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.

Don’t Invitems at RavenCon

RavenCon cranks up this weekend in Richmond, VA in a rather literal way.

Artist Guest of Honor Frank Wu and Gaming Guest of Honor Brianna Wu issued a statement disinviting six unnamed people accused of “hijacking this year’s Hugo awards” from attending Brianna’s solo Gamergate panel which is scheduled in prime time Friday evening (April 24).

Sadly, the same reactionary anger has spread into the science fiction community with the hijacking of year’s Hugo awards, deliberately sabotaging them for bitter, regressive political purposes. Many of the forums that orchestrate harassment against Brianna and other women in the game industry have avowed supporters of the Hugo hijacking, many of whom participated in the voting and strongly support Vox Day.

What makes RavenCon particularly uncomfortable for us is that a number of those attending directly orchestrated or benefited from the hijacking. We’ve heard numbers as high as six.

Frank Wu has won four Hugo awards. They are near and dear to our family. And we agree with John Scalzi, Connie Willis, George R. R. Martin and others about the travesty this has been. The hijackers have contempt for the awards while also desperately wanting the legitimacy they feel it would grant them.

To put it bluntly, attending this con makes us tremendously uncomfortable. But we agreed to attend, long before Gamergate, and we will follow through with that professional commitment.

Neither of us wish to discuss the Hugo hijacking with any person responsible for this atrocious action. Both of us would consider it a professional courtesy if you didn’t attend Brianna’s Gamergate panel tomorrow.

“Don’t invitems” is how the late columnist Walter Winchell used to describe people you should not ask to the same party. Scanning the RavenCon guest list, one could make an educated guess that Brianna Wu may feel that way about Lou Antonelli, Jim Minz, Gray Rinehart, Michael Z. Williamson, and John C. Wright, Hugo nominees on the SP3/RP slates, Wright’s spouse L. Jagi Lamplighter, and Kate Paulk, organizer of Sad Puppies 4.

The same day the announcement came out, Lou Antonelli told his Facebook readers that RavenCon has abandoned all thoughts of running a panel about this year’s Hugo nominations:

I am in Virginia getting ready to head to the Ravencon convention in Richmond. The convention had floated the idea a short while ago about throwing together a panel on the subject of the current Hugo nominations.

They’ve decided not to go ahead. Here’s the official statement:

After careful deliberation, the staff of RavenCon have decided to not host this panel due to the late nature of its proposal and the volatile nature of the subject matter. RavenCon is not the appropriate… platform for this subject matter, and we do not wish to provide a platform to any side in this controversy. If, however, panelists feel the need to discuss this matter in further detail, the bar is always open.

Love the last line…

Bujold Novel Among 11 New Baen Acquisitions

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, a new Vorkosigan Saga novel by Lois McMaster Bujold, is among eleven recent acquisitions by Baen Books.

There are also two new entries in the best-selling Liaden Universe® science fiction series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

Three more are by Hugo finalist Michael Z. Williamson: two set in the universe of his time travel novel A Long Time Until Now  (May 2015), and one set in the world of Williamson’s long running and popular Ripple Creek series.

Larry Correia will deliver Wendell (but Baen is silent whether the novel is named after a manatee.)

Baen has also acquired two new novels in the Caine Riordan science fiction series from Nebula finalist and Compton Crook award winner Charles E. Gannon.

Also on the way is a new hard science fiction novel by AnLab award winner and multiple Hugo finalist Brad Torgersen, plus a new Skolian universe science fiction mystery novel from two-time Nebula award winner Catherine Asaro.

“We are extremely pleased with this wonderful selection of new novels we will soon offer eager fans,” said Baen Books publisher Toni Weisskopf. “And we’re very happy to work with a group of such fine writers whose work engages and entertains hundreds of thousands of readers.”

The full press release follows the jump.  Continue reading

Puppy and Counter Puppy

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

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

We begin with the lead dog —

Brad R. Torgersen

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

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

But that time is over.

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

 

Mike Resnick in a comment on Torgersen’s post:

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

 

Nathaniel Givens on Difficult Run

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

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

 

Sarah Hoyt in a comment on Givens’ post:

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

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

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

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

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Yet Another Round of Sad Puppies” – March 30

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

“Guns on a Rainy Thursday” – April 2

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

 

Aaron Pound on Dreaming About Other Worlds

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

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

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

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

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

Emergence by David R. Palmer

The Integral Trees by Larry Niven

Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein

The Peace War by Vernor Vinge

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

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Real Mature” – April 2

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

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

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

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

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

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

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

 

Michael Z. Williamson on The Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse

“Who’s A Real Fan” – March 31

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

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

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

No one ever guessed it was my first con.

 

Jason Sanford

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

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

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

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

 

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

“Business Musings: Controlling the Creatives” – March 25

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

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

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

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

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

What you write is between you and your keyboard.

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

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

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

 

Cora Buhlert

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

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

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