Pixel Scroll 7/26 – The Answer, My Friend, is Scrollin’ in the Wind

Rants, disenchants, and Peter Grant, in today’s Scroll.

(1) “The Taffeta Darling,” a guest brought in by the Dallas Gaming Expo to help direct games, says the whole thing was run so badly she quit and wrote “Where’s The Ball Pit? Or Why I Left Dallas Gaming Expo”.

This weekend is the Dallas Gaming Expo, a video gaming convention that had hired me to be their voice of the convention and help them run their gaming tournaments. For the first time ever as a guest, I left what would have been a paid convention gig due to disgust, disbelief and a good conscious [sic].

The Dallas Gaming Expo turned out to be a classic example of a promoter looking to make loads of money off of the gaming community without really knowing what the should be done. This expo was presented with huge expectations with loads of guests, arcade gaming, skeeball, video game tournaments and more! Unfortunately what attendees got Friday night was a ball room full of chairs, 4 wobbly projection screens and about 6-7 TVs with consoles. As a guest of the event I smiled, and hoped for the best and said I was having fun, well because that’s what ya do.  I also wanted to see this event succeed. I thought maybe more would be coming and hopefully it will be better in the morning. I stayed through the night and ran the Super Smash Bros tournament along with guest Natalie Green, which honestly was a lot of fun for me to watch and engage in. On the flip side the tournament itself had quite a few snags including casual rules for tournament play, broken controllers, lagging screenplay, no official forms, and the reliance on a group of volunteers that tried it’s best to make things work.

After bailing on DGE, she went across town to Quakecon, another gaming event in Dallas this weekend.

A dissastified customer has even started a Change.org petition to ban the Dallas Gaming Expo from happening again (though only 29 signers as of this writing).

(2) I know in the world of sf&f there’s a tremendous competition to be the field’s biggest narcissist, but honestly, is anybody more stuck on himself than Michael Moorcock? The headline of his latest interview — “Michael Moorcock: ‘I think Tolkien was a crypto-fascist”.

“I think he’s a crypto-fascist,” says Moorcock, laughing. “In Tolkien, everyone’s in their place and happy to be there. We go there and back, to where we started. There’s no escape, nothing will ever change and nobody will ever break out of this well-­ordered world.” How does he feel about the triumph of Tolkienism and, subsequently, the political sword-and-sorcery epic Game of Thrones, in making fantasy arguably bigger than it has ever been?

“To me, it’s simple,” he says. “Fantasy became as bland as everything else in entertainment. To be a bestseller, you’ve got to rub the corners off. The more you can predict the emotional arc of a book, the more successful it will become.

Nothing ever changes in Middle-Earth? Evil is defeated, the spirits on the paths of the dead are redeemed, all the elves leave, the Shire is trashed…. Never mind. I’ve read bales of Moorcock’s Eternal Champion novels. Entertaining, but he didn’t beat Tolkien at his own game.

(3) A radio dramatization of Iain M. Banks’ novella “The State of the Art” (45 minutes) is available free on the BBC for another three weeks.

The Culture ship Arbitrary arrives on Earth in 1977 and finds a planet obsessed with alien concepts like ‘property’ and ‘money’ and on the edge of self-destruction. When Agent Dervley Linter, decides to go native can Diziet Sma change his mind?

From Wikipedia:

The novella chronicles a Culture mission to Earth in the late 1970s, and also serves as a prequel of sorts to Use of Weapons by featuring one of that novel’s characters, Diziet Sma. Here, Sma argues for contact with Earth, to try to fix the mess the human species has made of it; another Culture citizen, Linter, goes native, choosing to renounce his Culture body enhancements so as to be more like the locals; and Li, who is a Star Trek fan, argues that the whole “incontestably neurotic and clinically insane species” should be eradicated with a micro black hole. The ship Arbitrary has ideas, and a sense of humour, of its own.

“Also while I’d been away, the ship had sent a request on a postcard to the BBC’s World Service, asking for ‘Mr David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” for the good ship Arbitrary and all who sail in her.’ (This from a machine that could have swamped Earth’s entire electro-magnetic spectrum with whatever the hell it wanted from somewhere beyond Betelgeuse.) It didn’t get the request played. The ship thought this was hilarious.”

(4) After a 17-year hiatus, W. Paul Ganley’s Weirdbook Magazine is coming back. A Stephen Fabian cover will be on the back and this artwork by Dusan Kostic will be on the front —

Weirdbook 31

(5) Futurefen is a new WordPress site hoping to serve as a news and conrunning resource for kids programming.

I started this site because of frustration with getting timely and accurate info about kid programming from SFF conventions. I wanted to start a larger dialogue about how conventions can better serve ALL members of our community, and provide a centralized resource for information for fans with kids. For many of us, quality kid programs are a necessity to attend a convention. For us as a community, we need to foster and include and welcome kids to our gatherings because kids are our future. They’re the future fans, the future scientists, future writers and artists and inventors, future interesting people. Many of them are those things RIGHT NOW, and they have a lot of good they bring along with the energy they take.

I don’t really know if/how this site is going to work, but here we go. Let’s make a difference. 🙂

(6) Peter Grant scoffs at Jason Sanford’s announcement that the Tor Boycott has failed. Grant encourages supporters to ”Stay the course”.

I repeat what I’ve said before:  the Tor boycott is a long-term effort.  I know for certain, based on solid feedback from literally hundreds of individuals, that it’s already biting.  It was an eye-opener at LibertyCon last month to have so many people come up to me, thank me for taking a stand, and confirm that they were part of the boycott.  I’m certain that in 2015 alone, the boycott will have a six-figure effect on Tor’s turnover – not much for a multi-million-dollar-turnover publisher, but that’s just the start.  As those involved in the boycott continue it and spread the word, the impact will grow.  I fully expect it to reach a cumulative total of seven figures over time.  Again, that may not seem like a lot to scoffers and naysayers;  but I think in today’s publishing market, where margins are already razor-thin, such a loss of turnover may have an impact out of all proportion to its dollar value.  Vox Day, who’s also called for a boycott of Tor, has more ‘inside information’ than I do, and he’s also confident that the campaign is having an impact.

Thank you to all of you who’ve taken a stand on principle and stood up for what is morally and ethically right.  That has a value all its own, in a world that doesn’t attach much value to either morals or ethics.  Stay the course.  This will go on for years, and I think it will bear both short- and long-term fruit.  (As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, there’s already convincing evidence of that.)

(7) Whereas all George R.R. Martin is saying is give peace a chance when you meet in person at Sasquan.

From talking and emailing with various friends and colleagues, however, I know that some of them will NOT be going to Spokane, mainly because the Hugo Wars have left a bad taste in their mouths. Others will attend, but not without trepidation. They wonder how much of the acrimony of Puppygate will spill over into the con itself… to the panels, the parties, the hallways. Will this worldcon be a celebration or a battleground? A family reunion or a family feud?

I wish I could answer that question, but no one really knows. I’m hoping for “celebration” and “family reunion,” and I think that’s the best bet… but we won’t know till the fat lady sings and the dead dogs howl.

And he has some gentle words for people he feels have been caught in the middle.

I don’t know Kary English. (It is possible I have met her or been in the same room with her at some previous con, but if so I don’t remember. I meet a lot of people). Until Puppygate and her double nomination, I had never read any of her work. But I agree with much of what she had to say in those posts, and I applaud her for saying it, knowing (as surely she must have) that by breaking ranks with “her side,” aka the Puppies, she would face the wroth of some of those who had previously championed her. I know that there are some on “my side” who have slammed English despite these posts, insisting that she spoke up too late in the game, that she was trying “to have it both ways.” No, sorry, that’s idiocy. Like Kloos and Bellet and Schubert before her, she’s opting out of the kennel and the slates. I will not fault her for not doing so sooner. This thing has been hard for all concerned, and these choices are painful… especially for a young writer who has just received his or her first Hugo nomination.

If there is any hope for reconciliation post-Puppygate, it lies with voices of moderation and forgiveness on both sides, not with the extremists and the haters. It lies with Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet and Edmund Schubert. I hope they are all at worldcon. I would like to meet them, buy them a drink, shake their hands, and argue about books with them.

[Thanks for these links goes out to JJ and John King Tarpinian. Title credit to Brian Z.]

270 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/26 – The Answer, My Friend, is Scrollin’ in the Wind

  1. It would not surprise me, actually, to find that in early discussions, a bunch of the Puppies thought or assumed that they could slate-vote the final ballot as successfully as the nominations. It would fit with their willingness to tell each other (and themselves) that only left-wing slates and blocs have been denying them their rightful awards for years. So they actually did what they’ve lyingly accused others of doing and then found out that, oh, you can’t use the same tactic in the same round so well.

    @ Bruce Baugh. How sure are we that this is true? The one things I’ve seen in US politics in the last decade or so is just how easy a time the right-wing in the US can self organize and get a crowd of a few thousand nutters to lay out the coin to organize in one place. They could get a few thousand people out to a Nevada ranch by putting out calls on the internet through Brietbart and related sites. They could fill a lot of protests in the early part of the decade with meet ups. All of these cost the participants more than $40.

    I guess my nightmare is that when August 15 rules around, we’re going to find out that Worldcon got to north of 10,000 because of a few shares on Breitbart and the rest of the rightwing blogosphere. Kevin J Anderson, Hugo Award winner… John C Wright, multiple Hugo Award winner in a single year… and a list of nominees for next year that’s a sci-fi about fear of the other, where the biggest questions asked and debated is which kind of cartridge would kill aliens better.

  2. Young Pretender: On the other hand, a bunch of initiatives folks in those scenes made a lot of noise about fizzled totally – more fun to talk about than to do. My bet is that Hugo voting will be one of these, though of course I can’t know.

  3. 1. IRON. DRAGONS. DAUGHTERS.
    A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin
    The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Michael Swanwick

    The Swanwick is an underappreciated masterpiece. (Although, as others have said, as bleak as a very bleak thing indeed.) The Martin is an excellent read, but the series has suffered from bloat.

    2. OFF TO SEE THE DARK, DARK WIZARD
    Wizard and Glass, Stephen King
    Magic’s Price, Mercedes Lackey

    Abstain. Haven’t read either, don’t much care.

    3. MAGIC MEETS THE MODERN WORLD
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling
    The Newford Stories, Charles de Lint

    De Lint has never done a whole lot for me, for some reason.

    4. HAPEXAMENDIOS VS. RUDY
    Imajica, Clive Barker
    Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson

    I actually haven’t read either of these, either, but I’ve heard good things about the Hopkinson from people I respect; plus, as an SJW, I have to give her the benefit of affirmative action.

    5. FAIRY STORIES, REINVENTED
    Stardust, Neil Gaiman
    Tam Lin, Pamela Dean

    Remember my reaction to category #2? My reaction here is the exact and precise opposite. Along the lines of,
    HOW CAN YOU MAKE ME CHOOSE BETWEEN THESE DAMN YOU DAMN YOU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5CSBZz3eOI

    …Dean. She needs more love than Gaiman. Sigh.

    6. THE DUST AND THE GLOOM
    The Golden Compass/Northern Lights, Phillip Pullman
    The Night Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko

    Pullman didn’t stick the landing, but he deserves to get through this round.

    7. FULFILLING THE PROPHECY IN STYLE
    Daughter of the Blood, Anne Bishop
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    Not actually my favorite Discworld (that would be Mort) but I can’t vote against Pratchett.

    8. THE RISELKA AND THE RABBIT GIRL
    Guy Gavriel Kay (Tigana)
    Terri Windling (The Wood Wife)

    Tigana is a classic.

  4. Oh, Kyra, quick question: did The Dragon Waiting get mentioned in the ’80s? If The Dragon Waiting isn’t in the ’80s bracket I’m afraid I am really going to have to shoot you. Ta.

  5. Oh, and don’t you dare put The Dragon Waiting up against Little, Big, either.

  6. We being with … THE NINETIES!

    1. IRON. DRAGONS. DAUGHTERS.
    A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin

    2. OFF TO SEE THE DARK, DARK WIZARD
    Wizard and Glass, Stephen King
    “I LOVE THEE ROLAND” is still ringing in my ears, at least ten years after I read it (this was Barnes & Noble New York days, so between 2002 and July 2005.)

    3. MAGIC MEETS THE MODERN WORLD
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling
    Sirius Black’s smackdown at the end.

    4. HAPEXAMENDIOS VS. RUDY
    Leave blank due to POOR READER PREPARATION.

    5. FAIRY STORIES, REINVENTED
    Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman) is considerably stronger than Stardust, IMO.

    6. THE DUST AND THE GLOOM
    See #4.

    7. FULFILLING THE PROPHECY IN STYLE
    Terry Pratchett wins, but substitute Making Movies (Ankh Mor-pork goes Hollywood!) and/or The Truth (Ankh Mor-Pork starts a newspaper!)

    8. THE RISELKA AND THE RABBIT GIRL
    See #4.

  7. @TheYoungPretender: I think blog activity is a pretty good indicator here; there’s been WAY more anti-slate blogging (and new anti-slaters like me) than there has been pro-slate blogging and commenting. It’s reasonable to assume that the 200 Rabid Puppies Beale got to nominate will vote, and some sads as well, but beyond that? Doubtful.

  8. That “shoot you” comment was in poor taste. I apologize to anyone offended.

  9. The thing to remember about Moorecock’s generation, is that “fascist” translates out to “Anyone over the age of 30”, though later there was a linguistic shift to mean “Anyone over the age of 40”, and more recently a shift to, “Anyone under the age of 30”. ;’)

    Anyway:

    We being with … THE NINETIES!

    1. IRON. DRAGONS. DAUGHTERS.
    The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Michael Swanwick
    I thought that IDD was dense, difficult, and a brilliant deconstruction of fairy tales and elves. Also, I thought that Martin was honestly not that original, and the worldbuilding in it truly annoys me.

    2. OFF TO SEE THE DARK, DARK WIZARD
    The Dark Wizard of Derkholme, Diana Wynne Jones. HAH!

    3. MAGIC MEETS THE MODERN WORLD
    The Newford Stories, Charles de Lint
    Just…a little bit more mature.

    4. HAPEXAMENDIOS VS. RUDY
    Abstain

    5. FAIRY STORIES, REINVENTED
    Stardust, Neil Gaman
    Really, because I’m thinking of the graphic novel.

    6. THE DUST AND THE GLOOM
    The Night Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko
    The Golden Compass justfeels massively polemical-even in the first book. On the other hand, Russian cynicism, and a shades of grey background did it for me.

    7. FULFILLING THE PROPHECY IN STYLE
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
    Not even a contest- this is Pratchett at his height.

    8. THE RISELKA AND THE RABBIT GIRL
    Guy Gavriel Kay (Tigana)
    Sooooo close…one more year and I could have voted for Rusalka. But of the two, I liked the Kay wuite a bit.

    Not too happy about the gender balance on this decade. Well, there’s always the 80s.

  10. Steve Moss: In the past, how many of those who categories receiving a vote of “No Award” were manipulated by those who desired that outcome?

    Manipulation? You mean like the Sad and Rabid Puppy slates, which were done out of cronyism and vindictiveness rather than sincerity and quality?

    If “No Award” makes an appearance this year, it will be because it was earned, not manipulated.

    Steve Moss: The RP have been very clear that their initial desire was No Awards this year, and next, and, dependent on the rule changes, maybe thereafter.

    Their initial desire was to game a bunch of Hugo Awards onto Puppy mantels. It was only after they realized that almost certainly isn’t going to happen that their tune changed to “Oh, we meant to go for No Award all along.”

    The Puppies are well out of their depth if they think they have the ability to cause No Awarding — this year or any year — unless it is by getting a slateful of crap onto the ballot as they did this year. And they’ve only got one more year of that. After that, they’ll have to go find someone else’s carpet to piddle on.

    Steve Moss: That’s why I suggested voting for whatever it is you like. Don’t stress over No Award and/or don’t stress over the author (SP/RP/No-P). If a non-Puppy is the best, vote for the non-Puppy. If it is dreck, vote No Award. Don’t check bona fides and don’t check pedigree. I think there is a lot of merit in all the nominees so I’ll be voting accordingly. But don’t vote out of spite or the RP win. The RP can do spite and conflict, probably better than anyone. Vote your conscience and, I suspect, SP/RP will do the same both this year and, most importantly, the year after next, etc.

    I am amused that you think it is your place to lecture me or anyone else on how to evaluate works and vote on the Hugo ballot.

  11. @Susana S.P.: “It’s hard to fault Adams for not still writing, though.”

    Naah, I blame him for dying too early. 🙂

    As for Holt standouts, I really like his series stuff (almost everything from The Portable Door forward, and I hope the new release is another YouSpace book), but I’d reread just about anything of his. I generally recommend based on who I’m talking to and what they like; if you’re not up on the Ring Cycle, I’d rather not recommend Expecting Someone Taller – instead, I might go with Here Comes the Sun or Valhalla. Different strokes, right?

    @JJ, @NickPheas: the South/LibertyCon/bubble effect

    Small correction: This year’s cap was 700 paid memberships, not 700 total. Attending pros and past guests don’t count against that number. But, yes, there are reasons why LibertyCon is sometimes known as BaenCon.

    As for the Weber question, I would speculate that the Puppies would rather have him leading the charge than on their slate, and he doesn’t strike me as the type. (Note again that I’m speculating and have no inside information on that front. Frankly, I think he’s more likely to want to stay as far from that fracas as possible.)

  12. Rev. Bob: Small correction: This year’s cap was 700 paid memberships, not 700 total. Attending pros and past guests don’t count against that number. But, yes, there are reasons why LibertyCon is sometimes known as BaenCon.

    And another self-correction: Eric Flint was also at LibertyCon this year, and I most certainly think that he is a big fish. I omitted him from the list only because he is most decidedly not a Puppy (and, based on their reactions to his chastisement of BT, he is in a lot of Puppy doghouses).

  13. @Mike Thanks! I’m going to bask in this feeling for the next … 13 minutes. (Should have checked back in sooner.)

  14. @JJ:

    Eric Flint is an unusual case in terms of LibertyCon, as I believe I’ve said before: he is both a prominent Baen author and an undeniable liberal. In some ways, that makes him ideal cover. Whenever I’ve observed at a con meeting that LibertyCon slants rather heavily to the right, the comeback is always that they’ve repeatedly invited Flint as a guest. Always, as in every time.

    In fairness, Weber and Card and Wright get cited by non-Pups as conservative Tor authors; I’m not blind to the “both sides” nature of this beast. However, Flint is literally the only example I hear in this context. He’s not one of a small group; he is the group. He is their “(insert minority here) friend.”

    I have a sneaking suspicion that if some random person were to tell one of the con’s directors or department heads that LibertyCon is run by a bunch of conservatives, they’d probably cite me in the same way… which is one of the reasons I’m stepping down from that position. I don’t want to be their shield.

  15. Eric Flint a liberal? I thought he was a socialist. Oh, btw. In sweden, liberals are seen as part of the right wing.

  16. Jim Henley —

    And arguably in English’s case, wanted to curry favor with Mike Resnick.

    As I recall, English has Mike Resnick’s favour; she quoted him as saying that he thought her story was Hugo-worthy before any of this year’s Puppy shenanigans. That’s the personal dilemma she found herself impaled on, that she believes that she would have gotten nominated without the Puppies.

  17. Jim Henley: And arguably in English’s case, wanted to curry favor with Mike Resnick.

    NelC: As I recall, English has Mike Resnick’s favour; she quoted him as saying that he thought her story was Hugo-worthy before any of this year’s Puppy shenanigans.

    Brad didn’t nominate her work to curry favor for her with Resnick; he did it to curry Resnick’s favor for himself.

  18. We being with … THE NINETIES!

    (Am about to show how poorly read I am; will only participate in brackets where I have read both candidates)

    1. IRON. DRAGONS. DAUGHTERS.
    A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin
    The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Michael Swanwick

    See ? I’ve read only four other books listed.
    GoT is epic, but the Swanwick blew my mind.

  19. Brad nominated English work as someone he trusted had said it was really good. Favour or not, thats just speculation.

  20. WINNER, seeded – A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin – 29 Quatloos
    The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Michael Swanwick – 21 Quatloos
    The Iron Dragon’s Daughter put up a mighty battle, but in the end, when you play the Game of Brackets, you win, or you lose. Swanwick gets an “Alley Man” award, and A Game of Thrones will be a seeded work in the round of 32.

    WINNER – Magic’s Price, Mercedes Lackey – 19 Quatloos
    Wizard and Glass, Stephen King – 9 Quatloos
    Fortress in the Eye of Time, C. J. Cherryh – 7 Quatloos
    After an initially close contest, Lackey pulled far enough ahead for a solid victory. C. J. Cherryh, however, will be taking home the most convincing Pulvapies Prize yet. Dark Lord of Derkholm also got a vote.

    WINNER, seeded – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling – 29 Quatloos
    The Newford Stories, Charles de Lint – 18 Quatloos
    Although de Lint gets an “Alley Man” award for a bravura performance, in the end the Rowling could not be stopped. It will be a seeded work in the round of 32. Darker Angels, Rusalka, City on Fire, Illusion, and A College of Magics all got a vote.

    WINNER – Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson – 23 Quatloos
    Imajica, Clive Barker – 9 Quatloos
    Another race that started close and ended far apart. Hopkinson’s debut is the definite winner here.

    WINNER – Stardust, Neil Gaman – 26 Quatloos
    Tam Lin, Pamela Dean – 18 Quatloos
    Many struggled with this one, but in the end it was Gaiman by a goodly margin. But Neverwhere also got two votes, and Thomas the Rhymer, Bedlam’s Bard, Rose Daughter, Lords and Ladies, and Last Call were ALL brought up as alternatives.

    WINNER, seeded – The Golden Compass/Northern Lights, Phillip Pullman – 28 Quatloos
    The Night Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko – 11 Quatloos
    Pullman was ahead the whole way, and The Night Watch shall return to The Gloom. Gardens of the Moon also got a vote.

    WINNER, seeded – Small Gods, Terry Pratchett – 44 Quatloos
    Daughter of the Blood, Anne Bishop – 2 Quatloos
    The blowout victory of the match. Small Gods will be a seeded work in the round of 32. In even further love for Pratchett, Men At Arms, Making Movies, The Truth, and Good Omens all also got a vote.

    WINNER – Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay – 22 Quatloos
    The Wood Wife, Terri Windling – 9 Quatloos
    The Lions of Al-Rassan – 3 Quatloos
    Yet another initially close race with a convincing winner; Tigana pulled out ahead. The Lions of Al-Rassan gets a Pulvapies Prize, and From the Teeth of Angels and The Sarantine Mosaic each got a vote.

  21. Can I just say I’m chuffed at the six others who threw in a vote for Fortress? That book means a lot to me, and it’s nice to see the love shared.

    Thanks, Kyra – this is fun.

  22. @Hampus:

    Remember your calibrations; this is not Sweden, and none of the people in the conversations I was recounting has been anywhere near there – physically or politically. I hear Flint referred to as “liberal” and “socialist” and “Trotskyite” and “leftist” as if they’re all the same thing.

    After all, this is the U.S. spectrum and the South, where pretty much anybody who doesn’t vote a straight Republican ticket is a liberal unless they voted for someone even further to the right. I mean, I consider Obama to be what we used to call a moderate Republican, back when those existed… but according to the crowd we’re talking about, he’s a Kenya-born Marxist socialist fascist gun-grabber who’s just biding his time before he declares martial law in 2016 to become dictator-for-life by calling off the election.

    You know – a liberal. :-/

    (This may shed some light on Hoyt’s frothing about the Maoists lurking in every shadow; when you’re so far to the right that Nixon looks like a lefty, pretty much everybody who’s not with you on the far right looks like they’re on the far left. Call it Doppler politics.)

  23. Rev. Bob:

    Ah, ok. I didn’t know that the use of “liberal” in US was that wide.

  24. Hampus: It’s “liberal” as opposed to “conservative”, not as in laissez-faire vs statist, or liberty vs equality. I think it refers, or did at some point, to socially liberal, and got widened because all the significant political currents in the US are fairly economically liberal, as seen from Europe, anyway. It’s annoying and confusing to Europeans, but there it is. But then many Americans are annoyed and confused (and alarmed) by how many “socialist-” or “social-” something parties there are over here.

  25. @Hampus:

    It’s more that the conservatives have galloped to the right since about 1980, the media tends to portray “reasonable” is the midpoint between any two voices, and thus the American left has gotten dragged rightward. As a result, there’s all that space to the left that’s pretty much gibberish to most of the U.S. political discussion, and every time I think the right has gone as far as it can, they find a way to surprise me.

    I peg the political deformation to circa 1980 because, to my eye, that’s when the Republicans began to go insane as a party. They were infiltrated by evangelicals whose goals were fundamentally at odds with the “small government, low taxation, low expenditure” ideals the party was otherwise known for, and that started a vicious internal fight. You just can’t police morality effectively with low taxation and a small government, but the struggle to do just that has been ripping the GOP apart for 35 years now. Those two sides – the social conservatives and the fiscal ones – keep fighting for dominance, each trying to one-up the other, and as a result the party as a whole keeps lurching to the right.

    I wish I had a solution, but I think the end result is going to be that the GOP marginalizes itself out of existence (on a national scale) and either the Democrats split into a “business” and a “progressive” party or the GOP lingers on as a regional party and we see another party rise up to supplant them. My real concern is how much damage the upheaval will cause; “’twere best done quickly.”

  26. Rev. Bob: Oh, I’m quite aware of the lunacy of the american right. I’m just getting confused with how ideologies are attributed to different people. That the right have a really hard time understanding what a socialist or a marxist is is nothing new. It was the weird usage of liberal that was new to me. A person that is a member of the Socialist Workers Party is no liberal to me. In sweden, they would have taken it as an insult.

  27. As I recall, English has Mike Resnick’s favour; she quoted him as saying that he thought her story was Hugo-worthy before any of this year’s Puppy shenanigans.

    I’ll note that this is the element that tipped Resnick over the edge for me into “No Award” territory. An editor who thinks that Totaled is Hugo-worthy is someone whose judgment is poor enough that they shouldn’t be winning any Hugos themselves.

  28. So once again we have the sorry spectacle of a Puppy, and a Sad Puppy at that, trying to suggest that I’ll be “manipulating” categories (and hint that I won’t be thinking for myself) by voting No Award as a protest against slates.

    Wow, coming from a Puppy that would really sting except I have already noticed how prone Puppies of all stripes are to projection.

    I came up with No Award all on my own, thanks, and I expect the other previous Hugo voters did also. It’s not some kind of hard leap of intuition that only a handful of brilliant minds can make; it’s perfectly obvious to anyone who has voted in the Hugos before.

    The problem with Pups of all stripes is they don’t believe in leaving a way for the real world to tell them they have made a mistake in their assumptions. When your stuff winning will be interpreted as “we were just that good–see? We were being persecuted just like we said” and your stuff losing will be interpreted as “see? We are being unfairly persecuted just like we said” that leaves no way for the world to say “sorry guys; I know you’re fond of your own work, but everybody is, and in the greater scheme of things it just doesn’t stack up.”

    And absolutely nominating John C. Wright six times made a point. The point was “we don’t actually care about all those high-minded justifications we came up with.”

  29. @Bruce, Greg.

    I am of course hoping to be wrong, and see the No Awards above the Puppy infested categories like mushroom clouds. Slates or no slates, the idea that the totality of that was Hugo worthy is laughable.

    However, I had a fair amount of political experience in a past life, and the number of times all the media buzz, blogs, what have you before election day was pro-left (or at least anti-right) and the people who showed up on the day to vote won it for the right is a larger number then I would like. The old rule in US politics is that the right shows up while the left is debating what is the one true moral way to do things. That has started to wane in recent years, but I hate to say – I won’t be surprised if this in another case where the not-right got indignant when the right got organized.

    I am deeply hoping to proven wrong. It was just so hard to pick a Best Novel from the three real nominees – they were all so good.

  30. Young Pretender: I fairly regularly peruse the Gamerghazi forum on Reddit, which observes and reports on Gamergate and related stuff. Judging from what I see there, Gamergate continues to do significant damage to some targets, but it’s all the kinds of damage that a few hundred people tops can do, because that’s what they’ve got.

    Now, obviously there are overlaps with other groups, some larger and with more bucks. What’s up in the air is how much any of those groups ended up deciding that the Hugos were worth bothering with. I have an intuition it’s “not much”, but we’ll see.

    I should add that I won’t be surprised if there’s news of some very badly done effort to vote a bloc of fake votes, done by one or a few people – annoyed as I am at various Puppies, I don’t believe most of them would engage in that kind of outright forgery.

  31. Young Pretender: 
    As somebody of adult voting age during the 2004 presidential election, I know exactly what you’re talking about. (That was a case where the gap between “buzz” and what actually happened seemed particularly wide.)

    But here, we’re talking about what is already a small, focused subset of people. I doubt any of my Fox-News-watching, Republican-voting relatives have even heard of the Hugos, or could be persuaded to care about them. You would have to convince them, somehow, that letting the “wrong” stories win would have a direct threat to their financial or material well-being. 

    I mean, it’s a literary award. There’s no money at stake. As Eric Flint has pointed out, the people who care about literary awards already skew heavily liberal. (By US metrics, of course.) Oh, yes, and another thing. Unlike the US president, the Hugos are voted on by people who are, shockingly, not citizens of the United States. 

  32. Oh yeah, Metropolitan/City on Fire are brilliant. WJW has them both in ebook on Smashwords (and elsewhere, but I think authors get the best $$££€€ from Smashwords sales). In my head they are in the same slot as Rachel Pollack’s Temporary Agency (which I would prefer to her Unquenchable Fire, I think).

  33. @McJulie

    That’s my hope as well, that there simply aren’t enough people who care enough about this particular part of the Great SJW Plot To Treat Gay And/Or Brown People As Human to lay out the forty bucks. It’s the willingness of the American right to spend money on last stands on principle in recent years that worries me.

    And I also hope there’s not site selection shenanigans in the pipeline. That’s the last thing we all need.

  34. Shorter Peter Grant: “Keep on not buying those books you weren’t buying already! Aristotle!!”

    As for Moorcock, a good writer, but a complete asshat where it comes to JRRT.

  35. 1. IRON. DRAGONS. DAUGHTERS.
    A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin

    2. OFF TO SEE THE DARK, DARK WIZARD
    Wizard and Glass, Stephen King

    3. MAGIC MEETS THE MODERN WORLD
    The Newford Stories, Charles de Lint

    4. HAPEXAMENDIOS VS. RUDY
    Imajica, Clive Barker

    5. FAIRY STORIES, REINVENTED
    Stardust, Neil Gaman

    6. THE DUST AND THE GLOOM
    The Night Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko

    7. FULFILLING THE PROPHECY IN STYLE
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    8. THE RISELKA AND THE RABBIT GIRL
    Guy Gavriel Kay (Tigana)

    Although Tigana is Kay’s weakest work. He gets progressively better.

  36. Imajica, Clive Barker
    This really is a fantasy novel and not a horror novel, too (as is his Weaveworld). There are monsters, and monstrous people, but there is also staggering wonder and beauty, and nothing in the story grants the monsters extra truth. (As opposed to his horror stories, where there’s a recurring theme that only monsters are free to tell the truth.) It’s a really slow start, but then it gets rolling, and wow. If you don’t like horror, but do like exotic marvels and are good with lush prose – say, if you enjoy Tanith Lee and/or Jack Vance and/or The Goblin Emperor – this is worth your time.

    I’ll second this and add that Barker is really tragically underrated as a pure fantasy author. Of course the man is a creative genius, being as gifted at the visual arts as he is at writing, as anyone who has read the Abarat trilogy with the literally hundreds of painting he did explicitly for the books can attest.

  37. “Far more airport-novel like, far more getting to judge the book by its cover, than John C. Wright’s novel length treatises of exposition on his particular philosophical bugbears.”

    What’s that? His love of schoolgirls in short skirts?

  38. @spacefaringkitten

    Yes, by following wiser people’s lead, being humble, adhering to traditions, following destiny, etc. etc. That’s a sort of fascistic mindset, I guess, in the way that Moorcock uses the term in his Tolkien-bashing.

    Well…except the entire central core of LotR is about Free Will.

  39. rochrist: Well…except the entire central core of LotR is about Free Will.

    I disagree. Free Will is what is under threat and is preserved by the actions of the heroes (this bit not attractive to fascists, or medieval feudalists for that matter) but the way it is saved is through sacrifice (mostly self-sacrifice) and following the wise leaders chosen by providence (a very European feudal message, and one that is also attractive to fascists).

    Since Sauron is, to a first approximation, the devil, he can’t be defeated by guile or force as those are his weapons. Although free will is part of the solution to the problem, it is the choice to deny one’s base desires and sacrifice one’s own ambitions for the good of all that leads to victory over the shadow.

  40. Neil W @ 3:34 pm- Agreed.

    Nigel @ 3:37 pm- I have no special insight. I’m relying on memory. But my recollection is that RP initially wanted everything No Awarded. They wanted to provoke a No Award backlash, which they would push even more forward by jumping on that same bandwagon. VD changed course once it became apparent they SP/RP might do well this year. I believe both VD and Tom Krattman have both referenced this in one form or the other.

    I could also be 100% wrong. I’m not part of the ELoE central planning committee. But if I were, I would do something similar to the above, plus put into place a mechanism to increase RP support next year, such as pissing off even a small portion of Jim Butcher and Keven Anderson’s fan bases.

    Lenora Rose @ 3:38 pm- And if you think your response will “clean up the RP mess”, more power to you. I believe you’re plan will result in an even bigger mess next year, but that’s simply one person’s opinion.

    And I disagree with you about slates being “dishonorable” for reasons already debated to death.

    Mark @ 3:39 pm- My memory was that No Award was the first plan, which morphed into let’s vote and see what happens. But I’m not the SP/RP historian, so maybe I’m wrong.

    nickpheas @ 3:41 pm- Setting up win-win scenarios is good business, good tactics and good politics. I don’t fault RP from trying to put those conditions in place. It’s smart.

    Casey B @ 3:44 pm- I disagree with your analysis of the merits of the SP/RP’s nominations, with the exception of the Dark Between the Stars (which I listed 5th, as a courtesy to those many thousands who obviously enjoy his work but which I simply could not get into). If you adopted a different tact, that’s up to you. I suspect that if enough people follow your lead the end result will be counter-productive, but I have no special wisdom.

    McJulie @ 3:45 pm- We agree as to motivations, but disagree as to quality. I think John C. Wright’s nominated work was very good.

    And the point was RP illustrated that could control the nominations within entire categories. I don’t think the proposed rule changes will impair the RP’s ability to do so in coming years either (and it may help them). There’s a reason they’re organizing and assigning numbers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what that reason may be.

    I would encourage you to try John C. Wright’s The Golden Age and Last Guardian of Everness. They are fantastic.

    Busiek @ 3:45 pm- You are right about Beale’s end response. I would attribute that to proper prior planning, you’ll attribute it to something else. That’s fine.

    And as I’ve said before, I don’t think there is anything wrong with bloc voting. And least it is open and transparent, as opposed to the log rolling, etc. which has gone on in the past. One is far more honest than the other.

    Kyra @ 3:54 pm- Good for you. I hope you vote on the merits.

    Bruce Baugh @ 4:16 pm- The RP at VD’s site had no illusions as to the differences between the nomination process via the final ballot, based on my reading. Other SP and RP may have had a different understanding, I don’t know.

    spacefaringkitten @ 5:02 pm- I suppose, but I consider “following wiser people’s lead, being humble, adhering to traditions”, etc. as default positive traits. AS I think, would most people. To be fascist, I believe there must be more, including an unquestioning acceptance of authority, identification of the “other”, the centralization of state power, and probably other factors I’m forgetting.

    Jim Henley @ 5:53 pm- No, I have no qualms about the SP selection process. First, I wasn’t even aware of the controversy at the time. Second, SP (and RP) participation was purely voluntary. If they didn’t like the work, or had some objection, there was no way to coerce their vote.

    Laertes @ 6:22 pm- Probably not. But an exchange of ideas, even if covering old ground, is usually worthwhile.

    TheYoungPretender @ 7:50 pm- The SP/RP might win a lot this year. They might not. There is no need to panic. The die is cast and it’s out of our hands.

    Personally, I would be happy if the SP/RP won. However, I made a conscious decision to vote for everyone in order of merit (my opinion) and didn’t No Award anyone, despite identifying as a SP. My choices were fairly close (but not exact) to the Puppy ballot, despite that, except for the Dark Between the Stars. Skin Game was No. 1 on my novel ballot, for example.

    And I’m pretty sure Bruce Baugh is wrong about alleged ill-informed Puppies, but heck maybe this SP is wrong. No big deal.

    Greg @ 9:44 pm- I’m a SP who had nothing to do with the nomination process. I came later. I don’t think I’m alone. The question is whether more Puppies or non-Puppies showed up after the nomination process closed. We won’t know until the votes are tallied.

    JJ @ 10:14 pm- When I used “manipulated” I meant that the RP (intended recipients of the No Award votes) intended to manipulate non-Puppies into casting that vote. They initially wanted the ballots No Awarded. They changed course, but I think that was very clearly the initial plan. I don’t think that’s ever happened before.

    And if you think an attempted civil exchange of ideas constitutes me “lecturing” you, I suspect that you have too much on your mind. If I were lecturing you, my word choices would be far different.

    Hampus Eckerman @ 11:42 pm- And in Sweden they’d be right. 🙂

    JJ @ 12:48 am and MaxL @ 12:52 am- Maybe, but I thougt Torgersen was already very much in Resnick’s favor. Why would he have to curry more of it? Or maybe he simply nominated English as Totalled was a good story that deserved a Hugo nod?

    Cat @ 6:08 am- Again, I’m suggesting that VD/RP was attempting to initially manipulate a No Award situation. They provoke a lot of people to jump on the No Award bandwagon, then they add their weight, and voila- they’ve succeeded in torpedoing the Hugos for a year. It’s not complicated.

    As to the points being made, there is a difference between the point the SP want to make and the point the RP want to make. In my non-expert, non-insider opinion-

    The SP believe, and are attempting to demonstrate, that there is a clique, largely anti-conservative but even more cronyistic, which has dominated the Hugos in recent years. The SP treat the vitriol heaped upon them over the last three go-rounds as supporting their hypothesis. I tend to agree. The SP want to reform the process and believe that anti-slate proposals might help their cause. I don’t think Brad Torgerson anticipated the success of SP/RP had this year in the nomination process.

    The RP believe the same, but want to either own the Hugos or burn them down.

    Any SP or RP may feel free to disagree with me. The above is my personal theory as to motivations and is entitled to no great weight.

    TheYoungPretender @ 6:37 am- And it’s this factor which I believe caused RP to divert course. They think they might win. I agree with them. The operative word is, however, “might”. I don’t think they went into this thinking they’d win, their “win” was dominating the nomination ballot. The change is that there is now a chance they pulled it off as to the final ballot. We’ll see.

    rochrist @ 12:52 pm- I’m glad you said it. That’s a great point. Tolkien is about free will, and the ability of even the smallest, if of sufficient courage, to effect change.

  41. Steve Moss: You liked a lot of the ballot picks. You also like Wright’s other work (and you’re not the first to recommend his Golden Age, nor were all the others puppies). Can you talk about why? Are you interested in talking about why? Are you interested in talking about other books or stories you like? I’m asking because, as you can see from Kyra’s bracket contests, we get interested in books and stories here, and like to hear why something that worked or one left another cold. For instance, I’ve now seen Totaled called everything from Hugo-worthy to affecting to mediocre, and I quite liked it *and* Flight of the Kikayon. And in spite of not being a Jim Butcher fan and coming into the series on book 15, I can at least see the appeal of Skin Game, though it didn’t hold a candle to Ancillary Sword for cool stuff happening or The Goblin Emperor for place-in-my-heart.

  42. Steve Moss, Casey B @ 3:44 pm- I disagree with your analysis of the merits of the SP/RP’s nominations, with the exception of the Dark Between the Stars (which I listed 5th, as a courtesy to those many thousands who obviously enjoy his work but which I simply could not get into). If you adopted a different tact, that’s up to you. I suspect that if enough people follow your lead the end result will be counter-productive, but I have no special wisdom.

    I’m confused. I read everything and rated everything according to how much I liked it. What “different tact” (I think you meant “tack”) did I take? Should I not have read everything? Should I not have evaluated everything according to how I perceived its merits? I’m not going to rate a book I disliked higher than I think it deserves, no matter how many other people seemed to like it. I’m glad “they” liked The Dark Between the Stars; “they” should rate it highly. Me, I couldn’t even finish it. I take my Hugo voting duties seriously. Rating a book I couldn’t get into above “No Award” because other people liked it seems to me to be abrogating my duty. As would rating a book or story that was merely mediocre above “No Award”. The Hugos are for great stories, not mediocre ones.

    You seem to be implying that you don’t want other people “following my lead”, when my “lead” is one should read everything and rate it honestly, according to one’s personal judgment of its merits. Whose judgment should we use, if not our own?

    I’m genuinely baffled by your reply to me. Could you please clarify?

  43. The SP believe, and are attempting to demonstrate, that there is a clique, largely anti-conservative but even more cronyistic, which has dominated the Hugos in recent years.

    The fact that the only such clique happens to be the various juvenile canines seems to have escaped them.

  44. The SP believe, and are attempting to demonstrate, that there is a clique, largely anti-conservative but even more cronyistic, which has dominated the Hugos in recent years.

    Well people can believe what they like but there is a point when an idea uncritically examined tips itself into crackpottery. Dave Freer claims (perhaps correctly) that ” Traditional publishing skews hard left, that’s just about all they’ve done for years.” – but if that is the case then there is no need for any inner clique in the Hugo Awards to explain the slant that Dave Freer perceives in the nominees.

  45. VD changed course once it became apparent they SP/RP might do well this year

    I wasn’t part of the Electrtic Light Orchestra either, but going by public pronouncements, this is exactly backwards. Beale started promising to have Puppy no-awarding for years to come IF his noms got no-awarded this year by filthy SJW scum AFTER it became apparent that this was a real possibility. Absent express agreement from the nominated authors, setting them up to fail in the way you suggest is an act of cold-hearted malice against those authors. I could believe it of Beale, because he clearly just doesn’t give a shit about anyone, but Torgersen, Correia and the rest? It would certainly put Correia’s withdrawal in considerably less honourable light. Nah, this is post-hoc goal-post moving that was necessary when it became obvious they couldn’t load the votes for the award the way they loaded the votes for the noms.

    The SP treat the vitriol heaped upon them over the last three go-rounds as supporting their hypothesis. I tend to agree.

    Is this one of those hitting a person and then when they hit back say it proves that person was always out to get you type of things? Because the presence of vitriol in an internet argument is usually just proof that the argument is taking place on the internet.

  46. Lenora Rose: I think I’ve posted reviews here on all the Hugo nominated short stories and got most of the way through the novellas before I gave it up as a lost cause. In the case of Totaled, I loved the humanity of it. I loved how there was hope/love even amidst the despair. It wasn’t my first pick (that went to a Single Samurai, then Turncoat), but I think Totaled is definitely Hugo worthy.

    Please note that I prefer action. I like adventure. I like new ideas. But I have no problem with stories like Totaled, which I think was extremely well done.

    I hate politics/religion, etc., which overwhelm action, adventure and new ideas. Some few can pull off the blending process (Gaiman, Mieville, etc.) but most others cannot. I think the extent of one’s tolerance to the message is directly proportional to whether one agrees with the view being espoused or not. I suspect that’s why I enjoy most of John C. Wright’s work. His politics/religion doesn’t set off a lot of alarm bells and I can still see the beauty of his writing. Others have a different take and see his message as overwhelming the story. Fair enough

    In The Golden Age and Everness Wright employs a much lighter touch on the religion than some of his current work (minimal, if that, by my memory), so its more likely to fly under most reader’s radar. Which should improve the response to the story, as I think these stories establish his bona fides as an amazing writer. They were incredibly immersive, it was almost likely be caught in a strong current. I couldn’t put the books down.

    It’s another reason I enjoy Jim Butcher. His politics, religion, etc. is completely unknown to me. His books don’t discuss politics. And any religious character (whether Catholic or Wiccan or other) is portrayed in a positive light. He focuses on story (heavy on the action and adventure), not selling a message (unless the message is be brave, be considerate, proper prior planning usually [not always] pays off, and don’t lose hope even if the world doesn’t respond in kind).

  47. Nigel on July 28, 2015 at 3:45 pm said:

    VD changed course once it became apparent they SP/RP might do well this year

    I wasn’t part of the Electrtic Light Orchestra either, but going by public pronouncements, this is exactly backwards. Beale started promising to have Puppy no-awarding for years to come IF his noms got no-awarded this year by filthy SJW scum AFTER it became apparent that this was a real possibility

    I believe you are very correct and a search of the term ‘No Award’ on VD’s blog, confirms what you are saying.
    24 April 2014: VD suggests voting ‘No Award’ above books published by Tor in the 2014 awards in response to comments from Charles Stross and others advocating No Award in some categories.
    20 May 2014: VD has a post about No Award in the 2014 Hugo’s. He doesn’t say his aim is for No Award to win but he does say he expects it to do well.
    30 July 2014: VD posts his 2014 Hugo recommendations. He advocates only ‘No Award’ in the best short story category but uses it as a lower ranking in some other categories.
    11 April 2015: In response to a post by GRRM on the 2015 nominations, VD posts “It’s called Xanatos Gambit, George. Look it up. Anything that happens IS a victory for us. ” This appears to be the first instance of the No Award mean RP wins notion and it occurs after the nominations and after others have advocated the blanket No Award response.

    Post-hoc rationalization by VD and not some genius strategy. I don’t think he cares very much – his aim is just to generate publicity for Castalia House and to try and generate a market for his brand of SF/F among US conservatives (the WND strategy – aim for the wingnut niche).

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