The Hammer of Tor 6/19

aka Sad Puppies Strictly Cash

Peter Grant, Vox Day, John Wright, Chris Meadows, Adam, Steve Davidson, Natalie Luhrs, Alexandra Erin, Nick Mamatas, Lela E. Buis, Lawrence Person, Soon Lee, Lis Carey, Melina D, Joe Sherry, and May Tree. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day William Reichard and Rev. Bob.)

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

”The Tor boycott is on” – June 19

Regrettably, due to the apparent lack of action by (and the deafening silence from) Tor and Macmillan, the time has come to do as I promised.  I therefore ask all those who believe, as I do, that the recent statement by Irene Gallo, and the pattern of behavior and statements from others at Tor whom I’ve previously named, are completely unacceptable, to join me in refusing to buy any of Tor’s products from now on. I support and endorse what Larry Correia said about this yesterday.

… this is between Tor and its readers who feel insulted, not the Sad Puppies campaign or the people who ran it … 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.

There’s much more at the link.  (Recommended reading for background and more information.)

I am not a member of, and I do not speak for, either the ‘Sad Puppies’ or ‘Rabid Puppies’ campaigns (although I support the former).  I don’t represent cute puppies, playful puppies, cuddly puppies or hush puppies – only myself.  If you share, in whole or in part, my values and outlook on life, I invite you to join me in this boycott.  Don’t do so just because I, or anyone else, is asking you to do so.  Act on the basis of your own informed conscience and reasoned judgment.

There are those who protest that a boycott of Tor will prevent them buying books they want to read, and/or hurt their favorite authors.  I can only point out that used copies of those books are usually available from many sources soon after publication, often in very good to excellent condition, and sometimes at prices much lower than a new copy.  As for your favorite authors, if you buy a used copy of their book(s), why not send them the money they would have made as a royalty if you’d bought it new?  In fact, given that many royalties are a pittance, why not send them more than that?  Many authors have so-called ‘tip jars’ on their blogs or Web sites, or you can write to them enclosing a check or money order.

There are those who doubt that a boycott can achieve anything.  I can only reply that ‘doing the right thing’ is important in itself.  It’s a matter of honor – and although any mention of honor may be greeted with scorn and derision in these ‘modern’ times, I was raised to value the concept and live by it.  I still do.  I doubt I’m alone in that.

What’s more, in a SF/F market that’s increasingly dominated by independent authors, with cratering sales among mainstream publishers and tight financial margins, even a small boycott may have an impact out of all proportion to its size.  I’m certain, on the basis of support already voiced, that we can achieve a short-term six-figure reduction in Tor’s annual turnover.  All that’ll take is a couple of thousand people not spending their usual $50 per year on Tor books (and many have, until now, spent a lot more than that – for example, see here).  With more supporters and/or bigger spenders involved, the impact will be correspondingly greater.  I believe that over time, as word spreads and more join the boycott, we can grow this into a seven-figure annual impact – particularly when, in markets where we have a strong presence, we start talking to bookstores that carry Tor products.  Given current economic conditions and the present and predicted state of the SF/F market, our boycott may in due course make the difference between a profit and a loss in Tor’s annual trading accounts.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Tor boycott announced” – June 19

As you can see, I have been a Tor Books customer since 1986, when I bought a mass market paperback copy of The Edge of Tomorrow, by Isaac Asimov. And because I have considerably more experience of Tor Books and the consistently abusive and unprofessional behavior of its senior employees, I will go a little further than Mr. Grant has. Until Irene Gallo and Patrick Nielsen Hayden are no longer employed by Tor Books or Tor.com, I will not:

  1. Purchase any books published by Tor Books
  2. Read any books published by Tor Books

Given (2), this means that if Ms. Gallo and Mr. Nielsen Hayden are still employed by Tor Books in 2016, I will not nominate any books published by Tor Books for any awards. I encourage those who deem Ms. Gallo’s behavior to be unprofessional and unacceptable to follow Mr. Grant’s lead and join the Tor Books boycott. I am the leader of the Rabid Puppies, I do speak for them, and I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that they will follow my lead in this regard. I am not concerned about whether the boycott is “successful” or not. The simple fact is that if Macmillan is at all interested in the long-term success of Tor Books, it will jettison both Ms Gallo and Mr. Nielsen Hayden on the basis of their disloyalty, their unprofessional behavior, and their repeated violations of the Macmillan Code of Conduct, regardless of what any outside parties may happen to believe. I simply won’t have anything to do with Tor Books as long as those two individuals are employed there.

 

John C. Wright

“Embargo On” – June 19

Since I am Tor author and hitherto have been very proud of my association with that fine and famous imprint, I am fascinated (if mildly aghast) that the Tor management has allowed the situation to degenerate to this point.

Because of a financial conflict of interest on my part, it would be untoward of me to express fulsome support and applause for the boycott, and tell the boycotters their position is the principled and correct stand.

Nor will I point out, because it is obvious, that if you buy my books from Tor, then some part of your precious book-buying dollars goes into the wages of several people at Tor (but by no means all, or even most) who hate both you and me with a sick and soul-destroying hatred, a hatred like a disease that withers the heart and rots the brain.

Nor will I point out, because it should also be obvious, that any Christian gentleman would be willing to forgo a worldly reward of your generous book-buying dollars if he may have your spiritual reward of your loyalty instead. If the gentle reader feels compassion for me in my hour of need, or fears the boycott will harm my finances, I have a tip jar on this page.

So I cannot express support for this boycott.

The people with whom I work, my editor and cover art director, have a perfect right to expect me not to undermine their position, untenable as it may be. If the management wants to set the company policy as one of indifference to our patrons and clients on whom our livelihood depends, or contempt, or enmity, or loathing, that business decision is in their bailiwick.

 

Chris Meadows on Teleread

“Sad Puppies supporters, opponents respectively call for boycott, buying of Tor books”   – June 19

However, even leaving aside that Vox Day certainly does speak for the Rabid Puppies, what Correia and Grant miss is that, as a grass-roots movement (I was going to say “ostensibly grass-roots,” but what the heck, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt), “Sad Puppies” doesn’t really have a true “leadership” to speak for it at this point. Whether you’re an official “member” or not, if you identify with the movement, you’re going to be identified with the movement, especially by the movement’s opponents.

Make a lot of noise in support of Sad Puppy goals, and voila, you’re a Sad Puppy, and anything you do reflects on them. And likewise, anything the rest of them do reflects on you—which is why the Puppies movement as a whole is, rightly or wrongly, often tarred with the black brush that most accurately applies only to Vox Day and others like him. (Indeed, it’s why a lot of people use “Sad Puppies” as a shorthand to refer to both the Sad and Rabid Puppies.) And it’s why anti-Puppies (some have suggested the term “Happy Kittens”) feel justified in calling this a “Sad Puppies” boycott.

 

Adam on The Noisy Rogue

“The Boycott of Tor Books” – June 19

Even John C Wright, one of Tor’s own published writers, is unable to express support for Tor in this situation. Make your own minds up, dear readers. But rest assured that the culture wars have not been lost. They were only originally winning in the first place because our side couldn’t be bothered turning up. Now it’s on.

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“Today is Buy From Tor Day” – June 19

Just a reminder that if you would like to express support for Irene Gallo, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder and TOR books, today is the day to go out and buy a TOR book.

You can learn a bit more about this here.

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“Moshe Feder doubles down (again) on the lies” – June 19

Friends, I give you Moshe Feder on Facebook earlier today:

Feder 2015-06-19 Facebook screen capture

….I’m still not going to call for the resignation or dismissal of any of the Tor employees I’ve named.  Nevertheless, if I needed any more justification for why I’m boycotting Tor, Mr. Feder has provided it.  I suppose I should thank him for that – and if he wishes to call me an ‘idiot’, well, I’ve been called a lot worse than that in my time.  Furthermore, for all Mr. Feder’s vitriol directed against him, he’s just made Vox Day look like a sensible, reasonable participant in this debate.  Vox might want to thank him, too . . .

 

 

 

 

Lela E. Buis

“Adding fuel to the flames” – June 19

What ever happened to that discussion about the Hugos?

What Hugos?

By this time, it should be fairly clear that the current debacle has nothing to do with the Hugo Awards. It isn’t really about the liberal versus conservative content of a few Tor books, either. I concede that there may be an ideological component to the attack. If Day is a a “fundamentalist Southern Baptist,” as he has been characterized, then it is likely that he’s offended by liberal viewpoints in general. Still, that’s no reason to go after Tor in particular. Publication of LGBTQ novels, for example, has been increasing across all major publishers in the last few years. Tor has no franchise on liberalism.

That makes it more likely that Day has launched a personal vendetta undercover of the conflict over the Hugo Awards. He has moved from naming Irene Gallo to Moshe Feder to Patrick Nielsen Hayden in the last few days. Most likely this is his actual target. Hayden is the man quoted in news reports announcing John Scalzi’s recent $3.4 million contract with Tor.

It’s a vendetta, folks. Day is pursuing a long-running feud with John Scalzi. That means that anyone who supports Day’s flame war by responding to him is only perpetuating the problem. Tor has got it right. It’s time to hunker down and wait him out.

 

Lawrence Person on Battleswarm Blog

“Sad Puppies Redux (Or Why That Tor Boycott Won’t Work)” – June 19

Since then, a few people on Twitter have been calling for a boycott of Tor Books over the incident. About this I would just like to make a few points:

  • Though the editorial stuff does lean toward the SJW side, plenty of conservative authors are published by Tor.
  • An ad hoc, Twitter-organized boycott is deeply unlikely to work. Given the way book sales are tracked, it’s unlikely the financial effects of any boycott would stand out from sales figures more than background noise. Most SF readers probably aren’t even active on Twitter, and even fewer have been following every twist and turn of the Sad Puppy Saga.
  • Given that Tor is a very small part of the Bertelsmann international conglomerate, chances are even less likely that that any boycott would be effective or even noticed.
  • Larry Correia has categorically stated that the Sad Puppies are not calling for any boycotts. He also notes, as he invariably does, “All I’m asking is that whatever you do, try to be as civil as possible in your disagreements.”

So put me down in the category of thinking a boycott is foolish, pointless and counterproductive.

One big point on the Sad Puppies campaign: Most recent domestic Worldcons have topped out in the 4,000-6,000 members range. I recently bought a Supporting Membership in Sasquan, and my membership number was in the 9,000s. This tends to indicate that the Hugos have indeed become a test of strength in the culture wars.

 

 

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Sucker Punch, by Eric S. Raymond” – June 19

Eric S. Raymond is a 2015 nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. This is a perfectly competently written MilSF…vignette. It’s not a story. It describes a couple of important and unfortunate advances in military weapons and tactics, and presents the resulting dilemma quite poignantly.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Novella” – June 19

….The big surprise in this category, at least for me, was Tom Kratman’s Big Boys Don’t Cry. I had expected a very aggressive narrative designed to offend those of a more liberal persuasion, but what I got was a surprisingly graceful story of a dying sentient tank. That may sound weird, but given advancement in artificial intelligence and this being a science fiction story, it works. It works remarkably well, especially the deeper Kratman brings the story into Magnolia’s history.  Yes, there are also some clumsier jabs at how military tactics have been handled by those not committed to the mission or by those who don’t fully understand what it takes to win, and politicians get the sharp end of the stick in that regard (rightly so, in some cases).

If all of Arlan Andrews’ “Flow” was as successful as the second half of the story, I might have been able to move it up another space on my ballot, but unfortunately the beginning of the story was something of a chore to push through. The primitive ice world (a partially frozen post apocalyptic Earth) was tough to take, less because of the writing and more because of what I was wanted / was getting from the story. I’ll willingly take the hit that part of this is on me, but I often bounce off of fiction dealing with significantly more primitive Earth cultures unless the writing / storytelling can just grab a hold of me and make me care about the characters and / or the setting. “Flow” didn’t…until it did, midway through as Rist began to discover more of the world and realized that what his people taught may not be the way things actually work. I’m now curious to find “Thaw”, a previous story in this setting, and move on to “Fall”, the next in the setting.  I’d like to see where Andrews is taking this.

My Vote

1. “Pale Realms of Shade”
2. Big Boys Don’t Cry
3. “Flow”
4. “The Plural of Helen of Troy”
5. No Award
6. One Bright Star to Guide Them

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Short Story” – June 19

Without too much further procrastination, it’s onto the stories. This was another full puppy-supported slate, so – to put it mildly – my expectations of good writing were low. I was pleasantly surprised by one story, meh over a couple of others and (predictably) was ready to set a thousand fires to another.

 

May Tree in a comment on File 770 – June 18

(The original is here if you don’t know it.) The original inspiration for looking at this source material was that “Voxie” rhymes with “Roxie.”

[Excerpt is only one-third of the whole parody.]

[PUPS] Hah! They had it coming! They had it coming! They took a genre in its prime And then they used it And they abused it We’ll slate the Hugos – It’s not a crime!

[SARAH] Now, I’m typing on my blog post, carvin’ up the SJWs for the Puppies, minding my own business, in storms Mike Glyer, in a jealous rage. “You’re a hydrophobe!” he says. He was crazy and he kept posting, “You’re a hydrophobe!” And then he ran into my axiom. He ran into my axiom ten times!

[PUPS] If you’d have been there If you’d have read it I betcha you would have thought the same!

[JULIETTE] Oenq, V nz fbeel, ohg vs lbh jvyy or ynoryvat zr nf n fnq chccl V jvyy unir gb nfx lbh gb jvguqenj zr sebz lbhe yvfg. Lbh qvq abg fnl lbh jrer tbvat gb or pnyyvat vg gur Fnq Chccvrf yvfg. V srry yvxr lbh jrer zvfercerfragvat vg. V’z unccl gb or bar bs lbhe Uhtb erpbzzraqngvbaf. Guvf vf qvssrerag.

[BRAD] Yeah, but will you be on my slate?

[JULIETTE] UH UH, not Puppy!

[LARRY] My buddy Brad and I had this Sad Puppy act, and my “devil” Voxie traveled around with us. Now, for the most recent year in our slate, we nommed 20 of Brad’s buddies in a row. One, two, three, four, five…Kratman, Freer, Antonelli, Reid, one right after the other. Well, this one night we were ranting about liberals, the three of us, boozing and having a few laughs, and we run out of ice. So I go out to get some. I come back, open the door, and there’s Brad and Voxie nomming Number Seventeen – “Wisdom From My Internet.” Well, I was in such a state of shock, I completely blacked out. I can’t remember a thing. It wasn’t until later, when I was washing the toner off my hands, I even knew they were Rabid.

[PUPS] They had it coming! They had it coming! Ann Leckie does her genders wrong! I didn’t read her! But if I read her I wouldn’t know which “she” has a schlong!

 

743 thoughts on “The Hammer of Tor 6/19

  1. Rev Bob,

    Given I am recovering from a cold and have coughing fits enougj, making me laugh so much is just unfair.

  2. Much cheerier today after spending a few hours at Pride.

    It was crowded, and too hot.

    And happy.

    Everyone was happy.

    That’s winning.

  3. I bought a couple of Tor books, but I bought them after midnight, so it might now count. (But it was the east coast, so maybe it does.) I bought books about that SJW character Conan the Barbarian. 🙂 I’d forgotten that Tor has Kindle editions reprinting some of the pastiches, including Karl Edward Wagner’s Road of Kings.

    I’m sure someone will still do mental gymnastics to try to call those books SJW books. After they’ve tied their brains into knots, I shall tie pretty ribbons onto their minds.

  4. Peace:Ooh, Theodore Beale has vowed to never nominate any Tor books for awards. That will show them.

    Meanwhile every Tor author* lets out a huge sigh of relief. Who on earth would want that poison pill?

    *Well, except the obvious cases.

  5. Critteranne:I’m sure someone will still do mental gymnastics to try to call those books SJW books. After they’ve tied their brains into knots, I shall tie pretty ribbons onto their minds.

    “The Conan MMO has a positively portrayed gay NPC and players are permitted to play heroic Stygians and male and female characters have equal stats!”

  6. @Laura Resnick

    Earlier on I was speculating from total ignorance that the move to distance the Tor boycott from SP could be a result of a word in their shell-like to the Puppies with contracts that directly supporting a boycott was over an invisible line. Is that unlikely in your view?

  7. Karl Edward Wagner’s Road of Kings.

    Goes to kindle, happy dance. I did not know about this book.

  8. Well, the approved method for puppydum literary criticism is not to read the book at all, since reading it will enable the author to manipulate you using words.

    Also, avoid looking at the cover since this will enable the artistic director to manipulate you using pictures.

    These two simple rules will deal with any contingency.

  9. So Grant is mad and calling for a boycott of Tor because Gallo impugned the honor of the Puppies by saying (correctly) that their ranks are full of racists. Will he get mad and call for a boycott of MZW because MZW impugned the honor of the Puppies by actually being a racist?

  10. @Aaron:

    Don’t be silly. *Calling* someone a racist is a mortal offense. Racist *actions* are just normal human behavior to shut up about.

  11. Laura Resnick,

    as a retired professional paintball player, I take great umbrage over your use of inappropriate vocabulary.

    The “leader” of a paintball team is never called “the leader”, nor would they refer to themselves as such. The “leader” is known as “the captain” or “the field captain” (depending upon the team’s organizational structure).

    There was a time when we also had “squad captains” who were subordinate to “the captain”, but the time of squads in paintball is long past.

    You might hear someone referred to as “the general” in a scenario game environment, but never “the leader”. I myself was once referred to as “The Colonel”, but that was when I was commanding a group of over 350 players and they all thought it was cool so I wasn’t about to argue. (350 players can shoot a LOT of paint!)

    You stand corrected. 🙂

  12. By an injudicious choice of links, I ended up trying to read the E Pluribus Hugo proposal. That was an experience. I kept expecting the part where you throw the green dart at the player to your left. Maybe I could think of a stranger way to count Hugo votes, but I would have to work on it.
    For many years, I have applied a journalistic adage to fan and mundane politics. “If in doubt, leave it out.” If you couldn’t explain this proposal to your next door neighbor, don’t vote for it. There is more than enough room for misunderstanding in the Hugo rules we already have.

  13. Laura – regarding speculations on contracts.

    Wright may want to be “cancelled”. Then he’ll get picked up by Castallia House and they’ll make lots of marketing noise about the “author who was kicked out of TOR by SJW politics; together, they will eventually sign a distribution and promotional deal with FOX….

  14. Kurt:

    I like Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant a lot more than this real one.

    … and now I know why I’ve been so confused by RL Peter Grant. I knew his name reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t figure out who.

  15. @Milt Stevens

    I’ve also been trying to read through it. There’s much in the details, but it’s simple to explain to someone wishing to vote, which is where it counts:
    “You remember what you did last year?”
    “Uh, I voted for up to 5 works I liked per category?”
    “Yes. Now for this year…do that again”

  16. Peter Grant has been very careful to talk about Puppy “supporters and commenters,” and even in his open letter, when he says Gallo drew him into this issue, he says he is “a supporter of the Sad Puppy campaign.”

    That said, Beale has linked to him and I can’t find any evidence to show Grant asking him not to. He helped Beale compile those emails to Tor, he’s used in tons of Puppy posts by all sorts of Puppies (apparently with his tacit approval) and he’s also a contributor at MGC.

    While I’ll concede that Peter Grant has not identified himself as a Puppy, I do feel that he is being disingenuous when he claims he is not one, and his arguments backing up that position are not convincing.

    But I am curious as to why he would go to so much trouble to say he wasn’t a Puppy when he lets both Sads and Rabids use him as a talking point, link to him, when he organizes parts of their Tor boycott, etc. What is the value of his denial?

  17. Er, I meant “compile the stats on those emails to Tor.”

    I am not SJW enough for an edit button.

  18. @Milt Stevens:
    Counting it is no more difficult then the current system used for Hugo voting. It is just multiple rounds, each round eliminating the item with the lowest number of nominations.

  19. Re Brian z and E Pluribus Hugo (EPH)

    So, I’m concerned that 1) with the concern for fairness, the commitment to identifying excellence may get lost in the shuffle; 2) we don’t understand well how might voter behavior actually change; 3) to my non-expert eye, this seems potentially vulnerable to a variety of exploits and I wonder if that can be examined by an independent group of specialists, at least before any final ratification if there is not time to do it by August.

    1) That is in the hands of the nominators. There really isn’t any change in the process that matters a fraction as much as the attitude of the people nominating. IF you consider changes in fractions of votes relevant (as the FAQ explains they aren’t in practice) you can even construe an argument that the change increases the focus on excellence: If you only find 3 Hugo worthy things in a category (for whatever reason) there is no fractional loss in leaving two slots empty, there is less incentive to fill out the list with stuff that got good buzz or your friends like which you are not 100% convinced it is Hugo worthy. I reiterate, that practically it doesn’t matter, but if the concern really is excellence the effect is counter to dire predictions.
    2) Actually, we do. You can posit some irrational strategies being adopted, superstituous behaviour, if you’re so inclined, but there is no reason to believe these can be fixed by educating people about the system. There is no track record of people widely adopting irrational strategies when voting systems are changed. In the realm of rational responses, the best response is no response, that is nominate as before.
    3) How about spending some time thinking on that? I got a mathy background and have by now been trying for weeks to find a way to game the system. I read a couple of papers on the matter. I say it works as advertised and has no relevant weaknesses. Anyone really deeply concerned should hire the outside experts at own cost (kickstarter?), otherwise this is just a delying tactic. Because lots of people have checked the system, many with an adversarial bent.

    2 & 3 are FUD, btw. There is no argument, you’re just muttering darkly. I’d argue 1 is FUD too, because the point is to twart slates, which are as anti-excellency as it gets (no wisdom of the crowds there). By achieving that aim EPH is a big push towards excellency and you’re again muttering darkly that maybe it isn’t perfect while ignoring the very real threat to excellency EPH fixes.

  20. Making light of the mass murder of people who were praying in a church is just obscene.

  21. What is the value of his denial?

    As far as I can tell, the Puppy flag-bearers fall into three camps:

    1. They are idiots, and say stupid things because they are stupid.
    2. They think everyone else is an idiot, and figure that people will buy their bullshit because everyone who is not them is too stupid to figure out that it is bullshit.
    3. They figure that their audience won’t care or bother to fact check if what they say makes any sense, as long as they can score points against the “SJWs”.

  22. > “If you couldn’t explain this proposal to your next door neighbor, don’t vote for it.”

    I dunno, it seems pretty simple to me:

    1) Everyone gets one vote per category.

    2) You may divide this vote up among as many nominees as you like; each nominee will get an appropriate fraction of your vote (e.g., if you select two in a category, call them A and B, each gets half of your vote.)

    3) Whenever one of your nominees is eliminated, your vote is now counted as being split between your remaining choices (e.g., if B is eliminated in the example above, A now has your full single vote.)

    Note A: It helps prevent slates from completely dominating the ballot because large identical votes tend to “mutually eliminate” each other until they are reduced to an amount appropriate to their actual percentage of the voting populace.

    Note B: In the absence of slates, it tends to have exactly the same results as the current “first five past the post” nomination system.

    Note C: This means almost nothing, action-wise, from the perspective of the voter; you put down your choices for nominees just as you do now.

    It doesn’t seem that complex. I mean, sure, it’s unfamiliar to a lot of people, but is that seriously more complicated or difficult to explain than the American Electoral College or the current Hugo rules to vote for winners?

  23. Apparentyl the last comment was eaten by the system. Not typing all that again.
    Re. Brian Z and Epluribus Hugo (EPH)
    So, I’m concerned that 1) with the concern for fairness, the commitment to identifying excellence may get lost in the shuffle; 2) we don’t understand well how might voter behavior actually change; 3) to my non-expert eye, this seems potentially vulnerable to a variety of exploits and I wonder if that can be examined by an independent group of specialists, at least before any final ratification if there is not time to do it by August.

    1) Fixing slates is a huge gain for excellency. In the margins (which are irrelevant in practice), there is actually an effect towards excellency as there is no longer an incentive to fill up one’s ballot with stuff one doesn’t stand behind 100%.
    2) We have strong reasons to believe it won’t. There is no track record towards wholly irrational strategies when voting systems are changed, the rational response is to nominate as before.
    3) With a mathy background and some research, I’ve been trying to come up with a way to game the system for weeks now. No luck. Lots of people have examined the system with a critical eye and an adversarial bent, nothing came of it. If you want to run a kickstarter to pay outside experts, go ahead.

    Your points are FUD. 2 & 3 aren’t even argument, just delying and muttering darkly while cheerfully ignoring all the evidence to the contrary. 1 is the same, because the slate issue is the biggest problem for excellency and that EPH fixes that doesn’t seem to feature in your argument.

  24. Saturday Afternoon book recommendation time: Donna Andrews’ Meg Lanslow Mysteries.

    Meg is a blacksmith, and part of a delightfully in a small Virginia college town. Stories involve a computer RPG company, extreme croquet, various re-enactments, and of course the delightful We’ll Always Have Parrots set in a loosely disguised SF convention (I think it’s a better book about cons and conrunners than Bimbos Of The Death Sun, though not as accurate as Deep Secrets which has Adephi Eastercons to a T).

    (Eccentric families and community events appeal to this Channel Islander. We’re like that back on our rocks…)

  25. Apparently the last two comments were eaten by the system. Not typing all that again.
    Re. Brian Z and Epluribus Hugo (EPH)
    So, I’m concerned that 1) with the concern for fairness, the commitment to identifying excellence may get lost in the shuffle; 2) we don’t understand well how might voter behavior actually change; 3) to my non-expert eye, this seems potentially vulnerable to a variety of exploits and I wonder if that can be examined by an independent group of specialists, at least before any final ratification if there is not time to do it by August.

    1.) Fixing slates is a huge gain for excellency. In the margins (which are irrelevant in practice), there is actually an effect towards excellency as there is no longer an incentive to fill up one’s ballot with stuff one doesn’t stand behind 100 percent.
    2.) We have strong reasons to believe it won’t. There is no track record towards wholly irrational strategies when voting systems are changed, the rational response is to nominate as before.
    3.) With a mathy background and some research, I’ve been trying to come up with a way to game the system for weeks now. No luck. Lots of people have examined the system with a critical eye and an adversarial bent, nothing came of it. If you want to run a kickstarter to pay outside experts, go ahead.

  26. So, about books!

    Per recs here, I read Seraphina and it made me very very happy. I purchased Shadow Scale and am reading it now, happiness continues. Without spoilers, I think I can say that I really, really appreciate how Hartmann shows the *variety* in how people respond to dire oppression: sometimes burdens make a person more sympathetic to other burdened people, other times it just wears you down.

    Also, I continually and deeply enjoy how very Vulcan (ST sense) the dragons are.

  27. Apparently the last comments were eaten by the system. (4th try) Not typing all that again.
    Re. Brian Z and Epluribus Hugo (EPH)

    1.) Fixing slates is a huge gain for excellency. In the margins (which are irrelevant in practice), there is actually an effect towards excellency as there is no longer an incentive to fill up one’s ballot with stuff one doesn’t stand behind 100 percent.
    2.) We have strong reasons to believe it won’t. There is no track record towards wholly irrational strategies when voting systems are changed, the rational response is to nominate as before.
    3.) With a mathy background and some research, I’ve been trying to come up with a way to game the system for weeks now. No luck. Lots of people have examined the system with a critical eye and an adversarial bent, nothing came of it. If you want to run a kickstarter to pay outside experts, go ahead.

  28. @mk41

    As a rpg-er my opening thought was “hmmm, how do I break this” because my natural response to mechanics is to look for the edge cases. I’m currently reading the bit of the ML thread where they seem to be trying to check possible opposition strategies. What did you try?

  29. So here’s a bit that’s bugging me: What is LC doing declaring himself the Sad Puppy leader?
    I thought that was Torgerson? Brad has been very vocal about the boycot.

  30. If you couldn’t explain this proposal to your next door neighbor, don’t vote for it. There is more than enough room for misunderstanding in the Hugo rules we already have.

    Argument from ignorance? FWIW, I understand it just fine. Could you for comparison read this http://www.thehugoawards.org/the-voting-system/ and provide your take on it? Especially “Elimination and second round of balloting”.
    Then there’s the thing that people who do understand it have examined it for weeks now. It fixes the problem with slates while leaving the existing nomination process intact. No change for the end user. So by analogy it’s like having a part of your car switched out for a replacement part that doesn’t have some weaknesses the original part had. You don’t need to understand the technology behind it to get behind the wheel and drive as before.

  31. @Mark – With enough collusion and grouping, you could break your group into five. Each sub-group would place one vote in each category. Five sub-slates, as it were.

  32. @ Simon Bisson
    I love Meg Langslow, glad to find another fan!

    @ Doctor Science
    Good to hear this; based on all the recs here, I’ve ordered Seraphina, can’t wait to read it.

  33. I also just finished Uprooted, which I liked very much (disclaimer: I’ve known her since 1999 or so). It’s great to see Naomi’s writing turning in a female-friendship direction, and also exploring her personal background more.

    There’s one thing that confused me:

    Nf gurl geniry qbjafgernz ba gur Fcvaqyr gur fgernz frrzf gb trg fznyyre, abg ynetre, hagvy gur prageny tebir jurer gurer’f whfg n cbby.

    I don’t know if I’m not reading it right, or if it’s that Naomi really isn’t a country girl.

  34. @ May Tree: Rhyming Voxy with Roxy put me in mind of another song at first.

    NIELSEN-HAYDEN:

    Look, what’s up now at the Voxy?
    I’ll tell you what’s up now at the Voxy.
    A post about some dudes who think the Hugo gang are crudes
    And are convinced each female author is a doxy.
    That’s what’s up now at the Voxy.

    GALLO:

    What’s in the daily news?
    I’ll tell you what’s in the daily news.
    The story of some guys who lost out on their awards
    And blame it on the ess-jay-double-yous.
    That’s what’s in the daily news.

    FEDER:

    What’s happening all over?
    I’ll tell you what’s happening all over.
    A bunch of hydrophobes are upset at something new
    And have nominated Vox Day as their drover
    That’s what’s happening all over.

    ALL:

    What is the thing that has licked ‘em?

    NIELSEN-HAYDEN:

    And it looks like I’m just another victim.

    When you see a guy froth without knowing why
    You can bet that he’s angry about some CHORF.
    When you spot a dude sounding like he’s von Krupp
    Chances are he’s a Pup whose full-measured cup of outrage is up.

    When you see Vox Day swear he’ll make Gallo pay
    And direct all his minions to cut Tor off
    Call it dumb, call it cloying
    But the thing that is most annoying
    Is that he’s only angry about some CHORF.

    When Brad Torgersen impugns all that you’ve done
    As affirmative action and a knockoff
    Call it sad, call it rabid
    But it’s only from force of habit
    That the man blames his troubles on that-there CHORF.

    When a blog writes checks that fact-checkers can’t cash
    It’s a cinch that its cache of rhetoric-trash came from Vox Day’s stash

    When you see John Wright say the end is in sight
    And the Morlocks are gathered at Charon’s wharf
    Call it reactionary
    But the Caesar he’s come to bury
    Is no more than his anger about some CHORF.

    [Musical interlude]

    When old Larry C. says “that trophy’s for me”
    You can bet that he’s angry about some CHORF.
    “Don’t you know those gays, ladies and POCs
    Are why it’s not a breeze to write what I please and be a big cheese?”

    When you hear a gent say his honor’s been rent
    And start screaming that Scalzi’s a moral dwarf
    Call it dumb and pathetic
    But with memory that’s eidetic
    You can tell that he’s angry about some CHORF, some CHORF, some CHORF
    That the guy’s only angry about some CHORF.

  35. Side question: Is anyone else getting good at reading rot13 straight off the page?

  36. I second Simon Bisson’s rec for Donna Andrews’ Meg Lanslow series. I’m only 4 books in, but they’re wonderful.

    Also, I recently finished Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, and found it almost mindblowingly good, in terms of doing unexpected things with familiar tropes, and managing to get a whole lot more world complexity and layers of story than I was expecting going in.

    I’ve felt a bit blah regarding Novik because later volumes in the Temeraire series haven’t grabbed me at all — but Uprooted was amazing, and may well make my Hugo nomination ballot next year.

  37. @ Mark

    EPH can be summarised as alternately removing the least widely supported nominees and the least deeply supported nominees until only the finalists remain. The edge cases are the ones that get knocked out.

    All the words, and there are a lot, are to make the tallying deterministic with no wiggle room.

  38. How dare Chris Meadows state that Sad Puppy supporters are asking people to buy Tor books? This is unacceptable, and I demand an apology, which I will not accept, and a boycott of Teleread!

  39. @GSLamb

    Interesting. There’s a social aspect to this – how do you persuade your slaters to follow the line? With RP and SP we have good example of types of approach. RP can simply instruct minions in a mechanical fashion, by minion number or something (yes, they do actually have minion numbers). SP is a bit more herd of cats, so perhaps the best they could do is issue a slate and suggest that the best tactic is single-voting what they like best, which would diffuse the effect of that tactic somewhat.

  40. @GSLamb — If would-be slaters could organize enough followers to allocate 10-15% of the total nominations to multiple works, then at that point they’d effectively control the entire process and would arguably deserve to win because they’d have something approaching a genuine majority (or plurality, at least).

  41. @ Mark
    I put myself in Beale’s shoes, that is I gave myself an imaginary army of jerks who do exactly as I tell them. Then I considered various strategies executed perfectly. Slates of various lengths, slates with randomized components, single nomination ballots proportioned based on historical nomination numbers extrapolated, whatever I could think of. The closest I got was a scenario where Beale somehow gets the numbers of all nominations so far a day before nominations close and a website which provides individual instructions which everyone follows exactly.

  42. @Doctor Science, @Jane Dark

    Let me add to the Uprooted love as well. It was soooo good, and such an improvement from the last couple of Temeraire books.

    Doc, my answer to your rot13 was, well, magic. There may have been a detail or two that I missed out on though.

  43. More reading: I bought RedWombat’s Bryony and Roses and loved it a *lot*. It’s really interesting how it compares/contrasts with Uprooted — they have similar voices in my head, and they deal with similarly fairy tale-like material. I expect my friends in transformative works fandom will also enjoy it very much, because it basically is one.

    RedWombat really knows her plants, and there are a lot of gardener jokes in here that I got a kick out of — “You put mint in the ground?!?”, for instance. And we could have a wonderful discussion: “Roses: Evil or Misunderstood?”

  44. @mk41

    WWVDD is basically the worst case scenario, yes. Have you posted the details about what you tried elsewhere?

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