Howl’s Moving Castalia 5/24

aka In a hole in a ground there lived a Hugo. It was a puppy Hugo, and that means discomfort.

Today’s roundup features Amanda S. Green, Deirdre Saoirse Moen, P. J. Pruhon, Andrew Hickey, Lisa J. Goldstein, The Staff of The New Republic, Steve Davidson, N.K. Jemisin, Larry Correia, Tom Knighton, Jim C. Hines, Rebekah Golden and Lis Carey. (Title credit belongs to File 770’s contributing editors of the day SocialInjusticeWorrier and Going To Maine.)

Amanda S. Green on Mad Genius Club

“Inspiration and remembrance” – May 24

I look at the Hugo controversy and wonder if those clinging to the award, willing to destroy careers if necessary in order to do so, and I wonder if they have given even a passing thought to how what they are advocating is the non-political version of censorship (and yes, I understand that technically only a government can censure something).  They want to silence points of view they don’t agree with. They want to silence what they see as the opposition. Which, when you consider that science fiction should be the one place where all viewpoints should be welcome is not only ironic but sad.

So today, here is my challenge to each of us. Remember those who have sacrificed so much so we can read and write what we want (within limits. Remember, the Supreme Court will know pornography when it sees it). Now ask yourselves if what you are doing honors their sacrifice. For myself, I am going to be doing all I can to honor it.

 

Deirdre Saoirse Moen on Sounds Like Weird

“BayCon Panels and Notes” – May 24

The Hugo tug-of-war: Diversity of opinion among Worldcon voters

This panel [at BayCon] went really well, and I’m glad that Kate Secor had some details that I hadn’t researched. Also thanks to James Stanley Daugherty for moderating and Amy Sterling Casil for her contributions.

My general feelings:…

  1. The more that is done at this year’s meeting to “fix” things, it will become an outrage escalator, and I believe that would be counterproductive long term. While I think the 4 of 6 proposal (and a couple of others) have merit, what I’d actually like to see is more people nominating. Specifically, more people who realize you can’t read the entire field, so nominate what you have read and what you think is worthy.

Nothing that “fixes” nominations will change the fact that there are far fewer nominators than members, and far fewer nominators than voters.

 

P. J. Pruhon on Newsvine

“Sad Puppies and Paranoid Barflies” – May 24

The few words in my article mentioning Baen Publisher Toni Weisskopf were a commiseration for the reputation that the Sad Puppies have laid on her and Baen Books: “the vandals who wrecked the Hugos”. In my two days on Baen’s Bar, I was repeatedly attacked for having insulted Ms Weisskopf. I (politely) explained several times that there was no insult. Apparently Mr Cochrane finally understood… but he could not leave it alone: “This was interpreted by the conference owner as a slur on the owner of the site.” ….

Sometime during my second day on Baen’s Bar, I began getting criticism for “moving the goalposts”. I found this odd, since I was in fact just repeating what I had said earlier. Then I had my Eureka!! moment.

These folks had not misunderstood me.

They had not heard me at all.

What they heard was a voice in their heads: an “Anti-Sad Puppies” archetype telling them the things that “everyone knows that ASPs say”.

Me? I was not saying those things, but the Barflies did not notice, because they were not listening to me.

When I insisted loudly that I did not say that, they very honestly felt that I had moved the goalposts. The goalposts had started where those voices in their heads had stipulated, and here I was, daring to say differently! How dare I deviate from what they knew I must be saying!

Once we understand that Barflies and Sad Puppies are not listening to anything other than their own preconceptions, everything becomes limpidly clear. It becomes obvious that their outrage in not being recognized as the only true carriers of the “real SF” flame is genuine.

 

The Staff of The New Republic

“Science Fiction’s White Male Problem” – May 24

The conservative backlash isn’t entirely about attempts to diversify science fiction; it’s also motivated by nostalgia for an imaginary past. The Puppies factions argue that science fiction used to be a fun, apolitical genre but has now become too socially conscious and pretentious, due to a sinister leftist conspiracy…..

If leftism shouldn’t be conflated with literary ambition, neither should it be confused with demographic diversity. Torgersen assumes that stories exploring gender and race will automatically be boring left-wing propaganda. This flies in the face of history. For decades, science-fiction writers of both the left and the right, both popular entertainers and those writing more ambitious works, have made a point of trying to be inclusive. Heinlein started featuring nonwhite characters in his books from the very beginning of his career. His “Starship Troopers” (1959) can be read as a right-wing paean to military virtue; the main character is a Filipino.

Samuel R. Delany describes himself as a “boring old Marxist” but loves the right-wing fiction of Heinlein. “Well, Marx’s favorite novelist was Balzac — an avowed Royalist,” Delany once explained. “And Heinlein is one of mine.” The largeness of soul and curiosity about differing ideas that Delany brought to his appreciation of Heinlein is sadly missing from all the resentment and angst of the Sad and Rabid Puppies.

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“My Final Hugo Ballot” – May 24

Best Novel.

Only three works were eligible for consideration based on my determination not to reward the pupfans who thought it would be funny to poke the SJW’s in the eye by way of screwing with a 75 year old tradition.* They were:

Ancillary Sword, Goblin Emperor, The Three Body Problem

I gave the top slot to Ancillary Sword after having made it about a third of the way through Three Body Problem. I’d originally expected to be giving the top slot to TBP; I’d heard great things about it from the translator and I’ve been championing the community’s engagement with Chinese works for about a year now. Unfortunately, I found TBP to be slow to develop, and, at least for me, a bit off in its metaphor and simile. I found some of that to be jarring rather than descriptive.

Ancillary Sword, on the other hand, was an even quicker read for me than Justice (probably so at least partially due to being familiar and comfortable with the gender play), and I found it to be perhaps an even stronger story than Justice, and certainly a middle third that transcends the usual problems of middle thirds of trilogies.

I don’t do fantasy (my fault: I just can’t get past the initial premise that nothing in the story is potentially real) and have given it the third slot out of courtesy at this point in time. Now that I’ve gotten the Hugo Packet, I’ve had a chance to skim GE.  I’m leaving it in the number three slot, despite its apparent love of faux ye olde englysh in the dialogue.

The fourth slot is, and will remain, for No Award, as the remaining two entries were slatened entries.  I was hoping that Anderson and Butcher would at least state something regarding their inclusion publicly, though I understand their reluctance to screw with their successful careers by getting mired in the politics.  At this point in time they’ll pretty much piss off a segment of their audience no matter what they say.  Sorry guys, for whatever “guilt by association” may be present here, but you are on the slate, you’ve not written anything to disabuse me of the presumption that you are there willingly and I promised myself and everyone reading the website that I would vote ANYTHING on ANY slate below No Award – despite whatever personal feelings I may have about their individual worthiness….

 

 

 

 

Tom Knighton

“If you’re going to fling it, you better back it up” – May 24

Jemisin has, as of my writing of this post, revealed no evidence to support her assertion.  Nothing.  This is my surprised face:

 

Tom Knighton

Tom Knighton

Yeah, I look flabbergasted, don’t I?

This is just the latest — and lamest — attempt to try and paint Larry as a racist, all of which have failed miserably.  You know why they have?  Probably because Larry’s not a racist.  Shocking, I know.

Of course, one of my own initial reactions was to say screw cons as a writer and just avoid them as much as possible.  Personally, I suspect that Jemisin and company would see that as a feature, not a bug.  After all, pushing people like me out of fandom could hardly be a bad thing, right?  They don’t want “my kind” around.

 

Jim C. Hines

“Hugo Thoughts: Graphic Story” – May 24

Of the five nominees, the collection from The Zombie Nation was recommended by both the Sad and Rabid (SR) puppies. The rest of the category is puppy-free.

  • Ms. Marvel: The first page includes Kamala Khan smelling bacon and saying, “Delicious, delicious infidel meat” and someone responding, “Chow or chow not. There is no smell.” I was officially intrigued. A few pages later, we discover Kamala writes Avengers fanfic. She’s also struggling with her own identity, torn between cultures and dealing with ignorance and prejudice. She dreams about being powerful and blonde and beautiful like Ms. Marvel…and then she gets her wish. Sort of. And discovers it’s not what she imagined. This is a superhero origin story that plays off of our expectations, because Kamala has grown up in a world of superheroes. She’s an Avengers fangirl. She has to unlearn what she has learned, in order to become, in her words, “a shape-changing mask-wearing sixteen-year-old super ‘moozlim’ from Jersey City.” There’s a lot of humor, and some good depth and complexity to Kamala and her family and friends. There’s also a supervillain, of course, but that’s secondary to the story of Kamala coming of age and learning to navigate and incorporate the different parts of her identity….

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 14: A Brief Trip Back to Short Stories” – May 24

And with the first of them, “A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond, comes a problem I haven’t had in this read so far.  Namely, that I didn’t like the story, but I can imagine people who would. If your idea of fun is seeing really big creatures — I mean really big — stomp past leaving a trail of destruction in their wake, if you’ve held onto that child-like joy that only a rampaging monster can bring, then this story might be for you.

 

Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

“Hugo Blogging: ‘Best’ Novelette” – May 24

However, I shall actually be placing all five below No Award. One of the more depressing aspects of the Sad and Rabid Puppy slates is that the people who put them together are pushing both a political and an aesthetic viewpoint, and the aesthetic viewpoint is just as toxic as the political one. Even were all the stories to have made it on their own merits without block voting, and even had the politics of the authors matched my own, the stories on the Puppy slates are just *bad*.

Some of that badness is a lack of craft — badly-written sentences, with no sense of the potential of language for beauty, of the rhythms of speech, or of the subtle nuances involved in the choice of one word over another. I would actually have some sympathy for this if the ideas in the stories were worth reading — after all, I hardly have the most mellifluous prose style myself, and there are reasons other than beauty of language to read.

But the ideas are, uniformly (bearing in mind I’m only two categories through, so they might yet surprise me) awful.

In the “Best” Novelette category, I’m ranking No Award first, and second I will be ranking The Day the World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvel (translated by Lia Belt). This is the one non-Puppy nomination, and is the kind of poor literary fiction that makes one almost wonder if the Puppies have a point. The protagonist, a tedious narcissist with no redeeming characteristics whatsoever, is moping because his girlfriend left him. Then, for no adequately-explained reason, gravity goes into reverse, with people being flung up to ceilings or into space. The world has turned upside down, just as his girlfriend turned his emotional world upside down. Do you see? It’s perfectly competently written, for its type (although don’t use it as a guide for the care and feeding of goldfish — but in a world where gravity can go into reverse, goldfish managing to survive in 7-Up is probably not the most unrealistic thing about the story), but it’s a story in which horrible things happen to a horrible person, and I find it very hard to care about those….

 

Lis Carey on  Lis Carey’s Library

“Laura J. Mixon Hugo Nominee Fanwriter Sample” – May 24

This is a clear, well-supported explanation of Requires Hate’s multiple online identities, cyberstalking, and harassment, as well as her habitual deletion of hateful posts after the fact, making it hard for her victims to prove what happened to them. Mixon has included only episodes that she can document, and includes screen caps. Names are included only with the agreement of the individual. This was a major service to the sf community, and it’s well-written.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Professional Artist: Reviewing C Reid” – May 24

I am reviewing Carter Reid as a professional web comic artist based on what I could find since he didn’t submit anything for the [Hugo Voter] packet. That said I’m not going to read the whole year’s worth of comic. What I was able to make it through was tedious and uninspired. The plots seem to echo gleeful conversations between teenage boys. It’s really just not that interesting.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Movie: Reviewing Guardians of the Galaxy” – May 24

Overall every rewatch gives me more reason to favor this movie. It just improves under scrutiny.

We Are Sad Puppies If You Please; We Are Sad Puppies If You Don’t Please 5/23

aka One Hundred Days of Being Stuck in a Crate Just Because You Ate the Goddamn Plum Pudding Again, if you Didn’t Want Me To Eat It You Shouldn’t Have Put it on the Table, Signed, Maggie, Your DOG

There are familiar and new bylines in today’s roundup: Bradley Armstrong, David Gerrold, John C. Wright, Michael Senft, John Ohno, Andrew Hickey, Vox Day, Amanda S. Green, Lis Carey, Elisa Bergslien, Patrick May, Rebekah Golden, Joseph Tomaras, and Spacefaring Kitten. (Credit for the alternate title goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Greg.)

Bradley Armstrong on Screen Burn

“Solitair vs. The Hugos: Introduction” – May 22

I’ve seen Correia and company get a lot of bad press for this latest battle in the American culture war, but after a few arguments online I’m going to cool my jets. At least Sad Puppies is not as disgusting as this other movement from last year I won’t dignify with a name. Correia has been acerbic in arguing his case, but he hasn’t crossed any lines of decency unless you see the slate voting as an immoral-in-spirit rigging of democracy via statistical loophole. He was even harassed and slandered online, which I can’t approve of no matter the cause. I flipped my lid about the epidemic of that same thing springing from that-which-must-not-be-named, and I’m not going to go back on that because it’s happening to someone I disagree with.

Correia has my condolences, but I do still disagree with him on this matter. Matthew David Surridge, in declining his Puppy-backed nomination, wrote the most clear-headed and sensible summary of this whole affair I’ve seen on the internet by a wide margin, and my position mostly reflects his. In short, I see no evidence that there is a conspiracy to culturally control the Hugos, at least not one that is in any way recent, and I like stuff with literary aspirations just as much as modest pulp fare, if not more. I thought that high-brow art was what awards were for, since bestseller lists aren’t going to give the good ones the recognition they deserve. As far as the preachy sermonizing goes, I and everyone else who saw James Cameron’s Avatar knows that pain, but I don’t know what the Puppies’ threshold is for that. Are they objecting more strongly to badly-written garbage, or the presence of progressive stances in fiction?

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 23

[A long post that explains what Gerrold told the Wall Street Journal reporter during a 45-minute call, of which he says only three out-of-context sentences were used. The following is a short sample.]

When you get that many nominees dropping out and when you get so many major voices in the field condemning the slate-mongering, this is not just a casual disagreement. It is evidence that there is a widespread perception that the slate-mongering was a miscalculation on the part of Torgersen and Correia — and a deliberate attack on the field by Vox Day. (Vox Day has publicly declared his intentions to destroy the Hugos.)

That’s the situation. And that’s pretty much the gist of what I told the reporter from the Wall Street Journal — okay, in the interests of journalistic integrity, I also let the reporter know that I too share the views of Martin, Willis, Castro, Flint, Scalzi, Kowal, and others — that the slates were a bad idea and that this is the year of the asterisk.

And that brings me, finally (yes, I know you’re exhausted, me too) to the most important point I want to make. I know some of the people who ended up on the slates. They’re good people. They’re the real victims of this mess.

I’ve known Kevin Anderson for a long time and have a lot of affection for him. He’s had an enviable career. He’s a good man. I can’t imagine that Kevin would have been a knowledgeable part of any attempt to rig the Hugo awards. Likewise, I’m pretty sure that Tony Weiskopf and Sheila Gilbert would not have been either. They’ve all been around long enough to know better. They have great reputations, fairly earned by a lifetime of hard work.

Unfortunately, despite the integrity of the nominees, there’s still an asterisk on this year’s awards. It’s not their fault, but there it is.

 

John C. Wright

“No One Cares About Your Hooey” – May 23

….Anyone clicking through the link there will come to this:

  • I believe, profess, and unambiguously support the view that homosexuals must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
  • I believe, profess, and unambiguously support the view that every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.
  • I believe, profess, and unambiguously support the view that These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
  • I believe everything the one, true, holy, catholic and apostolic Church teaches.

So, from your reaction, I take it you did not click through the link….

 

Michael Senft interviews Ann Leckie for The Arizona Republic

“Ann Leckie on ‘Ancillary Justice’ acclaim and breaking the pronoun barrier” – May 21

Q: One common comment about the Imperial Radch books is that you are writing a “genderless” society. That doesn’t seem an accurate interpretation.

A: Yeah, it’s been very interesting to me to see some of the discussion surrounding Radchaai and gender. The assumption, for instance, that the Radchaai must have “eradicated” gender in that society, when that’s really nowhere in the text. Or that, as you say, gender doesn’t exist, or that Breq “doesn’t understand” the concept of gender. Not infrequently someone will comment that it’s really stupid to think that a being as smart as Breq couldn’t get her head around the idea of gender, which is probably true, and that’s not really the problem Breq has, is it.

 

Michael Senft on Relentless Reading

“Ann Leckie on Hugos, pronouns and Genitalia Festivals” – May 23

And in an outtake from the story, she weighed in on the Hugo Awards, offering some advice to readers and members and why we she doesn’t worry about them too much:

“I probably shouldn’t comment on the Hugos this year. Though I will say what I would say any year, and that is that if the Hugos matter to you, you should nominate and vote. Sometimes I hear people comment that they don’t think they’re qualified because they don’t read enough, but I think the Hugos have always been about what the voters love, and if you love something and think it’s worthy of an award, you should be able to nominate it.

Beyond that—well, honestly, I figure I could spend my time worrying about awards, or even more pointlessly worrying about people’s opinions of awards, or even more pointlessly worrying about people’s opinions about who does or doesn’t “deserve” those awards — or I could spend my time writing. And I didn’t get into writing for awards. There are no guaranteed outcomes from anything, much less writing, and if I wanted a sure track to acclaim and fame and fortune I sure as heck wouldn’t have chosen writing to get that. I write because I want to tell stories, anything after that is extra. And fortunately I’ve got plenty of writing to do, and plenty of readers waiting for me to do it.”

 

John Ohno on The First Church of Space Jesus

“Utopianism and sci-fi as machine-lit” – May 13

There are several popular ways to look at science fiction as a genre. I have my own preferences. That said, the major opposing perspective — what I’d term the ‘machine-lit’ school of thought — has its merits, insomuch as it highlights a set of common tendencies in science fiction. I’d like to take this space to highlight the basic premise of machine-lit, the tendencies it breeds, and why I find most machine-lit to be relatively uninteresting.

(The third major perspective, what I call the spaceship-on-the-cover style, I find wholly uninteresting and is the subject of other essays; however, this perspective is becoming historically important lately because of some drama surrounding the Hugo awards being gamed by groups who prefer this style, so it’s worth mentioning in passing.)

 

Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

“Hugo Blogging: ‘Best’ Short Story” – May 23

….As a result, I do not believe a single story on the ballot is on there legitimately, and so I will be ranking No Award at the top of the list.

I would perhaps have some ethical qualms about this, were any of the nominated stories any good. However, happily, they range from merely not-very-good to outright abysmal. I shall rank the stories below No Award as follows:

Totaled by Kary English. This story is not in any way bad. It’s also, however, not in any way *good*, either. Were it in an anthology I read, I’d read through the story and forget it immediately, maybe remembering “the brain-in-a-jar one” if prodded enough. Perfectly competently put together, but with no new ideas, no interesting characters, and no real reason for existing. Certainly not Hugo-worthy…..

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Hugo Awards 2015: Best Novel” – May 23

This is how I am voting in the Best Novel category. Of course, I merely offer this information regarding my individual ballot for no particular reason at all, and the fact that I have done so should not be confused in any way, shape, or form with a slate or a bloc vote, much less a direct order by the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil to his 367 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.

  1. The Three-Body Problem
  2. Skin Game
  3. The Goblin Emperor
  4. The Dark Between the Stars
  5. No Award

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“A few thoughts” – May 23

I’m busy making my way through the Hugo packet. My goal is to read everything included in it. Once I have, I will vote for those works I feel best deserve the Hugo. So far, only a few things have thrown me out from the beginning because the author forgot that you can get your message across without beating your reader over the head. And, no, not all of them are anti-Puppy supported works. Will I post my ballot? Probably, but only after I vote.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Cedar Sanderson Hugo Nomination Fanwriting Samples” – May 23

The distinctive feature here is that she congratulates herself on being feminine and a lady, as well as, of course, strong–unlike, we are given to understand, those silly and obnoxious feminists. She demands equality, and likes it when men put her on a pedestal, and doesn’t seem to notice the contradiction. Feminists are women seeking notoriety based solely on their femaleness, and want to grind men under their heels. There’s a long rant about lazy, wish-fulfillment fantasy, which does in fact say some useful and interesting things….

 

Elisa Bergslien on Leopards and Dragons

“My Three Body Problem problem”  – May 22

When I started this book, I was really looking forward to it.  I actually had it in my wish list at Amazon months ago because it sounded so cool. Now that I have finished it, I am really disappointed.  With all the hype about how deep, insightful, and exciting the book is, I have been left wondering if I read the same book. It wasn’t all bad I guess, but for me it definitely didn’t even remotely live up to the hype and I honestly don’t know if I will ever bother to pick up the next book to see what happens with the human race. As it is presented in the book, you kind of have to wonder if anyone is worth saving.

 

RogerBW’s Blog

“The Three Body Problem Liu Cixin” – May 23

This is a perversely fascinating book that gains far more interest from the problems it sets up than from the way it resolves them….

 

Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Award Novelette Category” – May 23

[Ranking is preceded by comments on all of the novelettes.)

My Hugo ballot for this category is:

  1. The Journeyman: In the Stone House
  2. The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale
  3. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium
  4. Championship B’Tok

I am not including “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” on my ballot.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Professional Artist: Reviewing A Pollack” – May 23

His imagery is clear, epic, sweeping and fun….

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best TV Show: Reviewing Doctor Who” – May 22

I knew a guy who was a virgin and didn’t know what the big deal about sex was. Then he had sex. Then he wanted to have sex all the time. I’ve watched a few episodes of Doctor Who but I admit while I liked it I didn’t know what the big deal was. Now I know what the big deal is.

 

Joseph Tomaras on A Skinseller’s Workshop

“Novelettes, Novellas and Fan Writers” – May 23

Of the Analog stories, that leaves Rajnar Vajra’s story with the deceptively stupid title “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”. The title is clearly meant to pander to nostalgia for this-boy’s-life-in-space military SF stories of the so-called “Golden Age,” and insofar as it was selected by both sets of puppies for their slates, it succeeded. The title, however, bears little resemblance to the story itself, which can be read as subverting the tropes in which it superficially seems to glory. There is a valid argument to be had about whether subversion-of-tropes has not itself become a trope in contemporary SF, and a redundant one. I sympathize with that argument, but Vajra’s story is at least a better-than-average exemplar of the type, which held by interest start to finish and left me with a smile on my face. I encourage Hugo voters to read it with an open mind, and those who are not WorldCon members to seek it out.

 

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“A Brief Note About Me Reviewing the Hugo Nominees” – May 23

I’ve been asked a few times if I plan to write any reviews of the Hugo nominees this year after I’ve read them. The answer: No, I don’t. One, if you look at my general modus operandi around Hugos, I don’t ever really comment on what I think of the merits of the individual nominees* until after the voting window has closed. Two, this year, this policy seems even more advisable as there are excitable people who would point out any reviews on my part as scale-tipping, regardless of what the review said. Three, as a general rule, in public, I try not to say negative things about the work of other writers. I will make exceptions from time to time. But generally, I avoid it….

 

 

Canine Princes in Amber 5/22

aka Her Majesty’s Secret Puppy

On today’s docket: Vox Day, John C. Wright, Amanda S. Green, Jeff Duntemann, Lela E. Buis, Ken Liu, John Snead, Lis Carey, Spacefaring Kitten, Rebekah Golden, David Langford, and cryptic others. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and Kary English.)

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Just a reminder” – May 22

And once again, SJWs have obediently responded to his call. Mr. Hauman’s actions strike me as a very good way to encourage publishers to stop participating in future Hugo Packets. I mean, why should we do so if it’s only going to provide the SJWs in science fiction with another means of attack? Mr. Hauman has demonstrated how the Hugo Packet can be destroyed in a single year; what publisher is going to even be willing to include excerpts when inclusion in the Packet means several hundred one-star reviews on Amazon within weeks?

 

John C. Wright

“Petty Puppy-Kickers on the March” – May 22

Alas, I am too busy today to comb through Amazon to downvote and report graffiti being left on my sale goods by malign Morlocks. I ask any reader impatient for my next work to be published to alleviate my workload by shouldering this task, please.

I ask any undecided onlooker who has noticed the kerfuffle to observe who has played straight, honest, aboveboard, and continually and openly identified their goals and platform, and who has lied, cheated, lied, slandered, lied, libeled, lied, betrayed, lied, invented falsehoods, resorted to dirsty tricks, lied, defamed, lied, called people racists, lied, organized defamation campaigns in major media, lied and lied again.

I ask any undecided onlooker who has noticed the kerfuffle to observe whether anyone on the Sad Puppies side of things has called for posting false and defamatory reviews of rival works, or attempting to blacklist or undermine the income of fellow authors?

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Once again, the stupid burns” – May 22

How enlightened of the other side to paint us all with the same brush. How inclusive they are to try to construct a dialog — oh, wait. They haven’t. They don’t want to sully their reputations or whatever by trying to even listen to what we have to say or what our concerns are. They are too busy trying to shore up the bulwarks around their holy bastion of the Hugo. And, as they do, they completely prove our point that the Hugos are no longer an award of the fans but of a few self-appointed FANS. Hell, we’ve even been “schooled” by a Wolheim for not knowing our history of WorldCon or of the Hugos. Well, we do know the histories. We just don’t buy into the revisionist histories they have constructed.

Is controversy around the Hugos new to the Sad Puppy movement? Not only no but hell no. But to have folks who claim they represent the ideals of inclusivity to be doing their best to ruin careers through their personal attacks and through negative reviews based not on the quality of the work but the politics of the author takes it to a new low. What they don’t understand is that all they are doing is playing for a very small crowd. Those looking at the controversy from the outside aren’t impressed by their tactics. They are asking themselves when they last read a Hugo winner and enjoyed it. Instead of trying to keep the unwashed masses out, perhaps these authors and editors ought to be asking themselves why they have lost the faith of the readers. They should ask themselves if they would be able to make it as an indie author if they suddenly found themselves without a publisher to push their work. But that might take a bit of introspection they aren’t prepared to do, much less accept.

So, once again, I will repeat what I’ve said — what every other supporter of Sad Puppies has said. Read the material in the Hugo packet and vote based on the quality of the work (which will be more difficult than it should be in some cases because certain publishers pasted huge watermarks on each page and/or only included a sample of the nominated work. Once again proving that certain big publishers don’t trust readers, not even WorldCon members and think we are all pirates).

 

Jeff Duntemann on Jeff Duntemann’s Contrapositive Diary

“Rant: You Can’t Shame a Puppy” – May 22

The more important reason for authors not to withdraw is that withdrawing gives the anti-puppies (APs) this peculiar notion that they can use social pressure (shaming) to get authors to do things their way, up to and including refusing a major honor in the field. Note very well: I am not suggesting that either Kloos or Bellet withdrew because of social pressure. I take their explanations at face value. What I’m suggesting is that a certain nontrivial number of APs may assume it, and may further assume that social pressure is a tactic that can win, going forward. I’m already hearing that the 2015 Hugos need to be “asterisked;” that is, marked as disreputable, dishonest, and something that no upright fan or author will have anything to do with. The message is pretty clear: Any Puppy nominee who keeps their place on the ballot is to be shamed and shunned.

Now we can get down to business. The first of my two points today is this: Shaming is bullying. Shaming is about fear. Shaming is thug tactics. I’ll tell you what I hear when I hear people talking about shaming authors: “Nice little career you’re starting up here. Shame if anything happened to it.” Or, another interpretation that’s pretty much the same thing: “Stay on the ballot, and you’ll never work in this town again.”

In other words, we’re supposed to use mafia persuasion to get authors to refuse nominations that just might have been influenced by slatemakers like the Sad Puppies. (What if the works are just really good?) That’s bad enough. However, if you think about it a little more, you come to my second point for today’s entry: Shaming only works on people who value the esteem of the shamer.

 

Lela E. Buis

“The Hugo Awards: Follow the money” – May 23

So, is all this talk about traditional SF versus the new diversity just smoke and mirrors? Is the real issue here about a small publisher versus the large publishing houses? It’s hard to separate the right wing content from the publisher, which puts Beale at a disadvantage in today’s market. Because of the current social climate, I don’t personally think he would prevail in getting any stories on the ballot even in a perfectly free market. Still, I have to admire his mouse with a sword attitude.

 

Ken Liu interviews Liu Cixin in Publishers Weekly

“China at BEA 2015: Coming to America: Liu Cixin” – May 22

How do you feel about the Nebula nomination?

A: I’m honored and overjoyed. As a science fiction fan, the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award mean a lot to me. If I had to choose between the Nobel Prize in literature and the Nebula/Hugo awards, I would choose the latter without hesitation—though I’m not so arrogant as to think I could win the Nobel Prize. But the ultimate goal of my writing has always been delighting readers, not winning awards. For me, the most valuable affirmation comes from readers. Thus, the best thing about being nominated for a Nebula is that perhaps more people will read my novel, and the award will build more publicity for the two sequels in English.

 

John Snead on Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

Three-Body Problem Review + Musings On Hugo Award Novel Voting – May 22

Yesterday, I finished reading Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, a well done and interesting SF novel written by one of China’s premier SF novelists and translated in the English. I’ve looked at the covers of recent Chinese SF magazine (but not knowing Chinese, have only been able to read a handful of stories which have been translated). The covers remind me of tech focused US SF magazines from the 50s & 60s, but none of the stories have, until I read this book. There are a lot of ways that it’s entirely unlike US SF from that era, but there are also distinct similarities – some of which were clearly deliberate…. My votes for Hugo Award for Best Novel are as follows

  1. Ancillary Sword Ann Leckie: In addition to vastly better characterization than Three Body Problem, it didn’t fall down ½ to 2/3s of the way through and I enjoyed it more. I don’t think it’s as strong a novel as Ancillary Justice, but I also think it’s the best novel nominated
  2. Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu: Definitely a good novel and one I’m very glad I read, but not good enough to win.
  3. No Award: I don’t think any of the other three novels are all that good, and so No Award comes next.
  4. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: As I mentioned before, I gave up in utter boredom a bit less than halfway through. I’m not a fan of passive and incompetent protagonists who remain that way and while I wanted to like this novel, it was impressively dull.
  5. Skin Game by Jim Butcher: I didn’t read the first couple of chapters – I’d previously read 2.5 of Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels, and that’s pretty much my lifetime limit. Butcher isn’t a terrible writer, but this series isn’t for me (and I’m someone who quite liked the first 8 of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter (they weren’t good, but I enjoyed them)).
  6. The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson: The previous two were novels I didn’t like, but wouldn’t go so far as to say were bad – this is a bad novel.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Dave Freer Hugo Fanwriter Nomination Samples” – May 22

There really isn’t much to say. A larger sample than Amanda Greens, 21 pages, but if anything there is even less here. All the hate-spewing at “SJWs” and “GHHs”, plus misogyny, plus a heaping helping of self-congratulation for being fair, open-minded, and helpful to aspiring writers.

Not recommended.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“’A Single Samurai’ by Steven Diamond” – May 22

“A Single Samurai”, unsurprisingly, tells the story of a lone samurai. He is traveling on the back of a mountain-sized kaiju monster that is demolishing everything in its way, and he intends to kill it.

I love this idea, and it’s a shame Diamond only mentions it and never gives the reader any insight into what it’s like to be on a moving mountain (if we don’t count one earthquake). The milieu feels like any standard fantasy environment, really.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best TV Show: Reviewing the Flash” – May 20

Retrospectively the pilot was good enough to continue watching another fifteen or so episodes.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Professional Artist: Reviewing J Dillon” – May 20

For this review I’m going to focus on works created in 2014 which include some that I have enjoyed in the past and am happy to highlight why I enjoyed them now that I have a chance to write more formally on the topic.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Graphic Story: Reviewing Ms Marvel” – May 21

This comic is delightfully playful and full of Easter eggs and small side details in the frame.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Professional Artist: Reviewing K DouPonce” – May 21

The issue here is not that he refers to himself as a designer rather than an artist or that he admits to using stock imagery. The issue is his work looks like it was made by a designer not an artist and that the images look like a vaguely pleasant arrangement of stock imagery.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best TV Show: Reviewing Game of Thrones” – May 21

I just don’t see the point of this sweeping epic outside of some catharsis and the catharsis isn’t there for me.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Professional Artist: Reviewing N Greenwood” – May 22

Greenwood is obviously an artist of some scope and skill.

Cover art by Nick Greenwood.

Cover art by Nick Greenwood.

 

David Langford in a comment on Making Light  – May 22

A voice from the past. While tidying up the look of the TransAtlantic Fan Fund site (now with free ebooks!), I noticed the following prophetic remark in one of Patrick’s and Teresa’s newsletters, TAFFluvia 2 dated August 1985:

What we meant was that TAFF is an institution created for a specific purpose, with its own agenda — promoting greater transatlantic amity between fans — and should not be used as a mechanism for pursuing unrelated issues; no more than, say, the Hugos should be used as an exercise in block-voting by a group with an ideological axe to grind, rather than in recognition of the single outstanding work nominated.

 

 

 

To Sail Beyond the Doghouse 5/19

aka Chronicle of a Slate Foretold

Hitched to the sled today are Spacefaring Kitten, David Gerrold, Vox Day, Jim Henley, John C. Wright, Jim C. Hines, Lis Carey, Martin Wisse, Chris Gerrib, Joe Sherry, Rebekah Golden, Bob Snyder, and the masterpiece of Brian Z. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Rev. Bob and Kary English.)

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Kittens

Unfisk / refisk / fisk² – May 19

All I know about smoking ruins is that if that’s to happen, Elric the Prince of Ruins will be pleased. Frankly, I don’t think that anything is truly lost in either case. A Puppy-sponsored work getting a Hugo is not the end of the world and there have been weak winners in the past (and maybe all Puppy-nominated works aren’t that weak). No Award winning means that the majority of the Worldcon voters didn’t enjoy the works on the Rabid Puppies slate (plus the two or three additions that Sad Puppies managed to get up there on their own) and/or they weren’t ready to give in to a campaign of tactical voting, and that’s fine too.

I wonder who are the “CHORFs” Brad’s talking about there. Kevin J. Maroney hasn’t been suggesting that you should vote No Award over everything, slate or not. Neither has Teresa Nielsen Hayden, or Steve Davidson, or Anita Sarkeesian, or John Scalzi, or Karl Marx, or Barack Obama. I’ve been following the discussion rather closely and I remember reading one single blog post in which someone said that the voters should do a blanket No Award thing, and I think nobody was very keen on the idea.

Brad, is it possible that you’re exaggerating?

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 18

Coming back to a comment someone made here about “threats of ostracism” — no.

In all the articles I’ve seen, nobody has said, “We’re going to shun X, Y, and Z.”

Because … nobody in fandom has the power to lock anyone out.

But what is possible is that people will choose on their own not to associate with those who they perceive as toxic.

It’s not even an organized boycott. It’s just a personal reaction.

An example from the 70s: There was a C-list author whose behavior toward women was so creepy that when he entered a room, several of the women would quietly and discreetly excuse themselves and leave. He was never specifically ostracized — but individuals were choosing to spend their time elsewhere. That’s the most you’ll ever see in fandom.

And here’s how that works on the larger level:

There are opportunities that are occasionally offered to authors. You get invited to speak, you get handed an award, you get to be a Guest of Honor, sometimes you even get a lifetime achievement plaque. All very nice. But if you have a reputation for being hard to work with, and there are a lot of authors and artists who have that reputation — or if you’re the center of a major controversy, one that you created yourself — the organizers of those opportunities are going to look elsewhere for honorees.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“King Log or King Stork?” – May 19

The moment that the SJWs in the science fiction community decided they could exclude individuals from it (and whether the SFWA expulsion was technically real or not is irrelevant in this regard), that meant the open community concept was dead. The principle was established. Now we can exclude Eskimos, people with big noses, people with little noses, people who look funny, or people who smell bad; in short, we can openly exclude anyone we have the power and the desire to exclude. There is no longer free speech in science fiction.

There is no longer freedom of expression or thought. It is now a simple ideological power game and we are ready to play that game with extreme prejudice. There is no need for discourse. There is no need for dialogue, for compromise, or negotiations. There is nothing to discuss. They laid out the new rules.

They laid out the new consensus. We not only accept them, we’re going to use make far more ruthless use of them than they ever imagined. Once we were content to let the twisted little moral freaks do and think and say what they wanted, but now they have claimed the right to tell US what to do and think and say we’re not going to tolerate them anymore. We are the sons of the Crusades and the daughters of the Inquisitions. This is a game we know how to win.

 

Jim Henley on Unqualified Offerings

“The Puppies of This Generation and the Trainers of Ever Afterwards” – May 19

What occasioned considerable jocularity in comments was Wright’s statement that

For the record, I write literary fiction…

People laughed at this because many of them have read Wright’s stories and/or essays and found them to be bad. But I have no problem with Wright’s claim whatsoever. Not because I think his stories and essays are actually good. I haven’t read them. People who seem to be acute readers have found his Hugo-nominated work wanting or worse, but even if, as I suspect, they’ve got it right, I still have no problem with Wright calling his own work “literary fiction.”

 

John C. Wright in a comment on File 770 – May 19

I notice this debate consists of two points, endlessly repeated: We say that for which we stand, what our goals and methods and motives are, publicly and repeatedly. The enemy pretends we said something else and that are motives are whatever impure and horrible impulse happens to be at hand. We state that we said what we said and that our motives are what we said. The enemy pretends we did not say it. And repeat.

Now, just as a matter of logic, who has access to knowledge about our inner secret motives? How did we communicate our goals to each other and to our voters aside from public statements of our goals?

 

 

Jim C. Hines

“Hugo Thoughts: Short Fiction” – May 19

No Award will be scoring pretty high in this category. That doesn’t mean I think all of the stories are bad. (Though I don’t think they’re all good, either.) But it’s one thing for a story to be competent or interesting or fun. It’s another thing for that story to be award-worthy, for me to consider it one of the best things published in the past year. Four of these stories don’t clear that bar for me, and the fifth I’ll have to think about a little more.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Plural of Helen of Troy (from the collection City Beyond Time), by John C. Wright” – May 19

There’s a plot here, but time travel can make even a simple plot complicated, and Wright has no interest in people following the story. The nonlinear storytelling was a “feature” I didn’t need in a story where I already had difficulty caring what happened to the characters.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Pale Realms of Shade (in The Book of Feasts & Seasons), by John C. Wright” – May 20

Based on reading all the other Wright fiction nominees, I kept waiting for this to go bad places. It didn’t. It’s a solid story that, given it is explicitly religious fiction, expresses beliefs and values that have a strong and positive resonance for me. It won’t work for other people for the very reasons it does work for me, and it’s not so good that it blows me away, but this is the first of the Puppy nominees whose placement on my ballot I will have to think seriously about.

 

Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“My gods it’s full of puppy poo!” – May 19

That gets you two of last year’s best novels and nobody will force you to read the Kevin J. Anderson. Many of the other categories are of course soiled with Puppy droppings you don’t want even if free, but there are some gems among the dross. Especially so in the Best Graphic Story category, with no Puppy nominee included and complete PDFs of Sex Criminals Vol. 1, Saga Vol. 3, Ms Marvel Vol. 1 and Rat Queens Vol. 1.

Though the Hugo Voting Packet should be seen as a bonus, rather than an inalienable part of buying a supporting membership for Worldcon, for plenty of people this of course has been the main benefit of membership, after getting to vote for the Hugos and all that. For those people this year’s packet is far from a bargain, despite the presence of the books listed above. Another reason to smack down the Puppies..

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Hugo Packet – Thoughts” – May 19

Best Related Mike Williamson’s Wisdom From My Internet is everything the Amazon preview promised, namely random crap half-assedly puked into book format. Yeah, I get that it was parody, but I’m not amused by it. Antonelli’s Letters from Gardner is better (small praise indeed) but seems mostly an excuse for an anthology of Antonelli’s short fiction. No Award for the whole category.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures in Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Short Story” – May 19

“On a Spiritual Plain” / “A Single Samurai”: One thing that I found very interesting about reading through the nominated short works is that they pair very closely in my head in how I would rank them. Antonelli’s story of a faith (of sorts) on an alien world and a man trying to lead a human spirit to wherever “moving on” turns out to be. It’s a simple story, but cleanly told. The comparison between human faith and that of the alien is interesting. “A Single Samurai”, on the other hand, is a story of action, of one samurai taking on a kaiju about to terrorize the samurai’s land. There is a certain spirituality to the samurai’s thoughts and actions and an economy to the movement and pacing of the story. On a different day, I could flip my ranking of these two stories.

 

Rebekah Golden

‘2015 Hugo Awards Best TV Show: Reviewing Orphan Black” – May 18

I can easily see how the whole series deserves a Hugo and this episode definitely has individual merit.

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Graphic Story: Reviewing Sex Criminals” – May 18

Well this one definitely captured the “graphic” part of graphic story.

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best TV Show: Reviewing Grimm” – May 19

It was good, it was entertaining but I’m hung up on the history of the Hugo Award and the depth of respect I feel for past winners. Grimm is good, and this episode is good, but it’s not that good.

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Turncoat” – May 19

For a story where there is so much happening there is very little going on.

 

 

Brian Z. on File 770 – May 19

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for Castalia House that day;
The score stood 16 of 20 with one story out of play.
And then when Kloos withdrew at first, and Bellet did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few turned off the stream in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only John C. Wright could get a whack at that–
We’d put up even money now with John Wright at the bat.

But Vox preceded John Wright, as did Bryan Thomas Schmidt,
Resnick already had 36, and Schubert, he had quit;
So upon that Evil League of Pups a pall was settling in,
For there seemed but little chance for John Wright’s editor to win.

Thomas Schmidt’s Kickstarter was still in its final surge,
And Vox, the much despised, had so far failed to reemerge;
And when the list was opened, and the pups saw what had occurred,
There was Resnick safe at second and poor Bryan hugging third.

Then from 5,000 pups and more there rose a lusty bark;
It echoed through the group blogs, it rattled Riverfront Park;
It blasted like a ray gun shining from the Golden Age,
For John Wright, mighty John Wright, was advancing to the stage.

There was ease in John Wright’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in John Wright’s bearing and a smile on John Wright’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No rabbit in the crowd could doubt ’twas John Wright at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he dipped his pen in ink;
The hoi polloi applauded as he urged them to the brink.
Then as Social Justice Warriors began to jibe and snip,
Defiance flashed in John Wright’s eye, a sneer curled John Wright’s lip.

And now the silver-plated rocket came from off the stage,
And John Wright stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy penman the trophy unheeded sped–
“Remember, nits make lice,” said John Wright. “No Award,” the Emcee said.

From Ustream, thick with puppies, there went up a muffled howl,
While Torgersen swooped in again like Weasley’s Great Gray Owl.
“BOO HIM! BOO THE CHORF!” shouted someone in the thread;
And it’s likely they’d have booed him had not John Wright raised his head.

With a smile of Christian charity great John Wright’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the show go on;
He signaled to the Emcee, and once more the rocket flew;
But John Wright still ignored it, and Mr. Gerrold said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the rabid puppies, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from John Wright and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his fingers strain,
And they knew that John Wright wouldn’t let that rocket by again.

The sneer is gone from John Wright’s lip, his teeth are clenched in rage;
He scratches with hyperbole his pen upon the page.
And as Due holds the envelope, he continues to compose,
And now the air is shattered by the force of John Wright’s prose.

Oh, somewhere on the favored fen the sun is shining bright;
The filk is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere pups are yelping, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy at Sasquan –mighty John Wright has struck out.