That Hell-Hound Train 5/20

aka I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by puppies

Today’s roundup represents the collective wisdom of Larry Correia, Christopher M. Chupik, John Scalzi, MattK, Nathan, Vox Day, Jeremiah Tolbert, Kevin Callum, William Reichard, Phil Sandifer, Nicholas Whyte,  Russell Blackford, Daniel Ausema, Chris Gerrib, Joe Sherry, Lisa J. Goldstein, Martin Lewis, Katya Czaja, Adult Onset Atheist, Morag and Erin, JJ and Nyq. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and Jeff Smith.)

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Hugo Voter Packet now available for download” – May 20

It should go without saying, but apparently I need to plainly state the blatantly obvious, everyone should read the nominations and vote honestly.

 

Christopher M. Chupik in a comment on Monster Hunter Nation – May 20

Your weasely, dog-whistle dudebro code doesn’t fool me! I know that you *really* mean “suppress the vote of female and minority Hugo voters”. And any minorities or women who pop up to dispute that are just tokens and human shields!

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“How You Should Vote for the Hugos This Year” – May 20

I think the slates are bullshit, and I think the people who created them (and at least some of the people on them) are acting like petulant, whiny crybabies and/or obnoxious, self-aggrandizing opportunists. I’m also aware some slate choices were not made aware they had been put on slates, or were placed on them under false pretenses. Some of those so slated chose to leave the ballot, which I think is impressive and well done them, but I can’t really fault those who chose to stay, not in the least because for some of them it would be politically or personally awkward to withdraw, for various reasons. And, on the principle that a stopped clock can be correct twice a day, it’s entirely possible something or someone that is a slate choice is genuinely deserving of consideration for the Hugo, and I am loath to discount that, particularly if the person to whom the award would be given was also an unwilling (or misinformed) draftee onto a slate.

So here is my plan:

  1. I am going to look back on my own Hugo nomination ballot, and identify in each category the work/person I nominated that I judged to be my “last place” choice in the category.
  2. When confronted with a nominee on the final ballot who was placed there by a slate, I will ask myself: “Is this work/person better than my own ‘last place’ nominee?”
  3. If the answer is ‘yes,” then I will rank that work/person above “No Award” on my final ballot, and otherwise rank them accordingly to my own preference.
  4. If the answer is “no,” then I won’t put that work/person on my ballot at all, and I will put “No Award” below my choices in the category so it’s clear that I would prefer no award given than to offer the Hugo to anything/anyone I’ve left off the ballot.

 

MattK in a comment on Brad R. Torgersen – May 20

Voting “No Award” over a work that one thinks has been “nominated inappropriately” is really a vote against the process of nomination, and should take place in a different venue, at the WorldCon business meetings where the Hugo rules can be discussed for possible change.

Voting “No Award” over another work based on your perception of the ideological views of the author is a stand that you should make with your pocketbook, or your own internet pulpit, and not by subverting the Hugo process for your own preferred social or political purposes.

Voting “No Award” over a work because it doesn’t contain the requisite number of women/gays/minorities portrayed in the politically correct fashion of the week actually does superficially start to bear on the idea of the merit of the work. However, only someone who has lost all sense of the real purpose of art could believe the idea that the faddish political checklists of the day have anything to do with “excellence in the field of science fiction or fantasy.” Excellence in the field of social and political propaganda is quite a different category entirely, one with which historically prominent figures named Adolph and Josef were very familiar, back in my grandparents’ day. Many of us are tired of being told that “science fiction” which scores highly on that particular metric is the best that the field has to offer today — especially when it only tangentially seems to be science fiction at all. As has been noted elsewhere many times, political art is to art as military intelligence is to intelligence. In deference to our host, I’ll say that I suspect that comparison may be somewhat unfair to military intelligence.

 

Nathan in a comment on Vox Popoli  – May 20 at 5:08 p.m.

Sounds more like they are looking for reasons to justify what they’ve already decided to do. As for graphic novels, can we burn that category down at least?

 

Vox Day in a comment on Vox Popoli  – May 20 at 5:36 p.m.

As for graphic novels, can we burn that category down at least? Go for it. It merits it.

 

 

Kevin Callum in a comment on Making Light – May 19

In my opinion, the Sad Puppies and their third slate would have come to nothing in the Hugo voting if the Rabid Puppies slate didn’t exist. I see it this way. The Sad Puppies knew they didn’t have sufficient swaying power beyond their personal subscriber base(s) and hired a mercenary. The mercenary took over the campaign and behind the Sad Puppies’ backs promoted his own slate that took over the Hugo Awards. This left the Sad Puppies with nothing to take credit for since the Rabid Puppies completely stole the Sad Puppies’ thunder. And yet the Sad Puppies keep blathering on.

I understand the blustering by those in the Rabid camp. They can actually claim some sort of victory. But now that the Sad Puppies have actively distanced themselves from the Rabid Puppies, what do they have left? When I see Correia or Torgerson bloviating (through File770, since I don’t want to inflate their sense of importance by inflating their page counts), I picture a child stomping his foot and yelling, “My dad can beat up your dad.”*

These guys keep running about as if they have something important to say, and people keep referring to the Sad Puppies campaign. To me the Sad Puppies have almost no relevance and haven’t since the announcement of the Hugo nominees. The Rabid Puppies did the actual sweeping.

The Sad Puppies really do have an apt name since at this point they can only cry about their platform getting stolen out from under them.

So when I see articles from institutions like the Wall Street Journal, I think great—the wider the coverage the better. But I keep thinking they have misrepresented the facts by giving so much credit to the Sad Puppies.

*Or, since they seem to think that the SJWs are mostly women, “My dad can beat up your mom.”

 

William Reichard

”No country for previous generation androids” – May 20

http://plaeroma.com/ is marked private by its owner.

 

 

 

 

Nicholas Whyte on From The Heart of Europe

“Wisdom from my Internet, by Michael Z. Williamson” – May 20

Wisdom from my Internet is a really bad book. I will admit that I disagree with about 90% of Williamson’s political statements; but even in the few cases where I don’t, his style is just not very funny. More objectively, I’ve got a quarter of the way through and if there has been any actual reference to SF I have missed it. I prefer my Best Related Works to actually be, well, related. I don’t think I will bother with the rest.

How interesting that the author is a mate of the slatemongers, and that it was not recommended by a single contributor to the crowdsourcing exercise (which we are repeatedly told was “100% open” and “democratic”), yet ended up on both slates anyway! It has reinforced my intention to vote “No Award” for this entire category.

This nomination really shows up the bad faith of those behind the slates. For all their complaints about cliques, political messages and works getting nominated which are of poor quality and are’t sfnal enough, here they have done exactly what they accuse the imaginary cabal of doing. It is simply shameful.

 

Russell Blackford on Metamagician and the Hellfire Club

“Hugo Awards Voters Packet” – May 21

Whatever the extent of the genuine problems, there has been a massive overreaction this year by a group of people (or, seemingly, two rather different groups of people) who are disenchanted.

I can think that those people have greatly exaggerated whatever real problems existed with the Hugos – and that they have made things worse by introducing an unprecedented level of blatant, politicized campaigning – without  wanting to take part in a campaign of retaliation that could destroy the awards. Further: I can think that those people are probably wrong, misguided, thinking about the issues ahistorically, acting counterproductively, etc., while also thinking that they, or at least most of them, are decent, sincere individuals who are doing their (misguided) best and may even have identified some good material that would normally be overlooked. As to the latter, we’ll see. Meanwhile, some of these people have been subjected to personal vilification and abuse, harassment, and even death threats; there is utterly no place for any of this.

Once again, in any event, I plan to play it straight. I will vote for material on its merits, and I’ll try to review some of it here.

 

 

Daniel Ausema on The Geekiary

“Hugos and Puppies, the 2015 Short Fiction Nominees” – May 21

My intent all along has been to read each of the nominees and judge them regardless of who wrote them or who nominated them. That, of course, has become more problematic as the controversy rages. No person can be completely without bias. Nevertheless, I will do my best to review these short stories as if this were a normal year for Hugo nominations. I’ve gone out of my way to avoid learning whether the individual writers in this list were involved, supported, or knew ahead of time anything about either slate.

With that in mind, here are the nominees for short fiction….

The Parliament of Beasts and Birds”, John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)

This a fable-like story, with a group of animals wondering what to do now that some sort of apocalypse has fallen. The humans (called “Man” here) have disappeared, leaving the animals uneasy and confused. The truth they uncover is that some version of the Christian end times has carried humans away, leaving the animals to decide what to do now with this human-less world.

Writing-wise, this captures the feel of animal folk tales well most of the time, though at times the attempt falls into overwrought prose. But overall, it’s weakened by the fact that it fails to do much more than retell a specifically religious tale, adding only the idea of animals being saved or condemned. It offers little new, neither to those already well familiar with the religious backdrop nor to those who do not self-identify with a Left-Behind sort of Christianity…..

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Hugo Packet – The Wrong Way to Wright” – May 20

I am really bouncing hard off of John C. Wright’s novellas. For One Bright Star to Guide Them I’m baffled by the attitude to magic. Robertson, our first character, hasn’t thought of magic for years, yet the instant he sees a black cat he’s all magic!!!! – Then when we visit Richard, he alternates in the same paragraph between “yeah magic, especially if it gets me laid” and “no magic for me, I’m British.” Oh, and since when have you described out loud what somebody was wearing to the person wearing it? Sorry, no dice. (Oh, and I checked – somebody on File 770 thinks that Wright forgot the name of one of his characters, and changed it from Sarah to Sally randomly. Not so – she is referred to as both names, but there’s no explanation as to why in the story. It would have been better to be consistent.) ….

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures in Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Fan Artist” – May 20

No Award: While Foster and Stiles have been perennial nominees, and I had a very nice e-mail exchange with Foster last year when I was looking to highlight the art of all of the nominees (something I do not plan to do this year), I don’t feel this art is truly among the best. It is art of a particular style, and I think it has fit the fanzines they have often been published in, but when you compare to Elizabeth Leggett, well, there is no comparison. I appreciated Ninni Aalto’s work more than those of Foster and Stiles, but it still doesn’t quite rise above and meet the levels of Leggett and Schoenhuth.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 12: Novellas” – May 20

[CONTAINS SPOILER]

A brief summary of “Pale Realms of Shade,” just so you know what I’m talking about — Matt Flint, a private eye, has been killed and returns as a ghost.  He doesn’t remember who killed him, and goes on a quest to find out…. A lot of this murkiness, I think, is the prose.  Wright never uses one word when ten or twenty will do.

 

Martin Lewis on Everything Is Nice

“Hugo Voting – Fan Writer” – May 20

1) No Award

2) Laura J Mixon – For reasons set out here.

3) Amanda S Green – Basically a stream of consciousness only tangentially related to SF that is randomly peppered with the letters SJW and GHH.

4) Cedar Sanderson – As above but with extra anti-feminism.

5) David Freer – As above (including literally published on the same blog as Sanderson) but actually insane.

6) Jeffro Johnson – No accessible contribution included in Hugo voter package and I’m not about to go and seek out Puppy work.

If you set out to find the worst fan writing available, you’d probably end up with something like this (and this pattern seems to hold true in Best Related). The Puppies think that not only is this writing not shit, it is the best published in the field in 2014.

 

Katja Czaja

“Hugo Awards: Short Fiction” – May 20

Ranking While I liked “A Single Samurai” and “Totaled”, neither of them are even close to being the best science fiction short story that has come out this year. Oh,Puppies, just because you agree with the message, it does not make the work any less message fiction.

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: A Single Samurai” – May 20

At this point –dear readers- I should point out that writing my own reviews allows me to capriciously score the stories that are reviewed. For this story I am going to award a couple of points. I will give this story one star just for having a daikaij?  in it because I dig daikaij?. I will also give it another star for having a Samurai in it because I like the films of Akira Kurosawa.

The Samurai is obsessed with his weapons, and they are magic. The Samurai’s obsession with the weapons even constitutes some of the proof that they are magic.

 

Morag and Erin in Manfeels Park

“New Reading List” (click link to see comic) – May 19

With thanks to James May and Eric Flint

[Quoting the site: “Manfeels Park is an exercise in flogging a pun for all it’s worth. The male dialogue in this webcomic is all taken word for word or adapted only slightly from web commentary by hurt and confused men with Very Important Things To Explain, usually to women. Artistic license is exercised in editing commentary for brevity, spelling and grammar, but the spirit of the original comment is always faithfully observed. Witty rejoinders are also ‘found dialogue’ where possible.”]

 

JJ in a comment on File 770 – May 20

“Freedom’s just another word for no Puppies left to peruse.”

Busted flat in SFF Land, waitin’ for Sasquan,
and I’s feeling nearly’s deprived as can be.
Puppies dumped a dreckload down, the packet’s just arrived.
Full of Puppy message fic for me.

I stayed up too late, reading Goblin Emperor.
And Ancill’ry Sword’s pages, how they flew.
But Butcher’s Skin Game’s mighty hard, it’s taken many nights.
And I’m still not even halfway through.

Freedom’s just another word, for no Puppies left to peruse.
Hugo don’t mean nothin’ honey if I can’t read it.
Yeah, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when I read Cixin Liu.
You know excellent prose was good enough for me.
But not good enough for the Damn Puppies.

From the shorter-length Novellas, through yet smaller Novelettes,
The Puppies left their territory mark.
Through all of the Short Stories, and through Related Works,
Yeah, Puppies making Hugo’s outlook dark.

One day I’ll be done with this, the deadline’s on the way.
I’m looking for the end of it, and then I’ll be fine.
But I’d trade all of my tomorrows, for one single yesterday,
to be havin’ no more Puppy works in line.

Freedom’s just another word, for no Puppies left to peruse.
Hugo don’t mean nothin’ honey if I can’t read it.
Yeah, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when I read Cixin Liu.
You know gripping plots were good enough for me.
But not good enough for those Damn Puppies.

 

Nyq in a comment on File 770 – May 20

Nate: “If our authors win… we win. If no award wins… we win. And if you no award everything… we still win.

“And please understand… we will be back next year. The slates aren’t going away. If anything they’ll just merge into one bigger more powerful slate than the two that dominated this year.”

SOory it is more complicated that:

  • If No Award wins a category with an ODD number of votes then we win. (this will invoke a subcommittee to then determine who ‘we’ are)
  • If No Award wins with a prime number of votes you win but only if rule 1 doesn’t apply.
  • If No Award wins everything then you lose UNLESS you throw a number greater than 7 on a D20.
  • If Vox Day wins a category then you lose because the “we all voted ironically” rule comes in play.
  • If John C Wright wins a category then the “its opposite day” rule comes into effect.
  • If one of the secret-SJW-ninja candidates win then you lose. The secret-SJW-ninjas have infiltrated the puppy nominess and have ensured some of the nominated works contain subliminal messages advocating social justice.
  • If John Scalzi wins then George RR Martin wins based on the “but those guys weren’t even nominated” rule.
  • Alexandra Erin has already won.
  • The Roland Barthes Memorial Hugo Award for post-structuralist reading will go to whoever wins in the arm wrestling contest between Vox Day and Theodore Beale.

Other rules and winning conditions available on request.

Rules subject to change.

948 thoughts on “That Hell-Hound Train 5/20

  1. Cat @ 8:25

    So Larry Correia and the rest of the Puppies weren’t mad at us when they set out to pack the Hugo ballot.

    That’s confusing; they talked like they were mad at us. But if they weren’t mad at us, that sure doesn’t make it any better.

    I went back, after doing my MYCROFT story upthread, to read the original Correia posts from 2012-13. I’m not sure what it looked like to people reading it at the time but after everything that has happened it has turned itself into a surreal manifesto, a performance piece of Dada anti-art.

    There IS some virtue in remembering to repeatedly re-calibrate how seriously one is taking things.

  2. Short version: Torgersen lied outright, twice, then put on a master class in mansplaining, then flounced.

    Right, but as Nick Mamatas notes, he was polite. I was basically trying to fish for ostensible moments of puppy dialog and, well, that’s what I got for him. (There’s a reason I didn’t even try for Wright, the master of the comment-and-flounce.)

  3. ‘So the proper response was to say hateful lies in return?’

    The proper thing would be not to pretend it was honourable.

  4. The Baen covers provide an interesting insight here. Toni talks about them at length during the Roadshow, because in addition to Baen’s editor she also the art director. The word she uses to describe the Baen cover style is “Romantic Realism”. They are invoking the old pulp-covers from the golden age of sci-fi, usually with plenty of actions and exploding spaceships. That reflects pretty accurately what the Puppies say they want. There are scantily clad women on those covers, but scantily clad women are a big part of those old golden age pulp covers. The controversy over those scantily clad women also shows where some of the divide is. Critics of the covers say that they are objectifying women, making them feel unsafe and unwanted in the community. Sometimes they’ll use words like “sexism” and “misogyny”. The supporters of the covers see these criticisms as criticisms of the golden age of science fiction, and by extension the genre/community itself. They are certain that the accusations of sexism are wrong because the person selecting those covers is a woman.

  5. I suppose that’s much of the fun of mansplaining–it can sort of look like politeness if it’s not aimed directly at you and you aren’t really paying attention. That’s polite if we define polite to mean “abusive, cruel, and ignorant, but not loud enough to discomfiit bystanders.”

  6. A quick primer on the difference between “Legal” and “Honorable”.

    There are laws against urinating in public. You must use a restroom.

    There are customs about where in the restroom it is acceptable to pee, because everyone has to use that restroom and nobody wants to walk through a puddle of urine.

    Walking into the restroom and peeing all over the floor is legal, but not honorable.

    This is about where I point out that the choice of “Puppy” as their mascot is entirely too accurate using the analogy above. 🙂

  7. Andrew – So the proper response was to say hateful lies in return?

    Those responding to those lies were attempting to deduce a reason from them, and considering that one of those lies was the accusation that there were works who were only ever nominated/won for affirmative action over merit it makes a little more sense to see why people were throwing misogyny/prejudice around. Torgersen made a blanket accusation that he never bothered to clarify (but repeats) which is insulting to previous women and minorities who’ve won/been nominated. The articles were hyperbolic certainly.

    Regardless, that is up to the individual honor of those involved. The question was the honor of Sad Puppies, and if insults, lies, and cronyism are considered honorable. If a Sad Puppy does not consider these things so, I’d wonder why they’d willingly claim to be part of a group whose are mostly such.

  8. ‘I’d wonder why they’d willingly claim to be part of a group whose actions are mostly such’

    Forgot a word there.

  9. Chris Hensley: Interesting! Certainly, discussion of such things can easily slip into what I classify as “it’s blue!”/”no, it’s round!” disagreements. 🙂

    On a meta level, I do think it’s seriously important for a lot of sf fans to come to terms with the reality that the days of any one person having a comprehensive view of the field in any given year are gone. Gone gone gone. All of us are now and will forever more be living with a field which is too big for any of us to know all the good work (cf. Beale’s and Torgersen’s problems vis-a-vis The Three-Body Problem and the Heinlein biography), and in which it is now and will forever more be possible for people with styles we loathe and ideas we hate to make a successful living.

    The field will not contract. Each of us, individually and in affinity with others who share are tastes, is welcome to ignore parts we don’t like. But the talk of making the stuff we dislike go away somehow is just so much of what the Church of the Sub-Genius calls “pulling the wool over your own eyes”. Can’t happen. Can do a lot of harm in the failed attempt.

    To riff on Nate’s unpleasant image, instead of knocking over others’ tables and throwing their food out, we all need to work on setting up our own, being cooperative neighbors, and on learning how to make a pitch for our stuff so that others want to check it out. Even if we think, for whatever reason, that we are the heirs of all that’s good and true in the field.

  10. Many of the “puppies” are in fact interested in having a rules change that would mitigate the effects of lockstep voting.

    Well, “puppies” who have purchased Worldcon memberships are free to draw up a proposal for such a change and submit it for consideration at the WSFS Business Meeting.

    I ducked into Brad Torgersen’s blog a while back to put in a good word for the SDV-LPE proposal, because I feared that Brad had misrepresented it. One person had an alternative change to the voting rules*, which nobody else seemed very interested in discussing. A few others took the position that since SDV-LPE has been composed in response to the success Puppy slate, it must be a scheme to prevent wrongfans and their wrongfun from winning the Hugos. There didn’t seem to be any groundswell of support on the Puppy side for reforming the Hugos, as an institution, unless by “reform” you mean “our stuff wins”.

    *The proposal was for an intermediate round of voting to generate a long list before winnowing it down to a short list of finalists. This had been brought up in the Making Light discussions, and rejected, because of the extra work it would create for the Hugo administrators.

  11. Brian Z @ 8:38

    Cat @ 8:25

    So Larry Correia and the rest of the Puppies weren’t mad at us when they set out to pack the Hugo ballot.

    That’s confusing; they talked like they were mad at us. But if they weren’t mad at us, that sure doesn’t make it any better.

    I went back, after doing my MYCROFT story upthread, to read the original Correia posts from 2012-13. I’m not sure what it looked like to people reading it at the time but after everything that has happened it has turned itself into a surreal manifesto, a performance piece of Dada anti-art.

    There IS some virtue in remembering to repeatedly re-calibrate how seriously one is taking things.

    I have read the Correia posts from 2012-2013. I agree that they are surreal; I don’t think Correia intended them to be so. For example, I read Correia’s blog now and then for the past year–it is not noticeably less surreal.

    I have no idea what you’re trying to suggest by your last paragraph. I could speculate, but it would not be complimentary to either you or Correia.

    And you have not addressed my main point. I repeat it here.

    Your argument is a griefers’ argument. If the Puppies ruined the Hugos as some kind of joke, or over things they didn’t care about, that makes them worse, not better. They have less right to forgiveness, not more

  12. Tuomas Vainio on May 21, 2015 at 9:02 am said:

    @Bruce Baugh: http://file770.com/?p=22634&cpage=8#comment-266080

    So… more of the usual badly made arguments and claims repeated until everyone in the echo chamber believe them true, without ever asking for evidence?

    Right. Thanks for the warning. I’ll head out again.

    I believe Mr. Baugh was referring to the canon of science fiction writing which you have declared too much trouble to read before discussing.

  13. @pluviann Well, I’ve never yet received my little red book, so I can’t speak much to the official platform, but I have consistently said no to all of those questions. My point being: there is no “party” here. No pledges or promises that I know of. Just a bunch of people some of whom like slightly different stuff than I do (but a lot of the same stuff, too). The higher up it goes, the weirder and harder for me to understand the rhetoric gets, but at a ground level, these look to me like my former friends and neighbors.

    And @Bruce, bless you. I’ll bet you just won some points there with people. It would be good for more to say it, but I will at least, even if I’m just a rogue star at this point. That is a beautifully constructive way to look at this, a generous way. I hope Sad Puppies will return that spirit.

  14. Bruce – The field will not contract. Each of us, individually and in affinity with others who share are tastes, is welcome to ignore parts we don’t like. But the talk of making the stuff we dislike go away somehow is just so much of what the Church of the Sub-Genius calls “pulling the wool over your own eyes”. Can’t happen. Can do a lot of harm in the failed attempt.

    That’s part of why I’m not worried about the whole ‘culture wars’ aspect of this. Even if they took over the Hugos forever and ever it’s not like people will stop writing whatever they consider SJW affirmative action literati message fiction. Sci-Fi where stuff blows up real good is going to continue to be written as well. Writers are gonna write and find ways of putting their work out there, and if anything there are more ways than ever before at both publishing and consuming it. It’s not hard to ignore such works either, lots of books get ignored every year!

    Scalzi does a good job promoting authors on his Whatever blog, and Correia, for all his SJW rants, does so as well with his book-bombing efforts on his blog for authors. It’s that kind of effort I’d rather see than people making a futile attempt at tearing apart.

  15. Tuomas Vainio on May 21, 2015 at 9:09 am said:
    Why did I hit the refresh button…

    @Peace Is My Middle Name http://file770.com/?p=22634&cpage=8#comment-266088

    Yeah, I still refuse to play along snotty-nosed elitism. But do post your list of Science Fiction Canon.

    How about for starters just about every book and story you have discussed in these comments, most of which you were eager to judge in, frankly, bizarre ways, and when you were questioned about them, admitted that you had not read a one of them?

    If there is any actual sci-fi you have read, you never mentioned it that I saw.

  16. @Tuomas Vainio

    “Yeah, I still refuse to play along snotty-nosed elitism. ”

    I don’t think you get what science fiction fandom is about…

    Hint: it’s to do with reading science fiction books.

  17. Andrew @ 8:00 am- Good for you.

    Matt Y @ 8:00 am- I also enjoy Dresden’s smaller mysteries. I think we’ll still get them, just in short story form (Jim Butcher has quite a few of those). I suspect the novels will keep escalating until we hit the Cthulhu like apocalypse.

    Aaron @ 8:02 and 8:13 am- You must have a hard life.

    Laertes @ 8:12 am- If Correia merely wanted Hugo validation, he wouldn’t have withdrawn his work. SP3 is run by Brad Torgersen. Correia is still a big cheerleader, but he did the right thing by removing his novel from contention, so as to neuter the argument its all about getting a select few authors a Hugo award argument.

    RP are not “genuine monsters”. They are human beings. They are intent on winning, or burning it down, or prepping for next year and/or getting your rule changes through or keeping Scalzi/Hayden off the ballot (their five victory conditions that I can discern), but they are not “genuine monsters.”

    Going to Maine @ 8:12 am- The RP have not subsumed the SP. They are distinct. They may be shooting in the same direction now (VD’s analogy) but that could change in some unlikely scenarios.

    As to SP not being anywhere without the RP, that assumes a lot of facts not in evidence. RP definitely did better with SP help, but SP likely would have still got books on the ballot. Brad Torgersen even admitted their expectations were much less than what occurred.

    Nigel @ 8:15 am- If that’s what you believe, that’s what you believe.

  18. Tuomas – So… more of the usual badly made arguments and claims repeated until everyone in the echo chamber believe them true, without ever asking for evidence?

    Nah, this isn’t Torgersen’s blog. People here ask for citations all the time. Then argue about those citations.

  19. Yeah, I still refuse to play along snotty-nosed elitism.

    That’s the first time I’ve seen “reading” being called snotty-nosed elitism.

  20. @bruce Can I ask, honestly, if I could be a Sad Puppy (I’m sort of honor bound to stick with it for now) and still say I really like what you’re describing? It sounds like the beginnings of things that any reasonable person could agree to. (Not trolling here, honestly.)

  21. Moss – I hope we do, Side Jobs was one of my favorites. I’d love for him to continue to use smaller stories to show what’s going on with the other characters in the books and the personal conflicts they run into.

  22. ‘I hope Sad Puppies will return that spirit.’

    Are you being sarcastic? Did that win a few points for you? I don’t think that’s very beautifully constructive or generous of you. I’d hate for someone to be sarcastic back to you as a result.

  23. You must have a hard life.

    You’re adorable when you dodge and weave.

    If Correia merely wanted Hugo validation, he wouldn’t have withdrawn his work. SP3 is run by Brad Torgersen.

    Sure he would. Correia is a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them. He knew that the Puppy dominated slates were going to go over badly, and that any Puppy author on them would be seen as tainted by the people he so very obviously and desperately wants to impress. Taking his name off the ballot allows him to still have the cachet of having been voted onto it, without the ignominy of probably finishing below “No Award” while also appearing to be magnanimous.

  24. @nigel it was not in any way meant to be sarcastic. It was a call to people to take part, constructively. I’m sorry. I’m clearly not able to say what I mean. I’m sorry. Going away to look at birds again.

  25. One thing some Puppies clearly struggle with is the relationship between popularity and quality. It’s not as simple as the intuition that most popular things being the best (populism) or, the intuition that thanks to appeals to the lowest common denominator, the worst (elitism).

    So what they see is Baen books being very popular—which some of them are and many of them resolutely are not, just as with any other publishing program—and not getting awards. But clearly they should be, especially given a popular-vote award like the Hugos. Sales should have a positive correlation with votes!

    Ah, the non-Puppy counter goes, but Worldcon isn’t home to the usual reader, but to The Fan. The Fans have superior taste thanks to lengthy and prolonged exposure to the field, an understanding of the dialogues and discourses of the field, etc. So we come together to elevate the best works.

    Or, shorter: popular and popular with the hardcore of fandom are two different things.

    There’s a lot of room for variation in here, of course. Immensely popular authors and books win Hugo Awards all the time. Puppies tend to discount these as outliers, as Tor Books trickery (as if Baen doesn’t also buy dumps at the largest bookstores*), and as guilt-votes engendered by identity politics.

    They also tend to fume when the so-called SJWs “disqualify”, so that’s pretty funny.
    It’s a truism that reactionaries never understand irony, and that goes beyond not understanding ironical comments.

    What they also don’t get is this: some popular authors and books are absolutely beloved. Others satisfice. They appeal to a large number of people on a relatively low level—so many many readers can have affection for some book, or series, or authors, and acknowledge that they are not award-worthy. Stephen King is a great example: still enormously popular (300-600K sales in hardcover in Bookscan, so double it to get a sense of actual sales, not including his huge library audience) *and* with a small cult of about 50,000 true believers who will buy variant editions, who will keep track of all the “dollar baby” student film adaptations, who follow the King news so ably compiled by Bev Vincent, and who kept a bookstore dedicated almost completely to King’s work open in Maine with their patronage for years.

    (Good thing King has never Tweeted, “Boy, sure would like some Hugo Awards.”)

    Other authors only have that core, while some only have that periphery. Many have a periphery about the size of King’s core and a core about the size of a crowded coach on a commuter rail. So they are “popular”, but the periphery reads their books the same way they turn on the TV every night, or the way they stop at Burger King when in a strange new town and are wary of the local eateries. That sort of connection to a book or author doesn’t drive people to vote. And if their core aren’t Hugo participants, the authors can’t win even if it only takes a few dozen votes to get on the ballot.

    Baen’s list is pretty much composed of authors with this sort of fanbase, except for Bujold, whose core is composed of Hugo voters, which is why she is a frequent nominee even if people who don’t follow her series cannot make head or tails out of any particular novel.

    The Puppies campaigns are designed to motivate core voters, with appeals to race-baiting, resentment, and populist rhetoric. That Brad is just not a very strong reader, so the actual ballots end up being junk by his friends plus whatever Beale vetoed him on just makes the issue at hand clear.

    Way back when the ballot was announced, I said that fandom shouldn’t bother trying to change the rules. (Hugo rules change too frequently as it is.)
    http://nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com/1920331.html

    There are three options as far I can tell:

    The Hugos being a product a fandom, much of the discussion around “fixing” the issue boils down either angry blog posts about white people (ie, admissions of pathetic whining defeat) or statistical wonkery (ie foolishness). These are all wrongheaded—slating is essentially a political issue, and political issues need political responses. There are three possible ones:

    1. Suck It Up.
    Probably a pretty good idea. This bed was made some years ago when blogging culture sparked a shift from significant social sanction when people tried to get votes by asking publicly for consideration to “obligatory” posts promoting their own work, and later, the work of their friends. Loud Blogs win; Loud Blogs Plus Online Workshop-Clubhouses win more; and Loud Blogs plus political discipline win even more. Why should only the Loud Bloggers people have decided that they personally like and are “friends”* with win? Eventually, it’ll all even out, especially as what is most likely to happen is that the SPs get nominated and then lose decisively year after year.

    2. Castigate all campaigning, not just the campaigning you don’t like
    Pandora’s Box isn’t necessarily open forever. However, you can’t close half a lid. It would take significant effort to change widespread attitudes, but it is not as though those attitudes have not changed before. If campaigning was always met with eye-rolling or even outright disgust, it would stop being so effective. Some people would betray and try to promote, but if the audience was inured to such appeals, it just wouldn’t work and hopefuls would eventually stop.

    3. Counter-slates
    We’ll almost certainly see attempts at counter-slates. I’m against the idea, but the current cry to vote “No Award” in all SP-dominated categories is itself a counter-slate after a fashion. Someone will come up with Happy Kittens and stump for non-binary PoCs or stories with lots of scene breaks or or or…well, that’s the problem. One counter-slate would likely thwart the SPs, more than one would not. And we’re sure to see more than one. Disciplined slate voting works best when only one side does it and the other side isn’t even a side. Two slates split demographically. Three or more, uh… At any rate, it all comes around to political discipline again. If some party were to launch a counter-slate next year, would others who found that slate imperfect let it by without critique and another alternative slate. (There are actually two Puppy slates, but they are largely similar.) There can be slates that are so attractive that many more people sign up to vote for the Hugos, but I strongly suspect that people overestimate the amount of outside “pull” these slates have; general Hugo chatter across blogs and Twitter in general is driving increased education about supporting Worldcon memberships, and then there are all the free books voters might receive, which is also a new thing. One counter-slate would be effective, though of course the cure could be worse than the disease, and more than one would likely not.

    So aggrieved Hugo Award followers, which shall it be?

    Two is still the best bet.

    *They ponied up for Monster Hunter series display cases at some of the busiest B&Ns in the country, including the one in the liberal elite neighborhood of midtown Manhattan. But it’s only bad when Tor buys a co-op for Scalzi, of course…

  26. Going To Maine:

    If your definition of politeness includes using pleasant sounding words when speaking over one’s professed friend and colleague, it is possible you habe failed to grasp the purpose of politeness.

    Brian Z and also more generally:

    It is easy to find examples of the Puppy leadership being willing to talk to othets. What is lacking is examples of them being willing to listen.

    And if you go up to a man who is almost constantly engaged in rhetoric so hateful that the nearest thing to a defense anyone has yet mustered is “aw, he just says horrible things to trick people into reacting like he said something horrible and you fell for it!” and you ask a civil question and got a civil answer… what lesson am I suppposed to take away from that, exactly? For the low, low price of not calling his monstrous behavior what it is, I *might* have the pleasure of exchanging a few words with someone who is categorically terrible towards me on every other level?

  27. ‘If Correia merely wanted Hugo validation, he wouldn’t have withdrawn his work’

    If Correia wanted Hugo validation he HAD to withdraw his work, because he knew the slate gaming method would devalue the award.

    ‘Nigel @ 8:15 am- If that’s what you believe, that’s what you believe.’

    No, that’s what the SP/RPs profess to believe. And you think it’s honourable.

  28. ‘It was a call to people to take part, constructively.’

    Fair enough, I apologise if I mistook your tone (actually, I think I mistook which comment you were replying to, mea culpa.) However, I think you may have more work to put in with the SP/RPs than you do with people like Bruce.

  29. @Peace Is My Middle Name http://file770.com/?p=22634&cpage=8#comment-266092

    *A long sigh.* You know, if all this effort about the Sad Puppies and 2015’s Hugo Awards were spent on writing actual Science Fiction instead of nigh endless stream of baseless nonsense based on repeated intentional misunderstandings… Perhaps the works nominated in 2016 would be half decent.

    > This would be the fifth time I call you on your nonsense, but it is clear that you do not read my replies. So; why bother anymore? Believe what you believe.

  30. Cat, OK,

    If the Puppies ruined the Hugos as some kind of joke, or over things they didn’t care about, that makes them worse, not better.

    I’m not a mind reader or anything, but it sure looks to me like Correia was operating a fun Dada self-promotion, first look at me crying in my donuts, now go stick it to those literati! I don’t find that kind of experimenting with what you can do on the internet to be any appreciably worse than taping bacon to your cat, especially since I have been inducted into the Illuminati and no longer have to fear losing my status as literati.

    Again, I’m not a mind reader or anything, but it sure looks to me like Torgersen hopes to eventually be considered a more “serious” author than Correia and when the talking stick was passed to him he tried to use it as a force for good in the world, but unfortunately he’s new at this and ended up creating a “recommended slate list” based on the model of what various “serious critics and authors” have been known to post on their blogs, except that the jarring disconnect between that model and the residual Correia schtick was only exacerbated by the fact that he called for suggestions from his own fans and then apparently didn’t like most of them much and ended up recommending a bunch of people he knew personally without articulating what he liked about each work with any particular success.

    Again, I’m not a mind reader or anything, but it seems fairly likely that when VD wrote “please nominate precisely as they are” he had done the math carefully and probably saw at least an outside shot of riding on those coattails to success in getting some of the work he himself edits on the ballot. (As well, potentially, as some stuff he simply genuinely likes – who knows.)

    Can you agree with that so far?

  31. Tuomas Vainio on May 21, 2015 at 9:28 am said:
    @Peace Is My Middle Name http://file770.com/?p=22634&cpage=8#comment-266092

    *A long sigh.* You know, if all this effort about the Sad Puppies and 2015’s Hugo Awards were spent on writing actual Science Fiction instead of nigh endless stream of baseless nonsense based on repeated intentional misunderstandings… Perhaps the works nominated in 2016 would be half decent.

    > This would be the fifth time I call you on your nonsense, but it is clear that you do not read my replies. So; why bother anymore? Believe what you believe.

    Excuse me. I am not a writer, I am a reader. This is a space where readers of science fiction like to congregate and talk about things related to the science fiction they have read.

    I do not know what it is you do do, but according to you reading science fiction is not among your activities. The most I ever heard you say you read was giving up a few pages into an Amazon “look inside” preview of one work.

    And yet you have been willing to post very many very long screeds about the qualities of books you have never read.

  32. Perhaps the works nominated in 2016 would be half decent.

    Most of the non-Puppy stuff on the 2015 ballot is quite good. But since you seem not to have read them, you wouldn’t know.

  33. and when the talking stick was passed to him he tried to use it as a force for good in the world

    You left out the part where Torgersen invented terms like HSPP and CHORF to insult other fans. Or there he declared that anything that wasn’t “Nutty Nugget” style science fiction was damaging the genre. Or where he attacked Worldcon voters as being out of touch because they weren’t giving awards to the Avengers (despite the fact that they did), and were ignoring the world of comics (while coming up with a slate that had a paltry single not very good graphic novel on it). You left out the part where Correia continues to phrase the SPs as a culture war against the evil SJWs, and Torgersen implicitly denigrates the last several winners of the Hugo as being the beneficiaries of “affirmative action”.

  34. Taking his name off the ballot allows him to still have the cachet of having been voted onto it, without the ignominy of probably finishing below “No Award” while also appearing to be magnanimous.

    Considering he and the Evil League of Evil made the slate, he could’ve declined being on there in the first place. In fact he said as much in his blogpost about it: the ELoE told me tough luck, and that if I dropped out, my fans (who make up the back bone of the growing Sad Puppies contingent) would get mad at me. Plus, John Wright said that MHN was my best book, and his vote for best book of 2014. And you really can’t argue with somebody who writes like John.

    So if he didn’t want it to be about him, he wouldn’t have needed to withdraw. He could’ve stayed off of it in the first place and chose not to until it blew up and he retreated.

    And hey look, Wright was part of the group that made the slate! Very democratic process on display.

  35. And more generally, no, reading is not snotty-nosed elitism. The demand to conjure a list of read novels as means of your personal credentials for the validity of your opinion, is nothing but snotty-nosed elitism.

    Not to mention that were you some day succesfull in your beehive-mentality demands, I would be a total ass and just list works in their original language. (Not English.)

    But anyhow, I am gone for now.

  36. One thing is worth noting, I think: by all accounts, voting No Award as a response to slates and voting No Award based on merit are going to be practically indistinguishable.

  37. “RP are not “genuine monsters”. They are human beings.”

    Let’s say you’ve got an uncle named Bob. Uncle Bob is a guy whose always quick with a joke, help you out in your time of need and an active member of the community. He doesn’t throw rocks or burn crosses. But he puts on his pointed hat, and screams about how this-group or that-group are destroying America. I wouldn’t call Uncle Bob a monster, and he certainly possesses virtues that are laudable. But he is still a Klansman, and it is fair to criticize him for being a member of the Klan, just as it is fair to criticize his negative and harmful actions. That’s what most RP members are: Uncle Bob. They are human, demonstrably so, most of them aren’t actively engaged in violence or the threats of violence but they are all members of the same group, they all support the hate group’s rhetoric and they support those who do use threats of violence. It is a hard line to walk, to on one hand empathize with someone and recognize their basic humanity, while on the other actively resisting their actions and ideals.

  38. Tuomas: “But anyhow, I am gone for now.”

    Promises, promises.

    Anyway, no one was asking you to list works to prove your credentials. You criticised past winners as being dogmatic message fic, and when asked to substantiate, gave a list of Amazon One star reviews, at which point it became hilariously evident that you had no clue what you were talking about. Refresh your memory:

    http://file770.com/?p=22401&cpage=4#comment-259061

  39. I’m sorry, this is the worst season of File 770 Hugo Comments in the show’s history. The whole first part was taken up by the Will arc, but Will was a spectacularly misconceived Big Bad – I get the idea to have a sympathetic villain, but the trope is ruined when it’s just the villain expressing sympathy for himself and everybody else telling him to stop. I’m sure one point of it was more development of Alexandra Erin’s character, and that part sort of worked: she’s a great hero, I’d say the best one the series has produced so far. But there have to have been better ways to showcase her powers.

    Then the showrunners realize things have gone off the rails so they bring back Nate. Great idea! But this season’s Nate just doesn’t have the over-the-top zaniness that made him such a great spot villain in previous seasons. He doesn’t monologue any more, he just snipes. The pot luck thing was a good try but it didn’t go far enough. I bet the fanficcers are already correcting that with long speeches about just what varieties of poisoned tofu he will serve, but that doesn’t help the show itself.

    And the Steve Moss character has been terribly misused. Last season he made a fantastic, genuinely sympathetic villain. His devotion to repping Turncoat was so intense, almost Ahab-like, that you had to be compelled by it. Now he’s being used primarily to quibble back and forth with the protagonists and no longer has that edge. Maybe the writers have brought Tuomas back specifically to fill that role so they can have Steve do what he does best again? I hope so.

    Part of me thinks the best way forward is for someone to point out that the Dresden Files suck, since that really puts Steve back in his wheelhouse. But another part of me thinks that gambit is too personal, like having the heroes threaten the villain’s child.

    I’m just at a total loss, basically.

  40. The demand to conjure a list of read novels as means of your personal credentials for the validity of your opinion, is nothing but snotty-nosed elitism.

    Nonsense. In this context, it’s an excellent way to sort out who’s really a member of the sf fan community and who’s a bullshit culture-warrior who’s just here to lend moral support to MRA/PUA/Gamergate side.

  41. And you really can’t argue with somebody who writes like John.

    Given how mediocre Wright’s prose is, that must mean there are lots and lots of people you can’t argue with.

  42. And more generally, no, reading is not snotty-nosed elitism. The demand to conjure a list of read novels as means of your personal credentials for the validity of your opinion, is nothing but snotty-nosed elitism.

    You know, people wouldn’t be asking what sort of novels you have read if you hadn’t spent a lot of time criticizing a collection of books and stories that you later admitted you didn’t bother to read. When you decide to weigh in on the quality of particular works that you haven’t actually read, people tend to find it hard to take you seriously on the subject of reading unless you demonstrate that you have actually read something.

Comments are closed.