The Twilight Bone 6/10

aka Hound of the Basket Cases

In today’s roundup: Suw Charman-Anderson, John C. Wright, Tom Knighton, Vox Day, Lela E. Buis, R. K. Modena, Jason Cordova, Samuel Edwards, Solarbird, Peter Grant, Dr. Mauser, T.C. McCarthy, Chris Meadows, John ONeill, Annalee Newirtz, Rachel Swirsky, Ferret Steinmetz, Brian Niemeier, Jim Butcher, George R.R. Martin,  Matt Wallace, John Scalzi, Nick Mamatas, Paul Anthony Shortt, Rick Wright, David Gerrold, Quilly Mammoth, Spacefaring Kitten, Lis Carey, Andrew Hickey, Rebekah Golden, Adam-Troy Castro. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Ryan H and Troutwaxer.)

Suw Charman-Anderson on Strange Attractor

“How Tor failed Social Media 101” – June 10

  1. Take enough time, but not too much or too little

When the shit hits the social media fan, it is important to respond in a timely manner, but it’s even more important to avoid a kneejerk reaction. If an issue needs further inquiry before a full response is issued, then it’s acceptable to publicly acknowledge the complaint and say that it’s being looked into.

It may even be that no response is required – not every complaint is deserving of employer intervention. If an employee has a disagreement with a member of the public on her own Facebook page, it is possible that her apology on said Facebook page is sufficient, and that her employer need not step in at all. One can debate whether that was the case here or not, but it is an option that should have been considered, along with all others.

Doherty’s response reads very much like a kneejerk reaction. it is, to all intents and purposes, a public disciplining of Gallo, which is entirely inappropriate no matter what Gallo did. If you address a complaint, you do not use it as an opportunity to shame your staff. Doherty should have taken more time to think about exactly what was going on and how his post would be read by the broader Tor community.


  1. Remember there are three sides to every argument

Any public response to a public complaint is made more complex by the fact that there are three parties involved: You, them, and the audience. In his rush to appease Gallo’s critics, Doherty appears to have forgotten that he might also anger people who agree or sympathise with Gallo, or who do not believe that the complaint against her has merit, or who, after reading his post, believe that the complaint has merit but that his response was inappropriate, etc.

In chastising Gallo online, Doherty has alienated a lot of people, and that in and of itself is a massive failure for Tor that Doherty himself should be disciplined for. You simply do not rush in with a response that inflames the situation, especially when it’s obvious from the beginning that tempers are running high and offence is being easily taken. Indeed, the taking of offence is a key weapon in grievance politics, and Doherty should have both realised there was a major risk that his response as written might make the situation worse rather than better.


John C. Wright

“Honor is Satisfied” – June 10

A reader asked what I meant when I said, that as a matter of formality, Irene Gallo’s pro forma and possibly insincere apology for her pro-forma and possibly insincerely insult satisfied my sense of honor.

It is difficult for me to explain something that is second nature to me, which is alien to the modern world at every point. In the military, the soldier is obligated to salute the uniform wore by officers of higher rank, not the man wearing it, and the man wearing it is obligated to behave as the uniform requires. The salute satisfies the formality.

An apology satisfies the demand for apology; if the person proffer it did so with deceptive intent, God Almighty, who sees and knows the hearts of the sinners, will punish the falsehood with penalties nightmarish, vehement, absolute, and infinite, that my heart quails to contemplate them. I cannot burn a disembodied soul in hell forever, and neither can I read minds and hearts. Hence, I am not in a position judge the sincerity of an apology, nor do I have the least desire to do so….

I, for one, will regret the event, since a woman of such superlative skill will be hard to replace, but I am confident that Mr Doherty will not insist on keeping her at her tasks in the face of her own shame and regret.

How could she, in good conscience, design a book cover for authors she has so bitterly, absurdly and erratically libeled, and proffer it to book buyers for whom she equally has shone such scorn and mind-destroying hate? It would be cruel of Mr Doherty to insist on Irene Gallo continuing to labor under such adverse and unhappy conditions.


Tom Knighton

“Note to my fellow Sad Puppies: Chill just a bit” – June 10

You see, her job isn’t necessarily secure.  She issued an apology of sorts, probably because she was told to.  A post was made at distancing her employer from her comments.  That may look like all there will be, but that’s not necessarily the case.  All of that could just be the initial stages of crisis management that may or may not result in her termination.

And if not, I’m still going to ask folks to pull an Elsa and “Let it go”.  I’m not saying to accept the apology.  I’m not saying to forgive Gallo.  That’s up to each and every individual to decide for themselves.  Instead, I’m saying to just let it go and move on.  Gallo’s opinions have been noted, and those who work with her in the future may wish to ask if there is someone else they could work with instead.  Or not.

Folks, we need to be reasonable here.  Yes, we were grievously insulted.  Even if you blow off the “neo-nazi” comment, what followed was little better.  However, she wasn’t the first to use those terms.  Unfortunately, I suspect she won’t be the last either.

Unlike many others, she apparently got a stern lesson about such things.  We got a post that admits that yes, the Puppies did include women and people of color (I hate that term. Sounds too much like “colored people” for me to be comfortable writing it) as well as Tor authors.  I suspect that Irene Gallo will be much more careful going forward.


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Peter Grant issues a second warning” – June 10

The Evil Legion of Evil has not yet called for a boycott by the many Tor customers attacked by Ms Gallo. It has, after all, only been two days since the management at Tor Books learned about her attack on them. But the one thing they must understand is that an apology is not enough. We expect a resignation. Sooner or later, Ms Gallo will resign. It’s only a question of how much damage Tor Books, and perhaps more importantly, Macmillan, are willing to take first.


Lela E. Buis

“A word about power structures” – June 10

One of the problems with social justice attacks in general, and the recent Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy challenge specifically, is that the rants are often mis-aimed. This means they cause hard feelings, and of course, set off nasty flame wars.

Social justice endeavors can have different motivations. For one, the writer is inflamed by something s/he sees and is motivated to climb on a soapbox for a cathartic, fist-shaking rant. For another, the writer is affronted by some injustice and sits down to plan out a calculated crusade against the problem. In either of these cases, the SJW may have a closely held belief or value that trips off the attack. S/he is hoping it will make people mad and therefore lead to some discussion


R. K. Modena on Shadowdancer Studios

“Nazi is not a term you throw around lightly” – June 10

This is why I prefaced this post with a history of who I am, and a rather summarized description of my experiences. I have faced real racism, real discrimination. I have stood OPENLY in support of the Jews, of Israel, for which I have been stalked by someone on the side of the Antis FOR NEARLY SEVEN YEARS AND RECEIVED THREATS AGAINST MY CHILDREN FOR.

Peter Grant has fought against it.

Brad Torgersen goes to fight ISIS / DAESH – against REAL terrorists, REAL religiously motivated hatred, REAL rape culture, REAL KILLINGS OF GAYS.

You who sling mud at us, who question our honor our integrity, our hardships and experiences are doing so FOR THE PETTY REASON OF AN AWARD FOR FICTION.

With Irene Gallo’s original response to the protests of her words, and her subsequent non-apology, it is clear she is unrepentant in her contempt, in her hatred.


Janet on Dear Author

“Wednesday News: Tor v. Irene Gallo, Warner Bros. v Friends fans,…” – June 10

So Irene Gallo, creative director and associate publisher for Tor, made a strongly worded comment about the Sad and Rabid Puppies on her personal Facebook page. Afterward, she clarified that the comment was personal and not said in her capacity as a Tor employee. The Sad/Rabid Puppies got mad and then loud about it. Which resulted in Tor publisher Tom Doherty publicly condemning Gallo and basically apologizing to the Sad and Rabid Puppies. I figure the fact that I agree with Chuck Wendig on this is an indication of how gross this situation really is.


Jason Cordova

“Eric Flint and the Sad Puppy” – June 10

I’m glad that Eric [Flint] took Tor editor Irene Gallo to task for calling Sad Puppies neonazis. That’s probably the one and only insult that really, really pisses me off. I can stand being called everything else, but once you go past petty and into full-blown turnip with your insults, then I get angry.

Seriously. Ask around. I’ve kind of teetered between confusion and amusement at all this. Confusion because I’m still trying to figure out how I’m a misogynistic racist whose homophobic tendencies override rhyme and reason. Amusement because the amount of bullshit one would have to peddle to make any of that true could fuel a mission to Mars.

But at this point I don’t think it matters. This is the Internet. People don’t take a step back and think “Holy hell, what the **** am I saying?” very often. More often than not a person will double down and keep flinging poo. I’m guilty of it as much as the next I suppose.


Samuel Edwards at On Fairy Stories

“Irene Gallo and Boycotting TOR” – June 10

What saddens me the most is reading John C. Wright’s post about Irene Gallo. John C. Wright, a self-professed Sad Puppy, has worked with Irene Gallo at TOR. John is published by TOR and some of his covers were the result of Irene Gallo’s work. That she would be so quick to ascribe falsehoods to the Sad Puppies (and by extension, John) is befuddling. She referred to works which she had a hand in producing (albeit a cover) as ‘bad to reprehensible’. To me, it sounds like she’s been drinking too much of the SJW koolaid. Not only is John published by TOR, but so are other Puppy nominations such as Kevin J. Anderson. This kind of disrespect towards your employer wouldn’t stand in most other companies.


Solarbird on crime and the forces of evil

co-signed, strong letter to follow – June 10

I have raged about this so many times. When I was a software developer, I literally sidetracked my career so that I could spend quite literally another full-time job’s worth of time fighting against groups trying to make me illegal. And by illegal, I mean fucking illegal, as in direct threat to my life and freedom, by design. That was the intent and goal, so it’s not like I had any sort of goddamn options.

When I talk about spending “blood and treasure” on this, the blood comes from the street assaults, the treasure comes, in part, from this. All that lost time and money, fighting off people who not only enjoyed but actively made a living from trying to make my existence illegal.

And just as much, the people trying to make me and people like me at best into sub-citizens and at worst into dead people? They enjoyed their work, and made money at it.

Just like the Puppies enjoy their bullshit. They’re having a great time.


Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“The Tor imbroglio and the progressive narrative” – June 10

Notice how the commenters cited above [at] aren’t addressing the specifics of what Ms. Gallo said – they’re saying that she’s right regardless of those specifics, because of other, often extraneous factors.  “My mind’s made up.  Don’t confuse me with the facts!”  They also freely insult others, regardless of the fact that they would never accept or tolerate the same insults being directed against them.  To call anyone a ‘sub-human piece of filth’, as quoted above, is barbaric . . . yet some of them revel in that sort of thing.  That says far more about them than it does about the person they’re accusing.

Another favorite tactic of such individuals is to ignore the overall thrust of the problem by nit-picking the details to death.  If someone makes an allegation of a pattern of misconduct, they respond by taking every single element of the allegation, separating it from the others and nickel-and-diming it to death, demanding verification, supporting evidence, etc.  They can (and do) spin out the process in such depth and for so long that others lose patience and walk away . . . whereupon they claim victory because the original allegation “has not been proved” (to their satisfaction, anyway).


Dr. Mauser on Shoplifting in the Marketplace of Ideas

“The Elements of an Apology” – June 10

Apparently, in this day and age, people have forgotten how to properly apologize for their misdeeds. We now live in an era where Ego and Hubris have reached the point that offense is not an objective thing, but in the eye of the offended, who CLEARLY must be delusional, since we can all do no wrong. Well, others can do wrong, and when they do, they MUST be compelled to make an apology. But since they are subject to this same attitude, they only mouth the words that will get other people off their backs.

This leads to a lot of shitty non-apologies that never accomplish what a public apology is meant to do, which is serve as a form of social correction for doing wrong.

There are four things that an apology should contain….



Chris Meadows on TeleRead

“Sad Puppies roundup, and the Irene Gallo controversy” – June 10

Personally, I’m rather surprised left the comments open on Doherty’s statement at all. Usually whenever posts something even remotely likely to be controversial (such as statements from Macmillan chief John Sargent in the agency pricing/anti-trust days), it keeps comments firmly closed. It makes me wonder if it might have been done as a passive act of protest against a mandate coming down from Tor’s parent company Macmillan, or perhaps even their corporate owner Holtzbrinck, that Doherty had to issue such a statement. (It wouldn’t be the first time Tor was subject to corporate interference.) But I could be reading too much into it.

Some Puppy supporters, such as Cedar Sanderson and Amanda Green, feel Gallo’s apology didn’t go far enough. On the other side, Chuck Wendig, Gawker, and The Mary Sue have excoriated Tor and Doherty for capitulating. Kameron Hurley, author of the book Gallo’s post originally concerned, has a few comments as well, and The Daily Dot has a good roundup of some of the social media reactions to the affair.

Regardless, it has certainly given rise to a great deal of sound and fury, signifying…well, not a whole lot. Puppies supporters and opponents have both had ample opportunity to show more of their true colors, each providing more ammunition that the other side can use to say, “See? See what they are?” It hasn’t brought us any closer to universal Hugo harmony. But then, we’re probably never going to have that again, at least not for a good long while.


John ONeill on Black Gate

“Internet Explodes Around Irene Gallo” – June 10

If you’ve been following science fiction publishing for the past 48 hours, you may have found yourself asking, “Who the heck is Irene Gallo?”

The talented Ms Gallo is the Creative Director of Tor Books, and the associate publisher of the marvelous, where she’s done some exemplary work. On May 11, in response to a question on her personal Facebook page, she wrote a quick and rather clueless assessment of the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies movement:…


David Gerrold on Facebook – June 10

Apparently, there is no mistake so insignifcant that it does not deserve a call to action by the outrage committee. Torches, pitchforks, tar and feathers. Even the smallest of sins must be punished by an internet pile-on, public shaming, and boycotts of everyone in the same neighborhood.

Is there anybody who has not yet earned their Drama Queen merit badge? I guess not. We keep stirring this can of worms to make sure the sauce gets evenly distributed.

The only winner in this (so far) is a certain lunatic attention-whore who needs to demonstrate how important he is by the size of the uproar he can create. And the rest of us have bought into it.

There was a Star Trek episode, “The Day Of The Dove” — in which the crew of the Enterprise and several Klingon warriors were at each other’s throats until they realized that there was an energy creature aboard, feeding on their hatred. Eventually both sides laughed at it — “We don’t need your help hating each other.”

We can continue to rip apart our community and eventually both sides will claim some kind of exhausted victory over whatever shambles remain. The grudges and feuds will last at least a generation because being right has become more important than being friends or colleagues.







Jim Butcher in a comment on Eric Flint’s “In Defense of the Sad Puppies” – June 9

[If the link doesn’t work — ]

I don’t know if Ms. Gallo’s apology was sincere or insincere.

I don’t know that, because I can’t read her freaking mind.

And neither, presumably, can anyone else.

I work with words professionally. I know exactly how powerful they can be. I am also well aware of their limits–and when it comes to expression complex thoughts in emotionally tense situations over the goddamned internet, the magic of written language has little power.

How can it? It’s missing too much. You can’t read tone of voice, or the expression on a person’s face when they’re making keys click. Pretty much all you get is “clickity click click.”

I’m also an English major. So I’m very aware of how skilled human beings can be at reading all kinds of absolute horse manure into other people’s writing, and then declaring it “subtext” or “internally consistent logic.”

But it isn’t. It’s you, guessing. And your guess is probably prejudiced to one degree or another, most often by projecting things into it that were never meant to be there. Or, put another way:

Maybe Ms. Gallo wrote the apology with a smirk and a cigarette hanging off of one lip while reciting nasty twitter quotes at every individual member of Science Fiction Fandom. Or maybe she was crying and upset and genuinely trying to make amends. Or maybe she was just numb and exhausted. I don’t know.

Neither do you. That’s kind of my point.

But maybe it’s simplest if the curtains were fucking blue, we take her words at face value, and extend a bit of human courtesy and trust to a fellow science fiction nerd. Because she is one, whether that pleases you or not.

Deep breaths here, guys. Her comment was out of line and made a lot of people upset. She apologized to those people.

The curtains were fucking blue.

Can we just get on with life, please?


George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Wars, Woes, Work” – June 10

I want to single out the postings of Eric Flint. The latest, at , is a devastating point-by-point deconstruction and refutation of the latest round of Puppystuff from Brad Torgersen. Flint says what I would have said, if I had the time or the energy, but he says it better than I ever could. ((I will be nominating him for a Hugo too. For Best Fan Writer)). His earlier posts on Puppygate are all worth reading too. He is a voice of reason in a sea of venom.

I will add one point. The emptiness of the Puppy arguments is indicated clearly by how much time they seem to spend in coming up with new insulting terms for those who oppose them. The facts are against them, logic is against them, history is against them, so they go for sneers and mocking names. First it was SJWs. Then CHORFs. The latest is “Puppy-kickers.” Next week, no doubt, they will have something else. Reading all the blogs and comments that Glyer links to from FILE 770 has convinced me that anyone who starts throwing these terms around can pretty much be discounted; you will find no sense in what they say, only sneers and talking points….

Yes, I know that THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER named me “the third most powerful writer in Hollywood” last December. You would be surprised at how little that means. I cannot control what anyone else says or does, or make them stop saying or doing it, be it on the fannish or professional fronts. What I can control is what happens in my books, so I am going to return to that chapter I’ve been writing on THE WINDS OF WINTER now, thank you very much.


Matt Wallace

“When We Drive out the Innovators We Are Left Only with the Sad and Rabid” – June 9

I don’t know how you feel about what she wrote about the Puppies and I don’t really give a shit. What is not open for debate is the fact Irene has helped and is helping innovate a major appendage of a major publisher and is one among several pairs of hands shaping a better, more interesting, more diverse future for authors and readers of SFF. That is not only needed, it is necessary. It is absolutely vital. She should be elevated for that, not sacrificed to a small clan of mediocre throwbacks because they can be the most vocal on the fucking internet.

Tor’s position on this, among myriad other ways that position is f’ed up, is one of trading innovation and a wider audience for the utterly narrow; a narrow viewpoint expressed by a narrow demographic of the narrow-minded.

The Puppies keep saying they want change, but what they want is things to go back to the way they were.

That’s what really pisses them off so much.

They want things to stay the same.

They don’t want change.

That excludes folks like Irene Gallo, who are literally changing everything for the better.

And in what creatively-driven industry or form has not changing ever been a good thing?

From a strictly business standpoint, she is worth more than a few hundred anonymous user names in a website comments thread will ever be. Alienating your company’s innovators is simply bad business. From a creative standpoint, her involvement is vital to the future of SFF and SFF publishing.

From a human standpoint, Irene simply deserved better.

Much better.

But my opinions are selfish. I want to be part of the future, not the past. I want to be part of a publisher that innovates and spreads my stories to new corners of the internet AND the world of the real. I want to be part of something new, something exciting, something great.

Irene Gallo is taking me and the rest of the authors there, the same way she’s helped so many Tor authors in the past.

I need her.

Treat her the fuck better.

That is all.


John Scalzi on Whatever

“A Refresher Course On What I’m Obliged to Write About” – June 10

  1. The Internet doesn’t need me to weigh in on everything. It certainly didn’t in this case — there were more than enough people willing to engage both Irene’s initial comment, and Tor’s letter about it and the aftermath. In the former case, here’s something by Eric Flint; in the latter cases, something by Kameron Hurley and Chuck Wendig. These three are the figurative tip of an iceberg comprised of blog entries, comments, tweets and Facebook posts.

The Internet did not wait for me on this; it doesn’t wait for me on anything. Why are you waiting for me? I mean, thanks, I guess? It’s nice you want to know what I think? But I do hope you recognize the difference between you having an interest in my public thoughts on something — which is great! Thanks! — and thinking I’m obliged to share my thoughts on something in a public manner — which is not great, and which I don’t agree with.


Nick Mamatas

“Why Can’t Publishers Make Writers Behave?” – June 10

[This is the closing section of a detailed and informative article.]

Push too far, too hard, too often, and a publisher may just find its headcount is much larger than it believed. And even if not, the publisher still gets to experience the annoyance and hassle of an investigation. If a publisher wants to play the game of “You’ll never eat lunch in this town again!” in public or even in writing, that could lead to the freelancer, do-this-or-you-are-fired email in hand, giving the unemployment-filing trick a whirl.

This is one reason why all those tweets and emails and blog-comment huffing about a publisher doing something or at least saying something about that nasty, awful person whose books they publish are almost never going to get any kind of public hey-there-this-is-evidence response from a publisher.

There are other reasons too—awful people, up to and including criminals and the more blood-soaked breed of politician, write books all the time. There’s a massive tradition of carceral literature in existence. If you’ve attended college, you almost certainly read the writing of some criminals, or even material that was written inside prisons. Don’t think that awful blog posts or sneakity-doo trickery on the Internet will faze many publishers. Think of James Frey, who lied to millions of people, who had to settle a lawsuit because his memoir was wall-to-wall lies, and who was yelled at by Oprah (patron saint of nice people) on her show. Where did he end up? At the head of his own YA fiction sweatshop, and getting movies made from “his” stuff.

Publishing just ain’t about “nice” when it comes to its writers, and that is true in both how it treats writers, and what it can expect from writers.


Paul Anthony Shortt

“Tor Books, Inclusiveness Does Not Mean Permitting Prejudice” – June 10

There is an erroneous thought drifting in the wind. This thought tells us that, in order to be truly inclusive, we must not only accept that there are people whose opinions are abhorrent to us, not only allow them to have such thoughts, but also grant them a stage for their thoughts, even if we’re the ones who own the stage. More so, we’re told that it’s our responsibility, as fair, inclusive people, to even sit and listen while these attitudes are shoved in our faces. We’re told me must defend these people from any critic. Not from people trying to stop them, mind, but from people disagreeing with them. When you champion those who would close doors and hoard their power, you are not being inclusive.

When you defend those who rail and abuse minorities from having their opinions challenged, on the grounds of “free speech”, you are not being inclusive. When you shame a woman before the entire world, using your position as a bastion of your industry to reach your audience, just because she had the courage to come out and hold prejudice up for what it is, you are not being inclusive.

Shame on Tom Doherty. He has shown his company as promoting an environment where those who speak up against that which is wrong will be punished.


Rick Wright on Mangy Dog

“Morning coffee 2015-06-10 – Jude and Christianized America” – June 10

I went on record (not for the first time) as saying we should not call for Gallo to be fired. Someone disagreed and explained why. I stand by my original position. Just because some teacher or journalist or publisher says something insulting or offensive does not mean we should always want that person to lose her/his job. Disciplined? Sure. Consequences? Probably. But not fired. Not except in the most extreme cases. This is a simple matter of Treat Others As We Would Like Them To Treat Us. If we are sick and tired of conservative or traditional Christians (or whatever) losing their jobs because they express an opinion at odds with the current Zeitgeist then we should not return the disfavor yes?



David Gerrold on Facebook – June 10

I have begun filling out my Hugo ballot. There were two categories where I voted for individuals who were on the sad puppy slate — because regardless of the slate-mongering, I felt their work was award-worthy. They deserved to be on the ballot.

This is consistent with what I have been saying all along. Read the stories, vote your conscience.


Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

“Hugo Blogging ‘Best’ Fan Writer” – June 10

And so once again I dip into the sewer. The “Best” Fan Writer category in the Hugos is apparently meant to encourage SF fans to write about SF. This year, it seems to be largely made up of people who claim to be professional writers, but who can’t string a sentence together.


Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“On Time” – June 10

Agenda-setting-wise, they have been very successful, though. Most of the fans who are critical of Sad Puppies (lets call them Happy Kittens for short) have been diverted to waste their precious time and energy on refuting what badly thought out garbage some Rabid or Sad Puppy managed to spit out. Most likely the garbage in question was highly illogical and the Happy Kitten in question had little trouble with demonstrating that.

But the fact is, Happy Kitten energies were wasted on fighting a culture war on a battleground selected by the opposing side when they could instead have been reading, writing, buying, enjoying and celebrating some first rate SFF. The Puppies are opposed to SFF that is diverse or deals with gender or political issues or is technically ambitious. I think there’s a lot that Happy Kittens can do for that sort of SFF, apart from engaging in a debate where nobody is really going to change their views.


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Fan Writer: Reviewing A S Green” – June 10

All of [Amanda S.] Green’s post are very well written. Except for the excessive use of acronyms which obviously speak to an in group her writing is very clear.

Only one of the posts she submitted seems to have anything to do with sci-fi/fantasy fandom and that is the one on Star Trek canon. The other two posts have to do with feminism and society in general and maybe conference attendance. Again, I’m looking for someone who is positively enthusiastic about something sci-fi/fantasy related, deep in the details and sharing the love. That is what I am looking for to give someone the label of best fan writer.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Best Professional Artist Hugo Nominees” – June 10

Carter Reid: No. Sorry, no.  I feel no hesitation in saying that Reid’s art is just not very good.

Nick Greenwood: I’m sorry, no, these just do not work for me. No one should take this as a criticism of their taste; in this area, I have none.

Alan Pollack: Very nice work, but they don’t move me much beyond “very nice.”

Julie Dillon: Very lovely work, that I’d like to see more of.

Kirk DouPonce: This is also lovely work, that I’m pretty sure would make me reach for the book. That’s one of the main purposes of commercial art, right? But not the only purpose of professional science fiction and fantasy art. I’ll have to give serious thought to the choice between DouPonce and Dillon.


Font Folly

“Hugo Ballot Reviews: Novellete” – June 10

“The Day the World Turned Upside Down,” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, translated by Lia Belt. This story was a delight! I was sucked into its very surreal premise immediately. Inexplicably, gravity reverses… at least for solid objects—people, cars, grocery bags, you name it—suddenly start falling into the sky. That this happens shortly after the protagonist is dumped by his girlfriend makes you wonder, for a while, whether or not this is all happening in the protagonist’s head, but I was soon so caught up in is quixotic adventure to somehow keep her pet goldfish alive, transport it to her (by clinging to objects fixed to the ground, and so forth), and effect her rescue.

The misadventures that follow, in which (among other things) the narrator rescues a child clinging to a swing set who longs for her mother who fell into the sky, all slowly build to a climax that is sad, poignant, yet completely fitting. It’s that magical sort of ending that you occasionally encounter where it isn’t what you expected, yet once you reach it, it seems inevitable and the only possible way it could end.

I really, really liked this story! And having read it, I was filled with a renewed hope for the rest of the novellas!


Adam-Troy Castro

“Your Approved Safe Story” – June 9

Welcome to your approved safe story.

In this safe story, the characters are guaranteed likeable.

They are guaranteed to make all the most admirable decisions.

Nothing bad happens to them.

Nothing bad is done by them.

There is no evil in the world around them.

They are presented with minor obstacles that challenge them in no way.

Everybody respects everybody else.

Everybody deserves respect from everybody else.

Everybody is enlightened.

You will not have to disapprove of anything they do or say.

Your opinions will not be challenged by anything they do or so…..


1,126 thoughts on “The Twilight Bone 6/10

  1. Rev Bob:

    “Wait, I think you may have something there. Bealezebubba has been running around like crazy, sowing discord wherever he can, and claiming that his contradictory statements are based on valued principles, right?

    We got the name wrong. He’s obviously a follower of Eristotle, a student of the Principia Discordia.

    (And the Hugo categories each have five nominees, and reading the stuff he slated is like trying to digest five tons of flax…)”

    At leat a Discordian Slate would at least be full of genuinely funny stuff, and the flame wars would be hilarious

  2. RIP Christopher Lee 🙁


    Thanks, you saved me some time. I was just deliberating whether pointing out that the screenshot on Saoirse Moen’s blog was obviously of a facebook page was enough or whether I’d have to find a direct link (groan). I appreciate you doing the legwork. 🙂

    @Brian Z

    Well, its pretty obvious why Beale wanted to publish that book. It fits in very neatly with his terrible politics.

  3. The various puppy leaders themselves would never call anyone a Nazi or worse than a Nazi, right? Ok then.

    VD believes feminist are worse than Nazis:
    “Calling anyone a feminist is a very serious insult. As I have previously noted: calling a feminist a feminazi is an insult to the German National Socialist Workers Party. Despite their many flaws, Fascism, National Socialism and Communism were all demonstrably more humane, more sustainable, more rational ideologies than feminism. Attempt to own the insult at your own risk.”

    John C. Wright in a comment on his website describing the type of feminists he objects to:
    “What “phase three” feminists (feminazis) seek is injustice: they want to punish males for their maleness in and of itself, to destroy romance, love, and marriage. What honest feminists (suffragettes) seek is equality and simple justice, and more respect than history had given the fairer sex.”

    Tom Kr*tman in a comment on Brag Torgerson’s site
    “Since you are some version orother of lefty or feminazi, Cat, and therefore, as with most if not quite all of those, a moral cripple, I am sure you do not understand the seriousness of calling someone a liar. After all, all your political allies and friends lie continuously, without even having to think about it. I, on the the hand, place a more traditional value upon it, and spit on those who do not. In your case, however, I’ll make an exception and piss on you.”

    Brad Torgersen went one step further, calling the puppy opponents neo-nazis:
    “The Hugos are dead, as are the Nebulas. Whatever worth they once had as an indicator of artistry is dead. They possess the same provenance a class in feminist studies does. It is an amazing act of literary bigotry that almost every winner was in some manner a reflection of disdain for ethnic European heterosexual males. In principle, you can’t get more neo-Nazi than that. Imagine the stories having a disdain for Jews and you get the full and real picture of who and what the PC are and what drives them. They are naive middle class tools acting as useful idiots for a racist and sexist supremacist ideology flying under the false flag of “anti-oppression.””

    Glass houses and all that…

  4. those people who got the most nominations for those 20 years–didn’t they have actual talent?

    Yes, they did. That would be the same reason that Stross, Mieville, Scalzi, and Sawyer got nominated multiple times.

  5. What did Mike Glyer say, 19 conservatives have won in the last 20 years, out of 240+ nominations?

    Puppies keep spreading this as if it’s a fact to build an argument on. Unless Glyer knew the political beliefs of all the nominees, claiming that he said only 19 are conservative are false. Since he did his count informally and quickly, by his own admission, it’s extremely unlikely that his count was definitive.

    A study to determine the ideological breakdown of Hugo nominees for the last 10 years would take a while. A lot of nominees would have to be asked their beliefs because they aren’t sharing them in public. Only a subset of nominees are doing that.

  6. Uh oh. I think I triggered the spam filter.

    I posted examples of the Sad/Rabids calling people neo-Nazis and femi-Nazis and worse-than-Nazis. Glass houses, and all that…

  7. Puppies have also made a habit of calling anti-slate people “Marxists” – which by Puppy admission could even be considered worse than Nazis (by Puppies).

  8. Oh, and this tribute of Christopher Lee from Vincent Price is great too.

  9. James M.: What did Mike Glyer say, 19 conservatives have won in the last 20 years, out of 240+ nominations?

    rcade: Puppies keep spreading this as if it’s a fact to build an argument on. Unless Glyer knew the political beliefs of all the nominees, claiming that he said only 19 are conservative are false. Since he did his count informally and quickly, by his own admission, it’s extremely unlikely that his count was definitive.

    What’s more, Mike did not specify which category(ies) he was counting, or how many nominees. The 240+ was a number VD pulled out of his ass.

  10. God damn. First Pterry and now the voice of Death.

    Rest in peace, Christopher Lee.

  11. RIP Christopher Lee

    Why thank you 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing how James M. manages to avoid attributing the sentence at the bottom of Antonelli’s Facebook post to Antonelli himself.

  12. The idea that the best way to counter this effect is by exploiting a quirk of the rules so that a tiny minority of the voters can dominate the nomination ballot is likewise ridiculous.

    From their perspective, is it though? Discounting the Rabids, the Puppies are extreme-right conservative populists, mainly American. Their rhetoric is similar to current and historical political groups of the same bent. Replace “SJW” with “Communist”, and it’s pretty typical John Birch society rhetoric. Replace “CHORF” with “socialist” and “Tor” with “President Obama” and it could be a Tea Party manifesto. So what is my point. These groups are very good at hitting above their weight class, Puppies included. One reason is that they are leverage quirks of the voting system. All political groups do that in the US, but they are the best at using it to gain a disproportionate amount of power. It is, as they Puppies will tell you, all above the board and within the rules. From the outside, that claim is ridiculous, but from the inside it’s makes perfect sense.

  13. One question: Does anyone here think that Tor doesn’t know that at his best, Kevin J. Anderson’s work is mediocre? Do they think Anderson himself doesn’t know that? I know numerous Dune fans who derisively refer to his team-ups with Brian Herbert as “McDune”. I know many Star Wars novel readers who regard Anderson’s as among the weakest in the line. Gallo calling his work “bad” isn’t telling anyone anything they didn’t already know.

    I will say that the element that continues to be interesting about the Puppies is that they can never seem to articular the reason they picked particular works to be nominated other than “they were on the slate” or “they sold a lot of books”. They can’t describe what about the stories and books really wowed them. When one asks what was it about In the Stone House or Championship B’Tok that made them think those were the best of the year, the response seems to be dumfounded stares. When you ask what it was about The Dark Between the Stars that made them think it was Hugo-worthy, all you get is mumbles about how Anderson has sold 25 million books over his career. When you ask what they thought was great about Zombie Nation, some don’t even know that it is a free webcomic, but they nominated it anyway.

    On the other hand, most non-Pups can articular reasons why they chose particular books or stories, and can also articulate reasons why they think the Puppy nominated works are bad. I can tell you exactly why I liked Ancillary Sword. I can explain in detail what I liked about Rat Queens, or what I found compelling enough about Dream Houses that I nominated it.

    That’s the real difference between the Puppies and the non-Puppies. The Puppies by and large seem to have no idea why they nominated the works they did other than they were commanded to as part of a made-up culture war. The non-Puppies know why they nominated thing – because they love them.

  14. In the Good Books department, I basically inhaled My Real Children in the space of two days. Not every Jo Walton book does it for me (disclosure: she’s a friend of mine), but this one left me reeling, despite being nothing like the hammer blow to the sense of wonder that Ancillary Justice was.

    I even spent a whole bicycle journey reflecting on the fact that it creates that weird experience, reading somebody who fell in love utterly with the place you got the hell out of as fast as you could. In part that tickled me – well yes, OF COURSE Italy is a lovely place full of wonderful people who love children and wonderful food* – and on the other hand it slightly irritated me, as tourists who fail to see all the problems in a country will do.

    And then it struck me: the narrator who falls in love with Italy is also completely naive and disinterested in social justice. Of course she wouldn’t see the corruption, inequality, sexism and racism. That is part of the point of the book.

    It is a great read, even though I still can’t tell the difference between ice cream and gelato – although I can tell the difference between good and bad ice cream. 😉

    *Anybody else in fandom would have noticed the cats. The cats, Jo! The cats!

  15. The year’s about halfway through, and the best of the bunch of what I’ve read so far is novels. I haven’t found a short piece yet that I would enthusiastically nominate (but I have read plenty of things that are still better than anything on this year’s slate.)

    For novels:
    The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman — this takes place in a post-apocalypse where only children have survived. They speak in a teenager Haitian-American dialect which makes it hard to get into initially but which lends itself to the occasional outstandingly beautiful piece of prose. The way the book studs brutality with little diamonds of humor reminds me of Game of Thrones.

    Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace — another fairly brutal book. This one is about a primative ghost hunter, also in a post apocalyptic society. Most of the novel is a hallcuinatory trip through the underworld/afterlife. Ghosts and such are usually not my thing, but this book did such a good job of sticking to its characterizations and its bleak themes that it really stood out.

    Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman — Abigail Nussbaum reviews it at Strange Horizons:

    Lots of sequels this year that I’m looking forward to though, from Rothfuss, Leckie, etc.

  16. @Oneiros

    Oh, he’s shown no sign of admitting to understanding formatting so far. I’m sure he’ll continue claiming that those hyphens weren’t denoting anything. Its “worked” as a sea lion tactic so far (worked in the sense of wasting our time, not worked in the sense of convincing anyone).

  17. Well I’ve read maybe-probably-mighta made it on the Hugo Ballot possibilities The Peripheral and Echopraxia, both excellent, and have started Tigerman. I’ve read Ancillary Sword and The Goblin Emperor should be in soon. Three Body Problem I’ll get when it comes out in paperback and nothing will induce me to read Anderson and I’ve no interest in Butcher. On my To Read pile, amongst so, so many others, is Cecelia Holland’s The Floating Worlds. I’ve read a bunch of her historicals in the last year and they’re incredibly good. The Earl and The Kings In Winter are just beautiful, perfectly crafted novels, and while I would particularly direct anyone suffering pangs for the next Ice and Fire tome in their direction, they’re just damn fine books, period.

  18. Totally off topic… but there was a discussion a while back of the books that people read as teens that got them into SFF…. does anyone remember which day that was? The Mother Reader 48 Hour book challenge is coming up and I’d love to stock up on some older SFF that they might not otherwise pick up but that will be a fun, light read.

  19. Aaron: Does anyone here think that Tor doesn’t know that at his best, Kevin J. Anderson’s work is mediocre? Do they think Anderson himself doesn’t know that? I know numerous Dune fans who derisively refer to his team-ups with Brian Herbert as “McDune”.

    When the #newHugocategories hashtag was trending on Twitter, someone offered this:

    The Brian Herbert / Christopher Tolkien Joint Award for best desecration of father’s legacy. #newHugocategories

  20. @tofu: On short works this year I’ve loved Kameron Hurley’s couple. Elephants and Corpses seems the most popular, but Corpse Archives is the one I loved the most. In fact, nominating CA for 2016 is one of the main reasons I just paid for voting rights.

    I’d also mention Pippa Goldschmidt’s The Need for Better Regulation of Outer Space. Although it’s not as good as her novel Falling Sky, which is the most beautifully perfect thing I’ve read in ages (but fragile in my memory – it wouldn’t surprise me if few shared my taste on that one). There’s few of her short works that jump out as pieces, but some great lines.

  21. …those people who got the most nominations for those 20 years–didn’t they have actual talent?

    Ah but in this fallen age what can we do but promote those who try their best, even if they are barely fit to clean the boots of the greats of old? At least Scalzi and Stross have both attempted to keep the dream of Heinlein alive with their homages to his work (which would be sadly forgotten if not for the brave attempts of such anti-SJW bastions as Baen and, er, Tor.)

  22. Aaron: I can explain in detail… what I found compelling enough about Dream Houses that I nominated it.

    Oh, I really liked that one, too. I would love to see that one developed to novel length.

  23. I always preferred to call them Dune: The Phantom Menace. Or at least that’s what I’d call them if I admitted there were more than six Dune novels in existence.

  24. @Meredith:
    All the same I’m endlessly entertained by the hoops he needs to jump through to get to his version of reality. If it was a sport, many of the Pups would be Olympian level athletes.

  25. The 240+ was a number VD pulled out of his ass.

    iirc, that number was the total number of people shortlisted (not just winners) for the best novel categories of BOTH the nebulas and hugo since, again iirc, 1996.

  26. Are there any other examples of sequels from actual family members? I can think of a fair number of sequels by other hands – Fuzzy Nation and the various continuations of works by Asimov leap to mind – but no more family members.

    There’s also the trend for books authored by Famous but Aging Author and New Writer You’ve Never Heard Of But Probably Did Most Of The Work..

  27. @Oneiros
    Mislead, insult yourself and attribute it to someone else, claim not to understand words or formatting, pretend twitter user with 49 followers is an example of the secret cabal that runs the Hugos, make up a new acronym, criticise enemies for being thin-skinned while whining about being insulted, Aristotle! Dismount. And the crowd goes wild!

  28. “Hey. Some of us liked Chapterhouse”

    I didn’t say which four! (Though yeah, I didn’t care much for Heretics and Chapterhouse when I first read them, and just stopped 30-odd pagtes into Heretics the last time I did a reread)

  29. @Chris Hensley

    I have a doorstop-sized edition of The Second Great Dune Trilogy, which is a bit battered due to doing duty as an actual doorstop for a while. I’m not sure I actually enjoyed the later books, but they have a certain macabre interest that kept me reading them.

  30. Rev. Bob on June 11, 2015 at 1:17 am said:
    It’s probably futile and certainly overdue, but I think it’s time to utter The Four Words. Ahem:


    Seriously, folks. Internet 101.

    I have a couple of problems with this.

    One, trolls often leave blatant falsehoods lying around as if they were fact. These need to be refuted if a place is to be of any use whatsoever.

    Two, if a troll attacks a person and people pretend nothing was said, that person is left feeling hung out to dry. I am still appalled by Dave Freer’s leering and revolting attack on a commenter here yesterday which passed without remark at first.

    Ignoring the troll is more nuanced than simply not engaging.

  31. Dune is one of my all time personal greats. I was one of those teens who could quote the Litany Against Fear, among others, from memory.

    My thoughts on KJA’s prequels can be summed in this comic

    Also, RIP to Sir Christopher Lee. What a life. What a career he’s had.

  32. @Peace

    I am still appalled by Dave Freer’s leering and revolting attack on a commenter here yesterday which passed without remark at first.

    I think I missed this, I don’t remember Freer turning up – have you got a link? My memory can be a little swiss cheesey at times. 🙁

  33. Meredith,

    Well, its pretty obvious why Beale wanted to publish that book. It fits in very neatly with his terrible politics.

    That does seem to resemble Beale’s politics.

  34. “James M – Don’t be mad at his opinion of Wright’s work, he tipped his hat to an old woman earlier which means he deserves forgiveness.”

    I see what you did there.

  35. I never did like the “expanded” novels made out of Asimov’s short stories by Robert Silverberg. THE UGLY LITTLE BOY being one of them. But there are a few novels I could name that should have been edited into short stories.

  36. @Johan

    He’s a Breivik fanboy on top of it all? God, I wish, I was surprised.

  37. > “On my To Read pile, amongst so, so many others, is Cecelia Holland’s The Floating Worlds.”

    I’m a HUGE fan of Holland’s historical fiction, but I have to admit Floating Worlds didn’t do much for me. YMMV, of course.

  38. Aaron said:

    Beale talks like a cartoon villain. Not a cool comic book supervillain, but the villain in some cheap and crappy Hanna-Barbera cartoon.

    That makes sense. I was wondering why he always seems to be running past the same window and doorway over and over again.

  39. Gah. Every time I get an e-mail reminder for the previous thread, I read it as:

    And Now For Something Completely Disinterred

  40. @JJ

    Ah yes. I read a great deal of McCaffrey as a teen – there were a number of her books on my parent’s shelves – but I stopped following her work after she’d hit the “hand a synopsis to a younger author” phase of her career. The first few examples of that were okay, but then it combined with revisiting old books for unnecessary sequels, and I pretty much stopped reading her.

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