2015 Hugo Nominees Announced
April 4, 2015 12:48 PM   Subscribe

The 2015 Hugo Nominees have been announced. Notably, authors from Brad R. Torgensen's "Sad Puppies" slate have successfully secured all of the nominations for both the Novella and Novellette categories, a result which is bound to cause significant discussion.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory (2489 comments total) 74 users marked this as a favorite
 
Noah Wards is going to become a very popular selection this year, methinks.
posted by kmz at 12:51 PM on April 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


(Who the hell nominates human scum like Vox Day or John C Wright for anything?! Outside of maybe Biggest Sadsack.)
posted by kmz at 12:53 PM on April 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


Ann Leckie and Katherine Addison are both deserving of best novel.

And G. Wilson Willow for Ms. Marvel!! HELL YEAH!?!! But Matt Fraction's Sex Criminals is also damn good as a graphic novel.

I'm pleased for the most part with these selections and still have a number of books, stories, media to find and consume.
posted by Fizz at 12:57 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I believe there's an option on the ballot for "no award".
posted by sammyo at 12:58 PM on April 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


My twitter feed has been lighting up about this, and I totally don't know the backstory. This is basically gamergate types deliberately stacking the nominations with works by suitably misogynistic authors? Or something like that?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:02 PM on April 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


A total of 2122 valid nomination forms were received (2119 online and 3 paper).

This amuses me.
posted by rtha at 1:04 PM on April 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


More or less, yes. Torgersen lays out his thinking pretty clearly... SFF has gone too far from manly men rescuing dainty girls, is too PC, etc etc.
posted by kmz at 1:05 PM on April 4, 2015 [21 favorites]


a result which is bound to cause significant discussion

Is it? Why? What's going on?
posted by alasdair at 1:06 PM on April 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


I am really looking forward to seeing the actual statistics later. They pretty much hit majorities of the slates in every category they cared about.
posted by jeather at 1:07 PM on April 4, 2015


What's going on?

Have you ever seen Scanners?
posted by 445supermag at 1:07 PM on April 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


kmz, thanks for linking Torgersen's explanatory essay. It's utterly repugnant and yet entirely relatable. The cognitive dissonance I felt when I read it will be a good reminder of when I find myself about to do a stupid thing just because "that's the way it's always been done."
posted by infinitewindow at 1:11 PM on April 4, 2015 [14 favorites]


(Who the hell nominates human scum like Vox Day or John C Wright for anything?! Outside of maybe Biggest Sadsack.)

Evidence:
"I very much like women and wish them well, which is precisely why I consider women’s rights to be a disease that should be eradicated. For what is rather more difficult to dismiss are the simple and easily verifiable facts that indicate women have seldom been less able to pursue their dreams and less able to achieve their desires than today, the Golden Age of Feminism."
Also:
In June of 2013, Beale used the SFWAuthors Twitter feed to post a link to his blog, in which he referred to African-American author N. K. Jemisin as "an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature" [33] and Teresa Nielsen Hayden as a "fat frog."
So yeah, fuck this guy.
posted by Fizz at 1:11 PM on April 4, 2015 [31 favorites]


This is basically gamergate types deliberately stacking the nominations with works by suitably misogynistic authors?

More or less, yeah. I took a stab at reading the nominees from last year's Sad Puppy slate, with the best open mind I could muster. I got through a few that didn't have openly misogynistic shit going down*, but were just... not good writing. I was left wondering why they were nominated — like, surely even right-wing reactionaries can put together a story that's not repetitive, going in circles, repetitive, etc.

I'm mildly curious to see if this year's Sad Puppies are any better in terms of basic storytelling.

* Just, you know, a glaring absence of women.
posted by Banknote of the year at 1:11 PM on April 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'd also appreciate a discussion of the slate and what it means. I've got my pitchfork in hand, but I need someone with a torch to lead the way.
posted by Nelson at 1:12 PM on April 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm highly amused that Larry Correia, the originator of the Sad Puppies slate, didn't make the cut.
posted by Etrigan at 1:13 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


kmz: "More or less, yes. Torgersen lays out his thinking pretty clearly... SFF has gone too far from manly men rescuing dainty girls, is too PC, etc etc."

Oh Jesus. That is pretty fucking sad. He's all hurt because a sci-fi book with spaceships and planets on the cover might acknowledge that women and/or minorities exist?
posted by octothorpe at 1:14 PM on April 4, 2015 [31 favorites]


It's broken.

They need to fix it in such a way that is more resistant to gaming, possibly with multiple nomination rounds, or they need to give up.

There's no "maybe enough people will vote No Award!", that was tried last time and didn't work.
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on April 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Larry Correira claims to have turned down the nomination, and I see no reason not to believe him.
posted by jeather at 1:18 PM on April 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


There have been suggestions that nominations should be limited to some number smaller than total slots -- 3/5 or 4/6. Though that could only be enacted for 2017, it seems to have reasonably high support.
posted by jeather at 1:19 PM on April 4, 2015


There have been suggestions that nominations should be limited to some number smaller than total slots -- 3/5 or 4/6. Though that could only be enacted for 2017, it seems to have reasonably high support.

I'm not sure if that really gets over the problem of diffuse-but-honest votes being overwhelmed by a small number of niche-interest voters voting in lockstep.
posted by Artw at 1:22 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Kevin J Anderson already did an interview for Torgersen's site... I hadn't really heard of him in conjunction with this crap before, but it amuses me because of just how bad his writing has always been. I guess after you fuck up Star Wars EU and desecrate Dune there's nowhere to go but Sad Puppies.
posted by kmz at 1:24 PM on April 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


It pretty much forces two places to be left out of lockstep ballots because it's a lot of work to organize yourselves so that all 5 people on your slate are nominated in equal numbers. But it certainly still allows them to continue to hold majorities, it just prevents sweeps.
posted by jeather at 1:26 PM on April 4, 2015


[One comment deleted; let's not go for the actual Nazi comparisons, even though these guys are terrible.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:27 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Some basic stats (Sad/Rabid Puppy nominations on each list) are here.
posted by jeather at 1:28 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


From what I can tell, Torgersen is claiming that the latent racism and sexism in Golden Age SF are part of the pantheon of IMPORTANT IDEAS that is the hallmark of The Best SF.

So, changing the subject, if I buy a $40 non-attending WorldCon membership now (no chance in hell of me going unless there's a WorldCon in LA on a weekend), would I be able to vote for Ann Leckie or No Awards as I see fit?

This isn't something I would normally do. I don't have much time to seek out new work on my own and really rely on the reputation of Nebulas, Hugos, and author recommendations from friends and industry celebs alike. I'm not an informed Hugo voter at all— but what Beale and his ilk are doing with Hugo-packing is the flipside of Torgersen's metaphor: trying to pass off stale, processed by-products as the freshest, healthiest meal.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:28 PM on April 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


Yeah the Sad Puppy slate is bad enough, but multiple nominations for VD?
posted by feckless at 1:29 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


if I buy a $40 WorldCon membership now ... would I be able to vote for Ann Leckie or No Awards as I see fit?

Yes!
posted by Banknote of the year at 1:30 PM on April 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


[One comment deleted; let's not go for the actual Nazi comparisons, even though these guys are terrible.]

Vox Day is a an open white supremacist and does not deserve the benefit of your doubt.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:30 PM on April 4, 2015 [76 favorites]


If you wanted to, you could buy a supporting membership and vote however you like. (FYI, Katherine Addison's The Goblin Emperor also made the list despite not being on the slates.)

Voting is using IRV, where you rank whichever of the nominees plus no award. Any you leave off and do not rank are tied for last. Also whoever wins in any given category is specifically counted against No Award and has to win in a runoff using all the ballots. I'm not great at explaining this.

(Vox Day claims to be Native, so I assume there will soon be complaints about everyone who dislikes him being racist. I believe he claims this based on a DNA test he took, but am not certain of this.)
posted by jeather at 1:33 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only way I can think of to respond to this news is to post things from 2014 that reasonable people actually liked. This FPP and this Ask may be good starting points. Martin Wisse and I both read all the linked short fiction independently, and he blogged all of his reactions, recapping the results here. Here are some of the things I liked (and for the most part nominated) ...

Novels:
Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer, FSG Originals
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison, Tor
City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett, Broadway Books
Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie, Orbit
World of Trouble, Ben H. Winters, Quirk Books

Novellas:
We Are All Completely Fine, Daryl Gregory, Tachyon Publications
"Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome," John Scalzi, Tor.com
"Where the Trains Turn," Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, Tor.com

Novelettes:
"Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (the Successful Kind)," Holly Black, Candlewick Press
"The Magician and Laplace's Demon," Tom Crosshill, Clarkesworld
"Heaven Thunders the Truth," K. J. Parker, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
"The Year of Silent Birds," Siobhan Carroll, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
"The Litany of Earth," Ruthanna Emrys, Tor.com

Short stories:
"The Earth and Everything Under," K. M. Ferebee, Shimmer
"Toad Words," Ursula Vernon, ursulavernon.tumblr.com
"Makeisha in Time," Rachael K. Jones, Crossed Genres
"The Contemporary Foxwife," Yoon Ha Lee, Clarkesworld
"The Eleven Holy Numbers of the Mechanical Soul," Natalia Theodoridou, Clarkesworld
"The Floating Girls: A Documentary," Damien Angelica Walters, Jamais Vu
"The Saint of the Sidewalks," Kat Howard, Clarkesworld
"The One They Took Before," Kelly Sandoval, Shimmer
"The Unfathomable Sisterhood of Ick," Charlie Jane Anders, Lightspeed
"The Manor of Lost Time," Richard Parks, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
"Five Stages of Grief After the Alien Invasion," Caroline M. Yoachim, Clarkesworld
"A City on its Tentacles," Rose Lemberg, Lackington's
"The Fisher Queen," Alyssa Wong, F&SF
"21 Steps to Enlightenment (Minus One)," LaShawn M. Wanak, Clarkesworld
"Passage of Earth," Michael Swanwick, Clarkesworld
"Cimmeria: From the Journal of Imaginary Anthropology," Theodora Goss, Lightspeed

Best Graphic Story
Subnormality #218, "watching," Winston Rowntree, VirusComix.com
The Leaning Girl, Schuiten/Peeters, Alaxis Press
posted by Monsieur Caution at 1:33 PM on April 4, 2015 [303 favorites]


Bravo Monsieur caution! Bravo!!
posted by Fizz at 1:34 PM on April 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Is there a rule that the short form dramatic nominations need to be TV episodes? It would be nice to see standalone short films in that list.
posted by brundlefly at 1:35 PM on April 4, 2015


So, changing the subject, if I buy a $40 non-attending WorldCon membership now (no chance in hell of me going unless there's a WorldCon in LA on a weekend), would I be able to vote for Ann Leckie or No Awards as I see fit?

Yes, and let's face it these people are never going to make it out of the short list anyway, so there's that. But losing the short list to a repellent niche group is not an inconsiderable problem - and it now seems to be a cycle that we are locked into.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


ESR?!? OH FFS.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:37 PM on April 4, 2015 [14 favorites]


[Clarification: if someone's a Nazi, feel free to call them a Nazi. I'd ask people not to expand the term to just mean "assholes" in a generic way.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:38 PM on April 4, 2015 [23 favorites]


Is there a rule that the short form dramatic nominations need to be TV episodes? It would be nice to see standalone short films in that list.

Anything under 90 minutes. Short films just don't have the viewership, even in these heady days of YouTube opening access to them.
posted by Etrigan at 1:38 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there a rule that the short form dramatic nominations need to be TV episodes?

Anything under 90 minutes counts. Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast that's come close to getting on the Hugo ballot, but hasn't made it yet. And a few years ago, Fuck me Ray Bradbury, a YouTube video, got a nomination.
posted by Banknote of the year at 1:39 PM on April 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Tor Books editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden's response:
(3) Merely running a campaign to get a slate of specific people and works onto the Hugo ballot doesn’t really rise to the level of “evil”, but it’s definitely “dubious” at the very least. Which is to say, it violates a lot of people’s sense of how one ought to behave, and if you do it you’ll incur widespread disapproval. Prepare to deal.

(4) However, running a campaign to get a slate of specific people and works onto the Hugo ballot and reaching out to #Gamergate for support in this…in effect, inviting a bunch of people who traffic in violent threats, intimidation, and “SWATting” to join our community…well, that rises all the way to “downright evil”.
posted by metaquarry at 1:41 PM on April 4, 2015 [71 favorites]


Gollum's acceptance speech at the MTV Movie Awards actually won Best Short Form one year, if I remember right.
posted by kmz at 1:43 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


And the short form presentation field is relatively unproblematic, latterly because there is a large viewership for the shows involved.

Short fiction, on the other hand, is a total loss this year because the sad fact of the matter that it has a very low readership, and the few people who read it all read different things.

You know what short fiction has a slightly greater readership, and that I go out of my way to read every year? The ones with major SF award nominations.

And so we have a circular problem.
posted by Artw at 1:43 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


David Gillon has a comment on Jason Sanford's blog post that really hit home as well.

Thanks to Artw and cstross who are both nailing it on Twitter.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:44 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


So are they planning a special Lifetime Misogyny Hugo for John Norman this year too?
posted by Catblack at 1:49 PM on April 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


let's face it these people are never going to make it out of the short list anyway

What unsettles me this year is that there are categories where these people are the whole short list.
posted by moss at 1:49 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ancillary Sword was damn fine, but didn't rock my world as much Ancillary Justice, or Vandermeer's Annihilation, which I think is sort of standing in for the series as a whole. Pretty strong year.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 1:50 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


What unsettles me this year is that there are categories where these people are the whole short list.

Which is why No Awarding doesn't work.
posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on April 4, 2015


Gollum's acceptance speech at the MTV Movie Awards actually won Best Short Form one year, if I remember right.

2004. It was somewhat controversial since it beat out Firefly and Buffy episodes.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:52 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of glad that I largely do not pay attention to these horrible commentaries and quotes and insults and such. And I absolutely get that its horrible to let these horrid individuals use sexist/racist, language to disparage another person's work. It shouldn't be ignored. It's just exhausting to read that kind of shit.

I let my wallet do my talking for me and support the authors I love by buying books and stories I want to read. I urge others to do the same.
posted by Fizz at 1:53 PM on April 4, 2015


I can't wait to see James Axler's acceptance speech next year.
posted by Etrigan at 1:55 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Would have been nice to see Korra in the noms somewhere... especially because of John C Wright.
posted by kmz at 1:58 PM on April 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Torgersen's moronic analogy about how SF is no longer the SF he grew up with:
We’ve been burning our audience (more and more) since the late 1990s. Too many people kept getting box after box of Nutty Nuggets, and walking away disappointed. Because the Nutty Nuggets they grew to love in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, were not the same Nutty Nuggets being proffered in the 2000s, and beyond.
So I don't know what he was reading in those years but I'm in my fifties and I grew up in the '70s and '80s reading Varley, Moorecock, Delany, Le Guin, Russ, Disch, etc. You have to do some pretty serious rewriting of history to pretend that SF dealing feminist, gay and gender issues haven't been around at least half a century.
posted by octothorpe at 2:01 PM on April 4, 2015 [101 favorites]


A little background on this...

The Hugos are a slightly unusual award in that anyone who buys a supporting membership to WorldCon is allowed to vote in them. So... a cabal of shitty writers who, in their own words, are dedicated to fighting the "SJW glittery hoo ha crowd," figured out that they could game the award by getting friends, family members, random misogynists online, etc, to buy supporting memberships and stack the ballot in their favor. So they proceeded to do this.

It's stupid and ridiculous and mock-worthy but it kinda hurts too. I had work that was eligible this year, many many of my friends had work that was eligible, and instead of a celebration of the most popular and memorable work among fans it's just this political stunt that is painful to observe. And not only is the ballot filled with remarkably unremarkable work, it also happens to be the most uniformly male selection we've seen in quite some time. There's really no mistaking their message: Women aren't welcome in science fiction.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 2:05 PM on April 4, 2015 [97 favorites]


I can't believe they actually packed as much John C Wright as they could into the ballot. They're actually championing this ambulatory fungus because he loudly and publicly hates women.
posted by shmegegge at 2:06 PM on April 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


Wait, AND they used Gamergaters to stack the votes?!

Fuck these guys. As a regular SF reader I will never, ever, ever read their work. Ever.
posted by shmegegge at 2:08 PM on April 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


So, did Kevin J Anderson finally write a book worth reading? While his writing style is fine his grasp of science and storytelling always seemed limited.
posted by antiwiggle at 2:12 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am consoling myself with the notion that, however long this lasts, it may in some ways be their last screaming fit before they slide into irrelevance, just as they fear.
posted by kyrademon at 2:13 PM on April 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


As horrible as all of this is I keep getting stuck on this part of Torgensen's cri du couer:

     Return to the store. Buy another box. Bam. It’s not Nutty Nuggets.
     This time, you add bananas, sugar, and berries. This only makes up for the deficit a little bit.


Dang. How aware is this guy that he's characterizing his love of sci-fi as a trash binge eating disorder and he's super resentful that he has to stop feeding himself garbage for breakfast? It's always so sad when the explicit self-loathing and self-destructive motives of this kind of regressive movement slip out, you know?
posted by moonlight on vermont at 2:13 PM on April 4, 2015 [27 favorites]


A little background on this...


Thanks for taking the time to explain what the hell this is.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:13 PM on April 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Like... they LITERALLY nominated a work published by "Patriarchy Press."

Or to be more specific... what appears to be a work self-published on Amazon under the name "Patriarchy Press"...
posted by the turtle's teeth at 2:15 PM on April 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


I have some sympathy for the "Puppies" argument. As a white, straight, Western man, I can freely speak for my fellow SF readers: we got into this as teenagers because of the spaceships, explosions, and adventure. The SF bit is quite tangential.

Now, sure, there's lots of other stuff. But go and read some Atwood, Tiptree, Miéville: it's great, it addresses real questions about the human condition in the way that pulp "alien robot invasion" rubbish simply doesn't. However, it's fucking miserable and full of rape. I mean, have you read the Atwood MaddAddam series? It's brilliant, classic SF, exploring human societies at breaking point. It's also full of horrible sexual violence.

We don't want to read that. We want to have escapism and fun. We don't care about science: if we did, we wouldn't read "science" fiction that ignored biology, psychology, economics, and indeed physics (there are NO FTL DRIVES. There will NEVER BE FTL DRIVES. They are as scientific as sparkly vampires. Which are cool, by the way, I'm just contrasting with a genre that is "for girls", not "for boys" like SF.)

Really, you could just go through traditional adventures stories and give them SF window-dressing, and we'd love it. You could take the Napoleonic War HORNBLOWER series and replace all the wooden frigates with spaceships, for example, and we'd buy the shit out of it. Oh, wait, someone did, and Wikipedia tells me the series is up to 13 books and some spinoffs!

The science is there to appease our identities as grown-up, Western, post-Enlightenment gentlemen, not actually make us face the realities of what science tells us about how humans behave and the universe works: that's no fun. Robots! Pretty girls! The ability to get in a spaceship and fly away from all the bosses/school bullies/mean co-workers, to somewhere where you are special and important! That's what we want from SF. Not feminism, or science.

So why don't we just say so?

The problem, of course, is that - identity politics again - we're not women, we can't just like something, it has to be Important and Applauded And Recognised. Women can read romance novels quite happily, they don't get all outraged all the time that people don't take "their" escapist genre seriously (or they know it'd be futile, I suspect...). But being white men, our genre has to be accorded respect, even though we don't like lost of the actual good SF writers because they aren't any fun. We're in a corner because the actual good SF - fiction that explores science and the human condition - isn't what we want to read!

So we see white men mucking about with things like awards because we're stuck: our genre is inescapably sexist, heteronormative, Western and silly: when it isn't we don't want to read it, or admit it to the club, because it isn't any fun for us to read. But we won't admit that it's just "adventure stories with robots" because we like to make a claim to universalism (we think of ourselves as the universal norm, after all!) so we paint ourselves into a corner when universal stories - like, ones featuring the majority of humankind instead of us - come along.
posted by alasdair at 2:15 PM on April 4, 2015 [51 favorites]


"The book has a spaceship on the cover, but is it really going to be a story about space exploration and pioneering derring-do? Or is the story merely about racial prejudice and exploitation, with interplanetary or interstellar trappings?"

But the first set was about prejudice and exploitation too ... it just celebrated the winners. Or, you know, were just Christopher Columbus hero stories ... with interstellar trappings.

The "win" for these guys seems to be successfully destroying the Hugo's ability to recognize excellence in SFF, thus driving consumers and media to a competing award with better judgment, thereby successfully further marginalizing and reducing demand for their own He-Man space-boy pulp by undermining the market and highlighting the low quality of its products and the negative PR from being associated with it.

A strange game. No one can win.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:17 PM on April 4, 2015 [33 favorites]


More or less, yes. Torgersen lays out his thinking pretty clearly... SFF has gone too far from manly men rescuing dainty girls, is too PC, etc etc.

Did he really just defend writing formulaic predictable works? That entire essay is ridiculous.
posted by jaguar at 2:19 PM on April 4, 2015 [14 favorites]


> "How aware is this guy that he's characterizing his love of sci-fi as a trash binge eating disorder ..."

Also ... Nutty Nuggets.

Nutty. Nuggets.

Was he *trying* to make his imaginary breakfast cereal sound like it is poop flavored?

That's ... not just me, right?
posted by kyrademon at 2:22 PM on April 4, 2015 [26 favorites]


And someone just reminded me that though the Hugo folk have done basically nothing to fix this before it killed two awards categories they had all the time in the world to fix the utter non-problem of Johnathan Ross.
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on April 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Thank you for the explanation of the slate, the turtle's teeth. It makes me sad. In the middle of Powell's books sci-fi section is a big column, and on that column is a hand-painted list of all the Hugo award winning novels since the beginning of the awards. I remember wandering in there at age, oh, 17, and saying "wait, four of those books are really good; I should read the rest". And so ever since I've read a couple of Hugo winners a year. Not too fast, I don't want to use all the good sci-fi too quickly. It's a shame to see that legacy subverted by some folks with an unpleasant agenda.
posted by Nelson at 2:22 PM on April 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


I don't know how to read your comment, alasdair. I honestly can't tell if you're defending being insular and narrow minded, or trying to elicit sympathy for it, or being ironic or what.

This is likely a failing of my own, but I'm hoping for a little clarification. I know that's weird to ask for about a comment that's pretty long and descriptive, but yeah. It sounds like you're trying to point out how hard it is to be the dominant culture type and have to accept diversity, and I don't think that's a great point to make. So I'm wondering if that actually is what you're doing or if my reading comprehension has failed me.
posted by shmegegge at 2:25 PM on April 4, 2015 [15 favorites]


Can someone clarify the relationship between the "sad puppies" and "rabid puppies" slates? Is the explicit, use any tactic to win Vox Day group approved of by Torgensen's gang.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:26 PM on April 4, 2015


So we see white men mucking about with things like awards because we're stuck: our genre is inescapably sexist, heteronormative, Western and silly: when it isn't we don't want to read it, or admit it to the club, because it isn't any fun for us to read.

Perhaps the problem is the conception of 'fun' as having to come at the expense of others.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:28 PM on April 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


As repellant as some of Wright's ideas are, he is actually a Hugo-caliber author. As difficult as that is to believe. Whether these particular work are Hugo caliber I am not sure (though I tend to doubt) as I have not read them.
posted by Justinian at 2:29 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I miss the days when Doctor Who dominance was the most upsetting thing about the nominees.

The 2014 James Tiptree, Jr. award and honor list are also out. They even shared their long list, as "[i]t was a particularly good year for gender-exploration in science fiction and fantasy." Well. (And there's really good stuff on the honor list! I really liked both Lagoon and Elysium.)
posted by mixedmetaphors at 2:30 PM on April 4, 2015 [21 favorites]


Soylent Green is nutty nuggets
posted by fallingbadgers at 2:32 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]




As repellant as some of Wright's ideas are, he is actually a Hugo-caliber author

I suppose that depends on how you define Hugo-caliber. There are a lot of dimensions to writing quality -- plot, characters, setting, writing style, politics -- and there's no rule that I have to consider plot and writing style enough to get past things that are not awards-worthy on other levels.

(That said, I haven't read his work, but I can't see why his horrifying ideas alone couldn't disqualify him from being awards-worthy.)
posted by jeather at 2:34 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is going to end up biting them in the ass, hard. The gooplegompers just tried to SWAT Randi Harper last night, and the only reason nothing happened is because she made a herculean effort to let the police know what is going on. I don't know why these numbnuts--who are already going to go down in history as misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, racist dinosaurs--are willing to risk their reputations to be proud partners of a hate group that will likely be responsible for assault and/or murder-by-cop. May it be on their heads.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:34 PM on April 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


The Sad Puppies site may be pretending to be about "just enjoying the stories" and "not misogynist, just anti-SJW", but it is full of actual bigotry, misogyny, etc; I read some articles there and it was ususally 4 comments in that rapey threats and gamergate attacks began.
And Wright can write better than most, but is a repellent bigot with all the zealotry of the convert (in his case, to a version of the One True Church, circa 16th century).
posted by librosegretti at 2:39 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, the Sad/Rabid Puppies hated that Redshirts -- a book about almost entirely guys who are on a spaceship -- won. I know the problem is that it's by Metafilter's Own Gamma Rabbit, Scalzi, because whatever they say, it isn't about "books which sell a lot but aren't on the ballot (so much YA and urban fantasy)" or "books about spaceships", it's about "books which were written by authors who we approve of", the exact thing they complained about in the past.
posted by jeather at 2:40 PM on April 4, 2015 [44 favorites]


So we see white men mucking about with things like awards because we're stuck: our genre is inescapably sexist, heteronormative, Western and silly: when it isn't we don't want to read it, or admit it to the club, because it isn't any fun for us to read. But we won't admit that it's just "adventure stories with robots" because we like to make a claim to universalism (we think of ourselves as the universal norm, after all!)

I can only speak of me, but I become uncomfortable looking back on the things that I've previously loved once I've become aware of their problematic aspects. While I can enjoy some of them despite their problematic aspects, I can't say that I really want to be a party to the production of new works that continue to unthinkingly promulgate them. In other words, who's the "we" here? And what does it say if you acknowledge that the values espoused by something that you enjoy consuming are abhorrent but that you just don't care?
posted by Going To Maine at 2:41 PM on April 4, 2015 [22 favorites]


I don't know why these numbnuts--who are already going to go down in history as misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, racist dinosaurs--are willing to risk their reputations

That's the point though... they actually think they're right, they're fighting the good fight, etc. And if they convince enough people, they'll be on the winning side. Sure, I think it's unlikely that the more extreme bits of goobergomer are going to take over, but the insidious racist/sexist/homophobic stuff is everywhere--e.g. Indiana this week.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:43 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't know how to read your comment, alasdair. I honestly can't tell if you're defending being insular and narrow minded, or trying to elicit sympathy for it, or being ironic or what.

I don't intend it as a defence, but an explanation. We benefit from being the dominant culture: it comes at the expense of other cultures, to a greater or lesser extent. We do not wish to be reminded of this in our entertainments, but instead to be reassured that we are good people and that our culture is superior. When SF "fails" to do this we feel betrayed and hostile.

That our culture's genre fiction makes claims to be universalist - the "science" bit - puts us in a particularly cognitively-dissonant position: one way to do this is to assert that the fiction we don't like isn't "really" SF and to attempt to drive it out of our genre classification so it stops annoying us. I suspect this is what we are seeing here.
posted by alasdair at 2:44 PM on April 4, 2015 [15 favorites]


But Leckie's made it. So at least potentially, the right result will emerge?

Or is the idea that if they could game the nominations, they'll be able to game the ultimate winner?
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:47 PM on April 4, 2015


Jesus, guys- why don't you just go and start your own science fiction awards, with blackjack and hookers?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:50 PM on April 4, 2015 [14 favorites]


Did he really just defend writing formulaic predictable works? That entire essay is ridiculous.

I'm kinda a fan of police procedurals like Bones or New Tricks. Comfort-watching. I wouldn't expect them to win any awards, though.

As far as I can see SF is a great big toolbox (spaceships! aliens! time travel!) with the massive advantage that the tools are infinitely duplicable. Having preferences, even campaigning for those preferences... fine. Complaining that other people are using the tools in ways you disapprove of is just... odd.
posted by Leon at 2:51 PM on April 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


After speaking to a friend more involved in fandom than I, I was surprised to find out how few voters there actually are for the Hugo's. This make it's easy, or at least not difficult, to game with only a few hundred people.
posted by beowulf573 at 2:54 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm kinda a fan of police procedurals like Bones or New Tricks. Comfort-watching. I wouldn't expect them to win any awards, though.

Watching Midsomer Murders as a proto-David Lynch camp study of British villages and their inept, fascist police officers is pure delight.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:55 PM on April 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm kinda a fan of police procedurals like Bones or New Tricks. Comfort-watching. I wouldn't expect them to win any awards, though.

Me too, and exactly. I definitely read and watch formulaic predictable stuff, but I can't imagine trying to claim any of it is superior to deeply thought-out innovative works. I certainly can't imagine doing so as an author. "My work doesn't make you think!" is not -- or shouldn't be -- a selling point. The fact that he thinks it is a selling point seems a huge indicator of how skewed his thinking is.
posted by jaguar at 3:02 PM on April 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


But Leckie's made it. So at least potentially, the right result will emerge?

Only thanks to Correia getting an untimely flash of self-awareness, it seems. Or possibly (organized or not) anti-Puppy cohesion around Leckie in particular.

Or is the idea that if they could game the nominations, they'll be able to game the ultimate winner?

They've already essentially gamed the ultimate winner in several categories by picking all of the nominees, and if they can prevent an internal schism next year, there's a good chance they'll be able to do that in Best Novel next time around.
posted by Etrigan at 3:06 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


ESR?!? OH FFS.

Weird. I'd have thought ESR being relevant would be more alt-history that SF.
posted by mhoye at 3:14 PM on April 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


How hard would it be for an extended "No award" campaign to be conducted for novella, novellette and short story? These assholes have prevented good works from winning, but I see no reason the Hugos need to be completely sullied.
posted by Hactar at 3:15 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


People? Have you seen the actual Hugo Award trophy? That's one of the most phallic spaceships I've ever seen. Leave this entire thing to the Rabid Puppies and let's get to work establishing a REAL award for Science Fiction named for somebody other than a magazine editor.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:17 PM on April 4, 2015


I can't believe they actually packed as much John C Wright as they could into the ballot. They're actually championing this ambulatory fungus because he loudly and publicly hates women.

With GooberGoo, I can 100% believe this.
posted by kafziel at 3:21 PM on April 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Have you seen the actual Hugo Award trophy?

relevant

via the fast-moving Making Light thread linked above.
posted by hap_hazard at 3:22 PM on April 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Have you seen the actual Hugo Award trophy?.

I like my syfy like I like my awards: hard, shiny and a minimum use of lines.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:25 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Can someone clarify the relationship between the "sad puppies" and "rabid puppies" slates? Is the explicit, use any tactic to win Vox Day group approved of by Torgensen's gang.


Torgersen seems fine with them:
Larry and Vox ruffle feathers. I get it. If you simply can’t get over the fact that Larry originated Sad Puppies, or that Vox is running a similar effort called Rabid Puppies, nor can you see that Sad Puppies 3 is its own thing . . . well, like I said, those who’d not be inclined to give us the benefit of the doubt, would probably find some other reason to bitch. Even if Larry and Vox were entirely absent from the equation this year.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:25 PM on April 4, 2015


Here's a suggestion: collapse the short fiction categories. That'd remove a lot of confusion from the ballot and concentrate nominations on a more manageable set.
posted by Artw at 3:27 PM on April 4, 2015


Reading over all the horrible racism/sexism/etc. The best way to fight back is to champion the writers we love and appreciate who do write more culturally diverse fiction. To support them, talk about them, share their stories, buy their books. It's not difficult to lift up people you care about. Make an example of the good so others know its out there and available.
posted by Fizz at 3:28 PM on April 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


"Jesus, guys- why don't you just go and start your own science fiction awards, with blackjack and hookers?"

I am just a crotchety old man or does anyone else think this is much ado about nothing? And my "nothing" I mean the Hugo Awards themselves. I've been reading SFF since the '70s and I've never once bought a book because it was nominated for or won a Hugo. I just never could take any type of industry awards seriously because they always involve politicking, promotion and general handwashing/backscratching. Every time I think I might pay attention to some type of award I remember that Jethro Tull beat out Metallica for a Grammy for best Heavy Metal album and I come to my senses. Besides, if these guys created their own awards they would be hard pressed to create a more phallic trophy than the Hugo without chrome plating an actual dildo.
posted by MikeMc at 3:29 PM on April 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Although I preferred the Leckie, a lot if people with good taste preferred Goblin Emperor and neither would be a bad win.

Also I think that a truly excellent comfort read -- which the Addison is for those people; I have heard it called competency porn -- is hard to write and just as worthwhile as innovation, and often more memorable.
posted by jeather at 3:33 PM on April 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Also maybe the whole associate member thing needs a good hard look.
posted by Artw at 3:33 PM on April 4, 2015


In my view, the saddest part of this isn't that a slate of ideologically aligned works got nominated, but that this has essentially brought the concept of party politics into an arena where it was previously lacking, and actively frowned upon.

Going forward, I'm not sure how we'll manage to work out ways to prevent this form of politicization from spreading -- changing the voter pool is difficult, as it's linked to the cost of a Worldcon supporting membership, which in turn is effectively legislated to be about 1/4 the price of a full membership; $40 in recent years. Unlinking the voter pool from that would be a significant change for the Hugos, no matter how it's done.

And oh, in case you were wanting to help any such change come along, to do so you'll need to attend in person the World Science Fiction Society's business meeting at a Worldcon, which this year is in Spokane, Washington.

In other words, this is not a problem that'll be solved easily.
posted by eemeli at 3:35 PM on April 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Reading over all the horrible racism/sexism/etc. The best way to fight back is to champion the writers we love and appreciate who do write more culturally diverse fiction. To support them, talk about them, share their stories, buy their books. It's not difficult to lift up people you care about. Make an example of the good so others know its out there and available.

Absolutely! Contemporary literary discourse is pathetically beholden to award culture. Great books don't need the validation of an award to be read - they just need passionate readers championing them. A healthy, diverse, democratic literary culture should more or less ignore the silliness of awards altogether. I just wish newspapers could learn to write about interesting progressive SF on its own merits, not just when an award makes it 'newsworthy'.
posted by RokkitNite at 3:37 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been reading SFF since the '70s and I've never once bought a book because it was nominated for or won a Hugo.
It's totally possible that you have never personally been influenced by awards, but they do kind of matter for marketing. For instance, libraries buy stuff that wins (or even is nominated for) awards, and bookstores often put award-winners on a table or display. Publishers will be more inclined to put money and other sorts of muscle behind award winners. Awards generate buzz, even if people aren't necessarily aware that's why the buzz is there.

I absolutely agree, though, that everyone should continue (and step up) their efforts to talk about books they love.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:41 PM on April 4, 2015 [18 favorites]


The sad things is that if they weren't such ass-butts I might be able to agree with (or at least debate) some of their points. I look back over Hugo awards of past years and I generally think to myself "Damn, those are some classics of SF" and perhaps the winners now aren't quite as good. Or maybe I'll be proven wrong in 20 years. Or, you can look at the Hugo awards and say that good writers are being overlooked, but it's not like that hasn't been the case in the past (Douglas Adams? Terry Pratchett? Iain Mother Fucking Banks?) and it's not clear that politics had anything to do with it (Adams, Pratchett, and MF-Banks).

But there are two problems. First, they are total dicks about it. Second, the sad puppies slate just wasn't that good. I thought that The Chaplain's Legacy from last year was okay. Vox Day's contribution, OTOH, was just shit writing. I wasn't truly blown away by any of the short story candidates, but his was terrible. The rest (of the ones I read) were better, but still weren't all that impressive.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 3:43 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


>Have you seen the actual Hugo Award trophy?

Now isn't it up to the con committee to actually design the awards given out?

I'm picturing a Flesh Gordon-esque dildo ship on a bed of brown nutty nuggets.
posted by Catblack at 3:46 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Vox Day thing from last year was shocking suprised-this-got-published* garbage.

* I assume it did, self published is out, right?
posted by Artw at 3:49 PM on April 4, 2015


Now isn't it up to the con committee to actually design the awards given out?

Just the base; the Rocket is the same. I suppose they could present it plowing into the ground or something.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:49 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Speaking as someone who started as a teen reading SF mainly written by white men and full of "spaceships, explosions, and adventure," I would argue that the SF was not "tangential." I read it in large part for the sense of awesome wonder and discovery, the way plot and ideas were inextricable, twists and revelations one and the same. It was a straight shoot from Niven to Gibson to LeGuin, Delaney, Tiptree, Mieville. Each was doing exactly what I'd originally gotten into SF for: blowing your mind, upending the world as you knew it, and delivering discovery in a gripping plot full of strange new things and ideas. One naturally outgrew Niven after finishing his stuff and wanting more. The idea of going back in time, or settling into some deliberately self-stultified genre that replicates indefinitely what what white male writers in the 50s-70s were up to would be anathema to what I as a teen was after. The whole point of the "nutty nuggets" I loved as a teen was that you never knew what would be in each box, and in fact the best ones redefined what "nutty nuggets" even meant. Expecting the same exact experience decade after decade is not just immature, it's a bizarre repudiation of everything that SF is most fundamentally about, and I would argue, a repudiation of what a lot of the people who espouse it actually got into SF for in the first place.
posted by chortly at 3:53 PM on April 4, 2015 [76 favorites]


This is the first year that I didn't much like ANY of the Best Novel nominees that I've read. I liked Ancillary Justice but Ancillary Sword didn't really deliver for me. I think it's strange (and probably an artifact of the bloc nomination slate shenanigans) that Gibson's The Peripheral didn't make it. It was easily my favorite eligible novel (followed by cstross's Rhesus Chart).

I hate being goaded into participating in a process that is needlessly polluted by politics, but these assholes are trying to bring Gamergaters in to crash the party. If that isn't worth $40 for me to throw out a lot of NO AWARD votes in response, I'm not sure what is.
posted by chimaera at 3:57 PM on April 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Absolutely! Contemporary literary discourse is pathetically beholden to award culture. Great books don't need the validation of an award to be read - they just need passionate readers championing them.

I absolutely agree, though, that everyone should continue (and step up) their efforts to talk about books they love.

Yes! Yes! Yes! I understand the Hugo being the SF marketing equivalent of "Winner of X Academy Awards!" but man, nothing sells me on a book, or movie, more than hearing great things about it from people whose opinion I value. If the award and the word of mouth agree then all the better. This whole "puppy" thing has taken the award from marketing to farce which does a disservice to authors and fans alike.
posted by MikeMc at 4:03 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


John C Wright is a phenomenal writer. Others on this slate are not. There's no need to trash his work, much of which is definitely Hugo level, just because of the other shit you don't like about him. That's how this whole mess started in the first place.
posted by corb at 4:04 PM on April 4, 2015


Thank you, chortly, for writing exactly the comment I was coming down here to make. I'm not sure who the "we" in alasdair's comment is. But this particular woman who got into SF as a very young teenager was never in it for the adventure to the exclusion of the SF. Neither is more important than the other to me. I loved those white straight male writers and their spaceships, sure - but they were never all I loved and the way you describe it is not SF as I recognize it or have ever experienced it.

SF is not "for boys." SF is not exclusively for you. SF is for everyone. SF is mine. It has always been mine from the first SF novel I picked up. More importantly, it belongs to today's teenage girls, and will belong to today's little girls when they're a bit older, and part of SF belonging to me is a responsibility and a desire to keep it for them when they are ready to discover it. I might cede it for my own sake because I'm getting old and tired of fighting the same damn fights, but for their sake, I will never, ever cede SF to the sole care of boys.

But hey, the flip side of this? Fantasy isn't "for girls"! If you don't know that yet, then I am happy to tell you there is a world of amazing fantasy books out there. You can have them. The young men in your life can have them. Those worlds are for everyone too. Boy, are you in for a treat.
posted by Stacey at 4:11 PM on April 4, 2015 [48 favorites]


Entering the Lists -- which nominees were from both Puppies Lists, as well as ones on neither.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:12 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


How is The Goblin Emperor? I guess I better read it because otherwise it looks like a big fat NO AWARD kind of year.
posted by Justinian at 4:13 PM on April 4, 2015


How is The Goblin Emperor?

LOVED IT. I read it twice in six months. It's lovely. Full of interesting world-building and beautiful character moments, and human warmth (although none of the characters are actually human).

What it does that's so original is hard for me to pin down, but it's really a wonderful little novel, and nothing like the author's other work (it's no secret she published a number of other well-respected novels as Sarah Monette).
posted by suelac at 4:23 PM on April 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


I want to point out that these puppy lists are just things that some misogynist toolbags like. Just because a work is on the list does not mean that it is necessarily bad, or that the work's author is a misogynist toolbag as well. Nor does it mean that the work would not have appeared on the Hugo short list without the help of Torgensen and company. For example, Skin Game by Jim Butcher is excellent, as are Guardians of the Galaxy and the Lego Movie (although what that last has to do with a science fiction award escapes me).
posted by JDHarper at 4:25 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


We don't want to read that. We want to have escapism and fun. We don't care about science

With all due respect, what do you mean "we", kemosabe?

Science fiction, going back to its roots, is about scientific advances, challenging ideas, profound philosophical themes, provocative satire, boundary-pushing exploration, and diversity. It's past time for that heritage to be embraced again.

The so-called "Golden Age of Sci-Fi" of pulp magazine exploits and paperback adventures was only a phase in the genre. Sure, it was fun while it lasted, but it's not to everyone's taste by a long chalk. Today, though, the Sad Puppies are clinging to it like adolescents who refuse to grow up and instead act out in antisocial misbehaviour.

Meanwhile, this year's most-nominated Hugo author is the guy who completely lost his shit over the Legend of Korra, which ended with {gasp} two female characters holding hands.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:28 PM on April 4, 2015 [23 favorites]


You know, the other thing I will say - these guys do it most obnoxious, but they're not doing it first. Before them came pushes to get more diverse Hugos. They have been political for years. It's just that recently it has evolved from a cold war to a shooting war.
posted by corb at 4:30 PM on April 4, 2015


John C Wright is a phenomenal writer. Others on this slate are not. There's no need to trash his work,

... no one here has trashed his work.
posted by shmegegge at 4:37 PM on April 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I remember back when "this is why we can't have nice things" was something I was more prone to post as a joke.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:40 PM on April 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


these guys do it most obnoxious, but they're not doing it first

I haven't seen anything that suggests past efforts to manipulate the entire slate in the way we've just seen. I'd love to see a link about that though if you have one.
posted by gerryblog at 4:43 PM on April 4, 2015 [15 favorites]


First of all, my thanks to Monsieur Caution for an extraordinary list of fiction, only some of which I had heard of or read. More great fodder for the digital reading folder.

It's hard to believe that in this century we have this many spoiled little pencil-dicks that are afraid of ladies and POC. What the hell kinds of kids have people been raising in the last twenty years. The Hugos have an enormous mess to clean up and frankly I don't know how they will go about it. But this shit has to stop and stop now. We can't afford to let these He-Man-Woman-Hating little rascals do this again. Damn, I've got a lot of "no award" votes to give this year.

Another thing, if they get this riled up about getting vagina in their science fiction, what kind of vitriol and bile will these children be spewing next year when Clinton makes her run for the presidency? If the last two terms have brought all the racists in America to the boiling point, it's scary to contemplate what we're going to see with a woman in the White House.
posted by Ber at 4:45 PM on April 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


At least one author, Matthew David Surridge, turned down a nomination for Best Fan Writer because he was on the SP slate and wrote an essay about it.
posted by graymouser at 4:53 PM on April 4, 2015 [25 favorites]


Speaking as an old white guy, I liked SF as a kid because it was so different. I stumbled onto The Female Man by Russ and had my mind blown. Give me interesting stories about beings, human or otherwise, who think differently than I do and I'm a happy guy. Give me alien contact. Give me Ursula K. Le Guin. Give me Dune. Give me Ian Banks.

I've always hated awards for art. The Grameys, Oscars, all of them. Add Hugos to that list.

Just tell me about some good tales (without trolls elves or wizards) to read or find on Audible. No Hugo award required.
posted by cccorlew at 4:56 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Before them came pushes to get more diverse Hugos.

Which is rather different from a push to actively exclude non-boy's-own-adventure stories.
posted by Etrigan at 4:57 PM on April 4, 2015 [18 favorites]


From Vox (I know but I seek clarification):

"...Mieville isn't a pinkshirt, he's a bloody redshirt and I have repeatedly stated that he is one of the three best SF writers writing today. Charles Stross is a pinkshirt and I have repeatedly praised a number of his works."

WTF are pink and red shirts? I assume this to be Hugo related but searches only lead me to fine selection of Hugo Boss menswear.
posted by MikeMc at 5:00 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just because a work is on the list does not mean that it is necessarily bad, or that the work's author is a misogynist toolbag as well.

At least for the Sad Puppies list, all the authors agreed to be on it (Torgensen neglected to check with three of them and two were subsequently removed.) So they at least agree with the concept of the list.

these guys do it most obnoxious, but they're not doing it first

They're stepping it up from politics to party politics.

WTF are pink and red shirts?

As in "Better Dead than Red." Liberals, in other words.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:02 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


WTF are pink and red shirts?

Think Better Red than Dead; the post is claiming that Mieville is a communist and Stross a socialist.
posted by suelac at 5:02 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


He's pretty astute, noticing that China Mieville is left-wing.
posted by dng at 5:07 PM on April 4, 2015 [55 favorites]


So I can't be the first person to see the irony in the idea that these sad puppy guys are creators and fans of science fiction, a genre about the future, but are hopelessly stuck in the past.
posted by octothorpe at 5:10 PM on April 4, 2015 [21 favorites]


"Think Better Red than Dead; the post is claiming that Mieville is a communist and Stross a socialist."

Oh for fuck's sake. I thought they might be some kind of "counter-puppy" ballots or something. Thanks for the clarification.
posted by MikeMc at 5:10 PM on April 4, 2015


Weirdly the comics category, usually a Hugon backwater, is largely untouched by this and actually kind of awesome.
posted by Artw at 5:10 PM on April 4, 2015


Isn't Mieville a proud communist? Previously on Metafilter: Fifty Sci-Fi and Fantasy Works Every Socialist Should Read (by China Mieville)
posted by 445supermag at 5:10 PM on April 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Weirdly the comics category, usually a Hugon backwater, is largely untouched by this and actually kind of awesome.

It's full of nominations that are kind of obvious, but obvious specifically because they're so freaking awesome. And as an added bonus many (paging Ms. Marvel!) would give Vox Day's crowd an aneurysm.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:13 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Vox Day uses "pink" slightly differently than just "liberal" or "socialist":
Pink SF primarily concerns a) choosing between two lovers, b) being true to yourself, or c) enacting ex post facto revenge upon the badthinkers and meanies who made the author feel bad about herself at school. Pink SF is about feelings rather than ideas or actions.

Pink SF is an invasion. Pink SF is a cancer. Pink SF is a parasitical perversion. Pink SF is the little death that kills every literary subgenre. And Pink SF isn't limited to SF; there is a very good reason the Sports Guy's meme "Women Ruin Everything" applies so perfectly to most forms of literature.
"Red" is Deeper Pink.
posted by Etrigan at 5:13 PM on April 4, 2015 [11 favorites]




Well, I suppose Vox Day has been called a blackshirt enough, I guess some aspect of that stuck.
posted by Artw at 5:16 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


China Miéville is in fact a revolutionary socialist, coming from the Tony Cliff wing of heterodox Trotskyism (he was in the British SWP up until recently and is now in the American ISO). For outsiders, that current supports Lenin and Trotsky but thinks the USSR after 1938 became a form of capitalism, and that none of the other "communist" states ever stopped being capitalist, just in a different form.
posted by graymouser at 5:19 PM on April 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah, that invasion, parasitical perversion, little death stuff is just... something else. I guess there's something to be said for putting your misogyny out there in the open, rather than hiding behind plausibly deniable dog-whistles. Or maybe the plausible deniability is that he's the Rabid Puppy slate, and the other Puppies can claim not to be on quite the same page as him.

(Is it bad that I keep wanting to call them the Sick Puppies?)

Are the Hugos presented in person? Because I don't think I would want to be in the same room as a guy who talked like that.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:21 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm making a SF comic literally titled "Puppy Space Pirates" and it's probably going to be ruined by this Sad/Rabid/Whatever Puppy stuff.
posted by hellojed at 5:23 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think you should reclaim puppies for the forces of good. Don't let these jerks ruin puppies! Look, puppies!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:25 PM on April 4, 2015 [17 favorites]


Imagine looking at the literature of the world in all its forms throughout all of history and thinking "women have ruined this".
posted by dng at 5:26 PM on April 4, 2015 [29 favorites]


With these shitlords, it's more like looking at the entire history of everything and thinking "women (and gays and people of colour) have ruined this."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:27 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that invasion, parasitical perversion, little death stuff...

And here I always thought "little death" or "La petite mort" was a good thing...
posted by MikeMc at 5:27 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Etrigan, I don't think it's that. I think it's more, hmmm...how to explain this...

So it's not that science fiction about different races or genders or sexualities haven't been part of the genre since the Before Times. It has - look at Heinlein, or Asimov, or a host of others. Hell, Heinlein even had essentially a trans character. But when these stories came up, it was obvious the authors were just playing with ideas. These things didn't matter deeply or personally, and honestly because of that, they didn't permeate very deep. The character was solo and their world was...very normative. It didn't disturb the world consensus. Same with diverse authors - they generally wrote roughly similar stuff as the others, and were welcomed in the boy's club. And everyone was congenial and friendly and went to the same parties and didn't rock the boat. And the old boys never said "We don't want those guys here." They were the beloved elders and could expect to progress along a track to eccentricity.

And then came new people who were pissed off at the patronizing boy's club, and who didn't care for them as mentors and didn't want to go to their parties or pander to their fans. And they didn't just want a token PoC - they wanted a world that was a big old Fuck You to the old lions.Often because of those very old lions. And so they wrote explicitly political Fuck Yous, and called the banners, and said, "The world is ours now, fuck your gatekeepers. "

And there's a lot that's admirable there. But what's explicitly called for is the extinction of the world of the old lions. And it is not really surprising that they're fighting back.

But it's not about keeping everyone different out. It's a fight, more than anything, about who's going to be in charge and who will get to shape fandom.
posted by corb at 5:33 PM on April 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


That people think they could or should be in charge of fandom is terrifying in itself.
posted by dng at 5:39 PM on April 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


But it's not about keeping everyone different out. It's a fight, more than anything, about who's going to be in charge and who will get to shape fandom.

The fight over who's going to be in charge is explicitly about keeping everyone different out unless you're straight, white, cis, male.

And there's a lot that's admirable there. But what's explicitly called for is the extinction of the world of the old lions

Yes, because that world is sexist, racist, and homophobic. Good bloody riddance.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:40 PM on April 4, 2015 [42 favorites]


I cannot imagine Vox Day without picturing him responding like Donald Sutherland at the end of Body Snatchers every time an unapologetic woman approaches.
posted by delfin at 5:40 PM on April 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


So these People Who Have Fans believe they have every right to dictate Fandom, i.e. Who and What Their Fans Are. Or is this because they don't have any Fans who aren't sycophants or groupies?
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:42 PM on April 4, 2015


corb: "And so they wrote explicitly political Fuck Yous, and called the banners, and said, "The world is ours now, fuck your gatekeepers. " And there's a lot that's admirable there. But what's explicitly called for is the extinction of the world of the old lions. "

So what you're saying is, if the oppressed and marginalized had JUST BEEN MORE POLITE about how they disliked being oppressed and marginalized, we wouldn't be having this problem?

These writers are mostly Baby Boomers or younger. (I have found one born in 1940; the rest are younger by my unscientific quick googling). The oldest Baby Boomers were in college when Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot. They're not some "old lions" who grew up in the 30s and fought in WWII and went to segregated schools and have never quite adjusted to how the world has changed. Brown v. Board was 1954. The majority of these authors had not yet been born. These are people who grew up in a world where racism and sexism were already fallen apart -- or already HAD fallen apart. They have NEVER lived in a world where women don't go to college, or where "separate but equal" was okay. They are not people who are confused because the present they live in is too different from the world they grew up in; they are people explicitly demanding an oppressive, unequal past come back. "Vox Day" was born in 1968. 1968! He has literally no excuse! This is a guy who watched footage of Bull Connor in history class and apparently said, "Fuck this equality shit! I'm on Bull Connor's side!"

The world of the old lions was already extinct. Apparently what they want to do is buy up all the land the lions lived on prior to 1968 and turn it into a nature preserve with reintroduced bigots, to protect the species from extinction.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:00 PM on April 4, 2015 [117 favorites]


And then came new people who were pissed off at the patronizing boy's club

Let's rephrase that as "people who were tired of being literally ignored as writer, readers, and characters in the field; of being manhandled at conventions by the Old Lions; of being used as plot-tokens and pieces of exotic color in fiction; and of being verbally abused, talked over, and ignored in person and online."

The "patronizing boys' club" did far worse than patronize. And don't mistake it: there is significant philosophical overlap between the Sad Puppies and the Gamergaters--and in fact, actual overlap, since Torgerson reached out to them to punish women and people of color for daring to win Hugos in the last five years.

Anyway, after reading this kind of bullshit, I'm about ready to burn the whole thing down, myself. No women are mentioned: not even Rowling gets a name-check. Fuck that shit. (Which is why #womenwritefantasy is trending on Twitter.
posted by suelac at 6:01 PM on April 4, 2015 [28 favorites]


I look back over Hugo awards of past years and I generally think to myself "Damn, those are some classics of SF" and perhaps the winners now aren't quite as good. Or maybe I'll be proven wrong in 20 years.

Eh, I look at the same thing and see a lot of Heinlein that's kind of embarrassing and a couple of mercy-wins to Asimov because they couldn't give him one for Foundation, and some like Fountains of Paradise that are Clarke at his most dullest, and others like Startide Rising that just don't hold up.

And they didn't just want a token PoC - they wanted a world that was a big old Fuck You to the old lions.Often because of those very old lions. And so they wrote explicitly political Fuck Yous, and called the banners, and said, "The world is ours now, fuck your gatekeepers. "

I dare you to state which of the Hugo novels from the past 20 years have been explicitly political fuck-yous to the old lions. I double-dog-dare you.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:06 PM on April 4, 2015 [25 favorites]


For all these people moan on about Heinlein not a one of them is worth one of his toenails, and there is no doubt that he would despise them.
posted by Artw at 6:13 PM on April 4, 2015 [19 favorites]


My novella nomination would be William Preston's "Each in His Prison, Thinking of the Key" (Asimov's April/May 2014). It's part of his extraordinary revision of the Doc Savage narrative that (imperfectly) redresses the egregious racism & sexism of the 30s pulps.
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:15 PM on April 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh, fuck these total idiots. Usually I refrain from commenting when I don't have anything more constructive to say but how completely vapid and dumb they are.
posted by stoneandstar at 6:21 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


The thing that really gets up my nose about Torgensen's little screed is this bit:

Which is not to say you can’t make a good SF/F book about racism, or sexism, or gender issues, or sex, or whatever other close-to-home topic you want. But for Pete’s sake, why did we think it was a good idea to put these things so much on permanent display, that the stuff which originally made the field attractive in the first place — To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before! — is pushed to the side? Or even absent altogether?

This is a man who is seemingly unaware that Star Trek (embraced and defended by fucking Martin Luther King) had an open pro-integrationist/anti-racist/liberal utopian worldview. How the fuck did he miss the glaring "this is a blindingly obvious metaphor" episodes of TOS? It was only, like MOST OF THEM.

Grrrrr.
posted by Myca at 6:29 PM on April 4, 2015 [64 favorites]


I am, hilariously, at a con right now, so I can't give you a comprehensive list, ROU_Xenophobe, but I remember being deeply disappointed by NK Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which seemed very much a "fuck you and the things you love" book.
posted by corb at 6:34 PM on April 4, 2015


I'm curious what the Puppies' next move is. If they don't narrow their focus further, especially in categories where they have every entry, they risk diffusing their vote. Particularly since those opposed have a No Award option to coalesce around.

OTOH, this doesn't bode well for categories like Best Graphic Story, where they have only one.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:34 PM on April 4, 2015


I'm highly amused that Larry Correia, the originator of the Sad Puppies slate, didn't make the cut.

He did make the cut. They advised him of his nomination before the announcement and he declined it. His nom went to the next person on the list.

I'm buying in, in order to vote "No Award" in most categories.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 6:34 PM on April 4, 2015


How the fuck did he miss the glaring "this is a blindingly obvious metaphor" episodes of TOS? It was only, like MOST OF THEM.

I suspect Torgensen is smart enough to know that Roddenberry's Trek espoused humanist values. But this whole enterprise is about taking the (surface-level) language of the excluded and turning them to serve those who are already included. "We just want a seat at the table," et cetera. Casting Trek as a conservative icon that the scary boogeywomen are gonna take away is just another tactic to serve that strategy.
posted by Banknote of the year at 6:39 PM on April 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Pink SF is an invasion. Pink SF is a cancer. Pink SF is a parasitical perversion. Pink SF is the little death that kills every literary subgenre. And Pink SF isn't limited to SF
Jesus.

Um.

Yup, that'll sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

For all these people moan on about Heinlein not a one of them is worth one of his toenails, and there is no doubt that he would despise them.

Too right, Artw. Heinlein had his faults, but he was humane.
posted by Leon at 6:42 PM on April 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


NK Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which seemed very much a "fuck you and the things you love" book.

And so? I didn't get that from the book, although I didn't love it as much as many of my friends did. I don't think there's anything wrong in saying, "This field doesn't appear to respect or value me or the things I love, and I'm going to write something that includes me and the things I love." What's wrong with that, exactly?

It's not like she then ran a coordinated campaign to make sure that ONLY books she approved of got nominated for awards. Choosing to prioritize stories with characters of color isn't the same as shitting on half of the readership.
posted by suelac at 6:50 PM on April 4, 2015 [24 favorites]


suelac: That article is amazing. I realize it's just clickbait masquerading as real cultural criticism. Given the next season coming up, I assume it was thrown together quickly. But it's so obviously just the list of fantasy authors the writer happens to have read that aren't the subject (GRRM) and are famous enough to be recognized. Rowling, course, doesn't get mentioned by name because her work is "just" children's fiction (as if a lot of Gaiman's work isn't also). It's pretty telling, though, that C.S. Lewis IS mentioned (despite also being a children's author) but then he's more acceptable to the old guard. Sigh.
posted by R343L at 6:50 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I loved Jemisin's' Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and don't see it as so harsh as "f you and all that you love", though. Like a lot of Robert Charles Wilson's books, the world building is just amazing and (also like RCW), Jemisin doesn't bother to make it all "make sense" together. The world isn't tidy and there are contradictions (including an unreliable narrator!) It's pretty refreshing when so much of fantasy & scifi is pretty straightforward (at least in terms of knowing what is going on and who is a bad guy and who's good.)
posted by R343L at 6:53 PM on April 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I remember being deeply disappointed by NK Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Not a Hugo winner, though I should have been clear that was what I meant by "Hugo novel." I would think anyone familiar with the Hugos would have to stop being bothered that something just got nominated relatively early in their reading "career."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:54 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


[Correia] did make the cut. They advised him of his nomination before the announcement and he declined it. His nom went to the next person on the list.

Do you know why? I tried looking it up myself, but then I ended up reading his blog and gave up after too many persecution complex posts.
posted by Banknote of the year at 6:58 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


He said it was because he didn't want to expose the Puppies to criticism that the whole thing was just his own self-aggrandizement.
posted by Etrigan at 7:04 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


At least one author, Matthew David Surridge, turned down a nomination for Best Fan Writer because he was on the SP slate and wrote an essay about it.

OK, Matthew David Surridge says he has only written a couple of stories, but one of them is "The Word of Azrael," collected in one of Rich Horton's anthologies. And it's one of my favorite stories of the past decade--condensing pretty much every sword & sorcery plot into a weird novella in a classic style (let's say somewhere in the same quadrant as Dunsany/HPL/Vance/et al.). A brief excerpt gives a fair idea what I mean, but it's better at full length. So I was delighted to hear he would turn this down, and his response is pretty epic. Thank you for linking it.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 7:04 PM on April 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


I can only hope that these pathetic and disgusting dudes are hammering the nails into the coffins of their writing careers.

Now might be a good time to drop some links to the "Women Destroy Science Fiction" anthology, the soon-to-be-release "Queers Destroy Science Fiction" anthology, and a social justice science fiction anthology called "Octavia's Brood" that just came out last month!

Women Destroy SF

Queers Destroy SF

Octavia's Brood: Social Justice SF
posted by feralscientist at 7:09 PM on April 4, 2015 [41 favorites]


You could take the Napoleonic War HORNBLOWER series and replace all the wooden frigates with spaceships, for example, and we'd buy the shit out of it. Oh, wait, someone did, and Wikipedia tells me the series is up to 13 books and some spinoffs!

I assume this is a reference to David Weber's Honor Harrington series (unless there are two Hornblower-in-space series? That is certainly not impossible...), and while it is certainly, and I think self-consciously, somewhat lowbrow, space-doesn't-actually-work-this-way SF—I mean at one point in the series the spacefaring civilization that is a transparent stand-in for France has a revolution, and the demagogue's name is, and I am not making this up, Rob S. Pierre—it's not a total Gamergate Special, either. The main character is female, for starters, which ought to bar it from their consideration right there.

I've not read any of the Sad Puppy candidate books, but if I were to imagine what I suspect Gamergater types want in their SF, I'd think that it's more along the lines of John Ringo than David Weber.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:17 PM on April 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


Because the Nutty Nuggets they grew to love in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, were not the same Nutty Nuggets being proffered in the 2000s, and beyond.

It's been the 2000s for 15 years now. So the standard Young Reader who discovered SciFi at 13 is now 28. The Reader that started in 1990 is now 38. This is Kids Off My Lawn shit.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:17 PM on April 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


As Surridge points out the most embarrassingly dumb thing about these slates is that they're not even trying to say that, in Social Justicey SF, the writing is bad and that they don't deserve to win this prestigious literary award. They specifically reject literary quality as the number 1 criteria. It's like "We only want lame hack retro garbage! No weirdos." So if you're on the list you're either insulted or you're comfortable with being well known for your lack of depth. Congrats!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:19 PM on April 4, 2015 [17 favorites]


At least Robert Sawyer didn't get nominated again. So we have that going for us, which is nice.
posted by Justinian at 7:19 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is Kids Off My Lawn shit

no, it's more like this. On multiple levels, come to think of it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:21 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


it's not a total Gamergate Special, either

No it isn't, it's just excruciatingly tedious at this point.

Though Weber does apparently still think it's clever to keep naming bad guys after the Clintons. Dude, it's been 25 years. moveon.org
posted by Justinian at 7:21 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just want to speak up here to contest the idea that SF written by/featuring women, POC, transpeople, etc., can't be fun. What? Yes, some of it (Octavia Butler for ex) can be extremly grim stuff. But Ursula LeGuin has written many funny stories. Connie Willis' stories are almost always funny. Suzie McKee Charnas' story "Boobs" deals with sexism but is also blackly humorous about the ways a girl who turns into a werewolf might take her revenge on her tormenters. I know there are others out there I'm just not thinking of. But if you're afraid to read women in SF because you think it's just all too depressing, you are making the wrong assumption.
posted by emjaybee at 7:22 PM on April 4, 2015 [32 favorites]


I mean it's crazy crazy crazy to me that we somehow feel we have to defend non-white guy Science Fiction as if it's some newcomer to the scene. As a reader it's always seemed like SF was the place where alternative perspectives were preferred, where every kind of person was welcome and encouraged to contribute, that was the whole point. Maybe there was a brief period of manly alien thumping but even Heinlein got freaky by the 70s. The world of imagination is endless--true fans of that freedom have always been welcoming to new voices exploring new spaces. Whatever pure tradition these assholes think they're defending I don't believe that it actually exists. At least not in books, which is the only medium worth caring about anyway because The Avengers doesn't give a fuck about winning a Hugo.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:34 PM on April 4, 2015 [24 favorites]


Delany's Babel-17, which is like shooting up beat poetry while downing shots of Flash Gordon with a bisexual starship captain of Chinese ancestry and a black military commander is older than Vox Day.

I think that "Pink SF" would likely exclude many of the classics of the field, especially the entire field of dystopian science fiction where resistance to the state comes from a need to be true to one's self.

But I've never gotten the defensive idea that these stories are about "f-you and all you love." Not with Karen Lord explicitly namedropping Bradbury.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:38 PM on April 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


unless there are two Hornblower-in-space series? That is certainly not impossible...

I think the reference is to the Nick Seafort books, which FWIU are pretty much Hornblower in Space.

The Honor books seem to be playing with Hornblower (gender-bending, etc.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:40 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't think this is about the "old lions" at all. For one thing, the old lions themselves still seem to be pretty well regarded; Isaac Asimov died with his reputation intact (at least at the time) and with one of the few remaining SF magazines named after him, despite this; Harlan Ellison still has fans, despite this. As Eyebrows McGee says above, it's really not a generational thing; in terms of anecdata, one of the most reactionary (not just merely conservative) SF fans I know is nearly a decade younger than me.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:44 PM on April 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's like "We only want lame hack retro garbage! No weirdos." So if you're on the list you're either insulted or you're comfortable with being well known for your lack of depth.

The way I'm reading it (I've been reading some blogs to try and keep from chewing my nails over the Badger game) is: "If we don't do something the Hugo will be awarded solely based on the author's SJW credentials regardless of quality." Apparently the Red Guards led by Teresa Nielsen Hayden are hell bent on destroying the Four Olds of SFF (Whiteness, Maleness, Heterosexuality and Religious Belief).
posted by MikeMc at 7:47 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Behold a Pale Horse, indeed.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:49 PM on April 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


I've been reading some blogs to try and keep from chewing my nails over the Badger game

The what now?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:49 PM on April 4, 2015


In was reasonable sense is TNH not one of the old guards these days? Seems like she and PNH have been around forever.
posted by Justinian at 7:50 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


The what now?

Tall guys throwing a ball at a hoop. The Wisconsin Badgers versus some guys from Tennessee or Kentucky or somewhere down homey like that.
posted by MikeMc at 8:00 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


As a white, straight, Western man, I can freely speak for my fellow SF readers: we got into this as teenagers because of the spaceships, explosions, and adventure. The SF bit is quite tangential.

As another white, straight, Western man: you do not speak for me, nor do you speak for the teenage me back in the 1970s.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:12 PM on April 4, 2015 [50 favorites]


The idea that SF has never been and should never be political should be insulting to anyone at any place in the political spectrum. You're telling me Heinlein didn't wear his politics on his sleeve? That imagining the future has nothing to do with where human society is going? Get the fuck out of here.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:15 PM on April 4, 2015 [28 favorites]


Speaking of SF that is important and justicey and beautifually written and hella fun, Kelly Link's book this year is astonishing.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:33 PM on April 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


The idea that SF has never been and should never be political should be insulting to anyone at any place in the political spectrum.

The beautiful thing about the genre is that it's so wide open we can that have it all. Righty, lefty, straight Christians, gay space raptors, apolitical shoot 'em up space opera, whatever. The sky isn't even the limit it's just where the story begins. The battle seems to be for the awards ballots and the hearts and minds of the "fandom", I'm thinking you win that battle by writing good stuff, quality should win out in the end. If even if it doesn't as long as you've done good work and readers respond you're still way ahead of the game.
posted by MikeMc at 8:35 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


The idea that SF has never been and should never be political should be insulting to anyone at any place in the political spectrum. You're telling me Heinlein didn't wear his politics on his sleeve? That imagining the future has nothing to do with where human society is going? Get the fuck out of here.

It seems like a lot of the backlash is from people thinking that if they agree with an author's politics, then that doesn't count as politics. Ditto race, gender, etc.
posted by jaguar at 8:37 PM on April 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


As a white, straight, Western man, I can freely speak for my fellow SF readers


Careful with this alasdair, I'm also those things and you certainly don't speak for me.

SFF opened my mind as a teen in the 70's, and an open mind allows for positive change. If you want all of that old school stuff you can reread to your heart's content, but the big world has spun a few times since those days and thankfully there are voices in literature that strive to speak for all of the wide variety of humanity, not just the privileged.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:46 PM on April 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yeah, the idea seems to be that implicitly (or explicitly) right-wing, militaristic stories starring straight white manly men are inherently apolitical, which is hilarisad both because it's blatantly dumb and because it speaks to an incredibly limited view of old-school science fiction. Heinlein's the obvious example for overtly political "classic" hard SF, but you've also got to ignore (just looking at Hugo nominees) the Robot novels, Lord of Light, A Canticle For Leibowitz, Slaughterhouse-Five, the fucking Forever War....
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:48 PM on April 4, 2015 [23 favorites]


I am trying to think what I would have nominated. Ancillary Sword and City of Stairs, absolutely. I'd be tempted by The Girls at the Kingfisher Club but I don't know if it's quite genre enough. The Seventh Bride if it's novel eligible. Probably Our Lady of the Streets, an all but unknown (excellent) YA series. (Cixin Liu's book is on my to-read list. The Goblin Emperor didn't quite do it for me.) If I had room, Station Eleven.
posted by jeather at 8:51 PM on April 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I just want to speak up here to contest the idea that SF written by/featuring women, POC, transpeople, etc., can't be fun. What?

Agreed! To add to your list, Ursula Vernon, who won a Hugo a few years ago for her comic Digger and was on the nominee ballot this year for Toad Words (T Kingfisher is her pseud), writes stuff that is frequently funny and light--hell, she makes most of her living as a freaking children's book author.

Regarding why people get into sci-fi--look, insofar as I have any interest in sci-fi it's because I like to alter shit about the world and see what happens next to the culture, and I like to ground that in actual science. I don't necessarily give a shit about physics but I've read basically every sci-fi novel I've ever sought out because I wanted to know what authors thought might happen if, e.g., you shifted human reproductive biology to be partially parthenogenetic, or if maybe you ran into a culture which borrowed DNA from other species as a matter of course. I want to know about what authors think about the ethics of cloning and of bioengineering humans, and I want to know about how interspecies differences in signaling systems impact communication, and I want to know how human population structure might change if all of humanity wound up on lifeships. I want to know how contraints on colony living change cultural structure and taboos in the people who live in those colonies, and I want to know that in the context of what we know about human behavior now.

And because I am a biologist, because I am interested in the whole human species, I want to know what happens to people like me in those brave new worlds, too. I don't want a white future; I want to know what all of humanity is doing. I don't want a straight future, either, or a male one; I want to know how these tweaks would impact all kinds of people, and how it might change the way they think. I want to start from the counterintuitive realities of biology, of behavior, of people--the chaotic strangeness of life--and let those grow into a story.

Then again, I'm not exactly the demographic these guys are coming from, either. Should I say "Ah, well, sci-fi ain't for me because I care too much about the science?" Or "ah, sci-fi isn't meant for me, I care way too much about the real world and the bits of it that aren't necessarily obvious to straight white men--or obvious to me?" Because from my perspective, the Golden Age stuff I've read is frequently narrow-minded or misses things that I find obvious, because my perspective is different. It would be a shame to miss out on stuff that jolts my worldview in interesting ways because I'm not paying attention to large swathes of people whose perspective is different from mine again.
posted by sciatrix at 8:57 PM on April 4, 2015 [23 favorites]


The idea that SF has never been and should never be political should be insulting to anyone at any place in the political spectrum. You're telling me Heinlein didn't wear his politics on his sleeve? That imagining the future has nothing to do with where human society is going? Get the fuck out of here.

I'm absolutely telling you that! All this namby-pamby SJW shit about women being able to be characters is totally political, but Starship Troopers? That's just good sense. I'm a white man, and thus inherently sensible, so I should know.
posted by kafziel at 9:05 PM on April 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


I have a fond fantasy that Adams, Ballard, Banks, Clarke, Pratchett et al have now got together and found a way back from the Afterlife and the skies above Worldcon will boil as the very fabric of spacetime is rent asunder by the mighty Corrective Fleet come to administer some whoop-arse.

Perhaps not Clarke. But he meant well.
posted by Devonian at 9:20 PM on April 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


@Alasdair - Your arguments reminded me of the Dragon Age II kerfuffle, and I remembered liking the writer's response.

Just because not every sf book is one you enjoy, does not mean the majority are still not being written for you, the straight, white, male reader. They are. But we've taken a small share of the market and you're acting like its the end of all you hold dear.

I, a bi, female, white reader, grew up on Heinlein, Bester, and Bradbury. I saw myself represented exactly nowhere in the books, despite the fact that I loved the concepts and plots and the grandeur of space. How dare you say that because I'm not a straight male, I'm relegated to an "other" that doesn't deserve what you've had your whole life? (Stories about people you can easily identify with.) And because you're finally getting a small taste of what the rest of us "others" have had to deal with our whole lives, you're complaining? Forgive me for not having any sympathy for you.

The fact that you think sf is for boys and fantasy and romance is for girls is telling. They are not. If they ever were, they are no longer. Not for a while.
posted by greermahoney at 9:28 PM on April 4, 2015 [26 favorites]


I have a simple rule for nominating and voting for good words of fiction. They have to be good. A number of things on this ballot are not good and they are not there because they are good but because people who are not being very good are deliberately trying to put works on there which would not be there if it was being judged on what was good, which is not good.

So, overall, it's not good. But I will still be voting for these things which are, however they came to be on the ballot because I know what guilt by association looks like and I don't want to hand any bloc the ability to take something out of contention merely be mentioning it.

That's definitely not good.

But, yeah, those statues look like giant wangs so maybe they've been acting as beacons for certain groups? In short, buy my book "Space Wangs of Middle New Earth, Volume 1: The Wangening."
posted by nfalkner at 9:42 PM on April 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


It seems like a lot of the backlash is from people thinking that if they agree with an author's politics, then that doesn't count as politics. Ditto race, gender, etc.

Yes, exactly. TotalBiscuit was spouting the other day that you shouldn't "inject" politics into fiction, as if any videogame past maybe Pong is apolitical.
posted by kmz at 9:48 PM on April 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I Was Wanged in my Wang by my own Wang - C. Tingle
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:49 PM on April 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


as if any videogame past maybe Pong is apolitical.

Tumblr informs me the pong protagonists are straight and white.
posted by nom de poop at 9:53 PM on April 4, 2015 [63 favorites]


It's a fight, more than anything, about who's going to be in charge and who will get to shape fandom.

Nobody gets to be in charge of fandom. Nobody gets to shape it.

No one is in control of dictating our tastes, and how they might evolve or change (or might not) for any fan.

Nobody gets to tell me what to like, what not to like, and what's ok. That's the high school shithead bullying mentality that I, in part, turned to science fiction and fantasy to get away from - to be able to explore worlds and universes that didn't conform to the usual; where big ideas got explored; where the best stories dared me to see what change would be like, to imagine what it was like to be different, to see the world differently. Yes, part of it was about escape - but it was escape from a world where I felt stifled to ones where I felt free to explore possibilities. A host of possibilities.

This is supposed to be the literature of the BIG IDEA; of being open and seeing strange horizons and dangerous visions. To boldly go where no one has gone before. To step out on the road, lose your footing, with no way of knowing where you might be swept off to. You can't put fences around it; you can't say this belongs and that doesn't. You can't say who belongs and who doesn't. There are writers in SF&F whose politics and personal views I detest; some of their books sit upon my shelves because I love how they write or the ideas they chose to explore. And some of my collection is there because they are comfortable, safe, wonderful places for me to return to, again and again, when I need the feelings they evoke in me.

No one gets to try to tell me which worlds to explore and which to exclude.

When it comes to SF&F: All these worlds are ours, no exceptions. Attempt all landings.
posted by nubs at 10:05 PM on April 4, 2015 [22 favorites]


Reading back a bit, I don't get the idea that SF is "our" genre fiction or that SF in general was any worse than other genres, who had their own struggles with issues of diversity. Romance may have been a primarily female audience, but it had its own pulp publishers and gatekeepers analogous to Campbell.

Other people have pointed out that romance is only romance if it involves a female author or perspective. For John Carter, James Bond, or Conan to get the girl doesn't seem to count.

If things are coming to a head again, I suspect it's because between digital publishing of shorter works and blogging we don't have the same mass-market gatekeepers. That, and globalization is bringing together new science fiction communities together. The 2013 Tiptree winner, Rupetta, was authored by an Australian, given an initial print run of a few thousand by an London specialty press, and more widely available by ebook before the awards were announced. (It is also an amazing novel.)

as if any videogame past maybe Pong is apolitical.

And sometimes science fiction can be weirdly politicized. The 1983 V miniseries was banned in South Africa by "The Crocodile" because he thought the reptilian aliens were a reference to him.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:06 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just want to speak up here to contest the idea that SF written by/featuring women, POC, transpeople, etc., can't be fun.

I just wanted to add Lois Bujold, Elizabeth Moon, Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, James Tiptree, and Sarah Zettel to the list of women who write SF what is fun or even brain candy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:23 PM on April 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


I just don't get this. How does someone writing a book you are not interested in reading detract from the ones that you do want to read, even if they are in the same genre? Why do all these racist misogynists even care?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:51 PM on April 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


This whole thing just makes me feel so tired and sad.

I've been nominating and voting for the Hugos for years, and it's been obvious to me for a while how vulnerable the nomination process is to someone who wants to game the system. Last year, it took all of 43 votes to get a short story onto the ballot. I'm not sure what can be done to reduce the effectiveness of a slate campaign while still letting fans choose the nominees/winners. I mean, there's no way to enforce people voting on the quality of the work rather than some political agenda.

I'd been talking to my brother about possibly attending Worldcon this year, since it's only a four-hour car trip from where I live. It would be the first Worldcon for me, but I really am not interested in hanging out for what will be a party for some of the folks on the SP slate.
posted by creepygirl at 10:59 PM on April 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


There will be lots of other people at Worldcon and many of them will be trying very hard to make sure that it doesn't get taken over by SP, or any other group for that matter, myself included. Worldcon is supposed to be inclusive and a safe space for everyone and it will remain so for as long as we can make it so.
posted by nfalkner at 12:28 AM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why do all these racist misogynists even care?
Because they need to be reassured that the reason they dominate the culture is because they're RIGHT, not because their ancestors were more warlike, brutal and cruel and therefore WINNERS. I have been frankly ashamed of being a white, straight, Western man for more than half of my adult life, and even before I figured it out, I was into SF, not for the outer-space-stuff, but for the FUTURE-stuff, the utopian and dystopian projections of the world far beyond my lifetime and ability to participate in it. If you got into Star Trek for the spaceships, I'm sorry, but you are a fool and an ass.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:50 AM on April 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


I just don't get this. How does someone writing a book you are not interested in reading detract from the ones that you do want to read, even if they are in the same genre? Why do all these racist misogynists even care?

Telling themselves they're victimized, being treated unfairly and so on, justifies their defensive aggression and lets them roll around in a warm fuzzy feeling of being righteous, persecuted but important, etc.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:48 AM on April 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


kmz: you shouldn't "inject" politics into fiction

That's one of those received ideas that drive me up the wall. The long history of literature is filled with great political works (Tolstoy, Dickens, George Eliot, Victor Hugo, just to stick to Europe in the 19th Century) but suddenly in the 1980s it became a truism that politics was somehow foreign to literature. Lately there's been a discussion about whether the Iowa Writers' Workshop is to blame. But that aside, I think this casting out of politics is part of the reactionary conservatism that shook Western culture in the last two decades of the 20th Century. I'm not surprised it's now the respectable rallying cry of those who wish to prop up the power structures of wider, contemporary society.
posted by Kattullus at 2:05 AM on April 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


I am, hilariously, at a con right now, so I can't give you a comprehensive list, ROU_Xenophobe, but I remember being deeply disappointed by NK Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which seemed very much a "fuck you and the things you love" book.

uh what

the first one is fun fantasy novel that is more about politics, romance, intrigues and occasional assassinations than war and combat

unless "you and the things you love" is "boring books about and by white people"
posted by NoraReed at 2:07 AM on April 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


kmz: you shouldn't "inject" politics into fiction

That's one of those received ideas that drive me up the wall.


Yes; it is idiocy. Write whatever the hell you want for whatever purpose.
posted by Wolof at 2:10 AM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


kmz: you shouldn't "inject" politics into fiction

I'm pretty sure Iain M. Banks didn't get this memo.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:37 AM on April 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


> "The way I'm reading it (I've been reading some blogs to try and keep from chewing my nails over the Badger game) is: 'If we don't do something the Hugo will be awarded solely based on the author's SJW credentials regardless of quality.'"

Thing is ... the only thing I've read that was on the "Puppy" lists is Skin Game. Now, there's nothing *wrong* with Skin Game. It's fine. I liked it. But it doesn't merit a major award. It doesn't merit being on the short list for a major award. If Skin Game is the kind of thing that's on their list, then it's hard for me to buy that the argument they're making is "these brilliant works of great quality will be ignored unless we do something about it!"

It's kind of telling that this year the only overlap between the Hugo nominations and Nebula nominations for written works are the two Hugo-nominated novels that *weren't* on the Puppy lists.
posted by kyrademon at 2:45 AM on April 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


As a SFF fan, this is the year that the Hugo Award pretty much loses all meaning to me.

The SP and RP slate of nominees is gaming the system, and that is all it is. Whether or not any of the works on those slates could have made the Hugo shortlist on their own merits is moot. The supporters of SP and RP claim that past nominees and winners were beneficiaries of the same gaming, but this hasn't and can't be proved. This year, however, the gaming is obvious and provable. I feel any Hugos given out to SP or RP slate authors should have a little asterisk next to their name so that folks know that this was a year that some cheaters won.

Curious to see if the Hugo Award can recover.
posted by snwod at 3:23 AM on April 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


To be totally fair, though, Torgensen himself has essentially said that one of his arguments is not that brilliance is being ignored, but that stuff that makes him think is boring:

"In the last decade we’ve seen Hugo voting skew more and more toward literary (as opposed to entertainment) works ... ultimately lacking ... the kind of child-like enjoyment that comes easily and naturally when you don’t have to crawl so far into your brain ..."

It's true that his other argument is that he doesn't like awards going to books written by or about women and minorities and queers and suchlike:

"Worldcon and fandom alike have tended to use the Hugos as an affirmative action award: giving Hugos because a writer or artist is (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) or because a given work features (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) characters."

But his line of thinking is not that awards should go instead to brilliant books by and about straight white men. It is that the awards should go to relatively brainless action novels by and about straight white men.
posted by kyrademon at 3:24 AM on April 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


> "Also, the Sad/Rabid Puppies hated that Redshirts -- a book about almost entirely guys who are on a spaceship -- won ... it's about 'books which were written by authors who we approve of', the exact thing they complained about in the past."

It's almost bizarre how little relationship their supposed complaints bear to reality. They yearn for the adventure stories of classic science fiction? Let's look at the winners of the past few years. (Warning - spoilers follow.)

Ancillary Justice -- Classic space opera plot. An AI hunts across space for an alien superweapon to use to take revenge against the galactic Emperor.

Redshirts -- Direct riff on one of the most beloved classic sci-fi serials of all time. A spaceship crew fighting impossible odds to survive.

Among Others -- A book which is a love letter to classic science fiction. Details the experience of growing up with these books, reading them, reacting to them, being a fan of them.

So in recent years, the winners have been a book with a classic science fiction plot, a book which is a take on a classic science fiction serial, and a book which is about classic science fiction books. Yes, truly the Hugos have lost sight of their past. (Apparently because these books were written by two women and a liberal, and in one it's hard to tell which characters are the manly male men.)
posted by kyrademon at 4:29 AM on April 5, 2015 [26 favorites]


It's almost bizarre how little relationship their supposed complaints bear to reality.

They appear to be under the impression that people who say they like the kind of work that has been winning Hugos lately are simply lying about their preferences, that people vote for things because they are SJW-approved and no other reason. (Which is odd, because I remember a lot of complaints about how Redshirts decided to take the All Men Plus One Woman Whose Major Personality Characteristic Was Femaleness (like Smurfette) rather too seriously. I don't think Among Others is particularly political, and going further back neither is Blackout/All Clear unless you believe that the Nazis were good. Of course 3 were written by women, 1 by a man they hate.)

And also that people who would like True SF read the other work because it won awards and are therefore turned off the genre and so the genre is losing market share at a fast rate, so soon there will be no more science fiction of any sort published.
posted by jeather at 5:20 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Kyrademon I basically agree with you - actually the winners of the last 3 years Best Novel have all been unusually excellent books by Hugo standards. Still from an ideological turing test perspective I think it is pretty easy to see why you might hate them if you are a conservative or redpill style internet troll or neoreactionary. They all have elements which are fairly explicitly affirmations of progressive politics, and in two cases, (Ancilliary Justice, which i loved, and Redshirts which I loved until the additional endings) I can see how they would seem tacked on if you did not have the ability to understand the authors emotional perspective.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 5:23 AM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I hate that the Sad Puppies strategy is to talk about adventure SFF as if it hasn't been explicitly political for a long, long time. I mean, how much of the "classic" SF from the 60s and 70s contains the authors' libertarian blathering? How could you not notice it in Heinlein or Niven or Pournelle? The problem is that it's people who don't share their own politics getting recognition.

I haven't read the follow-ups, but I enjoyed Ancillary Justice tremendously. As a fan of adventure SFF, I was glad it won the awards it did. It's a shame that people claiming to love adventure writing have put together such an awful campaign based, not on the merit of "their side" and it's work, but a disdain for others' politics.
posted by graymouser at 5:31 AM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes, so the answer to this:

I just don't get this. How does someone writing a book you are not interested in reading detract from the ones that you do want to read, even if they are in the same genre? Why do all these racist misogynists even care?

is this:

Because they need to be reassured that the reason they dominate the culture is because they're RIGHT, not because their ancestors were more warlike, brutal and cruel and therefore WINNERS.

It's about identity. We none of us want to be The Bad Guys. So things that make us The Bad Guys are going to be resisted, whether threads on racism on Metafilter or SF with a feminist slant. Whether we are the bad guys or not. We don't want to think we are the bad guys, and we don't want to read stuff that makes us the bad guys.

So what's the problem? We all just read the sub-genre that flatters us, right? That works perfectly until you get to... awards, which are supposed to define the genre. And here we are.

A related tangent: the Culture books are great, a panhuman non-sexist society. Of course, none of the popular adventure stories are actually based in this society, which would be boring and be like a girly soap opera (which are great too, but not consumed by/intended for boys). They're about the straight white men (disguised or not) who have to deal with the natives, usually with lots of violence and derring do. Also, lefty right-on dudes get to be really violent towards nasty right-wing people. I mean, I love them, but let's not pretend they aren't a combination of wish fulfilment and adventure story. This is SF.
posted by alasdair at 5:38 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Of course, none of the popular adventure stories are actually based in this society

I liked Excession and Look to Windward a lot.
posted by sukeban at 5:49 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Reading through comments at Scalzi's blog, there's someone absolutely insisting that Rachel Swirsky's "If you were a dinosaur, my love" could absolutely not have gotten onto the ballot through merit but only in order to advance a political agenda. (This short story in particular gets a great deal of hatred. I loved it, though a friend whose tastes I share quite closely was indifferent.)
posted by jeather at 5:51 AM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Science Fiction has been political since before it even existed as an acknowledged genre. H. G. Wells invented half of the tropes that SF writers are still using and his very first novel was a socialist parable disguised as a time travel story.
posted by octothorpe at 5:52 AM on April 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


Ancillary Justice -- Classic space opera plot. An AI hunts across space for an alien superweapon to use to take revenge against the galactic Emperor.

Not only that, it has the gender-benders be from an oppressive interstellar empire with some socialist traits and weirdo body issues AND it has people doing homosexual things because they were brought up that way. You'd think troglodytes would love it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:58 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but the default pronoun is "she".
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:16 AM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I liked Excession and Look to Windward a lot.

[SPOILERS]

EXCESSION: Race to get the alien artefact! (Also, the Culture Minds turn out to be just like normal macho military men (the scene where they throw out the Minds who aren't part of some unelected inner sanctum makes it particularly obvious, but also the breathless hard on for the huge ship that's become a vast battleship, oh and the oh-so-feminist Culture is fine with a pregnant woman getting stabbed for infidelity).

LOOK TO WINDWARD: Will the tiger-man alien manage to blow up the Culture space station in revenge for the Culture fridging his wife? (So not only "providing character motivation by fridging a wife/girlfriend" but also "it's okay to torture your enemies to death because they're bad people" - the "Culture terror weapon").

Adventure stories. Good ones! Happy endings. Not ORYX AND CRAKE...
posted by alasdair at 6:23 AM on April 5, 2015


Also, the Culture Minds turn out to be just like normal macho military men (the scene where they throw out the Minds who aren't part of some unelected inner sanctum makes it particularly obvious, but also the breathless hard on for the huge ship that's become a vast battleship, oh and the oh-so-feminist Culture is fine with a pregnant woman getting stabbed for infidelity

That's not how I remember the plot. I remember the macho idiot male protagonist going in his own merry way with the macho idiot aliens, tho.

the tiger-man alien

I remember a six-armed badger alien and the book ending on a rather bromantic suicide pact between said alien badger and an AI, and not even one main character being human.

Have you considered the idea that you're projecting a lot?
posted by sukeban at 6:28 AM on April 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


One last thing: in presenting the white male take on this I mean only to explain, not justify. I make in fact a criticism of the attitude, not a defence of it - who wants to admit they read escapist fiction and get uncomfortable with other viewpoints?

To be crystal clear: if you are not white, not a man, not straight, not Western, and you love reading (or writing!) SF, then I think that's great, and I look forward to buying your books or discussing SF with you, and hearing your viewpoints.

Not that you should even give a fuck what I think, of course!
posted by alasdair at 6:32 AM on April 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


That's not how I remember the plot.

I think I'm trying to say that making a white straight character into a computer or an alien or indeed a woman doesn't make the character not a white straight character, if that's how you otherwise write the character: there are many threads about white male authors writing women and people of color that could explain what I'm alleging better. Anyway, really going now, with just this: there are two SF series based on HORNBLOWER? Awesome!
posted by alasdair at 6:39 AM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


You were asking about stories set in the Culture, not white straight characters. Or some strange Feminist Approved Plot thing that I can't even understand.
posted by sukeban at 6:40 AM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I take alasdair's argument to be: "Here's how a lot of SF looks from the perspective of the hegemonic identity. It's actually kind of despicable that that identity gets as much credit, attention, and representation in SF as it does."

I don't see anything in what he's written here that is a defense of that identity except perhaps the kind-of-justification that this kind of escapist reading is fun and the really good books in SF sometimes are downers.(Because subaltern voices often focus on injustice and don't imagine happy endings.)

He makes it clear at the top that giving awards for repetitive genre schlock when there's excellent challenging work by underrepresented voices is a terrible, terrible thing. So maybe try reading him with a little more charity.

Unrelated: It looks like Karen Lord's Best of All Possible Worlds was published in Febuary of 2014, so I just don't know how these lists can be taken seriously. Maybe No Award for Best Novel, too?
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:42 AM on April 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


(And seriously, the Minds are masculine? Since when? Aww and I thought the ones that carry hundreds of thousands of people are so maternal)
posted by sukeban at 6:42 AM on April 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


anotherpanacea: Unrelated: It looks like Karen Lord's Best of All Possible Worlds was published in Febuary of 2014, so I just don't know how these lists can be taken seriously.

It was published in 2013. Thanks for mentioning and recommending it. I need to put this on my mental to-read list. I'm assuming from the title that it draws on Voltaire's Candide, which seems like a splendid idea for a science fiction novel.
posted by Kattullus at 6:52 AM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I did have the same reaction to Alisdair about the Culture novels. "Here's an interesting utopia we'll explore entirely from the perspective of dissatisfied Heinlein protagonists!" I actually thought it was kind of a funny shtick but whatever.
posted by selfnoise at 7:05 AM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really had no idea. Admittedly, I am not really a big consumer of modern fiction of any sort, mostly on account of being cheap, but wow.

Over on the above linked Torgensen article, Baen Books and the Baen Free Library (Helping me read books on my phone since I discovered it online in 2002) are mentioned more than a few times as the last place to get "good" scifi, archetypal adventure style or whatever. But as mentioned above, the Hornblower style Honor Harrington series is there (read the first two books free, maybe you'll buy the rest!), and the lead is a strong female, who wins with her brain, not looks, and has insecurities about herself and sometimes has to deal with misogyny and dare I say it, there are even subplots dealing with the horribleness and terror of rape; yet there is swashbuckling space adventure galore, and a story that holds you and keeps you turning the page.

Even John Ringo, mentioned above, in A Hymn Before Battle and Gust Front, military scifi novels heavy on the military, has very strong female characters, and in amongst the alien slaying does some introspection on military families where both spouses serve, and how both wrestle with the sacrifices required therein, for the greater good, how sometimes the best way to keep your family safe is to leave them and go fight. Not everyone's cup of tea, sure, but not exactly He-Man Woman Haters Club stuff either.

The one thing I find most positive about all this mess is the somewhat surprisingly (to me) large amount of emotional investment in the scifi/fantasy fiction world! As long as there is a fandom of interested and engaged readers and writers willing to try new stuff, I think we'll be okay.
posted by HycoSpeed at 8:26 AM on April 5, 2015


The fight over who's going to be in charge is explicitly about keeping everyone different out unless you're straight, white, cis, male.

Not even that. It´s about keeping everyone out unless you're straight, white, cis, male and believe you should keep everyone different out who´s not straight, white, cis, male. Maybe the Hugos need a Flag as Noise option.
posted by ersatz at 8:32 AM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]




I have been frankly ashamed of being a white, straight, Western man for more than half of my adult life,

Vatican II repudiated the notion of Jewish guilt for the death of Jesus because it recognized that collective guilt is pernicious nonsense. Something to think about.

But this! Given the ongoing decline of SFF sales, mostly the whole kerfuffle brings Sayre's Law to mind.

So - read any good books lately?

(On preview, I did look up the Honor Harrington suggested. I can't get past the bad writing. But what do I know? I can't read Agatha Christie, and she outsells just about everyone except God. Carry on reading!)
posted by IndigoJones at 8:46 AM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


But I will still be voting for these things which are, however they came to be on the ballot because I know what guilt by association looks like and I don't want to hand any bloc the ability to take something out of contention merely be mentioning it.

All the authors agreed to be on the Sad Puppies list. Torgersen overlooked contacting three authors initially, and two asked to be removed (which they were.) One fan writer who was late to the kerfuffle declined his nomination (long, but thoughtful) once he realized he didn't agree with the project. So, they're all "guilty by association" the same way a political party is, and they should be prepared to be punished at the polls the same way a political party is.

They've already made it about something other than quality by making it about party. If you want the party-politification to end the only way forward is to make running on a slate a defacto defeat. Use your No Award vote where appropriate.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:51 AM on April 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


I just wanted to add Lois Bujold, Elizabeth Moon

Yep. If the Honor Harrington series strikes you as too "tedious" as was mentioned up-thread, Moon's Vatta's War series ticks a lot of the same military SF boxes while being more finite in scope.
posted by audi alteram partem at 8:51 AM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Given the ongoing decline of SFF sales, mostly the whole kerfuffle brings Sayre's Law to mind.

So - read any good books lately?

Before you panic too much, bear in mind that Nielsen is only measuring print book sales in certain outlets — and e-book sales are probably picking up much of the slack here. If anything, I'm guessing SF and fantasy readers are more likely to be heavy adopters of e-readers, due to our tech-savvy leanings.

posted by anotherpanacea at 8:53 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Dang. Vox Day just gets more impressively douchey and awful every week, doesn't he?
posted by NoraReed at 8:56 AM on April 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


All the authors agreed to be on the Sad Puppies list.

I think it's been well established that this is not true; indeed, you yourself cite a counterexample. (The fan writer was never contacted, and never agreed.)
posted by Shmuel510 at 8:59 AM on April 5, 2015


For all its conservativeness, there's certainly a stripe of mil-SF that's actively anti-sexist (Moon's stuff or the Harrington books probably count but aren't quibble-proof) or anti-racist (going back to Starship Troopers or even Lensmen if you want to count that as milSF).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:04 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


All the authors agreed to be on the Sad Puppies list.

Even for those who were contacted and agreed, you have to wonder what the framing was like.

"Hi, we'd like to recommend you for a Hugo nomination, is that okay?" is a lot different from "Hi, we think your work is some of the least progressive prose published in the last year and we'd like to use it as ammunition in the culture war. Is that okay?"
posted by figurant at 9:05 AM on April 5, 2015 [16 favorites]


And seriously, the Minds are masculine?
"I'm a fucking razor-arsed starship, you maniac! I'm not male, female or anything else except stupendously smart..."
- Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata, p 432
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:08 AM on April 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


or anti-racist (going back to Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers, when I reread it in my twenties (first read as a teenager; loved it then) seems to be entirely about racism. I'd have to squint pretty hard to see it as an anti-racist metacommentary.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:10 AM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Speaking of recommendations, there's also We See a Different Frontier:
A Postcolonial Speculative Fiction Anthology. I got to read a few stories and liked them all. I would have read more, but apparently you're is expected to mail your Quonsee their present in a timely manner — even if you're still reading it!


And The 100 is also a fun adventure and centres lots of women. Yes, that post-apocalyptic teen show on the CW. Really. It turned into something good.

There's talk of rewatching season 1 on FanFare this summer. You should join us.
posted by Banknote of the year at 9:21 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Starship Troopers, when I reread it in my twenties (first read as a teenager; loved it then) seems to be entirely about racism. I'd have to squint pretty hard to see it as an anti-racist metacommentary.

I see your point, but I was just thinking about Rico being Filipino at a time when Filipinos were seen as militarily fit only to wait on whites.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:29 AM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ah, okay.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:31 AM on April 5, 2015


I think it's been well established that this is not true; indeed, you yourself cite a counterexample. (The fan writer was never contacted, and never agreed.)

Surridge (the fan writer) was aware of his inclusion, but says he didn't think it would amount to anything at the time, so his approval was de facto. It's possible others thought as he did, but I've yet to see anything similar. I'd be very surprised if anyone was on that list and not aware of it (at least for the literary categories.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:36 AM on April 5, 2015


Those early greats of science fiction were, for example, calling themselves things like "The Futurians", and sixty, seventy years later we're supposed to want to keep reading more of exactly the same thing? I can still enjoy Kornbluth because I have faith that if he'd lived long enough to see it, he would have been amazed and excited by the way the world changed in the 60s and 70s, to say nothing of today. Frederik Pohl, by then in his nineties, was doing environmental activism on his blog in 2013 shortly before he died. Like a guy who thought the future mattered. They weren't just products of their time; they were trying to be better than that, even if they didn't always succeed.

I think most of the greats would have found most of these writers completely appalling, if nothing else than being so stuck on the idea that change is bad and scary and traditions must be upheld at all costs. The science isn't just in the gadgetry and the spaceships; the genre's always been about examining the world you live in today and theorizing about the world people will live in tomorrow. If stuff written 50+ years ago didn't seem socially and politically regressive in places, then it would mean we hadn't actually made any progress. I absolutely enjoy the classics, but anybody who's trying to use the sci-fi of decades ago as a model for writing today missed the point by a few light years.
posted by Sequence at 10:40 AM on April 5, 2015 [25 favorites]


"Here's an interesting utopia we'll explore entirely from the perspective of dissatisfied Heinlein protagonists!"

The problem with positing a functional post-scarcity socialist utopia run by benevolent AIs is that the daily lives of most well-adjusted people living in it are probably pretty boring to anyone except themselves. There's only so many pages you want to read about a bunch of people at the very top of Maslow's hierarchy inventing new hobbies and sexual positions.

(Although on second thought if someone does want to write that, it could be a fair number of pages.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:41 AM on April 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Over on MeFi's own Scalzi's blog, one of the commenters pointed out that The Law Of Unintended Consequences applies to any action from any side.

It turned out that I had $40 in my pocket that absolutely agreed with that statement. (I'd missed the nomination period and for some reason thought supporting memberships were not available after the nominations closed. I was, happily, wrong.)

I'll be doing a variant of last year: I attempted to read everything, was not gripped by any of the SP nominations (go figure) but ranked them in a few categories. This year, I will do some homework to see for which authors on the slate there may be a question of knowing what they were agreeing to, and treat their works the same; the rest I won't attempt to read because I'm sorry, you gave up your right to be fairly considered when you didn't get on the ballot with fair consideration in the first place, and the slate organizers' stated aims are in fact antithetical to my very existence.

And they invited in gumbogoobers to a space I'm not often in, but like to visit occasionally. Nope.

So the lowest slot in those categories will go to my friend Noah Ward, indeed. Sometimes the lowest slot may also be the first slot.

(And question or not, I will not even look at anything by Wright, whose work I bounced off hard once, even before I learned about his blazing misogyny, and by "Day", because seriously now, there isn't enough NaClO. Hugos are supposed to be a popularity contest? They aren't popular enough with me.)

Tangentially, nom_de_poop: Heh. I see what you did there, but not necessarily. That was a collaboration between me and a friend to develop a functional Pong variant in 48 hours. Once we decided that the paddles were going to be bots with operators inside, we had inserted human characters in the mix. And not all of them are white, or male, or possibly straight (I wasn't considering orientation during character design, for obvious reasons). Unfortunately you have to install the game to see all character models.
posted by seyirci at 10:46 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


There's only so many pages you want to read about a bunch of people at the very top of Maslow's hierarchy inventing new hobbies and sexual positions.

FWIW that book is called Steel Beach.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:47 AM on April 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I honestly think that being read by a wide audience is the worst that could happen to John C. Wright and the rest of the Sad/ Rabid Puppies slate. I'm waiting for the reviews so eagerly.
posted by sukeban at 10:56 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


sukeban: "being read by a wide audience is the worst that could happen to John C. Wright"

Yeah, revanchist Catholics who somehow gain notice outside their small circles never do real well. They labor under the delusion that they are the only logical people in the world and if everyone else just read Aquinas! ... so it comes as a bit of a shock when other smart people who have read Aquinas still take them apart and think they're ridiculous.

(I have not read any John C. Wright but just from brief third-party biographical descriptions and a short summary of an argument he was involved in about modernity, I will BET YOU MONEY that when he talks about his rightness/other people's wrongness, he references Aquinas and rationality. I know from revanchist Catholics. They are very predictable.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:21 AM on April 5, 2015 [15 favorites]


Oh, it's not that. If this Kevin J. Anderson first page is any measure (and at least it doesn't come from a vanity press) I don't expect much from the puppies when it comes from plot or writing.

It does manage to cram Only Sane Man and Castrating Harpy Ex-wife into a few paragraphs with a fine "space gypsies" thrown in for funsies at the end.
posted by sukeban at 11:33 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


That Anderson page reads like a parody. I mean, "lava miners?"
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:45 AM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's so much manlier than mining for minerals!
posted by sukeban at 11:46 AM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


For the data-inclined, Niall Harrison posted a Flickr photo of the nomination stats for each category, and makes an analysis/comparison with previous years that's a strong case for this year's nominations being heavily gamed by SP/RP supporters.
posted by soundguy99 at 11:48 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


My predictions for next year, posting here for pre-commitment value. 1. Someone will run a social justice slate that crushes the nominations in the major categories and relegates the sad puppies back to the cheap seats. 2. There will be a concerted effort to change the rules in some way but I don't think it will succeed because many people would prefer to make the whole award political and the Hugo's are already struggling v the Nebulae. 3.Scott Lynch will be nominated for his next Locke Lamora book regardless of all the crap (this is purely my hope because I really want it to be super good!) 4. The social justice slate will be able to find a much more plausible "best novel" nominee and even most SF fans don't read much short fiction and will be accepted because of this. 5. Publishers won't be able to use "Hugo award nominated" to give a few promising short fiction writers a book deal with some bank, which will deprive the world of at least 1 future book I would have loved to read . (5 is difficult to test and more of a moan but 1-4 are a decent calibration I should come back to next year).
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 12:24 PM on April 5, 2015


Yeah, revanchist Catholics who somehow gain notice outside their small circles never do real well.

Gene Wolfe?
posted by Justinian at 12:34 PM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


cstross' deleted FPP was repurposed as a post on his own blog (and rightfully so), which I must LOUDLY recommend reading in either form, but let me excerpt his quote from Rabid Puppies organizer Vox Day:
It's time for the church leaders and the heads of Christian families to start learning from #GamerGate, to start learning from Sad Puppies, and start leading. Start banding together and stop accommodating the secular world in any way. Don't hire those who hate you. Don't buy from those who wish to destroy you. Don't work with those who denigrate your faith, your traditions, your morals, and your God. Don't tolerate or respect what passes for their morals and values.
This is a man who goes beyond bigot, whose longterm planning looks more and more like creating a Christian version of ISIS. I don't care about Godwin's Law, he has written his own Mein Kampf. Forget the "War Against Terrorism"; Vox Day's Culture War is the greatest threat to us all.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:38 PM on April 5, 2015 [25 favorites]


Keep some perspective; Vox Day is a threat to no one except maybe some sci-fi fans.
posted by Nelson at 12:43 PM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


History recalls when Hitler was disregarded as having "delusions of grandeur"... maybe he won't be the one leading the Christian Soldiers into an all-out war, but in our current environment, it becomes more likely that SOMEBODY will.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:48 PM on April 5, 2015


So, if I am understanding correctly, all it takes to vote in the Hugos is to cough up $40 to register as a "supporting member" of Sasquan before the closing date of the ballot sometime in July.

... I think the Hugos just got themselves a new voter.
posted by kyrademon at 12:54 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's been a while since we had an honest-to-goodness Godwin-ing around here. I despise Day but have not seen any indications that he's got a lot of actual power to go along with his mouth-frothing.

Crooked Timber had a piece up, but its main value is in its recommendations for sci-fi to read. In fact, these sorts of events always seem to lead to fruitful discussions of the snubbed-by-bigots-but-good authors we should be reading.

Is that the Streisand effect or does it need a new name? When bigotry leads to good publicity for the targets?
posted by emjaybee at 12:57 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Forget the well-financed terrorists who have murdered thousands, the insane dictatorships and the calculating foreign repressive governments playing the great game - the greatest threat to freedomTM is a lone (racist) blogger who writes badly written self-published novels! Gosh I can't see why that kind of opinion might fuel resentment and lead to internet drama.

Ok that is enough fighting - here are my 2 Favourite SF novels published in 2014, neither of which have been mentioned so far and both of which are great.

The Book of Strange New Things - Micheal Faber A bit slow but brilliant in many ways, and a great commentary on christianity without being judgmental.
Cibola Burn by James S.A Corey Book 4 of a series, but the first that went above "entertaining" to genuinely interesting, A survival SF novel that works wonderfully in its context and has a lot of "peeling back the onion" satisfaction to reading.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 1:13 PM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Someone is clearly going to profit from this, and it's whomever gets the $40 from all the people who register just to vote in this thing. Who is that? Is it at least, I hope, some organization that is worth supporting?

I read crime fiction, rather than sci-fi. I had no idea that my particular genre corner was so comparatively boring!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:18 PM on April 5, 2015


I read crime fiction, rather than sci-fi. I had no idea that my particular genre corner was so comparatively boring!

Cozies vs. cops is the next great library schism.
posted by Etrigan at 1:22 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sasquan, AAC. Though I am pretty sure they would trade it for a Hugos ceremony that wasn't either very short or very embarrassing.
posted by tavella at 1:37 PM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I believe there actually was a similar brouhaha among British crime writers in the mid-90s. I'm not remembering the specifics, but there was some thing where PD James was on some middle-of-the-night BBC chat program and said that crime fiction had to be about middle-class-and-above people, because working-class people lacked the appropriate interior life to commit interesting crimes. Working-class crime was just people bashing other people over the head to take their money. The new guard of left crime writers howled, the old guard howled back about a lefty takeover of the genre, and there was much howling until everyone calmed down, realized that PD James was about 102 and a product of a different era, and continued writing whatever they wanted to write. I think that crime fiction people are pretty happy to coexist peacefully: I don't much want to read books about serial killers or cats solving murders in knitting shops, but I don't mind if that stuff exists. On the other hand, crime fiction readers are much, much less emotionally invested in their identity as crime fiction readers, I think, so it's probably not a very good comparison.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:46 PM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


books about serial killers or cats solving murders in knitting shops

I am all for a series of books about serial killers solving murders in knitting shops.

(What kind of mysteries do you like, AaC?)
posted by jeather at 1:50 PM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


They must be serial-killing cats solving mysteries in knitting shops.

I usually like social-realism-y crime novels that are interested in power relationships and have a sense of place. I like attention to character development. People like Laura Lippmann or Denise Mina or Tana French. (Tana French may be the odd writer out there, but I've really enjoyed her stuff.) But honestly, I'll read anything that isn't too twee and doesn't have serial killers and/or a lot of gratuitous sexual violence.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:56 PM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't much want to read books about ... cats solving murders in knitting shops

"Mr. Snugglepuss examined the yarn. Old Food Lady would never have wrapped it this loosely. Someone else had been here…"
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:59 PM on April 5, 2015 [27 favorites]


Inspector Pancakes.
posted by Artw at 2:02 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I didn't realize cats solving mysteries had become a whole genre. I thought it was just that one series. Yikes.

Pre-emptive "eponysterical." I know, I know.
posted by jaguar at 2:16 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I can't believe Elisabeth Moon was referenced here in opposition, given the anti-Moon fiasco a few years ago /where she was removed as GoH because she supported assimilation. And that's what people are seeing - quality writers catching shit, regardless of ethnicity or gender, on their SJW credentials. People like Orson Scott Card and John C Wright, who are being treated like they have the plague because in their personal life, they don't like gay people.
posted by corb at 2:20 PM on April 5, 2015


People like Orson Scott Card and John C Wright, who are being treated like they have the plague because in their personal life, they don't like gay people.

That's a bit of an understatement.
posted by sukeban at 2:24 PM on April 5, 2015 [33 favorites]


Wait, what Moon thing? Do you have a link corb?

There's been a lot written about Card in various threads, so I'm not going over that again. It was all moot to me since the Ender books never appealed before I knew his politics.
posted by emjaybee at 2:29 PM on April 5, 2015


I assume the reference to Elizabeth Moon is because se went a leeetle bit islamophobic.
posted by sukeban at 2:34 PM on April 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Behave in a shitty way, and you might catch shit. *gasp* *shock*
posted by kmz at 2:34 PM on April 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


> who are being treated like they have the plague because in their personal life, they don't like gay people.

Treated by whom? They still get their books published and movies made from them; their work still sells. I don't know about Wright but I know Card is still referenced as a writer in the genre that other writers should at least be familiar with, and serious readers also. Saying that I am uninterested in giving either of them my money or attention because of [whatever reason] is not exactly treating them like they have the plague. Criminey.
posted by rtha at 2:36 PM on April 5, 2015 [22 favorites]


Heading home from con now, emjaybee, I'll check the links and post from there - only on my phone now.

I think I'm also just upset by this because I ran into a Hugo nominee about three hours ago who was crying in a bathroom because they had gotten on the Sad Puppies slate and were worried everyone would vote No Award without even looking at their stuff. And I'm like, this is not how you're supposed to be feeling as a nominee and I hate these bloody, bloody fandom wars.
posted by corb at 2:45 PM on April 5, 2015


People like Orson Scott Card and John C Wright, who are being treated like they have the plague because in their personal life, they don't like gay people.

That's because they are a plague. They are willing hosts for some really nasty diseases that have infected western culture in general and SF literature in particular. Moreover, they insist on exposing other people, like some sort of literary Typhoid Mary.
posted by happyroach at 2:46 PM on April 5, 2015 [17 favorites]


I am, hilariously, at a con right now, so I can't give you a comprehensive list, ROU_Xenophobe, but I remember being deeply disappointed by NK Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which seemed very much a "fuck you and the things you love" book.

Seconding the "What?" on this. I absolutely loved The Inheritance Trilogy. I've been starved for fantasy novels with more diverse people and cultures and storylines and it really delivered in all three books.

Oree and Shiny slowly developing a relationship in the second book was one of the most bitterly sweet heartwarming things I have ever read. And the third book with Sieh and the two siblings...perfection.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:47 PM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


It is fairly reasonable to believe that John C. Wright's presence on the "Puppy" Slates -- especially his VERY heavy representation on Vox Day's "Rabid Puppy" slate -- are because of his politics and not because of his writing.

If he is there because of his politics, it is fair game to talk about his politics. And his politics are odious.

Almost everyone who has read John C. Wright on this thread who has commented on his work has in fact been fairly complimentary of his writing.

But he did not get nominated because of his writing. He did not get nominated on his merits. He was, ironically, nominated in exactly the kind of political statement the people who nominated him claim they are against. In fact, I feel confident stating my belief that the majority of nomination votes he got this year were from people who had not even read the works he is on the ballot for.

When he gets nominated for his writing, then I'll comment on his writing.

(As for Orson Scott Card, I don't want to bring that whole mess up again, but it's totally reasonable for me to think both that he is a terrible human being who wants to return to the days when I would be a criminal just for loving someone, and also that his ~4 Hugo awards were reasonably well-deserved.)
posted by kyrademon at 2:48 PM on April 5, 2015 [17 favorites]


I ran into a Hugo nominee about three hours ago who was crying in a bathroom because they had gotten on the Sad Puppies slate

Did they just now find out they were on the slate?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:53 PM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wright says that the 'instinctive reaction' of men to gay men is 'beating them to death with axhandles and tire-irons' and that 'Men abhor homosexuals on a visceral level'.

But you know, that's just his personal life, we should look past it.
posted by xiw at 3:00 PM on April 5, 2015 [26 favorites]


Crying in the bathroom? Wasn't the slate all about promoting manly men and their manly novels for boys who are aspiring to be manly men?
posted by Nelson at 3:01 PM on April 5, 2015


I ran into a Hugo nominee about three hours ago who was crying in a bathroom because they had gotten on the Sad Puppies slate and were worried everyone would vote No Award without even looking at their stuff

And that happens and it's really unfortunate, especially if this nominee was one of the people who was not actually contacted by Torgersen or Day before appearing on the slate. But it's not a particularly unexpected response and I cannot believe anyone who was contacted honestly thought, well, of course people will judge the slate fairly once it does well.
posted by jeather at 3:02 PM on April 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


corb: "People like Orson Scott Card and John C Wright, who are being treated like they have the plague because in their personal life, they don't like gay people."

I suppose it's not quite the OLDEST story in the world, but whether bad people can create good art is a question with a long and storied history. (<<Он же гений, Как ты да я. А гений и злодейство — Две вещи несовместные. Не правда ль?>>)


I fail to understand, however, what is so unique about OSC or JCW that I should consume their work (and pay them for it, presumably) despite finding their views appalling (and, hey, I've read Card, guess what, it does come out in his work, and it's icky, and I don't like it!). What, exactly, is WRONG with me not reading their books because I don't like their politics? Like, they are so vastly superior to all the other literature I can consume in my lifetime that I should put aside my dislike of their politics? Or the work is so profoundly important that I MUST read it?

Most people aren't saying "They aren't good writers" but "I don't want to read their books." Why should I have to read their books? Why should I have to enjoy things that are gross to me? I sincerely doubt Orson Scott Card is running around saying, "Guys, you have GOT to go read Siken's Crush, he turns the English language into a heartrendingly beautiful account of anxiety, fear, and obsession." If I'm obligated to recognize how "good" a work is regardless of its politics, and I ought not dislike a particular work because its author is a bad person, aren't the "puppy slate" people similarly obligated to force themselves to recognize the quality of the works by people like N.K. Jesimin and Jo Walton and others? By creating a slate of only authors they agree with politically, aren't they equally as deserving of your censure?

But you're only complaining about how "lefty" SFF fans are being unfair -- I wonder why that is?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:03 PM on April 5, 2015 [28 favorites]


From what they were saying, they had been asked what they were eligible for, but hadn't connected the question to the slate. And it was a lady, so please don't be a jerk.
posted by corb at 3:04 PM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Note that I've seen "I'll no award everyone on the puppy slates", "I'll no award everyone but tv/movie on the slates" and "I'll no award everyone who hasn't responded saying they were never contacted and they don't approve" (or something along those lines); it's possible to get some people to read your work even if it was on the slate depending on how you respond to things.

Abigail Nussbaum has commented and shared some links.
posted by jeather at 3:05 PM on April 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


While it might be a hard choice for your friend, they could go the earlier mentioned route of Matthew David Surridge. Resisting being made into a football is a difficult choice, but it's not a ad one.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:10 PM on April 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


There's also an honorable path in acknowledging the slate is icky and regretting being voted in on it, while still staying in the running for the Hugo.
posted by Nelson at 3:15 PM on April 5, 2015


I can't believe Elisabeth Moon was referenced here in opposition, given the anti-Moon fiasco a few years ago /where she was removed as GoH because she supported assimilation. And that's what people are seeing - quality writers catching shit, regardless of ethnicity or gender, on their SJW credentials.

That Elizabeth Moon is being referenced in this post and still recommended, that this was this thread's first mention of that controversy, and that her books haven't been erased in fandom's conversations just because people held her accountable for her opinions or because Wiscon disinvited her as a GoH? It suggests to me that the social justice boogey(wo)man the Puppies feel oppressed by, that is promoting work because of political acceptability and not out of actual quality or enjoyment appeal, does not exist as some fandomwide dictating monolith.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 3:18 PM on April 5, 2015 [19 favorites]


I have seen, for instance, comments along the lines of "when I was contacted, I thought it would get me exposure". Well, it did, and it is hardly other fans' fault that you didn't think it through and they aren't obliged to read your work even if you think they would like it.
posted by jeather at 3:26 PM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, Moon was listed as part of a "list of women who write SF what is fun or even brain candy," not of writers who haven't voiced troubling views. I also cited one Moon work as a possible alternative/companion to Weber's Honor Harrington series with regard to female protagonists. People can read/support/nominate her or not as they will.
posted by audi alteram partem at 3:27 PM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Gene Wolfe is a great example of a conservative writer who is a writer first, and a thoughtful, caring human being second, and a Catholic as a distant 3rd.

Here's an interview with him from a few years back:

"Were you born a Catholic, or was Rosemary?

No, I was a convert.

Like Chesterton.

It’s a bad thing in that born Catholics tend to look down on you. But being looked down upon has its advantages.

Like what?

You don’t put yourself forward as an expert. You understand other people who are in similar situations, and not only in religious matters."

He's also a complicated literary mega-genius whom the sad puppy dongheels would probably find too wordy to be "true boner-rocket material".
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:29 PM on April 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


Oh no, the introduction to that interview is heartbreaking.

I met Gene Wolfe at home in Peoria, where he returned in 2013 after many years in Barrington, Illinois. Although he had recently published a new novel, The Land Across, and was working on another, it was a melancholy visit. He had moved because his wife, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, wanted to go home. But not long after their return, she entered an assisted-living facility, and she died on December 14. Wolfe had been ill himself, his eyesight and heart troubled, and for a time he had also been confined to a facility. The day before I arrived, workers had found his dog, who had been missing for weeks: the animal had been hit by a car, and had crawled behind a garden bush to die. The house was nearly empty
posted by dng at 3:50 PM on April 5, 2015


Apparently I go to church with Gene Wolfe, I had no idea he was that Gene Wolfe, I shall now engage in self-flogging for my Peoria-claim-to-fame-fail. I shall say Hail Marys to repent!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:01 PM on April 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


jeather: I have seen, for instance, comments along the lines of "when I was contacted, I thought it would get me exposure". Well, it did, and it is hardly other fans' fault that you didn't think it through and they aren't obliged to read your work even if you think they would like it.

Speaking as a writer, I would never countenance being nominated for an award under circumstances as shady as these. For me, the only honorable action would be to withdraw the nomination. The writers nominated for this year's Hugo Awards would be in good company. Previous writers who've withdrawn their nominations for a Hugo Award are Terry Pratchett, Robert Silverberg, Ted Chiang and James Tiptree Jr.
posted by Kattullus at 4:02 PM on April 5, 2015 [15 favorites]


You'd be a fool not to, or actually convinced of the rightness of Vox Day et al.

So yeah, very few tears for these guys.
posted by Artw at 4:05 PM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


But haven't you heard about the evil SJW conspiracy to keep pTerry out of the Hugos?
posted by kmz at 4:08 PM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have plenty of sympathy for Ms. Bathroom Crier, assuming that she didn't understand what she was being asked to participate in.

First of all, it feels awesome to be nominated for an award, and it would feel shitty to be all excited about being nominated and then realize that you were not, in fact, being recognized for your amazing writing, but were instead a pawn in some stupid game. Second of all, now she's in the middle of a shitstorm, and it's a shitstorm involving guys who get off on harassing and terrorizing women. If you stay in the competition, you're endorsing assholes, and if you don't stay in the competition, then you're making yourself a target of the gamergate mob. I would be crying in the bathroom too, honestly.

But I'm not sure why this is the fault of the people who are not trying to game the Hugos and are not in league with the 'gaters. The Sick Puppies are the ones who put her in that position.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:17 PM on April 5, 2015 [29 favorites]


P.S. If you're considering registering for a supporting membership to this year's Worldcon, may I selfishly suggest that you vote for the Helsinki bid for the 2017 Worldcon, thereby allowing me the opportunity to fulfill the childhood dream of attending a Worldcon.
posted by Kattullus at 4:18 PM on April 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


Re John c. Wright, I've got to say that I read probably 2.5 of his books and stopped. Not because of his politics, but because I didn't think they were very good. The first one was so-so, the second one was less than that, and the third, well I stopped halfway through. So, not everyone agrees that he's a great writer. Of course, not everyone agrees that my favorite authors are great either. But I can say that so far as I know, neither Bill Gibson nor Martha Wells nor Ellen Kushner nor Iain Banks are (or in the case of the late lamented Mr. Banks, were) reactionary homophobic shits.

OK, that last bit was ad hominem, but justified. Today's Easter, and I attended church this morning as I do every week, and I at least think that Messr. Wright's expressed opinions would make Jesus throw up.
posted by my dog is named clem at 4:19 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Someone on Scalzi's forum pointed out another casualty of this nonsense - The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin, generally acknowledged as one of the best works of Chinese SF in ages, and one that Vox Day has said he would have put on his slate if he'd seen it in time, but he didn't, so the Puppies crowded it out even though it's the kind of thing they'd enjoy because it wasn't on the master list they followed. Because they were voting for a slate regardless of what the nominators actually thought were the best books of the year.

Slate voting sucks.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:31 PM on April 5, 2015 [20 favorites]


clem: I don't know which books you've read but I'm mostly going on the first two Golden Age novels. They were quite interesting until zombie Ayn Rand (figuratively) arrived and vomited objectivism all over everything.
posted by Justinian at 4:41 PM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Justinian -

Honestly, I don't even remember. I go to the library. I take out a book. If I like it, or find it amusing, or even tolerable, I read another by the same author. And so on. But after a couple of books that I don't like by any one person, I bag it. I recognize that probably shorts me on later better books by some people who've improved over their earlier works, but so be it. And I can honestly say that my rule seems to apply to just about everyone, regardless of politics. Jim Hines, who I agree with politically, just hasn't grabbed me enough to keep reading. And Dave Freer, who seems to be part of the Sad Puppy crowd, is someone whose work I like and keep reading. But Wright, meh. I don't find his stuff enjoyable or interesting, and I don't like his politics. So I don't bother.
posted by my dog is named clem at 5:25 PM on April 5, 2015


Someone on Making Light just posted this artistic response to the Sad Puppies slate. Very amusing.
posted by suelac at 5:28 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, based on reading the comments in this thread, I can safely predict that the Rabid Puppies will sweep the Hugos this year, and every year hence, until and unless somebody can get the voting rules changed. Remember that the Streisand Effect works both ways, which is how Memories Pizza has gotten $840,000 in gofundme contributions in 4 days. The backlash against the Puppies cannot outvote the backlash to the backlash - especially after Vox Day's inevitable appearance on FoxNews. That'll open the floodgates for votes that'll let the Vox give acceptance speeches in both his categories, and Wright at least three. They might as well get Glenn Beck to host the awards show... he did write that Speculative Fiction Classic "The Overton Window". I did commit $40 of my meager 'entertainment' budget just to vote against writers and their writings I have no intent of ever reading, which I do not in the least regret, since I know for every one of me there will be 2-3 on the other side who will be voting FOR things they have never read, just to deny some other books they'd prefer to have burned.

BTW, I had never read any of Mr. Wright's works before today, so I went to Amazon to "look inside" a few of his books... I didn't have to get to any of his 'non'-fiction to realize I was totally wasting my time... if his works of the 2010s had been published in the 1970s, I'd think some of his crap was being directly parodied by Douglas Adams... and then, he'd at least have an excuse for being so creatively stale and moldy.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:39 PM on April 5, 2015


I bought a membership because of this.

If you are voting, please read the voting guidelines. I see people saying they don't want any slate candidates to win, and that they will rank those candidates below "No Award." This can--counterintuitively--help those candidates to win. (See comments 926 & 927, starting here, alternate explanation here, etc.)
posted by johnofjack at 5:54 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


The key bit seems to be:
...leaving something off your ballot entirely is ranking it below everything that's on your ballot, even the items that are ranked below No Award.
So, assuming a ballot with one Kitten and four Puppies, if you didn't want Puppies to win at all, you'd vote:
  1. Kitten
  2. No Award
And leave it at that.

But if you thought, "If a Puppy is going to win, I'd want it to be Crying Puppy rather than one of the other Puppies." You'd vote:
  1. Kitten
  2. No Award
  3. Crying Puppy
This last part is what might throw people.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:19 PM on April 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I can safely predict that the Rabid Puppies will sweep the Hugos this year, and every year hence, until and unless somebody can get the voting rules changed

I'm no expert, but "WSFS rules require that changes to the Constitution be passed twice, at two consecutive Worldcons," and the Hugos are written into the WSFS constitution. So I don't think there will be any rules changes to prevent this happening in 2016. Assuming "No Award" actually sweeps, I'd guess a significant percentage of the Hugos are basically on hiatus until 2017.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:47 PM on April 5, 2015


It's time for the church leaders and the heads of Christian families to start learning from #GamerGate, to start learning from Sad Puppies, and start leading.

This is where things get frankly delusional. I may not like what they did with their careers, but people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have had a lasting and enormous impact on the fact of American media and politics, and through them, the world. GamerGate has accomplished precisely nothing of lasting impact. This has produced nothing of lasting impact thus far. Except that this crowd has heard of Vox Day, and the conservative evangelical movement has largely not, and apparently he only considers a movement a success when he's prominent in it. If anybody thought that Hugo awards were going to be the key to the hearts and minds of the Western world, Left Behind could have easily mustered enough people to get it a Hugo.
posted by Sequence at 6:52 PM on April 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Almost everyone who has read John C. Wright on this thread who has commented on his work has in fact been fairly complimentary of his writing.

I read _Orphans_of_Chaos_ because it was free on the Kindle and I was stuck somewhere and needed something to read. I enjoyed it enough to pay for the other two books in the series. I thought they were reasonably well-written and definitely well-plotted -- and while they were somewhat derivative, his characterization was interesting enough to make it more than a retread of the somewhat tired "Jane Protagonist recovers her identity as an Important Person" trope. That said, I remember thinking that the ending was weak. And most of all, the way the female characters were written towards the end made me increasingly uncomfortable, to the point where I decided I didn't want to read anything else by the same author. Oddly, I can't say any more what specifically I didn't like (and I'm not interested in rereading to find out, either).
posted by Slothrup at 6:58 PM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe it was the creepy schoolgirl spanking fetish thing going on?
posted by Justinian at 7:01 PM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


People like Orson Scott Card and John C Wright, who are being treated like they have the plague because in their personal life, they don't like gay people.

Cry me a fucking river over poor Orson Scott Card and his "personal life". I was a huge fan of his work and got increasingly alienated and creeped out by the outright misogyny in so much of it, the shit where he stands on a pedestal and preaches from the mouth of his characters, and his managing to creepily conflate gayness with pedophilia every fucking time he creates a gay character. Maybe there are homophobic, misogynistic whackjobs who are able to create works that are separate from that, but Orson Scott Card has been inserting his shitty opinions into his work for decades and just happened to go enough off of the deep end to get people to actually start noticing what a goddamn shitbag he is in the past ~15 years. I really wish people would stop trying to apply the "but his BOOKS" argument shit when the only thing of his anyone's read is Ender's Game, because I read (the creepily conflating pedophilia and bisexuality) Songbird, (the weirdly menstruation-focused) Wyrm, and those Books of Mormon Rewritten As Sci-Fi books in which being gay is a ~choice~ and you can just ~imagine someone of the same sex while impregnating your BFF~ and everything will be okay.

The amount of influence that Card (and the BYU creative writing department) has on sci-fi and fantasy makes me feel like shit on a regular basis because it's just another sign on the wall to say that this place isn't really for me. Card also puts a lot of other signs on the wall about other people who aren't welcome with the Islamaphobia and racism and shit. But the popularity of his fucking magazine and the fact that he keeps getting published in places like Lightspeed that I generally like-- it just makes me feel like there are a lot higher priorities that everyone has than diversity in SFF, and since the thing I want most from the genre right now is stories that I actually find interesting and one of the best ways to do that is to not be about the same boring heterosexual cisgender white people and actually, I dunno, bother to fucking explore social dynamics instead of just assuming that boring monogamous heterosexuality and love triangles and mean girls and gender roles were handed down to us by God at some point. If this is speculative fucking fiction, it wouldn't fucking kill anyone to actually speculate about sociolological constructs, and that's why I've been reading Ursula LeGuin, Rachel Hartman, NK Jemisin, Daniel Abraham/James SA Corey and Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant.
posted by NoraReed at 7:07 PM on April 5, 2015 [48 favorites]


Wow, there's yet another James SA Corey novel out in less than two months. He's like the anti-Martin. Dude is on fire.

I'm sure it helps that there are two people doing the writing but still.
posted by Justinian at 7:16 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Half the writing team is Daniel Abraham, though, and I think he's been coming out with another Dagger and the Coin book every year too. Plus, judging from their twitter feed, they seem pretty involved in the Expanse show. I think they're just really good at writing a lot and having it still be fun to read.
posted by NoraReed at 7:22 PM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Maybe it was the creepy schoolgirl spanking fetish thing

Well that was more than I wanted to remember, but yes, now that you mention it... :/
posted by Slothrup at 7:26 PM on April 5, 2015


People like Orson Scott Card and John C Wright, who are being treated like they have the plague because in their personal life, they don't like gay people.

Card served on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, who sponsored boycotts and was a major anti-gay advocacy group in the 2010 and 2012 elections. Wright, just this year, compared writers of same-sex relationships to termites and called for extermination. So it seems a bit ridiculous to say that these writers can call for boycotts and discrimination of me, but we must read them anyway because free speech and all that.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:26 PM on April 5, 2015 [39 favorites]


Glad I could be of assistance in this matter.
posted by Justinian at 7:26 PM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can anyone who knows the politics and rules of these things comment on the plausibility of this speculation in the deleted cstross thread?

Castalia House was (per wikipedia) founded by Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day) in early 2014 in Kouvola, Finland. As their website explains:
Castalia House is a Finland-based publisher that has a great appreciation for the golden age of science fiction and fantasy literature. The books that we publish honor the traditions and intellectual authenticity exemplified by writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Robert E. Howard, G.K. Chesterton, and Hermann Hesse. We are consciously providing an alternative to readers who increasingly feel alienated from the nihilistic, dogmatic science fiction and fantasy being published today. We seek nothing less than a Campbellian revolution in genre literature.


...

My guess: the Hugo awards are not remotely as diverse and interesting as the SFWAs Nebula Awards—an organization from which Vox Day became only the second person ever to be expelled. He clearly bears SFWA no love, and the qualification for SFWA membership (which confers Nebula voting rights) is to have professionally published three short stories or a novel. Castalia House is a publishing entity with a short story anthology series. Is the real game plan "Hugos today: Nebulas tomorrow?"
posted by une_heure_pleine at 7:58 PM on April 5, 2015


Repurposed here, at his own blog.

The comments are interesting.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:01 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I kind of feel like (hope that?) the mantel of the Mormon SF community is passing from Card to Sanderson, who makes a much greater effort towards inclusion; from what I can tell.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:55 PM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


He already did the "well maybe I'll come around on thinking you deserve rights if you just would be nicer to me" tone argument bullshit, and he's young enough that he's got quite a while to do the standard old white dude bigot-spiral. He's better than Card in the way that it's better to have only your toilet overflowing and not your toilet AND bathtub, but he still seems to be on the same team, and there are a shitload of people who are reading him anyway, which kind of bums me out, because there's just so much great writing out there that you'll never get to all of it in a lifetime, so it makes me sad to see people reading stuff by folks who use their podiums to say I'm subhuman
posted by NoraReed at 9:35 PM on April 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Do non genre-fiction Mormon authors tend towards holding these kinds of views as well or did SF just get lucky and attract the bad ones?
posted by Justinian at 9:41 PM on April 5, 2015


Stephanie Meyer has managed to avoid making any public statements on gay marriage and gay rights, despite being extremely Mormon.

Oh, wait, she's a girl, she probably doesn't count to the Vox Day types.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:27 PM on April 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I suspect that most socially progressive Mormon sff writers just haven't made it super obvious to the reading public that they are LDS, because they don't feel the need to constantly hold forth on it.

(Socially progressive Mormons do exist. I'm an ex-Mormon, but/so I run into them fairly frequently.)
posted by wintersweet at 10:38 PM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


There are a handful of decent Mormon writers in YA, I believe, though it's possible their problematic stuff just hasn't come out yet. Ally Condie and Shannon Hale come to mind. I haven't read Hale's books, though she has done some good stuff talking about ridiculously gendered books, but I've read Condie's stuff and while it isn't exactly a paragon of diversity and it does do the weird thing where they avoid sex as even a possibility (which is better than the awkward awful sex scenes in Card's work, and at least involved no passionate, incestuous nose-kisses), it's a fun little popcorn dystopian romance trilogy that doesn't try to convert you or anything. It pretty much erases queer people entirely, but at least it doesn't make us all into pedophiles.
posted by NoraReed at 12:32 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, I just signed up for a Worldcon membership, at least, and I'll be voting. Don't know if it'll do much good, but I'll be damned if I'll just stand by and do nothing.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:02 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Slothrup, that's exactly how I felt about the Chaos series. It was interesting, Amelia is a fun narrator, so I kept going. There was some really amusing bit where Colin was making some bad guy or other say that Amelia was the prettiest girl ever--"prettier than your girl" and finished up with "Good man! You get to live!" and chucking him overboard.

Though yeah, the end was kind of a non-ending, and the creepy old guy/spanking shit was GACK. I haven't gotten rid of the books, but I don't particularly want to read anything else of them either. Oh yeah, and then I heard what the author is actually like. Sigh.

This whole thing is disgusting, but in all honesty, I still can't say I'm interested in paying $40 to read fiction I wouldn't want to read/have the ability to vote against shitheads when I could spend that money on books I'd actually want to read instead. I admire y'all who do have those principles, I guess I'm just not that good of a person though. And I think it's kind of sad that a few works cited by the Evil League of Evil actually, y'know, might be good. I was pretty happy with the TV episode selections and while I don't think Skin Game was quite Hugo quality compared to the mind-blowing three books before it, that is not a bad book even if creeps approve because Jim Butcher is white and male.

Either way, I think they won and trashed the award forever, though. Not sure how you'd come back from slate voting, which is something I've always hated in politics but especially comes off noxious here. At this point it's ruined the ability to vote for work you think is good if we're going to have the Rabid Puppies vs. the Non-Bigoted Kittens slate in 2016 just to fight back against it. It can't be about anyone's work now, and it sucks.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:35 AM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'll also note that in spite of calls to boycott Card surrounding Ender's Game, he still had two novels on the NYT Best Seller lists while Ender's Game was in theaters and his novels are highly ranked on Amazon, (along with Correa). So the notion of a Social Justice Warrior cabal fixing the market strikes me as hyperbole.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:56 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


As no one else has mentioned it, I'm both surprised and saddened that they've appropriated Hesse as a spiritual forebear and a naming inspiration for this new Finland-based publisher. I recall that the society portrayed in The Glass Bead Game is clearly a "boys only" kind of place, but is there any real reason to think that Hesse would have approved of these jagoffs?
posted by Slothrup at 7:01 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've come across Vox Day (assuming its the same one) before in other muddy trenches of the culture wars, most notably the more splenetic fronts of the Intelligent Design/Evolution entertainment, and constructive dialogue didn't seem to be high on his agenda then either.

In the same way that I'd be more impressed with ID if it did its own science instead of being dependent on gainsaying the mainstream, I'd like to see the puppy farm build their own fandom based on strong writing and consistent effort in fiction. If they think that their morals and principles are incompatible with those of the Hugos, then of course they can run their own awards and they'd be free of any taint of intellectual cowardice and low-IQ cultural vandalism. After all, what do they want with baubles they clearly consider tainted already? Empires built on ravaging the neighbours are proven unsustainable by history.

IF they can prove what they claim, they can have what they want. Gaming the system just makes them look ridiculous.
posted by Devonian at 7:10 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


So it seems a bit ridiculous to say that these writers can call for boycotts and discrimination of me, but we must read them anyway because free speech and all that.

To clarify a little (from an actual computer) - I in no way think anyone is obligated to read any science fiction, for any reason under the sun. If you don't want to read it because you think the author is a jerk, or if you don't want to read it because numerologically speaking, the numbers in his names add up to something terrible, I really don't care. No one is obligated to read anything.

However, they're pretty much correct that the Hugo has become political, that they were not the ones who made it that way, and that they are reacting to that. Mind you, they are being assholes. But while you are forced to read no science fiction, if you vote against people for Hugos based on their politics, you are making the Hugos political. Even if you are doing so in a backlash. Every time you make a vote for the Hugos based on anything besides the specific works, comparatively to other works, you are making the Hugos political. That is why they give you all the works free - so that you can read and vote in a fair environment. When you vote for the Hugos, the expectation has been that you will be voting for works of quality in a vacuum, so that SF fans the world over will be able to, in a vacuum, know which works are pretty damn good to read.

And yes, that means that if you are voting for someone purely because you want a more diverse Hugo-winning slate, you are being political at the Hugos. And this ship has sailed at least five to ten years ago, back when authors started making slates of their own and their friends/right-thinking-peers on Livejournal and asking everyone to vote for everything they were eligible for and also what those friends were eligible for.

Now again, I am in no way suggesting that Vox Day's slate is apolitical. There are some damn good reads there, but there's also Tom Kratman, who is the NK Jemisin of the right. If what you have hungered for all your life to read is someone finally writing a Mary Sue special forces character that excels at sticking it to those damn peaceniks who don't realize they are bringing about an Islamic Empire where Christian women will be slaves in the streets, only to read diaries of their peacenik ancestors and weep at their blind ignorance...well then you have Tom Kratman, and maybe he is good if you have been hungering for those things all your life (but really it sucks). Similarly, if what you have hungered for all your life is to read someone finally writing a Mary Sue POC character that is unconventionally attractive and anti-feminine yet so special even gods fall in love with her and have magical bed-breaking sex who fights racism and is a Liberator and things that are supposed to kill her can't because she's so damn special, with incoherent plot and purple metaphor..then go ahead and read NK Jemisin and her Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. (But seriously, don't.)

In each case, these writings are not in any way Hugo-worthy, but they are nominated by people who want to celebrate the people they like and stick it to people they don't like. And this makes for worse Hugos. It makes for worse Hugos when you have people putting up diversity slates and it makes for worse Hugos when people put together anti-diversity slates. It makes for worse Hugos when people are trying to use the Hugos to Say! Important! Things! And it really, really makes for worse Hugos when people are voting against even authors they admit are good just because they don't like that they were included in the Sad Puppies slate.
posted by corb at 7:40 AM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


And it also taints the Hugos when people who weren't going to buy memberships buy them just to fight the hordes they feel are battering the gates, particularly if they are not even science fiction fans and are just there for a social/political fight.
posted by corb at 7:42 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've come across Vox Day (assuming its the same one) before in other muddy trenches of the culture wars, most notably the more splenetic fronts of the Intelligent Design/Evolution entertainment

It's the same one, yes. Before he went full hate-on on jscalzi, he had also a fixation on PZ Myers from the Pharyngula blog.
posted by sukeban at 7:44 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


There are some damn good reads there, but there's also Tom Kratman, who is the NK Jemisin of the right.

You're comparing NK Jemisin to a Waffen SS fanboy, seriously?
posted by sukeban at 7:50 AM on April 6, 2015 [23 favorites]


However, they're pretty much correct that the Hugo has become political, that they were not the ones who made it that way, and that they are reacting to that.

No, they're not.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:51 AM on April 6, 2015 [19 favorites]


This whole false equivalency shtick is fucking tiresome. On one side you have people who are willing to expand their horizons to see different viewpoints who have the courage to stand up their convictions. On the other you have people excusing those who actively work against justice (if not actually doing so themselves), who are collaborating with hate groups that are edging towards terrorism. Blaming the former for the latter being racist/homophobic/etc shitheels that make deals with the devil just to make a point is ridiculous and awful.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:00 AM on April 6, 2015 [26 favorites]


they're pretty much correct that the Hugo has become political, that they were not the ones who made it that way, and that they are reacting to that

When do you think it became political? Because I think that they were always political. In the past 5 or so years there was a push to notice that, actually, people who weren't white guys or Lois McMaster Bujold wrote good speculative fiction and maybe they should be read too. But I don't think that, as a whole, crappy books were voted for just because they were written by the right people.

I don't particularly object to the once a year "here's what I wrote" posts; they're useful, especially for categories that aren't best novel. I know a lot of people do object to them. But they weren't particularly political, and mostly authors stuck to their own work, with sometimes a roundup of lists other people gave. Reviewers more often gave their own specific slates, but usually with a few runners up. I mean, I see that it's a problem because popular authors have bigger reach, but they're also often better writers with more fans -- that's why they're popular.

Every time you make a vote for the Hugos based on anything besides the specific works, comparatively to other works, you are making the Hugos political.

Sure, "I won't vote for any slate" is political, but it's more about the politics of following custom than anything else (most people have noted that there are things they would have voted for had they not been on the slate). And nominating a strict slate is in any case significantly more political.

And yes, that means that if you are voting for someone purely because you want a more diverse Hugo-winning slate, you are being political at the Hugos.

But I don't see any real evidence that this has been done.

It makes for worse Hugos when you have people putting up diversity slates and it makes for worse Hugos when people put together anti-diversity slates.

People haven't put up diversity slates.

And it really, really makes for worse Hugos when people are voting against even authors they admit are good just because they don't like that they were included in the Sad Puppies slate.

It makes for worse ones this year (maybe -- people seem to agree that Butcher is good [I dropped his series 6 or 8 books in] but probably not Hugo-worthy for any one book), but the Hugos are a long-running thing, and if this means that slates in general will fail, it probably will make for a better Hugo.

(Now, this can easily turn into Sarcastic Puppies, where VD decides to put up a slate of "SJW SF" to prove that people won't vote against slates that are on their political side; I don't know what might happen then.)
posted by jeather at 8:00 AM on April 6, 2015 [19 favorites]


So just to illustrate kind of some chains of how these things can happen - here are some people talking about the inexplicable popularity and prolific aggressive nominating-pimping of Seanan McGuire at the Hugos.
... it’s also important to continue to examine ourselves and ensure that we don’t fall prey to the same insular behaviour that has caused the issues that we’re fighting against in the first place. As suggested by Landon’s research, block voting is very much alive and well in the newer Hugo voters, and writers like Mark Oshiro, and bloggers like Elitist Book Reviews likely have Seanan McQuire and Larry Correira as much to thank for their nominations as they do their persistence, talent and body of work, which might be Hugo-worthy in-and-of-itself. It’s always who you know, isn’t it?
And Seanan McGuire is not only an aggressive nominator, she's also friends and coworkers with other aggressive nominators, and she's pretty prolific all over LJ - which as is noted, is a pretty incestuous SF/fantasy town very committed to dethroning the old and emplacing the new. If you're going to talk about dethroning bloc voting, then we also need to stop having these authors publicly pimping for themselves and their friends, which even Mefi's own Scalzi admits has been happening for a long time.
it’s also not entirely honest to say that it’s not been done before, either. Lots of people suggest or at least remind people of their own works for consideration (I do the latter); lots of people suggest or at least remind people of the works of others for consideration. Just this year I suggested Abagail Nussbaum for Fan Writer; there she is on the ballot. Was my recommendation causative? Maybe, maybe not (I suspect not — she’s built a reputation over a number of years), but the point is I made the recommendation.
posted by corb at 8:01 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Note that if I'm happy that the Sad/Rabid Puppies are going to be dragged on to mainstream audiences because of the slate, it's because their books are so horrifyingly bad (talking about Kratman, natch -- the work reviewed on the link is nominated for Best Novella) that I expect them to be laughed out of fandom before the Hugos are served.
posted by sukeban at 8:15 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Similarly, if what you have hungered for all your life is to read someone finally writing a Mary Sue POC character that is unconventionally attractive and anti-feminine yet so special even gods fall in love with her and have magical bed-breaking sex who fights racism and is a Liberator and things that are supposed to kill her can't because she's so damn special, with incoherent plot and purple metaphor..then go ahead and read NK Jemisin and her Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. (But seriously, don't.)

I feel like I read a completely different book than you did. Oh well, taste varies.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:26 AM on April 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Here's a better (also by Athene!) review of Kratman that has illustrated representation of his Mary Sue town.
posted by corb at 8:27 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


(MeFi's own) John Scalzi also wrote a post about this year's slate nominations which is less sanguine than last year's post that corb linked to above
I also think it’s okay to penalize graceless award grasping by people who clearly despise the Hugo and what they believe it represents, and yet so very desperately crave the legitimacy they believe the award will confer to them. Therapy is the answer there, not a literary award.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:32 AM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


If you're going to talk about dethroning bloc voting, then we also need to stop having these authors publicly pimping for themselves and their friends...

I see a distinct difference between "Vote for me!" (or even "vote for this person!") and "Vote for enough things to completely displace other people from the short list!" The latter is the explicit mission of the Puppies slates -- exclusion of themes they dislike.
posted by Etrigan at 8:32 AM on April 6, 2015 [26 favorites]


Unless I'm missing something, corb, all Seanan McGuire is doing is reminding her readers which of her works are available and recommending some friends in a post on her personal LiveJournal. That is categorically not the same thing as running a slate of authors in the same kind of way you organize a political party. No one except for the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies has done so. This is not a discussion about the relative merits of two sides for the simple reason is that there is only one side. Or rather, there is one side, the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, and there is an entirely imaginary side that only exists in their heads. To be fair to the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, those imaginary enemies of theirs are equally gigantic in their shitbaggery and really should be stopped.
posted by Kattullus at 8:33 AM on April 6, 2015 [33 favorites]


I really don't see how importing a bunch of cyberbullies is any different than lobbying people who are going to be voting anyway.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:43 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


people who weren't going to buy memberships buy them just to fight the hordes they feel are battering the gates, particularly if they are not even science fiction fans

We better invent a purity test then, to determine who the true fans are.
posted by nubs at 8:47 AM on April 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


I really don't see how importing a bunch of cyberbullies is any different than lobbying people who are going to be voting anyway.

Make no mistake - importing GamerGate folk is fucking vile and I am not arguing otherwise. But the thing is - most people don't actually vote for the Hugos. Hell, I'm aware and interested and don't always bother to get a membership to vote for the Hugos. I would actually wager that most casual fans were not even really aware of the Hugos until authors and people who move in those worlds started making posts about them on the internet and encouraging people to get supporting memberships and vote for the things they liked. So in a lot of these cases, we're talking about importing folk. There is absolutely a difference between importing assholes and just importing votes, but both are not really great.
posted by corb at 8:51 AM on April 6, 2015


Spreading awareness about "hey here is a great thing! come participate in this great thing! if you do, maybe consider voting for me" is a completely different animal from "Hey, total assholes, come support other total assholes because we can't let women have characters or everything falls apart."

False equivalency is utter horseshit.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:55 AM on April 6, 2015 [26 favorites]


corb: I would actually wager that most casual fans were not even really aware of the Hugos until authors and people who move in those worlds started making posts about them on the internet

I think you would lose the bet if you wagered whether people who read the blogs of science fiction and fantasy authors are aware of the Hugos or not. People who read blogs by authors are more than casual fans.
posted by Kattullus at 8:56 AM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


corb --

First, I am getting a membership this year, when I have not before, specifically because I AM a science fiction fan. I suspect that will be true for a lot of people.

Second, as others have pointed out, authors promoting their own works and recommending a few others, mostly to extant fans, is entirely different from promoting a massive slate based entirely on political views and gaming the system by explicitly seeking out and encouraging political sympathizers to vote.

Third, I wouldn't vote for a "Social Justice" slate either, and neither would most people who are upset by this, because part of the point is that a political slate demeans and sullies what is supposed to be a merit-based writing award.

Fourth, you haven't really presented evidence for the existence of a "Social Justice" slate coming first, either, except that a book you particularly dislike was nominated four years ago. And didn't win.
posted by kyrademon at 9:11 AM on April 6, 2015 [29 favorites]


NK Jemisin, since she came up, isn't my jam, but I believe that the people who nominate and vote for her do so because they honestly like her writing not because she marks some kind of diversity bingo card.
posted by jeather at 9:13 AM on April 6, 2015 [17 favorites]


corb: "And I'm like, this is not how you're supposed to be feeling as a nominee and I hate these bloody, bloody fandom wars."

I think the current mess may be an order of magnitude nastier than past battles, but bloody fandom wars are an intrinsic part of fandom. Hell, there was a huge to do at the very first Worldcon.

There's a reason "all fandom was plunged into war" is a stock joke.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:18 AM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hell, there was a huge to do at the very first Worldcon.

I had no idea the left vs right battles went as far back as that! Jesus. Well, if nothing else, this is maybe comforting that no lasting damage will be done.
posted by corb at 9:20 AM on April 6, 2015


I'm not sure how writers self-promoting on their blogs and sharing recs is anywhere near analogous to creating a publishing company and then using it to attempt to make a party-based system in award nominations
posted by NoraReed at 9:24 AM on April 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


But while you are forced to read no science fiction, if you vote against people for Hugos based on their politics, you are making the Hugos political.

Now, you're just dragging the goalposts around the field from "who are being treated like they have the plague because in their personal life, they don't like gay people" which is what I responded to, and changing the subject back to the Hugos. I'll point out there that Card hasn't received a best novel nomination since 1992.

Now personally, I don't vote for the Hugos. If I were to vote, it would probably reflect my bias for works similar to Le Guin, Vonnegut, Dick, Butler, Wolfe, and Delany. Not because I entirely agree with their politics, but because they deliver brilliant writing that stretches the genre, books I find myself re-reading and writing about months or years after my first encounter with them.

I don't know what you're on about since Jemisin was only nominated once and didn't win. I don't think Kingdoms is much more of a Mary Sue story than Cyroburn on the same ballot (I love Miles to death but he's a total Gary Stu.) So the notion that we're stacking ballots with Jemisins doesn't seem to match the evidence. If we were, there would be a lot of names that have yet to appear on the Hugo list.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:27 AM on April 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


The problem with bloc voting, regardless of who is doing it, is that it seems to lead to an end-state where books end up getting awards that would not have necessarily won awards simply on their own merits, and in the long run that hurts the value of the award. It means that someone looking at a book with "Hugo Award Winner" on the cover, a few decades down the road, is going to have to consider what exactly the hell was going on with the Hugos that year. Not the end of the world or anything, but unfortunate.

Granted, I am actually not so sure that awards like the Hugos are really as important today as they were, oh, 20 or 30 years ago; Amazon has a creepily good idea of what I'm going to enjoy and will happily feed me recommendations until my Kindle screen finally succeeds in melting my eyeballs with its fluorescent glow or I run out of money, whichever comes first. And I think that's increasingly how people are finding books (not necessarily just via Amazon, although I think the Bezos Machine is pretty significant, but also via Goodreads and other similar recommendation engines).

As a sidebar, that does underscore the crazypants nature of the Sad Puppies slate/bloc/brigade/whatever. There has probably never been a better time to be writing B-grade lowbrow literature aimed at a niche audience. Seriously; not even in the golden age of pulp could you reach as broad a base of readers as you can today, at such a low cost, and with so little impulse-buy friction. You don't even have to thread the needle of making a cover lurid enough to attract readers while also not stepping wholly over the bounds of what a respectable person can read on the bus. We're in a new golden age of porn today. And porn doesn't just have to mean sex: porn can be, well, whatever does it for you. And a lot of the Sad Puppies authors are really writing porn—and I don't mean that in a bad way, per se, I'm all for porn—albeit porn that I find somewhat personally appalling, including as it does a lot of unnecessary violence and misogyny. (But I find a lot of people's porn appalling, and I'm sure the feeling is mutual, so that's neither here nor there.)

Which brings us back to the Sad Puppies and the Hugos. It seems apparent that as both readers and writers (at least for the writers who have actually thrown in with the "movement", such as it is), they don't want to admit that they're basically writing porn aimed at emasculated middle-class white dudes who want to Mary Sue themselves into the conquering badass hero who gets all the girls, for a few hours. Despite the fact that you can make a hell of a living doing that, and you can read whatever you want on the bus with nobody but God and your e-reader being the wiser, it's not good enough.

No, for whatever reason they need to not only write those sort of books—which is fine, in itself; consenting adults, freedom of the press and all that—but they need to legitimize it as, if not capital-L Literature (lol Vox Day thinks they're following in the tradition of Hermann Hesse?!), at least as Science Fiction in the grand tradition of the authors they read as teenagers or something. And co-opting the Hugos is apparently how they've decided to do it. And that sucks.

If the Sad Puppies crowd was correct in saying that the Hugos were being used as some sort of affirmative action program for minority-viewpoint novels that weren't also good works taken independently of that, then IMO that would also suck, but frankly I've never really seen much evidence of that. It seems awfully close to the Gamergate plank of how somehow PC games are being 'ruined' somehow, which I've also never seen any evidence of. So I'm pretty skeptical, to put it lightly.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:46 AM on April 6, 2015 [19 favorites]


corb: I had no idea the left vs right battles went as far back as that!

In case anyone gets the idea that the Great Exclusion Act was a back and forth struggle, it was a decision by the three people running the first Worldcon in 1939 to exclude a number of left-wing science fiction authors because they were going to distribute Michelist pamphlets opposing Nazis. Which, you know, in the light of history and all, doesn't seem like the kind of thing you exclude someone for.
posted by Kattullus at 9:59 AM on April 6, 2015 [22 favorites]


an end-state where books end up getting awards that would not have necessarily won awards simply on their own merits, and in the long run that hurts the value of the award.

I get more out of io9's list every year than I do from the Hugos. Awards can serve a lot of roles, but the politicization of the Oscars doesn't make them somehow less effective at marketing their winners. What I'd most like to see is juried prize awarded for the genre, something like the way the Tiptree awards are nominated and selected. Let the profession award itself, and let reviewers help keep them honest.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:02 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Granted, I am actually not so sure that awards like the Hugos are really as important today as they were, oh, 20 or 30 years ago; Amazon has a creepily good idea of what I'm going to enjoy and will happily feed me recommendations until my Kindle screen finally succeeds in melting my eyeballs with its fluorescent glow or I run out of money, whichever comes first.

The trouble with Amazon and so on is that they follow the old Civil Service rule that 'nothing shalt be done for the first time': it will not recommend something that's nobody's read yet. Fandom plays the essential role of the early adopter, the experimentally-minded seekers after the new who love their field so much they're prepared to risk time and money exploring in areas where they expect to come up dry more times than not. I've worked on awards in IT before now, and the idea there was not to reward success, it was to reward invention. They were proudly and obviously pump-priming (and I spent months of my life sieving though dross...).

If the Hugos (or whatever) are to be relevant into the future where the Bezotron Knows All, Sees All (Except The New), this really has to be the major part of their existence. How much it has bben or is now, is a matter for pleasurable and endless discussion, but there's no way that Operation Puppy is anything other than poisonously antithetical to that. One could even argue that in seeking out new life and new innovations, the Hugos are indeed politically opposed to conservatism and in that, the immature dog squad are exactly correct - but that this is precisely what the Hugos have to be if they're to do their job, and if VD et al want to go and celebrate pre-Enlightenment values they should do that for themselves.

But there's no role for logic here. This is a publicity stunt by impotent narcissists with rocket envy.
posted by Devonian at 10:12 AM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Kattullus, I didn't mean to imply that Pohl and the Futurians were on the side of wrong. I was merely pointing out that battles for the soul of fandom go all the way back. Sometimes, it's just clash of egos. Sometimes - as in both 1939 and right now - there's a pretty clear right and wrong.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:15 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would actually wager that most casual fans were not even really aware of the Hugos until authors and people who move in those worlds started making posts about them on the internet and encouraging people to get supporting memberships and vote for the things they liked. (emphasis added)

So the last they in that phrase is ambiguous. I suspect you meant it to refer to the people posting recommendation lists — that the movers and shakers were bringing in new recruits to vote for the specific works that the movers and shakers recommended. But the other reading of the sentence is the one that reflects my experiences: That the movers and shakers encouraged people to start voting for works that the people liked.

As someone who's still relatively new to voting and nominating in the Hugos, for a long time I felt like I wasn't good enough, wasn't knowledgeable enough, to participate in the rarified awards. Then I started participating, thanks to encouragement from bloggers (particularly Scalzi and Nussbaum). And I never once got the impression that I was being told who to vote for. Instead, the message I got was that I really was "fan enough" to participate in the Hugos, and that my tastes and opinions were valid enough that I should make them known.

Before Sad/Rabid Puppy, I never saw a suggestion that I should vote for a work that I hadn't read, or that I didn't legitimately enjoy. But I find it incredibly difficult to believe that the voters for the puppy slates really did read everything they nominated.

For example, Letters from Gardner is nominated for Best Related Work. Thanks to Niall Harrison's statistics, we know that, at a minimum, 206 people nominated that book. Yet there are 0 reviews of it on Amazon.com. None. Nor are there reviews on Amazons .ca, .in, or .co.uk*. So which of these scenarios should I believe?
  1. That Letters from Gardner is a Hugo-worthy book that was of high enough quality to be recommended by both Torgersen and Day (it's both a Sad and Rabid Puppy). And, thanks to those men's influence, over 200 people read the book and also felt it Hugo-worthy. Yet throughout most of the English-speaking world, nobody bothered to voice their praise for it on the world's dominant bookseller.
  2. That a bunch of people nominated the book without reading it, because they were told to.
Unfortunately, I find scenario 2 more plausible. And that's a key difference between the puppy slates and the recommendations of prior years.

*The book is not listed on Amazon in Australia or China. I didn't check countries beyond those.
posted by Banknote of the year at 10:23 AM on April 6, 2015 [30 favorites]


He already did the "well maybe I'll come around on thinking you deserve rights if you just would be nicer to me" tone argument bullshit, and he's young enough that he's got quite a while to do the standard old white dude bigot-spiral. He's better than Card in the way that it's better to have only your toilet overflowing and not your toilet AND bathtub, but he still seems to be on the same team, and there are a shitload of people who are reading him anyway, which kind of bums me out, because there's just so much great writing out there that you'll never get to all of it in a lifetime, so it makes me sad to see people reading stuff by folks who use their podiums to say I'm subhuman.

As has been said here, nobody needs to read any single thing they don't want to, and I actually don't read Sanderson myself, because epic fantasy just isn't usually my jam. I mostly know him form the Writing Excuses podcast, which I love, and I which I think has had a good effect on his worldview, with Kowal, Wells and Taylor pulling his leftward pretty consistently. My point being, I guess, that while he definitely still has room for the bigot-spiral, and his past statements haven't always been good, his progression on these issues has been pretty purely towards the side of good, inclusion, rights, etc.

Anyway, maybe you're right and it's just the difference between the sink and the sink+bathtub. I'm not in a great position to say. It just seems like such an improvement over a double-down bigot like Card that maybe my perception is warped.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:03 AM on April 6, 2015


I am actually not so sure that awards like the Hugos are really as important today as they were, oh, 20 or 30 years ago

Or two days ago.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:04 AM on April 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


The thought that an actual human being could actually read that Vox Day thing from last year and go ahead and nominate it on merit is a scary one, but let's face it pretty unlikely.
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've been reading SFF since I was a teenager and I'm in my mid-40s now. I've never involved myself in literary fandom at the convention level, but I've relied on the Hugos (and the nominations) as a point of direction in my own reading. I'm planning to buy a supporting membership this year and read the packet and vote.

Maybe I'm not a trufan in some people's eyes because I didn't bother until now. But the goobergaters are trying to storm the castle and it's time for coattail riders like me to woman the barricades. I think of this as giving back to a community whose works I've enjoyed for the last 30+ years.

(Also, I loved N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy. It was new and interesting at a time when I was completely burned out on Eurocentric fantasy. She's one of the people who kept me in the fold because she was doing something different and exciting.)
posted by immlass at 11:05 AM on April 6, 2015 [21 favorites]


Peter Watts: And they call it… Puppy Love…
And yet, like I say: relief. It’s one thing to know that you washed out because you flubbed the jump— but that ache of inadequacy vanishes like morning mist when even the superstars miss the same bar. The Sad Puppies have neutered the Hugos, turned them into the genre version of CBC’s Bookies: awards, sort of, but hardly meritorious. I beat out Emily St. John Mandel for one of those; Caitlin beat Margaret Atwood. Does anyone think that actually means anything?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:08 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


From that Peter Watts article:
Have the sad puppies really done anything that hordes of authors don’t do as a matter of routine, albeit on a smaller scale? Are we talking a change of kind, or merely of degree?
Yes.

It's hard for me to believe that Watts doesn't understand the difference between campaigning for the inclusion of a single work (which, while far from ideal, still leaves space for other works to emerge and also results in that work competing with other works for the actual award) and campaigning for a slate that encompasses the entire category, thus preventing any other works from being included and ensuring that one of them will win the award. Or, of course, No Award will win, as I very much hope is the case.

I don't know, this is probably overly cynical of me, but maybe the silver lining of this whole debacle is that I'm learning whose opinion in various Internet realms I can safely discount as being either a) uninformed, b) someone who's swallowed the puppy delusions about terrible leftists being mean to conservatives because they have controversial views literally endorsed violence against people like me and/or fought to restrict our rights or c) doesn't understand the dynamics of privilege and oppression.
posted by overglow at 11:20 AM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


The single best summation of the situation in under 140 characters: Basically the Hugos have always been protected by security through obscurity, and that doesn't work anymore.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on April 6, 2015 [6 favorites]




Chrysostom: Kattullus, I didn't mean to imply that Pohl and the Futurians were on the side of wrong. I was merely pointing out that battles for the soul of fandom go all the way back. Sometimes, it's just clash of egos. Sometimes - as in both 1939 and right now - there's a pretty clear right and wrong.

I wasn't responding to your framing, it was indeed a "huge to do". Though, it's fair to point out that Pohl, in later years, downplayed the whole thing and chalked it up to him and the other Futurians getting on the nerves of the Worldcon organizers. On the one hand, the Futurians weren't always the best-behaved (Wollheim, for instance, would denounce the Triumvirs as "fakefans") but the Triumvirs didn't exactly take it all in their stride. Of course, all these things have receded into history now, but the Triumvirs lost what little Fannish support they'd had after the Great Exclusion Act after they physically manhandled a bunch of Futurians at some minor convention.

Note: I realize that writing anything about the history of science fiction fandom is impossible without sounding like some kind of Borges parody.
posted by Kattullus at 11:48 AM on April 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


How have we not had a post on the Futurians?
posted by languagehat at 12:01 PM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'd say Watts is right in that promotion has always been to a certain degree accepted, with the cover if a sort of gentleman's agreement not go too far with it, and that leaves a gaping hole for the system to be exploited like this, and really it doesn't matter who is doing the exploit, the for real Puppies or the SJW counter slate that to date only exists in their delusions, that shit needs to be fixed if you expect anything to run in any kind of workable way in future.
posted by Artw at 12:01 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


How have we not had a post on the Futurians?

Surely we must have done a Fans are Slans post?
posted by Artw at 12:02 PM on April 6, 2015


An interesting response from Sarah Hoyt, talking about her fear as a libertarian author trying to publish SF and what she sees in the response to Sad Puppies:
That is because ten years ago, I lived in a state of fear. And the fact that my fear was real and serious is justified by that accusation to Brad, “You bad bad man, when you decided these people deserved awards, you didn’t TELL THEM you were putting them on a recommend list.”

I lived in fear because of the implied end of that sentence “And you knew that because you associated them with you, a known conservative, we would make their lives miserable and do our best to end their careers.”
posted by corb at 12:02 PM on April 6, 2015


If No Award wins at the Hugos, I hope the audience remains silent.

If one of the Old Yellers* wins, I hope the audience stands up en masse and turns their backs to the podium.

I also hope the bar is big enough, because I plan on being there instead of in said audience. No matter who is nominated, I find the bar a lot more exciting than the actual ceremony.

*A sad movie about a rabid dog; yellow is the color of cowards. Both slates deserve to be conflated, even if they didn't co-ordinate.
posted by RakDaddy at 12:05 PM on April 6, 2015


I believe anyone who insists that the negative response is due to simply being "conservative" is either fooling themselves or being deliberately disingenuous. There is quite a bright line between simply being "conservative" and being openly, emphatically, actively hateful toward others.


(I have no comment on Hoyt. I am not familiar with her or her work.)
posted by wintersweet at 12:06 PM on April 6, 2015 [26 favorites]


(And I think the complete non-reality of the "career-ending" fear has been amply demonstrated in previous comments above, so that's just as disingenuous/self-fooling/deceptive.)
posted by wintersweet at 12:08 PM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


I lived in fear because of the implied end of that sentence “And you knew that because you associated them with you, a known conservative, we would make their lives miserable and do our best to end their careers.”

Never mind that this fear has never borne fruit, but the assertion that this is about conservatives or libertarians is completely unsupported, and it would be nice if you stopped coming up with a baseless accusations that the backlash against the Sad/Rabid Puppies is about that. Now, if conservative/libertarian SFF thinks that the most valued voices on their side are the most virulently nasty, that's their choice. If they want to be associated with thugs and hate speech and violence, that's their choice. If they freak out at the mere suggestion of something that doesn't adhere to their decades-old idea of SFF (as Correia and friends do on regular basis) and think that a genre based on looking forward should never do so, that's their choice. The only people that bear responsibility for horrifying, divisive, abusive shit-spewing being associated with conservatives and libertarians in SFF are the people that decided to engage in said shit-spewing.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:16 PM on April 6, 2015 [25 favorites]


It would be more shocking if one of these libertarians *wasn't* complaining about completely imaginary persecution - whining, entitlement and blaming their failings on others makes up almost the entirety of their worldview.
posted by Artw at 12:19 PM on April 6, 2015 [17 favorites]


From the Hoyt piece: I imagine it was similar to living in one of the more unsavory periods of the Soviet Union. You saw these purges happen. Whisper-purges.

OH COME THE FUCK ON.
posted by rtha at 12:22 PM on April 6, 2015 [31 favorites]


The reason people think the authors should be notified isn't because they might be outed as conservative but because after last year the thinking behind of the "puppy" slates was pretty evident -- i.e. it's not a "for your consideration" sort of recommendation, but "everybody nominate these specific titles, even if you don't really think they're the best, because then we can be sure to get people from Our Team on the shortlist." And that sort of politically motivated system-gaming is something that writers of any ideological stripe might not want to be associated with.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:23 PM on April 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


the assertion that this is about conservatives or libertarians is completely unsupported, and it would be nice if you stopped coming up with a baseless accusations that the backlash against the Sad/Rabid Puppies is about that.

What...do you think it's about? It seems pretty obvious to me at least that Sad Puppies is a conservative backlash to SJW stuff. If you don't think they're conservative, politically, what in the world do you think the unifying principle is?
posted by corb at 12:24 PM on April 6, 2015


Corb, but the objection to the Sad Puppies is not that they are conservative, but that the organized a massive campaign recruiting outsiders to nominate things for the Hugo based on the ideological leaning of the authors, not because of the merit, in such a way that they nominated almost all of the titles up for a Hugo this year.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 12:26 PM on April 6, 2015 [20 favorites]


Taking delight in destroying things other people care about.
posted by RakDaddy at 12:27 PM on April 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


Privileged people with conservative opinions fear that (political correctness/affirmative action/SJWs) will threaten them and whine endlessly about it, news at 11
posted by NoraReed at 12:27 PM on April 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


> what in the world do you think the unifying principle is?

Personally, it sounds to me like the unifying principle is the organizers are assholes who have more to say about what they don't like than what they do. They don't like "SJW"s and the nominees they regard as falling into that camp, so they put together a slate that is, I guess, not-SJW.
posted by rtha at 12:29 PM on April 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


Artw: Surely we must have done a Fans are Slans post?

I made a post with that title years and years ago about Claude Degler. It remains one of my favorite post I've made.
posted by Kattullus at 12:33 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


languagehat: "How have we not had a post on the Futurians?"

Knight's The Futurians and Pohl's The Way The Future Was are recommended.

Asimov's various memoirs can be fun, too, but his behavior towards women is pretty distasteful.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:34 PM on April 6, 2015


What...do you think it's about? It seems pretty obvious to me at least that Sad Puppies is a conservative backlash to SJW stuff. If you don't think they're conservative, politically, what in the world do you think the unifying principle is?

That's just putting the cart in front of the horse, now. Again, the issue isn't that conservative SFF itself is the problem, it's that (a) they decided en masse to make it all about "SJWs" rather than the other way around, and (b) they embrace the fact that the Venn diagram between them and people that support horrible things is pretty close to a circle (which is rich, coming from the kind of people that will regularly accuse anyone to the left of Ted Cruz of "palling around with terrorists"). The combination of the two is, as rtha points out, responding to a slate of "what we like is diverse" with "diversity is stupid and therefore I will campaign against it." And again, the fact that they decided to choose the worst people in the world to further their misguided reactionary bullshit is their problem.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:37 PM on April 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


it's that (a) they decided en masse to make it all about "SJWs" rather than the other way around,

Serious question - were you around at all in fandom for RaceFail or Mammothfail 09?
posted by corb at 12:43 PM on April 6, 2015


It seems pretty obvious to me at least that Sad Puppies is a conservative backlash to SJW stuff.

A conservative backlash to a relatively small group of authors, bloggers, and slacktivists? Ok, then.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:47 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure what questioning my fandom credentials on events that are at best tangential to the thread is supposed to achieve, but FWIW I've been part of SFF fandom since the 80s. Conventions, discussions, obsessions...everything across multiple media forms.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:49 PM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


A conservative backlash to a relatively small group of authors, bloggers, and slacktivists? Ok, then.

...that involves breaking the Hugos, affecting many people not in that group.
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Serious question - were you around at all in fandom for RaceFail or Mammothfail 09?

I kind of was because it was difficult to be in LJ and not notice it. But it had nothing to do with the Puppies, MilSF or conservative SF, and moreover, people like the Nielsen Haydens were receiving the heavy criticisms from the social justice front.

The closest this has to do with this year's Hugos is the nomination of the Mixon Report, which hasn't been possible because of the Puppies, certainly.
posted by sukeban at 12:54 PM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


Some recaps: RaceFail | MammothFail
posted by sukeban at 1:00 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know Hoyt. I know that, as Abigail Nussbaum pointed out, it wasn't the Sad Puppy Slate that got through, but the Rabid Puppies (though obviously there was some overlap). I know that of the thousand noxious things about Vox Day, "conservative" doesn't make the top five. I know that taking the calling-out of a baldly bad-faith tactic that has tainted the awards this year, and spinning it as about her own politics, is just flat-out opportunism, but that's fine. And I don't know, but I seriously doubt she was ever "living in fear" that people might discover she's a libertarian writing in SF. I mean come on.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:02 PM on April 6, 2015 [19 favorites]


(Looking at the recaps of RaceFail, it's worth to mention that it certainly hasn't hurt the standing of the Nielsen Haydens, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, or Sarah Monette, who is the author of the Hugo-nominated novel The Goblin Emperor under the pen name of Katherine Addison)
posted by sukeban at 1:08 PM on April 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I really doubt that getting voted below No Award is going to destroy these people's careers. In one of the zine categories, I found the response ("We're from Australia, we didn't know about it until Friday, this sucks and even if you don't vote for us for a Hugo please don't write us off") well enough written that I am considering subscribing (Andromeda Spaceways).

I am somewhat less sympathetic to "I thought being on the slate would get my work noticed and I can't believe you all are going to take that into account". Interestingly, this is someone whose work interests me, but has been leaving comments that annoy me -- essentially not wanting any consequences for having agreed to be on the slate (twitter comments suggest that she had).

I am entirely unsympathetic to "You guys there really is unfair bias in voting and it can't just be that people don't like my work very much".
posted by jeather at 1:12 PM on April 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


"I thought being on the slate would get my work noticed and I can't believe you all are going to take that into account"

Who is this?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:22 PM on April 6, 2015


(Looking at the recaps of RaceFail, it's worth to mention that it certainly hasn't hurt the standing of the Nielsen Haydens, Elizabeth Bear, or Sarah Monette, who is the author of the Hugo-nominated novel The Goblin Emperor under the pen name of Katherine Addison)

Nor was RaceFail a calculated attempt to devalue one of the industry's most prestigious awards.

Above it was mentioned that the Hugo is just an award and not that important in the grand scheme of things. I disagree. When readers want to dip their toes into the sci-fi genre for the first time, what books do they turn to? How do they figure out where to start? If you haven't browsed sci-fi books on Amazon before, it's not going to begin recommending any. New readers are going to find books by browsing bookstore end-caps and reading awards lists.

Genre authors often have trouble getting their work considered as "literary" by the establishment. Does it help if we don't even have a set of books with a minimum standard of quality to point to? If the big name awards are filled with rubbish? And not like "ugh that doesn't deserve an Oscar" level of rubbish. You might not agree with a specific Oscar winner, but it will at least be watchable. Some of the works nominated for the Hugo this year are barely readable. Is that what authors like Hoyt want to have put forward as the best their genre can accomplish?

Devaluing the Hugo by making it something anyone can buy hurts all sci-fi authors, no matter their politics.
posted by tofu_crouton at 1:25 PM on April 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Jason Sanford compares sales estimates from BookScan. Butcher is a best-seller with more copies out there than the rest of the field combined. Correia and Leckie are roughly parallel (6,000 and 8,000). The weaker puppies and Goblin Emperor seem to clock in at around 2,000.

Likely the losers in this exchange are VanderMeer and Liu, both of whom made the Nebula list with 33,000 and 8,000 copies. Not that sales should determine who gets on the list, but the Puppies seem to be making two contradictory claims regarding the SF&F market. They are simultaneously being shoved out by Pink SF, and Pink SF isn't what fans want. Neither of these are supported by the sales estimates.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:33 PM on April 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


tofu_crouton: "You might not agree with a specific Oscar winner, but it will at least be watchable."

I agree with your general point, but I will dispute to the death that Titanic, Gladiator, Braveheart, Dances with Wolves, et. al. are 'watchable'.
posted by signal at 1:33 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Looking at the recaps of RaceFail, it's worth to mention that it certainly hasn't hurt the standing of the Nielsen Haydens, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, or Sarah Monette, who is the author of the Hugo-nominated novel The Goblin Emperor under the pen name of Katherine Addison

Indeed. Also, RaceFail wasn't about progressives vs. reactionaries (or Democrats vs Republicans, to put it into baldly American political terms). It was about Outsiders & Insiders; transformative fandom vs. affirmative fandom; people who were primarily fans/readers, including people of color, pushing back against established writers & publishers for condoning a variety of sins, including cultural appropriation, racist stereotyping, and flat ignorance regarding the cultures portrayed in their work and evidenced in their readership.

And the folks who took the most heat in RaceFail were Elizabeth Bear and the Nielsen Haydens, both of whom are considered by VD and his like to be on the side of the demons now. (Scalzi stepped into the crap once or twice but managed to recover his footing; Bear & the NHs have just gone on without ever confronting their own behavior. It doesn't seem to have hurt any of their careers.)

All that said, what RaceFail and MammothFail did was put it on notice that SF/F includes not just the old white guys, but also thousands and thousands of women and people of color (and women of color) and international fans (including, btw, Abigail Nussbaum), and they (we) are tired of all the stories being about manly het white American men. And tired of so many of the awards going to white het American men. (Yes, Bujold & Willis won a lot, and so did Samuel Delany. But the numbers are still fairly damning.)

[An anecdote: when Lois McMaster Bujold made an ill-considered comment in public about how she didn't realize she had many readers of color, because she never saw them at cons -- in response, 35,000 fans of color posted to one LJ entry, in order to show that they existed and were fans of SF/F. That's just folks who had LJ accounts, back in 2005 or so, and who heard about the call to raise their hands and be counted. I imagine that if you were a racist shit like VD, comfortable in your white enclave of SF/F, that showing might be unsettling.]

Anyway, the uproars were apparently enough to scare VD and his ilk, because they can feel the demographic hill eroding beneath them, and what will they be if they're not able to say they're better/more important than all those Other (brown) people?

I don't have the historical chops to make this compelling, but I'm seeing a real strong association with the Jim Crow laws here -- Those People must be kept in their place, or we'll lose ours. And it's all done with appeals to historical & biblical authority; not to the Bible here, but to the sainted John Campbell & Heinlein, Lovecraft and Howard.

It's all pretty gross and traumatic. But -- pardon the analogy -- blaming this on calls for diversity and equality of race, sex, orientation, and gender presentation is like blaming the violence at the Edward Pettus Bridge on the black marchers. The correct response to calls for equality isn't blowing up the place, no matter how rude you think the equality-seekers might be.
posted by suelac at 1:35 PM on April 6, 2015 [31 favorites]


I bought an associate membership, and will now do so every year at least until these knucklefucks piss off back to the Prometheus award where they can feel superior without fucking up everybody else's good time.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:52 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


I should follow up to that ridiculously mammoth post to note that all of the group-identity politics is also complicated by interpersonal politics. To wit: Vox Day/Ted Beale loathes MeFi's own John Scalzi, for reasons best left to him & his therapist, and N. K. Jemisin, for (I presume) the sins of being female, black, gorgeous, and a far better & more successful writer than he is. (Even if you don't love her work, she's certainly a more competent writer of fiction than VD.)

So a lot of what underlies the whole Sad/Rabid Puppies thing is driven by interpersonal dynamics -- much the same as the kickoff to Gamergate was actually Wassname's desire to tarnish his ex's reputation all across the internet.

In which case, Scalzi is actually the Rabid Puppies' Zoe Quinn. Congratulations!
posted by suelac at 2:07 PM on April 6, 2015 [21 favorites]


I should follow up to that ridiculously mammoth post to note that all of the group-identity politics is also complicated by interpersonal politics. To wit: Vox Day/Ted Beale loathes MeFi's own John Scalzi, for reasons best left to him & his therapist, and N. K. Jemisin, for (I presume) the sins of being female, black, gorgeous, and a far better writer than he is. (Even if you don't love her work, she's certainly a more competent writer of fiction than VD.)

I suspect that the reason why Jemisin keeps getting namedropped in this discussion in spite of going 0-1 on the Hugos is because she's a prolific blogger and critic of Beale and Wright. I think most of the "Pink SF" authors have kept a higher ground in the big debate by not mentioning it, so the vitriol strikes me as one-sided.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:15 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Here's The Guardian's take on all this. Excerpt:
What the Hugo awards are vulnerable to isn’t the bitter argument between liberals and conservatives, but the clever manipulation of such differences by self-promoters. Most writers, even in relatively commercially genres like sci-fi and fantasy, sell remarkably low numbers of books. It’s not surprising, then, that some writers ramp up political arguments as a way of gaining the attention they crave, and pulling publicity stunts like block-voting campaigns. Some involved with the block vote no doubt believe they are on a righteous crusade against liberals in sci-fi. But that only makes them more easily exploited by those who are only interested in gaining status and selling books.
posted by Kattullus at 2:16 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are the Hugos the only sci-fi/fantasy award around worth mentioning? No, They are not.

The Hugos are broken, because those of a particular ideological bent can purchase and control the nomination process and stack the deck against authors whose views on politics and gender they consider dubious.

What's amusing is that it doesn't really matter how you interpret that. Is that the mainstream's complaint about the Puppies or the Puppies' complaint about the mainstream? Doesn't matter in and of itself because the mere fact that it's possible -- and demonstrably possible in that it is the Puppies' STRATEGY as well as their complaint -- deep-sixes the award's credibility until it is fixed.

The fact that people like Day and Wright have influence in the industry should make the Hugo staff want to smash their own heads on the edge of the sink, but it's a separate concern.
posted by delfin at 2:16 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


she's certainly a more competent writer of fiction than VD

Well. I mean. That's hardly a bar to clear. It's like being less deep than the Mariana Trench. But yes, she's not at all a bad writer -- I wasn't engaged by the book, but I wasn't actively put off and would possibly pick up another if I heard the right buzz around it -- and I am not suggesting that she didn't deserve her nomination or that had she won it would would have been a miscarriage of justice. (Actually, though I enjoyed the Willis, I don't think it deserved the win that year.)

Jemisin is hardly the point, though -- she's just an example (along with Swirsky, often, and of course Scalzi) -- of authors who people seem to claim got their nominations through Nefarious Means rather than people just liking their work.
posted by jeather at 2:22 PM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


The big losers on this are not liberal SF&F authors. It's anyone not a puppy. Or in the novella category, anyone who's not John C. Wright.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:23 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


CBrachyhynchos: I'm pretty comfortable calling John C. Wright a loser, myself.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:24 PM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wasn't engaged by the book, but I wasn't actively put off and would possibly pick up another if I heard the right buzz around it

I only kinda liked The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (I tend to bounce off stories where the magical element is all bound up in sex -- my New England upbringing coming to the fore again, no doubt), but I really enjoyed The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun, which are creative and plotty, with less to-do about sexually-attractive gods and more about on-the-ground politics and empire (and magic).

I'm looking forward to her next novel, The Fifth Season.

Obligatory bias check: I met her at Wiscon one year, before her first novel came out. She's great.
posted by suelac at 2:29 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh man, went over to Pharyngula's blog and found this wonderful link about John C. Wright losing his shit over the girl+girl romantic ending of Korra.
posted by emjaybee at 2:32 PM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, it was The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms I wasn't so keen on. I'll put the duology back on my list. (And this made me look Karen Lord up, and she has a third book out that I hadn't known about. Hurray.)
posted by jeather at 2:38 PM on April 6, 2015


> Oh man, went over to Pharyngula's blog and found this wonderful link about John C. Wright losing his shit over the girl+girl romantic ending of Korra.

Wow. What a cruel, ignorant, horrible person Wright seems to be.
posted by rtha at 2:46 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


And this made me look Karen Lord up, and she has a third book out that I hadn't known about.

I keep hearing about Lord and forgetting to pick her up, but yesterday I asked the library to order her latest. The one good thing about this whole kerfuffle is that people keep mentioning books that should have been nominated that I didn't know about. So I've also got The Three-Body Problem wishlisted, and a few others.
posted by suelac at 2:47 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you want vintage John C. Wright wank, I think the first time I heard from him was when he pontificated about strong female characters and how SF *had* to be ridden of them. So he's been at it for a while, and I don't know what he was doing watching Korra at all.

(edit to replace links with donotlink)
posted by sukeban at 2:50 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


girl+girl romantic ending of Korra

omg, the fan reaction vid compilation linked in that post so adorable. i love watching reaction vids of shows i don't watch. (what looks like) grown ass people losing their shit over 2 animated characters holding hands. <3

and fuck this wright person.
posted by twist my arm at 2:51 PM on April 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Joe Hill just posted this on Twitter. That is about all that needs to be said about these guys. Sad puppies? Sad writers that no one will read in ten years.
posted by zzazazz at 2:51 PM on April 6, 2015


Wow. What a cruel, ignorant, horrible person Wright seems to be.

True, but because of him I got pointed to this reaction video to the series finale of the Legend of Korra which put a huge smile on my face even though I never watched the show, so at least he's tangentially good for something.
posted by Kattullus at 2:52 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, I was delighted by that reaction video! And Wright.... man, his reaction goes leetle bit beyond "doesn't like gay people."
posted by rtha at 3:00 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wright was originally a crazy Objectivist. He traded that brand of crazy in for a new one based on conservative Catholicism. Still crazy, different brand.
posted by Justinian at 3:03 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wright: "Hence, a strong masculine character in a story is one who can pilot a jetplane in a thunderstorm while wrestling a Soviet-trained python in the cockpit. He can appease a mob, lead a rebellion, give orders, follow orders, seduce a countess, fight with a longsword, build a campfire, repair a car engine, write a constitution, comfort the grieving (usually with a brisk slap in the face and a curt command to snap out of it), receive confession, sway a jury, suture a wound, and escape from a sinking submarine with a knife clutched in his teeth."

He must be a lot of fun at funerals!

(Also I was entirely correct, someone needs to take away his Aquinas and Aristotle, this is philosophy abuse!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:31 PM on April 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


Oh man, went over to Pharyngula's blog and found this wonderful link about John C. Wright losing his shit over the girl+girl romantic ending of Korra.

I think it's interesting that Wright believes that Korra's creators "sold [their] integrity out to the liberal establishment." In other words, that their choice for the characters was a subversion of the artists' true desires in favor of the marketplace and pablum. It's always a ballsy move to claim that you own someone else's art.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:32 PM on April 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


There is a tremendous amount of literary and philosophical pretension from the Sad and Rabid Puppies crowd that totally belies the fact that they wouldn't cut muster as "men" in their fetishized versions of the world. To me, the title of Vox Day's "Opera Vita Aeterna" sums it up: the fucking Latin is wrong. (It should be Opera Vitae Aeternae, as anyone in their first semester of Latin could have told you.) it is a perfect symbol.
posted by graymouser at 3:36 PM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


Just had a fit of madness and checked the comments on this on Slasdot. Hoo boy.
posted by Artw at 3:42 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


He must be a lot of fun at funerals

I love how much of that list is like the patriarchy shopping list. "Men can sure patriarch the shit out of some shit when they have status in a social framework that is predisposed towards obeying them!"
posted by nom de poop at 3:43 PM on April 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


There is a tremendous amount of literary and philosophical pretension from the Sad and Rabid Puppies crowd that totally belies the fact that they wouldn't cut muster as "men" in their fetishized versions of the world.

Like fuck could Wright suture wounds on sinking submarines or any of that shit.
posted by Artw at 4:01 PM on April 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


Hence, a strong masculine character in a story is one who can pilot a jetplane in a...

Something in the cadence of that quote makes me think that it's borrowed from another author -- Heinlein, maybe?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:38 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I... the picture of Wright on Wikipedia looks like he's wearing a fedora. I don't have words.
posted by Justinian at 4:39 PM on April 6, 2015


Something in the cadence of that quote makes me think that it's borrowed from another author -- Heinlein, maybe?

it's pretty much lifted from heinlein wholesale lol
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

"Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 248)
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:43 PM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ha! That is the one!
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:50 PM on April 6, 2015


Going To Maine: "I think it's interesting that Wright believes that Korra's creators "sold [their] integrity out to the liberal establishment.""

I wonder what he thought of the big reveal of Garnet's kink in Steven Universe? Now that's quality selling out to the liberal-fusio-sexual-establishment.
posted by signal at 4:50 PM on April 6, 2015


it's pretty much lifted from heinlein wholesale lol

And boy howdy does Wright not benefit from the comparison of them side by side.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:55 PM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


The contrast between the Heinlein quote and the Wright one is sorta fascinating, actually.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:55 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Weirdly he seems to have left out the diaper changing amongst all the constitution drafting and such.
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on April 6, 2015 [23 favorites]


it's pretty much lifted from heinlein wholesale lol

And boy howdy does Wright not benefit from the comparison of them side by side.


Which is weird because you'd think anyone who's reading the classics, as Wright advocates, would pick up on the reference. So why not just go with the original?

(Incidentally I like Stross's response to the Heinlein quote, in Saturn's Children - described well in TVTropes under heading Take That).
posted by Pink Frost at 5:05 PM on April 6, 2015


I feel compelled to point out that Wright quote is just an amped-up version of the old Heinlein quote about the competent man (wikipedia it... it's easy to find). Although I think it's telling that he deletes the items that many would call more nurturing than destructive, like changing a diaper or cooking a tasty meal. I just can't figure out if he was joking or if he REALLY MEANS IT. That's the part that scares me. EDIT: Someone else beat me to the post. But still. I find the dropped cooking reference of interest as well. And I still can't tell if he was joking or not.
posted by my dog is named clem at 5:05 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I... the picture of Wright on Wikipedia looks like he's wearing a fedora. I don't have words.

Out of respect for the late Terry Pratchett, I have resolved to stop making fun of people who wear fedoras for six months.

Don't make this harder than it has to be.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 5:07 PM on April 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


Which is weird because you'd think anyone who's reading the classics, as Wright advocates, would pick up on the reference. So why not just go with the original?
Because the Heinlein quote is about a competent human being, who can do things associated with both men and women, and the Wright one is about a competent man, who is a pathetic Walter-Mitty-esque fantasy of masculinity.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:08 PM on April 6, 2015 [24 favorites]


Also, it's a lot more feasible to measure up to Heinlein's romantic everyman if you're functionally immortal, a la Lazarus Long.

Also, note that Heinlein/Lazarus is praising a far more sensible view of a Renaissance-Human, one who seeks to improve at all things and know the basics of everything. Wright is praising putting functional dude's into clichéd set-pieces. Damn straight they don't fit side-by-side.

Put another way, Heinlein is describing character, Wright empty spectacle.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:17 PM on April 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Specialization is for insects

Is probably the most relevant part of the Heinlein quote that they sadly overlooked.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:19 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Specialization is for gender roles! Grar!

Yeah, I stand by what I said before about them not being worth a spec of Heinlein's dandruff, I'd also point out that 40s Heinlein's wasn't 60s Heinlein wasn't 70s Heinlein, for better or worse. So if they wanted some static unchanging reference point for SF-as-it-should-be-done he's actually a pretty bad choice for it.
posted by Artw at 5:34 PM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's almost like they have no conception of history
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:40 PM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Norman Spinrad predicted this decades ago with The Iron Dream, where he wrote a formulaic piece of sci-fi/fantasy as Adolf Hitler. It's almost indistinguishable from other such books, and the afterward even talks about the fake book's fans. Fascism in sci-fi has been a problem for a long, long time. See also: Michael Moorcock's 'Starship Stormtroopers' essay.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:43 PM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


O.K., the last rant from me for the night: Sarah Hoyt? I mean, really? Scared because she's been outed as a (whisper) libertarian? This in a nation where the Pauls have been generating tons of press and loving attention from dullards all across the country? I live in a liberal-ish college town in the middle of a rural county, and about once a month there's at least one if not more nimrods standing on a street corner protesting the secretive and evil Federal Reserve, which, apparently is the lovechild of Lenin and Satan (on second thought, maybe not, since that's a little too man-on-man). I always have to fight off the desire to point out to them that Alan Greenspan was one of Ayn Rand's biggest groupies.

Anyway, have you ever read any of Hoyt's stuff? The word 'turgid' springs to mind. As does the phrase 'all-too-put-downable.' Yikes. She's even worse than Wright. I have yet to finish a book by her that I've picked up.

But like Wright she seems convinced that there's some Sekret Conspiracy out to punish provocative right-leaning authors, and to deny them vital access to the public's imagination. Except of course that they're both published by not-small presses. One might almost think that people are ignoring them because their work ISN'T VERY GOOD. Imagine that.
posted by my dog is named clem at 6:10 PM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Out of respect for the late Terry Pratchett, I have resolved to stop making fun of people who wear fedoras for six months.

I think we need to start a Reclaim The Fedora For pTerry campaign.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:54 PM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


John C. Wright is also the guy who called Terry Pratchett Hitler and fantasized about beating him up.

http://www.donotlink.com/eghm

He's a sick motherfucker, and anyone who allies with him and Vox has lost all my respect. No matter if they think they really *deserve* that nomination.
posted by tavella at 7:57 PM on April 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


I find it hilarious that as far as I can tell most of the recruiting of GG into this conflict was accomplished by the Progressive SF side's pre-emptive "OH NO Gamergate subhuman scum in my Hugo Awards" clamor, the January tweets from some random linked at Making Light not having really taken. Before too long I imagine they would have heard and come onboard anyway but like, nice own goal.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:10 PM on April 6, 2015


tavella:

I thought you were joking.

I hoped you were joking.

I didn't read all the way through because my eyes glazed over in pure self-defense (blood pressure zooming up can't be good for eyeballs), so I don't know if he makes the direct comparison anywhere in the middle or is satisfied with the allusion in the start. But from the glimpses I unavoidably caught while skimming and from the end of the piece in particular, I'm inclined to think that he didn't make the direct comparison. Hitler is small fries, after all, when the insuniation he really wants to make is something along the lines of a smiling, two-faced accomplice of the literal Christian-defined Satan.

About a man who was one of the truly most full-of-grace-and-mercy human beings I've ever crossed paths with. Because he wanted to die with dignity and believed others should have the right also.

I...excuse me while I go devolve into choking sputters.

(Welp, at least I know for sure I don't even need to attempt the Wright bits of the ballot now either? Silver linings? And no, really, don't say anything about judging works by merits in this case, I don't think I could see any merit in anything he writes any more unless five people whose tastes I trust absolutely swear that Wright has written, somehow, something as gracious as Hogfather. I won't be holding my breath.)
posted by seyirci at 8:30 PM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think that there are two fundamental reasons I do not want to read the SF/F written by these assholes. The first is that I don't want to support people who are terrible. The second is that I'm largely into speculative fiction because I'm interested in worldbuilding, and people who are so blinded by their privilege that they utterly fail to understand a lot of relevant social issues seem unlikely to be good at that. I mean, they're failing at getting the worldbuilding of reality, right? Why would I want to read the worldbuilding they make up? And when I look back at stuff I read when I was younger and look at the serious failings, they often come from ignoring social justice issues. Unrealistically behaving women, Planet Of People From [Country], invisible servants who never seem to effect the plot in any way and have no characterization, stuff like that-- it's bad writing, bad worldbuilding, and I find that shit really distracting. I'm no longer willing to suspend my disbelief about stuff like "there are people who are not white" and "queer people are okay", let alone stretch it around really out-of-control Islamaphobia, slavery apologia, etc. And you're pretty much always gonna get shit like that from reading people who are fundamentally wrong about how the world works, and bigots are, indeed, fundamentally wrong. And assholes. But it's the "wrong" part that makes me feel like I'm really not missing anything by avoiding their works.
posted by NoraReed at 9:12 PM on April 6, 2015 [16 favorites]


Adam Roberts: Delenda Est Hugo.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:26 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I agree completely with Roberts. Particularly the part where what happened this year is the natural evolution of certain trends that have been gaining steam over the last decade, culminating in a couple wins that I think were not deserved and primarily the result of non-writing factors. But those winners were good folks so nobody particularly cared. These winners are not, so we care, but the trend is the same.
posted by Justinian at 2:14 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I see Nick Mamatas said the same thing here.
2. Castigate all campaigning, not just the campaigning you don't like Pandora's Box isn't necessarily open forever. However, you can't close half a lid.
posted by Justinian at 4:16 AM on April 7, 2015


Except there's no actual comparison between "hey I wrote a cool thing vote for me! and maybe check out these other cool things people have written and vote for them" and "make sure you vote for these people because they're Real Manly Men who write Real Manly Man Manbooks."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:24 AM on April 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


That's a statement of opinion rather than fact. One which I (and clearly Adam Roberts and Nick Mamatas, both of whom are pretty keyed into the SF world) disagree with.
posted by Justinian at 4:27 AM on April 7, 2015


You really don't see a difference between urging votes based on good writing and urging votes based on ideology? The former are speaking to the already-likely-to-be-voters, the second imported globblegrimmers--nonvoters--to stack the deck on ideological lines.

You can't possibly pretend there's no difference here.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:31 AM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


I mean, at base what you're saying is that it's okay to lobby for one type of book but not for another type of book. But a lot of the people lobbying for the type of book you deride as "Real Manly Man Manbooks" actually think those are cool books and want to see more of them.

I happen to, like you, think those people are clownish dumbnozzles and often racist and/or misogynistic buttheads but that doesn't mean they aren't allowed to prefer that type of book and campaign for them, if campaigning for a different type of book isn't discouraged.
posted by Justinian at 4:31 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Did you read the link to Adam Roberts and Nick Mamatas or what? They say it better than I could. The links are like four comments ago or something.
posted by Justinian at 4:31 AM on April 7, 2015


No, I didn't. Because what they're engaging in is ballot-box stuffing, which is an entirely different animal. You can draw a false equivalency as much as you like; doesn't make it true.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:33 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ah, yes, the "neen neen neen I can't hear you and you can't make me" school of discourse.

If you can't be arsed to even read the links I'm not sure it's worth arguing about.
posted by Justinian at 4:35 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fine, I read it. And nothing about it has changed the facts on the ground: these stridently unhinged douchefountains (thank you poffin boffin) have explicitly found a whole bunch of misogynist clowns to vote in lockstep along party lines. Which is entirely and completely different from asking someone to vote for you on the strength of your writing.

Let's play spot the differences in a political election, shall we:

"Vote for me because I am in this party"
"Vote for me because I believe X, Y, Z."

Do you honestly see no difference between these two positions? Because there is one, and it's stark.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:40 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not exactly following this back and forth here so don't take this as taking either side, but being on a party ticket should mean that you believe in some X,Y,Z...right? I think the distinction here should be focused on voting for something for artistic merit rather than political merit, not on if it's a belief in some political ideas XYZ or a party's political ideas XYZ.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:54 AM on April 7, 2015


What counts as campaigning? I mean, clearly telling your mother you're up for an award doesn't count. Sending e-mails to your friends probably doesn't count either. I suppose the question is whether telling your twitter followers you're up for an award counts as campaigning. The form of the award clearly matters. A juried award doesn't present this problem, but an open vote award like the Hugos does. And god knows that the Hugo voters have opted for some questionable choices throughout its history, some of which I'm sure is explainable through the personal popularity of the authors. I'm generally okay with that, it's the nature of the Hugo Awards. But yes, at a certain point, once you're being too insistent in getting people to vote for you, it slips into campaigning and becomes distasteful. On the other hand, if you're mid-level author, you're going to have a hard time beating someone who's universally beloved.

But I'm not entirely sure what the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies have done counts as campaigning. I mean, they're not persuading people to give their works a chance, they're asking people to vote for a bunch of nominations, sight unseen. For instance, there's almost no way that most of the people who voted on a slate basis could tell you how the nominees in the short-form and long-form editing categories compare to other editors out there. That's not persuasion, which seems to me to be a fundamental feature of campaigning. This is something else, and something worse.
posted by Kattullus at 4:56 AM on April 7, 2015 [18 favorites]


> 2. Castigate all campaigning, not just the campaigning you don't like Pandora's Box isn't necessarily open forever. However, you can't close half a lid.

But there is a difference - it's acknowledged here, even, because if "Hey, vote for this slate for this category" were the same kind of "campaigning" as "Hey, my book is eligible, nominate me!" then no one would have noticed and Mamatas wouldn't have bothered to say that counter-slates are going to become a thing now and he's agin' 'em.
posted by rtha at 5:48 AM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Indeed, kattullus, and I think your comment calls out how sad puppies and hugoes both suffer from multiple problems. In this respect I agree with Justinian and fffm at the same time. There are problems with the puppies that are bigger than them, that are and have been part of the hugoes for some time, and also that the puppies represent either a deeper low in these areas, or an entirely new one altogether.

I think discussing all the myriad problems is useful, because it shapes what the better solutions might look like.

Personally speaking I haven't accorded the hugoes any respect for years. I feel they are both grossly unrepresentative, accorded far, far more weight than their tiny voting pools, riven with personal relationships etc merit, and routinely skate over worthy contributions.

I can see three ways of dealing with it a soupcon of success:
1. Move to a jury. Bias for sure but at least bias with a modicum of taste and understanding of the field.
2.expand the voting pool such that the mewling minority approach a representative weight, whatever that may be. (and let's not be so confident that shit won't float: the biggest selling sf/f is by no means the best. Such are popularity contests)
3. Either kill the hugoes, or place that respect elsewhere. Give them the status that they deserve as both a popularity contest, and a popularity contest amongst a very very small group of readers that wouldn't add up to a hundredth of those reading the books.

If it isn't obvious, I would personally go for three :I think they're crap; they've been crap for years and years.
posted by smoke at 5:57 AM on April 7, 2015


hey're asking people to vote for a bunch of nominations, sight unseen

To be entirely fair, I would be shocked if more than one in ten voters has read, or even tried to read, everything in the categories they vote in, even with short stories. I don't know the sad puppies are so unique in this regard, a little more blatant, certainly. A lot more thorough, no doubt. But it seems a matter of degree to me. A large one I grant.
posted by smoke at 6:01 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think, in previous years at least, most people read the works they nominated.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:16 AM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


The Hugos have always been fairly unrepresentative, but this is a problem with awards of this kind in general. They are in many ways a byproduct of the largely unquestioned consensus of the 20th century that a given work is "best" having been approved by a selection of tastemakers. Lists like this often identify five good works only to bury ten more. Given how easy it is to find and pick up fiction these days, even older and less well-known authors, I think awards have to find a way to be more specific or interestingly constructed to be relevent. (I think both the Tiptree and the World Fantasy awards have more utility these days, for example).

Also, given some of the patterns of nomination over the past decade or more for this particular award, I don't think it's really possible to argue that there isn't a sort of clique(s) involved, although I suspect it's not a deliberate one. Add to this that some of the people who seem to most invested in the proceedings (TNH, for example) seem to be really hostile to people with different perspectives, and it's not totally surprising that it's become a focus of unpleasantness. I don't think it really deserves Vox Day, but it's hard to say who would deserve him. Piers Morgan?

The very strange thing about the SP brouhaha is that these people actually seem to care so much about this particular award in the first place. What's stopping them from merely reading the plentiful and easily obtained fiction that appears to be their taste? To paraphrase Vonnegut, they are like "a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae or a banana split.”
posted by selfnoise at 6:19 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I believe the process has been so compromised that voting "No Award" is the decent thing to do, sight unseen: this is no longer a vote about artistic merit, it's a vote on whether the Puppies' machinations ought to be respected. Honestly, the only thing that gives me pause is the prospect of paying $40 to get a packet full of Puppy messes.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:22 AM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


this is no longer a vote about artistic merit, it's a vote on whether the Puppies' machinations ought to be respected.

See, this is the kind of stuff that makes it pretty obvious that a lot of the people objecting to the Puppies aren't really sticking firm to ideals, but are just, themselves, voting along party lines. You think the Puppies aren't slating for artistic merit, so...you're going to say 'fuck you' to artistic merit in order to show them? How does that even make sense?

And justinian is entirely right about this. The Sad Puppies slate isn't just made up of people marching in lockstep, or you wouldn't have people being nominated while having no idea who don't even share the political views. The Sad Puppies slate seems a combination of merit and 'in your eye, SJW!' - less, 'ha ha, we are going to deliberately nominate people who suck' and more 'We're going to nominate people who we think are good but who are being unfairly deprived of nominations through the workings of the SJW machine." Which, functionally, no, I don't think is very different at all from 'Here are the things I and my friends are eligible for' or 'Here are the things I'm eligible for and the things I think are good."

Sadly the computer ate a long post I was writing about how precisely RaceFail ties into this, but in short, SJW people were suggesting a lot of noms after RaceFail that were based more on ideology than on good writing - which is why NK Jemisin comes up in these types of conversations, as she was one of the loud voices on LJ in that, only to be nominated a year later for her debut novel which, even if her other work has gotten better since then, is nowhere near Hugo quality. Seanan McGuire is another whose work is not particularly high in quality, but who is Loud On Twitter About Things and thus is flagging as One Of The Good Guys. And I think that after RaceFail, a lot more people in the SJW part of the SF community were interested in throwing their votes to people they perceived as the Good Guys - which definitely horrified people who were suggesting that authors should be judged on merit and not on their SJW credentials.
posted by corb at 7:11 AM on April 7, 2015


A small part of me wants to write a sci-fi novel deliberately aimed at this audience, full of Westboro Baptist Wookies and Triffids who respect the patriarchy and invading space fleets falling out of the sky because heroic Earthmen upload Scripture to their computers.

If people like this insist on having money, far be it from me not to relieve them of it.
posted by delfin at 7:21 AM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


You can get individual works nominated by lobbying, but I don't think you can exclude all other contenders unless you play it tactically: you get 300 people to nominate each of the works on your slate, knowing that most nominees get far less. At that point the nominations no longer have anything to do with excellence: the nominators have relinquished their own opinion in favor of ensuring that other voices are silenced. The contest isn't meaningful any more, all I can do is register a protest.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:25 AM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


***A Baen Books contract magically appears!***
posted by Artw at 7:25 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think you can exclude all other contenders unless you play it tactically:

The thing is, 'excluding all other contenders' looks a lot like 'making sure everyone possible gets a seat' through a glass darkly. Because if you have 5 slots, and you want to make sure good people who are otherwise unshowcased get in, it makes perfect logical sense to nominate 5 people. It doesn't have to be a deliberate attempt to make sure none of the Wrong Stuff gets in. It's about getting the Right Stuff in. Intentions matter, even if they're hard to discern.

If you want the contest to be meaningful, read the material and honestly rank it - then if you genuinely think nothing you've read deserves to win a Hugo, that it would be a monstrosity for any of that work to win, then vote 'no Award.' But don't do so based on 'anyone who associates with those shmucks deserves to win nothing.'
posted by corb at 7:35 AM on April 7, 2015


If associating with shmucks is good enough to get you a nomination it's good enough to get you a NO AWARD.

The only question is whether we nuke the whole thing from orbit as well - puppies, kittens and all. I'm leaning yes.
posted by Artw at 7:46 AM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


If you want the contest to be meaningfuL [...]

It cannot be meaningful, because these are not meaningful nominations. They're spite nominations, hate nominations, deliberately made to prevent a genuine contest.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:52 AM on April 7, 2015 [13 favorites]


> Adam Roberts: Delenda Est Hugo.

OK, so Hugo is a feminine noun. But is the genitive Hugonis (as in ratio, rationis) or Huginis (as in Carthago, Carthaginis)? That's the important issue here!
posted by languagehat at 7:59 AM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Intentions matter, even if they're hard to discern.

If intentions matter--and these intentions are incredibly easy to discern, because they have been flat-out stated--why are you so invested in handwaving away the intentions of the misogynist reactionary assbags in making these nominations to begin with?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:01 AM on April 7, 2015 [13 favorites]


corb: The Sad Puppies slate seems a combination of merit and 'in your eye, SJW!' - less, 'ha ha, we are going to deliberately nominate people who suck' and more 'We're going to nominate people who we think are good but who are being unfairly deprived of nominations through the workings of the SJW machine." Which, functionally, no, I don't think is very different at all from 'Here are the things I and my friends are eligible for' or 'Here are the things I'm eligible for and the things I think are good."

The difference between the two is that the former is trying to push writers out of the field on the basis of a falsehood, while the latter is expanding the field for underappreciated works. There is no SJW machine. (And when did 4chan become an authority in this matter?) There is a healthy level of debate and discussion, in which, the leading Puppy novel has sold more than the rest of the field combined. As you say, intentions matter, and the agenda of people who want Pink SF/insect army/termites out of "their" genre has been explicitly stated.

Of course Jemisin didn't win a Hugo. Her novel made multiple voted and juried lists that year, so a fair number of people disagree with your perception of its quality. Cryoburn wasn't Hugo-worthy either, but it got nominated.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:09 AM on April 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


OK, so Hugo is a feminine noun. But is the genitive Hugonis (as in ratio, rationis) or Huginis (as in Carthago, Carthaginis)? That's the important issue here!

Ha, and I was quietly grousing because he got the syntax wrong. (ALL THE NOUNS BEFORE THE VERB, GUYS. LATIN IS A SOV LANGUAGE.)

I'm pretty sure it would be the latter, since the -o -onis family is more properly described as io, ionis. If you don't have the i before o, you're usually going to replace that nominative o with an i in the long-form root.
posted by sciatrix at 8:09 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


When talking about Vox Day bullshit cod Latin is entirely appropriate.
posted by Artw at 8:15 AM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


The thing is, 'excluding all other contenders' looks a lot like 'making sure everyone possible gets a seat' through a glass darkly. Because if you have 5 slots, and you want to make sure good people who are otherwise unshowcased get in, it makes perfect logical sense to nominate 5 people.

Explain how this results in John C. Wright taking up 3 spaces on the ballot for one category, then.

I also would argue that your "campaigning for a SJW ballot" looks to me an awful lot like the kind of marketing that publishers require their authors to do. Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant gets a lot of nominations because she writes a lot and she blogs a lot; so people recognize her name, and some of them buy her books, and report well of them, which encourages other people to buy them. If her books were bad, no matter how popular a blogger she is, she wouldn't sell as well -- witness John C. Wright, who apparently has a committed fanbase, but doesn't sell nearly as well. Or Jim C. Hines -- really nice guy, definitely an SJW-blogger, but hardly a best-seller, in part because IMO his work is fairly pedestrian. Great ideas, mediocre implementation.

Scalzi is really good at getting his name out there, and while his books aren't really my beautiful cake, they certainly are for plenty of other people, and that's why he gets nominations.

N. K. Jemisin is good at her job; she writes essays and novels and does the business of marketing herself. That's what she's required to do as part of her job.

I don't think it's fair to claim that the kind of self-promotion necessary to survive as a fiction writer should be considered disqualifying when award season rolls around.

And as noted repeatedly through this whole argument, there's a difference between saying, "I really liked this book and this book and this book, for these reasons, and I plan to nominate them for the Hugos," and "If we all vote exactly this way, those assholes on the other side of the river won't win anything."

Vote for love of a thing, not for spite. The Puppies voted out of spite, and I would bet $100 that at least half of them didn't read any of the works they nominated. It was all for politics.
posted by suelac at 8:26 AM on April 7, 2015 [24 favorites]


even if her other work has gotten better since then, is nowhere near Hugo quality

"At least in the ballpark of Hugo winners like The Gods Themselves or Startide Rising" is just not a terribly high bar to clear, especially for writing quality. Hugo-nomination-quality is an even lower bar to clear, since then you're saying "At least in the ballpark of Friday or All the Weyrs of Pern."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:29 AM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


For a good few years I read almost nothing but science fiction and fantasy, heavy on the science fiction. I read a good number of terrible books which were nominated for a Hugo at one point or another. It would baffle me how they'd been nominated. The answer is simple, a non-trivial number of other people thought they deserved a nomination. "Hugo-worthy" isn't really an objective concept and any kind of logic based on wondering how a book you consider terrible was nominated isn't going to be very sturdy. That old parable of the house built on sand applies here.

However, in the case of the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, we do have a different answer. A number of people organized a campaign to flood the award with votes for a full slate, drowning out other voices. The reason this particular case caused so much outrage is that we know why these works were nominated, and it doesn't fit with most people's conception of fairness. No, it's not technically in breach of the rules, but it's not ethical. The Hugos have been a fan-run award from the beginning, based on the idea that the fandom community rewards the works that most appeals to fans. If you mess with something like that, you should expect anger and outrage. And notoriety.
posted by Kattullus at 8:30 AM on April 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


> Intentions matter, even if they're hard to discern.

..So, SAD PUPPIES has tended to push back. Against the Worldcon fandom zeitgeist.

What is that zeitgeist? It is, in their own words (and scare quotes):

running effort to get stories, books, and people onto the Hugo ballot, who are entirely deserving, but who don’t usually get on the ballot. Largely because of the nomination and voting tendencies of World Science Fiction Convention, with its “fandom” community.

What are those tendencies?

In the last decade we’ve seen Hugo voting skew more and more toward literary (as opposed to entertainment) works. Some of these literary pieces barely have any science fictional or fantastic content in them. Likewise, we’ve seen the Hugo voting skew ideological, as Worldcon and fandom alike have tended to use the Hugos as an affirmative action award: giving Hugos because a writer or artist is (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) or because a given work features (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) characters.

Their intentions are quite clear, it seems.
posted by rtha at 8:33 AM on April 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


I read a good number of terrible books which were nominated for a Hugo at one point or another. It would baffle me how they'd been nominated.

Jo Walton did a really interesting Hugo review series on Tor.com - there were usually several neglected books each year that clearly should have at least been nominated.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:36 AM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


As a reader, it's often not easy to be sure what category a work is in for everything between short short stories and novels (and the latter isn't even a gimme -- occasionally standalone single-work books are long novellas.) Some of the magazines label things by category, but most publications don't.

So the hugo-elgible-consideration posts provides a valuable service by telling people the categories.

All these assertions that people are just upset because the wrong people have used the same tactics... can anyone scrape up any examples of anyone anywhere castigating any of the Sad Puppy crowd for making a hugo-eligible-consideration post in the past? Anyone?

Or did the complaints start when they started doing something very different?
posted by Zed at 8:45 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


For next year: what if you restricted voting rights to
1: Con attendees
2: People who have paid the non-attending membership dues at least four times?

That effectively resets the voting pool to 2012, a comparatively sane year, and it would ward off all but the most dedicated trolls in the future. To vote in the proceedings of the World Science Fiction Society, you would have to be a member of the World Science Fiction Society.

As a democratic counterbalance, you could create two new awards using the old voting requirements: the Popular Hugos for the novel and the short story. As we've discussed, those are the two categories most resistant to electioneering. To make them still more resistant, you could replace the short list of nominees with an unlimited long list, open to any work that can muster five votes.
posted by Iridic at 9:04 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Justin Landon, a Hugo nominee himself last year, has written a really interesting analysis of the problems with the Hugo system.
posted by Andrhia at 9:20 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Niall Harrison, EIC of semi-prozine Strange Horizons, reports from Eastercon on some discussions regarding the prospect of increased slate voting.

The Hugos are imperfect and frustrating, but the respect I have for them comes from the way in which they transform thousands of personal engagements into one snapshot. In contrast the puppy slates are anything but personal, and while puppy voters may be part of the Worldcon community, they are attempting to direct that community, not respond to it.
posted by suelac at 9:23 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


which is why NK Jemisin comes up in these types of conversations, as she was one of the loud voices on LJ in that, only to be nominated a year later for her debut novel which, even if her other work has gotten better since then, is nowhere near Hugo quality. Seanan McGuire is another whose work is not particularly high in quality, but who is Loud On Twitter About Things and thus is flagging as One Of The Good Guys. And I think that after RaceFail, a lot more people in the SJW part of the SF community were interested in throwing their votes to people they perceived as the Good Guys - which definitely horrified people who were suggesting that authors should be judged on merit and not on their SJW credentials.

It's really interesting that you've decided that N.K. Jemisin or Seanan McGuire's nominations were purely based on ideology and not because a lot of people liked their writing, while also insisting that the Sad/Rabid Puppies voters must be voting because of a genuine belief in the quality of the slate, despite a well-documented effort to promote that slate based on ideology.
posted by kagredon at 9:25 AM on April 7, 2015 [26 favorites]


Their intentions are quite clear, it seems.

I'm just really unsure how both of us can be looking at the same text, but seeing really different things. To me, that seems pretty clear - they think that the Hugos are starting to get overrun with affirmative action, which is a thing to be despised, and they want works that people other than ivory-tower academics will enjoy, because they feel SF/Fantasy were never really about the ivory tower academics in the first place and their arrival is recent.

I fail to see how that's any different from people saying, "I'm tired of seeing these straight white guys overrunning the ballot, a thing to be despised, let's nominate people who are not white men so we can see works which are more important to niche communities within fandom other than the white men which tbh do dominate fandom and cons and have for the last fifty years, because fandom is never about the white guy's voice and always had a higher ideal."

They are two halves of the same coin.

It's incredibly rare that people voluntarily put on black hats and twirl their moustaches just to be jerks. And if you look at the Sad Puppies slate, the self-professed reasoning is pretty much exactly as I lay it out:
Not an absolute. Gathered here is the best list (we think!) of entirely deserving works, writers, and editors — all of whom would not otherwise find themselves on the Hugo ballot without some extra oomph received from beyond the rarefied, insular halls of 21st century Worldcon “fandom.”
This is functionally identical, from a different perspective, to "Here is the best list of authors of color, who would not find themselves being read/ on the Hugo Ballot without some signal boost, because the insular halls of SF/Fantasy are overwhelmingly white." And if you look at things like the 50 Books POC challenge, where people are explicitly trying to read, review, (and often, nom) books by authors of color, these are all things that have been said before.
posted by corb at 9:28 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


And you're handwaving away "oh yeah and we're going to get grappleglompers to vote straight tickets for our slate."

Which is not what people pushing diversity are suggesting at all; they want more diverse names on the ballots so people read them.

I thought you said intentions matter? So why do you keep ignoring the intentions and actions of the puppyshitters?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:30 AM on April 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


It's really interesting that you've decided that N.K. Jemisin or Seanan McGuire's nominations were purely based on ideology and not because a lot of people liked their writing, while also insisting that the Sad/Rabid Puppies voters must be voting because of a genuine belief in the quality of the slate

Actually it's a combination of A + B. I think, first and most importantly, that it's quite possible a lot of people like their writing because they're willing to accept lower standards for things that ping their buttons, whether they be diversity or otherwise - just like, as I noted, Sad Puppies likely did with Tom Kratman and his Islamic Dystopia fiction. Hell, I do it myself with Regency Romance and Hermione/Snape fanfiction, my own trashy loves. It is a thing that happens to people. It is possible for people to have a genuine true belief in something without it being a justified true belief, and it's possible for people not even to be totally aware of how their beliefs are impacting their choices/voting.

I don't think that the voting was purely based on ideology, but I think that when people haven't read works, they tend to vote - on both sides! for recognizable names. And again, I'm not pointing fingers there - this is something that when I get lazy, I'd be likely to do myself. I probably won't do it this year because this is such a Big Thing, but in other years looking at this slate, I could totally see myself saying, "Oh man, I haven't gotten a chance to read that John C Wright thing, but he is pretty damn good at other stuff, so you know what, I'll tick his box." And that can also apply to, "I haven't really read much Jemisin/McGuire, but I saw her swinging for our side, and I don't really know the other guys, so I'll throw a vote her way."

Does that make more sense?
posted by corb at 9:34 AM on April 7, 2015


I don't think that the voting was purely based on ideology

Despite all the evidence saying otherwise? The gimpygarper voters were explicitly recruited to vote ideologically.

they tend to vote - on both sides! for recognizable names

Sure. And that would be relevant if that were something that were happening here. What's actually happening is a bunch of people voting in lockstep for ideological reasons to stick it to the alleged SJWs.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:38 AM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, to be honest, it would've been more compelling if you hadn't used your example to once again reinforce the false dichotomy that the reason why someone would vote for John C Wright sight-unseen is previous quality and the reason why someone would vote for Jemisin/McGuire sight-unseen is politics. But also, you keep insisting that Jemisin/McGuire aren't very good and that the only reason someone would like their books and vote for them is that their perceptions are colored by ideology. It's fine that you didn't care for their work, but that doesn't make it objective fact that their works are lesser.
posted by kagredon at 9:43 AM on April 7, 2015 [21 favorites]


(I mean c'mon Feed sold by the truckload*, and both by numbers and my own experience talking to folks was read and talked up by many, many people who had zero idea about Seanan McGuire's politics.)

* c wut i did thar
posted by kagredon at 9:47 AM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm just really unsure how both of us can be looking at the same text, but seeing really different things. To me, that seems pretty clear - they think that the Hugos are starting to get overrun with affirmative action, which is a thing to be despised, and they want works that people other than ivory-tower academics will enjoy, because they feel SF/Fantasy were never really about the ivory tower academics in the first place and their arrival is recent.

Ancillary Sword outsold everything except for Skin Game according to estimated sales figures. Goblin Emperor's sales are on par with three of the Puppy novels. So which ones are the ivory-tower academic nominations? Neither strike me as particularly literary or ivory-tower-ish. I don't know how space opera and political fantasy are "niche." Seriously, the Hugos are not the Tiptrees, and the nominations of the last few years are not Atwood, Tepper, Sulway, or Delany.

And if you look at things like the 50 Books POC challenge, where people are explicitly trying to read, review, (and often, nom) books by authors of color, these are all things that have been said before.

You do realize that the 50 Books challenge is not the Hugo nomination process?
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:49 AM on April 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


Seanan McGuire is another whose work is not particularly high in quality

Hm. Her Velveteen stories really are something special to me: warm, moving, thoughtful, inventive, funny, and very, very attuned to superhero comics as a genre. I haven't had the same experience of one of her novel series yet, but I reserve judgment until I see more than the first volume of each, because they've mostly felt like "pilot" episodes and I know for sure that she's capable of amazing things.

I also think it's pretty ungenerous to paint her many Hugo nominations as the product of "aggressive" self-promotion. She goes to Worldcons. She sings funny songs and entertains people. Her panel comments are witty and insightful. She writes things a lot of people like. I feel pretty sure Worldcon attendees remember her well enough, regardless of what she writes on LJ.

If you want to pick on someone for being well-liked by Hugo voters, maybe pick on Robert Silverberg--much-liked as a character at Worldcon and nominated for Best Novel nine times ... but he never took the prize in that category. It's maybe a reminder that the Hugo Awards are inextricably bound to a social event. Here's Silverberg reflecting on the first Worldcon in London, and he mentions having attended fifty Worldcons. His schtick at the Hugo Awards ceremony is pretty funny--very dry. He also writes things a lot of people like. Is it really a surprise that Worldcon attendees rewarded him with nominations?

If you want there to be an award that eliminates social effects on literary judgments, you should go create one and figure out how to administer it, because the Hugos have always been an honor bestowed by the attendees of Worldcon. They're literary awards but also the focus of the biggest event at the convention, and I suspect people in attendance mostly just want to be happy and cheer for one or two favorites that made it through the process. They're also fairly administered and open to anyone who'd like to join in the fun. But for the next two years, at least, these sociopaths have made it impossible for anyone in attendance to cheer for anything but their favorites. And I'll be quite surprised if they even go to the show.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:49 AM on April 7, 2015 [15 favorites]


Not an absolute. Gathered here is the best list (we think!) of entirely deserving works, writers, and editors — all of whom would not otherwise find themselves on the Hugo ballot without some extra oomph received from beyond the rarefied, insular halls of 21st century Worldcon “fandom.”

Here's the thing, corb: that list was compiled from dozens of nominations submitted to VD and BT, with no single work being nominated more than 3 times. VD/BT decided which works from each category would be chosen for the slate.

The slate wasn't compiled using run-off voting, so that the relevant community members would have a chance to compare one work to another. Dozens of nominated works, but only five made the slate, and I doubt VD or BT read everything that their fans submitted. They cherry-picked a slate and had all of their Puppies nominate ONLY what was on the slate. All actual decision-making was done ONLY by VD and BT, not by the individual Puppy nominators.

The result is that works that even VD/BT like, like The Three-Body Problem or the Heinlein biography, didn't make the Hugo nominations, because the slate forced them off.

They deprived other Hugo nominators of the opportunity to nominate works they themselves would have voted for but forgot to include.

The worst thing is the slate deprived their own community of like-minded folks the opportunity to vote their own preferences.

The problem with slate voting isn't the politics of the party engaging in it. Isn't the spiteful purpose behind this instance. It's that slate voting removes the voter's individual choice from the process, and delegates it to someone else. That the voter apparently agrees to it doesn't make it any more democratic.
posted by suelac at 9:52 AM on April 7, 2015 [13 favorites]


The reason the Hugo nominations are so easy to game this way is that they are decided by:

1) An extremely small number of voters,
2) With a very low entry barrier for participation,
3) Making choices out of an extremely large pool,
4) With few restrictions on number of works an individual can nominate.

Combined, they mean that whipping up a crowd to dominate the nomination process is pretty easy. But it's not an unfixable problem, if the people in charge decide they want to fix it. Votes for the actual award, as opposed to the nomination, are harder to game (although it's still possible), simply because only one of these factors has changed (number of choices being voted on.)

Vastly increasing the number of voters is perhaps the ideal solution but hard to pull off. Raising the entry barrier for participation (such as the "four-year Wordcom member if nonattending" suggestion made by Iridic above) would make gaming the system harder, but will probably not sit well with the people who have been trying to expand the number of voters for many years.

So, one solution might be to use the same method that makes it harder to game the awards themselves -- reduce the candidate pool for nominations. Set up a system of several stages, so that (at least) first a long list gets nominated, then a short list is selected from the long list.

People could still campaign for a slate, but it would be harder to dominate because non-slate votes would get more and more concentrated at each step. In theory, unless your slate voters are literally the majority of voters period, in which case you're winning no matter what, it's harder to take control.

Another, not mutually exclusive with the first and much easier to implement, would be to limit the number of nominations an individual can make in a given category. If an individual can only vote for one book as a best novel nomination, then a slate can gather behind a single book, but it's much harder to dominate a single category.

Honestly, though, I don't expect we'll see changes anytime soon, if ever. Institutional momentum is hard to overcome.
posted by kyrademon at 9:52 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you want to pick on someone for being well-liked by Hugo voters, maybe pick on Robert Silverberg

Or Scalzi. I absolutely believe Redshirts won the Hugo because Scalzi is hugely popular; I found the book to be both slight and forgettable. But it worked for a lot of people, and in general Scalzi gets nominations both because people know him, and because they find his work reliably good.

The Hugos are absolutely a popularity contest, but they don't tend to reward works that are actually bad. And if they're a popularity contest, then why bitch about how the awards are becoming more literary/less popular? Because the Puppies don't like the people who are getting nominated, more than they don't like the content.
posted by suelac at 9:59 AM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


> I'm just really unsure how both of us can be looking at the same text, but seeing really different things. To me, that seems pretty clear

I was responding specifically to your assertion that their intentions might be difficult to discern. They are not, as you seem to acknowledge here.
posted by rtha at 10:01 AM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Hugos are absolutely a popularity contest, but they don't tend to reward works that are actually bad.

But this is kind of what I mean - if the Hugos are and have always been a popularity contest, and people are voting for Scalzi and McGuire and Silverberg because they like them and they are fun at con parties or draw CareBears for other people or what have you, then it really shouldn't matter that a slate of conservatives are voting for a bunch of other guys as the prettiest girl at the prom. There would be no reason to get upset about it if it was never for literary merit anyway other than a simple 'not bad' criteria, just because some other people are demonstrating more temporary popularity by running a campaign, unless it's being viewed, like that piece by Justin Landon, as some sort of battle for the soul of science fiction.
posted by corb at 10:12 AM on April 7, 2015


Or on the nominated-by-popularity front, Bujold for Cryoburn and Captain Vortapill's Alliance, which were interesting and funny but not best-of-show. (Disclaimer, I'm a loyal fan.)

It's also interesting to me that the two claimed examples of affirmative action did not win.

There would be no reason to get upset about it if it was never for literary merit anyway other than a simple 'not bad' criteria, just because some other people are demonstrating more temporary popularity by running a campaign, unless it's being viewed, like that piece by Justin Landon, as some sort of battle for the soul of science fiction.

Well, Wright, Vox Day, and others have discussed at length that the soul of science fiction has been corrupted. As opposed to the Pink/termites/insect army who mostly blog about promoting themselves and their peers.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:16 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


To me, that seems pretty clear - they think that the Hugos are starting to get overrun with affirmative action, which is a thing to be despised, and they want works that people other than ivory-tower academics will enjoy

Which is best achieved by nominating en masse a load of old bilge most of them haven't even read.
posted by dng at 10:16 AM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


if the Hugos are and have always been a popularity contest, and people are voting for Scalzi and McGuire and Silverberg because they like them and they are fun at con parties or draw CareBears for other people or what have you, then it really shouldn't matter that a slate of conservatives are voting for a bunch of other guys as the prettiest girl at the prom.

I don't want to be rude, here, but do you not get how slate voting works?

The only way the slate won is that every single Puppy nominated ONLY the works that VD/BT told them to list. Not the works the individual Puppy liked best, or even the works that the individual Puppy offered for the Puppy slate.

The Puppies did not vote their own individual choices. They voted the way they were told to.

People voting for Scalzi are doing so for their own reasons, and maybe some of those reasons have less to do with literary quality than we would like: but each individual got to make their own decision about that. And, hopefully, most of them read the works they were voting for.
posted by suelac at 10:16 AM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


corb: And if you look at the Sad Puppies slate

But the Sad Puppies slate is secondary here to Vox Day's Rabid Puppies. In cases where Sad disagrees with Rabid, it was the latter that won. If you want to defend the intentions behind the slate voting, you have to defend Vox Day's intentions.
posted by Kattullus at 10:20 AM on April 7, 2015 [16 favorites]


corb, you also don't seem to be acknowledging that there are those of us who feel that the Hugos *should* be a merit-based award rather than a popularity contest, and might be pissed off because slate voting hauls it even further away from that ideal than it already was.
posted by kyrademon at 10:20 AM on April 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


This isn't a popularity contest. This is about sticking it to people, and making sure that certain people are selected. Voted for in lockstep. By people who ordinarily wouldn't have any clue about voting for the Hugos at all.

This isn't the usual tussle of fandoms. This is, again, ballot-box-stuffing and has nothing to do with how things were done before.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:21 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


corb, you also don't seem to be acknowledging that there are those of us who feel that the Hugos *should* be a merit-based award rather than a popularity contest, and might be pissed off because slate voting hauls it even further away from that ideal than it already was.

Oh no, I agree with you! But I'm a grumpy old lady in a rocking chair saying I want those 'Obligatory Eligibility Posts' off my damn lawn.
posted by corb at 10:23 AM on April 7, 2015


you also don't seem to be acknowledging that there are those of us who feel that the Hugos *should* be a merit-based award rather than a popularity contest, and might be pissed off because slate voting hauls it even further away from that ideal than it already was

Yes, this. I got tired of seeing the same old names on the ballot every year, because it seemed like people were just nominating out of familiarity rather than actual quality. Last year was a nice change, because I saw books & names that were new, and seemed to show an interest in fresh blood--an interest in quality & originality over familiarity.
posted by suelac at 10:25 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


People voting for Scalzi are doing so for their own reasons, and maybe some of those reasons have less to do with literary quality than we would like: but each individual got to make their own decision about that.

Doesn't the same also apply to Sad Puppies voters though? Some of them probably did vote in lockstep, but if so, no one held a gun to their head. They decided for their own reasons that they wanted to vote in the slate, and many of those reasons may have less to do with literary quality than we would like, but every individual did get to make their own decision about whether or not to participate - or whether or not to mostly participate with some small variance.
posted by corb at 10:32 AM on April 7, 2015


On a complete sidenote, though - is anyone planning on attending the Worldcon Business Meeting?
posted by corb at 10:37 AM on April 7, 2015


then it really shouldn't matter that a slate of conservatives are voting for a bunch of other guys as the prettiest girl at the prom

At the risk of repeating myself, it's not about conservatives per se. After all, they tried it last year and failed. What sane, compassionate, and (most importantly) non-racist/sexist/etc fans would have done is maybe tried to fix the nomination process or something. Instead, they chose a group of people that they figured would piss of the sane, etc. fans as nominees, invited a massive group of violent thugs for whom gatekeeping fandoms is a full-time job to rig the system, and then chortled with glee when their tactic worked (even though it occasionally worked against them).

And for the umpteenth time: the fact that conservatives did this as a bloc isn't the fault of liberals or "SJWs." It's the fault of conservatives operating as a bloc instead of individuals.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:37 AM on April 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


Doesn't the same also apply to Sad Puppies voters though?

No, it doesn't. We keep explaining exactly why this is a different situation. I'm asking this as an honest question: what part of the facts about the intentions and actions of the puppyjerks is unclear? We know that the slates were designed to reflect misogynist/racist/homophobic writing. We know that a whole lot of people were recruited to vote precisely because they would vote in lockstep. We know that this has all actually happened and is actually documented. What, honestly, do you not understand about these documented and verified facts?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:41 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


then it really shouldn't matter that a slate of conservatives are voting for a bunch of other guys as the prettiest girl at the prom.

The parallel would work if Madison (with some eager assistance from Candace, who was kicked off the school newspaper for one too many white supremacist editorials) took advantage of a loophole in prom court nominations to ensure that the final ballot consists only of

1: Madison
2: Candace
3: Madison's bestie Janelle, who believes Christ was murdered by the Jews
4: "Lexy? You know, Lexy. From Future Leaders? I know she's questionable queen material at best, let's be honest, but at least she's not one of those bitches from Service Club or Prism."
5. Janelle again

Even if Prom is a bullshit popularity contest any year, can you see why this would upset people?
posted by Iridic at 10:42 AM on April 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm asking this as an honest question: what part of the facts about the intentions and actions of the puppyjerks is unclear? We know that the slates were designed to refelct misogynist/racist/homophobic writing.

This, to me, is not a demonstrated and verified fact - not only that, I don't think it's true at all. I don't think most of the writing on the Sad Puppies slate is misogynist or racist or homophobic, and would challenge you to demonstrate otherwise - not to demonstrate that some of the authors held some such views, but that the writing itself is that way as a requirement for inclusion on the slate. And I don't think that's possible to do. I mean,Guardians of the Galaxy? The Lego Movie? Adventure Time?
posted by corb at 10:45 AM on April 7, 2015


Okay, perhaps that was editorializing. Designed to reflect some nonexistent Golden Age of sci-fi where Men Were Real Manly Men and those other people knew their place.

So. Again. What do you not understand about the facts? Especially the very simple fact of recruiting people to vote in lockstep, solely to bring about the renaissance of this mythical Golden Age?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:47 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Corb, did you read Torgersen's blog post linked in the first dozen comments of this thread?
That’s what’s happened to Science Fiction & Fantasy literature. A few decades ago, if you saw a lovely spaceship on a book cover, with a gorgeous planet in the background, you could be pretty sure you were going to get a rousing space adventure featuring starships and distant, amazing worlds. If you saw a barbarian swinging an axe? You were going to get a rousing fantasy epic with broad-chested heroes who slay monsters, and run off with beautiful women. Battle-armored interstellar jump troops shooting up alien invaders? Yup. A gritty military SF war story, where the humans defeat the odds and save the Earth. And so on, and so forth.

These days, you can’t be sure.

The book has a spaceship on the cover, but is it really going to be a story about space exploration and pioneering derring-do? Or is the story merely about racial prejudice and exploitation, with interplanetary or interstellar trappings?

There’s a sword-swinger on the cover, but is it really about knights battling dragons? Or are the dragons suddenly the good guys, and the sword-swingers are the oppressive colonizers of Dragon Land?

A planet, framed by a galactic backdrop. Could it be an actual bona fide space opera? Heroes and princesses and laser blasters? No, wait. It’s about sexism and the oppression of women.

Finally, a book with a painting of a person wearing a mechanized suit of armor! Holding a rifle! War story ahoy! Nope, wait. It’s actually about gay and transgender issues.

Or it could be about the evils of capitalism and the despotism of the wealthy.

Do you see what I am trying to say here?
The slate is explicitly built on the premise that all that nasty social justice crap is not "real" science-fiction.
posted by kagredon at 10:49 AM on April 7, 2015 [17 favorites]


corb, the votes of the Rabid Sad Puppies were acknowledged to have nothing to do with literary quality, or personal preference. That is the way a slate works.

Individually, the Puppies would not have voted for the works they nominated as part of a slate. They gave up their individual preferences in order to vote the slate.

I think this is undemocratic, especially when the voting involves works of art. All we really have, in the end, is subjective preference when looking at art, and the Puppies threw that overboard to make a political point.

I don't think most of the writing on the Sad Puppies slate is misogynist or racist or homophobic

That's not why they voted for them. They voted for those works--including at least one story by a woman who claims to be a socialist--because that way they got to keep Scalzi, Jemisin, and other perceived social-justice types off the ballot.

Their intentions were political, but the means were not necessarily racist or homophobic.
posted by suelac at 10:50 AM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


if the Hugos are and have always been a popularity contest, and people are voting for Scalzi and McGuire and Silverberg because they like them and they are fun at con parties or draw CareBears for other people or what have you...

That elides over the crucial step of reading the darn book. The process is not (1) author does cool stuff then (2) author gets votes. It's (1) author does cool stuff, (2) author gets readers, then (3) author gets votes.

A lot of us, myself included, keep bringing up nominators not reading the works they nominated. So let's look at a timeline:

January 7: Torgersen begins taking suggestions for the slate. As suelac pointed out, a consensus did not emerge in the comments.
February 1: Torgersen first announces the SP3 slate; it starts out incomplete
March 2: Torgersen finalizes the SP3 slate.
March 10: Last day to nominate works

There are 38 days between February 1 and March 10. For the SP nominators to make informed choices, they'd need to read five novels, three novellas, five novelettes, five short stories, three books and two essays in the related work category, and one webcomic collection. Not to mention watching five movies and five TV shows, and listening to various episodes of three podcasts. And forming an opinion on the abilities of eight editors, the quality of several zines, and so forth.

And all of that in under forty days.

That's hugely different than using fandom popularity to build readership, which then earns you votes.
posted by Banknote of the year at 10:51 AM on April 7, 2015 [13 favorites]


In the last decade we’ve seen Hugo voting skew more and more toward literary (as opposed to entertainment) works.

The award is still decided by a popularity contest so this is marlarkey.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:51 AM on April 7, 2015


It's may not be meant to reflect misogyny or racism or homophobic writing itself, but it's obvious that that happens to be a bonus for them. And it certainly is about fighting back against feminists and PoC and LGBT. Here's Torgersen in his own words:
A few decades ago, if you saw a lovely spaceship on a book cover, with a gorgeous planet in the background, you could be pretty sure you were going to get a rousing space adventure featuring starships and distant, amazing worlds. If you saw a barbarian swinging an axe? You were going to get a rousing fantasy epic with broad-chested heroes who slay monsters, and run off with beautiful women. Battle-armored interstellar jump troops shooting up alien invaders? Yup. A gritty military SF war story, where the humans defeat the odds and save the Earth. And so on, and so forth.

These days, you can’t be sure.

The book has a spaceship on the cover, but is it really going to be a story about space exploration and pioneering derring-do? Or is the story merely about racial prejudice and exploitation, with interplanetary or interstellar trappings?

There’s a sword-swinger on the cover, but is it really about knights battling dragons? Or are the dragons suddenly the good guys, and the sword-swingers are the oppressive colonizers of Dragon Land?

A planet, framed by a galactic backdrop. Could it be an actual bona fide space opera? Heroes and princesses and laser blasters? No, wait. It’s about sexism and the oppression of women.

Finally, a book with a painting of a person wearing a mechanized suit of armor! Holding a rifle! War story ahoy! Nope, wait. It’s actually about gay and transgender issues.

Or it could be about the evils of capitalism and the despotism of the wealthy.

Do you see what I am trying to say here?

Our once reliable packaging has too often defrauded our readership.
Of course, the moment they asked people invested in misogyny and racism and homophobia to crash the party, there was no explaining away that that's not what they support.

On preview: Jinx, kagredon!
posted by zombieflanders at 10:54 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


kyrademon: "Honestly, though, I don't expect we'll see changes anytime soon, if ever. Institutional momentum is hard to overcome."

Indeed, my understanding of the rule making process for the Hugos/WSFS is that changes are deliberately made difficult to make.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:59 AM on April 7, 2015


The parallel would work if Madison (with some eager assistance from Candace, who was kicked off the school newspaper for one too many white supremacist editorials) took advantage of a loophole in prom court nominations

also the loophole is that anyone who buys a corsage can fill out a prom court ballot so Madison and Candace go to the local skinhead gang and convince them to buy up a shitload of corsages
posted by kagredon at 11:01 AM on April 7, 2015 [18 favorites]


There would be no reason to get upset about it [...] unless it's being viewed, like that piece by Justin Landon, as some sort of battle for the soul of science fiction

Worldcons have always relied on poor sampling, both to reflect the interests of the folks who come to the big show to cheer for their favorites and to reflect what's going on in the field of SF/F. That's neither a reason to place limits on simple reminders of how many works of SF/F have been published in a year nor a reason to make the selection bias on the ballot much, much worse.

However, what's going on at this point does not strike me as a battle. If it were, the puppies would lose badly. I think Sasquan has tons of options to be seriously aggressive here. They could do things like cancel the reading packet to avoid giving the puppies a platform, immediately stop allowing supporting memberships, shorten the voting period, cancel the Hugo ceremony and just announce the results with no fanfare, set up an alternative award (not a Hugo) and use the full voting period to let people vote on a slate that coincidentally includes all the nominees that would have made it without any puppies on the ballot, or just set up an alternative award to be given equally to the top five candidates (minus puppy candidates) from every category. Etc., etc. They could invite a diverse and obviously left-wing panel of judges to give a new jury prize (though not a Hugo), and change the Hugo statue's base design to include a giant, crudely-rendered middle finger. They do have to run a vote based on the puppies' nominees and give out Hugos based on the results, but I'm not aware that they have to play nice about it.

But there's no battle, and I'm pretty sure that what you're going to see instead is that the awards will be routine and conducted with simple impartiality, because Worldcon is one of the most socially staid and non-radical shows going. When I went two years ago, what I saw was Elizabeth Moon and Elizabeth Bear (both past targets in kerfuffles you've mentioned) pleasantly talking to a huge crowd about writing combat scenes. I saw industry diversity cabalist Patrick Nielsen Hayden cheerfully accepting the Prometheus Award for Libertarian SF on behalf of an author he edits. The generation gap at Worldcon is fairly notorious, and I saw that too. It's not even slightly radical--it's just a bunch of people trying to enjoy their hobby and/or collegial relationships for a weekend. But everyone there voting "No Award" for a bunch of stuff foisted on them primarily by non-attending $40 members is a reasonably kind outcome, because even very gentle people can be ugly when they become a disappointed crowd in a big room together, listening to "honors" being given that they had essentially nothing to do with.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 11:02 AM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Indeed, my understanding of the rule making process for the Hugos/WSFS is that changes are deliberately made difficult to make.

Speaking of rules, if you're voting you should read that Eastercon link suelac provided.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:05 AM on April 7, 2015


I should make it clear, I suppose: I don't think any of this was illegal or unethical.

I just think it's unfair, and contrary to the spirit of the community. It's no better than voting only for people you like whose latest novel you didn't get around to reading but you figure it's probably good because the last one was -- and frankly it's worse, because it's not about the quality of the individual works at all.

I want to be able to say that the Hugos at least reflect the lowest-common-denominator agreement on the best the field has to offer in the last year. And this ballot fails entirely to do that.

(Except possibly for the media nominees, mostly because those films were such blockbusters even the Puppies couldn't bring themselves to hate them. And because the creators are outside the SF/F community and thus not perceived as a threat to the Puppies' understanding of the world.)
posted by suelac at 11:06 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


From my perspective, the SP/RP slates were put together to achieve three things:
  1. Provide a platform for conservative works, particularly those that are hostile towards so-called SJWs
  2. Deny SJWs the opportunity to nominate their own works. Or, put another way, ensure that the slots that don't go to conservative works don't go towards liberal works either.
  3. Provide plausible deniability that promoting conservatism is the primary goal.
Items 2 and 3 are how you end up with things like the Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the zombie comic.

It's not that being conservative is an absolute requirement for entry onto the slate. As corb rightly points out, that's not the case. But ideology is absolutely the motivating factor, and even the non-ideological (and occasional leftist) works are there to further the conservative motivations for the slate.
posted by Banknote of the year at 11:07 AM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Could someone remind Torgersen that Star Trek, Left Hand of Darkness, Babel-17, and Dragonriders of Pern are all older than he is?
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:12 AM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Banknote of the year -- I would add to that "Get a Hugo for ME", specifically John C. Wright and Vox Day, as a way of spitting in the face of everyone who calls them toxic assholes.

But this whole thing reminds me of fanfiction plagiarism disputes, where people try to get popular by stealing other people's work. I've never understood the reasoning for that.

If you have to cheat to win the game, of what value is the win? It's not like getting a nomination for John C. Wright is actually a validation of his writing ability, because the only way he got the nomination is by having some like-minded people who haven't read his work buy it for him.

How is that rewarding?
posted by suelac at 11:12 AM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


Here's Torgersen in his own words...Our once reliable packaging has too often defrauded our readership.

This is a really great example of how two people can read the same thing and get different answers. Because to me, it doesn't seem like Torgensen is saying, "Man, I hate stories about POC/LGBT individuals." It seems, to me, like he's saying, 'Let science fiction be what it says on the damn box.'

And that's a view I have a lot of sympathy for, because - though I don't think it's the fault of the authors - he is 100% right about how the publishers are advertising these stories. It's something even the authors of those stories have been complaining about - that, say, the character will be a person of color, but the cover picture is blond and blue eyed. Publishing houses are in no way advertising, "A ripping tale of exploitation and racism." To take the aforementioned Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - whether you think it is a good book or a bad book - the cover shows no character at all, and the writeup in no way mentions racism, slavery, or class issues. The blurb reads as though it were a traditional coming of age inheritance story. Hell, you would not even get the idea from the blurb or the cover that the main character was a POC at all.

And beyond that - things generally are shelved with the books that are the preponderance of their material. For example: many if not most fantasy stories contain a romance. But they're not shelved with romance, because the romance is simply a part of the expected story, rather than the focal point of the story. If your romance is the focal point of the story and the fantasy trappings are window dressing, your story belongs in the romance category. Similarly, if the purpose of your writing is to talk about race-related issues, with dragons as window dressing, then your writing should be shelved with other fiction dealing with race-related issues. When your writing is shelved with fantasy, people have a right to expect that the world will be mainly fantasy related.
posted by corb at 11:13 AM on April 7, 2015


And I'd like to stress - I don't think this is intentional from the authors, I think the authors would in fact prefer (at least on the covers and blurbing, if not the shelving) more clear labels. I don't think it's generally an SJW conspiracy that these things aren't being advertised as what they actually are. But if you're not aware of how those things actually happen, it looks like a conspiracy - like authors are deliberately trying to masquerade their work as something that it's not.
posted by corb at 11:17 AM on April 7, 2015


"The blurb reads as though it were a traditional coming of age inheritance story. Hell, you would not even get the idea from the blurb or the cover that the main character was a POC at all."

Does it ruin an otherwise acceptable story if the main character is of a different race?
posted by tofu_crouton at 11:17 AM on April 7, 2015 [20 favorites]


Why can't SF/F deal with race? (or gender or sexual orientation)

Delany comes to mind. So does leGuin. Brave New World had seriously political things to say. Heinlein was explicitly political. Those... shouldn't be shelved with SF/F? What about Dune

The blurb reads as though it were a traditional coming of age inheritance story. Hell, you would not even get the idea from the blurb or the cover that the main character was a POC at all.

Oh, there's the answer. Because 'traditional' means 'white.' Because for some reason readers have to be told just in case--gasp, let me clutch my pearls for a moment--there's a POC character in the book. Because you have completely missed that Torgenson's steaming pile about book covers is purely window dressing for whining and complaining that someone dared to get peanut butter in his chocolate.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:18 AM on April 7, 2015 [28 favorites]


Because to me, it doesn't seem like Torgensen is saying, "Man, I hate stories about POC/LGBT individuals."

What it seems to me he is saying is, "It's not SF if it's about POC/LGBT people." Because according to him, even if it IS a space opera with FTL drives and galaxy-spanning empires, it doesn't count if the main character doesn't know or care what gender anyone else is, and so calls everyone "she" by default.

Any interest in social issues, to Torgensen, is enough to make it NOT SF.

Which is bullshit gate-keeping. He may not like it, but it's still legitimately part of the genre.

And I'm not clear why you think Jemisin's books are required to have POC on the cover (as compared to not having any individuals at all). I suspect this is a marketing decision, to keep people from doing what Torgensen would do -- not pick it up because they don't want to read books about brown people.

Really, corb, your concern about Jemisin is beginning to look kind of creepy. We get you didn't like the Inheritance Trilogy. But it's far from the worst example of, frankly, anything.
posted by suelac at 11:20 AM on April 7, 2015 [31 favorites]


Spaceships are opposed to anything other than staid old American christian standards of morality.
posted by dng at 11:22 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Saying that something is not SF/F because it contains challenging concepts is one of the most obviously incorrect statements ever expressed in a human language.
posted by selfnoise at 11:23 AM on April 7, 2015 [32 favorites]


Similarly, if the purpose of your writing is to talk about race-related issues, with dragons as window dressing, then your writing should be shelved with other fiction dealing with race-related issues. When your writing is shelved with fantasy, people have a right to expect that the world will be mainly fantasy related.

Seriously?

Who gets to decide this? And why should fantasy novels NOT get to talk about issues of race, class, and gender? They always have before, you know.

The Time Machine by H G Wells was about race and class. A thinly-veiled allegory, in fact! And yet it's always shelved in the SF section (when it's not found in Classics).

Removing all discussion of social relevance from genre writing is what keeps genre writing in the ghetto, because it gives you stories with no depth or complexity or relevance to a reader's life.
posted by suelac at 11:24 AM on April 7, 2015 [29 favorites]


> the cover shows no character at all, and the writeup in no way mentions racism, slavery, or class issues. The blurb reads as though it were a traditional coming of age inheritance story.

Wait, is there a rule saying a coming-of-age story can't include those issues and still be "traditional"? What is the definition of "traditional" are you working from? Can only young white men be the subject of these kinds of stories, or else the stories should be not be shelved, marketed, or published by/as SFF??
posted by rtha at 11:27 AM on April 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


But if you're not aware of how those things actually happen, it looks like a conspiracy - like authors are deliberately trying to masquerade their work as something that it's not.

So Correia, Torgersen et al are just completely misinformed about the industry and chose to direct their ire at the fans and other authors? I mean, I'm not going to get in the way of someone demonstrating that they're earth-shakingly moronic in addition to being racist/homophobic/etc douchenozzles, so if that's what we're going with I'm OK with that.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:27 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


inversely, it's also completely ridiculous to pretend that there's nothing political about stories with "broad-chested heroes who slay monsters, and run off with beautiful women" or "battle-armored interstellar jump troops shooting up alien invaders"
posted by kagredon at 11:30 AM on April 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


corb: " like authors are deliberately trying to masquerade their work as something that it's not."

Exactly, like that bitch Ursula something Guin with her sneaky, underhanded 'Left Hand of Darkness', which should obviously be shelved in the wymenist-studies section or something, and not pollute our pure, "traditional" SF.
posted by signal at 11:31 AM on April 7, 2015 [15 favorites]


Heck Star Trek was deliberately designed by Roddenberry as a platform to explore social and political issues within a science fiction context. As was The Twilight Zone. Social commentary has been baked into the fabric of SF and Fantasy for a long time.
posted by octothorpe at 11:31 AM on April 7, 2015 [15 favorites]


Oh no! Fans might actually have to read reviews.

Or actually read the cover you linked to on Hundred Thousand Kingdoms? The tagline, "Gods and mortals, power and love, death and revenge. She will inherit them all."

Or how about the library review blurb which is second on the back cover, "Debut author Jemisin creates a mesmerizing exotic world were fallen gods serve as slaves to the ruling class and murder and ambition go hand in hand." (Jemisin has commented that fans frequently misread the protagonist's ethnicity.)

While we're namedropping people older than Torgersen, let's go back to the roots: Lovecraft, Stoker, and Wells all had different issues regarding race in their works. For that matter, the godfather of swashbuckling adventure, Alexandre Dumas, pere was certainly dancing around ideas (within the limits of publication) about what it meant to be French given the his family history.

Sulu mocks your categories.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:32 AM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


I mean, SFF has become a larger part of my reading time over the last seven or eight years in large part because of the askmes and FPPs and discussion of this genre that happens on this site. So I am not someone who grew up reading stuff like Ender's Game (I read some Cooper and some Le Guin when I were a lass), but even before I came to it as someone who reads increasing amounts of it, I was always told that it was a genre about Boldly Going Where No One Has Gone Before. How can this be true if the genre cannot contain issues explicitly about race and class because doing so somehow makes it not-in-the-genre?
posted by rtha at 11:33 AM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


I would also like to be informed exactly what kind of cover would have properly indicated the content in Ancillary Justice.

As it is, it does have a spaceship on the cover!
posted by suelac at 11:35 AM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Similarly, if the purpose of your writing is to talk about race-related issues, with dragons as window dressing, then your writing should be shelved with other fiction dealing with race-related issues.

And where in the bookstore is that, exactly?

Surely if somebody would have a race-related issues in fiction section, it would be Powell's. So let's have a look. There's African-American studies, which is non-fiction. Sociology? Non-fiction, too. (So are the feminist studies and gay and lesbian sections.)

But all the fiction is divvied up by genre: science fiction, westerns, true crime, literature, etc. Which is as it should be.

Like everyone else, I want to be represented in the fiction I read. And I want my friends and loved ones represented, too. Which means discussing race, class, queer and trans issues, disabilities, and so forth. Those issues are going to take centre stage in fiction that represents us, because they take centre stage in our lives. And none of us lead single-issue lives, and our stories can't be shelved in a single-issue section of a bookstore.
posted by Banknote of the year at 11:37 AM on April 7, 2015 [16 favorites]


corb, your comments in this thread display much more sympathy and willingness to give the benefit of the doubt to conservatives like Torgersen and Wright who, just to reiterate, publicly argued that men "abhor homosexuals on a visceral level" which leads men to attack gay men and "bea[t] them to death with axhandles and tire-irons," than sympathy and willingness to consider the perspectives of the queer people who those conservatives attack and marginalize.
posted by overglow at 11:41 AM on April 7, 2015 [22 favorites]


While we're namedropping people older than Torgersen, let's go back to the roots: Lovecraft, Stoker, and Wells all had different issues regarding race in their works.

Let's not forget Heinlein, one of Torgersen's heroes, who deliberately played with readers' conception of race of their characters in several works. If Torgersen was being honest, not only would it have disqualified the biography from his slate, but he'd have railed against him. But of course Torgersen isn't being honest and never meant to be, although at this point, rank dishonesty and hypocrisy isn't even the largest problem with him or the puppy slates.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:41 AM on April 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


> Which means discussing race, class, queer and trans issues, disabilities, and so forth.

I guess we/our lives/our issues are supposed to remain metaphorical? Those things being explicitly named and made real apparently violates some unspoken rule, and so books that do so aren't "real" SFF.
posted by rtha at 11:43 AM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


As it is, it does have a spaceship on the cover!

And the narrator was a ship and is a cyborg space marine, which raise more identity issues in the narrative than the use of the default feminine pronoun.

Tolkien has a fair bit to say about class virtue, albeit from a largely conservative frame.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:45 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


even before I came to it as someone who reads increasing amounts of it, I was always told that it was a genre about Boldly Going Where No One Has Gone Before. How can this be true if the genre cannot contain issues explicitly about race and class because doing so somehow makes it not-in-the-genre?

It's interesting that that has come out as a tagline, but I think it really exemplifies the different sorts of SF fan divergences that you're having. I mean, the stereotypical thing is 'Oh everyone loves Star Trek' but you know, not everyone loves some of the more liberal themes of Star Trek (noninterference, etc), and I would not categorize Star Trek as Golden Age SF at all. I mean, I'm sure they can't say that because it would provoke a fight, but the themes of Golden Age SF tended to be more about colonization than about peacefully wandering the galaxy without having humans triumph.

And yes, you can say that that is political as well because it was all created in a climate where colonization could be seen as unproblematic, and that is a real and valid critique - but I do think there's a difference between politics that are kind of baked in by culture and politics that are explicitly trying to change the culture. I mean, that's the point of a lot of the critiques, right? That the status quo is inherently X-ist because of its acculturization?

And what Correia at least says he wants is a time where people could just write what they wanted without having to worry about whether or not their writing was politically correct (I mean, pro tip of course, it was not)
In the long term I want writers to be free to write whatever they want without fear of social justice witch hunts, I want creators to not have to worry about silencing themselves to appease the perpetually outraged, and I want fans to enjoy themselves without having some entitled snob lecture them about how they are having fun wrong. I want our shrinking genre to grow. I think if we can get back to where “award nominated” isn’t a synonym for “preachy crap” to the most fans, we’ll do it.
And you know, again, I think a lot of the stuff I read is stuff that some of these guys would turn their nose up and/or be horrified by (I'm looking at you, Sirius/Remus fic), but I understand on a visceral level what he means, because it's a thing that's been affecting other genres as well. I'm frustrated and tired with my fantasy kingdom novels suddenly being more concerned about the welfare of the servants than with the knights and kings. I'm frustrated and tired with my Regency Romance novels suddenly starting to include diatribes about how Gunters Ices are made with slave sugar, or how seamstresses are going blind on embroidery for the pretty dresses. I'm frustrated and tired with people insisting that lady-written slashfiction on AO3 is somehow anti-gay because it is written by women not men. I am, to be completely frank, tired of preachy crap. I will read books about POC and LGBT and disabled characters with glee, but I don't want to read books filled with preachy crap. If I wanted to read preachy crap I would go to my nonfiction shelf.
posted by corb at 11:48 AM on April 7, 2015


And the narrator was a ship and is a cyborg space marine, which raise more identity issues in the narrative than the use of the default feminine pronoun

Right, but how do you show that on a paperback cover? Because that's the most important thing, according to Torgensen. Gotta warn him about the default feminine pronoun!

This reminds me of the fannish argument for content warnings, because it's impossible to properly warn for everything that someone might possibly object to in a story. Similarly, it's impossible to signal everything about a novel that someone might possibly want to know in advance, not without spoiling the reading experience completely.
posted by suelac at 11:49 AM on April 7, 2015


I will read books about POC and LGBT and disabled characters with glee, but I don't want to read books filled with preachy crap

Here's the thing: preachy crap is bad writing. If your novel is filled with diatribes about slavery or whatever, the problem isn't that it's about slavery, it's that it's filled with diatribes.
posted by suelac at 11:52 AM on April 7, 2015 [23 favorites]


In the long term I want writers to be free to write whatever they want without fear of social justice witch hunts, I want creators to not have to worry about silencing themselves to appease the perpetually outraged, and I want fans to enjoy themselves without having some entitled snob lecture them about how they are having fun wrong.

Says the man promoting himself as a gatekeeper willing to take advantage of violent witch hunts to silence said "snobs."
posted by zombieflanders at 11:55 AM on April 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


That people don't like Star Trek because it is too liberal is pretty mindblowing.
posted by dng at 11:56 AM on April 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


[This thread is turning into the "everybody argue against corb's view" thing again, and I'm going to suggest that corb, maybe take a break from the thread for a while, and that other people, take a break from responding to corb's comments specifically, so the thread can breathe. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:57 AM on April 7, 2015 [20 favorites]


Butcher and Correia are in no way hurting for sales. Card and Heinlein are still best-sellers in their genre. This is very much a "someone is wrong on the internet" issue.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:02 PM on April 7, 2015


> In the long term I want writers to be free to write whatever they want without fear of social justice witch hunts,

You mean, like the one where writers who are explicit in their work about including race/class/etc. issues aren't accused of ruining the genre by racists and homophobes? Whose work is excluded from award nominations because of their perceived political agenda?
posted by rtha at 12:08 PM on April 7, 2015 [32 favorites]


This sarcastic blog is some good comic relief about all this. A sample from the post Sad Puppies Is More than Vox Day:
So the latest meme from the Traditional Hugo Voting Bloc seems to be that the Sad Puppies movement is all about Vox Day, and Vox Day is evil, therefore Sad Puppies is evil. This is an absolutely spurious line of reasoning with no basis in logic and fact. Yes, Vox Day is affiliated with our movement, but that doesn't mean we agree with everything he says. Unlike our opponents, the Sad Puppies do not march in lockstep, we do not respond to the commands of the Secret Masters of Fandom, and we tolerate dissent within our ranks.
posted by overglow at 12:23 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also from that blog, "What Weapons are Permitted at Worldcon?":
However, nothing says everything you do in Spokane has to be tied with the convention. We could organize a little gun fun with all the other Puppies who'll be in attendance. We could get together, go out to the woods for an afternoon and play with each others' guns, shoot off a load or two.
Oh my.
posted by grouse at 12:30 PM on April 7, 2015 [13 favorites]


From the Strange Horizons blog: "Some promise magnanimity: they will read and consider the works nominated as they would any other Hugo nominee would be, and rank them in the final vote accordingly."

This is such an odd response to me, given that essentially the nomination process has been entirely hijacked by Vox Day. The categories for novellas, novelettes, short stories, related work, editor short-form and editor long-form are all entirely made up of Vox Day's personal picks. So in effect, people who will vote in these categories are taking part in Hugo Award categories where Vox Day controlled the nominations. I can't for the life of me see how anyone would think that's okay.
posted by Kattullus at 12:35 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


So upthread, I was questioning just how many people actually read Letters from Gardner. Well, it turns out that one person who did was Ken Burnside, another nominee for Best Related Work. (He wrote the thermodynamics essay.) Here's what he said about the category, on Scalzi's blog:
...there’s a piece that’s clearly head-and-shoulders better than anyone else’s, mine, and three pieces that are all expressions of “let’s make sure that the people we dislike know we like making them uncomfortable.”
The piece that's clearly better? It's Letters from Gardner. I'll take Burnside's word that it's excellent — after all, he's read it and I haven't. And what's frustrating to me is that it seems like exactly the kind of worthy-but-underappreciated work that the "hey, check this out" Hugo blog posts shine their lights on. But now it's tainted by association with the three other pieces motivated purely by animosity, and by association with all the other nastiness in the slate. Maybe it will get evaluated on its merits and win, maybe it won't*. Speaking for myself, I don't see anything odious about that book on the surface but, honestly, it's gonna be hard to push the thought that "Vox Day saw something great in this" completely out of my mind when I read it.

It makes me imagine an alternate-universe puppy recommendation list where Torgersen and Day didn't use scorched earth tactics. Maybe that would have resulted in more people actually approaching under-appreciated works with an open mind. Which was allegedly the point.

* And by this I mean that I could see the award going to No Award or to a work that's more ideologically inflammatory.
posted by Banknote of the year at 12:49 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Both lists include some "beards" to allow them to point at non-fellows. Best Semi-Prozine has two, for example. So, I can see people not wanting to "punish" them, but the fact remains we have no idea whether they would have gotten the nomination absent the puppies.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:54 PM on April 7, 2015


The whole argument about 'what's on the cover' is really weird for me in the SF arena - I mean, I have a huge stash of 60s-70s SF, and the one thing they have in common is that the cover art generally doesn't have a damn thing to do with the contents.

I mean check these out.
posted by xiw at 12:59 PM on April 7, 2015 [15 favorites]


I had to look at that blog twice to make sure that it was satirical. That's how far gone this whole thing is.

If Fred Phelps pulls a reverse L. Ron -- going from questionable religion to questionable sci-fi -- and unexpectedly pens and publishes a marvelous sci-fi/fantasy novel, should it be entered into consideration next year? Does an author's character -- or inarguable lack thereof -- enter the debate, or is it strictly based on the written work itself?

Three other space opera novellas emerge with similar levels of acclaim. One is particularly sensitive to issues of race, sexual politics and gender. One makes the Eye of Argon ([Crow T. Robot] A slut? Where?) seem enlightened on those themes. The third is somewhat agnostic on those themes and wholly revolves around galactic conquest and laser battles et al. Should #1 get bonus points for sensitivity and #2 penalties for adhering to cliched preconceptions of sci-fi? Or, as the Puppies would argue, should that put #2 ABOVE #1 in and of itself? Or is #3 the better work for dodging that firefight altogether?

It's hard enough to judge a subjective contest like writing quality under good and clearly defined circumstances, and the Hugo award maintainers will have to think long and hard as to what they'll have to do to define all of the above more clearly. It's going to take a lot of reformation of the process for the Hugos to be viewed as anything but a hot mess for years to come.
posted by delfin at 1:00 PM on April 7, 2015


If Fred Phelps pulls a reverse L. Ron -- going from questionable religion to questionable sci-fi -- and unexpectedly pens and publishes a marvelous sci-fi/fantasy novel, should it be entered into consideration next year? Does an author's character -- or inarguable lack thereof -- enter the debate, or is it strictly based on the written work itself?

I think that, ideally, the quality of the work should be all that matters for awards. Now, when it comes to whether or not I choose to read the book, I may or may not let the author's politics enter into it. I might read stuff from authors with politics I don't like if I like their stuff or I might say "Eh, life is short and there are more books that I want to read out there. It won't hurt me to skip this one by Bigname Homophobe". I reserve the right to be completely inconsistent about this, too.

This does mean that a great work might not be nominated/chosen because people decide that they aren't going to read it because the author is a racist, homophobe, pinko-commie, or just has poor hygiene. So it goes. That's the way it is with popularity contests.

So, if John Wright's stuff really is great then it should be nominated. I may decide not to read it, because he's a bigot. I may decide to read it, despite his being a bigot. This may mean that a book/short story that I would normally agree is one of the best of the year doesn't get a vote from me because I've decided the author is an ass. One way around that is to stop being an ass. Or just be a little quieter about it.

I guess this was easier back in the pre-internet days when you knew nothing about your author beyond where they were born and that they wrote books. It was a little safer to be disagreeable because no one knew. Now you have a blog and if you don't like kids, cats, guns, gays, women, or the French, everyone knows.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 1:15 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


well, I was in a pretty thought-provoking discussion a few months ago with some friends over dinner, about Ender's Game, and specifically whether the ending (in which, spoilers for a 40 year old Hugo winner, a supposed simulated war game in which the protagonist succeeds in wiping out an entire alien race turns out to have been real) read more to us as (a) a cheap way to absolve an Ubermensch hero of responsibility (or at least complicity) in genocide or (b) a sharply-pointed damnation of the military-industrial complex and its exploitation of the people it nominally protects. The discussion itself only lightly touched on what OSC's own politics are.

Likewise, pretty much everyone acknowledges that the giants of the genre--Asimov, Heinlein, etc.--wrote down some astoundingly sexist/racist/homophobic/otherwise kyriarchical stuff, while also being extremely enlightened on certain points, often in the same works. So it's not all about character, and I don't think anyone proposed it should be, or that the goal is works that are entirely unproblematic. But I also think it shows a lack of imagination and laziness to fall back on the same sexist/racist/etc. tropes that are prevalent not just in old science fiction, but throughout culture in general.
posted by kagredon at 1:24 PM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


A few decades ago, if you saw a lovely spaceship on a book cover, with a gorgeous planet in the background, you could be pretty sure you were going to get a rousing space adventure featuring starships and distant, amazing worlds. If you saw a barbarian swinging an axe? You were going to get a rousing fantasy epic with broad-chested heroes who slay monsters, and run off with beautiful women. Battle-armored interstellar jump troops shooting up alien invaders? Yup. A gritty military SF war story, where the humans defeat the odds and save the Earth. And so on, and so forth.

Wow. That's just so spectacularly stupid and contrary to fact that I'm going to bask in its glow for a while. I mean, you can't just get up and happen to find that you're that stupid and ignorant. You have to work at it, busily bashing little dents into your skull and acquiring phenylketonuria so you can binge on diet coke.

Let's just agree that "a few decades ago" means in the mid- and late 80s, when he would have been ten or a young teen looking for books. And let's just admit that finding covers that were certain to have been around then is too big a pain in the ass to actually check, so I'm mostly just going to guess from the cover art.

Spaceships and/or exotic planets: That includes The Dispossessed and The LEft Hand of Darkness, oops. It includes The Forever War. Oops. It includes Consider Phlebas, oops. It includes some covers of Imperial Earth and its bi main character (sort of; it's vaguely implied that everyone is bi). If you can wait a couple of years, it includes Use of Weapons, whose original cover features a spaceship/plane actually attacking things and blowing them up. And Red Mars!

Barbarian swinging an axe: well, that includes Moorcock, who I don't think he'd be thrilled with. If we extend this to other fantasy cover tropes, we end up with the Thomas Covenant books about rape and betrayal and disbelief. Hell, there are covers for Babel-17 that are almost like that.

Or, say, books with dragons -- oh yeah, that includes the Dragonriders of Pern with all that gay sex that's only barely kept off the page. And the dragons are heroes instead of being killed by the heroes! Oh the humanities!

Battle-armored space marines: Forever War again. Also Armor.

Good lord. Did this clown ever read SF as a kid or teen?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:46 PM on April 7, 2015 [31 favorites]


In the last decade we’ve seen Hugo voting skew more and more toward literary (as opposed to entertainment) works.

As exemplified by that masterpiece of modern literature, Redshirts.
posted by Justinian at 1:49 PM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ah, SF/F book covers from the 60s/70s. Those were the times.
posted by sukeban at 1:49 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: so spectacularly stupid and contrary to fact that I'm going to bask in its glow for a while
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:53 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Battle-armored space marines: Forever War again. Also Armor.

And Starship Troopers! Agree or disagree with Heinlein's paean to militarism, you'd have to be dumber than an actual sack of doorknobs to claim that it's a rousing tale of adventure with no political subtext.

(I mean no offense to the doorknobs of the world.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:58 PM on April 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


The Hugo's always been a strange beast. My wife once asked me how it was determined and I told her it the nominations were voted on by the attending and supporting members of the previous and upcoming Worldcons, with the winners voted on by the attending and supporting members of the upcoming Worldcon. And she gave me the "quit with the obvious nonsense and give me a straight answer" look that I sometimes deserve and I had to insist that this wasn't one of those times.

"So it's just whoever felt like going to Worldcon that year?"

"Yup."

So there have always been selection biases of the voting body based on money and geography. And hardly anyone nominates, especially for short fiction, with a handful of votes separating the nominees from the runners-up for nomination. And there's a profound effect for the rich to get richer in terms of nominees in that the recent work the most people are most likely to be familiar with is by people they already like enough that they promptly read their new works.

The Australian ballot system for determining the winner produces a winner that's the least disliked among the nominees, with the nominee that received the most votes for number one sometimes losing. (I'm not saying that's a terrible thing -- I basically like the Australian ballot -- I'm just noting it as one more detail as to how the results can be odd.)

I think it's pretty obvious that some works won as sorts of lifetime achievement awards for popular writers despite the winning work itself being weaker than its co-nominees. It's pretty inevitable, after all, that the winners of popular votes go to popular writers.

And it's been obvious that essentially buying a nomination (especially for the short fiction categories) wouldn't be that hard a trick, with buying the award also being possible. I suppose it was just a matter of time before the process was so thoroughly gamed.

I'm not seeing any way back. Maybe it's just sadness in the moment and maybe I'll change my mind about this with some more time to reflect, but right now I'm feeling like maybe it's time for the Hugos to die. The field's pretty cluttered with awards anyway.
posted by Zed at 1:58 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm a fan of queer and queer-published SF&F, so I throw money at kickstarters just to get anthologies, special issues, and web-published material in print. The idea that people like me have some sort of hegemonic control over what gets published strikes me as ridiculous.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:15 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


@suelac: Clearly, an honest cover for Ancillary Justice would have a spaceship and a cup of tea, but I suppose Leckie was more interested scamming away the hard-earned dollars of honest s.f. fans.

@ROU_Xenophobe: That's not an axe he's swinging.

As noted way upthread of the upshots of this little adventure is that neither of The Three-Body Problem and The Peripheral made the shortlist; both could plausibly have won and both are a better match for the old-fashioned he-man s.f. that Correia is advocating for than either of the non-slate nominees that are left as the two likeliest contenders. That said, I'm sure there were better Nobel Peace Prize nominees in 1973 -- sometimes people give awards that don't stand the test of time; maybe the 2065 Retrohugo will clear up matters.
posted by snarkout at 2:26 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


the character will be a person of color, but the cover picture is blond and blue eyed.

Apropos of mistaking the color of a character, I probably read LeGuin's Earthsea books half a dozen times without realizing that the main character wasn't white. O.o When someone mentioned that during a discussion of the SyFy channel series, I was dumbfounded. I went back and read it again and damn, it's right there. I just missed it, multiple times.

Of course, learning this fact made not even a tiny bit of difference in my enjoyment of the books. I just had to edit my mental images. That took a little work, but I was up to it.

I'm an old cis het white woman, been reading SF/F for 50 years. I'm enjoying the new viewpoints of PoC characters, non-cis/het characters. They have viewpoints that I DON'T KNOW from my own experience. Gives me a different kind of sensawunda.

And the SP/RP bloc-voting slate is just contemptible.
posted by Archer25 at 3:09 PM on April 7, 2015 [18 favorites]


> "I'm a fan of queer and queer-published SF&F ... The idea that people like me have some sort of hegemonic control over what gets published strikes me as ridiculous."

Oh dear god yes. Looking for queer SF&F is like diving into the ocean in the hopes that you'll happen across one particular fish.

Not species of fish. One single, specific fish.
posted by kyrademon at 3:21 PM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


In your defense, Archer25, and to bring the discussion full-circle, there are hella Earthsea covers where Ged is inexplicably depicted as white (although not the gorgeous 1st-edition cover, which doesn't even have any dragons or wizard shit and which presumably Brad Torgersen has never read.)
posted by kagredon at 3:29 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


A few decades ago, if you saw a lovely spaceship on a book cover, with a gorgeous planet in the background, you could be pretty sure you were going to get a rousing space adventure featuring starships and distant, amazing worlds. If you saw a barbarian swinging an axe? You were going to get a rousing fantasy epic with broad-chested heroes who slay monsters, and run off with beautiful women. Battle-armored interstellar jump troops shooting up alien invaders? Yup. A gritty military SF war story, where the humans defeat the odds and save the Earth. And so on, and so forth.

As a long-time sci-fi fan, this makes no sense to me. I started with Arthur C Clarke and Heinlien, sure. But a spaceship could also mean Bradbury, who's space stories were more poetic and nostalgic than 'adventurous'. Or it could mean the subversive space opera of M. John Harrison or Samuel Delaney. Once you're into sci-fi, it's pretty easy to spot and avoid the purely jingoistic MilScifi stuff. It's also weird that they say 'a few decades ago', since my preferred flavor of sci-fi, New Wave, dates from the 60s and was an explicit rejection of everything these dinosaurs stand for.

Phil Sandifer did a podcast and a blog on the topic.

That's where I first heard of this, but he paints it in starker terms:

Theodore Beale opposes women's suffrage, saying, "the women of America would do well to consider whether their much-cherished gains of the right to vote, work, murder and freely fornicate are worth destroying marriage, children, civilized Western society and little girls." He believes that black people are less human than white people, saying of a black woman that "genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens."

I admit that these two quotes leave me slightly uncertain as to what to say. They are, obviously, preposterously vile things to say. But they are so vile that they defy the usual rhetoric with which we respond to loathsome views. They are not positions or claims that polite society is really equipped to engage with. They are so far outside the bounds of what is socially acceptable in 2015 that it is difficult to imagine many forums in which they would even be permitted to be aired. I'd go with something glib like "even Fox News would sack someone who publicly expressed those views," but even that seems insufficient. Truth be told, I have trouble thinking of any mainstream groups or organizations where someone who publicly espoused those views would not be ostracized.

Except, apparently, orthodox sci-fi/fantasy fandom, in which Theodore Beale has sufficient clout within orthodox sci-fi/fantasy fandom to select 68% of the Hugo Award nominees.

The question of how this happened is simple enough - the Hugo nomination process is fairly easy to game if you've got a bit of organization and followers willing to splash out a bit of cash. It only took about 250 people to stuff the ballot box to this effect - about 12.5% of the overall people who sent in nominations, though closer to 25% in some of the smaller categories.

More significant is the question of what this means.

To be frank, it means that traditional sci-fi/fantasy fandom does not have any legitimacy right now. Period. A community that can be this effectively controlled by someone who thinks black people are subhuman and who has called for acid attacks on feminists is not one whose awards have any sort of cultural validity. That sort of thing doesn't happen to functional communities. And the fact that it has just happened to the oldest and most venerable award in the sci-fi/fantasy community makes it unambiguously clear that traditional sci-fi/fantasy fandom is not fit for purpose.

posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:28 PM on April 7, 2015 [24 favorites]


clearly hegemonic control should be ACTUALLY given over to all of us evil social justice warios for like, a year, so as to illustrate how TERRIBLE the genre will become with BOOKS ABOUT GAY PEOPLE and BOOKS ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE and BOOKS ABOUT GAY BLACK PEOPLE

I just want it so bad. I want gay sci-fi/fantasy so bad. I am so lonely. give me your space gays
posted by NoraReed at 6:10 PM on April 7, 2015 [15 favorites]


Great quote Charlemagne.
posted by smoke at 6:18 PM on April 7, 2015


Space gays.
posted by signal at 6:18 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


The talk about spaceship covers reminds of the time decades ago I was pawing through the giveaway box at my high school library. It was mostly boring stuff, but there was one book with a spaceship on it by an author I'd never heard of named Jack Vance. So I picked it up!

Page ten: This is so weird! What the hell is going on with the writing?

Page fifty: The main character just had a long and insanely convoluted argument with an innkeeper about wine quality. What the fuck is this and where are the goddamn spaceships?

Page Two Hundred: OH MY DEAR LORD I NEED ALL OF THIS.

Thus began the greatest used book store quest of my life.

Thank God for vague cover art and surprising discoveries.
posted by selfnoise at 6:22 PM on April 7, 2015 [18 favorites]


I wonder what the Sad Puppies think about Stanislaw Lem, who is about as philosophical and political as they come and is a great example of how science fiction can have aliens and spaceships and yet has none of the characteristics they associate with books that have aliens and spaceships?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:22 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


CBrachyrhynchos , you know about Beyond, right?
posted by Artw at 6:24 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


SPACE OPERA ABOUT DISABLED GAY BLACK PEOPLE. Seriously. This book made me chuckle because it poked the "black lesbian in a wheelchair" thing right in the EYE (certain people use that to mock PC/SJW ideas, as though black lesbians in wheelchairs don't exist--which is SO DUMB IT MAKES ME WANT TO EXPLODE. Of course, those people don't know any, but uh ... yeah). Anyway, this is a super fun book with great ideas, and I'm sad it didn't manage to take over the world. Guess the Diversity Mafia was snoozin' that day! But what do I know; I also happen to think that N. K. Jemisin has written some of the most imaginative and fun fantasy that I've read in years. :D

p.s. please wait on my novels, ok
posted by wintersweet at 6:25 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


NoraReed, have you read any Samuel R Delaney? Try Driftglass, one of his more 'mainstream' collections of short stories, before starting on The Einstein Intersection.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:26 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just want it so bad. I want gay sci-fi/fantasy so bad. I am so lonely. give me your space gays

I suspect your point is that it would be nice to see fiction with LGBTQ themes recognized more frequently in venues that are supposedly for everyone, but command-F suggests no one has mentioned the Lambda Awards in this thread, and their nomination of 5-10 works of LGBTQ-themed SF/F/H fiction every year seems worth a shout-out.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:28 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


hooray space gays!!!! finally, a reason to take a break from dragon age: inquisition and its dragon gays
posted by NoraReed at 6:30 PM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


...and of course, for a while now a big spaceship and something exploding has meant "This book was published by Baen."

It might be anything from creepy political diatribes to straightforward milsf to pretty much full-on romance. But by God, Jim Baen was going to put exploding shit and rockets on that cover. There's even a cover for A Civil Campaign that might have something exploding in the background. Also the best blurb ever -- "Boy, can she write -- Anne McCaffrey" That's good blurbin', Anne.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:32 PM on April 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


As a bonus, Delany is also one of the past centuries finest writers in English and I envy those just discovering them.

I really like the Neveryon stories but it's maybe not the place to start. And Dhalgren... fucking Dhalgren.
posted by selfnoise at 6:37 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


a reason to take a break from dragon age: inquisition and its dragon gays

Pern has space dragon gays, or at least space dragon boy-boy action in the background. CHECKMATE.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:37 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


look if all i wanted was background dragon gays i would reread temeraire. regency dragon gays beat out space dragon gays any day of the week
posted by NoraReed at 6:39 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I want gay sci-fi/fantasy so bad. I am so lonely. give me your space gays

The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan (first book of a trilogy that finished late last year.)

Grimdark-ish (in a good way) sword & sorcery, not particularly "epic" (as far as I've read, anyway, haven't gotten to the third book.) 1 gay male protagonist (who is the main main character, if you see what I mean), 1 gay female PoC protagonist (admittedly PoC because she's half-"elf", the "elves" being very much not white in this world), and 1 straight white male protagonist.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:52 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Came in here to recommend Richard K. Morgan for gay fantasy. Though I prefer his Takeshi Kovacs novels (cyber-noir with a Japanese/Eastern European protagonist).
posted by Pink Frost at 7:05 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]




Brad Torgersen tries to prove he's not racist by marrying a black woman.

Yeah, I tried that too. Doesn't work as well as you'd think.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:23 PM on April 7, 2015


...and of course, for a while now a big spaceship and something exploding has meant "This book was published by Baen."...

posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:32 PM on April 7


That's ... that's from somewhere beyond merely "eponysterical".

(Who knows more about "exploding spaceships" than a Culture AI?)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 7:27 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I want gay sci-fi/fantasy so bad.

I liked AfterParty by Daryl Gregory. The main characters are a lesbian scientist and her paranoid ex-NSA (or maybe something even more shadowy) agent girlfriend. It turned out to be a bit more in the thriller genre than I wanted, but it was fun and had some interesting thoughts about how the brain works, especially under the influence of pharmaceuticals.
posted by creepygirl at 7:35 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also the best blurb ever -- "Boy, can she write -- Anne McCaffrey" That's good blurbin', Anne.

Imma let you finish, but the best blurb of all time was the new 1996 edition of the catechism when it was officially updated and the English edition bragged "International best seller!" on the cover, along with the best blurb of all time: "'A sure norm for teaching the faith!' John Paul II"

Lest you think I kid I found the cover on library thing.

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:42 PM on April 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee: I can beat that. I saw it shelved under "New Age".
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:47 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Tamora Pierce's YA fantasy includes a variety of sexualities and gender expressions (including, in the Beka Cooper books, a trans woman, which I definitely hadn't seen in YA fantasy before), in a calm and age-appropriate fashion.

The Living Circle books feature more LGBT characters (and main characters) than Tortall (especially early Tortall when publishers were more strict about YA and sex), but she presents a really healthy attitude towards sexuality overall - basically that sex is good, coercion is bad, you should be careful with other people's feelings but you dont have to get married about it, and healthy relationships are mutually supportive but can look a lot of different ways. Her straight adolescent characters often look to gay adult couples they admire for relationship models. It's just so, so healthy and she so, so calm about it ... no freaking out, no beating you over the head with a moral lesson. Levelheaded adults explain thoughtfully when adolescents have sexuality questions.

I mean, you can give it to your 12-year-old with the confidence that he or she will come away with healthy attitudes towards sex without having read anything graphic or titillating or age inappropriate. And that they will see a diversity of races and sexualities represented.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:59 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Man. From that Torgersen post: Because a blog “journalist” named Isabella Biedenharn — working beneath the banner of Entertainment Weekly — penned a short, error-laden article titled, “Hugo award nominations fall victim to misogynistic, racist voting.

In short: “She's writing for Entertainment Weekly but that doesn't make her some sort of reporter, I swear!”
posted by Going To Maine at 8:15 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


ACTUALLY IT'S ABOUT ETHICS IN ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
posted by kagredon at 8:18 PM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


Words like “racist” and “misogynist” are presently code for “not part of the human equation” thus any man or woman who can be successfully labeled these things, is cut off from polite circles, perhaps even driven out of the workplace, or worse. These words tend to be used as general-purpose ideological grenades, when the thrower of said grenades lacks sufficiently real evidence of wrong-doing — but wants to see the target squirm and suffer anyway.
Gag. Sure, there's no misogyny, sexism, or racism anywhere in any workplace anymore! Glad we solved that one! Now we're just bored and sadistic!
posted by jaguar at 8:19 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


And people being called racist are the ones dying from racism! Sure!
posted by jaguar at 8:20 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


A Baen cover dominated by an exploding spaceship would beat some of the alternatives.
posted by Zed at 8:25 PM on April 7, 2015


My nominee for most shameful Baen cover.
posted by Justinian at 9:00 PM on April 7, 2015


I'll start with the L ...

Lesbian Science Fiction novels, my top picks:
Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey
Slow River by Nicola Griffith
The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman

Lesbian Science Fiction novels, my honorable mentions:
The Fortunate Fall by Raphael Carter
Solitaire by Kelly Eskridge
The Celaeno Series by Jane Fletcher
The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall
The Annunciate by Severna Park
Machine by Jennifer Pelland
The Fever Crumb series by Philip Reeve (but note: no lesbian content until Scrivener's Moon)
The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson
The Year Seven by Molly Zanger

Lesbian fantasy novels, my top picks:
Broken Wings by L-J Baker
The Elemental Logic series by Laurie J. Marks

Lesbian fantasy novels, my honorable mentions:
Lady Knight by L-J Baker
Promises Promises by L-J Baker
Cage the Darlings by Elora Bishop
The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
Twixt by Sarah Diemer
The Lyremouth Chronicles by Jane Fletcher
Nightshade by Shea Godfrey
Salt Fish Girl by Larissa Lai
Ash by Malinda Lo
Huntress by Malindo Lo
Godmother Night by Rachel Pollack
Roses and Thorns by Chris Anne Wolfe
posted by kyrademon at 1:32 AM on April 8, 2015 [30 favorites]


kyrademon, that list includes some of my favorite novels ever. Specifically, The Child Garden, The Fortunate Fall, and Solitaire. I want to run around screaming about how great they are but instead I am calmly sitting and typing this comment.

Also Black Wine by Candas Jane Dorsey is along those lines and really great.
posted by overglow at 1:41 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Black Wine is great! (And I first heard about it on Metafilter. Passing on the love!)

Additional Lesbian Fantasy (hearsay):
I've only read the first book of Tom Pollock's Skyscraper Throne trilogy, but I've heard tell it gets pretty L in book two.

And moving on to some of the other letters, here are some recommendations for ...

Bisexual Science Fiction:
God's War by Kameron Hurley (and sequels)

Bisexual SF/F:
My Real Children by Jo Walton (... although I have ... angry feelings about the ending.)

Bisexual & Poly Science Fiction:
Inheritance by Melinda Lo (and the sequel Adaptation) -- it's also YA
Vigilant by James Alan Gardner

Indeterminate Gender and Orientation Science Fiction
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (and the sequel Ancillary Sword) (... of course)

Gay Fantasy:
Vellum by Hal Duncan (and the sequel Ink)

Gay and Lesbian Fantasy:
A Land Fit for Heroes trilogy by Richard Morgan

Bisexual Fantasy:
Palimpsest by Catherynne Valente

Bisexual and Poly Fantasy:
Bold as Love series by Gwyneth Jones (takes a couple books to get there, though, as I recall)

Trans Fantasy:
Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone (third in a series)
The Bone Palace by Amanda Downum (second in a series)

Intersex & Bisexual Fantasy
Pantomime by Laura Lam (and the sequel Shadowplay)
posted by kyrademon at 2:24 AM on April 8, 2015 [13 favorites]


The language for relationships in English is bad for this, but while Santa Olivia is a female/female relationship but I think the best term for their orientations is bisexual. Or bisexual and that kind of asexual that really is only into one single person ever, but like, SUPER into that person, and everyone else is kind of meh. Also it is SO FUN and totally worth reading, and its sequel is like 10x trashier but in the best way possible, like a SHELTERED QUEER TEENS TAKE ON THE WORLD, BEFRIEND ROCKSTARS, SAVE PEOPLE kind of thing.

Also pretty much all the protagonists are people of color, I think.
posted by NoraReed at 2:26 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Fair point, NoraReed. I really should have categorized the Fever Crumb series in bisexual SF as well, since she's clearly into a guy in book two.
posted by kyrademon at 2:43 AM on April 8, 2015


The Bone Palace by Amanda Downum (second in a series)

Looks like a neat series, just grabbed the first book on Kindle. Thanks for the recommendations.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:45 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


My experience of that one was -- I read the first book (The Drowning City), liked it, picked up the sequel, and was very pleasantly surprised by what the author chose to do in it.
posted by kyrademon at 2:59 AM on April 8, 2015


Yes I thought the first book showed a lot of promise. Was a little choppy to start with but felt she had it nailed down nicely by the end - it's quite original, so I immediately bought the sequel (which I'm yet to read...) when I heard that it was as good as the first sans the kinks. There is a third one out now.
posted by smoke at 3:19 AM on April 8, 2015


Oh and this is background character stuff, but I'm on #3 of Claudia Gray's Spellcaster trilogy, which is fine trashy YA urban fantasy, if that's your cup of tea, and though the protags are all hetero, one of them is being raised by gay dads (well, uncles), and one of the books tells some of their backstory, and it's quite sweet seeing that be normal. I really like gay parents/family members just being, you know, around, especially since so many stories default to doing representation by giving everyone The One Gay Friend (and the person they get together with at the last second). I mostly picked up this trilogy because it's on Scribd and the audiobooks are narrated by Kristine Hvam, and I like her voice well enough to read some just-okay-kinda-boring books that she happens to narrate, and I definitely wouldn't tell people who aren't usually into romance-heavy YA fantasy stuff to read them, but Verlaine and her dads are pretty wonderful.
posted by NoraReed at 3:56 AM on April 8, 2015


Prolific Canadian author Ed Willett has a thoughtful analysis of this issue. Full disclosure: I know Ed on a professional level.
posted by Amy NM at 6:12 AM on April 8, 2015


> Looks like a neat series, just grabbed the first book on Kindle. Thanks for the recommendations.

Me too ditto, yes (although I grabbed the sample, because at the moment I am trying to be better about not buying more books when I already have forty gazillion unread books on my kindle).

What grabbed me about this book was less about the potentially queer content and more that the PW review used the words "police procedure." Mysteries are still my One True Genre, I guess!
posted by rtha at 6:23 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Canadian author Ed Willett has a thoughtful analysis of this issue.
The second camp comprises those convinced that the reason for the Sad Puppies campaign is entirely reactionary: that the Puppies are upset that more people of varying skin tones and sexual identities and left-wing political views have been winning awards than did in the past, because the Sad Puppies are largely white straight conservative men and they believe only white straight conservative men should be winning awards. The fact that the current Sad Puppy slate is not, in fact, entirely made up of white straight conservative men, does not seem to alter their stated perception. The fact that the Sad Puppies flat-out state that’s not what the campaign is about doesn’t alter this perception either: they’re accused of lying about their true motives.
I, for one, do not believe the Puppies are lying about their true motives... I have found their words on the subject to be straightforward and forthcoming.
posted by Zed at 7:10 AM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


I, for one, do not believe the Puppies are lying about their true motives... I have found their words on the subject to be straightforward and forthcoming.

And the fact that the available evidence and their actions do not seem to match their words leaves you untroubled?
posted by Myca at 8:23 AM on April 8, 2015


They (or at least Torgensen) have flat-out stated that they think SF shouldn't be about women or people of color or non-straight people or disabled people or otherwise marginalized people. That tends to restrict the field a bit; "I don't care who you are as an author as long as you write about straight white men" is still a racist/sexist/everything-ist. "I'll accept you as long as you act just like me" is not actual acceptance.
posted by jaguar at 8:28 AM on April 8, 2015 [18 favorites]


The Hugos have always been fairly unrepresentative, but this is a problem with awards of this kind in general. They are in many ways a byproduct of the largely unquestioned consensus of the 20th century that a given work is "best" having been approved by a selection of tastemakers.

(Haven't been posting because I was at the Eastercon and then traveling back. Suffice to say there was much reaction there. Seeing cstross's reaction in realtime and person, forex.)

Well, the Hugos have tried to be open, which is exactly why the SPs were able to basically take the entire slate. Nominations are actually not that hard. Fundamentally, nominations are fifth-past-the-post, but unless you were willing to join the Worldcon, you had no voice in the Hugos.

This was by design. The Hugos are *not* the award of all SF. They are the awards of WSFS, and the members of WSFS are the members, both supporting and attending, of the Worldcons. That's it. About half the "fix the Hugo" proposals miss this point -- it's a WSFS award, and anything that involves non-members of WSFS means the proposal is a non-starter and has to be. If you want to create the award that attempts to represent all fandom, I wish you all the best, but the Hugo Award is *not* that award.

Indeed, there are a lot of things forgotten.

1) This is not a problem with the Hugo Voting process. The last time Vox Day got onto the ballot, he came in dead last in the actual voting. This is a problem in the Hugo Nomination process, which has always been vulnerable to a slate nomination, and depended on social mores against slate nominations to prevent it. When a group who didn't care about that came along, the ease of a slate to overwhelm made the results very clear.

2) The Hugos are a product of WSFS and WSFS alone. There are other awards, all claiming things like Best Novel and Best Dramatic Presentation, awards in different ways by different groups. The most congruent is probably SFWA's Nebulas, but they don't have the Fan Awards (SWFA is a professional writing association and thus explicitly only awards works sold professionally.) Others are the BSFA (but limited to British works) and the Clarke.

There's no One True Award. The Hugos and Nebulas are clearly Two of the Three Big Ones, just as the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes are two of the Three Big Ones in the Movie field, but everyone debates what #3 is, and it depends.

3) There will be several dozen bad ideas to change the nominations. Thankfully, the business meeting regulars, by and large, will shoot them down quickly. There will be several ideas on changing the vote. All of them should be shot down, the vote itself isn't the problem. The best idea I've seen is Mike Scott's idea that expands the slate should certain thresholds be reached, which means that in the case of a slate nomination, while the slate does get nominated, the works that would have been pushed off the ballot remain on the ballot, so we see a 10-12 vote line, rather than 6. A number of smart people are running numbers on previous elections, where we know all the totals, to see if the threshold's that Mike has proposed are good ones, and his proposal has the advantage of *expanding* nominations.

4) So far, this all appears to be legal. You know $5 SAIT, of course, but it's $40 SAIT for the Worldcon. If you pay your supporting membership, you get to nominate, as long as they properly joined either Loncon, Sasquon, or MidAmericon II (Before January 31st) they were eligible to nominate however they chose to do so. Regardless of motivation, if they paid their own $40, they had the right. If you could prove that someone else paid that $40 and/or filled out that actual ballot, that would be different, but if you, a person, paid the money and filled out the ballot, it's a valid ballot. There are not *rules* against the SP slate. Someone put it correctly. The penalty for breaking the rules is disqualification, the penalty for breaking social norms isn't, it should be punishment via the vote process.

5) And you have that power. It costs $40, SAIT. If, and only if, you are a member, Supporting or Attending, of Sasquaon, this year's Worldcon, you may vote on which, if any, of these nominees is valid. And one of those votes is No Award. If No Award wins, it means just that. If No Award wins Best Novel, then No Award for Best Novel would be made this year.

6) This may not happen. They may win all the awards. The end results would be the diminishment of the Hugo Awards. I have no idea what would replace them, but something would. There's always a top award, and if the Hugos became obviously slate-ridden trolling, then something else would replace them.

7) If you want to change the Hugo *process*, the supporting membership isn't going to be enough. You need to attend the business meeting, which needs you are going to need to be there, and if you don't follow the conventions of that body, you will have little success. There are people out there to help you. In particular, I would start with Mr. Kevin Standee (@KevinStandlee on twitter, kevin_standlee on LiveJournal) who is very familiar with the process, the history behind why the Constitution/Standing Rules are the way they are, how they got there, and is more than willing to help those new to the WSFS business meeting find their way. He can also introduce you to other regulars who are known to help craft amended to be both more likely to pass and more likely to not have really bad side effects when integrated with the existing constitutions. He's also probably about to see a change he's been pushing for a while (going from "ratify constitutional changes at next Worldcon to ratify at next two Worldcons) get blown out of the water as everyone screams OMG WE HAVE TO FIX THIS CAN'T BE SLOWER NO! which is a shame, because I think he's probably right about it.

Apparently, they did fix the usual "See new business, kill it with OTC" problem by *finally* bringing back Postpone Indefinitely as a valid motion, which lets you actually bring it back later if you want to. Objection to Consideration kills a motion completely and utterly without debate (but requires a supermajority to do so.) The idea behind OTC is right -- if you can't get 25% of the meeting onboard at the start, it's probably dead, but it gets interpreted as a hostile move. Postpone Indefinitely, with at least a chance of resurrection, is a softer way of shunting business that's not going to succeed to the side while getting on with stuff that will.

8) If you don't think that old fans aren't as angry-hurt by this as you are, you're probably wrong. Indeed, they're probably more angry-hurt than you are, because they've invested a lot more in the Hugo process over the decades than you have. They are *very* angry and *very* hurt, just like you. Don't dismiss them because they're old pharts. The old pharts (admittedly, I'm probably now one of them) are very much on your side in this.
posted by eriko at 8:33 AM on April 8, 2015 [23 favorites]


And I'd like to stress - I don't think this is intentional from the authors, I think the authors would in fact prefer (at least on the covers and blurbing, if not the shelving) more clear labels.

In general, this is how much control authors have over the covers.

><

Did you see it?

Yep. That's it. Sometimes, better selling ones can get some changes of things they dislike, and if you're truly offended, a good publisher will work with you, but author's opinions on covers are generally ignored.

As they should be, because, well, Authors are the folks who write stories and Publishers are the people who sell books, and we've seen what happens when we let one of them try to do the other ones job. We've seen what happens when Authors try to make covers, in most cases, they range from really bad to OMG bad to WTF?

So, I never blame the author for the cover in traditional publishing, because they almost never get a say in it other than the exact spelling of their name -- and sometimes, the publishers will strongly encourage them to change that!
posted by eriko at 8:43 AM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I sent a cc* of my last big comment to Kevin. He asked me to note here that he's is also chairing the business meeting thing year, and he has a guide to this year's business meeting online here on the conventions' website. So, if you want more details on the exact process, there you go.

But yes, you have to be there, which means you have to have an attending membership. This is the one vote (well, stack of votes) that you can't do with a supporting membership. The price of entry to the WSFS business meeting is you have to be there in person to vote there, and that means an attending membership.

Oh, disclaimer. I've known Kevin for (mumble) and consider him a fannish friend, even though I don't see him much anymore given that I'm mostly out of the circuit.


* Remember what cc stands for? Courtesy copy. That's why I sent him a link.
posted by eriko at 8:52 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


carbon copy
posted by jaguar at 8:54 AM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


Following on from eriko's excellent comment, I would add also that the Puppies don't care about the Hugos or fandom other than as a cheap practise ground for their kulturwars. This was a political move done by radicals as part of a much wider war they are attempting to wage to change American culture and politics to something that I certainly have no problems calling fascist. Their aim is twofold: to put their (perceived) enemies on the defense and hurt and frighten them with their power to blatantly manipulate the Hugos and to use the Hugos as a propaganda tool for their broader war. They don't really care if the Hugos or fandom is destroyed in the process because the ringleaders don't really care about this.

Anything done to fight this needs to keep this reality in minds, needs to take into account both the fanaticism and organisation behind the Puppies: that's their strength.

Our own strengths are perhaps less apparant because, as eriko said, anybody with $40 can nominate and if you have an organisation with several hundred members willing to stump up that $40 it's now been proven you can vote in a slate.

Counter slating won't work because we don't have this sort of lockstep organisation and because it goes directly against the spirit of the Hugos, but what's more, it's fighting the Puppies on their own terms and accepts that their view of the Hugos, as nothing more than a political propaganda tool, is right.

Limiting the voting pool won't work because as any look at a broader political context shows, it's always those the Puppies hate and fear the most: people of colour, women, other vulnerable groups, who lose out when voting is restricted, while rightwing parties always benefit from restricted turnouts as their cadres are usually more disciplined.

The better option therefore is to expand the voting pool, but not in a way that makes it useless. Having an unrestricted vote is worthless as that makes the Hugos even more vulnerable to slate flooding cf. the various 4chan manipulated opionion polls we've seen. The more people we have invested in fandom, in the Hugos, the less easy it is to push through a slate, the more costly it becomes.

I also like Mike Scott's idea of expanding nomination lists when slate voting is present, as the greatest damage done is the pushing out of deserving candidates by the slate during the nomination press, not so much the final voting.

Whatever we do we should be aware that any changes take time: don't forget it cost the Puppies several years of organised campaigning and manipulation to get to this point and our counter measures won't be in place in a year either, even without taking into account the deliberate slow pace of rule changing eriko wrote about.

In the meantime, the best thing you can do is to become a supporting member of this year's Worldcon if you're not already: you then get to vote in this year's Hugos and next year nominations.

If you do so, vote and consider the non-slate candidates in the usual matter, on merit, then no award the Puppies.

So frex, in the novel category, rate Ancillary Sword and The Goblin Queen according to your preference, then follow by No Award, then OMIT all Puppy candidates. Note: this is a point people always get confused about, but the only way to make sure a candidate can't use your vote to win is by leaving them off. Ranking below no award still leaves them with a chance, as no award is treated like any other choice and can be eliminated, after which your next choic is considered. For a full explenation, see Kevin Standlee's one here, who as said, has decades of WSFS/Hugo experience.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:56 AM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


carbon copy

It is *trivial* to prove that "cc:" existed before carbon paper did. And that you had to type cc: on the original to put it on the carbon copy. And that fc: also existed (put a copy of this in the file, though many just used cc:file for that). And, of course, cc:s could be created by carbonless methods.

In other words. No. The cc: list was "please give a copy of this memo/letter to the following people who should be aware but aren't actually adressed on the memo."

Now, we explicitly address them (in the cc:) or implicitly address them (bcc:)
posted by eriko at 9:07 AM on April 8, 2015


kulturwars

Fyi, if you are going to do the German thing, the Nazi term is kulturkampf.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:08 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you do so, vote and consider the non-slate candidates in the usual matter, on merit, then no award the Puppies.

Part of me disagrees.

I feel that this year's awards are fundamentally compromised, and that maybe a better solution is this.

Vote No Award on *everything*.

Why? Because if we honestly No Award every award, then, well, no awards are given in 2015. We now have a mechanism in place to fix them -- the Retro Hugos. Normally, we have to wait some large number of years (50, IIRC) to do that, but the other critera is that we only do Retro Hugo's when there were no Hugo's awarded.

So, if we No-Award this year, and change the constitution a bit, we could run the 2015 Retro Hugos in 2017.

It's not a perfect answer -- but it could be a better answer than most. It'll be an award for 2015. It'll let everyone have a fair shot again. It won't affect the next years award like an all-kill and extend eligibility would.

There's no good answer, but maybe that's the least bad. But I'm personally not willing to vote for the few non S/RP nominees, because they're not running against the works they should be running against. They're basically getting a free ride if I do that. It's not fair to them or to the works that were shoved off by the slate.

So, kill them all, with no awards given at all, then we get a redo option via the Retro-Hugo mechanism, which is already in place. The only thing we can't fix is the Campbell, everyone on this year's slate loses a year of eligibility.

(Note: Part of me thinks this is a good idea. I'm not sure it is.)
posted by eriko at 9:14 AM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


cc in the OED, as abbreviation for "carbon copy" since 1936 (no mention of "courtesy copy")

Carbon Copy in the OED, dating back to 1876.

No entry for courtesy copy.
posted by jaguar at 9:18 AM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


> It is *trivial* to prove that "cc:" existed before carbon paper did.

Then please do so. Otherwise, I'm going with the documented evidence (and the OED).
posted by languagehat at 9:24 AM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Following up on the previous discussion (thanks Artw!), I suspect the best way to spite Vox Day, Torgensen, and Wright is to go out and fund kickstarters, buy the Women and Queers Destroy special issues, and start buying works on the Tiptree lists.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:27 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I will dig it out...and make another post, actually, right or wrong, because folks, we are seriously digressing, and there's a FPP there.
posted by eriko at 9:28 AM on April 8, 2015


Oh eriko, you ought to know this art history stuff, carbon copy dates back to the 16th century at least.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:33 AM on April 8, 2015


But I'm personally not willing to vote for the few non S/RP nominees, because they're not running against the works they should be running against.

A good point actually. The counter argument would be that if fandom collectively no awards the puppies but rewards non-puppies, the incentive to allow yourself on the puppy slate is that much less.

Because that's what needs doing as well, making it very clear to those on the puppy slate that their tacit approval of being on the slate has consequences. The John C. Wrights won't care, but their peons will.

(Yes, I know there are currently some people on the slate who allegedly had not been informed of this before the nominations closed. Their duty is to withdraw themselves from consideration.)
posted by MartinWisse at 9:34 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would add also that the Puppies don't care about the Hugos or fandom

I think this is the kind of reactionary shit that people say when they're angry, but it has no basis in reality. Look, really look, at Torgensens' blog, or Correia's, or a ton of other people who are supporting Sad Puppies. They are full of long, long words about how much SF and the fandom community matters to them. They talk about why they are fans - the things they loved that made them fans, the first SF books they read that changed their lives. Torgensen's much-mocked Nutty Nuggets analogy is specifically to address what he sees as the upcoming stagnant semi-death of SF.

And honestly, you don't get into this kind of war unless it's something you care about. Torgensen is a Chief Warrant Officer in the US Army who just got off deployment orders and handled much of the Sad Puppies slate from his no doubt copious free time on active duty.

They do care. They care a lot. You may feel their hearts are in the wrong place, and that's a totally valid thing to feel, but it's pretty obvious that this matters to them. Because if they wanted to just fight culture wars, there are lots of other places to do that. A lot of the Baen crowd is former military - we would happily take them with open arms on the veteran side of the house. Conservatives are hurting for good bloggers who know how to write. They could do very well other places. They are in this fight because it matters to them, because for better or worse, they are fans, and fandom is their home.
posted by corb at 9:37 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Yes, I know there are currently some people on the slate who allegedly had not been informed of this before the nominations closed. Their duty is to withdraw themselves from consideration.)

This is the "Human Shield" argument, I think. And I'm....not sure if I fully buy into it, but I do get why some make the argument. I believe that a withdrawal at this stage would not result in a work advancing (we'd drop to 4+No Award on the final ballot) and I could also see the idea of "I had no idea this would happen, it did, I'm withdrawing now" being a good way to earn a lot of reputation in fandom, but I also have a pretty good idea of the giddy feeling those people had when they got the call asking if they accepted the nomination.

I'm also really torn about "punishing" BDP-L and BDP-S, which I suspect weren't much affected. Interstellar and Guardians of the Galaxy were almost certainly going to be on the ballot.

The reason I'm favoring a global kill No Award is that it might (stress that might) give us a do- over chance. That's really the only point in its favor. If it's clear that that do-over wouldn't occur, then we're probably adding a little more harm ontop of the rest of the harm.
posted by eriko at 9:41 AM on April 8, 2015


I 100% do not care about the ~trufan~ credentials of these assholes. As soon as you reach out to noted hate movements to do your ballot stuffing for you, you're going beyond just trying to change the culture of fandom and are basically just trying to ruin a party by inviting a bunch of assholes to it. I also 100% do not give a shit about whether they're in the military, either.
posted by NoraReed at 9:46 AM on April 8, 2015 [23 favorites]


Torgensen's much-mocked Nutty Nuggets analogy is specifically to address what he sees as the upcoming stagnant semi-death of SF

No, it's a screed complaining and whining that a Golden Age of Manly Man SF that never existed doesn't exist anymore and that real SF doesn't deal with race or gender or homophobia or any other social issues. We've already explained this to you; repeating yet again that it's really about something else isn't going to make it true.

There is no coming 'stagnant semi-death' of SF. There is an opening up of the genre to more diverse voices that discuss more diverse things and visions of (alternate) futures, which is precisely what SF has always been.

Because if they wanted to just fight culture wars, there are lots of other places to do that

Fighting a culture war is exactly what they are doing; they are sad in their man-parts because people are writing about people who don't have man-parts or their man-parts are a different colour. These people are no different in any way from the people freaking out about Kirk and Uhura kissing.

You may feel their hearts are in the wrong place, and that's a totally valid thing to feel, but it's pretty obvious that this matters to them.

That's because their hearts are in the wrong place. Using 'it really matters to them' is a staggeringly useless and stupid metric to use--it really matters to a lot of people that I not be allowed to get married or adopt children; it really matters to a lot of people that women not be allowed to control their own bodies; it really matters to a lot of people to shoot all the Christians; it really matters to a lot of people that nobody with money should ever be held to account or pay their fair share; I could go on.

Who gives any fucks how much it matters to them? They are wrong and they are advocating for the silencing of voices that have spent most of history being silenced, and are only now finding free expression. They are saying that people like me don't get to see people like me in books, because that's somehow antithetical to the genre. What they care about is wrong, no matter how much they care about it.

And whether they are part of an imperialistic military dedicated to shooting as many brown people as they can or not is so entirely irrelevant you can't even see it with a telescope.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:48 AM on April 8, 2015 [24 favorites]


Bruce Schneier of all people has a post up on Making Light about effects of possible vote changes to the Hugos. The TL:DR is "beware of unintended consequences".

Of course, one way to fight a political party is with a rival political party. Many people expect rival slates to appear next year, and for the Hugos to forever be a battle of slates, which means that the Hugos will be a battle of ideologies rather than a referendum on the quality of fiction.

This is not a simple problem to fix. Strategic voting — modifying your vote based on what you know or believe about the votes of others — is a powerful strategy, and probably a dominant one. But there are voting systems that minimize the effects of slate voting.

But remember, no election system is perfect, and choosing one is an exercise in trading off among various problems. It’s may be easy to reconfigure an election system to reduce the effects of a current set of abuses, but it’s much harder to design an election system that is immune from future abuses. Any changes should be examined carefully before being implemented.


I agree with the unintended consequences part, but I think that Schneier's pessimism about using government (or organization in this case) to fix things encourages passivity. One the same problems I had with his book Liars and Outliars actually.
posted by zabuni at 9:51 AM on April 8, 2015


They are full of long, long words about how much SF and the fandom community matters to them.

In the case of Torgensen or Correia, if they really cared about the fannish community, they would not have broken one of the strongest mores in the community, which is ONE DOES NOT BLOCK VOTE A SLATE ONTO THE HUGO BALLOT. The community has known for years that it would be easy to block-vote a slate on to the ballot, and we avoided that problem by saying "If you truly love fandom and want to be a part of it, you won't do that."

That's why everyone is so angry here, corb. They took the "do not piss on the grass" sign and invited hundred to do so, and now everybody is very angry at the giant puddle of piss that has resulted.

I give credit to Correia pulling his nomination -- he didn't want to do this as a self-promotion effort, and his accepting the nomination would be seen as his doing so -- but that's all I'm willing to give him credit for. They wanted a slate.

But the real harm was VD's Rabid Puppies slate, which is, in fact, the slate that was largely elected. And they have about as much regard for fandom as a nuclear bomb.
posted by eriko at 9:52 AM on April 8, 2015 [21 favorites]


Bruce Schneier of all people

The reason you typed that is you don't know Bruce Schneier, who has been (amongst many other things) an SF fan for decades. Let's just say that I was completely *unsurprised* that he did that, and hey, it was probably easier than answering all of us who emailed him and said "Hey, B, what do you think?"
posted by eriko at 9:55 AM on April 8, 2015


That's why everyone is so angry here, corb. They took the "do not piss on the grass" sign and invited hundred to do so, and now everybody is very angry at the giant puddle of piss that has resulted.

The SP response would be that people have been pissing on the grass for a long time, and ignoring it, and they just made it public, in a way that could not be ignored.

Now, this is too much of "we needed to burn the village in order to save it" for my tastes. Granted, doing the right thing and coming up with their own awards ceremony would have been unceremoniously ignored, which is why they took they tantrum route.
posted by zabuni at 9:56 AM on April 8, 2015


You know, actually, it's not as soon as you start reaching out to noted hate movements. I don't care about the trufan credentials of anyone who is attempting to put a "NO GIRLS ALLOWED"/"WHITES ONLY"/"NO QUEERS" sign on the clubhouse that they see as sci-fi and then attempts to say that this is a defense of any kind of science fiction. Defining anything that has anything to deal with marginalized groups as not "entertainment" sci-fi means that "entertainment" should be about cishet white dudes exclusively and no one else deserves to see themselves in their amusement, and they find it less amusing to read books that force them to learn to fucking empathize with people who aren't cishet white dudes. Those people shouldn't be in sci-fi fandom because they are assholes who should be driven out, because they are racist, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic assholes and because they're attempting to actively make the genre worse, and they're willing to, as eriko said upthread, ignore all of the social mores of fandom, just to stick their shit-covered bigot fingers in another goddamn cultural pie.
posted by NoraReed at 9:56 AM on April 8, 2015 [28 favorites]


It doesn't matter how many words they typed, their actions are the only thing that matters. And all of their actions thus far have been to be hateful, creepy gatekeepers who are OK with using violence to further their hateful and creepy goals.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:57 AM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Fyi, if you are going to do the German thing, the Nazi term is kulturkampf.

But then you wouldn't have gotten to do that pedant thing you do so well and I wouldn't want to deprive you of that pleasure.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:08 AM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


eriko, I am curious as to whether you think my preferences for preventing slate voting in the nominations (limit the number of nominations a single person can make in a given category, possibly even to one, and/or introduce a multi-stage nomination process with at least one long list before the short list is selected) are decent ideas, or ones that would do more harm than good.

(It will not be physically possible for me to attend the business meeting, but I do have friends who might be there, so would like to know if I should make those suggestions to them or keep it to myself.)
posted by kyrademon at 10:09 AM on April 8, 2015


The SP response would be that people have been pissing on the grass for a long time, and ignoring it, and they just made it public, in a way that could not be ignored.

And yet every example of piss they can point to is actually rainwater that they insist must have been the work of evil SJWs, because it's not supposed to rain on them.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:10 AM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


The SP response would be that people have been pissing on the grass for a long time, and ignoring it, and they just made it public, in a way that could not be ignored.

Yes, and they would be lying. This is the same thing as the socalled "voter fraud" the rightwing is so terrified off it just had to bring back Jim Crow: non-existent but a convenient excuse for those too stupid to see through it.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:12 AM on April 8, 2015 [13 favorites]


I agree that the Sad and Rabid Puppies like their limited definition of the genre. I don't think this is the ONLY reason they picked this particular slate or did what they did.
posted by jeather at 10:34 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Corb: Correira and Torgensen at this stage are at best usefull idiots, allowing themselves to be used in an attempt to destroy the Hugos out of spite because they're thoroughly mediocre, not nearly as commercially succesful as they think they are writers who burn red hot at the thought of John Scalzi both outselling them and winning Hugos, not understanding why this is.

If they were real fans, they wouldn't have pulled this stunt. And Correira doesn't get a pass just for withdrawing. That only shows he's marginally brighter than Torgensen and can spot a shitstorm coming his way.

Torgensen's much-mocked Nutty Nuggets analogy is specifically to address what he sees as the upcoming stagnant semi-death of SF

Torgensen is almost exactly my age, forty years old, which means he's at least ten years younger than the New Wave is: the sort of science fiction he supposedly wants to see hasn't been published in his lifetime, if ever. Looked at objectively, you could argue that even the sort of SF John Campbell published is too leftwing for him, too much concerned with politics and social justice. He isn't harkening to a golden age, he's a radical who wants to alter what science fiction is retroactively by imposing his limited taste on the entire genre.

It's not about being a conservative or rightwinger, it's about having this massive entitlement complex that Torgensen suffers from that makes him think the genre should revolve around him and his view of science fiction.

Meanwhile as a counter example there's Gene Wolfe, arch-conservative Catholic with a shelf full of Hugo and Nebula awards won on merit and David Weber, whose Honor Harrington series for all its early liberal baiting and occassional loony rightwing tropes still managed to be a NYT bestselling series and much loved by some of the same people who Torgensen is convinced are keeping good rightwingers down, including yours truly. Torgensen and Correira and their followers could and should've followed their example and let their work be judged on its own merits, but instead they choose victim mode and wanted everything handed on a platter to them.

Fuck em.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:35 AM on April 8, 2015 [21 favorites]


Torgensen and Correira and their followers could and should've followed their example and let their work be judged on its own merits

They did. They didn't like the answer they got, so we get puppy ballots.

(Vox Day has said a lot of times that he has Secret Proof of a history of bloc voting, but he refuses to make it public. Schneier said that it isn't hard to see it in votes, and it would be interesting if a historical analysis of ballots were done, but I don't know if there's any way that can be done.)
posted by jeather at 10:39 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


eriko, I am curious as to whether you think my preferences for preventing slate voting in the nominations (limit the number of nominations a single person can make in a given category, possibly even to one, and/or introduce a multi-stage nomination process with at least one long list before the short list is selected) are decent ideas, or ones that would do more harm than good.


That can limit the effect -- a slate can only take as many slots as they can nominate. I know there's the 4-6 proposal, limiting nominations to 4 and increasing the slots to 6, that's currently in flight.

But a slate can still steal slots from others who aren't running on an actively campaigned slate. So, while it mitigates the damage, it doesn't eliminate it. Personally, I think a 1-5 or 2-6 is a better number there -- a combination of limiting the percentage of the final ballot you can nominate plus increasing the number of nominators would work to reduce the effectiveness of slates.

I really like Mike Scott's proposal, which has no fixed number on the final ballot, but instead takes the total number of nominations for a category, subtracts the number of nominations from the #1 nominee in that category, and then any contender who has 10% of the remaining total also appears on the ballot. This has the effect of expanding the ballot, which removes the primary harm here -- the slate is nominated, but the works that would have been pushed off are nominated as well. From what we can currently tell, the percentage he's selected is correct, but we really need to see the full nomination numbers for this year, and we won't until after the final awards are made, and even then, we're working on one datapoint.

But I'd rather error in favor of too many than too few.
posted by eriko at 10:41 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't care about the trufan credentials of anyone who is attempting to put a "NO GIRLS ALLOWED"/"WHITES ONLY"/"NO QUEERS" sign on the clubhouse that they see as sci-f

This really isn't the case, though. If you look at the Sad Puppy nominations, they have writers of color and women and queer authors. This is really a much more diverse and honestly liberal slate than I think people are giving it credit for.

Annie Bellet writes about how despite being on the Sad Puppies slate she is a female, queer, socialist author with a female POC protagonist.

Rajnar Vajra is a writer of color, up for the Hugo for "The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale."

Kary English writes about both disavowing Vox Day (and racism and sexism and homophobia) and also being comfortable with being on the Sad Puppies slate.
I said yes to Sad Puppies this year because I saw the seeds of change. I saw an organizer who wanted to broaden the slate. Sad Puppies includes greater political variety, more women, more people of color and more non-het writers than it ever has before, and I wanted to support that growth.
Megan Grey's fine (and free!) short story Tuesdays with Molokesh the Destroyer puts as its main character a teenage girl.

While I don't know Marko Kloos' sexuality, he's pretty open about defending LGBT rights.and uses a defense of a gay man against a 'carload of drunk guys with baseball bats' as an argument for gun rights.

And at this point I got lazy and stopped going through them, but I will go back to it if needed
posted by corb at 10:42 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


This really isn't the case, though. If you look at the Sad Puppy nominations, they have writers of color and women and queer authors. This is really a much more diverse and honestly liberal slate than I think people are giving it credit for.

Did you not say that, quote, "intentions matter"?

We've been over the intentions of Torgerson and Day. They have stated their intentions both im- and explicitly; 'returning' SF to the nonexistent glory days where they didn't have to deal with actually thinking about anyone who isn't white, cis, het. So... they matter or they don't. Which is it?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:49 AM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Multistage nominations can also limit slates, as long as you limit the number of nominations (so you're nominating say 3 of 10.) Slates can easily take over if you allow the number of nominations you make to equal the number of slots on the final ballot. In the case of the multistage (say the first is a 15/15, then the second is a 5 of those 15), you just pack the 15, then pick the 5 you really want.

But if there's 15 and you can only pick 3, then there's 12 slots you don't control. Pack the three slots you do, and everyone hates them, and they can move 5 of the other 12 to the final ballot.

Another factor of multistage is cost -- you need to do an open nomination phase, validate entries, and confirm that everyone who reaches the next 15 is willing to continue. Then, you have to run that ballot, select the top five, and then only run the final ballot. This costs a bit of actual money and a fair amount of people time, and Worldcons are usually really not wealthy in either of those and downright poor in the latter.

Most people would just say "run the 15 as a STV vote and call it done," and I'd be sympathetic to that. Heck, if you proposed 5 nomination leading to a 15 slot ballot, I'd be good -- the chief objection would be "I can't read that many in time!"
posted by eriko at 10:51 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Actually, the thing that really got me over the last 12 hours was Wright's line in his assault on T. Pratchett: "Civilization is Christianity. Christianity is civilization." I hadn't seen that one before.

Honestly, I'm wordless. With folks like him and VD as a couple of the SP standard-bearers, I find it difficult to figure out how anyone could take them seriously.
posted by my dog is named clem at 10:53 AM on April 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


Schneier said that it isn't hard to see it in votes, and it would be interesting if a historical analysis of ballots were done, but I don't know if there's any way that can be done

The data is out there. I yield to someone with a real statistics background regarding what conclusions could be drawn.
posted by Zed at 10:57 AM on April 8, 2015


My impression is that you need all the ballots, not just a snapshot of how many nominations any given work received. (Obviously these ballots would need to be stripped of identifying detail.)
posted by jeather at 10:59 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


My experience as a fan (First Worldcon: Confederation in 1986) is this. The only time before this that I know of direct campaigning for a Hugo was when the Scientologists were campaigning for L. Ron Hubbard's 10 volume whatever thing. Didn't work. Indeed, the fact that they tried was very much remarked on as a thing that Was Not Done.

No author has *ever* said to me directly "Please nominate/vote for me." A number of them will make an annual post in various fora (depending on the year) of "These are the works I created last year" and I think *one* post of that sort is perfectly legitimate and helps solve the problem of "Well, you threw away that nominating vote, because that work came out a year before you thought it did and it's not eligible." And, yes, this has been a problem, esp. for works published late in a year, when many people then pick up late in the next year. *

I have seen various people, including authors, in the course of a review, claim that they feel work X was "Hugo Worthy." Well, it's a review, that's an opinion, they are welcome to make that claim. I would *hope* nobody is nominating and voting based solely on a review, but if they are, that's the closest to a slate I've ever seen before this year, but be clear, I think calling something Hugo Worthy in the context of review is fine.

So, that's my position.

* And that's enough of a problem that the WSFS Business Meeting can actually extend eligibility of works that it feels were harmed in eligibly by being published very late in the year by a small press, so that they didn't get much exposure until after the nomination process was complete. Generally, this isn't a controversial motion, either. I'm unaware of any work that's later gone to make a ballot after an extension, but hey I can be wrong. In general, the ur-rule of nominations is "we want everyone to have one fair shot at the ballot" and if timing means you missed a fair shot at your year, WSFS will generally give you a shot at it the next year.
posted by eriko at 11:05 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Annie Bellet writes about how despite being on the Sad Puppies slate she is a female, queer, socialist author with a female POC protagonist.

The Bellet post is interesting, but doesn't address why she stayed on the sad puppies slate. I wish she'd done so.

This really isn't the case, though. If you look at the Sad Puppy nominations, they have writers of color and women and queer authors. This is really a much more diverse and honestly liberal slate than I think people are giving it credit for.

Did you not say that, quote, "intentions matter"?


In fairness, I think that Kary English's intentions also matter and should be dealt with as well. She's trying to subvert something bad so that it evolves into something better. I'm not sure that that's ideal, but it's not necessarily deplorable.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:12 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Actually, the thing that really got me over the last 12 hours was Wright's line in his assault on T. Pratchett: "Civilization is Christianity. Christianity is civilization." I hadn't seen that one before.

Man, someone really should tell China to get with the fucking program. I mean, their history as a continuous civilization only antedates Christianity by however many centuries you get before it's all semi-legendary.
posted by graymouser at 11:16 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yes, the L. Ron Hubbard shenanigans at Conspiracy '87 were very much frowned upon.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:18 AM on April 8, 2015


I was speaking of the nominators' intentions, not the authors who have been nominated.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:18 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


It doesn't really matter what Kary English thinks, or even whether she means it,: at best she's still an useful idiot providing cover for people who'd quite literally want to see her dead or back in the kitchen.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:18 AM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


(The comments on the English post are also worth reading, since it's a mix of her fans and people who fit the more conventional sad-puppies-trolling demographic. I'd be interested to know why she was picked, assuming that Torgersen was aware of her attitudes.)
posted by Going To Maine at 11:18 AM on April 8, 2015


Ugh, I was going to suggest you just ask her, but looking further down the Annie Bellet thing it looks like some people have actually been sending her nasty emails about her nomination, which may explain why she isn't up to getting into the nitty gritty of Puppygate any more right now. Maybe give it a week?
posted by corb at 11:19 AM on April 8, 2015


The nasty email writers were of course right to say that her acceptance of being slate voted meant somebody deserving got left off the ballot: if that makes her cry, good.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:21 AM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


My impression is that you need all the ballots, not just a snapshot of how many nominations any given work received.

Nope -- blocks will show up quite dramatically as a cluster of five (in this case) works with almost identical counts, and in the smaller categories, they'll also have many more votes. Looking at the number-to-nominate this year, it's quite clear that's something's up. These are minimum numbers to nominate for this year and last -- that is, the last person on the ballot had that many nominations. The last number is the maximum nominations last year -- basically, the #1 slot in that category, last year.
Cat.   '15 '14min '14max
Novel  256  98    368
Nvlla  145  86    143
Nvtte  165  69    118
Short  151  43/38 79
BRW    206  52    89
BRW is Best Related Work. The dual number in Short Story -- 38 was the 5th place total, but it didn't qualify because it didn't get 5% of the total nominations, so last year, there were only 4 on the ballot, and #4 had 43.

Look at the difference. Literally an order of magnitude higher minimum this year. Actual nominations were up as well, by about 200-300, depending, and this is after one of the largest Worldcons we've ever had, where you would expect nominations to be unusually high, so going higher than that is pretty stunning as well. But the really damning number is that, except in Novel, the *minimum* to get a nomination in a category this year is higher than *anybody* got in that category last year.

In short, just from the numbers we have now, it's very clear that about 200-250 people joined the nomination population and nominated almost identically. If they hadn't block voted, the minimum to nominate wouldn't have jumped up by as many as it had.
posted by eriko at 11:25 AM on April 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


I agree that there are obvious clues about bloc nominating this year, but VD has claimed that this is just the first year people have been overt about it. My understanding is that checking the nomination ballots from earlier years -- not just the raw numbers -- would help dis/prove his claim.
posted by jeather at 11:31 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Kary English writes about both disavowing Vox Day (and racism and sexism and homophobia) and also being comfortable with being on the Sad Puppies slate.

Actually, and very noticeably, her post never explicitly names Vox Day/Theodore Beale. There are a few references to his noxious beliefs -- most obviously "half-savages" -- but they're interspersed amongst a bunch of "why Sad Puppies isn't horrible" chaff.

(Also noticeably: she was on both the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies slates, but her post speaks only of the Sad Puppies.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:35 AM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


Also for the people who got on the ballot via the slate -- well, 1, we don't know if you really merited it, the slate writers have said there are 2 books they would have put on instead (Three-Body Problem, Heinlein bio), so maybe they just didn't see better stories than yours and 2, voting for anyone on the slate can just help cement the idea that slates are what get you won.
posted by jeather at 11:36 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's interesting... most of the people defending the puppies on some level or advocating for a measured, let's consider the works on their merit approach seem to ignore or minimize VD's role in all this...
posted by overglow at 11:41 AM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


> "My understanding is that checking the nomination ballots from earlier years -- not just the raw numbers -- would help dis/prove his claim."

Yes, by doing a full analysis on the ballots from previous years, you could see if an unlikely number of ballots were nominating the same "group" of works.

But honestly, just from the raw numbers (and I checked with a few from earlier years, they're similar), it seems very doubtful indeed. If there was some kind of cabal secretly bloc voting, it would have had to be a pretty tiny number of people. There just aren't enough raw *votes* in the nomination for there to be a big bloc.
posted by kyrademon at 11:49 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's interesting... most of the people defending the puppies on some level or advocating for a measured, let's consider the works on their merit approach seem to ignore or minimize VD's role in all this...

1. Are we talking about Metafilter here, or about the science fiction community in general? I'd be interested to see some posts by folks trying to defend the slate.

2. John Scalzi is also backing a merit based approach with aggressive "no award"ing, which doesn't seem unreasonable. If you want to bring additional content into it, it doesn't seem unreasonable to call on the slated authors to account for why they wanted to be on the slate. (As has been noted multiple times, Torgersen's rationale for assembling it in the first place is clear, so I suppose folks could also no award everyone as a slap in his face.)
posted by Going To Maine at 11:49 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's obvious from the last few years that if anybody was running a block, they've been doing a really bad job. If there's a block, you're going to see those works jumping onto the ballot and a big numerical break between them and the rest, or the block is so small that it really doesn't have an effect. Yes, you got your parents to nominate, but those three votes, while a block, did not get you onto the ballot.

There's a real reason Sasquan ran this slide during the announcement. "Hey, look at this unusual numbers." I was at the Eastercon, which is a UK convention, which means it has a bar, and this one had a rather nice real ale bar, so I'm not going to say that everyone involved was perfectly awake or sober, but a quick back of the random sheet of A4 calculation put the chances of these numbers as being so close to zero that we had to be careful not to drop zeros when expressing it.

If anyone want to present statistically significant proof that previously elections had significant blocks that clearly changed the nomination results, they are welcome to do so. So far, no person has, so, well, I'm ignoring them. Many can claim so without presenting evidence. I claim they are wrong by the exact same standard of evidence. When they provide a better proof, I will provide a better refutation -- but not before. I don't waste time on crybabies.
posted by eriko at 11:50 AM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the reason Day and Torgersen are so insistent that there was some kind of SJW voting bloc conspiracy is that, like the Gators they formed common cause with, on some level they can't or won't believe that women, people of color, and LGBT people are genuine fans of their beloved genre. It can't be that other fans genuinely think that this novel concerning "social justice" is also a fine entry into the science fiction canon--it must be some plot to take something away from them.

I'm not sure, chicken-and-egg like, if their very narrow idea of what constitutes "acceptable" science fiction (as laid out in Torgersen's much-quoted blog post) stems from looking for non-threatening pablum or if it's the love of non-threatening pablum that feeds this fear of the other, but they certainly seem to go hand in hand. One of Mefi's own wrote an excellent blog post about how what Gators seem to be striving for is a kind of stagnation, not for gaming to grow and evolve and comment upon itself the way art has always done. I'd argue something similar is happening here.
posted by kagredon at 12:15 PM on April 8, 2015 [19 favorites]


But then you wouldn't have gotten to do that pedant thing you do so well and I wouldn't want to deprive you of that pleasure.

Congratulations on finding a way for your error to make you have been right all along.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:16 PM on April 8, 2015


boys, boys, you're both pretty
posted by kagredon at 12:17 PM on April 8, 2015 [22 favorites]


John Scalzi is also backing a merit based approach with aggressive "no award"ing, which doesn't seem unreasonable.

Scalzi is probably too nice sometimes, but than that's what drives the Vox Days and Torgensons to hate him so.

In this case though he's wrong: noble, but wrong. This is a political act that needs a political response, you can't go around still pretending that nothing has happened. You need to send a strong, clear message to the Kary Englishes and other fellow travellers that being part of a Puppy slate may get you nominated, but won't win you awards, that being part of this attempt to destroy the Hugos and fandom will only boomerang back on you.

So only vote for the non-puppies, then no award the feckers.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:54 PM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


no-awarding everyone sends a much clearer message that slate voting is stupid and antithetical to the whole point of the awards, though.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:02 PM on April 8, 2015


I agree, MartinWisse.

No one who is part of a slate is getting my vote.

First and foremost, I am voting *against* the very idea of a Hugo nomination slate.

After that, I will vote *for* whoever is left.

I consider anyone who got in on a slate, whatever their reasoning, motivation, or writing quality, not to have gotten in based on the merits of their writing. I do not believe that the majority of people who nominated them read the works in question.

They weren't "cheating"? Don't care. It's not cheating for me to leave them off the award ballot. Maybe their writing is awesome? Don't care. I'll take that into account when they get in because of the awesomeness of their writing and not because they were on a slate.

Anyone who wasn't on a slate I will read (or familiarize myself with, in the case of editors, zines, artists, etc.) and judge on their merits.
posted by kyrademon at 1:11 PM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh, I don't believe there actually was any significant bloc nominating in the past, but if it is the case that this is very obvious from nomination ballots, then releasing them (anonymized) for statistics fun could prove that.
posted by jeather at 1:17 PM on April 8, 2015


This is from a blogpost by Matthew M. Foster, film critic, director of Dragon*Con, and the widower of SF writer Eugie Foster, who passed away from cancer last year:
The Hugo Award nominations were revealed yesterday and they brought some sadness with them as Eugie wasn’t nominated. Not all that much sadness, as I’m pretty much sad all the time, so this was a very minor prick. And not that disappointing as her chances weren’t great (she’d only been nominated once before). But this was her best chance (since her previous nomination). Her story, When It Ends, He Catches Her, was nominated for a Nebula Award, and awards can affect awards—sort of like the Golden Globes affecting the Oscars. Though the metaphor ends there as The Nebulas are more like the Oscars; The Hugos would be The People’s Choice Awards.

It’s just a bit more depressing because any chance she did have was taken away by The Sad Puppies.
Good job, puppies.
posted by Kattullus at 1:32 PM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


Incidentally, I've read Eugie Foster's work and it was great. The Escape Podcast of Trixie and the Pandas of Dread was fantastic.
posted by jeather at 1:45 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


SPACE OPERA ABOUT DISABLED GAY BLACK PEOPLE.

I knew it was Ascenscion from just that sentence. Perhaps the best novel I read last year, criminally neglected and underrated.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:46 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Cat Valente has a great post: Holding the Hugos–and the English Language–Hostage for Fun and Profit
I’ve repeatedly seen Brad Torgerson and Ken Burnside (a nominee but not an organizer) refer to the ballot as a “more inclusive” and “more diverse” ballot than recent years have offered. That…is not what inclusive means. It’s definitely not what diverse means. This ballot features one man in three out of five novella slots and six in total, one publisher in nine slots, and an overwhelming majority of white straight men. Even if you think all this is appropriate and excellent, you cannot call it inclusive or diverse without assaulting the English language. Let’s go to the dictionary! Inclusive: including a great deal, or including everything concerned; comprehensive! Diverse: of varying kinds, multiform, including representatives from more than one social, cultural, or economic group, especially members of ethnic or religious minority groups!

I suppose you could say “this list is more inclusive of myself and my friends, and more diverse in that myself and my friends are on it when we were not before” but that’s not what any of it actually means. It’s grotesque to defend oneself by claiming inclusivity and diversity when that is exactly what the unaltered ballots of recent years, the ones they hate so much, have given us.

[...]

I suspect it’s because they know inclusivity and diversity are considered positive attributes by most people. Exclusivity and uniformity don’t sell. Despite their conviction that they are the persecuted majority, they know that no one wants to hear: we made a club so that we could be sure only people we approved politically and personally would be nominated. No one wants to hear: isn’t it nice how we’ve scrubbed the ballot of all those undesirables? Now it’s just us! What they did is unpalatable, and they know it. But now that they’ve gotten what they want, they need people to be happy about it in order for the award to have any meaning, and so they’ve grabbed the language of the enemy to praise themselves. Only it doesn’t work, because words have meanings. It’s a pretty classic conservative technique (see the fact that Social Justice Warrior now means a bad person), but it’s depressing–or perhaps hilarious–to see it used by individuals because they can’t face the consequences of what they’ve done. You guys spent ages telling us diversity was bullshit and inclusivity was a creeping evil. Why are you now telling us, with a sneer and a smirk, that you are their champions? What is wrong with you? It’s all so unfathomably dishonest and intellectually bankrupt I have a hard time believing any of these people put together a coherent novel at any point.
posted by sukeban at 1:56 PM on April 8, 2015 [17 favorites]


if that makes her cry, good

To be fair, apparently some of the individuals on the Puppies slate have been getting death threats. Unless this is the #GG folks running a false flag operation (which I don't put past them, but it seems unlikely), this is Bad Behavior.

I suspect that some people agreed to be on the Sad Puppies slate, and then were horrified to realize that meant they'd be on the Rabid Puppies slate, and thus tarnished by associated with Beale. Who is, one must note, much worse than Torgersen.

When it comes to the purposes for which the slate was assembled, it's a waste of time claiming it's all misogynist or all racist, or all for spite, or because of fear that the field is no longer representative of them (although it never really was). It's everything, and it was assembled in a slap-dash way by people who didn't go out and read everything, but collected from a random list of recommendations. Many of those people making recommendations likely had no idea of the political affiliations or ethnic background of the writers (and perhaps they did know and didn't care).

I'm less sure of BT's desires, but VD and the #GG crowd are certainly in this to "strike back at SJWs", which means a subset of people, as they see it. They don't care if some women and some POC and some LGBT folks publish or show up as characters in SF, so long as those people don't outshine the white/male writers and characters who are naturally most important. They want to punish the women & POC who they see as trouble-makers, shit-stirrers, people who complain about the field and make other people uncomfortable about their default white-male view of the future (or the past).

It's okay to be a female gamer: but don't be Anita Sarkeesian. It's okay to be a black female writer: but don't be Tempest Bradford or N. K. Jemisin. Keep your head down, play the game, don't demand anything, don't challenge anyone. We'll let you have some moderate success, so long as you don't threaten our natural, god-given dominance.

In addition, of course, VD wants to punish the people who pushed him out of SFWA and mocked his terrible story on last year's Hugo ballot.
posted by suelac at 1:59 PM on April 8, 2015 [19 favorites]


oh and here I thought death threats were just "a fact of life on the internet", according to Larry Correia
posted by kagredon at 2:30 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, Larry Correia may be an asshole, but that doesn't mean that the people who realize he's an asshole also need to be.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:36 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Nor does it mean that the (alleged) bad behavior of a few assholes should be used to derail legitimate criticism.
posted by kagredon at 2:37 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


but I was more trying to point out that Larry Correia had no problem with Anita Sarkeesian being afraid for her life after being the target of documented month-long stalkings, doxxings, and harassment. not sure why you'd interpret that as justifying his being harassed, if that is indeed happening.
posted by kagredon at 2:42 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm less sure of BT's desires

Well, Correia described Sad Puppies 2 as being about getting "some right wingers" on the ballot in order to cause a perceived clique of left-wingers to flip out. In contrast, Correia's description of Sad Puppies 3, post-Hugo voting, seems watered-down beyond all recognition. It's ostensibly about "get[ting] talented, worthy, deserving authors who would normally never have a chance nominated for the supposedly prestigious Hugo awards", but is laced with us/them rhetoric without laying out an "us" or "them". ("Them" is the left, but the authors on the list are touted as crossing the political spectrum, so "us" is hard to construe as just the political right.

I could be wrong, but I'm not certain that anyone linked Torgersen's explanation, so here it is: Why SAD PUPPIES 3 Is Going To Destroy Science Fiction. His description isn't particularly political, it's just incoherent. The big complaint is that the Hugo awards voters are a marginal fraction of the new and expanding demographic of science fiction fans, and should be more reflective of mass market tastes. At the same time the one pull quote that I've seen over & over again from this article is "SAD PUPPIES simply holds its collective hand out — standing athwart 'fandom' history — and yells, 'Stop!'"

These are contradictory ends, to say the least. Not having any insight exactly as to how they decided what novels went on the slate and what didn't, it mostly seems like Brad Torgersen wanted more nominees that Brad Torgersen liked, and that he might have benefited from the puppies generally being about trolling the left.

After all this, I think the puppies are nothing. Torgersen hitched his star to something a lot more distasteful, and benefited from reactionaries on the right.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:56 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


(Granted, Torgesen's on the right himself. The post linked by suelac nails it.)
posted by Going To Maine at 3:16 PM on April 8, 2015


Supporting membership ordered.
posted by Zed at 3:27 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wright has been removing comments on his blog for the egregious stuff like the 'Men abhor homosexuals on a visceral level' and the beating them to death with axe handles one, fassscinating.
posted by xiw at 4:00 PM on April 8, 2015


Do you mean he's been removing himself saying these things or removing replies?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:06 PM on April 8, 2015


Even if you think all this is appropriate and excellent, you cannot call it inclusive or diverse without assaulting the English language. Let’s go to the dictionary! Inclusive: including a great deal, or including everything concerned; comprehensive! Diverse: of varying kinds, multiform, including representatives from more than one social, cultural, or economic group,

Cat Valente is a good and often great writer, but she should really stick to fiction rather than making claims about the English language.

Diverse has a dictionary definition that does not always align with its social-justice definition. That's fine, and it's totally okay to complain about that, without accusing people of abusing the English language simply because they don't adopt your definition.

Even if the Sad Puppies slate were all-white-men (which it is, as noted above, very far from being) you could still have a diverse all-white-men slate, if they were, say, of different economic backgrounds, or different cultural identities, or different religions, and still meet that dictionary definition. It might not be as diverse as someone might like, or diverse in the 'right direction', but it would still be diverse.

But this is a way a writer can make a nasty insult. They're not just wrong, they're ignorant! A potent insult indeed in our intelligence and geek focused nerd SF culture. And really, that says you're scraping the bottom if those are the insults you need to levy. If you're calling for straight talk, try giving some - say 'I don't like these people and I think they're jerks' all you want, but don't accuse them of not being literate.
posted by corb at 4:06 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


And, according to Obsidian Wings, he's been quietly editing posts to dump some of his more egregious bullshit down the memory hole.

I dunno. When I went to look just now it was still there, but Dr. Science @ ObWings has a screenshot of it missing.
posted by Myca at 4:08 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


you could still have a diverse all-white-men slate, if they were, say, of different economic backgrounds, or different cultural identities, or different religions, and still meet that dictionary definition. It might not be as diverse as someone might like, or diverse in the 'right direction', but it would still be diverse.

Not in any kind of current usage, not even if you squint. And you know this. Do us all a favour and just stop defending the indefensible, please.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:09 PM on April 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


Cached, then, Myca. Might want to grab a screenshot of it before it clears.
posted by tavella at 4:10 PM on April 8, 2015


Removing his own comments. I quoted the ax-handle bit earlier in this thread on the 5th, and I saw his comment with my own eyes then.
posted by xiw at 4:11 PM on April 8, 2015


But this is a way a writer can make a nasty insult. They're not just wrong, they're ignorant! A potent insult indeed in our intelligence and geek focused nerd SF culture. And really, that says you're scraping the bottom if those are the insults you need to levy. If you're calling for straight talk, try giving some - say 'I don't like these people and I think they're jerks' all you want, but don't accuse them of not being literate.

ooh, so that's why you kept implying that people with different interpretations of what constitutes good science fiction were ignorant. noted.
posted by kagredon at 4:17 PM on April 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


corb, I note you skipped the part of Cat Valente's quote immediately before, where she notes, among other things, that the slate contains a single author who has been nominated six times, and a single tiny publishing house (owned and operated by one of the organizers of the slate) with nine nominations.
posted by kyrademon at 4:17 PM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


How are we to judge writers, if not by the way they wield their words, with precision and integrity or... not so much?

Let's take for example, Brad Torgersen, who wrote: As always, you have the option to set aside your rancor at Vox Day (who was not involved with SP3) and GamerGate, and read your packet.

The word rancor is an interesting one, wouldn't you say? Particularly considering the already well-discussed views of VD. Rancor implies that one is irrationally angry, that one has some axe to grind, that one is holding on to a grudge. Is this how people who object to VD would understand themselves?

Ostensibly, here, Torgersen is trying to talk with such people, to convince them to set aside their views and feelings about VD and to consider this year's Hugo ballet without taking the role of VD into account. Generally, when you are trying to persuade someone it's beneficial to display that you understand their perspective. So, why didn't Torgersen use a word such as objections rather than rancor?

Might Torgersen have a difficulty time understanding why people are upset about VD? Might he struggle to empathize with, to see from the perspective of those folks? Or might he just be needling people by using the word rancor?

And we haven't even tried to talk about the complexities of to what extent his claim that VD was not involved with SP3 is an honest and accurate one. At a minimum, I think it's certain that Torgersen knew about the existence of VD's Rapid Puppies and choose not to publicly distance himself from VD and his complementary efforts.
posted by overglow at 4:25 PM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


she notes, among other things, that the slate contains a single author who has been nominated six times

Yes, but that is only one more than her friend and fellow podcaster Seanan McGuire received in one single Hugo year- only a few years ago, the previous recordholder, until this year, when it is Wright. So if these kind of novel multiple nominations were some kind of egregious sin, you'd think they'd equally be a sin for McGuire as they supposedly are for Wright.

And to be honest, I bet that's one of the points of the Sad Puppies putting Wright up so many times - because when McGuire got five Hugo noms, you didn't see a lot of complaining from the SJW side about how terrible it was that she was taking up so much space on the ballot. So they've done something similar, and lo, let the complaining begin, as Valente notes sarcastically "That John C. Wright is, essentially, the greatest science fiction writer of all time." Did she think that the five Hugo noms made McGuire similarly eligible for mockery as 'the greatest science fiction writer of all time'? No, that would be silly, McGuire is a friend.
posted by corb at 4:28 PM on April 8, 2015


Yes, but that is only one more than her friend and fellow podcaster Seanan McGuire received in one single Hugo year- only a few years ago, the previous recordholder, until this year, when it is Wright. So if these kind of novel multiple nominations were some kind of egregious sin, you'd think they'd equally be a sin for McGuire as they supposedly are for Wright.

Did McGuire get nominated as the result of a spoiled racist misogynist manbaby decreeing a slate of candidates to be nominated? No.

Did Wright? Yes.

Did she think that the five Hugo noms made McGuire similarly eligible for mockery as 'the greatest science fiction writer of all time'? No, that would be silly, McGuire is a friend.

Oh for crying out loud.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:30 PM on April 8, 2015 [15 favorites]


You realize that "SJW" is a pejorative term used by right-wingers, right? And that while a lot of those of us who are called that have been reclaiming it because it sounds kind of awesome, actually using it as a broad brush to categorize a group of people who happen to have things in common like "thinking racism is bad" and "caring about women" makes you look like an asshole, and generally points to the "you can dismiss everything this person says, because they literally are going to say nothing valuable or even anything you haven't heard before, probably from 10,000 bigot manbabies who are yelling at you on Twitter?
posted by NoraReed at 4:32 PM on April 8, 2015 [24 favorites]


I did some number crunching on the "more inclusive" and "more diverse" puppy-dominated ballot. In 2013, the Hugo nominees were about 63% male. In 2014 they were 60% male. In 2015 they are 75% male, and the Sad and Rabid Puppy nominees are 82% male. At least on that easy-to-measure axis, it's not looking like a step forward for diversity.

And here's Seanan McGuire in 2013 responding to critics who felt her number of nominations were excessive and due to self-promotion, in case you think the "SJWs" are still picking on John C. Wright.
posted by penguinliz at 4:42 PM on April 8, 2015 [11 favorites]


Fyi, if you are going to do the German thing, the Nazi term is kulturkampf.

Seems like a Nazi grammar grammar Nazi would remember the capitalization.
posted by Celsius1414 at 4:43 PM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


McGuire, as we've already discussed in this thread, is hella productive across a lot of media--those 5 nominations were across 4 categories (novel, novella, twice in novellette, and fancast.) Can you see how maybe that is slightly different from one author having fully 3 out of 5 total nominations in novella and one publisher representing a majority of the written noms?
posted by kagredon at 4:44 PM on April 8, 2015 [15 favorites]


I note in passing that The Guardian chose to illustrate their coverage of Seanan McGuire's nominations with a photo of Arthur C. Clarke.
posted by hades at 4:50 PM on April 8, 2015


Corb, stop digging on this one I think. I've tried to read your arguments as fairly as I can and they all seem pretty thin and by this point well rebutted.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:52 PM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


corb ... They are claiming that nominating the same guy six times is part of their attempt to make the Hugos MORE DIVERSE. You are moving around the argument to "other people have been nominated multiple times before", which is not really this issue.

Do you believe that John C. Wright on the ballot six times makes the Hugos more diverse? Because that is the claim being discussed.
posted by kyrademon at 4:52 PM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


it's more inclusive of people who are John C. Wright, I'll give them that
posted by kagredon at 4:53 PM on April 8, 2015 [21 favorites]


These stunts actively drive people away from sci-fi fandom. I joined some Space Opera group on Facebook 'cause, hey, I like space opera! And yet between posts about Ian M Banks there were links to Vox Day's blog! It turned me right off.
Or imagine you're somebody - stereotypically a young woman, but it could be anyone - who's a big fan of new Doctor Who and Game of Thrones. You want to read the books that form the basis for those shows, so you start poking around and discover this hive of howling assholes. Are you really going to join sci-fi fandom?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:58 PM on April 8, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm out for a while, if anyone actually wants to discuss stuff you can MeMail me and I'll be happy to clarify or respond to anything related to this thread.
posted by corb at 4:59 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anyone else suspect that a few non-male, non-white people were added to the slates as shields?
posted by LindsayIrene at 5:03 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Judgment of Solomon
posted by kagredon at 5:20 PM on April 8, 2015




The Judgment of Solomon

Note that this advice on how to NO AWARD is incorrect - do not list anything you do not wish to vote for even after NO AWARD as the runoff system may result in that vote being counted towards it.
posted by Artw at 5:36 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Just about to post that link.

tl;dr: "I think the Sad Puppies have broken the Hugo Awards, and I am not sure they can ever be repaired."

GRRM is about as hardcore and lifelong a fan as it gets. I wonder if they will call him a SJW apologist and not a real writer of SF.
posted by Justinian at 5:37 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also: Boo fucking hoo.
posted by Artw at 5:38 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm sure its clear in context, but I'm referring to GRRM's post and Artw is referring to Brad "assclown" Torgersen's link.
posted by Justinian at 5:40 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


A post by Matthew Foster is mentioned up thread, but all of his posts on the affair are good reads for context: I expect that there'll be more of these as time passes.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:43 PM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


I haven't read Eugie Foster but intend to now.

I think Matthew Foster is right on target with this observation: "I suppose it [the belief in hidden leftist groups running fandom] must come from not being able to believe that a black or Asian could win awards, or a woman, without there being a conspiracy."

I have run into this attitude many times in my life; it's quite pervasive among some people. It really says it all.
posted by wintersweet at 5:48 PM on April 8, 2015 [15 favorites]


Anyone else suspect that a few non-male, non-white people were added to the slates as shields?

Almost certainly. The semiprozine nominees are Orson Scott Card's and a couple that appear to have been randomly picked from the top of an alphabetical list.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:55 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think Matthew Foster is right on target with this observation

I think Matthew Foster burned out my fucking retinas. Whatever he's for I'm against it between the sun and the dust*. Switching from his page back here blinded me, I still can't see right. Please stop using black backgrounds for text heavy pages! * Apologies to the Cavalera brothers.
posted by MikeMc at 6:19 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


GRRM wrote about this on his LJ today.

That was like 7 paragraphs about how he was going to write about a thing and then one paragraph of actual thoughts and then the promise of more to come.

Where did the part with the lavishly described feast go?
posted by kagredon at 6:31 PM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


Where did the part with the lavishly described feast go?

Pushed back to the next installment. You'll get used to it.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:35 PM on April 8, 2015 [16 favorites]


Don't worry, Martin will post the next bit about this topic sometime in 2019.
posted by Justinian at 6:43 PM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


I hope nobody dies.
posted by Artw at 6:50 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's just a feast, not a wedding.

Here's his next entry, which is largely history. But he's building to something, I can feel it.
posted by nubs at 6:57 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


NO, I WILL NOT TRY TO KICK THAT FOOTBALL AGAIN LUCY.
posted by Justinian at 7:03 PM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


Oh, come on, nuncle. It is only words. And words are wind.
posted by nubs at 7:10 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Comments are flowing on that second GRRM entry; his reply to Lou Antonelli is blistering.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:19 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay, I will cease my snark at present because Martin's latest entry is heartfelt and powerful and doesn't deserve snark.
posted by Justinian at 7:25 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Note that this advice on how to NO AWARD is incorrect

gee i wonder if that was on purpose
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:33 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Strange. I read a few chapters of the first Game of Thrones book but it didn't hook me, and I watched the first season of the TV series without getting addicted enough to watch the rest. But those LJ entries really make me like GRRM, and I might check out his stuff.

Or at least try one of the Game of Thrones themed gelatos from the place down the street.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:56 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Martin's collection Sandkings kicks all kinds of butt.
posted by Zed at 7:57 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I advise everyone visiting GRRM's blog not to login and wind up looking through their ten-to-fifteen-year-old LJ posts.
posted by Corinth at 8:03 PM on April 8, 2015 [16 favorites]


I like how much effort GRRM put into asking for a respectful discussion from both sides. And I know, asking for a polite tone from people who are being attacked has all kinds of issues and isn't always the right thing. But in this case where he was making a serious effort as a very well respected by all sides voice in this community to honestly convince people that the entire worth of this award is at stake because of the misguided campaign being waged by the conservative groups here, it may be the way to go. Dialing down the vitriol to really examine the history of the award and what it really means is valuable. He might even be able to get through to some people, I hope.

He's also a good example of someone who has been criticized at times for the content of ASOIAF or the HBO show not exactly being the type of thing a modern fan of social justice wants to see, but he doesn't let the criticism of his work interfere with how he feels about social justice in general. I think he's doing a really great job here.

Now stop it and get back to finishing Winds of Winter.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:31 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


{blasphemy} I think I'm fine with him taking time off Winds of Winter for this. {/blasphemy}

He's thorough, and if he makes just two people stop and think, it'll be a plus. Although from one of his responses to the comments, I deduce he may think the No Awards option is too harsh, which, nope, sorry Mr Martin. (He says he'll write about that in another installment, so I may be wrong anyway.)
posted by seyirci at 4:36 AM on April 9, 2015


GRRM: Blogging for Rockets
posted by nubs at 8:06 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Another story from The Guardian about all this, extensively quoting George R. R. Martin. Excerpt:
George RR Martin has waded into the “nasty, nasty fight” surrounding this year’s Hugo awards, laying out why he believes that a group of right-wing science fiction writers have “broken” the prestigious prize beyond repair.

The shortlists for the long-running American genre awards, won in the past by names from Kurt Vonnegut to Ursula K Le Guin and voted for by fans, were announced this weekend to uproar in the science fiction community, after it emerged that the line-up corresponded closely with the slates of titles backed by certain conservative writers. The self-styled “Sad Puppies” campaigners had set out to combat what orchestrator and writer Brad Torgersen had criticised as the Hugos’ tendency to reward “literary” and “ideological” works.
posted by Kattullus at 8:12 AM on April 9, 2015


Arthur Chu weighed in on this a couple days ago:

Freeping with clicks in order to troll the liberals is one thing–freeping to give money to a horrible person to troll even harder, another. But giving money en masse to an organization you dislike so you can subvert and take over that organization? Who’d go that far?

That’s actually the oldest tradition in freeping of all. It predates even the Internet.

posted by rtha at 8:33 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I disagree with him on the "tone argument" thing. Largely because:

1. It's often applied to intra-community discussions where outsiders are not the primary audience.

2. Stereotype bias exists, and perfectly polite discussions and texts frequently get reframed as anti-something. I suspect some of this is going on when inclusive or minority-centric texts get interpreted as "fuck you" pieces. I don't think Jemisin rises to the level of Early Tepper or current Sulway on the "fuck you" front. Lord, Addison, Beukes, and Leckie are not even close.

3. The internet is a megaphone for cranks, and the media has an obvious conflict bias. Politeness is ignored in the former, and gets you a column inch on the community page in the latter. (Worse is that "someone said something dumb on twitter" is apparently news these days.) We really shouldn't assume that fighty posts are the norm for discussion.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:02 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, the shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke award, via Locus:

The Girl With All The Gifts, M.R. Carey (Orbit)
The Book Of Strange New Things, Michel Faber (Canongate)
Europe In Autumn, Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)
Memory Of Water, Emmi Itäranta (HarperVoyager)
The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August, Claire North (Orbit)
Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel (Picador)
posted by nubs at 9:31 AM on April 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yeah, the point of the tone argument is not that civility is unimportant, but that there seem to be a lot of folks who only care about civility when they're being challenged, and that minority viewpoints are often labeled as uncivil even when they're quite politely stated. Of course, just as civility (a good thing) is abused by some as tone policing, there are cases where people are abusing warning against the tone argument--but that doesn't mean it's not a real thing.
posted by kagredon at 9:32 AM on April 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


I probably should add that I don't see anything wrong with "fuck-you" science fiction, which comes from all parts of the political spectrum and includes Le Guin, Vonnegut, Wells, Bradbury, and Heinlein. Rupetta as an example is beautiful in its polemic, and arguably a much needed takedown of certain presumptions of rationality, albeit from a different perspective compared to Watts. One neat twist is that the religious conflict that consumes the world is between two nontheistic humanisms. But that might be a mild spoiler.

But let's not go overboard and say that novels from different perspectives are doing the equivalent of throwing Bee Gees records on a bonfire, or mocking pop in performance ala Zappa and PiL.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:49 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I probably should add that I don't see anything wrong with "fuck-you" science fiction, which comes from all parts of the political spectrum and includes Le Guin, Vonnegut, Wells, Bradbury, and Heinlein.

I'm also forced to note that this whole concern about "fuck-you" types of SF seem much more worried and strident when the issue is racism than when the issue is sexism. People didn't lose their shit about James Tiptree, Joanna Russ, or Sherri Tepper* the way they're losing their shit about N. K. Jemisin and calls for increased diversity.

Basically, sexism is bad & the response to pointing it out is bad enough; but the response to pointing out racism -- especially when combined with sexism -- is just a nightmare. All the toxic sludge comes pouring to the surface, flooding everything.

* And seriously, have you read Tepper? It's all "FUCK YOU PATRIARCHY FUCK YOU AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON. AND DID I MENTION FUCK YOU WOMEN DON'T HAVE TO BE MOTHERS AND CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANITY IS DEATH FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCKING FUCKS!"
posted by suelac at 10:46 AM on April 9, 2015 [14 favorites]


To be fair, apparently some of the individuals on the Puppies slate have been getting death threats.

Unless I see evidence -- and I note your link doesn't offer any -- this remains projection on the part of the Puppies.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:48 AM on April 9, 2015


Unless I see evidence -- and I note your link doesn't offer any -- this remains projection on the part of the Puppies.

Eh, I believe it. People suck, and this is a pretty big bandwagon with a lot of anger directed mostly in one direction (it's not like ANY big voice is speaking out on behalf of Beale or Torgersen). So I tend to believe it's happening, because people suck, even sometimes people who believe some of the same things I do.
posted by suelac at 10:57 AM on April 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Unless I see evidence -- and I note your link doesn't offer any -- this remains projection on the part of the Puppies.

TBF, Mary Robinette Kowal is definitely not a Puppy apologist and she may have heard about or seen stuff that hasn't gotten out into the wider world. Although yeah, it is kind of funny watching Vox Day frothingly demand an apology because he found one Twitter rando who said some unflattering things about him.
posted by kagredon at 10:58 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm also forced to note that this whole concern about "fuck-you" types of SF seem much more worried and strident when the issue is racism than when the issue is sexism. People didn't lose their shit about James Tiptree, Joanna Russ, or Sherri Tepper* the way they're losing their shit about N. K. Jemisin and calls for increased diversity.

That is a really interesting disconnect. I wonder how much of it is a perceived tipping point. It's one thing for there to be a feminist book niche that's typically well-enough marked as such to be easily avoided; it's another thing altogether to being able to see the slippery slope to where straight white men aren't centered, the thing the SJWs consider a feature and the puppies consider the end of the world.

(I don't mean to dispute that you're onto something about how disproportionate the response is -- I think you clearly are.)

And there's an interesting contrast to what's going on in videogames and comics, where the shit-losing remains predominantly about sexism. I suppose that's because they're visual media that have had a lot more women depicted.
posted by Zed at 11:28 AM on April 9, 2015


I love Tepper, although she abuses the deus ex machina and apocalypse a bit too much.

I'm very much of the opinion that this is a "someone is wrong on the internet" phenomenon. While Jemisin's blogs and speeches have been explicitly critical, I don't see her fiction as all that radical.

Then there's my first encounter with Delany, who pulled a different kind of "fuck-you" by stuffing everything that Campbell thought audiences wouldn't like into a swashbuckling spies in space novel. It even has proto-furries which may very well have been predictive offensiveness.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:33 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


> Although yeah, it is kind of funny watching Vox Day frothingly demand an apology

Can someone please pass me the brain bleach because I accidentally read more of that thread than I meant to and help please help
posted by rtha at 11:50 AM on April 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


And there's an interesting contrast to what's going on in videogames and comics, where the shit-losing remains predominantly about sexism.

Oh, trust me, there's plenty of shit-losing about anything you could imagine.
posted by Artw at 12:19 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Martin is tearing it up. Who would have thought that all it would take to light this kind of fire would be the possible destruction of the most important and beloved award in science fiction fandom, and the fracturing of fandom itself. Now I'm depressing myself.

His latest piece, Blogging for Rockets, addresses the kind of thing Roberts and Mamatas referred to in the links earlier in the thread. The "I'm not actually campaigning (but vote for me)" campaigning. Anybody with an interest in SF, SF authors who blog, or Fandom itself likely know at least some of the people he and they are referring to.
posted by Justinian at 12:38 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


There are a number of people I deeply respect -- GRRM and Uber-SMOF Ben Yalow leap to mind -- that really dislike the "These are the things I created last year" posts. I disagree with them, because historically, we've had a real problem with people wasting nominations on works that were not eligible. Even better, we might even be able to bring back the category we had to kill as unworkable.

The Hugos, as a class, are awards for works. There are three exceptions. Best Fan Writer, Best Fan Artist, and Best Pro Artist. The former two are body-of-work awards because fan writing and fan art tends to be in the very small and frequent scale, rather than the very large artworks that the Pro artists, or complete stories that the pro writers did. Note that this elides fanfic and slash, because there are legal complications with those. Note this is changing. Note I'm talking about the past.

The original pro art award was Best Artwork. The problem? It was impossible to know when the art was created. Basically, nominating was impossible, and verification was a nightmare. So, wanting to recognize art, we went to Best Pro Artist, but then it turned into a lifetime body-of-work award, and it tends to go to one person until that person gets tired and declines.

With the Internet, we might be able to redo this back to Best Artwork, because the artists can put up "These are my eligible works this year" posts, and that's what we want to recognize. But for that to work, we have to accept that they can put up a 'These are my eligible works for this year." post.

I don't mind those. When you repeat them, when you start sending multiple emails, then it's canvassing and it's crossing a line, but one post, on your website, saying "These, and only these, are my eligible works this year" and if you're not interested "I will be declining nominations this year, please do not nominate me" are *perfectly* reasonable.

And the definition is clear. One time. One website. "These are my eligible works." Ben and GRRM think that this crosses onto the slippery slope. I think this is the solid edge we can hold before the "For your consideration" nightmare. We (at least Ben and I) agree to disagree on this one. We both agree, however, that the SP3/RP slates are *way* beyond the pale, no matter if you agree with me or not on the "This is my eligible works" post being kosher or not.
posted by eriko at 12:50 PM on April 9, 2015 [12 favorites]


The Hugos, as a class, are awards for works. There are three exceptions. Best Fan Writer, Best Fan Artist, and Best Pro Artist.

Best Editor, Short Form and Best Editor, Long Form?
posted by Justinian at 12:55 PM on April 9, 2015


We both agree, however, that the SP3/RP slates are *way* beyond the pale, no matter if you agree with me or not on the "This is my eligible works" post being kosher or not.

Yeah, the gulf between "Here's which of my recent works are Hugo-eligible", or even "Here's what I'm going to be voting for, I encourage you to check them out," and "Here is the slate that we will be pushing to get onto the ballot" is so huge that you couldn't get from one to the other in a human lifetime without some kind of FTL craft.
posted by kagredon at 12:59 PM on April 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


Best Editor, Short Form and Best Editor, Long Form?

Dammit, forgot those. They're new. Then again, I'm against all those new-fangled Hugos, except, Best Editor, Long was *always* there as Best Editor and I just flat out failed like a very faily thing. Behold, my fail, for it is a mighty fail.

(I do all this because I consider PNH & TNH friends, they are editors, and PNH is a big reason why we have two editor categories.)

I hope my point, overall, is made.
posted by eriko at 12:59 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


is so huge that you couldn't get from one to the other in a human lifetime without some kind of FTL craft.

You could only do it in a craft that could go from 0 to complete asswipe in less than three nanoseconds.
posted by eriko at 1:03 PM on April 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


Best I can do is a ship that can make the Asshole Run in less than twelve parsecs.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:06 PM on April 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


I call it the Notallmenium Falcon.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:08 PM on April 9, 2015 [39 favorites]


"R2, don't you dare make the jump to hyperdick...."

It's the USS Menterprise.
posted by eriko at 1:10 PM on April 9, 2015 [12 favorites]


DAMN YOU, zombieflanders!

Undead bastard trumped my ace.
posted by eriko at 1:11 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


GOU High Colonic.
posted by Zed at 1:13 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I want to nominate this comment on GRRM's not-a-blog for a Hugo:

"You don't get to devise a slate with a strong political point of view, frontload it with highly controversial political rhetoric, promote it (in Correia's own words) in terms of fighting "the culture war" and define it oppositionally to what you perceive as a pernicious ideological movement, and then complain that someone else is judging it on political terms.

Like it's very rare that I'm going to judge a man on the basis of topography of his penis, and were I to do so in most circumstances I could rightly be called out. But if he's going to walk up to me and start slapping me in the face with his wangledangle, he doesn't get to bitch about what a penis bigot I'm being when I refuse to support his ambitions (penis-related or otherwise)."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:13 PM on April 9, 2015 [15 favorites]


Martin is tearing it up.

Yeah, I'm really enjoying the thoughtful way he is approaching this. Not sure I'm 100% on board with everything yet (as eriko notes, above, I am often at sea when it comes to knowing what works are eligible - I've sat down with Hugo or Aurora ballots and thought "Oh, I should nominate that - wait, what year did that come out?" an awful lot, so the eligible works lists are actually handy - it would be great to have that centralized somewhere/somehow so that individual creators and publishing houses didn't have to run the risk of campaigning or the appearance thereof, but then whoever compiles it runs a risk of inadvertently leaving something out and getting attacked).

What makes it very interesting to me is that Martin:

-is a huge name;
-is a straight white male;
-has a large body of work, that covers the spectrum of SF&F;
-has never won a Hugo for best novel;
-has been criticized - and not unjustly - for how his fantasy epic has approached women and violence towards them as well as the use of racial stereotyping/tropes;

So he appears to me to be exactly the kind of author the SP folks would be rallying behind in some ways, but he's going to stand against them. And not for reasons that might be dismissed as "SJW" (though he is fairly liberal in his politics), but because he thinks it is bad for the industry as a whole. I'm interested to see the reaction he will get, because his opinion will carry weight in part because of his name, but also because of how he is approaching this.

And I think the approach is very important - SF&F fandom is interesting to me, because at the cons and other places, the creators are right alongside the fans. I've moderated panels with authors at cons, and then sat next to them as part of the audience at the next panel. There's an equality there, an expectation that fan and creator are part of the same thing, and Martin is dealing with that quite well IMHO.
posted by nubs at 1:19 PM on April 9, 2015 [13 favorites]


I want to nominate this comment on GRRM's not-a-blog for a Hugo:

Right now, that would qualify under Best Catchall Related Work, but there are a number of people that believe BRW should be book works *about* SF that it's tough to win unless you are just that. I have see a convention restaurant guide be nominated under BRW, and to be honest it was an *epic* work. You might recognize one of the names.
posted by eriko at 1:20 PM on April 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Firefly class vessel "Sir Mennity".
posted by Artw at 1:23 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


GRRM's blogging stuff could arguably fall under the "Best Fan Writer" category. He is both a pro and a fan. That's tough for people outside fandom to grok but it does have precedent.
posted by Justinian at 1:25 PM on April 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Right now, that would qualify under Best Catchall Related Work, but there are a number of people that believe BRW should be book works *about* SF that it's tough to win unless you are just that.

It's not my fault there's no Hugo specifically for best use of the word "wangledangle."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:27 PM on April 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


Actually the Sir Mennity, like the NotAllStromo, can only travel at sublight speeds.
posted by Artw at 1:32 PM on April 9, 2015


And the definition is clear. One time. One website. "These are my eligible works."

Abigail Nussbaum had a great suggestion on her blog recently: if authors kept an updated bibliography page on their websites (or blogs), that listed their work by year, no "these are my eligible work of 2014" entries would be required.

It's both a sensible professional thing to do, and it avoids any implication of campaigning.
posted by suelac at 1:52 PM on April 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


I've definitely seen people attack GRRM as being too SJW-y/liberal, it will be nothing new for many of the SP true believers. The place where he's going to be doing the most good is for people who are fans (or at least follow ASOIAF), but aren't versed on the inside-baseball aspects of the Hugos.
posted by kagredon at 1:58 PM on April 9, 2015


Abigail Nussbaum had a great suggestion on her blog recently: if authors kept an updated bibliography page on their websites (or blogs), that listed their work by year, no "these are my eligible work of 2014" entries would be required.

That seems to be sort of the same thing, just more work for the readers.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:10 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


if authors kept an updated bibliography page on their websites (or blogs), that listed their work by year, no "these are my eligible work of 2014" entries would be required.

But the details get hairy. For serialized work, the eligibility date is determined by the final entry. Printed publication date, if it exists (or copyright date otherwise) determines year of eligibility, trumping actual availability date. The work is eligible in its original year of publication, but if was published in a language other than English, it's eligible again for its year of publication it translation into English; likewise, if it was published outside the US, it's eligible again for the year of its first US publication.

Unless you are SERIOUSLY Hugo-award inside-baseball (I didn't know most of the above until I just looked it up -- I just remembered that there were some complicated bits) it can be opaque whether a given work is eligible in a given year.
posted by Zed at 2:12 PM on April 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


...and of course, for a while now a big spaceship and something exploding has meant "This book was published by Baen."...

posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:32 PM on April 7

That's ... that's from somewhere beyond merely "eponysterical".

(Who knows more about "exploding spaceships" than a Culture AI?)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 7:27 PM on April 7


exponysterical? multiponysterical?
posted by tigrrrlily at 2:18 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Foz Meadows was on fire on Twitter earlier. Storified here: THE DRAGONS MIGHT BE THE GOOD GUYS OMG.
posted by Lexica at 2:36 PM on April 9, 2015 [15 favorites]


@fozmeadows: When that's your moral yardstick against which to measure the evils of progress, you might as well start buying into phrenology.

I've had a lot of success with phrenotherapy.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:00 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I call it corrective phrenology. Hand me the #4 Davis hammer.
posted by eriko at 3:08 PM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


People didn't lose their shit about James Tiptree, Joanna Russ, or Sherri Tepper* the way they're losing their shit about N. K. Jemisin and calls for increased diversity.

Oh you better believe people lost their shit about Joanna Russ. Russ was a sublime provocateur (in the best way) and pulled no punches in criticizing the genre despite potential cost to her own career, for which she will always be one of my heroes.
posted by feckless at 3:32 PM on April 9, 2015 [13 favorites]


Yup. As I said here: "I well remember how viciously [The Female Man] was attacked at the time, and how condescending even most of the favorable reviews were. The world wasn't ready for it, and it helped create the climate in which it can be forgotten how high a hill she had to climb."
posted by languagehat at 3:52 PM on April 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


Martin has another post up:
There were no Sad Puppies when Larry Correia was nominated for the Campbell, when Brad Torgersen was nominated for the Campbell, when Torgersen was nominated for his first Hugo. (Subsequent noms, yes, may have resulted from Puppy campaigns). That was the traditional Hugo electorate putting you on the ballot... you, and a lot of other conservative writers, religious writers, white male writers, and purveyors of space opera, military SF, and Good Old Stuff.

There was never any need for Sad Puppies to "take back" the Hugos. The feminists, minorities, literary cliques, and Social Justice Warriors never took them in the first place. That's a myth, as the actual facts I have cited here prove conclusively.
posted by overglow at 3:53 PM on April 9, 2015 [14 favorites]


I retroactively feel bad about some of the stuff I've said about the last couple of ASoIaF books. I mean, I am right about them, but this is reminding me how much I've admired Martin's stuff in the past. The man is a great writer and storyteller when he buckles down and has control of what he wants to say.
posted by Justinian at 5:03 PM on April 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also he seems like a plain ol' decent human being which may be more important.
posted by Justinian at 5:05 PM on April 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


I've met him a couple of times, and he is a decent human being. Warm, generous, thoughtful. The last couple of novels may have gotten away from him, but I still have hopes for ASoIaF coming in for a great landing.

Overseen on (link contains ASoIaF spoilers) Twitter.
posted by nubs at 5:42 PM on April 9, 2015


Oh you better believe people lost their shit about Joanna Russ.

Point taken.

But looking at now, I'd say that while many of these people dislike women, it's people of color that really make them angry--especially black women.

As for GRRM, there are a couple of fascinatingly baroque comments to his latest LJ post. One of them blames feminists of the 1800s for taking away his great-grandmother's right to vote, because she was a polygamist.

... say what?

(Also, seriously, dude? You're honestly blaming feminists of the 1800s?!)
posted by suelac at 5:50 PM on April 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


When GRRM kills your argument, it stays dead. Like a Stark at a wedding.
Um. Probably didn't think that quip all the way through.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:11 PM on April 9, 2015 [13 favorites]


Eh, the Stark stayed dead. The Tully, not so much...

(Assuming that he didn't actually think the quip through and was being sarcastic?)
posted by Pink Frost at 6:34 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Perhaps he meant that the puppies are just mindless revenge zombies at this point?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:48 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


L correia has posted a very long response to GRRM's first posting, which explains (or is supposed to explain) the SPs backstory. I'll let you google it. But I think it's basically a lot like Sarah Hoyt's one referenced somewhere upthread. I'm sure I'll take heat for unfairly precising it, but it seemed to me to be along the lines of "My first nomination and first few cons, people treated me like shit because I was a libertarian gunshop owner. And even if me and Brad T. are big enough to withstand personal attacks on our political/personal/religious beliefs (unfair ones at that), there's a lot of less well-known writers who are scared because of the general left-leaning BS at cons. I was like the fat kid at the high school dance. We're all scared. Well, we're fighting back."

First, I've got to make clear that I find it appalling that anyone would threaten the health or safety of any writer or their family because of the fucking Hugos, much less for any other reason. So, I'm on board to that extent. But the rest of the Hoyt/Correia narrative doesn't actually jibe with the rhetoric floating around. OK, you're fighting back against those evil SJW prom queens and kings who mocked your ugly tux at the dance. And those mean lefty editors and writers made you scared that you wouldn't get work. Got it.

But exactly how does that square with "Vote for John Wright's 3 different novellas, because he's just that damn good." And "it's not about the politics/prom trauma, it's about quality of work! And misleading cover illos with exploding spaceships that aren't really books about exploding spaceships!" It's like bad teen drama. The emotional tug of abused sensitive souls (or sensitive souls who feel they've been abused) gets conflated with the perils of trying to make a living as a genre writer, and feeling as though your work is devalued because of who you are (as though that hadn't happened for years to writers who aren't straight white men, but I digress).

And I can say honestly in my case that it doesn't really matter to me (except in the broadest 'oh, that must have been a bummer' sense) how you were treated in high school, and I really don't care much about what your politics are, but if I don't like your writing, I'm not interested in reading your books. OK, maybe there's a little bit of me that is more inclined than not to ignore yet another book demonstrating the innate superiority and heroism of white guys with big guns or bigger swords, but I think I can write that off as personal taste by this point in my life. And if someone seems to be a big enough shit and a shit writer to boot, why should I bother wasting my time?
posted by my dog is named clem at 6:56 PM on April 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


Tiny babies.
posted by Artw at 7:23 PM on April 9, 2015


It's amazing how one moment they can be building mountain fortresses, sewing their own limbs back on after wrestling bears and teaching local savages Kung-fu and the secrets of a tax-free society, the next they are totally blubbing because they fell over and scraped their knee/went to a social gathering where nobody was interested in listening to their dumb rants.
posted by Artw at 7:39 PM on April 9, 2015 [29 favorites]


Correia's response to GRRM (as mdinc quoted above).
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:31 PM on April 9, 2015


Someone REALLY needs to sit down and watch the My Little Pony episode Best Night Ever and reflect upon how sometimes the big party you've hyped yourself up for just isn't going to meet your expectations.
posted by Artw at 8:44 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow. Larry Correia is carrying a lot of baggage. So are we all, I suppose. There's some ill treatment fire at the base of all that smoke, and if the world were a kinder place everyone would have ground it out sooner. (I do agree with Correia that Starship Troopers wouldn't win a Hugo if it came out today, but I suspect I'm a lot more okay with that than he is.)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:10 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not even sure what that means. Like, literally the book from 1959, somehow detached from history and released in competition with all it's many imitators? No, I don't think it would do that well at all. Or does he mean Heinlein, who let us not forget Correia is not fit to lick the boots of, returning to life at the height of his powers and cranking out a fully contemporary novel? I suspect it would do quite well, though in doing so it wouldn't be the antiquated museum piece that Correia wants - probably. It would be exactly the kind of thing he hates.
posted by Artw at 9:33 PM on April 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


GRRM: Stay On Topic!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:54 PM on April 9, 2015


Hrrm. George is a counter-slate proponent.
posted by Artw at 10:28 PM on April 9, 2015


I respect GRRM, I just don't think it's worth engaging these people on their own terms. As much as he wants to ignore gamergate/the manosphere/etc., I can't.
posted by Corinth at 10:41 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Artw is right. I doubt Starship Troopers would win the Hugo if it came out unchanged today but that doesn't mean that it should not have won in 1959 nor that if it came out today it would be the same book. If Heinlein were alive today (and as full of vim and vigor as he was in 1959) he may well have won a Hugo. Because he wouldn't be writing the same books. Hell, the Heinlein of the 70s wasn't even writing the same books as the Heinlein of the 50s.
posted by Justinian at 10:54 PM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Larry Correia seems to be very angry that he was labeled a right wing nutter and in response he is engaging in a bunch of right wing nuttery. That doesn't make sense. That. Does. Not. Make. Sense.
posted by Justinian at 11:04 PM on April 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


Regardless of tone argument issues, I got a full-body wave of relief reading that GRRM post. Specifically, seeing such an old-guard bearded white SFF nerd guy, at this point maybe even the king of white old-guard nerd guys, flat out say, "SJW is an offensive, made-up term." Extensively disproving the conservative-imaginary-past delusions the Puppies have about the sff community is good, but that was great, maybe even Great. Wow. A weight that's been dragging since before the beginnings of GamerGate has been lifted. George. Thanks. Thank you so much.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 11:28 PM on April 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


So I tracked down a bit of Wright's nominated works.

It's worse than I imagined. I don't know what happened to the man. Maybe some sort of mental breakdown? This is not the same author from a decade ago. I need a shower.
posted by Justinian at 11:41 PM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


To pat myself on the back for a minute, I refer to a usenet post I made in 2009 entitled Internet rendering Best Novel Hugo pointless? I wasn't right in every particular but I stand by the general gist of what I said, and point to Redshirts victory as the pinnacle of the trend. I sure didn't see the Sad Puppies thing coming, though, but it is as Roberts and others point out the natural evolution of the trend. I think I got into an argument with jscalzi on this blog after this but it was a while back and I've tried to block out usenet-induced-ragefights in my meory.
posted by Justinian at 12:07 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't usually link to Reddit but this comment is too good to pass up (thought I might just say that because I think this conversation needs a bit more Moorcock):

That's what bugs me about this whole bit. I've been reading SF since the goddamn 80s. I enjoy liberal/leftist writers (Mieville, Lynch, GRRM) and I enjoy right-wing writers (Wolfe, and Wolfe again, because it's Gene Fucking Wolfe). I even enjoy bad right-wing stories written well (like Wolfe's "Devil in a Forest"). I don't enjoy books by left-wing writers I felt didn't live up to my expectations as a reader (Scalzi's "Lock In," for example. Love you, Scalz, but that one was predictable and by-the-numbers).
What I've been loving about sf of late is that more and more writers, with more and more interesting voices, are finally putting out stuff that is about more than Biff McLargeHuge and his Space-o-blaster taking down Space Lord, Motherfucker on the Forbidden Planet X. There was a time that campy shit was OK, but that time was the 1950s. C'mon, we live in a world post-Moorcock! Ursula LeGuin has already written revolutionary literary sf. Gene Wolfe's entire literary career stretches behind him pointing out that good sf and good literature aren't two different things.
Harold Bloom's bulbous head is thrown back in cackling laughter as regressive idiots within the Puppies' groups will gleefully squander any sort of respectability sf has clawed from literary critics' upturned noses. Hell, we have lit darlings like Chabon openly acknowledging Moorcock. Even Margaret Atwood has grudgingly admitted that, "ok, yes, speculative fiction, fine!" when describing her own stories after being famously anti-sf her entire career.
And why not? Look who wants to be the public face of speculative fiction? A bunch of nerds who are upset that books can be about things other than mighty-thewed barbarians slaying monsters and running off with lusty women. News flash -- Robert E. Howard has already lived and died, Conan is a thing, you cannot so S&S better than he has, so stop trying. Also, we've already properly deconstructed that trope. It was called the Elric saga, and it was fucking magical, and Michael Goddamn Moorcock should bludgeon every Puppy he sees. He is our goddamn Grandmaster on the Mountain and they will show him the proper respect.
All of these regressive assholes longing for the "good old days" when character development was nil, plot was an excuse to engage in world-building, and a theme or wider message was something of a dirty word to people who wanted puerile escapist adventure stories... your lost golden age never existed. Yes, there were times when those characteristics defined the majority of "genre" writing, and they still do today. I'm a member of several online crit groups, and the amount of, "lulz I turned my D&D game into a story you have to read it" and "The Space Knight glanced down from his Space Ship at the Space Planet and thought space things about the space women he would meet in Space City," crop up far too often. Your pulp adventure longings are an attempt to seize something that never was. SF has always been literary, the titans of the genre have always been here, and there's a reason we've recognized them at the Hugos -- their work is better and more meaningful than anything Torgeson or Correia or their ilk have ever, or will ever put out.
Not because of politics. See above: Gene Wolfe is so Republican he would shit on these young pups who dare pretend to claim his side of the political spectrum. But he's also probably one of the most subtle and intelligent writers I know, genre or lit. He's up there with Melville and Nabokov. He writes intelligent, witty, meaningful, art. Correia writes shit. That's as simple as a comparison as needs be said.

posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 12:14 AM on April 10, 2015 [18 favorites]


Hrrm. George is a counter-slate proponent.

I think he's right, I particularly like this bit:

I hate what the Puppies did. It was based on false premises, and though it was not illegal, it was mean-spirited and unsportsmanlike. So how about we do NOT prove them right by rigging the rules against Sad Puppies 4? How about we try to be better than that? There is nothing wrong with the Hugo rules. If we want to defeat the Puppies, all we need to do is outvote them. Get in our own nominations. This year, the Puppies emptied the kennels and got out their vote, and we didn't. Fandom danced the usual, "oh, too busy to nominate, I will just vote on the final ballot," and for that complacency, we got blindsided. We lost. They kicked our fannish asses, and now we have the ballot they gave us. If we don't want that to happen again, we need to get out our OWN vote.
posted by Pendragon at 1:14 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Isn't he saying that people need to vote in greater numbers, not as part of a slate, but just for whatever it is you really like. And that this will defeat/minimise slate voting attempts to game the system by the simple virtue of increasing the amount of votes necessary for anyone to do that.
posted by dng at 2:52 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not even sure what that means. Like, literally the book from 1959, somehow detached from history and released in competition with all it's many imitators? No, I don't think it would do that well at all.

To be clear: my impression was that Correia was talking about the 1959 book, as is.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:03 AM on April 10, 2015


To pat myself on the back for a minute, I refer to a usenet post I made in 2009 entitled Internet rendering Best Novel Hugo pointless? I wasn't right in every particular but I stand by the general gist of what I said, and point to Redshirts victory as the pinnacle of the trend.

But the tendency to give nominations for Most Recent Book By Someone We Like is pre-internet. I'd argue its peak was Foundation's Edge or Friday or Job, none of which were very good. Likewise, I expect being active in fandom helped many an author get nominated.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:20 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I do agree with Correia that Starship Troopers wouldn't win a Hugo if it came out today

If Troopers came out today, it would be too boringly derivative to merit an award.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:25 AM on April 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Zing!
posted by Going To Maine at 5:30 AM on April 10, 2015


I think that Correia hasn't yet accepted that many subjective things are popularity contests to greater or lesser degrees, and that while that can be unpleasant to the out group, it isn't "bad" in any kind of absolute sense. It just is.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:36 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I know I'm a broken record on this, but Correia's nomination has estimated sales fairly close to Ancillary Sword and Three-Body Problem.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:18 AM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Isn't he saying that people need to vote in greater numbers, not as part of a slate, but just for whatever it is you really like. And that this will defeat/minimise slate voting attempts to game the system by the simple virtue of increasing the amount of votes necessary for anyone to do that.

Goodwill and muddling through and hoping more votes would fix it was the response last year - it blatantly didn't help and never will. And any kind of overt campaigning strong enough to have a puppy-like effect breaks things anyway, just in a different way. Really the test of any rule change would be that it would defeat the slate and counter-slate equally.

Maybe the whole thing is just broken and should be abandoned.
posted by Artw at 6:49 AM on April 10, 2015


This is not the same author from a decade ago. I need a shower.

Justinian, have specifics? I've been kind of avoiding buying things to pick up stuff on the ballot since I'm just going to get it all in a packet anyway, but as a fan of John C Wright - at least his earlier stuff, I haven't read anything of his lately - I'd be interested to know the difference.
posted by corb at 7:19 AM on April 10, 2015


Maybe the whole thing is just broken and should be abandoned.

Possibly, but not certainly.

The issue with the current system is the nomination process. The vote itself is fine. Well, this year's vote will suck, because the nominations are full of the suck, but the vote process itself will be fine.

We could...

(Note. I advocate none of these here. I'm just listing options.)

1) Limit the number of nominations a given person could make, and increase the number of finalists on the ballot. This would limit the effect of the slates. The fact that you could nominate five and there are five finalists meant a slate of five could sweep the ballot. 2 out 6 cannot. This is, by far, the simplest thing to do. It's not perfect -- you can still get two names on the ballot easily.

2) Have a jury select, say, 30 works, have the members nominate 5, then vote 1. The weakness then moves to the jury, and I'm sure we'd want to have a rolling jury comprised of the previous couple Worldcons, the current one, and the next seated Worldcon. Yes, you could try to steal a Worldcon, but then you have to run one. That's self-correcting. Ever worked one of them? They're big fussy hard to deal with things.

3) Ignore it and hope they get bored and go away. If they keep stealing the awards for crap, they'll either get No Awarded *or* the value of the Hugo drops to nothing.

4) Use a system where once one of your nominations makes the ballot, your remaining nominations are removed. Thus, instead of getting 5 nominations, you are getting 5 chances at making one nomination on the final ballot. This makes slates larger than one impossible, but does require you to rank your nominations. It also means we'd need to write the software to handle the nomination count, because it would be complex.

5) Increase the supporting membership costs, or even eliminate the supporting membership entirely. $40 is one thing, $200 is another, and it makes assembling a wild pack of nominators who would not otherwise attend much more expensive. It would not, of course, affect assembling such a pack of those who were attending anyway, they've already paid the piper.

6) Make it so that the current Worldcon *only* elects, the previous *only* nominates, thus doubling the cost of slate voting -- you have to join two cons to see it through. The reason for the current system (previous, current, and next if you join before Jan 31st of the current year) is to increase the nomination pool, this would explicitly decrease it.

7) More members of WSFS, who have already paid, actually nominating and voting would really help. If everyone did, 150 member slates might not be enough to reach the final ballot in the face of 35,000 nominations (7K members, 5 noms per member.) The reason 150 could do it is they wielded 450 nominations out of 2000 or less.

8) A rule that increased the final ballot size in the face of a slate means that the primary harm of the slate -- knocking off nominees who would have made it without the slate vote -- doesn't happen. This has issues, of course, there are real costs to nominees, the biggest two being the pre-Hugo reception (aka, get them in one room and get some food into them) and the Hugo Loser's party (aka, get the losers into one room and let them relax before facing the world. The winners usually can't wait to get on the party floor holding the new shiny.)

9) This list is by no mean conclusive.


The old way? It is almost certainly done. But the goal of the Hugo -- the awards granted by WSFS by WSFS members -- can still be accomplished. Again, we (that being, those of us who've spent time working the con and going to the business meetings) always knew that if a dedicated slate tried, they could dominate a ballot. I doubt we can reëstablish the old social rule of "don't slate vote" so we do have to do something in the long term if we want to save the Hugos.

But they aren't dead yet.
posted by eriko at 7:23 AM on April 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


I suspect muddling through is going to win out of any of those in the short term, which means the nominations will be a toilet for years . If it doesn't get scrapped them it may be time to just start ignoring it.
posted by Artw at 7:28 AM on April 10, 2015


(deliberate comment break, because deliberate subject break)

There is the matter, however, of this and next years awards. The nominations and election process of the Hugo Awards is written into the WSFS Constitution, and one of the little details in that document is that changes to the constitution require approval at the business meeting, then ratification at the *next* Worldcon's business meeting. So, the next Hugo Award that could operate under new nomination rules will be 2017. This year's and 2016's will operate under the current rules, and thus, are vulnerable to the slates.

This year's are almost impossible to fix. Almost*. But assuming miracles don't happen, the best we can do is fairly vote the few non-slate candidates, and No Award the rest. Another option is to declare the whole thing hopelessly compromised and No Award the entire ballot (the nuclear option.)

In 2016, we could try to deflect the slate with our own. Basically, this means we essentially have to run a public nominations system before the actual nominations, then when the real nominations open, we all fill in whoever "won" publicly. I don't have the space to list all the ways this could go wrong. But, it is at least theoretically possible we could have functional awards next year, because everyone will be going into it aware of what could happen and be taking steps.

Will those steps work? Got me. But it won't be like this year.



* The Almost -- Look at Section 3.13. The Retrospective Hugos. If we No Award the entire slate, and it has to be *every single Hugo*, then 2015 would be a year when no Hugo Awards were given. We could then amend 3.13 to include, say, 3 years as an interval, and run the 2015 Retro Hugos in 2018 under the new rules and basically redo this.

But it demands that not one single award be given this year. I'd love to see that happen so we could have another chance, but I'm not sanguine that we could pull it off.
posted by eriko at 7:33 AM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


GRRM has an interesting response to a lot of the rule proposal changes:
The worldcon business meeting is never exactly a funfest, but if the proponents of half these proposals show up at Sasquan, this year's will be a nightmare. And will probably still be going on when MidAmericon II convenes.

I am against all these proposals. If indeed I am at Spokane, and if I can get myself up in time for the business meeting, I will vote against every one of them.

Most of them, frankly, suck. And the mere fact that so many people are discussing them makes me think that the Puppies won. They started this whole thing by saying the Hugo Awards were rigged to exclude them. That is completely untrue, as I believe I demonstrated conclusively in my last post. So what is happening now? The people on MY SIDE, the trufans and SMOFs and good guys, are having an endless circle jerk trying to come up with a foolproof way to RIG THE HUGOS AND EXCLUDE THEM. God DAMN, people. You are proving them right.
posted by corb at 7:40 AM on April 10, 2015


Goodwill and muddling through and hoping more votes would fix it was the response last year - it blatantly didn't help and never will.

They haven't really been taken seriously before, because they were only modestly successful. That is not going to be the case next year. I think you'll see more nominations, and nobody will be wringing their hands over whether or not any of the Puppies' nominees knew what they were getting into.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:40 AM on April 10, 2015


ROU_Xenophobe: "But the tendency to give nominations for Most Recent Book By Someone We Like is pre-internet. I'd argue its peak was Foundation's Edge or Friday or Job, none of which were very good. Likewise, I expect being active in fandom helped many an author get nominated."

Ultimately, that's a problem of Every Popular Award Ever, and really, Every Juried Award Ever, Too. The Academy has given out plenty of, "This wasn't that great, but you didn't win for some other stuff you probably should have, maybe consider this a lifetime achievement award" Oscars over the years, for example.

People nominate and vote for works by people they like. This is a bug, but not one inherent to the Hugos.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:41 AM on April 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Didn't Gaiman declare himself non-eligible after Graveyard Book to avoid being a guy who wins because he's a best seller? (Which is a shame because Ocean was a better novel, if not his best, I say having not actually read American Gods.)
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:44 AM on April 10, 2015


I wonder if they've really thought through the endgame here.

No one but them thinks this was a clever stunt. They succeeded in flipping off the other side in what was already mutual animosity -- yay them -- but also everyone who cares about the Hugos who didn't have a beef with them like, say, the people who put Correia and Torgerson on the Campbell ballot and Torgerson on the Hugo ballot the first time around.

This isn't going to make Worldcon a friendlier place for them.

I just read Correia's response to GRRM. I knew he liked him some guns -- I read Monster Hunter International and it's more than a little hard to miss -- but I didn't know he owned a gun store. Or that he was a Mormon.

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, why was I left out of your ruthlessly efficient whisper campaign?
posted by Zed at 7:46 AM on April 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


eriko: "8) A rule that increased the final ballot size in the face of a slate means that the primary harm of the slate -- knocking off nominees who would have made it without the slate vote -- doesn't happen. This has issues, of course, there are real costs to nominees, the biggest two being the pre-Hugo reception (aka, get them in one room and get some food into them) and the Hugo Loser's party (aka, get the losers into one room and let them relax before facing the world. The winners usually can't wait to get on the party floor holding the new shiny.) "

I would favor this one. I think this answers GRRM's complaint that "now we are really ARE rigging the process!" complaint. With this proposal, if you want to slate vote, go for it. Your slate will be on the ballot. It just won't crowd other people off.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:49 AM on April 10, 2015


I wonder if they've really thought through the endgame here.

VD has pretty explicitly said that the endgame for him is destroy the Hugos (and has said that any category that gets No Award this year will, in the future, be No Awarded forever -- I don't think he actually has the power to do that, though).
posted by jeather at 7:55 AM on April 10, 2015


I don't think GRRM's read all the proposals. There *are*, in fact, a whole lot of really bad ones out there. He needn't worry. The Business Meeting Regulars will spend about 10 minutes with the OTC shotgun and mow them down in short order. Indeed, I'm pretty sure most of them won't even make it to the business meeting, guys like Kevin, Ben, Tim and the Gang of Mikes are busy talking to people and damping down the worst ideas.

In particular, ones allowing an administrator to reject nominations by judgement call not only need to die in a fire, if they ever pass, I'm renouncing the award forever. I'm with him 100000% on that one.

The 4/6 and 2/6 proposal change things so that a slate can't sweep a ballot. You can still get 4 or 2 on the ballot, but you cannot take the whole ballot. Indeed, a 1/5 proposal *ends* slates on the same category. If you can only nominate one person, there's no room for a slate in that category. They don't completely remove the harm of campaigning, but they do prevent what happened this year. They are the simplest answer with the least side effects. I personally like 2/6, then 2/5, then 1/5. I think 4/6 is too many, but we're fighting the traditional 5/5, and 2/5 may be seen as too drastic.

Mike Scott's expand-a-ballot tries to accept slates by mitigating the damage. The problem with it (and he's the first to acknowledge this) is he's writing it without the data we need to set the key variables His current formula: Take the total number of nominations, subtract the number of nominations the top nominee received (only one of them if a tie) and then take 10% of that number. Any one with more than that number makes the final ballot. It also eliminates the 5% rule -- currently, even if it's in the top five, a nominee that doesn't receive 5% of the nominations doesn't make the ballot.

But until we actually see the numbers from this year, we don't know if 10% is the right value, or if subtracting the top nominee is a good marker for a slate. So, we really can't propose it this year unless the ceremony is early enough in the con that we can amend the proposal if needed before the main business meeting. I told Mike that my prediction is that we'll either add about 60 people to the ballot (meaning the numbers he set worked) or 0 (meaning they didn't.) They did work for 2014 and 2013, but added a few others, which implies 10% may be too low. We will see.
posted by eriko at 8:09 AM on April 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


VD has pretty explicitly said that the endgame for him is destroy the Hugos (and has said that any category that gets No Award this year will, in the future, be No Awarded forever -- I don't think he actually has the power to do that, though).

He can try. $40 SAIT. The Worldcons will love his money. And that threat has made *my* choice even clearer. No Award *all the way.* Indeed, clearly it's time to raise the supporting membership cost.

But NA is a lot hard to pull off than getting on the ballot. The current nomination is really Fifth Past The Post voting. For NA to win, it has to fully win a STV ballot.

Threatening the entire membership and the award itself, though, is a great way to get it. The tweet of the night, I forget who said it, was "No Award is going to need a killer dress."
posted by eriko at 8:12 AM on April 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


I really hate the idea of a 1/anything ballot because it fairly demands voter collusion in order to get a balanced shortlist any year where there's a clear front-runner for an award. 3/6 sounds like a much better mix to me.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:13 AM on April 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I really hate the idea of a 1/anything ballot because it fairly demands voter collusion in order to get a balanced shortlist

Yeah, shit, you're dead right there. You just moved me from 1/5 to the (2-4/5-6) group, and I think 3/5 or 3/6 may in fact be the sweet spot. This means the 4/6 proposal isn't far off and somebody's already moving that one (they were before all this, actually.)

Thanks, HZSF, for saving me from that dumb.
posted by eriko at 8:17 AM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the reduce the number of nomination slots/increase the number of final ballot slots tactic seems like a reasonably simple and straightforward measure without a lot of downside.
posted by Zed at 8:18 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


N.K. Jemisin responds to the puppies, and Torgersen in particular: Not the affirmative action you meant, not the history you’re making (emphasis in original)
SFFdom has not been immune to this societal tendency to give straight white guys more, treat them more kindly, eagerly open doors to them that are firmly shut against others. For every John Campbell who openly refused to publish black or woman protagonists, there were likely a few dozen other editors who did the same thing quietly — thus effectively reserving publication spots for white men. White male authors get more reviews (written mostly by white male reviewers), and have a better chance of prominent ones in places like the New York Times Book Review, even though women and people of color buy more books. Women in the business side of the genre get publicly shamed for… well, existing, while white men can be sexual predators or white supremacists and still end up on awards juries or editorial staffs, unquestioned. White protagonists are proudly exhibited on book covers and in the lead roles of films, with little fear of whitewashing; male protagonists are rarely sidelined so that a non-male supporting character can be showcased instead; straight-white-male-centric stories, like Tarzan being the awesomest person on the African continent and endless iterations of “let’s go subdue the natives (in space)” have been granted such pride of place in this genre that for years it was nearly impossible to get published writing anything else. These are our legacy admits, our GI benefits (but only for some GIs), our governors standing in the schoolhouse door. This is the way it’s always been, until very very very recently.

And just as Abigail Fisher complained only about the 5 black/Latin@ students who beat her out for a seat at U of T but not the 42 white people who did the same, most people in this genre don’t notice the imbalances. They don’t realize that the massive overrepresentation of straight white men in this genre might have an artificial component; they perceive the overrepresentation as normalcy, and assume those people got there strictly on merit.
[...]
Brad Torgersen sees Affirmative Action where only the most minimal efforts at redressing the imbalance exist. He ignores the actual affirmative action which has kept this genre — and this country — mired in a virtual caste system since its inception. But hilariously, he and his cronies have resorted to a lesser version of the very same tactics that his forbears used to defend their hoarded privileges — like enlisting the aid of violent bigots, and blatantly hamstringing processes intended to be fair.

Affirmative action has been at work in SFFdom pretty much since its inception — just not the kind that Brad Torgersen is talking about. And when the various Puppies say they want to take us all back to a golden age of history, it’s clear they haven’t actually studied history… or they might realize they’re replicating some of its ugliest episodes.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:14 AM on April 10, 2015 [27 favorites]


The 4/6 and 2/6 proposal change things so that a slate can't sweep a ballot. You can still get 4 or 2 on the ballot, but you cannot take the whole ballot.

That sounds like a challenge.

(Everything can be gamed, and there's always some asshole out to prove it).
posted by Leon at 9:49 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The 4/6 and 2/6 proposal change things so that a slate can't sweep a ballot. You can still get 4 or 2 on the ballot, but you cannot take the whole ballot.

That sounds like a challenge.

(Everything can be gamed, and there's always some asshole out to prove it).


"This year, if your last name starts with A through H, you are part of the Alphabetical Puppies 1 slate. Here are the works you should vote for. If your last name starts with I through P, you are part of the Alphabetical Puppies 2 slate. Here are the works you should vote for. If your last name starts with Q through Z, you are part of the Alphabetical Puppies 3 slate. Here are the works you should vote for."

It's not foolproof, and it really just encourages counterslating, but it'll happen the instant the nominating process changes.
posted by Etrigan at 10:08 AM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think 4/6 just means that to run the whole slate you would need ~50% more slate voters relative to the rest of the voting pool, assuming they all vote for a random selection - difficult but not impossible to do, depending on how voter numbers go. Assigning a slate based on your surname removes any pretence at this being not a slate but the result of voters happening to read the whole list and deciding it was their best of the year, and the slate organisers may not want to lose that.
posted by penguinliz at 10:22 AM on April 10, 2015


Half the puppies may not be the effective force all the puppies was - we're dealing with low numbers here, they;ve just had a disproportionate effect because they've had a low threshold to get over.
posted by Artw at 10:25 AM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Everything can be gamed, and there's always some asshole out to prove it).

Yes, but they still have less nominations and they have to spread them out, which makes the slate much less effective. Assume they have 150 people willing to drop the $40. They get, currently, 5 nominations per category, so 750 total nominations, and they spend them evenly on 5 candidates, 150 per candidate.

With a 2/6, they only have 300 total nominations. If they split three ways to try to cover the entire slate, they have 100 nominations in each group, and thus only 50 per candidate. It's an enormous difference when it comes to covering an entire slate. They can get the 150 per candidate they have now, but only on two candidates, the other 4 slots are untouched.

Yes, you can always game things, but you can also set the rules to make gaming more-or-less effective. With the current setup and the size of the current nomination pool, 150 lockstep nominators own the ballot. With a 2/6, they might own a couple of the smaller categories but by and large, they actually hurt themselves if they tried to grab the entire slate. They would certainly own two slots if they chose to do that, but they risk losing slots if they try for the whole ballot.

Combine that with the fact that fandom is now paying attention, and I suspect 50 votes won't be enough to get on the ballot -- because I think there will be a lot more people nominating next year.
posted by eriko at 10:29 AM on April 10, 2015


Combine that with the fact that fandom is now paying attention, and I suspect 50 votes won't be enough to get on the ballot -- because I think there will be a lot more people nominating next year.

That's what will really protect the process, far more than changing the rules. Elections are won by those who show up. There's also a good chance that the Puppies will declare a victory regardless of the actual Hugo results ("Look at how much time and effort and money the SJWs spent proving that they totally hate us! We win!") and not bother next year if they aren't certain they can win.
posted by Etrigan at 10:40 AM on April 10, 2015


and not bother next year if they aren't certain they can win.

Except they always win either way. Either their slate gets a Hugo or they get further proof of the SJW conspiracy.
posted by Zed at 10:47 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know, one thing that I'm getting more and more fascinated with is how the intersection of milbloggers with some of the milSF establishment is tying together, particularly in regards to Puppygate. I went to Tom Kratman's website, for example (which I do not recommend) and found a recommendation from Nikki Fellenzer, which sparked my interest, as I've mostly seen her around the milblog circuit during the Iraq War debates. Well, lo and behold, it turns out she's started self-published writing paranormal, and is blogging about the Hugos too. And then a little more searching on some of the milblogs shows that BlackFive (a pretty reputable milblogger) is hosting a post from LaughingWolf about the same - and of course Brad Torgensen himself is a currently serving officer.

I'm wondering - and this is me wondering, I don't really have enough evidence for a full blown theory yet - if the increase in military fans of science fiction (books on deployment, among others, plus Baen providing a lot of free ebooks and actual books for soldiers) during an active war has increased the amount of people who are used to taking tactical responses to things as a first option - who are primed already to see an enemy and attempt to defeat it.
posted by corb at 10:47 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm going to say it here, shut the fuck up, Tom Kratman, you are a shame to the military service, please stop waving your CIB around like it is your dick and it is on fire.
posted by corb at 10:51 AM on April 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


And jesus fuck, offering to duel people. Tom Kratman is like a caricature of everybody I ever hated when I was in.
posted by corb at 10:52 AM on April 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Based on the Athene read you linked of "A Desert Called Peace" I've basically concluded he is just a crazy person. I tend to give people leeway for fantasies and fiction but an author insert who has orgasmic pleasure at murdering Muslims is...slightly too far for that.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:58 AM on April 10, 2015


That's what will really protect the process, far more than changing the rules. Elections are won by those who show up. There's also a good chance that the Puppies will declare a victory regardless of the actual Hugo results ("Look at how much time and effort and money the SJWs spent proving that they totally hate us! We win!") and not bother next year if they aren't certain they can win.

Which is GRRM's point in his latest post:

This year, the Puppies emptied the kennels and got out their vote, and we didn't. Fandom danced the usual, "oh, too busy to nominate, I will just vote on the final ballot," and for that complacency, we got blindsided. We lost. They kicked our fannish asses, and now we have the ballot they gave us. If we don't want that to happen again, we need to get out our OWN vote.

He also comes out against any changes. I think that's a bit much. Changing the number of nominations a person can do to be less than the total number, while it is game-able, will stop one slate from dominating.
posted by zabuni at 11:01 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Except they always win either way. Either their slate gets a Hugo or they get further proof of the SJW conspiracy.

I don't give a flying fuck how they feel. Why do you? If they want to feel all hurt, they can. The hurty corner is over there. They can live with whatever conspiracies they want to. Doesn't bother me at all.

They either win a Hugo, or they do not win a Hugo. How they feel about it? Absolutely no concern of mine. I don't vote the Hugos based on how the authors -- a number of whom I'm honored to call friends -- feel. I vote for the best works, unless they're not on the ballot, then I vote No Award.

Why? Because that's what authors who *really care* about the award want. They want to win it because they went against the best that year and won. Charlie (forex) would probably be pissed if I voted for his books because he was a friend. I ranked his books on my ballot where I thought they should rank. Sometimes, he wins. Sometimes, he doesn't, which makes the Hugos he does have *that much more meaningful to him.* It would be an insult to the winners, to the losers, and to everyone who cares about the award to do anything but vote what you think are the best works.

Fuck how anybody feels about it at the end of the day, because the people I care about agree with me. To make sure the award has meaning, you vote for the best works, not for how anybody feels about it at the end of the day.

And that's why I fucking hate this so much. Because this has nothing to do with voting for the best works, and thus, it deserves our greatest condemnation.
posted by eriko at 11:10 AM on April 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


He also comes out against any changes. I think that's a bit much.

Agree, but I see his point. To use a sports analogy, it's like changing the rules because one team beat you. Except, of course, professional sports do this all the time....

He's afraid of a bad rule getting in (as am I) and he's afraid that any rule that could be use to exclude SP3/RP nominations could be used to exclude others. He's dead right about that. He's afraid of judgement calls, and yep, he's right about that as well.

I think he's missing thing like the 4/6 proposal, which while limiting each voters nominations a bit, increases the ballot, and Mike Scott's, which *only* increases, never decreases, the ballot.

But really, his position -- "when in doubt, do not change the rules" -- is a good one to have. Far too many times bad rule changes happen when people panic. See, well, the entire Department of Homeland Security.

So I don't fault him for it. I disagree with him, but I don't fault him for it.
posted by eriko at 11:15 AM on April 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Also, I'm going to say it here, shut the fuck up, Tom Kratman, you are a shame to the military service, please stop waving your CIB around like it is your dick and it is on fire.

I know we don't agree on much, but we agree on this, so I offer you this token in a sincere spirit of mutual understanding and peace.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:18 AM on April 10, 2015 [20 favorites]


I was expressing doubt about Etrigan's hope that they wouldn't bother if they didn't think they could win, eriko.

Here, have a hug and this battered Orbit paperback.
posted by Zed at 11:21 AM on April 10, 2015


He acknowledges that more organised campaigning is likely and in fact required, which is a bit of a cultural shift and going to happen now whether people like it or not, so I'd grant him that, but he also has faith in people just sort of muddling through with the broken system and the trolls just eventually going away, and no, that's not going to happen at all.

I never though I'd say this, but the author of Game of Thrones isn't enough of a cynic when it comes to human behaviour.
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on April 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


I was expressing doubt about Etrigan's hope that they wouldn't bother if they didn't think they could win, eriko.

Just remember. It's $40, SAIT.

Fandom pays the membership for other reasons, in fact, they usually pay the much more expensive attending membership. They look at the Hugo noms and vote as a bonus.

If you want to game the Hugos and don't care about the Worldcon, you're paying $40 every year you want to try to fuck with it. Is it really worth it?
posted by eriko at 11:29 AM on April 10, 2015


If you want to game the Hugos and don't care about the Worldcon, you're paying $40 every year you want to try to fuck with it. Is it really worth it?

A better way to look at is: would you, if the situation is reversed, donate $40 to an effort opposing them? While i recognize that not everyone is in this position, 40$ for a lot of people is kind of normal for a donation to an ideologically centered organization. NRA memberships are $35 yearly, as are a lot of other memberships that people shell out for specifically to do lobbying. If you think of $40 as more of a 'Sad Puppies Membership Fee', I don't think it's unlikely that people will pay it year after year, particularly if they get $40 worth of reaction and fight out of it.
posted by corb at 11:37 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering - and this is me wondering, I don't really have enough evidence for a full blown theory yet - if the increase in military fans of science fiction (books on deployment, among others, plus Baen providing a lot of free ebooks and actual books for soldiers) during an active war has increased the amount of people who are used to taking tactical responses to things as a first option - who are primed already to see an enemy and attempt to defeat it.

War veterans wrote Slaughterhouse Five, The Forever War or 1984. I don't think military experience correlates necessarily with the kind of rightist milSF that we're seeing here.
posted by sukeban at 11:45 AM on April 10, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'll be blunt about it: Maybe I'll fork out $40 to counter the Hugo Awards having a vulnerability to trolls once or twice, but no way in hell am I doing it forever if they don't fix their shit.
posted by Artw at 11:47 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if the Hugos turn into a constant culture-war battlefield, the smart move is to drop them entirely, not to keep waging a war that only has as much significance as the Hugos themselves. Because at that point the awards would be utterly devalued.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:52 AM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, if this keeps happening then the effect will be to completely devalue the Hugo, at which point not even the most rabid puppy is going to keep ponying up cash to stick it to people who no longer care about the award. A lot of people don't want that because the Hugo is an institution with a long and fondly remembered history, but even the best-case for Correia et al. is not a sustainable one.

(or what HZSF said)
posted by kagredon at 12:10 PM on April 10, 2015


also last night I realized that in Torgersen's Solomon metaphor, he is the deranged baby-thief and I laughed and laughed
posted by kagredon at 12:11 PM on April 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


There's some funny stuff going on at the #NewHugoCategories hashtag.
posted by Zed at 12:19 PM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


There's no realistic outcome where a Puppy wins a Hugo and the Hugos are worth a damn.their best case victory is tht shitty trolls get to wreck something people like and bask in the adulation of other shitty trolls for having done so.

I have no idea why a serious science fiction fan or a writer would be up for that, but trolls? Sure, they live and breathe that shit.

So no, I don't see any Puppies giving up any time soon.
posted by Artw at 12:24 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, if this keeps happening then the effect will be to completely devalue the Hugo,

In all honesty, getting one of GRRM's Hugo Loser ribbons sounds more meaningful to me right now.
posted by nubs at 12:28 PM on April 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


So no, I don't see any Puppies giving up any time soon.

I do. Trolls get bored -- or distracted. Now, if No Award doesn't take a bunch of categories this year, then the award isn't worth a damn. That will be sad, but true. What you won't see. You won't see them getting any sales. You won't see any more Hugo Award Winner displayed. You won't see "Hugo Award Winning Author" on book covers.

Basically, the award will just fall to nothingness. It happens. Everything ends.

But there's a reason people are still talking about this a week after the nominations were announced. Right now, it does mean something to many people. And they're fighting for it.

We will see. The ballot will open soon.
posted by eriko at 12:30 PM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


What I anticipate happening next year is someone doing a kickstarter to buy WorldCon associate memberships. 8,000 gaters putting in 10 dollars each would buy 2000 memberships.

Hm. If I had no sense of ethics or decency, and wanted my novel to win a Hugo...
posted by happyroach at 12:45 PM on April 10, 2015


I beleive that doing something that centralized would get those nominations shitcanned under the present rules, so they are doing that right at least.
posted by Artw at 1:02 PM on April 10, 2015


Martin mentioned an earlier case where a stack of identical nominations that came in attached to sequential $40 money orders got thrown out, so there's precedent for that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:08 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hm. If I had no sense of ethics or decency, and wanted my novel to win a Hugo...

And we would simply reject those ballots as "Not a natural person" and/or "One person/one vote" violations. That's been tried before -- Scientology tried it. Mailed in a bunch of ballots. Memberships paid in sequential money orders. *Bloop* went the ballots into the trashcan.

If we found out that one person is buying memberships in exchange for you voting their slate, we can legitimately reject those ballots/nominations. Worldcons have done it before. I'm guessing that there was no evidence that Sasquan could see that the SP3/RP slate was paid for by other people. Telling people to vote your slate? Legal. Buying their membership in exchange for voting your slate? Violates 1p1v, since the actual member doesn't get the vote, the person buying does.

Note that buying someone a membership is not illegal and does not deny them voting rights, so long as the person you bought the membership for gets a fully independent vote. If you insist on *any* condition, even "You have to nominate me in this one category" or even "You cannot nominated this guy" then we can toss that ballot, because it breaks the 1p1v rule.

Obviously, this can be hard to detect. But if you ran a kickstarter, bought a stack load of memberships from it, and they all nominated you, we'd drop every single one of those ballots on the floor, without a moments hesitation.

By rule, the committee hosting that year's Worldcon is, by default, ineligible for a Hugo. They can make themselves eligible if they devolve complete control to a subcommittee. At that point, the members of that subcommittee are ineligible, but they have *sole* power to validate ballots, and nobody can overrule them, but the rest of the concom is eligible again. By practice, this is always done because it provides a nice firewall between the committee as a whole and the vote

Really, the Hugo Admin is All Powerful here. They make eligibility judgements, they make the call on ballot validity, and there is no appellate. Apparently, there's no evidence of this so of thing happening this year, at least not on any scale. If people *choose* to pay their own money and vote the SP3/RP slates, that's perfectly legal. If they were bought memberships and choose to vote those slates, that's borderline, but if they honestly chose without any pressure from the person who paid for the membership, it's legal -- otherwise, if a spouse pays for both their and their partners' ballots, the partner couldn't nominate/vote. It's only an invalid nomination if there was any constraints on voting attached to that membership.
posted by eriko at 1:08 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah -- note that the memberships are valid. You can buy Agent Of XXX memberships, things like that. What you can't do is vote with them, and the core rules are that only Natural Persons can vote (so no corporations) and One Person gets exactly One Vote. Constraints on votes transfer part/all of that vote to another person, and if you do that both the person making and accepting the constraint no long have Exactly One Vote, so both are now ineligible to nominate/vote.

But the money's still good, so the memberships are unaffected.
posted by eriko at 1:15 PM on April 10, 2015


Think DDOS - you want your attacks to look as much as possible like regular traffic that there is no way of distinguishing the two. Their current setup is already as good as it can be at that- arguably because it IS regular traffic under the terms and conditions of the hugo commity blah blah blah.
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on April 10, 2015


Well, it's good to know that Beale and GG would have to go through convoluted acrobatics to get the scenario to work. Which isn't to say that they still wouldn't try something in that line.

Of course doing the kickstarter and then saying "Oops, it won't work, pity I can't give the money back" also seems like something a grifter would do.
posted by happyroach at 1:32 PM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


The GamerGaters have been taken that way a couple of times and would probably still come back for more.
posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


And jesus fuck, offering to duel people. Tom Kratman is like a caricature of everybody I ever hated when I was in.

To be fair, Kratman only joined the US army because Das Reich wasn't in any position to take volunteers anymore.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:05 PM on April 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


oh my god that #NewHugoCategories hashtag is making my day
posted by NoraReed at 3:17 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, rule zero of any rulemaking system is don't ratfuck the rules to such an extent that we need a new rule.

But a 3/6 system strikes me as a decent idea. As much as I think mass no-voting might be good, I'd be a bit disappointed for Rat Queens, although Volume 2 is just a bit better than Volume 1.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:31 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the comics category seems to have gotten great just in time for this crap to kick off.
posted by Artw at 3:47 PM on April 10, 2015


3/6 assumes good faith actors. The reavers will be perfectly happy to put up a website which assigns with of two slates to vote for, and thus their overall roughly 10x advantage in voting power will remain (since other voters will also be reduced.). If it helps at all, it will likely be by reducing the diversity of the nominations the good-faith voters put up (I don't know if it will, but in theory it might if the items with the most nominations are also appear preferentially in the top half of the nominators' personal rankings.)

It does have the advantage of being simple, but the only solution I really see working long term is a jury step, or possibly one of the more complex schemes that automatically expands the list in reaction to slate voting. And I have doubts whether those are durable and simple enough.
posted by tavella at 4:09 PM on April 10, 2015


Yeah, I don't see how 3/6 solves the problem.

"Ok, Puppies, all of you with last names from A-K vote for X,Y,Z and those with last names from L-Z vote for X2,Y2,Z2".
posted by Justinian at 4:19 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


It will require a lot more people to game the nominations.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:27 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Except that the people nominating normally will also have their voting power reduced. It might help a tiny bit if there are real works sitting just behind the puppy numbers, and that might be true for Best Novel (where at least one book still out nommed the puppies) but because the puppies are voting the slate, not if they've read, they are drowning the smaller categories. If current is:

Each nominator gets five votes, a thousand people vote, 900 real and 100 puppies, there are

Real Work A appears on 90 slates
Real Work B appears on 80 slates
Real Work C appears on 60 slates
Real Work D appears on 50 slates
Real Work E appears on 30 slates
Real Work F appears on 20 slates

Puppy works P1 through P5 appear on 100 slates, voting is blocked.

So now if people can only nom 3, then assuming the preferences for each of A through F are spread equally, ie A was the 1 favorite of 18 voters, the 2 favorite of 18 voters, etc, then all that happens is that it is now:

Real Work A appears on 54 slates
Real Work B appears on 48 slates
Real Work C appears on 36 slates
Real Work D appears on 30 slates
Real Work E appears on 18 slates
Real Work F appears on 12 slates

And Puppy works P1 through P6 appear on 50 slates, and only one real work makes it through. And that's where there are nearly enough nominations for real works; in cases like the shorter fiction awards, the slate is block voting close to twice the numbers of even the most nominated works.

So it helps a tiny bit, as will more nominations in general, but it still doesn't cure the fundamental problem of slates, in that slates have 10x the power of people voting their sincere pick for best X when there are hundreds of 'candidates'. Which means that even people of goodwill will feel they have to start assembling slates, which means the Hugos turn into a political election, instead of a poll of sincere opinions of the best of the year. And at that point, what's the point?

Which is why my opinion is that if they are to survive, a juried filter will probably be necessary. Which is not great -- if you pick from previous Hugo winners, it will tend towards backwards-looking nominations (since the ones most likely to not have works in contention and willing to serve as jurors will also be the oldest.) And it's hard to get a truly balanced and diverse jury of varied tastes.
posted by tavella at 4:53 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


O.K., this is a stretch, but bear with me. In the 80's, I spent way too much time watching movies instead of studying. And I got obsessed by Some Kind of Wonderful, a John Hughes written re-write, kind of, of every other damn film he'd made to that date. Obsessed to the point of actually comparing it, seriously (and to my eternal embarrassment) to Romeo and Juliet.

But Correia's response to GRRM got me thinking, and I realized his story replicates Some Kind of Wonderful to a frightening extent. In the movie, you've got Eric Stoltz playing this wrong side of the tracks kid who wants to be an artist, who's in love with Lea Thompson, a hot classmate who's dating some rich snobby Corvette-driving fuck. And then there's Mary Stuart Masterson's character, a drum-playing tomboy who's Stoltz's best friend, and who is really secretly in love with him.

And it's all class warfare-y, with the rich snobby fucks making Eric Stoltz's life miserable because he's so, you know, good and earnest, that Lea's Thompson's kind of interested in him after all. And they cleverly plan to beat him up at a party thrown by one of the rich snobby fucks, but their plans are foiled by his even more clever plan to invite a bunch of quasi-delinquents (with whom he's bonded in detention) to crash the party in order to intimidate the rich snobby fucks. And that scene ends with some of the quasi-delinquents being given come-hither looks by the rich snobby fucks' girlfriends.

And then Stoltz's character demonstrates his eternal love for the Thompson character by breaking into the local art museum to show her a (pretty crappy) portrait of her which he's had hung in the museum by one of the quasi-delinquents, whose father is a museum guard. Stunned by the overall marvelousness of the Stoltz character's passion, and his skill as an artist, Thompson makes the supreme sacrifice and decides to let him go, so that he can discover that he REALLY loves the Mary Stuart Masterson tomboy best friend character. And those two drive off into the sunset in a limousine he'd rented to impress the Thompson character. That's most of it, shorn of a couple of other sub-plots about money and class and annoying little sisters which don't really apply here.

But, BUT, this is Larry Correia's life. He's the Eric Stoltz character being mistreated by the rich snobby fucks, who are probably planning on beating him up at the next con. And he's an artist! And the quasi-delinquent friends? That seems pretty clear, doesn't it? But now, with their help, he's turned the tables on the rich snobby SJW fucks, who have lost their girlfriends to the quasi-delinquents. The only thing I can't figure out is who the Lea Thompson character is. I think the Masterson character is 'normal' SFF fandom, who don't want to show that we're secretly in love with this other-side-of-the-tracks genuine artist. It's the Thompson hot teenager character that I can't quite pin down. I suspect it's VD. That makes some kind of twisted sense. But maybe I'm being unfair. Maybe it's all of the SPs, collectively.

Let me know what you think.
posted by my dog is named clem at 5:14 PM on April 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


surely the Thompson equivalent is all of those "literary" SFF writers/fans/voters, who will realize that those jerky SJWs never really cared about them, and will be content to admire Eric Stoltz from afar now that he's shown them the way.
posted by kagredon at 5:22 PM on April 10, 2015


The only thing I can't figure out is who the Lea Thompson character is.

The Hugo.

FWIW, I spreadsheeted the nominee list and the corresponding Puppy status.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:25 PM on April 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


ChurchHatesTucker: Thanks, that's going to help a lot. Do you mind if I link to it from outside MeFi (although an even less public venue, my G+)?
posted by seyirci at 9:16 PM on April 10, 2015


seyirci: Sure. I'd appreciate if you'd take the time to double-check it for accuracy. And if anyone wants write access, MeMail me.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:20 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, I've been reading some of the posts by the organizers and defenders of the Puppies, and there is a strong strain of, "No, we are NOT racist, misogynistic, and homophobic, and how dare you call us that!" (Including at least one classic, "Actually it is our opponents who are the TRUE racists!") They often point to the scattering of women and minorities on their slate as evidence, and sometimes offer evidence from their personal lives.

It kind of falls apart under examination, though.

If we look at what the organizers of the two Puppy slates claim their goals were, we see three very different claims (I am, of course, paraphrasing):

TORGENSEN: We just want the vote to go to rollicking sci-fi adventure stories that don't make you think, which is what people really like! The other side is the one that votes on ideology!

CORREIA: No, we are totally voting on ideology because the other side did it first! But it's not a sexist, racist, homophobic ideology! (Also they were MEAN to me!)

DAY: BURN THE INFIDEL WITH FIRE!!!!!

Looking at the three, Torgensen's falls apart with a poke. His slate is supposed to be all about rollicking sci-fi adventure stories? Then why does it include things like "Wisdom From My Internet" (from "Patriarchy Press"), which appears to be a rambling collection of right-wing political jokes with no sci-fi content? I find it hard to believe he's fooling anyone other than himself, if that.

Correia is at least more honest that these are, deliberately, ideological lists. His basic claim is that the Popular Kids vote on left-wing ideology rather than writing quality, so he got together a bunch of the Unpopular Kids to pack the nominations with right-wing authors and ideology rather than quality, so there. His claims that Only Left Wing Books Can Get A Look Now And Heinlein Books Would Never Make The Ballot Today seem dubious to me (and somewhat ironic, since his slate probably kept a well-regarded biography of Heinlein off the award ballot), but at least his stated motives hold up a little better. It's an ideological slate, which is why it mostly looks like one.

However, he is also at pains to state that the Puppies have no motives which are sexist, racist, and homophobic; they are just yay for guns and capitalism types that want a fair shake. There's kind of a big problem with that, though, which is his deafening silence about Vox Day when he talks about this stuff.

The fact of the matter is, the slate that got on -- the slate that got the most votes out of the Puppy followers -- was really the Rabid Puppy slate, not the Sad Puppy slate. That's where the heart of the voters was. And the Rabid Puppy slate is quite vocal about its ideology, and what that ideology is. John C. Wright did not get nominated six times because he is having a career best year that somehow all the critics and other awards missed. He did not even get nominated six times because he is yay for guns and capitalism. He got nominated six times, mostly by Vox Day and his followers, because he is the kind of guy who has an internet meltdown over two girls holding hands on Legend of Korra.

I don't know if Correia himself is sexist, racist, homophobic, or what have you. But he is sure acting like the nomination vote, which was primarily for an admittedly racist, sexist, homophobic ideology, was a victory for his side. And he sure has never said, "Hey, I know there's some overlap between Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, but let me be clear, those guys, the ones who got most of the votes on this, we don't support what they stand for." Which, given the circumstances, is kind of a statement he needs to make right now if it's one he feels is true.

Which leaves me pretty much left with the belief that the ideology most of the puppies are following is the one that got the most votes, and the one that one organizer supports wholeheartedly and the other two have taken no pains to distance themselves from: BURN THE INFIDEL WITH FIRE.

It sure isn't about rollicking sci-fi adventure, I can tell you that much.
posted by kyrademon at 6:29 AM on April 11, 2015 [34 favorites]


Correia is at least more honest that these are, deliberately, ideological lists. His basic claim is that the Popular Kids vote on left-wing ideology rather than writing quality, so he got together a bunch of the Unpopular Kids to pack the nominations with right-wing authors and ideology rather than quality, so there.

Is there a word for that sort of thing? They do it all the time. The media is liberal! Instead of creating an unbiased network to do it right, create Fox News. Wikipedia is liberal! Instead of creating an unbiased encyclopedia they create Conservapedia. Facebook is liberal! Instead of creating an unbiased social network, they create Tea Party Community. In every case, the existence of bias in the original source is questionable at best but the conservative alternative is clearly, clearly extreme.

They just seem unwilling to even try to work with the mainstream or create something welcoming to everybody.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:42 AM on April 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Where the wind blows tall
(Maybe just Rex)
Interlude
posted by Dumsnill at 7:05 AM on April 11, 2015


Which is why my opinion is that if they are to survive, a juried filter will probably be necessary.

Which essentially kills the Hugos and gives the SPs a chance to argue that they're right. "See? There IS a cabal keeping us out!".

If you're right about this, then the Hugos and pretty much any popular contest in SF is now dead r
posted by happyroach at 7:23 AM on April 11, 2015


That's why I support the "expand the ballot" option. SF already has several juried awards. It would nice to be able to keep the Hugos popular.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:06 AM on April 11, 2015 [3 favorites]






They just seem unwilling to even try to work with the mainstream or create something welcoming to everybody.

Where are - I ask this sincerely - the people offering to create something welcoming for the more conservative SF writers? Where are the people trying to welcome Wright and Correia to the table? Because, yes, Wright did indeed have an epic Gandalf meltdown over Legend of Corra - but he is also indeed, undeniably, a very prolific science fiction writer. He should not be excluded from fandom, much less awards, because he is a vocal and devoted True Believer of his religion. (I could even say that golden plates being awarded by a god-like creature which require a Babelfish Stone placed in a hat to read should count as EXTRA SCIENCE FICTION but I will mostly refrain.)

And Larry Correia has written an incredibly heartfelt and personal piece talking about exclusion - about being treated badly even by those with experience of being treated badly who have sworn not to treat others in that way. Where are people reaching out to him from the other side, and offering to meet him for beers and talk about their beliefs in a friendly way? (Mind you I think GRRM probably will, but he's not really fully on the Other Side, more a mountain of the community holding out his hand and calling 'Stop!')
posted by corb at 10:37 AM on April 11, 2015


Absolutely nothing can be welcoming for everyone. Something welcoming for Wright will necessarily not be welcoming for LBGTQ people, and vice versa. Fans aren't required to make NoHomoCon so that prolific homophobic writers feel comfortable.

Having looked at his recent fiction, it seems like he is being excluded from awards because it isn't good. Maybe his earlier stuff was -- but there is a lot of good stuff out there, and a lot of prolific writers, and most of them are equally bereft of awards.
posted by jeather at 10:44 AM on April 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


It's an interesting question, jeather - but I actually think, specifically within the context of cons, because of the weird structure of parallel tracks - that there totally can be.

Like, if 'Religious Oriented SF' wants to have a track at cons, puts up its own people for panels, and runs its own shebang, that is not functionally impacting other people at the con who choose not to go to their panels, as long as they still have to abide by anti-harassment rules about dealing with other con participants.

We absolutely have the ability, within the context of conventions, to have welcome space for everyone, as long as we can all commit to a policy of don't be shitty to each other.

And so for example, you can say, "Hey Tom Kratman, you're totally welcome to come to con, but the first time you say something shitty and he totally will you are banned from con for the remainder of the year. Next time it's five years. Next time it's 'don't come back'." And you can do that completely without referring to his beliefs, by making it about his actions at con. And you can also say, "Hey, we know Tom Kratman is a dick, but it is not okay to go to his panels specifically to call him a dick." And that also takes it out of the realm of ideology, and puts it into the realm of "Con is not an appropriate place to confront people publicly for what you feel about their beliefs."
posted by corb at 10:49 AM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Where are the people trying to welcome Wright and Correia to the table?

Which table? Whose table? Because they already have seats at the table, based on their book sales, award nominations, award wins. How is that somehow them not being at the table?

There is nothing inherently not-conservative (politically, at least) about including rounded characters of a variety of races, sexes, sexual orientations, and the like from stories authors write.

I would personally never reach out to someone like Wright, because the stuff he's said about people who are me does not make me think he would accept it even if I were able to put aside my antipathy towards ignorant homophobes. If you want to take that on, good luck to you.
posted by rtha at 11:05 AM on April 11, 2015 [21 favorites]


They have got up, dropped their trousers, and shat on the table. Now they want a pat on the head for it.
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on April 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


I think it depends on what kind of tracks JCW would want and the content in them. Could you do a track that is "The problem of SJW fiction" which would be presumably called something less overt? What about "The white guy authors of the 50s and why fiction today sucks in comparison"? Are you not allowed to disagree (politely) afterwards? Because either way, I think the con becomes unwelcome to people. (And I think a lot of people would feel unwelcome if there was a track of programming that had those topics -- a program that is "we care about this subgenre" is very different from "we don't like these people".)

Remember that JCW had a fit when animated characters held hands -- would you need to make rules about PDAs in order to make him feel welcome at a con? We're not just talking about allowed, we're talking about feeling welcome.

I really do not imagine there could be a group that talks about science fiction and fantasy that could make both JCW and LBGTQ people feel welcome. I absolutely don't think that so-called SJWs are doing anything wrong by not proactively reaching out and making people who explicitly insult them feel welcome.
posted by jeather at 11:13 AM on April 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


Trolls are by nature antisocial. I doubt they'd even be welcome at the 1950s convention of their dreams.
posted by Artw at 11:20 AM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


corb: "He should not be excluded from fandom, much less awards, because he is a vocal and devoted True Believer of his religion."

Wright is Catholic, not Mormon, and I am a vocal and devoted "true believer" of the same religion, without being a gigantic dickhead about it. It's not his Catholicism fandom objects to; it's that he uses religion as a weapon of hate. You don't to excuse your personal hatefulness because "God said so." Indeed, I'd argue that he should be held to a higher standard of moral behavior, and probably not lean on an all-loving God while saying things like, "You are disgusting, limp, soulless sacks of filth. You have earned the contempt and hatred of all decent human beings forever, and we will do all we can to smash the filthy phallic idol of sodomy you bow and serve and worship. Contempt, because you struck from behind, cravenly; and hatred, because you serve a cloud of morally-retarded mental smog called Political Correctness, which is another word for hating everything good and bright and decent and sane in life," about other authors and artists.

corb: " to have welcome space for everyone, as long as we can all commit to a policy of don't be shitty to each other."

Exactly. Wright can go first.

I mean, get real. Don't keep acting like John C. Wright is some paragon of moral virtue being unfairly excluded by The Mean People. He's an angry, hate-filled person who vents his spleen with alarming frequency. I mean, here's what he says about people who think Muslim terrorists don't represent all of Islam:
"No one can explain Leftism any more than anyone can explain the Fall of Lucifer. To be sure, some theorize that Leftists are utterly depraved and evil and love making false accusations merely because they are evil. Others theorize that Leftists are utterly stupid and actually believe their own unconvincing lies because they are too stupid to be skeptical about such transparent and obvious and unconvincing bullshit. Other point to the reproductive strategies of rabbits or to arrested brain development leading to he growth of gonads, producing a hysterical fear complex rendering the Leftist unable to face reality or even think about it, but also unable to shut up his damnable mouth. This addiction to unreality combined with a neurotic inability to shut his damnable mouth forces the pathetic yet annoying Leftist utter statements utterly unrelated to reality. He must, must utter such statements even though he knows that they are stupid; but the internal pressure of his own gormlessness forces him, unwillingly, to humiliate himself in public, while decent men look on, aghast at the grotesque display. ... Bigots hate. That is what they do. Leftists are bigots. Hatred and more hatred, whining hatred, irrational hatred, frothing brain-diseased incomprehensible epileptic hatred is their only stock in trade. That is what they sell. That is all they sell. They are HATE-R-US. And even when world civilization hangs in the balance, they would rather fling open the gates to the barbarian, and watch the world burn, and die themselves, rather than live with themselves, knowing that there is a Christian or a Jew or a White Man or a Rich Man anywhere on the globe living a happy and contended life."
This is really the guy you want to hang your "good and decent and polite conservatives being attacked by nasty politically-correct SJWs" hat from? Really?

BTW, I just picked the most popular post on his blog, that he highlights himself as necessary for visitors to read. I didn't have to go digging around for that. That's who he wants you to know he is.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:24 AM on April 11, 2015 [42 favorites]


Where are - I ask this sincerely - the people offering to create something welcoming for the more conservative SF writers?
Conservative writers go to cons all the time. I have personally met some of them there (when I used to go). But why should cons bend over backwards to attract asshats like the puppies? Artw nailed it (above).
He should not be excluded from fandom, much less awards, because he is a vocal and devoted True Believer of his religion. (I could even say that golden plates being awarded by a god-like creature which require a Babelfish Stone placed in a hat to read should count as EXTRA SCIENCE FICTION but I will mostly refrain.)
Wright is Roman Catholic, not Mormon, but just as fantastical IMO.
posted by zakur at 11:25 AM on April 11, 2015


I fundamentally disbelieve the narrative about Stalinist persecution of the conservative, the libertarian, and the religious. And that is because it is REALLY OBVIOUS BULLSHIT.

Gene Wolfe, Tim Powers -- conservative Catholic writers, popular, award-winning, critically acclaimed, well-liked.

Brandon Sanderson -- Mormon, has said out loud that he's what most people would consider conservative, has taken a bunch of flack for statements about homosexuality, and yet still: recent Hugo winner, buddies with a bunch of the people the puppies seem to consider the heart of the SJW cabal (co-hosts a popular podcast with Mary Robinette Kowal et al), massively popular and best-selling.

Vernor Vinge -- outspoken libertarian, many of his works directly examine libertarianism, best-selling, award-winning -- his most recent novel was the only one of his last four to NOT win a Hugo, well-liked.

That's just off the top of my head.

If Correia is disliked (I'll take his word on that part), it's not because of religious or political persecution.
posted by Zed at 11:26 AM on April 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


poor OSC and David Brin and Poul Anderson and Jerry Pournelle, all doomed to toil in obscurity due to the unwelcoming SF community
posted by kagredon at 11:31 AM on April 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


This is really the guy you want to hang your "good and decent and polite conservatives being attacked by nasty politically-correct SJWs" hat from? Really?

Sorry about the Catholic v Mormon error - I must be more tired than I thought, or maybe was just mixing him up with Torg.

I don't know that Wright is good and decent or polite in person. I really mean that - I have no idea! But the thing I'm trying to hang my hat on is more 'Let them come, be welcoming to them, and then if they pick up their own feces and fling it at someone, push them out the door."

Because the thing is - if Wright simply cannot control verbal diarrhea and is going to say something shitty to someone, then he's going to say something shitty to someone and that makes it a really clear ban at that point. But banning people for how you think they're going to act - particularly when there are often really huge differences between people's Behavior When Someone Is Wrong On The Internet and people's Behavior In Real Life - or just what you think you'll be thinking in their head - is just a bad idea and really does a lot to tear down the inclusive nature of fandom in a way that I think does permanent harm. And even with Wright as an example - sure, he wrote a strong post about his reaction to Terry Pratchett talking about euthanasia to applause, but did he say anything at the con itself? Does anyone have any instances of Wright Was Cruel To Me Personally In Person?

I posted earlier about just having been to a con - I took my kid, who has had difficulty making friends, as every adolescent does, to convention, and she was nervous about it, but it was so great and she was having so much fun and everyone was nice to her even though she has FriendStoppingAdolescentIssues.

And I guess a lot of my anger and upsetness over this whole thing is kind of about how there's a nice place that doesn't have to be shit on, and fuck it we don't have to be fighting like this is life or death.
posted by corb at 11:37 AM on April 11, 2015


Then stop making every excuse possible for the people who are shitting on it just because they share some aspect of your politics.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on April 11, 2015 [30 favorites]


Like, if 'Religious Oriented SF' wants to have a track at cons, puts up its own people for panels, and runs its own shebang, that is not functionally impacting other people at the con who choose not to go to their panels, as long as they still have to abide by anti-harassment rules about dealing with other con participants.

We absolutely have the ability, within the context of conventions, to have welcome space for everyone, as long as we can all commit to a policy of don't be shitty to each other.

And so for example, you can say, "Hey Tom Kratman, you're totally welcome to come to con, but the first time you say something shitty and he totally will you are banned from con for the remainder of the year. Next time it's five years. Next time it's 'don't come back'." And you can do that completely without referring to his beliefs, by making it about his actions at con. And you can also say, "Hey, we know Tom Kratman is a dick, but it is not okay to go to his panels specifically to call him a dick." And that also takes it out of the realm of ideology, and puts it into the realm of "Con is not an appropriate place to confront people publicly for what you feel about their beliefs."


All of this is already what happens. There are panels on religion in SF at Worldcon. It already is frowned upon, just as a culture thing, to go to someone's panel just to get in their face (and any competent panelist knows how to shut it down, laugh it off, and move on. That's not enough for Correia, because he doesn't want it to be a two-way street, where people who disagree with him are free to get together and hold panels about representation in SF, etc.
posted by kagredon at 11:42 AM on April 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


Gene Wolfe, Tim Powers -- conservative Catholic writers, popular, award-winning, critically acclaimed, well-liked.

FWIW, I have read most of Tim Powers, and the most Catholic work of his is Declare (a Cold War supernatural spy thriller with djinns and angels) which is... not terribly close to the Catechism, I'd say.

But that he's Catholic in RL (which I honestly didn't know until now) makes the end of the novel more understandable, at least. It's a good novel, anyway, so give it a go.
posted by sukeban at 11:48 AM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


> But banning people for how you think they're going to act

Wright et al. haven't been banned anywhere, as far as I know? (Except I guess VD, is he banned from cons?) Where are you getting this?
posted by rtha at 11:49 AM on April 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


But the thing I'm trying to hang my hat on is more 'Let them come, be welcoming to them, and then if they pick up their own feces and fling it at someone, push them out the door."

I haven't heard of cons which have refunded their membership when they try to buy one, so they seem to be allowed to come. So what would "be welcoming to them" mean?
posted by jeather at 11:51 AM on April 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


there are often really huge differences between people's Behavior When Someone Is Wrong On The Internet and people's Behavior In Real Life

The Internet is Real Life.

Again and again, conservatives confuse freedom of speech with the demand for freedom from the consequences of speech.
posted by overglow at 11:54 AM on April 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


I love Declare, but come on: Genesis is the literal truth in it, Communists are godless monsters, and a very specifically Catholic faith saves the day.
posted by Artw at 11:59 AM on April 11, 2015


I haven't heard of cons which have refunded their membership when they try to buy one, so they seem to be allowed to come. So what would "be welcoming to them" mean?

Hmmm. I think for me - the minimum bar would be a clear sense that harassment to them will be treated like any other kind of harassment, which is to say Not Tolerated - I vividly remember when people were saying that if Elizabeth Moon went to Wiscon, they would stalk her to every panel to let her know how upset they were, and it was very upsetting to hear. A clear sense that you can't say nasty things to people or follow them to panels just to confront them just because you don't like their views, and that doing so will have real consequences, regardless of what their views are.

And beyond that - in the social 'What We Should Do' sort of sense - I think just treating them like they're an average con goer. Being friendly and helpful and kind and part of the family. If you're inviting all the writers at the con to a party upstairs, then invite the conservative writers too. Don't leave them sad at the bar feeling like a wallflower who's not going to get asked to dance. If they win an award and you don't like it, clap anyway. If they're up for an award, and you think that the work sucks, say it, sure, but don't say 'It sucks because he's Xist and Yquality". Don't make things personal.
posted by corb at 11:59 AM on April 11, 2015


Nobody should harass them. Nobody is. Nobody should be obligated to put up with their bulllshit either.
posted by Artw at 12:02 PM on April 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I love Declare, but come on: Genesis is the literal truth in it, Communists are godless monsters, and a very specifically Catholic faith saves the day.

And angels are made of debris and movement and can be killed by marked stones and they live in Noah's ark and there's the immortality plant from Gilgamesh and the deal with the city in the desert and the ankh stones and why the hell do the protagonists end up being Catholic if they have seen that kind of weird shit.

Yeah. The end didn't make much sense to me until now.
posted by sukeban at 12:03 PM on April 11, 2015


There's a good bit on Declare and its politics and religion here, FWIW. And I would thoroughly recommend reading the book as well, catholic bits and all.
posted by Artw at 12:08 PM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


(Note: the angels and djinn in Declare are more like Lovecraftian entities from out of space and time than anything else, not your cute Botticelli androgynous figures.)
posted by sukeban at 12:08 PM on April 11, 2015


John C. Wright is publicly and loudly homophobic. Asking people to ignore that--demanding that queer people be friendly and helpful and treat someone who thinks we are disgusting as "part of the family" is uninformed at best and crazymaking at worst.

As Jemisin pointed out when discussing Wright's ally Vox Day:
Certainly, if the nasty little aggressor in question had had a day-job at most US-based companies of any meaningful size and had expressed similar sentiments as he expressed on SFWA’s twitter feed aloud in the workplace, he’d have been fired. In some companies, he’d have been fired just for posting those thoughts in a public, but not-work-related, forum.
Talking about how to make public spaces more welcoming for--let me repeat--loud and publicly homophobic individuals is deeply unsupportive of queer people.
posted by overglow at 12:11 PM on April 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


(Note: the angels and djinn in Declare are more like Lovecraftian entities from out of space and time than anything else, not your cute Botticelli androgynous figures.)

They are very pleasingly spooky.

(I think the main reason why the Christian bits in that book irk me slightly is more to do with how it lessens to them a little, much like Derleth's Christian bits lessen Lovecraft. If he was doing something with more of a straight up Catholic horror vibe it wouldn't bother me in the slightest.)
posted by Artw at 12:13 PM on April 11, 2015


Asking people to ignore that--demanding that queer people be friendly and helpful and treat someone who thinks we are disgusting as "part of the family" is uninformed at best and crazymaking at worst.

We do that here, though. If you participate on AskMe, you have to be friendly and helpful, regardless of what the person asking the question thinks of you and your practices. And moreover, in practice, it plays out. I've answered questions as helpfully as I could for people that I think are deeply, deeply wrong about things - and some people that find my own politics vile have given some really great, helpful responses. And I mean, of course the natural tendency is to say that Mefites are just better, but is there really a reason a similar culture can't mean similar expectations are applied in SF fandom?
posted by corb at 12:14 PM on April 11, 2015


So it seems like what I'm hearing is that there are lots of conservatives who are not just welcome in but fixtures in fandom. I mean, if your argument hinges on the nonexistence of Tim Powers, you might want to rethink.

Furthermore, as GRRM proved fairly conclusively, there is no bias against conservative SF authors being nominated for and winning awards.

Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of authors being publicly aggrieved on the *puppy slates are ... well ... kind of a little bit fucking assholes. I'm not counting Brad Torgersen, but Larry Correia, John C Wright, and VD, certainly. These are people who are publicly and aggressively insulting to people who are not like them on a continual basis.

Now Larry Correia even acknowledges this, but he says that, "hey, I didn't used to be an aggressively public jerk! I was a real nice guy, and everyone was a jerk to me because I'm a conservative!" And yet his con report from the time doesn't mention this, and, again, non-fucking-asshole conservatives seem to do just fine.

And also, and I'm speculating, I have a hard time believing that someone who's true self is 'fucking asshole' can mask it all that well for all that long. I suspect that his 'nice guy persona' was not as airtight as he claims.

Corb, you say that what you think is fair is:
I think just treating them like they're an average con goer. Being friendly and helpful and kind and part of the family.

I know it's been said before, but please consider that the available evidence is that that's exactly what's happening. People are being nice and friendly to people who are nice and friendly to them. People are being hostile to people who are hostile to them. Is it about politics? Well, I doubt Benjanun Sriduangkaew got invited to too many parties by the people she viciously attacked and insulted, either.
posted by Myca at 12:20 PM on April 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


I agree that no one should be harassed at cons, sure. I don't think a con should publish an anti-harassment policy that says "we do x to any sort of harassment, in particular if it's against a conservative" for a lot of reasons, but a clear anti-harassment policy that is enforced against everyone is a good thing (see: Readercon).

And I guess, if you interact with JCW etc, you should be polite -- I don't think it's on people to be actively seeking them out to prove how friendly and helpful they are. In askme, you are obliged to be helpful in those questions that you choose to answer. You are not obliged to answer any given question; similarly, I'm not obliged to interact with any given person.
posted by jeather at 12:22 PM on April 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am sure I missed something, but what was the unfriendly, unhelpful behavior? Was there something more than nominating what they consider to be SJW-sanctioned stuff for Hugos?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:22 PM on April 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Other people went around having more fun than them, basically.
posted by Artw at 12:25 PM on April 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think there's a slight difference between offering an answer to a question and treating someone like part of the family and inviting them to your party. On AskMe, people have the option to simply pass by questions by people they would prefer not to engage with. But you explicitly argued that ignoring John C. Wright counted as being unwelcoming.

Am I arguing that queer people should be cruel to John C. Wright? No, not at all. What I'm saying is that a standard of welcoming which includes treating a stranger who publicly attacks people like you as a family member is not a good or fair or informed one.
posted by overglow at 12:27 PM on April 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


> ut is there really a reason a similar culture can't mean similar expectations are applied in SF fandom?

You keep insisting that it somehow isn't, and hasn't been, and that famous writers with lots of sales have been harassed and/or shunned at bars between panels.

Why is the weight on someone like me to reach out the hand of amity to someone who has publicly said things like "we will do all we can to smash the filthy phallic idol of sodomy you bow and serve and worship"? Will you go to his blog and ask him to tone down the talk about filthy sodomites, and how maybe that is perceived as unwelcoming? Or are we the only ones deserving of this advice?
posted by rtha at 12:30 PM on April 11, 2015 [24 favorites]


I think maybe part of the disconnect is the understanding that viciously hateful homophobic screeds like Wrights are personal attacks, even if they don't name specific people.

So, like, Corb, I don't think you would expect "Sally," who was called "vile subhuman filth," by Benjanun Sriduangkaew to then invite her to parties and generally hang out with her. And I think that this would probably extend to Sally's friends as well, right?

I think that there needs to be an understanding that the same rules apply if "Sally," was called "vile subhuman filth," not directly, but obliquely on account of her sexual orientation or race, by John C Wright or Vox Day.

But if it's about sexual orientation or race, there are a lot more Sallys, and a lot more friends. So yeah. I'd imagine there are a lot more parties they don't get invited to. Because they've personally attacked and insulted people.
posted by Myca at 12:37 PM on April 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that if a user repeatedly calling being gay "a sexual aberration" or "perversion"/making references to "the homosexual lobby" and referring to other users as having "a shrill little clique of social justice freaklings", he'd get banned regardless of how helpful he was in AskMe.

In fact, I'd seriously reconsider the amount of time I spend here if that weren't so.
posted by kagredon at 12:38 PM on April 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


So does this mean there should also be panels for avowed racists to talk about how much better white people are? Why should we be giving 'safe space' (and how I loathe your appropriation of that term, as though you don't understand that 'safe spaces' are created quite specifically to allow us freedom from these misogynist, racist, homo- and transphobic dinosaurs) to people who literally and in their own words think I am less than human?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:44 PM on April 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


Wright is Catholic, not Mormon, and I am a vocal and devoted "true believer" of the same religion, without being a gigantic dickhead about it.

Indeed. Gene Wolf is also a very vocal, devoted and conservative member of the same religion. He is also not a giant dickhead about it, I'm honored to know him, he is one of the true greats of the field.

I feel for Larry Correia in many ways. I feel he's stepped in it, doubled down, and can't understand why he's gotten the reaction he has, but I honestly don't think it's malice. I think if we can step back, we could mend that breach and make him part of the family. He refusal of the nomination was the right step, I think he realize he was going to cross a line that couldn't be recrossed if he accepted, and he did not. I could be wrong, but I'm not willing to condemn. I feel he has done some wrong to fandom, but many have, including myself, and we can all forgive, learn and grow.

Jim C. Wright is too busy spewing fire and hate to reach. I don't know if we can ever cross that divide, and unlike Larry C, he's not even willing to try. So, fine. It is what it is. But he's committed one unforgivable sin, and that's he's all in with....

VD? Holy cow, that's a whole other thing. I honestly, in bones, feel he is, by my morality and standards, the *most evil person I've encountered.* I will not treat with him. There is no negotiation with him. Period. His goal is clear, and simple, and I grant him credit for in no way hiding it, he wants an absolute theocracy, with himself at the head of it, with females little more than slaves in it, and with anybody else who isn't white and Christian either enslaved or dead.

This is literally the level of evil that has resulted in the legendary genocides of history, and he is *all in* for it. And if this doesn't scare you? You need to read his stuff again.

And you know what? I had a bit of ephinany last night.

This has *nothing* to do with the Sad Puppies. They are a shield. Larry C made that list, VD has been hiding behind it. Let's stop calling it what it isn't. It's not the Sad Puppies doing this. It's VD's Rabid Puppies and Gamergate.

That's who we're fighting. If a true SP wants to join us in that fight, we should welcome them. They've been used too.
posted by eriko at 12:53 PM on April 11, 2015 [18 favorites]


That, and the fact that they already have safe spaces. It's called most of the rest of the world, and most of the last couple centuries. They've had safe spaces in SFF for over a century. The fact that the slightest bit of effort in welcoming to someone or something that isn't what they want causes them to run to the gates and try and close them is their problem. And if someone is more welcoming to a bunch of people outside the community for the very reason that they're trying to shut people out by force, I honestly think there's almost an obligation to make them as unwelcome as possible.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:53 PM on April 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Larry C made that list, VD has been hiding behind it. Let's stop calling it what it isn't. It's not the Sad Puppies doing this. It's VD's Rabid Puppies and Gamergate.

Personally, I think Correia crossed the line several months ago. He's pretty firmly in bed with both the RP and GG at this point, and genuinely seems to revel in the hate they spread. He speaks their lingo, he favorably passes on much of the worst they put out, and he's very chummy with their figureheads. That's not something that can be fixed over a couple of beers.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:00 PM on April 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


And I mean, of course the natural tendency is to say that Mefites are just better, but is there really a reason a similar culture can't mean similar expectations are applied in SF fandom?

There's a big difference between MeFi and SF Fandom.

MeFi has a banhammer.

Everyone here agrees to get along because if you don't, your replies get deleted, if that's not enough clue, you get The Letter From The Mod, and if that doesn't do it, the Banhammer is warmed up and you get a time out. Enough of that and BOOM. You are no longer a MeFite. Everyone here has basically passed a test, and that test is "you will be a reasonable MeFite, or you will not be a MeFite." So, yeah, even when we really disagree, we can talk about it.

Fandom, historically, has not only been welcoming, but there has been an actively and intense rejection of the very idea of rejecting anyone from fandom. Basically, everyone thought "well, I was nobody until I found fandom, who am I to reject anyone else?" This mutated into the "we have to welcome all" attitude that has pervaded fandom for decades and it is only in *very* recent years that this social rule has been brought into question. The idea of banning someone because of something they said or did somewhere else was tried at the first Worldcon, when a few Michelists (basically, pro-Communists) were barred, and that went over like a dead horse.

Then there was the Breendoggle. I'll elide the whole sordid affair (note that Walter Breen died in prison a convicted child sex offender and leave it at that) but the whole thing left a very bad impression on fandom (he'd not be convicted or even arrested at the point he was excluded from the Worldcon) and that started the idea that We Do Not Exclude.

Really, it's only been in the last couple of years that the thought of declaring someone Persona No Grata has really been brought up, and there's still a significant amount of resistance to it, but at least it's no longer a complete faux pas to even bring the idea up.
posted by eriko at 1:04 PM on April 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Personally, I think Correia crossed the line several months ago.

I'd thought that too, but in the last few days, I'm not so sure. I'm not willing to automatically be all chummy with him, but if he were to walk into a bar, buy me a beer and say "can I have a few minutes of your time?", I'd give him that and a fair hearing, and the honor of an honest reply given in a reasonable tone, and if there was common ground, I'd tell him how to reach it, and be honest in how difficult it would be to reach it with many fans.

But we'll see in the next few weeks. He could just redouble and then we'll know. But in my personal fannish book, while he's not on a good page, he's not written out yet.

Yet. The pen is always rewriting.
posted by eriko at 1:13 PM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


And still no reason scamming a nomination should earn any of them anything other than NO AWARD. Sorry George.
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Let's not forget that Correia reached out to Milo Yiannopolous (@Nero,) who has been a recent media cheerleader of the gamergators.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:33 PM on April 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


corb: " to have welcome space for everyone, as long as we can all commit to a policy of don't be shitty to each other."

Corb -

First, I'm glad you're here, I don't agree with you all the time, but you're a valid voice, you're respectful of other people, and truth be told, MeFi does lean strongly progressive/liberal, and a few strong conservative voices are welcome and needed.

And I know you catch flack. A couple of people should be glad we don't have dope slap over IP, because they'd have headaches right now.

But this? I'm willing to welcome those willing to be welcomed and play by the rules and social conventions of the space. Here, the only people we call drunken fuckwits would be people with the username "drunken fuckwits." We don't wish members to be killed, we cry when they die. We don't accept that you walk into the space you've been welcomed into and demand to change the rules and social conventions. If you don't like them, go find your owns spaces, and speaking as a white male, I know *exactly* how easy it is for White Males to find spaces where they can say and do basically whatever the hell they want, including things that are flat out illegal.

All are welcome here -- but all follow the same rules. We are civil. We discuss the topic. Arguably, I'm really pushing the rules by doing this here and not on MeTa, but I'm bringing this on topic in a sec, so hopefully the mods will give me some doubt, besides, I only posted the Treaty of Westphalia *once* and it was on CAPS LOCK DAY, I'm sorry.

You, and I, and everyone else here follows the rules, so you, and I, and everyone else is welcome, even if FFFM keeps trying to egg you on AND I WISH THEY'D CUT YOU A BIT OF SLACK OK HINT but I'm not a mod that's a personal opinion anyway where was I?

If others come into this space, they are welcome too -- so long as they play by the rules and conventions. If they don't, however, *boom* goes the banhammer.

If they come into a space and demand that all the rules and social conventions be changed to favor them? Then, well, here's where my welcome turns into a spear. I'll be honest, I'm mostly gafiated from fandom right now, but SF Fandom has been a big part of my life, a goodly number of my close friends, I've met there, and this was a deliberate and explicit "fuck you" to them.

That's why I'm taking this in the spirit of "fuck you back." And why I'm not saying that to you. You? You are playing by the both the rules and the social conventions. I'm good with you being here. Hell, I'm glad you're here. If you're ever in Chicago, let me know, if you drink such, I'll buy you a beer, help find you the right church, if you have diet restrictions, point you to the right place so you can eat, and all that. You're being social here. I will be social there. You've held up your hand, I will embrace it. It's the social condition, and you are playing by it.

You come in demanding this and that, and you'd have been ban hammered. You didn't, and you are one of the valid voices of the site. Fandom, alas, doesn't have a banhammer. But socially, that's what's happening, esp. when you look at the stated positions of some of these folk, which involve direct physical harm to my friends and family.

Forgive me for taking that poorly.

Anyway. That's why, at least in my opinion, Fandom Has Been Plunged Into War. The odd thing, though, is it's not with itself this time.
posted by eriko at 1:35 PM on April 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


Let's not forget that Correia reached out to Milo Yiannopolous (@Nero,) who has been a recent media cheerleader of the gamergators.

CONDEMNED FOREVER.
posted by Artw at 1:39 PM on April 11, 2015


Let's not forget that Correia reached out to Milo Yiannopolous (@Nero,) who has been a recent media cheerleader of the gamergators.

Reached out in January. If Yiannopolous was a GG cheerleader then, then yes, he's hit a line that'll be very hard to cross back. If that's new, I'm not going to auto-condemn. If you've never talked cordially to someone who turned out to be a complete fuckhead later, you are a really lucky person.

Lord knows I have. Hell, one of them is on the goddamn Hugo ballot!
posted by eriko at 1:43 PM on April 11, 2015


Yiannopoulos's grotesque and transparently opportunistic (except, it seems, to GGers) latching on to Gamergate extends well into last year.
posted by kagredon at 1:47 PM on April 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Okay, he's fallen that much farther then. Thanks, all.
posted by eriko at 1:57 PM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not to pile on, but he's also buddy-buddy with Adam Baldwin, who among other general awfulness kicked off the "5 Guys"/Zoe-Quinn-whores-herself-for-reviews crap.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:09 PM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


The follow up to that tweet makes it clear Larry knew about Milo's GG prominence.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:29 PM on April 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is it still guilt by association if the association is not just voluntary but enthusiastic?
posted by rtha at 2:33 PM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Community moderation at its finest In The Guardian story about Martin's condemnation of the slate voting.
posted by Kattullus at 2:39 PM on April 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


GRRM: Hatespeech

Interesting parallel he draws b/t Requires Hate and Vox Day.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:42 PM on April 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Most Thunderous Dickweasel #NewHugoCategories
posted by kagredon at 2:46 PM on April 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I feel for Larry Correia in many ways. I feel he's stepped in it, doubled down, and can't understand why he's gotten the reaction he has, but I honestly don't think it's malice. I think if we can step back, we could mend that breach and make him part of the family.

I really appreciate you noting that. Honestly, Correia's post hit me like a punch to the gut, because it's so much "I love you and wanted to love you, why is it like this?" I feel the same way about him as I do about Torgersen - who Correia affectionately describes as 'too naive to survive in Westeros'. I think they both seem like really great guys who are disturbed by what they see as wrong - and honestly, I do think they have at least the seeds of a legitimate beef, even if it's not what they see as the biggest one.

Hell, GRRM, who despite his D/R voting preference, seems to be coming out swinging as knowledgeable and measured as possible on this, has openly admitted a lot of the things they were saying: yes, there has been Hugo campaigning, yes, there are cliques, yes, some of them get things on the ballot that would not have been there, this has all happened before - this is an escalation, but it is not the first step on the path that led here. So it's possible to not be bigoted and to still feel that there are some legitimate points, even if you think some of the stuff is a bridge too far.

My take on Vox Day is that he's still fuming from his SFWA boot. Honestly, I think here's where Torgensen nails it on the head (linked above);
Will anybody listen to me? I know Vox sure as hell doesn’t give a fuck what I think. When did he ever? He didn’t give a fuck when SFWA sent him packing. He doesn’t give a fuck who hates him. If Sad Puppies evaporates tomorrow and ceases to exist, Vox won’t give a shit at all. Because Vox doesn’t give a shit what any of us think, and doesn’t care. When did The Kurgan ever? This is a fight for The Prize. You cut off his head, he cuts off your head.
posted by corb at 2:54 PM on April 11, 2015


To clarify, because I realize that may seem confusing - I think Vox Day cares but only in the doing battle, negative way. I don't know that he cares about anyone positively. I don't know anyone who could lay a kind word in Vox Day's ear and have it be listened to.
posted by corb at 3:00 PM on April 11, 2015


True, but I would assume that calling out Day's awfulness would be more about giving Correia and Torgersen legitimacy than making day stop. Simply calling Day an unpredictable wild man doesn't cut it.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:14 PM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


My take on Vox Day is that he's still fuming from his SFWA boot.

Guess he shouldn't have been calling black folks "subhuman animals" then.
posted by Justinian at 4:20 PM on April 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


Not using the SFWAuthors Twitter feed he shouldn't have, the thing he did that got him kicked out.

They probably would have let him be obnoxious on his own platforms till the end of time.
posted by Artw at 4:25 PM on April 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't really give a damn about the religious beliefs of authors at cons if I'm sitting down to a discussion about the struggles writing time travel, world building, or economics of galactic empires.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:09 PM on April 11, 2015


Now Larry Correia even acknowledges this, but he says that, "hey, I didn't used to be an aggressively public jerk! I was a real nice guy, and everyone was a jerk to me because I'm a conservative!" And yet his con report from the time doesn't mention this, and, again, non-fucking-asshole conservatives seem to do just fine.

And also, and I'm speculating, I have a hard time believing that someone who's true self is 'fucking asshole' can mask it all that well for all that long. I suspect that his 'nice guy persona' was not as airtight as he claims.


Harlan Ellison is such a famous asshole at cons that it was the plot of a Hardy Boys novel, but he still seems liked. At least, I like him. But he's a good writer and an equal opportunity offender and not, I think, a flaming bigot.
I first heard of Vox Day through anti-Men's Rights and GamerGate blogs. I know him as a culture warrior first and a writer second, if it all.
As Phil Sandifer said, no other community would be welcoming to people with his views. His hatred of women and racial and sexual minorities has no place in a civilized society. But it's found a home in fandom.
Why?
Norman Spinrad's The Iron Dream skewers some Sci-fi as literal facist power fantasy, and it stings. Even GRRM, the current voice of reason, traffics in Orientalist fantasy of racialized Mongol hoards.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:45 PM on April 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


But Vox Day hasn't found a home in fandom. That's one of their grievances.
posted by Justinian at 7:01 PM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, fuck that. The moment you stop being a tax exile living in Italy threatening to kill half my friends, then I'll be welcoming.
posted by eriko at 7:27 PM on April 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm very much not saying he should have a home in fandom, I was just disagreeing with CiS' assertion that he had found one, which is a bit of a libel against fandom.
posted by Justinian at 7:31 PM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


this is an escalation, but it is not the first step on the path that led here.

So? The escalators are not somehow absolved of responsibility for their escalation.

Furthermore, neither they nor you have provided anything remotely resembling evidence that the "first step" (whatever the hell that supposedly was) was ideologically driven in the same way that SP/RP is - and they have flat out admitted the ideological motivations more than once in public and in writing.

GRRM is very clearly talking about past cliques and campaigning in the context of "friends promoting friends because friends", no ideology necessary or in evidence.

So it's possible to not be bigoted and to still feel that there are some legitimate points, even if you think some of the stuff is a bridge too far.

However, many people pushing the SP/RP slates have thoroughly and publicly established their bigotry, so that possibility is not relevant here, because that's not what's happening.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:33 PM on April 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Ok. I've had a couple of beers. I've carried this dark secret with me for decades. Today, I come clean.

I sawed Courtney's boat.

And I'm not sorry.
posted by eriko at 7:47 PM on April 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


GRRM is very clearly talking about past cliques and campaigning in the context of "friends promoting friends because friends", no ideology necessary or in evidence.

The only way it would at all comparable is if GRRM had recruited the Wolf Rescue people he supports to vote a slate for Hugo nominees.

Which he didn't because he's not a psychopath with a bone.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:14 PM on April 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't really give a damn about the religious beliefs of authors

It must be nice to have the luxury of not caring about what these people believe, when what they believe is that large portions of humanity--including many people right here in this thread--aren't human.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:19 PM on April 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


Announcing The Mulligan Awards

HOW DO I NOMINATE FOR THE MULLIGANS?

You already have or haven’t. The nominations will be based on Hugo nomination numbers rather than being a completely separate procedure. Each year the Hugo committee publishes a list of the top 15 nominees with voting counts for each one. The Mulligan nominations start with the Hugo nomination list, but estimates what the top 5 would be in the absence of the voting bloc.

posted by Artw at 11:19 PM on April 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


It must be nice to have the luxury of not caring about what these people believe, when what they believe is that large portions of humanity--including many people right here in this thread--aren't human.

I really hate it when one half of a sentence is pulled out of context, especially when that context involves a very particular situation in the thread and an explicit limiting clause. Doing so, IMO, is a dishonest shit move.

To explain that further, the number of authors on my will-not-read (or listen to) list can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Correia and Butcher are not on that list yet. Wright, Day, and Card are because I think they've gone out of their way in public bigotry. I don't routinely do background checks on authors to figure out their political and religious affiliations. I'm not in the business of asking strangers their political voting habits, congregations, and party affiliations. Frankly, I don't know what any of the puppies look like, and wouldn't be able to identify them in a crowd or at a party anyway.

Half of my family are Whovians, half of them are fundamentalist Christians (at least until my niece leaves the house). Talking about SF&F helps bring us together in spite of politics. If I'm at a con or book talk, I want to talk about books. If we did start self-segregating on politics in those spaces, I'd likely be in a corner with my partner.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:50 AM on April 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Someone is reviewing all the Puppy stories here (and thinks that one of the JCW stories is ineligible).
posted by jeather at 7:01 AM on April 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


TL;DR version - Animal Farm with the Holy Spirit instead of Communists

Heh. Is anyone still beating the drum that this guy could have got by on merit? That sounds worse than the VD thing from last year.
posted by Artw at 7:18 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


(and thinks that one of the JCW stories is ineligible).


The thing about SF short fiction is that there's SO MUCH of it in any given, especially if you are not too fussy about quality, so I really wonder why they were so hard up for things to nominate they had to scam one onto their list. Are they just reflexively dishonest?
posted by Artw at 7:32 AM on April 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I really hate it when one half of a sentence is pulled out of context, especially when that context involves a very particular situation in the thread and an explicit limiting clause. Doing so, IMO, is a dishonest shit move.

You can call it whatever you like. I was pointing out that for some of us, picking and choosing when we care about an author's personal convictions isn't really a luxury we have.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:35 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


In the comments to the ineligibility post it is alleged that Wright's nominated "One Bright Star to Guide Them" is only slightly different from an earlier story by the same name, though it might still be technically eligible.
posted by Kattullus at 7:46 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


And one of the RP/GG people is claiming that the "we'll buy a supporting membership for someone who can't afford it" (they're at about 75 now) is buying votes.
posted by jeather at 8:02 AM on April 12, 2015


Yeah, the second I read about the supporting membership plan, I knew it would be called vote-buying.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:14 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really wonder why they were so hard up for things to nominate they had to scam one onto their list. Are they just reflexively dishonest?

That was one of the ones that was only on the Rabid Puppies list, so...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:29 AM on April 12, 2015


[A few comments deleted. Please drop the interpersonal needling and accusations. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:06 AM on April 12, 2015


Of course, I care. A nearly crippling phobia of straight people is something I struggle with on a daily basis.

But when I go to a convention, I meet dozens of strangers, some of whom are authors, and I know nothing about them beyond a name, a book title, and maybe an elevator speech. If that elevator speech includes something about their personal convictions, then I care. But otherwise I must extend the benefit of the doubt that John Doe peddling Amazon published swordpunk isn't one of "these people."

Because assuming that everyone or anyone is going to act with violent heterosexism and cissexism isn't healthy for me.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:12 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not talking about assuming, I'm talking about publicly-stated positions.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:22 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


In the comments to the ineligibility post it is alleged that Wright's nominated "One Bright Star to Guide Them" is only slightly different from an earlier story by the same name, though it might still be technically eligible.

A significantly changed story becomes eligible again, though if it's also changed size, it moves to the appropriate category. There have been cases of winners being expanded to novels and being nominated again.

Who decides if the change is significant enough to merit a new story? The Hugo Administrator for the year is the sole arbiter here. If they rule it's different enough, then it is and it is an eligible work. There's no appeal available if a Hugo Subcommittee is in place, as it is here (and always is) Theoretically, the entire concom could overrule if there wasn't, but *everybody* does the subcommittee to make sure nobody loses a nomination because they're on the concom. (Yes, it happens, esp. in Fanwriter/Fan Artist.)

Historically, we've given a large bit of leeway to the authors on this point. Generally, if they say they've substantially reworked the story, we don't demand diffs from them as proof.
posted by eriko at 9:58 AM on April 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the second I read about the supporting membership plan, I knew it would be called vote-buying.

Which is why the person on point very carefully stated in public (at the suggestion of someone you might know....) that they were explicitly not constraining voting in any way, shape or form.

Merely buying someone a membership does not disqualify votes -- if you buy a membership for you and your spouse, your spouse can vote. What you cannot do is vote both your and your spouse's memberships. There are other benefits to membership besides nominating and voting the Hugo awards -- you also get to vote in Site Selection, and you get all the publications of the convention, and if you decide to attend, the supporting membership cost is deducted from your attending membership cost when you convert it.
posted by eriko at 10:05 AM on April 12, 2015


That's really not going to make any difference to them objecting to it, but since one of their talking points is how their slate is totally within the rules and this is also within the rules who gives a shit?
posted by Artw at 10:13 AM on April 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have so much sympathy for the Sasquan administrators this year. What terrible luck for them to have been dropped into this kind of crap.

fffm, there are a lot of writers out there and most of them I don't know what positions they have publicly stated, even if they are authors whose books I read.
posted by jeather at 10:24 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


It seems that an unexpected party is joining the fray for next year's Hugos.
posted by sukeban at 10:30 AM on April 12, 2015


I've had a supporting membership since shortly after Sasquan won the bid, I think, but I'm tempted to make a point of converting to attending partly so I can attend the business meeting because I fear that the various contingents of bad puppies are going to either try and push through some displeasing-to-me rules change, or to at least block any attempts to adjust the rules to somehow limit the effect of slate-based voting.

Look, really look, at Torgensens' blog, or Correia's

Sure. Here's what Correia says about the "typical Worldcon voter"
If you can’t stomach the comments long enough to hear what a typical WorldCon voter sounds like, let me paraphrase: “Fantastic! I’m so sick of people actually enjoying books that are fun! Let’s shove more message fiction down their throats! My cause comes before their enjoyment! Diversity! Gay polar bears are being murdered by greedy corporations! Only smart people who think correct thoughts like I do should read books and I won’t be happy until my genre dies a horrible death! Yay!” (and if there is beeping noise in the background, that’s because they’re backing up their mobility scooter).
posted by rmd1023 at 10:38 AM on April 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


Which. Is why he's pushing a slate of preachy no-fun shit.
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on April 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


I was really tempted to buy an attending membership even before all this (Spokane is about a 1.5 hour drive from where I live), but I don't have $200 to spare in the foreseeable future. Maybe we can have a Mefi meetup anyway, since it sounds like a couple people are thinking about it?
posted by kagredon at 10:56 AM on April 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


and if there is beeping noise in the background, that’s because they’re backing up their mobility scooter

way to stick the landing, big guy.
posted by Zed at 10:57 AM on April 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


It seems that an unexpected party is joining the fray for next year's Hugos.

Oh, FFS. I'm all in favor of celebrating fanfiction, because it can have a lot of creativity and value -- I wrote my own unauthorized sequel to a well-beloved children's classic, after all -- but the Hugos are for professionally published science fiction. Not Harry Potter AUs.

If you can't get paid for writing it (without getting sued by the richest author in the world), I don't think you should be campaigning for literary awards for it.
posted by suelac at 11:02 AM on April 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Where are - I ask this sincerely - the people offering to create something welcoming for the more conservative SF writers?

Correira himself was rather enthusiastic about his first Worldcon back in 2011 before he let his entitlement over run his common sense; so was his pal Turgidson. But even then the clues were there that they had a rather inflated opinion of themselves, seeing as how much both talk about not winning any Hugo or Campbell awards.

This idea that Worldcon or the Hugo Awards were just mean against decent, honest, hardworking writers like Turgidson or Laaarry is nonsense. Fandom has never not been welcoming to rightwing assholes, as long as they don't quite shit in the punch bowl. People like David Weber, for all his clumsy attacks on liberals in the Honor Harrington books, has been massively popular for decades, while people like Tim Powers or Gene Wolfe have had masses of critical recognition too.

But the problem is that Torgensen and Correira just aren't that good, nor all that popular, certainly not on the same level as Scalzi, who has gotten all the recognition and success they feel should be theirs.

That drove them to their temper tantrum, that need for undeserved recognition, not anything fandom did.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:13 AM on April 12, 2015 [13 favorites]


Not sure about the exact rules for 'Related Work', but it seems like maybe HPMoR is better suited to that than to Best Novel. Since, you know, it's not a novel.

Not too worried about it messing up the Hugos though, since in the end The Wheel of Time voting bloc just got a nomination and not an award.
posted by tofu_crouton at 11:20 AM on April 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not sure about the exact rules for 'Related Work', but it seems like maybe HPMoR is better suited to that than to Best Novel. Since, you know, it's not a novel.

HPMoR doesn't qualify for either, as far as I can tell, it's not professionally published and both Best Novel and BRW are for professionally published works. If was was professionally published, that wouldn't apply, and I think it fits Novel more than BRW.

Arguably, it does (and this is going to sound insulting, and I do not mean it to) qualify for BDP-L. BDP is, quite deliberately, a very wide category. Screenplays are BDP, not Best Novel/Novellette.

It certainly has qualified the author for Best Fanwriter, and would have qualified the artist for Best Fanartist for the cover (if he was paid for that, then Best Artist) in the year the work was created, assuming I'm correct about the lack of professional publication.

He is correct that *next* year would be the correct year to nominate it if it finishes this year. It would be treated as a serialized work, those become eligible when they are complete. Multi-part works have each part eligible upon release. And, yes, arguably, if that happens, the whole series is then ineligible as a series, but It's Complicated.
posted by eriko at 11:48 AM on April 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think a Best Transformative Work would make a good new category, for the Hugo or for whatever succeeds it. The qualities that would make a good candidate are distinct enough from existing ones, and it would be a way of reaching out to the broader fan/reading community (and not just in the "vote for us, Gamergaters!" way), it has traditional precedent in the Fan Writer/Author and Zine awards. Even if Yudkowsky were to file the copyright-infringing serial numbers off, HPMOR still relies too much on the structure and context of the original works to really stand alone in a coherent way. But as a Transformative Work, yeah, I could see it.
posted by kagredon at 11:51 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Things got a short story nomination in 2010, so if you can somehow get your fanfic published without being sued to oblivion there doesn't seem to be any other barrier to it going in the main categories.
posted by Artw at 12:00 PM on April 12, 2015


And Pride and Prometheus, John Kessel's Frankenstein/Pride and Prejudice mashup was a nominee in 2009. (And it really is uncanny how well they piece together.) No worries about suit there, of course.
posted by Zed at 12:09 PM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think a Best Transformative Work would make a good new category, for the Hugo or for whatever succeeds it.

My test for a category is that I want to see five works that are worthy of winning but that wouldn't make the ballot because there are five better works. That is, if you don't have 10 honestly worthy works every year, that category is problematic.

Yes, this means I believe we need to collapse the written categories down to at least three. This will happen, basically, never, but hey, you have to stand for something.

I'd almost rather have a Best Other Thing category for something you think is Hugo Worthy but doesn't fit a category. Bonus: It will torture the Hugo Administrators. But seriously, no, this a bad idea and I'm a bad person for suggesting it. BOOOOOOO!
posted by eriko at 12:44 PM on April 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


If you can't get paid for writing it (without getting sued by the richest author in the world), I don't think you should be campaigning for literary awards for it.

Sssh. He's a Very Smart Dude who can Outthink all the competitors. And I swear I'm keeping a straight face as I type.
posted by sukeban at 1:00 PM on April 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


He could try and get Rowling to publish it and donate the proceeds to charity, she's a sucker for that kind of thing.
posted by Artw at 1:03 PM on April 12, 2015


Maybe we can have a Mefi meetup anyway, since it sounds like a couple people are thinking about it?

I'd be down with that.
posted by RakDaddy at 1:19 PM on April 12, 2015


Kattullus: "In the comments to the ineligibility post it is alleged that Wright's nominated "One Bright Star to Guide Them" is only slightly different from an earlier story by the same name, though it might still be technically eligible."

To bring in another thread about authorial embarrassment, I am having hardcore Catholic fremdscham on JCW's behalf after reading these. He's making Catholicism, and himself, look ridiculously shallow and facile, but doesn't even have the wit to be embarrassed by how superficial and simplistic this comes across. I am in a full-body cringe on his behalf. These sound like an 18-year-old fundamentalist Catholic with wealthy parents who's working hard to flunk out of freshman philosophy class in his effort to stick it to his "cafeteria Catholic" philosophy professor who, he believes, is nowhere near as smart as he is. He's just sitting there in his smug, entitled certainty while everyone laughs behind their hands at him. And he doesn't realize it. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, I cannot read any more of this. It's not just bad, it is causing me emotional pain that he thinks it's not just good writing but morally superior writing! GAAAAAAH
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:30 PM on April 12, 2015 [16 favorites]


So I read Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus, and among the many things it is (badly written, badly argued), it doesn't actually seem to be any sort of SFF. For all the complaints about "If you were a dinosaur, my love" being not SFF you'd think the puppies would have at least stuck to genre stories.
posted by jeather at 2:09 PM on April 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


OH JESUS WHAT IS THIS EVEN WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GOOD STUFF?
posted by corb at 3:35 PM on April 12, 2015


This entire story is like "If You Could Talk to a Pompous Saint, My Love.
posted by corb at 3:37 PM on April 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh God I'm sorry for triple posting but sweet Jesus it just keeps getting worse is he writing this to troll Catholics? Does he have a brain tumor?
posted by corb at 3:42 PM on April 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


HPMoR doesn't qualify for either, as far as I can tell, it's not professionally published and both Best Novel and BRW are for professionally published works.

I don't believe there's any requirement for professional publication, last year's winner of BRW was a blog post, but for BRW the work needs to be non-fiction or "if fictional, is noteworthy primarily for aspects other than the fictional text" and also not eligible in any other category and I think HPMoR fits into novel.
posted by penguinliz at 4:05 PM on April 12, 2015


...Does he have a brain tumor?
posted by corb at 6:42 PM on April 12


Wright was your basic Libertarian Atheist Asshole - until he had a heart attack. The near-death experience apparently gave him a 'Road to Damascus' conversion experience: he came out of it leaving his 'Atheist Asshole' persona entirely behind, and has newly constructed for himself one of the basic 'New-Convert/Zealot Asshole' personas. He's spent the last decade or a so being a walking advertisement for everything that's wrong with religion. (...Because HE has The Truth....)

Reading his recent comments: yes, he sounds genuinely unhinged, delusional, insane.

Which reminds me that Beale's daddy went fully and publicly delusional: while up on federal felony charges, Beale Senior convened a Pretend Court and issued Pretend Writs and Pretend Warrants to the Quite Real federal judge who was trying him. Literally, crazy stuff.

It bought him extra time in the pen for threatening a judge.

So, judging by the insane world-view he's constructed for himself, I've long wondered if Beale was also mentally ill, suffering from some sort of hereditary delusional condition. It explains a lot.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 4:10 PM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I told you he turned to shit, corb! You did not listen and now you have suffered.
posted by Justinian at 4:21 PM on April 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Hey, corb. I just want to say -- without bringing in the larger discussion for this comment -- that I really feel for you right now.

I can think of a number of times when I've picked up something by an admired, even beloved author, and just found myself thinking, "... What HAPPENED?"

It feels like meeting an old friend, and then feeling that anticipation dissolve into dismay or anger or sadness when you realize that instead of a conversation, you're going to get a lecture, or a rant, or an incoherent rambling anecdote.

You have my sympathy.
posted by kyrademon at 4:29 PM on April 12, 2015 [15 favorites]


Never appreciated actual CS Lewis as much as I do right now.
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on April 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh God I'm sorry for triple posting but sweet Jesus it just keeps getting worse

I... I guess trinitarian posting is on topic, just this once....
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:29 PM on April 12, 2015 [16 favorites]


I can think of a number of times when I've picked up something by an admired, even beloved author, and just found myself thinking, "... What HAPPENED?"

I just went through this when I tried to reread Tigana last winter. So awful: the Suck Fairies had attacked in force, and left only burning wreckage behind. I couldn't get more than 30% into it before stopping.

I had stopped reading Kay after getting fed up with his pretentious foreshadowing and tendency to really obviously hide the plot, but I had thought his older stuff was still reasonable.

I can never reread the Fionavar Tapestry, for fear it will be irreversibly destroyed.
posted by suelac at 5:46 PM on April 12, 2015 [