Jonathan Stray and Mr. Norwich Terrier 6/1

aka A Bark and Hungry Puppy Arises

June is bustin’ out all over which may account for one of the longest roundups ever. The pack includes lead dog Brad R. Torgersen, Alexandra Erin, Ian Gillespie, Jim C. Hines, John Scalzi, John C. Wright, Larry Correia, Dave Freer, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, Vox Day, Chris Kluwe, Lis Carey, Dave M. Strom, Pluviann, Chris Gerrib, Russell Blackford and Brianna Wu. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors May Tree and  Soon Lee.)

Brad R. Torgersen

“Sheepdog staring at the horizon” – May 31

As my friend and author (and Sad Puppy critic) Eric Flint recently noted, he’s put his body on the line for what he believes. Other people spew a lot of hot air about being “warriors” for social justice. Eric’s a man who can actually claim that title, and be taken seriously; by allies and opponents alike.

So you will pardon me if I can’t spare much serious thought for those who think being some guy who gets pissed off on the internet, is somehow going to make a difference — a real, lasting, actual difference.

Which takes me back to a point Larry Correia and I have both made, about the Hugo awards: loads of people loved to complain about how the Hugos suck, and almost nobody was doing anything to make an impact. I say “almost” because there were interested parties working hard to effect the kind of change they wanted — Seannan McGuire didn’t get five Hugo nominations in a single year on accident — they just didn’t conduct their operations in broad daylight, nor on a scale to compare with Sad Puppies.

Which takes me back to a comment Michael Z. Williamson once made: we’re bad because we’re competent?

Well, whatever people have against Sad Puppies 3 — legit, or imaginary — it’s clear that the various narratives will continue without my input. I can only restate the obvious, in the hope that it sticks with people who have not decided to be dead-set against us. We (Sad Puppies Inc.) threatened nothing, demanded nothing, and closed no doors in any faces. We threw the tent flaps wide and beckoned to anyone and everyone: come on in, join the fun!



Ian Gillespie

“Blank Slate” – May 31

Putting aside the reasoning behind the Puppy slates – which is, admittedly, thoroughly objectionable to many of us all on its own – I’ve yet to see anyone offer a cogent, clearly articulated explanation for what makes the machinations of these melancholy mutts categorically different than what’s been done, without controversy, in years past.

I’d like to humbly suggest that the anti-puppies have been sucked into debating a strawman. While most of the prominent denunciations of the dispirited dogs have focused on their use of slates, the real problem with the pessimistic pups isn’t about slates at all, but rather tactical voting.

By linking their Hugo recommendations to a larger cause – namely, putting those insufferable progressives in their place – the Puppies have effectively encouraged their small-but-loyal pack of supporters to nominate works based on a political agenda – not the works themselves, not even their own individual preferences. That’s the issue. Not campaigning for particular works, but rendering the works themselves a meaningless consideration.


Ian Gillespie

“Paulk the Vote” – May 31

According to Erin, Kate Paulk has been tapped to take over the dog pound, and she’s already promised that next year’s puppy-approved slatecraft will be done in a “transparent and democratic manner”.

If this is truly the case, I have a modest proposal to make:

Let’s rock the vote.

No slates. No cheating. Just show up 7 months from now and vote for the same SJW message fiction, or the same gun-totting monster mashups, you were gonna nominate anyway. If it’s really democratic, then the outcome won’t be any different than a normal, unpuppied process anyway. Right?


Jim C. Hines

“Publishing 101” – June 1

In the wake of Scalzi’s Big Book Deal, folks have been saying some rather ignorant or ill-informed stuff about how publishing works. I wanted to address a few of those points here.

Let’s start with the easiest, in which folks over on Theodore Beale’s blog claim that by Tor giving Scalzi a $3.4 million advance, they’re “squeezing out” approximately “523 initial advances to new science fiction authors.” In other words, Beale claims that “Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi have combined to prevent more than 500 authors from getting published and receiving paid advances.”

This is a particularly egregious bit of ignorance coming from Mister Beale, who fancies himself a publisher.

Publishing is a business. As a business, Tor not only spends money on things like acquiring and publishing books, they also earn money by selling said books. Assuming Scalzi shut out 500 authors assumes that Tor is simply pissing away that $3.4 million. This is a rather asinine assumption. John Scalzi has repeatedly hit the NYT Bestseller list, earned a Best Novel Hugo, and has several TV/film deals in development for his work. Tor buys books from John Scalzi for the same reason they buy books from Orson Scott Card: those books sell a hell of a lot of copies, and earn Tor significant profits.

Very often it’s those profits — the income from reliable bestsellers like Card and Scalzi — that allow publishers to take a chance on new and unknown authors.





John C. Wright

“You Got My Attention By Libeling Me and Desecrating What I Love” – June 1

With a combination of pity and dismay, I read this….

I suspect the Rabids aren’t fans of SF so much as they are “members of the cult of Vox Day.” Partly, this is the only thing that truly seems to explain the works on the slate — the ones that aren’t published by Beale’s own press anyway — the point isn’t that they are any particular thing, the point is that he chose them, and there they are.

But to my infinite amusement, I read the reply: There are, as of last count, 367 vile, faceless minions of the Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil Authors.



Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Back from New York, BEA Recap, and Updates” – June 1

I had some very interesting business conversations, many of which I can’t post about in public. I was worried that I’d catch flack because of all the negative media attention related to Sad Puppies, and the many CHORFs screaming about how I’ve ruined my career, will never work in this town again, blah, blah, blah. Basically, most of the publishing industry hasn’t heard or doesn’t care about the Hugos, it is a non-issue to them, and those who did talk to me about it were either on my side, or weren’t on my side but thought the stagnant little pond still needed a rock thrown in it.

There were also some interesting political conversations. The vast majority of the publishing folks live around and work in New York and are usually politically liberal. Everybody is nice, but at party conversations, people like me are a weird fly-over, red state curiosity. No, really, I do own like that many guns. I had a fascinating and too brief conversation about how Simon & Schuster realized after Bush’s reelection that there were actually lots of people in America who are not liberal and did not think that way, and maybe they should start some imprints to publish conservative political books, and New York publishing was all like no way, nobody believes that stuff. But S&S started some imprints aimed at conservative audiences and shockingly enough, made buckets of money.


Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“This JUST In” – June 1

So if you are a Puppy reading this, here’s how you convince the rest of the world that you mean all those high-minded ideals more than the snipping and sniping:

Next year, try actually spreading awareness of the open nature of nominations. Don’t buy into the slate. Don’t take your recommendations and hand them off to someone who may ignore them while assembling a slate of their own picks. Instead do what countless other people have done for years: post your own recommendations directly, as recommendations.

Add an explanation that anyone who buys a supporting membership to Worldcon can nominate their own picks, and bam… you will have just raised awareness of the nomination process.

What does participating in a slate do that furthers that mission? What does making vague, unfounded accusations that past nominees/winners benefited from some shadowy affirmative action program do to advance the cause? What does all the noise and mess and deliberate provocation and stirring up controversy have to do with anything? What does it add?


Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“Signals across the void –awards and other signs.” – June 1

Of course people can argue about what the signal meant in the first place. Take the various ‘literary’ awards. What were they intended to do?

1) A recognition of excellence by one’s peers?
2) A recognition of excellence by the public?
3) Promote such excellence – signal to others that that is excellent and they should look?
4) A pat on the back for one of the ‘in’ literary clique’s chums?

Different awards have different purposes, and different values. As a reader and writer only (3) ‘Promote such excellence – signal to others that that is excellent and they should look at the work’ is worth much. Most awards, without careful custodianship, head for (4). At which point they lose their historical value and gradually vanish. They have less and less value as (3), and really (1) and (4) are something only the insecure want, unless they feed (3) – which (4) never does and (1) does badly. To put it brutally, if you need and support an award being (1) or (4) you’re a loser, not big enough for what is a tough profession.

(2) is a different kettle of tea. In real terms you could only get there by systematic polling. It does have a lot of (3) value too, because, true enough, we’re not that different. A book which is really the most popular book around, is worth a look-in. The nearest approximation in sf-fantasy is the Hugos. And it isn’t a great approximation (the sample of readers, by who attends/supports Worldcon is obviously inaccurate, and various problems in the nomination have been exposed by the Puppies. (they’re game-able, they’re not demographically representative of the sf readership) – but it’s the best we’ve got right now. As such it could do a good job for sf. It used to.


Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag on Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog

“The Hugos again” – June 1

Of particular interest to me is this notion of giving people who you don’t like bad reviews on books you haven’t read. Let me make this absolutely clear: This is bad behavior. It is wrong. If you have read a book and don’t like it, then it’s fine to give it a bad review.

If you attempted to read a book and found you couldn’t finish it because it was so bad, then yeah, give it a bad review.

But if you simply don’t like the author? Giving their book a bad review without reading it or trying to read it (in good faith) is every bit as bad as, say, nominating a bunch of works for the Hugo awards without reading them first because somebody put together a slate. Yeah, I’m comparing people who give bad reviews based on how they feel about the authors to the self-called “sad puppies” and “rabid puppies”. Both actions are bad faith. Both actions are wrong. Both actions are not worthy of intelligent people.

As David Gerrold says, “If you’re claiming to be one of the good guys, you gotta act like it.”


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The descent of literary criticism” – June 1

Natalie Luhrs will be live-tweeting her feelz about THE WAR IN HEAVEN, beginning June 11. I wonder if she’ll like it?:

Before Theodore “Vox Day” Beale was the central figure in the Sad/Rabid Puppies Hugo Awards hacking, he wrote a series of religious-inspired fantasy novels for Pocket Books. And blogger Natalie Luhrs is going to live-tweet his debut novel, Eternal Warriors: The War in Heaven, for charity. Here’s how it works: You donate money to RAINN, a charity that operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. (Or to a similar organization in your own country.) You send proof of your donation to Luhrs. And for every $5 you donate, Luhrs will livetweet a page of the book, starting June 11 with the hashtag #readingVD. She will also republish her tweets, with additional commentary, on a chapter-by-chapter basis, on her site, Pretty-Terrible. If people raise $2,000, she’ll do the entire book. (She is currently at $920.)

Yeah, probably not. I’d be considerably more impressed if she’d chosen A THRONE OF BONES instead. And it’s kind of a pity that she didn’t choose THE WORLD IN SHADOW, I would have been genuinely interested to see her reaction to that. I’m rather dubious that 300 tweets that alternate between snarking about how bad the writing is and how stupid the author is will prove to be very entertaining for long.


Chris Kluwe in a comment on io9  – May 29

As someone who livetweeted Milo Yiannopolous’ “poetry” book, Eskimo Papoose, all I can do is wish her the best of luck. That shit is more toxic than Godzilla poop on a radioactive dump site.


Geeky Library Voting Guide

“The 2015 Hugo Awards”

[Combination infographic and voter survey, with a page for each category. Need to log into Twitter to vote.]


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Tangent SF Online, edited by Dave Truesdale” – June 1

One of the 2015 Best Fanzine nominees. This is a review zine, focused on reviewing science fiction and fantasy short fiction. I did not find that its style or judgments engaged me at all. However, that said, it’s perfectly competent and professional, and for those who connect better with the tone and approach of Tangent Online, this is a valuable service.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Dark Between the Stars (Saga of the Shadows #1), by Kevin J. Anderson (author), Mark Boyett (narrator)” – June 1

The prose is pedestrian, and just to be absolutely clear: “Pedestrian” prose is not “transparent” prose. Transparent prose requires real skill and craft. The prose here is no more than adequate. It’s certainly no compensation for diffuse and distracting plotting and barely-present character development.



Dave M. Strom on Dave M. Strom: author of Holly Hansson, superheroine & writer

cropped-tucker-me-holly COMP

“Sad Puppies? Or Eye of Argon?” – June 1

At least the Eye of Argon was consistent about spelling out numbers. Although it violates hulls in a slightly grander fashion.

“The disemboweled mercenary crumpled from his saddle and sank to the clouded sward, sprinkling the parched dust with crimson droplets of escaping life fluid.”

There’s more. The same supposedly Hugo-worthy short story [Turncoat by Steve Rzasa] has this sentence. So much wrong in so little space.

“Disabling an enemy warship is not enough; they must be crippled, damaged, destroyed.”

I’m jerked from singular to plural. My sense of opposites is assaulted: in this context, disabled is a synonym for crippled and damaged. I offer this rewrite.

“Disabling an enemy warship is not enough; it must be destroyed.”

Simple, short, and direct. Even a Dalek would smile at that. As for these puppy stories, I urge a vote of no award.


Pluviann on The Kingfishers Nest

“The Parliament of Beasts and Birds – John C. Wright” – June 1

The ‘The Parliament of the Beasts and Birds’ is a beautifully written work. It opens with some excellent scene setting. Look at how wonderfully crafted this description is: ….

So, all in all, it was a bit odd. There are some very minor quibbles I can make: the past tense of shine is shone when the verb is intransitive. And Fox trying to wriggle out being called a thief by protesting that he stole meat not animals doesn’t really make sense. But overall, it was well done. The story started strong, meandered along fairly slowly but amusingly, and then took a decided turn for the strange at the end.


Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Hugo Thoughts, Novels” – June 1

I’ve been reading my Hugo packet. Over the weekend I finished The Goblin Emperor and abandoned all hope of reading The Dark Between the Stars. I’ll discuss why and what that means for Hugos below.

My problem with Stars was that I lost track of who was who in the zoo. Nearly every chapter brought new characters, with new conflicts. There were at least three main plot lines opened, and no obvious link between them. Also, I kept feeling that I was missing important bits of back-story, namely the war and relationships between the humans and the aliens.

Now, Goblin Emperor is by no means light reading. It has name issues, in that characters have different names and titles based on marital status and age. Having said that, I found it much less opaque. This was for two reasons – one, Sarah Monette (Addison is an open pen name) kept the point-of-view to one character, who as an outsider needed to have stuff explained to him. Second, the story was not set in a world where there were seven previous books written.


Russell Blackford

“Some more on the 2015 Hugo Voting Packet” – June 1

2. Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery – written by Curtis J. Weibe and illustrated by Roc Upchurch (nominated for Best Graphic Story). This bawdy fantasy romp, set in a Tolkienesque secondary universe complete with elves, orcs, and trolls, entertained me from beginning to end. The characters who make up the eponymous Rat Queens – a band of magical (female) adventurers – are unfailingly fun to watch, and are strongly distinguished in their individual designs and personalities. The action is fast-paced, and I’m all for the non-stop violence and low comedy. It’s a hoot, but does it have sufficient gravitas to merit a Hugo Award? Debatable, perhaps… but I wouldn’t be wanting to stand in its way. I rate it a bit below the next item, but it has its attractions.

3. Saga Volume Three – written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples (nominated for Best Graphic Story). Here we have a potential winner. I rate it below Ms. Marvel, but an earlier volume of this complicated, engaging space opera has already won a Hugo Award (in 2013). The characters are worth caring about; the storyline is intriguing; and the overall narrative, when it’s complete, could become a classic of its kind.


Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies Review Books: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” – June 1


Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is the tale of a young man persecuted past the point of all reason. Only in the sick world of so-called Social Justice would he be held up as a comic figure rather a tragic one to be rescued or, failing that, avenged.

Our story begins when the main character wakes up with gum in his hair. Yet when he went to sleep, it was safely and responsibly in his mouth, where gum belongs. I am sure the SJWs would say that it is his fault for chewing gum in the first place, that he was somehow “asking for it”. They hate victim blaming until the victim is a white straight “CIS-MALE” and then suddenly everything is the victim’s fault. I ask you, is this morality where a person is always wrong 100% based on the gender and race?

If you say it is Alexander’s fault that the gum wound up in his hair, then you are saying he shouldn’t have had it in his mouth. If you are saying that he shouldn’t have had it in his mouth, you are saying he shouldn’t be allowed to chew gum. Who are you to say that he shouldn’t chew gum just because he is a straight white male, or as normal people who don’t notice sex or race would say, a normal person?


391 thoughts on “Jonathan Stray and Mr. Norwich Terrier 6/1

  1. “Sorry, Mike – I can’t parse your comment. Could you elaborate?”

    Oh, thank you, I wasn’t the only one?

    How’s that, Mike?

  2. I assumed Mike was suggesting that mutton is actually very tasty. Perhaps only because I’d just read that other post about Brad T currying favor. Now I want to eat a rogan josh.

  3. CPaca: Yes, I can elaborate. You took Torgersen’s metaphor and invented out of your own thought processes a long list of extensions and attributed it to him. I don’t respect that approach.

  4. Camestros Felapton: “I assumed Mike was suggesting that mutton is actually very tasty.”

    On the contrary, I was using the dialectic to convince everyone that all police officers should become vegetarians.

  5. Mike: I’m not sure if it affects your judgement, but I didn’t read CPaca’s comment as an unpacking of Brad’s metaphor, but an exploration of Dave Grossman’s essay.

  6. Mike to Cpac: “you took Torgersen’s metaphor and invented out of your own thought processes a long list of extensions and attributed it to him.”

    I see your point and I can see how pulling apart an analogy like that can be misconstrued. However I think there is a big difference between saying X is using an analogy that has these nasty implications and saying X thinks these nasty things.

    An analogy is a cognitive model. I’d trust that an astute person knows when to drop an analogy – i.e. I don’t think every person who likes that sheeps-dogs-wolves analogy thinks that it is OK to “put down” the wolves any more than I think every person who made similarly themed cracks about rabid puppies was actually offering violence to VD and crew.

    I think CPac was pointing out some deep problems in that analogy – I don’t think that implies the author intended them to be there.

  7. @Stevie

    I’m beginning to think the wordpress spam filter has it in for you. 🙂

  8. FWIW, I didn’t read CPaca’s construction as applying to Torgersen specifically, so much as to the “sheepdog” mentality of some guardians of the public; more the externally-appointed kinds, though, like corrupt cops.

    I was going to say that the self-appointed kind have to be more careful about going to CPaca’s final step, lest real cops spoil their party, but protecting their community is one of the excuses that gangsters of all stripes use to justify their existence.

    Meanwhile, though, I haven’t seen any evidence of that going on in the SF community, unless you count slating votes as preparing the mint sauce.

  9. MG : CPaca: Yes, I can elaborate. You took Torgersen’s metaphor and invented out of your own thought processes a long list of extensions and attributed it to him. I don’t respect that approach.

    I wasn’t applying it to Torgersen at all – the SP/RP claim to be ‘sheepdogs” is plain outright silly. i was applying it to the metaphor itself, which is well-beloved by the right.

    And you don’t even have to look far to see how the bit you picked out is reflected in reality –

  10. The author David Mack has written a take down of Amanda Green and why she shouldn’t have been nominated for Best Fan Writer. It relates to his Star Trek tie in series Vanguard.

    WOW. As others have noted that post is one heck of a sick burn. Mic drop, hastag rekt, etc. I hope Amanda Green has a good response to it up her sleeve…

  11. MickyFinn: Mike: I’m not sure if it affects your judgement, but I didn’t read CPaca’s comment as an unpacking of Brad’s metaphor, but an exploration of Dave Grossman’s essay.

    And that essay has more than a few points which I find very disturbing. Torgersen’s culpability lies in that he’s clearly bought into it.

  12. unless you count slating votes as preparing the mint sauce.

    Mint sauce doesn’t worry me – I always liked Benjamin the donkey the best in Animal Farm.

  13. “The Good Man Brad and the Scoundrel Vox”

    The Vox and the Hound

    No wait, there’s a more cheerful animated adaptation more befitting this mess:

    Plague Puppies

  14. That piece by David Mack makes me want to go read some of his books. That’s how to respond to some negative criticism well.

  15. Consider, Mike – the analogy of wolves. sheep, and sheepdogs is well-liked by the right because it plays into themes common with right-wing authoritarian thinking. the problem liberals have with it is that they perceive it as an easy justification for creeping fascism. Now consider my extensions as ways of illustrating this thinking:

    i, The sheep are unable to protect themselves.

    People are unable to provide protection for themselves. They need strong authoritarians for this purpose.

    ii, There is no possibility that the sheep will be able to protect themselves

    There is no point in teaching or helping people to become self-reliant. Only we select have this capability.

    iii, The sheepdogs get to tell the sheep what to do. For their own protection.

    As seen here with a certain author justifying torture because he knows better than everyone else, because he just does. And those disagreeing with him are weak.

    iv, Sheep are scared easily. They must be kept in the dark when in danger.

    The control of information in the American security state has become more than just a tool, it has become an ends in itself. And, at the same time, it is used to delegitimize criticism – you can’t say that we are wrong, because we will tell you we know more than you can be allowed to know. Just trust us and go along.

    v, Sheep should obey the sheepdogs. Sheep that do not obey are a threat to the flock.

    Criticism is equated with being the enemy. The difference between internal critics and a real external enemy is elided.

    vi, The sheepdogs and the wolves can be distinguished from each other.

    They are Evil because they torture and have no regard for human rights. We are Good, and therefore we are allowed to use enhanced interrogation and pursue the national interest vigorously. We are Good, and they are Evil, and any attempt to compare our actions is illegitimate without even having to be considered.

    vii, The sheepdogs obey the master, and understand him more than the sheep. They are thus justified in doing whatever it takes for the greater good – as understood by them.

    Call the master God, Divine Will, America, Manifest Destiny, or The National Interest – we know what it is, we will tell you what it is, and you don’t get to question us about it.

    viii, And lastly, sheepdogs eat meat. It is only right that the sheep provide, one way or another…

    Any amount of spending is necessary if the security state needs it. The US must fund wars, spies, troops and weapons and never ask why. Asking why is nearly treason. Failing to provide whatever resources are required – new planes, mass surveillance of communications, a CBG parked off Iran – is nearly treason. Do you want the enemy to win?

  16. Per mintwich:
    “Also, I am quite fond of my aprons. I sew them myself in my pinko, librul, commie, feminist, separatist lesbian craft room on my pinko, librul, commie, feminist, separatist lesbian machine.”

    I use a Husqvarna Viking myself: Husqvarna (literally house woman or house queen) is also a big name in chainsaws, which has to mean something.

    I’m reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress for the first time (couldn’t get into Heinlein in my youth), and I’m wondering if the puppies would vote for it today if it were on the ballot by, say, Ann O. Nymous. There’s all the Libertarianish rhetoric, but then the narrator is a person of mixed-race ancestry, which seems to be the norm for the moon. The role of women is somewhat problematic these days, but at least they have agency.

  17. Mack’s piece really is superb. And it’s hard to believe anybody thought that original post of Green’s could have been Hugo-worthy. Maybe the other two pieces were amazing, but that really does feel insulting.

  18. @Will

    Mack’s piece really is superb. And it’s hard to believe anybody thought that original post of Green’s could have been Hugo-worthy. Maybe the other two pieces were amazing, but that really does feel insulting.

    The other posts in the Hugo packet are these:
    Complaints about SJWs, Glittery HooHas, and traditional publishers:
    Pro-Gamergate complaints about SJWs and Glittery HooHas:
    Talks about keeping characters in-character and timelines unsurprising, heroically manages not to mention SJWs or GHHs once:

    The last one is the only one that isn’t part of some ridiculous culture war and its not… Amazing. Its okay? It doesn’t say anything hugely stupid? It just doesn’t say anything hugely interesting or new, or old in an interesting way.

  19. Oh, Grossman. Two things to bear in mind. One, SLA Marshall’s work on soldiers refusing to fire is one of the foundations of Grossman’s work. Two, SLA Marshall’s data about fire rates is based on data that is either incomplete, mismanaged, or made up.

    Well, actually, there’s a third thing: Grossman makes a lot of claims about biology and evolution that are incompatible with a lot of work by people who are actually biologists.

  20. >> Brad wants to keep writing for Baen and, oh, look! he got 2 Baen editors on the Hugo ballot this year. He wants to write short fiction for Analog, Anderson, and Resnick, and, oh, look! he got Anderson, Resnick, and a bunch of Analog writers on the Hugo ballot.>>

    Maybe that’s part of why he’s so appalled at the idea that people might No Award the names he was trying to suck up to.

    “Aw, gee, I got them nominated to an asterisked ballot, and now they might finish under No Award. They, uh, might not be as grateful as I imagined…”

  21. Well, unless you count complaining about a non-linear storyline as stupid. I’m inclined to be generous and file it under opinion.

  22. @meredith I have to say, I didn’t realize the entirety of that nomination was four blog posts (which took all of about 10 minutes to read, being generous). I suppose that’s meant to stand in for a larger body of work? But if that’s representative…sheesh.

  23. So a fan writer who is openly hostile towards fans, and supports groups who are the same. Fu….n times.

  24. Serialized novels predate our current SFF magazines, and even the 20th century. Dickens was serialized, as were the Sherlock Holmes novels. If I recall correctly, serialization is a 17th century invention, but don’t quote me on that.

    Originally, I think, it was done to cover publication costs – books were expensive. But for the last century or so, serial publication is what we’re familiar with, one section per issue, so that you can follow the story all the way, not the discontinuous, occasional episode that Analog has been annoying its readers with. (I’ve been reading it since the early 60s, when I was sneak-reading my father’s copy.)

  25. @Will

    I assume its meant to be representative, but after being insulted for three out of four examples I concluded that seeking out the rest of her work from 2014 (assuming there’s more) wasn’t worth the effort.

    Jeffro Johnson’s samples are fine – they’re all book reviews of classic sf/f – but Dave Freer chose to put in an intro insulting everyone who objected to slates, and Cedar Sanderson’s first entry is some awful screed about how she’s ~feminine~ and ~likes men~ and that makes her oh so much better than GHHs (strawfeminist, ahoy!), but she might publish her MilSF under her husbands name for… Reasons. After getting through Amanda S. Green’s work I was so annoyed upon hitting those first two entries that I have yet to talk myself into reading the rest of their samples.

  26. I should clarify that even if Green’s work didn’t spend so much of its time on culture warring, its just not very well-written. She could be writing in perfect agreement with me and I would still find her tedious and her arguments poorly thought out. I find Freer and Sanderson obnoxious, and their content unappealing (Sanderson submitting an essay about why she doesn’t like fantasy was just plain weird), but their writing skills are superior to Green’s.

  27. That piece by David Mack makes me want to go read some of his books.

    You too?

  28. @meredith Indeed. I wonder if the typos and things were corrected for submission (does the packet merely contain the links?).

  29. I added several Mack books to my wish list just now. Anyone who loves Trek that much is somebody I’m going to check out.

  30. @Will

    No, it contains the posts themselves, with links to the original publication. Point me to a couple of typos or errors you’re particularly curious about and I’ll check my packet. 🙂

    Honestly, even leaving aside the actual insults, I felt pretty insulted by the Fan Writer category, which I was particularly looking forward to. It just wasn’t very good. For the most part I’m no awarding slate works, but I’m almost tempted to bump Johnson above it as a sort of cookie for writing well on an interesting subject that isn’t widely covered and managing not to insult any of the voters or spew acronyms in the process.

    Even the non-slate work is slightly irritating, although I’m voting for it because its still important, because I think it would’ve fit better under Related Work. Ah well…

  31. Going To Maine – WOW. As others have noted that post is one heck of a sick burn. Mic drop, hastag rekt, etc. I hope Amanda Green has a good response to it up her sleeve…

    I’d love to see a response but I can’t imagine there being any good way to respond or argue the points that guy made. She’d do best to ignore it and hope people reading her do as well because damn, that was the definition of being schooled.

  32. Kyra on June 2, 2015 at 3:53 pm said:

    Heh, I’ve been thinking of doing the exact same thing. These days I use it to very occasionally comment on the blogs of a few authors that use LJ, like GRRM or the amazing P. C. Hodgell. (Oh, no! I praised a Baen author! Apparently my secret cabal masters will have to punish me now!)

    (Seriously, though, for those not familiar with her, P. C. Hodgell has been quietly writing one of the best fantasy series of all time since 1984. I cannot recommend her stuff highly enough.)

    Seconded on Hodgell’s Kencyrath series. I found “God Stalk” in a used book store around 1988ish and was captivated. I found the second, as a used book, “Dark of the Moon” a while later.

    Jame was one of the few really strong and non-stereotypical female protagonists I had found to that point. The story was such a wonderful departure from most fantasy, the world was so unique. One of my “WHOAs”.

    I reread the books at least once a year and could never find anything else written by a P.C Hodgell again. I looked, too. Then I did an internet search a few years ago and found her (didn’t even know the author was a woman) at Baen. Have gobbled up everything she’s written since. A very unique and wonderful series.

    As an aside, I wrote a complaint to Baen about the atrocious book covers for the last 2 books in the series that portray Jame in swashbuck-ley attire, but with a blouse which has her ‘chesticles’ prominently on display. The covers are sooooo far from the content of the books it’s painful. Baen never responded.

    If you haven’t read the series before, I can’t recommend it enough.

  33. As an aside, I wrote a complaint to Baen about the atrocious book covers for the last 2 books in the series that portray Jame in swashbuck-ley attire, but with a blouse which has her ‘chesticles’ prominently on display. The covers are sooooo far from the content of the books it’s painful. Baen never responded.

    Oops. Baen never responded to my email, but the cover of the latest novel, “Sea of Time”, has dropped that look completely, so there were probably a number of complaints like mine. So kudos to Baen for that.

  34. I can never get into Baen covers. The giant, garish title text makes me wince and look away. Seriously guys, tone it down a little. Oh and move your mouse away from the gradient button.

  35. I can’t stand Baen covers. But clearly, it’s an aesthetic that works for them, and they seem to sell a lot of books that way. I can’t say they’d sell more books if they did covers I like. So I’ll be drawn to what I’m drawn to and they can reach out to an audience that likes (or at least doesn’t recoil from) that kind of design, and it’s all good.

  36. Kurt Busiek: I can’t stand Baen covers. But clearly, it’s an aesthetic that works for them, and they seem to sell a lot of books that way.

    I strongly suspect there’s an aesthetic of “Make it so Baen fans don’t actually have to read titles or book jackets to know which books to buy” going on there.

  37. The old joke was “Jim Baen will do anything he can to sell a book—even to the point of making a cover look good.”

  38. JJ – I do too. Mind you, I’d personally prefer that they do it in some way more like what Gollancz used to, with the yellow spines, but they have no particular reason to cater to me. And if they want potential readers to recognize a Baen book from across the room, well, mission accomplished.

  39. @Lin McAllister: “I use a Husqvarna Viking myself: Husqvarna (literally house woman or house queen) is also a big name in chainsaws, which has to mean something.”

    I think it means that if a Viking woman comes at me with a chainsaw, I’m going to do whatever she wants. 🙂

  40. Source Decay: I don’t know what kind of person sees an author’s online fans and immediately thinks, “Oh look, it’s a group of weak-minded simps that the author is obviously training up into doing their bidding!” What a cynical view of humanity that is.

    Looking at the way Mr. Beale deals with the fans of his own work and his “Vile Faceless Minions” I can certainly see how he might draw that conclusion.

    (We pause to listen to the “No! We are all individuals!” chorus.)

  41. @ Kurt –

    “Aw, gee, I got them nominated to an asterisked ballot, and now they might finish under No Award. They, uh, might not be as grateful as I imagined…”

    Imagine this scenario – After the Fateful Day at the Olympic ice rink, Tanya Harding is just getting back to the apartment, and they are having a Howard Hawks-inspired moment of overlapping dialog:

    She: “Honey, you could never imagine what happened today…”
    He: “Honey, You can never guess what I did for you today!…”

  42. JJ on June 2, 2015 at 10:52 pm said:

    Kurt Busiek: I can’t stand Baen covers. But clearly, it’s an aesthetic that works for them, and they seem to sell a lot of books that way.

    I strongly suspect there’s an aesthetic of “Make it so Baen fans don’t actually have to read titles or book jackets to know which books to buy” going on there.

    Well, I’m sure it helps Brad in making his buying decisions. ;^]

    There are a handful of Baen authors/series that I really like, besides Bujold. I buy those stories *despite* the covers.

    An advantage to ebooks is that bad covers aren’t as ‘in your face’. Or it’s easier to ignore them, usually. I’ve almost never bought books based on the covers anyway. When I complained it was to tell them that I refused to buy the books as gifts because the covers were so embarassing.

  43. I don’t like Baen covers, but there are lots of covers I don’t like, and Baen covers are just designed with a certain air of high school pamphlet. Far worse is any cover which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the artist was given a very inaccurate synopsis to work from, in my opinion. Especially if it involves white-washing, or putting a female character in a skimpy outfit that bears no resemblance to anything she wears within the book.

  44. In re: Analog pseudo-serials:

    I’m know there have been incidents in the past where closely related short story- or novelette-length works were later strung together (the “fix-up novel” referred to in an earlier round-up thread)

    I, however, have not been reading the SF/F magazines as comprehensibly as I should have (mea culpa sue me: I have a family to live with). I recall that all those related stories actually read as stand-alone stories, with only minimal knowledge of What Had Come Before. Is it really the norm,pow, for there to be disconnected story fragments wandering through the magazines these days? (I recall serials being actual long works, published in consecutive issues, and clearly marked as part 1, part 2, etc)

    If that’s now the case, and especially in Analog, which magazine was second in my affection only to F&SF, I am seriously bummed out.

  45. Kurt: I can’t stand Baen covers.

    We can’t all have Alex Ross on our book covers, y’know.

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