Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s post at Making Light, “Distant thunder, and the smell of ozone” (March 25), has attracted over 1,000 comments. She began with these lines —
I’ve been keeping an ear on the SF community’s gossip, and I think the subject of this year’s Hugo nominations is about to explode.
Let me make this clear: my apprehensions are not based on insider information. I’m just correlating bits of gossip. It may help that I’ve been a member of the SF community for decades.
And she made clear what direction she was taking with her next comment.
Comment #15 – March 25
When you invite thugs into your argument, you’re not using them as shock troops; they’re using you as cover. And you’re pretty much guaranteeing that at some point in the future, you’ll wind up feebly protesting that you had no idea they’d do that. And maybe you didn’t; but you did know they were thugs.
Tom Whitmore @5: That’s how it tends to happen inside the community. From what I’m hearing now (but haven’t been hearing about earlier), we either have outside involvement, or there’s been a depth of conspiracy within the community that’s a scandal in its own right. It’s possible we have both.
Sad Puppies 3 leader Brad Torgersen spent some time there debating the Making Light community, and whatever you think of his forensic skills, he truly enjoyed an Obi-wan Kenobi moment as his followers witnessed him absorb all the verbal light-saber blows required to send any Jedi to the afterlife. I spent several hours today researching the fallout on the pro-Puppy side.
Brad R. Torgersen
Sad Puppies 3 terrifies CHORF queen (and former TOR editor) Teresa Nielsen-Hayden because she knows that TruFans (the dyed-in-the-wool, insular, legacy group of fans who cluster about World Science Fiction Convention) are a dying breed. She knows that if enough glare is placed on the award (the Hugos) and enough “outside” fans (you and me and the rest of the universe) come to claim our place, then TruFans are done. Their relevance will be at an end. They had a good run, got big heads, decided they could begin trashing whomever they felt like, and now the mask is being cast off — at the end, when TruFans are imperiled by the harsh light of reality.
TNH: I should have been clearer. Those of us who love SF and love fandom know in our hearts that the Hugo is ours. One of the most upsetting things about the Sad Puppy campaigns is that they’re saying the Hugo shouldn’t belong to all of us, it should just belong to them.
Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation
Well, Teresa, no matter what we do, no matter what the results, we know we’re going to feel your wrath. Luckily, I’ve demonstrated to the world that your wrath is impotent. For years, authors have lived in fear of angering these Social Justice mobs. They’ve moderated their speech, self censored their art, and walked on eggshells to avoid getting burned at the stake… That’s why I hate you people, and that’s why I’ve loved exposing you for the petty, petulant, and ultimately powerless little bullies that you are.
Your angry mobs only have as much power as the person you’re attacking is willing to grant them. I stood up to you last year, and all it did was bring your antics to the attention of more, good, decent, regular fans. It isn’t your award. It is everyone who cares enough to get involved. And every time your side forms an angry Twitter mob, or runs an article in the Guardian full of easily disprovable lies, or attacks some comedian for jokes he hasn’t told yet, or lectures people that they’re having fun wrong, then more regular fans get pissed off and shell out their $40 to get involved, because they don’t like your entitled smugness either.
One last thing, I find it funny that they are casting all of these aspersions against the Hugo admins because they are holding firm and obeying the rules of their convention. I’ve seen where they are trying to pin this on me and saying that I’m trying to ruin the dignity of the Hugos. On the contrary, there had been allegations against that admins were suppressing votes for a long time, and I put those to bed. One of the goals of Sad Puppies 1 and 2 was to audit the system (I was an auditor before I became a writer). I kept track of Sad Puppies nominees and voters across the categories, and then compared the final numbers when they were released. After two years of doing that I was able to say that I saw zero indication of dishonesty or fraud, and that the Hugo admins had been perfectly honest in their dealings.
John C. Wright
Our mission statement is clear and unambiguous. We represent a joyful, zealous and fierce rebellion against the soggy, dreary and weary conformity which over the past decade or so has driven the Hugo award into the hands of writers judged by their conformity to political correctness, or their membership in designated grievance groups, not based on the merit of the work.
In the past, it was an award granted topflight science fiction for its imagination and talent, regardless of their religious or political opinions, and certainly regardless of their race, sex, personal life, or other irrelevant personal factors. The Hugo has, in effect, become a political award granted to the untalented for avoiding dangerous and imaginative thoughts. The irrelevant factors, for the ‘No Fun’ crowd has become the only factor: note, for example, the crowing and victory jigs danced when white males were shut out of all Nebula Awards last year, as if the sex of the author was more significant than the merit of the work.
Well, logically, if you give an award not based on the merit of the work, willy-nilly the award ends up in the hands of authors whose work lacks merit. I don’t want to embarrass anyone by using specific examples, but let the skeptic run an eye over the last few year’s winners will find the science fiction award going to stories that have few elements of science fiction in them at all, or none.
“Tor Editor Libels Tor Author” – March 31
If my accustomed Vulcan calm could be perturbed, no doubt it would be by the allegations Teresa Nielsen-Hayden late of Tor books is leveling against myself and the other members of the Evil Legion of Evil Authors. But since I am imperturbable, I merely raise one eyebrow and wonder on what evidence, or one what chain of reasoning, she makes her outrageous allegations….
My comment: I am motivated, she says, not by what I have publicly, notoriously and repeatedly stated my motives are, but by some unworthy form of spite or resentment. I see. Any protestation to the contrary is dismissed as an unconvincing lie. Accusing me, of all people, of dishonesty certainly has the advantage of being a novel and unexpected accusation.
But on what is it based? No written word of mine can lead an honest onlooker to draw this conclusion. Did she speak to me and deduce this? She did not. Does she have my strange Vulcan power of the Mind Meld, that she can read the secret workings of my green-blooded heart? She does not.
Rick Wright on Mangy Dog
“Sad puppies and scarlet letters” – April 1
This is not just happening in the science-fiction/fantasy field. This is happening throughout modern American society. Interesting times.
Defy them. Expose them. Finish them. Because it appears they are on the run. Otherwise they would not be acting like this.
You see, I went over to look at the discussion. Besides parties from the Sad Puppies being woefully outnumbered – which isn’t unsurprising – there was a level of abuse leveled at Sad Puppy supporters that you don’t see opponents get at Brad’s or Larry Correia’s or even here.
For example, you had the disemvoweling of opponents, where vowels are removed so that the person’s post makes no sense at all. Brad was banned for 24 hours for apparently not responding quickly enough to satisfy TNH (as if she has any right to expect jack shit from anyone).
There’s talk about a rule change being in the works in such a manner as to minimize the impact of slates like Sad Puppies.
Honestly, it’s just proof that we’re winning.
Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt
By The Numbers – March 30
Take as an example of something that should have won a Hugo but didn’t Barry Hughart’s Chinese trilogy. It didn’t sell much (marketing and distribution being crazy then – and now, but worse then.) It won a World Fantasy, but his publishing house didn’t even take notice. He’s written nothing else. However now that the word of mouth has had time to percolate, there are very few intense sf/f fans, of the kind who reads books, who hasn’t heard of it. And there are fewer who, reading it, don’t go “oh, wow.”
That is the sort of thing that should be winning the Hugo.
That is the kind of award that the Hugo was when Heinlein, Asimov and Ursula leGuin won it.
“All The Scarlet Letters” – March 31
Still, such was the reflex of that fear that the first time I was mentioned on Instapundit I reached up to wipe the scarlet L from my forehead.
Now? I’ve come a long way in seven years. By baby steps. But now I don’t hide I’m a libertarian. (Technically an OWL – waves brown feathery scarf.)
And still that naked “you should have told them you were putting them on your slate” and the implied, scary because we intend to f*ck up their lives because you like their work made me catch my breath and remember the fear.
The people who preach to you of inclusiveness and love (SF is “love” apparently); the people who are hunting for writers of various colors of the rainbow to give awards to demand (and receive) perfect lockstep abasing compliance with their beliefs.
The prize they held hostage was a writers ability to make a living.
Fortunately there is indie. They haven’t realized it yet, but what they hold in their hands is nothing. And the more they show their colors, the more they pursue their little purges (now in public) the less they’ll be taken seriously.
Matthew Bowman at Novel Ninja
“Piers the Plowman and the Hugo Awards” – March 30
And that’s why I started thinking about Piers Plowman, that frustrating, message-heavy medieval morality poem I’d had to read in college. Because it really did seem to be that a large group of people were upset at the idea of being inclusive, upset at the idea of the Hugo Awards actually being voted on by more people, and very upset at the idea that story should come first. It prompted me to write a blog post last year on that subject. Just because I have particular beliefs doesn’t mean I want to continually be preached at, even when I agree with the preaching. I don’t believe there’s a single point of theology or spirituality in Piers Plowman that I disagree with, being Catholic myself. I still found it one of the worst books I’d ever been forced to read. Yes, worse than Twilight. (Though that one I read willingly. Hey, it was new back then. I hadn’t heard anything bad about it.)
But speaking of Twilight, there was another point that kept recurring: the idea that just because you’re a popular author, just because you sell lots of books, doesn’t make you a good author, a real author. I found that particularly interesting. On the one hand, I could agree, since Twilight was incredibly popular, and yet sucked. (No, that’s not a vampire pun.) But on the other hand, it can’t be denied that a lot of fans found something they’d been looking for in the pages of that book; and I’d never deny that Stephanie Meyer is a real author. In fact, she’s a very successful author. That’s objectively true, whatever I think of her prose.
And I also made it clear, whenever I critiqued Twilight, that I was speaking of Twilight the book and not Twilight the series. After all, I only made it through the one book, not all four. I didn’t think that I would like them, but I couldn’t make even the slightest pretense at judging their objective qualities (inasmuch as art has truly objective qualities). And yet I saw person after person judging books that they hadn’t read. I saw this happen on both sides of the Hugo divide, but it seemed to happen the most with those whose politics fell on the left side of the aisle. I saw right-wing fans deciding they wouldn’t like a book based on an author’s politics; I saw an equal or greater number of left-wing fans saying that a given book was horrible because the author was white (even if he wasn’t), male (even if she wasn’t — seriously, this kept happening over and over, despite an obviously female name), right-wing (even if he was rabidly pro-choice and pro-gay), or owned a gun (which actually seems to be a rather large percentage of authors of many political stances, as I found out to my own surprise). I even saw left-wing fans declaring a book to be badly written because of the cover art, which only self-published authors have any control over.
“Miss CJ” at Chicks on the Right
Well, the backlash against conservatives taking their fandom back from the liberal gatekeepers of Worldcon and the Hugos has been DEAFENING. It was last year and it is so this year. It’s quite entertaining to see the crowd– who usually are the ones calling for DIVERSITY and INCLUSION– turn around and say “Well – you people aren’t REAL fans because you just started participating in Worldcon and you have to be a vetted member of the club.” And suddenly, EVERYBODY had to be approved by the groupthink collective. Which just goes to prove how very necessary the Sad Puppies campaign is. Any genre or industry that remains unchallenged in the way they think is doomed to become ignored by the public at large. That same public that you hope will find your stories interesting enough to spend their money on, thus making it possible for you to continue making your living as a writer and not have to take on a second job flipping burgers or mowing lawns.
Jim McCoy on Jimbos Awesome SFF Book and Movie Reviews
“True Fandom” – April 1
Give it up folks. I get the fact that your whiny leftist asses are bothered by the fact that people who won’t preach your beliefs tells me everything I need to know about your character. I personally have praised the works of Suzanne Collins on this blog even though I disagree with her politics because she’s earned it. That woman can tell a DAMN GOOD story. Yes, it supports a leftist worldview. It also involves plenty of action, a believable love story and characters I’d love a chance to hang out with. That’s all that matters.
Max Florschutz on Unusual Things
“A Few Words on the Hugo Awards” – March 31
But you want to say that people who disagree with you aren’t really science-fiction or fantasy fans simply because they don’t agree with you? That’s the “no true Scotsman” argument right there. And that’s why I’m all for the SP campaign, because it took something that had been thoroughly distorted by a group of people with a “with us or against us” mentality and shined a nice, bright light on them. And you know what, this group of “true” fans can say what they want. But when they start insisting that unless you subscribe to their beliefs and their dogma that you aren’t a “real” science-fiction/fantasy fan, they’re just showing how off-base they truly are.
Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club
“It depends on your point of view” – March 30
You see, from my point of view I don’t have a darling I’d like to see get a Hugo. I couldn’t care less. Given the award’s present status it’s not going to do them a lot of good. Authors I like are populist, not literary, and getting the same award as Politically Correct ‘literary’ garbage (from my point of view), isn’t going to sell extra copies to their audience. If anything it might sell the literary garbage, or revive the value of the award. I would however derive a lot of satisfaction from their angry frothing at the mouth, and being proved right about the ‘elitist’ clique thrashing about viciously trying to keep their hold on power. I don’t want that power – I think it is a terrible idea that anyone has it. I’m all for it being a real people’s choice. Then it’d point me to books and stories I might want to read.