Chapter Five Esk 8/29 Ancillary Doghouse

(1) Laura J. Mixon’s Hugo speech and a great deal more commentary at – “Acceptance Speech Online! And Other Post-Hugo Neepery”

Tonight, I honor Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Tricia Sullivan, Athena Andreadis, Rachel Manija Brown, Kari Sperring, Liz Williams, Hesychasm, Cindy Pon, and the many others targeted for abuse, whose experiences I documented in my report last fall. They’re great writers and bloggers—read their works!

Thanks go to those who stood up for them: Tade Thompson, Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Pat Cadigan, Sherwood Smith, and Nalo Hopkinson. Read their works too!

Thanks also to those who helped me with my research behind the scenes. You know who you are, and we wouldn’t be here with you, either. Thanks to George RR Martin, who boosted me for this award, and to all who voted for me.

I wrote my report out of love for this community. Out of a rejection of abusive behavior and the language of hate. There’s room for all of us here. But there is no middle ground between “we belong here” and “no you don’t,” which is what I hear when people disrespect members of our community. I believe we must find non-toxic ways to discuss our conflicting points of view. I plan to keep working toward that, in ways true to my own values and lived experiences. And I hope you all will, too. Science fiction and fantasy literature is our common bond and our common legacy. It belongs to all of us. Those who deny that do great harm.

I see our conflict as a reflection of a much larger societal struggle, as Robert Silverberg referred to, and I stand with people from marginalized groups who seek simply to be seen as fully human. Black lives matter. Thank you.

(2) Melina on Subversive Reader – “A Letter To ‘Old’ Hugo Voters from a ‘New’ Hugo Voter”

  1. We don’t necessarily bring the same schema to our voting as you do

Part of being part of a community for a while means you start knowing the players. You know that Joanne Bloggs edits for that publisher, and Jane Smith worked with those people who love her. As a new voter, you don’t necessarily know that – it’s possible that the new voter is dipping their toes into the inner circle of knowledge for the very first time.

This is where the packet is a brilliant idea – all the information a new voter needs to fairly judge a person or piece of writing against others. Except, in 2015, there were times when the packet just sucked (and I’m not just talking about the writing). Several of the awards ask us to judge a person’s output over a year – best editors, best fan writer, the art awards etc. And while some categories did this well (the art categories) others provided little or no example of what the nominees were achieving.

This is especially clear in the editing categories. I’ve heard a number of commentators complaining that these categories shouldn’t have been No Awarded without any of them acknowledging that the packets were either thin on quality work or pretty much non existent. Additionally, there weren’t a lot of credible commentators advocating that we vote for one editor or another. So how is a new voter supposed to know that we should vote for a certain editor without evidence or advocacy?

 

  1. No Award is not a tragedy or unethical

The option to use No Award is brilliant. It allows us to consider the works that are nominated, judge them according to our own criteria and say ‘nope’ when we think the work doesn’t reach the level a Hugo winner should reach. It’s like the perfect anti bell-curve mechanism.

So, when a No Award is awarded, it’s not a tragedy. It’s the voters, as a group, saying yeah, no, none of the nominated work was good enough. We’re not going to lower our standards just because that’s what was nominated. Try again next year.

Standards are fabulous. It makes sure that we’re celebrating the very best. It shows that we really value excellence in the winners.

Yes there were a lot of No Awards in 2015. That’s because the work nominated was not of a high enough quality to win or got on the ballot in a way we do not agree with as a community. Our standards are high and we should be proud of that.

(3) It’s a theory —

(4) CBC Radio’s news program As It Happens did an interview with Mary Robinette Kowal about the Puppies on August 28, so I’m told. I haven’t listened to it myself. The link to the program is here. Kowal reportedly begins at 16:40.

Hugo Awards flap

A group of angry reactionaries tries to hijack the biggest awards in science fiction and fantasy — but it turns out there’s no space for their opinions.

(5) Elizabeth Bear on Charlie’s Diary – “How I learned to stop worrying and love the concept of punitive slating…”

The Rabid Puppies, though, are self-declared reavers out to wreck the Hugos for everybody. I think their organizer Vox Day has made himself a laughingstock, personally—he’s been pitching ill-thought-out tantrums in SFF since before 2004, and all he ever brings is noise. But he and his partisans seem to be too ego-invested to admit they’re making fools of themselves, so they’ll never quit.

So it’s totally possible that the Rabid Puppy organizers and voters, in the spirit of burning it all down, would nominate a slate consisting of the sort of vocal anti-slate partisans who could conceivably swing legitimate Hugo nominations on fan support, having a track record of the same.

I’m talking about people such as our good host Charlie Stross, John Scalzi, George R.R. Martin, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and myself. Or just, you know, people they hate—the categories overlap. The goal here would be to then attempt to either force us to withdraw or refuse nominations to prove our lack of hypocrisy, or for fandom to again No Award the whole process. This is the Human Shield option, which—in a slightly different application—is what led to the inclusion on the Rabid Puppy slate of uninvolved parties such as Marko Kloos, Annie Bellet, Black Gate, Jim Minz, and so on in 2015.

This possibility concerns me a bit more, but honestly, I think it’s pretty easy to manage. First of all, I’m going to state up front that I will never willingly participate in a slate. If I learn that I have been included on a slate, I will ask to be removed, and I will bring as much force to bear on that issue as I legally can.

Additionally, I’m going to rely on the discretion of readers and fans of goodwill, who I think are pretty smart people. If you see my name on a slate, please assume that it’s being done by ruiners to punish me, and that whoever put it there has ignored my requests to remove it. I have nothing but contempt for that kind of behavior, and I’m frankly not going to do anything to please them at all.

(6) Ann Leckie – “On Slates”

First off, I deplore slates. In the context of the Hugos, they are an asshole move. Just don’t slate.

Second off, I am saying unequivocally that I do not agree to be on anyone’s slate, do not approve of my inclusion in any slate, and anyone who slates a work of mine is thereby demonstrating their extra-strong motivation to be seen as an asshole.

Now, there’s some concern that assholes making up a slate for next year would deliberately include the work of people they hate, in order to force those people to withdraw any nominations they might get. This might be a genuine concern for some writers. It is not one of mine.

(7) John Scalzi on Whatever – “Final(ish) Notes on Hugos and Puppies, (2015 Edition)” 

[From the second of ten points.]

The going line in those quarters at the moment is that the blanket “No Award” just proves the Hugo Awards are corrupt. Well, no, that’s stupid. What the blanket “No Award” judgment shows is that the large mass of Hugo voters don’t like people trying to game the system for their own reasons that are largely independent of actual quality of work. In the Sad Puppy case the reasons were to vent anger and frustration at having not been given awards before, and for Brad Torgersen to try to boost his own profile as a tastemaker by nominating his pals (with a few human shields thrown in). In the Rabid Puppy case it was because Vox Day is an asshole who likes being an asshole to other people. And in both cases there was a thin candy shell of “Fuck the SJWs” surrounding the whole affair.

The shorter version of the above: You can’t game the system and then complain that people counteracting your gaming of the system goes to show the system is gamed. Or you can, but no one is obliged to take you seriously when you do.

(8) David Gerrold on Facebook

Given all those different belief systems, any attempt to discuss healing and recovery is likely to be doomed — because it’s no longer about “I’m right and you’re wrong” as much as it is about, “my story about all this is the only story.” That’s not just a difference of degree, it’s an attempt to control the paradigm in which all this is occurring.

Which brings me to the inescapable conclusion — if one person pees in the pool, we’re probably not going to notice it. But if we’re all peeing in the pool, it’s going to start stinking pretty bad.

There is a larger narrative — one that we seem to have forgotten. We are all fans because we are all enthralled by the sense of wonder that occurs when we read a good science fiction story or fantasy. Perhaps we came to this genre looking for escape, but ultimately what makes this genre special is that it’s about all the different possibilities. It’s about who we really want to be — it’s about the question, “What does it mean to be a human being?” Are we slans? Are we transhumans? Are we starship troopers?

As Tananarive said, “There are no final frontiers. There’s only the next one.”

That’s what SF is about — it’s about exploration, discovery, and stepping into the next possibility. Our awards are about excellence, innovation, and merit.

There is room in this community for everyone who brings their enthusiasm. We have steampunk and heroic engineers and fantasy fans and gothic horror and gender-punk and space opera and cyberpunk and deco-punk and alternate histories and utopias and dystopias and zombies and vampires and all the other different niches that make up this vast ecology of wonder.

None of us have the right to define SF — we each define it by what we read and what we write. None of us have the authority to demand or control the behavior of others. The best that any of us can do is recommend and invite. And yes, this is another narrative — a narrative of inclusion that stands in opposition to the narratives of division.

That’s the narrative I choose to live in.

(9) Jeffrey A. Carver on Pushing A Snake Up A Hill “Sad Sad Puppies Affair – Sasquan Roundup, Part 2”

While I stand firmly with the rejection of the gaming effort of the SPs, I feel for those writers and editors who were hurt by the whole affair. Some innocent writers and editors were unwillingly associated with the puppies slate, because the SPs happened to like their work. Other worthy individuals were kept off the final ballot because of the stuffing. Still, the winning novel, The Three Body Problem, by Cixin Liu (translated by Ken Liu), got its place on the ballot because another author withdrew his work after receiving support from the stuffers. Some say that the Hugo Awards as an institution were strengthened by the voters’ repudiation of the attempt to game the system, and I hope that turns out to be true. But it’s hard to say that there were winners in the affected categories. Those writers who were shut out may get another chance, another year, and then again they may not. Either way, it has to hurt.

(10) Adam-Troy Castro – “These Are Not Reasons to Vote For Me For a Hugo”

Please don’t nominate me for a Hugo because you’re my friend on Facebook.

Please don’t nominate me for a Hugo because you’re my friend in real life.

Please don’t nominate me for a Hugo because we shared a great time at a convention.

Please don’t nominate me for a Hugo because I’m politically liberal and you like what I stand for.

Please don’t nominate me for a Hugo because my strongest opposition is politically conservative and you wish to oppose what they stand for.

Please don’t nominate me for a Hugo because it’s “my turn.”

(11) Adam-Troy Castro – “While I’m At It”

“I am among the finest writers working today.”

That, my friends, is the kind of statement that immediately casts doubt on itself.

(12) Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt – “I’ve Been To The Desert On A Horse With No Name”

Which brings me to: congratulations.  You probably achieved at least half of your objective — to drive out the people who don’t think/act like you and aren’t part of your groups.  It is heartily to be hoped you won’t live to regret it, but don’t bet on it.

So, the show over, and once I’d gotten over being both mad and sad but mostly sad, we started discussing (Kate and Amanda and I) operational details for next year.  Stuff like how many noms, where do we get recommends, do all three of us have to read something before we recommend it, and oh, yeah, logo? patches? t-shirts?  Incredibly threatening stuff like that, you know?  Since Kate, Amanda and I routinely PM and send each other scads of emails everyday (otherwise known as being ‘thick as thieves’) including on all important topics such as “that cute thing the cat did yesterday”, it barely rose above the ambient noise.

So imagine our surprise when Kate got hacked on facebook, not once, not twice but three times in a 24 hour period and her account started spamming sunglass adds.  Coincidence?  I don’t know guys.  One time, maybe.  But three times, when Kate has pretty d*mn good security?  Bah.

(13) Cedar Sanderson on Cedar Writes – “Muzzled Redux”

I still wholeheartedly support the idea of reclaiming the Hugo Awards for excellence above ‘connections’ and even more, the idea of making the Hugo Awards back into a ‘Best of’ rather than a tiny super-minority. I do support the idea of a diverse nomination pool. A really diverse one, where you don’t have to be ‘approved’ by the right people to be included. So it’s not that I was shut out.

Rather, due to full-time (plus some) school and family obligations that need my attention, I cannot afford the time to be slandered right now in public, and this is what will happen. Yes, I have to fear that from the people who are running the show right now. Doubt what I say? One of the people in the front lines, a Latina woman, was accused by a milk-white woman, of using an ethnic slur. Which confused the accused woman, since English is not her first language, maybe it meant something she didn’t know? No… it’s a standard identifier that had been used extensively in the military since the 1950s. The accuser was making up mud to fling and try to make it stick. You can see the inherent hypocrisy, and the reason I have to avoid the poo-flinging monkeys.   The Sad Puppy movement supports me, knows what is happening in my life, but the other side? They wouldn’t care, and would no doubt use it as a tool to try and destroy me.

Pat Patterson in a comment on Cedar Writes

You know the scene in Henry V about the feast of St Crispan? I like the kenneth Branagh version, personally.
Well, on every instance of the Hugo awards, however long they last,
you will be able to strip your sleeve and show your scars and say “These wounds I had as a nominee for the Best Fan Writer Hugo,”
Old dogs forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But you’ll remember, with advantages,
What words you wrote this year. Then shall the names,
Familiar in your mouth as household words-

(14) Steven Brust on The Dream Café – “Who Really Runs the Hugo Awards?”

In a surprising development, the dispute among “Trufans” “SMOFS” “Sad Puppies” and “Rabid Puppies” has produced a result: We now know exactly who runs the Hugo Awards. It turns out to be Mrs. Gladys Knipperdowling, of Grand Rapids, Iowa.

Mrs. Knipperdowling, 81, came forward yesterday to reveal that she has personally chosen all Hugo winners and nominees since 1971 when her aunt Betty “got too old and cranky,” as she put it in an exclusive interview. “I wouldn’t have said anything about it,” she added, “but then I heard there was all of this trouble.”

Asked about the people usually accused of picking the Hugo winners, Mrs. Knipperdowling became confused. She claimed never to have heard of the Nielsen Haydens at all, and when John Scalzi was mentioned, she asked, “Is he the nice young man in the bow tie?”

(15) Dysfunctional Literacy – “I Am No Award!”

alien

I’ve never heard of anybody named No Award, and I’ve never read anything by No Award, but No Award must be awesome.

No Award won so many honors because Hugo voters are in a big argument over stuff that non-Hugo voters don’t care about.  Science fiction fans have always liked to argue about stuff that other people don’t care about.  Before I was born, it was Jules Verne vs. H.G. Wells or Flash Gordon vs. Buck Rogers.  When I was a kid, it was Star Wars vs. Star Trek or Marvel vs. DC.  Today, science fiction fans are divided between social justice warriors and sad puppies.

[Thanks to Mark Dennehy, another Mark, Danny Sichel, and John King Tarpinian for some of these links. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

The Wind’s Hind Quarters 6/30

aka Quit Zoomin’ Those Paws Through The Air

Starring in today’s roundup: Charlie Jane Anders, Jon F. Zeigler, Arianne, Melina D, Paul Kincaid, Martin Wisse, Justin Howe, Lou Antonelli, Doctor Strangelove, Terry Weyna, Spacefaring Kitten, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, Grac and embrodski. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Richard Brandt and Daniel Dern.)

Charlie Jane Anders on io9

“Eight Books You Need To Know About To Understand The Hugo Awards Snafu” – June 30

about books

But all the discussions about the Puppies, pro and con, tend to bog down in generalizations. So let’s get specific. Here are eight books that can help illuminate this mess. Because this is about books, or it’s about nothing at all.

[Anders takes a highly interesting approach, contrasting what reviewers and Sad/Rabid Puppies advocates have to say about these eight sf works:]

  • The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  • Monster Hunter Legion by Larry Correia
  • Blackout by Mira Grant
  • Redshirts by John Scalzi
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
  • The Book of Feasts and Seasons by John C. Wright
  • Seveneves by Neil Stephenson

 

 

Jon F. Zeigler on Sharrukin’s Palace

“The Hugo Dispute: An Assessment” – June 30

[Thorough article. This is just an excerpt of two of the topics:]

Over at Amazing Stories, Steve Davidson recently blogged about possible fan responses to this mess. Some of his suggestions strike me as either impractical or actively harmful, but I think he’s on the right track with at least one item:

“First, the crafting of a formal statement that articulates the position that Fandom and Fans (which includes authors, artists, editors, podcasters, bloggers, fan writers, fan artists and everyone) do not game awards (or other fannish institutions) for personal, political or financial gain. Further, that individuals who may be eligible for awards state formally that they do not grant permission for third parties to include them or their works in voting campaigns or slates or organized voting blocs and that if their names or works are found on such, it is without their express permission.”

As a purely voluntary principle for creators in this space, I think that’s well worth considering. So here’s my line in the sand, to be repeated if and when it becomes fully relevant.

I won’t participate in organizing a slate for any industry award. If and when I publish something that’s eligible, I will not give my permission for that work to be included on any slate. If someone includes my work on a slate without my permission, and that work reaches the ballot, I will withdraw it from consideration. If that means the award becomes irrelevant to my success as an author, so be it.

I can succeed without having to chase fan politics. I can do that by pursuing the work I love: writing and selling stories. If that isn’t enough, I don’t intend to waste my time stewing over might-have-beens.

Now, as it happens, the argument above assumes that the rules of the awards process aren’t going to change. If they do change to make slate voting more costly or difficult, that mitigates the problem. There are multiple ways to get that result, some of which admittedly constitute a cure worse than the disease.

Fortunately, there’s a proposed rule change that will be considered at the WSFS business meeting this year, and that seems very promising. That’s the so-called E Pluribus Hugo proposal, a modification of the procedure for counting nomination votes.

I’ve spent some time looking at the EPH proposal. In fact, while I don’t claim to be an expert, the comparative study of election systems is familiar to me (my professional background is in mathematics and computer science). Thus far I’m quite impressed.

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 – Where to now?” – July 1

So what do I do next?

I was talking to my sister about the Hugos the other night. My sister is not in the community (though she does read and watch speculative media), but she’s worked in politics, so she understands a lot about the political process and it was relatively easy to explain how the slate dominated the awards this year. She helped me clarify some of my thoughts and then asked the question:

“So what are you going to do about it?”

Funnily enough, I’d been turning this question over in my head for a few days. What was I going to do to make my voice heard? How was I going to stand up and say ‘I want the best writing – the absolute best – to be nominated for and win Hugos Awards.’ I want writing which makes me feel something, writing which makes me stay up late reading, writing which makes me want to tell everyone about what I just read.

I have two main powers as a supporting member – I can nominate and I can vote. There is a third power though – I can write about it. I can write about the stories and books I read and why I love them or why they don’t quite work for me and why other people should go to read them. I can write about the nominees and why I would vote for one or the other. The power of the internet means that I can put my voice out there.

I can also read more. This Hugo ‘season’ has allowed me to find a lot of new places to find short fiction and I’ve already started reading some from the first half of the year. I’m reading more blogs and online magazines and looking at their book reviews and announcements. I’ve made sure that I’m putting more time into reading – even if it’s just a short story before bed.

There’s a few places I can go to find 2015 stories and media, but I’d also like to open it here. What new fiction or nonfiction are you consuming? What have you really enjoyed? What would you like to share with others? Leave a comment, tell me about it. I might go on to read and review it, I might not, but it gives me new places to explore and new things to try. I might find a new author I absolutely love, or find myself reading a new type of story I’d never even thought about before.

With more reading, I’m going to feel more confident nominating. And by sharing my reading, I hope I can encourage others to read and nominate their favourite stories of the year. Maybe it won’t be enough to negate the slate, but at least I’m doing something positive.

 

Paul Kincaid on BestScienceFictionBooks.com

“A Reply to Kevin Standlee on the Hugos”  – June 30

[Excerpt is first of four points.]

1: No, I do not want a “Strong Leader”, and that is not what I said. What I want is a more responsive organisation. Every award that I know of has a mechanism in place that would allow for a change in the rules between one award presentation and the next. Some of these amount to a strong leader, most do not. None of them takes at least two years to put in place any rule change.

Situations change, and in our modern digital age they change very rapidly indeed. It surely makes sense that awards should be able to respond just as rapidly. As it is, whatever might be proposed at the next WSFS meeting cannot take effect until after it is ratified at the following WSFS meeting in 2016, which means it will be the 2017 awards before there is any actual change. If the Sad and Rabid Puppies behaved within the rules this year, as indeed they did, then they have free rein to do exactly the same next year. That does not strike me as an award process that is fit for purpose.

Here’s is a proposal to make the award more responsive without a “Strong Leader”, (it may not be the only possibility or the best, but it is at least a notion that could be considered): I have seen a number of proposals online for possible changes to the Hugo rules. Why not provide a venue online where these proposals can be thoroughly debated by all interested parties, so that when the next WSFS meeting comes along all that is needed is for the proposal to be ratified or not by the meeting, and lo, the rule change is made, there and then, within the year? As it is, whatever debate has gone on previously, the proposal can only formally be made at the next WSFS meeting, by those who can attend the Worldcon (an expensive commitment, especially if it is on a different continent), and will then only be ratified by those attending the next WSFS meeting at the next Worldcon (yet another expense). By moving the debate online and making the WSFS meeting a ratification body, I think you would actually make the Hugos more democratic, not less.

So no, Kevin, I do not want a strong leader.

 

Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“If you want to change the Hugos, understand their history” – June 30

Okay, I don’t want to begrudge anybody their Hugo rant — ghu knows I’ve written enough and in fact I’d agree with quite a bit of this criticism:…

The Hugos are the way they are, with all their strengths and weaknesses because they’re the result of a decades long specific democratic process and the 2015 categories and rules are the fossilised remains of this process. You cannot understand the Hugos properly unless you not only know that the Best Semi-prozine category was created to shield all other fanzines from the Locus juggernaut, but also that the same sort of thing happened with the Best podcast category, the long struggle to get comics recognised properly and why there are two editorial categories and what went before that.

And not only that, you need to know the process and rules under which these changes are made, like the proposers of E Pluribus Hugo frex do seem to. You need to understand how the business meetings work as well as why and how it was established, even without Kevin Standlee to prompt you. You need to be a bit of a process nerd to be honest. (You also need to realise that much of this was designed by Americans, who seem to have a national weakness for over complicated voting systems with huge barriers to entry…)

This bone deep understanding and awareness of what is and isn’t possible given the history and current structure of WSFS and the Hugos is likely why people like Kevin Standlee might be a bit dismissive of such criticsm as well as looking overly lawyerly. That’s the risk of being an insider, you have a much better grasp on the mechanism of the system and less of an idea of what it looks like from the outside

But what you should also realise is that knowning this history and being familiar with the whole process more than likely also gives you an overwhelming sense of how fragile the whole structure is, how easy it is for a well intended proposal or rules change to damage or destroy WSFS. I see a deep fear and wariness behind that “slow and prone to complexify process, a desire to err on the side of caution, knowning how close it has come to all going kablooey.

 

Justin Howe on 10 Bad Habits

“Caring is Meaningless” – June 30

This is a thing I wrote in response to some SFF fandom bullshit going on. If you’re reading this and don’t know what the Sad/Rabid Puppies are, well, I envy you. Stay unaware. Don’t google it. Google prehistoric squirrels or Steven Universe conspiracy theories instead. It’ll be time better spent. For the rest of us poor bastards who have eaten of the Fruit of Bullshit from the Tree of Train Wreck, this post is for us.

When someone says, “Well, at least I care!” all they’re saying is, “Well, at least I have an opinion!” I’ve read this from one of the Sad Pup ringleaders, and couldn’t help but read the bit about “caring” as the foot-stomp of the petulant, self-righteous child. Caring is meaningless. Caring can be split so many ways and made to mean anything. You can carry it down into all kinds of Godwin Law absurdity. Mussolini cared about train schedules. Custer cared about the Sioux. You can’t say they didn’t. They certainly cared enough to have opinions about them. To state so sternly that you’re justified in your actions, because “you cared” is simply a sleight of hand attempt to raise feelings up to the level of values, because you’re not wise or self-aware enough to process your feelings without making noises.

 

Lou Antonelli on This Way To Texas

“Puppies in the heartland” – June 30

The Puppy Kickers cite well-known authors who are known conservatives – Mike Resnick and Larry Niven are two – but they came up through the ranks years ago. People like Larry Corriea and Brad Torgersen have entered the field in the past ten years, and have seen and felt first-hand the snubs and insults of the snobs. Both were nominated for the Campbell Award for Best new writer in their first year of eligibility. They didn’t win. Now, that award allows you two years of eligibility, and over the years many writers have has two shots at winning – but neither Larry nor Brad were even nominated in their second years of eligibility.

The Puppy Kickers would assert it’s because as people got to know them better, they realized they sucked as authors. I suspect it’s more likely they were shunted aside because they do not conceal their Mormon faith.

In 2012, when Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee for president, most of the leading lights in the s-f  literary world combined their hatred for people of faith with their hatred for Republicans by attacking Romney in the most vile language. Quite frankly, I personally believe there are some things you should never say to or about people, regardless of the subject. In light of the attacks on Romney, is it any wonder all the Mormon s-f writers went off the reservation? It’s almost a human rights issue – “you can’t say that about one of my coreligionists.

I doubt most of the Puppy Kickers have any Christian friends, and certainly no Mormons. But here in Middle America there are plenty of Christians, Mormons, and even – as Jay Lake used to say – “low church atheists” – people who don’t believe in the supernatural, but, like Jay, didn’t mind if you needed a faith.

I remember when Jay said the source of so much ill feeling were the “high church atheists” – people who didn’t believe in God, and wanted to stamp out your religion, too. Jay was a smart man and a nice guy.

As I have made the convention circuit, I have been heartened by the many people who have been kind and supportive of my work, and either supportive or tolerant of the Sad Puppies effort. It reminds me that most people are thoughtful and considerate human beings, and the internet is a tool that is – like the machinery left behind by the Krel as depicted in the s-f classic movie “Forbidden Planet” – letting the darkest and worst innermost aspects of human nature loose upon the land.

 

Doctor Strangelove on Strangelove for Science Fiction

“Attention seeking troll puppies” – June 30

The various Puppy leaders, it turns out, have little to say, and their arguments implode into insignificance. They don’t think a literary award, the Hugos, should go to literary fiction. They don’t think science fiction should contain messages, or be socially progressive. Their voting slates, of course, contain attempts at literary fiction and message fiction. If we set aside their arguments, all we are left with is noise. Their attention-seeking trolling of the Hugo nomination process in essence says “look at me, look at me!” That is sad, indeed.

 

Terry Weyna on Fantasy Literature

“Magazine Monday: Hugo-Nominated Short Stories 2014”

[Reviews all five nominees.]

The short stories nominated for the Hugo Award this year are a disappointing lot. I read a great many stories in 2014 that were far better than at least four of these tales.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“Jeffro ‘GURPS-disadvantaged people ruin SFF’ Johnson” – June 30

Reading Jeffro Johnson was an interesting and even SFFnal experience. I mean, one of the most enjoyable aspects of science fiction and fantasy is that it has the capacity to offer alien experiences and viewpoints.

Most likely I disagree with Jeffro Johnson on a wide range of topics, but unlike the three Mad Genius Club bloggers who are competing with him for the Best Fan Writer Hugo, Johnson makes a better job at explaining his views. He is also mainly interested in science fiction and fantasy instead of waging a culture war against “social justice warriors” which is more than a welcome change after wading through the polemics of Dave Freer, Cedar Sanderson and Amanda S. Green…..

 

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

“Hugo Reading – Fan Writer” – June 30

[Reviews all five nominees.]

Johnson is the clear winner here, since he seems to be the only one that really fits what I think of as the category. I might put Mixon on the ballot as well, but that is a difficult choice. Both of them are going below “No Award” I think. The other three do not deserve awards for the writing in their packets. In fact, they really shouldn’t have been nominated at all. My guess is that all three must have been on the slates, since I do not believe they could have been nominated by the merits of the writings they provided.

If I sound a little bitter, it’s because I’m feeling bitter… How can people who clearly hate fandoms not their own be nominated for a Hugo Award? My concept of fandom is a big umbrella under which all of us can hang out and do our own thing in a non-judgmental setting. To read screeds against other fans is depressing. To see those screeds nominated for awards? Gah. Seriously, did any of the people voting on the slates actually read these works and say, “Yes, this is the best writing about fandom I saw in 2014.” and, if so, why? How? How can writing that rips someone apart be the best? Why all the hate?

 

Grac on Grac’s Never-Ending TBR Pile of Doom

“The Three-Body Problem – Liu Cixin” – June 30

… I gave this book 3 because of the clunky/heavy part midway through, which almost made me give up. I can see why some people loved it, but I wasn’t one of them – it may well still end up winning this year’s Hugo but I don’t think it’s better than my vote (The Goblin Emperor, in case anyone is interested!). I prefer my science fiction a bit more people-oriented, to be perfectly honest, and the characterisation of many folks in this novel left something to be desired, even as the background of the Cultural Revolution and modern-day China added to its interest.

 

embrodski on Death Is Bad

“Amazing Man” – June 22

I dashed off a little short story, inspired by the Sad Puppies Hugo Fiasco. I had fun writing it, I hope someone finds it enjoyable to read. :)…

….“So all of this…” Paula gestured around herself to indicate the Presidential Palace, the Liberty Legions, and presumably the entire Liberated States of America. “All of this was because you felt snubbed by a group of people you don’t even like?”

Amazing ripped the glasses from his face and crushed them in his fist. His responding roar was super-human, shattering all the glass in the Palace and leaving Paula with mild, but permanent, hearing loss.

“It’s about ethics in journalism!”

Emilio won a Pulitzer that year, as well as a Peabody, an Oscar, a Grammy, a Dobby, and a Tony Award; all purely on merit and not for any other reason at all. Amazing Man won the Nobel Peace Prize. That last one raised a few eyebrows, but it was pointed out that the Peace Prize had previously been awarded to people with a much higher body count than Amazing Man had managed, and wouldn’t it be better to keep it that way? It was hard to argue with that logic.

Miss Perry was released, because Amazing Man was above petty things like personal revenge. She is now happily employed as a Field Hand in the Angola Liberty Farm.

The Snifferance Engine 6/23

aka Altered Slates

Today’s roundup comes courtesy of Adam-Troy Castro, Matt Forney, Vox Day, A. G. Carpenter, Nicholas Whyte, Brandon Kempner, Eric Flint, Melina D, Patrick May, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, and Lis Carey. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Will Reichard and  Glenn Hauman.)

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – June 23

Evidence, to me, that this is an aesthetic issue and not just a political one. (Though of course it’s that as well).

Brad Torgersen pronouncing what kinds of stories he sees as worthy.

“Downbeat endings suck. They are ‘literary’ and some critics and aesthetes love them. But they suck. If you’re going to roast your characters in hell, at least give them a little silver lining at the end? Some kind of hope for a more positive outcome? Your readers will thank you.”

I…can’t even begin.

I love a happy ending as much as the next guy. But not all stories need to be geared to the “rah-rah us.” And if I started naming great works in and out of science fiction where “readers thanked” the author for going black, I’d be here all day. I do this without being a critic or aesthete. I loved the despairing endings of Jack Williamson’s “With Folded Hands,” of Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Nine Billion Names of God,” of John W. Campbell’s “Night,” of Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream,” of any number of TWILIGHT ZONEs and of George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, before I was ten — all before I discovered film noir or got into horror or watched Von Stroheim’s GREED or even knew that stories could be *about* the things in life that aren’t fair. Downbeat endings do *not* suck. Who would dare to say that the ending of THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE sucked? Or that the ending of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME sucked? Or that the ending of DOUBLE INDEMNITY sucked? Or that the ending of MILDRED PIERCE — the novel, not the much-altered Joan Crawford movie — sucked?

Downbeat endings don’t suck. Pointless endings suck. There’s a difference.

Just speaking as a writer, alone: Gad, am I happy I am not shackled to that criterion. I go downbeat about half the time, because different stories go different places, and I have gone dark with some of my most popular work. HER HUSBAND’S HANDS AND OTHER STORIES is not exactly a collection of uppers.

***

IMPORTANT ADDENDUM: Brad has communicated with me about this post, and wants to make clear that in context he was speaking, specifically, of space opera, and no other genre or subgenre. I think he’s likely wrong even when talking about that limited context — I can think of a number of cases where intrepid space heroes came to grief, and have indeed written a book of them — but you know what? In the context of that clarification it is not exactly fair to paint him as being unaware of the depth and breadth of the use of the downbeat ending in literature. I want this known and recognized.

 

Matt Forney on Return of Kings

 “Backlash Against The Boycott Of Sci-Fi Publisher Tor Books Shows The Hypocrisy of SJWs” – June 23

In the past couple of decades, publishing in general—and sci-fi and fantasy publishing especially—has become increasingly dominated by leftists, who have jettisoned the genres’ focus on adventure and exploration in favor of heavy-handed social justice narratives blaming cishetwhitemales for all the world’s ills.

Any writer who dissented from the SJW line was effectively blacklisted from Tor and other major publishing houses, as well as denied nominations in the industry’s prestigious Hugo and Nebula Awards.

As you would expect, sales of newer sci-fi and fantasy books have flatlined as SJWs such as Nielsen Hayden and N.K. Jemisin have become dominant voices. As it turns out, nobody wants to read “socially aware” dreck like If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love and other works that cast straight white men as the devil incarnate.

Sales figures show this: of the top ten best-selling sci-fi books in 2012, all but two of them were either Star Wars/Halo tie-ins or published decades ago. The number one best-selling book was Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, published in 1985.

Last April, SJWs threw conniption fits when the Sad and Rabid Puppies, two campaigns spearheaded by sci-fi authors Larry Correia and Vox Day, respectively, successfully nominated several non-SJW works for this year’s Hugo Awards. Beyond showing how petty SJWs are, the Sad and Rabid Puppies’ campaign showed that SJWs are a vocal-but-tiny minority, since it only took a handful of votes to swing the nomination results.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Let reason be silent” – June 23

When experience gainsays its conclusions. Ed Trimnell argues against fighting fire with fire:….

How did Brandon Eich fail to out-argue his opponents? How did the Nobel Laureates Tim Hunt and James Watson fail to make their cases? The fact is that one cannot out-argue anyone in debates that do not take place, debates that Mr. Trimnell knows very well, from personal experience, will never take place. He can attempt to out-argue me because I am willing to engage with him, debate him, and discuss our differences in a civil manner rather than pointing, shrieking, and summoning an Internet mob to shout him down, disqualify, and disemploy him. He simply cannot do the same with the people at TOR Books, among others. He knows that.

Furthermore, Mr. Trimnell is ignoring the wise advice of Aristotle. He is appealing to dialectic in a rhetorical battle where the greater part of those on the other side are not even capable of understanding that dialectic. That is why following his advice is a surefire way to ensure defeat.

I am offering a proven way to win, one that is both historically and logically sound. Mr. Trimnell is offering nothing but certain defeat because feels. He doesn’t like not feeling morally superior to the other side, so much so that he would rather lose than give up that feeling of superiority in order to meet the enemy head-on. I dislike boycotts too, much as General Ferguson disliked poison gas. But I dislike being methodically mobbed, disqualified, and disemployed even more, I dislike being falsely accused and blatantly lied about even more, so I am utilizing certain SJW tactics even more efficiently and more effectively than the SJWs can. Everyone else of influence on the Right should be doing the same.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – June 23

Vox Day’s contribution is to the daily File 770 roundup what FAMILY CIRCUS is to the Sunday comics section — a guaranteed bummer often marked by the requirement that you follow the most torturously convoluted of dotted lines.

 

A.G. Carpenter

“Silence is Support” – June 23

….But, Torgersen and Correia maintain that they themselves are not racist, sexist, or homophobic. They just, don’t say anything about Beale’s ongoing rants. Maybe they laugh at his jokes or hit like on the comment window. They can argue all they want that they are not be bigots themselves, but their actions say otherwise.

Correia reached out to Beale last year. This year he reached out to GamerGate (with admittedly uncertain results when it comes to the ballot stuffing) – a group known for its sexist attitudes towards women and a radical and violent fringe. And Torgersen got in deeper with Beale by coordinating their slates under the Sad and Rabid Puppies flags. This isn’t just silent support.

This isn’t just silence that is interpreted as support. This is a deliberate alliance with those who do not hide their racist, sexist, homophobic agendas.

But I will not be silent. And I will not support the ideologies that led a young man to murder nine men and women in a church in Charleston. i will not shrug and say “That Vox Day. He’s an asshat but what can you do? It’s just one man ranting on the internet.” I do not want the others like Dylan Roof looking at the world of SF/F and thinking “See? They agree with me.”

Because I don’t.

Because we don’t.

Because silence only leads to regression.

 

Nicholas Whyte on From The Heart of Europe

“E Pluribus Hugo, revisited” – June 23

I’ve spent more spare time than is healthy over the last few days musing on the proposed new system for counting Hugo nominations, designated E Pluribus Hugo (henceforth EPH) by its designers (to whom detailed observations should be directed here). I am in sympathy with its intent, which is to prevent any group – whoever that group may be – from absolutely excluding nominees from having the chance to be considered for the Hugo Award. I think that the proposal as it currently sits achieves that aim, but at a cost of making it too easy for a group which is otherwise utterly unconnected with Hugo voters to get a single work onto the ballot by “bullet votes” (ie votes for their candidate[s] and no other). I explore this problem below, using data from the 1984 Hugo nomination ballots, and propose a partial solution, which is to use square roots as divisors when weighting nomination votes.

Detail

I’m tremendously grateful to Paul Evans for providing me with the 1984 data he described here. Having spent a couple of evenings crunching figures, I now feel huge sympathy and admiration for the Hugo administrators trying to make sense of the variant titles and spelling submitted by voters. Administering what are essentially thousands of write-in ballots is not exactly straightforward, and I am not sure that I would have the patience to do so in an RL setting myself. Not surprisingly, my tallies vary a bit from Paul’s. He has taken more time over it, so his numbers are probably right.

I’ve picked three different ballot categories from 1984 to analyse mainly because they were relatively easy to process, with less name and category confusion than some of the other options would have presented.

 

Brandon Kempner on Chaos Horizon

“Modelling a Best Saga Hugo Award, Part 1” – June 22

I find it difficult to imagine an award in the abstract, so in this post and the next I’m going to model what a hypothetical Best Saga Hugo would look like for the past 4 years (2011-2014), using two different techniques to generate my model. First up, I’ll use the Locus Awards to model what the Best Saga would look like if voted on by SFF-insiders. Then, I’ll use the Goodreads Choice Awards to model what the Best Saga would look like if the Best Saga became an internet popularity contest. Looking at those two possible models should give us a better idea of how a Best Saga Hugo would actually play out. I bet an actual award would play out somewhere in the middle of the two models.

 

Brandon Kempner on Chaos Horizon

“Modelling a Best Saga Hugo Award, Part 2” – June 23

…. Methodology: The same as last time. Goodreads publishes Top 20 lists of the most popular SF and F novels; I combed through the list and chose the most popular that were part of a series. The Goodreads lists actually publishes vote totals, so I used those to determine overall popularity. Here’s the 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards; note that these would be the books elgible for the 2014 Hugo. The Goodreads categories are a little wonky at times. Keep that in mind. They also separated out Paranormal Fantasy until 2014, so no Dresden Files or Sookie Sackhouse in the model…..

This model looks less encouraging than the Locus Awards model. I think this is what many Hugo voters are afraid of: legacy series like Ender’s Game, Sword of Truth, or even Wheel of Time, showing up long after their critical peak has worn off (if Goodkind ever had a critical peak). Series can maintain their popularity and sales long after their innovation has vanished; readers love those worlds so much that they’ll return no matter how tired and predictable the books are. A 10 or 15 year series also has 10 or 15 years to pick up fans, and it might be harder for newer series by less-established authors to compete.

Still, even the Goodreads awards were not swamped by dead-man walking series, and the Hugo audience would probably trim some of these inappropriate works in their voting. It would be interesting to see someone like King win a Hugo for The Dark Tower; that’s certainly a very different feel than the current Hugos have.

 

Eric Flint

“A DISCUSSION WITH JOHN SCALZI ABOUT THE PROPOSED ‘SAGA’ AWARD” – June 23

….But my biggest difference with John’s approach has to do with something very general—about as general as it gets, in fact.

What are the goals of literary awards in the first place? And what’s the best way to achieve those goals?

There are two ways to look at this. The first is the way John is looking at it, which runs throughout his entire argument, not just in the two paragraphs I quoted above. For John, awards should not only be a recognition for excellence, they should be designed to encourage the development of new talent by being concentrated in those areas where new talent is most likely to emerge.

Hence, he champions short fiction awards. Please note that John is not disagreeing with a point I made in my first essay and have repeated many times since—to wit, that short fiction represents only a very small slice of F&SF whether you measure that either in terms of readers or (especially) the income of authors. He simply feels that’s not very relevant because what he sees as most important is the following:

It [a “Best Saga” award] privileges the established writer over the newer writer. Almost by definition, the authors who are eligible for the “Best Saga” award are very likely be writers who are already successful enough to have a long-running series and the ability to publish in those series on a recurring basis. It’s theoretically possible to have someone toiling away on a series in utter obscurity and suddenly emerge with a knockout installment that would pop that writer up into “Best Saga” consideration, but as a practical matter, it’s almost certainly more likely than not that the nominees in the category would be those authors with perennially popular series — people, to be blunt, like me and a relatively few other folks, who are already more likely to have won the “genre success” lottery than others.

I don’t disagree with the point John makes when he says that “the authors who are eligible for the ‘Best Saga’ award are very likely to be writers who are already successful enough to have a long-running series and the ability to publish in those series on a recurring basis.”

He’s absolutely right about that. But where he sees that as a problem, I see it as an essential feature of any award structure that’s designed to attract the attention of its (supposed) audience. In fact, it was exactly the way the Hugo awards looked in their heyday in the 1960s and 1970s…..

At the moment, and for some time now, the “pendulum” of the Hugo awards has swung too far away from the mass audience. Where I differ from John is that I don’t see any way to reverse the increasing irrelevance of the Hugo awards to most F&SF readers unless the Hugos adopt one or another version of an award for series (i.e., the “Saga” award that’s being proposed). When most popular authors are working exclusively or almost exclusively in series and most of the awards are given for short fiction you will inevitably have a situation where the major awards in F&SF become irrelevant to most of the reading audience. Which, in turn, means that winning an award becomes less and less valuable in any terms beyond personal satisfaction.

If the idea of modifying an award structure to better match the interests of the mass audience really bothers you, grit your teeth and call it Danegeld. But it works.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Hugo Recommendations: Best Related Work” – June 23

This is how I am voting in the Best Related Work 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 383 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.

  1. “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF”
  2. Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth
  3. “Why Science is Never Settled”
  4. Letters from Gardner
  5. Wisdom from My Internet

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015: Thoughts on Editing” – June 23

I’m not going to talk about individual nominees here, but I did want to talk about the editing awards, particularly short form editing. I’ve heard people talking about these award before and how you can’t really judge editing unless you are either the author or the editor (or someone who works with them) – usually implying that ‘regular fans’ shouldn’t be voting for these awards.

I have to disagree. When we look at the nominees for the short form editing, we’re essentially looking at editors who have put together anthologies or collections (or in one case a magazine, similar to the anthologies/collections, but with more of them over the course of a year). And I strongly believe that you can see good editing when it comes to these forms – as well as bad editing.

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Best Fan Writer” – June 23

I’m not actually going to talk about the nominees individually. There’s a few reasons for this. Firstly, I think some of the nominees thrive on notoriety and get a buzz from someone talking about them. It feeds into their over-inflated sense of self-importance and I don’t feel like adding to that. Secondly, I don’t think any of the provided submissions were at an award level – in content or writing, so there’s no benefit in discussing them individually. Finally, the tone of a few of the pieces left me concerned that I would become a target for abusive behaviour if I was publicly critical of the authors. There’s probably a very slim chance of it, but events of the last couple of years has shown me that it does happen, and I’d prefer not to deal with that at the moment. So, my discussion here is going to be a more general look at what was submitted and what made me so ranty about it.

One thing that really struck me while I was reading, was that many of the pieces had little to do with speculative fiction or media or the community as fans. When we’re celebrating fan writers, I’m looking for people who are passionately engaged as fans. I want to know about the books and stories and media they love and why they love it. I want to know about the spec fic they find find problematic and why. I want to know why media inspires them and why. I want to know what kind of fan community they aspire to belong to and why.

 

Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Awards Graphic Story Category” – June 23

[Reviews all nominees in category.]

The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate

This is the only nominee not included in the Hugo packet. I asked the author on his website and on Twitter if there is an excerpt available, but got no response. Since it’s a webcomic I read a few months worth online to get a feel for the work.

This is less a graphic story than a series of loosely connected gags. Some are amusing, most are not. The artwork is decent, but neither it nor the writing make it a Hugo contender.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant” – June 23

Lightspeed Magazine is a 2015 Best Semiprozine Hugo nominee.

Lightspeed publishes a wide range of science fiction and fantasy fiction, as well as interviews, Q&As with their authors, and fiction podcasts. What I did not find is an archive allowing me to look at their 2014 issues, the relevant issues for this year’s Hugos. The only thing I’ve been able to read that they published in 2014 is “The Day The World Turned Upside Down,” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, translated by Lia Belt. I’ve already expressed my opinion on that one, and you can read it, if you wish, by clicking the link.

It’s very well presented visually, but with the Heuvelt story being the only thing from 2014 that’s available to read, I’m not prepared to rate it very high.

 

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

“Hugo Reading – Short Stories” – June 23

[Reviews all five nominees.]

The best story of the five by a few lengths was definitely “Totaled”, although it wasn’t perfect, nor even the best I’ve read from 2014. It was just very good. In descending order of quality I would rank “A Single Samurai”, “On A Spiritual Plain”, “Turncoat”… and then “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” a distant last. Four of the five have something to recommend them, but only one was good enough to even be considered for an award.

 

 

 

The Hound and the Fury 6/22

aka Destination: Loon

Today’s roundup features Brad R. Torgersen, Paul Weimer, Vox Day, Edward Trimnell,John C. Wright, Barry Deutsch, N. K. Jemisin, Adam-Troy Castro, Jared Dashoff,  Jason Sanford, Rebecca Luella Miller, Spacefaring Kitten,  Melina D, Lis Carey, John Seavey, Rick Novy, Helena Bell and cryptic others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Kary English and Rev. Bob.)

Brad R. Torgersen on Mad Genius Club

“So you want to write an award-winning Hard Science Fiction story?” – June 21

[Begins with a series of insights about writing sf professionally.]

Now, for a few personal caveats. These are just my prejudices and biases speaking, so take ’em or leave ’em.

Endless polishing is death on productivity, and death on learning. I never learned anything from spending months or years tinkering with the same piece of work. Give yourself a personal rule, for when you’re going to stop on a specific work, and move on to something new. Either how many revisions you’ll do, or how much time you’ll devote to finishing touches once you’ve put THE END on the tail, etc. Just don’t get locked into thinking you can make any story perfect. I can speak from experience: good enough really is good enough.

Downbeat endings suck. They are ‘literary’ and some critics and aesthetes love them. But they suck. If you’re going to roast your characters in hell, at least give them a little silver lining at the end? Some kind of hope for a more positive outcome? Your readers will thank you.

Stories that demote humanity to being puny and insignificant, also suck. We may be small and/or not as advanced as other intelligent life in the universe, but we didn’t get to where we are now by being meaningless dullards. Humans are crafty and stubborn. Never say die. We should be reflected as such.

Some of the best HSF I’ve ever read, inspired in me the notion: Wow, this is how it could really happen! Be it space colonization, or warp drive, or first contact with another intelligent species from somewhere else in the galaxy. When you play by the rules — keeping the universe as we know it relatively intact, accessible, and consistent — you’re shining a light on a possible path. Not predicting the future per se, but illuminating a way that things might develop. That’s the kind of story that may inspire some teenager somewhere to become a rocket scientist.

Speaking of which, leave the “playground equipment” around for your readers to mess with. That’s a Niven-ism. If the reader gets to the end of your story and can imagine events continuing on — populated by your characters, the reader in character form, or both — then you’ve really won. Because you’ve made your world and your story so engrossing, the reader doesn’t want to leave! That’s a reader who will want to come back for more. That’s a reader who will be loyal, and tell others about your work.

 

Paul Weimer on Blog, Jvstin Style

“Campbell vs the New Wave, and Brad Torgersen” – June 22

I do think that Torgersen is missing a large bet on a lot of stories. And I am not sure that Literary=downbeat=suck is an equation that works. HEA and HFA are fine and dandy, but those aren’t the only stories. Hell, look at Stephen Baxter’s Xeelee stories as an excellent counter example. I’m sure Baxter would be surprised to be called literary. And he definitely does not suck.

What strikes me from this article is how it fights the whole Campbell vs the New Wave argument that I’ve opined was at the heart of the Sad Puppies.. One of the File 770 group called him Neo-Campbell. So there you have it.

Torgersen post shows that SF fandom and authors are STILL fighting the New Wave conflict, decades later. The past isn’t dead, its not even past.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“A necessary endorsement” – June 22

Refusing to take a side and trying to remain above it all will no more bring an end to the tactics he dislikes than the League of Nations prevented World War II. Misbehaving bullies can only be stopped with superior force. To stop the lynch mobs, Mr. Trimnell should help us bring them to an end by multiplying our force. We will abandon the tactic as soon as the SJWs do… like Ronald Reagan with the Evil Empire, we will trust, but verify. But until the SJWs give up their rhetorical tactics of name-calling, marginalization, and disqualification, we will continue play by the Chicago Rules and exploit every mistake they make and every opening they give us. The TOR boycott is nothing more than holding TOR Books accountable for the wholly unprofessional behavior of its SJW employees, behavior that would have gotten a minimum-wage Walmart greeter fired on the spot.

Furthermore, there is no symbiosis. The SJWs are not dependent upon anyone’s outlandish statements; if an opponent has not said something objectionable, they will simply lie and claim he did, then run their usual insult-isolate-disqualify routine. We, on the other hand, have a rich and continuously replenished pool of outlandish statements from which to choose to use against them.

 

Edward Trimnell

“Debating the Tor boycott” – June 22

I expressed my disagreement with Vox’s position on the Tor Books boycott…and Vox expressed his disagreement with my disagreement.

My dislike of boycotts remains.

I remember the mindless campaign orchestrated against Orson Scott Card a few years ago. Card’s sin was basically to express a view of marriage that was all but universal (including among liberals and Democrats) until ten years ago. Yet the SJW mobs did their best to silence Card, urging a nationwide boycott of the movie adaptation of Ender’s Game, and barraging the offices of DC Comics until Card was dropped from the company’s Superman project.

Ah, but that is exactly the point….say the forces behind the anti-Tor boycott. The SJWs do it.

I believe it is important to remember what separates the freethinkers from the SJWs. The freethinkers seek to outthink their opponents with a more persuasive argument in the marketplace of ideas.

The SJWs seek to silence their opponents through harassment and intimidation. (This should surprise no one, since the SJWs are almost all anti-market and anti-free speech.)

 

John C. Wright

“The Three Laws of Morlocktics” – June 22

[Quotes a long string of comments from File 770 but purports not to know the source, then says –]

The fear seems to be based on the grounds that her calling me and you neo-Nazi homophobic bigoted misogynist racists was cricket, but my accepting her lame apology like a gentleman (so she and I could get back to work) means that secretly I, and the other fine people called Sad Puppies who would like to reform the Hugo Awards, and return the award to be granted for merit of the work, rather than for the political correctness of the work, now have or may soon concoct an cunning yet dastardly plan!

The women who sound indistinguishable from phobia-afflicted delusional neurotic believe I and mine intend to send Daddy Warpig (the one Gamergater who expressed support for the Sad Puppies slate) to New York to blow up public monuments there with Vatican-made explosive rosaries, and dox and vox and vaporize Miss Gallo.

Because my expressions of neutrality and your letters to Tor asking for professional courtesy are so appallingly frightening that is creates an atmosphere of unsaferiffickness. Or something.

I would say that if women are that easily frightened, it is up to us men to make sure that no cad and no blackguard is ever allowed to speak to them. And if political argument over a pathetic space-yarn award gets the ladies this scared this quickly, it seemed that the Victorian standards for male and female roles were entirely correct. The poor, fainting, delicate damsels in distress must be keep safe from all the bumps and jars of the real world.

Either that, or these nags and termagants are a scandal and an embarrassment to their sex, because they are pretending to be frightened, when they are not, to arouse the very feelings of Victorian protective gentlemanliness that they at other times despise.

Which is it to be, ladies? Equality of the sexes in political matters? Or ultra-damsel-gushing, shriekingly school-girlish, play-pretend hysterical so beloved of the Left? The two are mutually exclusive.

Leftism or Equality?

Pick one.

 

 

N. K. Jemisin

“An open letter to the WSFS about unintended consequences”  – June 22

Whoa. Did you guys think this through? No, seriously. Beyond whether “The Wheel of Time” could get a Hugo, or whether you, personally, like short fiction or not. Did you consider how proposal B.1.3 looks, both within and outside SFFdom? What message it sends about WSFS priorities? Consider the context. In a year when there’s been intense mainstream-media coverage of an attempt to ideologically tarnish the Hugo Awards, effectively making them less representative of the genre’s current dynamism and way more representative of racist white guys’ vanity publishing, this proposal compounds that problem. Let me break down how this looks to people outside of the WSFS process….

So let’s review. In a year when misogynists, white supremacists, and homophobes have already managed to use the Hugos to advance their own interests, along comes this proposal making it easier for privileged white men to gain recognition, at the direct expense of the marginalized. I’m going to assume it’s an unintended consequence that this proposal effectively reinforces the Puppies’ efforts; there’s been no reason to think that anyone on the WSFS is anything other than professionally neutral on the matter. Until now. So, c’mon ya’ll. Did you really think this through? Is this the best time for B.1.3? Are you really willing to throw short fiction under the bus just to give bestsellers another accolade? Do you mean to throw a level playing field under the bus, to give more affirmative action to successful white men?

 

Adam-Troy Castro

“Spaying the Hugos” – June 22

The proposal to simplify the Hugos by eliminating the Best Novelette category and replacing it with a Best Saga category is an excellent start, in large part because it will completely eliminate any interference with those fresh young talents who nobody is ever interested in and who just complicate things.

But it doesn’t go far enough. A few more appropriate changes would certainly help usher the awards into the twenty-first century.

First, eliminate the short story and novelette awards as well. As everybody keeps pointing out, the short fiction markets are dying and the annual competition for an award not supported by the free market is unseemly. Short fiction has never produced anything of worth, anyway. Name just one time it has. I bet you can’t.

Make the contest all about novels, the big awards that really mean something, and make the smallest award the one for best stand-alone novel, because everybody also knows that stand-alone novels are for writers with no staying power…..

 

Jared Dashoff in a comment on Whatever – June 22

Over the years, long fiction in the greater speculative fiction category has moved towards publishing works in series, rather than stand-alone works. Stand-alone works are still published and are eligible for Hugos in various categories, but some of us thought that the expansive works, where the individual volumes may or may not stand alone and be worthy of a Hugo themselves, deserved recognition. So we set out to create a Hugo for them. Best Saga became the title mostly because as the work gets longer, the title of the Hugo gets shorter.

Having attended many WSFS Business Meetings between us, and personally having been on the Head Table before and being on it this year, we felt the sense of the Meeting (i.e. how many that generally attend the Meeting feel) was that another professional fiction category would throw off the balance if a category was not removed. Based on long discussions and floating the idea past folks, we settled on the Novelette category. This bumped up the maximum word count for a short story, and dropped down the minimum word count for a Novella. No work that had been eligible was no longer eligible, it was just eligible in a different category….

In response to this opposition to the Novelette collapse, we contacted Kevin Standlee, Chair of the Sasquan Business Meeting, to ensure we could amend our proposal so long as it was before the deadline for the submission of New Business. We are now in the process of doing that and amending the discussion text to remove any reference to the Novelette collapse. Some original proposers have decided not to join us in this effort.

Going forward, the proposal will only include the addition of the Saga Hugo and that will need to pass or fail on its own merits. If it fails, we will be sad, but we accept that it was not the Business Meeting’s want to create an award for such works. If others wish to submit a proposal related to the shorter fiction works, that is their prerogative, but I will not be submitting one nor supporting it.

 

https://twitter.com/jasonsanford/status/612748644379267072

 

Rebecca Luella Miller on Speculative Faith

“Awards And The Problems Behind Them” – June 22

The irony of the brouhaha is that the Puppies seem to be arguing against the politicizing of science fiction and it’s preeminent award by politicizing the method used to select the award winners.

Having been behind the scenes for the Clive Staples Award in the past, I know a good deal about the ways people try to game the rules in order to help those they hope will win. One reason CSA instituted judging the short list—the finalists—by a panel of qualified judges was to avoid this kind of deck-stacking which would reduce the award intended to honor good writing and storytelling to a popularity contest (or a philosophical statement).

Yes, there are diversities among Christian writers, and some would push the point by “gaming” an award if they could.

Other awards have bypassed readers altogether in order to steer away from the popularity contest approach (come vote for my book even though you haven’t read it, just because you know me, sort of). But those are susceptible to other problems—unqualified first round judges, high entry fees, sponsoring organization promotion requirements, poorly conceived judging sheets, and the like.

In short, no award is likely to be perfect, but one that combines readers’ choice with qualified judging evaluations seems as if it has a better chance of honoring the year’s best book.

The Hugos? Seems to me they have gone the way of the Oscars and in the process have opened the door to a horrible mess. This long-running award is in the process of making itself irrelevant to readers.

The Clive Staples Award, on the other hand, is a tool which can help readers learn about the books that other readers value.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“Kitten/Puppy Dialogues (on Pizza)” – June 22

In the comments to the last Wednesday’s post titled Answering Peter Grant, a Puppy supporter called Xephon has been vocally criticizing me for several things I’ve said. The arguments in his/her first few short comments made little sense to me, so I thought the discussion was going nowhere, but then this lengthy account landed on the comment section.

I’m still unconvinced, but Xephon brings up some points I want to respond to, and because this is going to take up some space, I’ll rather do it in a new post.

The sickening truth is that the anti-Puppies need Beale more than the Puppies do. He’s done nothing for my side except stir an increasingly rancid pot. Those of us who have distanced ourselves have learned that we are wasting our time, because all we hear from the other side is, “because Vox Day”. You need him to be your bogeyman, the focal point for your opposition. If he didn’t exist, someone would have invented him.

One of the funnies recent developments in the discussion around Hugos is that the second you mention Theodore Beale/Vox Day, somebody charges in and accuses you of “because Vox Day” fallacy. It sure is an interesting variant of “playing the ‘Playing the Hitler Card’ card”. Let me state once again that Beale’s Rabid Puppies slate swept the Hugo ballot. Your demand that everything related to him should be removed from the Hugo discussions does feel a bit odd — especially when we’re talking about his boycotts and other schemes.

 

Anony-Mouse on Cedar Writes

“Get out and Vote!” – June 22

Do NOT vote NO AWARD for anything. Yes, I know the temptation to make a statement by putting something below No Award at the bottom, but in the unlikely case of close races NA can have an adverse affect on outcomes because it’s a weighted ballot. And frankly, it’s a pet peeve of mine. NO AWARD is a political statement, and this isn’t supposed to be about naked politics.

Do NOT vote at all for anything you do not think is worthy, regardless of why you do not find it worthy. See previous.

DO try to vote for at least one good thing in each category rather than leaving the category blank. For example, some of the fanzine/semiprozine entries have been nothing but contemptuous of dissidents against the establishment. I will not vote for them. Others have been accepting of everyone, I will rank them.

 

World of Pancakes

“Retraction regarding the Sad Puppy John C. Wright” – June 22

I don’t do this sort of thing very often, but I’m retracting my last post. Let me explain why. In repose to charges of homophobia, Wright said the charges were a lie and responded in a fashion which could be described as equally “homophobic” and “bizarre.” I wrote a long-ish piece taking him to task for this. It’s a solid bit of work, but I’d like to disavow it as of now. Since posting this piece, I’ve read a good deal more of what Wright has written outside of his novels. I’ve come to the conclusion that Mr. Wright has enough going on his life that piling on like this is neither fair nor necessary. I stand by the content of what I wrote, but, given Mr. Wright’s situation, it was needlessly mean of me to write it.

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Best Graphic Story” – June 22

[Reviews 4 of 5 nominees.]

It was so wonderful to read a category and understand why all the nominees (that I could access) were nominees. These had quality story telling, good art (and art telling stories which I appreciate so much), interesting plots and characters, character development, humour, and in some cases, extreme ‘feelings’. These are the things I want in all my fiction (except the art, of course) and they’re never restricted to one ‘type’ or ‘style’ of fiction – romance fiction can deliver these things as well as epic fantasy, historical fiction as well as apocalyptic fantasy.

When you hold the quality of this category – just the writing and story telling to start with – up against the others, you really see how bad most of the work in the short fiction and related fiction categories are. And you have to ask why? Why didn’t the slate people put forward work that is well written and engaging? (Or more of that work?) Is there a lack of well written and engaging work which is action oriented/classic age/milSF? Is there a publicity issue for works that are well written and action oriented/reminiscent of older stuff and? Or did this slate become a cynical/destructive force designed to reward certain writers/publishers while ‘punishing’ others?

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews” – June 22

This is a 2015 Best Semiprozine Hugo nominee. Beneath Ceaseless Skies is an online magazine of literary adventure fantasy. It’s visually attractive, and it offers some impressive fantasy fiction. I was pleased to find an archive that allowed me to check out the 2014 issues, the relevant issues for this year’s Hugos. An extra delight is that it offers audio fiction as well as print. This is an altogether fine magazine, and I’m very impressed.

 

Reading SFF

“2015 Hugo Awards Reading: Cixin Liu – The Three-Body Problem (2008/2014)” – June 22

I liked that the novel posed lot’s of mysterious questions and even answered them in a way that made sense, at least most of the times. While there are a lot of things in this novel that I liked a lot, there are a few things that I did not like as much. Mainly, this is not a character driven novel. This novel is about the science, not the characters. It’s very hard SF (which is fine), but it’s so hard, that at times whole passages read as if they were taken from a popular science text-book on futuristic physics. I guess it’s difficult to have everything: an imaginative and engaging story, cool science and great characters. The Three-Body Problem scores 2 out of 3 of these, which is a very good score.

 

John Seavey on Fraggmented

“Review: Ancillary Justice” – June 22

I think that’s why, despite appreciating ‘Ancillary Justice’, I didn’t really enjoy it all that much. There is a plot, and it’s actually a very clever one. But Leckie takes a lot of time in getting to it; she’s got a lot to say about the Radch, the empire that controls vast segments of the galaxy, and she wants you to really get a handle on the reality of living in the empire they’ve created. Vast chunks of the novel are taken up explaining customs, linguistics (yes, including the bit the book is famous for, that the default gender is “she”) and politics of the Radch, long before the plot ever kicks into gear.

 

Rick Novy on Entropy Central

“Lampooning the Hugo Awards – Free Short Story” – June 22

aka…The Bluegills, the Bream, and the Shiny Stones

Every once in a while, a writer will produce a piece of fiction with a short shelf-life. Such it is with a story i wrote a couple of months ago. The intention was to make a statement about the 2015 Hugo Awards, so I lampooned it. I shopped the story to three pro markets that I thought might be able to handle the expiration date. One market called it amusing but not right for the magazine. I happen to agree it’s amusing, and the editor is probably right about it not being a good fit.

I decided the shelf life of the story is now way too short to try to sell the story again, so I’m posting it here for free. I hope you enjoy it.

Without further ado…

 

50 Ways To Leave Your Rover 6/20

aka “I love the smell of puppy in the morning.”

In today’s roundup, Ed Fortune, David Gerrold, T.C. McCarthy, Daniel Haight, Natalie Luhrs, John C. Wright, Morgan Locke, Mick, Carl Henderson, Vox Day, Tom Knighton, Rolf Nelson, Kevin Standlee, Melina D, Lis Carey, Kurt Busiek, Fred Kiesche, Brad Johnson, and mysterious others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day John King Tarpinian and Hampus Eckerman.)

Ed Fortune on Starburst

“Book Boycott Backfires” – June 20

An attempted boycott of publisher Tor Books by right-wing online activists has spectacularly backfired as booklovers across the world have responded by purchasing books from Tor to show their support. The activists in question are known as the Sad Puppies, or simply ‘The Puppies’. They recently gained notoriety by block voting in the recent Hugo Award nominations. The demands are in response to recent statements made by editors and authors who are associated with Tor in some way. Military sci-fi author Peter Grant issued a list of demands on behalf of The Puppies in a private letter that he then posted on his blog. The demands are:

Tor must publicly apologize for writings by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, Irene Gallo, and John Scalzi that “demonize, denigrate, slander and lie about the ‘Puppies’ campaigns”

Tor must “publicly reprimand those individuals for stepping over the line”

Tor must “publicly indicate that it is putting in place policies to prevent any recurrence of such issues.” Despite original Sad Puppy campaigner Larry Correia stating on his blog “The Sad Puppies Campaign is NOT calling for any boycotts, the letter was later endorsed by prominent members of The Puppies, including Theodor Beale (aka Vox Day) and John C. Wright. The Puppies now seem mostly leaderless, operating in a way similar to other online activists such as Gamer Gate and Anonymous have done in the past.

The response from the greater community has mostly been mockery, and to do their best to support authors by purchasing books from Tor

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – June 20

With the various escalations over perceived hurts, it seems that this is no longer about the Hugos — it looks more like an attempt to ignite a full-scale culture war within the genre.

Certainly, there is a lot of polarization evident in the various blogs and comment threads. But while the online discussions seem to present a picture of equal sides, I think that’s an illusion. It may turn out that the larger body of fandom will not be stampeded by the few who have become addicted to outrage.

Some of the most offensive posts — some of which are being widely circulated — will only serve to further marginalize not only the authors of those posts, but also those who are seen as comrades.

 

 

Daniel Haight on Flotilla Online

“Too Soon? How Should Sci-Fi Authors Deal with Tragedy?” – June 20

I felt compelled to speak up when another author linked to the above post made by the sci-fi author Michael Z. Williamson.  I found that Mr. Williamson’s Facebook is public and I was able to confirm that he did say what he said and that it’s still visible (as of today, 6/20 @ 10:05PDT)

I immediately felt a number of conflicting emotions: shock and revulsion at the tactless joke that was made. Sadness that we have become so inured to senseless violence that people are rushing to be the first one to find a way to joke about it. Confusion at whether I had a right to say anything, knowing I’ve made a few dark jokes from time to time. Uncertainty about whether it was my business to speak up.

And yet … a joke like that … made the same day the Charleston shooting occurred.  I can’t keep my mouth shut about that.  Innocent people died.  Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters … hundreds of lives ripped apart by a senseless act of violence.  That’s not hyperbole, those people’s lives are inexorably altered and potentially ruined. You … you can joke about that?

I can’t.

 

Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“Documenting a Wannabe Supervillain” – June 20

I don’t care if you think they’re jokes. And I know full well what kind of context they’re coming from, when your Twitter feed is full of you taunting people who are grieving and angry over an act of terrorism perpetrated against their community and you have pictures of yourself with guns and your Facebook profile pic is pro-waterboarding. I know exactly what kind of asshole you are and you can’t slither out of responsibility for your words because you think they’re jokes. You are a hateful, vile, and pathetic human being, Michael Z. Williamson.

And Williamson’s Hugo-nominated work, “Wisdom from My Internet” is execrable. It should never have made it to the ballot–and it wouldn’t have, if the Puppies hadn’t gamed the system with coordinated slates.

 

John C. Wright

“Moshe Feder Speaks for Himself” – June 20

He has decided publicly to rebuff those customers Mr Feder calls our customers unhappy with the recent unprofessional antics at Tor Books by the charming epithet “idiots”:

As you may have heard, certain scoundrels have declared a boycott of Tor, starting today, to protest the efforts of some Tor employees to defend the Hugo Awards from attack. In response, some of our friends have declared today “Buy A Tor Book Day.”

I wouldn’t have the temerity to ask you to buy a book just because some idiots have declared war on us. But if there _is_ a Tor Book you’ve been meaning to get anyway, buying it today would be a a gesture I’d appreciate.

[As always here on Facebook, I’m speaking for myself and not the company.]

Ah… Well, thank you for your help mollifying our customers, Mr Feder. I am sure that being told they are idiots will make them eager to spend their hard earned book-buying dollars the product you and I are working together to produce for them….

Since I have a conflict of interest, I must remain neutral. Loyalty to my publisher demands I not take sides. Loyalty to my beloved customers demands I not take sides.

Mr Feder has taken sides. Loyalty to his political correctness outweighs, for him, loyalty to publisher. And he just called you, my dear readers and customers, idiots and scoundrels.

This has nothing to do with the Sad Puppies. We are only here for the Hugo Awards.

This particular fight is between, on the one hand, those at Tor Books who think political correctness outweighs all professional and personal loyalties, all standards of decency, all need to be truthful, and who damn their own customers; and, on the other, those who are thankful to the customers and who think the purpose of a business is business.

One side consists of those calling for the resignations that any professional worthy of the name would long ago have proffered for the damage they have done to the company name and public goodwill.

The other side consists of people at Tor who regard Tor as an instrument of social engineering, an arm of the Democrat Party’s press department, or a weapon in the war for social justice.

Without expressing any personal opinion, I can say that there is an easy compromise which our free and robust capitalistic system allows: we can all wish the best to Miss Gallo and Mr Feder when they day comes when they decide to take their interests and obsessions elsewhere, and leave the company in the hands of those of us who merely want to write, publish, and read science fiction told from any and every point of view, political or otherwise, provided the story is well crafted.

 

 

Mick on Mick On Everything

“I Support The Tor Boycott” – June 20

There is plenty of evidence that they’ve been lying to you internally, if in fact they are telling you that those of use who’ve been e-mailing the company are bots as has been rumored.

There is plenty of evidence that they won’t stop, and even though they are now careful to state they don’t speak for Tor, without their positions they wouldn’t have nearly the platform or audience they do. These people are trading on the status the company gave them to trash the customer base, and the authors who actually produce the work.

The originator of the Sad Puppies movement, the International Lord of Hate Larry Correia, has come out and said he does not endorse the boycott. I reiterate – I do. Those of us on the Puppy side have taken enough abuse from the other side, and it’s time we hit them in the wallet.

If someone starts a fight and you don’t fight back, you lose. They started it years ago. Now is time to fight back.

 

Carl Henderson on Offend Everyone

“In Which I Speak of Sad Puppies.” – June 20

I’m a supporter of free speech—which ideally extends beyond the 1st Amendment protections against Government interference or suppression of speech. We as a society and individuals need to cultivate tolerance for opinions we disagree with.

Ms Gallo should not be fired. While her original Facebook remarks were mean-spirited and showed contempt for Tor readers and Tor authors, employers should not purge employees for having unpopular views. They may have a legal right to (depending on state laws and contracts), but they should not because: 1) the organization becomes captive to the loudest and most easily offended of their stakeholders, and 2) free speech is an objective good that writers and publishers should support, even when that speech is unpopular, or even considered hateful.

I think that calls for Tor to fire Gallo to be are wrong. Her remarks on Facebook were hateful and intolerant. But contributing to the culture of demanding punishment whenever anyone says anything offensive is counter to the Sad Puppy goal of more intellectual/political diversity in SF and Fantasy (as well the main goal supporting the primacy of good story over message). If you like a book/writer published by Tor, buy it. If you don’t, don’t buy it. In the long run, the free market will prevail and Tor (like any other company that doesn’t get the government to bail it out) will either change or die.

The justifications I hear from some people involved in Sad Puppies for supporting a Tor boycott or a campaign to have Gallo fired, generally run along these lines of “our opponents use these tactics, so we have to as well”. (I’m oversimplifying. Duh.)

But there’s an important point that those Puppies are missing. People like Gallo are good for your side. The louder and more extreme your opponents get, the better you look. And the better you look, the more support you gain.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Mr. Feder fans the flames” – June 20

It’s worth pointing out that we are not at war with Tor Books. We are merely asking Macmillan to save Tor Books from the observably self-destructive and unprofessional leadership of three of its senior employees, who have abused Tor’s authors and attacked Tor’s customers.

 

Tom Knighton

“Thoughts on the TOR boycott” – June 20

Tor, for some silly reason, is one of many traditional publishers that look at ebooks as a novelty and has them priced in a way to encourage you to buy the print book instead.  I hate that.  There are books I want to read, but I’m not spending more than $10 for a brand new ebook, and I expect that price to drop as time goes on.  Tor’s starting point, so to speak, is so much higher than I want to spend that I don’t really see me buying much of anything anyways.

Honestly, I can’t really boycott someone I don’t buy from in the first place.  I may have yet another reason to not buy Tor books, but it’s not like they’ll notice my lack of spending on their books.  Now, that’s not true for a lot of my Sad Puppy brethren, but it is for me.

Some are screaming that it’s not fair to try and “destroy” someone’s livelihood over comments they made a month earlier on their personal Facebook page.  I’ll buy that when the Left quits trying to destroy the livelihood of everyone who says something they disagree with.

I don’t want Irene Gallo fired necessarily.  I haven’t called for anyone from Tor to be fired.  The only person whose job I called for was the twit who wrote the Entertainment Weekly article, and that wasn’t because of her personal views, it was because she is an embarrassment to journalism.  It’s as simple as that.

That’s not to say that there aren’t a few people from Tor I’d love to see hunting for a job.  There are.  I hear those people get fired, and it’s party central at the Knighton household.  They’ve insulted me and my friends so many times that I really don’t care about how they’ll manage in today’s job market.

 

Wheels Within Wheels

“Boycott in progress” – June 20

I won’t be acquiring any more, though. Tor gives every impression of having a corporate culture that despises anyone who isn’t wholly on board with the left-wing causes of the day, and is more than willing to demonize them. As that applies to me, since they despise me, I’ll not force them to associate with me any longer.

 

Rolf Nelson

“Tor Boycott” – June 19

Gee, I can just feel the love from here. Details at Vox’s blog, Peter Grant’s place, Hoyt’s, and many other places in the SF/F blog-o-sphere. So, if you like SF, keep reading, but but use the library. If you think you just must buy your favorite Tor author, buy used and hit their tip-jar. Or, check out competing publishers like Baen or Castalia House, which don’t treat their authors and fan base like crap.

 

 

Kevin Standlee on Fandom Is My Way Of Life

“E Pluribus Hugo Submitted” – June 20

As presiding officer, I obviously won’t take a stance on the proposal; however, its very complexity requires me to be concerned about how to handle it technically at the Business Meeting. It will probably depend on how much more business gets submitted. It’s proposals like this that lead me to planning for WSFS to hold a Sunday (final day) business meeting for the first time since 1992.

 

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Mini Review: The Lego Movie” – June 21

I was watching along enjoying it, but thinking that there wasn’t really anything deeper to the movie, and then it turns around and hits me in the feels.The ‘twist’ at the end was unexpected and definitely added another element to the movie, but it also raises some questions (for me anyway) about the purpose of adult collectors of toys. I come from a family of these (my grandparents actually ran a toy museum when I was a kid) so maybe I think about these things when others don’t, but should toys be played with or preserved?

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Related Works” – June 20 So, the best of this category was better than I expected, but the worst was much worse than expected. I will use No Award in this category, because I don’t think any of the writing was polished or completely engaging enough to win an award as prestigious as the Hugo. However, I’ll list The Hot Equations next, as it was a mostly cohesive piece of writing which showed clear links to SF fiction.

This is where the slate is once again doing themselves a disservice, because it’s possible in another year The Hot Equations might have been in their amongst the top pieces. It’s the kind of thing I was expecting/hoping to find in the nominations – work on topics which aren’t usually my cup of tea (milSF and thermodynamics) which are good enough to engage me and make me think. But because there’s nothing to compare it with, I have to judge it on its own – create my own criteria – which leaves a possibility that I’m being harder on it than it deserves. And there’s such a lot of energy spent on promoting the really bad writing which could be spent on promoting and polishing and presenting more work like this.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Abyss & Apex: Hugo-Nominated Magazine of Speculative Fiction” – June 20

Abyss & Apex is a 2015 Hugo nominee for Best Semiprozine. It’s a web-based zine publishing a mix of poetry and fiction. I was very pleased to see that they have organized and accessible archives that made it easy to look at their issues from 2014. i.e., the relevant ones for this year’s Hugos. Overall, the quality looks high, and the presentation is good. My one objection is that the body text font doesn’t seem to be completely consistent across the site, and for me, that makes it a smidge less reasonable. In total, though, I’m favorably impressed.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

A Whippet of Earthflea 6/18

aka “The Brand and Bark Concerto”

In today’s roundup are Larry Correia, Cedar Sanderson, solarbird, Jim C. Hines, Stefan Raets, Patri Friedman, Allan Thomas, Steven Saus, Amanda S. Green, Sarah A. Hoyt, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Mike Flynn, Tim Atkinson, Lis Carey, Melina D, and Joe Sherry. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day JJ and RedWombat, and Anna Nimmhaus.)

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Sad Puppies are not calling for any boycotts” – June 18

I’m seeing this narrative pop up that Sad Puppies is calling for a boycott of Tor, but that is simply not true. Speaking as the guy who started the Sad Puppies campaign, I’m not calling for a boycott of anything. I’m not asking anyone to do anything. As far as I’m concerned this mess is between Tor and its customers. I’ve said very little about it so far, but I’ve been clear about that much.

The Sad Puppies Campaign is NOT calling for any boycotts.

[Continues with a discussion of recent history, and outlines Peter Grant’s background.]

After being a soldier, Peter hung up his guns and became a man of God. SJWs are saying that he’s a homophobe because he agreed with Sad Puppies, while in real life he volunteered at a colony for homosexuals who had been forsaken by African society, dying of AIDS. When I first met him, Peter was a prison chaplain, trying to help the fallen and broken, and victims of things you can’t even imagine. Basically, he’s an honorable man who puts his money where his mouth is, and now he’s offended.

Peter asked for a retraction from the Tor editor who flippantly dismissed thousands of fans as unrepentant racist neo-nazis. I don’t believe he’s calling for anything beyond that.

Again, this is between Tor and its readers who feel insulted, not the Sad Puppies campaign or the people who ran it. Yes, those Venn diagrams overlap, but sorry, you can’t blame this one on me. Many normal fans agreed with what Sad Puppies was trying to do, and shockingly enough, they eventually got sick and tired of employees of one of their favorite publishing houses calling them names. I’m not calling for anything, though I can certainly understand why some people are.

If any individual who felt insulted is satisfied with Tom Doherty’s statement saying that his employees don’t speak for his company, good for you. If any individual is unsatisfied and demands further action, that’s also up to you. I’m not going to tell anybody what to think.

For the other side who are saying that Gallo is the real victim here, and she was only speaking truth to power… Yeah, you guys run with that. Anybody with two brain cells to rub together can see she her comments were nonsense. The only thing she is a victim of is arrogance.

To the SJWs saying Tom Doherty is a hateful misogynist because he isn’t letting his employees libel people on the clock anymore? Double down. There might be some people left out there who haven’t realized I was right about you yet.

To the Tor authors I’m seeing post about this, the Sad Puppies campaign is not calling for a boycott. If you are upset why people are angry take it up with your art director about why she’s insulting your customers.

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. We’ve got the moral high ground, and the great moderate middle of this debate has seen we’ve been telling the truth all along.

 

Cedar Sanderson in a comment on Monster Hunter Nation – June 17

I have blogged extensively on this, in part because Peter Grant, who I am honored to call a friend, asked me to weigh in as a businesswoman. I have not been calling for a boycott or even a dismissal of Irene Gallo. It is simply a horrible example of unprofessional behavior, and an opportunity for Tor to show that they do respect their customers and vendors even though there is a lot of evidence that certain personnel do not.

 

solarbird on crime and the forces of evil

“this is just pathetic: puppy boycott, ahoy” – June 18

Anyway, the demands are ludicrous, but to summarise:

  • Tor must publicly apologize for writings by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, Irene Gallo, and John Scalzi that “demonize, denigrate, slander and lie about the ‘Puppies’ campaigns”
  • Tor must “publicly reprimand those individuals for stepping over the line”
  • Tor must “publicly indicate that it is putting in place policies to prevent any recurrence of such issues.”

See, this is exactly what you get when you hang one of your own out to dry for making personal comments on their own Facebook page like Tor did. You get escalation. So I’m honestly having a hard time feeling sorry for Tor Books here; it was as predictable a piece of politics as one can imagine. And I’m not just saying that in retrospect; I said so at the time.

Now mind you, this “boycott” is pretty must sad-trumpet amateur hour for several reasons, not the least is probable inability to make visible economic impact. As Vox himself admitted, he hasn’t bought anything from Tor in years, and I doubt all that many of the others who are going to sign on to this thing have either. A few, sure, absolutely – with the hilarious side-effect that means the writers they might be able to hurt are the ones on their side.

 

 

 

Patri Friedman

[Seasteader, son of David, grandson of Milton…]

“Being intolerant of people you don’t like because they’re intolerant” – June 18

So, there is some kerfluffle about Tor books, because one of their employees (Irene Gallo) said on her personal Facebook page that the sad puppies (conservatives fighting a culture war to make SF less SJW-influenced) were racist, homophobic, neo-nazis. Sad puppy supporters like SF author Peter Grant, who has literally exchanged gunfire with neo-nazis in South Africa were understandably outraged at this characterization. And (not so understandably, to me) calling for firing/resignation/public abasement of these employees. Which is where I have a problem. This sounds a lot like:

“Your business must publicly apologize for the hateful speech of your employee which has offended a small minority of listeners by publicly abasing yourselves, and promising not to do it again. This will show the world that hate cannot be tolerated; the strong cannot abuse the weak; and (incidentally) that our tribe is powerful and can grind your tribe under our boot if you dare offend us.”

Which is what anti-SJWers complain about the left doing. Sorry guys, but it’s bad when SJWs do it; and it’s bad when anti-SJWs do it, because, well, it’s bad. As I’ve previously posted, ideological diversity is important, and ideological intolerance is the enemy of ideological diversity and the progress that comes from having many opinions and beliefs working in parallel. Making people suffer professionally for their personal political opinions is stellar example of harmful ideological intolerance.

 

Allan Thomas on LewRockwell.com

“The High Church of Science Fiction and Tor” – June 19

I had heard, from several reliable sources, that it was next to impossible for a libertarian science fiction writer to break into the field.  I absolutely refused to pretend to be non-libertarian just to get published, and so I followed Larry Correia’s Sad Puppies campaign with interest.  Brad Torgerson and Vox Day were able to gather a core following of 360 voters and completely sweep the Hugo award nominations.  Yes, it only took 360 science fiction fans to completely overwhelm the existing system.

The fallout from that event still has not settled, and the awards won’t even be announced until August.  But the reaction makes it obvious that there is a sizable percentage of science fiction fandom that is “not satisfied with the products and services being offered.” Entrepreneurs have a name for this situation–”market opportunity.”

However, to date, it appears that only Castallia House is focused on providing science fiction for this segment of the market; they have even signed a new deal with legendary writer Jerry Pournelle.

For their part, Tor Books seems content to continue to ignore this dissatisfied segment of science fiction fandom.  And, in fact, Tor employees are content to insult them.

 

Steven Saus on ideatrash

“The Topical Changes In Science Fiction And Fantasy Has Nothing To Do WIth Sad Or Rabid Puppies” – June 18

The change in science fiction and fantasy over the last sixty years little to do with politics, and a lot more to do (ironically) with technology.

The current state of sf (science fiction) and f (fantasy) has a small vocal portion of its readership bemoaning the loss of “traditional” science fiction and fantasy. An oft-repeated quote is paraphrased as “Back in the day, when you bought a book with an astronaut on the cover, you knew what you were getting.”

The historical accuracy of this impression, like much nostalgia, is debatable. But more importantly, it is irrelevant.

To understand why, we must look to the Ferris Wheel….

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Time to take a deep breath, stop and think” – June 18

… I’m going to part with one last comment. When I was growing up, I loved SF/F because there was a place for everyone, at least that is the way it seemed. Looking at it now, it feels like a house divided where those on the inside are doing their best to bar the door to everyone else, including a large faction of the reading public. That has got to stop and now.

 

L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright interviews Mike Flynn on Superversive SF

”Interview with Hugo Nominated Author: Mike Flynn!” – June 18

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

A supporting character in Up Jim River had a backstory in which he had journeyed across the face of his home world before making contact with an interstellar trade ship. That gave me the notion of telling his story. The idea is that as he travels east he encounters progressively more technologically advanced cultures. “In the Stone House” was the second of these stories and was originally was the first half of a longer story the second half of which (“Against the Green”) appeared in the succeeding issue of ANALOG.

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Of Pigs, Fights and Life” – June 18

When I said that I couldn’t mention the letters “H-u-g- and o” in the same paragraph without getting linked, I was right.  Or I might not mention the Hugos at all, or only in passing on the last paragraph.  But if the post supports the narrative the puppy-kickers are building, sure as shooting it will get linked.  Like my post about a new Golden Age, which got linked because in their blinkered little minds we’re calling for pulp.  (Sometimes one wonders about the minds that build this narrative.  You are aware someone who grew up on pulp would be 100, right?  You are aware that Heinlein not only wasn’t pulp, but was in many ways the anti-pulp.  I mean, I read Burroughs, but mostly Tarzan, and it wasn’t my favorite.  I read him because grandad had him, so I read him by 5 or 6.  Books were expensive and we had those. But his technique was outdated by then.)

But it supported the narrative, so it got linked.  The same way that its subsequent “Oh, for the love of frack, no one wants pulp” follow up wasn’t.  The same way my friend Sanford’s post over at Otherwhere Gazette, exploding their nonsense wasn’t.  The same way my post pointing out that I felt they were linking me to homophobia and how stupid this was wasn’t.

Oh, it’s very carefully done.  There is an image being built, and he links to those posts that support it.  Then when caught it’s not his fault and he can’t control his commenters, and he can’t see everything.

And, as I said, I have been conversant with these techniques since dealing with the cobbler’s son next door, while growing up.  (Weirdly he didn’t become a communist politician, and has instead racked up several jail terms.)

So Mike Glyer is smarter than the average bear, and much better at Alinsky techniques, and I’m an idiot to fall for them and come out swinging, which meant I had a spanking coming.

 

Tim Atkinson on Magpie Moth

“Kevin J Anderson’s The Dark Between The Stars: control, not mastery” – June 18

I also hadn’t realised – according to Wikipedia – that KJA has written more than 50 best-sellers. It’s easy to be sniffy about writers who tend to work in already established universes, but you don’t keep getting those gigs unless you are good at what you do.

So, before I talk you through The Dark Between The Stars, it’s hats off to an author doing very well for himself at the commercial end of the market.

Dark is more of what Anderson does – space opera on an epic scale – only in a sandbox of his own devising to play in. And what an elaborate, detailed, techno-baroque sandbox it is too, taking in psychic empires, gas giant mining, insectoid robot, gestalt forests, plague collectors and colours from out of spaaaaaaaaaace.

This world-bling – to borrow a phrase from China Mieville – is one of two main admirable qualities the novel has, the other being the plotting. Anderson juggles a huge cast and multiple plot-lines without breaking a sweat, like the hugely experienced pro he is.

But I’m essentially praising Dark as a feat of literary engineering rather than as a novel. These are virtues of control rather than mastery. The array of characters I found unengaging and rather one-dimensional, the action curiously flat. And the sheer size of the book and number of stories spreads Anderson too thinly, so that no single thread truly breathes in its own right.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Deaths of Tao (The Lives of Tao #2), by Wesley Chu” – June 18

Wesley Chu is a nominee for the 2015 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

…All in all, I nearly bounced off this book.

And then, thirty or forty pages in, the characters started to matter to me, and their problems became interesting, and a bit further in, I stopped caring that this is a story type I normally find really dumb and annoying. What can you do? I kept reading. Best New Writer? That seems a fair conclusion, even with the slates this year having possibly kept other good candidates off the ballot….

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Novellas” – June 18

[Reviews all five nominated novellas.]

So today I got the Hugo Packet and decided I would start to read some of the fiction. I haven’t completely decided how I’m going to arrange my votes around the slate, but I was curious about why certain fiction was chosen to be part of the Sad/Rabid Puppy slate. I gave myself permission to give up on short fiction after at least 6 pages if I wanted to. But when I began reading the novellas, I started to get angry. Really bloody angry. So, of course, I decided to blog about them.

The novella category is one of those which was completely stacked by the puppies. I was expecting fiction which wasn’t my usual cup of tea, but still well written examples of fiction I might not usually choose to read. But, honestly, the writing was shit. I’m going to go into more detail on each of the novellas, but 4 out of the 5 of them shouldn’t have been published with such low quality of writing. The 5th was competent – which was a relief – but nowhere near award nomination quality….

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Novelette” – June 18

The best of the bunch here is Rajnar Vajra’s “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”, though I’m really not sure what the “Golden Age” part of it is all about. Is it a suggestion that the story harkens back to the golden age of science fiction or is it part of a larger Golden Age milieu that Vajra is working in. If the second, I can’t find any other Golden Age tales. Regardless, “The Triple Sun” is a story with some space exploration, adventure, sass, and all in all good fun.

My Vote

1. The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale
2. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium
3. Championship B’Tok
4. The Day the World Turned Upside Down
5. No Award
6. The Journeyman: In the Stone House