Sad Puppies 4 Begins

Between now and MidAmeriCon II people will expend a million words arguing whether Sad Puppies 4 is a slate or a recommendation list, a Hugo voter registration drive, an outlet for those frustrated with message fiction, a movement to oppose the dread SJWs, or all of the above.

But the opening paragraph of Kate Paulk’s Mad Genius Club post about Sad Puppies 4 shows its first priority is gratifying the egos of the organizers —

“Introducing Sad Puppies Four: The Bitches are Back” …(also the Embiggening, and the Embitchening, given that I, Kate the Impaler, am Queen Bitch and I am ably seconded by Sarah, the Beautiful But Evil Space Princess, and Amanda, the Redhead of Doom, and we are all more than capable of going Queen Bitch when we need to).

Apart from that, the stated goals of Sad Puppies 4 include:

Expanding the number of Hugo voters —

The Hugo awards has entirely too small a voting and nominating pool. Five thousand votes is the largest number ever received? Two thousand nomination ballots? That’s piddly. For a field loved by millions, it’s nowhere near enough, and makes it easy for any small clique to corrupt the idea of awarding great SF and start giving themselves awards.

Collecting nominee recommendations —

The tireless, wonderful volunteer Puppy Pack will be collating recommendations.

Hosting an SP4 website as the collecting point — http://sadpuppies4.org/

There will… be multiple permanent threads (one per category) on the SP4 website where people can make comments.

Generating lists of the 10 most popular recommendations in each Hugo category —

Later – most likely somewhere around February or early March, I’ll be posting The List to multiple locations. The List will not be a slate – it will be a list of the ten or so most popular recommendations in each Hugo category, and a link to the full list in all its glory. Nothing more, nothing less.

Being open to anyone, grudgingly —

SF is a big tent: we don’t want to kick out anyone, even writers of bad message fiction that makes puppies sad.

The three organizers will not appear on The List, however, they are not recusing themselves from being nominated. Paulk says, “If anyone wants to nominate any of us they’ll need to do it on their own.”

Paulk also says emphatically, “there is NO political test.”

She calls for people to recommend things only if “you’ve read it/watched it/seen it and you think it’s one of the best in its Hugo class published in 2015.”

Sad Puppies 4 logo

ArtRaccoon (Lee Madison), who did logos for SP3 and Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies slate, has created the Sad Puppies 4 logo. In a comment, the artist explained each of the dogs has a name —

Issac is at front checking over the systems start up, probably worrying about not making the Robomutt Robert “Three Laws Safe”. Frank is the one on the laptop…totally violating the tenets of the Butlerian Jihad, and Ray is on Robert’s back checking his welding job.

319 thoughts on “Sad Puppies 4 Begins

  1. Another here in favor of EPH. While any voting scheme can be gamed, I still think it’s an improvement. Everyone gets one cup of gravy; whether you choose to spread yours on one potato or five is up to you.

    There’s been discussion over in Puppyland about trying to generate a complete list of ALL eligible works (which I think is a good idea too), precisely to mitigate the problem of busy people just-plain-forgetting that some perfectly worthy works exist, or never happening across them in the first place because they just don’t hear about ’em. All too easy — just this week I discovered I’d entirely missed the latest from one of my fave authors, had no idea it existed until I tripped over it by accident.

  2. To lurkertype: Nora Roberts was mentioned as a possble nominee months ago by either Sarah or Kate.

    I think Pratchett is a cinch to be on the reading list as Puppies want to honor him. Ringo has stated he does not want to be nominated. (I don’t know why and I’m not speculating).

    And nothing is going to stop the Great Horde from nominating their Khan’s work for Best Related Category.

  3. I can imagine other reasons: the general level of organization and unity of New York fandom comes to mind.

  4. Can anyone imagine another reason why there hasn’t been a Worldcon in New York City since 1967?

    You can only have a Worldcon in NYC in years when the Leafs win the Stanley Cup?

  5. Daniel:

    aside: Kurt, if I’d remembered you were going to be at Sasquan, I’d have packed my copy of SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY for an autograph. Dagnabit!

    Consider it dagnabbed!

  6. @Iain Coleman: NYC is certainly no cheaper than London and is quite possibly more expensive. Also, despite having the highest attendance since 1984, Loncon 3 appears to have lost money. They couldn’t even afford to print and ship souvenir books for overseas supporting members, much less pass along money to future Worldcons. The financial failure ofbLoncon despite its large size argues against an NYC Worldcon making sense.

  7. There’s been discussion over in Puppyland about trying to generate a complete list of ALL eligible works (which I think is a good idea too)

    That’s going to be three thousand or more novels alone. Such a list would probably be too unwieldy to have any value at all.

  8. Mike Kerpan: They couldn’t even afford to print and ship souvenir books for overseas supporting members

    Yeah, I am still pissed off about all the claims being made that Loncon “broke even”. They didn’t. They still have debts owing.

  9. …is it weird that I’m seriously considering buying an attending membership for MidAmericon II just to go to the business meeting? I don’t think I could handle attending the con itself, but I really want EPH to pass.

  10. Aaron: [a complete list of ALL eligible works is] going to be three thousand or more novels alone. Such a list would probably be too unwieldy to have any value at all.

    It will be over 4,000 — and that’s without including all the self-pubbed books.

    And of course, they can’t leave those off.

  11. Reziac on September 3, 2015 at 6:12 pm said

    just this week I discovered I’d entirely missed the latest from one of my fave authors, had no idea it existed until I tripped over it by accident.

    That happens to me all the time. I had no idea the next Sue Grafton detective novel, X, was out, until I happened to see it in the window of the Harvard Book Store while walking by yesterday evening.

  12. One of the Puppies was really disappointed that they couldn’t nominate one of your Esther Diamond novels.

    I am safe from a 2016 slate. Due to my slowness, I don’t have a 2015 book release.

  13. For a field loved by millions, it’s nowhere near enough, and makes it easy for any small clique to corrupt the idea of awarding great SF and start giving themselves awards.

    If only this was a hint of self-awareness.

    PS. Surgery happened, it went okay. I spent the day sleeping it off. Dire warnings about fragility beforehand meant I got away with only bruises, jaw damage, a slight bad reaction to the anaesthesia, and a completely gone voice, so about as well as could be expected. (I also bear more than a passing resemblance to a chipmunk.)

  14. Anti-slate people taking part in the pre-nomination process seems deeply inadvisable.

    @Gabriel F

    Assuming no money issues, it doesn’t sound like a terrible idea. You can always hide in the back of a particularly interesting panel, or attend the File770 meetup, if you decided you had the spoons to do a couple of extra things.

  15. Happy Puppy –

    I think Pratchett is a cinch to be on the reading list as Puppies want to honor him.

    I think there’s going to be a lot of that going on in general, however he specifically declined such honor in the past and which means there’s a likelihood his daughter would want to continue his wishes there. Will be interesting since some Puppy members have expressed issues about the man, plus I mean if they’re against authors promoting diversity…they gotta realize Discworld does that a lot, right?

    If they want to honor him that’s cool I think he should get all the awards, I just think if they forced it through via slate and then bragged about how those SJWs never honored him but they did, they’d certainly not be honoring the man or the spirit of his books that way.

  16. Meredith –

    Anti-slate people taking part in the pre-nomination process seems deeply inadvisable.

    Glad you’re recovering!

    Ditto. Being against slates but participating in one seems dumb. If it’s not a slate, well, I already can nominate works, I don’t get the point in being part of a pre-nomination nomination. I’ll submit my Hugo nominations to WorldCon, nothing else.

  17. JJ:

    Seattle hasn’t hosted a Worldcon for the last 20 years, and finally settled on an alternative location in Spokane, for the same reason Washington DC hasn’t been the location for Worldcon in ages: The hotel and convention space prices would be so prohibitive that membership fees would have to be so high that few attendees could afford it, and therefore most attendees would not be willing to support such a bid.

    There actually have been attempts to bid Seattle in the past 20 years — I covered that history in a 2009 post with the now-confusing headline It’s Reno in 2011.

  18. at the risk of being totally off the topic of today’s developments, i’d like to ask folks for an opinion and /or recommendations. after clicking a link in a simon bisson post to his library in librarything, i joined and have been slowly adding my library, but also using it to add to the list of things to read. it keeps suggesting ken macleod novels to me, and i figure i should grab one and see what’s what. i hate to know too much about a book before i read it, just enough to think it might be interesting to me. i have it narrowed down to Restoration Game or Learning The World. Any MacLeod fans out there care to influence my decision, or tell me there is another i should opt for?

    thanks, and now back to your usual canine programming…..

  19. I knew that several unsuccessful attempts had been made before selecting Spokane in lieu of Seattle. Thanks for adding details, Mike.

  20. *Sigh*

    …or, you know, they could just read broadly in the field – and then each of them could nominate the things that they individually regard as award-worthy.

    But no, they’re going to once again attempt to game the system with an agreed-upon slate.

    Assholes.

  21. Whatever happened to running EPH against the Hugo data from this year? I had thought they were going to get the data for an example run even before the EPH vote happened, but that seems to have just vanished?

  22. @Ryan H

    The Hugo administrators are still recovering from the convention, are prioritising getting Hugo Awards posted to winners who were unable to make it, and haven’t yet been able to prepare the data.

  23. Gully Foyle: at the risk of being totally off the topic of today’s developments, i’d like to ask folks for an opinion and /or recommendations.

    I read Learning the World a year or two ago and quite enjoyed it — enough to read Cosmonaut Keep and the rest of Engines of Light trilogy, which was also good. I haven’t gotten to the Fall Revolution series yet, but it’s on my list. The Restoration Game sounds interesting.

    There’s a reason Ken MacLeod’s books consistently get nominated for, and win, awards. They’re excellent.

  24. Anti-slate people taking part in the pre-nomination process seems deeply inadvisable.

    Hmmm. Looking at the responses to some of the feedback they’ve received, I can see that their already digging in their heels – i.e. on the “If you want to see your favorite author receive a nomination and an award, your best bet will be to cast your nomination ballot for one of the works in the top ten or thereabouts of The List. ” statement, they’re pretty much accusing anyone bringing it up of nit-picking or “nothing we do will ever be good enough”.

    Unfortunate, as the aim seems to be let’s get our stuff on the finalist list and win, rather than here’s some good stuff, have a read

    I’m still likely to regularly drop by and drop off my recommendations to their site, because, well, why not. If (and I acknowledge that it looks entirely likely) that they wind up crafting a slate instead of an actual recommended reading list, I’ve got no issues with remaining opposed to a slate.

    Their constant doubling-down is giving me second thoughts though.

  25. So it will be a slate (a “recommendation list”, wink, wink) of ten. Meaning it will boost Puppies noms by a factor of five instead of a factor of ten.

    Sad Puppies Lite–Same Great Taste, Now With Only Half The Unfair Advantage!

    Great. I’m soooo relieved.

  26. they’re pretty much accusing anyone bringing it up of nit-picking or “nothing we do will ever be good enough”.

    For this year, other than abandoning the Sad Puppy campaign completely, they are probably right. But that’s not because non-Puppies are being unfair. It is because the Puppies have three years of accumulated shit they are bringing with them, and they aren’t starting with a clean board. They are reaping what they have sown for the last three years running. If they don’t like that, too bad.

  27. The Hugo awards has entirely too small a voting and nominating pool. Five thousand votes is the largest number ever received? Two thousand nomination ballots? That’s piddly. For a field loved by millions, it’s nowhere near enough…

    After three+ year of this nonsense, they STILL don’t understand the first thing about the Hugos, do they? The Hugos aren’t the property of the entire genre – the Hugo Awards are given out by the fans at WorldCon.

    Complaining that “WorldCon is too small for the Hugos” is to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding.

    … and makes it easy for any small clique to corrupt the idea of awarding great SF and start giving themselves awards.

    They really do lack self-awareness, don’t they?

  28. Cat: Sad Puppies Lite – Same Great Taste, Now With Only Half The Unfair Advantage!

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to articulate what I think about Sad Puppies 4, and you’ve expressed it perfectly.

  29. Reziac on September 3, 2015 at 6:12 pm said:

    There’s been discussion over in Puppyland about trying to generate a complete list of ALL eligible works (which I think is a good idea too),…

    Albeit an impossible one. Generate a list of every single work of SF/F popular culture entertainment published anywhere in the world in any language? IMO, anyone who thinks this would be easy has vastly underestimated the scope of the problem or doesn’t actually understand what’s eligible.

    Now of course we could simplify things by requiring people to submit their works to the Hugo Awards, and only works submitted would even be eligible for the nominating ballot. Considering the mail we get at the Hugo Awards web site, there are plenty of people who assume that’s how it works already, despite this article about Submitting Your Work linked from the tab “Submissions” at the very top of the front page.

  30. Ryan H on September 3, 2015 at 7:45 pm said:
    Whatever happened to running EPH against the Hugo data from this year?

    If you are interested, you can see more details about where this stands and discussion of various technical points starting on page 3 of Tell Us What You Really Think from Sept 1.

  31. @snowcrash

    they’re [the Puppies] pretty much accusing anyone bringing it up of nit-picking or “nothing we do will ever be good enough”

    Sure they could do something good enough. NOT SLATE. That means no recommendation lists either, unless the recommendation list has fifty items per category with no hints about which to nominate. Because they have three years of bad behavior behind them, and they just don’t get the same slack other people do anymore.

    It’s not that they can’t get that back–but they’ll have to earn it. Good behavior (no slates, no recommendation lists, no badmouthing fen or publishers) for a decade or so should do it.

  32. So there’s more people voting in the Hugos than vote for the Oscars. Somehow I don’t think the Academy is going to care how piddly their awards are.

  33. Gully Foyle: I highly recommend MacLeod’s Fall Revolution sequence, starting with The Star Fraction.

  34. To Cat: “for a decade or so”.

    IOW, surrender unconditionaly, disband, go away, and muzzle yourselves for a decade. Never happening — but you knew that.

    So instead of applauding progress and reaching a viable compromise, you’d rather keep escalating knowing that over time more moderate Puppies will be driven into the Rabid camp.

    Interesting strategy. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on the wisdom of that course of action.

  35. Sure they could do something good enough. NOT SLATE.

    I don’t know whether that’s worth putting forward as the one checkbox to an acceptable campaign, to be honest. There are, as you say, three years of bad behavior, and I don’t know how many bridges they’ve burnt, versus just singed slightly, but I’d reckon it’s more than a few. Yes, the slates are the core complaint, and it’s certainly a necessary step towards getting a better reaction, but I’m not certain it’s both necessary and sufficient these days. If it’s a true recommendation list, and there are still got six months of conspiracy theories about elitist CHORFy Maoist Nazi SJW dinosaur fetishists who should be beaten with a tire iron rigging the vote and shipping puppies off to concentration camps, and the Worldcon organizers run ragged dealing with it all, was the real recommendation list good enough? I think answers will vary.

  36. Well it’s as close to recommendation list as they have gotten; so I support the effort.

    One could wish there was not the 10 most popular ranking as that seems a pseudo slate effort especially if they are ordered by popularity.

    I think the puppies list will be of higher quality this time around. Some hometown favorites will make the rounds I am sure but I am expecting to see work that will be fun to read.

  37. @Happy Puppy

    Happy Puppy on September 3, 2015 at 8:44 pm said:

    To Cat: “for a decade or so”.

    IOW, surrender unconditionaly, disband, go away, and muzzle yourselves for a decade. Never happening — but you knew that.

    There you go again, calling this a war. We were just minding our own business and having fun.

    Really, Happy Puppy–if this was about getting your voice in the Hugos, you don’t need an unfair advantage for that. Read the works that appeal to you, without recourse to a Puppy list, and nominate your favorites. If you’d done that this year, Three-Body Problem, apparently a Puppy favorite, am I right?–would have made the final ballot. Because golly gee it turns out that fandom in general likes some of the same things Puppies do, and will put those things on the ballot for Puppies if Puppies will just refrain from locking the ballot down.

    You know what? If the Puppies had read what appealed to them and nominated their favorites without being diverted by a slate of second-best related works, they’d probably have gotten the Heinlein bio on the ballot, too. You know why? Because nonPuppy fandom had it nearly there, and the ten percent or so of Puppy votes it would naturally have gathered from a group predisposed to like it (the Puppies, in other words) would have put it over the top.

    Wouldn’t the Heinlein bio have been better than “Wisdom from My Internet”? Come on now, be honest.

    And without a slate there would have been no opposition to Puppy favorites like Three Body Problem (which *won* because a lot of the Hugo voters liked it, and the Puppies put it over the top) and the Heinlein bio.

    You’d have been better off without slating.

    So instead of applauding progress and reaching a viable compromise, you’d rather keep escalating knowing that over time more moderate Puppies will be driven into the Rabid camp.

    Sad Puppies Lite–Same Great Taste, Now With Only Half The Unfair Advantage!

    What, do you think we’re stupid? Why not give up the unfair advantage entirely, and vote for what honestly appeals to you, getting things on the ballot that you will actually like better than what you put on there this year, plus having a chance of them actually winning?

    Interesting strategy. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on the wisdom of that course of action.

    Wow I could so say that about Sad Puppies Lite.

  38. Happy Puppy: IOW, surrender unconditionaly, disband, go away, and muzzle yourselves for a decade. Never happening — but you knew that. So instead of applauding progress and reaching a viable compromise, you’d rather keep escalating knowing that over time more moderate Puppies will be driven into the Rabid camp.

    No, it’s not “surrender”. Because there’s no war going on here, except the imaginary one in Puppies heads.

    No one is saying “go away”. No one is saying “muzzle yourselves”. What all the non-Puppies are saying is “Stop Slating and just participate in the same way all the rest of us do”.

    Apparently your definition of “viable compromise” is for non-Puppies to say to Puppies, “It’s okay for you to engage in slate campaigns”. You may consider that “viable”. I, and most non-Puppies, don’t.

    Non-Puppies aren’t “escalating” anything. They’re simply saying “Stop Slating”. How hard is that to understand?

  39. Happy Puppy –

    IOW, surrender unconditionaly, disband, go away, and muzzle yourselves for a decade. Never happening — but you knew that.

    So instead of applauding progress and reaching a viable compromise, you’d rather keep escalating knowing that over time more moderate Puppies will be driven into the Rabid camp.

    Eh, it’s not really a compromise if it’s still effectively trying to create an unfair advantage for those on the top ten list over what individuals of WorldCon are otherwise voting for.

    But there’s some really good suggestions in that thread as well and I think it’s great to see folks talking about work they love and why they love it.

  40. Because they have three years of bad behavior behind them, and they just don’t get the same slack other people do anymore.

    True, but they have five months before Hugo nominations. Paulk and her pals have a chance to prove their good intentions aren’t bullshit. I hope they do, though I’m extremely skeptical that they really want to.

    Sad Puppies could morph into a wing of fandom that celebrates the milsf, Baen, conservative, libertarian, Nutty Nuggets aspects of the genre. It doesn’t have to be about attacking other fans for liking different things and coming up with culture war nonsense to justify their hostility.

  41. @William Underhill: It’s a recommended reading list. Ranked by popularity. With suggestions to vote for the most popular at nominating time. Ran by a group of people with a history of slating and various other forms of shitty behaviour.

  42. Happy Puppy:

    “IOW, surrender unconditionaly, disband, go away, and muzzle yourselves for a decade. Never happening — but you knew that.

    So instead of applauding progress and reaching a viable compromise, you’d rather keep escalating knowing that over time more moderate Puppies will be driven into the Rabid camp.”

    Not disband and go away. Vote on the merits of works like everyone else. Make a reading list if you want, but if you want to avoid having it called a slate and being treated accordingly, do the following:

    1. Do not mix in politics in your discussion of the reading list and the reasons for it to exist.

    2. Do not write posts on how this list and the results for it to exist “will show those SJWs”.

    3. List all the works in alphabetical order instead of popularity.

    4. Do not encourage people to vote with any kind of strategy in mind (like voting for more popular works). They should nominate the works they think is best, whether they are on a list or not.

    5. Do not mix campaigning for more voters with campaigns for voters to a specific reading list. This means linking to other reading lists, not having multipe blogs writing about this specific reading list as the means to read from while ignoring the rest.

    6. Have more works than 10 on the list, otherwise you will give a big and unfair advantage to those on the list.

    7. If Beale wants to slate your reading list, act on this, tell him that this isn’t acceptable, that you don’t want your campaign to be hijacked, that you don’t want him involved in any way whatsoever. Better still, be clear about that now.

    What do you say, Happy Puppy. Sounds good?

  43. IOW, surrender unconditionaly, disband, go away, and muzzle yourselves for a decade.

    I find that equivalence fascinating, because, of course, disbanding and voting as individuals is what would give Puppies the same voice as everyone else, which is what they’ve been asked to do. The organized block is precisely the problem. Asking Puppies not to vote as an organized block is far from saying “go away and muzzle yourselves”. It’s saying “treat everyone else’s vote as if it’s as valuable as yours”. If everyone’s nomination vote being equal is considered an unconditional surrender, I think the Puppies have set themselves an interested negotiating position, because there’s really no reasonable way to ask everyone else to say, “okay, that’s fine, our votes aren’t as valuable as yours”.

    I suspect, given your support for EPH, that you believe organized block nomination and some votes being more equal than others is damaging. Given that, defending a persisting inequality with loaded terms like “unconditional surrender” looks like it’s based more on how emotionally compelling the social support provided by an organized group is. Which is a fair reaction, that’s basic human nature and a real factor in this. Threats to social inclusion are interpreted by the brain as real threat, and I have no doubt that the strong reaction against the Sad Puppies as an organized group feels threatening. I’m not judgmental of that emotional reaction. I do think, though, that it’s the id overriding the ego. There’s a real procedural problem at the core of this, and negotiating an emotional compromise doesn’t necessarily resolve the procedural problem.

  44. JJ:

    Dude. Seattle hasn’t hosted a Worldcon for the last 20 years, and finally settled on an alternative location in Spokane, for the same reason Washington DC hasn’t been the location for Worldcon in ages: The hotel and convention space prices would be so prohibitive that membership fees would have to be so high that few attendees could afford it, and therefore most attendees would not be willing to support such a bid.

    As someone who helped with the second attempt to bid for Seattle, I can assure you that the problem really was facilities backing out. The first time it was the hotels, though AFAIK it had nothing to do with Kentucky or the 1960s. The second time, it was the convention center.

    Vancouver, BC was investigated, and the room costs there really would have been prohibitive. Portland, OR has many things going for it, but not nearly enough hotel rooms near the convention center (which is why a group of Portland fans ran a Worldcon in Reno instead). Spokane had the hotel rooms, the affordability, and a convention center that genuinely wanted fandom’s business.

  45. Could someone explain what happened to lock Louisville out of consideration for a Worldcon?

  46. I think the SP4 organizers chose the only way they can go about this. After 2015, no sane author would want to be on their slate, but turning it into a straight pre-pre-election means they don’t have to bother with permissions.

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