Pixel Scroll 4/27/16 One Pup, Two Pup, Mad Pup, Sad Pup.

I started this Scroll yesterday before taking off in my time machine, and have just kept on adding. While I don’t plan to divide the Hugo news from other Scroll topics very often, it makes sense to do it today.

(1) QUICK WHATEVER. John Scalzi’s “Quick 2016 Hugo Finalist Thoughts” from Whatever on April 26.

Thoughts on this year’s Hugo finalists (the list of which you can find here):

* First, as part of my new gig at the Los Angeles Times, I wrote an analysis of this year’s ballot there, so head on over there if you want to see it (Note it’s geared toward a general audience, so there a lot of explanatory stuff in there folks here will likely already know). As I’ve already written substantially on the Hugos there, what I write here will be brief.

* Overall, the nominations in several categories look pretty decent to me – Best Novel is particularly not bad at all! At least a couple of categories are a tiresome shitshow, however, thanks to the Puppies, again.

* Which we knew might happen again, remember? Fixing the slating issue was a two-year process. This is year two. Keep working on it, folks.

* The Puppies are once again trying to troll a bunch of people (the Best Related Category is one particularly obvious troll) and while I don’t mean to downplay the basic craptasticness of their actions, I’m finding it all that difficult to get worked up about it. I mean, I know the Puppies are hoping for outrage? Again? But as noted, we’ve seen this act before, and this time it’s just boring. Yes, yes, Puppies. You’re still sad little bigoted assholes screaming for attention. Got it, thanks.

Bear in mind I’m a direct target for their nonsense; at least two of the finalist works go after me in one way or another. I’m very specifically someone they’re trying to get worked up (and to tear down). And yet I just can’t manage it. I’m pretty much over the Puppies. There’s only so many times a toddler can throw a tantrum before you just shrug. You still have to clean up after the toddler, mind you. But you don’t have to let the toddler dictate the terms. Pity these particular toddlers are grown humans

(2) MAN OF HIS TIMES. John Scalzi’s first piece for the LA Times, “The Hugo finalists: John Scalzi on why the sad puppies can’t take credit for Neil Gaiman’s success”, posted April 26.

This year, once again, the two Puppy groups announced slates (or in the case of the “Sad” variant, a “recommendation list”) of people and works they wanted to see on the finalist ballot. Once again, many of their choices made the cut. But where last year’s slates were filled with nominees primarily of interest to the Puppies themselves, this year’s Puppy slates included works and authors already popular with science fiction fans and tastemakers, and (as a subset of both of these) Hugo voters.

Works the Puppy slates included that made the Hugo finalist list include the novel “Seveneves,” written by Neal Stephenson, a past Hugo best novel winner and multiple nominee; the graphic novel “The Sandman: Overture,” by Neil Gaiman, also a multiple Hugo winner; the novella “Penric’s Demon,” by Lois McMaster Bujold, who has won four best novel Hugos; and the film “The Martian,” a best picture Oscar nominee (and controversial best comedy Golden Globe winner).

The Puppies will no doubt be happy to take credit for the appearance of these works and others on the finalist list. But, as with “Guardians of the Galaxy” last year, their endorsement probably doesn’t count for much in the grand scheme of things.

(3) MORE ALFIES. George R.R. Martin saw the new season of Game of Thrones kick off, then rode off to his own dynastic wars – “The Puppy Wars Resume”.

The record turnout seemed to have no impact. Fandom nominated in huge numbers, but it would appear that they did not nominate the same things. They scattered their nominations among dozens, perhaps hundreds, of possible choices. We won’t know the full story till we see the complete list of nomination totals on Hugo night… but I suspect (unless MAC cuts the list short) that we’ll see many more titles than we’re used to.

The same thing happened to the Sad Puppies. By shifting from Torgersen’s slate to Paulk’s list of recommendations, they suffered the same fate as many other recommended reading lists, be it the LOCUS list or the Nebulas or my own recommendations. They had almost no impact on the ballot. The Sads did get works on the ballot when their choices overlapped with the Rabids, to be sure, but very few works that were “sad only” made the list. SP4 was a non-factor. (And before someone else points this out, let me be the first to admit that the Sads had more impact than I did. As near as I can tell, I batted .000 on my own recommendations, which just goes to show that all this talk of about my immense power is somewhat exaggerated. No wonder I never get invited to the meetings of the Secret Cabal).

The big winners were the Rabid Puppies, whose choices completely dominated the list…

One last point. The Rabids used a new tactic this year. They nominated legitimate, quality works in addition to the dross. Works by writers like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, Alastair Reynolds (Reynolds went public well before the nominations asking NOT to be slated, but they slated him anyway), Andy Weir, and several others. Some of these writers are apolitical (like Weir), while others are known to oppose everything that VD stands for (Gaiman, Stephenson, King). One has to think they were deliberately targeted.

In some of the online comments I’ve seen, these writers are being called “shields.” I’ve even read some people calling for them to withdraw, simply because they were on VD’s list.

Withdrawing is the LAST thing they should do.

I urge them all to stand their ground. They wrote good books, stories, graphic novels, they did NOT take part in any slate. In some cases they were largely unaware of all this. In other cases they explicitly denounced the slates ahead of time (Reynolds, again). Punishing them… demanding they turn down this honor… simply because VD listed them is insane….

(Oh… and yes, for those who were asking. This does mean we will need a second set of Alfies).



(6) ADVICE TO THE BOOKLORN. Tim Hall is swimming in the mainstream, in “Booky McBookface, by Noah Ward”.

I’m not a Worldcon member, but that’s not going to stop me giving unsolicited advice. So here’s my off-the-top-of-my-head recommendations.

First, ratify E Pluribus Hugo. This is ought to be such a no-brainer than anyone that attempts to argue otherwise is not to be trusted. It won’t fix everything, but it will make it harder for any well-organised minority to swamp the ballot.

Second, think very hard about the wisdom of repeating last year’s block no-awarding everything tainted, throwing good people under the bus in an attempt to preserve the purity of the awards. That stank when they did it to people like Toni Weisskopf last year. The garbage from VD’s cronies you can no award to oblivion if it’s as awful as it sounds from the titles. But remember that burning down The Hugos is VD’s goal, and no-awarding deserving nominees like Toni Weisskopf or Alastair Reynolds gives him what he wants.

Third, recognise that the Sad Puppies and the Rabid ones are very different things, and try to build bridges with the some of the first of those groups, or at least avoid rhetoric or behaviour that further deepens the divide with anyone who’s not an actual acolyte of Vox Day. The mass no-awarding of last year did not help in that regard.

(7) MORE GOOD ANSWERS TO WRONG QUESTIONS. Abigail Nussbaum responds with “The 2016 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on the Nominees”

… In most of the categories dominated by puppy choices, we still have an actual choice between nominees, not just a winner by default because everyone else on the ballot is terrible.  Most importantly, this year’s Best Novel ballot is one that we can look at without cringing, with only one blatant puppy nominee.  It may sound like I’m lowering the bar, but to me this is all a sign that things are settling down, and that in the future–and especially if the anti-slating measures adopted in last year’s business meeting are ratified–we’ll start seeing this award return to normal.

Of course, I’m leaving out one important point, which might cast a pall on this year’s more acceptable raft of nominees–the fact that most of them were puppy choices.  In some cases, these were nominees that probably would have made it onto the ballot without the help of Vox Day and his ilk–things like Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves in Best Novel, The Sandman: Overture in Best Graphic Story, and Strange Horizons in Best Semiprozine.  In other cases, the line is more fuzzy.  Daniel Polansky’s The Builders, for example, was a plausible nominee in Best Novella, coming from the strong, well-publicized Tor Novellas line and garnering a great deal of praise, but did the puppies’ influence help to push it past equally plausible nominees like Elizabeth Hand’s Wylding Hall and Kai Ashante Wilson’s The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps?  We won’t know for certain until the nominating stats are released after the Hugo ceremony (and perhaps not even then), and in the meantime this year’s ballot is a lot less clear-cut than last year’s.

To the puppies, this no doubt looks like a winning gambit.  To those of us who are adults, it’s just more silliness.  We are neither as stupid nor as rigid as they keep insisting that we are, and are perfectly capable of parsing these nuances.  And if this year’s Best Novella shortlist is a lot less exciting than the one I had hoped for–and which I think had a good chance of coming about–well, that’s how I feel about the Hugo most years.  I keep repeating this, but it really needs to be said again and again: despite the puppies’ ridiculous claims, the Hugo is not, and has never been, an elite or rarefied award.  If the puppies’ main accomplishment this year is to have pushed middling but not-awful work onto the ballot over better, more deserving nominees, well, then they’re no different from the majority of Hugo voters….

(8) QUICK AND THE DEAD. Damien Walter also has a few quick “Thoughts on the 2016 Hugo Awards”.

H P Lovecraft somehow managed to get nominated for a 1941 Retro Hugo, despite having died in 1937. Clearly some supernatural forces were at work…or some petty racists voting in revenge after Lovecraft’s erasure as the face of the World Fantasy Awards for being…a petty racist.

(9) LOVE. Aaron Pound’s thorough analysis of the “2016 Hugo Award Finalists” is rounded off with a compelling conclusion:

Both of the Puppy campaigns were built on spite. Larry Correia has openly admitted that he started the Sad Puppy campaign out of spite. Throughout the existence of the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns, the barely suppressed rage of its adherents has been readily apparent, and in some cases (such as during Brad Torgersen’s not infrequent frothing meltdowns over the last year or so), the rage has been quite openly expressed. Because of this, the Pups will always fundamentally misunderstand actual fans, who love what they love not out of a desire to spite someone else, but out of actual love for the thing. In the end, the Pups will fail because they are founded on the false premise that they can change what people love about genre fiction by force.

(10) ALLUM BOKHARI. At Breitbart: “Sci-Fi’s Hugo Awards Swept by Anti-SJW Authors – Again!”

This year, the Sad and Rabid Puppies have done it again. Ten out of fifteen Hugo Award categories have been completely dominated by Puppy-endorsed nominees — double what the campaigns achieved in 2015. The Puppies have also secured three out of five nominations for Best Novel, three out of four nominations for Best Short-Form Dramatic Presentation, and three out of five nominations for Best Long-Form Editor.

In total, the Rabid Puppies swept six categories on their own, while a combination of Sad & Rabid puppy nominations swept a further four.

Some of the Rabid Puppies nominations this year — such as a My Little Pony episode for Best Short-Form Dramatic Presentation and a porn parody in Best Short Story — seem clearly intended as troll options, a demonstration of the Puppies’ power to exert their will on the awards.

(11) AGAINST VANDALISM. Kayleigh Ann at Bibliodaze offers “We Have Always Been Here &Y Always Will Be: On the Hugo Awards and Cultural Vandalism”.

…Science-fiction and fantasy will move forward. It will continue to evolve and tell amazing, strange, radical and highly political stories, as it has always done, and the Puppies will cheer false cries of victory regardless of the outcome of the Hugo Awards: Their choices winning will be a sign that the industry agrees with them, and another No Award sweep (which is my predicted outcome) will simply be proof that they’re downtrodden underdogs who stood up against “Outrage Culture”. The truth is that nobody wins in this scenario because we end up having to participate in their Us Versus Them mentality in order to show a sturdy opposition to their nonsense.

Eventually, they’ll be left behind as the voices who have always been there refuse to participate in their cultural smudging. This particular kind of vandalism hurts us all, but those voices who needed the amplification of the Hugos will suffer the most, so it’s up to the rest of us to ensure that doesn’t happen. They’ll be left behind, but they still need to be called out and condemned for the dangerous vandals that they are. Get out your wallets, your microphones and your pens. We’re not going anywhere. We’ll always be here.


(13) VOX POPOLI. Vox Day did a reaction roundup of his own, “Making the Hugos Great Again”.

Of course the Sad Puppies can’t take any credit for Neil Gaiman’s nomination. The Rabid Puppies were responsible! As for whether Gaiman would have been nominated without RP support, they like to claim that sort of thing, but we’ll have to wait and see what the numbers say. Given their past record of ignoring popular, bestselling works, that’s hardly a given. In any event, as we proved last year in Best Novel, even when we don’t control the category, we still have the ability to decide who will win and who will lose when the SJWs don’t No Award the category.

In other news, we have a runner! Tom Mays belatedly decided to go the way of Marko Kloos. Not the brightest move; the time for virtue-signaling is before the nominations are awarded. It’s no big deal, not everyone can take the heat, although I suspect Tom is simply more of a Sad Puppy who hasn’t woken up to the cultural war yet. I was more interested to see that Black Gate caved and decided to accept their nomination this year; John O’Neill is a smart guy, he knows perfectly well that the nomination is well-merited, he grasps the genetic fallacy, and I suspect he has come to terms with the fact that the Rabid Puppies are not going away any time soon.

(14) CHAOS MANOR. Jerry Pournelle posted a reaction to his nomination at Chaos Manor.

I seem to have been nominated for a Hugo. “Best Editor, Short Form”. The only work mentioned for the year 2015 is There Will Be War, Volume Ten” released in November. It is of course a continuation of the There Will Be War series which appeared in the 1980’s and early 90’s, of which the first four volumes were recreated with a new preface during 2015; the rest are scheduled to come out in the next couple of years. I’ve edited a lot of anthologies, starting with 2020 Vision in 1973 (I think it will come out in reprint with new a introduction and afterword’s by the surviving authors next year. I did a series of anthologies with Jim Baen that was pretty popular, and one-off anthologies like Black Holes and The Survival of Freedom, amounting to more than twenty over the years, but this is the first time anyone has ever nominated me for an editing Hugo – and actually the first time I ever thought of it myself.

When I first started in this racket, Best Editor Hugo usually meant one for the current editor of Analog or Galaxy. That spread around over the years, but it meant Editor in the sense of someone employed with the title of Editor, not a working writer who put together anthologies, sometimes for a lark.

I used to get Hugo nominations all the time in my early days, but I never won. My Black Holes story came close, but I lost to Niven’s “Hole Man”. Ursula LeGuin beat me for novella. There were others. Our collaborations routinely got nominated, but again usually came second, so at one point I was irked enough to say “Money will get you through times of no Hugo’s much better than Hugo’s will get you through times of no money,” and put whatever promotion efforts I had time for into afternoon and late night talk radio shows and stuff like that. Which worked for sales, but not for Hugo awards. I’m unlikely to get this one – I’m a good editor but that’s hardly my primary occupation – but I admit I’d like to. I was already going to Kansas City this August, so I’ll be there, but I doubt there’s much need to write a thank you speech.

(15) COUNT HER OUT. Rhiannon Thomas refuses to repeat last year’s experience — “The Hugos Turn Rabid” at Feminist Fiction.

So… what now? It’s hard to take seriously any award with Vox Day’s “SJWs Always Lie” on the ballot. And unlike last year, I’m not going to soldier through the crap to weigh up its merit. I’ll probably read most of the novels, and pick up the non-puppy nominated shorter works, along with the ones by big name writers, because I’ve found that the nomination lists can lead me to interesting reading I would have missed otherwise. It’s basically my job to read endless piles of YA, and this gives me a focussed reason to finally pick up those other recent books too. But do we have to pretend that “Safe Space as Rape Room” is something worthy of serious critical consideration? The Puppies howl out for attention, and they’d hate nothing more than if everyone just ignored them. So let’s just pretend that their troll nominations don’t exist.

Of course, this approach isn’t without casualties. It’s obvious to anyone with a passing knowledge of fantasy and sci-fi that Brandon Sanderson and Stephen King are worth checking out, slate or no. But smaller writers? Not so much. Thomas A. Mays has already withdrawn his Hugo-nominated short story from consideration because of the slates, turning what should have been a moment of pride and victory into heartbreak. If we take the “slate works don’t exist unless they obviously have merit” approach, innocent writers still building their career get dragged down into the muck too. At best, they don’t receive the consideration they deserve. At worst, they get linked to Vox Day in everyone’s minds. And unlike big-name writers, they don’t have enough of an established reputation to shrug it off. It might appear that they need to withdraw to save their reputation, even though the Hugo nomination should have been something that would build their reputation in the first place.

And that sucks. But I, at least, can’t take another year of reading through piles of offensive and poorly written crap in search of potential specks of gold that may have been lost in the mix.

(16) CHUCK WENDIG. It isn’t lost on Chuck Wendig that “We Have A Problem”.

Like I’ve said in the past:

Dinosaurs squawking at meteors. Shaking tiny, impotent arms at the sky. The Empire, wondering where the hot hell all these goddamn X-Wings came from. Shitheel harasser assholes wondering when the world stopped listening to them and their diaperbaby bleats.

The other side of me thinks this is something deeper, darker, a vein of bad mojo thrust through the whole of the culture. Sepsis, toxic shock, an infection in the blood resistant to antibiotics.

But then I look and I think how thirty years ago I didn’t know what transgender meant. How three years ago I didn’t know what genderqueer was, and now it’s in the dictionary. I think about how we’re maybe on the cusp of having our first woman president. I think too about how social media has made the assholes louder — but it’s also amplified the voices of the non-assholes, and how conversations happen, tough as they are, across an Internet that moves fast and furious with both enlightenment and ignorance. I don’t know where we are or what’s going to happen next, and I know that I ping-pong between feeling optimistic about tectonic change and pessimistic about what that change has wrought.

I also know that no matter what we can’t just sit idly by. We push back. We vote no award when shitbirds nest in our award categories. We stand by those who are harassed by the worst of our culture. We stop sheltering the monsters and start protecting the victims. We amplify voices. We close our mouths and try to listen more. We master the one-two-punch of empathy and logic. We try to be better and do better and demand better even when we ourselves are woefully imperfect. I speak to geeks and I speak to men when I say: we need to get our house in order.

We have a problem.

But I hope we also have solutions.

At the very least, let this be a call that we need to do better by those who need us. Out with the bullies. Out with the terrorists. Gone with the ticks. We find those ticks and we pluck ’em out. Then we burn them, toss them in the toilet, rain our piss upon their parasitic heads, and say bye-bye as we flush and fill the bowl with clean water once more.

(17) AGAINST NO AWARD. Eric Flint, in “BUT FOR WALES?”, argues against voting No Award.

Theodore Beale and the people who follow him are idiots. They are petty chiselers and pipsqueaks whose notion of “the righteous battle against leftist wickedness and social justice warriors” is to try to hijack a science fiction award.

A science fiction award? Meaning no disrespect to anyone who cares about the Hugos, but the very fact that Beale and his gaggle of co-conspirators think this is a serious way to wage political struggle should tip you off that they’re a bunch of clowns with delusions of grandeur.

So treat them that way. This time around—remember, it’s 2016, not 2015—don’t hyperventilate, don’t work yourself up into a frenzy, don’t overact. Just treat the nominations the same way you would in any other year. Ignore who nominated who because, first, it’s irrelevant; and secondly, if you do you will be falling for a hustle by an idiot like Beale—which makes you an even bigger idiot.

Is anyone who’s planning to vote for the Hugos so ignorant or so stupid that they really think authors like Neal Stephenson, Jim Butcher, Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Alastair Reynolds and Stephen King need a slimeball like Theodore Beale’s approval to get nominated for an award? Are they so ignorant or stupid that they think editors like Toni Weisskopf, artists like Larry Elmore and movie directors like Joss Whedon and Ridley Scott are in the same boat?

Grow the fuck up.

Just vote, that’s all. Take each category for what it is and vote for whatever or whoever you think is most entitled to the award this year. Do NOT use “No Award” unless you really think there’s no work or person nominated in a category who deserves it at all.

(18) YOU CAN ASK BUT WILL HE ANSWER? Chuck Tingle did a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” today — “I am Dr. Chuck Tingle, 2016 Hugo Awards nominee for my book Space Raptor Butt Invasion. AMA!” He did it in character, so although the Hugos are mentioned once or twice, it’s basically played as farce. If you squint real hard (which I’m sure he would approve) at his comment about Vox Day, it includes the phrase “scoundrels never win.” Someone read that quote on FB and ran out to order ribbons….

(19) THE OTHER TINGLE INTERVIEW. Chuck Tingle was more forthcoming about scoundrels to Lauren Sarner at Inverse.

Do you know about the Sad Puppies, a group of people who try to disrupt voting for the Hugo Awards every year?

Don’t know about any puppies but it’s BAD NEWS BEARS if you want to disrupt awards. That is a scoundrel tactic and probably part of Ted Cobbler’s devilman plan. Ted Cobbler is notorious devil and has been seen using dark magic to control puppies around the neighborhood. I do not support the devilman agenda but i think that Space Raptor Butt Invasion proves that LOVE IS REAL and no scoundrels can stop that. Especially not some dumb dogs.

(20) NOW ON SALE. Two overnight sensations. One is satire. At least.

(21) SUNIL PATEL. Sunil Patel is still figuring it out.

(22) FOUR MORE. John Scalzi illustrates “Four Things About the Hugos” with Chuck Tingle’s cover art at Whatever. But it’s not all fun and games.

Fourth off, one of the finalists for Best Short Story, Thomas May, who was on the Rabid Puppy slate, has left the ballot, for admirable reasons. All respect to him for a difficult decision. I don’t believe this should be a signal for folks to hint to other finalists that they should follow his example, for reasons I outline above, i.e., this year’s slates were filled with people and work the Puppies put in for their own strategic ends, and are essentially blameless for an association that is unintended and/or unwanted. If you’ve got a mind to pester people about this, please consider not. Let them do as they will, just as you do what you will when it comes time to vote.


Filers will agree it’s a damn shame he didn’t have a fifth point!

(23) THE CASUALTIES. Katherine Jay chimes in at Stompydragons.

I am angry for the people who got knocked off the ballot because of the RP tactics. I’m particularly frustrated for the Campbell candidates who will never have another shot at that award because they’re out of time. Andy Weird was an RP pick, and I’m pretty sure he would have made it on the ballot anyway, but there are still three RP picks who are on that list and probably wouldn’t have been otherwise. Three slots that are denied to great writers who may never get another shot, because someone is playing silly games with the system.

I’m frustrated that seeding the RP ballot with a small number of works that would have been nominated anyway adds new kinds of dilemmas for many voters. Angry that many good works got bumped by crap VD was pushing. If you need any proof that his campaign has nothing to do with which works he thinks are genuinely good, take a look at some of the titles he picked, or look at what he said about one of the novels he chose (Seveneves).

Last year, after a lot of consideration, I voted No Award to all the puppy-related picks because I couldn’t condone slate nominating tactics. I still can’t support them.

But this year, if I do that, I’m also punishing works and writers who would have been nominated anyway, and I can’t make myself do that. Hell, I can’t No Award something I nominated–Bujold’s novella, The Martian–because that also makes a mockery of the process.


(25) GREY GRIPES. Grey The Tick (Grey Carter) is the author of Hugo-nominated Erin Dies Alone.

Yet his collected tweets are uncomplimentary of Vox Day.

(26) PHIL SANDIFER. Phil Sandifer will fight them on the beaches, in the fields, he will never give up.

First, as predicted, the Sad Puppies were a non-entity. That’s a little tough to judge given their new “we’re just a recommendation list” sheen of pointlessness, but it’s notable that the most conspicuous omission from their list, The Fifth Season, got a nomination in best Novel, and that in Fan Artist, a category where they had four picks, three of which were not on the Rabid Puppies slate, none of theirs made it on. Indeed, at a glance I can’t find anything that’s on their list, wasn’t an obvious contender anyway, and made it. These were Vox Day’s Hugos, plain and simple.

Second, let’s not have any silliness about pretending that what was picked reflects any agenda other than Vox Day’s spite. He’s been unambiguous that his sole goal this year is to disrupt the Hugos, not even making an effort to pretend that he was picking works on merit or because there’s actually some body of quality sci-fi he thinks is being overlooked by the awards. His only goal was to ruin things. The nominees exist only for that purpose. They are political, yes. Avowedly so. But their politics does not have even the barest shred of a constructive project. This is fascism shorn of everything but violent brutality – political in the sense of an angry mob kicking a prone body.

And so once again, the course is clear: we must resist. With every tool we have, we must resist. The highest priority, of course, is passing E Pluribus Hugo, the repaired nomination system that will serve to prevent this from happening again. Also important is No Awarding.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, and Hampus Eckerman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Fugue.]

206 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/27/16 One Pup, Two Pup, Mad Pup, Sad Pup.

  1. @Mike

    Right, that fits for me now, thanks. I don’t find his current position convincing, and ideally I’d like to see him address the issues more directly.

  2. Based on what I’ve read from him on Chaos Manor over the years, I expect Jerry Pournelle will play it coy about being put on the Hugo Awards ballot. He knew Beale had stuffed the 2015 Hugo Awards ballot with bloc voting before signing a contract with him. If that didn’t stop him from doing business with Beale, I don’t see why he’d deny himself a chance to win a rocket.

  3. If that didn’t stop him from doing business with Beale, I don’t see why he’d deny himself a chance to win a rocket.

    I’m going to make a bold prediction and say that Pournelle really shouldn’t worry about actually winning a rocket this year.

  4. @Happy Puppy Green was defending Greyland. At no time did Green refer to Greyland’s opinions concerning homosexuality. Green was defending Greyland’s rigbt to speak out about her abuse

    While I agree on this one point I do wish the Puppy leaders would link to things they are talking about so we could read exactly what was said as so much of the time what they claim someone said and what was really said do not match.

    Unfortunately Greyland’s article includes a bit about her horrific abuse by both parents and stepmother, watching them abuse others, extended family not stepping in, having to testify against her dad, nothing about ever getting any therapy to deal with it, and then moves on to all LGBTI/transgender are pedophiles.

    In VDs usual despicable manner he has set Greyland up to be victimized and hurt all over again. It’s a no win for everyone but VD. If you comment on the article saying anything but how horrific her childhood abuse was puppies will jump all over you and turn it into an attack on Greyland and not carrying about what happened to her. This hurts Greyland. Picking apart the problems with her all LGBTI/transgender are pedophiles may feel like an attack to her. Never mind how being under NA is going to hurt her. But while my heart goes out to her as a fellow incest survivor and I can see how she got from point A to point B as that’s the kind of people she was exposed to pedophiles hiding as gay does not make them so.

  5. For the record, I have more than one African-American friend who was married to a white man she concluded was a racist.

    Lovecraft married a Jewish woman. They divorced. His anti-Semitism was a factor.

  6. @Aaron I’m thinking Standlee’s idea of restricting nominating and voting rights to those who have supporting or attending memberships to the current Worldcon might be a good idea. If it costs vandals money every year to be vandals, some might be inclined to pass.

    I was surprised at how much I liked this idea when he mentioned it last year. As a not data geek I’d be interested to know what impact this would have had over the last 4 years although there is no way to know how many people would have ponied* up (pun intended) each year.

    *I figure the least we can do is have fun while not insulting some of the RP finalists. I feel for the MLP crowd.

  7. Mike, maybe someone should get Jerry a two-kilo chocolate bar. (‘Chocolate will get you through times of no Hugos better than Hugos will get you through times of no chocolate’, IIRC.)

  8. I don’t think Torgersen’s a Racist in the kindergarten-level definition of Racist, as someone who actively despises people not of their own race. As far as I can tell, people of the canine persuasion generally only understand the term racist with that big-R. Torgersen has made racist statements, sexist statements, homophobic statements, etc.. Torgersen, like a lot of reactionaries, doesn’t hold his own opinions up to close examination. He knows he’s a good guy*, and therefore could not be a Racist, a Sexist, a Homophobe. I was the same way in my 20s (and beyond?), and found myself on the defensive a whole lot, defending things that I later, upon reflection, regretted defending. I think a lot of people are like that, especially when they’re young. And a lot of people never move beyond that.

    Sorry, I owe a lot of change in the Brad jar.

    ETA: @Tasha – I feel for the MLP crowd, also. They get a lot of shit. I hope non-Puppies are nice to them.

    * I don’t doubt that he is a good guy, in his personal life, particularly when he’s surrounded by like-minded folk and when politics aren’t involved.

  9. For the record, I have more than one African-American friend who was married to a white man she concluded was a racist.

    Do I finally have to accept the fact that racists make poor choices in life? Okay, okay. 😀

  10. Second, think very hard about the wisdom of repeating last year’s block no-awarding everything tainted, throwing good people under the bus in an attempt to preserve the purity of the awards. That stank when they did it to people like Toni Weisskopf last year.

    I’ve already thought hard, and the people who block no-awarded were the wise ones; I read the voter’s packet without checking the puppy lists first and I regret it. This year, no.

    Though I’m not convinced that the people pushing the idea that last year was all blanket no-award without reading really believe that narrative; it’s just another backhanded way of trying to make the no-award voters look bad.

    And I still have no idea what Toni Weisskopf edited.

  11. @Rail: “I’m a bit confused by all the “Weisskopf totally deserved that Hugo last year” that I’ve been seeing in so many articles.”

    I had this to say on that subject yesterday. I don’t think we disagree in a significant way, but I took the step of citing concrete examples from a recent series. (Further, I didn’t bother noting the existence of typos. Nasty little buggers, but most books have a couple. Hardly seems fair to single Baen out over that when there are better examples at hand.)

    I think the SP outrage over her defeat boils down to “she runs the company that publishes stuff we like, so she deserves a BELF rocket.” Simple as that. They like Baen, she runs Baen, so they like her.

  12. @Clif : can anybody make any sense at all out of this segment of a rant??

    I think this piece is more interesting…

    “You’ll probably understand that if you ever have a son standing in a Title IX kangaroo court powered by the rape culture theory of these relentless fanatics.”

    That’s an oddly specific thing to rant on about. It can’t but make me wonder whether there’s a James May Jr somewhere in trouble at college due to certain complaints…

  13. @spacefaringkitten : Even the ones published by Castalia have been quick to say they don’t agree with his politics or slate-voting tricks.

    While nobody likes the smell of puppy poo hanging on them, I save my sympathy for those who had it flung at them without their consent rather than those who chose to roll around in the dungpile.

  14. Rev. Bob on April 28, 2016 at 3:30 pm said:

    I think the SP outrage over her defeat boils down to “she runs the company that publishes stuff we like, so she deserves a BELF rocket.” Simple as that. They like Baen, she runs Baen, so they like her.

    A little more than that: key SP people know her personally, clearly like her and regarded it as their duty to get her a Hugo and hence felt personally slighted when people didn’t do their bidding.

  15. * I don’t doubt that he is a good guy, in his personal life …

    I think you’re being too charitable. He’s posted some pretty mean-spirited attacks — like the homophobic insult of John Scalzi and repeated Aaron Pound name-calling — and the way he treated Juliette Wade here was not cool. I think it’s an open question whether he’s a nice guy. I’m probably not a nice guy to say that.

  16. I can’t believe I responded to James May on Eric Flint’s blog post. I believe it’s my first time ever responding to him. I expect his response to be either entertaining or word salad or both

  17. @tasha I likewise replied with disdain to Brad. So yeah…

    My arguments with James May have had him been bombarding me with his brand of word salad.

  18. @Tasha

    I saw that. It will be entertaining, it will be word salad, and it will definitely be emanating from his own alternate oppressed-straight-white-male universe.

    I think one or two reasoned comments is about all you can profitably waste on him, because he can go on and on into infinity.

  19. @rcade – That’s all true, plus his incredibly hypocritical editing of comments after the Hugo’s last year. I want to be charitable and imagine that he’s decent in real life, at least toward people who aren’t The Other. That doesn’t make him okay, and is ultimately probably too generous. People with that much insecurity are usually difficult to deal with in real life.

  20. @Paul Weimer (@princejvstin): @tasha I likewise replied with disdain to Brad. So yeah…

    I saw that our buddy systems are off again. Hopefully one response is not enough to become a target but if so I might never notice. I’m way behind on most social media. And I very rarely read, rarer still comment, on puppy blogs.

    ETA: his response is barely entertaining and really short.

  21. @spacefaringkitten

    BTW, has anyone heard of a Rabid Puppy finalist who admits to being proud they are on Beale’s list? Is there a single one?

    Benjamin Cheah may count.

  22. @clif

    can anybody make any sense at all out of this segment of a rant??

    Probably not. James May (and his alter-ego “Fail Burton”) is one of those people whose posts you just learn to scroll past without reading. Most trolls are not worth responding to (although I like to give people the benefit of the doubt), but this is one that’s not even worth trying to comprehend. I’m not entirely sure it’s possible to comprehend most of what he says.

  23. @Greg – Fail Burton is James May? I’ve been thinking that for a while.

    @Tasha – I don’t think you have to worry about May’s focused wrath. I still half suspect he’s an AI.

  24. (17) Once again, Eric Flint NAILS it. I couldn’t agree with him more.

    And if there’s one phrase that deserves to die forever, it’s “virtue signaling”. Not surprising though, considering its progenitor.

  25. @Rev Bob: With Baen and typos, it’s more a matter of degree plus public statements that they don’t bother.

    I won’t touch John Ringo, so I managed to miss that bit of nastiness.

    The various canids don’t surprise me when they wail about Weisskopf, nor does Flint, really. But I’ve been seeing statements like Tim Hall’s above at (6) from people who aren’t AFAIK Sads or Rabids.

  26. I disagree. I think you would have to be pretty messed up to be a racist married to a black spouse, whereas most sexists are indeed married to women. What Brad Torgersen is, I think, is a mean and not too bright guy with awful politics.

    Meh. I recall sitting in the backseat when I was three and hearing my dad snarl “spic” (forgive the term) at people in traffic, without taking into account the fact that I am, in fact, half-spic. (Again, forgive the term. I expect this to go straight into moderation). Thank god he quit doing that before I got old enough to call him on it.

    As for Brad, I’m fully prepared to acknowledge that he’s undoubtedly not consciously racist. But the fact that he basically said on his blog that nothing could make him call Vox a racist, because calling someone a racist is a despicable act, apparently far worse than actually being one; the whole ‘affirmative action’ thing; and his persistent doubling down on his original errors, all seem to point to him willfully ignoring the possibility that he might be acting in unconsciously racist ways and/or colluding with such for the sake of his profit and ego.

  27. The other, more visible-to-the public side of editorial work is acquisitions. Jim Baen personally was notable through his career for the sheer range and quality of the writers he recruited, especially if you look at the early days of Baen books. Who has been acquired of any stature, except for Gannon, at Baen, since his death? One significant author in ten years? (Not counting Correia, as he was one of those contract-a-self-published-author cases, though I suppose I should. And Torgersen. How could I forget Torgersen?)

    All snark aside, the Baen stable is more and more homogeneous and middling every year. It’s not a good argument for Weisskopf’s stellar qualities in acquisitions.

  28. Oh hey, I got a title!

    I wish I could be more active these days but the end of the semester (with its baggage of finals) is upon us.

  29. Brad’s words and actions during the Puppy Wars have been racist. How he and Mrs. T. deal with that is their business rather than mine. It’s also completely irrelevant to Brad’s conduct within science-fiction fandom, which conduct has been, as I mentioned, racist.

  30. I have known many good people. One characteristic they all had in common was that when they were in the wrong, they could admit it and apologize.

  31. Rail: The various canids don’t surprise me when they wail about Weisskopf, nor does Flint, really. But I’ve been seeing statements like Tim Hall’s above at (6) from people who aren’t AFAIK Sads or Rabids.

    Hall, in his response to my comment, basically admitted that he had just taken GRRM’s stated opinion on Weisskopf wholesale and repeated it, rather than thinking about it and developing his own. Unfortunately, I’m sure that there are a lot of people who are willing to do the same, because they have high opinion of GRRM.

  32. @Camestros: “A little more than that: key SP people know her personally, clearly like her and regarded it as their duty to get her a Hugo and hence felt personally slighted when people didn’t do their bidding.”

    Heck, I know Toni personally. One of my friends regularly plays cards with her, and I own a Cthulhu sculpture from her late husband’s art collection. She’s okay to chat with. Doesn’t mean she merits a Hugo, though.

    Similarly, as I’ve noted before, I know John Ringo personally. Doesn’t stop me from wondering how he manages to describe one character’s military decorations as first “six plus one,” then “five and three,” and then the total is listed as six.

    One can be likable without being flawless.

    @Paul Weimer: “My arguments with James May have had him been bombarding me with his brand of word salad.”

    I have the sudden urge to arrange for May to receive a Salad Shooter for Christmas.

    @jayn: “calling someone a racist is a despicable act, apparently far worse than actually being one”

    Right-wing political correctness in action.

    @James: “All snark aside, the Baen stable is more and more homogeneous and middling every year. It’s not a good argument for Weisskopf’s stellar qualities in acquisitions.”

    In a similar vein, did Baen lose their Heinlein reprint contract? I’ve been trying to flesh out my digital collection, and the newest e-prints have been coming from either Phoenix Pick (the two-volume Expanded Universe) or Spectrum Literary Agency (Kindle-only releases with clip-arty covers and ads for The Virginia Edition in the back).

    I mean, I know rights issues can get complicated, but I can’t help wondering if those stealth afterwords annoyed the wrong person. All I’m sayin’ is that I was seeing a pretty decent stream of digital Heinlein releases from Baen for a while, then the ebooks started coming from elsewhere… and some of the early Baen versions have been rereleased through SLA.

  33. Rev. Bob: I can’t help wondering if those stealth afterwords annoyed the wrong person.

    Ah, that would not be surprising; those afterwords are trash. Who inherited the estate?

  34. Doctor Science: You were fed a really idiotic interpretation of that episode of Supernatural.

    Summary (from a memory of only seeing it once.) The episode is largely Drop Dead Fred without Carrie Fisher on a riverboat (and the comparison was lampshaded by Dean.) Sam’s childhood imaginary friend suddenly shows up in his life again, explains that imaginary friends are real (like the various other mythological beasts that are real on the show, except not evil–though no explanation is given for why they hang out with children there is no innuendo that there is anything untoward going on.) The IF shows himself to Sam (and, later, Dean) because someone is has murdered another IF and friend of his (a guy with a unicorn horn, IIRC), and want them to solve the murder. In the course of the episode, at least one other IF (a mermaid) is murdered, and a third one badly injured. It turned out that Sam’s IF had had a different child after Dean, and while playing with her, the child was accidentally hit and killed by a car. The IF was wracked with guilt by this and retired from IFing. The serial killer turned out to be the twin sister of the dead girl, and when Sam’s IF found out, he volunteered to simply let her kill him if it made her feel better. I don’t really remember the details of what Dean told her about the IF, and letting revenge eat you up not being a good thing, but she ended up letting him live.

    She was unambiguously the “bad guy” of the episode, murdering innocent, unconnected IFs out of her hatred for Sam’s IF. Sam’s IF not only didn’t intentionally cause the sister’s death, but also the amount of momentary neglect leading to the unfortunate accident was minor. The serial killer actually got off lightly, given the amount of “ganking” that takes place on the show. She got away with the earlier murders (of course, it isn’t like they could have gone to the police about it) with no consequences. You really, really, need to be looking at the episode with an agenda (dare I say–virtue signaling!) to come up with the description from your source. (FWIW, while I don’t identify myself as a “Supernatural fan”, I have seen every episode.)

  35. @JJ:

    That’s a damned good question for which I have no answer whatsoever. Looking at my SLA copy of Double Star, the 2003 copyright is in the name of the Heinlein Prize Trust. This is also true of the PP edition of Expanded Universe, as well as the Baen edition of Beyond This Horizon – so that doesn’t tell us much of anything.

  36. @Kathodus:

    I want to be charitable and imagine that [Brad T.]’s decent in real life, at least toward people who aren’t The Other… That doesn’t make him okay, and is ultimately probably too generous.

    Wayyyyy too generous, I have to agree.

    With the caveat that my vehemence is not directed at you, specifically, but at the idea which you are simply the most recent person I’ve encountered invoking:

    The internet is real life. The people on it are real people.

    Someone who is “a nice guy in real life” but acts like an asshole on the internet isn’t a nice guy.

    Same goes for someone who’s nice to people like him but acts like a bigot toward (or about) people not like him.

    Or for someone who’s nice to you, but rude to people in the service industry.

    Someone who’s nice to you, but bullies small children.


    Nice guy, like asshole, is phenomenological. How someone acts toward other beings is not mitigated by “he’s ok once you get to know him” or “he means well” or “he volunteers at a soup kitchen and donates to charity.” Glad he’s doing good works, but I still don’t want to be around him, because he acts like an asshole.

    And when evaluating how someone acts toward other beings, there is no subset of “other beings” that doesn’t count.

    I’m sure someone can pick at edge cases and small details in order to argue for an exception. (“They’re nice people; they’re only assholes toward confirmed bigots!” I suppose you can find a definition of “asshole” that makes that work.) But my main point is, if someone is only an asshole on the internet and to The Other, that kind makes him an asshole in my book. Maybe he’s a nice guy once you get to know him (and convince him that you’re a real person?) I’m afraid his behavior on the internet and toward people whom he thinks “doesn’t count” (and the fact that he thinks certain people don’t count!) disinclines me to get to know him.

    And as for it being impossible to be a racist and be married to a person of not-your-color — I’m sure I can’t be the only woman here who’s had a male friend or boyfriend “compliment” her by saying, “Hey, I’m not talking about you when I say [something terribly sexist]; but then you’re not like all the other women, you know that? You’re exceptional. Heck, you’re almost as good as a man!” I’m sure there are versions along the color spectrum.

    Oh, look, another page-long rant from me. Sorry-not-sorry?

  37. @Nicole – You’re right. I was imagining how it is that he could be relatively intelligent, hold the views he does, say the things he does, make his accusations, and still consider himself a decent person. I don’t think he’s nice or good. I don’t think someone who acts as pig ignorant selfishly as he does could actually be a nice person, because he obviously has no interest at all in trying to understand people who don’t agree with him. But I suspect he acts decently toward “his” people, so long as they aren’t challenging him, and this is enough for him to consider himself a Good Guy.

    My trip on this subject is how people who spew obviously (objectively?) horrible opinions can consider themselves decent people, can actually BE decent people, generally. This ties in to some shit involving my total sweetheart of a niece, who has come out really hard against transgender-friendly bathrooms (due to WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN manipulation). I’m trying to reconcile how someone can harbor vile opinions without being a horrible person. I should probably leave Torgersen out of it, because fuck that guy.

  38. @Nicole:

    And now for something completely different… What kind of device do you use for Viggle these days? Turns out there’s a rather intriguing feature on the iOS version with certain iPads.

    I’ve converted all my old Viggle points into Amazon gift card credit. For a while, I was getting a $25 Amazon card every three or four days (as I was converting old points), but now it’s down to about one a week. There was about a week where I was getting a card every two days, but then Viggle patched the bug that had briefly turned the app into a point fountain. Today’s been a good day, though – a four-hour-long 5x show that I can check into for decent points at low maintenance. (Ten points every five minutes is about what I get out of Perk TV Live, but with way less effort.)

  39. FWIW, one other reason why Juliette Wade might not have seen a career bounce like Kloos or Bellet from her principled rejection of slating is that, when I just went to Amazon to see about buying something of hers (like I’ve bought Marko’s novels or Anne’s books) I couldn’t find anything for sale on its own (as opposed to in issues of Clarkesworld or Analog or various anthologies.

  40. Ray Radlein: one other reason why Juliette Wade might not have seen a career bounce is that, when I just went to Amazon… I couldn’t find anything for sale on its own

    True; if she’s got short story rights which have reverted from magazines, perhaps she’ll start making those available at 99c each on Amazon. I’ve read some of her stories, and they’re pretty amazing. She’s American, but she spent a considerable amount of time living in Japan, and is fairly fluent in the language and culture of that country.

    I nominated Juliette Wade’s “Dive Into Worldbuilding” blog and Google Hangouts as a Related Work — and I saw a couple of other people who said they had, as well.

    If you’re an aspiring author or just interested in worldbuilding, these are incredibly interesting, and I encourage you to check them out.

  41. @JJ:

    That’s a shame. The versions I’ve been calling the SLA editions are… well, people love to talk trash about Baen’s covers, but these are worse. Hopelessly generic, no print versions (unless you count the Virginia Edition), and the ebooks are only sold through Amazon.

    I just hope they’ve been decently proofread and formatted. So far, Double Star looks okay in that respect…

  42. After some digging…

    It looks like Phoenix Pick is the new Heinlein publisher of record. The very-generic “SLA version” of Double Star that I picked up on Amazon in September 2015 has been discontinued and replaced with a Phoenix Pick version that came out barely a month later. (Timing, my old nemesis! I’ll get you yet!) The PP edition has a real cover, as well as print editions and e-availability outside of Amazon. More telling, it has the same links to SLA as the generic edition… which I think means good things.

    There are still several Heinleins that are only available as those ugly generic editions, but I’m hoping that’s in the process of changing. Only time will tell, of course… but I’ve got time enough for Heinlein.

  43. Nicole-
    I 100% agree with you on “nice in person” doesn’t cancel out “asshat online”. This is one of the earliest arguments I had on line with someone who was trolling a USENET group (alt.society.generation-x) and then got butt hurt when someone said, go away, you are a jerk and no one here likes you. They kept arguing that their online persona is like a character man, to something he does to entertain himself and doesn’t mean anything and he is a cool dude in person.

    First, I have never understood the “internet persona” thing. I’ve always been just me, albeit a me who is more willing to pipe up around strangers and doesn’t wear out as quickly as I do in real world situations. And as I told him, if your online “persona” is abrasive and unpleasant, who is ever going to want to meet you in person anyway? Maybe you are a perfectly lovely person but I will never find out.

    And maybe Brad et al are charming and wonderful and if you do rate being a friend of his, loyal etc etc. But I’ll never know because based on his Puppy performances I will steer well clear of any place our paths might cross. And any of those guys might be awesome writers and storytellers but there are a lot of us who will never find out because we are so disgusted with their actions that we have no interest in reading anything they write.

    The funny thing is, their argument that certain people are excluded from consideration for the awards based on who they are rather than the merits of their work wasn’t true when they were justifying their shitty behaviour with it. It was not true for me. But guess what? It is now. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    LC or BT or Tank Marmot (I still love that name so much) might somehow morph into the next Niven or Heinlein but I will always No Award for them or anyone associated with Castalia because of how they have conducted themselves these last couple of years. And that’s based directly on how they have behaved. My distaste for them is too strong to want to read anything written by them EVER or put a dime in their pockets.

  44. @Rev. Bob, JJ:

    Don’t know if this helps at all, but here’s what I found on the Heinlein Prize Trust:


    It appears that a trust was set up which invests and maintains the bulk of the assets from the estates (including most of the literary properties) and sees to the disbursement of monies in a “Pay It Forward” fashion, chiefly with regard to space exploration.

    I’d imagine the trust has the power to execute contracts for the literary assets.

  45. Ah, the smell of a puppy round-up in the morning! (Hey, 3 AM when I wrote this, but didn’t get around to posting it, is technically “morning.”) Great round-up, @Mike Glyer, as always. And of course, interesting posts you excerpt and link to. BTW #11 has an extra “Y” after the ampersand.

    (3) MORE ALFIES. Shallow me: I love the pic of the Alfie awards. 😀

    (7) MORE GOOD ANSWERS TO WRONG QUESTIONS. “If the puppies’ main accomplishment this year is to have pushed middling but not-awful work onto the ballot over better, more deserving nominees, well, then they’re no different from the majority of Hugo voters….”

    Ouch. Almost Puppy-like of her. Heh, we can’t all have her “rarified” tastes.

    (10) ALLUM BOKHARI. So, misunderstanding popular opinion and Sad Puppies.

    (13) VOX POPOLI. Bark! Bark! Bark! Whine! Bark!

    I’m not sure how he thinks he’s controlling who wins. (eyeroll)

    (17) AGAINST NO AWARD. Flint seems confused; “No Award” is not only used at the top of one’s ballot. I get that he really means “don’t just No Award whole categories” but at least the excerpted part just says “Do NOT use.” Anyway, he’s no more the boss of me than Beale is, and it’s a bummer but not the end of the world if a few categories do go to No Award. Which I suspect BRW, at least, will – and that’d be justly earned.

    With commas, and love to you all. 😉 And apologies for the late jumping-into-Pixel-Scroll.

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