The Walkies Dead 6/8

aka Dr. Sad Puppy: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Slate

John C. Wright, Vox Day, Eric Flint, Celia Hayes, Tom Knighton, John Scalzi, Tom Doherty, Irene Gallo, D. Jason Fleming, David Gerrold, Cedar Sanderson, Dave Freer, Adam Lawson, Peter Grant, Chris Gerrib, Joe Vasicek, Abigail Nussbaum, Martin Lewis, Lis Carey, Lyda Morehouse, Pluviann, and Alexandra Erin. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Nigel and Dex.)


John C. Wright

“Irene Gallo”  – June 8

I had no idea she had this opinion of me, or so much contempt for the books she adorned so skillfully.

My father in law, may he rest in peace, was a Jew serving in the US Military during World War Two in the European Theater. In fact, he won a Purple Heart medal for wounds to his hands he received while liberating a Nazi death camp. His unit was standing about idly, troopers on one side of the wall, ragged prisoners on the other, waiting for the carpenter to arrive with tools to tear down the planks, but in a fury of impatience he did it with his bare hands, like a superman. He turned down the award, thinking others whose wounds were from the enemy deserved it, not he. That is the kind of man he was, an odd mixture of towering ego and meek humility.

Irene Gallo should have been penning me polite notes of congratulation on receiving an historically unprecedented number of  awards for the prestigious Hugo Award, and rejoicing that any victory for me or for Mr Anderson (who would be receiving his first ever Hugo for his life’s work producing over 50 bestsellers) would reflect well on our main publisher whom we both loyally serve, Tor Books.

Instead, Irene Gallo just said I was a member of the barbaric and racist National Socialist totalitarian political movement that my family fought, suffered, and shed blood to expunge from the earth.

What is the honorable thing for me to do, dearest readers?

I am not asking what is in my short term fiscal interest, which is not my sole, nor even my primary, motive.

More to the point, what is the honorable thing for you to do?



Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“SF war to the knife” – June 8

Let them threaten. What are they going to do, continue to not buy books from Castalia House, from Baen, and from independents? Are they going to keep not reading what they repeatedly proclaim to be terribly written bad-to-reprehensible works without ever having read them? What are they going to do, have the Board vote me out of SFWA again? Are they going to continue not giving Nebulas to John Wright, and Sarah Hoyt, and Larry Correia, and Brad Torgersen? The reality is that we have the decisive advantage here because we have long supported them…..

Back in April, Larry Correia and I, among others, encouraged everyone to leave Tor Books out of it. We made it clear that our problems were with certain individuals at Tor, not the organization itself. But as Peter Grant points out, Irene Gallo’s comments, to say nothing of Moshe Feder’s and John Scalzi’s (now that the organization has bet its future on him, Scalzi is relevant in this regard), appear to indicate that we were wrong and our problem is with the organization as it is presently comprised after all.



Eric Flint


Words matter—something you’d expect any professional in publishing to understand, even if their specialty is art work. Calling someone “extreme right-wing” when you immediately tie that to “neo-nazi” is disingenuous at best. The transparently obvious purpose is to blend “extreme right-wing” with “neo-nazi” in the minds of the readers. The problem is that terms like “extreme” and “right-wing” are inherently vague and the one term in the sentence that is not vague—“neo-nazi”—is wildly inappropriate.

It’s not even appropriate applied to the Rabid Puppies. The two most prominent figures in that group are Theodore Beale (“Vox Day”) and the author John C. Wright. I have been severely critical of Wright and will continue to be, but I have seen no evidence that he either belongs to, is affiliated with, or even has any significant relations with any member of a neo-Nazi organization. The situation with Beale is perhaps murkier, because some of his statements certainly resonate with those made by neo-Nazis. But I have seen no concrete evidence in his case either that would support the charge of being a “neo-nazi.”

And applying the term to the Sad Puppies is simply slander, pure and simple. I have no objection to calling either Brad Torgersen or Larry Correia “right wing,” because they are—and say as much themselves. If you want to add the term “extreme” because it makes you feel better, so be it. For whatever it’s worth, coming from someone who has seen extreme right-wingers a lot more up-close and personally than I suspect Irene Gallo ever has, I think applying the adjective to either Brad Torgersen or Larry Correia is not accurate. If we can descend into the real world, for a moment, what both men are is political conservatives with a libertarian slant who are also devout Mormons. (I mention their religion simply because, as with most religious people, it does influence their political views at least to some degree.)

But leaving aside the issue of “extreme,” suggesting that either of them is a “neo-nazi” or anything remotely close is just disgusting. And don’t anyone bother protesting that Gallo didn’t actually make that charge directly since she did, after all, distinguish between “extreme right wing” and “neo-nazi.”

Yes, I know she did—with the clear intent of smearing the two together. This is the sort of rhetorical device that Theodore Beale loves to use also, when he insists he doesn’t “advocate” shooting girls in the head for wanting to get an education, he just points out that, empirically and scientifically speaking, it’s “rational” for the Taliban to do so.



Celia Hayes

“Still Not Finished With Sad Puppies” – June 8

Oh, yes – outraged science fiction fans had had fun with this resulting thread. And who can blame them? Four sentences which manage to be packed full of misrepresentation and a couple of outright lies; the voicing of similar calumnies had to be walked back by no less than Entertainment Weekly when the whole Sad Puppies thing first reached a frothing boil earlier this year. Now we see a manager of some note at Tor rubbishing a couple of their own authors, and a good stretch of the reading public and a number of book bloggers … which I confidently predict will not turn out well. I have not exhaustively researched the whole matter, but tracked it through According to Hoyt and the Mad Genius Club, where there are occasional comments about anti-Sad/Rabid Puppy vitriol flung about in various fora. I would have opined that Ms. Gallo’s pronouncement probably isn’t worst of them, but it seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, coming as it does from an employee very high up in Tor management. People of a mild-to-seriously conservative or libertarian bent, are just sick and tired of being venomously painted as – in Ms. Gallo’s words – “right-wing to neo-nazi” and as “unrepentantly racist, misogynist and homophobic,” when they are anything but that.




Tom Doherty on

“A Message from Tom Doherty to Our Readers and Authors” – June 8

Last month, Irene Gallo, a member of Tor’s staff, posted comments about two groups of science fiction writers, Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, and about the quality of some of the 2015 Hugo Award nominees, on her personal Facebook page. Ms. Gallo is identified on her page as working for Tor. She did not make it clear that her comments were hers alone. They do not reflect Tor’s views or mine. She has since clarified that her personal views are just that and apologized to anyone her comments may have hurt or offended…..

Tor employees, including Ms. Gallo, have been reminded that they are required to clarify when they are speaking for Tor and when they are speaking for themselves. We apologize for any confusion Ms. Gallo’s comments may have caused. Let me reiterate: the views expressed by Ms. Gallo are not those of Tor as an organization and are not my own views.  Rest assured, Tor remains committed to bringing readers the finest in science fiction – on a broad range of topics, from a broad range of authors.



Irene Gallo commented on her May 11 Facebook post:

About my Sad/Rabid Puppies comments: They were solely mine. This is my personal page; I do not speak on behalf of Tor Books or I realize I painted too broad a brush and hurt some individuals, some of whom are published by Tor Books and some of whom are Hugo Award winners. I apologize to anyone hurt by my comments.



Vox Day in email – June 8

A good first attempt by Mr. Doherty, but it’s not even a windbreak.

Gallo is so clueless she didn’t even properly apologize, let alone  grovel and plead for her job.

Too late now.



Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“An unapology, unaccepted” – June 8

I don’t know about the rest of the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies she called right-wing extremists and neo-nazis, or the authors she described as writing “bad-to-reprehensible works”, or everyone she called “unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic”, but as for me, I’m not hurt. So why is she apologizing for nonexistent events she hypothesizes rather than her rank unprofessionalism, her shameless bigotry, and her attack on the right two-thirds of SF/Fdom? Especially when she still hasn’t informed us whose works are bad and whose are reprehensible.

I don’t want an apology. I don’t expect an apology.

I expect a resignation.



D. Jason Fleming on Doing Slapstick In The Kingdom Of The Blind

“Irene Gallo, Unrepentant Bigot” – June 8

This, as I pointed out in the reply pictured, is not an apology.

It is a passive-aggressive insult: “I’m sorry you’re so stupid that your feelings were hurt when you didn’t understand what I was really saying,” more or less.

She does not apologize for impugning the characters of a very large number of people. She does not apologize for impugning authors who work for her employer, in particular. She does not apologize for her immaturity in prancing about demonstrating that she’s not part of a tribe she hates. She does not apologize for her bigotry in any way, shape, or form.

She only apologizes for the feelings of people who might have been hurt by what she said.

What she said, then, must still stand.



Tom Knighton

“Tom Doherty address Irene Gallo controversy” – June 8

…Not mentioned was that she was promoting a forthcoming book from Tor written by Kameron Hurley, started off with trying to antagonize the Puppies, and then ramped it up when someone asked what she meant.

This colors her comments as being in her professional capacity as creative director for Tor and associate editor for, which is something that seems to be repeatedly missing from many of the comments from Tor or Gallo’s supporters.

Yes, they may have been her personal comments, but the context gives a very different impression.  I suspect that what Doherty is trying to do here is to put some distance between the growing perception that Tor, as an entity, is hostile to Puppies.  We’ll see how that pans out….

Now, as for Doherty’s comments, it’s worth noting that now Tor has officially gone on record as saying that the Puppies aren’t racist misogynists who only want to see white men get awards, which is a narrative that just won’t freaking stay dead.  Maybe now it will.

Once again, I won’t be holding my breath.

Interestingly enough, had Irene Gallo said something against gay marriage instead, the parties that are now saying, “What’s the big deal?” would be calling for her head still. Meanwhile, a number of us are satisfied with Doherty’s response.  I’m not sure you can count me in that group just yet, but I’m at least willing to listen to what Tor as an entity has to say going forward…so long as it’s Doherty doing the talking.



David Gerrold on Facebook – June 8

The Worldcon is not a cage match. It’s a party.

It’s a gathering of the tribes. It’s a celebration. It’s an opportunity to hang out with old friends and make new ones. It’s a party.

I intend to go to the party and have a great time. I intend to do what I can to make sure the people around me are having a great time.

Now, let me add this part.

A lot of people are upset about a lot of different things this year. This year, more than usual. Some people have even expressed their concerns about the possibilities of disruption or confrontation.

Okay, yeah — I can understand the concern.

But I intend to be there for bridge-building and fence-mending and any other appropriate metaphor for healing and recovery.

And I encourage/request/suggest/advise/invite everyone else to attend with the same goals of having a good time and helping others to have a good time too.

This is our party. Let’s make it a great one. Let’s have it be a party where everyone feels welcome. Everyone. That’s my commitment to this year’s convention.



John Scalzi on Whatever

“Weekend Updatery and Miscellaneous, 6/8/15”

On a (very) tangentially related note, Jim Hines did some yeoman work over the weekend doing a quick early history of the Sad Puppies, using their own words to help make the picture more clear for the confused, which at this point could be everyone. Jim somewhat mercifully skates over the part where Theodore Beale makes the Sad Puppies his arguably unwitting tools for his own purposes (i.e., the “Rabid Puppies” slate, aka the “Let me just use the Hugos to promote my own little not terribly successful publishing house here” slate), but it’s otherwise pretty comprehensive, and a good primer.

It’s not escaped notice that I’ve been slacking on my Hugo/Puppies commentary recently, but honestly at this point there’s not anything new for me to say. It’s a low-information movement begun in craven entitlement, with a political element tacked on as a cudgel, taken over by an ambitious bigot, and I’m sorry for the several excellent people I know who have gotten wrapped up in this nonsense one way or another. That’s pretty much where I’ve been on it for a while now. When I have anything new and useful to add, I’ll make note of it.



Cedar Sanderson on According To Hoyt

“Trust and Loathing – Cedar Sanderson” – June 8

The Sad Puppy campaign for the Hugo Awards is such a little thing, when you look at it. Run by fans, for fans, and yet… And yet it became a nationally aware movement, with opponents who defamed good men without a second thought in media outlets, even to the point where the media was forced to backpedal as they had gone too far in their snapping, snarling rush to mangle the puppies. In SFF fandom it seems everyone is reeling in disbelief and confusion over what happened and why. Politics in minor scale has been with fandom from the beginning. What is it about now, to bring this over-the-top reaction to something that has been done before?

Why has there been such a backlash of feeling and vituperation against the sad puppy movement? What is it about this relatively small campaign of voting, done legally and very openly, that leads people to scream, stamp their feet, and lie on the floor weeping and pounding their fists against whatever they can reach? Comments on the campaign have ranged from repugnant, to calling for the ‘puppies’ to be interned in concentration camps.



Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“Communication, subjectivity” – June 8

I hate being right when I make unpleasant predictions. I still hate the idea of a boycott, because – as I will explain in this authors have few and poor choices. Still, this goes too far, breaches their own rules,the Macmillan code of conduct:

The exercise of good judgment is still expected from employees at all times. • Could this conduct be viewed as dishonest, unethical or unlawful? • Could this conduct hurt Macmillan – e.g., could it cause us to lose credibility with customers or business partners? • Could this conduct hurt other people – e.g., other employees or customers? • Would I be embarrassed to see this conduct reported in the newspaper?

It goes beyond the bullying we’ve come to expect and mock from them. I have written to [email protected] (Code of Conduct compliance) asking what steps they’re going to take.

I urge you to do the same if you don’t want the reaction from this hurting your favorite Tor author. I think it fair to give them time to respond, to deal with this sepsis. Let’s see what they do about it. If it is not adequate I am afraid I will have to join the boycott of any Tor author who is not either a Sad Puppy, or who does not speak out publicly against this (which is very hard on authors, and that makes me angry and sad, but eventually you have to stop just hoping they’ll leave you alone.) and encourage my readers to do the same. The company did not make a fortune from me – maybe 50-100 dollars a year. It won’t break them, but I won’t support someone who abuses me and many friends who are better people than I am. As I point out below, publishers get a lot more of a book’s money than the authors. You’d think not badmouthing readers would be common sense.



Adam Lawson

“Screaming into the fire” – June 8

You can count me in on boycotting Tor as long as Irene Gallo works there.

I’ll accept being called a lot of things; “wrongfan” is one of them. Neo-nazi isn’t.

The Nazis and Neo-Nazis are examples of some of the worst things humanity has to offer. Comparing people to those monsters over a disagreement on an award for fiction books is heavy-handed. Refusing to back down when you are told how wrong you are is obnoxious, and there’s no room for obnoxious in my life or lending any support toward it. Let’s just cover a few basic reasons that Gallo is the wrongest person on the internet: ….



Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“An open letter to Tom Doherty of Tor Books” – June 8

Mr. Doherty, with the greatest possible respect to you as an individual:  until Tor publicly dissociates itself from the outrageous positions taken by the individuals I have named (all of them), publicly rebukes those concerned, and takes steps to make sure that no such statements are ever again made by senior members of the company, I shall be unable to believe any assurances that their views are not those of Tor.  Actions speak louder than words – and so does the absence of actions.  All Tor has offered is words.  It’s time for actions.  What is Tor going to, not say, but DO about the situation? – because unless and until it does the right thing, others are going to do what they believe to be necessary and appropriate under the circumstances. There is very little time left to address these issues before this situation gets out of control.  For the sake of all of us in the SF/F community, I hope Tor uses it wisely.



Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Puppy Bites Woman, Pictures At 11” – June 8

So, Irene Gallo, an employee at Tor, said something negative about Sad and Rabid Puppies on her personal blog while promoting a Tor product. The CEO of Tor issued a statement making clear that Gallo was speaking for herself personally. Vox Day demands Gallo resign. Yet when Brendan Eich resigned Mozilla over something he said, Vox was all Stand Your Ground! and Don’t Give In to Your Critics! In short, Tom Doherty did exactly what Vox told Brendan Eichs to do, yet Doherty is wrong, per Vox. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.



Joe Vasicek on One Thousand And One Parsecs

“An open letter to in reference to Irene Gallo” – June 8

I am writing to withdraw my short story, “The Curse of the Lifewalker” (submission id: 55c13821ebd3) from the slushpile effective immediately. In light of the highly unprofesional recent behavior of Ms. Irene Gallo, an associate publisher of your organization, I cannot in good conscience support or be associated with



Pex Lives: A Doctor Who Podcast

“Pex Lives and Eruditorium Press Presents the Vox Day Interview” – June 8

Phil Sandifer talks to Vox Day, the writer and editor behind the Rabid Puppy/Hugo Awards controversy, about the relative merits of John C. Wright’s One Bright Star to Guide Them and Iain M. Banks’ The Wasp Factory.



Martin Lewis on Strange Horizons

“2015 Hugo Awards Short Fiction Shortlist” – June 8

It is clearly these latter three stories that the Puppies are concerned we, the voters of the Hugos, have been missing out on. English and Diamond are writing filler of the sort that is ten-a-penny in the periodicals of the field and has sometimes even made the ballot of awards. Antonelli, Rzasa, and Wright, however, are spreading the Good News. Why come up with a premise for your story when there is only one premise that matters? What the Puppies fail to understand is that they haven’t been shunned because of prejudice, rather they’ve been talking to themselves. Now, having created a bully pulpit for themselves, it becomes clear that they don’t have anything to say.



Lis Carey at Lis Carey’s Library

“Wisdom From My Internet, by Michael Z Williamson” – June 8

It’s not witty, informative, or in any way entertaining. Fatally for a Best Related Work Hugo nominee, it’s not sf-related. The tone of it can pretty fairly be deduced from the fact of it’s publisher: Patriarchy Press.



Lis Carey at Lis Carey’s Library

“Best Fan Artist–Brad W. Foster, Elizabeth Leggett, Ninni Aalto, Spring Schoenhuth, Steve Stiles” – June 8

Spring Shoenhuth: I see two lovely selections of jewelry, and an image to which my initial reaction was “What the heck?” On further examination, the “What the heck?” image was produced for Loncon 3, for the Retro Hugos, and I think I’d like it much better at its original size. And of the three, it’s the one that best fits my perhaps limited ideas of “fan art.”

Ninni Aalto: Two fantastical caricatures that are definitely “fan art.” They look to be quite skilled, and, for me, sadly, they just don’t do it. I expect the reaction to that statement, from many, will be variations of “Why NOT?” No defensible reason; they just don’t.

Elizabeth Leggett: Three truly lovely images. I just don’t see what makes them “fan art,” specifically, though.

Brad W. Foster: Three images, unambiguously fan art, and I like them.

Steve Stiles: Three images, unambiguously fan art. And I love them. I just really have fun looking at them. They make me smile.



Pluviann on The Kingfisher’s Nest

“Turncoat – Steve Rzasa” – June 8

At this point the story has really betrayed itself as MilSF, because it chooses romance over realism. History shows us again and again that courage, tenacity and heroism are no match for superior training, tactics and weapons. The Celts lost to the Romans; the American Indians lost to the United States. Irrational tactics do not win against logical battle plans.

So there are two options that the story could have taken – either the constructs are wrong, there is an underlying logic in the human plans and the constructs for some reason cannot see it; or the constructs really are superior and the humans lose. The first is an interesting story about the limits of AI, and the second is a very interesting story about what it means for humans to have intrinsic value in a world where they contribute nothing useful. Sadly the story doesn’t pursue either of those avenues, and the construct is persuaded by Isaiah 29.16 to serve those who created him.



Lyda Morehouse on Bitter Empire

“Hugo Puppery Disappoints” – June 8

With all of that, only two “Puppy Books” remain on the ballot: Kevin J. Anderson’s The Dark Between the Stars and Jim Butcher’s Skin Game, the fifteenth book in his popular Dresden Files series.

Despite the wonky way in which they arrived on the ballot, I was not automatically predisposed against either Butcher or Anderson. I’ve heard a lot of great things from friends who enjoy the heck out of the Dresden File series. Meanwhile, Kevin J. Anderson is a household name among longtime Star Wars novels fans (including me).

I have to admit, however,  I went into both of these books hunting for that clue, the hint as to why the Puppies picked these guys over all others. Guess what? Neither of them disappointed and I figured out why they were beloved by the pups by the second chapter of each of their excerpted novels.

Anderson’s…wow, okay, I wanted to like Kevin J. Anderson’s book. It’s got this great title, The Dark Between the Stars —  heck, that’s just COOL — and his acknowledgements are all about how this book is meant to be a love song to all the great, rip-roaring science fiction adventure novels he grew up on.

Okay, sounds great. I’m so in. Bring it.

I think I maybe made fifteen pages before I quit.



Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“I am officially retiring the Sad Puppy Book Reviews as a regular feature” – June 8

I may bring it back if any of the major players says or does something that is both egregious and a relatively new specimen of troll logic, but for now I think it’s run its course.





691 thoughts on “The Walkies Dead 6/8

  1. mk41 – That person is likely to conclude ticking of boxes is more important than a good story, because that is exactly the attitude Morehouse displays.

    If that person jumped to such a conclusion because of what one person wrote about those two books I’d assume they have a comprehension problem. Not with reading but with deduction, one person is not a great sample size. If a person read those reviews and thought ALL HUGO VOTERS ARE LIKE THIS, then that would be pretty dumb and they’d be making the kind of guilt-by-association fallacy that various Puppies hate to be painted with.

    None of which excuses or proves the declaration that prior Hugo award winners and/or nominees were only selected for race or gender and not merit.

  2. mk41: Ah. Okay, I found the line that you read as Morehouse using “affirmative action.” It’s this one, isn’t it? This makes me very sad. And, frankly, it should shame Anderson and Butcher to realize that they were not, in point of fact, chosen for their awesome, but because their books skew misogynist and homophobic.

    Okay. But her reviews of both books are valid, in my opinion, and perfectly useful. That’s a comment on potential Puppy motivations for valuing/enjoying/nominating these two books. On the other hand, she’s just spend most of the post explaining clearly and specifically why SHE, as a reader, flat-out did not like both books and could not finish them. So . . . I can’t see it as a consistent campaign, even for this one reviewer, given the context. The books have already been nominated, after all, and she’s judging them as Hugo nominees–it isn’t uncommon for voters to say, “And why on earth would anyone have nominated [THIS BOOK]?” I’d be more concerned about even that line if it had been written/posted before the nominees had come out.

    Still. I see your point.

  3. Mk41 has described the most complicated and time-intensive affirmative action plan ever: Hate every book until the only ones that remain are those deserving special treatment.

    Dropping a book because it doesn’t scratch an itch you want scratched is a perfectly normal and reasonable thing for a reader to do. A reviewer who does that — and says exactly what led to the decision — is being fair to the author and audience.

  4. “I don’t like this novel because its female character conforms to a stereotype” is as legit a complaint as “I don’t like this SF novel because the author gets high-school physics wrong” or “I don’t like this fantasy novel because it’s yet another story about emo vampires”. That’s not affirmative action or “ticking of boxes”; that’s having critical standards.

    Yes, there are entertaining stories with stereotypical characters or bad physics or emo vampires, but in the context of an award given for best of the year, I can’t fault any critic for setting a high bar.

  5. It’s unfair that she didn’t finish and enjoy the Puppy books and get a tattoo reading BRAD IS GREAT across her boobs.

  6. Does my decision to quit reading Anderson’s novel after the first two pages made it clear that his prose is atrocious count as an affirmative action? Just curious.

  7. No, the possible “affirmative action” in Morehouse’s review is the implication that the Puppies couldn’t possibly have nominated these books just because the Puppies really enjoy these books–so they must have nominated them, or must enjoy them, because of what Morehouse reads as misogyny/homophobia. Personally, I’d have added a sentence about ” . . . or maybe the Puppy-nominators just enjoy poorly-written stereotypical characters,” or don’t care about the characters being realistic, or whatever–but it does seem like a minor complaint, even then. She’s only one reviewer, and the books have already been nominated, after all.

    The thing is, one reviewer isn’t a consistent campaign of affirmative action. You have to see poorly-written books being nominated year after year, in my opinion–which is what the Puppy leaders claimed they saw in previous years. I don’t agree, and I don’t think they’ve made their case, but that’s a different issue.

    My problem is with comparing the novel nominees with the shorter-form nominees. If the novel nominees aren’t nominated because of their “message,” whether we see the message as misogyny or whatever, then they must have been nominated as “rip-roaring adventure,” or “old-fashioned fun” or–what were the other criteria? Anyway, the Butcher at least is that; I haven’t read the Anderson. So if that’s what a reader values in a book–well, okay. Seems to be setting the bar a bit low for my taste, but I can accept it as a reason to nominate the book without saying “This book must have been nominated because it has a homophobic protagonist.” (Mind you, I can see the possibility that some of the Puppy nominators might have been attracted to just that, reading Harry Dresden as some sort of affirmation of their world-view–but I can also see the possibility that some of them just plain liked the book and/or didn’t notice that particular scene.)

    But then I get to the shorter-form nominees and I go, “Huh? Wait a minute . . . I thought . . .” The “why did you like/nominate this work” criteria don’t seem consistent–and that tends in my mind to undercut every claim the Puppies have made about why they nominated any of the fiction works, including the novels. So I go looking for “messages” in the novels, too, and I can understand why Morehouse found the ones that she did. As I said, she wrote perfectly solid, detailed reviews of both books, explaining her reasons for not finishing them; that’s what a reviewer is supposed to do. The “why was this book nominated” question is a really separate thing.

  8. When the Puppy nominees are generally not even close to the “rip-roaring good reads” they claim to be replacing that nasty old award-winning fiction with, one finds oneself casting about to find what on earth the Puppies could have seen in them.

  9. Peace: When the Puppy nominees are generally not even close to the “rip-roaring good reads” they claim to be replacing that nasty old award-winning fiction with, one finds oneself casting about to find what on earth the Puppies could have seen in them.

    Yes. This. A much more succinct and specific way of stating what I was trying to say in my post at 9:13 AM.

  10. “Despite the silly pseudoscience and the stupid politics in Fallen Angels, one might note that, unlike the Sad Puppies now, Niven, Pournelle, and even Flynn did seem to love fandom and Worldcon. How times have changed.”

    I suspect that Pournelle, at least, is a Closet Puppy.

  11. Glenn Hauman: I really like this. I envision using it as “Plan K-9 From Outer Space”.

  12. Maximillian:
    “Welcome back! You never responded, was that explanation of how different jurisdictions can have different standards for determining libel clear enough? Remember, the time when you were insulting someone’s intelligence but actually understood less about the question than they did?”
    I don’t really think I can answer that question fully without using enough invective to get banned. Yes, I am aware that different legal systems would have different standards of evidence. That question would only be asked by an eight year old or on American. To ask it is to answer it

    That was what she did before she got overwhelmed by ideological impurity. Sort of the point of my post.

    SJWs always lie

  13. You know, I find that whenever I see a post that ends with a reflexive “SJWs always lie”, I automatically replace it with the greetings of Captain White and it flows much better. How about you?

  14. Glenn, I’ve been asking myself if it’s really worth following convos on this blog, and then you post a link like that and….

    Suddenly it’s all worth it 🙂

  15. @Rev. Bob – That’s a heck of a work- and read-load you have there. I hope it proves as enjoyable as it is long!

    @Matt Y. – A completely different animal is fine. After American Elsewhere, I trust Bennett to do glorious things with the entire zoo. He crafts fascinating characters and his prose is very enjoyable down to the line-by-line. I am looking forward to reading the rest of his work to date.

    On Niven: So, some time ago, I finally read Ringworld. Sort of my “reading my classics” homework. I concur with whoever said that it’s important to the genre but not, taken on its own, very good. I’m a compulsive rereader, but I don’t see myself rereading Ringworld. Also, the book very nearly hit the wall when the main character confided in the female lead that it was a good thing she came along and made herself sexually available, because otherwise he’d be “forced” to [rot13 for unpleasantness]encr gur Chccrgrre.[/Rot13] I am not surprised that an author who could write those words into the mouth of his novel’s hero would be capable of everything the upthread pan of Lucifer’s Hammer accuses him of.

    I think the main benefit I got from reading Ringworld was the greater appreciation it gave me for what Terry Pratchett was doing with Strata.

    In other news, I tried to start Jim Butcher’s Furies of Calderon today, having heard that it’s generally better than the Harry Dresden series. I noped right off the first page. Of the prologue.

    There were a lot of nopes. The fake epigraph was a painfully earnest Aesop (“Take heed! This is the theme! Please notice this is what the book is going to be about!”), it used the word “slattern” as a synonym for “slut” (which is right up there on my pet peeve list with using “noisome” as a synonym for “loud”), I’m pretty much done with metaphors that take the form “X is a whore” anyway (except where used ironically and subverted, but not everyone can be Tori Amos), and also the very first paragraph kicked off with A Woman Using Her Womanly Wiles To Get Her Way, and not in a fun or original way, either.

    I began to turn the page, then asked myself, “But why?” So instead I closed the book, put it back on the bookshelf, and grabbed something else off the TBR shelf instead.

    Dear puppies: It is entirely reasonable to cease reading a book once one has accumulated enough clues that reading the book won’t be an enjoyable experience. Life is too short to read books that aren’t fun.

    But if you insist that the above reading experience is an “affirmative action checklist,” fine. I will admit I have a checklist. There is a box for “Refrains from gratuitous slut-shaming.” There is a related box for “Doesn’t punch women in the face.” There is a box for “Uses the right word and not its second cousin.” And so on.

    I found the above-mentioned review of Skin Game very useful. That Harry Dresden is still going NO HOMO in book 15 tells me something about how much I’d enjoy watching his character learn and grow over books 1 through 14: Probably not that much, actually. I’m just not the right audience for that series.

    And that’s OK!

  16. PS. Before anyone tries to nail me on it: Yes, I know that people do use “slattern” that way. It’s not actually a mistake the way that thinking “noisome” means “noisy” is. But I don’t have to like it. Honestly, it read like the author wanted to use the word “slut” but thought that word wasn’t fancy or classy enough. Because when one anthropomorphizes History so that one may call Her a whore, one must be classy about it.

    But seriously, my first read on that sentence was, “History is a bad housekeeper?”

  17. I’m disappointed to hear all your comments about Ringworld, because it is, of course, also on my “Must Read All Hugo Nominees” list. At least it doesn’t sound as unappealing as the Pournelle collabs.

    But those of you who are raving about American Elsewhere, in conjunction with the review and my enjoyment of City of Stairs, have gotten me eager to read it despite the fact that I’m not a huge fan of horror. So yay for new book recommendations!

  18. @aoeu – “That was what she did before she got overwhelmed by ideological impurity. Sort of the point of my post.”

    Umm… No, that isn’t what I was talking about. I meant the post where you were calling someone a moron(?) because you were confused about libel tourism and how different jurisdictions had different standards for proving libel.

    Do you really not remember that at all? Remember, someone had mentioned that libel was not (or almost never) criminal, and you assumed that was the question they were asking and you insulted their intelligence. Seriously? No memory at all?

  19. @Nicole – Was that the first book of the Calderon series?

    As a huge Butcher fanboy, I’ll raise my hand to the first book of that series being eminently forgettable extruded-fantasy product, but the second and later ones were much better. I believe that he wrote (not published) them with a large delay in between.

    I would even suggest reading the Kindle sample of the second book, you can ignore the first, just read the wiki summary of it.

  20. Maximillian: I found them a notch above extruded fantasy product, but not much more than that. Then again, my tastes tend away from character development which strongly resembles a D&D leveling power curve.

  21. @Nicole: “That’s a heck of a work- and read-load you have there. I hope it proves as enjoyable as it is long!”

    Working on the novel has been an experience. New Adult erotic romance is pretty far out of my usual wheelhouse, but sometimes it’s good to shake things up. (The Puppies would probably throw it against the wall either at the beginning of the second chapter or around the middle of the fifth chapter. I definitely don’t think most of ’em would make it to the Halloween party, let alone Christmas.)

    As for the TBR list… well, I lost track of exact totals when it hit four digits, but that’s what Goodreads is for. There are just over 950 works on the reader right now, but some of those are short fiction and probably around 100 more fit into the “already read, but want to keep on hand” category that ebooks are just made for. Of course, that doesn’t count the ebooks that still need to get processed so I can load ’em in the first place… and then there’s the Ent graveyard. I don’t add to it often, except for graphic novels, but some of the stacks have begun to evolve into furniture. They shrink on occasion, but usually it’s because I’ve gotten electronic versions and set the physical copies aside to take to the used-media shop (along with DVDs that I’ve replaced with Blu-rays). Don’t even get me started on the whole seasons of TV shows waiting to be watched; Col. Hogan hasn’t left Stalag 13 in months. All told, I could probably stop acquiring new media tomorrow and not run out of stuff for another decade. And that’s at my old 150 books/year rate; that’s slowed down considerably of late.

    Luckily, I have some vacation coming up at the end of the month – a whole week! I may make myself scarce here during that time, just to get some stuff DONE. Go over some of the revised chapters, read another book or two, maybe get around to watching Predestination if the fates allow… you know the drill.

  22. @MickeyFinn – I was serious about the latter books, I really enjoyed them. I see your point about the power-curve, but that’s just not something that I care very much about.

    (About which I care very much? Nah, I’m letting it dangle.)

  23. Maximillian: I liked them, but I didn’t love them. I’m not saying you’re wrong to like them more than I did, more thinking through what didn’t work for me.

  24. @MF “Maximillian: I liked them, but I didn’t love them. I’m not saying you’re wrong to like them more than I did, more thinking through what didn’t work for me.”

    Oh, please, this is the Internet! Your opinion is objectively and facially incorrect! You didn’t agree with me 100%!!!!arglebatglr!!!!!

  25. Maximillian: Very well then, I have no choice but to challenge you to an extremely silly duel. I shall send my second to inquire as to your choice of extremely silly weapons.

  26. @MIckeyFinn “Maximillian: Very well then, I have no choice but to challenge you to an extremely silly duel. I shall send my second to inquire as to your choice of extremely silly weapons.”

    Gin&Tonics at however far apart bar stools are?

  27. In no particular order:
    – Yes it’s only one reviewer and nobody said and probably nobody believes all Hugo voters and nominaters are like that. But if enough of them act like that from time to time it affects the results in nontrivial ways.
    – People are missing the point that Morehouse did not demonstrate homophobia in the work in question and yet implies that’s the reason puppies put it on the ballot. Both the accusation and the implication are wrong.

    @’Mary Frances
    No, it is precisely not a comment on potential motivations. It is a untrue statement of fact. If it was a comment on potential motivations, so is Torgersen’s claim that affirmative action influenced the votes in a major way. Unfortunately for the people primarily concerned with scoring points against him, that would then not indicate he’s sexist and racist.
    @ rcade & Seth Gordon
    The subjective standard is of course legitimate. As long as it aligns with your sensibilities. If someone drops a book because the main character is nonwhite and says so, I trust you would strenously defend that person against the charge of racism, after all it’s just about their personal itches being scratched, right? No different from dropping a book because it doesn’t contain the gender dynamics you expect or because you sense, well, what exactly, let’s be charitable and call if a whiff of a not perfectly PC approach to homosexuality.*
    Morehouse on Anderson is a fine test case of this, if you want to try it. Swap man for woman and vice versa.

    * And I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me what exactly is objectionable about that scene other than the character not being up to date on subculture signals.

  28. Gin&Tonics at however far apart bar stools are?

    “An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.”

  29. @mk41 “And I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me what exactly is objectionable about that scene other than the character not being up to date on subculture signals.”

    I’ll try! I wouldn’t call that homophobic (but I acknowledge that I (brace yourself!) enjoy the privilege of having a socially expected and accepted sexuality, so your mileage may vary)), but it, along with that bit from a few of the earlier books about Toe-Mas and Harry being in a relationship shows (I almost said betrays, but that’s a bit loaded) that Jim is a bit uncomfortable with homosexuality. I personally can live with that, he doesn’t (as far as I remember) go out of his way to mock homosexuals or make them the villains.

    Unlike Wright, or VD, or (to a much lesser extent) Torgersen, he isn’t writing to us from back *before* the Century of the Fruitbat, but I do feel that he should consider joining the rest of us here in the Century of the Anchovy.

  30. Taking these slightly out of order from mk41 @ 4:18 AM, because that’s how I walked myself through the logic . . .

    No, it is precisely not a comment on potential motivations. It is a untrue statement of fact.

    Uh. What?

    I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me what exactly is objectionable about that scene other than the character not being up to date on subculture signals.

    Ah. Okay. the fact that Harry said, “It’s a human thing,” as if trying to explain would be too complex, or too embarrassing, or too–I don’t know. In context, the entirety of the scene implied that he’d be embarrassed if anyone thought he was gay (which, why? it implies that it’s embarrassing to BE gay), and that that was humorous. As I said, it’s a throwaway scene and I wasn’t particularly upset about it, but it was silly and I can see people being offended. If Harry were objecting only because the implication was untrue (“I’m not gay, and if while I’m out there killing monsters someone tries to hit on me because he thinks I’m gay, it will be distracting”) he could have said that. Or, in a larger context, Butcher might have tried to make it plain that Harry consistently expects to be hit on by anyone he met, and that being hit on by anyone, male or female would have been distracting. (Though I can see why he didn’t do THAT; Harry may be a bit of an idiot–see below–but I don’t believe he’s supposed to be a flaming arsehole.) (Er–I believe that some readers might disagree with that. Maybe I should say “not that kind of a flaming arsehole,” at least?)

    The fact that it’s a throwaway scene probably upsets some people even more–not me, particularly, I just take it as a sign that Butcher wasn’t thinking–because it is gratuitous: to cut it, all you have to do is make Mab pick the “right” ear in the first place. If Butcher felt he needed a joke at that point, he didn’t need that joke. The one he picked, in my opinion, made Harry look like a bit of an idiot. That actually seems quite fair, also in my opinion, because I think Harry is a bit of an idiot–but I can see it as careless writing.

    If it was a comment on potential motivations, so is Torgersen’s claim that affirmative action influenced the votes in a major way.

    Yes, of course. What did I say that made you think I believed anything else? What Torgersen lacks is evidence–again, by my judgement. I don’t think the works he’s named as examples of “affirmative action” were nominated for any reason other than sheer quality–and he hasn’t explained why he thinks they, or any other works “tarred with the same broad brush” (yes, that’s a deliberately echo), lack quality. Morehouse, even as a single reviewer of two books, has specifically done so. As I said right from the beginning, her evidence is stronger on the Anderson than on the Butcher, but she’s still pointing to a specific in each book that kept her from enjoying the story. Throw in the fact that the non-novel works of fiction that Torgersen evidently believes are of high quality . . . aren’t, or at least I don’t believe that they are, and (taking both of those points together) I therefore find it difficult to accept his conclusions about previous nominees.

    Morehouse on Anderson is a fine test case of this, if you want to try it. Swap man for woman and vice versa.

    Again, what? Are you saying that Morehouse’s enjoyment of the book wouldn’t have been undercut if the villain were a stereotypical “alpha-male representative of the patriarchy”? I can’t speak for Morehouse, but I sincerely hope you are wrong: she seems like a more perceptive reader than that, to me. In any case, that’s for her to answer (if, indeed, that’s what you are saying). For me–yeah. Stereotypical villains are stereotypical villains are poor writing. Some stereotypes are more distracting than others, because they appear to be more aimed at me personally–can’t help that, it’s human nature–and sometimes I can look past any stereotype if the story is compelling for other reasons . . . but a stereotypical villain is still poor writing, a valid reason to drop the book–and an even more valid reason not to nominate/vote for it.

    Wow. That got longer than I thought it was going to. Sorry, all–I think maybe it’s time I stopped beating the poor horse . . .

  31. Jim is a bit uncomfortable with homosexuality.

    I don’t think you can infer that from the scene, the earlier stuff you mention I’m not ware of, so can’t comment. I’d say it’s fair to conclude Harry is a bit uncomfortable with homosexuality, but to my knowledge Dresden has a bit of a Sam Spade vibe going, which to me also includes some old fashioned attitudes so that would fit from my perspective.
    How much of that is Butcher I couldn’t tell. Possibly he’s a bit uncomfortable, which would be a pity, but likely not something he can decide not to be, assuming he is.
    Either way, it doesn’t strike me as legitimate or lets say non-bigoted reason to dismiss the book.

    @Mary Frances
    You said “That’s a comment on potential Puppy motivations for valuing/enjoying/nominating these two books.” Morehouse said “it should shame Anderson and Butcher to realize that they were not,…, chosen for their awesome, but because their books skew misogynist and homophobic.” I said “No, it is precisely not a comment on potential motivations. It is a untrue statement of fact.”

    She is presenting her allegation as fact, just as Torgersen is when he claims the awards were handed out based on affirmative action. Morehouse explicitly rejects the notion the books were chose for their awesome.

    I agree its gratuituous and a bad joke.

    I agree, Torgersen hasn’t explained himself properly. Or at least, I’m not aware he as. Still, with Ancillary the argument has been made (the pronouns), for If you were a Dinosaur it’s the gratuituous hate crime aspect and probably the overall presentation which might be too feminine (for want of a better word) for puppy-type readers. It’s not as if these chriticism haven’t been made even though on the whole puppy-type readers evidently care less for literary analysis than the people on file770.
    It doesn’t matter that much, because the effect is the same if only the non-puppies deselect works based on wordview: politically correct (to again use a shorthand) works will be the only one’s left standing.
    I don’t believe that is what happens. Or rather, I believe this happens, but it doesn’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things. But, because I believe this happens I don’t think that the implication of Torgersens affirmative action claim can be used to tar him as a racist and sexist, as some people have done.

    Re. Morehouse on Anderson:
    Thank you for not taking the obvious out, that some stereotypes are more overused than others. Still, Morehouse dropped the book after 15 pages. That’s not enough to distinguish the use of stereotypes to get the story were it is supposed to be from stereotypical writing in general. That’d be like dismissing the Warrior’s Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga) because the main character has a stereotypical taciturn badass bodyguard (Bothari). (Lots of other stereotypes in this one.)
    But anyway, we agree that too many stereotypes are a valid reason to drop a book. It’s just that I know, that certain stereotypes (evil corporations, dumb rednecks to name the two most obvious) don’t register with me, whereas others I can’t stand. I assume the same is true for people on the other side of the political spectrum. And if the Hugo voting public skews left (very likely IMO) and is like me selective in the stereotypes it notices, then the consequence will be a pass on certain stereotypes whereas other stereotypes have no chance of making the ballot or winning.
    I don’t think Torgersen’s argument is actually that nuanced, but I think there’s a grain of truth to it.

  32. Mike G.,

    I seem to remember something about a NIven-Pournelle multi-book deal they ended up not being happy with (after/part of Lucifer’s Hammer deal?) and wrote at least one novel with the most ridiculous things they could justify going in (like elephants with parachutes…) in order to satisfy the contract. Don’t remember much detail, but F.A. might have been one of those….?

    PS; totally liberal leaning enjoyer of Niven, Pournelle AND Niven & Pournelle here

  33. Steve Davidson: Fallen Angels was always pitched as a homage to fandom. If there was a novel that meets your spec, it would have to be another.

  34. wrote at least one novel with the most ridiculous things they could justify going in (like elephants with parachutes…)

    Footfall has vaguely elephant-like aliens, but I don’t recall them using parachutes. They may have as part of their invasion, but I don’t remember.

  35. Aaron on June 11, 2015 at 10:35 am said:

    Footfall has vaguely elephant-like aliens, but I don’t recall them using parachutes. They may have as part of their invasion, but I don’t remember.

    I seem to remember the elephant-aliens in Footfall using paratroopers.

    I actually quite enjoyed that novel when I was a kid.

  36. @rob “I seem to remember the elephant-aliens in Footfall using paratroopers.”

    Yes, they did. Paratroopers complete with some kind of collapsing shoes to help soften the impact.

    Man, I loved that book when I was a teenager. “God is knocking, and he wants in bad!”

  37. @Maximillian
    Do you really think a Swede that knows that libel in the US is a civil suit and lives under a non-common law system is unaware that different countries have different standardstandards of evidence?

    Not even you are that stupid.

  38. @aeou “Do you really think a Swede that knows that libel in the US is a civil suit and lives under a non-common law system is unaware that different countries have different standardstandards of evidence?

    Not even you are that stupid.”

    Oh, okay then, I was trying to be polite and assume that you just hadn’t realized your error. So, then, you really did know about different standards of evidence, and your position is that hope we are just going to forget that you called someone a moron while displaying that you didn’t understand the issue? So, that is, not honest confusion, but a deliberate lie?

    And if your position is that you are always going to lie about this and just hope we forget… Does that mean that you have decided to become an SJW? ‘aeou always lies’?

  39. MaximallIan, he asked a two part question separated by a why. I told him the first part was wrong and didn’t address the second part which wasn’t just uninformed but profoundly ignorant.

    I don’t lie. If I get my facts wrong I offer a correction. I believe I have done so two or three times this far in my posting career here. I will however, from time to time, rhetoric or even metaphor.

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