The Hydrophobia That Falls On You From Nowhere 6/12

aka The Puppies of Wrath

Today’s roundup stars David Gerrold, Tom Knighton, Rand Simberg, Phil Sandifer, Abi Sutherland, Doctor Science, Edward Trimnell, Jenn Armistead, Lela E. Buis, Peter Grant, Sarah A. Hoyt, Natalie Luhrs. Robert Sharp, Lis Carey and Lou J. Berger. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Seth Gordon and Steve Moss.)

David Gerrold on Facebook – June 12

Okay — so far, so good. If you wanted to suggest that there is a certain insular attitude among regular Worldcon attendees and supporters, even a clique-ishness, you could make that case — from the outside, it could look like that.

But actually, no. Because any convention — especially the Worldcon — is open to anyone who wants to buy a membership and attend. So no one is being kept out.

The issue — the idea that I’m creeping up on here — is the perception of a science fiction community. It’s an open community. Anyone can be a member of this community. Just show up. The ceiling constitutes an introduction. (ie. “You’re in the room, you’re here, you’re one of us. Hello!”)

So, in actuality, the community isn’t insular and it isn’t a clique — but it does have a lot of people in it who’ve known each other for a long time, and that can be intimidating to newcomers.

Now — here’s where I’m going to make some assumptions.

1) Based on the evidence of his online screeds, Vox Day does not consider himself a member of the science fiction community. In his own mind, he apparently considers himself a righteous and noble warrior fighting an evil establishment that sprawls like a cancer across the literary landscape. Based on the evidence of his online statements, he is at war with the community. He wants to disrupt and destroy. He has — by his own devices — selected himself out.

2) Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia, and others who have identified themselves as the “sad puppies” are very much a part of the SF community. They have demonstrated — by writing and publishing stories, by attending conventions, by being nominated for awards, by writing blogs and participating online — that they have a personal investment in the workings of the SF community. They are not enemies, they are (to the extent they participate in fannish endeavors) fans like everyone else.

Now, having made those distinctions, let me expand on them. ….


Tom Knighton

“David Gerrold: Sad Puppies ARE part of ‘SF community’” – June 12

I’ve been very upset by some of the things I’ve seen from David Gerrold since the Hugo nominations were announced.  Honestly, knowing such a person wrote my mother’s favorite Star Trek episode was upsetting on a personal level that really doesn’t make any sense, but there it was.

However, Gerrold’s tone has mellowed recently.  Today, he stated something that few would acknowledge, and that was how Larry Correia, Brad Torgersen, and the rest of us are part of the science fiction fan community in a post on Facebook early this morning. ….

That said, I’m willing to explore alternatives, but only so long as the horrid things we’re called ends.  Gerrold brings up the Paris Peace Accords and the amount of time it took just to get things rolling for various reasons.  In light of that, a comparison to a bloody war, I think it’s fair to note that I see no reason for us to disarm if the other side refuses.  CHORF and SJW remain in the arsenal, and will be used if necessary.

Calling us Sad Puppies won’t bring them out from me.  Calling us racists, homophobic, misogynists, or similarly will.  I’m damn sick of it.  Those words have meanings, and they’re being stripped of those meanings by using them to describe minorities of all stripes who stand with the Sad Puppies simply because they like different books.


Rand Simberg on Transterrestrial Musings

“David Gerrold” – June 12

..says Sad Puppies are a part of the SF community.

Well, that’s mighty white of him.


Philip Sandifer

“John C. Wright Has Just Advocated For My Murder” – June 12

In the comments over at Vox Day’s blog, John C. Wright posted the following:


The first line is Wright quoting a previous post of mine. The second paragraph is him advocating for my murder. Because he disagrees with my definition of mysticism. I am, to be clear, not particularly scared by this. I do not imagine that John C. Wright will now be hiding in my bushes, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. This is empty, vicious rhetoric of the sort that Day and Wright specialize in – sound and fury that, while not exactly signifying nothing, is still clearly told by an idiot. Hell, if I were a woman blogging about the stuff I blog about I’d get half a dozen far worse threats a day. The threat itself is not a big deal.


Doctor Science in a comment on File 770 – June 12

If any Puppies are in the neighborhood: *this* is what the conspiracy of Hugo voters you think has been going on for years looks like. Not covert conversations, not a sekrit batsignal telling us who the Approve Authors are this year, but a lot of people saying, “I just read this thing, it’s great!” and explaining *why* it’s great, with other people saying things ranging from “me to!” to “what are you, nuts?” to “meh”.


Edward Trimnell

“So why are they mad at Tor Books?” – June 12

The science fiction community is currently divided into two factions: For the purposes of our discussion here, we’ll use the names they’ve assigned to themselves: the Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) and the Sad Puppies.

*  *   *

The SJW faction believes that science fiction is primarily a vehicle of identity group politics. For the SJW faction, the ideal science fiction story would feature an angry feminist of color who receives a visitation from a band of transgender aliens one night as she is driving home from a Women’s Studies seminar somewhere in Massachusetts.

Over the course of many chapters, the transgender aliens explain to her why all of her problems result from white male exploitation.

The plot line is resolved when the angry feminist of color leaves her husband or boyfriend, gets a closely cropped haircut, and moves into a lesbian commune in western Massachusetts. (A closing monologue about the evils of the George W. Bush administration is optional.)


Jenn Armistead in letter to Library Journal – June 1

If the Sad Puppies don’t want to be conflated with the Rabid Puppies or called mean words like misogynist, perhaps they should have done a better job of explaining how what they were doing wasn’t a reaction to the “large” number of minorities who won the Hugos last year (Wilda Williams, “Set Your Phasers to Stunned: 2015 Hugo Nominations Stir Controversy”). Yes, it’s lovely that your slate also has women and brown people and that women and brown people were involved in creating Sad Puppies, but if you are going to claim the past winners didn’t deserve their awards but received them because of their gender/race/sexuality/whatever, you have to be very, very careful with your messaging, because it is going to tend to sound like you don’t like women/brown people/LGBT/whatever winning awards instead of white men.

The choice of the term Sad Puppies also doesn’t help your position. It was obviously chosen as a nod toward the anti-SJW [Social Justice Warrior] term, and it is rather disingenuous to claim otherwise. At the very least, your message was not received as it was intended. At worst, you sound like Gamergaters crying, “But it’s about ethics in game journalism!”

At the end of the day, I don’t think it matters. This is about a small subset of the sf reading population vying with another small subset of the sf reading population over a popularity contest. The rest of us readers will continue to read whatever we prefer. If we don’t see ourselves and the works we care about reflected in the ­Hugos, we’ll just go elsewhere.

—Jenn Armistead, Literacy Coordinator, Tulsa City-Cty. Lib. Syst.


Lela E. Buis

“Replying to intent” – June 12

As a mere short story writer, I’m coming late to the front. I’m just picking up on the issues here. I don’t know what Vox Day has against Tor, but it looks to me like he’s attacking the editors as a way to get at the organization in general. As a battle-hardened flame warrior, I have to say that it’s important to look at the enemy’s intent instead of what s/he says. Attacks can be shut down if you know what they’re really about.

John Scalzi? Just a guess.


Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“Tor: the latest developments (or lack thereof)” – June 12

I wonder whether Tor’s and Macmillan’s lack of response to my letters, both public and private, is because they think I don’t mean it?  Do they think I’m just ‘small fry’, not worth bothering about?  Do they think my words are ‘a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing‘? Do they think I’m making an idle threat, or don’t have any support?  Time will tell.  I know what other authors and individuals in the SF/F community have said to me.  Let’s see whether they back up their words with action.  Whether they do or they don’t, I know what I’m going to do if the situation doesn’t change.


Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Dispatches From Another World” – June 12

But one thing is to know it instinctively – and even then when I write about it, people email me to tell me that I am wrong and “paranoid” and yeah, one is always afraid – and another to have one’s nose rubbed in it in the form of a supposed adult saying with the simplicity of a 12 year old that the people who oppose her are “racist, sexist, homophobic” and “bad to reprehensible” even before the “poopy-head” level classification of “neo-nazis.”

Look, it is the fact that Irene Gallo is sincere and, in her own mind, fighting on the side of angels, that is shocking and scary. And it fits perfectly with what I’ve seen in the publishing world (other than Baen, natch) in my years working as a professional writer.

These people don’t live in the world we live in.

Most of us – well, some of us – went through excellent universities, and read voraciously, and were subjected to the barrage of media that projected the same mental picture Ms. Gallo has: the left is eternally right (when they were wrong, their mistakes – like segregation – are now attributed to the right) and the future is a bright socialist utopia (really communist, but we’ll call it socialist so as not to scare the squares) and anyone who stands against it is an evil right winger, a fascist, a neo nazi and by definition racist, sexist, homophobic.


Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“Links: 06/12/15” – June 12

Has there been any more fan writing about this? I’d really like to read more fan perspectives as I work my way through the giant pile of angry thoughts I have about this. I feel like the fan perspective is important, for a lot of reasons: first of all, most of us are doing this because we actually do love the community and most of the people who make up the community. Second, we often have more at risk: fan labor is almost by its very definition free labor, we have smaller platforms, and what happened to Irene Gallo is chilling across multiple axes.

I stand in solidarity with Irene Gallo. I respect the hell out of her and her work and I think she is doing amazing things with art direction. She makes an incredibly difficult job look effortless and easy.  And publicly chastising her for what she said on her personal Facebook page was wrong.


Robert Sharp on Medium – June 12

It is now time for a “personal opinions” icon. Millions of people like Irene Gallo could add the symbol to their personal social media accounts. Ideally, the symbol would link to some standardised “these are my personal views” text that would insure both the individual and their employers from being dragged into something that should not concern them.

What would such an icon look like? That is a challenge for graphic designers. It needs to work at extremely small resolutions. My initial idea was simply a shape with a letter ‘p’ in it, but that does not translate across cultures. Perhaps a speech bubble with a face or head inside?

I urge designers to take up this challenge.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF, by Ken Burnside” – June 12

This is easily the best of the Best Related Works Hugo nominees. Burnside lays out what thermodynamics really mean for military actions and combat in space, at least if you are writing “hard” sf, intended to be based in scientific reality.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Letters From Gardner: A Writer’s Odyssey, by Lou Antonelli” – June 12

The memoir portions are perhaps less fascinating than Antonelli imagines. It’s a bit of a slog to get to the first few little notes from Dozois, which, while obviously highly encouraging to a new writer for whom any personal comment from an editor, especially one as notable as Dozois, are in themselves very ordinary. They just do not have the  thrill for the reader that they would obviously and appropriately have had for Antonelli when he received them. What’s hard to understand here is the lack of the most basic proof-reading and copy-editing. There are errors of tense and number, but always when the error is just one letter, suggesting a typo that a spellchecker wouldn’t catch, and a human eye didn’t catch. There are dropped words that momentarily bounce the reader out of the narrative. And it’s not just one or two instances; it keeps happening. It’s as if Antonelli relied too heavily on his newspaper-honed ability to produce readable copy on short notice, and didn’t think he needed an editor, or even a proofreader. The danger of that is that after you’ve spent too much time with your own prose, you see what you meant to type, not what you really did type. It’s an unwise choice that weakens even the best work. All in all, I can’t see this book being of real interest to anyone except Lou Antonelli’s devoted fans. A “Best Related Work,” it is not.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Riding the Red Horse, by Tom Kratman (editor), Vox Day [Theodore Beale] (editor)” – June 12

Unfortunately, it’s a very uneven collection. It includes the very good The Hot Equations, by Ken Burnside, and the very disappointing Turncoat by Steve Rzasa. There is, early on, a casual endorsement of the probable “necessity” of genocide on the grounds that Those People aren’t smart enough to modify their behavior. A point Beale’s fans will have difficulty with is that such inflammatory language makes it less likely that readers will take in the point the author was attempting to make. A better editor would have caught it and told the author to dispense with pointless provocation and just make his point.


Lou J. Berger on Facebook – June 9

As David Gerrold proposed, WorldCon in Spokane this year will be a party, a place to revel in our shared love of Science Fiction, a place to be inclusive and supportive of one another.

Remember, we are ALL Science Fiction!

I’ll be passing these badge ribbons out to whomever asks for one at Sasquan.

We Are ALL Science Fiction ribbon

Lou J. Berger on Facebook – June 11


The hashtag is gaining momentum, and if you agree that Science Fiction has been sundered, but believe we can repair the situation, please consider sharing the hashtag, along with a short paragraph or so of WHY you agree that re-unification of the various factions is vital….

There’s LOTS of room for all of us in the field of Science Fiction. Hijacking ballots, or dismissing milSF as “not real SF” says more about the person stating it than about the field at large.

We are ALL Science Fiction, and we’ve taken this genre from pulp to mainstream.

Let’s put down our scathing vitriol and find a way to support each other.

We are ALL Science Fiction.