“Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Tick Tock Dog 6/27

aka The Hugo Chronicles: Puppies of Spring Barking

Today roundup features Steve Davidson, Aditya Manu Jha, Kevin Harkness, Nick Mamatas, Scott Bakal, Vivienne Raper and Spacefaring Kitten. (Title credit belongs to — Anna Nimmhaus, who was inspired by The Phantom Tollbooth, and John Seavey.)

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“FANS Need to Take the Moral High Ground” – June 26

I would like to call for the following actions on the part of fans everywhere:

First, the crafting of a formal statement that articulates the position that Fandom and Fans (which includes authors, artists, editors, podcasters, bloggers, fan writers, fan artists and everyone) do not game awards (or other fannish institutions) for personal, political or financial gain.  Further, that individuals who may be eligible for awards state formally that they do not grant permission for third parties to include them or their works in voting campaigns or slates or organized voting blocs and that if their names or works are found on such, it is without their express permission.*

Second, the creation of a publicly accessible web-based archive that publishes the above statement and allows individuals to publicly endorse the statement.

Third, that an amendment to the WSFS by-laws be written and formally adopted (after the appropriate votes), stating that the members of WSFS do not endorse or support voting slates, voting campaigns or organized bloc voting for the awards that WSFS oversees.  Further, that rules be crafted that would allow WSFS to deny or withdraw membership privileges from individuals who violate the by-law.

Fourth, that SFWA craft and adopt a formal statement that engaging in actions the same as or similar to those described previously are considered by the organization to be unethical and unprofessional actions on the part of its members that could result (after proper internal review) in censure or withdrawal of membership privileges.

 

Aditya Mani Jha on The Sunday Guardian

“How a hate-mongering group gamed the Hugos” – June 28

Vox Day and his sexist, homophobic lobby group Rabid Puppies have “played” the science fiction world successfully and tarnished the Hugo Awards, perhaps irreparably….

…What the Puppies (both sets) did was publish a “voting slate,” a curated list of titles that they urged their follows to put on the ballot. It worked, and how: out of the 60 nominated by the Sad Puppies, 51 were on the initial ballot. The corresponding figure was 58 out of 67 for the Rabid Puppies….

To top it all, Day has put himself on the slate: twice over, actually, which has made him a double nominee for this year. His publishing firm, Castalia House, has received nine Hugo nominations in total…

 

Kevin Harkness

“The Hugo Awards Controversy” – June 27

Cent One: The Sad and Rabid Puppy slates don’t work, and will eventually turn around and bite the people who created them.  By showing the effectiveness of recruiting voters, you make this into a contest of numbers, not quality.  And, considering demographics and mortality rates, I think the 21st century is going to beat the 20th in that fight.

Cent Two: Their reasoning isn’t going to win the Puppies a new generation of converts and so boost their numbers.  For example, one of the Puppy arguments I’ve run across is that Hugo-winners are preachy, the so-called SJWs (sidebar: I’m ashamed to say it took me forever to figure out who they were mad at, Single Jewish Women?  Slow Jesuit Wardens?).  But have the Puppies read Heinlein or Niven and Pournelle?  Their old-timey sic-fi adventures are infomercials for their politics, and not very subtle ones either.  By the time I was 18, I was yelling, “Shut up and tell the story!” at my last Heinlein books.  A second irritating point is the puppies claim the current Hugoists are too literary . . .for a literary award.  Yikes!

As a writer with no awards and never a hope for a Hugo, I can say this with the utmost objectivity: stop messing with the system just because the results offend you.  Create your own awards.  Or better yet, vote as an individual and leave slates for the world of politics.  I’m afraid I won’t change a single Puppy’s mind with this blog, because for them, the Hugo Awards are political.  It follows then that writing itself is political, and, by extension, all art.  If art is political, it must serve the politics of its maker.  Come to think of it, that’s what Chairman Mao said.  Maybe he was a secret Puppy.

 

https://twitter.com/NMamatas/status/614888459057016832/photo/1

 

 

 

Scott Bakal on Instagram

Catching up a little bit with some news: I’m honored that this piece I did for Tor and @irenegallo was given a Distinguished Merit Award from 3×3 Magazine along with 10 other pieces. Thank you to the judges! It’s special because this is one of my recent favorites.

 

https://twitter.com/OddlyDinosaur/status/614827808674697216

 

Vivienne Raper on Futures Less Traveled

“Reading the Rockets – Best Graphic Story” – June 27

[Reviews all five nominees.]

#1 Saga Volume 3

I was reading Saga before the Hugo nomination for Volume 3. I love this series and the strange future-fantasy world the author has created. Volume 3 isn’t the best volume, but it’s hard for me to judge as a standalone as I’ve read the others.

The series follows two former soldiers from long-warring alien races and their struggle to care for their daughter, Hazel, as they’re chased by the authorities. Hazel is born at the beginning of Volume 1 and narrates part of the story as an adult.

Saga has lost narrative momentum as the series has progressed, but I’ve found it remains imaginative and  entertaining. I don’t think there’s one baseline human here. In Volume 1 artist Fiona Staples even solved one of my longstanding character niggles – how do you dress a person with more than two legs? (Answer: a prom skirt)

There are flying tree spaceships. There are Egyptian lying cats. There are family feuds, blood feuds, assassins, deaths, births, love affairs, lots of running away. The standard palate of all-purpose human conflict that has driven good storytelling from time eternal. Big thumbs up from me.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“The Shittiest Unrelated Drivel in the History of Hugo Awards — Michael Z. Williamson: Wisdom from My Internet” – June 27

This. Was. Shit.

Moreover, Wisdom from My Internet is hard evidence of the fact that there were at least 200 sheer, hundred-percent, honest-go-god trolls sending in nominating ballots. It’s a collection of supposedly humorous, bad to reprehensible tweets with no SFF content whatsoever and — let’s face it — it’s on the ballot to piss off anybody who voted for Kameron Hurley last year.

The time I had to use to write these three sentences is all I’m going to devote to discussing this drivel.

 

318 thoughts on ““Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Tick Tock Dog 6/27

  1. Let me come back to Doctor Who briefly.

    Not all episodes of a TV show (novellas, etc.) are equally good. Some are “better.” Some are “among the best of the year.” Argue this point if you wish to.

    Statistics suggests that out of 10-13 episodes per year, half of the episodes will be above average.

    For the sake of argument, let’s say five.

    I am a Whofan. Furthermore, I’d like my Platonic ideal of a Whofan, who by definition thinks the show is one of the best things on television, to be able to express his or her fannish impulses by nominating two, three, four or even five Doctor Who episodes without any Whofen doing so being penalized because they might appear to have cast a bloc of votes.

    That’s it. I’m sure you good folks have concerns of your own, and your own reactions.

  2. You were persuading me to reconsider, up until “lazy, lying slate-mongers”.

    Sure I was.

    You know, anyone who participated in the slates without reading every single nominee is a liar, as far as I’m concerned. They are claiming those works are the best they’ve read that year, and that’s impossible to do unless they read them.

    The lazy comes in from not taking the effort to actually read lots of works and come up with their own nominees. Nominating from a slate is a lazy way to do things.

    I won’t apologize for either adjective, as for the majority of slate-mongers they are absolutely true.

    Did you nominate anything, Brian? If you did, did you read everything you nominated? If so, you aren’t one of the ones I’m angry at.

  3. Thankfully, the EPH solution is entirely based on math and not on anyone’s judgement of what might or might not be a slate.

    No *concern* about whether enthusiast voting might be *perceived* as slate voting is warranted.

  4. Soon Lee: I keep hoping that folks who aren’t lazy to lying slate-mongers respectively?

    *snort*     I should have seen that one coming.

  5. Hmm. Brian is now concerned -oh so concerned – about blocs of one.

    Whether this is dishonesty or stupidity really doesn’t matter, at this point. Explanations as to why he’s wrong either won’t get through or can’t.

    Go back to filk, Brian.

  6. I bet I was really convincing him up until “dishonesty or stupidity,” too.

  7. Because y’all were so enthusiastic about it, I just picked up BLINDSIGHT. Still not sure about the narrator, who is triggering my “get far, far away” reflexes, but when he shuts up about his mother and focuses on the alien stuff, it’s neat so far.

  8. I’m waiting for Brian to post a big compilation of everyone being mean to him in the comments of some Puppy blog, like Jeffro. I literally can’t think of any other motivation for this level of willful obtuseness.

  9. Brian Z @ 8:09: I see Concern Trolling, FUD about EPH, and Smarm for the hat trick.

  10. Sad Puppies 4 will serve the very useful purpose of giving plausible deniability to the Puppies. They will be able to point at the Rabids and say “we’re not with them”, while following any suggestion Beale comes up with.

    EPH: Personally, I’m in favor of EPH as is, for one simple reason- even if passed, it’s not like it’s a permanent change, even if it is passed. We can try EPH for a few years, and if any problems are discovered with it, further votes can be made to modify the process. Sure, that adds work down the line, but that’s pretty much how the process works. And for what it’s worth, I think EPH will work well enough to avoid slate voting.

  11. RedWombat: I’m pretty sure we’re not expected to like the narrator, but there are reasons why he – or someone like him – has to be narrating, from the vantage he’s in by the end. It’s an interesting bit of setup.

    True confession time: I just can’t quite do it for the vampires. But there’s so much else that does work for me in the book that I cut it slack. He made a good fair effort at it.

  12. @Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag
    It took me the longest time to identify that issue. If the Puppies read and nominated these slated works as the best in SF/F for the year, why have we seen several of them discuss the works as if just reading them? Wasn’t one of their early catch-phrases “…and we read” or some such?

    I totally agree with your assessment.

  13. The funny thing is, that under EPH the Whofen aren’t penalized for appearances at all. EPH doesn’t “identify” slates in some manner and then adjust their votes downward or something like that.
    It ensures Whofen get representation, but don’t sweep the category.

  14. @BrianZ
    As I understand it, depending on the percentage of total whovians slate/semi-slates compared to the total nominators in that category; what would happen is the most widely popular Dr Who episodes would make the short list in roughly a proportial manner to their overall representation. The remaining slots would be distributed to other widely popular works. No one is shut out and the short list would show some diversity.

    To me this is a good feature of EPH. I have not written a program to do this but it’s not that hard a concept to implement.

  15. I won’t apologize for either adjective, as for the majority of slate-mongers they are absolutely true.

    Did you nominate anything, Brian? If you did, did you read everything you nominated? If so, you aren’t one of the ones I’m angry at.

    Tegan,

    You are of course free to say anything you want, if you think someone was lazy you can call them lazy, and so forth. But if that fear is the reason you think you need to take a stand against the slate-mongers bent on destroying the genre, you have misread the Sad Puppies campaign. Look at them at Libertycon. They are fen who love fandom as much as you do.

    I thank you for extending an olive branch to me. I’ve said I’m not a puppy and don’t much like anything on Brad’s slate. I’d rather put it this way:

    “Did participants in the Sad Puppy campaign nominate anything? If they did, did they read everything they nominated? If so, they aren’t one of the ones I’m angry at.”

  16. RedWombat: Because y’all were so enthusiastic about it, I just picked up Blindsight

    I found it mind-blowing. But having read several Watts short stories and novels, I would pretty much say that about all of them.

    If you haven’t already read his Rifters series, I highly recommend it (for anyone who likes hard SF which pushes your mind). The Rifters novels: Starfish, Maelstrom, and ßehemoth are available for free here (as is Blindsight).

    A number of his short fiction works are also available for download on that page, along with the research notes which accompany Blindsight (for those uber-geeks who are compulsive about knowing ALL THE STORY).

  17. Thing about Doctor Who is it wins a lot. So Who voters obviously have the votes to win. It follows, then, that with puppy-style organization, they’d easily have the votes to fill the entire BDP category with nothing but Who.

    This doesn’t happen. So the idea that there’s a slate behind the remarkable success of Dr. Who at the Hugos seems to fall apart. I offer an alternate theory: Fans of that show often nominate really good work.

    Puppies should give that a try some time.

  18. Well I think we have to make a distinction between what an self-identified puppy personally nominated and what made the short list If I had nominated for this year; nothing would have made it to to the short list.

    But I agree there were a number of bad faith nominations and slating done; Wisdom from my Internets was a very bad faith nomination.

  19. And Brian tries to pretend that trying to seize or wreck the Hugos can’t be bad if the perpetrators don’t actually want to destroy the whole genre.

    And he’s helpfully line-editing other people’s posts into what he wants them to say to be nicer to the Puppies, while doing nothing to try to get the Puppies to be as polite to others as he wants others to be to them.

  20. @Kurt Busiek

    And Brian’s wholesale adoption of the “arc of Hugo results tending towards mediocrity in recent years” meme wasn’t puppy-toeing the line at all, either, no sir.

  21. Brian — Having been a Who fan for around half-a-century, I think it’s exceedingly unlikely that you’d get enough Who fans to agree on what order to put any given five episodes in, let alone agree on which five episodes to nominate, to give any appearance of a slate, so I don’t think you have anything to worry about on that score.

    And it’s not as if the BBC needs the extra kudos that a Hugo gets them, even if they can afford to buy out a Worldcon with the profit from selling Doctor Who abroad and still have enough cash left over to recast the awards in solid gold. Because Doctor Who is immensely popular already, you see.

  22. It ensures Whofen get representation, but don’t sweep the category.

    To me this is a good feature of EPH. I have not written a program to do this but it’s not that hard a concept to implement.

    mk41, Shambles,

    Still, I’d rather join a quest to seek for the best five things of the year, not be drafted into a battle over them.

  23. Still, I’d rather join a quest to seek for the best five things of the year, not be drafted into a battle over them.

    Then you should love EPH, since it allows you to continue doing that instead of having other peoples’ political picks shoveled on top of your list and burying it.

  24. the Sad Puppies campaign

    I don’t recall mentioning puppies. In fact, I was talking about anyone who votes based on a slate… and in the original note I was actually referring to the future, not the past. By claiming I was discussing puppies, you put words in my mouth, Brian. I don’t appreciate it.

  25. Funny, it wasn’t that long ago Brian was plumping for battle against the Puppies and defeating them on their terms. Now he doesn’t want that kind of thing even when it doesn’t exist.

    Kinder to think it stupidity, I suppose.

  26. Still, I’d rather join a quest to seek for the best five things of the year, not be drafted into a battle over them.

    I look forward to seing you argue that point with Vox, Torgersen or Paulk. They are the ones who called to arms and want a fight.
    We on the other hand found a solution that allows us to seek the best stuff and ignore the pups cry to battle.

  27. @Bruce Baugh “True confession time: I just can’t quite do it for the vampires. But there’s so much else that does work for me in the book that I cut it slack.”

    I confess that’s my major roadblock to the whole thing, I don’t mind getting science fiction in my fantasy (see, Arduin Grimore, Witch World, etc.), but for some reason “Vampire” and “Science fiction” just sends my brain to a screeching halt. I just completely bounce. Maybe if Watts had used the term “psionic” instead.

    I’ll just go back to reading “Spirit Gate”, and hoping the mysterious enemy turns out to be UFO aliens.

  28. mk41:

    Still, I’d rather join a quest to seek for the best five things of the year, not be drafted into a battle over them.

    I look forward to seeing you argue that point with Vox, Torgersen or Paulk. They are the ones who called to arms and want a fight.
    We on the other hand found a solution that allows us to seek the best stuff and ignore the pups cry to battle.

    One can’t simultaneously “ignore the pups” and have a conversation with Vox, Torgersen and Paulk, though.

    (Sorry for the awkward construction; you brought up the w-word, and the Wombat is near.)

  29. Brian Z.: One can’t simultaneously “ignore the pups” and have a conversation with Vox, Torgersen and Paulk, though.

    That’s why those of us who aren’t interested in a fight are going to support EPH and get on with our Hugo discovery and reading process, while you go do that engagement with the Puppies about which you’re so gung-ho.

  30. RedWombat,

    Out of curiosity, Brian, DID you nominate anything?

    I talked about this a while back. I planned to nominate, particularly Echopraxia and The Peripheral, but I failed miserably in my yeoman’s task of catching up with all of the short fiction by the deadline, and felt simultaneously discouraged with myself and a little sad at the prospect of nominating those two novels and watching them fail to make the ballot.

    In the end I let lethargy triumph (so Tegan, you were half-right). Which I very quickly regretted, of course, when I saw what had happened.

  31. If you didn’t nominate because you didn’t read enough, then I have no problem with you. *I* have never nominated because I never felt inspired to take the time and go to the effort.

    My point is that using a slate to nominate is lazy and a form of lying. And you objected to that characterization of it, vehemently, claiming that it made you disagree with me. I find that interesting. Perhaps even telling.

    I also find it interesting that you characterize my anger at people who use slates as “fear” instead, and then claim I was talking about the puppies, when I was actually referring to anyone who might use slates next year. You are a very interesting person, Brian. Not necessarily in a good way.

  32. Tegan, I thanked you for saying that you didn’t mean me. I really did appreciate it.

    I also admit to having been too lazy before the deadline and regretting it later.

  33. @Brian Z

    mk41
    I look forward to seeing you argue that point with Vox, Torgersen or Paulk. They are the ones who called to arms and want a fight.
    We on the other hand found a solution that allows us to seek the best stuff and ignore the pups cry to battle.

    One can’t simultaneously “ignore the pups” and have a conversation with Vox, Torgersen and Paulk, though.

    Wow, Brian, nice fail at distinguishing at all between the meanings of “you,” “they” and “we” in mk41’s comment!

    Also, “ignore the pups cry to battle” =/= “ignore the pups”

    Nice quoting out of context to make your reply even more unresponsive to any of mk41’s points, Brian!

  34. Tegan, I had understood your comment as referring to the puppies, and there being a strike back against them next year, but if I misread you, I withdraw my comment with apologies.

  35. Richard Brandt,

    I’ll answer the point more explicitly, then. I wished to engage in this conversation on File 770 (and not a website perceived as being more partisan like Making Light or Mad Genius Club) because it attracts a wide variety of viewpoints. So my thoughts are intended not only for “you,” but in fact anyone who wishes to read or comment here.

  36. Very happy to see so much discussion of Peter Watts’ stuff. He definitely my favorite SF author of the last 10 years or so. Probably longer. Blindsight and Starfish were both “wow” books for me, and his short story “The Island” was excellent, too (and “Things” was just a lot of fun, once I figured out what it was about).

  37. @Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag
    I also find it interesting that you characterize my anger at people who use slates as “fear” instead, and then claim I was talking about the puppies, when I was actually referring to anyone who might use slates next year. You are a very interesting person, Brian. Not necessarily in a good way

    Yeah, I was kind of puzzled where that “fear” appeared from out of nowhere in that sentence: There’s no antecedent for it in his previous sentence, and it isn’t predicated on anything you wrote, so suddenly what you have is a sentence that just doesn’t make any sense, especially since the rest of it isn’t responding to the substance of your comments at all. (I know, how novel.)

  38. @Richard

    I am honestly more amused than offended by Brian. But that “fear” thing definitely came out of nowhere. I can understand his confusing slate-mongers with puppies, but something I specifically described as anger he attributes to fear? Very strange. It says something unkind about his state of mind and how he views this whole mess, I think.

    He’s like a really bad Kabuki dancer who thinks he’s going through the forms of an intricate dance, when really he’s just making the audience uncertain whether to laugh, cry, or boo him off the stage.

  39. Ann Sommerville:

    Has anyone done a survey to find out if male subs are usually liberals?

    According to my experience, there is no such connection at all. There is also a very conservative and traditionalist element in female dominance. This can be seen boh in forums and in play. Also, specific femdom elements are given are based on some actions seen as taboo for males, such as cleaning.

    So no, male submissives come from all the political spectra. But at least in sweden, almost all kinksters are quite liberal when it comes to sex. 😉

  40. Tegan,

    On reflection, I think I could have characterized your statement that

    if I have to read this sort of garbage next year to vote, I may end up curled in a ball under my bed crying for half the summer

    as dread, not fear. I apologize for the imprecision.

  41. “Is ANYONE in Ohio human?”

    McGuire, Half-Off Ragnarok, DAW PB, page 186

    Doesn’t Scalzi live in Ohio? Is McGuire trying to tell us something? Is it time for some wholly fact free speculation on what sort of life forms Scalzi and VD are, and thus what is the basis of the apparent antipathy?

    Also, I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say that I can only speak for myself. But I really like McGuire:

    “Tweed is a valid lifestyle choice”
    ibid. page 121.
    I think that is hilarious. I guess I’m easily amused. I hope those quotes aren’t spoilers for anyone.

  42. Wow, Brian, nice attempt to claim you were actually responding to something else Tegan said hours earlier in the thread.

    Makes your comment even more nonsensical, actually.

Comments are closed.