Pug Jack Barron 5/31

2007_1aka ”He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty puppy!”

Today’s roundup brings you Amanda S. Green, Rachel Iliffe, Sarah A. Hoyt, Vox Day, Lou Antonelli, Camestros Felapton, Jeet Heer, Joseph Tomaras, Lis Carey, Lisa J. Goldstein, Rebekah Golden, and cryptic others. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Whym and Hampus Eckerman.)

Amanda S. Green

“The gloves came off” – May 31

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been fighting the urge to respond to a post in a private Facebook group that is supposedly dedicated to the appreciation of the writings of Robert A. Heinlein. I say supposedly because it had become more and more apparent that wasn’t necessarily the case. But the crowning point came when one of the members posted a link to a story about why Connie Willis would not be presenting at the Hugo Awards. I’m not going to get into Ms. Willis’ reasons other than to say I don’t agree with them. But it was her decision and she will have to live with the consequences — good, bad or indifferent.

However, what got to me was the poster of the link starting out by saying that she was a so far unpublished science fiction writer who is just so angry at the “talentless and angry malcontents” who have supposedly ruined the Hugos. Okay, nothing new there. Still, it was a bit surprising to find such a position being advocated in a Heinlein forum, especially when it became clear that the whole issue was that there have been more men nominated for a Hugo and that more men have won than women. Again, nothing new….


Rachel Iliffe on Rachelloon Productions

“#HugoAwards Follow Up: Dextrous and Sinister” – May 31


  1. 2500 people are not representative of the entire SF fandom.

This is the number I’ve been hearing anyway, from various people–the estimate of who, in recent years, was actually submitting and voting on the books in question. And from what I can make out, these people are also mostly made up of the fan clubs of a certain select group of authors; suggesting they are perhaps not particularly diverse in their opinions.

Again, it’s not that anything untoward happened to lead to that–no one was stopping other people from getting involved, the whole event just seemed to have become more obscure in recent times, but the lack of mass involvement in recent years has been telling. Perhaps the event just hasn’t been publicised properly, I mean–it’s supposed to be like the Emmys for SF, right?

How was this ever going to change, but by some ‘radical’ action? I’m not saying it had to happen the way it did–I would have preferred it hadn’t since so many authors have felt the need to disassociate themselves–but for new life to be breathed into the Hugos, someone had to put them in the spotlight again. And I do think they needed new life.


Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Truth and Fiction” – May 31

Which brings us to the other “Big Lie” that we just want “pulp” or “adventure” or “old fashioned” stories.

This incredible nonsense doesn’t pass the smell test. None of us has said that. What’s more, as far as I can tell, none of us believes that. I have in the past advised fledglings not to try to write in the style of long-gone-by writers (except the occasional send up. I’ve been known to do Bradbury pastiche.)  Writing styles and tastes have changed.  No one wants to work that hard for their fiction.

Much as I love say Jane Austen, I’m aware styles of prose have changed completely since her day. You see, we are a lot more visual. Also omniscient narrator doesn’t seem to do as well as it once did, because competing with visual media forces writing to employ its one advantage: putting you in a character’s head for a while.

Also, frankly, with some exceptions, I have great trouble reading science fiction published before the sixties or so, because I’m sensitive to language shifts and also because some of the assumptions are risible. (You know the exceptions, Simak, Heinlein and half a dozen others.)

Yes, I just did a post exhorting us to recreate the Golden Age, which I note File 770 immediately echoed, even though it had clear nothing to do with the Hugos. They picked it up because they thought it supported their narrative. One despairs of trying to talk to whole-word-readers.

That post of course exhorted writers to write for their fans not the publishing establishment. And it exhorted the fans to support their writers. It also exhorted writers to be a little more daring with their science (because that’s why science fiction is getting its lunch eaten by fantasy.) In my opinion that’s what Golden Age IS. It was not about writing pulpy. Not that I expect anyone there would get it.


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Sad Puppies can’t be wrong” – May 31

Let’s just say their behavior shocked me about as much as the discovery that the sun rose again this morning. There are precisely four things that have surprised me about the SJW response to date:

  1. John Scalzi more or less keeping his mouth shut. Now we know why.
  2. Charles Stross attempting to doxx Castalia and his insane Finnish Nazi theories. I genuinely thought he was smarter than that.
  3. The public approval of Mary Kowal openly buying supporting memberships for other people. It’s so hard to imagine anyone else making effective use of that tactic in the future.
  4. Popular Science being one of the publications in which they planted their hit stories. I knew from past experience they would plant hit pieces in the media. But that would not have been among the first 250 publications I would have guessed.



Lou Antonelli on This Way To Texas

“Still an honor” – May 31

Those of us who feel the Hugo award is an honor well worth pursuing, such a myself, probably feel some resentment – as I do – towards those Sad Puppy “fellow travelers” who have made statements indicating they want to burn down or destroy the awards.

Folks, if you don’t like the award, then why allow yourself to be nominated in the first place? I mean, we can all differ on the meaning, usefulness or value of an award, but if you don’t even believe in it – why bother? It’s a free country, which means we all have the right of free association. Nobody forced you to participate in the Hugo process.

At the very least, bear in mind – in light of the hostility that the Puppy effort has engendered – how your comments hurt those of use who would be proud and pleased to win one of the awards. Heck, I’m still proud to have been nominated, regardless how it turned out.

The “let it burn” folks on the Puppy side are, to my mind, the corresponding opposite of the “No Award everything!’ side on the anti side. I suspect the vast majority of people who care about the subject are in the vary large middle territory.


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“367” – May 31

There are exactly 367 Vile Faceless Minions, as it happens, in addition to an unknown quantity of Rabid Puppies, Dread Ilk, and Ilk. As to what their staying power is, and if they are really going to stay interested enough to do this again next year, I have ordered Malwyn and her colleagues to unmuzzle them and thereby permit them to speak for themselves, if they so wish.


Camestros Felapton

“On petunias and whales: part 8” – May 31

Puppy slate adds data

The 2015 Puppy slates did not claim to be only nominating conservatives but it is reasonable to assume that if either of the puppy slates was intended to cove works that would otherwise not get nominated then the proportion of conservative writers should be higher. Notably the final nominations had a much smaller set of authors than might be expected. John C Wright was nominated fives times (it would have been 6 but one work was disqualified on a technicality). Given circumstances highly favorable to conservative writers it is notable that the nominations had to include the same writer multiple times (including 3 spots in bets Novella).


Camestros Felapton

“On petunias and whales: part 9” – May 31

A conclusion

Dave Freer’s argument does not show what he thinks it shows. The flaws in the argument are:

  1. His description of a left wing category of authors is probably faulty as it relies on key issues that enjoy more popular support in the US public than some conservatives realize.
  2. Consequently his estimate of 15% while accurate for genuinely “solid liberal” people is too low when considering Hugo eligible authors. The likelihoods he needed to model may have an upper range beyond 50%.
  3. The model he uses in his analogy has some flaws but is not unreasonable and the flaws don’t severely undermine his argument
  4. Using his model an expected proportion of 45% for what he calls “red” nominees would produce results that are not highly improbable and which match his analysis of past Hugo nominees for best novel.
  5. His choice of years to analyze may be distorted by avoiding 2004 and by including WorldCon years held in countries other than the US, but his analysis would still hold if his assumption of 15% for reds was correct.
  6. There is some plausible evidence of statistical bias against very conservative authors but overall the evidence of bias is slim
  7. Dave’s argument even if it was sound does not address multiple sources of bias – some of which may be beyond WorldCon (or Puppy) influence



Joseph Tomaras on Skinseller’s Workshop

“My Last Word on the Hugos” – May 31

Campbell Award for best new writer: This is the category about which I am angriest, and not primarily or even secondarily because this was my first year of eligibility. Remember that “in addition to myself, I have also nominated Usman T. Malik (to whom I would be honored to lose), and Benjanun Sriduangkaew (who is in her second and final year of eligibility, and who I fear is unlikely to win due to some ridiculous drama).” And for a bit more about the latter, see this entry. Puppies aside, I have to question the legitimacy of a ballot with neither Malik nor Sriduangkaew. They are simply out-writing most everyone else in the present cohort.

I know I have read and enjoyed some short-form pieces by Wesley Chu. So I was mystified when I opened the Hugo voters packet, looked at the first page of The Deaths of Tao, and read this Bulwer-Lytton Award-worthy sentence:

The lone black car slunk through the dark, unlit streets, a ghostly shadow creeping past the decrepit warehouses and abandoned storefronts along the South Capitol at the outskirts of Washington DC.

Contrast that to my enthusiastic response to “Totaled” by Kary English. As for the rest of the nominees, they either have never reached my notice, or never merited it. Ballot:

  1. Kary English
  2. Wesley Chu


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Elitist Book Reviews, edited by Steven Diamond”

Unfortunately, during as much of the nominated year as I could push through, it’s visually hard to read–light text on dark grey background. I also didn’t find the tone and style of the reviews engaging, but I was probably less receptive because of the dark background and very light, thin text. For me, that’s a dealbreaker. If I’m going to read it, it has to be readable. Not recommended.


Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot: Novel” – May 31

My main problem with this being on the Hugo ballot is that, as I said, it’s a formula.  It’s comfort reading, the kind of book you turn to when you’ve had a hard day and need to relax, when you don’t want anything too challenging or surprising, when you’re pretty sure the good guys will win in the end.


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Short Story: Reviewing Turncoat” – May 30

This story was readable. I have read some very old style English books that drone on with details that had greater meaning when they were written. It would have been more fun if I’d thought the numbers provided all had masonic meaning but the author gave no hints to that effect so again I’m not going to credit him with my random imaginings that are really just a desire for this story to have been better.


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Short Story: Reviewing Totaled” – May 30

This story is the best of those I’ve read in the short story category so far. It made me cry at the end, touched on two interesting points, and was written literately. There’s been a lot of debate about what makes something “Hugo-worthy” and where/if to place something on the ballot if it’s good but not great, bad but not worst, etc. I find it vaguely sad to be reviewing short stories that should have been nominated for being “Hugo-worthy” and being impressed simply by it being written in a well put together English.


Marion in Deeds & Words

“The Hugos, 2015, Chapter Five: Big Boys Don’t Cry” – May 31

It’s too long.

I haven’t done an exact word count, but this thing must run about 14,000 words. That is at least 4,000 words too long. A look on the Hugo Awards page tells us that a shorter version of this appeared earlier and this version, which is longer, was published in 2014. If the longer version had provided context it could have been fine. The words here now are like empty calories, and gives a reader too much time to ask too many questions, questions the writer doesn’t answer.


489 thoughts on “Pug Jack Barron 5/31

  1. Soon Lee: Clearly I will have to take my theory back to the drawing board if you can post ***MAKE MONEY FAST*** without interference…

  2. Eselle28

    The Business Meeting has historically been leery of one work being eligible to be nominated for >one Hugo.

    That’s one reason the Young Adult proposals have run into problems.

  3. Stevie: I don’t know why VD thought it would be a good idea to link himself, Finland and Charlie Stross together; Google automatically pulls up a piece written by Charlie back in April, which includes one of VD’s most ludicrous attempts to appeal to Church leaders, and husbands, to enforce Christianity the way he thinks it should be enforced i.e. not Christianity at all.

    VD isn’t a Christian, despite claiming he is.

    See here – http://www.donotlink.com/fdox

    The belief that Satan rules the world instead of God is some form of Christian Gnostic heresy. One has to wonder if Wright is fully aware of who he’s hanging out with.

  4. Alexandra Erin said: “Brad Torgersen is a time traveler. The childhood he remembers is not our past but our future. This whole sad, desperate campaign is intended to ensure the future happens as he remembers it, so that when—if—he is able to return to his time, it still holds a place for him.”

    I will freely admit that I am finding it difficult to describe the embarrassingly large and entirely platonic crush I am developing based on everything Alexandra Erin has been writing about this. 🙂

  5. My big problem with Best Saga is this: what if the volume subsequent to the Hugo-winning volume sucks.

    It’s like reading half a novel and giving that a Hugo.

  6. Mike,

    Oh and by the way, could I interest you in this bridge at a very reasonable price? Second-hand, one careful owner? And I’ll throw the troll under it in for no extra charge. Honestly, I’m cutting my own throat.

  7. I count two pro SFF publications for Tomaras.

    How many did E. Lily Yu before she won the Campbell?

    The Campbell also is an odd duck, because it’s as much about the potential shown for future greatness as it is about how great things already done.

    That said, getting nominated on the strength of one or two short stories is unlikely unless said stories really captured people’s attention, or if the writer already had a strong platform of some sort to gather attention. Or, in the case of some of this year’s nominees, they were put on a slate by the guy who published their short stories.

  8. David K.M. Klaus — I think it’s that Hoyt sees a blog and its commenteriat as a collective; we are Mike and Mike is us. Which may say something about how she regards her own commenteriat, I don’t know.

  9. @Deirdre Saoirse Moen: Sorry about the name mixup, I’ll remember it in the future (I did call you Saoirse Moen earlier).

    Looking back at my reply to Ann Somerville, I can see how it can be interpreted that you called people names, when I was referencing to you being called names. That wasn’t my intent.

  10. Nick Mamatas has inspired me to think about the Saga Hugo a bit more. My new concern about the Saga Hugo is that vols. 1-4 win a Hugo for best Saga. Then a few years later, the same series is eligible again. Can the same series win more than one Hugo? What if it wins the first time, and loses the second? What if it goes on and wins the third time? Is it now a Hugo Winning AND Hugo Nominated series? The second time, is it only vols. 5-8 that are being awarded, or is it 1-8? The third time, is it only vols. 9-10 that are being awarded, or 1-10? What if it had never been nominated before; would that be for 1-10? What if it won for vols. 1-4, and was eligible but not nominated after 8? Would it still be “Hugo Winning Saga X?

    Lots of questions.

  11. I try not to categorize people because we can all do shitty things, but that doesn’t mean we are, overall, shitty people.

    There is no functional difference for the victims of someone like RequiresHate to parse whether the abuser is a shitty person or just does shitty things. If someone spends ten years on hate, I think that makes them shitty.

    You might want to look at what AS called me on her blog. Says far more about her than it does about me, frankly.

    Yeah, it does. It says I can’t stomach someone who behaves like you. (Did you not notice that your new BFF quoted what I called you? Obviously he read the entry.)

    Here’s another bit from my blog you probably ignored:

    If they want to get all pearl clutchy about a Middle English swear, while running around on the Internet defaming and harming and frightening and blackmailing utterly innocent people, there’s another ugly word which applies to them.


    It always feels like people are erasing my identity when they omit the Saoirse. I look at it like the Borg: I added Rick’s distinctiveness to my own. I didn’t lose mine.

    People might find it easier to distinguish you from your husband if you two didn’t tag team critics, turn up to excuse each other’s egregious behaviour, and quote each other like fonts of wisdom while attacking people.

    “Saoirse” is an Irish first name. The ommission is understandable.

    I don’t intend to engage further with you, Deirdre. You’re not an honest actor, and frankly, the people you hang out with are as dangerous as they are vile. If one wants not to be considered evil, then a good first step would not to hang out with, defend, promote, and enable evil people. That applies to puppies as much as it does to you.

  12. Will McLean : I can name the head of state for a lot of nations, but most of them are Elizabeth II

    Franz, Duke of Bavaria, actually. Screw the House of Hanover.

    Not that I’m one to hold grudges…

  13. Okay, how about:

    Lord Valentine’s Kennel

    Gonna Bury The Bones

    Where Late the Sweet Briards Sang

    Captain Vorpatril’s Alsatian

    Jonathan Stray and Mr. Norwich Terrier

    The Greyhound Book

    The Yorkie-Pomeranian’s Union

    Papillon of Souls

    …I’ll show myself out now…

  14. The Plural of Helen of Troy. What the hell was that?

    Earth to earth, etc. Neither rip roaring adventure, nor especially thought provoking. Not especially bad either. Not much of anything.

  15. Based on observed preference, I would say that SP3 like works in which homosexuals are either invisible or reviled, and where the right is allowed to beat you over the head with message but the left isn’t. Does that seem fair?

  16. Cpaca

    I think we agree that VD is not a Christian; I think that VD would happily abandon his not very good grasp of Gnosticism on the grounds of ‘rhetoric’, or ‘Aristotle’, or whatever flavour of evasion he happens to feel like at any given time. Given his obsessive hatred of John Scalzi I suspect that VD cheers himself up by imagining him as ‘left behind’.

    Sadly, Wright’s track record as a professed Christian suggests that he doesn’t understand Christianity either; his appalling outburst about Terry Pratchett is wholly incompatible with Christ’s commandment that we should love each other. Wright appears to be under the impression that Christ really didn’t understand being God, and that Wright has much better ideas as to what God actually wants than the reprobate who spent his time with the poor, the sick, the hungry, and consorted with dreadful people like tax collectors…

  17. @Karl-Johan Norén

    No worries, I actually wasn’t referring to you.

    I just keep being called Deirdre Moen in random places and figured it’d be easiest to just clarify that here.

  18. VD isn’t a Christian, despite claiming he is.

    You could read that screed of too long? I increased the font size to something I could see properly, and still gave up after ten lines. Wow, he’s verbose.

  19. I met a traveller from an antique con
    Who said: `Two sad and rabid slates of prose
    Stand in the Hugos. Near them, on the lawn,
    Half drunk, a group of voters lie, whose pose,
    And angered quips – except at works withdrawn –
    Tell that their votes would not by slates be led,
    And yet survive, stamped on an online form,
    The posts that mocked them and the works they read.
    And on the pedestal these words appear —
    “My name is Puppymandias, so conform:
    Vote for my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
    Nothing beside remains. When votes were scored
    For that colossal slate, with room to spare,
    The lone and sole result was No Award.’

  20. The lone black car slunk through the dark, unlit streets, a ghostly shadow creeping past the decrepit warehouses and abandoned storefronts along the South Capitol at the outskirts of Washington DC.

    I am surprised that Joseph Tomaras would describe this opening sentence by Wesley Chu as Bulwer-Lytton-level badness. I wouldn’t call it a great opener, but it’s reasonably well-written and evocative. My only quibble is whether a car can slink.

  21. Kyra

    It’s now June 2cd in England, so please accept my congratulations from the future; that’s wonderful!

  22. My big problem with Best Saga is this: what if the volume subsequent to the Hugo-winning volume sucks.

    It’s like reading half a novel and giving that a Hugo.

    Or even worse; Xanth could win.

  23. “When the stench hits your nose,
    As they batter you with prose,
    That’s a Puppy.

    When their words make you queasy,
    And their arguments are sleazy,
    That’s a Puppy.

    Hugos ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
    And your brain starts to freak.
    Killfiles yawn plonk-plonk-onk, plonk-plonk-onk
    As you face ten more weeks
    Of the Puppies.

  24. Isn’t Ozymandias one of those poems that everybody loves?

    Obviously anyone who disagrees with this is a liar and not to be trusted.

  25. Oneiros: Isn’t Ozymandias one of those poems that everybody loves?
    Obviously anyone who disagrees with this is a liar and not to be trusted.

    I remember the first time I read Ozymandias; my reaction was very close to when I first saw the ending to Planet of the Apes (1968 version). (And come to think of it, I had a very similar reaction at the ending of Eifelheim.)

    It’s one of those things where you go “WHOA!”

    I would be interested in hearing about other peoples’ “WHOA!” moments in SFF.

  26. Ozymandias was a whoa moment for me because of where I first encountered it. Not in a book of poetry, but it was in the back of the manual for the computer game TEMPLE OF APSHAI.

  27. “Isn’t Ozymandias one of those poems that everybody loves?”

    It’s one of those poems that everyone loves but noone really memorizes, except for maybe the 10th and 11th lines.

    But it’s up there with Invictus and Shakespeares 18th Sonnet.

  28. JJ: The first few pages of Poul Anderson’s “Ivory, and Apes, and Peacocks”, with Time Patrol agent Manse Everard sailing into the harbor of Tyre in its prime. I’d been exposed to some good works of history for children, like David Macauley’s first couple books, but also to some (both for kids and for adults) laying out lines about how much cleverer we are now. Anderson’s story fired me with a sense of the people of the past being just as smart, brave, inventive, hopeful, striving, and complex as anyone I knew, and doing it all without the advantages accumulated between now and then. That and de Camp’s Lest Darkness Fall led very directly to my majoring in history in college, and being a history fan to this day.

  29. Egypt. Obviously Egypt has quite a few headless statues, but there is a particularly large one fairly close to Luxor which the guides tell tourists is the inspiration for the poem.

    Also, the sense of wonder is definitely a feature of a balloon ascent at dawn, provided you don’t fall in the Nile whilst making your way to the site. I would suggest to steam punk writers that a visit to Luxor for ballooning purposes would be excellent research, and you might even get a tax deduction for it…

  30. Bruce

    The fascinating thing is that they keep discovering things which show that they were far more advanced than we thought…

  31. @Seth Gordon: “You can parse Torgersen’s “Nutty Nuggets” post up or down or sideways, but one fact is clear to the phonics and whole-language-educated readers alike: there is no actual SF story entitled “Nutty Nuggets”.”

    Funny thing is, whenever I see that title, I think of a certain gross-out scene from one of the Austin Powers movies, where what AP thinks is coffee… isn’t.

    His assessment: “A bit nutty.”

  32. My biggest “whoa” moment was probably the first time I read La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Keats, aged 18 and taking a poetry module only because I had to.

    And specifically sff: reading A Wizard of Earthsea and noticing that it wasn’t *just* a story, but that it was about respecting nature and balance, etc. I guess that’s one of the earliest memories I have of the potential power of literature to change things, even if it was only the way I thought about the world as a child.

  33. JJ : I would be interested in hearing about other peoples’ “WHOA!” moments in SFF.

    If I recall correctly the title, that would include Spider Robinson’s _Mindkiller_. You’ve been led to believe that the mysterious mastermind the protagonists have been tracking is a uniquely evil individual who invented entirely new forms of sin. And then he makes a simple comment that turns everything on its head.

  34. Bruce:Anderson’s story fired me with a sense of the people of the past being just as smart, brave, inventive, hopeful, striving, and complex as anyone I knew, and doing it all without the advantages accumulated between now and then.

    Stevie:The fascinating thing is that they keep discovering things which show that they were far more advanced than we thought…

    One friend flips out over “aliens/secret whites did it” theories and fiction specifically because of that. He and Stargate just couldn’t be reconciled with each other. 🙂

  35. @May Tree: Lord Valentine’s Kennel was great!

    @Kyra: Your Ozymandias filk was great!

    @Andrew P.:

    It’s one of those poems that everyone loves but noone really memorizes, except for maybe the 10th and 11th lines.

    Call me Noone! I hope you’re not a Cyclops! 😀

    I’ve had that sucker memorized for 25 years now.

  36. Has Lethem been done yet?
    Pup, with occasional music
    The dog of the sky, the dog of the eye
    As it climbed across the table
    Dog in landscape
    Fortress of puppitude

  37. Cally–a hypothetical saga that won the “best saga” Hugo in 2019 based on its first six volumes, then was on the ballot but lost in 2025 based on the next five, would still be a Hugo-winning series.

    It’s like “Hugo Award-winning writer” or “winner of the Hugo for best fan artist,” neither of which says that they person won the award every time they were on the final ballot.

  38. O.K., my “whoa” moment in S.F. came back in 1967 when I read Jack Vance’s “Potters of Firsk” in a collection of stories edited by Arthur C. Clarke. Maybe a bit cheesy in retrospect, but hey, I really was twelve.

  39. Thanks to Andrew P. for the inspiration for this.

    Inflict Us

    Out of the noms that cover me
    Rabid or sad, from troll to troll,
    I’ll “No Award” what dogs there be
    From pedigreed hound to dhole.

    In the fell clutch of Puppies’ prose
    I have face-palmed, and sighed aloud.
    “Wisdom From My Internet” shows
    The Hugos bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this slate of half-baked fic
    Looms but the Horror of next year
    And yet, once past the Puppy’s picks,
    A much better ballot shall appear.

    It matters not how Gamergate
    Or Dread Ilk stuff the ballot scroll;
    I will “No Award” these slates.
    I will keep the Hugos whole.

  40. Vicki: Hmm, I suppose that makes sense. I shall clearly have to think about this some more; right now I’m full of conflicting opinions.

Comments are closed.