A Note About the Hugo Nominations This Year

It is:

1. Yes, I’ve seen the slate. The slate shows up even in Australia! And I woke up early because I crashed from exhaustion last night before 7pm. Finishing a book takes it out of you.

2. I’m very pleased for the several friends and/or writers who are on the ballot this year. This includes everyone in the Best Novel category, all of whom I consider friends, and any of whom I would be happy to see take home a rocket this year. And as always, I congratulate all the nominees for the Hugo and the Campbell. It’s fun to be nominated, and nice to get recognition. I’ll be voting.

3. This year I’ll do what I always do when voting for the Hugos, which is to rank the nominees every category according to how I think they (and/or their particular works in question) deserve to ranked. Preferential balloting is a useful thing. I will be reading quite a lot.

4. If, in the fullness of careful consideration, I come to believe certain nominees in a category do not merit being on the ballot at all, then I will do two things:

One, I will leave those nominees off my final ballot. If they’re not on my ballot, they can’t be ranked.

Two, after ranking the nominees I do believe deserve to be on the ballot, I will use the “No Award” option to signal that I would prefer that no Hugo be awarded, rather than to give it to any of the remaining nominees. Like so:


1. Deserving nominee #1
2. Deserving nominee #2

And thus undeserving nominees number 3, 4 and 5 receive no benefit from being on the ballot, and my preference for no award to be given to those people/works I deem unworthy of the award in that category is registered.

5. And yes, in fact, “No Award” can be placed first in a Hugo category. It has done so several times in the history of the award, when the voters for the Hugo Award decided that nothing deserved to take home the rocket. Voting “No Award” at the top of your ballot is not a new thing; it’s a perfectly allowed and legitimate way to register one’s opinion of what’s available in a Hugo category.

6. This year in particular there are going to be questions about whether some nominators more or less blindly voted a slate of candidates to make a statement, rather than voting their own personal set of preferences (if they had personal preferences) at all. My thought about that is what it always is: It’s done. If the rules of voting were followed, then game on.

I also think it’s worth remembering that not everyone who was placed on a slate (or had works placed on a slate) asked to be on the slate, or necessarily supports the intention behind a slate or the people who created it. Another way to make this point: Even people you might think are assholes can have decent taste from time to time. I’m not inclined to punish creators strictly on the basis of who has nominated them, or why.

7. That said, when a slate of nominees is offered whose very title explictly carries in it a desire to vex and annoy other people, it’s legitimate for people to ask whether what’s been nominated on the slate has been placed there solely on the basis of quality. It’s also legitimate for people to decide that in general, slates of nominations are not something they’re comfortable with, or wish to support. There is no rule that disallows nominating for the Hugos from a slate; there’s also no rule that disallows Hugo voters from then registering their displeasure that these slates exist.

I also think it’s okay to penalize graceless award grasping by people who clearly despise the Hugo and what they believe it represents, and yet so very desperately crave the legitimacy they believe the award will confer to them. Therapy is the answer there, not a literary award.

The good news, for me, at least, is that it’s generally obvious in the reading what’s on the ballot on the basis of quality, and what’s there, essentially, as trolling. Good stuff will be on my final ballot, ranked appropriately. Trollage will not. It’s just that simple.

8. In sum: I think it’s possible for voters to thread the needle and give creators fair consideration while also expressing displeasure (if indeed one is displeased) at the idea of slates, or people trolling the award. This might take a little work, but then voting on the Hugos should be a little bit of work, don’t you think. This is a good year to do that.

This is also a very good year to make sure that you do vote.

245 Comments on “A Note About the Hugo Nominations This Year”

  1. Quick thread rules and other comments:

    1. Mallet out for this thread, obviously. Behave yourselves and especially, be polite to each other, or I will whack you so hard.

    2. I’m in Australia at the moment and also being a guest of honor at a convention, so I’m busy and will not always be here to thread sit. From time to time I may turn off the comments when I’m too busy to moderate them. I’ll turn them back on when I get back.

    3. What we will not do in this thread is question whether anyone on the ballot really is meant to be on it. The Hugos are a popular award and anyone who pays their $50 (or so) for an associate membership to the Worldcon can vote. I know the people who adminster the award and have a deep respect for their fairness and competence. Basically: If someone’s on the ballot, it’s because they were legitimately nominated onto it. Deal with it.

    4. Speaking personally: No, generally speaking it’s not the Hugo ballot I would have chosen. Then again, in most years, it’s not the Hugo ballot I would have chosen. That’s what happens when lots of people vote.

    5. Also, in case people think I’m being arch or coy on this subject: Yes, in fact, I do intend to read all the fiction nominees this year and consider them seriously for my ballot. I’m not expecting, say, Tom Kratman to surprise me, but maybe he will. Note well, however, that (as with every year), I read the nominations until I decide the work is not worth my time. The works that engage me long enough to read all the way through will be ranked. The ones that don’t won’t make my final ballot. And yes, this means it’s possible that something not on a slate won’t make my final ballot (and that something on a slate might).

  2. This may be the first year that I haven’t read any of the nominations (I read and admired “Ancillary Justice” but for some reason didn’t want to revisit that universe). Too set in my ways, methinks.

  3. This is the first time that no work has made it to the Hugo and Nebula ballots in any of the three short fiction categories.

  4. “I also think it’s worth remembering that not everyone who was placed on a slate (or had works placed on a slate) asked to be on the slate, or necessarily supports the intention behind a slate or the people who created it.”

    Brad R. Torgersen said elseweb:
    “A few people turned us down. Only two got put on the list without an explicit “yes” (by accident) and were removed when they asked to be removed; without rancor.”

    So, no, we didn’t draft anyone against his or her will. Especially in a high-profile category like Best Novel. Every single Sad Puppies 3 Best Novel suggestion, was contacted, and approved being on the slate. In some cases, enthusiastically approved.”

    So at least according to Torgersen, who published their slate on his blog in February, everyone on the SP3 slate was contacted and agreed to be on it, especially in the Best Novel category.

  5. I always appreciate your take on this stuff, Mr. S. Level-headed and sane, you are.

  6. @Geoff Thorpe — I was suspecting earlier that (aside from the Dramatic Presentation noms) the entire intersection of the Hugos and Nebulas this year may well be Ann Leckie.

  7. Ultragotha:

    I do have certain knowledge that some people who were on the Sad Puppy slate initally were not aware they were being added to the slate, and were not contacted before they asked to be removed from it.

    Also, I strongly suspect that if/when anyone coordinating the slate contacted those they were considering, their description of what the slate was, would be rather different that the way those who don’t approve of the slate would have described it.

    Also also: If someone says to you “we have lots of people who will give this slate very serious consideration for their balloting,” you might not care that other people find the slate concept or the people running the slate, annoying, even if you don’t sign on to the ideals behind the slate. In my mind that’s a misdemeanor at best, not a felony.

    (I wouldn’t agree to be on a SP slate, but then, for various reasons, my chance of being asked to be on such a slate closely approaches zero.)

    In short, I’m willing to give authors some benefit of doubt, particularly the ones who I don’t already know were previously associated with the slate. As always, your mileage may vary on this.

  8. ULTRAGOTHA: If everyone was contacted and agreed, what is the linguistic force and meaning of “especially in the Best Novel category”?

    There are people on the “Puppies” slates who claim, contra Torgerson, that they were *not* contacted. For example: http://www.blackgate.com/2015/04/04/a-detailed-explanation/ .

    I suppose it depends whether you believe that Brad Torgerson who put Matthew Surridge on his slate is a liar, or Matthew Surridge is a liar. But it does seem to be one of the two…

    John: Last year I downloaded the Kindle samples of both “Lines of the Departure” and “The Dark Between the Stars”, but bounced off them both. On a scale of 0 (least) to 10 (most), how much do you advise me to try again on them rather than (say) to spend my time reading vote nominee getters #6-#10 for the novella, novelette, and short story categories?


    Brad DeLong

  9. Given the way in which Hugo voting is structured, it looks like the puppies may have inadvertently given the excellent Goblin Emperor a chance to snag a very unlikely Hugo. I’ll be doing my part to try to make that the reality.

    (I wonder if Correia’s declining his nomination gave Addison her slot? Either way, I thought that was one small bit of class in what has otherwise been a classless situation all around.)

  10. And may I campaign for my first cousin Phil Lord’s “The LEGO® Movie”? As I understand it, too many members of the Association of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences judged it as a two-hour toy commercial that they were obliged to pay $8 to see, and so it was robbed of its Oscar. But it would be nice if they were to get their much-deserved Hugo, even though “The LEGO® Movie” is fantasy only by a stretch…


    Brad DeLong

  11. Brad DeLong:

    I don’t usually re-read things I’ve read when I’m considering them for Hugos; if I bounce off something once, I usually bounce off it twice (the exception to this is if I’m reading it a decade or more later, because the book hasn’t changed, but I have). So it’s entirely your call.

    In any event, vote getters #6 – #10 won’t be revealed until after the Hugo ceremony.


    We won’t know what was the #6 vote until after the ceremony and I don’t think it’s useful to speculate until then. I wasn’t aware Correia declined a nomination, but if he did, speaking as someone who’s declined a nomination before (I turned down a Nebula nomination for Redshirts, as I was president of SFWA at the time), it’s always a nice feeling to know you’re giving a fellow author a shot at the bauble.

    Also, I don’t believe it’s unlikely that Goblin Emperor might win the Hugo. It was nominated for the Nebula as well, placed on a number of end-of-year lists, and was well-reviewed and well-regarded. I put it on my own nomination ballot. I’m super-pleased for Katherine Addison/Sarah Monette, who was, I will note, in my Campbell class.

  12. I was seriously thinking about not going for supporting registration this year, but just decided to anyway after the lists came out.

    I’ve only read one novel that made the short list (Echopraxia, Ancilliary Sword. Station Eleven, the three body problem and lock-in were my noms, FWIW). I’ve heard good things about the goblins though, and I am currently on book 6 of the Dresden files, which is entertaining but not sure is really a Hugo candidate, unless viewed as a series.

    Didn’t think I read enough shorts to nominate in those categories, ah well, I can vote on those from the pack. I just hope they aren’t as tedious as last years’ SP offerings, but I’m not very confident on that.

    Ironically enough, I do agree with the SPs about the dino story, in that I didn’t feel it should have been on the Hugo list, although it is beautifully written.

    I don’t usually vote for the editors’ awards, but I might make an exception for some guy called Noah this year.

  13. MRAL:

    Correia’s statement on declining his nomination can be found in full on his blog, if you haven’t seen it. To take one quote from it – “I refused the nomination for one simple reason. The Sad Puppies campaign isn’t about any one person. I felt that ultimately my presence would be a distraction from the overall mission.”

    In the light of that context, I don’t think there’s anything particularly classy about his declining a nomination.

  14. The main propagator of the SP slate has said that everyone on the slate was contacted and informed of their presence thereon. Those who requested to be removed were, he says, removed.

    Now, we know that this is not entirely true, as is explained in a very long, very detailed blog post from someone on the slate who got enough votes to be nominated and then declined the nomination. The official voice of SP states that all slated authors approved of their presence on the slate. One slated author says that’s not true. “Ooops, we missed you!”

    Which is clearly meant to imply that all the rest did approve of their slate position. That’s put me in an odd position.

    Both the SP and RP slates set out to disrupt the Hugos in a way that is aimed at a very specific type of voter; that voter is me. And they said that from the start. In my mind, any author who accepted a place on the slate is not going to get my vote, because they agreed to a tactic that is intended to make my nominating vote, which was based on the things I read and loved from 2014, worth less than it should have been worth. And it’s not just things I loved that were hurt; it’s also things SP voters loved.

    In assembling the SP slate, Mr. SP asked his readers for suggestions. There were tons. No single novel was reccomended more than three times. If everyone voting the slate had instead voted their own preferences, I would have no quibble at all with what was done. The ballot would probably have skewed somewhat towatds what those voters love, and that is as it should be.

    However, by voting the slate, the SP voters not only crowded out things I voted for, but things they themselves would have voted for, in the absence of the slate. And they did this “to take back the Hugos for people like us”, without regard to the damage they did to non-slate works they loved. In other words, they put their desire to lash out at me above their love for the works they otherwise would have voted for.

    I am not going to reward that with my vote for any such book or story or whatever. My initial inclination was just to read everything and let the votes fall where they may. But if Mr. SP is telling the truth, and the one counterexample we know of really was a fluke, then these authors agreed to participate in a tactic intended to hurt people like me, that also hurt works SP voters loved.

    Where I end up is having a known liar assure me that Jim Butcher approved of his being on the slate. In that case, I will not vote for his book above No Award. If that is not the case, then I will vote for it above No Award (but below my higher choices).

    So I find myself hoping that Mr. Sad Puppies is a complete liar and they didn’t bother actually to ask (because they assumed anything they liked, the author would like what thay were doing? who onows?), so that I can vote for Butcher’s novel above No Award.

  15. Looking at other measures of popularity for four authors I’ve read, I see that the “Big Boys Don’t Cry” ebook falls about 30k in Amazon’s ranking, below “Ancillary Sword” in ebook (9k) or paperback (13k) and above “The Dark Between the Stars” in hardback (66k) or ebook (94k). “Lines of Departure” breaks the 1k barrier in paid ebook form, and is at 24k in paperback. All in all, those all seem not unreasonable to be on a ballot together based on sales figures.

    I note that last year’s GoodReads Choice Awards had 146,367 votes cast in the Science Fiction category, and 233,644 votes cast in the Fantasy category, a couple of orders of magnitude more than the votes in the Hugo nominations. The categories are different and the rules are different, so the results don’t directly compare, but it seems that if you want to look at the most objective measure of “what’s good”, then it seems the best way to go would be to look at the largest, least restricted voting pool (and if you think a $50 membership isn’t restrictive, remember the courts’ views on poll taxes). GoodReads is by no means a perfect sampling; it is highly biased towards English (though #72 on the most popular books of 2014 is in Arabic), but for sheer number of voters, I can’t find anything else that compares.

  16. @Brad DeLong, re: who’s lying:

    Specifically, Torgersen said “Actually, Sad Puppies 3 did contact the majority of its proto-participants, to see who would or would not like to participate officially. I think we had a few who got missed — understandable, considering the volume of names and e-mails flying around in January. A few people turned us down. Only two got put on the list without an explicit ‘yes’ (by accident) and were removed when they asked to be removed; without rancor.”

    I think this is consistent with the clarification that every Best Novel nominee was contacted. Presumably Surridge is one of the two people who was put on the list without a yes. My conclusion is that nobody’s lying.

  17. jbdelong: “I suppose it depends whether you believe that Brad Torgerson who put Matthew Surridge on his slate is a liar, or Matthew Surridge is a liar. But it does seem to be one of the two…”

    I have no problem completely believing Matthew Surridge.

  18. scot:

    “All in all, those all seem not unreasonable to be on a ballot together based on sales figures.”

    Have you tried looking at the sales figures for the Best Graphic Story? I rather suspect most of the ballot will more or less group together, and one will stick out like a sore thumb.

  19. Regarding whether everyone who was on the slate approved their inclusion, there’s a grey area there as well: at least one person on the slate for Campbell Award consideration wrote that his reaction to being on the slate for having written exactly one short story that even he considered “workmanlike” was “consternation” and although he did not remove his name from the slate, he told people not to vote for him if they were doing so only because his name appeared on the SP slate. (I personally thought that his attempt to thread the needle involved an exceedingly microscopic hole…)

  20. @Bryant. Torgerson claims both those who were put on the list without their approval were then removed. Surridge was not removed. Either he is lying, or Torgerson is lying.

  21. The rational side of me looks forward to reading things I’ve not read yet. The Hugo voter packet is better than Christmas to me. I have every intention of reading as much as I can before I cast my ballot. There are always works on the ballot that I’ve never read, some by authors I’ve never heard of. Stepping outside my comfort zone is a challenge I accept.

    The wasp-nest kicking, bear-poking side of me might be eyeing an order of subversive badge ribbons.

  22. This is probably a silly question, but how do you go about buying one of these supporting memberships everyone is talking about?

  23. Oh, and Mr. Scalzi, I’m disgusted by the fact that you didn’t bother to personally write the Hugo nomination short list yourself this year. Apparently you’ve been doing this for years; why did you foresake us in 2015?

    I assume that you normally made up the list whilst cackling manically in your underground lab, lit only by two jacobs’ ladders and the luminous eyes of a small homunculous. Fortunately the camera never panned back far enough to show you weren’t wearing pants.

  24. I agree with the comment from Sorcharei above. But also, I am not sure that I am going to vote at all. I know that this may be the outcome that the sad puppies are going for, but ultimately my reading of fiction and participation in voting is meant to be fun. And this whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth and is not fun anymore.

    Since people are nominating things solely for political reasons (possibly they haven’t even read them), I feel no obligation to read undeserving nominees in the name of fairness. If I do vote, I will rank the “No Award” option after the deserving non-SP nominees. I do realize that its possible that some of the SP nominees did deserve nomination, so its unfortunate that they will not be considered. In the end, I think they are hurting themselves as much as anyone else.

  25. dagobert2nd:

    This is an excellent year to vote.

    Not the Reddit Chris S.:

    Yes, the very concerted inability of certain people to recognize the difference between me posting a thread to let anyone post an award recommendation, and a few people posting an explicit slate, speaks to either intentional disingenuousness or outright in ability to think clearly, or both.

    But, eh. I’ve been a boogeyman for while. Their attempts to blame their actions on me doen’t really appear to have stuck with anyone other than themselves.

  26. @Brad — ugh, I’ve mis-read and thus confused the issue. Let me try and unconfuse.

    1. Torgersen said that everyone who asked to be removed was removed. This is slightly different than saying that everyone who was put on the list without approval was removed. It means he assumed anyone who didn’t speak up consented.

    2. Surridge did not ask to be removed. (Note: I was thus incorrect.) His words:

    “Had anybody contacted me to explain the thinking behind the Puppy campaign and ask if I wanted me to be on the slate, I would have politely refused. In retrospect, I certainly should have sent everybody involved e-mails asking to be withdrawn from the Puppy lists in February. I want to sincerely apologise to everybody involved with both Puppy campaigns for not taking action at that time; and while I’m at it, I’ll also apologise to the Hugo organisers for letting things go as far as they did.”

    So far so good?

    3. Torgersen also said that everyone who got put on the list without an explicit yes asked to be removed. Reiterating:

    “Only two got put on the list without an explicit ‘yes’ (by accident) and were removed when they asked to be removed; without rancor.”

    This is obviously not true.

    On lying: you can assume that Torgersen is deliberately lying. You can also assume that Torgersen was not as precise about the slate as he thinks he is, and he’s wrong by accident. I’m not wearing blinders but I can’t see where he benefits from lying deliberately; it’s too easy to catch him out.

    Also worth noting: Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine says they had no idea they were on the slate till Friday.

  27. He benefits from lying in that if all slate authors approved being on the slate, then his campaign has the support of decent people who are known and liked by folks on all sides of this question.

  28. ……….is that why I didn’t recognize a great deal of the ballot this year? Because people manipulated random shit on there for political reasons? Suddenly everything makes sense.

  29. Folks, I think we’ve reached the useful end of the discussion of whether or not the folks running the SP slate informed everyone on it that they were, in fact, on it. Let’s table it, please.

  30. Thank you, John. I think my story stands on its own and is worthy, as did the editors (JJA and Hugh Howey) who bought it, and the fans and reviewers who have raved about it. It will be in the Hugo packet and I hope it will get read.

  31. Annie:

    As it happens, so do I. I was thrilled to see your name on the ballot; it sets a very high bar for everything else in your category.

  32. Is there a nomination long-list available?
    Just to facilitate a comparison of the non-slate ballots when having this discussion.

  33. I think the thing which worries me most about this is the deliberate outreach toward a certain set of online wreckers; outreach which was deliberately couched in terms of “this is another way to hurt your enemies, the social justice warriors” rather than any mention of actually supporting anything positive.

    I suspect this outreach to be more indicative of their true intentions than anything else they’ve done. By their actions shall ye know them.

  34. Nick H, I agree that Correia’s statement is not exactly graceful (he’s still talking about “social justice witch hunts”, for one thing) but you have to take it as a given that he believes in the “mission”, such as it is. I still think it was good of him to decline his nomination, even if his general behavior has been fairly obnoxious.

    JS, I was thinking of Goblin Emperor as an unlikely Hugo only because the field this year has been very strong, and I would have thought that while it might have a shot at a nomination, it would almost certainly lose to any number of other titles (Annihilation, The Three-Body Problem, Lock In, even Correia’s book). I might be underestimating its popularity, however.

    The Goblin Emperor thing is a little bit of a dubious silver lining, though, because the fact is that I am kind of annoyed with the situation. This will be my first worldcon, and I feel as though it has been basically hijacked in the service of some sort of perceived culture war, by people who care less about sf fandom than about making a vaguely political statement about…. I don’t really know, honestly. And I’ll add that it’s not just the Sad Puppies – there’s a political aspect to many of those who are losing their shit, as belied in phrases like “extinction burst” and “white man tears” and references to Hitler. In the end, though, it’s the Sad Puppy leaders that willfully instigated this situation, so they bear primary responsibility for what I basically see as a profound instance of disrespect. The conversation is now is all about social justice and personal vendettas and Vox Day, and I don’t want to talk about any of those things. I am sick of them. I’m not going to rank the whole slate below No Award, but I can see why others might.

  35. I’ll just make the observation that the law of unintended consequences applies to everyone and every movement.

  36. Unfortunately, ballot stuffing campaigns are too easy to implement in the internet age, especially when they are organized under an explicitly activist banner like Sad Puppies. I think that when Worldcon releases the statistics for this years ballot, it will likely show a near identical parity in votes for sad puppies nominees. The same thing is likely to happen next year as well, as rule changes to the voting system need to be approved for two consecutive years to go into effect.
    But assuming Worldcon will get serious about putting a stop to ballot stuffing campaigns, it would be a simple thing to change it to something similar to the Locus Award system: 1) Make the nominating ballot preferential. If voters rank their nominations, some ballot stuffers might still make the cut, but are far less likely to run the table like they did this year; 2) Make attending members’ votes count for double. They pay something like four times the amount of supporting members and actually show up to the party (which means hotel room, travel costs, etc.), so they deserve a greater say in how the ballot is shaped. This may, unfortunately, discourage a number of people who would like to be supporting members and vote for the Hugos from doing so (which in turn means less money for Worldcon), however; 3) They can also reduce the price of a supporting membership, from $40 to, say, $20, or perhaps even lower, to encourage more people to join.
    Sadly, because of the success of this Sad Puppies campaign, for the second year in a row I will have to disregard a number of the nominees on principle alone. Unlike John, I cannot divorce the works themselves from the reason they are there. While the Sad Puppies claim to represent a “populist” wing of fandom, in truth they and their acolytes represent only a small, insular corner of fandom, fueled by cynicism and rage and absurd claims of persecution and a bizarre, unearned sense of entitlement.
    I’m saying this as a huge fan of Jim Butcher and The Dresden Files, and I would have been more than happy to consider Skin Game on the final ballot if it had arrived there under different circumstances.
    I’m also saying this as someone who read my first Kevin J Anderson book when I was nine, and plenty more of them throughout my teens and early twenties. He doesn’t really reflect my literary tastes as an adult anymore, but regardless, he brought me plenty of joy in my youth, and also you’ve got to admire someone who has had as far reaching and successful career as he has had.
    So it does tick me off a little bit that I will have to leave both of these men off my ballot, replaced by No Award – a nominating tool that it generally ticks me off to have to wield under any circumstances. I don’t know what the specific political leanings of either author are, or if they knew, or cared to know, exactly what they were getting into when they agreed to be part of the slate. In fact, with the exception of John C. Wright, Vox Day, and Tom Kratman I don’t know anything about the politics of any of these authors – I just know that few if any of them would be there if a bunch of single agenda voters weren’t voting for them in lockstep. So I’m not going to waste a single second of my time considering any of these works for the sake of “fairness”. Placing any one of them on my ballot, as far as I’m concerned, gives explicit support to the agenda they represent.

  37. (long discussion of who didn’t get told snipped on seeing request to table discussion)

    So absolutely I believe there are some people on those slates who didn’t agree to it. OTOH I also oppose slates in general for reasons I had probably better not go into with the Mallet in play. What I *can* do is read their work carefully to see if this is another author/fanzine/etc whose work I want to follow, and, if so, nominate them myself, hoping I can vote for them with an undivided heart in a more auspicious year.

  38. Further to my earlier post, none of the works in the short fiction category even made it to the Locus recomended reading list, which contains 127 works across the the three lengths.

  39. Gary C, I think there’s a significant difference here from a ballot stuffing campaign, and it’s simply this: the Sad Puppies don’t care which of those 5 novels wins the Hugo.

  40. What I’m worried about is the inevitable, if it hasn’t occurred already, nominating something on their slate that would have genuinely gotten there under its own steam and maybe even all the way to the top without a Sad Puppy interference. That way they get a win if it makes it, they claim the win in their name despite people doing as John suggests and divorcing it from political context. They also get a win if a boycott denies it a place, because at least then they’ve denied someone a win that they would have won and have therefore had an impact on the voting landscape. A Sad Puppy in the Manger response. IYSWIM?

  41. @crypticmirror: If you look at the Sad Puppies slate for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long), you’ll see a bunch of movies that probably would indeed have been nominated without the Puppies’ participation.

  42. crbo42, I absolutely agree with you that they don’t care which of the nominees win. It’s not a “traditional” ballot-stuffing campaign, it’s the new norm – a cynical, rage-fuelled ballot-stuffing campaign. That’s why I’m advocating for a change in the nominating rules, so that the greater majority of fans who do care which of the nominees wins don’t have to tolerate their shenanigans anymore.

  43. Gary C

    The most obvious modification I can think of, restricting nominators to fewer nominations than the ballot has places, isn’t going to work when there are two Puppy slates in play.

    Did you have something else in mind?

  44. If the block votes are split though, it makes it easier for normal votes.

    There’s no way to eliminate the advantage organisation has over disorganisation in a political process, but it can be mitigated.

  45. Cat Faber, see my original post above. Preferential nominating ballot + Attending members votes count double + Reducing cost of supporting membership.

  46. Geoff Thorpe wrote: “Further to my earlier post, none of the works in the short fiction category even made it to the Locus recomended reading list, which contains 127 works across the the three lengths.”

    Are you just reporting a fact, or singling out this fact to imply a conclusion?

    That Locus could produce such an extensive list without including a single book published by Baen deters me from trying to argue that a book or story which doesn’t appear on the list must be presumed to fall below the necessary of excellence. (Locus listed none Baen in 2014, either.)

    Also, Paul DiFilippo favorably reviewed John C. Wright’s 2014 novel on Locus Online. DiFilippo was enthusiastic enough you’d have to wonder why Locus didn’t consider it one of the 50 best novels of last year (the combined total of novels on their sf and fantasy lists).

  47. This, from Abi at Making Light, is something that I think bears rebroadcasting to a different (if overlapping) audience:

    “When I sit alone with my Hugo nomination page and try to wrestle through the eligibility lists, thinking about the things I’ve enjoyed over the past year, I’m faced with the fact that my relationship with literature and media is *both more and less than political*. As a single person reacting to what the field has produced *I must listen, as well as speak* in the way that someone voting en bloc need not. And doing this thing alone, I can’t dictate what ‘should’ win. *I cannot change* the Hugos. *But I can be changed* by them. …

    “My Hugo nominations and votes are reactions to that broadening-out of my mental universe. As such, they’re intimately, intensely personal. And that’s part of the visceral reaction that some fans are having to the Sad Puppies’ slate: it looks like the institutionalization of a private, particular process in the service of an external goal. It comes across as a coarsening and a standardizing of something that should be fine-grained, unpredictable, and unique to each person participating.”

  48. I have only one thing to say about all this. I’ve gotta change my reading habits. Now, I don’t mean that I am reading ‘the wrong stuff’, or reading things I don’t like (there is not time enough in all eternity for that!). I read the ‘good stuff’ by my own lights. However, I read it too late. I have fallen so far behind on my TBR piles that I generally find that when Hugo nomination time comes around, I haven’t read anything published in the eligible time frame. So I wait, read the nominees, vote, and usually add another author to the ‘must read’ list. Starting this year, no more. I am going to read new stuff, and next year, I will have my own little list to nominate.

  49. Ancllary sword will almost certainly win the hugo. The 3 sad puppies books will get a backlash and be put behind no award on too many ballots. I couldnt get into goblin emperor. I prefer edgier books. Personal taste. Jim butcher might be able to overcome the backlash…. But Worldcon is more of a SF crowd and I dont thing urban fantasy is very popular with the worldcon crowd.

    I wonder if TOR will congratulate John C Wright on his record 6 nominations since they publish his books.

  50. I’m not sure how this blog post is that different from the SP…or how the slates that were promoted say, 5 years ago, are different from SP.

    OTOH, from reading the blog posts from the editors at Tor, I am apparently not a real fan because I read a LOT of different viewpoints and because I’ve not been to a con. Money hasn’t allowed as I had kids at home for years. Now reaching the point where I should have time to go…but it would appear that I need to associate with the right people at them. Hmmm…how to figure that one out. Or maybe the wrong people are more fun?

    But I’ll be working my way through the nominees as I can, but I won’t be spending time on Ancillary Sword…I couldn’t fight my way through the first one even after trying twice. I do recommend Michael Williamson’s though…he is at his snarky best.

  51. Looking over the slate for this year, I can’t name anyone I’d like to see win any of the categories. I recognized a few names but there is nothing on there that I’ve actually read. I’m sure there are some people there who deserve to be on the slate, and at least one or two that might surprise people… I know that one of the names surprised me.

    Best of luck to whomever wins each category. Your peers know what is deserving.

  52. I feel sorry for the folks in the Novelette category and the editor of Analog. Analog is not to my taste, but it has the highest circulation of the 3 digest magazines. In any other year, Analog getting that many nominations could be considered solid approval of Trevor Quachri’s editorial direction since taking over from Stan Schmidt. Unfortunately, I think that got tainted by the Sad and Rabid Puppies thing.

  53. Guess, the thing about Ancillary Sword is that I feel as though the voters might be reluctant to give Leckie two Best Novel Hugos in a row. (I don’t think that’s ever happened before.) The only SP nominee I see as having any real shot is Skin Game, since Butcher has a substantial fanbase independent of the puppies.

    I’ve heard good things about Kloos; I’m looking forward to reading his book. I doubt anything will shake my conviction that Goblin Emperor is by far the best thing on the ballot, but who knows?

  54. What irks me about this, as one of the Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine minions (and no, we weren’t asked, no, we weren’t alerted, no, there wasn’t any point in seeking to get ourselves off the slate by the late date that we did become aware of its existence), is that what should be a career-defining highlight in the history of the ‘zine, a Hugo nom, has very much morphed into something of a poisoned chalice. Win or lose, the taint remains; and we honestly did nothing to earn it, did not know of it until it was much too late.

    In what universe did Sad Puppies ever think they were doing us a favour, by putting us on their slate alongside Abyss & Apex and Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show? (Or were, perhaps, ASIM and A&A only there as ‘redshirts’ — you will, I hope, excuse the term — to accompany Card’s IGMS which, alas, did not survive the away mission down to Planet Nomination?)

    I bear no ill will to anyone on the ballot, however they got there. I wish them all the best of luck, insofar as such luck is fully consistent with entirely individual voting, free from blocs. (That probably won’t be quite what happens, of course, but it’d be good.)

  55. @MRAL: Other than the times that it has happened: Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, for sure, and I think I may be forgetting another pair.

  56. John, in the eventuality that several Hugos end up being “won” by No Award, there’ll be several pauses in the ceremony where normally an acceptance speech would be made. Instead of just skipping on to the next categories, suppose there were some speeches ready to go in those slots, explaining why No Award won, and thanking the voters?
    Suppose you were to write one? Just an idle thought…

  57. I confess to compulsive consumption of science fiction and fantasy novels (I’m not so much into short stories or novellas). I don’t watch TV, I don’t go to movies. I read. Every day, for hours each day.

    I spend a lot of time reading and I won’t read more than a few pages of anything I don’t like. Why should I?

    My considerations for a book’s worthiness are this: Do I like the characters? Can the author tell a good story that keeps my interest? Is the book written in a way such that the writing becomes invisible and lets me into a new world seamlessly? And, ultimately, do I want to read more of this author?

    I don’t give a hoot what other people like or don’t like in their reading except as their opinions lead me to a good book. That includes publishers, reviewers, fans of authors and the authors themselves. Lead me astray once and I won’t listen to your opinion again. My reading time is too valuable to waste.

    Therefore, if I was to vote for some award, my considerations above would be the *only* factors involved. This Hugo slate business is meaningless to me. The politics are meaningless to me. Who the author is is meaningless to me because even the best authors can write duds. Is it a good book? That is the only question, at least when it comes to my vote.

  58. Thank you, John, for suggesting that the works be judged on their own merits. Like Annie (who is awesome!), I think mine speaks for itself. It will be in the packet, and it’s available for free on the Galaxy’s Edge website.

  59. It’s hard to see how Wright nabbing three nominations in the novella category won’t tarnish Hugo permanently. I don’t think anyone really believes he wrote three of the best novellas of the year – this is such a clear case of trolling that it casts a shadow on the nomination process for years to come. Very sad, since Hugo really did seem like a fair assessment of the field back in the Nineties. There were always quibbles about some sentimental favorites, but no category ever looked this ludicrous and didactic. This is seriously unfair to many of the deserving nominees.

  60. What drew my interest is that the late William Patterson’s second and final volume of the biography of Robert Heinlein, published by Tor, wasn’t nominated in the Best Related Work category; the first volume was, 4 years ago, but didn’t win. Was it because fewer voters care about Heinlein today than in 2011? Or was it because they do care but didn’t like the biography itself (or at least volume 2)? Or did it have to do with this John C. Wright fellow – whom I’ve never heard of until now – taking a slot? All of these seem plausible to some extent.

  61. “Who the author is is meaningless to me because even the best authors can write duds.” You forgot the converse to that; even the most reprehensible human beings can write excellent books. There are also books that, while I don’t regret reading them, I’ll know I will never, ever read again–not because it wasn’t a “good” book, but because it made me profoundly uncomfortable (my typical definition of art is a means the artist uses to evoke an emotional response from the observer, then it would qualify as effective art).

    And as far as graphic novel sales go, I didn’t look at those, because I haven’t read any works by any of the selected authors. I looked at Kratman, Leckie, Kloos, and Anderson because I’ve read their works–Leckie’s nominated work, and other works by the rest. My favorite graphic novels are Sluggy Freelance and Schlock Mercenary, which are to the best of my knowledge self published, so sales figures on those would be hard to find and hard to compare to commercially published works. It certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t good; consider that “The Martian” was self published before it was picked up by a publisher, at which point its popularity surged.

    Basically it boils down to this: the Hugo awards represent the works that received the most votes from the WorldCon members. It doesn’t mean anything about why they voted the way they did, or how well aligned their votes were with any other subset of the reading public.

  62. So, the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies wound up controlling three nominations for Best novel and four nominations for Best Novella this year after getting what, one and one last year? This represents a significant achievement on the part of the SP/RP proponents. While the esteemed owner of this establishment rightly points out that this is all done using completely legal tactics, one has to look at the progression and think about next year. Will they get to control ten out of ten nominations?

    Yes, NO AWARD is always a choice at the end of the day, but remember that every Sad Puppy nominee in the top five displaces another work. If Sad Puppies own all five spots in a nomination (and they came very close to that in Best Novella category), and NO AWARD wins – does it really mean that no award-worthy novellas were published that year?

    The counter to this is fairly obvious. There were fewer than 2000 nominating ballots for Best Novel, and just over 1000 for Best Novella. If we do not want Sad Puppies to troll the awards, all we need to do is show up and vote.

    This has been the cause celebre for the right-wingers for way too much time. Nothing says that 2016 Hugo voting cannot be promoted by the other side of the blogosphere.

  63. COSuzeQ nails it: “I’m not sure how this blog post is that different from the SP…or how the slates that were promoted say, 5 years ago, are different from SP.”

    SP is nothing more or less than a reaction to the nominees and winners of years past that earned their approbation not on literary merit or SF qualities but on their leftist political POV pushing. Speaking as one who has neither nominated nor voted, I think the whole introduction of politics into the process is deplorable. The puppies didn’t start it, though.

    Talk about unintended consequences! Ask the folks who started this political war if they’d have done so had they known what the reaction would be.

    Personally, I find SF that pushes leftist viewpoints unpleasant to read. To pick on our host for a moment, I found _Fuzzy Nation_ to be just a bit too strident, as a retelling of the story that let bashing the mean nasty eeeevil corporation take precedence over the rest, and I have no intention of reading _Lock In_ because I find the idea of a genderless protagonist gimmicky in the service of a leftist SJW agenda, not to mention the fact that it damages my ability to form a mental image of the character.

    So to those who gave us only leftist, politically correct nominees in the past: you have reaped what you sowed. Hope you enjoy knowing what those of us on the other side of the aisle feel.

  64. I think I’m the first poster here who’s a “Sad Puppy” nominee.

    I found out I was on Sad Puppies on February 2nd, which was either the day it was announced, or the day after it was announced.

    I hadn’t even been aware that a piece I’d published was eligible this year. Most of my writing is games or buzzword infected technical jargonese. This isn’t my first pro sale, but may have been the first in the SF/Fantasy market.

    We were ALSO still in the “help the publisher promote the anthology” cycle.

    So, I took the notification about Sad Puppies and that I was on it, and went “Sure, that can get me readers, perhaps more sales.”

    I then rewrote the notification a bit, put in some materials about my piece of it, posted it to social media. Then went back to technical editing, working on games, and more or less moved on.

    I hadn’t given it any thought whatsoever until I got an email on March 21st saying I’d made the final ballot. At that point, I started looking at what placed the previous years, and found “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love.” I had flashbacks to teaching introductory Creative Writing. It’s a lovely use of the English language for an over-earnest voice-over monologue lament that can be read as utter dissatisfaction for a man for having the gall to not be fierce enough to win a four-on-one fight.

    There is no universe in which you can convince me that that was the best short fiction of 2013. Or anywhere in the top five. I’m glad Rachel Swirsky has an audience. I’d read something by her again, because she’s good with words. I’d like to see her tackle a more conventional story structure.

    Today, I got to enjoy the buzz of making the final ballot….for about three hours. Then I searched on the discussions. I harbor no illusions that I’ll win; in the category that I’m in (Best Related Work) there’s a piece that’s clearly head-and-shoulders better than anyone else’s, mine, and three pieces that are all expressions of “let’s make sure that the people we dislike know we like making them uncomfortable.”

    My victory condition? Readers. I would love to be able to make enough off of writing SF and games to give up the more lucrative, but boring work I do to pay bills.

    So, thank you, Mr. Scalzi, for encouraging people to read the works. That’s the benefit I see to this for me, personally.

  65. if “Birth of a Nation” were nominated today, I wouldn’t watch it, and I would vote against it sight unseen without any qualms.

    Vox Day is a sexist, racist bigot.

    And anyone who uses the term “Politically Correct” in an unironic way is essentially saying “You not accepting my bigotry with a loving embrace is tyranny on your part”.

    And I for one feel no qualms about rejecting bigotry out of hand. No, I don’t need to judge a bigot’s work on its merits. No, I don’t need to give bigotry a chance.

  66. There is nothing classy about Correia declining his nomination.

    It’s not exactly a surprise to him that he was nominated, right? I mean, his name/book is right there on the Sad Puppy slate. Right up at the top of the list of people he and his friends tried to create a bloc of people to vote for. If he didn’t want to be on the slate, because it would “politicize” it, surely he could have gotten himself off the slate… that he himself originally created. It’s not like he can claim he didn’t know he was on it.

    He basically had his supporters/his friends’ supporters vote en masse to give him a nomination, along with the rest of the slate. And once he got that nomination (but pointedly not before) he withdrew. So, now he gets one more Hugo nom (if not officially) but doesn’t have to endure the indignity of putting his work to the general vote (where he’d likely lose… like last year).

    For a guy who has claimed for years that the Hugo awards are meaningless due to the supposed cabal of bleeding-heart liberal gatekeepers, he goes to an awful amount of effort to get himself Hugo nominations.

  67. There is no universe in which you can convince me that that was the best short fiction of 2013. Or anywhere in the top five.

    I have to ask: what exactly does this have to do with the Sad Puppy slate? To the best of my knowledge, the dinosaur story wasn’t strong-armed onto the ballot by a bunch of people who didn’t actually think it was the best thing out there, but nominated it/voted for it to make a political point and stick it to people they disagreed with. It just happened to be a story that hit a sufficiently large percentage of the Worldcon voting populace in the feels to garner a lot of support. The fact that it wasn’t your cuppa is simply a matter of different taste, rather than the outcome of a deliberate attempt to take control of the process in the name of an external cause.

    Also, the fact that I have seen you repeatedly saying “I hope I get more readers out of this” on Making Light, and now over here, doesn’t really incline me to oblige you. It feels like you’re trying to play both sides, riding the wave of attention the Sad Puppy slate has brought you while disavowing any real association with them (so as not to drive off the people who are pissed about it). In short, it feels cynical and opportunistic to me.

    (And that’s *before* I get to the fact that you are published by Castalia House, home to some of the more repellent excuses for human beings I have encountered in SF/F circles. I do, in fact, judge you for the company you keep.)

    I have limited reading time in my life. I have neither the desire nor the obligation to spend it on works written or published by people who see my very personhood as an offense and a threat to them.

  68. Jay: Given what you posted about agender folks, I think he knows just about enough.

  69. Thanks for calling me a bigot without knowing a thing about me.

    As someone else pointed out, you’ve already revealed something about yourself. Others can and do judge you on what you’ve revealed.

    It may not be all of what your are. And you may not feel it’s representative of what you are, but it IS something about you. And that’s what people have to go by…what you say and how you behave. (none of us are mind readers or soul readers you know).

  70. Cheradenine: I didn’t post about agender folks. I posted about a story with a protagonist whose gender, IIRC, our esteemed host has said he deliberately left unspecified.

    I have no opinions about agender, or transgender, or anything of the sort another may be.

    And, gwangung, those who claim those of us who oppose political correctness are automatically bigots reveal their own bigotry.

  71. And, gwangung, those who claim those of us who oppose political correctness are automatically bigots reveal their own bigotry.

    Well, then it’s a good thing I didn’t say that, then.

    I do think that the impression you are giving is not the same as what you think of yourself as, however.

  72. @Jay Maynard

    If only there were some way for us to test if the books you like weren’t winning the Hugo award because of politics, while works you didn’t like like Fuzzy Nation were.

    I know! We could get them nominated, and see!

    Hmm, looks like Fuzzy Nation didn’t do so well- it never got nominated at all. But the Sad Puppy slate last year did! Every work on the slate, actually! Great, now we can put it to the voters, instead of letting the evil liberal gatekeepers keep them from their rightful due. I’m sure once these popular works get put to the vote, they’ll beat out these horrid liberal works you so despise, that only get in due to politics.


    That’s odd.

    None of the Sad Puppy slate last year won. At all. Almost like… most people don’t have the same taste as you. Like the reason they weren’t nominated before want politics, but because the general voting public didn’t think they were the best works of the year.

    I guess there’s only one thing for it.

    Swamp the nominations so the voters don’t get the opportunity to make bad choices.

  73. Anyone who uses SJW as a pejorative along the lines of the term “Feminazi” is automatically dismissed as of as little consequence as a spider fart. Doubly so if you seem to think being agender is unrealistic (my sibling is agender and they exist and are real)

    Also,what is the hate for “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love?” It was unconventional, true, but I think it counted, and it was certainly a good story. Quite poignant.

    Sad that The Book of Life got snubbed by both the Oscars and the Hugos. That was a fantastic movie and it deserved more critical acclaim.

  74. Jay Maynard: “SP is nothing more or less than a reaction to the nominees and winners of years past that earned their approbation not on literary merit or SF qualities but on their leftist political POV pushing.”

    Because the idea that anyone possibly could have made those selections on the basis of literary merit or their other qualities is simply incomprehensible to him.

  75. Or that you could form a character and personality without much of what society considers gendered?

    Hm. Sounds like an interesting bit you could try for a science fiction novel….may be quite successful at, if you bothered to read it.

  76. Jay, Wether you intended to or not and I’m inclined to assume it wasn’t intentional, but you have stepped into this thread and made yourself look bigoted.
    Buzzword usage of “SJW’s” and “Leftist” don’t help your case.
    Even non bigots can look like bigots in the wrong circumstance.

  77. Jay Maynard: “SP is nothing more or less than a reaction to the nominees and winners of years past that earned their approbation not on literary merit or SF qualities but on their leftist political POV pushing.”

    And yet, our crap has so little merit we require a slate and block voting to even get it nominated.

    Plus, Vox Day dude. Enough freaking said.

  78. My takeaway from the Hugo Ballot this year is, “This will be the last year I fail to participate in the nomination process, if I can at all help it.” My single nomination may not have changed much, but it would have been more than I did do, which was sit back and see what made the ballot.

    I bought a supporting membership last year in order to vote. I am not certain if that gives me a vote this year. I *think* it does…?

    /runs off to research stuff.

  79. @Nicole: It would have given you the right to nominate this year. You have to buy another supporting membership in order to vote this year.

  80. Oh no, not again.

    I will be liberally (read “freely and enthusiastically”) voting no award and not ranking any of the SP slates. I’m not in the U.S., so I will be using my votes to object to the use of the Hugos as a battleground in parochial culture wars. “Leftists” and “rightists”, ffs. That said, if the slate is of the same quality as last year, nothing of value will be lost.

  81. Just a reminder Supporting Memberships are only $40! Cheap! Not $50 as John says in his initial article. For that, you get the Hugo packet and the right to vote in the Hugos and all the Progress Reports and the Program Book. Go and register next week, we are currently being swamped. Thanks.

  82. If I had anything to do with it, I’d be inclined to go for a “Burn Moscow” option this year: Anyone not on the Sad Puppy slate who’s been nominated should withdraw and leave the field to the SPs. Let them win their precious awards, and see what good it does them.

    Meanwhile welcome all newcomers to the conventions with open arms. There’s always been a diversity of politics at WorldCon, a sudden influx of rightwing folk attracted by the fuss isn’t really going to make a difference.

  83. John, my recollection is that you never put together a slate and recommended particular votes for all Hugo categories; and, in fact, you never published your own ballot. Is my recollection correct? (You are a particular bete noir for these folks, and I’m trying to debunk the assertion that you did the very same thing the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies did. I know this is a project doomed from the outset for those I’m talking to directly, but I’m hoping that others not so invested might read and gain a better understanding.)

  84. Terryweyna:

    I’ve never put together a slate, no. What I have done is let people know what I had in any given year that was eligible for awards, and also posted comment threads where people could recommend their own stuff (if they were creators) or stuff they liked (if they were fans).

    That this is bruited as an equivalent action to creating a slate suggests either mendacity or disingenuousness, or both.

    I recognize that many of these people get irrationally worked up about me. I think it’s very sad for them that they let me live rent free in their brains.

  85. NelC – Welcome newcomers, sure, but I’d be wary that some are just there becauseof controversy… not to see what all the fuss is about, but to kick up more.

    Scalzi – So is this space you’re renting open and airy like a loft, or small and dark and dingy?

  86. Loncon had over 10,000 members (admittedly some were one day members not eligible to nominate), but there were only 2,122 nomination forms and in the best novella and novelette categories fewer than 1,100 nominations received. This is what gives a small number of organized people voting a slate their power. The solution is more democracy. We need a way of convincing more eligible people to nominate (getting more people eligible wouldn’t hurt either)

  87. I’ll probably have more thoughts on this later, but the points being made about the lack of nominating ballots make me wonder if there’s a potential analogy to US midterm elections…

    Anyway, I hadn’t heard anything about nominating slates before this morning. It wasn’t until I looked at the list of nominees and saw that this “John C. Wright” guy (who I hadn’t even heard of) is nominated in almost every category–including single-handedly taking _three_ novella slots–that I knew something strange was going on. Either this guy is _the_ sudden Hot New Thing(tm) or something is rotten in the state of Denmark. A quick bit of googling revealed the latter.

    I hadn’t planned on voting this year; now I almost certainly will. I can’t stand bullies, and I can’t stand people gaming fair systems. (As an aside, “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” somehow flew under my radar, but reading about it now it sounds like a really interesting story. I think I’ll be settling in to read it this afternoon.)

  88. Ken Burnside

    Your take on “If You Were A Dinosaur My Love” (that it can be read as resentment against a man for not being able to win a four-on-one fight) is…certainly quite different from every other interpretation I have seen.

    It reminds me of Lois McMaster Bujold’s contention that the reader supplies a goodly portion of the work they end up reading. Different readers can take the work in very different ways, because they have already taken the work in very different directions, so to speak. I’ve never seen that story taken in that direction before, but I accept that you honestly see it that way.

    Other readers honestly didn’t. Tastes differ.

    I bought a supporting membership last year. I knew it carried nominating rights this year. I spent a lot of the back half of last year and the first couple of months of this year seeking out as much 2014 SFF as I could get my hands on (bearing in mind my limited budget) and I nominated a full slate of my own choices in every category.

    You can do it too, people. We will need ten times the Puppies numbers to drown them out with honest nominations but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done at all.

    Yes, get supporting memberships and vote. But please, please, please NOMINATE. Pick your own choices, not a slate, and nominate. That’s where the rubber meets the road.

  89. Also remember that it never hurts your favorites’ chances to rank things below No Award. If you leave everything below No Award off, you can’t contribute to the Hugo Award’s ability to distinguish between the undeserving and the truly awful.

    If you rank your choices

    1) Best
    2) Really Good
    3) No Award
    4) Not Really Worthy
    5) Frankly, Bad.
    6) OMGwhatwereyouthinking?

    You have done the same thing as ranking them
    1) Best
    2) Really Good
    3) No Award
    4-6 (blank)

    Except that, if worst comes to absolute worst and none of your first three choices are going to win *anyway,* you have thrown your little mite on the pile to help Not Really Worthy defeat OMGwhatwereyouthinking?

    If the bottom three choices are all OMGwhatwereyouthinking, of course, this doesn’t help, so you might as well leave things blank in that case.

    (Since this is a year when many people’s choice for OMGwhatwereyouthinking? might have a serious chance, I mention it.)

    I have this from Kevin Standlee, who has helped administrate the Hugo Awards for many years, and whose understanding of the sometimes confusing corners of IRV I trust.

  90. @gottacook: Speaking for myself, I found the second volume less interesting than the first, but that didn’t surprise me (and has nothing to do with Mr. Patterson’s writing). The first volume covers Heinlein’s formative years, about which I knew comparatively little except what he himself revealed in his writing. The second volume covered ground I already knew pretty well, and (because of Heinlein’s habits) was primarily about his writing, activities which do not generally lend themselves to entertaining anecdotes.

    Again, it’s not to say the second volume was inferior in craft, just that for me it didn’t have the same feeling of novelty that the first volume did.

  91. This is really a sad situation for readers like me who enjoyed the Hugo Awards simply because it’s a great way to find authors to read and I liked being a supporting member who gets to nominate and vote because that’s fun.

    But now it’s like all the fun fan stuff has been sucked out of it. I don’t understand the sad puppies. I did a search on Twitter and all they do is rant about SJWs and I don’t know what those are either. And what’s with the GamerGate connection? I avoid GamerGate like the plague.

    The whole thing is just icky and confusing to me. I don’t want to deal with some weird political stuff.

    I’ll still vote this year. I get that not voting just lets the bad puppy people win so I’ll vote.

    I was going to be an attending member at WorldCon 2016 because it’s coming to Kansas City which is where I live but I’m not sure about that now. Mainly because I just don’t understand what’s happening. I’m just a dumb science fiction fan getting little bits and pieces that scare the crap out of me.

  92. “I also think it’s okay to penalize graceless award grasping by people who clearly despise the Hugo and what they believe it represents, and yet so very desperately crave the legitimacy they believe the award will confer to them.”

    To me, this meshuggah is curiously similar to the stance of some people in the US that they need to “take back” their country from … well, as far as I can tell, mostly from people who have only recently been able to fully participate.

    Or am I just belaboring the obvious?

  93. Dear Cat…

    With respect to: “Your take on ‘If You Were A Dinosaur My Love’ (that it can be read as resentment against a man for not being able to win a four-on-one fight) is…certainly quite different from every other interpretation I have seen… I’ve never seen that story taken in that direction before, but I accept that you honestly see it that way…”

    Burnside doesn’t say that he honestly sees it that way. He says that it “can be read” that way. I think that difference is significant…

  94. I will be liberally voting No Award this year because I want to send the message that getting on the ballot via ballot stuffing invalidates the nomination, regardless of the quality of the work. In future years, I also hope that everyone who cares will refuse to be associated with a puppy ballot and will demand to be removed, especially after seeing how being associated with them ruined any nominees’ chances to win. I am truly sorry for anyone who had worthy work nominated by the puppies this year and didn’t know what the consequences might be. All I can hope is that the lesson will be taken to heart by everyone, and bloc voting will be disdained as it ought to be.

  95. While $40 is *cheaper* than $50, that doesn’t necessarily make it *cheap* in the absolute sense. Some people are struggling to cover personal and familial necessities; $40 or $50 for something like this is going to be wayyyyyyyyyy down on the priority list. I’ve known of one community that put money together to give a few supporting memberships to folks who couldn’t afford it themselves, but other than that kind of situation, of course.

  96. The best SF/fantasy movie of the year was Snowpiercer, hands down, and I’m appalled that it didn’t make it onto either the Hugo or Nebula ballots.

    Then again, at least the Sad Puppies had the perception to notice that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of the most political movies of the last several years, and not at all in the sense that the SP would like.

    Finally – Vox Day can’t write, and Jim Butcher writes fun but unexceptional commercial fiction. What?

  97. Ummm…

    I look at:

    >BEST NOVELLA (1083 ballots)

    >Big Boys Don’t Cry by Tom Kratman (Castalia House)
    >“Flow” by Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, Nov 2014)
    >One Bright Star to Guide Them by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
    >“Pale Realms of Shade” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
    >“The Plural of Helen of Troy” by John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis, Castalia House)

    Am I reading this that John C. Wright *accepted* three novella nominations?

    I mean, an author who wanted to win an award would accept one nomination for his one out of three novellas that he thinks is the best one, no?

    I mean, an author who accepts three nominations is not in the I-would-like-to-win-an-award game, but in the I-want-to-keep-somebody-else-off-the-ballot game, no?

    Is John C. Wright *sane*?

    Brad DeLong

  98. @Brad DeLong

    Correct. I don’t read “If You Were A Dinosaur” that way. I can see how some people can jam it into that box. It’s good prose-smithing. It reminded me of a particular type of submission I saw as a Creative Writing teacher. As mentioned, I look forward to seeing Rachel Swirsky writing other things. I’m not quite at the point of “I’d read her grocery lists for the wordplay,” but she’s very skilled on the craft of writing.

    (Most of my day job is editing software engineers who’d rather have bamboo slivers jammed under their fingers than have to write something other than code-comments, so I greatly appreciate craft in writing…)

  99. Brad DeLong,
    I admit I haven’t seen the Lego movie, but Song of the Sea was easily one of the best movies I’ve seen in years. “Robbed” of its Oscar seems… hyperbolic.

  100. What’s missing from this thread is very much by way of acknowledgement of how the Sad Puppies fiasco will effect the broader status of the award outside of hardcore SF fandom. I consider myself to be a fairly devout fan (& have published a few stories in minor, but respected venues), but ‘ve never registered for WorldCon due to persistent scheduling infelicities, and even if i registered, I probably wouldn’t feel right about voting for the Hugo, ’cause I simply don’t get the chance to read enough of the nominees from year to year to judge them all fairly.

    That having been said, in the past I have always, always used the slate of Hugo nominations as a guide to future reading. The award was, in fact, an enormous boon to my adolescence, and working my way through the winners’ list was one of the few bastions to my sanity during a somewhat challenging adolescence. Having read a bit about what happened this year, my attitude at this stage is that the Hugo is now simply no longer worth being taken seriously as a guide for the casual reader toward high-quality work within the genre, and I don’t foresee myself going through the trouble of Googling the winners’ list again in future years.

    I can understand why Mr. Scalzi wants to strike a moderate, conciliatory tone here given his status as a high-profile insider to the SF community. But to someone in my position, his soft-pedaling of the controversy does look like just a little bit bit of a betrayal of a formerly glorious institution.

  101. @Marie Brennan

    I’ll address your points in order; please forgive me if I try to label your points with concision. No attempt at changing your intent was deliberate. If you feel I’ve misportrayed you, I do accept corrections.

    “Why does “Dinosaur” matter?”

    The charter of the Hugo Awards says that it’s to recognize the best in science fiction and fantasy. Again, you couldn’t convince me that Dinosaur, no matter how pleasing the prose-construction, fit as one of the five best pieces of short fiction of 2013.

    “In short, [your behavior] feels cynical and opportunistic to me.”

    I don’t think there’s much to be gained by trying to exclude one of the factions of SF-Fantasy readership. Trying to reach out to both sides is, in fact, how you heal zealotry and partisanship. Not because you’ll change the minds of the zealots and partisans, but because you’ll provide an example to the people watching the debate who don’t necessarily align with both sides.

    I will freely cop to – as admitted in my original post here – that I saw Sad Puppies as a way to get more readers. I can also see the purchases on my website. The Hugo announcement has gotten me more readers.

    I’d be honored to number you among them, even if your conscience demands you to vote No Award in the category as your top vote-getter. I think “Letters To Gardner is going to walk away with the category; it’s head-and-shoulders above everything else in it, my own science popularization included.

    “I do, in fact, judge you for the company you keep.”

    And I do not reciprocate. I try to judge people by their merits, and no publishing house is free of its odious shibboleths. Tor, to its credit, has fired some of theirs; in spite of the behavior of the Former Editor Who Shall Not Be Named, I still buy Tor books.

    “written or published by people who see my very personhood as an offense”

    If you can find anything to indicate my offense at your personhood in “The Hot Equations,” I’d be interested in knowing what I did wrong.

  102. @lordgoon

    “I can understand why Mr. Scalzi wants to strike a moderate, conciliatory tone here given his status as a high-profile insider to the SF community. But to someone in my position, his soft-pedaling of the controversy does look like just a little bit bit of a betrayal of a formerly glorious institution.”

    Respectfully…no. Conciliatory tone and “read-and-judge works on their merits” isn’t a betrayal of the glorious institution. It is the finest tradition of that glorious institution.

  103. I hate to disagree with the host, but I think that the WorldCon Committee should simply refuse to hand out awards this year. There is justification for doing so in the Constitution, and I feel like the legitimacy of the award is at stake here. If a small group of dedicated people can troll the nomination process, then that process is broken and needs fixing, and pointing out that you can refuse to give an award to anyone doesn’t change that. I do not think there should be Hugo’s this year, full stop. It’s not a good solution, but I think it’s the least bad solution.

  104. @Ken Burnside

    “I don’t think there’s much to be gained by trying to exclude one of the factions of SF-Fantasy readership.”

    You do realize this assumes a couple of Sad Puppy axioms that your audience here doesn’t share, right?

    1) the belief that there are 2 (or more) “factions” of SFF readership.

    I think most fans who are not Puppies think there is a general field of SFF readers whose tastes are wide ranging. Some of us are also aware of *one* organized faction whose tastes align more closely but nowhere near as closely as a slate would have one believe.

    2) That it is non-Puppies trying to exclude Puppies.

    I think most of us can look at this year’s Hugo ballot and easily see for ourselves that it is 100% the other way around.

    Furthermore, in the exclusion process, the Puppies have shot themselves in the foot a couple of times. The Heinlein bio and Three Body Problem, both published in 2014, were right up the Sad Puppies alley, and I think would have had good shots at the ballot if not for the Sad Puppies shutting nearly all non-slate works out.

    I saw Larry Correia admitting on his blog that he’d have put the Heinlein bio on Sad Puppies if he’d seen it in time, and Vox Day admitting on File 770 that he’d have put Three Body Problem on Rabid Puppies if *he* had seen it in time. But by having a slate, the Puppies made it impossible for more informed nominators to put on the Hugo ballot something the Puppies would have liked better than their own candidates.

    Slates hurt all non-slate works, not just works by mean poopyheads who deserve to be unhappy. And by so doing, they deprive all of us who nominate and vote honestly of the chance to see some really good stuff on the Hugo ballot.

    Now I’ll be happy to read your work–I intend to at least try everything in the Hugo packet. And if I like your work, I’ll keep reading it. I’m even willing to believe, provisionally, that when you agreed to be on a slate you had no idea how unfair that was going to be–I certainly didn’t before I saw the results. So if I really like your work in subsequent years I’ll be happy to nominate it, and evaluate it in an unbiased manner in the final state if it makes the ballot honestly in some more auspicious year.

  105. @Ken Burnside.

    I absolutely believe that you did not think “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love” was a top 5 work of short fiction in 2013. I did, but there were other items on that ballot that I disagreed with, and there have been winners that I don’t think were top 20, much less top 5 or best of the year. It happens, and I don’t know what this is supposed to prove except that people have tastes which differ.

    I don’t want to convince you that it should be in your top 5. But it was in a lot of other people’s top 5, obviously, and I’m not sure what you are trying to get at. Do you want people to admit they didn’t actually like it but voted for it anyhow?

  106. So how many voters do the SP need to win the awards? By my reading of the vote count from last year, the lowest vote total in any category was around 1500 people for (I left out fancast) up to just over 3000[1]. To get over the 50% mark in the first round of voting (and preempt the instant runoff) would thus require about 800-1600 votes (leaving a margin of error and assuming that the vote totals stay the same). The SP already has 200-250 of those votes locked up (based on the nominating numbers), so needs about 600-1400 further memberships. That’s a lot but (especially at the low end) manageable with some concerted recruiting and (possibly) subsidizing ($40 membership x 1000 is $40,000. How much does VD have to spend?)

    Given that the lowest vote totals were in the Editor categories, anybody really interested in seeing VD win? Imagine his acceptance speech.

    (Note: Math not guaranteed! Understanding of voting system not guaranteed!)

    [1] http://www.thehugoawards.org/content/pdf/2014HugoStatistics.pdf

  107. John,

    Thank you very much for your intelligent comments on what is a bloody farce regarding this year’s Hugo ballot.

    I particularly agree with your point #4
    4. If, in the fullness of careful consideration, I come to believe certain nominees in a category do not merit being on the ballot at all, then I will do two things:

    One, I will leave those nominees off my final ballot. If they’re not on my ballot, they can’t be ranked.

    Two, after ranking the nominees I do believe deserve to be on the ballot, I will use the “No Award” option to signal that I would prefer that no Hugo be awarded, rather than to give it to any of the remaining nominees. Like so:


    1. Deserving nominee #1
    2. Deserving nominee #2
    3. NO AWARD

    And thus undeserving nominees number 3, 4 and 5 receive no benefit from being on the ballot, and my preference for no award to be given to those people/works I deem unworthy of the award in that category is registered.

    Thank you,
    Charles Mohapel


    That aside, I am torn between two responses:

    The obvious…

    O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
    Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.


    The long forgotten…

    And I shall remember
    In stripped and winter future
    This rain and the hedged pathway,
    The moment held in the hand:
    The soldier’s smile at the frontier
    Friendly in the knife-edged moment
    Dividing the two climates:
    Our Summer threatened by peace
    And War becoming Winter.

    Meaning and context, as ever, lie within the allusions.

    I’m sufficiently out of the loop to have avoided controversy over the If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love nomination, however it explains a tingle I got from this new meme: (TinEye is your friend)


    Who can say if the two are related? Two sides of an ocean, two very different struggles (not really).

    But, really – did the rules not prevent three nominations of the same author? Seems a little bizarre.

    Metadiscussion over here https://chaoshorizon.wordpress.com/tag/2015-hugo-award/ seems fruitful and a very accurate prediction of the nominations indeed. It also explains why Lagoon by Okorafor wasn’t eligible, which I wasn’t aware of (I’ve mentioned this book before, it has faults but is slight enough that a read won’t take long). Still, harumph. No love for The Causal Angel again. If the wagging ones actually preferred hard SF, it’s a pick I’d like to have seen.

    As an aside (that may result in deletion, I am not attempting to stir).

    April 4th

    Vox: It’s absolutely disgusting to discover that people you respected and liked are in reality, bat sh*t crazy. A giant sifting is taking place. Does anyone else perceive this? Someone is shaking the fence and we will all fall to one side or the other.



    That certainly caused my tentacles to wiggle, I suspect the readership here will find it a traumatic read. Nyarlathotep at play, naughty one, seems the writing of Romantic Fiction was all a cover. @JS – recent promo shots might have caused a feedback loop, although you probably knew that already.

    Note to the peanut gallery: binary notions are outdated. (Abstract-Negative-Concrete).

    “You’re Hell’s Angels, then? What chapter are you from?’


  109. I’m going to bed (it’s past midnight here in Perth), and I’m going to turn off the comments on this thread while I sleep. Catch up with you all later — and again: Happy Easter!

    Update: Comments back on.

  110. Dear folks,

    The episodic nature of the postings (due to John unreasonably needing sleep and having a life, the rotter) means that I am writing this while comments are closed and so I may unintentionally duplicate what someone else also is writing while comments are closed. Apologies if I end up belaboring a point others have made satisfactorily. On to substance…


    Dear COSuzeQ,

    If you truly don’t see any difference, then you have been paying so little attention that your opinion isn’t worth very much. Alternately, you are being disingenuous to the point of farce. But, really, saying that you do not perceive any meaningful difference between the two is about as reality-based as someone asserting that they do not see any meaningful difference between how creationists and evolutionists do their research or, for that matter, between a peanut and a potato. (They’re both vegetables! They both grow on the roots! What else matters?)

    If you wish to argue your position, with actual specifics, people here will happily give it due consideration. Really, they will. But flat-out assertions that appear to fly in the face of reality don’t score you much in the way of points. You may want to rethink your approach.


    Let us talk revolutionary politics (well, I’m going to). The situation this year and last year appear to be different ones. Last year the SP’s were trying to game the system, convert it to their ends. This year it appears to me that they are attempting a monkey wrench; they are trying to break the system. part of that is the volume but part of it is the quality of the nominations. Last year was an attempt to present a credible slate (for some value of the word credible. This year they are clearly not even trying. Even I, who have little affinity for right-wing fiction, could easily produce a plausible slate of candidates from the works published in the last year. This doesn’t even make an effort; they’ve just spray-painted their tag over as many slots as possible.

    I don’t have any philosophical or moral objections to monkey wrenching (although I, of course, do not want to be on the receiving end). It is a long-standing and sometimes (not often) effective tactic of revolutionary politics, used by all sides. The (draft) Resistance of the 60’s was a totally successful monkey-wrench. Queer Nation was a little successful. Occupy (at least, so far) not so much.

    Now, a couple of things about monkey-wrenching. First, it’s an uphill battle, because when you reach the point that this looks like the best tactic, it means you’re fighting a massively entrenched status quo. Almost everyone (who isn’t a monkey wrencher) will get victimized in some way. It’s just not avoidable. Ken Burnside got his buzz killed by discovering he was dragged into a controversy he didn’t choose, and he really didn’t deserve that; as a fellow artist, I totally sympathize. Arlan Andrews will likely get a Hugo, which he will be happy enough for, but history will treat it as a second-tier victory if he does because effectively he is running unopposed. He doesn’t deserve that either. (Not that this matters one whit, but I don’t think I personally know Ken. If I do, apologies, Ken! I am terrible with names and faces. I do know Arlan. We’ve done panels together. I like him.)

    People who don’t make the ballot because of the big push? Well, that’s really pretty minor damage and that’s always a crapshoot, as John has written in the past.

    The thing is, these aren’t unintentional nor do they argue that monkey-wrenching is innately evil. That’s just what breaking the system does. It is not about making friends. It’s about making the existing system unworkable.

    Me, I don’t want this particular system broken. I am not in sympathy (understatement!) But, ya needs ta understand da game what is bein’ played.

    It’s impossible to predict whether this particular movement has legs. I have an intuition that it doesn’t, based on past revolutionary experience, but I wouldn’t bet money on my intuition. (The motivations behind the movement have huge legs. That is not at all the same thing)

    From the perspective of revolutionary politics, SP has made a huge blunder calling for an alliance with the GamerGaters. It doesn’t matter whether political stances are aligned; making an alliance with thugs is a serious known fail mode for this kind of politics. It’s like asking the Hells Angels to run security at Altamont. It’s not going to go well for you. At most it will win you a battle, but it will cost you the war.

    To give a modern example, Occupy was dogged with problems with black maskers who used Occupy as a cover to loot, smash, and burn. The press did its best to propagandize against Occupy (see: entrenched status quo) and they made great hay out of these problems, even though this was happening against Occupy’s collective desires.

    Now, imagine what would’ve happened if Occupy had actually put out a public call: “Black maskers! You are our allies. Come join us on the streets!” Oh, man, the press and law-enforcement would’ve had a field day. Total political suicide.

    SPer’s: really, really, REALLY stupid tactical move, calling for the GG. You’re trying to find common ground with people who use criminal, even terror tactics to get their ends. This is going to massively reduce your chances for winning the war.

    (Which, personally, delights me. That doesn’t make it any less true.)


    Let us talk about rule changes: this is likely a bad idea. NOT for a reason I’ve seen bandied about, which is that it would show we were afraid of them and be a sign of weakness. Irrelevant. Macho posturing is their game. Alphas vs. gammas? We don’t care, so long as the gammas win.

    No it’s a bad idea because it’s ineffectual––rule changes run behind the events by three years, so it’s always fighting last year’s war. Either this monkey-wrench movement doesn’t have legs, in which case the rules will be irrelevant by the time they’re in place, or it does, by which time the SP’s would’ve figured out new tactics and new ways to attack the system. (I can think of several. No, I’m not going to get specific. Duh.)

    Furthermore, most of the proposed changes work to disenfranchise voters, to make it harder to participate in the process. Even if it weren’t the case that this is the opposite direction from where we’ve been trying to move Hugo voting, we have no reason to believe this will be effective. It may even be counter-effective. Making it more difficult to participate in the process works to eliminate people for whom this is all less important. The SP’s and GG’s are highly ideologically committed. They hold very strong beliefs and they hold onto them strongly. Are you really sure that raising the bar will eliminate more of them than your “normal” Hugo voter? Do you really want to find out the hard way? Frankly, it’s not the way I would bet it would work.


    Which segues into my final point (migawd, will he EVER shut up? longissimus, non legi) : prejudice and economics. Many of the proposals for rules changes are classist and elitist and they make highly prejudicial assumptions about the demographics of our Opposition. Assumptions that, so far as I can see, no one has collected one bit of factual data about. They’re simply prejudices that we hold. One of the implicit ones is that these folk are typified by pimply faced 13-year-olds hanging out in their parents’ basement and having to hit them up for an allowance every week to get pizza money. Yes, I’m exaggerating for effect, but that’s the direction of the bias. Oh yeah, I’d love to believe that, but there’s also the fact that techie geek types, when they have jobs, tend to be rather well-paid. It wouldn’t at all surprise me if it were to turn out that the average disposable income for a SP or GGer was higher than that of your “normal” Hugo voter.

    It would also not surprise me if it turned out to not be true. I don’t know. Most importantly, neither do you!

    Want to restrict the voting by limiting it to attending members or at least giving them a more heavily weighted vote their money? That’s just a financial differential and it’s not even a huge one $40-$50 vs. $150. Tell me you know this is going to drive away sufficient numbers of the Opposition. Tell me that you know it’s going to drive away more of Them than Us. After you remind yourself that on average, they are much more ideologically committed than we are.

    Short form, it’s a very-possibly-stupid idea based on prejudices we hold because we want to think badly of them as human beings in every regard.

    We might be correct. I haven’t seen anything like data.

    And then there’s the big underlying fallacy in all of this, which is that money equals taste. That class equals taste. That if we get rid of the hoi polloi, for whatever definition of hoi polloi you care to use, we will get a higher quality of Hugo out of it.

    I don’t think I need say any more about that, do I?

    Hokay, off da soapbox.

    pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com
    — Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

  111. What’s not being mentioned here is that the Best Graphic Story category is full of amazing, groundbreaking, wonderful pieces that I’m hard-put to choose among! They are some great, great stories so I hope people will vote in that category at least.

  112. As someone who reads a lot of graphic novels, I’m pleased that there are 4 stellar books on the list – but also annoyed that a lot of other great titles were denied a shot at nomination to make room for a fairly mediocre SP nominee.2014 was a particularly fabulous year for sci-fi and fantasy graphic novels (sci-fi fans should check out Charles Soule’s Letter 44 work, and if you enjoy Rat Queens in your nomination pack, it’s worth seeking out Red Sonja, Tomb Raider and Skullkickers, all of which I’m expecting to see ranked pretty strongly once the long list of nominees is released post-award ceremony).

    But yes, the four GN nominees are all really solid work and I’m going to be hard-pressed to decide among them!

  113. Ctein, thank you for that post. Very insightful on the political dynamics. Which I would think, of course, because it rings true with my own experience with various forms of organizing.

    But thanks for taking the time to write it all up. Sharpened my own thinking a lot.

  114. Ctein, the thing I most disagree with (out of a post I agree with almost entirely) is about the dynamic between SPs/RPs and Gamergate. This isn’t a case of reaching out to strangers. Larry Correia was giving them thumbs up last September. Beale cheered them on last October, and has been chatting with them on Twitter regularly. Wright raved in their praise in October, too. And so forth and so on. And I think they’re quite correct to see them as kindred souls, with strong bonds when it comes to values, desirable societies, means of effecting change, and so on. There’s nothing more alien here than asking cousins for helping when moving.

  115. Escaping moderation via link removal. :)

    Ctein, the thing I most disagree with (out of a post I agree with almost entirely) is about the dynamic between SPs/RPs and Gamergate. This isn’t a case of reaching out to strangers. Larry Correia was giving them thumbs up last September. Beale cheered them on last October, and has been chatting with them on Twitter regularly. Wright raved in their praise in October, too. And so forth and so on. And I think they’re quite correct to see them as kindred souls, with strong bonds when it comes to values, desirable societies, means of effecting change, and so on. There’s nothing more alien here than asking cousins for helping when moving.

    (I had links for each of these, but three is enough to trigger moderation and I forgot about that. Easy enough to find with search for author’s last name + gamer gate + 2014, though.)

  116. Supporting membership for 2015 purchased. I am now enabled to vote for the 2015 Hugos and nominate for 2016. I am looking forward to using both privileges.

    Incidentally, very sad not to have a chance to vote for Jeff Vandermeer’s ANNIHILATION. I’m devouring that trilogy all over again, or it is devouring me. The publisher’s decision to bring all three books out in 2014 not only put each volume in competition with each other, but inadvertently meant that all three books and not just the first were affected by this year’s shenanigans. Just an unfortunate, or at least mixed, situation all ’round.

  117. John, thanks for answering my question. That’s the way I thought it had gone – I read this site regularly, after all, and would have seen a slate had one been posted – but I wanted to confirm. Not that it’ll make any difference, of course, as I’ve already been dismissed – not because of the quality (or lack thereof) of my arguments, but because the Puppy Sympathizers find me ugly. No, seriously. You know you’ve won the argument when the only response you get is an insult.

    I also want to thank you for educating me some time ago on the value of the “mute” button on Twitter. It will save my sanity, I think – though my sanity might be questioned merely because I have chosen to wade into the Twitter cesspit in the first place.

    I’ve purchased my supporting membership for 2015, and am looking forward to voting. I also intend to read and review everything in the short fiction categories, no matter how painful an undertaking that might be. (Having already started reading one of John C. Wright’s novellas, which is available on his website, I’m sorely afraid that it will be very painful indeed. Not because of the theme or message of the piece, but because the writing is absolutely dreadful. I used to think better of Wright in his early days in the field. Perhaps he owes more to his editors at Tor than he thinks he does.

  118. To start, some of the people on the SP3 side of things do seem horrible.

    But the real problem as I see it is that everything is turned into us vs them. People who support SP3 attack everyone to the left politicly as being “SJW”. As far as I can tell the way they see SJW’s are people who only care about pushing leftish politics, as in they would vote for any work at the hugo’s no matter how bad, if it had a black female gay author. There probably are a couple of those around, but I totally disagree with SP3 that thats how a lot of awards have won in the last years. It should be obvious that to the left politicly is a huge group and only a tiny fracment actually resemble how they see everyone.

    Should be obvious. But then I read a debate like this one and see a ton of people doing the same to the other side. Overdoing it a bit for effect here, but suddenly everyone who in any small way agrees with the other side are turned into white males racist homophobes, who would like women to know their place, like in the good old days. There will be some of those. But again they are a tiny group. Most just want good books to win the Hugo, but might have a different idea about what

    They horrible people are there, like you can see from the idiot who tried involving GG. But some random guy posting to GG to help aint the same as every SP3 supporter doing it..

    Most of the SP3 supporters got there due being fans of authors involved. Like Larry Corriea, who IMO writes pretty fun books. Not what I would vote for as the best at the hugo’s, but fun. I think a lof of his fans voted for him due to actually thinking its a great book. Not at all thinking about the larger picture with politics in the hugo’s. And those people, who like that kind of book probably like a lot of the other stuff on the slate also.

    When some of the SP3 leaders talk about gatekeepers trying to keep out conservative authors some people are sure to agree with them. But most people even if they support SP3 probably didn’t think much about it. Untill a ton of people in debates like this one and a lot of others online startet talking about voting no award for everything having to do with SP3. Now we are having all the people honestly liking books on the SP3 slate feel like they don’t count, That they are not really scifi fans, since they like the wrong things.

    I think thats a problem for the Hugo in the coming years. Its making people feel like the SP3 leaders where right. There are gatekeepers trying to keep out conservative writers. I think that might feed sad puppies for the coming years, help keep it going. Which is why I agree with Scalzi, read the works and then vote. Not just due to it IMO is the right thing to do. But to not feed the fight. Every time somone talking about voting no award it just helps make sure they will be back again next year.

    On a endnote I been talking about SP3 of who I know a couple. The other puppy group. The rapid ones lead by Vox, they do seem to be somewhat more focused on the politics of it all around

  119. I’m just sad that the Hugos have turned into a political contest instead of a snapshot of what’s best in SF every year, as they should be. They weren’t “broken” before, but the Sad Puppies slate seems to go a long way toward trying to break the process now, mostly because they just don’t like some of the past year’s winners and because they don’t like the direction SF is going in today.

  120. As I also said above. Yes there are people who want to mess with the Hugo’s. But a lot of them really do like the kind of books on the SP3 slate. Last year with SP2 the puppies didn’t vote as much as a block as people here seem to think they will this time. Hugo difference in the votes people on the SP2 slate got. Like people actually read the works and voted depending on what they liked. I really see no reason to think that most of the people who support SP3 will be doing anything else this time. Not that what they like is likely to fit with what most on here like.

  121. Flemming – Bruce Baugh’s already posted that there’s more to the GG/SP thing than just some random guy reaching out. And considering that the ‘some’ on their side are guys like VD and his cheering squad on his blogs…

    And Torgersen’s attitude to the GG thing was ‘put aside your rancor at Gamergate and judge our books on the merits’.

    Which, to me, is kinda like a robber breaking into your house, tying you to a chair, and then, before leaving with your valuables, he says “Can I get your opinion on my poetry? Please excuse the way I entered and how I’ve treated you, judge my work on its own merits”.

  122. Not saying there aint some overlap between people agree with GG and puppies. But I honestly don’t think GG really had anything to do with this. They where just mentioned somewhere and since so many have feelings about them it keeps coming up.

    As someone posted on anothe site:
    “Gamergate” seems to be the new bogeyman–the evil misoggynists responsible for everything evil in the world.
    I checked their usual hangouts, and it looks like they found out they had an evil plot to manipulate the hugos at the same time everyone else did. Not a big surprise, considering how blatantly clickbaiters fabricate stories to generate controversy.

    Seen several posts like that around the internet. GG’s being told they are involved with the Hugo’s and having no idea what the Hugo is

  123. Flemming: The thing is, the Sad Puppies have spent time calling for things like imprisonment and execution of gay people, for the segregation of the races, for the condoning of sexual violence in relationships (Beale argues that there can’t be marital rape, because once the relationship is solemnized, consent cannot be withdrawn), for wars, for more police violence against people of color, for the abolition of medical and other social services, and other stuff that translates really directly into “I want you, reading this, to suffer and die.” The status of women, people of color, the disabled, LGBTQ people, and so on isn’t theoretical – that’s us, or our friends and loved ones, they’re talking about attacking, stripping of rights, and killing.

    Now look at the other side. There may be someone out there gloating about how good it would be for Torgersen, Wright, Beale, etc., to lose their freedom, be separated from those they love, denied work and housing, and finally executed for their crimes against the state. But I’m not seeing it. Nor am I seeing anyone doing other things that the SPs have cheered on, like exposing people’s private information (residence, social security number, etc.), calling SWAT teams to their addresses with false reports, and astonishingly tacky stuff like filling up an enemy’s Twitter feed with pictures of dead dogs and jokes about killing dogs the day her beloved pet dog was dying. We aren’t doing that, and when we start even joking about it, we give each other a notional shake to regain perspective. Our aggression toward them runs as far as saying “I don’t think you deserve an award, and you’re doing bad things to the vote process.”

    One SP, it’s true, did get booted from SFWA. To get that far, he had to use SFWA resources to denounce a fellow member (and all other SFWA members who aren’t white) as at best half-civilized, incapable of true civilized attainments, and actually not even really the same species as himself. Even now, he’s not denied a chance to run a small press and publish work by himself and others eligible for the awards like everyone else. Nobody’s blacklisting these guys, nor demanding stores remove their work. We’re just not voting for them, and encouraging others to do likewise.

    We may – and do – speak in harshly critical terms of their values, their associates, the consequences of the society they wish for, and so on. But so what? They’re making all this noise about diversity and freedom of speech, and we aren’t attacking their basic humanity. It’s not the same.

  124. Again, you couldn’t convince me that Dinosaur, no matter how pleasing the prose-construction, fit as one of the five best pieces of short fiction of 2013.

    If you are waiting for the Hugo Awards to go to works that *everyone* agrees are the best pieces of fiction in that year, I fear you will be waiting for a very long time. The most we can hope for is works that a majority of the nominating/voting electorate thinks are the best — which consequently means there will also be a minority that disagrees.

    My previous point stands: what does your lack of affection for that story have to do with the present situation, except to create a smokescreen that covers up the attempt to manipulate the Hugo process *for reasons that have nothing to do with story quality*? Let me remind you that when Torgersen solicited suggestions for the best novels that fit his criteria, dozens were suggested, and none got a broad base of support. The SP novels that made the ballot are there because Torgersen told his followers to nominate them, not because those followers actually think those books are the best.

    I don’t think there’s much to be gained by trying to exclude one of the factions of SF-Fantasy readership.

    I feel you would do a better job in “not excluding” by not looking as if you’re eager to benefit from a process that was, from the start, designed to exclude a large swath of SF/F readership. (Cf. all the rhetoric about “taking back the Hugos” from the people who prefer fiction by all kinds of authors, not just straight white men.) It makes you look selfish — who cares who got hurt by this maneuver, as long as you can profit! — and that’s not attractive.

    [on judging by the company you keep]
    And I do not reciprocate. I try to judge people by their merits, and no publishing house is free of its odious shibboleths. Tor, to its credit, has fired some of theirs; in spite of the behavior of the Former Editor Who Shall Not Be Named, I still buy Tor books.

    Let me ask: who was your editor at Castalia?

    The only editor I know of there is Beale/VD. And if you see a house founded by a guy who thinks African-Americans are savages and women shouldn’t be allowed to vote as a mere “odious shibboleth” on par with the major houses, then you have just declared that you don’t think his proud bigotry is a very big deal.

    At that point, it is no longer merely the company you keep by which I am judging you.

    If you can find anything to indicate my offense at your personhood in “The Hot Equations,” I’d be interested in knowing what I did wrong.

    Note that I said “or published by.” I do not know what is in your book. I do know that I would rather spend my limited reading time on the works of people who are not happily riding the coat-tails of bigots.

    (I’ll also note that you yourself have admitted that you don’t think you’d be on the ballot without Puppy support. That means you either are crying “those meanie lefties would have kept me out just because of my politics,” or are admitting that it is far from the best work this year. Neither one gives me any motivation to read your work.)

  125. The SP member you are talking about is Vox, who I’m in no way going to defend. But he aint really SP in my mind. Last year with SP2 when they oppenly said the goal was to anoy and get some conservatives on the slate he was added to it.

    This year a new person took over for SP3. This time they said not to anoy, but to get actual good books nominated. Their idea of good being heavier on the action than idea’s compared to is normal for the Hugo’s, but thats what they actually like.

    ALso, Vox was not in any way involved with SP3, Which is why he made his own slate with rapid puppies. That slate being mostly the same, with some names added just to piss off people and keep himself front and center.

    As I said not going to defend him, or GG for that matter. My issue was with placing everyone involved with sad puppies in the same group with Vox and GG.

  126. Flemming, I did some linking above to stuff by Correia and Wright, and there’s lots more on tap. I am emphatically not just talking about Beale.

  127. Cthulu :But, really – did the rules not prevent three nominations of the same author? Seems a little bizarre.”

    The rules put every work that gets into the top five onto the ballot, unless 1) it’s not eligible (not published in 2014, for example) or 2) the nomination is declined. There are no rules about how many nominations one person can have.

    There is a rule that the same work can’t be in two places on the ballot, hence producers having to choose between BDP–Long and BDP–Short when both the entire season of GoT and some individual episodes made the short list. But Wright? That’s totally within the rules.

    “Am I reading this that John C. Wright *accepted* three novella nominations?

    I mean, an author who wanted to win an award would accept one nomination for his one out of three novellas that he thinks is the best one, no?”

    You’re thinking of first past the post voting, where that would be a realistic strategy. But with Instant Runoff Voting it’s less likely to split votes so none of the stories get enough votes to win. That’s why elventybillion Dr. Who episodes can be nominated for BDP–Short and one of them usually win.

  128. @MRAL: As far as Jim Butcher beating Anne Leckie… maybe. Fantasy doesn’t usually do too well in the best novel category there. Its more a SciFi crowd. It looks like urban fantasy is the least popular of all. There are alot of big time urban fantasy authors who have never been nominated (that have nothing to do with the Hugos). I’m not sure how many urban fantasy fans are involved with Worldcon. How often do urban fantasy books with best novel at the Hugos?

    I am not much of an urban fantasy fan. Its just not my thing. There are a few urban fantasy books I like, but not many. I have not read a Jim Butcher book yet. We will see how it goes starting with book 15… I also think alot of people will put all of the Sad Puppies nominees below No Award even if Jim Butcher has a large fan following. Getting placed below No Award is rough.

  129. Patricia Munson-Sitter – maybe a lot of so-called ‘leftist leaning’ SF and F have been nominated, and won, in the past because there are a lot of SF/F fans who ARE left-leaning?

    But you see, that can’t be right, because that would imply there isn’t any over-arching conspiracy for the SP/RP types to fight against. Instead it would just be plain old “people prefer X”, which their world-view isn’t willing to encompass, because this might imply their views aren’t monolithically Right (in the sense of “correct” rather than political alignment). It implies they might be mistaken about something, and since the ego-requirement of a lot of people on the far authoritarian fringe is that their belief structures all hang together as a seamless whole, implying even part of the fabric might be damaged is threatening to the whole superstructure.

    Nope, far more satisfying, ego-wise, to believe there is some shadowy conspiracy of left-wing types working in secret to control the Hugos, science fiction publishing, science fiction marketing, and everything else involved.

  130. Making one more attempt to post and see if our esteemed host lets me say something that hopefully isn’t perceived as testy just because I disagree wight he majority here…

    Marie Brennan: “Cf. all the rhetoric about “taking back the Hugos” from the people who prefer fiction by all kinds of authors, not just straight white men.”

    I believe the Hugos need to be taken back, and I honestly don’t care about – and, quite often, don’t even know – the race, sexual orientation, or even gender of the author. Is it a good story? Great, I’ll read it and praise it. Is it a bad story? Pfft, into the used book bin it goes.

    It’s about the stories, not the politics.

  131. As I said ton’s of morons out there. Don’t know Wright at all. I kinda like Correia, but he does take being libertarian and supporting people doing whatever they want a bit to far at times. I have not actually been able to find him saying anything positive about GG. But I could probably see him liking the part where GG say leftish elites are trying to control gaming and make sure only politicly correct games win awards. Since thats pretty much what he thinks is happing in scifi.

    But again I find some off the people hating him really anoying too. He keeps being called a white homophobe, which is kinda amusing since he identifies himself as hispanic and mentioned somewhere he and his wife been on double dates with a gay couple. He said it got so bad at one point people where calling his wife asking about that horrible man she was married too.

    IMO Correia aint really worse that theopposite side. That being said I don’t doubt you can find several examples of issues in the SP camp. There are both idiots and truly horrible people there. Having spent a bit of time in some of their discussions I just see those as a minority. Most just being conservatives, where I can wonder about some of their politics, but generaly nice people.

  132. megpie71 – Totally agree that there aint a leftish cabal. But to people allready a bit worried all the talk about voting no award without reading the works makes it seem like that cabal might actually be there trying to keep them out.

  133. Jay Maynard:
    “Wisdom From My Internet” is about a better Related Work and not the politics? Can you really say it’s better than “Robert A. Heinlein, In Dialogue with His Century Volume 2” *really*?

  134. @Ken Burnside

    Ken, I’ve been reading your posts (and Issac Kuo and Erik Max Francis and Luke Campbell and and all the rest) at rec.arts.sf.written,rec.arts.sf.science, and later at SFCONSIM-L since at least 2007. I’ve been a lurker, but an attentive one. Over the years politics, social issues, the wars, and partisan views have come up plenty of times. Trying to play off that you were unaware of the Sad Puppies political views and that you do not share them is utter bunk. You threw in with them and Kratman; own it.

    For my own take, I’m distressed that Jim Butcher threw in with these people. I quite like his books, and more importantly I came across The Dresden Files when I was in a rough place with my life. The levity and take on troubles in those books helped me considerably. I can’t in good conscience vote for him if he is willing to side with Vox Day and his merry band of neo-nazis, and I’m not certain I’ll continue buying his works. For Kloos I don’t have same pull I did to Butcher; I’m definitely not getting Line of Departure 3 now.

  135. Jay Maynard:

    “It’s about the stories, not the politics.”

    While I would not presume to doubt your sincerity, you should be aware that this is a “I don’t see color” sort of statement, which is generally treated with skepticism by people who see the obvious disconnect between the statement and the real world application of such an assertion.

  136. Oh hey, I just realized that “Castalia House” (which published ten of the nominees) is owned by Vox Day. That’s cool and great.

  137. Mr_Wednesday – Your post is part of what I don’t understand. All the people on the SP3 slate didn’t get together and team up. Some people made suggestions and a couple of people made up a list of what they think are good works that should have a chance at a Hugo. How is everyone on that list now suddenly friends with Vox and you don’t like them.

    If I posted some authors I would like to nominate on my blog, would I have to contact them all to ask them?

    We have no idea whats been happening. You say you will not buy a Kloos book, really? Due to someone he probably does not know nominating him for a Hugo. Even if SP3 contacted him. They probbaly just said we want to nominate you for a hugo, he says fine and never thinks more about it. Might not even know a single thing about SP3.

    This hate against everyone in any way connected to SP3 almost makes me want to support them.

  138. And folks should note that some of us have plenty of personal experience with people having that disconnect (which can either dissembling or unconscious; I’ve seen plenty of both). Pointing out that disconnect is not necessarily personal.

  139. I’m voting for my pal Noah Ward a lot this year. Above any and all slate nominees. And if there’s a leftie slate next year, I’ll do the same for them.

    It hurts, especially in the case of Jim Butcher, whose Skin Game I’ve read twice and enjoyed both times. But this slate tactic must not be allowed to succeed.

  140. Oh hey, I just realized that “Castalia House” (which published ten of the nominees) is owned by Vox Day

    Oh. So this isn’t about ethics in science fiction awards, then.

  141. Flemming: Again, the necessity for a shadowy conspiracy on the left is not a factual requirement, it’s an EGO-REQUIREMENT for a lot of the people involved in this belief.

    An ego-requirement is something you have to believe in order to maintain your self-perception. For example, for the vast majority of people, a major ego-requirement is the belief that they are a Good Person. When people are confronted with evidence which goes against ego-requirement beliefs (such as “their own bad actions”, in the case of “I am a Good Person”) there are a number of potential pathways they can take.

    The first is straightforward denial that any conflict exists. This denial is at the heart of the criminal justice process, which involves bringing forward the evidence to counter the defendant’s assertion that they weren’t there, they didn’t do it, it wasn’t me, and nobody can prove anything!

    Next up is partial reconciling of the action with the belief. “I did this, but it wasn’t a bad thing when/because I did it”. So here, using criminal justice as an example again, we have the people who are saying that their theft was okay because they stole from someone rich. Or the rapist who excuses their actions because they assert their victim was “asking for it”.

    Then there’s amending or altering the ego-belief to excuse the circumstances. This time we’ll go to world politics, and point out a lot of genocides happen because they’ve managed to alter the ego-beliefs of enough people to include a footnote stating Group X doesn’t count as Real Human Beings, and therefore actions against them don’t count as bad actions.

    The final option is accepting the evidence, accepting it conflicts with your ego-belief, and coming to terms with the way this has to alter your perception of yourself. This is the hardest of the options, because it requires actually breaking down the ego and accepting that yes, you do have to wear the horrible label that comes from your actions. You have to accept the label of thief, of rapist, of murderer, and you have to accept the punishment your society hands you as a result. Not many people are capable of doing this, because it is very hard. Much easier to say either “I didn’t do it”, or “it was excusable” or even “it wasn’t wrong when I did it”.

    In the same way, the people whose ego-belief requires that there be some form of shadowy leftist conspiracy working against them to control Science Fiction are not going to break down and admit they were wrong about this. Instead, they will deny any evidence pointing in the other direction; they will say they are only emulating the tactics of the conspiracy when they do deplorable things; and they will excuse any deplorable actions as being justified by their need to “take back” whatever it is they’re talking about.

    (Incidentally, among the ego-beliefs which are being protected here are a combination of “I produce stories other people like”; “All right(correct)-thinking people think the way I do”; and “People Like Me are always in the majority”.)

  142. I assume this will be an unpopular opinion, but I can’t help but be incredibly amused by all the sad (mad/bad/rad) puppy nonsense.

    yes, they have 100% borked the hugos this year. That’s a shame. No matter who wins, all this year’s Hugos are going to carry a giant implied asterisk as the year that a group, no matter their aims, hijacked the nominations such that they cannot be said to be reflective of the group. That sucks.

    But honestly, I follow sf/f because I love to be entertained, and I am, for better or worse, entertained by the attempts at Correia/Torgerson/Day to torture logic to death. (“we want sf/f to be more inclusive! By excluding the people we don’t agree with!)

    Great sf/f is going to continue to be published, people at world con will still enjoy their con. This year’s hugos aren’t (for the most part) going to the best works from the genre this year. That’s eminently regrettable, but we can all move on from there. I generally think if we don’t feed the trolls too much they’ll eventually get bored with demonstrating the power of their hatred and move on to other endeavors.

  143. I forgot to mention: I feel no obligation to contaminate my mind with some of the right-wing frothing that is nominated on the Puppy slates. I’m not going to “consider them on their merits,” because (except the DPs) they would never have made it to the ballot without the machinations of the SP/RPs. Also, John C. Wright is a rabid homophobe and I won’t read or vote for anything he writes.

  144. The ballot this year does show how poorly organized the rest of us were or that we nominated too many works so few votes for each.

    I note a number of the people I follow who are upset didn’t remind followers to nominate in March. I wonder if they had if the situation would be different.

    I didn’t get my nominations in as I couldn’t find my link & oops… I’m definetly not as committed as the SP/RP gang is. Last year was the first year I made sure I voted on the final ballot. This year I swore I was going to do better but nope between health issues & forgetting to track down the link it didn’t happen. Maybe that is a change needed – more email reminders with link reminding to nominate and more blog post reminding the week before nominations end with link included.

  145. I assume this will be an unpopular opinion,

    Not THAT unpopular.

    Though my amusement is lowered a bit by seeing how similar the tactics are to creationists who stack the local school board.

  146. Gary C. “Attending members votes count double + Reducing cost of supporting membership”

    Ugh, no.

    Geographical location shouldn’t be a factor in the weight of a vote. (Especially not if we want to turn the Hugos into a real world award.)

    Reducing the cost wouldn’t solve anything, because parallel to widening the voter’s pool it will also makes protest or fun voting easier.

  147. Tasha: I’ve already set a Google reminder in mid February annualy (I think that’s a good timing?) to remind me to nominate for the Hugo’s. After all, last year was my first voting for the Hugo’s (free WoT!), but I completely forgot about the nomination side of things.

    That, and the lesser reading I have to do this time around, are the only silver linings out of this whole kerfuffle.

  148. Guess:

    But Worldcon is more of a SF crowd and I dont thing urban fantasy is very popular with the worldcon crowd.

    I personally love Jim Butcher’s work, and have recommended it to others. I’ll rate it below No Award, because it’s on the slate, but I will rate it (unlike most of the others).

    As for John C. Wright, someone who has to be published by Vox Day…well, I think that says everything you need to know about him.

  149. Politics vs stories? Unfortunately the politics do get in the way at some point. This is reason why I will not buy a book by our web host.

  150. So why are you here then? If you don’t like his stories or his politics? Just trolling?

  151. @rochrist: guessing the “point” at which “the politics do get in the way” is the point at which those politics no longer 100% agree with toeachtheirown’s.

    @Jay Maynard: Virtually all books I’ve purchased have the author’s name on the cover, and some kind of author bio (and even a photo!) in the book somewhere. It is also pretty common for people to repeatedly buy books by an author whose prior works they enjoy, and not at all uncommon for fans of an author’s work to learn more about the author by, for example, reading that author bio, or even going outside the book to read the author’s blog or Twitter feed or read news articles or reviews which discuss the author in some way.

    So an announcement that one knows nothing about the authors of books one reads is a bit difficult to credit. Pretty sure that authors who deliberately obscure details of their bios and photographs to disguise their race and gender (and sexual orientation, which often can be inferred) are in the minority. We are a bit out of the age when SFF authors who were women commonly hid behind initials or male pseudonyms.

  152. “It’s about the stories, not the politics.”
    Seems to me that when I’ve read some of these he-man, butch, manly-men stories a lot of times ‘politics’ seem to manage to sneak in there. Just check Amazon for any of those “the apocalypse has happened but since I’m in the military me and mine will be fine after we shoot all the looters” books.
    And I think Card has written some “people are mean to Mormons” things.

  153. Politics vs stories? Unfortunately the politics do get in the way at some point.

    Meh. Politics are ALWAYS part of the story. ALWAYS. It’s sloppy thinking to think you can separate the two.

    I think in many cases it’s more accurate to say “politics I don’t agree with do get in the way at some point.” And it’s not always a reflection on the writer when that happens.

  154. rochrist:

    I have a fair number of people who read me in one medium and not another, for whatever reason. It doesn’t bother me any.

  155. I actually nominated one of the sad puppies slate’s novels because I liked it and I liked and nominated the first book in the series from last year, but neither one made the short list. I will not skip the puppy nominees just because they were on the slates, but if I don’t care for them, I will not be reading them in their entirety and I won’t be ranking them.

  156. @Flemming feigned innocence doesn’t fly. “Oh my I had no idea that this very open and long running feud I have commented on was happening! I’m shocked! I had no idea I was throwing in with the side I did!”

    Bullshit. This is not something that has been quiet. This is not something new. They knew exactly what the goal here was and decided to work with it.

  157. We are a bit out of the age when SFF authors who were women commonly hid behind initials or male pseudonyms.

    A bit, but not entirely. And I think there is unfortunately still a benefit for authors to do so if they wish (though smaller than in past days). It’s a persistent finding in social science research across methodologies that there’s still a bit of a penalty for not being the default, and we do know that symphonies started getting more gender parity when blind auditions started getting used regularly.

  158. I too am a Jim Butcher fan. And while the protagonist of The Dresden Files has (more than) occasionally given me pause, I’ve been reassured by Butcher’s interviews, and by the statements of his most devoted fans (many of whom know him personally, a couple of whom I’ve seen comment here) that Harry Dresden’s sexism is a quality of the character, not the author.*

    But I’m disappointed that Mr. Butcher would agree to be included on the SP slate, let alone the RP slate. Does he really not know what he was signing on too? Or does he agree with the SPs? And if so, about what?** Or does is he an unofficial Sad Puppy, and now I have to wrestle with enjoying the work of a problematic author.

    Also, “Skin Game” isn’t even a particularly good Dresden Files book. I had to set it aside for a couple of months last summer, due to some plot mechanations I thought were contrived bullshit. And the Big Twist struck me as abuse of the Unspoken Plan Guarantee. No, “Dead Beat” remains the high water mark of the series so far. But then, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to completely enjoy a Dresden book again.

    * Also, Harry’s sexism is not presented as an unqualified admirable trait, and often gets him into trouble. So often, in fact, that it’s become a crutch for Butcher.

    ** Some of their points of contention are based mostly on nostalgia for a “good old days” that never were. Silly, but not really odious.

  159. Mr Wednesday, Mr Flemming:

    We’re well into the “it’s getting awfully personal” territory. I’m not going to tell either of you to leave the thread, but I do suggest you go to your respective corners and take a breather and maybe agree that you’re done chatting with each other.

  160. @Flemming since there isn’t an edit function…

    This reminds me of the utter shitshow that was the past 2 weeks in Indiana. After the RFRA got passed a whole bunch of Republicans were quick to claim they weren’t bigoted and they were shocked and horrified and oh dear tut tut tut.

    And it’s bullshit. When a group has a very clear, very public, very established agenda, and you push for that group, you don’t get to play innocent when the established agenda is pushed. You can’t go “Oh well I threw in with them because other reasons, I had no idea they were then going to do exactly what they said what they were going to do! How could I have known they were then going to do exactly what they have said they were going to do?”

    One of the rules for life is that you are what you do. There is no excuse of “well that isn’t TRUE X”, TRUE X is what is done when X is put into practice. That applies for personal behaviors as well. When you advance a cause, even if you do it for your own reasons, even if you don’t like the cause, you are then complicit in it. So when these asshats say they want to use your name to advance their agenda, and you go along with it, and you push for the nomination yourself, knowing full well the real goal is this other agenda, you are accountable.

  161. @docrocketscience Stross is discussing this at his blog as well, and was interviewing Butcher at Eastercon, his comment is that “Jim Butcher certainly deserves to be on the Hugo shortlist. I suspect the only reason it hasn’t happened before is because book 12 of an ongoing series tends not to get nominated. (See also The Wheel of Time nom last year.) But I don’t think he fully grasps the long term consequences of allowing a nomination backed by the sad puppies to go ahead.” Make of that what you will

  162. mythago: To this day, I know nothing about A. E. Van Vogt. I find that author’s works a bit overblown but readable.

    I know nothing about Elizabeth Moon except that I presume she’s female, that she was born and raised in central Texas (because that’s a plot point in one of her books), and I find her works quite good and enjoyable.

    I know quite a bit more about Eric Flint because I’ve met the man and had friends discuss his politics. I like his work quite a lot (in no small part because he keeps his politics, which I have profound disagreements with, firmly out of his stories).

    I personally know Mad Mike Williamson and consider him a good friend. His work has gotten better over time; while _Freehold_ was quite long and a slog in places, the Ripple Creek stories are among my favorites.

    I don’t read the author bio before deciding whether to buy a book from that author. I don’t stop to think about what their gender or sexual orientation or race might be. If it looks like a good story, then I’ll buy it. Yes, there are authors on my automatic buy list (Terry Pratchett and Eric Flint are two of them), and authors I strictly avoid (Harry Turtledove, to list one example), but in both cases, it’s about the story: I know if I pick up a Turtledove book, it’ll have 300 pages of story packed into 800 pages, and if I pick up a Discworld novel, the time will fly, propelled by incessant giggling.

    But a new author? If it’s my kind of story, I’ll go for it. Once I like it, I may search out the author, out of curiosity, but regardless, if I enjoy a work, I’ll look for more. I liked _Old Man’s War_ quite a lot, and that earned our esteemed host several more purchases before I’d had enough.

    I really don’t care about the skepticism of those who assume I only like books from straight white men. It’s not their opinions I value. But please stop making assumptions about how evil a guy I am because I don’t care about anything but the story.

  163. Jay Maynard
    It’s more, I think, that your contributions have been along the lines of Things Bigots Say, whether you realise it or not.

  164. jacedraccus: That kind of opinion is fully as bigoted as the ones they oppose. To quote Larry Niven, ideas are not responsible for those who hold them.

  165. Marie, there’s a difference between politics that are part of the story (for example, Eric Flint’s choice of the president of a union as the leader of the free world in _1632_) and politics that dictate the story but are not part of it (such as our esteemed host’s choice to not specify the protagonist’s gender in _Lock In_, and there’s a difference between deliberately unspecified and agendered). The former I can deal with if it’s not too heavy-handed. The latter invariably diminishes the story.

  166. Mr_Wednesday:
    I am seeing a lot of defense of Jim Butcher, mostly in the form of “..and I feel like I can’t even vote for Jim Butcher, fercrissakes, thanks to this mess…”

    Which is gratifying. But not as much as him having said, “Yeah, thanks but no thanks. I really don’t need you assholes.”

  167. Jay Maynard:

    If you don’t think that Chris’ lack of specified gender is not part and parcel of the world I created in Lock In, I regret that you did not fully grasp the world building.

    (This is not a cue to discuss Lock In more fully in the thread; it’s not really on point, inasmuch as it’s not on the ballot.)

  168. Jay, re: Lock In, that’s your politics dictating your view of that particular story.

    But by all means, keep digging. My popcorn is almost ready.

  169. No, it’s not my politics dictating my view. It’s that without knowing the gender (even if it’s agendered) of a character, I cannot form the mental image of the character I need to enjoy a story.

  170. Jay Maynard
    Uh…. huh. So what you’re saying is that just because you SAY inflammatory things that bigots ALSO say, we should totally give you the benefit of the doubt that you’re not that kind of guy. Even if you don’t particularly seem willing to do anything except harrumph in your own defense.

  171. Marie, there’s a difference between politics that are part of the story (for example, Eric Flint’s choice of the president of a union as the leader of the free world in _1632_) and politics that dictate the story but are not part of it (such as our esteemed host’s choice to not specify the protagonist’s gender in _Lock In_, and there’s a difference between deliberately unspecified and agendered). The former I can deal with if it’s not too heavy-handed. The latter invariably diminishes the story.

    “Heavy-handed” is often shorthand “politics I don’t agree with, which therefore draw my attention.”

    Politics you don’t notice in a story are the water you swim in, the air you breathe: they’re still there. You just don’t notice them because you take them as the natural state of the world.

    Politics absolutely permeate stories, at every level of their creation *and* reception. Because “politics” are not just a matter of what you vote on at the ballot box, but what values you hold, what rights you take for granted, which fights you think are heroic and which are foolhardy, who makes a good protagonist and who a suitable villain. Saying you are just evaluating the “quality” of a story, or how much you “enjoyed” it, as if that were completely divorced from the extent to which it supports or challenges your assumptions about the world, is either massively disingenuous or massively lacking in self-awareness.

  172. No, it’s not my politics dictating my view. It’s that … I cannot form the mental image of the character I need to enjoy a story.

    The emphasis in the above is mine. The problem, Jay, is still yours. You’d do well to at least acknowledge that.

  173. But please stop making assumptions about how evil a guy I am because I don’t care about anything but the story.

    For someone who wants others to stop making assumptions about you, you’re doing an awful lot of assuming yourself.

  174. No, it’s not my politics dictating my view. It’s that without knowing the gender (even if it’s agendered) of a character, I cannot form the mental image of the character I need to enjoy a story.

    I take it you learned this from reading Asimov’s robot stories? And that applies to stories with AIs as characters as well? Or those with non-humans as POV characters?

    That seems to a bar a lot of hard SF for you, particular those where characters think as well as an orthodox humans, but not like an orthodox human.

  175. I can understand not enjoying a story because something you need to enjoy a story (e.g. being able to form a mental image of the character) is missing. Assuming that the story was written that way because of politics seems a strange leap.

  176. Invariably diminishes the story”, Jay Maynard? I’m sensing the spirit of Inigo Montoya severely side-eying that “invariably”.

    I read Lock In within a week of its publication, and I was about 3/4 of the way through before I realised that the the protagonist’s gender had never actually been specified, that I’d just made my own assumptions. By that time I cared enough about the protagonist’s story/character arc that I truly was not one little bit bothered that I did not know whether their genitals were innies or outies, I just wanted to know whether they solved the mystery and lived to fight another day.

    For me, not knowing Chris’ gender did not diminish the story one iota. It didn’t particularly add to my enjoyment of the story either while I was actually reading it, but it did add to my admiration for John’s technical writing skills afterwards. Just because a particular plot conceit diminishes a story for you does not mean that others feel the same way – we all have our individual comfort zones, squick points and bugbears in life, including in the fiction we delights or repels us.

    I like stories that tell me something genuinely new about how humans might reorganise our society to cope with future change, whether that change is new technology or a new planet or a new philosophy or any other combination/permutation of future changes that an author might envisage. Stories that posit a scarcely changed society (or a clone of a historical pioneer/colonial society) that’s supposed to be centuries or millennia in the future? Particularly if those stories feature an utterly ahistorical representation of the strengths and weaknesses of such societies as something to which the reader is meant to aspire? That’s the sort of idealised Golden Age of Wherever politics that diminishes a story to the point of unreadability for me.

  177. Jay Maynard:

    As other have noted, your comment above does have a certain unintentional irony to it, with regard to your politics (or to be more charitable about it, about your general worldview).

    Again, however, we are wandering off course talking about Lock In. Bring it back in, folks. Let’s step away from my book and get back to the discussion of the Hugos, please.

  178. “It’s that without knowing the gender (even if it’s agendered) of a character, I cannot form the mental image of the character I need to enjoy a story.”

    So if you don’t know a character’s race, does that prevent you from making a mental image of the character?

  179. The sad part about this whole mess is that Puppies’ stated goals (more mainstream Hugos) are not inherently political but their motives and methods are. They could’ve easily chosen less assholish manner of getting attention if not what they want. But what we got is just stupid, wasteful and sad.

  180. (more mainstream Hugos) are not inherently political

    You don’t see anything political in

    1) defining what constitutes “the mainstream,”
    2) defining what therefore constitutes “the fringe,” or
    3) concluding that mainstream = preferable?

    All three look pretty bloody political to me.

  181. Marie Brennan, I disagree with Puppies’ definitions and how they apply to Hugos but I think they’re not political until people making those definitions aren’t dicks about it (which Puppies are).

  182. Personally (and I freely admit I live under a rock and don’t read a lot of blogs), I don’t know that their _stated_ goal was much to do with ‘mainstream’ as it did with recognition of what they saw as an underserved segment of SFF.

    The way things have evolved, however, it definitely seems that they have strong ideas about where they should stand in relation to everyone else.

  183. Marie Brennan, I disagree with Puppies’ definitions and how they apply to Hugos but I think they’re not political until people making those definitions aren’t dicks about it (which Puppies are).

    Mild disagreement here. There are people involved. When you have a number of people, you ALWAYS get politics…and people will create the means to make it political. Just part of the human condition.

    Now….these guys being dicks? Total agreement.

  184. @cstein

    To give a modern example, Occupy was dogged with problems with black maskers who used Occupy as a cover to loot, smash, and burn.

    Whilst I don’t wish to derail this discussion too much, any discussion of revolutionary politics, Black Bloc, Anarchism and protest displaying this level of naivety and willingness to believe the narrative sewn by the very people being challenged is rather depressing.

    Hint: all Western powers (and others, of course), routinely infiltrate, shape and control such movements to prevent change. It’s a truism that in the 1950’s America if you were at a Communist party meeting at least 50% of the people there would be FBI informants, and you can count on the fact that at all such Black Bloc groups have large amounts of undercover police within them.



  185. Sorry for wandering off course, John! mickeyfinn (April 6, 2015 at 3:07 am) summed it up far more pithily anyway.

    SF at its core involves a what-if that makes the story’s world different from our world, and writing the story means following where that what-if leads. Authors no doubt always hope to fascinate and intrigue us with where the what-if is taking the story, but that’s never going to be true for every reader, because some people will find find the internal logic for what-if-A just too challenging while the internal logic of what-if-B will be too predictable and tedious for others. Just because one reaction rather than the other sometimes means that a reader will draw conclusions about the author’s politics doesn’t mean that the author had political goals in the front of their mind while following the twists and turns of the what-if through their worlds.

  186. Just because one reaction rather than the other sometimes means that a reader will draw conclusions about the author’s politics doesn’t mean that the author had political goals in the front of their mind while following the twists and turns of the what-if through their worlds.

    I don’t think I’ve seen anyone here asserting that latter point. It *can* happen, but most of the time, the politics are there in the background instead.

    Or, to put it another way: when I decide to write a story about a Japanese protagonist, I’m probably making a conscious political decision, remembering that we don’t have much diversity of characters in fiction and making an effort to counteract that. When I decide to write a story about a white protagonist, I’m probably making an unconscious political decision, by defaulting to to what is familiar, mainstream, comfortable — call it what you will — and continuing the trend as it currently exists.

    The default is not apolitical.

    Most of the time, I try to walk a line between putting these issues at the forefront of my mind, and putting them so far on the back burner I let my habits make the decision for me. When I’m deciding who the protagonist is? Good time to consider the implications of that. When I’m working out my plot? Bad time to think politically, as a general rule, because I know that (for me) it’ll result in an overtly preachy story. When I’m revising? Good time to think about it again, so I can spot places where I’ve done something unfortunate or missed a good chance to do something cool. Etc.

    But really, most of the time, it’s there in the mid-zone: not my driving purpose, but something I’m keeping in mind. There is a wide range of territory between “hi, this story is here to teach you a Very Special Lesson About the Issues” and “nope, haven’t thought about it at all, just let it happen on autpilot.”

  187. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone here asserting that latter point. It *can* happen, but most of the time, the politics are there in the background instead.

    Actually, that’s exactly how Mr Maynard described Mr Scalzi’s work.

    it’ll result in an overtly preachy story.

    As I understand it, that’s exactly what SP (at least some, anyways) believes ‘leftist’ writing is. And only is. Just preachy ‘message’ fic that only gets voted in because liberals are making a show at being seen to be politically correct.

  188. I think you and I might be in furious agreement, Marie Brennan. My comment was in response to various claims Jay Maynard has made such as “the nominees and winners of years past that earned their approbation not on literary merit or SF qualities but on their leftist political POV pushing” and how he sees “politics that dictate the story but are not part of it” as the reason why he dislikes Locked In – so I’m reading Jay Maynard as very strongly making the claim that the Hugos have been biased toward authors who are (in his opinion) writing politics first and stories second, and that’s the claim I’m disagreeing with. As you say, defaults are not apolitical.

  189. Dear Bruce,

    I don’t particularly disagree. I didn’t mean for strangers to be taken especially literally in this particular case (the Hells Angels were not strangers to the organizers of Altamont). I could have just as easily used a different word (and likely should have). The PR dynamics, which is really the point, don’t change, I think.


    Dear Cthulhu,

    You, sir, are stepping perilously close the ad hominem line, if not already over it. Step back. That is not a place you want to be. You will not get another warning.

    I said, very intentionally, nothing about the source nor nature of the individuals in the Black Blocs. It is not germane. Because the establishment press, as it reported it, (unsurprisingly) did not hugely concern itself with this. Occupy was dogged by this regardless of the source and motives of the BB. Had they (per my hypothetical thought experiment) publicly encouraged the BB, it would have gone down like I said.

    That is the sole and only germane point of the hypothetical example.

    If you choose to reply to this, I expect it to be without personal insult or accusation. That is NOT a request.

    pax / Ctein

  190. @ Ctein

    That wasn’t the intent, so apologies, tentacles slapped and all that. The all caps isn’t meant to be taken seriously; often the opposite of what is said is the intention. Perhaps raising that particular spectre is going beyond what is acceptable on another person’s private forum, and levity didn’t translate. (The elements of organization and subversion I shall leave to the heavy-hitters).

    I have no doubt at your personal integrity and credentials, whilst I am merely a creature of the sea.


  191. What I hate about this is that I can’t in good conscience nominate for the Hugos, because I just don’t read enough new fiction in a year to make any kind of informed decision. Even working off other people’s recommend lists, I doubt I’d be able to get through enough to avoid effectively slate-voting myself, and “better slates” are not the solution because fighting fire with fire would be just as bad for the validity of the award.

  192. [not sure if this got lost or held for auto-review]

    Flemming: Not saying there aint some overlap between people agree with GG and puppies. But I honestly don’t think GG really had anything to do with this. They where just mentioned somewhere and since so many have feelings about them it keeps coming up.

    As someone posted on anothe site:
    “Gamergate” seems to be the new bogeyman–the evil misoggynists responsible for everything evil in the world.
    I checked their usual hangouts, and it looks like they found out they had an evil plot to manipulate the hugos at the same time everyone else did. Not a big surprise, considering how blatantly clickbaiters fabricate stories to generate controversy.

    Seen several posts like that around the internet. GG’s being told they are involved with the Hugo’s and having no idea what the Hugo is.

    Here is a link to Larry Correia’s blog post where he welcomes GamerGaters who got to his blog via the Briebart website, and Milo Y’s article (That’s Nero on twitter, or Milo Yiannopoulos) encouraging GamerGaters to participate in the Sad Puppies slate.

    Here – it’s a “do not link” link.

    The truth is the literal opposite of what you suspected it is.

    In reality, the attack on the Hugos was in large part a success because of gamergate, signal boots from a news org so vile they make Fox News look like Mother Jones, a venereal disease of an author who defends rape, wants to disenfranchise women and thinks black people are savages, and gamergate.

    All of these groups are working in concert, then ‘disavowing’ each other because they think people will fall for it. Much in the way that gamergaters keep ‘disavowing’ things like doxxing, stalking, swatting and legal harassment. And now that they’re playing, I expect those actions to start hitting people who’re publicly upset about the SP slate. Mostly women though, because that’s who they love to target.

    Class, what’s the lesson here?

  193. Just read Annies blog… Damn SP nominated a socialist. I think this was less about nominating right wingers and more about nominating stuff they like and going bite me. If its as good as people keep saying, Ill buy the book it comes in.

  194. Most Gamergaters aren’t exactly the reading type. Plus they just can’t do anything like that without bragging publicly about it incessantly while doing it. So I doubt many were involved in the nomination process.

    Anyway, the Puppies outdid themselves this time. John C. Wright – 6 nominations. Hilarious stuff. Such a fountain of wisdom. No wonder his super insightful essays got nominated too for best related work. Obviously pompous bloated nonsense always ending with “Christianity is awesome, all-non Catholics are deluded fools” is worthy of all kinds of awards. I urge all of you to go to his site and enjoy his wisdom and be enlightened. Where else could you learn that chaperoning women at all times and outlawing sex outside of marriage is a great idea? Or that Christians invented science? Don’t miss his analysis of SFF works too, which can basically be summarized by “everything which is not an obvious Christian propaganda sucks”.

    Oh, and his current fiction is crap too. I dare you to read through “One Bright Star to Guide Them All” without laughing throughout at how terrible everything about it is.

    But, no, he definitely wasn’t picked up by Correia and Beale because he’s the biggest bigot in the field after VD. Not at all.

  195. Turning off comments for the night (because it’s night in Australia!). They’ll be turned back on when I wake up in the morning. Night, all.

    Update: Comments back on! Note: they might go off a bit later for a bit. I got up early and may return to bed for a nap.

  196. As a long time reader of all stripes of science fiction, I am very happy to report that my votes (and even more importantly, my dollars) will be allocated solely by the merit of the work, regardless of the author’s name, affiliations, politics, religious standing or lack of therein. An honest fan can enjoy both Miéville and Wright regardless of his/her feelings about their politics, because they are fantastic writers. The Golden Age absolutely should have won back in ’02, and it is a massive flaw in the Hugo system that Awake in The Night Land was not eligible in 2014.
    The award should be about the book, the story, not a popularity contest or a witch-hunt regarding who the author’s friends/coworkers are. If you care more about whether a story was mentioned favorably by Vox Day or John Scalzi than you do about the actual story being told, you should probably take a step back, and ask yourself what the purpose of science fiction is.

  197. Last year, I said that:

    I see something else that neither Correia nor even Scalzi seems to have noticed:

    None of the Sad Puppies’ horses is fit to race. The only ones I can call reasonably competent works of fiction are Correia’s novel and Dan Wells’ “The Butcher of Khardov”. They also read way too much like re-tellings of unfamiliar video games, and lack the most important quality Hugo voters are looking for, world-building. They are, at best, B level works, not the kind of thing I think *anyone* would want associated with “Hugo Award Winning”. … Both of Brad Torgerson’s stories are shockingly badly-edited with regard to basic grammar, punctuation, and sentence-structure.

    Since Torgerson put together the SP3 slate, I feel safe dismissing it out of hand — he’s demonstrated that he doesn’t have the minimum level of competence at English-wrangling necessary to pick lists of “the best stories”.

    Let me add that most of my fiction reading these days is fanfic, and I *really* know the difference between “bad, but I like it” and “objectively well-crafted”.

    A number of people have made convincing arguments for slate-based voting being toxic to the process. I’m repelled by these slates in particular because they were *clearly* not assembled by people who care for the craft or who are interested in the pursuit and recognition of excellence. I don’t see any other reason for having awards for pro work: pro popularity, after all, is measured in sales, and needs no spaceship statue.

    The recognition and cultivation of excellence *used* to be a traditional, conservative value. Clearly it isn’t any more, at least not in the US.

  198. It is just sad to see nakedly partisan political activism poisoning yet another cultural niche. Obviously science fiction and literary works in general are often deeply steeped in politics, but the deliberate undermining of the entire Hugo nominating process to back narrow personal and political agendas is completely different and very depressing.

  199. I consider the SP slate to be akin to introducing party politics to what had been a contest of independents. It does not mean that there weren’t politics before, but they were part and parcel of the voter’s evaluation of the actual candidate (book).

    Using slates means that you are voting for what the slate represents, not for the candidate. Now party politics are an effective way of winning – witness the current ballot, but there’s a very high price to pay to making Hugo voting only about statements.

    As for claims that politics and slates already existed to a lesser extent. I’m certain it did to *some* extent. But as way of analogy, we have an annual neighborhood water-gun fight. The person who brings a full-strength fire-hose may indeed ‘win’ the fight. If the rules were codified, he would probably be within them (“yes, my weapon fires only water”). If questioned, he could rightfully claim that other people upped the ante first (“No-one yelled at Fred for bringing the first Super-Soaker”.)

    Yet that would also be the last watergun fight on the street. He’d have ‘won’ and destroyed what he sought at the same time.

    A difference of degree *does* matter.

    If there are competing slates next year, I think the Hugos are finished as a traditional measure of the most popular work among fans.

    It is why, without any comment on the quality of the entrants, I think it would be a bad thing if any SP entries won, even if they deserve a win based on fan popularity of the book/person alone.

    In other words, I don’t consider this “game on”. If the the awards are regulated *only* by the rules, and not by the values of the members, then the battle is already effectively lost, as gaming the system will become far more important than those boring old books.

  200. Now, now, let’s not lump in all of the US with, what, a thousand SF/F fans.

    Personally, I don’t see the problem with slates, and frankly I’m surprised more centers of influence make them! See the value of organization this year by what probably represents a minority of SF/F fans! Imagine if some of Amazon’s Omnivoracious bloggers put up their ballots well in advance. Or io9 or some authors who had no qualifying work in a given year….

    You can present a slate or ticket and shop it around. Ultimately, it’s up to the voter to decide whether to go whole-hog and agree to them all…or just a portion. How many people truly read them all, and how many check here or with Doctorow or Charlie Jane or etc to see what the (more literary) popular “good” choices are?

    If you think something is worth this measure of recognition, why not shout it from the rooftops and try to get others to take up the cry? While the Hugo is ostensibly an award based on merit, there’s a great deal of popularity involved, too. That’s no different than so many other awards out there. But here, as fans, if you love a book, story or editor or whatever, it’s up to you and yours to get them that rocket. You can’t hope their peers make the “right” choice or that a small panel managed to get a certain book I their pile for the year.

    Be. Aggressive. Be. Be. Aggressive.

    Some of those who supported the SP/RP slate believe the nominees to be the best of the year, or the best as presented in their circles, just as others sing high praises to the Southern Reach books or the Ancillary series. They acted, while others didn’t. Organization.

    There’s no reason not to organize if you believe you are promoting quality.

    So this year some trollocs stormed the White Tower because so many were overconfident that their taste, being their own and therefore superior, would keep the monsters at bay. Get your poop together and make sure it doesn’t happen two years in a row!

    And maybe take time to read outside of the novel category. Short fiction is people, too. The SP/RP success in those categories last year emboldened them this year, and why? No one cares about short stories, novellas and novelettes. They’re easy pickings.

  201. @Bergmaniac: “I dare you to read through “One Bright Star to Guide Them All” without laughing throughout at how terrible everything about it is.”

    Well, Mr. Bergmaniac, you’ve now made an enemy. I went and read that story, and I hold you solely responsible for my poor brain encountering it and for the horror of people giving it 4&5 star reviews. If that’s an example of his writing (and I’m willing to accept that it may be an aberration), John C. Wright has no business being a Yugo award nominee much less a Hugo award nominee.

    I had wondered who he was, now I wish I still didn’t know.

    Just a quick side thanks to Mr. Scalzi (long time reader of your blog, still um…haven’t read any of your books, if that’s weird) for an excellent post on the situation, and to all the folks contributing to the conversation.

  202. I nominated Skin Game before I realized that Jim Butcher had joined the SP slate. This really saddens me because I’d love for a Dresden Files book to win a Hugo, but I refuse to reward anyone who joins with the Puppies.

    I’m the kind of reader that they want to “take back” the Hugos from–female, liberal, LGBT-friendly. I’ve been a SFF fan my entire life, my mom before me, and her dad before her. I deserve a vote as much as anyone.

    I can’t in good conscience vote for someone who aligns with those who think that my vote shouldn’t matter. No matter how much I love the characters and worlds that that author built.



    What’s actually more depressing than anything is that the Hugo (and nominated authors) have been trending towards mediocrity for some time now. JS (and we love him) is a better organizer and rabble-rouser (in a good way) than author. If I had to do a toss-up between Redshirts and Galaxy Quest, I’m afraid to say the the latter wins on originality, and both pastiche the same material.

    Then again, that’s the material that made the Hugo – not the stuff I like that he writes. (New novel – let’s just say, interesting premise, and ironic given the kuffel that’s going on. *wink*).

    What’s actually funny about this entire situation (no, really) is that the rules of the game (American only) preclude a large swathe of actual decent SF that the sad puppies would find ideologically sound. Looking across the board, the US is rapidly not producing decent SF that I find in any way interesting.

    So, gnarly question: is this about a culture war, or is this about a culture not producing any decent SF?

  204. After this comment from Tim Walter over at Making Light quoting RAH himself with regard to gaming the rules, I’m going to call all the SP/RP supporters* the Picnic Skunks from now on.

    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

    * for me, that includes the works/persons/institutions nominated as part of the SP/RP slate. If you withdraw yourself as one of the nominees then you will no longer be one of the skunks at fandom’s picnic and I’ll happily consider you for a future award, but this year I’m going to do my bit as one of fandom’s antibodies and vote No Award above any nominees of this slate, and will do the same again in future years for any nominees who get there from any future slates, whether those slates are SP/RP or anti-SP/RP.

    *puts buying supporting membership of Worldcon at top of today’s To-Do list*

  205. Dear C,

    Not to worry! No harm, no foul.

    Outrageous (as opposed to outraged) tone doesn’t convey well in this medium. I once made a remark so extremely through-the-looking-glass snarky that I couldn’t imagine anyone taking it seriously. So, of course…

    pax / Ctein

  206. Doctor Science said: “Since Torgerson put together the SP3 slate, I feel safe dismissing it out of hand — he’s demonstrated that he doesn’t have the minimum level of competence at English-wrangling necessary to pick lists of “the best stories”.”

    This, to me, is the whole thing in a nutshell. The Sad Puppies (I can’t really get behind the SP abbreviation, because it makes me feel like a Scientologist every time I use it) are insisting that this isn’t at all about sexism, racism, and that all they want is better stories. And yet the only things they find to complain about are too many female and minority winners, and their slate is full of stories that only make sense to include on the list if you believe that the politics of the writer is more important than the quality of the writing. Oh, and there’s a huge overlap with the list of a man who overtly believes that black people are subhuman and has advocated throwing acid at feminists…which they swear is entirely coincidental.

    To quote the esteemed Lance Parkin, “There’s some IMAX-level projection going on here.”

  207. Dear C,

    Sorry, I know John hates sequential comments– I didn’t read further than your reply to me before writing back. It’s my bad.

    I’m interested in your sense that the quality of Hugo works is declining. Can you elaborate in a fairly specific way (I don’t mean examples, I mean the specific qualities you find lacking)? I know, it’s a very tough question and possibly way too far off-topic or diversionary. But I really am interested.

    It’s the English major /litcrit thing. Every reader brings something different to a work Understanding those differences is part of understanding how the work plays and what it says.

    I may not agree, in terms of my personal taste, but that’s not why I’m asking. I know my taste, thanks — I want to know about other people’s.

    I will entirely understand if you don’t want to wander down that road.

    pax / Ctein

  208. @John Seavey. Yes, the poor quality of last year’s slate (and presumably of this year’s slate as well) shows just how little the Sad and Rabid Puppies actually care about the work itself. Despite all the protestations to the contrary, they’re acting in bad faith. Their aim is to create the maximum amount of havoc and disturbance. It’s not to highlight neglected brilliance. So all the earnest abjurations for voters to read everything and give it a chance because that’s only right and fair really stick in my craw. They’re proffering up a shit sandwich and demanding everyone eat it, because good manners…

  209. Achievement unlocked: paid for Sasquan supporting membership. Did I hear that it can take a day or two to get the confirming email?

  210. @tigtog are you the tigtog of Feministe fame? If so, then please know that I enjoy your comments on both blogs.

  211. Hi Katherine V, yes, I am that tigtog, and thank you for your kind compliment. My primary blog Hoyden About Town is where I do most of my bookish blogging, and my co-bloggers there also tend to be bookish, if that’s something you like!

  212. I’ve already finished 4 books that I started after “Ancillary Sword”. “Justice” was superb and it deserved all the awards it got, but “Sword” gets very slow and boring in the middle, “politics in a tea growing planet”, “spoiled brats are scorned”, and “an impossible old tea set is discovered” are the most exiting plot elements so far and I’m about 3/4 of the book. It is well written, the universe is compelling, but on itself does not deserve the Hugo, I hope something happens by the end and the third book turns on great again.

  213. shorter sad puppies: we just created this list of works whose politics we support and pushed them onto the Hugos. Now we demand that you judge them on their merit only, ignore their politics, and if you don’t vote for them then it only proves that you voted purely on politics.

    The level of hypocrisy is mind boggling.


    Being slightly more mature than the current Hugo fiasco (and, please: do read the CAPS as a pastiche of it all – and yes, it really is that bad, check C. Stross’ blog for a more British response, he swears and is all fighty, which Americans don’t tend to do: it’s glorious):

    In the last three decades, I’d have to say that SF was driven by the UK more than any other country. Simply no contest. (Not even going back to Ballard).

    We’re now seeing Africa (that’s my bad: it’s a continent, not a country, a serious break down of African SF would take all night though. *cough* Lagoon *cough* – and that’s not even scratching the surface), China (which, sigh, hit the NYT but not the Hugo’s), Poland, Finland, Russia (ok, Nightwatch was 15 years ago, but there’s more) and so on coming along nicely.

    And… the US is having a fight about tank-wank novels, voting blocks and so on. From the outside, it looks like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSur2YRcXZc

    Then again, I was around for Stand on Zanzibar: somewhere along the culture wars, Americans forgot that offending people is part of the point.

    The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for peace in our time, in the U.S. or any other country. Make no mistake about it: we are at War now- with somebody- and we will stay at war with that strange and mysterious enemy for the rest of our lives.

    You keep killing your own spirit for no apparent reason other than the fear that someone, somewhere, might be offended. (Unless they’re the wrong color… at which point we cue shock and awe)


    This is the really polite version. This is the vanilla “American safe” version. You have no fucking clue what the reality is. Hint: it makes tank-wank porn look like what it is: therapy for PTSD veterans who need to make it all make sense. So, next time you diss that novel – remember the audience, and remember, they’re weren’t monsters before they did your dirty work.

  215. @janstra:
    how little the Sad and Rabid Puppies actually care about the work itself. Despite all the protestations to the contrary, they’re acting in bad faith.

    I’m not completely sure about that. Last year, I said:

    For fanfic, it’s not uncommon for the most popular or admired stories in a fandom to be technically poor, especially if the readers and writers are young (= median age below 18). When it happens in an adult fandom (median age 25 or older), it goes along with an ingrown fan culture, one where people are reading and admiring each other’s stories, but not reading much fan- or pro-fic outside their circle.

    I wonder if something like that has developed in Correia and his friends, that they write and read each other but not enough beyond their circle. Or maybe they do read beyond, but there’s no-one influential who is very good at *reading*, at the basic stuff like noticing grammar or POV shifts or info-dumping.

    Given the level of paranoia, delusion, and epistemic closure that’s common in the right wing of American politics (e.g. Romney seems to have really been surprised on Election Night 2012), I think it’s possible that the Puppies don’t actually know how poor their writing is by objective standards — they *know* it’s despised by the “literati”, and they seem to use that as a badge of honor. Along with being above such bourgeois affectations as grammar.

  216. Doctor Science, I would not be unsurprised if that was at least partially the case. They seem to believe that any criticism (even technical criticism) reveals that the person criticizing them is a SJW/feminazi/leftist who therefore does not have to be listened to (guessing a bit here, but I have met the type. Trust me, in economics and business classes, I met a lot of that type. I was the token socialist liberal in most of those classes) Why respond to criticism with anything other than ad hominem attacks when the very fact that they criticized you is proof of how they clearly do not get your message and therefore are your intellectual inferior?

    I admit to writing some seriously terrible fanfic in my teens. But I kept reading and kept writing, and I got better. I’m not saying I’m criticism-proof, but I have made the conscious decision to keep trying to improve. These guys seem to have decided they were automatically the best and therefore reading outside their circle or trying for more technical skill is useless because they’re already perfect and anyone who disagrees is just jealous. It’s a common RW thing (though I’ve seen it in pseudoscience blogging on both sides of the aisle in some cases – GMOs and vaccines, for example)

  217. I’m about to go have a day in Perth (visiting King’s Park, in fact), so I’m closing up comments until I get back. See you all a bit later!

    Update: Comments back open for a couple hours until I’m off to dinner, and then an early bedtime due to travel. Sorry about the sporadic nature of this thread being open; it’s a bit of a challenge moderating while on the other side of the world (and busy to boot).

  218. I wrote a piece that I thought had a slight chance of getting on the Best Novella list. Because it was a thin year for novellas, and I saw only one or two getting widely recommended, and last year it took a mere 86 votes to make fifth place. So even though mine was self-published online, I imagined that its numerous readers might conceivably give enough recommendations to earn me a nomination.

    Little did I know that a fellow named John C Wright is so good at writing novellas that he was destined to take three of the five available slots! In fact this man’s talent is so prolific that he even has three more nominations in three other categories. Though I am of course disappointed on my own account, I can only admire a writer who inspires such widespread and spontaneous enthusiasm among speculative fiction fans that they thrust six (count ’em: 6!) nominations on him.

    I can also understand how, faced with that level of genuine and general acclaim, he may have felt impelled to put aside any misplaced notions of modesty or decorum and accept all those nominations. Even though for Best Novella that kept two other writers from having a shot at a Hugo (neither of them me, realistically, but two other people not named John C Wright). Because in the big picture the only thing that matters is recognising the very best works out there, regardless of who writes them.

    So just our bad luck that Mr Wright happened to author three of the world’s five best speculative fiction novellas this year. And if next year he gets all five nominations, and maybe five for Best Novel as well, and whatever further wonders his unstoppable genius can accomplish, we less talented folk will at least have the satisfaction of knowing that his personal success is in the best interests of the whole wide community of people who love science fiction and fantasy.

  219. @David:

    The field is large enough that it is impossible to be fully informed about the best works in a given year in any meaningful way. When I nominate, I don’t try to nominate “the best of the year” (what does that mean anyway?). Rather, I nominate works I think are “Hugo worthy quality” which makes the process easier for me.

    I think of it as taking part in a crowd-sourced project: only if enough other nominators think the works I nominated are Hugo worthy do they make the shortlist. And there is no requirement to nominate the maximum number of works in each category either; there were several categories this year where I struggled to scrape up more than a couple of works I thought Hugo-worthy (I am woefully behind in my reading).

    I guess the point I’m trying to make about nominating is that every bit helps.

  220. So…I have a few thoughts (I’m mainly a lurker on this blog)

    1) The whole kerfuffle motivated me to spend $40 hard earned bucks to join in the Hugo voting, something I have never done before. So Hugo experienced folks, what happens next? I gather there is a packet–does it contain everything nominated, even the novels? How soon does it usually arrive?

    2) I did a lot of reading of SP-related stuff on various blogs, including those of the SPs, trying to get a feel for what’s going on. It has been very interesting. One impression I have strongly is that the SP writers and supporters seem to feel that their stuff and the stuff they prefer to read is “real” science fiction the way it used to be. It certainly echoes SOME of the old-time SF. I noticed that several writers were careful to pay lip service to a few “old school” female authors like James Tiptree Jr. and Ursula LeGuin, but my hunch is that if they were actually reading those authors at the time they were published (some of them may have) they would have found them as annoyingly non-traditional/”SJW” then as they do many of the more recent writers.

    3) When Vox Day was nominated last year, I knew nothing about him but saw that the nominated novella was free on Amazon. I downloaded and read a bit of it. I hated it. It’s one of the few books (and I download a LOT of e-books via Kindle) I’ve scrubbed completely from my Amazon library. Reading some of his blog musings has made me want to bleach my brain. Larry Correia is an SP author I stumbled over by accident as I like urban fantasy and the first Monster Hunters book sounded like something I’d like. And there were parts of it I liked but his annoying habit of describing every gun and piece of ammunition by brand name, caliber, and even grain numbers for the bullets got on my last nerve.

    4) The “you swim in the politics you don’t notice” comment from above is so, so true. Correia’s books irritate me because of the constant references to guns and praise for the 2nd Amendment and woe to those who would interfere with it. It just jumps out at me, because that’s not my thing so I feel beat over the head with it. I imagine people who lean right feel equally beat over the head by things I either don’t notice or if I do, am happy to see.

    5) The SPs and GG’ers seem to have one thing in common in that they don’t like that the audience for their favorite Special Thing (SF or video games) has broadened beyond people who look and think just like them, and those “new people” have the nerve to want to see more characters, games and stories that reflect them and their concerns, and to reward with sales and awards the stuff that does so. To some extent at least some of the SPs seem of a kind with the GamerGate people and the MRA/PUA crowd in that they all yearn for a halcyon yesteryear where they had 100% of the voice and market power and are deeply disturbed by a reduction of even a few percentage points. There seems to be a needy white male temper tantrum going on across much of our culture.

    So anyway thanks for the motivation to join in on the Hugo fun. I look forward to lots of reading and have promised myself to keep up with current stuff better so that I can participate in the nominations process next year!

  221. Oh one more thing–what is with the fedora and trench coat look that so many of these guys seem to like so much? It’s getting to the point that I just want to steer clear of any geeky type affecting that look. It’s not as badass as they seem to think it is.

  222. Comments off again whilst I pack and sleep. They might be off for a while — I wake up early to travel to Melbourne. I’ll open them back up again when I make it to the hotel.

  223. Colleen, the fedora has become something of a stereotype: generally an angry, bitter, socially awkward young man who is likely to have bought into some distorted view of traditional masculinity. They seem to think it’s a shortcut to becoming Don Draper or Humphrey Bogart.

    Personally, I just hate wearing hats.

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