The Scarlet Litter 6/21

aka Puppy on a Hot Tin Roof

Today’s roundup brings you Spacefaring Kitten, Gary Farber, Peter Grant, Tom Knighton, Sgt. Mom, Martin Wisse, David Nickle, Edward Trimnell, John Scalzi, N. K. Jemisin, Neil Clarke, David Gerrold, Ferrett Steinmetz, Jonathan Crowe, Andrew Hickey, Jason Cordova, Nicholas Whyte, Tim Hall, Mari Ness, Kevin Standlee, Mark Ciocco, Lis Carey, Vivienne Raper, and Jonathan Edelstein. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Daniel Dern and James H. Burns.)

Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“Having a successful boycott is not the point” – June 21

As I said before, Day is following the Tea Party/Breitbart Culture Wars playbook. Gin up outrage, energise your base, focus their attention on the designated enemy, then fleece the suckers. Vox knows how the game is played because he’d been working for Worldnet Daily one of the low rent rightwing clearing houses his daddy had set up until he became too loony even for them. What are the odds on the next instructions of Day, as “leader of the Rabid Puppies”, will next issue instructions that the only proper way to boycott Tor is to instead buy books by goodthink publishers like Baen or his own vanity press?

The key is not to win, the key is to keep the fight going and make some money doing so. That’s been the career path for whole generations of roghtwing bloviators: fart out articles and blogposts and books about the evil of libruls and blag your way onto wingnut welfare. But to do so you need that red meat to keep the suckers in line. Without the month late fauxrage at Gallo’s comments the Puppies wouldn’t have anything to talk about. But this? This they can spin out until long after this year’s Hugo results are revealed.

It’s hard to deal with this. Just ignoring it is one option, not giving the oxygen of publicity to these people, but can obviously backfire. You can’t deal with this thinking these are normal fans, and that just ignoring it will starve this “controversy” of the fuel it needs. People like Day (and Larry and Brad) are perfectly capable of keeping the fire stoked indefinitely. Not responding just cedes ground and helps them keep up the pretence that they’re speaking for some imagined silent majority.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“Kittens Will Prevail” – June 21

The culture war in science fiction and fantasy fandom is practically over before it even began — and it sure was the lamest war ever. The thing that has been clear for everybody except the Sad Kennelkeepers is that an overwhelming majority of SFF fans, authors and editors are and have always been liberal, in the broad sense of the word.

Yes, a huge part of fandom consists of unpolitical SFF enthusiasts who may from time to time sneer at pro-diversity people who suggest things they find a bit hardline, such as not reading books by straight white males for a year or something, but they’re still open-minded and tolerant. And sure, there are political conservatives in SFF too, but very few of them are interested in really taking any part in the culture war project lead by Larry Correia, Brad R. Torgersen and Vox Day/Theodore Beale, because they’re aficionados first and political activists second or third (and they, too, are mostly open-minded and tolerant). Importing the culture war dynamic somewhere where the other side is missing is not going to end well.

 

Gary Farber on Facebook – June 21

I can barely skim the Puppy summaries at FILE 770 any more because I literally start to feel physically ill. These people and their utter lack of interest in facts, their lunatic paranoia, their rationales for justifying every kind of tactic and practice on the grounds of imagining and alleging that their enemies do it, their crazy tropes (the Nazis were really left-wing!; Planned Parenthood is genocidal!; Emanuel A.M.E. Church isn’t a black church!; Tor Books is an leftist ideological publisher!”), literally make me sick. John C. Wright: “The other side consists of people at Tor who regard Tor as an instrument of social engineering, an arm of the Democrat Party’s press department, or a weapon in the war for social justice.” That would be why they publish … John C. Wright. Thirteen of his books so far.

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“Latest developments over the Tor imbroglio” – June 21

Speaking of Vox, he’s taken note of speculation from SJW’s and their ilk that the individuals at Tor who’ve been named in connection with the boycott may be at risk of violence.  Since I’ve seen not a single reference to that – even the vaguest hint – from our side of the fence, I, like him, can only put it down to paranoia, or an utterly warped, twisted sense of reality (or the lack thereof), or deliberate lying.  It’s absolutely insane . . . yet they’re hyping it up.  (Edited to add:  James Sullivan absolutely nailed the process in a comment at Vox’s place.)

 

 

Sgt. Mom on The Daily Brief

“Making Blight at Tor” – June 21

And what ought to be the response of those who feel deeply and personally insulted by employees of Tor, such as MS Gallo, and those who clearly stand in agreement with her ill-considered remarks? And what ought Tor to do, over what they already have done? Clean house seems to be the basic consensus; leaving the precise details up to Tor. And to effect that? Some of the offended recommend and are participating in an outright boycott. Some of them – like me – have tastes that run to other and non-Tor published authors, and haven’t bought anything from Tor in years. Others favor purchasing their favorite Tor authors second-hand, and hitting the authorial tip-jar with a donation. I still have the sense that for many of us – after having weathered numerous comments along the same line as MS Gallo’s without much complaint – this was just the final straw.

 

David Nickle on The Devil’s Exercise Yard

“Art Lessons” – June 21

It seems to me that the life of my father Lawrence is a good example to bring up right now, in this very political culture war about what is at its root, an art form.  The point of doing art, to paraphrase Neil Gaiman, is to make good art. It is not to chase awards, or other sorts of validation; it is not to look enviously at those who do receive those awards, who bask in that validation, and try to supplant them through forces democratic or otherwise.

It would be naive to say that such things don’t happen in communities of proper artists. They do, again and again, and are happening now in this science fiction and fantasy community of proper artists.

But I think my father would have said that the behaviour of the Puppies whether sad or angry, is the one sure sign of not being a proper artist. He would take it as a vulgar sign of weakness. It would earn his quiet but certain contempt.

 

Edward Trimnell

“Boycott Tor Books, you ask?” – June 21

A few readers have recently emailed me to ask if I plan to join the boycott of Tor Books, or if I publicly support the boycott.

The short answer is: No. But let me give you the longer answer—because this covers some important issues.

First of all: I am on record as disagreeing with the positions of Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi. (I’ve taken Mr. Scalzi to task on this blog many times.) I’m not as familiar with Moshe Feder and Irene Gallo. But what I have seen of them so far, I don’t evaluate favorably.

That said, I think the boycott is a bad idea. And here’s why:

I dislike the Internet mob—whether it is a rightwing mob, or a leftwing mob. I dislike the Internet’s hive mindset, which says:

“If you say something we don’t like, we’re going to whip up all of our minions into a frenzy, and then destroy your livelihood, or harass you into silence at the very least. Oh—and we’re going to do all of this anonymously, hiding behind bogus screen names, avatars, and IP addresses! And aren’t we courageous!”

That is, of course, exactly what the SJW crowd does. But I’m not one of them—and I’m not a joiner, either. Just because I disagree with John Scalzi & Co. doesn’t mean that I’m eager to flock to the banner of Vox Day and others on the far right.

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“Note to WSFS Members: Killing the Best Novelette Hugo is a Terrible Idea” – June 21

[Excerpts two of five points.]

  1. It is unnecessary to get rid of the Best Novelette category in order to “make room” for the Best Saga category. I’m unaware of the need in the WSFS constitution to limit the number of Hugo Awards given out; it’s not a zero sum game. Speaking as someone who has both emceed the Hugos and sat in its audience, I understand the desirability of not having an infinite proliferation of Hugo categories, because the ceremony can be long enough as it is. But that’s not a good enough reason to give one fiction category the axe at the expense of another, nor can I think of another good reason why the inclusion of the “saga” category requires the doom of another fiction category. It is, literally, a false dichotomy.

This false dichotomy is bad in itself, but also offers knock-on badness down the road. For example:

  1. It privileges novel writing over short fiction writing. Bud Sparhawk, a writer and human I admire rather a bit, complained to me once (in the context of the Nebulas) that calling the Best Novel award “the big one,” as many people often do, is an implicit disrespect of the art of short fiction writing, and of the skills of those who write to those lengths.

 

John Scalzi in a comment on Whatever – June 21

Now, if the Best Saga Hugo proposal hadn’t had tried to unnecessarily murder the Best Novelette category, is it something I could see my way toward voting for?

My current thought about it is “no, not really.” Here’s why: …

[Makes a four-point argument.]

 

 

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – June 21

You can have my Best Novelette Hugo when you pry it out of my cold dead hands.

 

 

Jonathan Crowe

“Some Initial Thoughts on a Couple of Hugo Award Amendments” – June 21

The [Best Saga] amendment points out that most sf/fantasy comes out in series nowadays — around two-thirds, they claim — whereas Hugo voters tend to vote for standalone books. According to the proposal,

for the past decade, the Best Novel category has been dominated by stand-alone works, with nine out of the eleven winners being such (and one of the two series novels is a first book in its series). The distribution of Best Novel winners is badly out of step with the general shape of the market, even though the nominees run close to the market trend.

I’d argue that a decade doesn’t give us nearly enough data points. Over the past quarter century, the split between standalone books and series books among Hugo winners is about fifty-fifty — and I’m including the first books of eventual trilogies, such as Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice (2014), Robert J. Sawyer’s Hominids (2003) and Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin (2006). Sequels to have won Hugos include Lois McMaster Bujold’s Paladin of Souls (2004), Vernor Vinge’s Deepness in the Sky (2000), and Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead (1987). Books two and three of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars series won Hugos, as did the fourth installments of the Harry Potter and Foundation series. And that doesn’t get into the number of Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan books that have won Hugos as well.

So I’m not sure that the proposal’s premise holds up.

 

Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

“Hugo Blogging: Sagas” – June 21

Were the “best saga” award to be brought in *and all books in series to be removed from the “best novel” category*, I would be ecstatic, because that would give more exposure to the standalone novels the field should be producing. As it is, though, it seems likely that it will encourage even further the decline of the field into a niche of thirty-book series called The Chronicles Of The Saga Of Dullworld. When the playing field is already tilted in one direction, tilting it further seems a bad idea.

 

 

Nicholas Whyte on From The Heart of Europe

“E Pluribus Hugo, and other proposals (long post)” – June 21

My conclusions on the various proposals: So with a slightly heavy heart – I regret that small-minded slate-mongers have killed off a large part of the wisdom-of-crowds aspect of the Hugo nominations process – I endorse E Pluribus Hugo as the best fix to prevent slates from dominating the process in future without irreparable damage to the credibility of the awards. Edited to add: I no longer think that a “large” part of the wisdom-of-crowds aspect has been killed off.

Three other proposals for reforming the Hugo process have been submitted to Sasquan. One is to abolish the 5% threshold; as I mentioned above, I agree with this faute de mieux, but E Pluribus Hugo removes the threshold requirement anyway, so I would only support it if E Pluribus Hugo is rejected.

I don’t support the proposal to merge two of the short fiction categories and create a “Best Saga” category. The multiple short fiction awards at present reward writers who express their ideas succinctly rather than at big commercial length, and I’m in favour of that. The “Best Saga” proposal doesn’t fix any existing problem but does create new ones – not least of which, who is going to have time to read all the finalists between close of nominations and close of voting?

I do support the “4 and 6” proposal, to restrict voters to a maximum of four nominations rather than five as at present, but to extend the final ballot to include six rather than five finalists. If E Pluribus Hugo is not adopted, the “4 and 6” proposal is a lesser safeguard against slates, in that it becomes much more difficult to marshall your minions to support six slated works if they have only four votes each. And if E Pluribus Hugo is adopted, voters who nominate five candidates will get less value for their nomination than those who nominate four, and so on; the first part of the “4 and 6” proposal seems to me a decent indication to voters that a slightly different nominating strategy is now necessary (even though it’s not actually part of E Pluribus Hugo). As for the second part, I do feel that good work is left off the Hugo ballot every year, and while Mike Scott’s proposal from April (1, 2, 3) would have designed a certain responsiveness in the system specifically in reaction to the slates, I’d prefer a broader, simpler and less slate-dependent change, and I think that expanding the final ballot to six rather than five does that.

 

Tim Hall on Where Worlds Collide

“E Pluribus Hugo” – June 21

Out of Many, A Hugo, the proposal from Making Light for changing the Hugo Awards voting system in an attempt to fix the problems that came to a head this year.

It uses a Single Divisible Vote, which is a form of proportional system rather than the first-past-the-post system used up to now, and is designed to prevent any well-organised minority from dominating the nominations out of all proportion to their numbers.

I like the system a lot, although the complexity of the counting system means the count must be computerised. It has many of the same advantages as the widely-used Single Transferrable Vote system, though a notable difference is that you don’t need to rank your nominations in any kind of order.

 

Mari Ness

“Proposed changes to Hugo Awards” – June 21

Moving onto the “KILL THE NOVELETTE CATEGORY ALREADY!” question, well, I’m a short fiction writer, so I’m an interested party here.

First, I’ll note that there’s some precedence for this, with the World Fantasy Award which does not offer a separate category for novelettes. Second, I am deeply sympathetic with the complaints of voters who do not want to check the word count for the short fiction they’ve read, and that the dividing line between novelette and short story has issues because of where it lands (at 7500 words) and that really, novelettes are just long short stories and should be treated like that. Not to mention the complaints that the Hugo ballot is waaaaayyyyyyyy too long as it is. I’ve made that last complaint myself. My understanding is that the novelette category has historically gotten fewer nominations than other categories, so even as a short fiction writer, I fully get the keeeeellll it! keeellllllll it dead! feeling here.

But.

The first problem is the number of eligible short fiction works versus the number of eligible works in most of the other categories. Novels possibly come close, and, with blog posts eligible for the catch-all category of Best Related Work (which this year includes a nominee that isn’t even particularly “related”), that category does as well. Novellas are currently experiencing a resurrection, so those numbers might creep up.

Otherwise – the number of eligible podcasts is in the double digits. The number of semi-prozines and fanzines is also in the double digits; the same names keep popping up in those categories for a reason. The number of eligible graphic novels probably in the triple digits. Films are in the double, maybe triple digits. Television episodes, including cartoons, might pop up to a little over 1000. The number of eligible short stories, in that category alone, is conservatively around 6000. Expanding that category to include works up to 10,000 words will just expand that number.

 

Kevin Standlee on Fandom Is My Way Of Life

“New Business Is New Business”  – June 21

The deadline for submitting proposals to the Business Meeting this year is August 6, 2015. The procedure for submitting proposals is listed on the Business Meeting page on the Sasquan web site under “New Business Submissions.” The WSFS Rules are published online and are distributed to the members in the progress reports. None of this is secret. And if you have questions about the process, you can write to me or to the entire WSFS business meeting staff through the wsfs-business address @sasquan.org.

I’ve written a Guide to the Business Meeting that tries to explain this. I’m available to answer questions. I just beg of people to not assume the worst of everything. It’s very frustrating to work this hard and to hear people assuming that it’s all rigged in some way. Well, it’s set up to allow the members who choose to participate in the process to come to a decision in a way that balances the rights of the members as a whole, of the members who attend, of majorities and minorities, of individuals, and of absentees, in a fair manner. However, “fair” and “I got what I personally wanted” are not always the same thing, and it would be wise to keep that in mind when approaching any form of deliberative assembly.

 

Mark Ciocco on Kaedrin Weblog

“Hugo Awards: Novelettes” – June 21

[Reviews all five nominees]

Novelettes! Good old novelettes! What do you call something that’s longer than a short story, but shorter than a novel? A novella, of course, but that’s too easy. Let’s invent something between a short story and a novella, and call it a novelette! On the one hand, it is a bit odd that SF/F seems to be the only genre in literature that makes this distinction (something about a legacy of SF’s pulpy magazine roots, where different sized works had different pay scales) and it seems rather pointless and confusing for no real reason. On the other hand, it just means we get to read more fiction, which is actually a pretty cool thing. Once again, none of my nominees made the final ballot, but such is the way of short fiction awards. Last year’s Novelettes were pretty darn good (with one obvious and notable exception), and it looks like this years will rival that:…

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine” – June 21

Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine is a 2015 Hugo nominee for Best Semiprozine.

Visually, I found this a lot more appealing than Abyss & Apex, the only other nominated semiprozine I’ve looked at so far. On the other hand, I was not as impressed by the accessible fiction. Also, there seemed to be no means to access the relevant material, i.e, what was actually published during 2014.

 

Vivienne Raper on Futures Less Traveled

“Reading the Rockets – Best Short Story” – June 21

[Reviews all five nominees.]

First up, Best Short Story. The nominees are:

  • “On A Spiritual Plain”, Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, 11-2014)
  • “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds”, John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  • “A Single Samurai”, Steven Diamond (The Baen Big Book of Monsters, Baen Books)
  • “Totaled”, Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, 07-2014)
  • “Turncoat”, Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)

These range between dire and good. And only one of them, in my view, is even remotely worthy of being considered for a Hugo Award (if I’m being charitable). And that, surprisingly, is the military SF story Turncoat.

 

Jonathan Edelstein in a comment on File 770 – June 21

Officer Pupke

CORREIA:

Dear kindly Sergeant Pupke You gotta understand It’s just that we’re fed up-ke About our losing hand; The lefties run the ballot And us they underrate: Golly Moses, that’s why we’re a slate!

CORREIA AND PUPPIES:

Officer Pupke, we’re really upset Our writing never got the love that it ought to get. We’re not really rabid, we’re misunderstood – Deep down, our books are pretty good.

CORREIA:

There’s some good!

PUPPIES:

There is good, there is good There is unread good! In the worst of us, there is some good.

[Continues.]

 

Jonathan Edelstein in a comment on File 770 – June 20

[Parody of ”Guys and Dolls”]

…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….

[Continues]

 

753 thoughts on “The Scarlet Litter 6/21

  1. Dear Mr. Edelstein, I hear there’s hundreds and hundreds of dollars to be made penning filks… 🙂

  2. The lesser Peter Grant wants us to take Beale’s word for it on questions of the safety of a woman Beale has targeted for abuse and harassment.

    The same Beale who thinks Anders Breivik is a hero, that shooting little girls and throwing acid in the faces of women is understandable.

    ‘kay.

  3. Peter Grant: Speaking of Vox, he’s taken note of speculation from SJW’s and their ilk that the individuals at Tor who’ve been named in connection with the boycott may be at risk of violence. Since I’ve seen not a single reference to that – even the vaguest hint – from our side of the fence, I, like him, can only put it down to paranoia, or an utterly warped, twisted sense of reality (or the lack thereof), or deliberate lying. It’s absolutely insane . . .

    Wes S.: I also wouldn’t blame Wright for taking a baseball bat to the man who implicitly attacked his wife in print.

    So which is this?
    a) paranoia
    b) utterly warped, twisted sense of reality
    c) deliberate lying
    d) just another indication of how normalized physical violence is with the Puppies and their supporters

  4. And wasn’t it John C Wright talking about it being a normal reaction for straight men to want to kill gay men with “axhandles and tire-irons”?

    Yeah, no one from ‘our side’, my backside.

    Edited to add a link to Rachel Acks’ excellent post about what this kind of rhetoric means.

  5. @Glenn Hauman: The abbreviation MS is, I believe, used for “manuscript” by historians (particularly medievalists and earlier). They will handle the resulting text with gloves, at arms length, whilst using hints from and interpolations of the words in order to understand “what the author really meant” within the context of the reader’s views.

    [Edit: I apologise to any historians for using the profession to make a poor joke]

  6. Broadway show tunes! What an idea…

    “Hello! My name is Elder Brad! I would like to share with you the most amazing books…”

    …okay, maybe not that show.

    Ian, I thought at first it might be Master Sergeant, but that’s usually MSgt. And we certainly wouldn’t want her pulling rank.

  7. I left this comment at Wis[s]e Words:

    I guess the question becomes: can the more extreme postings etc be brought to light without provoking a flood of outrage – including remarks which the more extreme posters can then use as weapons? What are the chances of fans responding without kneejerk aggression? We need ideas and tactics for improving how we respond, when we do respond.

    One of the simplest may be clarity about who we mean when we talk about “the Puppies” – the leaders? Their most prominent proponents? Their supporters? Anyone who has some sympathy with their ideas and aims?

  8. T.L. Knighton ?@Tomcat1066 10h10 hours ago
    It’s funny. David Gerrold said that #SadPuppies are leaderless, but aren’t we also supposed to be duped by @voxday?

    I’m so confused again

    So are we all, TL, so are we all. It’s not exactly like you Pups have made it easy for us.

  9. Peter Grant. He is not a puppy. Irene Gallo offended him, personally, by attacking all puppies.

  10. Kate at 11:25 pm:

    I guess the question becomes: can the more extreme postings etc be brought to light without provoking a flood of outrage – including remarks which the more extreme posters can then use as weapons? What are the chances of fans responding without kneejerk aggression? We need ideas and tactics for improving how we respond, when we do respond.

    Being honest (and not misrepresenting what others say), citing specific examples, avoiding broad brush generalisations.

    I think we do a decent job of that here: vague claims are challenged to provide specific examples whether they are Puppy or non-Puppy. Generally, commenters here call people on their BS without being abusive which I appreciate. There isn’t a lot that can be done about those who willfully mislead elseweb, apart from pointing out such instances when they arise.

  11. E Pluribus Hugo is in fact orthogonal to the various other nomination-reform proposals: you could adopt it and leave the 5% threshold in place, for example, or adopt both it and “4 / 6”.

    It would be interesting to adopt EPH and actually then abolish the per-category limit on number of nominations. Under EPH there’s actually no reason why everybody couldn’t nominate 20 different things, if they want to.

  12. Dave Freer doesn’t think that most of the people who claimed purchases on TorDay were telling the truth….

    Even IF (and as has been displayed, many of tweets claiming to be ‘buying’ are spambots)the puppy-kickers manage to get a ‘sympathy buy’ (and there will be some) – do they imagine these are not just largely existent reactionaries, already customers, who are spending extra? (I’d guess most of the ‘I bought’ translates into ‘I claimed to buy’ – but lets assume they really did buy.)

    (Not that the boycott has anything to do with SP, you understand, it’s just that SP nominee for Best Fan Writer Dave Freer just happens to be in favour of it as a private individual)

  13. Hi all. I’ve officially emailed Sasquan Program to request a meetup room for Thursday 8/20 at 530 PM for the File 770 meetup; there is also a FB event for the meetup so I can track RSVPs, and for anyone who missed the discussion in the 1000+ comment threads. 🙂 Here’s the Facebook event to RSVP to; it’s open to the public so ya don’t even have to friend me.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/1446660678970671/

    So far I have JJ,
    our gracious host (Mike),
    Christie Yant,
    Morris Keesan
    Mrs. Emma P
    Kurt Busiek

    as definite yesses, with mint witch as a possible yes if mint witch makes it to Sasquan.

  14. Soon Lee: on the whole I’m impressed with “our side”, though I do see a little more conflation and definitely more sneering than I think is helpful. But I’m really thinking of how to handle the next giant blowup Beale causes – how best to short-circuit the cycle of outrage. I think that’s going to take more than just fair play.

  15. Kate: ” how best to short-circuit the cycle of outrage”

    I don’t think group hugs are gonna cut it, somehow.

    My vote would be to totally and utterly ignore him, as he gets off on the attention, and then uses that to whip up his followers. He is literally not worth the effort of listening to, so lets not.

    On the subject of threats and danger to Irene Gallo and others – it’s worth remembering violence isn’t just physical. While I hope actual physical attacks are beyond crediting, what really concerns me is her being subject to continuing harassment and stalking, as the women targeted by GGate have been. Cyberstalking is on the rise because it’s so easy to carry out. And that’s why the violent imagery and rhetoric is dangerous.

    Not to mention the fact that Beale is building up a handy list of useful idiots through this Tor boycott campaign, and guess who’ll be invited to partake in the next rage exercise?

  16. The puppies were howling with outrage about being called spambots last week (despite never being able to point to anywhere this had actually happened). So of course now the talking point is that really it’s the SJW’s who are spambots.

  17. Peter Grant: Speaking of Vox, he’s taken note of speculation from SJW’s and their ilk that the individuals at Tor who’ve been named in connection with the boycott may be at risk of violence

    And on that topic: this week’s Last Week Tonight takes on online harrassment.

  18. Ann: not responding at all is often wise, but as I said, I’m interested in figuring out strategies for when we do respond. Not just how an individual can write a posting/comment/etc which is less likely to provoke outrage (or at least difficult to use as an excuse for outrage!), but some kind of rough set of guidelines, which many people can use at the same time, in a loosely coordinated way.

    (Ugh, I’m sorry to be the person saying “we need guidelines” without suggesting some myself. I don’t know from people. Off the top of my head the most obvious thing is one of the oldest Internet rules: wait 24 hours before responding. That would mean fewer responses, calmer response, and a slowing down overall of the cycle.)

  19. malpollyon on June 22, 2015 at 12:10 am said:
    The puppies were howling with outrage about being called spambots last week (despite never being able to point to anywhere this had actually happened). So of course now the talking point is that really it’s the SJW’s who are spambots

    To be fair I have been overtly claiming to be a pair of syllogism . So being a spambot would technically be a promotion.

  20. Brad has an article at Mad Genius Club on the subject of Hard SF. Most of it seems pretty sensible to me – he emphasises the need for developing characters as well as tech for example – although the actual writers here may have more to say.
    His ideas on plot and story don’t get much development though. We get “Place a sympathetic character into a predicament that is a natural consequence of a certain time, period, place, etc., and the drama will fashion itself.” and “your character(s) need to be going somewhere, and the technology, science theory, new idea, etc., needs to somehow be integral to the character(s) journey” which to me seems to boil down to “send your characters on a journey and the drama will write itself”

    I think his ideas on story are better revealed when he gets a few pops in at the the end:

    Downbeat endings suck. They are ‘literary’ and some critics and aesthetes love them. But they suck. If you’re going to roast your characters in hell, at least give them a little silver lining at the end? Some kind of hope for a more positive outcome? Your readers will thank you.

    Downbeat = literary = suck?

    Stories that demote humanity to being puny and insignificant, also suck. We may be small and/or not as advanced as other intelligent life in the universe, but we didn’t get to where we are now by being meaningless dullards. Humans are crafty and stubborn. Never say die. We should be reflected as such.

    Why not just write “I am the Neo-Campbell!” and be done with it?

  21. Kate, your intentions are admirable, and you are clearly a kind and generous person.

    But you can’t control the behaviour of other people. If you have a group determined to be outraged, you won’t be able to stop that. I mean, you have Sarah Hoyt working herself up into a pitch of fit over the ‘hydrophobia’ thing. Beale invents facts, and the puppies respond to the invention.

    Several puppies have wandered over here and generally been treated well, but retreated to their kennels and frothed with mad insanity anyway. They literally think kindness is a con.

    I’m not happy at anyone trying to blame the victim for being attacked, and never keen on tone policing of any kind. I think the best any of us can do is be honest, and let them do their worst. Clean hands is all we can expect of ourselves.

  22. Mark: “Brad has an article at Mad Genius Club on the subject of Hard SF.”

    I think the only person I would less want writing advice from would be Beale.

    He is a computer programmer. What are his qualifications to write or advise on hard science, exactly? (And I expect them to exceed my two degrees in science.)

  23. @Kate, Soon Lee, etc

    Good thoughts. Unfortunately I feel the chances of no-one responding to TB are essentially zero, as much as I’d like to see it. I think Soon Lee nails it:

    Being honest (and not misrepresenting what others say), citing specific examples, avoiding broad brush generalisations.

    If I want to say something rude-but-true about a puppy, I try to make sure it’s specific to them, and backed up (or I’m ready to back it up).

  24. Is there any reason for why not both E Pluribus Hugo and 4 and 6 should be implemented? Together they would make it very, very hard for slates to work.

  25. @Ann

    I think the only person I would less want writing advice from would be Beale.

    I’m now imagining Beale ending his days running seminars on “How to be an internet ragemonger”

  26. Mark: “Brad has an article at Mad Genius Club on the subject of Hard SF.”

    You would think if he was going to tout himself as an authority on writing that he would have done a better job on the composition of that article.

    You would think.

  27. Mark: as I said, I’m not so much interested in the content of individual responses as I am in figuring out some sort of coordinated strategy for responding when we do respond.

    This is purely a quickly improvised example, but imagine this:
    Ol’ Theo announces a new victim for the Puppies to attack.
    A sizeable number of people:

    1. send the victim a message of support
    2. make a small donation to some appropriate charity
    3. wait 24 hours and
    4. make a single public comment
    5. request others to follow some or all of these steps

  28. Hampus Eckerman said:

    Is there any reason for why not both E Pluribus Hugo and 4 and 6 should be implemented? Together they would make it very, very hard for slates to work.

    I think that 4 and 6 has very little effect in the EPH system other than making the ballot longer.

  29. Kate: I’m not so much interested in the content of individual responses as I am in figuring out some sort of coordinated strategy for responding when we do respond.

    I think you have the best of intentions with this, and I see where you’re coming from — but I am intensely uncomfortable with engaging in group-organization of “tactics” and “coordinated strategy”. This is what the Puppies do. It is not what people who aren’t Puppies do.

    Not to mention which, I think there’d be about as much luck with that as with herding cats.

    When the Puppies started raging about engaging in a Tor boycott for June 19, I suggested making it a “Buy from Tor Day” for those who were interested. A bunch of other people did, too, and what happened — from all the posts I saw on File770 and Facebook and Twitter — was that a whole lot of other people thought, “Hey, good idea! I’ll do that, too!”

    I think that is about as close to coordination as you are going to get.

    This doesn’t mean that when a non-Puppy sees another non-Puppy behaving a little intemperately, they can’t say, “I don’t that’s a great way to behave/react” (and a lot of people here have done just that).

    But I don’t think that trying to draw up tactics or strategy is the way to go.

  30. To answer T.L Knighton:

    The slates obviously had leaders that took recommendations from friends and colleagues and then created them. But since then, the puppies have turned into a gamergate like clusterfuck, with people screaming here and there and others flocking to them.

    If there would be a leader, it would be Beale, but not even he has any real control. It is just that he stands for the ideas for action and the movement needs action and common goals to continue to exist.

  31. David Freer, another puppy author who doesn’t understand words. No, David, people who bought books on 6/19 aren’t reactionaries. You, however, are.

  32. TL Knighton: if the Puppies had effective leadership, they wouldn’t be duped so easily by Beale.

  33. Kate, I think this is a good conversation to have, and I laud your intentions, but like JJ I’m cynical about the chances of pre-organising a response among a rather disparate group united only by a dislike of slates. I think the two best reactions so far were “I stand with Irene” which I recall rolled on from Chuck Wendig using the phrase, and TorDay, which was just brilliant but wasn’t so much organised as coalesced.

    Your example could work, or the situation could call for refutation of a misquote being widely repeated, we don’t know. I’m all for general principles of keeping it calm and not unnecessarily uncivil, etc etc.

  34. Edited to add a link to Rachel Acks’ excellent post about what this kind of rhetoric means.

    Ann, thank you for linking to this excellent post. She raises a very good point. Even while our rational mind points out that there won’t be someone lurking around with a baseball bat, the words themselves have the power to hurt and cause fear, anxiety, and distress.

    We are all readers and writers and know the power of words and what kind of emotions they can cause in us.

    When I seee some of the unthinking and uncaring vitriol flung in the direction of Irene Gallo, I sometimes feel physically ill and want to hide under my desk. And it’s not even directed at me.

  35. @ JJ:
    So which is this?
    a) paranoia
    b) utterly warped, twisted sense of reality
    c) deliberate lying
    d) just another indication of how normalized physical violence is with the Puppies and their supporters

    I don’t see: “e) all of the above.” Where is “e) all of the above?”

  36. I can confirm that the Tor boycott has had an impact. As a direct result, I brought forward my purchase of Jo Walton’s THE JUST CITY. I read it over the weekend, loved it, recommended it to all my friends on Facebook and gave it a deserved 5* review on Amazon.

    Good work Theodore!

  37. Laura Resnick: I don’t see: “e) all of the above.” Where is “e) all of the above?”

    I see what you did there. 😉

  38. Vivienne Raper on the shorts was interesting. Firstly, she disliked Totalled, a story that seemed quite popular around here but that I am struggling to see the merits of beyond the well-played but simple emotional hit of the ending. Secondly, she liked Turncoat, which I pretty much dismissed. She liked the affection of the AI for humans, which I didn’t think the story achieved beyond stating that it existed.

  39. “If you have a group determined to be outraged, you won’t be able to stop that.”

    … – “I’m not happy at anyone trying to blame the victim for being attacked”

    “Several puppies have wandered over here and generally been treated well, but retreated to their kennels and frothed with mad insanity anyway.”

    … – [I’m] never keen on tone policing of any kind.

    Seems the only difference is you disagree with who’s been attacked. And you’ve left out a clause in “I’m never keen on tone policing of any kind [unless they’re wrong or being outraged about nothing, then they’re just frothing with mad insanity]”

  40. As a side note, I finally watched Interstellar last night (and enjoyed it very much). Now, every text involving black holes, whether fiction or non-fiction, will somewhere use the phrase “not even light”, and Interstellar was no exception. How we cheered! It was in a similar spirit that I smiled at JJ’s use of “herding cats”. 🙂

    Anyway, to respond less flippantly: Buy a Book from Tor Day was a great idea which spread quickly and got a positive response; similarly, the phrase “I stand with Irene Gallo” popped up all over, once it had been used by a few folks. (And then there are the hundreds of people who bought supporting memberships because other people were discussing it!) So a little “herding”, partly in the form of spontaneous self-organisation, does seems to work.

    Some sort of rough strategy for diminishing outbreaks of Puppy Rage could be spread the same way – basically, just people saying “I’m going to do this, you might like to as well.” I certainly don’t envisage some sort of official list of actions or people (which would veer horribly in the same direction as the idea of organised counterslates).

    Having said all of which, I’m going to let this drop now, for two reasons. One, I can’t think of a specific anti-Pup reaction which I can point to and say, “This played right into their hands – let’s not do it next time.” And two, I think Beale has now worked his way to his real target – Tor – and all future attacks will be aimed in the same direction, with inevitably diminishing results.

    ETA: I’m absolutely delighted to report that the Doctor Who story “Terror of the Vervoids” has a black hole but lacks the phrase “not even light”. First one I’ve ever found! XD

  41. Just missed the edit window, was just changing the above to:

    Seems the only difference is you disagree with them over who’s been attacked.* And you’ve left out a clause in “I’m never keen on tone policing of any kind [unless they’re wrong or being outraged about nothing, then they’re just frothing with mad insanity]”

    *FTR it’s both of you, both sides have been attacked by people on the other side, and only partisans can’t see that

  42. You know, it’s times like this where I sometimes long for the internet as it was in the early 1990s. Back then, if you were online, it was because you were willing to invest time, effort, and money into the pursuit. I’m sure there’s some “rose-colored memory goggles” effect in play here, but I remember the 1989 internet being a much more civilized place.

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of the technical barrier being lowered so anyone can gain access to the wonders that the internet puts at our fingertips. I like being able to reach out and find like-minded people with a few taps and clicks. I just wish there was a way to impose a maturity barrier instead, so grown-ups didn’t have to deal with sniping and doxxing from the moral equivalents of preschoolers who haven’t had their naps.

  43. Oh, dear, I hope we never arrive at the point where only those with a science degree (or two!) are allowed to write or even comment on “hard” sci-fi. We’d be left with only Asimov, Sagan, Benford, and Egan, and a handful of others I can’t be arsed to check on right now. (Would Stross’ degree in Pharmacology count, or would he only be allowed to write SF mysteries about murders involving unlikely chemicals?)

    In short, a writer should be able to write or advise on whatever they want. Whether they have the chops to pull it off convincingly should have nothing to do with any qualifications they have or don’t have.

  44. Hmmm. I remember the old BBS:es from the 80s and they were usually more civilized. The only reason for that was because the owners moderated hard and the users was such a small group that they all knew each other. The more pople involved that didn’t know each other, the less civilization. When FidoNet started to grow big, we got much angrier discussions, at least in sweden. But still, people were thrown out and banned when they didn’t behave.

    Now, badly behaved people will always find some place to group together and create a toxic enviroment. And sometimes it leaks out the rest of the net.

  45. Nelc, since Torgensen is clearly not giving advice based on extensive writing chops or conspicuous ability, I wanted to know what he actually brings to the table.

    And I might bear a bit of a grudge from his mate, Beale’s, claim that women don’t write hard sf because we don’t do hard science.

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