The Collar Out of Space 5/28

aka Twenty Thousand Comments About the Controversy by Jules Verne

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

Kate Paulk on Mad Genius Club

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

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

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

 

John Carlton on The Arts Mechanical

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

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

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

 

Nick Mamatas on Storify

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

[Numbers 10 and 11 of 17 tweets]

 

 

 

Tom Knighton

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Adam-Troy Castro

“Conniption Fodder” – May 28

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

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

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

*That* is conniption fodder.

 

 

Max Florschutz on Unusual Things

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

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

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

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

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

 

Rich Horton on Black Gate

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

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

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

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

 

Lou Antonelli on This Way to Texas

“Kansas City chronicles – ConQuest 46” – May 28

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

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

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Five days and counting” – May 28

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

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

 

Obsah XB-1 – June 2015 issue

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

??????????????????

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“On Politics and Fandom” – May 28

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

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

The name of the venue is unimportant.

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

 

William Reichard

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

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

 

embrodski on Death Is Bad

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

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

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

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

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

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

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

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

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

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

 

Elisa Bergslien

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

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

 

Brian Niemeier on Superversive SF

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

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

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

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

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

 

Adult Onset Atheist

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

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

 

R.P.L. Johnson

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

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

Totalled

A Single Samurai

Turncoat

No Award

 

Kristin on SciFi With A Dash of Paprika

“The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison” – May 28

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

 

Katya Czaja

“Hugo Award: Related Work” – May 28

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

1) No Award

2) “The Hot Equation” by Ken Burnside

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

4) Letters from Garnder by Lou Antonelli

5) Transhuman and Subhuman by John C. Wright

6) Wisdom From My Internet by Michael Z. Williamson

 

Mary Robinette Kowal

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Mary Robinette Kowal replying to comment – April 11

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

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

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

goodnight-moon-300x250

Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (aspired)

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

 

ULTRAGOTHA in a comment on File 770

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

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

Canterbury Tails 5/27

Aka Mansfield Puppy Park

The wisdom of crowds is supplied by Ruth Davies, Adam-Troy Castro, Nancy Lebovitz, Gabriel McKee, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Lyda Morehouse, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Alexandra Erin, Vox Day, JDZ, Lis Carey, Joe Sherry, Lisa J. Goldstein, Rebekah Golden, Joseph Brassey, John Scalzi, Katya Czaja, plus less identifiable others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day rcade and Kary English.)

Ruth Davies on The Hippo Collective

“Taking a Literary Step Backwards: the Hugo Awards 2015” – May 24

This scandal is clearly worrying; such regressive views placed upon particular literary genres, such as science fiction and fantasy, must have implications for other genres, and the larger literary field. Literature is key in its power to evolve and combat the oppression of minority groups, by allowing a voice and platform (although being well heard often unfortunately relies on getting ‘discovered’ and subsequently published). Right-wing action is also more concerning when involved with such canonising activity as literary awards. Awards often help shape the (Western) literary canon, which contains a lot of the West’s most famous and widely read literature. Therefore right-wing attitudes, such as those of the ‘Sad Puppies’ and ‘Rabid Puppies’, merely blocks diversification of the canon – discouraging the cultural change that the West still desperately needs.

However, the question still remains: how do we overcome such regressive strategies in literature? The democratic fan vote should appear the fairest and least problematic strategy, yet as seen, it has its fundamental drawbacks.

 

Font Folly

“Tom Puppy and the Visitor from Planet Clueless” – May 27

A Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy supporter posted an op-ed on the men’s rights site Return of the Kings (he links to and heavily paraphrases one of the Sad Puppy podcasts), “How Female-Dominated Publishing Houses Are Censoring Male Authors” that is a great example of several of the issues that I believe underpin the Sad Puppy position. Never mind that the statistics show that men make up more than 65% of the annual publishing lists of most of the publishing houses, and male-authored books comprise more the 80% of books reviewed in the major publications, this guy is here to tell us that men are being censored!

 

Adam Troy-Castro on Facebook – May 27

(Sigh) No, I am not saying, nor am I ever going to say, that the organizers of the Sad Puppy nonsense need to be “boycotted” for what they have done and said, and I am most certainly not saying that the writers they advocated for need to be boycotted for the actions of those who supported them.

This is after all me, the guy who has made such a regular habit of arguing for separating the art from the artist, most of the time in more extreme circumstances. If I can distinguish between Bill Cosby and “Bill Cosby,” if I can praise the occasional film by Roman Polanski, if I can struggle in vain to discuss the filmic achievements of Woody Allen without being slammed by the same stuff that artistic discussions of Woody Allen are always slammed with, if I can further regularly wax enthusiastic about work by writers like Stephen Hunter and Dan Simmons who exist so far from me on the political spectrum that we are almost on separate rainbows, then why the hell would I tell anybody to boycott the work of {Gay-Basher McManly-Nuts}, to name one, just because I think it’s fun to summarize his persona as {Gay-Basher McManly-Nuts}? Ditto with {Hurt-Feelings Harry}, {Steely-Eyed Rage-Monster}, Beale The Galactic Zero, and the rest of that crew. I mock them with abandon, but want *none* of them subjected to organized boycott of any kind.

I have said nothing advocating otherwise, and anybody who represents me as having said anything of the kind is, in precise measurement, a goddamned liar.

 

Nancy Lebovitz in a comment on Making Light – May 27

At Balticon, someone asked Jo Walton about the Hugos at her GoH speech, and she said that ideally, the Hugos are a gesture of love and respect, and campaigning for the Hugos is like persistently asking your partner whether they love you. It just isn’t the same.

 

Doctor Science on Obsidian Wings

“Problems with the Hugo Nominations for Pro and Fan Artist” – May 28

[Doctor Science vetted the sample art in the Hugo Voters Packet and says she discovered most of the material from Nick Greenwood and Steve Stiles came from another eligibility year, and that among all artists he traced 14 items to periods before 2014.]

I’ll stop here for the moment, and go on later to talk about things like: how I’m going to vote, what I think the problems with the categories are, and start some ideas about how to fix them.

For a start, though, I urge my fellow voters to click around the 2014 Pro and 2014 Fan collections at Hugo Eligible Art, to get a sense of what your baseline should be for comparison.

 

Gabriel McKee on SF Gospel

“The Way the Future Never Was” – May 27

For a lot of us, SF’s ability to deal with current problems in metaphorical terms is the whole point. It’s why we got interested in the genre, and why we’ve stuck with it—because there will always be new quesitons, and new angles on them. Does Brad Torgersen really want SF to be a genre about space ships and ray guns with no resonance with current society? Does he really want SF authors to abandon the time-honored tradition of exploring social issues with SFnal metaphor? That sounds to me like an SF that’s afraid of the future.

 

Gabriel McKee on SF Gospel

“The Way the Future Never Was: A Visual Appendix” – May 27

To get a better idea of Brad Torgersen’s problem with today’s science fiction, let’s take a look at some good, old-fashioned, reliably-packaged SF….

The Space Merchants cover COMP

Hey, this one looks fun. It’s got space ships and all kinds of stuff. Wait, what? It’s about the evils of capitalism? Bait and switch!

 

 

Lyda Morehouse on Bitter Empire

“Real Talk About John Scalzi, Vox Day, And That Big Big Book Deal” – May 27

Vox Day (Theodore Beale), if you recall, is the mastermind behind the Rabid Puppies (the super-far right organizers of this year’s Hugo debacle.) Beale apparently also sees himself as Scalzi’s rival. Beale has all sorts of “hilarious” nicknames for Scalzi….

So, as you can imagine, Beale’s head is near ready to explode.

He starts off with a simple report of the deal, but then it takes a hard right into God knows what. Beale says that Scalzi’s deal can really only be expected because Tor, his publisher, really doesn’t have any big name authors in its stables beyond Scazli, except maybe one other, and, more importantly, “It’s not as if the award-winning Jo Walton or the award-winning Catharine (sic) Asaro or any of their other award-winning authors sell enough books to support all the SJW non-SF they keep trying to push on an unwilling public.”

What.

Whoa, ladies, that was almost a compliment there for being all award-win-y, but nope. According to Beale, the only reason Walton and Asaro write is push the SJW (Social Justice Warrior) “non-SF” on all of us non-willing readers.

 

JDZ on Never Yet Melted

“John Scalzi Gets $3.4 Million Publishing Deal” – May 27

Scalzi has alienated a significant portion of his readership with sanctimonious hoplophobic blog posts (example) and by lining up with the Social Justice Warriors in the fighting over the Hugo Awards. My guess is that his backlisting powers will be declining.

 

L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright conducts interview on Superversive SF

“Interview with Hugo Fan Writer Nominee: Dave Freer!” – May 27

7) How did you come up with the idea for your current nominated story?

Eating cheese late at night. It was that or my concern for the state of a genre I love. I happen think all nice boys and girls should love sf and fantasy (and find sf and fantasy to love). I think all nasty boys and girls should too. I am delighted if the rare, nasty, odd, and possibly puke purple creatures crawling out of the East River do too. I just find it worrying when the latter group seems to have become so dominant that the rest lose interest and go and pursue other forms of entertainment and escapism.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Of Dinosaurs, Legos, and Impossible Hypotheticals” – May 27

There’s another work nominated this year that has stirred similar questions in a more limited way, perhaps more limited because the Dramatic Presentation categories are seen as less serious and crucial in a literary award than the literary categories, and perhaps because as a Sad Puppy pick it is taken less seriously to begin with.

The work in question is The Lego Movie, which contains a couple of scenes near the end that make explicit the implicit framing device for a movie about Lego characters in a world made out of Lego blocks: it’s all a child, playing with toys. It is this moment, in my opinion, that elevates The Lego Movie from merely being charming and fun to actually pretty sublimely brilliant. It explained so many of the odd quirks of characterization and storytelling earlier in the film.

I mean, it changed the movie’s version of Batman from “weirdly out of character, but okay, it’s funny” to “…that’s freaking brilliant” because it wasn’t Batman as adult comic book fans understand him but Batman seen through the eyes of a child, with way more focus on the cool factor of everything and of course he has the coolest girlfriend and of course even the grimdark angst seems kind of fun…

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Hugo Awards 2015: Best Novella” – May27

This is how I am voting in the Best Novella 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. “One Bright Star to Guide Them”
  2. “Big Boys Don’t Cry”
  3. “The Plural of Helen of Troy”
  4. “Pale Realms of Shade”
  5. “Flow”

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Rat Queens, by Kurtis J. Wiebe (writer), Roc Upchurch (illustrator)” – May 27

ratqueens

Booze-guzzling, death-dealing, battle maidens-for-hire.

This is so not my thing. The art is excellent. The writing is quite good. There’s a plot–but here’s where I run into trouble.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Related Work” – May 27

Letters from Gardner: Lou Antonelli’s collection is an interesting one. It’s part memoir, part short story collection, part writing advice, part I have no idea. It shows Antonelli’s development as a writer, some of the revision progress, and how influential some of those early rejections from Gardner Dozois were. It’s not necessarily my cuppa, but it’s not bad.

No Award: No Award continues to rear its ugly head. I read half of Wright’s Transhuman and Subhuman collection (approximately), and I bounced off of it. His essay on fiction writing directed at a nonfiction writing friend was fairly solid, but I had issues with the rest of what I read – mostly in that I disagree with much of what Wright has to say and his essay writing style does little to encourage me to continue reading even despite my disagreement. I can’t get into specifics here because each time I bounced off an essay, I moved onto the next. That said, he’s not wrong that Ulysses is a terrible book.

On the other hand, Wisdom from my Internet is truly a terrible book that has no place anywhere near this ballot. I can understand, more or less, why people may have enjoyed / appreciated Wright’s collection. I’m not his audience, but many people likely are. Michael Williamson’s collection of non-sequiturs and jokes is sort of organized by topic, but most are not at all entertaining and what, exactly it has to do with the field of science fiction and / or fantasy is completely beyond me. But it isn’t so much the lack of relation to SFF that gets me, it’s how bad the jokes are and how disinteresting the whole thing is. I may not think that Wright’s collection is worthy of an Award, but I don’t think Williamson’s should have been considered for nomination. I may never understand how or why it was….

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“There can be only one SNARL” – May 27

Where did such a foolish name as “Sad Puppies” come from? Larry apparently likes cutesy names; he was co-founder of a gunshop he named “Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns”. The gunshop went under, but the enduring flikr record of it shows racks of plastic-furnitured AK-47s, and glass cases with handguns lovingly laid out for display. “Sad Puppies” is a name derived from the kind of immature humor that wants to be irony when it grows up.

The idea for “Sad Puppies” pre-dates the Hugo kerfluffle. On Larry’s blog one of the first posts he tagged with “Sad Puppies” is a reactionary commentary-style rebuttal to a September 2009 POTUS speech to a joint session of congress, and the next is a similar reactionary commentary to the 2010 SOTU. So “Sad Puppies” in Larry’s mind is political in the strictest sense of the word. Yet somehow everyone else is really political people –whether they say so or not- and poor Larry is just trying to give his embattled writers the only chances available because he perceives them as having been shut out.  And the only way to get “his” writers a fair shake is to shut out any competing works that might try to leverage some unfair literati elitist advantage by not being crappy.

The reason the Sad puppies can pee all over the Hugo process is because of complacency in fandom. When I talk about complacency I am mostly talking about myself. I ask myself “How can you make good nominations when you haven’t read more than a dozen SF novellas this year?” The nice voters packet provides a guided reading list; the trufans have done the heavy lifting. So far this year there are over 9,000 voting members of worldcon, and membership is open for a few more days. For $40 you can get a vote and a nice electronic voting packet; unfortunately many of the stories in it are crap. Some of the Hugo nominations this year received less than 30 votes. There needs to be some way of bridging the complacency gap so the large numbers of fans who care enough to vote for a Hugo are presented with a couple choices worth voting for.  Perhaps that means I need to get off my rear and wade through the vast number of published SF/F stories to make recommendations and vote during the nomination process instead of waiting until after the nominations list is published.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“Let Me Explain… No, There Is Too Much. Let Me Sum Up.” – May 27

One of my questions when I started was why the Puppies chose these specific stories.  And after all that reading, I have to say that I still don’t know, and the statements of the Puppies themselves don’t really help.  Larry Correia wanted to nominate stories that would “make literati heads explode,” stories with right-wing themes that would anger SJWs (Super-Judgmental Werewolves?) when they appeared on the ballot.  But we’re very used to narratives of straight white men doing straight white manly things, and even seeing those stories nominated for Hugos.  It’s all just business as usual.  I don’t know about other people’s crania, but my head stayed firmly on my shoulders while I was reading — though it did slip toward the desk a few times, my eyes closing, thinking, Ho hum, another one …

Correia also rejected “boring message fiction” — but then how to explain John C. Wright’s Catholic apologia, or Tom Kratman’s push for more and more weaponry?  And his final explanation was that people were mean to him at a convention.  Okay, but why these stories?  Was putting us through all of this his idea of revenge?

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Short Story: Reviewing J C Wright” – May 26

This is a parable told in the style of Kipling or of old Buddhist tales. It takes a mythology well known to the author and extends it into a second mirroring mythology like Zeno’s Paradox applied to christianity. It was clever and written well, if in a pre-Hemingway style, but overall not a story for me.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Fan Artist: Reviewing N Aalto” – May 27

Ninni had two pieces included in the Hugo Voters packet. Both were very well drawn and nicely colored. Based on her online portfolio I like her style and find her work pleasing to the eye. I suspect there are some in jokes I don’t get but that’s the nature of being the best fan at something. In short, nicely done.

 

Katya Czaja

“Hugo Award: Professional Artist” – May 27

Ranking Julie Dillon stood out as the clear winner in this category.

1) Julie Dillon
2) Nick Greenwood
3) Allan Pollack
4) No Award
5) Carter Reid
6) Kirk DouPonce

 

 

 

Love in the Time of Collars 5/21

aka “Nobody puts Puppy in a corner.”

Today’s roundup features Rebecca Ann Smith, Nick Mamatas, Vox Day,  Kate Paulk, John C. Wright, Ridley Kemp, Martin Wisse, Damien G. Walter, Lis Carey, Brian Niemeier, Joe Sherry, Tom Kratman, Joe Sherry, Lisa J. Goldstein, Katya Czaja, and Kevin Standlee.  (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Kary English and Hampus Eckerman.)

Rebecca Ann Smith

“Who Owns Popular Culture?” – May 21

Something very weird happened in the run up to this year’s prestigious Hugo awards, voted for by science fiction fans.  In the culmination of a long campaign against what they see as the takeover of the awards by liberals, progressives and feminists, a right-leaning group calling themselves the Sad Puppies, led by author Brad Torgersen, successfully lobbied for an approved slate of books to receive nominations.

Although the Sad Puppies actions are legal within the rules of the Hugos, they have also been controversial.  Some people feel it’s not playing fair, and others are concerned by their motives.

 

Nick Mamatas in a comment on File 770 – May 21

Way back when the ballot was announced, I said that fandom shouldn’t bother trying to change the rules. (Hugo rules change too frequently as it is.) http://nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com/1920331.html

There are three options as far I can tell:

The Hugos being a product a fandom, much of the discussion around “fixing” the issue boils down either angry blog posts about white people (ie, admissions of pathetic whining defeat) or statistical wonkery (ie foolishness). These are all wrongheaded—slating is essentially a political issue, and political issues need political responses. There are three possible ones:

  1. Suck It Up. Probably a pretty good idea. This bed was made some years ago when blogging culture sparked a shift from significant social sanction when people tried to get votes by asking publicly for consideration to “obligatory” posts promoting their own work, and later, the work of their friends. Loud Blogs win; Loud Blogs Plus Online Workshop-Clubhouses win more; and Loud Blogs plus political discipline win even more. Why should only the Loud Bloggers people have decided that they personally like and are “friends”* with win? Eventually, it’ll all even out, especially as what is most likely to happen is that the SPs get nominated and then lose decisively year after year.
  2. Castigate all campaigning, not just the campaigning you don’t like Pandora’s Box isn’t necessarily open forever. However, you can’t close half a lid. It would take significant effort to change widespread attitudes, but it is not as though those attitudes have not changed before. If campaigning was always met with eye-rolling or even outright disgust, it would stop being so effective. Some people would betray and try to promote, but if the audience was inured to such appeals, it just wouldn’t work and hopefuls would eventually stop.
  3. Counter-slates We’ll almost certainly see attempts at counter-slates. I’m against the idea, but the current cry to vote “No Award” in all SP-dominated categories is itself a counter-slate after a fashion. Someone will come up with Happy Kittens and stump for non-binary PoCs or stories with lots of scene breaks or or or…well, that’s the problem. One counter-slate would likely thwart the SPs, more than one would not. And we’re sure to see more than one. Disciplined slate voting works best when only one side does it and the other side isn’t even a side. Two slates split demographically. Three or more, uh… At any rate, it all comes around to political discipline again. If some party were to launch a counter-slate next year, would others who found that slate imperfect let it by without critique and another alternative slate. (There are actually two Puppy slates, but they are largely similar.) There can be slates that are so attractive that many more people sign up to vote for the Hugos, but I strongly suspect that people overestimate the amount of outside “pull” these slates have; general Hugo chatter across blogs and Twitter in general is driving increased education about supporting Worldcon memberships, and then there are all the free books voters might receive, which is also a new thing. One counter-slate would be effective, though of course the cure could be worse than the disease, and more than one would likely not.

So aggrieved Hugo Award followers, which shall it be?

Two is still the best bet.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Three options” – May 21

[Commenting on Nick Mamatas’ analysis above.]

This is at least dealing with observable reality, unlike those who fantasize that tinkering with the rules is going to slow down any group that contains at least one individual with a brain, or worse, those who think that MOAR DISQUALIFY is magically going to accomplish anything. So, let’s consider their options from our perspective.

1. Suck it up

This is what they should have done. It would have taken a fair amount of the wind out of our sails. However, most of the potential benefits are now lost since they’ve already motivated our side through their histrionics and media-planted stories.

2. Castigate all campaigning

Won’t happen. Far too many people on their side are guilty of it, and far too many people are already invested in the idea that what is very, very bad for us is just fine for the Tor set and everyone who bought memberships for their children and extended families.

3. Counter-slates

This is the only real option for them now. It’s also the one that is most frightening for them, because it puts an end to their gentleman’s agreement to stick to logrolling and whisper campaigns as long as no one gets too greedy, and forces them to come out and compete in the open. They hate open competition on principle and the idea that they might come out for a fair fight next year and lose will strike them as so terrifying as to be beyond imagining. Furthermore, because they really, really care about winning awards, it’s going to be much harder for them to put together a slate, much less find the numbers to support it in the disciplined manner required now that a bloc of 40 votes is no longer sufficient to put something on the shortlist.

 

Kate Paulk on Mad Genius Club

“Of Puppies and Principles” – May 21

Anyway, this little piece of anecdata leads to some thoughts about what could be considered the Sad Puppy Manifesto (although it isn’t, since the Sad Puppy organizers were – and are – more interested in doing stuff and getting results from said doings than in writing manifestos….

5. More voters and more votes mean more representative results. In 2008, fewer than 500 nomination ballots were cast for the Hugo awards. There were categories where the nominated works had fewer than 20 votes. In that environment, it doesn’t take much for someone with an agenda and a loyal following to push out anything they don’t like. In 2015, more than 2000 nomination ballots were cast. That makes it harder for things like the Sad Puppies campaigns, or our not at all hypothetical person with an agenda to push out everything else – but it doesn’t make it impossible. More people voting means that absent corruption on the part of the officials (which doesn’t appear to be a factor based on the information that’s publicly available), the results will tend to reflect the desires of the broader public (because the voters are a sample – and by the very nature of statistics, larger samples tend to be more representative of the overall population than smaller samples – and yes, I know it’s not that bloody simple. I’m trying to keep this short and failing miserably).

….So, if you’re a member, read the stories, then decide which way you’re going to vote.

And while you’re at it, review the WorldCon 2017 Site Selection bids and pay your $40 to vote for the one you prefer: you’ll get automatic supporting membership for WorldCon 2017 before the price goes up.

 

John C. Wright

“The Customer is Always Right” – May 21

….On the 770 blog, that wretched hive of scum and villainy, I unwisely left a gentle remark where I noted that a hiccuping hapless lackwit quoted this passage of fulsome praise to support the contention of my alleged dislike of womankind, rather than taking it as evidence to the clear contrary.

Emma, a zealous Inquisitor of the Thought Police, helps explicate the enigma.

http://file770.com/?p=22617&cpage=11#comment-265630 ….

It is difficult for me to untie the Gordian knot of this intestinal bafflegab (madonna/whore ideology?) since I do not have my Morlock-to-Reality dictionary at hand.

 

John C. Wright

“The Uncorrectors are Never Right” – May 21

I was taught, and experience confirms, that the alleged correction of “the hoi polloi” is the very soul and exemplar of pedantic error and half-learned buffoonery.

No learned man ever offers that correction, and no one ever offers it innocently, but only in vulgar pretense of erudition they do not possess. (A man with a modicum of real education would look in the OED, and see this phase is correct in English.)

 

Ridley Kemp on Stay With Me, Go Places

“History Will Forget The Sad Puppies” – May 21

If you want my take on the Hugos, I’ll give you this:

In ye olden dayes, the players selected for baseball’s all-star game were elected by public ballots. In 1957, the ballots were being printed in newspapers instead of passed out to the fans at games (as I remember from the 1970’s) or online (as it’s done now). The Cincinnati Enquirer decided to help the fans out a little by printing pre-filled ballots with nothing be Cincinnati ballplayers selected. As a result, the starting lineup for the 1957 National League team consisted of Stan Musial, a St. Louis Cardinal, and 7 cincinnati Reds.

People rightly saw this as a subversion of the process. Ford Frick, the commissioner of baseball, immediately replaced two Reds outfielders, Wally Post and Gus Bell, with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays because, c’mon, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. The remaining Reds were allowed to start the game and then almost immediatley replaced once the game started, and the game looked like an All-Star game once more.

 

Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“Puppies wee on your shoulders and tell you it’s rain” – May 21

Nobody with any familiarity of Worldcon fandom’s history and culture believes that it’s dishonest to vote No Award over any nomination that got there through blatant slate voting, or that fans have a duty to be “fair” to nominations which stole their place on the ballot.

 

Marion on Deeds & Words

“The Hugos, 2015: Chapter Four, What Were They Thinking?” – May 21

To my mind, nowhere is the problem of the bloc-voting and the slate concept better demonstrated than in the Novella Category. Here is the short-list….

If you love short SF, you read a lot of SF magazines, or you enjoy anthologies, that list may be baffling you. You might wonder why, since the Hugos are for the best work of the year, you have probably only read, or even heard of, one of those works. You might wonder why one press, which you’ve never heard of before, has four of the five works on the list.

Having read these works, here’s what I can say with confidence; if the splinter group (who call themselves Rapid Puppies) wanted to demonstrate with this list the kind of fine, solid story-telling that they think is getting overlooked due to the distraction of more “politically correct” fare, they’ve failed abjectly.

The best of the lot is “Flow” by Arlen Andrews Sr. This is the type of the story that the original slate group, the “Sad Puppies” frequently talk about and say they like.

 

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Amanda S. Green Fanwriter Samples” – May 21

The sample provided is sixteen pages, several different selections of Green’s fanwriting.…

There is no interest or willingness to engage with anyone with whom she disagrees, or even to extend the most basic of respect to fellow human beings. If she disagrees with you, she must also make clear that she disrespects you. A complete waste. This has no place on the Hugo ballot.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“A Single Samurai (in The Baen Big Book of Monsters), by Steven Diamond” – May 21

Let it be noted that Baen, always a leader in trusting the reader with ebooks, included the entire Baen Big Book of Monsters in the Hugo packet, not just the nominated material. Which makes it a shame that I can’t like this story better. It’s not terrible, but at no point does it really grab me.

 

Brian Niemeier on Superversive SF

“Transhuman and Subhuman Part V: John C. Wright’s Patented One Session Lesson in the Mechanics of Fiction” – May 20

Because so much of storytelling relies on nudging readers’ imaginations to paint the images the writer intends, using stereotypes is inevitable and indispensable.

“What the reader wants not to do is to be asked by the writer to use the stereotype in his head in a tired, trite, shopworn, or expected way, because then the reader notices, and is rightly put off, by the trick being pulled on him.”

Wright thus counsels authors to employ two contradictory stereotypes to describe each character. Bilbo Baggins is a retiring country squire and a supremely accomplished burglar. Kal-El is both mild-mannered reporter and Superman. The tension between these contradictions creates depth.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Fancast” – May 21

Tea and Jeopardy appears to be in a class by itself. It is very slickly produced and seems to take place in the midst of a proper tea party. Again, this was one of the shorter episodes included and the limited run time accentuates what is cool and quirky about it while never letting what works run for too long.  It is the most worthy of the nominees, I think. My vote:

1. Tea and Jeopardy

2. Galactic Suburbia

3. Adventures in SF Publishing

4. The Sci Phi Show

5. Dungeon Crawlers Radio

 

Lis Carey on Amazon

[Lis Carey gave Thomas Kratman’s “Big Boys Don’t Cry” a 2-star Amazon review and ended up in an exchange with Kratman who expressed his displeasure and included a fling at the Hugos.]

[Tom Kratman:] I want the Hugos utterly destroyed, No Awarded in perpetuity. I want “Aces and Eights.” I want the village destroyed and don’t care in the slightest about saving it. The best way to accomplish that is for the SJW types to succeed in getting general No Award votes this time around. So make it a one star and vote “no award.”

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 13: Novellas” – May 21

In “Flow,” by Arlan Andrews, Sr., we follow a crew riding an iceberg down a river to the Warm Lands.  The first half of the story is little more than a travelog, as the main character, Rist from the Tharn’s Lands, learns about the Warm Lands from his compatriot, Cruthar. It’s not terrible.  The two societies are different in interesting ways, and Rist makes a good naive traveler.  But it is, once again, not a story but an excerpt; we’ve already missed the beginning and there is no real ending.

 

Katya Czaja

“Hugo Awards: Fanzine” – May 21

Ranking To be honest, nothing really grabbed me in this category. I’m not a Whovian so Journey Planet bored me. Tangent seemed well written, but I would not seek out another copy. Elitist Book Reviews fell below No Award because I can think of a half dozen book blogs that have stronger, more interesting reviews. The Revenge of Hump Day fell below No Award because it was a compilation of stuff other people had sent the editor, and not a particularly interesting compilation at that.

1) Journey Planet

2) Tangent Online

3) No Award

4) Elitist Book Reviews

5) The Revenge of Hump Day

 

Kevin Standlee on Fandom Is My Way Of Life

“Didn’t Just Fall Off the Turnip Truck” – May 20

From some of the suggestions and questions I’m getting, I think there are people who must think this is the first WSFS Business Meeting over which I’ve presided (even when those people have attended and participated in meetings over which I presided). I also think there are people who think that those of us organizing the Business Meeting haven’t heard anything at all about this Puppygate stuff, and feel the need to explain to me all about it. I suppose they’re all well-meaning, but it does get wearing after a while. Presumably this is what it feels like to be Mansplained to.

That Hell-Hound Train 5/20

aka I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by puppies

Today’s roundup represents the collective wisdom of Larry Correia, Christopher M. Chupik, John Scalzi, MattK, Nathan, Vox Day, Jeremiah Tolbert, Kevin Callum, William Reichard, Phil Sandifer, Nicholas Whyte,  Russell Blackford, Daniel Ausema, Chris Gerrib, Joe Sherry, Lisa J. Goldstein, Martin Lewis, Katya Czaja, Adult Onset Atheist, Morag and Erin, JJ and Nyq. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and Jeff Smith.)

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Hugo Voter Packet now available for download” – May 20

It should go without saying, but apparently I need to plainly state the blatantly obvious, everyone should read the nominations and vote honestly.

 

Christopher M. Chupik in a comment on Monster Hunter Nation – May 20

Your weasely, dog-whistle dudebro code doesn’t fool me! I know that you *really* mean “suppress the vote of female and minority Hugo voters”. And any minorities or women who pop up to dispute that are just tokens and human shields!

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“How You Should Vote for the Hugos This Year” – May 20

I think the slates are bullshit, and I think the people who created them (and at least some of the people on them) are acting like petulant, whiny crybabies and/or obnoxious, self-aggrandizing opportunists. I’m also aware some slate choices were not made aware they had been put on slates, or were placed on them under false pretenses. Some of those so slated chose to leave the ballot, which I think is impressive and well done them, but I can’t really fault those who chose to stay, not in the least because for some of them it would be politically or personally awkward to withdraw, for various reasons. And, on the principle that a stopped clock can be correct twice a day, it’s entirely possible something or someone that is a slate choice is genuinely deserving of consideration for the Hugo, and I am loath to discount that, particularly if the person to whom the award would be given was also an unwilling (or misinformed) draftee onto a slate.

So here is my plan:

  1. I am going to look back on my own Hugo nomination ballot, and identify in each category the work/person I nominated that I judged to be my “last place” choice in the category.
  2. When confronted with a nominee on the final ballot who was placed there by a slate, I will ask myself: “Is this work/person better than my own ‘last place’ nominee?”
  3. If the answer is ‘yes,” then I will rank that work/person above “No Award” on my final ballot, and otherwise rank them accordingly to my own preference.
  4. If the answer is “no,” then I won’t put that work/person on my ballot at all, and I will put “No Award” below my choices in the category so it’s clear that I would prefer no award given than to offer the Hugo to anything/anyone I’ve left off the ballot.

 

MattK in a comment on Brad R. Torgersen – May 20

Voting “No Award” over a work that one thinks has been “nominated inappropriately” is really a vote against the process of nomination, and should take place in a different venue, at the WorldCon business meetings where the Hugo rules can be discussed for possible change.

Voting “No Award” over another work based on your perception of the ideological views of the author is a stand that you should make with your pocketbook, or your own internet pulpit, and not by subverting the Hugo process for your own preferred social or political purposes.

Voting “No Award” over a work because it doesn’t contain the requisite number of women/gays/minorities portrayed in the politically correct fashion of the week actually does superficially start to bear on the idea of the merit of the work. However, only someone who has lost all sense of the real purpose of art could believe the idea that the faddish political checklists of the day have anything to do with “excellence in the field of science fiction or fantasy.” Excellence in the field of social and political propaganda is quite a different category entirely, one with which historically prominent figures named Adolph and Josef were very familiar, back in my grandparents’ day. Many of us are tired of being told that “science fiction” which scores highly on that particular metric is the best that the field has to offer today — especially when it only tangentially seems to be science fiction at all. As has been noted elsewhere many times, political art is to art as military intelligence is to intelligence. In deference to our host, I’ll say that I suspect that comparison may be somewhat unfair to military intelligence.

 

Nathan in a comment on Vox Popoli  – May 20 at 5:08 p.m.

Sounds more like they are looking for reasons to justify what they’ve already decided to do. As for graphic novels, can we burn that category down at least?

 

Vox Day in a comment on Vox Popoli  – May 20 at 5:36 p.m.

As for graphic novels, can we burn that category down at least? Go for it. It merits it.

 

 

Kevin Callum in a comment on Making Light – May 19

In my opinion, the Sad Puppies and their third slate would have come to nothing in the Hugo voting if the Rabid Puppies slate didn’t exist. I see it this way. The Sad Puppies knew they didn’t have sufficient swaying power beyond their personal subscriber base(s) and hired a mercenary. The mercenary took over the campaign and behind the Sad Puppies’ backs promoted his own slate that took over the Hugo Awards. This left the Sad Puppies with nothing to take credit for since the Rabid Puppies completely stole the Sad Puppies’ thunder. And yet the Sad Puppies keep blathering on.

I understand the blustering by those in the Rabid camp. They can actually claim some sort of victory. But now that the Sad Puppies have actively distanced themselves from the Rabid Puppies, what do they have left? When I see Correia or Torgerson bloviating (through File770, since I don’t want to inflate their sense of importance by inflating their page counts), I picture a child stomping his foot and yelling, “My dad can beat up your dad.”*

These guys keep running about as if they have something important to say, and people keep referring to the Sad Puppies campaign. To me the Sad Puppies have almost no relevance and haven’t since the announcement of the Hugo nominees. The Rabid Puppies did the actual sweeping.

The Sad Puppies really do have an apt name since at this point they can only cry about their platform getting stolen out from under them.

So when I see articles from institutions like the Wall Street Journal, I think great—the wider the coverage the better. But I keep thinking they have misrepresented the facts by giving so much credit to the Sad Puppies.

*Or, since they seem to think that the SJWs are mostly women, “My dad can beat up your mom.”

 

William Reichard

”No country for previous generation androids” – May 20

http://plaeroma.com/ is marked private by its owner.

 

 

 

 

Nicholas Whyte on From The Heart of Europe

“Wisdom from my Internet, by Michael Z. Williamson” – May 20

Wisdom from my Internet is a really bad book. I will admit that I disagree with about 90% of Williamson’s political statements; but even in the few cases where I don’t, his style is just not very funny. More objectively, I’ve got a quarter of the way through and if there has been any actual reference to SF I have missed it. I prefer my Best Related Works to actually be, well, related. I don’t think I will bother with the rest.

How interesting that the author is a mate of the slatemongers, and that it was not recommended by a single contributor to the crowdsourcing exercise (which we are repeatedly told was “100% open” and “democratic”), yet ended up on both slates anyway! It has reinforced my intention to vote “No Award” for this entire category.

This nomination really shows up the bad faith of those behind the slates. For all their complaints about cliques, political messages and works getting nominated which are of poor quality and are’t sfnal enough, here they have done exactly what they accuse the imaginary cabal of doing. It is simply shameful.

 

Russell Blackford on Metamagician and the Hellfire Club

“Hugo Awards Voters Packet” – May 21

Whatever the extent of the genuine problems, there has been a massive overreaction this year by a group of people (or, seemingly, two rather different groups of people) who are disenchanted.

I can think that those people have greatly exaggerated whatever real problems existed with the Hugos – and that they have made things worse by introducing an unprecedented level of blatant, politicized campaigning – without  wanting to take part in a campaign of retaliation that could destroy the awards. Further: I can think that those people are probably wrong, misguided, thinking about the issues ahistorically, acting counterproductively, etc., while also thinking that they, or at least most of them, are decent, sincere individuals who are doing their (misguided) best and may even have identified some good material that would normally be overlooked. As to the latter, we’ll see. Meanwhile, some of these people have been subjected to personal vilification and abuse, harassment, and even death threats; there is utterly no place for any of this.

Once again, in any event, I plan to play it straight. I will vote for material on its merits, and I’ll try to review some of it here.

 

 

Daniel Ausema on The Geekiary

“Hugos and Puppies, the 2015 Short Fiction Nominees” – May 21

My intent all along has been to read each of the nominees and judge them regardless of who wrote them or who nominated them. That, of course, has become more problematic as the controversy rages. No person can be completely without bias. Nevertheless, I will do my best to review these short stories as if this were a normal year for Hugo nominations. I’ve gone out of my way to avoid learning whether the individual writers in this list were involved, supported, or knew ahead of time anything about either slate.

With that in mind, here are the nominees for short fiction….

The Parliament of Beasts and Birds”, John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)

This a fable-like story, with a group of animals wondering what to do now that some sort of apocalypse has fallen. The humans (called “Man” here) have disappeared, leaving the animals uneasy and confused. The truth they uncover is that some version of the Christian end times has carried humans away, leaving the animals to decide what to do now with this human-less world.

Writing-wise, this captures the feel of animal folk tales well most of the time, though at times the attempt falls into overwrought prose. But overall, it’s weakened by the fact that it fails to do much more than retell a specifically religious tale, adding only the idea of animals being saved or condemned. It offers little new, neither to those already well familiar with the religious backdrop nor to those who do not self-identify with a Left-Behind sort of Christianity…..

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Hugo Packet – The Wrong Way to Wright” – May 20

I am really bouncing hard off of John C. Wright’s novellas. For One Bright Star to Guide Them I’m baffled by the attitude to magic. Robertson, our first character, hasn’t thought of magic for years, yet the instant he sees a black cat he’s all magic!!!! – Then when we visit Richard, he alternates in the same paragraph between “yeah magic, especially if it gets me laid” and “no magic for me, I’m British.” Oh, and since when have you described out loud what somebody was wearing to the person wearing it? Sorry, no dice. (Oh, and I checked – somebody on File 770 thinks that Wright forgot the name of one of his characters, and changed it from Sarah to Sally randomly. Not so – she is referred to as both names, but there’s no explanation as to why in the story. It would have been better to be consistent.) ….

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures in Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Fan Artist” – May 20

No Award: While Foster and Stiles have been perennial nominees, and I had a very nice e-mail exchange with Foster last year when I was looking to highlight the art of all of the nominees (something I do not plan to do this year), I don’t feel this art is truly among the best. It is art of a particular style, and I think it has fit the fanzines they have often been published in, but when you compare to Elizabeth Leggett, well, there is no comparison. I appreciated Ninni Aalto’s work more than those of Foster and Stiles, but it still doesn’t quite rise above and meet the levels of Leggett and Schoenhuth.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 12: Novellas” – May 20

[CONTAINS SPOILER]

A brief summary of “Pale Realms of Shade,” just so you know what I’m talking about — Matt Flint, a private eye, has been killed and returns as a ghost.  He doesn’t remember who killed him, and goes on a quest to find out…. A lot of this murkiness, I think, is the prose.  Wright never uses one word when ten or twenty will do.

 

Martin Lewis on Everything Is Nice

“Hugo Voting – Fan Writer” – May 20

1) No Award

2) Laura J Mixon – For reasons set out here.

3) Amanda S Green – Basically a stream of consciousness only tangentially related to SF that is randomly peppered with the letters SJW and GHH.

4) Cedar Sanderson – As above but with extra anti-feminism.

5) David Freer – As above (including literally published on the same blog as Sanderson) but actually insane.

6) Jeffro Johnson – No accessible contribution included in Hugo voter package and I’m not about to go and seek out Puppy work.

If you set out to find the worst fan writing available, you’d probably end up with something like this (and this pattern seems to hold true in Best Related). The Puppies think that not only is this writing not shit, it is the best published in the field in 2014.

 

Katja Czaja

“Hugo Awards: Short Fiction” – May 20

Ranking While I liked “A Single Samurai” and “Totaled”, neither of them are even close to being the best science fiction short story that has come out this year. Oh,Puppies, just because you agree with the message, it does not make the work any less message fiction.

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: A Single Samurai” – May 20

At this point –dear readers- I should point out that writing my own reviews allows me to capriciously score the stories that are reviewed. For this story I am going to award a couple of points. I will give this story one star just for having a daikaij?  in it because I dig daikaij?. I will also give it another star for having a Samurai in it because I like the films of Akira Kurosawa.

The Samurai is obsessed with his weapons, and they are magic. The Samurai’s obsession with the weapons even constitutes some of the proof that they are magic.

 

Morag and Erin in Manfeels Park

“New Reading List” (click link to see comic) – May 19

With thanks to James May and Eric Flint

[Quoting the site: “Manfeels Park is an exercise in flogging a pun for all it’s worth. The male dialogue in this webcomic is all taken word for word or adapted only slightly from web commentary by hurt and confused men with Very Important Things To Explain, usually to women. Artistic license is exercised in editing commentary for brevity, spelling and grammar, but the spirit of the original comment is always faithfully observed. Witty rejoinders are also ‘found dialogue’ where possible.”]

 

JJ in a comment on File 770 – May 20

“Freedom’s just another word for no Puppies left to peruse.”

Busted flat in SFF Land, waitin’ for Sasquan,
and I’s feeling nearly’s deprived as can be.
Puppies dumped a dreckload down, the packet’s just arrived.
Full of Puppy message fic for me.

I stayed up too late, reading Goblin Emperor.
And Ancill’ry Sword’s pages, how they flew.
But Butcher’s Skin Game’s mighty hard, it’s taken many nights.
And I’m still not even halfway through.

Freedom’s just another word, for no Puppies left to peruse.
Hugo don’t mean nothin’ honey if I can’t read it.
Yeah, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when I read Cixin Liu.
You know excellent prose was good enough for me.
But not good enough for the Damn Puppies.

From the shorter-length Novellas, through yet smaller Novelettes,
The Puppies left their territory mark.
Through all of the Short Stories, and through Related Works,
Yeah, Puppies making Hugo’s outlook dark.

One day I’ll be done with this, the deadline’s on the way.
I’m looking for the end of it, and then I’ll be fine.
But I’d trade all of my tomorrows, for one single yesterday,
to be havin’ no more Puppy works in line.

Freedom’s just another word, for no Puppies left to peruse.
Hugo don’t mean nothin’ honey if I can’t read it.
Yeah, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when I read Cixin Liu.
You know gripping plots were good enough for me.
But not good enough for those Damn Puppies.

 

Nyq in a comment on File 770 – May 20

Nate: “If our authors win… we win. If no award wins… we win. And if you no award everything… we still win.

“And please understand… we will be back next year. The slates aren’t going away. If anything they’ll just merge into one bigger more powerful slate than the two that dominated this year.”

SOory it is more complicated that:

  • If No Award wins a category with an ODD number of votes then we win. (this will invoke a subcommittee to then determine who ‘we’ are)
  • If No Award wins with a prime number of votes you win but only if rule 1 doesn’t apply.
  • If No Award wins everything then you lose UNLESS you throw a number greater than 7 on a D20.
  • If Vox Day wins a category then you lose because the “we all voted ironically” rule comes in play.
  • If John C Wright wins a category then the “its opposite day” rule comes into effect.
  • If one of the secret-SJW-ninja candidates win then you lose. The secret-SJW-ninjas have infiltrated the puppy nominess and have ensured some of the nominated works contain subliminal messages advocating social justice.
  • If John Scalzi wins then George RR Martin wins based on the “but those guys weren’t even nominated” rule.
  • Alexandra Erin has already won.
  • The Roland Barthes Memorial Hugo Award for post-structuralist reading will go to whoever wins in the arm wrestling contest between Vox Day and Theodore Beale.

Other rules and winning conditions available on request.

Rules subject to change.