The Day the World Turned Pupside Down 6/15

aka The Fall of the Doghouse of Usher

Today in the roundup: Andrew Hickey, The G, Brad R. Torgersen, Dave Freer, Chris Van Trump, Cedar Sanderson, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Joe Vasicek, Peter Grant, Amanda S. Green, Keri Sperring, Natalie Luhrs, Maureen Eichner, Paul Weimer, Michael A. Rothman, RedWombat, Camestros Felapton, Spacefaring Kitten, Lis Carey, Steve Davidson and cryptic others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Kary English and rcade.)

Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

“What Political Campaigners Can Learn From The Sad & Rabid Puppies” – June 15

But at the point where you try to drag in the US-centric “culture war”, and argue for the right-wing side of it, you lose not only the “SJWs”, but basically anyone in the Western world outside the USA, because even the most barking right-winger in the UK would be considered a leftist by US culture war standards, and the UK is right-wing compared to most of the rest of the West.

Then there’s the claim that the Puppies’ work is the best of what’s out there — on a purely aesthetic ground, that claim is a nonsense, and I get very annoyed at people pushing clearly sub-par work.

So even if the Puppies hadn’t made an actual enemy of me by including among their membership white supremacist homophobes who advocate rape and murder, I would wish them to fail purely because of their promotion of poor work and their culture war agenda.

But then there are other people — right-wing Republicans who like the stories — who are also voting “No Award” above the Puppies because they’re angry that those works got on the ballot thanks to voting slates, which are against the spirit of the awards and break the unspoken agreement among fandom not to do that kind of thing.

I have to say that personally, that bit doesn’t annoy me too much. I mean, it annoys me a bit, because it’s cheating, but if they’d cheated and got a *really great* bunch of stories on there, I’d have had a sneaking admiration for it. I’d not have approved, mind, but I’d not have been that angry.

 

The G on nerds of a feather, flock together

“Final Words on #Hugowank” – June 15

  1. Isolate and address the legitimate grievances

The sad version claims its campaign is really about sticking up for fun and/or commercial and/or pulpy and/or conservative and/or apolitical science fiction and fantasy against the onslaught of intellectual snobs and/or “social justice warriors” who have forced works of high-minded and/or message-driven and/or progressive literature on the unsuspecting masses of fandom.

Despite finding the majority of victimization claims empirically bogus, I do have some sympathy for the base-claim that popular genre is often crowded out by a specific style of literary-minded SF/F. But in short fiction, where voting pools are small and its likely that writers, editors and slush readers represent a disproportionate slice of the electorate. And it’s not the result of conspiracy but an institutional effect—a self-replicating mechanism that structures the field. Jonathan McCalmont explains how that works in these (one, two, three) articles.

For the record, I see no evidence of this in the best novel category. In fact, I see the opposite—voters rewarding novels that are, on the surface, light and breezy, but have some deeper messages if you bother to look for them. However, it’s not necessary to do that if you just want fun and adventure—sort of like Firefly. (Actually a lot like Firefly, come to think of it.) Plus several Hugo winners, Redshirts and Among Others in particular, are aimed directly at so-called trufans: Redshirts is a Star Trek parody and the protagonist of Among Others is literally a trufan. These are genuinely popular books, and if being a fan is a major part of your life, then there’s an even stronger chance you’ll connect with them. But New Yorker material they are not.

What’s more, even if certain kinds of short fiction enjoy institutional advantages at the moment, pulpy SF/F has not been shut out. Brandon Sanderson, for example, won Best Novella in 2013 for the popular and commercial The Emperor’s Soul. And though I understand Charles Stross is, for some, a demon whose recent Hugo successes haunt dreams and stalk imaginations, 2014 Novella winner “Equoid” (on Tor dot com) is actually super pulpy.

 

Brad R. Torgersen

“Picture of a TOR buyer” – June 15

It would be a damned shame if someone thought I was just malware.

Don’t you think?

 

Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“The plucky ‘bots” – June 15

Now according to semi-reliable sources (Publishers Weekly, drawing data from Bookscan) the pie got smaller. This of course is traditional publishing’s pie (which is historically almost the entire Hugo pie too.) (my apologies for not having the 2014 figures – my internet is being really slow and buggy. I’ve seen them, but couldn’t find them. It’s no change.) It’s shrinking year on year with less readers, less sales, and at this rate, will be a slightly smaller problem than the argument about the last slice of Pavlova at the Flinders Island Country Women’s Association tea in ten years’ time (Okay that’s a pretty serious dispute, but it’s got maybe 12 women eyeing it. Still, it’s only just thermonuclear, and not planet-busting)

Part of the reason the puppy kickers have been so particularly unpleasant, vicious and ready for ad hominem and attacks on the livelihood and reputation of anyone even vaguely associated with the Puppies has been because of that shrinking. Those are their pieces of pie, and they want to keep them, and as much as possible of what is left.

In a way, of course, that true in the award situation. There are a fixed number of final nominees, and only one winner in each category.

 

Chris Van Trump on Shambling Towards Bethlehem

“Sadder Puppies” – June 15

I suppose the most tragic thing to me, in the ongoing Saga of the Sad Puppies, is that the people opposed to said Puppies seem to be going out of their way to prove a lot of the accusations that led to the creation of the Puppies in the first place.  Because the inevitable response, once you filter out the snark and hyperbole, is as follows:

“There is no conspiracy, no liberal cabal stopping conservative authors from winning, so stop trying to take our award away from us.”

“Us”, of course, is just code for “people who think like me”.

It’s disheartening to see established, award-winning authors decrying anyone who doesn’t agree with them as “no true fan”.  And Worldcon isn’t even in Scotland this year…

 

Cedar Sanderson

“Letter-Writing Campaign” – June 15

And speaking of black holes, I was annoyed to discover that Tor Books, on which I blogged at length last week, has apparently decided that the customers who are contacting them to complain about the way Irene Gallo treated them are not real. I wish I were joking. I am being told that they have decided the response is disproportionate, and therefore all the emails they are getting are from ‘bots. Whether this is all of Tor (which I doubt) or a small cadre (likely the same ones who have been so vocally critical in the past of their ‘wrongfans’) doesn’t really matter. This is completely unacceptable. I am angry and abandoning a vendor who has messed up a small (relatively) order. How do you think that I and others are reacting when complaints of being called racist, misogynist, homophobic, our work being ‘bad to reprehensible’ and worst of all to those of us who know history, lumped with neo-Nazis? Those complaints are being ignored, maybe deleted, and I will not put up with it, for one.

I strongly urge my readers to join me in making our voices heard. I am not calling for a  boycott, or firings, I simply want to have a conversation and have my concerns acknowledged. I do not want to be brushed aside and ignored as though I were a meaningless part of this. I’ve bought few Tor books in the last few years because I haven’t cared for most of the authors they support. But I have bought some, and furthermore, am one of those libeled as having ‘bad to reprehensible’ work.

I am also a businesswoman, and this unprofessional behavior is inexcusable. Allowing their employees to post things like the screencap below, which appeared on a Monday afternoon, meaning it was almost certainly made during work time, on a work computer… that is beyond the pale, as many people have found in the past. Unless, evidently, you work for Tor or MacMillan. If then, apparently you can call your customers names with impunity.

 

L. Jagi Lamplighter on Welcome To Arhyalon

“I Am Not A Robot! I Am A Free Fan!” – June 15

[The author requested that I run this disclaimer ahead of any excerpt.]

[L. Jagi Lamplighter: “I would not want someone to think I am trying to make things worse between Tor and their readers! I just thought that harmony could not be restored if folks at Tor mistakenly thought the letters from readers were from a bot. (I know they are legit, because I know some of these folks. They’ve been writing to John to explain why they feel they can’t buy his books.)”]

Many of these readers are people I know, people I interact with online, or fans of John’s who have written us thoughtful letters explaining why they regretfully feel they must stop buying Tor book, despite their desire to keep reading John’s latest series.

I was thus appalled to see posts suggesting that the emails to Tor—many of which, I am led to understand, are arriving with photos of the reader’s Tor book collections, in some cases, collections worth thousands of dollars—were not legitimate but were sent from automated bots.

Tor Folks:  You may disagree with the Sad/Rabid Puppies, or feel loyalty to your co-workers—but please! Don’t insult our readers by claiming they don’t exist!

Readers:  I realize that, in the age of electronics,this is an unprecedented request, but: if you have a strong opinion that you wish to be heard, it might help if you committed it to physical paper—perhaps along with a printout of your photo of your Tor book collection—and snail mailed it to Tor and Macmillan.

Also, feel free to send me your photo of your Tor books. I will post any photos or links I receive on my website, so everyone can see that you are a real person with real books.

[Photos posted here — I Am Not A Robot! I Am A Free Fan!]

 

Joe Vasicek on One Thousand and One Parsecs

“I AM A REAL PERSON” – June 15

In my first email, I stated that I could not in good conscience continue to support your organization by submitting my stories for publication at Tor.com. The events of the last seven days have made me reluctant to buy Tor books as well. In the coming months, I hope that we can move past this controversy so that we can get back to reading, writing, and publishing stories that we all love, without concern for politics. However, until the corporate culture at Tor has changed to be more inclusive of readers and writers like me, I do not see how that is possible.

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“’Can you hear us now?’ Another open letter to Tor and Macmillan” – June 15

A heartfelt “Thank you!!!” to everyone who responded to requests to e-mail Tor and Macmillan about the situation there.  I’ll leave the co-ordinator of the campaign to announce the totals, but they appear to be well into four figures as of the time of writing.  I wonder if Tor and Macmillan will now accept that we aren’t bots and we aren’t just a few malcontents? We are, in fact, a growing wave of SF/F fans who are threatening to abandon them altogether.  If they haven’t yet got that message, they’ll probably never understand it without more direct action.

(By the way, I can only describe as ‘catastrophic’ the performance of whoever’s responsible for customer relations at Tor and/or Macmillan.  There’s been an absolutely inexplicable, deafening silence from both companies in response to e-mails and other communications – not even so much as an acknowledgment of receipt.  When I was a manager and, later, a director, if I’d had a customer relations person who performed so abysmally, they’d have been fired the moment I found out about it.  “Do not pass ‘GO’, do not collect $200, and by all means let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!”  This is simply ridiculous.  Oh, well . . . if they want to play the clam, I think we have every right to assume that both companies are standing behind the unconscionable words and attitudes of the Tor personnel we’ve named.  We’re therefore free to take our response to the next – and only logical – level.)

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Vacation’s over” – June 15

Then there is the mischaracterization being tossed around by some that SP3 stands for no message in our fiction. That is, as I said, a mischaracterization. What we want is for story to be the driving force. Yes, you can have a message but don’t hit the reader over the head with it because, whether you want to admit it or not, it will turn most folks off it they think they are being lectured to.

 

Kari Sperring

“Red Writer: I stand with Irene Gallo” – June 15

Mr Beale believes in freedom only for himself and those who agree with him. He believes he has the right to police the words and lives of everyone else and punish or destroy them if they offend. He is the perfect robber capitalist, dreaming of a world in which the rich — and he is very very rich — control everything, from resources and awards to bodies and thoughts of those who he considers his inferiors. He’s trying that today with TOR books.

And this red writer is standing here in his way. The US culture war does not belong in our genre, which is global and not the property of any one interest group or political belief. Do I want right-wing books and writers in my genre? Yes, I do. Writing belongs to us all. Do I want *only* right wing books and *only* white, straight, American male writers? No, because that is counter not only to the roots of sff — which lie in the work of writers of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, and political views — but to my personal principles, which believe in inclusion and support for the many rather than privilege for the (predictable straight white male) few.

I stand with Irene Gallo.

Or, and if you want to go and denounce me and my books as communist, feel free. I’m not ashamed of my politics.

 

Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“I am a real person and I stand with Irene Gallp” – June 15

In response to these rank pieces of bullshit (and this one, too), I have just emailed the following individuals at Tor Books and Macmillan in solidarity with Irene Gallo:…

 

Paul Weimer on Blog, Jvstin Style

“I am a real person, too and I do not Support Theodore Beale” – June 15

You know what? I’m a real person too. I’m a real person who thinks that the shit that Theodore Beale has pulled in the community has helped inflame tensions and increase divides in the SFF community. I’m a real person who reads what Beale writes on his blog and sees that if Irene is wrong in calling Rabid Puppies Neonazis, its a pretty thin wedge….

 

Maureen Eichner on By Signing Light

“A letter to Tor and MacMillan” – June 15

I’ve spent much of the last week appalled and upset by this message from Tom Doherty, the head of Tor Books. I’m not going into the backstory or ramifications in this post, but suffice it to say that once again, it has made me feel that being a female SFF fan, writer, or editor means fighting for your place forever. It means your boss choosing to give words of support to a noxious racist rather than to you.

 

Michael A. Rothman in a comment on Facebook – June 15

[Rothman outs himself as a troll.]

The Chesley Awards…..

Anyone want to take bets on Irene Gallo taking the prize for a variety of reasons that will remain nameless?

Larry? Brad? Mike?

 

Brad R. Torgersen in a comment on File 770 – June 15

Aaron: has it ever occurred to you that for me, the front man of SP3, to begin playing favorites — ergo, singling out specific works for praise — I’d be doing a disservice to the whole slate? Like every other year at the Hugos, not every work on the list will be to all tastes. I am only disappointed in everyone who claims “The Hugos should be a celebration of quality and excellence!” in one breath, then shout, “Everyone on the Puppy list sucks, their work sucks, and I will Noah Ward the lot of them; sight-unseen!”

 

Red Wombat in a comment on File 770 – June 15

I would like to ask our person asking us to go easy on Brad, in turn, if he can understand how some of us who went from “Which one’s Brad?” to being told that our much cherished awards were an affirmative action movement, and we weren’t REALLY creating anything worthwhile, it was all our glittery hoo-has and correct social justicey-ness, might take offense.

From my point of view, Torgersen went from a name on the Campbell ballot to a dude who had just insulted something I poured a decade of my life into.

Can you at least reach across the aisle to understand why I would not feel he’s a nice sweet boy after that? Why I started out feeling that he’d built a campaign on the back of insulting me, and everyone a little like me?

He could apologize. I’d probably accept it–I’m basically a marshmallow. But please understand that some of us walked in to find that we were being insulted when we’d never spoken a word to Brad before.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“The Blending Puppies” – June 15

There was supposed to be a difference between the two puppy breeds. Rabid Puppies were supposed to be the foam-mouthed extremists who want to destroy the Hugos and wreak maximum havoc, while their sad cousins are — despite buying into some objectionable ideas —  actual SFF fans. Or that’s what I thought. I’m not sure you can make the distinction anymore.

Sad Puppy figures Brad Torgersen, Cedar Sanderson and Peter Grant, among others, have decided to join the professional troll Vox Day on his crazy crusade against Tor books. They’re all supporting a GamerGate-inspired mailbox-stuffing campaign that tries to get a person who is working for an SFF publisher (and who they don’t like) fired.

 

 

Camestros Felapton

“The Aslan, the warlock and the cupboard: more on One Bright Star” – June 14

What are we to conclude? The simplest answer is that Tybalt is an allegorical mess and the reason for that is Wright really didn’t know what he was doing. I’m happy to believe that Wright’s claims about what he intended are correct but all we can conclude from that is what was obvious from the beginning: One Bright Start To Guide Them is not well written nor well edited and the potentially interesting ideas are mainly happenstance.

 

Tony on Geeky Library

The Dark Between The Stars”  – June 15

Rating (5 stars)

The author’s writing style is engaging and dramatic without being overly narrative. While it took me a little work to get started, once I was reading it, I couldn’t put the book down. Written in the same format as A Song of Ice and Fire, the story follows multiple characters, sometimes briefly, as events unfold. Historical events are introduced and explained without making you feel like an idiot for not reading the Seven Suns saga, and plotlines are left unresolved where necessary to carry into rest of the trilogy.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Hill 142, by Jason Cordova” – June 15

Jason Cordova is a 2015 nominee for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best New Writer.

This is a single, small battle of World War One, with the Germans equipped with giant, venomous spiders as cavalry mounts, and the Americans equipped with giant (2000-pound) lion as mounts. There’s no explanation of why or how, other than a reference to a breeding program for the lions in Texas, There’s also no indication of how this affects the war, other than sending the surviving soldiers home with more fantastical stories to tell. So what’s the point? I have no idea.

Not recommended.

 

Font Folly

“Hugo Ballot Reviews: Novella” – June 15

[Preceded by reviews of nominated novellas.]

* The Sad/Rabid Puppies object to this characterization. They were just recommending entire slates, they say. Nothing they did was against the rules, they say. Which is exactly what cheats, grifters, and confidence men say when they are caught exploiting a system. Voting an entire slate clearly violates the spirit of the awards, which is supposed to be voting for the works you personally thought were the best of the year. Recruiting mens rights activists and Gamergators who aren’t regular readers of SF to vote these slates in order to stick it to the Social Justice Warriors pushes it even further into the dirty deed category.

 

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“Fandom Enters The McCarthy Era” – June 15

Corrected text from the Wikipedia entry on Senator Joseph McCarthy S. R. Puppies:

Beginning in 1950 2013, McCarthy S.R. Puppies became the most visible public face of a period in which Cold War Hugo Award tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist SJW subversion. He was They were noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers SJW and Liberal Fans inside the United States federal government SF/F publishing industry and elsewhere. Ultimately, his their tactics and inability to substantiate his their claims led him them to be censured by the United States Senate Fandom.

The term McCarthyism Puppyism, coined in 1950 2015 in reference to McCarthy’s S.R. Puppies’ practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist SJW activities. Today the term is used more generally in reference to demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents….

800 thoughts on “The Day the World Turned Pupside Down 6/15

  1. I’m almost sure the non-pology whines are more co-opting of social justice language without really understanding what it means.

    Irene Gallo’s apology:

    About my Sad/Rabid Puppies comments: They were solely mine. This is my personal page; I do not speak on behalf of Tor Books or Tor.com. I realize I painted too broad a brush and hurt some individuals, some of whom are published by Tor Books and some of whom are Hugo Award winners. I apologize to anyone hurt by my comments.

    1. Disclaimer about employer, 2. Acknowledgement of fault and harm, 3. Apology to anyone who was hurt.

    A non-pology would be more like this:

    About my Sad/Rabid Puppies comments: They were solely mine. This is my personal page; I do not speak on behalf of Tor Books or Tor.com. I did not mean any authors published by Tor books or who have previously won awards, and I’m sorry if anyone took my comments the wrong way. I apologize if anyone was hurt.

    You see? Very different. Please, please stop acting like what she actually said was just the same as what I just knocked up.

  2. I see Nick is back at K8man’s game of dinging someone over their book sales.

    Stones, glass houses, why don’t you drop this because it makes you look like a petty tool, yadda yadda

  3. Meredith

    That’s very kind; I too have become altogether insomnia centre, which is not good because I have a lot of cell damage from my lungs in particular that needs repairing. Thank you!

  4. “I apologize if anyone was hurt.”

    Which is exactly how her apology has been misquoted. I never read the original before. The distortion is breathtakingly dishonest.

  5. There were a LOT of people dinging Peter Grant over being a nobody. I don’t think Nick’s comment at this time was anything close.

    Personally, I’m interested in learning stuff like that.

  6. ” I don’t think Nick’s comment at this time was anything close.”

    He keeps harping on about Torgersen’s sales, as if it tells us anything. Mamatas is also a low selling author. There is no point to his going on about this, except petty sniping.

    Grant was trying to make out that Tor should be jumping to his command, and no one could work out why Tor should give a fluck about what he wants. His only credentials were some self-published books. Sales figures were not mentioned.

    Trust me, Gabriel, as a self-published author, I know when someone is just using that point as a cheap shot. K8man did the same thing in the other thread. It’s cheap and nasty and says nothing about the person being insulted.

  7. One of the not-so-fun parts of my condition is that I have crash episodes, which everybody thought were seizures until EEGs established otherwise. (Turns out that “seizure” as a diagnosis requires specific kinds of brain activity.) Same kind of thing in terms of stress, wear, and discouragement, though. While mending from one today, I binge-read a bunch of Astro City issues, and was reminded all over again of how refreshing the company of decent people is. I could turn from the Puppies and their various consuming rages to this, from the leader of a group of evangelical Christian superheroes, speaking of a vampire:

    “That he was a vampire? Yes, we knew. We have known for some years. To the right yes, the touch of the undead cannot be hidden. But regardless of what he was, he was doing God’s work – he was saving innocents and serving truth. And in the final judgment, what is more important? The burdens we bear, or the way we bear them?”

    When I first read that (and saw the way Brent Anderson brought the character to life in art), I thought, yeah, that’s how I like to think of a community worth respecting. And y’know, it still is. We’re not fighting super-villains or anything, but collectively we are trying not to make the world any worse off, to do okay ourselves, and to share the pleasures that give us encouragement and respite when we need it. Good stuff, Kurt – thanks again.

  8. Has anyone seen Torgersen’s reply to Flint’s latest, yet?

    Yes. it is the same clueless whine he and the other Pups have thrown about since this began. I was especially struck by his umbrage over the fact that some authors he liked never got a Hugo. But the problem is, given his demonstrated complete lack of historical knowledge concerning the Hugos, Brad simply doesn’t have a clue as to the actual reasons why, for example, Andre Norton, Fred Saberhagen, or James Schmitz never won a Hugo Award. It wasn’t that the voters didn’t recognize their quality as authors, it is because every year they had eligible work, there was something else that had a higher profile and was regarded as better.

    I am reminded of a comment that Hoyt made about how Bridge of Birds is the sort of book that the Pups think should have won a Hugo. I agree that Hughart’s novel is a very good book, but if one goes back and looks at who won the Best Novel Hugo the year it was eligible, one sees that Neuromancer took home the prize. Does anyone think that win was not deserved? And one can also note that the other four nominees in the category would have been hard to move off the ballot as well. Only five novels each year even get nominated. That means a lot of good novels will be left off, and a lot of authors will not get a Hugo no matter how you try to rig the voting to get your friends and business allies on the ballot like Torgersen did.

    Contrary to what Torgersen (and to a lesser extent Flint) think, the various authors they listed that didn’t get Hugo awards didn’t miss out on them because the Hugo voters got things “wrong”. They missed out because other, better works won in the years they had works eligible. This is not only unsurprising, it is simply inevitable that this will happen to some authors who have a number of good works.

  9. All out of order, I’m afraid!

    @Gabriel F

    I thought the share-cropping was interesting, too, but I’m trying not to speculate about Torgersen or anyone else’s sales. Tell me off if I screw up on that. 🙂

    @Stevie

    I’ve got joint damage to heal up, so its not ideal, but since the joint damage is keeping me awake..! I’m going with a policy of taking a lot of naps.

    @Ann Somerville

    Yes, its one reason I wrote them both out instead of just including one or the other. I’m tired of people acting like she wrote the latter and I wanted a clear example of how they’re not the same. I am a little worried some disingenuous git might copy mine and pretend its hers, though.

  10. @Jim Henley

    To answer that, I have to tell you a story…

    I discovered WOTF in the late 80s, about the end of high school. At the time, I wanted like anything to be a writer, SFF for sure, and maybe historical romance. So I wrote a few stories, sent them off and got soundly rejected, albeit with a personal or two. So I thought I didn’t have it, and I quit.

    Some 25 years later, stories started pressing their noses up against the glass again, and I started wondering if I should give the writing thing another go. The family and I happened into an electronics store (circuit boards, not televisions), and I gravitated toward the magazine rack, where I picked up my old friends, Analog and Asimov’s (they were out of F&SF).

    While I waited for the family, I read Ray of Light (by Brad) in Analog, and I thought “You know, I think I can do that.” So I went home and worked on the story that would become my first WOTF entry in more than two decades. I also joined the WOTF forum where Brad was the moderator. “Brad-that-guy-who-wrote-Ray-of-Light?” Yeah, that Brad. at the time, it felt like one of those nudges from the universe.

    So mostly Brad was a fellow writer on the forum. We didn’t interact all that much, but I enjoyed his work and found his progression of sales to Analog motivating. If that guy could do it, I could do it.

    I eventually met Brad either at one of the WOTF events or at Superstars Writing Seminar – I can’t remember which one was first, and I’d characterize our relationship as distant but amiable work friends. You know that person who works in another department, but you know their name and face and the few interactions you’ve had were positive? About like that.

    Then Mike Resnick bought Totaled, and apparently bent the ear of anyone who would listen – including Brad – about how good it was, and who knew the writer and when could he (Mike) meet me. So it was Brad who found me at another WOTF gala and walked me over to meet Mike. Mike said such nice things about the story that I was a) literally speechless, b) didn’t believe him and thought he was just blowing smoke, and c) had to excuse myself to go to the ladies’ room for a cry.

    Part of what Mike said – in front of Brad, mind you – was that Totaled deserved to be on the Hugo ballot. (If your Google-fu is strong, you can find a press release to this effect dated many months before SP3).

    So what you asked is how I know Brad, and the answer is that I’d characterize him as a colleague and work friend. I gave you the rest of the story because one of the complaints here is “Brad just nominated his friends.”

    Maybe that’s the case, but Brad hadn’t read any of my stuff before the Mike Resnick encounter. I’d asked him to, but he declined. (A lot of aspiring WOTFers were asking him, and his response was that he couldn’t read all of us and he didn’t want to play favorites.) Brad’s got closer friends than me, including closer friends who are also writers and share more of his politics. So at least as far as my story is concerned, I think it has a lot more to do with Resnick’s endorsement than with Brad knowing me.

    So, probably more answer than you were looking for, but, hey, completist, right? 😀

  11. Figured you’d like to know, Kurt. 🙂 Things turn up at the best times, sometimes.

  12. “Part of what Mike said – in front of Brad, mind you – was that Totaled deserved to be on the Hugo ballot.”

    What a damn shame it only got there because of a slate though. Now we’ll never know if it could have won a Hugo fair and square against the competition that would have been there, absent the slates.

  13. Brad frequently declares himself to be intimately familiar with the market and what readers want. His critique of the Hugos is based on the claim that fandom is a tiny section of a “bull” market, and he posits his Puppies as a mass uprising against a tiny elite.

    That is, his interests are commercial and his goals are commercial. If some writer is aiming for popularity, and accuses the Hugos and Worldcon of being inadequate to cater to the mass audience and then decides to fix the problem by running his friends on a slate, then the author’s own popularity is fair play.

  14. @Bruce Baugh

    *sympathetic gentle fist-bump* I get fainting fits from blood pressure crashes and also went through the super-fun EEG elimination stuff. Its one of the odder things, because there’s this expectation among healthy people that once the faint is over I should feel okay pretty quickly, whereas it can take a day or days to recover (or more if a passing “helpful” stranger thinks it would be an awesome idea to stand me up).

    @Aaron

    Torgersen doesn’t seem to get that not everyone can win a Hugo. Not even everyone deserving. I don’t understand how the basic maths that there’s only a few slots per year but considerably more books has passed him by. For example, Eugie Foster never won a Hugo, and his damn slate might have cost her the last ever chance.

  15. Thank you, that was immense fun!

    Now all I have to do is getting here home…

  16. So what you asked is how I know Brad, and the answer is that I’d characterize him as a colleague and work friend. I gave you the rest of the story because one of the complaints here is “Brad just nominated his friends.”

    “Work friend” is still “friend”.

  17. He keeps harping on about Torgersen’s sales, as if it tells us anything.

    It tells us a reason Torgersen might be putting so many friends and writing colleagues on his slate. We’ve already seen Torgersen fail to articulate how the slate was chosen. He’s falsely stated that it was an open, democratic process. I think the lack of honesty opens the door to what his real motives might be.

  18. What a damn shame it only got there because of a slate though. Now we’ll never know if it could have won a Hugo fair and square against the competition that would have been there, absent the slates.

    I think “Mike Resnick loved my story” should rightly mean more to the author. My big regret on her behalf is that the other works on the slate aren’t better companion pieces.

  19. I gave you the rest of the story because one of the complaints here is “Brad just nominated his friends.”

    The complaint is actually that he just nominated his friends, work colleagues and others of his personal acquaintance.

  20. I also see Kary’s anecdote as a reason to distrust Resnick’s opinion concerning short fiction. Totaled wasn’t bad, and was certainly better than anything else the Pups put in the category, but if I was ranking the short stories I read from 2014, it wouldn’t have ranked in the top thirty or so. Possibly not even in the top forty. That’s sufficient reason for me to No Award it with no regrets.

  21. What drives me absolutely bonkers is Larry and Brad characterizing their nominations-but-not-wins as “losing” and “having their asses handed to them.”

    I am literally aghast. Like a good deal of the folks here, I’m a writer. Very lightly published (10 years of being in the chronic illness equivalent of a coma as far as being able to really do anything will put quite a gap in your publishing history!) but obviously hoping for more. The idea that, at some point, people who like what’s on the Hugos might read my stuff is amazing.

    There’s only a few nominations available every year. A tiny, tiny amount in the vast ocean of fiction being written and published. If you are one of the 50 or so people who make it onto the ballot, then as far as I’m concerned, you won. Really! You won over thousands of other people who never even got read widely, let alone on the ballot for a major award!

    But they don’t see it that way – more to the point, they have contempt for it. That makes my brains bleed. I just don’t get it.

  22. A work friend, and a favorite of Brad’s “writer Dad” as Brad calls Resnick, and of course a WoTF connection. Brad considers WoTF very important and despises any criticism of it. How better to improve its reputation by getting some WoTF alumni on the Hugo ballot before they get famous via other means?

    It’s similar to Brad seeing other Analog writers as colleagues. He thinks Analog is important to the genre—it has to be, it publishes his work and the readers vote for his stories—and thus the Hugos are wrong if they are not full of Analog stories.

  23. @Kary

    Its a funny thing, when the theory was first bandied around that it was friends and people he wanted to, hm, improve his relationship with, what sprung to mind was you mentioning that Mike Resnick really liked your story.

    No slate is good, but I sort of wish Mike Resnick had been the influence behind more picks. We’d have had better things to read while grumpily No Awarding slate picks. 😉

  24. @Aaron:

    “Work friend” is still “friend”.

    IMHO that’s ungracious. She specifically acknowledged Brad as a “work friend” and then in the very next sentence addressed the cronyism concern head-on. No need to rub her face in it when she’s been a constructive presence not only here but, with today’s call to the Pups to talk about the damn stories already, elsewhere.

  25. “It tells us a reason Torgersen might be putting so many friends and writing colleagues on his slate. ”

    Mamatas has never made that conclusion. All his jabs about Torgersen’s writing and sales have been nothing more than “Hey, I’m gonna kick this guy while everyone else is putting the boot in, because I can.”

    I think Torgersen operates by cronyism because he honestly thinks that’s how publishing works, and everyone else is doing it, so why can’t he? To be honest, there is a lot of cronyism in publishing – the success of RequiresHate is an example of that – but that’s not all there is to becoming a success. Hard work is involved, but as Torgersen has demonstrated pretty well, he’s not interested in that bit.

  26. @Kary English: “Hmm, thanks for the tip on Firefox, Rev. Bob. What version, please? I ask because I use Firefox myself and everything looks fine.”

    Whatever the current 64-bit Windows 8.1 desktop-mode release is. (It’s set to auto-update, and I can’t look because I’m on my iPad right now.) The page displays with the white section up top and background below, but none of the text-related CSS – even for the navigation at the top – seems to be recognized.

  27. If anything, I’d say the Mike Resnick connection is more likely to have been influential than any personal friendship, but since I’m not a mind reader (and unless you guys have been holding out on me no-one else is either) I’ll never know for sure.

    @Jim Henley

    Seconded. Aaron, take a step back?

  28. “she’s been a constructive presence not only here but, with today’s call to the Pups to talk about the damn stories already, elsewhere.”

    Kary’s still happy about the slates though. Slates are *not* constructive, and it’s even worse when they’re generated by cronyism.

  29. Kary English, thank you. I appreciate you telling the story so completely. Better to have facts than speculation any day.

  30. Meredith, how about you give the tone policing a break? It’s not your job, and you’re remarkably poor at picking your targets. We’re all actual grownups here, and you’re coming off as a bit of a tosser over this.

  31. @Gabriel:

    What drives me absolutely bonkers is Larry and Brad characterizing their nominations-but-not-wins as “losing” and “having their asses handed to them.”

    IIRC, what seems to have gnawed Correia in particular was not failing to win but coming in last in the final vote. It actually makes perfect emotional sense to me that that might be harder to take in some ways than not being nominated at all. “So close and yet so far” is a cliché for a reason.

    Also, I could swear I read somewhere that Correia benefitted from an informal email campaign to get him the nomination. I forget it he was the instigator or someone else was, but it would make his nomination a product of kind of the Sad Dog Fetus campaign. If that was the case, it might compound a stinging sense of illegitimacy.

    Either way, at that point he had the option of handling his mortification constructively or – otherwise. And, famously, chose.

  32. @Ann Somerville

    I was under the impression that she didn’t like slates anymore. I’m sure there was a comment here to that effect within the last couple of days.

  33. Ann, surely you’re not in much of a position to complain about tone policing – you have a habit of erupting every time someone is too polite or favorably inclined to someone on your enemies list.

    Meredith is not the one coming off poorly here.

  34. @Ann Somerville

    Well, no-one has to listen, but I’m not interested in attempts to bring the temperature up. I felt Jim Henley deserved some back-up, you felt Aaron did. I don’t plan on taking it any further.

  35. @Ann Somerville:
    Don’t get me wrong. I am not fan of the slates, and I’ve got plenty of mean nasty things left to say about the Puppies. If Kary English was standing here defending the slate I have no doubt we’d be going at it tooth-and-nail. That’s just how fandom works. But maybe you need to take a step back. Kary has not actively tried to get people fired, made baseless attacks against her opponents or called for anybody to be brutally murdered. If the worst that the Puppies were involved in were cronyism and slates this whole things would of settled down already except for a couple flair ups closer to Worldcon.

  36. Actually, I have a question for for the commentariat.

    So, cronyism… When I look at last year’s Hugo shortlist, or this year’s Nebs, I’m one degree of separation from most of the writers. “SFF writers” is a smallish group, all things considered, so between various writers’ groups, Kboards, SFWA, WOTF, etc., most of us know each other at least peripherally.

    So if I say “Hey, I really loved “Dinosaur” (which I did), how much does it matter that I know Rachel from SFWA and a writers’ board? Never met her, but we know each other’s names and have had some message board interactions. Heuvelt? Facebook Friend. Sofia Samatar? Writers’ board. John Chu? No connection – wait, I had to check Facebook to be sure, and I’m following him. We’re not FB friends, but he might have the sort of profile where a follow is all you get.

    At any rate, my question is this: So here we are as writers and we’re trying to be fair, but odds are we’re going to know just about anyone we nominate or recommend. So when is it cronyism and when is it not?

  37. Bruce, again, being unfair, and dishonest.

    Jim, I agree with Aaron, actually, He’s made a statement of fact. Kary’s benefitted from friendship with Torgersen, however you characterise it. So that puts her in the same category as the rest of the sad puppy nomination.

  38. No, you are responsible for how you treat people.

    And she participated in the slate, and supports the slate. I see no reason to cut her a break when she tries to sell the idea that she got there by any means other than cronyism. She can talk nice all she wants, but her actions have been anything but.

  39. Aaron, “I was compelled to because I disapprove of something about someone else” is the same justification the Puppies use. They’re wrong about it, and so are you. Nothing about Kary’s situation actually compels anything out of any of us, and even if it required dealing with some point of substance, it wouldn’t compel a manner of delivery. Each of us can choose – is choosing all the time – what to do about the world around us.

    If you do not relent, links to Rush songs will ensue. 🙂

  40. @Kary

    In my opinion, its when someone packs a slate with their friends, mentors and colleagues and recruits people to vote for them. Slates are not the same as a garden variety recommendation.

  41. At any rate, my question is this: So here we are as writers and we’re trying to be fair, but odds are we’re going to know just about anyone we nominate or recommend. So when is it cronyism and when is it not?

    It is cronyism when your buddies put you on a slate because of your personal connection to them and you happily accept. Which is what happened for you, no matter how you try to sugar coat the reality.

  42. “Kary has not actively tried to get people fired, made baseless attacks against her opponents or called for anybody to be brutally murdered”

    For heaven’s sake. The fact she hasn’t done any of those things doesn’t mean that her nomination on the puppy slate is of the good. Her work, should she win, will not have the gloss it could have had if it had been fair and square. Other works which may have been better, got knocked off.

    She was on the slate because Brad was sucking up to people, in her case, Mike Resnick, not because she was objectively one of the best writers capable of being nominated. He’s done her no favours at all.

    Why are you pretending this is an attack on Kary? This is an attack on Brad T’s ethics. Kary’s nomination is a by-product of that.

  43. I was compelled to because I disapprove of something about someone else” is the same justification the Puppies use.

    Who said anything about “compelled”? I pointed out the truth. You don’t like that I did so. I don’t really care that you don’t like that and want to be diplomatic to someone who I think has behaved quite badly, albeit politely.

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