Missing Puppy Formation 4/15

Today there were major responses to a pair of Hugo nominees withdrawing their work from the ballot,  Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet, which raised the temperature of the discussion even higher.

John Scalzi comments on comparisons drawn between the eligibility of his 2006 novel and a 2013 John C. Wright story.  Sarah Hoyt turns an argument on its head. John Ringo forsees an enjoyable moment at the Hugo ceremony.

And Brad R. Torgersen posted a highly interesting, self-revelatory essay.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt on Facebook

When I hear one of my favorite writers, one of the most deserving of nominees, has dropped out of the Hugos because of the pressure, insults, and more she was subjected to by assholes who are angry and can’t blame those responsible but instead generalize and attack everyone, it makes me really disgusted. It also makes me more determined to keep my nomination and say this: the only thing tainting the awards this year is bad behavior by people who should have more maturity and class. Not bloc voting accusations or politics. But people unable to behave respectfully toward others. THAT stains our genre. It tars all of us. And I am soooooooo sick of it.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

Annie Bellet withdraws – April 14

As to anyone feeling betrayed by this, don’t be. Leave them alone and respect their decision; do not criticize them for it. Regardless of why they chose to withdraw, that is their right and their choice, and it is neither a problem nor a concern of ours.

UPDATE: Marko Kloos wasn’t quite so judicious on Facebook, apparently. …

What is with these SF writers and their absolute preoccupation with all things excremental anyhow?

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

Well, this sucks. – April 14

Personally, I think this sucks. We were trying to get talented quality writers on the ballot who would normally be ignored. Neither of these share my politics. There are some amazing authors nominated for the first time, and I wish that people would just read the fucking books, but hell, who am I kidding? I’m tired of repeating myself. Some of the stuff I’ve seen go down over the last two weeks is so infuriating it would blow your mind.

For the 100th damned time, Vox wasn’t on SP3. He did his own thing. Now authors are being tried for guilt by association with somebody they never chose to associate with, and their nominations are somehow meaningless because the wrong person plugged their work.

That’s unfair bullshit and you all know it.

 

Sarah Hoyt on Mad Genius Club

“The Dogs You Lie Down With” – April 15

It occurred to me that no one, that I know (and he’d probably tell me, at least for the novelty) has gone to John C. Wright and said “You’re supported by Sarah A. Hoyt, a public and avowed supporter of same sex marriage, who has many gay characters in her books. Therefore, you too must be a public and avowed supporter of same sex marriage, you horrible man.”

Mind you, there are people who consider this position of mine more than they can swallow and who have told me so and told me they’d never read me again. That’s fine by me. I arrived at that decision on my own and by thought. (And I’m not in favor of activist stunts like taking down pizza parlors or forcing religions you don’t even belong to to marry you or to perform ceremonies forbidden by their beliefs. No, supporting SSM doesn’t mean supporting that. I reject guilt by association in all forms.) I’m a big girl and I can wear big girl pants. (As for the gay characters they just happen. It’s like I have a ton of stories by the sea, and no, that’s not where I grew up. Or why I’m infected with dragons. Not everything in art is under your strict control.)

 

Nerdvana Podcast

Show #146: Episode 38: “HugoGate 2015”, Part 1. The title pretty much says it all. We’re not here to discuss the nominees, we are here to talk about the controversy surrounding this years Hugo awards. Join hosts JC Arkham and Two-Buck Chuck as we welcome back guests Hugo awards winners Christopher J Garcia and Mo “The Thrill” Starkey along with special guest Hugo expert Kevin Standlee.

 

John Ringo on Facebook – April 15

Talking with Cedar Sanderson reminded me of something.

There are multiple nominees for every Hugo and Nebula which are publicly posted. A few years back, both the Hugo and Nebula committee started to give out small trinkets to all the nominees who didn’t win. Runner up awards if you will. ‘You’re such nice people and you really deserve SOMETHING.’

Lois Bujold has collected so many over the years that she has a whole necklace of the things.

I just realized that the Hugo committee is going to have to pass those out to Tom Kratman, Toni Weisskopf, Brad Torgersen, etcetera, EVEN IF THEY DON’T WIN A HUGO.

Or I suppose they can eliminate the practice.

But I really want to see their faces when they’re forced to give one to Tom Kratman.

Fortunately, the whole ceremony is generally live cast to DragonCon. So I don’t actually have to attend WorldCon thank God.

 

 

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – April 15

Fans don’t quit. Fans don’t give up. Fans are the kind of people who — if you give them lemons — come back with key lime pie and you’re left scratching your head, wondering how they did it.

So we will have a Hugo ceremony. It will be a celebration of our deserving nominees. It will be a celebration of excellence in the genre. It will be a celebration of our history and our traditions. It will be a celebration of us.

There will be some jokes. There will be some surprises. Some of the best people in the genre have stepped up to the plate — and we’re planning a celebration that will be joyous and fun. I intend that we will end up feeling proud that we haven’t lost our ability to be the greatest fans on Earth — and in space as well.

When we step back and take a larger look at our history, at our traditions, at ourselves and the scale of our dreams and the scale of our accomplishments — this year’s little kerfuffle is merely a momentary hiccup in a much bigger history.

 

John Brown

“What Vox Day Believes” – April 15

I asked Day if he’d mind answering a few questions.

He agreed.

What you will read below is our conversation, arranged for easy reading.

Why am I doing this?

Well, who doesn’t want to scoop the devil? But beyond that, I agree with George R. R. Martin: internet conversations that are not moderated to maintain a tone of respectful disagreement are a bane upon us all. Actually, Martin said they were part of the devil’s alimentary canal, but I didn’t want to confuse the topic.

 

Dave Gonzales on Geek.com

“Winter isn’t coming: Hugo Awards’ own GamerGate is delaying A Song of Ice and Fire” – April 15

George RR Martin has taken to his blog to talk about a scandal at the Hugo Awards this year, and if he’s blogging, he’s not finishing Winds of Winter, the next installment in his A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels that inspired HBO runaway hit Game of Thrones.

Martin is an avid blogger and a seemingly avid procrastinator that loves hanging out at comic book and sci-fi conventions. He was in the news this March when he announced he wasn’t going to San Diego Comic-Con this year so he could continue work on his next book. Sad news for fans attending the Con and devastating news for those waiting for the new book: this July marks four years since A Dance With Dragons, and he’s still going to be working?

 

Brad R. Torgersen

“Tribalism is as tribalism does” – April 14

I told George R. R. Martin I’d be writing this post — as a result of some of the polite dialogue we had at his LiveJournal page. His basic question to me was, “How can you, as a guy in an interracial marriage, put up with some of the racist and sexist stuff (a certain person) writes on his blog?” I thought this a valid question. How indeed? I didn’t have the space on LiveJournal to unpack all of my thoughts and feelings on the dread ism topic, so I thought I would do it here.

 

Rhiannon on Feminist Fiction

“Responding to the Hugos” – April 15

The key thing, in the end, is voting. If we want diverse creators and titles to be included in the Hugos, then we need to show up and have our voices heard. And not just as an act of protest, but as an act of engagement. Read the nominees, make a genuine evaluation of which ones we like the best, and vote for them because we truly believe they deserve to win. Sure, it’s not as dramatic as nuking the votes, and it makes a less headline-worthy point of “we matter too,” but it’s the way that “untraditional” sci-fi/fantasy fans should be able to engage with the Hugos, and the Sad Puppies don’t prevent us from doing that. If enough people who don’t fit the Sad Puppies idea of “real sci-fi/fantasy” feel inspired to vote, then diverse works will be included naturally. The Sad Puppies slate only worked because very few people actually contribute to the Hugo nominations. The best way to stop them, therefore, is to contribute. And no matter how much some people believe that must be a conspiracy, anyone with sense can easily see that it’s just honest diversity in action.

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“The Latest Hugo Conspiracy Nonsense Involving Me” – April 15

In the wake of one of John C. Wright’s Hugo-nominated stories being disqualified for the ballot because it was previously published on his Web site, howls of bitter indignancy have arisen from the Puppy quarters, on the basis that Old Man’s War, a book I serialized here on Whatever in 2002, qualified for the Hugo ballot in 2006 (it did not win). The gist of the whining is that if my work can be thought of as previously unpublished, why not Mr. Wright’s? Also, this is further evidence that the Hugos are one big conspiracy apparently designed to promote the socially acceptable, i.e., me specifically, whilst putting down the true and pure sons of science fiction (i.e., the Puppies)…..

  1. Aside from my notification of the nomination, I had no contact with the Hugo Award committee of that year prior to the actual Worldcon, nor could I tell you off the top of my head who was on the committee. It doesn’t appear that anyone at the time was concerned about whether OMW being serialized here constituted publication. Simply put, it didn’t seem to be an issue, or at the very least, no one told me if it were. Again, if this was a conspiracy to get me on the ballot, it lacked one very important conspirator: Me.
  2. So why would OMW’s appearance on a Web site in 2002 not constitute publication, but Mr. Wright’s story’s appearance on a Web site in 2013 constitute publication? There could be many reasons, including conspiracy, but I think the more likely and rather pedestrian reason is that more than a decade separates 2002 and 2013. In that decade the publishing landscape has changed significantly. In 2002 there was no Kindle, no Nook, no tablet or smart phone; there was no significant and simple commerce channel for independent publication; and there was not, apparently, a widespread understanding that self-publishing, in whatever form, constituted formal publication for the purposes of the Hugo Awards. 2013 is not 2002; 2015, when Mr. Wright’s story was nominated, is not 2006, when OMW was nominated.

 

Frank Catalano on GeekWire

“As science fiction ascends its popular award — the Hugo — threatens to nosedive” – April 15

It’s not that campaigning is new to science-fiction and fantasy awards. I was the volunteer administrator of another prestigious science-fiction competition, the Nebula Awards, during its major controversy in the 1980s. When I called an author to congratulate her for taking best short story in the peer-voted honors, I was stunned to hear her say she wanted to withdraw the work – after winning.

Her reason was the campaigning by another finalist in the same category. I had the awkward task of notifying the board of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America of the winner’s desire to decline, establishing my unenviable role as the Miles Standish of the Nebulas in the process. (The writer was Lisa Tuttle, the work was “The Bone Flute,” and both remain worth reading.)

But the big difference between the Nebulas then, and the Hugos now, is that the Nebula campaigning didn’t affect the outcome of the vote. For the Hugos, bloc campaigning verging on manipulation dominates the ballot today. And if protest “No Award” votes overwhelm slate-propelled finalists, the Hugos also fail in 2015 because certainly something, somewhere was worthy of a Hugo this year.

That could be a sad thing for science fiction, as geek culture has become mainstream popular culture. The irony of this Hugo ballot is that, simultaneous to science fiction’s ascendance, we’ve seen a reduced reliance on “quality” gatekeepers such as awards. Fans can find recommendations of what’s worth reading, even more tightly tied to their tastes, with an online tap or click. Maybe, as once was said about academia, the battles are so fierce because the stakes are so small.

 

Daniel on Castalia House

“Hugo Awards: A History of Recommendation Lists” – April 15

Frank Wu’s analysis of the awards from 2001-2005 suggests otherwise: that not only was there tremendous overlap in the “competing” lists, but that the appearance of diversity was, in fact, an important element of bloc-list unity. Some of the discrepancy between Wu and Martin is in interpretation: where [George R.R.] Martin sees an issue of an individual body exerting “control” over the process, and the evidence of “independent” bodies diffusing that control, Wu boils it down to the practicalities: a clear harmony of recommendations by influencers effectively guides the Hugos.

In other words, with the exception of a single book out of 28, if your novel wasn’t on a campaign list…you simply weren’t nominated, and sure as shooting were not going to win. The recommendation blocs didn’t guarantee individuals made it to the final ballot, they guaranteed that outsiders were left off.

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“Happy Fans” – April 15

Now, it’s time for some real speculation.

Why would someone knowingly allow an ineligible work to be nominated for an award?

Well, if I were a schemer who liked to play head games with people and I was also trying to make a political point about the organization that was responsible for administering that award, I might find it extremely funny to try and set them up in a “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” situation, especially if I was trying to devalue the entire award process.

Here’s how that might work.

I get my pals together and create a voting slate (knowing that since such a thing had never been done before, or at the very least never been done on such a monumentally annoying scale before, that it stands a good chance of succeeding) and when the list of recommendations that my minions will slavishly vote for is finalized, I’d salt it with a couple of ineligible works.

Heads I Win:  for one reason or another, the ineligible works make it all the way through to the final ballot, the awards are handed out and:  “See!  We TOLD you the awards were poorly managed.  How long has this been going on?  This brings the validity of every single award given out for the past 60 years into question!  What a crock.  They’re totally valueless.”

Tails You Lose: the ineligible works are identified and removed from the ballot.  “See!  We TOLD you the fix was in.  The ONLY reason that this work was ruled ineligible is because of the author’s politics!  How long has this been going on?  This brings the validity of every single award given out for the past 60 years into question!  What a crock.  They’re totally valueless.”

Puppy and Counter Puppy

A reader of the “Puppy Roundup” says fairness requires a corresponding set of links to sites with differing opinions. I agree.

As I searched the latest posts today, I made sure to clip from the full spectrum of opinions.

We begin with the lead dog —

Brad R. Torgersen

“The fear factor in SF/F publishing and fandom” – April 2

Now, maybe I am naive, but 23 years ago (when I first dreamed up the crazy idea to get into this business) I thought the field was a chummy place with overflowing camaraderie. The anecdotes of authors like Larry Niven certainly made it seem so. Worldcon (the World Science Fiction Convention) was touted as the epicenter of all things hip and cool and fun and amazing in the field. And I believe that it once was that, perhaps at a time when people weren’t so obsessed with correctness. When having a difference of opinion was not a sin that got you sent to the social media guillotine.

But that time is over.

This is the oh-so-correct 21st century. Where one of my colleagues can be moved to tears because she is terrified of expressing her Mormon values, lest her friends and peers in our business shun and shame her for not being correct. Where whether or not you can be successful with a publishing house depends on how chameleon-like you can become, in order to reflect back to the editor(s) the ideologies and allegiances those editor(s) want you to reflect. Where “social justice” has become a banner of immunity, justifying outlandish character assassination, baseless slander, and the ruining of reputations. Think I am kidding? Look what happened to Jean Rabe, Barry Malzberg, and Mike Resnick, when they were punished for using phrases like “lady editor” in a column about the history of the field. And those three are veterans of many decades! If they can get carved up like turkeys — by SFWA, the field’s so-called union for professionals — for the tiniest of perceived infractions, what hope is there for a new person?

 

Mike Resnick in a comment on Torgersen’s post:

Since my experience with the SFWA Bulletin was referred to above — and I think we were treated rudely and unfairly — I have to point out that the only consequence was to SFWA, which “suspended” the quarterly Bulletin and has published only one issue in the past year and a half. How did it affect me personally? In 2013, having just been cast adrift by the Bulletin, I sold 6 books (all to legitimate paying markets; I don’t self-publish…not yet, anyway), and took on the editorship of a new magazine, Galaxy’s Edge, and a new line of books, Stellar Guild. In 2014, I sold 4 more books and a screenplay, edited 6 issues of the magazine, and continued editing the book line. I write this on April 1 of 2015, and I have sold 2 books already this year. I remain the chairman of SFWA’s Anthology Committee. I have been Guest of Honor or Special Guest at 5 conventions in the past two years, which isn’t bad for a supposed pariah. Which is to say, they can -try- to harm you, but if you just ignore them and concentrate on what’s important, you’ll do okay. As for the other two Brad refers to, Jean Rabe is now my assistant editor at Galaxy’s Edge, and Barry Malzberg as a regular columnist there.

 

Nathaniel Givens on Difficult Run

“Hugogate 2015 Edition: Third Time’s The Charm” – April 2

If the victory of SP3 just meant a palace coup where one clique replaced another, that would be nothing to celebrate. And so you can see that I’ve saved the best for last. I’m not a partisan at heart, and the idea of the Hugos moving away from the ghetto of political insularity and becoming more mainstream (at least as far as sci-fi goes) is great. Not everything is coming up roses, of course. Correia, Hoyt, Torgersen, and others seem to think that nothing matters other than fun and popularity. I certainly think enjoyment matters, but I don’t think it’s the only metric that should be considered. I think sometimes important works–works that deserve recognition and awards–aren’t fun or enjoyable in any usual sense. But that is exactly the kind of quibbling I’d like to see happen where the Hugos are concerned instead of this knock-down, to-the-knife, existentialist ideological struggle that is happening right now.

 

Sarah Hoyt in a comment on Givens’ post:

Can’t speak for the other guys, but in my case, oh, hells no, I don’t mean just “fun” works should be nominated. I think COMPETENT works should be nominated though. What is the difference?

Well, take The Left Hand of Darkness for instance. I disagree with its rather obvious message. (Well, I’m a libertarian so the whole communal thing gets on my nerves, and also I was raised in Portugal and the Communal Child Raising thing is not all those who’ve never experienced it think it is) On many levels it is an SJW book.

OTOH it is a GOOD book. It not only works within its universe, but it poses questions that one can think about….

Now, I’d stay away from saying “uncomfortable” books SHOULD be nominated. The most uncomfortable book I ever read was The Man In The High Castle. It’s stayed with me despite my never re-reading it. The same could be said for 1984 and Brave new World. All those are worthy books. BUT if we take “makes me uncomfortable” as “Must be important” we risk nominating the equivalent of Piss Christ or the wall of vaginas over and over again — which arguably is exactly what’s happening.

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Yet Another Round of Sad Puppies” – March 30

So, Teresa Nielsen Hayden has heard rumors that some of the Sad Puppies will be on the Hugo ballot. She’s concerned that some of the voters aren’t voting what they like, but rather a political slate. Since that’s what Sad Puppies accuse the rest of Hugo voters of doing, I’m not sure why they get upset about it. (Well, actually I am sure – nobody likes to be called a fraud. But the whole ‘do unto others as you would have done to you’ seems to be in short supply in this debate.)

“Guns on a Rainy Thursday” – April 2

I grow weary of the Sad Puppies, especially when one of them shouts from the rooftops that he’s so scared he can barely whisper. The butt-hurt is strong in that one.

 

Aaron Pound on Dreaming About Other Worlds

“Biased Opinion – Another Sad Puppy Fails History” – April 2

One of the dominant characteristics shared by Sad Puppy proponents is the lack of historical knowledge they display concerning the science fiction genre in general, and science fiction awards specifically. Sarah Hoyt decided to opine on the subject of the Sad Puppy campaign and talked about what kind of book she thinks should win the Hugos in a post titled By the Numbers.

[Sarah Hoyt] “Take as an example of something that should have won a Hugo but didn’t Barry Hughart’s Chinese trilogy….”

But what of Hoyt’s contention that Bridge of Birds is the sort of novel that should win the Hugo Award? Well, the only way to fairly assess this is to compare it to the other novels that were nominated in 1985, the year Bridge of Birds would have been eligible. When we look to see who won that year, we find that William Gibson won with his novel Neuromancer. And this is the point where the Sad Puppy contentions collapse in on themselves. I doubt you could find more than a tiny handful of people who would seriously argue that Bridge of Birds would have been a more deserving Hugo award winner than Neuromancer. When placed in context, the fact that Bridge of Birds did not win a Hugo Award is not only not surprising, it seems almost like a foregone conclusion. So when Hoyt says it “should have won a Hugo but didn’t” she is revealing her lack of knowledge and research on the subject.

Perhaps might contend that Bridge of Birds should have received at least a Hugo nomination. To evaluate this, one must look to the other nominees from 1985. Fortunately, the Hugo awards have kept good records since the late 1950s, so we know who the other nominees for the award were in 1985. They were:

Emergence by David R. Palmer

The Integral Trees by Larry Niven

Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein

The Peace War by Vernor Vinge

Looking at this list, one wonders which book one should kick off of it to make room for Bridge of Birds. The weakest book on the list is probably Job: A Comedy of Justice, but given the pull Heinlein had with Hugo voters throughout his career, it seems unlikely that it would be bumped for a work by a first time novelist. There really isn’t a particularly good argument for moving any of the other nominees off the list in favor of Bridge of Birds – all three of the novels are at least as good as Hughart’s book, and in at least two cases, are probably better. Once again, in context it is entirely unsurprising that Hughart didn’t get a Hugo nomination, because when one looks at the actual nominees, there’s not a good argument for replacing one of them. This is a fundamental truth of the Hugo awards that none of the Sad Puppies seem to understand: There are, and always have been, many good books that never become Hugo nominees for perfectly understandable reasons. When evaluating whether books “should” have won awards or not, if you hold up a book as award-worthy without considering it in the context of its competition, you are presenting an essentially false narrative.

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Real Mature” – April 2

Hmm, so “fandom” is worried about what the fans think are good books. How many of this so-called fandom actually read the books they nominate for the award, much less all the books (titles) that make the final ballot? Or are they simply voting based on who the author is and if they are the “right” sort of author.

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“How I’ll Be Casting My Final Hugo Vote” – April 2

I’m going to place ANY nominee that is associated with advancing a political agenda BELOW No Award.  If that means that No Award is my top pick in one or more categories, then so be it.  (I’ll read the works in the voters pack so I can rate the works as #1 behind No Award, #2 behind No Award, etc.)

This will be a default position.  I don’t want to play the Sad Puppy’s game – nor anyone else’s who decides that they can use the Hugo Awards for purposes other than originally intended – so I’m not going to.  I don’t care what side of the political spectrum the voting slate comes from, nor what its motivations are, nor what the agenda is – good, bad or indifferent.  If a work is on a voting slate (NOT an eligibility list) then it goes below No Award.

I’m hoping that others will see their way clear to adopting this method of protesting the corruption of the Hugo Awards.  If you don’t like what Sad Puppies is trying to do (or anyone who adopts similar means), the only successful counter strategy is to not play the game the way they want you to play it.  If you offer up counter slates – they win because you had to adopt their methods, which endorses their methods.  If you refuse to read any of their recommended works on the final ballot, you’re being a hypocrite because you’re “not letting the work stand on its own merits” and are, in fact, advancing your own political agenda by conflating the work with the views espoused by the author.  If you work at trying to get these new fans disenfranchised (by who knows what means), you’re supporting the argument that there is a special “cabal” of fans, an in-crowd and a not-so-in-crowd.  And so it goes through all of the other counter-arguments.

By approaching things this way – by using a default that applies to all works and all individuals, what I’m saying is:  I will not participate in the false choices that voting blocks are offering me.

 

Michael Z. Williamson on The Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse

“Who’s A Real Fan” – March 31

But according to some people, I’m “not a real fan.”

I’ve been an attendee, panelist, artist, author guest, special guest, guest of honor, filker, gopher, badger, I’ve run a dealer’s room. I’ve helped in the con suite while a special guest, because I was up early and they had vegetables they needed cut. What, not everyone takes their hand forged Japanese kitchen knives to a con in case of such an emergency?

Heck, back to my first WindyCon, the consuite needed a plastic drop cloth for the soda tub. I went to my car and got it.  Then the needed double sided tape. I had that, too.  Then they needed a screwdriver.  Exasperated, I demanded their list of material needs, went to my trunk and got most of it-poster board, highlighter, scissors, more tape, bungee cords.  I had trouble with the red marker. I only had black.

No one ever guessed it was my first con.

 

Jason Sanford

“On the Hugo Awards and dysfunctional politics”– April 1

However, to my knowledge no side every talked about totally destroying the other, or risked splitting the genre and possibly inflicting permanent harm on either Worldcon or the Hugos. Instead, different sides debated and argued using the written word. For example, when Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1960, many people were outraged about the novel’s politics and view of war. But these people didn’t try to game the Hugo nominating process to keep Heinlein off the ballot or place their own novels there.

Instead, these authors and fans responded to Starship Troopers with their own fiction and critiques. Harry Harrison wrote his famous 1965 satirical novel Bill, the Galactic Hero in direct response to Heinlein. Joe Haldeman also disagreed with the view of war in Starship Troopers and was influenced by both Heinlein’s novel and Haldeman’s own experiences in Vietnam to write The Forever War, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

Instead of Heinlein being angry about Haldeman’s novel and starting a campaign to force the genre to see things his way, the famously libertarian author approached Haldeman after the Nebula Award ceremony and said The Forever War “may be the best future war story I’ve ever read!”

 

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

“Business Musings: Controlling the Creatives” – March 25

Right now, a visible group of people in the field of science fiction are engaged in a protracted battle about the genre’s future. Both sides are practicing a nasty, destructive campaign against the other, and not worrying about the collateral damage they’re causing on the sidelines…

I can remember mentally shouting down that writer-friend who told me I shouldn’t write fat fantasy novels.

Every time I started a new fantasy novel, I had to silence his voice. It wasn’t until I realized that I wasn’t writing to please him or the other gatekeepers that I was finally able to silence his voice entirely.

Because being creative is about flying in the face of accepted wisdom. It’s about writing what you want to write, in the way that only you can write it. It’s about taking risks and facing down the critics. It’s about using forbidden words and writing about topics that, judging by your appearance, you should know nothing about. It’s about facing down the bigots who say you’ve only attracted readers because your last name implies a certain ethnicity.

These people who are screaming at each other on forums and in the media? Those folks? They’re not your readers. They’re not the people who act as gatekeepers any longer. They have nothing to do with what you write.

What you write is between you and your keyboard.

When that writing is published, it’s done. You should move onto another project, and let the published one take care of itself.

You will always be a representative of your time. We all currently hold opinions that future generations will see as quaint (at best) or horribly bigoted (at worst). It might not be possible for you, in the position you’re in right now, to know if you even hold such opinions.

If you’re one of the screamers, back away from social media. You’re only alienating your friends and your readers. If you want to change minds, work on writing better fiction. You can explore all the different points of view in your stories and—oh, yeah—maybe you can learn to write from a point of view not your own.

 

Cora Buhlert

“Cora engages in some Hugo kvetching – and a great George R.R. Martin interview/feature” – March 28

However, Kristine Kathryn Rusch also makes a very good point, namely that writers should let one fraction or another’s ideas what is and isn’t appropriate to write about influence their own work. Now this is a point that I heartily agree with (with the caveat that a writer should also do their best not to be blindly offensive to large swathes of people), if only because I know how liberating it was for me to throw off received ideas of what did and did not make for good SFF and simply write whatever the hell I wanted to write.

But as calls for just ignoring the whole Sad Puppy controversy and focussing on one’s own work go, I vastly prefer this series of tweets by Nebula nominee Usman T. Malik:

 

Puppy Roundup

Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s post at Making Light, “Distant thunder, and the smell of ozone” (March 25), has attracted over 1,000 comments. She began with these lines —

I’ve been keeping an ear on the SF community’s gossip, and I think the subject of this year’s Hugo nominations is about to explode.

Let me make this clear: my apprehensions are not based on insider information. I’m just correlating bits of gossip. It may help that I’ve been a member of the SF community for decades.

And she made clear what direction she was taking with her next comment.

Comment #15 – March 25

When you invite thugs into your argument, you’re not using them as shock troops; they’re using you as cover. And you’re pretty much guaranteeing that at some point in the future, you’ll wind up feebly protesting that you had no idea they’d do that. And maybe you didn’t; but you did know they were thugs.

Tom Whitmore @5: That’s how it tends to happen inside the community. From what I’m hearing now (but haven’t been hearing about earlier), we either have outside involvement, or there’s been a depth of conspiracy within the community that’s a scandal in its own right. It’s possible we have both.

Sad Puppies 3 leader Brad Torgersen spent some time there debating the Making Light community, and whatever you think of his forensic skills, he truly enjoyed an Obi-wan Kenobi moment as his followers witnessed him absorb all the verbal light-saber blows required to send any Jedi to the afterlife. I spent several hours today researching the fallout on the pro-Puppy side.

Brad R. Torgersen

“Former TOR editor still longs to gatekeep the field” – March 30

Sad Puppies 3 terrifies CHORF queen (and former TOR editor) Teresa Nielsen-Hayden because she knows that TruFans (the dyed-in-the-wool, insular, legacy group of fans who cluster about World Science Fiction Convention) are a dying breed. She knows that if enough glare is placed on the award (the Hugos) and enough “outside” fans (you and me and the rest of the universe) come to claim our place, then TruFans are done. Their relevance will be at an end. They had a good run, got big heads, decided they could begin trashing whomever they felt like, and now the mask is being cast off — at the end, when TruFans are imperiled by the harsh light of reality.

TNH: I should have been clearer. Those of us who love SF and love fandom know in our hearts that the Hugo is ours. One of the most upsetting things about the Sad Puppy campaigns is that they’re saying the Hugo shouldn’t belong to all of us, it should just belong to them.

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Sad Puppies Update: The Melt Down Continues” – March 31

Well, Teresa, no matter what we do,  no matter what the results, we know we’re going to feel your wrath. Luckily, I’ve demonstrated to the world that your wrath is impotent. For years, authors have lived in fear of angering these Social Justice mobs. They’ve moderated their speech, self censored their art, and walked on eggshells to avoid getting burned at the stake… That’s why I hate you people, and that’s why I’ve loved exposing you for the petty, petulant, and ultimately powerless little bullies that you are.

Your angry mobs only have as much power as the person you’re attacking is willing to grant them. I stood up to you last year, and all it did was bring your antics to the attention of more, good, decent, regular fans. It isn’t your award. It is everyone who cares enough to get involved. And every time your side forms an angry Twitter mob, or runs an article in the Guardian full of easily disprovable lies, or attacks some comedian for jokes he hasn’t told yet, or lectures people that they’re having fun wrong, then more regular fans get pissed off and shell out their $40 to get involved, because they don’t like your entitled smugness either.

“Sad Puppies Update: Honesty from the Other Side” – March 30

One last thing, I find it funny that they are casting all of these aspersions against the Hugo admins because they are holding firm and obeying the rules of their convention. I’ve seen where they are trying to pin this on me and saying that I’m trying to ruin the dignity of the Hugos. On the contrary, there had been allegations against that admins were suppressing votes for a long time, and I put those to bed. One of the goals of Sad Puppies 1 and 2 was to audit the system (I was an auditor before I became a writer). I kept track of Sad Puppies nominees and voters across the categories, and then compared the final numbers when they were released. After two years of doing that I was able to say that I saw zero indication of dishonesty or fraud, and that the Hugo admins had been perfectly honest in their dealings.

 

John C. Wright

“Brad Torgersen on the Treason of the Gatekeepers”  – March 30

Our mission statement is clear and unambiguous. We represent a joyful, zealous and fierce rebellion against the soggy, dreary and weary conformity which over the past decade or so has driven the Hugo award into the hands of writers judged by their conformity to political correctness, or their membership in designated grievance groups, not based on the merit of the work.

In the past, it was an award granted topflight science fiction for its imagination and talent, regardless of their religious or political opinions, and certainly regardless of their race, sex, personal life, or other irrelevant personal factors. The Hugo has, in effect, become a political award granted to the untalented for avoiding dangerous and imaginative thoughts. The irrelevant factors, for the ‘No Fun’ crowd has become the only factor: note, for example, the crowing and victory jigs danced when white males were shut out of all Nebula Awards last year, as if the sex of the author was more significant than the merit of the work.

Well, logically, if you give an award not based on the merit of the work, willy-nilly the award ends up in the hands of authors whose work lacks merit. I don’t want to embarrass anyone by using specific examples, but let the skeptic run an eye over the last few year’s winners will find the science fiction award going to stories that have few elements of science fiction in them at all, or none.

“Tor Editor Libels Tor Author” – March 31

If my accustomed Vulcan calm could be perturbed, no doubt it would be by the allegations Teresa Nielsen-Hayden late of Tor books is leveling against myself and the other members of the Evil Legion of Evil Authors. But since I am imperturbable, I merely raise one eyebrow and wonder on what evidence, or one what chain of reasoning, she makes her outrageous allegations….

My comment: I am motivated, she says, not by what I have publicly, notoriously and repeatedly stated my motives are, but by some unworthy form of spite or resentment. I see. Any protestation to the contrary is dismissed as an unconvincing lie. Accusing me, of all people, of dishonesty certainly has the advantage of being a novel and unexpected accusation.

But on what is it based? No written word of mine can lead an honest onlooker to draw this conclusion. Did she speak to me and deduce this? She did not. Does she have my strange Vulcan power of the Mind Meld, that she can read the secret workings of my green-blooded heart? She does not.

 

Rick Wright on Mangy Dog

“Sad puppies and scarlet letters” – April 1

This is not just happening in the science-fiction/fantasy field. This is happening throughout modern American society. Interesting times.

Defy them. Expose them. Finish them. Because it appears they are on the run. Otherwise they would not be acting like this.

 

T.L. Knighton

“More on Sad Puppies and the sad attitudes of the old guard” – April 1

You see, I went over to look at the discussion. Besides parties from the Sad Puppies being woefully outnumbered – which isn’t unsurprising – there was a level of abuse leveled at Sad Puppy supporters that you don’t see opponents get at Brad’s or Larry Correia’s or even here.

For example, you had the disemvoweling of opponents, where vowels are removed so that the person’s post makes no sense at all. Brad was banned for 24 hours for apparently not responding quickly enough to satisfy TNH (as if she has any right to expect jack shit from anyone).

There’s talk about a rule change being in the works in such a manner as to minimize the impact of slates like Sad Puppies.

Honestly, it’s just proof that we’re winning.

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

By The Numbers – March 30

Take as an example of something that should have won a Hugo but didn’t Barry Hughart’s Chinese trilogy. It didn’t sell much (marketing and distribution being crazy then – and now, but worse then.) It won a World Fantasy, but his publishing house didn’t even take notice. He’s written nothing else. However now that the word of mouth has had time to percolate, there are very few intense sf/f fans, of the kind who reads books, who hasn’t heard of it. And there are fewer who, reading it, don’t go “oh, wow.”

That is the sort of thing that should be winning the Hugo.

That is the kind of award that the Hugo was when Heinlein, Asimov and Ursula leGuin won it.

“All The Scarlet Letters” – March 31

Still, such was the reflex of that fear that the first time I was mentioned on Instapundit I reached up to wipe the scarlet L from my forehead.

Now? I’ve come a long way in seven years. By baby steps. But now I don’t hide I’m a libertarian. (Technically an OWL – waves brown feathery scarf.)

And still that naked “you should have told them you were putting them on your slate” and the implied, scary because we intend to f*ck up their lives because you like their work made me catch my breath and remember the fear.

The people who preach to you of inclusiveness and love (SF is “love” apparently); the people who are hunting for writers of various colors of the rainbow to give awards to demand (and receive) perfect lockstep abasing compliance with their beliefs.

The prize they held hostage was a writers ability to make a living.

Fortunately there is indie. They haven’t realized it yet, but what they hold in their hands is nothing. And the more they show their colors, the more they pursue their little purges (now in public) the less they’ll be taken seriously.

 

Matthew Bowman at Novel Ninja

“Piers the Plowman and the Hugo Awards” – March 30

And that’s why I started thinking about Piers Plowman, that frustrating, message-heavy medieval morality poem I’d had to read in college.  Because it really did seem to be that a large group of people were upset at the idea of being inclusive, upset at the idea of the Hugo Awards actually being voted on by more people, and very upset at the idea that story should come first. It prompted me to write a blog post last year on that subject. Just because I have particular beliefs doesn’t mean I want to continually be preached at, even when I agree with the preaching. I don’t believe there’s a single point of theology or spirituality in Piers Plowman that I disagree with, being Catholic myself. I still found it one of the worst books I’d ever been forced to read. Yes, worse than Twilight. (Though that one I read willingly. Hey, it was new back then. I hadn’t heard anything bad about it.)

But speaking of Twilight, there was another point that kept recurring: the idea that just because you’re a popular author, just because you sell lots of books, doesn’t make you a good author, a real author. I found that particularly interesting. On the one hand, I could agree, since Twilight was incredibly popular, and yet sucked. (No, that’s not a vampire pun.) But on the other hand, it can’t be denied that a lot of fans found something they’d been looking for in the pages of that book; and I’d never deny that Stephanie Meyer is a real author. In fact, she’s a very successful author. That’s objectively true, whatever I think of her prose.

And I also made it clear, whenever I critiqued Twilight, that I was speaking of Twilight the book and not Twilight the series. After all, I only made it through the one book, not all four. I didn’t think that I would like them, but I couldn’t make even the slightest pretense at judging their objective qualities (inasmuch as art has truly objective qualities). And yet I saw person after person judging books that they hadn’t read. I saw this happen on both sides of the Hugo divide, but it seemed to happen the most with those whose politics fell on the left side of the aisle. I saw right-wing fans deciding they wouldn’t like a book based on an author’s politics; I saw an equal or greater number of left-wing fans saying that a given book was horrible because the author was white (even if he wasn’t), male (even if she wasn’t — seriously, this kept happening over and over, despite an obviously female name), right-wing (even if he was rabidly pro-choice and pro-gay), or owned a gun (which actually seems to be a rather large percentage of authors of many political stances, as I found out to my own surprise). I even saw left-wing fans declaring a book to be badly written because of the cover art, which only self-published authors have any control over.

 

 “Miss CJ” at Chicks on the Right

“What Is It Like To Be A Right Winger In The Sci-Fi Publishing Industry” – April 1

Well, the backlash against conservatives taking their fandom back from the liberal gatekeepers of Worldcon and the Hugos has been DEAFENING. It was last year and it is so this year. It’s quite entertaining to see the crowd– who usually are the ones calling for DIVERSITY and INCLUSION– turn around and say “Well – you people aren’t REAL fans because you just started participating in Worldcon and you have to be a vetted member of the club.” And suddenly, EVERYBODY had to be approved by the groupthink collective. Which just goes to prove how very necessary the Sad Puppies campaign is. Any genre or industry that remains unchallenged in the way they think is doomed to become ignored by the public at large. That same public that you hope will find your stories interesting enough to spend their money on, thus making it possible for you to continue making your living as a writer and not have to take on a second job flipping burgers or mowing lawns.

 

Jim McCoy on Jimbos Awesome SFF Book and Movie Reviews

“True Fandom” – April 1

Give it up folks. I get the fact that your whiny leftist asses are bothered by the fact that people who won’t preach your beliefs tells me everything I need to know about your character. I personally have praised the works of Suzanne Collins on this blog even though I disagree with her politics because she’s earned it. That woman can tell a DAMN GOOD story. Yes, it supports a leftist worldview. It also involves plenty of action, a believable love story and characters I’d love a chance to hang out with. That’s all that matters.

 

Max Florschutz on Unusual Things

“A Few Words on the Hugo Awards” – March 31

But you want to say that people who disagree with you aren’t really science-fiction or fantasy fans simply because they don’t agree with you? That’s the “no true Scotsman” argument right there. And that’s why I’m all for the SP campaign, because it took something that had been thoroughly distorted by a group of people with a “with us or against us” mentality and shined a nice, bright light on them. And you know what, this group of “true” fans can say what they want. But when they start insisting that unless you subscribe to their beliefs and their dogma that you aren’t a “real” science-fiction/fantasy fan, they’re just showing how off-base they truly are.

 

Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“It depends on your point of view” – March 30

You see, from my point of view I don’t have a darling I’d like to see get a Hugo. I couldn’t care less. Given the award’s present status it’s not going to do them a lot of good. Authors I like are populist, not literary, and getting the same award as Politically Correct ‘literary’ garbage (from my point of view), isn’t going to sell extra copies to their audience. If anything it might sell the literary garbage, or revive the value of the award. I would however derive a lot of satisfaction from their angry frothing at the mouth, and being proved right about the ‘elitist’ clique thrashing about viciously trying to keep their hold on power. I don’t want that power – I think it is a terrible idea that anyone has it. I’m all for it being a real people’s choice. Then it’d point me to books and stories I might want to read.

Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance Votes First Book of the Year Award

The Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance is a Facebook group with over 700 members. Two weeks ago they announced their first Book of the Year Award. Although it is not a genre award, sf&f works comprised around 25% of the nominees and 60% of the finalists.

Novels from both 2013 and 2014 were eligible. Nominations produced a list of 32 books, and these five works were voted the finalists:

  • Bidinotto, Robert – Bad Deeds: A Dylan Hunter Thriller (Dylan Hunter Thrillers, Book 2)
  • Chandler, Mackey – Family Law
  • Correia, Larry – Monster Hunter Nemesis (Monster Hunters International, Book 5)
  • Hoyt, Sarah A. – Witchfinder (Magical Empires, Book 1)
  • Hoyt, Sarah A. – A Few Good Men (Darkship, Book 3)

Robert Bidinotto’s thriller Bad Deeds won. Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter Nemesis finished second.

CLFA’s founders call it a networking group of creators, publishers and reviewers “who work together to raise the profile of fiction that contains Conservative-Libertarian principles.”

2015 Locus Recommended Reading List Appears

The highly influential Locus Recommended Reading List has been posted by Locus Online.

The 2014 list is a consensus by Locus editors and reviewers with some input by others —

Liza Groen Trombi, Gary K. Wolfe, Jonathan Strahan, Faren Miller, Russell Letson, Graham Sleight, Adrienne Martini, Carolyn Cushman, Tim Pratt, Karen Burnham, Gardner Dozois, Rich Horton, Paul Kincaid, and others — with inputs from outside reviewers, other professional critics, other lists, etc. Short fiction selections are based on material from Jonathan Strahan, Gardner Dozois, Rich Horton, Lois Tilton, Ellen Datlow, Alisa Krasnostein, and Paula Guran with some assistance from Karen Burnham, Nisi Shawl, and Mark Kelly.

On the list are —

  • 28 SF novels, 22 fantasy novels, 18 YA books, 11 first novels;
  • 14 collections, 12 original anthologies, 11 reprint anthologies;
  • 12 nonfiction books, 13 art books;
  • 16 novellas
  • 53 novelettes
  • 58 short stories

The list is always a focal point of discussion during awards season. This year it may also provide ammunition for the Sad Puppies 3 campaign because despite its breadth it contains a grand total of zero works written by —

  • Larry Correia
  • Brad Torgersen
  • John C. Wright
  • Vox Day
  • Sarah Hoyt
  • Dan Wells

— five writers who were on last year’s Sad Puppies slate, and a sixth, John C. Wright, who has been constantly mentioned as a writer they will endorse in 2015. Four members of last year’s slate, Correia, Torgersen, Day and Wells, made the 2014 Hugo ballot (though none was on last year’s Locus list, either).

Oh, and the current Locus list also contains absolutely zero works published by Baen Books.