Thomas A. Mays Withdraws His Hugo-Nominated Story

After learning during the official announcement that all the nominees in his category came from the Rabid Puppies slate, Thomas A. Mays says he has decided to withdraw his Hugo-nominated short story “The Commuter” from the ballot.

He explained on his blog:

I’ve known for some time that “The Commuter” had made the short list, having been emailed about it by Professor Adams, “The Voice of the Hugos,” on April 10th.  I provided copies of my story for the Hugo Voter’s Packet and accepted the nomination in the forlorn hope I would find my story among a mixed and diverse selection of other stories, stories which came out of fandom as a whole (a whole which includes Puppies . . . ) rather than from any single group’s agenda or manipulation of process.  I knew that it was unlikely, given that my little-known story was only up for the award due to its inclusion on Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies slate, but I had hope.

To be clear, Vox Day and I have worked together before, but I did not request or engineer my appearance on his slate.  I’m very proud of my story “Within This Horizon”, that I contributed to the first Riding the Red Horse anthology, which allowed me to be in the same volume as friends and acquaintances Chris Kennedy, Christopher Nuttall, Ken Burnside, and one of my literary heroes, Jerry Pournelle.  I have been interviewed for Castalia House.  However, Vox and I disagree on many political and social points and I am neither a Rabid Puppy nor a member of his Dread Ilk.  My stories have no real ideological bent right or left.  And while I cannot dispute the experiences of others which brought the Sad and Rabid Puppy movements into existence, I did not approve of the straight-slate bloc voting that so damaged fandom last year.  I was very encouraged when Sad Puppies 4 answered the criticisms that had been levied against SP3.

… I did not ask to be part of any list, but I hoped at the very least that it might bring other eyes to “The Commuter”, readers that might appreciate it for what it was and perhaps honor me with an uncontroversial nomination (or at least a few Kindle purchases).  But, now that all hopes for a clean nomination are dashed, it is my turn to speak:

Rather than eat a shit sandwich, I choose to get up from the table.  

Thank you to all the people who actually read my story, enjoyed it, and nominated it for the Hugo.  I will forever be in your debt.

140 thoughts on “Thomas A. Mays Withdraws His Hugo-Nominated Story

  1. @Phantom: I think a lot of people here would love to discuss reactionless drives, just not with you. You don’t conduct yourself, here, in a way that inspires conversation as opposed to recriminations.

  2. This, so much this.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: In most cases, the worst thing that could happen to the reputations of the authors slated onto the ballot by the Pups is that people would actually read their work.

    This doesn’t hold entirely true now, in part because of the changes to the way the Sad Puppies made their list, and because of Beale’s rather clumsy Xanadoh gambits, but for many of the authors it still does.

  3. It corrodes and ruins everything it touches: the slated, the genuine nominations that – even if they win – did not face their peers in the voting, and all the works frivolously blocked from the ballot so these brainless jokers could get their lolz pissing on stuff.
    It is just such a sucky thing to do.

    …will you all think less of me if I admit that I’m kinda upset on behalf of the bronies?

    I’ve got a few brony fans and they’re lovely, sweet, earnest people, and this was just a really shitty thing to do. The show matters a lot to them and they’re so used to getting crapped on by every other fandom and…gah. They didn’t deserve to have something they care so much about get treated as the equivalent of Space Raptor Butt Invasion–“ha ha, nobody could really like THIS.”

    And one of the writers of the episode is a friend of mine, and they have literally no way to turn this down–he doesn’t even know who in Hasbro he’d ask, it’s not his IP–so the only thing to do is make jokes. And even he was worried that the non-Puppies would start giving bronies flak over this, when they’re victims of the whole stupid mess too.

    I mean, I know people get weird about bronies, but all the ones I know are so relentlessly harmless that I really wanna spread my wings over the lot of ’em and hiss at the Puppies like an enraged goose over this.

  4. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 4/27/16 One Pup, Two Pup, Mad Pup, Sad Pup. | File 770

  5. OK, it must be said. Waiting for “If You Were Rachel Swirsky Fanfic, My Love”.

  6. @TYP:

    Don’t worry, it’s okay to have strong thoughts about Justin Trudeau – some of us have been quite surprised by the strength of some of our emotions about him….

    I definitely have Thoughts about the Trudeau administration’s sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and the subsequent “LOOK! A timeline on cannabis legislation!” to distract from it. And the accusations of “playing politics” when questioned. Dude, you’re politicians. Playing politics is literally your job.

    But then I’m just a feelthy hippie 😉

    (He is cute, though. I like watching him box.)

  7. @RedWombat,

    I’m sorry. That was just the filthy sort of thing that Puppies would enjoy doing to Bronies and other MLP fans. Hopefully most of the normal Hugo voters will discover that a lot of the works the Rabids slated onto the ballot didn’t need slate help and didn’t want it.

  8. @RedWombat …will you all think less of me if I admit that I’m kinda upset on behalf of the bronies?

    Not at all. Someone (Hampus Eckerman?) on one of the threads linked to a couple of bronies blogs which I read today.

    VD the worst gift that keeps on giving. May EPH pass and another year of NA make his followers decide it’s a waste of their time and money to play next year.

  9. I mean, I know people get weird about bronies, but all the ones I know are so relentlessly harmless that I really wanna spread my wings over the lot of ’em and hiss at the Puppies like an enraged goose over this.

    Some of my best friends are in a My Little Pony tribute band called the Shake-Ups in Ponyville. I have worked their merchandise table at a couple of their performances. One of them is also in the Star Trek tribute band called Five Year Mission. I have also worked their merchandise table at some performances.

    Both bands have very nice sets of fans. But to be perfectly honest, the Shake-Ups fans are nicer and more dedicated to their fandom. The My Little Pony fans really don’t deserve to be used as a weapon in Beale’s rage-fueled crusade.

  10. The Commuter is now doing extremely well on Amazon:

    #1 in Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Science Fiction & Fantasy

    #1 in Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Literature & Fiction

  11. Mike Glyer on April 27, 2016 at 2:36 pm said: “The Phantom: I don’t guarantee to post any or all of your angry, venting comments. In the end it’s really up to you what gets posted.”

    I’ll try to restrain myself from comparing File commenters and Hugo voters to guys who killed six million people, Mr. Glyer. Hopefully that’ll do it for you.

    And please, lets not kid anyone. It’s up to me at -my- place, but here the delete button only works for you.

    http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.ca/2015/02/the-iron-finger-of-deletion.html

    My Iron Finger of Deletion is much fancier than yours btw, it has armor.

  12. TheYoungPretender on April 27, 2016 at 4:23 pm said: Ah, Phantom, that you are a Canadian makes me smile. From your past posts, I can imagine your thoughts on your current Prime Minister.

    I very much doubt it. You mistook me for a Big Government fan, after all. Time to recalibrate the sensors. As well, to date -nothing- has changed here, despite the head of the government being a substitute drama teacher with good hair. That little datum speaks volumes about how things work here.

    Jim Henley on April 27, 2016 at 4:39 pm said: “@Phantom: I think a lot of people here would love to discuss reactionless drives, just not with you. You don’t conduct yourself, here, in a way that inspires conversation as opposed to recriminations.”

    Well Jim, I see two problems with your argument. First, I conduct myself just like most people would who get compared to the SS in a comments section by a person who should certainly know better.

    Second, people rarely discuss technical stuff here. Far, far more often Y’all just rage on about the fact I, a storm trooper, had the gall to pay $40 and vote for stuff I liked. Mister Glyer delights in stirring this pot, and the rest of you are all standing around helping.

    I’ll get back to my bridge now, I hear another goat coming.

  13. [ticky]

    And may I add how pleasant it is, because of Stylish, not to see the Phantom’s idiotic spittle-flecks?

    Flail away, little troll. We barely knew ye.

    I think for this year’s Alfies, George RR Martin ought to get some vintage Jaguar hood ornaments. Maybe like these:

    This one’s really nice too.

  14. Are you seriously comparing people who voted in a literary contest (by the rules, be it noted) to Storm Troopers, AKA the SS?

    Well, it’s not like there’s any OTHER well-known Storm Troopers in science fiction…

    No, had to be the SS. Hardly anybody saw those movies.

  15. So I just replaced my laptop. It was a 5+ yr old ASUS, and I found pretty much its exact replacement at a Best Buy for fairly cheap. I spent the last week moving files over across the network.

    Here’s the thing. On the old laptop, on Firefox, I’ve got the NoScript add-on, and I’ve got gravatar.com disallowed. For the sake of the Stylish filter, I tried giving gravatar.com permission to run javascript, and it slowed everything down terribly. So I revoked those permissions.

    Which meant that not only did I not see everyone’s pretty gravatars, but Stylish worked… randomly. Some posts had an empty box where the gravatar should be, and if those posts were by a Stylish-filtered entity, those posts were grayed out. But some didn’t have that empty box and weren’t grayed out. Random!

    Anyway, I moved my Firefox profile over to the new laptop, like you do. Patched it in and fired up the browser. Same add-ons, same saved files in Scrapbook, same saved sessions in Session Manager. Same Noscript with the same permissions granted or revoked. Gravatar.com still disallowed. And yet I can see everyone’s pretty gravatars, and every single one of the trolls I’ve committed to my Stylish filter is grayed right the hell out.

    (And things aren’t running super slow, presumably because this computer has a LOT more memory than its predecessor, and a hard drive that isn’t dying, and a wifi adapter likewise. And also a distinct lack of 5 years of accumulated cruft.)

    So. Hooray for Stylish, hooray for the new computer! (I am not yet convinced this calls for a hooray for Windows 10, mind you. *Shakes fist at Windows 10*)

  16. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little:

    So I just replaced my laptop…

    …And yet I can see everyone’s pretty gravatars, and every single one of the trolls I’ve committed to my Stylish filter is grayed right the hell out. …

    …So. Hooray for Stylish, hooray for the new computer!

    Congrats on new computer and all the above goodness. May you have many happy years together.

  17. The Phantom:

    “I’ll try to restrain myself from comparing File commenters and Hugo voters to guys who killed six million people, Mr. Glyer.”

    Such remarkable restraint.

  18. I hope it is apparent that I do not think most sad (probably even rabid) puppies are new-Nazis. But a non-zero portion of the former and a 100% portion of the latter are apparently okay with associating with them because there are neo-Nazis–by long-standing ideological associaton–involved in organizing RP. This willingness baffles me.

    I likewise hope people know that the death toll in concentration camps was considerably more than six million, a figure which only tallies Jews.

    I will forebear further response to this particular line of possibly disingenuous argument.

  19. Do people think it’s like metaphorical when folks describe stormfromt as Nazis? It’s not a *comparison,* it’s a descriptor.

    Ok, now I’ll forebear.

  20. Ah, I see I said storm troopers when I meant stormfromt, which is an avowedly new-Nazi organization associated with the gentleman in question. Freudian slip, perhaps, but the names are similar on purpose, so blame SF for that. As far as I know, they weren’t involved with the Hugo mess as a group in any significant way. TB’s hopeless flail of anger at a world which doesn’t care about him includes a number of other obsessions. People who position themselves as leaders or inspirations for hate groups are, in fact, dangerous. In his particular case, he’s advocated for murder of individual Jewish and black people, knowing some traffickers of his blog have support for those positions on a broad scope. The Hugo’s don’t need to–and don’t–factor into the equation.

    Blah, insomnia. Back to Jane Eyre; it’s just really sanctimonious right now.

  21. I do feel somewhat dismayed when people start pontificating about how perfectly they would behave in a situation they have never experienced and are never likely to experience.

    I bought Mr May’s story at Amazon UK; thanks for the link.

  22. @Rachel Swirsky I likewise hope people know that the death toll in concentration camps was considerably more than six million, a figure which only tallies Jews.

    I do get frustrated that people forget, I believe, close to 6 million non-Jews were also killed in Hitler’s camps. He targeted LGBTI, the Romany (sp?), anyone who helped those groups, and a number of other groups I’m embarrassed to say I’m forgetting (damn hit by truck memory problems).

    This is ignoring all the soldiers and civilians who died due to the war which ended up having multiple fronts stretching across Europe and Russia and the Mediterranean and pulled the Japanese in. Causing atrocities at home in the US in how we treated our own citizens.

    Making jokes about Hitler and his gang and what they did is showing a lack of compassion for humanity. Not just Jews but the world which was plunged into a war which killed and maimed soldiers, women, children, elderly, and destroyed millions of families around the globe.

  23. Pingback: Four Nominees’ Statements About Staying on the Ballot | File 770

  24. Thanks, Tasha, for the good wishes!

    (Weirdly, the former random behavior is back after having installed the Flash add-on… and then went away after I told Ghostery to stop blocking gravatar.com? despite that it was already trying to block it before I installed Flash? Meanwhile Noscript is still blocking gravatar.com, and the gravatars don’t care…? Computers! How do they work?!)

  25. @Nicole: “Computers! How do they work?!”

    In my experience, animism and blood sacrifice. No computer I’ve built ever seems to work until I have either shed blood or endured even mild pain for it, and I don’t believe I’ve met anyone who hasn’t tried to bargain with their devices.

    We’re all technopagans here…

  26. @Rev Bob

    In my experience, animism and blood sacrifice. No computer I’ve built ever seems to work until I have either shed blood or endured even mild pain for it, and I don’t believe I’ve met anyone who hasn’t tried to bargain with their devices.

    We’re all technopagans here…

    As a Computer Science graduate, I can confirm that this is accurate.

  27. Computers! How do they work?!

    Like all electronics: magic smoke. Let the smoke out they stop working….

  28. My husband the netadmin once got a network to start working properly by waving a a dead chicken over it. No lie. (Ok, it was a frozen chicken breast out of the freezer, but still…)

  29. Cassy B. My husband the netadmin once got a network to start working properly by waving a a dead chicken over it.

    I wish I’d known that on Tuesday!

    (Adds dead chicken to shopping list.)

  30. He’d been working on diagnosing a problem for an hour, over the phone with a friend who was also an IT professional (it was her problem). He’d run out of things to try, got up to pace and think, and on a whim went to the freezer, pulled out a chicken breast, walked over to his computer, waved it over the computer, and then put the chicken breast back in the freezer. While he was putting it back, our friend, who was on the phone with me while my husband was thinking, suddenly said “What did he do? My network just came up!” I told her. She laughed. Next time she saw us, she gave my husband a rubber chicken for his toolbox….

  31. @Camestros Felapton: LOL at the Nedroid comic, thanks for linking!

    /nedroid-stalk (crossing fingers!)

  32. Pingback: Kritzer, Lady Business Added to Hugo Ballot | File 770

  33. (I’m behind again. Working my way back.)

    I once fixed a computer by taking the case off and blowing out the bug inside.

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