I have been nominated for a John W. Campbell Award

Last Sunday I was informed by email that I have been nominated for the 2015 John W. Campbell award for best new science-fiction writer. I was also asked not to reveal this in public until 4 April.

This is a shame.. I had a really elaborate April Fool’s joke planned where I was going to announce my nomination in the style of a U.S. presidential campaign launch. Lots of talk about a 50-state strategy and my hopes of appealing to swing voters disaffected with both the SJW and Evil League of Evil extremists, invented polling results, and nine yards of political bafflegab.

The plan was to write it so over-the-top that everyone would go “Oh, ha ha, great AFJ but you can’t fool us”…and then, three days later, the other shoe drops. Alas, I checked in with the organizers and they squelched the idea.

It is, of course, a considerable honor to be nominated, and one I am somewhat doubtful I actually deserve. But after considering the ramifications, I have decided not to decline the nomination, but rather to leave the decision on the merits up to the voters.

I make this choice because, even if I myself doubt that my single story is more than competent midlist work, and I want no part of the messy tribal politics in which I seem to have become partly swept up, there is something I don’t mind representing and giving people the opportunity to vote for.

That something is the proud tradition of classic SF, the Golden Age good stuff and its descendants today. It may be that I am among the least and humblest of those descendants, but I think both the virtues and the faults of Sucker Punch demonstrate vividly where I come from and how much that tradition has informed who I am as a writer and a human being.

If you choose to vote for Sucker Punch as a work which, individually flawed as it may be, upholds that tradition and carries it forward, that will make me happy and proud.

442 thoughts on “I have been nominated for a John W. Campbell Award

  1. Remind me, who is the enemy: or you could change ‘foe’ to ‘for’ in the first line! Congrats anyhow.

  2. Quoting RAH (speaking through his character Lazarus Long in Time Enough For Love):

    The first way to lie artistically is to tell the truth — but not all of it. The second way involves telling the truth, too, but is harder: Tell the exact truth and maybe all of it . . but tell it so unconvincingly that your listener is sure you are lying.

    Damn, that would have been a hella AFJ!

    Anyhow, heartiest congratulations!

  3. I am also pleased to announce that my piece, The Hot Equations is a Hugo Award Finalist for “Best Related Work” at Sasquan, the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, WA.

    I have it for sale at the Ad Astra Website as a 99 cent download; you can also get it (and all of the other Hugo Finalists in eBook form) by purchasing a $40 Supporting Membership to Sasquan here:

    https://sasquan.swoc.us/sasquan/reg.php

  4. Congratulations, Eric, and welcome to the club. Next time I see you, I look forward to giving you the secret handshake.

    At your convenience, can you drop me a quick line with your email address? I need to send you a few notes that I believe will be of interest to you.

    Best,

    Lawrence

  5. Congratulations Eric. I’m not quite sure where I’m ranking you yet, but I will be voting for you.

    Congratulations Ken, on getting nominated for a work which wrecks most outer space stories. I dimly recall reading something like it quite a while ago – have you reworked it, or is my memory playing tricks on me?

  6. Ken – while the electronic Hugo Packet has become a tradition (started by John Scalzi, iirc), the appearance of any specific work in the packet is up to the rights-holders. Last year’s Hugo Packet had one or two (minor) missing works, and only excerpts of three of the novels, because Orbit (who held the UK rights) refused to allow the entire book.

    However, Tor does seem to generally support the Hugo Packet, and so it’s likely that many of the nominees will be there, as I expect the Castalia and Analog nominees to be included as well.

  7. Anthony: The Hot Equations is effectively the “5000 word sell piece” on Attack Vector. In spite of the title, I was told that the equations I wanted to actually include would look horrible in an eBook. So they’re safely back in Attack Vector: Tactical.

    Next Wednesday, I intend to tell people that if they liked The Hot Equations, they’ll REALLY like Attack Vector — and they can get AV:T for $15 by going to the Kickstarter I’m running.

    The Kickstarter link, for those interested, is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1386934735/ad-astra-games-avid-assistant

  8. Please add my congratulations as well. This is more than just an honor for writing talent, it’s an opportunity to stand tall for the ideals embodied in your writing. Humility be damned. I hope you win!

  9. Congratulations.

    If the vote is based the quality of the work I think you have a reasonable chance of winning. While you are a newby fiction writer, your other writings (including this blog) have allowed you to put a polish on the words that newby writers in general don’t have. I should note that certain sections of fandom may try to extort some kind of recantation from you before they consider the merits of your work. Or at least that appears to be their plan now in between all the butthurt and whinery

  10. >I should note that certain sections of fandom may try to extort some kind of recantation from you before they consider the merits of your work.

    Hell will freeze over hard enough to become superconducting before I “recant” any of my values to please any gaggle of political whiners, whether they be left-wing or right-wing or even libertarians.

  11. Congratulations on the nomination for what the awards presenters inevitably call the ‘Campbell (not a Hugo)’ Award. We here at the Eastercon saw the announcement live, I was pleased to see your name included, and I just finished ‘Sucker Punch’ right now. Nice indeed.

    I sincerely hope that most voters follow the example of John Scalzi, who as in past years says he reads all candidates’ work and ranks it solely on its own merit, an ethical stance I admire and concur with.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  12. And now you are doubly my hero. I hope you win – being nominated is pretty amazingly cool. Congratulations.

  13. Congratulations Eric! Great job…I just need to get around to reading the entry now…

    jim fuerstenberg

  14. FrancisT: “that appears to be their plan now in between all the butthurt and whinery”

    Something tells me they’re going to be badly disappointed, all the way across the board. What are they going to do when all of the nominees in a category tell them to hang it in their collective ear?

    JimF: “I just need to get around to reading the entry now…”

    Do so. I’ll join those who say he deserves to win on his own merits, not as a political statement.

  15. The Campbell Award is for “Best New Writer“, with “new” defined as “new to science fiction”. Eric is a pretty good writer with a track record outside science fiction, and “Sucker Punch” is a pretty good short story. So even if someone considers that “Sucker Punch” isn’t Hugo-worthy, that does not mean that Eric is not deserving of the Campbell Award.

    Look at another author: None of Wesley Chu’s works received 15 or more nomination votes last year (source: Hugo Award Final Ballot Details 2014 (pdf)), but he was nominated for the Campbell Award both last year and this. (Note that pretty much all the nominees and most of the also-rans in the story categories have been getting published for a *long* time.) But lots of people thought he’s a pretty good writer, and he’s a “new” writer, in that his first professional SF sale was in 2013.

    The Campbell ballot, like the Hugo ballots, is Australian-rules, (single transferrable vote) with “No Award” an automatic contender. So as a voter, you don’t have to choose just one person, you just have to rank them.

  16. /me grumbles at complicated voting rules…

    The parliamentarian in me grinds his teeth at all the cutesy voting methods people come up with to try to get “closer to the will of the people”. They usually wind up being more confusing, especially once you get past the simplistic explanations and into the all-common corner cases, than a simple “pick one” ballot.

    And while I’ve got my parliamentarian hat on, I’ll toss out a complaint about the use of the term “member” for convention attendee. Membership implies more than the simple right to attend; the unqualified term also implies the right to vote and have a say in the operation of the convention, and damned few of them actually do that. I don’t know where the usage comes from, but every time I hear it, I have to stop and remind myself that no, it’s not really membership.

  17. Congrats Eric.

    And please – you were included in my vote, and that of many others, and Campbell consideration because it was a damn good story. It was timely, evocative, with neither too little characterization to make some of its moments horrifying, nor too much for the short format.

    It WORKED. And had some ideas in there that will be relevant for a long time to come.

    As to the best – we’ll see what the other stories are like. I’ve read a couple of the others and they’re good, and I’ll have to mull over how I’ll vote.

    But your story is worthy of consideration.

  18. Congratulations, ESR. As I told you before, anyone who can unexpectedly turn in one of the best stories in an anthology featuring as many veteran writers as RIDING THE RED HORSE had, and do so in his rookie efforrt, bears serious consideration.

  19. Congratulations, Eric. Great anthology, and yours was the best story.

    Thomas Mays- Spirits from the vast deep tell me the Campbell Curse only strikes if the writer would never have been published by John Campbell, and ESR writes the Pure Quill.

  20. /me grumbles at complicated voting rules…

    There is nothing at all complicated, confusing, or “cutesy” about the single transferrable vote. It’s simply the most logical voting method possible. Pick your preferred candidate/nominee, and put a 1 next to it. Now imagine that name did not appear on the list, and pick your preferred candidate/nominee from those remaining, and put a 2 next to it. Repeat as often as you wish. When you get to the point where you’d prefer no award to any of the remaining nominees, vote “no award” and stop. Nothing prevents you from just putting a 1 next to your top favourite and stopping there, but if that nominee turns out not to be a contender you won’t have any say in the result, and why would that be a good thing?

    I’ll toss out a complaint about the use of the term “member” for convention attendee. Membership implies more than the simple right to attend; the unqualified term also implies the right to vote and have a say in the operation of the convention, and damned few of them actually do that. I don’t know where the usage comes from, but every time I hear it, I have to stop and remind myself that no, it’s not really membership.

    Yes, it really is membership. You are not paying to be entertained, you are convening with others to make your own entertainment. You are responsible for making it a better convention, whether with your charming presence and sparkling conversation, or by working on something. And at a Worldcon you are entitled to attend the WSFS business meeting and vote on how future Worldcons will be run; that few bother to take advantage of this right doesn’t make it disappear, it just means most members are happy with how things are run now, or at least happy enough that they have better things to do that morning than try to change them.

  21. Milhouse, there are edge cases where the best strategy in a STV election is not to vote in accordance with one’s own preferences, for that vote will cause one’s vote to have the opposite effect from what was intended.

    If you really want to go down that road, look up the Condorcet method. Enough digging through my email archives (from several years ago) will turn up a reference that shows it si the only method that truly reflects the will of the voters in all cases.

    And as for convention “membership” being about being “responsible for making it a better convention, whether with your charming presence and sparkling conversation, or by working on something”, that’s not what membership in an organization implies. That, strictly speaking, implies a voice in and a requirement to be heard on decisions made by the organization. A con run on that basis would quickly become unwieldy.

  22. I vastly prefer STV balloting to “first past the post.”

    How can a hacker find writing a ranked list among five entries too complicated?

  23. Edge cases, Ken. While I have little trouble grasping them – one of the reasons I’m a parliamentary procedure geek int he first place! – the average person has difficulties.

  24. There’s a proof out there that *no* voting method exists which yields a “good” election, where good is defined as satisfying four (I think) game theoretic conditions commonly accepted as denoting fairness, resistance to being gamed, etc. Not even Condorcet suffices.

    Given that, I personally prefer either IRV or Condorcet as the tradeoff between the obvious problems of first past the post and the less obvious methods of gaming the other two.

    Isn’t this nomination old news by now, though? I thought this was in the works for months…

  25. I’ll admit, I was VERY pleasantly surprised when I looked to see who the author was on the story.

    But I am not at all surprised about ESR refusing to back down. I salute you, sir. . .

  26. > How can a hacker find writing a ranked list among five entries too complicated?

    Writing one ranked list is the easy part. The hardmedium part is composing thousands/millions of ranked lists into a coherent result. The hard part is proving to the people who support the losing candidates that this was done properly.

  27. “hard” above was meant to appear in strikethrough tags, as a modern HTML version of the old “^H^H^H^H” convention. test

  28. And the worst case scenario is “I’ve got a count that names candidate A the winner, but candidate B would have won at IRV, and candidate C would have won if candidate B didn’t exist – and both of them can easily prove this. How do I prevent their supporters from arriving at my door in the form of an angry mob?”

  29. “How do I prevent their supporters from arriving at my door in the form of an angry mob?”

    You shouldn’t have to worry about this if the fast food industry has been doing its job.

  30. “There’s a proof out there that *no* voting method exists which yields a ‘good’ election”

    ‘Good’ isn’t the term I’d use: more nearly, no voting method does all the things that people commonly insist are their core indispensable principles of collective decisionmaking, because it turns out that even a very short reasonable-looking list [*] of such principles is contradictory.

    The famous result is “Arrow’s theorem”, and it is not exactly fringe stuff, the “Arrow” in question has a Nobel prize in economics and this is prominent enough in his work that the name above is common.

    [*]: From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow%27s_impossibility_theorem : (1) If every voter prefers alternative X over alternative Y, then the group prefers X over Y. (2) If every voter’s preference between X and Y remains unchanged, then the group’s preference between X and Y will also remain unchanged (even if voters’ preferences between other pairs like X and Z, Y and Z, or Z and W change). (3) There is no “dictator”: no single voter possesses the power to always determine the group’s preference. [And note that #2 is important to folk ideas of voting fairness; if #2 doesn’t hold, the door is opened to tactical voting schemes where in some cases falsifying one’s claimed preferences is the most effective way to get the outcome one wants, which tends to be enough to convince an enthusiast that the voting scheme isn’t truly fair.]

  31. Congrats Eric! Here’s to hoping that you don’t get No Awarded into oblivion…

    >There’s a proof out there that *no* voting method exists which yields a “good” election, where good is defined as satisfying four (I think) game theoretic conditions commonly accepted as denoting fairness, resistance to being gamed, etc. Not even Condorcet suffices.

    That would be Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow%27s_impossibility_theorem

  32. Aye, Arrow’s is the theorem I was referring to… my vagueness being the result of my posting via mobile while in a hurry.

  33. Congratulations on the nomination — and given the circumstances of it, I’m going to have to put you below No Award (whether or not I get around to reading the story by deadline).

    I can’t say I have any respect for the way the Puppies managed to create a far -less- diverse slate than usual in the name of “diversity.”

  34. I’ll toss out a complaint about the use of the term “member” for convention attendee[…]I don’t know where that usage comes from

    I remember looking into that a long time ago, and if I remember right, it’s a regulatory thing. There are some legal issues you have to deal with when selling tickets to an event, that you do not have to deal with when selling memberships; so the membership-based structure is mostly an attempt to reduce cost and/or hassle. I don’t remember what my source was and can’t confirm it on Google, so take that with a grain of salt.

    Trying to discourage ticket scalping may have something to do with it, too. Every con I’ve ever attended has made memberships non-transferrable.

  35. >Congratulations on the nomination — and given the circumstances of it, I’m going to have to put you below No Award (whether or not I get around to reading the story by deadline).

    I object, dammit. If you don’t think my story is good enough, don’t vote for it – but No-Awarding me because you object to Sad Puppies is exactly the kind of politicization of the process they’re quite rightly revolting against. It’s not just that what you intend is personally unfair to me, it makes a mockery of the idea that the awards are supposed to be about merit. Is that the side you want to be on?

  36. There are some legal issues you have to deal with when selling tickets to an event, that you do not have to deal with when selling memberships; so the membership-based structure is mostly an attempt to reduce cost and/or hassle.

    Trying to discourage ticket scalping may have something to do with it, too. Every con I’ve ever attended has made memberships non-transferrable.

    First, lets do an end run around a regulatory barrier as the market demands. Then let us try to disable the vital market function of price discovery.

    *shakes head*

  37. That’s the kind of logic the SJWs are pushing: No Award, regardless of the merits of the actual works nominated. And they’re holding you and Ken and anyone who didn’t decline a spot not he SP slate responsible for all of the eeeeevil they see in Vox Day and the rest.

    Personally, I expect to see lots of No Awards this year, just from folks decrying the politicization of the awards and not realizing that the SP slate is a reaction to others’ politicization over the past several years.

  38. @Eric

    Yah. We’ve got people reversing their “glad this book made it” comments upon discovering the “wrong” people like it. We’ve got people trash talking authors like Butcher – never having read their works – simply because the wrong people like it. We’ve got at least one editor out there – though I don’t think they work for the house anymore but their spouse does – badmouthing an author they represent though his nominated works are with another publisher. And we’ve got an editor at the same publishing house who DID have an author’s book nominated (and supported by the wrong crowd as well) organizing a “no award” vote for anything that was on a puppies slate.

    I’ve rarely seen such a staggering display of unprofessionalism and childishness out of supposed adults.

  39. Nice move, Joshua Kronegold! you say you will vote No Award over stories you have not read. this shows real integrity. I guess you follow the orders of your Party Masters at all times, eh??

  40. >I can’t say I have any respect for the way the Puppies managed to create a far -less- diverse slate than usual in the name of “diversity.”

    You know that there can be diversity of ideas, not just skin tone or reproductive plumbing, right?

  41. For some reason reading the story in question made me want to reread Vinge’s The Whirligig of Time.

    I don’t know if that story could even be published today. We could all use a little *real* diversity in our literature of ideas.

  42. >I object, dammit. If you don’t think my story is good enough, don’t vote for it – but
    >No-Awarding me because you object to Sad Puppies is exactly the kind of politicization of
    >the process they’re quite rightly revolting against. It’s not just that what you intend is
    >personally unfair to me, it makes a mockery of the idea that the awards are supposed to be
    >about merit. Is that the side you want to be on?

    The Puppies have done -far- more to politicize the award than anything they’ve objected to.

    Think about it. In previous years, nominations were non-competitive enough that a loose (and generally very word of mouth) campaign could put something on the ballot pretty easily. Which would exclude one thing from the ballot. This is the status quo that the SP are claiming is overly political. Whereas next year, if any non-puppy wants their nominations counted, they’re going to have to form a vote block of their own, turning a system that was slightly political into being massively and overtly political.

    By contrast, this year, the puppy “slate” process resulted in the complete exclusion of anyone who didn’t play the puppies game in several categories. The nominees aren’t “the nominees people generally thought were best”, but “the people the puppies thought were best.” By collusion, 250 people outvoted 1500 people.

    Fundamentally, the process is already tainted, because in four categories, I am forced to choose to either abide by my usual principles (and therefore accept the tactical maneuver that allowed 250 to outvote 1500 as legitimate) or vote No Award.

    Of course, this isn’t true in the Cambell selection. But as much as I respect and like you personally, by accepting this nomination in full knowledge of where it came from and how (specifically, that you know damned well that people nominated you who had never read your fiction, and quite likely had never heard of you in an SF context at all; that’s how a slate with 250 people voting more or less in lockstep works), you’ve supported a perversion of the process by which fandom chooses our most prestigous award, and I do take this personally, in as much as my vote is something I can respond with.

    Basically, the idea that once the nominations are in, voters are obligated to: 1. refrain from a vote in categories where they are ignorant. 2. Try to read/see everything in categories where they intend to vote, and 3. Vote the items based on their perception of their merits, placing No Award wherever the cuttoff for “it would be better to not give an award than to give an award to this” is. (which is generally what I try to do for the Hugos) is formed within the framework of the nomination process being a way that fandom determines what will be on the ballot.

    But by gaming the nomination step (to the point of successfully disenfranchising the rest of the voting pool), the Puppies have broken that framework (for this year, and probably for next year). Just as the concept that people will nominate things they like (and have read/seen/whatever) rather than nominating things for other reasons (like, say, that they’re on a slate someone they respect posted) — and that people won’t campaign for a Hugo are unwritten rules, not coded anywhere, the rule that voters will vote based on the merits is, again, an unwritten rule. They act together to, when flawed, allow a really flawed and broken ruleset to never the less do a pretty good job of representing the will of (worldcon-associated) fandom (enough that the Hugo track record has resulted in it being basically the SF award of record, despite its quirkiness).

    Fundamentally, it’s all a social contract. This year, the nominations didn’t operate according to that contract. So I don’t feel obligated to vote according to it, either, and for very good reasons.

    The rules should be fixed so that nominations will generally end up coming from disjunct segments of our nominating pool, rather than, if existing, all coming from the single largest block. This will fix the SP block nominating problem, the “all buffy/Dr. Who all the time” nominating problem, and the frankly mythical “SJW block” nominating problem.

    But in the meanwhile, anyone disenfransed by the status quo has to use the tools they have. Which at this point is largely No Award.

    Also, frankly? I don’t have to read your story to know you’re not what I’m looking for in a Campbell contender. A single excellent story, no matter how excellent, does not Campbell winner make (which is for current and expected body of work). We shouldn’t be giving Campbell awards for single stories, however good they are. But that’s a far lesser and secondary point.

  43. >Of course, this isn’t true in the Cambell selection. But as much as I respect and like you personally, by accepting this nomination in full knowledge of where it came from and how (specifically, that you know damned well that people nominated you who had never read your fiction, and quite likely had never heard of you in an SF context at all; that’s how a slate with 250 people voting more or less in lockstep works), you’ve supported a perversion of the process by which fandom chooses our most prestigous award, and I do take this personally, in as much as my vote is something I can respond with.

    Not only don’t I “know damned well that people nominated you who had never read your fiction”, if I believed that were substantially true I would have refused my nomination with a roar of rage that could be heard in Outer Mongolia, and then told the Puppies organizers very publicly where they could stuff it.

    Can you show any actual evidence of this? There’s no hint of it in the social-media feedback I’ve received.

    >that people won’t campaign for a Hugo are unwritten rules,

    The clique the Sad Puppies are revolting against has been violating that “unwritten rule” very loudly and publicly for years. The Puppies didn’t introduce public campaigns and slate voting, they copied those tactics.

    >and the frankly mythical “SJW block” problem

    The flavor of some of the appalling crap that has made it onto ballots recently is enough persuade me that the “SJW block” is anything but mythical, even without various public eruptions from members of it taking victory laps after last year’s Hugos.

    >Also, frankly? I don’t have to read your story to know you’re not what I’m looking for in a Campbell contender. A single excellent story, no matter how excellent, does not Campbell winner make (which is for current and expected body of work). We shouldn’t be giving Campbell awards for single stories, however good they are. But that’s a far lesser and secondary point.

    I think that’s the only actually respectable and fact-based point you’ve made. If you chose to vote me down for that reason I will not be offended. But “No Award” would still be substantially unfair to other nominees in the category who have worked harder for it than I have. I therefore urge you to reconsider and vote on the merits of their work alone.

  44. “But in the meanwhile, anyone disenfransed by the status quo has to use the tools they have. ”

    They did. It’s where Sad Puppies came from.

  45. This Liberal thinks the problem is really one of process. Suppose that instead of gaming the rules, Brad Torgensen and Larry Correia had spent five or ten years teaching their conservative audience how to vote for the Hugos, encouraging them to go to cons, suggested other authors who might appeal to that conservative audience, encouraging the new con-goers to bring their friends to cons, mentoring new conservative authors, working with publishers like Baen to help advertise cons… etc.

    Suppose that as a result of these efforts, in 2025 there would have been a group of Hugo nominees as conservative as the current ones, with an additional 300-500 Hugo voters, and no gaming of the rules. Would Correia and Torgensen be villains or heroes?

    This Liberal thinks they would have been heros. The problem is not conservatism, it’s the gaming of the rules.

    Personally, this Liberal likes lots of conservative authors. SF is one of my recreational activities, and I’m as likely to be reading something by Simmons or Weber as by Mieville or Brin. Simmons deserved his Hugo. He really, really seriously deserved it. So did Brin. Brin’s Uplift novels brought in lots of new ideas. Simmons did a modern version of the Canterbury Tales that touched on seven different SF genres. Both men did absolutely brilliant work.

    My personal reason for hating Correia and Torgensen is that they smeared politics all over my recreational activity, and they did it by gaming the rules. So I’ll be voting in the Hugos for the first time this year and my favorite author will be Noah Ward.

  46. >My personal reason for hating Correia and Torgensen is that they smeared politics all over my recreational activity, and they did it by gaming the rules.

    I think the politics was already smeared all over it – witness N.K. Jemisin’s disgusting racist and misandrist comments after the last Hugos. And her crowd was gaming the rules, too; now they’re upset because the Pupples are doing it better and with more popular support.

    The only right thing to do here is reject all the goddamn politics and vote on the merits of the work alone. I’m quite willing to lose by that metric, but I think it would be deeply unfair to the other authors on the ballot and myself to “No Award” over the process.

  47. This Liberal thinks the problem is really one of process. Suppose that instead of gaming the rules, Brad Torgensen and Larry Correia had spent five or ten years teaching their conservative audience how to vote for the Hugos, encouraging them to go to cons, suggested other authors who might appeal to that conservative audience, encouraging the new con-goers to bring their friends to cons, mentoring new conservative authors, working with publishers like Baen to help advertise cons… etc.

    That’s exactly what they did, except that they only needed two years. Correia’s well-supported point is that the audience already mostly agreed with the points he was making, and the Sad Puppies campaign essentially encouraged existing fans to go out and vote. Community organizers are liberal heroes, right?

  48. @Eric

    > I think the politics was already smeared all over it –

    I believe you’re too kind.

    It’s bloody obvious it was all about politics for years – the reactions in the last couple years are as conclusive proof as one can get. The puppies were told by Scalzi, et. al. that their stuff wasn’t being seen more because it wasn’t good enough, and that their types of fans no longer existed to support the kind of stories they wanted, and that if they wanted to change that they needed to get their fans together.

    Talk about “Careful what you wish for”

    So we look at the results. If retractions of support because stories are liked by the wrong fans, and no-award campaigns by supposed professionals against works they represent, if roping in the traditional media with outright libelous accusations of racism utterly contrary to the facts is not sufficient proof that the crowd had it’s politics and wanted people with different ideas to keep out, then there never can be sufficient proof.

    Why SHOULD it matter that this was done in three years vice ten? At no point did Torgerson or Correaia go “here’s the slate, vote it uniformly and without variance” – they instead suggested a number of books. Then they made sure the books were made available cheaply, or even freely, so people could try them out.

    If anything, how quickly the support was mustered, combined with dozens and dozens of comments re: “I started using the Hugo as a sign it’s dreck” and “I’d nearly given up on SF after decades except for Baen/indie” show how deep the disgust lay, and how badly mistaken the “cool” clique was about their reach whilst living in a bubble.

    And diversity? They should read Taleb on Antifragility. A diversity of options, tools, and ideas is the kind that produces vigor and long-term strength and viability. THAT is the only diversity that counts, not some checklist of percentage of gender/whatever.

  49. Eric, another aspect is that in general, the Hugos have had a rule about “no campaigning for a nomination”. That rule was enforced in only one way–if you break it, people who find your campaign offensive will put you below No Award. Even if they like you. Because we want the Hugos to be about who had the best work, not who had the best campaign.

    The Puppies campaigns are unprecidented campaigns. Dwarfing the Hubbard effort, and pretty much everything else short of outright ballot stuffing. As such, you can expect people to respond traditionally. (particularly for nominees that like you, were entirely complicit in the campaign rather than ignorant and innocent of it, like the BDP nominees)

    Of course, you can claim that Scalzi’s “this is what I wrote this year”, or similar lists from pretty much every author with a blog are similar campaigning. But frankly, that’s entirely disingenuous. We know what’s inappropriate campaigning by what the community thinks is inappropriate–and we’ll know what they think inappropriate (or not) in this case in August.

  50. From:

    http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/04/07/addendum-to-yesterdays-letter/

    “Yesterday the following media outlets ran articles about the Sad Puppies campaign, in which they either directly said or insinuated that it was run and populated by racist straight white males with the goal of keeping scifi white and male. (not true)
    The Telegraph
    Entertainment Weekly
    Salon
    Huffington Post
    Slash Dot
    io9
    The Guardian
    It was almost like they were all reading off the same script.

    “Brad Torgersen, who has the helm for SP3 chimed in too. He got libeled as a white supremacist on his birthday.
    https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/fort-living-room/
    Read that link. Look at the picture of Brad and his family. Explain to me how an Army Warrant Officer in a 20 year interracial marriage with biracial children is a white supremacist, because some trust fund babies with gender studies degrees declared it to be so.”

  51. > (particularly for nominees that like you, were entirely complicit in the campaign rather than ignorant and innocent of it, like the BDP nominees)

    Huh? I didn’t ask to be on the Sad Puppies slate. Nor did I campaign for it. I wasn’t “complicit” in anything – though I’m about ready to start now, because the answers I’m getting from the likes of you and Troutwaxer are pissing me off mightily.

    They amount to saying “gaming the system isn’t bad when we do it”, “the politicization isn’t wrong when it’s politics we agree with”, and “the Hugos should be about the best work except when we feel like having a snit”.

    I call bullshit on all that. You’re making a better argument for me to sign up with the Evil League of Evil than Vox Day did.

  52. The response from the outraged Usual Hugo Winners’ Clique has been something along the lines of “We never had an explicit campaign! Do you really believe there was a conspiracy?”

    (Well, no I didn’t; but eight media libels against the Sad Puppies campaign [IANAL but at least one of them seems actionable] posted in 24 hours all using the same talking points—kinda makes me wonder.)

    But some clever fellow coined the term prospiracy a decade-and-a-half ago, which word seems to fit the indications of whispering campaigns of years past.

  53. The SJWs revealed their true colors when I was accused, over on John Scalzi’s blog, of only liking fiction from straight white males and called a liar when I said that I didn’t care about any of that, just the story. They want “diversity” and think that the most important attribute of a work of SF is the race/gender/sexual identity of the author, instead of wanting diversity of ideas and caring only about how good the work itself is.

    We badly need an SF version of “shut up and show us the code!”.

  54. > We badly need an SF version of “shut up and show us the code!”.

    Don’t whine, just tell me a story! A good story!

    (Believable, thrilling, wonderful, inspiring, ….)

  55. @ESR:

    saying “gaming the system isn’t bad when we do it”, “the politicization isn’t wrong when it’s politics we agree with”

    “Principals, not principles” is the term I’ve heard to describe this logic. It saddens me every time I see it.

  56. How do I prevent their supporters from arriving at my door in the form of an angry mob?”

    A moat, some punjii sticks and a couple of hungry pitbulls?

  57. @Joshua Kronengold:

    I have a question for you, but it will take a tiny bit of lead-in.

    Just with a quick Google search, I can find three works that were nominated both on the Sad Puppies slate — if there really is just one, because that site links multiple, subtly different slates — and for a Nebula award this year — Charles Gannon’s “Trial by Fire” [Best Novel category for both awards], the Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy [each in Dramatic Presentation category for both awards].

    Now, I’ve heard absolutely no rumors whatsoever about the Puppies trying to stack the Nebulas — probably because voters for this award need to be published writers (i.e., active members of the Science Fiction Writers of America). So I would, even with no other knowledge of the works, consider a nomination for the Nebula firm evidence that the same work should be considered qualified on its’ own merit for the Hugo.

    So — question now — what action must these candidates take in order to have your vote ranking them above “no award”? (Is it possible, under any circumstances?)

  58. @Jay

    Your parliamentarian hat sounds interesting. May I ask something – why did the principle of democracy got so tangled up with the idea of selection by voting? There is an obvious enough alternative: selection by lot, by random sample, called sortition. In politics, an elected lower house with a sortittioned, veto-only upper one would make an interesting combination, basically later being the equivalent of testing a product on a random sample of consumers (I participated as a camembert cheese tester once, hence the idea).

    With an award, a sortititon would make less sense (still, it could be so that for example the presidency of a SF writers guild or association could be elected but overseen by a 12-member randomly selected board, the advantages are fairly obvious), but I would toy with the idea of randomly selecting 100 or 200 people or 500 give only them the right to vote for the award.

    The advantage would be that that smaller sample of people – if they accept this role – would feel motivated to invest time and read all the works and basically be a better informed voter. They would feel a more direct responsibility. Also, they could practically get together in one place and discuss it, hear authors, hear experts whatever so get really informed.

    The disadvantage is the loss off the warm fuzzy feeling that everybody’s opinion counts.

  59. @ESR

    BTW are you aware that there is a perfectly democratic and egalitarian way to prevent the Olsonian special interest group scrample, and that is to partially replace democracy-by-voting with democracy-by-lot i.e. random samples, called sortition? It would be hard to get a committee of random selected citizens, who have only veto power but cannot propose new laws to approve of special spending for a special group, as they cannot move one for their own, they have nothing to lose by simply pressing the no button, and if the sample changes fast enough, it would be helluva difficult for the special interest group to court them?

    In things like SF awards, the Sad Puppies should push for partial sortitionism like e.g. randomly selected 12 people each allowed to present a 10 minute sales pitch for the candidates they prefer. This prevents a dominant minority (SJWs) from silencing dissenting voices. Yet, it is something very hard to attack as it an open, democratic, egalitarian method and it represents minorities fairly well, so this is actually something that is very defensible in a debate against progressives, yet it prevents a dominant minority from forming a voice monopoly.

    Obviously you cannot leave all to randomness, votes are important as a measure of merit, but since they tend to measure demerit too (politicking, power-mongering and suchlike, generally undesirable traits), a clever combination of randomness and voting is probably the ideal system fo collective decision-making.

    This logic can be extended very far actually. One thing world-optimizers (in the HPMOR sense) suffer from that any wonderful measure, once it becomes an optimization target, stops being a good measure. This is one of the biggest reasons why making a rational world is hard. Some clever fellow figured that to test wannabee soldiers for general physical fitness, push-ups, sit-ups and running will be used. About two seconds later every candidate started to train specifically for these tests and in that instant it stopped being a good measure of general physical fitness, it became a measure of test-preparational training. My idea for solving such problems is simply randomness. Choose not 3 but 50 exercises. For each candidate, select 3 randomly and make them perform it. If they train for all 50, and that is really their only way of gaming the system, you got what you wanted: general fitness. Even better, test every single student between the age of 10 and 17 at a randomly selected time. They can refuse to participate without any penalty other than never being allowed to become a soldier. But those who want to be, will have to develop a constant habit of exercise, not just cramming it for one test. Isn’t randomness wonderful?

    Homework for the interested: Joel Spolsky’s call center example. Reward the call center employees for no. of calls taken, and they will hang up. Reward them for no. of cases solved, and they will consider unsatisfactory solutions as solutions. Reward them for customer satisfaction and they will spend hours on the phone licking each customers boots instead of solving the case quickly and moving on for the next one. How to optimize this with the magic of randomness?

  60. >>We badly need an SF version of “shut up and show us the code!”.

    >Don’t whine, just tell me a story! A good story!

    It’s different, goodness of code can be determined with more objectivity than goodness of a work of art which is always about a personal, subjective feeling in the reader. Even concerns about the person of an author are not 100% crazy, if I gave you a Falkenberg story with the cover ripped off and convince you it was written by Hitler, wouldn’t you interpret the same “prussian style values” those series represent a bit differently? After reading Katherine Kurtz’s magnificent Lammas Night, I actively wondered if it is really 100% fantasy even from the authors angle, or she may be a practicing supernaturalist Wiccan and actually believe some of it: it was presented far too believably, with too much intent-for-believability to consider it yet another fantasy. It was written in a tone of seriousness I have never seen in fantasy before.

    Rather the issue seems to be that they tie all these down on highly politicized identities. While what story you like is highly subjective, depends on who you are, and to some extent even who you think the author is, the issue is that they don’t map well to these identities. I don’t know if Larry Niven’s Known Space is a white male fiction as such, or if even this is a meaningful category. In The Ringworld it is casually mentioned that martial arts are banned for centuries. This horrified me a lot, and I have a hunch that it horrified precisely my male values. If that book would be simply considered written by and for white males, that would be simply an inaccurate, unpredictive way to categorize it. As far as I can tell, it is written for people who think “monkey curiosity” is a better way to express the strengths of our species than head-on fights of honor Kzin style. This really transgresses all identities. If anything, SF identities should be based on idea clusters.

  61. >In things like SF awards, the Sad Puppies should push for partial sortitionism

    It’s an interesting idea in theory, but I think you could never sell it in the U.S. It clashes too badly with our populist political idea that everyone gets a voice.

  62. THAT is the only diversity that counts, not some checklist of percentage of gender/whatever.

    In a conversation with a couple of people last night about TV, I came up with the term “Ethnic Checkboxing”; i.e. minority or female characters shoehorned into works entirely to meet diversity bullet points, explicitly to the detriment of the work.

    At the time we were talking about adapted works that change races/genders to no purpose, but the term probably applies elsewhere (such as, say, ensuring awards are racially balanced rather than based on merit) and I thought it might be appreciated here.

  63. The amusing thing is that even by the SJW’s own standards the Sad Puppies slate is far more “diverse” than last year’s allegedly “diverse” winners, which were all middle-aged-to-old white people, with the exception of one Asian dude.

    The Sad Puppies slate has conservatives, libertarians, liberals, a whole bunch of women, several non-white people, and a bisexual socialist.

  64. > Suppose that instead of gaming the rules, Brad Torgensen and Larry Correia had spent five or ten years teaching their conservative audience how to vote for the Hugos, encouraging them to go to cons, suggested other authors who might appeal to that conservative audience, encouraging the new con-goers to bring their friends to cons, mentoring new conservative authors, working with publishers like Baen to help advertise cons… etc.

    What the *beep* do you think they’ve been doing the past 3 years? Save possibly the “going to cons” part, as they know that’s outside the financial and travel means of many of their readers.

    > …and they did it by gaming the rules.

    Complete BS. They followed the rules. You just don’t like the result. You were outvoted. Deal with it. It’s not like a good chunks of the country haven’t been doing so every four years for the past 20+ years.

  65. This is the sort of place that can understand one of our justifications.

    AVERAGE AMAZON RATINGS, Best Novel shortlists

    4.60: Rabid Puppies
    4.64: Sad Puppies
    4.46: 2015 Hugo shortlist
    3.90: 2010-2013 Hugo shortlists

    And they want to claim we are LOWERING the quality of the books recognized? Granted, the metric is not perfect, but it is an objective one. And if you take their position seriously, just ask yourself one question: what is the metric upon which they are relying?

  66. Random selection of decision-makers works best when the overall population affected is known and being selected can be made rewarding enough that most people won’t turn it down or not take it seriously.

    The Hugo Awards fails on the first count, and probably on the second. Who are the Hugo Awards for? Sci-fi and fantasy Fans? Sci-fi and fantasy readers? Sci-fi and fantasy media consumers (books, movies, TV, games)? How do you identify all of even the first and smallest of those groups? Not every Fan makes it to conventions. It only gets worse from there. Even assuming you can identify a proper list of people to randomly select to judge various books, shorter stories, comic books, movies, fanzines, and visual artists, why would someone selected actually do that? Would you have been willing to read the entire Wheel of Time cycle, even if you’d been given it free? I wasn’t, even though I’d signed up to vote.

    You could, of course, pick randomly from the group of people who paid to be supporting members, but that doesn’t actually gain you anything (in terms of a voting system), because you’ve already taken some step to filter in a non-random way. So at that point, you might as well let the whole body of Supporting Members vote.

  67. @A

    The interesting thing is, if you look at the casting of The Game of Thrones, despite many Essosi and Dorne roles requiring non-white people, none of the actual actors came from a non-first world country. Grey Worm is a Brit, Oberyn Martell Chilean-American and the most LOLworthy of them all is that to portray Khal Drogo, the representative of a roughly Mongolian culture, they found a dude from Hawaii… cuz brown is brown, right? The interesting thing here is that nobody seems to give a damn what actual brown people may think, or to try to portray them with some authenticity, like employing one of the dozens of handsome Turkish actors who could portray a non-first-worlder character believably. Apparently the idea of being inclusive of brown people is a message entirely aimed at white people, or at best brown people of the first world who don’t really have much of an ethnic culture left anymore. But this is not really a serious attempt to convey the actual ethnic diversity of the world, it is just checking the “diversity” checkmark. All the “exotic” people still comfortably first-worlders, the difference being very superficial.

  68. @Anthony

    Randomizing voters is arguably the least efficient form of combining randomness and voting, it offers one advantage, which I mentioned: a small voter body can spend more time in getting information (because each vote is more valuable, hence worths more time investment), up to and including getting together in one place and asking experts questions or discussing and debating with each other.

    More efficient forms are:

    – in this case, voting on an issue, random speakers giving sales pitches for the one they support

    – in other cases, voting on electing representatives, a sortitioned body over and elected body with veto power, as “customers”

    Essentially, the goal is to reduce the results of campaigning, politicking, power-mongering. When people vote on issues (such as books or authors) instead of electing representatives, the goal is largely to reduce the results of aggressive marketing and campaigning of issues with popular supporters, and this is why I think empowering random people by letting them give speeches is a good idea as it creates a direct competition to campaigning. So the votes can decide more rationally, less swayed, hopefully.

  69. @VD:

    If those are the current ratings as shown on Amazon.com, then I require some convincing that they reflect the opinion of readers in the year of release and not those ratings created after the year of creation / award.

    If, as I mentioned in my comment to Joshua Kronengold, we presume the Nebula awards are reflective of a “non-politicized” award process due to the restriction of who may vote, we can see the same ratings decrease over time. This year’s Nebula novelist shortlist averages an Amazon rating of 4.2 (of the six, only one is 3.8 or less), while 2010’s Nebula shortlist averages 3.9 (with four out of the seven novels at or below 3.8 rating), and the 2005 shortlist a 4.0 (with three of the six below 3.8, and one at 3.9).

    In brief: Amazon reviews show a tendency to converge toward a 3.7-3.8 average, which means any comparison of works released in different years must use ratings only from the year of release.

  70. @Shenpen

    You ask “May I ask something – why did the principle of democracy got so tangled up with the idea of selection by voting? There is an obvious enough alternative: selection by lot, by random sample, called sortition.”

    Adjusted for a bunch of legal details that I am skipping, that is what the Jury is in an American trial.

  71. Eric: You’re missing the point. Lets talk it over a beer some day; this isn’t the place.

    Alex K:

    >@Joshua Kronengold:

    > I have a question for you, but it will take a tiny bit of lead-in.

    > Just with a quick Google search, I can find three works that were nominated both on the Sad
    > Puppies slate — if there really is just one, because that site links multiple, subtly different slates

    There are two; Sad puppies and Rabid. Most things on SP are also on Rabid.

    > — and for a Nebula award this year — Charles Gannon’s “Trial by Fire” [Best Novel category
    >for both awards], the Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy [each in Dramatic Presentation
    >category for both awards].

    I had no plans to NA Lego or GotG — they would likely have gotten in without the bloc, and I have no interest in being influenced by a bloc vote in either direction (except that the domination of a bloc abrogates my usual presumption that I should read things before I vote against them; honor is already lost).

    “Trial by Fire” is an interesting question — as you say, the inclusion in the Novella nominees again implies that it had a strong shot without a bloc. So, for that matter, does the very large number of nominations in Best Novel relative to the size of the bloc (unlike awards where a bloc dwarfed the usual nominators since normally only a niche demographic nominates for those awards). I’ll probably choose to read it and rate it on those grounds; there certainly are people in the “if it’s in a bloc I won’t put it above NA” camp, but I think that’s unreasonable unless you take the “the hugos are ruined forever if it becomes formally political” approach — which I think is fundamentally true, but there are less scorched approaches to avoiding it.

  72. “Eric: You’re missing the point. Lets talk it over a beer some day; this isn’t the place.”

    Why not? “They amount to saying “gaming the system isn’t bad when we do it”, “the politicization isn’t wrong when it’s politics we agree with”, and “the Hugos should be about the best work except when we feel like having a snit”.” is exactly how it seems to me, too. I join Eric in calling bullshit on all that, and if you’re not going to correct what you see as that missing the point, then why should I agree with a word you say?

  73. >Eric: You’re missing the point. Lets talk it over a beer some day; this isn’t the place.

    No. No, I don’t think I’m missing the point at all. And this is exactly the place to discuss it.

  74. Good article, but nobody will be convinced by it.

    If the Hugos are dominated by No Award this year, it’s time to blow them up and replace them with something that truly does represent all of fandom, not just the SJWs.

  75. I was determined not to comment on this thread at all, since I know nothing about the subject. But now I will, precisely because something that’s been said has sparked my curiosity. But first things first: congratulations to both our host and Ken Burnside. :-)

    Jay Maynard wrote:
    >If the Hugos are dominated by No Award this year, it’s time to blow them up and replace them with something that truly does represent all of fandom, not just the SJWs.

    As a newbie to SF, I’d like to know if the Hugos used to be respectable. When I learn that a certain work of the past–say, Startide Rising–earned said award, should I take that as actually signaling merit? Ditto for the Nebula and the Philip K. Dick.
    If this is the wrong place for such question, consider it withdrawn and please accept my apologies.

  76. I’m going to try and lay out my reasons for being unhappy with the Sad Puppies. These days I don’t have much time and I’m short on sleep, so laying everything out will take until at least Saturday, and the discussions will be link-heavy, so I will make multiple small posts. Hopefully the system software won’t flag me as a spammer.

    It’s also necessary to lay down some background, so my thesis will not develop quickly. Therefore this first post will be an overview, with longer discussions in later posts. To avoid being flagged as spam, most of my links will be in later posts. If everything goes wrong I won’t be able to post again until Saturday, though I hope to make another post on Friday night.

    I’ll begin with a very brief summary for anyone who’s missed the backstory. Two years ago a group of conservative science fiction writers and fans, including Larry Correia and Theodore Beale/Vox Day, decided that evil Social Justice Warriors were pushing Good Science Fiction, with the old-style Really Great Stories and Correct Conservative Social Ideals out of the Hugo Awards. Some of the Sad Puppies even imagined that there was a conspiracy to push the great, old-style stories off the Hugo Ballots.

    The Sad Puppies reacted by first, complaining, (two years ago – they were roundly ignored) second, recruiting voters and suggesting stories to nominate (one year ago – their nominees were ridiculed and did not win a Hugo) and finally, attempting to force the issue by nominating a whole slate and pushing everyone else off the Hugos (this year, with reasonable success so far.)

    It should be noted that there are two “Sad Puppies” slates. Once of them was put together by Brad Torgersen, and the other slate, called the “Rabid Puppies” slate, was put together by Vox Day. For the sake of convenience, I’ll refer to both slates together as the “Sad Puppies” slate unless it becomes necessary to differentiate between the two.

    To my mind the Sad Puppies are guilty of the following sins against science fiction fans and readers:

    1.) Pushing an unsupported conspiracy theory before the public: The Hugo votes are about as transparent as you can get, and the results are released after each Worldcon, with those votes being subject to multiple kinds of analysis by anyone who wants to commit the time. If there was a secret slate of of SJWs pushing the Hugos, it would be obvious. Nobody has shown e-mails. Nobody has presented recordings of Teresa Nielsen Hayden conspiring with John Scalzi to kick conservatives off the ballot. Vox Day has presented a claim to finding some evidence in voting patterns, but he did so in a comment on someone else’s blog and failed to present any kind of numbers or a link to his reasoning. Vox Day also has some very good reasons to support the Sad Puppies slate, as I will discuss below.

    2.) Bringing the American culture wars into the Hugos: I’ve heard the arguments that those culture wars were already present, but I don’t buy it. Ultra-Conservative Larry Niven has won five Hugos and Dan Simmons has won at least one Hugo. Weber and Ringo both regularly produce best-sellers, as does the Baen publishing company, whose author Lois McMaster Bujold regularly wins Hugos.

    Likening a writer to Heinlein is still a major selling point. The bookstore shelves are filled with MilSF and the trend shows no sign of retreating… IIRC, Starship Troopers is still in print, and I can walk into any bookstore and buy new copies of Honor Harrington books written twenty years ago. The idea that conservative ideas don’t sell or are not appreciated by fandom is complete balderdash. And the winner of last year’s best novel… MilSF. (I haven’t read Ancilliary Justice yet – I don’t generally buy an author I haven’t read before until their novel comes out in pocket-sized paperback – but a story of revenge set against the backdrop of a galaxy-spanning AI at war with itself… definitely MilSF.)

    3.) The inclusion of Gamergate in the Hugo nominating process: For anyone who hasn’t heard of them, Gamergate is a collective of male gamers who don’t like women commenting on sexism in games. While some Gamergaters seem sincere in how they respond to female game critics, other Gamergaters have made rape and death threats to various female game critics, doxxed them, and SWATTED them. On January 26th, a Sad Puppy with the handle of WarPig reached out to Gamergaters and suggested that they follow Larry Correia and and Vox Day on Twitter. Larry Correia also reached out to Gamergate on the same day, promising that Sad Puppies III would make SJWs squirm. (Gamergaters, like Sad Puppies, hate the SJWs.) So the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies brought in non-fans to vote for the Hugos. (I think that getting non-Fans interested in science fiction and the Hugos is a good idea, even if those fans don’t have my politics. On the other hand, bringing them in to vote for a slate is a scummy move.)

    4.) Bald-face, outright lying: I note two big lies being told here. The first is their claim that Scalzi and Stross provided nomination slates of their own. Both men posted about their Hugo eligible works on their blogs, and Scalzi explicitly provided a space for people to talk about their Hugo preferences. Neither of them, either together or separately, created a slate or suggested that others vote for a slate. (This goes back to Point 1 about conspiracy theories.)

    The second lie is about the inclusion of Gamergate in the nominating process. Multiple Sad Puppies have claimed that Gamergate was not involved in the nominating process, but there are links and screenshots available, as I will demonstrate in later posts.

    5.) Associating with Vox Day: For those who have never heard of him Vox Day/Theodore Beale is a difficult bigot who has been hanging around science fiction circles for many years. He appears to be a very reactionary Catholic who despises minorities and hates women. He was the second person to ever be kicked out of the Science Fiction Writers of America after using the SFWA Twitter feed to call attention to a blog post he’d written in which he complained the African American were not fully human, and were, furthermore, savages. He LOVES Gamergate. He’s also the Lead Editor of a new, right wing (possibly Christian) publisher called Castalia House, which strangely enough, garnered nine Hugo nominations on the Sad Puppies voting slate this year… His father is in jail for tax evasion and threatening a federal judge.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Beale_%28entrepreneur%29

    IMHO, while Sad Puppies I definitely wasn’t about the money, and Sad Puppies II probably wasn’t about the money, Sad Puppies III is definitely about winning Vox Day’s publishing house some Hugos (Vox Day is Hugo nominated as best short and long form editor – what a surprise!) and ultimately about the almighty dollar. (Or the almighty Euro, since Castalia house is based in, of all places, Finland.)

    My next posts will collect some details about Vox Day/Theodore Beale. He’s a difficult person, but lots of fun to read or write about.

  77. Here’s a collection of links about Vox Day. I’ll post two links per page and hopefully the site software won’t reject me as a spammer. At this point I won’t editorialize much about Vox Day/Theodore Beale because I think these links speak for themselves. Below you’ll find a Wikipedia article and a news release details Vox Day’s ejection from the SFWA.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Beale

    http://www.locusmag.com/News/2013/08/beale-expelled-from-sfwa/

  78. In this post, Vox Day discusses his dislike for N.K. Jemisin. Note how in one part of the post he claims that Jemisin is “not equally homo sapiens sapiens,” while in another he describes her as a savage who needs a thousand years of the civilizing influence of the Roman Empire. I feel dirty just linking to the post. Excuse me while I go and wash my hands.
    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-black-female-fantasist.html

    Here Vox Day extolls the virtues of Gamergate. You’ll see that this happens towards the bottom.

    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-gates-of-hell-shall-not-prevail.html

  79. Troutwaxer, your argument is fatally flawed at its foundation by conflating Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies. It’s not all about the nasty eeeeevil Vox Day.

    Your first two links being to Wikipedia and the SFWA’s press release – both of which are quite likely to be biased – does you no favors.

  80. Ok, then.

    Worldcon is pretty much as pure a democracy as exists on this earth. Not as pure as is possible (and there are certainly rules that are not ideal), but it’s pretty good.

    Obviously, perceptions can differ on, say, what Scalzi does every year, what McGuire does, word of mouth campaigns in specific communities (the Buffy and Dr. Who communities, for instance) and what the ELoE did two years ago, last year, and this year, and Beale’s accusations of secret vote trading or cabals. I’m not going to convince anyone on either side of my perceptions–certainly not at this juncture when lines are drawn, and trenches dug.

    I do have a line, and by -my- perceptions the Puppies have crossed it (and put up a sign saying “we crossed this bridge, bring it!” with a picture of them crossing it, just to be sure), and most of the other items that I have any belief happened didn’t. But other people can judge the events different; aside from any secret cabals, it’s all out in the open, so perception (and judgement) is in the eye of the beholder.

    However, it is -entirely- reasonable for someone to vote their conscience on the Hugos — both on the merits of the work, and on the procedures of how it got onto the ballot in the first place. This is true whether they’re conservative, liberal, or socialist — and whether they’re a gamergater, a traditional fan, puppy supporter, or anything else (as long as they paid the voting fees and are an actual person, of course). This vote serves both to recognize and rank the works — and by the placement of “No Award” establishes the line on where they think things should or shouldn’t have been nominated, and where . For any reason. Maybe they think the award shouldn’t exist; maybe they think some of the works don’t befit the dignity of the award, and maybe they are uncomfortable with how some things got nominated and would rather not give out the award than let something that got nominated a certain way win the award; it’s all good.

    Because as I said, the Hugos are a democracy. A single person putting something below No Award has no effect at all — No Award always gets at least a few votes every year (and last year, a few hundred, or over a thousand in the case of Best Novel). If, on the other hand, more than half the voting pool puts something below No Award, that means something — specifically, it means that the Hugo voting pool is of one mind, not necessarily on why something shouldn’t be eligible for the award, but that it shouldn’t. The democratic process in action.

    You can argue with me on my reasoning for why I think that in -this- case any item placed on ballot only because of the tactics of the Puppy campaigns deserves, procedurally, to be placed below No Award. And I’ll probably ignore you, because this isn’t an argument that leads anywhere.

    But arguing that even -with- my perception of the situation that I should judge the merits of the work rather than my perception of the entire political situation is foolish. My — and -everyone’s- responsibility as a Hugo voter (who loves the Hugos as an institution) supercedes the nominal responsibilty to pick the best work in a given year, to doing what they think are best for the awards (within the bounds of decency and legality, anyway). And that includes the responsiblity to use No Award tactically and procedurally if they think the result is better for the award, for the Hugos, and for Worldcon.

  81. I will note, btw, that my comments on how fixing the nomination procedure so that in effect, each person got one vote, not five votes that have to go to different things, would be better for everyone, Puppy-supporters included (as it would generate more diverse ballots without the need for campaigns and counter-campaigns, even if it would also make ballot domination as happened this year much harder to manage) was completely ignored.

  82. >As a newbie to SF, I’d like to know if the Hugos used to be respectable.

    In a word, yes. This is is part of of why long-time fans like Correia (and me) are so angered. The SJWs took something we respected and loved and corrupted it with political particularism, both covert and overt – and when called on it, dismissed the objectors as “not real fans”.

  83. Some comments about Troutwaxer’s anakysis, not all disagreeing:

    >Two years ago a group of conservative science fiction writers and fans

    First mistake. Correia is a libertarian, not a conservative. As a libertarian myself I’ll certify that he’s not fabulating and the distinction seems as important to him as it is to me.

    Also, this paragraph implies something about the political slant of Sad Puppies that is mostly (not entirely) untrue. One of the Sad Puppies III writers is a lesbian socialist. Correia seems to be quite sincere in wanting political diversity rather than a conservative monoculture; this is one of the things that persuades me of his genuine liberarianism.

    Vox Day…I’ll get back to Vox Day.

    >1.) Pushing an unsupported conspiracy theory before the public:

    Unsupported sez you. Myself, I think “conspiracy” is slightly too blunt an instrument here, but there are strong signs of the phenomenon I have elsewhere called “prospiracy”. And we’re still seeing them!

    >2.) Bringing the American culture wars into the Hugos

    They were already there. I know you don’t believe this, but that’s because the preconceptions of your own side are largely invisible. You take for granted that certain kinds of peoples’ opinions don’t matter an that much others would interpret as culture warfare is simply common sense shared by all right-thinking people.

    >3.) The inclusion of Gamergate in the Hugo nominating process:

    On this you are simply outright wrong. The Puppies predate Gamergate – and if Gamergate were to actually get involved, the nominating opinions of every SF fan on the planet would be swamped by their sheer numbers.

    In a bizarre twist, the supposed Puppies/Gamergate connection appears to me to have been invented not by SJWs but but by conservative journalists with little knowledge of either group and an ax to grind. I don’t believe them. You shouldn’t either.

    >4.) Bald-face, outright lying:

    Since George R.R. Martin, no friend of the Puppies, has admitted that he considers pre-Puppy slate voting to have been real and a problem, you haven’t got much grounds left to accuse anyone of lying. What I see here is both sides taking advantage of linguistic vagueness. “Slate voting” can mean different things to different people, and it’s all too easy to accuse the other side of lying when they’ve staked out one extreme end of the semantic field and you the other.

    >5.) Associating with Vox Day:

    OK, this one is loaded. I am associated with Vox Day. He’s published my only sale. More importantly, he’s the only editor in the 40-odd years I’ve been trying to write to actually put in time to help me develop as a writer, and then bought the results. I owe him for that.

    On the other hand, Vox is well aware that I think he is in significant ways batshit crazy. He has a weirdly compartmentalized mind under tremendous internal pressure – this is a guy who can write fluently about the sociobiology of human mating strategies in one breath and deny evolutionary theory in the next. He’s always been sane Vox in personal communication with me, but I can never predict what weird stuff is going to come out of his mouth in public next, and sometimes I admit I try not to look too closely. Vox is going to have Vox moments the way volcanoes have eruptions.

    It is an indication of how odd our working relationship is that I’m pretty sure Vox is going to read the previous paragraph and shrug.

    Here’s the deal. It’s not that it doesn’t matter to me that I evaluate Vox as a crazy fucker with a mind severely addled by religion; nor, I daresay, is it insignificant to Vox that he (probably) evaluates me as a blasphemer and sinner who will surely burn in a lake of fire. But there is a thing we care about in common that transcends our differences.

    So, um, are my opinions any less worthy because I’m not prepared to shun Vox like he were gangrene? Hey. Tolerance. Diversity. Inclusion. Vox and I are practicing it with each other because we both care deeply about the tradition and values of SF.

    Is it too fucking much to expect that a faction that prides itself on its tolerance for diversity should do likewise?

  84. One comparison I’d seen is that the “crusader”/SJW type was basically a teenager – a comparison I’d often seen on the emotional maturity of what are sometimes called Cluster-B disorders such as Narcissists and Borderlines.

    One trait both seem to share – completely out of proportion responses to anything that threatens the integrity of their worldview, especially of themselves, and their importance in it.

    I can at least understand and disagree with the “pox on both of them, they broke the spirit of the hugos, no-award them all” as a somewhat rational response, though not supported by the history and evidence of SP’s as a backlash.

    But the sheer hatred, vitriol, outright, easily disproven, fabricated lies, public shaming, libel in the mass media, and death threats (as even a not-friend-to-conservatives as Mary Robinette Kowal has found necessary to ask people to knock off) …

    I wonder if this is a reaction to the other intriguing possibility in their numbers.

    Bear with me.

    1) The puppies, as has been noted elsewhere, were told that this whole “conservatives are not allowed” thing was just an illusion, that the SJW-compliant were in the majority, and if the SP’s really thought that they were misrepresented, they should get involved…. (I really don’t think if the people who said that REALLY thought there was a chance of enough fans getting together to affect the nominee pool, they’d have said that…)

    in 2012, 1100 nominating people voted.
    2013 – roughly 1300 in SP1
    2014 roughly 1900
    and this year roughly 2100

    while there was some slow growth before that, I’ll assume – yes, I’m just guessing, based on previous years numbers – that roughly 20% of the increase since then would have happened anyway with or without SP’s.

    That means that – depending on how much of the growth is organic, and how much is SP-related, and how many existing fans are sympathetic to SP tastes in fiction, anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the current nominating pool are aligned in overall tastes with the SP ‘s

    The variance in the nominating votes shows it wasn’t a block, so the sweep leads to the scarier (for the SJW-contingent) conclusion that as more and more fans get involved in worldcon, the little clique may find itself even more outnumbered, and no longer the queen bees driving taste, no longer in power, and no longer able to act as if they were in the majority.

  85. “Is it too fucking much to expect that a faction that prides itself on its tolerance for diversity should do likewise?”

    Yes. They are only too happy to refuse to tolerate what they see as intolerance, never mind the utter hypocrisy involved.

  86. Troutwaxer, To castigate Vox for taking a quote out of context from Scalzi while ignoring all the quotes Scalzi took out of context from Vox up to the point is rather unfair. He was explicitly responding in kind.

    Anyone who is up to date on human genome science would know that a European/Native American mutt like Vox couldn’t be as Homo Sapiens Sapiens as someone with Sub-Saharan African ancestry. https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/neanderthal/

    But I digress.
    Congratulations Eric. I look forward to my voter’s packet and reading Sucker Punch.

  87. Dgarsys: “the sweep leads to the scarier (for the SJW-contingent) conclusion that as more and more fans get involved in worldcon, the little clique may find itself even more outnumbered, and no longer the queen bees driving taste, no longer in power, and no longer able to act as if they were in the majority.”

    This has even larger real-world implications for at least some of the main players, as a diminished perception that Tor is the premier trend-setting SF publishing house would directly impact their bottom line…

  88. I want to respond to one of your points, Troutwaxer:
    “Ultra-Conservative Larry Niven has won five Hugos.”
    You’ve got to be kidding me. Niven is an ultra-conservative? This is the man who invented rishathra, whose most sympathetic characters are ultra-tourists willing to try anything. Kevin Renner, Beowulf Shaefer, Louis Wu – these are not conservative characters. I’ve read almost the entire Niven corpus, and the fundamental theme of his stories is ‘what if?’ Meanwhile, religion only shows up in his collaborations, his approach to sex is ‘if it feels good, try it’. I can’t figure out his beliefs on government structure, other than that some government is probably necessary (see ‘cloak of anarchy’ for that argument). I can’t think of any of his stories where ideology mattered – generally technology has consequences, human beliefs don’t, except if they cause people to overlook reality.

    Further, I can’t find any actual political statements Niven has made. As best I can tell, he’d rather play with ideas than commit to any. *That’s* what you consider to be ultra-conservative?

    Is this because he’s a friend of Pournelle? Pournelle, yes, he’s conservative, enough that the only room for debate is in the word ‘ultra’. But Niven? Are you going to argue it’s impossible to be friends with a conservative unless you are one too?

    But, also. Stipulate that you’re correct about Niven, for the sake of argument. Niven won his awards in the 70’s. No one’s claiming that Hugos were always this way.

    “Weber and Ringo both regularly produce best-sellers,”
    Yes, and funnily enough, as more recent writers, they’ve never won Hugo awards. I’m sure you brought it up for a reason, but it doesn’t seem to support the point you’re making.

    “whose author Lois McMaster Bujold regularly wins Hugos.”
    I wouldn’t claim that she’s conservative; have you *met* the Betans? On the other hand, she’s certainly an argument for the position that the Hugos go to quality work; she’s on my short-list of authors to buy instantly upon publication.

  89. > >4.) Bald-face, outright lying:

    > …. What I see here is both sides taking advantage of linguistic vagueness.

    I think we’ve got a motte and bailey issue here. The extreme claim is “But your side has been campaigning, too!”; the retreated-to position is “Well, I mean, you know, everyone has been mentioning their own eligible works, and recommending things to read, and ….”

  90. David W, you raise a point I raised elsewhere. “But Orson Scott Card won two Hugos! Back to back!” Yeah, in 1986/1987.

    Are there any even slightly conservative authors who have won a Hugo this millennium?

  91. In Shipstar, 2014, by Gregory Benford and Larry Niven, Niven is throwing ideas in double handfuls like Ringworld. In The Goliath Stone, 2014, Niven plays with nanotech and human amplification and a lot of snappy dialog. Neither had any shot at a Hugo; it’s not like Niven’s PC(= No shot this millenium). Niven’s a liberal, but tuckerizing Ayaan Hirsi Ali and casual acceptance of lesbians and people who aren’t white doesn’t make him the spiteful, excluding, crimethink-sniffing kind of liberal proper to political correctness.

  92. Jay, not sure if you consider them “slightly conservative”, but Vernor Vinge won in 2007 for Rainbow’s End (which I have not read, but other Vinge stuff seems to strike a chord with individualist/libertarian themes – Vinge also won in 2000 for Deepness in the Sky against a pretty amazing competition) and Lois McMaster Bujold won in 2004 for Paladin of Souls (she seems popular with everyone though, not particularly conservative even if a lot of conservatives seem to adore her work). There have been other nominations and there are a bunch whose politics I’m not really sure about, but they certainly do seem to be outnumbered. Haven’t looked through short fiction categories…

  93. >But arguing that even -with- my perception of the situation that I should judge the merits of the work rather than my perception of the entire political situation is foolish

    Uh huh. When you do that, it’s virtuous and the democratic process in action. When the Sad Puppies do that, they’re barbarians who are gaming the system and to be excoriated. Rank hypocrisy.

  94. And with each rankly hypocritical statement like that, the SJWs drive away the undecided…

  95. This is the man who invented rishathra, whose most sympathetic characters are ultra-tourists willing to try anything. Kevin Renner, Beowulf Shaefer, Louis Wu – these are not conservative characters.

    Let’s not confuse Niven’s personal voice with his authorial voice… Larry once claimed in an interview that he voted Libertarian, but I always have troubles telling Libertarians and Conservatives apart when they start talking policy, with the exception that Libertarians usually don’t seem to be religious nutcases. (I should not that I’ve met Larry a couple times and he’s an awfully nice guy.)

    I think we’ve got a motte and bailey issue here. The extreme claim is “But your side has been campaigning, too!”; the retreated-to position is “Well, I mean, you know, everyone has been mentioning their own eligible works, and recommending things to read, and ….”

    I think it’s a matter of over-reaction on the part of the Sad Puppies. They notice that authors they do like aren’t getting awards, and that authors they don’t like are discussing the Hugos on their blogs. So they assume that there’s a conspiracy, but when push comes to shove, they can’t provide any evidence that Scalzi sent an email to Patricia Nielsen Hayden noting that Charlie Stross had finally checked enough of the SJW boxes to be greenlit for a Hugo (or whatever they imagine happened.)

    So the Sad Puppies talk amidst themselves and say, “If they’re breaking the rules, we’ll break the rules. We’ll break the rules twice as hard. We’re conservatives. We believe in being strong. We believe in fighting back. We’re gonna kick their asses!”

    The problem is that there’s not a smidgen of proof that anyone broke the rules in order to put a Liberal author on the Hugo ballot.* And now you have everyone from Joe SciFi Sixpack to senior editors at Tor noting that Part Two of Heinlein’s biography got pushed off the ballot by some tantrum-throwing, rightwing, paranoid nutcases and what the fuck is up with that? The blowback is going to be spectacularly ugly, careers are going to die over this, and we’re going to have a Hugo Awards ceremony in which half the prizes will go to Noah Ward. A fair number of people who previously liked, or at least tolerated each other, will now become enemies for life. And it didn’t have to happen.

    The problem is that the Conservatives in this picture didn’t ask themselves a few questions before flying off the handle. Questions like, “How are the demographics of science fiction fans changing?”

    Or “Who is more likely to win an award? A guy with a journalism degree who’s worked as a reporter and editor, or a guy with an accounting degree?”

    Or “Now that Science Fiction has come out of the Literary Ghetto, with most English Majors feeling they can write SciFi or Fantasy without losing the respect of their comrades, how will that change the field?” (And once again, how will guys who got a degree in Mathematics compete against people who attended the University of Iowa writing program?)

    Or “After our lovely experiences in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, how many people are likely to vote for conservative MilSF for any kind of award?”

    Or “Why is it that guys who write admiringly about Nazis don’t win Hugo awards?” (I don’t think that Kratman actually admires the Nazis, but it’s very easy to see why someone would get that impression.)

    Or maybe “As a conservative author, I keep voicing approval of politicians who cut the NASA budget. Why in the hell would anyone give me a rocket?”

    Or maybe “I keep recycling the ideas that Heinlein discussed in Starship Troopers fifty years ago. Why don’t I win any awards for my brilliant, brand new ideas about the future?”

    What we’re seeing here is that weird conservative combination of simultaneous entitlement and paranoia; the thought process of spoiled brats. “I worked hard and I didn’t get what I want. Someone must be conspiring against me!” or “Look what you made me do!” ** One commentator at Making Light likened it to the language abusers use. I thought that statement was a little strong, but it’s in the right neighborhood. Absent a conspiracy – AND NO FUCKING CONSPIRACY HAS EVER BEEN PROVEN – conservatives have to ask themselves why they aren’t winning Hugos. And they may not like the answers. So instead of doing a little soul searching… it all gets uglier from here.

    *I read both Scalzi and Stross’s blogs, and read the threads on Hugos, and it was all pretty innocuous. Anyone who thinks that either Stross or Scalzi proposed a slate or suggested that people vote for a particular work is pretty clueless. I don’t read the blogs of too many SF authors, but I imagine that plenty of them dropped a hint that they’d written something that was Hugo eligible.

    ** Liberals who’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole imagine prejudice where none exists. Conservatives who’ve gone down the rabbit hole imagine conspiracies where none exist.

  96. Some comments about Troutwaxer’s analysis, not all disagreeing:

    Eric, I’ll get back to you on this. It’s about midnight her, I’ve had a long day, and I ranted much more on my previous point than I expected. But first as short FYI:

    I’ve bought two copies of the hardbound version of Cathedral and the Bazaar. One I kept for myself, the other went to a friend who’s a political activist. He’s not into software at all, but I thought he might be interested in applying your ideas to politics… Though we disagree on many, many things, CATB was an awesome analysis and I appreciated the heck out of it.

    Were it not for the Sad Puppies and the damage their ugliness will do to the Science Fiction community as a whole, I’d be happy as hell that you got nominated for an award. At this point, however, it’s such a Charlie Foxtrot… You’ve been put in a very ugly position and you face difficult choices.

    Anyway, I’ll get back to you tomorrow.

  97. > I think it’s a matter of over-reaction on the part of the Sad Puppies. They notice that authors they do like aren’t getting awards, and that authors they don’t like are discussing the Hugos on their blogs. So they assume that there’s a conspiracy, […]

    From what I understand the Sad Puppies campaign was a reaction to having absolute drek but with “correct” values winning few latest Hugos… and fans starting to anti-correlate Hugo with quality.

  98. Troutwaxer, when people stop saying those of us who support the Sad Puppies only want storied from straight white men, then we’ll stop believing in SJW conspiracies.

    It’s about the stories, dammit! NOTHING ELSE!

    I simply do not care about an author’s race, gender, sexuality, or anything else. If it’s a good story, it’s a good story. If not, it’s not. Period, end of discussion.

    But when I said this on Scalzi’s blog, I got all but called a liar.

    Fuck that noise. People who care about anything but the story should be driven out of SF fandom at the end of whatever weapon is ready to hand, be it a pitchfork or an M243 SAW.

  99. Eric wrote: Since George R.R. Martin, no friend of the Puppies, has admitted that he considers pre-Puppy slate voting to have been real and a problem, you haven’t got much grounds left to accuse anyone of lying.

    I believe you are ignoring a difference of degree that is so extremely massive as to constitute a difference of kind — and also that George says, to the contrary, that the pre-Puppy recommended reading lists (which have been little to nothing like voting slates) were mostly minor in effect, had offsetting effects against each other, notably were not five-entry-per-category ‘slate’-entry mock ballots (but rather had twenty-ish entries per), and were not a problem. Don’t take my word for it, Eric. Here’s the man himself:

    The Sad Puppies and their supporters have argued that they are not the first to campaign for awards in our (not so) little genre.

    They’re right about that, of course.

    I’ve been around a long time. So has campaigning, by one means or another.

    The Nebulas were even more vulnerable to this than the Hugos, because the pool of voters is so much smaller. Once upon a time, you could see the log-rolling clearly, because the Nebula Awards Reports published the names of the members recommending a story beside the recommendation. You only had to look at the latest NAR to note, “oh, Bill has nominated Ted, and Ted and nominated Bill, and both of them have nominated Alice,” or, “hmmmm, gee, all these guys from Alabama, they’re in the same writer’s group and they are all nominating each other.”

    Thing is, though, it didn’t really hurt. It all balanced out. And besides, it might have been above board. It’s only human for friends to read the work of friends and be predisposed to like it. Maybe there was vote-swapping going on and maybe there wasn’t. No way to prove it. It did bother me, however, when a certain segment of the membership demanded that the NAR stop listing the names. I suspect the same thing went on as before, only now it was hidden from sight.

    […]

    And what about the Hugos, you ask?

    Yeah, there too. In the ongoing discussion of Puppygate, numerous people have cited one instance, wherein a stack of identical nominating ballots arrived with the same postmark, paid for by consecutive money orders. Those were disallowed. In 1987, members of the Church of Scientology campaigned successfully to place L. Ron Hubbard’s BLACK GENESIS on the Best Novel ballot. That was not disallowed — the Scientologists had done nothing illegal, after all, all they’d done is buy supporting memberships to a convention that they had no intention of attending, for the sole purpose of nominating LRH for a Hugo (hmmm, why does that tactic sound familiar?) — but their campaign created a huge backlash. Hubbard’s name was booed lustily at the Hugo ceremony in Brighton, and his book finished last in the final balloting, behind No Award. (The winner that year was Orson Scott Card, with SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD, for those who are counting).

    Of course, there were also recommended reading lists. That wasn’t campaigning, not strictly, but certain lists could have huge influence on the final ballot. The annual LOCUS Recommended Reading List, compiled by Charles Brown and his staff and reviewers, was the most influential. If your book or story made that list… well, it did not guarantee you a place on the ballot, but it sure improved your chances. NESFA (the New England fan club) had an annual list as well, and LASFS might have done the same, not sure. And of course the Nebulas, which came before the Hugos, carried a lot of weight too. Win a Nebula, and the chances were good that you’d be a Hugo nominee as well. Again, no guarantee, some years the shortlists diverged sharply… but more often than not, there was a lot of overlap.

    So there were always these factors in play. Cliques, I can hear the Sad Puppies saying. Yeah, maybe. Thing is, they were COMPETING cliques. The NESFA list and the Nebula list were not the same, and the LOCUS list… the LOCUS list was always very long. Five spots on the Hugo ballot, and LOCUS would recommend twenty books, or thirty… sometimes more, when they started putting SF and fantasy in separate categories

    Bottom line, lots of people influenced the Hugos (or tried to), but no one ever successfully controlled the Hugos.

    (There’s more, but, then, this is GRRM. Be grateful that it isn’t Robert Jordan.)

    I hope you know that one of the qualities that distinguishes your friends is that they tactfully take you aside and let you know when you’ve gone off the rails. This is one of those, my good man. In fact, GRRM is pretty much saying that the Puppies have gone out of their way to class themselves ethically with the fans of noted zombie author L. Ron Hubbard in the eyes of frequent Worldcon voters, and are very likely to get treated the same way for the same reasons.

    “Slate voting” can mean different things to different people

    Yet, here the referent is pretty clear.

    I’m not likely to argue further on this with you, Eric, but I’ve spoken my view honestly and hope you’ll take it in the spirit intended.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  100. …continuing on quality of Hugos, or rather related Campbells. In 2013 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer won Mur Lafferty for “1963: The Argument Against Louis Pasteur”, a short story which has 1.85/5.00 rating on Goodreads.

    @Rick Moen:

    See “A response to George R. R. Martin from the author who started Sad Puppies” at http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/04/09/a-response-to-george-r-r-martin-from-the-author-who-started-sad-puppies/

  101. @Jakub Narebski: Yes, already read it. I read quite broadly, most certainly including Larry when I have time.

    I’ve always been sympathetic with Larry, and appreciated being able to spend time in the audience listening to him interact with fans during his single-author panel at the SLC Westercon. And I find I quite like the man — and his fiction — and wish he could find a way to have less of a chip on his shoulder.

    Larry’s piece to which you refer is obviously from the heart — but suffers the problem that he didn’t actually address the substance of what George said. George never claimed ‘the Hugos don’t have whisper campaigns’, for example. Nor did he claim there aren’t rude, antisocial, bigoted and judgemental assholes at Worldcons and among panelists at Worldcons.

    Larry talked in response to George, and ought to be listened to sympathetically. But he didn’t answer George.

    (I’m pretty sure I re-read all the relevant pieces of Larry’s incredibly long page, but there’s a chance I missed something.)

    Personal cards on table (as we are unacquainted, though Eric and I know each other well): I’m a bicoastal Ivy Leaguer, most often vote Democratic Party except on numerous occasions when I’ve been delighted to vote with other parties especially as clean-government candidates, joined N.O.W. on my 18th birthday in 1976 (am an equity feminist, not a gender one), was like Eric raised in a bunch of countries elsewhere (in my case, airline brat), and am politely non-religious albeit a student of religion. I also try to hang out with smart people having significantly different views from my own, listen more than I run my mouth, as one of the better ways to learn things, and eschew brainless ideologues to the extent I can manage. I frequently fail. I continually try to fail better.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  102. Rick, Larry Correia has ample reason to have a chip on his shoulder – because the SJWs put it there. I’m not the tiniest bit surprised at how he was treated at his first Worldcon, nor at his reaction to that treatment.

  103. Larry once claimed in an interview that he voted Libertarian, but I always have troubles telling Libertarians and Conservatives apart when they start talking policy, with the exception that Libertarians usually don’t seem to be religious nutcases.

    And conservatives have trouble telling us apart from liberals. Your map, like most people’s maps, is faulty, it needs more that one dimension to depict politics with any hope of accuracy.

  104. @Jay Maynard: Ja, I believe that.

    I’ve never claimed to be a nice person, myself, but my late mother always tried to ground me in Oscar Wilde’s dictum: ‘A gentleman is never unintentionally rude.’ One is rude for a purpose, and being thoughtlessly, ignorantly judgemental and rude towards Correia was senseless and self-indulgent, on the part of whichever nitwits that was.

    We have a saying in Norsk: Betre føre vis enn ether var. (Better to be wise before than aware afterwards.) There are many people in fandom I wish would engage the clutch to their brains before running the motors to their mouths.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  105. @Jay Maynard: When I say ‘Ja, I believe that’, I mean — precisely and solely — that I believe Larry Correia’s account of various unnamed people having behaved badly towards him. (And of course I believe that they are doing so now, especially the ones taking shots from behind fake names.

    What I regard as delusional — and, sorry, I know this is the core of what you keep repeating ad nauseam, so we’ll just have to think each other deeply and tragically mistaken — is the entire ‘SJW’ framing, which in the context of Hugo voting does not IMVAO[1] match the historical record in this universe. Yes, I encounter tiresome social-change ideologues, like the then-friend of my wife’s who pronounced me ‘not a feminist’ because I didn’t kowtow to the mandatory pieties du jour. (I’d been in N.O.W. about twenty years longer than the little idiot had been alive.) But the notion that the Hugo ballot has been held captive by intersectional critical race theory radical-feminist master planners is about as wacko as those nutter groups Steed and Peel tangled with each week.

    Left-wingnuts cannot organise their way out of a paper bag, and vastly prefer powerless obscurity, for starters. (Link is to one of my very favourite John C. Dolan pieces, so do give it a look. It’s even better than the old eXiled Online columns he wrote under the much-celebrated ‘War Nerd’ pseudonym.) And, also, that is simply nothing like fandom, which is incurably heterodox and always has been, and nothing like the Hugo voting process, which — except for the vulnerable nomination stage — was designed by paranoics and administered by diverse people who watch each other like hawks.

    You take the ‘SJW’ narrative as established. I think it’s a departure into the goofier parts of CloudCuckooLand. Fine; we disagree. But I wanted to carefully correct any impression I endorse this lunacy.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

    [1] Hoping I don’t need to expand that gag of an initialism for you. Suffice it to say, I find public humility competitions amusing.

  106. >But the notion that the Hugo ballot has been held captive by intersectional critical race theory radical-feminist master planners is about as wacko as those nutter groups Steed and Peel tangled with each week

    Rick, I think you’re strawmanning significantly here. There may be people who believe that simpleminded and extreme a version of the SP complaint, but Larry isn’t one of them. Nor, in case it isn’t obvious, am I. On the other hand, there are a number of observable phenomena that indicate a problem in that direction, though not of that magnitude.

    I think there is an insider clique that has been exercising a disproportionately large amount of influence over the Hugos, at both nomination and election levels, for a long time, and I think the SPs are right to point at the Nielsen-Haydens as central member of that clique. I had actually noticed this as a social phenomenon well before SP 1, and it vaguely bothered me in the way snug insider cliques generally do.

    I do not believe the insiders’ purposes are mainly political. I think they are mainly the sort of cool-kid clubbishness and careerism that one normally finds in monkey packs doing this sort of thing. I do think they are seriously afflicted by LSE (Literary Status Envy) a wasting disease that progressively damages the creativity and judgment to SF authors and editors. I have stated that I think left-wing politics is a marker organism rather than the actual pathogen and accordingly declined to join the Evil League of Evil.

    Nevertheless, I think you dismiss the SPs’ and Jay’s political charges more lightly than you should. The insiders may not mostly be SJWs, but they generally share a political slant that makes them very malleable under SJW pressure. This has visible effects which, if you are an excitable conservative, are hard to distinguish from a unitary conspiracy run by SJWs, though that is not exactly what is going on.

    The SPs charge that novels by politically-incorrect authors, or those sounding libertarian and conservative themes, get differential and hostile treatment from the insiders wearing editorial hats. I think this charge is credible. I don’t think a new writer with both Robert Heinlein’s talent and his politics could get published by any major imprint other than Baen today.

    The SPs charge that there is a concerted SJW attempt going on to turn SF into a sort of neverending seminar in victim studies which not incidentally involves a lot of heated anti-male, anti-white, anti-“privilege” hate speech. This is pretty obviously true – the SJWs themselves are quite explicit about it – even if a straightforward identification of the insider clique with the SJWs is false.

    The SPs charge that a lot of boring or outright toxic political message fiction has been making the Hugo ballot recently, and it’s been increasingly dominated by authors the fans in generally don’t care for. There a lot of truth to this, too, as I think Vox Day demonstrated upthread by comparing some Amazon rankings.

    The mistake some but not all of the SPs make (I think Larry Correia avoids it) is to believe that there’s a rigid crankshaft or command structure connecting the SJWs to the insiders. I think it’s more a case of the insiders feeling a steady wind from that quarter which, because of their own less crazy but broadly left politics, they are not capable of resisting. So you get Tor.com putting preposterous SJW manifestos like Alex Dally McFarlane’s in neon lights.

    What concerns me more than the politics of the SJWs and the literary status envy of the insiders is the disrespect these attitudes engender for SF’s deep norms and traditions. A disrespect which often shades into attempts to actively destroy them.

    I get snarky about McFarlane’s precious-snowflake call for an end to binary-genderism, but I’m downright angry that politics and LSE endanger what is special about the field. Sense of wonder; respect for rationality; the celebration of optimism and invention and freedom and the sense that we can make the future better than the past. I grew up on those dreams; they taught me how to be a whole-systems thinker. In ways large and small they made me a better person – in Heinlein’s terms, a maker rather than a taker or faker. They’re a precious heritage and one which I think it is important we pass forward as living tradition.

    My complaint against the SJWs and their enablers is not so much their politics, but their careless and occasionally malevolent willingness to sell our birthright for a pot of message. That must not be allowed to happen – and it’s why, though they’re overexcitable and prone to a simplistic, excessively political reading of the situation, I must stand more with the Sad Puppies than against.

  107. I simply do not care about an author’s race, gender, sexuality, or anything else. If it’s a good story, it’s a good story. If not, it’s not. Period, end of discussion.

    For what it’s worth, Jay, I don’t think you’re lying. I’ve got a thing for story too, and good prose, and intelligent use of literary techniques, and all that stuff. I also like social justice, though I wouldn’t describe myself as an SJW, particularly where literature is concerned.

    More importantly, if you want to reflect SJW concerns in a story, it’s important to do it well. The real weakness in If You Were A Dinosaur My Love is that Swirsky uses the discussions of “My Love’s” murder to check off her Social Justice Box. The story, which up until then had been proceeding perfectly, suddenly went off the rails. All that great prose, all the brilliant set up… all she had to do was leave the facts of “My Love’s” damage a little more vague and the story would have been essentially perfect.

    On the other hand, Cory Doctorow’s “Little Brother” handles Social Justice concerns very intelligently. They’re what the story is about. They’re baked in from the start. A book which deals with Social Justice isn’t necessarily a bad book either. Like all other concerns a book might deal with, it’s a matter of technique and artistry.

    The problem, for any author, is that awards are taken against the social background of their society… In the early eighties, while still in high school, I thought the US was finally beginning to make real inroads against prejudice and poverty. Then the Reagan Administration decided that ketchup was a vegetable… which set the scene for me – and a huge number of my peers – becoming very, very cynical about the good intentions of conservatives.

  108. […] their careless and occasionally malevolent willingness to sell our birthright for a pot of message.

    A second’s Googlage tells me you may not have actually coined that one yourself, but still: Raymond, you magnificent bastard! I read your book, and I see I’m going to have to check out your story as well.

  109. Eric, I’d have to go over some of Larry’s online writings to find out whether he personally holds a cartoonish version of the East Coast left-wing elitist feminist anti-racist, anti-colonial conspiratorial Secret Cabal That Runs Worldcons theory. There have been so many innocent electrons wasted, I cannot keep who holds which specific wacko view straight.

    One thing’s for sure, Larry does have the politics of resentment thing down cold, and I recently remembered a particularly ugly angle to his extremely personal and nasty snipes against Teresa Nielsen Hayden. Let’s say, putting on you counterfactual hat for a moment, you were a longtime Utah Mormon raising your family in the Church. It cannot have escaped your notice that a very young Teresa Nielsen Hayden, in the 1970s, deliberately contrived to be formally excommunicated by that same church, that of her youth in Arizona, over a matter of principle (the LDS Church’s anti-ERA politics of that decade). So, you should be very conscious, as a matter of public probity, that your civil treatment of someone your church classifies as an apostate, will be under the microscope. You take care to err on the side of courtesy and never give the appearance of a personal vendetta, because that would make you look like a vengeful religious nutjob, right?

    Well, as I’m sure you’ve seen, Mr Correia staggers off in the exact opposite direction, heedless of decorum. Which seems at the bare minimum the act of someone desperately off-balance and needing to recover his equanimity. As I said, I like the man (on the strength of a first impression, anyway), and worry about people I care about when I see them going translational like that.

    What you call an insider clique: Well, first of all, the Hugo nomination and final-ballot process doesn’t have any point of leverage for a clique to exercise ‘a disproportionately large amount of influence over the Hugos’ except in the sense of people deciding for reasons of their own to listen and talk to certain people and not others for reasons of their own. Nobody gave Making Light a government- (or WSFS-) mandated monopoly on voter attention as a figurative monopoly rent on people’s minds. Making Light became popular, and people started listening to Teresa, Patrick, Abi Sutherland, (especially) the late John M. Ford, and other regulars, because they found those conversations worthwhile. That isn’t clique dominations; it’s called what can happens when people are free to make up their minds, and someone’s eloquence reaches a goodly fraction of the voting public.

    I don’t think the Nielsen Haydens and their, er, fellow-travelers are trying to impose the trappings of modern literature on SF. The Tor catalogue is all over the damned map, and it’s pretty obvious they’ll pick up anything they think will sell (including, one notes, John C. Wright). The focus on what it believed saleable means they are exhibiting survival-orientation, important if one is in the publishing business in 2015.

    The insiders may not mostly be SJWs, but they generally share a political slant that makes them very malleable under SJW pressure.

    Having met a lot of frequent Hugo voters and pretty much every single Hugo Administrator, the one word that I least associate with them is ‘malleable’. Much more like a herd of cats.

    My complaint against the SJWs and their enablers is not so much their politics, but their careless and occasionally malevolent willingness to sell our birthright for a pot of message.

    Well, if so, it sure ain’t been working. Look through the Hugo winners of the last ten years, and there is no single message. There is instead a riot of messages, which is pretty much what most of us hope for.

    My favourites almost never win — but I’m not going around charging that some invisible conspiracy is unfairly knocking what I think is good out of the hustings. It’s a lot of voters with the influences they are willing to permit to influence them, as channeled annually through the acknowledged-weak-if-anyone-crazy-decides-to-be-antisocial nomination stage, then IRV, then No Award runoff. If you say ‘disproportionately large amount of influence’, I don’t think that phrase means what you think it does.

    Meanwhile, the *Puppies managed to piss off just about everyone through noticing that 62-year-old gentleman’s agreement and stomping that sucker flat. Now, they’re likely to face that massive No Award backlash, and it would be tragic if the *Puppies had all had their punims so far up their tochises that they weren’t able to associate cause with effect — but I notice that they self-righteous justification shield is already in place.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  110. “The insiders may not mostly be SJWs, but they generally share a political slant that makes them very malleable under SJW pressure. This has visible effects which, if you are an excitable conservative, are hard to distinguish from a unitary conspiracy run by SJWs, though that is not exactly what is going on.”

    And just what difference does this make? The effects are the same: SF is destroyed by bending it to the SJWs’ will.

  111. “In the early eighties, while still in high school, I thought the US was finally beginning to make real inroads against prejudice and poverty. Then the Reagan Administration decided that ketchup was a vegetable… which set the scene for me – and a huge number of my peers – becoming very, very cynical about the good intentions of conservatives.”

    Any my roommate lived in what, by any objective standard, is poverty until the Reagan administration made it possible for his dad to start and run a profitable business. He’s very, very cynical about the good intentions of liberals.

  112. Eric, first of all, congratulations on your nomination.

    Rick and I just had a talk about your post and various comments, and I had an idea.

    I’ve been pointing out that part of the distinction of who gets nominated and voted for are preferentially those who attend fan-run cons central enough to the so-called Permanent Floating Worldcon Committee. It’s not because of any conspiracy, it’s just that those nominators/voters have a connection to panelists and guests. They may read those authors’ books and stories earlier, for example. They may talk about them more.

    In discussing the Nielsen Haydens, though, another aspect came to mind: they are two of the regular faculty for Viable Paradise. I went to VP 6 in 2002 (N.K. Jemisin was my roommate, in fact), and VP 8 in 2004, so this year will be the 19th year.

    The 19th year in which 15-20 people have studied at VP—with the Nielsen Haydens, among other faculty. This is part of their influence that you’re seeing, I believe. There are other Tor editors, and there are other editors at other houses, but I don’t know of other editors who lead a week-long workshop year in, year out.

    A significant fraction of people nominating are writers or aspiring writers, and I don’t need to tell you that that workshop student count does influence over time, especially when bundled with Clarion and Clarion West, each of which also take in 15-20 students per year.

    So, my suggestion would be that the Puppy sympathists run a serious neo-pro and journeyman writer workshop of 1-2 week duration.

    1. Take out ads in the publications that print the kind of work you’d like to see more of.
    2. Get faculty who write / edit in those fields (and 1-2 pro editors from major houses per year would be a huge draw).

    Yes, it’s a lot of work.

    My suggestion would be to hook it up with the LTUE concom if possible, as that seems to have the kind of panels about the kind of SF that the puppies would like to see more of (and it also has the benefit that some of the puppy nominees have spoken at LTUE). Unfortunately, LTUE is in February, and, to get the maximum enrollment and instructor options, it’s best to run a writing workshop in the summer.

    There’s simply got to be something out there that’s better, philosophically speaking, than the Scientology-funded Writers of the Future workshop.

    On the grad school front, several grad schools run MFA program in genre literature, including Seton Hill (where I got my MA, but they now offer an MFA), Stonecoast (which offers an MFA), and others. So there are those, too.

  113. “I always have troubles telling Libertarians and Conservatives apart when they start talking policy, with the exception that Libertarians usually don’t seem to be religious nutcases.”

    For the record:
    1) I am a conservative; while I have libertarian sympathies, there are parts of the typical libertarian platform that I have profound disagreements with. Just ask Eric.
    2) I am not a religious nutcase, not am I an atheist nutcase. I am an atheist who believes that if I am to demand and expect the freedom to believe as I wish, I must recognize that freedom in others.

  114. So, my suggestion would be that the Puppy sympathists run a serious neo-pro and journeyman writer workshop of 1-2 week duration.

    FIRST RESPONSE: I think that would be marvellous. Learn writing from David Weber, Eric Flint, John Ringo, Dan Simmons, Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven team-teaching. I’m not remotely conservative and I’d sign up for that list of authors!

    SECOND RESPONSE: Yay! Someone gets it! This is more of what I mean when I say “process, rather than gaming the rules.” Another, possibly much better word would be “soft power.” The Nielsens Haydens have lots and lots of soft power. Vox Day and Larry Correia have “hard power.” The Sad Puppies can call upon the Gamergate troops and various conservative fans to obey orders and march in lock step. The Nielsen Haydens and their “Liberal” friends can call upon a gigantic network of authors and fans whom they have befriended and educated over the years. Watching who wins and who loses and how will be gigantically educational.

  115. See “A response to George R. R. Martin from the author who started Sad Puppies”

    I read it and couldn’t help but notice an interesting contrast, one that got me right in the balls as a father. Currently, I’m boycotting all things Mormon. The reason is very simple. I’m the father of a Gay child and the Mormon’s put 22 million dollars into backing California’s Proposition 8 in a very serious bid to turn my kid into a second-class citizen. I’d be driving down the street, and I’d see twenty pro-Prop 8 stickers on every block, and as far as I’m concerned they may as well be swastikas – not an entirely logical thought, mind you, but it is my kid they’re talking about.

    So my response, should any Mormon try to sell me something, is to tell him/her they need to fix their facist, bigoted shithole of a Church, then we can talk about whether I’m buying. Yes, I’m still pissed. Deal.

    So there’s Larry, replying to George R. R. Martin, talking about how he was denounced as a bigot because he’s Mormon… and I flash on this, which talks about how Patricia Nielsen Hayden got excommunicated from the Mormon church:

    http://nielsenhayden.com/GodandI.html

    ‘Nuf said, I suppose, though if anyone doesn’t get the point, maybe we could talk a little more about soft power… and who has it… and who doesn’t. ;)

  116. Watching who wins and who loses and how will be gigantically educational.

    Eric, please tell me you’re watching this through your anthropological glasses!

  117. @Troutwaxer: Someone gets it! This would be because Deirdre (my wife) knows the SF publishing industry, knows conrunning, and knows the ways influence and loyalties arise between/among authors and editors. She’s a past attendee of Clarion East, Viable Paradise (twice), and Milford, and so knows from the inside about that sort of connection-making.

    And, also (my bias notwithstanding), her moral compass and sense of fair play are part of why she really ought to be heeded when she makes a sensible, constructive, and utterly germane suggestion like this one. (She earned Mr Beale’s respect when she went after the MZB sex-abuse story last year, sticking to her guns no matter who didn’t like her inquiry, as some indeed did not.)

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  118. One of the Sad Puppies III writers is a lesbian socialist.

    I assume that you’re referring to Anne Bellet. She is not, philosophically, a Sad Puppy, and I suspect that she will end up, to some degree, as collateral damage. At the very least her Hugo award, should she win one, will have an asterisk next to it. I also noted while reading her blog entry on the subject that she was feeling fairly stressed by the issues surrounding her nomination and that she hadn’t been fully informed about the Sad Puppies’ plans. As she wrote on her blog:

    I didn’t see this as different from recommendation lists that are posted all the time for these awards. That was my naivete, I guess. I didn’t realize it was a voting block or slate or whatever. I do now, and I’ll be punished for this forever in the SF peer world, I guess.

    https://overactive.wordpress.com/2015/04/05/hugo-nomination-and-thoughts/

    One of the things I really, really hate about the Sad Puppies is that amount of collateral damage they’re willing to see dished out to the non-Conservatives they put on their slates. “I’ll just stand behind this civilian while the bullets are flying.”

    As I see things, the only person who might benefit long-term from this nonsense is Vox Day/Theodore Beale. If everything goes his way Castalia House will end up with a couple hugos and suddenly he’s an award winning publisher. To people outside the Science Fiction world or up-and-coming writers five years from now who haven’t been following fandom it will look good and I suspect that Castalia House will eventually make money off the whole thing.

    You take for granted that certain kinds of peoples’ opinions don’t matter an that much others would interpret as culture warfare is simply common sense shared by all right-thinking people.

    I certainly don’t think other people’s opinions don’t matter. I think their actions matter. The kind of behavior that arises out of opinions matters. First, I think every nominee for every award ever ends up engaged with their culture. Nominations are made and awards are given against the backdrop of a culture and its attitudes. If a nominee for an award is resentful towards their own culture there’s certainly a problem. How they go about solving that problem is the test of their character.

    Second, note Dierdre Moen’s comment above about 19 years of authors workshops and the influence the Nielsen Haydens wield throughout SF culture at all levels. The SPs are way behind the Nielsen Haydens and this fact will show as the conflict develops.

    On this you are simply outright wrong. The Puppies predate Gamergate…

    I’ll deal with Gamergate on another post and I have lots of links. It will be today if possible, though I’m leaving for game night in a little while, so possibly not until tomorrow.

    George R.R. Martin, no friend of the Puppies, has admitted that he considers pre-Puppy slate voting to have been real and a problem, you haven’t got much grounds left to accuse anyone of lying.

    Rick Moen has dealt with this very thoroughly, so I don’t feel much need to address the issue further. Once again, the voting numbers are readily available for past years and there’s nothing which remotely resembles a smoking gun.

  119. >Now, they’re likely to face that massive No Award backlash

    If they get that, I know who I’ll hold responsible. And it won’t be the Puppies.

    It’s the dominant clique’s choice to try to burn down the Hugos with a “No Awards” blitz, not anyone on the SP side. I’m not going to fall for “Look what you made me do!” on this one.

  120. “Look through the Hugo winners of the last ten years, and there is no single message. There is instead a riot of messages, which is pretty much what most of us hope for.”

    “What’s this ‘we’ shit, kemosabe?”

    What ever happened to a good story that doesn’t try to drive home a message with a spike maul?

  121. > The Sad Puppies can call upon the Gamergate troops and various conservative fans to obey orders and march in lock step.

    Please tell me you’re joking, because this is utterly ridiculous. Getting conservatives to march in lockstep is hard enough, but libertarians? The mind boggles.

  122. @Troutwaxer
    The commints in that article represents the Ideal of the Sad Puppies message. Brad Torgersen and Anne Bellet disagree on “many things political and social” and yet to him “Goodnight Stars” deserves nomination because it’s a good story.

    Anne Bellet writes “Honestly, the thought that the above information[political and sexual orientation] would change whether or not my story gets read and considered, in either direction, makes me a little sick to my stomach.”

    And that’s what bothers Jay and Eric.
    And that’s what bothers Brad and Larry.
    And it really should bother anyone who is part of the Hugo community.

  123. Eric wrote: It’s the dominant clique’s choice to try to burn down the Hugos with a “No Awards” blitz, not anyone on the SP side.

    But I didn’t say ‘the dominant clique’. I said, and meant, frequent Hugo voters. I say this on the basis of talking broadly to a good cross-section of them.

    Which certainly means I could be wrong. (After all, hey, I thought the jury would find reasonable doubt in the Hans Reiser trial right up until they returned a sentence greater than prosecution asked for, and then he confessed and made a deal for the original sentence sought in exchange for leading investigators to his wife’s body. So, if I’m wrong, I’ll regret the error but not be paying out on any bets.)

    But my main point: Any analysis that calls the electorate the dominant clique is IMO suffering category failure.

    If my sense of things is correct, that’s not TNH’s orbital mind control lasers at work. That’d be the Puppies annoying just about everyone else, and the latter individually deciding to deter any repetition.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  124. Any analysis that calls the electorate the dominant clique is IMO suffering category failure.

    But any electorate that presents its membership as greater than what it actually is should not be surprised to find new voters demanding to be heard. If i could borrow GRRMs hypothetical, If(say at the time of SP1) the electorate were clear (or even vague) that the Hugo’s were now a liberal awards program and someone who supports gun control is not welcome… So be it, Larry would have no recourse but to take his bat and ball and go home. But the electorate was saying “we represent all of SF Fandom”.

  125. @JonCB: But any electorate that presents its membership as greater than what it actually is should not be surprised to find new voters demanding to be heard.

    What was the quotation from HGttG? ‘First you bang the rocks together, guys.’ (In other words, yep, not exactly what one would call news.)

    The composition of the Hugo electorate changes; what they vote changes. It’s happened many times, over and over for many years. Participate in the Worldcon and you’re entitled to the same say in deciding its awards and site selection. All it takes is time, commitment, and modest amounts of money.

    On the other hand, if you figuratively breeze into town, make a lot of noise for a year or two, and then lose focus and go away, don’t be surprised if things settle back to the way they were pretty quickly, as, in my experience, Hugo voters by and large are a quite patient lot, with a long-term focus.

    And, if you want to amend the WSFS Constitution to do anything at all, you’ll get good, neutral, expert advice from Kevin Standlee on the ins and outs of how to do so, and why not to repeat common procedural errors whereby you can shoot yourself in the foot. He’s been doing this with utter impartiality for decades.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  126. Forgot to add:

    @JonCB: But the electorate was saying “we represent all of SF Fandom”.

    Need any help bashing Mr Correia’s favourite straw man? It might be fun.

    I have no doubt you can find various blowhards who have thus stated, but it’s nonetheless utterly obvious that the Hugo Awards reflect the collective, compromise opinion of Worldcon members as to what was the best SF/fantasy of the prior year. The results are of course imperfect. Selecting me as Philosopher-King would fix that problem and make them perfect.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  127. @Jay Maynard wrote: What ever happened to a good story that doesn’t try to drive home a message with a spike maul?

    Ah, I see the problem. You were talking about a riot of Messages. I was talking about a riot of messages.

    (I consider sententious fiction of any sort noxious, in part because — I kid you not — when I was a young’un in the extremely backward-looking British government school in Hong Kong in the 1960s, our teacher read us passage from Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies to improve our moral fibre and help turn into proper little Victorian proletarians. We somehow survived.)

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  128. Troutwaxer, first my name is spelled as in “deity” and not as in “diet.” :)

    I think the puppies are responding to the fact that they’ve realized they haven’t done the work, but have mis-understood what the work they haven’t done is.

    As Eric points out, trying to get a bunch of libertarians to agree on steps to take is complicated. (I’d argue that’s also true of progressives, for reasons involving the difficulty of getting a consensus.)

    The inclusion of Gamergate in the Hugo nominating process

    Look, I’m about as pinko leftist as you can get, and I want to post about this at length on my own blog, but I think this point will be well-received here, so here’s the short form.

    1. Be careful of “extrapolating from the edge case” — an anon tweeter tagged GamerGate about Sad Puppies 3 in a single tweet. That’s not the same thing as equating GamerGate and Sad Puppies 3. I’ve seen that equivalency happen from leftist speakers too and it annoys the hell out of me because it’s a false equivalency.

    2. There are, and have been, people who are sympathetic to GamerGate in fandom before GamerGate was an established term. Some of them nominate and vote. So? Members of fandom are members of fandom. We don’t all agree. (Yay diversity.)

    3. GamerGate is an open group, including people who disagree about a great many things. Similarly Anonymous. Similarly puppy sympathizers. Similarly people interested in social justice. I’m very much opposed to using collective nouns to extrapolate from actions of individuals unless that collective noun describes an actually limited set of people who were acting for the same reasons.

    4. Disinformation campaigns exist, and this is one of those situations that’s heated enough that one needs to be wary of claims.

    Sure, I fall into the same rhetorical traps other people do because I’m human. I just try to notice that those traps are there.

  129. Though Vox Day is something of a red herring when it comes to discussion of Sad Puppies, I will respond to one of Troutwaxer’s points:

    The first post I’ve linked to has Vox Day deliberately misinterpreting a satirical post by John Scalzi, and insisting that Scalzi has admitted to being a rapist.

    A good many of the “proofs” of VD’s badthink-thoughtcrime come from Scalzi et al. misinterpreting him in exactly the same way.

    For example: We in the West talk about bringing education to Afghani girls as a good thing, partially because this will help change a badly broken culture. Then we’re surprised that the defenders of the culture’s broken parts treat these schools as an attack on them. From that perspective, VD said, acid attacks on schoolgirls is a rational tactic.

    Mind you the “from that perspective” part was implicit in the conversation; and where most people would have repeated it explicitly so their words could not be misunderstood [deliberately or otherwise], VD was perfectly fine with people misunderstanding him. He just took notes on who was misreading his words, and has since then been applying the exact same standard to everything they say.

    It’s funny in its way, I suppose, but only to those who’ve been following the conversation from the beginning; anyone coming in later who isn’t curious enough (or bored enough, as I was when I researched this) to look up all that history will just see people being jerks to each other on the ’net, and one of those people seemingly saying pretty awful things. Larry Correia, in contrast, keeps in mind that there’s only one point to arguing on the Internet: convincing the undecided audience.

  130. And conservatives have trouble telling us [libertarians] apart from liberals.

    Nope; you’re the recognizably-different kind of liberal we find ourselves agreeing with much of the time. (That, and “conservative but leaning libertarian” is common enough that we’re not surprised at the existence of such common ground.)

  131. … an anon tweeter tagged GamerGate about Sad Puppies 3 in a single tweet.

    It was both more and less than that: Some prominent SP supporters did speak to prominent GG folks about Sad Puppies. Not just anons, and more than once.

    On the other hand, reading /r/KotakuInAction you see lots of posts of the sort “[OT] Here’s an example of SJW action in this other context” (Atheism+, the Linux kernel mailing list, etc.); these posts get sympathetic reactions and maybe some advice, but they are not taken as calls for GGers to join in the other fight. Twitter is much harder to follow, but I think it’s much the same: Larry Correia thought Daddy Warpig would find Sad Puppies interesting, so he pointed him at it. (And DW went and bought a supporting membership, and submitted his own, entirely different, set of nominations.)

  132. A good many of the “proofs” of VD’s badthink-thoughtcrime come from Scalzi et al. misinterpreting him in exactly the same way.

    Yes, exactly so. If you find someone’s actual views reprehensible, at least be straight about what that is. I really, really find it tiring when people have to make crap up or exaggerate.

    Thanks, Joel for the clarification and additional information. I know about the Daddy Warpig tweet, which has been held up as a flag, but I honestly haven’t been bored enough to go look more deeply into the history. GamerGate unfolded when I had a bad leg injury; by the time that got under control many weeks later, the topic seemed overwhelmingly large to dig into.

    I will say that when Briana Wu spoke about the death threats she received (taking that part at face value), then immediately blamed GamerGate, I winced. I also immediately told Rick that I didn’t respect that part of what she’d said. Extrapolating from the edge case.

    As you say about /r/KotakuInAction, and I know from similar things going on in Chanology, yeah, it comes up, but it’s also not necessarily the case that anyone will act on it.

    But for the love of whatever one considers holy or cool, there’s enough to support whatever position one chooses to hold without exaggerating or unfair extrapolation.

    Now I’m going to go argue with woocommerce some more.

  133. > It’s funny in its way, I suppose, but only to those who’ve been following the conversation from the beginning; anyone coming in later who isn’t curious enough (or bored enough, as I was when I researched this) to look up all that history will just see people being jerks to each other on the ’net, and one of those people seemingly saying pretty awful things. Larry Correia, in contrast, keeps in mind that there’s only one point to arguing on the Internet: convincing the undecided audience.

    I believe that Vox Day is trying to do the same thing. Only he realizes that the most effective way to do that is not necessarily rational argument. On the other hand, his sense of ethics requires that he not engage in ‘dark arts slander’ against anyone who hasn’t done the same to him first.

  134. What ever happened to a good story that doesn’t try to drive home a message with a spike maul?

    Forgive me if the first bits of what I write in reply seem a little patronizing. I’m going someplace but I want to lay a little groundwork first.

    The problem with your complaint is that there’s always a message in any piece of writing. The default message is “I’m fine with our society and I don’t want to argue with its tenants.” Even a really simple story like “A boy named Matthew went to the store and bought a package of Twinkies, then he went home to his apartment,” includes the following messages.

    There should be children named after the Apostles.
    There should be stores.
    We should use money as our medium of exchange.
    Children should be sold nutritionally unsound, highly advertised treats.
    People should live in big, boxy hives with lots of other people.
    Children should be given spending money.

    We don’t usually notice any of the messages above. They’re “backdrop of our lives” kind of stuff. Having laid the groundwork – there’s always a message – I’m going to make a somewhat more sophisticated point.

    To me, what you’re really talking about is the quality of the writing/plotting/prose. Can the author talk about what interests them without tripping over themselves? Is the “message” built into the story in an un-noticeable fashion? Can you skip the message and just enjoy the story? Does the clumsiness with which the message is presented drive you out of the narrative? Is the message presented metaphorically or symbolically so you can avoid noticing it if you’re just reading for pleasure. Or is the “message” in the sheer ordinariness of the story – I’m fine with the status quo – like what I presented above

    Or does “no message” really mean “no message I disagree with.”

    I guess what I’m really saying – and I don’t mean this politically at all – is that you need to consider your premises a bit more carefully and make it clear what you’re really complaining about.

  135. “Honestly, the thought that the above information[political and sexual orientation] would change whether or not my story gets read and considered, in either direction, makes me a little sick to my stomach.”

    Ideologically (for lack of a better word) I agree with Annie’s sentiments. In practical reality slate voting changes the nominating process in a really fundamental way.

  136. It’s really hard to find anyone with a suitably neutral view of Gamergate, one which acknowledges that some gamers really are concerned about gaming journalism, but also that Randi Harper got swatted by Gamergaters. A single article is very unlikely discuss both the death threats aimed at Brianna Wu and the concerns about whether she was sleeping with a game journalist and treat both claims neutrally.

    This is the closest thing I’ve found to a neutral article that really covers the issues, and it’s probably got a dozen statements that we could all fight about if we felt like it:

    http://www.vox.com/2014/9/6/6111065/gamergate-explained-everybody-fighting

    There have been automated analyses of things like Gamergate Twitter traffic, but some of those analyses are partisan in one way or another, and it’s really hard for an automated analysis of tweets to distinguish “I hate you and I want to rape you” from “I hate the guys who say they want to rape you.” I’m not remotely a statistician, but the number of ways to selectively distort huge data sets must be damn near infinite… Some of these big Gamergate data sets are available on line. Feel free to get back to me when you’ve read each of 100,000 or more tweets and hand-categorized them – it’s not like you have a life or anything.

    Attempts to be even-handed aside, there are a couple things to note in passing. The first is that it’s just about impossible to find someone other than a Gamergate apologist who’s written much that’s kind about the Gamergaters themselves. The second is that the Gamergate movement is really big. Per one analysis I scanned Gamergate generated 312,000 tweets over one three day period (which the collector then attempted to analyse.) While there is doubtless a lot of re-tweeting going on, if even a tiny percentage of Gamergaters align with the Sad Puppies, it could still create massive changes to the Hugo nominations, and I read somewhere that fifty votes is enough to get someone nominated in the more obscure Hugo categories. I very much doubt that it will be possible to quantify Gamergate support for the Sad Puppies, though a look at supporting Worldcon subscriptions in the week after the Sad Puppies called out to Gamergate might give an approximation of the numbers.

    All of my careful attempts to be neutral aside, let’s lay this on the line: If you’re female, the idea that you might draw Gamergate’s negative attentions is certain to be terrifying. Even if the bad actors, as Deirdre says above, are edge cases, those “edge cases” have clearly doxxed women, threatened women with with rape, torture, and death, and engaged in swatting:

    http://blog.randi.io/2015/04/03/swated/

    So if you’re female and a hundred “edge cases” are threatening you with rape, torture, murder, etc., maybe that’s just the Internet and if you’re enough of a hardass you ignore it. But once another “edge case” posts your address online to the people who’ve made those threats… That’s another thing entirely, isn’t it? Gamergate is big enough that the 1-2 % of people in any online discussion who behave badly is a gigantic number.

    So the presence of Gamergate in the Hugo awards debate isn’t just about bringing in some voters. It’s also about scaring people, particularly women. It’s about appearing to be as menacing as possible. It’s about dropping a subtle hint to the Teresa Nielsen Haydens and N.K. Jemisins of this world that they need to toe the fucking line. And I should note, by the way, that it’s pissing the Sad Puppies’ opposition off in ways which, as Deirdre noted above, are not necessarily rational.

    I don’t think this is a strategically sound on the Sad Puppies part, (other than bringing in some voters) I think the negative consequences might end up being much uglier than the benefits and I suspect it will push a lot of women into the No Award column.

    Having set the scene, in subsequent posts I’ll try to lay out the timeline of Sad Pupp/Gamergate interaction.

  137. The first two discussions of connecting Gamergate with the Sad Puppies come from the kick-off post for this year’s Sad Puppy campaign, made on January 21st of this year, as follows:

    “Alan S. says:
    January 21, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Just a suggestion, but pitching this on the EVE Online, Warcraft, or HALO forums, or perhaps reaching out to the particularly irate gamergate folks might provide fertile soil as well.

    Can we get physical patches?”

    Note the use of the term, “particularly irate gamergate folks.” Alan knows exactly what he is going for here.

    https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/how-you-can-aid-the-valiant-sad-puppies-3-campaign/

    Then Daddy Warpig Posts:

    “Some people in #GamerGate got the word today:”

    In which he refers to this tweet:

    https://twitter.com/Daddy_Warpig/status/557992681121386496

  138. Then Larry Correia reaches out to Gamergaters on his blog, telling them about the voting packet:

    http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/01/26/sad-puppies-3-the-ensaddening/

    And someone named ratseal posts that they enjoyed the YouTube video of the podcast from Daddy Warpig and they give the URL.

    This takes place on January 26th. Look down where it reads “Edit 2.”

    Later ratseal gives the URL of the YouTube video, which as posted on January 25th. The video is titled “Geek Gab w/ NYT Bestselling Author, and International Lord of Hate, Larry Correia.”

  139. Also on January 26th, Larry Correia reaches out to someone with the twitter handle of #Nero, who’s name is Milo Yiannopoulos, with the following two tweets:

    https://twitter.com/monsterhunter45/status/559761358124642305

    https://twitter.com/monsterhunter45/status/559761358124642305

    Milo Yiannopoulos is a Breitbart.com commentator who’s a reformed video-game hater who wrote a column called, “Feminist Bullies Tearing the Video Game Industry Apart.” Now he’s apparently big in the Gamergate community.

  140. Milo replies a little later with this tweet:

    https://twitter.com/Nero/status/559772587157630977

    “Watch @voxday and @monsterhunter45 closely over the next few months http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/01/26/sad-puppies-3-the-ensaddening/ … They’re going to make the Hugos fun…”

    And after becoming a minor part of the story (presumably his tweets are read by at least some subset of Gamergaters) Milo co-writes this Breitbart Piece:

    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/02/05/the-hugo-wars-how-sci-fis-most-prestigious-awards-became-a-political-battleground/

    (Hey Milo, a word with you about ethics in journalism, if I may…)

    To sum up, we have one high-level Sad Puppy, Larry Correia, communicating with big-time Gamergaters, Daddy Warpig and Milo Yiannopoulos about the Sad Puppy plans. Yianopoulos has to be recruited, but he comes through with a tweet and article on Breitbart that gathers a whopping 587 comments. Daddy Warpig, as far as I can tell, volunteers. (and Daddy Warpig is a fairly big deal, at least in Gamergate circles. The Gamergate article I read on his blog had 81 comments. His other articles appear to garner 1-5 comments.

    Meanwhile, (see the link in my post about Vox Day above) the Rabid Puppy is talking about how Christians need to adapt the tactics of Gamergate.

    I think it’s inarguable that the Sad Puppies reached out to the Gamergaters in an organized and effective manner, though how successful they were is not something we can really quantify. But as conspiracies go, the evidence I’ve presented is much closer to a smoking gun than anything the Sad Puppies can produce proving that the Nielsen Haydens control the Hugos.

  141. Eric, I was really tired the other day when I last posted to this comment thread (thus the typos and one repeated clause I noticed later). So, I failed to mention: Thank you for making a nuanced case for influence by left-wing ideologues from outside as opposed to SF publishing being itself a ‘SJW’ conspiracy. Before I toddled off to other things, I mentioned your post to Deirdre, and we remembered the Viable Paradise / Clarion connection that Deirdre then posted about separately.

    Anyway, it’s likely my rushed posting didn’t do your careful analysis justice, and please be assured I’ll go back and read more carefully.

    Speaking of nuance, something else that I noticed that really annoyed me — not at anyone here, but relevant to the discussion. Collecting links, I saw a linked series of Puppy-critical tweets by Foz Meadows that other online denizens appeared to be high-fiving, including a derogatory characterisation of Brad Torgersen critiquing misleading SF book cover illustrations, the whole ‘A few decades ago, if you saw a lovely spaceship on the cover’ thing. And I very nearly believed her taunt, where she mocked him (and by implication Puppies) for being simply unable to deal with nuance and dead-set against a book with the dragon on the cover turning out to have the dragon as a protagonist.

    What annoyed me was: That’s not even within a country mile of what Torgersen wrote, and was Meadows’s recklessly inaccurate cartoon version. Torgersen said he found annoying the spaceship-cover book turning out to be overwhelmingly a Message book about racial prejudice and exploitation, the space-opera-cover book being a Message book mostly preaching against sexism, the dragon-cover book being primarily a tract against colonisation using Dragon Land as a thin prop for the argument.

    FWIW, I tend to concur. Sanctimonious Message plots were tiresome back in ’69 when Roddenberry did them, too. But that’s not the real point. Irrespective of whether anyone shares Torgersen’s view, the point is that Meadows basically lied about it, and I’m likely to be pointing that out in public for quite a while. If I am going to be conned, I at least want it to be clever: The clumsy, transparently bogus variety is just irritating.

    Someone I know in Pennsylvania once said, speaking of computerists, ‘Never lie to geeks. They take it seriously. Most general members of the public expect casual prevarication and evasion, but technical activists notice it and are offended.’ I hope and expect that fandom leans the same way.

    Another example: I’m not simpatico with Mr Beale’s societal views generally, but I don’t care to be lied to about those, either, and have been debunking ones like the currently fashionable ‘called for acid attacks on feminists’ bullshit claim.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  142. >Also on January 26th, Larry Correia reaches out to someone with the twitter handle of #Nero, who’s name is Milo Yiannopoulos

    When I said the suopposed Gamergate connection was invented by conservative journalists with an axe to grind, this Yiannopoulos was top of the list I had in mind. Correia contacted him after he’d run a series about GamerGate. But Yiannopoulos is not a GamerGate organizer himself, so it takes a pretty tendentious turn of mind to suggest this was a GamerGate recruitment effort.

    If you’re not reading with an eye seeking conspiracies, what we have here is “Yes, the SJWs are crapping all over the art I love, too, and I’m willing to talk about it”.

  143. >I think it’s inarguable that the Sad Puppies reached out to the Gamergaters in an organized and effective manner

    Oh for fuck’s sake. With this kind of supposed “evidence”, I have no doubt I could “prove” the PNH clique are agents of influence for the CPUSA. But I’m not going to try, because that would be equally silly.

  144. >Irrespective of whether anyone shares Torgersen’s view, the point is that Meadows basically lied about it

    Welcome to Sad-Puppy land. Have you any concept of the amount of slanderous lies and filth that has been poured on those guys? The Entertainment Weekly story – which they had to retract – wasn’t even clearly the worst. I have slammed the hell out of Brad Torgerson’s The Chaplain’s War because it plain sucked, but watching him be slandered as a white supremacist when he’s been happily married to a black woman for twenty years and had children with her makes my blood boil. People who will pull that kind of shit need to be stopped, hard, and their allies punished as well.

    More generally, welcome to what being a conservative or libertarian is like in a culture where the media leans pretty far left. We have to deal with this kind of lie all the time and it gets wearying. Until relatively recently SF was one of the few places we could go not to be relentlessly barraged with PC-think. Then the SJWs showed up with an intention to take that away from us. Some sort of Sad-Puppy-like backlash was inevitable.

  145. “Thank you for making a nuanced case”

    Argh. “Nuance” is a red flag: it’s a sign that the leftist (for only leftists do) using that word are trying to put one over on us, obfuscated by various forms of bafflegab and doublespeak.

    When someone says they’re being nuanced, grab your wallet and your crotch: they’re trying to screw you or rob you.

  146. Troutwaxer, Eric nails it: “Until relatively recently SF was one of the few places we could go not to be relentlessly barraged with PC-think.”

    Leftists and SJWs (but I repeat myself) think everything is political. Horseshit and hogwash. Sometimes, a cigar is just a smoke, and sometimes, a story is just a story, no politics involved.

    The “messages” you read into that sentence include a lot of “should”s that are, at best, “is”es. You do not know what the author was truly saying. You’re putting words into his mouth, without stopping to think about whether he would put them there himself.

    Who died and made you God?!

    I’m complaining about people who tell authors what they’re saying, instead of listening to the author themselves. Those same people get mad if the author doesn’t say what they think needs to be said.

    People have been telling authors what they said for decades. It’s only in the past several years that the PCness has been added in, so that authors must not only include a message, but the right message, lest they be cast out of polite society the Hugos.

    Fuck that noise. I’m not arrogant enough to tell an author who’s worked for years on his magnum opus what he said. He can tell me with the words on the page, and if I’m curious enough to inquire, he can tell me himself directly.

  147. > Thank you for making a nuanced case for influence by left-wing ideologues from outside as opposed to SF publishing being itself a ‘SJW’ conspiracy.

    To amplify a point I made earlier: it is very clear to me that the insider clique existed and had a potentially unhealthy amount of influence well before the SJWs showed up. Back then I thought the associated risk was all about the damaging effects of LSE; I didn’t see the insiders’ political slant as a problem at all. It’s not after all like I’m unused to coping with arrogant left-liberals, I consider it more or less the normal friction cost of living in a coastal metroplex.

    Then the SJWs showed up (about 2008-2009; the first major eruption was #RaceFail) and I thought I could write them off as a bunch of ax-grinding loons too strident and stupid to get any real traction. I wrote Kafkatrapping as a way to counter their most characteristic manipulative strategy but didn’t otherwise trouble myself much about them.

    I think it was about 2012 that I noticed that the SJWs were successfully co-opting the insiders, and that two problems I previously considered minor and separate might be amalgamating into something not so minor. Still, my major complaint against both groups remained less political than aesthetic – that they were flogging a style- or message-centric way of writing that led to bad SF.

    When SP 1 issued in 2013 I wasn’t a huge fan. I don’t like boring message fiction either, and I do have a generally good opinion of Larry Correia (he used to comment on this blog occasionally before he was all famous and stuff) but I thought political rancor was causing him and others to inflate a small but real problem into a larger but mostly imaginary one.

    Gradually, through late 2013 and 2014 it began to dawn on me that the Puppies had hold of a problem both real and large. But I thought (and still think) they were in some respects mistaking accident for essence. I wrote about that in SF and the damaging effects of literary status envy.

    Here’s what I got wrong. If someone had correctly predicted to me, around 2010, that those #RaceFail looneytoons are going to successfully co-opt the Hugo insiders and major publishing houses within five years, I would have conceded the theoretical possibility (entryism is an old story on the left) but responded “Surely not. Surely the insiders are smart enough to have better filters against such rankly political bullshit. You’re just being conservative-paranoid.”

    Then it’s 2015 and through a truly odd combination of circumstances I’m on the Sad Puppies slate, and thus up to my eyebrows in the resulting culture war.

  148. @Jay Maynard: “Nuance” is a red flag: it’s a sign that the leftist (for only leftists do) using that word are trying to put one over on us, obfuscated by various forms of bafflegab and doublespeak.

    To any and all net.randoms wishing to have me ‘pull one over on’ them: Please offer to pay my full consulting rates, two hour minimum (though in all likelihood I will decline such trade, as I’m a working capitalist and eschew time-wasters).

    Mr Maynard, I not-actually apologise for my excessive vocabulary bingo-matching your personal list of ideological shibboleths. For my friend Eric, in case I was somehow unclear: I was of course saying (in General Semantics terms) that I appreciate your grappling with the complexity of actual reality, that being refreshing in place of the usual bandying of meaningless abstractions and assuming without evidence a map to the territory of base-level reality.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  149. Rick, I would like to direct your attention to this YouTube video which, among other things, demonstrates the use of the word “nuance” and places it in its proper context.

  150. >For my friend Eric, in case I was somehow unclear: I was of course saying (in General Semantics terms) that I appreciate your grappling with the complexity of actual reality, that being refreshing in place of the usual bandying of meaningless abstractions and assuming without evidence a map to the territory of base-level reality.

    No worries, I got that. Sorry about Jay; he means well and is personally very reasonable, but suffers from conservative fixations that sometimes cause inappropriate semantic reactions.

  151. @Jay Maynard: Rick, I would like to direct your attention

    Yes, I’m sure you would. At this point, your doing so is not very likely. Meanwhile, I believe you have a bridge to take station under, my good sir. And you can please take your ideological disputations with you, thanks, as I am profoundly uninterested.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  152. “suffers from conservative fixations that sometimes cause inappropriate semantic reactions.”

    Comes from having to deal with “what being a conservative or libertarian is like in a culture where the media leans pretty far left” for decades.

  153. “I believe you have a bridge to take station under, my good sir.”

    And why is it that people insist on calling others trolls when they’re not trolling, but instead posting their sincerely held, heartfelt beliefs? All that is is a way to avoid engaging the actual issue.

    And besides, that video is funny.

  154. >[Those fixations] from having to deal with “what being a conservative or libertarian is like in a culture where the media leans pretty far left” for decades.

    Rick, in fairness to Jay this is quite true. He really isn’t a troll, just has some triggers where he’s been repeatedly punched and a tendency to shoot from the lip when a more prudent person would not. I’ve known him FTF for longer than I have known you and will certify.

  155. @Rick Moen

    FWIW – “nuance” has been a term commonly seen from the progressive left since at least 2000 – basically as a put down to conservative or libertarian policies as “simple” and by implication, that those suggesting them were dumb or ignorant.

    Frankly, it’s a disgusting co-opting of a perfectly good and useful term, but there you have it.

    One of my early replies to that usage was that you can be as nuanced as you like, but eventually you have to choose to act, or not act, and calls for nuance all to often we calls to NOT act (or at least not at counter to a tack that progressives were taking), to waffle, to not commit to an action.

    Do, or do not, there is no try.

    Later, it became pretty obvious how many progressive talking points were actually the simpleminded ones, with no large context of the environment being operated in. I started using “nuance” ironically when directed back at such arguments.

    Even later – despite Haidt’s flaws (IMO) in choosing various moral axes, I think that there is nevertheless substance to his argument that “conservatives” as he labeled them, using a more comprehensive moral framework than “liberals”. In effect, despite an apparent trend to choose go/no go faster – and thus move on to other things – ‘conservatives’ actually deal in greater nuance. I certainly don’t believe that the further results he got – that conservatives were far more successful at describing the position a ‘liberal’ would take than vice versa – is entirely due to cultural exposure. “Being aware of the water” as it were. In part because a lot of progressives and SJW’s seem to come across as people stuck at the emotional and moral maturity of a teenager.

    Certainly there is something in the makeup that makes them run though at least 4 points, if not all points, of Correia’s “internet arguing checklist”. Facts be damned, make sf*t up, disqualify, deny, etc… – objective reality, unpleasant truths or otherwise, qualitative differences in degree, etc. seem not to apply.

  156. @Rick Moen – and FWIW – I think you meant it in its proper usage.

  157. Eric: Fair ‘nough.

    You may be aware that I have not only a low sense of humour but also an even lower tolerance for time-wasting, a tendency sharpened lately by awareness of the cytological minority of me inclined to march to a different drummer. It tends to focus one’s attention.

    Meanwhile, I have patience for few if any of anyone’s pieties, which are simply really boring, and better things to spend my mortal span on.

  158. >You may be aware that I have not only a low sense of humour

    I am aware of this. It is not translating well. Jay, like many other Mid-Westerners and Southerners, is not really cosmopolitan enough to understand how you are playing. Where I see ironic wit, they are likely to read mere arrogance and superciliousness. You are better than that. Mostly…Ahem. “Be nice!” is actually good tactical advice here. And yes, you know exactly what look I’d be giving you if we were FTF.

  159. If you’re not reading with an eye seeking conspiracies, what we have here is “Yes, the SJWs are crapping all over the art I love, too, and I’m willing to talk about it”.

    I can work with that, so I’m going to play this your way starting in the next paragraph. First, however, I’ll note in passing that the Sad Puppies response to SJWs crapping all over the field is to essentially say, “If the SJWs are going to crap on the field, we’re going to crap on the field too! In fact, we’re going to crap on it even harder!” I’ll come back to that point later, but hopefully in the spirit in which you made your comment above.

    So. Playing it your way, I’ll accept “If You Were A Dinosaur My Love” as being diagnostic of some kind of problem with the SF community. There’s a major failure of categorization – the story simply isn’t either Science Fiction or Fantasy – and there’s a minor failure of good writing, as Swirsky obviously goes out of her way to tag the Social Justice box while bringing the story home.* Her efforts to check that box bounced me out of the story, and once she did that, I scanned the rest of the piece. In my eyes, her error made the story non-award-worthy.

    Thoughts of that kind of writing brings me to Tom Kratman’s The Tuloriad, which suffers from the same problem; a deliberate and flawed attempt to go outside the natural course of the story and check off the “Aliens Find Jesus” box. Kratman’s prose and characterization were solid, but not brilliant. If they’d been better, Tuloriad might also have been nominated for some kind of award… but even if his prose and characterization were brilliant, his deliberate move off the true path of the story would have moved Tuloriad out of my “give this book an award” column.

    So message fiction is problematic from both sides of the aisle, particularly when it’s poorly executed. It screws up the whole field. If we imagine Science Fiction as a dialogue, then poor execution removes all the pleasure from that dialogue. Let’s go a step further and imagine that science fiction is a musical dialogue. We have the right-wing horns over here, and the left-wing woodwinds over there, and as we reach a crescendo in this dialogue of horn vs. woodwind, first Kratman, then Swirsky, then Kratman… and each player blows a sour note.

    Regardless of whether you’re rooting for the woodwinds or the horns, the symphony is ruined, and once again, we’re back at the Sad Puppies. “The woodwinds blew a sour note, so we’re going to blow a sour note too! But ours is going to be much more off-key than their sour note.” If I can extend my metaphor to the breaking point, this speaks to the musicianship of the Sad Puppies, because a really, really brilliant horn player might find a way to play off that sour note on the part of the woodwinds and save the performance. It might require a change in key, or different phrasing of the same notes, or some bit of improvisational brilliance only the best musician can manage, but it’s possible.

    In the Sad Puppies favor, they’re not required to make a brilliant, split-second musical decision that saves the performance. The minimum that’s expected of them is that they stay in key and execute their part of the dialogue correctly. Mind you, this doesn’t require them to lose the dialogue. It merely requires that they don’t make the overall problem worse.

    (Speaking of making the problem worse, the SJWs vs. Sad Puppies made federalist.com (or maybe it’s thefederalist.com) today, and they also made Daily Kos. I was hoping that this would stay restricted to the science fiction community and we could handle the problem in house. Damn!)

    But I don’t want to see anyone on any side applauding a sour note by either side, because at that point the whole thing becomes very ugly and it quickly descends into a kind of musical farce, and the wonderful dialogue of science fiction starts to sound a lot like a Spike Jones tune from the forties. I like Spike Jones, but only in small doses.

    On the other hand, and many years ago, there were brilliant dialogues within the field. On the right we have A Canticle For Leibowitz one of the most brilliant SF pieces ever written. Heavily Catholic, discussing issues like euthanasia, war, and the positive role of the church in rebuilding a shattered civilization, it gets everything right in “checking the Jesus box” that Kratman got wrong.

    On the left, given the Hugo one year after Liebowitz won, we have Heinlein’s brilliant “Stranger in a Strange Land.” ‘Nuf said, I think.

    In Leibowitz Miller plays a transcendent Hymn on his right-wing trumpet, all full of God’s glory and power and mercy, as channelled through the Almighty’s fallible mortal instruments. The audience falls back in their seats as they experience one religious epiphany after another. In response, Heinlein strokes his mojo bag for a couple minutes, whips out his saxophone and responds with a jazz solo so brilliantly hot and sexy that the angels rip off their robes and have an orgy right there on the head of Heinlein’s pin.

    There’s a goddamn dialogue for you. That’s old school. HEY YOU! HEY KRATMAN AND SWIRSKY! SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO THESE GUYS WAIL THIS IS HOW THE BIG BOYS DO IT!

    I think that’s what we’d both like to see again.

    I’m going to anticipate your next question. “What happens if one side refuses to take part in the dialogue? What if the people who believe a “social justice” message must exist in all award winners refuse to even pay attention to the other side’s stories?”

    And I’m going to answer your question with a couple questions. First, if this is true, what should the Sad Puppies be doing to make things better? If this gigantic, horrible argument, played out over twitter and dozens of blogs, while moving on to ever-bigger media sites proves anything it’s that the current Sad Puppy strategy is incredibly divisive, it’s going to result in the ugliest Worldcon since L. Ron. Hubbard did his thing, and it has the potential to ruin the writing careers of innocent bystanders – including yours and Annie Bellet’s – not to mention the possibility of blowback all over the Sad Puppies themselves. And what a gigantic intelligence failure! As far as I can tell, the Sad Puppies haven’t even asked the right questions and they sure as hell aren’t getting the right answers.

    Just to be perfectly clear, this isn’t Troutwaxer arguing for his side. I really want to know what the fuck the SPs were thinking when they turned this into an ugly, proto-hominid poo-flinging match? Didn’t they have even one single better idea?

    Second, what does the other side of the dialogue have to offer that comes anywhere close to A Canticle For Leibowitz, or even Hyperion? If it’s there, I haven’t seen it. If Weber’s ruminations about the wrongness of space communism in his Honor Harrington books, Ringo’s ideas on the military virtues of guys in cybernetic armor, or Kratman’s tales of the Waffen SS fighting Posleen are the best the right has to offer, it’s no wonder they’re not winning Hugos. There may be a problem with how the rightwing side of science fiction is being judged, but which of the people who should be playing the first-chair trumpet has good game right now? Because I’m not seeing it.

    I think that’s enough of Troutwaxer getting up on his high horse. I eagerly await your reply.

    * I should note that other than this flaw, “If You Were A Dinosaur” was good enough to send me into a state of panic when I attempted to think deeply about it and relate it to hard emotional times in my life. The flaw, however, drove me right out of the story.

  160. The better idea was: turn out in droves, nominate and vote for things in the Hugos that they liked, recruit many many others to nominate and vote for their own favourite shinies, then if that provoked a dialogue about whether Worldcon naturalised citizens only were allowed, have the dialogue.

    The poo-flinging was, as far as I can tell, somebody else’s idea, in reaction to the possibility that they might not retain control. Troutwaxer, you might consider the possibility that the someone else(s) need to give up their sense of entitlement and check their privilege and engage with the lived experience of the Sad Puppy fans, rather than stereotype and tone police them, if this dialogue thing is going to work.

    Or you could just keep reducing Honor Harrington to “Space communism bad!” – surely you’re on to a winner there. (:

  161. >I can work with that, so I’m going to play this your way starting in the next paragraph.

    Three cheers for constructive conversation, but…

    >I’ll note in passing that the Sad Puppies response to SJWs crapping all over the field is to essentially say, “If the SJWs are going to crap on the field, we’re going to crap on the field too! In fact, we’re going to crap on it even harder!”

    …this isn’t right. The Sad Puppies’ sense of “crapping on the field” is “writing boring political message fiction” The Puppies do not respond by proposing to write even more boring, even more political message fiction or boring political message fiction with the opposite message; what they prose is that writing a decent entertainment with sense of wonder in it ought to come first. I do not think I am overinterpreting when I see an implication that if you can write non-boring message fiction, that’s OK.

    >So. Playing it your way, I’ll accept “If You Were A Dinosaur My Love” as being diagnostic of some kind of problem with the SF community.

    Yes, I think that is an excellent example – it’s one I nearly brought up at several previous points in the thread.

    >The Tuloriad, which suffers from the same problem; a deliberate and flawed attempt to go outside the natural course of the story and check off the “Aliens Find Jesus” box.

    I’ve discussed The Tuloriad on this blog. I too think it is seriously flawed and have said so to Kratman. My problem is that I don’t think human religiosity is believable in a Posleen because the psychology logically implied by their reproductive biology is too a-human. Tom’s counter was that Posleen-relgious-guy is insane by Posleen standards. I didn’t think this was really an adequate response, but the conversation went off in another direction and I didn’t pursue the matter.

    However, I will say that you have misread Kratman’s intentions in almost the same way I got them wrong. He wasn’t arguing specifically for come-to-Jesus as universal truth; he was arguing that you can only fight religious fervor with religious fervor. This is an aside, however, because I agree with where you were trying to get to:

    >So message fiction is problematic from both sides of the aisle, particularly when it’s poorly executed.

    I think that The Tuloriad is a poor example for your thesis but the thesis is sound. I would change it to “from any side of the aisle” because there are more than two sides – but then, I don’t even like libertarian message fiction; L. Neil Smith makes me cringe even though I agree with him about essentially everything.

    In fact, what you have just said is identical to the Sad Puppy complaint.

    >Mind you, this doesn’t require them to lose the dialogue. It merely requires that they don’t make the overall problem worse.

    Agreed; but now look at it from the SP side. In their view, they would be “making the problem worse” if they continued to passively acquiesce to the way the insider/SJW coalition has been running things. I cannot honestly say that I think this judgment is wrong – and supposing I did think it was contingently wrong, I still couldn’t fault them for acting on it. Having been backed into a corner, they’re doing what they think they must.

    >I’m going to anticipate your next question. “What happens if one side refuses to take part in the dialogue? What if the people who believe a “social justice” message must exist in all award winners refuse to even pay attention to the other side’s stories?”

    Good anticipation. Only actually it’s worse than that; we have SJWs screaming things like “Heinlein was a pedophile!” and trying to throw the entire non-SJW history of SF down the memory hole.

    >I really want to know what the fuck the SPs were thinking when they turned this into an ugly, proto-hominid poo-flinging match? Didn’t they have even one single better idea?

    Man, I don’t have a better idea! I wish I did. Since I don’t…I want to fault the SPs’ tactics, but I can’t really. I will qualify that I think Correia himself has consistently been a relatively class act, generally staying well above the poo-flinging level. I cannot say the same for many of his followers, nor for almost any of his opponents.

    >here’s a goddamn dialogue for you. That’s old school. HEY YOU! HEY KRATMAN AND SWIRSKY! SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO THESE GUYS WAIL THIS IS HOW THE BIG BOYS DO IT! I think that’s what we’d both like to see again.

    Agreed. Since I’m being very careful about nuances here, I will differ with you in that I don’t think the healthy, old-school conversation was really “political” at all. It was about much larger questions from which politics falls out as a consequence. Thus, for example, Starship Troopers was an argument about human nature and moral philosophy; interpreting it as merely “political” reveals an inadequacy in the interpreter,

    This is relevant since part of the indictment against the SJWs is that they are so fixated on political particularism about race/class/gender that they have lost the ability to ask or even see the larger questions that SF can address. That is a horrible loss, tragic and impoverishing.

    >if Weber’s ruminations about the wrongness of space communism in his Honor Harrington books

    Here you’re going off the rails again. The HH books aren’t message fiction, they’re rather transparent pastiche of a certain school of historical adventure (that you don’t know this tells me that you have not read C.S. Forester of Patrick O’Brien). The Republic of Haven is only incidentally and roughly “space communism” it’s actually a stand-in for Napoleonic France. Weber lets the requirements of that pastiche pretty much trump any political agenda he might have because he’s writing to make money.

    >There may be a problem with how the rightwing side of science fiction is being judged, but which of the people who should be playing the first-chair trumpet has good game right now? Because I’m not seeing it.

    Well, of course! Most of the people who could play first brass are being frozen out of conventional publishing channels. You have to go to indy and self-publishing to find them.

    But that’s a narrow, particular answer. More generally, your question reveals a bias I’m not sure I know how to address.

    I don’t want SF to be about “left wing” vs. “right wing” at all. It doesn’t actually bother me that you don’t see any first chair in the brass, because reducing the conversation to that level already does a terrible injustice to the range of possibilities in SF. I could make a much stronger case that the fundamental political argument in SF is individualism vs. collectivism, but even reducing the conversation to that dialogue would oversimplify it.

    The average SP is nowhere near as literate or educated as I am. This is not a put-down, just a fact; the average anybody is nowhere near as literate or educated as I am. So he maps all these complexities onto political categories he can understand – liberal vs. conservative. You are prone to making the same mistake – and you, at least, should know better.

  162. @ ESR

    >[Tom Kratman] was arguing that you can only fight religious fervor with religious fervor.

    This is related to a certain worry of mine, which has been voiced by Niall Ferguson: how can a de-Christianized Europe defend itself from the growth of Islam?
    I don’t mean to hijack this thread; if you prefer not to discuss the matter here, I humbly encourage you to blog about it separately.

    (Kratman… Islam… there’s a link: his novel Caliphate, which I should read since it’s available online.)

  163. Just for the record, and before anyone else gets up on their high horse, I do love most of David Weber’s work, and understand where he’s coming from. He writes great war stories and I literally reread my first copy of Honor of the Queen until it fell apart. But it’s not great science fiction. The early world-building frequently exists to allow Napoleonic-era naval battles, and his missile system is right out of Reagan-era Star Wars. So it’s not Hugo-Worthy.* On the other hand, if there was a MilSF award, Honor of the Queen would be the clear winner for the last couple decades, kind of like Foundation was long considered the greatest science-fiction of all time.

    I own much of Weber’s output in hardback, though a couple novels back I reluctantly decided to demote him to paperback. He takes an awfully long time to tell a story…

    I feel much the same way about Ringo. I’ve got his Posleen novels in hardback too, I’ve read them multiple times… but even though he updated the mobile suits and did some very different world-building, it’s a little too old-school Heinlein for me to think in Hugo terms.

    Etc.

  164. >’We have SJWs screaming things like ‘Heinlein was a pedophile!’

    I’m not an SJW, but Heinlein’s hatred of Mrs Grundy went a long way. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress begins with a sympathetic character’s argument with a child prostitute he’d hired. Heinlein’s defence of MZB and her husband may have been uninformed, or not. Heinlein obviously liked grown women, but it’s not obvious that’s all Lazarus Long liked. Yes, guessing an author’s taste from his characters is dumb. And Heinlein wasn’t MZB or Samuel Delany. He just really really hated Mrs Grundy.

    I gather the only money off the Hugos comes from libraries that bulk-buy the Hugo Novel out of habit, full price. No Award could break that habit.

  165. @Troutwaxer

    > The early world-building frequently exists to allow Napoleonic-era naval battles, and his missile system is right out of Reagan-era Star Wars. So it’s not Hugo-Worthy.* On the other hand, if there was a MilSF award, Honor of the Queen would be the clear winner for the last couple decades, kind of like Foundation was long considered the greatest science-fiction of all time.

    ….

    > I feel much the same way about Ringo. I’ve got his Posleen novels in hardback too, I’ve read them multiple times… but even though he updated the mobile suits and did some very different world-building, it’s a little too old-school Heinlein for me to think in Hugo terms.

    Oddly – I think the question of “must be original” vs. “must be done well” is another aesthetic issue that points toward “LSE” as Eric labels it, and the art world’s dire need to find things “original” and “shocking” so that you get the most asinine stuff requiring little craft, but long on “no-one’s aver called their rumpled bed an art piece before”

    “Original” can have a good story. Even “unoriginal” needs a new wrinkle/perspective on an old motif or story are always welcome – after all we don’t want plagiarism. That said, you can only change so many things from the expected norms and still expect to be understood. Add to that – but so much of what is considered “new”, “shocking”, “original” is to add a social justice checkbox.

    So the “missiles are from reagan”, etc., but the explorations of genetics, effects of logistics and transport on exploration and colonization, anagathics, slavery, the impact of technology in warfare, all done in an engaging way doesn’t justify itself as a unique enough combination to be “new” in its own right?

    Nevertheless, unlike you, I find that it’s just as enjoyable to see something already done, done WELL, with the newer author’s own stamp on it.

  166. I only belatedly noted the flap about Rachel Swirsky’s short story ‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”. I remember that Deirdre and I both voted it — I think — in last place (but neither of us deployed No Award for that category) because it was a very slight piece, because it was soggily, hanky-clutchingly sentimental, and because very little if anything about it place it in the SFF genre in the first place.

    Unlike the Nebula, which it did snag, the story did not get any Hugo and (IIRC, could be misremembering) didn’t even come particularly close, suggesting other voters felt at least vaguely as Deirdre and I did.

    What seems truly amazing, now that I’m catching up on it, is the commotion, which seems both way out of proportion and deeply weird. I notice that Sarah Hoyt, a very smart author and Internet pundit who nonetheless often strikes me as deeply in need of switching to decaf, went on a massive tirade against the story, a tirade that outweighed Swirsky’s tale by about a factor of three for word count. Hoyt’s beef was — and this is the really bizarre bit — a crypto-Marxist one: Her gloss on the story was that Swirsky had given ugly expression in the story to systematic prejudice by the academically inclined against the working man. Shock, horror.

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? I quickly re-read Swirsky’s soggy piece, seeking the trigger words that set Hoyt off — and, man, I must say it’s a hell of a stretch. Our protag is standing next to the hospital bed in which her paleontologist fiancé is lying comatose, unlikely to survive, after being beaten by ‘five blustering men soaked in gin and malice’ bearing pool cues. Nothing more is said of those five shikkered attackers other than them calling their victim a bunch of names suggesting the victim was effeminate or TG.

    But Hoyt goes on a truly astonishing tear about bigotry against ‘working men’, as if it weren’t possible that five members of the Physics faculty weren’t the ones at fault. That’s a long walk, methinks.

    John C. Wright then dittoed Hoyt’s jeremiad, adding really nothing and showing no sign of actually bothering to read the silly thing.

    Now, I could imagine eye-rolling about the Message Fiction payload where the message is that ‘murdering people over gender presentation is bad’, even though by Message Fiction standards, Swisky doesn’t hit readers upside the head but just throws out her one clause and leaves it sitting there — almost but not quite underplaying that part of her story-twist punch line. But ‘working men’? Really? Of all the things to fulminate over, that one seems more than a bit cuckoo.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  167. Eric, you may remember that the Honor Harrington novels are not only a transparent pastiche of Hornblower but one with a wink and a nod: There was a scene where Our Heroine stumbles across one of the C.S. Forrester novels and thinks a few kind thoughts about it.

    I haven’t read Weber’s latest in that series because it’s a serious bugsquasher (instead, checked out of the library three Jo Nesbø crime novels — less filler, and all three together massed less than Weber’s one), and each HH volume has gotten creakier and more in need of someone editing out the tedious bits, but I’ll get to it.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  168. >I’m not an SJW, but Heinlein’s hatred of Mrs Grundy went a long way. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress begins with a sympathetic character’s argument with a child prostitute he’d hired.

    Not in this universe. Manuel’s first dialogue is with a computer. The first female character he meets is very definitely nubile, not a child.

  169. And Heinlein wasn’t MZB or Samuel Delany. He just really really hated Mrs Grundy.

    I remember this coming up last year when I was immersed in the MZB and Breendoggle stuff, and this is what I gathered on the Heinlein commenting on MZB:

    http://deirdre.net/robert-heinlein-on-the-breendoggle/

    tl;dr is that he’d just had enough for other reasons and took MZB at her word about the Breendoggle. These things happen. (And yeah, I was pissed off at the time I wrote that post, but I’d been dealing with the issue for several weeks by then.)

    I’ve never heard anyone allege that Heinlein was himself a pedophile (or pederast), he just allowed a friend to explain away her and her husband’s pederasty.

    Shetterly did an interview with Delany over the NAMBLA bulletin comment last year. FWIW, I respect Shetterly a great deal for doing the legwork on this; I was way too tired to go there back then.

    http://shetterly.blogspot.com/2014/07/a-conversation-with-samuel-r-delany.html

  170. The Puppies do not respond by proposing to write even more boring, even more political message fiction or boring political message fiction with the opposite message; what they prose is that writing a decent entertainment with sense of wonder in it ought to come first. I do not think I am overinterpreting when I see an implication that if you can write non-boring message fiction, that’s OK.

    Two issues here. When I refer to the Puppies “crapping on the field” I’m talking about their very unpleasant response to the problem they perceive, not to whether or not they’re writing message fiction too.

    Second, my position would be exactly as you say. I do think that “if you can write non-boring message fiction, that’s OK.” But note the word “can.” I don’t think that anyone must write message fiction, or that a story needs to contain message fiction to win an award. Good message fiction does one of two things. First, it can bury the message under a level of metaphor or symbolism. To me, this is both good writing and a courtesy to the reader, because it means that the reader can simply read for entertainment and enjoy the “top level” of the story if s/he wants, or deep-dive if the reader prefers it that way. Second, like Cory Doctorow in Little Brother the issue to be messaged about can be integral to the plot, in which case the reader can easily stop reading before s/he buys the book. (Please don’t tell me you hated Little Brother because it was message fiction. I’d be really sad.)

    I would change it to “from any side of the aisle” because there are more than two sides

    I agree one-hundred percent. To me, it’s the Sad Puppies who have reduced the dialogue to “conservative vs. liberal” when it should be a half-organized free-for-all with a view that is at least three-dimensional in how it deals with politics (or concerns other than politics, for that matter.) One of the reasons I hate the Sad Puppies for bringing the culture wars to my Science Fiction is because it will now, inevitably, be a left-right battle, with the multi-dimensional stuff going right out the window and the field breaking down along partisan lines. To make things perfectly clear, in the wake of the Sad Puppies attacks on the Hugo, I’m worried about the whole damn field!

    Tom’s counter was that Posleen-religious-guy is insane by Posleen standards. I didn’t think this was really an adequate response, but the conversation went off in another direction and I didn’t pursue the matter.

    I didn’t object to the insane Posleen preacher. I got from the first that he was Christian because he was batshit nuts. In fact, I thought Kratman handled that bit quite nicely. I got upset over believability when the Posleen leader ordered his people to adopt Roman Catholicism at the end of the book. (Kratman palmed that card when the Posleen didn’t discover the bas reliefs inside the pyramid, but the humans did find them. Plotting much?)

    Good anticipation. Only actually it’s worse than that; we have SJWs screaming things like “Heinlein was a pedophile!” and trying to throw the entire non-SJW history of SF down the memory hole.

    I’m not seeing that. (I’m sure you can provide a cite, it’s a big Internet) but I’m not seeing it, though of course people have been grousing about Heinlein and sex for years. For me those particular complaints have always been part of the dialogue that takes place around science fiction. If someone says, “Heinlein was a _________” I just kind of tune it out as ordinary background noise. It’s certainly possible to complain about Heinlein, Campbell, Lovecraft, etc., but I suspect you’re elevating things that are happening at the fringes to a much higher level of importance than they should be assigned. The proper response is “Yeah, Heinlein was a perv, but don’t bug me. I’m rereading Starship Troopers for the 17th time.” The next phrase, “And I don’t even own one of your books,” is optional.

    Jokes aside, I can’t imagine Heinlein or Campbell or Lovecraft ever being removed from the SF canon. If someone with reasonable amounts of power is suggesting this, please point me at their website. *Cracks Knuckles*

    Agreed. Since I’m being very careful about nuances here, I will differ with you in that I don’t think the healthy, old-school conversation was really “political” at all. It was about much larger questions from which politics falls out as a consequence.

    YES! Some people argue that Science Fiction is political. It is not political. It is meta-political.

    This is relevant since part of the indictment against the SJWs is that they are so fixated on political particularism about race/class/gender that they have lost the ability to ask or even see the larger questions that SF can address. That is a horrible loss, tragic and impoverishing.

    A big part of the problem is that there are always people who want to politicize things, and this leads to over-interpretation of certain issues. A right-wing hack will read a book where someone checks, in passing and without further comment, the “included a black character” box in a book set on another planet 500 years in the future, and start screaming that the author is a Social Justice Warrior. (Or my personal favorite bit of conservative cluelessness; the person who complained that Lord of Light wasn’t believable because the galaxy would have been colonized by Christians… ) If you subtract that kind of thing from the dialogue the SJW problem starts looking a lot smaller, though I will grant it does exist.

    It really needs to be said, I think, that use of the word SJW is really, really lazy thinking. Just for starters it confuses the authorial voice with the personal voice, and it assumes that anyone who does even basic stuff about inclusiveness is an SJW (or can be criticized as such by a right-wing hack,) and it assumes that the world looks the same to a male educated at a private East Coast school as it does to a woman who was raised in a ghetto and went to a state school on scholarship. Would you really want a Science Fiction that didn’t include Uhura? Should we drop Lando Calrissian from the canon? Maybe Octavia Butler should have written about white heroes instead of black heroines?

    (Just for the record, we can drop Tuvok from the canon. The idea that a Vulcan with black skin would otherwise look like an African from Earth except for the ears did not clear my threshold of disbelief.)

    Just to further consider how the problem looks from the other side, Stross gets a lot of crap from the right, (most of whom don’t even understand that he’s a Republican and that this means something very different in British political nomenclature) and his latest Best Novel nominee, Neptune’s Brood has a robot who essentially says, “Some of my best friends are human” and continues her narrative about other things. Stross’s book is chock-full of interesting ideas. On the other hand, Weber gets no crap from the right despite the fact that he’s writing a whole sub-series of stories about a Black Admiral* – with considerably less interesting takes on science-fictional ideas.

    So at the very least, I think the whole question of “who’s a Social Justice Warrior” and what they’re trying to accomplish is much more complicated than the Sad Puppies would have you believe. What really bothers me about the conservative world-view is that it tries to break down really complicated social and political stuff into very simplistic sloganeering, and if you get rid of the simplistic thinking I’m not sure the Puppies have a case. (One of the reasons I have trouble distinguishing between Conservatives and Libertarians is that the Libertarians so frequently accept the very simplistic conservative framing of issues.)

    The HH books aren’t message fiction, they’re rather transparent pastiche of a certain school of historical adventure (that you don’t know this tells me that you have not read C.S. Forester of Patrick O’Brien). The Republic of Haven is only incidentally and roughly “space communism” it’s actually a stand-in for Napoleonic France.

    I do get all that and I addressed the issue in an earlier post. But the question remains; who is currently worthy of playing first chair trumpet?

    I don’t want SF to be about “left wing” vs. “right wing” at all. It doesn’t actually bother me that you don’t see any first chair in the brass, because reducing the conversation to that level already does a terrible injustice to the range of possibilities in SF.

    Once again, I agree completely that SF is much bigger than human monkey-politics. But even if the dialogue is multi-dimensional, who’s currently up for a dialogue that represents your favorite instruments. Or your favorite six instruments?

    This is not an idle question, and it’s one the Sad Puppies should have asked before complaining about who wins the rockets. Looking over the Hugo Best Novel awards since 2000 I see Robert J. Sawyer (who might, possibly, kinda-sorta qualify as a conservative viewpoint, but in my mind can’t win a Hugo in a really good year for SF) Michael Flynn (definitely Libertarian/Conservative) for Eiffelheim, which was an AMAZINGLY good book and IMHO should have won the rocket, and Dan Simmons (also conservative) for a book which never really interested me.

    And that’s it. As far as I can tell, that’s the conservative, Hugo-worthy set of novelists for the last fifteen years. It includes two very good writers and one above-average writer. So one of the many questions I have for the Sad Puppies is “You wanna win a Hugo, whatcha got? Who’s got the chops? Can you guys even fill out the brass section with people who won’t play a sour note? Sure, ya got Michael Flynn on French Horn with Sawyer as his second chair, and Simmons leading your trumpet section, but who’s gonna play trombone? You got a tuba player? Can any of your guys play cornet? GIMMEE A BREAK HERE!!

    (And yes, I know there’s percussion. And strings. And in a modern context, electronica…)

    You are prone to making the same mistake – and you, at least, should know better.

    Unfortunately, the conversation is taking place in very simplistic terms; SJWs vs. Conservatives. I think we’re both unhappy about that. THIS IS WHY I WANT THE CULTURAL WARS OUT OF MY SCIENCE FICTION!!

    As to what the Sad Puppies could have done better, I’ll address that in another post. It will be a very long post and I gotta go do RL.

    * The US Navy checked that box in 1971.

  171. I think I should say a little more about “Are You A Dinosaur” before going off to do RL. For me the story was perfect except for the box-checking, but it takes a particular bit of personal history to see it. What Swirsky is describing, with perfect accuracy, is the language and thought processes of someone who’s mind is skidding off the rails. If you’ve never been there it’s tough to recognize, but there comes a point where a person has been stressed for too long, the brain chemicals are out of whack, and the out-of-breath, exhausted mind goes skidding and sliding on ice to some very dangerous places.

    Swirsky nailed it perfectly. To the point where I have to avoid thinking too much about the story, because it sends me back to those moments. To think about those moments is to feel those moments. To feel those moments is to experience those moments. To experience those moments again is first cousin to Lovecraftian, gibbering madness. To the point where I made this post so I can stop thinking about discussing Swirsky with someone and thus stop thinking about her story.

    * * *

    P.S. Eric, are a couple of my posts from yesterday still in moderation? If so, can you push the button please so people can follow the conversation? Thanks.

  172. Bruce: “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress begins with a sympathetic character’s argument with a child prostitute he’d hired.”

    ESR: “Not in this universe. Manuel’s first dialogue is with a computer. The first female character he meets is very definitely nubile, not a child.”

    Indeed. Considering that The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is my personal favorite novel, ever, not just SF but period, as well as the book I will defend as the greatest SF work ever, I was wondering just what book Bruce had read under the same title. For that matter, although I haven’t read the entire Heinlein corpus (I Will Fear No Evil was just a bit too sex-soaked for my taste, and I understand later ones are more so; I understand Heinlein’s point in it, but still…), I can’t see any of his works starting off in the manner described. That’s not the kind of point he makes in that manner. For that matter, Manuel is a perfect gentleman in the face of some serious temptation, right up until Wyoh marries him.

  173. Just to play devil’s advocate – can someone provide a coherent definition of “box-checking” that doesn’t amount to “any character who is not straight/white/male/etc must be there for a reason”?

  174. >The 19th year in which 15-20 people have studied at VP—with the Nielsen Haydens, among other faculty. This is part of their influence that you’re seeing, I believe.

    I have no doubt you are right about this, and meant to say so sooner.

    >So, my suggestion would be that the Puppy sympathists run a serious neo-pro and journeyman writer workshop of 1-2 week duration.

    It’s a good idea. You might want to consider passing it to Larry Correia. I do not have any cred in this direction, not after having published just one SF story. Even having made the NYT bestseller list in nonfiction isn’t enough in itself.

  175. “can someone provide a coherent definition of “box-checking” that doesn’t amount to “any character who is not straight/white/male/etc must be there for a reason”?”

    How about “belaboring someone’s sexuality/race/gender for reasons that have nothing to do with the story”? Again, it’s all about the story. I don’t need to know about someone’s sexuality if they never do anything even remotely sexual, and adding sex to a story just because you need to justify the character’s sexuality is not going to enhance it.

  176. Just having a name is enough to make a damn good guess at gender and a decent guess at race. Having a boyfriend / girlfriend / family is enough to point reasonably well at sexual orientation (certainly it can establish if someone is not straight)

    So what you’re really saying is that everyone just has to be completely asocial robots. Without names.

    And this never seems to get the same complaints when they are straight.

  177. (Naturally, you’ll object strenuously to my characterization of your argument. My point, though, is that you’ve not defined “belaboring”, and thereby not answered the question)

  178. >I’ve never heard anyone allege that Heinlein was himself a pedophile (or pederast), he just allowed a friend to explain away her and her husband’s pederasty.

    The third-hand report I have is that the accusation stems from the relationship of the viewpoint character and an adolescent girl in The Door Into Summer. Which is presented as him becoming aware that she has been in love with him since she was a child, very carefully not seeing her when it might cause talk or mutual temptation, and eventually riding a time machine when he learns she has married a version of him that doesn’t exist yet.

    I think it is a long stretch to call this a depiction of pedophilia. Davis is not actually presented as having sexual feelings about Virginia at 12, though he does clearly respond to her love and trust. The most that can be said is that he is romantically attached to the adult woman he thinks she will become.

    >Shetterly did an interview with Delany over the NAMBLA bulletin comment last year.

    I think Delany is credible in his response. It is possibly relevant here that the one time I met him he asked me back to his room; I was boyish-looking but definitely not a child at the time. (He was very genteel about it, I was not offended, and I think we would be on friendly terms if we met again.)

    I am somewhat sympathetic to Delany’s argument that the desires of homosexual adolescents and children are ignored in the way we talk and legislate about pedophilia. On the other hand, he puts the lie to the current piety that homosexuality and pedophilia are disjoint phenomena, something I have attracted heat for noticing in the gays-can-do-no-wrong political atmosphere of the last few years.

  179. How about “belaboring someone’s sexuality/race/gender for reasons that have nothing to do with the story”?

    It goes further than that, and depends on the ideology of the person doing the checking. Kratman checked the conservative “Alien converts to Christianity box” twice in The Tuloriad, once competently and once badly. Swirsky checked a liberal “murderously attacked by anti-Gay thugs” box in “If You Were A Dinosaur My Love” and killed an otherwise brilliant pieces of writing.

    Essentially, box-checking is about making sure that your story nods to your ideology, usually by diverting from the truest possible arc of story to discuss something important to your ideals. Conservative boxes might include “The criminal was homosexual/black/hispanic” or “socialistic teachers ruined that child” or “societies which offer free health care will fall to properly Capitalistic invaders.” Liberal boxes could include “making sure the reader knows a heroic character is homosexual” or “inserting black hero into a time/place where this is unlikely” or “all the white people in my story are racists.”

    For me the big problem is that box checking jolts the reader out of the story. It doesn’t read as if it was true and suspension of disbelief can no longer happen.

    Unfortunately, there’s a big problem with the concept of “box checking.” The concept can’t always be applied appropriately, because whether it’s really box-checking depends on the perspective of the person reading. A serious racist will react to any Heroic Black Character as box checking even if the story is set in a time and place where Black people are frequently encountered and can get the education and training necessary to do something heroic. (Obviously I’m over-simplifying a little, right?) On the other hand, a Black reader will not see the box at all. The idea of a Black hero is perfectly ordinary to them.

    A Black writer might see a White cop treating a Black character badly as an ordinary event. A conservative White reader could see this as “liberal box checking.” So perspective is definitely an issue here and the question of box checking should be treated carefully, and with these issues in mind.

    For a more personal example, I suspect that I noticed the box-checking in my very first reading of “If You Were A Dinosaur” because I’d spent the last couple days reading and writing about the Sad Puppies and their complaints about SF, and so I was much more inclined to see box checking than I am when I haven’t been thinking about literature from that perspective.

    But if one person’s “box check” is another person’s “ordinary event” do the Sad Puppies have a case when they critique the Hugos? It probably comes down to what specific story we’re talking about, who wrote it, and what the intended audience was. And I think that any author should be able to expect that their audience has some frickin’ clue about who the author is and where they come from, and that their audience will give the author’s viewpoint a reasonable amount of respect. This is not to say that mistakes like Swirsky’s or Kratman’s shouldn’t be critiqued, but if you’re not going to give the author a certain amount of leeway with their world-building, why did you pick up their book in the first place?

  180. Random832, let me provide an example of what’s not belaboring, from Old Man’s War

    When the characters are being turned into their younger selves and made super-soldiers, at one point, each one is shown a picture of the appropriate gender to cause a sexual response. The third such, after a man and a woman shown opposite-sex pictures, is a man shown a picture of a man – and who responds to the looks of confusion with “What? I’m gay.” and then the story moves on.

    Scalzi was making a point about how sexual mores changed in the setting of his story, and did so smoothly and not stridently. It served to enhance the story. That is what counts above all else.

    Compare that with the protagonist of Lock In, about whom Scalzi is on record as saying that he deliberately left the gender unspecified. Considering the hoops required to jump through to never reveal a character’s gender at all (for starters, no pronouns at all), that cannot have helped the story, and thus is little more than authorial gimmickry. Given Scalzi’s politics, it’s not hard at all to argue that he went to those lengths for political reasons.

    See the difference?

  181. >To me, it’s the Sad Puppies who have reduced the dialogue to “conservative vs. liberal”

    Then you’re having a comprehension failure. Correia is a libertarian. As such, he has no more desire to reduce the conversation to one axis than I do. Furthermore, I think you need reminding that SP III includes a socialist.

    >One of the reasons I hate the Sad Puppies for bringing the culture wars to my Science Fiction

    No matter how often you repeat that, it’s still not going to be true. SF already had a culture war in progress; it’s just that before the SP pushback, only one side was fighting it.

    >To make things perfectly clear, in the wake of the Sad Puppies attacks on the Hugo, I’m worried about the whole damn field!

    That makes two of us. Though I’d be more impressed if you’d been worried when it was only left-wing loons doing the politicization thing.

    >(One of the reasons I have trouble distinguishing between Conservatives and Libertarians is that the Libertarians so frequently accept the very simplistic conservative framing of issues.)

    Then either you don’t know any libertarians or you’re not listening. This is your problem, not their fault.

    >Can any of your guys play cornet? GIMMEE A BREAK HERE!!

    How can we tell until the insiders stop aborting the careers of outspokenly non-lefty writers in their cribs?

    The SJWs aren’t particularly to blame here. There is reason to believe this was going on well before they arrived.

  182. >Conservative boxes might include “The criminal was homosexual/black/hispanic” or “socialistic teachers ruined that child” or “societies which offer free health care will fall to properly Capitalistic invaders.”

    This is unfair. The last two, yes, but the ascribing the first as something conservatives want is wrong and malicious. Jay Maynard will roast you for this if he notices, and he’ll be right to do so.

  183. “Conservative boxes might include “The criminal was homosexual/black/hispanic””

    No. Simply put, no.

    Criminals come in all races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations. There are plenty of straight white men who commit crimes, and they commit the gamut of them.

    (I am, however, reminded of the black actor in the 60s who said that black men would only have arrived on network TV when one could play a villain. (A barrier he himself broke.) Thus, a case can be made for a black criminal being liberal checkboxing, rather than conservative.)

    I’ve got no problem with a black superhero, as long as the character can plausibly arise in that setting. This doesn’t have to be a majority-black population, either. The question, as always, is “does it further the story?”.

    “if you’re not going to give the author a certain amount of leeway with their world-building, why did you pick up their book in the first place?”

    I’ll cite Rebecca Ore’s Centuries Ago and Very Fast. She has main characters who are quite flagrantly, openly gay. Again, they’re there because their sexuality advances the story. Her world-building was enhanced by their inclusion, so that’s not checkboxing.

    At the risk of repeating myself: It’s about the story, dammit! NOTHING ELSE!

    If you’re improving the story, go nuts. If not, then we won’t care, and if you force it down our throats anyway, then you’re checkboxing.

  184. This is unfair. The last two, yes, but the ascribing the first as something conservatives want is wrong and malicious.

    Thank you, Eric; I was about to respond myself and would likely have done so with less courtesy than appropriate for your space. (And without the leeway a more regular contributor here might count on.)

  185. “would likely have done so with less courtesy than appropriate for your space.”

    I did consider starting out with “Fuck you. Strong letter to follow.”

  186. @Jay Maynard: Word. When I saw that gibe, I thought ‘Dude, that’s a really nasty and poisonous stereotype if I ever saw one.’

  187. And I believe that stereotype is foundational to the SJW worldview: anyone who opposes them is obviously raaaaacist/seeeeexist/heteronooooormative/cisnooooomative/eeeeevil and must be fought with every trick known to man and Saul Alinsky, above-board and underhanded. All is fair in the destruction of those eeeeevil conservatives. Lying? Pish tosh. They’re serving a higher truth.

    That’s the kind of crap conservatives (and, though I do not presume to speak for them, I suspect libertarians as well) have been putting up with for, quite literally, decades, at the hands of a rabidly left-wing MSM that seeks to control the national discourse, delegitimize conservative thought, and demonize and marginalize those who do not toe the SJW line. The crap surrounding SF publishing and the Hugos is merely a subset of the larger crap pile.

  188. >(and, though I do not presume to speak for them, I suspect libertarians as well)

    Not so often. You conservatives get to be equated to racists; what we’re told we want is to kill and eat the poor.

  189. >Not so often. You conservatives get to be equated to racists; what we’re told we want is to kill and eat the poor.

    Mustn’t forget that we want to force children into factories, turn all women into sex slaves, oppress every minority, engage in pedophilia, and let greedy businessmen become dictators while killing everyone with their unsafe products. That is assuming the person can distinguish us from Conservatives, otherwise we are just racists.

    Man, we are some horrible people aren’t we?

  190. @esr: what we’re told we want is to kill and eat the poor. And, don’t forget, sell off the national parks and outsource the military to the highest bidder.

    @Foo Quuxman: You’ve been reading that Jargon thingie, haven’t you?

  191. >You’ve been reading that Jargon thingie, haven’t you?

    If you mean The Jargon File, I haven’t read it recently, but I have read it several times. Though I am note sure how the Jargon File relates here…

  192. “what we’re told we want is to kill and eat the poor”

    …by people who think this is insightful social commentary…

  193. @Foo Quuxman: It’s sometimes been rumoured that my sense of humour tends towards the slightly dry.

    At the risk of diagramming a joke: It occurred to me that your nom de Internet[1] might possibly have been inspired by the Jargon File, which might possibly have some connection to Our Distinguished Host.

    http://catb.org/jargon/html/F/foo.html
    http://catb.org/jargon/html/Q/quux.html

    [1] Unless of course you really are from the great Scottish Clan Quuxman, and Foo is a traditional name of your people.

  194. ESR- Jay- ‘Not in this universe’

    In some alternate universe, my memory is reliable. I blew this. I was thinking of Stuart La Joie’s libertarian trial. Silver lining: you made me reread The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

  195. Ah, but Stu La Joie’s trial wasn’t about a child prostitute, either. Indeed, the girl involved specifically wasn’t a prostitute; she was just a silly girl who acted like one but assumed that she could break off the encounter and found that Earth men had been conditioned differently from Loonies. This is not flattering to Earth men.

  196. @Rick

    Ah, I see. Yes. When I needed a name I first chose Foo, then quickly added Quuxman. Both of them being meta variables that I use often. I would rather use my real name and understand that not using it puts me at a distinct disadvantage, but that is not practical at this time.

    @Jay

    Now you are victim blaming and being dismissive towards women! That makes you identical to a serial rapist!

  197. >THIS IS WHY I WANT THE CULTURAL WARS OUT OF MY SCIENCE FICTION!!

    You realize that, in the ears of everyone who isn’t a leftist, this translates to:

    STOP FIGHTING BACK AND SUBMIT ALREADY!!!

    Because if only one side is fighting it’s not a war exactly.

  198. @Foo Quuxman Far be it from me to view with alarm someone’s failure to use a real name. I mean, what sort of ridiculous invention do you think ‘Rick Moen’ is, really? Plainly a jest by Scandinavian Bogart fanciers, nei?

  199. To elaborate a bit on Greg’s point:

    “THIS IS WHY I WANT THE CULTURAL WARS OUT OF MY SCIENCE FICTION!!”

    The cultural wars came to SF courtesy of the SJWs. I would have been perfectly happy to never have had them in the first place. Since they’re here, however, the only way to get them out is for BOTH sides to disengage.

    I just don’t see that happening on the SJW side short of an abject surrender by those of us on the other side of the battles. That’s not going to happen. The stakes are simply too high.

    Put simply: You started this war, but we are $DEITY->damned well going to finish it. It can end with everything in smoking ruins, or it can end in a peaceful detente, but it WILL NOT end with our surrender. Period.

    Which is it to be? Your call.

  200. Jay Maynard and Greg: Once upon a time near our high school, a friend of mine and I were playing chess. A LaRouchie kept coming over from his street corner and insisting that our playing chess and not heeding his running dialogue about the Queen of England’s role in pushing drugs on international youth showed that we were taking her side. So, eventually we got tired of this, stepped away from our chess board for a moment, and beat the shit out of him.

    Not really. Just a story. No resemblance to what fandom’s about to do to the latest of many annoying disturbances over three quarters of a century. Fables don’t mean anything.

  201. Jay- ‘Ah, but Stu La Joi’s trial wasn’t about a child prostitute either’

    Thus, ‘I blew this’.

  202. > Considering the hoops required to jump through to never reveal a character’s gender at all (for starters, no pronouns at all), that cannot have helped the story, and thus is little more than authorial gimmickry.

    You don’t think it works as an exercise in constrained writing? I mean, avoiding pronouns has got to be easier than avoiding the letter “e”. Or do you think that sort of thing automatically lacks artistic merit?

  203. I think that sort of thing is an exercise in authorial mental masturbation. It’s High Literature in action, and like other forms of High Art, is unreadable as a result.

  204. Then either you don’t know any libertarians or you’re not listening. This is your problem, not their fault.

    Your blog is my main point of contact with the Libertarian world, (I lurk most of the time and at one point was posting under my real name) and it is here I learn that homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals, that black people who speak out against racism are racist themselves (I learned that on this very thread,) that global warming isn’t real, that Islam sucks (I haven’t seen one of those posts for several years), and that the inner city is properly referred to as “Swaziland.”

    If your politics are different than those of conservatives, and if you’re getting your news from anyplace other than Fox, you are communicating your issues and ideas very poorly.

    Then you’re having a comprehension failure. Correia is a libertarian. As such, he has no more desire to reduce the conversation to one axis than I do. Furthermore, I think you need reminding that SP III includes a socialist.

    Even excepting my note above, on this issue Libertarians and Conservatives are are marching in something close to lock step.

    SP III does not include a socialist. SP III nominated a socialist. That socialist (Annie Bellet) had the following to say about SP: “I didn’t see this as different from recommendation lists that are posted all the time for these awards. That was my naivete, I guess. I didn’t realize it was a voting block or slate or whatever. I do now, and I’ll be punished for this forever in the SF peer world, I guess.” Does she sound very happy to be part of all this? I strongly suspect that under the circumstances, she would prefer not to have been nominated as part of their slate.

    No matter how often you repeat that, it’s still not going to be true. SF already had a culture war in progress; it’s just that before the SP pushback, only one side was fighting it.

    We seem to be in agreement that both Liberals and Conservatives are going outside the proper course of the story to check ideological boxes, and that in some case such authors are being rewarded for it. The problem for the Sad Puppies (and I must admit that there is an appropriate point somewhere in their ravings) is that you can’t win a cultural war, particularly against an entrenched majority,* with a major dick move like hijacking the Hugos. As I promised, at some point very soon (mainly worried about Taxes today) I’ll write about what the SPs should have done.

    * I suspect that the Sad Puppies may have underestimated the number of people who would flock to the Nielsen Hayden’s banner by a factor of ten, possibly more.

    That makes two of us. Though I’d be more impressed if you’d been worried when it was only left-wing loons doing the politicization thing.

    Tuloriad much? I think what you’re noting is that the Liberals get rewarded for checking the boxes more than the Conservatives. The question is whether those rewards are coming from an ideological point of view, or whether they have to do with Liberals having a deeper bench, or (I have no data on this) there is some other factor at work, such as Liberals being more likely to have an English degree and thus producing better prose.

    One of the major faults of the Sad Puppies is that before they committed their reputations to their somewhat risky course of action, they assumed a conspiracy/prospiracy, and didn’t ask a whole bunch of questions about why one story wins over another.

    To highlight the whole thing further, Tom Kratman has a Law degree and Rachel Swirsky a Master of Fine Arts from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. While both Tuloriad and “If You Were A Dinosaur” have obvious faults, one of them has serviceable prose and the other has brilliant, practised technique. I suspect that these differences have a lot to do with who wins the Hugos.

    How can we tell until the insiders stop aborting the careers of outspokenly non-lefty writers in their cribs?

    See the comparison of Kratman and Swirsky above. Give me hard data about the educational differences between Conservative and Liberal science fiction writers and I’ll tell you whether the Sad Puppies need to fight a war or improve their prose.

    One of the primary problems with Conservatives is the assumption that if they are not winning there is a conspiracy. It’s a very spoiled point of view that assumes other differences – like the difference between a Law Degree and an MFA in writing – don’t matter. The simple fact, and it’s an enormous error on the part of the Sad Puppies, is that we don’t know enough about why this is happening to even address the problem.

    The SJWs aren’t particularly to blame here. There is reason to believe this was going on well before they arrived.

    See my arguments above.

  205. This is unfair. The last two, yes, but the ascribing the first as something conservatives want is wrong and malicious. Jay Maynard will roast you for this if he notices, and he’ll be right to do so.

    Allow me to quote from the Conservative leader of the Rabid Puppies:

    Jemisin has it wrong; it is not that I, and others, do not view her as human, (although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens), it is that we simply do not view her as being fully civilized for the obvious historical reason that she is not…

    The laws are not there to let whites ” just shoot people like me, without consequence, as long as they feel threatened by my presence”, those self-defense laws have been put in place to let whites defend their lives and their property from people, like her, who are half-savages engaged in attacking them.

    I would argue that this particular Conservative individual would happily check the “Black dude as a villain” box if it was anywhere close to one of his stories.

    Or I could quote Lee Atwater’s famous discussion of the Southern Strategy, if anyone still disagrees with me on this particular subject.

  206. Ok, so Vox Day called a particular Black a half-savage. Are you know going to argue that anyone critisizing anything a black does wrong is a racist?

  207. >>Conservative boxes might include “The criminal was homosexual/black/hispanic”
    > This is unfair

    I remember noticing this a couple of times in some Tom Clancy stories. (I know this is not SF and has nothing to do with Hugo and SJW and SP, so maybe it’s not relevant to this discussion.)

    The most obvious example I remember is a story where a US senator turns out to be a traitor, selling secrets to the USSR. Clancy makes a point of pointing out this senator is homosexual.
    That fact, to me, seemed completely irrelevant to the story, so much so that when I read it, it made me wonder why Clancy would emphasize it so.
    – is it because to most of Clancy’s audience, a US senator’s treason would be too far-fetched (and thus a flaw in the story) unless he’s some kind of recognizable degenerate, such as a homosexual ?
    – is it because Clancy himself thinks US senator’s treason is unrealistic, unless he’s some kind of degenerate, such as …

    And if not “conservatives”, who is Clancy writing this for ?
    Or am I missing something ?

  208. – is it because Clancy himself thinks US senator’s treason is unrealistic, unless he’s some kind of degenerate, such as …

    And there’s the Lesbian deserter in Honor Among Enemies by David Weber. I noticed that the second I read it – checking the box much? And do I really need to rant about how the Sad Puppies don’t object at all if a Conservative Writer checks off his/her boxes?

  209. Re: Clancy – I guess it’s a matter of “issue of the times”

    Keep in mind that at that time, soviet agents were actively compromising people and using information such as that for blackmail/etc.

    Is it check boxing? Maybe…. too long since I read it and had broadened my reading.

  210. >Keep in mind that at that time, soviet agents were actively compromising people and using information such as that for blackmail/etc.

    Yes, but like I said : nothing in the story points that way. IIRC, the traitor’s initial motivation is the money, and once he’s hooked, the fact that the Russians could expose him as a traitor should he decide to no longer play along. His being gay is just bolted on, no bearing on the story whatsoever.

  211. ISTR Clancy “bolted on” a lot of unrelated details in his stories. Red herrings; missing people never found; plans that fail to come to fruition due to everyday bad luck; stuff like that. One could take the lesson here that being gay simply didn’t matter. Alternately (and perhaps more in keeping with Clancy’s personal politics), an existence proof of someone in a protected minority who was less than angelic.

  212. While we’re discussing Clancy’s use of gay characters, let me point out the openly gay Congressman in Cardinal of the Kremlin who emerges as a hero of the story. Despite being hard left and definitely opposed to Jack Ryan’s politics, he helps Ryan take the head of the KGB down, preventing his rise to ultimate power, in part because the KGB head had sentenced his lover to the gulag for being gay.

    Want to try again to argue Clancy showed gay men in an exclusively negative light?

  213. kn, [citation needed]… It’s been a while since I read my way through the Clancy corpus, and I only ever followed the mainline Ryan stories. (The others are ones Clancy lent only his name to, and did no writing on.) I don’t recall a character like the one you describe.

    Troutwaxer: People commit treason for lots of reasons. Love is certainly one primary reason. Is it not plausible that a lesbian woman could commit treason for it? And if he had only shown gay and lesbian characters in the proper positive SJW light, angels all, would you be arguing that his portrayal is unrealistic?

    I’ll hand you some ammunition by way of another example from Cardinal of the Kremlin: One character assists the Russians in kidnapping another so she can clear the way for her own lesbian desires for a third. The scene where the scheme is revealed for what it is was written very well and plausibly. It measurably added to the story. No checkboxing needed.

    So tell me: Do you think gay men and lesbians should only be shown in a positive light, never as the bad guy in the story? Do you think that would be realistic?

  214. >Want to try again to argue Clancy showed gay men in an exclusively negative light?

    No, just thought I’d mention that “Conservative boxes might include “The criminal was homosexual/black/hispanic”” rang a bell.

  215. > Keep in mind that at that time, soviet agents were actively compromising people and using information such as that for blackmail/etc.

    However, the rationale for considering gay people to be a security risk has historically tended to dance across the line between “blackmail material” and “inherent evidence of poor character”.

  216. The point is that that’s not a conservative box, and to call it one is a raw, naked attempt to demonize conservatives.

  217. > kn, [citation needed]… It’s been a while since I read my way through the Clancy corpus
    Same here. If I remembered the title off head I’d have mentioned it, and most of what I read comes from the public library so I probably don’t have that book anywhere near at the moment.

  218. The most obvious example I remember is a story where a US senator turns out to be a traitor, selling secrets to the USSR. Clancy makes a point of pointing out this senator is homosexual.

    Probably a reflection of the POV of US military intelligence as of at least the 60s, and probably several decades after that: that homosexuals Were Not To Be Trusted and that they would sell out the country at the drop of a hat if suitably enticed or blackmailed. That’s why gays in the military and DADT were such hot-button issues: gays wanted to serve, but were confronted with a system that automatically regarded them as The Enemy.

  219. >Your blog is my main point of contact with the Libertarian world, (I lurk most of the time and at one point was posting under my real name) and it is here I learn that homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals, that black people who speak out against racism are racist themselves (I learned that on this very thread,) that global warming isn’t real, that Islam sucks (I haven’t seen one of those posts for several years), and that the inner city is properly referred to as “Swaziland.

    My first reaction to this was “What the fuck?” because this paragraph seemed so irrelevant to the claim “libertarians and conservatives are very different creatures”. I had to stare at it it for a while, but I get it now. You are accustomed to thinking of a large class of fact claims as political because, in your universe, beliefs formed about them have political origins rather than merely political consequences when combined with separate value claims.

    Take “homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals”. Your paragraph only makes sense under the assumption that you think belief in this proposition is necessarily motivated by politico/religious value claims or tribalism or “homophobia” or something other than measurable facts.

    This reveals a fundamental difference between the way you and I form beliefs. The proposition “homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals” is either true or it is not. Trying to deduce my politics from it is almost as silly as trying to deduce my politics from my expressed beliefs about the diameter of Neptune.

    The “almost” is me being careful. When I affirm the proposition you can correctly deduce that I don’t belong to s political tribe in which it is taboo to affirm it. Otherwise, in order to know anything about my politics, you have to know what my justification is. Facts don’t have politics; what sorts of claims you accept as priors, and who you consider authoritative about various premises, have politics.

    To know that I am like a conservative, you have to know that my belief justifications are like a conservative’s. You would know this, for example, if I ever used the word “immoral” in reference to gay people, or quoted religious authorities, or expressed fears about the institution of marriage.

    Instead, I just reported having not been offended when I was sexually propositioned by a gay black man. Indeed, I felt distantly complimented; I don’t think that particular gay black man would have hit on me if he didn’t find my mind interesting. Does this strike you as a conservative response?

    Let’s look at a claim I do consider political: “black people who speak out against racism are racist themselves”. I don’t affirm it as given, but that’s not the point I’m going after now. This claim is not like one about the diameter of Neptune, or whether gays are more likely to be pedophiles, because it is a claim about motivation and belief. If I affirmed it, you could reasonably interpret it as an attempt to establish or maintain tribal boundaries in a moral-superiority contest.

    But I don’t form beliefs that way. It is characteristically libertarian that I don’t. We’re individualists; we may join a tribe after we are convinced that doing so will gain us allies, but we don’t form our beliefs around tribal loyalties. The habit the rest of the world has of forming yelling mobs around propositions like “homosexuals are more likely (or not) to be pedophiles than heterosexuals” strikes libertarians as insane. Crazed monkey-pack tribalism, leading nowhere good no matter which side you’re talking about.

    Contrast Jay Maynard, a rather benign sort of conservative. He triggered when Rick Moen used the word “nuance”, because that is language he has experienced in the past as an attack on his tribe.

    You look at my tagging inner cities as “Swaziland” and, I guess, see racism. This is exactly the kind of projection that politicizing facts like the diameter of Neptune would land you in. But I don’t exist to conform to your prejudices; the fact that American inner cities and Swaziland are both violent places full of black people is a fact, not a value claim or even a generalization about black people.

    Now, if I were to use that analogy to justify some particular shitty way blacks get treated, like the city of Ferguson using cops as their major revenue-extraction machine, that would be political. But in 2015 you’d have to look pretty hard to find even a conservative who’d play that tune, let alone a libertarian.

  220. “Give me hard data about the educational differences between Conservative and Liberal science fiction writers and I’ll tell you whether the Sad Puppies need to fight a war or improve their prose.”

    Horseshit and hogwash. There are plenty of Hugo-winning writers who never went near a fine arts faculty. Formal degrees do not an education make.

    Thus you betray your adherence to another leftist meme: that those with more degrees deserve to rule over us plebes, be it in the world of SF or the world of politics.

    “black people who speak out against racism are racist themselves”

    No, it’s that black people who automatically assume all white people are racists betray their own racism. Do try to keep up.

    And no, Vox Day does not speak for me about black people in general. I will not assume a black man is a thug unless and until he demonstrates himself to be one, just as I will not assume the same of a white man or a Hispanic man or a Hmong man or…

  221. “To know that I am like a conservative, you have to know that my belief justifications are like a conservative’s. You would know this, for example, if I ever used the word “immoral” in reference to gay people, or quoted religious authorities, or expressed fears about the institution of marriage.”

    Objection, your honor. Assumes facts not in evidence. Not all conservatives are religious.

  222. >(although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens),

    Heh. You’ve been trolled. Vox carefully set that up so persons deficient in reading comprehension would get “blacks aren’t fully human”, but elsewhere you will discover that he thinks non-blacks aren’t fully homo sapiens. Because Neanderthal and Denisovan admixture.

    This is typical Vox; he likes to kick people right in their preconceptions, then dry-gulch them by pointing out that they projected their own prejudices onto what he was writing. He claims not to be a racist, and AFAICT he isn’t one, but he likes to troll “anti-racists” mercilessly.

  223. >Objection, your honor. Assumes facts not in evidence. Not all conservatives are religious.

    True but not relevant to my point. Religious objections would be sufficient to establish me as a conservative; there’s a different class of objections characteristics of secular conservatives which I didn’t go into because they’re more difficult to explain unless phrases like “the organic wisdom of institutions” are already meaningful to the listener.

  224. @ ESR

    If it quacks like a duck… Conservatives are very capable of reading and citing studies to justify their beliefs. It seems like your claim to independence is that you formed these same ideas “on your own,” without reference to whatever system “educates” conservatives, but you believe the same things and cite similar studies.

    *Shrugs*

    I guess I’ll just note that I’m not convinced and refrain from poking at it.

  225. elsewhere you will discover that he thinks non-blacks aren’t fully homo sapiens. Because Neanderthal and Denisovan admixture.

    Yeah, I got that, and don’t believe that’s what he means. Let’s take out the quote about genetics and we’ll see whether Vox sounds remotely enlightened about race:

    “Jemisin has it wrong; it is not that I, and others, do not view her as human… it is that we simply do not view her as being fully civilized for the obvious historical reason that she is not…

    The laws are not there to let whites ” just shoot people like me, without consequence, as long as they feel threatened by my presence”, those self-defense laws have been put in place to let whites defend their lives and their property from people, like her, who are half-savages engaged in attacking them.

    Note how he equates speaking about racism in a public space with “attacking him” in a fashion which requires the use of a gun. (Essentially, he is equating her to a thug engaged in a physical attack on him.)

    So no, it doesn’t fly. I have an alternate theory about Vox. He takes an outrageous position that he believes in, but leaves himself an out in case he is criticized, so that he can insist that Blacks are subhuman and then, when he’s called out on it, whine about how “I was only talking about neanderthals in the Devonian age, I’m not really prejudiced.” That crap doesn’t fly, of course, for most of us.

  226. BTW everyone, I have a long post about Sad Puppies and science fiction that spent most of the day in moderation, and there’s another one from yesterday that spent 10-12 hours waiting for Eric to release it. I’d be thrilled if someone other than Our Gracious Host commented on what I’ve been writing about Sad Puppies and science fiction. On my part, I’ll try for shorter posts and break long stuff up into two posts in the future.

  227. Oy. “If it quacks like a duck” here sounds like a aphorist’s version of “if it fits my prejudices…”.

    If you think there’s something wrong with his studies, point it out. Don’t just shrug and quack like an intellectually lazy duck.

  228. >If it quacks like a duck…

    Fool, by that criterion I could label you a Communist and have done.

  229. Note how he equates speaking about racism in a public space with “attacking him” in a fashion which requires the use of a gun.

    What I’m noting is that he’s equating attacking him with wanting to take away his rights. Talking about racism has nothing to do with it per se.

    He is, however, leaving that interpretation open for you to claim. I’d bet money it’s deliberate. As Joel Salomon pointed out moments ago: old-school trolling.

    …when he’s called out on it, whine about how “I was only talking about neanderthals in the Devonian age, I’m not really prejudiced.” That crap doesn’t fly, of course, for most of us.

    Indeed. Most of us know there couldn’t possibly be neanderthals in the Devonian – wait a minute, he never said that. What’re you on about??

  230. Note how he equates speaking about racism in a public space with “attacking him” in a fashion which requires the use of a gun.

    Actually, no; the comment he was responding to was N. K. Jemisin, in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin shooting, saying this:

    Right now there are laws in places like Florida and Texas which are intended to make it essentially legal for white people to just shoot people like me, without consequence, as long as they feel threatened by my presence.

    Applying VD’s rhetorical style and what he assumed the truth of the story was, “people like me” becomes an implicit admission that she, like Martin, is engaged in physically attacking people. Q.E.D.

    If Vox Day is actually racist (by whatever objective measure) you won’t be able to prove it by what people commonly quote from him: these are very carefully worded (a) to have an unambiguous meaning, (b) to be easily misquoted out of context to have an apparent meaning different from the actual one, and (c) to have that misreading make him look like a terrible person. This combination ensures that most people attacking him, being lazy, will go for the misreadings; and he can sit back and mock them for it. I mean, here you are being warned that he’s up to exactly this sort of stunt, and still you walk right into it.

  231. Fool, by that criterion I could label you a Communist and have done.

    Internally, I tend to label myself as a small-c conservative, by which I mean anyone who’s got authority should dot their “i’s” cross their “t’s,” act in accord with the best science and be practical rather than ideological. I tell myself that I caucus with the Liberals because they are more likely to be evidence-based and practical.

    But here’s the thing. Would anyone buy that? I don’t think so. So I call myself a Liberal and don’t worry too much about it. Because I quack like a fucking duck.

    ‘Nuf said on that subject. You want to call yourself a Libertarian it’s fine with me. I’ll try not to get in your face about it.

  232. This combination ensures that most people attacking him, being lazy, will go for the misreadings; and he can sit back and mock them for it. I mean, here you are being warned that he’s up to exactly this sort of stunt, and still you walk right into it.

    Big Fucking Deal. If he’s not a racist he’s a masochistic troll who gets in his own way in the ugliest fashion possible. I suspect it will blow up in his face again soon (like his getting kicked out of SFWA) and it may well blow up for the people he’s dragged into this. If he doesn’t like that kind of outcome, he can come down out of his tree and play nice with the rest of us.

  233. Horseshit and hogwash. There are plenty of Hugo-winning writers who never went near a fine arts faculty. Formal degrees do not an education make.

    Thus you betray your adherence to another leftist meme: that those with more degrees deserve to rule over us plebes, be it in the world of SF or the world of politics.

    That’s not my point. If I was going to court I’d hire Tom Kratman over Rachel Swirsky. He should have influence in military and/or legal circles regardless of his politics.

    My actual point goes something like this: Sad Puppies detect what seems to be a flaw in the Hugo process which results in far fewer nominations/awards for Conservatives. There are essentially three classes of “what to do about it.”

    1.) Do nothing.

    2.) Assume a leftist conspiracy and fly off the handle.

    3.) Figure out why Conservatives aren’t winning awards. This means creating and testing a hypothesis about what’s happening (Or at least asking questions and looking for answers that are practical rather than ideological.) One possible hypothesis is that there are educational differences between Conservatives and Liberals and that these differences result in different outcomes.

    There are a ton of different questions that could be asked about why Conservatives aren’t winning awards. In fact, I listed several questions the SPs should have asked above. If you’ve got evidence that any Sad Puppy asked any such questions before flying off the handle, please give me a cite.

  234. @Troutwaxer: Dude, generalising from Theodore Beale to pretty much anything is either deeply delusional or failed performance art. Pick any one.

    Anyway, since we in fandom have had all this mishegoss about ‘Social Justice Warriors’ (a rather ironically history-challenged monker if I ever heard one, as the banner of ‘Social Justice’ was invented by and for decades associated solely with Father Coughlin’s campaign against capitalist practice of the time, the New Deal, and the supposed threat of Jewish bankers), I figure we might as well have a look at it. Towards that end, I call attention to ‘A beginner’s guide to “Social Justice Warriors” in the F&SF community‘ by the Sanest Person in Fandom, SF author Will Shetterly. (Shetterly is a Marxist and sometimes prone to single-factor socioeconomic analysis, but not much here. Or, rather, class frames his analysis but doesn’t prevent him from being clear-eyed.)

    Shetterly prefers the vastly more accurate term ‘identarians’, actually. He points out that they appeared on the public Internet extension of science fiction fandom, i.e., on blogs, starting 2005 with a young woman mocking WisCon on Something Awful, some rather nasty ankle-biting of Cherokee SF author Will Sanders for ‘racism’ in his comments about Islam (which of course is not a race), getting his invitation as a conference GoH revoked, and sandbagging his magazine Helix SF, Pat Wrede being savaged by angry bloggers for ‘racism’ for writing an alternate history of the Americas where our world’s Amerindians hadn’t crossed from east Asia at all, anger at Neil Gaiman for ‘racism’ in his blithe and entirely accurate and good-natured off-the-cuff comment about lack of antiquity in American graveyards compared to European ones, Elizabeth Moon getting disinvited from WisCon for a blog post deemed unfair to Islam, Virginia Foyt’s novel featuring an interracial love story being deemed ‘racist’, the multistage SFWA donnybrook, the Requires Hate clash, and now Puppygate.

    In related interest, he tells the longer version of the story in a book downloadable for free as an epub, How To Make A Social Justice Warrior. (It’s actually about 3 decibooks, weighing in at 0.3MB.) I’ve just skim-read it.

    tl;dr version: Like most kooky movements we’ve all had to endure since WWII, the identarian movement came out of loony academic theory and has evolved into a self-isolating Internet cult of intersectionalist anti-racism-and-everything-else-deemed-bad self-appointed pundits, and that is where it has remained. This is a very loose posse of mostly pseudonymous keyboard-pounding, tendentious Internet bloggers who harrass pretty much anyone they decide is an ideological enemy, declare by fiat that anything they do is good and justified because they’ve self-identified as good people, exercise stringent enforced shunning of enemies, and flame and misrepresent without remorse or limit, feeding from the outrage machine.

    I’m not taking Shetterly’s word on these things: I followed many of these kerfuffles, and he has it right as far as I can see — and in that regard is a useful survey.

    Which brings us back to SF publishing and Worldcons. It’s telling that one of the nutters Shetterly writes about, the blogger who used to post under her real name but retroactively insists on being called ‘coffeeandink’, started out as an intern for Puppy hate-objects Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, but later (as Shetterly recounts) launched yet another bizarre public attack on Teresa (claiming that her use of the antique English word ‘nithings‘ was racist — it being actually a Scandinavian-derived word meaning vile coward, wretch, villain of the lowest sort), the Nielsen Haydens having posted distancing themselves from some flap over blogging misbehaviour.

    This mob of Internet nutters holds undue influence over SF publishing and Worldcons? Basically, bullshit. No, SF publishing figures most certainly do not, and it’s notable in that connection that Teresa, the primary hate object, was rabidly attacked by this lot and wants nothing to do with them. Worldcon fandom had if anything even less connection.

    Eric, at least you don’t share the batshit-crazy Puppy belief that Worldcon fandom is itself under the ‘SJW’ thumb, and your logic about certain editors such as Tor ones having ‘soft power’ influence (as the writing-workshop analysis Deirdre posted would suggest). But your notion that those editors are heavily ‘SJW’-influenced is both unsupported and doubtful on its face, because frankly we’re talking about a howling lot of blogger loons, here.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  235. >But your notion that those editors are heavily ‘SJW’-influenced is both unsupported and doubtful on its face, because frankly we’re talking about a howling lot of blogger loons, here.

    And what about the second clause makes the first doubtful, exactly? The insiders, after all, mostly spent time in the same indoctrination camps universities the SJWs did.

    And I don’t see how any hypothesis less paranoid-sounding than SJW influence accounts for so much crap like If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love showing up on recent Hugo ballots, importing SJW obsessions and rhetorical tropes. (Wakulla Springs, too, just to demonstrate by example rather than handwave that this isn’t a one-off.)

    I mean, if that’s not the SJWs influencing the insiders, what is going on – orbital mind control lasers? What simpler hypothesis are you offering?

  236. >Dude, generalising from Theodore Beale to pretty much anything is either deeply delusional or failed performance art

    A related point is this. I do not see how VD can actually believe all the things he claims to believe with a single consistent mind. Expecting him to have a scrutable and coherent set of beliefs about race, or anything else, seems to me accordingly dubious.

  237. 3.) Figure out why Conservatives aren’t winning awards. This means creating and testing a hypothesis about what’s happening (Or at least asking questions and looking for answers that are practical rather than ideological.)

    Premise: The Hugo Awards, which are claimed to be representative of fandom as a whole, go to works that are pretty bad SF and blatant message fiction. Hypothesis: There are lots of fans out there who have differing opinions but just haven’t bothered to vote yet. Testing: Encourage fans who haven’t been active in voting to go vote (note: this is called Getting Out the Vote or Community Organizing when Democrats do it). Result: Massive popular support for SF with more “traditional characteristics”. And watch the apparently-entrenched usuals “fly off the handle” at Democracy In Action(TM).

  238. A related point is this. I do not see how VD can actually believe all the things he claims to believe with a single consistent mind. Expecting him to have a scrutable and coherent set of beliefs about race, or anything else, seems to me accordingly dubious.

    I can’t help but note that your “Theory of Vox” does not remotely contradict my suggestion that Vox is a ‘masochistic troll who gets in his own way.’

  239. “But your notion that those editors are heavily ‘SJW’-influenced is both unsupported and doubtful on its face, because frankly we’re talking about a howling lot of blogger loons, here.”

    I think that there are three things here which are worth discussing. The first is that ordinary Liberals don’t like SJWs much – they make us look bad and by acting the part of “allies” they make it hard to accomplish much, as in “I’m just fine referring to myself as a feminist, Gay-Friendly male, and I don’t want to waste my time in an argument about whether I’m a Cis-Gendered Patriarch in Eternal Recovery who is Minimally-Obstructing-of-Queers” or whatever weird SJW construct is used to identify someone like me these days.

    Second, SJW is frequently used as an insult, and I think that’s how most people are understanding communications from the Sad Puppies. That is, Sad Puppies aren’t really concerned about using “SJW” in its technical sense. Instead they are applying the term in an overly-broad fashion what is in fact a very large group composed of Centrists, Liberals, SJWs, African Americans who don’t SJW, Conservatives who don’t want SF to be political, etc., etc, which for one reason or another would prefer that the Hugos not be interfered with in this manner.

    Third, and this goes back to Eric’s and my issue that SF is not measurable on a two-dimensional Liberal vs. Conservative axis, there are a lot of factions in the SF world who are voting against the Sad Puppies for multiple reasons, many of which are not politically connected at all, like the fans of all the authors who got bumped off the ballot due to slate voting, or the women who are automatically against anyone who gets involved with Gamergate, or the fans who are pissed because Part II of the Heinlein biography didn’t get nominated, or the otherwise apolitical fans who’ve known TNH for forty years and will support her unconditionally over a relative newbie like Correia.

    Lots of factions of fans…

  240. Let me add one more thing to my post immediately above: There is only one reason to vote for the Sad Puppies. There are a dozen reasons to vote against them, most of which are not political.

  241. There is only one reason to vote for the Sad Puppies.

    Instead of dropping innuendo, what’s that one reason?

  242. >I can’t help but note that your “Theory of Vox” does not remotely contradict my suggestion that Vox is a ‘masochistic troll who gets in his own way.’

    No, you’re quite right about that. The data I have about him are conflicting and could support any of several different theories. All of them involve trolling. One axis of variation in the theories is whether the trolling is a very subtle long-form mindfuck, a manifestation of compulsive craziness, the latter being rationalized as the former, or a combination of the two. I do not yet have a judgment about this.

  243. Instead of dropping innuendo, what’s that one reason?

    Agreement. Or I suppose the voter might be Mrs. Kratman, but there’s no guarantee she’ll be voting the slate.

  244. > Let me add one more thing to my post immediately above: There is only one reason to vote for the Sad Puppies. There are a dozen reasons to vote against them, most of which are not political.

    Errr… what? How voting based on *any* other criteria than quality of nomination (after reading all of them), what Sad Puppies ask for, is not political?

    You are either self-deluded, or hypocrite…

  245. > A related point is this. I do not see how VD can actually believe all the things he claims to believe with a single consistent mind. Expecting him to have a scrutable and coherent set of beliefs about race, or anything else, seems to me accordingly dubious.

    I think I more or less understand it. It’s just that he generally doesn’t clearly state whether he considers something a hypothesis or fully believes it.

    See the last point in this post by Nick Szabo.

  246. Testing: Encourage fans who haven’t been active in voting to go vote (note: this is called Getting Out the Vote or Community Organizing when Democrats do it). Result: Massive popular support for SF with more “traditional characteristics”. And watch the apparently-entrenched usuals “fly off the handle” at Democracy In Action(TM).

    If you’re remotely intelligent, this is the very, very last test you perform. All other hypothesises must be tested first, because if you’re right in assuming that the SF field is dominated by SJWs, it’s a career-limiting move. Even if the field is not dominated by SJWs, it still may be career-limiting move, because people will hate you for all the varied reasons I’ve noted above, many of which have nothing to do with politics.

    Here’s a hint: If you’ve thoroughly investigated the other issues, you probably have some tiny clue about whether you have massive, hidden support. If you haven’t investigated the other issues, what you have is an assumption of massive, hidden support. One of the reasons the Sad Puppies are sad is because their historical understanding of the SF field is very limited* and they don’t understand the social make up of the field.**

    * See David Gerrold’s schooling of Brad Torgensen – note that the author of “Trouble With Tribbles” is massively anti-Puppy. Gosh, I wonder how many people see him as more credible than Brad Torgersen?

    ** Someone who started as a fan in a podunk town in Arizona, stuffed a lot of envelopes, cranked a lot of mimeograph machines, volunteered at a lot of booths, and worked her way up to Senior Editor at the biggest Science Fiction publisher in the world has a level of influence over the field that Brad Torgersen or Larry Correia can only dream of. See Deirdre Moen’s analysis of the Nielsen Haydens’ teaching career above for more on this, then go a step further and ask yourself how many envelopes were stuffed by the Nielsen Haydens. Get the picture? It ain’t pretty if you’re an SP.

  247. Agreement.

    Agreement about what? You’re evading stating your claim.

  248. All other hypothesises must be tested first, because if you’re right in assuming that the SF field is dominated by SJWs, it’s a career-limiting move.

    Concluding, not assuming. And the claim is precisely the opposite: That while the SJWs are really loud and turn out to vote for the Hugos, there are lots more $OTHER fans out there. And if, as is claimed, the loud-but-minority SJW viewpoint has a disproportionate influence on some publishers, then (1) any career limitation is already in place, so the potential downside is low while (2) the opportunity for demonstrating that the SJW’s don’t speak for the larger market is an upside.

    If you’ve thoroughly investigated the other issues, you probably have some tiny clue about whether you have massive, hidden support. If you haven’t investigated the other issues, what you have is an assumption of massive, hidden support. One of the reasons the Sad Puppies are sad is because their historical understanding of the SF field is very limited and they don’t understand the social make up of the field.

    “some tiny clue” is also known as the information sufficient to support a hypothesis. Recent events bear it out. And then you start question-begging in the face of those recent events.

  249. If you’re remotely intelligent, this is the very, very last test you perform. All other hypothesises must be tested first

    I’ll also note the very consistent leftist message that “you must be very cautious and hesitant lest your attempts at maintaining the status quo cause upheaval while we bulldoze anything we don’t like”.

  250. Troutwaxer: Do you use the term “social justice” in anything approaching an approving sense? Do you think equality of outcome is even a remotely good idea? Do you think all white people are racists, or all men are misogynistic rapists, or that the system is inherently discriminatory? Then you, too, are an SJW. Remember the duck test?

    SJW is an insult. Anyone who believes and acts as SJWs do demonstrates thereby a lack of ability to base their politics on reason instead of feelings, and a lack of ability to act from hard-nosed reality instead of wishful thinking.

    And all of those disparate factions of fans are rallying around the butthurt SJWs calling for people to vote No Award, instead of actually read the works and vote based on their merit. If someone reads the works and votes No Award, that’s one thing. Bloc-voting No Award because you don’t like your tactics exposed for all to see is quite again something else.

    We remember the coordinated MSM hate campaign against the Puppies. We remember people calling Brad Torgerson a white supremacist. And those memories will not go away. Neither will we.

  251. “One possible hypothesis is that there are educational differences between Conservatives and Liberals and that these differences result in different outcomes.”

    I’ll grant the first readily enough. We’ve had academia infested with gender/sexuality/etc Studies programs for long enough to show a marked difference in education between leftists and conservatives. (The President of Dartmouth promised to give serious consideration to a recent demand that EVERY department have a Queer Studies program, even the ones in the hard sciences!!! <boggle>) Indeed, it’s hard to get a university education these days without having to put up with that crap.

    Where your hypothesis falls down is in assuming that those educational differences matter. You’re simply wrong. Look at the history of SF. How many Hugo-winning authors come from the leftist academic environment, and how many from the sciences? And to use an example from upthread, remember what Tom Clancy did for a living before his writing career took off? No? He was an insurance salesman.

    Here’s a hypothesis for you: The Hugos have been controlled in recent years by people with raging cases of Literary Status Envy. They’ve consistently voted for things that are High Literature, instead of remembering what SF is about. The wider SF audience, believing the hype that the Hugos belong to all of fandom instead of just one insider clique, proceeded to coalesce around one guy who said “Don’t like the way things have gone? Here’s what you can do about it!”.

    My hypothesis is at least as valid, and as likely to be true, as yours. I contend it’s more so; your paean to the wordplay in If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love reveals your own raging case of LSE.

  252. Contra Troutwaxer, I am a nonaligned fan, but have at least one reason to vote in a direction not completely orthogonal to the Sad Puppy list: I’m a fan of Jim Butcher and think Skin Games should get a Hugo, I liked a lot of the candidates in the Best Dramatic Presentation categories and likewise think they rank better than No Award, and some of nominees scattered across the other categories hold promise of the same.

    So a supporting membership and a duly completed ballot are on my agenda for next week.

    Besides, I reckon I can at least be more constructive and less gracelessly spiteful in my involvement with the process than Connie Willis, Charlie Stross, or John Scalzi. It’s a low bar, but I think I can clear it if I truly put some effort in.

  253. In his defense, I haven’t seen Scalzi say anything other than “read the works and vote on their merits”. That’s all any of us want.

  254. Eric wrote: And what about the second clause makes the first doubtful, exactly?

    Well, for one thing, the fact that influential SF editors hate their worthless guts and want absolutely nothing to do with them. Here is Teresa’s comment 14 hours ago over on Will Shetterly’s main blog, where the latter had just accounted for why he was going to cease covering this entire topic (basically, because spending too much time looking at the crazy was getting to him):

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden

    The term I know for those is a pile-on. They’re the online world’s cyclonic shitstorms, and they drive a whole suite of pathological behaviors. I hate them. They do lasting damage.

    I’m sure there was idealism present at RaceFail’s beginning, but what it turned into was a classic pile-on, which among other things means that its destructive pile-on nature was invisible to many of those who were participating in it. A long list of people took damage. In too many cases, the heartsick exhaustion it caused led them to isolate themselves.

    More explanation from me would be wasted.

    Regular normal human contact is the best antidote. It sounds trivial. It isn’t. It’s the only way I know to find one’s way back into the world.?

    For better or worse, with us Scandihoovians, you typically know where you stand, because you can’t pay us enough to get us to deliberately shade the truth as we see it. Teresa is a Dane from Arizona; I’m a Norwegian from California, which is close enough kin, and I recognise there the genuine sound of one my ethnic cousins saying the people you claim have undue influence over them can and should fsck off and die.

    I just read Duncan and Klages’s ‘Wakulla Falls’ for the first time. 2013 was a year neither Deirdre nor I voted on the Best Novella Hugo (nor nominated) because too much was going on and we weren’t up on the field. Novellas are right at that awkward length where it’s either picked as the one novella in a magazine issue or (these days more likely) gets hosted on the Web.

    What I see here is an amiable and atmospheric story that includes a Jim Crow era bit in passing but isn’t one of those hit-you-upside-the-head Message pieces at all, and the sly bit about Cheeta and the guest appearance of the Creature from the Black Lagoon won me over. I suspect that it like many novella nominees got there primarily on the strength of the NESFA and BASFA[1] open recommendation lists and the Locus recommended list.

    I notice that, like ‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love’, it didn’t win. So, you ask how it (and the even more striking but too-soggy-for-my-taste dinosaur short story) made the nominees lists (and then lost)? Probably from being on some of the three widely heeded recommendations lists and then liked by many readers. That’s not a conspiracy of Internet-flamer wackos at work. It’s called reading.

    I wish to also point out that SF has always, always, always made statements on socioeconomics. Hell, even one of my favourite award-winning SF novels of all time, Zelazny’s Lord of Light, did so. Not preachy, certainly not pushing some nutter academic piety, but definitely there. To Say Nothing of the Dog, most definitely. Remember, for example, the Edwardian-era characters who turned out to be Irish but working as servants with English names? Some very pointed political observations there, nicely underplayed by Connie Willis. Brust’s Vlad Taltos fantasy series is deeply political (Brust’s socialist labour orientation), but it’s so slyly in the background that some people might not even notice.

    About universities serving as far-Left indoctrination camps, you surely know from your own life experience that that doesn’t even work to the extent that it’s tried. I had my basic outlook on life already established around age 12, and I’ll bet you did, too.[2]

    As to what simpler hypothesis I’m offering, dude, I’m not even seeing any interesting epiphenomenon needing to be accounted for — but to the extent that a simple theory is needed, I’d say nominations tend to follow, within the less-voted written categories (novella, novelette, short story) the three suggestions sources I mentioned. The two BDP categories tend to be whatever’s mass-popular this year. (For a while, BDP Short Form was sarcastically referred to as Best Buffy.) The pair of Best Editor categories seem to derive from the three recommendations lists plus occasional disreputable logrolling, according to rumour. And a few of the categories, such as Best Graphical Story, I have no friggin’ clue.

    But there’s a further point: The scientific approach doesn’t merely require a hypothesis to account for an epiphenomenon and fitful application of Occam’s shaving tool. You need to also be driving towards proposed mechanism that posits cause, effect, and a credible causal relationship between the two. That mechanism in the long term needs to also fit in reasonably with the rest of what you know about the world. Sound like a good outline of the scientific process? I hope so, or else I was Chair of Bay Area Skeptics for nothing, man.

    And there is one of the other places where you are in trouble, because, as Will Shetterly outlined in his historical survey, the identarians (your ‘SJWs’) are nothing more or less than a rabid pack of Internet flamers and small-time hoods, most of them operating behind cover of pseudonymity, with an overtly ideological annual convention (WisCon) that gives them cover and cannot be ethically consistent to save its collective life. To say they have undue influence over SF publishing is to go slightly translational and fly in the face of evidence. To say they have undue influence directly over Worldcon fandom (which you do not say, but the likes of Correia do) is to go totally mental.

    [1] I’m a BASFA member and contribute some entries to its annual recommendations lists that the club collects during nominations season. The last years, my participation has been less because BASFA’s Monday-night meetings conflict with my Norwegian language lessons.

    [2] I was the bitter, morbid kid who disliked people his age and hung out with adults, and spoke with the RP accent I got in British Hong Kong. A well-intended vice-principal heard stories about this beanpole bookworm who was working his way through all of the middle school’s bullies, suckering them into attacking first and then decking them with his powerful southpaw roundhouse punch. He sought me out, concerned about my fitting in, and asked how I was getting on with my peers. I replied ‘Sadly, sir, I’ve not lately found any.’ Poor man was only trying to help. He later saw me with a pile of paperwork, asked what I were doing, and I said ‘I’ve just figured out how to get through San Mateo High School in 2 1/2 years.’ Knowing that the SM High School ruffians had knives, he telephoned my mother and strongly advised putting me in a private high school. Mom was caught in the Federal court death match with Boeing Company, but did so. Anyway, my character and outlook from age 12 is largely unchanged, and I suspect the same of most here.

  255. For the second time (in a post in Eric’s moderation cue), autocorrect has buggered my lovely term ‘transrational’, and turned it into ‘translational’. I mention this just in case anyone is puzzled by it.

  256. Aside: Two people of universally respected mature judgement in the science fiction community have weighed in. Connie Willis has posted explaining with deep regret why she had to tell David Gerrold that she would be refusing to present the Campbell Award this year. She concluded with some extremely scathing words aimed at Torgersen and Beale in particular — something rare indeed for a woman famous for taking the high road and keeping a level head.

    Then, J. Michael Straczynski, having read Connie’s explanation, followed up with a posting on Facebook concurring completely with Connie and going further: JMS seriously proposed that Sasquan cancel the 2015 awards completely. (Deirdre then explained to him that this is not a possibility, because the WSFS Constitution requires that the awards be granted.)

    Keep watching, ‘SJW’ theorists, as I expect public opinion will continue to roll over the Puppy position like a tsunami. Undue influence by far-Left identarian ideologues over Connie Willis and JMS, too, you think? You’re honestly going with that?

    I’ll not link directly to Connie and JMS’s pieces so it won’t get held in Eric’s moderation queue, but readers can find them via my wife Deirdre Saoirse Moen’s blog.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  257. “Troutwaxer -“A lot of fans are voting against Corriea. . . fans who are pissed that volume II of the Heinlein biography wasn’t nominated” – Teresa Nielsen Hayden “This is a bloody shirt, suitable for waving”.

    TNH isn’t being hypocritical, because she isn’t claiming SJ voters would have nominated the Heinlein biography. She IS being tactical. Let’s you Heinlein fans and Rabid Puppies and persons against Puppy-Related Sadness fight, while Social Justice SF wins all the awards. Larry Niven’s The Goliath Stone and Shipstar weren’t on the ballot either, and Social Justiciars would have nominated them never. The Goliath Stone had a lesbian heroine, but oops, Niven’s not the dim, spiteful, orthodoxy-sniffing, More Social Justice Than Thou kind of liberal. Worse, Niven has the chops to write in the tradition of Anderson, Heinlein, Niven, Zelazny. Ann Leckey doesn’t. She doesn’t creep out low-IQ Eng Lit, Pop Sosh majors.

  258. Rick: Connie automatically marks herself as at least a leftist sympathizer by citing with approval a hit piece on the Daily Kos, “Freeping the Hugo Awards”.

  259. Jay, I’ve known Connie Willis at a distance for a long time, and reads to me as pretty classic Jerry Ford-era moderate Republican. I could be wrong. Although DailyKos is usually a pretty junky Web site (albeit not as bad as HuffPo or the vox.com clickbait site), the ‘freeping’ article is pretty dead-on. If I had to guess, though, what really set Connie off was Beale’s evil-overlord posting at Mike Glyer’s File770.com site where he said he was going to ‘burn’ everything. (To borrow Dennis Miller’s old line about Bill Gates, a lot of the time Theo comes across as being just one monocle and a Persian cat away from a wannabe Bond villain.)

    Anyway, dismiss Connie Willis as just a Left-political apparatchik? And JMS too? Good luck with that.

    WordPress tells me that my long response to Eric of this morning is still in moderated status (as it’s long and have several links), but I’ll add in now something I meant to include. Literary Status Envy: Yes, good diagnosis, I agree, concerning the voters’ preferences for the several short-fiction categories (short story, novelette, novella): Stories with literary trappings seem to be favoured, to a degree that it not my or Deirdre’s taste, FWIW, and we tend to vote them down in the final ballots when we’re voting on those categories in the current year.

    Two bits of very recent news:

    1. Marko Kloos just withdrew his acceptance of his Puppy-supported Best Novel nomination for Lines of Departure. His posted wording is pretty condemnatory of, most particularly, Mr. Beale’s actions. Except:

    [R]egardless of who else has recommended the novel for award consideration—the presence of “Lines of Departure” on the shortlist is almost certainly due to my inclusion on the “Rabid Puppies” slate. For that reason, I had no choice but to withdraw my acceptance of the nomination. I cannot in good conscience accept an award nomination that I feel I may not have earned solely with the quality of the nominated work. I also wish to disassociate myself from the originator of the “Rabid Puppies” campaign. To put it bluntly: if this nomination gives even the appearance that Vox Day or anyone else had a hand in giving it to me because of my perceived political leanings, I don’t want it. I want to be nominated for awards because of the work, not because of the “right” or “wrong” politics.

    2. Annie Bellet just withdrew her nominated short story ‘Goodnight Stars’ from the ballot. Her posted wording is utterly scathing. Except:

    I am withdrawing because this has become about something very different than great science fiction. I find my story, and by extension myself, stuck in a game of political dodge ball, where I’m both a conscripted player and also a ball. (Wrap your head around that analogy, if you can, ha!) All joy that might have come from this nomination has been co-opted, ruined, or sapped away. This is not about celebrating good writing anymore, and I don’t want to be a part of what it has become.

    So, anyway, maybe the avalanche of 1,352 new supporting memberships Saquan suddenly received in the first 12 days of April are primarily adherents of Puppydom. Torgersen and Beale may have collected enough people willing to splurge a pair of $20 bills to get a few Hugos. However, if so, for darned sure, those will be ones with the ‘Bear in mind those were 2015 Hugos’ subtext attached. Poisoned chalice, anyone?

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  260. Um, can you do any better than VD squick and tarring by association? (Invalid association, I might add.)

  261. > However, if so, for darned sure, those will be ones with the ‘Bear in mind those were 2015 Hugos’ subtext attached. Poisoned chalice, anyone?

    Why not ‘bear in mind those were 2000-2014 Hugos’ – message fiction, LSE, bad SF?

  262. Vox Day, Vox Day, Vox Day ad nauseam.

    Free clue, people: Brad Torgerson is not Vox Day, and Sad Puppies is not Rabid Puppies. Torgerson did not set out to get the “right” politics nominated. He set out to get good stories nominated, regardless of politics – unlike the SJW-approved crap that’s been getting nominated lately.

    People that conflate the two do their argument a disservice and prove Torgerson right.

  263. @Jakub Nerebski: Why not ‘bear in mind those were 2000-2014 Hugos’ – message fiction, LSE, bad SF?

    And good luck with that, my good sir. Fourteen years into the millennium, this view is still so far out in the Land of Nutjobbery that you’re going to have to do an epic hauling job on that Overton Window to make it suit.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  264. @Jay Maynard: Torgerson

    Gentle reminder, Jay: Torgersen.

    For your possible interest, the -sen surname suffix is more typically Danish or Norwegian, while -son is more typically Swedish. (I’m not offhand sure what the Icelanders do, but my bet is on the former on grounds of settlement history. In their case, they use patronymics and matronymics rather than surnames.)

    Above is certainly not a hard and fast rule; there are many exceptions.

  265. Troutwaxer: Do you use the term “social justice” in anything approaching an approving sense?

    I try to be a decent human being, so I naturally believe in justice. “Social Justice” is a very vague term with high levels of emotion attached to it. If you’ll be more specific, perhaps with examples, I can answer your question.

    Do you think equality of outcome is even a remotely good idea?

    Generally I am a believer in equality of opportunity, particularly after a child attains adulthood. During childhood I do believe in some strictly limited equality of outcome. For example, I believe that every child should have good medical care and enough to eat, and that each child should attend a school which meets minimum standards for its teaching, curriculum, etc. But I don’t believe that every child deserves an “A” or that every child deserves “self esteem” or that every child should be forgiven all their wrongs under every circumstance. Growing into a useful, ethical maturity requires feedback. USeful feedback is not necessarily positive and sometimes even harsh. (Heinlein’s discussion of “positive feedback” is really useful here.)

    Do you think all white people are racists, or all men are misogynistic rapists.

    Of course not. At the same time, I have zero tolerance for someone who actively rapes or who actively practices racism.

    or that the system is inherently discriminatory?

    That’s a tough one. I believe that equality of opportunity (not equality of outcome) should be strictly enforced, and I can’t help but note the times when the system does not enforce this equality as it should. There are enough jerks out there that any system can become discriminatory very, very quickly if people don’t speak up.

  266. your paean to the wordplay in If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love reveals your own raging case of LSE.

    The comment where I critiqued “If You Were A Dinosaur” is one of the comments that sat in moderation for 10-12 hours while OGH was away, so you probably have not have seen it. If you think I have LSE go read the comment. TL:DR – authors who break a story in order to check an SJW box make Troutwaxer sad (even if the prose is great) and the story is not SF and shouldn’t have won a Nebula.

    The general effect of “If You Were a Dinosaur” was akin to listening to a song where there is brilliant, haunting improvisation from a technically skilled musician who lacks good composing chops. The player improvises beautifully, but the piece has no structure, so I listen once or twice online and never download the music to my computer.

    It is true that “If You Were A Dinosaur” hit me right in the gut, but that was for very personal reasons… suffice to say that I can separate my emotions from my critical thinking skills.

  267. Eric, here’s another for your Weirdness That Is Theo file: Theo achieved another career high with a blog piece in September 2013 praising mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik. First, he takes a swipe at the children and teenagers who were the bulk of his 69 shooting kills on Utøya as ‘the Norwegian Labor Party’s larval quislings’. Then follows three paragraphs of hilariously inept political analysis where he tries to stuff into his USA-specific framing an entire country of which he has no understanding at all, but then crowns it with this bit:

    Both the Australian and the Norwegian people appear to be moving in the direction of peace. The American people, on the other hand, appear to be doing the precise opposite. As I said not long after the shootings, I will not be in the least bit surprised if Anders Breivik is one day regarded as a national hero in Norway, much like George Washington and William Tell, two men who also offered murderous resistance to their own governments.

    Uff-da. You know, as a Norwegian-American, I’m in the habit of becoming almost unbearably polite when people in my hearing start hurling around bizarre metaphors invoking Vidkun Quisling, though the astute will notice the conversational temperature drop to that of around Narvik in February. If I were standing next to Theo and witnessed him compare 69 murdered innocent children to Quisling, I’m not 100% sure what I’d do, but it’d start with blinking hard, making sure I had a firm grip on myself, and possibly wiring a $1000 donation to Norges Arbeiderpartiet.

    But Breivik, that narcissistic one-man Mongol Horde, the George Washington of Norge? Somehow, I expect to see that around the year after Charles Manson gets chiseled onto Mount Rushmore.

  268. Your paean to the wordplay in If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love reveals your own raging case of LSE.

    I’m going to try this again and hope I don’t get caught in the moderation queue. I commented extensively on the story, and was somewhat negative. My comments are above in one of three or four posts that sat in moderation for hours while Our Gracious Host was busy with other stuff, so you can scroll up and read my complete thoughts there. To summarize: Not Nebula material as it was not Science Fiction. Also, while the prose was great, the story still had problems. Going outside the true path of the story to check a box makes Troutwaxer sad.

    While the story touched me very deeply, that is because I have personal issues that create an almost traumatized understanding of exactly what Swirsky was trying to convey. However, my emotions didn’t override my critical faculties, and the story was a bit like listening to a technically brilliant musician improvise. Unfortunately, the musician in question doesn’t have great composing chops and the piece lacks necessary structure, so while I listen once or twice online, I don’t save the song to my hard drive.

  269. > And good luck with that, my good sir. Fourteen years into the millennium, this view is still so far out in the Land of Nutjobbery that you’re going to have to do an epic hauling job on that Overton Window to make it suit.

    Well judging by reports of what having a hugo does to one’s sales, this appears to have already happened.

  270. Well judging by reports of what having a hugo does to one’s sales, this appears to have already happened.

    This report comes from John C. Wright, the guy who’s nominated for six hugos on the Sad/Rabid Puppies slate. He is definitely NOT a neutral in this argument and his data should be taken with an appropriately-sized grain of salt.

  271. Eugene: It would be nice if JCW didn’t react so powerfully against people raising valid statistical criticisms. His point may well be valid, but defending a number that’s got as many statistical questions surrounding it as that one does in the way he’s doing so raises suspicion.

    Troutwaxer: For all of your complaining about Dinosaur (with which I have no disagreement; it fails to clear the threshold requirement of actually being SF), you still claim that it’s better prose:

    While both Tuloriad and “If You Were A Dinosaur” have obvious faults, one of them has serviceable prose and the other has brilliant, practised technique. I suspect that these differences have a lot to do with who wins the Hugos.

    That’s my point exactly: Better prose does not automatically make better SF. The Hugos are about SF merit, not literary merit. A carefully-crafted, finely-honed work that’s not SF doesn’t deserve an SF award, and those who think it does reveal their own LSE blindness.

    Going outside the true path of the story to check a box may make you sad, but it’s the stock in trade of the SF SJW.

  272. Jay, I’ve decided it’s time to unpack and poke through Eric’s term ‘LSE’ a bit. The ‘literary’ part of it makes sense to me in context of SF publishing and Worldcon fandom, because there is some widely felt appreciation for good prose, literary technique, haunting word images. For example, Ted Chiang’s short stories, novelettes, etc. were a standard-bearer for SF with literary polish in the 90s and 2000s. I remember his 2002 novette ‘Hell Is the Absence of God’ being up for the Hugo in 2002. (It won, as it also won the Nebula, the Locus, and the Seiun.) I thought it was brilliantly written, but personally disliked the story on account of what amounts to a childhood personal grudge against negligently murderous alleged divinities (my own hangup that I won’t defend). We fans typically also love stories brilliant in other SFnal ways, e.g., even late Niven & Pournelle for the world-building even though the dialogue and prose style are a bit sucky.

    The part I’m sticking on is ‘status envy’, because everyone knows — it’s utterly notorious — that any genre label but particularly SF is instant death among the literary crowd and academia. It’s been a running gag in Langford’s Ansible that the very same things that the lit world lionises becomes, the moment it’s labelled SF, dogmeat — and conversely that literary fiction can include anything we’re used to seeing in SF but that doesn’t make it SF (oh no!) because it’s carefully defined to be non-SF and given non-SF covers and placed on non-SF shelving. There’s a huge long list of authors who got or retained literary cred by going out of their way to deny being an SF author: Lethem, Vonnegut, Lessing, Atwood, and I’m sure I could expand that list to several paragraphs if I worked at it. About the only literary author who refuses to disclaim SF, and mostly gets away with it, is Michael Chabon, bless his contrary little soul, and I’m sure he’s regarded with suspicion because of it. (I’m a huge fan of his, if only for his 2007 The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, which got the 2008 Best Novel Hugo and richly deserved it.)

    Deirdre shopped around stubbornly for ages trying to find a university willing to let her do a master’s degree in speculative fiction. They are very nearly unobtainium, and only lately possible anywhere at all. At the time, there was exactly one, Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA, which is where in 2004 she got her M.A. in Science Fiction and Fantasy. (There was no MFA at the time.) Seton Hill’s programme has lately been joined by exactly one programme at exactly one other college in the entire continent, the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing at University of Southern Maine (Portland). That’s it. Nothing else, and those two are six-sigma mavericks.

    Gettting to the linneus bottomus, the reason I don’t buy Eric’s unexamined concept of ‘status envy’ is that SF fandom as a whole, Worldcon fandom in particular, and the SF publishing industry are not stupid. We know that literary status is just not on the plate, never has been, never will be.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  273. I can’t speak to academia’s current state, but I will toss in here that I used to know a woman who got a BA in mythology from Rice because she wanted to write SF.

    But I still think this reliance on academic credentials is very badly misplaced. You don’t learn to write SF in a classroom. You may learn to write literature that superficially appears to be SF, but that’s an entirely different thing.

  274. That’s my point exactly: Better prose does not automatically make better SF. The Hugos are about SF merit, not literary merit. A carefully-crafted, finely-honed work that’s not SF doesn’t deserve an SF award, and those who think it does reveal their own LSE blindness.

    I do agree a little with that LSE is a problem. I don’t think it’s a big problem, but I would consider it a minor sin. But IMHO the sin more often is on the part of the reader, or more particularly the critic, or even more particularly the award voter, rather than the writer. It’s a sin of letting really good prose blind someone to the fact that a story is not SF-ish or less SF-ish than a story with merely serviceable prose that has a stronger SF vibe. Do I want a critic or an award voter considering the quality of the prose? Of course. Do I want them to balance the literary qualities against the SFnal qualities. Damn right I do!

    Going outside the true path of the story to check a box may make you sad, but it’s the stock in trade of the SF SJW.

    It’s the stock-in-trade of right-wing writer too, if one is paying attention to The Tuloriad or similar works. (My discussion of The Tuloriad is on another post that spent many hours in the moderation queue, you can scroll up to find it.) is One of the many hypocrisies of the Puppies is their failure to notice that some of the writers they lionize can be just as guilty of box-checking as the SJWs.

    This is also a strategic failure on the part of the Puppies too. A crusade against LSE and “box checking” on the part of authors on either side of the left/right divide would have gotten them much of what they want without the downside they’re currently facing due to their Hugo-hijacking.

  275. I can’t speak to academia’s current state, but I will toss in here that I used to know a woman who got a BA in mythology from Rice because she wanted to write SF.

    That can work really, really well. Have you read “Digger?” It’s more fantasy than SF, but well-deserving of its Hugo.

  276. Jay, I most certainly neither said nor implied that one must ‘learn to write SF in a classroom’. In fact, I’m having a difficult time fathoming how you could arrive at that bizarre misreading. How could I possibly think that? Do you actually think I’m totally unacquainted with science fiction?

    Eric is welcome to clarify if I got it wrong, but I recall him saying his initialism ‘LSE’ refers to the SF publishing’s desire, and the desire of a cooperating group of authors, to achieve higher status with the literary establishment by preferentially publishing written works in a fashionable literary style, and being envious of plaudits available from the literary establishment. What I’m saying is, everyone knows Lit acceptance is emphatically and completely off the table. I mentioned academia’s near-total refusal to grant master’s degrees that in any way mention our genre (1) because the norms of the literary establishment is heavily linked to academic writing theory (and there’s a revolving door between the worlds) and (2) as a marker for the vehemence with which the literary establishment rejects anything called SF.

    Please try a bit harder to read with context. Thank you. (Note that ‘mythology’ as seen by academia is not the SF genre, nor are BAs where academia gives its graduate-level take on the art of writing.)

  277. Oh, Eric: I had an afterthought to my sidelight on our man Mr. Beale. But first, before I tweak Theo’s nose, a heartfelt agreement: You have good reason to respect Theo, and, for his excellent work in helping you craft ‘Sucker Punch’ and get it out in public, as the Aussies say, ‘Good on him.’ And, speaking for the rest of us spoiled children in fandom: Please keep writing SF! Please! We need more good stuff, and you have the talent.

    Anyway, in case Theo is reading this, in light of his concerns about the future Muslim takeover of Norway and its need to adopt Anders Behring Breivik as a national hero, I wanted to reassure him that, by the God of Thunder, we Norwegians would never permit takeover of our beloved land by a Middle-Eastern death cult.

    Now, where did I put that biography of St. Olaf?

  278. Been following this thread for a bit, but, don’t these Anti-Puppy excuses prove Larry’s whole point? That Authors are not being judged on the basis of their work, Rather:

    1.) Due to of the Author’s own professed or alleged politics, or ‘Association’ with the SP project, or worse, the appalling danger that VD read and liked their work,

    2.) the Hugos claim to represent the SciFi/Fantasy Community while being dominated by an insular left-leaning insider clique.

    3.) Anyone who does doesn’t pay homage to this clique in will be shunned privately or excoriated publicly.

    And 4.) SP represents a subset of fandom that hasn’t had a voice in the Hugos because it hasn’t appealed to the tastes of this dominant clique.

    Looks like all this has been proven in the events of the last two weeks.

    The only semi-coherent complaint has been that slates themselves are bad, but this really boils down to the ‘unsupported’ assertion made earlier in this thread, that Slates are bad because “You know damn well they didn’t read [the slated works]”. I haven’t see any claims in this 200+ thread that the Nominated works are defective on their own merits, no matter how Great an asshole Vox may be.

    The voters voted for the Nominations, read the material and vote for the works on their merits. Everything else is insisting you support democracy, but only so long as your people win.

  279. Where your hypothesis falls down is in assuming that those educational differences matter. You’re simply wrong. Look at the history of SF. How many Hugo-winning authors come from the leftist academic environment, and how many from the sciences?

    Jay, you’re missing my point rather badly. When I wrote, “One possible hypothesis is that there are educational differences between Conservatives and Liberals and that these differences result in different outcomes” I did so in a very different context than you’re suggesting. The Puppies spotted a problem. Whether it’s a real problem or not, the Puppies didn’t ask any questions about the problem. Instead, they made an assumption that there was a horrible Liberal conspiracy, which ridiculous level of paranoia seems to be standard operating procedure on the right.

    The Puppies proposed no other hypothesises, asked no other questions, considered no other issues. They just went straight to the standard, clueless, right-wing paranoia and conspiracy theory in a fashion that would almost be comical if so many people weren’t angry. Fifty years ago Stanley Kubrick made a very famous film about right-wing paranoia resulting in nuclear war, and fifty years later not one single fucking conservative has gotten the point. The puppies might as well be saying, “I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious science-fictional fluids.”

    That’s how much logic the Puppies show. That’s how much intellectual curiosity they’ve shown. That’s the Puppy level of logic right there. They needed to ask some fucking questions before they started a war, and they didn’t! From the viewpoint of this Liberal, it’s an ordinary, completely standard, typical case of typically paranoid Conservatives doing their typically paranoid thing, flying off the handle and stupidly ranting and raving about the “Goddamn Liberal Commies” long before they even figured out what’s going on!

  280. And, speaking for the rest of us spoiled children in fandom: Please keep writing SF! Please! We need more good stuff, and you have the talent.

    Seconded. I haven’t read “Sucker Punch” but I know from rereading CATB several times that you have what it takes.

  281. Been following this thread for a bit, but, don’t these Anti-Puppy excuses prove Larry’s whole point? That Authors are not being judged on the basis of their work…

    That’s nonsense. Everyone, all the time, is subject to judgement on their behavior towards other human beings. In other words, is so-and-so being a jerk, or are they being a decent person? In my opinion, everyone should be a decent human being all the time. Sure, we make mistakes, we fall down, etc., but fixing our failures, apologizing, making amends, etc., are all that part of the larger art of being a decent human being. Absent being under life-threatening circumstances, we don’t ever lose the obligation to treat others decently.

    The problem with the Sad Puppies has nothing to do with their qualities as authors. We’re calling them out because they’re assholes. They’re jerks. They believe that their ideological superiority gives them a license to be dickheads.

    I have no judgement on Brad Torgersen, Larry Correia, or Vox Day as authors. I have never read their work. I don’t know whether they suck or whether they’re better than Shakespeare.

    I am making a personal judgement that they are failures as human beings, particularly in their relationship to the rest of the SF World. They earned this judgement because of their actions, in the context of being human and having the general obligation to be decent people.

    My judgement of Vox Day, Larry Correia, and Brad Torgersen as human beings should not be confused with any kind of judgement on their artistic capabilities.

  282. ‘they made an assumption there was a horrible conspiracy’ Troutwaxer? Did they assume Making Light would go hog-wild working to change the rules so they’d always lose? Shun those crazy paranoids!

    Really, everyone I’ve read on all sides here strikes me as a very nice respectable person. So VD badmouths a race hustler. Big woo. He’s a cocky little guy who likes to quarrel. Jemisin will have ‘rich white right-winger called me a savage’ on her resume, and won’t lose by it. So Jemisin calls Heinlein names and race hustles a little. Girl’s gotta make it somehow, and American racial stuff isn’t beyond criticism. TNH is a crappy Action SF editor (ran Tor’s Conan franchise into the ground, far as I could see). Big woo. Not all liberal chicks like Conan. Crappy Trad SF editor too, but that’s a rare talent. Maybe she’s a good Social Justice SF editor. Somewhere in the distance people are being Swatted and doxxed, but nobody I read is liable to be involved.

  283. “The problem with the Sad Puppies has nothing to do with their qualities as authors. We’re calling them out because they’re assholes. They’re jerks. They believe that their ideological superiority gives them a license to be dickheads.”

    No. They’ve been bullied for so long they decided to fight back in the only way bullies understand. Like all bullies, they got all butthurt when they got a dose of their own medicine.

    But also like all bullies, “just ignore them and they’ll go away” never works.

  284. “It’s the stock-in-trade of right-wing writer too, if one is paying attention to The Tuloriad or similar works. (My discussion of The Tuloriad is on another post that spent many hours in the moderation queue, you can scroll up to find it.) is One of the many hypocrisies of the Puppies is their failure to notice that some of the writers they lionize can be just as guilty of box-checking as the SJWs.”

    The only problem here is that The Tuloriad is not representative of Kratman’s work. It’s an exploration of a theme – the religious war version of “don’t bring a knife to a gunfight” – but it’s Kratman’s only work along those lines.

    By comparison, the SJW-approved corpus is all checkboxing.

  285. > The problem with the Sad Puppies has nothing to do with their qualities as authors. We’re calling them out because they’re assholes. They’re jerks. They believe that their ideological superiority gives them a license to be dickheads.

    Only… they are *not* jerks (the *Sad* Puppies leaders; I didn’t read *Rabid* Puppies organizer).

  286. troutwaxer, Are you really saying you could re-fight the political battles of the cold war with Dr Strangelove as your prime evidence against conservatives? I think this speaks a lot more to your biases that anything else.

    Are you maintaining that the SPs, Larry and Brad etc. are jackasses for anything more than encouraging slate voting?

  287. >I am making a personal judgement that they are failures as human beings

    Lovely. Is that the same mouth you preach tolerance and inclusiveness with?

  288. “The problem with the Sad Puppies has nothing to do with their qualities as authors. We’re calling them out because they’re assholes. They’re jerks. They believe that their ideological superiority gives them a license to be dickheads.”

    That sword cuts both ways.

    The problem with the SJWs has nothing to do with their qualities as authors. We’re calling them out because they’re assholes. They’re jerks. They believe that their ideological superiority gives them a license to be dickheads.

    What we’re dealing with here is a clash of ideologies. We’d have all been better off if it hadn’t come to SF in the first place, but that boat has sailed. Now, how do we fix the problem?

    It will not end with unilateral disarmament on either side, no matter how loudly the SJWs want us to shut up and let them rule us like the good little subjects they think we should be. It will only end when both sides agree to let SF be SF without the politics.

  289. What we’re dealing with here is a clash of ideologies. We’d have all been better off if it hadn’t come to SF in the first place, but that boat has sailed. Now, how do we fix the problem?

    It will not end with unilateral disarmament on either side, no matter how loudly the SJWs want us to shut up and let them rule us like the good little subjects they think we should be. It will only end when both sides agree to let SF be SF without the politics.

    “Don’t whine, just tell me a story!”

  290. Eric Flint (Puppy-praised Baen Books’s best-selling author) has the sanest, best-considered take on this whole matter I’ve seen yet. It has the benefit of being more encyclopaedic and historical than has been GRRM’s (enlightening) conversational coverage:

    http://www.ericflint.net/index.php/2015/04/16/some-comments-on-the-hugos-and-other-sf-awards/

    tl;dr : He agrees that the Hugos have always had some problems, but in his view the one alleged by Puppies is quite delusional.

    While I’m wearing my Scandinavian-ethnic hat, one of the far-Left identarian concepts I’ve found amusing in recent years is ‘cultural appropriation’ (about whose appearance in SF-related online shitkicking, see Will Shetterly’s e-book I mention upthread). If that door swings both ways, I require y’all to seek us Scandihoovians’ permission before making continued use of the words Tuesday (Tiw’s Day), Wednesday (Odin’s Day), Thurday (Thor’s Day), and Friday (Freyja’s Day). I mean, show some respect for our folkways, people.

    (Thank the gods it’s Freyja’s Day.)

    Oh, and in case Mr Beale is still reading, we Scandihoovians are willing to countenance Marvel Studios continuing to fictionalise Thor provided they start pronouncing the name correctly: It’s properly pronounced like ‘Tor’, exactly the same as Mr Beale’s favourite publishing house.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  291. Are you maintaining that the SPs, Larry and Brad etc. are jackasses for anything more than encouraging slate voting?

    I was trying to figure out how to explain this, when I got some help from a very unexpected source, Brad Torgersen himself. Here’s his blog post from April 14th:

    https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/tribalism-is-as-tribalism-does/

    In the first half of the post he talks, very intelligently, about tribalism and how it relates to his life with his wife, who is not remotely white. I got what he was saying, and I thought it was very, very intelligent and sensitive. I thought, just for a moment, that it would be nice if Brad Torgersen was my friend. He’s a smart guy. He’d solve all my problems.

    “But,” said a critical voice from the other side of my head, “He’ll never solve his own problems.” There’s true, I had to admit, and then I read the second half of the piece and decided that the more cynical voice was right. Here’s the deal: As a white dude married to a black woman, he’s had to think very carefully about the whole racial vs. tribal thing. He hasn’t thought very carefully about his relationship to the science fiction community. Anyway, go ahead and read the piece and I’ll answer Deamon’s question above in the post below so I don’t get caught in the moderation queue.*

    * I’ve mentioned the moderation queue a lot recently. I just wanted to note that I’m not upset over it. This must be a beast of a thread to moderate, and if Eric turned the filters to “high” that was probably a very good idea.

  292. Are you maintaining that the SPs, Larry and Brad etc. are jackasses for anything more than encouraging slate voting?

    Hopefully, everyone reading this post has read what Torgersen had to say about Tribalism, because I think the idea of tribes is very important to what’s happening here.

    All of the Sad/Rabid Puppies were/are members of the Science Fiction Tribe (with the exception of Vox Day, who had been formally exiled) who were unhappy with the customs of their tribe. The Science Fiction Tribe is a tribe of writers, artists, and readers, and the Sad Puppies faction was unhappy with both readers and writers because they thought that the tribal ceremonies which honored the best work produced by the tribe were honoring the wrong writers for the wrong reasons.

    So they went to war against their own tribe. And everyone hated them for it.

    The End.

    Or maybe not. You see, the Sad Puppies were very poor students of their tribal lore, and this was their downfall, for the Science Fiction Tribe had, over time, developed customs and traditions which the Sad Puppies might have exploited to become a powerful faction within their tribe instead of its sworn enemies.

    Going to the next post to avoid moderation for being too long.

  293. The first of the traditions which the Puppies could have exploited was the formal declaration of a movement within the tribe. Such movements had in the past made major changes to the tribe’s understanding of what constituted good artistry, and the Sad Puppies might have found many allies among elders of their tribe who were secretly unhappy the award ceremonies. Previous movements of note were the Futurians, the New Wave, the Cyberpunks, and the Mundane Science Fiction Movements. Other movements within the Science Fiction tribe can be learned about by googling.

    Generally, movements were started when a group of writers or readers got together, created a document called manifesto, which laid out the problems within the Science Fiction tribe which the movement was intended to address, and pledged to write stories and books whose content was created in accord with the manifesto. Writers and readers who took part in the movement also agreed, (and this is very important) to criticize other works in accord with the manifesto.

    The second of the traditions allowed within the tribe was the creation of a writer’s workshop. Other writer’s workshops, such as Clarion and Viable Paradise had been very influential in tribal politics, and starting a writer’s workshop would have done two things which were essential to the Sad Puppies getting taken seriously. The first thing a writer’s workshop would have done is to establish the various Sad Puppies and their allies as important teachers within the tribe. The second thing would have been the influence gained as students of the Sad Puppies went on to become important writers within the tribe. The creation of a new writer’s workshop is a very powerful tool for gaining influence in tribal politics, but it is also a tool which works very slowly.

    It would be possible to complain that the strategies above were not available to the Puppies, as the Puppies did not have an acknowledged great writer among their number, and it is very helpful to have a great writer either sign a movement’s manifesto or lead the writing workship. That being said, there is no record of Sad Puppy attempts to recruit an acknoweldged great writer from those tribal elders who were sympathetic to the Puppies cause. Such writers might have included Dan Simmons, Michael Flynn, Larry Niven, David Weber, Robert Sawyer (a minor great writer, but a potent name nonetheless,) Jerry Pournelle, David Drake, or John Ringo.

    The puppies might also have boosted one of themselves to great writer status through forming a writer’s workshop together and seeking to improve their prose, plotting, research, etc., as a group through a process of mutual critiques of each other’s work.

    Continued below to avoid moderation.

  294. The puppies might also have boosted one of themselves to great writer status through forming a private writer’s workshop together and seeking to improve their prose, plotting, research, etc., as a group through a process of mutual critiques of each other’s work.*

    I should probably have noted this as a third possible custom within the tribe that that Sad Puppies could have exploited. Private writer’s workshops (as opposed to the big public workshops described in the post above) are so common within the tribe as to be almost unnoticeable, and they are a common strategy used by writers to push themselves to improve their own craft.

    Had the Sad Puppies formed a private writer’s workshop it is almost inevitable that one of them (or more) would have improved their craft to the point where they might have been noticed by the award givers within the tribe.

    The fourth tradition that could have helped the Sad Puppies change the awards to their liking was the creation of a critical school. A critical school is somewhat like a movement, but the focus of a critical school is the criticism of works written by someone else in accordance with the teachings of the school rather than the creation of new works. Presumably the Sad Puppies would have critiqued other authors for breaking away from more interesting parts of a story to engage in box checking, the inclusion of too many social justice concerns, and the inclusion of Black/Brown/Gay characters in places where they would not ordinarily be found. This might have been very effective if they chose to critique authors on both ends of the political spectrum for such inclusions/exclusions.

    The main advantage of a critical school over a movement is that there is no need for a great author to start a critical school. The Sad Puppies might have simply published reviews of works which they felt violate the philosophy of their school. Once again, this is a tactic which takes a long time to become effective, and it is not as powerful as the creation of a movement. Though a critical school is a less powerful strategy than the creation of a movement, there is a corresponding advantage: if your critical school fails to reach critical mass, it is much less likely to be noticed than the failure of a movement, leaving the people who started the critical school with more freedom to maneuver than they might have after the failure of a movement.

    * Edited to add the word “private” before the words “writer’s workshop” in the first paragraph.

  295. > Had the Sad Puppies formed a private writer’s workshop it is almost inevitable that one of them (or more) would have improved their craft to the point where they might have been noticed by the award givers within the tribe.

    Errr… are we talking about Hugos? Because without changes they would be not getting awards, how good, well written, insightul, challenging, and powerful their work were, while SJW had hold over Hugos – not without checkboxing, correct message, and correct privately held opinions (as opposed to opinions in the piece).

  296. Further, the Sad Puppies could have worked to bring more people who agreed with them into fandom. Once again, this requires a lot of hard work and it takes a long time. But had the Sad Puppies noted on their blogs that it was cool to go to Science Fiction conventions, and cool to volunteer to help at Science Fiction conventions, they would have attracted many of their own readers into not merely buying books, but participating on a fannish level. This would inevitably affected the tribal awards process in a fashion the SPs would have preferred.

    Lastly, the Sad Puppies could have attempted to become editors and pitched publishers with anthologies which fit the SP ideal.

    The Sad Puppies could have used multiple sorts of tribal customs at once. For example, they could have created a movement AND encouraged their readers to become fans. They could have both created a critical school AND started a public writing workship, and there were many variations on the various strategies available to the Puppies. For example, instead of creating a large, public writing workshop like Viable Paradise, various Puppy authors could have volunteered to teach a one-day writing workshop at their local cons, and the issue of (poorly written) message fiction would have doubtless come up in the course of teaching the class.

  297. Are you maintaining that the SPs, Larry and Brad etc. are jackasses for anything more than encouraging slate voting?

    Having discussed at enormous length what the SPs could have done, I’ll address Deamon’s question. Why are the Sad/Rabid Puppies assholes? Why are they jerks? Why does much of fandom consider them to be great, hopeless, pustulous twits?

    The answer is very simple: our tribe’s customs provide multiple tools which are very useful for addressing the problems the SPs have identified. The Sad Puppies have ignored these tools and started a civil war within the tribe when this was not remotely necessary (because of all the useful problem-solving tools lying around being ignored and unused.) In other words, they have violated tribal law and thus earned the title “Dickhead.”

    Furthermore their violations of tribal law have resulted in damage to others; the authors who might have been nominated for Hugos if the Sad Puppies hadn’t brought Gamergaters (people from outside the tribe) to vote. The authors who were nominated and have felt themselves to be tarnished by their association with Vox Day. (I assume that everyone has read the “I’m rejecting my nomination” notes from Mark Kloos and Annie Bellet. Do they sound happy about being collateral damage in this war?) Or what about the Hugo voters whose personal and independent votes were diminished in influence due to slate voting by outsiders who were eager to annoy SJWs but don’t give a damn about science fiction? Or damage to the standing of the Hugo awards themselves? Damage to the tribe? Yep.

    People who damage others? Assholes!

    Those who bring outsiders to vote in matters of tribal importance? Definitely jerks.

  298. >>> Are you maintaining that the SPs, Larry and Brad etc. are jackasses for anything more than encouraging slate voting?

    It goes without saying that making effective use of these customary, tribal tools take time and requires patience; requires the recruiting of others with similar, but not identical issues, the providing of a convincing argument (Why should a Liberal sign your manifesto and obey its precepts?) acceptance of criticism from others, teaching without being paid, developing a literary and/or critical theory, tolerating the work of others with a differing political ideology long enough to review their books… this is all very hard work. This is work which requires patience. Do the SPs sound very patient to you? They sure don’t sound patient to me. They want the problem fixed exactly their way, right now.

    Now! Now! Now! What do we call impatient people who over-react and have tantrums and don’t volunteer and start wars when they don’t get their way? I call people like that shit-heads.

    Also, the Sad Puppies failure to use the tribe’s tools for dealing with problems have deprived the tribe of positive, useful solutions to the problems they have identified: A new movement in SF would have been very cool right about now. I’m all for new movements even if I don’t agree with their ideals. If someone started a big public writer’s workshop by writers with a different POV than the one’s currently teaching? Definitely a positive win for our tribe. A new school of SF Criticism? A positive thing even if I don’t agree with the politics behind the critical school. (Ya’all have noticed that I do consider “box checking” and LSE to be problematic, right?) Starting a private writer’s workshop? I’m all for that! Who wouldn’t encourage writers to polish their craft? Bringing in new fans? Yep, still a win even if those fans have a different POV than I do, and particularly if they volunteer at cons!

    Etc. In other words, the SPs could have used solutions which have had positive outcomes in the past, but instead chose a solution with a negative outcome. Choosing positive over negative? Definitely dickheads!

  299. Troutwaxer, your long series of posts can be reduced to one sentence:

    “The SPs need to adopt the academic approach to fiction, and until they do, their writing will not be up to the standard of a Hugo.”

    The problem is your premise: You continue to assume that the works being shut out of the Hugos are being shut out because they’re not good enough.

    You completely fail to recognize that there are plenty of good writers out there who simply aren’t SJW-approved, and will never win awards NO MATTER HOW WELL THEY WRITE. Never, ever, ever.

    You refuse to engage this possibility.
    You continue to claim that all they need to do is write better.

    You are so full of shit it’s leaking out your ears.

    No amount of writer’s workshops and critiquing and other means of academic mental masturbation will fix the base problem: the SJWs are in control, and they will not give it up voluntarily.

  300. Errr… are we talking about Hugos? Because without changes they would be not getting awards, how good, well written, insightul, challenging, and powerful their work were, while SJW had hold over Hugos – not without checkboxing, correct message, and correct privately held opinions (as opposed to opinions in the piece).

    If the Sad Puppies had assessed that merely improving their craft wasn’t likely to get them awards, there were other solutions available. Someone who wants to make changes is welcome to use more than one of the tribe’s tools at once. The big issue here is that there’s a whole big box of tools used for creating positive solutions to problems the SPs identified, and the SPs didn’t use those tools.

    I think there’s one other thing that needs to be identified here, and that is the tribal concern that the SPs aren’t really members of the SF Tribe. The logic goes something like this:

    The SPs are members of the Right Wing Tribe and/or the White Racist Tribe AND they consider this allegiance to be much more important to them than their allegiance to the SF tribe. We know this because they are using the tools of the Right Wing Tribe and the White Racist Tribe instead of the tools of the Science Fiction Tribe. The Right Wing Tribe’s tools include RIght Wing political insults (“SJWs,” “Liberals,” “Socialists,”) vote rigging, ignoring existing process, lying, race baiting, and thuggery (bringing in the Gamergaters.)

    I’m not sure I agree with this particular construct, and it certainly needs refinement, but I thought I should throw it out there because we recognize people as members of our tribe not just because of what they do, but because of what they don’t do. I suspect that this is also why we haven’t heard much from some of the right wing writers out there, like Jerry Pournelle or David Weber. Perhaps they consider membership in the Science Fiction Tribe to be their primary affiliation?

    As I said, this last bit is just a thought, but I think it’s worth considering.

  301. the SJWs are in control, and they will not give it up voluntarily.

    That completely foolish belief is why the SPs started a war. It goes right back to the whole question of right-wing paranoia, and whether this paranoia is justified. It’s the thinking of a spoiled, whining, bully imagining that his enemies are completely immune to thought or reason, (just like the bully himself is immune to thought or reason) so he has to hit them rather than talk to them. It’s the language and thinking of the jerk, the dickhead, the asshole, the bully and the abuser.

    This is the thinking of people who are already aware, on some level, that they are assholes, but they’re going to justify their assholish behavior by imagining that everyone else is as horrible a human being as they are.

  302. Errr… are we talking about Hugos? Because without changes they would be not getting awards, how good, well written, insightul, challenging, and powerful their work were, while SJW had hold over Hugos – not without checkboxing, correct message, and correct privately held opinions (as opposed to opinions in the piece).

    Hi Jakub, the first answer got moderated, so I’ll try a shorter answer:

    If the Sad Puppies had assessed that merely improving their craft wasn’t likely to get them awards, there were other solutions available. Someone who wants to make changes is welcome to use more than one of the tribe’s tools at once. The big issue here is that there’s a whole big box of tools used for creating positive solutions to problems the SPs identified, and the SPs didn’t use those tools.

  303. I think there’s one other thing that needs to be identified here, and that is the tribal concern that the SPs aren’t really members of the SF Tribe. The logic goes something like this:

    The SPs are members of the Right Wing Tribe and/or the White Racist Tribe AND they consider this allegiance to be much more important to them than their allegiance to the SF tribe. We know this because they are using the tools of the Right Wing Tribe and the White Racist Tribe instead of the tools of the Science Fiction Tribe. The Right Wing Tribe’s tools include RIght Wing political insults (“SJWs,” “Liberals,” “Socialists,”) vote rigging, ignoring existing process, lying, race baiting, and thuggery (bringing in the Gamergaters.)

    I’m not sure I agree with this particular construct, and it certainly needs refinement, but I thought I should throw it out there because we recognize people as members of our tribe not just because of what they do, but because of what they don’t do. I suspect that this is also why we haven’t heard much from some of the right wing writers out there, like Jerry Pournelle or David Weber. Perhaps they consider membership in the Science Fiction Tribe to be their primary affiliation?

    As I said, this last bit is just a thought, but I think it’s worth considering.

  304. Jay, I should go on to say the reason why the Sad Puppies are being treated with such contempt is that they are recognized as being, first and foremost, bullies. They use the language and logic of bullies. They use the tactics of bullies.

    The current leadership of the Science Fiction tribe might be SJWs. Might. But if that’s true they’re Social Justice Warriors yesterday and tomorrow. Today they’re not Social Justice Warriors. Today they’re the kids who get beat up in high school for reading Science Fiction, and they realize that they grew up long ago and have ample speed and strength and power to kick that bully square in the nuts and end this crap. They realize that they have the strength and power to kick that bully in the nuts over and over and over again if necessary.

    Larry Correia, Brad Torgersen, and Vox Day get to be stand-ins for everyone who ever stole a nerdy kids lunch money. That’s the psychology of this particular fight.

  305. > If the Sad Puppies had assessed that merely improving their craft wasn’t likely to get them awards, there were other solutions available.

    Errr… the problem was that Hugos, advertised as *fandom* awards, were given to shit checkboxing works. Not that they were given to “wrong” works,… well, giving awards and nominations only to “correct” works and authors and never to “wrong” authors, even f they are the same quality, also diminishes awards (and is contrary to stated claim of wanting more diversity… but only “correct” diversity).

    BTW. Sad Puppies 2 (last year) from what I understand was a test what SJW crowd reaction would be over nomination of “wrongfun” work – and the reaction (of SJW holding Hugos) was that of a bully.

  306. Except, Troutwaxer, you have it backwards:

    The current leadership of the Puppies tribe might be conservatives. Might. But if that’s true they’re conservatives yesterday and tomorrow. Today they’re not conservatives. Today they’re the kids who get beat up in high school for reading Science Fiction, and they realize that they grew up long ago and have ample speed and strength and power to kick that bully square in the nuts and end this crap. They realize that they have the strength and power to kick that bully in the nuts over and over and over again if necessary.

    John Scalzi, N. K. Jemisin, and Teresa Nielsen-Hayden get to be stand-ins for everyone who ever stole a nerdy kids lunch money. That’s the psychology of this particular fight.

  307. Jakub, to give a very general answer to your very specific questions, the Hugos are obviously a popularity contest, at least to some degree. This means that issues like social skills, personal reputation, and status within the community matter a great deal in terms of who/what gets awards.

    Who/what gets awards is also related to current events, current politics, and the demographic make-up of fandom, and everything I wrote in these two paragraphs is pretty obvious, right?

    All of the tools I’ve described above are tools for affecting such issues as personal reputation and status within the community, or leveraging someone’s social skills, or changing the terms of debate or changing the demographics of Worldcon attendees. Starting a conservative/libertarian writer’s workshop aimed at bringing in conservative/libertarian students, and exposing them to teachers like John Ringo or Larry Niven won’t pay off in a year or two. It’s a strategy that has its payoff in a decade or two. But when you’ve taught 200 students and 30-40 of them are working writers, and maybe 20-30 others of them are teaching writing, now you’ve now got a ton of influence. You’ve raised your status within the community. You’ve increased your own reputation. People will ask you what you thought about “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love” (or its equivalent 20 years from now) and take you seriously. You can praise the prose and damn the box checking… and next time that person reads a story, you’ll be one of the people who guided their interpretation of whatever they’re reading.

    So its not possible to change the Hugos in a single year and even a 3-5 year time frame won’t see enormous amounts of change. But if you’re willing to use the community’s tools and don’t mind waiting a decade enormous changes are possible.

  308. John Scalzi, N. K. Jemisin, and Teresa Nielsen-Hayden get to be stand-ins for everyone who ever stole a nerdy kids lunch money. That’s the psychology of this particular fight.

    The really terrifying possibility, Jay, is that we’re both right. This is why it was idiotic to start a war when there were alternatives available.

  309. “This is why it was idiotic to start a war when there were alternatives available.”

    The was was already started. The choices were surrender or fight back. Period. Binary solution set.

  310. Further, the Sad Puppies could have worked to bring more people who agreed with them into fandom. Once again, this requires a lot of hard work and it takes a long time.

    As has been pointed out, you keep evading claims about basic premises, but this is as blatant question-begging as anything else you’re saying: The SP claim, very credible in the face of events, is that those people were already fans but just not vocal, and they simply encouraged them to speak their minds in order to make the awards more representative.

  311. The SP claim, very credible in the face of events, is that those people were already fans but just not vocal, and they simply encouraged them to speak their minds in order to make the awards more representative.

    Sorry, it’s not credible at all. To get nominations to go their way they had to do three things.

    1.) Create a slate. Not just “make reading recommendations” or “start an online discussion (of what was good this year.)” They had to make an actual slate.

    2.) Got everyone who agreed with their politics to vote on that slate.

    3.) Brought in the Gamergaters (people from outside fandom) on the basis that they were doing this specifically to hurt the SJWs and thus get the Gamergaters to vote the slate regardless of whether the Gamergaters cared about Science Fiction.

    There’s a big difference between “try to bring people into fandom” and “exploit weaknesses in the nominating/voting process.” One of these behaviors is a positive action that will score points even with fans you disagree with politically, (thus raising one’s reputation.) The other is asshole behavior. One of them is the move made by someone who puts Science Fiction first. The other is the move of someone who puts Science Fiction after Right Wing Politics.

    It’s an obvious distinction. Why can’t you make it?

  312. The SP claim, very credible in the face of events, is that those people were already fans but just not vocal, and they simply encouraged them to speak their minds in order to make the awards more representative.

    Hi Chris. My response to your comment got moderated. Check immediately below your post after Eric releases the moderation queue.

  313. The was was already started. The choices were surrender or fight back. Period. Binary solution set.

    So if people are voting differently on an award than you would like, it is not merely cause for war, but an indication that a war is already being fought? And there is, by the way, no possible recourse other than to attack as hard as possible without trying any other solution whatsoever?

    Thank you Jay, for making on my behalf, every point I might have wished to make on the subject of conservative attitudes of entitlement, on conservatives being spoiled, on conservatives being paranoid and warlike, on conservatives being unable to see any shade of gray whatsoever… you have summed up all the problems of Conservatism in a single sentence.

    I don’t know whether to jump for joy at your clumsy admission or congratulate you on so ably pretending to be conservative while subtly undermining every argument a real conservative might wish to make!

  314. >John Scalzi, N. K. Jemisin, and Teresa Nielsen-Hayden get to be stand-ins for everyone who ever stole a nerdy kids lunch money. That’s the psychology of this particular fight.

    Worse than that. They get to be the stand-ins for the teachers who ignored the bullying but who then came down hard on the nerdy kid for “starting a fight” when the nerdy kid finally fought back.

  315. Eric, the only surprise in any of this for me is that you didn’t *start* SP or the ELOE.

    It seems to me it’s about time that not only fandom, but society in general had a pro-freedom leaning conspiracy or two to balance out the SJWs. Today, fandom! Next year, the US election!

  316. > And there is, by the way, no possible recourse other than to attack as hard as possible without trying any other solution whatsoever?

    Bringing more fans to nominating and voting Hugos, and compiling a list of good SF works is “attacking as hard as possible”????????

  317. People interested in coverage of these matters ought to follow Mike Glyer’s file770.com Web site, where he’s been excerpting anything of note on an ongoing basis. (Mike was also chair of LosCon III, the last-but-one Anaheim Worldcon.) Below, I’ll excerpt from his 4/17 excerpts:

    Deirdre Saorise Moen on Sounds Like Weird

    “Eric Flint Speaks, and Final Nomination Changes” – April 17

    […] The quality shift was a concerted effort on behalf of people like Robin Scott Wilson, who created the Clarion Writers’ Workshop in the 1960s to help improve the quality of writing in the field….

    Over time, Clarion has produced (let’s say 15 people average per year x 40+ years) over 600 graduates, and many of those vote or nominate. Or hold (or have held) editorial positions at some point. When you add in the members of the other groups, too, this represents a significant influence on science fiction and fantasy books and short stories.

    A Modest Proposal

    Here’s my proposal: someone (not me) should start a workshop designed for people who want to write the popular end of science fiction and fantasy, and possibly aimed at people who wish to write sf/f books (the existing workshops are mostly about short-story writing). […]

    Jeet Heer on New Republic

    “Science Fiction’s White Boys’ Club Strikes Back” – April 17

    Torgersen makes an error which is endemic to the Sad Puppies, conflating literary ambition with leftism and demographic diversity. It is simply untrue that ideology and entertainment are at odds in science fiction. Most major science fiction writers—including the ones who have won Hugo awards from the start—have had strong political convictions which have been reflected in their word. A genre that includes the socialist H.G. Wells, the libertarian Robert Heinlein, the Catholic conservative Gene Wolfe, the anarchist Ursula K. Le Guin, the feminist Margaret Atwood, and the Marxist China Miéville can hardly be thought of as essentially non-political entertainment.

    Nor is it the case, despite what the Puppies imagine, that literary ambition is the province only of the left. Much of the best literary science fiction has been written by writers whose politics are right-wing: aside from Gene Wolfe, this includes Jack Vance, R.A. Lafferty, Robert Silverberg, and Dan Simmons. To take one example: Robert Silverberg is a conservative but his best novel, Dying Inside, is a story of a telepath, rich with allusions to Kafka and Saul Bellow—writers Silverberg was emulating. The faux-populism of the Puppy brigade is actually insulting to the right, since it assumes that conservatives can’t be interested in high culture.

  318. The Sad Puppies best novel suggestions had a higher good reads average rating than any year of Hugo nominees except for 2000, which was a very good year. The idea that they were inferior works is not born out by sales or mass reviews. The Sad Puppies are science fiction and fantasy fans who hadn’t taken part in Hugo voting previous, and now they have. The organizers did exactly what they were told to do, expanded fandom by bringing in fans. The Sad Puppies slate was pushed by book bombs and sold thousands of additional works. It seems reasonable that thousands of sales translated into hundreds of votes. The Sad Puppies voted for what they thought was the best.

    The Rabid Puppies are Vox and his Dread Ilk. It’s not GamerGate, there was no secret conspiracy of GamerGate involvement in the Hugos. It was only brought up by the SJWs because they see GamerGate under the bed.The only connection is that Vox being both a game developer and having a long history in game journalism, he was involved peripherally in GamerGate since the beginning. Some GamerGaters may have joined the Dread Ilk from coming across Day’s writings, but they would have joined up to Vox’s cause because they are ilk, not gaters. The Sad Puppies were recruited from science fiction fans. The Rabid Puppies were recruited from Vox Day fans, many of whom aren’t much fans of the Hugo or science fiction.

  319. Rick- Should conservatives and libertarians believe you won’t badmouth any conceivable conservative writer’s workshop as you badmouth Writers of the Future?

    ‘The faux-populism of the puppies is actually insulting to the right, since it assumes conservatives can’t be interested in high culture.’

    Clear, lucid prose, proper to both action stories and descriptions of complex technology, IS high culture. Macaulay’s search for the lost springs of the pellucid was not a search for bad writing. Maxwell’s Notebooks are not bad writing. The Wright Brother’s Notebooks are not bad writing. The Gettysburg Address is not a bad speech. Le Guin’s Always Going On is bad writing. Low-IQ Pop Sosh and Eng Lit majors are trained to write badly, and to accuse people from the high-IQ majors of crimethink. Riding the Red Horse has some good writing. And when did a Social Justice SF collection last include people of William S Lind’s caliber? When did the Nielsen-Hayden’s last publish someone like Martin van Creveld? Social Justiciars should put together a SF collection featuring Paul Krugman, David North, and Khameni. Rode by the Pinko Horse?

  320. > The SPs are members of the Right Wing Tribe and/or the White Racist Tribe AND they consider this allegiance to be much more important to them than their allegiance to the SF tribe. We know this because they are using the tools of the Right Wing Tribe and the White Racist Tribe instead of the tools of the Science Fiction Tribe. The Right Wing Tribe’s tools include RIght Wing political insults (“SJWs,” “Liberals,” “Socialists,”) vote rigging, ignoring existing process, lying, race baiting, and thuggery (bringing in the Gamergaters.)

    Funny how neither you nor the SF tribe’s gatekeepers don’t seem as concerned with all the all the Left Wing Tribe members in SF who are going around using typical left-wing tools, e.g., typical Left Wing insults (“racist”, “misogynist”, “homophobe”), starting media feeding frenzies based on lies, race and gender baiting (inserting lies as needed), threats of social shunning, salami tactics (“just denounce Vox and all will be forgiven”), contempt for official procedures (kicking Vox Day out of the SFWA in a manner that ignored the organization’s own bylaws), the occasional death threat.

  321. The Rabid Puppies are Vox and his Dread Ilk. It’s not GamerGate, there was no secret conspiracy of GamerGate involvement in the Hugos. It was only brought up by the SJWs because they see GamerGate under the bed.

    Sorry, you’re so full of crap it’s leaking out of your eyes. The evidence that Puppies brought in the Gamergate people is very clear and obvious, I posted it above. Also, note my many comments on how slate voting is different from bringing in new fans.

  322. Trout – there’s a lot you think you know, that you simply don’t.

    Trust me, if gamer gate were brought in, instead of there simply being some overlap in people who also know or were tied to gamer gate, we’d be looking at far, FAR more people involved.

    You simply don’t understand the numbers involved, and you’re telling me, and others around here, who know what kind of numbers are involved, that we don’t know what we’re doing (hey, I’m sleep-typing!), and that everyone else we know is lying to us as well.

    I know that under “associated” there are definitions that include “well, there are people who know people” , but in the relevant sense of having a coordinated game plan and gamer gate jumping in…. nope.

  323. Trust me, if gamer gate were brought in, instead of there simply being some overlap in people who also know or were tied to gamer gate, we’d be looking at far, FAR more people involved.

    There are a couple problems with this. The first is that it costs money to vote in the Hugos. So we start with the pool of all gamergaters. Then we sort by who actually read the tweet(s). Then we sort by who is interested in “annoying SJWs by voting in the Hugos.*” Then we sort by who has the money to do so…

    It’s not actually a large number, but if there’s a slate it only takes 1-200 votes to be in firm control of the nominations and I’m guessing it’s on the lower end of that scale.

    The second problem is a strategic issue for the Sad/Rabid puppies. The outreach to Gamergate needs to be calibrated more-or-less perfectly. If the Puppies did too much outreach it would be noticed before the nomination phase was concluded and other fans might run out and buy a WorldCon supporting membership so they could vote against the slate. Also, if there was too big a vote for Vox Day/Torgersen’s slate the Hugo Committee might reasonably say, “Hey, we had 300 nominating votes last year, and this year we have 1300 nominating votes, and 1000 of those votes are exactly the same… I wonder if someone is cheating?”

    Actually, it wouldn’t be “1000 of those votes are exactly the same.” It would be more like “we have 500 votes for Slate A and 500 votes for Slate B, so two groups are cheating” but the end result would be the same at that point. With that many people obviously brought in as ringers the Hugo Committee could reasonably announce a spoiled ballot and either restart the nominating process or simply throw out the 1000 extra ballots.

    I have to hand it to the Sad/Rabid puppies. Their outreach to Gamergate was damn-near perfectly calibrated in terms of the numbers they needed.

    * I’m not quoting exactly, but I think it’s close enough.

  324. Let’s see. Grand conspiracy theories. Intimate and responsive collusion between multiple slates. And calibration /management of GamerGate involvement?

    Holy crap. You don’t have any idea how GamerGate is organized, or more to the point , isn’t.

    And you refer to us as delusional?

  325. Intimate and responsive collusion between multiple slates. And calibration /management of GamerGate involvement?

    I didn’t say that there was collusion. However, we already know that the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies slates had lots of overlap. I’m guessing that Vox Day let Brad Torgersen do the heavy lifting of putting a slate together, then edited it to fit Vox’s preferences for the Rabid Puppies.

    Calibration of Gamergate involvement might have gone something like this:

    SAD PUPPY: So, Big Time Gamergate Dude, we need to get 150 Gamergaters involved in voting our slate? What do we do?

    BIG TIME GAMERGATE DUDE: Gamergaters mainly communicate on Twitter. I’d suggest six or seven tweets, and if that doesn’t work we’ll figure out your next step.

    There’s nothing fantastic about this. It’s the very ordinary and mundane possibility that someone asked a Gamergater for advice on how to recruit Gamergaters. And it wouldn’t be very surprising if that Gamergater got it right. I’m not saying this happened, but whatever form the calibration took may have been very mundane. Or maybe the Sad Puppies just got it right by pure coincidence. Or the public tweets might have been cover for a private outreach of some kind.

    But absolutely nothing exotic is required to get the right numbers or have similar slates. If you’re going to accuse me of conspiracy theories at least wait until I say something outlandish. This is about as mundane as it gets.

  326. The rules permitted a contestant to submit any number of entries as long as each was written on a Skyway Soap wrapper or reasonable facsimile.

    I considered photographing one and turning out facsimiles by the gross, but Dad advised me not to. “It is within the rules, Kip, but I’ve never yet known a skunk to be welcome at a picnic.”

    —Robert A. Heinlein, Have Space Suit, Will Travel

    Yup.

  327. “There’s nothing fantastic about this. It’s the very ordinary and mundane possibility that someone asked a Gamergater for advice on how to recruit Gamergaters. And it wouldn’t be very surprising if that Gamergater got it right. I’m not saying this happened, but whatever form the calibration took may have been very mundane. Or maybe the Sad Puppies just got it right by pure coincidence. Or the public tweets might have been cover for a private outreach of some kind.”

    Or maybe, just maybe, the SP cause resonated with Gamergaters enough to attract some.

    You’re clinging awfully tightly to your pet conspiracy theory while accusing Puppies of being conspiracy theorists…

  328. >You’re clinging awfully tightly to your pet conspiracy theory while accusing Puppies of being conspiracy theorists…

    Which is ironic when you consider that it’s HIS side that has actually, you know, conspired. See the multiple synchronized media hit pieces.

    And nobody has had the time or energy to call him on the historical Big Lies he spewed out in one of his rants a while back. Somebody might want to respond with a reference to this:

    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=260

  329. Or maybe, just maybe, the SP cause resonated with Gamergaters enough to attract some.

    Or that too.

    The currently available evidence about Puppy/Gamer collaboration (the tweets and the podcast and the posts on various blogs) isn’t enough to give any insights into their strategic thinking and whether they considered the question of getting “just the right amount of votes.” But “how do we pull this off without getting fandom to fight against us during the nominating process” is certainly a question I’d ask, and we are talking about authors of military science fiction, where getting the right number of fighters (not too big, not to small) to the right place is frequently a plot point.

    On the other hand, you’ve probably noted my contention that the Puppies seriously underestimated the size of the opposition and didn’t use good strategy. So maybe the Puppies aren’t strategically up to considering that particular question and they just got lucky.

    Barring data we’re very unlikely to see, there’s no way to know for sure.

  330. Troutwaxer wrote: Black Gate has withdrawn from Hugo consideration.

    This, however, occurred after the ballot (the paper version of the ballot) went to the printers. This is yet another headache the Hugo Administrators haven’t had to deal with before. They haven’t said (to my knowledge) what if anything will be done to take note of Black Gate’s request; it might involve a slip of paper included with the ballot to advise voters of Black Gate’s withdrawal request. Or not.

    I intend to make at least some small gestures of personal appreciation in Spokane, this August, to this year’s Hugo Administrators for their integrity and hard (unpaid, volunteer) work. They’ll have earned every bit of $BEVERAGE_OF_CHOICE or fine high cacao chocolates that I hope I and my fellow Sasquan attendees offer them.

    (BTW, when I wrote that File770.com’s Mike Glyer was convention chair of the ‘LosCon III’ WorldCon in Anaheim, I meant to say LA Con III. LosCon is LASFS’s annual convention at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott over Thanksgiving weekend, and I dredged up the wrong name from memory before having coffee.)

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  331. This, however, occurred after the ballot (the paper version of the ballot) went to the printers. This is yet another headache the Hugo Administrators haven’t had to deal with before. They haven’t said (to my knowledge) what if anything will be done to take note of Black Gate’s request; it might involve a slip of paper included with the ballot to advise voters of Black Gate’s withdrawal request. Or not.

    Once Bellet and Kloos withdrew I kind of expected more withdrawals, and I was a little surprised that the Hugo Administrators didn’t wait a couple more weeks to make sure there was no further fallout. *Shrug* Maybe they ran out of time.

  332. ‘Bruce’ asked: Rick- Should conservatives and libertarians believe you won’t badmouth any conceivable conservative writer’s workshop as you badmouth Writers of the Future?

    There are so many problems with this question that I’m tempted to simply reply ‘Mu’ (the Zen word meaning that your question cannot be answered as posed on account of excessive erroneous underlying assumptions), but what would be the fun in that?

    One: I didn’t say anything about Writers of the Future. My wife Deirdre Saoirse Moen did. In the land of civilised people, spouses are not considered to automatically speak for each other, but maybe you didn’t get that memo.

    Two: All Deirdre said was ‘There’s simply got to be something out there that’s better, philosophically speaking, than the Scientology-funded Writers of the Future workshop.’ If you enjoy a conference that’s staffed, for example, by SeaOrg people kept by the Church on starvation wages, then presumably you have no objection to what Deirdre said.

    Three: Aw, the mean, nasty, hurtful liberal female hurt you by saying (correctly) that Writers of the Future is funded by the Church of Scientology, which is ‘badmouthing’. Would you like to borrow my hanky? Yes, I can absolutely understand why this is a reason your interest group should not consider doing something constructive to advance your interests. Mean, nasty female liberals in California might ‘badmouth’ you, and that would sting horribly! How would you even recover?

    I am deeply, truly sympathetic to your hypothetical future trauma.

    By the way, have you considered a career in drama?

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  333. It seems someone didn’t get the memo where -you- can be plural as well as singular.

  334. So, Troutwaxers point seems to be that Larry’s proposed criticisms, that Left Leaning attitudes in the Hugo nomination voting constituency empowered the SJW box-checking set, or if you prefer, the Lit-Status-envy set, and disenfrancies anyone who doesn’t utter the left’s shibboleths, regardless of their actual or professed political views. And that this does not represent the larger tastes of SciFi/Fantasy fans, as evidenced by book sales.

    To disprove this claim, Trout brands everyone who holds this view a ‘Conservative’. Insists all of these putatively ‘Conservative’ writers author bad prose, and are undesrving or recognition. That there are no taste-making cliques in this process, but if you want to come and vote you had better assemble a parallel writes workshop/bullpen like others already have (this is not a Clique, though!). Because the idea of cliques is a conspiracy-theory making (a fallacy he contends ‘Conservatives’ are prone to making). And that slate-voting is an asshole move because Troutwaxer wants veto power on who can and cannot be a member of ‘fandom’ .

    In response, we see the fullisade of attacks on nominated authors, not because of the quality of their work or even their own politics, but becuase they won’t denounce the people who nominated them. And we have a lot of proverbial ink be spilled from Entertainment Weekly to Popular Science, making the demonstrably false claim (to the point of some belated retractions) that the SP slate is driven by racism, and purposed to drive works by more ‘diverse’ authors off the ballot. But this is not a clique, or a conspiracy.

    Does this seem about right to everyone?

    Trout, correct me if I’m wrong but I still haven’t seen an indictment of why slate-voting is wrong beyond that it will bring in people who You don’t like. You assume that all the SP slate-voters, voted in lock-step, are mostly or primarily GamerGaters, and that GamerGaters are all ineligeable-unpersons for some reason? And That claim is NOT a conspiracy, why? I don’t see your point here rising above: ‘people I don’t like are voting, and for things I don’t like’. It seems like you approve of democracy only so long as everyone agrees with you.

  335. Bruce, I don’t speak for my husband, but I can answer for myself.

    I kept silent about Writers of the Future for many years because I believed that it was the only charitable thing L. Ron Hubbard ever did. What I didn’t realize, and it’s something that’s obvious in retrospect, was that it was an effort to buy respectability that he lost after Dianetics was published and, over the years, as he became more and more paranoid and controlling. As I’ve said on my own blog, it’s a long con, leveraging the future respectability of nascent SF/F writers to help bolster L. Ron Hubbard’s name, all for a few thousand dollars a year. They can’t advertise that cheaply.

    In 1984, as a Scientology staffer, I helped man the Bridge Publications booth at the Anaheim Worldcon. (I left Scientology in 1990.)

    I began speaking out in small circles about the workshop in 2010 after attending the Human Trafficking Press Conference led by Mark Bunker. I widened that circle after Daniel Montoya filed his lawsuit over a severed finger as a minor, working for Bridge Publications on unsafe (and illegal for a minor) equipment. Because, you see, I’d never considered the possibility of how the books were produced.

    Essentially, if the workshop doesn’t involve:
    * coerced abortion
    * denied health care for injuries
    * ritual starvation
    * physical violence
    * denying the ability to drive, to keep one’s ID or passport, or have bank accounts

    …each of which Scientology’s religious order (which oversees the Writers of the Future contest, not to mention the publishing company) does…then we’re good. This is an organization that literally argued in court that Human Trafficking was a religious right. (Headley v. Church of Scientology, see the 9th Circuit ruling.)

    So, I therefore consider it extremely unlikely that any conservative or libertarian-run workshop would do anything I’d consider worthy of note–except helping authors perfect their craft. Hopefully we’d get some good books out of it.

    I know y’all think of me as a pinko liberal (and that’s not untrue), but I’m not as hardline as you might expect.
    * I have voted for Republican candidates in relatively recent memory. Ahnold being one of them. He wasn’t perfect, but I think he did a creditable job.
    * For years, I considered myself both a big-L and small-l libertarian. Used to get the One Lavender Ballot in the precinct.

  336. Unique Identifier: It seems someone didn’t get the memo where -you- can be plural as well as singular.

    Interesting fact: Marriage is not at all like joining the Borg.

    FWIW, Deirdre’s early appreciation for Ahnold as a politician proved prescient, as he turned out to be, on balance, an capable governor during his second term. I hadn’t trusted him on account of a truism in politics that a governor is only as good as his staff, and Schwarzenegger’s staff were recycled from the fiscally disastrous Pete Wilson administration, which was a bad sign. I didn’t believe his electoral pledge to ‘cut up the state’s credit card’, and I was right: At the beginning of his first term in 2003, California had $28B in issued general obligation bonds and $23B in authorized but unissued bonds. Ahnold ballooned that over the following several years to $77B issued and $43B unissued — tripling the debt levels and sending debt service rates through the roof. Craziest of all was his Proposition 57 proposal to close the fiscal year 2002-03 operating deficit using pure general obligation bond debt. I told Deirdre at the time that this uncontrolled borrowing would be ruinous if the economy tanked, which is exactly what happened, and the state’s finances have been wrecked ever since.

    Anyway, if Bruce wishes to cloak everything around him in the mantle of injured victimhood and refuse to listen to Deirdre’s good advice of a writer’s workshop to support traditional SF on grounds that hypothetical wicked people might ‘badmouth’ it, he’s welcome to his persecution complex, and I wish him joy in it. Anyone else prefer to act on the principle of rational self-interest instead, that’s fine by me too, and thus everyone gets to be happy, each in his or her own way.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  337. >Interesting fact: Marriage is not at all like joining the Borg.

    No, that’s right. And if you tried for a moment to not be willfully obtuse, perhaps you would arrive at the more reasonable conclusion that the -you- in question refers not to you, personally, nor to Mr. and Mrs. Moen, but to the Worldcon in-crowd that decries the Puppy slate.

    Now, I realize this is much to ask, seeing as the obtuseness is not as much a bug as it is the very fundament of your arguments, but it would perhaps allow us to move past the high school debate club orgy of misrepresentations.

    Note in particular that all this play with the meaning of -you- is nothing but a rhetorical smokescreen, seeing as you yourself happily criticize SeaOrg for ‘keeping people on starvation wages’.

  338. Rick, Deirdre- I expect married people to act as a team, as you do here. No, this doesn’t mean I think you are a mindless Borg. Deirdre’s stance against Scientologist evil is admirable, as was her posting on MZB. No, this doesn’t mean I believe any imaginable conservative/libertarian writing workshop won’t be badmouthed by crazed cod-bolshevik hordes of Pop-Sosh unemployables. Among whom, you ain’t.

    P.S. On the back, my mantle of injured victimhood reads ‘The John Cambell Awards stole 20-30 bucks from me before I realized they were for stuff John Campbell fans hate’. If I might borrow your hanky, I would add that Larry Niven’s The Goliath Stone is not even on this year’s Hugo ballot, nor Pattison’s Heinlein Volume II; The Man Who learned Better.

  339. I must note here that I find all the complaining about Heinlein’s biography not being on the Hugo ballot from folks who’d never vote for any of Heinlein’s actual works just a bit self-serving. (Not referring to Bruce here.)

  340. Bruce, I find myself pleasantly in agreement, especially about the Heinlein biography.

    I do find myself wondering which John W. Campbell you’re envisioning people being fans of, as he was a decidedly contrary fellow. Maybe all of them, on reflection: I think I would have taken to the old cuss immediately. The world was robbed of a great talent when chain-smoking untimely killed him.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  341. “Unique Identifier” wrote: Note in particular that all this play with the meaning of -you- is nothing but a rhetorical smokescreen, seeing as you yourself happily criticize SeaOrg for ‘keeping people on starvation wages’.

    Yes, I quite happily do. It’s part of the trait of pointing out unpalatable truths that reinforces my status as a popular party guest.

    Because of course Deirdre’s critiques (I have no interest in any other ‘you’ in this context) of the Writers of the Future’s status as a prestige publicity showcase for the Church of Scientology that treats its own people horrifically, including WotF support staff, are based in well-documented fact. Which you are welcome to consult instead of behaving as if this were a leftist slur against the contest itself and its many excellent writers.

  342. As a usage note: My esteemed spouse is not Mrs. Moen (nor even Ms. Moen ;-> ), but rather Mrs. or Ms. (as you prefer) Saoirse Moen. You might well ask why someone who already has a difficult given name like Deirdre (which, e.g., Lou Antonelli could not manage to spell correctly when calling her a Nazi) would go out of her way to adopt a surname with an embedded space, and I have no good answer. We have a licence from San Mateo County that gave her a golden opportunity to be a Moen if she so pleased, but that’s not the way my contrary inamorata rolls.

    But at least she doesn’t have to worry about being confused with all the other Saoirse Moens.

  343. Should conservatives and libertarians believe you won’t badmouth any conceivable conservative writer’s workshop as you badmouth Writers of the Future?

    So what if we do badmouth a conservative workshop? Just keep holding your workshops and ignore comments from the peanut gallery. Is that hard?

    I could do a whole, very long rant, going on for pages and pages, about how conservatives can dish it out but can’t take it, but that kind of goes without saying. Frankly we already know as a matter of mundane fact that you’re a bunch of whiny, over-privileged, spoiled children who imagine that any time someone says something nice about a Black writer that’s it’s a personal injury to all white writers everywhere and if nobody ruins the Hugos over one white writers special, injured ego the Liberals win!

    Unfortunately, a rant of that nature would simply be repeating what everyone knows – so stop being miserable, fragile whinging twits, get over yourselves (and get over us too, because how pathetic do you have to be let some Liberal’s nasty comments define your life, right?) and have a workshop if you think it will help conservatives win more Hugos!

    Duh!

  344. I must note here that I find all the complaining about Heinlein’s biography not being on the Hugo ballot from folks who’d never vote for any of Heinlein’s actual works just a bit self-serving. (Not referring to Bruce here.)

    Sorry, no. Heinlein was one of the greats. He earned every Hugo he got and laid a substantial part of the genre’s foundations. I’ll go a couple steps further and note first, that I’d read most of his work, including Stranger by the time I was 13 (which was in the mid-seventies, if you must know) and second, if you look at Hugo history, that Stranger In A Strange Land won the Hugo two years after Starship Troopers won the award – which says a little something about Heinlein’s range as a writer.

    IMHO, if Heinlein was alive today and still at the top of his game, he’d be getting Hugo nominations on a regular basis – and laughing his ass off at the complete cluelessness of the Sads and Rabids.

  345. So, Troutwaxers point seems to be that Larry’s proposed criticisms, that Left Leaning attitudes in the Hugo nomination voting constituency empowered the SJW box-checking set, or if you prefer, the Lit-Status-envy set, and disenfrancies anyone who doesn’t utter the left’s shibboleths, regardless of their actual or professed political views. And that this does not represent the larger tastes of SciFi/Fantasy fans, as evidenced by book sales.

    I think you’re mostly wrong, and I think it’s a lot more complex than that. One of the things that Conservatives do (that really bugs me) is to take complex ideas, reduce them to very simple ideas, then attack the simple ideas.

    To unpack my ideas on why stuff wins a Hugo a little more (and you could have read what I wrote above more carefully) I think that lots of stuff is happening, more or less simultaneously.

    1.) I think tastes are changing. They’re changing in multiple, complex ways. Conservatives don’t like change (that’s basic, right?) and Conservative tastes will change much more slowly than everyone else’s. That’s why John C. Wright is writing essays against Transhumanism (which essay Vox Day nominated for a Hugo) while the field of SF moved on from Transhumanism five-ten years ago, (though it still shows up as background sometimes, it’s not a central plot point very frequently these days.)

    2.) We are seeing more Black/Asian/Hispanic/female fans. They want to see characters which are more frequently Black/Asian/Hispanic/female. Conservatives see a Black, female author writing about a Black, female heroine and freak out. Oh my god! Look at the Social Justice Warrior! Meanwhile, the Black, female author is writing what she knows – people who are Black and female. Duh. Ultimately, this demographic change results in more Black, female Hugo wins. In other words, it’s not a Liberal plot, it’s pure-and-simple demographics.

    3.) More people are out as Gay, Bi, Trans, etc. (Exploring this is not new for SF. Look at Varley or Delany back in the eighties.) A combination of demographics and writers coming out of the closet. Thus more Gay, Bi, Trans, etc. Hugo wins. Not quite demographics, but similar.

    4.) Yes, concerns about social equality and making sure that everyone is included are increasing. But it’s not the only thing that’s happening – not by a long shot.

    5.) People are unwilling anymore to read bad writing just because it’s Science Fiction. (Note that this is different from Literary Status Envy.) People want good, reasonably complex plots, decent prose, exploration of some new scientific (or new science-fictional) idea, good characterization, good worldbuilding, etc. The bar is definitely higher than it was before.

    Etc. I think I wrote about it in greater detail above. I should say that I think most of fandom is middle-of-the-road politically, and not interested in Left-Right politics when they’ve got their Science Fiction reader’s hats on. Your reading comprehension is poor and your comprehension is politically biased.

  346. To disprove this claim, Trout brands everyone who holds this view a ‘Conservative’. Insists all of these putatively ‘Conservative’ writers author bad prose, and are undesrving or recognition. That there are no taste-making cliques in this process, but if you want to come and vote you had better assemble a parallel writes workshop/bullpen like others already have (this is not a Clique, though!). Because the idea of cliques is a conspiracy-theory making (a fallacy he contends ‘Conservatives’ are prone to making.)

    That’s not what I said. I pointed out that there were only 3-4 Conservative authors who had Hugo-worthy ability (as opposed to Hugo-worthy raw talent.) I suggested (kinda-sorta along with Deidre) that doing both private and public workshops are a good strategy for Conservatives who want Hugos. Conservatives wish to sway a large group of people, so basic social skills are important, right? So a strategy which generally raises your status is far better than a strategy which demonstrably lowers your status.

    The whole point here is how do you operate without alienating people? The Sad/Rabids have pissed off a gigantic group of people in the middlewho might have been moved to agree with them if the Sads and Rabids weren’t such jerks. Non-jerks moves which would have given them much more success were available, but the Sads/Rabids chose to have a tantrum instead.

    I’m not engaging in strategy-suggestion as criticism. I’m criticising poor strategic choices.

    As for cliques, I don’t think clique-formation is a good strategy. I think that being a generally good citizen who has a particular point of view is good strategy (Clique-formation is not working out very well for Brad and Larry, is it?) because by being a good citizen, your influence transcends cliques. Note that I don’t equate “being a good citizen” with a particular political point of view.

    I should also note that Brad Torgersen’s understanding of the history of Science Fiction is absolutely wrong. Not getting it at all. Did he even notice that the hero of Starship Troopers was Filipino? Or that Dune was ridiculously political? Or that Lord of Light was set in a world controlled by Hindu gods? Or all of Delany’s Hugos?

    And that slate-voting is an asshole move because Troutwaxer wants veto power on who can and cannot be a member of ‘fandom.’

    Slate-voting is an asshole move because it gives slate-makers and slate-voters more power than non-slate voters. It’s an asshole move because it rewards giving up critical thinking about nominees and rewards giving up voting your conscience. It’s an asshole move because it brings the poltics (left-vs-right or otherwise) of the slate makers to the forefront and moves good writing to the back of the queue.

    One of the big problems I have with Sad/Rabid Puppies is that they have this very spoiled understanding of the world, in which their imagined ideological correctness gives them the right to be assholes. I hate that kind of thinking regardless of whether it comes from the left or right.

  347. In response, we see the fullisade of attacks on nominated authors, not because of the quality of their work or even their own politics, but because they won’t denounce the people who nominated them. And we have a lot of proverbial ink be spilled from Entertainment Weekly to Popular Science, making the demonstrably false claim (to the point of some belated retractions) that the SP slate is driven by racism, and purposed to drive works by more ‘diverse’ authors off the ballot. But this is not a clique, or a conspiracy.

    If you’ve seen attacks on nominated authors for not denouncing their nominators, please provide cites. Most of the posts I’ve seen are very sympathetic to the problem of wanting a Hugo vs. being nominated by jerks with an agenda.

    The only authors I’ve seen attacked are Castalia House (Vox Day’s imprint) authors, such as John C. Wright. Of course, Wright’s a homo-hating jackass who believes that the standard male impulse towards homosexual men is to beat them to death with a tire-iron:

    http://postimg.org/image/5vx82tkud/full/

    and I can’t blame anyone for calling him out as an asshole.

    This year’s slate has notably fewer women than last years. It’s not a lie at all:

    http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/

    And Vox Day (leader of the Rabid Puppies) is a gigantic asshole where race is concerned. This is more than adequately proven and you completely fucking know it. You can argue that Brad/Larry are not connected with Vox Day, but… get real!

  348. Trout, correct me if I’m wrong but I still haven’t seen an indictment of why slate-voting is wrong beyond that it will bring in people who You don’t like.

    See above. What you’re missing here is that I’m not terribly political about my Science Fiction. I read Tom Kratman, John Ringo, David Weber, Larry Niven, Michael Flynn, Dan Simmons, etc., and I’d read most of Heinlein’s books by the time I turned 13. So I’m not worried that there will be more Conservative Science Fiction fans, or more Conservative writers, or more Conservative Hugo winners. But the process by which this happens matters, because one process keeps Science Fiction together as a community, and the other turns us into two communities who are at each other’s throats. I’m not against Sad/Rabids because they are Conservative, but because the method they chose for handling their issues with the community is so ugly and divisive. I think I’ve proven adequately that there were many methods available to Larry/Brad that weren’t destructive.

    The inability of Larry/Brad to choose the non-destructive methods says everything about them as human beings.

    You assume that all the SP slate-voters, voted in lock-step, are mostly or primarily GamerGaters, and that GamerGaters are all ineligeable-unpersons for some reason?

    I don’t believe that GamerGaters are ineligible voters. I do believe that bringing them in to vote was a dick move, and easily distinguished from trying to create more Science Fiction fans (who happen to be Conservative.)

    I don’t see your point here rising above: ‘people I don’t like are voting, and for things I don’t like’. It seems like you approve of democracy only so long as everyone agrees with you.

    Don’t be an ass. You did read the conversation Eric and I had about how Science Fiction is a dialogue before publicly critiquing me, didn’t you?

  349. > So what if we do badmouth a conservative workshop? Just keep holding your workshops and ignore comments from the peanut gallery. Is that hard?

    So you’re arguing we should ignore what you have to say. Good, I’m glad we finally found something all of us can agree on.

  350. Troutwaxer wrote: I’m not saying this happened, but whatever form the calibration took may have been very mundane. To which, Jay Maynard rejoined: Or maybe, just maybe, the SP cause resonated with Gamergaters enough to attract some.

    Both very good points, and I mostly wanted to say that an invisible conspiracy of GamerGaters out to freep Sasquan for the lulz doesn’t make any more sense than a secret cabal of far-left identarians allegedly controlling the Worldcons.

    The recent flap over Jasyn ‘Daddy Warpig’ Jones having tweeted #GamerGate an invitation to ‘humble SJW in Sci-Fi, too’ was more than a bit ridiculous (even more ridiculous than Jones himself, which is perspective for you). IIRC, shortly after that broke, some denizens of the GamerGate Tumblr forum happened to chat in Twitter with my wife Deirdre, and found immediate common ground in their all being wary of tarring large groups of strangers with alleged faults of some pseudonymous net.random who is claimed to have spoken for that entire large group. Maybe she’ll be willing to relate that story, here.

  351. So you’re arguing we should ignore what you have to say. Good, I’m glad we finally found something all of us can agree on.

    *Pats Eugine on the back* That’s the spirit!

  352. Both very good points, and I mostly wanted to say that an invisible conspiracy of GamerGaters out to freep Sasquan for the lulz doesn’t make any more sense than a secret cabal of far-left identarians allegedly controlling the Worldcons.

    Actually, that’s only half-true. There is zero evidence for the “secret cabal of far-left identarians allegedly controlling the Worldcons.” To be even more clear, there is zero evidence for any phase of such a conspiracy, ranging from initial conception of the conspiracy to recruitment, to voting in either the nominating of final phases of the Hugo ballot.

    However, there is detailed, readily available evidence that the Sad Puppies attempted to involve Gamergate (see my links above.)

    Where GamerGate is concerned, we don’t have any unimpeachable evidence that even one GamerGater responded to the Sad Puppies call for help. It might be possible to make some determinations, but at the very least it would require someone to do an analysis of the frequency of WorldCon supporting memberships sold after every appeal made to GamerGaters. It might also be possible to track via IP address, though of course that’s not completely accurate for all kinds of reasons.

    But we do have very reliable evidence that the Sad/Rabid puppies reached out to Gamergate and asked for help. That’s irrefutable.

  353. Troutwaxer wrote:

    Where GamerGate is concerned, we don’t have any unimpeachable evidence that even one GamerGater responded to the Sad Puppies call for help.

    Well, this is part of my point — along with the fact that saying ‘Sad Puppies did’ something just because Jasyn ‘Daddy Warpig’ Jones posted a tweet (or even that plus two or three other random idiots — too lazy to go through your links) is making the logic error that Deirdre calls ‘generalising from the edge case’. (There, Deirdre, I spelled with a zed because I love you.) If we were all morally culpable for what random shitkickers on the sides do that can be kinda-sorta claimed as being on our ‘sides’, we’d all have been hanged decades ago.

    And the other half was the demonstrably bemused lack of interest over on the Tumblr (or was it Reddit? Can’t remember) Gamergate subsite when a bunch of the denizens saw and commented on Daddy Warpig’s ‘invitation’. The general reaction seemed to be on the order of ‘O RLY? Sounds like a “Let’s you and them fight” invitation. What does it have to do with us?’
    In other words, the reaction of non-idiots who’ve been on the Internet for a while.

    Meanwhile, master filker Tom Smith has recorded an MP3 of ‘Sad Puppies Aren’t Much Fun’ that knocks my April 6th much-more-modest effort out of the park. I’d post a link here, but… moderation queue. (Not a complaint.)

  354. Well, for the record, I did make a particular point of typing ‘generalizing’, since that’s the way Deirdre wrote it. Autocorrect then un-did my effort.

  355. “If you’ve seen attacks on nominated authors for not denouncing their nominators, please provide cites. Most of the posts I’ve seen are very sympathetic to the problem of wanting a Hugo vs. being nominated by jerks with an agenda.”

    “The long-term result will be that anyone too closely identified with the sad-rabids, anyone who benefited from this slate-mongering, anyone who did not publicly withdraw, will be indelibly tainted …Those who have been tainted will find that they have put unnecessary obstacles in their own paths. There are editors who will not want the stink that certain authors will be tracking with them. There are conventions that will not invite them to be on panels. There are awards they can never be considered for, lest others wonder if there was a political agenda at work.” -David Gerrold https://www.facebook.com/david.gerrold/posts/10205398542215362

  356. Troutwaxer wrote: You can argue that Brad/Larry are not connected with Vox Day, but… get real!

    One cannot actually argue that credibly. Brad Torgersen’s ongoing efforts to so argue are doing him no credit, as… what’s the way Niven and Pournelle phrased it in The Mote in God’s Eye? Ah, yes: ‘That turns out not to be the case.’

    Dara Korra’ti spent about ’30 seconds using DuckDuckGo’ and found immediately the March 8th Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast where Brad and Larry talk about their specific decision to reach out to and include Beale.

    Here, I’ll try to provide the URL for Korra’ti’s piece without lodging in the moderation queue.
    crimeandtheforcesofevil .com/blog/2015/04/on-brad-torgersen-and-crocodile-tears/
    (Some reassembly required.)

  357. I found one place where Deirdre almost-referred to her brief, quite pleasant Twitter discussion with some Gamergaters:

    “I am not quick to point fingers at GamerGate on this. Yes, some pseudonymous person invoked GG, but I’m also aware that GG has already been the target of at least one disinformation campaign. (Apparently the Twitter SJW auto-block list, which I was on, was not actually a GamerGater, just someone who had a vested interest in making them look bad.) I also do not assume that all members of a group have the same motivations. As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m a feminist member of Anonymous (specifically, Chanology), and I’m aware that not everything is as it seems. For good reason.”

    (A propos of little: There’s a Wikipedia article on ‘Gamergater’. It’s not what you probably think.)

  358. Well, this is part of my point — along with the fact that saying ‘Sad Puppies did’ something just because Jasyn ‘Daddy Warpig’ Jones posted a tweet (or even that plus two or three other random idiots — too lazy to go through your links) is making the logic error that Deirdre calls ‘generalising from the edge case’. (There, Deirdre, I spelled with a zed because I love you.) If we were all morally culpable for what random shitkickers on the sides do that can be kinda-sorta claimed as being on our ‘sides’, we’d all have been hanged decades ago.

    Rick, the problem with your logic is that GamerGate is not under judgement here. Sad Puppies are being judged here. In a very important sense, what GamerGate did is not relevant to whether Sad Puppies asked GamerGate to do something. We know the Sad Puppies asked. We know the Sad Puppies made a request, and it is entirely appropriate to judge the Sad Puppies for making that request.

  359. “The long-term result will be that anyone too closely identified with the sad-rabids, anyone who benefited from this slate-mongering, anyone who did not publicly withdraw, will be indelibly tainted …Those who have been tainted will find that they have put unnecessary obstacles in their own paths. There are editors who will not want the stink that certain authors will be tracking with them. There are conventions that will not invite them to be on panels. There are awards they can never be considered for, lest others wonder if there was a political agenda at work.” -David Gerrold

    That’s a very good quote, but I’m not sure how to classify it. On one hand, to an insider in the industry it might be well known that Gerrold speaks for someone important, or has relevant connections to important people, and this might make what he has written on Facebook a real threat.

    On the other hand, for all his virtues as an author, Gerrold does not own a publishing house, run a magazine, or edit or acquire books, so his ability to carry through on this “threat” pretty much doesn’t exist. Furthermore, the next book in his Chtorr series is something like 15-years overdue, and he hasn’t published anything outside an electronic format since 2007, so I would be more inclined to judge that he has issued advice or given a warning.

    All that being said, I think it would be wise for Sad/Rabid Puppy nominees to treat Gerrold’s “advice” very seriously, because I suspect that he is correct one way or another.

  360. One more comment on the Gerrold quote. After reading it in context, I think he’s saying something like, “Fans won’t like you and business types or con-runners may decide that you are a poor risk, who might cause problems for their business with your crusading.” I don’t think he’s saying, “Toe the line or else.”

    It’s also worth noting that the word “editors” is a term of art as Gerrold uses it, meaning “business person who acquires and curates a publisher’s collection of books with the idea of maximizing profits, status, and credibility for the publisher, while minimizing risk” not “person who edits text.”

  361. Troutwaxer wrote: Rick, the problem with your logic is that GamerGate is not under judgement here. Sad Puppies are being judged here.

    I should give some background: I am an example of an extremely unfashionable type of person, an existentialist, which in a nutshell (in present context) means I consider people to be the sum of what they do; that they are responsible for those actions and reasonably likely consequences thereof.

    Getting back to the immediate point: You are perpetuating the very same logic error I mentioned Deirdre calling ‘generalizing from the edge case’. People are individuals.[1] Vague ideological labels do not do things, just as Twitter hashtags do not do things. Every time you say ‘Sad Puppies asked’, ‘Sad Puppies made a request’, etc., you are making a very silly, and moreover harmful, category error.

    I am calling you on the error of saying ‘Sad Puppies asked’ for the same reason I call out Jay Maynard on the error of saying ‘SJWs pushed’ and Eric on the error of saying ‘SJWs took something we respected and loved’. This is crap rhetoric best explained by the writer being lazy and not wanting to engage the clutch to his/her brain before running the motor to his/her mouth. As my saying goes, ‘It’s easier than thinking.’

    In Eric’s case, I know that he knows better, and that he’s been spewing word salad from so high up Korzybski’s abstraction latter that he has no hope of seeing the figurative ground. In the other two cases including your esteemed self, I have no idea. You tell me. Able to unpack an abstraction with a map (that is not the territory) and a flashlight, or not?

    Anyway, doffing my General Semantics beret (borrowed from the late S.I. Hayakawa) and re-donning my existentialist hat, Jasyn ‘Daddy Warpig’ Jones had no rational expectation of getting any significant response from his brief Twitter shitkicking, and I doubt any more can be said of any of the other examples you say you’ve cited. Again, I will readily admit laziness in not following your links on that matter — but I should also add merited apathy. Unlike many easily excitable people, I am not particularly impressed by the alleged threatening power of that or any other Twitter hashtag of my acquaintance, and yes, I’ve heard all the loose claims of ‘death threats’ and unnamed net.randoms supposedly having summoned SWAT teams to the houses of culture-wars opponents.

    I’m not the culture-war opponent of anyone to the best of my knowledge, even the people who call me ‘not a feminist’ who are only half as old as my N.O.W. membership card. But I also don’t hide, talk to lots of people including the ‘ethics in game journalism’ people, and, to the extent that 8chan and various sub-Reddits are populated by people capable of carefully pseudonymous malice, I strongly suspect that they’re also mostly way too perceptive and intelligent to allow themselves to be wielded as weapons by resentful Hugo losers and their posses.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

    [1] Life of Brian: ‘I’m not.’

  362. I said ‘harmful category error’, and didn’t elaborate on the adjective. Is it actually necessary? I guess it probably is.

    This business of attributing to entire large groups of people the actions, pronouncements, and/or motives of some cherry-picked individual, isn’t merely bad logic: It’s also crazy-making, in the sense that it materially aids commenters in consigning others to the Outer Darkness over what they haven’t been shown, in the general case, to even be aware of, let alone condone (turn a blind eye to[1]), let alone approve of, and let alone participate in.

    Guilt by association is bad policy and will tend over time to create the perception that one is either monumentally stupid, or emotionally out of control, or trying to pull something. With good reason. Consider what company you intend to keep.

    [1] Yes, I am indeed a pedant. Also arrogant, supercilious, judgemental, and provably able to bear a grudge for 47 years and counting, among other severe character flaws.

  363. “If you’ve seen attacks on nominated authors for not denouncing their nominators, please provide cites. Most of the posts I’ve seen are very sympathetic to the problem of wanting a Hugo vs. being nominated by jerks with an agenda.”

    “I could start a countdown: It’s been X hours since someone told me how I should feel about my nomination or what *they* would do instead”
    “Listen to what people have to say for themselves. Pay attention to who they are and what they write. Don’t be a dick.”
    “Being shoved onto VD’s slate is not the same as agreeing with him. Isn’t that obvious by now? Is no one listening? WTH. Being unkind is bad.”
    “It’s exactly this whole “if you aren’t with US you are with THEM” bullshit that made me walk away from my nom. Fuck people. Let peeps decide”
    “You think it is easy to be a nominee in the middle of this mess if you don’t agree with the “sides”? Then you aren’t paying attention.”
    “I’m sure if I hadn’t withdrawn, Sandifer would have found some way to make my story support VD’s awful positions. Fuck that unfairness.”

    A sampling of Annie Bellet’s tweets. Also an unattributed quote that speaks to the kind of affect all your “friends” and “fans” telling you they’re going to be voting “No Award” over you.

    “I’m having nightmares about sitting w/my mother at the Hugos & hearing No Award win my category as people cheer. “

  364. MC DuQuesne: Further to what Troutwaxer wrote, if the entry for ‘attack’ in your dictionary says ‘advising someone that large numbers of people are likely to be upset at him/her’, then I think you need to demand a refund.

    In my admittedly rough-hewn circle of Viking-descendents, it’s traditional for ‘attack’ to entail either a double-bladed axe, reputation loss with liquidated damages equal to at least a flock of goats, or a frontal assault by a squad of hungry attack lawyers. Passive-aggressive senses of the word need not apply.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com
    (who has a very nice double-headed axe, but so far terrorises only timber with it)

  365. A sampling of Annie Bellet’s tweets. Also an unattributed quote that speaks to the kind of affect all your “friends” and “fans” telling you they’re going to be voting “No Award” over you.

    I can’t speak for others, and there are lots of jerks out there on both sides, but a couple things worth noting, I think.

    The first is personal. I have enormous sympathy for all of the “not a Sad Puppies” such as Annie Bellet or Our Gracious Host, who had the misfortune to be caught up in this rather ugly battle. They were essentially drafted, with no consideration of the personal, financial, or reputational consequences, by Brad Torgersen, Larry Correia, and/or Vox Day, to stand in the front lines of a very ugly battle. The moral consequences for this lay entirely on the leadership of the Sad/Rabid Puppies.

    The Sad/Rabid leadership doesn’t care about collateral damage, and people like Annie or Eric are being forced to exist in a very difficult environment where there are no choices which lead to a future free of hassles. Annie Bellet worked hard on learning her craft, took the emotional risk of submitting stories to editors, learned and grew, spent much time learning the business aspect of writing… and when she’s finally nominated for the big award it turns out that she was nominated as part of a slate, not as a matter of individual fans voting their consciences, and there’s no way to know whether she would have been nominated if Larry, Brad and Vox weren’t having a tantrum about the political content of Science Fiction, and by the way, all the Hugo awards given this year will have an asterisk next to them, because of the slate voting…

    And no matter what decision Annie makes, some subset of fans/editors/publishers are going to hate her, and class her either with Vox Day or John Scalzi as a political unmentionable.

    I don’t think Larry, Brad and Vox give a fuck about this. That don’t give a single, miniscule milligram of shit about what someone like Annie is going through. They don’t give a fuck about whatever level of pressure she’s under… they just want to make sure the world knows that they hate people like Teresa Neilsen Hayden and John Scalzi and all the goddamn Liberal fans who vote for awards in a way that the special Conservative snowflakes don’t like, and fuck Annie Bellet and the horse she rode in on!

    The second thing to note is that this was not necessary. There were ways to address this issue that didn’t involve making Annie Bellet miserable, or putting Eric in an ugly position, and they were ways that would have been much more effective in the long run. But these strategies would have required social skills. And not being spoiled, whining dickheads. And learning some new things. And maybe even using some patience… But I guess it’s more emotionally satisfying to stomp your feet and pout than do something effective.

    Larry, Brad and Vox need to stop being dicks. End of story.

  366. Troutwaxer- ‘Where Gamergate is concerned, we don’t have unimpeachable evidence that even one GamerGater responded to the Sad Puppies cry for help’.

    VD has said ‘Science Fiction is not my pack. GamerGate is my pack.’ He’s a lifelong gamer, made millions with games, a proud GamerGater. So, one. Plus (?). Games cost more than books. Games make more than books. No idea where this will go. The SF community has changed before.

    The Hugo Awards I’d like to see would include nominations by readers who read Barbara Hambly’s Crimson Angel, obviously a historical romance, and notice the SF chops that make medical notes taken by a brilliant doctor who vivisects slaves into something more than a bag of gold in the villain’s dungeon. Something tempting as Sin.

    Rick- ‘Which Campbell?’ When Heinlein recommends a new bride eschew lesbian affairs for the first year out of respect for her husband, which Heinlein was he?

    Larry Correia is already speaking at some college to aspiring writers. I doubt the next Niven or Heinlein or Zelazny or John M Ford is standing around with his thumbs up his butt waiting for Larry to show him The Way, and if I was Larry I’d wash my hands of the effort. And if he did it near me I’d be there. His speech, I mean.

  367. Seconding what Troutwaxer said. Fandom has always included assholes; they do not speak for me. (When I want to be a transcendent jerk, it’ll be on my own terms and with luck at least a modicum of creativity, but I can pretty much guarantee even then that it won’t be jerkiness towards SF authors. I was even nice to BiPuppy-nominated author Lou Antonelli when he called my wife a ‘Nazi’ for curbing his misbehaviour on her blog — and even though he couldn’t quite manage to spell ‘Deirdre’ correctly while so doing. What did you say your profession was again, Lou? ;-> )

    Bruce: Damned good point about Heinlein. There was a man with facets to beat the band, if you’ll pardon the metaphor.

  368. I made the mistake of not ending the first paragraph of my post, which trouwaxer quoted, with “is false”. That is to say, [Troutwaxer] thinks Larry’s claims [as I summarized] are false. I don’t think I was wildly off the mark there. For summarizing points from what has been a multi-year debate of a widely expounded upon issue for a blog comment, Troutwaxer has decided that I’ve “take[n] complex ideas, reduce them to very simple ideas, then attack the simple ideas.”

    This was not long after Troutwaxer has attacked conservatives in general as being, among other straw-men, simple Parodies of General Ripper…..

    SP slate was not intended to put more Conservatives on the Ballot or bring in more Conservative fans, unless those Conservatives be a subset of bringing in more fans in general without respect to their political identities.

    Still, slate voting was is a suggestion, I don’t think its know how many straight ticket ballots there were, and Larry and Brad said explicitly and on multiple occasions to vote for what you read only, and to vote you conscience. Still voting is voting, and Troutwaxer has provided no evidence of their ineligibility beyond insisting these voters were assholes. Assholes for voting for things he does not like, by people he does not like , in a way he does not like. But more people voting isn’t a bad thing….

    Furthermore, after impugning my reading comprehension, Troutwaxer proceeded to deny that anyone had demanded the Nominated authors renounce the Their Nominations and the Politics of those that have nominated them. This rejection of the SP nominations on the nature of their Nominators politics alone has been a cornerstone of this whole mess from the beginning, as Larry predicted from before SP1 (and the defenders of the Hugo staus quo loudly denied) When confronted which clear evidence that this HAS been the case, his response is little more than “Its the Sad Puppies own fault!”

    I’ll thank you to take your own advice about not being an asshole, Trouwaxer.

  369. >The first is personal. I have enormous sympathy for all of the “not a Sad Puppies” such as Annie Bellet or Our Gracious Host, who had the misfortune to be caught up in this rather ugly battle. They were essentially drafted, with no consideration of the personal, financial, or reputational consequences, by Brad Torgersen, Larry Correia, and/or Vox Day, to stand in the front lines of a very ugly battle. The moral consequences for this lay entirely on the leadership of the Sad/Rabid Puppies.

    These people were fortunate enough to be nominated for an award that they would – at least under more normal circumstances – like to win. The only reason there can be – and indeed will be – ‘personal, financial and reputational consequences’ merely for being nominated (by the wrong people), is because the people you are defending have no decency. Pretending that this is an inevitable, autoimmune reaction does not change who is responsible for the things they themselves do.

  370. All these attacks on Vox Day are sounding more and more like Harry Reid attacking the Koch brothers.

    “The second thing to note is that this was not necessary. There were ways to address this issue that didn’t involve making Annie Bellet miserable, or putting Eric in an ugly position, and they were ways that would have been much more effective in the long run.”

    Your argument still assumes your basic premise: that the only reason conservative works have not won is that they are inferior. You have yet to actually demonstrate this.

  371. Thinking in the shower again…

    Fundamentally, Troutwaxer’s argument is that conservatives need a hearts-and-minds campaign, and the lack of one is why the Hugos are so throughly tilted to the left. He advocates all sorts of social approaches to counter the supposed lack of conservative thinking in the Hugo in-crowd.

    There’s one basic problem with this that people don’t seem to be addressing: The Left doesn’t use hearts-and-minds campaigns when it feels there’s a wrong that needs addressing. They have solutions imposed on us from authority. Winning hearts and minds? Pshaw. They’ve got oppression to overturn!

    The efficacy and effects of the Left’s approach is evident in the culture wars, largely of their own creation. Roe v. Wade is a terrible decision, considered purely from a legal viewpoint. (I am not arguing its desirability in any other context, and do not make the mistake of thinking you know my views on abortion from that statement.) The culture war it started shows no sign of abating decades after the decision was handed down from on high. The culture war over same sex marriage looks like it’ll drag on for decades, as well.

    And yet the same people who start and cheerfully fight those culture wars ask us to adopt the approach they themselves rejected, in order to change what we see as a wall put up to block works that aren’t sufficiently politically correct?

    Fuck that noise. You’ve reaped what you’ve sown, folks.

    Don’t like it? Want a cease-fire? Show some signs of trying to meet us halfway. Crying crocodile tears over process and voting “No Award” without bothering to read the works is not such a sign.

  372. > Show some signs of trying to meet us halfway.

    While the stakes are low enough in the case of a science fiction award and “political correctness” for this to be a reasonable argument, they are not for abortion rights or gay marriage. Meeting halfway means leaving half the “oppression” (or whatever one has a problem with) in place. Would you meet liberals halfway on gun control?

  373. A reasonable objection. To be clear, I am speaking there specifically of the Hugos.

  374. People like Troutwater are the reason I bought myself a supporting membership to Worldcon 2015. To actually read and vote on the Hugos. Because I hate being told how I’m supposed to think by those holier than thou ranters.

  375. Everyone else here, I suggest you do the same. Go to sasquan.org spend your $40 on a worldcon supporting membership, get your digital Hugo packets, which should include most, if not all the nominees, and vote. Vote vote vote. Let democracy rule.

  376. Today’s quotation:

    “Over the weekend, I called out Brad Torgersen for trying to play bad cop/completely psychotic cop with Vox Day as the latter [link], following a weird post of Torgersen’s which was half-distancing, half-ante-upping, and literally calling everyone who would vote NO AWARD over slate candidates an asshole. The problem with the distancing part is that he and Correia actively recruited Vox into the fold [link] – but, again, see the link.

    I wasn’t going to write about this today, but… I can’t not, because his follow-up appears to be some sort of fierce yet hilarious doubling-down. [link] Honestly – and I swear I am not making this up, go read it yourself if you don’t believe me – he’s saying that if you’re against the Sad Puppies slate manipulation of the Hugo process to take control over most of the literary awards, you are a Leninist Communist.

    crimeandtheforcesofevil .com/blog/2015/04/a-predictable-doubling-down/
    (some URL reassembly required)

    I’m likely to read pretty much everything because I — who’d have thought? — read a great deal and am incurably if not insufferably heterodox. And then, near the end of July when the voting deadline nears, I am leaning towards No Awarding some number of categories (to be determined), on the sound if currently unfashionable Skinnerian grounds that discouraging antisocial behaviour by making it not work has been known to succeed . I.e., this is the only way to ensure that slate-nominated authors (any slates of any and all kinds) for the 2016 and later Hugo Awards will have a clear incentive to disavow such chicanery, and SF fans have the incentive to (politely, please) timely inform them of the perception issue, giving them time to clarify their stance.

    I am fully sympathetic with authors and other nominees caught up in the 2015 brouhaha, but always vote tactically because I learned game theory at my mama’s knee and consider it plain common sense.

    Note to thsu: Please note that this is not ‘telling you how you are supposed to think’, as rumours of my possessing orbital mind control lasers are deemed exaggerated at this time.

    Note to Jay Maynard about ‘Show some signs of trying to meet us halfway’: I am reminded of my classic observation about a mental quirk of my fellow Americans, that I first articulated about 25 years ago but seems eternally relevant. You’ll find it at
    linuxmafia .com/~rick/lexicon.html#compromise (some URL reassembly required)

    Compromise

    Concept touted by American commentators as an inherently desirable approach to solving other people’s problems. (By contrast, all disputes touching on those commentators’ own interests are exempt — as clearly entailing “important principles” that must be defended.)

    This guideline’s Solomonic wisdom can be seen in the hypothetical example of you, the reader (unless, of course, you’re American) being attacked by some thug attempting to kill you: A typical American observer might recommend a “fair compromise” of you being left half-dead.

  377. Us No Award Good. Us GOOD!. You No Award Bad. You BAD!

    In Dream Makers Brian Aldis compared the bored, tedium vitae Booker Prize meetings with Hugo Award If That Bastard Wins I KILL MYSELF!!! He liked the Hugo process better. Me too. Glad to see some excitement in the awards again. And Riding the Red Horse, edited by that fount of crimethink his own bad self, is the first good mil-sf collection I’ve read in twenty years; it’s like Hammer’s Slammers when I was fourteen, crossed with the best There Will Be War and The Survival of Freedom. If you hate mil-sf and action sf ( ‘I am reminded of serial killers’ Teresa Nielsen Hayden) that must make it worse.

    Think I spelled Nielsen Hayden right this time. Exact scholarship, here I come.

  378. Rick Moen, I plan to read every single Hugo nominee, for at least 15 pages. If I actually finish reading the whole thing, I’ll vote it above no award. If I put it down before finishing it, I’ll vote it below no award. But I’m going to giver every nominee a chance. Unlike you. Because I believe your viewpoint is utterly wrong.

    Let me quote George R R Martin, in response to the “No Award” strategy people:
    > All I’ve got to say about this idea is, are you fucking crazy?

  379. thsu: I am also definitely hoping to read everything nominated. And in fact, did I not just say exactly that, a short while back? Time permitting, I’l also also read all withdrawn items, to boot. (‘Read’ in rare cases means up to the page where I’ve read enough and need to cut losses.)

    You appear to have suffered a reading-comprehension problem. I said I was leaning towards No Awarding some (to be determined) number of categories on deterrent grounds cited. Sorry if subtlety is not your cuppa, but it’s what I said, and (as per the pattern established by 56 years of being brutally direct) exactly what I meant.

    Your opinion that my personal speculated end-of-July decision (about what I may then choose to do with my vote in some categories) is ‘wrong’ is hereby noted and disregarded — as it probably would have been even if you’d bothered to read what I actually said, which you didn’t. I was going to say I’m ‘sorry about’ your view, but that would be excessive courtesy at the expense of basic honesty, and I just don’t roll that way.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  380. Haven’t seen it mentioned in this discussion of SJWs and their habitual guilt-peddling, but for the record: there is NO SUCH THING as “social” justice. All justice (and injustice) is individual.

    Eric, it would be interesting if you ever have the time to research and write on the philosophical thread that connects the witch hunters of the medieval period to today’s “SJW”s. As Heinlein pointed out, the only political division that matters is between those who crave the obedience of others, and those who have no such desire.

  381. > spend your $40 on a worldcon supporting membership

    That’s my fundamental stumbling block. I’m not at all convinced that I want to support Worldcon. I should pay my hard-earned cash to help these people throw their party?

    I’m grateful to the Sad Puppies for digging up Hugo and showing me he’s a corpse. I’m rather unconvinced by their claim that if we just clap our hands and believe, he’ll come back to life and start dancing again.

  382. I am on call 24/7/365, except for scheduled vacations, and I’m busy right now. I will respond to the posts above, but if everything goes wrong it won’t be until Friday.

    For right now I do wish to add a general note: This conflict between the Sads/Rabids and the rest of fandom necessarily has political overtones due to the personal politics of the Sads/Rabids. For me, however, the ultimate issues are not political, and I don’t much care about an author’s politics one way or another. (Frankly, life’s too damn short.) I frame this issue very much as “People who decided to be jerks” vs. The Rest Of Us and not as Liberals vs. Conservatives. That’s all I’ve got for now.

  383. These people were fortunate enough to be nominated for an award that they would – at least under more normal circumstances – like to win. The only reason there can be – and indeed will be – ‘personal, financial and reputational consequences’ merely for being nominated (by the wrong people), is because the people you are defending have no decency. Pretending that this is an inevitable, autoimmune reaction does not change who is responsible for the things they themselves do.

    I suspect that someone like Annie Bellet gets to go from being attacked by assholes on the left to being attacked by assholes on the right. My thinking about consequences is more about the corporate consequences than consequences by political faction: Some bean-counter at BigBookCO saying, “Annie Bellet, she was involved in some kind of controversy a couple years ago, wasn’t she? Let’s publish someone else.”

    For an interesting thought experiment on this subject, consider whether the folks at Baen are happy with Larry Correia right now? On one hand, the Baen folks are probably in agreement on the politics, but how badly are sales slipping? What kind of mail are they receiving? Is their distribution agreement with Simon and Schuster in any danger?

  384. Your argument still assumes your basic premise: that the only reason conservative works have not won is that they are inferior. You have yet to actually demonstrate this.

    The only data we really have is conservative nominations for the Hugo, and that data might not be accurate for any of several reasons. But consider the following: beyond “serviceable prose” it’s really hard for anyone to prove that one piece of text is better than another, right? One era loves florid, flowery prose. The next era likes terse prose. The era after than like their prose, “simple, poetic, and descriptive” not to mention a host of other highly subjective issues.

    So maybe the question isn’t whether conservative authors are doing something worse, but what they’re doing differently. Unfortunately, that’s a really hard thing to quantify, which means that conservatives who want to address this issue have a real problem. There are text analysis tools that will tell conservative writers what grade level they’re writing at, which might give a clue about the general sophistication of their writing, and there are tools for sentence length, etc., so one possible answer is to take the best conservative Science Fiction novel of the year and the Hugo Award winner for the same year and run them through the same series of tools and look at the results.

    It might also be worth doing some analysis of the plots; how complicated they are, how many characters there are, etc., though of course that can’t be automated, which is also problematic, as is the issue of getting a large enough sample size.

    I think the big thing here is that if an author isn’t winning awards, that author should start by taking responsibility for their own writing and ask the right questions about how to improve it. Going from “I’m not winning awards” directly to “there must be a conspiracy against me” is just plain stupid.

  385. A SF/F author isn’t winning awards, but their books are selling well, and rated well by its readers. Explanation: Because the Hugos are a prose award, of course. Any further criticism is to be dismissed as sour grapes and conspiracy paranoia.

  386. Troutwaxer: You were talking about ‘personal, financial and reputational consequences’ last time. The example you give deals with the financial aspect only, in a desperate attempt to export the agency away from those you try to defend.

    The example also absolutely depends on someone stirring up enough of a shitstorm for these bean counters to notice. Absent such activism from a certain side of the political spectrum, it is obvious that the positives of being a Hugo nominee outweighs these wishywashy hypotheticals.

    The only way someone such as Annie Bellet get hurt in all of this, is if someone decides getting nominated by the wrong people is a crime – that you must either faux-voluntarily withdraw or be made an example of. There’s no getting around this, however much you try to draw the spotlight away from it.

  387. A SF/F author isn’t winning awards, but their books are selling well, and rated well by its readers. Explanation: Because the Hugos are a prose award, of course. Any further criticism is to be dismissed as sour grapes and conspiracy paranoia.

    Except that the Hugo isn’t merely a prose award, and you’re deliberately missing all of my arguments, so I’ll restate them. Again. In multiple posts to avoid getting stuck in the moderation queue.

    First, consider that the Hugo IS NOT being awarded by the general pool of buyers. It is being awarded by the very hardest of hardcore fans – people who are actually willing to pay to vote – and this makes an enormous difference. Hardcore fans already know the genre’s history, starting with Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and moving forward from there. This gives the hardcore fan enormous breath and depth when it comes to evaluating the Hugo entry Joe Conservative might prefer. In other words, merely “selling well” and “well-rated by readers” doesn’t mean much if an author’s story is a warmed-over version of Starship Troopers or (like Lou Antonelli’s Hugo entry this year) arguably deriving a key plot point from Zelezny’s Lord of Light.

    Related to my point above, hardcore fans are very sophisticated readers, who frequently have read thousands of Science Fiction books and short stories and have a very good grasp of issues like plot, characterization, dialogue, quality of prose, etc.

    Second, that anyone who wants to win a Hugo needs to be at the top of their game, from the viewpoint of the type of hardcore science fiction fan who normally votes on the Hugo awards. Some aspects of this are measurable and can be emulated, others are more subjective, but can be learned.

    Continued on my next post to avoid the moderation queue.

  388. A SF/F author isn’t winning awards, but their books are selling well, and rated well by its readers. Explanation: Because the Hugos are a prose award, of course. Any further criticism is to be dismissed as sour grapes and conspiracy paranoia.

    Third, if your bellwether for a “good” science fiction story is something Heinlein wrote in the sixties or seventies, (which lesser science fiction writers have imitated, and better science-fiction writers have used as background points for the last forty years,) are you likely to write a Hugo winner? Obviously not. Science Fiction is about the future, including the future of Science Fiction! So being able to produce good prose, good plot, good characterization, realistic dialogue, etc. is not the end for winning a Hugo. It is the beginning. A good Science Fiction author who wants to win the Hugo must produce something original to the field! This isn’t easy. It’s not meant to be easy.

    Fourth, that you won’t learn what’s needed to win an award, and you won’t make the necessary improvements to your writing, (not just your prose) if your default belief is that you’ve lost because there is a conspiracy against you, and not just any conspiracy, but a scary, scary, communist conspiracy! (SJWs are all commies, right?)

    This fourth point is key. How do you improve, why do you bother to improve, if you believe that everyone is against you and you’ll never win? This is a belief that’s guaranteed to result in authorial stagnation! Also, “My book lost because of a conspiracy of communists?” How lame do you have to be…

    I should also note that a lot of the current Hugo nominees are about Christian themes. (All of them off the Sad/Rabid Puppies slates.) This isn’t a barrier to winning a Hugo, (Canticle for Liebowitz) but consider the fact that anyone writing Christian-themed science-fiction is facing – just for starters – the fan’s knowledge of Madeline L’Engle, Walter Miller and C.S. Lewis, all of whose works are part of the Science Fiction canon. (You think you can say something about sin that C.S. Lewis missed in The Screwtape Letters? You think you can say it better? Good luck with that!)

  389. A SF/F author isn’t winning awards, but their books are selling well, and rated well by its readers. Explanation: Because the Hugos are a prose award, of course. Any further criticism is to be dismissed as sour grapes and conspiracy paranoia.

    So how does this play out? Let’s choose a canonically good MilSF story, one with great characterization, good world-building, a strong, rising story arc, both ground and space action, etc.: In fact, let’s take the very best we can find in the last thirty years, David Weber’s Honor of the Queen. And let’s evaluate it for a Hugo. (Your mileage may vary on what’s the best MilSF story. Personally, I think this one is as good as it gets!)

    The world-building around Grayson is brilliant. The characterization is very good; Honor still has faults she hasn’t transcended and those faults are actually at play and drive the plot! The space battles are amazing and suspenseful. And if you’ve ever read that quote about how “Plot is contrived, but story is a force of nature”* you’ll recognize the powerful way the story (not the plot) moves along strongly and inevitably, like a gathering storm. The prose is good, though not great, and it doesn’t get in the way of the story. Weber’s legendary infodumps aren’t offensive in this particular work. Arguably Honor of the Queen is missing a bit of that sense of wonder common to Hugo winners, but I’ve literally reread the book more than 20 times, so that sole imperfection isn’t a great loss. It is a “great, rousing tale” if ever there was one!

    * I think Teresa Nielsen Hayden said that.

  390. A SF/F author isn’t winning awards, but their books are selling well, and rated well by its readers. Explanation: Because the Hugos are a prose award, of course. Any further criticism is to be dismissed as sour grapes and conspiracy paranoia.

    Honor of the Queen was never, ever going win a Hugo. Not in any imaginable political or social climate.

    The inability of Honor of the Queen to win a Hugo has nothing to do with the quality of the prose, world-building, characterization, plot, etc. It has everything to do with the fact that when the story was first published in the early nineties Science Fiction had been writing about space battles for something in the neighborhood of sixty years. A hard core fan knows about all the derivative elements; the Marine’s combat suits coming right out of Starship Troopers,* the space combat system being derived from Napoleonic naval battles, (oh, and the ships fight with a combination of beam and missile weapons – been there, done that, since long before Star Trek**) too many colonial worlds with have a degenerated technology and society like Grayson for any serious fan to count, (Grayson, though very well realized, is not unique!) and there is a history of well-written, well plotted space battles going back decades. The Star Trek episode “Balance of Terror” which has many of the same elements as Honor of the Queen, predates it by around twenty-five years, and “Balance of Terror” is not remotely original!!

    Also notice that Weber is an SJW. Manticore has been an world of sexual equality so long that both feminism and male superiority are completely lost, even as concepts which an ordinary character might be aware of, while Grayson and Masada are both Christian-derived societies where male chauvinism forms major barriers to the technically advanced heroes and villains alike!

    Hopefully this very, very clear series of posts, with a very clear example, makes it clear what the problems are for any author who wants to win the Hugos. Now maybe someone can tell me what the Sad Puppies are doing (other than complaining about the Commies) to overcome their obvious weaknesses?

    *You’ve noticed that Heinlein is an SJW, right?

    ** Hard core fans can point to a dozen more imaginative ways to fight a space battle. “Protector” comes to mind, with it’s description of doing battle with the Pak scouts.

  391. The only way someone such as Annie Bellet get hurt in all of this, is if someone decides getting nominated by the wrong people is a crime – that you must either faux-voluntarily withdraw or be made an example of. There’s no getting around this, however much you try to draw the spotlight away from it.

    Your side started this war. Your moral capacity to complain about who’s bleeding is zilch.

  392. Fundamentally, Troutwaxer’s argument is that conservatives need a hearts-and-minds campaign, and the lack of one is why the Hugos are so throughly tilted to the left. He advocates all sorts of social approaches to counter the supposed lack of conservative thinking in the Hugo in-crowd.

    The problem for Conservatives who think there’s a problem with the Hugos is that that majority of Hugo voters think you’re nuts. They see Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia as spoiled assholes who have a major problem over not getting awards, because obvious Larry and Brad are special snowflakes who deserve awards more than anyone else because they’re special. Further they think Vox Day/Theodore Beale is a racist asshole who’s probably off his medication. (I’ve noted your previous arguments that Vox Day may be some kind of sane; there is no need for you to repeat them, because even if they are one hundred percent true, no serious reader will ever believe that Vox is a decent person; there’s simply too much ugliness in the written record.)

    Can you think of a worse way to drive public opinion in your favored direction? I mean really? Right now the conversation kind of goes like this:

    SANE PERSON: Why have you launched your Sad Puppies campaign?

    PUPPY: Because Conservative writers are victims of a communist conspiracy by Social Justice Warriors who control the Hugo voting process

    SANE PERSON: You mean the completely open Hugo voting and nominating process which is available to anyone? That process?

    PUPPY: But it’s not really open, the commies control it!

    SANE PERSON: So Eric Flint and China Mieville control the Hugos?

    PUPPY: No, you don’t get it. The Hugos are controlled by Tor Books and people like Teresa Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi!

    SANE PERSON: But Tor books is owned by a big, capitalist conglomerate, how are they commies?

    PUPPY: Commies disguised as Social Justice Warriors have infiltrated the publishing industry! Can’t you see that?

    Jay, not to be a killjoy, but this is not the way to convince sane people of anything!

    Hopefully this won’t get caught in the moderation queue. I’ll continue in another post.

  393. Fundamentally, Troutwaxer’s argument is that conservatives need a hearts-and-minds campaign, and the lack of one is why the Hugos are so throughly tilted to the left. He advocates all sorts of social approaches to counter the supposed lack of conservative thinking in the Hugo in-crowd.

    So how do you convince sane people of something? For starters, stop yelling about the commies. Nobody has polluted your precious bodily fluids! Doctor Strangelove is not a script, it is a satire, OK?

    So yes, Conservatives need a hearts and minds campaign. The basic reason for this is that your support is soft. I’m not bagging on your position here; everyone’s support is mostly soft, on both Conservative and Liberal sides of the divide. So how do you convince your soft support to go along with the reforms you’d like to impose? How do you convince the soft Liberal supporters to change sides so you can have an actual majority? Keep in mind that you’re dealing with people who’ve read thousands of books and generally have a high-level of education. Here’s a hint. Don’t start your campaign by screaming that commies have infiltrated the publishing industry!

    I’ve written over and over again about how conservatives could have done much better than the Sad/Rabid Puppies. I’m not going to write it again. (HINT: Scroll up.)

    But I will address one important issue. Why the focus on process? The answer is very simple: You do the process because if things get bad enough that you have to do something that’s going to piss people off, your soft support has become hard support, and your opponent’s soft support isn’t there anymore, and you’ve got an actual chance of winning, as opposed to simply convincing people that the leaders of your cause are gigantic jerks!

  394. >Your side started this war. Your moral capacity to complain about who’s bleeding is zilch.

    But I’m not complaining. It’s you who are bemoaning ‘personal, financial and reputational consequences’. I’m just rejecting the moral gymnastics where you try to make A responsible for the actions of B, without A having threatened B with a baseball bat.

  395. Jay, one more note on process. You also do it because if you lose, nobody can complain that you did something evil or immoral. You’ve used the traditional tools of the particular tribe to make your point, you haven’t been a jerk about it, and you’re still a member of the family. This means you can fight again another day if you need to (and maybe win the next round.)

  396. Troutwaxer – You’ve spent a lot of time typing, and even have a couple good points here and there, but there is far too much that assumes a certain worldview.

    I’m going to limit this to pointing out the following:

    >First, consider that the Hugo IS NOT being awarded by the general pool of buyers. It is being awarded by the very hardest of hardcore fans – people who are actually willing to pay to vote – and this makes an enormous difference. Hardcore fans already know the genre’s history, starting with Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and moving forward from there.

    First assumption, that many of the puppies AREN’T hardcore fans ( because they haven’t taken the time to go to world con?). I’ve only been to a handful of cons as most of my life as an adult was in the navy and time off for such things was… rare. Since then, family and other responsiblities have precluded me from traveling to more than a couple.

    On top of that, I have been reading SF for bloody near 40 years since my first Heinlein book at the age of six (Red Planet, followed by The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and the Hobbit, and my dad’s collected “Seargeant Mike in Vietnam” cartoons). My library of hardcopy is currently at a couple hundred, and I’ve easily donated five times that over the course of multiple military moves, with far more now in ebook format. I’ve read Hodgson, Dunsanay, Lovecraft, Blish, McCafferey, Norton, Stasheff, Donaldson, Wolfe, LeGuin, and EE Smith, and cut my teeth on Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, leinster, Laumer, Moorcock, Van Vogt, Verne, Damon Knight, Herbert, Budrys, and Cordwainer Smith before even getting into middle school.

    I no longer have the reading logs, but I used to put down 8-10 books a week on the reading list for my high school english classes, and spent precious money on a (still nearly complete) collection of Pournelle’s “There Will Be War” anthology.

    And don’t get me started on the history and non-fiction. I’m still wondering if David Drake is going to come up with yet another way to co-opt the Nika revolt (at least two Slammers books) along with Pournelle (Falkenberg ) Flint, and others. How many authors are going to borrow, more or less, from the Anabasis (Aside from Drake and Ringo)? Or Roarke’s drift?

    Many of the puppy-related crowd I’ve seen have been to FAR more cons than I have, and most make me feel ill-read.

    So we may not be QUITE “hard core” enough to get to world con, but I daresay we’re pretty hard core, and are very, very familiar with the history of the genre.

    Given some of the really sloppy complaints about how Heinlein was “problemetical” by some of the intersectionalist crowd, and the crappy invocations of Zombie Heinlein in how we don’t understand what he wrote, I’d say we can argue that we actually understand the deep norms and history of the genre BETTER than many who think our preferences in style and substance are nuts.

    After all, we don’t dismiss it because it’s by old white guys.

    > I should also note that a lot of the current Hugo nominees are about Christian themes. (All of them off the Sad/Rabid Puppies slates.) This isn’t a barrier to winning a Hugo, (Canticle for Liebowitz) but consider the fact that anyone writing Christian-themed science-fiction is facing – just for starters – the fan’s knowledge of Madeline L’Engle, Walter Miller and C.S. Lewis, all of whose works are part of the Science Fiction canon. (You think you can say something about sin that C.S. Lewis missed in The Screwtape Letters? You think you can say it better? Good luck with that!)

    Ah – shades of Literary Status Envy, and the cult of the new.

    Yeah, we no longer have SF stories written about martians, without explaining how we overlooked them given the current probes, etc. (BTW – “The Martian” by Weir was a very good read). And there certainly are new engineering, and scientific theories of the mind and the universe that we can use as a jumping off point.

    That said – outside of the obvious “technology and understanding of the universe has changed” – why do we have to tell significantly different stories? Why always do we have to find something arbitraily “original”? Look at where modern art has gone with it’s obsession on “original” vs. “well executed craft” An unmade bed that had been slept in for most of a year as a display piece?

    We may not be able to say it better than Lewis and Tolkein, but then we also may not be able to say it better than Xenophon or Herodotus or the unsung souls who passed on Beowulf. Or the stories of Brer Rabbit, or Sinbad, or the trickster Coyote.

    Me – I just ask that the story be entertaining and have people in it that I recognize as making decisions, for better or for worse, based on who they are and what they know. That there be, with the darkness, and the failure, also grace, and purpose. And that maybe, just maybe, somewhere in the story, it made me think and consider the character’s point of view.

    And the shrieking crowds insisting that everything have the right message? I’d seen it before – but then I studied the russian revolution, among others.

    P.S. – “puppy” vs. “Sane Person?” Well – there’s a reason I’ve pretty much ignored most of you not letting this thread go for the last week or two….

    You see – my time in the Navy was as a nuke operator. We may be a very unusual strain of crazy, but an inability to process facts and deal with reality (mother nature doesn’t care at 800 feet) and analyze for context and nuance doesn’t tend to be one of the issues, even if we’re not as credentialed, otherwise “cosmopolitan”.

  397. I’m in my hotel room at Penguicon, getting ready to go down to the Dead Dog. I’ve got a 14-hour drive ahead of me tomorrow. I’ll deal with that long series of postings after I get home and recover.

    I will, however, object to this: “I’ve noted your previous arguments that Vox Day may be some kind of sane”

    Not my arguments.

  398. I will also add that I’m deeply disappointed in this year’s Penguicon for having been eaten up by the political correctness bug. Between panel after panel about “SF that looks like me” and LGBT stuff and the like, and essentially two conservative-oriented functions (one real and one virtual shooting range), I felt definitely like I was wrongfan – at essentially the only SF con I ever go to, a con of which I’ve attended every one that’s ever been held. the con I consider my home in fandom, and the con that I had thought was staying above the culture wars.

    I was deeply saddened Friday, and somewhat less so Saturday and today. I have been promised an opportunity to discuss my concerns with the 2015 and 2016 con chairs, as well as two long-time members of the board of directors, so we’ll see where that goes.

    But right now, I don’t want to think about this very much.

  399. Jay – hope the weekend finished up pretty OK, and that you had fun.

  400. [David] Weber is an SJW. Manticore has been an world of sexual equality …
    […]
    You’ve noticed that Heinlein is an SJW, right?

    There’s some bait-and-switch going on with definitions.

    Here’s an example: I recently left this comment on a Facebook thread—

    One fellow comes in saying he’s an SJW and we correct him: no, you’re a Liberal, and half of us agree with half of your opinions. The other fellow comes in denying he’s an SJW and we correct him too: you’re an SJW, all right, and those of us with whom you share politics wish you didn’t.

    The first poster realized the group was not racist/sexist/homophobic/sinful just because we’d been complaining about SJWs; the second fellow insisted that we were, for just that reason.

    It’s not quite the Model M kafkatrap at work. The trouble is that many people know what’s meant by “Social Justice Warrior”—and it’s not “someone who believes in equality”—but it’s hard to articulate exactly what is meant.

    The sometimes-useful Urban Dictionary is not helpful; under social justice warrior there are two definitions given: one is a very long-winded definition-by-example; the other is, “A term that bigots use to insult people who don’t like their bigotry.”

    Has anyone come across a less-ambiguous definition of SJW anywhere on the ’net?

  401. > You mean the completely open Hugo voting and nominating process which is available to anyone? That process?

    And yet as soon as you take the orgnaizers up on the “completely open claim”, people like Troutwaxer start screaming about it.

  402. There’s no school rule about which lunch-room table you can or can’t sit at: how can you claim that cliques stop you from sitting where you’d like?

  403. Let me just point out that troutwaxer’s attempt to characterize his opponents as insane is right out of the communist playbook, going back to the Soviets’ obnoxious habit of locking dissidents up in mental institutions if they were too high-profile to send off the the gulag.

    That was a major mask-slip, comrade. It shows us all what you really are.

  404. >Undue influence by far-Left identarian ideologues over Connie Willis and JMS, too, you think? You’re honestly going with that?

    Actually, yes.

    (Sorry for the very belated response. Combination of a project crisis and Penguicon.)

    Connie Willis and JWS are vulnerable to being used by the SJWs for the same reason every Blue-tribe bicoastal liberal is. They have no memetic defenses against influence from their left. Even if they personally loathe individual SJWs and find SJW tactics occasionally jarring, there is nothing in their politics or their tribal affiliations that even makes them want to resist as the SJWs pull the Overton window in an ever-more cod-Marxist direction. Because sexism. And racism. And who wants to be accused of having anything in common with those eeeeeevil conservatives over there?

  405. Jakub: Why not ‘bear in mind those were 2000-2014 Hugos’ – message fiction, LSE, bad SF?

    Rick: Fourteen years into the millennium, this view is still so far out in the Land of Nutjobbery that you’re going to have to do an epic hauling job on that Overton Window to make it suit.

    Rick, you’re going to have to include me with the nutjobs, then. I think Jakub’s objection is cogent. And you should bear in mind that as a foreigner not infected by U.S. political tribalism he has an outside view of the whole mess.

  406. >Gettting to the linneus bottomus, the reason I don’t buy Eric’s unexamined concept of ‘status envy’ is that SF fandom as a whole, Worldcon fandom in particular, and the SF publishing industry are not stupid. We know that literary status is just not on the plate, never has been, never will be.

    You assume that seeking literary status is a rational goal and that people infected with LSE can rationally cure themselves of it rather than quixotically pursuing a doomed enterprise.

    I think all those assumptions are false. Furthewrmore, I think it is pretty obvious that one of the ways SJWs seduce LSE sufferers is by offering them a kind of implied rescue: you are outcast for wanting to write SF/fantasy, but if you subvert it into PC message fiction, you may be allowed to hang with the cool kids.

  407. >What I’m saying is, everyone knows Lit acceptance is emphatically and completely off the table.

    No, it isn’t. Not if you’re willing to trade in left-wing didacticism. At least, that’s part of the lure being dangled.

  408. I can’t speak to Connie Willis, but JMS was known to be steadfastly on the left since Babylon 5 days. This was the first I’d ever heard of him as someone so opposed to SJWs that to entertain otherwise was considered laughable. (I do tend to treat {SJWs and their sympathizers} and the left as strongly overlapping, but I’m trying to keep an open mind here.) In fact, I *still* find it unlikely that JMS would even so much as grumble sotto voce about SJs in SF, even as I appreciate what B5 did for SF on television, and as I appreciate JMS’s status as a straight-up SF fan.

  409. > Please keep writing SF! Please! We need more good stuff, and you have the talent.

    I think this may well be true. To be more precise: I think it would be pretty hard to deny that I have writing talent. It is also undeniably the case that I have immersed myself in the SF tradition for a very long time.

    I do believe I have a generative understanding of what makes good SF, and coming out the gate with a story as strong as Sucker Punch would be evidence that I’m not kidding myself about that, even if you didn’t consider essays like Why the deep norms of the SF genre matter dispositive.

    Whether writing talent plus generative theory will translate into sustained output is another question. The only safe prediction, I think, is that anything more I do manage to write is unlikely to be utter crap.

  410. Let me just point out that troutwaxer’s attempt to characterize his opponents as insane is right out of the communist playbook

    You’re missing my point. I’m not saying conservatives are crazy and should be locked up. I’m saying that conservatives should pull their heads out.

    Even as crazy conspiracy theories go, “taken over by commies” should come in dead last! At least work in something about Saudi soft power or silencing global warming foes or Obamacare death panels! At this point “Danger from Commies” doesn’t even make the top ten dangers to the US and I have serious doubts it’s in the top twenty or thirty! If you’re going to propagandize (and you may as well, everyone else is propagandizing) at least do it passably well instead of excusing appalling behavior with loony conspiracy theories that stopped being even vaguely relevant sometime around 1990.

    You could do CT about the Rosicrucians (who advertised in science fiction magazines well into the eighties,) the Masons, or the Knights Templar and make more sense!

  411. @Troutwaxer –

    > Even as crazy conspiracy theories go, “taken over by commies”
    > should come in dead last!

    It wouldn’t necessarily have to be card-carrying members of the CPUSA. Our host has commented at length previously on how many Americans (especially the “left-liberal bicoastal elite”) are still suffering the aftermath of a memetic warfare program that grew out of the Soviet Union and has outlasted it, tottering on zombie-like to corrupt much of our social policy thinking to this day.

    “Taken over by commies” is a less-than-precise, but useful, shorthand for this.

  412. >Eric, the only surprise in any of this for me is that you didn’t *start* SP or the ELOE.

    If I were going to start a movement. it wouldn’t talk about politics at all. It would be about curing the field of the disease of literary-status envy – celebrating the anti-literary SF ideal of the idea as hero.

  413. Our host has commented at length previously on how many Americans (especially the “left-liberal bicoastal elite”) are still suffering the aftermath of a memetic warfare program that grew out of the Soviet Union and has outlasted it, tottering on zombie-like to corrupt much of our social policy thinking to this day.

    If my Facebook crowd is admissible as a cross-sectional sample (community theater crowd, DC/MD crowd, TX crowd, and a few here and there from rural NY, MS, et al.), I think “zombie-like” is perhaps a bit too dismissive. It seems to be thriving. My friends on the left are quick to offer their political opinions, while my friends on the right elect to hold their counsel; and I see voices on the left on numerous occasions arguing as if “right == stupid, evil, or misguided” is to be taken as axiomatic. Some of them even consider libertarians trapped in a bubble of their own selfishness. They call for official designations of what is and is not to be considered a news source (in the spirit of truth in labeling on food, and justified as a sort of grudgingly required compromise of free speech in the name of memetic security). And catastrophic global warming is still considered a settled science; rejection of it is categorized with rejection of evolution. The implication is that some points of view are to be rightfully squelched, and need not be heeded, or admitted into correct-thinking company.

  414. I don’t know how Kate “the Impaler” Paulk is going to run SP4 next year, but here’s an idea for you:

    Come January 2016, open a discussion here on A&D asking for recommendations of SF/F eligible for nominations. Each recommendation should talk about how that work celebrates exactly that “SF ideal of the idea as hero.”

    Optional step (can be farmed out to minions): When nominations open, collect these recommendations into a follow-up post. Not a curated “slate”—some categories will have a dozen examples or more, some may only have one or two.

    (Actually, any blog with readership who read SF/F could do this; and if people had been doing this, and encouraging folks to nominate & vote, Sad Puppies might never have been necessary.)

  415. Eric congrats on the nomination!

    I have to give extra points for the reviews that have gotten me to read SF again. (I’d despaired of finding anything good again)

  416. I think all those assumptions are false. Furthermore, I think it is pretty obvious that one of the ways SJWs seduce LSE sufferers is by offering them a kind of implied rescue: you are outcast for wanting to write SF/fantasy, but if you subvert it into PC message fiction, you may be allowed to hang with the cool kids.

    I’m not sure I agree that “you can hang out with the cool kids” is what’s happening. First of all, we are the cool kids. *Smirks*

    But beyond that, I don’t think rescue is being implied, because what happens to a great science fiction work that gets accepted into the Literary Canon is not pleasant. A wonderful Sci-Fi classic like Fahrenheit 451, 1984 or The Martian Chronicles is not “accepted” into the literary canon. Instead, it gets drafted, or maybe I should say “Shanghai-ed” and it goes like this:

    A critically renowned cabal of tenured English professors is trained to a high military standard and sent to Harvard, where there is a secret portal to memetic space. The professors then track down the living spirit of the book, conk it on the head, and throw it into a plastic bag full of diarrhea, rubber dildoes, and a noxious, fungal slime cultured from the mummified body of Derrida. The professors then drag the book through the Fever Swamps of Postmodernism, across the Mountains of Aristotelian Unity, and then through the Jungle of Vampire Literary Critics, after which the tortured spirit of the book is brought back to Harvard, drained of it’s essence, and chained in the “Literature” section until it’s Borg-like absorption into the Classical Library is complete, after which it is paraded before students who wish to be science fiction writers as An Important Example What The Dumb Kids Should Aspire to Instead of Writing Childish Sci Fi.

    I hate it when that happens. Fahrenheit 451 belongs to us. Not you! Us!

    If I were going to start a movement. it wouldn’t talk about politics at all. It would be about curing the field of the disease of literary-status envy – celebrating the anti-literary SF ideal of the idea as hero.

    If the right-wing baggage was left behind, I could probably be convinced to join you on that quest. Unfortunately, if this is really what you want, the Puppies are awful allies, if only because they did not successfully gather intelligence and their strategy is awful. (They’ve mainly succeeding in pissing people off.)

    If you’ll pardon a somewhat fevered analogy, it’s as if you set out the liberate the Netscape code and one of your most important and essential allies absolutely insisted, beyond any reasoning whatsoever that the code’s liberation could only happen in the context of an anti-Microsoft Rock Opera with lyrics by Richard Stallman and music by Devo,* because That’s What The People Want! And then this ally refused to do basic and needful stuff because the anti-Microsoft Rock Opera was really the most important thing happening.

    Just in case it wasn’t obvious, the current kerfluffle is the Sad Puppies insisting on an anti-MS Rock Opera is essential and getting told they’re very, very stupid and silly.

    As I said, the analogy is probably a little awkward, but I think you get the flavor of what I’m trying to say.

    * I’d pay to see that opera, but I’m a little weird!

  417. “If the right-wing baggage was left behind”

    You mean stuff like true intellectual diversity?

  418. You mean stuff like true intellectual diversity?

    Not at all, just that it was oriented towards Science Fiction, not larger issues, and politically neutral. Something along these lines:

    In our version of Good Science Fiction, world-building and scientific and technical ideas are at least as important as plot, characterization, prose, message, etc.,

    If making a critical judgement of any work, the intelligence and artistry of the world building and scientific and technical ideas are to be considered at least co-equally with other literary issues.

    If the author intends a message “box-checking” and other forms of ham-handedness are discouraged, while making the issues of the message integral to the plot, personalities, world-building and scientific and technical background of the work are encouraged.* As an alternative, burying the message beneath a layer of symbolism so it does not disturb the casual reader is also encouraged.

    We geeks and nerds are the cool kids. As such, we are against the appropriation of the best science fiction and fantasy by the literary establishment. The combination of science-fictional culture, scientific and technical culture, role players, computer gamers, makers, and comic-book readers is an important world culture, and this culture is the primary cultural affiliation of millions regardless of their skin color, sexuality, religion or gender affiliation. Cultural appropriation from our culture, such as the implicit transferral of Fahrenheit 451 from the Science-Fictional Canon to the Western Literary Canon is an act of cultural theft which devalues our culture and enriches another culture.

    We extend the hand of welcome to members of other cultures, such as Gay Culture, Black Culture, White Culture, Hindu Culture, etc to our ranks and we plan to welcome you and treat your with respect However, we expect that during those periods, however long or brief, while you are participating in our culture, you will behave as if it is your primary cultural affiliation. (In other words, we are against both left and right wing cultural warriors; our culture is not a place for warfare between other cultures. If you’re anti-Gay or anti-Male, or anti-Muslim or whatever, leave it at the fucking door or get the hell out!)

    *In other words, we like Doctorow’s Little Brother and dislike “If You Were A Dinosaur.”

  419. “…we are against both left and right wing cultural warriors; our culture is not a place for warfare between other cultures. If you’re anti-Gay or anti-Male, or anti-Muslim or whatever, leave it at the fucking door or get the hell out!”
    That whole comment sounded pretty good, but I have a question about the last sentence: What if you are someone unjustly accused of being anti-X, or associate with people that actually may be anti-X? Is it OK to shun you?

  420. That whole comment sounded pretty good, but I have a question about the last sentence: What if you are someone unjustly accused of being anti-X, or associate with people that actually may be anti-X? Is it OK to shun you?

    I don’t really know. What you read was an early morning, pre-caffeine take on a manifesto I could get behind, so I haven’t really filled in the details. If anyone would like to take the idea and run with it please feel free; the primary idea in the “everyone is welcome” segment is that there should be equal treatment of all fen based on similarities rather than differences. “We’re not being nice to you because ‘we must be nice to LGBTQ people,’ we’re being nice to you because you’re a fellow fan and thus deserve very good treatment.”

  421. If you can’t write in the tradition of Hugo Gernsback, and John Campbell and Larry Niven and Heinlein, you aren’t ‘in’ in the first place. Vox Day is ‘in’ because Riding the Red Horse. Charles Strauss is ‘in’ because Laundry Files. John C Wright or Ann Leckie need more techno. Any Islamophope homophobe heterophobe anti-American anti-capitalist anti-Christians who can write the next Revolution from Rosinante are in, by Wizenbeak.

    Of course you are talking about the fandom community, not the books. The distinction makes a difference.

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