aka Recent studies have shown that approximately 40% of authors are sad puppies. The rest of us just drink.
Today’s roundup delivers alisfranklin, John C. Wright, Alexandra Erin, Kevin J. Maroney, Betsy Wollheim, Dave Freer, Lela E. Buis, David French, thezman, Eric Flint, Joe Sherry, Scott Seldon, Lis Carey, Lisa J. Goldstein, Larry Correia, Jeff Duntemann, and Declan Finn. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Tuomas Vainio and Laura Resnick.)
alisfranklin on Unassigned Readings
You want to talk about slates of nominees and culture wars and take-overs? Fine, let’s talk about that. Because you know what I want to see for the 2016 Hugo awards?
I want to see Welcome to Night Vale up for awards in Best Novel and Best Dramatic Presentation. I want to see Stephen Universe and Agent Carter and whatever anime is big right now. I want to see Homestuck. I want to see something from the OTW and I want at least one videogame up for Long Form and one DLC/expansion up in Short Form. I want to see fanfic writers and fanartists up for their categories. I want to see someone get nominated purely on force of their Tumblr.
Whether or not I like the individual nominations doesn’t matter. I just want to see them, because seeing them will tell me the Hugos are relevant again. That they mean something to kids who were born after the invention of the personal computer, let alone born this century. You want to talk about logrolling an awards ceremony? Tumblr fandom is orders of magnitude bigger than the voting pool for the current Hugos. If y’all want those awards, they’re yours. No old greybeard muttering about “true fans” and “golden age SFF” can take that away from you. Literally not; by numbers alone there just aren’t enough of them.
John C. Wright
“WSJ on SJW” – May 18
A lamebrain and lazy Wall Street Journal article: http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-culture-wars-invade-science-fiction-1431707195
For any reader without the patience (or the nose-clothespin) to wade through this, the summary is: “We asked two white guys with lots of awards and they said the system was fine and the Sad Puppies are pulp-writing carpetbagging racists.”
First, the issue is not about literary fiction versus pulp adventure fiction. The Social Justice Warriors do not write literary fiction, they write boring lectures and finger-wagging trash. They are members of a clique who have controlled the awards for about a decade.
They excuse the poor craftsmanship of their meandering tales by claiming them to be written to erudite and aethereal literary standards beyond the grasp of the hoi polloi. (Or they would say, if they were literary enough to use phrases like the hoi polloi (a Greek remark!), or drop Gilbert and Sullivan allusions casually into their sentences.)
For the record, I write literary fiction, and Larry Correia writes pulp, and he and I are on the same team.
Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write
“Situation Normal: All Fisked Up” – May 18
So Brad Torgersen, leader of the Sad Puppy campaign for this year, has a post up on his blog called “Fisking The Broken Narrative”. Fisking, for the uninitiated, is an art from in which one takes a written work, quotes the whole or majority of it in-line, broken up with zingers a la Mystery Science Theater. At least, that’s my understanding of the typical fisking. The Sad Puppies seem more inclined to just rant and rave in the interstices, and Torgersen in particular spends more time reacting to what it would have been convenient for his narrative for the source editorial to have said than he does responding to the actual text…..
Mr. Maroney, the individual whom Torgersen was attempting to fisk, did in his source attempt to gently clue the Puppies in to the inadvisability of labeling their opponents “reactionary” while holding a stated goal of “stop people from trying to change things and bring it back to the way it used to be”, but all Torgersen appeared to take away from it was “STOP SAYING MEAN THINGS”. We could speculate about whether this was due to an inability to comprehend the point or a tactical decision to only respond in ways that further the Puppy’s narrative, but I don’t see the percentage in it.
Kevin J. Maroney in New York Review of SF
“The Puppies of Terror” – May 17
The Sad Puppies are a group of writers and other fans dissatisfied with what they saw as a trend in the Hugo process toward overrepresentation of “liberal” works at the expense of traditional, meat-and-potatoes science fiction and fantasy. So in 2014 they gamed the Hugo nomination system to place nominees in several Hugo Award categories. What the Puppies did was very simple: They encouraged people to buy Worldcon supporting memberships and vote for the Puppy slate of nominees, and they got one or two nominees into several categories. These “Sad Puppy 2” nominees failed to land any trophies; in fact, with the exception of Toni Weisskopf in the Best Editor, Long Form, the SP2 finalists came in last in every category. And, like any well-intentioned, thoughtful group of principled actors, the Sad Puppies responded by encouraging the attention of a group of woman-hating terrorists.
Kevin J. Maroney in New York Review of SF
“The Puppy Fight” – May 18
The entire Puppy movement, rhetorically, is based on the idea that the science fiction enterprise has changed tremendously and not for the better, since the fabled Golden Age when all of the Puppies were young. The head Sad Puppy himself, Brad Torgersen, has taken to referring to his enemies as CHORFS, “Cliquish, Holier-than-thou, Obnoxious, Reactionary, Fanatics.” So, yes, the person who is bravely positioning himself as the force that will stop the people who want to change things believes that his opponents are “reactionaries.” This is, apparently, someone whose understanding of words is limited to “what sounds like an insult?”
Lela E. Buis
So, is there really too much diversity on the ballot? This might not be a popular observation, but I can personally see a clear political agenda, at least in the US and Northern Europe, to increase acceptance of diversity. Everyone must have noticed this. Diversity is billed as a good thing, something we should respect that can bring in new ideas and new ways of doing things. It also implies acceptance of differences like gender, LGBTQ status, religion, disability, race, national origin, etc., etc., etc. But, the truth is that diversity makes us all nervous. Political scientist Robert Putnam, researching community trends in 2000, made the inconvenient discovery that greater diversity in a community leads to less trust, less volunteering, less cooperation, less voting and less civic engagement in general for average members of the community. As a liberal, Putnam was so disturbed by this finding that he waited until 2007 to publish the results, i.e. that diversity damages communities.
Betsy Wollheim on Facebook – May 16
I’ve been silent about the whole disgusting Hugo mess, but frankly I’m shocked by some of the mainstream coverage it’s been getting. For the record, many people on the “puppy ballot” were never asked permission, like my business partner, Sheila Gilbert, who has no affiliation with any puppies, but will not withdraw because (in my opinion and that of her authors) she damn well deserves a Hugo after 45 years dedicated to editing Science Fiction and Fantasy. Personally I think the puppies are fucked. There has always been a “Wellsian and Vernian” split in the field, but this takeover of the award is just abominable! Not only New Republic has spoken out against them, but now, the Wall Street Journal.
Betsy Wollheim on Facebook – May 16
I am personally grateful to George R. R. Martin for bravely supporting the rational and historical side of the Hugo brouhaha. As someone who has been attending conventions since age six (1958) I can say there have always been political divisions in our field, but prior to the internet neither political side has had the power (nor inclination!) to game the field’s most prestigious award. If you look at the novels that have won the Hugos over the decades. You will see that as many are great adventure yarns as books with political messages. It’s really pretty even. But this current fiasco is just plain disgusting. Also, as an editor, it makes me angry to see a writer as important as GRRM having to spend his valuable time informing ignorant people about the history of worldcon and the history of the Hugos.
Dave Freer at Mad Genius Club
“Who we write (and publish) For.” – May 18
It’s been very revealing during the various bursts of rage at the Sad Puppies by traditionally published authors and their publishers. We’re getting to see that dislike, that disdain, that ‘second (or possibly far lower) class citizen, should not be allowed to vote, aren’t ‘Real Fans’, should be put in a dog-pound (we’re not human, and there is no need to treat us as such, apparently. Now I do understand that as far as this monkey is concerned, but most of the pups, their supporters and friends are as human as their detractors.) You get editors like Betsy Wolheim at DAW telling us filthy hoi polloi “as an editor, it makes me angry to see a writer as important as GRRM having to spend his valuable time informing ignorant people about the history of worldcon and the history of the Hugos.” Thanks Betsy. A good spin attempt to blame us for GRRM’s decisions. He’s adult, he can decide what he wants to do. We pig-ignorant revolting peasants can’t actually MAKE him do anything. He wasn’t going to write any more if Bush was re-elected IIRC. The tide of BS from this has overflowed my gum boots.
David French at National Review
“Sci-Fi’s Sad Puppies” – May 18
A literary revolt against political correctness It turns out that pop culture doesn’t inexorably drift toward political correctness. The forces of “social justice” are not invincible, and conservative artists do have cultural power. Just ask the very angry, very frustrated members of the science-fiction Left.Conservatives are by now familiar with the depressing pop-culture script. Angry at perceived injustice or exclusion and eager to spread their particular brand of “social justice,” the Left targets for transformation an artistic medium that was previously not overtly or intentionally politicized. Within a few short years, the quality of art — or its popularity — becomes far less relevant than either its message or the identity of the artist. As part of this process, prestigious awards are no longer a means of rewarding the best work but rather a means of rewarding the best work from the list of acceptable choices. [The remainder of the article is behind a paywall, cost 25 cents.]
The only area of fiction with a male audience is sci-fi/fantasy. So-called serious fiction was taken over lunatics and feminists to the point where it has no audience outside of the academy. The fiction that sells best is the rape fantasy stuff popular with middle-aged white women. Otherwise, fiction for men is mostly aimed at harmless weirdos who prefer to be the female character in on-line games.
That’s why the lunatics are making war on sci-fi and fantasy fiction. They sense this group of white males are weak and can be bullied. After all, a guy who gets beat up for wearing his Frodo costume to school is not going to push back against the heavy weights of the genre. At least that’s the assumption. It’s why the cult has made a fetish of bullying, by the way. They want it as their exclusive tool for socializing children.
James May, who keeps posting here, is the gift that never stops giving. In one of his most recent posts, he insists once again that the SJW (social justice warrior) hordes are a menace to science fiction. So, in this essay, I will go through his points one at a time to show how ridiculous they are whether examined in part or (especially) as a whole…..
In one of my former lives I was a TA in the history department at UCLA. In that capacity, I read and graded a lot of essays written by students in which they attempted, with greater or lesser success, to advance an historical proposition.
So far, James May’s essay advancing the proposition that science fiction as a genre—or at least its most prestigious awards—have been overwhelmed by a radical lesbian-centric racialized feminist crusade is getting an F. He’s made no attempt to substantiate a single one of his claims. Literally, not one.
Slates are extremely powerful. In normal voting everyone reads different stuff and has different tastes, so no one work will receive more than maybe 10% of the nominating votes. But slate voters agree to vote on the same five nominees for each category. This means a slate needs to come up with about 10% of the nominating votes to sweep every category. The 90% of individual voters are swamped and overwhelmed by the 10% of slate voters. Lest you think I am exaggerating, over two thirds of the slots on this year’s Hugo ballot are on the Sad Puppy Slate or the Rabid Puppy Slate, or both.
I am really afraid that if these slates see any success at all, it will be slates all the way down from now on. Therefore, in order to whatever I can to discourage slates in future years, I plan to only vote for non-slate works above “no award.”
While the extreme sexist and racist attitudes of some of the slate organizers sickens me, it is the damage to the Hugo awards that will be done by slates that motivated me to get involved this year. I don’t want slates of progressive writers either.
Joe Sherry on Adventures in Reading
You can find Zombie Nation online, but there’s no way to tell what is included in the nominated collection. I’ve been boldly reading the comic from the start, powering through, but I’m only up to 2013 strips, so it’s taking a while. But, you can look at any 2014 work from Zombie Nation and use that to evaluate Carter Reid for Fan Artist if you don’t want to wait for Zombie Nation to hit the voter’s packet (or attempt to read five years of strips).
Scott Seldon on Seldon’s SF Blog
I quickly followed reading Ancillary Justice with the sequel, Ancillary Sword. It was as good and as engrossing, bringing with it new aspects of the universe and the characters. If a sequel ever deserved as many awards as the original, this one certainly does. It is a magnificent world given to us by a magnificent writer. I can’t way for the third book. I definitely have a new author to add to my list of favorites. I can’t wait to see what she does next. Her nomination for this year’s Hugo Awards is justly deserved.
Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library
This wants so badly to be an allegorical fable in the manner of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia. And it fails so, so badly.
Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4
“The Hugo Ballot, Part 11: Novellas” – May 18
I love the idea behind “The Plural of Helen of Troy,” by John C. Wright. There’s a City Beyond Time, Metachronopolis, with shining towers and bridges and gardens. Fog caused by too many time changes shrouds the lower towers, and in the upper stories live the Masters, who control the forces of time. Unfortunately there’s something of a fog on the story as well.
Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation
“Sad Puppies 3: The Ensaddening” – January 26
It is that time of year again. If you’d like to nominate good books, stories, and related works for the Hugos so that the biggest award in sci-fi/fantasy isn’t just a Social Justice Warrior circle jerk, you need to get yourself a supporting membership to Sasquan before the end of January.
Declan Finn on A Pius Man
[DF adjusts speakers. SWAT team Irish step dances down the street, never to be seen again. DF sighs, moves to mailbox, muttering] I wonder if John C. Wright will loan me some of his Vatican Ninjas. It’s not like he gets SWATted like this. He’s a living brain in a jar, what are they going to slap the handcuffs on?
@tcmccarthy_ I've been hoping that the Sad Puppies phenom will lead to a separate SF fandom. If you hear anything about this, please tweet!
— Jeff Duntemann (@JeffDuntemann) May 18, 2015