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.
“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.
“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.
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 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 email@example.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.
“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.