A Puppy Epilogue

By Mike Glyer: When the crowds watching the roundup in Times Square saw the last tag scroll off the news ticker (“…Lis Carey…”) there was complete silence for a moment.

Then an ancillary in the throng of unnervingly ambiguously gendered people lifted her voice and led everyone in singing, “May auld acquaintance be forgot….” People linked arms and swayed. Tears ran down their faces.

Mike watched Google Analytics until the Real-Time overview showed the first person had clicked on the roundup. After that she tabbed the edit page and checked the proper names again. She knew Jon F. Zeigler didn’t like seeing her name misspelled, and Laura could never understand why Mike always messed up “Tegan” yet seemed to have no problem with Gjovaag.

When that was done Mike stepped aside to let the carpenters through. Under the watchful eyes of a Smithsonian Institute curator they chopped the File 770 banner art free of its moorings at the top of the page. It fluttered into the arms of JJ and Kurt Busiek who rolled it up and hermetically sealed it in a case for shipment to Washington D.C., where it would be stored beside the Ark of the Covenant.

The band began to play. Commenters of every nation paraded into the stadium behind their national flags, smiling and waving. Simon Bisson, who had expected to carry the Isle of Jersey flag by herself, was surprised that some Alabama fans were eager to help.

When they passed the reviewing stand, Mike reached into a display case and gave Kyra and Alexandra Erin each a Hugo Award. Mike said how proud she was of the way they upheld the highest traditions of fannish humor. They hesitated until Mike reminded them she could easily spare a couple — she still had 48 more.

Meanwhile, Meredith served the cake Rachel Swirsky’s agent had sent to thank everyone in social media for giving “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love” the third-highest Q-score after Shakespeare and the Bible, and gaining her client a new $3.4M contract for her next short story.

Soon Lee asked Peace Is My Middle Name for an autograph. Taking back the signed album she was pleasantly surprised to learn Peace’s first name was Love and her last name was Hope.

Simon Bucher-Jones won the swimsuit competition. Kary English was voted Miss Congeniality.

As Brian Z and Tuomas Vainio sat on the slopes of Mount Doom watching for eagles, Tuomas asked, “I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales?” Brian promised they would, “Because I intend to write them.”

The Imperial Star Destroyer aligned with the airlock. The seals blew and the door flew off in a cloud of white smoke. All the trolls whose first comments had never made it out of moderation were loaded aboard lifeboats and fired toward the surface of Tatooine.

Then Mike woke up. She wasn’t back in Kansas. It hadn’t been a dream.

[Hat tip to Ian Frazier’s “The Last Segment.”]

187 thoughts on “A Puppy Epilogue

  1. The day the Hugo nominations were announced was the day I broke my ankle in three places. Shortly after that I discovered this site, so many thanks to Mike for hosting it and everyone for the comments and recs that kept me entertained.

  2. @Jamoche and @tonieee:

    I hope you both have been recovering well.

  3. @Peace Thank you. I’m back at work now but will still have my leg encased in metal and using a walking stick for a few months to come. It has given me chance to do loads of reading so it’s not been all bad :-).

  4. @ Aaron
    Wook at dem chubby widdle cheeks. Its so cute dat you keep trying to talk to de adulwuts despite your apparent ability to understand causality.

    More to the point Mike, how exactly did my post end up before the comments that I was reacting to in my post?? Meredith’s post was already on this site before I even posted the comment which aaron (and bless his little heart) was responding to. Meredith post from July 8th 9:15 was on this site before I even responded to it. Yet somehow my comments have been retroactively posted as an hour before her comment even appeared?

    How exactly did I respond to Meredith comments at 9:15 if I posted at 8:34?

    You know, other than the fact that I’m a deity?
    \

  5. @Rev. Bob 😀 Unfortunately not. Though I was told that if I’d had it done in Leeds it would be carbon but as I’m in Sheffield, city of steel, it is made from steel. It does fulfil my lifelong ambition to become a cyborg, if only temporarily :-].

  6. I’ll add my thanks, Mike, for all the work and all the good times. [sniffle..glurp…sniff] I hope the community survives in some form. I’ll be a regular reader from now on, even though I seldom post. See y’all around.

  7. @Peace – thanks! I’ll be entertaining TSA agents for the rest of my life – got plates and screws holding things together – and using a (very nice, future Steampunk/bartitsu prop) walking stick for another month or so.

  8. @Jamoche Awww I didn’t get a plate – I want a plate (I probably don’t ;-)). All I got was a single screw and this frame that looks like it was made from a Meccano kit but that’s only temporary. I hope it doesn’t cause you too many problems and that you’re up and about again.

  9. @ WIlliam Really? Please by all means quote something I said that wasn’t. You’ll understand if I don’t hold my breath,

    @ Aaron – It really is adorable how obsessed you are with me.

    Now aaron, you might remember that Ancillary Justice came out before the current Hugo Controversy. Before I was aware that file770 even existed. Given that, you might be able to figure out that the reviews here were not the ones I was referring to as being “gender this” and “progressive that”. As to the reviews here in these comments, given that all of the reviews describing the series as “good old fashioned space opera” were posted in reaction to the charges made by the puppies, I found them to be a tad suspicious. When people who were praising the work for being so IMPORTANT only start talking about how much fun a story was when others point out that message fiction tends to be dull, plodding, and boring then those reviews are suspect by default. At least IMO. And since we are talking about whether or not I am going to spend my time and my money reading and buying something, my opinion is the only one that matters.
    But tell you what Aaron, go to say good reads, and look at the reviews for Ancillary Justice from when it first came out. You’ll notice they were all exactly as I described. Funny that eh? But since its seems to be so important to you to believe me to be lying I give you permission to think so. No skin off my ass either way.

    From what i’ve seen of the reviews by folks here, none were honest. I saw a lot of vague complaints about how terrible they were, but nothing specific. Again see my review of “the day the world turned upside down” for an actual honest review.You’ll notice I didn’t feel the need to insult the author, or claim it “needed a few more passes by an editor”, nor did I even state that it was badly written without giving any evidence of why I thought so. I simply pointed out why, for me, it failed as a story. That is an honest review. Simply saying something is “awful” without explaining why one thought so tends to be the mark of a partisan who is giving a dishonest review. Honest reviewers point out what they felt worked, or what they think failed so that even people who might not share their tastes can decide if its the type of story that they might like.

    But again Aaron, I give you my permission to believe I am lying about my opinion. And I give you my permission to keep thinking I’m a troll, if only because you are so durn cute. You’re like an angry little kitten. Its adorable.

    As for the puppy nominees, at least for short fiction I thought they were excellent.

    @ meredith. Well I’m terribly sorry I don’t format my comments in a manner you approve of. No really I am so contrite. Can’t you see me hanging my head and scratching my toe in the dirt?

  10. But tell you what Aaron, go to say good reads, and look at the reviews for Ancillary Justice from when it first came out.

    Oh, you mean these reviews? Like the one from December 2013 that talks about how great of a space opera it is with lines like this?

    Mind spinning concepts aside, this is very much a space opera set in a universe which features galaxy spanning Empires in a Universe where Earth is long lost to memory.

    Or the review from November 2014 with lines like these?

    It was good, gritty, realistic sci-fi. Far-future. Big differences in tech.

    Or the numerous other reviews from 2014, many of which talked about the AI, the star-spanning empire, the space opera, the great story, and so on? I suppose you somehow missed them. Given that your posts here have been riddled with obvious lies, I suspect that you didn’t actually bother to look at any of the reviews, and figured no one else would call your bluff.

    From what i’ve seen of the reviews by folks here, none were honest. I saw a lot of vague complaints about how terrible they were, but nothing specific.

    As many people here have read the reviews that were posted here, we know that your complaints on this score are false. This is how we know you are a liar. You either didn’t read the reviews, which makes you a liar now for claiming you did, or you did read them and are now reporting them inaccurately. The problem you are having is that you are probably used to dealing with people who never bother to check your assertions, because they are Puppies like you who simply accept without question the party line when it is told to them. Unfortunately, here people will check your assertions, and since everything you say is bullshit, it doesn’t work out so well for you.

    As for the puppy nominees, at least for short fiction I thought they were excellent.

    Well, at least you are willing to let everyone know that you have terrible taste in fiction. The short fiction nominees not only were uniformly terrible, for the ones that appeared in Analog, they were almost all the worst stories in the issues they appeared in. This is, by far, the weakest year for short fiction in the history of the Hugo awards.

  11. Are we reading the same short fiction? Those made my eyes bleed.

  12. @ Aaron. Wow less than 20 minutes between my post and your response. Its nice to know I play such a central role in your life.

    Aaron if you were being honest you would realize you were cherry picking reviews. A few praised the story, many discussed how important the gender thing was. But Ill tell you what buddy. You win. Im a big fat liar who takes his marching orders from puppy high command and doesn’t think for himself. Do you feel better now? Because Im honestly beginning to worry about you and your seeming obsession with my personal opinions. We dont have the same tastes. I know, I know, your tastes are good mine are bad. I agree. Im just too dumb to like the same stuff you do. Now accept your trophy and move on. Mmkay?

    As to the reviews of the puppy nominees. I stand by what I said. I have not seen any either here, or in the linked to reviews in these roundups that were honest. they were all variations on “this is shit. its such bad shit you shouldn’t ever bother reading it. it was just shitty, shitty, shit.” Why it was shit, what exactly the reviewers didn’t like about it was never really made clear. But Ill tell you what. Since it seems to be very important to you, I’ll admit that I am a lying liar who lies about lying and the reviews here were the bestest reviews that ever were or ever could be and I am just too stupid and brainwashed to admit it. Feel better buddy?

    And yup, you’re absolutely right I have the most horibblest taste in fiction that ever was. I only enjoy badly written, terrible, no good, very bad stories written by people who should never be allowed to hold a pencil ever again. Furthermore I am a very bad person, a complete idiot, and unworthy of being in the same room as the towering moral giant, and unimpeachable paragon of taste that is Aaron.

    I do so ordain you Aaron as the ultimate arbiter of taste and good fiction and do hereby swear to reform my ways and only like what you tell me to like as you are the final authority on all that is good and right in sci-fi and fantasy. I promise to never again impugn the name of the great and powerful leckie and to tend the fires at the altar of her goddessness. There is no writer but Leckie and Aaron is her prophet and I shall smite down any false prophets who pretend that there are any writers who have ever existed that are worthy of licking the sweat from her many chins.

    You have defeated me so soundly and righteously that I shall now bow down to the great and mighty Aaron, I shall go forth and spread your legend to all and sundry. I shall regale them with tales of how you convinced me that i don’t like what i like and actually do like what I don’t like. I shall enthrall them with the tales of your mighty ability to call people liars online and to explain to all of us idiots that there can be no opinion but yours and that only that which you like may be liked. I shall carve your eternal words into the mountains so that even many long generations from now everyone will know that you and you alone have the rarefied ability to determine what people actually like and that only you have the sagacious wisdom to see into mens hearts and know their deepest most innermost thoughts and to drag them into the light of the sun. Yea verily shall I make a religion of you and your perfect taste and impeccable judgement and labor mightily to become more like you. I am but a but a newborn babe basking in the radiant glow of your perfect opinions and do abase myself for daring to like that which brings me joy.

    Or then again maybe I’m just being completely sarcastic and will go on buying, reading, and enjoying exactly what I like regardless of whether or not you approve. Since you know, its my money, my time, and my choice. But hey, you have my permission to pretend that everything I wrote here was in utter seriousness and that I really meant every single word.Hopefully that will allow you to begin the healing process.

  13. @ Peace is my middle name.
    Really. What exactly was it that made your eyes bleed? Lets take turncoat by Steve Rzasa, which was my personal favorite. What precisely about that story made your eyes bleed? Please explain what you found so objectionable. Because I gotta tell you, when I read a comment like that, it makes me think that you decided before ever reading any of the puppy nominees that they would be shit, and that you never gave any of the works an fair read. But I recognize I could be wrong, so I’ll give you a chance to prove me wrong.

  14. Not for the troll’s benefit, only for those who are coming to this later. Here are this person’s first two comments on this post:

    http://file770.com/?p=23593&cpage=2#comment-304079

    Since when is mike a she? You pulling a jenner there mike?

    http://file770.com/?p=23593&cpage=2#comment-304219

    … I just recently ordered Dave Vs The Monsters because every review I saw was either someone bitching about how “ist” the books were, or someone raving about how entertaining it was.
    Given a choice between wrongFUN or rightThink, its wrongFUN every damn time. But then I am one of those horrible misogynist, racist, neo-nazi, puppy supporters who likes bad to reprehensible works of fiction.

    The first is our troll person failing to recognize the play on Leckie’s Radch books (aka Ancillary series) in OGH epilogue post for the Puppy Roundups. In addition, our troll crassly suggests a parallel to the recent media gossip surrounding Caitlin Jenner. Not a polite comment.

    The second starts with an admission of missing the reference, then digs right in to using a gendered slur against the unfavorable reviewers of an unrelated work, followed by the Puppy-created “insult” (to be used against themselves) of “wrongfun” (to go along with “wrongfan”; capitalization varies among Puppy supporters). Our troll person then jumps to our fellow commenters labeling the troll with the same labels used for the likes of arch-Rabid Theo Beale. Needless to say, as our wonderful fellow commenters have applied no such labels to our troll, this is very uncivil.

    We have labeled our troll person with liar and troll. These labels are accurate, as demonstrated several times in this thread. If our troll person could refrain from deliberate confrontation and fabrication, we could dispense with the liar and troll labels and get back to talking about good food, fun books, and other varied fannish topics.

    I wish marsultor a good day, evening, or night, wherever in the world that person may be. For myself, I still wish to be polite and civil towards those who do not offer the same to me and mine.

  15. Aaron if you were being honest you would realize you were cherry picking reviews.

    It is pretty obvious that you never bothered to read the reviews in question, because literally dozens of them from 2014 talk about what a good space opera it is and focus on all kinds of issues without giving more than a minimal nod to the pronoun issue. But since you’re a Puppy, you didn’t bother to actually do any reading before you decided to make pronouncements, hoping that you could bluster your way through and hoping no one would notice your obvious ignorance or call you on your obvious lies.

    As to the reviews of the puppy nominees. I stand by what I said.

    Well, given that you’ve demonstrated quite conclusively that you didn’t bother to read the many many Goodreads reviews that said the things that you said none of them said, your assessment of the reviews of the Puppy nominees is pretty much suspect. Mostly because it is obvious from your characterization of the reviews that you either never read them or are now misrepresenting what they said. This is the problem that you face now that you’ve been exposed as a compulsive serial liar: Your statements are seen for the pack of falsehoods they are.

    Like all Puppies, you don’t do well in an environment where you aren’t coddled and people actually check your assertions for accuracy. You just aren’t very good at this sort of thing.

  16. I would point out that the “cherry picked” reviews are quotes drawn from literally the first reviews on the linked page. Here’s some quotes from another review:

    I picked this book up at Barnes & Noble because I know Ann and wanted to help make sure she moved copies of the book early in its release, knowing full well that I don’t have time to do any pleasure reading until the semester is over. Well, I made the mistake of flipping it open, and now I’m four days behind in my grading. And it’s all this book’s fault.

    Or this one from Felicia Day’s review:

    This is a great sci-fi adventure following a character who is not man nor woman, and don’t even try to figure it out, that’s the confusing part. But the character is fomerly HUNDREDS of people, and a spaceship. All at once. Yeah, ok once you can wrap that around your head, it’s SO GOOD this book.

    Or another review:

    In the end, I have to up my rating over this for its mind-bending journey and for getting me into thrilling action situations with a lot at stake where I root for an AI over humans.

    Or another:

    you know, one shuffles up and down the stacks at the bookstore and hopes each time that the next sf book one reads will:

    be well-written
    have at least one character you care about
    be well-plotted
    have intelligent commentary
    include some aliens who are really alien, or,
    include some humans who are not quite human and
    leave you with something really knotty to think about.

    actually finding one happens about once a year, and it feels like a gift from the gods.

    in this case it’s a gift from Ann Leckie, whom i desperately hope will be gracing us with another book soon.

    And yet another:

    I hate to be that person. I don’t want to feed the hype machine, jump on the bandwagon, raise expectations so others can’t help but feel let down when they come later to the party. But just read the book. Tell me I am wrong. All the space adventure goodness a person can ask for; incomprehendible aliens, action, technology that is completely out of the world. All that, wrapped in amazing writing, amazing ideas, and a certain uniqueness that is rare.

    And on and on and on. Just looking through the reviews on the first page of the Goodreads list, it is readily apparent that marsultor13 didn’t bother to read any before he made his initial claim, and has yet to bother to go and read any of them since I linked the page earlier in this thread. But since lying is about what one would expect from a Puppy, it isn’t surprising.

  17. William: And that’s after I tried to make it very difficult to miss the reference by mentioning an ancillary (who sings, no less) in paragraph two, before I do any of the tricksy “she” stuff.

    But trolls are very limber and flexible when it comes to avoiding things they don’t want to acknowledge.

  18. I wrote up half a dozen specific criticisms of Turncoat, but then I decided I was wasting my time as numerous people have already done that (including me on previous occasions) and apparently it didn’t count for reasons. What reasons? Who knows. Just reasons.

  19. Is this our last drive-by? Because, if so, A for effort. By which I mean, bleah.

  20. Eh, I started reading “Turncoat” with an open mind because people are funny and what someone says about something might not jibe with my experience.

    I am *very* experienced in reading roleplaying game manuals and wargame write-ups and have some familiarity with gaming tie-in novels. The story instantly pinged my “no shit here’s how our last game session went” radar, only it was less interesting than most. It read like a lot of the gaming fanfic I’ve run across, which is to say it probably sounded a lot more fun talked up with the other players from the same game over beer and pizza, who knew what the dice rolls had been and what the stats represented.

    I might not have raised an eyebrow if I ran across this story in a 1988 issue of “Dragon”, but I sure as heck don’t consider it Hugo material.

  21. @Peace

    “Turncoat” also has quite a few logic fails. Why would an AI several hundred or thousand years in the future know anything about Benedict Arnold? It shouldn’t even be aware of the existence of the United States for that matter, as that country will have been long gone by then. Why would it be able to quote from the Bible? In this future, that holy book would have long ago disappeared into the dustbin of legend. Also, why should it, as a genderless artificial being, want to be a better man? (Unless it downloads into a human body, a la Breq, but I didn’t get any impression that sort of tech existed in this story.)

    Put those logic fails together with the blatant weapons porn, and you just have an all-around rotten story, in my opinion.

  22. It would not have been out of place in my college gaming club fanzine.

    Well, actually it might, but only because several people in that club (at least one of whom has been named on this site) went on to have reasonable careers in gaming and writing.

  23. Why would an AI several hundred or thousand years in the future know anything about Benedict Arnold?

    And if it did, why would it choose Benedict as its name? Benedict sold out for purely self-interested reasons – mostly financial gain, but also a commission in the British army. Why would an AI switching sides for allegedly idealistic reasons choose to identify with a corrupt and greedy traitor?

  24. marsultor13 on July 9, 2015 at 9:39 am said:
    As to the reviews of the puppy nominees. I stand by what I said. I have not seen any either here, or in the linked to reviews in these roundups that were honest. they were all variations on “this is shit. its such bad shit you shouldn’t ever bother reading it. it was just shitty, shitty, shit.” Why it was shit, what exactly the reviewers didn’t like about it was never really made clear. But Ill tell you what. Since it seems to be very important to you, I’ll admit that I am a lying liar who lies about lying and the reviews here were the bestest reviews that ever were or ever could be and I am just too stupid and brainwashed to admit it. Feel better buddy?

    I think “this is shit. its such bad shit you shouldn’t ever bother reading it. it was just shitty, shitty, shit.” would be a fair review of Wisdom from My Internet and I guess Spacefaring Kitten’s review was a bit like that – but it was still an honest review. I wrote a longer review but I wish I’d written SFK’s review to be honest. Aside from Wisdom… I think most reviews of Puppy nominated works by non-Puppies linked by Mike were more substantial than that. If you click on my name you can see the reviews I wrote of multiple Puppy nominated works

  25. @redheadedfemme:

    That’s a good summing-up of why something is not worthy of being on the ballot.

    I guess I consider a Hugo-worthy story to be one that opens up and becomes more interesting and expansive when reread or examined, not one that falls to bits.

    (Mind, that means I don’t think much of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire winning, because that world makes less and less sense the closer one looks at it. On the other hand, lots of fans clearly loved it and I am okay with them judging it worthy.)

  26. @Peace: No offense taken; Kyra had the original idea and is just operating on a whole other level.

    @Kyra: Sorry if this has been asked before, but do you write other stuff? Like, stories, novels? If so, where can I find them to buy? If not, and you have the time, you should probably consider writing and submitting stuff, because, to quote Twin Peaks, “that’s some damn fine [writing]. DAMN fine.”

  27. Aaron:

    Why would an AI several hundred or thousand years in the future know anything about Benedict Arnold?

    And if it did, why would it choose Benedict as its name?

    Because the civilization it was created in apparently has an unbroken historical record going back to independence. How else would it know? If you are going to actively fight the author you’re gonna have a bad time and look stupid, Aaron.

    Because humor, Aaron. I believe the author wanted to paint the AI as having more human traits than you.

  28. @ Bloodstone 75
    sadly, it seems not.

    @ aeou
    What did you particularly like about Turncoat?

  29. Because the civilization it was created in apparently has an unbroken historical record going back to independence. How else would it know?

    If you were observant, you might have noticed that the first part of the comment you responded to wasn’t written by me. But given the rest of your clumsy and foolish response, it is clear that you aren’t a very careful reader, so expecting you to be able to attribute comments correctly is probably expecting much too much.

    But let’s assume that the civilization has an unbroken historical record going back to independence. If so, that makes Benedict an entirely inapt name for the AI to select. If it had complete historical records, it would know that Benedict Arnold turned traitor because he was bribed to do so, changing sides for self-interested pecuniary gain.

    The AI in Turncoat, on the other hand, changes sides because it read the Bible and supposedly made an idealistic and decision that the side he had been fighting for was in the wrong, and the side of their human opponents was in the right. The story of the AI is not in any way parallel to the story of the historical Benedict Arnold. There’s no reason for the AI to select the name Benedict when it made a principled stand, because Arnold turned traitor for entirely unprincipled reasons.

    This means that either the author didn’t know (and didn’t bother to do the research to know) that Benedict Arnold wasn’t an apt comparison, or the author did know, and figured the reader would be too poorly educated or too stupid to know. In your case, he seems to have been correct, you (and apparently VD) are too poorly educated and too stupid to realize this. Those of us who have completed high school, on the other hand, noticed, and found this element of the story wanting.

  30. I don’t like the Benedict Arnold reference because it wasn’t until I was reading discussion threads that I had any idea what it was. I’d never heard of him. I’m sure there are people outside of the USA who have heard of him, but I’m equally sure that there are lots more who haven’t, and “Benedict” is not a very good clue. (It mostly makes me think of cabbage patches…)

    Worldcon.

    That’s not the worst problem with the story, of course.

  31. @Aaron

    But let’s assume that the civilization has an unbroken historical record going back to independence.

    Which actually brings up another objection I hadn’t thought of before. Why are we assuming that the human civilization in Turncoat is based on the United States? That’s rather arrogant, isn’t it? The odds are overwhelmingly against it, after all, seeing as our shuttle fleet is now grounded and Russian, Japanese and SpaceX rockets are being used to supply the International Space Station.

    If anything, I would think the human civilization would be Chinese-based, not American-based. But either way, it’s hundreds or thousands of years in the future. Why would the artificial intelligence of a warship use a pissy-ant, traitorous figure like Benedict Arnold to base its brand-new persona on? I mean, hell, even Nathan Hale has more relevance to the story than that. (Not to mention George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and on and on.)

  32. Why would the artificial intelligence of a warship use a pissy-ant, traitorous figure like Benedict Arnold to base its brand-new persona on?

    I suspect that the actual answer is that Rzasa has just enough of a grasp of history to know that Benedict Arnold is famous as a traitor, but doesn’t really know anything else about him. And being too lazy to do any research to inform himself about the figure he was referencing, he just threw it in and assumed it fit.

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