A Throne of Chew Toys 6/3

aka The Knights Who say Ni Award

In today’s roundup: Vox Day, Lindsay Duncan, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, David Gerrold, Sara Amis, Dave Freer, Chris Gerrib, Lisa J. Goldstein, Lis Carey, Rebekah Golden, Russell Blackford, Camestros Felapton, Mabrick, Will McLean, Alexandra Erin and cryptic others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day sveinung  and ULTRAGOTHA.)

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“In the SF world rages a war” – June 3

Markku Koponen

[The translation of an article in Finland’s largest newspaper profiling Markku Koponen and Castalia House.]


Sci-fi literature enthusiasts in USA are in civil war. A conservative mutiny is trying to push out of bestseller lists and awards the mainstream, “tolerant” sci-fi. The battle is already being called culture wars – and one of the headquarters is located in Finland.

There is a man in Kouvola, and before the man, a computer.

Together, the man and the computer are in the front lines of a battle that is shaking the entire world of sci-fi literature.

The man and the computer were revealed to the world, spring this year.

At the time was published “the Oscars of sci-fi books” – Hugo-awards – nominees.

The entire sci-fi world roared: lists were full of works by religious extremists and ultraconservatives.

The surprise was so big that even The New York Times and Washington Post wrote about it.

And behind the entire surprise were a man and a computer in Kouvola.

The name of the man is Markku Koponen, and on the computer runs a company called Castalia House.


Lindsay Duncan on Unicorn Ramblings

“Tuesday Thoughts” – June 3

Behind all this kerfluffle is a tension between the idea that the quality of fiction, like all art, is subjective; and the action of presenting an award, which gives the veneer of some objective quality.  Let’s add one more statement to the narrative:  diversity is a good thing and necessary in a genre that builds upon possibilities, but we don’t want to set up a forced, artificial diversity.  (Already, you can see the questions bubbling up.)  What am I thinking of when I say “artificial” diversity?  It’s when a work rises to the top not because of merit, but because its author or subject matter checks a particular box.  It would be like saying that every novel awards slate has to include one urban fantasy, two epic fantasies, one hard science fiction novel and one soft science fiction novel … even if there were three amazing soft SF books that year.


SF Signal

“MIND MELD: Genre Awards: What are They Good for Anyway?” – June 3

[Bradley P. Beaulieu:] I’m saddened by the tactics that were chosen by the various Puppy campaigns to game the Hugos, but I’m confident the award will live on, and I’m hopeful that in the end the voting base for the award will be broadened. After all, as long as everyone is given a fair shake, how can giving a voice to more fans be a bad thing?


Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag on Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog

“Oh dear, not the freaking Hugos again…” – June 3

On Facebook, David Gerrold nails the problem with the slate nominations in the Hugo awards. Namely, the people who participated have developed a narrative of “evil liberals” rather than “good works worthy of nomination for the Hugo Award.” Part of the post was also quoted at File770. Of note is the fact that Gerrold has asked these questions repeatedly, and he describes the “answers” he gets from slate-voting puppy-supporters….

…The last question, #6, is a no-brainer. The excellence of the story is the only thing that truly matters. There have been some fantastic works by authors that I wouldn’t want to sit at the same dinner table with. And I’m sure there are awful works by people who completely agree with me on every major political point. Politics are utterly irrelevant to the conversation. Or, at least, they should be.


David Gerrold on Facebook – June 3

As long as we’re still talking about the sad puppies and the rabid puppies, there is one question that has not yet been asked.

Will Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen be attending the Hugo award ceremony? Will Vox Day and John C. Wright be attending the ceremony? What about the other nominees and the various puppy supporters?

I have been told that none of the major architects of the slates have attending memberships. So the answer is no, they will not be there.

(Some of the slated nominees will likely be there, but that’s not the question I’m asking.)

And that causes me to wonder —

Some of the puppy supporters have said this whole thing is about reclaiming “the real science fiction” from those who have hijacked it into the realm of literary merit. (Something like that.)

Okay — but if we take that at face value — then why aren’t the leaders of the movement coming to the award ceremony to cheer for their nominees? If this is really that important, why aren’t they coming to the party?

Not attending the celebration makes it look like this was never about winning the awards as much as it was about disrupting them.


David Gerrold in a comment on Facebook – June 3

I did not know that Brad Torgersen had been deployed. I’m sure he will serve admirably and I expect him to return home safely. I might disagree with him on some things, but I wish him no ill.


Sara Amis on Luna Station Quarterly

“Hugos, Puppies, and Joanna Russ” – June 3

I always intended from the beginning to write about Joanna Russ. How could I not? It just so happens, though, that she is particularly relevant right at this particular moment.

So, there are some shenanigans with this year’s Hugo awards. And by “shenanigans” I mean “cheating” in the finest, most self-righteous, letter-but-not-the-spirit-of-the-law, but-really-we’re-the-good-guys fashion.

“But some white women, and black women, and black men, and other people of color too, have actually acquired the nasty habit of putting the stuff on paper, and some of it gets printed, and printed material, especially books, gets into bookstores, into people’s hands, into libraries, sometimes even into university curricula.

What are we to do?” —-from How to Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ

I might add, some of it gets nominated for Hugos, and even wins. What are we to do???


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Hugo Recommendations: Best Fan Writer” – June 3

This is how I am voting in the Best Fan Writer 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 368 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.

  1. Jeffro Johnson
  2. Dave Freer
  3. Amanda S. Green
  4. Cedar Sanderson
  5. Laura J. Mixon

With regards to Mixon, I still don’t consider a professional writer with five novels published by Tor who also happens to be the current SFWA President’s wife to be what anything remotely recognizable as a proper “Fan Writer”, but that ship sailed back when John Scalzi, Jim Hines, and Kameron Hurley waged their successful campaigns for it. No sense in fighting battles already lost. The more relevant problem is that Best Related Work would be a more reasonable category for a single expose, and Deidre Saorse Moen’s expose of Marion Zimmer Bradley was a considerably more important work in that regard. That being said, I don’t regard the Hugo Awards as being the place to recognize investigative journalism, otherwise I would have nominated Saorse Moen’s stunning revelations about Marion Zimmer Bradley as a Best Related Work. But regardless, Mixon did publish a credible expose and she is a legitimate, if not necessarily compelling candidate.


Dave Freer in comment #58 on the same post at Vox Popoli – June 3

“Freer’s been an ass to me, and incoherent at length to pretty much everybody” sniff. I shall wear this with such pride, just because it comes from Crissy! I am amply rewarded for the time spent pointing out he was mathematically illiterate and logically incompetent.

To be fair to Mixon (I do not approve of her biased reporting, but still) 1)I have 20 novels published. 2) Both Amanda and Cedar are independently published – and both quite successful at it. I suspect they outsell Mixon, who IIRC has day job and a husband to share cost (he also has a day job). Strictly speaking she’s more of a ‘hobbyist’ than any of the three of us. 3) I am not, and never have been married to the pres of SFWA. Neither have Amanda or Cedar or Jeffro. Speaking strictly for myself, I hope to avoid that dreadful fate.

I raised the same objection to my being nominated Vox does on MGC when I was first put on recommended lists and, um, never found out my name was still there. I actually didn’t know I had been nominated (the Hugo Admins didn’t succeed in contacting me) until the nasty messages started popping up telling me I was going to suffer for it and should immediately abase myself. I don’t bully well, so despite the fact I didn’t want to be there, or feel I should be, I still am. Screw them and the donkey they rode into town on (the difference is hard to establish, but the donkey is the more intelligent and prettier).

Jeffro seems a good guy, and I can vouch for Amanda and Cedar.


Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Hugos, Fan Writer, Rant Regarding” – June 3

First, per section 3.3.15 of the WSFS Constitution, Fan Writer (like Best Editor) is an award for the person. It is not, like Best Novel, an award for a particular work. It is thus perfectly acceptable to say “fan writer X is a jerk” and use that as a critique of their nomination.

Actually, it is entirely within the rules to vote based on any criterion, if you want to be a stickler for the rules. Or, people who insist on following the letter of the law do not get to lecture me on the spirit of things.

Second, David Freer is a poor writer, at least with regards to his blog. His posts are lengthy, poorly-thought-out, (see, for example, his 1500 word post on Hugo probabilities, discussed and linked to by me here) and not to me particularly entertaining.

Third, in general the Hugo nominees are asking me and the other voters for a favor. They are asking that we take time out of our day, consider their material, and in the end give one of them an award. I don’t know how things work on Planet Puppy, but here on Earth, if one is asking somebody for a favor, normally the person requesting the favor attempts normal human politeness.


Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot: All the Rest of the Novels” – June 3

I think the final vote on the novel will come down to what kind of sub-genre people like to read. Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword deals with galactic empires and planetary intrigue, but also plays with ideas about gender. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison is charming and elegantly told, a tale of manners in a fantasy setting. Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem dances out on the far edges of scientific speculation.  Really, any one of these could win and I’d be happy, but if I had to choose (and I guess I do), for me the best of them is Ancillary Sword.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Adventures in SciFi Publishing — Best Fancast Hugo Nominee” – June 3


This is the first of the Hugo-nominated fancasts that I’ve listened to. Briefly — it’s good.


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Movie: Reviewing Edge of Tomorrow” – June 3

Altogether a fun little movie, well handled and nicely plotted. I haven’t watched it, wasn’t planning to, but am happy I did. I will probably rewatch it before I decide how it stacks up against the other movie nominees.


Russell Blackford on Metamagician and The Hellfire Club

“Rest Related Work nominations reviewed & discussed – Hugo Awards Voting” – June 3

Antonelli’s Letters from Gardner seems, from what I’ve read, to be about the author’s development, at a relatively late stage of life, as a well-published author of (mainly) short stories. It includes a considerable amount of Antonelli’s fiction, with much commentary and reflection, and amongst it some perfectly sound advice on the craft of writing. If it were up for a lesser (perhaps regional) award, I’d have no difficulty in voting for it. From what I’ve read, however, I just don’t think the book is good, distinguished, or interesting enough to be worth a Hugo Award. It does not stand up well against past winners. Your mileage may vary. It’s not a bad book, and I’d have happily read the whole thing if it had been provided in the Hugo Voters Packet.

“Why Science is Never Settled”, by Tedd Roberts, is a well-written and thoughtful discussion of its subject matter. It popularises certain ideas in the history and philosophy of science, and does a workmanlike job of it. It was aimed at an SF-reading audience, and it was doubtless of interest to many people within that audience, but it does not seem to me to be sufficiently distinguished or relevant to deserve this award. There is some relationship to science fiction – enough that it would interest many readers who are also SF readers – but it’s a rather tenuous one.



“Hugo Art” – June 3

Fan artist category was rather disappointing; while I don’t want to say that any of these artists are bad, many artists I’ve seen on places like Deviant Art or here on WordPress have impressed me more; I really just don’t feel like many of these are ‘best of the best’ quality in terms of sci-fi art, at least by what I’ve seen. The lone exception is Elizabeth Legget, whose work, while not really blowing me away, is evocative and impressive enough that she easily rises to the top in this category….

In the Professional Artist category, I’d almost say that Julie Dillon wins by virtue of including a much larger portfolio to better display the range of her work….

Lastly, I’d like to note that it’s been interesting to see how the Fan Writer category is playing out. When I think of Fan Writing, I think of Algis Budrys and Baird Searles, who wrote on topic about notable books, movies and television that was relevant to fans of Speculative Fiction. One strange notion I’ve seen floated is that a Fan Writer should be writing ABOUT rather than TO the fandom, yet ironically those Fan Writers who have been writing more about the fandom than to them are paying the price, to an extent, for doing so. I enjoy the Mad Genius Club, but the rants about culture wars type stuff are going to come off to dedicated culture warriors about as well as Ann Coulter telling that Muslim girl to ride a camel. Meanwhile, many of those who don’t find pdfs an inaccessible format (sometimes grudgingly) acknowledge that Jeffro’s kept a laser-like focus on important works of Science-fiction and Fantasy, so we’re starting to see sort of a ‘man, we kind of want to hate this guy, but he’s actually writing about and bringing attention to some great authors!’ reaction. Given Jeffro’s decidedly apolitical approach (not ‘this is conservative/liberal’, ‘this is feminist/anti-feminist’, but ‘this is awesome’) to his subject matter combined with some of the backlash against Mixon (for myriad reasons), I think he has a pretty good shot in this category.


Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Championship B’tok” – June 3

This novelette lacks several of the critical elements that any string of words needs to tie it up into a story; the most glaring of these exposes itself as a regular disregard for continuity. It is impossible to tell if this story is actually a chapter of a larger story, or it is just half-written. I get the impression that this author may be able to wrote, and write stories, but this is not one of them. I will eventually pull out a reasonably good excuse for awarding one whole star to this novelette.


Camestros Felapton

“The Puppy Works – Ranked from Bad to Okness” – June 3

So below the fold is an attempt to rank all the Puppy nominated works (not including dramatic, editorial or artistic) altogether from the worst to the least worst. I’ll spoil the suspense by revealing that “Wisdom From My Internet” not only came top but also provides a neat demonstration why rankings can be inadequate when what you need is some kind of measurement scale.


Mabrick on Mabrick’s Mumblings

“Skin Game A Novel of the Dresden Files Book 15 by Jim Butcher” – June 3

….That was a two paragraph introduction to the review of “Skin Game” by Jim Butcher, for which I am somewhat sorry to inflict upon you, but felt compelled to clarify for them that know of the Hugo Award drama. There are strong feelings on all sides of this issue and some will feel like I have somehow betrayed them by listening to and reviewing this book. Poppycock. Jim Butcher is a New York times best-selling author. He didn’t get there because of the Sad Puppies and he deserves a thoughtful and respectful review of his work just like I’ve done with all the other nominees so far (as part of my Nebula Nominee reviews.) Thinking otherwise is puerile behavior as bad as that exhibited by the Sad Puppies. I don’t believe this applies to all authors and publishing houses on the ballot, for some of them were self-serving in the extreme, but it does apply to Jim Butcher and Tor Books, his publisher.


Will McLean on Commonplace Book

“Nutty Nuggets” – June 2

“What are we looking for again?” said Liu, the technician from Mars Spacefleet.

“Ejecta from Perdita, of course.You saw the images we got from Alaunt. One of what hit Perdita shredded the cargo module and blew debris on a diverging course. The hydrogen tanks were holed too, but we’re not going to waste time looking for hydrogen in space. You have the cargo manifest.” Church, agent for Tranjovian and its insurance agency, was a stubby, thick-lipped, stocky man with heavy eyebrows. Perdita had gone silent on an unmanned low-energy trip to the Jovian moons and Alaunt had found what was left of her hull after a tedious search of her extrapolated course.

“Right.” said Liu,  as a document came up on his screen. “Spare parts and luxury goods: single-malt scotch, Napoleon brandy, macadamia nuts and cashews.”

“The liquids will have frozen that far out, so we’ll be looking for nutty nuggets. A pretty unique spectral signature beyond Ceres.” ….


Alexandra Erin on A Blue Author Is About To Write

Sad Puppies Review Books: THE POKY LITTLE PUPPY – June 3

poky-little-puppy-248x300Reviewed by Special Guest Reviewer James May

…Here’s the dividing line and the crucial issue: I don’t care what you do. I don’t care about any of your initiatives. What I care about is it is never expressed without dehumanizing men and whites as racist, women-hating, homophobes who have conspired and continue to conspire to keep everyone but the straight white male out of SFF. That is a lie we have proved with facts over and over again. The history of SFF as portrayed by SJWs is a hoax. It has never been any more exclusionary than Field & Stream.