SAD PUPPIES: some responses to the fallout

I am on duty this month. I was supposed to be on duty for most of the year, but the mission to West Africa has been off-ramped, and my active duty orders terminate at the end of February. So, for those of you who see me at LTUE while I am still in uniform next week, just know that I am squeezing the conference in around my Army time.

Now, to the matter of fallout; from the SAD PUPPIES 3 slate.

People always get upset when the status quo is challenged. Nobody has to like SP3. Many may even hate SP3, and in turn hate those of us who’ve chosen to participate as “faces of the movement” (though I detest the word ‘movement’ in this context.) What I see happening is a lot of people (loyal to what they perceive to be tradition within the field) standing up from their chairs and demanding, “STOP SAYING THE THING THAT IS BROKEN, IS BROKEN!”

Sorry, folks. I know it sucks having the cage rattled. If I thought some (necessary) freshening of the air (at Hugo awards time) was possible via less confrontational means, I’d happily go that route. But after 5 years of observing how this dog and pony show operates, I’ve concluded that there really isn’t a “nice” way to do this. We (the SP3) can either sit on our hands and pretend the broken thing is not broken — carrying on the with the status quo — or we can speak up; and take the heat.

Others (on the leftward side of the fence) make a great big fat noise about “Speaking truth to power.” Now, the shoe is on the right foot. For a change. Again, you don’t have to like it. SAD PUPPIES peels back the foil on the stale TV dinner. SAD PUPPIES says stuff that many people mutter in confidence, but few have dared speak openly; because they know it’s going to cause an uproar. SAD PUPPIES is specific in its intention: to alter the Hugo awards process such that artists and works which would otherwise be ignored, are not ignored. It’s not a “right wing” thing. It’s a make-the-field-live-up-to-its-reputation thing, by way of the field’s self-proclaimed, “Most prestigious award.”

And here’s the mind-blower: SP3 is not a same-minded collective. We’ve actually had a tremendous amount of internal debate about how to proceed.

For myself, and despite what some of my detractors may claim, I can say without reservation that I am not out to destroy fandom, nor the Hugos, nor do I wish to be an arsonist. In fact, I have argued (within the SP3 brain trust) that being arsonists is a terrible idea. I’d like to see reform, versus destruction. I also knew that being the “it” guy for this project this year (2015) would put my head on the ideological and rhetorical chopping block. Better men than myself have already mortgaged their reputations for the sake of change. I felt honor-bound to take my seat on the dunking machine chair.

Maybe this damages me eternally in the minds of some?

Those who actually know me and my work, know I am not a villain.

And for those who claim I run with villains . . . Larry Correia is my blood brother. I will not throw this man beneath the bus. Look, I get it. Larry is the kind of guy guaranteed to infuriate ideological progressives and leftists, and he makes no apologies. I understand fully that many people can’t stand him. Me? I see this man (in the flesh) all the time. I know his wife and his family. I can think of no one I would want more (in my fox hole) when the chips are down and the bullets are flying. Be they real, or rhetorical, bullets. Larry Correia is a tremendous individual who has taken the bit (of SP) between his teeth, and charged ahead with gusto. I can do no less, during this third iteration of the project.

And Vox Day? I already explained myself on that one, last year. Shunning and ostracisation are the activities of a frightened 13th century village, not the recourse of 21st century cosmopolitans.

Again, if I thought it were possible to freshen up the Hugo situation without ruffling feathers, I’d happily take that path. To echo myself (from 2014) sometimes the expected thing (in this case: going along to get along) is not necessarily the right thing.

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59 thoughts on “SAD PUPPIES: some responses to the fallout

  1. The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and SJWs shall rage against thee;

    While the Baenites, and the geek, and the gamer, shall seek counsel . . . from under thy hand.

    And thy people shall never be turned against thee by the tweeting of gender studies majors.

    And although SJW influence shall cast thee into trouble . . . thou shalt be had in honor; and but for a small moment and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce lion, because of thy awesomeness . . .

  2. When the other side reacts to us, all I keep hearing is: “UN-ACCEPT-ABLE! ONE MILLION YEARS DUNGEON!” 😀

  3. I think I get it. You want science fiction to be the same story over, and over, (your Nutty Nuggets) so that you always know what you’re getting when you pick up a science fiction book. So you’re upset, not because your favorite MilSF flavor is absent, but because other flavors even *exist*.

    What you don’t seem to get, is that you’re in the minority about that. Mainstream bookstores are offering books by diverse writers about diverse characters *because their marketing department has noticed a demand for them.*

    I notice you’re pushing a “five of everything” slate now. And it doesn’t take nearly as many votes to get something nominated as it does to have it win. Perhaps you can force a Sad-Puppy-only slate on the Hugo voters. That would give a Sad Puppy nominee a reasonable chance of winning a Hugo.

    But even that wouldn’t make much difference to the field. Tor and Orbit and the rest will go on publishing what mainstream SF readers want. And Baen will go on catering to its corner of the market, and nothing will change. Because science fiction was never one single flavor and I doubt it ever will be.

  4. (ahem) in seriousness, Cat Faber, go look at the SP3 slate. Go on. Go look at it. Read some of the fiction. Look at some of the authors. Then come back and tell us (with a straight face) that SP3 is about having “one flavor” of SF/F.

  5. Cat says: “So you’re upset, not because your favorite MilSF flavor is absent, but because other flavors even *exist*.”

    No, that is not what SP3 is saying. What it is say is that if people on one side of the fence can insist that their stories be judged on the merit of the story, and not who or what the author is, then why can’t stories written by people on the other side of the fence. Instead we, the fans, hear that so-and-so is a bad person – just because that person is perceived to be white or male or even slightly conservative. Why does the sex, race, religion, etc, of the author matter? Funny thing that I have noticed in the past year, those that claim they want “diversity” are the ones making a big deal out of a writer being male and/or white. ((Which causing some real confusion for me when these same people attack Sarah Hoyt.))

    SP3 is also saying that not all the fans want messages rammed down their throats while they are reading. Some of the stuff I have seen recently has been as heavy handed in its “message” as the old ST episode “Let that be your last battlefield.” Gack. I’d rather watch “Spock’s Brain”. TV, movies, books, it didn’t matter, everything was laden with socially relevant messages. It had gotten so bad that I had almost given up on SF.

    Honestly, I don’t care who or what the author is. I want good books with characters I can sympathize with and plot driven stories. The last thing I care about is the author’s politics, or whatever.

    That is what SP3 is asking – Quit looking at the author first and the story second. Stop saying we need more -fill in the blank quota- writers and less White Male writers.

  6. 1) Did someone alert Vox Day that Clamps has slipped his chains again?

    2) This is for Cat Faber:

    You only made one valid point in your post, science fiction is not one flavor. It is composed of many wonderful sub-genres and stories.

    What you fail to understand is that the tiny little bit of fandom that raves about the SJW nonsense that has been winning the Hugo awards is just that, tiny. It is no way represents what the average science fiction reader wants to read. They want action, adventure, entertainment. They do not want to be preached to. They do not want message to override the story.

    You speak of Orbit and Tor highly and then malign Baen. As a serious reader, someone who spends a lot of money every year on books, if there is the little spaceship on the spine with Baen written beneath it, I know that I am 99% of the time guaranteed a good story. No other publishing house can do that.

    Yes, I do occasionally buy authors who publish under other publishing houses. David Weber has a series put out by Tor. John C. Wright is another. Peter Hamilton, Stephen Baxter, Neal Stephenson, Jim Butcher, and others, but I know that Baen puts out a good product. That they actually do care about entertainment and giving the Reader what they want. I can rely on always finding a good story with the Baen logo on the spine.

    I know that you SMOFs are afraid of us Neanderthals invading your space and the gods forbid, we get a Hugo award to an author who puts story before message. I understand that it is scary for you and the rest, but you are just going to have to deal with it. We actually enjoy when an author tells a good story, instead of writing a story and making sure that they check off all the little boxes for whatever causes the SJWs are pushing at the time.

    It is not just about Military Science Fiction either. It is about space opera, it is about adventure. It is about the brave explorer facing impossible odds. It is about ships hurtling through space, exploring new worlds and meeting interesting aliens and maybe killing them.

    It is in the tradition of the greats. Of Heinlein, Anderson, Niven, Pournelle, Burroughs, E.E. Doc Smith, Campbell and all the others who knew how to tell a damn good story and entertain the reader.

    Of course, you won’t understand any of this. Your type doesn’t understand why people like me read science fiction. You don’t understand why we enjoy exploding space ships, alien menaces, saving the damsel in distress, and every other trope that makes science fiction wonderful

  7. Alauda(aka: Yama/Clamps/etc,)

    If I recall correctly, Vox was also the one who spoke to the police about you and your cyberstalking. Before you deny it, here’s a link that the others may be interested in: http://voxday.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-end-of-troll-hunt.html

    I hope you cease your cyberstalking (which is, once again, a crime in Massachusetts) and find something more productive to do with your life.

  8. Clamps: “Wait, so James May’s endless slandering”

    “Quoting” is now “slandering”. Got it.

    Cat Faber: “Mainstream bookstores are offering books by diverse writers about diverse characters”

    This has nothing to do with “diversity”, of either authors or characters.

  9. 100% Marxist is not “diverse”, no matter what range of skin tone and plumbing is represented.

    As for the marketing department “noticing a demand” for more PC twaddle, actual sales figures indicate otherwise.

  10. You see, Cat, the most interesting part of your statement is the falsehood that more and more readers are demanding “diversity” in their stories and marketing in the Big 5 have taken notice, as have major booksellers. If you look at the latest stats released by Nielsen, it would appear that your marketing people aren’t doing a very good job supporting your argument (curse those horrible people for not making the facts match your ideology):

    Adult Fiction (unit sales, in thousands)
    Genre 2013 2014 % change
    Classics 7,817 7,578 -3%
    Fantasy 8,615 7,526 -13%
    Graphic Novels 7,659 8,669 13%
    Mystery/Detective 14,884 14,304 -4%
    Science Fiction 4,448 4,142 -7%

    Man, thank God for diversity marketers. If not for them, who knows how far SF sales would have dropped, nyet?

    However, smaller houses (like Baen, for example) are constantly churning out good books and their sales aren’t slipping that much, if at all. They don’t spend millions on marketing to try to diversify a readership, they spend money on getting the books into the hands of reader. It doesn’t seem to matter to them if their protagonist is white, black, multiracial (hi mom!) or “gender fluid”. They care about whether or not the author can tell a story. I hate to break it to you, Cat, but most of your ideal writers who are being demanded in bookstores nationwide seem to lack this, and as such they seem to absolutely suck in sales.

    Fact are fact. Oh, here’s the link to where we get those horrible stats that totally betray your claim: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/65387-the-hot-and-cold-categories-of-2014.html

  11. Actually, I agree with Sad Puppies’ more general point that the reading public is a better judge of quality than people give them credit for.

    Just look at the SFF books with the most Goodreads votes from 1953 onward:

    (I’ve permitted children’s short novels to run, since Lewis’s Narnia stories are eligible for the retro-Hugos. In most cases, I went with Goodreads’s opinion on earliest publication date, so it might be off a couple times.)

    ————————————————————————————————–

    Most SFF Goodreads Votes, By English Publication Year:

    1953 – Fahrenheit 451
    1954 – Lord of the Rings
    1955 – The Magician’s Nephew
    1956 – Till We Have Faces
    1957 – Atlas Shrugged
    1958 – The Once & Future King
    1959 – Flowers for Algernon
    1960 – A Canticle for Leibowitz (there’s some issue about whether it was published in ’59 or ’60, iirc)
    1961- James and the Giant Peach
    1962 – A Wrinkle in Time
    1963 – Dune
    1964 – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    1965 – Dune Messiah
    1966 – The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
    1967 – The Master and Margarita (first published in English)
    1968 – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
    1969 – Slaughterhouse-Five
    1970 – One Hundred Years of Solitude (first published in English)
    1971 – Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
    1972 – Watership Down
    1973 – The Princess Bride
    1974 – Carrie
    1975 – ‘Salem’s Lot
    1976 – Interview With The Vampire
    1977 – The Shining
    1978 – The Stand
    1979 – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    1980 – The Clan of the Cave Bear
    1981 – Cujo (debatable whether it’s supernatural, iirc, but it got a BFA award, so…)
    1982 – The Gunslinger
    1983 – Pet Sematary
    1984 – Neuromancer
    1985 – Ender’s Game
    1986 – It
    1987 – Beloved
    1988 – The Alchemist
    1989 – A Prayer for Owen Meany
    1990 – Jurassic Park
    1991 – Outlander
    1992 – Snow Crash
    1993 – The Giver
    1994 – Wizard’s First Rule
    1995 – The Golden Compass
    1996 – A Game of Thrones
    1997 – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
    1998 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    1999 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    2000 – Angels & Demons / Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (take a wild guess which is rated higher)
    2001 – The Life of Pi
    2002 – The Lovely Bones
    2003 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    2004 – Cloud Atlas
    2005 – Twilight
    2006 – New Moon
    2007 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
    2008 – The Hunger Games
    2009 – Catching Fire
    2010 – Mockingjay
    2011 – Divergent
    2012 – Insurgent
    2013 – Allegiant
    2014 – City of Heavenly Fire

    ———————————————————–
    …Now, this list has some serious issues, and it gets more distorted as we approach the last ten years (probably because readers can’t assess the novel’s historic importance without the distorting effects of the modern hype machine.)

    Still, this isn’t a bad list.

    Notice how the supposedly benighted general public chose a broad slate here. Libertarian ideological fiction? Yep, twice. (The first, Atlas Shrugged, would have given a woman a Hugo years before McCaffrey won hers.) Vampire romance? Yeah, it’s here, both in its more literate 1970s incarnation and its teenage 2000’s version. Horror? Yes, and it dies out with the horror boom just like it did in the markets. Cyberpunk? Interstellar war? Epic fantasy? Time travel romance? Yes. All of the above, and usually the most notable examples from each.

    But notice also that a lot of literary books also appear. Magical realism is represented by Bulgakov, Marquez, Morrison, and a couple others. Morrison’s effort, incidentally, is also a social fiction story focusing on racial issues and slavery in the American South. And then there’s Vonnegut.

    At the same time, you’ve got children’s books, and *even the kids’ books* represent a broad range of ideological stances: from Narnia (Lewis) to atheist steampunk Narnia (Pullman). You’ve got two of the best satiric SFF books of all time — the first Hitchhiker book, and The Princess Bride. (Pratchett just missed the cut.) You’ve even got some weird stuff like The Alchemist, which is a self-improvement fable.

    There are problems, of course. I already alluded to the worst of them: the Divergent / Hunger Games marketing empire really warps the later 2000’s, although Meyer probably benefits from some distortions as well. There’s also the fact that the truly big name authors like Rowling and King can dominate their respective decades. And I think that children’s and YA books are overrepresented generally.*

    Even with those problems, though, the public has pretty broad tastes. They’re not as dumb as they’re presented, and they make some pretty quirky choices about which books will stand the test of time.

    * It’s slightly problematic that we see such an upsurge in YA consumption among ADULTS these days…

  12. Hell, I’m 32 and I love the Narnia books. While they do have a message, C.S. Lewis still told a hell of an entertaining story to get that message across. Same with Fahrenheit 451. Damn good story with a definite message attached, but Bradbury was one hell of a wordsmith.

  13. So I link to an entry where Vox finds a woman’s address, posts it on his blog, and demands that she remove the review, and all my comments end up in moderation limbo.

    Way to prove my point about how the Sad Puppies campaigners turn a blind eye to Vox’s assholery.

  14. As a writer of YA SF/F, most of my readers that I’ve spoken to/corresponded with are adults (they’re the ones with the money). About half of them are buying for their kids, and the other half are buying for themselves. As for the latter, they’re usually doing it because while they like the SF/F genre, they don’t like the new stuff that’s currently out there. At lot of them prefer YA because it’s not as violent/gory/sexual as the “adult” stuff, and/or because it’s an easy, entertaining read.

  15. It’s very difficult to take the words of a proven cyberstalker seriously. Particularly when said stalker is talking about one of his victims.

  16. It’s hard to tell just from the list above, since the #1 ranked Stephen King novels block out everybody else, but the 80’s were probably a high water mark.

    Ender’s Game was published the same year as The Handmaid’s Tale, Perfume, The Vampire Lestat, Love in the Time of Cholera, Sagan’s Contact, and a couple more. Expand a year in either direction and you’ve got Neuromancer, The Talisman, more Douglas Adams, Howl’s Moving Castle, Speaker for the Dead, Watchmen…

    My own theory is that the mid-80s to very early 90s represented a peak, because that’s when the Baby Boomers reached prime writing age en masse — at a time when the internet and games weren’t sophisticated enough yet to challenge novels like they did later on.

  17. Something I forgot to mention earlier. Sad Puppies is showing people like me, and my sister, that we do have a say in the Hugo voting.

    I have been a reading SF for just shy of 40 years now, but I’ve never been actively involved in the “fandom”. I never put any thought into how stories were nominated for the Hugo, I just assumed it worked like the Oscars – publishers and other writers did the nominating and voting. I was surprised to learn through reading Sad Puppies 2 last year that we, the fans, were the ones with the voice. I thought it was great, but not something I could participate in. The voting was done at World Con. I can’t afford to go to World Con, perhaps the most expensive SF Con known.

    Along came Sad Puppies 3 and I learned that you could get a “sponsor” membership and get the same opportunity to nominate and vote without having to go World Con. So, for the first time this 40 year fan gets to have her say.

    Maybe my little voice will amount to nothing, but perhaps the authors of those stories will be pleased to know that someone thought that highly of their work.

    Sad Puppies isn’t hurting anyone, it is letting us little people, the quiet fans, know that we can join in and have our say.

  18. Mr. Faber, can you produce any argument or evidence to back your accusation? I assume you to be fairminded enough not to have levels such a charge without cold, hard facts to back it up. Can you examine the list on the Sad Puppies slate and show me by what reasoning you concluded these were all MilFic in perfect lockstep with each other, perhaps? Or give me a list of quotes from the Evil Legion of Evil Authors, Inc., that is, myself, Correia, Beale and Hoyt showing where we have expressed the preferences or announces the intentions you ascribe to us?

    A certain Mr May has done a fine job, over the years, of collecting a truly impressive list of quotes from the Social Justice Warriors which contradict what you are saying. They openly say their interest in the matter is racist and sexist: they are anti-White and anti-male. It is repeated often enough to make the matter clear. Do you have such a list, or anything like it, of anything I have said, or Beale or Correia or Hoyt or anyone else associated even remotely with the Sad Puppies effort? We all blog extensively, and have years of public statements to mine for material to confirm your accusation, if any such quote exists.

    Do you have even one?

    Come, I am a reasonable man, patient as Job. Produce your evidence. Give me your chain of reasoning. Show me. Prove it. Put your money where your mouth is. Put up or shut up.

    Come now. You must have at least one?

  19. Cat,

    From a sales standpoint, mainstream science fiction is media tie-in fiction. The three most important names in science fiction, solely looking at sales, aren’t Correia, Beale, or Torgersen, nor are they Sclazi, Hines, and Kowal. Even the giants Heinlein, Bradbury, and Asimov are dwarfed by Kirk, Skywalker, and Master Chief. Compared to those three, Tor’s original SF and Orbit are backwaters. Where’s the flavor of mainstream SF in the Hugos? They have notoriously been biased against media tie-in works. The one media tie-in in recent history placed on a ballot was put there by Sad Puppies last year.

    Nor did Tor, Orbit, erc. or even Baen cater to the current space opera explosion happening in independent publishing right now. That flavor has yet to be seen in the Hugos, yet Howey’s Wool was a breakout hit, as was Nuttal’s Ark Royal. Weir’s The Martian should be a shoe-in for consideration for the Hugo, but has eligibility issues because it was self-published prior to its release last year.

    Speaking of flavors not represented in the Hugos, let’s look at video games. Saints Row 4 did the Matrix better than the sequels. Sid Meier’s Firaxis has done alien invasions with X-COM as well as settlement of new worlds in Beyond Earth. Final Fantasy VII is the classic fantasy story of the video game age and sold more than Jordan, Sanderson, and Martin. Individual titles, such as Call of Duty, sell more copies than our entire market, yet we don’t recognize this far more influential medium in the Hugos.

    Attack on Titan, Bleach, A Certain Magical Index, Fairy Tail, Sword Art Online… Where’s the recognition for anime and manga in “mainstream SF”? It constantly surprises me how thoroughly that Japanese media has penetrated the market, and I’ve been a fan for twenty years.

    Finally, as scary as Sad Puppies might be, what happens if a company, say Rooster Teeth for example, decides they want an award for their animation series? Or Pewdiepie wants an award for one of the fan categories? The fundamental weakness of the Hugo is that it only takes 50-100 people to agree on a title to earn a nomination. The popular web channels can bring in hundreds, if not thousands or ten thousands, of motivated fans willing to donate time, energy, and money to anything from kickstarters to charity drives.. Against that, our 50-100 is but a drop in the ocean.

    Let’s not fool ourselves by thinking that the collapsing science fiction print market and a small self-selected group of that fandom are mainstream in any way.

  20. I think we want the same thing over and over again only in the sense of why we come to a genre in the first place. The most popular SF seems to be that which combines a sense of the sober adult and thoughtless child most effectively. You have a sense of the literate, gravitas and lyrical artistry on the one hand and the brute fun and fundamental wonder that comes from solid plot and simple notions like asteroid strikes, fights ranging from hand-to-hand to space ships, or what Pellucidar looks like with a reversed rising horizon.

    Is that the stupid and the sublime? I don’t know but it seems to be a constant factor in the best SF stories. Even a respected author like Heinlein lost respect when he strayed too far from plot and wonder after 1967. Did he stray from the plantation? Did we not appreciate his “genre-bending”? I don’t think so. Bending genre is not the main goal of a genre but to be itself. It is not bending boundaries or even worse, defining the race and sex of an author to itself define “bending” that makes for good SF literature but good SF literature itself. “Wakulla Springs” and Hild don’t belong in SFF. At best they should be in Reader’s Digest and at worst the library of a reversed out KKK. They remind me of Ray Bradbury’s “The Big Black and White Game” but with the innate depravity of blacks and superior judgments of whites put on display. Then expand that out into a genre and you have a thing like Social Justice Warrior fiction and some moron announcing no white men won an award, as if in glee. What if I gleefully Tweeted no black actors were nominated for an Oscar and founded a film movement on that dross?

    “Diverse writers” and “diverse characters” isn’t asking a literary question but one of race and sex, and so that is the answer you will get but put in a literary framework. In other words you’ll get nothing. The problem with that stipulated as a principle is that if one can imagine race and sex being itself containing “art,” one can just as easily stipulate it doesn’t. At its core it’s filthy identity talk and so we shouldn’t be surprised at the amount of filth and supremacy surrounding this new “genre”; it comes with the territory.

    Yes we want the same thing, because we got a taste for it. We had the puffed up purpled prose of Leigh Brackett combined with genuine pathos. We had the delicately perfumed prose of C. L. Moore combined with people from the future picnicking asteroid strikes. We had the massively talented writing of Bradbury combined with dinosaurs visiting lighthouses. We had the just as massively talented writing of Jack Vance put at the service of hopping “dragons” fighting around grounded spaceships shooting lancing death rays. We had the relentlessly grim weight of prose of Frank Herbert put at the service of kung-fu melodramas leaping from the backs of giant worms. We had the great sense of the tragic of Zelazny put at the service of falling in love with Martian women. That sense of great artistry put at the service of what might otherwise be seen as great stupidities fit only for 7 yr. olds is what gives SF its unique flavor. For a long time it was a secret and then someone suddenly noticed Ray Bradbury and Jack Vance were as great a pair of American 20th century prose stylists who ever existed, in ANY genre. People realized that if great minds like that were attracted to SF then maybe it deserves a second look and so out of the ghetto it came.

    But recently that asking of literary and genre questions which bounced back the same answers has been subverted. Plugging in race and sex as a writer or character debauches literature because these concepts are not interchangeable with literature and talent. Suddenly instead of the two great contrasts which have made SF great, each is gone, replaced by amateurs pushed to the front, not by talent, but by their race and sex. And in turn they are pushing aside the real stars of SF – the goofy fun – and replacing them with racial revenge fantasies worthy of Stormfront, and the abolition of gender, the able-bodied and the ethnic European as too white, too normal and too hegemonic. Even English is considered a messy inconvenience of a “colonial” tongue to be writing in, which the SJW laments. There are other laments: that editors at Publisher’s Weekly are forced to read white men and that readers are forced onto Twitter to “de-white” their reading stock. That is not an artistic question but one of the KKK, and so we shouldn’t be surprised a KKK is squatting in SF’s old institutions rather than artistry. Bradbury, Vance, Moore and Herbert gave us artistry to the exclusion of all else and so are not only of no interest to SJWs but a thing to be interdicted like Atlantic slave ships as bringing nothing but holds full of oppression, privilege and racial monotones. In fact that is what SJW SF itself offers, a dial tone of rancid bigotry, unenlightenment, a lack of piercing perceptions and buckets of supremacy about “white saviors.” Only a person with the soul of a pig would write about white saviors, and so this new literature has such a soul

    The obvious irony staring us in the face is the fact Bradburian stories like “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” and “Wakulla Springs” written with the humanity of Bradbury himself could’ve been great fiction, but written by people who practically spit on white men they are empty stories built on supremacy and hate and which repel people from SF, not draw them in. If Burroughs to Heinlein to Vance had been such people SF would’ve stayed in a ghetto forever, and that’s what core SF is now – a ghetto of street lights that no longer work in the center of a once great urban city. The Nebulas and Hugos of today are a cargo cult waving around Essex-class fast fleet carriers they no longer know how to build, not a literary movement. To say these people are intellectually and artistically depraved is an understatement; they are Robert E. Howard’s dead people languidly reclining on couches in a dead city who don’t know they’re dead and laughing at the living brute energy of the barbarian facing them and who in turns laughs at them. So it’s a question of who laughs last and it isn’t the dead. “Diversity and Equality” is the new Orwellian motto of our progressive KKK 2.0.

  21. Cat said:
    I think I get it. You want science fiction to be the same story over, and over, (your Nutty Nuggets) so that you always know what you’re getting when you pick up a science fiction book. So you’re upset, not because your favorite MilSF flavor is absent, but because other flavors even *exist*.

    This is patent BS and a complete reversal of the actual facts. It’s the SJWs who are upset that people like me even exist (me being a conservative old lady who has loved this genre for going on forty years), not the other way around. I personally think there’s room in the genre for all of us, but I’m under the distinct impression that SJWs want to drive me out. It’s the SJWs who are upset that we want real diversity (of viewpoint, not skin color or body parts) in our SFF award nominations.

    I just sent out my fiftieth short story. I like to think that they’re all pretty different from each other, although there’s clearly some overlap in both character and theme. But for someone to sit there on a high horse and claim that one story about a guy who comes home after being bitten by a werewolf to find that his dog is now terrified of him, and another story of a sapient bear being transported to a monastery against its will, where it will be killed and eaten, and yet another story where a mad scientist frankensteins a flying ferret for a dying little girl are the same story? Is utterly ridiculous. That’s three. I could go through all fifty if you like, but I don’t want to clog up Brad’s comment page any more than I have.

    Cat, you don’t “get it” at all. In fact, I’m pretty sure that what you’re doing is actually “projecting.”

  22. Also, Cat, the reason the slate is “five of everything” is because you get five slots in each category to nominate things for the Hugo. I am pretty sure that no one here thinks that the entire slate will be nominated wholesale. FFS.

  23. I like military science fiction and read more of that than other things because there really isn’t that much space opera that I’ve found out there. (my husband and I disagree greatly on what the definition of space opera actually is, so I realize that what I’m looking for might be murky). Military science fiction comes closer than other things do. Military science fiction will set you down on a max weirdness alien planet (with a battalion of your closest friends), or give you a spy travelling through a space based society, or give you some other version of “plucky and kick *ss team finds itself in a tight spot” and go from there. Military science fiction is probably the best place to find “human’s colonize new world” stories.

  24. Here’s a question for those who don’t like the SP slate. Why not just galvanize your readers and fans into doing the same, and making the Hugo awards more than a thousandth of one percent of the reading public? Scalzi already did it a little bit when Red Shirts won. Just do it more, and between us we can reflect the entirety of fandom.

    Or is it because you’re afraid that our side simply has more fans, and you’ll lose control over the awards?

  25. I don’t know if this is the same Cat, but notice the date of her little slate. And her choices aren’t predictable at all….

    Cat October 29, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Currently on my list:
    Lock-In
    The Mirror Empire
    City Of Stairs

    books that I will be reading soon and suspect will be on my list
    Ancillary Sword

    Wow, it just so happens that Cat is going to nominate the same SJW novels as nearly every other SJW out there and she can even figure out what is going to be on her list BEFORE she even reads them! If it weren’t for SP/RP, this would probably be the Best Novel list; this is taken from another SJW’s list.

    Ancillary Sword, by Ann Leckie
    Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer
    The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
    The Mirror Empire, by Kameron Hurley
    Lock In, by John Scalzi

    Amazing, is it not, how they gradually progress from Best Fan Writer nominations to Best Novel….

  26. You have two organizations. One person gets booted out of the first organization, a second person is given awards nominations and is admired. In principle both have used the same racial rhetoric.

    In the second organization, one person is hounded out of involvement with it for a thing they might have said, and a second person given awards nominations and is admired for ACTUALLY saying the same thing in principle.

    Using a vulgar “gendered” slang term is considered an actual hatred of all women. Day-long demonization and scapegoating rants on Twitter about the ape-like qualities of men as comprising an oppressive “rape culture” are considered social justice.

    That is called lying and stupidity. Such people are morally and intellectually insane. No matter what you do you will never be given a fair shake from such incredibly clueless people. In real world terms, expect the same fair shake Jews can expect from neo-Nazis and blacks from the KKK. SJWs are like the Dave Chappelle sketch about the black guy who doesn’t know he’s black, hates blacks, and is a member of the KKK because he’s blind.

    This type of doublethinking person has been seen before in American history and was pushed back against in a wide arena of the arts and academia. The doublethinkers were called redneck Okies from Muskogee. Arguing with them about things like evil marijuana and the benevolence of alcohol was like banging your head against a wall. They literally thought morality, spirituality and intelligence could be measured by the length of your hair. Predictably, people only grew their hair longer. I am growing my hair longer against this group of awesomely creepy people and their fuckery and redneckery.

  27. Hmm. I just got through some other lists by people you’d probably label SJW and there seemed to be quite much variation. These guys, for example, had only one single novel in common:

    Jason Sanford:
    Kameron Hurley: The Mirror Empire
    Cixin Liu: The Three-Body Problem
    Will McIntosh: Defenders
    Nnedi Okorafor: Lagoon
    Jeff VanderMeer: Annihilation

    Liz Bourke:
    Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor
    Ann Leckie, Ancillary Sword
    Elizabeth Bear, Steles of the Sky
    Max Gladstone, Full Fathom Five
    Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon.

    I’m pretty sure I’ll be voting for Hannu Rajaniemi’s hard SF trilogy myself (check it out, there’s no feminist politics for you to disagree with in that one), and still haven’t decided the rest of my nominations.

    It’s a nice conspiracy theory that the regular Worldcon crowd which doesn’t buy into the Sad Puppy ideology all votes for the same things, but I’m fairly sure that’s not happening.

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  29. The funny thing is, there doesn’t need to be a conspiracy for the point to be valid, indeed, I really doubt there is any coordinated effort among the majority of voters.

    In fact I’d go so far as to state categorically that the majority of the tiny World Con crowd simply votes for what they liked, and happen to share tastes with a lot of the other attendees.

    There are those though that actively slander and libel the authors they don’t like, and if someone you’ve met in person (at cons) and whose stuff you like tells you what a horrible hatey mchaterton racist sexist pig Straw Larry is, why wouldn’t they take them at their word?

    Sure, there’s variation in those slates posted above. (There’s variation in the SP slate too, and why shouldn’t there be given the number of different personalities and backgrounds involved?)

    Do you know what I don’t see in any of those though?

    Books I read and liked this year. Or even books I’m familiar with.

    See, I work in one of the largest library systems in the nation, probably even in the world. Our annual circulation system wide is well over 15 million, probably more as I haven’t checked the latest figures.

    Aside from Elizabeth Bear the only author I really heard anything about is Leckie, and she talked about selling something like 30,000 copies of Ancillary Justice, which is great for a beginner or a midlister, but hardly earth shattering.

    I looked up all of the books you listed. A couple of them we still have on order, but the rest don’t really seem to be checking out much at all, and we have less than ten copies for all of them except Sword, and that one only 12 copies for 18 libraries.

    In comparison we _still_ have 11 copies of Warbound, after a year and a half of attrition of copies being damaged, lost, and stolen.

    Now, I am *not* saying they are bad books. Not at all. I’m saying they’re mostly not the kind of books I enjoy, and not what I would put forth as the best books of the year. Skin Game is. Monster Hunter Nemesis are.

    Now, I can already hear you saying “how dare I discount books I haven’t even hear,” but that’s actually a point in favor of increasing the voting pool.

    Just as I cannot possibly read everything that came out last year, even in a tiny genre (in literature) of spec fic, nor can anyone who has historically gone to World Con or voted.

    Word of mouth still matters a lot in books, and there is something to be said for the volume of people putting something forth as their favorite from the year.

    So forgive me if I can’t help but laugh at people who don’t seem to want others to pony up the money and nominate books they loved, because, in the end, nothing we do will stop you from doing likewise.

  30. Mr Torgerson:
    I have reviewed this controversy from the bald spot to the smelly misshapen toenails and I find your analysis accurate. I therefore let it be known to one and all that you have at least one former Worldcon Co-Chaircreature in support of the… underage dogs.
    Ron Zukowski, ConFederation, the 44th WorldCon, Atlanta Georgia, 1986.

  31. Jared Anders:
    The funny thing is, there doesn’t need to be a conspiracy for the point to be valid, indeed, I really doubt there is any coordinated effort among the majority of voters.

    In fact I’d go so far as to state categorically that the majority of the tiny World Con crowd simply votes for what they liked, and happen to share tastes with a lot of the other attendees.

    The conspiracy thing was a reaction to something VD wrote in the previous post about all SJW’s voting for the exact same books. I think you are absolutely right and that is the point that I think most Sad Puppy screeds miss: the Worldcon crowd in general votes for what it likes best. It has been suggested many times in this blog and elsewhere that the Hugo voters intentionally dismiss entertaining stories in order to get the right sort of feminist writers who write boring stories win. I think that’s a very misguided way to look at the Hugo awards.

    It is true that the Worldcon crowd IS tiny when you compare it with the huge fandom of SFF reading public around the world. Getting a larger portion of the fandom to participate in Hugo voting would be a positive thing, but I can’t say I’m very happy if the main goal of new voters is “sticking it to the liberals” and “making feminists’ heads explode” instead of trying to get their favorite SF books win awards. Maybe I’m just being unfair after reading the comment section of Correia’s blog but I think that was the sentiment in many messages.

    Do you know what I don’t see in any of those though? Books I read and liked this year. Or even books I’m familiar with.
    [–]
    Now, I can already hear you saying “how dare I discount books I haven’t even heard”

    Not at all. I had never heard of Jim Butcher or Charles Gannon before I saw them on the Sad Puppies slate, so I guess the field is quite differentiated and there isn’t much common ground anymore. We’ll see which part of the fandom gets its favorite works on the ballot. If I have the time, maybe I’ll check out the Skin Game you’re all are so enthusiastic about, but if it’s anything like the Grimnoir books, it most likely isn’t going to be my favorite. We all discount books we haven’t heard of.

  32. @ Cpt. Carnage. There certainly is an element of ‘wanting to make their heads explode (with frustration)’ in many of the comments there. In order to understand it, you have to read some of the links that James May sets out where some (not all, perhaps not even most) progressive, anti Caucasian, anti hetero mysandrists make really, really incendiary statements.

    When their statements are called out, or mirrored for parody’s sake, the resulting clamor somehow misses the original point. That ‘splody head goodness? That part of it is a good, nay, GREAT, thing.

    I am happy to post direct links here if that would help you verify elements of my claim.

  33. I’m finding the whole Tor vs Baen thing to be silly. As a computer nerd who is also a SF reader, Tor and Baen are my two favorite publishing houses to read. They both make great stories, and they both publish DRM free e-books. I hardly read any books outside of those two publishers because of the DRM free thing.

  34. One of my absolute favorite scenes in Deep Space Nine involved Jake Sisko, hard at work on his stories, pinning Quark down to interview him in order to improve one of the characters.

    I can’t find the exact quote at the moment, but Jake asks him what it’s like being a criminal.

    Quark’s reply is essentially, “I’m not a criminal, I’m a businessman. I may deal in some… extra-legal items…but no one considers themselves the bad guy.”

    (Pretty sure that’s from “The Sound of Her Voice,” but it’s been awhile.

    Personally, I find it very helpful to apply that idea to my dealings with anyone. No one is the villain of their own story, even if they are in fact villainous. The trick then to try and think about how they see themselves.

    If you apply that to the actual self-proclaimed SJW crowd, the small group that does slander and libel and so forth, you can assume they really do think they’re trying to balance what they see as injustices, and that they clearly believe the ends justify the means.

    Now, if you come at it from the other side and apply the principle to Larry, Brad, and the others, I think you can see that they really are passionate about making fun stories that entertain, and that they want to bring a wider representation to the Hugos. Are they going to indulge in a little schadenfreude at the antics of their foes? Of course they are, they’re only human and therefore not perfect.

    The thing to keep in mind, for them, and me, the goals of upsetting the self-appointed gatekeepers and putting forth what they truly see as the best stories of the past year are not contradictory.

    Also remember, they are pretty much incapable of taking themselves too seriously. Have you seen the ludicrous “sad puppies 3” trailer? If you’re taking stuff like that seriously you’re missing them poke fun at themselves.

  35. The trick with Skin Game is a lot of it depends on the many books that precede it, and frankly Storm Front (first book in the series) is merely okay. Still fun, and really good for a first novel, but it is nothing compared to what comes later.

    Still, I do highly recommend the series. It is very noir in feeling, especially for an urban fantasy, and the main character himself is in fact sexist at times, which colors the narration, but it is in keeping with the noir feel. (He likes women, but his first instinct is always to protect them, even if they don’t need it or are in fact evil non-humans trying to get him killed)

  36. I like quite a few of the books that Tor puts out, but I gave up visiting Tor.com because of the over the top misandry of the site. Tor (publisher) and Tor.com aren’t really the same thing.

  37. Long time SF/F reader (40+years) I have to agree that the whole SJW thing is getting out of control, and I believe part of that is the ability to ‘hide’ behind a computer and spew crap at people. I’m betting that if Larry, Brad and a few others were standing in the same room with them, it would be an ENTIRELY different perspective… And I signed up again (because I like reading GOOD SF/F that I enjoy, NOT what somebody else tells me I ‘should’ enjoy) to support trying to bring some honesty back to the Hugo noms and awards…

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  39. Cpt. Carnage: “It has been suggested many times in this blog and elsewhere that the Hugo voters intentionally dismiss entertaining stories in order to get the right sort of feminist writers who write boring stories win. I think that’s a very misguided way to look at the Hugo awards.”

    Insofar as “getting the right sort of writers” characterizes the motivation, I have to say that what I’ve read from the SJ fandom faction does more or less support that idea; there is a very strong emphasis, if not always explicitly articulated so, that it is both important and beneficial to get writers representing certain demographics on the awards slates for their own sake as representatives of those demographics. This really seems to me to be only affirmative-action voting, which is something I reject in principle, as do, I think, most of those behind the Sad Puppies slate.

    Now it can also be argued that “dismissing ‘entertaining’ stories in order to get… ‘boring’ stories (to) win” characterizes both groups’ motivations, insofar as fiction that someone finds entertaining may in fact be directly related to the messages that fiction promotes — it is reasonable to suppose that a Christian reader is likely to find Lewis entertaining and Pullman boring, and that an atheist reader will reverse this preference. However, the problem with this argument is that it requires a rather Bulveristic assumption about people’s motives: specifically, that whenever anybody objects to the presence of a message in a work, the objection is only ever “really” about the content of that message, and never about the aesthetics of how the delivery of that message affects the story for better or worse. As a result, no criticism of a work whose fans like it for its message can ever be construed as criticism of the work rather than the message, which only aggravates the polarization of the community.

    So, welcoming corrections from those who wish to, I suggest that perhaps the criticism is not that “Hugo voters intentionally dismiss entertaining stories in order to get the right sort of… writers who write boring stories (to) win” but rather “A large bloc of Hugo voters intentionally assess stories which lack the right sort of message, or which were written by the wrong sort of author, as less entertaining than those which possess the right sort of message or author, because possession of the right sort of message or author is how they have come to define what is ‘entertaining’.” If you see the SP slate as an attempt not to challenge which sorts of message or author are “right” or “wrong”, but rather as a challenge to the idea that the message or author should be criteria of aesthetic evaluation at all, I think the issue may become clearer.

  40. I’m voting the straight-up Sad Puppies slate. For too long the Hugos (and the Nebula!) have been exemplars of unreadable message fic and “high ahhhht” which only English and Wymin’s Studies majors find enjoyable.

    Me, I want to see something like Coreia’s MH “Nemesis” or John C. Wright’s “Judge of Ages”, Neil Asher’s “Zero Point” win an award. Anything that you can pick up and read without being assaulted by the SJW Checklist syndrome.

    I would include things like Charles Stross’s “Singularity Sky”, because anything that -starts- with “a rain of cell phones” is -awesome-. I’m fully aware that Mr. Stross is amongst the more rabid of SJWs on the web, and of late I’ve found his relentless atheistic proselytizing tiresome. Doesn’t matter to me if the stories are good. I bought Old Man’s War even though Mr. Scalzi is an objectionable dick. Because Good Story. Its just a book, I’m not marrying the guy.

    So let us return to the days when Awesome people like Andre Norton won the Hugos, and put behind us the current ridiculous pedantry, faggotry and outright Marxist propaganda the Hugos have been allowed to become.

    And a good start is watching the SJW crowd froth at the mouth like rabid dogs, enraged by the very idea that I, The Phantom, would be ALLOWED to pay $40 and have my say along with them.

    Froth on, dickweeds. I feeeeeel your pain the way a daisy feels warm spring rain.

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  42. “It has been suggested many times in this blog and elsewhere that the Hugo voters intentionally dismiss entertaining stories in order to get the right sort of feminist writers who write boring stories win. I think that’s a very misguided way to look at the Hugo awards.”

    Oh, I don’t think that anyone wants boring stories but really, there’s a sort of religious faith that has developed that, oh, all good people believe the same things and “evil” people can’t write good books. If the author is wrong about some element of politics or ideology then, what can they possibly be right about?

    Worse, this faith insists that our skin color and reproductive mechanics also inform our fiction in definitional ways. I can’t understand you, you can’t understand me, he can’t understand her, she can’t understand him, no-one can understand anything that we haven’t personally experienced *therefore*… if you want to read about something that stretches your imagination you have to check someone’s complexion and plumbing to see if you’re going to get a new story or not.

    (Unfortunately and damagingly… the overt message of this is “I can’t relate to you if you don’t look like me” which I don’t feel much like excusing since it’s essentially racism.)

    It’s not about trying to get boring stories but about having decided that finding good stories means hearing “new voices” and that those “new voices” can’t just be new, they have to be exotic…. and if they’re exotic then the story will be new and different and fresh… by definition. Of *course* it’s amazing. It’s never been done before. (Other than a million times, but…) And bonus, you get to have the social reinforcement of your friends who also have this weird notion that we’re not every single one of us profoundly alien from each other and simultaneously part of a singular humanity.

    I think it’s all pretty darn anti-rational, myself.

  43. @jared: I actually work at the largest library system in the world (if you believe LJ) Next week I’ll take a gander at what our 50-odd branches and see how the SJW clique slate is doing vis-a-vis The SP list. Even considering that the 100s of library staff will skew the numbers because we generally check out the heavily hyped books (yes, I tried to read the jemsin novel: a badly written hot mess of a book) I can guess how it will turn out based on my last wait time for a Butcher novel.

    Unfotunately, I won’t be able to include most of the e-format indies: not because -my library- won’t take them – we will, happily – but because some publishers won’t do the necessary to get on board with Overdrive ( our distributor) I’m looking at you, Vox Day.

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