An Account of Juliette Wade’s Withdrawal from Sad Puppies 3

Whether everyone on the Sad Puppies 3 slate was asked, and what they were told, has been part of the overall discussion.

Brad R. Torgersen addressed both questions in “Defenders of the nail house” (March 29) and “Sad Puppies 3: were they contacted?” (April 10) and in a comment here on File 770 (February 7).

Juliette Wade is one of the writers who withdrew her story from the Sad Puppies 3 slate, and she has agreed to share how that experience looked from her side.

***

Juliette Wade: Brad approached me on Facebook IM on January 25th as follows:

Brad: Juliette, I would like to include your novelette “Mind Locker” on my Hugo suggestion slate for February.  Can I have your permission to include you?

Me: Yes, thank you so much!

I did not notice the word “slate” or think anything of it at the time. We then discussed his upcoming work duties (army reserve stuff). Then on February 1 the Sad Puppies list was posted, and I was alerted to it by my friend Lillian Csernica. I remember feeling cold and a little sick. I immediately IMed Brad at 6:28 pm. This was the conversation I had with him at that time.

Me: Brad, I am sorry, but if you will be labeling me as a sad puppy I will have to ask you to withdraw me from your list.

Brad: You’ve not been labeled a sad puppy.  This is the :fight puppy-related sadness list” I contacted you about earlier.  You said you were OK with it.

Me: You did not say you were going to be calling it the Sad Puppies list. I feel like you were misrepresenting it. I’m happy to be one of your Hugo recommendations. This is different.

Brad: (shrug) I think your story deserves to make the final ballot.  If you elect to not participate, so be it.

Me: I think I would be more comfortable if I were not on the list. Thanks for thinking of including me.

Brad: You’re off the list.

Me: Thank you.

After that I walked around my house angry for a while thinking about how disingenuous he was about the whole thing.

***

Thanks to Juliette Wade for adding to our understanding about how the slate was assembled, and confirming how her withdrawal was handled.

198 thoughts on “An Account of Juliette Wade’s Withdrawal from Sad Puppies 3

  1. Disingenuous? He played it straight as an arrow. The nerve of a guy, liking someone’s work and wanting to recommend it!

    “This is different.”

    Really? How?

  2. It isn’t XD, and like Sarah posted, why on earth would _anyone_ have to _ask_ for a recommended list first. Brad unfortunately was being too nice. And it wasn’t exactly a secret what he was doing as he was the leader picked for SP3 well before the list was published.

    Notice it goes from great to bad based on names and associations not on practice.

    That being said its well within the public good to report it. I think it will be a reminder to next round about how playing nice will only result in late recriminations.

  3. The failure to mention that it was part of the ongoing Sad Puppies campaign?

    Limiting it to the impression that it was a set of personal recommendations (ie, “my Hugo suggestion slate”)?

    Even Brad seems confused, given that he thought he had mentioned some “:fight puppy-related sadness list” (to say nothing of the nominees who have advised that he made no such notification, much less sought permission – ie, Adventures in Spaceflight is one such example, as per their post in io9)

    I would note that it was Mr Torgersen who made the initial claim that he had contacted and sought the permission of all nominees before issuing out the slate.

    That’s how.

  4. It is a big difference between recommending someones work and to use the same work as a name in a political campaign. Easy as that.

  5. @GK
    “Notice it goes from great to bad based on names and associations not on practice.”
    Well yes. Why wouldn’t it? We routinely judge people based on the company they keep and the way we see them interact with other people. How we present ourselves publicly is one of the most powerful ways we interact with the world.

    And there is a massive difference between “I enjoyed your book enough to recommend it to other people” and “I want to use you and your work as an example in an ideologically motivated demonstration.”

    A much more honest way to approach authors would have been along the lines of “Hello, I’m currently selecting works for this years Sad Puppies slate for the Hugo Awards. I’d like to include your story. Would you like to participate?”

    This wasn’t Sad Puppies 1. It’s damn hard to plead ignorance that the slate might be looked at somewhat differently than a random list of recommended reads.

  6. As SP3 was announced on 1/7 and Brad contacted Wade on 1/25 I suppose there is a slim chance that Brad simply assumed that everyone would know that he was compiling SP3. But really, why not just IM with the link, since it was available for Brad to give to Wade?

    Well, we know why, don’t we?

  7. Next year I believe it will be Kate Paulk doing the recruitment. One hopes she’s more diligent and up-front than this years show-runners have been.

  8. After this year, it’s hard to believe that anyone who isn’t actively engaged in Puppying would want to be on a Puppy slate–or any slate.

  9. No doubt in my mind that obfuscation and down-play were used in compiling the list, as there is strong evidence to suggest that most anyone with any prior knowledge of the Hugo Awards would know of the strong cultural imperative against campaigning for Hugo norms.
    “Can I put your story on my recommended reading list?”
    “Sure, thanks”
    “Can I put your story on my Hugo Awards campaign slate?”
    “Hell no. you KNOW we don’t do that, right?”

    There are two tools available to us for minimizing/preventing this kind if BS in the future. One is to reject slated works on the final ballot by leaving them off the ballot or placing them below No Award.
    The second is to reinforce and institutionalize the taboo against campaigning by refusing to be included, by stating that refusal publicly (as often as is necessary) and by making sure that others are aware that it is generally a bad idea to shit where you eat.

  10. To clarify, it sounds like what Ms. Wade thought she was offered was an endorsement, but what she got was a position on someone else’s ticket.

  11. I love the claim that Torgersen was too nice. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that it was completely clear what he’d been asking, and it was all a misunderstanding on Wade’s part. When was he “too nice?” When he asked her in the first place? When he agreed to take her off the list once she objected? This bare-bones common courtesy is “too nice?” I guess there are some who believe his proper response would have been to track her down and punch her in the face for daring to refuse.

  12. Juliette Wade’s experience shows that John Scalzi called it right on how Brad Torgersen dishonestly approached his slate choices:

    “… let me suggest that when Brad Torgersen (or whomever) went off notifying people of their presence on the slate, he probably did not lead with ‘Hi, would you like to be part of a slate of nominees whose organizers whine darkly and incessantly about the nefarious conspiracies of the evil social justice warriors to infiltrate all levels of science fiction, and which will also implictly tie you and your work to at least one completely bigoted shitmagnet of a human being?’ Rather more likely he played up the ‘we’re trying to get stuff on the ballot we think is cool that doesn’t usually get on it’ angle and downplayed, you know, that other stuff.”

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/04/07/human-shields-cabals-and-poster-boys/

    Torgersen dragged people into his mean-spirited culture war while making it sound like he was just recommending works he liked.

  13. “Ideological” Yeah, Brad’s list was so ideologically pure it contained people from all across the political spectrum, including “That’s between me and the Voting Booth”.

    Seems some people have leftover Vitriol from SP2 (Which WAS ideological, to prove a point, which was proved handily) and just like to fire it off without looking.

    I suppose next year EVERYONE will have to get clearance for their endorsement lists, unless they want to give rise to charges of double-standards.

  14. The proof that the Sad Puppies campaign is ideological is all over Larry Correia’s blog. It has always been an effort to (a) stick it to social justice warriors and (b) get Hugos for their buddies. That didn’t change just because Torgersen led it this time around and made a few picks that weren’t conservative authors.

  15. Sadly, Steve, that “cultural imperative” went out the window years ago.

  16. Kudos to Ms. Wade, who was on the ball enough to realize what had happened when her friends alerted her she was on the Sad Puppy Slate.

    As for Brad’s approach, there’s a big difference between “I like your work and would like to recommend it for a Hugo” and “I’m picking works for the next Sad Puppy Hugo Slate–you might want to Google around and find out what that is; I can wait until tomorrow for your answer.”

    Scalzi called it.

    I’m not mad at slated authors. I’m going to vote them all below No Award because slates break the nomination process, but I won’t hold it against them in the future. The organizers and promoters of Sad Puppies are a different story, of course.

  17. Juliette’s a colleague at Analog and I’ve been hoping for three years to see her name finally appear on the Hugo ballot. It’s unfortunate that Juliette’s fears — at being shamed, shunned, and ostracized, for appearing on the “wrong” list — caused her to withdraw when the slate was released. Which says far, far more about Sad Puppies’ detractors, than it does about Juliette, or me for that matter.

    Once again, the Are your papers in order? factor rears its ugly head. Nobody should have to be afraid of being on a list of suggestions. But Juliette (and a few others) were. Because they didn’t want to be punished for an association. Brilliant, folks! Just brilliant. Let’s make hard-working authors afraid of having the “wrong” people put those authors forward, for recognition.

    If you can’t see the problematic nature of this atmosphere that’s been created — by the field’s progressive fans and pros alike — you’re not paying attention.

  18. Brad, FFS, does your shamelessness know no bounds or do you come by your obtuseness naturally?

    Let me point you to one of the comments on the post you linked:

    “Also, when a fan or author posts a recommendation list, no notice or permission is ordinarily required, however, when the plan is to use your list as a battering ram to enter the supposed stronghold of the opposition, then it makes sense to check whether the authors are on board before embroiling them in controversy.”

    It’s by some guy called Mike Glyer. Given Juliette’s comments, why do you feel the need to attribute fear of “shunning” as the source, instead of, say a complete and utter disinterest in being a ball in your ongoing campaign?

  19. Brad R Torgersen — “If you can’t see the problematic nature of this atmosphere that’s been created — by the field’s progressive fans and pros alike — you’re not paying attention.”

    You created the atmosphere, you and Correia and Wright, by claiming this fantastic plot to keep conservative writers from their justly deserved Hugos, and making up facts about Tor and Baen’s sales and editorial policies. The stink is yours.

  20. Interesting that Brad thinks Juliette is such a capable writer, and yet feels the need to put words in her mouth… “shunned shamed and ostracized” appear nowhere in what she had to say.

    One possibility is that he thinks, being female, she needs a little extra help getting things right, or a lacks courage to say what she really means.

    Or maybe he really does want to use people who don’t share his ideology as tools in his ideological struggle, and doesn’t mind putting words in their mouths to make it happen.

  21. “Which says far, far more about Sad Puppies’ detractors, than it does about Juliette, or me for that matter.”

    You’re too modest. You, Correia and Day used people like Wade to further an antagonistic campaign against a group of fans and pros you dislike. While telling these authors you were choosing them to recognize excellence in SF/F, your real agenda was to push an toxic culture war into fandom.

    But you know this already. That’s why you didn’t say a word about Sad Puppies when you asked Wade to be on your slate. If you had been honest and said you were trying to stick it to CHORFs — or whatever other tiresome new insult you coin — Wade would have known she was just a means to an end for you.

    All of the people who refused to be on your slate, or later dropped off the ballot, have said they didn’t want to be a political football. Your continued refusal to acknowledge your role in making them one says a lot about your character.

  22. rcade on May 3, 2015 at 5:45 am said:

    “… let me suggest that when Brad Torgersen (or whomever) went off notifying people of their presence on the slate, he probably did not lead with ‘Hi, would you like to be part of a slate of nominees whose organizers whine darkly and incessantly about the nefarious conspiracies of the evil social justice warriors to infiltrate all levels of science fiction, and which will also implictly tie you and your work to at least one completely bigoted shitmagnet of a human being?’ Rather more likely he played up the ‘we’re trying to get stuff on the ballot we think is cool that doesn’t usually get on it’ angle and downplayed, you know, that other stuff.”

    Torgersen dragged people into his mean-spirited culture war while making it sound like he was just recommending works he liked.

    ~~~

    Actually, you just got that backwards. I’ve never seen such mean-spiritedness as the “tolerant” “liberals” in this.

    I remember when the Hugos meant something. They’ve turned into the plywood fort in the back yard where the little losers go to show each other their wangs and talk about how cool they are.

    But go ahead, prove how tolerant you are by voting against nominees based on some vague, imagined association with “Gamergate” and the Illuminati and Elvis, or whomever you think is behind this. That will definitely show the world.

    This is your future:

    http://www.michaelzwilliamson.com/blog/item/no-matter-what-happens-the-hugos-are-doomed

  23. “Phone me when progressives stop using fear as a primary tactic to divide and conquer SF/F.”

    Seriously? You and your buddies spent the last few months writing hyperbolic comparisons to GULAGs and Nazis because some people disagreed with you in an Internet argument and proclaimed yourselves the brave martyrs standing up against the forces of evil. You are the ones trying to create an atmosphere of fear.

  24. Many of my friends I have spoken to are voting based on the quality of the work.

    I certainly am.

  25. Brad, your links may be relevant had I ever asked what Sarah Hoyt was afraid of in the industry.

    I didn’t. I asked you why you attributed motivations that were not evident to Juliette Wade’s withdrawal, as opposed to her simply not being interested in being part of your front in the culture war; or any of a million other reasons.

    One woman’s motivations are not necessarily identical to another’s, Brad. Please don’t mix them up. And try to read what the person in question has said, instead of simply deciding that you know better.

  26. rcade: “Scalzi called it right” makes it sound as if his statement derived from Sherlockian deductions rather than talking to people involved. Which do you think is really more likely?

  27. I do appreciate reading a woman’s account of her own experiences in her own words rather than have some man charge in and say that what she really meant was something else entirely.

  28. I have been reading Hoyt’s entries at Mad Genius Club and to a lesser extent her blog off and on for a while. She is a reasonable writer of fiction, but her blog writing is…quirkier than a large bag of weasels. Her complaints about SFWA sound like a report from the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. I would not take her complaints about progressives using fear all that seriously.

    And as for Brad’s, the memorable gulag post suggests that they make reasonable fiction but are too wildly overstated to be useful for considering real world disagreements within science fiction fandom.

    There are conservative writers who don’t seem to be high-drama, but they also don’t seem to be Puppies.

  29. Person, I should have said. It’s not just men that do that, although it does seem to be more often women who have it done to them.

  30. Brad, please read what other people are writing instead of projecting your own ideological hobbyhorses onto them.

    Did Juliette Wade tell you, explicitly, that the reason she didn’t want to appear on the Sad Puppies slate was because she feared that “SJWs” or “CHORFs” would shun her for her association with conservatives?

    She didn’t say that to Mike in the letter reposted here. What she told you was “I feel like you were misrepresenting it. I’m happy to be one of your Hugo recommendations. This is different.” In other words, she had no issue being associated with you as a human being who is known to be conservative; she did have an issue specifically with the Sad Puppies campaign. And she accused you of being “disingenuous”; she didn’t accuse opponents of the Sad Puppies campaign of anything.

  31. ‘Phone me when progressives stop using fear as a primary tactic to divide and conquer SF/F.’

    Correia tried to invoke Gamergate support. TB is a Gamergater. Sure, they’re a joke, but only in the instance of their transparent attempts to appear respectable. Otherwise, their devotion to terrorising women on the internet is second to none and no laughing matter. When they phone people it’s to initiate a SWATting. They’re repulsive and their presence on the edges of the SP/RP side is just one minor part of the utter hostility directed towards so-called ‘SJWs’ in SF/F.

  32. ‘at being shamed, shunned, and ostracized, for appearing on the “wrong” list’

    At the risk of being all feministy, this denies her any agency and doubts the veracity of her descriptions of her own actions.

  33. ‘They’ve turned into the plywood fort in the back yard where the little losers go to show each other their wangs and talk about how cool they are.’

    I would be interested to see your critical analysis of nominees and winners that illustrate this thesis, particularly in comparison with nominees and winners from whatever period you feel did not suffer from this sad decline.

  34. Yeah, like when #gamergate called in a bomb threat to disrupt a meeting of antigators, like what happened in DC last Friday night.

    Oh wait. That went the other way ’round didn’t it.

    Nigel is a liar and not worth engaging with in this thread.

  35. So how many Analog stories were supposed to be on the slate, Brad? I am sure it is just a coincidence that this is the magazine which has published most of your stories and some of the regular authors there are your buddies. And there wasn’t a single suggestion from any of the other major magazines in the field. Another coincidence, I bet…

  36. “I remember when the Hugos meant something. They’ve turned into the plywood fort in the back yard where the little losers go to show each other their wangs and talk about how cool they are.”

    Your weirdly sexualized hatred of the Hugos is noted.

    As someone who has voted in the Hugos since 2008, I stand behind every list of winners we’ve produced since then as a good-faith and fair attempt to honor excellence in SF/F. There are specific winners I didn’t favor each year, of course, but anyone can look at the results and recognize that your characterization is utterly without merit.

    I challenged Correia to provide evidence that a single novel/novella/novellette category had been unfairly manipulated in the past 10 years. He admitted he couldn’t do it. He has no evidence because there is none.

    You can declare the Hugos “doomed,” but ultimately people like you who hate them won’t decide their future. That’s up to the people who have nurtured and supported them for decades.

  37. ‘Yeah, like when #gamergate called in a bomb threat to disrupt a meeting of antigators, like what happened in DC last Friday night’

    As you know, Bob, the whole Gamergate thing literally began in DC on Friday night and was immediately disrupted by a bomb threat and nothing happened before that in relation to anything at all, ever.

  38. The Sad Puppies 3 announcement went out on my blog and Facebook prior to Juliette’s invite. I know she reads my wall. I guess my fault was in assuming she’d seen it? Hell, since I was on the SP2 slate last year, and everybody knew about that, I guess I was a bit puzzled that Juliette didn’t understand what was being asked in 2015. Especially since the word slate was explicit in my request to her.

    As always (in these arguments) I find myself being nipped at by ankle-biters who would probably never give me the benefit of the doubt anyway.

    And Michael Z. Williamson is 100% correct — the more this drama carries on, and the more whining, crying, accusations, high dudgeon, threats, character assassinations, et al., occur — the more the Hugos suffer. And it is entirely on the shoulders of the plaintiffs who have made it their mission to destroy Sad Puppies 3 and all associated with it.

    Folks, this is not how you “prove” you’re inclusive. This is also not liberal. Nor is it the work happy enthusiasts for this field.

    The hatred and bile spewed against Sad Puppies 3 is the mark of shriveled hearts (and lockstep minds) who inhabit a small tent.

    Again, phone me when progressives stop using fear.

    Any mindset that must us FEAR in manner, is not a mindset I’d trust.

    Oh, and FYI for those not in the know, Nick Mamatas used to take money from lazy college students who paid him to writer their papers for him. He also used to take money to start controversy on social media, for the clicks/hits. Trust that particular mouthpiece (in this debate) if you feel like it.

  39. Brad can almost read Wikipedia!

    PS: I was the only person to point out that Brad might have simply assumed Wade knew about SP3 from the announcement. But you heard Brad, don’t listen to that claim!

  40. “You, Correia and Day used people like Wade to further an antagonistic campaign against a group of fans and pros you dislike. While telling these authors you were choosing them to recognize excellence in SF/F, your real agenda was to push an toxic culture war into fandom.”

    That is a false accusation against both Brad and Larry. You can reasonably blame me for the culture war aspects, although my real agenda is by no means limited to that. But regardless, you cannot blame them for something they neither did nor intended nor made possible.

    I supported, and support, their goals. But I also knew how hopeless those goals are at this present time, because unlike them, I recognize lying, incoherent SJW snakes for exactly what they are.

    And every day, more and more people see it for themselves and are repulsed.

  41. ‘Folks, this is not how you “prove” you’re inclusive.’

    Whatever you don’t take a look at how SP/RPs tried to get included and the things they said about the people who they apparently wanted to get included with. Don’t look at that any of that at all. I’d hate to see you get horribly disillusioned. It would be heartbreaking for you.

  42. Michael Z. Williamson: When you were the first person to announce that you were a 2015 Hugo nominee it seemed to mean something to you whether or not your daughter knew anything about the award.

  43. Facebook’s a firehose, Brad. I thought everybody understood that. Most of us can’t keep up with our FB feeds, and to make matters worse only a percentage of what you post makes it to your friends’ feeds at all.

    You can’t just assume that all of your FB friends have seen everything you’ve posted, much less actually had time to read it. In the future, when you invite someone to participate in something you announced on your feed, you need to send them the link to the announcement.

  44. Brad, that’s a lovely little red herring you’ve thrown in on the last comment here, but perhaps it’s better suited to the general daily Hugo round-up?

    For this, I think I’d appreciate an answer as to why in your first comment to this article, you attributed motivations that were not evident to Juliette Wade’s withdrawal, as opposed to her simply not being interested in being part of your front in the culture war; or any of a million other reasons.

Comments are closed.