We Are Sad Puppies If You Please; We Are Sad Puppies If You Don’t Please 5/23

aka One Hundred Days of Being Stuck in a Crate Just Because You Ate the Goddamn Plum Pudding Again, if you Didn’t Want Me To Eat It You Shouldn’t Have Put it on the Table, Signed, Maggie, Your DOG

There are familiar and new bylines in today’s roundup: Bradley Armstrong, David Gerrold, John C. Wright, Michael Senft, John Ohno, Andrew Hickey, Vox Day, Amanda S. Green, Lis Carey, Elisa Bergslien, Patrick May, Rebekah Golden, Joseph Tomaras, and Spacefaring Kitten. (Credit for the alternate title goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Greg.)

Bradley Armstrong on Screen Burn

“Solitair vs. The Hugos: Introduction” – May 22

I’ve seen Correia and company get a lot of bad press for this latest battle in the American culture war, but after a few arguments online I’m going to cool my jets. At least Sad Puppies is not as disgusting as this other movement from last year I won’t dignify with a name. Correia has been acerbic in arguing his case, but he hasn’t crossed any lines of decency unless you see the slate voting as an immoral-in-spirit rigging of democracy via statistical loophole. He was even harassed and slandered online, which I can’t approve of no matter the cause. I flipped my lid about the epidemic of that same thing springing from that-which-must-not-be-named, and I’m not going to go back on that because it’s happening to someone I disagree with.

Correia has my condolences, but I do still disagree with him on this matter. Matthew David Surridge, in declining his Puppy-backed nomination, wrote the most clear-headed and sensible summary of this whole affair I’ve seen on the internet by a wide margin, and my position mostly reflects his. In short, I see no evidence that there is a conspiracy to culturally control the Hugos, at least not one that is in any way recent, and I like stuff with literary aspirations just as much as modest pulp fare, if not more. I thought that high-brow art was what awards were for, since bestseller lists aren’t going to give the good ones the recognition they deserve. As far as the preachy sermonizing goes, I and everyone else who saw James Cameron’s Avatar knows that pain, but I don’t know what the Puppies’ threshold is for that. Are they objecting more strongly to badly-written garbage, or the presence of progressive stances in fiction?


David Gerrold on Facebook – May 23

[A long post that explains what Gerrold told the Wall Street Journal reporter during a 45-minute call, of which he says only three out-of-context sentences were used. The following is a short sample.]

When you get that many nominees dropping out and when you get so many major voices in the field condemning the slate-mongering, this is not just a casual disagreement. It is evidence that there is a widespread perception that the slate-mongering was a miscalculation on the part of Torgersen and Correia — and a deliberate attack on the field by Vox Day. (Vox Day has publicly declared his intentions to destroy the Hugos.)

That’s the situation. And that’s pretty much the gist of what I told the reporter from the Wall Street Journal — okay, in the interests of journalistic integrity, I also let the reporter know that I too share the views of Martin, Willis, Castro, Flint, Scalzi, Kowal, and others — that the slates were a bad idea and that this is the year of the asterisk.

And that brings me, finally (yes, I know you’re exhausted, me too) to the most important point I want to make. I know some of the people who ended up on the slates. They’re good people. They’re the real victims of this mess.

I’ve known Kevin Anderson for a long time and have a lot of affection for him. He’s had an enviable career. He’s a good man. I can’t imagine that Kevin would have been a knowledgeable part of any attempt to rig the Hugo awards. Likewise, I’m pretty sure that Tony Weiskopf and Sheila Gilbert would not have been either. They’ve all been around long enough to know better. They have great reputations, fairly earned by a lifetime of hard work.

Unfortunately, despite the integrity of the nominees, there’s still an asterisk on this year’s awards. It’s not their fault, but there it is.


John C. Wright

“No One Cares About Your Hooey” – May 23

….Anyone clicking through the link there will come to this:

  • I believe, profess, and unambiguously support the view that homosexuals must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
  • I believe, profess, and unambiguously support the view that every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.
  • I believe, profess, and unambiguously support the view that These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
  • I believe everything the one, true, holy, catholic and apostolic Church teaches.

So, from your reaction, I take it you did not click through the link….


Michael Senft interviews Ann Leckie for The Arizona Republic

“Ann Leckie on ‘Ancillary Justice’ acclaim and breaking the pronoun barrier” – May 21

Q: One common comment about the Imperial Radch books is that you are writing a “genderless” society. That doesn’t seem an accurate interpretation.

A: Yeah, it’s been very interesting to me to see some of the discussion surrounding Radchaai and gender. The assumption, for instance, that the Radchaai must have “eradicated” gender in that society, when that’s really nowhere in the text. Or that, as you say, gender doesn’t exist, or that Breq “doesn’t understand” the concept of gender. Not infrequently someone will comment that it’s really stupid to think that a being as smart as Breq couldn’t get her head around the idea of gender, which is probably true, and that’s not really the problem Breq has, is it.


Michael Senft on Relentless Reading

“Ann Leckie on Hugos, pronouns and Genitalia Festivals” – May 23

And in an outtake from the story, she weighed in on the Hugo Awards, offering some advice to readers and members and why we she doesn’t worry about them too much:

“I probably shouldn’t comment on the Hugos this year. Though I will say what I would say any year, and that is that if the Hugos matter to you, you should nominate and vote. Sometimes I hear people comment that they don’t think they’re qualified because they don’t read enough, but I think the Hugos have always been about what the voters love, and if you love something and think it’s worthy of an award, you should be able to nominate it.

Beyond that—well, honestly, I figure I could spend my time worrying about awards, or even more pointlessly worrying about people’s opinions of awards, or even more pointlessly worrying about people’s opinions about who does or doesn’t “deserve” those awards — or I could spend my time writing. And I didn’t get into writing for awards. There are no guaranteed outcomes from anything, much less writing, and if I wanted a sure track to acclaim and fame and fortune I sure as heck wouldn’t have chosen writing to get that. I write because I want to tell stories, anything after that is extra. And fortunately I’ve got plenty of writing to do, and plenty of readers waiting for me to do it.”


John Ohno on The First Church of Space Jesus

“Utopianism and sci-fi as machine-lit” – May 13

There are several popular ways to look at science fiction as a genre. I have my own preferences. That said, the major opposing perspective — what I’d term the ‘machine-lit’ school of thought — has its merits, insomuch as it highlights a set of common tendencies in science fiction. I’d like to take this space to highlight the basic premise of machine-lit, the tendencies it breeds, and why I find most machine-lit to be relatively uninteresting.

(The third major perspective, what I call the spaceship-on-the-cover style, I find wholly uninteresting and is the subject of other essays; however, this perspective is becoming historically important lately because of some drama surrounding the Hugo awards being gamed by groups who prefer this style, so it’s worth mentioning in passing.)


Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

“Hugo Blogging: ‘Best’ Short Story” – May 23

….As a result, I do not believe a single story on the ballot is on there legitimately, and so I will be ranking No Award at the top of the list.

I would perhaps have some ethical qualms about this, were any of the nominated stories any good. However, happily, they range from merely not-very-good to outright abysmal. I shall rank the stories below No Award as follows:

Totaled by Kary English. This story is not in any way bad. It’s also, however, not in any way *good*, either. Were it in an anthology I read, I’d read through the story and forget it immediately, maybe remembering “the brain-in-a-jar one” if prodded enough. Perfectly competently put together, but with no new ideas, no interesting characters, and no real reason for existing. Certainly not Hugo-worthy…..


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Hugo Awards 2015: Best Novel” – May 23

This is how I am voting in the Best Novel category. Of course, I merely offer this information regarding my individual ballot for no particular reason at all, and the fact that I have done so should not be confused in any way, shape, or form with a slate or a bloc vote, much less a direct order by the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil to his 367 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.

  1. The Three-Body Problem
  2. Skin Game
  3. The Goblin Emperor
  4. The Dark Between the Stars
  5. No Award


Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“A few thoughts” – May 23

I’m busy making my way through the Hugo packet. My goal is to read everything included in it. Once I have, I will vote for those works I feel best deserve the Hugo. So far, only a few things have thrown me out from the beginning because the author forgot that you can get your message across without beating your reader over the head. And, no, not all of them are anti-Puppy supported works. Will I post my ballot? Probably, but only after I vote.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Cedar Sanderson Hugo Nomination Fanwriting Samples” – May 23

The distinctive feature here is that she congratulates herself on being feminine and a lady, as well as, of course, strong–unlike, we are given to understand, those silly and obnoxious feminists. She demands equality, and likes it when men put her on a pedestal, and doesn’t seem to notice the contradiction. Feminists are women seeking notoriety based solely on their femaleness, and want to grind men under their heels. There’s a long rant about lazy, wish-fulfillment fantasy, which does in fact say some useful and interesting things….


Elisa Bergslien on Leopards and Dragons

“My Three Body Problem problem”  – May 22

When I started this book, I was really looking forward to it.  I actually had it in my wish list at Amazon months ago because it sounded so cool. Now that I have finished it, I am really disappointed.  With all the hype about how deep, insightful, and exciting the book is, I have been left wondering if I read the same book. It wasn’t all bad I guess, but for me it definitely didn’t even remotely live up to the hype and I honestly don’t know if I will ever bother to pick up the next book to see what happens with the human race. As it is presented in the book, you kind of have to wonder if anyone is worth saving.


RogerBW’s Blog

“The Three Body Problem Liu Cixin” – May 23

This is a perversely fascinating book that gains far more interest from the problems it sets up than from the way it resolves them….


Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Award Novelette Category” – May 23

[Ranking is preceded by comments on all of the novelettes.)

My Hugo ballot for this category is:

  1. The Journeyman: In the Stone House
  2. The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale
  3. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium
  4. Championship B’Tok

I am not including “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” on my ballot.


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Professional Artist: Reviewing A Pollack” – May 23

His imagery is clear, epic, sweeping and fun….


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best TV Show: Reviewing Doctor Who” – May 22

I knew a guy who was a virgin and didn’t know what the big deal about sex was. Then he had sex. Then he wanted to have sex all the time. I’ve watched a few episodes of Doctor Who but I admit while I liked it I didn’t know what the big deal was. Now I know what the big deal is.


Joseph Tomaras on A Skinseller’s Workshop

“Novelettes, Novellas and Fan Writers” – May 23

Of the Analog stories, that leaves Rajnar Vajra’s story with the deceptively stupid title “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”. The title is clearly meant to pander to nostalgia for this-boy’s-life-in-space military SF stories of the so-called “Golden Age,” and insofar as it was selected by both sets of puppies for their slates, it succeeded. The title, however, bears little resemblance to the story itself, which can be read as subverting the tropes in which it superficially seems to glory. There is a valid argument to be had about whether subversion-of-tropes has not itself become a trope in contemporary SF, and a redundant one. I sympathize with that argument, but Vajra’s story is at least a better-than-average exemplar of the type, which held by interest start to finish and left me with a smile on my face. I encourage Hugo voters to read it with an open mind, and those who are not WorldCon members to seek it out.



John Scalzi on Whatever

“A Brief Note About Me Reviewing the Hugo Nominees” – May 23

I’ve been asked a few times if I plan to write any reviews of the Hugo nominees this year after I’ve read them. The answer: No, I don’t. One, if you look at my general modus operandi around Hugos, I don’t ever really comment on what I think of the merits of the individual nominees* until after the voting window has closed. Two, this year, this policy seems even more advisable as there are excitable people who would point out any reviews on my part as scale-tipping, regardless of what the review said. Three, as a general rule, in public, I try not to say negative things about the work of other writers. I will make exceptions from time to time. But generally, I avoid it….