Howl’s Moving Castalia 5/24

aka In a hole in a ground there lived a Hugo. It was a puppy Hugo, and that means discomfort.

Today’s roundup features Amanda S. Green, Deirdre Saoirse Moen, P. J. Pruhon, Andrew Hickey, Lisa J. Goldstein, The Staff of The New Republic, Steve Davidson, N.K. Jemisin, Larry Correia, Tom Knighton, Jim C. Hines, Rebekah Golden and Lis Carey. (Title credit belongs to File 770’s contributing editors of the day SocialInjusticeWorrier and Going To Maine.)

Amanda S. Green on Mad Genius Club

“Inspiration and remembrance” – May 24

I look at the Hugo controversy and wonder if those clinging to the award, willing to destroy careers if necessary in order to do so, and I wonder if they have given even a passing thought to how what they are advocating is the non-political version of censorship (and yes, I understand that technically only a government can censure something).  They want to silence points of view they don’t agree with. They want to silence what they see as the opposition. Which, when you consider that science fiction should be the one place where all viewpoints should be welcome is not only ironic but sad.

So today, here is my challenge to each of us. Remember those who have sacrificed so much so we can read and write what we want (within limits. Remember, the Supreme Court will know pornography when it sees it). Now ask yourselves if what you are doing honors their sacrifice. For myself, I am going to be doing all I can to honor it.

 

Deirdre Saoirse Moen on Sounds Like Weird

“BayCon Panels and Notes” – May 24

The Hugo tug-of-war: Diversity of opinion among Worldcon voters

This panel [at BayCon] went really well, and I’m glad that Kate Secor had some details that I hadn’t researched. Also thanks to James Stanley Daugherty for moderating and Amy Sterling Casil for her contributions.

My general feelings:…

  1. The more that is done at this year’s meeting to “fix” things, it will become an outrage escalator, and I believe that would be counterproductive long term. While I think the 4 of 6 proposal (and a couple of others) have merit, what I’d actually like to see is more people nominating. Specifically, more people who realize you can’t read the entire field, so nominate what you have read and what you think is worthy.

Nothing that “fixes” nominations will change the fact that there are far fewer nominators than members, and far fewer nominators than voters.

 

P. J. Pruhon on Newsvine

“Sad Puppies and Paranoid Barflies” – May 24

The few words in my article mentioning Baen Publisher Toni Weisskopf were a commiseration for the reputation that the Sad Puppies have laid on her and Baen Books: “the vandals who wrecked the Hugos”. In my two days on Baen’s Bar, I was repeatedly attacked for having insulted Ms Weisskopf. I (politely) explained several times that there was no insult. Apparently Mr Cochrane finally understood… but he could not leave it alone: “This was interpreted by the conference owner as a slur on the owner of the site.” ….

Sometime during my second day on Baen’s Bar, I began getting criticism for “moving the goalposts”. I found this odd, since I was in fact just repeating what I had said earlier. Then I had my Eureka!! moment.

These folks had not misunderstood me.

They had not heard me at all.

What they heard was a voice in their heads: an “Anti-Sad Puppies” archetype telling them the things that “everyone knows that ASPs say”.

Me? I was not saying those things, but the Barflies did not notice, because they were not listening to me.

When I insisted loudly that I did not say that, they very honestly felt that I had moved the goalposts. The goalposts had started where those voices in their heads had stipulated, and here I was, daring to say differently! How dare I deviate from what they knew I must be saying!

Once we understand that Barflies and Sad Puppies are not listening to anything other than their own preconceptions, everything becomes limpidly clear. It becomes obvious that their outrage in not being recognized as the only true carriers of the “real SF” flame is genuine.

 

The Staff of The New Republic

“Science Fiction’s White Male Problem” – May 24

The conservative backlash isn’t entirely about attempts to diversify science fiction; it’s also motivated by nostalgia for an imaginary past. The Puppies factions argue that science fiction used to be a fun, apolitical genre but has now become too socially conscious and pretentious, due to a sinister leftist conspiracy…..

If leftism shouldn’t be conflated with literary ambition, neither should it be confused with demographic diversity. Torgersen assumes that stories exploring gender and race will automatically be boring left-wing propaganda. This flies in the face of history. For decades, science-fiction writers of both the left and the right, both popular entertainers and those writing more ambitious works, have made a point of trying to be inclusive. Heinlein started featuring nonwhite characters in his books from the very beginning of his career. His “Starship Troopers” (1959) can be read as a right-wing paean to military virtue; the main character is a Filipino.

Samuel R. Delany describes himself as a “boring old Marxist” but loves the right-wing fiction of Heinlein. “Well, Marx’s favorite novelist was Balzac — an avowed Royalist,” Delany once explained. “And Heinlein is one of mine.” The largeness of soul and curiosity about differing ideas that Delany brought to his appreciation of Heinlein is sadly missing from all the resentment and angst of the Sad and Rabid Puppies.

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“My Final Hugo Ballot” – May 24

Best Novel.

Only three works were eligible for consideration based on my determination not to reward the pupfans who thought it would be funny to poke the SJW’s in the eye by way of screwing with a 75 year old tradition.* They were:

Ancillary Sword, Goblin Emperor, The Three Body Problem

I gave the top slot to Ancillary Sword after having made it about a third of the way through Three Body Problem. I’d originally expected to be giving the top slot to TBP; I’d heard great things about it from the translator and I’ve been championing the community’s engagement with Chinese works for about a year now. Unfortunately, I found TBP to be slow to develop, and, at least for me, a bit off in its metaphor and simile. I found some of that to be jarring rather than descriptive.

Ancillary Sword, on the other hand, was an even quicker read for me than Justice (probably so at least partially due to being familiar and comfortable with the gender play), and I found it to be perhaps an even stronger story than Justice, and certainly a middle third that transcends the usual problems of middle thirds of trilogies.

I don’t do fantasy (my fault: I just can’t get past the initial premise that nothing in the story is potentially real) and have given it the third slot out of courtesy at this point in time. Now that I’ve gotten the Hugo Packet, I’ve had a chance to skim GE.  I’m leaving it in the number three slot, despite its apparent love of faux ye olde englysh in the dialogue.

The fourth slot is, and will remain, for No Award, as the remaining two entries were slatened entries.  I was hoping that Anderson and Butcher would at least state something regarding their inclusion publicly, though I understand their reluctance to screw with their successful careers by getting mired in the politics.  At this point in time they’ll pretty much piss off a segment of their audience no matter what they say.  Sorry guys, for whatever “guilt by association” may be present here, but you are on the slate, you’ve not written anything to disabuse me of the presumption that you are there willingly and I promised myself and everyone reading the website that I would vote ANYTHING on ANY slate below No Award – despite whatever personal feelings I may have about their individual worthiness….

 

 

 

 

Tom Knighton

“If you’re going to fling it, you better back it up” – May 24

Jemisin has, as of my writing of this post, revealed no evidence to support her assertion.  Nothing.  This is my surprised face:

 

Tom Knighton

Tom Knighton

Yeah, I look flabbergasted, don’t I?

This is just the latest — and lamest — attempt to try and paint Larry as a racist, all of which have failed miserably.  You know why they have?  Probably because Larry’s not a racist.  Shocking, I know.

Of course, one of my own initial reactions was to say screw cons as a writer and just avoid them as much as possible.  Personally, I suspect that Jemisin and company would see that as a feature, not a bug.  After all, pushing people like me out of fandom could hardly be a bad thing, right?  They don’t want “my kind” around.

 

Jim C. Hines

“Hugo Thoughts: Graphic Story” – May 24

Of the five nominees, the collection from The Zombie Nation was recommended by both the Sad and Rabid (SR) puppies. The rest of the category is puppy-free.

  • Ms. Marvel: The first page includes Kamala Khan smelling bacon and saying, “Delicious, delicious infidel meat” and someone responding, “Chow or chow not. There is no smell.” I was officially intrigued. A few pages later, we discover Kamala writes Avengers fanfic. She’s also struggling with her own identity, torn between cultures and dealing with ignorance and prejudice. She dreams about being powerful and blonde and beautiful like Ms. Marvel…and then she gets her wish. Sort of. And discovers it’s not what she imagined. This is a superhero origin story that plays off of our expectations, because Kamala has grown up in a world of superheroes. She’s an Avengers fangirl. She has to unlearn what she has learned, in order to become, in her words, “a shape-changing mask-wearing sixteen-year-old super ‘moozlim’ from Jersey City.” There’s a lot of humor, and some good depth and complexity to Kamala and her family and friends. There’s also a supervillain, of course, but that’s secondary to the story of Kamala coming of age and learning to navigate and incorporate the different parts of her identity….

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 14: A Brief Trip Back to Short Stories” – May 24

And with the first of them, “A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond, comes a problem I haven’t had in this read so far.  Namely, that I didn’t like the story, but I can imagine people who would. If your idea of fun is seeing really big creatures — I mean really big — stomp past leaving a trail of destruction in their wake, if you’ve held onto that child-like joy that only a rampaging monster can bring, then this story might be for you.

 

Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

“Hugo Blogging: ‘Best’ Novelette” – May 24

However, I shall actually be placing all five below No Award. One of the more depressing aspects of the Sad and Rabid Puppy slates is that the people who put them together are pushing both a political and an aesthetic viewpoint, and the aesthetic viewpoint is just as toxic as the political one. Even were all the stories to have made it on their own merits without block voting, and even had the politics of the authors matched my own, the stories on the Puppy slates are just *bad*.

Some of that badness is a lack of craft — badly-written sentences, with no sense of the potential of language for beauty, of the rhythms of speech, or of the subtle nuances involved in the choice of one word over another. I would actually have some sympathy for this if the ideas in the stories were worth reading — after all, I hardly have the most mellifluous prose style myself, and there are reasons other than beauty of language to read.

But the ideas are, uniformly (bearing in mind I’m only two categories through, so they might yet surprise me) awful.

In the “Best” Novelette category, I’m ranking No Award first, and second I will be ranking The Day the World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvel (translated by Lia Belt). This is the one non-Puppy nomination, and is the kind of poor literary fiction that makes one almost wonder if the Puppies have a point. The protagonist, a tedious narcissist with no redeeming characteristics whatsoever, is moping because his girlfriend left him. Then, for no adequately-explained reason, gravity goes into reverse, with people being flung up to ceilings or into space. The world has turned upside down, just as his girlfriend turned his emotional world upside down. Do you see? It’s perfectly competently written, for its type (although don’t use it as a guide for the care and feeding of goldfish — but in a world where gravity can go into reverse, goldfish managing to survive in 7-Up is probably not the most unrealistic thing about the story), but it’s a story in which horrible things happen to a horrible person, and I find it very hard to care about those….

 

Lis Carey on  Lis Carey’s Library

“Laura J. Mixon Hugo Nominee Fanwriter Sample” – May 24

This is a clear, well-supported explanation of Requires Hate’s multiple online identities, cyberstalking, and harassment, as well as her habitual deletion of hateful posts after the fact, making it hard for her victims to prove what happened to them. Mixon has included only episodes that she can document, and includes screen caps. Names are included only with the agreement of the individual. This was a major service to the sf community, and it’s well-written.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Professional Artist: Reviewing C Reid” – May 24

I am reviewing Carter Reid as a professional web comic artist based on what I could find since he didn’t submit anything for the [Hugo Voter] packet. That said I’m not going to read the whole year’s worth of comic. What I was able to make it through was tedious and uninspired. The plots seem to echo gleeful conversations between teenage boys. It’s really just not that interesting.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Movie: Reviewing Guardians of the Galaxy” – May 24

Overall every rewatch gives me more reason to favor this movie. It just improves under scrutiny.

Send In The Puppies… Don’t Bother They’re Here 4/28

aka One To Forsee For Puppies

Reactions to Edmund R. Schubert’s withdrawal as a Hugo nominee dominate today’s roundup, illustrated here by quotes from Lou Antonelli, N. K. Jemisin, Deirdre Saoirse Moen, George R.R. Martin and Dara Korra’ti. Annie Bellet elaborated on her own withdrawal in a comment left on Jim C. Hines’ blog.

The rest of the roundup takes note of new voices like Michael A. Rothman, Rachel Iliffe, John Popham, Moira J. Moore and Brenda Noiseux, and hears more from Amanda S. Green, Will McLean, Sandy Ryalls, T. L. Knighton, Vox Day, Sean Wallace, Nick Mamatas and others. (Credit for these titles belongs to File 770 contributing editors Laura Resnick and Matt Y.)

Lou Antonelli on Facebook

I don’t know how useful it will be to attend an event whose master of ceremonies is openly antagonistic to most of the potential honorees, and who is already predicting the outcome (below) and has – in other places – essentially vowed a blacklist (“It will take people a long time to forget how you tried to destroy the Hugos” or something to that effect). I mean, if I win one, will he hit me over the head with it? Where’s MY Safe Space?

 

 

 

 

 

Deidre Saoirse Moen in a comment on Sounds Like Weird

[Edmund] Schubert stated on the IGMS website that he didn’t know about the slates until afterward, and I’ve updated the post with a link to his statement. (I’d seen the link mentioned before my post, but I wasn’t able to get through to the site at that time.)

While I can see an argument for doubting his word, I’m of the “I take people at their word unless I have a reason not to” school of thought.

 

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Schubert Withdraws” – April 28

Edmund R. Schubert, the editor of ORSON SCOTT CARD’S INTERGALACTIC MEDICINE SHOW, has announced his decision to withdraw from the Hugo race…

I understand the reasons for his withdrawal and applaud his integrity. It cannot be easy to walk away from a major award, perhaps one that you have dreamed of someday winning. And this takes courage as well; like the others who have dropped off the Puppy slate, he will undoubtedly come in for a certain amount of angry barking from the kennels.

 

Dara Korra’ti on crime and the forces of evil

“edmund schubert bows out” – April 28

Edmund Schubert says he’s published queer authors in Intergalactic Medicine Show, and will continue to do so, and he says that’s with the full support of Mr. Card. Also stories by and of women, and various racial groups and religions. That’s good.

But I’ve got an assortment of assaults and a hospital visit and more money than I want to think about and years of lost time and decades of living in various degrees of fear all spent fighting for my legal and occasionally physical life against Mr. Card’s allies, and, to a lesser degree, Mr. Card himself. He and his friends on the social right have quite literally cost me and millions like me untold amounts of both blood and treasure.

And his erstwhile allies still are, across the globe, American fundamentalists exporting their religion of hate, getting execution laws passed, spreading the same lies they weren’t able to sell at home any longer.

So don’t expect that to stop mattering to me. And never, ever, dare tell me that it shouldn’t matter. Because, maybe, for you, it doesn’t have to. But to me? That’s quite a luxury. One I will never have.

 

Annie Bellet in a comment on Jim C. Hines’ “Choosing Sides”

Thank you for writing this post, Jim. The Us vs Them and points scoring thing overtaking what the Hugos should be is exactly why I withdrew.

I should clarify though that when I say I didn’t do it because of pressure from either “side” I am not saying there wasn’t pressure (I had plenty of messages on all sides telling me to hang tough, that my story was amazing, that I shouldn’t decline just because of who might have voted for me, etc, and messages saying I should be ashamed of myself, that I’d stolen the nomination from a real writer who actually deserved it, etc). I’m saying I made my decision for many other reasons. It’s one reason I took nearly two weeks to withdraw, because it was a very tough decision and I wanted to make sure I was doing it because it was right for me, for my own reasons, and not because of what people around me were saying was right or wrong. Because I wanted to make sure my withdrawal was for me and that it could be something I felt comfortable with instead of just a reaction to other people’s pain.

Hope that clarifies.

 

Michael A. Rothman on Facebook – April 28

For the Big-F Fandom community who feels aggrieved that people are acting unethically or against what you feel is right, then let me make a suggestion. [This is coming from a guy who participates and runs standards organizations, so it’s not exactly coming from someone who doesn’t have a clue.]

– Change the rules to match your expectations. That means no hidden agendas or intent, be forthright about what WorldCon and more specifically the Hugos are about and form the rules around that.

If you don’t do that, all your belly aching is just that. Pathetic whining that no adult should be doing and nobody who isn’t in your clique will respect.

If you set rules, you are drawing a line in the sand. Nothing more, nothing less.

All this argument over seemliness and the proper type of voter etc. is just not professional and not what people in the real world do. You come off looking silly and quite pathetic.

 

Rachel Iliffe on Rachelloon Productions

“#SadPuppies : Stop the Hugo Awards Bullies?” – April 28

In 2013 when I first started this blog one of my first posts was about the STGRB controversy. For those of you who don’t know, STGRB stands for ‘Stop The GoodReads Bullies’, and was a group who formed one side of another SJW conflict—however, this was a little different to the more recent debacles we’ve grown to love.

The basic background was this: a number of popular intersectional feminist book-reviewers had been declared ‘bullies’ by a group of mostly independent authors whose books had been criticised by them for reasons of sexism etc. Now, the timeline here was very murky, or at least it was when I first became aware of it, concerning who had stated this whole thing. There were accusations of ’rounding up mobs of fans’ flying back and forth from one side to the other (I’m sure the SJWs have a word for that in their Newspeak lexicon… eh, I probably don’t want to know) and of course, accusations of doxxing, threats and harassment.

Those who supported STGRB claimed that their books had been criticised unfairly, and that when this occurred more often than not the friends and followers of these feminist reviewers, many reviewers just as popular, would immediately give their book a correspondingly poor rating on Goodreads without even thinking of actually reading it for themselves—and with many of these being indie authors, drive the average rating of the book down significantly and negatively impact the impressions of potential readers.

 

Amanda S. Green on Mad Genius Club

“And the tantrums continue” – April 28

The logic of so many of them fails on almost every level, from assigning SP3 as some sort of partner or even tool of GamerGate to fear that if SP3 is successful we might — gasp — get a writer like Diana Gabaldon winning a Hugo and we mustn’t have that because she writes icky romances.

Give me a freaking break. (Yes, I said something different but I’m censoring myself this morning.)

I think it was this last one that sent me screaming into the night. The fear that someone who writes fantasy with a distinct romance bent might be nominated, much less win was so over the top. It was as if those making the complaint truly believes science fiction and fantasy are still pure genres. Obviously they haven’t read much lately. If they had, they would see that there is genre crossing all around. Yes, you can, with a lot of searching, find a pure hard science fiction novel, but they are few and far between. Fantasy has, for years, had some aspect of mystery or romance or the like in it. The mixing of genres, when done well, is a good thing.

I’ll repeat that, mixing of genres when done well is a good thing.

It helps by bringing in readers who might never have picked up a science fiction or fantasy book. That brings more money to the writers and publishers. It will bring in even more new readers as word of mouth spreads. Where is the harm in all that?

The very fact that some of those who are anti-Puppy are afraid that icky romance writers might invade their ivory towers of Awardland simply proves what so many of us have been saying. Those folks have gotten too comfortable with their hold on the awards and refuse to admit, even to themselves, that there might be award-worthy books outside their comfort zone.

 

John Popham on The Infinite Reach

“The House of Many Rooms” – April 28

Of course, it is an ill wind that blows no one good. If nothing else, the sturm und drang surrounding the Hugos appears to have re-energized the larger science fiction community’s engagement with the Hugo voting process. George R. R. Martin commented in his blog post What Now? that a air of complacency has surrounded the nomination process in recent years, with many Worldcon members abdicating the nomination process to a small group of Worldcon insiders. As I pointed out in 2,122, for every voter who submitted a nominating ballot this year, at least seven of the ~16,000+ eligible voters did not.  I’d expect to see next year’s nominations get a lot of love from the science fiction community. With more fans voting, the 2016 nominations should represent a much broader cross-section of (lower-case) fandom’s population.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the Hugo Awards’ current open nomination process will survive beyond 2016. George R. R. Martin wrote in the same blog post that Worldcon members currently in control are crafting changes to the voting rules. The proposed changes are intended to preclude interlopers from nominating ‘undeserving’ authors and their works for Hugo Awards in the future. By definition, such rule changes would have to limit the democratic nature of the nominating process; shifting influence from the general public (who can buy a supporting Worldcon membership for $40) to insiders who can be, it is supposed, counted on to nominate works that reflect the will of Worldcon’s current movers and shakers.

 

Moira J. Moore on  Archives of the Triple S

“moiraj.livejournal.com/364402.html” – April 28

Many people have come to feel that it doesn’t matter who gets what award at the Hugos this year, because the whole thing is tainted. There will always be an asterisk beside the awards handed out. To me, Schubert’s announcement is a stunt. Schubert is rejecting what has turned out to be a worthless award – leaving it so late that they can’t actually take the name off the ballots – and trying to look like he’s taking a moral stand, when he’s really just making the Sad Puppies’ argument for them. And pimping out his magazine.

 

Will McLean on A Commonplace Book

“Keep Calm and Carry On” – April 28

Team Puppies are not, in my opinion, covering themselves with glory at this time. The Sad Puppies are in the awkward position that their slate got a lot of mutual votes from the Rabid Puppies. So they must dance an awkward dance between “We have no association with the Rabids, although we have obviously benefited from their nominations” and “We refuse to disavow the Rabids in any way, because you can’t make us and we don’t want to, and we’re not saying we don’t approve of them, but we won’t say we do approve of them either.” I think they fall between two stools.

 

Brenda Noiseux on Women Write About Comics

“Hurtful Fandom and the Damage of the Puppies” – April 28

Since the location of each year’s Worldcon is selected by the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) two years prior to the date of that convention, dedicated volunteers are working for two years to produce a great experience for their fellow fans in the community. On top of that, committees bid for the site of the Worldcon, a process that can take an additional one or more years. That means that volunteers could be working on a convention three to four years in advance.

Which brings me to why the slate voting campaign has bothered me so much that I don’t want to think about it. Producing Worldcon and celebrating the winners of the Hugo Award is a gigantic all volunteer collaborative effort. For a small group of disgruntled fans, to take advantage of a loophole raises a giant middle finger to all those who dedicated countless hours to the hard work of making the Worldcon, the science fiction and fantasy community, and ultimately the Hugos better. That people who claim to be fans and part of this community could do something so hurtful, feels so personal and leaves me feeling raw.

Yes, there are issues in the literary science fiction community. Yes, there needs to be more diversity in the works that are encouraged and celebrated while at the same time retaining the high standards. Yes, there needs to be an embracing of new fans, younger fans, more diverse fans.

Change is never easy nor does it happen overnight. Positive organic change is happening in the science fiction and fantasy community, and I’ll keep doing my part and putting in the hard work to help it along.

 

Sandy Ryalls on Black Gate

“The Proxy Culture War for the Soul of Middle-Earth” – April 27

Privilege Distress and the Proxy in the Proxy War

Privilege distress is better defined here than anything I can manage. For those who aren’t going to read another article: privilege distress is the feeling of unease felt by people who are having injustice that works in their favor re-addressed.

It’s a permanent fixture in the culture war, and most political discourse. There’s a reason that Republicans play well with white men and Democrats play well with women and members of racial minorities. That reason is that the broad strokes of the culture war are whether we want a society which favors those it favors, or whether we want one which works for everyone.

One of the major fronts of the culture war in the age of the Internet Native is the ongoing clash between the Social Justice (SJ) movement and the self-proclaimed Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs). Media is a pretty big part of that front because it’s a major principle of the overarching SJ philosophy that culture is important and shapes the rest of society.

SJ activists want geekdom (along with the rest of society) to be a safe, inclusive space.

The MRAs don’t think there is a problem and look upon attempts to change our culture with suspicion and hostility.

To MRA’s, the fact that women have buying power in the media sphere and people have ways of having social discourse that doesn’t pander to white maleness is a threat. This isn’t just ideology. It’s also identity.

I mention the Republicans because Coriella did. Because he flat-out crowed that the vandalization of the Hugos was an act of red state, culture war, privilege distress and he linked it to the gamer movement which responded to mild criticism of some video games with death threats, the leaking of personal information, and a threat to shoot up a university.

The proxy part is where this intersects with geekdom. One of the unfortunate shared experiences of most geeks is bullying. Most geeks feel outside of social normality because they’ve been put there by other people. The trauma carried by a lot of geeks surrounding this is very real and very unfortunate.

It’s also true that, in a lot of ways, the SJ philosophy is born of an intellectual liberalism; that its adherents go beyond geekdom; that it can often take a snooty, condescending tone; that outrage is certainly in its playbook; that problematic parts of geekdom can be caricatured in ways that are reminiscent of the bullying faced by a lot of white male geeks.

This makes it very easy for the places where the MRAs meet geekdom to paint the places where the SJ activists meet geekdom as judgmental, insurgent, outsiders intent on stripping away their solace and condemning them for the unforgivable sin of being a weirdo. To tie that white male geek identity with an antipathy to SJ activists as a group rather than engaging with the issues which are actually being fought over.

 

T. L. Knighton

“Tale of Two Fandoms”  – April 28

First, let’s look at the CHORFs.  Yes, I’m going to use it, and I really don’t care how bad someone we accuse of being a CHORF claims it’s never going to be a thing.  Mostly because it is, so she can get over it.  CHORFs also tend to lean left politically, but not universally.

The CHORFs tend to prefer more literary science fiction, which is fine.  I don’t care for it, but the world isn’t built around my preferences.  However, that’s not where it ends.  The CHORFs seem to feel that they are the arbiters of taste and decency.  They feel they’re also the arbiters of morality. They know why a bisexual person disagrees with them about things, and it’s things like self-hate and homophobia (and a bi person can be homophobic? Does that mean a black person actually can be racist?) because no sane person could possibly disagree with them.

CHORFs tend to control awards, because historically they’ve been the group that really cares about that sort of thing.  They’re the masters of the whisper campaigns, the rallying of their buddies to get their names on the ballot quietly and behind the scenes, but would never do something as unseemly as try to rally supporters in public…unless they do it, then it’s totes different because reasons.

 

Mark Hemingway in The Weekly Standard

“Revenge of the Nerds” – April 27

[Note: TWS  has given a new timestamp to the same piece linked here on April 17, if you were reading the roundup then.]

For more than 50 years, the Hugo Awards have been handed out at the annual World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) to honor the best science fiction and fantasy writing of the previous year. But when the nominees for this year’s Hugos were announced, it touched off a firestorm unlike any in the awards’ history.

That’s because so many of this year’s nominees are perceived (not always correctly) to be conservative or libertarian. A group of right-leaning science fiction authors organized a campaign to stuff this year’s Hugo Awards ballot with writers they felt had been overlooked.

Kgbooklog in a comment on More Words, Deeper Hole:

Maybe it’s time for a new rule: If 10% or more of the finalists decline their nomination, the Hugo Award is canceled for that year and the time and space reserved for the award ceremony is used for the Business Meeting instead. (If I’m counting right, we’re up to 7.5% this year so far.)

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

Vile Minion pride – April 28

Dear Evil Legion of Evil, It has come to my attention that our vile faceless minions, in their abject loyalty to Our Evilness, crave more than the mere lash of our whips, the daily sustenance of SJW blood, and the occasional bones of an SJW on which to gnaw. Such is their pride in the growing spread of the dark shadow over lands hitherto unengulfed that they have begged for badges of recognition with which they can strike yet more fear into our craven and cowardly foes.

It is, of course, exceedingly risible to imagine that we should raise them up to the extent of providing them with names. Or, as one minion, who is unfortunately no longer with us after an accident that involved six Hellhounds and the untimely ringing of a dinner bell, once had the temerity to suggest, pay them wages. But it occurred to me, in a stroke of Indubitably Evil Genius, that it might be useful to be able to tell the difference between these otherwise indistinguishable, and indeed, faceless, creatures. Therefore, in my Tender yet Sinister Mercy, I have graciously acceded to their pleas.

 

Nate on The Pan Galactic Blogger Blaster

“Slight Design Change” – April 26

I am Number 1.

I am Nate… and I approve this message.

0001_Evil-Legion-of-Evil_Vile-Faceless-Minion_512x512

Dammit.

[Vox Day wrote that the first batch of numbered icons was gone in 45 minutes.]

 

Sean Wallace on Facebook – April 28

Without context, for James Nicoll, Mike Glyer, Michael J. Walsh, and Nick Mamatas: “Highlights included moderating the guest-of-honor interview with Tor publisher Tom Doherty (in which he revealed the facts that ebooks account for only $400,000 of Tor’s $100,000,000 annual gross sales, and that it now takes printing three mass-market paperbacks to sell one (it used to be that you only had to print two to get one to actually sell); and that SF (as opposed to fantasy) actually grew eight percent for Tor last year).”—Robert Sawyer’s website, 2005

 

Nick Mamatas in a comment to Sean Wallace on Facebook – April 28

Last year Tor grossed seven dollars, and killed and ate interns for food, and took out four mortgages on the Flatiron Building to get John Scalzi on the Dayton Daily News best-seller list for a single Thursday afternoon and in fact they are already bankrupt, out of business, and everyone has been fired and Tor exists only as one of those fannish in-jokes in the Hugo Awards, like Cordwainer Bird. Forever and ever, Amen.

 

[And finally, Sad Puppies meets Godwin’s Law.]

 

The Demolished Puppy 4/27

Another nominee withdrew even as the Hugo ballot was going online, rousing an immediate swirl of comment by Marina J. Lostetter, Alex Shvartsman and Deirdre Saoirse Moen.

Before that news cycle opened there were already new posts from Larry Correia, John C. Wright, Liz Barr, Dave Freer, Sarah Hoyt, Sam Roberts, Lyda Morehouse, R. Scott Bakker, George R.R. Martin, Jason Sanford and many more. (Title credit goes to File 770’s consulting editor of the day Bruce Baugh.)

Edmund R. Schubert on AletheaKontis.com

“In Which Edmund Schubert Withdraws From the Hugos” – April 27

And let me be clear about this: While I strongly disagree with the way Sad Puppies went about it… when the Puppies say they feel shut out because of their politics, it’s hard for me to not empathize because I’ve seen IGMS’s authors chastised for selling their story to us, simply because of people’s perceptions about the publisher’s personal views. I’ve also seen people refuse to read any of the stories published in IGMS for the same reason.

With regard to that, I want to repeat something I’ve said previously: while Orson Scott Card and I disagree on several social and political subjects, we respect each other and don’t let it get in the way of IGMS’s true goal: supporting writers and artists of all backgrounds and preferences. The truth is that Card is neither devil nor saint; he’s just a man who wants to support writers and artists—and he doesn’t let anything stand in the way of that.

As editor of IGMS, I can, and have, and will continue to be—with the full support of publisher Orson Scott Card—open to publishing stories by and about gay authors and gay characters, stories by and about female authors and female characters, stories by authors and about characters of any and every racial, political, or religious affiliation—as long as I feel like those authors 1) have a story to tell, not a point to score, and 2) tell that story well. And you know what? Orson is happy to have me do so. Because the raison d’etre of IGMS is to support writers and artists. Period.

 

Edmund R. Schubert at Orson Scott Card Intergalactice Medicine Show

“Not A Hugo Sampler Issue – Letter From The Editor, 2015”

To Readers of Science Fiction and Fantasy Everywhere,

I suspect that most of you already know this, but for those few who may have stumbled upon this collection of short stories and novelettes by other paths, let me start off with a summation (along with the caveat that this will be highly simplistic for the sake of brevity): in early 2015 a campaign was launched by a group of science fiction and fantasy fans who felt their views and tastes were being marginalized. They wanted to force the rest of fandom to recognize them, and their plan for doing so was to put a slate of nominees they considered worthy-but-overlooked on the final ballot for the prestigious Hugo Award. Their actions were successful in the extreme, and the reaction by much of fandom was equally extreme. Things got ugly. Quickly. Very. (Editor’s tip #463: Forcing people to see your point of view is rarely successful . . .)

I was one of the people nominated for a Hugo Award during in this campaign, although I didn’t know anything about it until after it had already happened. And while I feel these fans had certain valid concerns, hijacking the Hugo Awards wasn’t the right way to go about making them. I therefore withdrew my name from consideration.

 

Marina J. Lostetter on A Little Lost

“The #HugoAwards are Supposed to be Fun, Damn It!” – April 27

I was ready to never say anything about the Hugos here.  But I love IGMS and the specific story of mine Edmund requested, and am greatly saddened by what has happened around the Hugos this year.  I think it’s important to note how this year’s slates have fostered nothing but ill feelings, and that many fine authors, editors, and venues are caught in the middle: either because they’ve become a “ping-pong ball” as Edmund describes below, or because they were bumped from the list due to questionable bloc voting.

 

Alex Shvartsman on Alex Schvartsman’s Speculative Fiction

“Edmund Schubert Withdraws From The Hugo Award Consideration” – April 27

I, for one, am sad about Edmund’s decision. He was on my nominating ballot (and I had no association nor even knowledge of what was on the Puppy slates). I know of at least several other fans who nominated him as well. I hope to see him back on a future ballot sooner, rather than later.

 

Deirdre Saoirse Moen on Sounds Like Weird

“Editor Edmund R. Schubert Withdraws From the Hugo Awards” – April 27

I think it’s important to note these things:

  • It’s likely Edmund knew about the slates prior to nominations closing.
  • Edmund accepted the nomination (people are given the ability to decline prior to the official nominee list being posted).
  • Edmund likely knew others withdrew after acceptance. Edmund chose not to at that point.
  • Edmund likely knew the ballot had been locked after two people were declared ineligible and two withdrew.
  • Like Black Gate, Edmund’s withdrawal took place after all these events.

While that allows for some sympathy/empathy, it’s not as large as someone declining the nomination in the first place or, as Dave Creek did, asking off the slate prior to nominations closing.

 

Liz Barr on No Award

“Liz reads the 2015 Hugo-nominated short stories  – April 27

I thought that Project: Read As Much As Possible And Vote By Merit would be easier if I didn’t sit around waiting for the voter pack.  Accordingly, I’ve reserved a bunch of the nominated novels at my elibrary of preference.  As for short stories, all but one are available online, and I’ve started reading and organising my preferences.

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Updates for the Week” – April 27

Sad Puppies Round Up

Same old, same old. Bunch of new anti-Puppies articles and blogs this week. I could either A. Write books and be paid large sums of money. or B. Repeat myself over and over to every dipshit on Twitter… Hmmm… Tough one.

From what I’ve seen the people who disagree with us now mostly fall into a couple of camps. 1. People repeating the already discredited anti-diversity slate narrative and other lies. BORING.  2. People who agree the Hugos were screwed up, but who didn’t see any political bias. Insular, cliquish, wannabe-literati, yes, but not political. Great. You guys run with that. 3. People who benefit from the status quo dismissing a bunch of fans because of guilt by association. Weak.

 

John C. Wright

“And now the French” – April 27

The overseas bloggers are getting into the act:

https://francoisvanhille.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/cultures-de-limaginaire-litterature-puppygate-la-polemique-dechire-ecrivains-et-fans-de-science-fiction-aux-etats-unis/

And, no, no one contacted me to discover what the other side of the story was, or even whether there was one.

 

Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“To Destroy/survive SaurVox/ Voxdemort/ the Evil Genius in his Volcano Lair” – April 27

So: here you go. To defeat Vox Day… you need to become him – or at least a rival in power able to do so. Which means you need to understand that power, what attracts followers to him, and how instead to attract them to yourselves. To survive him, you at least need to understand him and those who oppose you.

Of course the problem with becoming that possible rival, that Saruman or Galadriel, is that firstly he is bright, secondly he seems to understand you. Thirdly, he is a long term planner and strategist, he writes well and is able to appeal to a large audience. He plans but seems able to flex from those plans. Of course he is obsessive and has ideas that don’t run in concordance with the ones you profess to follow. But those last features, which are all you ever focus on, are not conflict relevant, really. GRRM had a try at the wise councilor/Saruman bit, but he was not a great success. Scalzi… I wasn’t sure if he was trying Wormtongue to Larry, but as a Saruman he came over as petty and not too bright with his little twitter giggles of girlish schadenfreude glee at last year’s Hugos, just to name one of his outbursts… Anyway, let’s face it, he’s not your long-term thinker, otherwise he would have avoided attacking Baen last year. He’s a schemer and good at spin and vastly over-blowing his importance, but really, as a leader to mass a dark horde of men and Southern Orcs under, well, they’ll ruin his lawn. As for David Gerrold – I’m not sure if the purple dress is a Galadriel thing, really. (I think that’s supposed to offend us. Talk about really, really not understanding the people he hates. We don’t care, David. You could get the janitor to be the Hugo MC, in a burka, and we still wouldn’t care.) I’d avoid purple.  In a purple dress people could end up thinking he was doing Barney imitations, not Galadriel. I like to try and understand my opponents and get a handle on their motives. I must admit I was puzzled by his rage and sheer throw-the-toys-of-the-cot petulance about all this, let alone the fact that he was bringing the unfortunate Con and its volunteers into disrepute by openly attacking and villifying some of the nominees and thus trying to affect the Hugo outcome.  Most of us had nothing against (or for) the fellow. And an MC… he’s just there to hand out the prizes. It’s not about him.  All he had to do was smile and wave, no-one expects the MC to much more, and certainly they must keep a distance and appearance of lofty decorum from the actual process. Then, while packing wallaby mince I had a Eureka moment. Fortunately, I was better dressed than Archimedes for this process, so I merely ran through the house dripping bits of raw meat (isn’t that better?) and yelling ‘eureka’ at the cats. It’s true, at times they do. Anyway, I decided that this was a little inverse gay wedding cake and the Christian baker. It’s a ritual he values and considers important into which the particularly chosen of his sect were initiated with great pomp and celebration, being defiled by vile unbelievers – and he was going to have to conduct the ceremony.  Well now. I wonder what advice he would have given that baker?

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Requires Abasement” – April 26

This has been happening all month, for those keeping score at home.  The indoctrinated drones of the establishment have been spinning by here in high dudgeon and sure they have a killing argument and telling us both that we want “pulpy stuff like Heinlein” and that Heinlein was often “preachy.  And messagy.”

 

Sam Roberts on Reaxxion

“Are Social Justice Warriors Trying To Rig The Hugo Awards?” – April 27

While there have been allegations of authors buying voting rights for their friends and family in the past, Kowal appears to be the first person to do so openly. While not strictly forbidden by the WorldCon rules, as Tor editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden (probably the foremost opponent of the Puppies) has said, “As anyone over the age of ten knows, it’s generally possible to do things that are dubious, or scummy, or even downright evil, without violating any laws or rules.” While he was speaking against the Puppies at the time, his comment certainly seems applicable here.

As I write this, Kowal has raised enough money via anonymous donations, many of which she says come from authors who are running against the Puppies’ slate themselves (and thus stand to gain if the Puppies are defeated), to purchase one hundred votes. While this may seem a small amount, last year’s Hugos only saw around 3000 votes cast total. If the race is close this year, these one hundred (3.3% of the total) could easily sway the voting.

 

Badtux on Badtux the Snarky Penguin

“My thoughts on the #SadPuppies” – April 26

So it appears the “Sad Puppies” may win the battle, and lose the war. It may be that science fiction only has one prestige award in the future — the Nebula Award. SFWA membership requirements make it impossible for the “Sad Puppies” or anybody else to rig Nebula awards. In the end, what makes libraries (who account for most publisher profits) buy Hugo Award winners is the notion that winning a Hugo Award means it’s popular and high quality. Once it’s demonstrated that winning a Hugo Award means only that the publisher spent more money to rig the election this year than other publishers did, the Hugo becomes meaningless to libraries — and to anybody else, for that matter.

 

 

R. Scott Bakker on Three Pound Brain

“Hugos Weaving” – April 27

Let’s suppose, just for instance, that so-called literary works no longer reach dissenting audiences, and so only serve to reinforce the values of readers…

That precious few of us are being challenged anymore—at least not by writing.

The communicative habitat of the human being is changing more radically than at any time in history, period. The old modes of literary dissemination are dead or dying, and with them all the simplistic assumptions of our literary past. If writing that matters is writing that challenges, the writing that matters most has to be writing that avoids the ‘preference funnel,’ writing that falls into the hands of those who can be outraged. The only writing that matters, in other words, is writing that manages to span significant ingroup boundaries.

If this is the case, then Beale has merely shown us that science fiction and fantasy actually matter, that as a writer, your voice can still reach people who can (and likely will) be offended… as well as swayed, unsettled, or any of the things Humanities clowns claim writing should do.

Think about it. Why bother writing stories with progressive values for progressives only, that is, unless moral entertainment is largely what you’re interested in? You gotta admit, this is pretty much the sum of what passes for ‘literary’ nowadays.

Everyone’s crooked is someone else’s straight—that’s the dilemma. Since all moral interpretations are fundamentally underdetermined, there is no rational or evidential means to compel moral consensus. Pretty much anything can be argued when it comes to questions or value. There will always be Beales and Sriduangkaews, individuals adept at rationalizing our bigotries—always. And guess what? the internet has made them as accessible as fucking Wal-Mart. This is what makes engaging them so important. Of course Beale needs to be exposed—but not for the benefit of people who already despise his values. Such ‘exposure’ amounts to nothing more than clapping one another on the back. He needs to be exposed in the eyes of his own constituents, actual or potential. The fact that the paths leading to bigotry run downhill makes the project of building stairs all the more crucial.

‘Legitimacy,’ Sandifer says. Legitimacy for whom? For the likeminded—who else? But that, my well-educated friend, is the sound-proofed legitimacy of the Booker, or the National Book Awards—which is to say, the legitimacy of the irrelevant, the socially inert. The last thing this accelerating world needs is more ingroup ejaculate. The fact that Beale managed to pull this little coup is proof positive that science fiction and fantasy matter, that we dwell in a rare corner of culture where the battle of ideas is for… fucking… real.

And you feel ashamed.

 

Lyda Morehouse on A Day in the Life of an Idiot

“Hugo on the Brain and the Nature of Fandom”  – April 27

Look, we’re all divas. Correia is just saying out loud what lot of us feel: boo hoo, it’s NOT all about me! (Pro tip: most of us don’t say it out loud, because we realize how whiny and self-centered it makes us look.)

BUT… yes, okay? I actually sympathize a little with this. To say there aren’t cool kid cliques is disingenuous too. There just are.

Also, this feeling of being shut out of WorldCON culture something that has happened to people on the left, too. Not that long ago (but apparently outside of the collective memory), there was a huge controversy around the London WorldCON about a cliquish inner circle of white guys (and GRRM is even pictured!)

Here’s the thing I want to say about this: con culture is a thing. It’s a thing everyone needs to learn how to negotiate.

I’ve even talked about this idea before on this blog because I came across someone on Twitter complaining about feeling left out/unwelcomed at a con. The thing I said to that person (who was decidedly on the left), is that we’re all responsible for our own con experience. It’s not the con’s job to make you feel welcome. You have to learn the culture of cons and figure out how to fit in. Some conventions even have panels on the opening days ABOUT how to make inroads and make friends and be involved in a way that will let you leave the con feeling like you were part of it in a positive way.

 

Marion on Deeds & Words

“The Hugos, 2015, Chapter Two: The Slate Mailer Saga” – April 27

For many fans in the US, $40 is an expenditure that requires some thought. Spending $40 out of the household budget just to have a say about Best Book of the Year may be frivolous. It may reduce funds available for sports, a field trip or some other enrichment for your children. It’s not a slam-dunk.

And for many other fans, still in the US, it is out of reach. It isn’t a question of diverting the monthly Family Movie Day budget for one month. It is not even a discussion. Many of these people read, review and write SF; they blog, and some of them teach at the college level. They are shut out of the “democratic” Hugo selection process by economics.

Now let’s consider fans in Indonesia, Namibia, Lithuania. Can most of them afford $40 US?

If everyone who wanted to vote had voted, the Rabid Puppy slate might not have found such traction, even if they had a  newly-recruited voting bloc. If the cost of a supporting membership were $6, I wonder what would have happened. Just generally, beyond this year and next,I wonder what would happen. Would we start seeing SF best-sellers from Kenya and Estonia on the short list? Would we start getting more works in translation? In other words, would more nominators and voters introduce us to more good books (which, after all, is ultimately the purpose)?

 

Jason Sanford

“Are the Puppies all bark and no bite?” – April 27

If this is a correct analysis, it suggests there’s a massive group of people interested in the SF/F genre and the Hugos who didn’t know about the Puppy campaigns beforehand.

I also find the traffic comparison between Nielsenhayden.com and Voxday.blogspot.com rather interesting. Over the last month both sites featured multiple posts with prominent links to my essays, yet one of them clearly sent more traffic my way. While people can draw their own conclusions from this, it makes me wonder if the reach of the Rabid Puppies ringleader has been overstated by everyone in the genre.

Yes, VD has a passionate group of followers who helped the Rabid Puppy slate become the true winners of this Hugo mess. But perhaps the actual number of his followers is rather small, at least when compared to other groups within the SF/F genre.

That doesn’t mean he and his followers can’t continue to game the Hugos — the award’s nomination process, as recent events have proved, are very easily dominated by small, organized voting blocks.

But if my take on these numbers is correct, then it appears the Puppies are mostly all bark and no bite.

 

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Puppy Whines” – April 27

It all boggles the mind. And of course it leads to surreal arguments that ‘their side’ is justified in calling our side “Social Justice Whores” and the like because our side has called their side “Wrongfans” and “Haters” — when, of course, we haven’t. You are calling YOURSELVES that… with sarcasm, sure, but still, you are the guys coining all these new and exciting insults, for both my side and your own.

Let me ask, once again, for civility. When the argument is about political issues, I will call your side “conservatives” and “right wingers,” and I’d ask you to call us “liberals” or “progressives” or even “left wingers,” not SJ-Whatevers. When we are focused more on worldcon or the Hugos, I will continue to call you “Sad Puppies,” and I will take care to differentiate you from the Rabid Puppies… except in cases where you’re acting in alliance and agree, where I will just say “Puppies.” And you can call my side “fandom” or “worldcon fandom” or “trufans.” The two sides use “fan” to mean very different things, as I have pointed out repeatedly, which causes some of the confusion. Here’s a new thought: if you insist on calling yourselves “fans,” then call us “fen,” the ancient, hoary, fannish plural of fan. Fans and fen, there we go, two terms for two sides, no insults. Is that so bloody hard?

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures in Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Awrds: Part Four” – April 27

What I’d like to play with is Flint’s suggestions for “Complete Multi-Volume Novels” and “Series”.  What I see Flint saying is that the skill required to write a complete series and stick the landing is different enough from writing an ongoing series that they shouldn’t be compared in the same way (Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy compared to Jim Butcher’s ongoing Dresden Files).  I don’t completely agree.

That’s not completely true. I agree with what Flint is saying about the skill and technique, I disagree with how he is viewing the categories. I would divide the categories like this:

Novel

Ongoing Series

Completed Series

So Joe, you ask, what the heck are these categories and how are they different than what Eric Flint suggested?  Great question, I reply, let me tell you!

Novel: This category only slightly changes from how it works today. It is for a single volume work of no less than 40,000 words. The change is that I would strike section 3.2.6 from the WSFS Constitution “a work appearing in a number of parts shall be eligible for the year of the final part”. 2013’s publication of A Memory of Light is how The Wheel of Time was nominated at the 2014 Hugos for Best Novel.  I’d strike this.  Novel is for a single volume, period.  That’s it. A Memory of Light is eligible for Novel, The Wheel of Time is not.

Ongoing Series: This is where I start to mess with Flint’s suggestion.  Ongoing Series is for ANY series that has not yet been completed. To be eligible for Ongoing Series, a series must have at least two volumes published. However, it does not matter for the terms of this category if the author is planning to write a trilogy with a definite ending (Mistborn) or is writing a potentially open ended series (Dresden Files, Discworld). To be further eligible for a nomination, a new volume must be published during the eligibility year.  Love A Song of Ice and Fire but George Martin hasn’t published The Winds of Winter yet?  The series is not eligible for Ongoing Series at the 2016 Hugos unless he gets that book out during calendar year 2015.

Further, because we need to close one potential loophole here, an Ongoing Series is eligible for nomination ONCE.  What I intend this to mean is that if Mr. Martin publishes The Winds of Winter in 2015, it is eligible for Ongoing Series.  If A Song of Ice and Fire makes the final ballot for Ongoing Series, it is no longer eligible to be nominated in a subsequent year. However, if A Song of Ice and Fire fails to make the final ballot, it will still be eligible for Ongoing Series provided a new volume is published.  A series is considering “Ongoing” until the author or the publisher states that a volume is the “final” or “concluding” volume in that series.

Completed Series: A series is eligible as Completed Series when the announced final volume in the series is published.  A series will not both be eligible for Ongoing and Completed Series in the same year.  Publication of A Memory of Light rendered The Wheel of Time ineligible for Ongoing Series, but eligible for Completed Series.  Something like The Dresden Files would not be eligible for completed series until Jim Butcher announces “this is the final Harry Dresden novel”.  If Butcher published a Harry Dresden novel but then two years later said, “oh year, Skin Game was really the last book in the series, sorry guys” The Dresden Files will not be eligible for Completed Series because the series is only eligible in the year the final volume is published.  I don’t see this as too big of an issue because most writers want folks to know that they are delivering the promised conclusion to a series.

 

Declan Finn on A Pius Man

“Sad Puppies Bite Back” – April 27

Anyway, back in January, I tripped over a funny piece by Vox Day — presumably before Vox declared “Burn this bitch down!” about the Hugos — which basically boiled down to “The monthly staff meeting of the Evil League of Evil” (in the Lair of the Puppies).

For some reason, ever since I did heard about the death threats on the Puppies, and I wondered when Larry Correia or Brad would be SWATted, all I could think of was, well, what would happen?

…But just imagine….

Sarah Hoyt, Evil Yet Beautiful Space Princess

[SWAT leader at the door of the secret base hidden in hollowed out volcano] Battering ram in 5, 4, 3, 2 — HIT IT!

[Battering ram takes door.  SWAT rushes in. Sarah Hoyt, Evil Yet Beautiful Space Princess, is in the living room, playing with unidentifiable — yet obviously sinister — Weapons From Outer Space, using her Schwartz ring.  In the background, innocent and cringing minions are flogged with electric whips, and sent screaming to the Agony Vat ]

[SH looks up] HOW DARE YOU ENTER MY DOMAIN!!!!

[SWAT leader] Put down the ring!

[SH turns into CGI Imposing Figure]  Do you know who you are messing with?  NOT A DARK LORD BUT A QUEEN! NOT DARK BY BEAUTIFUL AND TERRIBLE AS THE MORN! TREACHEROUS AS THE SEAS! STRONGER THAN THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE EARTH! ALL SHALL LOVE ME AND DESPAIR!

[SWAT all stops, open-mouthed.  They huddle. After a minute, they turn back to her] Love you and despair. Okay. We’re cool with that. You have a deal.

[SH pouts, turns off CGI effects]  Oh, darn! I didn’t even get to use “She Who Must Be Obeyed.” I love that line.  Sigh. Okay.  Hon!  We have more minions! Put them with the others, please!

[Mr. Hoyt, Evil Yet Handsome Space Prince] Yes dear.  Okay guys, come with me. We’ll train you in the use of the laser guns and get you fit for Stormtrooper armor.

 

 

 

 

 

The Three-Puppy Problem 4/24

aka, We, in Some Strange Puppy’s Employ, Move on a Rigorous Line

Today’s roundup brings back Eric Flint, George R.R. Martin, Deirdre Saoirse Moen , Damian G. Walter, Alexandra Erin,  and Steve Davidson, introduces Ciaran, J. T. Glover, Jack Heneghan, and Chris Barkley, and launders a few talking socks. (Title credits go to File 770 consulting editors of the day, NelC and Brian Z.)

 

Eric Flint on The official home page of author Eric Flint

“More on the Hugos from a Dark, Dark Place” – April 23

The best estimate that you will usually encounter of how many people in the U.S. regularly read science fiction and fantasy is five million. There are probably three or four times that many who read F&SF occasionally, and there are certainly fifty or sixty million who enjoy science fiction and fantasy in the dramatic form of movies or television.

So. My solid fan base consists of about one percent—that’s right, ONE percent—of the solid mass audience for F&SF. It rises to perhaps two percent—yeah, that’s right, TWO percent—if we measure everyone who’s occasionally read something of mine against the occasional audience for science fiction and fantasy. And it falls back closer to one percent if we measure my name recognition against the entire audience (including movie-goers and TV-watchers) for our genre.

In other words, the difference between Resplendent Popular Author Me and Pitiful Literary Auteur Whazzername is the difference between tiny (one percent) and miniscule (one-tenth of one percent).

Yes, that’s what all the ruckus is about. The Sad Puppies feel that they have been wronged because Their Tininess has been downtrodden by the minions of the miniscule.

Give me a break. No matter who gets selected for awards by the comparatively tiny crowd of a few thousand people who show up at Worldcons and nominate writers for Hugo awards, they will always—and inevitably—diverge from the broad preferences of the mass audience….

Okay, now I’ll make my second point, which is briefer….

I don’t propose to eliminate any of the existing awards for short fiction. I have no objection to them, in and of themselves, and I have no desire to make those writers who concentrate on short fiction feel slighted in our genre. I simply think that the category of “novels” needs to be expanded into at least three and preferably four award categories.

 

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Fanageddon” – April 24

What’s even more unusual — though perfectly understandable in context — is that this huge upswell is for SUPPORTING memberships, not attending. In other words, these are people who want to vote on the Hugo Awards, but have no actual interest in attending the worldcon.

But who are they? Are these new members Sad Puppy fans, signing up to vote the Torgersen/ Correia slate to victory? Are these the Rabids, the lockstep legions of Vox Day? Or is this fandom, gathering to defend the integrity of the Hugos? Pronouncements abound, but no one really knows, and no one is likely to know until the envelopes are opened. This will be the most dramatic Hugo night in worldcon history. But not in a good way.

Myself, I think it’s All of the Above. Fans on both sides — or all three sides, if you want to draw a line between the Sad Puppies and the Rabids — are laying down their money to cast their vote. I also think the votes may be way closer than some of the people on “my side” think. I am sensing way too much complacency from fandom. The Puppies dominated the nominations by mustering 200-300 votes for their slate, out of 2000; the fans seem to be counting on the “other” 1800, the voters who scattered their own nominating ballots, to outvote the Pups. And yes, 1800 beats 200 every time… but that does NOT account for all these new members.

 

Ciaran on Geek Ireland

“The Hugo Awards and Puppygate” – April 23

The current day controversies over diversity and identity politics largely come in three flavours. There’s the, you should probably let women and black people into your golf club flavour, which is generally only opposed by those for whom Pepperidge Farm Remembers memes evoke actual nostalgia. Then there are the horseshoe progressives or leftists, who tend to become so insular and extreme that they end up effectively supporting gender and racial segregation. Lastly, there are the reactionary conservatives, who believe that all they hold dear is about to crumble around them because Asami and Korra are bisexual. Both of the latter are as shallow as they are pervasive in these debates, particularly, and hilariously so, the reactionary viewpoint.

 

Damien G. Walter

“SF & Fantasy Publishing needs Industry Awards” – April 23

The Eisner’s announced their shortlists today which, low and behold, managed to be interesting, diverse and relevant to the comic book industry they represent. The Eisner’s are in actuallity what the Hugo awards are often assumed to be – an industry award. The main purpose of the Eisner’s is to serve the comic book industry in the ways such awards do, primarily by raising the profile of the industry’s best work and expanding the audience for the medium overall. On a much larger scale, the Oscars have been fulfilling this role for the film industry for decades. So why doesn’t the SF & Fantasy field have a proper industry award?

The main reason is that the Hugos, and alongside them the Nebulas, come very close to being an industry award without quite fulfilling that role. The Hugos could do, and many people seem to be working to get them there, but they won’t achieve that without becoming much more international and overhauling their voting system.

 

J. T. Glover

“The Hugos: Shenanigans & Unpopular Opinions”  – April 24

But politics are a dirty business! So indeed. The best, most thoughtful comments I’ve read along those lines come from Nick Mamatas. I have not (God help me) followed every corner of this debate, but I do think his points about “next steps” are good. Likewise, I strongly agree that the sword cuts both ways. You can’t engage in politics and then squeal when someone out-politics you. And make no mistake: “eligibility posts” are a form of campaigning, and saying anything less is hypocritical sophistry (even if one thinks, as I do, that they help to shed light on underrepresented people who and works that otherwise get lost in the scrum). Charlie Jane Anders argued after the awards were announced that the Hugos have always been political, and now they’re only political, and I very sincerely hope she’s wrong… but put three people in a room and you have politics.

Is this the end of the Hugos? I can’t count the number of people I’ve read dolefully and/or gleefully saying that this is The End for the Hugos, or that it’s The End under X or Y condition. This is nonsense. If you want it, fight for it. The Puppies figured out a way to mobilize, and so can anyone else, particularly given how few people have historically voted in the Hugos: 40-ish percent near the high water mark. Thousands of votes that don’t get cast are sitting there, ripe for the motivating/wheedling/convincing/mobilizing.

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“How I’ll Vote the Hugo’s, Part 2” – April 23

The cabal of troublemakers and malcontents are campaigning strenuously against the No Award option, lumping all three variations together under a nuclear option rubric, and claiming that anyone who endorses it are guilty of discrimination, being tools of the SJW cabal, stifling the diversity of the field.  At least one full round of daily discussion has been devoted to the utter chutzpah of this last claim.  It’s truly mind boggling.  Apparently we’re not allowed to push for true diversity in the field until after we honor fake diversity by giving it a bunch of Hugo rockets.  Pointing out that this is pretty much the way things have worked up till now doesn’t really seem to penetrate.

So here’s an argument in favor of voting No Award (whichever methodology you choose) that I’ve not seen presented before:

Just as the slates proved that the Hugo award nomination process had a flaw that made it vulnerable to manipulation (but only when people who don’t care about the system get involved) voting No Award proves that the final found of voting still works, and works well and as intended.

Voting No Award not only sends a message of displeasure and rejection of nomination campaigns, it also sends a message that the awards system itself is healthy and has worked exactly the way it was intended to.

 

 

Chris Barkley on Facebook – April 24

Under the current Constitution of the World Science Fiction Society, you may nominate a work for a Hugo Award if you are a current member OR an attending or supporting member of the previous Worldcon. This amendment was passed to encourage a continuing number of members to vote every year, regardless of their status.

So, this morning I found out that some people who attend the WSFS Business meeting are floating an idea to discontinue this practice and restrict nominations and… voting only to members of a current Worldcon.

Oh, HELL To the NO!

Are you kidding me? Voting on Hugos has gradually gone UP since this amendment was ratified and now, when some idiots come along and upend our applecart, should we cringe in fear change the rules because we’re afraid they’re going to do it again?

NO, this is how the Sad/Rabid Puppies win; we conform to their actions, we react to demands and THEY WIN.

The benefits that the expansion of voting have provided FAR outweigh the risks. We, the relative sane fans who want to uphold and continue the Hugo Awards, are stronger and better than than these Puppygate (insert appropriate expletive here).

 

Jack Heneghan on exempli gratia

“My Disclaimer” – April 24

I should note that while I am interested in what is going on with the Hugos and would like for the Final Ballot to represent the best of SF for the previous year, I do not participate in the nominating process myself. My backlog of reading material is several decades long and I actually use the final ballot, or short list, to provide me some guidance for reading material for the current year. If I am able to get to a number of items on the list then I will participate in the voting in the appropriate categories.

Looking at the Hugo winners and runners-up over the years will give you good guidance to selecting a reading list. (My problem is not getting to them until the voting is well over.) It will also give you an idea of which authors were consistently honored by the community. (I am really surprised to see that Iain M. Banks only had one nomination in his career. Be sure to put Iain M. Banks on your reading list. To be confused with Iain Banks.)

 

Vox Maximus

“SJWs, a Podcast, and a Special Kind of Lie” – April 24

Because I like to amuse myself, I recently listened to the Nerdvana Podcast on the 2015 Hugo Awards (a two-part series with Part 2 being located here). Minute after minute, I listened to these individuals converse about Vox Day. They mused about his motives. They psycho-analyzed him. They called his family members “stooges”. And they just talked, and talked, and talked about Vox in quite a bit of detail (they also cried–seriously–when they thought about what Vox was “doing” to the Hugo Awards). But do you know the one thing that they did not do? TALK TO VOX DAY HIMSELF. That’s right, these individuals used up precious time speculating about everything from Vox Day’s goals to his potential financial fixing of the Hugo Awards themselves. And yet, they did not talk to him. They did not send him an e-mail with questions. They did not try to contact him on his blog. In fact, they did not even quote anything from his blog or his writings (or a bad paraphrase or two was included). Now it is their podcast, so it’s their decision whether to speak to Vox Day or not. But the point is this: How seriously can you take a bunch of people that speak about one particular individual—an individual who is readily available for comment—without even trying to speak to the actual individual himself? How genuine are the calls for “dialogue” and “understanding” when the people calling for dialogue and understanding don’t actually dialogue with the person that they are talking about and don’t seek to understand that person either. In fact, in my view, talking about Vox Day in such detail without allowing him to speak for himself is just a special kind of lie; a sort of lie of omission, for they omitted to include the very person that they were speaking of even though he would most likely have readily appeared upon request. And this just adds weight to what Vox Day says:  One way or another, SJWs always lie.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

So, Let’s Talk About The Hugos: A Puppy Primer – April 24

So, Why Do I Care?

Simply put, when I see people making claims based on the most tenuous of intuitions and calling it hard evidence, that bothers me. When I see people trying to police what other people are allowed to write, read, and like while pretending that this is being done to them, that bothers me. I am disturbed at the idea that someone can take such exception to the fact that other people like other things for other reasons that they would reject that in favor of a conspiracy theory and then take drastic action to overturn the supposed cabal.

Basically, I don’t want to read and write in a world when a man who equates the existence of books he doesn’t approve of to false advertising is able to set himself up as some sort of tastemaker-in-chief because he throws a big enough tantrum whenever a book or author he disdains gets too popular for him to make sense of.

The original Sad Puppies initiative predates Gamergate by a couple years, but they’re both powered by the same sense of aggrieved entitlement cloaking itself in phony virtue. Some people, rather than acknowledging that an entire medium/genre will not always reflect their own personal tastes, decide that the relative success of anything they don’t like is a kind of cheat, and by golly, they’re going to do something about it!

So the stakes here are, we either label this nonsense as what it is and find a way to work around the tantrum-throwers, or we just sort of give up and give in.

 

 

Deirdre Saoirse Moen on Sounds Like Weird

“Hugo Awards: Blocs, Slates, Lists and Milliscalzis” – April 24

One of the questions when faced with bloc nominating in the Hugo Awards is this: when is something bloc voting/nominating? When isn’t it?

….So, given that Aidan [Moher] and I hang around in the same milliScalzi hood, I feel I can say about how much influence he had this year. Let’s put it this way: it only took 23 nominations to get on the fan artist ballot, and his nomination didn’t make it onto the list.

More Compelling Reasons I Don’t Consider Aidan’s List a Slate

  1. Aidan didn’t highlight his own work. Do I need to explain how the puppy slates differed in that regard?
  2. Aidan posted it on March 9th (though he’d posted novel thoughts earlier), and nominations closed less than a week later. The Sad Puppies 3 slate was posted at the beginning of February. While I could also see a case being made for people just nominating without reading, I believe the extra lead time is a significant factor.
  3. A slate with little to no effective conversions (in the marketing sense, by which I mean people taking action) is not a slate. Given that the fan artist influence didn’t push his candidate up and over, I think the “slate” argument is truly a non-starter.

 

Marsultor13 on Mars Is

“In which this ignorant ass redneck attempts to fisk one of them genius professorial types” – April 24

One such indyvidual goes by the name of Philip Sandifer. And not only is Mr Sandifer powerful annoyed at us yokels not staying down on the farm, (or trailer park as the case may be) he also happens to be a jen-U-wine professor of that there litrature. Now I did try and read Professor Sandifer’s overly long post about why I aint the write type of fan to be voting in them thar Hugo’s rewards, but wouldn’t you just know it? Afore I could even get halfway through that there know-vella I started to notice that a lot of what he was saying just dint make no damned cents.  And given that I reckon I could always use more traffic at this here blog, I decidered to take a page outta Mr. Correia’s book and do me a good old fashioned fisking. As Mr Correia always says, My words will be in bold, his’ins’ll be in eye-talics.

 

Joshua Dyal in a comment on Vox Popoli – April 24

It would be an event of deliciously hilariously irony if all of the nominations for Best Short Story 2016 were parodies of “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love.”

 

Four and Twenty Puppies Smoked in a Pie 4/20

It was a prolific day, with new posts from Sad Puppies’ Torgersen and Correia, and Rabid Puppies’ Vox Day, puppy supporters Dave Freer and Amanda S. Green, and detractors John Scalzi and David Gerrold. A host of new voices joined the exchange. And Adam-Troy Castro has penned something that is either a satire, or a candidate for the Sad Puppies 4 slate — decide for yourself.

Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“Battlers” – April 20

It’s been interesting to see how this has spun in the little circus that has been the Hugo Awards this year. The big guys, Nielsen Hayden, Stross, GRRM, Scalzi – you know wealthy, powerful white men who have won huge numbers of Hugo Nominations and indeed awards, are up in arms because some rag-tag bunch of uppity little battlers who’d never been there before, from across the social, political, racial and sexual spectrum got nominated, instead of a narrower group they approve of – including… just by chance, themselves and friends, many of whom who have multiple prior noms and awards. It’s taken away diversity and these nominees want women and ‘PoC’ (‘People of Color’ which bizarrely is not offensive, but ‘Colored People’ is just vile. It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?) Of course these rich, powerful white men are feminists and oppose racism. Are they leading the charge because they think white men are just naturally better at it?

Look, all we’ve really got is making fun of the bastards. I feel kind of guilty sometimes because it is so easy, but hell’s teeth, they’ve brought enough weight to bear against us. I’m kind of losing count at the rent-a-hit journalism (a plainly very ethical field, full of honest honorable folk) informing us we’re all rich white men oppressing everyone and winding the clock back. Is it daylight savings over there already?

Still, I’m glad to be learning my place from David Gerrold. I’d never have guessed that I was one of the little people otherwise.

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“Keeping Up With the Hugos” – April 20

At this point Correia and Torgersen have to decide whether they want to be known either as Day’s fellow travelers, or his useful idiots. Or both! It could be both. Neither of these options makes them look good; nor, obviously, fits with their own self-image of being Brave Men Fighting the Good Fight™. But in fact, they aren’t fighting a good fight, and in fact, they got played. So: Fellow travelers or useful idiots. These are the choices.

* Also, can we please now stop pretending that this whole Puppy nonsense began for any other reason than that once upon a time, Larry Correia thought he was going to win an award and was super pissed he didn’t, and decided that the reason he didn’t had to be a terrible, awful conspiracy against people just like him (a conservative! Writing “fun” fiction!), as opposed to, oh, the voters deciding they just plain liked something and someone else better?

…(And yes, I know, Correia declined his nomination for the Hugo this year. Let’s talk about that for a minute, shall we. It takes a very special sort of fellow to allow himself to be on a slate to get nominated, marshal people to nominate him for the award as part of a slate, and then decline — and write a big ol’ puffed-up piece about why he was declining, social justice warriors, blows against the empire, blah blah blah, yadda yadda. Yes, nice he declined the nomination and let someone else on the ballot. But it’s a little like wanting credit for rescuing a baby squirrel when you knocked the baby squirrel out of the tree to begin with.)

To be clear, the Puppy nonsense now isn’t just about Correia really really really wanting validation in the form of a rocketship; Day’s stealing the Puppy movement right out from under Correia and Torgerson has changed things up quite a bit, and it’s certainly true at this point that this little campaign is about a bunch of people trying to shit in the punchbowl so no one else can have any punch. But at the beginning, it was Correia hurt and angry that someone else got an award he thought was his, and deciding that it was stolen from him, rather than being something that was never his to begin with. And I’m sorry for him that it didn’t go his way. But actual grown human beings deal with disappointment in ways other than Correia has.

 

Nick Mamatas in a comment on Whatever

If the Hugos have really been dominated by leftist material that prized message over story since the mid-1990s (Brad’s timeline), it should be very simple for members of the Puppy Party to name

a. one work of fiction

b. that won a Hugo Award

c. while foregrounding a left message to the extent that the story was ruined or misshaped

d. per set of winners since 1995.

That’s all. Just a list of twenty books or stories—a single winner per year. Even though a single winner per year wouldn’t prove domination, I’m happy to make it easy for the Puppies.

Any Puppy Partisan want to start naming some names?

 

Brad R. Torgersen

“Nuking the Hugos from orbit” – April 20

The chief sin of Sad Puppies 3 seems to be that we were transparent and we were successful beyond all expectation.

Many a red herring has been lobbed at us over the past three weeks. All of these are colossal distractions from the central question I’ve been asking my entire (short, so far) career: do the Hugos even matter anymore, and if they don’t, how to we get them to matter again?

My logic has been: get more people to vote, and bring those people in from diverse sectors of the consumer market, and the cachet of the award increases because more and more people from a broader spectrum of the totality of fandom (small f) will have a stake in the award, pay attention to what’s selected for the final ballot, and will view the award as a valid marker of enjoyability; or at least notoriety.

Especially since the Hugos have already been subjected to numerous manipulations (again, all behind the scenes) by authors, voters, and publishers, who all seem to want the Hugo to better reflect their tastes, their interests, their politics, and their pet points they want to make with the award.

 

Brad R. Torgersen

“Ringing the bell” – April 20

Picking up where I left off with my post on tribalism. Because I wanted to talk specifically about a recurrent kind of “broken” I am seeing in arguments all over the place — beyond the tiny halls of the Peoples Republic of Science Fiction. This “broken” is most commonly manifested among well-meaning straight Caucasian folk, but is often fostered and preached about by non-straight and/or non-Caucasians of a particularly aggressive “progressive” persuasion.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook

The irrepressible ensign, whose blonde hair and pale complexion had put him on the fast track to command from the very first medical determination that he was not gay, reported, “It’s a SJW vessel, Captain. They’re demanding our surrender!”

Captain Christian White grimaced, heterosexually. He remembered the last time a Federation vessel had allowed an SJW cruiser its way, sashaying across the universe at multiple times the speed of light. The Federation’s resolve had weakened, the rockets had sagged a little on their pads, and one of the medals for valor that year had actually gone to somebody with a slightly ethnic last name. Only the keen perception of Captain White and his fellow cabal had recognized that this was the sign of a vile conspiracy, and allowed the institution of safeguards to make sure that this would never happen again.

 

Kevin Standlee

“Combatting Hugo Despair” – April 20

If you don’t clean up graffiti, it typically spreads.

  1. Cleaning up graffiti is hard work.
  2. It is easier, when you see graffiti defacing something nice, to say, “Oh, what a shame. I loved that once, but now it’s defaced, so I guess we’d better abandon it” than to break out the scrub brushes and solvent and to organize the community to help clean it up.
  3. Initially, when you clean up graffiti, it’s not unusual for the vandals to consider it a nice clean slate for their next attack.
  4. If you consistently clean up graffiti attacks, after a while the vandals discover that almost nobody ever sees their works of destruction, and eventually they will give up and go away because they stop getting any egoboo out of defacing things.

My position with the Hugo Awards, the World Science Fiction Convention, and the World Science Fiction Society? Well, I’m putting on my coveralls, buying some heavy duty scrub brushes, picking up the box of old rags, and rummaging around in the garage for that industrial-sized can of solvent I know we had in there somewhere.

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – April 18

Some draconian measures have been suggested. Those cures would be worse than the disease and would pretty much hand a victory to the self-appointed super-villain. He would have succeeded in destroying the award.

I think there’s a simpler solution. I’m tossing it out here for discussion. What if we gave the Worldcon committee the discretion to create a committee of qualified individuals who would review the nominating ballots and set aside any that show strong evidence of ballot stuffing? So if a hundred ballots come in and they are all identical — and if they all contain nominations for works or individuals that are not represented or significantly under-represented on any other ballots, then that can be seen as evidence of a ballot-stuffing effort and those ballots can be set aside.

This would not disqualify recommended reading lists. Those would still be encouraged.

Notice the separate components. The Worldcon committee themselves will not have the responsibility for adjudicating — instead, they have the option of creating an independent committee of qualified individuals, preferably past Worldcon committee members. Second, they cannot set aside ballots willy-nilly, only those that show evidence of a slate. If the slate-mongering has been a public effort, it’s an easier job. But if a hundred ballots come in all voting for the same stories and there are no other ballots that also include any of those stories, then that’s evidence of a ballot-stuffing campaign and the ballots should be set aside.

Had such a rule been in place this year, the entire rabid slate could have been nullified, while still allowing the majority of voters their rightful opportunities to be heard.

 

Rogers Cadenhead on Workbench

“Brad Torgersen’s ‘Science Fiction Civil War’” – April 20

There’s a lot about this situation that gets me all het up, but I’m beginning to savor the insane grandiosity of Torgersen (pictured above), a previously obscure SF/F author who led the bloc-voting campaign this year and dubbed it “Sad Puppies 3.”

On April 8, Torgersen wrote a blog post on his personal site called “The Science Fiction Civil War” that he later deleted.

Here’s the text of that post, which offers a fantastic glimpse into the preening self-regard that inspired him to lead a culture war against a much-loved SF/F award that fans of all political beliefs have nurtured since 1953….

 

John C. Wright

NPR Upholds Morlock Journalistic Ethics – April 20

Well, well. The NPR weekend show ON THE MEDIA has joined the lynch mob, and done their level best to add hysteria and contumely and smother any trace of rational dialog in the little sortie of the Culture Wars known as Sad Puppies.

They were paid for by my tax money, my dear readers, and yours.

And before you ask, no, no journalist, no editor, no one contacted me or interviewed me or made any attempt known to me to hear from the counsel for the defense. At a real witch trial held by the real Inquisition, even the devil gets an advocate and someone speaks up for defendant being accused of witchcraft.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Puppies on NPR” – April 20

KW listened in and heard NPR doing their usual bang-up job on Sad Puppies. For me, the most intriguing aspect of the media coverage has been the near-complete lack of interest in actually talking to anyone involved in the actual news-making activity. I mean, I am about as cynical a media skeptic as it is possible to be, and yet somehow, these journalistic incompetents haven’t even managed to rise to my very, very low level of expectations.

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter International

“Catching up, then back to work” – April 20

Apparently there were a bunch more stupid articles and news reports this weekend, still running with the angry straight white men, anti-diversity slate angle. I don’t even bother reading them anymore. It is all the same script. I didn’t even know Popular Science was still around.

In the interest of full disclosure, none of the hit pieces tried to talk to us, but NPR’s On The Media did try to reach out. They sent me an email, they wanted to speak on the phone to gather info, but it was on a day when I was running around the wilds of Yard Moose Mountain and I missed their call. I sent them an apology the next morning.

I haven’t listened, but I heard they brought in professional outrage monger Arthur Chu to explain everything. Ha! But to be fair, they at least tried.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Black Gate withdraws” – April 20

Or rather, they have asked to not be considered for the Hugo award for which they will be on the ballot. While I disagree with John’s decision, I respect his right to make it.  I find it ironic, however, that people are responding to a large group of people dictating the ballot by unilaterally dictating to people for whom they will not vote.

I also find it telling that a threat to support No Award next year is supposedly worse than a vow to do it this year. I am curious. Would they consider it better if I accepted what passes for their reasoning and announced that Rabid Puppies will join the No Award movement this year? Because that is certainly an option. (Settle down, you bloodthirsty bastards, I said no more than the obvious. It is an option.)

The goal is to improve the Awards, not destroy them. But if the SJWs would rather destroy them than relinquish their control, well, that will tell the world exactly what sort of totalitarians they are. That’s two birds for the price of one. We’ve already got them on the record stating that our views are invalid and should be suppressed by force; seeing them demolish the awards without our assistance will communicate that more effectively than we can do ourselves.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures in Reading

Hugo News: Black Gate Edition – April 20

What I am most curious about here is that because the ballots are already at the printer, Sasquan is unable to remove Black Gate from the ballot (apparently some people still use paper ballots – because science fiction is a genre of the future…) – but will Black Gate’s request be honored?  Will votes for Black Gate just not be counted?  This might be the easiest solution.

 

Lou Antonelli on Facebook – April 20

Got my annual Mensa membership card in the mail today. I’m not showing this out of vanity, it’s just I’ve found it’s a good idea to keep it handy because the first slur the Anti-Puppy snobs usually toss out when disrespecting you is “stupid”.

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“No winners?” – April 20

And that is the problem. They are making Vox the issue and are, in all too many instances, refusing to even consider a nominee he might have liked or recommended. That is, as I have said before, a disservice to all those authors and artists who have done good work, worthy work.

Look, here’s the truth of the matter. Vox is but one man. Yes, he might say things that make us uncomfortable. He might believe things that seem further out than left field. But, as writers and artists, we have no control over who reads/sees or likes our work. If you don’t like Vox and can’t bring yourself to read his work, that’s fine. But don’t condemn others who have no relationship to him except for the fact he nominated them. (Full disclosure here, I was one both SP3 and Rabid Puppies. I didn’t realize I was on Rabid Puppies until well after the nominees were announced.)

 

Doctor Science on Obsidian Wings

“Vox Day is exploiting the Sad Puppies for personal gain” – April 20

I don’t know the details of the rules, but I figure this is probably enough evidence for Sasquan’s Hugo Awards Committee to decide that Castalia House engaged in illegal ballot-stuffing under the current rules, and to remove all Castalia House-associated nominees from the Hugo Ballot. If it’s an option, I’d suggest that Vox Day and Castalia House be considered ineligible for nomination for at least a few years going forward, too.

 

Rjurik Davidson on Overland

“The Mad Puppies revenge” – April 21

How do we best understand this culture war? The immediate cause, it seems, is the fact that in recent years, the Hugo Awards have been transformed. In other words, there has been a slow, molecular, and very incomplete growth of progressive values within science fiction and fantasy, along with the concomitant breaking down of established racist, homophobic and patriarchal barriers. The number of women nominees, for example, reached rough parity between 2011-2013. In this way, again, it parallels the Gamergate controversy: games having been once the protected turf of white males.

 

 

 

Jon F. Zeigler on Sharrukin’s Palace

“My first (and last) word on the Hugos” – April 20

[Here  is the most novel approach to the voting process I have read (no pun intended.) (Well, maybe a little intended.) The decision to use a concrete example as a reference point sets Zeigler apart from most in the “I know quality when I see it” camp. And it is also a solution that is not obviously driven by an agenda. Very interesting idea:]

In each category, in so far as I am able and with only one general exception, I plan to examine all the works on the ballot and give them fair consideration. I will rank them in order of their quality, using my own tastes and criteria. So far I doubt I’m planning to do anything unusual.

Where my strategy may be distinctive is that I plan to examine six items for each category – the five on the ballot, and the item that I consider to have been the best eligible work that did not reach the ballot.

So for example, in the Best Novel category this year, on the final ballot we have:

  • Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
  • The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson
  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
  • Skin Game by Jim Butcher
  • The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu

I know some of those works got onto the ballot because of slate voting and some did not. At least one novel, in fact, was added to the ballot only after an author whose novel was on one of the slates withdrew it from consideration. I’m not going to take any of that into account. As much as I disapprove of organized slates, it’s still possible that a slate might have selected the best available work.

On the other hand, it’s also possible – even likely – that a slate will actually push some of the best available works out of consideration. In fact, the people organizing this year’s slates allege that this has already been happening for a long time – that other parties have (informally) manipulated the nominations process to exclude otherwise deserving work.

All right, so let me correct for that possibility. That’s where the sixth work under consideration in each category comes in. I’ll read and evaluate that work too, but it will hold the slot for No Award in its category. Thus, if I find that a work on the ballot is markedly inferior to the one that did not get nominated, I will have to assume that something went wrong. Either my tastes are really unusual, or some form of manipulation of the nominations process pushed the more deserving work off the ballot. In either case, I’ve identified a work that will rank below No Award in my selection.

To return to my example, the sixth work I’ll include in my decision-making process will probably be Echopraxia, by Peter Watts. I read that novel a couple of months ago, and it quite impressed me at the time. So any novel that I find is at least comparable in quality to Echopraxia will get ranked above No Award on my ballot. Any novel that I find is clearly not comparable will get ranked below No Award.

 

 

Mark Ciocco on Kaedrin weblog

“The Three-Body Problem” – April 19

However, since this year’s Hugo awards are so weirdly contentious, one of the Best Novel nominees dropped out of the race. I’m not sure if this is unprecedented or not, but it’s highly unlikely nonetheless (authors often refuse their nomination, but are given a chance to do so before the finalists are announced – this situation where an author sees the lay of the year’s Hugo land and simply opts out was surprising) and many were expecting this to mean that the Best Novel category would only include 4 nominees. After all, adding the next most popular nominee would tell everyone who got the least nominating votes (info that is only published after the awards are handed out) and honestly, given the current situation, this precedent seems ripe for abuse. Nevertheless, the Hugo administrators opted to fill the open slot with The Three-Body Problem (a non-Puppy nominee, though from what I’ve seen, the Puppies seem to really enjoy this book). From left off the ballot to potential winner, quite a turn of events. Of the two nominees I’ve read, this is clearly ahead and could possibly take my number 1 vote. It is a bit of an odd duck, but I quite enjoyed it.

 

John C. Wright

“Not so much Dino-hate, Please!” – April 20

At the risk of alienated my beloved fans who voted either for Sad Puppies or Rabid   and elevated my humble work to a world-record number of nominations, I would like to state something for the record.

A lot of us are ragging on Rachel Swirsky’s prose poem ‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love‘ which was Hugo nominated and won a Nebula for its category.

And, for the record, I for one do not think ‘If You Were a Dinosaur’ is bad. I do not think it is great, but tastes differ.

The author with admirable brevity of space establishes a gay and playful mood, using a stream of consciousness technique and adhere to a strict textual scheme (lifted from IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE) and then fishtailing into a surprise ending that is poignant and moving, all within less than 1000 words.

 

Stevie Carroll in Women & Words

“This Year’s Hugo Awards, Diversity in SF and Fantasy, and the Bechdel Test” – April 20

Diversity in SF and Fantasy has been a major discussion topic at both the conventions I’ve been to this year as well as on a lot of author blogs in the genre that I follow (most of which fall into a group of bloggers that the anti-feminist, anti-diversity complainers derisively refer to as Social Justice Warriors because they’re somehow offended by the idea that straight white men might actually support feminism and other forms of equality campaigning). I think two of my favourite comments came from a discussion panel on Dr Who – one from a white woman who described her feelings of alienation when she moved in the 1980s (IIRC) from a typical inner city in the UK to Cambridge where the population was far less diverse than she was used to, and the other from an audience member who asserted that these days if the Doctor is to be invisible (in the sense of generally ignored by those around him) in a lot of places then he could do worse than being either a young black man or a woman in her fifties or older.

 

William Reichard on Plaeroma

“RE: Update on sci-fi & the ‘Hugo Maneuver’” – April 20

Just a quick update to let everybody know our plan is working better than we could have anticipated. “Debate” on the subject of the Hugo Awards has become a self-perpetuating firestorm that shows no signs of lessening. Writers on all sides of the issue are fully engulfed, and the conflagration even shows promising signs of spreading to the larger culture.

Rest assured, any dangerous minds on all sides will be doing nothing else of significance for months if not years thanks to this coup, and thus we are safe to continue our diabolical work with impunity for now as the discussion descends into ever more atomic and arcane levels.

 

Wikipedia adds section to entry for “Theodore Beale” – April 20

2015 Hugo Awards

In 2015 Beale’s slate of candidates for the Hugo Awards, which placed most of its nominees on the ballot, led two authors to withdraw their own nominations, and for one presenter to withdraw from the event.

Puppies Explain It All To You 4/17

Today a psychologist shut the doors of her virtual office after being deluged with requests for consultations by puppies.

Mainstream punditry is catching up with the story. Yet there was an unusual number of conciliatory posts, too.

A very large number of very short tweets greeted yesterday’s addition of The Three-Body Problem to the Hugo ballot. John Scalzi’s was most often retweeted. And a Chinese source announced that a movie will be made from the book.

Maureen O’Danu, whose “The Psychology of Hugo: Sad Puppies and Rabin Puppies”  was part of yesterday’s roundup, has taken all the comments and put them back in moderation.

John C. Wright posted a copy of his now-vanished comment on Vox Popoli:

Ma’am, I read your indepth psychological analysis of Brad Togersen and Larry Correia with avid interest. I am one of the promoters and founders of the Sad Puppies 3 effort, and also a writers whose work has been published both by Tor Books, and by Castalia House, which is Theodore Beale’s imprint. I have been nominated for a record-breaking six nominations thanks to the efforts of these men and my readers, one of which was later disqualified.

Hence I find myself wondering as to my psychology. Please explain my own mind to me. Am I afraid of Theodore Beale’s destructive and venomous powers, and afraid publicly to admit the same? Am I gloating over having deceived Mr Torgersen and Mr Correia into promoting my works? Do I feel the impulse to apologize to whomever it was — I was not clear on the details — that is rightfully offended that these gentlemen asked their audience to read and nominate my works? Please tell me more clearly what I am thinking, and do not leave me suspended in uncertainty. Am I a puppy greedy for what I have not earned, as Mr Correia is, or a destroyer lusting merely to inflict harm on the innocent, as Mr Beale is?

Since you know me as well, if not better, than you know Mr Beale, Mr Correia, and Mr Torgersen, all of whom are complete strangers to you, I look forward with great eagerness for you insightful and trenchant observations of my case, and your caring yet loving prescription for how the healing might begin with me.

Her no longer accessible reply was –

Maureen O’Danu: John, I deliberately didn’t mention you. I feel sorry the fact that you will have to face, for the rest of your life, that you are the face of the year the Hugos went very, very bad.

 

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The Refutation of Freud” – April 17

Yeah, somehow I doubt Larry and Brad are shaking in their boots that I am going to attack them. I know the SJWs would love it if I would do so. But that’s not going to happen. I didn’t fall for the divide-and-conquer tactics when they tried to get me to disavow Roosh and Roissy, and I’m not about to fall for it now. You don’t need to be best friends to be allies. You only need to be shooting in the same direction. The weakness of the moderates, and the reason they are so reliably ineffective, is that they would much rather shoot at their allies than at their enemies.

 

Lou Antonelli on This Way to Texas

“An orphan of the storm” – April 16

For example, the range of nominations as released yesterday for the short story finalists was 132-226, which means whatever story got the most nominations had 226 and whoever finished fifth had 132. As a result of the update, you would expect the lower range to drop because whatever story originally finished sixth was moved up. However in the case of the short story category, the higher number also dropped, from 230.

I’m not a statistician, but I’m also not the only person who saw that and realizes it may mean that “Goodnight Stars” by Annie Bellet, which she withdrew, may have had the most nominations overall.

Having the most nominations is not a guarantee of finally winning the award, but honestly I thought I did well to make the ballot in light of competition and her story had a very good shot if not the best shot at actually winning the award. The fact that she may have lost this opportunity to win a Hugo because the smear campaign conducted by the SF establishment is reprehensible.

I’ve had more than one person urged me not to withdraw from the ballot. I’m a stubborn old cuss and I never seriously considered it. But I feel very sorry that Annie felt so buffeted by the storm. I did not know who she was or about her story before the nomination, so the nomination had some benefit for me. I hope she heals from this experience.

 

Joe Follansbee

“Here’s How to Beat the Sad Puppies: Let Them Win” – April 17

What should science fiction fans who love the Hugos do now? Assuming the Puppies nominees take home one or more awards, let them have their day in the limelight. The most likely long-term outcome will be… nothing. It will have no impact. Their gamesmanship will become no more than a footnote. It’s a one-shot deal; no one will take them seriously in the future. That’s how they will lose; their awards will be forever tagged with an asterisk: “Oh, you’re the guy who won because of those Sad Puppies freepers.” It may feel good now, boys, but in a few years, you’ll put your award in a closet because you’ll be ashamed to display it.

 

Tim Hall on Where Worlds Collide

“The Hugo Fight Gets Ugly” – April 17

Slate voting has demonstrated how a tiny minority voting the same way can sweep entire categories. But it didn’t start with the Sad and Rabid Puppies. It was broken before, and it didn’t need an organised conspiracy to do it. With a small voting pool all it took was a critical mass of people with heavily-overlapping tastes to crowd everything else off the ballot. That fuelled the perceptions, true or not, that second-rate work was ending up on the ballot simply because the author was friends with the right people, and even that the whole thing was being fixed behind the scenes by an imaginary cabal.

The organisers of the Hugos need to do two things. First, they need to massively expand the pool of voters in the nomination round, and there are signs of this already happening. Second, they need to overhaul the voting system so that voting blocs, whether formal, informal or accidental, cannot dominate the nominations in the way they have been doing. If The Hugos are genuinely meant to represent the best of the year in SF&F, the finalists do need to be the choices of a representative cross section across all of fandom. At the moment, there is little evidence that they are.

 

Floris Kleijne on Barno’s Stables

“Back To The Future – of the Hugos” – April 16

(3) Taking it down a notch and reaching across the divide

Floris: To get to that point, I think it’s essential that all Tribes acknowledge their own responsibility for the whole fracas, tone down their rhetoric, and enter a dialogue about the things that they do see as positive in the other. Find common ground, explore the similarities in their opinions and objectives, and work from there. A bit like you and I are doing, assuming for the sake of argument that you’re more of a Puppies fan, and simplifying matters by sticking myself in the WorldCon tribe (both of which are probably major simplifications, if not errors). There are clearly Tribes in specfic fandom that reflect the socio-political Tribes in the world at large, but I expect that bottom-line, fans have more in common than these bickering sub-Tribes think, and that the tribe of specfic fans has more to unite than to divide them.

 

Deirdre Saorise Moen on Sounds Like Weird

“Eric Flint Speaks, and Final Nomination Changes” – April 17

The quality shift was a concerted effort on behalf of people like Robin Scott Wilson, who created the Clarion Writers’ Workshop in the 1960s to help improve the quality of writing in the field….

Over time, Clarion has produced (let’s say 15 people average per year x 40+ years) over 600 graduates, and many of those vote or nominate. Or hold (or have held) editorial positions at some point. When you add in the members of the other groups, too, this represents a significant influence on science fiction and fantasy books and short stories.

A Modest Proposal

Here’s my proposal: someone (not me) should start a workshop designed for people who want to write the popular end of science fiction and fantasy, and possibly aimed at people who wish to write sf/f books (the existing workshops are mostly about short-story writing). Yes, I know that Viable Paradise is about that, but the field is certainly big enough for two such workshops.

Not only that, it could be one that valued humor more than Clarion et al tend to. (You know what’s harder than writing humorous work? Critiquing it. Harder yet is understanding how to use the critiques.)

Make it six weeks long, have authors bring complete novel drafts, and workshop the whole draft in six chunks.

Don’t make it depend on ideology, make it depend on wanting to write stronger works of popular fiction.

This would be a great place to form relationships with other, similar writers, to build interrelationships within the field (as happens with Clarion et al), and doesn’t have the problematic relationship with the Church of Scientology that Writers of the Future does.

 

Mike Van Helder on Popular Science

“Culture Wars Rage Within Science Fiction Fandom” – April 17

Some of the authors on the Puppy slates claim to have been entirely unaware of the political aims and positions of the movement, and were thus taken unaware by the ensuing furor. On Wednesday, first-time nominees Annie Bellet and Marko Kloos both withdrew their works from Hugo consideration. Both cited their unwillingness to be nominated for what they perceive to be political reasons instead of the merits of their work, and Kloos made a further point of specifically repudiating Vox Day’s influence. This action is entirely unprecedented – no nominated author has ever withdrawn their work after making it onto the Hugo ballot. Further, the rules have no provision for what to do in that circumstance. As of Thursday night, Worldcon administrators had replaced Kloos’ and Bellet’s works with entries that did not make the initial ballot cutoff, an action which is sure to spawn even more controversy.

 

Tade Thompson

“I Own SFF Fandom” – April 14

Generally speaking, I can stand my own ground. I can tolerate people not agreeing with me and, as long as no harm is done, I think the world is big enough for seven billion opinions. I reserve the right to be loud or angry if I feel like it. I reserve the right to be wrong. I reserve the right to cry like a baby. I reserve the right to change my mind, either in light of new evidence, phases of the moon, or Yoruba ancestral geomancy. I can do that. Free speech works that way. I can talk. You don’t have to listen.

I do realise, however, that my ability to speak out, to be articulate, to fight if need be, to refuse to suffer fools, all these are determined by my experiences, my socialisation, my genetic make up, my epigenetic environment, luck, and possibly other unknown factors.

I realise there are those who are less capable of withstanding psychic insult. When I can, I like to support such people. This is how humanity works (or should work). I would love it if those who are better endowed than I in other areas would help me. Pay it Forward sounds sappy and self-serving, but it’s not too far off the mark. That’s what SAFE is about.

There are other places to argue the merits and demerits of whatever. There are loads of places to grandstand and show off intelligence and erudition, to compare metaphorical gonads. That being as it may, some victims need a place to heal. There need to be spaces where there are few demands other than sharing and healing. I feel gratified that people have come forward in namespace and behind the scenes. I hope that will continue to happen and I feel honoured to have been part of that.

But then, Hugo nominations.

 

Laura J. Mixon

“It’s Tonka Toys! All the Way Down!” – April 17

The Sad/Rabid Puppies claim a moral basis for their attack on the Hugos. They say that identity-based politics have polluted our storytelling traditions. They long for a return of the good old days when SFF stories were not about race, or gender, or sexual orientation, or cultural appropriation, or all those other pesky social-justice matters, but instead favored just-great-romps, without all the politics injected into them. And at this point my Spock ears appear and my right eyebrow floats up. I think, Fascinating.

You know what? When I read a story about a woman, especially an older woman, kicking ass and taking names in an exciting space opera or fantasy setting, I certainly don’t see politics. I see an exciting space opera or fantasy with characters I can really relate to. And I’m willing to bet my friends in the LGBTQI, dis/ability, and POC communities don’t see politics, either, when they read a story that has someone whose demographics match their own. They see that person who, like them, is fighting to find their way in the world, despite all the obstacles they face. (Obstacles that can differ, based on who we are and what we’ve encountered in our lives.) Who struggles to hold onto their humanity in the face of implacable hostility. Of denial of who they are.

The Sad/ Rabid Puppies seem to think of themselves as the true descendants of the grand masters of our modern pulp SFF tradition. I find this…interesting. The idea that stories about white guys overcoming obstacles—struggling to hold onto their humanity in the face of implacable hostility and denial who they are—is somehow less political than anyone else undergoing all those struggles—is simply so illogical to me that I can help but shrug and go, whaaaa? Because you know, the Grand Masters of SFF are my forebears, too.

 

Jeet Heer on New Republic

“Science Fiction’s White Boys’ Club Strikes Back” – April 17

Torgersen makes an error which is endemic to the Sad Puppies, conflating literary ambition with leftism and demographic diversity. It is simply untrue that ideology and entertainment are at odds in science fiction. Most major science fiction writers—including the ones who have won Hugo awards from the start—have had strong political convictions which have been reflected in their word. A genre that includes the socialist H.G. Wells, the libertarian Robert Heinlein, the Catholic conservative Gene Wolfe, the anarchist Ursula K. Le Guin, the feminist Margaret Atwood, and the Marxist China Miéville can hardly be thought of as essentially non-political entertainment.

Nor is it the case, despite what the Puppies imagine, that literary ambition is the province only of the left. Much of the best literary science fiction has been written by writers whose politics are right-wing: aside from Gene Wolfe, this includes Jack Vance, R.A. Lafferty, Robert Silverberg, and Dan Simmons. To take one example: Robert Silverberg is a conservative but his best novel, Dying Inside, is a story of a telepath, rich with allusions to Kafka and Saul Bellow—writers Silverberg was emulating. The faux-populism of the Puppy brigade is actually insulting to the right, since it assumes that conservatives can’t be interested in high culture.

 

Mark Hemingway on Weekly Standard

“Revenge of the Nerds”  – April 17

However, among certain elements of the science fiction community, there had long been a suspicion that campaigns to gather Hugo votes were more coordinated and less reflective of the fan base than they might appear.

The schism over the Hugo Awards is aesthetic as well as political. For some time now, a handful of stars in the science fiction firmament—notably popular author John Scalzi and some polarizing editors associated with Tor, arguably the most influential publisher—have been pushing to elevate the genre by embracing certain literary and political themes. Critics contend that in practice this means an overabundance of “message fiction” where, say, encounters with an alien civilization become leaden metaphors for gay rights and other politically correct themes. The fans opposed to this want science fiction to stay focused on story-telling and adventure—and they are annoyed by the attempt to banish cherished genre conventions, such as book covers with buxom babes and musclebound heroes.

The literary crowd counters that the science fiction traditionalists are a bunch of white male retrogrades. There’s some truth to at least part of that characterization—a 2011 reader poll by the Guardian produced a list of the 500 most beloved works of science fiction. Just 18 were written by women.

 

Brandon Kempner on Chaos Horizon

“Margin of Victory: Breaking Down the Hugo Math” – April 17

So we know Kirk DouPonce received 118 votes. You might want to begin thinking about that number (118) as the low end of the Rabid Puppy effective block vote. That would be consistent with the Short Story category results: 118 wouldn’t quite have been enough to push the Rzasa story onto the ballot. Still, 118 votes is a huge number, and would have been enough to sweep most Hugo categories without any support from the Sad Puppies. There were two slates, both of which were large enough to effectively dominate most Hugo categories.

 

Get John C. Wright’s Hugo Nominees Free

All of the four of Wright’s Hugo-nominated short fiction works, as well as an essay from Transhuman, are included in this special release, which is available for free from Castalia House in both Epub and Mobi (Kindle) formats and will also be available in the Hugo packet.

Village Voice on Writers of the Future’s
Scientology Connection

Letting the cat out of the cellophane bag, the Village Voice reports that the Church of Scientology has a handle on the Writers of the Future Contest. It’s unlikely anybody in sf will be surprised at the connection being documented.

What’s news is that in Scientology’s Writers of the Future Contest: Troubling Ties to Abuse in the Church the Village Voice also purports to show several individuals with oversight of the contest allegedly have participated in imprisoning and physically abusing of out-of-favor Scientology executives.

People in the sf field engaged with the WoTF contest, now in its 29th year, have long expressed satisfaction with the divide between the contest and the Church.

Here’s what Tim Powers told the reporter:

“When the winners get there, they get to attend how-to-write lectures from people like Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Orson Scott Card. It’s a hell of a lineup,” Powers says. “They maintain very deliberately a solid firewall between Scientology and the contest. There was even a time when a winner asked about Scientology and he was told, ‘Not this week.'”

Powers admits that in his years of involvement, he’s “never looked behind the scenes — I don’t know what the logistics of it are,” he says. But the effort that Author Services puts into keeping things separate is something he appreciates.

“I like the firewall. As a Catholic, I’d have to quit if it turned into proselytizing,” Powers says.

Frank Wu’s favorable account of his experience with the WoTF’s counterpart Illustrators of the Future Contest is quoted in the article, too.

I forwarded the link to Jerry Pournelle for his response and he answered:

I’ve seen it. I got into the contest because AJ Budrys, an old friend since 1960 (his father was an official in the Lithuanian exile government and I worked with them when I was part of the Captive Nations Committee back when I was active in politics) invited me and assured me there was no connection with Scientology; it was something Hubbard wanted to do for writers. So far as I am concerned the contest is a good thing. It tends to glorify Hubbard, of course, but I have never heard any mention of Scientology in any of the lectures, awards, ceremonies, or indeed anything else connected with the contest.  As to glorifying the founder, I seem to remember a man named Smithson…

Although the relationship between WoTF and various pros, and its organized presence at Loscon, was defined ages ago, I wonder if the news reports might lead people to reconsider lending their names to the event? In addition to this Village Voice article, sf novelist Deirdre Saoirse Moen, a former Church member and staff member, posted in February about harassment she personally experienced. Is the “firewall” proof against such heightened scrutiny?

[Thanks to Gary Farber for the link.]