A Whippet of Earthflea 6/18

aka “The Brand and Bark Concerto”

In today’s roundup are Larry Correia, Cedar Sanderson, solarbird, Jim C. Hines, Stefan Raets, Patri Friedman, Allan Thomas, Steven Saus, Amanda S. Green, Sarah A. Hoyt, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Mike Flynn, Tim Atkinson, Lis Carey, Melina D, and Joe Sherry. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day JJ and RedWombat, and Anna Nimmhaus.)

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Sad Puppies are not calling for any boycotts” – June 18

I’m seeing this narrative pop up that Sad Puppies is calling for a boycott of Tor, but that is simply not true. Speaking as the guy who started the Sad Puppies campaign, I’m not calling for a boycott of anything. I’m not asking anyone to do anything. As far as I’m concerned this mess is between Tor and its customers. I’ve said very little about it so far, but I’ve been clear about that much.

The Sad Puppies Campaign is NOT calling for any boycotts.

[Continues with a discussion of recent history, and outlines Peter Grant’s background.]

After being a soldier, Peter hung up his guns and became a man of God. SJWs are saying that he’s a homophobe because he agreed with Sad Puppies, while in real life he volunteered at a colony for homosexuals who had been forsaken by African society, dying of AIDS. When I first met him, Peter was a prison chaplain, trying to help the fallen and broken, and victims of things you can’t even imagine. Basically, he’s an honorable man who puts his money where his mouth is, and now he’s offended.

Peter asked for a retraction from the Tor editor who flippantly dismissed thousands of fans as unrepentant racist neo-nazis. I don’t believe he’s calling for anything beyond that.

Again, this is between Tor and its readers who feel insulted, not the Sad Puppies campaign or the people who ran it. Yes, those Venn diagrams overlap, but sorry, you can’t blame this one on me. Many normal fans agreed with what Sad Puppies was trying to do, and shockingly enough, they eventually got sick and tired of employees of one of their favorite publishing houses calling them names. I’m not calling for anything, though I can certainly understand why some people are.

If any individual who felt insulted is satisfied with Tom Doherty’s statement saying that his employees don’t speak for his company, good for you. If any individual is unsatisfied and demands further action, that’s also up to you. I’m not going to tell anybody what to think.

For the other side who are saying that Gallo is the real victim here, and she was only speaking truth to power… Yeah, you guys run with that. Anybody with two brain cells to rub together can see she her comments were nonsense. The only thing she is a victim of is arrogance.

To the SJWs saying Tom Doherty is a hateful misogynist because he isn’t letting his employees libel people on the clock anymore? Double down. There might be some people left out there who haven’t realized I was right about you yet.

To the Tor authors I’m seeing post about this, the Sad Puppies campaign is not calling for a boycott. If you are upset why people are angry take it up with your art director about why she’s insulting your customers.

To the Sad Puppies supporters, do what you think is right. All I’m asking is that whatever you do, try to be as civil as possible in your disagreements. Stick with the facts. We’ve got the moral high ground, and the great moderate middle of this debate has seen we’ve been telling the truth all along.


Cedar Sanderson in a comment on Monster Hunter Nation – June 17

I have blogged extensively on this, in part because Peter Grant, who I am honored to call a friend, asked me to weigh in as a businesswoman. I have not been calling for a boycott or even a dismissal of Irene Gallo. It is simply a horrible example of unprofessional behavior, and an opportunity for Tor to show that they do respect their customers and vendors even though there is a lot of evidence that certain personnel do not.


solarbird on crime and the forces of evil

“this is just pathetic: puppy boycott, ahoy” – June 18

Anyway, the demands are ludicrous, but to summarise:

  • Tor must publicly apologize for writings by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, Irene Gallo, and John Scalzi that “demonize, denigrate, slander and lie about the ‘Puppies’ campaigns”
  • Tor must “publicly reprimand those individuals for stepping over the line”
  • Tor must “publicly indicate that it is putting in place policies to prevent any recurrence of such issues.”

See, this is exactly what you get when you hang one of your own out to dry for making personal comments on their own Facebook page like Tor did. You get escalation. So I’m honestly having a hard time feeling sorry for Tor Books here; it was as predictable a piece of politics as one can imagine. And I’m not just saying that in retrospect; I said so at the time.

Now mind you, this “boycott” is pretty must sad-trumpet amateur hour for several reasons, not the least is probable inability to make visible economic impact. As Vox himself admitted, he hasn’t bought anything from Tor in years, and I doubt all that many of the others who are going to sign on to this thing have either. A few, sure, absolutely – with the hilarious side-effect that means the writers they might be able to hurt are the ones on their side.




Patri Friedman

[Seasteader, son of David, grandson of Milton…]

“Being intolerant of people you don’t like because they’re intolerant” – June 18

So, there is some kerfluffle about Tor books, because one of their employees (Irene Gallo) said on her personal Facebook page that the sad puppies (conservatives fighting a culture war to make SF less SJW-influenced) were racist, homophobic, neo-nazis. Sad puppy supporters like SF author Peter Grant, who has literally exchanged gunfire with neo-nazis in South Africa were understandably outraged at this characterization. And (not so understandably, to me) calling for firing/resignation/public abasement of these employees. Which is where I have a problem. This sounds a lot like:

“Your business must publicly apologize for the hateful speech of your employee which has offended a small minority of listeners by publicly abasing yourselves, and promising not to do it again. This will show the world that hate cannot be tolerated; the strong cannot abuse the weak; and (incidentally) that our tribe is powerful and can grind your tribe under our boot if you dare offend us.”

Which is what anti-SJWers complain about the left doing. Sorry guys, but it’s bad when SJWs do it; and it’s bad when anti-SJWs do it, because, well, it’s bad. As I’ve previously posted, ideological diversity is important, and ideological intolerance is the enemy of ideological diversity and the progress that comes from having many opinions and beliefs working in parallel. Making people suffer professionally for their personal political opinions is stellar example of harmful ideological intolerance.


Allan Thomas on LewRockwell.com

“The High Church of Science Fiction and Tor” – June 19

I had heard, from several reliable sources, that it was next to impossible for a libertarian science fiction writer to break into the field.  I absolutely refused to pretend to be non-libertarian just to get published, and so I followed Larry Correia’s Sad Puppies campaign with interest.  Brad Torgerson and Vox Day were able to gather a core following of 360 voters and completely sweep the Hugo award nominations.  Yes, it only took 360 science fiction fans to completely overwhelm the existing system.

The fallout from that event still has not settled, and the awards won’t even be announced until August.  But the reaction makes it obvious that there is a sizable percentage of science fiction fandom that is “not satisfied with the products and services being offered.” Entrepreneurs have a name for this situation–”market opportunity.”

However, to date, it appears that only Castallia House is focused on providing science fiction for this segment of the market; they have even signed a new deal with legendary writer Jerry Pournelle.

For their part, Tor Books seems content to continue to ignore this dissatisfied segment of science fiction fandom.  And, in fact, Tor employees are content to insult them.


Steven Saus on ideatrash

“The Topical Changes In Science Fiction And Fantasy Has Nothing To Do WIth Sad Or Rabid Puppies” – June 18

The change in science fiction and fantasy over the last sixty years little to do with politics, and a lot more to do (ironically) with technology.

The current state of sf (science fiction) and f (fantasy) has a small vocal portion of its readership bemoaning the loss of “traditional” science fiction and fantasy. An oft-repeated quote is paraphrased as “Back in the day, when you bought a book with an astronaut on the cover, you knew what you were getting.”

The historical accuracy of this impression, like much nostalgia, is debatable. But more importantly, it is irrelevant.

To understand why, we must look to the Ferris Wheel….


Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Time to take a deep breath, stop and think” – June 18

… I’m going to part with one last comment. When I was growing up, I loved SF/F because there was a place for everyone, at least that is the way it seemed. Looking at it now, it feels like a house divided where those on the inside are doing their best to bar the door to everyone else, including a large faction of the reading public. That has got to stop and now.


L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright interviews Mike Flynn on Superversive SF

”Interview with Hugo Nominated Author: Mike Flynn!” – June 18

7) How did you come up with the idea for your current nominated story?

A supporting character in Up Jim River had a backstory in which he had journeyed across the face of his home world before making contact with an interstellar trade ship. That gave me the notion of telling his story. The idea is that as he travels east he encounters progressively more technologically advanced cultures. “In the Stone House” was the second of these stories and was originally was the first half of a longer story the second half of which (“Against the Green”) appeared in the succeeding issue of ANALOG.


Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Of Pigs, Fights and Life” – June 18

When I said that I couldn’t mention the letters “H-u-g- and o” in the same paragraph without getting linked, I was right.  Or I might not mention the Hugos at all, or only in passing on the last paragraph.  But if the post supports the narrative the puppy-kickers are building, sure as shooting it will get linked.  Like my post about a new Golden Age, which got linked because in their blinkered little minds we’re calling for pulp.  (Sometimes one wonders about the minds that build this narrative.  You are aware someone who grew up on pulp would be 100, right?  You are aware that Heinlein not only wasn’t pulp, but was in many ways the anti-pulp.  I mean, I read Burroughs, but mostly Tarzan, and it wasn’t my favorite.  I read him because grandad had him, so I read him by 5 or 6.  Books were expensive and we had those. But his technique was outdated by then.)

But it supported the narrative, so it got linked.  The same way that its subsequent “Oh, for the love of frack, no one wants pulp” follow up wasn’t.  The same way my friend Sanford’s post over at Otherwhere Gazette, exploding their nonsense wasn’t.  The same way my post pointing out that I felt they were linking me to homophobia and how stupid this was wasn’t.

Oh, it’s very carefully done.  There is an image being built, and he links to those posts that support it.  Then when caught it’s not his fault and he can’t control his commenters, and he can’t see everything.

And, as I said, I have been conversant with these techniques since dealing with the cobbler’s son next door, while growing up.  (Weirdly he didn’t become a communist politician, and has instead racked up several jail terms.)

So Mike Glyer is smarter than the average bear, and much better at Alinsky techniques, and I’m an idiot to fall for them and come out swinging, which meant I had a spanking coming.


Tim Atkinson on Magpie Moth

“Kevin J Anderson’s The Dark Between The Stars: control, not mastery” – June 18

I also hadn’t realised – according to Wikipedia – that KJA has written more than 50 best-sellers. It’s easy to be sniffy about writers who tend to work in already established universes, but you don’t keep getting those gigs unless you are good at what you do.

So, before I talk you through The Dark Between The Stars, it’s hats off to an author doing very well for himself at the commercial end of the market.

Dark is more of what Anderson does – space opera on an epic scale – only in a sandbox of his own devising to play in. And what an elaborate, detailed, techno-baroque sandbox it is too, taking in psychic empires, gas giant mining, insectoid robot, gestalt forests, plague collectors and colours from out of spaaaaaaaaaace.

This world-bling – to borrow a phrase from China Mieville – is one of two main admirable qualities the novel has, the other being the plotting. Anderson juggles a huge cast and multiple plot-lines without breaking a sweat, like the hugely experienced pro he is.

But I’m essentially praising Dark as a feat of literary engineering rather than as a novel. These are virtues of control rather than mastery. The array of characters I found unengaging and rather one-dimensional, the action curiously flat. And the sheer size of the book and number of stories spreads Anderson too thinly, so that no single thread truly breathes in its own right.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Deaths of Tao (The Lives of Tao #2), by Wesley Chu” – June 18

Wesley Chu is a nominee for the 2015 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

…All in all, I nearly bounced off this book.

And then, thirty or forty pages in, the characters started to matter to me, and their problems became interesting, and a bit further in, I stopped caring that this is a story type I normally find really dumb and annoying. What can you do? I kept reading. Best New Writer? That seems a fair conclusion, even with the slates this year having possibly kept other good candidates off the ballot….


Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Novellas” – June 18

[Reviews all five nominated novellas.]

So today I got the Hugo Packet and decided I would start to read some of the fiction. I haven’t completely decided how I’m going to arrange my votes around the slate, but I was curious about why certain fiction was chosen to be part of the Sad/Rabid Puppy slate. I gave myself permission to give up on short fiction after at least 6 pages if I wanted to. But when I began reading the novellas, I started to get angry. Really bloody angry. So, of course, I decided to blog about them.

The novella category is one of those which was completely stacked by the puppies. I was expecting fiction which wasn’t my usual cup of tea, but still well written examples of fiction I might not usually choose to read. But, honestly, the writing was shit. I’m going to go into more detail on each of the novellas, but 4 out of the 5 of them shouldn’t have been published with such low quality of writing. The 5th was competent – which was a relief – but nowhere near award nomination quality….


Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Novelette” – June 18

The best of the bunch here is Rajnar Vajra’s “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”, though I’m really not sure what the “Golden Age” part of it is all about. Is it a suggestion that the story harkens back to the golden age of science fiction or is it part of a larger Golden Age milieu that Vajra is working in. If the second, I can’t find any other Golden Age tales. Regardless, “The Triple Sun” is a story with some space exploration, adventure, sass, and all in all good fun.

My Vote

1. The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale
2. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium
3. Championship B’Tok
4. The Day the World Turned Upside Down
5. No Award
6. The Journeyman: In the Stone House

1,098 thoughts on “A Whippet of Earthflea 6/18

  1. The magic of England thinks a recent immigrant is worthy to be a goddess of England. Note the river did not choose someone whose family had lived in England for centuries.

    Have you looked at the origins of our royal family?

    Mark : Incidentally, I don’t think the older river gods are actually Anglo-Saxon (or Viking, or Norman….)

    Pre-Roman Britons (Celts)

  2. @IDK … maybe a better question … why waste time defending those who ARE in one of those three groups? If you don’t like *message* fiction … fine. I don’t either. We might disagree on what exactly that means … but your opinion about that is as good as mine. That simply means we are fans with different tastes.

  3. Clyto on June 19, 2015 at 12:02 pm said:

    The magic of England thinks a recent immigrant is worthy to be a goddess of England. Note the river did not choose someone whose family had lived in England for centuries

    I remember reading (I think in Ackroyd’s biography of London) that as early as the 12th Century the majority of Londoners were immigrants to the city, born elsewhere. In each century since the pool from which the Thames has draen tribute has grown wider – Welsh, Kentishmen, Yorkshiremen, Scots, Irish, French, Dutch, Italians, Germans, Poles, Indians, Africans, Australians; alway the most typical Londoner is a man or woman born far from its banks who has come to fill the city’s never ending expansion. The city was founded by immigrants; the square mile by the Romans, Aldwych and the Strand by the Vikings, Westminster by the Saxons.

    So of course the Goddess of the Tidal Thames would be a typical Londoner.

    Clyto: a Welshwoman, living in the settlement known as “Kentish Town”

    There were black people living in London in Roman times. London has had a stable population of black people since the beginning of the sixteenth century at least.

  4. Seriously, Aaron, did you read what he said?

    Yes I did. You, apparently, did not. Into the clueless fool bin with you as well.

  5. I admit, I would imagine that a river’s view of people would not be divided into skin colors/ethnic origins, but those who swim in it, those who fish from it, those who dip dirty clothes into it, those who poke it with sticks to move around in it, etc., etc., and so forth.

  6. @mk41: “If Torgersen himself decided to boycott Tor and said so without calling for others to join him in the name of puppydom or without speaking as a leader of a group, Correia would still be correct.”

    Hate to break it to you, but Torgersen – you know, the official leader of SP3 – is participating in the email/boycott activities. Like it or not, when the leader of a movement says he’s taking action in response to something said about that movement, he’s defining the movement’s position.

    That’s one of the consequences of being a leader. You represent your movement. Any military man should know that, deep in their soul, so deep it’s not something you have to think about. It’s like how a certain code of conduct comes with wearing the uniform, and you can’t just put your hand over your name tag to freely violate it.

    If Brad had wanted to act as Brad rather than as the leader of SP3, it would’ve been very easy: don’t publicize it. Send the email, but don’t blog about it. Don’t talk about it at all. But that’s not what he did. He announced his actions quite loudly, on the same platform he’s been using for all of his Sad Puppies decrees.

    Correia’s lying… again. All the Alpha Puppies are dancing to Beale’s tune, so I do at least agree with you on this:

    The fundamental problem is of course, that Sad Puppies was quite happy to be lumped with the Rabids in the interim and it’s only now that they’re again very concerned with the distinction. And just the distinction of course, nobodys really distancing themselves from Beale.

  7. It is comments like this where you demonstrate that you really are a clueless fool.

    Man, calling someone a “clueless fool” is a pretty dick move. Don’t be a jerk.

    As was mentioned in a previous thread, there is a difference between “being a sexist” and a sexist position. Ditto for pretty much any -ism out there. It’s a useful distinction, since very few people are going to self identify as bigots, sexists or racists. Some folks are pretty closed on these issues (See: Day, Vox snd Wright, John C.) but others are more convincible. Indict the act, not the actor.

  8. I think, since Juneteenth has a meaning already, that appropriating the name for Support Tor activities is inappropriate.

    But that’s just the name. Using the day to support Tor is fine, especially because it wasn’t chosen by Tor supporters, so Tor supporters can’t move it. The date was picked by Peter (Not a Puppy when he does hateful things) Grant, for his invisible-to-Coreia boycott.

    So celebrate Juneteenth, by all means.

    And participate in Torsday Friday, too.

  9. PIMMN: The Nazis were really leftist?

    There is a (very small) amount to justify this dog whistle, which in my opinion doesn’t amount to much, but is there.

    One problem is that fascist ideology is a bit scant, but the basis is that Volk/nation and blood/race (with their correlation of racial and sexual purity) were very important to the Nazis, and the Nazis were fascists, which is no news to anyone who’s ever read anything they wrote. They espoused a sort of eugenics, which would lead to the triumph of some races over others. Some people call this ‘Social Darwinism’, though I wouldn’t.

    At the same time and similar to Communism (which I think is where the confusion arises) they raise the state above the individual, but the difference is that they advocate elite and authoritarian government at the same time. Communists believe that the masses (the proletariat) should govern, but the fascists believe that government should be in the hands of those “best fitted” for it – those racially best suited in their opinion, which is usually white men.

    Their idea is that individual rights and traditions, and certainly not the law, should not stand in the way of the imposition of a fascist state.

    Fascism can be viewed as pragmatism taken to extremes, which explains why, historically, fascist regimes distinguished themselves from socialist and communists and to persecute them, while at the same time introducing quasi-socialist welfare measures to alleviate social problems and gain support. It is entirely consistent for fascists to improve the conditions of the ‘master race’ while at the same time treating other races as sub-human. (That does not make them less fascist, it just adds a layer of creepiness, IMO.)

    (My background for claiming some expertise on this is that I did a degree in Social Administration back in the day, and I had to read both Mein Kampf (ugh!) and Marx’s Das Kapital. I checked my understanding is still current by referring to my handy-dandy ‘politics 101’ guide, Barbara Goodwin’s excellent book, “Using Political Ideas.” I would also refer you to an excellent book called, “A Social History of the Third Reich” by Richard Grunberger, though you may want to cover it with brown paper if you get the same edition as me, as it has a huge swastika on the cover. I used to get very odd looks when I read it on the Underground.)

  10. Message Fiction seems to be just about anything that is outside of the puppies very narrow world view.
    Black water gods in London: Message Fiction !!!
    But apparently being lectured about the wonders of low taxation and Reaganomics for 300 pages by John Ringo isn’t Message Fiction.

  11. Tor books – Glamour in Glass, Agent to the Stars, End of All Things, and The Just City.

    A good day!

  12. @IDK

    Regarding your 3 groups:

    1.) The hardcore bigots

    2.) The right wing folks that you might otherwise hang around and drink a beer and go fishing with as long as the conversation stays on safe subjects because they are otherwise good guys.

    3.) The purple guys who are mainly unhappy that their hobbies have become battlegrounds and who are also unhappy because they’re being told that liking the books/comics/games they’ve always liked makes them racist/sexist/bigoted.

    Am I right in guessing that you see yourself — or at least until recently saw yourself — as a member of the 3rd group? Because the first two are characterized based on what they are like or what their beliefs are, and I think they’re probably pretty accurate. (I have friends in the 2nd category who really like gun porn, for example.)

    But the third group includes an assertion of FACTS of a dubious nature. These two, here:

    “their hobbies have become battlegrounds”

    “they’re being told that liking the books/comics/games they’ve always liked makes them racist/sexist/bigoted.”

    If our hobbies have become battlegrounds, it’s BECAUSE of people like Beale — just look at what he’s done to the Hugos. The people who want, say, more diversity, just want more diversity. It’s the people who DON’T want more diversity who decided to make a big fuss about it. This is really kind of a one-sided fight. If this were a playground, we would be the nerdy kids, and they would be the bullies.

    Sure, they’re bullies with a wounded self-pitying narrative about how, really, WE’RE the bullies. But if they stopped kicking sand in our faces, the fighting would stop immediately.

    As for the second — that kind of goes along with the self-pitying narrative. A lot of people leap instantly from hearing “this thing you like has elements that might be considered sexist or racist” to believing that what you really said is “OMG YOU ARE A BAD PERSON FOR LIKING THIS THING.” Which is usually not what people are trying to say.

    We can like problematic things and still acknowledge the ways in which they are problematic. For example, in the Piers Anthony thread, I didn’t notice anybody trying to claim that anybody who liked Anthony was a sexist — only that the work was.

    Anyway, when it comes to “picking off the third group” I’m all for that. But I’m not going to try to do it by agreeing to perpetuate a narrative that I see as false. Instead, I’m going to try to correct the narrative.

  13. Shao Ping on June 19, 2015 at 12:23 pm said:

    Ah, thanks for explaining that.

    @TM —

    I apologize for my sharp tone earlier. This place occasionally gets demi-trolls coming in citing some outrageous argument from Elsewhere as their leaping-off point, and I worried that you might be one such.

    It’s very helpful to link to the origin of quotes, or at least name the person quoted, to make sure people understand what part of the conversation you are referring to.

    This blog in particular has a tangle of fairly difficult-to-search post threads, so some clue of where things comes from helps immensely.

  14. For what it’s worth, here’s data from 1984:
    Novel (199 works)
    Millennium . . . 52
    Moreta: Dragonlady Of Pern . . . 54
    Robots Of Dawn, The . . . 75
    Startide Rising . . . 137
    Tea With The Black Dragon . . . 55

    Novella (57 works)
    Cascade Point . . . 71
    Hardfought . . . 62
    Hurricane Claude . . . 42
    In The Face Of My Enemy . . . 47
    Seeking . . . 80

    Novelette (120 works)
    Black Air . . . 39
    Blood Music . . . 46
    Monkey Treatment, The . . . 36
    Sidon In The Mirror, The . . . 38
    Slow Birds . . . 33

    Short Story (228 works)
    Geometry Of Narrative, The . . . 34
    Peacemaker, The . . . 31
    Servant Of The People . . . 28
    Speech Sounds . . . 37
    Wong’s Lost And Found Emporium . . . 32

    Non-Fiction (73 works)
    Dream Makers, Volume II . . . 45
    High Kings, The . . . 45
    Fantastic Art Of Rowena, The . . . 29
    Staying Alive: A Writer’s Guide . . . 26
    Encyclopedia Of Sf & F, Volume 3, The . . . 19

    Dramatic Presentation (99 works)
    Brainstorm . . . 74
    Return Of The Jedi . . . 226
    Right Stuff, The . . . 87
    Something Wicked This Way Comes . . . 51
    Wargames . . . 86

  15. The Nazis were really leftist?
    So … why were they so hot on fighting the Commies then?

    Well one of the tenets of Communism is that the state will wither away, and you can’t get much smaller government than that so that obviously makes Communists right wing and so conflict was inevitable.

  16. I just read a couple of stories from Baen’s new MilSF collection, the one they are using for their (rather presumptuously named) ‘best MilSF of the year’ contest. Both of the stories were by Linda Nagata and quite good. Has anybody read anything else by her?

  17. Man, calling someone a “clueless fool” is a pretty dick move.

    I’m not sure what else one would call someone who has spent multiple comment threads lumbering about repeatedly saying the incredibly stupid things IDK has been saying.

  18. @clif

    “@IDK … so what is it that you want? Are you not a “puppy”? Or do you want to be a puppy without the fur and bad habits?”

    I think it should be obvious what I want by now. I want you to win. Even the assholes like Aaron among you. I don’t think cynical, grifting assholery like Vox Day’s should be rewarded, but ultimately you’re going to have to decide what ‘winning’ really means.

    If it means, ‘we’ll scorch the earth and label anyone and everyone involved with the same labels and tar them all with the same brush,’ then by all means, let the Aarons of the world keep talking for you. Your victory will be a long time coming and it will be bloody and it will leave permanent rifts with people who might have otherwise been your friends behind, but there seem to be more of you, so eventually, yes, you will win.

    If you want a different kind of victory, one that leaves the asshole at the top of the pyramid with nothing and you with a wide swath of your friends still your friends, then a different approach is needed.

  19. Yeah the Nazi being leftist schtick boggles the mind.

    I’ve written a very long explanation about why that might be thought to be so (but is wrong), but I must have tripped a bad word, because it’s been eaten. Maybe Mike will fish it out in the fullness of time.

  20. Maximilian: I’ve read her first few novels, and liked them all. I hear good things about her recent work, I just haven’t got to it.

    IDK: Aaron isn’t authorized to speak for me, either, to add to the tally.

  21. @Anthony “The Nazis were really leftist?
    So … why were they so hot on fighting the Commies then?”

    Ooh, I can answer this one. The theory is that while they were all horrible lefties, they were competing for the same things, and wanted to knock each other out of the running.

    This mostly works for people who haven’t read anything about 1920s Germany, the Spanish Civil War, interbellum history in general… The people who like it are the same people who see everything to do with politics through the lens of current-day American far-right wing views.

  22. Happy-Puppy

    The Museum of London, situated in one corner of the Barbican, has a rather cool video of the history of what is now London before humans first came here up to modern times. During the Palaeolithic period we know that the Thames valley provided hunting grounds for Stone Age hunter gatherers, with the principal prey being large animals like mammoths, and a variety of fruits, nuts, mushrooms and so forth. Sadly, for the romantically inclined, there were no sabre toothed tigers, but we did have woolly rhinoceros, cave lions, and wolves in addition to the mammoths.

    It helps if you bear in mind the fact we are dealing in millions of years, and that all of our ancestors came from Africa in the first place; that is not a message. It’s a statement of fact. It also helps if you bear in mind the fact that the river we now call the Thames was sacred until very, very recently in our history; the Museum of London has numerous objects which were offered to the river, and the British Museum has even more. For hundreds of thousands of years the river was worshiped; its secular status is so recent that in comparative terms it’s a blink of the eye. I recommend Peter Ackroyd’s ‘Thames: Sacred River’ if you wish to learn more.

    It is, therefore, not exactly surprising that fiction drawn from these facts reflects those facts; it may be helpful to bear in mind that there are very few English people whose English ancestors go back several hundred years. I’m English, though I was born in the Egyptian desert, my maternal grandmother was Welsh and my father’s family was originally Irish, via Scotland to arrive in England.

    It depends a great deal on how much you know about the prehistory and history of this corner of the world; you think it’s message fiction because you don’t know the facts the author was working with. As James pointed out, humans have had a lot of attempts at living here, over a very long time; trying to impose your ideas of what it should be onto what it has been is an exercise in futility…

  23. Your victory will be a long time coming and it will be bloody and it will leave permanent rifts with people who might have otherwise been your friends behind, but there seem to be more of you, so eventually, yes, you will win.

    The problem is that your version of “victory” with people “who might have been your friends” means coddling people who, although they might not see themselves as sexist or bigots, actually do things that are sexist and bigoted because otherwise they might get their fee-fees hurt.

    The reaction of someone who is not a sexist or a bigot to having their sexist or bigoted actions pointed out is to reconsider their behavior and their attitudes. Those who get huffy and angry over having these sorts of things pointed out weren’t going to be “friends” anyway, at least not unless you’re willing to excuse their sexist and bigoted ways and never bring them up for fear of offending them.

    Given the choice between not offending the sexists and bigots in your group 3, and making the community I associate with a place that is welcoming to women, minorities, and pretty much everyone else who isn’t going to stomp around doing sexist and bigoted things, I’ll be happy to wave goodbye to group 3 forever.

  24. MPMRommel – I was about to give my Four Questions For People Who Declare The National Socialist German Worker’s Party left wing, but I’ll wait to see what you’ve got as it’s probably better.

  25. Rev. Bob on June 19, 2015 at 11:44 am said: I love how she says she’s been maintaining a blog for five or six whole years and that one simply doesn’t keep a regular and vocal audience without “catering to a point of view.” The strong implication, of course, being that because File 770’s older than that, neither it nor its community can be neutral or share a diversity of viewpoints.


    I have to sort of agree with her in a sense. A site with a regular readership suggests people with some commonalities and you will get some correlation of views even on issues that aren’t expressed (but not in some deterministic way – there will be lots of exceptions). If it is a site with a community of people who regularly comment then that correlation of views will also increase somewhat – people who share ideas will be more likely to sit in a general space of ideas that covers things that nobody expresses.

    The more general the website the less that is the case. An odd example is The Guardian – as a dead-tree publication it has been a kind of broad demographic marker/stereotype in the UK for decades [“Guardian reader” = leftish, middle-class but with working-class ties/roots, North of England, graduate, chardonnay-socialist etc as a stereotype]. As a modern news website its readership is broader – mainly because it isn’t pay-walled. In the topsy-turvy web-world the UK’s Telegraph was another social marker [Telegraph reader = old school Tory, older, male, struggles to understand why people ever thought the Empire was a bad idea, respectable and expects serious journalism] but as a web presence has gone increasingly OMG!clickbait!PeopleRfreaky!Weird.

  26. I remember reading (I think in Ackroyd’s biography of London) that as early as the 12th Century the majority of Londoners were immigrants to the city, born elsewhere.

    Wouldn’t surprise me.

    I recall reading (while doing research for a story of my own) that London early in the nineteenth century (late in the Industrial Revolution) was the first European city to surpass a million people since Rome in the first century. By the end of the nineteenth century London was over six million people and the most populous city in the world. You don’t get numbers like that without immigration being a huge part of it.

  27. @Laura: I know you’re not Tor. I figured three Tor books was good support for one day, and you’re pretty awesome too. Consider it a side project. 🙂

    @RedWombat: UGH. That’s terrible. I mean, I’m from the school of thought that playing anything during gaming is rude, but the Spice Channel? That is just awful.

  28. @IDK … *shrug* for me winning isn’t the goal. I don’t even know what it would mean to ‘win’. Are there assholes in every part of SFF? Yes. To quote Eric Flint … so fucking what?

    It seems to me that you’ve spent a lot of time trying very hard to defend those amongst the puppies who might want to ‘not’ be puppies exactly … but still don’t want to abandon the war against some perceived ‘other’ side.

    There is no ‘other’ side, as has been repeatedly pointed out. If you’re not a puppy and you dislike VD and what he’s done/doing … bravo. Join us in discussing your favorite books.

  29. @rcade –

    I think you need a better adjective. The word “municipal” conjures up dread about being bounced from one long line to another in a series of joyless government offices. It does not suggest a world in which magic is acknowledged and assimilated into the lives of the people.

    I agree with you about the unpleasant connotations of the word ‘municipal’, but I reckon ‘municipal’ fantasy pretty squarely describes Pratchett’s Going Postal and Making Money – right down to the joyless government offices.

  30. @McJulie:

    “Am I right in guessing that you see yourself — or at least until recently saw yourself — as a member of the 3rd group?”

    Not really. I didn’t vote for a slate and I’ve certainly never held Vox Day in any sort of esteem, but the thing is, I don’t hold extremists of either side in any sort of contempt. I realize that I’m again running afoul of the notion that there are ‘sides’ here, but it’s sort of impossible to hold two extremists with polar opposite viewpoints in contempt without regarding them as being on two diametrically opposed ‘sides.’

    The battleground is there, whether we would like it to be there or not. It’s not a particularly interesting exercise to try to go back to the very beginning to try to determine which group really did what to trigger the entire thing. Both will shout shrilly and with absolute certainty that it was the other, so it would be a relatively pointless exercise as well, because even if I did go through the laboriously process of doing so and say, ‘okay, this actually all started HERE,’ one side or the other would immediately proclaim me to be wrong.

    So the real point is to make a determination about which side my sympathies lie with and even though there are plenty of odious people like Aaron on your side, ultimately my sympathies are always going to lie with you. But that does not mean that I’m not going to say it when it looks at though you seem to be simultaneously determined to fight, but also not very interested in actually doing things that would utterly defeat your opponent, (and in fact, by giving people like Aaron free rein to say whatever they intend to say whenever they want to say it, to give your opponent more and more people to fight it), AND to do it in such a way that will result in one of the worst possible outcomes it could have.

  31. And, of course, by the 1920s London was no longer the most populous city in the world. The city that took over that position? New York, also a city built pretty much entirely on immigration.

  32. and if one Trot faction should have a nasty squall
    there’ll be two Trot factions sitting in a hall.

    Or, why there are so many different Baptist churches in the US.

  33. The reaction of someone who is not a sexist or a bigot to having their sexist or bigoted actions pointed out is to reconsider their behavior and their attitudes. Those who get huffy and angry over having these sorts of things pointed out weren’t going to be “friends” anyway, at least not unless you’re willing to excuse their sexist and bigoted ways and never bring them up for fear of offending them.

    People can engage in a lot of huffiness before they change their deeply held views. I suspect that if you’re not willing to deal with some folks being put out when you tell them they’re being racist, you’re not going to change a lot of minds. (But changing minds isn’t my forte either, so who knows.)

  34. So the real point is to make a determination about which side my sympathies lie with and even though there are plenty of odious people like Aaron on your side

    As long as not letting you make excuses for bigots and sexists is something you consider to be “odious”, you’re pretty much going to find the world to be a mystery.

  35. My Tor book is Final Days by Gary Gibson, which I’ve had my eye on for a while. It’s a Tor UK edition, but there’s very little Grey Import going on in Dublin.

  36. @ Peace
    Just because someone opposes communism does not mean they are not leftists themselves. If I recall Trotskyites and Stalinists had a rather adversarial relationship and that was fully within communism not even expanded to the full spectrum of the “left”.

    Left vs right as it relates to Us politics is about the size of government.
    The right from the extreme side moving left would tend to be categorized as anarchists followed by libertarians followed by conservatives etc. . It is very hard to round people up with a small government.

    Now, if we are talking left vs right in a European sense then things work a little differently. Europeans tend to embrace large government on all sides of the political spectrum. The arguments between left and right tend to be over social issues and Nationalism only. In that paradigm you might say Nazi’s are an extreme right wing movement. However, when trying to throw invective at someone on the right side of the spectrum in the US, calling them a Nazi really doesn’t work. Calling a progressive with conservative values a Nazi is much closer to the truth but those tend to reside on the left side of the political spectrum in the US. In fact, the progressives of the 1930’s viewed fascism very favorably and loved Mussolini.

  37. “Not really. I didn’t vote for a slate and I’ve certainly never held Vox Day in any sort of esteem, but the thing is, I don’t hold extremists of either side in any sort of contempt.”

    Eh, worded this wrongly. Meant to say, I’ve certainly never held Vox Day in any sort of esteem, but the thing is, I hold extremists of either side in contempt.

  38. I suspect that if you’re not willing to deal with some folks being put out when you tell them they’re being racist, you’re not going to change a lot of minds.

    Sure. But the thing is, IDK is essentially saying that the way to deal with people who hold bigoted and sexist views but don’t regard themselves as such is to never point out that they are acting like sexists or bigots, because that would be “unfriendly” or “hostile” and drive them away. The problem with that position is that it simply perpetuates an unfriendly environment for others in order to protect the precious sensibilities of the bigots and sexists.

    The problem is that IDK sees this as somehow a competition to be won, and “winning” means getting the most people on your side, no matter the means of doing so. So if you have to coddle some sexist dudes because you can peel them away from the “other” side, then you should do that, because the goal is to “win”. But that’s not the goal at all. The goal is to have a community that isn’t hostile to women and minorities, and if the sexist and bigoted guys can’t deal with that community, there’s nothing to be gained from making them feel welcome.

  39. Josh on June 19, 2015 at 1:15 pm said:

    the progressives of the 1930’s viewed fascism very favorably and loved Mussolini.

    Do you have citations for that? It rather goes against family anecdote.

  40. Or let me put it another way.

    My grandmother, a progressive in the best sense of the word, volunteered to fight the fascists in Spain.

    Who were these 1930s progressives who you say adored fascism?

  41. @IDK

    It’s probably good to remember that being “odious” isn’t some binary thing. Aaron’s a jerk, so maybe you should just ignore him, but Vox Day is legitimately promoting ideas about race that are bad for the world as a whole. He might be a charming conversationalist, but his opinions should really be treated as suspect whenever they start to involve race and gender. (Which when it comes to sci-fi, they don’t have to, but he’s decided to bring ’em in, so they do.)

  42. @clif:

    “@IDK … *shrug* for me winning isn’t the goal. I don’t even know what it would mean to ‘win’. Are there assholes in every part of SFF? Yes. To quote Eric Flint … so fucking what?”

    If they were just normal, run of the mill assholes, not much. But when the biggest asshole of all is using his platform to shout, “JOIN ME! JOIN ME! THE OTHER SIDE IS FULL OF ASSHOLES! LOOK AT ALL THE THINGS THEY SAY AND DO!” and someone who is on the fence and immediately, someone here says and does all of those things, then it becomes an issue, especially while all of this is going on. At that point, they immediately go back and join him, because his point has been proven for him.

    Aaron does Vox’s work for him better than Vox ever could.

  43. MPMRommel on June 19, 2015 at 1:01 pm said:

    I’ve written a very long explanation about why that might be thought to be so (but is wrong), but I must have tripped a bad word, because it’s been eaten. Maybe Mike will fish it out in the fullness of time.

    I wrote a couple of these myself. Mike mentioned that WordPress itself eats comments with certain trigger words before he can even get to them for fishing purposes. The full name of the party in question contains at least one of those triggers 🙂

  44. IDK –

    Eh, worded this wrongly. Meant to say, I’ve certainly never held Vox Day in any sort of esteem, but the thing is, I hold extremists of either side in contempt

    Aaron isn’t a side. He’s an individual who doesn’t like the actions of the Sad/Rabids groups. He speaks for himself, however if you know the hierarchy of whatever side he is a part of we can speak to the leader of that and ask that him to have Aaron tone it down. Otherwise he’s just a guy with his own opinions (however strong those might be) who isn’t representative of anything other that himself. I certainly have never seen him try to imply otherwise either.

  45. **made it to page 8!**

    @Danny Sichel

    I’ve been calling this “municipal fantasy” for the past few years (and tinkering with an essay-in-progress that explains it), and trying to popularize the term. It’s distinct from “urban fantasy” in that the magic is acknowledged and open, and part of public policy. In urban fantasy, it’s hidden and secret.

    I like that term a lot. 🙂


    Your post about congoing and growing into yourself as a fan and as a person was very good.


    I agree that just wanting something fun isn’t immature. Sometimes what you want or need is escapism, and that’s okay, but something light and fun and escapist would have to be the very best light and fun and escapist to be Hugo-worthy. I think where some people might end up being immature, though, is when they try and claim that fun and escapism is the most important thing, or the only thing that should be important, which denies other people the right to their own tastes and opinions.

    The problem with the Puppy ballot specifically is that most of it isn’t very good, and most of it isn’t even escapist fiction. Skin Game is probably the only thing on there that I would call escapist, but there’s a couple of things I haven’t read yet.

    As far as barbs and criticism goes, one of the problems I have with their claims (and its a big one) is that they often complain about being called racist, sexist, or homophobic. I can see how that isn’t very nice, but its a lot less nice to be the person to whom someone is being racist, sexist, or homophobic. They don’t seem to leave room for the possibility that someone being called those things might actually be those things.

  46. Steven:
    >> I figure lots of people buying Tor books will make much more of an immediate impression than lots of people *not* buying Tor books, as the average person probably buys, what, a book every couple of weeks?>>

    26 books a year? I highly doubt it.

    The “average person” barely buys books at all. The average bookbuyer is probably somewhere under 5 books a year. Maybe dramatically under.

    The average SF fan? Probably quite a bit higher.

  47. At that point, they immediately go back and join him, because his point has been proven for him.

    That you think someone could ever look at VD’s platform and think a non-sexist non-bigoted guy would sign up for it is an amazing piece of insanity.

  48. Mike Glyer on June 19, 2015 at 10:22 am said:
    Larry Correia’s post didn’t deter Peter Grant and Vox Day from announcing they are boycotting Tor. Links for now, roundup later….

    Peter Grant: The Tor boycott is on

    Vox Day: Tor boycott announced

    Hmm. I already bought The End of All Things for Buy Tor day, but I guess I’ll have to add at least one more. Ok, A Darker Shade of Magic acquired!

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