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.

Pixel Scroll 10/27 Return To Hedgehogwarts

(1) Bad science in sf I’m used to. On the other hand, this expose of Monty Python by medievalist Kathleen E. Kennedy is shocking! Her post for The Mary Sue, “Coconuts in Medieval England Weren’t as Rare as Monty Python and the Holy Grail Made You Think”, claims England was practically awash in coconuts – had he existed, King Arthur would have had no problem acquiring one.

(2) As a fan, when I see something like “15 Facts You Didn’t Know About the Original ‘Ghostbusters’”, I start jonesing to tell the headline writer that the original Ghost Busters was the working title of a Bowery Boys movie. But carry on….

Imagine Eddie Murphy and his fellow paranormal firefighters battling a motorcycle-riding skeleton and a giant lizard monster from their gas-station base in a futuristic New Jersey. Who you gonna call? Ghost Smashers!

By the time it became an instant classic upon its release in 1984, Ghostbusters had morphed through radically different iterations, featuring bonkers plot points and unrecognizable creatures. Those mind-blowing details are chronicled by Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History, author Daniel Wallace’s revelatory, self-explanatory new book due out this week, just in time for Halloween.

(3) I stopped to watch Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters music video while researching the previous item. That 1980s video did some nice things with neon lights. But it can’t hold a candle *coff* to the Halloween Light Show set to his vocals in this YouTube video — four singing pumpkin faces, tombstones, hand carved pumpkins, strobes, floods, two Matrix boards and thousands of lights.

(4) At this hour it may be hard to find anyone who hasn’t already read John Scalzi’s Whatever post titled “Here’s the Egregious, Mealy-Mouthed Clump of Bullshit That is the 2015 World Fantasy Convention Harassment Policy”.

I am not a lawyer, but I expect that ReedPOP, the company that runs [New York Comic Con] (among many other conventions around the US) has maybe a few lawyers on its staff. If NYCC is utterly and absolutely unafraid to promulgate a harassment policy even though there is a legal statute defining what harassment means in the state of New York, I expect it might have been possible for World Fantasy to have done likewise, if they chose to do so.

And I recommend reading Jesi Pershing’s comment on the post. (I’m unable to link to specific comments on Whatever, despite both it and File 770 running on WordPress….)

(5) Trae Dorn’s story at Nerd & Tie, “World Fantasy Convention writes the worst harasssment policy ever” doesn’t live up to the hyperbole of the headline, but it reflects the prevailing mood of the internet.

(6) Jim C. Hines weighed in with “Trying to Fix WFC’s Harassment Policy Problem”.

Can this actually be fixed?

Well, no. Not completely. You’ve pissed off a lot of people, and you’ve got nine days before the start of the convention. You can’t fix it. But you can work to make it better. Here are my suggestions, for what they’re worth.

A compelling observation was quoted from Natalie Luhrs’ post —

Keep in mind that, as Natalie Luhrs pointed out, “three of the last five World Fantasy Conventions had harassment incidents that were publicized: 20102011, and 2013.” This doesn’t include incidents that weren’t publicized.

However, it should be noted that other recent WFC’s have had genuine anti-harassment policies – the 2015 committee is an aberration in that respect.

(7) The headline for Arthur Chu’s post captures just what I think was really controlling SXSW’s decision to have these panels at all – “This Is Not a Game: How SXSW Turned GamerGate Abuse Into a Spectator Sport”. Chu also is very informative about the history about the anti-harassment panel proposal.

  1. Any “both sides” narrative is nonsense. Whatever harassment and abuse there was cannot have been at all symmetrical.

SXSW acknowledges this when they tell Randi Harper in an email they’ve “received numerous threats of violence regarding this panel (Level Up)” and a “civil and respectful environment seems unlikely.” You can see with your own eyes the degree of incivility and disrespect likely to occur at her panel by looking at the comment thread GamerGate left on PanelPicker. This started up in August and has only had time to fester since then.

By contrast, I don’t think anyone “anti-GamerGate” I’ve spoken to other than my fellow panelists was even aware a GamerGate panel was in the cards until it was announced last week. Feel free to search my own history on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc. to see if you can find any mention of it.

(8) Chris Kluwe went straight for the jugular.

What you did, what you’re doing, is providing the blueprint for harassers and hatemongers as to how they win. From this point forward, any fringe group of spiteful lunatics can point to this moment and say, “We will silence the voices of anyone we dislike at SXSW, any view we disagree with, because we know the mewling slugs in charge have not the backbone to stop us. All we need to do is confront them with our vileness, and they will fold.”

And the worst part?

YOU are solely the ones responsible for this.

YOU decided that it was appropriate to give a group of harassers a platform to continue their wretched campaign of ignorance. No one forced you to bypass the application process, to slide this selection of charlatans and liars along back alley channels into the conference. (And by the way, it is beyond ironic that a group ostensibly about ‘ethics in journalism’ required such an unethical route.)

YOU chose to ignore the warnings of the women targeted, to dismiss their voices as unworthy of respect or consideration, and then had the gall to act shocked that a ‘movement’ known for its corrosive toxicity slimed its oh-so-predictable foulness in your direction after you invited them in.

(9) Today In History:

October 27, 1938 – Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre of the Air broadcasts its adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. Joe Bloch comments —

People have debated for decades just why the country was so willing to be fooled by the broadcast, and the question of whether or not Welles had an inkling of what would happen was never answered. It is certain that he denied it at a later Congressional hearing, but in subsequent interviews he answered the question rather coyly, implying that he might have known what could happen.

(10) Stop snickering about aliens, d’ye hear me? Astrophysics profession Adam Frank, co-founder of the 13.7 blog, says “Maybe It’s Time To Stop Snickering About Aliens”.

Boyajian and her co-authors considered a wide range of possibilities to explain the strange dips in the light coming from KIC 8462852. Nothing they dreamed up provided a really, really good explanation. And in the absence of that really, really good explanation, at least a few others have been thinking: “Aliens!” As Ross reports, Jason Wright of Penn State is already working on a paper suggesting we might be seeing a signature of extraterrestrial construction, a “swarm of mega-structures,” on a planetary system scale.

Now, at this point, I could start telling you about Dyson spheres and Kardashev Type II civilizations that engage in solar-system-spanning building projects (or even Vogon Constructor Fleets).

But I won’t.

That’s because the point today is not what KIC 8462852, in particular, might be telling us. The odds are high that a natural explanation will be found for the star’s flickering that has nothing to do with aliens.

Why take that stance? Well, aliens are always the last hypothesis you should consider. Occam’s razor tells scientists to always go for the simplest explanation for a new phenomenon. But even as we keep Mr. Occam’s razor in mind, there is something fundamentally new happening right now that all of us, including scientists, must begin considering.

Kepler and the many exoplanet-hunting missions coming next (JWST, PLATO, etc.) represent an entirely new way of watching the sky.

Telescope time has always been expensive — and there’s a lot of sky. In the past, astronomers didn’t have the technical capacity to continuously watch zillions of stars for long periods of time. The suns we astronomers did come back to again and again tended to be remarkable in one way or another (they flared or blew up periodically). But the exoplanet revolution means we’re developing capacities to stare deep into the light produced by hundreds of thousands of boring, ordinary stars. And these are exactly the kind of stars where life might form on orbiting planets.

(11) Tom Knighton says it’s only a “Supergirl Kinda-Review” but he covers a lot of ground as he fills in readers about last night’s series debut.

First, the casting was interesting, and I mean that in a good way.  Kara (aka Supergirl for those who don’t know) is, like her cousin, raised by human parents.  Her parents were played by…*drum roll please* Dean Caine of Lois and Clark and Helen Slater, the original live-action Supergirl.  Honestly, it make my inner geek giddy right there.

(12) All the other old-timers showed up in the latest Star Wars trailer. Where was Mark Hamill? The director has an answer — “J.J. Abrams addresses Luke’s absence from Star Wars trailers”

When asked what’s going with Luke’s lack of appearance in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers, director J.J. Abrams stated it’s part of the plan.

“These are good questions to be asking. I can’t wait for you to find out the answer,” he said. The fact Luke is being kept away from the promotional materials is “no accident,” he continued.

It actually goes a bit deeper than that. There was a leaked image of Luke Skywalker wearing what seemed to be standard Jedi robes that made the rounds, but Disney went to work pulling as many copies of the image from the internet as possible, including Twitter embeds.

(13) Gail Z. Martin suggests “Five Reasons Why Authors Do Blog Tours (And Maybe You Should, Too)” at Magical Words.

What’s a blog tour and why should you consider doing one?

A blog tour provides the opportunity for an author to be featured in guest posts on a number of other blogs, thus gaining visibility to the readers on all those sites. Likewise, an author who has a blog can do a tour on his/her own site by featuring a number of other authors on the site in a given period of time.

Two crucial elements separate a ‘blog tour’ from merely being a guest for the day on someone else’s blog. First, a blog tour generally involves guesting on multiple blogs or hosting multiple guests on your blog. And secondly, the activity occurs within a pre-defined (and advance-promoted) time period—perhaps a week or a month. In fact, blog tours work best when the bloggers and the guests promote the upcoming post—much like when a celebrity promotes being interviewed on TV. The author gets visibility, and perhaps new readers. The blogger gets traffic and well as visibility—and perhaps some of those visitors will come back time and again.

(14) Harlan Ellison is among the contributors to Jewish Noir: Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds, to be published November 1.

The stories explore such issues as the Holocaust and its long-term effects on subsequent generations, anti-Semitism in the mid- and late-20th-century United States, and the dark side of the Diaspora (e.g., the decline of revolutionary fervor, the passing of generations, the Golden Ghetto, etc.).

(15) And rather like Harlan Ellison, Wil Wheaton thinks the writer should get paid. His post “you can’t pay your rent with the ‘unique platform and reach our site provides’” tells why he told HuffPo to take a hike.

(16) Here’s somebody you don’t see at fan-run conventions every day… but he’ll be at Gallifrey One in 2016:

Sir John Hurt, who brought the ‘missing link’ in the Doctor’s past — the War Doctor, from the 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor” — to life, will be headlining the 2016 Gallifrey One convention, in an appearance sponsored by Showmasters Events.

(17) Remember that how that old statue of Lenin in a Ukraine town was rededicated to Darth Vader the other day? Well, sounds like old Darth is up to no good – just check out this story: “Chewbacca Arrested During Ukraine Elections”

The Wookiee is handcuffed and detained after supporting Darth Vader’s bid to be elected as Mayor of Odessa.

Yes, my friends, there’s trouble in unpronounceable city!

[Thanks to Steven H Silver, Martin Morse Wooster, Francis Hamit, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

When The Puppies Come Marching Home 8/28

(1) Steve Rzasa on Speculative Faith“Puppies v. Trufans: Civil War”

My short story Turncoat, set in the Quantum Mortis sci-fi universe and written with a very specific aim, was nominated this way: Last spring, Vox Day approached me about writing a short story for the Riding the Red Horse anthology. He saw it as a successor to Jerry Pournelle’s There Will be War. Since I had a genuinely good time writing the Quantum Mortis books, I agreed. Over the next few months, I brainstormed concepts, and wrote Turncoat in July.

Fast forward to December 2014 and Turncoat was released as part of Riding the Red Horse. The first I learned of the Rabid Puppies thing was when I saw Turncoat on Vox’s slate or list or helpful suggestions round-up — whatever you want to call it — in February. I thought that was nice to be considered for such an award, and vaguely read over what Rabid Puppies’ aim was. Frankly, I didn’t think they had a snowball’s chance. But then again, I knew next to nothing about the Hugos and absolutely zero about the previous Sad Puppies efforts.

Whatever the goals of both Puppy groups are/were, they were not, from my perspective, pursued with Christian views in mind. The campaigning on both sides was, in one word, brutal. Even supposing the Puppy groups were correct that they were persecuted and disregarded when it came to science fiction awards, the whole fracas is in direct violation of Paul’s admonitions in Romans 12: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them… Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

The Puppy vs. Trufan war was not conducted in this fashion. There were some on both sides who conducted themselves well, but name-calling and threats dominated. I’m sure a lot of people outside the debate now think there’s a ton of crazy people reading sci-fi and fantasy.

But don’t kid yourself: this showdown was not about faith. It was about message.

(2) Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt – “Fauxtrage”

Mary Three Names, whom I don’t mean to impugn, because it’s becoming clear to me that she has an impairment that prevents her from understanding written language but has nonetheless managed to win three Hugos, leapt to a conclusion probably caused by her impairment and decided “Chicom” was a racial insult.

Now, I understand some of the younger people and those who didn’t grow up in Europe during the cold war might NOT know that Chicom is a contraction of Chinese and Communist.  Not a racial slur under any way or form, but a way of specifying these were CHINESE communists, you know, not Russian Communists or Feminist Communists (you know, Mary, Femcoms, you might know some) or any other form of the repulsive ideology.

 

(3) True dat.

(4) Vox Day on Vox Popoli“Directly over the target”

And wait, there’s more! The SJWs are also engaged in a charity drive so that John Scalzi will read it for the audio version.

As you can see, this is a masterful rhetorical response that totally proves the falsity of the Second Law of SJW: SJWs Always Double Down. One of my friends sent me an email last night that I think aptly describes the situation. “WTF, are you PAYING these people or something?” And just to ice the crazy cake, we’ve now officially gone meta as there are now fake fake reviews being posted. And while I’m not surprised by the nature of the reaction of the science fiction SJWs to the book, I am amazed by the vehemence behind it. They are absolutely furious to see that a book unmasking them was not only published by me, but is riding the very wave of media attention that they themselves created to success. That’s the importance of the parody in their minds; if it can become even more popular than SJWs Always Lie, that will disqualify it and render it harmless, thereby relieving the stress they are presently feeling.

(5) Dave Langford in a comment on Whatever at 1:39 a.m.

$50. I’m too deaf for audiobooks but will imagine this one in my head. WITH SOUND EFFECTS.

You rock Dave!

(6) Walt Boyes on Facebook

[This is a long post, as is the Burnside post that follows. All the excepts can do is suggest why I found them of interest.]

I am neither a Puppy nor a Puppy Kicker. But as a working editor, I am appalled that an award in which nearly all the professional categories requires the services of an editor to be a successful work, something like 2400 votes were cast in opposition to ALL the editor nominees. There were several worthy nominees who were beaten by NO AWARD, in my opinion, unfairly. One comment I have seen repeated several times was that if they were worthy, they’d have won. Maybe they’ll get nominated again sometime. That’s bullshit. They WERE worthy, and they got shat upon. All you have to do is to notice that Toni Weisskopf got four times the number of votes that the winner has in the last five years to see that. Mike Resnick had the same experience in the Best Editor-Short Form category…..

Revenge attempts won’t work, and in the long run, counter-revenge attempts like the slate voting of NO AWARD (Yes, it was a slate, and there is proof that is widely available). In fact, nothing will work. The Hugos are legally owned by the WSFS Trust, and they don’t want the rest of us.

They. Don’t. Want. Us.

I don’t think the Hugos can be saved. At least, I don’t think that the puppies movement will change things. WSFS owns the Hugos. Legally, to change the Hugo system you have to change WSFS. I don’t see that happening.

At Kansas City, amendments to the WSFS constitution will be proposed (please don’t ask me how I know) that will make it even harder to inject an outside nominee into the Hugos than the amendments passed in Spokane do. The Spokane amendments will almost certainly be ratified in Kansas City, as WSFS works to make it harder to “steal” their awards. The amendments made in Kansas City will be ratified in Helsinki, at what will may possibly be a very small Worldcon. Note how few people attended the WSFS business meeting in Spokane. And only people who attend the business meeting have the right to vote on the constitution. No Award will always win in a contest of wills. It isn’t right, but it is the way the rules are rigged. Remember, WSFS _owns_ the Hugo Awards outright. It IS their football.

What is going to happen, basically, is the WSFS Hugo Committee will be given the power to reject any ballot for “wrong think” of any kind. If the puppies campaign in 2016 has legs, WSFS will react by making their control tighter. They will create a “nominating committee” which will prepare a slate (I know, Irony, thy name is WSFS) of nominees for the ballot, from a “suggestion list.”

The SMOFs, the Nielsen-Haydens, and the other PuppyKickers have the numbers and the staying power to do this. The puppies, I am afraid, do not. In order to change this, and keep it from happening, the puppies will have to deliver 300-500 committed puppy voters to Kansas City and Helsinki, in person. $50 supporting memberships won’t help here. You have to have an attending membership, and then you have to show up for the business meetings. There were on the order of 300 people attending the WSFS business meetings in Spokane at some point in the proceedings. This year, the outsiders couldn’t deliver enough votes to take the Hugos. They certainly aren’t going to be able to deliver actual butts in chairs at two successive Worldcons.

The other thing that happened this year, and will happen again, is that the PuppyKickers controlled the media. This is not because of some gigantic left wing media conspiracy. That’s bullshit. Something like six companies, all led by conservatives, and 277 conservative executives control nearly all of the media outlets in the United States. If you don’t think so, look at how comparatively right wing CNN and MSNBC have gotten in the past six months. It’s because of the fact that Nielsen-Hayden and friends knew how to issue a freakin’ press release, and did so regularly. You can see the evidence for this in the fact that all the articles online and in print kept using the same phrases and sentences over and over. That’s because they got press releases, and used them as source material. To my knowledge, the puppies didn’t issue any. They waited for the media to come to them, and by the time they did, what passed for objectivity was the Wired article last weekend….

After the money, it is all about the culture war. There are people who believe honestly and strongly that women, minorities, and sexual issues are not being addressed to their satisfaction in science fiction and fantasy. They believe that there is too much white colonialism in science fiction. Folks, the way to change people’s minds is to understand where they are, be sympathetic to their position, and slowly move them to where you want them to be. It is way too late to do that. There is a crop of writers, mostly women, some women of color, and quite a few men, both white and non-, who are committed to changing what they see as bias toward white only culture.

This is not necessarily wrongthink. Nor is it necessarily the gods’ own truth. Stop telling these young writers they are wrong, or dismissing them as some sort of weird Marxists. Some of them are amazingly gifted writers. The ones that are, write brilliant stories where their bias against white colonialism culture really doesn’t show—it is about the story, and their bias isn’t the plot, and it certainly doesn’t affect the action….

One of the puppy kickers has regularly said, “Go start your own awards.” Despite the snark and the down-nose-looking deprecation, it really is good advice.

I fully expect to be run out of here on a rail for what I’ve said.

It is hard to be neutral in this thing. My sympathies lie with both sides, but my efforts lie in getting good writing, regardless of politics, and writing well myself. I got the trebuchet from David Gerrold after the awards, because I mildly pointed out that I didn’t support, “applause is okay, booing is not.” And I mean mildly. And Gerrold and I go back a ways. I am sure there are more people on the other side (Mike Glyer for one) who think I am an unmitigated Puppy asshole. I am not, and never have been, a Puppy.

Just a note: Walt Boyes has never been mentioned in a post on File 770 before, and only in two comments, neither of which expressed any opinion about him at all.

(7) Ken Burnside – “How the Hugos Crashed, aka: ‘The Diary of a Self-Deploying Human Sandbag In The Culture War”

I went to the INB Theater, sat in the front row and waited.  The long discussion of the Official Hugo Asshole Disks led things off.  The Sasquan chair reminded people that “No Award” was an option.  David and Tananarive did a lovely job, and covered for a few gaffes from script pages not turning, and tried to keep it fun.  I’ve been a master of ceremonies; I’m not going to rag on them for it.

Best Related Works came up.  It went to No Award; I expected that.  I didn’t expect the loud and raucous cheering, which, frankly, pissed me off.

Then Best Short Story came up.  It also went to No Award.  The cheering was even louder.

Then Best Editor, Short Form went to No Award and the cheering was deafening. There were several people who said “Fuck this…that’s not right…” when that happened, down in the nominee area.  David heard it; he quickly looked over the orchestra pit to see what was going on.

Then Best Editor, Long Form went to No Award, and the cheering made the floor tremble. Several people (myself included) started booing.  David said “booing is not appropriate” and I came about a half-second away from standing up and jumping on the stage to grab the mic.  Bryan Thomas Schmidt DID get up and curse loudly.  Toni Weisskopf apparently never went to the ceremony at all; per Bryan the two of them commiserated for a few hours after the ceremony.

Best Novelette went to an actual winner, best Novella got No Awarded (but with less cheering), and Best Novel got a Hugo.  I made a point of personally congratulating all of the Hugo winners when I found them on Sunday.

Words cannot describe how furious I was at the outcome at the time.  I sat in the theater after the lights came up.  I had a brief conversation with political pundit (and fabricator of the Hugo Asshole Disks) Jim Wright.  He agreed with why I was angry: Cheering for No Award (and cheering loudly) was beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior.

For a ceremony that promised to be about inclusion and “we’re all fandom,” having the master of ceremonies feed off the cheering for No Award?  That’s very easy to take as hypocrisy of the first order.  I’ve also been told, multiple times that SF readers are NOT FANDOM…and that’s part of the problem. Seeing “No Award” blow out candidates who were clearly meritorious, like Mike Resnick and Toni Weisskopf?  With cheers that rattled the rafters and made the floor rumble?

I felt so very included in Fandom then.  Really.

(8) Meg Frank discusses why she resigned as a Sasqan committee member in response to the handling of the Antonelli letter to the Spokane cops and what he wrote about Carrie Cuinn.

It is common knowledge at this point that Lou Antonelli wrote a letter to the Spokane PD. It is also known that he went on Sarah Hoyt’s podcast and bragged about it. While many were rightly focused on David Gerrold’s reaction, the simple fact is that he wasn’t the only person harassed and intimidated, and he wasn’t the only one to report it. As the Co-Director of the Hugo Ceremony I reported my fear directly to my superiors. I did so several times – initially rather timidly because I didn’t want to make a fuss, but later rather firmly in a way that could not be misunderstood. One of the vice-chairs, Glenn Glazer, attempted to guilt me into not pursuing the complaint, and one of the Operations Division Heads, Robbie Bourget told me flat out that I hadn’t been harassed. When I pointed this out to them, I was told that I hadn’t ever made an official harassment complaint and lots of sarcasm that wasn’t in any way close to appropriate.

Senior members of the Sasquan committee responded to a member reporting harassment and asking for help with guilt trips, denial, victim blaming, sarcasm and dismissal.

In the interest of avoiding a he said/she said situation, I have PDFd all of the emails in this conversation and placed them in a Google Drive folder here:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-XkKq2NGWUZV21ubUpYOVhtOHM

[Frank has since created an alternate address because people said they could see all the emails — https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-XkKq2NGWUZfkEzMlNwMGl3amVndzZ1MmxmakhHUHpEdzJRNG1BOVNRYlBJZEZsd1dPT00&usp=drive_web.]

After a fair bit of crying, some time spent on the phone with Jill, and lunch with a good friend, I decided to resign. I cannot ever in good conscience support a committee that treats its members this way. Any member, including committee members and staff, should feel able to report violations of the code of conduct and be taken seriously.

(9) Cat Valente sets the record straight in a comment on File 770:

I can knock this one down:

>I saw George R.R. Martin declare that all Puppies were Rabid at his party, and hoped that his alternate awards would’t be needed in the future, and more or less cheered for fandom holding off the barbarians. You know, people like me.

I was at the party, and as usual there is a tiny bit of truth in the wreckage of honesty on display.

George did indeed talk at length in the lead up to his announcing the Alfies. Most of it was on the history of the Hugo rocket as a hood ornament and the early days of the Hugo Losers Party that, you know, he invented. When it came time to say something about why he went and dug up old hood ornaments to make awards out of, he did say that he hoped the awards would be the first and last Alfies given out–because he hoped that next year would be a normal Hugos with a fair ballot. He absolutely did not say “all Puppies are Rabid” or anything of the kind. And he did not “more or less” praise fandom for holding off barbarians. You can tell by the “more or less” that this part is complete bullshit.

George Martin has advocated against No Award since day one of this mess. He was sad and hurt and astonished by the vitriol like we all have been, but he in no way presented the No Award result as a victory, (why would he, since he didn’t want No Award to take the night) nor the Alfies as the “real award” in any way. Rather, he emphasized that this was all his opinion and his party and his decision, his “grand and futile gesture.” His exact words were: “And yes, there are committee awards, but I am the committee.”

(10) This sounds terrifying.

(11) Gary K. Wolfe in the Chicago Tribune – “Hugo Awards: Rabid Puppies defeat reflects growing diversity in science fiction”

Following the official awards ceremony, Martin hosted a huge party in a landmark mansion, during which he presented his own “Alfie Awards,” named after science fiction writer Alfred Bester, to several candidates who, according to the final vote tallies, would have been on the Hugo ballot but were bumped by the Puppy slates. The Alfies, made from actual old automobile hood ornaments (which earlier Hugo trophies were said to resemble), also went to Puppy-slate authors who had withdrawn their own nominations, giving up a chance at a Hugo rather than being associated with the Puppies and with slate voting, and to Eric Flint, a novelist who — although he is popular among many Puppies — had posted insightful critical commentary on the controversy during the summer.

Martin clearly viewed the Hugo results as a dramatic victory for fandom and for the science fiction community at large, and made the point, shared by many in the aftermath of the awards ceremony, that in the end the controversy—inevitably dubbed “Puppygate” — represented not a divided science fiction community, but rather a surprisingly united one, and one which chooses to celebrate diversity rather than to view it as a conspiratorial threat. The Puppies themselves — some of whom have since claimed victory simply by forcing the “no awards” votes — may or may not return next year, when Worldcon is in Kansas City. But some estimates have them at no more than 10 percent to 20 percent of this year’s voting, and since the huge membership of the Spokane Worldcon — over 11,000, including non-attending members — provides an enormous base for next year’s nominations, it likely will be more of an uphill battle against a broader community that has already rejected them once and that will not as easily again be taken by surprise.

The final irony in all this is that the Hugo Awards, while more diverse and international in recent years, have never really disdained the kind of adventure fiction that the Puppies claim to champion. I met the winning novelist, Cixin Liu, when he was in Chicago earlier this year, and he made it clear that his idols are classic writers like Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. “The Three-Body Problem” itself concerns communications with an alien race, the Trisolarans, whose plan is to invade the Earth as a refuge for their own endangered civilization — surely one of the oldest plots in science fiction. John Scalzi, who became one of the chief targets of Puppy vituperation, is a white male who won the Hugo in 2013 for “Redshirts,” a space opera adventure with knowing references to “Star Trek.” Among the novellas bumped off the ballot this year by the Puppy slate was Nancy Kress’ “Yesterday’s Kin,” a well-written tale that begins with an alien spaceship parking itself over New York harbor.

The problem, I suspect, is that none of these works are only about revisiting these favored old tropes. Sometimes they satirize them (as with Scalzi). Sometimes they introduce political themes (as with Cixin Liu, whose novel opens with a harrowing account of China’s Cultural Revolution). Sometimes they focus on character and family relationships (as with Kress). What seems to threaten the Puppies is not that science fiction has forsaken its origins (which it clearly hasn’t), but that readers have come to expect more and to welcome different voices. The old-fashioned modes of space adventure and military science fiction still have substantial markets, but it’s probably true that such works show up less on Hugo or Nebula award ballots than their supporters would like.

(12) Olivia Geng on the Wall Street Journal – “Cixin Liu Becomes First Asian to Win Hugo Award for Science Fiction”

Chinese author Cixin Liu last weekend became the first Asian to win the Hugo Award for best science fiction or fantasy novel. Yet to hear the Shaanxi native tell it, making history pales in comparison to the importance of ensuring science fiction’s future in China.

“I don’t really have any special feeling about it,” Mr. Liu said by phone from his hometown in Yangquan, Shaanxi province, when asked about becoming the first Asian to win the prize in its 62-year history.

“The Hugo Awards are not well-known in China,” he added. “It still cannot change the recent receding popularity of science fiction in China. All I can do is try my best and write as many good sci-fi works as I can.”

(13) R. S. Benedict on Unicorn Booty – “Sorry, Sad Puppies: Science Fictuion Has Always Been Political”

If Mary Shelley was science fiction’s mother, its father was probably H. G. Wells. His many works have been imitated, copied and adapted over and over again. Were H. G. Wells alive today, the Sad Puppies would probably despise him. He was a socialist who believed in racial diversity — a very controversial view in the 19th century.

But, the Sad Puppies might argue, as long as he kept his politics out of his writing, it wouldn’t be a problem. The problem with sci-fi writers is that they insist in letting their politics shape their stories.

Bad news, guys: H. G. Wells’s works were all about politics.

The War of the Worlds was Wells’s reaction to Western imperialism. Unlike many of his countrymen, he believed that Great Britain did not have a God-given right to invade and conquer other nations in Africa and the Pacific. The War of the Worlds was his way of saying to England, “How would you like it if someone did that to you?” He explicitly spells out his point in the novel: ….

(14) Aya de Leon – “The Hugo Awards, Social Justice, and the Psychoanalytics of Genre”

In many ways, the Hugo battle has been inevitable. It’s been coming since the US ended the era of legal racial segregation and began to question strict gender roles. In the latter case, young women have historically been pressured to read materials that reinforced their domestic roles. They weren’t supposed to be concerned with what happened outside their door in this world, let alone be concerned about what was happening in other worlds. But in the 70s and 80s, women SFF writers have developed a strong body of work in the genre and beyond, exploring issues of gender and developing wide readership.

For people of color, prior to integration, SFF was for white people. However, in the 70s and 80s, an early vanguard of black SFF writers began to integrate the genre. During that time, a relatively small number of people of color would read SFF (sometimes—prior to the internet—they were completely unaware of the POC who were writing it). The readership was primarily those of us with white friends, at white schools, or in white communities. Not surprising that SFF themes of alienation or actual aliens spoke to many of us.

(15) jaythenerdkid on The Rainbow Hub – “The Hugo Awards Controversy and Sci-Fi’s Diversity Problem”

The Sad Puppy vision for the Hugo Awards is one where nominations are a meritocracy (where people who write innovatively about gender, sexuality, race and other social issues are considered without merit). The Sad Puppy method of achieving this vision involves harassing everyone who doesn’t agree with them, because their arguments can’t actually stand on merit. They’ve even run afoul of George R. R. Martin, who is about as establishment as it gets in contemporary fantasy (I mean, one of his heroines is a literal white saviour in a land full of brown savages, yikes!), which means they’re now very much persona non grata in the SF/F community, something they’ve decided is a badge of honour rather than a damning condemnation of their beliefs and tactics.

That’s all well and good, but the fact that the Puppies got as far as they did – completely rigging five categories so that the only nominees were of their choosing, and skewing several others so there were very few choices who weren’t theirs – says a lot about a community that’s always inhabited a curious place halfway between insular and inviting, inflexible and innovative. It’s strange to think that the Hugo Awards, which have honoured legends like Ursula K. LeGuin and Octavia Butler, were turned into a farcical man-child temper tantrum by a bunch of jilted former nominees who wanted to ruin everyone else’s fun. At the same time, it makes perfect sense coming from a community that can accept the War of the Roses with dragons, but not making a fictional god female. There’s always been this element in the fandom of people – mostly men, mostly cis, mostly straight, mostly white, mostly middle-class, mostly college-educated – who think escapism and adventure stop being fun once politics that don’t agree with their own are introduced. (They’re fine, of course, with the hard-right libertarian politics of works like Ender’s Game or the oeuvre of Terry Goodkind.) The internet has enabled these squeaky wheels, giving them wider platforms and the ability to organise their bullying and harassment.

(16) Joe Vasicek on One Thousand and One Parsecs – “The Decline and Fall of Fandom and the Hugo Awards”

Can the Hugo Awards be saved? I seriously doubt it. The “truefans” will jealously clutch it to their chests until they die, and with the graying of fandom, that will probably be accomplished fairly soon. But just as the Renaissance rose from the long-cold ashes of the Roman Empire, so too I hope that something good will eventually come out of all of this. Because really, there is a place in fandom (lower-case f) for everyone, and that has never changed.

(17) Creative Bloq – “Hugo Award-winning artist reveals her secrets to success”

Here, Elizabeth reveals her top tips for fantasy and sci-fi artists who want to get noticed…

01. Community

Search out art communities, locally and web-based.  We are a reasonably small set of artists in the grand scheme of things and it becomes really easy to see all of the connections and overlaps.

Personally, I highly recommend ArtOrder.  Jon Schindehette is a huge advocate for artists in general and ArtOrder is his baby.

02. Professionality

Be professional.  Always, always, always make deadline.  READ YOUR CONTRACTS.

03. Exceed Expectations

Strive to make your art director look awesome through giving them great work. One of the bits of advice I follow is do not create illustration you feel simply reflects your payment.

Always try to exceed their expectations.  It may only be a $100 contract, but your work should look like you were paid $500.  The internet is forever.  Your work is you.

(18) Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible – “No More Memory Holes”

So remember how Sasquan decided that even though Lou Antonelli violated their Code of Conduct they weren’t going to enforce the Code of Conduct because David Gerrold didn’t want them to?  Turns out that Gerrold wasn’t the only one feeling harassed and intimidated–and he wasn’t the only one to report it.

Meg Frank, the Events Deputy Division Head also reported same against Lou Antonelli and was told by the head of operations, Robbie Bourget, that she had not been harassed and one of the vice-chairs, Glenn Glazer, attempted to guilt her into backing down.  Instead of backing down, Meg Frank resigned a week before the convention.  Frank has provided a PDF of emails to back up her assertions.

I wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m not.  Here are a some screencaps from the Journeymen of Fandom group on Facebook in which it is clear that Robbie Bourget sees the rehabilitation of offenders back into community as a higher priority than attendee safety….

(19) Juliette Wade on TalkToYoUniverse“My new SF/F Reading Journal for next year’s Hugos”

I have been inspired by this year’s Hugos.

It’s become clear to me, as perhaps it has to many others, that entrusting my opinions of the latest genre works to others to nominate for awards is not enough any more.

One might ask: why haven’t I done the active, thorough job I wanted on nominating? Easy: life. The biggest factor in my failure is my faulty, distracted, non-eidetic memory.

Therefore, I’m starting a reading journal.

Essentially, I am a very busy person (as many are), and I can’t always call to mind every story I’ve read in a year, even the good ones. From now on, every time I read a story in the field, or a brilliant article, etc. I’ll be writing down title, author, and publication

(20) Cat Rambo on The World Remains Mysterious – “My Report from Sasquan: Mostly Glorious and So Many Thank Yous”

Met up with Mike Resnick, who has appeared on the Hugo ballot a breathtaking 37 times, winning 5, after the panel. We ventured out into the hazy afternoon along the riverwalk to talk about some SFWA stuff and came out of that excited about some prospects. I’m a longtime fan of Mike’s, not just of his excellent work, but of the way he helps newer writers, consistently extending a hand by collaborating with or publishing them. As SFWA President, I’m trying to make sure that the org’s moving forward in a way that makes (almost) everyone happy, so I wanted to talk about how we could use some of SFWA’s new marketing resources to help with the committee that Mike has ably headed for so long, the Anthology Committee. I’m looking forward to working with him on the SFWA projects we discussed.

[Thanks to Mark Dennehy, Ann Somerville, and John King Tarpinian for some of these links.]

Pixel Scroll 8/11 Award not for whom the puppies troll

These are the times that try men’s Scrolls.

(1) Dilbert is still not at work on his sci-fi novel.

(2) Blogger and Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik is opening a new venue for her writing:

I am founding this space for all of us: It’s called GrokNation.

Do you know what it means to grok something? Grok is an old-school sci-fi term from the 1961 book “Stranger in a Strange Land.” It means to fully grasp something in the deepest way possible.

I want to be able to reach all kinds of people with my thinking and writing, and while I will still continue to write for Kveller about Jewish parenting, GrokNation will be the place where I share my thoughts about being an actress on “The Big Bang Theory,” being a scientist and a vegan mom, being an unusual woman because I am an actress and a scientist and a vegan mom, and everything in between. Eventually, I want GrokNation to become a place for voices other than mine, but we are just starting out so it may take some time!

(3) Rachel Bloom, known to fans for her Hugo-nominated music video “F*** Me, Ray Bradbury”, has been busy charming TV critics in advance of the October 12 premiere of her sitcom Crazy Ex Girlfriend.

When it organically was revealed that literally every single present “Crazy Ex” actor can professionally tap dance, Bloom’s co-star and four-time tap champ Donna Lynne Champlin challenged the journalists in attendance to ask all the other casts we come across this tour that same question, and see if any other show comes close….

Showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna and Bloom also masterfully handled — or at least deflected — sincere topics, such as the use of the potentially pejorative “Crazy” in the title, which could have been bait for a less comfortable group.

(4) In World War II, dozens of radio operators in Scituate, Rhode Island dialed into enemy conversations worldwide:

The Chopmist Hill listening post soon became the largest and most successful of a nationwide network of 13 similar installations. Its ability to eavesdrop on German radio transmissions in North Africa, for instance, was so precise that technicians could actually listen in on tank-to-tank communications within Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s infamous Afrika Korps.

The Germans’ battlefield strategy was then relayed to the British, who under Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery eventually defeated Rommel at El Alamein.

(5) With the Worldcon coming to town next week, the Spokane Spokesman-Review brings locals up to speed about the Sad Puppies:

It also arrives amid controversy.

Fans at Worldcon vote for the winners of the annual Hugo Awards. Regarded as some of the most prestigious honors in sci-fi and fantasy writing, the Hugos have been bestowed upon such names as Kurt Vonnegut and Portland novelist Ursula K. Le Guin. The Hugos have been awarded every year since 1955.

This year’s Hugos are mired in a present-day argument instead of a futuristic struggle.

A group of authors who call themselves the “Sad Puppies” is accused of strong-arming Hugo organizers to insert three authors on the shortlist of nominees. The group’s leaders contend the Hugos are too often awarded to what they call the “literati elite” and predisposed to affirmative action rather than less pretentious and more deserving writing.

Critics call the “Sad Puppies” a right-wing group supportive of the writings of white men and averse to the growing diversity of the genre. Martin has chimed in with a long series of blog posts, saying the controversy has “broken” the awards and “plunged all fandom into war.”

The controversy “has resulted in more people interested in Worldcon than would have been interested before,” said Tom Whitmore, a Seattle massage therapist and Worldcon volunteer who’s helping promote and organize the not-for-profit event. “We’ve followed our own rules, and we’re going ahead with our own rules, and that’s that.”

(6) Even those who have been following the Puppies from day one need a map. Aaron Pound, who Lou Antonelli tried to get fired from his job as a government attorney, summarizes all the Antonelli news from then til yesterday on Dreaming About Other Worlds.

Despite my tweeting on my personal twitter account, Antonelli took it upon himself to track down my work e-mail and phone number, first e-mailing a poorly thought out threat to come down to my workplace and do something or other, and then telephoning my office to confirm I was employed there.

(7) Natalie Luhrs’ chronicle of Antonelli’s offenses, “Pattern Matching: Lou Antonelli and the Sad Puppies”, characterizes them as she feels they deserve.

I think it bears emphasizing that by making a false report to police about David Gerrold, Lou Antonelli placed every single attending member of Worldcon in danger. This is reprehensible. The fact that David Gerrold forgave Antonelli for this is between the two of them; Gerrold does not get to accept Antonelli’s apology on behalf of the rest of the convention membership and to its staff and volunteers….

His modus operandi seems to be to incite an incident or seek one out, become abusive in some manner, and then only apologize if the target is high profile enough or if enough high profile people notice that he’s being abusive. His apology will contain a lot of language that deflects responsibility for his actions off him and onto other people or communities. Lather, rinse, repeat.  If he goes after you and you don’t make noise about it or if someone doesn’t make noise on your behalf, or if you’re not particularly high profile, you’re not going to get even an attempt at an apology….

(8) In a separate post, “Some Members are More Equal than Others”, Luhrs makes her case against Sasquan’s decision not to ban Antonelli from attending.

One of Gerrold’s quoted reasons is that Antonelli “deserves” to be able to attend the Hugo Awards because he’s a nominee.

The message I’m getting from Sasquan is that if you apologize enough, if you can convince the person you’ve harassed into accepting your apology, and if you’ve been nominated for an award, Codes of Conduct don’t apply to you. Especially if you’ve promised to be on your very best behavior and not do it again.

(9) But Antonelli has not been left to face the music completely alone. Amanda S. Green on According To Hoyt argues the way he’s being treated is out of proportion, and compares his critics to the storybook folk who claimed “The sky is falling!”

At least that is the way it might seem if you were paying much attention to those very vocal few who have made it their life’s mission to denigrate anyone who might even remotely be associated with Sad Puppies 3. Oh how they have rallied these last few days to not only vilify Lou Antonelli but, even in the face of the one man who could reasonably be seen as having an issue with him accepting his apology, they continue to attack and demonize him. This has resulted in at least one contract being cancelled for Mr. Antonelli and even that is not enough to satisfy those who have taken to social media to attack him.

And, like with so much of what the Anti-Puppy crowd has done these last few months, they have taken Antonelli’s actions and blown them out of proportion. Specifically, Antonelli sent a letter to the Spokane Police Department expressing concerns not so much about what David Gerrold might personally do but what some of those who follow him on social media might do. Was it a wise move on Antonelli’s part? No. But, to be honest, with some of the vitriol I have seen from both sides of the fence the last few months, I can understand why he might have felt concerned.

(10) There will be no comic relief at the end today! Because Stephen King knows how to take a horror and make it verse.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nigel.]

Pixel Scroll 7/25 – A Pixel in Time

Five stories, two videos and a tweet in today’s Scroll. Now with extra subtitle goodness.

(1) What’s that sound? Everybody look what’s goin’ down…. Aaron Reese writes audio history in “From vrrrramp to snikt: exploring sci-fi’s most iconic movie sound effects”.

This is also the decade of the Wilhelm Scream, which is perhaps the most ubiquitous sound effect on this list. Appearing in over 300 films, big blockbuster and indie alike, you’ve more than likely heard the Wilhelm Scream.

 

 

The Wilhelm Scream originated in a 1951 Warner Brothers western called The Distant Drums, recorded for a scene in the movie in which a character gets attacked by an alligator (the sample is aptly named “”man getting bit by an alligator, and he screamed”). The name, however, comes from the sound sample’s use in 1954 western The Charge at Feather River, when the character Private Wilhelm, well… screams after being shot by an arrow.

While studying film at USC, friends Ben Burtt, Richard Anderson, and Rick Mitchell noticed the pervasive stock sound in a number of favorite flicks, and would jokingly use it for school projects. A few years later, however, Burtt would take the joke to Hollywood when asked by George Lucas to direct sound for Star Wars: A New Hope, using the Wilhelm Scream when a stormtrooper is shot by Luke Skywalker and falls into oblivion in the Death Star. Anderson would follow suit, sneaking it into the truck chase scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

(2) After I ran a Star Wars themed parody of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in yesterday’s Scroll, Michael J. Walsh suggested people might be interested in a Western-themed instrumental cover of the Game of Thrones theme music. “There’s the awesome ability of a guitar with no speakers to be playing so many instruments,” says Mike. “Anyway, the idea of a spaghetti Westeros is amusing.”

(3) Ray Blank – “one of several identities deployed by a confused cosmopolitan” – tells Superversive SF readers that the Hugos want to be free! Or at least a lot cheaper. And not run by the Worldcon. And have Korean and Indian films as nominees.

Worldcon members can vote for the Hugos online. But why should the “premier awards in the science fiction field” still be associated with a physical meet-up? That approach was optimal in the 1950’s, and for a long while after. It is no longer a good way to serve your goal, if the goal is to promote an art form, and to engage with the greatest number of fans. The internet has changed what is possible. The internet connects us to millions, when we used to be satisfied with reaching thousands.

It appears that Worldcon2015 will have more non-attending members than attending members. The disproportionate growth in Worldcon supporting memberships demonstrates an inconvenient truth. The awards could be managed separately from the event. There are only two reasons to connect the two: marketing, and a subsidy for the physical convention. By connecting the two, the legitimacy of the award is undermined. This is supposedly an award given by all fans, wherever they are. So why confuse a voting electorate with a membership system that prefers some fans to others?

Associating an internet-based vote with a convention inevitably skews the vote towards the population who live near to the convention’s location. If the organizers of a ‘world’ event really wanted to maximize the diversity of participation in SF, they would separate the convention from the award, and lower the cost of voting.

You may not have been aware of Superversive SF’s commitment to diversity, a word Blank uses 10 times in his post. But yes, they support it just as strongly as Michael Z. Williamson.

(4) George R.R. Martin opposes the “nuclear option,” nevertheless will be voting No Award in several Hugo categories.

I favor reading the work, and voting for the stories, books, and writers you feel are worthy of a Hugo. Those you do NOT feel are worthy of the Hugo can and should be ranked below No Award or left off your ballot entirely.

This does not mean I am entirely opposed to voting No Award in all cases. Far from it. Having now finished most (not quite all) of my Hugo reading, I can say that I will probably be voting No Award myself in… hmmm… at least three categories, maybe four, maybe even five. These are categories where in my judgement none of the nominated work is worthy of a rocket.

But in those categories where I do find one or more nominees to be of sufficient quality, I will be voting for him or her or them, regardless of whether or not they were on a slate. And yes, this is true even if only one nominee is worthy. To throw out that one worthy nominee because they “had no real competition” (as some have suggested) seems wrong-headed to me. If it is worthy of a Hugo, give it a Hugo, that’s what I say.

Let me be specific here. Short Form Editor, Long Form Editor are all slate, but there are nominees in both who deserve a Hugo, and I’ll be voting for them. The Puppies liked a lot (though not all) of the nominees in the two Dramatic Presentation categories as well… but you know, so did I, so I’ll be voting for those as well. Sorry, but IMNSHO, only an idiot would want to “no award” GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY or INTERSTELLAR because the Puppies slated them. I am not going to tell you which movie or TV show or editor or novel I am voting for. I’ve mentioned some that I liked in older blog posts. Your mileage may vary; read, watch, consider, vote.

(5) I felt like I hadn’t seen Natalie Luhr’s name for a long time so I looked her up – darned if people aren’t still paying her money to tweet her way through Vox Day’s book.

(6) Will Baird on The Dragon’s Tales linked to an abstract that may show the origins of agriculture can be traced back to the Pleistocene – “The Origin of Cultivation and Proto-Weeds, Long Before Neolithic”. Farming. Yes, people have been raising weed(s) for a long time.

Authors: Snir et al

Abstract: Weeds are currently present in a wide range of ecosystems worldwide. Although the beginning of their evolution is largely unknown, researchers assumed that they developed in tandem with cultivation since the appearance of agricultural habitats some 12,000 years ago. These rapidly-evolving plants invaded the human disturbed areas and thrived in the new habitat. Here we present unprecedented new findings of the presence of “proto-weeds” and small-scale trial cultivation in Ohalo II, a 23,000-year-old hunter-gatherers’ sedentary camp on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Israel. We examined the plant remains retrieved from the site (ca. 150,000 specimens), placing particular emphasis on the search for evidence of plant cultivation by Ohalo II people and the presence of weed species. The archaeobotanically-rich plant assemblage demonstrates extensive human gathering of over 140 plant species and food preparation by grinding wild wheat and barley. Among these, we identified 13 well-known current weeds mixed with numerous seeds of wild emmer, barley, and oat. This collection provides the earliest evidence of a human-disturbed environment—at least 11 millennia before the onset of agriculture—that provided the conditions for the development of “proto-weeds”, a prerequisite for weed evolution. Finally, we suggest that their presence indicates the earliest, small-scale attempt to cultivate wild cereals seen in the archaeological record.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh, John King Tarpinian, James Davis Nicoll, and Will Baird for these stories, or at least for leaving them in plain sight.]

50 Ways To Leave Your Rover 6/20

aka “I love the smell of puppy in the morning.”

In today’s roundup, Ed Fortune, David Gerrold, T.C. McCarthy, Daniel Haight, Natalie Luhrs, John C. Wright, Morgan Locke, Mick, Carl Henderson, Vox Day, Tom Knighton, Rolf Nelson, Kevin Standlee, Melina D, Lis Carey, Kurt Busiek, Fred Kiesche, Brad Johnson, and mysterious others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day John King Tarpinian and Hampus Eckerman.)

Ed Fortune on Starburst

“Book Boycott Backfires” – June 20

An attempted boycott of publisher Tor Books by right-wing online activists has spectacularly backfired as booklovers across the world have responded by purchasing books from Tor to show their support. The activists in question are known as the Sad Puppies, or simply ‘The Puppies’. They recently gained notoriety by block voting in the recent Hugo Award nominations. The demands are in response to recent statements made by editors and authors who are associated with Tor in some way. Military sci-fi author Peter Grant issued a list of demands on behalf of The Puppies in a private letter that he then posted on his blog. The demands are:

Tor must publicly apologize for writings by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, Irene Gallo, and John Scalzi that “demonize, denigrate, slander and lie about the ‘Puppies’ campaigns”

Tor must “publicly reprimand those individuals for stepping over the line”

Tor must “publicly indicate that it is putting in place policies to prevent any recurrence of such issues.” Despite original Sad Puppy campaigner Larry Correia stating on his blog “The Sad Puppies Campaign is NOT calling for any boycotts, the letter was later endorsed by prominent members of The Puppies, including Theodor Beale (aka Vox Day) and John C. Wright. The Puppies now seem mostly leaderless, operating in a way similar to other online activists such as Gamer Gate and Anonymous have done in the past.

The response from the greater community has mostly been mockery, and to do their best to support authors by purchasing books from Tor

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – June 20

With the various escalations over perceived hurts, it seems that this is no longer about the Hugos — it looks more like an attempt to ignite a full-scale culture war within the genre.

Certainly, there is a lot of polarization evident in the various blogs and comment threads. But while the online discussions seem to present a picture of equal sides, I think that’s an illusion. It may turn out that the larger body of fandom will not be stampeded by the few who have become addicted to outrage.

Some of the most offensive posts — some of which are being widely circulated — will only serve to further marginalize not only the authors of those posts, but also those who are seen as comrades.

 

 

Daniel Haight on Flotilla Online

“Too Soon? How Should Sci-Fi Authors Deal with Tragedy?” – June 20

I felt compelled to speak up when another author linked to the above post made by the sci-fi author Michael Z. Williamson.  I found that Mr. Williamson’s Facebook is public and I was able to confirm that he did say what he said and that it’s still visible (as of today, 6/20 @ 10:05PDT)

I immediately felt a number of conflicting emotions: shock and revulsion at the tactless joke that was made. Sadness that we have become so inured to senseless violence that people are rushing to be the first one to find a way to joke about it. Confusion at whether I had a right to say anything, knowing I’ve made a few dark jokes from time to time. Uncertainty about whether it was my business to speak up.

And yet … a joke like that … made the same day the Charleston shooting occurred.  I can’t keep my mouth shut about that.  Innocent people died.  Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters … hundreds of lives ripped apart by a senseless act of violence.  That’s not hyperbole, those people’s lives are inexorably altered and potentially ruined. You … you can joke about that?

I can’t.

 

Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“Documenting a Wannabe Supervillain” – June 20

I don’t care if you think they’re jokes. And I know full well what kind of context they’re coming from, when your Twitter feed is full of you taunting people who are grieving and angry over an act of terrorism perpetrated against their community and you have pictures of yourself with guns and your Facebook profile pic is pro-waterboarding. I know exactly what kind of asshole you are and you can’t slither out of responsibility for your words because you think they’re jokes. You are a hateful, vile, and pathetic human being, Michael Z. Williamson.

And Williamson’s Hugo-nominated work, “Wisdom from My Internet” is execrable. It should never have made it to the ballot–and it wouldn’t have, if the Puppies hadn’t gamed the system with coordinated slates.

 

John C. Wright

“Moshe Feder Speaks for Himself” – June 20

He has decided publicly to rebuff those customers Mr Feder calls our customers unhappy with the recent unprofessional antics at Tor Books by the charming epithet “idiots”:

As you may have heard, certain scoundrels have declared a boycott of Tor, starting today, to protest the efforts of some Tor employees to defend the Hugo Awards from attack. In response, some of our friends have declared today “Buy A Tor Book Day.”

I wouldn’t have the temerity to ask you to buy a book just because some idiots have declared war on us. But if there _is_ a Tor Book you’ve been meaning to get anyway, buying it today would be a a gesture I’d appreciate.

[As always here on Facebook, I’m speaking for myself and not the company.]

Ah… Well, thank you for your help mollifying our customers, Mr Feder. I am sure that being told they are idiots will make them eager to spend their hard earned book-buying dollars the product you and I are working together to produce for them….

Since I have a conflict of interest, I must remain neutral. Loyalty to my publisher demands I not take sides. Loyalty to my beloved customers demands I not take sides.

Mr Feder has taken sides. Loyalty to his political correctness outweighs, for him, loyalty to publisher. And he just called you, my dear readers and customers, idiots and scoundrels.

This has nothing to do with the Sad Puppies. We are only here for the Hugo Awards.

This particular fight is between, on the one hand, those at Tor Books who think political correctness outweighs all professional and personal loyalties, all standards of decency, all need to be truthful, and who damn their own customers; and, on the other, those who are thankful to the customers and who think the purpose of a business is business.

One side consists of those calling for the resignations that any professional worthy of the name would long ago have proffered for the damage they have done to the company name and public goodwill.

The other side consists of people at Tor who regard Tor as an instrument of social engineering, an arm of the Democrat Party’s press department, or a weapon in the war for social justice.

Without expressing any personal opinion, I can say that there is an easy compromise which our free and robust capitalistic system allows: we can all wish the best to Miss Gallo and Mr Feder when they day comes when they decide to take their interests and obsessions elsewhere, and leave the company in the hands of those of us who merely want to write, publish, and read science fiction told from any and every point of view, political or otherwise, provided the story is well crafted.

 

 

Mick on Mick On Everything

“I Support The Tor Boycott” – June 20

There is plenty of evidence that they’ve been lying to you internally, if in fact they are telling you that those of use who’ve been e-mailing the company are bots as has been rumored.

There is plenty of evidence that they won’t stop, and even though they are now careful to state they don’t speak for Tor, without their positions they wouldn’t have nearly the platform or audience they do. These people are trading on the status the company gave them to trash the customer base, and the authors who actually produce the work.

The originator of the Sad Puppies movement, the International Lord of Hate Larry Correia, has come out and said he does not endorse the boycott. I reiterate – I do. Those of us on the Puppy side have taken enough abuse from the other side, and it’s time we hit them in the wallet.

If someone starts a fight and you don’t fight back, you lose. They started it years ago. Now is time to fight back.

 

Carl Henderson on Offend Everyone

“In Which I Speak of Sad Puppies.” – June 20

I’m a supporter of free speech—which ideally extends beyond the 1st Amendment protections against Government interference or suppression of speech. We as a society and individuals need to cultivate tolerance for opinions we disagree with.

Ms Gallo should not be fired. While her original Facebook remarks were mean-spirited and showed contempt for Tor readers and Tor authors, employers should not purge employees for having unpopular views. They may have a legal right to (depending on state laws and contracts), but they should not because: 1) the organization becomes captive to the loudest and most easily offended of their stakeholders, and 2) free speech is an objective good that writers and publishers should support, even when that speech is unpopular, or even considered hateful.

I think that calls for Tor to fire Gallo to be are wrong. Her remarks on Facebook were hateful and intolerant. But contributing to the culture of demanding punishment whenever anyone says anything offensive is counter to the Sad Puppy goal of more intellectual/political diversity in SF and Fantasy (as well the main goal supporting the primacy of good story over message). If you like a book/writer published by Tor, buy it. If you don’t, don’t buy it. In the long run, the free market will prevail and Tor (like any other company that doesn’t get the government to bail it out) will either change or die.

The justifications I hear from some people involved in Sad Puppies for supporting a Tor boycott or a campaign to have Gallo fired, generally run along these lines of “our opponents use these tactics, so we have to as well”. (I’m oversimplifying. Duh.)

But there’s an important point that those Puppies are missing. People like Gallo are good for your side. The louder and more extreme your opponents get, the better you look. And the better you look, the more support you gain.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Mr. Feder fans the flames” – June 20

It’s worth pointing out that we are not at war with Tor Books. We are merely asking Macmillan to save Tor Books from the observably self-destructive and unprofessional leadership of three of its senior employees, who have abused Tor’s authors and attacked Tor’s customers.

 

Tom Knighton

“Thoughts on the TOR boycott” – June 20

Tor, for some silly reason, is one of many traditional publishers that look at ebooks as a novelty and has them priced in a way to encourage you to buy the print book instead.  I hate that.  There are books I want to read, but I’m not spending more than $10 for a brand new ebook, and I expect that price to drop as time goes on.  Tor’s starting point, so to speak, is so much higher than I want to spend that I don’t really see me buying much of anything anyways.

Honestly, I can’t really boycott someone I don’t buy from in the first place.  I may have yet another reason to not buy Tor books, but it’s not like they’ll notice my lack of spending on their books.  Now, that’s not true for a lot of my Sad Puppy brethren, but it is for me.

Some are screaming that it’s not fair to try and “destroy” someone’s livelihood over comments they made a month earlier on their personal Facebook page.  I’ll buy that when the Left quits trying to destroy the livelihood of everyone who says something they disagree with.

I don’t want Irene Gallo fired necessarily.  I haven’t called for anyone from Tor to be fired.  The only person whose job I called for was the twit who wrote the Entertainment Weekly article, and that wasn’t because of her personal views, it was because she is an embarrassment to journalism.  It’s as simple as that.

That’s not to say that there aren’t a few people from Tor I’d love to see hunting for a job.  There are.  I hear those people get fired, and it’s party central at the Knighton household.  They’ve insulted me and my friends so many times that I really don’t care about how they’ll manage in today’s job market.

 

Wheels Within Wheels

“Boycott in progress” – June 20

I won’t be acquiring any more, though. Tor gives every impression of having a corporate culture that despises anyone who isn’t wholly on board with the left-wing causes of the day, and is more than willing to demonize them. As that applies to me, since they despise me, I’ll not force them to associate with me any longer.

 

Rolf Nelson

“Tor Boycott” – June 19

Gee, I can just feel the love from here. Details at Vox’s blog, Peter Grant’s place, Hoyt’s, and many other places in the SF/F blog-o-sphere. So, if you like SF, keep reading, but but use the library. If you think you just must buy your favorite Tor author, buy used and hit their tip-jar. Or, check out competing publishers like Baen or Castalia House, which don’t treat their authors and fan base like crap.

 

 

Kevin Standlee on Fandom Is My Way Of Life

“E Pluribus Hugo Submitted” – June 20

As presiding officer, I obviously won’t take a stance on the proposal; however, its very complexity requires me to be concerned about how to handle it technically at the Business Meeting. It will probably depend on how much more business gets submitted. It’s proposals like this that lead me to planning for WSFS to hold a Sunday (final day) business meeting for the first time since 1992.

 

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Mini Review: The Lego Movie” – June 21

I was watching along enjoying it, but thinking that there wasn’t really anything deeper to the movie, and then it turns around and hits me in the feels.The ‘twist’ at the end was unexpected and definitely added another element to the movie, but it also raises some questions (for me anyway) about the purpose of adult collectors of toys. I come from a family of these (my grandparents actually ran a toy museum when I was a kid) so maybe I think about these things when others don’t, but should toys be played with or preserved?

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Related Works” – June 20 So, the best of this category was better than I expected, but the worst was much worse than expected. I will use No Award in this category, because I don’t think any of the writing was polished or completely engaging enough to win an award as prestigious as the Hugo. However, I’ll list The Hot Equations next, as it was a mostly cohesive piece of writing which showed clear links to SF fiction.

This is where the slate is once again doing themselves a disservice, because it’s possible in another year The Hot Equations might have been in their amongst the top pieces. It’s the kind of thing I was expecting/hoping to find in the nominations – work on topics which aren’t usually my cup of tea (milSF and thermodynamics) which are good enough to engage me and make me think. But because there’s nothing to compare it with, I have to judge it on its own – create my own criteria – which leaves a possibility that I’m being harder on it than it deserves. And there’s such a lot of energy spent on promoting the really bad writing which could be spent on promoting and polishing and presenting more work like this.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Abyss & Apex: Hugo-Nominated Magazine of Speculative Fiction” – June 20

Abyss & Apex is a 2015 Hugo nominee for Best Semiprozine. It’s a web-based zine publishing a mix of poetry and fiction. I was very pleased to see that they have organized and accessible archives that made it easy to look at their issues from 2014. i.e., the relevant ones for this year’s Hugos. Overall, the quality looks high, and the presentation is good. My one objection is that the body text font doesn’t seem to be completely consistent across the site, and for me, that makes it a smidge less reasonable. In total, though, I’m favorably impressed.

 

 

 

 

The Hammer of Tor 6/19

aka Sad Puppies Strictly Cash

Peter Grant, Vox Day, John Wright, Chris Meadows, Adam, Steve Davidson, Natalie Luhrs, Alexandra Erin, Nick Mamatas, Lela E. Buis, Lawrence Person, Soon Lee, Lis Carey, Melina D, Joe Sherry, and May Tree. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day William Reichard and Rev. Bob.)

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

”The Tor boycott is on” – June 19

Regrettably, due to the apparent lack of action by (and the deafening silence from) Tor and Macmillan, the time has come to do as I promised.  I therefore ask all those who believe, as I do, that the recent statement by Irene Gallo, and the pattern of behavior and statements from others at Tor whom I’ve previously named, are completely unacceptable, to join me in refusing to buy any of Tor’s products from now on. I support and endorse what Larry Correia said about this yesterday.

… this is between Tor and its readers who feel insulted, not the Sad Puppies campaign or the people who ran it … To the Sad Puppies supporters, do what you think is right. All I’m asking is that whatever you do, try to be as civil as possible in your disagreements. Stick with the facts.

There’s much more at the link.  (Recommended reading for background and more information.)

I am not a member of, and I do not speak for, either the ‘Sad Puppies’ or ‘Rabid Puppies’ campaigns (although I support the former).  I don’t represent cute puppies, playful puppies, cuddly puppies or hush puppies – only myself.  If you share, in whole or in part, my values and outlook on life, I invite you to join me in this boycott.  Don’t do so just because I, or anyone else, is asking you to do so.  Act on the basis of your own informed conscience and reasoned judgment.

There are those who protest that a boycott of Tor will prevent them buying books they want to read, and/or hurt their favorite authors.  I can only point out that used copies of those books are usually available from many sources soon after publication, often in very good to excellent condition, and sometimes at prices much lower than a new copy.  As for your favorite authors, if you buy a used copy of their book(s), why not send them the money they would have made as a royalty if you’d bought it new?  In fact, given that many royalties are a pittance, why not send them more than that?  Many authors have so-called ‘tip jars’ on their blogs or Web sites, or you can write to them enclosing a check or money order.

There are those who doubt that a boycott can achieve anything.  I can only reply that ‘doing the right thing’ is important in itself.  It’s a matter of honor – and although any mention of honor may be greeted with scorn and derision in these ‘modern’ times, I was raised to value the concept and live by it.  I still do.  I doubt I’m alone in that.

What’s more, in a SF/F market that’s increasingly dominated by independent authors, with cratering sales among mainstream publishers and tight financial margins, even a small boycott may have an impact out of all proportion to its size.  I’m certain, on the basis of support already voiced, that we can achieve a short-term six-figure reduction in Tor’s annual turnover.  All that’ll take is a couple of thousand people not spending their usual $50 per year on Tor books (and many have, until now, spent a lot more than that – for example, see here).  With more supporters and/or bigger spenders involved, the impact will be correspondingly greater.  I believe that over time, as word spreads and more join the boycott, we can grow this into a seven-figure annual impact – particularly when, in markets where we have a strong presence, we start talking to bookstores that carry Tor products.  Given current economic conditions and the present and predicted state of the SF/F market, our boycott may in due course make the difference between a profit and a loss in Tor’s annual trading accounts.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Tor boycott announced” – June 19

As you can see, I have been a Tor Books customer since 1986, when I bought a mass market paperback copy of The Edge of Tomorrow, by Isaac Asimov. And because I have considerably more experience of Tor Books and the consistently abusive and unprofessional behavior of its senior employees, I will go a little further than Mr. Grant has. Until Irene Gallo and Patrick Nielsen Hayden are no longer employed by Tor Books or Tor.com, I will not:

  1. Purchase any books published by Tor Books
  2. Read any books published by Tor Books

Given (2), this means that if Ms. Gallo and Mr. Nielsen Hayden are still employed by Tor Books in 2016, I will not nominate any books published by Tor Books for any awards. I encourage those who deem Ms. Gallo’s behavior to be unprofessional and unacceptable to follow Mr. Grant’s lead and join the Tor Books boycott. I am the leader of the Rabid Puppies, I do speak for them, and I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that they will follow my lead in this regard. I am not concerned about whether the boycott is “successful” or not. The simple fact is that if Macmillan is at all interested in the long-term success of Tor Books, it will jettison both Ms Gallo and Mr. Nielsen Hayden on the basis of their disloyalty, their unprofessional behavior, and their repeated violations of the Macmillan Code of Conduct, regardless of what any outside parties may happen to believe. I simply won’t have anything to do with Tor Books as long as those two individuals are employed there.

 

John C. Wright

“Embargo On” – June 19

Since I am Tor author and hitherto have been very proud of my association with that fine and famous imprint, I am fascinated (if mildly aghast) that the Tor management has allowed the situation to degenerate to this point.

Because of a financial conflict of interest on my part, it would be untoward of me to express fulsome support and applause for the boycott, and tell the boycotters their position is the principled and correct stand.

Nor will I point out, because it is obvious, that if you buy my books from Tor, then some part of your precious book-buying dollars goes into the wages of several people at Tor (but by no means all, or even most) who hate both you and me with a sick and soul-destroying hatred, a hatred like a disease that withers the heart and rots the brain.

Nor will I point out, because it should also be obvious, that any Christian gentleman would be willing to forgo a worldly reward of your generous book-buying dollars if he may have your spiritual reward of your loyalty instead. If the gentle reader feels compassion for me in my hour of need, or fears the boycott will harm my finances, I have a tip jar on this page.

So I cannot express support for this boycott.

The people with whom I work, my editor and cover art director, have a perfect right to expect me not to undermine their position, untenable as it may be. If the management wants to set the company policy as one of indifference to our patrons and clients on whom our livelihood depends, or contempt, or enmity, or loathing, that business decision is in their bailiwick.

 

Chris Meadows on Teleread

“Sad Puppies supporters, opponents respectively call for boycott, buying of Tor books”   – June 19

However, even leaving aside that Vox Day certainly does speak for the Rabid Puppies, what Correia and Grant miss is that, as a grass-roots movement (I was going to say “ostensibly grass-roots,” but what the heck, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt), “Sad Puppies” doesn’t really have a true “leadership” to speak for it at this point. Whether you’re an official “member” or not, if you identify with the movement, you’re going to be identified with the movement, especially by the movement’s opponents.

Make a lot of noise in support of Sad Puppy goals, and voila, you’re a Sad Puppy, and anything you do reflects on them. And likewise, anything the rest of them do reflects on you—which is why the Puppies movement as a whole is, rightly or wrongly, often tarred with the black brush that most accurately applies only to Vox Day and others like him. (Indeed, it’s why a lot of people use “Sad Puppies” as a shorthand to refer to both the Sad and Rabid Puppies.) And it’s why anti-Puppies (some have suggested the term “Happy Kittens”) feel justified in calling this a “Sad Puppies” boycott.

 

Adam on The Noisy Rogue

“The Boycott of Tor Books” – June 19

Even John C Wright, one of Tor’s own published writers, is unable to express support for Tor in this situation. Make your own minds up, dear readers. But rest assured that the culture wars have not been lost. They were only originally winning in the first place because our side couldn’t be bothered turning up. Now it’s on.

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“Today is Buy From Tor Day” – June 19

Just a reminder that if you would like to express support for Irene Gallo, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder and TOR books, today is the day to go out and buy a TOR book.

You can learn a bit more about this here.

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“Moshe Feder doubles down (again) on the lies” – June 19

Friends, I give you Moshe Feder on Facebook earlier today:

Feder 2015-06-19 Facebook screen capture

….I’m still not going to call for the resignation or dismissal of any of the Tor employees I’ve named.  Nevertheless, if I needed any more justification for why I’m boycotting Tor, Mr. Feder has provided it.  I suppose I should thank him for that – and if he wishes to call me an ‘idiot’, well, I’ve been called a lot worse than that in my time.  Furthermore, for all Mr. Feder’s vitriol directed against him, he’s just made Vox Day look like a sensible, reasonable participant in this debate.  Vox might want to thank him, too . . .

 

 

 

 

Lela E. Buis

“Adding fuel to the flames” – June 19

What ever happened to that discussion about the Hugos?

What Hugos?

By this time, it should be fairly clear that the current debacle has nothing to do with the Hugo Awards. It isn’t really about the liberal versus conservative content of a few Tor books, either. I concede that there may be an ideological component to the attack. If Day is a a “fundamentalist Southern Baptist,” as he has been characterized, then it is likely that he’s offended by liberal viewpoints in general. Still, that’s no reason to go after Tor in particular. Publication of LGBTQ novels, for example, has been increasing across all major publishers in the last few years. Tor has no franchise on liberalism.

That makes it more likely that Day has launched a personal vendetta undercover of the conflict over the Hugo Awards. He has moved from naming Irene Gallo to Moshe Feder to Patrick Nielsen Hayden in the last few days. Most likely this is his actual target. Hayden is the man quoted in news reports announcing John Scalzi’s recent $3.4 million contract with Tor.

It’s a vendetta, folks. Day is pursuing a long-running feud with John Scalzi. That means that anyone who supports Day’s flame war by responding to him is only perpetuating the problem. Tor has got it right. It’s time to hunker down and wait him out.

 

Lawrence Person on Battleswarm Blog

“Sad Puppies Redux (Or Why That Tor Boycott Won’t Work)” – June 19

Since then, a few people on Twitter have been calling for a boycott of Tor Books over the incident. About this I would just like to make a few points:

  • Though the editorial stuff does lean toward the SJW side, plenty of conservative authors are published by Tor.
  • An ad hoc, Twitter-organized boycott is deeply unlikely to work. Given the way book sales are tracked, it’s unlikely the financial effects of any boycott would stand out from sales figures more than background noise. Most SF readers probably aren’t even active on Twitter, and even fewer have been following every twist and turn of the Sad Puppy Saga.
  • Given that Tor is a very small part of the Bertelsmann international conglomerate, chances are even less likely that that any boycott would be effective or even noticed.
  • Larry Correia has categorically stated that the Sad Puppies are not calling for any boycotts. He also notes, as he invariably does, “All I’m asking is that whatever you do, try to be as civil as possible in your disagreements.”

So put me down in the category of thinking a boycott is foolish, pointless and counterproductive.

One big point on the Sad Puppies campaign: Most recent domestic Worldcons have topped out in the 4,000-6,000 members range. I recently bought a Supporting Membership in Sasquan, and my membership number was in the 9,000s. This tends to indicate that the Hugos have indeed become a test of strength in the culture wars.

 

 

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Sucker Punch, by Eric S. Raymond” – June 19

Eric S. Raymond is a 2015 nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. This is a perfectly competently written MilSF…vignette. It’s not a story. It describes a couple of important and unfortunate advances in military weapons and tactics, and presents the resulting dilemma quite poignantly.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Novella” – June 19

….The big surprise in this category, at least for me, was Tom Kratman’s Big Boys Don’t Cry. I had expected a very aggressive narrative designed to offend those of a more liberal persuasion, but what I got was a surprisingly graceful story of a dying sentient tank. That may sound weird, but given advancement in artificial intelligence and this being a science fiction story, it works. It works remarkably well, especially the deeper Kratman brings the story into Magnolia’s history.  Yes, there are also some clumsier jabs at how military tactics have been handled by those not committed to the mission or by those who don’t fully understand what it takes to win, and politicians get the sharp end of the stick in that regard (rightly so, in some cases).

If all of Arlan Andrews’ “Flow” was as successful as the second half of the story, I might have been able to move it up another space on my ballot, but unfortunately the beginning of the story was something of a chore to push through. The primitive ice world (a partially frozen post apocalyptic Earth) was tough to take, less because of the writing and more because of what I was wanted / was getting from the story. I’ll willingly take the hit that part of this is on me, but I often bounce off of fiction dealing with significantly more primitive Earth cultures unless the writing / storytelling can just grab a hold of me and make me care about the characters and / or the setting. “Flow” didn’t…until it did, midway through as Rist began to discover more of the world and realized that what his people taught may not be the way things actually work. I’m now curious to find “Thaw”, a previous story in this setting, and move on to “Fall”, the next in the setting.  I’d like to see where Andrews is taking this.

My Vote

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

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Short Story” – June 19

Without too much further procrastination, it’s onto the stories. This was another full puppy-supported slate, so – to put it mildly – my expectations of good writing were low. I was pleasantly surprised by one story, meh over a couple of others and (predictably) was ready to set a thousand fires to another.

 

May Tree in a comment on File 770 – June 18

(The original is here if you don’t know it.) The original inspiration for looking at this source material was that “Voxie” rhymes with “Roxie.”

[Excerpt is only one-third of the whole parody.]

[PUPS] Hah! They had it coming! They had it coming! They took a genre in its prime And then they used it And they abused it We’ll slate the Hugos – It’s not a crime!

[SARAH] Now, I’m typing on my blog post, carvin’ up the SJWs for the Puppies, minding my own business, in storms Mike Glyer, in a jealous rage. “You’re a hydrophobe!” he says. He was crazy and he kept posting, “You’re a hydrophobe!” And then he ran into my axiom. He ran into my axiom ten times!

[PUPS] If you’d have been there If you’d have read it I betcha you would have thought the same!

[JULIETTE] Oenq, V nz fbeel, ohg vs lbh jvyy or ynoryvat zr nf n fnq chccl V jvyy unir gb nfx lbh gb jvguqenj zr sebz lbhe yvfg. Lbh qvq abg fnl lbh jrer tbvat gb or pnyyvat vg gur Fnq Chccvrf yvfg. V srry yvxr lbh jrer zvfercerfragvat vg. V’z unccl gb or bar bs lbhe Uhtb erpbzzraqngvbaf. Guvf vf qvssrerag.

[BRAD] Yeah, but will you be on my slate?

[JULIETTE] UH UH, not Puppy!

[LARRY] My buddy Brad and I had this Sad Puppy act, and my “devil” Voxie traveled around with us. Now, for the most recent year in our slate, we nommed 20 of Brad’s buddies in a row. One, two, three, four, five…Kratman, Freer, Antonelli, Reid, one right after the other. Well, this one night we were ranting about liberals, the three of us, boozing and having a few laughs, and we run out of ice. So I go out to get some. I come back, open the door, and there’s Brad and Voxie nomming Number Seventeen – “Wisdom From My Internet.” Well, I was in such a state of shock, I completely blacked out. I can’t remember a thing. It wasn’t until later, when I was washing the toner off my hands, I even knew they were Rabid.

[PUPS] They had it coming! They had it coming! Ann Leckie does her genders wrong! I didn’t read her! But if I read her I wouldn’t know which “she” has a schlong!

 

The Day the World Turned Pupside Down 6/15

aka The Fall of the Doghouse of Usher

Today in the roundup: Andrew Hickey, The G, Brad R. Torgersen, Dave Freer, Chris Van Trump, Cedar Sanderson, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Joe Vasicek, Peter Grant, Amanda S. Green, Keri Sperring, Natalie Luhrs, Maureen Eichner, Paul Weimer, Michael A. Rothman, RedWombat, Camestros Felapton, Spacefaring Kitten, Lis Carey, Steve Davidson and cryptic others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Kary English and rcade.)

Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

“What Political Campaigners Can Learn From The Sad & Rabid Puppies” – June 15

But at the point where you try to drag in the US-centric “culture war”, and argue for the right-wing side of it, you lose not only the “SJWs”, but basically anyone in the Western world outside the USA, because even the most barking right-winger in the UK would be considered a leftist by US culture war standards, and the UK is right-wing compared to most of the rest of the West.

Then there’s the claim that the Puppies’ work is the best of what’s out there — on a purely aesthetic ground, that claim is a nonsense, and I get very annoyed at people pushing clearly sub-par work.

So even if the Puppies hadn’t made an actual enemy of me by including among their membership white supremacist homophobes who advocate rape and murder, I would wish them to fail purely because of their promotion of poor work and their culture war agenda.

But then there are other people — right-wing Republicans who like the stories — who are also voting “No Award” above the Puppies because they’re angry that those works got on the ballot thanks to voting slates, which are against the spirit of the awards and break the unspoken agreement among fandom not to do that kind of thing.

I have to say that personally, that bit doesn’t annoy me too much. I mean, it annoys me a bit, because it’s cheating, but if they’d cheated and got a *really great* bunch of stories on there, I’d have had a sneaking admiration for it. I’d not have approved, mind, but I’d not have been that angry.

 

The G on nerds of a feather, flock together

“Final Words on #Hugowank” – June 15

  1. Isolate and address the legitimate grievances

The sad version claims its campaign is really about sticking up for fun and/or commercial and/or pulpy and/or conservative and/or apolitical science fiction and fantasy against the onslaught of intellectual snobs and/or “social justice warriors” who have forced works of high-minded and/or message-driven and/or progressive literature on the unsuspecting masses of fandom.

Despite finding the majority of victimization claims empirically bogus, I do have some sympathy for the base-claim that popular genre is often crowded out by a specific style of literary-minded SF/F. But in short fiction, where voting pools are small and its likely that writers, editors and slush readers represent a disproportionate slice of the electorate. And it’s not the result of conspiracy but an institutional effect—a self-replicating mechanism that structures the field. Jonathan McCalmont explains how that works in these (one, two, three) articles.

For the record, I see no evidence of this in the best novel category. In fact, I see the opposite—voters rewarding novels that are, on the surface, light and breezy, but have some deeper messages if you bother to look for them. However, it’s not necessary to do that if you just want fun and adventure—sort of like Firefly. (Actually a lot like Firefly, come to think of it.) Plus several Hugo winners, Redshirts and Among Others in particular, are aimed directly at so-called trufans: Redshirts is a Star Trek parody and the protagonist of Among Others is literally a trufan. These are genuinely popular books, and if being a fan is a major part of your life, then there’s an even stronger chance you’ll connect with them. But New Yorker material they are not.

What’s more, even if certain kinds of short fiction enjoy institutional advantages at the moment, pulpy SF/F has not been shut out. Brandon Sanderson, for example, won Best Novella in 2013 for the popular and commercial The Emperor’s Soul. And though I understand Charles Stross is, for some, a demon whose recent Hugo successes haunt dreams and stalk imaginations, 2014 Novella winner “Equoid” (on Tor dot com) is actually super pulpy.

 

Brad R. Torgersen

“Picture of a TOR buyer” – June 15

It would be a damned shame if someone thought I was just malware.

Don’t you think?

 

Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“The plucky ‘bots” – June 15

Now according to semi-reliable sources (Publishers Weekly, drawing data from Bookscan) the pie got smaller. This of course is traditional publishing’s pie (which is historically almost the entire Hugo pie too.) (my apologies for not having the 2014 figures – my internet is being really slow and buggy. I’ve seen them, but couldn’t find them. It’s no change.) It’s shrinking year on year with less readers, less sales, and at this rate, will be a slightly smaller problem than the argument about the last slice of Pavlova at the Flinders Island Country Women’s Association tea in ten years’ time (Okay that’s a pretty serious dispute, but it’s got maybe 12 women eyeing it. Still, it’s only just thermonuclear, and not planet-busting)

Part of the reason the puppy kickers have been so particularly unpleasant, vicious and ready for ad hominem and attacks on the livelihood and reputation of anyone even vaguely associated with the Puppies has been because of that shrinking. Those are their pieces of pie, and they want to keep them, and as much as possible of what is left.

In a way, of course, that true in the award situation. There are a fixed number of final nominees, and only one winner in each category.

 

Chris Van Trump on Shambling Towards Bethlehem

“Sadder Puppies” – June 15

I suppose the most tragic thing to me, in the ongoing Saga of the Sad Puppies, is that the people opposed to said Puppies seem to be going out of their way to prove a lot of the accusations that led to the creation of the Puppies in the first place.  Because the inevitable response, once you filter out the snark and hyperbole, is as follows:

“There is no conspiracy, no liberal cabal stopping conservative authors from winning, so stop trying to take our award away from us.”

“Us”, of course, is just code for “people who think like me”.

It’s disheartening to see established, award-winning authors decrying anyone who doesn’t agree with them as “no true fan”.  And Worldcon isn’t even in Scotland this year…

 

Cedar Sanderson

“Letter-Writing Campaign” – June 15

And speaking of black holes, I was annoyed to discover that Tor Books, on which I blogged at length last week, has apparently decided that the customers who are contacting them to complain about the way Irene Gallo treated them are not real. I wish I were joking. I am being told that they have decided the response is disproportionate, and therefore all the emails they are getting are from ‘bots. Whether this is all of Tor (which I doubt) or a small cadre (likely the same ones who have been so vocally critical in the past of their ‘wrongfans’) doesn’t really matter. This is completely unacceptable. I am angry and abandoning a vendor who has messed up a small (relatively) order. How do you think that I and others are reacting when complaints of being called racist, misogynist, homophobic, our work being ‘bad to reprehensible’ and worst of all to those of us who know history, lumped with neo-Nazis? Those complaints are being ignored, maybe deleted, and I will not put up with it, for one.

I strongly urge my readers to join me in making our voices heard. I am not calling for a  boycott, or firings, I simply want to have a conversation and have my concerns acknowledged. I do not want to be brushed aside and ignored as though I were a meaningless part of this. I’ve bought few Tor books in the last few years because I haven’t cared for most of the authors they support. But I have bought some, and furthermore, am one of those libeled as having ‘bad to reprehensible’ work.

I am also a businesswoman, and this unprofessional behavior is inexcusable. Allowing their employees to post things like the screencap below, which appeared on a Monday afternoon, meaning it was almost certainly made during work time, on a work computer… that is beyond the pale, as many people have found in the past. Unless, evidently, you work for Tor or MacMillan. If then, apparently you can call your customers names with impunity.

 

L. Jagi Lamplighter on Welcome To Arhyalon

“I Am Not A Robot! I Am A Free Fan!” – June 15

[The author requested that I run this disclaimer ahead of any excerpt.]

[L. Jagi Lamplighter: “I would not want someone to think I am trying to make things worse between Tor and their readers! I just thought that harmony could not be restored if folks at Tor mistakenly thought the letters from readers were from a bot. (I know they are legit, because I know some of these folks. They’ve been writing to John to explain why they feel they can’t buy his books.)”]

Many of these readers are people I know, people I interact with online, or fans of John’s who have written us thoughtful letters explaining why they regretfully feel they must stop buying Tor book, despite their desire to keep reading John’s latest series.

I was thus appalled to see posts suggesting that the emails to Tor—many of which, I am led to understand, are arriving with photos of the reader’s Tor book collections, in some cases, collections worth thousands of dollars—were not legitimate but were sent from automated bots.

Tor Folks:  You may disagree with the Sad/Rabid Puppies, or feel loyalty to your co-workers—but please! Don’t insult our readers by claiming they don’t exist!

Readers:  I realize that, in the age of electronics,this is an unprecedented request, but: if you have a strong opinion that you wish to be heard, it might help if you committed it to physical paper—perhaps along with a printout of your photo of your Tor book collection—and snail mailed it to Tor and Macmillan.

Also, feel free to send me your photo of your Tor books. I will post any photos or links I receive on my website, so everyone can see that you are a real person with real books.

[Photos posted here — I Am Not A Robot! I Am A Free Fan!]

 

Joe Vasicek on One Thousand and One Parsecs

“I AM A REAL PERSON” – June 15

In my first email, I stated that I could not in good conscience continue to support your organization by submitting my stories for publication at Tor.com. The events of the last seven days have made me reluctant to buy Tor books as well. In the coming months, I hope that we can move past this controversy so that we can get back to reading, writing, and publishing stories that we all love, without concern for politics. However, until the corporate culture at Tor has changed to be more inclusive of readers and writers like me, I do not see how that is possible.

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“’Can you hear us now?’ Another open letter to Tor and Macmillan” – June 15

A heartfelt “Thank you!!!” to everyone who responded to requests to e-mail Tor and Macmillan about the situation there.  I’ll leave the co-ordinator of the campaign to announce the totals, but they appear to be well into four figures as of the time of writing.  I wonder if Tor and Macmillan will now accept that we aren’t bots and we aren’t just a few malcontents? We are, in fact, a growing wave of SF/F fans who are threatening to abandon them altogether.  If they haven’t yet got that message, they’ll probably never understand it without more direct action.

(By the way, I can only describe as ‘catastrophic’ the performance of whoever’s responsible for customer relations at Tor and/or Macmillan.  There’s been an absolutely inexplicable, deafening silence from both companies in response to e-mails and other communications – not even so much as an acknowledgment of receipt.  When I was a manager and, later, a director, if I’d had a customer relations person who performed so abysmally, they’d have been fired the moment I found out about it.  “Do not pass ‘GO’, do not collect $200, and by all means let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!”  This is simply ridiculous.  Oh, well . . . if they want to play the clam, I think we have every right to assume that both companies are standing behind the unconscionable words and attitudes of the Tor personnel we’ve named.  We’re therefore free to take our response to the next – and only logical – level.)

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Vacation’s over” – June 15

Then there is the mischaracterization being tossed around by some that SP3 stands for no message in our fiction. That is, as I said, a mischaracterization. What we want is for story to be the driving force. Yes, you can have a message but don’t hit the reader over the head with it because, whether you want to admit it or not, it will turn most folks off it they think they are being lectured to.

 

Kari Sperring

“Red Writer: I stand with Irene Gallo” – June 15

Mr Beale believes in freedom only for himself and those who agree with him. He believes he has the right to police the words and lives of everyone else and punish or destroy them if they offend. He is the perfect robber capitalist, dreaming of a world in which the rich — and he is very very rich — control everything, from resources and awards to bodies and thoughts of those who he considers his inferiors. He’s trying that today with TOR books.

And this red writer is standing here in his way. The US culture war does not belong in our genre, which is global and not the property of any one interest group or political belief. Do I want right-wing books and writers in my genre? Yes, I do. Writing belongs to us all. Do I want *only* right wing books and *only* white, straight, American male writers? No, because that is counter not only to the roots of sff — which lie in the work of writers of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, and political views — but to my personal principles, which believe in inclusion and support for the many rather than privilege for the (predictable straight white male) few.

I stand with Irene Gallo.

Or, and if you want to go and denounce me and my books as communist, feel free. I’m not ashamed of my politics.

 

Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“I am a real person and I stand with Irene Gallp” – June 15

In response to these rank pieces of bullshit (and this one, too), I have just emailed the following individuals at Tor Books and Macmillan in solidarity with Irene Gallo:…

 

Paul Weimer on Blog, Jvstin Style

“I am a real person, too and I do not Support Theodore Beale” – June 15

You know what? I’m a real person too. I’m a real person who thinks that the shit that Theodore Beale has pulled in the community has helped inflame tensions and increase divides in the SFF community. I’m a real person who reads what Beale writes on his blog and sees that if Irene is wrong in calling Rabid Puppies Neonazis, its a pretty thin wedge….

 

Maureen Eichner on By Signing Light

“A letter to Tor and MacMillan” – June 15

I’ve spent much of the last week appalled and upset by this message from Tom Doherty, the head of Tor Books. I’m not going into the backstory or ramifications in this post, but suffice it to say that once again, it has made me feel that being a female SFF fan, writer, or editor means fighting for your place forever. It means your boss choosing to give words of support to a noxious racist rather than to you.

 

Michael A. Rothman in a comment on Facebook – June 15

[Rothman outs himself as a troll.]

The Chesley Awards…..

Anyone want to take bets on Irene Gallo taking the prize for a variety of reasons that will remain nameless?

Larry? Brad? Mike?

 

Brad R. Torgersen in a comment on File 770 – June 15

Aaron: has it ever occurred to you that for me, the front man of SP3, to begin playing favorites — ergo, singling out specific works for praise — I’d be doing a disservice to the whole slate? Like every other year at the Hugos, not every work on the list will be to all tastes. I am only disappointed in everyone who claims “The Hugos should be a celebration of quality and excellence!” in one breath, then shout, “Everyone on the Puppy list sucks, their work sucks, and I will Noah Ward the lot of them; sight-unseen!”

 

Red Wombat in a comment on File 770 – June 15

I would like to ask our person asking us to go easy on Brad, in turn, if he can understand how some of us who went from “Which one’s Brad?” to being told that our much cherished awards were an affirmative action movement, and we weren’t REALLY creating anything worthwhile, it was all our glittery hoo-has and correct social justicey-ness, might take offense.

From my point of view, Torgersen went from a name on the Campbell ballot to a dude who had just insulted something I poured a decade of my life into.

Can you at least reach across the aisle to understand why I would not feel he’s a nice sweet boy after that? Why I started out feeling that he’d built a campaign on the back of insulting me, and everyone a little like me?

He could apologize. I’d probably accept it–I’m basically a marshmallow. But please understand that some of us walked in to find that we were being insulted when we’d never spoken a word to Brad before.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“The Blending Puppies” – June 15

There was supposed to be a difference between the two puppy breeds. Rabid Puppies were supposed to be the foam-mouthed extremists who want to destroy the Hugos and wreak maximum havoc, while their sad cousins are — despite buying into some objectionable ideas —  actual SFF fans. Or that’s what I thought. I’m not sure you can make the distinction anymore.

Sad Puppy figures Brad Torgersen, Cedar Sanderson and Peter Grant, among others, have decided to join the professional troll Vox Day on his crazy crusade against Tor books. They’re all supporting a GamerGate-inspired mailbox-stuffing campaign that tries to get a person who is working for an SFF publisher (and who they don’t like) fired.

 

 

Camestros Felapton

“The Aslan, the warlock and the cupboard: more on One Bright Star” – June 14

What are we to conclude? The simplest answer is that Tybalt is an allegorical mess and the reason for that is Wright really didn’t know what he was doing. I’m happy to believe that Wright’s claims about what he intended are correct but all we can conclude from that is what was obvious from the beginning: One Bright Start To Guide Them is not well written nor well edited and the potentially interesting ideas are mainly happenstance.

 

Tony on Geeky Library

The Dark Between The Stars”  – June 15

Rating (5 stars)

The author’s writing style is engaging and dramatic without being overly narrative. While it took me a little work to get started, once I was reading it, I couldn’t put the book down. Written in the same format as A Song of Ice and Fire, the story follows multiple characters, sometimes briefly, as events unfold. Historical events are introduced and explained without making you feel like an idiot for not reading the Seven Suns saga, and plotlines are left unresolved where necessary to carry into rest of the trilogy.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Hill 142, by Jason Cordova” – June 15

Jason Cordova is a 2015 nominee for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best New Writer.

This is a single, small battle of World War One, with the Germans equipped with giant, venomous spiders as cavalry mounts, and the Americans equipped with giant (2000-pound) lion as mounts. There’s no explanation of why or how, other than a reference to a breeding program for the lions in Texas, There’s also no indication of how this affects the war, other than sending the surviving soldiers home with more fantastical stories to tell. So what’s the point? I have no idea.

Not recommended.

 

Font Folly

“Hugo Ballot Reviews: Novella” – June 15

[Preceded by reviews of nominated novellas.]

* The Sad/Rabid Puppies object to this characterization. They were just recommending entire slates, they say. Nothing they did was against the rules, they say. Which is exactly what cheats, grifters, and confidence men say when they are caught exploiting a system. Voting an entire slate clearly violates the spirit of the awards, which is supposed to be voting for the works you personally thought were the best of the year. Recruiting mens rights activists and Gamergators who aren’t regular readers of SF to vote these slates in order to stick it to the Social Justice Warriors pushes it even further into the dirty deed category.

 

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“Fandom Enters The McCarthy Era” – June 15

Corrected text from the Wikipedia entry on Senator Joseph McCarthy S. R. Puppies:

Beginning in 1950 2013, McCarthy S.R. Puppies became the most visible public face of a period in which Cold War Hugo Award tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist SJW subversion. He was They were noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers SJW and Liberal Fans inside the United States federal government SF/F publishing industry and elsewhere. Ultimately, his their tactics and inability to substantiate his their claims led him them to be censured by the United States Senate Fandom.

The term McCarthyism Puppyism, coined in 1950 2015 in reference to McCarthy’s S.R. Puppies’ practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist SJW activities. Today the term is used more generally in reference to demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents….

The Hydrophobia That Falls On You From Nowhere 6/12

aka The Puppies of Wrath

Today’s roundup stars David Gerrold, Tom Knighton, Rand Simberg, Phil Sandifer, Abi Sutherland, Doctor Science, Edward Trimnell, Jenn Armistead, Lela E. Buis, Peter Grant, Sarah A. Hoyt, Natalie Luhrs. Robert Sharp, Lis Carey and Lou J. Berger. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Seth Gordon and Steve Moss.)

David Gerrold on Facebook – June 12

Okay — so far, so good. If you wanted to suggest that there is a certain insular attitude among regular Worldcon attendees and supporters, even a clique-ishness, you could make that case — from the outside, it could look like that.

But actually, no. Because any convention — especially the Worldcon — is open to anyone who wants to buy a membership and attend. So no one is being kept out.

The issue — the idea that I’m creeping up on here — is the perception of a science fiction community. It’s an open community. Anyone can be a member of this community. Just show up. The ceiling constitutes an introduction. (ie. “You’re in the room, you’re here, you’re one of us. Hello!”)

So, in actuality, the community isn’t insular and it isn’t a clique — but it does have a lot of people in it who’ve known each other for a long time, and that can be intimidating to newcomers.

Now — here’s where I’m going to make some assumptions.

1) Based on the evidence of his online screeds, Vox Day does not consider himself a member of the science fiction community. In his own mind, he apparently considers himself a righteous and noble warrior fighting an evil establishment that sprawls like a cancer across the literary landscape. Based on the evidence of his online statements, he is at war with the community. He wants to disrupt and destroy. He has — by his own devices — selected himself out.

2) Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia, and others who have identified themselves as the “sad puppies” are very much a part of the SF community. They have demonstrated — by writing and publishing stories, by attending conventions, by being nominated for awards, by writing blogs and participating online — that they have a personal investment in the workings of the SF community. They are not enemies, they are (to the extent they participate in fannish endeavors) fans like everyone else.

Now, having made those distinctions, let me expand on them. ….

 

Tom Knighton

“David Gerrold: Sad Puppies ARE part of ‘SF community’” – June 12

I’ve been very upset by some of the things I’ve seen from David Gerrold since the Hugo nominations were announced.  Honestly, knowing such a person wrote my mother’s favorite Star Trek episode was upsetting on a personal level that really doesn’t make any sense, but there it was.

However, Gerrold’s tone has mellowed recently.  Today, he stated something that few would acknowledge, and that was how Larry Correia, Brad Torgersen, and the rest of us are part of the science fiction fan community in a post on Facebook early this morning. ….

That said, I’m willing to explore alternatives, but only so long as the horrid things we’re called ends.  Gerrold brings up the Paris Peace Accords and the amount of time it took just to get things rolling for various reasons.  In light of that, a comparison to a bloody war, I think it’s fair to note that I see no reason for us to disarm if the other side refuses.  CHORF and SJW remain in the arsenal, and will be used if necessary.

Calling us Sad Puppies won’t bring them out from me.  Calling us racists, homophobic, misogynists, or similarly will.  I’m damn sick of it.  Those words have meanings, and they’re being stripped of those meanings by using them to describe minorities of all stripes who stand with the Sad Puppies simply because they like different books.

 

Rand Simberg on Transterrestrial Musings

“David Gerrold” – June 12

..says Sad Puppies are a part of the SF community.

Well, that’s mighty white of him.

 

Philip Sandifer

“John C. Wright Has Just Advocated For My Murder” – June 12

In the comments over at Vox Day’s blog, John C. Wright posted the following:

Wrought

The first line is Wright quoting a previous post of mine. The second paragraph is him advocating for my murder. Because he disagrees with my definition of mysticism. I am, to be clear, not particularly scared by this. I do not imagine that John C. Wright will now be hiding in my bushes, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. This is empty, vicious rhetoric of the sort that Day and Wright specialize in – sound and fury that, while not exactly signifying nothing, is still clearly told by an idiot. Hell, if I were a woman blogging about the stuff I blog about I’d get half a dozen far worse threats a day. The threat itself is not a big deal.

 

Doctor Science in a comment on File 770 – June 12

If any Puppies are in the neighborhood: *this* is what the conspiracy of Hugo voters you think has been going on for years looks like. Not covert conversations, not a sekrit batsignal telling us who the Approve Authors are this year, but a lot of people saying, “I just read this thing, it’s great!” and explaining *why* it’s great, with other people saying things ranging from “me to!” to “what are you, nuts?” to “meh”.

 

Edward Trimnell

“So why are they mad at Tor Books?” – June 12

The science fiction community is currently divided into two factions: For the purposes of our discussion here, we’ll use the names they’ve assigned to themselves: the Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) and the Sad Puppies.

*  *   *

The SJW faction believes that science fiction is primarily a vehicle of identity group politics. For the SJW faction, the ideal science fiction story would feature an angry feminist of color who receives a visitation from a band of transgender aliens one night as she is driving home from a Women’s Studies seminar somewhere in Massachusetts.

Over the course of many chapters, the transgender aliens explain to her why all of her problems result from white male exploitation.

The plot line is resolved when the angry feminist of color leaves her husband or boyfriend, gets a closely cropped haircut, and moves into a lesbian commune in western Massachusetts. (A closing monologue about the evils of the George W. Bush administration is optional.)

 

Jenn Armistead in letter to Library Journal – June 1

If the Sad Puppies don’t want to be conflated with the Rabid Puppies or called mean words like misogynist, perhaps they should have done a better job of explaining how what they were doing wasn’t a reaction to the “large” number of minorities who won the Hugos last year (Wilda Williams, “Set Your Phasers to Stunned: 2015 Hugo Nominations Stir Controversy”). Yes, it’s lovely that your slate also has women and brown people and that women and brown people were involved in creating Sad Puppies, but if you are going to claim the past winners didn’t deserve their awards but received them because of their gender/race/sexuality/whatever, you have to be very, very careful with your messaging, because it is going to tend to sound like you don’t like women/brown people/LGBT/whatever winning awards instead of white men.

The choice of the term Sad Puppies also doesn’t help your position. It was obviously chosen as a nod toward the anti-SJW [Social Justice Warrior] term, and it is rather disingenuous to claim otherwise. At the very least, your message was not received as it was intended. At worst, you sound like Gamergaters crying, “But it’s about ethics in game journalism!”

At the end of the day, I don’t think it matters. This is about a small subset of the sf reading population vying with another small subset of the sf reading population over a popularity contest. The rest of us readers will continue to read whatever we prefer. If we don’t see ourselves and the works we care about reflected in the ­Hugos, we’ll just go elsewhere.

—Jenn Armistead, Literacy Coordinator, Tulsa City-Cty. Lib. Syst.

 

Lela E. Buis

“Replying to intent” – June 12

As a mere short story writer, I’m coming late to the front. I’m just picking up on the issues here. I don’t know what Vox Day has against Tor, but it looks to me like he’s attacking the editors as a way to get at the organization in general. As a battle-hardened flame warrior, I have to say that it’s important to look at the enemy’s intent instead of what s/he says. Attacks can be shut down if you know what they’re really about.

John Scalzi? Just a guess.

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“Tor: the latest developments (or lack thereof)” – June 12

I wonder whether Tor’s and Macmillan’s lack of response to my letters, both public and private, is because they think I don’t mean it?  Do they think I’m just ‘small fry’, not worth bothering about?  Do they think my words are ‘a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing‘? Do they think I’m making an idle threat, or don’t have any support?  Time will tell.  I know what other authors and individuals in the SF/F community have said to me.  Let’s see whether they back up their words with action.  Whether they do or they don’t, I know what I’m going to do if the situation doesn’t change.

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Dispatches From Another World” – June 12

But one thing is to know it instinctively – and even then when I write about it, people email me to tell me that I am wrong and “paranoid” and yeah, one is always afraid – and another to have one’s nose rubbed in it in the form of a supposed adult saying with the simplicity of a 12 year old that the people who oppose her are “racist, sexist, homophobic” and “bad to reprehensible” even before the “poopy-head” level classification of “neo-nazis.”

Look, it is the fact that Irene Gallo is sincere and, in her own mind, fighting on the side of angels, that is shocking and scary. And it fits perfectly with what I’ve seen in the publishing world (other than Baen, natch) in my years working as a professional writer.

These people don’t live in the world we live in.

Most of us – well, some of us – went through excellent universities, and read voraciously, and were subjected to the barrage of media that projected the same mental picture Ms. Gallo has: the left is eternally right (when they were wrong, their mistakes – like segregation – are now attributed to the right) and the future is a bright socialist utopia (really communist, but we’ll call it socialist so as not to scare the squares) and anyone who stands against it is an evil right winger, a fascist, a neo nazi and by definition racist, sexist, homophobic.

 

Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“Links: 06/12/15” – June 12

Has there been any more fan writing about this? I’d really like to read more fan perspectives as I work my way through the giant pile of angry thoughts I have about this. I feel like the fan perspective is important, for a lot of reasons: first of all, most of us are doing this because we actually do love the community and most of the people who make up the community. Second, we often have more at risk: fan labor is almost by its very definition free labor, we have smaller platforms, and what happened to Irene Gallo is chilling across multiple axes.

I stand in solidarity with Irene Gallo. I respect the hell out of her and her work and I think she is doing amazing things with art direction. She makes an incredibly difficult job look effortless and easy.  And publicly chastising her for what she said on her personal Facebook page was wrong.

 

Robert Sharp on Medium – June 12

It is now time for a “personal opinions” icon. Millions of people like Irene Gallo could add the symbol to their personal social media accounts. Ideally, the symbol would link to some standardised “these are my personal views” text that would insure both the individual and their employers from being dragged into something that should not concern them.

What would such an icon look like? That is a challenge for graphic designers. It needs to work at extremely small resolutions. My initial idea was simply a shape with a letter ‘p’ in it, but that does not translate across cultures. Perhaps a speech bubble with a face or head inside?

I urge designers to take up this challenge.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF, by Ken Burnside” – June 12

This is easily the best of the Best Related Works Hugo nominees. Burnside lays out what thermodynamics really mean for military actions and combat in space, at least if you are writing “hard” sf, intended to be based in scientific reality.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Letters From Gardner: A Writer’s Odyssey, by Lou Antonelli” – June 12

The memoir portions are perhaps less fascinating than Antonelli imagines. It’s a bit of a slog to get to the first few little notes from Dozois, which, while obviously highly encouraging to a new writer for whom any personal comment from an editor, especially one as notable as Dozois, are in themselves very ordinary. They just do not have the  thrill for the reader that they would obviously and appropriately have had for Antonelli when he received them. What’s hard to understand here is the lack of the most basic proof-reading and copy-editing. There are errors of tense and number, but always when the error is just one letter, suggesting a typo that a spellchecker wouldn’t catch, and a human eye didn’t catch. There are dropped words that momentarily bounce the reader out of the narrative. And it’s not just one or two instances; it keeps happening. It’s as if Antonelli relied too heavily on his newspaper-honed ability to produce readable copy on short notice, and didn’t think he needed an editor, or even a proofreader. The danger of that is that after you’ve spent too much time with your own prose, you see what you meant to type, not what you really did type. It’s an unwise choice that weakens even the best work. All in all, I can’t see this book being of real interest to anyone except Lou Antonelli’s devoted fans. A “Best Related Work,” it is not.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Riding the Red Horse, by Tom Kratman (editor), Vox Day [Theodore Beale] (editor)” – June 12

Unfortunately, it’s a very uneven collection. It includes the very good The Hot Equations, by Ken Burnside, and the very disappointing Turncoat by Steve Rzasa. There is, early on, a casual endorsement of the probable “necessity” of genocide on the grounds that Those People aren’t smart enough to modify their behavior. A point Beale’s fans will have difficulty with is that such inflammatory language makes it less likely that readers will take in the point the author was attempting to make. A better editor would have caught it and told the author to dispense with pointless provocation and just make his point.

 

Lou J. Berger on Facebook – June 9

As David Gerrold proposed, WorldCon in Spokane this year will be a party, a place to revel in our shared love of Science Fiction, a place to be inclusive and supportive of one another.

Remember, we are ALL Science Fiction!

I’ll be passing these badge ribbons out to whomever asks for one at Sasquan.

We Are ALL Science Fiction ribbon

Lou J. Berger on Facebook – June 11

#?WeAreALLSF

The hashtag is gaining momentum, and if you agree that Science Fiction has been sundered, but believe we can repair the situation, please consider sharing the hashtag, along with a short paragraph or so of WHY you agree that re-unification of the various factions is vital….

There’s LOTS of room for all of us in the field of Science Fiction. Hijacking ballots, or dismissing milSF as “not real SF” says more about the person stating it than about the field at large.

We are ALL Science Fiction, and we’ve taken this genre from pulp to mainstream.

Let’s put down our scathing vitriol and find a way to support each other.

We are ALL Science Fiction.

The Bark Between The Stars 5/29

aka If All Puppies Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?

Here in today’s roundup: Martin Wisse, Sarah A. Hoyt, Alexandra Erin, Lela E. Buis, Bruce Baugh, Adam-Troy Castro, Vox Day, Daddy Warpig, Phil Sandifer, Shaun Duke, Spacefaring Kitten, Rebekah Golden, Dave Noonan, Lis Carey, Aziz Poonawalla, Charlie Jane Anders, Natalie Luhrs, and Kyra. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and May Tree – who independently submitted the same item — and Owlmirror.)

Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“Your writer’s group would not be angry with this” – May 29

That’s the sort of bollocks you hear a lot of science fiction readers talk about, that they want prose that’s transparent, “doesn’t get in the way of the story”, doesn’t demand any attention paid, doesn’t challenge. There’s of course a huge inferiority complex running through parts of science fiction, resulting in the dismissal of everything that smacks of the literary and difficult. That’s what you see here. It’s not bad persé, it’s just a bit unambitious.

And to be honest, the Hugos too often have been that already. There are plenty of middle of the road novels that have been nominated and won it. Do we really need more of that, or do we rather have something a bit more challenging? Cetainly the Puppy nominees aren’t the answers: by all reports they mostly fail even Paulk’s rather low standards.

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Pure Gold” – May 29

We know the air of collegiate comradery is a lie, to an extent. Note I said to an extent, and I’ll explain later.

Part of my amusement at the reaction to the whole Sad Puppies thing has been the very same people saying there were never politics in SF being the very same people who once told me that there were rifts I didn’t see in the field and that some people in the early two thousands still didn’t talk to each after arguments over the Vietnam war back in the day.

And anyone who has read Heinlein’s bio knows about the other rifts in fandom and among professionals way back before that, a lot of them political.

But this is to an extent, because to another extent… Well, guys, we’re all pretty weird. We spend our days writing about worlds and futures that don’t exist.

Older son who aspires to medicine (and is engaged in preparation to practice it) tells me that only people with a compulsion to work at healing (and he says it’s a compulsion) understand other people with the same issue. Well, guys… Yeah, same for writers, and to an extent for fans.

I’m not going to tell you that I love all my colleagues. There are many I loathe, many I cordially detest, many I tolerate, and, yes, many I love dearly. Weirdly, this doesn’t rift across political lines (of course, my politics being what they are, they are at best cross-sectional to real world politics) or even correlate to those I like to read. Yeah, curse it, some of the ones I loathe write pretty good stuff. (Shakes fist at great novelist in the sky, who has a sense of humor.)

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“The Puppies come so close to getting it, so often.” – May 28

…I stumbled across a post by Dave Freer from February called “To Serve One Master — The Reader“.

The major thrust of the blog post is the idea that however an author intends a work to be received is secondary to how readers receive it, which… okay. This is something that it’s taken me a long time to accept as an author, but I have to say that I am in general agreement with it.

The thing is, it’s weird to see a self-professed Puppy saying this. After all, these are the same people who, whenever someone starts talking about the racist or sexist content of a work, respond with “BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT THE AUTHOR MEANT! YOU CAN’T KNOW WHAT’S IN THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS! YOU’RE JUST READING INTO THINGS!”

 

Lela E. Buis

“Puppy Debate Maxing Out” – May 29

I’ve been involved in work-for-hire for the last couple of weeks, and am just coming up for air. Checking around my virtual environment, I notice the debate about the Hugo’s seems to have gone past the point of raging insults and into slash and burn territory.

This is a process that’s encouraged by the nature of the Internet itself. If this were a space opera, for example, the plot would play out something like this: The Puppies make a raid and take over territory at the Hugo Awards. Because this is considered an aggressive action, defenders of the award would assemble a force to shake them loose. They’d all let fly with photon torpedoes and phaser cannons set to “kill.” If the forces had to resort to hand-to-hand combat, they might bring out their light sabers and go at it in Star Wars style. The result would either be that the Puppies are driven off, or else they prevail and put down roots in their new territory.

The problem with this scenario, of course, is that all the battles are actually virtual. They’re being fought on blogs, websites, Twitter and Amazon accounts and in a few news outlets. This means that there can be no really decisive victory. Defenders of the Hugos can score against the other side with a well-turned phrase, but not really take back the stronghold.

 

Bruce Baugh on Google Plus  – May 28

Kate Paulk will be organizing the Sad Puppies 4 effort for next year’s Hugos, so it’s interesting to see what her creative priorities are. Two things of note, for me…

#1. Her guideline #7, “The prose is invisible.”, seems like a good way to toss out some of sf/f’s best writers, including Vance, Wolfe, Lafferty, and so many others.This line from Jack Vance’s “The Last Castle”, for instance, is delightful and very much visible: “In the end, death came uniformly to all, and all extracted as much satisfaction from their dying as this essentially graceless process could afford.” Prose I stop to admire in delight, or wonder, or the kind of bewilderment that leads to insight is a big part of why I read, and always has been.

#2. There’s nothing on her list about world-building, at all. This isn’t unique to this piece, either. None of the Puppies have much at all to say about world-building. I read sf/f for other places and times just as much for specific characters and stories within them, and one of the things that can make a work great is its setting. But seriously, they just don’t talk about world-building, which seems to me like talking about cooking shows and never wondering how something tastes.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – May 29

…Even if you’re Eric Flint and write exactly the kind of fiction the Puppies like, if you think the Puppies have no case, if you write several blog posts addressing them with logic, if you criticize Brad Torgersen in particular, you are a CHORF guilty of Saul Alinsky tactics and should be subjected to demands for apology.

Can we just make a rule in life that if you invoke the name of an old lefty who has been dead for decades and who is in fact unknown to most people who harbor left-wing beliefs, to attack criticism for crying out loud, you are at best a silly silly person?

 

 

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The Olympian indifference of Johnny Con” – May 29

Mike Cernovich @Cernovich As a white straight male capitalist, I’m happy for @scalzi’s $3.4 million book deal. But how many women/POC are squeezed out because of it?

I had estimated 680 on the basis of other SF publishers’ current initial advances, but I stand corrected. …Tor is funding 13 more John Scalzi books at the opportunity cost of no less than 523 initial advances to new science fiction authors. As a side note, it is informative to see how much initial advances from major publishers have shrunk over time; the advance for my first published novel in 1996 was $20,000.

Those who have thrown hissy fits over Sad Puppies supposedly slate-blocking as many as 12 authors and preventing them from receiving recognition for their work at the Hugo Awards would do well to consider the fact that Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi have combined to prevent more than 500 authors from getting published and receiving paid advances. Opportunity cost is a bitch, especially when you’re the one upon whose fingers the window of opportunity has closed.

 

Shaun Duke on World in a Satin Bag

“On the Hugo Awards: Two Scholarly-ish Projects to Come (An Announcement)” – May 29

A lot of us in SF/F circles heard of the rumors circulating about the Hugos in the weeks prior to their announcement.  I heard many rumors from some of my friends, and many more circulated (or were revealed as truth) through RP/SP circles and through those with far more industry clout than myself.  Since last year’s Hugo Awards were also controversial, I had the feeling that these rumors were going to indicate a blow-up that we hadn’t yet scene.  And so I turned to a friend of mine for help:  Aaron Beveridge.

Aaron is one of the co-creators of MassMine, along with Nicholas Van Horn. MassMine was created with the intent of helping academics acquire meaningful data from social media platforms (specifically, Twitter).  Their program is pretty complicated, so I’ll let you go to the website and learn all about it (there’s a video and everything!).  Aaron, it turns out, is one of those enthusiastic individuals who believes, as I do, that collaboration is critical to academic work, and so it didn’t take any effort at all to convince him to help me collect data and put together the projects below.

This post serves as an official announcement for the projects that Aaron and I are working on.  These include the following:

1. MassMine-ing the Hugo Awards:  Social Media Reactions and What the Data Tell Us….

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“’The Day the World Turned Upside Down’ by Thomas Olde Heuvelt” – May 29

I was pleased that a Lightspeed story made it. It’s a very good magazine that won the semiprozine Hugo last year, after all, and it has published some pretty awesome fiction in 2014 as well. I’m quite sure I nominated two stories from the magazine for the Hugos, plus the whole magazine in the semiprozine category, plus the editor John Joseph Adams in the editor category.

I don’t read absolutely everything LS publishes, though, and Olde Heuvelt’s story was new to me. Naturally, I had some great expectations. Too bad this story let them down.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Short Story: Reviewing Single Samurai” – May 29

It’s fairly obvious that Diamond had a vivid image of this story in his head, the problem is that at the end I did not. I think some of this is related to the fact that Diamond so utterly identified with the character he was writing that he did not see the foibles of the character’s personality.

 

Dave Noonan

“2015 Hugo Semi Pro Zine” – May 29

Wow! A whole category with no Puppy Shit smeared all over it.  I didn’t intend to read these because I did want to read more shitty short stories. So Beneath Ceaseless Skies sat open in my Moon+ for a couple of days before I started reading and then… shock!  The first story was good! The second story is good too!  Holy crap. So I went looking and discovered the Puppies apparently couldn’t find any right-wing nutjob Semi Pro Zines so I may actually get to read some decent stuff. Finger’s crossed.

 

Dave Noonan

“2015 Hugo Fanzine” – May 29

My notes and rankings for the Best Fanzine category of the 2015 Hugo Awards.

  • Journey Planet
  • Tangent Online
  • The Revenge of Hump Day

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form”  – May 29

I watched all of these movies before I saw them on the Hugo nominations list. They are all good movies, and worth a bit of hard earned down-time to watch. I get to review them without reflexively asking “Would anybody want to watch/read this?”, and get down to the more important business of defining my own personal opinion. All good reviews are subjective because they arise in part from the reviewer’s enjoyment of the subject, and resonate with the reviewer’s reasons for picking up the subject of the review to begin with.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Zombie Nation, by Carter Reid” – May 29

A complete loss, in my opinion.

 

Aziz Poonawalla on Beliefnet

“G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel nominated for Hugo Award — and needs YOUR support”  – May 29

In 2013, Saladin Ahmed’s book Throne of the Crescent Moon was nominated for Best Novel, losing out to John Scalzi’s Redshirts – a tough loss indeed, but a significant honor in its own right. And way back in 1980, Steven Barnes’s The Locusts (co-written with Larry Niven) was nominated for Best Novelette, losing out to George R.R. Martin. There may be other Muslims whose works were nominated that I am overlooking, but to the best of my knowledge no Muslim has ever taken home the iconic Huge Rocket statue.

This year, however, that all could change: Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, is nominated for Best Graphic Story. This is huge news and a tremendous recognition by the SF/F community of the cultural, literary, and social impact of Ms. Marvel – which is almost impossible to summarize, but this article at the venerable AV Club magazine is a pretty good primer: “One year later, Ms. Marvel’s influence is felt far beyond the comics page”

 

Charlie Jane Anders on io9

“Someone Will Livetweet Vox Day’s Debut Novel For Charity” – May 29

Before Theodore “Vox Day” Beale was the central figure in the Sad/Rabid Puppies Hugo Awards hacking, he wrote a series of religious-inspired fantasy novels for Pocket Books. And blogger Natalie Luhrs is going to live-tweet his debut novel, Eternal Warriors: The War in Heaven, for charity….

 [Update: In case it’s not clear, she will livetweet her reaction to the book, one page per tweet, not the actual text of the book.]

 

Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“Bad Life Decisions: Make Me Read Theodore Beale” – May 29

So you can help me raise some money for RAINN (or a charity in your country which does the same sort of work).  For every $5 donated to RAINN, I will read and  live tweet one page of this 399 page delight with the hashtag #readingVD. I’ll also re-publish the tweets and add additional commentary by chapter here at Pretty Terrible–those’ll go up as I finish each chapter (there are 29 chapters in the book, as well as a prologue and an author’s note).

However, I’m not going to read any of it until we’ve raised at least $500–and I’d like to raise that by June 11.  If we manage to raise $2,000 I will read the entirety of Theodore Beale’s Eternal Warriors™: The War in Heaven™.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Rabid Puppies Review Books: HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON” – May 29

harold

Reviewed By Special Guest Reviewer Theophilus Pratt (Publisher — Hymenaeus House)

This instructive tale tells of a young man who all by himself creates a road which he then travels down, makes a mountain which he climbs, then saves himself from falling by conjuring a balloon which he hangs onto until he can bring into being a basket capable of supporting himself. His boundless creativity allows him to shape a whole civilization of buildings until, amusingly, he re-creates the very house he started out from and sleeps the sleep of the just, knowing that everything he has in life was fashioned by his own hand.

Amusingly, this book was sold to me as a work of fantasy when it is in fact the most realistic work of fiction I have ever encountered. If anything, it was too realistic to be fiction, a fact I found very amusing. Flipping through its pages proved to be instructive, as I began to see it was nothing more than a thinly veiled if amusing allegory for my own inimitable life.

Did I not provide myself with the only light I ever needed to walk by, as Harold did? Have I not always made my own road, and even left it when even it proved too stifling to my boundless intellect? Has not my dizzying intellectual magnitude taken me to the height of peaks so high that even I cannot long find purchase upon them? And when I fall, whom do I rely upon to prop myself up except myself?

 

Kyra in a comment on File 770 – May 29

Turning and turning in the widening blog
The puppy cannot hear the puppeteer;
Things fall apart; the Hugos cannot hold;
Mere doggerel is loosed upon the fans,
The canine tide is loosed, and in Spokane
The ceremony of awards is drowned;
The fest lacks all conviction, while the trolls
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some aggravation is at hand;
Surely the Slated Hugos are at hand.
The Slated Hugos! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image of a nominee story
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert prose;
A text with turgid body and an end wholly bland,
A phrase blank and meaningless about guns,
Is moving its dull verbs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant reviewers’ words.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That sixteen nominees in fiction slots
Were read like nightmares in my shaking Kindle,
And what rough book, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Sasquan for its award?