I Am Not a Puppy, I Am a Free Man 5/15

aka “My name is Canis Dolorosa. You ganked my rocket. Prepare to die.”

Today’s heavily self-referential roundup trots out John Scalzi, Chuck Wendig, C. Robert Cargill, Michael Rapoport, Vox Day, Cephus, Nicholas Whyte, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Vann R. Newkirk II, Lis Carey, Spacefaring Kitten, Alexandra Erin, William Reichard, Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little , Happyturtle, ULTRAGOTHA, jayn, Sarah, J.C. Salomon, Steve and Jim Henley. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Paul Weimer and Alexandra Erin.)



Michael Rapoport in the Wall Street Journal

“The Culture Wars Invade Science Fiction” – May 15

Mr. Scalzi likens the Puppies’ campaigns to the backlash that women and minorities have faced in other geek-culture arenas—notably “Gamergate,” the videogamers’ campaign widely associated with threats against feminist videogame critics.

But Larry Correia, another Sad Puppies organizer, doesn’t see the Puppies’ campaign as a backlash against diversity. “That’s a narrative they came up with to try to discredit us,” he says. He and Mr. Torgersen have distanced themselves from Mr. Beale’s extreme views, but the Rabids are “still fans, they’re still people, their votes still count.”


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“the most despised man in science fiction” – May 15

Despised, feared, it’s pretty much all the same, isn’t it? The Wall Street Journal takes note of the Hugo Awards, with an article entitled “The Culture Wars Invade Science Fiction Online campaigners are pushing to give SF’s annual Hugo Awards to popular space yarns, not more literary fiction or tales of diversity”. It’s not entirely negative despite the reporter feeling the need to get the opinion of two writers, John Scalzi and George Martin, who don’t know a damn thing about what the Puppies are doing. But regardless, the main thing is that the reporter correctly grasped that this is a new front in the cultural war and not a self-serving attempt to pick up meaningless trophies.


Difster VFM #109 in a comment on Vox Popoli  – May 15

They WSJ (anagram for SJW I might note) was not entirely negative.


Cephus on Bitchspot

“The SJWs Lose at the Hugo Awards” – May 15

It is time that people rise up against this kind of absurd liberal oppression, where it’s political correctness that means more than actual merit.  The Hugo Awards were not designed to award people for their social consciousness, but for their work in the field of writing science fiction and fantasy.  It doesn’t matter what you think, it matters what you write.  The same is true of television and movies, where it shouldn’t make a difference what a director or an actor or a producer thinks, only the end-product of their labors.  Unfortunately, these liberal idiots get butt-hurt because someone doesn’t follow the social justice collective and they must set out to call them names, harm their careers and deny them their due for what they’ve actually done with their lives.  Is it any wonder there’s such a backlash against liberal stupidity these days?  Here’s hoping it keeps up and picks up in the future.


Nicholas Whyte on From The Heart of Europe

“My vote for Best Novel” – May 15

Matt Foster has made a good argument in favour of not only voting No Award above all slate nominees, but also voting No Award top in all categories where there are only one or two non-slate contenders, on the basis that the slate organisers have denied us a proper choice in those categories too. I find myself sympathetic to this line of thought. I was already planning to put No Award top in Best Novelette (because I was not impressed by the one non-slate finalist) and Best Fan Writer (because the one non-slate finalist has been nominated for a single piece of work rather than for a body of work over the last year), though in both cases I will rank the non-slate finalist second to minimise the chance of a slate win.

I had been going to vote for Julie Dillon as the one non-slate finalist in Best Professional Artist, but I shall consider Matt Foster’s’s arguments carefully; if the choice is Julie Dillon or nobody, is that really a choice? I like her work in general, but I don’t actually like the category anyway (which is a different argument for a different time), and this year’s ballot is deeply flawed due to the intervention of the slatemongers. Again, she will get at least a second preference from me, to reduce the chance of a slate nominee winning.

Anyway, for Best Novel these arguments no longer apply, since the honourable withdrawal of one of the (unwitting) slate nominees has given us three excellent books to choose from, each of which would be an acceptable winner in a normal year. Ranking them is difficult, but it’s got to be done. My vote is as follows.


L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright on Superversive SF

“Hugo Nominee Interview: Mike Williamson” – May 13

1) All the Sad Puppies selections came from a list of stories that fans felt were their favorites from 2014. What about your story do you think brought it to the attention of whomever suggested it?

Obviously, they, like me, hate humanity and want children to die. I would like to thank Brad for seeing through the haze and realizing I’m a scorching liberal right wing gay-agenda-endorsing homophobe and terrible parent who’s teaching his mixed race children to be white supremacists.  And with the assistance of Gamergate, the Illuminati and Elvis, I might actually win to spread our Gospel.


Vann R. Newkirk II on Gawker Review of Books

“The City Is a Crossroads: Daniel José Older on Protest Art and Urban Lit” – May 15

Do you consider decisions like that in your work to be political, whatever that entails?

I do. Well, I consider all books to be political. I think if you ask authors on any side of the spectrum whether they meant to write a political book or not, most would tell you that they just went into it to write a book and a great story and didn’t intentionally include politics, but I would like to call bullshit on that. We are always including our politics. You can actually not do that, and we do ourselves an injustice when we pretend to not be conscious of it. I’m very strategic in how I choose to bring politics into my writing and I can’t think of any other writing advice that tells you to not be conscious or strategic about stuff. There’s this idea that if you don’t think about politics, it’ll just seep through. And for some people that’s true.

To bring it around to the Hugos, you’ll see this conversation pop up in the sense of the Sad Puppies folks lamenting that suddenly science-fiction and fantasy have become political, as if Tolkien wasn’t thoroughly writing a political book about the supremacy of western culture. There’s nothing more political than that; it’s just so normalized that people read it as, ‘Oh it’s just another fantasy story.’ You have a message; it’s just a message that’s normalized. People act like only folks coming from the left have a message to give, and that’s bullshit. These are very political books, and they always have been. Fantasy and sci-fi have always been a political project. Look at Lovecraft….

So, more about the Hugos and the Sad Puppies stuff. Do you think the back and forth represents something of the larger cultural conflicts going on?

Yes. Definitely. First of all, it represents people who are again so normalized to the idea of their comfort being provided for that they freak out entirely the second that it’s slightly off-kilter. Because sci-fi and fantasy have always been a very white, very straight, very heteronormative, male political project. A very colonial project. In the past couple years, their big complaint is that suddenly people that aren’t them are winning awards, winning Hugos and that is cause for them to, you know, create this great big stir and takeover.

When we’re in a time when we have to proclaim in the streets that Black Lives Matter, literature is one of the first places where we learn what matters and whose life matters and whose doesn’t. And literature has been saying for centuries that black lives don’t matter. By not publishing black authors, by not publishing books about black people, that’s become the message by default. Whiteness being the default has been the message. So, the fact that we now have to fight to just get a fair Hugo ballot because a few people have hurt feelings and want to grasp at relevancy after decades of this really destructive form of erasure from fantasy and sci-fi absolutely speaks to the movement in the streets today, to what’s going on with the police, to what’s going on in politics. Literature is always a reflection of society and society is always a reflection of literature, and when publishing is as white as it is, we have to look at those numbers and understand that they are connected. They are 100 percent connected. There’s no way to disconnect them. But people always want to act surprised.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale, by Rajnar Vajra” – May 15

There’s a story here, and it’s decently written. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit cliched, and in some ways strains my suspension of disbelief in ways that are not good.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium, by Gray Rinehart” – May 15

This is a competently, professionally done story, and a good read. I recommend it on that basis. However, it’s no more than competent and professional, and a Hugo winner needs to be more than just competent and professional.


Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“’Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium’ by Gray Rinehart” – May 15

The plotting would have needed some more work, even if the story is decently written. There’s just too much talking heads to keep me intrested. Now the whole story was about the dying guy’s friend finding out what it was all about, but the really interesting part would have been what happens next and what further complications there will be. It’s frustrating when a story fails to focus on the most interesting aspects of its proposition.


Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” – May 14

I picked up this book expecting SF/F, and I was disappointed. Imagine someone going to the store and buying a box of “Best NUTTY NUGGETS Ever” because they love “NUTTY NUGGETS”, only to find that they were so awful they might not even be “NUTTY NUGGETS”, and were quite inedible. Then imagine them going back to the store and buying another box of “Best NUTTY NUGGETS Ever” only to find out that they were similarly not even edible “NUTTY NUGGETS”. I’m sure they would be Sad, and maybe even Mad; some people might do things that were Bad. “SAD, MAD, BAD” sounds like a children’s book, and so does this story. It has talking animals that start to walk upright because … God.


Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: On a Spiritual Plain” – May 14

Dead people on the planet Ymilas get trapped as ghosts, when they get tired of that they travel to giant Stonehenge at the pole to “move on”. It is a weak premise executed poorly.


Doctor Science on Obsidian Wings

“The Demolished Puppy” – May 15

The setting: An Account of Juliette Wade’s Withdrawal from Sad Puppies 3, at File770….

The surreality was seeing Torgersen re-write someone’s motives to their face, while people were watching. It’s always difficult to get a real sense of social atmosphere over the internet, but it seemed to me that I was watching Torgersen’s reputation sink before my eyes, in real time. It certainly happened for me….

In case it’s not clear to you why I was appalled: Torgersen talked at length and repeatedly about how Wade was motivated by fear, and never seems to have noticed that (a) she never said nor implied that was true, and (b) she was really pissed that he attributed made-up motivations to her.

And the rest of us just stood there (digitally), watching while Torgersen kept trying to re-write a history we could read by scrolling up.

Alfred Bester‘s The Demolished Man won the first Hugo Award for best Novel, in 1953. The Demolished Man is about a murder, but it’s not a mystery: we know from the start (because he’s a POV character) that Ben Reich killed his business rival Craye D’Courtney, after Reich proposed a merger and D’Courtney turned him down. But [SPOILERS] the detective on the case is baffled, because Reich seems to have no motive: D’Courtney sent Reich a message accepting his offer.

In the end, we find out that Reich mis-heard the message, because he was already determined to kill D’Courtney — who, it turned out, was his biological father.

Bester makes the whole reveal pretty Freudian, which didn’t impress me when I read the book in the 1970s and is rather quaint now. But watching Torgersen editing his perceptions in real time, the plot of The Demolished Man starts to seem much less contrived, much more psychologically realistic.


Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies Review Books: MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS” – May 15


Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired)

If you want evidence of the deep rot that has infested the once-great Caldecott Medal, look no further than this book, which is a putrid example of ham-handed message fiction given an award by Feminazi SJWs basically as a participation prize for having a “strong female protagonist who doesn’t need a man”….

Why doesn’t she just open a Patreon account while she’s at it? She could tell the sob story about how she was almost hit by a bicycle and the victim bucks would come pouring in, let me tell you. They all have Patreons for some reason even though they produce nothing of value to anyone. It’s nothing but welfare for hipsters. It should be illegal…..

Did you know that only fifteen people in all the world choose the winner of the Caldecott every year? How are the opinions of fifteen people supposed to determine “most distinguished American picture book for children”, I ask you?


Will in a comment on File 770 – May 15

I stopped commenting at File770 and all I got was this stupid T-shirt


Happyturtle in a comment on File 770 – May 15

For Puppies Sad did Torgersen
A stately rocket ship decree:
While mouths of many loudly ran
Through websites measureless to man
As long as wifi’s free.

Had we but slates enough and time,
This Hugo, Puppy, were no crime.
We would sit and discuss which tales
We love and which we think are fails.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two ballots diverged at a con – Sasquan! –
I chose the one less voted on,
And that has made all the difference.


Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little in a comment on iFile 770 – May 15

I’m a Puppy! Who are you?
Are you all — Puppies — too?
Then there’s a bloc of us!
Don’t tell! they’d banish us — you know!
How sad — to be — an Ess Jay Dub!
How PC — like a CHORF —
They bully us — the live-long Spring —

…ok, it kind of fell apart there at the end.


ULTRAGOTHA in a comment on File 770 – May 15

This is Just to Say
We have nominated
The stories
That were on
The ballot
And which
You were probably
For better stories
Forgive us
Revenge is delicious
So sweet
And so cold


jayn in a comment on File 770 – May 15

For each Pup kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a crummy book,
Some with a whiny word…


Sarah in a comment on File 770 – May 15

Now my pups are all o’erthrown,
And what sads I have’s mine own,
Which is most faint: now, ’tis true,
I must receive awards from you,
Or sent to Spokane. Let me not,
Since I have my Hugo got,
And pardon’d the SJWs, dwell
In this bare website by your spell;
But release me from Amazons,
With the help of your book bombs.
Gentle praise in your emails,
Must fill, or else my project fails.


Alexandra Erin in a comment on File 770 – May 15

I am the very model of a modern Canine-Miserable.
I’ve indignations slight, imagined, and quite risible.
I know the Nielsen Haydens, and I quote their slates historical
from novellete to best short form on ballots categorical;
I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters dialectical,
and syllogisms, both implied and also quite elliptical,
About rhetorical speaking I’m teeming with a lot of news
with many outraged squeals about the lies of SJWs.
I’m very good at inference and attributing animus,
I know the things I know are true without any analysis.
In short, in outrage slight, imagined, and quite risible,
I am the very model of a modern Canine-Miserable.


J. C. Salomon in a comment on File 770 – May 14

With the Hugo coverage on File 770 going meta like this—half the links are to comments made on this blog—is it fair to say there’s a puppy chasing its tail here? ?


Steve in a comment on Vox Popoli – May 15

[Speculating about who will accept Vox Day’s Hugo at Sasquan.]

Because I like the idea that, as soon as your name is mentioned by a grimacing David Gerrold, a fell cry rends the air and freezes the blood of every CHORF present…

The ceiling groans as if in hideous pain, then there is a hellish crash as concrete and tile yield to an enormous creature. The minion lands in the middle of the convention, its iron boots striking the floor with a terrifying thud, then flexes its vast, midnight-black leathery wings to shake off the dust.

It points an armoured finger at Gerrold, a thin wisp of sulphurous smoke curling from its clawed tip.

“The Lord of Fear sends his regards. I am his emissary. Give me the trinket.”

Gerrold cringes and hides behind Due as the minion ascends to the podium.

“My Dark Lord authorises me to bid you thanks for this trifling bauble, and to assure most of you that he wishes you no specific harm. As a token of his noblesse oblige he advises those of you who are afraid of giant sentient scorpions to avoid the Losers Party this evening. You may find it… distressing. That is all.”

Clutching his trophy, the minion runs at the windows and leaps through the glass, its wings pounding the air as it departs in malevolent triumph.

David Gerrold attempts to compose himself.

“And… umm… the n-next award goes to…. OH… FFFUUUUUUUU….”

“What’s wrong?”, cries Due.

“I-it’s T-tom K-kratman…” sobs Gerrold, just as the gun turret of a Tiger tank erupts through the back wall…


Jim Henley in a comment on File 770 – May 15

If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be a time-traveling dinosaur, who retroactively justified Sad Puppies 1 and 2, launched before your nomination was known. Your scales would shimmer with tachyons.

If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be all puppies could talk about, because dinosaurs are freaking cool, and big and scary, and puppies are small and easily frightened.

If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be free on the internet, and short enough to read quickly, with an easily digested precis, so that all your critics could get through you or at least take the word of someone who had without being obviously wrong on the facts. So you would be an easy example of What Has Gone Wrong With All Reptiles even though you were but a single dinosaur. You would be the dinosaur that stops all conversations before they start.

If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be a magic dinosaur that irradiates a field that makes some people reeeeeeaaaaaaalllllyyyyyy lazy. “What about all the other dinosaurs?” others would say. But the people in the field would respond, “Hey, man. Why do you keep nagging me?”


433 thoughts on “I Am Not a Puppy, I Am a Free Man 5/15

  1. “I think he’s throwing a pity party for himself and you’ve been fooled into showing up with a present. He is no more mistreated than any other SF/F pro who argues politics all day long on the Internet.”

    THIS. So much this. It’s not a matter of “We don’t like your politics.” It’s a matter of “We don’t like aggressive polemical Arschlochs.” Whenever you produce art commercially, to make a living, you have to be aware that becoming overtly political in any sense is going to polarize your prospective audience. You will gain some people who will buy your stuff because they agree with you, and lose some people who will stop buying your stuff because they disagree with you. And if your politics are in opposition to the people who give out awards, you will most likely not get awards. That’s true for the Oscars, the Emmys, the Tonys, the Pulitizers, the Booker Prize, the Grammys, the Country Music Awards, etc. etc. ad nauseum ad infinitum.

    Not only is your audience NOT REQUIRED to abandon their feelings about you personally when they consume your art — for human beings in general that’s simply NOT POSSIBLE. When we like people, we are more inclined to like what they do; when we dislike people, we are more inclined to dislike what they do. It’s called “The Halo Effect.” It’s not dishonest and it’s not gaming the system — it’s just being human.

    What Correia and Torgersen are demanding is that people who dislike them personally because of their political behavior should nevertheless somehow magically turn off that feeling when consuming and judging the art they produce. That only works if the art is of such stunningly high quality that it overwhelms the negative personality aspects of the person who created it (Hi, Harlan!) — and neither of these guys creates art of that quality. Nor do they seem to be terribly interested in trying to up their game in that area, which is the really sad part. (VD, of course, actively wants to be disliked because he enjoys feeling persecuted, but he’s a special case — a head case.)

    Correia and Torgersen are whining and throwing temper tantrums because they want something they can’t have: the assurance that they can continue to be outspoken political animals, reaping the benefits of that in terms of sales and support by those who agree with them, while somehow dodging the second edge of the sword: losing support, both in terms of sales and of recognition, by those who disagree with them. They want to have their political cake and chow down on it at the same time. You can only accomplish that if the sheer power of your talent and/or skill is great enough to allow it, and even then, there are limits (Hi, Mel Gibson!)

    But I guess working hard to improve their craft was just too much effort, so they decided to try to steal what they refused to earn fairly, and then whine that they “had” to do it because Hugo voters are people with opinions and biases and not soulless robots programmed to judge pure objective quality in speculative fiction in the absence of human feeling. (“Open the Hugo bay doors, HAL!” “I’m sorry, Larry, I can’t do that.”)

    Fandom as a whole is rightfully unimpressed.

  2. @RAH: So, here is a fun fact you may not know. I am a straight white male between the ages of 18 and 25. I also grew up reading Heinlein. I don’t like being preached at. I regularly say things which horrify my more liberal friends. And most of all I disagree with your assumptions.

    The idea that people in my demographic universally prefer mindless action, or that other media is filled with the same is just not true. Both tabletop games and video games are a growing market, but both are now telling more complicated socially relevant stories then they did fifteen or twenty years ago. That wouldn’t be possible if the market was interested in action to the exclusion of story, which is what we are talking about here: good stories. A story which doesn’t say anything difficult or challenging is, by definition, not a good story. You are also overestimating the amount of market share owned by young males these days. The second highest grossing movie in the US last year was the latest Hunger Games installment. Yes men make up half the market, but women make up the other half. And isolating half the market is a bad business strategy.

  3. >> “Which is a bit much given that he was, y’know, nominated for the feckin’ thing, which suggests that the relevant people were, in fact, judging his writing.”

    >>The people who nominated him did. It was the rest of the voting crowd that apparently took issue with his nomination.>>

    All of them?

    At best, what you can say is that some people took issue, which is utterly unsurprising in this internet age, where there always seems to be someone who takes issue with anything. Heck, there’s a nitwit with a blog who writes angry posts whenever I say anything on Twitter that offends his politics. I go to more comicons than SF cons, but there are invariably people at comicons who don’t like me because I’m too liberal or too mainstream or not mainstream enough. There are also people who nominate me for awards, and I’ve won a few.

    I do not, however, make the assumption that the nominators are the ones who are tolerant of me and that the rest of the con agrees with the people who I heard say bad things. Hell, I assume most of the con doesn’t give a crap one way or another.

    Unless his position is that no one is allowed to carp about anyone else because of politics, looks, weight or any number of other issues people get nitwitty about, then what he’s really saying amounts to “Someone said mean things about me, therefore there’s a conspiracy.”

    But there are someones who say nitwitty things about the people that are too liberal, too, or irreligious, or whatever. Deciding that because some people don’t like you for reasons other than your work, therefore everyone doesn’t like you for that reason is nonsensical.

    Being in a creative field involves having a healthy ego and a thick skin, because there’s a certain amount of rejection that goes along with even the greatest success. There are people who crab about Stephen King. In the end, you either take Taylor Swift’s advice or you wind up feeding on your own resentment.

  4. RAH:

    The thing that you miss in your analysis is that the market is not winner-take-all when it comes to taste. You may be right for the moment that most of the money is in catering to straight white men with uncomplicated tales of action and adventure. Sure. Let’s take that as stipulated.

    So you’re a new entity entering the market. We’ll say you’re a writer. Do you go there, where the demand is? Let’s say you do. That’s the smart move, right?

    Oh, whoops! You know what you forgot to check out? The supply. You forgot to look at how much competition there is. There’s the most money there, yeah, but it’s not exactly lying around waiting for someone to snatch it up, is it?

    When you try to market straightforward swords-and-sorcery or space opera action-adventure, you are competing with everyone else who has the same idea, including the biggest and best established brands and names out there.

    But let’s say for the sake of this argument that you have something in your life that’s not reflected in the typical action adventure story, and you realize that you’ve never read an SF/F tale that really takes this topic on… so you decide to write a book that incorporates it.

    Oh, you’ve risked turning off those straight white men with predictable tastes, haven’t you? Well, yeah, maybe. Some of them. Sure. That’s going to happen.

    But you’re also not competing against everything that those dudes like any more, are you? Your market is now the people who are hungry for the unique thing that you’ve given them, and your competition is only the other people who are telling the same kinds of stories.

    Supply and demand has two sides. People forget this, they go where the most money is, and they end up adding to the problem of an oversaturated, overly homogenized market . Meanwhile, the people who dare to do something different? They clean up.

    Oh, I don’t mean they outsell the biggest success cases who are playing to the middle. Of course not. The biggest winners in the group fighting over the biggest pie still come away with the biggest piece of the pie. But the losers over there still only have crumbs, while the people who are addressing less heavily contended pies walk away with a slice.

    I know authors who write and publish both “furry” SF/F stories and ones featuring human protagonists. I know authors who write and publish both queer-centric SF/F stories and ones with more heteronormative focus. In both cases, the authors involved do better when working their niches.

    The upshot of this is that written SF isn’t doomed, but the future isn’t necessarily going to look like what you expect it to (and isn’t that SF in a nutshell?). It won’t survive by trying to find ways to compete with the blockbuster movies and the AAA video games, but by not bothering to. To write the next Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, you have to compete with Lord of the Rings or Star Wars and everybody else who wants to write the next one, too.

    But to be successful, you just have to tell a story that people can’t get elsewhere.

  5. @rcade: Those events don’t seem to contradict anything. The nominees can be nice, the reading can have gone well, and other people can still have been unkind.

    @snowcrash: Unless he’s maligned any parties by name, I don’t believe he’s required to provide evidence.

    This feels uncomfortably the way it is when a woman tries to report that an event has been sexist, but she doesn’t have anything she can really prove. How many seconds longer does it take a man’s gaze to reach her eyes than normal? How much closer does someone stand than is comfortable? How often are you overlooked in a group conversation? Then the next group? Then the next? Then you overhear something, but it’s just snatches, and you can’t pin it to a face. And you leave and there’s nothing you can prove at all, except that you felt unwelcome. And when you try to talk to someone about it, they demand evidence. Evidence. Evidence.

    It’s simple. If he says ‘Alice Smith said my type were not welcome here.’ then I want evidence, because Alice is innocent until proven guilty. If he says ‘I felt unwelcome’, then I believe him, because he is the expert on his own feelings, and I’m not.

  6. Edit to previous post: I am a white male between the ages of 18 and 35. I have been 25 for a number of years now.

  7. @RAH 5/15, 11:33:

    “Writers that focus on social engineering topics as the expense of story loses even more readers,especially among 11-30 age group. [. . .] Males are not interested in being lectured when they are being entertained.”

    Leaving aside the straw-mannish nature of the comment about “social engineering topics,”* one has to account for the enthusiasm for, say, Ayn Rand among adolescent males. Then there’s the readership of explicity libertarian SF adventures. Unless, of course, “being lectured” translates as “encountering views with which they disagree.”

    * Some of those who express this view of fiction are almost certainly using it that way, while others take it seriously. In either case, it remains a massive oversimplification of both literature and audience reception.

  8. XS on May 16, 2015 at 11:49 am said:
    nickpheas: “Is there any reason to think she hasn’t? I agree entirely that the RH persona was pretty bloody dreadful, but these days she seems to be just writing stuff. ”

    1. It’s probably not best to assume the RH persona was the affected one considering it’s the one she visibly lived for over ten years. That and her actual writing, for all its flowery prose, demonstrates a chilling view of people devoid of empathy and seething with anger. That’s far more in line with her past pattern of behavior than the fluffy Bee’s persona.

    2. There absolutely is reason to believe she hasn’t. Exhibit A would be her very own Twitter feed. Exhibit B would be the continued harassment of her past victims and new targets by her clique, including Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Kari Sperring, and one Pat Cadigan. The last should be noted as the character assassination attempt that blew up spectacularly in her and her followers’ faces when the SF/F writing community took notice(including GRRM with his shout out to the Mixon Report).

    Cripes. Are you saying Requires Hate and her cronies attacked Pat Cadigan?!?

    So … she and they had no shame and no sense of decency whatsoever?

  9. >> VD, of course, actively wants to be disliked because he enjoys feeling persecuted, but he’s a special case — a head case.>>

    To my eye, he very probably doesn’t like it, but by claiming to like it and taking steps to increase it, he feels more like he’s in control than if he admits not liking it but can’t stop it.

    It’s mostly a matter of running out in front of where the crowd is going anyway, and then claiming to have led it in that direction because you want to.

  10. Also, I fully believe that when Larry Correia was nominated, there were immediately people asking how he’d made it onto the ballot.

    Actually, let me rephrase that.

    I fully believe that when any person was nominated, there were immediately people asking how that person had made it onto the ballot.

  11. @rcade: Sadly, I am inclined to concur with your view of Larry Correia’s narrative. I regret this, because (1) I much prefer to assume people are telling truth-as-they-see it absent very compelling evidence to the contrary, and (2) I rather liked the man the one time I encountered him in person (and expect I would again). But his account has remained oddly vague in exactly where one would expect specificity, oddly and conveniently arose in a very long-post-event fashion, and os oddly devoid of recognition that every cultural subset of humanity has its asshats, especially if you are deciding to lump into that culture Internet pseudonymous drive-bys.

    At bare minimum, he really ought to explain whom and what and when the heck he was talking about, instead of just doing the Monty Python Oppression Speech over and over.

    Rick Moen

  12. Kurt Busiek: I agree with your take. It fits well with his pattern of declaring “everything is going according to plan! Victory is mine!” no matter what happens… and also the way he has changed his opinion on a handful of issues when it became clear the Dreadful Elks would stampede away from him if he didn’t.

  13. rcade: “How many conservatives have won the Hugo in the past 2 decades again?”

    I just did a count and found 19 Hugos have been won by conservatives since 1996.

  14. @Chris Hensley: It’s a good thing to get practice at. Jack Benny got so good at this that he pulled off being 39 for forty-one years — so there is precedent. Keep at it!

  15. @Rick Moen: This plays into the punchline of one of my favorite bits from the Jack Benny Program, which is also an amazing television crossover:

  16. As a woman who nearly refused to watch the end of WALL-E due to unexpected romance in the movie, I am mildly irritated at RAH’s comment. As the mother of a gay son, I’m pissed off.
    Honestly, this whole insistence that there’s just such an overwhelming amount SFF with gay characters and so forth is reminding me of those studies of how much women speak, and how much men think they speak, or at what percentage of women the men think there’s more women than men. The whining does not reflect any reality with which I am familiar.

  17. @Peace: 19 of… 150-200?

    Are you that bad at math or do you actually believe that conservatives only account for 10-15% of the population?

  18. Peace Is My Middle Name: It’s my pleasure to supply this highly scientific answer.

  19. Owlmirror: “Or in other words, they think that if you’re not a homophobic misogynist racist, you’re No True Scotsman Christian?”

    Pretty much, yeah. Over at Slacktivist, in addition to his in-depth takedown of the Left Behind novels, Fred (the blog owner, who is evangelical by background but not fundamentalist) often discusses how his fellow evangelicals fall into the No True Christian trap.

  20. “It’s mostly a matter of running out in front of where the crowd is going anyway, and then claiming to have led it in that direction because you want to.”

    I could definitely see that being part of it too. My take is that his behavior looks more like “Better to Reign in Hell Than Serve In Heaven,” though — akin to an ignored toddler throwing a tantrum to get the attention of Mommy and Daddy because even though it means getting yelled at, it’s a lot better than not being noticed at all. That is, negative attention is preferable to no attention. VD has had a very hard time getting positive attention in his life so far, but he discovered he could get an absolutely deluge of negative attention, plus a small but dedicated group of people singing his praises, by becoming a culture warrior. And so he did. He might not actively prefer to be discussed so negatively in Internet spaces, but he vastly prefers it to not being talked about at all, I think.

  21. Peace:”Cripes. Are you saying Requires Hate and her cronies attacked Pat Cadigan?!?

    So … she and they had no shame and no sense of decency whatsoever?”

    They did indeed. They smeared her as attempting to aim Gamergate at RH when the fact of the matter was that Pat was schooling some high profile gater(Milo Something) on the fact that RH was already well documented and didn’t require some Gamergate-driven exposé.

    So Pat Cadigan tells Gamergaters to buzz off on the RH matter. RH’s followers accuse Pat of trying to use them to target RH with harassment.

    People were understandably upset.

    There are still long diatribes floating about trying to explain What Pat Did with some truly astounding leaps in logic.

  22. S1AL: And 3 of the Hugos I am counting were won by somebody that social researcher Bob K. Mando authoritatively declared to be an SJW, so it’s probably even smaller.

  23. >> It fits well with his pattern of declaring “everything is going according to plan! Victory is mine!” no matter what happens…>>

    That, and trying to wrench things from “despised” to “feared.” It’s a clear effort at control, not so much a sign of enjoyment.


  24. Mike Glyer: And at least another 4 to account for the closet liberals. At this rate you’ll be agreeing with Brad and Larry by nightfall.

  25. “@Peace: 19 of… 150-200?

    Are you that bad at math or do you actually believe that conservatives only account for 10-15% of the population?”

    10-15% is probably high for SFF fandom, which is the population that counts here. Conservatives tend to prefer the Status Quo — life as it is now or was thirty years ago — which is what makes them conservatives. Thus they are not usually drawn to spec fic in large numbers.

    Which means that many SFF fans who are not conservative are, in fact, perfectly willing to vote for “conservative” fiction, provided it’s sufficiently well done.

  26. >> My take is that his behavior looks more like “Better to Reign in Hell Than Serve In Heaven,” though >>

    Sure. That’s not because Lucifer actually liked Hell, though. It’s because he preferred ruling. The subtext of that phrase is “I’d rather have Heaven but not if it means serving.”

    Beale wants to be in control, or appear to be. If that means claiming he likes it sitting there on that pumpkin, so be it, he’ll claim to like it.

    He’d rather have John Scalzi’s life, though. As long as he could get it while (for?) acting like himself.

  27. @ Leslie: “Honestly, this whole insistence that there’s just such an overwhelming amount SFF with gay characters and so forth is reminding me of those studies of how much women speak, and how much men think they speak, or at what percentage of women the men think there’s more women than men. The whining does not reflect any reality with which I am familiar.”

    To my embarrassment, because I should know better, I let all the whining affect me on the job the other day. I’m working on a new proposal for a fantasy series with a couple of gay characters, and I suddenly thought, “Oh, no, what if what I’m doing in this proposal has already been done so often in fantasy it’s a total cliché?” (I write fantasy full-time, but I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of what’s been published for the past 5 years in my genre.) I had a sense, from the online hysteria and “culture war” of the past year or two in sf/f that there is a DELUGE of gay-protagonist sf/f novels in the market that I had somehow entirely failed to notice.

    So I spent part of an evening one night this past week googling every search term I could think of in search of fantasy genre novels featuring gay protagonists.

    And although, sure, there are some (fortunately, nothing that looks at all similar to the book proposal I’m working on), it’s barely a trickle, never mind a deluge.

    Yet in recent months, I’ve read online rants that seem to frame sf/f as so flooded with “deviant” characters that an innocent homophobe can scarcely risk opening a random sf/f novel, so likely is he to be offended by the sexual orientation of the characters is our gay-flooded genre, blah blah blah.

    Like the rest of Puppy rants, this turns out to be sheer fabrication.

    Or, alternately, if the genre is indeed wallowing in a deluge of novel about gay protagonists, then, boy, they’re so well-hidden that assiduous searching for about two hours on Google, Amazon, and Goodreads cannot discover them. (So, hang on… does that mean it IS a Secret Cabal??)

  28. “Because sci-fi and fantasy have always been a very white, very straight, very heteronormative, male political project.” – Daniel José Older
    You don’t have to be a conservative to be getting sick of extreme left wing propaganda, especially when the speaker doesn’t know what he is talking about and is repeating historical misinformation that was refuted long ago. I remember back years ago, in an essay in A. Langley Searles’ “Fantasy Commentator”, academic and author Eric Leif Davin took on feminists’ claim that SF was and always had been misogynistically conspiring to bar women writers from entering the field and succeeding, all the way back to Gernsback and beyond. A few years later, he expanded his efforts in a wonderful book called Partners in Wonder: Women and the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926-1965. As the Amazon blurb sums up:
    “Contrary to accepted interpretations, women fans and writers were a welcome and influential part of pulp science fiction from the birth of the genre. Davin finds that at least 203 female authors, under their own female names, published over a thousand stories in science fiction magazines between 1926 and 1965. This work explores the distinctly different form of science fiction that females produced—one that was both more utopian and more empathetic than that of their male counterparts.
    Partners in Wonder presents, for the first time, a complete bibliography of every story published by women writers in science fiction magazines from 1926 to 1965 and brief biographies on 133 of these women writers. It is thus the most comprehensive source of information on early women science fiction writers yet available and of great importance to scholars of women’s studies, popular culture, and English literature as well as science fiction.”
    All of the whiners, male bashers, and would-be kommissars of political correctness should be made to read this book before making the rest of long-suffering fandom listen to their unsupported and inaccurate rewriting of history to support the Party Line. The other day, in another online venue, Mr. Davin himself quietly and resignedly pointed to an online display of an old pulp cover:
    “So, Super Science Stories, April, 1951, with three out of seven stories by
    women. But, of course, we *know* there were no women SF authors before the
    Unlike so many of SF’s compulsively self-promoting writers and journalists, Mr. Davin was too modest to bring up his own marvelous book. But someone should. And I think that convention programming people from Worldcons on down should get copies of this book, give them in advance to prospective panelists from a multitude of backgrounds and political views, and have them discuss it and get the actual historical facts out before fandom, and then discuss issues of gender in the SF field. Orwell tried to show that “if you control the past, you control the present.” SF’s backlist is no longer supported by the publishers. Its history and great past authors, once treasured, are now bizarrely constantly under attack, often for frivolous, political, or commercial reasons, unlike in any other form of literature. As long as ignorant or ideological blowhards like Older and others misrepresent SF’s past, the situation will only grow worse, and the level of conversation will only grow more dishonest and shrill.

  29. “10-15% is probably high for SFF fandom, which is the population that counts here. Conservatives tend to prefer the Status Quo — life as it is now or was thirty years ago — which is what makes them conservatives. Thus they are not usually drawn to spec fic in large numbers.”

    This is one of those “nobody I know voted for him” moments. It also explains a lot.

  30. >> This is one of those “nobody I know voted for him” moments.>>

    Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that conservatives are a minority in SFF, but I’d be surprised if they were as low as 10-15%. Of course, I have no actual data either way.

    I wouldn’t expect awards to match up in demographic proportions to the audience, though, unless the audience was super-determined to read only authors they agree with politically. Which doesn’t seem to be the case.

    Or at least…nobody I know does that!

  31. So we’ve learned in this thread first that women and now that conservatives don’t like SF/F. How many more groups are getting kicked out?

  32. That seems a little disingenuous, Happyturtle. As obnoxious as the claims being made may be, no one’s setting up roadblocks to enforce them.

  33. It need not be that Conservatives are a minority in SF/F.

    It could be just that Conservatives are not (at the present) very good at creating art.

    This has been a subject of debate over at Rod Dreher’s blog for the past few years: why modern Conservatives are not creating very good art — why their movies / books / poetry / paintings and so on are just not very good. I see no reason why we can’t extend that to their SF/F, especially when we look at what they have nominated for the Hugos this year.

    Certainly (some) Conservative art in the PAST was good. Maybe there is something about the current Conservative movement which curtails their ability to create art? IDK.

  34. >> So we’ve learned in this thread first that women and now that conservatives don’t like SF/F. How many more groups are getting kicked out?>>

    Greens, because they don’t like rayguns.

    Cowboys, because they prefer Westerns.

    Albinos, because anti-albino racism.

    Horses, because their eyes are too widely spaced to read comfortably.

    Corgis, because nothing that cute can be without faults.

  35. RAH said: Males are not interested in being lectured when they are being entertained.

    As a male who is actually 39 for a few more months, can I just say that I love a good lecture. When Honor Harrington stops blowing up starships and we get a couple of pages of how welfare spending leads to imperialism, or how come these 2000-year-in-the-future fleets fight 3 dimensional Napoleonic battles, or a bit of handwaving over how despite advanced automation Manticore is able to maintain full employment (answer: huge military spending and imperialism), that’s great. It helps the pace and rhythm of the plot to have slow parts, as well as giving clear context for the events in the story.

    Some other people in SF did a bit of lecturing in their stories. Clarke, Asimov, Wells, Verne, even Lovecraft, Howard and Doc Smith. For that matter there was a guy called Heinlein who would often stop the plot to give long talks on topics brought up in the story.

    RAH also said I think the future is declining for the written work.

    All the more reason not to compete with movies and games, but to do what written word can do that they can’t. A long complex argument can be more easily made when you can easily refer back to previous parts of the page. But I honestly don’t think that it’s in decline. There are more regular English readers today than in the 19th century and that was able to support a large and sophisticated variety of books and other works.

    It’s never been easier for writers to write things and readers to find works that speak to them. If you want action adventure books you can get them. If you want literary SF, it’s available. Dinosaur erotica? It’s out there. People writing what they want, and people reading what they want. Small presses for all kinds of niches and indie authors for micro-sub-genres with a hundred world-wide fans. If you’re right then noone should bother publishing anything in December except Star Wars tie-in novels; they regularly top the charts already and I predict that they will get a boost around Christmas. Yet somehow I think that other SF will be published then, and some of it will sell okay.

  36. @delurking: *blinks* That…. I just…

    I wonder if Larry Correia heard someone say that at Worldcon?

    Because I can’t really think of many things, as a writer, that would be worse to hear than that. Sort of like women comics being told women can’t be funny.

    Just… wow. That’s awful.

  37. Kurt Busiek: You have pulled back the curtain on the first great truth of sf fandom — which is that everybody wants to be an outlaw and a rebel, nobody is comfortable being defined as an insider.

    In Mexican politics they have the “Institutional Revolutionary Party,” a name sf fandom wishes it had invented.

  38. “This is one of those “nobody I know voted for him” moments. It also explains a lot.”

    What does it explain? The sentence after the one you excerpt mentions that many folks who don’t identify as conservative would be happy to vote for “conservative” fiction, so I’m assuming it’s not the flavor of the text. Maybe it explains why conservatives have such a small number of wins? But that assumes a whole lot of independent distributions of things that haven’t been shown to be independent.

  39. “Because I can’t really think of many things, as a writer, that would be worse to hear than that. Sort of like women comics being told women can’t be funny.”

    Hey, Rod Dreher said it, not me. He’s a Conservative. He blogs at American Conservative. Go argue with him.

  40. Delurking – Perhaps you’re simply not aware of it? There’s also an argument to be made that many forms of art are developed by conservatives but become occupied by liberals after a period of time (ermahgerd cultural appropriation!?). And, of course, there’s simple issue that liberals and conservatives often (appear to) value different things in their art.

  41. @happyturtle “So we’ve learned in this thread first that women and now that conservatives don’t like SF/F. How many more groups are getting kicked out?”

    I think only one group is getting kicked out: the group of people anywhere to the left of Vox Day. Like, all of us. (That’s discriminatory–there are probably a few lurkers to the right of him, in the icy depths of space, waiting through the eons for the proper sacrifice…I kid.)

  42. “@Peace: 19 of… 150-200?

    Are you that bad at math or do you actually believe that conservatives only account for 10-15% of the population?”

    S1AL, why do you think conservatives don’t write better science fiction? If they did, presumably they’d win more Hugos. What can we do to help conservative authors improve their writing?

  43. Chris Hensley: You rock. It’s great to have a handy proof by example that there are plenty of younger adults who have clues and are willing to use them.

    Happyturtle: I may be splitting hairs unfairly here, but…I disbelieve some substantial part of Correia’s and Torgersen’s account because of my own observations. I see how they report exchanges I read as they were happening, and their accounts are consistently just plain factually wrong. They claim opponents use language that nobody did, and pressed charges nobody did, and so on. They also misrepresent their own words and actions. Bayesian priors come into play here – I am less likely to believe someone who isn’t honestly and reliably reporting what happens where I can see it.

    Conversely, I started taking sexual harassment seriously because, well, I could see it once I took a moment to watch what some men were doing to and around women I knew. Further, I could hear what some men said to each other about women, including the ones I knew. The ambient conditions turned out to match what friends (and women writing about harassment on the wider scale) said, and that made it the sensible thing for me to assume that the acute conditions in times and places I wasn’t present for also matched, in the absence of the slightest reason to suspect otherwise. It’s exactly the opposite of the case with these guys.

  44. I’m pretty sure bug eyed creatures of any sort don’t like SFF because ultimately they’re depicted as monsters.

  45. “RAH said: Males are not interested in being lectured when they are being entertained.”

    Oh, the irony of an RAH writing that. Have you read Starship Troopers? The action is a thinly veiled sugarcoating for the bitter lecture about civic responsibility inside.

  46. I’m an atheist extreme leftie, and I don’t believe for 1 second that conservatives are less capable of creating or enjoying art than liberals. If Rod Dreher has held his opinion for years, I doubt my outraged spluttering will convince him.

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