Sad Puppies suddenly remembered today they love Tor Books after all, for no particular rea$on. Mary Robinette Kowal offered to underwrite 10 Worldcon member$hips to grow fandom beyond the enclave. Gawker hates that George R.R. Martin is lo$ing money blogging about Sad Puppies instead of finishing his book. George himself returns to the lists in a post condemning hate speech. That and many other opinions are canvassed in today’s roundup.
Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation
“Last SP post for the week, to my people, don’t blame Tor” –April 11
In fact, one of our suggestions for novel is by Kevin J. Anderson, and is published by Tor. One of our nominees is John C. Wright, and he is published by Tor. There are other Tor authors who are secret members of the Evil Legion of Evil. And there are some Tor authors and editors who have reached out to us this week, and who have told the angry mobs to calm the hell down and knock off the asinine defamation, both in public and in private.
Don’t threaten to boycott anybody because of their business associations, because that’s exactly the kind of boorish behavior that’s been done to us.
Don’t post links to a torrent site and suggest that people pirate stuff instead of giving a publishing house money. Do you have any idea how offensive it is to do that on a professional author’s feed?
John C. Wright
“No Tarring Tor” – April 11
My comment: Let me state for the record that all my dealings with Tor Books have been courteous and professional.
I never ran into anyone who expressed the least curiosity about my private opinions or public faith, no one who ever rolled his eyes or curled his lip, or bit his thumb.
Allow me to list the good Tor has done me, so that one and all with understand the true depth of my gratitude.
They are the first publishing house to give me a break, and buy my novels. All other houses had rejected them.
Mr Hartwell of Tor Books sought me out, not me him, based on the quality of my short stories. That indicated to me that he was and would be an editor of vision and energy, willing to go the extra mile to orchestrate the sale of high quality material. I have never had cause to doubt that original favorable first impression.
Tor took a great gamble on my first five books, buying them all at once.
Tor has routinely bestowed brilliant cover art to adorn them, for which one Irene Gallo, head of the art department, merits public lauds. (I do not know if she is still there. This is as of the last I heard.) You have heard other authors complain about their book covers? I have been given no cause for the slightest complaint.
The Tor publicity department has always been friendly and responsive to my concerns. (Even when I imposed on them).
Tor accomplished the impossible for me. After very difficult negotiations, Tor Books cooperated with the estate of AE van Vogt to allow me to write the authorized sequel to my favorite book by my favorite author, NULL-A CONTINUUM. That is beyond any dream come true for any author.
Jay Hathaway on Gawker
How Gamergate Radicals Seized Sci-Fi’s Most Prestigious Awards – April 10
So, on top of everything else, the Puppies have distracted GRRM from finishing the Winds of Winter? What a fucking disaster.
Pat Cadigan in a comment on File 770 – April 11
I’d just like to note that I made my statement “There is no ‘them’” before I knew that the Sad/Rabid Puppies were an organised effort, with slates that their followers were to vote for.
Having learned better, I’d have to say that there didn’t used to be a ‘them.’
This year, there is and that’s a pretty sad state of affairs, to say the least.
Mary Robinette Kowal
“Talk with me about being a fan of science fiction and fantasy” – April 11
My dear fandom, people from the larger SFF community, fans of my work, fans of Larry Correia’s work… there are more of us.
So this is my call to action for all of you — Become more inclusive. Invite your friends and family to participate. Buy a supporting membership for someone who can’t afford it. Welcome people who like different work than you do. Ask them to recommend a book. Read it. Recommend something to them. Talk about why you like it.
But please, please let’s stop trying to make fandom a special little enclave. It has always been the place where people could come, regardless of what they were fans of, and be welcome. It’s where we can wear Regency attire next to a Transformers cosplay. This isn’t to say that we should tolerate bad behavior, but liking something different isn’t bad behaviour.
And to my readers — If you can afford it, I encourage you to buy a membership to WorldCon and become part of fandom. If you cannot afford it… I will buy a supporting membership to WorldCon for ten people who cannot afford it. All I ask is that you join the conversation.
Beth Wodzinski on Shimmer
“Shimmer Supports Hugo Voters” – April 11
You know what would be neat? If everyone in the science fiction and fantasy world voted in the Hugo awards. If everyone read widely and discussed what they loved. If all the voices were heard, not just the loudest. A healthy ecosystem is one that’s teeming with millions of kinds of life; let’s find ways to include more people.
If you can afford a supporting membership to WorldCon, I strongly encourage you to buy one. It’s $40. A supporting membership gives you the right to vote in this year’s Hugos — and the right to nominate in next year’s.
If you can’t afford a supporting membership… Mary Robinette Kowal is offering to pay for a supporting membership to WorldCon for ten people who cannot afford it.
This is a splendid idea. Shimmer’s happy to join Mary. We’ll match her offer: ten memberships for people who can’t otherwise afford one. Email [email protected] with your name, phone number (just as backup in case your email doesn’t work), and a paragraph telling me a little bit about yourself and why you’d like a supporting membership. I expect to get more than ten people interested, so will ultimately choose at random.
Between me, anonymous donors, @ShimmerStories, @eklages, & @jamietr that's SEVENTY supporting memberships.
— Mary Robinette Kowal (@MaryRobinette) April 11, 2015
Please note that @MaryRobinette, @eklages, @ShimmerStories, & others buying Hugo supporting memberships are NOT telling anyone how to vote.
— Sunil Patel (@ghostwritingcow) April 11, 2015
George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog
“Hatespeech” – April 11
And now there’s Puppygate, and I have been posting about that, and in the course of which I have had some exchanges with Larry Correia, the founder of Sad Puppies, and Brad Torgensen, who ran the SP3 slate. And both of them tell similar tales: of anonymous phone calls, libel and slander, vicious emails, death threats… death threats! All of these, presumably, coming from “my side” of fandom, those who oppose the Puppies. Do I believe them? I don’t want to believe them. I would rather cling to the belief that my side is better than that. That’s hard to do these days, As strongly as I disagree with Torgensen and Correia about the Hugo Awards, and probably a hundred other issues, I have no reason to think them liars. I think they are telling the truth, just as Quinn and Sarkeesian and Wu were. On the internet, it seems, abuse trumps debate every time.
Death threats. Really? Really???
It really makes me wonder. Were there always so many toads out there, so many slimy squirming venomous cowards lurking in their parents’ basements? Or did the internet somehow just bring them into being overnight, these children of Tsathoggua?
I really don’t know, but it makes me despair. Is this what we are as a country, as a people? When we disagree, is it really necessary to spit and snap at each other, to throw around insults and obscenities, to make death threads, rape threats? Can’t we just debate the issues?
Martin Lewis on Everything Is Nice
“Actually, It’s About Ethics In Award Nominations” – April 11
As I said when last year’s shortlists were announced, I do think there is a connection between author’s publishing their eligibility and the rise of nomination slates but I had no intention of being dragged into it all again this year, an intention only strengthen by seeing it play out again in exactly the same way. However, at the same time, I’ve been increasingly doing my own lobbying as well as mulling over Abigail Nussbaum’s increasingly militant line on awards recommendations:
Last year when the nominees were announced there were several attempts to distinguish between “good” and “bad” campaigning–to argue, for example, that Larry Correia’s Sad Puppies ballot (which gave us Vox Day, Hugo nominee), and the campaign to get all fourteen Wheel of Time novels nominated for Best Novel, were substantively different from, say, my posting my Hugo recommendations on this blog, or John Scalzi recommending me for the Best Fan Writer Hugo. I don’t believe that’s true.
I disagree with Nussbaum – I think there is a substantive difference – but I also think there should be more discussion of these issues. Recognising that this might be difficult, I’d like to propose a framework for this discussion. I’m not saying that this framework is right or definitive but I do hope it is at least helpful. First of all, I think there are three axes to consider: someone’s authority, the extent to which they direct others and their own self-interest. Secondly, the range of each axis is quite large:
1 – Some random person on the internet
2 – Someone with a social media network including Hugo voters
3 – Someone with a large social media network including Hugo voters or an author
4 – An author with a large following
5 – A superstar author
1 – Listing your nominations without comment
2 – Recommending multiple works to consider or posting your own eligibility
3 – Recommending specific works to nominate
4 – Actively campaigning for specific works
5 – Actively campaigning for a full slate
1 – No relationship with the person you recommend
2 – Acquaintance, colleague or part of social network
3 – Friend
4 – Yourself
5 – Yourself and your friends
“My four cents on the Hugo thing” – April 7
3) I do not like what the slate-voting model has done to the Hugos–I think it has removed any legitimacy the award once had, and reduced it to a two-party system that will, in the future, only nominate a narrow subset of the field. You’ll have Sad Puppies and Anti-Sad Puppies, and we’ll pick our ticket and campaign for it for months, and anyone not on the ticket will be out in the cold. I honestly don’t see how that CAN’T happen next year, unless we change the voting rules. And no, that’s not what it was before: what it was before was a group of like-minded people who tended to vote for the same authors and themes every time, which is pretty standard for any voting award anyway, and a far cry from a curated ticket of “this is the slate we should all vote for.” I am sad that this has happened, but I hope we can find a way to fix it.
4) No matter how much I hate the slate, and how sad I am for the people and stories the slate bumped off, I think that voting against everyone on the slate regardless of merit seems like a terrible idea. Guardians of the Galaxy, for example, was a favorite for the category going in, and probably got just as many normal nominations as Puppy nominations, but now we’re all going to vote against it as some kind of protest? Kevin Anderson and Jim Butcher are excellent authors–giants in the field, and mentors to half the authors working today–but now we’re supposed to shut them out completely just because the wrong people nominated them? Toni Weiiskopf and Anne Sowards are exactly the kind of brilliant, talented editors the “recognize more women” crowd (in which company I include myself) has been trying to recognize for years, but now we’re supposed to ignore them just because some conservative white guys got them on the ballot? THIS IS INSANE. Some of the people on the ballot are terrible people, and some of their work is terrible fiction, and I’ll be voting accordingly, but punishing Anne Sowards because I want to punish the people who put her on the slate is misguided and cruel. These people did good work, worthy of reward, and I’m going to reward them. Let’s fix this problem in a way that doesn’t trample innocents.
As a final word: I will be at WorldCon this year, not wallowing in controversy but celebrating science fiction and fantasy. I love the genre, I love the stories we tell, and I love the spirit of hope that those stories express about the future. Let’s try to be as good as the heroes we write about.
Catherynne M. Valente on Rules for Anchorites
“Holding the Hugos – and the English Language – Hostage for Fun and Profit” – April 8
I suspect it’s because they know inclusivity and diversity are considered positive attributes by most people. Exclusivity and uniformity don’t sell. Despite their conviction that they are the persecuted majority, they know that no one wants to hear: we made a club so that we could be sure only people we approved politically and personally would be nominated. No one wants to hear: isn’t it nice how we’ve scrubbed the ballot of all those undesirables? Now it’s just us! What they did is unpalatable, and they know it. But now that they’ve gotten what they want, they need people to be happy about it in order for the award to have any meaning, and so they’ve grabbed the language of the enemy to praise themselves. Only it doesn’t work, because words have meanings. It’s a pretty classic conservative technique (see the fact that Social Justice Warrior now means a bad person), but it’s depressing–or perhaps hilarious–to see it used by individuals because they can’t face the consequences of what they’ve done. You guys spent ages telling us diversity was bullshit and inclusivity was a creeping evil. Why are you now telling us, with a sneer and a smirk, that you are their champions? What is wrong with you? It’s all so unfathomably dishonest and intellectually bankrupt I have a hard time believing any of these people put together a coherent novel at any point.
Puppies: if you truly believe that what you did was right and good and honest, if you believe you have struck a blow for virtue and excellence–be straight with us. Tell us that. Don’t try to paint over the mess you made by insisting you’ve done it all for the sake of inclusive, diverse happy kittens and rainbows. Conservative politics are supposed to be all about straight-shooting real talk. So just say you used your clique (and probably some others) to do something you believed in, no matter what the cost. You do not get to have your ballot and eat it, too. You did this. You have to face the consequences. You cannot tell the world that they should vote for you to strike back at women, liberal, people of color, and queer writers (and even worse–literary science fiction authors, the horror!) and then call yourselves diverse and inclusive.
T. L. Knighton
“Disinformation flies. Time to set it right” – April 11
Sad Puppies is about denying women and people of color recognition
Horseshit. Yes, it’s my blog and I’ll cuss if I want to.
Sad Puppies nominated a number of women and people of color. Maybe not as many as our detractors would have preferred, but they’re on there. I haven’t done the math, but recall someone pointing out that almost 40 percent of the slate are women (I don’t recall if it’s women and “people of color” or just women). There’s zero effort to shut out women and people of color.
Sad Puppies is a meritocracy. If we liked your work, you were probably going to get in. If not, well, sorry. None of us care if you’re white, black, brown, or purple with pink polka dots. We just don’t. We care about what kind of stories you tell. More specifically, we care about what kind of story you told in a single instance.
Rachel Swirsky’s If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love has gotten a lot of flak from our side. We don’t consider it to be science fiction or fantasy. If it’s fantasy literature, then so is the entire romance genre.
However, let’s say the next story she publishes is a rousing space adventure tale, told in her her own style. That same style as, If You Were A Dinosaur. Well, there’s a good chance we’d nominate her. Provided the Sad Puppy crowd read it, of course.
@spacefaringkitty – as GK Chesterton said, one should (in the eyes of a SP-ish reader) only find out that a particular author is conservative, liberal, communist, monarchist, feminist, chauvinist, egalitarian, bigoted, atheist, fundamentalist (of any branch), etc, etc, from interviews or asking the author themselves (if the author answered such questions). The *characters* within a book might be any or all of those, and a writer of quality should a) be able to present a character with any set of views in a realistic (and ideally sympathetic) manner, whether in a protagonist, villain, or bystander character and b) be able to tell an engaging story regardless of the pov of the characters involved.
Many self-described feminist writers fail in storytelling due to lack of an ability to depict characters realistically – most usually, due to over-emphasizing the positives of the feminist character (generally the protagonist) and exaggerating the faults of the non-feminist characters (generally the antagonists) OR by having the plot’s twist favor the feminist character’s worldview over those of other characters, OR both. Much the same sort of error plagues many writers of a distinct pov (including conservative & religious authors). If done only to a slight degree, most readers seem to skip over the unbalanced depictions. If done badly enough, most readers will get thrown out of the story – this is what gets called ‘message fic’ by all sides.
It’s the ones in the middle, where the unbalanced depictions (and contrivances of plot) are invisible to readers who share the author’s pov, and grate on those who do not, that get called ‘message fic’ only by one side (the side that has been grated upon) and enjoyed as ‘positive and affirming’ by the other. Cue book flinging on one side and well-pleased gushing on the other. Push the imbalance far enough, and vola! All Of Fandom Is At War.
Many self-described feminist writers fail in storytelling due to lack of an ability to depict characters realistically
And yet Joss Whedon’s Avenger movie got a sad puppy nomination anyway.
Can you tell me any good scifi and fantasy works by contemporary feminists?
(Seriously, this is why I read the voters packet… looking for good stuff that I might not have otherwise been exposed to.)
You will have to tell me if any of the people I mention are contemporary feminists, because it isn’t something I have ever cared to look into. (And I only nominate things I have read and I don’t tend to read author blogs, so I am not generally aware of sad puppies each year until I go searching for the hugo nominees announcement, though I am sensitive to their cause and a big fan of Correia and Baen, and milscifi in general.)
Regarding Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice. I actually enjoyed the first half of the book. I do think Le Guin did much more clever things with gender and Banks had better developed sentient ships. What took me out of the story was that the main character, a sentient warship, would spend a paragraph describing a rug or a teapot, but when talking about what is obviously a rifle of some kind, calls it a long gun. The word gun is used almost every time a weapon is referred to. At least Scalzi makes up fake nomenclatures for weapons. It is a book about a sentient warship, written by someone who does not seem to know, or care to know, anything about war or weapons or the military. It felt very lazy. The he/she thing did not bother me. I just wasn’t impressed with the book and it was a pale shadow of both Le Guin and Banks (who should have gotten a Hugo during his career).
I liked N.K. Jemisin’s Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I find her politics off-putting (which I only know about because of the spat with VD… I find his politics off-putting too), but I would probably read something of hers again. I didn’t find Jo Walton’s Among Others compelling… it seemed like a novella that someone pumped full of in-group name drops. I am glad I read it though, if only because it made me aware of Delaney’s Trouble on Triton, which I am interested in reading as a fan of Le Guin’s Dispossessed.
I think Rachel Swirsky is an excellent writer. I liked “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window”. I thought the dinosaur one was well written, but not a story or deserving of the nomination. I thought Charlie Jane Ander’s “Six Months, Three Days” was awesome. I didn’t like Aliette de Bodard’s “The Jaguar House, in Shadow”, but I very much like her Vietnamese space opera stuff, and would love to see a novel set in that universe. I didn’t think “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” was deserving of a nomination. It just wasn’t scifi or fantasy.
I don’t care if a story is about a gay or non-binary gender couple as long as it is actually good scifi or fantasy. I don’t care if the author is right-wing, leftist, or trans-whatever, just write something good. It’s story first, then message. Good politically progressive message fiction should be good fiction first, just like good christian rock music should be good rock music first. If the medium is good, the message will get out… whatever the message is.
Because “many” is not “all”. JW has demonstrated an ability to write characters whose world view is not his – see: Mal Reynolds, Book, Jayne and the Operative. He excells at storytelling.
An interesting detail about Baen and Tor that may not be as well known as it could be is that Doherty, while perhaps most associated in the public mind with Tor, “was involved in the founding of Baen, and (is) still a partner in Baen (…).
According to this more recent interview, he is still involved in a hands-off way.
“DOHERTY: I think it worked out just great. Baen is still a healthy company doing nicely under Toni [Weisskopf], and, hey, I’m still a partner over there.
MODESITT: Sort of the silent partner.
DOHERTY: A very silent partner. They do it all themselves. It would be conflict of interest to get too involved, but it’s fun to be part of it even on the outside.”
Leaving aside the wealth of conservative authors Tor publishes, this means anyone savaging all Tor is savaging the guy who helped make Baen happen in its current form (although given the fashion in the ’70s and ’80s for imprints named after editors, there still may be some sort of Baen books).
Just off the top of my head, Wollheim and Baen had eponymous companies, Ballantine named their SF line after Judy-Lynn del Rey, and Asimov, Pohl and Bova all edited (sub imprints? Is that a thing?) named after them.
The idea of “makeup” nominations is a confession that the Puppy ballots were not decided on merit. That Great Story X did not get a Hugo is no reason for Mediocre Story Y to get one.
I am amused at T. L. Knighton claiming that 40% of nominations on the Sad Puppy slate were women. True, but only if you look at nominations for non-writers. The actual writer nominations (best novel, novella, novelette) zero women. Short story had 50% female nominees. There are a lot of female fans nominated, but is their argument seriously that these nominations are equivalent?
“And yet Joss Whedon’s Avenger movie got a sad puppy nomination anyway.”
What part of “many” was unclear? Is reading that hard?
“I do think Le Guin did much more clever things with gender and Banks had better developed sentient ships.”
Indeed she did. And I should have mentioned Le Guin earlier. I loved “Earthsea” and I think it is a great example of the story coming through fairly strong political statements.
“There are a lot of female fans nominated, but is their argument seriously that these nominations are equivalent?”
I may be confused but you do have to be a writer to write short stories right? And evidently editors are ignorant? Where in God’s name do you people come up with this stuff? I swear the more you talk the more you make the argument for us that you are the bigots.
Please do keep it up.
What part of “many” was unclear? Is reading that hard?
Apparently… for you.
Whedon displays his feminism fairly clearly in all his work, and like with the Tor bashing that was happening until…whatever happened to put a sudden unanimous stop to it ;^), it is endlessly amusing to see people explain in great detail how much they hate people precisely like people they’ve nominated for a hugo award.