Getting the Last Word First

When Uncanny Magazine #7 is released November 3 (tomorrow) among its contents will be Annalee Flower Horne and Natalie Luhrs’ article “The Call of the Sad Whelkfins: The Continued Relevance of How To Suppress Women’s Writing.

Tangent Online has counted coup on Uncanny Magazine by publishing Kate Paulk’s rebuttal to their essay, “Jousting With Straw Puppies”, before the target is available to the public.

Not that this required either magical powers or access to the TARDIS: Tangent Online received an advance review copy. (Uncanny Kickstarter supporters and issue contributors also got their copies ahead of time).

Paulk’s response begins with a familiar smorgasbord of post hoc reasoning and smarm:

Since the success of Sad Puppies 2 in bringing a handful of differently philosophical works onto the Hugo ballot, there has been a stream of articles, blog posts, tweets, and every possible other outlet imaginable decrying the evil of the Puppies and how the campaign is the reactionary work of a collection of redneck, white-supremacist, homophobic, Mormon men trying to keep everyone else out of the field.

Seriously? The last time I looked I don’t have the equipment for that, and I’m running Sad Puppies 4.

Of course, every time someone posts a lengthy critique of Sad Puppies, it usually comes with a lovingly constructed set of Straw Puppies who are then deconstructed and proven to be just as horrible as the author set them up to be.

So it is with the latest offering from a pair of self-described feminist geeks, Annalee Horne and Natalie Luhrs. Their article can be found in Uncanny Magazine issue 7 (http://uncannymagazine.com/), for those sufficiently masochistic to wish to wade through it, and makes extensive reference to How to Suppress Women’s Writing, by Joanna Russ.

They begin their construction of the Straw Puppies with the assertion that Sad Puppies 3 was an “attempt to take over the Hugo Awards” (which failed). To someone with little or no knowledge of Sad Puppies that bland assertion (unreferenced, of course) would probably go unchallenged. The truth is simpler: Sad Puppies 3 aimed to bring works to the Hugo ballots that would normally not be nominated. Nothing more, nothing less.

Why would many of those works not normally be nominated? Is it because, like Michael Z. Williamson’s Wisdom From My Internet, some aren’t very good?

But why go on. Paulk shows once again that letting Sad Puppies speak for themselves is all the answer anybody really needs.

119 thoughts on “Getting the Last Word First

  1. To be honest, I’m not sure what exactly “twee” is. I tend to think that the whole Impala schtick as that, but perhaps it’s an imprecise usage.

  2. @snowcrash, I tend to think of “twee” as kitschy and saccharine. Needlepoint hangings of ducks with bows around their necks; videos of cute little kittens doing cute little kitten things; that sort of thing.

    One thing the Ancillary books are not, is “twee”. Hell, they’re told from the point of view of a zombie! (Um, spoiler alert…?)

  3. I wish Hellspark would get digitized. My one paperback copy is getting old and fragile.

    It has been—just not “officially.” I have a copy here that is dated to September 2003. I’ve never gotten around to reading it, but browsing through it, it is nicely formatted and I didn’t happen across any typos or OCRos.

    (I also have an apparently good copy of Mirable—I’ve read that one probably 3 times, but can’t remember if every time was from my dead-tree MMPB or if any were from the digital. I don’t have Uhura’s Song, but it would gast my flabber if it wasn’t “out there”, too. Just poke around in a few corners for all three of them.)

  4. Cheetahs. Those are the animals you want to see. I lived in Africa for nearly a decade, and in that time, I only saw two cheetahs.

    I’ve always heard that cheetahs never prosper.

  5. Meredith on November 4, 2015 at 4:17 am said:
    Is the “twee” bit supposed to be the pronouns..? Because… That would also not be twee, but the prose in general certainly isn’t so I’m not sure what else it could be?

    (At least she didn’t mention gin.)

    Could it be the tea?
    I think it is often coded British and cozy here in the US.
    I got my husband’s sizable Irish extended family , and then the kid’s gone and married an Australian, so people drinking tea on all occasions seems perfectly natural to me.
    But maybe it’s something she just bounced off?

  6. Darren Garrison on November 4, 2015 at 7:10 am said:
    Cheetahs. Those are the animals you want to see. I lived in Africa for nearly a decade, and in that time, I only saw two cheetahs.

    I’ve always heard that cheetahs never prosper.

    Oh dear.
    Ouch.

  7. snowcrash: To be honest, I’m not sure what exactly “twee” is. I tend to think that the whole Impala schtick as that, but perhaps it’s an imprecise usage.

    I was thinking that a good example for Ms Paulk, who seems to think she is clever using the word “twee” when she clearly doesn’t have the slightest idea what it means, is that ” ‘Twee’ would be when someone describes their mundane daily activities in the third-person as a melodramatic adventure, as if they were living in a fantasy novel”.

    Hat tip to Aaron for the dead-on impersonation.

  8. So I’ve been reading the latest Uncanny (got the whole thing, as a Kickstarter backer) and I notice there’s an article about book covers and art direction in SF. Now, that’s certainly not a terribly remarkable thing to have a non-fiction article about, but seeing as it appears in in the same issue as “Sad Whelkfins” I can’t help wondering if they deliberately decided to have something which could prominently feature Irene Gallo.

  9. Meredith on November 4, 2015 at 4:44 pm said:
    @Lauowolf

    Isn’t Paulk Australian, though? Or am I thinking of somePuppy else?

    Could be, I don’t really know the pups that well.
    (I guess I need to study my trading cards and all.)
    If so, the tea should seem natural to her – In which case I have no notion of what she is talking about.

  10. Lauowolf: If so, the tea should seem natural to her – In which case I have no notion of what she is talking about.

    Given her fondness for writing in the third person as Kate the Impaler, I strongly suspect that someone used the word “twee” in a critique of Paulk’s writing, so she decided to use it when critiquing Leckie’s writing. The problem is that she just makes herself look ignorant by doing so. By no stretch of the imagination could Leckie’s prose be described as “twee”.

  11. Paulk is an Australian living in the US, Freer is a South African living in Australia. I intend to make the trading cards with twee descriptions, but credit them to Aaron.

  12. …Freer is a South African living in Australia.

    Ah! I thought it was the other way around. Thanks @Marxkcd

  13. I remember being surprised by the fondness for coffee and wine in Southeastern Australia, as opposed to tea and beer. Apropos of nothing much….

  14. Mark: Paulk is an Australian living in the US, Freer is a South African living in Australia. I intend to make the trading cards with twee descriptions, but credit them to Aaron.

    *snort*

    Dammit, there goes another keyboard. The attachment nuts on the torches and puppy gargoyles are getting stripped from me having to continually reattach them to new keyboards… I’m sure there’s a metaphor for something in there somewhere…

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