Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Puppies 5/5

aka The Puppy Who Mistook His Bark For A Hugo

Today’s roundup gathers together excerpts of Puppy-related thoughts from Mercy Pilkington, Paul St. John Mackintosh, Mike Glyer (who let him in here?), Deborah J. Ross, T.C. McCarthy, Kevin Standlee, Vox Day, Michael Kingswood, Tom Knighton, Lisa J. Goldstein, Jane Frank. Steve Davidson, Alexandra Erin and players to be named later. (Title credits go to File 770 contributing editors of the day Danny Sichel and DMS.)

Mercy Pilkington on Good E Reader

“The Sad Joke That Is the Hugo Awards” – May 5

Unfortunately, this year’s nominations have allegedly been shanghaied by a small collective of people under the name “Sad Puppies” and a rival group “Rabid Puppies” who are disheartened with the “touchy feely” decline of science fiction into a genre that allows gay couples and women who don’t have giant breasts to exist. The groups have garnered enough voting support to send their favorites to the top of the lists, then have seemingly been quite open about achieving their goals.

Paul St. John Mackintosh on TeleRead

“Locus Awards finalists show the power of open voting” – May 5

You’re either forced to assume that the liberal-left-loony conspiracy beloved of the Sad Puppies ringleaders extends across the entire internet – or that the SP promoters are just a bunch of histrionic opportunists who hijacked the voting process of a particular set of awards in the name of a particular ideological agenda. Which also makes you wonder what future history will make of the 2014 Sad Puppies Hugo list, if not a single one of them has made the cut in a more open ballot. Apologies to any fine writers besmirched by that comment, but in the circumstances, it’s understandable. And apologies too to the Locus Awards for casting their fantastic slate of contenders in the shade of the Hugos/Sad Puppies fiasco. All the same, people, compare and contrast.

Mike Glyer in Uncanny Magazine

“It’s The Big One”  – May 5

Does The Award Matter? The award was forged as a weapon in the original culture war—the battle to earn acceptance for science fiction itself.

Isaac Asimov gave readers a taste of the mockery early science fiction fans endured in his introduction to a collection of Hugo–winning short fiction:

“You can imagine the laughter to which we were subjected when sensible, hard–headed, practical, every–day people discovered we were reading crazy stories about atomic bombs, television, guided missiles, and rockets to the moon. All this was obvious crackpotism that could never come to pass, you see.”

….Openly campaigning for a Hugo has long been culturally discouraged in fandom, however, that old–school tradition has not survived a collision with some other significant forces. Individual authors have been forced to shoulder the publicity burdens once carried by their publishers and one aspect of gaining attention is through awards – an approach discussed by Nancy Fulda (“Five Things You Should Know About Award Nominations”) on the SFWA Blog in January 2015. Furthermore, people steeped in the social media culture of constant self–expression and self–celebration have been conditioned to feel reticence is unnatural: Why wouldn’t they recommend themselves for an award?

Deborah J. Ross on Deborah’s Journal

“In Which Deborah Learns A New Word” – May 5

Normally, this is a politics-lite zone. Growing up in the ’50s with the McCarthy nuts breathing down my family’s neck has not endeared me to rancorous public discourse. I have, however, been following PuppyGate because I know some of the folks who withdrew their stories from the Hugo ballot and/or Puppy slate. The online debate has at times been pretty vile.

One of the few delightful things to come out of this mess is a new word: Puppysplaining. Akin to mansplaining, it refers to “Explaining to you how you really have no idea how completely wrong you are about your own lived experiences.” It comes to me from Gamer Ghazi. If it follows you home, you have my permission to keep it.

Kevin Standlee on Fandom Is My Way of Life

“Scheduling WSFS Business” – May 5

Because of a comment on the File 770 web site, I find that I’d better write about the subject of when the Business Meeting in Spokane will or might consider specific items, because it would appear some folks are taking this spot as the journal of record on such things.

Parliamentary Neepery about Business Meeting SchedulingCollapse )

So it’s possible for the meeting to put off consideration of proposals until Day 5, the morning after the Hugo Award Ceremony. How could it do this?

Agenda-Setting MechanismsCollapse )

I hope this explanation makes sense. It gets into a number of the finer points of parliamentary detail, but given the complexity of the tasks we may fact this year, I think it important that people understand what tools they have at their disposal.

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Bi-discoursality” – May 5

The interesting thing about rhetoric is that it makes no sense to those who are limited to the dialectic. I didn’t fully grasp the way it worked until reading RHETORIC for the second time. It can be bewildering when people tell you that they have been convinced by something that you know can’t logically have persuaded them. In such cases, you know they have been persuaded by rhetoric, not facts, reason, or logic.

I wouldn’t expect an individual who only speaks one form of discourse to be any more able to follow me into the other than if I abruptly switched to speaking Italian or French after beginning in English.

For example, this was written for dialecticals. Rhetoricals only see “blah blah blah, I’m so smart, blah blah blah, Aristotle” and scan through it seeking to find some point of attack they can use to minimize or disqualify me. And if they can’t, that’s when they strike a bored pose or return to the snarky ad hom.

Michael Kingswood on Magic, Swords, and Laser Beams

“Myke and Brad” – May 5

Look, I’ve had to set fellow officers straight before because they were messing up.  Mostly those junior to me, occasionally a peer, and once or twice more senior officers, up to and including my CO.  It’s part of the job, and expected: forceful backup is a primary tenet of submarine operations.  So I have no issue with one officer correcting another.

That said, there is a way to do that sort of correction, and I do take issue with the nature, style, and content of Myke’s open letter.

The entire letter is condescending, and lacking in professional courtesy or respect.  Does he honestly think that Brad doesn’t know that, as an officer, he has a duty to all of his men, regardless of their personal situation?  Or does he just think Brad knows but doesn’t care?  Brad’s been doing this for a long time now.  I think he gets it.  And who the hell is Myke to lecture anyway?  He doesn’t work with Brad, doesn’t serve with him.  They’re not in the same chain of command, and neither has authority over the other.  Has he ever observed Brad’s professional behavior?  If not, he’s just speculating not even based on hearsay, and has no standing to judge or cast dispersions.

Tom Knighton

“An Open Letter to Myke Cole” – May 5

Dear Myke,

As a veteran who is now firmly ensconced in civilian life, I’m writing you to discuss your open letter with CWO Brad Torgersen.  This is not to defend Brad’s comments, because there is nothing I feel like defending.  Brad was out of line, and I think he knows that.  One thing I agree with John Scalzi on is that being gay is not anything to be ashamed of, so there’s no reason it should be categorized as an insult.  Thus far, we are in agreement.

However, you chose to address this issue in an open letter.  In and of itself, this wouldn’t normally be an issue.  Open letters are quite common in this day and age.  However, you opted to do so as a commissioned officer who is addressing a warrant officer.  This is where I must take issue.

You are a commissioned officer, a lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard Reserves.  You are addressing a warrant officer in the United States Army Reserves.  In essence, you are addressing a junior officer in a different chain of command.  As you are an officer, one would assume that somewhere in your training, you were instructed in how to address junior personnel while counseling them in matters such as proper execution of their duties.

If you were, then I am quite sure that the Coast Guard instructed you similarly to the way the Navy instructed me in such matters.  Simply put, you handle stuff like this behind closed doors.  A private message, an email, something.  You address it directly and privately and, if that doesn’t resolve the matter, you address it with his chain of command.

However, that’s not what you did.  Instead, you opted to put your disagreement with Brad’s comments out in public.  Again, had you done this as one writer addressing another writer, then so be it.  You didn’t.  Like most other things on your website, you couched it all under the color of your own uniform and did so publicly.

Font Folly

“Visions and Ventures: why I love sf/f” – May 5

As an adult, I’ve been attending sci fi conventions for decades. I’ve even been a staff member at a few. I’ve had some of my own tales of the fantastic published, even though most of my published stories have been in fanzines and other small semi-pro publications. I’ve had the good fortune to be the editor of a fanzine with a not insignificant subscriber base. I count among my friends and friendly acquaintances people who have been published in more professional venues, people who have run those conventions, people who have won awards for their sf/f stories and art, even people who have designed some of the trophies. Not to mention many, many fans. I have even occasionally referred to that conglomeration of fans, writers, artists, editors, and so forth as my tribe.

All of that only begins to scratch the surface of why I find the entire Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies mess so heart-wrenching. Yes, part of the reason the situation infuriates me is because the perpetrators are all so unabashedly anti-queer. For this queer kid, sf/f and its promise of better worlds and a better future was how I survived the bullying, bashing, hatred, and rejection of my childhood. To find out that there are fans and writers who so despise people like me that they have orchestrated a scheme whose ultimate goal is to erase us goes beyond infuriating.

Wikipedia  entry on “Science Fiction”

A controversy about voting slates in the 2015 Hugo Awards highlighted tensions in the science fiction community between a trend of increasingly diverse works and authors being honored by awards, and a backlash by groups of authors and fans who preferred what they considered more traditional science fiction

Sappho on Noli Irritare Leones

“The flames of the Tigers are lighting the road to Berlin” – May 5

This year’s Hugo Awards have proved more controversial than usual, with the sweep of several categories of Hugo Award nominations by two slates known as Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies.

I don’t mean this to be a post about Puppies. If you want to know more about puppies, you can check out the blog of, well, almost any science fiction author right now, or Google “Hugo Awards 2015? and look at all the Puppy posts and articles. But the debate about Puppies raised a meta-Puppies point that interests me: the relationship between politics and art.

You see, two things are true, at the same time. The first thing: Art has always been, and always will be, political, and in the sense in which “politics” is being discussed here, politics can’t be extracted from art. The second thing: What Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns, and Money likes to call aesthetic Stalinism – preachy message fiction where the message overwhelms the story, and preachy reviews that evaluate books, movies, music, or other art solely on their political implications – is really, really annoying.

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot Continued: Short Stories” – May 3

The next story up is “Totaled,” by Kary English.  English is the only woman to make it onto the ballot in the writing categories (short story, novelette, novella, novel) from the Sad Puppies’ slate, although another woman, Annie Bellet, made the ballot but withdrew her story from contention.  Elsewhere the Puppies tout the diversity of their nominees, but their record in this slate is pretty terrible, at least concerning women who write.

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 3: Short Stories” – May 5

The story after Diamond’s is John Wright’s “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds.”  Wright’s style here is deliberately archaic, in a stately, somewhat pompous, King James Bible vein, and for the most part this serves him fairly well.  Every so often, though, he will stray from purple into ultraviolet and become lost to human ken.  What, for example, is one to make of “All about the walls of the city were the fields and houses that were empty and still,” which seems to have one too many “were”s in it?  Or a description of leaves as “wallowing”?  Leaves may do a lot of things, but I’ve never seen one wallow.  And then sometimes Wright will leave this style altogether and use words King James would have a hard time recognizing, like “sangfroid.”  The effect for this reader at least is to be yanked, hard, out of the story.

[There should be a law that anyone who wants to write in this style has to read Ursula Le Guin’s essay “From Elfland to Poughkeepsie.”  Sorry, no exceptions.]

Jane Frank on Amazing Stories

“The Artful Collector: On the Topic of ‘Puppies’ from a Former ‘Loser’” – May 5

And It’s not that attempts to skew Hugo outcomes have been solely the province of that literary set.   Lobbying to get certain (overlooked) artists on the ballot has been attempted, as well. In years past I’ve been approached to participate in these efforts, to garner support (assuming I had such influence!) from other voters I knew, and get them to nominate one artist or another. I guess I was seen as the perfect lobbyist for such a cause, considering I was then selling original art for such well –known (but never nominated) artists as John Berkey, Paul Lehr, Darrell K. Sweet.  To name just three  . . that never enjoyed that honor during their lifetimes.

Not that such efforts would have been without merit, or weren’t well-intentioned. But even I – an outsider who actually never minded the objectification of women AND men on the covers of books and magazines (how else are you gonna get young men to READ, duh?) – knew enough to know that such lobbying was simply NOT DONE.   Voting has always been an individual thing – and I never had any interest in influencing the votes of others. Indeed, I have always been able to act as has been suggested by others. That when I wasn’t familiar with the work, if I hadn’t read the story, if I never heard of the artist, saw the TV episode or movie, I just didn’t vote for it.

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“OMG! That SJW Fannish Cabal is WAY Bigger Than They Thought!” – May 5

So lets get this straight.  Locus Magazine publishes the final ballot for this year’s Locus Poll – a poll of the readers of science fiction and fantasy, one that costs nothing to participate in*, one that doesn’t require special membership in a special organization, a poll of the READERS rather than just a poll of those nasty liberal WSFS Trufans and Message Fictioneers, a poll presumably participated in by the folks who really count – consumers!, the ones untainted by the crushing weight of 75 years of special cabal-think (libprog, social justice creep), the Goodread and Amazon four-star-review-unless-we-don’t-like-you crowd, the great unwashed masses of REAL FANS(tm), the folks who supposedly believe that sales figures and best seller lists are the only markers one needs to confer awards, the readers who the Suicide Puppy Squad claim want nothing more than entertaining adventures  (weirdly homoerotic broad chested man adventures at that) is published with NOT ONE SINGLE WORK BY A Puppy of any breed!  (Thank goodness for super lungs!)

Aaron Kashtan on The Hooded Ultilitarian

“The End of Comic Geeks?”  – May 5

This piece originated as a paper presented at the 2015 University of Florida Comics Conference. A slightly different form of this paper was incorporated into my lecture “Change the Cover: Superhero Comics, the Internet, and Female Fans,” delivered at Miami University as part of the Comics Scholars Group lecture series. While I have made some slight changes to the version of the paper that I gave at UF, I have decided against editing the paper to make it read like a written essay rather than an oral presentation. The accompanying slide presentation is available here ….

Now in other fan communities, the opening up of previously male-only spaces has triggered a backlash from the straight white men who used to dominate. The obvious example of this is Gamergate, where the inclusion of women in video gaming has led to an organized campaign of misogyny which has even crossed the line into domestic terrorism. SLIDE 6 A less well-known example is what’s been happening in science fiction fandom. In recent years, novels by liberal writers like John Scalzi and female and minority writers like Nnedi Okorafor and Sofia Samatar have dominated the major science fiction awards. SLIDE 7 When this started happening, certain mostly white male writers became extremely indignant that science fiction was becoming poiliticized, or rather that it was being politicized in a way they didn’t like. So they started an organized campaign known as Sad Puppies SLIDE 8 whose object was to get works by right-wing white male authors included on the ballot for the Hugo award, which is the only major science fiction and fantasy award where nominations are determined by fan voting. And this led in turn to the Rabid Puppies campaign, which was organized by notorious neo-Nazi Vox Day and which is explicitly racist, sexist and homophobic. SLIDE 9 And these campaigns succeeded partly thanks to assistance from Gamergate. On the 2015 Hugo ballot, the nominees in the short fiction categories consist entirely of works nominated by Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, and this has led to an enormous public outcry.

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies Review Books: THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK” – May 5


The cover of this book promises a monster, which implies there’s going to be a battle. But there’s no battle. There is barely even a monster! Just some blue gamma male wimp who begs and pleads with you to stop reading the book on every page.

Looking at the obviously inflated Amazon reviews I can only conclude that a number of weak-willed liberal readers gave in to this blue cuck’s loathsome SJW bullying tactics and stopped reading before the disappointing reveal. Of course this doesn’t stop them from lavishing it with glowing reviews. These people care only about politics and demographics, not merit or value.

Well, I read it all the way to the end. The last thing you want to do is tell this red-blooded American he mustn’t do something or shouldn’t read something because I believe in the first amendment and I will read whatever the hell I want.

474 thoughts on “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Puppies 5/5

  1. Slow clap to Alexandria Erin. That’s the kind of writing snark I expected towards this nonsense.

  2. I’m trying to read everything I can before the packet is released, so I won’t have as much work to do before the final voting.

    So far I’ve read 4/5 of the short stories. I’ll have to wait for the packet for A Single Samurai (which is a very cool title, so it gets bonus points unread, IMO).

    I’m trying to get through the novellas next. First up is One Bright Star to Guide Them.



    I greatly enjoyed this story. It is well written and an easy read, despite the flowery language Wright likes to employ.

    Essentially, it is a take on the CS Lewis’ Narnia series, only dealing with the children 40+ years older. One is dead, another fearful and a third corrupted, but the fourth (Thomas) keeps faith (mostly). He has several fast paced mini-adventures, all heavy with Christian overtones, and ultimately encounters a servant of the Enemy, the Knight of Shadows.

    Though the story focuses on middle aged Thomas (complete with his hesitancy and doubts- I wonder if “Doubting Thomas” inspired the author in naming the protagonist), it is deeply layered world. There is the modern world, a parallel “Fairy Land” which we never see but is described from the now-adult childhood memories, references to other worlds (dimensions) and, for the sci-fi fan, worlds out among the stars. I can’t help but think that John C. Wright sketched an entire world-verse for his characters to play in, when and if the mood ever took him.

    Like a lot of John C. Wright’s work, there is a heavy Christian influence in the novella. And, in the end, despite there being an entire world of evil that is in need of confronting, Thomas’ battle is a very personal one. Victory was assured if he kept faith. The question is whether he would do so. Early signs in the novella were not good, as earlier on Thomas lack of faith saw his corrupted friend doomed (see the reference to Doubting Thomas). I won’t spoil the ending, but Thomas is not action man by any means. He’s just a guy who had a lousy job thrust upon him as a bright, sinless child and again as a world weary adult.

    There is also an alternative possible take in the novella. It can be read that Thomas is mentally ill and delusional. There are references to depression, despondency, delusional thinking, etc. Thomas starts as an up and coming businessman talking to a cat while intoxicated, and then six weeks later is dressed and looking like a homeless person. This thread is present, but it is left to the reader to take from it what he or she will. I, for one, am taking the more hopeful message.

    My summary of the message- evil is pervasive and ever present, but if one keeps faith and never lets go of hope, then anything is possible.

    Highly recommended.

  3. “Puppysplaining.”

    That is a PERFECT word for so much of the online rhetoric I’ve waded through in recent months.

    (I was using a more profane word for it until now.)

  4. Since this is waiting in the queue over at Michael Kingswood’s blog, I’ll double post my reply here as well:

    “Has he ever observed Brad’s professional behavior? If not, he’s just speculating not even based on hearsay, and has no standing to judge or cast dispersions.”

    He’s observed Brad’s public behavior. And so did everyone else who read Brad’s post and “retraction”. This isn’t hearsay, Brad wrote it down and signed his name.

    See http://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/05/04/id-rather-like-men-than-to-be-a-sad-puppy/

    And as I understand it, there is no distinction between public and professional life for officers. If there was, then the issue of homosexual behavior wouldn’t have come up in the military in the first place– after all, there shouldn’t be homosexual activity taking place on duty, only off duty, same as with heterosexual activity.

  5. Mike Glyer, in the article above, doesn’t seem to realize that either he’s a union man or a scab for J.H. Blair. (LOL.)

    The Sad Puppies began as a gag and they didn’t drink their own kool aid until other folks acted like there was a savage horde amassing at the gates. If we keep pushing it might actually convince them they are crusaders for truth and justice, not fans reading amusing yet pretentious author blogs.

    Take the supposedly simple, “neutral” change of restricting people to making three nominations. Wouldn’t puppies be forced to stick to their guns and pick Correia, Torgersen, Wright, or whatever Big Three is up next, without being as open to authors they are less familiar with? All of us can rattle off our top three – thinking about a 4th and 5th makes nominating really interesting. How could eliminating that be helpful?

    The Danegeld analogy falls short because they are not ravaging raiders and we are not kings of the realm.

  6. Mike, regarding your Uncanny Magazine article description of the Hugo Packet:

    I’d like to point out a minor correction for “John Scalzi invented the concept in 2006” as John Scalzi himself is careful to say that he is “the guy who created the Hugo Voters Packet in its current form”.

    Michael A. Burstein mentions earlier versions here:

  7. One mans wonder is another mans utter crap I suppose? It might be because I’m English but that was the worst of his set, the closest I can describe the sensation of reading it was watching Dick Van Dyke ‘nail’ a cockney accent in Mary Poppins.

    Apparently Van Dyke was proud of his accent too.

  8. Brian, statistically speaking people aren’t nominating 5 so the point is moot. The reason to do it is to make slates less effective as a mechanism for delivering the desires of a minority with a following. Looking at the crap this year that’s a good thing in my opinion.

    I’ve now read pretty much all the short fiction and Totalled aside, it’s the worse selection I’ve ever seen up for Hugo’s in several categories.

  9. Just to recap the numbers, for short story last year, each voter nominated .66 unique works each, compared to each voter nominating 1.01 unique works in 2009….

    I’d also point out that this year one of the slates nominated the same author for multiple slots in the category. As I’ve read the stories which, charitably speaking I didn’t think we’re very good, I don’t think they were there on merit. But now we’re rehashing the same tired arguments.

    The slates have been dreadful, the quality of the works on them low and this year the Hugo’s will be a sad shadow of what they usually are.

    I’ll end with. A Hugo packet is not a right, it is a privilege granted by publishers.

  10. Brian: the changes aren’t neutral, the changes are anti-slate.

    I’m not sure about everyone, but I am prepared to declare that almost everyone who isn’t a puppy is opposed to slates.

  11. “One Bright Star to Guide Them” was not my kind of story. I got irritated from the beginning. I mean, who (apart from Wright) talks in sentences like this?

    ““Why … why … It’s Tybalt. You must remember. That summer we found the well of the nine worlds. When I held up the key, and Penny said the rhyme she’d found in the old book of Professor Penkirk’s. One brave soul to hold the key,
    remember the rhyme? The rainbow came in the mist above the well, and we followed it to Vidblain, and we saw the ships of Lemmergeir sailing in the tide below the Tall White Tower of Noss. We saw the swan ships sailing from the Western Sea, from the Summer Country. You remember, Richard, you must. It
    was you who found the shining Sword trapped in the roots of the Cursed Black Oak in the middle of Gloomshadow Forest, where none of the Fair Folk could go. The badger’s family helped you. None of the servants of the Winter King could draw it; it burned their hands. That’s how we found out that old woman was an ice maiden in disguise. It was all just as the rhyme in Professor Penkirk’s book foretold.”

    It is just crazy. People would have fallen asleep around him or left the room. It is like all the action is just pressed in silmarillion-like sentences, everything in the past. Someone reading from a randomly picked page in a history book. Boooooring!

    Let people be part of the action instead of just talking about it.

  12. “Notorious neo-nazi Vox Day”? Good God. Just keep throwing bones under the bridge to the troll, folks. The cracking and marrow sucking gets a little loud, don’t you think?

  13. MickyFinn at 11:23 pm:

    Surely the Puppies will also be opposed to slates? Any rule change that makes it harder for a secret cabal, clique, conspiracy to dominate the Hugo nominations is a good thing right? I mean, isn’t that what the Puppies are fighting against?

  14. “statistically speaking people aren’t nominating 5 so the point is moot”

    Daveon, then maybe WSFS picked the number 5 for a good reason and we should pay more attention to it when we nominate? I mean that seriously.

    MickyFinn, I’ve seen the term neutral used by some so I put it in scare quotes. Yes, it is anti-slate.

  15. And I have a real problem with Wrights worddiarrhea in ““One Bright Star to Guide Them”. I mean, I read his Orphans of Chaos before and, while I weren’t really that interested in the story by itself, it had none of the problems with drowning out absolutely everything of interest in an abundance of unecessary words.

    Don’t know what has gotten into him. Is this something new or has he always written in this style, OoC being the exception?

  16. Don’t know what has gotten into him. Is this something new or has he always written in this style, OoC being the exception?

    Well, you could always blame the editor in this case for not doing a good job of reining in authorial excess. Now who was the editor again…?

  17. Wow, that “Bright Star” fragment has about 15 different proper nouns in 13 sentences. Maybe it makes sense in context, but holy infodump, Batman.

  18. Hampus: It might have been a consequence of consciously imitating CS Lewis’s authorial voice. I read OoC as well, a long time ago, and haven’t seen anything from him until the Slatening. I have read a few of his short stories from this years slate, and he varies the style he is writing in, although for the most part he could do with an editorial pass looking just to correct for when the authorial voice drifts styles.

  19. Hampus Eckerman @ 11:36 pm

    Considering that it was one of the expanded stories, one wonders if the additional words were not added just so the story can become eligible. The fact that all this verbiage made it a novella may had also been a bonus…

    But then I have a lot of troubles with Wright’s writing because of his habit (in the few things of his I had read) to never use a word when he can use 11 (and not in the lyrical way that makes some overwritten stories readable or in the precise way that makes all those words integral part of the story) so… it may be just him being himself.

  20. I also had a problem with Michael Kingswoods text above. Specifically with the sentence that “the teasing that goes on between military personnel can be brutal. It’s part of how people relieve stress, and not meant to be hurtful, but it can be intense and covers most any topic”.

    As I see it teasing is ok, but there are some things you don’t tease others about. The newly divorced wife. The dead sister. Mom. And someones sexual identity.

    The point is that the sexual identity is not something on the surface. It goes right down to the core of your personality. To joke about someones sexuality as something bad, it is just another way of saying that they *as persons* are not accepted. There is a reason why the suicide rate for gays are higher than the norm, not to talk about the one for transexuals.

    So please, stop teasing persons in a way that denigrates their sexual identity. They get enough of that. You might not mean it to be hurtful, but it is.

  21. Soon Lee: Far be it from me to decline any credit the 1996 Worldcon deserves 🙂 but John Scalzi invented the Hugo Voter Packet as defined by (1) full text of numerous works, and (2) distribution only to Worldcon members.

    Prior to that, there were a number of writers or publishers who would post full or partial text of work online, and persons who would curate lists of those links. And anybody on the internet had access to the material.

    For the 1996 Worldcon online work was spearheaded by Chaz Boston-Baden (and the Hugo administrators were David Bratman and Seth Goldberg). They wanted to host or link to as many nominated works as possible, but how many they actually collected is an open question. The Wayback machine capture of the 1996 Hugo nominees page doesn’t contain very many clickable links. (Not that we’d expect to pull up the text after almost 20 years, but if there isn’t a live link on the L.A.con III side it doesn’t encourage the idea that the nominee was ever available.)

  22. Brian Z: Ah, you’re confused by the conflation of neutral (applied equally across all people involved) with neutral (applied with absolutely no impact).

    The proposed changes are all intended to reduce the impact of slates. Any slates. Pushed by any people or groups. I’m not sure why you’d have an issue with that.

  23. MickeyFinn, I think I do understand how the word neutral has been used, but thanks for the further clarification.

    “I’m not sure why you’d have an issue with that.”

    Nobody has an issue with the concept that a slate chosen by a small minority should not dominate the ballot. As Soon Lee pointed out, Sad Puppies explicitly want slates to have less influence. I’m sure deep down even Vox Day secretly cares about the future of the genre and would like to see the awards eventually return to rewarding excellence once he exacts his revenge or whatever.

    However, there is a point to having five nomination slots. It allows a community of avid readers to stretch their minds. Three is easy. Five challenges you to really think about what you want to pick. Also, look at Chaos Horizons: a lot of Sad Puppies probably voted for two or three of Brad’s picks (don’t rule out the possibility that they did it because they liked them) and picked something else for the remaining slots. The behavior Vox Day encouraged is sketchier, sure,but they will always be a small minority, and they can be neutralized if more people take the task of nominating seriously.

  24. Micky, We have asked Brian this but he won’t say. Every time it “don’t make necessary changes” and nit-picking what people say without addressing any of the consequences.

    Brian, a challenge. Please state your preferred system of nominating and voting and lay out for us how it fixes the perceived problems of slate voting. If it doesn’t, why we should be okay with this.

  25. Tintinaus: I did notice that up the top that he was mostly worried that the puppies wouldn’t have space to think up extra nominees after nominating “Correia, Torgersen, Wright, or whatever Big Three is up next”. He glosses right over the fact that they didn’t have to think up extra nominees this year, VD and Brad selected those for them. Perhaps, if they wanted to stretch their minds, they could try, oh I don’t know, not bloc voting?

  26. Tintinaus, I feel like I’ve been pretty clear from the start. I’m not yet convinced it is desirable to make any knee-jerk rules change. Lots of people are motivated to nominate and vote, which has the potential to solve the problem of a small minority having too much influence because they voted a straight ticket. If people participate more and it doesn’t get better, then sure, back to the old drawing board.

    The “nominate three” rule has been discussed on this blog, and I simply offered my take on it. This is all just my opinion as someone who has been to a small number of WorldCons, watched them carefully from a distance for many years, and only infrequently took the trouble to get involved in the Hugo Award. I want to change my own behavior by participating more actively, and it is great that others are also motivated to do so. I find it more constructive focus on that aspect and not so much on defending the status quo from outside threats.

  27. “He glosses right over the fact that they didn’t have to think up extra nominees this year”

    That was not my point at all. Whatever the Sad Puppies did (and we won’t know more until August), isn’t it a good thing for you and me and the people who in your opinion are good faith voters to stretch their minds? And would you rather sharpen the (currently fuzzy) lines dividing different groups in fandom by limiting people to three choices, making it a little bit harder for something everybody loved (say, The Three-Body Problem) to rise to the top?

  28. @Mike Glyer: L.A.con III was awesome sauce.

    When I suddenly took you and your wife out to lunch at Bucconeer, two years later, out of gratitude for your and the many other volunteers’ work, you both looked like you were worried there was going to be some horrible catch, like maybe I was going to autotransform into an Amway salesman. I hope you were able to enjoy the meal. I did. But not nearly as much as I did your Worldcon.

    Rick Moen

  29. Brian Z:

    As The Three-Body Problem couldn’t have been nominated without a candidate resigning, I fail to see how a limit on nominations would make it harder to be choosen. It can’t be harder than not being chosen at all.

  30. Brian Z: “Whatever the Sad Puppies did (and we won’t know more until August), ”

    This is not reflective of reality. We know what they did. We know *in some not-insignificant* way what the impact has been – some half-dozen categories – the short fiction ones and the editor ones – where there are nothing but slate candidates.

    Based on that, it is entirely reasonable for people to begin thinking of, and drafting proposals to dilute, if not defeat, slate nomination tactics. And keep in mind that Worldcon’s own process, with it’s multi-year enforcement timeline, endure that nothing is rushed into to the degree that you are implying.

  31. Hampus, that’s not quite what I said. If there is a three pick rule, something like TBP – another work with fans in all camps in what is becoming a splintered community – might have more trouble getting near the top in future.

    Look, if more people are motivated to read and nominate, it diminishes the threat of the return of the puppy peril. On the other hand, if 90 percent of eligible voters feel too apathetic to even nominate in most categories in future, well… that 90 percent might look in the mirror and ask if they might have helped bring this on themselves while setting their alarm to wake up in time for the business meeting. (Not trying to lecture anybody here, just responding to questions.)

  32. snowcrash, I mean we don’t know how money Sads voted in lockstep. Yes, do draft proposals to dilute slates. I’m just offering my reactions to some of them.

  33. Brian Z: The SF Community has always been a splintered community. In thousand small parts. That is the good part. It is the blocks that scare me.

    And I have no idea what you mean with the line “if 90 percent of eligible voters feel too apathetic to even nominate in most categories in future”. Do you mean that being able to nominate only three candidates instead of five would make 90% of all persons in fandom drop out from voting? Or what do you mean?

  34. “Based on that, it is entirely reasonable for people to begin thinking of, and drafting proposals to dilute, if not defeat, slate nomination tactics.”

    There is one thing and one thing only that will work. Ban supporting memberships. And even then, you’ll merely return to the days of log-rolling where the whisper candidates who have manufactured “buzz” dominate.

    Notice that the difference between 2009 and 2015 is 1.01 unique works to .66. That doesn’t mean slates are a problem. That means you had a problem before the slates existed.

    In the game industry, very smart people spend a lot of time attempting to anticipate very smart griefers. In 25 years, I have never seen a system that will stop them cold without constant management and post-release tweaking. I’m designing a system for a technology company right now that has multi-level monitoring-and-response built into the system for precisely that reason.

  35. Hampus, no, I mean that I people may finally feel motivated to nominate, for a change, after the current controversy.

    For example: this year, all members of Loncon, Sasquan and MidAmeriCon II were eligible to nominate, but in a typical short fiction category there were scarcely more than a thousand ballots. Less in editor and fan categories.

    Hey, since there was a challenge to come up with a rules change, I’ve got one: compulsory voting to qualify for discount rates.

  36. Brian Z: “I mean we don’t know how money Sads voted in lockstep.”

    There was enough to lockout entire categories, so I’m unclear as to why the exact number and proportion is so important to you. Can you explain how the value would affect your opinion on what action to be taken? ie, I believe some of the numerical analysis done so far puts it at a range of 160-270 Puppies. IIRC, this was done based on the difference in nomination values when a slate candidate dropped out. Can’t find the link at the moment.

    If it was this value, what would you propose? Similarly, what if it was higher/ lower?

    Also, an aside – is there any reason why you prefer the usage of the term Sads to Puppies or slates?

  37. snowcrash, by Sads I meant those who were sympathetic to Brad Torgersen’s SP3 campaign.

    I know the figures you mean, but I have to question the terminology you use here. Can you clarify why you say there are “160-270 Puppies”?

    No doubt hundreds of fans of Correia/Torgersen followed Correia/Torgersen’s wish that the slate be a recommendation only, and nominated some of SP3 picks that they liked the best plus a bunch of their own choices. Some Vox Day fans may have used slates as a reading guide and made their own decisions on a case by case basis. In both “camps,” but mostly Vox Day’s, there were some who voted straight down one or the other ticket.

    If those who currently pick up a Hugo ballot and nominate only for Best Novel or Best Dr. Who/Game of Thrones Episode would take the trouble to nominate in the other categories, more existing Worldcon members who rarely bother to nominate do so, and more fans who will not attend the next WorldCon are motivated to take out supporting memberships, such a sweep would not happen again so easily. The Chaos Horizons analysis is based on what would happen if behavior doesn’t change. That seems unlikely to me.

  38. @Brian Z: “No doubt hundreds of fans of Correia/Torgersen”

    That’s one heckuva [citation needed] you’ve got there, Brian.

    The available data, as revealed by careful parsing of how the published nomination numbers changed upon the withdrawal of two nominees, doesn’t support anything close to “hundreds” of SP nomination ballots. (At least, not to my understanding of the term. I hear “hundreds” and think of 400 as a minimum; the highest estimate I’ve seen of the combined Puppy ballots is about 300. “Hundreds” for a subset just doesn’t seem viable.)

  39. So wait — The Puppies are throwing their weight behind the “Washington DC in 2017” WorldCon bid? Why?

    Wouldn’t a DC site mean that WorldCon would be in the USA three years in a row? I thought the site was supposed to alternate between the US and elsewhere.

    Out of fairness to WORLD science fiction fandom, I think Helsinki in 2017 is a much better choice.

  40. Brian Z:

    As far as I have seen, the Sad Puppies seem to been a smaller group than the Rabid Puppies. And the two groups together were maybe 200-250 during the nomination process. Just scroll back to earlier blogposts and you can find the data this is grounded on.

    If it only was the Sad Puppies, we could have ignored everything. They wouldn’t have been able to make much of an impact on the ballot. The problems were the troll squad of the rabid puppies.

  41. I vote for Helsinki myself. Perhaps we could visit Castalia House at the same time? Thought the Puppies would like that. It is not that far from Helsinki.

  42. @Brian Z:

    Since I’m asking you for a citation, here’s mine. Keep in mind that this link is crunching the original numbers, not the post-withdrawal adjusted numbers – but even so, the estimated total “weight” of both Puppy campaigns is between about 150-360 ballots.

    I’ll go out on a limb and predict that when the full numbers are released after the ceremony, the high end will be a bit lower; I believe the maximum will prove to be about 300 ballots. But that’s a gut feeling; I could well be wrong.

  43. Peace Is My Middle Name — presumably so that they can flood the con with US Puppies and Gamergaters, or threaten to.

  44. First, what I said was Correia/Torgersen fans – not slate voters – casting nominating ballots probably numbered in the hundreds. We know a bunch of their fans were Hugo voters already, since both authors have gotten nominations, right? People are perfectly capable of voting for their favorite authors, or even checking out the author blogs to see what they liked and considering that stuff too, without voting in lockstep. OK?

    “If it only was the Sad Puppies, we could have ignored everything.”

    Yes, that is an important point.

    We just don’t know the exact number of lockstep voters. Nor do we know if those two “slates” will be so similar again next year, if there will be additional competing slates (or fewer slates) next year, or if the behavior of those who voted in lockstep this year will change. Pouring yet more vitriol over them might be one way to goad them into doing it again, though.

  45. NelC:

    Nah, they don’t want to flood the con. They want to create a kickstartercampaign to send 3-4 puppies to the Con. There they will walk around with puppy-tshirts, gamergate flags and try to disrupt panels. Try to annoy as many people as possible. When they are thrown out, they will scream about censorship.

    Has been done before.

  46. Post-Breivik, Helsinki, like the rest of Scandawegia, is far less forgiving of some of the Rabid Puppy fellow travellers and leaders. I suspect that they’re aware of just how much scrutiny they’d be under there.

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