Pixel Scroll 9/9/17 The Map Is Not The Epic Fantasy Just As The Pixel Is Not The Scroll

(1) FURRY COUNCILMAN OUSTED. A city councilman in the eastern U.S. was pressured into quitting after his activities as a furry fan became a source of public controversy. The Danbury, Connecticut News Times has the story: “New Milford councilman resigns after furor over ‘furry’ activities”.

Town Council member Scott Chamberlain had never made a secret of his deep involvement in Furry Fandom, a subculture of adults who dress in mascot-like animal costumes, attend role-playing conventions and interact regularly online.

But an uproar ensued when a town resident posted on a community Facebook page several screenshots of Chamberlain’s profile from a private website catering to “furries,” many of whom participate in or write about unusual sexual practices. The profile includes a list of Chamberlain’s “loves,” “likes” and “hates,” some sexual in nature, but also said that he “tolerates” rape.

In an interview at midday Thursday, Chamberlain explained his involvement in the “furry” community as a harmless hobby.

“It’s nothing to do with sex; it’s an interest in cartoon animals,” said the first-term Democrat, who was up for re-election.

But Mayor David Gronbach, saying elected officials should be held to a “higher standard,” called for Chamberlain’s immediate resignation, and within two hours party officials said he would resign all his town and party positions by Monday morning.

(2) PROGRESS. The “Help Lezli See (Eye Surgery)” campaign has now raised $6,525 of its $8,000 goal. The contributions have come from 130 donors, including Game of Thrones producer David Benioff.

(3) GENRE GROWTH. At Amazing Stories David Gerrold has a guest editorial, “Humanity’s’ R&D Department – Science Fiction”.

The evolution of science fiction is a reflection of our changing culture. Attitudes that were commonplace in the past have been recognized as antiquated, quaint, and obsolete.

Our national conversation is the result of our diverse history. We’re not the proverbial melting pot — no, we’re a tossed salad. Every new wave of immigrants adds new ingredients to the mix, new flavors to discover; but all arrive with the same dream, a place to build a better life. We are immigrants, or we are the descendants of immigrants, and as a people we are learning to recognize the strength and value of our national diversity — it gives us a greater sense of the global village.

So, yes, it is inevitable that science fiction authors will explore that diversity — expanded roles for women, new definitions of gender and sexuality, the contributions of People of Color and other non-white ethnicities. We’ve discovered the overlooked skills of the aged and the disabled, the unusual and extraordinary ratiocinations of people who are neuro-atypical. The next generation of authors are exploriong vast new landscapes of possibility — places to explore and discover ways of being human previously unconsidered.

Even as science extends its reach outward, probes journeying as far as Pluto, telescopes peering to the farthest edges of the universe, as we expand our knowledge of what’s out there, some of our most ambitious authors are turning their attention to a different frontier —exploring the workings of the human soul.

We’ve seen some remarkable work, truly transformative — mind bending. Yes, it’s non-traditional — so what? Science fiction has always been non-traditional. It has always been “that weird stuff.” It has always been subtly subversive — and sometimes even openly dangerous.

(4) SPACE FOR YOU. Brandon O’Brien muses about the genre:

Further down he says:

(5) STRANGE HORIZONS. Elsewhere, O’Brien encourages people to participate in the “Strange Horizons Fund Drive 2017”. $4,726 out of $16,000.

(6) AWARD WORTHY. The Hugo Award Book Club waxes nostalgic about “The science fiction art of Erik Nitsche”.

There was no Hugo Award given for Best Artist in 1957 at the 15th Worldcon in London. But since awards were given in other categories, there is no provision in the current rules of the WSFS constitution to award any Retro Hugos for that year. Which is a shame, because some of the finest work from one of the most innovative graphic designers of the era had started verging into the realm of science fiction in 1955 and 1956. The name Erik Nitsche is rarely brought up in conversations of science fiction, but is well-known to historians of graphic design. In 1955, the Swiss-born designer had been hired by General Dynamics to create promotional imagery for the organization’s annual International Conferences on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy (ICPUAE).

(7) WASTED ON THE YOUNG? In The Guardian, Joanna Walsh asserts “All the awards for young writers amount to discrimination”.

A few years ago I wrote an article for the Guardian on ageism in the literary world, about the predilection of publications like Granta, the New Yorker and Buzzfeed for authors under the age of 40. The problem hasn’t gone away and on Tuesday I wrote an open letter to the Royal Society of Literature, after it called for nominations for 40 new fellows under 40.

Encouraging young writers is laudable. After all, it’s increasingly difficult to get started. Publishers’ advances are low and getting lower; arts degrees are more expensive than Stem subjects; social security is fiercely tested. Which must mean that those most able to pay for a writing course, or those most able to take time off work to write while still young, are those most likely to have money, security, contacts, confidence. There’s a correlation between setting an age bar and encouraging the already privileged.

All writers were young once, and many start writing young, but not all begin their careers as published authors at that point. Leaving aside the fact that some only decide to start writing later in life, many factors affect one’s ability to commit to writing seriously. Besides income issues, age bars can lead an organisation into worrying territory. Authors from outside the perceived cultural mainstream who do not already see their voices represented – LGBTQ writers, writers of colour – are sometimes slow to recognise the contribution they can make, or to feel like their voices will be valued.

Age is a feminist issue. Careers, delayed by years looking after children or other dependents, are mostly women; residencies that offer no childcare or require long stays are an easy way to sift female candidates out of contention. Older women are already told every day, in ways ranging from the subtle to the blatant, that they are irrelevant and should shut up. Multiply this by, say, race or gender, and the courage required to put work out is even greater. Or the potential writer might not be the carer, but the cared-for. Writers who live with a disability or ill-health may not start out until they have found a way to write with their condition – which may take longer than this 40-years-old rule allows for.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • September 9, 1927 — Silent horror-comedy The Cat and the Canary turns 90 today.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • John King Tarpinian found one it takes a moment to figure out: The Argyle Sweater.
  • It’s Daredevil vs. Spider-man at Bliss.

(10) JUST PLAIN FOWL. The Guardian profiles actor Michael Keaton: “Michael Keaton: ‘There was a lot of bad taste in the 90s and I contributed to that’”.

He has made a career out of taking the unpredictable route: you can never guess his next role, and then he never plays it the way you’d expect. In his breakthrough movie, 1983’s Mr Mom, Keaton played a stay-at-home father at a time when such a concept was almost unheard of, and he played him as a man who has no idea how to do any of the stereotypically masculine jobs around the house; when asked if he’s rewiring the house with 220 volts, Keaton adlibbed, “220, 221, whatever it takes”. He was the dazzlingly frenetic lead in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, a largely improvised performance opposite fellow ghosts Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis. With Burton again, he played Batman as a conflicted nerd, rather than a grinning muscle man. In Birdman, he plays an actor so neurotic, he ends up running through Manhattan in his underwear.

(11) PRATCHETT INSPIRES FAST FOOD AD. Arby’s is known for its roast beef, not its Morpork….

(12) HISTORY CORRECTED. Have researchers finally discovered Sweden’s real-life version of Lady Brienne of Tarth or Xena the Warrior Princess? “Viking warrior found in Sweden was a woman, researchers confirm”.

The grave, which Hedenstierna-Jonson describes as the world’s “ultimate warrior Viking grave”, was discovered and excavated by Swedish archeologist Hjalmar Stolpe at the end of the 19th century. Because of the “manly” warrior equipment found in the grave, it was just assumed – rather than proven – that the remains were that of a man.

But a few years ago, Anna Kjellström, an osteologist at the Stockholm University, brought out the remains to study them for another research project and noticed that something was amiss. The cheekbones were finer and thinner than that of a man, and the hip bones were typically feminine. An osteological analysis was carried out, lending even more support to her suspicion.

Now, however, a DNA-analysis has been carried out, clearly confirming that the Viking warrior was indeed a woman.

(13) WEEDING THE PLOT. Your cabal curator, Shaun Duke:

(14) PLUNGE RIGHT IN. Beware: John Scalzi is a language prescriptivist and a plumber.

(15) GRITE LITERATURE. Camestros Felapton has had a busy day, posting chapters from Timothy the Talking Cat’s work in progress, Chiseled McEdifice: Returns.

Just then a gunshot rang out and a bullet ricocheted off his space marine helmet (he was wearing his space marine helmet obviously – look at the cover image). The HUD display flickered on in his helmet (no that isn’t ‘redundant’ I can’t just say ‘his HUD flickered on’ as that sounds perverted to me). Targeting identified a heat source 501.67 metres away to the north east.

“Enhance,” McEdifice vocalised and in some sort of cool special effect way the helmet magnified that area of his vision (with maybe a hi-tech noise like boop-ooohwushboop). It was one of the Treerat gang!

The Treerat Gang: a bunch of outlaws and pagan worshippers of the ancient demonic squirrel god. They had a lasting hate for McEdifice ever since he drove them and their filthy ways out of town and killed their leader in a shoot-out.

“Oh dear!” said McEdifice as he once again made a futile attempt to apply the brakes! Just then the front wheel hit a particularly large pebble! The bike crashed and McEdifice was thrown clear!

KABOOM! The bicycle exploded in a fiery explosion as a consequence of it hitting a rock. McEdifice rushed over and beat back the flames and then with one mighty flick of his shoulders he hoisted up the flaming bike and threw it into a near by pond which I should have probably mentioned earlier.

(16) NO TRUCE IN THE CULTURE WARS. Sadly, Lawrence Person ended his Jerry Pournelle obituary with an irrelevant shot at “SJWs”.

He edited a number of anthologies over the years; when he finally received a Hugo nomination for that, Social Justice Warrior bloc voting made sure he finished below No Award.

Person didn’t think it was important to mention that Pournelle was slated onto the 2016 ballot by the Rabid Puppies, which was the direct cause of that outcome. Or that Pournelle was nominated for eight other Hugos and finished above No Award every time.

(17) MEAT. What are they selling in this video? It’ll come to you eventually. Includes L. Ron and an alien.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Darren Garrison, and David Doering for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

Pixel Scroll 7/21

Lists and definitions highlight the stories in today’s Scroll.

(1) Pat Cadigan on Facebook about winning a Seiun Award:

Anyway, since 1990, when I heard Cristina Macía talk about the challenges of translating work from English, I have tried to be more conscious of my language. I don’t know that it always makes a difference…actually, I don’t know that it ever makes a difference. But I do know that stories change in translation.

The first story I ever had translated was my first sale, “Criers and Killers” (thank you, Marta). I read French well enough that I can check a translation provided I have a French-English dictionary handy. That story is so much better in French. I can’t even tell you how much better it is. I’m sorry I can’t remember the name of the translator. I was less conscientious back then (pre-1990).

And now “Girl-Thing” has won the Seiun for best translated short fiction in Japan. (If you’re tried of hearing about that, I’m sorry. My only advice is, scroll, baby, scroll.) I’m so pleased that it’s my first Seiun and I’m delighted. But I know that my translator, Mr. Yooichi Shimada (yes, it’s Yooichi with two o’s) made me look good in Japanese.

Translators, whether they are translating to English or from English, don’t get half the recognition they deserve. They not only have to know the other language well enough to understand *intended* meaning as well as vocabulary and syntax (synecdoche, anyone? How about sarcasm? Hyperbole?), they have to understand story structure, the characters, the setting *in the cultural context of the writer* and to make all of it meaningful to people of a different culture. Maybe that sounds like something not so hard to you. And it’s not like people in a non-English-speaking country are totally aliens––thanks to global media, we know more about each other than ever before.

But there are certain *ambient* differences that never occur to us, things that are virtually invisible in our lives, the things we do all the time without even thinking about them. Translators have to keep those things in mind, too.

So my humble thanks to Mr. Shimada.

(2) Click to see a photo of Jim C. Hines hugging the restored Galileo shuttle that File 770 has been tracking since it was rescued from storage and auctioned for $70,000 in 2012.

Before.

Before.

(3) Friends have sent me this link a total of six times! It’s a post on Mental Floss about Harlan Ellison, “The Author Who Wrote In Bookstore Windows”.

He started at 1 p.m., craning the necks of passerby outside the shop. They wondered about the man sitting in the window, hunched over a typewriter. It was like a piece of glass that allowed you to see the gears and pistons of a machine.

When the Dangerous Visions bookstore in Sherman Oaks, Calif., closed that day, Harlan Ellison had completed “Objects of Desire in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear,” a short story that, yes, included a pregnant corpse and added three suspects.

Ellison did this a number of times, including in a public area of the 1978 Worldcon where he was a guest of honor.

(4) BBC Culture has issued a new list of “The 100 Greatest American Films”. Here are the ranked sf and fantasy films (“fantasy” in the loose sense of magical and impossible).

Each critic who participated submitted a list of 10 films, with their pick for the greatest film receiving 10 points and their number 10 pick receiving one point. The points were added up to produce the final list. Critics were encouraged to submit lists of the 10 films they feel, on an emotional level, are the greatest in American cinema – not necessarily the most important, just the best. These are the results.

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
  1. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)
  1. Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)
  1. Dr Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
  1. It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)
  1. Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
  1. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
  1. Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)
  1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)
  1. The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)
  1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)
  1. Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968)
  1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  1. ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982)
  1. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)

(5) Lawrence Person goes into overwhelming detail about additions to his Zelazny collection in “Library Addition: Another Major Collection of Roger Zelazny Books and Manuscripts”.

(6) John C. Wright’s “Great Books and Genre Books” is generating quite a lot of comment. Its premise, which he develops in detail, is —

As much as it pains me to say it, my reluctant conclusion is that there is no great Science Fiction literature.

Now, before you get out your crying bags, fanboys, keep in mind that the standard for being a Great Book is extremely, absurdly high. It is the best of the best of the best. There is no Western that makes the cut for being a Great Book; no mystery novel; no horror novel (unless we stretch a point to include HAMLET, because it has a ghost scene). One might even argue that no romance novel that makes the cut, not even GONE WITH THE WIND, and that is a damn fine novel. Genre writing does not reach the stratospheric heights of Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe.

However, the part I like best is Wright’s effort in the comments to combat nihilists who want to define classic sf works out of the genre. (I can’t make the link work, but it’s a comment logged Tuesday, July 21st 2015 at 2:30 am.)

Any definition of science fiction that rejects the core books and stories that are on everyone’s list of the greatest science fiction books and stories of all time is a useless definition.

And, in each case, the argument is the same: anything not Hard SF is not SF at all. Unfortunately, the statement is false. Even at the height of the Golden Age Campbell published and readers read works that do not fit the stricture of Hard SF, including all the books but one listed on the Baen list. That one is 20000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA.

If the Baen list strikes you as not representative, please feel free to consult Hugo or Nebula award winners, or any serious reader of SF’s top ten essential books of SF. You will find the same result.

The reason why the clerks in bookstores you pretend to despise shelve those books where readers can find them is that this is exactly where readers look to find them when they are looking for what they the readers consider to be science fiction books.

If you wish to say that the consensus science fiction readers over decades and generations have not the authority to define what is science fiction, that would be an argument on which I have nothing further to say.

(7) We here in drought-stricken California are lucky to find living grass in our yards, but after last week’s heavy rain in Ohio John “Noah” Scalzi found a crawdad and a live fish in his lawn.

Ayes Wide Mutt 7/3

aka The Doxxer Rebellion

In today’s roundup: Malcolm ‘f.’ Cross, Tom Knighton, Dorothy Grant, Adam-Troy Castro, David Gerrold, Mike Resnick, Lawrence Person, John C. Wright, Nicholas Whyte, and Patrick May. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Will Reichard and Kurt (not Kent) Busiek.)

Foozzzball (Malcolm ‘f.’ Cross)  on Weasyl

“My ounce of bile: Yarn is cowardly” – July 3

….Here’s the thing. These guys (and a very, very few women) are all screaming, defensively, that they’re writing good old fashioned YARNS. Entertaining STORIES. Books with rocket ships on the covers instead of that inconvenient new-fangled social commentary. And they point at luminaries like Heinlein, and Asimov, and all those golden age authors.

Heinlein who was talking about contemperaneous issues like the cold war, the morality of total warfare, free love, the impact of new and changing technology and the need for retaining simple skills (such as the much loved slide rule), and was a man who spoke very much to the issues of his time. Asimov who attacked major issues of his lifetime like eugenics and social engineering through his work (what, you think Foundation’s psychohistory has nothing to say about the pursuit of social purity?), wrapping up issues of perception and belief and creation in rip-roaring stories.

These men were not writing yarns. They were products of their time, attacking the issues of their time. That they did so skilfully, entertainingly, and thought-provokingly is testament to their genius. They were not saints, their opinions are not sacrosanct, they, like any other person, held opinions agreeable and disagreeable.

You know who else wasn’t just spinning yarns? Orson Scott Card. Ender’s Game is fundamentally about the boundary between being a soldier and a human being. It’s implicitly about genocide, about hands on the big red button, about the ignorance required to perform such a terrible action and remain innocent. It was originally a short story written in 1977, in the middle of the cold war, and rewritten as a novel by 1985, just as the cold war got terrifying all over again. Attacking the issues of his day, OSC put together a masterpiece. And then, quite honestly, he started looking at his personal bugbears instead of the wider world, and never did anything so good again in his life. That’s when he started writing yarns.

Fiction isn’t about entertainment. It never has been. From the earliest stories we’ve told ourselves, the myths that grew into religions, Aesop’s fables, the fairy-tales you were told as a child, they’ve all been about communication. Discussion. Opening a dialogue. They are vehicles for exploring, and thinking about, the world. This is all fiction, not just science fiction…..

 

Tom Knighton on According To Hoyt

“On Villainy” – July 3

…Right now, the most popular villain is the turdnugget who decided to walk into a church in Charleston, SC and kill people for nothing more than the color of their skin. This is something that the vast majority of us are unable to comprehend. I mean, skin tone is as arbitrary a dividing line as hair color or eye color, so why kill people for just that factor?

We can’t grasp it, yet it happened. I refuse to actually write the turdnugget’s name anywhere, because I don’t want to give him any more press. He already got his fame, which I suspect was a factor in his attack, but I refuse to add to it. It’s a small effort to keep people from mimicking his efforts.

All too often, people think of “villains” as those who oppose them on whatever issue they hold dear. Monsanto is the villain to people like “Food Babe”. The NRA is the villain to the gun control crowd. The Sad Puppies are the villains to the Puppy Kickers. The flip side is also generally true as well.

The thing is, most of us have never truly experienced real “villainy”. We’ve never witnessed the pits of dead Albanians following the break-up of Yugoslavia. We never witnessed the Rwandan tribal slaughter. Many of us have never met a Jewish concentration camp survivor. To us, that level of villainy just doesn’t exist except as an abstract…..

And yet, there are those who are ready to ascribe such motives to us. They’re ready to link this turdnugget to us, despite the fact that most of us not only decry his actions, but we actually supported several authors who don’t fit the “white, Mormon male” narrative (to say nothing of the fact that authors were nominated that we may disagree with politically).

Look, I’m going to make this clear. Bigotry is stupid. Racism is beyond stupid. All we have ever wanted is people and works to be judged based on quality, both the quality of the person and the quality of the work. Anyone who opposes a work because the author is black, or a woman, or gay, or a socialist is a moron. Anyone who dislikes a work because the author is white, or male, or straight, or a conservative/libertarian is just as much of a moron.

There are real villains in this world. How about some of the people screaming the most about villains try something different and start looking at real villains for a change.

 

Dorothy Grant in a comment on Tom Knighton’s post “On Villainy” at According To Hoyt – July 3

I suspect that people who have very little life experience and not much in the way of bedrock principles shrink their scale of villainy to fit their experience.

The best example of this is the root of the Tor boycott; Irene Gallo was upset at people voting for the Hugos in ways that did not benefit her logrolling clique, and she started calling her customers and her own authors neo-nazis and the books she had even worked on “bad to reprehensible.” In her pampered, privileged world, someone not giving a plastic statue to the clique that was certain they deserved it is the worst villainy possible.

Then there’s my husband, who has traded fire with real, actual neo-nazis and dealt with their carbombs and terror tactics. He was working on ending apartheid and giving every human being in South Africa the vote and the recognition of their human dignity. The worst villainy possible that he’s seen… let us pray fervently to all our spirits and deities that we never see its like again.

 

 

John C. Wright in a comment on File 770 – July 3

“Putting this in perspective, John C. Wright is trying to stave off a boycott of the publisher who pays him, because of a creative director there who dared to suggest that some of his movement are neo-Nazis, and he’s doing this by applying the adjective “Christ-Hating” in part to an editor named Moshe who wears a yarmulke.”

What a vile and cowardly ort of feces this is. I see the method here is merely to make so many false and outrageous accusations that no one can possibly refute them.

Since I am an open philosemite, active supporter of the State of Israel, an unapologetic Zionist, and married the daughter of a Jew, and since I immediately ban any holocaust deniers who dare to show their subhuman snouts on my blog, the accusation that I am an antisemite is beyond libel, beyond madness.

Why not simply accuse me of being a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater while you are at it?

The Christ-haters hate Christ because they are Social Justice Warriors, which is a religion that is jealous, and excludes the practice of Christian and Jewish faith alike.

It was the God of Abraham, the God worshiped by all practicing Jews, who destroyed the city of Sodom and outlawed the practices which made that name a curse. I am being reviled precisely because I love and fear the God of Moses.

I am against the SJWs precisely for the same reason I am for the Jews. I hate bullies and cowards, and I hate liars, and I hate antisemitism with an unquenchable burning hatred, and I love the people that God loves.

Mr Glyer, for a while, you had won my respect, as you seemed to be an honest fellow, trying to maintain some sense of fairplay. I called your blog a wretched hive of scum and villainy as a joke, which you took up.

But this is beyond the pale, that you should print such things of me, or aid and condone these libels. I trust you will reprint these remarks of mine in a prominent place.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – July 3

…I am aware that I’ve been cited in Larry Correia’s environs, though as far as I know not specifically by Larry Correia (I am careful to make that distinction), as the “stupidest man in science fiction.” Some of my friend Brad Torgersen’s pals have come here to spew rage at me and calling me a false friend for daring to tell Brad that on this subject, at least, he has his head so far up his own ass that he can’t see daylight. I had an illiterate crazy guy come here to slam me for my liberalism, and when the height of his wit was that I should put on my big boy pants, I pretty much plowed him under with a demonstration of how ploughboys should not draw on shootists. And then there’s Tom Monaghan, who has yet to discover the comma, but who has showed up at least one convention panel just to hop up and down in his audience seat and yell at me.

These are glimpses. It is possible that I have not been under any further discussion at all, by these people, because I am that much beneath their notice, and that would make me tremendously happy; it is also possible that there are extended exchanges about what a low-life idiotic liberal prick I am, and this I cannot care much about either, because aside from these manifestations I have not seen it…..

I don’t know. There may be entire threads out there, closed to me, about what a piece of shit I am.

This does not particularly please me. Making enemies can be fun, but having enemies is not.

So why do I persist in doing stuff like pointing out that a guy who uses the phrase “Christ-Hating Crusaders for Sodom” when talking about a Jew, and counts among his allies a lunatic who cheers on spree killers, has little basis for high moral dudgeon at the suggestion that the movement of which he’s a part extends to the realm of neo-Nazidom? Why would I put myself in the cross-hairs of those among his fans who are exactly as crazy in potential as he is in rhetoric?

Simply put: because the one discussion thread I cannot escape is between my ears, and the one troll I cannot block is my conscience…..

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – July 3

Because silence equals death.

I don’t know Brad or Larry or most of the others who have spoken up on the puppy side of the kerfuffle. I only know them by what they post online.

They may be good people. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I disagree with them. I disagree with their perception of SF. I disagree with their interpretations. But I would never use that disagreement as a justification for behaving unethically.

I don’t speak for anyone else, but I think I know why so many others of merit in the field — George R.R. Martin, Eric Flint, Connie Willis, John Scalzi, Adam-Troy Castro, Mary Robinette Kowal, and many others — have spoken up. It’s why I have spoken up.

For those who missed it the first time, and who think I’m a terrible person — well, yes I might be, but I’ll say it again. I would have cheered a recommended reading list. I would have discovered books I might otherwise have missed.

But the slate-mongering was wrong. It wasn’t about the quality of the work. It wasn’t about excellence. It was about a political agenda. And the justifications that have been offered — “we’re creating diversity and inclusiveness” — are disingenuous. (That’s the polite word for pants-on-fire lying.) You don’t create diversity and inclusiveness by denying other people a fair opportunity.

And when I have asked for some discussion, for some explanation why the authors of the slates felt their nominated stories represented “best of the year,” how do these stories represent excellence in the genre, no one has stepped up to the microphone to answer that question, except the usual crickets to indicate an embarrassing silence. When we read the comments by those who are sludging their way through their Hugo packets, we do not find the joyous exhilaration of excellence. We see reactions that range from skeptical to hostile, confirming the perception that the slates were motivated by political bias.

So, yes, I have spoken my opposition to the slates. I have spoken my opposition to the name-calling (regardless of which side it’s coming from), and I have spoken my opposition to the political polarization of this community. I would call it a disastrous miscalculation — except that I wonder if perhaps this polarization is exactly what a couple of the people behind this mess intended from the beginning.

If you want to talk about what makes for a great science fiction story, I’m interested. I’m there. If it’s a conversation I can learn from, I want to be a part of it. If it pushes me in the direction of being a better writer, sign me up.

But all this other stuff — slates and name-calling, boycotts and shit-stirring? I’d say “include me out” except as I said above, silence equals death. ….

 

Mike Resnick in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine

“The End of the Worldcon As We Know It” – July 3

….Ah, but this year will be different, I hear you say. This year we’ll be voting No Award in a bunch of categories, and history will thank us.

Well, it just so happens that No Award has triumphed before. In fact, it has won Best Dramatic Presentation three different times. (Bet you didn’t know that Rod Serling’s classic “Twilight Zone” series lost to No Award, did you?)

But the most interesting and humiliating No Award came in 1959. The category was Best New Writer, and one of the losers was future Worldcon Guest of Honor and Nebula Grand Master Brian Aldiss, who actually won a Hugo in 1962, just three years later. That No Award was so embarrassing that they discontinued the category until they could find a sponsor eight years later, which is how the Campbell Award, sponsored by Analog, came into being.

Please note that I’ve limited myself to Worldcons. I haven’t mentioned the X Document or the Lem Affair or any of the other notable wars you can find in various pro and fannish histories (or probably even by just googling them). This editorial is only concerned with The End of Worldcon As We Know It.

And hopefully by now the answer should be apparent. You want to End Worldcon As We Know It? Don’t feud. Don’t boycott. Don’t be unpleasant. Don’t be unreasonable. Don’t raise your voices in mindless anger.

Do all that and none of us will recognize the Worldcon that emerges.

 

Nicholas Whyte on From the Heart of Europe

“2015 Hugo fiction: How bloggers are voting” – July 3

For three of the last four years, I carried out a survey of how bloggers were planning to vote in the Hugos. Last year this proved a fairly effective methodology, calling Best Novel and Best Short Story correctly and pinging the actual winners as front-runners for Best Novella and Best Novelette. In 2013 two winners were clear and two were missed (including Best Novel). In 2011, however, my survey failed to pick a single winner of the four fiction categories. So this should be taken as a straw poll, necessarily incomplete and this year earlier than usual. There is certain to be a selection bias in that people who feel more strongly are more likely to blog about it; so we have no insight into the preferences of less articulate or invested voters.

Having said that, the results are interesting. In particular, No Award appears to be leading in all the short fiction categories (though not necessarily decisively in every case), and there is no clear single front-runner for Best Novel….

 

Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Awards Novel Category” – July 3

[Comments on all five nominees.]

My Hugo ballot for this category is:

  1. Skin Game
  2. The Goblin Emperor
  3. Ancillary Sword
  4. The Three Body Problem
  5. The Dark Between the Stars

I would really like to give “Skin Game” spots 1-3 and “The Goblin Emperor” and “Ancillary Sword” spots 4 and 5 to demonstrate my real preferences. The other two novels aren’t what I consider Hugo quality, but I’m leaving them above No Award because they’re no worse than some recent winners like “Redshirts”. (I’m not hating on Scalzi. I think all of the “Old Man’s War” series is Hugo worthy. But “Redshirts”? I’ve read better fanfic.)

If Kloos hadn’t declined his nomination, I would have ranked “Lines of Departure” just after “Ancillary Sword”.

The Hammer of Tor 6/19

aka Sad Puppies Strictly Cash

Peter Grant, Vox Day, John Wright, Chris Meadows, Adam, Steve Davidson, Natalie Luhrs, Alexandra Erin, Nick Mamatas, Lela E. Buis, Lawrence Person, Soon Lee, Lis Carey, Melina D, Joe Sherry, and May Tree. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day William Reichard and Rev. Bob.)

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

”The Tor boycott is on” – June 19

Regrettably, due to the apparent lack of action by (and the deafening silence from) Tor and Macmillan, the time has come to do as I promised.  I therefore ask all those who believe, as I do, that the recent statement by Irene Gallo, and the pattern of behavior and statements from others at Tor whom I’ve previously named, are completely unacceptable, to join me in refusing to buy any of Tor’s products from now on. I support and endorse what Larry Correia said about this yesterday.

… this is between Tor and its readers who feel insulted, not the Sad Puppies campaign or the people who ran it … To the Sad Puppies supporters, do what you think is right. All I’m asking is that whatever you do, try to be as civil as possible in your disagreements. Stick with the facts.

There’s much more at the link.  (Recommended reading for background and more information.)

I am not a member of, and I do not speak for, either the ‘Sad Puppies’ or ‘Rabid Puppies’ campaigns (although I support the former).  I don’t represent cute puppies, playful puppies, cuddly puppies or hush puppies – only myself.  If you share, in whole or in part, my values and outlook on life, I invite you to join me in this boycott.  Don’t do so just because I, or anyone else, is asking you to do so.  Act on the basis of your own informed conscience and reasoned judgment.

There are those who protest that a boycott of Tor will prevent them buying books they want to read, and/or hurt their favorite authors.  I can only point out that used copies of those books are usually available from many sources soon after publication, often in very good to excellent condition, and sometimes at prices much lower than a new copy.  As for your favorite authors, if you buy a used copy of their book(s), why not send them the money they would have made as a royalty if you’d bought it new?  In fact, given that many royalties are a pittance, why not send them more than that?  Many authors have so-called ‘tip jars’ on their blogs or Web sites, or you can write to them enclosing a check or money order.

There are those who doubt that a boycott can achieve anything.  I can only reply that ‘doing the right thing’ is important in itself.  It’s a matter of honor – and although any mention of honor may be greeted with scorn and derision in these ‘modern’ times, I was raised to value the concept and live by it.  I still do.  I doubt I’m alone in that.

What’s more, in a SF/F market that’s increasingly dominated by independent authors, with cratering sales among mainstream publishers and tight financial margins, even a small boycott may have an impact out of all proportion to its size.  I’m certain, on the basis of support already voiced, that we can achieve a short-term six-figure reduction in Tor’s annual turnover.  All that’ll take is a couple of thousand people not spending their usual $50 per year on Tor books (and many have, until now, spent a lot more than that – for example, see here).  With more supporters and/or bigger spenders involved, the impact will be correspondingly greater.  I believe that over time, as word spreads and more join the boycott, we can grow this into a seven-figure annual impact – particularly when, in markets where we have a strong presence, we start talking to bookstores that carry Tor products.  Given current economic conditions and the present and predicted state of the SF/F market, our boycott may in due course make the difference between a profit and a loss in Tor’s annual trading accounts.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Tor boycott announced” – June 19

As you can see, I have been a Tor Books customer since 1986, when I bought a mass market paperback copy of The Edge of Tomorrow, by Isaac Asimov. And because I have considerably more experience of Tor Books and the consistently abusive and unprofessional behavior of its senior employees, I will go a little further than Mr. Grant has. Until Irene Gallo and Patrick Nielsen Hayden are no longer employed by Tor Books or Tor.com, I will not:

  1. Purchase any books published by Tor Books
  2. Read any books published by Tor Books

Given (2), this means that if Ms. Gallo and Mr. Nielsen Hayden are still employed by Tor Books in 2016, I will not nominate any books published by Tor Books for any awards. I encourage those who deem Ms. Gallo’s behavior to be unprofessional and unacceptable to follow Mr. Grant’s lead and join the Tor Books boycott. I am the leader of the Rabid Puppies, I do speak for them, and I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that they will follow my lead in this regard. I am not concerned about whether the boycott is “successful” or not. The simple fact is that if Macmillan is at all interested in the long-term success of Tor Books, it will jettison both Ms Gallo and Mr. Nielsen Hayden on the basis of their disloyalty, their unprofessional behavior, and their repeated violations of the Macmillan Code of Conduct, regardless of what any outside parties may happen to believe. I simply won’t have anything to do with Tor Books as long as those two individuals are employed there.

 

John C. Wright

“Embargo On” – June 19

Since I am Tor author and hitherto have been very proud of my association with that fine and famous imprint, I am fascinated (if mildly aghast) that the Tor management has allowed the situation to degenerate to this point.

Because of a financial conflict of interest on my part, it would be untoward of me to express fulsome support and applause for the boycott, and tell the boycotters their position is the principled and correct stand.

Nor will I point out, because it is obvious, that if you buy my books from Tor, then some part of your precious book-buying dollars goes into the wages of several people at Tor (but by no means all, or even most) who hate both you and me with a sick and soul-destroying hatred, a hatred like a disease that withers the heart and rots the brain.

Nor will I point out, because it should also be obvious, that any Christian gentleman would be willing to forgo a worldly reward of your generous book-buying dollars if he may have your spiritual reward of your loyalty instead. If the gentle reader feels compassion for me in my hour of need, or fears the boycott will harm my finances, I have a tip jar on this page.

So I cannot express support for this boycott.

The people with whom I work, my editor and cover art director, have a perfect right to expect me not to undermine their position, untenable as it may be. If the management wants to set the company policy as one of indifference to our patrons and clients on whom our livelihood depends, or contempt, or enmity, or loathing, that business decision is in their bailiwick.

 

Chris Meadows on Teleread

“Sad Puppies supporters, opponents respectively call for boycott, buying of Tor books”   – June 19

However, even leaving aside that Vox Day certainly does speak for the Rabid Puppies, what Correia and Grant miss is that, as a grass-roots movement (I was going to say “ostensibly grass-roots,” but what the heck, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt), “Sad Puppies” doesn’t really have a true “leadership” to speak for it at this point. Whether you’re an official “member” or not, if you identify with the movement, you’re going to be identified with the movement, especially by the movement’s opponents.

Make a lot of noise in support of Sad Puppy goals, and voila, you’re a Sad Puppy, and anything you do reflects on them. And likewise, anything the rest of them do reflects on you—which is why the Puppies movement as a whole is, rightly or wrongly, often tarred with the black brush that most accurately applies only to Vox Day and others like him. (Indeed, it’s why a lot of people use “Sad Puppies” as a shorthand to refer to both the Sad and Rabid Puppies.) And it’s why anti-Puppies (some have suggested the term “Happy Kittens”) feel justified in calling this a “Sad Puppies” boycott.

 

Adam on The Noisy Rogue

“The Boycott of Tor Books” – June 19

Even John C Wright, one of Tor’s own published writers, is unable to express support for Tor in this situation. Make your own minds up, dear readers. But rest assured that the culture wars have not been lost. They were only originally winning in the first place because our side couldn’t be bothered turning up. Now it’s on.

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“Today is Buy From Tor Day” – June 19

Just a reminder that if you would like to express support for Irene Gallo, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder and TOR books, today is the day to go out and buy a TOR book.

You can learn a bit more about this here.

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“Moshe Feder doubles down (again) on the lies” – June 19

Friends, I give you Moshe Feder on Facebook earlier today:

Feder 2015-06-19 Facebook screen capture

….I’m still not going to call for the resignation or dismissal of any of the Tor employees I’ve named.  Nevertheless, if I needed any more justification for why I’m boycotting Tor, Mr. Feder has provided it.  I suppose I should thank him for that – and if he wishes to call me an ‘idiot’, well, I’ve been called a lot worse than that in my time.  Furthermore, for all Mr. Feder’s vitriol directed against him, he’s just made Vox Day look like a sensible, reasonable participant in this debate.  Vox might want to thank him, too . . .

 

 

 

 

Lela E. Buis

“Adding fuel to the flames” – June 19

What ever happened to that discussion about the Hugos?

What Hugos?

By this time, it should be fairly clear that the current debacle has nothing to do with the Hugo Awards. It isn’t really about the liberal versus conservative content of a few Tor books, either. I concede that there may be an ideological component to the attack. If Day is a a “fundamentalist Southern Baptist,” as he has been characterized, then it is likely that he’s offended by liberal viewpoints in general. Still, that’s no reason to go after Tor in particular. Publication of LGBTQ novels, for example, has been increasing across all major publishers in the last few years. Tor has no franchise on liberalism.

That makes it more likely that Day has launched a personal vendetta undercover of the conflict over the Hugo Awards. He has moved from naming Irene Gallo to Moshe Feder to Patrick Nielsen Hayden in the last few days. Most likely this is his actual target. Hayden is the man quoted in news reports announcing John Scalzi’s recent $3.4 million contract with Tor.

It’s a vendetta, folks. Day is pursuing a long-running feud with John Scalzi. That means that anyone who supports Day’s flame war by responding to him is only perpetuating the problem. Tor has got it right. It’s time to hunker down and wait him out.

 

Lawrence Person on Battleswarm Blog

“Sad Puppies Redux (Or Why That Tor Boycott Won’t Work)” – June 19

Since then, a few people on Twitter have been calling for a boycott of Tor Books over the incident. About this I would just like to make a few points:

  • Though the editorial stuff does lean toward the SJW side, plenty of conservative authors are published by Tor.
  • An ad hoc, Twitter-organized boycott is deeply unlikely to work. Given the way book sales are tracked, it’s unlikely the financial effects of any boycott would stand out from sales figures more than background noise. Most SF readers probably aren’t even active on Twitter, and even fewer have been following every twist and turn of the Sad Puppy Saga.
  • Given that Tor is a very small part of the Bertelsmann international conglomerate, chances are even less likely that that any boycott would be effective or even noticed.
  • Larry Correia has categorically stated that the Sad Puppies are not calling for any boycotts. He also notes, as he invariably does, “All I’m asking is that whatever you do, try to be as civil as possible in your disagreements.”

So put me down in the category of thinking a boycott is foolish, pointless and counterproductive.

One big point on the Sad Puppies campaign: Most recent domestic Worldcons have topped out in the 4,000-6,000 members range. I recently bought a Supporting Membership in Sasquan, and my membership number was in the 9,000s. This tends to indicate that the Hugos have indeed become a test of strength in the culture wars.

 

 

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Sucker Punch, by Eric S. Raymond” – June 19

Eric S. Raymond is a 2015 nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. This is a perfectly competently written MilSF…vignette. It’s not a story. It describes a couple of important and unfortunate advances in military weapons and tactics, and presents the resulting dilemma quite poignantly.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Novella” – June 19

….The big surprise in this category, at least for me, was Tom Kratman’s Big Boys Don’t Cry. I had expected a very aggressive narrative designed to offend those of a more liberal persuasion, but what I got was a surprisingly graceful story of a dying sentient tank. That may sound weird, but given advancement in artificial intelligence and this being a science fiction story, it works. It works remarkably well, especially the deeper Kratman brings the story into Magnolia’s history.  Yes, there are also some clumsier jabs at how military tactics have been handled by those not committed to the mission or by those who don’t fully understand what it takes to win, and politicians get the sharp end of the stick in that regard (rightly so, in some cases).

If all of Arlan Andrews’ “Flow” was as successful as the second half of the story, I might have been able to move it up another space on my ballot, but unfortunately the beginning of the story was something of a chore to push through. The primitive ice world (a partially frozen post apocalyptic Earth) was tough to take, less because of the writing and more because of what I was wanted / was getting from the story. I’ll willingly take the hit that part of this is on me, but I often bounce off of fiction dealing with significantly more primitive Earth cultures unless the writing / storytelling can just grab a hold of me and make me care about the characters and / or the setting. “Flow” didn’t…until it did, midway through as Rist began to discover more of the world and realized that what his people taught may not be the way things actually work. I’m now curious to find “Thaw”, a previous story in this setting, and move on to “Fall”, the next in the setting.  I’d like to see where Andrews is taking this.

My Vote

1. “Pale Realms of Shade”
2. Big Boys Don’t Cry
3. “Flow”
4. “The Plural of Helen of Troy”
5. No Award
6. One Bright Star to Guide Them

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Short Story” – June 19

Without too much further procrastination, it’s onto the stories. This was another full puppy-supported slate, so – to put it mildly – my expectations of good writing were low. I was pleasantly surprised by one story, meh over a couple of others and (predictably) was ready to set a thousand fires to another.

 

May Tree in a comment on File 770 – June 18

(The original is here if you don’t know it.) The original inspiration for looking at this source material was that “Voxie” rhymes with “Roxie.”

[Excerpt is only one-third of the whole parody.]

[PUPS] Hah! They had it coming! They had it coming! They took a genre in its prime And then they used it And they abused it We’ll slate the Hugos – It’s not a crime!

[SARAH] Now, I’m typing on my blog post, carvin’ up the SJWs for the Puppies, minding my own business, in storms Mike Glyer, in a jealous rage. “You’re a hydrophobe!” he says. He was crazy and he kept posting, “You’re a hydrophobe!” And then he ran into my axiom. He ran into my axiom ten times!

[PUPS] If you’d have been there If you’d have read it I betcha you would have thought the same!

[JULIETTE] Oenq, V nz fbeel, ohg vs lbh jvyy or ynoryvat zr nf n fnq chccl V jvyy unir gb nfx lbh gb jvguqenj zr sebz lbhe yvfg. Lbh qvq abg fnl lbh jrer tbvat gb or pnyyvat vg gur Fnq Chccvrf yvfg. V srry yvxr lbh jrer zvfercerfragvat vg. V’z unccl gb or bar bs lbhe Uhtb erpbzzraqngvbaf. Guvf vf qvssrerag.

[BRAD] Yeah, but will you be on my slate?

[JULIETTE] UH UH, not Puppy!

[LARRY] My buddy Brad and I had this Sad Puppy act, and my “devil” Voxie traveled around with us. Now, for the most recent year in our slate, we nommed 20 of Brad’s buddies in a row. One, two, three, four, five…Kratman, Freer, Antonelli, Reid, one right after the other. Well, this one night we were ranting about liberals, the three of us, boozing and having a few laughs, and we run out of ice. So I go out to get some. I come back, open the door, and there’s Brad and Voxie nomming Number Seventeen – “Wisdom From My Internet.” Well, I was in such a state of shock, I completely blacked out. I can’t remember a thing. It wasn’t until later, when I was washing the toner off my hands, I even knew they were Rabid.

[PUPS] They had it coming! They had it coming! Ann Leckie does her genders wrong! I didn’t read her! But if I read her I wouldn’t know which “she” has a schlong!

 

Dragons and Puppies and Bards,
Oh My! 4/9

Mainstream media and pundit blogs have not overlooked a chance to capture eyeballs by covering the Sad Puppies kerfuffle. Each wing is quoted today, with one example penned by sf writer Kameron Hurley.

George R.R. Martin finished his series of posts about “Puppygate” – no word if HBO has optioned. Larry Correia ran a rebuttal.

Then there’s a teaser from Matthew Bowman’s clever poem, more full-spectrum opinion, and at the end, the discouraging words of a double Hugo nominee.

David French in National Review

“Social Justice Warriors Aren’t So Tough When Even ‘Sad Puppies’ Can Beat Them” – April 8

Correia, Torgerson, and their Sad Puppies allies are living arguments against cultural defeatism. With humor and verve, they’ve taken on the allegedly unstoppable Left, stopped it, and thrown it into spasms of impotent rage and amusing disarray. In its rage and self-righteousness, the Left always overreaches. Always. I’ve seen that reality in 20 years of on-campus battles, we’re seeing that reality as their hate campaign against Memories Pizza helped make the owners a pile of money, and we saw it when we watched unhinged rhetoric help turn American Sniper into the top-grossing movie of 2014.

 

Kameron Hurley in The Atlantic

“Hijacking the Hugo Awards Won’t Stifle Diversity in Science Fiction” – April 9, 2015

The science-fiction and fantasy literature world might seem by its nature to be forward-thinking, but it hasn’t been free from the kinds of culture wars embodied by last year’s Gamergate controversy—a fact aptly illustrated by this year’s nominations for the genre’s (arguably) most prestigious awards, the Hugos. The tastes of the voting audience for the Hugos (comprised of the attendees of the World Science Fiction Convention, or WorldCon) seem to have grown more diverse in recent years. And their selections have reflected that: Last year’s awards were swept by writers of color and women, myself included. So it was a surprise when a majority of voters woke up April 4 to a nomination slate almost exclusively overrun by novels, stories, and related fan efforts promoted by a small group of writers who claim the Hugos are turning into affirmative-action awards catering to left-wing ideologies. Their efforts to influence the voting process are led by the novelist Larry Correia and the Internet personality Theodore Beale, who’s best known for his desire to deny women the right to vote and his firm belief that black people are “savages.”

 

Matthew Bowman on Novel Ninja

“Puppy Poetry” – April 9

[Third of four stanzas]

These are, we’re told, quite vital jobs
To let society progress
But it just left us with some snobs
Whose way of life was to suppress
This made many puppies cry
And seek a cure for their distress
The best of fiction they could buy
But Hugo wins would just depress

 

TorInAction on Reddit

This subreddit tracks and discusses attempts to smear, intimidate, censor, culturally appropriate, ethically corrupt, or otherwise harm the science fiction & fantasy medium and culture, specifically such attempts by the SJW hate movement. These attempts are collectively known as #SciFiGate.

 

Sarah Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Of Science Fiction and Bed Making” – April 9

Sad Puppies is not responsible for the universe.

The people who accuse us of being in league with gamer gate are just echoing Empress Teresa’s nutty slander. (She probably sees Gamer Gate under her bed, and it’s the Gamer Gate of Law and Order.) For one SP 1 was long before Gamer Gate and if Larry has a time machine and hasn’t shared – the bastage – we’re going to have words, even if he has way many more guns than I do. (Perhaps he found it on the… “Dark Net” — cue ominous music.)

The evidence for this seems to be that Larry welcomed gamer gaters to one of his post updates. Yes, he did. Because the other side’s shrieking and hollering got their attention and they started coming around to see what this was all about.

 

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Blogging for Rockets” – April 9

Yeah, there too. In the ongoing discussion of Puppygate, numerous people have cited one instance, wherein a stack of identical nominating ballots arrived with the same postmark, paid for by consecutive money orders. Those were disallowed. In 1987, members of the Church of Scientology campaigned successfully to place L. Ron Hubbard’s BLACK GENESIS on the Best Novel ballot. That was not disallowed — the Scientologists had done nothing illegal, after all, all they’d done is buy supporting memberships to a convention that they had no intention of attending, for the sole purpose of nominating LRH for a Hugo (hmmm, why does that tactic sound familiar?) — but their campaign created a huge backlash. Hubbard’s name was booed lustily at the Hugo ceremony in Brighton, and his book finished last in the final balloting, behind No Award. (The winner that year was Orson Scott Card, with SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD, for those who are counting).

Of course, there were also recommended reading lists. That wasn’t campaigning, not strictly, but certain lists could have huge influence on the final ballot. The annual LOCUS Recommended Reading List, compiled by Charles Brown and his staff and reviewers, was the most influential. If your book or story made that list… well, it did not guarantee you a place on the ballot, but it sure improved your chances. NESFA (the New England fan club) had an annual list as well, and LASFS might have done the same, not sure. And of course the Nebulas, which came before the Hugos, carried a lot of weight too. Win a Nebula, and the chances were good that you’d be a Hugo nominee as well. Again, no guarantee, some years the shortlists diverged sharply… but more often than not, there was a lot of overlap.

So there were always these factors in play. Cliques, I can hear the Sad Puppies saying. Yeah, maybe. Thing is, they were COMPETING cliques. The NESFA list and the Nebula list were not the same, and the LOCUS list… the LOCUS list was always very long. Five spots on the Hugo ballot, and LOCUS would recommend twenty books, or thirty… sometimes more, when they started putting SF and fantasy in separate categories.

Bottom line, lots of people influenced the Hugos (or tried to), but no one ever successfully controlled the Hugos.

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“A response to George R.R. Martin from the author who started Sad Puppies” – April 9

Yes, there were competing cliques, but the only cliques who mattered all looked virtually identical to us outsiders looking in. And hardly anything they ever nominated represented anything we liked. To most of us barbarian wrongfans, the competing cliques were indistinguishable from one another.

For example, correct me if I’m wrong but I believe with last year’s winners, every single one shared similar political viewpoints. And all but one of them was white, yet that year was hailed as a huge win for diversity.

You need to see this from Wrongfan’s perspective. You guys had competing cliques, but to us it was like an Eskimo having a thousand different words for snow, and you can tell us about your many diverse and wonderful types of snow, but all we saw was snow.

And in recent years when we looked at the ballots it was like, awesome, let’s choose between these five items of approved socially conscious message fiction. Yay! We’ve got selections from: religious people are stupid bigots, capitalists are raping the earth, capitalists are stupid bigots, bigots are stupid, and I’m not quite sure what the hell this last thing is about and I’m not even sure if it qualifies as fantasy or scifi but it has bigots in it… Oh man, tough call.

Again, now we can openly say that this all makes sense because my kind of people aren’t WorldCon regulars, and this award belongs only to WorldCon, so the stuff making the ballot wasn’t aimed at us… but sadly that wasn’t what you guys were telling us when we started this.

This stuff was supposed to be the best stuff in the whole world.

So we formed our own competing clique and actually bothered to show up.

 

Brad R. Torgersen

“Gulag Diary, day 6” – April 9

It’s cold here. Very cold. Commissar Chu laughed when he said he didn’t expect me to last the month. I still can’t rightly explain how I got to this place. I am writing these words with the stub of an old pencil I found in the back of the box car. The train from civilization was packed. Nose to nose. I think most of us can tell the same story. One instant, we were sitting in our homes safe and sound, browsing the internet. The next instant, our doors came down and the enforcers stormed in. I remember screaming. And a woman’s face — another of the endless number of commissars — as she watched me dragged out the door. She was visibly gleeful over the fact that the Peoples Republic of Science Fiction had discovered me. There would be no trial, she gloated. Merely punishment.

 

T. L. Knighton

“Priorities” – April 8

Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia have been called racists and misogynists, without a single shred of evidence. It’s bad enough that Mary Robinette Kowal had to jump in to tell folks to knock it the hell off. She is not on the Sad Puppies side. She and Larry have clashed before, and to call them friends would probably be an insult to the institution of friendship. I’ve seen it be ugly before.

Yet she gets it. While the awards have value to her, they’re not worth destroying lives over. She’s right. They’re not. Go read her blog. She gives a master class in class. People on both sides, including myself, could learn from her actions. I’ve also seen her apologize to Larry publicly after one of their run-ins, so she definitely has class in her. Just for that, I will endeavor to find a book of hers to buy, read, and if I like it, review it.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“George R.R. Martin Admits Hugo Campaigns” – April 9

6.We don’t feel we’re victims. We’re not complaining that we’ve been overlooked for decades. We’re not whining or crying about anything. But we were told by a certain clique that we had to kowtow to them because failing to do so would be “a career-limiting move.” Now we are making sure that no one will ever have to kowtow to them, or cower before them, again.
7.I published science fiction books for years without ever campaigning for them, listing their eligibility, or pimping them for awards, despite having the public platforms of a nationally syndicated column and a popular blog. And I’m not inclined to listen to criticism from anyone who ever did.
8.The two Puppies campaigns have resulted in the highest average Amazon rating in the Best Novel category going back to 1986. In 2015, the average is 4.46 stars. The 2010-2014 pre-Puppy average is 3.9 stars. Sad Puppies is objectively improving the quality of the nominated works and expanding the overall nominee pool.

 

Lawrence Person on Battleswarm Blog

“Sad Puppies, If I Must”

For the last several years, a vocal minority of Social Justice Warriors has wrecked havoc on the fabric of the science fiction community. Taking their clues from the Alinskyite “direct action” tactics of far-left political activists, they’ve carried out a virulent campaign against anyone unwilling to toe the political correct line on victimhood identity politics. Their tactics have included doxxing, online mobbings, demands people be fired from their day jobs for non-PC transgressions, numerous calls for censorship, demands that only politically correct language be used when it comes to race, sex, ethnicity, or anything to do with Muslims, and follow-up demands for “official policies” and “committees” to enshrine their extremists demands as institutional law.

 

Kathryn Routliffe on Grasping at Grace

“Dept. of Sweet Weeping Whatever” – April 5

I was disheartened to learn that a group of people who believe that fandom has been improperly taken over by folks who aren’t, by and large, white, cis-gendered, straight males (and a few good-looking white-cis-gendered straight females) and who have apparently dedicated themselves to fighting the good fight against such people, have succeeded in loading the 2015 Hugo Awards ballot with nominations for books, stories, television episodes, fanzines, movies, etc., etc.  that they believe are more worthy. They invited folks with whom they are sympatico, including many in the G*merg*te community to join them in block voting for those worthy offerings. They thus succeeded in filling up many, if not all, the slots in most, if not every, Hugo category.

It makes me sad and angry for several reasons….

Especially when these people have the unmitigated gall, or apparent cultural tone-deafness, to say they are doing it in the name of inclusion and returning the Hugos to diversity and anti-authoritarian forward thinking. No, really, that’s what they’re saying. Because John W. Campbell-White-Guys-Finish-First SF is under attack from everywhere – everywhere, I tell you … sweet, weeping jesus. Haven’t these guys ever read The Futurians, or The Way The Future Was? Even some of the stalwarts of White Guys Finish First SF were the kind of people from whom the Sad Puppies would recoil in horror.

 

Lou Antonelli on Facebook – April 9

The way the detractors of Sad Puppies were are making all sorts of assumptions about the motivations of its advocates reminds me of the story about the man at a newspaper who told his colleague he was thinking about starting an affair.

His friend was shocked. “I thought you were happily married?”

“I am,” he said, “but my wife isn’t. We’ve been married 20 years, and a lot of her friends either have had their marriage break up, or their husbands are all cheating. They talk so m…uch trash against husbands my wife is convinced I’m having an affair. Since I’m being treated like I’m a cheater, I might as well cheat.”

Howard Waldrop once wrote a story, “Horror, We Got”, with the same theme: If we’re going to be blamed no matter what, we mighty as well do it.

April Fails Day

Mark R. Kelly notified his Facebook readers around noon today, “Locus Online’s traditional April 1st spoofs, this year by Hal Graftswey, Paoli du Flippi, and L. Ron Creepweans, are now posted.” Those who waited too long missed out — within three hours Kelly yanked the items in response to what he termed a “kerfuffle” and posted this apology:

We would like to offer our apology for the offensive April Fool’s post that was published on the site today. The April Fool’s pieces were not seen by the Locus HQ staff before being posted — it was an ugly moment this morning when we saw the post already online, and we immediately took steps to remove it. Of course, being after the fact, it was too late, and the offense had already happened.

We did not find the post funny at all, and it does not reflect in any way the opinions of the magazine staff. We apologize for it appearing under our auspices.

The offending article was “WisCon Makes Burqas Mandatory for All Attendees” by L. Ron Creepweans. The Creepweans pseudonym is also part of the Locus April 1st tradition but after Kelly deleted the piece Lawrence Person revealed himself as the author.  

Person also posted an archival copy on his BattleSwarm blog. It begins:

Today the SF3 ruling committee for the Madison, Wisconsin-based feminist SF convention WisCon announced that starting this year, all attendees would be required to wear burqas.

Person has been contributing April 1st gags to Locus Online since 2002. He explained why he selected WisCon as the target of this year’s satire:

For those tuning in for the first time, this was a direct jab (in humorous form) at WisCon’s previous decision to yank their Guest-of-Honor invitation to Elizabeth Moon for daring to voice (in the mildest possible form) politically incorrect thoughts about certain aspects of modern Islam.

Meanwhile, commenters at Locus Online responded to its apology by continuing to berate the staff and demanding assurances against future offenses. Mark R. Kelly was provoked into ending the April Fool’s tradition:

I always thought that SF/F readers were more tolerant, less apt to take offense, than other folks; but apparently not. (Death threats!). So, no more April 1st spoofs ever.

2011 Bulwer-Lytton Contest Winner

Sue Fondrie of Oshkosh, WI has won the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest with this truly fowl sentence:

Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.

The Bulwer-Lytton Contest asks writers to submit the worst possible opening sentences to imaginary novels. The contest website describes winner Fondrie, an associate professor at UW Oshkosh, as a bit of a fan: “Out of school, she introduces two members of the next generation to the mysteries of Star Trek, Star Wars, and–of course–the art of the bad pun.”

Judges deemed additional selected entries as hideous examples of genre fiction. Unfortunately their choices for Sci-Fi and Fantasy honestly are too pathetic to bother quoting, but I liked the Adventure winner by Jack Barry:

From the limbs of ancient live oaks moccasins hung like fat black sausages — which are sometimes called boudin noir, black pudding or blood pudding, though why anyone would refer to a sausage as pudding is hard to understand and it is even more difficult to divine why a person would knowingly eat something made from dried blood in the first place — but be that as it may, our tale is of voodoo and foul murder, not disgusting food.  

A “Miscellaneous Dishonorable Mention” also went to Lawrence Person of Nova Express zine fame:

After five years as freelance writer, Greg finally managed to double his income, letting him add a processed cheese product slice to the baloney sandwiches he had for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Person is a past host of the Turkey City Writer’s Workshop which never tolerates any Bulwer-Lytton rated prose, as you can tell from their ferocious primer.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]