Demon with a Glass Hound 5/30

aka The Pup Who Circumnavigated Hugoland In A Slate Of His Own Making

The roundup includes Lela E. Buis, Samantha Noll, David Gerrold, Max Florschutz, Vox Day, Alexandra Erin, Jim McCoy, David Mack, Wei Ming Kam, Lis Carey, Pluviann, Chad Orzel, Bonnie McDaniel, Ursula Vernon, May Tree, Laurie Mann and less identifiable others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and Alexandra Erin. Update: In case you’re keeping score at home, the subtitle is similar to one previously contributed by Dawn Sabados, but not identical.)

Lela E. Buis

“SJWs in space” – May 30

The Puppies debate has some interesting facets, and it’s also an unusual opportunity to observe a little human behavior. One of the main accusations of the Puppies’ spokesmen Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day), Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia is that SF&F has been taken over by social justice warriors (aka SJW) who are pushing a liberal and literary agenda while forcing out old fashioned, right-leaning SF&F. I’ve just been reading about social justice, as it turns out. According to Professor Michael Reisch the definition of social justice is fairly open to question. This mutability means that different groups tend to co-opt the activist strategy and organize to advance their own definition of what social justice really is. Clearly, the Puppies have taken on the mantle and have now become social justice warriors, the very thing they have been loving to hate.

 

Samantha Noll on Dispatches from the Philosophy of Science Association’s Women’s Caucus

“A War of Words and Ideas: Philosophy, Science Fiction, and the Hugo Award Controversy” – May 30

So why is this important for society in general and for philosophers of science in particular? The answer to this question may become clearer when we reflect on why fringe groups are escalating their campaigns in science-fiction and other genres aimed at disenfranchising and silencing entire groups of people. As Kameron Hurley of The Atlantic argues “the truth is that our wars of words and narrative matter, especially those that tell us what sorts of possible futures we can build—and groups like Gamergate, Sad Puppies, and Rabid Puppies understand this.” During a time where the United States is becoming ever more diverse and citizens’ views ever more liberal, the push to suppress this trend is becoming ever more rabid, to appropriately apply Beale’s terminology. Barring those writing from diverse standpoints from receiving formal recognition helps to limit the exposure of these works and thus silences the authors. This is one of the reasons why it is important for those living in a democratic and multicultural society to ensure that those like Beale and Correia are not successful.

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 29

Worldcons, as we know them, have been around since 1939. Hugos have been awarded since 1953

Thousands of people have invested an enormous amount of time and energy into keeping the traditions of the World Science Fiction Convention going. Thousands have invested an enormous amount of time and energy in developing an award system designed to acknowledge excellence in the craft.

No award system is perfect — but it’s hard to argue with a system that has recognized the excellence of Dune, Left Hand Of Darkness, Starship Troopers, Ringworld, The Stars My Destination, Dragonflight, Stand On Zanzibar, Flowers For Algernon, City On The Edge Of Forever, Aye And Gomorrah, Blink, and other works that not only represent the best of the year — they also redefine what’s possible in the genre.

To some extent, there is an element of popularity in the voting. To some extent, there is an element of promotion by publishers and authors. To a larger extent, the problem with the Hugos is that the field has gotten so big and so sprawling that it’s impossible for any fan to be as widely read as in the past. This is why recommended reading lists are a great help.

There’s also a tradition of respect in fandom.

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 29

Some people have advocated going to Amazon and Goodreads and other sites to post one-star reviews of works by authors whose views they oppose.

Please, don’t do it.

It’s a failure of integrity.

If you’ve read the work, then post your honest opinion, good or bad. But punishing an author by down-voting his/her work — that’s not fair to the author, to the work, or to readers who are looking for useful reviews.

If you’re claiming to be one of the good guys, you gotta act like it.

 

Max Florschutz on Unusual Things

“I’m Not a Fan of Science-Fiction and Fantasy?” – May 30

I may not be a Science-Fiction and Fantasy fan.

Which is shocking. I always thought I was one. But no, according to a lot of these posts and comments I’m seeing and reading, I am not a “fan.” Or, to use the terms that some of the insulars have started to use, I am not a “trufan,” a term which, quite honestly, reminds me quite a bit of the ridiculous amount of self-inflicted (and mostly declarative) segregation in the gaming community between the “PC Master Race” and the “Console Gaming Peasants.” The console gamers aren’t really gamers, you see. They’re just casuals.

 

Caitlin on Devourer of Words

“Why I am voting for the Hugo Awards this year” – May 30

In general, I am disappointed that a small number of people think they have the right to dictate what the genres of sci-fi and fantasy consist of. In particular, people like Vox Day make me physically ill, and I don’t want promising new authors with awesome new ideas to leave the genre because of them. Vox Day in particular deserves to be defended against: this is a guy who doesn’t believe women should be allowed to vote…

 

 Vox Day onVox Popoli

“Eric Flint, SJW”

You know, we’ve wondered who was going to the new Hitler ever since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proved to be such a washout in that regard. My money was on Putin, so I had absolutely no idea it would turn out to be me. Someone get Hugo Boss on the line, we’re going to need some snappy new outfits for the VFM, stat! Let’s address the issues as Mr. Flint, real deal SJW, puts them forth.

  1. I don’t share Hitler’s views on race, as I have a basic grasp of human genetics and I am neither a eugenicist nor an Aryan supremacist.
  2. On the subject of Jews, I am a Zionist who edits and publishes the eminent Israeli military historian Dr. Martin van Creveld.
  3. I’m not opposed to women learning to read and write. I am opposed to women being encouraged to obtain advanced degrees in the place of husbands and children. Unlike Mr. Flint, I can do the demographic math.
  4. I don’t support honor killings. I never have.
  5. I don’t hide what I really believe. Mr. Flint claims to know what I really believe without me ever putting it into words because, and I quote, “peekaboo”. If anyone is “a fucking clown” here, it is observably Mr. Flint.
  6. I’m not trying to win Hugo Awards. I don’t care about winning awards.
  7. I have no delusions of grandeur. I’m not the one who keeps running to The Guardian, Entertainment Weekly, The New Zealand Herald, NPR, Popular Science, or the Wall Street Journal to talk about me. I haven’t issued a single press release or called a single member of the media about the Hugo Awards or anything else, for that matter.
  8. Western civilization is in peril. In large part thanks to idiots like Mr. Flint.
  9. I don’t like to portray myself with a flaming sword. That was the brainchild of the Star Tribune photographer who was taking pictures of me for a story the paper was doing. Apparently he was onto something, as it’s an image many people have remembered….

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“How big is the doghouse?” – May 30

So, Kate Paulk has been tapped as the standard-bearer of next year’s Sad Puppies campaign. She has declared that next year’s Hugo ballot-stuffing initiative will be done in a transparent and democratic manner. This does not fill one with confidence, since Brad Torgersen has made the same claims about this year’s ballot-stuffing initiative.

It also needs to be pointed out that it hardly matters who leads the Sad Puppies campaign or what they do or how they do it, as this year’s otherwise failed campaign only managed to achieve accidental relevance through the fact that the successful Rabid Puppies campaign largely copied and pasted their agenda.

With all that in mind, I have to say that I’m interested in Kate Paulk’s post about what she considers to be Hugo-worthy work only as an academic matter. If the list she assembles using it winds up being the ballot, it will likely be only because someone truly nasty as well as small-minded got behind her and started shoving, as happened this year.

 

Jim McCoy on Jimbos Awesome SFF Book and Movie Reviews

“Kate Paulk’s ConVent” – May 30

Before I get too far into the book, I wanted to mention Kate’s involvement with the Sad Puppies. She is next year’s evil, evil, evil ringleader. If you support evil, mean people who evilly think that you should evilly vote for good fiction written by evil people who evilly put story over message (because they’re evil) she’s worth supporting. Oh, and her book also kicks ass, but we’ll get to that in a minute. I just wanted to take a minute to give evil praise to Her Evilness, The Duchess of Snark. Does that make me evil? Probably. I’m OK with that. Now, onto the book.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The Ones Who Walk Away from Fandom” – May 30

It’s more than a little amusing. And those who walk away are the wise ones, because, as it has been sung:

Never kick a dog
Because it’s just a pup
You’d better run for cover when the pup grows up!

 

 

Wei Ming Kam on Fantasy Faction

“The pros and cons of the voting processes behind major SFF awards: Part 2” – May 31

This year, there is reportedly a massive upsurge in people buying supporting memberships of Sasquan, so basically people want to vote in the awards but have no interest in going to the con. Normally, the number of people who vote in the awards is small, so it’s reasonable to say that the upsurge is a result of the resentful manchildren making this year’s awards political. SADFACE. SAD SASQUATCH SADFACE.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Revenge of Hump Day–Hugo Nominated Best Fanzine” – May 31

It’s all perfectly competently and clearly written. I’m sure it’s well-received by its intended audience. On the other hand, I don’t see any exceptional excellence.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Sex Criminals Volume 1:One Weird Trick (Sex Criminals #1-5), by Matt Fraction (writer) Chip Zdarsky (artist)” – May 30

This one I did not expect to like. I got a surprise. It’s intelligent, thoughtful, does some really interesting things, and Suzie, as an adult, is a librarian, and a well-done librarian is always a win for me, Yes, it’s self-indulgent. So sue me.

 

Pluviann on The Kingfishers Nest

“On a Spiritual Plain – Lou Antonelli” – May 30

Imagine a great caravan of giant aliens travelling across a bleak and open plain, above them the most glorious auroral display fills the sky, and travelling with them is a human chaplain on a segway enclosed by faraday cage. This image comes from Lou Antonelli’s ‘On a Spiritual Plain’ and it deserves fanart. It’s the best part of the short story, and the idea of a faraday segway in particular really tickled me.

 

Award-Winning Reading

“Best Fan Artist” – May 28

Fun fact: I almost voted No Award for this entire category. Now I’m voting for Elizabeth Leggett and No Award for everything else. I went looking at each nominees website to make sure that I was looking at everything that is award eligible. Ninni Aalto, Brad W. Foster and Steve Stiles all have similar styles (to my very untrained eye) that just does not appeal to me. Add in that I didn’t find the subject matter that interesting, and there is no reason for me to vote for any of them. I like that Spring Schoenhuth’s work consists mostly of jewelry. I don’t really recognize most of it though, and again the style doesn’t really appeal to me, so I won’t vote for her.

Award Winning Reading

“Totaled by Kary English” – May 29

There is some science talk in this story, but it was unobtrusive and easy to understand. It was just enough to give the story weight without pulling attention away from the storyline. The writing is beautiful. Descriptive, but concise. It really drew me into the story in a way that I was not expecting.

 

Award-Winning Reading

“On a Spiritual Plain by Lou Antonelli” – May 28

I liked the writing style. Not overly wordy but descriptive enough to ground the reader. I do also like that the story made me confront the idea that I decided what the story was about when I was halfway through and then got mad when it didn’t follow like I thought it should. While I’m a bear to be around when that happens, I like to be reminded that authors can do whatever they please without catering to my idea of what it should be.

Chad Orzel on Uncertain Principles

“Hugo Reading: Not-Novels” – May 30

In the short fiction categories, two of the longer nominees were weirdly incomplete. “Flow” by Arlan Andrews and “Championship B’Tok” by Edward Lerner are perfectly fine, but just… stop. I wouldn’t object to reading more in either setting, say if these were the introductory chapters of longer novels, but as self-contained stories, they’re kind of lacking.

“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra is a complete alien-contact story, and good enough in a Heinlein-pastiche sort of vein. It’s maybe a little shaggy, but it’s enjoyable enough. “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt is kind of stupid and pointless, featuring a world where gravity literally reverses itself after the narrator gets dumped. I’m not sure it’s all that much more stupid and pointless than last year’s “The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere,” though, and that ended up winning, so…

“A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond is built around the nice image of a samurai climbing up the back of a mountain-sized monster in an attempt to kill it, but doesn’t quite pay off, and the bits where the narrator explains samurai stuff were kind of tedious. “Totaled” by Kary English may have been the best of the lot, a brain-in-a-vat story that had some genuine emotional content.

I don’t think any of these are brilliant, but I didn’t find any of them strikingly awful, either (“The Day The World Turned Upside Down” comes closest, but remained at “sigh heavily but keep reading” rather than “close the file and move on to the next thing”). I suspect there were probably better stories out there, but I say that almost every year that I read the short-fiction nominees, so…

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“Don’t crush THAT Hugo, hand me the SNARL” – May 30

Decades later I would find out that “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers” did not barely lose out to “No Award”, and that “Blows Against the Empire “ by Jefferson Starship had actually come in second place. I know that the Jefferson Starship supergroup that put out “Blows Against the Empire” was not really the same band that “Built This City” in  1985 (“Worst song of the 80s” by a Rolling Stone Reader’s poll), but the fact that they had the same name, and several of the same members, makes me think it was better that “No Award” won in that year. In addition to the dubious distinctions of most “No Award” winners, and for propelling films like “Flesh Gordon” (nominated 1975) to prominence, the Best Dramatic Presentation has been a place where stories too far ahead of their time could be reconsidered in a digested visual format some of the members of fandom could better relate to.

 

Bonnie McDaniel on Red Headed Femme

“The Hugo Project: ‘Wisdom From My Internet’” – May 30

I picked “Wisdom From My Internet” to review first, mainly to see if all the rumblings I’ve heard about it are true, and it is indeed the worst thing to disgrace the ballot in decades.

May I be perfectly frank for a moment?

Great Cthulhu, kill me now.

What the hell is this shit?

I really don’t want to hurt Michael Z. Williamson’s feelings, but I’m afraid it’s going to be unavoidable.

 

 

May Tree in a comment on File 770 – May 29

Voting for Noms On a Summer Evening

Whose noms these are I think I know.
His blog is quite a silly show;
He will not see me stopping here
His lousy choices to forego.

My Siamese Cat must think it queer
To stop without a Hugo near
But I must set aside this slate
And vote again another year.

These stories, at best second-rate,
Were stuffed by Pups (and GamerGate?!)
The rockets they would try to sweep
Their wounded egos to inflate.

The Puppy Poop is much too deep,
My sanity I’ll have to keep,
And “No Award” before I sleep,
And “No Award” before I sleep.

 

Laurie Mann on Facebook – May 30

This is not a joke. This group, Snarky Puppy, is playing in the INB Theater 3 months after the Hugo Awards are presented in the same building.  http://www.inbpac.com/event.php?eventID=270

Snarky Puppy

466 thoughts on “Demon with a Glass Hound 5/30

  1. Cat on May 31, 2015 at 6:13 am said:

    @ Jim Henley,

    FWIW, reading John C Wright so far (Pale Realms of Shade, One Bright Star To Guide Them and Parliament Of The Birds And The Beasts) suggests to me that he shines at hinting at coolness but fails spectacularly to bring the coolness when the plot calls for it in full (and sometimes restructures his plot in weird ways to actively avoid having to write the coolness out in full.)

    His writing reminds me of a sort of gamemastering style where the GM tosses out cool ideas but doesn’t really have anything behind them and relies on the players to speculate and fill out details and create the wonder in the world.

    I wonder if Wright plays in or runs roleplaying games.

  2. Lois:

    The Sad Puppy movement has nothing to do with its own success. That success is due to Rabid Puppies. The Sads are just a front or stalking-horse for the Rabids.

  3. Also, can I put in a word for Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta for the Not a Hugo? It’s a small-scale nearish future novel, does have occasional issues, but is overall engaging and interesting. You don’t need to blow planets up to have good SF.

    It isn’t at all about homeopathy, I’m sure you will be glad to hear.

  4. @Lois

    “AFAIK, [SJW] debuted as a criticism for the type of activist that cares more about being seen as righteous and focusing on ideological purity than doing actual good for others.”

    Does anyone have good information for the origin of the term? I first saw it deployed by Will Shetterly, but I don’t know if he originated it.

    That was the definition I first knew it as. It was used by activists against other activists who were “focusing on ideological purity” to the point they’d end up bullying the minorities they were supposedly defending; dogpiling trans activists online for using “tranny”, for instance, and talking over black people’s lived experiences to make their own point.

    The term had some issues, even then. I mostly saw it aimed at young teen girls on Tumblr, who, I think, were mostly new to the idea of social justice and activism, who tended to go too far and were too shortsighted and literal and needed to listen a bit more. But, they were teenagers who didn’t know how to listen, yet, and teenagers can be real assholes who think they know everything, they just mostly grow out of it. It’s the adults who are assholes who think they know everything that are the real problem, imo.

    Still, it wasn’t too long after that is was co-opted by the right and then popularized by GG.

  5. Rek on May 31, 2015 at 6:15 am said:

    @Cmm
    “How many people who never heard of John C. Wright or Michael Z. Williamson will now actively run the other way if they see a work with that name on it, where in the past they may have been enticed to take a look based on an intriguing cover or tagline?”

    Which is a shame about MZW at least. It seemed like his nomination was for a self-published experiment and not something he took as seriously as his fiction.

    I really liked MZW’s most recent book, A Long Time Until Now, which is sort of a time travel book like S.M. Stirlings Island in the Sea of Time or Eric Flint’s 1632. I would be curious to hear what people from different parts of the political spectrum felt about his characterizations.

    Turns out I have a friend who has had professional contact with Williamson. My friend is as Left as can be and considers Williamson a fairly nice guy.

    Man, this situation is a mess.

  6. Kyra on May 31, 2015 at 7:08 am said:

    > “I was disappointed with both Among Others and My Real Children.”

    The ending of “My Real Children” actually made me angry.

    However, considering how much I loved “Farthing” and “Tooth and Claw”, I am willing to spot Jo Walton quite a lot of books that don’t work for me.

    Srsly? Aw. That’s one of the books I was hoping to get to.

  7. Lois Tilton on May 31, 2015 at 7:27 am said:

    I’d suggest that the Sad Puppy movement has already peaked, and Paulk’s 2016 effort will be inconsequential. Correia’s first attempt went unnoticed, his second was noticed but ineffective. But Correia is an author with strong sales and fan base, sufficient to carry a movement. …

    Hiiiiiii, Lois! I loved Vampire Winter!

  8. So it would seem to be Will Shetterly.

    Dr Science – was that not my point?

  9. @Peace is my Middle Name:

    His writing reminds me of a sort of gamemastering style where the GM tosses out cool ideas but doesn’t really have anything behind them and relies on the players to speculate and fill out details and create the wonder in the world.

    That’s a perfectly valid roleplaying style and probably the one I prefer, whether GMing or playing. (In games where there is a GM.) But RPGs are an inherently collaborative endeavor so that approach can actually work. Written fiction lacks the feedback loop.

  10. Has this been done already?

    Sad Puppy, Whiny Puppy, Melancholy Cur,
    Rabid Puppy, Angry Puppy, Grr Grr Grr

  11. Jim Henley on May 31, 2015 at 7:55 am said:

    @Peace is my Middle Name:

    His writing reminds me of a sort of gamemastering style where the GM tosses out cool ideas but doesn’t really have anything behind them and relies on the players to speculate and fill out details and create the wonder in the world.

    That’s a perfectly valid roleplaying style and probably the one I prefer, whether GMing or playing. (In games where there is a GM.) But RPGs are an inherently collaborative endeavor so that approach can actually work. Written fiction lacks the feedback loop.

    I don’t have any argument with it as a gaming style, either, so long as the GM and players can roll with it.

    Makes for terrible fiction, though.

  12. > “Srsly? Aw. That’s one of the books I was hoping to get to.”

    Well, there’s no guarantee you’ll agree with me. And I certainly don’t regret reading it. I was enjoying it greatly until literally the very end.

  13. Speaking of Ann Leckie, I was pretty stoked that I got to meet her and congratulate her for her Hugo win last year and her nom this year. What an incredibly nice human being.

  14. RE: My Real Children by Jo Walton

    See, this is where people have different reactions to books. I absolutely loved My Real Children, and the end made me cry *in public*. I tracked down Jo Walton’s book tour that afternoon and that evening was telling her how strongly it affected me.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but to me a Hugo worthy book makes me *feel* something. Sad, happy, angry, loving, excited–I want that emotional reaction as well as the ride in another person’s world.

    (Hi! Been reading since April, and this is the first time I’ve felt I had something to add to the conversation.)

  15. So that Leckie story, “Night’s Slow Poison”, was really good. But I was thrown by the different pronouns. Why were some characters referred to as “he” and others, “she”? I couldn’t see any story purpose to that much gendering of people, dammit.

  16. “Clearly, the Puppies have taken on the mantle and have now become social justice warriors, the very thing they have been loving to hate.”

    Classic example of confusing the name with the thing.

  17. > “I couldn’t see any story purpose to that much gendering of people, dammit.”

    I’ve noticed a lot of modern authors doing this. It’s like they have some kind of compulsion to inform us which characters are male and which are female.

    I think they’re just being trendy, really.

  18. How ’bout the entire first season of Star Trek?

    The Dog Trap
    Puppy X
    Where No Puppy Has Gone Before
    The Naked Canine
    The Enemy Without
    Mudd’s Puppies
    What Are Little Dogs Made Of?
    Pupi
    Dagger of the Mined
    The Correiabite Maneuver
    The Kennel
    The Conscience of the Vox
    Unbalance of Terror
    Bore Leave
    The Hugo Seven
    The Puppy of Gothos
    Purina
    Tomorrow is Puppyday
    Award Martial
    The Return of the Puppies
    Space Need
    A Slate of Armageddon
    This Slate of Paradise
    The Devil in the Dork
    Errant of Mercy
    The Aristotle Factor
    The Shitty on the Edge of Forever
    Operation: Annihilate! (seems apt as is)

  19. Jim Henley on May 31, 2015 at 8:25 am said:

    Jim Henley: So that Leckie story, “Night’s Slow Poison”, was really good. But I was thrown by the different pronouns. Why were some characters referred to as “he” and others, “she”? I couldn’t see any story purpose to that much gendering of people, dammit.

    I know! The prose was far too clunky — two genders is so confusing — and the signalling was all wrong. The initial worldbuilding signals were all Scottish space adventure, so the sudden inclusion of classic spy story elements threw me – and this in the first few pages.

  20. Regarding Correia’s Campbell-related resentment — I read that original post-Worldcon essay he put up and was quite struck by the way he kept returning to the idea that he “got his ass handed to him.” Not just that he lost, but that he lost by a lot. He was trying to put a jokey spin on it, but it was still pretty obvious that it really bothered him.

    He felt humiliated.

    It might be an objectively ridiculous way for him to feel — why should he feel more humiliated than someone who wasn’t even nominated? — but there it is. I mean, I sort of even understand it. I tend to feel humiliated when a story is rejected, even thought that’s entirely the expected result when you submit a story.

    My response is to be very bad at submitting my fiction.

    His response was — well, you know.

    But I have to agree with those who have suggested that the issue isn’t really Sads anymore — now that the Sads begat the Rabids, and it was obviously the Rabid slate that dominated.

    I suspect the Rabids aren’t fans of SF so much as they are “members of the cult of Vox Day.” Partly, this is the only thing that truly seems to explain the works on the slate — the ones that aren’t published by Beale’s own press anyway — the point isn’t that they are any particular thing, the point is that he chose them, and there they are.

    I don’t know what that implies for the future. Beale himself obviously believes in nursing a grudge to the end of time, so HE’S not going anywhere. But how many minions does he actually have? What’s their staying power? Are they really going to stay interested enough to do this again next year?

  21. @JJ:

    I know! The prose was far too clunky — two genders is so confusing — and the signalling was all wrong. The initial worldbuilding signals were all Scottish space adventure, so the sudden inclusion of classic spy story elements threw me – and this in the first few pages.

    You know what’s funny? When I read AJ, I actually twigged to “tavern”, “snow” and “sledge” as fantasy tropes. But I enjoyed that. I took it as a welcoming, minor jest to begin the story. Which was clearly science fiction because of everything else going on.

  22. Jim Henley: You know what’s funny? When I read AJ, I actually twigged to “tavern”, “snow” and “sledge” as fantasy tropes. But I enjoyed that. I took it as a welcoming, minor jest to begin the story. Which was clearly science fiction because of everything else going on.

    I didn’t take it as a jest. I took it as “Oh, cool! This isn’t just going to be another typical MilSF story!”

    I love it when authors shake up the standard SFF tropes, and do it successfully. If I wanted to read the same thing over and over again, I’d just keep all of Heinlein’s book on infinite reading loop instead of trying something I haven’t read before.

    But clearly, there are people who find the “same-old, same-old” comforting and validating, and “new and twistedly different” as unsettling — or even threatening.

  23. @JJ:

    I didn’t take it as a jest. I took it as “Oh, cool! This isn’t just going to be another typical MilSF story!”

    I love it when authors shake up the standard SFF tropes, and do it successfully.

    It’s possible we’re using different words for the same thing. 🙂

  24. I will say I don’t mind it when gender is signaled in some types of stories. If you’ve got a story set it, say, 17th century Turkey, or 20th century America, or some such, then letting the reader know a character’s gender will tell you something about how they were raised, how they are treated, etc. I don’t like it so much when it’s also used as a lazy way of characterization, but at least it has some use. In a science fiction or fantasy story, though? With some presumably completely different society? Why should I care which characters are “innies” and which are “outies”? Weird.

  25. Jokes of the Gerentate:

    Radchai? More like Poseurchai, amirite?”

    “Haw! ‘I do have a gender but it’s pretty obscure. You’ve probably never heard of it.'”

  26. Well, if this _does_ come up again, I’d like to misuse this comment thread for the question: Why can’t the AI in Ancilliary Justice figure out gender when she/it obviously cares about it in the sense that her/its staying hidden/under the radar depends on it?
    It doesn’t bother me much, and I enjoyed the perspective the consistent use of female pronoun brings, but I’d still like a plausible in-world reason.

  27. Regarding “Wisdom From My Internet” —

    I followed the links from the previous roundup to the posts boosting Ms. Marvel, and noticed Mr. Williamson in the comments of this one arguing that his work got an Amazon ranking boost (indicating that Puppies had indeed been buying it, presumably to read), but he did not expect his work to win.

    (I don’t see a way to link to the individual comments that he posted stating this, sorry)

    Scroll down to the comments.

  28. @Kyra

    Why should I care which characters are “innies” and which are “outies”?

    I think it can be useful because to a lot of readers the default lieutenant, peon, or someone-standing-in-the-corner is “male”. Specifying this can be a way to combat this assumption, especially in a setting where you can’t use other indicators, like name.

  29. On second thought, I suppose the use of gendered pronouns in SFF *could* be a way of obliquely commenting on the writer’s *own* culture. You know, like, “This apparently strange world far removed from anything you are familiar with is in fact a strange reflection of … the treatment of the genders in YOUR OWN SOCIETY!”

    But I have to say I’m not a fan of “message” fiction like that.

  30. mk41: Why can’t the AI in Ancilliary Justice figure out gender when she/it obviously cares about it in the sense that her/its staying hidden/under the radar depends on it?

    Imagine that you’re color-blind. You’re dealing with a race which makes role distinctions based on eye color. But everyone’s eyes look the same to you. You know that they are able to distinguish among themselves who is what, and you understand that that has significance to them — but to you, they all look the same.

    That’s what’s going on with Breq. She knows that humans have cultural and physical cues that indicate gender to each other, but she doesn’t have the psychological underpinning to understand how to read them; and because they’re wearing clothing, she can’t see the obvious gender differences.

  31. I wonder if The Plural of Helen of Troy was something Wright put down half written and then came back to after his conversion. I’d rate the first half a solid 7/10, but then the endless second half comes into play and drops the story down to a 4.

  32. @mk41:

    Why can’t the AI in Ancilliary Justice figure out gender when she/it obviously cares about it in the sense that her/its staying hidden/under the radar depends on it?

    By “the AI”, do you mean Justice of Toren One Esk Nineteen, a.k.a. Breq? Do you mean Justice of Toren pre-destruction? I am guessing the former because you refer to Breq’s need to stay under the radar. But Breq’s intellect is limited to what’ll work in a single meat brain, and the base AI itself was clearly an impressive construct but by no means godlike. It makes sense that the parameters of its intellect were conditioned by Radchai assumptions given everything else we know about it. Parsing finicky distinctions barbarians make is something neither the Radchai nor their machine intelligences have been set up to do well.

  33. JJ: But it’s not Breq having a problem because she’s an AI rather than a human. It’s Breq having a problem because she’s Radchai rather than an outlander. Leckie makes it clear that Breq’s outlook on gender is that of Radchai culture as a whole.

  34. I will note for the record that I have actually recommended My Real Children to people in spite of my problems with the ending, btw.

    The ending isn’t the only thing. Early episodes of Battlestar Galactica were not retroactively erased when the finale happened, so to speak.

  35. “So that Leckie story, “Night’s Slow Poison”, was really good. But I was thrown by the different pronouns. Why were some characters referred to as “he” and others, “she”? I couldn’t see any story purpose to that much gendering of people, dammit.”

    Calm down, Jim. Have some tea.

  36. A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark by Harry Connolly is pretty damn awesome, but I am predisposed to loving protagonists of an older female nature by virtue of my badass grandmother. That being said, I enjoyed it thoroughly, though the ending suggests rather strongly that it’s setting up for a sequel and feels sort of abrupt.

  37. Jim Henley: But it’s not Breq having a problem because she’s an AI rather than a human. It’s Breq having a problem because she’s Radchai rather than an outlander. Leckie makes it clear that Breq’s outlook on gender is that of Radchai culture as a whole.

    True. Thanks for your clarification, my wording made that about as clear as mud.

  38. Regarding the reason why the supporting numbers bumped this year.

    I will state the puppy mess has gotten me to register and vote this year and next. I am not new to the genre; I have read it since I was a kid.

    Puppies 4 – I hope it will be a discussion amongst fans sharing what they will read for nominations next year and not a slate. I don’t see why it needs its own group but people can do what they want.

  39. Announcement: by popular demand, my May 2015 filks have been collected in “The Pomeranian Cycle,” hot off the press in the latest Canine Daze. I plan to write one more, but my work has already received glowing reviews from critics at home and abroad so I expect the Wall Street Journal to be calling any second.

  40. I really enjoyed A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark.

    I am someone who bought a membership to Worldcon in reaction to the slates. The funny part for me was that I hadn’t realized that I cared about the Hugos until this kerfuffle. Once I realized that I cared, I had to do my part.

    Nominating will be hard because I have never paid attention to when books are published. Now I need to look at the copyright information on the books that I have read for the last few months and start keeping track. I have also subscribed to several magazines so I can read short fiction.

    tl;dr I don’t know what i’ve read this year was published in 2015 so I can only second recommendations made by others and star making long reading lists.

    I like Scalzi’s Big Idea posts. iO9.com also publishes a monthly article of the F&SF books coming out every month. They can’t cover them all so be sure to read the comments for more head’s up.

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