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.”