aka “My name is Canis Dolorosa. You ganked my rocket. Prepare to die.”
Today’s heavily self-referential roundup trots out John Scalzi, Chuck Wendig, C. Robert Cargill, Michael Rapoport, Vox Day, Cephus, Nicholas Whyte, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Vann R. Newkirk II, Lis Carey, Spacefaring Kitten, Alexandra Erin, William Reichard, Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little , Happyturtle, ULTRAGOTHA, jayn, Sarah, J.C. Salomon, Steve and Jim Henley. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Paul Weimer and Alexandra Erin.)
Michael Rapoport in the Wall Street Journal
“The Culture Wars Invade Science Fiction” – May 15
Mr. Scalzi likens the Puppies’ campaigns to the backlash that women and minorities have faced in other geek-culture arenas—notably “Gamergate,” the videogamers’ campaign widely associated with threats against feminist videogame critics.
But Larry Correia, another Sad Puppies organizer, doesn’t see the Puppies’ campaign as a backlash against diversity. “That’s a narrative they came up with to try to discredit us,” he says. He and Mr. Torgersen have distanced themselves from Mr. Beale’s extreme views, but the Rabids are “still fans, they’re still people, their votes still count.”
Vox Day on Vox Popoli
“the most despised man in science fiction” – May 15
Despised, feared, it’s pretty much all the same, isn’t it? The Wall Street Journal takes note of the Hugo Awards, with an article entitled “The Culture Wars Invade Science Fiction Online campaigners are pushing to give SF’s annual Hugo Awards to popular space yarns, not more literary fiction or tales of diversity”. It’s not entirely negative despite the reporter feeling the need to get the opinion of two writers, John Scalzi and George Martin, who don’t know a damn thing about what the Puppies are doing. But regardless, the main thing is that the reporter correctly grasped that this is a new front in the cultural war and not a self-serving attempt to pick up meaningless trophies.
They WSJ (anagram for SJW I might note) was not entirely negative.
Cephus on Bitchspot
“The SJWs Lose at the Hugo Awards” – May 15
It is time that people rise up against this kind of absurd liberal oppression, where it’s political correctness that means more than actual merit. The Hugo Awards were not designed to award people for their social consciousness, but for their work in the field of writing science fiction and fantasy. It doesn’t matter what you think, it matters what you write. The same is true of television and movies, where it shouldn’t make a difference what a director or an actor or a producer thinks, only the end-product of their labors. Unfortunately, these liberal idiots get butt-hurt because someone doesn’t follow the social justice collective and they must set out to call them names, harm their careers and deny them their due for what they’ve actually done with their lives. Is it any wonder there’s such a backlash against liberal stupidity these days? Here’s hoping it keeps up and picks up in the future.
Nicholas Whyte on From The Heart of Europe
“My vote for Best Novel” – May 15
Matt Foster has made a good argument in favour of not only voting No Award above all slate nominees, but also voting No Award top in all categories where there are only one or two non-slate contenders, on the basis that the slate organisers have denied us a proper choice in those categories too. I find myself sympathetic to this line of thought. I was already planning to put No Award top in Best Novelette (because I was not impressed by the one non-slate finalist) and Best Fan Writer (because the one non-slate finalist has been nominated for a single piece of work rather than for a body of work over the last year), though in both cases I will rank the non-slate finalist second to minimise the chance of a slate win.
I had been going to vote for Julie Dillon as the one non-slate finalist in Best Professional Artist, but I shall consider Matt Foster’s’s arguments carefully; if the choice is Julie Dillon or nobody, is that really a choice? I like her work in general, but I don’t actually like the category anyway (which is a different argument for a different time), and this year’s ballot is deeply flawed due to the intervention of the slatemongers. Again, she will get at least a second preference from me, to reduce the chance of a slate nominee winning.
Anyway, for Best Novel these arguments no longer apply, since the honourable withdrawal of one of the (unwitting) slate nominees has given us three excellent books to choose from, each of which would be an acceptable winner in a normal year. Ranking them is difficult, but it’s got to be done. My vote is as follows.
L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright on Superversive SF
“Hugo Nominee Interview: Mike Williamson” – May 13
1) All the Sad Puppies selections came from a list of stories that fans felt were their favorites from 2014. What about your story do you think brought it to the attention of whomever suggested it?
Obviously, they, like me, hate humanity and want children to die. I would like to thank Brad for seeing through the haze and realizing I’m a scorching liberal right wing gay-agenda-endorsing homophobe and terrible parent who’s teaching his mixed race children to be white supremacists. And with the assistance of Gamergate, the Illuminati and Elvis, I might actually win to spread our Gospel.
Vann R. Newkirk II on Gawker Review of Books
“The City Is a Crossroads: Daniel José Older on Protest Art and Urban Lit” – May 15
Do you consider decisions like that in your work to be political, whatever that entails?
I do. Well, I consider all books to be political. I think if you ask authors on any side of the spectrum whether they meant to write a political book or not, most would tell you that they just went into it to write a book and a great story and didn’t intentionally include politics, but I would like to call bullshit on that. We are always including our politics. You can actually not do that, and we do ourselves an injustice when we pretend to not be conscious of it. I’m very strategic in how I choose to bring politics into my writing and I can’t think of any other writing advice that tells you to not be conscious or strategic about stuff. There’s this idea that if you don’t think about politics, it’ll just seep through. And for some people that’s true.
To bring it around to the Hugos, you’ll see this conversation pop up in the sense of the Sad Puppies folks lamenting that suddenly science-fiction and fantasy have become political, as if Tolkien wasn’t thoroughly writing a political book about the supremacy of western culture. There’s nothing more political than that; it’s just so normalized that people read it as, ‘Oh it’s just another fantasy story.’ You have a message; it’s just a message that’s normalized. People act like only folks coming from the left have a message to give, and that’s bullshit. These are very political books, and they always have been. Fantasy and sci-fi have always been a political project. Look at Lovecraft….
So, more about the Hugos and the Sad Puppies stuff. Do you think the back and forth represents something of the larger cultural conflicts going on?
Yes. Definitely. First of all, it represents people who are again so normalized to the idea of their comfort being provided for that they freak out entirely the second that it’s slightly off-kilter. Because sci-fi and fantasy have always been a very white, very straight, very heteronormative, male political project. A very colonial project. In the past couple years, their big complaint is that suddenly people that aren’t them are winning awards, winning Hugos and that is cause for them to, you know, create this great big stir and takeover.
When we’re in a time when we have to proclaim in the streets that Black Lives Matter, literature is one of the first places where we learn what matters and whose life matters and whose doesn’t. And literature has been saying for centuries that black lives don’t matter. By not publishing black authors, by not publishing books about black people, that’s become the message by default. Whiteness being the default has been the message. So, the fact that we now have to fight to just get a fair Hugo ballot because a few people have hurt feelings and want to grasp at relevancy after decades of this really destructive form of erasure from fantasy and sci-fi absolutely speaks to the movement in the streets today, to what’s going on with the police, to what’s going on in politics. Literature is always a reflection of society and society is always a reflection of literature, and when publishing is as white as it is, we have to look at those numbers and understand that they are connected. They are 100 percent connected. There’s no way to disconnect them. But people always want to act surprised.
Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library
“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale, by Rajnar Vajra” – May 15
There’s a story here, and it’s decently written. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit cliched, and in some ways strains my suspension of disbelief in ways that are not good.
Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library
“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium, by Gray Rinehart” – May 15
This is a competently, professionally done story, and a good read. I recommend it on that basis. However, it’s no more than competent and professional, and a Hugo winner needs to be more than just competent and professional.
Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens
“’Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium’ by Gray Rinehart” – May 15
The plotting would have needed some more work, even if the story is decently written. There’s just too much talking heads to keep me intrested. Now the whole story was about the dying guy’s friend finding out what it was all about, but the really interesting part would have been what happens next and what further complications there will be. It’s frustrating when a story fails to focus on the most interesting aspects of its proposition.
Adult Onset Atheist
“SNARL: The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” – May 14
I picked up this book expecting SF/F, and I was disappointed. Imagine someone going to the store and buying a box of “Best NUTTY NUGGETS Ever” because they love “NUTTY NUGGETS”, only to find that they were so awful they might not even be “NUTTY NUGGETS”, and were quite inedible. Then imagine them going back to the store and buying another box of “Best NUTTY NUGGETS Ever” only to find out that they were similarly not even edible “NUTTY NUGGETS”. I’m sure they would be Sad, and maybe even Mad; some people might do things that were Bad. “SAD, MAD, BAD” sounds like a children’s book, and so does this story. It has talking animals that start to walk upright because … God.
Adult Onset Atheist
“SNARL: On a Spiritual Plain” – May 14
Dead people on the planet Ymilas get trapped as ghosts, when they get tired of that they travel to giant Stonehenge at the pole to “move on”. It is a weak premise executed poorly.
Doctor Science on Obsidian Wings
“The Demolished Puppy” – May 15
The setting: An Account of Juliette Wade’s Withdrawal from Sad Puppies 3, at File770….
The surreality was seeing Torgersen re-write someone’s motives to their face, while people were watching. It’s always difficult to get a real sense of social atmosphere over the internet, but it seemed to me that I was watching Torgersen’s reputation sink before my eyes, in real time. It certainly happened for me….
In case it’s not clear to you why I was appalled: Torgersen talked at length and repeatedly about how Wade was motivated by fear, and never seems to have noticed that (a) she never said nor implied that was true, and (b) she was really pissed that he attributed made-up motivations to her.
And the rest of us just stood there (digitally), watching while Torgersen kept trying to re-write a history we could read by scrolling up.
Alfred Bester‘s The Demolished Man won the first Hugo Award for best Novel, in 1953. The Demolished Man is about a murder, but it’s not a mystery: we know from the start (because he’s a POV character) that Ben Reich killed his business rival Craye D’Courtney, after Reich proposed a merger and D’Courtney turned him down. But [SPOILERS] the detective on the case is baffled, because Reich seems to have no motive: D’Courtney sent Reich a message accepting his offer.
In the end, we find out that Reich mis-heard the message, because he was already determined to kill D’Courtney — who, it turned out, was his biological father.
Bester makes the whole reveal pretty Freudian, which didn’t impress me when I read the book in the 1970s and is rather quaint now. But watching Torgersen editing his perceptions in real time, the plot of The Demolished Man starts to seem much less contrived, much more psychologically realistic.
Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write
“Sad Puppies Review Books: MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS” – May 15
Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired)
If you want evidence of the deep rot that has infested the once-great Caldecott Medal, look no further than this book, which is a putrid example of ham-handed message fiction given an award by Feminazi SJWs basically as a participation prize for having a “strong female protagonist who doesn’t need a man”….
Why doesn’t she just open a Patreon account while she’s at it? She could tell the sob story about how she was almost hit by a bicycle and the victim bucks would come pouring in, let me tell you. They all have Patreons for some reason even though they produce nothing of value to anyone. It’s nothing but welfare for hipsters. It should be illegal…..
Did you know that only fifteen people in all the world choose the winner of the Caldecott every year? How are the opinions of fifteen people supposed to determine “most distinguished American picture book for children”, I ask you?
I stopped commenting at File770 and all I got was this stupid T-shirt
For Puppies Sad did Torgersen
A stately rocket ship decree:
While mouths of many loudly ran
Through websites measureless to man
As long as wifi’s free.
Had we but slates enough and time,
This Hugo, Puppy, were no crime.
We would sit and discuss which tales
We love and which we think are fails.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two ballots diverged at a con – Sasquan! –
I chose the one less voted on,
And that has made all the difference.
I’m a Puppy! Who are you?
Are you all — Puppies — too?
Then there’s a bloc of us!
Don’t tell! they’d banish us — you know!
How sad — to be — an Ess Jay Dub!
How PC — like a CHORF —
They bully us — the live-long Spring —
WOOF WOOF — ARF-ARF-ARF!
…ok, it kind of fell apart there at the end.
This is Just to Say
We have nominated
That were on
You were probably
For better stories
Revenge is delicious
And so cold
For each Pup kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a crummy book,
Some with a whiny word…
Now my pups are all o’erthrown,
And what sads I have’s mine own,
Which is most faint: now, ’tis true,
I must receive awards from you,
Or sent to Spokane. Let me not,
Since I have my Hugo got,
And pardon’d the SJWs, dwell
In this bare website by your spell;
But release me from Amazons,
With the help of your book bombs.
Gentle praise in your emails,
Must fill, or else my project fails.
I am the very model of a modern Canine-Miserable.
I’ve indignations slight, imagined, and quite risible.
I know the Nielsen Haydens, and I quote their slates historical
from novellete to best short form on ballots categorical;
I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters dialectical,
and syllogisms, both implied and also quite elliptical,
About rhetorical speaking I’m teeming with a lot of news
with many outraged squeals about the lies of SJWs.
I’m very good at inference and attributing animus,
I know the things I know are true without any analysis.
In short, in outrage slight, imagined, and quite risible,
I am the very model of a modern Canine-Miserable.
With the Hugo coverage on File 770 going meta like this—half the links are to comments made on this blog—is it fair to say there’s a puppy chasing its tail here? ?
[Speculating about who will accept Vox Day’s Hugo at Sasquan.]
Because I like the idea that, as soon as your name is mentioned by a grimacing David Gerrold, a fell cry rends the air and freezes the blood of every CHORF present…
The ceiling groans as if in hideous pain, then there is a hellish crash as concrete and tile yield to an enormous creature. The minion lands in the middle of the convention, its iron boots striking the floor with a terrifying thud, then flexes its vast, midnight-black leathery wings to shake off the dust.
It points an armoured finger at Gerrold, a thin wisp of sulphurous smoke curling from its clawed tip.
“The Lord of Fear sends his regards. I am his emissary. Give me the trinket.”
Gerrold cringes and hides behind Due as the minion ascends to the podium.
“My Dark Lord authorises me to bid you thanks for this trifling bauble, and to assure most of you that he wishes you no specific harm. As a token of his noblesse oblige he advises those of you who are afraid of giant sentient scorpions to avoid the Losers Party this evening. You may find it… distressing. That is all.”
Clutching his trophy, the minion runs at the windows and leaps through the glass, its wings pounding the air as it departs in malevolent triumph.
David Gerrold attempts to compose himself.
“And… umm… the n-next award goes to…. OH… FFFUUUUUUUU….”
“What’s wrong?”, cries Due.
“I-it’s T-tom K-kratman…” sobs Gerrold, just as the gun turret of a Tiger tank erupts through the back wall…
If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be a time-traveling dinosaur, who retroactively justified Sad Puppies 1 and 2, launched before your nomination was known. Your scales would shimmer with tachyons.
If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be all puppies could talk about, because dinosaurs are freaking cool, and big and scary, and puppies are small and easily frightened.
If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be free on the internet, and short enough to read quickly, with an easily digested precis, so that all your critics could get through you or at least take the word of someone who had without being obviously wrong on the facts. So you would be an easy example of What Has Gone Wrong With All Reptiles even though you were but a single dinosaur. You would be the dinosaur that stops all conversations before they start.
If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be a magic dinosaur that irradiates a field that makes some people reeeeeeaaaaaaalllllyyyyyy lazy. “What about all the other dinosaurs?” others would say. But the people in the field would respond, “Hey, man. Why do you keep nagging me?”