The Hydrophobia That Falls On You From Nowhere 6/12

aka The Puppies of Wrath

Today’s roundup stars David Gerrold, Tom Knighton, Rand Simberg, Phil Sandifer, Abi Sutherland, Doctor Science, Edward Trimnell, Jenn Armistead, Lela E. Buis, Peter Grant, Sarah A. Hoyt, Natalie Luhrs. Robert Sharp, Lis Carey and Lou J. Berger. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Seth Gordon and Steve Moss.)

David Gerrold on Facebook – June 12

Okay — so far, so good. If you wanted to suggest that there is a certain insular attitude among regular Worldcon attendees and supporters, even a clique-ishness, you could make that case — from the outside, it could look like that.

But actually, no. Because any convention — especially the Worldcon — is open to anyone who wants to buy a membership and attend. So no one is being kept out.

The issue — the idea that I’m creeping up on here — is the perception of a science fiction community. It’s an open community. Anyone can be a member of this community. Just show up. The ceiling constitutes an introduction. (ie. “You’re in the room, you’re here, you’re one of us. Hello!”)

So, in actuality, the community isn’t insular and it isn’t a clique — but it does have a lot of people in it who’ve known each other for a long time, and that can be intimidating to newcomers.

Now — here’s where I’m going to make some assumptions.

1) Based on the evidence of his online screeds, Vox Day does not consider himself a member of the science fiction community. In his own mind, he apparently considers himself a righteous and noble warrior fighting an evil establishment that sprawls like a cancer across the literary landscape. Based on the evidence of his online statements, he is at war with the community. He wants to disrupt and destroy. He has — by his own devices — selected himself out.

2) Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia, and others who have identified themselves as the “sad puppies” are very much a part of the SF community. They have demonstrated — by writing and publishing stories, by attending conventions, by being nominated for awards, by writing blogs and participating online — that they have a personal investment in the workings of the SF community. They are not enemies, they are (to the extent they participate in fannish endeavors) fans like everyone else.

Now, having made those distinctions, let me expand on them. ….


Tom Knighton

“David Gerrold: Sad Puppies ARE part of ‘SF community’” – June 12

I’ve been very upset by some of the things I’ve seen from David Gerrold since the Hugo nominations were announced.  Honestly, knowing such a person wrote my mother’s favorite Star Trek episode was upsetting on a personal level that really doesn’t make any sense, but there it was.

However, Gerrold’s tone has mellowed recently.  Today, he stated something that few would acknowledge, and that was how Larry Correia, Brad Torgersen, and the rest of us are part of the science fiction fan community in a post on Facebook early this morning. ….

That said, I’m willing to explore alternatives, but only so long as the horrid things we’re called ends.  Gerrold brings up the Paris Peace Accords and the amount of time it took just to get things rolling for various reasons.  In light of that, a comparison to a bloody war, I think it’s fair to note that I see no reason for us to disarm if the other side refuses.  CHORF and SJW remain in the arsenal, and will be used if necessary.

Calling us Sad Puppies won’t bring them out from me.  Calling us racists, homophobic, misogynists, or similarly will.  I’m damn sick of it.  Those words have meanings, and they’re being stripped of those meanings by using them to describe minorities of all stripes who stand with the Sad Puppies simply because they like different books.


Rand Simberg on Transterrestrial Musings

“David Gerrold” – June 12

..says Sad Puppies are a part of the SF community.

Well, that’s mighty white of him.


Philip Sandifer

“John C. Wright Has Just Advocated For My Murder” – June 12

In the comments over at Vox Day’s blog, John C. Wright posted the following:


The first line is Wright quoting a previous post of mine. The second paragraph is him advocating for my murder. Because he disagrees with my definition of mysticism. I am, to be clear, not particularly scared by this. I do not imagine that John C. Wright will now be hiding in my bushes, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. This is empty, vicious rhetoric of the sort that Day and Wright specialize in – sound and fury that, while not exactly signifying nothing, is still clearly told by an idiot. Hell, if I were a woman blogging about the stuff I blog about I’d get half a dozen far worse threats a day. The threat itself is not a big deal.


Doctor Science in a comment on File 770 – June 12

If any Puppies are in the neighborhood: *this* is what the conspiracy of Hugo voters you think has been going on for years looks like. Not covert conversations, not a sekrit batsignal telling us who the Approve Authors are this year, but a lot of people saying, “I just read this thing, it’s great!” and explaining *why* it’s great, with other people saying things ranging from “me to!” to “what are you, nuts?” to “meh”.


Edward Trimnell

“So why are they mad at Tor Books?” – June 12

The science fiction community is currently divided into two factions: For the purposes of our discussion here, we’ll use the names they’ve assigned to themselves: the Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) and the Sad Puppies.

*  *   *

The SJW faction believes that science fiction is primarily a vehicle of identity group politics. For the SJW faction, the ideal science fiction story would feature an angry feminist of color who receives a visitation from a band of transgender aliens one night as she is driving home from a Women’s Studies seminar somewhere in Massachusetts.

Over the course of many chapters, the transgender aliens explain to her why all of her problems result from white male exploitation.

The plot line is resolved when the angry feminist of color leaves her husband or boyfriend, gets a closely cropped haircut, and moves into a lesbian commune in western Massachusetts. (A closing monologue about the evils of the George W. Bush administration is optional.)


Jenn Armistead in letter to Library Journal – June 1

If the Sad Puppies don’t want to be conflated with the Rabid Puppies or called mean words like misogynist, perhaps they should have done a better job of explaining how what they were doing wasn’t a reaction to the “large” number of minorities who won the Hugos last year (Wilda Williams, “Set Your Phasers to Stunned: 2015 Hugo Nominations Stir Controversy”). Yes, it’s lovely that your slate also has women and brown people and that women and brown people were involved in creating Sad Puppies, but if you are going to claim the past winners didn’t deserve their awards but received them because of their gender/race/sexuality/whatever, you have to be very, very careful with your messaging, because it is going to tend to sound like you don’t like women/brown people/LGBT/whatever winning awards instead of white men.

The choice of the term Sad Puppies also doesn’t help your position. It was obviously chosen as a nod toward the anti-SJW [Social Justice Warrior] term, and it is rather disingenuous to claim otherwise. At the very least, your message was not received as it was intended. At worst, you sound like Gamergaters crying, “But it’s about ethics in game journalism!”

At the end of the day, I don’t think it matters. This is about a small subset of the sf reading population vying with another small subset of the sf reading population over a popularity contest. The rest of us readers will continue to read whatever we prefer. If we don’t see ourselves and the works we care about reflected in the ­Hugos, we’ll just go elsewhere.

—Jenn Armistead, Literacy Coordinator, Tulsa City-Cty. Lib. Syst.


Lela E. Buis

“Replying to intent” – June 12

As a mere short story writer, I’m coming late to the front. I’m just picking up on the issues here. I don’t know what Vox Day has against Tor, but it looks to me like he’s attacking the editors as a way to get at the organization in general. As a battle-hardened flame warrior, I have to say that it’s important to look at the enemy’s intent instead of what s/he says. Attacks can be shut down if you know what they’re really about.

John Scalzi? Just a guess.


Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“Tor: the latest developments (or lack thereof)” – June 12

I wonder whether Tor’s and Macmillan’s lack of response to my letters, both public and private, is because they think I don’t mean it?  Do they think I’m just ‘small fry’, not worth bothering about?  Do they think my words are ‘a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing‘? Do they think I’m making an idle threat, or don’t have any support?  Time will tell.  I know what other authors and individuals in the SF/F community have said to me.  Let’s see whether they back up their words with action.  Whether they do or they don’t, I know what I’m going to do if the situation doesn’t change.


Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Dispatches From Another World” – June 12

But one thing is to know it instinctively – and even then when I write about it, people email me to tell me that I am wrong and “paranoid” and yeah, one is always afraid – and another to have one’s nose rubbed in it in the form of a supposed adult saying with the simplicity of a 12 year old that the people who oppose her are “racist, sexist, homophobic” and “bad to reprehensible” even before the “poopy-head” level classification of “neo-nazis.”

Look, it is the fact that Irene Gallo is sincere and, in her own mind, fighting on the side of angels, that is shocking and scary. And it fits perfectly with what I’ve seen in the publishing world (other than Baen, natch) in my years working as a professional writer.

These people don’t live in the world we live in.

Most of us – well, some of us – went through excellent universities, and read voraciously, and were subjected to the barrage of media that projected the same mental picture Ms. Gallo has: the left is eternally right (when they were wrong, their mistakes – like segregation – are now attributed to the right) and the future is a bright socialist utopia (really communist, but we’ll call it socialist so as not to scare the squares) and anyone who stands against it is an evil right winger, a fascist, a neo nazi and by definition racist, sexist, homophobic.


Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“Links: 06/12/15” – June 12

Has there been any more fan writing about this? I’d really like to read more fan perspectives as I work my way through the giant pile of angry thoughts I have about this. I feel like the fan perspective is important, for a lot of reasons: first of all, most of us are doing this because we actually do love the community and most of the people who make up the community. Second, we often have more at risk: fan labor is almost by its very definition free labor, we have smaller platforms, and what happened to Irene Gallo is chilling across multiple axes.

I stand in solidarity with Irene Gallo. I respect the hell out of her and her work and I think she is doing amazing things with art direction. She makes an incredibly difficult job look effortless and easy.  And publicly chastising her for what she said on her personal Facebook page was wrong.


Robert Sharp on Medium – June 12

It is now time for a “personal opinions” icon. Millions of people like Irene Gallo could add the symbol to their personal social media accounts. Ideally, the symbol would link to some standardised “these are my personal views” text that would insure both the individual and their employers from being dragged into something that should not concern them.

What would such an icon look like? That is a challenge for graphic designers. It needs to work at extremely small resolutions. My initial idea was simply a shape with a letter ‘p’ in it, but that does not translate across cultures. Perhaps a speech bubble with a face or head inside?

I urge designers to take up this challenge.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF, by Ken Burnside” – June 12

This is easily the best of the Best Related Works Hugo nominees. Burnside lays out what thermodynamics really mean for military actions and combat in space, at least if you are writing “hard” sf, intended to be based in scientific reality.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Letters From Gardner: A Writer’s Odyssey, by Lou Antonelli” – June 12

The memoir portions are perhaps less fascinating than Antonelli imagines. It’s a bit of a slog to get to the first few little notes from Dozois, which, while obviously highly encouraging to a new writer for whom any personal comment from an editor, especially one as notable as Dozois, are in themselves very ordinary. They just do not have the  thrill for the reader that they would obviously and appropriately have had for Antonelli when he received them. What’s hard to understand here is the lack of the most basic proof-reading and copy-editing. There are errors of tense and number, but always when the error is just one letter, suggesting a typo that a spellchecker wouldn’t catch, and a human eye didn’t catch. There are dropped words that momentarily bounce the reader out of the narrative. And it’s not just one or two instances; it keeps happening. It’s as if Antonelli relied too heavily on his newspaper-honed ability to produce readable copy on short notice, and didn’t think he needed an editor, or even a proofreader. The danger of that is that after you’ve spent too much time with your own prose, you see what you meant to type, not what you really did type. It’s an unwise choice that weakens even the best work. All in all, I can’t see this book being of real interest to anyone except Lou Antonelli’s devoted fans. A “Best Related Work,” it is not.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Riding the Red Horse, by Tom Kratman (editor), Vox Day [Theodore Beale] (editor)” – June 12

Unfortunately, it’s a very uneven collection. It includes the very good The Hot Equations, by Ken Burnside, and the very disappointing Turncoat by Steve Rzasa. There is, early on, a casual endorsement of the probable “necessity” of genocide on the grounds that Those People aren’t smart enough to modify their behavior. A point Beale’s fans will have difficulty with is that such inflammatory language makes it less likely that readers will take in the point the author was attempting to make. A better editor would have caught it and told the author to dispense with pointless provocation and just make his point.


Lou J. Berger on Facebook – June 9

As David Gerrold proposed, WorldCon in Spokane this year will be a party, a place to revel in our shared love of Science Fiction, a place to be inclusive and supportive of one another.

Remember, we are ALL Science Fiction!

I’ll be passing these badge ribbons out to whomever asks for one at Sasquan.

We Are ALL Science Fiction ribbon

Lou J. Berger on Facebook – June 11


The hashtag is gaining momentum, and if you agree that Science Fiction has been sundered, but believe we can repair the situation, please consider sharing the hashtag, along with a short paragraph or so of WHY you agree that re-unification of the various factions is vital….

There’s LOTS of room for all of us in the field of Science Fiction. Hijacking ballots, or dismissing milSF as “not real SF” says more about the person stating it than about the field at large.

We are ALL Science Fiction, and we’ve taken this genre from pulp to mainstream.

Let’s put down our scathing vitriol and find a way to support each other.

We are ALL Science Fiction.

A Fistful of Puppies 5/3

aka The Puppy Sculptors of Coral D

Apart from “An Account of Juliette Wade’s Withdrawal from Sad Puppies 3” hosted on this blog, the highlights of the day come from Tom Knighton, Lisa J. Goldstein, Spacefaring Kitten, George R.R. Martin, John C. Wright, severian, Vox Day, M.C. Hana, Daddy Warpig, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Paul Cornell and Abi Sutherland. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Laura Resnick, plus yours truly.)

Tom Knighton

“Why they joke about ‘conspiracies’”  – May 3

Go to any CHORF or SJB science fiction site, and someone is likely to joke about conspiracies.  They think it’s funny, using the term to paint Sad Puppies as right-wing nut jobs prattling on endlessly about the New World Order and chem trails.  “No,” they say, “there’s no ‘conspiracy involving Hugo nominations.”

Of course, they’re full of it too.


Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“An Attempt to Come to Terms with the Hugo Ballot” – May 1

I have lots of time — except for proofreading my novel, and coming up with something for an anthology I promised to be in, and, you know, actually writing something … okay, I’m not sure why this seemed like a good idea, but I thought I’d read the ballot and comment on it. A few ground rules, then.  First, I don’t like military sf, and that’s what a lot of the ballot seems to consist of.  This isn’t even an ideological stance — I just can’t get into it, the same way I can’t get into vampire novels and mysteries where the cat solves the murder.  I will try to get past this and make my reviews as objective as I can, though I can’t promise anything.  Second, I reserve the right to quit reading a nominee at any time.  I’m not going to read an entire novel if the first few chapters leave me cold.  Oh, and spoilers. I’m going to start with short stories, because they’re, well, short, and with the last story on the ballot and then work my way up.  So the first story is “Turncoat,” by Steve Rzasa…..

…What I’m doing here is reading the Sad Puppies’ slate and commenting on it. This is something the Puppies said no SJW (Short Juggling Wombat?) would do, that instead we would vote a blanket No Award, and I would think the Puppies themselves would welcome my efforts. Commenting on the media is beyond the scope of this project, and not something I’d want to do anyway


Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“’Turncoat’ by Steve Rzasa”  – May 3

I’ve begun my Hugo reading with the short story and graphic story categories. Most of the short stories are available online, so maybe I’ll start with them.

I plan to keep track of what I’ve read and what I think about the stuff I’ve read here on this blog. Feel free to comment, whether you agree or disagree.

The first one I read was “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa.


George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Reading for Hugos” – May 3

Just finished THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM, by Cixin Liu, originally written in Chinese and translated by Ken Liu. This was the novel that just missed in the original round of nominations, only to secure a place on the ballot when Marko Kloos withdrew. In a half-century of Hugo Awards, there have been very few non-English originals ever nominated, and certainly never one from China, so THREE-BODY is a breakthrough book in that respect, and a sign that “worldcon” is (very slowly) becoming more global.

This is a very unusual book, a unique blend of scientific and philosophical speculation, politics and history, conspiracy theory and cosmology, where kings and emperors from both western and Chinese history mingle in a dreamlike game world, while cops and physicists deal with global conspiracies, murders, and alien invasions in the real world.

It’s a worthy nominee.





John C. Wright

“Reviewer Scorn for One Bright Star, Plural of Helen, etc.” – May 3

A reviewer is disappointed in my efforts:

In Wright’s hands Queequeeg remains firmly a noble savage with no depth of characterization at all. One person of color in the story and that’s what Wright goes for. That’s how the Pathetic puppies increase diversity.

Diversity, eh?


ADDENDUM: a reader brings to my attention links to a review site whose disappointment is markedly less. He asked whether both sites read the material, or only one?


severian on Rotten Chestnuts

“Perestroika and Puppies” – April 30

Admit one lie, you see, and you’ve tacitly admitted to all the other lies.  And when your whole system is built on lies….

And that’s the best case scenario, mind you.  If the Hugo Award TrueFans (or whatever the acronym is) are smart, they’ll go Gorbachev — grudgingly hold their noses while loudly proclaiming that they’re voting for the “”””””best”””””” of a very, very sorry lot…. and then the Puppies go away, because there’s no more shit to be stirred — all the drama queen antics cease.  That means there will forever be a year with a “wrong” Hugo, and the Hugo will never again be the Unsullied Pure SJW Award for Excellence in SJW Propaganda, but so what?  There’s always the Nebulas or the Galactic Vagina Trophy or whatever.  (If there’s one thing liberals are great at, it’s singing their own praises; they’ll come up with something).

But I’m betting they won’t, because again, Gorbachev’s the best case scenario.  Ol’ Mikhail himself would do it again in a heartbeat — he’s still alive and kicking, not buried two feet under the Siberian permafrost — but many of his kommissars got what was coming to them…. and, of course, the shining beacon of world socialism guttered and went out.  SJWs have no identity of their own; if they’re not shrieking about something, they wink out of existence like quarks.  So they’ll burn it down, No Award everything, because at least that way they can play the martyr role for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever….


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Patience is a strategic virtue” – May 3

Now let’s look at how fighting strategically applies to the Hugo 2015 situation. We know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the SJWs are going to vote No Award on most of the Puppy-recommended works. Some will claim to have read them all, some will proudly proclaim that they have read none, others will pretend to genuinely believe that there is not a single award-worthy work in the lot, and a few particularly foolish ones will even convince themselves they believe as much. That’s fine, we all know what their opinions are worth as the list of past winners are well-documented. The only relevant point is that they are going to do it.

So why shouldn’t we join them? Why not pour on the gasoline as they run around shrieking and lighting matches? After all, getting things nominated that the other side would No Award, then turning around and joining them to ensure no awards were given out was my original idea, which I set aside in favor of SP3 and Brad Torgersen’s ultimately futile attempt to save the Hugos from the SJWs. The reason to abandon this original objective now that it is firmly in our grasp is that the situation has developed in ways that I did not fully anticipate, thereby indicating a strategic adjustment. Why settle for burning Munich when Berlin may be within reach, especially if the munchkins are promising to burn Munich for us as we advance? Jeff Duntemann’s summary to which Mike Glyer directed our attention yesterday is informative in this regard….

The best possible outcome is not to see them nuke themselves, as amusing as that would be, but to see them try to nuke themselves and fail, thereby demonstrating that they don’t even possess the nukes they think they have. And even if Option 4 turns out to have been beyond our reach this year, its failure is still within the range of our victory conditions. This is what it means to successfully execute a Xanatos Gambit. If we fail, we win. If we succeed, we win even bigger. Why settle for victory when we can vanquish? Now that the science fiction SJWs have publicly declared No Award, the best possible outcome for us is for them to try to burn down the awards and fail. And that is why we should not help them do it. I very much understand the temptation to cry havoc, run amok, and gleefully set fires, but keep this in mind: while strategic arson is good, strategic occupation is glorious.

Translation: stow the flamethrowers. For now.


M. C. Hana on Blue night. Black iron. Golden rope.

“Intergalactic Medicine Show: free fiction” – May 3

I’ve witnessed some extraordinary discussions over the past month, as the Hugo Awards controversy continues in the science-fiction and fantasy community. Eventually, I’ll provide links (cribbed and cited from a couple of diligent AW sources) to the best explanations of what happened and why.

Part of the fallout? Free stories listed online by authors, editors, and publishers who have refused Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy nominations this year.

The latest is a collection of science-fiction and fantasy from Orson Scott Card’s ‘Intergalactic Medicine Show’, offered by its editor Edmund R. Schubert. Schubert recently gave a passionate defense of his magazine, pointing out that it does not share all of Card’s politics, and seeks diversity from all authors and stories.

Disclosure: I am one of the authors who recently avoided IGMS because of its perceived association. Schubert’s essay convinced me to take another look. I’m several stories in, and I’m pleasantly surprised. It takes me back to my teen years, and my mom’s subscription to the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.




Abi Sutherland in a comment on Making Light – May 3

Day is right, of course. We have not left him alone. You see, although we call the periodic threads we start “Open Threads”, that’s just to get the correct initials: OT.

OT really stands for OPERATION THEODORE, and the OTs are the coordinating place for the subtle campaign of intimidation we have spent years implementing.

To decrypt the plans, you must acquire the cryptographic key based on the distributions of the letters “V, X, D, and Y”* in the first thirty-three comments of each thread. Although those comments may appear to be posted by various members of the community and the general public, they are in point of fact all posted by Patrick, Teresa, and me‡, using our talents** as skilled textual mimics to produce the thin and unconvincing effect of conversation††.

Once you have the key, you too can join the carefully coordinated assault on the forces arrayed against us, carried out by means of no one from our community bothering to join his coterie even as a mole, a complete failure to discuss him unless he’s done something particularly dickish, and a total lack of interest in him until he damages an institution we care about‡‡.

Fluourospherians Form Up! This war of being bored to tears with Vox Day won’t fight itself!