Enriching Your Puppy Vocabulary 8/26

(1) Rachel Keslensky has contributed a comic called The Saddest Puppy to Scenes From A Multiverse.

(2) Eric Flint – “Do We Really Have To Keep Feeding Stupid And His Cousin Ignoramus?”

So. Let me establish some Basic Facts:

Fact One. There is no grandiose, over-arching SJW conspiracy to deny right-thinking conservative authors their just due when it comes to awards. It does not exist. It has never existed. It is nothing but the fevered dreams which afflict some puppies in their sleep.

It is preposterous—there is no other word for it—to claim that there is some sort of systematic bias against conservatives in F&SF in the same year (2015) that the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America bestowed the title of Grand Master on Larry Niven and the liberal literary magazine the New Yorker ran a very laudatory article on the author Gene Wolfe.

Fact Two. There is no reflexive reactionary movement to drag F&SF kicking and screaming back into the Dark Ages when all protagonists had to be white and male (and preferably either engineers or military chaps). The very same people who piss and moan about diversity-for-the-sake-of-it litter their own novels with exactly the same kind of diversity they deplore when their opponents do it.

Yeah, I know they’ll deny it. “The story always comes first!” But the fact is that there is no compelling plot function to Ringo’s inclusion of the gay couple in Under a Graveyard Sky. So why did he put them in the novel? The answer is that, like any good writer—and whatever my (many) political disagreements with John, he’s a damn good writer—he tries to embed his stories into the world he created for them. The world of Black Tide Rising is the modern world, and his novels reflect that—as they should.

And I defy anyone with a single honest bone in their body—just one; even a pinkie bone—to read his depiction of that gay couple and tell the world afterward that he’s a homophobe. Which is not to say, mind you, that John and I would agree on any number of issues that come up around the question of LGBT rights. But that’s a separate matter.

There are real disagreements and divisions lying at the heart of the Recent Unpleasantness. But I wish to hell people would dump the stupid stereotypes so we could get on with a serious discussion and debate.

Fact Three. Yes, there is a problem with the Hugo awards, but that problem can be depicted in purely objective terms without requiring anyone to impute any malign motives to anyone else. In a nutshell, the awards have been slowly drifting away from the opinions and tastes of the mass audience, to the point where there is today almost a complete separation between the two. This stands in sharp contrast to the situation several decades ago, when the two overlapped to a great extent. For any number of reasons, this poses problems for the awards themselves. The Hugos are becoming increasingly self-referential, by which I mean they affect and influence no one except the people who participate directly in the process.

That said, however, as I spent a lot of time in my first essay analyzing—see “Some comments on the Hugos and other SF awards”—the causes of the problem are complex and mostly objective in nature. There is no easy fix to the problem. There is certainly no quick fix. Most of all, there is no one to blame—and trying to find culprits and thwart the rascals does nothing except make the problem worse.

(3) More backstory on the Lamplighter/Nielsen Hayden encounter.

(4) John ONeill in a comment to Jeffro Johnson on Black Gate

> Please tell me more about this cost to peoples’ careers and reputations.

> I can see in the context that you think it should be glaringly obvious, but it isn’t clear to me.

Jeffro,

There are multiple aspects to it, obviously, but let me dwell on those that seemed instantly obvious back in April.

First, don’t piss off your audience. As I’ve said many times, the Hugo electorate don’t like to be dictated to. Their response to the Puppy ballot was entirely predictable — they were going to (fairly or unfairly) reject the whole thing out of hand. It didn’t take any great insight to see that, even back in April.

When it happened to us, the temptation was strong to accept the nomination anyway, and then spend the next four months lobbying for a fair shake. But that’s a fool’s game, because almost no one is paying attention… and anyway, most voters made up their mind the instant they heard about the slate. There was just no way we were going to be able to reach the bulk of voters.

Accepting the nomination, and becoming part of the Puppy slate, meant we were going to get spanked, and hard. The Hugo electorate was pissed off, and there was nothing we could say to them that would mitigate that.

Now, plenty of Puppies tried — and tried hard — to make their case in the intervening four months. I paid attention, and I thought several did a great job. So much so that, just as I said in my Sunday article, I began to doubt my initial prediction, and believed that a compelling majority of Hugo voters would give the Puppies a fair shake, and vote on the merits.

Nope. In the end, nothing we nominees said made any difference. The Hugo electorate spanked the Puppies, and hard, for the crime of being a slate, and threatening the integrity of the awards.

So, now that it’s over, how has being a losing Puppy nominee damaged reputations and careers?

The answer is twofold. One, you’re a loser. You lost out to “No Award.” That’s only happened 10 times in Hugo history… and half of them were on Sunday.

Second, rightly or wrongly, the nominees are branded as Puppies, and right now that’s a losing brand. It may not be a losing brand forever, but from the looks of the Hugo voting, it sure ain’t a brand that the majority of Hugo voters look kindly on.

There are things the nominees can do, of course — continue to produce good work. continue to network, and continue to make their case.

But I think the evidence of the past four months is pretty compelling: no one is listening. You were part of a slate that was loudly and very successfully repudiated by fandom, and that’s all they need to know to form a negative opinion.

(5) Vox Day on Vox Popoli

[Warning about insults of GRRM in post title and content]

It’s amusing how the SJWs in science fiction are claiming five awardless categories as a win while simultaneously trying to figure out how to prevent it from happening again next year. And, Martin demonstrates the truth of the observation SJWs Always Lie, as he tells a whopper about Toni Weisskopf when he claims she would “almost certainly have been nominated anyway, even if there had been no slates”. The fact is Toni Weisskopf never even came CLOSE to being nominated prior to Sad Puppies 1. In 2012, she finished in 14th place. In 2011, 10th. In 2010, 11th. She wasn’t even trending in the right direction! Without the Puppies, she would never, ever, have received a nomination and the data shows that the 2015 Long Form nominees would have been virtually identical to the pre-Puppy years, including the aforementioned Liz Gorinsky, Beth Meacham, to say nothing of the Torlock who lobbied for the creation the award so he and his fellow Tor editors could finally win something, Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

(6) Tasha Robinson on NPR – “How The Sad Puppies Won – By Losing”

As The Guardian put it in a triumphant post-awards headline, “Diversity wins as the Sad Puppies lose at the Hugo awards.”

Unfortunately, that isn’t true. The Puppy bloc — estimated as about 19 percent of the overall voters, according to a Chaos Horizon vote analysis — didn’t win any Hugos. But it did win the day. The group successfully prevented a wide variety of other content from making it to the finalist list. Sites like io9 have examined the initial Hugo nominees voting and assembled an alternate ballot, showing the top vote recipients, which would have been finalists in a Puppy-free year. They include strong Short Story candidates like Ursula Vernon’s “Jackalope Wives” and Amal El-Mohtar’s “The Truth About Owls.” A year where No Award beat out eligible, worthy material is hard to count as a victory.

And the Puppies didn’t just dominate the finalist slate, they dominated the conversation for the entire convention. They forced everyone at WorldCon to acknowledge them and their agenda, and to take sides in the conflict or work around them. They turned the 2015 Hugos into an openly cynical referendum not about which works were best, but about whose politics and tactics were best. Any vote-based system can be seen as a popularity contest and a tactical war, but the Puppies made this year’s Hugos about those things and nothing else.

They got their noses rapped at the awards ceremony. But losing an awards statue isn’t the same as losing the conversation.And they did so in the most openly derisive manner possible. Puppy defenders have often made the offensive, judgmental and depressingly self-absorbed argument that voters couldn’t possibly actually like works by or about women, trans people, gay people, writers of color and so forth. Clearly, the argument claims, people could only vote for those works out of a misguided social-justice agenda. Until this year, the best argument that Hugo voters really were voting for their favorite works (and not to push an agenda) was the range of material nominated on the first ballot, reflecting the variety of tastes that creates such a wide and scattered speculative-fiction field.

Now that voters have seen that following their hearts will just get their candidates shut out of consideration, they’re more likely to want to build slates and promote agendas, to prevent another ballot filled with finalists they can’t stomach. Over the weekend, WorldCon organizers approved a series of changes to the Hugo nominee rules to help prevent bloc domination of the ballot. But those changes won’t go into effect until 2017, assuming they’re ratified at the 2016 WorldCon.

Still, the Puppies lost in some ways, beyond the straight question of who got the awards. Their tactics rallied voters who haven’t paid attention to the process in years, and guaranteed their interest and involvement in 2016 and for the immediate future. And by creating a straight-up duel between politically aligned poles, then losing it by a wide margin, they disproved their claims that they were the silent majority, the populists being unfairly ruled by a minority of elitists. They got their noses rapped at the awards ceremony. But losing an awards statue isn’t the same as losing the conversation. And the conversation certainly isn’t over. It — and the Puppies — are just getting started

(7) Abigail Nussbaum on Asking The Wrong Questions – “The 2015 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on the Results”

If the puppies had truly represented “real” fandom, then “real” fandom would have turned up to vote for the nominees they put on the ballot.  Instead, the people who voted were, overwhelmingly, thoroughly pissed off and eager to kick some puppy ass.  The Hugo is a popular vote award, and what that means is that while it can be manipulated, it can’t be stolen.  It belongs to whoever turns up to vote, and in 2015 the people who turned up to vote wanted nothing to do with the puppies’ politics and tactics.  Despite the puppies’ loudest claims to the contrary, 3,000 voters are not a cabal or a clique.  They are the fandom. I’d like to believe that there are enough people among the puppy voters who are capable of seeing this.  There’s been some debate today about what percentage of the Hugo voters actually represent puppies.  This analysis by Chaos Horizon suggests that there were 500 Rabid Puppy voters, and 500 Sad Puppy voters.  That’s a big enough number to suggest that we could be looking at a repeat of this dance next year–another puppy-dominated ballot, another fannish outrage, another puppy shutout at the voting phase.  But to my mind, the real question is: how many of those thousand voters are willing to do that?  How many of them would rather destroy the Hugo than see it go to someone they disapprove of?  How many of them are able to ignore the undeniable proof that they’ve maxed out their support within the community, and that there simply aren’t enough Gamergate trolls to make up the difference?

I’d like to believe that those people are not the majority.  That there are among puppy voters people who can grasp that if you want to win a Hugo, the simplest and easiest way to do it is to play by the same rules as everyone else: write and publicize good, worthwhile work, and do so with a genuine love for the award, not the contempt and resentfulness that characterized the puppies’ behavior this year.

The truth is–and this is something that we’ve all lost sight of this year–no matter how much the puppies like to pretend otherwise, the Hugo is not a progressive, literary, elitist award.  It’s a sentimental, middle-of-the-road, populist one.  I rarely like the shortlists it throws up, and am often frustrated by the excellent work that it ignores.  In fact, looking at this year’s would-have-been nominees, I see some work that I loved–Aliette de Bodard’s “The Breath of War,” Carmen Maria Machado in the Campbell Award category–but on the whole it feels like a very safe, unexciting ballot that I would probably have complained about quite a bit if it had actually come to pass.  And for all the crowing about this year’s winners being a victory for those who love the Hugos, some of them–particularly in the Best Novelette and Best Fan Writer categories–send as message that is, to my mind, far from progressive.  (Full disclosure: this year’s nominating breakdowns reveal that, if it hadn’t been for the puppies, I would have been nominated in the Best Fan Writer category.  I don’t think I would have won, and all things considered I’m glad that I was out of that mess this year, but it’s worth acknowledging.)  It’s not that I’ve never felt the desire to burn the whole edifice down, the way the puppies say they do.  The difference is that I never thought that exasperation could be used to justify actually doing it.

(8) Gregory G. Hullender offers his translation of a French news article about the Puppies on Greg’s Reflections: My Adventures Reading in a Foreign Language.

Part of the fun of reading a foreign language is getting a very different perspective on issues. As a science-fiction fan, I’ve been curious what the Europeans would make of this year’s “Sad Puppy” affair. Sure enough, I found an article about it in Le Monde, the French “newspaper of record.”

(9) Allan Davis on LewRockwell.com “We Had To Burn The Hugos To Save Them”

Over 1200 people voted for Toni Weisskopf.  750 more voted for Sheila Gilbert, and 200 for Anne Sowards, all in the Best Long Form Editor category.  Over two thousand people voted in good faith for the people that they thought deserved that award.  And 2500 members of the High Church of Science Fiction–the ruling faction that believes it gets to determine who is, and who is not, a “true fan” of the genre–declared that those two thousand opinions were not welcome and their votes do not count. The SJW ruling faction of science fiction fandom, who pride themselves on their diversity, tolerance, and inclusiveness, won this year’s battle against the Puppies using their preferred weapons of intolerance and exclusion.

(10) Sharrukin’s Palace

Seriously. What did they expect was going to happen?

I’m not going to pretend that everyone has been behaving well in opposing the Puppies. There’s no denying that two of the prominent Puppies are extremely toxic figures, but the worst thing I can say about most of them is that they’re rather clueless. Folks like Lou Antonelli, Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, and Brad Torgersen are due some pretty strong criticism for their actions, but they don’t deserve some of the outright slander that they’ve been getting.

That having been said, did any of these folks really think that a community in which they’ve spent months or years violating long-established social norms, and loudly insulting pretty much everyone, was going to react with praise, respect, and silver rockets?

(11) embrodski on Death Is Bad “Puppies – All Bark, No Bite”

The fact remains that the puppy supporters were excited to vote a slate so they could hijack the Hugos for their self-aggrandizement. And as I predicted in “Why Vandals?” none of them bothered to show up for the actual party. If the party was left just to them, they’d have a nearly empty convention hall and no one to run it. They do not care about the con, or the people who attend it. They didn’t attend the business meeting to try to make things better. They didn’t put forward any bids to host the 2018 WorldCon. That they didn’t try to further mar the convention by ruining things in person isn’t a mark of civility, it’s simply the modus operandi for internet cowards.

It really dawned on me just how worthless the Puppies are when I went to the business meeting, and during the watching of the fan-recognition part of the award ceremony. These are people, later on in their years, who have been SF/F fans for significantly longer than I’ve even been alive. They’ve spent *decades* of work putting together these conventions. They are dedicated, and in love. They aren’t the authors, they don’t get the accolades themselves. They’re just passionate about SF. I really came to realize how much WorldCon is by and for the fans. I was very disappointed that more puppies didn’t come to the con in person. I was very disappointed that ALL the puppies didn’t come to the con in person! They would have seen that joy and passion for themselves. Maybe that is part of the reason why the puppy supporters who did come didn’t boo or shout or try to disrupt anything. They saw the love and the passion for themselves, and couldn’t bring themselves to be assholes any more. The ones who stayed home, safe behind their keyboards – they are the ones who will continue to be dicks. Because they were cowards, and wouldn’t come to see what they were vandalizing in person. Assholery feeds on cowardice, which leads to further assholery, in a neat little circle. It’s fitting.

(12) Aaron Pound on Dreaming of Other Worlds – “Biased Opinion: 2015 Hugo Awards Post-Mortem”

In the Long Form Editor category, Beale instructed his minions to vote for Toni Weisskopf first, and placed himself further down his instructional list. Despite this, 166 voters placed Beale first on their ballots, putting him ahead of Jim Minz, who only got 58 first place nods.

(13) Howard Tayler on Schlock Mercenary – “Sasquan Report”

My heart goes out to those who did not win awards this year, especially those whose work missed being on the ballot because of the hijacked slate. Their work will stand independently of this, however, and needs neither my pity nor the validation of the short-list. As a former Hugo loser, I know that it stings, but I also know that you’ve got to keep making stuff regardless of what happens with awards. I kept making Schlock Mercenary for five years after it started not winning Hugo awards. It still hasn’t won, and I’m still making it today.

Just as awards shouldn’t validate your decision to create art, they shouldn’t have any bearing on how you feel about the art you consume. Reading in particular is a deeply personal, intimate act. An award on a book is like a sticker on a banana: it might help you pick the banana, but if you eat the sticker you’re doing it wrong.

(14) Jennifer Brozek – “About the Hugo Awards in Interview Form”

Q: Now that the Hugos are over, how do you feel?

A: I feel fine.

Q: Really?

A: Yes, really. Yes, of course I’m sad I didn’t win—it was a beautiful award and I worked really hard. I wanted to win, but as I said on twitter, I’m happy people voted the way they felt they needed to. There are other nominations and other Hugos. All voices need to be heard. I don’t want to dwell on anything else. It’s done for me.

Q: What about the numbers?

A: The numbers came out exactly as I thought they would. Without “No Award,” Mike Resnick would’ve won.

Q: What about the nomination numbers, discounting the slates?

A: I saw that I probably would’ve been 6th or 7th nomination place in Best Editor, Short Form. Respectable. More importantly, I saw that CHICKS DIG GAMING got 92 nomination votes in the Best Related Work category—second only to Jo Walton’s WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK SO GREAT. Which meant, incidentally, I lost a second time on Hugo night. I lost an Alfie to Jo. Still, that means I probably would’ve been nominated for a Hugo whether there was a slate or not. So, I’m feeling pretty good about things.

(15) David Gerrold on Facebook

First, the offer to buy him [Lou Antonelli] a beer was made before he wrote his letter to the Spokane police chief. After he wrote that letter, that promise was not one I wanted to keep at Worldcon.

Second, my exact words were: “Lou, I might have forgiven you. That doesn’t mean I want to talk to you.” I am quite certain about what I said. I have forgiven him. I just didn’t know then and don’t know now what I want to say to him.

Which is why I said what I said — not to be rude, but to avoid a situation for which I was unprepared, a situation where I might say something inappropriate, something that might exacerbate an already unfortunate situation.

I did recognize that Lou’s intentions were peaceful, but that moment was neither the time nor the place. There were too many people watching both of us, many of them still upset or concerned. There were too many possibilities for Russian telephone.

It is possible that at some time in the future, Lou and I will be able to sit down and talk together, but it cannot happen while so many people are still feeling raw.

I do ask that everyone drop the subject. I do not want Lou to be the target of anyone’s internet jihad. He made a mistake. He apologized. I accepted his apology. I just didn’t want to get into that situation then. I do not want to rehash it endlessly.

(16) Arthur Chu on Salon – “The scifi fans are alright: I saw the future at the Hugo Awards – and it will never belong to the tox right-wing trolls”

My experience talking about social issues in geeky fandom online is one of constant attacks and sniping and arguing and “controversy”. If you clicked on the #HugoAwards hashtag Saturday night you could see a steady stream of 4chan-style obscenities, slurs and assorted nastiness from people not present.

But in person? To paraphrase the great Bill Hicks, I saw a lot of division among convention attendees about the Sad Puppies “movement”; people who viewed the movement with frustrated rage and people who viewed the movement with bemused pity.

There were, to be sure, plenty of personal beefs and political differences. I met many people I’d argued with online about various topics. Plenty of people had negative things to say about the response to the Sad Puppies, saying that other people had been too harsh or too hostile or too unhelpful in tone.

But defending the Puppies’ actions? Not a single person I met took that stance. The “controversy” didn’t exist outside the Internet. Everyone across the spectrum was united by sheer astonishment at how assholish the move to game the nominations was.

[Thanks to Andrew Trembley, John King Tarpinian and Greg Hullender for some of these links.]

732 thoughts on “Enriching Your Puppy Vocabulary 8/26

  1. @Kurt: You’re a braver man than I.

    @Whomever: The charity drive is on. If Con or Bust gets $2,500 in donations by the end of Sunday night, Scalzi will record an audiobook of Theophilus Pratt’s John Scalzi Is Not a Very Popular Author and I Myself am Quite Popular.

  2. @Jim Henley–@Harold Osler: I’m half convinced Heinlein used the term in Farnham’s Freehold. But for goddam sure I am not procuring a copy of that book to check…
    Could be–but I don’t really remember anything about the Chinese or China in that one. I’ll probably try to skim my copy–it’s been years since I read it.
    I’m thinking it’s from more of a ‘pulpish’ book–not Doc Savage but something a little higher on the food chain. Maybe ‘The Defiant Agents’, something like that.

  3. In case anyone has missed it, over on the thread on VDs new book someone (Matt Y?) mused idly that what Alexandra Erin’s parody really needed was an audio version, read by Scalzi. And it was agreed that this was a very funny idea. So Jim Henley tweeted at Scalzi. And then this happened.

    ETA: Great minds think alike, eh Jim?

  4. @Nigel

    The most messagey one was Starship Troopers, the message about how awesome it is to troop in a ship amongst the stars and shoot aliens as part of a military elite.

    Not only that, but didn’t Heinlein explicitly write it as propaganda to support the continuation of the US nuclear testing program?

  5. @John C Wright:

    How many are larded with a pretentious but sophomoric profundity or attempted relevance by presenting heavy-handed message fiction rather than science fiction.

    Brought to you by the author of “One Bright Star to Guide Them” and “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds”.

  6. Mark –

    In case anyone has missed it, over on the thread on VDs new book someone (Matt Y?) mused idly that what Alexandra Erin’s parody really needed was an audio version, read by Scalzi. And it was agreed that this was a very funny idea. So Jim Henley tweeted at Scalzi. And then this happened.

    I’M GOING TO TAKE ALL THE CREDIT HAAHAHAHAHA

    Just awesome, and I backed up what I said and have donated.

  7. By my rough tally from Scalzi’s comment thread, we are at least halfway there. I suspect that’s an undercount. (I treated everyone who didn’t give an amount as kicking in $10. I suspect the undeclared amounts will average to somewhat more. One commenter says he gave $500.)

  8. @Microtherion

    Brought to you by the author of “One Bright Star to Guide Them” and “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds”.

    Coming soon:

    The Morlock of Ireflop Mountain

  9. But will John Scalzi be doing the voices?

    You can’t read us a story and not do the voices!

  10. On the John C. Wright challenge: pop music fans have written many similar things, comparing the Lost Golden Age with works from the current decade-or-so.

    The Golden Age dates are different for popular music — for rock music, it’s roughly 1965-1985. Hell, I’ve written such essays myself!! 🙂 Kids these days…

    The more theoretical of the Sad Puppies seem to feel that if they can bring back the science fiction of the American Century (1900-1975), then society itself can be restored to that golden state. It’s a fight for western civilization, as some of the puppies never tire of telling us.

    (The American Century came to a premature end due to the withdrawal from Vietnam, peak domestic oil production, peak middle class men’s income, and the Nixon resignation, all of which punctured the national saga of eternal growth, prosperity and American Goodness which fueled much of the SF which the Puppies remember, or mis-remember, so fondly.)

  11. It turns out Kyra would have made the ballot if Mamatas hadn’t engaged in gaming it with cronyism.

  12. I’m wondering if any of the various canids have ever read, for example, the Astounding Science Fiction Anthology (1952 or 1953).
    According to what they say they want, it should be one of their foundational collections. (Somehow I think they’ve missed it.)

  13. I’m WAY behind on the comments, but for those interested, I have a couple of book deals to share. I have no financial stake, and I’m not sure how long they’re good, but here goes:

    Amazon/Google Play: Andy Weir’s The Martian is on sale for $1.99.
    Amazon: There’s a conspiracy-theory anthology called Tales of Tinfoil that is currently free.

  14. PJ: It won’t be the first time someone’s pointed out that the Puppies claim to defend the legacy of atheist Jewish socialists, anti-theocratic advocates of experiments in love, sex, and marriage, and gay British emigres who boosted continental-scale social engineering, among others.

  15. @Kurt: You’re a braver man than I.

    I am, in all modesty, an extremely brave man, one of the bravest in the braving game today.

  16. @Seth Gordon

    AIUI the current party line of the Chinese government is that the Cultural Revolution was an overreaction. So a Chinese author today can safely portray the Cultural Revolution in all its hellish, umm, hellishness, and still get his or her book past the state censor

    An excellent point, in my opinion. On the other hand, the contemporary Communist party is conspicuous in this novel by its complete absence, as far as I recall, which is not exactly on message, as I understand it.

    Reading 3BP, I never had the slightest impression it was promoting pro-Communist politics—not only in its discussion of history, but the portrayal of the alien totalitarian society was not exactly sympathetic either.

    On the other hand, the esthetics of the writing did remind me a bit of socialist realism—as if the author was trying to implement, say, Bertolt Brecht’s theory of writing, without mitigating it with Brecht’s actual practice. I suppose, though, that the more likely explanation, is cultural differences in how literature is expected to be constructed.

  17. @Gabriel F.

    Although, honestly, I don’t know anybody who does the “gotta read just one more page” thing better than Heinlein.

    I may be cast to the oubliette for this one, but no one does this better than Stephen King, IMO.

    I agree. In the recent discussion about book editors’ duties, I was reminded that I liked both editions of The Stand about equally, i.e. I enjoyed King’s writing enough that the hundreds of extra pages did not feel like filler at all, yet I did not feel that cutting them had detracted in the least from the story when it was originally published.

  18. SocialInjusticeWorrier:

    Jagi Lamplighter hasn’t done anyone any harm and really shouldn’t be made collateral damage by either side in the War of the Underhounds.

    That is exactly right.

  19. The End Is Nigh edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey is available as part of the Disasters Bundle on StoryBundle right now, for anyone interested. It’s behind the $15 wall but there’s plenty of other stuff on there for anyone who might be interested.

    You know, just to add to everyone’s to-read list.

    Also still one hour remaining on the Women in Sci-Fi bundle, which I also just bought. Mostly for the Nagata and Asaro, but also for Stars, co-edited by Mike Resnick, as it happens.

  20. I apologize (though, based on the reported Sasquan encounter between her & PNH, I don’t see her as an entirely innocent bystander).

    Mike, feel free to remove my above post and/or this one if you think them beneath the dignity of this site.

  21. Microtherion: At your suggestion, I have taken the liberty of deleting the original and the comment which contains the verbatim quote.

    Not that I make any exaggerated claims about the dignity of this site, but the solution seemed appropriate.

  22. @Mike Glyer

    Not that I make any exaggerated claims about the dignity of this site

    In all modesty, it is one of the very finest sites siting today…

  23. Microtherion: I think that there’s a kind of wrestling going on in Three-Body Problem that takes on its particular form because of China’s communist legacy. Essential to Communism is a vision of history in which humanity has a better future than past. There’s supposed to be progress happening, even when the wheels of history grind very slowly. Human nature is, maybe not infinitely adaptable, but capable of becoming vastly better than it has ever been. But in 3BP, Liu looks really seriously a pair of questions: What if humanity is just really no damn good? And who benefits from us thinking so, whether or not it’s true?

    If humanity is in fact no damn good, then the fundamentals of Marxism are dead wrong, and there’s no reason to expect that true socialism can ever be attained. Conversely, maybe we are some damn good, but it’s possible to sell the best and brightest of us on the notion that we aren’t. In that case, the Marxist vision is still at risk – if all it takes is aliens clever in the right way to derail history, then there is no reliable dialectic.

    We’ll have to see where the rest of the trilogy goes, but implicitly, quietly 3BP is an assault on fundamentals in the way that an American work presenting a fictional world in which the Marxist dialectic is in fact inevitably true, or like the genetic determinism in Michael Kube-McDowell’s The Quiet Pools. (Fan club checking in, Michael.)

  24. @Bruce Baugh

    I wonder whether Liu Cixin is picking up one of the oldest debates in the Chinese Confucian tradition. By and large, the optimistic view espoused by Mengzi/Mencius that human nature is basically good won out, but there was a strong undercurrent, deriving from Xunzi/Hsun Tzu that asserted that human nature was fundamentally bad. From a Mencian point of view, government is primarily a matter of getting morality right and then everyone will live happily ever after. From the Xunzian perspective, the best you can do is create strong institutions and laws and restrict the amount of harm done by innate human wickedness.

  25. SocialInjusticeWorrier:

    In all modesty, it is one of the very finest sites siting today…

    🙂

  26. Really vigorous agreement on the merits of John Joseph Adams’ End trilogy. He pulls together great work. I subscribed to Lightspeed in large part because he’s one of the editors there.

    SocialInjusticeWorrier: Yeah, I think it’s there. The People’s Republic regime has often made use of Legalist precedents – see the movie Hero for an artistic statement of the principle that All Under Heaven, the nation, justifies all personal misery and sacrifice.

  27. @Bruce Baugh: after reading a few issues each of Nightmare and Lightspeed I’m horribly, awfully tempted to throw a few hundred dollars at him for the lifetime subscriptions… but I’ll probably just stick with a smaller subscription since that’s short-term easiest on my wallet right now. Because I don’t have 2x$500(!!) to throw at some magazines.

    He’s a very skilled editor, one of the finest editing today.

  28. I am currently watching an apparently serious discussion on Twitter regarding the prospect of a class-action lawsuit against “the Hugos.”

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make really, really stupid.

    Fess up. Who performed a sacrifice while repeating Voltaire’s Prayer?

    It’s the only explanation for the Puppy related frothing from the last few days. Unless they’re really that unhinged….

  29. When it comes to Puppy vocabulary, Torgerson blew it and blew it badly. He created a new derogatory acronym, “CHORF” that the Puppies have been throwing around among themselves with wild abandon. Torgerson put it together as “Cliquish Holier-than-thou Obnoxious Reactionary Fanatics”. But there’s a problem. CHORF already had a definition. The Christopher Hardman Osteosarcoma Research Fund. Established in 2004, it has prior art on Torgerson by at least a decade, and if he’d bothered to google his new creation then he would have found it. All of the Puppies who have been misusing it, starting with Torgerson, should first apologize and then donate heavily.

    Also, I’m thinking there’s a T-shirt in the offing.

  30. Re: book deals (prices, not the other kind)

    I’ve just started using it, but eReaderIQ has been very helpful in tracking kindle sales and alerting me to wish list and author discounts.

    (I snagged The Martian, Station Eleven, and a digital copy of Game of Thrones – all $1.99 currently)

  31. Established in 2004, it has prior art on Torgerson by at least a decade, and if he’d bothered to google his new creation then he would have found it.

    Somebody tell the Culinary Institute of America, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cardiff International Arena, the Chemical Industries Association, Calgary International Airport, the Center for Icelandic Art, my Common Iliac Artery and of course those scamps at the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Christ on a rabbit farm, acronyms are not required to be unique. Off all the dumb things Buck Turgidson has done (and it’s a long list, and includes coining that particular insult), infringing on someone else’s acronym doesn’t rank.

  32. For monitoring ebook prices, I use Luzme. Sign up for an account and configure it, and it’ll monitor your Amazon, Goodreads, and/or LibraryThing wishlist and send an email when any book’s price drops. (Disclaimer: what, you think Luzme is compensating me for recommending them? Ha, no.)

  33. This is a variation of what I posted in Sarah Hoyt’s comments.

    First, I did not call Sarah a racist.

    Second, I said it was a “racial slur” not an “ethnic slur.”

    Third… Because it was a word I didn’t know, I looked it up and this is the definition that I got. “Slang: Disparaging. a contemptuous term used to refer to a Communist Chinese.” Now you can argue with the definition, but *please* don’t say that I was stupid enough to just make a random guess.

    Fourth: I also read more than just the dictionary, and know the historic usage. I’m familiar with Chinese Communism because my brother’s PhD was about it. In 1969? Sure, that was a valid use. But it’s not in current use academically because it’s an insult.

    Now, Sarah posted that she didn’t know the word either. She said, “How could I introduce you to a word whose meaning I don’t KNOW” So I’ll grant that she may not have known that it was insulting currently. Though the context in her post makes it seem that she did intend it to be insulting. I mean… the Three Body Problem is pretty strongly anti-communist, so it can’t even be cited as an accurate term for the author or translator.

    And… it’s an insult that can only be applied to someone who is Chinese, as opposed to something like “Commie.” The *only* reason to use it there instead of Marxists/Commies/Pinkos is because Three Body Problem was written by a Chinese man. That’s what makes it a racial slur rather than a political one in this context.

  34. Christ on a rabbit farm, acronyms are not required to be unique. Off all the dumb things Buck Turgidson has done (and it’s a long list, and includes coining that particular insult), infringing on someone else’s acronym doesn’t rank.

    If it were something as simple as that I’d just have a snicker and move on. But in this case Torgerson has turned the name of an organization memorializing a kid with cancer into an insult. It’s a careless, foot-chewing goof. Torgerson should, yet again, be ashamed of himself.

  35. Mary Robinette Kowal on August 27, 2015 at 10:27 pm said:
    “This is a variation of what I posted in Sarah Hoyt’s comments.”

    It’s sad you feel you need to explain any of this, because it’s so bleeding obvious. And consider the sources of the criticism. You’re dancing with a pig.

    Your point was clear, correct, and taking the term exactly as it was intended. So naturally Hoyt and others ramped up the outrage 🙁

  36. Ugh, missed this:

    Mamatas:I’m actually Neutral Good, but am surrounded by Lawful Evil people who think they are Lawful Neutral.

    Good people don’t enable serial abusers or mock their victims.

  37. @Will R

    Your use of “pale”proves that all SJWs are racists! #Puppylogic

  38. Can we make a new Hugo category – the “Chapter 5 Award” for worst editor? ‘Cause I know who I am going to nominate.

    I move to amend the proposal and call it the “Chapters 5 Award”.

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