Brian K. Lowe’s Stolen Future Series

Brian K. Lowe

Brian K. Lowe

By Carl Slaughter: Brian K. Lowe graduated from UCLA’s Creative Writing Program and attended the Taos Toolbox in the same classroom with Hugo winners David Levine and Will McIntosh. His short fiction has appeared in Intergalactic Medicine Show, Starship Sofa, and Daily Science Fiction. Lowe has written sci-fi (The Stolen Future trilogy), pulp thriller (The Choking Rain), and humor (Once a Knight.) The second novel in his Stolen Future trilogy, Secret City, came out in March. The series is heavily influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs.



Captain Charles Clee stumbles onto a secret archeological expedition from the 23rd century and finds himself stranded nearly one million years in the future. When the woman he loves is taken from him by one of Earth’s alien overlords, he becomes the enemy of the one of most powerful men in the world. But in his quest to rescue her, he learns that a working time machine may still exist with which he could return to his own time and save his men from certain annihilation. Now, torn between love and his duty to the men who served under him a million years past, pursued by the merciless assassins of the Time Police, Clee fights against war, slavery, and fantastic beasts in a race against time itself–knowing that whatever the outcome, he must lose.



In this sequel to The Invisible City, after twenty years alone, Charles “Keryl” Clee once again finds himself hurtling through a time portal to an uncertain future. Stranded in an unforgiving desert populated by unseen predators, Clee must find a place for himself in a world that wants him only dead. But his greatest fear is that he may not have returned to the world he left behind, that he may have travelled to an earlier or later era than that he knows, and that his love, the Lady Maire, may be long dead or centuries unborn. Finding human treachery even more hazardous than beasts, accused of a crime he did not commit, still hunted for his attempt to free humanity from slavery decades before, Clee must find his own way as a ghost in a world where all are known, and ordered, and categorized. Discovering that everything he worked for has been lost, and that his love has formed a new alliance with his greatest enemy, he has no choice but to fight–and just when it seems he has achieved victory, he and all he holds dear are plunged into the depths of horror as a new race arises from the nightmares of the distant past to wreak its revenge–and if Clee cannot stop them, they will destroy every remnant of human civilization.

Pixel Scroll 4/9/16 Little Old Lady Got Nominated Late Last Night

(1) HERE’S THE PLOT. Ursula Vernon cultivates history in her garden. Read “Sowing History: A Gardener’s Tale” at

When people think of gardeners, many of them tend to picture little old ladies in straw hats with bright green gloves, pottering among the roses.

When people think of gardeners who are also children’s book authors, they go straight to Beatrix Potter and assume that not only are these little old ladies in straw hats pottering among the roses, but they are also greeting the friendly woodland creatures by name—“Hello, Mister Robin! You’re looking very feathery today!” “Why, Missus Tiggywinkle, how have you been?” “Oh dear, that naughty little cottontail has been at my lettuces again!”

Well, I am a gardener and a children’s book author. I am also under forty, tattooed, and the owner of a mostly black wardrobe, and when I greet a happy woodland creature by name, there is an excellent chance that the sentence will end with “touch that and I will end you.”

(2) THE FIRST STAR WARS FANS. The Skywalking Through Neverland podcast discusses “The Early Days of Star Wars Fandom with Craig Miller”.

Our spe­cial guest Craig Miller was the Pub­li­cist and Direc­tor of Fan Rela­tions for Lucas­film dur­ing the hey-day of the 70’s and 80’s. Ever won­der how fans knew what was going on in fan­dom before social media? Whose job was it to tell the world about this new movie called Star Wars? Craig shares some awe­some stories.


episod116square Craig Miller

(3) KAMERON HURLEY. Asked where his inspiration came from, lyricist Sammy Cahn said “When the check arrives.” Kameron Hurley’s check has arrived, but she explains what else she needs besides, in “Kameron Hurley: Cultivating Inspiration on Deadline” at Locus Online.

Instead of spending all that time feeling guilty about what I wasn’t doing and scrolling through Twitter, I needed to release myself from the ‘‘I should be writing’’ mentality and let my brain start connect­ing things on its own. I found that the more I actively thought about plot problems, the less my brain wanted to fix them. It kept trying to avoid the problems I’d put to it. For instance, instead of fixing a plot problem on my current book, my brain recently offered up a solution to a subplot problem in the next book I’ll be working on. At some point I have to give in and let my brain make the connections it needs to make, without getting in its way. More and more, I have to let my brain go more than I’m used to, or it just retreads the same old story paths.

I would like to tell you that giving up everything to write is the only way to write. I enjoy spouting that whole ‘‘fall on your sword’’ advice time and time again. Giving up activities that waste your time while you should be writing is beneficial, but I can only burn hard like I have for so long before the flame gutters out. I don’t want to be that writer who just writes the same story over and over again.

(4) A LECKIE FANTASY. Rachel Swirsky’s April 8 Friday Fiction Recommendation is “Marsh Gods” by Ann Leckie.

I’m a fan of Ann’s fantasy universe in which gods must be careful to speak the truth, lest they lose their power. I hope we get longer work in it someday, or at least more. (Publishers: Hint, hint.)

Read “Marsh Gods” at Strange Horizons, or listen at PodCastle.

(5) WRITERS OF THE FUTURE. There was a bit of drama during “Day 5 – Writers of the Future Volume 32 Workshop”.

First up was Liza Trombi from Locus Magazine, the foremost professional publication in science fiction and fantasy literature. She discussed Locus, and then moved on to the vagaries of self-publishing, traditional publishing, and going hybrid. Liza recommended trying traditional publishing before attempting self-publishing. She also mentioned that publishing your first novel is rare, and that the best thing you can do for your future writing career is to always be writing a new book.

Robert J. Sawyer was up after Liza. With fresh copies of Locus in the winner’s hands, Robert took the opportunity to point out that his latest book, while having been well reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly and the Washington Post, was disliked by Locus. And while the book is doing extremely well, the reality is that someone will always dislike your work. He stressed that you should never write to please everyone because you never will. Your job, he says, is to identify what it is you do. You should know what your brand is as a writer, and write to please those people.

(6) WRITERS OF THE PRESENT. The bestselling authors are walking between the raindrops at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this weekend.

Stan Lee kept dry.

Other ornaments to our genre were on hand.

No Scalzi food photo today, but it played an important part on the program.

He also found time to practice his starship hijacking skills, on a modest scale.

(7) BINDER FULL OF LETTERS. Doug Ellis shares a few more historic letters in his post “Otto Binder on H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard” at Black Gate.

In late December 1935, science fiction author Otto Binder moved from Chicago to NYC to represent Otis Adelbert Kline’s literary agency. Among the authors he represented for Kline’s agency was Robert E. Howard. Binder had been to NYC previously, in late June and early July 1935, with his friends Clifford Kornoelje (better known in SF circles as Jack Darrow) and Bill Dellenback.

As I’ve mentioned before, back in 2001 I bought a few boxes of correspondence from Darrow’s estate, including dozens of letters that Binder had written to Darrow over the course of many decades. In going through them last month, I pulled this one and thought I’d post it today.

Once in NYC, Otto quickly resumed his friendships with Mort Weisinger and Charles Hornig, and rapidly met more figures involved in the local science fiction community. Less than two weeks after he’d arrived, he was invited to a gathering at Frank Belknap Long’s place, which was held on Friday, January 3, 1936. Binder and Long were fellow Weird Tales authors, with Binder and his brother, Earl, having sold WT some stories under their Eando Binder penname.

Among the others at the party were Donald and Howard Wandrei, Kenneth Sterling and, most interestingly of all, H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft impressed Binder greatly, as he relates in this letter to Darrow dated January 12, 1936. That would have been some gathering to attend!

(8) HAMPUS, IS THAT YOU? Not a toll-free call! CNN has the story: “The Swedish Number: Random Swedes are waiting to hear from you”.

Are you there, Sweden? It’s us, the world.

To mark the 250th anniversary of Sweden’s abolition of censorship, the Swedish Tourist Association has launched a phone number connecting global callers with random Swedes.

Think Chatroulette meets the United Nations.

Sweden’s new ambassadors don’t receive any training and their time is voluntary. They simply download the Swedish Number app, register their number, and signal their availability by switching themselves on or off.

As for the cost of ringing up, it’s charged as an international call so check with your provider before chatting with your new Swedish buddies late into the night.

There have been nearly 14,000 calls since the service launched on April 6, with nearly a third coming from the U.S. and a fifth from Turkey.

(9) GAME MAKER YIELDS. Crave reports “Baldur’s Gate Developer States They Will Change Trans Character and Remove GamerGate Joke”.

After an inexplicable amount of press was placed upon their team by angry gamers, Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear‘s developer Beamdog has stated that they will be altering the dialogue of transgender character Mizhena in a future update, along with removing a reference to GamerGate.

In the game, which is an expansion to the original Baldur’s Gate, there is a line of dialogue in which minor NPC Mizhena explains the origins of her name, revealing to the player that although being born a boy, she and her parents “came to understand [she] was truly a woman” later in life. This entire exchange, which is limited to four sentences, led to the game being bombarded with negative user reviews online, despite critical reviews of the game being positive. Another point of contention for its detractors was a line at the expense of GamerGate, in which popular character Minsc says “really, it’s all about ethics in heroic adventuring.”

(10) CARPENTER ON GALAKTIKA PAYMENT OFFER. Anna Grace Carpenter, who surfaced the story (“Galaktika Magazine: Theft on a Massive Scale”) expresses her views about Galaktika’s response in “Galaktika Magazine: By Way of Explanation”.

Let me pause for a moment and say that the offer of compensation is a step in the right direction. However, neither Mr. Burger or Mr. Németh have addressed the underlying issue.

This is a chronic and widespread issue of theft. It is not just the stories published in 2015 (of which there are many), but work that was published as far back as 2008….

This pattern is more than a lack of diligence or caution or speed on the part of the publishing staff at Galaktika. It is not an occasional oversight or misunderstanding of previous contracts. This is habitual theft.

Remember that the vast majority of these authors never submitted their work for consideration, there was no implication of giving their permission for the translation and publication of their stories in Galaktika. Rather, their work was copied from other, paying publications online without any attempt to contact the original publisher, editor or author, and then printed for profit in Galaktika. That is not a mistake, that is theft.

Cat Rambo, current president of SFWA, said she is still trying to obtain a copy of István Burger’s statement in English and there are still questions to be answered. (How soon can authors expect to receive payment? Will authors be able to request their work be pulled from Galaktika? Will Galaktika contact all those involved to arrange compensation or will they put the responsibility on the individual to contact them and make a claim?)

And the question remains, what will Mr. Burger and Mr. Németh do going forward?


Deby Fredericks on “The Dragon Awards” at Wyrmflight.

One of the distinctions I believe Dragon Con is trying to make, is that the existing prestigious awards are decided by a limited number of people — a jury, members of a particular convention or group — while the Dragon Awards will be nominated and voted by all fans. This sounds fair and noble, but I’m remembering that time when DC let fans vote on whether Robin should be killed by the Joker. They were aghast that fans wanted Robin dead. Was the outcome fair? Perhaps. But was it noble?

Already, some in the community responsible for the Hugo Awards Kerfluffle have been heard to gloat that now they will win because no bunch of snobs can vote them down. As you probably can tell, I’m a little tired of hearing privileged majorities play the dismartyrdom card. We’ll all find out in time.

I don’t necessarily agree that SF/media/everything needs another set of awards. However, I do believe Dragon Con is a large enough and inclusive enough organization to credibly present such an award. It will be interesting to see the outcome, and where it aligns or doesn’t align with the other awards.

Brian K. Lowe posted about “The Dragon Awards” at Graffiti on the Walls of Time.

“Another trophy,” you say, possibly enthusiastically, perhaps dismissively, maybe with a touch of boredom. Or maybe you say it with an appraising tone, as do we authors who think, “Hey, there’s another award I can aspire to (and probably never win)…” Regardless of your personal reaction, the awards are here and presumably they’re going to stick around a while. (America’s thirst for awards ceremonies is almost as impossible to slake as its thirst for reality shows, or sleazy political drama. If it ain’t a competition, we’re not interested.)

All of these reactions are quite understandable. What I don’t understand is those who believe that this development somehow spells trouble for the Hugo Awards given out every year by the aforementioned Worldcon.

Cirsova takes the whole thing rather less than completely seriously in “Genrefication and Dragon Awards”.

This isn’t a victory, unless your aim is creating genre ghettos.

In response, I propose an alternative.  If I ever get the reach to make such an endeavor feasible, I will give you the Brackett Awards:

  • Categories will include, but are not limited to, in Long and Short Form:
  • Best Space Princess/Classiest Dame
  • Most Dashing Swordsman/Gunman
  • Creepiest Monster/Alien
  • Most Exotic/Erotic Xeno-hominid
  • Best Explosion
  • Coolest Spaceship
  • Best Empire (domineering, crumbling or otherwise)

Will these categories end up punishing certain books under the SFF umbrella?  Probably, but not the most awesome ones.

Ian Mond says live and let live at Hysterical Hamster.

And a day or so ago Dragon Con launched its own genre awards.  To reflect the size of the con there’s about fifty billion categories ranging from best Apocalyptic fiction (my personal favourite) to Best episode in a continuing science fiction or fantasy series, TV or internet (take a deep breath).  I don’t begrudge any organisation, individual or entity organising and administering their own awards.  More power to them.  Personally though, I think I’ll give this one a miss.

Martin C. Wilsey’s sentiments about “The Dragon Awards” are shorter but not as sweet.

Well it was bound to happen. The Hugo Awards process corruption scandal has finally led to the inevitable conclusion. A new award that has fairness baked in. The Dragon Awards.

–Let’s hope that this award is all about quality of the fiction.

(12) RECAP. I don’t watch Sleepy Hollow so it’s hard to explain how I got sucked into reading this spoiler-filled recap of the final episode. This paragraph will give you the gist of what SciFi4Me felt about it:

Bloody Hell. I don’t know what they are thinking. And I don’t know how a show based on such a flimsy premise could jump the shark, but they did.

(13) DEAN KAMEN. The inventor of the Segway is the son of E.C. Comics’ Jack Kamen. Read about “Inventor Dean Kamen’s Big Ideas” in the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Kamen, 65, is known for coming up with the Segway (the two-wheeled electric vehicle), the iBot (a stair-climbing wheelchair) and a portable dialysis machine. He considers the First Robotics Competition, now in its 25th season, one of his best ideas yet…

In the competition, teams of students have six weeks to build a robot from scratch. The robots must then complete various tasks, working in teams. In this year’s challenge, they have to get through their opponents’ fortifications and take over territory in a space set up to look like a medieval battlefield with castles and towers. More than 400,000 students are competing this year, up from about 100 in 1992. “More and more, kids are starting to see that technology is cool. It’s not for nerds,” he says.

Mr. Kamen grew up a self-described nerd in New York’s Long Island, the son of a comic-book illustrator and a teacher. His engineering career started early; in high school, he earned more than $50,000 a year for designing and installing light and sound systems for musicians and museums.

Mr. Kamen, who is unmarried and doesn’t have children, spends most of his time working. “I get up in the morning, and I start working, then I keep working until I can’t work anymore, then I fall asleep,” he says. His idea of a vacation is going from one project to another when he’s stuck.


  • April 9, 1833: First tax-supported U.S. public library founded, Peterborough, New Hampshire
  • April 9, 1959: NASA introduced first seven astronauts to press.


  • Born April 9, 1926 – Hugh Hefner.

(16) KEEPING THE HARD IN HADRON. Ladies and gentlemen, the LEGO Particle Accelerator! JK Brickworks says —

This is a working particle accelerator built using LEGO bricks. I call it the LBC (Large Brick Collider). It can accelerate a LEGO soccer ball to just over 12.5 kilometers per hour.


(17) A CASE OF PHYSLEXIA. As most of you already guessed, I picked the previous item’s headnote because it references a typo that made news this week.

The BBC get overexcited by the world’s largest atom smasher.


(18) ATARI FLASHBACK. RPF Pulse brings us “The Art of ATARI Book Preview Images”.

Co-written by Robert V. Conte and Tim Lapetino, The Art of Atari includes a comprehensive retrospective collecting game production and concept artwork, photos, marketing art, with insight from key people involved in Atari’s rich history, and behind-the-scenes details on how dozens of games featured within were conceived, illustrated, approved (or rejected), and brought to life!

Includes a special Foreword by New York Times bestseller Ernst Cline, author of Armada and Ready Player One, soon to be a motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg.

Atari is a touchstone for many people. Their games and game system exposed many to video games for the first time. Whether you’re a fan, collector, enthusiast, or new to the world of Atari, this book offers the most complete collection of Atari artwork ever produced!

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ,and Soon Lee for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

Pixel Scroll 9/19 Mouse wheel keep on turnin’ (turnin’) / Trolls gonna keep on burnin’ (burnin’)

(1) You might not have suspected that L. Frank Baum’s first book was about raising chickens.

At 20, Baum took on the then national craze—the breeding of fancy poultry. He specialized in raising of the Hamburg. In March 1880, he established a monthly trade journal, The Poultry Record.

And when he was 30, Baum published The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief Treatise upon the Mating, Rearing, and Management of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs.

(2) Peter Capaldi’s interview by a local LA Times writer signals the arrival of a new season of Doctor Who.

At the base of Los Angeles’ Bradbury Building, a slender man in an impossibly clever suit considers the wrought-iron coils of the past that adorned the future of Ridley’s Scott’s neo-noir film. Tucked behind his Ray-Bans, the eyebrows that launched a thousand GIFs furrow.

Just so we’re clear, the 12th Doctor is standing in the “Blade Runner” building….

“It’s a marathon,” Capaldi says. “[Matt] knows what it is like, when you’re on Episode 10 and you’re really sort of dying on your feet. You’re thinking, ‘I’m not going to be able to learn any more lines, I’m not going to be able to pull anymore faces.’ [Matt Smith is] great because I can text him and say, ‘This is where I’m at. Can you help or do you remember this?’ He has totally been such a huge support. As David [Tennant, the 10th Doctor] has as well.”

The last regeneration from baby-faced Smith to the gray-locked Capaldi wasn’t just a change in character age, but in tone as well.

“I think The Doctor has become more and more accessible as the show has become more successful, and this sounds bad, but weirdly I want to make him more distant,” he says. “I don’t want to be so user friendly. I didn’t want to go out and say to the audience, ‘Love me.’ I wanted to be a more spikey character. Hopefully I’m a character that might be uncomfortable to be around. But interesting.”

(3) And the Times ran a companion article full of hints about future episodes.

Spoilers are deadly here — to the fun, certainly, but conceivably to the person who reveals them as well — but a few cats have officially been let out of the bag. There will be Daleks — yes, again and already — including what feels like a nod back to Coleman’s first appearance in the series, before she became a companion, back in “Asylum of the Daleks.”

There will be Missy (Michelle Gomez), the transgender reincarnation of the Master — news whose goodness the two-part opener, “The Magician’s Apprentice” and “The Witch’s Familiar,” penned by show runner Steven Moffat, only confirms. (One of Moffat’s great gifts to the series is a string of memorable women — indeed, all his best inventions have been female characters.)

Also, as trailers have shown, the Doctor will play an electric guitar with all the authority of a man — Capaldi, that is — who once led a Scottish punk band (Dreamboys, with Craig Ferguson — that Craig Ferguson — on drums). It’s a pointed, and explicitly pointed-out, reminder that David Tennant’s and Smith’s young and madcap Doctors still live within him: “It’s my party, and all of me are invited.” Said another way: He’s not as old as he looks. (Some 2,000 years of living notwithstanding.)

(4) On Monkeys Fighting Robots the “Top 10 Doctor Who Episodes” begin with —

  1. The Doctor’s Wife

The Season 6 episode “The Doctor’s Wife” was guest written by Neil Gaiman, a man best known for writing Stardust, Coraline and The Sandman and his episode was awarded the 2011 Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation and the Best Dramatic Presentation at the 2012 Hugo Awards.

This episode sees The Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory Williams receiving a distress call from a Time Lord and enter into a rift between Universes to try and save him or her. Where they end up is a void made up from trash and space debris where a group of people have salvaged a living from the junk. Also with them is an eccentric woman called Idris who pretty much jumps on The Doctor when she first sees him.

What made this episode such a delight was Suranne Jones’ performance as Idris, a unhinged woman who is completely batty and has a mysterious connection to The Doctor. Jones was fantastic, letting out her inner Helena Bonham Carter and injected a lot of humor in the episode. Gaiman’s written ensure that was a balance of drama and comedy and references the history of the show.

(5) Missed a big 50th anniversary the other day – the first aired episode of Get Smart on September 18, 1965.

Max-and-99-get-smart-original-series-1716131-324-506The episode, Mr. Big, introduced Agent 86, Maxwell Smart played by Don Adams and his partner, the inimitable Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon) as agents of CONTROL.

Headed by their boss, The Chief (Edward Platt), 86 and 99 worked together to fight the forces of KAOS.  In the pilot, Mr. Big, we see the only actual appearance of the head of KAOS, played by little person Michael Dunn, before he is killed by episode’s end by his own Doomsday death ray.

Inspired by The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (which in itself was inspired by the James Bond craze of the early 60’s), Get Smart spoofed every aspect of spy culture including colorful villains, outrageous gadgets and ridiculous plots.

(6) Brian K. Lowe in “It’s the Little Things that We Count”.

Sure, this is all for fun, and everybody’s entitled, but there are issues out there that we should be paying attention to: climate change, record refugee migrations, wealth distribution, a presidential election season being run by reality stars. (Somebody has probably actually predicted this somewhere along the line.) Why should we care if No Award got the Hugo for Best Short Story when right outside the auditorium record forest fires, fueled by unprecedented drought, made the air seem less like Spokane than Beijing?

And why isn’t anyone blogging about that?

I have a simple theory: It’s too big. We can’t handle this stuff. This is the sort of thing we elected those guys in Washington to solve for us. See how well that’s worked out.

But you know what? We’re Science Fiction. We think about the big issues, the future. Up until now, instead of the guys in Washington, we’ve let the guys in SFWA do the heavy lifting, so we can concentrate on nominating patterns and voting blocs. Except now the guys in SFWA are right down there with us. We’re letting a thousand ant-like problems distract us from the elephants in the room. Because it’s easier.

I’m not going to sit here at my computer and claim I have the way out. I’m not to claim that I’m any better than anyone else, that I’ve been fighting the good fight while everyone else sat at their bivouac. I don’t, and I haven’t. I’ve fed the monster of small concerns like a lot of others.

But it’s time to stop. It’s time for us in science fiction to stop squabbling about petty matters and get back to bigger things. The kind of looming apocalypses that we can imagine, because we’re not afraid to. The kind of doomsday scenarios that used to be science fiction.

(7) Daniel in “The Forgotten Core of Science Fiction is Not Science” on Castalia House Blog takes on David Brin’s critique of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora.

Good science fiction may include politics of some sort, but despite what Brin asserts, that shouldn’t be its measure. Nor should “competence porn.” It is simply a myth that science fiction’s job is to correct any perceived tropes of the past.

Ken Burnside demonstrated an understanding of this very well in his Hugo award-nominated The Hot Equations. His counsel on the better implementation of physics into space combat is less focused on correcting tropes and is instead written entirely from the perspective of serving an underserved genre:

Thermodynamically limited space opera is a greatly underserved niche, in the overlapping circles of a Venn diagram between Hard SF and military science fiction. – Ken Burnside, The Hot Equations

Where Burnside is on target, Brin is off base. Brin’s argument is based on a premise: that in the future, Science Fiction depends on better political messaging and a commitment to progress.

Brin is half right: Science Fiction can be about an optimistic future that comes about through hard work and sound engineering. But does not, at its core only include that. Despite what Brin asserts, 1984 is not a positive self-denying prophecy. Orwell did not prevent a society that falls repeatedly under totalitarian thought policing – he merely provided a fictional setting that helped some readers identify it when it came for them.

(8) Amanda Palmer is a songwriter, musician and performance artist. She’s about to have her first child. She spoke with NPR’s Rachel Martin about the dueling demands of motherhood and art in “An Artist Worries: Will Motherhood Compromise Creativity?”

MARTIN: So you get this letter from your faithful fan. And you write in the response that this person essentially confirmed your deepest fears about being a mother and an artist. What a nice thing for this person to have done.

PALMER: Yeah, I mean, the part of the letter that confirmed my deepest fears wasn’t so much the are you tricking us into crowdfunding a baby. It was more of this fan’s terror that now that I was having a baby, I wasn’t going to be a good artist anymore.

MARTIN: And is the concern that having a baby – for obvious reasons, it changes your daily routines and your life in terms of how you use your time. But is your concern more about what will be the impact on your creativity?

PALMER: Yeah, I think so. I mean, it’s seems like there’s a paradox out there because on the one hand, so many artists who are parents will tell you that having children unlocks this unforeseen wellspring of creativity. On the other hand, some of the proof of concept (laughter) can fly in the face of that. And, you know, there’s definitely artists out there who kind of get boring after they have kids but seem to not be aware of it. So nobody’s anecdotal evidence can really prepare you for what’s going to happen. You just know that you’re going to change and you don’t know how.

(9) Best Related Work, Edible? Tattooed Bakers made this Groot Cake, a frosted Jupiter, and a cake referencing The Hobbit.


[Thanks to Will R. and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Iphinome.]

The Collar Out of Space 5/28

aka Twenty Thousand Comments About the Controversy by Jules Verne

Stampeding into this roundup are Kate Paulk, John Carlton, Nick Mamatas, Tom Knighton, Adam-Troy Castro, Brian Lowe, Max Florschutz, Rich Horton, Lou Antonelli , Amanda S. Green, Steve Davidson, William Reichard, embrodski, Lis Carey, Joe Sherry, Elisa Bergslien, Brian Niemeier, R.P.L. Johnson, Katya Czaja, Mary Robinette Kowal, “Orange Mike” Lowrey, Alexandra Erin and ULTRAGOTHA. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and Soon Lee.)

Kate Paulk on Mad Genius Club

“So What Is Hugo-Worthy Anyway?” – May 28

So. What I look for when judging quality in narrative fiction (this mostly doesn’t apply to poetry and non-fiction and it sure as heck doesn’t apply to art) is this (in approximate order, even):

  1. Early immersion – I read a hell of a lot, and I find it very easy to become immersed in a piece. The earlier it drags me in, the better. If I don’t get the immersion, the interplay of the technical factors (prose quality, characterization, plotting, foreshadowing, etc.) isn’t handled well enough to do it. I’ve read pieces where I liked the premise and characters, but the craft wasn’t good enough to generate immersion. I’ve also read pieces that I hated but were well enough done to hold me despite that.
  2. Immersion is maintained until the last word – This is important: if something throws me out of immersion, it’s a serious technical flaw (because, yes, I’ve actually analyzed this. It could be a plot flaw that runs the piece into a bridge abutment. It could be something that breaks a character. It could also be prose so damned obtuse it sends me running for a dictionary – and I read Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant series without needing one…..


John Carlton on The Arts Mechanical

Eric Flint Owes Brad Torgeson And The Rest Of The Puppies A Huge Apology

This has gotten too long, Eric and I’m leave it with this.  WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!!! Before I knew what your relationship with Brad was, your posts were just more of the kind of crap we have been seeing all over.  Not only excusing the nuclear strike of hate, but seemingly justifying it.  Most of us thought you just weren’t aware of the whole story.  That was before how well you knew Brad.  Then you came into my thread [on Facebook] and acted like a perfect jackass. Beating up on me, well ok, I’m a big boy, and I’ve been beaten on by better than you.  Supposedly you are Brad’s friend, though. Yet you didn’t hesitate to demonstrate true douchery by taking a hit at him.  All the while he’s formatting that hit piece on himself for you before going on deployment.  A true friend indeed.

I’m sure you are aware of the Alinsky tactic of isolating the target and setting it up for destruction.  You also know that that’s exactly the time when friends need to stand together.  Yet there you were with the rest of the mob.  I’m asking myself why?  Couldn’t you just for once set aside your politics and support a friend who needs it? With all the voices turned  against them the puppies and Brad could have used another voice in support.  Even if you saw the screams of racism and misogyny you KNEW that it all had to be a  lie.  Yet you not did not call out the lies, you amplified them and did not speak out against them even when the CHORFs were attacking YOU.  And that’s why you owe Brad and the rest of the puppies a HUGE apology.


Nick Mamatas on Storify

“Engagement and Popularity in Science Fiction – Sad Puppies Are Sad”  – May 28

[Numbers 10 and 11 of 17 tweets]




Tom Knighton

“Sad Puppies, Noah Ward, and the abusive husband” – May 28

How, pray tell, did we screw any work, magazine or other entity over by nominating them?  First, that presumes that we not only sought to have everything on the slate nominated but also knew that the reaction would be to No Award everything we nominated.

Make no mistake, the decision to No Award the works on the Sad Puppy slate lies on you who have decided to judge a work by its fans.

Claiming that we “screwed over” a work because we nominated it is like an abusive husband smacking his wife because another guy said she was pretty, then turning to the other guy and saying, “See what you made me do?”

We didn’t make you do anything.  It is your decision to No Award works, not ours.  Just like the abusive husband trying to pin responsibility on the other man, you’re responsible for your own decisions.  We’re not forcing you to vote anything below No Award.  That’s been your call from the start.

Those of us on the Sad Puppy side just wanted to nominate things we like.  We didn’t like what had been winning, so we stepped up and nominated different stuff.  You act like we’ve committed an unspeakable sin because we didn’t do it the way you guys have been doing it.  We did it a different way.


Adam-Troy Castro

“Conniption Fodder” – May 28

[Ordinarily I avoid quoting entire posts – but this is, after all, only three sentences long…]

Any political differences I might have with the Puppies, any feelings of dismay I might have about the racism and homophobia and sheer unpleasantness displayed by some of them, are secondary.

What really infuriates me most is eighty years — eighty goddamned years — of SF writers and fans trying to persuade a skeptical and often contemptuous world that this is not a field of crap, jumped-up “Buck Rogers stuff,” as it’s so often been called, but a field of literature, material that was stylistically and thematically and conceptually ignored at the world’s tremendous loss, a fight that was led on the page by Campbell, for God’s sake, by Bradbury, for God’s sake, by Heinlein, for God’s sake, by Pohl for God’s sake, even from time to time by Harry Harrison for God’s sake, and in popular culture by Serling and Roddenberry for God’s sake, all that before we got to the likes of Vonnegut and Ellison and LeGuin and Silverberg and Russ and Malzberg and Tiptree and Brunner and Delany, with the occasional cruelly overlooked master like Kit Reed, and others, for God’s sake, all of them hammering hard at the limits of what this field was allowed to do, and what it was allowed to say, all of them breaking barriers and shattering ceilings, often in the face of tremendous opposition, while permitting the grand old adventure stuff to continue to flourish, until we have room for both Neal Stephenson and Neil Gaiman, for everything from Kim Stanley Robinson to China Mieville, for Nalo Hopkinson and N.K. Jemisin, all those good folks, after which we not only enter the zeitgeist but take it over, decades later, whereupon the Puppies come along and say, “NO! IT WAS NEVER ANY OF THAT GOOD STUFF! IT WAS ALWAYS *JUST* ROCKETSHIPS AND DRAGONS! IT WAS NEVER ANYTHING BUT PLAIN FICTION FOR PLAIN FOLKS! ANY PRETENSIONS OF ANYTHING ELSE ARE JUST AN ABERRATION OF THE LAST FEW YEARS!”

*That* is conniption fodder.



Max Florschutz on Unusual Things

“Battle of the Lone-Star Reviews” – May 28

A very vocal anti-puppy commented that simply because he was an outspoken anti-puppy, his books had been one-star bombed by the Sad Puppy supporters, and it was wrong. Except when the anti-puppies did it (yes, he actually claimed this in the same comment), because as long as they believed the were morally right, then they had a good reason to. Also, he dared more people to leave one star reviews on his book because all that proved was that they didn’t have a leg to—yeah, I started skimming it. It got ridiculous.

Point is, I checked him on Amazon, and indeed, he does have a very large number of unreasonable one-star reviews. He also had a few very well-thought out and explained one-star reviews to go along with them. I went along and did the helpful/not-helpful boxes as I browsed through them, because heck, even if the guy is loud and annoying to me, a scummy review is still a scummy review.

So, here’s what we have: individuals on both sides appear to be leaving one-star reviews for books of authors they don’t like. And at least one prominent individual on one of the sides has encouraged such actions as a “take that!” to which supporters on the other have responded in kind.

I don’t approve of either. In fact, if you’re encouraging this or engaging in it, you’re part of the problem.


Rich Horton on Black Gate

“A Modest Proposal to Improve the Hugos” – May 28

Though, I ask myself, why do I use the word “problem?” Surely it is a feature, not a bug, that there are so many stories published each year that are worthy of our attention? Indeed it is, but a result of that, I feel, is that if we want the Hugos to represent the very best stories of the year, we are failing, in the sense that it’s easier than before for a great story to slip under the radar.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that for a story to reach the final ballot it must receive 5% of the nominating ballots. That requirement is obsolete in a situation where so many more stories are plausible contenders. (Three times in the past five years the Hugo Short Story ballot has had fewer than 5 entries due to this rule, and in 2013 there were only three stories on the final ballot.)

Is there a way to solve this? I have a very simple suggestion. Change the rules as follows: instead of choosing the top 5 nominated stories for the final ballot, choose the top 10. (However, any individual nominator would still only be allowed to nominate 5 items in a category.) Also, lower the percentage threshold of total nominating ballots to be eligible for the final ballot to 3% (or, possibly, eliminate the lower threshold altogether). I’m not sure this change is needed in all categories – in some categories (Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, for one example) it’s been my impression that getting to 10 reasonable nominees in a given year might be a stretch.


Lou Antonelli on This Way to Texas

“Kansas City chronicles – ConQuest 46” – May 28

One of the practical things I did while at the convention was upgrade my membership for SasQuan from supporting to attending. They offered a $20 discount if it was done at the con. I also had a nice chat with the people at the table. I told them of my belief, because of the mob mentality being fostered by some people against the Pupps, that they should just announce the winners and forget the dinner. But they are aware of the possibility of unpleasantness and plan to keep a tight rein on things. I wish them luck. I hope I get out of Spokane in one piece.

One person I ran into at the con said he has suggested that, to prevent catcalls, boos and jeering, that the Hugo committee announce in advance which categories will not have an award this year, and the ceremony only deal with the presentations to winners. That sounds like a good idea, also.


Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Five days and counting” – May 28

As for today, well, it is difficult to find a topic to blog that doesn’t take me back to Sad Puppies and the Hugos. That is especially true when one author keeps turning up on my Facebook feed with his daily anti-puppy rant. Now, I’m a big believer in everyone is entitled to their own opinions but it is hard to not respond, either on his page — which would get me banned — or here. That’s especially true because he consistently misconstrues what SP3 stands for.

You see, by nature I’m a battler. I’m a brawler and I fight dirty. But I have learned over the years that there are some fights that just aren’t worth fighting. This fight, with this particular author is one of them. He is never going to change his stance, no matter what sort of evidence, anecdotal and concrete alike, he is presented with. He has written the history of the industry in the way he wants it to be remembered and to hell with everyone else. Taking the battle to him would serve no purpose except to prove, in his point of view, he is right.


Obsah XB-1 – June 2015 issue

[A Czech-language SF magazine presents both sides of the controversy. Jason Sanford’s article, according to Google Translate, is titled “You maniacs ! You destroyed Hugo Award !” while Brad Torgersen’s is called “Sad Puppies critics strike back.” Each author also has a story in the issue.]



Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“On Politics and Fandom” – May 28

Yesterday I sent out a general press release concerning the appointment of Judges to the Gernsback Science Fiction Short Story Contest (you can see a post here).

I received an email from one of the usual press outlets I send such things to, asking to be removed from our PR mailing list.

The name of the venue is unimportant.

What is important is that the request for removal from the list represents fallout from the 2015 Hugo Kerfuffle, otherwise known as Puppygate.


William Reichard

“What hope gets you today (puppy sadness)” – May 28

But that’s what earnestness gets you. Earnestness is a crime in our world. Even daring to try to believe in something hopeful and un-ironic wins you scorn. It gets you lectured. And this is one of the nuances that makes me able to understand some of the “puppies” in the Hugo debate. I tend toward cynicism and irony myself, but when someone tells me I can’t be hopeful, that it’s bad taste to be hopeful, that earnestness is corny per se, my hackles are raised and I think, well I’m going to be hopeful, then. I don’t even think I’m uncritical of hopefulness itself–I could name plenty of ostensibly “hopeful” works that weren’t much more than jingoistic rose-colored welding glasses. But Interstellar wasn’t that, and it seems facile–a critical trope of its own–to say it was.


embrodski on Death Is Bad

“SF/F Review – The Three-Body Problem” – May 28

Puppy Note: This book was not on the Puppy Slate. When I thought to myself “How did this book make it onto the Hugo Ballot?” my first thought was the same uncharitable thought that the Puppies normally have. I thought “This is cultural inclusiveness being taken too far. The liberal thought-leaders want to show they are racially/culturally diverse, and they know that this book is CRAZY popular in China! For it to be so popular among so many readers, it must be fantastic! So let’s make sure it gets a nomination regardless of its merits.” Thus a type of affirmative action – signaling your awesome cultural acceptance and diversity at the cost of nominating a book that would have been much more deserving of the Hugo on its merits.

Except that the Puppy Leaders have come forward to say that they love this book, and would have put it on their slate if they’d known about it!! And I’m like… WHAT THE HELL is going on?? OK, we all already suspect that the Puppies don’t have great taste in SF lit, but if they think this book deserves a nomination on its merits, than perhaps *I* am being a giant, insensitive dick by assuming that only someone with a hidden liberal agenda would nominate this. Obviously people must actually like it. And if I am lumping in the Sad/Rabid Puppies with their hated “SJW” nemesis for picking crap for political reasons, maybe that’s a big flashing sign that says “There is no such thing as the political-reasons voter, and the Puppies were even more wrong that I thought from the very beginning.” Seriously, if I can’t tell you apart from your political rivals based on book selection, I think you’re grasping at straws.

Second, apparently Puppy-approved books can be nominated without the Puppy’s help. In fact, despite their efforts in this case. If the liberal conspiracy you claim is keeping good works down keeps nominating things you like (much like they nominated Correia and Torgerson in the past…) then it might not actually exist.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Saga (Collected Editions #3), by Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Fiona Staples (artist)” – May 28

In the end, though, I think too much of the background needed for the story to make sense is just not here. It’s likely in the two earlier volumes, but it’s not here in Volume 3, which is what I’m being asked to judge. I suspect I would like this a good deal better if I’d read the earlier volumes. As is, though? Art, very nice. Story, meh.


Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Graphic Story” – May 28

Time will bear this out, or not, but I think I will have had a much more difficult time ranking the nominees for Graphic Story than I will for any other Hugo category this year. There is just so much excellence here and the comics are all great in very different ways.  I will, however, hold to this ranking and this vote and live with it. But ask me tomorrow and I could reorder the whole thing and be equally comfortable with that order. I choose to draw the line today.


Elisa Bergslien

“More Hugo’s reading: Related Works … voted category most likely to make you completely bewildered” – May 28

My conclusion ?   I have no idea what the nominators were thinking with these selections. I just can’t find the redeeming value that would make any of this years items award winning.


Brian Niemeier on Superversive SF

“Transhuman and Subhuman Part VII: The Glory Game” – May 28

Today I’m reviewing John C. Wright’s review of Keith Laumer’s short novel The Glory Game.

“The novel is well crafted, concise, without a wasted scene or word,” says Wright, “and therefore has the clearest and most trenchant point of any tale I have ever read that is actually a tale and not a tract.”

Indeed, the book’s twist ending is incisively delivered in its last four words. Since The Glory Game was first published in 1973, this review will discuss the plot under the reasonable assumption that little risk remains of spoiling the final twist for long time sci-if fans. For those who are newly come to the fold, it’s recommended that you read the novel before continuing with this post.

Of the book’s characters, Wright notes that they are, “…rough sketches, painted in broad, energetic strokes, as befits an adventure yarn.” Yet the story’s driving conflict is moral; not military–the dilemma of a principled man told to violate his principles.


Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form”  – May 28

I am not, in general, a big fan of TV. However, almost everything I watch, or want to watch, is on this list. My reviews for the Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form category will be short. They will be short enough that I can fit them all together on this one post. I present them in the same order in which they appear on the Hugo nominations list.


R.P.L. Johnson

“A Hugo Post – The Short Stories” – May 28

So what’s the final verdict? Totalled is the standout favourite for me so I’ll be voting as follows:


A Single Samurai


No Award


Kristin on SciFi With A Dash of Paprika

“The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison” – May 28

Overall, a solid absorbing read with beautiful world building and solid character development.


Katya Czaja

“Hugo Award: Related Work” – May 28

Ranking Another race for the bottom. Difficult to figure out which was worse, the word-salad that was Transhuman and Subhuman or the not-a-book that was Wisdom From My Internet. In the end, Wright lost because he put words together in a form that can be described as essay and not just random, unrelated scribblings. Neither “The Hot Equation” nor “Why Science is Never Settled” were important enough to rise above No Award, but “The Hot Equation” came closest.

1) No Award

2) “The Hot Equation” by Ken Burnside

3) “Why Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts

4) Letters from Garnder by Lou Antonelli

5) Transhuman and Subhuman by John C. Wright

6) Wisdom From My Internet by Michael Z. Williamson


Mary Robinette Kowal

“Talk with me about being a fan of science fiction and fantasy” – April 11

[I linked to Kowal’s post before, but John Hertz would be deeply gratified if I injected “Orange Mike” Lowrey’s comment and her reply into the ongoing discussion and I am happy to do so.]

Definition of Terms (You can tell that I was on the debate team in high school, yes?)

  • Fandom – The community of fans who regularly attend fan run conventions.


Michael J. “Orange Mike” Lowrey in a comment on “Talk with me about being a fan of science fiction and fantasy” – April 11

As a historian, I do want to clarify one thing. Historically, SF fandom was centered in the fanzines, constantly refreshed by names culled from the letter columns of the prozines. Conventions were rare and widely scattered, whereas a letter cost less than a dime to mail, and fanzines could easily be printed and mailed for much less than a quarter-dollar. If you lived in a big enough town, this was bolstered and enlarged by local SF clubs, at least one (LASFS) still extant today.

Starting in the 1960s, and more in the 1970s, conventions became more common, but these sprang from the local fandoms (both club and fanzine), and carried on the same conversation, with many of the same participants still around. This conversation in turn (for those unable or unwilling to attend conventions in the flesh, or just wanting more doses of that fannish pleasure) shifted gradually from paper fanzines to online venues, from Usenet and e-mail lists to LiveJournal (and individual blogs) to Facebook. But all these were carrying on the same conversation, and some of the participants remained the same or were the spiritual heirs of the same conversants. We are all the heirs of Bob Tucker, of Forrest J Ackerman, of Jan Howard Finder, of Rusty Hevelin and Lee Hoffman, of Robert Bloch and Morojo, of John Boardman and Harry Warner, Jr., of Terry Carr and Russ Chauvenet and Vin¢ Clarke and Bob Shaw and Jan Howard Finder and Ross Pavlac and Ken Moore and Dean Grennell, of Samuel Edward Konkin III and Steig Larsson (yes, he was One of Us), of Judith Merril and Sam Moskovitz and Ray Palmer, of Frederik Pohl, of Tom Reamy and Bill Rotsler, of Damon Knight and Julie Schwartz, of Donald A. Wollheim. Some of them became pros; some remained “only” fans. But every time you argue about Hugo selection, or use the term “space opera”, or deprecate the use of the horrible neologism “sci-fi” or otherwise celebrate this wonderful thing we enjoy, you ARE part of that conversation, whether you ever get to a con or not. And you are part of science fiction fandom.


Mary Robinette Kowal replying to comment – April 11

Oh! Excllent point about the fanzines. My fault for forgetting because I joined fandom after the internet had already started to reshape things.


Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies Review Books: GOODNIGHT MOON” – May 28


Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (aspired)

I suppose this book is supposed to be clever in that literary way that SJWs are so fond of, but I found it to be a confusing and unholy mess. It was very hard to follow. The prose was far too clunky and the signaling was all wrong. Good stories use signaling to tell you what kind of story they are, so you will know how the story goes and not be thrown out of it when something happens that you do not expect.


ULTRAGOTHA in a comment on File 770

Hwaet! The Great-Danes’ want glory through dubious achievements
The god-voice former infamy we have heard of,
How puppies displayed then their prowess-in-prose.
Theodore, their mighty king, in honor of whom they are often called Teddys.

From many a people their chrome-rockets tore.
Since first they found themselves rocketless and wretched,
The puppies had sadness: no comfort they got for it,
Waxed ’neath the woe, word-honor hungered for
Till all the fans o’er sea were compelled to
Bow to their bidding and bring them their nominations:

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Puppy 5/12

aka The Puppy Who Was Death

On hand for today’s roundup are Jason Sanford, Lyda Morehouse, Martin Wisse, John C. Wright, John Scalzi, Brian K. Lowe,  Damien G. Walter, Fred Kiesche, Rebecca Vipond Brink, Megan Baxter, Lis Carey, Brian Niemeier, Lisa J. Goldtstein, James Weber, Keith “Kilo” Watt, The Weasel King, Alexandra Erin, Sonya Craig, Gabe Posey and Christopher Chupik. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Steve Moss and Paul Weimer.)

Jason Sanford

“An engaged fandom means “No Award” won’t kill the Hugos” – May 12

No Award won’t mean the death of the Hugos

With voting for the Hugo Awards now open I’m hearing through private messages and on social media how many people have voted. Based on these comments it appears “No Award” is poised to do very well. In fact, I’d be surprised if No Award didn’t win several categories, notably the Novella, Novelette and Short Story categories, along with other categories where the Puppy slates make up all the nominees.

Despite what the Puppies will try to say if No Award wins, this doesn’t result from some organized attack on their slate. Instead, most Hugo voters appear to be reading the nominees and deciding that many of them are not worthy of being on the final ballot. A smaller group of voters appear to be voting No Award because they dislike how the Hugos were politicized.

One of the strengths of the Hugo Awards has always been how voters punish stories and works which were placed on the ballot through political maneuvering and campaigning. We saw this in the 1987 Hugo Awards for Best Novel, where Black Genesis by L. Ron Hubbard made the final ballot through political campaigning. End result: Hubbard’s novel placed sixth in the voting, behind No Award.

We appear to be seeing a repeat of what happened in 1987. And the good news is that a more engaged fandom, as indicated by Worldcon membership numbers, not only means that people are rejecting PuppyFail, they’ll also make it harder for the Puppies to game the Hugo nomination process in future years. That means any threats to destroy the Hugos if No Award wins will turn out to be meaningless.


Lyda Morehouse on Bitter Empire

“On Sad Puppies, The Nebula Awards, And Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation” – May 12

There has been some talk in the science fiction community that the next target for the Sad Puppies might be the Nebulas.

For myself, I highly doubt it. First of all, even though it takes far fewer votes1 to get on the Nebula ballot, the Nebulas are nominated and voted entirely by the members of SFWA, the Science Fiction Writers of America. Talk about insiders. This is actually a fairly exclusive group of people, and a small enough that a lot of us know one another personally.

Thing is, it’s actually fairly difficult to become a Nebula voting member of SFWA and, possibly more importantly if you believe the “Sad Puppy Data Analysis,” they would be bereft of their highly effective Rabid Puppy ally, Vox Day, because he was one of two people, EVER, to be forcibly kicked out of SFWA.

Similarly, on a personal level, since they changed how SFWA accepts nominations, I find it kind of baffling to actually do the process of nominating. There are passwords and forums involved now and I am an old lady who can’t always figure out Twitter. I used to only have to shoot an email to the Nebula coordinator with the pertinent info from a member-valid email. While I miss the old way, you can see why the change. The Nebula nomination process is far more protected from hack this way.

That being said, the Nebula is also the science fiction version of the Cannes Film Festival. The Nebula nominees come out significantly sooner than the Hugo and often end up reflecting the current science fiction gestalt, if you will.


Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“The Baen fallacy” – May 12

Eric Flint is one of Baen’s old guard of authors, somebody who has been writing and editing for Baen since at least the nineties. He’s also one of the more insightful of Baen’s stable of authors, being an old lefty rather than a rightwinger, though it’s only noticeable in his fiction because his gun toting heroes defending the American way of life are unionised. Whereas a Larry Correia or Brad Torgersen show little evidence of thinking things through, acting purely on rightwing reflexes, blaming everybody else for their failures to get Hugo nominations, seeing conspiracies in the everyday actions of fandom, Flint thinks much more nuanced and sophisticated about why the Hugo Awards have failed to reward much of the sort of science fiction Baen publishes. Unlike them, he isn’t so much looking for excuses as for looking for explanations. He’s still wrong though, but he’s interestingly wrong and he provides as clear headed a defence of what I like to call the Baen fallacy as is possible….


John C. Wright

“An Answer” – May 12

“Then came the Rabid Puppy/Sad Puppy debacle and I was heartbroken. Not because your beliefs and mine are so different, but because you and your fellow Puppies were so *rude*. You, Vox, Day, and Torgenson tore into the heart of fandom out of sheer cussedness and that’s it. Your arguments for nominating a slate and violating the unwritten code underlying the Hugos were irrational and make no sense outside of the right-wing ‘reality bubble.’


Rob Thornton Catonsville, MD”

It is a hard letter to read. I aim to please by readers, and when I fail, the fault is mine.


John Scalzi on Whatever

“Reader Request Week 2015 #4: Bullies and Me” – May 12

Well, with regard to the Puppies specifically, I don’t think they’re trying to bully me. They just like to use a fictional version of me as a poster boy for Everything That’s Wrong With Science Fiction, and occasionally the poster boy for Sure We’re Doing a Shitty Thing But This Guy Kinda Did It First If You Squint Real Hard, and always as the poster boy for WAAAAAAAAAAAH SCALZI WE JUST HATE YOU SO MUCH AND WISH YOU WOULD DIE. Which is different than bullying. There’s not much to do but snark on that, honestly. They keep at it, I suppose, as a community-building activity. Which, you know. I guess is nice? None of their rationales for slating holds up to even casual scrutiny but at least they’re united in their dislike of me? Bless their little hearts. I wish them joy.


Brian K. Lowe

“Friends with Enemies” – May 11

I am what some call a Social Justice Warrior (“SJW”). Not that I crusade for liberal causes; other than voting and contributing to a few, I don’t get much involved. But the Sad Puppies and their allies would call me an SJW for that alone, or because I believe awards should go to stories that are more than just popular, or for a hundred other reasons. Fine. Call me what you want. It just shows how short-sighted such labels are, because in the end, I read the same stuff you do.

The Puppies put Jim Butcher on the Hugo ballot. I love Jim Butcher’s books. Larry Correia would have been on the ballot if he hadn’t taken himself off. I enjoy his books a lot. Most of the other Puppy offerings I am unfamiliar with, but my point is made. They want books that have spaceships on the cover to be about space exploration and high heroics. Well, guess what? So do I. You want proof? Read “The Invisible City.” It’s about a guy who ends up in a (mostly) invisible city. Truth in advertising. End of plug.

But I also believe that the influx of new authors who are not white males is a good thing. The only thing wrong with saying, “F/SF is a wide field with room for all kinds of authors and stories,” is that it implies we’re still writing and reading in a ghetto….




Fred Kiesche on Bernal Alpha

“The Nuclear Option (My 2015 Hugo Vote)” – May 3

I spent a lot of working on my list of nominations of works worthy of a Hugo Award that appeared in 2014. However, unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you’ll know that most of what I nominated did not make it.

There has been a lot of talk about how to vote. Well, long story short: You (Puppies, Either Stripe) have your opinion and some of you (Puppies, mostly Rabid) have made your threats. You dug your grave. Go lie in it. I may have voted for some of your nominees in the various categories such as Best Professional Editor (Long Form) if you hadn’t gone the route you went. I have nominated some of your names in the past; I did so again this year [specifically, again, Best Professional Editor (Long Form)].

But…you stand for something I do not. Those nominees who have not dropped from your slate have, in my opinion, embraced your philosophy. So, no vote, no matter how I may have felt previous to this.


Rebecca Vipond Brink on The Frisky

“Kirsten Powers Might Be Right About ‘Illiberal’ Feminist Rhetoric” – May 12

I’ve been thinking a lot about what George R. R. Martin said about the Tone Argument in regards to the Hugo Award takeover a few weeks ago: “I am against punching and kicking. Up, down, or sideways. No punching here, please.” The idea that we should “punch up” becomes less and less appealing the more we classify as “up,” the more we classify as “power” to which we need to “speak truth,” and the more hatred and vitriol we excuse as “truth-speaking.” I know for a fact that I’m going to be archiving my blog and starting fresh, because I regret some of the sentiments I’ve employed in order to make a point (I’d be lying if I said I didn’t regret some of the sentiments I’ve employed on The Frisky, too). And I’ve been fiddling with ceasing to call myself a feminist, too, because I really don’t want to be associated with the loud minority who tend to be cruel, censorial, and proscriptive.


Megan Baxter on Smorgasbook

“Hawksbill Station By Robert Silverberg” – May 12

Look at the covers above. They may not tell you everything about the book, but if the Sad Puppies narrative is to be believed, they’ll be a straightforward adventure yarn, instead of harbouring something more subversive. You hear that, Silverberg? You guys didn’t write anything more complex than that, right? Wait, what? These books are about the criminalization of left-wing dissent, and the exiling of left-wing would-be revolutionaries to the Pleistocene, on a one-way time travel trip? They’re jam-packed full of references to Marxism, Trotskyism, debates over non-violence versus violent revolution, and the tactics and long-term strategies of the revolution?


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Totaled by Kary English” – May 12

Another 2015 Hugo nominee from the Sad Puppies slate. Quite competently written, and there are some interesting ideas. Maggie Hauri, a research scientist in brain/computer interface, is killed in a car accident. Due to the research rider on her insurance policy, her still-aware brain becomes a research subject in what was her own lab.


Brian Niemeier on Kairos

“Transhuman and Subhuman Part III: Whistle While You Work” – May 11

The third essay in John C. Wright’s Hugo-nominated collection Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth tackles the enduring question of why small animals help Snow White with her housework.

Yes. It really does.

The author formulates his answer in terms of Aristotelian metaphysics.


Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 7: Novelettes” – May 12

The dialog is a weird combination of fake Western, epic speech, current catch-phrases (“Made in the shade”), and even Yiddish.  This could be the result of a great mixing of languages among Terrans who have forgotten their roots, but the sudden switches in style kept making my head spin.  “Ever seen a kid with a toy what he ain’t playing with it, then some other kid comes along and picks it up?” Teo says.  “Give Bowman his space and he’ll beat feet.”  Just a few minutes later his speech becomes formal, epic, complete with references to himself in the third person: “Very strange was that house-within-the-hill… Then, seeing the bravery of Teodorq and his stalwart companion, the headman of the shuttle summoned them to her council chamber. This was Jamly-the-ghost.”  Anya points out that ghosts can’t be seen, and Teo replies, “Duh, they’re invisible?”


James Weber on Alligators and Aneurysms

“Ancillary Justice: Scandalously Good” – May 12

Basically, Ann Leckie was out sick the day they went over pronouns in elementary school — or rather Breq, the main character, was sick that day — and so every single one is a she, even when the character speaking, being spoken to, or being spoken of, is not a she.

Also, Leckie decided: “Stories don’t start at the beginning and move straight through until the end. They start at the beginning and the middle at the same time. And then they race to see who can get to the end quicker. But they also perfectly complement one another so that comprehension of what is actually going on can only happen with both.”

And I’m convinced that this story could not have been told any other way. I wish I could have been there the moment she decided that’s how she was going to do it. I imagine she couldn’t wipe the smile from her face. I imagine that anyone standing around was like “Are you OK?” And she was like “Oh I’m way better than OK. I’m amazing.”


Keith “Kilo” Watt on Making Light

“Discussing Specific Changes to the Hugo Nomination Election: A Post Not By Bruce Schneier”  – May 12

After a couple thousand posts, here’s the current proposal, summarized in this comment by Keith “Kilo” Watt.

[Plain-Language Explanation of SDV-LPE]

Least Popular Elimination (formally called “single divisible vote with least popular eliminated” or SDV-LPE for short) is very simple and straightforward.

– You have one nomination “vote”, which we’ll call one “point” to avoid confusion.

– You can distribute that nomination “vote” among as many works as you feel are Hugo-worthy, and it will get divided among them equally. So, if you nominate two works, each gets half a point, if you nominate three works, each gets one third of a point, etc.

– All the points for each work from all the ballots submitted are added together, and the two works that got the least number of points are compared with each other. One of these works is the least popular and will be eliminated.

– For those works that are eligible to be eliminated, we compare the total number of nominations they each received (that is, the total number of times that work appeared on anyone’s nomination ballot). The work that received the fewest number of nominations is the least popular and now completely vanishes from the nomination process as though it never existed.

– We start over for the next round, and repeat the process, however, if one of your nominations was eliminated, you now have fewer works on your nomination ballot — so each one gets more points since you aren’t dividing your vote among as many works.


The Weasel King

“This is my new favourite blog” – May 12

Alexandra Erin is snarky as fuck and it’s great. (That link is specifically to her “Noisy Nonsense” category, wherein she is doing an excellent “Sad Puppies Review Books” series.)


Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Rabid Puppies Review Books: IMOGENE’S ANTLERS”  – May 12


Reviewed By Special Guest Reviewer Theophilus Pratt (Publisher — Hymenaeus House)….

Well, John Z. Upjohn has been reviewing books here for a week with not much to show for it. If anything, the SJWs have treated the whole thing as a joke! He means well, but the problem is the SJWs don’t. His fundamental decency shows through in every moderate, conciliatory word he writes, but they spit in his face every time. That’s why I’m taking over for the day, to show him how it’s done.

This is a culture war, and the SJWs take no prisoners. They are the most ruthless thought police the world has ever seen. This is why every last trace of their philosophy must be expunged from existence and all who extol it punished suitably.

Our battle ground for the day is Imogene’s Antlers, which from the very cover obviously promises to be an amusing if instructive lesson in the fundamental truth of the rhetoric of the SJWs and their myriad lies. I purchased this book not with Congress-issued coins of gold and silver but unbacked fiat currency, an irony which was not lost on me when I considered that this book, too, was mere paper backed by nothing of value.