To Your Scattered Kennels Go 7/6

aka Last and First Puppies

The Ultimate Roundup brings you Benjamin Domenech and Robert Tracinski, Samuel John Klein, T.P. Kroger, Vox Day, Doctor Science, Aidan Moher, Brandon Kempner, Martin Wisse, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, David Steffen, Lis Carey and Cryptic Others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Bruce Baugh and Milt Stevens.)


Benjamin Domenech and Robert Tracinski on The Federalist

“Welcome To Culture War 4.0: The Coming Overreach” – July 6

Culture War 4.0

Today we live in the early stages of that triumph, and as a small number of public intellectuals and media commentators predicted, it is a bloody triumph indeed. Culture War 4.0 brings the Counterculture full circle: now they have become the blue-nosed, Puritanical establishment. Once they began to achieve their goals and saw the culture moving their way, they moved from making a plea for tolerance and freedom to demanding persecution of anyone who dissents against the new orthodoxy in even the smallest way.

Whichever side believes it is winning will tend to overreach, pushing too far, too fast, and alienating the public.

In just the past two years, the Counterculture’s neo-Puritanical reign has made things political that were never thought to be: Shirtstorms and Gamergate, Chik-fil-A and Brandon Eich, Indiana and Sad Puppies, and don’t you dare say Caitlyn Jenner isn’t a hero.

History teaches us two clear lessons about the ebb and flow of the Culture War: first, that whichever side believes it is winning will tend to overreach, pushing too far, too fast, and in the process alienating the public. The second is that the American people tend to oppose whoever they see as the aggressor in the Culture Wars—whoever they see as trying to intrusively impose their values on other people and bullying everyone who disagrees.


Samuel John Klein on The ZehnKatzen Times

“The Sad Puppies May Have A Point” – July 6

One of the most juvenile, at least to me, of the Sad Puppies’ plaints about the trend of modern SF (you can fill in speculative fiction or science fiction, as is your wont) is elaborated by this point made by one of the leading opiners of the movement, Brad Torgerson: ….

And then it occurred to me that one of the cornerstones of this insurgency is apparently the right to judge a book by its cover. This is something that I was told never to do, that it was the sign of shallowness and unwarranted prejudice.

But then, I thought, what if there was a point to made here? Maybe I just work too hard at wanting an experience here. I mean, if I, as a consumer, should want to be guided with pretty shiny images, then who am I to complain? They do me a service, after all, in truth-in-labeling (as a liberal, I’m supposed to like that).

So, truth-in-labeling. Okay. We’ll go with that. I hold in my hand a Berkeley 1981 re-release of one of my favorite novels, written by an acknowledged master of the form, one who went on to create iconic works of SF that inform the genre to this day. But, book-by-its-cover now … okay, I see an organically-formed, liquid, almost-melting edifice on a horizon under a hot yellow sky, and that edifice appears to be a building … after all, there’s something that looks like a tiny figure standing in one of the openings (is it a window). On the whole, it looks like something Frank Gehry came up with in a fever dream.

In the sky, an eye orbits. Setting or rising, I can’t tell, but there it is. to the right of the building, a small thing resembling a misconceived volcano seems to launching a weather balloon, or maybe Rover from The Prisoner. It’s all on a purple plain resembling fused glass, with two rocks resembling rocketships in the foreground, and in the extreme foreground it appears that some poor soul has died, being embedded in the fused glass of the plain.

Needless to say, I expected a tripping-balls adventure about a science-fictional acid trip, but what did I actually get? Some lame story about an alternate past where the Japanese and Germans won WWII and divided up America between them.

Oh, by the way, here’s the book:


And, to fit the Sad Puppy profile of undeserving novels, it won the Hugo.

In 1962.

Clearly, this conspiracy has gone on way longer than any of us imaginers could have possibly imagined.

Wake up, sheeple!



Vox Day wrote in an e-mail – July 5

One of your commenters said this:

“Like the persecution they are always whining about, it doesn’t exist.  Claiming it does only makes them look foolish.”

You could read the FIVE Guardian pieces libeling me. Or the Entertainment Weekly piece, the Boston Globe piece, the NPR report, or the Popular Science piece. Note that none of them ever interviewed me, even though the Guardian guidelines require a subject to be interviewed if they are identified by name.

Note that three of the individuals on the SFWA Board were actually guilty of the charge that I was falsely accused of. I did NOT attack an SFWA member in an official SFWA forum, in fact, I didn’t even LINK to an attack on an SFWA member in an official SFWA forum. (@sfwaauthors is not the official SFWA Twitter feed, and the feed belongs to Twitter anyhow, not SFWA.) Stephen Gould, among 70 other SFWA members, did.

This is why no one on our side gives even the smallest damn about anything the other side says. We know they are all absolutely and utterly full of shit. And we also know that even when we prove something beyond any shadow of a doubt, they will not change their mind in the slightest, but will promptly move the goalposts.

We will never, ever talk to them. There is no point.



“Nerd Entitlement or: How to stop hating and accept diversity” – July 6

This phenomenon isn’t limited to gaming. Hell the term GamerGate was first coined by the actor Adam Baldwin, a man whose Twitter feed is a smorgasbord of right-wing rambling that would fit right in at a Rick Santorum dinner party. Then there’s this years Hugo Awards, which has managed to be hijacked by a group right-wing authors and their supporters calling themselves ‘The Sad Puppies’, even managing to raise the ire of George R.R. Martin. Whilst they’ve been around for a couple of years with very little effect, their sudden rise in influence has coincided with the emergence of GamerGate. And then there’s the YouTube channels that have jumped on the crazy train. I remember watching Thunderf00t videos to do with astronomy years ago. Imagine my surprise when swathes of his channel is now dedicated to bashing feminists.

It’s become a lightning rod for those who had their niche, a thing that they could call their own. Now that it’s become more inclusive they’re rallying against feminists, “Social Justice Warriors” and those who think that maybe, just maybe, having more equality is a good thing. Because everything in geek culture in the past was aimed at a smaller market to which they belonged, their sense of entitlement is so that they feel that should continue.

Do I think that the likes of Adam Baldwin gives a toss about video games, aside from being paid to occasionally be in them? No. But it helps to further their agenda and people who see themselves as victims get swept up in it.

Is there a solution to this? Can those of us who, through our fandom, hobbies and interests are inextricably linked to these people, do or say anything to turn people away from such hate? I would like to think yes. We need to support those game developers, film makers and creative types who are helping to diversify geek culture. It’s important to not be afraid to provide constructive criticism when they drop the ball from time to time.

It’s my hope that, given time, opportunists like Baldwin, the misogynists GameGate, the Sad Puppies and countless YouTubers will become increasingly marginalised. With the widespread critical acclaim of the likes of Mad Max: Fury Road and Her Story and the increasing condemnation of shows like Game of Thrones for its treatment of women, I’d like to think that perception is starting to change. Sadly, I feel that for the time being those that shout the loudest will continue to impinge on geek culture.


Doctor Science on Obsidian Wings

“Hugo voting: how, why, for what” – July 6

This is a guide intended for fans from the transformative works/Tumblr ends of fandom who are voting for the Hugo Awards for the first time.

There are two basic principles for Hugo voting:

  1. You do not have to vote in every category
  2. When you *do* vote in a category, you have to at least look at all the legitimate nominees. You don’t have to finish them, but you’re honor-bound to at least try…..


Aidan Moher on A Dribble of Ink

Aidan Moher: Well, I wear my Hugo Award on a platinum chain around my neck — Flavor Flav-style — so, that tells you all you need to know about my perspective on awards. If you got ‘em, flaunt ‘em. Life’s too short for humility.


Brandon Kempner on Chaos Horizon

“Inside the Locus Results” – July 6

My copy of Locus Magazine arrived today, and with it some interesting insights on how the Hugo nominees did in those awards. While not a perfect match to the Hugos, the Locus are the closest thing going: a popular vote by SFF “insiders” to determine the best novel of the year…..

You’ll notice that the Top 2 from the SF and the Top 1 from F make up 3/5 of the Hugo Best Novel ballot. Neither the Jim Butcher nor the Kevin J. Anderson made the Top 28 SF novels or the Top 21 fantasy novels. If you were going by Locus vote counts alone, VanderMeer and Gibson would have been next in line for nominations. Since Hugo voters have ignored Gibson since 1994 (seriously, no nominations since 1994), the 5th spot would have been a toss up between Scalzi and Bennett. Given Scalzi’s past Hugo performance, you might lean in that direction, although we’ll find out when the full nomination stats are released.


Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“Best Novel Hugo vote 2015” – July 6

I don’t have to tell you I won’t be voting for any Puppy candidates, right, so the question becomes which of the three non-Puppy candidates will get my vote. Even diminished, this is a great shortlist:

The Goblin Emperor — Katherine Addison.

The Goblin Emperor at heart is a very traditional power fantasy, about the boy of humble origins who becomes emperor by happenstance and now has to very quickly learn how to survive in a world of political intrigue he’s completely unprepared for, filled with people who either want to manipulate him or replace him with a better figurehead. It’s one of those fantasy scenarios other writers can write multiple trilogies about to get to that point, but Katherine Addison has her goblin hero confirmed as the emperor within five pages, the rest of the novel being about him getting to grips with his new job, woefully inadequate though he feels.


Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“The Three-Body Problem — Cixin Liu” – July 6

If it hadn’t been for Marko Kloos doing the honourable thing and withdrawing his nomination, The Three-Body Problem wouldn’t be on the ballot for this year’s Best Novel Hugo. And that would’ve been a shame, since The Three-Body Problem is the first translated novel to make the shortlist. The start of a trilogy, it originally came out in China in serialisation in 2006, with the novel version coming out in 2008. The English translation was done by Ken Liu, who has won a Hugo Award himself. The sequels will come out this year and next.


Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag on Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog

“Hugo Reading – Related Work” – July 6

[Comments on all five nominees]

This entire category seems like a race to the bottom. “Wisdom” is clearly meant as an insult to anyone who actually cares about the Hugos, and none of the rest are award-worthy, though some are ok or even almost good. I feel like the time I spent reading this category was completely wasted. The only thing to do with this one is vote “No Award” and leave everything off the ballot.


David Steffen on Diabolical Plots

“Hugo Short Story Review: ‘A Single Samurai’ by Steven Diamond” – July 6

“A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond was first published in The Baen Big Book of Monsters published by Baen Books.

In this story a mountain-sized kaiju has arisen in Japan, rising from beneath the land itself where the landscape had built up around it.  The monster is moving across the countryside, crushing everything in its path.  A samurai has survived its uprising where so many others haven’t by riding the kaiju as it rose up and climbing up its back even as the soil and trees and rocks shift off the kaiju as it walks.  To save Japan he has to finish his climb and find some way to kill the monster.


Familiar Diversions

“Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie” – July 6

Ancillary Justice has been on my TBR for a while, because books with prominent AI characters that aren’t evil are my catnip. Then the whole thing with the Sad Puppies and the Hugo Awards blew up. Ancillary Justice was one of two works that kept coming up again and again as one of the works most hated by the Sad Puppies, so I suppose I should thank them for reminding me I hadn’t read it yet…..


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Edge of Tomorrow, screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions)” – July 6

Groundhog Day meets every high-tech war movie you’ve seen. And, really, too violent for my tastes; I don’t do war movies. My nerves don’t handle the sound and images well. But this, honestly, is very good.

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1,887 thoughts on “To Your Scattered Kennels Go 7/6

  1. @redwombat I’ve lived in both the eastern and western U.S., so I’ve seen both, but for my money, the yellow-shafted flicker is the smarter-looking of the two. Apart from that, either one would beat any other bird in a bracket for me. How about you?

  2. One of my favorite dinosaurs: Shy Stegosaurus.

    More recently, my favorite character in the recent Jurassic film was Blue (much more in depth conflict and characterization than any of the others).

    I am grumpy that they’re marketing the velicoraptors with masculine pronouns: OTOH, that saves me some money which I would otherwise have spent and can now/have now spent on books!

  3. I thought I’d save time with a single list:
    Iguanadon – I think they look thoughtful also they are always ‘thumbs up’ like they are doing a Fonz impression
    Anathem – I think this is one of the most original SF books I’ve ever read
    Brontosaurus – back in play – wooo!
    EPH – it brings in preferencing but at the voter/nominator end of the process they just need to fill out a simple list.
    Kookaburra – a big fat drab kingfisher that has moved to Australia and just doesn’t give a f-ck. It will swoop down and grab food from people’s hand before they realize and then sit on a tree and laugh at them.
    The Baroque Cycle – the scale of it is what is impressive and to write what is essentially a SF novel with no real SF set in a historical period and in which the key technological advance is the invention of money in its modern form is very clever.
    AV/Instant run off – a simple and elegant way of preferncing for a single position
    Cassowary – last of the terror birds. They don’t think dinosaurs should stop terrorizing others.
    Crow – I like to try and look crows in the eye and then as they look back say ‘clever girl’
    STV – delivers proportionality and local representation
    Cryptonomicom – clever and insighful
    First Past the Post – straightforward, everybody can follow how it works.
    Reamde – it needs more actual jokes but it is essentially a very clever technological farce.
    Australian magpie – I like European magpies because they steal stuff but the unrelated Australian magpies attack people.
    The Diamond Age – essentially whatever the opposite of steampunk is.
    Dodo – they look like a cartoon character
    Snow Crash – pizza
    Ostrich – they are cool
    Zodiac – if only for the character’s theory of intoxicants based on chemical simplicity
    Kiwi – New Zealand had an opening for a small insectivorous mammal but none applied for the position. Hail to the kiwi the only dinosaur that wants to be a shrew when it grows up.
    Electoral College- all the disadvantages of first past the post but with all the obscurity of STV. A kind of evil genius.

  4. …but the unrelated Australian magpies attack people.


    This checks out.

  5. I am also fond of talking to crows.

    One of the neatest sights for me, in recent years, was the evening flock flying overhead, for minutes, with no end in sight in either direction. I watched the younger crows playing — dodging each other, swerving through the crowd of crows, just like kids — and older crows just flapping on, fer crying out loud kids, let’s go already. It was awesome.

    Many years ago I had a cat — a Maine Coon — who was allowed outside. She came back one day with a Yellow-Shafted Flicker, carrying it down the hill towards the house as it pecked at her shoulder. I made her let it go, but thanked her kindly for the opportunity. I’ve seen YSF at my feeders in the past weeks, along with other woodpeckers (and why are the Hairy/Downy guys such mean little birds?) and (yay) Blue Jays. The crows tend to show up at odd hours, but one was hollering at me this morning as I let the dogs out. I called out my apologies but she’d already departed from the branch.

  6. Maximillian on July 20, 2015 at 12:04 pm said:

    …but the unrelated Australian magpies attack people.


    Ah yes – the continental island that looks humanity in the eye and says “f-ck off”.
    It has taken humans millennia to learn how to live there.

  7. @Ginger
    Do crows flock where you are? I’m British and “A crow in a crowd is a rook” so corvids in flocks don’t say “crow” to me.

    This was an ingredient in an on-line spat in which an American author expounded on the mythic significance of crows on the east cosst main line and the locals not appreciating the importance of everything. I sat on my hands, but thought “rooks, dammit”, just as significant. I may have to add a little understanding to my recollection.

  8. Doire: yes, crows in North America congregate – sometimes. Usually you see a few in an area, cawing their conversations but not too close together for long, but they seem to have large group meet-ups scheduled on their calendars.

    And they’re not rooks. rooks are much more hunched and I don’t think we have them locally.

    of course, I also saw crows with grey patches in Rome, and was similarly bothered because crows here are all solid black, and they just looked wrong.

    (and Jo Walton has similar things to say about our North American thrush-things which to her are decidedly not even close to robins as she grew up knowing them)

  9. @Doire, yes, we have no rooks. Crows and ravens, depending on location, and mine is mainly crows. I’ve been watching them in this urban environment for a few years, and they flock nightly in small groups at specific locations. This large extensive flocking was around the same time of day — early evening, as the sun set — and in roughly the same location as some of the gatherings, but these crows were all flying, not settling into trees, on buildings; in other words, mobile versus sessile (if that’s a thing crows can be). I have not seen any similar flocks, but I’ve also not been in the right area at the right time.

  10. @ Will – Oh, well, for sheer glory in the North American bracket, I think the Blue Jay is badly underrated. If it was rare, we’d fight through jungles and write odes for it. For a Feeder Bird bracket, I’d vote Blue Jay.

    Prothonotary Warbler is also a helluva bird, but photos do not do justice to its radioactive butterscotch brilliance, and it mostly lurks in swamps so rarely comes to non-birder attention.

    Texas has its own stuff going on and should probably be a separate category, where I will plump for the Plain Chachalaca any day. And the male Vermilion Flycatcher, for that matter.

  11. Lenora Rose, Ginger thank you. It’s so easy to be tripped up by names with a strong association being used for something else. I can keep in mind that lifts are elevators and that the pavement isn’t to be walked along,but it doesn’t seem right that living things have, or have borrowed, another’s name.

    Off to look up corvids of many lands!

  12. Doire on July 20, 2015 at 1:46 pm said:
    Lenora Rose, Ginger thank you. It’s so easy to be tripped up by names with a strong association being used for something else. I can keep in mind that lifts are elevators and that the pavement isn’t to be walked along,but it doesn’t seem right that living things have, or have borrowed, another’s name.

    Cf my earlier comment about magpies in Australia. When an Aussie first told me of their habit of dive bombing people I assumed they were pulling my leg. Utterly different bird that just looks very similar.

  13. Soon Lee: The 2007 Hugo nomination statistics published longlists with works that got as few as two nominations, so that’s not unprecedented.

    Huh. Is that the full nomination list, do you know? Or close to it, at least? And–speaking generally, not just to Soon Lee–has anyone tried EPH on those numbers? (Or is there a reason why it wouldn’t be worth the effort?) I keep seeing 1984 mentioned, but not 2007 (though quite possibly I’m missing something, and if so, I apologize).

  14. Ravens, we got ravens… and they’re the biggest bloody birds I’ve ever seen. The only thing in my area that are almost as large are the local Redtail Hawks.

    There are three that check out the back yard from time to time. I watch from inside the house — not too sure I want to disturb them. (I’ve seen “The Birds” one too many times.)

  15. Mary Frances:tried EPH on those numbers? (Or is there a reason why it wouldn’t be worth the effort?)

    The proportions alone aren’t enough data to try EPH – you need individual ballots. You can run a set of simulated ballots that have the same proportions but a key issue would be what combo’s of works were common.

  16. Camestros Felapton: Ah. Okay–thanks. I figured I was missing something.

  17. To be fair, the Australian Magpie only attacks during nesting season. And because they are unfair, they always attack from behind.

  18. Hopefully no one did this parody already:

    I’m So Worried

    I’m so worried about what’s hapenin’ today, about the
    Hugo awards, you know.
    And I’m worried about the proposed voting changes
    in E Pluribus Hugo.
    I’m so worried about the fans today, I don’t think
    they really want to meet.
    And I’m so worried about the past mistakes that I think
    they want to repeat.

    I’m so worried about what’s happenin’ today, you know.
    And I’m worried about the proposed voting changes
    in E Pluribus Hugo.
    I’m so worried about my friends falling out and the state of
    fandom today.
    And I’m so worried about bein’ so full of doubt about
    everything, anyway.

    I’m so worried about modern technology.
    I’m so worried about how they’ll sort it all out
    about past Hugo nominees
    I’m so worried about it, worried about it, worried,
    worried, worried.

    I’m so worried about everything that can go wrong.
    I’m so worried about whether people like this song.
    I’m so worried about this very next verse, it isn’t
    the best that I’ve got.
    And I’m so worried about whether I should go on, or
    whether I should just stop.

    (pause… wait for it…)

    I’m worried about whether I ought to have stopped.
    And I’m worried because, it’s the sort of thing I don’t
    really want to know.
    And I’m worried about the proposed voting changes
    in E Pluribus Hugo.

    (longer pause… keep waiting…)

    I’m so worried about whether I should have stopped then.
    I’m so worried that I’m driving everyone ’round the bend.
    And I’m worried about the proposed voting changes
    in E Pluribus Hugo.

    (repeat ad nauseum)

  19. My fickle filking loyalties have flicked to David W! (You’re not related to Brian Z, are you?)

  20. Msb:

    @ aeou
    Did you get around to saying what you particularly liked about “Turncoat”?

    If you want to ask me: ask. Don’t go around implying I owe something I don’t. What is up with you people’s phobia for directness?

    In one line I really liked that the human became inhuman and the machine human.

  21. aeiou, In one line I really liked that the human became inhuman and the machine human.

    In that case, may I recommend to your attention Ancillary Justice? I think it manages that theme more deftly and more comprehensively. (Of course, it *is* a novel…)

  22. At the moment you would have to pay me to read AJ. If you guys hype it it has to suck.

    Also, being impressed about sex pronoun usage in this day and age… I had my fill of that when I was fifteen from stories written before I was born.

  23. At the moment you would have to pay me to read AJ. If you guys hype it it has to suck.

    Proving once again that the Puppies are far less broadly-read than the people they deride as being “closed minded”.

  24. aeiou, Honestly, if you think Ancillary Justice is about “sex pronouns” then you have no idea whatsoever what it’s about. Spoiler, here, but it’s the only way you might even give it a try. It’s told from the point of view of an AI, who can’t reliably distinguish human gender. Would you be less offended if everyone was an “it” instead? Honestly, after the first few pages you don’t even notice the pronoun thing; the pronoun thing DOESN’T MATTER.

    What it’s about is the theme you claim you love in “Turncoat”. AIs becoming human, and humans becoming AIs.

    (And if a whole bunch of people, regardless of whether I agree with their politics or cultural views, are telling me, “this is great; you’ve gotta try it”…. I’ll try it. I may hate it, but it’s worth the try. Hell, I tried the first “Left Behind” book. Didn’t care for it, but I did try it.)

  25. @aeou Cassy’s absolutely right. I thought AJ had some structural problems, but it is a unique take (a deeply nuanced take) on the human/machine question, and the pronoun question is a non-issue. If that’s “hype,” then your loss.

  26. Didn’t Ancillary Justice win some kind of award? Or was that part of the hype?

  27. @NelC: Why, I think you’re right. More than one, even.

    Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke and British SF Association. Among others.

    Of course this only means that the Evil SJW Cabal has taken over everything.

  28. NelC: Didn’t Ancillary Justice win some kind of award? Or was that part of the hype?

    Well, it won the Hugo, Nebula, Clarke, and BSFA, as well as the Locus and Golden Tentacle for Best First Novel — but clearly, those awards were all given merely because the judges and voters were impressed by its usage of gender pronouns.

  29. Where I live the crows hang out in twos and threes during the day, mostly, but sometimes of an afternoon or evening hundreds and hundreds will fly in in their ones and twos and all sit in a big tree or two and chatter and cry to each other. They must come in from miles away.

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