but…just as I find myself wanting to say they should just be ruled out altogether, I’m like, Yeah, _but_… I hope it’s very clear here what my personal politics and preferences are–I doubt I could be more opposed to what the puppies are pushing. But I can’t bring myself to say they shouldn’t have the right. (And I realize I’m straying far from what BrianZ initially suggested.)

    To Gerrold’s Facebook post the other day, there does also come a point where a conversation is dangerous and has to end. That’s one of the only ground rules, I think. It’s clear that the sci-fi community here is trying to give it as much room as possible before having to take that step. There’d be grumbling, but I think you have to be a real totalitarian to disagree that a point does come. I’m not advocating that so far, because I have to say: the discussion is very good to see. The passion is very good to see. I like seeing the Sad Puppies backtrack and away from the Rabid Puppies, because it means the lines are clearer. And I think we will find, ultimately, that few people are as extreme as Mr. D. I’m not sure how very many people could be…they’d take care of each other pretty quickly.

    But I have to think that if a good joke or a big allegory can’t win the day (and seriously, @alexandra has already won in my mind), we really are in trouble and this isn’t the tent I’m looking for. I may be contradicting myself from some earlier statements…definitely thinking out loud here and, unlike some, I am capable of being wrong and changing my mind (obviously I hope not directed at BrianZ).

    But if you ask me, sci-fi’s big enough for this. At least, I hope it is. To that end, it may be time to get back to writing and looking ahead to next year.

  17. “straying far from what BrianZ initially suggested”

    Stray away! I just hoped to kick off discussion and I am glad to see the discussion.

  18. To be perhaps a little clearer: What drew me here is the question “What is sci-fi?” And that can only be answered this way, time-consuming as it is.

  19. OK, best I can do for now:

    O Puppy! my Puppy! our nominations done,
    Our blog has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
    The Hugos near, applause I hear, the people all exulting,
    While follow eyes the steady slate, the ballot grim and daring;
    But Hugo! Hugo! Hugo!
    O rocket ship with fin,
    Where by the stage my Puppy lies,
    Clutching a losers’ pin.

    O Puppy! my Puppy! rise up to claim your prize;
    Rise up—for you the name is read—for you the emcee calls,
    For you book bombs and starred reviews—for you the fans a-crowding,
    For you they call, the swaying SMOFs, propeller beanies turning;
    Here Puppy! dear author!
    The slated works shall win!
    It is some dream that by the stage,
    Clutches a losers’ pin.

    My Puppy does not answer, his face is pale and clipped,
    My author does not feel my arm, nor can of Reddy Whip,
    The publishers’ suite is safe and sound, its bar is closed and done,
    Some other boor through victor’s door comes in with object won;
    Slap a sticker on that cover!
    But I with tonic and gin,
    Walk the stage my Puppy lies,
    Clutching a losers’ pin.

  20. And at the same time, I’m also going to probably not shut up about Big Lies and pulling things in directions by staking positions at the extremes and all that no matter what happens.

  21. @Will:

    SF, to me, is fiction that makes you think about the world by putting a convenient technological gizmo between you and it. An imperfect definition, at best, but I think it works pretty well. Heinlein used a botched Mars mission to kick off an examination of what it means to be human. Roddenberry used a spaceship to talk about racism and the Cold War. Fforde used an apocalypse to rewrite social classes, and I’m still jonesing for the promised sequels. (Fforde in general… oh, my. Lovely stuff, and the later Thursday Next books are delightfully surreal in how they play with, among other things, memory, marketing, and corporations.)

    The good stuff asks questions. The best stuff doesn’t give you answers.

  22. I’m going to propose a Kittens Who Ask Questions (But Are Happy) Party.

    Our rules: Vote for whomever you want.

  23. “Perhaps the reason your career as a sf writer is so crappy is because you’re just not original enough.”

    John Scalzi’s career suffices to falsify that hypothesis. Care to advance another one?

    “I don’t think this is because VD has more fans the BT and LC, but because BT and LC’s fans probably cared more about the works than the RPs and didn’t just follow the slate.”

    Larry Correia has more fans than me. I have more fans than Brad Torgersen. But that’s almost irrelevant, because it’s not about fans or personalities, it’s about fighting the pernicious and destructive influence of SJWs wherever they appear, in Games, in SF, in Comics, or in OSS. And more and more people across the ideological spectrum have learned to abhor the unmistakable scent of SJW stink.

  24. @Brian That was one of my favorite touches, too. As a former copy editor, I am pleased to have learned something useful today as well.

  25. Well, they do have the resident SOOOOOPER GENIUS….

    VD is Wile E. Coyote dressed in clown shoes stepping on the same rake over and over.

  26. “The unmistakable scent of SJW stink” really does have a ring to it. I can see the advertising now…

  27. VD: John Scalzi’s career suffices to falsify that hypothesis. Care to advance another one?

    Nope – still stands. I will amend it a little though – “Perhaps the reason your career as a sf writer is so crappy is because you’re just not original enough, and your Dunning-Kruger prevents you from assessing how crappy you are or how well others might write.”

  28. “The unmistakable scent of SJW stink” makes me feel all rhetorical inside. I’d say just about anything when I smell that.

  29. Seriously. What the hell is it about Scalzi that gets Beale and his sycophants knickers in a twist? Like… you don’t like him. Great. But you comment on every single thing he does, and you bring him up as often as possible, and you make multiple nicknames for him and like… what?

    You’re going to REVOLUTIONIZE THE GAMING AND PUBLISHING INDUSTRY WITH YOUR SUPER GEEEEEEEEEEENIUS (iiiiiiin spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace). If all that is true… what the heck are you worrying and whinging about Scalzi?

  30. inb4 “I don’t care about Scalzi”/”I’m not worried about him, I just like to laugh at him”

  31. @alexvdl:

    Perhaps this is one of the sekrit conspiracies of which VD has conclusive proof. VD and his followers are actually a guerrilla marketing campaign for Scalzi.

  32. When you walk into a room, everyone will know instantly that you’re there sap them of their precious natural fluids. Because you’re wearing the unmistakable scent of SJW Stink ™–now in convenient travel-size bottles for when you need to comment on someone’s else’s blog.

  33. “I don’t know about everyone else here, but I am extremely tired of having someone who has never bothered being involved with Worldcon and Hugo nominating and voting before this year, telling everyone else what they should and should not be willing to go along with.”

    Yep. When I began getting involved in the Hugos I voted, read a lot about how others participated and learned how the Worldcon community functions. I didn’t show up on day one with all the answers and lecture people about how they’d been doing it all wrong.

    These Puppies have a version of the Hugos in their head that bears little resemblance to their real thing, and it has become flypaper for all their random resentments. Their theory for “what’s wrong with the Hugos” is completely malleable — one day they’re mad because books don’t match their covers, another day because someone was mean to them at a convention in 2011, another just “because Scalzi.”

    It gets old. You Worldcon haters can blather on and on at File 770, but the long game isn’t one you will win. Those of us who love the Hugos will still be around in two, five, 10 years, using them to elevate work we found excellent. You’ll find countless other culture war battlefronts to fight, because people like Correia, Torgersen and Day are good at winding you up. Maybe next year you all will be hyper-fixated on ethics in professional wrestling.

  34. Funny that Puppies would accuse Kowal of buying votes. I saw that post and she wasn’t requiring anybody promise how they would vote. She also said she would decline any nominations she got next year.

    But that’s Puppies for you. Nobody here is surprised.

    As for William Reichardt’s question–aren’t Puppies using it now? Torgersen has his nominations plastered all over his website header. I doubt he’d stop if one of these nepotism-driven campaigns actually resulted in him winning.

    Failing to win awards on their own, despite the sort of respect that got them nominated for Campbells and Hugos, Puppy organizers have resorted to whipping up political resentments to persuade a chunk of people who wouldn’t otherwise have been interested to not only nominate, but nominate acceptable second-best choices instead of their honest favorites in order to gain more political power over the process.

    The effort has demonstrably eaten a significant chunk of their writing time and thus at least in theory of their earning potential. It is hard to believe they went to all that effort because they didn’t want a Hugo and wouldn’t flaunt one if they won it.

  35. @Brian Z:

    Loved the riff on “Oh Captain My Captain.” Well done that.

  36. @cat I’d suspect they object for the same reason that some groups object to automatic voter registration…because more votes generally won’t help them.

  37. Cat,

    The thing is they want the Hugo for the prestige and the history… but Fandom has a long memory. The people who care about the Hugos are going to know there’s that asterisk there

  38. @cat Also, didn’t know that about Torgersen–thanks–and I’m wouldn’t be too surprised (obviously). It’s what I would expect to happen, because it would give them 1) awards and 2) the appearance of plausible deniability. Get the stalking horse out there and you win no matter what. A well-practiced technique these days, alas.

  39. @alexvdl And the internet has a longer memory than was ever possible before.

    “Daddy, what did you do during the Great Hugo Wars?”

Comments are closed.