We Are Sad Puppies If You Please; We Are Sad Puppies If You Don’t Please 5/23

aka One Hundred Days of Being Stuck in a Crate Just Because You Ate the Goddamn Plum Pudding Again, if you Didn’t Want Me To Eat It You Shouldn’t Have Put it on the Table, Signed, Maggie, Your DOG

There are familiar and new bylines in today’s roundup: Bradley Armstrong, David Gerrold, John C. Wright, Michael Senft, John Ohno, Andrew Hickey, Vox Day, Amanda S. Green, Lis Carey, Elisa Bergslien, Patrick May, Rebekah Golden, Joseph Tomaras, and Spacefaring Kitten. (Credit for the alternate title goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Greg.)

Bradley Armstrong on Screen Burn

“Solitair vs. The Hugos: Introduction” – May 22

I’ve seen Correia and company get a lot of bad press for this latest battle in the American culture war, but after a few arguments online I’m going to cool my jets. At least Sad Puppies is not as disgusting as this other movement from last year I won’t dignify with a name. Correia has been acerbic in arguing his case, but he hasn’t crossed any lines of decency unless you see the slate voting as an immoral-in-spirit rigging of democracy via statistical loophole. He was even harassed and slandered online, which I can’t approve of no matter the cause. I flipped my lid about the epidemic of that same thing springing from that-which-must-not-be-named, and I’m not going to go back on that because it’s happening to someone I disagree with.

Correia has my condolences, but I do still disagree with him on this matter. Matthew David Surridge, in declining his Puppy-backed nomination, wrote the most clear-headed and sensible summary of this whole affair I’ve seen on the internet by a wide margin, and my position mostly reflects his. In short, I see no evidence that there is a conspiracy to culturally control the Hugos, at least not one that is in any way recent, and I like stuff with literary aspirations just as much as modest pulp fare, if not more. I thought that high-brow art was what awards were for, since bestseller lists aren’t going to give the good ones the recognition they deserve. As far as the preachy sermonizing goes, I and everyone else who saw James Cameron’s Avatar knows that pain, but I don’t know what the Puppies’ threshold is for that. Are they objecting more strongly to badly-written garbage, or the presence of progressive stances in fiction?


David Gerrold on Facebook – May 23

[A long post that explains what Gerrold told the Wall Street Journal reporter during a 45-minute call, of which he says only three out-of-context sentences were used. The following is a short sample.]

When you get that many nominees dropping out and when you get so many major voices in the field condemning the slate-mongering, this is not just a casual disagreement. It is evidence that there is a widespread perception that the slate-mongering was a miscalculation on the part of Torgersen and Correia — and a deliberate attack on the field by Vox Day. (Vox Day has publicly declared his intentions to destroy the Hugos.)

That’s the situation. And that’s pretty much the gist of what I told the reporter from the Wall Street Journal — okay, in the interests of journalistic integrity, I also let the reporter know that I too share the views of Martin, Willis, Castro, Flint, Scalzi, Kowal, and others — that the slates were a bad idea and that this is the year of the asterisk.

And that brings me, finally (yes, I know you’re exhausted, me too) to the most important point I want to make. I know some of the people who ended up on the slates. They’re good people. They’re the real victims of this mess.

I’ve known Kevin Anderson for a long time and have a lot of affection for him. He’s had an enviable career. He’s a good man. I can’t imagine that Kevin would have been a knowledgeable part of any attempt to rig the Hugo awards. Likewise, I’m pretty sure that Tony Weiskopf and Sheila Gilbert would not have been either. They’ve all been around long enough to know better. They have great reputations, fairly earned by a lifetime of hard work.

Unfortunately, despite the integrity of the nominees, there’s still an asterisk on this year’s awards. It’s not their fault, but there it is.


John C. Wright

“No One Cares About Your Hooey” – May 23

….Anyone clicking through the link there will come to this:

  • I believe, profess, and unambiguously support the view that homosexuals must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
  • I believe, profess, and unambiguously support the view that every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.
  • I believe, profess, and unambiguously support the view that These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
  • I believe everything the one, true, holy, catholic and apostolic Church teaches.

So, from your reaction, I take it you did not click through the link….


Michael Senft interviews Ann Leckie for The Arizona Republic

“Ann Leckie on ‘Ancillary Justice’ acclaim and breaking the pronoun barrier” – May 21

Q: One common comment about the Imperial Radch books is that you are writing a “genderless” society. That doesn’t seem an accurate interpretation.

A: Yeah, it’s been very interesting to me to see some of the discussion surrounding Radchaai and gender. The assumption, for instance, that the Radchaai must have “eradicated” gender in that society, when that’s really nowhere in the text. Or that, as you say, gender doesn’t exist, or that Breq “doesn’t understand” the concept of gender. Not infrequently someone will comment that it’s really stupid to think that a being as smart as Breq couldn’t get her head around the idea of gender, which is probably true, and that’s not really the problem Breq has, is it.


Michael Senft on Relentless Reading

“Ann Leckie on Hugos, pronouns and Genitalia Festivals” – May 23

And in an outtake from the story, she weighed in on the Hugo Awards, offering some advice to readers and members and why we she doesn’t worry about them too much:

“I probably shouldn’t comment on the Hugos this year. Though I will say what I would say any year, and that is that if the Hugos matter to you, you should nominate and vote. Sometimes I hear people comment that they don’t think they’re qualified because they don’t read enough, but I think the Hugos have always been about what the voters love, and if you love something and think it’s worthy of an award, you should be able to nominate it.

Beyond that—well, honestly, I figure I could spend my time worrying about awards, or even more pointlessly worrying about people’s opinions of awards, or even more pointlessly worrying about people’s opinions about who does or doesn’t “deserve” those awards — or I could spend my time writing. And I didn’t get into writing for awards. There are no guaranteed outcomes from anything, much less writing, and if I wanted a sure track to acclaim and fame and fortune I sure as heck wouldn’t have chosen writing to get that. I write because I want to tell stories, anything after that is extra. And fortunately I’ve got plenty of writing to do, and plenty of readers waiting for me to do it.”


John Ohno on The First Church of Space Jesus

“Utopianism and sci-fi as machine-lit” – May 13

There are several popular ways to look at science fiction as a genre. I have my own preferences. That said, the major opposing perspective — what I’d term the ‘machine-lit’ school of thought — has its merits, insomuch as it highlights a set of common tendencies in science fiction. I’d like to take this space to highlight the basic premise of machine-lit, the tendencies it breeds, and why I find most machine-lit to be relatively uninteresting.

(The third major perspective, what I call the spaceship-on-the-cover style, I find wholly uninteresting and is the subject of other essays; however, this perspective is becoming historically important lately because of some drama surrounding the Hugo awards being gamed by groups who prefer this style, so it’s worth mentioning in passing.)


Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

“Hugo Blogging: ‘Best’ Short Story” – May 23

….As a result, I do not believe a single story on the ballot is on there legitimately, and so I will be ranking No Award at the top of the list.

I would perhaps have some ethical qualms about this, were any of the nominated stories any good. However, happily, they range from merely not-very-good to outright abysmal. I shall rank the stories below No Award as follows:

Totaled by Kary English. This story is not in any way bad. It’s also, however, not in any way *good*, either. Were it in an anthology I read, I’d read through the story and forget it immediately, maybe remembering “the brain-in-a-jar one” if prodded enough. Perfectly competently put together, but with no new ideas, no interesting characters, and no real reason for existing. Certainly not Hugo-worthy…..


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Hugo Awards 2015: Best Novel” – May 23

This is how I am voting in the Best Novel category. Of course, I merely offer this information regarding my individual ballot for no particular reason at all, and the fact that I have done so should not be confused in any way, shape, or form with a slate or a bloc vote, much less a direct order by the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil to his 367 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.

  1. The Three-Body Problem
  2. Skin Game
  3. The Goblin Emperor
  4. The Dark Between the Stars
  5. No Award


Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“A few thoughts” – May 23

I’m busy making my way through the Hugo packet. My goal is to read everything included in it. Once I have, I will vote for those works I feel best deserve the Hugo. So far, only a few things have thrown me out from the beginning because the author forgot that you can get your message across without beating your reader over the head. And, no, not all of them are anti-Puppy supported works. Will I post my ballot? Probably, but only after I vote.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Cedar Sanderson Hugo Nomination Fanwriting Samples” – May 23

The distinctive feature here is that she congratulates herself on being feminine and a lady, as well as, of course, strong–unlike, we are given to understand, those silly and obnoxious feminists. She demands equality, and likes it when men put her on a pedestal, and doesn’t seem to notice the contradiction. Feminists are women seeking notoriety based solely on their femaleness, and want to grind men under their heels. There’s a long rant about lazy, wish-fulfillment fantasy, which does in fact say some useful and interesting things….


Elisa Bergslien on Leopards and Dragons

“My Three Body Problem problem”  – May 22

When I started this book, I was really looking forward to it.  I actually had it in my wish list at Amazon months ago because it sounded so cool. Now that I have finished it, I am really disappointed.  With all the hype about how deep, insightful, and exciting the book is, I have been left wondering if I read the same book. It wasn’t all bad I guess, but for me it definitely didn’t even remotely live up to the hype and I honestly don’t know if I will ever bother to pick up the next book to see what happens with the human race. As it is presented in the book, you kind of have to wonder if anyone is worth saving.


RogerBW’s Blog

“The Three Body Problem Liu Cixin” – May 23

This is a perversely fascinating book that gains far more interest from the problems it sets up than from the way it resolves them….


Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Award Novelette Category” – May 23

[Ranking is preceded by comments on all of the novelettes.)

My Hugo ballot for this category is:

  1. The Journeyman: In the Stone House
  2. The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale
  3. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium
  4. Championship B’Tok

I am not including “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” on my ballot.


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Professional Artist: Reviewing A Pollack” – May 23

His imagery is clear, epic, sweeping and fun….


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best TV Show: Reviewing Doctor Who” – May 22

I knew a guy who was a virgin and didn’t know what the big deal about sex was. Then he had sex. Then he wanted to have sex all the time. I’ve watched a few episodes of Doctor Who but I admit while I liked it I didn’t know what the big deal was. Now I know what the big deal is.


Joseph Tomaras on A Skinseller’s Workshop

“Novelettes, Novellas and Fan Writers” – May 23

Of the Analog stories, that leaves Rajnar Vajra’s story with the deceptively stupid title “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”. The title is clearly meant to pander to nostalgia for this-boy’s-life-in-space military SF stories of the so-called “Golden Age,” and insofar as it was selected by both sets of puppies for their slates, it succeeded. The title, however, bears little resemblance to the story itself, which can be read as subverting the tropes in which it superficially seems to glory. There is a valid argument to be had about whether subversion-of-tropes has not itself become a trope in contemporary SF, and a redundant one. I sympathize with that argument, but Vajra’s story is at least a better-than-average exemplar of the type, which held by interest start to finish and left me with a smile on my face. I encourage Hugo voters to read it with an open mind, and those who are not WorldCon members to seek it out.



John Scalzi on Whatever

“A Brief Note About Me Reviewing the Hugo Nominees” – May 23

I’ve been asked a few times if I plan to write any reviews of the Hugo nominees this year after I’ve read them. The answer: No, I don’t. One, if you look at my general modus operandi around Hugos, I don’t ever really comment on what I think of the merits of the individual nominees* until after the voting window has closed. Two, this year, this policy seems even more advisable as there are excitable people who would point out any reviews on my part as scale-tipping, regardless of what the review said. Three, as a general rule, in public, I try not to say negative things about the work of other writers. I will make exceptions from time to time. But generally, I avoid it….



567 thoughts on “We Are Sad Puppies If You Please; We Are Sad Puppies If You Don’t Please 5/23

  1. SocialInjusticeWorrier:

    The Hugo slate is being filled
    A thousand pups, a thousand shills
    A million ways to waste your dime
    Not one can write a decent line

    …and now I have a VNV Nation earworm that is quietly filking itself in my head, despite all my best intentions. That’s just wrong!

  2. “And we are to re-evaluate a friendship we have with a person if that that person has another friend with allegedly unpopular views?”

    Is this a serious question? Of course we do. We all do it all the time. Friendship doesn’t operate in a vacuum – it’s part of the complex web of social relations that all of us live within, and cannot live without.

  3. @Peace Is My Middle Name:

    and Scalzi defended the man to SFWA members who were upset about Beale’s statements.

    Although, that defense did include the line: From what I know of Beale’s politics, he’s a jackass, and a fairly ignorant jackass at that.

    Apparently, VD holds a grudge about being called a jackass that has lasted all that time.

  4. >> Apparently, VD holds a grudge about being called a jackass that has lasted all that time.>>

    Once Beale showed up in the thread and started pontificating at people, there was a lot more, to the point that Scalzi noted that Beale was being “beaten like a piñata,” and when someone said people should move on, responded:

    “But… there’s still more candy inside him!”

  5. ULTRAGOTHA on May 24, 2015 at 8:45 pm said

    I’ll see your last line of Cryoburn, and raise you “Ivan, you idiot, what are you doing here?” from Memory.

    Anna Feruglio Dal Dan on May 25, 2015 at 10:38 am said:

    Ok people, I bought an ebook copy of Memory having lost the paper one and re-read it and I still don’t get it. What is the significance of that line?

    If it didn’t hit you, then it didn’t hit you. But from reports of many Bujold readers, that is a line that makes many of us burst into tears even on re-reading.

    I think Bujold did that by building the incredible tension of the actions propelling Miles from being kicked out of Cockroach Central by Haroche to getting into that room and seeing in person what is happening to Illyan. Then he leaves Ivan (who would rather charge a laser cannon naked than be left alone with Illyan at that point) alone with Illyan at that point. As Miles walks out the door, Illyan in a moment of lucidity says “Ivan, you idiot, what are you doing here?” with considerably less tension in his voice.

    Every Ivan scene in the backlist adds poignancy to that line. And the release of the incredible tension in that mote of humor kicks a lot of readers hard.

    Jo Walton calls such things spearpoints–where the long, long shaft of back matter the author created leads to that point of force in the narrative,

    I’m totally willing to throw out more Bujold lines if it will inspire you to re-buy more of her books! 😉

    “…Do take you, what was your name again?”

  6. Gah. I don’t have time to do a full re-read of the Vorkosigan books right now. I’m saving that for after Christmas, prior to the new book. Damn you all, for making me want to start now.

  7. Steve Moss: snowcrash @ 10:36 pm- I believe the major members of the ELoE have all either won awards or been nominated for awards before the most recent drama.

    Thanks Steve, but as Whym noted, my question was with regards to the nominees themselves. Mike’s been providing updates on various genre awards, but thus far I haven’t seen the Puppy nominees on any of them. Did I miss any, or is it that the slated works have not been nominated anywhere else?

  8. @Bujold groupies
    “I’m totally willing to throw out more Bujold lines if it will inspire you to re-buy more of her books! 😉

    “…Do take you, what was your name again?””

    I can’t place that that one. I love this:
    “Pym!” The Countess spotted a new victim, and her voice went a little dangerous. “I seconded you to look after Miles. Would you care to explain this scene?”

    There was a thoughtful pause. In a voice of simple honesty, Pym replied, “No, Milady.”

  9. Maximillian –
    It’s from Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, if that helps you place it.

  10. Nicole!

    I’m super excited to hear someone namedrop VNV Nation. Have you heard their latest album? With the orchestra?!

  11. Alexvdl – I have not, at least, not in studio form. I saw them live in concert last year, though, and it was one of the most joyous concert experiences I’ve had in a long time.

    I’m more of a casual far than an encyclopedic* one. I don’t so much follow them as like what I wind up overhearing. It may be time for me to start actually seeking out albums, though.

    *For “encyclopedic” we turn to my multi-decade infatuation with Rush…

  12. Nicole,

    I’m right with you on the joyous concert thing. I consider concerts to be akin to what some people experience going to church, and in the three times I’ve seen VNV they’ve never failed to evoke that sense in me.

  13. Thanks to Jim Henley and Matt Y for their thoughts on “pattern musings” – I put a response here.

  14. @Steve Moss
    Sorry; missed this earlier, so coming back to it now:

    “So we are to judge whether a work is Hugo worthy, as least in part, based on the author’s pontifications? If so, that is a double edged sword.”

    Sigh. Go back and look, Steve; I said that Hugos were not the only question involved.

    I specifically discussed the physical and social aspects of the community all of us (in theory) inhabit.

    And we are to re-evaluate a friendship we have with a person if that that person has another friend with allegedly unpopular views? If that is your metric, I’m proud to say that we’ll never be friends.

    Oh, that’s priceless. “Allegedly unpopular views”. John C. Wright and Vox Mustela are on the fringe, and most everyone knows that — even their fellow Puppies, when confronted, often step away.

    But, yes, I do believe that; how someone could be friends with someone who believes the natural reaction of men is to beat me with tire irons, and still be my friend, is a very hard question to answer. Similarly, I am honored to count Chip Delany as, if not a friend, an acquaintance and conversational companion. I am sure many on the Puppy side of things would consider it untenable to be my friend as a result.

    That you don’t see this suggests to me that you’ve lived quite a safe life — never having to worry about what the consequences might be of someone socially or literally blindsiding you with violence.

    “My take on it is that people are letting their perceptions of the ELoE’s political/religious views color their views on them as both people and as authors. De-humanizing the enemy is always one of the first steps.”

    Tell that to the person who talks about his foes as Morlocks, as subhumans, as haters of all that is good and beautiful and true — quite literally, haters of the truth solely because it is the truth. Tell that to the person who describes other human beings as half-savages, even though they are (by all apparent measures) just as, if not more, erudite, civilized, etc. than the complainant.

    When it comes to “de-humanizing the enemy”, no person opposed to the Rabid Puppies has come anywhere close to what Mrs. Wright, Mustela, and HeWhoCannotBeNamedWithoutModeration have done, and continue to do.

    Clear the beam out of the puppies’ eye, Steve Moss, before you complain about any mote in anyone else’s.

  15. Re: “de-humanizing the enemy”– they’re doing a good job of that themselves. No one should call themselves “the Evil League of Evil” or “Rabid Puppies” or “Cruelty Artist” expecting to be loved.

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