Talkin’ About The Puppies

(1) Michael A. Rothman accuses Fandom of disillusioning his teenage sons.

I took my kids to WorldCon to expose them to Fandom and I’ve consciously shielded them from any of the politics of the kerfuffle associated with the literary “sides” that were in play.

When we attended, we had good seats and they were excited to see if some of their choices would make it.

Let’s just say that my boys ended up being exposed to some of their categories being utterly eradicated from eligibility due to this thing that I’d shielded them from.

They couldn’t understand why their short story choice evaporated into something called “NO AWARD.”

As I briefly explained, the audience was cheering because of that decision and the MC made a point of saying that cheering was appropriate and boos were not.

My kids were shocked.

Shocked not by not winning but by having an entire category’s rug being pulled out from under it and then having all the adults (many of which were old enough to be their grandparents) cheering for something my kids looked at as an unfair tragedy.

I’ll admit to having feared this outcome – yet this was my children’s introduction to Fandom.

We are driving home and they are of the opinion that they aren’t particularly interested in this “Fandom” thing.

I find that a great shame – and I blame not the people who established the ballots to vote for (for my kids enjoyed a great deal of what they read on the ballots), but as my kids noted – they blame the ones who made them feel “like the rug was pulled out from under me.”

…I’d offered Fandom my boys – my boys now reject them.

(2) Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation – “Sad Puppies 3: Looking at the Results”

…Editor Toni Weisskopf is a professional’s professional. She has run one of the main sci-fi publishing houses for a decade. She has edited hundreds of books. She has discovered, taught, and nurtured a huge stable of authors, many of whom are extremely popular bestsellers. You will often hear authors complain about their editors and their publishers, but you’re pretty hard pressed to find anyone who has written for her who has anything but glowing praise for Toni.

Yet before Sad Puppies came along, Toni had never received a Hugo nomination. Zero. The above mentioned Patrick Nielsen Hayden has 8. Toni’s problem was that she just didn’t care and she didn’t play the WorldCon politics. Her only concern was making the fans happy. She publishes any author who can do that, regardless of their politics. She’s always felt that the real awards were in the royalty checks. Watching her get ignored was one of the things that spurred me into starting Sad Puppies. If anybody deserved the Hugo, it was her.

This year Toni got a whopping 1,216 first place votes for Best Editor. That isn’t just a record. That is FOUR TIMES higher than the previous record. Shelia Gilbert came in next with an amazing 754. I believe that Toni is such a class act that beforehand she even said she thought Shelia Gilbert deserved to win. Fans love Toni.

Logically you would think that she would be award worthy, since the only Baen books to be nominated for a Hugo prior to Sad Puppies were edited by her (Bujold) and none of those were No Awarded. Last year she had the most first place votes, and came in second only after the weird Australian Rules voting kicked in (don’t worry everybody, they just voted to make the system even more complicated), so she was apparently award worthy last year.

Toni Weisskopf has been part of organized Fandom (capital F) since she was a little kid, so all that bloviating about how Fandom is precious, and sacred, and your special home since the ‘70s which you need to keep as a safe space free of barbarians, blah, blah, blah, yeah, that applies to Toni just as much as it does to you CHORFs.  You know how you guys paid back her lifetime of involvement in Fandom?

By giving 2,496 votes to No Award….

Oh, and all that bullshit you spew about fighting for diversity? Everyone knows that is a smokescreen. You talk about diversity, but simultaneously had no problem putting No Award over award nominated females because they were nominated by fans you declared to be sexist. Wait… So let me see if I’ve got this straight, you denied deserving women like Toni, Cedar, Kary, Jennifer, Shelia, and Amanda, just to send a message, but we’re the bad guys? I don’t think so. Or as one of our female nominees said, this Puppy has been muzzled. http://cedarwrites.com/this-puppy-has-been-muzzled/

…Here’s something for you crowing imbeciles to think through, the only reason Vox didn’t have Three Body Problem on his nomination slate was that he read it a month too late. If he’d read it sooner, it would have been an RP nomination… AND THEN YOU WOULD HAVE NO AWARDED IT.

(3) Barb Caffrey – “Nightmare at the Hugo Awards: No Award ‘Wins’ Five Times…including for Best Editor Categories”

Look. I understand that the SF&F community has been rent asunder over the past few years. But one thing I thought everyone could all agree on was that books do not produce themselves.

To have a book that reads well, you need not only a good writer with an interesting plot and some excellent characterization, but a highly competent editor to pull the story into its best-possible form.

Why? Well, the best writers in the world can and often do make mistakes, and it’s up to your handy-dandy, trustworthy, hard-working editor to fix them.

The people who were nominated for Hugo Awards all have a great deal of experience as editors behind them. None of them were people who just came in off the street and started editing yesterday; most have edited for at least ten years, and some a great deal more…even the casual fan is aware of Toni Weisskopf of Baen Books and Sheila Gilbert of DAW Books, to name two fine editors who were passed over for “no award” in the long form category, because these two ladies have had long and successful careers as editors to date.

How “No Award” can be voted for by anyone in good conscience over either of them bothers me.

(4) Vox Day on Vox Popoli – “They proved Larry right”

This is the difference between game designers and normal people. We think, we HAVE to think, in terms of consequences, both obvious and non-obvious. We started last year with 1,100 reliable anti-Puppy votes and 160 reliable pro-puppy votes. That meant we were 900 in the hole before we even got started. That’s why I was urging everyone not to adopt the tactics of the other side and mass-mobilize. Last year wasn’t a good test because I wasn’t involved in the organizing and the Dread Ilk really didn’t get involved. There was no point in throwing the full weight of our effort into this year’s awards when we had the chance to see a) what our core forces looked like and b) what their maximal forces looked like.

That’s why I told everyone that this year was about the nominations and the best we could reasonably hope for was to provoke them into voting No Award… which they dutifully did.

Our execution wasn’t flawless. I made two mistakes, one which was fortuitous as it permitted Three Body Problem to make the shortlist and win, and one which was stupid as it cost us a 6th category in novelette. Our discipline could also have been better, although I don’t see that it would have made any difference at all with regards to either the nominations or the awards. But I trust the moderate approach is now sufficiently discredited in everyone’s eyes.

(5) John C. Wright – “Smeagol Nielson Hayden” [sic]

Besides, like me, they came to have a good time and to celebrate our mutual love of science fiction, and applaud in the fashion of good sports what we each severally take to be the best the genre offers. I thought there would be no incident.

I am sad to report that I was mistaken. The Archmorlock himself displayed his courage against the short and girlish figure of my meek and gentle wife.

At the reception just before the Awards Ceremony itself, my lovely and talented wife, who writes for Tor books under her maiden name of L Jagi Lamplighter, and who had been consistently a voice of reason and moderation during the whole silly kerfluffle, approached Mr. Patrick Nielsen Hayden at the party to extent to him the olive branch of peace and reconciliation.

Before she could finish her sentence, however, Mr. Hayden erupted into a swearing and cursing, and he shouted and bellowed at the tiny and cheerful woman I married.

(6) John C. Wright – “In Memoriam”

My fans voted for the works of mine they read and judged worthy in record numbers. (In terms of raw votes, my nominated works received more votes than some of the masterworks mentioned above.)

But those who are enemies of all honest men turned out (as expected) in even more record numbers: however, listening to the backstage chatter among voters after the awards, I heard not one comment, no, not one, of someone who said they voted for ‘No Award’  on the lack of merit of the works nominated.

And if you haven’t had a surfeit of John C. Wright’s abuse, it gets a lot more overwrought as he builds up a head of steam.

(7) And Wright passes along a fresh Hitler video about the fate of the Puppies.

(8) Matthew Foster – “The Hugo Results – Don’t Be A Dick”

Fandom said, “Dude, you are way over-thinking this. Those guys are dicks!”  And…well…I think Fandom pretty much nailed it.

So, if it was a puppy, Fandom rejected it. They celebrated everyone who got on the ballot fairly (even those in categories where they ended up with zero competition) but didn’t get near any pup nominee. They threw the party-asshole out the door and went back to dancing. This works out better than my way of doing things. I might be more consistent, but there is nowhere to go with mine, and not much fun. Fandom booted the pups, put on blinders to ignore the wreckage, and had fun.

(9) Nicholas Whyte on From The Heart of Europe analyzes the Hugo nomination statistics and points out a few items that almost made the final ballot despite the Puppy deluge.

At the nominations stage, there were also very few near misses, thanks in part to the lock that the Puppies managed to achieve on this part of the process.

  • The tightest squeeze for the ballot was in Best Fancast, where The Coode Street Podcast missed by one vote, Verity! by three and The Skiffy and Fanty Show by nine.
  • Saga vol 4 missed Best Graphic Story by a single vote (was it eligible?) and the latest Schlock Mercenary by nine.
  • Seanan McGuire’s Each to Each missed Best Novelette by three votes, and Kai Ashante Wilson’s The Devil in America missed it by seven.
  • Maurine Starkey missed Best Fan Artist by three votes, and seven others were less than ten below the cutoff.
  • The Drink Tank missed Best Fanzine by eight votes. For Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), Agents of Shield: Turn, Turn, Turn missed by nine votes and Game of Thrones: The Lion and the Rose by ten.
  • The Book Smugglers missed Best Semiprozine by 10 votes.
  • Charles E. Gannon’s Trial By Fire was 11 votes off the Best Novel ballot, and Andy Weir was likewise 11 behind Wesley Chu for the Campbell Award.

(10) John Scalzi on Whatever – “Being a Jerk About the Hugos: Not as Effective a Strategy as You Might Think”

[Lists 10 things Puppies did that he classifies as “jerk moves,” then concludes –]

The Hugo vote against the Puppy slates was not about politics, or cabals, or one species of science fiction and fantasy over another, no matter what anyone would like you to believe — or at the very least, it wasn’t mostly about those things. It was about small group of people acting like jerks, and another, rather larger group, expressing their displeasure at them acting so.

Mind you, I don’t expect the core Puppies to recognize this; indeed I expect them to say they haven’t done a single thing that has been other than forthright and noble and correct. Well, and here’s the thing about that: acting like an jerk and then asserting that no, it’s everyone else that’s been acting like a jerk, is the biggest jerk maneuver of all.

(11) Michael Rapoport in The Wall Street Journal – “No ‘Puppy’ Love at Science Fiction’s Hugo Awards”

In response to the Puppies’ success, thousands of anti-Puppy fans bought Worldcon memberships, enabling them to vote on the final ballot and turn aside the nominees from the Puppies’ slates. According to Worldcon organizers, 5,950 convention members voted on the final Hugo ballot, topping the previous record by more than 65%.

The increase in participation in the Hugos is the important thing, said author Brad Torgersen, a Sad Puppies organizer. “If participation grows, the Hugos mean more,” he said before the results were announced. That “goes way beyond which ‘side’ can construct victory narratives.”

But author Adam-Troy Castro, an opponent of the Puppies, wrote in an online post that the results “mean one thing: fandom rose up in revulsion and cried, ‘We don’t want this system gamed with block voting. You want to win a Hugo, win it the way you’re supposed to: by blowing away the readership with such brilliance that people can’t abide the idea of NOT giving you a Hugo.’”

(12) Tegan Moore in Slog on The Stranger“I Went to the Hugo Awards in SpokaneThis Weekend. Here’s What I Saw”

Surprisingly, the mood in the auditorium was genial and relieved. It was almost over. My illustrious companion and I passed a flask of Scotch. We decided we would drink every time someone said “George R.R. Martin.” The flask was nearly empty before the winners were announced.

The first contested award went to the only non-Puppies nominee on the ballot. My illustrious companion clenched her fists in the air.

“Yes,” she hissed. “That’s the bellwether. They won’t win a damn thing.”

(13) Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man – “A second look at the 2015 Hugo Awards”

My overwhelming emotion in this whole mess is sadness.  I’m watching people tear apart one of the great institutions of science fiction, purely because they can’t bring themselves to agree that every fan of the genre has a place within its tent.  It’s not one side doing it – it’s both.  The SJW’s, who consider themselves ‘true’ Fandom, insist that SF/F is their genre and they alone get to decide who and what belongs to it.  Those of a more conservative and/or orthodox bent disagree, and say that political correctness should not be the standard against which works of imagination and literature should be judged – but they can be very disparaging of the other side in how they go about that.  (Perhaps that’s not surprising.  Mutual tolerance and respect have been largely conspicuous by their absence in this field for many years.)

(14) John ONeill on Black Gate – “Dear Puppies: Your Taste Sucks”

In short, the Puppies insisted that their team had been unfairly shut out of the game for too long, and gamed the system so that their superstars could finally take the field. And when they did, it became painfully obvious fairly quickly that this team simply couldn’t play ball.

The Puppies have stayed in their echo chamber for long months, and to be honest, I don’t expect even this stinging repudiation of their selections to penetrate it. My guess is that they will lay this burden at the feet of another liberal conspiracy, or simply claim that the vast majority of the Hugo electorate voted against their slate without bothering to read it (just as I did).

But when your only defense is to convince yourself that the electorate spurned you because they found what you did to be against the very spirit of the Hugos and your ballot to be wholly illegitimate, then you’re hiding sub-standard taste behind moral bankruptcy.

I’m certain the Hugo vote is just the beginning of the discussion, not the ending that so many fans had sought. But at least, on one topic, we finally have general agreement.

Dear Puppies: your taste sucks.

 

(15) Milo Yiannopoulos on Breitbart – “Set Phases to Kill! SJWs Burn Down The Hugo Awards To Prove How Tolerant And Welcoming They Are”

The facts of this case are the same as in gaming and in every other industry that social justice warriors touch. They do not care about art forms. They do not care about science fiction. They do not even particularly care about talent. They care about enriching and ennobling themselves and their friends, and pushing a twisted, discredited, divisive brand of authoritarian politics.

Worldcon is now designing a Byzantine new rule system designed to thwart a Puppies resurgence in 2016. But anyone who loves sci-fi knows that no matter how air-tight the bad guy’s rules seem, the good guys will find a way through. Does anyone really think SJWs can design anything without leaving an unguarded exhaust vent?

(16) Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt – “Burning Down The Field in Order to Save It”

Turned out I did [care].  Yesterday was even more of a victory to the Sad Puppies than I expected.  And I wish it hadn’t been.  And I’m absolutely serious about this.

I don’t mean I wish a different set of books/stories had won.  That is only to the extent that the DELIBERATE and PARTISAN slighting of such unexceptionable luminaries as Kevin J. Anderson and Jim Butcher (Yes, yes Three Body Problem.  Well, I didn’t find it worth it, but I bet you half the people who voted for it voted either under the illusion they were favoring Chicoms OR as a slam against the puppies.But quite beyond that the block voting for the clumsy Ancillary “but pronouns” would have won first place if it weren’t Australian Rules) is a blot on the face of our genre and makes me sigh and roll my eyes.

(17) Mytheos Holt on The Federalist – “The Hugo Awards: Why The #WaronNerds Is A War on Art”

The Hugo Awards have shown us that this is impossible. The Social Justice Left will not be satisfied unless it has complete control over the spaces it infiltrates. If it cannot control a space, it will burn it down and salt the earth. If they could, they would probably torch every script of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew for being anti-feminist, every score of Mozart’s The Magic Flute for its unflattering depiction of its one mulatto character, every print of Apelles’ Venus Anadyomene for catering to the male gaze, and every other work that portrays, or was written by, someone with objectionable politics. This book burning bonfire of the vacuous would be large enough to be seen from space, if the satellites weren’t taken down for being too phallic.

What Nerds Can Teach The Rest Of Us

Nerd communities have seen proof that social justice politics cannot be tolerated, because it will sooner immolate the very institutions it inhabits than tolerate the existence of disparate elements. The utter destruction of the Hugo Awards is a warning not just to nerds, but to Western Civilization that social justice is anti-social, anti-justice, and anti-just about everything else. It is to the body politic what an autoimmune disease is to the human body.

(18) Amy Wallace on Wired – “Who Won Science Fiction’s Hugo Awards, And Why It Matters”

After midnight, Martin announced that for the first time (and hopefully the last) he was bestowing his own awards—dubbed “The Alfies” in honor of Alfred Bester, whose book The Demolished Man won Best Novel at the first-ever Hugos in 1953. “This year all of us were losers,” Martin said, explaining that the Alfies, each made from a streamlined 1950s hood ornament, were his attempt to take a little of the sting off.

Late Saturday, Worldcon released data from a parallel universe, one in which the Puppies hadn’t intervened. That let Martin give trophies to the people who would have been on the ballot, as well as some extra winners decided “by committee, and that committee is me,” Martin said.4 Sci-fi writer Eric Flint got an Alfie for his “eloquence and rationality” in blog posts about the Puppy kerfuffle. So did legendary author Robert Silverberg, who has attended every Worldcon since 1953, just for being himself.

The biggest cheers, though, broke out when Martin honored two people—Annie Bellet and Marko Kloos—who’d been first-time Hugo finalists this year until they withdrew their names. The new data showed Bellet would’ve been on the ballot anyway; the Alfie clearly stunned her. “I want these awards to be about the fiction,” Bellet said, “and that was important enough to me to give one up.”

The final Alfie of the night went to Kloos, a German-born writer (now he lives in New Hampshire), for turning down his Puppy-powered nomination and making room for the winner, The Three-Body Problem. “I may get nominated again,” he said after shaking Martin’s hand. “But knowing why I got this and who gave it to me—tonight, this beats the shit out of that rocket.”

(19) Damien G. Walter on The Guardian – “Diversity wins as the Sad Puppies lose at the Hugo awards”

While we can write off the Sad Puppies as the clown show they proved to be, we should also give them a tiny thank you for the result of their actions. For many years, it was possible for sci-fi fans to thoughtlessly dismiss their diversity failure. When the sci-fi imprint Tor UK published (statistically incomplete) data blaming the lack of diversity in genre on a shortage of submissions, many hundreds of fans took to social mediaf to voice all the commonly heard excuses (“women just don’t write science fiction” and so on). The real problem for writers from any excluded background is not the extreme chauvinism of people like the Sad Puppies. It’s the general apathy to the entire issue of diversity which so often silences new authors from different backgrounds.

So. Thank you Sad Puppies. You have woken sci-fi fandom from its slumber and proved that diversity in sci-fi really is a problem. There will never be another WorldCon or Hugo awards where diversity is not addressed. Diversity will now be carried to every new world and parallel dimension we visit. And sci-fi writing will be all the stronger for it. The future of humankind is global and many-hued. By reflecting that reality, sci-fi makes itself a fit literature for and of the future.

(20) Andrew Wheeler on Comics Alliance – ‘Ms. Marvel’ Wins at Hugo Awards Dogged by Politics

The sci-fi and fantasy prose fiction that dominates the Hugos and the WSFW has experienced a steady progressive evolution in recent years, with more diversity in both talent and output — a phenomenon that may feel familiar to comics fans. Sci-fi has always provided intellectual refuge for liberal-minded writers and fans, but only recently have those writers made serious inroads into the sci-fi establishment.

The Sad Puppies exist as a reaction to that shift, but while the gradual liberalization of sci-fi has been organic and rooted in fandom, the conservative backlash was deliberately orchestrated to place politics first. The balance of the final ballot shows there was no organized liberal bloc vote equivalent to the Sad Puppies’ efforts, with several popular minority writers surprisingly absent.

Supporters of the Sad Puppies effort have indicated that the failure of their nominees to win any awards vindicates their belief that the Hugo Awards put politics ahead of quality, but of course, it demonstrates the reverse; the Sad Puppies nominees were chosen because of their politics first, and the voters were right to reject them.

(21) Vox Day is getting to work on next year. But then you knew that.

“Of this, that, and the other thing”

All right, a few things that require addressing. First, the Closed Brainstorm meeting to discuss the 2016 strategy will be Thursday, August 27th, at 7 PM EST. Annual and pre-existing monthly members only, since we don’t want to share our thoughts with the SJWs. No decisions will be made, this is simply what it’s called, a brainstorm session. I’ll also share some information about the No Award vote that has been brought to light; still working on documentation.

(22) Stephen Wise – “Hugo Awards and Politics”

The backlash against the Bad (and Rabid) Puppies resulted in 5 awards going to no one. Did the authors who were nominated for Best Novella, Short Story, Related Work, Editor Short Form, and Editor Long Form deserve the nomination? Perhaps. Was cheating the cause of them to be nominees in the first place? That’s the public perception. So by voting No Award, the 5950 members of World Science Fiction Society essentially said that they didn’t want politics in play for the Hugos. But it’s unfortunate that there may have been deserving authors who were cheated out of this recognition thanks to the maneuverings of a few individuals. Would I have voted the same? Probably. Because once an award is contaminated, there is no rightful winner. And once you start playing political games, then the award itself becomes invalid.

(23) Foz Meadows on Shattersnipe: Malcontent & Rainbow – “Hugos & Puppies: Peeling The Onion”

I guess what I want to say is this: despite what the Puppies think, the rest of us aren’t interested in diversity without quality, and as we’re all acutely aware, the failure mode of diversity is stereotype, which concept isn’t exactly on handshake terms with quality in the first place. That we want to celebrate historically silenced voices and perspectives doesn’t mean we’re doing so purely to spite you, or that we’ve lost all sense of judgement: if our tastes extend to seeing in fiction those versions of ourselves you’re disinclined to write, then who are you to tell us we aren’t entitled to our preferences? Nobody is saying you can’t tell your stories; we just might not want to read them, the same as you evidently have no desire to read ours. That’s not the genre being attacked – it’s the genre changing, and whether you change with it or not, we’re still going to like what we like.

Stop fighting the riptide, Puppies. As any Australian could tell you, it’s the surest way to drown.

(24) Space Squid – “The Squiddies Quiz”

[Question 5 of 12.]

Are you on your game? Do you have all the right high-fashion cosplay accessories? Do your boardgaming moves bring all the boys to the yard? Warning: If you’re not up on the 2015 Hugos dustup, you might want to bing up “hugo is sad in 2015” before daring the rigors of the quiz.

  1. You’re the Hugo Awards czar. After your awards got disgraced, it’s time to pick a new award design to replace the shiny silver rocket. Your best choice is: a) a shiny silver rocket encrusted with poop b) a bronze sculpture of an imaginary multi-ethnic group of scifi writers holding hands around the earth c) a shiny silver rocket ejecting certain unnamed persons into space d) a gold-plated carjacking diorama

[Thanks to David K.M. Klaus and Editor D for some of these links.]

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