The Walkies Dead 6/8

aka Dr. Sad Puppy: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Slate

John C. Wright, Vox Day, Eric Flint, Celia Hayes, Tom Knighton, John Scalzi, Tom Doherty, Irene Gallo, D. Jason Fleming, David Gerrold, Cedar Sanderson, Dave Freer, Adam Lawson, Peter Grant, Chris Gerrib, Joe Vasicek, Abigail Nussbaum, Martin Lewis, Lis Carey, Lyda Morehouse, Pluviann, and Alexandra Erin. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Nigel and Dex.)

 

John C. Wright

“Irene Gallo”  – June 8

I had no idea she had this opinion of me, or so much contempt for the books she adorned so skillfully.

My father in law, may he rest in peace, was a Jew serving in the US Military during World War Two in the European Theater. In fact, he won a Purple Heart medal for wounds to his hands he received while liberating a Nazi death camp. His unit was standing about idly, troopers on one side of the wall, ragged prisoners on the other, waiting for the carpenter to arrive with tools to tear down the planks, but in a fury of impatience he did it with his bare hands, like a superman. He turned down the award, thinking others whose wounds were from the enemy deserved it, not he. That is the kind of man he was, an odd mixture of towering ego and meek humility.

Irene Gallo should have been penning me polite notes of congratulation on receiving an historically unprecedented number of  awards for the prestigious Hugo Award, and rejoicing that any victory for me or for Mr Anderson (who would be receiving his first ever Hugo for his life’s work producing over 50 bestsellers) would reflect well on our main publisher whom we both loyally serve, Tor Books.

Instead, Irene Gallo just said I was a member of the barbaric and racist National Socialist totalitarian political movement that my family fought, suffered, and shed blood to expunge from the earth.

What is the honorable thing for me to do, dearest readers?

I am not asking what is in my short term fiscal interest, which is not my sole, nor even my primary, motive.

More to the point, what is the honorable thing for you to do?

 

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“SF war to the knife” – June 8

Let them threaten. What are they going to do, continue to not buy books from Castalia House, from Baen, and from independents? Are they going to keep not reading what they repeatedly proclaim to be terribly written bad-to-reprehensible works without ever having read them? What are they going to do, have the Board vote me out of SFWA again? Are they going to continue not giving Nebulas to John Wright, and Sarah Hoyt, and Larry Correia, and Brad Torgersen? The reality is that we have the decisive advantage here because we have long supported them…..

Back in April, Larry Correia and I, among others, encouraged everyone to leave Tor Books out of it. We made it clear that our problems were with certain individuals at Tor, not the organization itself. But as Peter Grant points out, Irene Gallo’s comments, to say nothing of Moshe Feder’s and John Scalzi’s (now that the organization has bet its future on him, Scalzi is relevant in this regard), appear to indicate that we were wrong and our problem is with the organization as it is presently comprised after all.

 

 

Eric Flint

“IN DEFENSE OF THE SAD PUPPIES” – June 8

Words matter—something you’d expect any professional in publishing to understand, even if their specialty is art work. Calling someone “extreme right-wing” when you immediately tie that to “neo-nazi” is disingenuous at best. The transparently obvious purpose is to blend “extreme right-wing” with “neo-nazi” in the minds of the readers. The problem is that terms like “extreme” and “right-wing” are inherently vague and the one term in the sentence that is not vague—“neo-nazi”—is wildly inappropriate.

It’s not even appropriate applied to the Rabid Puppies. The two most prominent figures in that group are Theodore Beale (“Vox Day”) and the author John C. Wright. I have been severely critical of Wright and will continue to be, but I have seen no evidence that he either belongs to, is affiliated with, or even has any significant relations with any member of a neo-Nazi organization. The situation with Beale is perhaps murkier, because some of his statements certainly resonate with those made by neo-Nazis. But I have seen no concrete evidence in his case either that would support the charge of being a “neo-nazi.”

And applying the term to the Sad Puppies is simply slander, pure and simple. I have no objection to calling either Brad Torgersen or Larry Correia “right wing,” because they are—and say as much themselves. If you want to add the term “extreme” because it makes you feel better, so be it. For whatever it’s worth, coming from someone who has seen extreme right-wingers a lot more up-close and personally than I suspect Irene Gallo ever has, I think applying the adjective to either Brad Torgersen or Larry Correia is not accurate. If we can descend into the real world, for a moment, what both men are is political conservatives with a libertarian slant who are also devout Mormons. (I mention their religion simply because, as with most religious people, it does influence their political views at least to some degree.)

But leaving aside the issue of “extreme,” suggesting that either of them is a “neo-nazi” or anything remotely close is just disgusting. And don’t anyone bother protesting that Gallo didn’t actually make that charge directly since she did, after all, distinguish between “extreme right wing” and “neo-nazi.”

Yes, I know she did—with the clear intent of smearing the two together. This is the sort of rhetorical device that Theodore Beale loves to use also, when he insists he doesn’t “advocate” shooting girls in the head for wanting to get an education, he just points out that, empirically and scientifically speaking, it’s “rational” for the Taliban to do so.

 

 

Celia Hayes

“Still Not Finished With Sad Puppies” – June 8

Oh, yes – outraged science fiction fans had had fun with this resulting thread. And who can blame them? Four sentences which manage to be packed full of misrepresentation and a couple of outright lies; the voicing of similar calumnies had to be walked back by no less than Entertainment Weekly when the whole Sad Puppies thing first reached a frothing boil earlier this year. Now we see a manager of some note at Tor rubbishing a couple of their own authors, and a good stretch of the reading public and a number of book bloggers … which I confidently predict will not turn out well. I have not exhaustively researched the whole matter, but tracked it through According to Hoyt and the Mad Genius Club, where there are occasional comments about anti-Sad/Rabid Puppy vitriol flung about in various fora. I would have opined that Ms. Gallo’s pronouncement probably isn’t worst of them, but it seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, coming as it does from an employee very high up in Tor management. People of a mild-to-seriously conservative or libertarian bent, are just sick and tired of being venomously painted as – in Ms. Gallo’s words – “right-wing to neo-nazi” and as “unrepentantly racist, misogynist and homophobic,” when they are anything but that.

 

 

 

Tom Doherty on Tor.com

“A Message from Tom Doherty to Our Readers and Authors” – June 8

Last month, Irene Gallo, a member of Tor’s staff, posted comments about two groups of science fiction writers, Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, and about the quality of some of the 2015 Hugo Award nominees, on her personal Facebook page. Ms. Gallo is identified on her page as working for Tor. She did not make it clear that her comments were hers alone. They do not reflect Tor’s views or mine. She has since clarified that her personal views are just that and apologized to anyone her comments may have hurt or offended…..

Tor employees, including Ms. Gallo, have been reminded that they are required to clarify when they are speaking for Tor and when they are speaking for themselves. We apologize for any confusion Ms. Gallo’s comments may have caused. Let me reiterate: the views expressed by Ms. Gallo are not those of Tor as an organization and are not my own views.  Rest assured, Tor remains committed to bringing readers the finest in science fiction – on a broad range of topics, from a broad range of authors.

 

 

Irene Gallo commented on her May 11 Facebook post:

About my Sad/Rabid Puppies comments: They were solely mine. This is my personal page; I do not speak on behalf of Tor Books or Tor.com. I realize I painted too broad a brush and hurt some individuals, some of whom are published by Tor Books and some of whom are Hugo Award winners. I apologize to anyone hurt by my comments.

 

 

Vox Day in email – June 8

A good first attempt by Mr. Doherty, but it’s not even a windbreak.

Gallo is so clueless she didn’t even properly apologize, let alone  grovel and plead for her job.

Too late now.

 

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“An unapology, unaccepted” – June 8

I don’t know about the rest of the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies she called right-wing extremists and neo-nazis, or the authors she described as writing “bad-to-reprehensible works”, or everyone she called “unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic”, but as for me, I’m not hurt. So why is she apologizing for nonexistent events she hypothesizes rather than her rank unprofessionalism, her shameless bigotry, and her attack on the right two-thirds of SF/Fdom? Especially when she still hasn’t informed us whose works are bad and whose are reprehensible.

I don’t want an apology. I don’t expect an apology.

I expect a resignation.

 

 

D. Jason Fleming on Doing Slapstick In The Kingdom Of The Blind

“Irene Gallo, Unrepentant Bigot” – June 8

This, as I pointed out in the reply pictured, is not an apology.

It is a passive-aggressive insult: “I’m sorry you’re so stupid that your feelings were hurt when you didn’t understand what I was really saying,” more or less.

She does not apologize for impugning the characters of a very large number of people. She does not apologize for impugning authors who work for her employer, in particular. She does not apologize for her immaturity in prancing about demonstrating that she’s not part of a tribe she hates. She does not apologize for her bigotry in any way, shape, or form.

She only apologizes for the feelings of people who might have been hurt by what she said.

What she said, then, must still stand.

 

 

Tom Knighton

“Tom Doherty address Irene Gallo controversy” – June 8

…Not mentioned was that she was promoting a forthcoming book from Tor written by Kameron Hurley, started off with trying to antagonize the Puppies, and then ramped it up when someone asked what she meant.

This colors her comments as being in her professional capacity as creative director for Tor and associate editor for Tor.com, which is something that seems to be repeatedly missing from many of the comments from Tor or Gallo’s supporters.

Yes, they may have been her personal comments, but the context gives a very different impression.  I suspect that what Doherty is trying to do here is to put some distance between the growing perception that Tor, as an entity, is hostile to Puppies.  We’ll see how that pans out….

Now, as for Doherty’s comments, it’s worth noting that now Tor has officially gone on record as saying that the Puppies aren’t racist misogynists who only want to see white men get awards, which is a narrative that just won’t freaking stay dead.  Maybe now it will.

Once again, I won’t be holding my breath.

Interestingly enough, had Irene Gallo said something against gay marriage instead, the parties that are now saying, “What’s the big deal?” would be calling for her head still. Meanwhile, a number of us are satisfied with Doherty’s response.  I’m not sure you can count me in that group just yet, but I’m at least willing to listen to what Tor as an entity has to say going forward…so long as it’s Doherty doing the talking.

 

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – June 8

The Worldcon is not a cage match. It’s a party.

It’s a gathering of the tribes. It’s a celebration. It’s an opportunity to hang out with old friends and make new ones. It’s a party.

I intend to go to the party and have a great time. I intend to do what I can to make sure the people around me are having a great time.

Now, let me add this part.

A lot of people are upset about a lot of different things this year. This year, more than usual. Some people have even expressed their concerns about the possibilities of disruption or confrontation.

Okay, yeah — I can understand the concern.

But I intend to be there for bridge-building and fence-mending and any other appropriate metaphor for healing and recovery.

And I encourage/request/suggest/advise/invite everyone else to attend with the same goals of having a good time and helping others to have a good time too.

This is our party. Let’s make it a great one. Let’s have it be a party where everyone feels welcome. Everyone. That’s my commitment to this year’s convention.

 

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“Weekend Updatery and Miscellaneous, 6/8/15”

On a (very) tangentially related note, Jim Hines did some yeoman work over the weekend doing a quick early history of the Sad Puppies, using their own words to help make the picture more clear for the confused, which at this point could be everyone. Jim somewhat mercifully skates over the part where Theodore Beale makes the Sad Puppies his arguably unwitting tools for his own purposes (i.e., the “Rabid Puppies” slate, aka the “Let me just use the Hugos to promote my own little not terribly successful publishing house here” slate), but it’s otherwise pretty comprehensive, and a good primer.

It’s not escaped notice that I’ve been slacking on my Hugo/Puppies commentary recently, but honestly at this point there’s not anything new for me to say. It’s a low-information movement begun in craven entitlement, with a political element tacked on as a cudgel, taken over by an ambitious bigot, and I’m sorry for the several excellent people I know who have gotten wrapped up in this nonsense one way or another. That’s pretty much where I’ve been on it for a while now. When I have anything new and useful to add, I’ll make note of it.

 

 

Cedar Sanderson on According To Hoyt

“Trust and Loathing – Cedar Sanderson” – June 8

The Sad Puppy campaign for the Hugo Awards is such a little thing, when you look at it. Run by fans, for fans, and yet… And yet it became a nationally aware movement, with opponents who defamed good men without a second thought in media outlets, even to the point where the media was forced to backpedal as they had gone too far in their snapping, snarling rush to mangle the puppies. In SFF fandom it seems everyone is reeling in disbelief and confusion over what happened and why. Politics in minor scale has been with fandom from the beginning. What is it about now, to bring this over-the-top reaction to something that has been done before?

Why has there been such a backlash of feeling and vituperation against the sad puppy movement? What is it about this relatively small campaign of voting, done legally and very openly, that leads people to scream, stamp their feet, and lie on the floor weeping and pounding their fists against whatever they can reach? Comments on the campaign have ranged from repugnant, to calling for the ‘puppies’ to be interned in concentration camps.

 

 

Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“Communication, subjectivity” – June 8

I hate being right when I make unpleasant predictions. I still hate the idea of a boycott, because – as I will explain in this authors have few and poor choices. Still, this goes too far, breaches their own rules,the Macmillan code of conduct:

The exercise of good judgment is still expected from employees at all times. • Could this conduct be viewed as dishonest, unethical or unlawful? • Could this conduct hurt Macmillan – e.g., could it cause us to lose credibility with customers or business partners? • Could this conduct hurt other people – e.g., other employees or customers? • Would I be embarrassed to see this conduct reported in the newspaper?

It goes beyond the bullying we’ve come to expect and mock from them. I have written to rhonda.brown@macmillan.com (Code of Conduct compliance) asking what steps they’re going to take.

I urge you to do the same if you don’t want the reaction from this hurting your favorite Tor author. I think it fair to give them time to respond, to deal with this sepsis. Let’s see what they do about it. If it is not adequate I am afraid I will have to join the boycott of any Tor author who is not either a Sad Puppy, or who does not speak out publicly against this (which is very hard on authors, and that makes me angry and sad, but eventually you have to stop just hoping they’ll leave you alone.) and encourage my readers to do the same. The company did not make a fortune from me – maybe 50-100 dollars a year. It won’t break them, but I won’t support someone who abuses me and many friends who are better people than I am. As I point out below, publishers get a lot more of a book’s money than the authors. You’d think not badmouthing readers would be common sense.

 

 

Adam Lawson

“Screaming into the fire” – June 8

You can count me in on boycotting Tor as long as Irene Gallo works there.

I’ll accept being called a lot of things; “wrongfan” is one of them. Neo-nazi isn’t.

The Nazis and Neo-Nazis are examples of some of the worst things humanity has to offer. Comparing people to those monsters over a disagreement on an award for fiction books is heavy-handed. Refusing to back down when you are told how wrong you are is obnoxious, and there’s no room for obnoxious in my life or lending any support toward it. Let’s just cover a few basic reasons that Gallo is the wrongest person on the internet: ….

 

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“An open letter to Tom Doherty of Tor Books” – June 8

Mr. Doherty, with the greatest possible respect to you as an individual:  until Tor publicly dissociates itself from the outrageous positions taken by the individuals I have named (all of them), publicly rebukes those concerned, and takes steps to make sure that no such statements are ever again made by senior members of the company, I shall be unable to believe any assurances that their views are not those of Tor.  Actions speak louder than words – and so does the absence of actions.  All Tor has offered is words.  It’s time for actions.  What is Tor going to, not say, but DO about the situation? – because unless and until it does the right thing, others are going to do what they believe to be necessary and appropriate under the circumstances. There is very little time left to address these issues before this situation gets out of control.  For the sake of all of us in the SF/F community, I hope Tor uses it wisely.

 

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Puppy Bites Woman, Pictures At 11” – June 8

So, Irene Gallo, an employee at Tor, said something negative about Sad and Rabid Puppies on her personal blog while promoting a Tor product. The CEO of Tor issued a statement making clear that Gallo was speaking for herself personally. Vox Day demands Gallo resign. Yet when Brendan Eich resigned Mozilla over something he said, Vox was all Stand Your Ground! and Don’t Give In to Your Critics! In short, Tom Doherty did exactly what Vox told Brendan Eichs to do, yet Doherty is wrong, per Vox. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

 

 

Joe Vasicek on One Thousand And One Parsecs

“An open letter to Tor.com in reference to Irene Gallo” – June 8

I am writing to withdraw my short story, “The Curse of the Lifewalker” (submission id: 55c13821ebd3) from the Tor.com slushpile effective immediately. In light of the highly unprofesional recent behavior of Ms. Irene Gallo, an associate publisher of your organization, I cannot in good conscience support or be associated with Tor.com.

 

 

Pex Lives: A Doctor Who Podcast

“Pex Lives and Eruditorium Press Presents the Vox Day Interview” – June 8

Phil Sandifer talks to Vox Day, the writer and editor behind the Rabid Puppy/Hugo Awards controversy, about the relative merits of John C. Wright’s One Bright Star to Guide Them and Iain M. Banks’ The Wasp Factory.

 

 

Martin Lewis on Strange Horizons

“2015 Hugo Awards Short Fiction Shortlist” – June 8

It is clearly these latter three stories that the Puppies are concerned we, the voters of the Hugos, have been missing out on. English and Diamond are writing filler of the sort that is ten-a-penny in the periodicals of the field and has sometimes even made the ballot of awards. Antonelli, Rzasa, and Wright, however, are spreading the Good News. Why come up with a premise for your story when there is only one premise that matters? What the Puppies fail to understand is that they haven’t been shunned because of prejudice, rather they’ve been talking to themselves. Now, having created a bully pulpit for themselves, it becomes clear that they don’t have anything to say.

 

 

Lis Carey at Lis Carey’s Library

“Wisdom From My Internet, by Michael Z Williamson” – June 8

It’s not witty, informative, or in any way entertaining. Fatally for a Best Related Work Hugo nominee, it’s not sf-related. The tone of it can pretty fairly be deduced from the fact of it’s publisher: Patriarchy Press.

 

 

Lis Carey at Lis Carey’s Library

“Best Fan Artist–Brad W. Foster, Elizabeth Leggett, Ninni Aalto, Spring Schoenhuth, Steve Stiles” – June 8

Spring Shoenhuth: I see two lovely selections of jewelry, and an image to which my initial reaction was “What the heck?” On further examination, the “What the heck?” image was produced for Loncon 3, for the Retro Hugos, and I think I’d like it much better at its original size. And of the three, it’s the one that best fits my perhaps limited ideas of “fan art.”

Ninni Aalto: Two fantastical caricatures that are definitely “fan art.” They look to be quite skilled, and, for me, sadly, they just don’t do it. I expect the reaction to that statement, from many, will be variations of “Why NOT?” No defensible reason; they just don’t.

Elizabeth Leggett: Three truly lovely images. I just don’t see what makes them “fan art,” specifically, though.

Brad W. Foster: Three images, unambiguously fan art, and I like them.

Steve Stiles: Three images, unambiguously fan art. And I love them. I just really have fun looking at them. They make me smile.

 

 

Pluviann on The Kingfisher’s Nest

“Turncoat – Steve Rzasa” – June 8

At this point the story has really betrayed itself as MilSF, because it chooses romance over realism. History shows us again and again that courage, tenacity and heroism are no match for superior training, tactics and weapons. The Celts lost to the Romans; the American Indians lost to the United States. Irrational tactics do not win against logical battle plans.

So there are two options that the story could have taken – either the constructs are wrong, there is an underlying logic in the human plans and the constructs for some reason cannot see it; or the constructs really are superior and the humans lose. The first is an interesting story about the limits of AI, and the second is a very interesting story about what it means for humans to have intrinsic value in a world where they contribute nothing useful. Sadly the story doesn’t pursue either of those avenues, and the construct is persuaded by Isaiah 29.16 to serve those who created him.

 

 

Lyda Morehouse on Bitter Empire

“Hugo Puppery Disappoints” – June 8

With all of that, only two “Puppy Books” remain on the ballot: Kevin J. Anderson’s The Dark Between the Stars and Jim Butcher’s Skin Game, the fifteenth book in his popular Dresden Files series.

Despite the wonky way in which they arrived on the ballot, I was not automatically predisposed against either Butcher or Anderson. I’ve heard a lot of great things from friends who enjoy the heck out of the Dresden File series. Meanwhile, Kevin J. Anderson is a household name among longtime Star Wars novels fans (including me).

I have to admit, however,  I went into both of these books hunting for that clue, the hint as to why the Puppies picked these guys over all others. Guess what? Neither of them disappointed and I figured out why they were beloved by the pups by the second chapter of each of their excerpted novels.

Anderson’s…wow, okay, I wanted to like Kevin J. Anderson’s book. It’s got this great title, The Dark Between the Stars —  heck, that’s just COOL — and his acknowledgements are all about how this book is meant to be a love song to all the great, rip-roaring science fiction adventure novels he grew up on.

Okay, sounds great. I’m so in. Bring it.

I think I maybe made fifteen pages before I quit.

 

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“I am officially retiring the Sad Puppy Book Reviews as a regular feature” – June 8

I may bring it back if any of the major players says or does something that is both egregious and a relatively new specimen of troll logic, but for now I think it’s run its course.

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Stray and Mr. Norwich Terrier 6/1

aka A Bark and Hungry Puppy Arises

June is bustin’ out all over which may account for one of the longest roundups ever. The pack includes lead dog Brad R. Torgersen, Alexandra Erin, Ian Gillespie, Jim C. Hines, John Scalzi, John C. Wright, Larry Correia, Dave Freer, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, Vox Day, Chris Kluwe, Lis Carey, Dave M. Strom, Pluviann, Chris Gerrib, Russell Blackford and Brianna Wu. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors May Tree and  Soon Lee.)

Brad R. Torgersen

“Sheepdog staring at the horizon” – May 31

As my friend and author (and Sad Puppy critic) Eric Flint recently noted, he’s put his body on the line for what he believes. Other people spew a lot of hot air about being “warriors” for social justice. Eric’s a man who can actually claim that title, and be taken seriously; by allies and opponents alike.

So you will pardon me if I can’t spare much serious thought for those who think being some guy who gets pissed off on the internet, is somehow going to make a difference — a real, lasting, actual difference.

Which takes me back to a point Larry Correia and I have both made, about the Hugo awards: loads of people loved to complain about how the Hugos suck, and almost nobody was doing anything to make an impact. I say “almost” because there were interested parties working hard to effect the kind of change they wanted — Seannan McGuire didn’t get five Hugo nominations in a single year on accident — they just didn’t conduct their operations in broad daylight, nor on a scale to compare with Sad Puppies.

Which takes me back to a comment Michael Z. Williamson once made: we’re bad because we’re competent?

Well, whatever people have against Sad Puppies 3 — legit, or imaginary — it’s clear that the various narratives will continue without my input. I can only restate the obvious, in the hope that it sticks with people who have not decided to be dead-set against us. We (Sad Puppies Inc.) threatened nothing, demanded nothing, and closed no doors in any faces. We threw the tent flaps wide and beckoned to anyone and everyone: come on in, join the fun!

 

 

Ian Gillespie

“Blank Slate” – May 31

Putting aside the reasoning behind the Puppy slates – which is, admittedly, thoroughly objectionable to many of us all on its own – I’ve yet to see anyone offer a cogent, clearly articulated explanation for what makes the machinations of these melancholy mutts categorically different than what’s been done, without controversy, in years past.

I’d like to humbly suggest that the anti-puppies have been sucked into debating a strawman. While most of the prominent denunciations of the dispirited dogs have focused on their use of slates, the real problem with the pessimistic pups isn’t about slates at all, but rather tactical voting.

By linking their Hugo recommendations to a larger cause – namely, putting those insufferable progressives in their place – the Puppies have effectively encouraged their small-but-loyal pack of supporters to nominate works based on a political agenda – not the works themselves, not even their own individual preferences. That’s the issue. Not campaigning for particular works, but rendering the works themselves a meaningless consideration.

 

Ian Gillespie

“Paulk the Vote” – May 31

According to Erin, Kate Paulk has been tapped to take over the dog pound, and she’s already promised that next year’s puppy-approved slatecraft will be done in a “transparent and democratic manner”.

If this is truly the case, I have a modest proposal to make:

Let’s rock the vote.

No slates. No cheating. Just show up 7 months from now and vote for the same SJW message fiction, or the same gun-totting monster mashups, you were gonna nominate anyway. If it’s really democratic, then the outcome won’t be any different than a normal, unpuppied process anyway. Right?

 

Jim C. Hines

“Publishing 101” – June 1

In the wake of Scalzi’s Big Book Deal, folks have been saying some rather ignorant or ill-informed stuff about how publishing works. I wanted to address a few of those points here.

Let’s start with the easiest, in which folks over on Theodore Beale’s blog claim that by Tor giving Scalzi a $3.4 million advance, they’re “squeezing out” approximately “523 initial advances to new science fiction authors.” In other words, Beale claims that “Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi have combined to prevent more than 500 authors from getting published and receiving paid advances.”

This is a particularly egregious bit of ignorance coming from Mister Beale, who fancies himself a publisher.

Publishing is a business. As a business, Tor not only spends money on things like acquiring and publishing books, they also earn money by selling said books. Assuming Scalzi shut out 500 authors assumes that Tor is simply pissing away that $3.4 million. This is a rather asinine assumption. John Scalzi has repeatedly hit the NYT Bestseller list, earned a Best Novel Hugo, and has several TV/film deals in development for his work. Tor buys books from John Scalzi for the same reason they buy books from Orson Scott Card: those books sell a hell of a lot of copies, and earn Tor significant profits.

Very often it’s those profits — the income from reliable bestsellers like Card and Scalzi — that allow publishers to take a chance on new and unknown authors.

 

 

 

 

John C. Wright

“You Got My Attention By Libeling Me and Desecrating What I Love” – June 1

With a combination of pity and dismay, I read this

http://file770.com/?p=22824&cpage=3#comment-272798….

I suspect the Rabids aren’t fans of SF so much as they are “members of the cult of Vox Day.” Partly, this is the only thing that truly seems to explain the works on the slate — the ones that aren’t published by Beale’s own press anyway — the point isn’t that they are any particular thing, the point is that he chose them, and there they are.

But to my infinite amusement, I read the reply: There are, as of last count, 367 vile, faceless minions of the Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil Authors.

 

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Back from New York, BEA Recap, and Updates” – June 1

I had some very interesting business conversations, many of which I can’t post about in public. I was worried that I’d catch flack because of all the negative media attention related to Sad Puppies, and the many CHORFs screaming about how I’ve ruined my career, will never work in this town again, blah, blah, blah. Basically, most of the publishing industry hasn’t heard or doesn’t care about the Hugos, it is a non-issue to them, and those who did talk to me about it were either on my side, or weren’t on my side but thought the stagnant little pond still needed a rock thrown in it.

There were also some interesting political conversations. The vast majority of the publishing folks live around and work in New York and are usually politically liberal. Everybody is nice, but at party conversations, people like me are a weird fly-over, red state curiosity. No, really, I do own like that many guns. I had a fascinating and too brief conversation about how Simon & Schuster realized after Bush’s reelection that there were actually lots of people in America who are not liberal and did not think that way, and maybe they should start some imprints to publish conservative political books, and New York publishing was all like no way, nobody believes that stuff. But S&S started some imprints aimed at conservative audiences and shockingly enough, made buckets of money.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“This JUST In” – June 1

So if you are a Puppy reading this, here’s how you convince the rest of the world that you mean all those high-minded ideals more than the snipping and sniping:

Next year, try actually spreading awareness of the open nature of nominations. Don’t buy into the slate. Don’t take your recommendations and hand them off to someone who may ignore them while assembling a slate of their own picks. Instead do what countless other people have done for years: post your own recommendations directly, as recommendations.

Add an explanation that anyone who buys a supporting membership to Worldcon can nominate their own picks, and bam… you will have just raised awareness of the nomination process.

What does participating in a slate do that furthers that mission? What does making vague, unfounded accusations that past nominees/winners benefited from some shadowy affirmative action program do to advance the cause? What does all the noise and mess and deliberate provocation and stirring up controversy have to do with anything? What does it add?

 

Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“Signals across the void –awards and other signs.” – June 1

Of course people can argue about what the signal meant in the first place. Take the various ‘literary’ awards. What were they intended to do?

1) A recognition of excellence by one’s peers?
2) A recognition of excellence by the public?
3) Promote such excellence – signal to others that that is excellent and they should look?
4) A pat on the back for one of the ‘in’ literary clique’s chums?

Different awards have different purposes, and different values. As a reader and writer only (3) ‘Promote such excellence – signal to others that that is excellent and they should look at the work’ is worth much. Most awards, without careful custodianship, head for (4). At which point they lose their historical value and gradually vanish. They have less and less value as (3), and really (1) and (4) are something only the insecure want, unless they feed (3) – which (4) never does and (1) does badly. To put it brutally, if you need and support an award being (1) or (4) you’re a loser, not big enough for what is a tough profession.

(2) is a different kettle of tea. In real terms you could only get there by systematic polling. It does have a lot of (3) value too, because, true enough, we’re not that different. A book which is really the most popular book around, is worth a look-in. The nearest approximation in sf-fantasy is the Hugos. And it isn’t a great approximation (the sample of readers, by who attends/supports Worldcon is obviously inaccurate, and various problems in the nomination have been exposed by the Puppies. (they’re game-able, they’re not demographically representative of the sf readership) – but it’s the best we’ve got right now. As such it could do a good job for sf. It used to.

 

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

“The Hugos again” – June 1

Of particular interest to me is this notion of giving people who you don’t like bad reviews on books you haven’t read. Let me make this absolutely clear: This is bad behavior. It is wrong. If you have read a book and don’t like it, then it’s fine to give it a bad review.

If you attempted to read a book and found you couldn’t finish it because it was so bad, then yeah, give it a bad review.

But if you simply don’t like the author? Giving their book a bad review without reading it or trying to read it (in good faith) is every bit as bad as, say, nominating a bunch of works for the Hugo awards without reading them first because somebody put together a slate. Yeah, I’m comparing people who give bad reviews based on how they feel about the authors to the self-called “sad puppies” and “rabid puppies”. Both actions are bad faith. Both actions are wrong. Both actions are not worthy of intelligent people.

As David Gerrold says, “If you’re claiming to be one of the good guys, you gotta act like it.”

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The descent of literary criticism” – June 1

Natalie Luhrs will be live-tweeting her feelz about THE WAR IN HEAVEN, beginning June 11. I wonder if she’ll like it?:

Before Theodore “Vox Day” Beale was the central figure in the Sad/Rabid Puppies Hugo Awards hacking, he wrote a series of religious-inspired fantasy novels for Pocket Books. And blogger Natalie Luhrs is going to live-tweet his debut novel, Eternal Warriors: The War in Heaven, for charity. Here’s how it works: You donate money to RAINN, a charity that operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. (Or to a similar organization in your own country.) You send proof of your donation to Luhrs. And for every $5 you donate, Luhrs will livetweet a page of the book, starting June 11 with the hashtag #readingVD. She will also republish her tweets, with additional commentary, on a chapter-by-chapter basis, on her site, Pretty-Terrible. If people raise $2,000, she’ll do the entire book. (She is currently at $920.)

Yeah, probably not. I’d be considerably more impressed if she’d chosen A THRONE OF BONES instead. And it’s kind of a pity that she didn’t choose THE WORLD IN SHADOW, I would have been genuinely interested to see her reaction to that. I’m rather dubious that 300 tweets that alternate between snarking about how bad the writing is and how stupid the author is will prove to be very entertaining for long.

 

Chris Kluwe in a comment on io9  – May 29

As someone who livetweeted Milo Yiannopolous’ “poetry” book, Eskimo Papoose, all I can do is wish her the best of luck. That shit is more toxic than Godzilla poop on a radioactive dump site.

 

Geeky Library Voting Guide

“The 2015 Hugo Awards”

[Combination infographic and voter survey, with a page for each category. Need to log into Twitter to vote.]

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Tangent SF Online, edited by Dave Truesdale” – June 1

One of the 2015 Best Fanzine nominees. This is a review zine, focused on reviewing science fiction and fantasy short fiction. I did not find that its style or judgments engaged me at all. However, that said, it’s perfectly competent and professional, and for those who connect better with the tone and approach of Tangent Online, this is a valuable service.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Dark Between the Stars (Saga of the Shadows #1), by Kevin J. Anderson (author), Mark Boyett (narrator)” – June 1

The prose is pedestrian, and just to be absolutely clear: “Pedestrian” prose is not “transparent” prose. Transparent prose requires real skill and craft. The prose here is no more than adequate. It’s certainly no compensation for diffuse and distracting plotting and barely-present character development.

 

 

Dave M. Strom on Dave M. Strom: author of Holly Hansson, superheroine & writer

cropped-tucker-me-holly COMP

“Sad Puppies? Or Eye of Argon?” – June 1

At least the Eye of Argon was consistent about spelling out numbers. Although it violates hulls in a slightly grander fashion.

“The disemboweled mercenary crumpled from his saddle and sank to the clouded sward, sprinkling the parched dust with crimson droplets of escaping life fluid.”

There’s more. The same supposedly Hugo-worthy short story [Turncoat by Steve Rzasa] has this sentence. So much wrong in so little space.

“Disabling an enemy warship is not enough; they must be crippled, damaged, destroyed.”

I’m jerked from singular to plural. My sense of opposites is assaulted: in this context, disabled is a synonym for crippled and damaged. I offer this rewrite.

“Disabling an enemy warship is not enough; it must be destroyed.”

Simple, short, and direct. Even a Dalek would smile at that. As for these puppy stories, I urge a vote of no award.

 

Pluviann on The Kingfishers Nest

“The Parliament of Beasts and Birds – John C. Wright” – June 1

The ‘The Parliament of the Beasts and Birds’ is a beautifully written work. It opens with some excellent scene setting. Look at how wonderfully crafted this description is: ….

So, all in all, it was a bit odd. There are some very minor quibbles I can make: the past tense of shine is shone when the verb is intransitive. And Fox trying to wriggle out being called a thief by protesting that he stole meat not animals doesn’t really make sense. But overall, it was well done. The story started strong, meandered along fairly slowly but amusingly, and then took a decided turn for the strange at the end.

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Hugo Thoughts, Novels” – June 1

I’ve been reading my Hugo packet. Over the weekend I finished The Goblin Emperor and abandoned all hope of reading The Dark Between the Stars. I’ll discuss why and what that means for Hugos below.

My problem with Stars was that I lost track of who was who in the zoo. Nearly every chapter brought new characters, with new conflicts. There were at least three main plot lines opened, and no obvious link between them. Also, I kept feeling that I was missing important bits of back-story, namely the war and relationships between the humans and the aliens.

Now, Goblin Emperor is by no means light reading. It has name issues, in that characters have different names and titles based on marital status and age. Having said that, I found it much less opaque. This was for two reasons – one, Sarah Monette (Addison is an open pen name) kept the point-of-view to one character, who as an outsider needed to have stuff explained to him. Second, the story was not set in a world where there were seven previous books written.

 

Russell Blackford

“Some more on the 2015 Hugo Voting Packet” – June 1

2. Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery – written by Curtis J. Weibe and illustrated by Roc Upchurch (nominated for Best Graphic Story). This bawdy fantasy romp, set in a Tolkienesque secondary universe complete with elves, orcs, and trolls, entertained me from beginning to end. The characters who make up the eponymous Rat Queens – a band of magical (female) adventurers – are unfailingly fun to watch, and are strongly distinguished in their individual designs and personalities. The action is fast-paced, and I’m all for the non-stop violence and low comedy. It’s a hoot, but does it have sufficient gravitas to merit a Hugo Award? Debatable, perhaps… but I wouldn’t be wanting to stand in its way. I rate it a bit below the next item, but it has its attractions.

3. Saga Volume Three – written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples (nominated for Best Graphic Story). Here we have a potential winner. I rate it below Ms. Marvel, but an earlier volume of this complicated, engaging space opera has already won a Hugo Award (in 2013). The characters are worth caring about; the storyline is intriguing; and the overall narrative, when it’s complete, could become a classic of its kind.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies Review Books: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” – June 1

alexander

Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is the tale of a young man persecuted past the point of all reason. Only in the sick world of so-called Social Justice would he be held up as a comic figure rather a tragic one to be rescued or, failing that, avenged.

Our story begins when the main character wakes up with gum in his hair. Yet when he went to sleep, it was safely and responsibly in his mouth, where gum belongs. I am sure the SJWs would say that it is his fault for chewing gum in the first place, that he was somehow “asking for it”. They hate victim blaming until the victim is a white straight “CIS-MALE” and then suddenly everything is the victim’s fault. I ask you, is this morality where a person is always wrong 100% based on the gender and race?

If you say it is Alexander’s fault that the gum wound up in his hair, then you are saying he shouldn’t have had it in his mouth. If you are saying that he shouldn’t have had it in his mouth, you are saying he shouldn’t be allowed to chew gum. Who are you to say that he shouldn’t chew gum just because he is a straight white male, or as normal people who don’t notice sex or race would say, a normal person?

 

Demon with a Glass Hound 5/30

aka The Pup Who Circumnavigated Hugoland In A Slate Of His Own Making

The roundup includes Lela E. Buis, Samantha Noll, David Gerrold, Max Florschutz, Vox Day, Alexandra Erin, Jim McCoy, David Mack, Wei Ming Kam, Lis Carey, Pluviann, Chad Orzel, Bonnie McDaniel, Ursula Vernon, May Tree, Laurie Mann and less identifiable others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and Alexandra Erin. Update: In case you’re keeping score at home, the subtitle is similar to one previously contributed by Dawn Sabados, but not identical.)

Lela E. Buis

“SJWs in space” – May 30

The Puppies debate has some interesting facets, and it’s also an unusual opportunity to observe a little human behavior. One of the main accusations of the Puppies’ spokesmen Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day), Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia is that SF&F has been taken over by social justice warriors (aka SJW) who are pushing a liberal and literary agenda while forcing out old fashioned, right-leaning SF&F. I’ve just been reading about social justice, as it turns out. According to Professor Michael Reisch the definition of social justice is fairly open to question. This mutability means that different groups tend to co-opt the activist strategy and organize to advance their own definition of what social justice really is. Clearly, the Puppies have taken on the mantle and have now become social justice warriors, the very thing they have been loving to hate.

 

Samantha Noll on Dispatches from the Philosophy of Science Association’s Women’s Caucus

“A War of Words and Ideas: Philosophy, Science Fiction, and the Hugo Award Controversy” – May 30

So why is this important for society in general and for philosophers of science in particular? The answer to this question may become clearer when we reflect on why fringe groups are escalating their campaigns in science-fiction and other genres aimed at disenfranchising and silencing entire groups of people. As Kameron Hurley of The Atlantic argues “the truth is that our wars of words and narrative matter, especially those that tell us what sorts of possible futures we can build—and groups like Gamergate, Sad Puppies, and Rabid Puppies understand this.” During a time where the United States is becoming ever more diverse and citizens’ views ever more liberal, the push to suppress this trend is becoming ever more rabid, to appropriately apply Beale’s terminology. Barring those writing from diverse standpoints from receiving formal recognition helps to limit the exposure of these works and thus silences the authors. This is one of the reasons why it is important for those living in a democratic and multicultural society to ensure that those like Beale and Correia are not successful.

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 29

Worldcons, as we know them, have been around since 1939. Hugos have been awarded since 1953

Thousands of people have invested an enormous amount of time and energy into keeping the traditions of the World Science Fiction Convention going. Thousands have invested an enormous amount of time and energy in developing an award system designed to acknowledge excellence in the craft.

No award system is perfect — but it’s hard to argue with a system that has recognized the excellence of Dune, Left Hand Of Darkness, Starship Troopers, Ringworld, The Stars My Destination, Dragonflight, Stand On Zanzibar, Flowers For Algernon, City On The Edge Of Forever, Aye And Gomorrah, Blink, and other works that not only represent the best of the year — they also redefine what’s possible in the genre.

To some extent, there is an element of popularity in the voting. To some extent, there is an element of promotion by publishers and authors. To a larger extent, the problem with the Hugos is that the field has gotten so big and so sprawling that it’s impossible for any fan to be as widely read as in the past. This is why recommended reading lists are a great help.

There’s also a tradition of respect in fandom.

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 29

Some people have advocated going to Amazon and Goodreads and other sites to post one-star reviews of works by authors whose views they oppose.

Please, don’t do it.

It’s a failure of integrity.

If you’ve read the work, then post your honest opinion, good or bad. But punishing an author by down-voting his/her work — that’s not fair to the author, to the work, or to readers who are looking for useful reviews.

If you’re claiming to be one of the good guys, you gotta act like it.

 

Max Florschutz on Unusual Things

“I’m Not a Fan of Science-Fiction and Fantasy?” – May 30

I may not be a Science-Fiction and Fantasy fan.

Which is shocking. I always thought I was one. But no, according to a lot of these posts and comments I’m seeing and reading, I am not a “fan.” Or, to use the terms that some of the insulars have started to use, I am not a “trufan,” a term which, quite honestly, reminds me quite a bit of the ridiculous amount of self-inflicted (and mostly declarative) segregation in the gaming community between the “PC Master Race” and the “Console Gaming Peasants.” The console gamers aren’t really gamers, you see. They’re just casuals.

 

Caitlin on Devourer of Words

“Why I am voting for the Hugo Awards this year” – May 30

In general, I am disappointed that a small number of people think they have the right to dictate what the genres of sci-fi and fantasy consist of. In particular, people like Vox Day make me physically ill, and I don’t want promising new authors with awesome new ideas to leave the genre because of them. Vox Day in particular deserves to be defended against: this is a guy who doesn’t believe women should be allowed to vote…

 

 Vox Day onVox Popoli

“Eric Flint, SJW”

You know, we’ve wondered who was going to the new Hitler ever since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proved to be such a washout in that regard. My money was on Putin, so I had absolutely no idea it would turn out to be me. Someone get Hugo Boss on the line, we’re going to need some snappy new outfits for the VFM, stat! Let’s address the issues as Mr. Flint, real deal SJW, puts them forth.

  1. I don’t share Hitler’s views on race, as I have a basic grasp of human genetics and I am neither a eugenicist nor an Aryan supremacist.
  2. On the subject of Jews, I am a Zionist who edits and publishes the eminent Israeli military historian Dr. Martin van Creveld.
  3. I’m not opposed to women learning to read and write. I am opposed to women being encouraged to obtain advanced degrees in the place of husbands and children. Unlike Mr. Flint, I can do the demographic math.
  4. I don’t support honor killings. I never have.
  5. I don’t hide what I really believe. Mr. Flint claims to know what I really believe without me ever putting it into words because, and I quote, “peekaboo”. If anyone is “a fucking clown” here, it is observably Mr. Flint.
  6. I’m not trying to win Hugo Awards. I don’t care about winning awards.
  7. I have no delusions of grandeur. I’m not the one who keeps running to The Guardian, Entertainment Weekly, The New Zealand Herald, NPR, Popular Science, or the Wall Street Journal to talk about me. I haven’t issued a single press release or called a single member of the media about the Hugo Awards or anything else, for that matter.
  8. Western civilization is in peril. In large part thanks to idiots like Mr. Flint.
  9. I don’t like to portray myself with a flaming sword. That was the brainchild of the Star Tribune photographer who was taking pictures of me for a story the paper was doing. Apparently he was onto something, as it’s an image many people have remembered….

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“How big is the doghouse?” – May 30

So, Kate Paulk has been tapped as the standard-bearer of next year’s Sad Puppies campaign. She has declared that next year’s Hugo ballot-stuffing initiative will be done in a transparent and democratic manner. This does not fill one with confidence, since Brad Torgersen has made the same claims about this year’s ballot-stuffing initiative.

It also needs to be pointed out that it hardly matters who leads the Sad Puppies campaign or what they do or how they do it, as this year’s otherwise failed campaign only managed to achieve accidental relevance through the fact that the successful Rabid Puppies campaign largely copied and pasted their agenda.

With all that in mind, I have to say that I’m interested in Kate Paulk’s post about what she considers to be Hugo-worthy work only as an academic matter. If the list she assembles using it winds up being the ballot, it will likely be only because someone truly nasty as well as small-minded got behind her and started shoving, as happened this year.

 

Jim McCoy on Jimbos Awesome SFF Book and Movie Reviews

“Kate Paulk’s ConVent” – May 30

Before I get too far into the book, I wanted to mention Kate’s involvement with the Sad Puppies. She is next year’s evil, evil, evil ringleader. If you support evil, mean people who evilly think that you should evilly vote for good fiction written by evil people who evilly put story over message (because they’re evil) she’s worth supporting. Oh, and her book also kicks ass, but we’ll get to that in a minute. I just wanted to take a minute to give evil praise to Her Evilness, The Duchess of Snark. Does that make me evil? Probably. I’m OK with that. Now, onto the book.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The Ones Who Walk Away from Fandom” – May 30

It’s more than a little amusing. And those who walk away are the wise ones, because, as it has been sung:

Never kick a dog
Because it’s just a pup
You’d better run for cover when the pup grows up!

 

 

Wei Ming Kam on Fantasy Faction

“The pros and cons of the voting processes behind major SFF awards: Part 2” – May 31

This year, there is reportedly a massive upsurge in people buying supporting memberships of Sasquan, so basically people want to vote in the awards but have no interest in going to the con. Normally, the number of people who vote in the awards is small, so it’s reasonable to say that the upsurge is a result of the resentful manchildren making this year’s awards political. SADFACE. SAD SASQUATCH SADFACE.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Revenge of Hump Day–Hugo Nominated Best Fanzine” – May 31

It’s all perfectly competently and clearly written. I’m sure it’s well-received by its intended audience. On the other hand, I don’t see any exceptional excellence.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Sex Criminals Volume 1:One Weird Trick (Sex Criminals #1-5), by Matt Fraction (writer) Chip Zdarsky (artist)” – May 30

This one I did not expect to like. I got a surprise. It’s intelligent, thoughtful, does some really interesting things, and Suzie, as an adult, is a librarian, and a well-done librarian is always a win for me, Yes, it’s self-indulgent. So sue me.

 

Pluviann on The Kingfishers Nest

“On a Spiritual Plain – Lou Antonelli” – May 30

Imagine a great caravan of giant aliens travelling across a bleak and open plain, above them the most glorious auroral display fills the sky, and travelling with them is a human chaplain on a segway enclosed by faraday cage. This image comes from Lou Antonelli’s ‘On a Spiritual Plain’ and it deserves fanart. It’s the best part of the short story, and the idea of a faraday segway in particular really tickled me.

 

Award-Winning Reading

“Best Fan Artist” – May 28

Fun fact: I almost voted No Award for this entire category. Now I’m voting for Elizabeth Leggett and No Award for everything else. I went looking at each nominees website to make sure that I was looking at everything that is award eligible. Ninni Aalto, Brad W. Foster and Steve Stiles all have similar styles (to my very untrained eye) that just does not appeal to me. Add in that I didn’t find the subject matter that interesting, and there is no reason for me to vote for any of them. I like that Spring Schoenhuth’s work consists mostly of jewelry. I don’t really recognize most of it though, and again the style doesn’t really appeal to me, so I won’t vote for her.

Award Winning Reading

“Totaled by Kary English” – May 29

There is some science talk in this story, but it was unobtrusive and easy to understand. It was just enough to give the story weight without pulling attention away from the storyline. The writing is beautiful. Descriptive, but concise. It really drew me into the story in a way that I was not expecting.

 

Award-Winning Reading

“On a Spiritual Plain by Lou Antonelli” – May 28

I liked the writing style. Not overly wordy but descriptive enough to ground the reader. I do also like that the story made me confront the idea that I decided what the story was about when I was halfway through and then got mad when it didn’t follow like I thought it should. While I’m a bear to be around when that happens, I like to be reminded that authors can do whatever they please without catering to my idea of what it should be.

Chad Orzel on Uncertain Principles

“Hugo Reading: Not-Novels” – May 30

In the short fiction categories, two of the longer nominees were weirdly incomplete. “Flow” by Arlan Andrews and “Championship B’Tok” by Edward Lerner are perfectly fine, but just… stop. I wouldn’t object to reading more in either setting, say if these were the introductory chapters of longer novels, but as self-contained stories, they’re kind of lacking.

“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra is a complete alien-contact story, and good enough in a Heinlein-pastiche sort of vein. It’s maybe a little shaggy, but it’s enjoyable enough. “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt is kind of stupid and pointless, featuring a world where gravity literally reverses itself after the narrator gets dumped. I’m not sure it’s all that much more stupid and pointless than last year’s “The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere,” though, and that ended up winning, so…

“A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond is built around the nice image of a samurai climbing up the back of a mountain-sized monster in an attempt to kill it, but doesn’t quite pay off, and the bits where the narrator explains samurai stuff were kind of tedious. “Totaled” by Kary English may have been the best of the lot, a brain-in-a-vat story that had some genuine emotional content.

I don’t think any of these are brilliant, but I didn’t find any of them strikingly awful, either (“The Day The World Turned Upside Down” comes closest, but remained at “sigh heavily but keep reading” rather than “close the file and move on to the next thing”). I suspect there were probably better stories out there, but I say that almost every year that I read the short-fiction nominees, so…

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“Don’t crush THAT Hugo, hand me the SNARL” – May 30

Decades later I would find out that “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers” did not barely lose out to “No Award”, and that “Blows Against the Empire “ by Jefferson Starship had actually come in second place. I know that the Jefferson Starship supergroup that put out “Blows Against the Empire” was not really the same band that “Built This City” in  1985 (“Worst song of the 80s” by a Rolling Stone Reader’s poll), but the fact that they had the same name, and several of the same members, makes me think it was better that “No Award” won in that year. In addition to the dubious distinctions of most “No Award” winners, and for propelling films like “Flesh Gordon” (nominated 1975) to prominence, the Best Dramatic Presentation has been a place where stories too far ahead of their time could be reconsidered in a digested visual format some of the members of fandom could better relate to.

 

Bonnie McDaniel on Red Headed Femme

“The Hugo Project: ‘Wisdom From My Internet’” – May 30

I picked “Wisdom From My Internet” to review first, mainly to see if all the rumblings I’ve heard about it are true, and it is indeed the worst thing to disgrace the ballot in decades.

May I be perfectly frank for a moment?

Great Cthulhu, kill me now.

What the hell is this shit?

I really don’t want to hurt Michael Z. Williamson’s feelings, but I’m afraid it’s going to be unavoidable.

 

 

May Tree in a comment on File 770 – May 29

Voting for Noms On a Summer Evening

Whose noms these are I think I know.
His blog is quite a silly show;
He will not see me stopping here
His lousy choices to forego.

My Siamese Cat must think it queer
To stop without a Hugo near
But I must set aside this slate
And vote again another year.

These stories, at best second-rate,
Were stuffed by Pups (and GamerGate?!)
The rockets they would try to sweep
Their wounded egos to inflate.

The Puppy Poop is much too deep,
My sanity I’ll have to keep,
And “No Award” before I sleep,
And “No Award” before I sleep.

 

Laurie Mann on Facebook – May 30

This is not a joke. This group, Snarky Puppy, is playing in the INB Theater 3 months after the Hugo Awards are presented in the same building.  http://www.inbpac.com/event.php?eventID=270

Snarky Puppy