The Puppies Who Walked Into Walls 6/4

aka The Genre That Day Stood Still

In the roundup today: Craig R., L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Sanford Begley, George R.R. Martin, Sarah A. Hoyt, Brad K. Horner, Lis Carey, Patrick May, William Reichard, Fred Kiesche and mysterious others. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Daniel Dern and Glenn Hauman.)

Craig R. on Boston Progressive

“’Just this one teensy, tiny little change…’” – June 4

One of the great divides in SF/F right now is between groups of readers that want to claim SF and Fantasy as purely descriptive entertainment, the epitome of escape literature, just living in shared authorial moments of the storyteller entertaining us at the fair, or in the tavern, with no other motive express, implied or accepted. You pays your pennies on the drumhead for the entertainment and that’s all you want to see and hear.

On the other side of the table or those who say that all stories have some ulterior external dimension, some subtext,  some “message.”  There is no choice, there is always subtext, whether the author means for inclusion or not.  It is inevitable.

In the Interests Of Full Disclosure, I will tell you that I belong in the second camp: not from any skill at analysis, nor any training in critical literature theory, just cause it seems like the way things are.

From my viewpoint, the very act of reaching for the ability to entertain, or the ability to make any kind of contact with the intended audience requires an assumption of commonality of fundamental background points.

L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright interview for Superversive SF

“Interview with Hugo Nominee: Arlan Andrews, Sr.!” – June 4

1) All the Sad Puppies selections came from a list of stories that fans felt were their favorites from 2014. What about your story do you think brought it to the attention of whomever suggested it?

Presumably, because they liked the setting, the characters, and the story of my novella, “Flow.” “Flow” was the sequel to 2013’s “Thaw,” (the cover for which won the Analog Reader’s Award for Best Cover of 2013).  The whole series of stories takes place after the next Ice Age (a politically incorrect supposition in itself), and the protagonist, Rist, is himself quite politically incorrect, though dark-skinned; he is a diminutive, sexist smartass (as are most males in the primitive society in which he was raised) and his mouth gets him literally into deep shit.  The story, actually a vignette, ends in a (literal) cliff-hanger that will be followed by “Fall,” where Rist descends into yet another kind of society existing some 30,000 years from now.  It will likely be called non-PC as well, though I have to remind people that authors are not necessarily the same as their characters.

 

Alex on Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe

“Madeline Ashby: Fiction Writer and Futurist” – June 4

One particularly poignant statement we both picked up on was made in the context of the controversy surrounding the 2015 Hugo Awards. Madeline [Ashby] said that we all have a tendency to “presume people think like (we) do, but generally, they don’t.” Though perhaps a bit of an obvious statement, I think it is equally powerful. Whether positively or negatively, humans must regularly navigate the disparity between our processes of thinking. Imbuing your actions with a recognition of difference may be a way to bridge gaps between people approaching a conflict in different ways, or at least a way to mitigate frustration when questionable (or outright despicable) decisions are made.

 

Alanaburke.com

“Local editor earns prestigious science fiction/fantasy award nomination – Ottawaherald.com” – June 4

“I was quite stunned and surprised [when I first heard] frankly due to the fact that I’ve just been executing this for concerning 6 years and I’ve just got four anthologies under my belt,” Schmidt said. “I’m relatively new, so to me it seemed earlier in my job compared to I would certainly have actually expected for something adore that to happen. I was thrilled and humbled at the exact same time that people believe I’m great enough to receive a nomination due to the fact that it is a fairly prestigious award. There was a great deal of excitement and happiness mixed in there as well.”

That happiness will certainly travel along with Schmidt to Spokane, Washington, where the awards will certainly be presented Aug. 22 at the 73rd Globe Science Fiction Convention. The Hugo Awards, named after pioneering science fiction magazine “Incredible Stories” founder Hugo Gernsback, are provided annually for the very best science fiction and fantasy functions of the previous year, according to a news release.

 

Sanford Begley on The Otherwhere Gazette

“The Puppies need to thank these recruiters”

The Sad Puppies really do need to thank some people who are not of their number. I’ve been watching this fiasco as someone who is in sympathy with the SP movement without being one myself. The truth for the rank and file SP members is basically that they were informed that they could vote on the Hugos and actually get books they liked on the ballot. From the point of view of the rank and file Puppies this was information on how-to and some recommendations they could follow, but were not required to. Most of the rank and file used some of the suggestions and substituted others as they saw fit. Admittedly this did cause those who did not have enough recommendations in their own reading to use the list as a source for filling out the rest of the nominations. After all, they knew a bit about Brad Torgerson and Larry Correia and could rely on them to suggest good books. Which they could then read in the voter packet and vote upon.

[This author needs to correct a tendency to misspell everybody’s name – “Brad Torgerson,” “Teresa Nielson Hayden,” “Patrick Hayden Nielson,” “Betsy Wolheim,” “N.K. Jemison.” I leave aside one other that was clearly intentional, but always remember, intentional misspellings are meaningless when true errors abound.]

 

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Catching Up” – June 4

— Conquest was cool. The KC fen throw a great con. And I was heartened by all the people who came up to thank me for my posts about the Hugos. Even in the nation’s heartland, it seems, there is considerable fannish anger about the Sad and Rabid Puppies pooping on our awards,

— Yes, Puppygate has continued, though I’ve been too busy to post about it. The Sad Puppies continue to be clueless, moving their goalposts almost daily. The Rabid Puppies continue to be venomous. Lots of other people are reading the Hugo nominees and reviewing the finalists. That’s what I am doing myself, though I am way behind in my reading,

 

Sarah A. Hoyt

“The Condescension of the Elites” – June 4

In fact, if one wades into the Sad Puppy mess (here, wear galoshes. You’ll need it) the side that says things like “You’re not true fans” or “your tastes are just low” or “your writing is bad” or “Our opinion of what is good IS the maker of what is good” or “you’ll never work in this town again” or “for daring talk against us, you’ll never win a Hugo” is not the Puppy supporters.

This is because the “power” at least if understood as traditional publishing power, in this field is NOT from puppy supporters. The people opposing the puppies (not their lickspittles running around blogs shouting the crumbs that fall from their masters’ tables) are powers in the field: well established editors with power of the purse; writers who get publicity campaigns and push and huge advances; critics who have for years been reviewing the “well regarded” stuff and establishing a taste that is Marxism with a mix of glitterati, or in other words, positional good leftism.

You’d think that people who have been extensively indoctrinated in Marxism would understand the difference between “establishment power” and “economic power” and the revolutionaries who come in saying “But you’ve been going wrong by alienating the reading public; we don’t give a hot damn what your political opinions are, but you need to tell stories people want to read, and if you don’t people should be able to participate in the intervention to make you see why your print runs keep falling.”

I.e. they would understand that they are in fact on the side that is being condescending by virtue of having all the power in the field, including power of the purse.

 

Brad K. Horner

“Flight of the Kikayon: A Sci-Fi Novelette by Kary English” – June 4

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a crisp and gloriously clear adventure story of a woman trying to escape her abusive husband with the help of her clone. I was touched. It really had heart.

Of course, the planet where she eventually wound up, swiss family robinson style, had one hell of a fascinating sea monster in it, so that’s a huge plus.

The story made me think about love and children, but not exclusively, and not oppressively. It was warming, not frantic, and I really enjoyed the ride. Crisp and gloriously clear sums it up very nicely, from writing, to imagery, to themes. Nothing was out of place and it felt inevitable. Which is very strange, considering that she wound up stranded and losing everything. Who am I to argue about the vagaries of fate or authorship?

I read this in preparation for the Campbell nomination of 2015, and I’m proud to say I read it, regardless. It shines.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Sci Phi Show, presented by Jason Rennie” – June 3

The Sci Phi Show discusses major philosophers and schools of philosophy illuminated in science fiction, fairly broadly defined. In the sample episode, it’s Nietzsche and the movie The Dark Knight. It’s an intelligent, thoughtful discussion, with good production values, accompanied by odd, distracting sound effects. There’s also opening and closing theme music that tries hard to give me a headache.

 

Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Award Novella Category” – June 4

[Each nominee is analyzed, then this conclusion — ]

My Hugo ballot for this category is:

  1. Flow
  2. Big Boys Don’t Cry
  3. The Plural of Helen of Troy
  4. No Award
  5. One Bright Start to Guide Them
  6. Pale Realms of Shade

Aside from the first two, the entries in this category are disappointing. There were far better novellas published in 2014 in Analog and Asimov’s alone. “Big Boys Don’t Cry”, while not as good as “Flow”, is certainly no worse than some nominees and winners in the past. I’m leaving “The Plural of Helen of Troy” slightly above No Award solely because Wright plays with (and occasionally loses to) some classic science fiction concepts. Overall it’s not really Hugo worthy, though.

 

William Reichard

“Apres Hugo” – June 4

After a lively day of schussing down the slippery slopes of unwinnable arguments, you’re pleasantly stupefied. Now you just want to relax and kick back, are we right?

That’s why when you get back to the toasty comfort of your own ideological hearth, you should reach for Hubik.

Hubik has everything a tired mind craves: a refreshing illusion of efficacy, a promise of persistent meaning, and a soothing anesthetic effect that will help you drift off to an untroubled sleep. Just spray a little around your armchair, and presto! The perfect ending to another day of lovely mountain sport.…

 

 

 

 

The Collar Out of Space 5/28

aka Twenty Thousand Comments About the Controversy by Jules Verne

Stampeding into this roundup are Kate Paulk, John Carlton, Nick Mamatas, Tom Knighton, Adam-Troy Castro, Brian Lowe, Max Florschutz, Rich Horton, Lou Antonelli , Amanda S. Green, Steve Davidson, William Reichard, embrodski, Lis Carey, Joe Sherry, Elisa Bergslien, Brian Niemeier, R.P.L. Johnson, Katya Czaja, Mary Robinette Kowal, “Orange Mike” Lowrey, Alexandra Erin and ULTRAGOTHA. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and Soon Lee.)

Kate Paulk on Mad Genius Club

“So What Is Hugo-Worthy Anyway?” – May 28

So. What I look for when judging quality in narrative fiction (this mostly doesn’t apply to poetry and non-fiction and it sure as heck doesn’t apply to art) is this (in approximate order, even):

  1. Early immersion – I read a hell of a lot, and I find it very easy to become immersed in a piece. The earlier it drags me in, the better. If I don’t get the immersion, the interplay of the technical factors (prose quality, characterization, plotting, foreshadowing, etc.) isn’t handled well enough to do it. I’ve read pieces where I liked the premise and characters, but the craft wasn’t good enough to generate immersion. I’ve also read pieces that I hated but were well enough done to hold me despite that.
  2. Immersion is maintained until the last word – This is important: if something throws me out of immersion, it’s a serious technical flaw (because, yes, I’ve actually analyzed this. It could be a plot flaw that runs the piece into a bridge abutment. It could be something that breaks a character. It could also be prose so damned obtuse it sends me running for a dictionary – and I read Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant series without needing one…..

 

John Carlton on The Arts Mechanical

Eric Flint Owes Brad Torgeson And The Rest Of The Puppies A Huge Apology

This has gotten too long, Eric and I’m leave it with this.  WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!!! Before I knew what your relationship with Brad was, your posts were just more of the kind of crap we have been seeing all over.  Not only excusing the nuclear strike of hate, but seemingly justifying it.  Most of us thought you just weren’t aware of the whole story.  That was before how well you knew Brad.  Then you came into my thread [on Facebook] and acted like a perfect jackass. Beating up on me, well ok, I’m a big boy, and I’ve been beaten on by better than you.  Supposedly you are Brad’s friend, though. Yet you didn’t hesitate to demonstrate true douchery by taking a hit at him.  All the while he’s formatting that hit piece on himself for you before going on deployment.  A true friend indeed.

I’m sure you are aware of the Alinsky tactic of isolating the target and setting it up for destruction.  You also know that that’s exactly the time when friends need to stand together.  Yet there you were with the rest of the mob.  I’m asking myself why?  Couldn’t you just for once set aside your politics and support a friend who needs it? With all the voices turned  against them the puppies and Brad could have used another voice in support.  Even if you saw the screams of racism and misogyny you KNEW that it all had to be a  lie.  Yet you not did not call out the lies, you amplified them and did not speak out against them even when the CHORFs were attacking YOU.  And that’s why you owe Brad and the rest of the puppies a HUGE apology.

 

Nick Mamatas on Storify

“Engagement and Popularity in Science Fiction – Sad Puppies Are Sad”  – May 28

[Numbers 10 and 11 of 17 tweets]

 

 

 

Tom Knighton

“Sad Puppies, Noah Ward, and the abusive husband” – May 28

How, pray tell, did we screw any work, magazine or other entity over by nominating them?  First, that presumes that we not only sought to have everything on the slate nominated but also knew that the reaction would be to No Award everything we nominated.

Make no mistake, the decision to No Award the works on the Sad Puppy slate lies on you who have decided to judge a work by its fans.

Claiming that we “screwed over” a work because we nominated it is like an abusive husband smacking his wife because another guy said she was pretty, then turning to the other guy and saying, “See what you made me do?”

We didn’t make you do anything.  It is your decision to No Award works, not ours.  Just like the abusive husband trying to pin responsibility on the other man, you’re responsible for your own decisions.  We’re not forcing you to vote anything below No Award.  That’s been your call from the start.

Those of us on the Sad Puppy side just wanted to nominate things we like.  We didn’t like what had been winning, so we stepped up and nominated different stuff.  You act like we’ve committed an unspeakable sin because we didn’t do it the way you guys have been doing it.  We did it a different way.

 

Adam-Troy Castro

“Conniption Fodder” – May 28

[Ordinarily I avoid quoting entire posts – but this is, after all, only three sentences long…]

Any political differences I might have with the Puppies, any feelings of dismay I might have about the racism and homophobia and sheer unpleasantness displayed by some of them, are secondary.

What really infuriates me most is eighty years — eighty goddamned years — of SF writers and fans trying to persuade a skeptical and often contemptuous world that this is not a field of crap, jumped-up “Buck Rogers stuff,” as it’s so often been called, but a field of literature, material that was stylistically and thematically and conceptually ignored at the world’s tremendous loss, a fight that was led on the page by Campbell, for God’s sake, by Bradbury, for God’s sake, by Heinlein, for God’s sake, by Pohl for God’s sake, even from time to time by Harry Harrison for God’s sake, and in popular culture by Serling and Roddenberry for God’s sake, all that before we got to the likes of Vonnegut and Ellison and LeGuin and Silverberg and Russ and Malzberg and Tiptree and Brunner and Delany, with the occasional cruelly overlooked master like Kit Reed, and others, for God’s sake, all of them hammering hard at the limits of what this field was allowed to do, and what it was allowed to say, all of them breaking barriers and shattering ceilings, often in the face of tremendous opposition, while permitting the grand old adventure stuff to continue to flourish, until we have room for both Neal Stephenson and Neil Gaiman, for everything from Kim Stanley Robinson to China Mieville, for Nalo Hopkinson and N.K. Jemisin, all those good folks, after which we not only enter the zeitgeist but take it over, decades later, whereupon the Puppies come along and say, “NO! IT WAS NEVER ANY OF THAT GOOD STUFF! IT WAS ALWAYS *JUST* ROCKETSHIPS AND DRAGONS! IT WAS NEVER ANYTHING BUT PLAIN FICTION FOR PLAIN FOLKS! ANY PRETENSIONS OF ANYTHING ELSE ARE JUST AN ABERRATION OF THE LAST FEW YEARS!”

*That* is conniption fodder.

 

 

Max Florschutz on Unusual Things

“Battle of the Lone-Star Reviews” – May 28

A very vocal anti-puppy commented that simply because he was an outspoken anti-puppy, his books had been one-star bombed by the Sad Puppy supporters, and it was wrong. Except when the anti-puppies did it (yes, he actually claimed this in the same comment), because as long as they believed the were morally right, then they had a good reason to. Also, he dared more people to leave one star reviews on his book because all that proved was that they didn’t have a leg to—yeah, I started skimming it. It got ridiculous.

Point is, I checked him on Amazon, and indeed, he does have a very large number of unreasonable one-star reviews. He also had a few very well-thought out and explained one-star reviews to go along with them. I went along and did the helpful/not-helpful boxes as I browsed through them, because heck, even if the guy is loud and annoying to me, a scummy review is still a scummy review.

So, here’s what we have: individuals on both sides appear to be leaving one-star reviews for books of authors they don’t like. And at least one prominent individual on one of the sides has encouraged such actions as a “take that!” to which supporters on the other have responded in kind.

I don’t approve of either. In fact, if you’re encouraging this or engaging in it, you’re part of the problem.

 

Rich Horton on Black Gate

“A Modest Proposal to Improve the Hugos” – May 28

Though, I ask myself, why do I use the word “problem?” Surely it is a feature, not a bug, that there are so many stories published each year that are worthy of our attention? Indeed it is, but a result of that, I feel, is that if we want the Hugos to represent the very best stories of the year, we are failing, in the sense that it’s easier than before for a great story to slip under the radar.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that for a story to reach the final ballot it must receive 5% of the nominating ballots. That requirement is obsolete in a situation where so many more stories are plausible contenders. (Three times in the past five years the Hugo Short Story ballot has had fewer than 5 entries due to this rule, and in 2013 there were only three stories on the final ballot.)

Is there a way to solve this? I have a very simple suggestion. Change the rules as follows: instead of choosing the top 5 nominated stories for the final ballot, choose the top 10. (However, any individual nominator would still only be allowed to nominate 5 items in a category.) Also, lower the percentage threshold of total nominating ballots to be eligible for the final ballot to 3% (or, possibly, eliminate the lower threshold altogether). I’m not sure this change is needed in all categories – in some categories (Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, for one example) it’s been my impression that getting to 10 reasonable nominees in a given year might be a stretch.

 

Lou Antonelli on This Way to Texas

“Kansas City chronicles – ConQuest 46” – May 28

One of the practical things I did while at the convention was upgrade my membership for SasQuan from supporting to attending. They offered a $20 discount if it was done at the con. I also had a nice chat with the people at the table. I told them of my belief, because of the mob mentality being fostered by some people against the Pupps, that they should just announce the winners and forget the dinner. But they are aware of the possibility of unpleasantness and plan to keep a tight rein on things. I wish them luck. I hope I get out of Spokane in one piece.

One person I ran into at the con said he has suggested that, to prevent catcalls, boos and jeering, that the Hugo committee announce in advance which categories will not have an award this year, and the ceremony only deal with the presentations to winners. That sounds like a good idea, also.

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Five days and counting” – May 28

As for today, well, it is difficult to find a topic to blog that doesn’t take me back to Sad Puppies and the Hugos. That is especially true when one author keeps turning up on my Facebook feed with his daily anti-puppy rant. Now, I’m a big believer in everyone is entitled to their own opinions but it is hard to not respond, either on his page — which would get me banned — or here. That’s especially true because he consistently misconstrues what SP3 stands for.

You see, by nature I’m a battler. I’m a brawler and I fight dirty. But I have learned over the years that there are some fights that just aren’t worth fighting. This fight, with this particular author is one of them. He is never going to change his stance, no matter what sort of evidence, anecdotal and concrete alike, he is presented with. He has written the history of the industry in the way he wants it to be remembered and to hell with everyone else. Taking the battle to him would serve no purpose except to prove, in his point of view, he is right.

 

Obsah XB-1 – June 2015 issue

[A Czech-language SF magazine presents both sides of the controversy. Jason Sanford’s article, according to Google Translate, is titled “You maniacs ! You destroyed Hugo Award !” while Brad Torgersen’s is called “Sad Puppies critics strike back.” Each author also has a story in the issue.]

??????????????????

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“On Politics and Fandom” – May 28

Yesterday I sent out a general press release concerning the appointment of Judges to the Gernsback Science Fiction Short Story Contest (you can see a post here).

I received an email from one of the usual press outlets I send such things to, asking to be removed from our PR mailing list.

The name of the venue is unimportant.

What is important is that the request for removal from the list represents fallout from the 2015 Hugo Kerfuffle, otherwise known as Puppygate.

 

William Reichard

“What hope gets you today (puppy sadness)” – May 28

But that’s what earnestness gets you. Earnestness is a crime in our world. Even daring to try to believe in something hopeful and un-ironic wins you scorn. It gets you lectured. And this is one of the nuances that makes me able to understand some of the “puppies” in the Hugo debate. I tend toward cynicism and irony myself, but when someone tells me I can’t be hopeful, that it’s bad taste to be hopeful, that earnestness is corny per se, my hackles are raised and I think, well I’m going to be hopeful, then. I don’t even think I’m uncritical of hopefulness itself–I could name plenty of ostensibly “hopeful” works that weren’t much more than jingoistic rose-colored welding glasses. But Interstellar wasn’t that, and it seems facile–a critical trope of its own–to say it was.

 

embrodski on Death Is Bad

“SF/F Review – The Three-Body Problem” – May 28

Puppy Note: This book was not on the Puppy Slate. When I thought to myself “How did this book make it onto the Hugo Ballot?” my first thought was the same uncharitable thought that the Puppies normally have. I thought “This is cultural inclusiveness being taken too far. The liberal thought-leaders want to show they are racially/culturally diverse, and they know that this book is CRAZY popular in China! For it to be so popular among so many readers, it must be fantastic! So let’s make sure it gets a nomination regardless of its merits.” Thus a type of affirmative action – signaling your awesome cultural acceptance and diversity at the cost of nominating a book that would have been much more deserving of the Hugo on its merits.

Except that the Puppy Leaders have come forward to say that they love this book, and would have put it on their slate if they’d known about it!! And I’m like… WHAT THE HELL is going on?? OK, we all already suspect that the Puppies don’t have great taste in SF lit, but if they think this book deserves a nomination on its merits, than perhaps *I* am being a giant, insensitive dick by assuming that only someone with a hidden liberal agenda would nominate this. Obviously people must actually like it. And if I am lumping in the Sad/Rabid Puppies with their hated “SJW” nemesis for picking crap for political reasons, maybe that’s a big flashing sign that says “There is no such thing as the political-reasons voter, and the Puppies were even more wrong that I thought from the very beginning.” Seriously, if I can’t tell you apart from your political rivals based on book selection, I think you’re grasping at straws.

Second, apparently Puppy-approved books can be nominated without the Puppy’s help. In fact, despite their efforts in this case. If the liberal conspiracy you claim is keeping good works down keeps nominating things you like (much like they nominated Correia and Torgerson in the past…) then it might not actually exist.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Saga (Collected Editions #3), by Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Fiona Staples (artist)” – May 28

In the end, though, I think too much of the background needed for the story to make sense is just not here. It’s likely in the two earlier volumes, but it’s not here in Volume 3, which is what I’m being asked to judge. I suspect I would like this a good deal better if I’d read the earlier volumes. As is, though? Art, very nice. Story, meh.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Graphic Story” – May 28

Time will bear this out, or not, but I think I will have had a much more difficult time ranking the nominees for Graphic Story than I will for any other Hugo category this year. There is just so much excellence here and the comics are all great in very different ways.  I will, however, hold to this ranking and this vote and live with it. But ask me tomorrow and I could reorder the whole thing and be equally comfortable with that order. I choose to draw the line today.

 

Elisa Bergslien

“More Hugo’s reading: Related Works … voted category most likely to make you completely bewildered” – May 28

My conclusion ?   I have no idea what the nominators were thinking with these selections. I just can’t find the redeeming value that would make any of this years items award winning.

 

Brian Niemeier on Superversive SF

“Transhuman and Subhuman Part VII: The Glory Game” – May 28

Today I’m reviewing John C. Wright’s review of Keith Laumer’s short novel The Glory Game.

“The novel is well crafted, concise, without a wasted scene or word,” says Wright, “and therefore has the clearest and most trenchant point of any tale I have ever read that is actually a tale and not a tract.”

Indeed, the book’s twist ending is incisively delivered in its last four words. Since The Glory Game was first published in 1973, this review will discuss the plot under the reasonable assumption that little risk remains of spoiling the final twist for long time sci-if fans. For those who are newly come to the fold, it’s recommended that you read the novel before continuing with this post.

Of the book’s characters, Wright notes that they are, “…rough sketches, painted in broad, energetic strokes, as befits an adventure yarn.” Yet the story’s driving conflict is moral; not military–the dilemma of a principled man told to violate his principles.

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form”  – May 28

I am not, in general, a big fan of TV. However, almost everything I watch, or want to watch, is on this list. My reviews for the Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form category will be short. They will be short enough that I can fit them all together on this one post. I present them in the same order in which they appear on the Hugo nominations list.

 

R.P.L. Johnson

“A Hugo Post – The Short Stories” – May 28

So what’s the final verdict? Totalled is the standout favourite for me so I’ll be voting as follows:

Totalled

A Single Samurai

Turncoat

No Award

 

Kristin on SciFi With A Dash of Paprika

“The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison” – May 28

Overall, a solid absorbing read with beautiful world building and solid character development.

 

Katya Czaja

“Hugo Award: Related Work” – May 28

Ranking Another race for the bottom. Difficult to figure out which was worse, the word-salad that was Transhuman and Subhuman or the not-a-book that was Wisdom From My Internet. In the end, Wright lost because he put words together in a form that can be described as essay and not just random, unrelated scribblings. Neither “The Hot Equation” nor “Why Science is Never Settled” were important enough to rise above No Award, but “The Hot Equation” came closest.

1) No Award

2) “The Hot Equation” by Ken Burnside

3) “Why Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts

4) Letters from Garnder by Lou Antonelli

5) Transhuman and Subhuman by John C. Wright

6) Wisdom From My Internet by Michael Z. Williamson

 

Mary Robinette Kowal

“Talk with me about being a fan of science fiction and fantasy” – April 11

[I linked to Kowal’s post before, but John Hertz would be deeply gratified if I injected “Orange Mike” Lowrey’s comment and her reply into the ongoing discussion and I am happy to do so.]

Definition of Terms (You can tell that I was on the debate team in high school, yes?)

  • Fandom – The community of fans who regularly attend fan run conventions.

 

Michael J. “Orange Mike” Lowrey in a comment on “Talk with me about being a fan of science fiction and fantasy” – April 11

As a historian, I do want to clarify one thing. Historically, SF fandom was centered in the fanzines, constantly refreshed by names culled from the letter columns of the prozines. Conventions were rare and widely scattered, whereas a letter cost less than a dime to mail, and fanzines could easily be printed and mailed for much less than a quarter-dollar. If you lived in a big enough town, this was bolstered and enlarged by local SF clubs, at least one (LASFS) still extant today.

Starting in the 1960s, and more in the 1970s, conventions became more common, but these sprang from the local fandoms (both club and fanzine), and carried on the same conversation, with many of the same participants still around. This conversation in turn (for those unable or unwilling to attend conventions in the flesh, or just wanting more doses of that fannish pleasure) shifted gradually from paper fanzines to online venues, from Usenet and e-mail lists to LiveJournal (and individual blogs) to Facebook. But all these were carrying on the same conversation, and some of the participants remained the same or were the spiritual heirs of the same conversants. We are all the heirs of Bob Tucker, of Forrest J Ackerman, of Jan Howard Finder, of Rusty Hevelin and Lee Hoffman, of Robert Bloch and Morojo, of John Boardman and Harry Warner, Jr., of Terry Carr and Russ Chauvenet and Vin¢ Clarke and Bob Shaw and Jan Howard Finder and Ross Pavlac and Ken Moore and Dean Grennell, of Samuel Edward Konkin III and Steig Larsson (yes, he was One of Us), of Judith Merril and Sam Moskovitz and Ray Palmer, of Frederik Pohl, of Tom Reamy and Bill Rotsler, of Damon Knight and Julie Schwartz, of Donald A. Wollheim. Some of them became pros; some remained “only” fans. But every time you argue about Hugo selection, or use the term “space opera”, or deprecate the use of the horrible neologism “sci-fi” or otherwise celebrate this wonderful thing we enjoy, you ARE part of that conversation, whether you ever get to a con or not. And you are part of science fiction fandom.

 

Mary Robinette Kowal replying to comment – April 11

Oh! Excllent point about the fanzines. My fault for forgetting because I joined fandom after the internet had already started to reshape things.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies Review Books: GOODNIGHT MOON” – May 28

goodnight-moon-300x250

Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (aspired)

I suppose this book is supposed to be clever in that literary way that SJWs are so fond of, but I found it to be a confusing and unholy mess. It was very hard to follow. The prose was far too clunky and the signaling was all wrong. Good stories use signaling to tell you what kind of story they are, so you will know how the story goes and not be thrown out of it when something happens that you do not expect.

 

ULTRAGOTHA in a comment on File 770

Hwaet! The Great-Danes’ want glory through dubious achievements
The god-voice former infamy we have heard of,
How puppies displayed then their prowess-in-prose.
Theodore, their mighty king, in honor of whom they are often called Teddys.

From many a people their chrome-rockets tore.
Since first they found themselves rocketless and wretched,
The puppies had sadness: no comfort they got for it,
Waxed ’neath the woe, word-honor hungered for
Till all the fans o’er sea were compelled to
Bow to their bidding and bring them their nominations:

That Hell-Hound Train 5/20

aka I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by puppies

Today’s roundup represents the collective wisdom of Larry Correia, Christopher M. Chupik, John Scalzi, MattK, Nathan, Vox Day, Jeremiah Tolbert, Kevin Callum, William Reichard, Phil Sandifer, Nicholas Whyte,  Russell Blackford, Daniel Ausema, Chris Gerrib, Joe Sherry, Lisa J. Goldstein, Martin Lewis, Katya Czaja, Adult Onset Atheist, Morag and Erin, JJ and Nyq. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and Jeff Smith.)

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Hugo Voter Packet now available for download” – May 20

It should go without saying, but apparently I need to plainly state the blatantly obvious, everyone should read the nominations and vote honestly.

 

Christopher M. Chupik in a comment on Monster Hunter Nation – May 20

Your weasely, dog-whistle dudebro code doesn’t fool me! I know that you *really* mean “suppress the vote of female and minority Hugo voters”. And any minorities or women who pop up to dispute that are just tokens and human shields!

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“How You Should Vote for the Hugos This Year” – May 20

I think the slates are bullshit, and I think the people who created them (and at least some of the people on them) are acting like petulant, whiny crybabies and/or obnoxious, self-aggrandizing opportunists. I’m also aware some slate choices were not made aware they had been put on slates, or were placed on them under false pretenses. Some of those so slated chose to leave the ballot, which I think is impressive and well done them, but I can’t really fault those who chose to stay, not in the least because for some of them it would be politically or personally awkward to withdraw, for various reasons. And, on the principle that a stopped clock can be correct twice a day, it’s entirely possible something or someone that is a slate choice is genuinely deserving of consideration for the Hugo, and I am loath to discount that, particularly if the person to whom the award would be given was also an unwilling (or misinformed) draftee onto a slate.

So here is my plan:

  1. I am going to look back on my own Hugo nomination ballot, and identify in each category the work/person I nominated that I judged to be my “last place” choice in the category.
  2. When confronted with a nominee on the final ballot who was placed there by a slate, I will ask myself: “Is this work/person better than my own ‘last place’ nominee?”
  3. If the answer is ‘yes,” then I will rank that work/person above “No Award” on my final ballot, and otherwise rank them accordingly to my own preference.
  4. If the answer is “no,” then I won’t put that work/person on my ballot at all, and I will put “No Award” below my choices in the category so it’s clear that I would prefer no award given than to offer the Hugo to anything/anyone I’ve left off the ballot.

 

MattK in a comment on Brad R. Torgersen – May 20

Voting “No Award” over a work that one thinks has been “nominated inappropriately” is really a vote against the process of nomination, and should take place in a different venue, at the WorldCon business meetings where the Hugo rules can be discussed for possible change.

Voting “No Award” over another work based on your perception of the ideological views of the author is a stand that you should make with your pocketbook, or your own internet pulpit, and not by subverting the Hugo process for your own preferred social or political purposes.

Voting “No Award” over a work because it doesn’t contain the requisite number of women/gays/minorities portrayed in the politically correct fashion of the week actually does superficially start to bear on the idea of the merit of the work. However, only someone who has lost all sense of the real purpose of art could believe the idea that the faddish political checklists of the day have anything to do with “excellence in the field of science fiction or fantasy.” Excellence in the field of social and political propaganda is quite a different category entirely, one with which historically prominent figures named Adolph and Josef were very familiar, back in my grandparents’ day. Many of us are tired of being told that “science fiction” which scores highly on that particular metric is the best that the field has to offer today — especially when it only tangentially seems to be science fiction at all. As has been noted elsewhere many times, political art is to art as military intelligence is to intelligence. In deference to our host, I’ll say that I suspect that comparison may be somewhat unfair to military intelligence.

 

Nathan in a comment on Vox Popoli  – May 20 at 5:08 p.m.

Sounds more like they are looking for reasons to justify what they’ve already decided to do. As for graphic novels, can we burn that category down at least?

 

Vox Day in a comment on Vox Popoli  – May 20 at 5:36 p.m.

As for graphic novels, can we burn that category down at least? Go for it. It merits it.

 

 

Kevin Callum in a comment on Making Light – May 19

In my opinion, the Sad Puppies and their third slate would have come to nothing in the Hugo voting if the Rabid Puppies slate didn’t exist. I see it this way. The Sad Puppies knew they didn’t have sufficient swaying power beyond their personal subscriber base(s) and hired a mercenary. The mercenary took over the campaign and behind the Sad Puppies’ backs promoted his own slate that took over the Hugo Awards. This left the Sad Puppies with nothing to take credit for since the Rabid Puppies completely stole the Sad Puppies’ thunder. And yet the Sad Puppies keep blathering on.

I understand the blustering by those in the Rabid camp. They can actually claim some sort of victory. But now that the Sad Puppies have actively distanced themselves from the Rabid Puppies, what do they have left? When I see Correia or Torgerson bloviating (through File770, since I don’t want to inflate their sense of importance by inflating their page counts), I picture a child stomping his foot and yelling, “My dad can beat up your dad.”*

These guys keep running about as if they have something important to say, and people keep referring to the Sad Puppies campaign. To me the Sad Puppies have almost no relevance and haven’t since the announcement of the Hugo nominees. The Rabid Puppies did the actual sweeping.

The Sad Puppies really do have an apt name since at this point they can only cry about their platform getting stolen out from under them.

So when I see articles from institutions like the Wall Street Journal, I think great—the wider the coverage the better. But I keep thinking they have misrepresented the facts by giving so much credit to the Sad Puppies.

*Or, since they seem to think that the SJWs are mostly women, “My dad can beat up your mom.”

 

William Reichard

”No country for previous generation androids” – May 20

http://plaeroma.com/ is marked private by its owner.

 

 

 

 

Nicholas Whyte on From The Heart of Europe

“Wisdom from my Internet, by Michael Z. Williamson” – May 20

Wisdom from my Internet is a really bad book. I will admit that I disagree with about 90% of Williamson’s political statements; but even in the few cases where I don’t, his style is just not very funny. More objectively, I’ve got a quarter of the way through and if there has been any actual reference to SF I have missed it. I prefer my Best Related Works to actually be, well, related. I don’t think I will bother with the rest.

How interesting that the author is a mate of the slatemongers, and that it was not recommended by a single contributor to the crowdsourcing exercise (which we are repeatedly told was “100% open” and “democratic”), yet ended up on both slates anyway! It has reinforced my intention to vote “No Award” for this entire category.

This nomination really shows up the bad faith of those behind the slates. For all their complaints about cliques, political messages and works getting nominated which are of poor quality and are’t sfnal enough, here they have done exactly what they accuse the imaginary cabal of doing. It is simply shameful.

 

Russell Blackford on Metamagician and the Hellfire Club

“Hugo Awards Voters Packet” – May 21

Whatever the extent of the genuine problems, there has been a massive overreaction this year by a group of people (or, seemingly, two rather different groups of people) who are disenchanted.

I can think that those people have greatly exaggerated whatever real problems existed with the Hugos – and that they have made things worse by introducing an unprecedented level of blatant, politicized campaigning – without  wanting to take part in a campaign of retaliation that could destroy the awards. Further: I can think that those people are probably wrong, misguided, thinking about the issues ahistorically, acting counterproductively, etc., while also thinking that they, or at least most of them, are decent, sincere individuals who are doing their (misguided) best and may even have identified some good material that would normally be overlooked. As to the latter, we’ll see. Meanwhile, some of these people have been subjected to personal vilification and abuse, harassment, and even death threats; there is utterly no place for any of this.

Once again, in any event, I plan to play it straight. I will vote for material on its merits, and I’ll try to review some of it here.

 

 

Daniel Ausema on The Geekiary

“Hugos and Puppies, the 2015 Short Fiction Nominees” – May 21

My intent all along has been to read each of the nominees and judge them regardless of who wrote them or who nominated them. That, of course, has become more problematic as the controversy rages. No person can be completely without bias. Nevertheless, I will do my best to review these short stories as if this were a normal year for Hugo nominations. I’ve gone out of my way to avoid learning whether the individual writers in this list were involved, supported, or knew ahead of time anything about either slate.

With that in mind, here are the nominees for short fiction….

The Parliament of Beasts and Birds”, John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)

This a fable-like story, with a group of animals wondering what to do now that some sort of apocalypse has fallen. The humans (called “Man” here) have disappeared, leaving the animals uneasy and confused. The truth they uncover is that some version of the Christian end times has carried humans away, leaving the animals to decide what to do now with this human-less world.

Writing-wise, this captures the feel of animal folk tales well most of the time, though at times the attempt falls into overwrought prose. But overall, it’s weakened by the fact that it fails to do much more than retell a specifically religious tale, adding only the idea of animals being saved or condemned. It offers little new, neither to those already well familiar with the religious backdrop nor to those who do not self-identify with a Left-Behind sort of Christianity…..

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Hugo Packet – The Wrong Way to Wright” – May 20

I am really bouncing hard off of John C. Wright’s novellas. For One Bright Star to Guide Them I’m baffled by the attitude to magic. Robertson, our first character, hasn’t thought of magic for years, yet the instant he sees a black cat he’s all magic!!!! – Then when we visit Richard, he alternates in the same paragraph between “yeah magic, especially if it gets me laid” and “no magic for me, I’m British.” Oh, and since when have you described out loud what somebody was wearing to the person wearing it? Sorry, no dice. (Oh, and I checked – somebody on File 770 thinks that Wright forgot the name of one of his characters, and changed it from Sarah to Sally randomly. Not so – she is referred to as both names, but there’s no explanation as to why in the story. It would have been better to be consistent.) ….

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures in Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Fan Artist” – May 20

No Award: While Foster and Stiles have been perennial nominees, and I had a very nice e-mail exchange with Foster last year when I was looking to highlight the art of all of the nominees (something I do not plan to do this year), I don’t feel this art is truly among the best. It is art of a particular style, and I think it has fit the fanzines they have often been published in, but when you compare to Elizabeth Leggett, well, there is no comparison. I appreciated Ninni Aalto’s work more than those of Foster and Stiles, but it still doesn’t quite rise above and meet the levels of Leggett and Schoenhuth.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 12: Novellas” – May 20

[CONTAINS SPOILER]

A brief summary of “Pale Realms of Shade,” just so you know what I’m talking about — Matt Flint, a private eye, has been killed and returns as a ghost.  He doesn’t remember who killed him, and goes on a quest to find out…. A lot of this murkiness, I think, is the prose.  Wright never uses one word when ten or twenty will do.

 

Martin Lewis on Everything Is Nice

“Hugo Voting – Fan Writer” – May 20

1) No Award

2) Laura J Mixon – For reasons set out here.

3) Amanda S Green – Basically a stream of consciousness only tangentially related to SF that is randomly peppered with the letters SJW and GHH.

4) Cedar Sanderson – As above but with extra anti-feminism.

5) David Freer – As above (including literally published on the same blog as Sanderson) but actually insane.

6) Jeffro Johnson – No accessible contribution included in Hugo voter package and I’m not about to go and seek out Puppy work.

If you set out to find the worst fan writing available, you’d probably end up with something like this (and this pattern seems to hold true in Best Related). The Puppies think that not only is this writing not shit, it is the best published in the field in 2014.

 

Katja Czaja

“Hugo Awards: Short Fiction” – May 20

Ranking While I liked “A Single Samurai” and “Totaled”, neither of them are even close to being the best science fiction short story that has come out this year. Oh,Puppies, just because you agree with the message, it does not make the work any less message fiction.

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: A Single Samurai” – May 20

At this point –dear readers- I should point out that writing my own reviews allows me to capriciously score the stories that are reviewed. For this story I am going to award a couple of points. I will give this story one star just for having a daikaij?  in it because I dig daikaij?. I will also give it another star for having a Samurai in it because I like the films of Akira Kurosawa.

The Samurai is obsessed with his weapons, and they are magic. The Samurai’s obsession with the weapons even constitutes some of the proof that they are magic.

 

Morag and Erin in Manfeels Park

“New Reading List” (click link to see comic) – May 19

With thanks to James May and Eric Flint

[Quoting the site: “Manfeels Park is an exercise in flogging a pun for all it’s worth. The male dialogue in this webcomic is all taken word for word or adapted only slightly from web commentary by hurt and confused men with Very Important Things To Explain, usually to women. Artistic license is exercised in editing commentary for brevity, spelling and grammar, but the spirit of the original comment is always faithfully observed. Witty rejoinders are also ‘found dialogue’ where possible.”]

 

JJ in a comment on File 770 – May 20

“Freedom’s just another word for no Puppies left to peruse.”

Busted flat in SFF Land, waitin’ for Sasquan,
and I’s feeling nearly’s deprived as can be.
Puppies dumped a dreckload down, the packet’s just arrived.
Full of Puppy message fic for me.

I stayed up too late, reading Goblin Emperor.
And Ancill’ry Sword’s pages, how they flew.
But Butcher’s Skin Game’s mighty hard, it’s taken many nights.
And I’m still not even halfway through.

Freedom’s just another word, for no Puppies left to peruse.
Hugo don’t mean nothin’ honey if I can’t read it.
Yeah, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when I read Cixin Liu.
You know excellent prose was good enough for me.
But not good enough for the Damn Puppies.

From the shorter-length Novellas, through yet smaller Novelettes,
The Puppies left their territory mark.
Through all of the Short Stories, and through Related Works,
Yeah, Puppies making Hugo’s outlook dark.

One day I’ll be done with this, the deadline’s on the way.
I’m looking for the end of it, and then I’ll be fine.
But I’d trade all of my tomorrows, for one single yesterday,
to be havin’ no more Puppy works in line.

Freedom’s just another word, for no Puppies left to peruse.
Hugo don’t mean nothin’ honey if I can’t read it.
Yeah, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when I read Cixin Liu.
You know gripping plots were good enough for me.
But not good enough for those Damn Puppies.

 

Nyq in a comment on File 770 – May 20

Nate: “If our authors win… we win. If no award wins… we win. And if you no award everything… we still win.

“And please understand… we will be back next year. The slates aren’t going away. If anything they’ll just merge into one bigger more powerful slate than the two that dominated this year.”

SOory it is more complicated that:

  • If No Award wins a category with an ODD number of votes then we win. (this will invoke a subcommittee to then determine who ‘we’ are)
  • If No Award wins with a prime number of votes you win but only if rule 1 doesn’t apply.
  • If No Award wins everything then you lose UNLESS you throw a number greater than 7 on a D20.
  • If Vox Day wins a category then you lose because the “we all voted ironically” rule comes in play.
  • If John C Wright wins a category then the “its opposite day” rule comes into effect.
  • If one of the secret-SJW-ninja candidates win then you lose. The secret-SJW-ninjas have infiltrated the puppy nominess and have ensured some of the nominated works contain subliminal messages advocating social justice.
  • If John Scalzi wins then George RR Martin wins based on the “but those guys weren’t even nominated” rule.
  • Alexandra Erin has already won.
  • The Roland Barthes Memorial Hugo Award for post-structuralist reading will go to whoever wins in the arm wrestling contest between Vox Day and Theodore Beale.

Other rules and winning conditions available on request.

Rules subject to change.

I Am Not a Puppy, I Am a Free Man 5/15

aka “My name is Canis Dolorosa. You ganked my rocket. Prepare to die.”

Today’s heavily self-referential roundup trots out John Scalzi, Chuck Wendig, C. Robert Cargill, Michael Rapoport, Vox Day, Cephus, Nicholas Whyte, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Vann R. Newkirk II, Lis Carey, Spacefaring Kitten, Alexandra Erin, William Reichard, Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little , Happyturtle, ULTRAGOTHA, jayn, Sarah, J.C. Salomon, Steve and Jim Henley. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Paul Weimer and Alexandra Erin.)

 

 

Michael Rapoport in the Wall Street Journal

“The Culture Wars Invade Science Fiction” – May 15

Mr. Scalzi likens the Puppies’ campaigns to the backlash that women and minorities have faced in other geek-culture arenas—notably “Gamergate,” the videogamers’ campaign widely associated with threats against feminist videogame critics.

But Larry Correia, another Sad Puppies organizer, doesn’t see the Puppies’ campaign as a backlash against diversity. “That’s a narrative they came up with to try to discredit us,” he says. He and Mr. Torgersen have distanced themselves from Mr. Beale’s extreme views, but the Rabids are “still fans, they’re still people, their votes still count.”

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“the most despised man in science fiction” – May 15

Despised, feared, it’s pretty much all the same, isn’t it? The Wall Street Journal takes note of the Hugo Awards, with an article entitled “The Culture Wars Invade Science Fiction Online campaigners are pushing to give SF’s annual Hugo Awards to popular space yarns, not more literary fiction or tales of diversity”. It’s not entirely negative despite the reporter feeling the need to get the opinion of two writers, John Scalzi and George Martin, who don’t know a damn thing about what the Puppies are doing. But regardless, the main thing is that the reporter correctly grasped that this is a new front in the cultural war and not a self-serving attempt to pick up meaningless trophies.

 

Difster VFM #109 in a comment on Vox Popoli  – May 15

They WSJ (anagram for SJW I might note) was not entirely negative.

 

Cephus on Bitchspot

“The SJWs Lose at the Hugo Awards” – May 15

It is time that people rise up against this kind of absurd liberal oppression, where it’s political correctness that means more than actual merit.  The Hugo Awards were not designed to award people for their social consciousness, but for their work in the field of writing science fiction and fantasy.  It doesn’t matter what you think, it matters what you write.  The same is true of television and movies, where it shouldn’t make a difference what a director or an actor or a producer thinks, only the end-product of their labors.  Unfortunately, these liberal idiots get butt-hurt because someone doesn’t follow the social justice collective and they must set out to call them names, harm their careers and deny them their due for what they’ve actually done with their lives.  Is it any wonder there’s such a backlash against liberal stupidity these days?  Here’s hoping it keeps up and picks up in the future.

 

Nicholas Whyte on From The Heart of Europe

“My vote for Best Novel” – May 15

Matt Foster has made a good argument in favour of not only voting No Award above all slate nominees, but also voting No Award top in all categories where there are only one or two non-slate contenders, on the basis that the slate organisers have denied us a proper choice in those categories too. I find myself sympathetic to this line of thought. I was already planning to put No Award top in Best Novelette (because I was not impressed by the one non-slate finalist) and Best Fan Writer (because the one non-slate finalist has been nominated for a single piece of work rather than for a body of work over the last year), though in both cases I will rank the non-slate finalist second to minimise the chance of a slate win.

I had been going to vote for Julie Dillon as the one non-slate finalist in Best Professional Artist, but I shall consider Matt Foster’s’s arguments carefully; if the choice is Julie Dillon or nobody, is that really a choice? I like her work in general, but I don’t actually like the category anyway (which is a different argument for a different time), and this year’s ballot is deeply flawed due to the intervention of the slatemongers. Again, she will get at least a second preference from me, to reduce the chance of a slate nominee winning.

Anyway, for Best Novel these arguments no longer apply, since the honourable withdrawal of one of the (unwitting) slate nominees has given us three excellent books to choose from, each of which would be an acceptable winner in a normal year. Ranking them is difficult, but it’s got to be done. My vote is as follows.

 

L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright on Superversive SF

“Hugo Nominee Interview: Mike Williamson” – May 13

1) All the Sad Puppies selections came from a list of stories that fans felt were their favorites from 2014. What about your story do you think brought it to the attention of whomever suggested it?

Obviously, they, like me, hate humanity and want children to die. I would like to thank Brad for seeing through the haze and realizing I’m a scorching liberal right wing gay-agenda-endorsing homophobe and terrible parent who’s teaching his mixed race children to be white supremacists.  And with the assistance of Gamergate, the Illuminati and Elvis, I might actually win to spread our Gospel.

 

Vann R. Newkirk II on Gawker Review of Books

“The City Is a Crossroads: Daniel José Older on Protest Art and Urban Lit” – May 15

Do you consider decisions like that in your work to be political, whatever that entails?

I do. Well, I consider all books to be political. I think if you ask authors on any side of the spectrum whether they meant to write a political book or not, most would tell you that they just went into it to write a book and a great story and didn’t intentionally include politics, but I would like to call bullshit on that. We are always including our politics. You can actually not do that, and we do ourselves an injustice when we pretend to not be conscious of it. I’m very strategic in how I choose to bring politics into my writing and I can’t think of any other writing advice that tells you to not be conscious or strategic about stuff. There’s this idea that if you don’t think about politics, it’ll just seep through. And for some people that’s true.

To bring it around to the Hugos, you’ll see this conversation pop up in the sense of the Sad Puppies folks lamenting that suddenly science-fiction and fantasy have become political, as if Tolkien wasn’t thoroughly writing a political book about the supremacy of western culture. There’s nothing more political than that; it’s just so normalized that people read it as, ‘Oh it’s just another fantasy story.’ You have a message; it’s just a message that’s normalized. People act like only folks coming from the left have a message to give, and that’s bullshit. These are very political books, and they always have been. Fantasy and sci-fi have always been a political project. Look at Lovecraft….

So, more about the Hugos and the Sad Puppies stuff. Do you think the back and forth represents something of the larger cultural conflicts going on?

Yes. Definitely. First of all, it represents people who are again so normalized to the idea of their comfort being provided for that they freak out entirely the second that it’s slightly off-kilter. Because sci-fi and fantasy have always been a very white, very straight, very heteronormative, male political project. A very colonial project. In the past couple years, their big complaint is that suddenly people that aren’t them are winning awards, winning Hugos and that is cause for them to, you know, create this great big stir and takeover.

When we’re in a time when we have to proclaim in the streets that Black Lives Matter, literature is one of the first places where we learn what matters and whose life matters and whose doesn’t. And literature has been saying for centuries that black lives don’t matter. By not publishing black authors, by not publishing books about black people, that’s become the message by default. Whiteness being the default has been the message. So, the fact that we now have to fight to just get a fair Hugo ballot because a few people have hurt feelings and want to grasp at relevancy after decades of this really destructive form of erasure from fantasy and sci-fi absolutely speaks to the movement in the streets today, to what’s going on with the police, to what’s going on in politics. Literature is always a reflection of society and society is always a reflection of literature, and when publishing is as white as it is, we have to look at those numbers and understand that they are connected. They are 100 percent connected. There’s no way to disconnect them. But people always want to act surprised.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale, by Rajnar Vajra” – May 15

There’s a story here, and it’s decently written. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit cliched, and in some ways strains my suspension of disbelief in ways that are not good.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium, by Gray Rinehart” – May 15

This is a competently, professionally done story, and a good read. I recommend it on that basis. However, it’s no more than competent and professional, and a Hugo winner needs to be more than just competent and professional.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“’Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium’ by Gray Rinehart” – May 15

The plotting would have needed some more work, even if the story is decently written. There’s just too much talking heads to keep me intrested. Now the whole story was about the dying guy’s friend finding out what it was all about, but the really interesting part would have been what happens next and what further complications there will be. It’s frustrating when a story fails to focus on the most interesting aspects of its proposition.

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” – May 14

I picked up this book expecting SF/F, and I was disappointed. Imagine someone going to the store and buying a box of “Best NUTTY NUGGETS Ever” because they love “NUTTY NUGGETS”, only to find that they were so awful they might not even be “NUTTY NUGGETS”, and were quite inedible. Then imagine them going back to the store and buying another box of “Best NUTTY NUGGETS Ever” only to find out that they were similarly not even edible “NUTTY NUGGETS”. I’m sure they would be Sad, and maybe even Mad; some people might do things that were Bad. “SAD, MAD, BAD” sounds like a children’s book, and so does this story. It has talking animals that start to walk upright because … God.

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: On a Spiritual Plain” – May 14

Dead people on the planet Ymilas get trapped as ghosts, when they get tired of that they travel to giant Stonehenge at the pole to “move on”. It is a weak premise executed poorly.

 

Doctor Science on Obsidian Wings

“The Demolished Puppy” – May 15

The setting: An Account of Juliette Wade’s Withdrawal from Sad Puppies 3, at File770….

The surreality was seeing Torgersen re-write someone’s motives to their face, while people were watching. It’s always difficult to get a real sense of social atmosphere over the internet, but it seemed to me that I was watching Torgersen’s reputation sink before my eyes, in real time. It certainly happened for me….

In case it’s not clear to you why I was appalled: Torgersen talked at length and repeatedly about how Wade was motivated by fear, and never seems to have noticed that (a) she never said nor implied that was true, and (b) she was really pissed that he attributed made-up motivations to her.

And the rest of us just stood there (digitally), watching while Torgersen kept trying to re-write a history we could read by scrolling up.

Alfred Bester‘s The Demolished Man won the first Hugo Award for best Novel, in 1953. The Demolished Man is about a murder, but it’s not a mystery: we know from the start (because he’s a POV character) that Ben Reich killed his business rival Craye D’Courtney, after Reich proposed a merger and D’Courtney turned him down. But [SPOILERS] the detective on the case is baffled, because Reich seems to have no motive: D’Courtney sent Reich a message accepting his offer.

In the end, we find out that Reich mis-heard the message, because he was already determined to kill D’Courtney — who, it turned out, was his biological father.

Bester makes the whole reveal pretty Freudian, which didn’t impress me when I read the book in the 1970s and is rather quaint now. But watching Torgersen editing his perceptions in real time, the plot of The Demolished Man starts to seem much less contrived, much more psychologically realistic.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies Review Books: MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS” – May 15

make-way-for-ducklings-229x300

Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired)

If you want evidence of the deep rot that has infested the once-great Caldecott Medal, look no further than this book, which is a putrid example of ham-handed message fiction given an award by Feminazi SJWs basically as a participation prize for having a “strong female protagonist who doesn’t need a man”….

Why doesn’t she just open a Patreon account while she’s at it? She could tell the sob story about how she was almost hit by a bicycle and the victim bucks would come pouring in, let me tell you. They all have Patreons for some reason even though they produce nothing of value to anyone. It’s nothing but welfare for hipsters. It should be illegal…..

Did you know that only fifteen people in all the world choose the winner of the Caldecott every year? How are the opinions of fifteen people supposed to determine “most distinguished American picture book for children”, I ask you?

 

Will in a comment on File 770 – May 15

I stopped commenting at File770 and all I got was this stupid T-shirt

 

Happyturtle in a comment on File 770 – May 15

For Puppies Sad did Torgersen
A stately rocket ship decree:
While mouths of many loudly ran
Through websites measureless to man
As long as wifi’s free.

Had we but slates enough and time,
This Hugo, Puppy, were no crime.
We would sit and discuss which tales
We love and which we think are fails.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two ballots diverged at a con – Sasquan! –
I chose the one less voted on,
And that has made all the difference.

 

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little in a comment on iFile 770 – May 15

I’m a Puppy! Who are you?
Are you all — Puppies — too?
Then there’s a bloc of us!
Don’t tell! they’d banish us — you know!
How sad — to be — an Ess Jay Dub!
How PC — like a CHORF —
They bully us — the live-long Spring —
WOOF WOOF — ARF-ARF-ARF!

…ok, it kind of fell apart there at the end.

 

ULTRAGOTHA in a comment on File 770 – May 15

This is Just to Say
We have nominated
The stories
That were on
The ballot
And which
You were probably
Hoping
For better stories
Forgive us
Revenge is delicious
So sweet
And so cold

 

jayn in a comment on File 770 – May 15

For each Pup kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a crummy book,
Some with a whiny word…

 

Sarah in a comment on File 770 – May 15

Now my pups are all o’erthrown,
And what sads I have’s mine own,
Which is most faint: now, ’tis true,
I must receive awards from you,
Or sent to Spokane. Let me not,
Since I have my Hugo got,
And pardon’d the SJWs, dwell
In this bare website by your spell;
But release me from Amazons,
With the help of your book bombs.
Gentle praise in your emails,
Must fill, or else my project fails.

 

Alexandra Erin in a comment on File 770 – May 15

I am the very model of a modern Canine-Miserable.
I’ve indignations slight, imagined, and quite risible.
I know the Nielsen Haydens, and I quote their slates historical
from novellete to best short form on ballots categorical;
I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters dialectical,
and syllogisms, both implied and also quite elliptical,
About rhetorical speaking I’m teeming with a lot of news
with many outraged squeals about the lies of SJWs.
I’m very good at inference and attributing animus,
I know the things I know are true without any analysis.
In short, in outrage slight, imagined, and quite risible,
I am the very model of a modern Canine-Miserable.

 

J. C. Salomon in a comment on File 770 – May 14

With the Hugo coverage on File 770 going meta like this—half the links are to comments made on this blog—is it fair to say there’s a puppy chasing its tail here? ?

 

Steve in a comment on Vox Popoli – May 15

[Speculating about who will accept Vox Day’s Hugo at Sasquan.]

Because I like the idea that, as soon as your name is mentioned by a grimacing David Gerrold, a fell cry rends the air and freezes the blood of every CHORF present…

The ceiling groans as if in hideous pain, then there is a hellish crash as concrete and tile yield to an enormous creature. The minion lands in the middle of the convention, its iron boots striking the floor with a terrifying thud, then flexes its vast, midnight-black leathery wings to shake off the dust.

It points an armoured finger at Gerrold, a thin wisp of sulphurous smoke curling from its clawed tip.

“The Lord of Fear sends his regards. I am his emissary. Give me the trinket.”

Gerrold cringes and hides behind Due as the minion ascends to the podium.

“My Dark Lord authorises me to bid you thanks for this trifling bauble, and to assure most of you that he wishes you no specific harm. As a token of his noblesse oblige he advises those of you who are afraid of giant sentient scorpions to avoid the Losers Party this evening. You may find it… distressing. That is all.”

Clutching his trophy, the minion runs at the windows and leaps through the glass, its wings pounding the air as it departs in malevolent triumph.

David Gerrold attempts to compose himself.

“And… umm… the n-next award goes to…. OH… FFFUUUUUUUU….”

“What’s wrong?”, cries Due.

“I-it’s T-tom K-kratman…” sobs Gerrold, just as the gun turret of a Tiger tank erupts through the back wall…

 

Jim Henley in a comment on File 770 – May 15

If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be a time-traveling dinosaur, who retroactively justified Sad Puppies 1 and 2, launched before your nomination was known. Your scales would shimmer with tachyons.

If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be all puppies could talk about, because dinosaurs are freaking cool, and big and scary, and puppies are small and easily frightened.

If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be free on the internet, and short enough to read quickly, with an easily digested precis, so that all your critics could get through you or at least take the word of someone who had without being obviously wrong on the facts. So you would be an easy example of What Has Gone Wrong With All Reptiles even though you were but a single dinosaur. You would be the dinosaur that stops all conversations before they start.

If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be a magic dinosaur that irradiates a field that makes some people reeeeeeaaaaaaalllllyyyyyy lazy. “What about all the other dinosaurs?” others would say. But the people in the field would respond, “Hey, man. Why do you keep nagging me?”

 

Puppy! Klaatu Barada Nikto! 5/10

Day_the_Earth_Stood_Still_1951aka Through the Drowsy Bark: Slates, Fisking, & Puppies

Today’s sled is drawn by David Gerrold, Vox Day, John Scalzi, Alexandra Erin, Damien G. Walter, Lisa J. Goldstein, Mark Ciocco, William Reichard, P. Llewellyn James, Jeffro Johnson, Jim C. Hines and Logan Brooker. (Credit for the subtitle goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Dawn Sabados.)

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 10

My irony meter is broken.

I was reading Mike Glyer’s latest File770 report on the Hugos, and one of the sad puppy defenders said something about how intolerant those mean old SJWs are and how the sad puppies are really about building a more inclusive community. (ie. Including themselves, because obviously they’ve been locked out for like forever.)

I had to read it several times to make sure I had read it correctly.

Okay — if that’s truly how some of the puppies perceive the situation — that’s a very sophisticated iteration of the victim racket.

But it also shows something else that’s happening in the political arena. The conservative think tanks have been doing this for a long time — coopting the language of the left, so they can claim the moral high ground.

For instance, if a progressive leader talks about racism, the conservative opponent comes back with, “Now you’re playing the race card.” Another variation is how the democrats’ economic oppression keeps black people stuck in welfare. And of course, we’re also hearing how LGBT people are intolerant bullies.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“We’re not fighting fire with fire” – May 10

An SJW is an individual who fundamentally rejects the Ellisonian vision of science fiction as a place that welcomes dangerous ideas. All dangerous ideas.

For example, if you think there is no place for racism in science fiction, you are an SJW. It is no different than if you think there is no place for atheism or for women in science fiction. Either all ideas, however controversial, are welcome and legitimate, or the science fiction community is engaged in a straightforward power struggle to determine whose morals will be imposed on everyone else in the field.

Science fiction can either reject the SJW ideology and abandon all the imposed diversity thought-policing or accept a long and vicious war over which moral code shall be law. Rabid Puppies is presenting the SF community with two choices: either embrace and defend the idea of complete intellectual freedom in science fiction or fight us over the shape of the Science Fiction Code Authority of the future.

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“The Hugos Not Actually Being Destroyed, Part the Many” – May 10

It’s been a week or so since I’ve posted about the Hugos here, so that’s good. But there’s a persistent shibboleth I see bruited about, which is that the events of this year have in some way destroyed the Hugos (most recently here, in an otherwise cogent set of observations). I’ve addressed this before, but it’s worth addressing again. Here it is:

  1. No, the Puppies running their silly slates have not destroyed the Hugo Awards. What they have done is draw attention to the fact that the nomination system of the Hugos has a flaw.
  2. The flaw: That an organized group pushing a slate of nominees can, if the group is sufficiently large, dominate the final ballot with their choices.
  3. The flaw was not addressed before because, protestations to the contrary, no one had run a comprehensive slate before. No one had run a comprehensive slate before because, bluntly, before this year, no one wanted to be that asshole. This year three people stepped up to be that asshole and got some party pals to go along.
  4. The flaw is fixable by addressing the nomination process so that a) slating is made more difficult, while b) the fundamental popular character of the Hugos (i.e., anyone can vote and nominate) is retained. There are a number of ways to do this (the simplest would be to allow folks to nominate three works/people in each category and have six finalist slots on the ballot; there are more complicated ways as well), but the point is that there are options.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“A Critique of Impure Reason” – May 10

If you start a syllogism with rhetorical premises, you reach a rhetorical conclusion. Vox freely admits that his oft-repeated line of “SJWs always lie.” is only rhetorically true (which you might recognize is just a fancy way of acknowledging it isn’t true). It’s a statement of rhetoric. The act of labeling someone a “Social Justice Warrior” is also similarly an act of rhetoric. You’re slapping a brand on someone and hoping it affects the way people see them.

If you take two pieces of rhetoric and put them through the form of a syllogism, you arrive at a conclusion that is also nothing more than rhetoric.

Or to put it more succinctly: Garbage In, Garbage Out.

But to someone who is both invested in believing you and invested in believing themselves to be intelligent, reasoned, and calculating, it is elegant and attractive garbage. You’re describing what you’re doing with big, lofty words like “dialectic” and “syllogism” and “Aristotlean”, after all. You can show people the inescapable mathematical logic of if A and B, then AB, knowing that no one in your audience will bother to ask how you arrived at A and B. They’re taken as given. The form of the syllogism not only does not require you to question A or B, it doesn’t work if you do. As soon as you delve into examining the premises, you’re no longer engaging in syllogism.

The fact is that Vox stoops to engage in the actual construction of syllogism fairly rarely, compared to how often he simply bloviates on in a purely rhetorical fashion while peppering his speech with whatever words best flatter his and his loyal readers’ intellects. But even when he does, he’s not engaging in actual dialectic but mere rhetorical sophistry. He starts with unvarnished garbage as a premise, and so he arrives at a similarly tarnished conclusion.

 

Vox Day at Vox Popoli

“SJW summarizes SJWism” – May 10

Tolerance does not demand toleration. Inclusivity justifies exclusion. Did Orwell have them pegged or what? Black is white. War is peace. We have always been at war with Eastasia. And notice the claim that it is “their society”. Not ours. Not the moderates. The SJWs.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on inferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 6: Novelettes” – May 10

I feel like singing.  Really, I’m giddy.  I found a story on the ballot that’s pretty decent.  Oh, what a beautiful morning….

Ahem.  Where was I?  Right, “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale,” by Rajnar Vajra.  It’s from Analog, and it’s a typical Analog story — three EE (Exoplanetary Explorers) cadets get into a bar fight, and as punishment they are sent to a distant planet to help the scientists there dismantle their camp.  The scientists are returning home because they failed to establish contact with the planet’s intelligent species.  On the journey over one of the cadets, Priam Galanis, asks for a chance to salvage the project, and his superior grants him his request but with one condition: “If you can offer nothing new and useful… I will consider your triad as having failed this mission… Upon our return to Earth, you will all be discharged from the EE.”

This is how you do it, people.  Raise the stakes.  Give the characters something to be invested in.

 

Mark Ciocco on Kaedrin Weblog

“Hugo Awards: The Goblin Emperor” – May 10

Among high fantasy tropes, the goblin is not a particularly prized character. What you’re thinking of when I say “goblin” is probably some combination of attributes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s grotesque orcs in Lord of the Rings, the bumbling, low-level scamps from D&D (or, more recently, World of Warcraft), and maybe the terrifying codpiece of David Bowie in Labyrinth (amongst other, even more ridiculous 80s movies). Even more sympathetic portrayals, such as the goblins of Harry Potter, generally portray goblins as mischievous and greedy. For the most part, goblins are evil, villainous monsters that are, nevertheless, little more than cannon fodder in larger conflicts.

Katherine Addison’s novel The Goblin Emperor challenges this starting with the title of the novel itself. We’re clearly going to delve into the world of goblins here. While I’m not going to claim anything near a comprehensive knowledge of high fantasy, I know enough to be intrigued by the concept, and the possibilities are endless. The novel doesn’t quite deliver on that axis of potential, but rather tries for a more subtle novel of characterization. There is, of course, nothing wrong with characterization, but when that’s all there is, I’m usually left unsatisfied. This novel makes overtures towards a more gripping story, but generally seems content to stick with its character sketch.

 

William Reichard

“A new and improved Bistromatics? The power of Fandom” – May 10

I did not know about fandom until this week. It’s like finding out there’s an entire subterranean world beneath your feet–many such worlds, in fact. What goes on down there is just…dang. And it draws you in, because it’s about stuff you care about. You want to know. But you must be careful. You might never make it back to the surface.

It’s a primal place of demagoguery and mob dynamics and whispers and memes and shadowy monsters and a sense of what McLuhan called “moreness“–an insatiable need for the discussion to continue no matter what.

 

P. Llewellyn James on The Refuge

“Worldcon Loses Control of Hugos” – May 10

Presumably most of those have been drawn by the controversy over the nominations. Which side of the culture wars the new members are on isn’t known, but one thing is for sure. WorldCon attending members no longer control the Hugos.

 

Jeffro Johnson on Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog

“Hugo Packet Sent” – May 10

Hugo Packet Sent

The Hugo Packet Coordinater contacted me last week asking for “up to four short examples of your work from 2014?, so this is what I gave them:

 

Jim C. Hines

“Gender Balance in Hugo Nominees” – May 10

I’ve seen a lot of back-and-forth about whether or not the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns were racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. I highly doubt Brad Torgersen (leader of the current Sad Puppy campaign) was deliberately, consciously, and intentionally trying to favor men over women. That said, the effect of the campaigns is pretty clear here, and breaks a pattern of better gender balance going back at least five years.

 

https://twitter.com/woodenking/status/597564428049993728

 

The Unbearable Lightness of Puppies 5/7

aka Slate Expectations

Today’s lightness comes from Katherine Tomlinson, amalythia, David Gerrold, Brad R. Torgersen, Cat Valente, Voss Foster, Andrew Knighton, Nick Mamatas, William Reichard, P. Llewellyn James, Cheryl Morgan, Bonnie McDaniel, Lisa J. Goldstein, Eemeli Aro, Kate Paulk, Pat Patterson, Tom Knighton, Dan Ammon, John Scalzi and Alexandra Erin. A couple of these are older items that seem to have been missed by earlier roundups. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Kary English and Daniel P. Dern.)

Katherine Tomlinson on Kattomic Energy

“Hullabaloo over the Hugos” – May 3

When I first heard about the gaming of the system, it was disappointing but I spent decades in L.A. where gaming the system at awards time is a fine art. (Remember how many people were shocked, SHOCKED that Pia Zadora got a Golden Globe Award?)

But I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy. I write it now. And the stories I write and the characters I create reflect the world I live in. Complicated. Diverse. And women do more than open hailing frequencies and get rescued from towers.

The idea that there are writers out there who are trying to hijack two entire genres of writing to advance their political agenda is just not tolerable. I’m not a member of the WSFS but even so, I have skin in the game. Because I love these genres. And it is a delight to discover writers whose work inspires me. And entertains me. Call me a “pissypants” if you like (see above Slate article) but what that cabal of writers did will NEVER be okay for me. And it wouldn’t be okay if they’d had a liberal, left-leaning agenda either.

 

 

amalythia on Medium

“I Do Not Wish to Offend – Short Story” – May 6

[amalythia has written a story in response to Kameron Hurley’s short story “It’s About Ethics in Revolution”.]

There is a large bell in the center of town that used to ring every morning. But then the Minister’s daughter complained that the noise triggered her, by waking her up from her sleep. It doesn’t ring anymore. Instead we’re awoken by a phone call from our manager. My roommate sleeps right through it. I heard her mumble something about not coming in. Again. Ever since our last manager seemed to disappear overnight, when she threatened to fire her for incompetence, no one dares question her. I wear my tag: 0678. I think I had a name at some point, perhaps the one inscribed on the pendant my mother left for me. They don’t allow names anymore, as certain names might offend some people. I wouldn’t want to offend them.

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 7

… Second, after we reaffirm our commitment to inclusiveness, we need to consider whether or not the Hugo nominating rules need to be adjusted. I believe that the administrators of the award should have the power to disqualify slate-ballots, but the mechanisms for this might be controversial. (It should be possible to do a computer analysis of the balloting. If 25 or more ballots come in with identical nominees in every category, and they match a publicized slate…that could be considered compelling evidence.) Other proposals have been offered as well, and I expect there to be some vigorous discussion…..

But the point I’m working toward is a difficult one — it’s a conversation that we tend to shy away from. But any functioning community, does have the right to protect itself from disruptive agencies. Groups can and do disinvite those who spoil the party.

The SFWA expelled Vox Day for his unprofessional behavior. Fandom as a community, and the Worldcon as an institution, should have the same power to invite someone to the egress. Other conventions have taken steps to protect themselves from toxic and disruptive individuals — and based on the back-and-forth conversations I’ve seen, and as unpleasant a discussion as this will be, maybe it’s time to have a discussion about the mechanisms for shutting down someone who has publicly declared his intention to destroy the awards.

That’s the point. We cannot talk about healing while the knife is still being twisted in the wound. I can’t speak for the sad puppies, I can’t tell them what to do — but I would hope that they would recognize that being perceived as standing next to a man who wants to destroy the system is not the best place to stand. Despite what’s being said in their own echo chambers, the larger narrative isn’t a good one for the puppies.

 

Brad R. Torgersen in a comment to David Gerrold – May 7

Thing is, no matter how much “daylight” Larry and I put between ourselves and Vox Day, there are people on “your” side, David, who insist that it’s all the same thing. That there is no difference at all.

For five weeks, Larry and myself have had to hear it (from “your” side) about how awful we are.

We invited everyone to the democracy, and we have been awfulized for it. The SP3 voters have been awfulized. Awfulization has been the fad sport of the season. By people who pat themselves on the back for being “inclusive.”

As long as Fandom (caps f) insists on doing “sniff tests” about voters and fans (small f) being the “wrong kind” of people, there won’t be healing. Definitely not. This is the wound Fandom (caps f) has inflicted on itself, after decades of quiet exclusivity. Of telling authors and artists and fans (small f) they’re not the expected, or correct, or sufficiently “fannish” kind of people that Fandom (caps f) deems worthy.

This is why so many fans and professionals *avoid* Worldcon. WSFS. The Hugos. Etc. Because the “sniff test” is very glaring, and if the engineers of “inclusive” exclusivity (they know who they are) succeed in making it so that the poll tax (membership fee) is exorbitant, or that only attending members get to vote on the Hugo, or that the democracy is scuttled altogether (judges “your” side picks, always make sure “your” side gets the answers it wants) then Worldcon gets that much smaller, that much more exclusive, that much less relevant.

Vox Day is a side show. A red herring. Don’t water that weed.

What is Worldcon doing to prove that it is, in fact, WORLDCON? Because any given Comic Con, Dragoncon, et al., beats the pants off Worldcon, in terms of audience youth, audience enthusiasm, and connection to the broader SF/F realm.

To paraphrase a line from one of my favorite films, this isn’t the field you built in your garage anymore.

You can’t arrest Vox Day. You can’t turn off his blog. You can’t touch him. So why fixate on him endlessly?

If Worldcon begins to boast memberships on the order of 30,000 to 55,000 then Vox Day and his influence cease to exist. There is no bloc that can hope to survive those numbers.

So, go big.

Or stay small, and shutter the windows and doors.

One of those choices has a future. The other does not.

 

Cat Valente in a comment on File 770 – May 7

Tintinaus: Regardless of what Dave Freer thinks of me–a writer I barely know who misquotes me at every turn and who, when we met, replied monosyllabically to my friendly overtures while looking like he wanted nothing more than for me to leave, only to go online four years later and claim to know a whole lot about my thoughts and feelings–it makes me sad (AS SAD AS A PUPPY) to hear my SF work once again dismissed as “gussied up” fantasy.

Essentially nothing SFnal I write gets classified as SF. It can take place on other planets, concern itself with science and technology, even have ray guns, and it somehow always gets dismissed with a wave of the hand and an assurance that it’s “just” fantasy. I can think of a lot of science fiction authors with much less hard science than I’ve used in my stories who are never questioned as to which side of the genre they write on. I am genuinely curious whether it’s because I use that pretty language, that I’ve written more fantasy than SF–or maybe my science really is that bad. Or maybe it’s that “hard” SF gets written by men, and the whole conversation is incredibly gendered.

Thing is, I’ve never claimed to write hard SF. I didn’t want to write SF at all for a long time because I was convinced the science fiction community did not want me and would not accept me–funny how that’s still kind of true. I can write about programming and physics till I’m blue in the face but it’ll never be SF for some reason.

And what I said, what I have said over and over at conventions, is that you don’t need a background in math and science to write SF. That’s what research is for. I research like a bear and I would think anyone who’s read my books would laugh at the idea that I think everyone should be ignorant and uneducated–I mostly get called a pretentious, elitist asshole, not a champion of dumbing down. I was trying, as I always do, to assure young writers that they are allowed to write SF even if they don’t have a degree in physics, because I don’t know if people realize how intimidating it can be to even attempt science fiction with a lot of people yelling about getting off their lawn if you’ve never interned for NASA. Or are a dude.

I do not have a science background. I research and I research hard because it’s more difficult for me than folklore and myth, which I’ve studied all my life. But I maintain it’s absurd to say SF can only be written by scientists–absurd and elitist and exclusionary. And honestly, show me the diamond-hard science in the Puppy slate. Show me the PhD peeking out from behind the dust jacket. The kind of SF they advocate, with the buxom ray guns and the strapping spaceships, is NOT hard SF. It’s adventure fiction “gussied up” as science fiction. And that’s fine, but it has no more real science than my gussied up fantasy.

 

Voss Foster on Demon Hunting & Tenth Dimensional Physics

“I Will Walk With You”  – May 6

Now, I’m not a shodan in Aikido (in 4th grade, I had a white belt in karate…), and I don’t have the same presence as Vonda McIntyre. I also hate wearing those badge ribbons. One or two is my max. But I’m 5’10”, and close to 300 pounds (and dropping, yay me!), and I generally look intimidating. But even if I didn’t, like she said, it’s a presence, it’s someone by your side. And I will do that, and happily so. If you feel like you need someone, whatever side of the issue you fall on, I will walk with you.

 

Andrew Knighton

“Change, Reaction and Pain – Coping With Cultural Backlash” – April 29

I love that the world is changing. I love the variety that brings and the novelty it creates within our culture, even as the dark fingers of uncertainty send tremors of fear through my body.

Unfortunately, fear of change is currently rearing its big, ugly head all over geek culture.

The most prominent and hideous example of this is the treatment of feminists in computer gaming. There are some great designers and critics out there critiquing the domination of gaming by white, straight, male gamers and characters, and the way this excludes others. This has triggered a huge backlash, in which people have been called the vilest names and even had their lives threatened for expressing their opinions on a medium they love.

Then there’s the fuss, for the second year in a row, around science fiction and fantasy’s Hugo awards. I think there are a lot of problems with the Hugos, but they’re certainly high profile within the core of sf+f. This year, a reactionary group have managed to dominate the nominations with a slate of conservative, white, male authors. It’s a shame, but it is at least getting people engaged with the awards, and may favour the pro-diversity arguments in the long run.

 

Nick Mamatas in a comment on Ask.fm – May 7

Screw real politics, what about the hugo’s? Torgersen write anymore slash or did Correia just cry for like the twentieth time about how life is unfair and everyone was so mean to him at worldcon?

Brad made a mildly homophobic remark regarding Scalzi, which half the planet had to blog about because it was just soooo awful and apparently now the US will fall to ISIS because how can Brad’s soldiers trust him now?

Anyway, under Sharia law, launching politicized slates for the Hugos is barred, so I guess the problem has solved itself!

 

William Reichard

“Cry ethics and let slip the puppies of war” – May 7

In which I am called a liar, though perhaps not in a way that’s literally, dialectically true but is actually more true because it lets me see the truth, which is that I am lying. Maybe. Or something.

 

William Reichard

“The day I got mentioned on Vox Day’s blog” – May 7

His Voxness mentions me in what may be some kind of compliment, though it may also translate as “you are fairly amusing…for a slave boy with inherently limited mental capacities and basic worth.” But hey, us Rhetoricals take what we can get, right? I know from long experience that my flame-retardant suit is far too flimsy to sustain me in any battle with the mighty forces arrayed off my port bow and preparing to decloak at any sign of hostile intent, so my only hope is to position myself as a jester, dancing merrily on the sidelines and dodging the occasional peach pit. So, hopefully, everyone’s still laughing.  Ergo…where was I again?

 

P. Llewellyn James on The Refuge

“Hugo : ‘Skin Game’ the Best Novel?”  – May 6

There are five books nominated for Best Novel for the 2105 Hugo awards. The winner will be chosen by a few thousand votes from among those who have registered as a member of WorldCon. But what does the wider audience of readers think of the books? Here are some Amazon statistics as of today May 6th. Voting closes on July 31st.

I’m using two measures – the overall sales rank, and my own invented ‘approval rating’, or calculation of positive to negative reviews ((5star + 4star)/(2star + 1star))….

Predictions

The overwhelming favorite on the basis of its approval rating is Skin Game, which is also the second-best seller in Kindle format.

The best-selling book in Kindle format is Lines of Departure, and it has the second-best approval rating.

 

Cheryl Morgan

“A Little Awards News”  – May 7

Also yesterday the Arthur C. Clarke Award continued its journey away from science fiction and towards literary respectability. This year the award went to a beautifully written piece of sentimental twaddle aimed at the sort of pretentious hipsters who think that suffering an apocalypse means being unable to have iPhones, Sunday supplements and skinny flat lattes. It is a very long time since a book without a trans character made me as viscerally angry as Station 11 did. However, I don’t appear to have sent any death threats to the Clarke jury. Nor have I vowed to destroy the award, or even decided that it is “broken”. In fact I rather suspect that the Clarke will do better next year without any help from me. Clearly I am doing this social media thing all wrong.

Then again, I am confident that the winner of this year’s Hugos will be a far better science fiction novel than the winner of the Clarke.

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Flow” – May 6

This is a review of “Flow” by Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, November 2014)

Overall this was an engaging novella. This is such a grand departure from the other four nominees that I will have awarded this story five whole stars (out of 10) by the time I have done reviewing it. I am sure it would have not scored as well if the competition was not so utterly dreadful.

 

Bonnie McDaniel on Red Headed Femme

“The Hugo project: ‘Totaled’” –  April 30

The Hugo Project: “Totaled”

(Note: this is the newest in a series of posts wherein I review as many of the 2015 Hugo nominees as I can, and explain why I will or will not vote for them.) Hot damn. I finally stumbled upon a decent story. Actually, this story is pretty good, even if its premise is downright terrifying.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 4: Short Stories” – May 6

“On a Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli takes place on a planet where “the living and the spirits of the dead coexist side by side” for the sentient race there, the Ymilans.  One day a human, Joe McDonald, dies on Ymilas, and then manifests in spirit form.  The human chaplain learns from the Ymilan chief cleric that Joe’s soul has to make a pilgrimage to the north pole so it can “move on,” and so the three of them — the chaplain, the Ymilan, and Joe’s ghost — set off from the Terran base near the equator.

I would have liked more description of the Ymilans — all we’re told about them is that they’re “large.”  I would have also liked more description of the trek across half the planet, but we see only electrical storms, and, towards the end, “diminishing hills.”  I would have liked some sense of ceremony or ritual when the soul dissipates, but here Antonelli seems to have anticipated readers like me, because he has the Ymilan cleric say, “I’m sorry, I forget your people put a great deal of stock in theater and rituals, which is to be expected in such an immature race.”  Okay, then.

 

Eemeli Aro in a comment on Charles Stross’ Antipope – April 5

[Comments about Worldcon site selection seemed tangential when I started doing these roundups, but after T.C. McCarthy’s tweet and the ensuing discussion here, I am going to link to this so I know where to find the quote in the future.]

Eemeli Aro:  This is what I posted about Castalia House on a mailing list earlier today (for context, I’m chairing the Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon bid and somewhat involved in both Finnish and Worldcon fandoms):

I’d like to note that Castalia House has practically no connection with Finnish sf fandom, and they have never had a presence at any Finnish con. The only communication with the proprietor (Markku Koponen) that I’ve been a party to is a post by him to a Finnish sf mailing list last April, where he states (translating), “As must be clear to most, Castalia House is ideologically opposed to the majority of practically all fannish groups in this country.”

So in brief, no, the Finns that are members of Sasquan on account of having participated in the 2015 site selection vote or that have purchased a membership since then to participate in said process this year are unlikely to be aligned with the supporters of works published by Castalia House.

We do, on the other hand, have a thriving small press and short story scene, and a rather unique fanzine tradition, all of which is well integrated with Finnish fandom at large. Of course that’s mostly hidden from American eyes, as it tends to produce content in Finnish. If you’re interested in such, though, we do have a few things coming out this spring and summer that will be in English.

 

Kate Paulk on Mad Genius Club

“A Mad Genius Goes To RavenCon – Part the Final” – May 7

With a mere hour remaining ere her final panel of the day, Kate the Impaler did rest for a time, whereupon a member of that most secret guild of SMOF did approach her and divulge that the campaign to end the sorrow of young canines was indeed sending waves of shock through the grand halls of fandom, and how in response some sought to wrest that jewel of fandom, the Convention of World, from any locale where the friends of sorrowful young canines might gather, and take it to a far distant place that in isolation they might gather in force and thereby bring about changes to the Rules of Hugo, thus condemning the young canines to eternal sorrow. (For those not inclined to translate: read up on the contenders for the 2017 Worldcon, pay your $40 and vote. You’ll be a supporting member for 2017 before the price rise kicks in, and you get to choose where it is. Vote for the best candidate. Ignore that I like Washington, DC as a venue. I only like it because it’s the only one I could drive to).

The warrior maiden did assure the SMOF that voting would indeed be encouraged, and promised that no secrets would be divulged, for yea, as the house of fandom is divided, so too is the secret guild of SMOF.

 

Schlock Magazine

“Pop Culture Destruction – Forgive Me, For I Have Failed To Destroy Pop Culture”  – May 7

If you’ve been following any goings on in the world of genre/science fiction literature you’ve surely heard of last month’s controversy surrounding the Hugo Awards, which got hijacked by literal fascists in the name of promoting what amounts to little more than right wing propaganda. And that’s before internet scum collective GamerGate got involved. In any case, writer Philip Sandifer has this excellent roundup of the sorry debacle on his blog, to which I can only add that, at this point, the Hugos can only fixed with the application of a bullet to the head.

 

Pat Patterson on Papa Pat Rambles

“Laura Mixon Gets It Right” – May 4

Again: if you have not read Laura’s report, do so. I do not know whether she will win the Hugo in the “Best Fan Writer” or not; she is competing against four other respected fan writers, three of whom I consider to be personal friends. I plan to vote for Nunaya Bidness, but if I were on the slate against her, I would consider that to be an honor-by-association.

 

Tom Knighton

“Woman wants to ban men at literary readings, a fisking” – May 6

I’m sorry, but you can’t claim on one hand that women are self-censoring from raising their hands, and then say it’s not their fault that they’re not raising their hands.  Women aren’t punished for asking questions as adults.

She claims that the moderators don’t notice them, but you know who moderators are far more likely to notice? People raising their damn hands, for one!  Yes, I know they skipped over Livingston, and while she wasn’t their target, they really couldn’t know that, but how prevalent is the situation?  Honestly, maybe it’s just personal.  If these are the same folks, maybe they just don’t like her for some reason?

 

Dan Ammon on The Shield

”Why and How The Hugo Awards Should Be” – April 18

But that doesn’t matter. What matters here are the fact that sci-fi books aren’t being judged on their merit, but their politics. So here’s how I propose to fix that:

A) THE NEUTRAL BENIGN COMMITTEE

What I propose is an apolitical committee that votes on which books, comics, scripts, short stories, etc, should receive nominations to the awards, based on their merit. How would this come into existence? Simply by finding the most apathetic people alive, have the Hugo voters, lefty and righty alike, deliberate and nominate them, then subject these nominees to a lie detector test to make sure they are actually apolitical, and not being paid off by either side.

 

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies Review Books: GREEN EGGS AND HAM” – May 7

green-eggs-and-ham-217x300

Sadly much like 1984 this book ends with the protagonist giving in before the onslaught. He does love Big Brother. He does like green eggs and ham. He will eat them with the fox. In a perverse mockery of holy communion, he will eat them with the goat (like Pan or Baphomet, or other guises worn by Satan). This is preparing our children to have not just their food supplies controlled but also their minds and very souls.

A child indoctrinated by this book is not only trained to give in to the illegitimate application of government authority but is also primed to use these techniques to convince others. Unless your children are strong-willed and well-trained to recognize these tricks and traps I recommend keeping this book the hell away from them.

If you have raised your children right as I have done with mine then your best bet is to take a hands-on approach. I read this book to my children, taking care to explain the subtle SJW traps that were on every page. I am pleased to report that they showed no interest in it afterwards.

The Paw of Oberon 5/4

aka The Puppy In God’s Eye

The Geiger counter pours out a relentless beat as the fallout rains down. The glow in today’s roundup comes from Kameron Hurley, Jo Lindsay Walton, Martin Wisse, Mark Nelson, The Weasel King, Joe Sherry, George R.R. Martin, Vox Day, Jim Butcher, Larry Correia, Lou Antonelli, T. C. McCarthy, Michael Johnston, Alexandra Erin, John Scalzi, Myke Cole, Brad Torgersen, Dave Freer, William Reichard, Michael Z. Williamson and less easily identified others. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Steve Moss and Laura Resnick.)

 

Kameron Hurley on Motherboard

“It’s About Ethics in Revolution” – May 4

Sorva took her seat on the other side of the table and waited. Both men could pass for Caucasian, as if that even bore mentioning, and sat in stuffed leather chairs. They wore extravagant codpieces that matched their suits, their members so cartoonishly large she could see the tips peeking up from the edge of the table. They both wore backwards caps.

It was the Director of Business Development, Marken, a lanky man with a sincere, pudgy face, who spoke first.

“Do you understand that when we choose the very best forward-looking brand messages each year for the Business Development Award ballot we open to our corporate writers, it must adhere to certain standards?”

 

Jo Lindsay Walton

“Quick Hugo thought”  – May 4

Some folk out there seem to be prevaricating between (a) No-Awarding the Puppies selections or (b) No-Awarding every Puppy-dominated category, since it would be totally unfair to give “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” a Hugo by default, and pretty unfair to give e.g. The Goblin Emperor a Hugo with reduced competition.

I’m prevaricating too, and I know exactly what would let me make up my mind: releasing the full nomination data. That way you could see who else could have been on the ballot. Then the procedure’s simple: you construct a virtual ballot from a Puppy-free world (the kind of Stalinist disappearing we SJWs lurve) and make your choice. If your selection from the virtual ballot is on the real ballot as well, you vote for them above No Award; otherwise you No Award the whole category.

But we don’t have the full nomination data, right?

 

Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“No Award All The Things” – May 4

No Award All the Things!

Sorry Thomas Olde Heuvelt, you may actually get your Hugo this year, but since you’re the only candidate there on merit I felt uneasy voting for you by default. Better luck next year.

 

Mark Nelson on Heroines of Fantasy

“An Ever Changing Landscape” – May 4

Who pays when the real world intrudes on our imaginary landscape? If we start turning against each other and fall to squabbling over increasingly empty honors, how does that make us look? The truth is SFF needs to grow up.  At times I have felt that our genre heading allowed us to adopt a mock superior tone; mostly as a response to being ignored by “real literature” and those who write criticism.  We reveled in being aberrant. We rallied around our awards and celebrated our words in spite of the roaring silence from the wider world. We were a club with giants as members. We were privy to secret knowledge with informed, inclusionary eye-winks. We were the wandering Jews relegated to pulp fiction status, respected by none other than those lucky, lucky few who accepted the words and understood the latent power of the language of ideas. I wonder if the worst thing to ever happen to the genre was its popular success.  The bigger “it” got, the more insistently came the calls for “it” to be taken seriously.  And when film tech caught up with story tech, a marriage of commercial explosion formed. “Money, money changes everything…”  And at present the affect has not been altogether positive. We were once the progressives. Now we look like idiots fighting over cheesecake while the Titanic’s deck begins to tilt. Wow. We have all but rendered the Hugo award useless. WorldCon cannot avoid the taint of controversy. The folks putting on the con deserve better.

 

The Weasel King

“theweaselking.livejournal.com/4673543” – May 4

The Locus Awards: A collection of skiffy fic untainted by ballot-stuffing assholes. Maybe not all to your taste, but reliably “dickface asslimousines did not shit on this ballot and then demand that you to eat it with a smile” Bonus sick burn: Connie Willis, awesome author[1] and perennial Hugo presenter, told the Hugos to fuck off because of the penisnose MRA anuscacti who hijacked their nomination process, and she’s presenting the Locus Awards.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures in Reading

“Books Read: April 2015” – May 4

Discovery of the Month: If not for all of the fracas over the Hugo Awards, I may never have read Eric Flint’s 1632, which was a fairly enjoyable romp taking a group of twentieth century Americans back into seventeenth century Europe. I already have the next book, Ring of Fire, coming in from the library.

 

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“LOCUS Nominations Announced” – May 4

While this year, admittedly, may be different due to the influence of the slate campaigns, over most of the past couple of decades the Locus Poll has traditionally had significantly more participants than the Hugo nomination process. Looking over the Locus list, one cannot help but think that this is probably what the Hugo ballot would have looked like, if the Puppies had not decided to game the system this year. Is it a better list or a worse one? Opinions may differ. The proof is in the reading.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Three centuries strong” – May 4

As Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil, we are pleased to declare that Malwyn, Whore-Mistress of the Spiked Six-Whip, has reported that she has completed the initial Branding of the Minions. She has now gone to take a well-deserved vacation in one of the more secluded lava pits in our Realm of Deepest Shadow, where she will no doubt be nursing her aching wrists and filing for overtime as well as worker’s compensation….

“How many of us are there?”

335 as of this morning.

 

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Arthur Chu sucks at everything but Jeopardy” – May 4

Many regulars may remember Social Justice Warrior and Salon author Arthur Chu as the dipshit who declared Brad Torgersen’s 20 year interracial marriage and his biracial children as “shields” to hide Brad’s racism. He is one of the morons who blamed the Sad Puppies’ success on GamerGate.

Well, after a day of futile harassment, his team of idiots couldn’t even call in a bomb threat correctly.

 

T. C. McCarthy on YouTube

“Local 16, Bizarre Tweets, and Bomb Threats: #GamerGate an #SadPuppies Supporters Meet in DC #GGinDC” – May 4

 

Lou Antonelli on This Way To Texas

Reach out and insult somebody – May 4

The official announcement of the nominations for the 2015 Hugo awards was made on April 4, so its been a month since then, Gee, time flies when you’re having fun.

One thing I’ve learned in the past month is that, thanks to the wonders of the latest technology and the internet, someone you don’t know and have never met, who may live thousands of miles away, can call you an “asshole” in public.

 

Michael Johnston in a comment on Whatever – May 4

Rachel Swirsky said: “Please, please, please, please stop with the “put down” rhetoric about the puppies, and the “you know what has to be done about rabid animals” and “take the dog out behind the barn.”

It’s vicious and horrible. The puppies and how they’ve acted toward me and others sucks. But good lord, let’s keep threats of violence, however unserious, out of it. Please.”

This, in particular, illustrates the difference between the puppies and their perceived enemies. In every “liberal” space I’m following, any threats or overly abusive rhetoric is met with calls for civility. In the SP/RP spaces, the rhetoric is largely about how we deserve horrible things done to us, which are often described in detail–and the moderators not only allow it, but indulge in it themselves.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“What! Your Sad Puppies Are Evolving” – May 4

This is a significant shift from Day for two reasons.

The first is that it signals what he thinks is most likely to happen. He rode high on the sweeping fantasy vision of himself as a Roman general leading a slavering horde of berserkers across the frozen river to assault the well-fortified position of his enemies (note to self: suggest history lessons for Vox), but he has just enough self-awareness to know that his strategy of lying and repeating the lie could come back and bite him if he tried to claim a sweeping victory where none existed, so he’s starting the spin now.

The second is that—as mentioned before—the endgame he now endorses is something the Sad Puppies have claimed to have wanted as their ultimate endgame.

 

Season of the Red Wolf

“A Pox on both their Houses: Sad Puppies, Vox Day, Social Justice Warriors, the Hugos circus and the irrelevancy of a dying genre” – May 4

As with Torgersen, Correia can’t be bothered with addressing what Vox Day actually writes about blacks (the problem there – in the linked blog entry – is not the silly and ridiculous debate itself that Vox Day quotes from, it’s Vox Day’s own commentary on African-Americans in response to that debate that is eyebrow raising) and women alone. Of course as soon as one does acknowledged what Vox Day actually writes about blacks and women (never mind gays), then the only way to defend those indefensible prejudices, is by sinking into prejudice itself. Correia, like Torgersen, thus avoids that trap (defending the actual indefensible remarks/comments of Vox Day’s) by not ever quoting Vox Day’s most egregious commentary in this regard, and getting to grips with what he actually says. Correia, as with Torgersen, just doesn’t go anywhere near what Vox Day actually writes about blacks, women and gays for that matter. The easier to whitewash why Vox Day is considered persona non grata, namely for very good reasons. Yes it’s all so hypocritical, given the genre Left’s multiple prejudices (including of course their anti-Semitism that doesn’t bother anybody really, least of all genre Jewry) but this also misses the point.

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“I’d Rather Like Men Than To Be a Sad Puppy” – May 4

 

Myke Cole

“An open letter to Chief Warrant Officer Brad R. Torgersen” – May 4

Chief War­rant Officer Torgersen,

As you are no doubt aware, The Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell Repeal Act of 2010 removed bar­riers to homo­sexual mem­bers in the armed ser­vices, who may now serve openly and as equals.

You have long held the posi­tion that homo­sex­u­ality is immoral behavior, and most recently made den­i­grating jokes regarding the ori­en­ta­tion aimed at Mr. John Scalzi.

Your moral posi­tions are your own, and I will not ques­tion them. How­ever, I will remind you that you are a mil­i­tary officer and charged with the lead­er­ship of men and women of *all* walks of life, reli­gions, creeds, sexual ori­en­ta­tions, socio-cultural back­grounds and eth­nic­i­ties. Every single one of these people has the right to believe that you will faith­fully dis­charge your duties as an officer, not spend their lives care­lessly, not make them endure unnec­es­sary hard­ship, that you will care for them with com­pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion. On or off duty, you are *always* an officer.

Your repeated state­ments of your thoughts on homo­sex­u­ality in public forums create the very rea­son­able appre­hen­sion among homo­sexual mem­bers of the ser­vice that you hold them in con­tempt and will not lead them to the utmost of your ability, will not look to their needs and con­cerns, and may place them at undue risk. That this is surely not your inten­tion is irrelevant.

Fur­ther, your pub­li­cally den­i­grating state­ments regarding Mr. Scalzi are base, undig­ni­fied and show ques­tion­able judg­ment. You, Chief War­rant Officer Torg­ersen, are an officer, but no gen­tleman. Your posi­tions are incon­sis­tent with the values of the United States mil­i­tary, and its com­mit­ment to being a ser­vice that belongs to ALL Americans.

Our nation deserves better.

Respect­fully,

Myke Cole

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Never retreat, never apologize” – May 4

Does no one listen or learn? Never, EVER apologize to SJWs! Case in point: “The apology was worse than the ini­tial attempted slur — it rein­forced the fact that Torg­ersen thinks calling someone gay is a slur.” I repeat. NEVER APOLOGIZE TO SJWs. They will see it as fear, take the apology, and use it as a club with which to beat you. Never back down to them, never retreat, never apologize.Notice that this was all posted AFTER Torgersen apologized to Scalzi.

 

Brad R. Torgersen

“Keyboard rage” – May 4

Today, I am told Myke Cole is on about me. Since Myke doesn’t really know me from Adam, I have to shrug and take whatever he said with a grain of salt. But then, most people who’ve been on about me lately — because of Sad Puppies 3 — don’t know me, either. I may take it personally if a friend, a family member, or a respected senior I admire, has hard words for me. But total strangers spewing hard words?

Well, total strangers may have an opportunity to reconsider at a later point. Especially if they meet me face-to-face.

 

Cirsova

“Hugo Awards Best Fan Writer Category” – May 4

So, in this post, I will try to define what “Fan Writer” means and use it to justify my support of Jeffro Johnson in this year’s Best Fan Writer category.

On the face of it, a Fan Writer is just that. A fan who writes. They are a fan of something in the realm of fantasy and science fiction, and they write about fantasy and science fiction from the perspective of someone who is a fan to an audience of fellow or potential fans. A good fanwriter is like an evangelical minister of fantasy and science fiction; they give sermons to the believers to help them better understand the texts they know and love and they take the good word to those who have not heard it. You’ve been missing something in your life, and you don’t quite know what it is, but I think I can help you; here’s this story by Lord Dunsany!

 

Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“Research, Hard-SF, stats and passing small elephants” – May 4

John Scalzi kindly provided us via his friend Jason Sanford a near text-book perfect example of GIGO. “Recently author John Ringo (in a Facebook post previously available to the public but since made private) asserted that every science fiction house has seen a continuous drop in sales since the 1970s — with the exception of Baen (his publisher), which has only seen an increase across the board. This argument was refuted by author Jason Sanford, who mined through the last couple of years of bestseller lists (Locus lists specifically, which generate data by polling SF/F specialty bookstores) and noted that out of 25 available bestselling slots across several formats in every monthly edition of Locus magazine, Baen captures either one or none of the slots every month — therefore the argument that Baen is at the top of the sales heap is not borne out by the actual, verifiable bestseller data.” As I said: first you need to understand what you’re sampling. For example, if you set up a pollster at a Democratic convention, at 10 pm, in a site just between the bar and the entry to the Men’s urinals… even if he asks every person passing him on the way in, you’re not going to get a very good analysis of what Americans think of a subject. Or what women think of the subject. What you will get is middling bad sample of what mildly pissed male Democratic Party conference attendees think. Middling bad, because many of the passers will be hurry to go and pass some water first. It’s vital to understand what you’re sampling – or what you’re not. Let’s just deconstruct the one above. In theory Sanford was attempting to statistically prove John Ringo’s assertion wrong. What he proved was nothing of the kind (Ringo may be right or wrong, but Sanford failed completely). What he proved was that on the Locus bestseller list, (the equivalent of the Democratic Party convention and the route between the bar and the gentleman’s convenience) that Baen was not popular. That is verifiable. The rest is wishful thinking, which may be true or false. Firstly ‘Bestseller’ does not equal sales numbers. A long tail – which Baen does demonstrably have, can outsell ‘bestseller’ and five solid sellers outsell one bestseller and four duds. Secondly, independent bookstores who self-select by accepting polling, selected by a pollster (Locus) with a well-established bias are not remotely representative of book sales in general, or representative of the choices book buyers have. Thirdly, it is perfectly possible to ‘capture’ no bestseller slots at all, even in a worthwhile sample (which Locus polling isn’t) and STILL be the one house that is actually growing. It depends what you’re growing from – which of course this does not measure and cannot.

Short of actual book sales numbers, and data on advances – which we’ll never see, staffing is probably the best clue. I know several authors at other houses whose editors have left, and quite a lot of other staff at publishers who’ve been let go. Over the last few years, the number of signatures on my Baen Christmas card have gone up year on year.

 

William Reichard

“Silent Punning (aka ‘The Hijacker’s Guide to the Galaxy’”) – May 4

Having run through quite a few sci-fi themed puns regarding the Hugo Award debacle, the community is apparently moving on to Westerns (e.g., “A Fistful of Puppies“).

I have to say, this is my favorite part of online warfare–when the rest of the community acknowledges the madness of it all and just starts having fun again. Because there should be some kind of silver lining in this.

 

Sad Puppy 1911 Holster Right Hand

Sad Puppy 1911 Holster Right Hand

syberious _ny on “Ebay: Sad Puppy 1911 Holster Right Hand”

Here’s the scoop…I designed this holster (and its companion holster in Left Hand configuration) because of the whole Sad Puppy / Hugo Award kerfuffle. My original thought was to perhaps raffle them off to raise money for a veterans organization. But, online raffles in the state of Tennessee (where I live and have my business) are tightly regulated, and it would have cost more to run a raffle than what the raffle could potentially bring in.

So, I’m listing these here on FleaBay, with the proceeds going directly to help a friend who is a veteran, who has run into some heavy financial problems with squatters in her rental home. On her GoFundMe page, she’s committed to only using the cash that she needs, and anything extra will be donated to a veterans organization of her choosing.

I Sing the Puppy Electric 4/29

George R.R. Martin, John Ringo, Vox Day, John Scalzi, Aaron Pound, Jeb Kinnison, Jamie Ford, Glenn Hauman and lots of other cool cats and hot dogs sound off in today’s roundup. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.)

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“No On NO AWARD” – April 29

No, I am not saying don’t use NO AWARD at all when you vote for this year’s Hugo Awards.

NO AWARD has been, and remains, a viable and legitimate option for the Hugo voter. I’ve been voting on the Hugos since the 1970s, and I use NO AWARD every year, usually in about a third of the categories. However, I have seldom (not NEVER, just seldom) placed it first. I rank the finalists that I think worthy of the rocket above NO AWARD, and the ones I think unworthy below it. That’s the way I intend to use the option this year as well, in spite of the slatemaking campaigns that buggered the nomination process to the seven hells and back.

NO AWARD is a scalpel, not a bludgeon. Voting NO AWARD on everything down the line… or even (the lesser option) on everything that appeared on either Puppy slate… well, I don’t think it is smart, I don’t think it is fair, and I know damned well that a NO AWARD sweep will kill the Hugos.

I think I have made my disagreements with Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen and the rest of the Sad Puppies abundantly clear in the many blog posts that preceded this one, and in my debates with Correia both here and on his MONSTER HUNTER NATION. And I think I have made my disgust with Vox Day and his Rabid Puppies clear as well. No one should be in any doubt as to where I stand on all this.

As much as I am opposed to what the Puppies did, and what they are trying to do, I am also opposed to Guilt by Association. Like it or not, the ballot is the ballot, and it is before it now, for each of us to deal with as he or she thinks best. For my part, that means it is now about the stories, the books, the work itself. Reading, thinking, weighing my choices… voting.

 

 

John Ringo on Facebook – April 28

[Originally a public post, it is now restricted, but a screencap of “Understanding SJW Logic” is hosted at Solarbird.net.]

So let’s drill this down to Science Fiction. Science Fiction has, historically, been something that looked to the future of technology and societies and tried to glean what might be possible. It has also, often, been an avenue for proposing change. Many of the most ‘misogynistic’ and ‘racists’ authors of the early SF years were, in fact, far FAR ahead of their time in proposing racial and gender equity or near equity.

To the Social Justice Warriors (their term and not one of derogation in their eyes) of SF fandom, the TRUE PURPOSE of Science Fiction is solely and ONLY such promotion. Let me repeat that as an axiom:

To the Social Justice Warriors of Science Fiction publishing and fandom, the true and only purpose of science fiction is to promote increased equity in the arena of social justice.

The purpose of science fiction is not to tell a good story. Most of what people call ‘good stories’ are not stories that promote social justice. So ‘good story’ or not good story, (and there we get to matters of taste) they are not good science fiction. Good science fiction is only that science fiction which promotes social justice.

If there is a choice between two good social justice stories, the choice is not based on which is the better story or which is better written. At that point you look at which promotes social justice better. So if Author A is a person of color or a transgenderist and Author B is a cis-male, even if he is a social justice warrior, the BETTER STORY is that which is written by the person of color or transgenderist UNLESS such person writes a story which does NOT promote social justice in which case they are a traitor and shall be treated as such.

The sole an only point is to view every work in a lens of ‘how does this promote social justice?

 

Font Folly

“It bothers some people that we exist, part 2” – April 29

Being reminded that queer people exist at all drives some people to crazy lengths. For instance, as noted at the Crime and the Forces of Evil blog, the Sad Puppies are angry that books containing queer characters aren’t clearly marked. For those not in the know, the Sad Puppies (and an allied group, the Rabid Puppies) are a bunch of arch-conservative sci fi writers and fans who organized a bloc-voting scheme to game the selection process for the Hugo Awards and put a specific slate of anti-progressive authors, editors, and fans in every major category. Their rhetoric leading up to their success was full of blatant misogynist and homophobic language (and threats), and only slightly-less-blatant racist language. It’s worth noting that they’ve been trying this for a few years without success. It appears that their success this year is primarily due to the fact that they managed to enlist a bunch of GamerGate trolls into the process…

Since succeeding in hijacking most of the Hugo Ballot, the Sad Puppies (that’s their own name for their movement, by the way) have started deleting or heavily editing their existing blog posts and such to downplay the bigotry. Though most of their revisions have been to obscure the racist language, to try to pretend that the most blatant bigot wasn’t considered an ally, and to make some of their threatening language appear to be aimed at individuals rather than whole groups of people. They have removed some of the comments and paragraphs in which they appear to be calling for the extermination of gay people, for instance, though they remain absolutely clear that they object to homos and women being portrayed positively (or at all) in science fiction, fantasy, or any other cultural product.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“THEY are in retreat” – April 29

The main reason SJWs were successful in infiltrating the science fiction establishment and imposing their ideology on it was due to their Fabian strategy of denying any conflict was taking place. Their entryism depended entirely upon stealth and plausible deniability. That’s why the single most important aspect of both #GamerGate and #SadPuppies was the way in which it was made perfectly clear to everyone that there are, in fact, two sides.

There are those who want to be able to define what is permissible to read, write, design, develop, play, think, and say, (SJWs) and those who wish to read, write, design, develop, play, think, and say whatever the hell they happen to please. (Everybody else)

Jim Hines isn’t “so damn tired” of “an artificial Us vs. Them framework”. He is simply alarmed that their most effective tactic has been exposed and rendered impotent.

 

John Ringo on Facebook – April 29

Because as a conservative, that’s what you are to all the hardcore liberals. Purest evil. ISIS has nothing on being an American conservative. There is nothing worse than being a conservative white male. We are the ultimate super-villain and nothing can be anything like our equal. (Thus the humorously entitled ‘League of Evil Evil’ started by Sarah Hoyt of which I am a card-carrying member.)

Which is why there have arisen conventions that really avoid letting the CHORFs in at all. So the conservative SF fans can get together and let their hair down and talk about stuff they want to talk about (like books with actual plots and dialogue) and not be continuously insulted by the CHORFs. And even large cons that are ‘balanced’ tend to toss the SJW contingent the minute it starts to be a problem. Because nobody CARES about their issues. Not in the broad sense of what is marketable. (Just as at ‘balanced’ conventions conservatives who insist on being buttheads are tossed. I’ve seen both and I’m all for it. When it’s balanced.)

By the way, I prefer SJBs to CHORFs as a term. SJWs, social justice warriors, is not an insult as many articles have indicated. It’s the preferred term of the SJWs. And there are SJWs who are not SJBs. An SJB is a ‘Social Justice Bully.’ Because they are bullies. They are not even about social justice. They’re about being bullies.

So, yes, there are two different fandoms. And it’s very much a Political divide. And it’s not going away any time soon.

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“Drinking Poison and Expecting the Other Person to Die” – April 29

This whole Puppy mess is because some of them weren’t happy, and were searching externally for that happiness, either by seeking a validation in outside rewards, or by punishing people they saw (erroneously and/or conspiratorially) blocking the path to that validation. Envy and revenge, basically. They’re drinking poison and hoping others die, or at the very least, suffer. It’s why they called themselves “Sad Puppies” in the first place: it was about what they thought their Hugo nominations would make people they decided they didn’t like feel.

Which is their karma. It doesn’t have to be mine (or yours).

So, no. I wish the Puppies success in their publishing endeavors, and I wish them happiness — genuine happiness, not contingent on comparison to, or the suffering of, others. I also wish for them the capacity to recognize success, and to be happy. It doesn’t seem they’re there yet. I hope they get there, and will cheer them if and when they do.

 

Jeb Kinnison on According To Hoyt

“’Selective Outrage’ – Jeb Kinnison” – April 29

Hatred and prejudice harm real people, but the harm echoes on through the generations as the original victims teach and promote an us-vs-them worldview that harms everyone. The people who are less wrong learn to understand where the hateful emotions come from, and start to cut off the sources of funds and fury that feed the continuing conflicts. Understanding the backgrounds of the partisans and arguing toward acceptance of others’ right to be wrong is the beginning of reconciliation and cooperation. I think we can get most reasonable people to agree that an award that supposedly recognizes the best SFF should be more broadly representative of the readers, including the vast majority who can’t take time out from busy lives or afford to go to conventions. Having a tiny in-group select award winners from their friends and people they know leaves out most of the writers, and almost all of the readers.

 

Aaron Pound on Dreaming About Other Worlds

“2015 Prometheus Award Nominees” – April 29

The interesting thing about the 2015 list of nominees for the Prometheus Award is not who is on it, but rather who is not. Even though the set of authors that make up the core proponents of the “Sad Puppies” very clearly view themselves as being on the libertarian side of the spectrum (and in some cases they have inserted segments into their books that are clearly pandering to Prometheus Award voters), and yet, there is zero overlap between the set of books they promoted for the 2015 Hugo Award and the set of books that were chosen as finalists for the 2015 Prometheus Award. In short, despite sharing an ideological bent with many of the authors promoted by the Puppies, the Libertarian Futurist Society didn’t see fit to even consider honoring any of the novels that were pushed for the Hugo ballot with a Prometheus Award nomination. If the Puppy slate is in fact about recognizing good books that the Hugo Awards have overlooked because they are supposedly ideologically biased, why is it that the works on the Puppy slates have been, with some rare exceptions, pretty much ignored by all of the other genre related awards? In fact, no one making decisions regarding other awards has seemed to think the stories promoted by any iteration of the Puppy slates have been worth nominating. It would be one thing if the works favored by the Puppies were getting nominated for many other awards while being snubbed solely by the Hugo voters. But they haven’t. They have been ignored by all the major awards because they simply aren’t good enough.

 

John C. Wright

“After Inaction Report from Ravencon” – April 29

A read[er] with the unexpectedly commonplace yet giant-killing name of Jack writes and asks:

Mr Wright: no word on Ravencon? maybe I missed it. Were you barbequed on sight, or just smugly ignored? Or, was it really civilized? At this point I would imagine many of the detractors on the left are wary of confrontation with those of the Puppy and Ilk fame. If so, good. They need a nice dose of apprehension to temper their attack dog tendencies of attack, attack, then worry about truth and accuracy.

I am pleased to report that there were no incidents of which I was aware at Ravencon. Everything went swimmingly.

No, that is not quite true: I heard from one of the organizers, a friend of mine, that Brianna Wu sat on a panel on Gamergate on Friday (before I arrived), and asked for there to be no photographs. As far as I know, this is a perfectly reasonable request, and, as a matter of professional courtesy, it is usually honored. One fellow — I did not catch his name — took photos nonetheless, Brianna Wu raised an objection (whether reasonable or hysterical I cannot say, hearing of this only third hand) and the photographer was asked to step out of the room. He was not kicked out of the Con. He left a snarky comment on his social media page.

That makes a grand total of one almost-rude incident and one perhaps-illtempered comment. And it was not related to Sad Puppies as far as I know, merely the psychodrama of a seriously disturbed person.

Aside from that, the topic came up only once, at the Trollhunter 101 panel, where the moderator merely described that the controversy existed, but his description of the controversy was fair and free from libel, so he was on our side (whether he knows it or not).

 

 

Jamie Ford

“A bystander’s view of the Hugo Awards” – April 29

I joined the World Science Fiction Society so I could officially vote in the Hugo Awards. Not for myself (I don’t even pretend to that kind of greatness) but I had hoped to vote for The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin.

Much to my chagrin, this amazing book didn’t make the ballot because a disgruntled group of conservative writers who felt slighted by the Hugos decided to emotionally vomit all over the voting process.

It’s much more nuanced I’m sure, but to an outsider, that’s what it looks like.

*Tantrum. Barf. Point fingers of blame.*

And I get it. I love Orson Scott Card’s work and have always found him incredibly supportive of struggling writers. But I disagree with his political views, which have begun to obfuscate his stories. And I’ve participated in online writing communities where people were banned for unpopular opinions, which never sat well with me.

 

Doctor Science on Obsidian Wings

“The Varieties of Fictional Pleasure” – April 28

One much-discussed Puppy statement is by Brad Torgersen, from January:

In other words, while the big consumer world is at the theater gobbling up the latest Avengers movie, “fandom” is giving “science fiction’s most prestigious award” to stories and books that bore the crap out of the people at the theater: books and stories long on “literary” elements (for all definitions of “literary” that entail: what college hairshirts are fawning over this decade) while being entirely too short on the very elements that made Science Fiction and Fantasy exciting and fun in the first place!

Among the many problems with this statement is that Worldcon members (that Hugo-voting “fandom” of which Torgersen speaks so sneeringly) did in fact give a Hugo to The Avengers, in the same year they gave the Best Novel Hugo to John Scalzi’s Redshirts — a work which, Scalzi admits, can only be called “long on literary elements” if you’re making a joke.

 

Glenn Hauman on Comic Mix

“Hugo Awards, No Awards and Network Effects” – April 29

[The] question has come up about voting for “No Award” over various nominees, whether it should be done, and whether it would be an unprecedented event.

The answer to the last part is: No, it’s not unprecedented. “No Award” has won categories before, most recently in 1977 when no award was given for Best Dramatic Presentation.

And ironically, that’s really a shame. Because it turns out there was a really great science fiction movie that year that showed us where we were heading. I’m not talking about any of that year’s actual Hugo nominees– Carrie, Logan’s Run, The Man Who Fell to Earth, or Futureworld.

No, I’m talking about Network.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“They also serve” – April 29

It was suggested that they also serve, who inadvertently and unknowingly do the bidding of the Evil Legion of Evil through their ludicrously predictable reactions. And lo, a badge for this brigade of Unwitting Minions was created. Evil Legion of Evil minions are free to award it to those whose behavior is so egregiously stupid or shortsighted or self-destructive that they could not possibly serve your Supreme Dark Lord better if they were consciously doing His Evil Bidding. Given that they are, without exception, unique and special snowflakes, they naturally all bear the title “Minion #1”.

Unwitting-Minion_512x512

Stilicho in a comment on Vox Popoli April 29

Shouldn’t there be some more formal methodology to award Unwitting Minion badges?

No. I am Vile Faceless Minion and so can you.

 

Fiona L. Woods on Cats and Crime

“Hugo Awards and Puppygate” – April 28

Puppygate is a term George R.R. Martin came up with. There are two groups, one called the Sad Puppies and the other the Rabid Puppies. Each group encouraged their followers to buy memberships for Worldcon so they could vote for stories and novels they wanted to get nominated for the Hugo Awards. Apparently, some of those nominated feel the two groups succeeded in loading the nominations with their picks. Hugo Award nominees Mark Kloos and Annie Bellet have withdrawn their work from the competition.

Panzer says, “What do you expect? They’re not the smartest potato on the truck. They’re puppies. You want smart? Get a kitten.  No kitten would have anything to do with this kind of litter box game.”

 

William Reichard

“My God, it’s full of puppies” – April 29

Even the roundups of news about the Hugo Awards fracas are getting too long to read all of every day. One thing you have to admit: this topic is clearly a deep nerve.