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 —

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. Nick Mamatas: Unless one plans on materializing in the KC Convention Center, Worldcon attendees are likely to walk by any number of armed people while in Missouri, which is a “shall issue” state.

    Oh, I’m not really worried about being around Missourians who are carrying.

    I’m worried about being around Puppies who are carrying, given that a significant number of them have demonstrated a frightening amount of irrationality, insecure egos, hot tempers, and poor impulse control during the last year.

    Hell, one of them rushed a performer onstage at Sasquan because they were pissed off. Imagine what might have happened if that loony had been carrying a firearm.

  2. @Happypuppy – Then I might be doing something wrong, as I just finished reading and loving The Martian, which is 97% engineer solving technical problems while kicking (metaphorical only) ass.

    Perhaps I was just confused and managed to mix it up with a bildungsroman?

  3. Hell, one of them rushed a performer onstage at Sasquan because they were pissed off.

    Who was this? I was at the event, in the rows reserved for Hugo nominees, and missed this. (I was tweeting a lot.)

  4. Nick Mamatas: Hell, one of them rushed a performer onstage at Sasquan because they were pissed off.

    It wasn’t the Hugo ceremony, it was at one of the small con venues where a singer onstage was performing “Sad Puppies”.

  5. For the Librarything people I’m at andyl

    As to Ken MacLeod – Learning The World over The Restoration Game every time. The Restoration Game is OK, don’t get me wrong, but the payoff isn’t as great as in other MacLeod novels.

  6. Oh my, missed that even on a rumor basis! (Been pretty busy at work since getting back at Worldcon, and also wrote two short stories.) Are there any details? Who when where what why and how? URL?

  7. Mamatas:

    I’m pretty sure I know who it was, but don’t have confirmation so I won’t say.

    But dude — you’re well-connected (I’m not). I imagine you know someone who can give you the bow-wow.

  8. NB: my original point still stands. Armed Puppies (or SJWs!!) can shoot you in a restaurant a block away from the convention center.

  9. @JJ:

    Are you telling me somebody rushed Tom Smith? ‘Cause, if so… damn. That’s just too many kinds of wrong.

    ETA: I wasn’t there. I’m guessing based on (a) seeing photos of Tom there and (b) he wrote a “Sad Puppies” filk back in April. He’s a heckuva nice guy.

  10. David Levine’s Damage comes immediately to mind as a story combining rigorous attention to detail, a hefty dose of competence porn, and excellent literary values. (It’s been really impressive to see David consistently reaching ever higher heights.)

  11. Happy Puppy:

    “Even if such a manifesto is not directly tied to SP4 it will not be possible to divorce politics from the campaign as I believe that Heroic Engineer “competence porn” stands in direct conflict with Modernist literary fiction. One values external problem solving while the other values internal conflict and change.”

    Have you read a book called “Save the cat”? It is a book about writing movie manuscripts and getting them sold. It identifies several standard tropes of movies to get them more succesful.

    Let me repeat from memory a few things named there:

    *) Every scene should change something in the person involved. If he started in the scene angry, he should be sad at the end. If he started sad, he should be contemplating. From contemplating to happy. Change should be visible.

    *) There should be something primal at stake. Eternal love. Survival! Happiness of children. Something everyone will route for, becoming interested in.

    *) Movies usually start and end at the same place. This is so we can se the change the movie the story has brought, hove the protagonist and their situation has changed. How they as a person has changed.

    These are standard tropes expected in movies nowadays. I would say the same goes for many of the books we remember (not only enjoyed reading). Conflict and change. This is not in any way in opposition to external conflict.

  12. @JJ:

    I really hope you’re right. Rushing any performer is low, but I’m pretty sure Tom still needs a scooter to get around. Rushing someone with mobility problems would just be a whole new low.

  13. Oh, from what I’ve seen so far, Linda Nagata’s The Red: First Light is as technically gritty as her earlier novels like The Bohr Maker, which I loved no end, and with even better crafted prose.

    And off in a different part of the forest, Harry Connelly’s A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark is delighting me a lot, and seems likely to be my first novel pick for the 2016 nominations. The protagonist is a former monster hunter, now in her 60s, who’s worked out ways to protect the normal mortal people of Seattle from various kinds of monsters…and vice versa. There’s a quietly astounding scene a few chapters in with her and a fifty-year-old vampire, and the vampire’s lifelong protector, and the protagonist’s nephew, who’s in totally over his head. She takes the vampire’s cursed existence as something neither good nor bad in itself, just a set of complications to be dealt with, and Connelly’s got a take on just how hard the passage of time is on beings detached from normal society that I envy so much.

    Connelly portrays a magic that plays by subtle yet clear rules that’s hooked my attention in a way I’ve seldom been hooked since reading the Lord Darcy stories for the first time. And Marley Jacobs is as competent as a Heinlein hero, but with very different priorities than most of his characters (though she’d have things to talk about with the couple in “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag”, I think). She’s got a vision and the skills to execute it, and there’s still room for all sorts of high weirdness and complications.

    Mature pacifist women with awesome magic skills and equally awesome social skills make Bruces happy.

  14. Bruce Baugh on September 4, 2015 at 2:17 am said:

    And off in a different part of the forest, Harry Connelly’s A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark is delighting me a lot, and seems likely to be my first novel pick for the 2016 nominations.

    Mature pacifist women with awesome magic skills and equally awesome social skills make Bruces happy.

    Sigh. One more entry on my ever-growing wishlist.

  15. Bruce Baugh: Mature pacifist women with awesome magic skills and equally awesome social skills make Bruces happy.

    Have you read Our Lady of the Islands?

  16. Mark on September 4, 2015 at 12:39 am said:

    I know this is a US v UK thing but, honestly, the very concept of going for a nice day out in a public space where random people might be covertly carrying firearms bewilders me.

    To be fair they feel the same way when British or Australian people carry popular brands of yeast extract. So it is a two-way street.

  17. Well, you know, the numbers of Brits carrying concealed Marmite and Aussies carrying concealed Vegemite are far lower than modern media would have you believe.

  18. NelC on September 4, 2015 at 2:59 am said:

    Well, you know, the numbers of Brits carrying concealed Marmite and Aussies carrying concealed Vegemite are far lower than modern media would have you believe.

    Either way – youse guys is toast

  19. @Camestros

    Ah, but no-one is concealing their *mite use, that’s the problem – they’re so brazen about it!

  20. So, I wonder what the Puppies’ reaction would be if there was a rush of peopel talking up The End of All Things, or Ancillary Mercy, or whatever other bugbear’s novel comes out. If there was genuinely more signal on those books than anything else on their site, would they put them in their top 10?

  21. A right and proper english person would never conceal his/her Marmite.

    Vegemite is different, what with it being foreign muck.

  22. @JJ: Hell, one of them rushed a performer onstage at Sasquan because they were pissed off.

    As I said at the time, when con-runners do their job, attendees won’t even be aware of most things that went sideways but were quietly handled. Stuff happens: SMOFs make most of it go away. Except the small percentage that blows up. ;->

    Damn, that Tom Smith can filk, wot? But I’m still trying to wheedle a recording of ‘Smokane’.

  23. From that page about gun control laws in Missouri:

    Concealed Carry

    Missouri is a “shall-issue” state, meaning concealed carry permits must be issued to all qualified applicants. […]

    Castle Doctrine

    Missouri is a castle doctrine state with a “stand-your-ground” law. […]

    Pro-Gun Provisions

    Open carry is permitted in Missouri. Additionally, anyone over the age of 21 is permitted to carry a handgun concealed in the glove compartment of their vehicle.

    Missouri has a preemption law that prohibits municipal and county governments from enacting gun laws that are more restrictive than state law and a range protection law that protects gun ranges.


    Gun bans: None.

    Waiting periods for gun purchases: None.

    License or permit required to purchase guns: None

    Registration of guns: None.

    Gun deaths continue to surpass motor vehicle deaths in Missouri

    Missouri had 880 gun deaths, or a rate of 14.56, and 781 motor vehicle deaths, or a rate of 12.92.

    The five states with the highest rates of gun deaths were Alaska, Louisiana, Wyoming, Tennessee and Missouri. Illinois wasn’t mentioned in the Violence Policy Center report.

    Ohhhhh-kayyyyy. It’s a whole ‘nother culture. Still, the odds of not being shot in Missouri seem pretty good.

  24. @Hampus Eckerman:

    I want an updated code of conduct that says that people carrying working fire arms are NOT welcome at the convention.

    Updated? Sasquan, as a reasonable example, made the matter very clear. The wording there was pretty much standard for any Worldcon and pretty much all fannish conventions of my experience. As to MidAmeriCon II, please be aware that they are really just getting fully underway at one year out. If you look around their site, there are many things that have been only just begun.

    (Just in case anyone still is unclear on this point, Worldcons are individually run and are entitled to set their own policies in almost all areas.)

    @Teemu Leist: By law, MidAmeriCon II would be classified as private space. Hence, the concom is entitled to regulate what people bring into it, including things generically lawful in public space. Same as with someone’s home.

  25. @Bruce – Wait, A Key… Is eligible for the Hugos? Cool!

    @robmatic- read it read it read it it!!!!

    Loved the magic system and the way it followed clear, but non-intuitive rules. Marley was a great char as well.

  26. @Teemu Leist: I was pressed for time, so I’ll elaborate. A convention that hires space at a convention centre and hotels gains the exclusive right over most of that space, e.g., it gets to enforce its policies in its convention halls and on hotel party floors that are occupied solely by the convention, albeit not in the convention centre lobby that is open to the public, nor the hotel lobby and restaurants that are open to the public, nor on public or private property outdoors. But in its exclusive space, the convention gets to set the rules.

    States such as Missouri having permissive weapons laws, also, doesn’t imply they’re permitted everywhere. I noticed that the civic convention centre used by LoneStarCon3 in San Antonio (the 2013 Worldcon) had signs on the exterior doors advising specifically that weapons are not permitted within, and Texas is certainly a permissive weapons state. I’m betting that six-shooters were equally unwelcome in San Antonio’s hotel lobbies, but in any event didn’t see any jackasses putting it to the test.

  27. Happy Puppy on September 3, 2015 at 11:24 pm said:

    …“Wisdom from my Internet”…
    It was clearly not meant to win.

    Did anyone in the puppies tell JCW that or did they just let him walk face-first into the No Award that followed?

    I mean, the guy’s a [bleep], but even so, that’s a [bleep]y thing to do.

    As to the gun stuff… hooboy you guys are on your own there, I’m out. /cheeses it

  28. Vegemite is different, what with it being foreign muck.

    Hey, watch it.

    It was the only thing that kept me safe from all those carnivorous drop bears.

  29. Errolwi — It would be most uncivilised to put both on one piece of toast, but having spent some time in the Antipodes, I must admit I’ve partaken of both, and found them equally acceptable. #Your*miteIsOK

  30. JJ — No, I’m pretty sure I was right the first time. I decide what goes in my mouth, just as you decide what goes in yours; ditto for words coming out.

  31. I took the nominaton of “Wisdom from my Internet” to be a humorous poke at the fact that “Your Hatemail will be Graded” was on the 2009 list and won a Hugo.

    There’s a problem with this comparison.

    1. Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded had actual science fiction related content in it. It was a legitimate nominee in the category. Wisdom from My Internet did not, and was not.

    2. Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded was actually good. It was reasonably well-written and interesting. Wisdom from My Internet was none of those things. The only thing that keeps Wisdom from obviously being the worst thing ever nominated in the history of the Related Work category is the existence of Transhuman and Subhuman, which competes for that title.

  32. The thing to remember about Marmite and Vegemite is that half the people in the world think they’re horrible and the other half thinks they belong on the end of a knife. Like most politicians.

    (And Frankie Boyle will now sue me for telling his rather excellent joke very badly 😀 )

  33. @Happy Puppy

    I took the nominaton of “Wisdom from my Internet” to be a humorous poke at the fact that “Your Hatemail will be Graded” was on the 2009 list and won a Hugo.

    I know I’ve mentioned before that the puppies seem to have no sense of humor, so that’s the sort of thing that very well might be their idea of a hilarious joke.

    But what’s your evidence that it was intended as a joke? I’ve seen a lot of words from the puppy side defending their actions and their choices, but only the rabids have taken an attitude you could characterize as “ha-ha, we have put this enormous piece of crap on the Hugo ballot as a mean-spirited practical joke, take THAT everybody!”

    Brad Torgersen spent most of his time trying to insist that everything was peachy, and their nominees were all swell choices, and if people would only read them, surely they’d come around. Even when MZW was recommending a straight No Award vote, he didn’t come right out and say “I’m doing this because my nomination in particular is a bad joke.”

  34. Well, WA is also a ‘shall issue’ state, so it’s not like there’s more inherent environmental firearms risk next year as there was this year.

  35. Happy Puppy:
    As to emotional response to having my ingroup attacked — please note that I’ve been very calm and measured in my posts here — and that I consider myself a *Happy Puppy*.

    I do note that, and I respect it. That’s what made the change in tone very noticeable.

  36. I support EPH because it permanently locks in one slot in each category for Sad Puppies.

    Your theory presumes that a slate movement could be satisfied enough with one slot to keep getting people to vote for its bloc.

    That would require the slate builder to only pick one work per category, which isn’t going to be as easy to sell as picking five. That also gives the slate fewer Puppy-supporting authors who are being promoted and more feeling envious on the outside.

    If EPH passes, slates will go away. There won’t be enough interest in them for the campaigns to draw support. Maybe Beale and his trolls will continue, but even then there’s not much shock value in taking one slot per category and seeing it perpetually finish behind No Award.

  37. I know this is a US v UK thing but, honestly, the very concept of going for a nice day out in a public space where random people might be covertly carrying firearms bewilders me.

    Welcome to my nightmare. Here in Florida over one million people have concealed carry licenses. We shoot teens walking home from 7/11, dads throwing popcorn at theaters, teens playing music too loud in their cars and neighbors who tell us not to yell at skateboarders.

    But Disney World is nice.

  38. Pingback: Friday Links (rescued ginger kittens edition) | Font Folly

  39. Both Brad and MZW have said that “Wisdom …” was nominated because Brad wanted to nominate his buddy, and “Wisdom” was the only eligible work they could think of*. Neither of them have indicated anything about it being a joke.

    * MZW did publish a short story last year too, but that didn’t make the slate because they forgot about it when making the slate. Brad and Mike have given slightly different narratives about which of them came up with Wisdom as a potential nominee, and have basically blamed each other for forgetting about W’s short story and picking Wisdom instead. But that part of the story doesn’t seem relevant to the question of whether it’s meant as a joke.

  40. @rcade

    One of the reasons I don’t go to American cons. I’ll be fair; I’m not a big con person at the best of times, since I loathe crowds. I did SDCC in 2004 and an SF/F con in St.Louis in 2005. There were enough openly carried handguns on people’s belts ins StL that I realized that crowds plus guns adds a level of discomfort that I just don’t need. I grew up with rifles and shotguns (Northern Ontario side of the family) but I was likely 14 before I saw my first handgun that wasn’t attached to a police officer’s hip.

  41. JJ: Our Lady Of The Islands is here in my reading queue; I have a folder on my Kindle for 2015 SF/F.

  42. ‘As You Know’ Bob on September 3, 2015 at 7:41 pm said:

    …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.


    What part of “recommended reading” do you consider means “slate”? The ladies running this are trying to get people to read stuff and suggest stuff, and post those suggestions in a common area where people can find those recommendations, instead of scattered all over the blogosphere. Nowhere have they said “Vote the straight party ticked and nothing else”. Nowhere have they said “don’t bother reading, just nominate these, thank you Citizen.”

    It’s a suggestion list. Meaning, “Here’s stuff we think is good; go read it and if you agree, nominate/vote for it.”. Maybe you read something on the list and you don’t agree? Fine, don’t nominate it or vote for it. Maybe you’ve read something else and you like it? Go ahead and nominate that, if you want, when nominations open. But before then, you could also do a lot of other fen a favour and post your “Hey, folks, read this!” on the list. Share what you love, by all means.

  43. There’s no reason for the Sad Puppies to exist except to generate slates. So of course it will continue to generate slates.

  44. What part of “recommended reading” do you consider means “slate”?

    Ranking by popularity and suggesting that if you want your favorite author to win a Hugo you should nominate their most popular works. Not nominate the stuff you like or nominate the best works, but nominate the most popular stuff to increase their chance of making the short list.

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