Lord Foul’s Baying 6/14

aka Spaceships and Solar Sails and Puppy Blog Tales.

In the roundup today: Brad R. Torgersen, George R.R. Martin, MD Laclan, Scott Alexander, Peter Grant, Vox Day, John C. Wright, Sarah A. Hoyt, J. A. Micheline, Ray Blank, Spacefaring Kitten, Mark Ciocco, Lis Carey, Russell Blackford, Rebekah Golden, Bonnie McDaniel and Silly But True. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Bruce Baugh and Jack Lint.)

Brad R. Torgersen in a comment on George R.R. Martin’s Not A Blog – June 13

Which of the Puppies are clueless? Is it me? The readers? Somebody else? From which way does the venom flow? There’s a lady over at TOR who’s in a lot of hot water right now, because she regurgitated venom she’d absorbed (or been spoon-fed) by folks on your “side” of this thing. Her chief mistake was in assuming that she knew who she was calling names, when she did not.

And now the customers are remarkably unhappy with her.

I’ve said it before: I don’t mind people who criticize Sad Puppies 3 for either mode, or method. If you can criticize the method, without impugning the integrity of the man, all well and good. That’s a conversation worth having.

Problem is, some opponents of Sad Puppies 3 have been impugning the man (singularly, collectively) from the get-go, and the invective has been of a type and kind so outlandish, so below the belt, so filled with promises both dire and dreadful, that I’ve struggled to understand why people who claim to tread the high frontiers of the world’s most imaginative form of literature, can be frightened into nasty hysterics by the fact that a democratic process was exercised democratically.

Eric Flint’s a friend of mine, and I trust him on most things. But he’s not immune from getting it wrong. I think his criticism has been better then most, because he’s tried to be fair-minded. But he’s also gotten a few things out of whack.

CHORF came about because the SMOFs who are supporting Sad Puppies didn’t want to be lumped in with the hysterical crowd calling Sad Puppies a lot of terrible stuff.

Puppy-kicker was suggested to me by a female member of the Sad Puppies 3 slate who was tired of seeing anti-Puppy ad hominem attacks. So, I adopted Puppy-kicker as a means of referring to people who are in it for the sake of personal vendetta, or who can’t seem to stop themselves from being nasty churls at a personal level, against everything and everyone Puppy-related.

CHORF and Puppy-kicker may seem offensive to some, but they are attempts to refine the conversation while not letting the bad-spirited, badly-behaving actors off the hook.

And to be blunt about it, George, some of the folks on “your” side have been very, very bad-spirited, and made it their personal business to be fantastically terrible to not just myself, not just Larry Correia, but to all of Puppydom. And as Tom Doherty discovered, Puppydom also includes respected colleagues and authors with decades of investment in this field. As well as a heap-load of readers. You know, those people who pay us money for the crazy shit we make up and pull out of our heads?

I’d love to see things dialed down, but the bulk of the dialing has to come from your “side” and to be honest, I am not really sure the fans (aka: customers!) who’ve been tarred with the anti-Puppy brush, are feeling terribly pleased at the moment. This was never a top-down effort, it was always grass-roots. Larry, myself, Sad Puppies, we gave faces and a name to a sentiment that’s been there for many years. Among the readership. Among people who were tired of being treated like they were second-class citizens, either because of their Fandom pedigrees, or because of their Fandom tastes and interests, or because they were professionals deemed to be “cut-rate” in the back-room conversations amongst other pros.

That kind of thing leaves bruises to the bone, George. And whether you like it or not, it’s some of the people on your side eagerly doing the bruising.


George R.R. Martin replies in a comment – June 13

[First of five parts.]

I have spoken out against name-calling from the first, Brad. It is the Puppies and their supporters who started it, and who keep dialing it up. I will concede that you yourself have been mostly civil, but read the comments in your own blog, or Correia’s, or even on FILE 770, and it is all venom and epithets.

>And now the customers are remarkably unhappy with her.

The vast majority of customers have no idea about any of this. The “unhappiness” here is a campaign orchestrated by the odious Mr. Beale, and once again you Sad Puppies have lined up behind the Rabids. Early in this debate, I heard a lot of stuff from your side about careers being threatened and your opponents saying “you will never work in this town again” and similar crap. Not one instance of that was ever substantiated. But now we are seeing a deliberate internet campaign to cost someone their career — and it is coming from VD, with the full howling support of Puppies of all stripes.

No one on “my side” ever threatened anyone’s livelihood or career. Your side is doing just that. In public.


MD Laclan on Fantasy Faction

“Breakfast of bullshit: Futurephobia, the Hugos and the invention of SF’s past” – June 14

What you doubtless wanted when you sparked up this blog was another comment on The Hugos controversy, where – summing it up – a bunch of right wing idiots have been acting like right wing idiots and annoying the good and sensible folk of the SF&F parish. OK, then.

SF – and the debate seems centred on SF rather than fantasy – shouldn’t be about social issues, they say, it’s rayguns and aliens. (I’m obviously making their argument slightly more complex than it is – it seems to reduce to ‘er, girls, thinking, ugg, sissy, me feel insecure.’)

Particularly annoying seems the inclusion of a diverse cast of protagonists – transgender people, homosexual people, female people and black people. They actually say this, which seems surprising in 2015 as opposed to, say, 1915.

Rightist light sabre rattler Brad Torgensen says on his blog that buying SF with a spaceship on the cover nowadays is like buying one kind of cereal but getting quite another.


Scott Alexander on Slate Star Codex

“Fearful Symmetry” – June 14

Likewise, when people wanted TV star Phil Robertson fired for saying (on his own time) that homosexuality was unnatural and led to bestiality and adultery, they said it wasn’t about policing his religion, it was about how these were “hateful” comments that would make the people working with him feel unsafe. At the time I said that was poppycock and that people who wanted him fired for having a private opinion were the worst kinds of illiberal witch-hunters.

On the other hand, consider Irene Gallo. I know nothing of her except what the Alas blog post says, but apparently in science fiction’s ongoing conflict between the establishment and the anti-SJW “Sad Puppies”/”Rabid Puppies” groups, she referred to the latter as:

Two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy. They are unrepentantly racist, sexist and homophobic.

These are some pretty strong allegations, and range from “false” to “bizarre”; Brad Torgenson, leader of the group she called “extreme right wing neo nazi unrepentant racists”, is happily married to a black woman. And the people she’s talking about are her company’s authors and customers, which hardly seems like good business practice. Some authors have said they feel uncomfortable working for a company whose employees think of them that way, and others have suggested boycotting Tor until they make her apologize or fire her.

Barry says that since she said these on her own private Facebook page, it is a private opinion that it would be pretty censorious to fire her over. Part of me agrees.

On the other hand, if I were a sci-fi author in one of the groups that she was talking about, I’m not sure I’d be able to work with her. Like, really? You want me to sit across a table and smile at the woman who thinks I’m a racist sexist homophobic extremist neo-Nazi just because I disagree with her?


Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“Do empty vessels make the most sound?” – June 14

I’ve been quietly amused by the number of SJW’s who are trying to dismiss the current brouhaha over Tor as something ‘manufactured by troublemakers’, individuals who don’t have a following and are ‘nobodies’ making a fuss over nothing.  They take great care to attack ‘Puppies’ supporters and commenters, often going so far as to attribute emotions and attitudes to them that have no existence whatsoever in reality – but they never address the real issues involved, as I pointed out recently.  It’s a very strange, almost surreal attitude to life.

I’m sure many of my readers have seen SJW attacks on Larry Correia, Brad Torgerson, Vox Day and the like.  Even humble little me has come in for his share of them – as, for example, in comments to this article at File 770.  For your entertainment, here are some of them, with links: ….


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The outrage is not manufactured” – June 14

So, now it is time to demonstrate that we are not bots. Now it is time to let Macmillan know that we truly exist and we do NOT approve of the senior SJWs at Tor Books who have been publicly attacking us for more than a decade. It is time to prove to Macmillan that the senior SJWs at Tor are lying to them by sending ONE email apiece to the following people on MONDAY morning. (Emphasis added as a result of already seeing emails in my inbox.) Send the emails separately, do not CC them or send out one email to the three email addresses at the same time. The point is to make it clear that you are NOT a bot, you are a human being, and therefore the people at Tor Books are lying to their superiors at Macmillan.

  1. tom.dohertyATtor.com
  2. andrew.weberATmacmillan.com
  3. rhonda.brownATmacmillan.com

The three emails should be short, straightforward, polite, and respectful. It should have I AM A REAL PERSON in the subject, CC voxdayATgmail.com, and address the following points:

  • I am a real person and not a bot.
  • I do not approve of the behavior of the senior people at Tor Books, specifically Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, and Irene Gallo.
  • I am requesting you to require Irene Gallo to resign from her positions at Tor Books and Tor.com as a consequence of her egregiously unprofessional public attack on science fiction readers and writers.
  • I request a response to confirm that my email has been received and read.

Something to that effect, anyway. There is no need to mention any possibility of a boycott, tell them how many books you buy in a year, or anything else. The people at Macmillan are smart, they are professional, and they know what is at stake. What they do not know is something we are going to have to demonstrate to them: SJWs always lie.


John C. Wright

“I Am A Real Person” – June 14

I have received more messages, publicly and privately, from fans who enjoy and buy my works but who, deeply offended at at least four, perhaps more, of the ranking officers of my publisher, have told me they can no longer buy my works.

This is unprecedented, or, I should say, at least I have never heard of readers disavowing books based not on the content or author, but the publisher.

Some have likewise written to Tor books to express their displeasure at this high handed and unprofessional treatment.

However, the latest slander issued from the enemy is that these readers do not exist.

They are trying to blank you out of their minds. You are unpersons. The claim is that the emails and letters sent to Tor expressing the displeasure of the customer are said to be faked, counterfeit, written by robots.


Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“This, That, The Other, Now With More Robots” – June 14

This bizarre belief that thousands of pissed off fans are just a “robot army” invoked by the Lord of All Evil is one of the ways of pinching off reality and self-insulating so the faith can stay strong.  They know that those who disagree with their progressive view for the future are few, old, and frankly probably too dumb to read for fun.  They know also that VD has some mysterious mastery of the dark forces of computing which they don’t fully get.  Ergo, presto, the annoying supposed evidence they might not be right is enemy action and fakery.


Ray Blank on Superversive SF

“On Worldcons and World Cups” – June 14

Torgersen is right about Worldcon and the awards it hands out. It is an event for Americans, by Americans. Everybody else assimilates, or is excluded. Worldcon might promote an American industry to customers overseas, but reveals little appetite for international diversity within that industry. That would imply more competition for American writers and American businessmen, and it would also mean more competition amongst ideas.

I like my science fiction to be challenging, and I find the world to be a challenging place. Not everyone is like me, and not everyone shares my tastes or opinions. It would be unreasonable to expect otherwise. So I must expect that some will prefer to observe the world whilst wearing blinkers or rose-tinted spectacles. They have a right to free speech, even if they only use it to talk amongst themselves. If it makes them happy, they should continue as they are. But nobody should pretend that the members of Worldcon aspire to realize the greatest, most diverse potential of the SF market. They may refer to their event as Worldcon, but this ‘fandom’ retreats from the world at large.


J. A. Micheline on Women Write About Comics

“A Message From Tom Doherty: We Are An Apolitical Island, Nothing to See Here” – June 14

Some of you may be familiar with the Rabid/Sad Puppies Hugo Award Scandal of 2015, which has basically been a study in gatekeeping, sexism, racism, and all the less-than-cute things we have all come to know and hate about…well, fandom. Last month, Tor.com’s Associate Publisher and Tor Books’ Creative Director Irene Gallo made statements on her personal Facebook page that expressed her disgust with the Rabid/Sad Puppy movement. She describes them as “right wing to neo-nazi,” and “unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic.” She also did not clarify that these statements were her own and not reflective of Tor.com/Tor Books as a whole.

You know. Even though they were on her personal Facebook page.

So, naturally, on Monday–coincidentally, mere days before the winners of the Nebula Awards were announced–Tom Doherty, Tor Books President and Publisher took to the Tor.com page to let everyone know that (1) that Sad Puppies is “not all (white) men,” (2) that Tor is about publishing a diverse set of books and has no political agenda, and (3) that Irene Gallo has been tamed and put back in her cage, y’all, so let’s get back to business and forget this ever happened.

I mean, I’m paraphrasing, but you get it.

I’m not going to spend time debunking the “not all (white) men” portion of the post because other people have already made this point about the Rabid/Sad Puppies’ agenda. I’m just going to let it sit there that the odd circumstantial nature of this statement coming out a month after Ms. Gallo’s words but just in time to distract from women basically sweeping the Nebula Awards. I will say that making a list of some of the women and people of color included on their slate to prove that they aren’t racist or sexist is a very, very weird thing to do if your site and/or publisher has no political agenda.


JoeMama on Eaton Rapids Joe

“Sad Puppies” – June 14

Traditional publishing houses are still pretty good at putting physical copies of books on the shelves of physical book stores.  It can do that because of its access to commercial credit….the ability to take on debt.

They also retain the ability to promote although most readers find a hundred favorable on-line reviews infinitely more compelling than a frothy blurb written by a shill-for-hire.

And, until this year, traditional publishing houses “owned” the Hugo award process and thus controlled the free publicity the Hugos generated.

But the chickens came home to roost this year.  All of those writers that the gate keepers were discarding because their politics were not “good”….they never went away.  They self published.  They banded together to create pools of alpha and beta readers.  They communicated.

And they got mad.  These are smart people.  They were able to synthesize the Big Picture.  And they did not like it.  They were filled with the anger of a spurned lover, one who had been ditched for a rich girl.

Here is the joke, the rich girl only looks rich.  She is living on debt and past glory.  She is about to collapse like a brittle drunk.  The traditional publishing industry is doomed unless it has its own  Counter Reformation.


Brad R. Torgersen in a comment to Eric Flint  – June 10

4) Mike Resnick is an outlier, Eric. You yourself have always talked about outliers. And the reason Mike is an outlier is because Mike has been in Fandom (caps f) for his entire life, and is known and beloved to many, and he’s never made it his business to broadcast his politics on social media. The great sin of the 21st century Fandom landscape, has been for conservatives and libertarians — like Michael Z. Williamson — to actually display their beliefs in the public square. I know you don’t think much of William F. Buckley, but he was dead right when he said, “Liberals will often tell you that they are open to other opinions; then react with shock and dismay to discover that there are other opinions.” That’s progressive Fandom in a nutshell. Notice that Mike Resnick got his cojones rosted on a spit the second he and Barry Malzberg actually did express themselves, in the pages of the SFWA Bulletin. They were castigated, maligned, and ejected.


JT’s German Adventure

“The REAL Hugo Controversy” – June 14

The Sad and/or Rabid Puppies may try to convince you that there’s a bias at work in the Hugo Awards*, and they may be right. However, they’ve overlooked the REAL shameful secret of the Hugo Awards. That secret? No novel written in a language other than English has ever won. Do you really believe that the best sci-fi/fantasy novel of the year was originally written in English… for SIXTY consecutive years? This stretches credulity.


Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“Grimm: ‘Once We Were Gods’” – June 14

I had never watched an episode of Grimm prior to this year’s Hugos, so it’s a new show for me. I checked out a few of the very first episodes and then skipped to the third season, watching some of the episodes leading up to the 15th one that is up for a Hugo. Grimm seems to be the male version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with fairy tale backstory and some police procedural thrown into the mix. It’s a decent show, with crimes perpetrated by different monster species, all with German names, and a council of unionized monsters to complicate matters here and there.


Mark Ciocco on Kaedrin Weblog

“Hugo Awards: The Dark Between The Stars”

The idea of a distinction between a true Auteur and a craftsman is what keeps coming to mind when I think of Kevin J. Anderson. I mean, books aren’t collaborative in the way movies are, but the distinction between a craftsman and, let’s say, a master, is what I’m falling back on here. He’s a fine author, his prose gets the job done, and the books I’ve read by him are enjoyable. I still find them a little too diffuse, a little too derivative. So Anderson is a fine craftsman, and honestly, I could see myself revisiting this universe because I had a decent enough time with it. But he’s not a master, and while this represents good old-fashioned SF comfort food, I’m not sure it’s well executed enough to be worth the stretch.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth, by John C. Wright” – June 14

With a bit more restraint, his prose could be lyrical–the opposite of the transparent prose the Puppies say they’re looking for, and certainly not to everyone’s taste, but offering its own kind of enjoyment. Without that restraint, alas, it too often becomes word salad, and at best is tiring and annoying.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Flight of the Kikayon, by Kary English” – June 14

Kary English is a nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

This story is a rare treat in the 2015 Hugo Voters packet.


Russell Blackford on Metamagician and The Hellfire Club

“Concluding comments on “Best novelette” category – Hugo Awards voting 2015” – June 14

And the winner is…

well, I don’t know who will win this award. I will not be voting “no award” ahead of any of them. However, the standout is Heuvelt’s surrealistic fantasy story, “The Day the World Turned Upside Down”.


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Fan Writer: Reviewing C Sanderson” – June 13

My eyes glazed over and I didn’t learn anything new about some awesome corner of the sf/f community. Not my best fan writer.


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Fan Writer: Reviewing L J Mixon” – June 13

She writes about fandom and meta issues. Am I being unfairly focused? Is my definition too strict? It’s harder to tell with someone whose politics align with my own. Still, for me, one of my favorite writers will not be best fan writer. She did not improve my understanding or love of works in the sf/f realm. I’m sticking to my definition. And feeling sad.


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Fan Writer: Reviewing J Johnson” – June 13

I opened up Jeffro Johnson’s PDF in the voter’s packet for the Hugo Awards and breathed a sigh of relief. This. This is what I’ve been looking for. Jack Vance and D&D. YES. Each article is full of Johnson’s enthusiasm for the genre, tidbits of collected information, quotes, and references. This is a fan writer! After finishing reading I know more than I did, I appreciate more than I had, and I am (momentarily) interested in exploring more. Well done.


Bonnie McDaniel on Red Headed Femme

“The Hugo Project: ‘Best Related Work’” – June 14

[After comments on each nominee…]

Mr. Noah Award in a runaway. In fact, Noah is the equivalent of the magnificent Secretariat thundering down the stretch in the Belmont Stakes, straight and true and overpowering, leaving his competitors in the dust.


Silly But True in a comment on File 770 – June 14

…Fifty-four rubbed his temples. Voting had been so much easier before the Dog Wars destroyed the world. It was a terrible thing to watch first hand as a civilization died from a lack of civility. And Fifty-four was old enough to have survived the those times — even the worst of the fighting of 2019 when the atomics and bioweapons started being deployed. He checked his Aggregator 9000 and saw he still had some time left to complete his recommendations, if he chose to make any more, which could count on the final ballot, or not, depending on how many people agreed with him, or not.

He thought about how it would be nice to take a morning stroll after being cooped up in his ever so small cubicle. But that was stopped after the Slate Cullings of 2021. The initial recommendation-based society had quickly imploded as people found they could convince others of their recommendations. Soon, what had begun as cliques grew into gangs, and then armies, and then nation states. Finally, after the tactics had become so vile, the last people left alive on earth set about enshrining rules for the recommendations that could never be gamed. One of the side effects is that all human contact with one another was stopped.

So, Fifty-four sat in his box. Alone. Thinking of whether he should maintain the strength of his single vote, or dilute it for a time by adding more.

That was odd. Lights blinked on his Aggregator 9000. That never happened before. But there it was. A series of blinks. Some long. Some short. Suddenly, an epiphany struck Fifty-four. The sequence was Morse code, but for the life of him, Fifty-four could not remember what letters the dits and dahs represented…..

1,311 thoughts on “Lord Foul’s Baying 6/14

  1. The problem with that theory, Jamoche, is that an attack cannot really be fanfic, and BBDC is an attack on the boloverse. Rather, that’s one problem. The other seems to be that penchant among certain political persuasions to project, rather thoughtlessly. Oh, well, I shall try to contain my sorrow at those projections.

    XS: you can believe T. Hana Tospuss y Cabeza de Tarra Farsante is a former jarhead if you like. I don’t believe it. No jarhead of my acquaintance who has seen his posts believes it. Try this one: S/H/It has lied to himself and to the world for decades about the really key thing, just what S/H/It even was. But you’re going to believe he was telling the truth about this? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.


  2. Dr Science,

    I have to say I have no idea what kink-shaming is, as you have made its meaning less clear to me with your second comment. I think it’s trivial to recognize that some people like A for X reason and other people like it for Y reason (and some Ys can entirely discount X)—but recognizing it and considering it a credible opinion with which to engage are two different things. (You certainly don’t have to engage with my opinions. I’m not directing them at you or your work or your likes, after all, but when you asked me for them I was happy to share them the other week.)

    I can *like* Pop-Tarts and know that they aren’t any good, can and object when someone says “Pop-Tarts are great! That this fancy French bakery doesn’t have them shows them to be snoots!” Call me a snoot; I’m pleased to wear the snoot crown. I can also see why someone might think Pop-Tarts are *good*, but that doesn’t mean I have to take them all that seriously on the subject, or festoon my own comments with “IMHO” or other qualifiers.

    Honestly, the path of “People like what they like! Everything is subjective!” is the path to Puppydom as far as I can tell. There’s a reason most Puppies won’t actually explain why the material on their ballots is good, and why they make appeals to popularity when they can, and just attack when they cannot.

    I also find the sort of criticism that comes out of the fanfic community to range from okay to dire, but if you got something out of it—and you’ve looked at it more than I have—glad to hear it.

  3. Doha would be interesting, after a few drinks it would be just like Tatooine.
    If it’s a wretched hive of scum and villainy you want, you might be better off in Cairo or Tartous.

    Though a lot can change in 8 years.

  4. @Jeb

    “I am suggesting that Irene, like many people in a busy professional role, does *not* obsessively read links pointing the evidence of evil which much be stamped out, like some here do, but listens to her co-workers and friends talking about current affairs, and reads from a Facebook and Twitter friends list that tends to be of one point of view.”

    Jeb, please. In her own apology she apologized specifically because she “painted with too broad a brush.” She didn’t say anything about being misinformed on account of listening to the counsel of others, or having a certain set of Twitter friends, or what have you.

    Why do you feel such a compelling need to NOT take her own words at face value, and instead to invent some imaginary alternative scenario? Do you find her words difficult to parse? Do you think you know the contents of her mind better than she does? Do you just really, really want your version to be true, so you’re ignoring all evidence to the contrary?

  5. @Soon Lee

    That’s not the point I was trying to make, FYI (see my previous comment for clarification). Rather, I was making the point that the discourse has grown circular, with diminishing returns, and that a specific moment when an author tweeted a reply to a comment left here on a roundup post symbolized that for me. It wasn’t *literally* the moment the discourse grew circular, it was the moment I understood it as such.

  6. I’m outraged! Completely outraged! So outraged that I may start typing in all CAPS! I’ve been here for hours and nobody has stroked my ego! I think I need ice cream, again! And I insist that George RR Martin should explain himself here!

    You know, this being outraged is harder than it looks…

  7. Yeah–I just Googled “kink-shaming” and 1) I wish I hadn’t, 2) I still don’t know what it is, and 3) now I’m Googling how to clear my search history.

  8. Doha looks a bit like it’s trying to be piece of Coruscant that ended up on Tatooine.

  9. Sadly, Peace, none of your characterization is accurate. Certainly, our host here didn’t see it that way.

    But, on the other hand, if you want to see it that way, or some others here do, well, so what, no skin off me.

  10. Do I need to take my phone to the restroom to Google “kink-shaming”?

    I mean…is it worth my while?

  11. I believe that 2022 Qatar is a reference to the World Cup. I can’t quite work out who is Sepp Blatter in that analogy.

  12. As far as Neal Asher goes, after reading 40% The Departure, I’m shocked that none of Asher’s stuff got on the Puppies slate. You have a former waste incinerator used to torch political prisoners, insane commissars enforcing for an oppressive government that cloaks its oppression in progressive bromides, the single stolid ubermensch shooting his way through hordes of faceless opposition to be rewarded with sex from the woman he rescues, environmental regs leading to a new Dark Ages – I’m not really exaggerating here.

    I mean really – I’m not sure if I started on the wrong book, or what. Him and John Ringo are two authors that made me wonder why Mr. Wright had to carry so much of the weight.

  13. @andyl : thanks; one sale for Gwyneth Jones.

    I am also very annoyed with myself for only now checking that Gary Gibson is not the The Difference Engine Gibson (I bounced off steampunk very hard), so I’ll have to look at his and Cobley when I’m after space opera.

  14. Camestros Felapton:

    On Canadians, I’m noticing a lack in Ausralian nominees. Yet Australia has a quite active fandom.
    New theory: the Canadians ate the Australian nominees.

    Time for Sad Dingos?

    *beer up the nose*

    Right You! I’ll show you Canadian!

    I’ll see my own Rob Sawyer, Bob Wilson and Peter Watts and raise myself K. J. Bishop, Tansy Raynor Roberts, and Patricia Wrightson!

    I rather fancy that should fix myself right proper!

    Ghod Bless The Commonwealth!

  15. How hard can it be? Kink shaming i shaming some for their kink. Exactly as fat shaming is shaming someone for them being fat. It is basically saying that they aren’t ok for having the kink they have. The opposite of YKINMKBYKIOK.

  16. @Stevie – “You know, this being outraged is harder than it looks…”

    Couldn’t agree more. I’m nearly misplacing words too. GRRM should come here and explain himself.


  17. This does put me in mind of one of my favorite South Park exchanges…

    “Cartman doesn’t know a rainforest from a Pop Tart.”
    “Yes, I do–Pop Tarts are frosted.”

  18. @ Nick Mamatas

    Honestly, the path of “People like what they like! Everything is subjective!” is the path to Puppydom as far as I can tell.

    If only. Puppydom seems very firmly set in “YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT WE LIKE SO LIKE WHAT WE LIKE OR ELSE!”

    Also “kink shaming” in the most common usage is just making someone feel bad for liking a thing. If you say “You like pop tarts, I think they’re crap,” that’s fine. If you say “you like pop tarts and that makes you a terrible human being,” that’s shaming. Except that kink-shaming usually involves telling someone that the fanfic they get off on is gross.

  19. > “Australian SF: Recomendations please.”

    I hope you don’t mind if I include both F and SF.

    I would enthusiastically recommend Joel Shepherd’s “A Trial of Blood and Steel” fantasy tetralogy that starts with “Sasha”. Really, really great stuff. Epic in scope and very personal at the same time. I also like his “Cassandra Kressnov” science fiction novels, but not quite as much. Decent to good MilSF with an eye towards how technology might affect rights, privacy, and warfare.

    Garth Nix has written some fantastic YA fantasy, particularly the “Old Kingdom” or “Abhorsen” series that starts with Sabriel. I tried some SF he wrote (“A Confusion of Princes”) and found it only OK.

    While I have not yet read any Margo Lanagan, I just picked up “The Brides of Rollrock Island” (called “Sea Hearts” in some countries) after enthusiastic recommendations by others, and am looking forward to it.

    I read Isobelle Carmody’s YA SF for a while, but in my opinion, while she has great ideas, her prose gets very clunky and it eventually defeated me. “Obernewtyn”, which I believe is her first book, is actually the one of hers I’ve read that I liked the best.

  20. Simon Bisson:

    The only one of the Change novels or the Books of the Cataclysm that’s in my (quite large) county library system is The Crooked Letter, which I’ve stuck on my TBR list.

    Why are OZ export rules so restrictive? I had wondered why e.g. Patricia Wrightson (let’s talk “overlooked Hugo-worthy”!) is so hard to find, while NZ’s Margaret Mahy was a global juggernaut.

  21. Well Hampus, how is “Robert Sawyer can’t write an entertaining sentence” kink-shaming then? Because I didn’t append “This is my opinion and only my opinion and of course all opinions are equally credible because of many many people do find his sentences entertaining and maybe they don’t but find something else entertaining just like I do but it wouldn’t matter if if they did or did not” to it?

    Seems to be that kink-shaming might be something like “Jerking off to videos of someone stamping rodents to death is bad!” instead.

  22. Jeb Kinnison said: “So now let’s talk Brad Torgerson, who has been roasted here with a lot of guesses and insulting presumptions.”

    I presume this is how the youngsters these days refer to “facts and accurate citations of his own documented quotes,” right? Because the thing is, Brad’s left something of a paper trail. He has a blog that he’s been very active on, he’s been all over Facebook, and he’s even commented here on File 770 on numerous occasions. It’s not hard to track what he’s said, and it’s especially not hard to notice that he will say one thing (like, for example, “Sad Puppies 3 was a thoroughly transparent operation. We hid nothing.”), and then the truth turns out to be entirely another (like, for example, “Now that the registrations for memberships to nominate for the Hugo are closed, here is what the Evil League of Evil authors came up with in discussion..”) Now, I can certainly see how pointing out that Torgersen frequently lies in a transparent and self-serving manner might be insulting, but it is neither presumptuous nor a guess.

    “I was only paying a little attention when I read about the SP3 efforts and started to notice Brad. I suspect he, like other SP3s, expected their little protest to result in maybe a few noms, and he slapped it together in the limited time he had. Now we have people with the benefit of hindsight asking why it was so slapdash — the answer is because they didn’t expect to be very successful, and they were as shocked as anyone when they swept a few categories. We can now guess this was because of the more militant RPs, but no one knew that would happen, so it’s not reasonable to rake him over the coals for not being a strategic genius or putting together the best-thought-out list of nominees.”

    And if he had said, “Hey, guys, I really didn’t expect this to work, so I just threw something together behind closed doors and tossed it out there, I didn’t really expect anyone to care…”, he would not be having the problem he is having. Instead, he said:

    “Nielsen-Haydens, your fellow travelers, and media goombahs . . . I MOCK YOU! I MOCK YOUR ASININE INCESTUOUS CLUSTERFUCKED LITTLE CULTURE OF DOCTRINAIRE PROGRESSOSEXUAL MEDIOCRITY MASKED AS SUPERIORITY! You are all dolts. You are moral and physical cowards. You are without ethics, without scruples, and if you weren’t so patently pathetic, I’d say you might be dangerous.

    Fuck you. Fuck you all. The forces of the progressive pink and poofy Xerxes were met at the Hugo Hot Gates, and repelled by a few brave dudes and dudettes with the stones to stand up to your bullshit.”

    …whoops. Sorry, that was an example of him “criticizing the method, without impugning the integrity of the man” (to use his own quote rather than guess or insultingly presume). What he actually said was:

    “Commissar Chu laughed when he said he didn’t expect me to last the month.”

    Whoops! That’s good old tolerant Brad again taking the high road and not “impugning the integrity of the man”! My bad. I’ll try one more time:

    “Sad Puppies 3 was a thoroughly transparent operation. We hid nothing”.

    This was not true. It was an operation conducted behind closed doors, and Brad continues to lie about that. This is the problem, not that he failed to be transparent, but that six months on he still continues to insist that it was a transparent process despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. We are bothered not by his ineptitude, but his blatant dissembling. Does that help?


    That’s how they lead in, for sure, Gabriel, but if you say “What’s so likeable about KJA’s novel or this novella?” then they pull the pin on either the argument from popularity (when they think the author is popular or is beginning to be) or from subjectivity (when nobody has heard of the author before).

  24. Nick Mamatas:

    “Seems to be that kink-shaming might be something like “Jerking off to videos of someone stamping rodents to death is bad!” instead.”

    No, not kink shaming. The rodents couldn’t give informed consent to being stamped to death, so that isn’t ok.

    Oh, btw, I didn’t see any kink shamning in what you quoted saying about Sawyer, but I missed that part of the exchange.

  25. @XS, your alternate definition of stan hasn’t made it to the Urban Dictionary yet.

    @Peace is My Name, “stan’ comes from a 2000 song by Eminem about an obsessive fan (named Stan, which is also the song title) who kills himself and his wife because Eminem didn’t write back to him fast enough.

  26. Camestros Felapton says:

    Garth Nix is the first name that comes to my mind when thinking about Australian SF/F writers but I guess people may perceive him as YA.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that, other than you have to check two sections at your local bookstore to see if they have any of his books.

    Anyway, seconded. Sabriel especially.

  27. Abi

    Allow me to digress a little. Back in the mists of time I went to a seminar on the taxation of financial instruments; I was having coffee with people before we started, and a guy was worried that I might have problems because financial instruments are very complicated, and the taxation of financial instruments is even more complicated.

    I did my best to explain that I wasn’t worried at all, but I couldn’t get a word in edge ways, so it wasn’t until we walked into the room and I headed for the podium that it finally dawned on him that I was there to teach him about financial instruments, and the taxation thereof.

    His assumptions about women and their role were false; it happens a lot…

  28. Okay, if you want palate cleansing fantasy, that is mostly feel -good and not terribly challenging, may I rec David Edding’s Bulgariad or Christopher Stasheff? Both wrote explicitly to explore religious themes in fantasy, and managed immersive world-building in the grand tradition of epic fantasy.


    Interestingly, the puppies lay precisely the same charge in the other direction. Truly, the two sides are insane to each other and one or both may be insane objectively.

  30. Well, rodents don’t give consent to being poisoned either, and no animal gives consent to being eaten, or skinned, or trained for work, so why not stomp on ’em? I suppose cruelty is one issue, but surely cruelty can be found at any hog farm as well.

    (Note, I eat animals and wear their skins myself. I’m happy with simple expressivism—yay, killing cows for burgers! Boo, killing my dog because I like my dog! But if I’m going to be told I’m engaging in asshole behavior due to violating some well-known social more, I want the more to hold up to a bit of scrutiny. How is “kink-shaming” not just a fig leaf for people to abuse Hollywood actors, for example?)

  31. @ Nick Mamatas

    That’s how they lead in, for sure, Gabriel, but if you say “What’s so likeable about KJA’s novel or this novella?” then they pull the pin on either the argument from popularity (when they think the author is popular or is beginning to be) or from subjectivity (when nobody has heard of the author before).

    I would like to see more of that and less of just vanishing from the discussion. I’ve seen so few Puppies actually defend the specific works from any metric. Sure, I’ve seen them make blanket statements about popular authors getting blackballed for being conservative, or the literati ignoring sales figures, but I haven’t really seen them specifically say “this is the best selling KJA book of course it’s good!”

  32. The problem with that theory, Jamoche, is that an attack cannot really be fanfic

    You realise that it’s daft syllogisms like that that stop peple from buying you that handbag you’ve got on your amazon wishlist, right?



    *teleports behind K-mart* Psssh… Nothin Personnel… Kid…

  33. TK: The problem with that theory, Jamoche, is that an attack cannot really be fanfic, and BBDC is an attack on the boloverse.

    Where does it say that in the fanfic rules? I’ve read quite a few fanfic sories that are, at least arguably, an attack (or at least a different direction) on the source text.

    I think my favourite is A J Hall’s “Lopiverse” series of Harry Potter fic where the writer has Draco Malfoy and Neville Longbottom as heroes, ably backed up by draco’s mother and Neville’s grandmother. They’re great stories, very well written and huge fun. One thing they are not, though, is praise of HP.

  34. You guys made me forget to eat lunch! I’m outraged… 🙂

    I’m out of time to respond to the walls of text re Brad. I’d ask you to not to be too hard on the excesses of people who feel they’re being attacked, or to quote every exchange. It’s going to be like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa: much regrettable behavior by many people, but *reconciliation* is the goal.

  35. @Jeb Kinnison: “It was poor judgment to post a Facebook update entitled “Making the Sad Puppies Sadder,” plugging “The Geek Feminist Revolution” by Kameron Hurley; the title of the post alone was a slam at part of the publisher’s audience, and unwise.”

    Emphasis mine, because I take issue with your reasoning there. It’s not only your reasoning; you just happen to be the person I’ve elected to reply to on the subject. In fairness, there is some ambiguity, which I think different people are seeing as different things, and I think that’s at the root of this issue.

    tl;dr version: Any time anyone talks about any group, some inaccuracy is involved. Most people understand and accept that: “Yes, I’m a Democrat, but I’m pro-life.” Misconstruing a comment about the leadership as a statement about every individual, though – that’s deliberate misunderstanding, and people should know better than to fall for that. That’s what Beale did, and I still have trouble believing that people actually bought it.

    Full version: In evaluating this issue, the key question is basic – who are the Sad Puppies?

    Some would define them narrowly, meaning the specific people running the Sad Puppy campaigns: Brad, Larry, and the ELoE. Let’s call this reading SP-Alpha. Some people would go a bit wider, expanding SP-Alpha to include the creators “honored” by being given slots on the SP3 slate. This usually carries the logic that if Creator X disagreed with the Puppy Agenda, X would have withdrawn from the slate or the ballot. I have problems with that reasoning, as it requires a certain level of mind-reading, but let’s call this group SP-Slate.

    Zoom back a bit more, and you get the people who have publicly stated their support for the Sad Puppy goals. Note that this includes SP-Alpha but not necessarily all of SP-Slate, and let’s stick the SP-Blog label here. Finally, there’s “everyone who sympathizes with the Sad Puppies” – whether that’s the original “stick it to the SJWs” goal, the press-friendlier “recognize neglected authors” and/or “motivate new people” goals, or any other tune that makes ’em dance. Let’s call this SP-Mob. Naturally, the Rabids have their own versions of each of these, as does the union of the SP and RP sets, so let’s call these RP-x and Pup-x. That gives us a dozen subsets to work with, from one person (RP-Alpha) up to a few hundred (Pup-Mob).

    Now, my read is that Gallo probably intended to describe at least Pup-Alpha and at most Pup-Blog with her comment. Her opinions of Pup-Alpha are valid opinions – wrong, perhaps, but not invented from whole cloth. I do not see evidence that she was talking about anyone in Pup-Slate who is not also in Pup-Blog – in other words, the creators of Guardians of the Galaxy haven’t voiced an opinion and probably don’t even know about this kerfuffle. Similarly, I don’t believe Anderson has commented on the Puppies at all, and I don’t think Butcher had at the time. However, Wright is solidly in Pup-Blog, and I leave further sorting as an exercise for the reader. The Pup-Blog views are in no way secret, and I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Hated Publisher #1 announcing a book on one of the Despised Topics would add a degree of sadness to their lives.

    It is important to pause and note that although a group can be coherent enough to be identified, that does not mean either that everyone in the group shares every opinion of every other member. However, it’s still fair to look at a group in terms of typical beliefs. For example, “Democrats are pro-choice” is a fair statement despite the existence of a few pro-life Democrats. In that respect, I think it’s fair to say that SP-Blog conforms to SP-Alpha’s stated beliefs, and RP-Blog to RP-Alpha’s – after all, stating support for and identifying with a group is how one declares agreement with them. Thus, it is fair to consider Pup-Alpha positions as representing Pup-Blog.

    So. RP-Alpha is one man, and he’s said some appalling stuff. I don’t believe him to be a card-carrying member of the Nazi party, but given what I’ve read of his views, I saw “neo-nazi” and thought, “meh, close enough.” After all, neo-nazi is not the same thing as Nazi. Members of SP-Alpha have espoused views I would classify as extremely right-wing. I have seen racist, homophobic, and sexist statements from members of Pup-Blog. So, in my estimation, Gallo’s off-the-cuff comment was a pretty fair summary of SP-Blog’s and RP-Blog’s group positions.

    However, look at how Pup-Alpha spun it to gin up outrage from Pup-Mob. The only way to get the charge of “a slam at part of the publisher’s audience” to stick is either (a) to redefine the comment’s target from Pup-Blog as a group to everyone in Pup-Mob as individuals – the “you’ve voted for a Democrat, she said Democrats are pro-choice, so she called you, specifically, pro-choice” approach – or (b) to count every individual as “part of the publisher’s audience.” While technically accurate, that’s misleading; calling JCW and VD homophobic is a slam at two individuals, not a demographic segment. (Now, who do we know that takes pride in causing outrage with technically accurate, but misleading, statements?)

    Either way, the outrage is rooted in a lie that should not be perpetuated.

  36. I’m in a bit of quiet awe at Nick Mamatas saying, “I’m a proud kink-shamer”, followed just a few comments later by his admission that he would have to google it to find out what it is. That’s a level of confidence in one’s opinions I don’t ever imagine I’ll attain, being proud of something I’m sure I am before I even know what it is.

    (For the record, Nick, kink-shaming is telling people that they are terrible human beings for carrying on consensual activities in the bedroom that are not the same consensual activities you enjoy. It’s got very little to do with science fiction/fantasy and very little to do with fanfiction, unless you read SFF or fanfiction that involves bedroom activities and are of a judgmental proclivity.)

  37. apropos of nothing, I don’t think British writer Paul McAuley has been mentioned by anyone. I think he’s great. His first 2 “Quiet War” novels are among my favourites of recent years.

  38. @ TK

    Tom Kratman on June 15, 2015 at 3:27 pm said:

    Interestingly, the puppies lay precisely the same charge in the other direction. Truly, the two sides are insane to each other and one or both may be insane objectively.

    Which is sort of funny, because no one stopped anyone else from getting on the ballot until the Puppies forced the entire ballot full of their choices and shoved what other people liked off of it.

    I’ve been hanging in these threads for quite a while now. I’ve seen people like MilSF, pulp, epic fantasy, YA, hardSF, softSF, even explicitly christian message fic. I haven’t seen a single person say “eew, gross that genre, don’t like that!”

    What I have seen is people saying “this is poorly written and I couldn’t get through it,” “the prose here didn’t work for me,” “this book is full of offensive things I won’t read,” and “this specific author has pissed me off so I won’t support them.” Again, these are all individualistic critique. It’s not about blanket shoving anyone else out of the way.

    I’ve only seen one side do that. You may have noticed that the non-Puppy side doesn’t have a leader, an agenda, and even the small sample here can’t even agree on which books we like best. Only one side had an organized slate.

  39. Not sure who was asking, so hard to keep up with the comments, but fans of Banks or Asher or UK sci fi in general should try Richard K Morgan, his Takeshi Kovacs books are very good.

  40. Gabriel:

    A couple of observations and questions: All the really important things aren’t very measurable and all the really measurable things aren’t very important. What metric or metrics would you suggest applying to literature? How would they be objective? Given that every work of fiction is a conspiracy between the reader and the writer, and that this conspiracy is necessary to willing suspension of disbelief, how well and reliably can a reader conspire on a work of fiction that has some political message with which he disagrees or even one that fails to hold a message he insists on?

  41. Jeb Kinnison said: “I’m out of time to respond to the walls of text re Brad. I’d ask you to not to be too hard on the excesses of people who feel they’re being attacked, or to quote every exchange. It’s going to be like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa: much regrettable behavior by many people, but *reconciliation* is the goal.”

    A tip that may help you in future; if you feel you’re being attacked, you may want to politely apologize for characterizing other people’s discourse as “guesses and insulting presumptions”, just to clear the air. It was not a good way to start a conversation, and asking us to simply “not be too hard” on it, rather than taking responsibility for your own words, is not a good way to continue it.

  42. Just wanted to chime in on the Gwyneth Jones discussion to mention that she is one of my favorite authors. (And no Hugos nominations for her yet! Where is the love?! Well, I suppose she’ll have to be content with her World Fantasy Awards and her BSFA award and her Arthur C. Clarke Award and her Philip K. Dick Award her James Tiptree Jr. Award … OK, so I am not completely alone in the love, I guess.)

  43. @ Jeb Kinnison

    This include all the people whose works was described as crap because their awards just must have been affirmative action votes? They people who feel attacked too? Or is it only St. Brad, who politely compares people to Soviet commissars with playground-like strings of insults?

  44. I would be surprised if Irene Gallo had not been aware of the amount of abuse directed at Moshe Feder, Patrick Nielsen Hayden and perhaps especially at Teresa Nielsen Hayden. Apart from the likes of Brad’s now infamous bit beginning “Nielsen-Haydens, your fellow travelers, and media goombahs” (I don’t want to type the rest of his rant), particular bile and vituperation has been directed at TNH by a bunch of people who appear to identify as puppies, constatly calling her a toad and gloating over their perception (which I think is incorrect) that she no longer held the same position with Tor Books as before.
    These people targeted would all be colleagues of Gallo’s.

  45. Seavy,

    I received two definitions of kink-shaming from Dr Science:

    This is a typical example of Nick’s recurring critical mistake: assuming his personal reactions are generally true and accurate, and that the pleasures he looks for in reading are the only real and good ones. In fandomland we call this “kink-shaming”.

    Followed by

    This is something I had to learn from fanfic culture: that the fact that different people have different reactions to the same text is a feature, not a bug, and that it leads to a richer reading experience, as well as a deeper understanding of self and others.

    Besides, kink-shaming is an asshole thing to do.

    So the definition shifted, it seemed to me, and in fact, from deciding to agree with my own opinions to something else, specifically having to take other reactions seriously as a feature in order to understand the self and others, and that not doing this is something assholes do.

    So yes, according to Science’s first definition I am a proud kink-shamer. Given the second…wait a minute, something has changed. Sounds like I’ll have to look it up to see which definition is so. As it turns out, thanks to the assistance of a couple of other commenters, neither is true, since kink-shaming now involves making someone else feel bad or telling someone else that they are terrible.

    In the future I guess I’ll just start from the proposition that when Science is sore at something and wants to suggest that I, or anyone, is acting like an asshole, that a certain rhetorical sloppiness sneaks in.

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