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 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. @ Meredith

    I would suffer a serious attack of the schadenfreude if all this posturing lead to transformative works fandom (which is large, organised, and heavily dominated by women, often liberal ones) paying more attention to the Hugos. I don’t think they’d be the voters the Puppies have in mind.

    I kinda want to go talk it up over in that corner of fandom now. Widen the voting pool, y’know, like the Puppies want.

  2. @cmm – “Two urban fantasy authors I like that I haven’t seen mentioned here yet are Kim Harrison and Richard Kadrey. ”

    Harry Connolly!
    Harry Connolly, Benedict Jacka, and Ben Aaronovitch.

  3. Hi, JJ,

    Thanks for bringing that one up.

    I’ve got lots (for small values of lots 🙂 ) of readers amongst the SPs. Readers. You could also call them fans.

    They read me, they liked what they read, and some of them nominated me. Those readers who nominated me that way did nothing wrong. In fact, they did exactly what a reader, fan, and Hugo voter is supposed to do.

    So yes, I’m grateful for the support of my readers.

  4. Kary –

    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?

    I’d say when it’s the intent to prevent or exclude other viable candidate through those actions would be a good start. Or when it’s used to insult many other writers in the field. Or when the person making the recommendations is unable or unwilling to even state why they felt the work was the best over all others and so the only thing left to assume is that the reason for inclusion was cronyism instead of quality of the work.

    With Sad and Rabid we get all three things. It wasn’t used to recommend to readers books that Togersen or Day considered Hugo worthy. Torgersen hasn’t even said why he likes the works so who knows why he recommended them (ELoE according to Correia), something typical in a recommendation list. Vox just said to trust his judgement as best and to vote that way.

    It was used to say that other authors weren’t as good as voters thought they were because of politics or race or gender and instead were offered an approved list of books to vote for of their colleagues. Torgersen didn’t say ‘These are my friends and colleagues who I think are worthy of your time’. He insulted others in order to promote his cronyism.

    When it’s been a month and most Puppy blogs are focused on whatever the outrage of the moment is instead of the books they nominated, like why they loved these books and.or considered them award worthy then it seems like cronyism just for the sake of cronyism. I mean I’m friends with writers and if you asked me about any of their books I could tell you what I liked or did not about those books. If I said you should buy my friends book because they’re my friend and you asked me what it’s about and I said ‘I don’t want to talk about that, but trust me it’s the best’ you’d likely come to the conclusion I was pimping a book I hadn’t even read. Sure, it supports my friend but it would be dishonest for me to tell you it was the best book.

    So there’s at least three cases where I think cronyism isn’t okay. Make sense?

  5. “It gets worse: people still won’t agree with you, even if you get really, really huffy about it. As in, hands-on-your-hips huffy”

    Further confirmation that Brad is immune to irony and self reflection, while he continues to have very high standards for the behavior of everyone who isn’t Brad.

    Though, reading on, it’s a bit funny, but also a lot sad that the best way to chase him off is to ask him questions about objective facts. 🙁

  6. I’m far behind on reading comments on these posts, but I do want to note how happy I am to see that this round-up includes examples of letters to Tor and Macmillan from those of us who are not Puppies of either persuasion. I’ve written my own emails that read about like this:

    Dear Mr. Doherty:

    I know you’ve been slammed with many emails over the past few weeks expressing varying degrees of anger with various Tor personnel, and that many of these emails have contained threats to boycott Tor unless Tor fires various personnel. I wanted to let you know that there are even more people who know and love Tor, support its employees, and will continue to buy the books it publishes for pretty much as long as Tor exists.

    I own more than 8,000 volumes of science fiction, fantasy and horror — or at least so says my LibraryThing account, in which I have catalogued all my Tor books. I also own nearly 3,000 mysteries, a number of which are Forge titles. I’ve been reviewing books, including Tor titles, for more than ten years now, and I will soon be posting a review of Dan Wells’s new books, Next of Kin and The Devil’s Only Friend, along with an interview of Mr. Wells. I tried to send you photos showing some of my SF/F/H collection, but your email server refused to accept that email because the photos took up too much space — sort of like our books. My husband and I are quite book mad!

    I’m not going to talk to you about the Sad Puppies or the Rabid Puppies or free speech or personal Facebook accounts or any of that stuff; you’re getting an awful lot of that, and I’d hate to add to your burdens. I will say simply that I admire Tor, I read daily, I love Irene Gallo’s work, I love the work your editors do, and I love the books your writers write. May you give me good things to read for the rest of my life — and supply my nieces and nephews, who have been inundated with Tor books as gifts from their bookworm aunt for all their lives, and their children, with ever more good books.

    Best wishes to you, Mr. Doherty.

    Very truly yours,

    Terry Weyna

  7. @Mark “(I’m currently thinking a Feng Shui pop-up juncture)”

    Wait, I’m not the only person in the world who remembers that game??

  8. Kary, can you address this?

    I also have a confession to make. Until the last three weeks or so, I pretty much thought anti-conservative discrimination was a load of hooey. Boy, was I wrong. Having seen it first hand, I am gobsmacked. I will never think that again.

    Do you honestly think this is true? That authors are being denied awards or… whatever it is you’re referring to, because they’re conservative? And can you list actual examples? Because honestly, conservative authors of fiction seem to be doing fine, or as fine as anyone else.

  9. @Emma “Famous Dresden Moments”

    I may just be more shallow than you, but I sure loved the whole scene around, “Who’s a good dog?”

  10. @Gabriel F

    I’ve been too anti-social the last few years to have any pull in tw fandom, but gosh is it tempting to hit up old acquaintances and point in the direction of the Hugos with a nudge to spread the word… I’m only resisting because integration ought to be organic.

    I’m putting Archive of Our Own on my nominations for Best Related Work next year, though. 😉


    I did think that was a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m tentatively willing to accept that Kary English is leaning towards being anti-slate now even if she wasn’t then, barring future evidence that we’re being snowed.

    @Kary English

    Its really bugging me, I’m sure I saw a clearer comment from you about slates in the last few days, something about expecting to give congratulations to Wesley Chu? And not objecting to no award because you didn’t like slates either? Am I imagining things?

  11. @Terry Weyna

    Your email is lovely. 🙂

    @Kary English

    I’d like to see an answer to Gabriel’s question, too. My impression has been that conservative authors get along fine, racist, sexist, or homophobic authors who are loud about it get pushback, and authors who treat liberals as the enemy get pushback. I would’ve described that as their actions having consequences rather than their politics.

  12. Gabriel, Bruce and Meredith, thank you.

    I worry that the Puppies and their supporters are more willing to write the emails than the non-Puppies are. Sometimes what happens in a situation like this is that someone gets the horrible job of simply ticking off which emails go which way, and companies make decisions based on such simple metrics. It would be awful if that happened here — but then, I think Tor is smarter than that overall. Give an inch and you’ll be asked for 10,000 miles in this circumstance — that’s obvious to me, and it has to be obvious to Tor.

  13. @Gabriel F.

    I’m not talking about awards there. I’m talking about anti-conservative attitudes / bias in general. I’m tired enough to be edging toward incoherent at the mo, but – how can I describe this…

    OK, you know how when you’re part of a dominant culture, certain microaggressions committed by that sub-culture can be really hard to see? I’m a lefty. Until SP, I never really noticed how many people around me – in writers’ groups, on Facebook, in various comment sections related to SFF – were making anti-conservative comments openly and casually, with what looked like zero awareness that they were saying biased things they’d never tolerate if the situation were reversed.

    Example: A Facebook friend posted an article about a high school student who had the word “Feminist” airbrushed out of a yearbook photo. One of the commenters said, “These conservative nimrods have to go.” But nowhere in the article did anyone mention conservatism or that any of the people responsible were conservatives.

    It was one of those world-tilting moments for me. My friends say those kinds of things sometimes. *I* used to say those kinds of things sometimes. It’s a bias, and it’s one I wasn’t aware that I had.

    The one I described above is pretty small, but one I could *see* them, they were all over.

    And yeah, if that’s what Brad or Larry or anyone else who’s a conservative has to deal with day in and day out, in fandom and in everyday life, it sucks. And it’s wrong.

  14. I grew up conservative and have been around conservatives all my life. But most of my friends are liberals, especially in publishing and the arts. (My own politics are all over the map). It never bothered me one bit. If a criticism is accurate, it’s good to hear, regardless of where it comes from; if a criticism is wrong, why should it bother me? Insight is insight, snark is snark, and derp is derp.

    Personally, I get far more upset by mindless bureaucratic overreach, which is a constant danger regardless of who’s in charge. But “anti-conservative bias”? I just don’t see it.

  15. @Meredith

    I think I’ve mentioned Mr. Chu twice. (We’re FB friends, but I don’t know him otherwise, and I’m pretty sure we only became FB friends after the noms went out)

    Let me see what I can find.

    I’m not sure those are what you’re looking for. In general, though, I’ve addressed the slate issue a number of times here, and No Award, too. Someone with better Google skills (who’s more awake than I am) might be able to find it.

    Bottom line: People get to vote how they want for whatever reasons they find compelling. If that means No Award for any reason at all, that’s OK.

  16. @Kary English

    I must be conflating two comments. Thank you for having a go at finding them. 🙂

    I appreciate that you think being nominated is an honour, even if I disagree with how you got there. If Correia and Torgersen had felt honoured just from being nominated we wouldn’t have had any Sad Puppies at all.


    Writing that last sentence I felt a pang of sadness, because in that alternate universe I probably wouldn’t be here at File 770. It would’ve been better for the Hugos and better for fandom, but I like you guys and I like it here, so there’s something I’ve got out of this. *tinybitselfish*

  17. I remember an election in sweden where all polls had shown that party X would win. When the voting was finished, party Y had won with a landslide. It turned out the polls are weighted to also care about how a person voted last time, as to see real changes in the population.

    Problem in this case was that people, even in an anonymous poll, couldn’t admitt to themselves that they had voted for party X last time as it had become so deeply unpopular. So they filled in the wrong values.

    I think that is positive in some ways. Yes, it might be to avoid responsibility, but it also a way to step forward and not to have to defend older opinions. People change. And forgetting the past sometimes makes it more possible to walk forward.

  18. Kary English: A Facebook friend posted an article about a high school student who had the word “Feminist” airbrushed off her t-shirt in a yearbook photo. One of the commenters said, “These conservative nimrods have to go.” But nowhere in the article did anyone mention conservatism or that any of the people responsible were conservatives.

    So you’re saying that the commenter drew a mistaken conclusion? That it might have been liberals who thought the word was offensive and needed to be removed?

    Clermont Northeastern’s Principal Kendra Young insisted that a class photo is no place for a statement that she deemed controversial. The student said that the administrator declared, ‘It was mine and the photographer’s decision to photoshop your shirt because some people might find it offensive.’

    Are you seriously telling me that the commenter drew an unfair conclusion?

  19. @JJ

    That the administrator was an idiot doesn’t necessarily equate to conservative. Even if so, blaming it on their conservatism rather than their idiocy is can be seen as anti-conservatives.

    Heck, it will be seen as such by those with a siege mentality. Doesn’t make it right of course, but it is there.

  20. @Meredith:

    On Brad singling out Leckie and Chu: Thank you. (My, that was tactless of him, wasn’t it?) And of course he demonstrated the equal fruitlessness of identifying specific works he insinuates only got their awards because affirmative-action. Plenty of people won’t have that view at all of the merit of those works.

    Ancillary Justice got 368 nominations for Best Novel, a record, and nearly twice as many as the previous record-holder. (Also, coincidentally, exactly twice as many as the entirely unprompted nominating ballots that Larry Correia’s novel received.) And it received 1,335 first-place votes, more than three times as any previous winner, and more than twice as many as the runner-up, The Wheel of Time.

    To suggest that many voters believed that because of their affirmative-action bias they should give their Hugo vote to a book they didn’t think had any quality in a literary, extrapolative, sense-a-wunda, or pure enjoyment sense, is bordering on insanity.

    You can argue that these numbers are reflective of the record membership size at Loncon, but that undercuts one of the Sad Puppies’ claims, that bringing in new fans will lead to the triumph of Puppiness. In reality, when thousands of more fans joined the Worldcon, they voted for everything the Puppies hate.

  21. snowcrash: That the administrator was an idiot doesn’t necessarily equate to conservative. Even if so, blaming it on their conservatism rather than their idiocy is can be seen as anti-conservatives.

    I’ve never met a self-identified liberal or moderate who considered the idea that women should have equal rights and equal opportunities to be a “controversial” or “offensive” idea — whereas I’ve met a significant number of conservatives who do (including several of those with works on this year’s Hugo ballot).

    I think the commenter drew a fair conclusion. Note they didn’t say ALL conservatives needed to “go” — just the ones who are “nimrods” (aka “idiots”).

  22. @Richard Brandt

    He hasn’t done a great job of providing supporting evidence for his claims. I’m a little frustrated that he keeps repeating them without once listening to any criticisms.

    I hate being wrong, but if people show me strong evidence against my claims and all I have is a couple of rumours, I’m not silly enough to keep trumpeting the same thing.

  23. @Maximillian

    I’m guessing you missed the Feng Shui 2 kickstarter then?

    I have the pdf of the new version right now, and I’m waiting impatiently for the print version.

  24. @JJ

    I can see that a school administrator might have it erased because they wanted to avoid having to deal with complaints from people who find feminism offensive, but the simplest explanation is still that the administrator herself thought it was offensive.

    Some of the comments from the superintendent (different person) were pretty revolting. Who comments publically that a picture of a 13 year old girl is unflattering? Poor kid.

  25. Meredith: Drat it, *publicly

    At least you didn’t post it as “pubicly” (I’ve seen that happen unintentionally). 😉

  26. @Brian Z: “Busiek is a standard-issue internet activist who joins the attack when someone signals there is blood in the water, and is nowhere near monomaniacal enough to be an arch-nemisis.”

    You may well be the first person here to consider Kurt Busiek a standard-issue anything.

    @Tenar Darell: “I’m not a writer, just a reader. But I’ve been reading SFF long enough to know that it is an interconnected industry. It’s like reading the liner notes, and seeing the same session musicians over and over.”

    That reminds me of my Fidonet days, back in the late 1980s, when I realized that several of the praise quotes I saw on certain books I was buying formed a nice little Twin Cities cluster. The cats all hung out together, y’see. I didn’t see a problem with it, possibly because I was chatting with several of ’em online and that’s how I found out about those books…

  27. You may well be the first person here to consider Kurt Busiek a standard-issue anything.

    Only in comparison with his fearsome comrade, JJ the Incessantly Aghast.

  28. Which reminds me, this was great:

    >> Busiek is a standard-issue internet activist >>

    It’s true. I was issued by the Internet Supply Sergeant at Internet Replacement Depot 17-delta-quorn, to a plucky recruit with freckles and an endearing cowlick.

    Unfortunately, he was killed during a Denial of Service Attack, and I’ve been wandering cyberspace since, trying to get back to my unit and sniffing for watery blood.

    I laughed. 🙂

    @snowcrash & JJ

    Trust me I’m very relieved!

  29. @Rev. Bob: You’re making me remember Spy Magazine’s old “Logrolling in Our Time” column. That was good fun, lining up two authors effusing over each other in blurbs.

  30. Brian Z: You, JJ, are my Captain Ahab.

    Only in comparison with his fearsome comrade, JJ the Incessantly Aghast.

    Seriously, Dude, you need to get a real life. You spend way too much time and mental energy perseverating over me.

  31. @Kary English:

    I think everybody who has been in fandom for than a decade has tons of writers among their friends. I have been in fandom since circa 1984, and I do. Many of them I knew before they were writers.

    Here’s the thing: I have zero problems not nominating of voting for my friends if I don’t like what they write, which is often. I won’t name names, obviously, but there are people I love and admire and whose panel are great and whose fiction leaves me utterly cold. There are others – and I can make names, Jo Walton, who was my friend before she was a writer – who produces both works I deeply love and other that leave me with a deep feeling of meh.

    I have no problems not nominating or voting for Jo when she writes a book I don’t like.

    My friends don’t even make up the majority of my reading list. I had never heard the name Leckie (although she is a friend of a friend) before reading Ancillary Justice. I still have no personal connection with Sarah Monette. I met Banks years after I became a fan.

    As for anti-conservative bias, I believe you that it’s a thing, but it is kind of a thing that most of us deal with in life. I’m a woman. I live with discrimination. I am Italian. I deal with anti-Italian prejudice. I am a socialist. And so on and so forth. Some of this discrimination I wage war against – some I don’t think it’s worth the effort. I stopped protesting that not all communists were Stalinists ages ago, because frankly what’s the point?

    Here’s the thing: I know that some of my opinions are controversial, and I do not raise the subject in mixed company. I think, for example, that gun porn is dangerous and that the US has a problem with the fetishising of weapons. Do I say that when I am talking to Americans? No. I am aware that they might have different opinions and while we might come to a civil agreement to disagree it would take time and effort that I don’t think is always required.

    That’s why people refrain from talking about touchy subjects. If you are a sex worker, you don’t bring it up, and if it becomes known, you know that you are going to face prejudice. It’s unfair, but it’s life.

    So if you are against abortion, enthusiastically in favour of stand your ground, and deeply convinced that gay marriage is the End of Days, you have to realise that those opinions ARE NOT THE MAINSTREAM, much as you would like to, and only mention them if you are willing and able to have the long and patient conversation that will lead to the agreement to disagree above. If you keep bringing them up as a challenge, well, people are going to step away. That’s not called discrimination. That’s called not being in the mainstream. Welcome to my world, I say.

    There are also opinions that are so extreme that society as a whole rejects them, by and large. The idea that sex between pre-pubescent minors and adults is fine and dandy is one such idea. If you decide to sacrifice your young daughter to the gods, your army will silently desert you, just to make a random example that in no way, shape of form should be taken to be a spoiler for anything.

    Also bear in mind that the globalised social media being what it is, if you are an English speaker living in America some of the opinions that are sort of normal in the US are seen by the rest of the English speaking world (including many who speak it as a second language) as akin to burning your daughter alive category of opinions. Many of the Pups, of either shade, fall into this category for us non-USA fans. This is not “discrimination”. This is cultural difference. It’s the way societies function.

    Also, you know: all of us suffer some form of discrimination. There is being shunned and not given a Hugo, and there is being beaten to death in an alley or know that you would be sentenced to death in many country. There is reading nasty things about your opinions online and being paid 30% less, seeing your career prospects curtailed, and going around in fear of your life every time you spot a uniform.

    tl;dt: anti-conservative discrimination: hear the music of this tiny, tiny violin

  32. Anna Feruglio Dal Dan: Oh noes, I wrote a very long post and it vanished in the ether!

    WordPress probably threw it in the Spam queue, whence it disappears completely, unless and until Mike releases it — which is different from the Moderation queue, where you see your post and a note that it is awaiting moderation.

    My usual procedure for remedying this is to throw myself at Mike’s feet and offer to buy him SFF books he hasn’t yet read.

  33. I think our gracious host might have gone to bed, assuming the timestamps on comments reflect his timezone, so it could be a little while. Pray he’s a night owl?

  34. Please Mike? I wrote it from my bed of pain due to a, as far as I can tell, bad pizza yesterday, or maybe from driving in near-zero visibility under a biblical flood from Padua to Udine, and thinking wistfully of how much good all this bloody water would do in California…

  35. @Kary English: “OK, you know how when you’re part of a dominant culture, certain microaggressions committed by that sub-culture can be really hard to see? I’m a lefty. Until SP, I never really noticed how many people around me – in writers’ groups, on Facebook, in various comment sections related to SFF – were making anti-conservative comments openly and casually, with what looked like zero awareness that they were saying biased things they’d never tolerate if the situation were reversed.”

    Kary, and others, please forgive this comment’s length.

    My politics aren’t quite as simple as “I’m a lefty.” I’ve been a social liberal as long as I can remember, and I credit a huge chunk of that to reading a lot of SF in my formative years. Heinlein may be problematic in some ways, and I readily wince at Farnham’s Freehold now, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s why I learned cribbage. As a Southern latchkey kid in the early 80s, though… reading his work was about as close to meeting a social justice warrior as I could get. He was one of the people who taught me my values. Be responsible for yourself, be good to other people, learn and hone your strengths, and don’t be afraid to start a revolution if it’s merited.

    I was never a Republican, and I’ve never read a word of Rand, but I considered myself a Libertarian for quite a while. Libertarianism speaks pretty loudly to the American reverence for individual independence, after all. So, when I went to a certain Puppy-heavy convention a few years ago, at first I fit right in. I’m a big white guy with a beard and a gut, this is the South, I like individual freedom – c’mon in! And I didn’t look too closely. The folks were friendly and talked my language, and I found all kinds of new authors to read…

    Things started to, um, “go south,” in late 2008, with the financial crash. That didn’t affect me very much – I’ve never been rich, but I had a job and knew how to keep it – but some of my political beliefs took a hit. Suddenly, privatizing Social Security and putting the money in the stock market didn’t seem like such a great idea any more. I found myself questioning my beliefs, and then libertarianism as a whole, when it occurred to me that Big Corporation wasn’t any better for me than Big Government – and was in some ways worse, because there were some things the government wasn’t allowed to do.

    That’s when I started hearing some of the things being said at that convention. Before, I’d been impressed by a lot of them as solid thinkers… but now, it sounded more like dogma and faith than considered thought. [Is “now” right there? I never can remember.] Discussion didn’t help, either; I’d been convinced by numbers and data, but all I got back from “my people” was rhetoric… and some of it was pretty ugly. A lot of it talked about that interloper in the White House, and there was a lot of Tea Party talk. The previously-fantastic science track suddenly had a climate change denial panel! Just last year, I saw otherwise brilliant people listen to an energy company employee tell them that fracking was perfectly safe, and not one of them thought to mention the possibility that he might just have a tiny conflict of interest on that subject… but I digress.

    My point is that I’m on the flip side of this. I’m that fabled blue dot in Redstatistan, the one who hears the nutty echo chamber nuggets being not questioned, but swallowed whole. Worse, any attempt to question the Sacred Talking Points results in outright hostility; I was literally shouted down by a third party earlier this year while trying to “agree to disagree” with someone else. I’m not even sure how to mention the appallingly casual bigotry, or how pointing it out is instantly dismissed as “political correctness” – because, of course, Political Correctness is just a set of buzzwords that They use to control thought. Heaven forbid that someone might object out of common decency or respect for fellow humans…

    I am, in short, in an unusual position when it comes to the Sad Puppies. I knew them before they called themselves that. I heard the rumors of discarded nomination ballots, and that’s all they ever were: rumors. But, get a few hundred people who hold the same views together in one place, and you get that “nobody I know voted for Nixon” effect. A bubble forms, and with it comes a certain built-in resistance to outside thought.

    In a couple of weeks, to my shame but for my sanity, I will be contributing to that effect by walking away from that group. I stopped receiving their newsletter a couple of years ago, after the editor’s “impartial” treatment of political content finally became too much for me, but I have continued to attend the event itself. I am committed to it this year, and so I will attend and smile and play nice and not make waves. I may even manage to have some fun by dodging the elephant in the middle of the room… but I can’t go back. My voice of dissent at that venue will be silenced, and I already regret how that will contribute to their confirmation biases, but I have to admit the stress that the thought of attending has already placed on me.

    Fandom is supposed to be fun and enlightening; this event no longer is. At the root, it’s just that simple. I will instead use those membership dollars to support Worldcon, and pocket the hotel money or use it to buy more books from people I can support with a clear conscience.

    The Puppy campaigns were the last straw. These people I counted as fellow fans have demonstrated boundless contempt for something I thought we all treasured, and I can no longer pretend that our differences don’t matter. They have drawn the dividing line, and I must step over it.

    At least I’ll have a chance to thank Eric Flint in person for his posts. That’s something, anyway.

  36. @Mark “I’m guessing you missed the Feng Shui 2 kickstarter then?”


    Why don’t you people tell me about these things!!! (Except Mark, thank you, Mark)

    ‘scuse me, be right back

  37. @JJ: “I’ve never met a self-identified liberal or moderate who considered the idea that women should have equal rights and equal opportunities to be a “controversial” or “offensive” idea — whereas I’ve met a significant number of conservatives who do.”

    On the other hand, CYA is endemic among bureaucrats and knows no political boundaries. I would not be at all surprised to discover that the administrator was more concerned about keeping their job than squashing feminism. On the other hand, evidence of other altered photos could demonstrate a slant… but from the information given, I’d have to agree that “stoopid conservative” is an unproven charge.

    @Mark: “I’m guessing you missed the Feng Shui 2 kickstarter then?”

    Dammit. (punches wall with a shadowed fist)

    @Anna Feruglio Dal Dan: “Please Mike? I wrote it from my bed of pain due to a, as far as I can tell, bad pizza yesterday, or maybe from driving in near-zero visibility under a biblical flood from Padua to Udine, and thinking wistfully of how much good all this bloody water would do in California…”

    Or, to put it another way:


  38. @Kary

    Thanks for bringing that one up.

    I’ve got lots (for small values of lots 🙂 ) of readers amongst the SPs. Readers. You could also call them fans.

    They read me, they liked what they read, and some of them nominated me. Those readers who nominated me that way did nothing wrong. In fact, they did exactly what a reader, fan, and Hugo voter is supposed to do.

    I think that may be projecting a little. There may well have been some of your readers who did that – if so good (although I hope that they do read widely as well). There may also have been some people who just voted the SP slate as requested (although that request was implicit this year). What we (and I guess that includes you) don’t know is the relative proportion of people in each camp. We don’t know if your adoring readers would have been enough to get you a nomination without the help of slate-followers. So for me that nullifies the value of the nomination.

  39. Minor self-correction: Farnham’s game is bridge, not cribbage. (Although cribbage comes up in other Heinlein books; that must be where my wires got crossed.)

Comments are closed.