The Puppies Who Walked Into Walls 6/4

aka The Genre That Day Stood Still

In the roundup today: Craig R., L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Sanford Begley, George R.R. Martin, Sarah A. Hoyt, Brad K. Horner, Lis Carey, Patrick May, William Reichard, Fred Kiesche and mysterious others. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Daniel Dern and Glenn Hauman.)

Craig R. on Boston Progressive

“’Just this one teensy, tiny little change…’” – June 4

One of the great divides in SF/F right now is between groups of readers that want to claim SF and Fantasy as purely descriptive entertainment, the epitome of escape literature, just living in shared authorial moments of the storyteller entertaining us at the fair, or in the tavern, with no other motive express, implied or accepted. You pays your pennies on the drumhead for the entertainment and that’s all you want to see and hear.

On the other side of the table or those who say that all stories have some ulterior external dimension, some subtext,  some “message.”  There is no choice, there is always subtext, whether the author means for inclusion or not.  It is inevitable.

In the Interests Of Full Disclosure, I will tell you that I belong in the second camp: not from any skill at analysis, nor any training in critical literature theory, just cause it seems like the way things are.

From my viewpoint, the very act of reaching for the ability to entertain, or the ability to make any kind of contact with the intended audience requires an assumption of commonality of fundamental background points.

L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright interview for Superversive SF

“Interview with Hugo Nominee: Arlan Andrews, Sr.!” – June 4

1) All the Sad Puppies selections came from a list of stories that fans felt were their favorites from 2014. What about your story do you think brought it to the attention of whomever suggested it?

Presumably, because they liked the setting, the characters, and the story of my novella, “Flow.” “Flow” was the sequel to 2013’s “Thaw,” (the cover for which won the Analog Reader’s Award for Best Cover of 2013).  The whole series of stories takes place after the next Ice Age (a politically incorrect supposition in itself), and the protagonist, Rist, is himself quite politically incorrect, though dark-skinned; he is a diminutive, sexist smartass (as are most males in the primitive society in which he was raised) and his mouth gets him literally into deep shit.  The story, actually a vignette, ends in a (literal) cliff-hanger that will be followed by “Fall,” where Rist descends into yet another kind of society existing some 30,000 years from now.  It will likely be called non-PC as well, though I have to remind people that authors are not necessarily the same as their characters.


Alex on Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe

“Madeline Ashby: Fiction Writer and Futurist” – June 4

One particularly poignant statement we both picked up on was made in the context of the controversy surrounding the 2015 Hugo Awards. Madeline [Ashby] said that we all have a tendency to “presume people think like (we) do, but generally, they don’t.” Though perhaps a bit of an obvious statement, I think it is equally powerful. Whether positively or negatively, humans must regularly navigate the disparity between our processes of thinking. Imbuing your actions with a recognition of difference may be a way to bridge gaps between people approaching a conflict in different ways, or at least a way to mitigate frustration when questionable (or outright despicable) decisions are made.

“Local editor earns prestigious science fiction/fantasy award nomination –” – June 4

“I was quite stunned and surprised [when I first heard] frankly due to the fact that I’ve just been executing this for concerning 6 years and I’ve just got four anthologies under my belt,” Schmidt said. “I’m relatively new, so to me it seemed earlier in my job compared to I would certainly have actually expected for something adore that to happen. I was thrilled and humbled at the exact same time that people believe I’m great enough to receive a nomination due to the fact that it is a fairly prestigious award. There was a great deal of excitement and happiness mixed in there as well.”

That happiness will certainly travel along with Schmidt to Spokane, Washington, where the awards will certainly be presented Aug. 22 at the 73rd Globe Science Fiction Convention. The Hugo Awards, named after pioneering science fiction magazine “Incredible Stories” founder Hugo Gernsback, are provided annually for the very best science fiction and fantasy functions of the previous year, according to a news release.


Sanford Begley on The Otherwhere Gazette

“The Puppies need to thank these recruiters”

The Sad Puppies really do need to thank some people who are not of their number. I’ve been watching this fiasco as someone who is in sympathy with the SP movement without being one myself. The truth for the rank and file SP members is basically that they were informed that they could vote on the Hugos and actually get books they liked on the ballot. From the point of view of the rank and file Puppies this was information on how-to and some recommendations they could follow, but were not required to. Most of the rank and file used some of the suggestions and substituted others as they saw fit. Admittedly this did cause those who did not have enough recommendations in their own reading to use the list as a source for filling out the rest of the nominations. After all, they knew a bit about Brad Torgerson and Larry Correia and could rely on them to suggest good books. Which they could then read in the voter packet and vote upon.

[This author needs to correct a tendency to misspell everybody’s name – “Brad Torgerson,” “Teresa Nielson Hayden,” “Patrick Hayden Nielson,” “Betsy Wolheim,” “N.K. Jemison.” I leave aside one other that was clearly intentional, but always remember, intentional misspellings are meaningless when true errors abound.]


George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Catching Up” – June 4

— Conquest was cool. The KC fen throw a great con. And I was heartened by all the people who came up to thank me for my posts about the Hugos. Even in the nation’s heartland, it seems, there is considerable fannish anger about the Sad and Rabid Puppies pooping on our awards,

— Yes, Puppygate has continued, though I’ve been too busy to post about it. The Sad Puppies continue to be clueless, moving their goalposts almost daily. The Rabid Puppies continue to be venomous. Lots of other people are reading the Hugo nominees and reviewing the finalists. That’s what I am doing myself, though I am way behind in my reading,


Sarah A. Hoyt

“The Condescension of the Elites” – June 4

In fact, if one wades into the Sad Puppy mess (here, wear galoshes. You’ll need it) the side that says things like “You’re not true fans” or “your tastes are just low” or “your writing is bad” or “Our opinion of what is good IS the maker of what is good” or “you’ll never work in this town again” or “for daring talk against us, you’ll never win a Hugo” is not the Puppy supporters.

This is because the “power” at least if understood as traditional publishing power, in this field is NOT from puppy supporters. The people opposing the puppies (not their lickspittles running around blogs shouting the crumbs that fall from their masters’ tables) are powers in the field: well established editors with power of the purse; writers who get publicity campaigns and push and huge advances; critics who have for years been reviewing the “well regarded” stuff and establishing a taste that is Marxism with a mix of glitterati, or in other words, positional good leftism.

You’d think that people who have been extensively indoctrinated in Marxism would understand the difference between “establishment power” and “economic power” and the revolutionaries who come in saying “But you’ve been going wrong by alienating the reading public; we don’t give a hot damn what your political opinions are, but you need to tell stories people want to read, and if you don’t people should be able to participate in the intervention to make you see why your print runs keep falling.”

I.e. they would understand that they are in fact on the side that is being condescending by virtue of having all the power in the field, including power of the purse.


Brad K. Horner

“Flight of the Kikayon: A Sci-Fi Novelette by Kary English” – June 4

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a crisp and gloriously clear adventure story of a woman trying to escape her abusive husband with the help of her clone. I was touched. It really had heart.

Of course, the planet where she eventually wound up, swiss family robinson style, had one hell of a fascinating sea monster in it, so that’s a huge plus.

The story made me think about love and children, but not exclusively, and not oppressively. It was warming, not frantic, and I really enjoyed the ride. Crisp and gloriously clear sums it up very nicely, from writing, to imagery, to themes. Nothing was out of place and it felt inevitable. Which is very strange, considering that she wound up stranded and losing everything. Who am I to argue about the vagaries of fate or authorship?

I read this in preparation for the Campbell nomination of 2015, and I’m proud to say I read it, regardless. It shines.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Sci Phi Show, presented by Jason Rennie” – June 3

The Sci Phi Show discusses major philosophers and schools of philosophy illuminated in science fiction, fairly broadly defined. In the sample episode, it’s Nietzsche and the movie The Dark Knight. It’s an intelligent, thoughtful discussion, with good production values, accompanied by odd, distracting sound effects. There’s also opening and closing theme music that tries hard to give me a headache.


Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Award Novella Category” – June 4

[Each nominee is analyzed, then this conclusion — ]

My Hugo ballot for this category is:

  1. Flow
  2. Big Boys Don’t Cry
  3. The Plural of Helen of Troy
  4. No Award
  5. One Bright Start to Guide Them
  6. Pale Realms of Shade

Aside from the first two, the entries in this category are disappointing. There were far better novellas published in 2014 in Analog and Asimov’s alone. “Big Boys Don’t Cry”, while not as good as “Flow”, is certainly no worse than some nominees and winners in the past. I’m leaving “The Plural of Helen of Troy” slightly above No Award solely because Wright plays with (and occasionally loses to) some classic science fiction concepts. Overall it’s not really Hugo worthy, though.


William Reichard

“Apres Hugo” – June 4

After a lively day of schussing down the slippery slopes of unwinnable arguments, you’re pleasantly stupefied. Now you just want to relax and kick back, are we right?

That’s why when you get back to the toasty comfort of your own ideological hearth, you should reach for Hubik.

Hubik has everything a tired mind craves: a refreshing illusion of efficacy, a promise of persistent meaning, and a soothing anesthetic effect that will help you drift off to an untroubled sleep. Just spray a little around your armchair, and presto! The perfect ending to another day of lovely mountain sport.…