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. Amazon UK has it — THE CITY OF MIRRORS — listed for 31 Dec 2016. Whether that’s a placeholder or an actual date, who knows?

    I was very excited when I saw it had scores on Goodreads…but there was nothing actually there but people going “WHEN GODDAMMIT??!”

    Sigh. Can’t hurry quality.

  2. @Gabriel F I’m really not a fan of the idea that the setup of any book should be a slog… nor last half the book!

    My intro to fandom was the Wheel Of Time books, so my slog tolerance is fairly high 🙂

  3. All the Neutron Star stories were written in the 1960s

    The collection of that name came out in softcover in 1968. (It’s one of the first books I bought.) Worth reading, definitely.

  4. @Smade: “I’ve also always felt that Niven’s shorts were stronger than his novels.”

    Agreed, at least that the man can write a damn fine short story. I think Arthur C. Clarke beats him, but Niven’s pretty good. I was going to mention the “Draco’s Tavern” stories, but CPaca beat me to it. I’ll settle for adding The Integral Trees and The Smoke Ring to the pot.

  5. Paul Oldroyd said:

    Still can’t see why puppies don’t like [Ancillary Justice]. It’s great rip-roaring adventure SF.

    For me, it was how the book was presented, as if the gender pronoun gimmick was the reason to read the book. Meh.

    But then I found reviews calling it “space opera” and an “adventure story” so I borrowed it from the public library to give it a fair read. And… it’s entirely OK. The feminine pronoun default isn’t a gimmick but an interesting small bit of the world-building; what was interesting to was the viewpoint from a distributed consciousness, and how the Justice of Toren is reduced to a single module in a human body. 4 stars out of 5; if I’d been a WorldCon member I would not have nominated it, but I’d probably have voted for it (behind some of the other novels). (Sword this year was a disappointment, though.)

    But you asked why those fighting Puppy-Related Sadness don’t like the book. I suspect most of them haven’t read it, or said the Six Deadly Words the first time the book slogged (and it does that, especially early on).

    Try to reverse things a bit. Some people you find unpleasant are pushing some book very heavily: say (giving it a Straw Puppies recommendation), that it’s an adventure with a real he-man hero defeating evil communist aliens. And that’s the main point stressed by every review you read. On the other hand, an Internet acquaintance reads it and says the he-man is a minor character and the defeat of the aliens, who are only communist by a stretch of the imagination, is part of the window dressing of the main story—which is a decent if pedestrian SF story of the sort this friend knows you usually like.

    Really—how high up on your extensive to-be-read list are you going to put this book?

  6. introduce/feature a human called Sigmund Ausfaller

    Ausfaller shows up in earlier stories, back into (IIRC) the 70s.

  7. The line “as a color, a shade of purple” is still stuck in my memory.

    ‘As a color, shade of purple gray’ is still in mine, along with several of the other names, such as Fineline, the god of engineers.

  8. @Andy H – “If there’s a chance you haven’t already read John M. Ford’s The Dragon Waiting, there is another book that does very interesting things with its vampires.”

    The author of The Final Reflection wrote a vampire novel?!

    It must be mine! Thank you.

  9. Doctor Science – Could one of you who really liked Annihilation please talk about *why*?

    Can’t say I’m one of the ones who loved it, but I liked it just fine. The setting was mysterious, like the good parts of the early seasons of Lost where every new WTF thing just drew me in deeper. There was the kind of tension in it that you get from good horror novels where danger lurks around every corner and yet is so alien you might not recognize it. I thought the writing itself was fun to just read with the poetic descriptions of the strange surroundings. For a character with no name I thought the biologist was a well developed character who manages both to be a character that I understood the motives of and was still an unreliable narrator which is a tricky balancing act. I liked that every answer just created a world of new questions.

    I didn’t like the most of the story was inside of the head of the character as they constantly evaluated and re-evaluated their own thoughts, moods and emotions. I don’t mind some navel gazing but I wanted more Area X and less internal monologue. At the end I felt like I wanted more than what the book gave me, but I still haven’t read the rest of the trilogy.

  10. Really—how high up on your extensive to-be-read list are you going to put this book?

    Good question. My probably idiosyncratic answer is that I’ll look at, at least, the amazon sample of anything. And if something starts winning crazy numbers of awards, I’ll at least go to the library, sit down in the stacks, and give it the 25-page challenge.

    I did it this year with Anderson and Butcher, despite having written off the both of them years ago for prior books.

  11. Really—how high up on your extensive to-be-read list are you going to put this book?

    If that book liked by unpleasant people went on to win most of the awards in the genre, I would put it very high up. Good stuff is often liked by awful people. Hell, the Puppies picked some very good movies for the Long Form Dramatic category, didn’t they?

    I would point out that quite a few fans were willing to slog through the Puppy dreck to see if any of it was worthwhile, but the Puppies don’t appear to have bothered to actually read Ancillary Justice before denouncing it as all sorts of stupid things it totally isn’t. If the only reviews they paid attention to were the ones that loved Leckie’s pronoun conceit and not the reviews that went deeper than that, that’s on them, not on the book.

  12. @J. C. Salomon:

    You know, that’s all completely fair, at least up to a point. When people I don’t like are exuberantly enthusiastic about something that doesn’t sound like my style anyway, it tends to make me more inclined against a work than I would otherwise be. If the novel you describe got a decent but not stellar review from an internet acquaintance, it would end up in the middle of my slush pile, which would mean it wouldn’t get read the year of its release unless it was part of a Hugo packet.

    Here’s the point where my sympathy stops, though. I’ve seen at least a few puppies hold Ancillary Justice up alongside If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love as an example of what’s wrong with the Hugo awards. I don’t think that’s a valid reaction to a work that’s still in the middle of someone’s slush pile. I read Brad Torgesen and Vox Day and John C. Wright and Michael C. Williamson and even searched for a few panels of Zombie Nation. Heck, I read 50 Shades of Grey when I wanted to participate in debates about what was wrong with that book. If puppies want to offer a critique of the works the Hugo is rewarding, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that they’ve read most of them (or at least meaningful portions of them – I’ll give them the same right to the occasional Wallbanger and DNF that I reserve for myself), even if they greet those works without as much enthusiasm as their favorites.

  13. PJ Evans : ‘As a color, shade of purple gray’ is still in mine, along with several of the other names, such as Fineline, the god of engineers.

    And for people’s 10,000th moment for the day – two colors you can’t see.

  14. Oops, that’s Brad Torgerson and Michael Z Williamson, of course. My typing and proofreading skills go downhill as the hour approaches midnight.

  15. J. C. – Really—how high up on your extensive to-be-read list are you going to put this book?

    I rarely am dissuaded by what an internet acquaintance thinks of a book if I’m interested in it. It would probably make me more interested in reading it just to see why their opinion contradicted the reviews in order to discuss it.

    Personally I’m not a big fan of AJ. I liked the writing, it had some really awesome mind blowing ideas in it, I just didn’t like how it started with tripping over a crew member from 1000 years in the past and then bringing them and taking risks for them with despite being baggage and that the planned revenge was poorly thought out at best. I’m going to re-read it though before tackling AS and see if I still feel the same way.

  16. The author of The Final Reflection wrote a vampire novel?!

    It must be mine! Thank you.

    Ack! Wait! It’s not a vampire novel primarily. It’s an alternate history. One of the heroes is a vampire, as is one of the main villains, but the other three heroes are all human. There’s a Welsh man who’s a wizard, a younger Italian woman who’s a physician, a young Greek man whose family got on the wrong side of the politics of Rome, and a male German engineer who’s also a vampire. (They map onto the Fantastic Four rather neatly, come to think of it!) They band together to try and change the history of England.

    You should by all means read it, but although vampires and vampirism play a key role in the plot, I don’t think it qualifies as a “vampire book” as that’s not the point of it, unlike Fledgling or The Passage.

  17. Dear Gods, this thread moves fast even by File770 standards. Civilizations rise and fall, worlds spawn and die between my previous refresh and my latest; and more suns are born and then supernova in the time it takes me to catch up.

    But BOOKS!

    I am loving the discussion of Annihilation and its sequels, which were the books on behalf of which I most resented the Puppy Effect. So glad to see them win a much-deserved Nebula.

    (Apologies in advance to anyone who has already seen me gush about these books on Making Light.)

    The horror reader/writer in me loves them as a story in which Area X is itself a character, arguably the main character, but not the point of view character because, like one of the horrors of Lovecraft’s mythos, it isn’t truly knowable.

    The feminist in me loves that Annihilation‘s four on-stage (human) characters are all women in the sciences whose are, for the most part, allowed to get on with doing science without being yanked into Typical Women’s Stories. (By which I mean not to disparage stories about romance, family, children, etc. but rather to disparage the trend wherein a female characters *must* have that sort of storyline, because she’s female, and what’s the point of making her female if there’s no romance or some key plot point to do with her reproductive system?)

    Furthermore, the feminist in me loves that the biologist isn’t likeable. By which I mean, her personality is one which, while in male characters is considered “anti-hero”, in female characters is usually dismissed as “unlikeable” and “unsympathetic”. She’s antisocial, she utterly fails at relationships, she is passionately obsessed to the exclusion of all else with her job which she doesn’t even do very well (at least not by academic or professional standards). I adore her to pieces. I want badly to hang out with her at a bar, silently people-watching and enjoying the atmosphere without need to make small-talk.

    I was disappointed at first starting Authority because of the change of plot venue and main character. But the main character grew on me until I just wanted to hug him and tell him comforting lies, like, everything’s going to be all right.

    (Speaking of ambiguously awesome female characters and unconventional relationships: His mother. Wow. Just wow.)

    I also think the ending(s) of Acceptance is/are perfection. I read the final pages several times in a row before consenting to put down the book on any given reread.

    The trilogy is not for everyone. It’s not for readers who don’t have a high tolerance for unanswered questions, creeping body horror, creeping toxic fungi/mold, or certain kinds of unlikeable characters. But I adored it.

    I don’t know which is more frowned on here – very very long round-up comments, or several comments in a row? I’ll try to keep it to only one or two more comments. THERE IS SO MUCH BOOK DISCUSSION TO CATCH UP ON. I want to keep it topically organized.

  18. Maximillian: What May Tree said, re: Ford’s The Dragon Waiting. It is so many things that it’s difficult to describe–there’s an author’s note in which Ford says, essentially (paraphrasing from a book I last read close to thirty years ago) that he long believed that if Julian the Apostate had had more time, he’d have been able to “undo” Christianity (sort of) and change the course of Empire: “I have given him more time, by a means that you may be able to discern.” It’s a Richard III novel, a Wars of the Roses novel, a novel about politics and religion and science and everything in between.

    It is utterly brilliant, and I wish like blazes that someone would reprint it, or bring it out as an ebook. Or both.

  19. @Joe H.: “And as far as embarrassing post-apocalyptic books (or series), I still have a complete run of Robert Adams’ Horseclans in paperback.”

    If we’re copping to embarrassing series we’ve read, I suppose I have to confess my biggest offender: Gor.

    In my defense, a) I was a teenager at the time, b) I got most of the set in one lump as a bookstore was going out of business, and c) despite being a world-class packrat when it comes to books, that’s one of two series that I sold to a used-book store almost as soon as I finished it. (The other was LRH’s Mission Earth. I still remember feeling betrayed when I got to the end of the story and realized there were still two or three books left in the series.) I don’t count the also-discarded Thomas Covenant books, on the grounds that I bounced off of them so hard they left a dent, and thus I didn’t actually make myself read the series before reselling them.

    I dimly recall thinking the first three to five Gor books were okay – you know, an actual series with aliens, a hero, a shadowy enemy, and a plot? – but they quickly became the same two or three plots told either by a new narrator (the Captive plot) or in a new part of the world (the Travelogue). I halfway expected to see Conan of Gor happen at some point. I remember having had hopes that the SF elements would come back, but it was not to be. Frighteningly enough, there seem to have been new books in the series published fairly recently…

    Obligatory title suggestion: Canine of Gore 🙂

  20. Rev. Bob: “Canine of Gore” goes on the list. We’ll see how it fares.

    And I could use some help with the titles. A lot of what I have on the list just follows the pattern of substituting “puppy” for a noun in the title. I’m looking for a bit more of a twist than a one-word swap.

  21. @ J. C. Salomon

    Really—how high up on your extensive to-be-read list are you going to put this book?

    Depends. Did it pretty much sweep the awards? Because then I’d have to give it a whirl, because I would assume that there was some interesting twist or upending of tropes that must be amazing, otherwise so many people wouldn’t love it.

    Hell, I’ve given a lot of books outside my wheelhouse a read, or at least a few chapters, because they were well-recommended by friends or by authors I respect.

    I don’t understand the focus on gender either, when the whole point of the writing seems make gender irrelevant and instead make character all-important. I loved that.

  22. @Rachel Oh man that Wright is awesome stuff.

    [brief description of a set of costumed heroes, describing gender, ethnicity, and powers]

    What is missing from the team, of course, are any Christian White Male Adults who might act like a Father figure, a leader, an alpha male, a hero.

    Wait. What?

  23. You know, I would even buy “Christian adult male” as some sort of bog-standard conservatism, but throw “white” into the lamentation, and it is transparent racism.

  24. More Wright: “Remember, SJWs are to Liberals as Liberals are to human beings, that is: a Liberal is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, speaking soft and pleasing words about kindheartedness and sharing and eliminating private property as he approaches a human being, hoping to lull the human being to sleep, so that he might fall upon him and devour him, suck out his brains, drink his blood, crack his bones.”

    This is an evil man.

  25. >> I dimly recall thinking the first three to five Gor books were okay – you know, an actual series with aliens, a hero, a shadowy enemy, and a plot? >>

    That’s my memory, too. Up until they get to Port Whatsit, there’s an actual story going on. After that, well, I made it maybe two volumes after that and couldn’t go any further, even though I was a teenager for whom sex scenes were a strong attraction. Just…not those…

    >> Obligatory title suggestion: Canine of Gore 🙂 >>

    Houndsman of Gor
    Feral of Gor
    Pup-Kings of Gor
    Dingos of Gor
    Alsatians of Gor…

  26. What is missing from the team, of course, are any Christian White Male Adults who might act like a Father figure, a leader, an alpha male, a hero.

    Why the bloody hell do we need that demographic to fill that role? Uh, can a black guy be the father figure? A hispanic woman be the “alpha” of the team? A lesbian as the hero?

    See, this is why I will never have any respect for JCW and his ilk. That narrow-mindedness in a fiction writer is frankly stunning. Ow, my brain.

  27. “Remember, SJWs are to Liberals as Liberals are to human beings, that is: a Liberal is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, speaking soft and pleasing words about kindheartedness and sharing and eliminating private property as he approaches a human being, hoping to lull the human being to sleep, so that he might fall upon him and devour him, suck out his brains, drink his blood, crack his bones.”

    So uh… I’m Grendel?


  28. two colors you can’t see

    I’ve seen sunrises that came really really close to being blue and yellow at the same time. (It was beautiful.)

  29. Lucifer’s Hammer /really/ did not age well. Suffice to say that after the destruction of the world, the evil that rises up to threaten the ‘competent men’ consists of a vast army of cannibalistic blacks, left wing politicians, hippies, environmentalists, union agitators, and religious fanatics.

    Cannibalistics blacks. There isn’t a whole lot those two could do to cleanse themselves of that.

    Also, too: I found their fetishistic fan service which reached it’s peak in the book (whose name escapes me) in which the country was taken over by left wing pinkos and returning astronauts had to be rescued by trufen to be really, really annoying.

  30. @Laertes:

    What really tickles me is that if Wright actually wanted to read about Carol Danvers, Peter Parker, Tony Stark, or Odinson, they’re all featured in current comics. And, sure, Steve Rogers is currently aged 90, but I think everyone knows that’s not a permanent development.

    No one has snatched these characters away from him. They’re still right there for him to read about, if he actually wanted to do that instead of complaining that people who like this other set of characters have a series to read about them and make up for all the ones they’ve read that focused solely on white people.

  31. JJ: A Briard of Earthflea would hold the sound better, but it falls down as a visual without the W. Not sure which is more important.

  32. JJ: A Whippet of Earthflea

    The W does seem to matter — I like this version.

  33. @Rachel (which is her name, but I can’t say “too” because it is not mine, and this got kinda weird and unwieldy really fast, sorry about that): “in which Wright is absolutely enraged at the lack of white men in a comic (with bonus Islamophobia)”

    Yeesh. I thought his side disliked Checkbox Fiction, but here he is demanding to know why neither the White Man nor Christian boxes got checked. (And what’s all that garbage about every superhero team needing a Strong White Father Figure leader, anyway? So much fail in that piece…) Listen, JCW, Marvel’s got lots of teams and plenty of Christian White Guys. Go read whatever X-team Cyclops is leading this month, okay? You’ll live, I promise.

    That’s what irritates me about the Puppy platform in a nutshell. It’s not enough for them to have almost total domination of the field – they want it all. Any alternative has to be erased and the creators run out of town on a rail, or else it’s ERMAGAWD TOTAL SJW TAKEOVER RUN FOR TEH HILLZ! Same goes for GamerGate, too; show one playable character that’s not stacked for the male gaze, and TEH APOCCALIPS IS HEER!

    Which reminds me: now that I’ve got Abracadaver bought and downloaded, I need to put it on my e-reader and carve out some time to read it. Actually, between that, the rest of the Saving Mars series, and the next two IFICS books, it looks like the only books on my “read now” stack that don’t have female main characters are Carrie Vaughn’s Low Midnight and… hm. Lock In. Imagine that.

  34. Matt Y: Have you read American Elsewhere? I’ve enjoyed all of his books, and thought City of Stairs kicked ass, but that one s my favorite by him. It’s a fun Twin Peaks/Welcome to Nightvale/Lovecraft sort of mash up but done exceedingly well.




    I totally did not put together that City of Stairs is by the same author as American Elsewhere! Oh my goodness that book is PERFECTION. I stumbled upon Bennett’s reading at the World Horror Con in New Orleans–he read the section where we briefly see into the homes and daily routines of several of Wink’s families–and as a result his was one of the first tables at the mass signing that I sought out. I love that book so much.

    Must must must acquire a copy of City of Stairs and everything else by Bennett immediately.

    In other Nebula thoughts, I was oddly unmoved by “When it Ends, He Catches Her.” I think I must have felt the ending had been broadcast far too early, so by the end of the story my reaction was more “Yup” than “Wow.” I’m sad, though, because I’d have much rathered be joining in with the “Wow”s. I like going “Wow.” Alas, this one was not my “Wow.”

  35. >> it looks like the only books on my “read now” stack that don’t have female main characters are Carrie Vaughn’s Low Midnight and… hm. Lock In.>>

    On at least one of those…are you sure?

  36. Rev. Bob: it looks like the only books on my “read now” stack that don’t have female main characters are Carrie Vaughn’s Low Midnight and… hm. Lock In. Imagine that.

    Low Midnight! You are in for a treat. As a long-time follower of the adventures of Kitty Norville, I wasn’t convinced at first that we needed a novel from Cormac’s point of view. I figured it would be fun, but it wasn’t something I was hugely anticipating. Then I read it. I’m convinced now.

  37. Happyturtle:
    “This has just gotten too ugly for me. I had nearly completed my ballot, voting on a rather generous curve, using No Award in very few categories. But after today, I went back to my ballot and scrubbed it clean of puppies. Starting to wish I’d never heard of the Hugos.”

    Thank you for proving the puppies’ right.

  38. Reading all this about whether and in what manner Irene Gallo should have apologized for her FB post and this old joke popped into my head. No idea why.

    Scene: Ivy League campus

    Lanky tourist: Say, son, could you tell me where the library’s at?

    Tweedy undergrad: Here at Hahvahd we know better than to end a sentence with a proposition.

    Lanky tourist: Oh. Sorry. Let me re-word that: Could you tell me where the library’s at, asshole?

  39. Mike, if you ever need an alternative to “scum & villainy”…

    File 770: Come for the controversy, stay for the recommendations.

  40. Doherty should have flexed his ownership stake in Baen and punished Gallo by moving her down to North Carolina to do the covers for various Puppy partisans and favorites.

    Then everyone would have learned a lesson.

  41. Soon Lee: “File 770, that hive of ____ and literacy”?

    Can’t think of a good word to fill in the blanki.

  42. @Mike Glyer: Since you wanted suggestions…

    Doctor Woof and the Remembrance of the Hugos (a Seventh Pooch story)
    The Puppy Sci-Fi Picture Show
    Grimdark City
    Destination: Loon
    The Bionic WoMAN, DAMMIT!
    SJWs vs. Predator
    The All-Male, Never-Different X-Men
    The Strange Case of Doctor Jackal and Mister Beale

  43. @Kurt Busiek: “On at least one of those…are you sure?”

    I know LOW MIDNIGHT’s in the Kitty series, but it’s from Cormac’s POV. (Granted, there’s his “passenger,” but I understand him to be the narrator.) It’s entirely possible I’m wrong about LOCK IN, though; I was paying more attention to the concept than the characters’ genders.


    I’ve been meaning to get to LOW MIDNIGHT for a while, but I’m honestly tempted to put it off until SAVES THE WORLD comes out in… August, isn’t it?

    @Mike Glyer: (filling in the blank)


  44. Rev. Bob: “@Mike Glyer: (filling in the blank) Puns.”

    A hive of puns and literacy….

  45. Heh. Reminds me of the following I saw a few days ago (from

    * There is never a bad time for a pun.
    * There’s also never really a good time for a pun.
    * You might as well just stay braced for a pun at all times, and ride them when they come with as much grace as you can manage.
    * The fact that you can replace ‘pun’ with ‘disaster’ in the last three rules says a lot about the human race.

  46. rochrist: You’re thinking of Fallen Angels, which sucked SO VERY HARD. Ice forming on puddles at 40 or 50 degrees F. Midwesterners routinely freezing to death at 40F ABOVE zero. (We know how to put on sweaters. Which we have quite a few of in our closets, along with warm socks, gloves, mismatched mittens, scarves, long underwear, and that coat that you only bring out when it’s well below zero F) The only way to freeze to death when it’s that warm is to be a) dead drunk, and/or b) wet.) The Museum of Science and…Technology? in Chicago? (It’s Industry. Really. You can look it up. And it’s clearly that museum, because he references particular exhibits.) Major plot points around Minneapolis and Chicago fandom, both of which were and are very active fandoms that I am and was very familiar with, and NEITHER of which was represented in the book by anybody that wasn’t actually a Californian. Sometimes literally. Nor was either (rather different from each other AND FROM LA) local fan culture even nodded at.

    Why yes, I was rather annoyed at that book. How could you tell?

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