The Puppies Who Walked Into Walls 6/4

aka The Genre That Day Stood Still

In the roundup today: Craig R., L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Sanford Begley, George R.R. Martin, Sarah A. Hoyt, Brad K. Horner, Lis Carey, Patrick May, William Reichard, Fred Kiesche and mysterious others. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Daniel Dern and Glenn Hauman.)

Craig R. on Boston Progressive

“’Just this one teensy, tiny little change…’” – June 4

One of the great divides in SF/F right now is between groups of readers that want to claim SF and Fantasy as purely descriptive entertainment, the epitome of escape literature, just living in shared authorial moments of the storyteller entertaining us at the fair, or in the tavern, with no other motive express, implied or accepted. You pays your pennies on the drumhead for the entertainment and that’s all you want to see and hear.

On the other side of the table or those who say that all stories have some ulterior external dimension, some subtext,  some “message.”  There is no choice, there is always subtext, whether the author means for inclusion or not.  It is inevitable.

In the Interests Of Full Disclosure, I will tell you that I belong in the second camp: not from any skill at analysis, nor any training in critical literature theory, just cause it seems like the way things are.

From my viewpoint, the very act of reaching for the ability to entertain, or the ability to make any kind of contact with the intended audience requires an assumption of commonality of fundamental background points.

L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright interview for Superversive SF

“Interview with Hugo Nominee: Arlan Andrews, Sr.!” – June 4

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?

Presumably, because they liked the setting, the characters, and the story of my novella, “Flow.” “Flow” was the sequel to 2013’s “Thaw,” (the cover for which won the Analog Reader’s Award for Best Cover of 2013).  The whole series of stories takes place after the next Ice Age (a politically incorrect supposition in itself), and the protagonist, Rist, is himself quite politically incorrect, though dark-skinned; he is a diminutive, sexist smartass (as are most males in the primitive society in which he was raised) and his mouth gets him literally into deep shit.  The story, actually a vignette, ends in a (literal) cliff-hanger that will be followed by “Fall,” where Rist descends into yet another kind of society existing some 30,000 years from now.  It will likely be called non-PC as well, though I have to remind people that authors are not necessarily the same as their characters.


Alex on Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe

“Madeline Ashby: Fiction Writer and Futurist” – June 4

One particularly poignant statement we both picked up on was made in the context of the controversy surrounding the 2015 Hugo Awards. Madeline [Ashby] said that we all have a tendency to “presume people think like (we) do, but generally, they don’t.” Though perhaps a bit of an obvious statement, I think it is equally powerful. Whether positively or negatively, humans must regularly navigate the disparity between our processes of thinking. Imbuing your actions with a recognition of difference may be a way to bridge gaps between people approaching a conflict in different ways, or at least a way to mitigate frustration when questionable (or outright despicable) decisions are made.

“Local editor earns prestigious science fiction/fantasy award nomination –” – June 4

“I was quite stunned and surprised [when I first heard] frankly due to the fact that I’ve just been executing this for concerning 6 years and I’ve just got four anthologies under my belt,” Schmidt said. “I’m relatively new, so to me it seemed earlier in my job compared to I would certainly have actually expected for something adore that to happen. I was thrilled and humbled at the exact same time that people believe I’m great enough to receive a nomination due to the fact that it is a fairly prestigious award. There was a great deal of excitement and happiness mixed in there as well.”

That happiness will certainly travel along with Schmidt to Spokane, Washington, where the awards will certainly be presented Aug. 22 at the 73rd Globe Science Fiction Convention. The Hugo Awards, named after pioneering science fiction magazine “Incredible Stories” founder Hugo Gernsback, are provided annually for the very best science fiction and fantasy functions of the previous year, according to a news release.


Sanford Begley on The Otherwhere Gazette

“The Puppies need to thank these recruiters”

The Sad Puppies really do need to thank some people who are not of their number. I’ve been watching this fiasco as someone who is in sympathy with the SP movement without being one myself. The truth for the rank and file SP members is basically that they were informed that they could vote on the Hugos and actually get books they liked on the ballot. From the point of view of the rank and file Puppies this was information on how-to and some recommendations they could follow, but were not required to. Most of the rank and file used some of the suggestions and substituted others as they saw fit. Admittedly this did cause those who did not have enough recommendations in their own reading to use the list as a source for filling out the rest of the nominations. After all, they knew a bit about Brad Torgerson and Larry Correia and could rely on them to suggest good books. Which they could then read in the voter packet and vote upon.

[This author needs to correct a tendency to misspell everybody’s name – “Brad Torgerson,” “Teresa Nielson Hayden,” “Patrick Hayden Nielson,” “Betsy Wolheim,” “N.K. Jemison.” I leave aside one other that was clearly intentional, but always remember, intentional misspellings are meaningless when true errors abound.]


George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Catching Up” – June 4

— Conquest was cool. The KC fen throw a great con. And I was heartened by all the people who came up to thank me for my posts about the Hugos. Even in the nation’s heartland, it seems, there is considerable fannish anger about the Sad and Rabid Puppies pooping on our awards,

— Yes, Puppygate has continued, though I’ve been too busy to post about it. The Sad Puppies continue to be clueless, moving their goalposts almost daily. The Rabid Puppies continue to be venomous. Lots of other people are reading the Hugo nominees and reviewing the finalists. That’s what I am doing myself, though I am way behind in my reading,


Sarah A. Hoyt

“The Condescension of the Elites” – June 4

In fact, if one wades into the Sad Puppy mess (here, wear galoshes. You’ll need it) the side that says things like “You’re not true fans” or “your tastes are just low” or “your writing is bad” or “Our opinion of what is good IS the maker of what is good” or “you’ll never work in this town again” or “for daring talk against us, you’ll never win a Hugo” is not the Puppy supporters.

This is because the “power” at least if understood as traditional publishing power, in this field is NOT from puppy supporters. The people opposing the puppies (not their lickspittles running around blogs shouting the crumbs that fall from their masters’ tables) are powers in the field: well established editors with power of the purse; writers who get publicity campaigns and push and huge advances; critics who have for years been reviewing the “well regarded” stuff and establishing a taste that is Marxism with a mix of glitterati, or in other words, positional good leftism.

You’d think that people who have been extensively indoctrinated in Marxism would understand the difference between “establishment power” and “economic power” and the revolutionaries who come in saying “But you’ve been going wrong by alienating the reading public; we don’t give a hot damn what your political opinions are, but you need to tell stories people want to read, and if you don’t people should be able to participate in the intervention to make you see why your print runs keep falling.”

I.e. they would understand that they are in fact on the side that is being condescending by virtue of having all the power in the field, including power of the purse.


Brad K. Horner

“Flight of the Kikayon: A Sci-Fi Novelette by Kary English” – June 4

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a crisp and gloriously clear adventure story of a woman trying to escape her abusive husband with the help of her clone. I was touched. It really had heart.

Of course, the planet where she eventually wound up, swiss family robinson style, had one hell of a fascinating sea monster in it, so that’s a huge plus.

The story made me think about love and children, but not exclusively, and not oppressively. It was warming, not frantic, and I really enjoyed the ride. Crisp and gloriously clear sums it up very nicely, from writing, to imagery, to themes. Nothing was out of place and it felt inevitable. Which is very strange, considering that she wound up stranded and losing everything. Who am I to argue about the vagaries of fate or authorship?

I read this in preparation for the Campbell nomination of 2015, and I’m proud to say I read it, regardless. It shines.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Sci Phi Show, presented by Jason Rennie” – June 3

The Sci Phi Show discusses major philosophers and schools of philosophy illuminated in science fiction, fairly broadly defined. In the sample episode, it’s Nietzsche and the movie The Dark Knight. It’s an intelligent, thoughtful discussion, with good production values, accompanied by odd, distracting sound effects. There’s also opening and closing theme music that tries hard to give me a headache.


Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Award Novella Category” – June 4

[Each nominee is analyzed, then this conclusion — ]

My Hugo ballot for this category is:

  1. Flow
  2. Big Boys Don’t Cry
  3. The Plural of Helen of Troy
  4. No Award
  5. One Bright Start to Guide Them
  6. Pale Realms of Shade

Aside from the first two, the entries in this category are disappointing. There were far better novellas published in 2014 in Analog and Asimov’s alone. “Big Boys Don’t Cry”, while not as good as “Flow”, is certainly no worse than some nominees and winners in the past. I’m leaving “The Plural of Helen of Troy” slightly above No Award solely because Wright plays with (and occasionally loses to) some classic science fiction concepts. Overall it’s not really Hugo worthy, though.


William Reichard

“Apres Hugo” – June 4

After a lively day of schussing down the slippery slopes of unwinnable arguments, you’re pleasantly stupefied. Now you just want to relax and kick back, are we right?

That’s why when you get back to the toasty comfort of your own ideological hearth, you should reach for Hubik.

Hubik has everything a tired mind craves: a refreshing illusion of efficacy, a promise of persistent meaning, and a soothing anesthetic effect that will help you drift off to an untroubled sleep. Just spray a little around your armchair, and presto! The perfect ending to another day of lovely mountain sport.…





416 thoughts on “The Puppies Who Walked Into Walls 6/4

  1. @Tuomas Vainio: “Right… apprently I suffer from posting difficulties.”

    No argument here.

  2. Tuomas: This is most prominently visible by the sheer number of sentences ending with; ‘said.’… blah blah blah untrue statements about Redshirts

    redheadedfemme: John Scalzi always writes like that…

    Oh, Tuomas hasn’t actually read Redshirts. He’s just quoting this Amazon review. So any rebuttal you make, no matter how true, is going to be meaningless to him.

  3. You can’t expect Tuomas to expose his fine critical intellect to the dangers of actually reading the books he talks about.

  4. Back when the ballot was first announced I think I saw Sarah Hoyt say she was pleased to see Anderson finally get a nomination, but if I’m correct she didn’t say she was glad it was for this particular book. You see that kind of “nod to a body of work” in the Oscars sometimes, right? Does it have a place in the Hugos? Could it, if fans wanted it to?

    Late, but I just wanted to note that Kevin J. Anderson is the very definition of a hack. I can read anything and he’ll lose me in less than a chapter.

  5. @rochrist:

    I actually enjoy some of KJA’s work. His “Dan Shamble” series, for instance – that’s been entertaining so far. I’m not raving about it being Hugo-worthy or anything, but I’m planning to keep up with the series as I have time.

    By contrast, I’m quite taken with a six-book YA series I’ve started reading – Cidney Swanson’s Saving Mars. I have some formatting quibbles – pretty normal for what appears to be either a self-published or small-press book – but it reminds me in good ways of both the Heinlein juveniles and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. In fact, mash TMiaHM together with Podkayne of Mars and you’ll have a fair feel for the first book. I’ve already started reading the second, and I own the rest.

    (Very brief summary of the concept: Earth has broken off relations with Mars, which is now living on black-market ration bars. Most of Earth thinks the Mars colony is dead, and our heroine has to pilot an emergency supply run to keep her neuro-atypical brother – a key member of the mission – sane for the trip. Complications ensue, to say the least…)

  6. @Rev Bob

    Earth has broken off relations with Mars, which is now living on black-market ration bars.

    Living on Mars Bars doesn’t sound so bad.

  7. @SIW:

    They get a shipload about every twenty years. The heroine comments on one of them at one point and discovers that this particular bar tastes weird because it’s fresh. Oh, and the rations are flammable. This is an early plot point.

    So, very old Mars Bars that can be set on fire. Supplemented by algae if you’re lucky, and there’s tea once a year. The colonists would envy the Spartans’ sense of variety and indulgence.

  8. @Rev Bob, re Saving Mars

    Sold! On behalf of a Young Adult I need to keep supplied with book series containing interesting female protagonists.

  9. @Rev Bob

    So, very old Mars Bars that can be set on fire. Supplemented by algae if you’re lucky, and there’s tea once a year.

    I once visited a town that claimed to have invented the concept of a Mars Bar deep-fried in batter. After that experience, I am impervious to the lesser horrors you menace me with.

  10. @SIW:

    Look, around here we have a week-long annual music festival featuring about 100K people, truckloads of beer, alligator on a stick, funnel cakes, and there’s probably some booth selling fried sticks of butter, because that exists. And they cap it off with fireworks.

    I stay the hell away from downtown while that’s happening. Which would be – oh, right, this week.

  11. @Rev Bob

    Do your worst, you alligator-munching theological fiend! I defy you!

    Did I mention that I am impervious to pain and armed with a fully-loaded molybdenum Aristotle?

  12. @SIW:

    Well, I happen to be in possession of about 147K words of prime SJW-friendly, gender-bending, contemporary-fantasy smut. If you don’t behave, I may be forced to link you to the author’s Tumblr, where snippets can sometimes be found. (Which reminds me that I need to nag for the last couple of chapters, so I can edit the full draft while waiting on the short stories…)

    Aristotle. Pfft. I’ve got Minerva. In a bikini.

  13. @Rev Bob

    When I said “I defy you”, what I really meant was that I was open to any and all forms of persuasive corruption involving fantasy smut. It just came out wrong.

    Mind you, a molybdenum rocket-shaped fully-loaded Aristotle is pretty darn cool. I’ve done the Kessel run in 0.7 parsnips with it.

    Now, about that Tumblr you mentioned….

  14. @SIW: “Now, about that Tumblr you mentioned….”

    You asked for it…

    I’ll link you to the manifesto page (which, unlike the rest of the site, is generally SFW) and let you make your own decisions from there. I should note that the avatar photo comes from the image for the omnibus cover and is not the author. In fact, the author has declined to provide any biographical data so far – age, gender, any of it – but answers to any pronoun. I think they find it amusing to watch people guess.

    The latest snippet is still on the front page, and features a wordless conversation from a recent chapter. The actual draft’s gone through some edits since then, but I found it entertaining even in that raw version.

  15. @Rev Bob

    There is something charming in a smuttista named Rogers. I wonder whether he/she would consider becoming The Dread Pirate Rogers…..

    Of course, I only look at this kind of thing for research purposes.

  16. @SIW: “The Dread Pirate Rogers…”

    Two points. First, you appear to have misremembered the line. Second, consider what “Bob” is short for, and that there is documented evidence that I own an eye patch…

    I find editing and formatting to be safer, if not more lucrative, pursuits than pillage and plunder. They’re also considerably less (physically) taxing. Besides, edit the right authors, and the booty comes to you!

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