Today’s sled is drawn by David Gerrold, Vox Day, John Scalzi, Alexandra Erin, Damien G. Walter, Lisa J. Goldstein, Mark Ciocco, William Reichard, P. Llewellyn James, Jeffro Johnson, Jim C. Hines and Logan Brooker. (Credit for the subtitle goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day DMS.)
David Gerrold on Facebook – May 10
My irony meter is broken.
I was reading Mike Glyer’s latest File770 report on the Hugos, and one of the sad puppy defenders said something about how intolerant those mean old SJWs are and how the sad puppies are really about building a more inclusive community. (ie. Including themselves, because obviously they’ve been locked out for like forever.)
I had to read it several times to make sure I had read it correctly.
Okay — if that’s truly how some of the puppies perceive the situation — that’s a very sophisticated iteration of the victim racket.
But it also shows something else that’s happening in the political arena. The conservative think tanks have been doing this for a long time — coopting the language of the left, so they can claim the moral high ground.
For instance, if a progressive leader talks about racism, the conservative opponent comes back with, “Now you’re playing the race card.” Another variation is how the democrats’ economic oppression keeps black people stuck in welfare. And of course, we’re also hearing how LGBT people are intolerant bullies.
Vox Day on Vox Popoli
“We’re not fighting fire with fire” – May 10
An SJW is an individual who fundamentally rejects the Ellisonian vision of science fiction as a place that welcomes dangerous ideas. All dangerous ideas.
For example, if you think there is no place for racism in science fiction, you are an SJW. It is no different than if you think there is no place for atheism or for women in science fiction. Either all ideas, however controversial, are welcome and legitimate, or the science fiction community is engaged in a straightforward power struggle to determine whose morals will be imposed on everyone else in the field.
Science fiction can either reject the SJW ideology and abandon all the imposed diversity thought-policing or accept a long and vicious war over which moral code shall be law. Rabid Puppies is presenting the SF community with two choices: either embrace and defend the idea of complete intellectual freedom in science fiction or fight us over the shape of the Science Fiction Code Authority of the future.
John Scalzi on Whatever
It’s been a week or so since I’ve posted about the Hugos here, so that’s good. But there’s a persistent shibboleth I see bruited about, which is that the events of this year have in some way destroyed the Hugos (most recently here, in an otherwise cogent set of observations). I’ve addressed this before, but it’s worth addressing again. Here it is:
- No, the Puppies running their silly slates have not destroyed the Hugo Awards. What they have done is draw attention to the fact that the nomination system of the Hugos has a flaw.
- The flaw: That an organized group pushing a slate of nominees can, if the group is sufficiently large, dominate the final ballot with their choices.
- The flaw was not addressed before because, protestations to the contrary, no one had run a comprehensive slate before. No one had run a comprehensive slate before because, bluntly, before this year, no one wanted to be that asshole. This year three people stepped up to be that asshole and got some party pals to go along.
- The flaw is fixable by addressing the nomination process so that a) slating is made more difficult, while b) the fundamental popular character of the Hugos (i.e., anyone can vote and nominate) is retained. There are a number of ways to do this (the simplest would be to allow folks to nominate three works/people in each category and have six finalist slots on the ballot; there are more complicated ways as well), but the point is that there are options.
Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write
“A Critique of Impure Reason” – May 10
If you start a syllogism with rhetorical premises, you reach a rhetorical conclusion. Vox freely admits that his oft-repeated line of “SJWs always lie.” is only rhetorically true (which you might recognize is just a fancy way of acknowledging it isn’t true). It’s a statement of rhetoric. The act of labeling someone a “Social Justice Warrior” is also similarly an act of rhetoric. You’re slapping a brand on someone and hoping it affects the way people see them.
If you take two pieces of rhetoric and put them through the form of a syllogism, you arrive at a conclusion that is also nothing more than rhetoric.
Or to put it more succinctly: Garbage In, Garbage Out.
But to someone who is both invested in believing you and invested in believing themselves to be intelligent, reasoned, and calculating, it is elegant and attractive garbage. You’re describing what you’re doing with big, lofty words like “dialectic” and “syllogism” and “Aristotlean”, after all. You can show people the inescapable mathematical logic of if A and B, then AB, knowing that no one in your audience will bother to ask how you arrived at A and B. They’re taken as given. The form of the syllogism not only does not require you to question A or B, it doesn’t work if you do. As soon as you delve into examining the premises, you’re no longer engaging in syllogism.
The fact is that Vox stoops to engage in the actual construction of syllogism fairly rarely, compared to how often he simply bloviates on in a purely rhetorical fashion while peppering his speech with whatever words best flatter his and his loyal readers’ intellects. But even when he does, he’s not engaging in actual dialectic but mere rhetorical sophistry. He starts with unvarnished garbage as a premise, and so he arrives at a similarly tarnished conclusion.
To prove they aren't racist, the Sad Puppies have published a cartoon of themselves as a torch wielding lynch mob. https://t.co/jBf6eVshpB
— Damien Walter (@damiengwalter) May 10, 2015
Vox Day at Vox Popoli
“SJW summarizes SJWism” – May 10
Tolerance does not demand toleration. Inclusivity justifies exclusion. Did Orwell have them pegged or what? Black is white. War is peace. We have always been at war with Eastasia. And notice the claim that it is “their society”. Not ours. Not the moderates. The SJWs.
Lisa J. Goldstein on inferior4
I feel like singing. Really, I’m giddy. I found a story on the ballot that’s pretty decent. Oh, what a beautiful morning….
Ahem. Where was I? Right, “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale,” by Rajnar Vajra. It’s from Analog, and it’s a typical Analog story — three EE (Exoplanetary Explorers) cadets get into a bar fight, and as punishment they are sent to a distant planet to help the scientists there dismantle their camp. The scientists are returning home because they failed to establish contact with the planet’s intelligent species. On the journey over one of the cadets, Priam Galanis, asks for a chance to salvage the project, and his superior grants him his request but with one condition: “If you can offer nothing new and useful… I will consider your triad as having failed this mission… Upon our return to Earth, you will all be discharged from the EE.”
This is how you do it, people. Raise the stakes. Give the characters something to be invested in.
Mark Ciocco on Kaedrin Weblog
“Hugo Awards: The Goblin Emperor” – May 10
Among high fantasy tropes, the goblin is not a particularly prized character. What you’re thinking of when I say “goblin” is probably some combination of attributes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s grotesque orcs in Lord of the Rings, the bumbling, low-level scamps from D&D (or, more recently, World of Warcraft), and maybe the terrifying codpiece of David Bowie in Labyrinth (amongst other, even more ridiculous 80s movies). Even more sympathetic portrayals, such as the goblins of Harry Potter, generally portray goblins as mischievous and greedy. For the most part, goblins are evil, villainous monsters that are, nevertheless, little more than cannon fodder in larger conflicts.
Katherine Addison’s novel The Goblin Emperor challenges this starting with the title of the novel itself. We’re clearly going to delve into the world of goblins here. While I’m not going to claim anything near a comprehensive knowledge of high fantasy, I know enough to be intrigued by the concept, and the possibilities are endless. The novel doesn’t quite deliver on that axis of potential, but rather tries for a more subtle novel of characterization. There is, of course, nothing wrong with characterization, but when that’s all there is, I’m usually left unsatisfied. This novel makes overtures towards a more gripping story, but generally seems content to stick with its character sketch.
I did not know about fandom until this week. It’s like finding out there’s an entire subterranean world beneath your feet–many such worlds, in fact. What goes on down there is just…dang. And it draws you in, because it’s about stuff you care about. You want to know. But you must be careful. You might never make it back to the surface.
It’s a primal place of demagoguery and mob dynamics and whispers and memes and shadowy monsters and a sense of what McLuhan called “moreness“–an insatiable need for the discussion to continue no matter what.
P. Llewellyn James on The Refuge
“Worldcon Loses Control of Hugos” – May 10
Presumably most of those have been drawn by the controversy over the nominations. Which side of the culture wars the new members are on isn’t known, but one thing is for sure. WorldCon attending members no longer control the Hugos.
Jeffro Johnson on Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog
“Hugo Packet Sent” – May 10
Hugo Packet Sent
The Hugo Packet Coordinater contacted me last week asking for “up to four short examples of your work from 2014?, so this is what I gave them:
Jim C. Hines
“Gender Balance in Hugo Nominees” – May 10
I’ve seen a lot of back-and-forth about whether or not the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns were racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. I highly doubt Brad Torgersen (leader of the current Sad Puppy campaign) was deliberately, consciously, and intentionally trying to favor men over women. That said, the effect of the campaigns is pretty clear here, and breaks a pattern of better gender balance going back at least five years.