The Canine Billion Names of Dog 5/17

aka There are few things in this world that can simultaneously delight and dismay in the same manner as a Puppy dinner party.

The lead dog returns in today’s roundup which starts with Brad R. Torgersen, followed by the rest of the team, Brianne Reeves, David Gerrold, Adam-Troy Castro, Kristene Perron, Roger BW, Ace, EJ Shumak, Lisa J. Goldstein, Lis Carey, Barry Deutsch, Sarah A. Hoyt, Vox Day, and Jim C. Hines. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley & Morris Keesan, and ULTRAGOTHA.)

Brad R. Torgersen

“Fisking the broken narrative” – May 17

Someone forwarded me a copy of Kevin J. Maroney’s editorial from the April New York Review of Science Fiction. I don’t normally read Maroney’s column, and I don’t even normally read NYRoSF, but some of Maroney’s commentary screams BROKEN NARRATIVE at such a high decibel level, I thought it might be worth it to examine some of that commentary in close detail….

The only real way I see the Hugos being a “smoking ruin” is if the CHORFs fulfill their stated pledge to bork the 2015 awards by placing “NO AWARD” at the top of every category; thus no awards will be given. This will be an entirely self-inflicted wound (by the so-called devotees and cherishers of the Hugo) because clearly you have to destroy the village, to save the village. I mean, that’s just good common sense. If you love a thing and think it’s awesome, you absolutely must obliterate it — to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. Because this is what open minds and open hearts do. They destroy something they claim to love, so that something they claim to love can be kept pure. Because the “wrong” people must never be allowed to have it the “wrong” way.

If there is any other way to leave the Hugos a “smoking ruin” this year, I haven’t thought of it yet.

This is not to counsel despair. But we need to be aware that the battle against the arrayed forces of assholery will, at times, be unpleasant to watch and wearying to fight. But the fight is genuinely important, and it won’t win itself.

—Kevin J. Maroney speaking for himself

Thanks for the pep talk, Kevin! I agree with you wholeheartedly! The Forces of Assholery have been trick-or-treating at my virtual doorstep for 45 days and counting. They’ve smeared me, smeared my family, smeared my friends, and smeared Sad Puppies 3. Again, clearly the way the Forces of Assholery save the thing they love and cherish, is to be complete pricks to whoever they feel like, whenever they feel like, badger and threaten and cajole and shun and shame, all that good old fashioned 12th century village stuff. Torches and pitch forks! Tie them to the stake! Burn them! Infidels!

Or maybe “your” side needs to just settle down and vote on the ballot like normal?


Brianne Reeves on Bree’s Book Blog

“2015 Hugo Awards and the Sad Puppies Slate” – April 9

Politicking has always gone on at the awards, to some degree or another. We’re not so naïve as to be unaware of that. Authors and publishing houses have always campaigned for works to be chosen. After all, the Hugos does provide a sales boost.

However, the dominance of a slate that advocates the blind nomination of works based on political ideology is fairly unprecedented.

Because the voting population for the Hugos is fairly small, approximately 2,000 voters for the most popular category and much fewer in less popular categories, it’s easy to skew the results of the nomination process. And, of course, when it’s derailed and by a large, but distinct minority of voters, the rest of the community is going to be upset.

Slates themselves are problematic. They reduce the number of potentially nominated works, undercut the deliberations that go into the nomination process, and potentially flood the awards with non-vetted works (read: works that have not actually been read). This means that the stories we are awarding may be extremely obscure, non-representative of the genre and its advances, or non-representative of the stories readers want to consume.

It should also be noted that slates are distinct from suggested nomination lists. Plenty of people put up lists of works they think work well in categories and suggest their readers, friends, fellow SFF lovers read the list when considering who to nominate. To me, this is a distinctly deliberative act. It allows for people to read and decide on their own without suggesting or advocating blind voting (to me the biggest problem with slates).  They are often include far more lists of works than the voter can nominate and act as a substitute longlist for readers. This is especially important for readers who want to sample and become more involved in categories like short fiction which have a much smaller readership.

The creation of a slate for political reasons is objectionable. What I will say here, is that the use of politics in this case is a limiting factor and detracts from the inclusive and representative goals we have for the Hugo. Again, they are within their rights to limit based on this factor, but I think that it suffers from a lack of consideration for new types of stories, and increasingly popular stories in the genre.

We all have limitations in our reading. Time, length, interest are all factors we have to balance. I think it is inkeeping with the spirit of the award, however, to push ourselves to read what we may otherwise ignore or not prioritize. As readers, we should always be pushing ourselves to empathize and expose ourselves to stories that are not familiar to us or that show a part of humanity we may not often see.



David Gerrold on Facebook – May 17

Yes, there has been pushback to the sad-rabid slates — because too much of the rhetoric from sad-rabids justifying the slates has not been about the merits of the nominated works, but about the context of the awards — the existing narrative, created by the sad-rabid supporters themselves, is that the slates are motivated not by merit, but by a political agenda. And the larger body of fandom has been appalled by that. That’s the source of the pushback. Not the mythological SJWs. Nor any other acronym of disrespect.

The Hugos are not awards for political correctness. They are not awards for any political opinion. They are awards for merit. They are a recognition of what the community deems as “best of the year.”

The awards are voted on by a large disorganized body of people — a continually evolving, changing, amorphous body consisting of whoever bought a Worldcon membership that year and felt likle voting. Sometimes you vote for a story, sometimes you vote for an author you like, and sometimes you even vote for a friend, but in general the awards represent a cross-section of the opinions of those involved in the Worldcon.

To ascribe any kind of conspiracy to a circumstance that is rooted in anarchy is to misread the evidence.

But … even more to the point, to expend so much time and energy on this effort has to be seen as an eyebrow raiser. Is this the most important thing you can be doing with your time? Reading some of the discussions, I’ve rolled my eyes so hard so many times, I can describe in great detail what the bottom of my brain looks like.

Real writers don’t worry about awards. Real writers write. (In my never-humble-opinion.) Real writers don’t worry about feuds. Real writers write. (IMNHO.) Real writers cherish their time at the keyboard as so precious that any distraction at all is seen as the enemy.


Adam-Troy Castro

“On the Roar of Approval For Self-Defenestration” – May 17

You’re a decent person. You really are.

Oh, sure, you have some bad habits, some irritating beliefs, some things you do that get on the nerves on people around you. But by all the low bars, you’re a decent person. You don’t molest children. You don’t attack people with broken bottles. You don’t set bombs. You’re good to your family and polite enough to people who are polite to you. In some ways, you’re admirable. Even noble. Your worst enemy, considering the way you live your life, would acknowledge it.

But then we get to the part of you that is objectionable. You’re just a little bigoted, just a little misogynistic, just a little homophobic, just a little xenophobic – any one of those four things, to some level, in some combination.

You are not any of these things to the degree of all-out, full-bore toxicity. They are trace elements, the same things that many of us have. Maybe they are a bit stronger in you than they are in some people who we would consider more enlightened – and maybe you have many compensating virtues.

As a character flaw, this is like a managed medical condition, in that it is possible for you to live with it comfortably, and for you to control it without causing too much offense to others, possibly even without them being visible to others.

But here’s the problem. You then surround yourself with the wrong people.


Kristene Perron on The Coconut Chronicles

“The Evolution of Cinderella” – May 17

There is one aspect of the Sad Puppies I am interested in, however, and that’s the assertion by many of their supporters that the sci-fi of old was better, purer, and more important than its modern day incarnation. Men in space ships, having adventures and solving problems with technology, that is “real” science fiction.

Anyone who waxes poetic about any kind of halcyon age makes me roll my eyes. And, when it comes to stories and storytelling, that kind of “Back in my day…” thinking is absurd. By such standards, Cinderella would forever and always be the story of a commoner marrying into royalty because the original was the “true” version regardless of social changes. In the 1600’s, the original story of Cinderella was subversive. In the 2000’s the original story of Cinderella is irrelevant.

I can and do still read and enjoy the “old time” science fiction stories, sexism and racism be damned, but my world has evolved and I expect stories written today to reflect those changes. If Crocodile Dundee was made today and the crotch grabbing scene was still included, I would boycott the movie and I would encourage everyone else to do likewise. There’s still room for stories of men in spaceships, having adventures and solving problems with technology but, given social changes, how could anyone complain that there is also room for science fiction stories of women and non-binary genders of all colours having adventures in all kinds of places?


Roger BW’s Blog

“Thoughts on the 2015 Hugo Awards” – May 15

But forget about the specific politics of this case. What institutional slate voting gets you, no matter how well-intentioned or how much it is aligned with your own views, is political parties. Nothing can get onto the ballot unless it’s part of a slate, so the people who run the slates become the kingmakers; any author who wants any chance at an award has to get in with one of them. (We’ve already seen popular works getting knocked off this year, and once the full nomination totals are revealed after the awards are made we’ll have a better idea of what missed its one chance at a Hugo.)

For this reason I will be voting “No Award” over any slate-nominated work this year, and I shall probably not bother to read it either. I’m glad to see that some of the slate-nominated authors have had the grace to withdraw once they found out what had been done, and disappointed that so many of the others haven’t.

In the long term, I don’t believe changes to the nomination procedure are worth it: technical solutions to social problems rarely work. Getting more people to nominate seems like a worthwhile effort. Clearly not all that many people are actually reading SF short stories in magazines any more; should Hugos even be awarded for them at all now?


Ace at Ace of Spades

Sunday Morning Book Thread 05-17-2015 [OregonMuse] – May 17

As we talked, I told him about Ace’s interview with Larry Correia concerning the Sad Puppies controversy in that by pursuing this strategy the publishing houses are ignoring huge markets of people willing to buy books and are cutting their own throats. He broke in saying, “I know, I know…But look…you gotta stop thinking. Just stop thinking! Thinking about all this will drive you crazy! Don’t go to bookstores, if they even still have any where you live. Don’t look at other books. You’ll just wonder how in the world this thing even got published,” and then told me some more anecdotes about how the sausage is made…

It was sad. He’s a good guy, and was just as frustrated about it all as I am, but he’s stuck fighting a bunch of Goliaths who only look for certain types of books (that support the current narrative and are framed by the postmodern cultural marxist analysis of race, gender, class) and is left trying to sneak in what stories he can, however he can.


EJ Shumak on Superversive SF

“WorldCon Members review GOBLIN EMPEROR” – May 17

First we will look at the positive response to this novel, comprising about 25% of the group. Bill, after reading all the other nominees, believes that this work will be at the top of his Hugo award list. He likes politically based tomes and enjoyed this iteration of that concept. Though the book was, admittedly, not what he had expected, he had a pleasant experience and was very positive overall.

Another vocal supporter had much good to say about the concept and purpose to the book. In many ways his reasons for liking the book paralleled the reasons others disliked it. He felt it exemplified white privilege imposed upon black (or Goblin) society. He felt we need to consistently look at and focus on our societal problems with racism and sexism. He felt we should examine these problems deeply, while assuming ignorance. While agreeing with another reader that the work was truly a lecture, he asserted that it was “…a lecture we need to have…”

The rest of the group was solidly in full disappointment of the work. Several people actually opined that this kind of lecture and message fiction was the best possible justification for the sad puppies’ slate. Mike loved the story through to the middle and then it overcame him to the point that he observed he could now understand the sad puppy position.


Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 10: Novellas” – May 17

[“One Bright Star to Guide Them” by John C. Wright.] …Tommy goes to his old friend Richard but discovers that Richard now serves the Winter King.  There’s a battle with the king’s servants, and at the chapter’s end “the smell of the sea filled his nose, and Tommy could neither see nor breathe.” We don’t get to see what happens next, either.  Instead, unbelievably, the next chapter starts with Tommy meeting another of his old friends, Sally, and telling her what had happened.  It’s as if someone had taken an entire book, cut out all the interesting parts, and published the rest.  (Amusingly, in “John C. Wright’s Patented One-Session Lesson in the Mechanics of Fiction,” included with Wright’s stories, he stresses the importance of “showing, not telling” to the narrative.) Gradually, though, the story grinds to a start.  It becomes the usual fantasy quest: Tommy has to go various places, do various things, collect various objects….


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Flow, by Arlan Andrews” – April 17

As the opening section of a novel, this is great. As a complete novella nominated as a complete story, not so much. I don’t think it’s asking too much that a nominated piece actually fit its category in ways beyond arbitrary word count. This doesn’t. It’s not a novella; it’s a novel fragment.


Barry Deutsch on Alas

“A Quick Primer For Those Who Wonder What The Issue With Slate Voting And The Hugo Awards Is” – May 17


Many have suggested that all that’s needed to reduce the influence of Slate voting is more voters, that is, for a larger number of people to vote in both rounds of Hugo voting. However, since Slate Voting is a strategy that mathematically allows a collectively organized minority to overcome the preferences of a disorganized majority, I don’t have much confidence in this proposal. (Although it is a nice idea for other reasons.)

Another proposal is the 4/6 proposal, in which individual Hugo voters can only nominate four works per category, and there will be six nominees per category. In this case, rather than a successful slate controlling 100% of nominees in each category, it will only control 66% of nominees in each category. If there are two slates, then the most successful slate will control 66% of nominees, while the next most successful slate will control the remaining 33% of slots. This seems like an insufficient solution, to me.

The proposal I favor is “Least Popular Elimination,” in which voters could still nominate up to five works per category, but the votes are counted in a way that mathematically favors works that appear on the broadest number of voters’ ballots while diluting (but not completely eliminating) the power of slate voting. A detailed explanation of “Least Popular Elimination” voting is available here. While LPE voting is not as intuitive as the other two proposals, I believe it would be more effective


Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“The Privilege Of Not Caring” – May 17

So who am I betraying by not conforming to the baneful Marxist stereotype of who I should be? Oh, right, the SJWs. That’s okay, I’m fine betraying them. Or at least fighting them. Hard to betray what you never belonged to. And, you know, most of them, even those with exotic names and claiming exotic identities (rolls eyes) are pasty-assed white people with real privilege as defined by having money and having attended the best universities and hanging out with all the “right” people and having the “right” (left) opinions. If they knew the meaning of the word privilege, they’d see it all over themselves.

But there are more egregious definitions of privilege. You see “check your privilege” is a tool of would-be elite whites to keep competition and challengers in check, while riding to glory by defining themselves as champions of the downtrodden. (It’s an old game, in place at least since the French revolution, but it’s the only one they have. Remember they lack both empathy and imagination. And since they have more or less overtaken the press, no one on the street realizes how old and tired this “clever” gambit is.)


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Sexism and ideological bias in science fiction” – May 17

TOTAL: 65.7 women have won 24.7 percent and 19 conservatives have won 7.1 percent of the 266 Hugo Awards given out since 1996. This is despite the fact that conservatives outnumber liberals by a factor of 1.6 in the USA, which means that conservatives are underrepresented by a factor of 11.3, versus women being underrepresented by a factor of 2.

Now, if the SJWs are to be believed, sexism is a serious problem but there is absolutely no evidence of left wing ideological bias. They keep repeating this despite the fact that the anti-right wing bias in science fiction is observably 5.6 times worse than the purported sexism about which they so often complain.


Jim C. Hines

“’Do You Wanna Take The Hugos?’” – May 16

[First of two stanzas]

To the tune of “Do you want to build a snowman?”

Larry? Do you wanna take the Hugos?
Come on let’s change the game.
I’m tired of those liberals
Like criminals
Who steal our rightful fame!
This used to be our genre
But now it’s not.
They make all the puppies cry.
Do you wanna take the Hugos?
(And also puff up both our egos…)

402 thoughts on “The Canine Billion Names of Dog 5/17

  1. @Next year:

    “Time Bomb Time” by CC Finlay in this month’s Lightspeed Magazine. (Short Story – Lightspeed Magazine helpfully includes the wordcount of every story)

    “The Universe, Sung in Stars” by Kat Howard, April 2015, Lightspeed, Short Story

    “We’ll Be Together Forever” by Joseph Allen Hill, April 2015, Lightspeed, Short Story

    “Red Planet” Caroline M. Yoachim, Feb 2015, Lightspeed, Short Story

    “Things You Can Buy for a Penny” – Will Kaufman, Feb 2015, Lightspeed, Short Story

    (Guess which magazine I have a subscription to, anyone?)

  2. Matt Y: The starving people never bring it up because they understand the games are not rational to begin with. The resources that go to the games aren’t starving out the Capitol elite, and wouldn’t be released to the Districts if the games were suspended, absent an overarching reform of the whole thing.

    Do they never think about how obscene the whole thing is, how much is wasted on spectacle while they work themselves to death and send their children to die? The books make it clear they do. That they never mention it… to who? Their political representatives? Part of the punishment is that they are required to play along.

    Don’t get me wrong, nothing about Panem’s internal economics makes a lick of sense. But “the Hunger Games themselves are wasteful” isn’t exactly the most cogent example of this.

  3. Re Hunger Games–not to mention the amount of investment the elites and the better off of the districts have made in it over time. There is also probably some level of everyone feeling shitty about it when they are in the age range to be picked (or their kids are in that range) but hell, we had to go through it, so everyone else should too. I’ve noticed that in things like hazing and other “treat people like crap but once they make it through they are treated well” traditions, including those for the trainees in my own career field. As much as everyone hates it when it is happening to them, no one seems to want to end the tradition once they make it through to reap the benefits of it.

    Not a one to one correspondence to the HG, to be sure, but probably more applicable to the inner districts than the outer ones, since they seem to reap more prestige and benefits from having more frequent winners (to the point where people compete to qualify rather than get dragooned in like in the outer districts).

    I tore through all three books in a week and found the world very immersive. I never thought about, hey, why use resources like this when the same resources could be used for everyone? It is an excellent question. I would probably answer that within the context of the books, the dictator/ruling class aren’t interested in doing something different since things are pretty okay for them, and they strongly feel that they need the combination of annual punishment of the formerly rebellious districts and the “bread and circuses” distraction of the Hunger Games entertainment to keep their control tight.

    Though sometimes I approach SFF from an attitude of okay, I accept that these conditions exist, now tell me such a good story that I am too distracted and entertained to think about the problems of the posited scenario.

  4. t’s be clear: the Hugo selection process in 2015 does have blind spots. Such as the consistent bias against tie-in novels and tie-in novel authors;”

    Ah, I think we’ve found the issue here – by authors, might we mean Kevin J Anderson? Because I still haven’t seen any justification for his presence in Best Novel.

    An acronym I’m surprised I haven’t seen, from back in the Usenet days – TINC – There Is No Cabal. Context pretty similar to the current kerfuffle – what appears to be a conspiracy is just a lot of unconnected people having the same reaction to outrageous behavior.

  5. @Milt Stevens: It’s not that they aren’t accessible to teenagers. I certainly would have enjoyed them. It’s that they aren’t targeted or marketed to them. (And I don’t know how much YA you read, but some of it deals with quite explicit themes of sex, drugs, violence, rape, abuse, mental illness, and many other dark themes. It isn’t a light/dark border that marks a book YA or Adult. YA books can be light or dark, frivolous or serious. Just like adult books.)

  6. @alexandra @matt y Yeah–Snow ends up being kind of Wizard of Oz-y. But he is also a really good villain psychologically at the same time. I’m happy enough to skip a lot of the details of the internal politics and just take them as a given because the story is really about Katniss figuring out how to be true to herself in a very tough world. She is an outstanding character IMHO (probably the best aspect of the whole thing).

  7. Oops forgot to add on Hunger Games — the part I found least believable was that the inner districts were so enthusiastic about training for and volunteering/trying out for the games. I get that they have a much better chance of winning or at least not being cannon fodder and that there is prestige etc. involved, but still, at the end of the day, at best only 1 of the 4 tributes from districts 1 and 2 are going to come back, and in a “bad” year from their perspective, someone from the outer districts lucks out and beats all 4. Which means the players know it’s more likely they die than survive, and their parents know it’s likely they’re sending their kids off to die. Of course we don’t really see inside those characters’ heads and we don’t see their families at all, so all we really have is the narrator’s perspective on it.

  8. @Mitt Stevens: “Why not? I don’t recall these books being heavy on sex or violence. I could have read them as a teenager.”

    With respect, you’re the guy who explicitly said you eschewed “juveniles” as a teen out of principle. And based on a conversation I had a couple weeks ago with my friend the children’s librarian, and knowledge of my own teens’ reading, your standard “whatever’s not heavy on sex or violence” isn’t current. YA books can have Language and Sexual Situations. Heck, that was true in the 1970s when I was blown away by boob-fondling in Sleep-Two-Three-Four.

  9. Happyturtle – thanks for the Lightspeed recs, that is one on my list to start reading, along with Clarkesworld.

    Any awesome anthology recs for 2015 so far?

  10. Not a one to one correspondence to the HG, to be sure, but probably more applicable to the inner districts than the outer ones, since they seem to reap more prestige and benefits from having more frequent winners (to the point where people compete to qualify rather than get dragooned in like in the outer districts).

    One might make a comparison to the Olympics, and a study done done by Bob Goldman over several years in which several potential Olympic caliber athletes were asked about a hypothetical performance enhancer which would guarantee them a gold medal, but also kill them within five years. More than half of the athletes said they would take such a drug. This survey was done every other year for many years, and the results were consistent.

    The idea of the “professionals” willingly signing up for the games didn’t surprise me at all.

  11. @cmm “hell, we had to go through it, so everyone else should too.” That is _such_ a huge part of life and so unacknowledged for the most part. It’s like a payback each generation gets from the next in many settings. Hazing’s exactly it. And there’s a very complex guilt that goes along with it. I really liked what the books had to say about that in regards to the injustices of the modern world–because it’s easy to go the route of thinking we should just play along. Katniss beats it (which makes her a great hero).

  12. Many YA science fiction books are dystopias of the ‘Turn age X, something horrible happens’ flavour. Why? Not because this is at all realistic world-building. But because this speaks to teenage fears. And if other ages are reading it? Then it must be speaking to our fears as well.

  13. @cmm I’m like @aaron — doping’s a great example, or football or basketball, where the chances of actual success are so infinitesimal. But the situation’s so bad around you and the potential payoff is so great, that you really have nothing to lose. Seemed really realistic to me.

  14. Oooh, anthologies. I was about to say I usually get my short fiction from magazines instead of anthologies, but then I remembered this one. I need to check it out again and see if any stories are Hugo-able.

    So Long, Been Dreaming edited by Nalo Hopkinson

  15. @Happyturtle You know, it’s really fun–instantly fun–when we find something we all “get” and can talk about (kind of like @lori was saying earlier about books in the ’60s). I have to say, this, too, makes me catch perhaps another flavor of what some of the protests have been about. (I’m still always going to love weird, difficult books and wish I could find someone to talk to them about, but OTOH, I can just see the situation come to life here when it goes in that direction.)

  16. Laura — No argument at all on the point of most media tie-in fiction neither requiring nor possessing the same grade of worldbuilding et al that goes into a Hugo-caliber Best Novel nominee. Merely pointing out that the MEDIA TIE-IN FICTION NEVER GETS NOMINATED whinge is more than a little off base. And thank whoever it was that pointed out the existence of the Scribe awards.

  17. But does it really speak to teenagers though. Look at how much of the YA market, and how many of those pushing the significance of YA fiction, are not actually young adults. Conversely, look how many young adults are tackling some pretty heavy adult novels.

  18. Conversely, an awful lot of YA fiction has a theme or starting point of “Turn X years of age and something amazing happens” like your latent superpowers develop or you turn out to come from a long line of witches. Or you are the Slayer. Hell, even Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret has that theme to some extent 🙂 It does tap in pretty well to the tween/teen focus on birthdays bringing new things to do — I have to be 11 to stay up til 9 PM, I have to be 13 to get my ears pierced, I have to be 16 to drive etc. I can remember getting very focused on those lines to cross and on the other side, Everything Will be Different.

    I guess the appeal of so much of that YA to adults is that we remember feeling that way so well? Of course a lot of it is just damn good storytelling.

  19. @Chris Hensley: I guess I can’t answer that until my niblings grow up enough that I have some Young Adults to query on the matter.

  20. It was pointed out on a panel, I think either at Readercon or Boskone last year or the year before, that an increasing part of the market and readership of YA literature is actual Young Adults. Not teenagers, who in my opinion are “young adults” by courtesy, but recent college graduates in their early twenties.

  21. @Morris That makes sense to me (old dude proof ahead) since it sounds like young people have a much longer “in between” period than they once did (living at home longer, coming back home, etc.). And reflects the maturity of the books I’ve read.

  22. Alexandria Erin – Don’t get me wrong, nothing about Panem’s internal economics makes a lick of sense. But “the Hunger Games themselves are wasteful” isn’t exactly the most cogent example of this

    I mean they don’t mention even to each other the fact that their government can create creatures that can easily replace them in a moments notice, that they’re starving for no apparent reason since they can create large arenas complete with aged foliage for the games to take place in, oddly that the government has the ability to monitor every angle of the arena but doesn’t have much surveillance of the districts, and so forth and so on. If I was in a District after seeing that they created animals out of the DNA of the participants at the end of the first book I’d be seriously wondering WTF they need me for when they could just clone me and strip the free will right out of me.

    Hell even in the third book there’s complaints over what will happen if there’s a significant drop in the population for concerns of breeding. Since they can re-purpose DNA and collect it without the participant being aware, you’d think that would never be a concern, they could just whip up some more out of the old DNA bank.

    It’s not so much that ‘The Hunger Games Are Wasteful’ it’s the the level of technology identified and used to create the games annually doesn’t mesh with what’s described and revealed about their history, culture or state of the world they live in.

  23. Morris/Will: a fast-growing segment of the romance genre is so-called “New Adult” romances with protagonists in their very late teens to mid 20s. In traditional YA romances either there is no sex, or whether/when to have sex is THE main point of the book. In New Adult books sex usually happens and other relationship issues are the main focus of the plot. Then there are the usual romance subgenres within NA — paranormal, contemporary, historical etc. New Adult is very distinct from either Young Adult or regular romance (where the protagonists are usually in their late 20s at the youngest, even in historicals). Like a lot of the newer areas of romance storytelling that have emerged in the last decade or two, it kind of bubbled up from self-publishing and small press publishing but has definitely hit the mainstream as its own category.

  24. “Why not? I don’t recall these books being heavy on sex or violence. I could have read them as a teenager. ”

    I read Ringworld and 1984 and A Clockwork Orange as a teenager, but I don’t think that makes them YA.

  25. I mean they don’t mention even to each other the fact that their government can create creatures that can easily replace them in a moments notice, that they’re starving for no apparent reason since they can create large arenas complete with aged foliage for the games to take place in

    There seems to be a fair amount of resentment towards the Capitol from the Districts. The implication is that Capitol is starving them on purpose in order to remind the Districts of their place.

  26. @Chris Hensley: “But does it really speak to teenagers though. Look at how much of the YA market, and how many of those pushing the significance of YA fiction, are not actually young adults. Conversely, look how many young adults are tackling some pretty heavy adult novels.”

    Chris, how many teens are in your life?

  27. BTW, has anyone seen this one yet? A creative new fabrication that a Puppy supporter posted yesterday or today in a line of replies to a comment I made on someone’s FB wall:

    “And if we see Annie Bellet show up next year with a Book contract from TOR, We’ll have a pretty good idea what kind of e-mail she got that convinced her to withdraw.”

    We’ve already seen multiple times that people have put words into Annie Bellet’s mouth (also Marko Kloos, Juliette Wade, etc.). I didn’t realize until I saw this comment (though I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised) that there are apparently elaborate conspiracy theories being floated, too.

    (And yet ANOTHER reason that I believe that any writer who has as much sense as the gods gave to an overcooked stalk of broccoli will refuse to be on any slates next year. I think most people this year had no idea what would happen, and they’ve all been put in a very awkward position, no matter what they do or decide. But after the mess of 2015, anyone who is not chained to the floor of an underwater cave has some warning.)

    So if I understand this sledgehammer hint correctly, apparently there’s a ludicrous conspiracy theory afloat that Tor Books is bribing people (or has bribed Annie Bellet) with the promise of a book contract in exchange for withdrawing from the slate?

    And they’d be doing this because…. because… because…

    I give up. Because why?

  28. @Laura Resnick: “And they’d be doing this because…. because… because…

    I give up. Because why?”

    Because Tor Books is in the business of shelling out author advances and incurring COGS for books nobody will buy to prove a point?

    No, I got nothin’.

  29. Aaron: “…Olympic caliber athletes were asked about a hypothetical performance enhancer which would guarantee them a gold medal, but also kill them within five years. More than half of the athletes said they would take such a drug.”

    Or the Usenet discussion following A Deepness in the Sky concerning Focus – Vinge was rather surprised at how many of us didn’t think the characters who elected to stay on a reduced Focus dose had made a bad choice.

  30. @Laura

    Because “Scaaaaallllzziiiiiii !!!!111!!!eleventy” of course.

    As TOR already pay him for books no-one buys or reads, why not add another writer to the stable….

  31. One nominee withdrawing doesn’t do much for the Cabal’s purposes. Ideally, they’d want everyone to withdraw. So why hasn’t anyone who didn’t withdraw produced their Tor emails offering them a contract in exchange for denouncing the slate?

  32. And they’d be doing this because…. because… because…

    Note that the tenor of this speculation completely contradicts the Sad Puppy narrative that they are just engaged in nominating good works by good writers who would otherwise be overlooked. Because if they really thought that, then they would think it to be natural and normal for Tor to want to sign such authors up. I mean, that’s what publishing companies do – look for authors who write good stories that they think they would be able to sell and make money.

    But if the Puppies think that the only explanation for these authors getting a contract with Tor would be a secret deal, then maybe they don’t actually think that the stories they promoted were that good. I don’t really know one way or the other – I have yet to read the Bellet and Wade stories, and the Kloos story is fairly well down my to-be-read list. But the Puppies’ own behavior on this point seems to be inherently contradictory.

    I’m not even going to get into the somewhat sexist nature of claiming that the only reason Bellet or Wade could get a contract with Tor is via a secret backroom deal.

  33. Since we’re talking about short fiction we’ve liked this year:

    + this is how the universe ends: with a bang
    + entrepreneurs
    + the garden beyond her infinite skies

    And I second the recommendations for:

    + the mantis tattoo
    + what had passed shall in kinder light appear
    + we’ll be together forever

  34. The tie-in novel stuff is just another bloody shirt to wave—it stokes resentment and is a call to action. There are plenty of people with forty bucks who are angry enough to at people who say that Star Wars novels aren’t Hugo-quality to spend it on voting for a slate that doesn’t actually contain any Star Wars novels.

    They just want you to become as angry as you have made them with your fancy literacy and discernment.

    Just a week ago, one of the Puppy Partisans suggested that I was a snob interested primarily in style…for quoting a seventy-year-old pulp novel and contrasting its prose to that of Jim Butcher. That’s the mentality at work.

  35. Spending money for my supporting membership just came through in time for the announcement of the Hugo packet. Yay!

  36. I have been lurking here for a while but haven’t commented. But I do have some knowledge of younger, specifically female, audiences since I occasionally teach a college course on SF and religion, and I lurk among the Tumblr fandoms.

    Young women are definitely very active in their own varieties of fandom—in the sense used by commenters here of active, community building, and creative. They start their own cons, they write lots of fanfiction, make fanart, and write “meta,” i.e., deep analysis of a text. They are also, by and large, hard-core unashamed “SJWs” so they would overrun the Puppy varieties. However, as far as I can tell, a lot of youth fan activity is not focused on books, despite the incredible popularity of YA novels. For whatever reason, it’s the TV shows, films, and videogames that drive those fandoms. But the fan creativity is amazing and would be worth bringing in.

    I saw the following post on Tumblr today:

    It has some good points but also uses the same popularity argument that the Puppies have and suggests that Tumblr fans bumrush the Hugos and snatch them from the old white men.


    “The Hugos are hugely prestigious, but they’re no-one’s heart and soul. There are a lot of people who’ll hate me for saying this, but fandom’s heart and soul is younger, now, and it lives online. It talks in YouTube clips and Tumblr posts, not in ‘zines. (And does anyone under the age of 30 even know what a zine is anymore?) You want to talk about slates of nominees and culture wars and take-overs? Fine, let’s talk about that. Because you know what I want to see for the 2016 Hugo awards?

    I want to see Welcome to Night Vale up for awards in Best Novel and Best Dramatic Presentation. I want to see Stephen Universe and Agent Carter and whatever anime is big right now. I want to see Homestuck. I want to see something from the OTW and I want at least one videogame up for Long Form and one DLC/expansion up in Short Form. I want to see fanfic writers and fanartists up for their categories. I want to see someone get nominated purely on force of their Tumblr.”

  37. “Note that the tenor of this speculation completely contradicts the Sad Puppy narrative that they are just engaged in nominating good works by good writers who would otherwise be overlooked.”

    You won’t find any Annie Bellett books when perusing most of your major bookstores because as a rule they won’t carry her books, she’s self published.
    Honestly, did you know who Annie Bellett was before this year? You know shes a very popular indie writer with one of the more successful series put out this past year (5 books and counting IIRC), yes? Heck, she’s more popular than Scalzi on Amazon. 😉

    She’s a good writer, and if her short story and series are any indication, she’ll be around a long time.

    “I mean, that’s what publishing companies do – look for authors who write good stories that they think they would be able to sell and make money.” Sure they do. Hugh Howey, Amanda Hocking, Jasinda Wilder, Bella Andre…there’s quite the long list of writers who started out indie and have signed with traditional. Another example from this year would be Marko Kloos, self published before signing with 47North. Correia self published before signing with Baen.

    There’s quite a few successful authors out there who started off indie. A lot of the ones I’ve heard talk about such things would sign with a traditional publisher too, if the check were big enough…and it doesn’t look like Tor writes those sorts of checks.

  38. MattY

    Some other YA stuff that is worth reading is the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness and the Everness series by Ian McDonald. Daryl Gregory too. The Patrick Ness series, which starts with The Knife Of Never Letting Go, just gets stronger, and darker, in each book – oh and The Knife Of Never Letting Go shared a Tiptree win as well.

  39. It’s often not how big the check is, but rather how willing the company is to negotiate. Indie bestseller Hugh Howey’s relationship with S&S ended after one book because although they were far less willing to negotiate terms (not money) after that. Indie bestsellers tend to be interested in things like ensuring a limited term of license and/or retaining their digital rights, and teaming with a publisher that has a marketing plan and greater marketing reach than a successful indie has already established. In many cases, none of that is put on the table, and that’s why no deal is made.

  40. Tor has plucked some self-published authors. Here’s one:

    Not every self-pubbed author who gets a deal did so because they made a big splash in self-pub—some just come to an editor’s attention after publishing. Not every self-pub superstar can compete once their ebooks cost more than three bucks. And sometimes it’s just a matter of imprint: Hocking is now published by St. Martin’s, Tor’s sister imprint.

  41. Jim:

    This is how the universe ends is from f&sf by Brian dolton

    Entrepreneurs is also from f&sf (the latest issue) by Robert grossbach

    The garden beyond her infinite skies is matthew kressel, published in clarkesworld

  42. You won’t find any Annie Bellett books when perusing most of your major bookstores because as a rule they won’t carry her books, she’s self published.

    And? To be blunt, your entire comment in response to mine is a complete non-sequitur. Nothing you said contradicts what I said – if the Puppies’ claims are to be believed, they think they have nominated good works by good authors.

    But then they have constructed a narrative that Tor has been bribing these authors to take their names off the Hugo ballot, and that if you see them with a book contract next year, you’ll know that is what happened. That is the contradictory part of the Puppy narrative – they supposedly think that the stories they nominated were really good, but that if any of the authors in question wind up with a Tor contract that the explanation can only be Tor buying the writers off.

  43. crrm,

    I recently read a story in Baen anthology for The Years Best Military SF or Space Opera The story I really liked was by Holly Black ” The Ten Rules for Being and Intergalactic Smuggler. I would consider it YA, but It really was good, quick fun read with a twist.

    As a short story I would consider it equal to any of this year nominations if not better. At least it had an ending and did not jump around. I have to agree with that critique on One Bright Star . It did jump around.

    The BTok story did not have a proper ending. Heard the same on Flow. I am still reading that so I don’t know yet. I have not read this year novel nominations so have to wait until I do.

  44. OMG man, um, person the barricades, here come the fangirls! Talk about happy kittens. Puppies of every variety won’t have a chance if they set out to make a serious run at the Hugos.

  45. @cmm That is so true. I was just saying the other day: Wattpad is going to enter into this at some point, and watch out.

  46. RAH
    Ooh I love me some Holly Black. Read her first novel Tithe back in the early 2000s. More recently I’ve been reading (one of my many books in progress) the Coldest Girl in Coldtown, which would definitely fit in the YA/New Adult range.

  47. The fact that I am about to say, “What’s Wattpad?” proves that I’m old. But…

    What’s Wattpad?

  48. @cmm I think it would be fun to see. I’ve played on Wattpad here and there, have a friend who’s got a million-plus-viewed book on it, and I can say with certainty: it is really another planet.

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