Disney’s “101 Nominations” 5/25

aka Crate Expectations

The Memorial Day roundup begins with Dave Freer and carries on with Cheryl Morgan, Jeff Duntemann, Sam Finlay, Adam-Troy Castro, Lisa J. Goldstein, Joseph Tomaras, Andrew Hickey, Rebekah Golden, Martin Wisse, Declan Finn, Steve Leahy and Dcarson. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day William Reichard and Jim Henley.)

Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“Making a living, and things that may interfere with it” – May 25

So far, to best of my knowledge, the Puppies, both sad and rabid, and their followers have avoided attacking things which make people a living. They’ve asked people to NOT take it out on the authors who have been pressured into stepping out of Noms. They’ve spoken out against punishing Tor Books despite the Neilsen Hayden’s and friends attacks on ‘Making Light’. No-one has called for a boycott or blacklist of David Gerrold, or Glenn Hauman, or to have their reputations tarnished and Amazon reviews deliberately lowered.

That’s of course NOT true in the converse. And while there’s been some passive-aggressive ‘semi-plausible-deniability’ ‘who will rid us of these turbulent puppies’ basically from the get-go it’s been attacks on the ability of the Puppy organizers and the nominees ability to make a living. We’re immoral destroyers (we obeyed the rules to letter. Patrick Nielsen Hayden broke the embargo rules with absolute impunity, not a word of criticism offered. Rules are only for little people.) who break every convention of good behavior (David Gerrold, the MC of the event, has been campaigning relentlessly against the Pups and the nominees – which is so far outside the canon of ‘acceptable behavior’ as to be a light-year beyond the pale). They organized smears on Entertainment Weekly to label us racists and sexists – which the magazine had to redact because they’re demonstrably untrue. It didn’t stop the smears mysteriously cropping up in ‘friendly’ outlets across the English Speaking world. Gerrold and TNH carefully listed all the nasty things –exclusion from Cons, denial of space in publications, editors closing doors to subs, reviews being denied… that just would happen to us. All things that would, had to affect the puppies ability to make a living. Not one of them said ‘hey, these people have families. They’re human too.’ In fact we had phrases flung about putting us down. Untermench. Then we have Glenn Hauman calling for people to use the Hugo package for a way to game the rankings against the puppies. “Oh, and to answer the title question: what do you do to rabid puppies? You put them down.”


Jeff Duntemann on Jeff Duntemann’s Contrapositive Diary

“Sad Puppies Summary and Wrapup” – May 24

Eveybody’s got a theory on how to fix the Hugo Awards process, but to me the process is fine; what’s missing is about 25,000 more involved nominators and voters. A large enough voter base is unlikely to be swept by something like a slate of recommendations. Whether so many new people can be brought into the Worldcon/Hugos community is unclear, but I doubt it.

That’s about all I’m going to have to say about the Sad Puppies topic for awhile. I’m turning my attention back to writing, to the concept of the Human Wave, and perhaps to a suspicion I have that fandom is in the process of splitting. The problems of fandom are caught up in the problems of publishing. Once Manhattan-style traditional publishing becomes more or less irrelevant, fandom may become an overlapping group of online communities centered on authors and genres. Each will probably have its own awards, and the Hugos will become only one among many. Is this a good thing?

You bet!


Sam Finlay on Return of Kings

“How Female-Dominated Publishing Houses Are Censoring Male Authors” – May 25

We continued talking about why the industry seems to be so focused on just playing to the tastes of upper-middle class women in New York City, and I then told him some things that Sci-Fi author Larry Correia had said recently in a podcast concerning the Sad Puppies-Rabid Puppies controversy, and how it struck me that by pursuing their current strategy the publishing houses are ignoring huge markets of people willing to buy books and are cutting their own throats.

He broke in saying, “I know, I know…But look, Sam…you gotta stop thinking. Just stop thinking! Thinking about all this will drive you crazy! Don’t go to bookstores, if they even still have any where you live. Don’t look at other books. You’ll just wonder how in the world this thing even got published,” and then told me some more anecdotes about how the sausage is made. He then quoted Otto Priminger, saying “Nobody knows anything.”

It was sad. He’s a good man, and was just as frustrated about it all as anybody, but he’s stuck fighting a literati who only look for books that support the current narrative, and is left trying to sneak in what stories he can, however he can.


Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – May 25

So if somebody unfamiliar to me wins an award I was up for, and more importantly gets a big contract while I’m left begging for more porridge at Mr. Bumble’s Workhouse, I honestly give serious thought to the premise that I have missed something that excels in a way my efforts do not.

By contrast, a glance at some of the rhetoric issued by {Gay-Basher McManly-Nuts} establishes a deep and unwavering belief that he, and those who work in his wheelhouse, represent the bastion of greatness against which the rest of us hammer in vain, like zombies trying to get past a boarded-up window.. To wit, if he hasn’t set the world on fire, if he is not met at the convention gates by a swarm of screaming groupies like the kids at the beginning of A HARD DAY’S NIGHT, if books that are nothing like the books he writes get more acclaim than his, the answer can only be that it MUST BE A CONSPIRACY, that justifies an EVEN MORE BLATANT CONSPIRACY. He has no doubts at all. He deserves this. He is angry, Mr. {Gay-Basher McManly-Nuts}. And it is not just regular anger. It is righteous anger, bringing us to the point that being righteously angry is not necessarily the same thing as being justifiably angry, not even close.

The difference between Mr. {Gay-Basher McManly-Nuts} and myself is therefore significant, and it boils down to the statement that while I am very capable of being an asshole about many things, I am not an asshole to that extent or in that particular way.

I also possess discernment about some things that apparently still confuse him.

For instance, I have absolutely no difficulty identifying my elbow. It’s the place in the middle of my arm that bends.


Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 15: Back to Novellas” – May 25

Okay, I’m surprised.  Tom Kratman’s “Big Boys Don’t Cry” actually reads in places like an anti-war story.  Well, let’s not get carried away here — it’s more a story about the harm that fighting wars can do, the ways in which a personality can be twisted and perverted by the aims of those in command.

Maggie is a Ratha, an intelligent fighting vehicle who has been through countless battles, and been made to forget some of her more disturbing actions.  She has been mortally wounded and is being taken apart for scrap — but the more the workers drill down, the more she starts remembering things that now seem to her to be problematic…..


Joseph Tomaras on A Skinseller’s Workshop

“Hugo Short Story Ballot” – May 24

“Totaled” by Kary English is too good a story to be tarred with the brush of a slate. It makes good use of not-as-far-future-as-those-unfamiliar-with-the-field-might-think neuroscience to explore the mind-body problem, the relationship of emotion to cognition, and the furthest limits to which careerist self-sacrifice can drive a person. I wish it had first appeared either in a free online venue, or a magazine with broader circulation than Galaxy’s Edge.

Lou Antonelli’s “On a Spiritual Plane” attempts to cover similar ground, but there’s a crippling contradiction between the short story form, which requires some measure of crisis for the protagonist, and the author’s evident desire simply to set up a world that is confirmatory of the narrator’s Thomistic metaphysics….


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Jeffro Johnson Hugo Nomination Fanwriter Sample” – May 25

This might be the best of the Puppy Fan Writer nominees. At the very least, I can see real substance in it that doesn’t work for me, but surely will for its intended audience.


Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

“Hugo Blogging: ‘Best’ Related Work” – May 25

For fairly obvious reasons, I am not going to give anything on those slates a ranking above No Award. Once again, however, I am grateful that my aesthetic instincts match my moral ones here — while these are (with one notable exception) much less incompetent than the fiction I’ve read so far, none of them are actually, you know, good.

Here’s how I’m ranking them.

Letters from Gardner by Lou Antonelli is half writing autobiography/how to break into SF manual, and half collection of short stories. Basically imagine The Early Asimov, but with Antonelli replacing Asimov and Gardner Dozois replacing John Campbell. Antonelli tells the story of how each of his stories was written, and how it was accepted or rejected. The difference is, though, that Antonelli has had an undistinguished career, lasting roughly a decade, while Asimov was one of the greats of the genre (at least in sales and critical status). There is an intrinsic interest in Asimov’s juvenilia which there just isn’t for Antonelli. The stories were pedestrian, and there were no real insights, but this might be of interest to someone. It’s not *bad*, just also not *good*…..


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Short Story: Reviewing L Antonelli” – May 25

“On A Spiritual Plain”, Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, 11-2014)

If this had been longer than fifteen pages I would not have finished it. After I did finish it I looked up the elements of a story to see what was missing.


Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“Preliminary thoughts — Best Graphic story Hugo” – May 25

During the various discussions about the Puppies, the Hugo Awards and everything somebody, I think it was Erik Olson, made the excellent remark that new Hugo categories only make sense if there are enough good candidates each year for it. If there only one or two or even five different candidates in any given year, what’s the point? It occurred to me that the converse is also true: any given Hugo category only makes sense if the Hugo voters are knowledgeable enough to actually vote for more than just a handful of the usual subjects year after year. Otherwise it means you just have an even smaller than usual group of people nominating and most people either not voting, or only voting for names they recognise.

The Best Graphic Story category, which was first awarded in 2009, at first seemed to fail that second requirement. The first three awards were won by Girl Genius and you do wonder whether that was because people recognised Kaja & Phil Foglio from fandom, rather than for the comic itself. The Foglios themselves were gracious enough to withdraw after their third win and since then the category has improved a lot, having been won by three different comics since. I’m still a bit skeptical of how well it will work out in the long term, or whether it’ll become just another category most people won’t care about, like the best semi-prozine or best fan artist ones and just vote by rote, if at all.

On the other hand though, if there’s one thing the Hugos, as well as Worldcon needs if it wants to stay relevant, is to get in touch with wider fandom, to not just focus on the old traditional categories. And comics suit the Hugos well. There are plenty of science fiction comics published each year, even omitting superhero series and there does now seems to be a core of Worldcon fans invested in nominating and voting. Since there isn’t really a proper comics orientated sf award yet, haivng the Hugos take up the slack is an opportunity to make them relevant to a primary comics geek, as opposed to a written sf geek audience.


Cheryl Morgan on Cheryl’s Mewsings

“The Wages of Sin” – May 25

Yesterday Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon, announced that they now have 9,000 members. Fannish mathematics thus makes it the first billion dollar Worldcon1.

On the back of this unexpected windfall the Commie Pinko Faggot Feminazi Cabal that controls Worldcon via Tor Books has announced the 10-year, $3.4 million deal for its primary gamma rabbit author, John Scalzi.

Scalzi’s editor at Tor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, explained the rationale behind this move. “It was a tough decision,” he said, especially as none of Scalzi’s books have sold more than a dozen or so copies, mostly to his friends and family. The convention revenue simply doesn’t cover the shortfall.” ….


Declan Finn on A Pius Man

“The Anti-Puppies (Sad Puppies Bite Back VI)” – May 26

[Putatively humor.]

[GRR Martin …gapes, blinks, then turns to NKJ] And you, hold on a second. You’re not content with having a personal vendetta and an online feud with Vox Day, but you want to deliberately taunt the Dark Lord of the Fisk!? Have you no sense of self-preservation?

[Scalzi frowns] I thought he was the International Lord of Hate

[Jemisin] Anything he says to me will prove that he’s a racist!


Declan Finn on A Pius Man

“Putting down the puppies (Sad Puppies Bite Back VII)”  – May 26

[Three hours later, down the road, lying in wait, are the Evil League of Evil. Tom Kratman tirelessly watches the road, awaiting the dog catcher truck.  John “Dr. O. No” Ringo, now that the sun is down, furiously taps away on his laptop, cranking out a rough draft of a 15-book series on an alien invasion. Larry Correia, the International Lord of Hate, is fisking the entire back catalog of The Guardian. The Cuddly Skeletor, Brad Torgersen, clutches the flamethrower on loan from Larry, looking like a kid waiting for Christmas morning.]

[LC looks up]  I’m running out of Guardian articles.  Are they coming or not?

[TK growls, frustrated]  I don’t see them sir!  We still have the Claymore mines ready and waiting to blow them straight to Hell at the first sign!  Assuming the land mines in the road don’t get them first! Or the three backup snipers!

[LC]  Geez, Tom, are you sure that we’ll even need to fire a shot, assuming they ever get here?

[TK] Better to be prepared than not, sir!

[LC sighs, closes the laptop, and stands up, taking care not to hit the flagpole above him]  Okay, everyone, we’re packing up. Brad, sorry, no flamethrower for you tonight.

[Brad, frustrated that he never got to use his flame thrower on the self-destructed anti-Puppies, fires it off into space.  The massive fireball makes it way to low orbit.  It impacts and explodes against a low-flying alien spacecraft, a scout for the incoming armada.  The armada, thinking their surprise has been ruined, turn around and retreat. The wounded ship hurtles in an uncontrolled descent, slamming right into Tor’s officers, taking out the entire suite of offices, and a few cockroaches — including an intern named Joe Buckley, but no one noticed one way or another, since interns are all disposable anyway. But Joe died happy. He FINALLY got to see an exploding space ship!]


Dcarson on Steve Jackson Games Board & Dice Forum

“Mars Attacks (Worldcon)” – May 24

Played Mars Attacks this weekend at Balticon. We noticed that the cities showing were all ones we had been to a Worldcon in. So for the next game we sorted through the city deck and if we allowed San Diego as the site of a Nasfic we had 16 city and monument cards. So a 4 player game of Mars Attacks the Worldcon.