The Day the World Turned Pupside Down 6/15

aka The Fall of the Doghouse of Usher

Today in the roundup: Andrew Hickey, The G, Brad R. Torgersen, Dave Freer, Chris Van Trump, Cedar Sanderson, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Joe Vasicek, Peter Grant, Amanda S. Green, Keri Sperring, Natalie Luhrs, Maureen Eichner, Paul Weimer, Michael A. Rothman, RedWombat, Camestros Felapton, Spacefaring Kitten, Lis Carey, Steve Davidson and cryptic others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Kary English and rcade.)

Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

“What Political Campaigners Can Learn From The Sad & Rabid Puppies” – June 15

But at the point where you try to drag in the US-centric “culture war”, and argue for the right-wing side of it, you lose not only the “SJWs”, but basically anyone in the Western world outside the USA, because even the most barking right-winger in the UK would be considered a leftist by US culture war standards, and the UK is right-wing compared to most of the rest of the West.

Then there’s the claim that the Puppies’ work is the best of what’s out there — on a purely aesthetic ground, that claim is a nonsense, and I get very annoyed at people pushing clearly sub-par work.

So even if the Puppies hadn’t made an actual enemy of me by including among their membership white supremacist homophobes who advocate rape and murder, I would wish them to fail purely because of their promotion of poor work and their culture war agenda.

But then there are other people — right-wing Republicans who like the stories — who are also voting “No Award” above the Puppies because they’re angry that those works got on the ballot thanks to voting slates, which are against the spirit of the awards and break the unspoken agreement among fandom not to do that kind of thing.

I have to say that personally, that bit doesn’t annoy me too much. I mean, it annoys me a bit, because it’s cheating, but if they’d cheated and got a *really great* bunch of stories on there, I’d have had a sneaking admiration for it. I’d not have approved, mind, but I’d not have been that angry.

 

The G on nerds of a feather, flock together

“Final Words on #Hugowank” – June 15

  1. Isolate and address the legitimate grievances

The sad version claims its campaign is really about sticking up for fun and/or commercial and/or pulpy and/or conservative and/or apolitical science fiction and fantasy against the onslaught of intellectual snobs and/or “social justice warriors” who have forced works of high-minded and/or message-driven and/or progressive literature on the unsuspecting masses of fandom.

Despite finding the majority of victimization claims empirically bogus, I do have some sympathy for the base-claim that popular genre is often crowded out by a specific style of literary-minded SF/F. But in short fiction, where voting pools are small and its likely that writers, editors and slush readers represent a disproportionate slice of the electorate. And it’s not the result of conspiracy but an institutional effect—a self-replicating mechanism that structures the field. Jonathan McCalmont explains how that works in these (one, two, three) articles.

For the record, I see no evidence of this in the best novel category. In fact, I see the opposite—voters rewarding novels that are, on the surface, light and breezy, but have some deeper messages if you bother to look for them. However, it’s not necessary to do that if you just want fun and adventure—sort of like Firefly. (Actually a lot like Firefly, come to think of it.) Plus several Hugo winners, Redshirts and Among Others in particular, are aimed directly at so-called trufans: Redshirts is a Star Trek parody and the protagonist of Among Others is literally a trufan. These are genuinely popular books, and if being a fan is a major part of your life, then there’s an even stronger chance you’ll connect with them. But New Yorker material they are not.

What’s more, even if certain kinds of short fiction enjoy institutional advantages at the moment, pulpy SF/F has not been shut out. Brandon Sanderson, for example, won Best Novella in 2013 for the popular and commercial The Emperor’s Soul. And though I understand Charles Stross is, for some, a demon whose recent Hugo successes haunt dreams and stalk imaginations, 2014 Novella winner “Equoid” (on Tor dot com) is actually super pulpy.

 

Brad R. Torgersen

“Picture of a TOR buyer” – June 15

It would be a damned shame if someone thought I was just malware.

Don’t you think?

 

Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“The plucky ‘bots” – June 15

Now according to semi-reliable sources (Publishers Weekly, drawing data from Bookscan) the pie got smaller. This of course is traditional publishing’s pie (which is historically almost the entire Hugo pie too.) (my apologies for not having the 2014 figures – my internet is being really slow and buggy. I’ve seen them, but couldn’t find them. It’s no change.) It’s shrinking year on year with less readers, less sales, and at this rate, will be a slightly smaller problem than the argument about the last slice of Pavlova at the Flinders Island Country Women’s Association tea in ten years’ time (Okay that’s a pretty serious dispute, but it’s got maybe 12 women eyeing it. Still, it’s only just thermonuclear, and not planet-busting)

Part of the reason the puppy kickers have been so particularly unpleasant, vicious and ready for ad hominem and attacks on the livelihood and reputation of anyone even vaguely associated with the Puppies has been because of that shrinking. Those are their pieces of pie, and they want to keep them, and as much as possible of what is left.

In a way, of course, that true in the award situation. There are a fixed number of final nominees, and only one winner in each category.

 

Chris Van Trump on Shambling Towards Bethlehem

“Sadder Puppies” – June 15

I suppose the most tragic thing to me, in the ongoing Saga of the Sad Puppies, is that the people opposed to said Puppies seem to be going out of their way to prove a lot of the accusations that led to the creation of the Puppies in the first place.  Because the inevitable response, once you filter out the snark and hyperbole, is as follows:

“There is no conspiracy, no liberal cabal stopping conservative authors from winning, so stop trying to take our award away from us.”

“Us”, of course, is just code for “people who think like me”.

It’s disheartening to see established, award-winning authors decrying anyone who doesn’t agree with them as “no true fan”.  And Worldcon isn’t even in Scotland this year…

 

Cedar Sanderson

“Letter-Writing Campaign” – June 15

And speaking of black holes, I was annoyed to discover that Tor Books, on which I blogged at length last week, has apparently decided that the customers who are contacting them to complain about the way Irene Gallo treated them are not real. I wish I were joking. I am being told that they have decided the response is disproportionate, and therefore all the emails they are getting are from ‘bots. Whether this is all of Tor (which I doubt) or a small cadre (likely the same ones who have been so vocally critical in the past of their ‘wrongfans’) doesn’t really matter. This is completely unacceptable. I am angry and abandoning a vendor who has messed up a small (relatively) order. How do you think that I and others are reacting when complaints of being called racist, misogynist, homophobic, our work being ‘bad to reprehensible’ and worst of all to those of us who know history, lumped with neo-Nazis? Those complaints are being ignored, maybe deleted, and I will not put up with it, for one.

I strongly urge my readers to join me in making our voices heard. I am not calling for a  boycott, or firings, I simply want to have a conversation and have my concerns acknowledged. I do not want to be brushed aside and ignored as though I were a meaningless part of this. I’ve bought few Tor books in the last few years because I haven’t cared for most of the authors they support. But I have bought some, and furthermore, am one of those libeled as having ‘bad to reprehensible’ work.

I am also a businesswoman, and this unprofessional behavior is inexcusable. Allowing their employees to post things like the screencap below, which appeared on a Monday afternoon, meaning it was almost certainly made during work time, on a work computer… that is beyond the pale, as many people have found in the past. Unless, evidently, you work for Tor or MacMillan. If then, apparently you can call your customers names with impunity.

 

L. Jagi Lamplighter on Welcome To Arhyalon

“I Am Not A Robot! I Am A Free Fan!” – June 15

[The author requested that I run this disclaimer ahead of any excerpt.]

[L. Jagi Lamplighter: “I would not want someone to think I am trying to make things worse between Tor and their readers! I just thought that harmony could not be restored if folks at Tor mistakenly thought the letters from readers were from a bot. (I know they are legit, because I know some of these folks. They’ve been writing to John to explain why they feel they can’t buy his books.)”]

Many of these readers are people I know, people I interact with online, or fans of John’s who have written us thoughtful letters explaining why they regretfully feel they must stop buying Tor book, despite their desire to keep reading John’s latest series.

I was thus appalled to see posts suggesting that the emails to Tor—many of which, I am led to understand, are arriving with photos of the reader’s Tor book collections, in some cases, collections worth thousands of dollars—were not legitimate but were sent from automated bots.

Tor Folks:  You may disagree with the Sad/Rabid Puppies, or feel loyalty to your co-workers—but please! Don’t insult our readers by claiming they don’t exist!

Readers:  I realize that, in the age of electronics,this is an unprecedented request, but: if you have a strong opinion that you wish to be heard, it might help if you committed it to physical paper—perhaps along with a printout of your photo of your Tor book collection—and snail mailed it to Tor and Macmillan.

Also, feel free to send me your photo of your Tor books. I will post any photos or links I receive on my website, so everyone can see that you are a real person with real books.

[Photos posted here — I Am Not A Robot! I Am A Free Fan!]

 

Joe Vasicek on One Thousand and One Parsecs

“I AM A REAL PERSON” – June 15

In my first email, I stated that I could not in good conscience continue to support your organization by submitting my stories for publication at Tor.com. The events of the last seven days have made me reluctant to buy Tor books as well. In the coming months, I hope that we can move past this controversy so that we can get back to reading, writing, and publishing stories that we all love, without concern for politics. However, until the corporate culture at Tor has changed to be more inclusive of readers and writers like me, I do not see how that is possible.

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“’Can you hear us now?’ Another open letter to Tor and Macmillan” – June 15

A heartfelt “Thank you!!!” to everyone who responded to requests to e-mail Tor and Macmillan about the situation there.  I’ll leave the co-ordinator of the campaign to announce the totals, but they appear to be well into four figures as of the time of writing.  I wonder if Tor and Macmillan will now accept that we aren’t bots and we aren’t just a few malcontents? We are, in fact, a growing wave of SF/F fans who are threatening to abandon them altogether.  If they haven’t yet got that message, they’ll probably never understand it without more direct action.

(By the way, I can only describe as ‘catastrophic’ the performance of whoever’s responsible for customer relations at Tor and/or Macmillan.  There’s been an absolutely inexplicable, deafening silence from both companies in response to e-mails and other communications – not even so much as an acknowledgment of receipt.  When I was a manager and, later, a director, if I’d had a customer relations person who performed so abysmally, they’d have been fired the moment I found out about it.  “Do not pass ‘GO’, do not collect $200, and by all means let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!”  This is simply ridiculous.  Oh, well . . . if they want to play the clam, I think we have every right to assume that both companies are standing behind the unconscionable words and attitudes of the Tor personnel we’ve named.  We’re therefore free to take our response to the next – and only logical – level.)

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Vacation’s over” – June 15

Then there is the mischaracterization being tossed around by some that SP3 stands for no message in our fiction. That is, as I said, a mischaracterization. What we want is for story to be the driving force. Yes, you can have a message but don’t hit the reader over the head with it because, whether you want to admit it or not, it will turn most folks off it they think they are being lectured to.

 

Kari Sperring

“Red Writer: I stand with Irene Gallo” – June 15

Mr Beale believes in freedom only for himself and those who agree with him. He believes he has the right to police the words and lives of everyone else and punish or destroy them if they offend. He is the perfect robber capitalist, dreaming of a world in which the rich — and he is very very rich — control everything, from resources and awards to bodies and thoughts of those who he considers his inferiors. He’s trying that today with TOR books.

And this red writer is standing here in his way. The US culture war does not belong in our genre, which is global and not the property of any one interest group or political belief. Do I want right-wing books and writers in my genre? Yes, I do. Writing belongs to us all. Do I want *only* right wing books and *only* white, straight, American male writers? No, because that is counter not only to the roots of sff — which lie in the work of writers of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, and political views — but to my personal principles, which believe in inclusion and support for the many rather than privilege for the (predictable straight white male) few.

I stand with Irene Gallo.

Or, and if you want to go and denounce me and my books as communist, feel free. I’m not ashamed of my politics.

 

Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“I am a real person and I stand with Irene Gallp” – June 15

In response to these rank pieces of bullshit (and this one, too), I have just emailed the following individuals at Tor Books and Macmillan in solidarity with Irene Gallo:…

 

Paul Weimer on Blog, Jvstin Style

“I am a real person, too and I do not Support Theodore Beale” – June 15

You know what? I’m a real person too. I’m a real person who thinks that the shit that Theodore Beale has pulled in the community has helped inflame tensions and increase divides in the SFF community. I’m a real person who reads what Beale writes on his blog and sees that if Irene is wrong in calling Rabid Puppies Neonazis, its a pretty thin wedge….

 

Maureen Eichner on By Signing Light

“A letter to Tor and MacMillan” – June 15

I’ve spent much of the last week appalled and upset by this message from Tom Doherty, the head of Tor Books. I’m not going into the backstory or ramifications in this post, but suffice it to say that once again, it has made me feel that being a female SFF fan, writer, or editor means fighting for your place forever. It means your boss choosing to give words of support to a noxious racist rather than to you.

 

Michael A. Rothman in a comment on Facebook – June 15

[Rothman outs himself as a troll.]

The Chesley Awards…..

Anyone want to take bets on Irene Gallo taking the prize for a variety of reasons that will remain nameless?

Larry? Brad? Mike?

 

Brad R. Torgersen in a comment on File 770 – June 15

Aaron: has it ever occurred to you that for me, the front man of SP3, to begin playing favorites — ergo, singling out specific works for praise — I’d be doing a disservice to the whole slate? Like every other year at the Hugos, not every work on the list will be to all tastes. I am only disappointed in everyone who claims “The Hugos should be a celebration of quality and excellence!” in one breath, then shout, “Everyone on the Puppy list sucks, their work sucks, and I will Noah Ward the lot of them; sight-unseen!”

 

Red Wombat in a comment on File 770 – June 15

I would like to ask our person asking us to go easy on Brad, in turn, if he can understand how some of us who went from “Which one’s Brad?” to being told that our much cherished awards were an affirmative action movement, and we weren’t REALLY creating anything worthwhile, it was all our glittery hoo-has and correct social justicey-ness, might take offense.

From my point of view, Torgersen went from a name on the Campbell ballot to a dude who had just insulted something I poured a decade of my life into.

Can you at least reach across the aisle to understand why I would not feel he’s a nice sweet boy after that? Why I started out feeling that he’d built a campaign on the back of insulting me, and everyone a little like me?

He could apologize. I’d probably accept it–I’m basically a marshmallow. But please understand that some of us walked in to find that we were being insulted when we’d never spoken a word to Brad before.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“The Blending Puppies” – June 15

There was supposed to be a difference between the two puppy breeds. Rabid Puppies were supposed to be the foam-mouthed extremists who want to destroy the Hugos and wreak maximum havoc, while their sad cousins are — despite buying into some objectionable ideas —  actual SFF fans. Or that’s what I thought. I’m not sure you can make the distinction anymore.

Sad Puppy figures Brad Torgersen, Cedar Sanderson and Peter Grant, among others, have decided to join the professional troll Vox Day on his crazy crusade against Tor books. They’re all supporting a GamerGate-inspired mailbox-stuffing campaign that tries to get a person who is working for an SFF publisher (and who they don’t like) fired.

 

 

Camestros Felapton

“The Aslan, the warlock and the cupboard: more on One Bright Star” – June 14

What are we to conclude? The simplest answer is that Tybalt is an allegorical mess and the reason for that is Wright really didn’t know what he was doing. I’m happy to believe that Wright’s claims about what he intended are correct but all we can conclude from that is what was obvious from the beginning: One Bright Start To Guide Them is not well written nor well edited and the potentially interesting ideas are mainly happenstance.

 

Tony on Geeky Library

The Dark Between The Stars”  – June 15

Rating (5 stars)

The author’s writing style is engaging and dramatic without being overly narrative. While it took me a little work to get started, once I was reading it, I couldn’t put the book down. Written in the same format as A Song of Ice and Fire, the story follows multiple characters, sometimes briefly, as events unfold. Historical events are introduced and explained without making you feel like an idiot for not reading the Seven Suns saga, and plotlines are left unresolved where necessary to carry into rest of the trilogy.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Hill 142, by Jason Cordova” – June 15

Jason Cordova is a 2015 nominee for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best New Writer.

This is a single, small battle of World War One, with the Germans equipped with giant, venomous spiders as cavalry mounts, and the Americans equipped with giant (2000-pound) lion as mounts. There’s no explanation of why or how, other than a reference to a breeding program for the lions in Texas, There’s also no indication of how this affects the war, other than sending the surviving soldiers home with more fantastical stories to tell. So what’s the point? I have no idea.

Not recommended.

 

Font Folly

“Hugo Ballot Reviews: Novella” – June 15

[Preceded by reviews of nominated novellas.]

* The Sad/Rabid Puppies object to this characterization. They were just recommending entire slates, they say. Nothing they did was against the rules, they say. Which is exactly what cheats, grifters, and confidence men say when they are caught exploiting a system. Voting an entire slate clearly violates the spirit of the awards, which is supposed to be voting for the works you personally thought were the best of the year. Recruiting mens rights activists and Gamergators who aren’t regular readers of SF to vote these slates in order to stick it to the Social Justice Warriors pushes it even further into the dirty deed category.

 

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“Fandom Enters The McCarthy Era” – June 15

Corrected text from the Wikipedia entry on Senator Joseph McCarthy S. R. Puppies:

Beginning in 1950 2013, McCarthy S.R. Puppies became the most visible public face of a period in which Cold War Hugo Award tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist SJW subversion. He was They were noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers SJW and Liberal Fans inside the United States federal government SF/F publishing industry and elsewhere. Ultimately, his their tactics and inability to substantiate his their claims led him them to be censured by the United States Senate Fandom.

The term McCarthyism Puppyism, coined in 1950 2015 in reference to McCarthy’s S.R. Puppies’ practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist SJW activities. Today the term is used more generally in reference to demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents….

Send In The Puppies… Don’t Bother They’re Here 4/28

aka One To Forsee For Puppies

Reactions to Edmund R. Schubert’s withdrawal as a Hugo nominee dominate today’s roundup, illustrated here by quotes from Lou Antonelli, N. K. Jemisin, Deirdre Saoirse Moen, George R.R. Martin and Dara Korra’ti. Annie Bellet elaborated on her own withdrawal in a comment left on Jim C. Hines’ blog.

The rest of the roundup takes note of new voices like Michael A. Rothman, Rachel Iliffe, John Popham, Moira J. Moore and Brenda Noiseux, and hears more from Amanda S. Green, Will McLean, Sandy Ryalls, T. L. Knighton, Vox Day, Sean Wallace, Nick Mamatas and others. (Credit for these titles belongs to File 770 contributing editors Laura Resnick and Matt Y.)

Lou Antonelli on Facebook

I don’t know how useful it will be to attend an event whose master of ceremonies is openly antagonistic to most of the potential honorees, and who is already predicting the outcome (below) and has – in other places – essentially vowed a blacklist (“It will take people a long time to forget how you tried to destroy the Hugos” or something to that effect). I mean, if I win one, will he hit me over the head with it? Where’s MY Safe Space?

 

 

 

 

 

Deidre Saoirse Moen in a comment on Sounds Like Weird

[Edmund] Schubert stated on the IGMS website that he didn’t know about the slates until afterward, and I’ve updated the post with a link to his statement. (I’d seen the link mentioned before my post, but I wasn’t able to get through to the site at that time.)

While I can see an argument for doubting his word, I’m of the “I take people at their word unless I have a reason not to” school of thought.

 

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Schubert Withdraws” – April 28

Edmund R. Schubert, the editor of ORSON SCOTT CARD’S INTERGALACTIC MEDICINE SHOW, has announced his decision to withdraw from the Hugo race…

I understand the reasons for his withdrawal and applaud his integrity. It cannot be easy to walk away from a major award, perhaps one that you have dreamed of someday winning. And this takes courage as well; like the others who have dropped off the Puppy slate, he will undoubtedly come in for a certain amount of angry barking from the kennels.

 

Dara Korra’ti on crime and the forces of evil

“edmund schubert bows out” – April 28

Edmund Schubert says he’s published queer authors in Intergalactic Medicine Show, and will continue to do so, and he says that’s with the full support of Mr. Card. Also stories by and of women, and various racial groups and religions. That’s good.

But I’ve got an assortment of assaults and a hospital visit and more money than I want to think about and years of lost time and decades of living in various degrees of fear all spent fighting for my legal and occasionally physical life against Mr. Card’s allies, and, to a lesser degree, Mr. Card himself. He and his friends on the social right have quite literally cost me and millions like me untold amounts of both blood and treasure.

And his erstwhile allies still are, across the globe, American fundamentalists exporting their religion of hate, getting execution laws passed, spreading the same lies they weren’t able to sell at home any longer.

So don’t expect that to stop mattering to me. And never, ever, dare tell me that it shouldn’t matter. Because, maybe, for you, it doesn’t have to. But to me? That’s quite a luxury. One I will never have.

 

Annie Bellet in a comment on Jim C. Hines’ “Choosing Sides”

Thank you for writing this post, Jim. The Us vs Them and points scoring thing overtaking what the Hugos should be is exactly why I withdrew.

I should clarify though that when I say I didn’t do it because of pressure from either “side” I am not saying there wasn’t pressure (I had plenty of messages on all sides telling me to hang tough, that my story was amazing, that I shouldn’t decline just because of who might have voted for me, etc, and messages saying I should be ashamed of myself, that I’d stolen the nomination from a real writer who actually deserved it, etc). I’m saying I made my decision for many other reasons. It’s one reason I took nearly two weeks to withdraw, because it was a very tough decision and I wanted to make sure I was doing it because it was right for me, for my own reasons, and not because of what people around me were saying was right or wrong. Because I wanted to make sure my withdrawal was for me and that it could be something I felt comfortable with instead of just a reaction to other people’s pain.

Hope that clarifies.

 

Michael A. Rothman on Facebook – April 28

For the Big-F Fandom community who feels aggrieved that people are acting unethically or against what you feel is right, then let me make a suggestion. [This is coming from a guy who participates and runs standards organizations, so it’s not exactly coming from someone who doesn’t have a clue.]

– Change the rules to match your expectations. That means no hidden agendas or intent, be forthright about what WorldCon and more specifically the Hugos are about and form the rules around that.

If you don’t do that, all your belly aching is just that. Pathetic whining that no adult should be doing and nobody who isn’t in your clique will respect.

If you set rules, you are drawing a line in the sand. Nothing more, nothing less.

All this argument over seemliness and the proper type of voter etc. is just not professional and not what people in the real world do. You come off looking silly and quite pathetic.

 

Rachel Iliffe on Rachelloon Productions

“#SadPuppies : Stop the Hugo Awards Bullies?” – April 28

In 2013 when I first started this blog one of my first posts was about the STGRB controversy. For those of you who don’t know, STGRB stands for ‘Stop The GoodReads Bullies’, and was a group who formed one side of another SJW conflict—however, this was a little different to the more recent debacles we’ve grown to love.

The basic background was this: a number of popular intersectional feminist book-reviewers had been declared ‘bullies’ by a group of mostly independent authors whose books had been criticised by them for reasons of sexism etc. Now, the timeline here was very murky, or at least it was when I first became aware of it, concerning who had stated this whole thing. There were accusations of ’rounding up mobs of fans’ flying back and forth from one side to the other (I’m sure the SJWs have a word for that in their Newspeak lexicon… eh, I probably don’t want to know) and of course, accusations of doxxing, threats and harassment.

Those who supported STGRB claimed that their books had been criticised unfairly, and that when this occurred more often than not the friends and followers of these feminist reviewers, many reviewers just as popular, would immediately give their book a correspondingly poor rating on Goodreads without even thinking of actually reading it for themselves—and with many of these being indie authors, drive the average rating of the book down significantly and negatively impact the impressions of potential readers.

 

Amanda S. Green on Mad Genius Club

“And the tantrums continue” – April 28

The logic of so many of them fails on almost every level, from assigning SP3 as some sort of partner or even tool of GamerGate to fear that if SP3 is successful we might — gasp — get a writer like Diana Gabaldon winning a Hugo and we mustn’t have that because she writes icky romances.

Give me a freaking break. (Yes, I said something different but I’m censoring myself this morning.)

I think it was this last one that sent me screaming into the night. The fear that someone who writes fantasy with a distinct romance bent might be nominated, much less win was so over the top. It was as if those making the complaint truly believes science fiction and fantasy are still pure genres. Obviously they haven’t read much lately. If they had, they would see that there is genre crossing all around. Yes, you can, with a lot of searching, find a pure hard science fiction novel, but they are few and far between. Fantasy has, for years, had some aspect of mystery or romance or the like in it. The mixing of genres, when done well, is a good thing.

I’ll repeat that, mixing of genres when done well is a good thing.

It helps by bringing in readers who might never have picked up a science fiction or fantasy book. That brings more money to the writers and publishers. It will bring in even more new readers as word of mouth spreads. Where is the harm in all that?

The very fact that some of those who are anti-Puppy are afraid that icky romance writers might invade their ivory towers of Awardland simply proves what so many of us have been saying. Those folks have gotten too comfortable with their hold on the awards and refuse to admit, even to themselves, that there might be award-worthy books outside their comfort zone.

 

John Popham on The Infinite Reach

“The House of Many Rooms” – April 28

Of course, it is an ill wind that blows no one good. If nothing else, the sturm und drang surrounding the Hugos appears to have re-energized the larger science fiction community’s engagement with the Hugo voting process. George R. R. Martin commented in his blog post What Now? that a air of complacency has surrounded the nomination process in recent years, with many Worldcon members abdicating the nomination process to a small group of Worldcon insiders. As I pointed out in 2,122, for every voter who submitted a nominating ballot this year, at least seven of the ~16,000+ eligible voters did not.  I’d expect to see next year’s nominations get a lot of love from the science fiction community. With more fans voting, the 2016 nominations should represent a much broader cross-section of (lower-case) fandom’s population.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the Hugo Awards’ current open nomination process will survive beyond 2016. George R. R. Martin wrote in the same blog post that Worldcon members currently in control are crafting changes to the voting rules. The proposed changes are intended to preclude interlopers from nominating ‘undeserving’ authors and their works for Hugo Awards in the future. By definition, such rule changes would have to limit the democratic nature of the nominating process; shifting influence from the general public (who can buy a supporting Worldcon membership for $40) to insiders who can be, it is supposed, counted on to nominate works that reflect the will of Worldcon’s current movers and shakers.

 

Moira J. Moore on  Archives of the Triple S

“moiraj.livejournal.com/364402.html” – April 28

Many people have come to feel that it doesn’t matter who gets what award at the Hugos this year, because the whole thing is tainted. There will always be an asterisk beside the awards handed out. To me, Schubert’s announcement is a stunt. Schubert is rejecting what has turned out to be a worthless award – leaving it so late that they can’t actually take the name off the ballots – and trying to look like he’s taking a moral stand, when he’s really just making the Sad Puppies’ argument for them. And pimping out his magazine.

 

Will McLean on A Commonplace Book

“Keep Calm and Carry On” – April 28

Team Puppies are not, in my opinion, covering themselves with glory at this time. The Sad Puppies are in the awkward position that their slate got a lot of mutual votes from the Rabid Puppies. So they must dance an awkward dance between “We have no association with the Rabids, although we have obviously benefited from their nominations” and “We refuse to disavow the Rabids in any way, because you can’t make us and we don’t want to, and we’re not saying we don’t approve of them, but we won’t say we do approve of them either.” I think they fall between two stools.

 

Brenda Noiseux on Women Write About Comics

“Hurtful Fandom and the Damage of the Puppies” – April 28

Since the location of each year’s Worldcon is selected by the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) two years prior to the date of that convention, dedicated volunteers are working for two years to produce a great experience for their fellow fans in the community. On top of that, committees bid for the site of the Worldcon, a process that can take an additional one or more years. That means that volunteers could be working on a convention three to four years in advance.

Which brings me to why the slate voting campaign has bothered me so much that I don’t want to think about it. Producing Worldcon and celebrating the winners of the Hugo Award is a gigantic all volunteer collaborative effort. For a small group of disgruntled fans, to take advantage of a loophole raises a giant middle finger to all those who dedicated countless hours to the hard work of making the Worldcon, the science fiction and fantasy community, and ultimately the Hugos better. That people who claim to be fans and part of this community could do something so hurtful, feels so personal and leaves me feeling raw.

Yes, there are issues in the literary science fiction community. Yes, there needs to be more diversity in the works that are encouraged and celebrated while at the same time retaining the high standards. Yes, there needs to be an embracing of new fans, younger fans, more diverse fans.

Change is never easy nor does it happen overnight. Positive organic change is happening in the science fiction and fantasy community, and I’ll keep doing my part and putting in the hard work to help it along.

 

Sandy Ryalls on Black Gate

“The Proxy Culture War for the Soul of Middle-Earth” – April 27

Privilege Distress and the Proxy in the Proxy War

Privilege distress is better defined here than anything I can manage. For those who aren’t going to read another article: privilege distress is the feeling of unease felt by people who are having injustice that works in their favor re-addressed.

It’s a permanent fixture in the culture war, and most political discourse. There’s a reason that Republicans play well with white men and Democrats play well with women and members of racial minorities. That reason is that the broad strokes of the culture war are whether we want a society which favors those it favors, or whether we want one which works for everyone.

One of the major fronts of the culture war in the age of the Internet Native is the ongoing clash between the Social Justice (SJ) movement and the self-proclaimed Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs). Media is a pretty big part of that front because it’s a major principle of the overarching SJ philosophy that culture is important and shapes the rest of society.

SJ activists want geekdom (along with the rest of society) to be a safe, inclusive space.

The MRAs don’t think there is a problem and look upon attempts to change our culture with suspicion and hostility.

To MRA’s, the fact that women have buying power in the media sphere and people have ways of having social discourse that doesn’t pander to white maleness is a threat. This isn’t just ideology. It’s also identity.

I mention the Republicans because Coriella did. Because he flat-out crowed that the vandalization of the Hugos was an act of red state, culture war, privilege distress and he linked it to the gamer movement which responded to mild criticism of some video games with death threats, the leaking of personal information, and a threat to shoot up a university.

The proxy part is where this intersects with geekdom. One of the unfortunate shared experiences of most geeks is bullying. Most geeks feel outside of social normality because they’ve been put there by other people. The trauma carried by a lot of geeks surrounding this is very real and very unfortunate.

It’s also true that, in a lot of ways, the SJ philosophy is born of an intellectual liberalism; that its adherents go beyond geekdom; that it can often take a snooty, condescending tone; that outrage is certainly in its playbook; that problematic parts of geekdom can be caricatured in ways that are reminiscent of the bullying faced by a lot of white male geeks.

This makes it very easy for the places where the MRAs meet geekdom to paint the places where the SJ activists meet geekdom as judgmental, insurgent, outsiders intent on stripping away their solace and condemning them for the unforgivable sin of being a weirdo. To tie that white male geek identity with an antipathy to SJ activists as a group rather than engaging with the issues which are actually being fought over.

 

T. L. Knighton

“Tale of Two Fandoms”  – April 28

First, let’s look at the CHORFs.  Yes, I’m going to use it, and I really don’t care how bad someone we accuse of being a CHORF claims it’s never going to be a thing.  Mostly because it is, so she can get over it.  CHORFs also tend to lean left politically, but not universally.

The CHORFs tend to prefer more literary science fiction, which is fine.  I don’t care for it, but the world isn’t built around my preferences.  However, that’s not where it ends.  The CHORFs seem to feel that they are the arbiters of taste and decency.  They feel they’re also the arbiters of morality. They know why a bisexual person disagrees with them about things, and it’s things like self-hate and homophobia (and a bi person can be homophobic? Does that mean a black person actually can be racist?) because no sane person could possibly disagree with them.

CHORFs tend to control awards, because historically they’ve been the group that really cares about that sort of thing.  They’re the masters of the whisper campaigns, the rallying of their buddies to get their names on the ballot quietly and behind the scenes, but would never do something as unseemly as try to rally supporters in public…unless they do it, then it’s totes different because reasons.

 

Mark Hemingway in The Weekly Standard

“Revenge of the Nerds” – April 27

[Note: TWS  has given a new timestamp to the same piece linked here on April 17, if you were reading the roundup then.]

For more than 50 years, the Hugo Awards have been handed out at the annual World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) to honor the best science fiction and fantasy writing of the previous year. But when the nominees for this year’s Hugos were announced, it touched off a firestorm unlike any in the awards’ history.

That’s because so many of this year’s nominees are perceived (not always correctly) to be conservative or libertarian. A group of right-leaning science fiction authors organized a campaign to stuff this year’s Hugo Awards ballot with writers they felt had been overlooked.

Kgbooklog in a comment on More Words, Deeper Hole:

Maybe it’s time for a new rule: If 10% or more of the finalists decline their nomination, the Hugo Award is canceled for that year and the time and space reserved for the award ceremony is used for the Business Meeting instead. (If I’m counting right, we’re up to 7.5% this year so far.)

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

Vile Minion pride – April 28

Dear Evil Legion of Evil, It has come to my attention that our vile faceless minions, in their abject loyalty to Our Evilness, crave more than the mere lash of our whips, the daily sustenance of SJW blood, and the occasional bones of an SJW on which to gnaw. Such is their pride in the growing spread of the dark shadow over lands hitherto unengulfed that they have begged for badges of recognition with which they can strike yet more fear into our craven and cowardly foes.

It is, of course, exceedingly risible to imagine that we should raise them up to the extent of providing them with names. Or, as one minion, who is unfortunately no longer with us after an accident that involved six Hellhounds and the untimely ringing of a dinner bell, once had the temerity to suggest, pay them wages. But it occurred to me, in a stroke of Indubitably Evil Genius, that it might be useful to be able to tell the difference between these otherwise indistinguishable, and indeed, faceless, creatures. Therefore, in my Tender yet Sinister Mercy, I have graciously acceded to their pleas.

 

Nate on The Pan Galactic Blogger Blaster

“Slight Design Change” – April 26

I am Number 1.

I am Nate… and I approve this message.

0001_Evil-Legion-of-Evil_Vile-Faceless-Minion_512x512

Dammit.

[Vox Day wrote that the first batch of numbered icons was gone in 45 minutes.]

 

Sean Wallace on Facebook – April 28

Without context, for James Nicoll, Mike Glyer, Michael J. Walsh, and Nick Mamatas: “Highlights included moderating the guest-of-honor interview with Tor publisher Tom Doherty (in which he revealed the facts that ebooks account for only $400,000 of Tor’s $100,000,000 annual gross sales, and that it now takes printing three mass-market paperbacks to sell one (it used to be that you only had to print two to get one to actually sell); and that SF (as opposed to fantasy) actually grew eight percent for Tor last year).”—Robert Sawyer’s website, 2005

 

Nick Mamatas in a comment to Sean Wallace on Facebook – April 28

Last year Tor grossed seven dollars, and killed and ate interns for food, and took out four mortgages on the Flatiron Building to get John Scalzi on the Dayton Daily News best-seller list for a single Thursday afternoon and in fact they are already bankrupt, out of business, and everyone has been fired and Tor exists only as one of those fannish in-jokes in the Hugo Awards, like Cordwainer Bird. Forever and ever, Amen.

 

[And finally, Sad Puppies meets Godwin’s Law.]