Pixel Scroll 4/27/16 One Pup, Two Pup, Mad Pup, Sad Pup.

I started this Scroll yesterday before taking off in my time machine, and have just kept on adding. While I don’t plan to divide the Hugo news from other Scroll topics very often, it makes sense to do it today.

(1) QUICK WHATEVER. John Scalzi’s “Quick 2016 Hugo Finalist Thoughts” from Whatever on April 26.

Thoughts on this year’s Hugo finalists (the list of which you can find here):

* First, as part of my new gig at the Los Angeles Times, I wrote an analysis of this year’s ballot there, so head on over there if you want to see it (Note it’s geared toward a general audience, so there a lot of explanatory stuff in there folks here will likely already know). As I’ve already written substantially on the Hugos there, what I write here will be brief.

* Overall, the nominations in several categories look pretty decent to me – Best Novel is particularly not bad at all! At least a couple of categories are a tiresome shitshow, however, thanks to the Puppies, again.

* Which we knew might happen again, remember? Fixing the slating issue was a two-year process. This is year two. Keep working on it, folks.

* The Puppies are once again trying to troll a bunch of people (the Best Related Category is one particularly obvious troll) and while I don’t mean to downplay the basic craptasticness of their actions, I’m finding it all that difficult to get worked up about it. I mean, I know the Puppies are hoping for outrage? Again? But as noted, we’ve seen this act before, and this time it’s just boring. Yes, yes, Puppies. You’re still sad little bigoted assholes screaming for attention. Got it, thanks.

Bear in mind I’m a direct target for their nonsense; at least two of the finalist works go after me in one way or another. I’m very specifically someone they’re trying to get worked up (and to tear down). And yet I just can’t manage it. I’m pretty much over the Puppies. There’s only so many times a toddler can throw a tantrum before you just shrug. You still have to clean up after the toddler, mind you. But you don’t have to let the toddler dictate the terms. Pity these particular toddlers are grown humans

(2) MAN OF HIS TIMES. John Scalzi’s first piece for the LA Times, “The Hugo finalists: John Scalzi on why the sad puppies can’t take credit for Neil Gaiman’s success”, posted April 26.

This year, once again, the two Puppy groups announced slates (or in the case of the “Sad” variant, a “recommendation list”) of people and works they wanted to see on the finalist ballot. Once again, many of their choices made the cut. But where last year’s slates were filled with nominees primarily of interest to the Puppies themselves, this year’s Puppy slates included works and authors already popular with science fiction fans and tastemakers, and (as a subset of both of these) Hugo voters.

Works the Puppy slates included that made the Hugo finalist list include the novel “Seveneves,” written by Neal Stephenson, a past Hugo best novel winner and multiple nominee; the graphic novel “The Sandman: Overture,” by Neil Gaiman, also a multiple Hugo winner; the novella “Penric’s Demon,” by Lois McMaster Bujold, who has won four best novel Hugos; and the film “The Martian,” a best picture Oscar nominee (and controversial best comedy Golden Globe winner).

The Puppies will no doubt be happy to take credit for the appearance of these works and others on the finalist list. But, as with “Guardians of the Galaxy” last year, their endorsement probably doesn’t count for much in the grand scheme of things.

(3) MORE ALFIES. George R.R. Martin saw the new season of Game of Thrones kick off, then rode off to his own dynastic wars – “The Puppy Wars Resume”.

The record turnout seemed to have no impact. Fandom nominated in huge numbers, but it would appear that they did not nominate the same things. They scattered their nominations among dozens, perhaps hundreds, of possible choices. We won’t know the full story till we see the complete list of nomination totals on Hugo night… but I suspect (unless MAC cuts the list short) that we’ll see many more titles than we’re used to.

The same thing happened to the Sad Puppies. By shifting from Torgersen’s slate to Paulk’s list of recommendations, they suffered the same fate as many other recommended reading lists, be it the LOCUS list or the Nebulas or my own recommendations. They had almost no impact on the ballot. The Sads did get works on the ballot when their choices overlapped with the Rabids, to be sure, but very few works that were “sad only” made the list. SP4 was a non-factor. (And before someone else points this out, let me be the first to admit that the Sads had more impact than I did. As near as I can tell, I batted .000 on my own recommendations, which just goes to show that all this talk of about my immense power is somewhat exaggerated. No wonder I never get invited to the meetings of the Secret Cabal).

The big winners were the Rabid Puppies, whose choices completely dominated the list…

One last point. The Rabids used a new tactic this year. They nominated legitimate, quality works in addition to the dross. Works by writers like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, Alastair Reynolds (Reynolds went public well before the nominations asking NOT to be slated, but they slated him anyway), Andy Weir, and several others. Some of these writers are apolitical (like Weir), while others are known to oppose everything that VD stands for (Gaiman, Stephenson, King). One has to think they were deliberately targeted.

In some of the online comments I’ve seen, these writers are being called “shields.” I’ve even read some people calling for them to withdraw, simply because they were on VD’s list.

Withdrawing is the LAST thing they should do.

I urge them all to stand their ground. They wrote good books, stories, graphic novels, they did NOT take part in any slate. In some cases they were largely unaware of all this. In other cases they explicitly denounced the slates ahead of time (Reynolds, again). Punishing them… demanding they turn down this honor… simply because VD listed them is insane….

(Oh… and yes, for those who were asking. This does mean we will need a second set of Alfies).

(4) SALADIN AHMED.

(5) RAY RADLEIN.

(6) ADVICE TO THE BOOKLORN. Tim Hall is swimming in the mainstream, in “Booky McBookface, by Noah Ward”.

I’m not a Worldcon member, but that’s not going to stop me giving unsolicited advice. So here’s my off-the-top-of-my-head recommendations.

First, ratify E Pluribus Hugo. This is ought to be such a no-brainer than anyone that attempts to argue otherwise is not to be trusted. It won’t fix everything, but it will make it harder for any well-organised minority to swamp the ballot.

Second, think very hard about the wisdom of repeating last year’s block no-awarding everything tainted, throwing good people under the bus in an attempt to preserve the purity of the awards. That stank when they did it to people like Toni Weisskopf last year. The garbage from VD’s cronies you can no award to oblivion if it’s as awful as it sounds from the titles. But remember that burning down The Hugos is VD’s goal, and no-awarding deserving nominees like Toni Weisskopf or Alastair Reynolds gives him what he wants.

Third, recognise that the Sad Puppies and the Rabid ones are very different things, and try to build bridges with the some of the first of those groups, or at least avoid rhetoric or behaviour that further deepens the divide with anyone who’s not an actual acolyte of Vox Day. The mass no-awarding of last year did not help in that regard.

(7) MORE GOOD ANSWERS TO WRONG QUESTIONS. Abigail Nussbaum responds with “The 2016 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on the Nominees”

… In most of the categories dominated by puppy choices, we still have an actual choice between nominees, not just a winner by default because everyone else on the ballot is terrible.  Most importantly, this year’s Best Novel ballot is one that we can look at without cringing, with only one blatant puppy nominee.  It may sound like I’m lowering the bar, but to me this is all a sign that things are settling down, and that in the future–and especially if the anti-slating measures adopted in last year’s business meeting are ratified–we’ll start seeing this award return to normal.

Of course, I’m leaving out one important point, which might cast a pall on this year’s more acceptable raft of nominees–the fact that most of them were puppy choices.  In some cases, these were nominees that probably would have made it onto the ballot without the help of Vox Day and his ilk–things like Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves in Best Novel, The Sandman: Overture in Best Graphic Story, and Strange Horizons in Best Semiprozine.  In other cases, the line is more fuzzy.  Daniel Polansky’s The Builders, for example, was a plausible nominee in Best Novella, coming from the strong, well-publicized Tor Novellas line and garnering a great deal of praise, but did the puppies’ influence help to push it past equally plausible nominees like Elizabeth Hand’s Wylding Hall and Kai Ashante Wilson’s The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps?  We won’t know for certain until the nominating stats are released after the Hugo ceremony (and perhaps not even then), and in the meantime this year’s ballot is a lot less clear-cut than last year’s.

To the puppies, this no doubt looks like a winning gambit.  To those of us who are adults, it’s just more silliness.  We are neither as stupid nor as rigid as they keep insisting that we are, and are perfectly capable of parsing these nuances.  And if this year’s Best Novella shortlist is a lot less exciting than the one I had hoped for–and which I think had a good chance of coming about–well, that’s how I feel about the Hugo most years.  I keep repeating this, but it really needs to be said again and again: despite the puppies’ ridiculous claims, the Hugo is not, and has never been, an elite or rarefied award.  If the puppies’ main accomplishment this year is to have pushed middling but not-awful work onto the ballot over better, more deserving nominees, well, then they’re no different from the majority of Hugo voters….

(8) QUICK AND THE DEAD. Damien Walter also has a few quick “Thoughts on the 2016 Hugo Awards”.

H P Lovecraft somehow managed to get nominated for a 1941 Retro Hugo, despite having died in 1937. Clearly some supernatural forces were at work…or some petty racists voting in revenge after Lovecraft’s erasure as the face of the World Fantasy Awards for being…a petty racist.

(9) LOVE. Aaron Pound’s thorough analysis of the “2016 Hugo Award Finalists” is rounded off with a compelling conclusion:

Both of the Puppy campaigns were built on spite. Larry Correia has openly admitted that he started the Sad Puppy campaign out of spite. Throughout the existence of the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns, the barely suppressed rage of its adherents has been readily apparent, and in some cases (such as during Brad Torgersen’s not infrequent frothing meltdowns over the last year or so), the rage has been quite openly expressed. Because of this, the Pups will always fundamentally misunderstand actual fans, who love what they love not out of a desire to spite someone else, but out of actual love for the thing. In the end, the Pups will fail because they are founded on the false premise that they can change what people love about genre fiction by force.

(10) ALLUM BOKHARI. At Breitbart: “Sci-Fi’s Hugo Awards Swept by Anti-SJW Authors – Again!”

This year, the Sad and Rabid Puppies have done it again. Ten out of fifteen Hugo Award categories have been completely dominated by Puppy-endorsed nominees — double what the campaigns achieved in 2015. The Puppies have also secured three out of five nominations for Best Novel, three out of four nominations for Best Short-Form Dramatic Presentation, and three out of five nominations for Best Long-Form Editor.

In total, the Rabid Puppies swept six categories on their own, while a combination of Sad & Rabid puppy nominations swept a further four.

Some of the Rabid Puppies nominations this year — such as a My Little Pony episode for Best Short-Form Dramatic Presentation and a porn parody in Best Short Story — seem clearly intended as troll options, a demonstration of the Puppies’ power to exert their will on the awards.

(11) AGAINST VANDALISM. Kayleigh Ann at Bibliodaze offers “We Have Always Been Here &Y Always Will Be: On the Hugo Awards and Cultural Vandalism”.

…Science-fiction and fantasy will move forward. It will continue to evolve and tell amazing, strange, radical and highly political stories, as it has always done, and the Puppies will cheer false cries of victory regardless of the outcome of the Hugo Awards: Their choices winning will be a sign that the industry agrees with them, and another No Award sweep (which is my predicted outcome) will simply be proof that they’re downtrodden underdogs who stood up against “Outrage Culture”. The truth is that nobody wins in this scenario because we end up having to participate in their Us Versus Them mentality in order to show a sturdy opposition to their nonsense.

Eventually, they’ll be left behind as the voices who have always been there refuse to participate in their cultural smudging. This particular kind of vandalism hurts us all, but those voices who needed the amplification of the Hugos will suffer the most, so it’s up to the rest of us to ensure that doesn’t happen. They’ll be left behind, but they still need to be called out and condemned for the dangerous vandals that they are. Get out your wallets, your microphones and your pens. We’re not going anywhere. We’ll always be here.

(12) STEVEN POORE

(13) VOX POPOLI. Vox Day did a reaction roundup of his own, “Making the Hugos Great Again”.

Of course the Sad Puppies can’t take any credit for Neil Gaiman’s nomination. The Rabid Puppies were responsible! As for whether Gaiman would have been nominated without RP support, they like to claim that sort of thing, but we’ll have to wait and see what the numbers say. Given their past record of ignoring popular, bestselling works, that’s hardly a given. In any event, as we proved last year in Best Novel, even when we don’t control the category, we still have the ability to decide who will win and who will lose when the SJWs don’t No Award the category.

In other news, we have a runner! Tom Mays belatedly decided to go the way of Marko Kloos. Not the brightest move; the time for virtue-signaling is before the nominations are awarded. It’s no big deal, not everyone can take the heat, although I suspect Tom is simply more of a Sad Puppy who hasn’t woken up to the cultural war yet. I was more interested to see that Black Gate caved and decided to accept their nomination this year; John O’Neill is a smart guy, he knows perfectly well that the nomination is well-merited, he grasps the genetic fallacy, and I suspect he has come to terms with the fact that the Rabid Puppies are not going away any time soon.

(14) CHAOS MANOR. Jerry Pournelle posted a reaction to his nomination at Chaos Manor.

I seem to have been nominated for a Hugo. “Best Editor, Short Form”. The only work mentioned for the year 2015 is There Will Be War, Volume Ten” released in November. It is of course a continuation of the There Will Be War series which appeared in the 1980’s and early 90’s, of which the first four volumes were recreated with a new preface during 2015; the rest are scheduled to come out in the next couple of years. I’ve edited a lot of anthologies, starting with 2020 Vision in 1973 (I think it will come out in reprint with new a introduction and afterword’s by the surviving authors next year. I did a series of anthologies with Jim Baen that was pretty popular, and one-off anthologies like Black Holes and The Survival of Freedom, amounting to more than twenty over the years, but this is the first time anyone has ever nominated me for an editing Hugo – and actually the first time I ever thought of it myself.

When I first started in this racket, Best Editor Hugo usually meant one for the current editor of Analog or Galaxy. That spread around over the years, but it meant Editor in the sense of someone employed with the title of Editor, not a working writer who put together anthologies, sometimes for a lark.

I used to get Hugo nominations all the time in my early days, but I never won. My Black Holes story came close, but I lost to Niven’s “Hole Man”. Ursula LeGuin beat me for novella. There were others. Our collaborations routinely got nominated, but again usually came second, so at one point I was irked enough to say “Money will get you through times of no Hugo’s much better than Hugo’s will get you through times of no money,” and put whatever promotion efforts I had time for into afternoon and late night talk radio shows and stuff like that. Which worked for sales, but not for Hugo awards. I’m unlikely to get this one – I’m a good editor but that’s hardly my primary occupation – but I admit I’d like to. I was already going to Kansas City this August, so I’ll be there, but I doubt there’s much need to write a thank you speech.

(15) COUNT HER OUT. Rhiannon Thomas refuses to repeat last year’s experience — “The Hugos Turn Rabid” at Feminist Fiction.

So… what now? It’s hard to take seriously any award with Vox Day’s “SJWs Always Lie” on the ballot. And unlike last year, I’m not going to soldier through the crap to weigh up its merit. I’ll probably read most of the novels, and pick up the non-puppy nominated shorter works, along with the ones by big name writers, because I’ve found that the nomination lists can lead me to interesting reading I would have missed otherwise. It’s basically my job to read endless piles of YA, and this gives me a focussed reason to finally pick up those other recent books too. But do we have to pretend that “Safe Space as Rape Room” is something worthy of serious critical consideration? The Puppies howl out for attention, and they’d hate nothing more than if everyone just ignored them. So let’s just pretend that their troll nominations don’t exist.

Of course, this approach isn’t without casualties. It’s obvious to anyone with a passing knowledge of fantasy and sci-fi that Brandon Sanderson and Stephen King are worth checking out, slate or no. But smaller writers? Not so much. Thomas A. Mays has already withdrawn his Hugo-nominated short story from consideration because of the slates, turning what should have been a moment of pride and victory into heartbreak. If we take the “slate works don’t exist unless they obviously have merit” approach, innocent writers still building their career get dragged down into the muck too. At best, they don’t receive the consideration they deserve. At worst, they get linked to Vox Day in everyone’s minds. And unlike big-name writers, they don’t have enough of an established reputation to shrug it off. It might appear that they need to withdraw to save their reputation, even though the Hugo nomination should have been something that would build their reputation in the first place.

And that sucks. But I, at least, can’t take another year of reading through piles of offensive and poorly written crap in search of potential specks of gold that may have been lost in the mix.

(16) CHUCK WENDIG. It isn’t lost on Chuck Wendig that “We Have A Problem”.

Like I’ve said in the past:

Dinosaurs squawking at meteors. Shaking tiny, impotent arms at the sky. The Empire, wondering where the hot hell all these goddamn X-Wings came from. Shitheel harasser assholes wondering when the world stopped listening to them and their diaperbaby bleats.

The other side of me thinks this is something deeper, darker, a vein of bad mojo thrust through the whole of the culture. Sepsis, toxic shock, an infection in the blood resistant to antibiotics.

But then I look and I think how thirty years ago I didn’t know what transgender meant. How three years ago I didn’t know what genderqueer was, and now it’s in the dictionary. I think about how we’re maybe on the cusp of having our first woman president. I think too about how social media has made the assholes louder — but it’s also amplified the voices of the non-assholes, and how conversations happen, tough as they are, across an Internet that moves fast and furious with both enlightenment and ignorance. I don’t know where we are or what’s going to happen next, and I know that I ping-pong between feeling optimistic about tectonic change and pessimistic about what that change has wrought.

I also know that no matter what we can’t just sit idly by. We push back. We vote no award when shitbirds nest in our award categories. We stand by those who are harassed by the worst of our culture. We stop sheltering the monsters and start protecting the victims. We amplify voices. We close our mouths and try to listen more. We master the one-two-punch of empathy and logic. We try to be better and do better and demand better even when we ourselves are woefully imperfect. I speak to geeks and I speak to men when I say: we need to get our house in order.

We have a problem.

But I hope we also have solutions.

At the very least, let this be a call that we need to do better by those who need us. Out with the bullies. Out with the terrorists. Gone with the ticks. We find those ticks and we pluck ’em out. Then we burn them, toss them in the toilet, rain our piss upon their parasitic heads, and say bye-bye as we flush and fill the bowl with clean water once more.

(17) AGAINST NO AWARD. Eric Flint, in “BUT FOR WALES?”, argues against voting No Award.

Theodore Beale and the people who follow him are idiots. They are petty chiselers and pipsqueaks whose notion of “the righteous battle against leftist wickedness and social justice warriors” is to try to hijack a science fiction award.

A science fiction award? Meaning no disrespect to anyone who cares about the Hugos, but the very fact that Beale and his gaggle of co-conspirators think this is a serious way to wage political struggle should tip you off that they’re a bunch of clowns with delusions of grandeur.

So treat them that way. This time around—remember, it’s 2016, not 2015—don’t hyperventilate, don’t work yourself up into a frenzy, don’t overact. Just treat the nominations the same way you would in any other year. Ignore who nominated who because, first, it’s irrelevant; and secondly, if you do you will be falling for a hustle by an idiot like Beale—which makes you an even bigger idiot.

Is anyone who’s planning to vote for the Hugos so ignorant or so stupid that they really think authors like Neal Stephenson, Jim Butcher, Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Alastair Reynolds and Stephen King need a slimeball like Theodore Beale’s approval to get nominated for an award? Are they so ignorant or stupid that they think editors like Toni Weisskopf, artists like Larry Elmore and movie directors like Joss Whedon and Ridley Scott are in the same boat?

Grow the fuck up.

Just vote, that’s all. Take each category for what it is and vote for whatever or whoever you think is most entitled to the award this year. Do NOT use “No Award” unless you really think there’s no work or person nominated in a category who deserves it at all.

(18) YOU CAN ASK BUT WILL HE ANSWER? Chuck Tingle did a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” today — “I am Dr. Chuck Tingle, 2016 Hugo Awards nominee for my book Space Raptor Butt Invasion. AMA!” He did it in character, so although the Hugos are mentioned once or twice, it’s basically played as farce. If you squint real hard (which I’m sure he would approve) at his comment about Vox Day, it includes the phrase “scoundrels never win.” Someone read that quote on FB and ran out to order ribbons….

(19) THE OTHER TINGLE INTERVIEW. Chuck Tingle was more forthcoming about scoundrels to Lauren Sarner at Inverse.

Do you know about the Sad Puppies, a group of people who try to disrupt voting for the Hugo Awards every year?

Don’t know about any puppies but it’s BAD NEWS BEARS if you want to disrupt awards. That is a scoundrel tactic and probably part of Ted Cobbler’s devilman plan. Ted Cobbler is notorious devil and has been seen using dark magic to control puppies around the neighborhood. I do not support the devilman agenda but i think that Space Raptor Butt Invasion proves that LOVE IS REAL and no scoundrels can stop that. Especially not some dumb dogs.

(20) NOW ON SALE. Two overnight sensations. One is satire. At least.

(21) SUNIL PATEL. Sunil Patel is still figuring it out.

(22) FOUR MORE. John Scalzi illustrates “Four Things About the Hugos” with Chuck Tingle’s cover art at Whatever. But it’s not all fun and games.

Fourth off, one of the finalists for Best Short Story, Thomas May, who was on the Rabid Puppy slate, has left the ballot, for admirable reasons. All respect to him for a difficult decision. I don’t believe this should be a signal for folks to hint to other finalists that they should follow his example, for reasons I outline above, i.e., this year’s slates were filled with people and work the Puppies put in for their own strategic ends, and are essentially blameless for an association that is unintended and/or unwanted. If you’ve got a mind to pester people about this, please consider not. Let them do as they will, just as you do what you will when it comes time to vote.

Thanks.

Filers will agree it’s a damn shame he didn’t have a fifth point!

(23) THE CASUALTIES. Katherine Jay chimes in at Stompydragons.

I am angry for the people who got knocked off the ballot because of the RP tactics. I’m particularly frustrated for the Campbell candidates who will never have another shot at that award because they’re out of time. Andy Weird was an RP pick, and I’m pretty sure he would have made it on the ballot anyway, but there are still three RP picks who are on that list and probably wouldn’t have been otherwise. Three slots that are denied to great writers who may never get another shot, because someone is playing silly games with the system.

I’m frustrated that seeding the RP ballot with a small number of works that would have been nominated anyway adds new kinds of dilemmas for many voters. Angry that many good works got bumped by crap VD was pushing. If you need any proof that his campaign has nothing to do with which works he thinks are genuinely good, take a look at some of the titles he picked, or look at what he said about one of the novels he chose (Seveneves).

Last year, after a lot of consideration, I voted No Award to all the puppy-related picks because I couldn’t condone slate nominating tactics. I still can’t support them.

But this year, if I do that, I’m also punishing works and writers who would have been nominated anyway, and I can’t make myself do that. Hell, I can’t No Award something I nominated–Bujold’s novella, The Martian–because that also makes a mockery of the process.

(24) SHAMUS YOUNG.

(25) GREY GRIPES. Grey The Tick (Grey Carter) is the author of Hugo-nominated Erin Dies Alone.

Yet his collected tweets are uncomplimentary of Vox Day.

(26) PHIL SANDIFER. Phil Sandifer will fight them on the beaches, in the fields, he will never give up.

First, as predicted, the Sad Puppies were a non-entity. That’s a little tough to judge given their new “we’re just a recommendation list” sheen of pointlessness, but it’s notable that the most conspicuous omission from their list, The Fifth Season, got a nomination in best Novel, and that in Fan Artist, a category where they had four picks, three of which were not on the Rabid Puppies slate, none of theirs made it on. Indeed, at a glance I can’t find anything that’s on their list, wasn’t an obvious contender anyway, and made it. These were Vox Day’s Hugos, plain and simple.

Second, let’s not have any silliness about pretending that what was picked reflects any agenda other than Vox Day’s spite. He’s been unambiguous that his sole goal this year is to disrupt the Hugos, not even making an effort to pretend that he was picking works on merit or because there’s actually some body of quality sci-fi he thinks is being overlooked by the awards. His only goal was to ruin things. The nominees exist only for that purpose. They are political, yes. Avowedly so. But their politics does not have even the barest shred of a constructive project. This is fascism shorn of everything but violent brutality – political in the sense of an angry mob kicking a prone body.

And so once again, the course is clear: we must resist. With every tool we have, we must resist. The highest priority, of course, is passing E Pluribus Hugo, the repaired nomination system that will serve to prevent this from happening again. Also important is No Awarding.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, and Hampus Eckerman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Fugue.]

206 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/27/16 One Pup, Two Pup, Mad Pup, Sad Pup.

  1. I’ve been wondering why VD put that particular episode of “Supernatural” on the Rabid BDP-Short slate, which pushed it onto the ballot. I asked on tumblr, where many Supernatural fans are to be found, and was told:

    It’s a pretty fair episode, as motw episodes go, but still, the wrong episode to nominate for an award. I think most would agree that the best SPN ep from 2015 was “Baby.” Those who don’t think it was the best episode would still agree that it was the most conspicuous award-bait, being shot from the pov of the car and all.

    I think they picked “Just My Imagination” because the denouement is Dean mansplaining to the shrill hysterical villain that she should give up on avenging her sister Audrey’s death because a) the being who led Audrey into traffic was a good friend to Dean’s brother Sam, and b) revenge isn’t worth it. And… it works. This woman has her six-fingered man at rapier-point, and walks away because the Righteous Man says “trust me.”

    A woman is on the same sort of revenge quest that’s been motivating our heroes since the pilot, and she’s depicted as shrill and hysterical, and she abandons her quest on the word of a man she only knows as a cohort of her enemy.

    A man tells a woman what to do, and she does as she’s told. It’s contrary to her interests, and phrased in a way that assumes she will prioritize some (male) stranger’s experience over her own, and is truly a nonsense hash of a speech – but she does as she’s told, because a man told her.

    The mermaid in the wading pool was probably just a bonus.

    So, spite, not running in front of the parade.

  2. You’re are living in an upside-down world which is typical of ideological fun factories. You defend a cult full of the Beales you say you despise while that cult portrays a world of Beales which doesn’t exist. Only an irrational paranoid could conclude with zero evidence All-Story, Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, Astounding, Galaxy and the Mag of F&SF all colluded to Jim Crow noble women, PoC and gays and that straight white males continue to do so 100 years later.

    — James May on Ericflint.net

    can anybody make any sense at all out of this segment of a rant??

    I mean come on …

  3. @Clif: Thank you? That’s genuinely weird, and I don’t think I want context, because as it is it’s a lovely piece of word salad that shines like…ok, it doesn’t shine. But it’s a thing, definitely a thing, and there is nothing like that thing in all the world except for that thing. Thank goodness.

  4. That’s like saying someone can’t be sexist because they are married to a woman.

    I disagree. I think you would have to be pretty messed up to be a racist married to a black spouse, whereas most sexists are indeed married to women. What Brad Torgersen is, I think, is a mean and not too bright guy with awful politics.

  5. Remind me to tell the saga sometime–when I am much more drunk–of the guy who came into a store I was working at years ago, announced proudly that he was an Anti-Semite, and then “I get to say that, I’m married to a Jew.”

    It was a thing.

  6. I think you would have to be pretty messed up to be a racist married to a black spouse, whereas most sexists are indeed married to women.

    It happens more often than you think. Many famous racists, such as Strom Thurmond (who ran for President on an openly racist platform), have had relationships with and children by black women. Almost every black woman I know has a story about how a white guy she dated turned out to be a racist.

  7. So the big thing last year is that there were two anti-pup positions co-existing in a similar space. There was the “no award any slated works on principle” and there was “no award any utter crap.” The thing is, both of these political positions had a similar outcome. Points of difference I think were that Kary English’s piece that struck some repeat some as Hugo-worthy, the Hot equations piece which was quite interesting, and if you are a professional writer and see more of how editing is done, Toni Weisskopf was apparently quite good (if you weren’t, you had nothing to tell her apart from the pups, and a lot to group her in with them).

    I can see where Sanderson get’s his perception of a “no-award slate”, because if you know Weisskopf, perhaps there are reasons to think she should have gotten the nod, and it was written off to a political cabal of anti-pups. If you don’t know much about editing, you literally had nothing to go on for Weisskopf’s nomination. And as a reader of Baen books, well, the editing claims seem interesting.

    This year, on the other hand, aside from whatever comes in through due to some honorable withdrawals, there are the heavyweights (OGH, Neil Gaimon, etc.) who can laugh it off, with the quality to really laugh it off. I think, though there will be some hardliners who demand a straight no-awarding, the vote on quality will separate the shields from the Castelia crap. Some of these hardliners will say stupid things, undoubtedly, but nothing near as a stupid as our usual suspects.

    I think this may have been said, but the game theory here is making sure that no-one can personally benefit from bering on a slate. I think this is very hard on newer authors or creators, who are in the zone of certainly good enough, but not so well-known that the influence of the slates can be discounted. Getting slated then becomes a potential punishment, because if they do not pull back from a personally beneficial nomination (and I think Kameron Hurley’s posts about the tangible benefits can’t be discounted), they’ll be considered tainted in some quarters – and I think the perception of association with the likes of Beale will grow these quarters as time passes and demography churns.

    On the other hand, doing the right thing for Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet did good thing for their reputations, and I might not have heard of either it it weren’t for their withdrawals. So there’s that.

  8. @clif

    It’s James May man, don’t try figure it out. By the time you read it he would’ve cut and pasted 20 more screeds, all of them as fractally nonsensical as the one before, and the one after.

  9. @TheYoungPretender And another datum to note, unfortunately, is that Juliette Wade, who requested removal from the slates last year *before* the nominations, rather than waiting until after getting the nomination and then withdrawing, never gets mentioned in the same breath as Bellet and Kloos, and doesn’t appear to have seen as much of a boost in recognition.

    That seems to suggest, sadly, that going along with the Puppies until you have the nomination and it’s made public, and only then “on principle” declining the nomination, is a rather better career-booster than just refusing to work with them altogether.

  10. I’m so sorry for the innocent victims of the Rabid Puppies, whether it be those who were forced off the ballot by slates, or those (like “Tales to Terrify” mentioned in the post above) that were gamed onto the ballot without their knowledge or consent and now will never know if they’d have become Hugo finalists honestly.

    I’m planning on following a “vote on their merits regardless of slates” policy this year, as I did last year. Especially since the Rabids slated some works (AFTER I nominated them!) that I nominated. If I think it deserves its place on the ballot, I’ll not penalize it. Because, despite what Mr. Beale may think, I am not a robot; I’m a fan.

  11. I see that owning the “Best” SF collections has a drawback: you’d need a warehouse, and you’d need to be fairly well off. And if I were fairly well off, I think I’d be doing more than reading.

  12. @clif

    Is that your first exposure to James May? That’s actually not too bad by his standards – it’s not just 20 twitter quotes arranged like avant garde poetry.

  13. can anybody make any sense at all out of this segment of a rant??

    I think what James May is trying to tell everyone is that he’s a dim-witted bigoted asshole that no one should pay attention to.

  14. no that was not my first exposure … I was just admiring the wordcraft he was displaying. Must be hard to live in his head.

  15. My personal story for James May is that he has a small box of words like lesbian and feminist, a few conjunctions and then some random bits he’s picked up over the years. To make a post, he shakes the box until enough of the contents are out and in front of him and that’s what he posts.

    Sometimes it almost makes sense, but random generation can do that.

  16. @Andrew Hickey

    That is sad, and the best I can do is to start mentioning Juliette Wade, who not only withdrew early, but then had to tolerate being talked down to by Torgerson in a way that was particularly offensive and insulting. She should be recognized, for that and for past excellent work.

    A moment though – hadn’t Bellet asked to be removed before as well? I thought the one short fiction hole came from JCW’s eligibility issues?

  17. No, Bellet only got removed after the initial announcement. But her replacement was “A Single Samurai”, which was on the Sad list but not the Rabid one, as I recall.

  18. @Andrew Hickey

    Ah yes. And wasn’t Single Samurai one of the very few Sad only (As opposed to Sad and Rabid or Rabid-only) choices? Another note for the essentially muppet-like relationships of the Sads vis a vis the Rabids?

  19. @Mark — I hadn’t even heard about his withdrawal! Which sadly proves the point that a total principled refusal to have anything to do with the Puppies isn’t a particular career booster :-/

  20. If, as expected, this is the final year in which Vox Day can fill the nominee lists at will, he has at least achieved lasting Hugo fame. Why do I say that? In a couple of decades time only fan historians will stop while looking at the list and nod sadly at his name as a nominee. Some people will see the multiple No Awards of last year and curiously look further before backing off in confusion, though even then he will have to share top billing with Brad and Larry. But if I am sure of one thing it is that he will always be remembered as the man who put Space Raptor Butt Invasion onto the final list.

    Or at least he will be if I have anything to do with it.

  21. Unsurprisingly, she says intends to stay in the race. I’m not sure who has been suggesting otherwise – she’s been nominated fair and square, and has some credible opposition in the category.

    Well, she was on the Sad Puppy list, which casts a little bit of a shadow over her nomination, but since they have shrunk to near irrelevance now, that’s a relatively minor point. At this point she’s my top choice for the Campbell. I’ve read Brown’s work, and think Wong is better. I am probably going to No Award Weir on the grounds that I disagree with the conclusion that he should be eligible, but even if I didn’t, I think Wong is better than he is as well.

    I haven’t read the other two nominees, so my position may change. They’ll have to be very good to push Wong out of my top slot though.

  22. I admit to being disappointed that Greg Hullender’s estimates worked out so accurately. I guess I was hoping that a lot fewer of VD’s canines would turn out, but I knew they had nominating rights without shelling out any more money.

  23. BTW, has anyone heard of a Rabid Puppy finalist who admits to being proud they are on Beale’s list? Is there a single one?

    Even the ones published by Castalia have been quick to say they don’t agree with his politics or slate-voting tricks.

  24. I knew they had nominating rights without shelling out any more money.

    I’m thinking Standlee’s idea of restricting nominating and voting rights to those who have supporting or attending memberships to the current Worldcon might be a good idea. If it costs vandals money every year to be vandals, some might be inclined to pass.

  25. Andrew Hickey said:

    And another datum to note, unfortunately, is that Juliette Wade, who requested removal from the slates last year *before* the nominations, rather than waiting until after getting the nomination and then withdrawing, never gets mentioned in the same breath as Bellet and Kloos, and doesn’t appear to have seen as much of a boost in recognition.

    OTOH, she also didn’t get to be a political football to the degree that Bellet and Kloos were (and probably will continue to be, occasionally, for the rest of their lives). One suspects that the stress reduction might be worth the lower career boost.

  26. Whose bar this is I think I know
    She’s on another planet though
    And yet it can’t be sci-fi here
    The bar’s a tavern, and there’s snow

    The audience must think it queer
    Despite AIs and starships here
    This can’t be real SF, it’s fake
    Because of snow. It’s very clear.

    They give their puzzled heads a shake
    And say there must be some mistake
    The good reviews must make them weep
    For purity of sci-fi’s sake.

    But space is lovely dark and deep
    And there are deadlines yet to keep
    And chapters yet before I sleep
    And chapters yet before I sleep

  27. @clif

    That’s just typical James May (or Fail Burton) crap. Everywhere he comments, he spouts off this whining blame-the-third-wave-lesbian-feminist-conspiracy nonsense.

    There’s a reason he’s one of the very few people banned here.

  28. clif on April 28, 2016 at 8:42 am said:

    You’re are living in an upside-down world which is typical of ideological fun factories. You defend a cult full of the Beales you say you despise while that cult portrays a world of Beales which doesn’t exist. Only an irrational paranoid could conclude with zero evidence All-Story, Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, Astounding, Galaxy and the Mag of F&SF all colluded to Jim Crow noble women, PoC and gays and that straight white males continue to do so 100 years later.

    — James May on Ericflint.net

    can anybody make any sense at all out of this segment of a rant??

    As it happens I can speak James ‘not the one from Top Gear’ May. It is a language not unlike those described in that Star Trek TNG episode or the one used by the prisoner of war in that Gene Wolfe book. Rather than individual words being the basic semantic unit, whole stock phrases, odd out-of-context quotes, and apparent ranting have a semantic value that are not directly connected to the apparent English words used. It is, in effect, a stenographic language.

    For example: “You’re are living in an upside-down world” means “Good morning!” whereas an out-of-context misquote of a Saladin Ahmed tweet means “I am thirsty”. Basic connectives such as ‘and’, ‘because’ are indicated by the word ‘lesbian’ and ‘feminist’.

    Translated and edited to resemble normal English, the passage you quote can be translated as follows:
    “Good morning everybody. I seem to have lost my reading glasses. Has anybody seen them? Because without them I can’t read my collection of old science-fiction magazines.”

  29. Good luck at your next panel. Pray I am not on it.

    James May is bragging how he’d destroy Eric Flint in a con panel discussion since he is such an awesome debater. The guy’s delusion is quite extreme.

  30. @Bonnie McDaniel

    I may be wrong, but I think May self-flounced because he had an individual comment modded, he just likes to portray it as a banning.
    (It’s also possible I missed an episode where he failed to stick the flounce and then got genuinely banned)

  31. @Mark — I should get a suitable piece of art commissioned for the blog header, now that you’ve put little boots on my mental dragon image. Love it!

    @nickpheas said:

    I still think it’s a freaking weird set of definitions that allows someone to publish a book in 2012, see it made into a multiple Oscar nominated film and box office smash and still be a ‘new’ writer, but that seems to be what we’ve got to play with.

    I also think it’s a weird set of definitions, but as you said: it’s what we’ve got to play with. Weir was in his first year of eligibility last year (and would have been on the list if it hadn’t been for the puppies knocking him out, according to some calculations) so I have no issue with his presence on this year’s ballot. I do feel it’s difficult to pit writer of multiple novels against a writer with a few short stories, but Wong has managed to wow people with a few short stories, so it appears that the playing field is more level than we think. I’ll be checking out the other nominees’ work, but Wong currently has my vote.

  32. spacefaringkitten on April 28, 2016 at 10:37 am said:

    BTW, has anyone heard of a Rabid Puppy finalist who admits to being proud they are on Beale’s list? Is there a single one?

    I guess the closest is Jerry Pournelle but he doesn’t mention the list overtly or that he was nominated (probably) because of it. Again quite how he reconciles the status of being nominated with effectively being part of a campaign to destroy the Hugos, I don’t know.

  33. @spacefaringkitten:

    has anyone heard of a Rabid Puppy finalist who admits to being proud they are on Beale’s list?

    Wright, maybe?

    More generally, I’m a bit confused by all the “Weisskopf totally deserved that Hugo last year” that I’ve been seeing in so many articles. People on the outside of the publishing business have two things to judge editors on: quality of the copyediting and quality of their acquisitions. Typo hunts at Baen have been discussed here before; given Weisskopf’s position, I lay the decision to not invest any effort in that at her feet. As for acquisitions, when I realized that the authors I buy from Baen were all initially acquired by Jim, well. There’s something to be said for keeping those authors from jumping publishers, I suppose.

    I think the editor who got robbed last year was Sheila Gilbert.

  34. I think you would have to be pretty messed up to be a racist married to a black spouse, whereas most sexists are indeed married to women.

    I don’t see why that’s so improbable. Some people are racist about their own race. Being racist about your spouse’s race has a lower degree of difficulty than that. Especially if the racist relies on that hoary old rationale “It’s not racist when I say [slur] because I’m only talking about the bad ones.”

  35. Camestros Felapton: Jerry Pournelle says he wasn’t consulted about being on a list. On the other hand, and here I paraphrase, he thinks it’s his publisher’s job to put him up for awards.

    But no, I don’t think he’s confused about the difference between a publisher submitting him for, say, the Pulitzer, and what’s happened here.

  36. At least Scalzi and Day can agree that artists on graphic novels aren’t worth mentioning.

  37. From a game theory perspective I would think that the aim is not so much as to ensure that no person benefits from being on a list but that no list author benefits by making one. The first formulation assumes the (normal) conditions that a slate exists to get extra votes for the slated works/authors, but that is not necessarily the case. The distinction is straightforward: in an environment where there is a strong opposition to lists, slating an author can have an intended effect of harming that author’s chances. To the degree that this is discoverable or even just probable (e.g. VD putting “Penric’s Demon” on) the appropriate action to take is not to disadvantage the author.

  38. Mike Glyer on April 28, 2016 at 12:19 pm said:

    Camestros Felapton: Jerry Pournelle says he wasn’t consulted about being on a list. On the other hand, and here I paraphrase, he thinks it’s his publisher’s job to put him up for awards.

    But no, I don’t think he’s confused about the difference between a publisher submitting him for, say, the Pulitzer, and what’s happened here.

    He seemed to be dancing around the issue in the Chaos Manor piece somewhat bu I guess that is his prerogative.

  39. Stefan Mitev: James May is bragging how he’d destroy Eric Flint in a con panel discussion since he is such an awesome debater. The guy’s delusion is quite extreme.

    I was on a panel with Eric Flint at a San Diego convention several years ago, and assuming he hasn’t lost anything since then, I can think of nobody he can’t best in that format. It wasn’t a controversial panel, but David Brin was on it and Brin had carefully chosen what to bring up so that he could engage Flint, by far the most dominant personality on the panel. (Which in every comparable panel I’ve witnessed was always David Brin!)

    At Sasquan I was again on a panel with Flint — and Scalzi, Laura Mixon, moderated by Will Frank — but he had little to say, which I assume was by choice. If that’s the only time people have seen him, they’ve missed the real Flint in action, who is really like one of the great Roman orators or raconteurs you read about in history books.

  40. @Mike

    I appreciate you’re paraphrasing, but I’m struggling to reconcile “he thinks it’s his publisher’s job to put him up for awards” and that he feels that this is a different thing. Could you shed any more light?

  41. Camestros

    “Good morning everybody. I seem to have lost my reading glasses. Has anybody seen them? Because without them I can’t read my collection of old science-fiction magazines.”

    Here, have this internet.

  42. Mark: I mean, he expresses the situation in terms that a publisher should be putting an author’s stuff in for awards. He’s not the one saying there’s any difference, he’s just making a false equivalence.

    While some might wonder if he’s uninformed or confused, it’s my opinion that he knows the difference.

  43. Rail

    I entirely agree; in my view an editor who refuses to tell you what books she edited can hardly complain about being placed beneath No Award.

    Compare and contrast with Sheila Gilbert, who put considerable effort into making stuff available to Hugo voters; I voted for her and was really disappointed when she also was placed below No Award…

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