Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Puppies of War 4/19

Black Gate’s withdrawal from the Hugos may have been too late to change the ballot, but was just in time to provide fresh evidence of the social cost of this controversy.

George R.R. Martin says he still doesn’t agree with their advice to vote No Award.

Otherwise, appropriate to a Sunday, there was preaching to the choir all over the internet.

Alexandra Erin from a collected series of tweets on Storify

 “Why do book recommendations make Sad Puppies sad” – April 10

If I say “I want to read more feminist SF” or “I want to read more books with queer protagonists”, I didn’t *forget* about quality. Or fun.

Any more than I would have forgotten those things if I said “I want to read more military SF.”

The selective failure to understand this very simple point is what fuels the perpetual outrage machine that keeps the Sad Puppies sad.



David Gerrold on Facebook – April 19

2) The narrative about the sad-rabids has crystallized. As more than one analyst has pointed out, the sad-rabid position is based on a misreading of history and a misunderstanding of fandom — a failure to understand the context into which they are speaking. While the slate-mongering is technically legal, it violates the spirit of fairness. As a result, they have made themselves a focus of fannish anger. Never a good thing. A growing majority of fans are seeing this situation as the efforts of a small group of extremists to take over something that has previously belonged to all fans, ie. an attempted coup.

The short-term result here is anger. That will pass. Not soon enough, but it will. The long-term result will be that anyone too closely identified with the sad-rabids, anyone who benefited from this slate-mongering, anyone who did not publicly withdraw, will be indelibly tainted. Fans have long memories. Some grudges in fandom date back to the universe that existed before the big bang. Harlan, for instance, is still working on grudges from the twelfth century…B.C.

Those who have been tainted will find that they have put unnecessary obstacles in their own paths. There are editors who will not want the stink that certain authors will be tracking with them. There are conventions that will not invite them to be on panels. There are awards they can never be considered for, lest others wonder if there was a political agenda at work. There are websites and fanzines and podcasts that will choose not to interview them — conversely, there will be others that will interview them for their perspective on the situation, stirring the shit one more time and spreading it just a little more.


Paul Weimer on Blog, Jvstin Style

“2 Corinthians 6:14 and othering: Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies and SJWs” – April 19

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 (KJV)

This Story on Hullabaloo got me thinking about the conflict in SFF Fandom lately regarding the Hugos and all sides.

There is a hell of a lot of “othering” going on, and yes, its not limited to one side, or even predominantly one side. There is also the perception of othering on BOTH sides that probably exceeds the actual amount going on.

Larry, Brad and Sad Puppies see themselves as being treated as pariahs and outsiders by the Worldcon crowd. Part of that perception, whether its ex post facto, perception only, or really there just amplifies itself on the Internet. Similarly, the other side (which I am going to call SJW, just because its easier) sees many right wing authors and people as being beyond the pale, unworthy or impossible to engage with, and sparks fly on that side.


Kevin Standlee

“2015 Business Meeting Updates” – April 19

The meeting is not secret. The only restriction on non-members attending is capacity. We will be officially recording the meeting, and we will upload those recordings to YouTube as soon as bandwidth allows. That doesn’t mean instantaneously. It will probably take several hours at least to pull the recordings out of the camera, convert them to the correct format, and upload them, even on a decently high-speed connection. There is currently no plan to live-stream the meeting, although this could change, as the new camera Lisa just bought does appear to have outputs that might be able to feed to something that could send the feed out live.

My reading of the WSFS Constitution is that the Business Meeting, besides being the only required event at a Worldcon (Site Selection isn’t an “event” in my formulation, and the Hugo Ceremony isn’t required) outside of stuff about MPC meetings and other minor trivia, is also the only event at a Worldcon where we’re not allowed to refuse entry to any qualified member who wants to attend. Even the Hugo Awards Ceremony can turn people away if the room overflows, but the Business Meeting cannot do so because it would violate the members’ rights under our rules. This of course has never been an issue before and it’s rare that more than about 2% of the qualified members want to attend. This year is looking so weird right now that we cannot as yet make an estimate of actual attendance with much confidence. Thus the currently booked room (300B) is subject to change, possibly on short notice due to changed circumstances. No change is intended maliciously, and any change on short notice at the convention will be publicized to the best of the convention’s ability to do so.


Kevin Standlee

“NPR Reports on Puppygate”  – April 18

…Incidentally, after declining from the initial huge spike on Finalist Announcement Day, it appears that traffic to is still running at more than quadruple the pre-announcement levels. April 2015 will be the busiest month in the history of the web site, exceeding the traffic from last August. I am so glad that we changed site hosts last month. Our previous host was warning us that we were already approaching traffic levels well above what they were prepared to handle, which was why we moved. If we hadn’t done so, I expect that our old host would have started blocking calls to the site entirely.


PZ Myers on Freethought Blogs

“The things you learn about the sf community”  – April 19

I have to hand it to those goons who made up a slate of ‘conservative’ science fiction and slammed it into the Hugo nominations: I’d had this vague assumption that science fiction fans would be generally progressive and tolerant and even enthusiastic about different ideas. The Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies have enlightened and disillusioned me.


Indiana on Indi in the Wired

“How right wing bigots are ruining science fiction” – April 19

Unfortunately, Day’s logically absurd and transparently self-serving tactic actually worked. You see, it’s never taken many votes to skew the Hugos. It would have just taken the subtlest nudge for Day to get his own stable of writers well-represented… but “subtle” is probably lost on people like that.

And while there have certainly been campaigns for specific works in the past, and lists of suggested works of course, never before has there been a situation where one group has set up a slate designed to clog up the nominations with their own shit, and block out other nominees. That’s really where the problem lies: though they technically broke no rules, they twisted the process to hurt other writers, rather than to merely promote works they liked. The “Sad Puppies” slate was not designed to put their favourite works on the nomination list (where they could then compete fairly with other works), it was specifically designed to keep the works of those they were ideologically opposed to off the list.


All Things Considered on National Public Radio

“Hugo Awards Highlight Scarcity of Women Minorities in Science Fiction” – April 19, 2015

NPR’s Arun Rath talks to author Monica Byrne about how controversy surrounding this year’s Hugo Awards highlights a lack of women and minority speculative fiction authors.


George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Black Gate Withdraws” – April 19

BLACK GATE is advocating the nuclear option: vote NO AWARD in all categories. I understand his reasoning, but once more, I disagree. I will vote NO AWARD only in those categories where I find nothing in the category worthy of a Hugo. If I think a book or story or editor IS worthy of a Hugo, I’m going to vote to award one.

The Hugos can withstand a few NO AWARDs, in categories where all the nominees are crap. They can NOT withstand an entire evening without a single rocket being presented, where one envelope after another is ripped open and NO AWARD is announced, again and again and again.

And as flawed and damaged as this ballot is, there ARE things on it deserving of our field’s ultimate accolade. Starting with BEST NOVEL, the Big One, where I know there is at least one Hugo-calibre book, and suspect there may be as many as three, or even four. Or BEST FAN WRITER, where Laura Mixon’s report on Requires Hate cries out for recognition. There are some terrific movies in Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. We missed PREDESTINATION, which deserved a nod, but we did get INTERSTELLAR, which I rank up there with 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. There are editors on the ballot deserving of recognition (no, not him, obviously), there’s an artist (maybe more than one, but one for sure), there’s a bunch of fine fan artists…


Tom Smith on Patreon

“New Song: ‘Sad Puppies (Aren’t Much Fun)'”


All their plots, all their hooks,

But no one nominated their books,

Sad puppies never won.


Jo Lindsay Walton on All That Is Solid Melts into Aargh

“Happy Puppies” – April 8

[Another helpful suggestion for changing the system used to  Hugo nominees…]

Or. Embrace war. Create a system that celebrates and encourages tactics, which does not try to suppress or mask our political differences but magnifies and elaborates them. Perhaps instead of a ballot you have a “deck” or “team” in which you choose your books, stories, films etc. and can also assign them various powers, tools, weapons, factional alliances, behaviours. Instead of simply counting, the whole battle or adventure or whatever plays out on a ginormous screen at the awards ceremony, accompanied by some pretty serious atmosphere. Update: a very simple bare bones example …

Each nominator gets four slots in each category. They’re not ranked, exactly, but they are classed. It might be:

BEST NOVEL Hedgehog: 25 HP, +5 damage vs. witch Dalek: 25 HP, +5 damage vs. hedgehog Witch: 25 HP, +5 damage vs. dalek Mithril Mech: 30 HP, begins in herald slot

… so for best novel, my ballot might look like this:

Hedgehog: Jeff VanderMeer, Southern Reach Dalek: Cixin Liu, The Three Body Problem Witch: Adam Roberts, Bete MM: Ann Leckie, Ancillary Sword

With each round of voting, each party is randomly paired with another. If the heralds are the same (i.e. in round one, if my ballot encounters another Ancillary Sword mithril mech) then both ballots survive intact and unchanged into the next round. Otherwise, a champion is randomly selected from the non-herald party members of each ballot.


(1) if the champions happen to be the same (e.g. my Southern Reach bumps into another Southern Reach) then the champions move into the heralds slots, but no damage is inflicted, and both ballots survive otherwise unaltered into the next round.

(2) otherwise, both nominations take damage according to their class. For example, say my Southern Reach hedgehog gets paired against a John Scalzi Lock In dalek. My nomination loses fifteen Hit Points, and the Lock In nomination loses ten (my quills aren’t much use against the dalek’s armour plating and selfie-stick).

Nominations that have fallen to zero Hit Points are eliminated, and a new round begins.

The cycle continues until all except five novels have been eliminated, comprising the short list.

Each nominator also receives an automated personalised chronicle of their ballot’s encounters and deeds. Nominators may also opt to make their ballot non-anonymous, so that their names come up in the battle reports of other nominators with whom they have friendly or warlike encounters. (“I literally met Hoyt in the fourth round! Her Correia Witch kicked my Leckie Dalek’s ass.”)



101 thoughts on “Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Puppies of War 4/19

  1. VD — “And it showed me several points of vulnerability which we are presently addressing.”

    And it took you only ten years to draw up your plans for revenge. Impressive.

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