Keeping Up With the Hugos, 4/20/15

Hey, look, I’m home! Finally I’ll have a Hugo post whose comment thread I’ll be around to moderate. So let me present some not-terribly-organized thoughts on the current state of things (if you missed my previous Hugo-related posts on Whatever, they are here, here and here; also, File770 is doing a fine job keeping up with all the latest on the Hugos):

* I probably shouldn’t admit that I’m having a schadenfreudilicious time watching Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen now desperately try to put sunlight between themselves and that toxic bigot Vox Day, but I’m not going to lie: I am, and also, it’s not working for them at all, as there is a fairly obvious evidence trail to suggest there was hardly any sunlight between them until Day suddenly became inconvenient. Correia and Torgersen are two guys who brought an arsonist to a party, and when the arsonist started setting fires — as arsonists are known to do! — they tried to argue, while the flames rose around them, that they were not actually complicit in burning down the house. The time to disassociate themselves from Day would have been two years ago, before Correia, in a fit of unfathomable stupidity, decided that bruiting both Day and his interminably mediocre story as Hugo-worthy, and palling about with the fellow online, wouldn’t come back to bite him square on the ass.

My own supposition as to why neither Torgersen nor Correia realized what a bad idea it was to beclown themselves with Day’s company is that the two of them were, simply, too naive to think that the enemy of their enemy (i.e., the non-existent social justice warrior conspiracy designed to keep fun stories and/or conservative writers from the Hugo ballot) could be anything other than their friend. Certainly Mr. Day would validate their conspiritorial world view — hadn’t he just been kicked out of SFWA merely for expressing an opinion unpopular with the SJWs, and not at all because of his own actions? — and when he’s not performing for the crowd (that is, the Internet) or talking about something that specifically touches on his own expansive set of bigotries, Day is a perfectly lucid person.

He’s a fine con man, in other words, and Correia and Torgersen fell for his con. Day was looking for a way back into relevance in science fiction and fantasy and they very happily gave it to him, and didn’t realize until after the Hugo awards were actually announced, and the backlash against the slates in full force, just how thoroughly they had been played. Torgersen delirously announced after the Hugos came out that the Puppies had “stolen the Enterprise”; he wasn’t aware that he and Correia were the redshirts in that scenario, or just how much and how closely the two of them would then be associated with Day’s feculent character and actions.

Well, now they know. At this point Correia and Torgersen have to decide whether they want to be known either as Day’s fellow travelers, or his useful idiots. Or both! It could be both. Neither of these options makes them look good; nor, obviously, fits with their own self-image of being Brave Men Fighting the Good Fight™. But in fact, they aren’t fighting a good fight, and in fact, they got played. So: Fellow travelers or useful idiots. These are the choices.

* Also, can we please now stop pretending that this whole Puppy nonsense began for any other reason than that once upon a time, Larry Correia thought he was going to win an award and was super pissed he didn’t, and decided that the reason he didn’t had to be a terrible, awful conspiracy against people just like him (a conservative! Writing “fun” fiction!), as opposed to, oh, the voters deciding they just plain liked something and someone else better? Can we stop pretending that a fellow who practically begs people to nominate his work three years running, hiding the begging behind an oh-so-thin veil of “let’s stick it to the SJWs!” doesn’t desperately crave the external validation that he thinks the award will bring? Can we stop pretending that this is anything other than a grown up child stomping his feet, screaming look at me, look at me, loooook at meeeeee? Because, come on, folks. We’re well past the point of genteel here. Let’s call it for what it is.

(And yes, I know, Correia declined his nomination for the Hugo this year. Let’s talk about that for a minute, shall we. It takes a very special sort of fellow to allow himself to be on a slate to get nominated, marshal people to nominate him for the award as part of a slate, and then decline — and write a big ol’ puffed-up piece about why he was declining, social justice warriors, blows against the empire, blah blah blah, yadda yadda. Yes, nice he declined the nomination and let someone else on the ballot. But it’s a little like wanting credit for rescuing a baby squirrel when you knocked the baby squirrel out of the tree to begin with.)

To be clear, the Puppy nonsense now isn’t just about Correia really really really wanting validation in the form of a rocketship; Day’s stealing the Puppy movement right out from under Correia and Torgerson has changed things up quite a bit, and it’s certainly true at this point that this little campaign is about a bunch of people trying to shit in the punchbowl so no one else can have any punch. But at the beginning, it was Correia hurt and angry that someone else got an award he thought was his, and deciding that it was stolen from him, rather than being something that was never his to begin with. And I’m sorry for him that it didn’t go his way. But actual grown human beings deal with disappointment in ways other than Correia has.

Correia can bluster about this all he likes; he’s a lovely online bully, and certainly he wishes to project that he’s a Tough Guy Saying Tough Things, Toughly™. But, eh. If he was actually who he wishes he could project himself as, the Sad Puppy thing would have never happened. And, ironically, he would be better positioned to win the awards he craved, because he wouldn’t be seen as a petulant whiner about such things. As it is, all we can do for him now is let him show us on the cartoon face pain chart how much Worldcon hurt him, and offer him soothing hugs until all his pain goes away.

* I notice that Vox Day has been enjoying his moment, and has taken to making pronouncements along the line of “award this slate of things I managed to push onto the ballot or GOD HELP ME I WILL DESTROY THE HUGOS FOREVER BWA HA HA HAH HA HA.” Because that’s the sort of asshole shitbug of human he is.

So, a couple of things to know about Vox Day. One, he’s the sort of person for whom any scenario will be seen as a victory condition; if he were to be set on fire and pushed in front of a speeding train, he would cackle about how this was exactly what he had planned right up until the moment of impact turned him into flaming bits of kibble. So obviously he’s going to babble on about how he plans to destroy the Hugos forever if he doesn’t get his way. Why wouldn’t he. That’s a victory condition! Plus, he’s getting attention. In the grand pantheon of People Acting Like Children About the Hugos, he’s the Grand Baby, and attention is what he wants.

Two: Fuck that dude. If everything is a victory condition for him — and it is — then worrying about what he’s going to do is sort of pointless. What is he going to do? Why, declare victory! Regardless! So you might as well do what you want. And if that means voting “No Award” in the categories where there are only Puppy nominees, then by all means follow your joy. Yes, he’ll say that’s what he planned all along. You could open a can of peas and he would maintain that you’re doing exactly what he wanted. He wants you to see him as a mastermind, rather than as a general failure whose only successes lie in being terrible to other people, and encouraging others to be the same.

So, yeah. Ignore his shtick; focus on your thing, as it involves the Hugos.

* Many people are convinced this is The End of the Hugos. Guys, no. It’s really not, and if I may say so, running around as if one’s hair is on fire about it, as satisfying as it is in the short term, isn’t going to be useful — and besides gives the Puppies their glee, which is a thing I don’t think they should have. I am not saying that you shouldn’t feel angry, or upset, or exasperated, or whatever you feel. Feel that! Own that! Be that! And also, decide to do something about it.

First, by voting for the Hugos this year. There are some very good reasons to “no award” everything that’s on a Puppy slate, including entire categories — I understand Brad Torgersen is suggesting anyone who does so is a gigantic asshole, but at this particular moment in time, and given how he’s just been played by Vox Day, he should probably not be declaring anyone else an asshole, lest that mirror be put up to him — but there are also reasons not to, and you’ll have to decide for yourself the best course of action. But that starts with voting, which one can do with a supporting membership to Sasquan.

Second, by deciding to be part of the conversation about what to do with the Hugos from here on out, which may or may not include tweaking the award rules to better handle slates (which are a bad idea) and obvious block voting (which is not good either). I should note that I’m not personally entirely convinced a wholesale change in voting rules is needed, because to some extent I see this as self-correcting — honestly, after this year, would anyone want to be on a slate, much less a Puppy slate? Who wants that sort of asterisk on their Hugo? — but it’s a conversation to have. Specifically, it’s a conversation to have at the WSFS business meeting, which will take place at this year’s Worldcon, Sasquan.

Third, by understanding that this is a process, and it will take time. If a rule change is proposed at Sasquan and then passed, it has to be affirmed at the next Worldcon (in Kansas City) and then it will take effect the year after. Which means we may have at least another year of potential mischief along this line. Accept that this is a fact, be ready to deal with it (preferably with an eyeroll and the appropriate voting action), and recognize that the Hugos survive — or don’t — based on what the community around them decides to do. You can be part of that community. It takes effort and a bit of commitment. The good news is, there’s more to that community you’ll be part of than just the Hugos. And it’s a good community to be part of.

* Finally, on the subject of slates, for the avoidance of doubt, here’s my own personal position: I won’t ask to be put on a slate of nominees for a Hugo; If asked to be on a slate of nominees for a Hugo, I will refuse; If you see my name on a slate of nominees for the Hugo, you may assume I neither asked nor consented to be on that slate. I am fine with people recommending my work to others for consideration; I am not fine with people saying “vote this slate to get our nominees on the ballot for reasons.”

To be blunt about it, I don’t need to be on a slate — In my experience people have voted for me, or not, because they liked my work (or didn’t). Silly mutterings of conspiracy aside, everything of mine that’s been on the Hugo ballot got there under its own steam, by someone genuinely liking it and deciding to give it a slot on their nomination list. I’m proud of that; I wouldn’t want a work of mine on the final Hugo ballot (or any other ballot, for that matter) for any other reason.

I’m also opposed to slates in general — or in the case of the Sad Puppy slate, a weasely list of “recommendations” that had in their categories the number of slots as there are on the Hugo nomination list, nod, wink, nod — because, here’s a wacky idea, I think the point of popular awards is for people to vote for the things they actually like, not a slate designed to achieve some sort of political or social point (or, in the case of the Rabid Puppy slate, exist as advertisement for the slate-builder’s hobby-horse of a publishing house). Also, to be blunt, I don’t trust anyone else’s taste. I may or may not have terrible taste in science fiction and fantasy, but it’s my taste, and I’ll vote it.

In short: I don’t do slates — won’t voluntarily be on them, and won’t vote for them. And I’m not going to lie, from here on out, as regards the Hugos, I’ll think less of you if you participate on or vote for a slate. Because what you’re doing is showing that you don’t actually care about what the Hugos are (an award that acts as a snapshot, however imperfect, of the current state of science fiction and fantasy), but rather what the Hugos can do (draw attention to your own work, politics, social thoughts or whatever). The thing is, the latter happens because of the former. And that only happens when people vote their own nominees, not anyone else’s.

702 Comments on “Keeping Up With the Hugos, 4/20/15”

  1. Mallet is out, obviously. Be polite to each other, and also as much as you can stay polite in general. I don’t want to have to tell people to settle down. Let’s be the grown-ups! We can do it!

    Also, and before it comes up: I am quite aware that I have a variance of opinion from Messrs. Correia, Torgersen and Day as regards their motivations and actions regarding the Puppy slates, so if you’re coming here to note that, you should assume it’s taken as read. With that said, as someone elsewhere has said, when there’s a variance between what people say and what people do, you should pay attention to what people do. This is what I see them doing. You are of course free to disagree.

    Also also, yes. I fully expect this to cause a spasm of WWHHHHHARGLEBAAAARGLE over in the Puppyverse, as I am the Root of All Evil (or at least one of the roots) in their eyes. I look forward to whatever ridiculous bit of nonsense issues forth about me from them next.

  2. You make a really good point about “slates”. They can make sense in some political contexts, where there are interactions between the individual entities elected which can make them more or less relevant. But for book awards, the goal should be to pick the books you think are the best. And maybe there’s more than one way to think about a book being “best”, but it should still be taking each book on its own merits.

    This whole thing has been pretty surreal to me, because most of my political debate comes from the dark corners of tumblr, where “SJWs” appear to be an actual thing, and it’s so weird coming out into the rest of the world and seeing the term used indiscriminately for, well, basically anything that isn’t sufficiently regressive. Very strange experience. But it is pretty easy to establish that Vox Day is, well, not the sort of person I generally want to be aligned with. Or associated with. Or aware of, if I really have a free selection of options.

  3. Someone else suggested that Messrs. Correia and Torgersen perhaps should have been a bit more genre savvy. When you ally yourself with a great and terrible power (or at least just an unpleasant one), you should never assume you are the one who will stay in control.

    The problem with Day’s ‘heads, I win; tails, you lose’ is that when causing problems is most of your goal, the methods are very little constrained. I’ll give Correia and Torgersen the credit that they didn’t seem to want this, they just both had no awareness of how they looked to outsiders, and they thought inviting Day in was a non-terrible idea.

    (Sometimes people are kicked out not because they are persecuted, but because they are jackasses.)

  4. Also, BlackGate refused their fanzine nomination, so there’s that.

    I can sympathize some with supporters of the SP campaign up to this point – clearly there are some sincere feelings in the movement – but if slate voting continues after this whole mess then nobody learned anything about how to constructively work for change (hint: it means leave the matches at home).

  5. Hi, John.

    Speaking for myself only, and not for Sasquan in any way shape or form, the feeling that this is the end of the Hugos is not the manic feeling you describe. It is rather one of deep sadness and depression, something like the demolition of a childhood landmark.

    It is as if something we love has been torn from us, trampled on, spit on and irrevocably broken. That innocence lost can never be regained.

  6. Interesting interview with Arthur Chu on NPR’s “On The Media” on the Sad Puppies debacle and its implications in our society.

  7. One of the few “amusing” aspects to this whole shindig is how, every year, you get somebody shouting that the Hugos, the Oscars, the Nobel Prizes, the presidency of the student council, the best bikini body contest at Weekend at Bernie’s Beach Bar, the (insert whatever award you didn’t win here), is nothing more than A Popularity Contest, and nobody — nobody! — ever realized this before. Perhaps on Vulcan, they have award shows that truly are the dispassionate assessment of whatever the award is for. Perhaps.

  8. Am in complete agreement with you, on all of this.

    I’d not really thought of myself as a fan, though I’ve been a reader of SF/F since childhood, and more than half the books on my shelves or in cartons in the storage locker are in that genre. (I got into Discworld fandom back in the Usenet days, and went to the first and second cons in the UK, but still… not identifying as a fan.) (OK, there’s a blind spot there the size of something really, really large.)

    I’ve never even thought about actually voting for the Hugos; and at this point, financially, even a supporting membership is out of reach. Or would have been, if a friend* hadn’t posted that they’d be giving a couple of people money for supporting memberships, first come, first served. So I’ve been given a supporting membership. (And if I understand things correctly, I get to nominate next year, which just boggles my mind.)

    *I have the best friends. Really, truly, the best.

    –glinda

  9. Myself, I’ll be very curious to see the voting details when they’re released. (And I’d be even happier if they released not just the counts, but the full balloting details — no voter information, obviously, but copies of the full individual ballots, so somebody could start to do some really deep analysis of the data — specifically, whether any of the slate nominees had significant vote tallies from the non-slated ballots.)

    I think slates are pernicious, especially in the more lightly-traveled categories — at least a few legitimate (non-slate) nominees got onto Best Novel despite the existence of the slate, and the nominees for Best Dramatic Presentation-Long Form were probably pretty similar to what they would’ve been regardless, but for the short fiction & editor categories, which get relatively fewer total votes, they were able to sweep the categories; and I have serious trouble believing that all of the slate voters read all of the short fiction nominees on the slate and genuinely believed them the best five stories of the year; or even had any serious familiarity with most of the nominees for editor.

  10. Becca Stareyes:

    To be blunt about it, I don’t credit either Correia or Torgersen with much in the way of tactical thinking, otherwise they would have figured out rather early on why slates and aligning with horrible bigots might not be a long-term winning strategy.

    Glenn Glazer:

    Oh, I don’t suspect that the folks running the convention are part of the “hair on fire” brigade — I know they’re doing their best under difficult circumstances.

    But I would suggest this isn’t the demolition of a childhood landmark; it’s graffiti. It can be cleaned off and the landmark can continue on. It just takes people getting in there and scrubbing.

  11. While I think you’re absolutely right, there’s one thing that will never happen, and that is for Torgersen and Correia to repudiate Day. Remember, it’s wrong to ostracise, so anyone who does so must be ostracised and destroyed immediately.
    There’s just a few things here that I’d like to put in, as there’s been some insane levels of denial and projecting going on:
    >Larry Correia reaching out to the fuzzy kittens of GamerGate:
    https://twitter.com/monsterhunter45/status/559761358124642305
    https://twitter.com/monsterhunter45/status/559761848040292352
    https://twitter.com/Nero/status/559772587157630977
    >Brad Torgersen claims that he wanted his slate to be open and democratic. Based on some analysis (http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2454977.html) it’s either that he’s hidden some of the nomination sources (therefore not open), or he’s ignoring the nominations he actually got (therefore not democratic). His response to this has been to ignore it, as far as I can tell.
    >Given that the Rabid slate is weighed heavily towards works that Day publishes, and that he’s actually gone on to threaten endless retaliation (MUAHAHAHA) onto the Hugo’s if No Award wins, is it actually possible for his fondest wishes to come true and for him and his publishing house to be declared persona non grata?
    Last year was my first Hugo, coz hey, bonus Wheel of Time. This year will be my second, coz jeez of course I can do better than the nominees of this year.
    I will certainly try to read everything that is nominated and in the voter packet until I lose interest. As someone elsewhere said quite brilliantly, in some cases this may be with the authors name itself.
    But all puppy candidates go below No Award, with the only possible exception being in the Dramatic Presentation categories.

  12. It’s graffiti, as you say – it’s vandalism, pure and simple. If the puppies take home a trophy, it will have as much meaning as one they purchased from a hardware store. The only logical reason to urinate on the awards as they have done is to spoil them for those who would have won them on merit. They’re not unintelligent people – they surely realize that the piece of gleaming metal that may shine at them from the corner of their study has no worth to them as a form of validation. Or perhaps not – perhaps they really are that deluded… Sad, really. (And rabid, I guess).

  13. WRT to the No Award calls for all slate candidates, I think it’s going to be virtually indistinguishable between those who put all slate noms beneath no award and those people who voted based on quality. The correlation is high.

  14. As you mentioned, you could just as easily argue that this whole thing is a naked case of corruption, designed specifically to enrich and validate one small publisher; otherwise, why did they leave off works that were right in their wheelhouse, like the Heinlein bio? It’s a flimsy excuse they didn’t know about it; their whole supposed reason was to promote specific figures and styles of work, which they didn’t bother to learn about.

  15. As it is, all we can do for him now is let him show us on the doll where Worldcon hurt him, and offer him soothing hugs until all his pain goes away.

    Scalzi, I have a lot of respect for you, but I’m trying really hard to read this line as anything other than an attempt to insult Correia by comparing him to survivors of child sexual assault, and I’m coming up snake-eyes. I find that really hurtful, especially in the context of the wider point that Correia’s injuries are imagined.

    As for slates: ugh, yes. I’m working with some folks on trying to hack the problem from the other side–by making it easier for people who aren’t voting slates to find eligible works and remember the eligible works they read and loved. When you’re nominating a slate, it is super-easy to fill out a ballot. It should be that easy when nominating in good faith, too. I know that I didn’t vote for five works in every category and I suspect most nominators didn’t, just because it’s tough to remember an entire year of work (especially if one waits to nominate until the last minute, like I did). We’re working on building a searchable, sortable eligibility listing tool. I can’t say that’ll fix the slate problem, but even if it doesn’t, I’m hoping it’ll help.

  16. I’m not sure they are so different, frankly. Ok, Correia and Torgersen seem not to be willing to go down into the absolute nonsense of hateful paranoia that Day and Wright represent, but well… took them THAT long to figure it out? What, did the thrill of battle against the SWJ conspiracy made them temporarily stupid? I mean, is not like the Rabid Puppies hide their … particularities. 15 minutes would be enough to find out who they are.

    But basically, is all more or less the same. The whole “I did not get my Hugo because people are conspiring against good old science fiction like mine” is part of the whole narcissistic outlook that also spreads to “minorities? gays? lesbians? That cant be true SF, because is not about me”. From there to hating the coming of the new era where decent, normal people like me are ostracized when they dare say that all the rest of the world should be irrelevant, is a close jump.

  17. There are several political and non-political groups where I agree with some of their views, but I refuse to identify with them because I don’t want to be linked to some of the people in those groups.

    The sad part is that I enjoy Correia’s work (I’ve read all his books except for his latest Monster Hunter novel) and do believe he is an underrated writer. But I refuse to push for his inclusion in awards due to his actions and the people he associates with. I refuse to have my name aligned with people who’s actions and speech I detest.

  18. “Scalzi, I have a lot of respect for you, but I’m trying really hard to read this line as anything other than an attempt to insult Correia by comparing him to survivors of child sexual assault, and I’m coming up snake-eyes. I find that really hurtful, especially in the context of the wider point that Correia’s injuries are imagined.”

    This. So much this.

  19. There was much to read on the subject and it was hard to make out much of anything. There were two interesting data points. The lesser was a story from Larry Correia on a podcast about a Hugo nomination that one author found so not part of the genre that the offended author, overnight, wrote a story that contained all the elements of the nominated one but felt was part of the genre and a better story. If there is any truth to what Larry Coreia said, there is some feeling out there that Hugo’s have been come to be political.

    A far more interesting data point was a blog entry from Sarah A Hoyt. It is a fairly damning indictment and a phenomenon I have seen in academia. It is worth reading. http://accordingtohoyt.com/2015/03/31/the-scarlet-letters/

    Cheers,
    Rod

  20. “The whole “I did not get my Hugo because people are conspiring against good old science fiction like mine” is part of the whole narcissistic outlook that also spreads to “minorities? gays? lesbians? That cant be true SF, because is not about me”. ”

    Yes, this. Add to this, their utter disbelief that SF/F written by someone they have decided is a SJW can be any good. Any SF/F they don’t personally like *must* be winning awards / being bought by editors / being published as some sort of affirmative action program, not because it is any good, or because people actually like reading it.

    Hence their insistence that no one could actually enjoy reading Ancillary Justice, for instance.

  21. @Rod:

    If there is any truth to what Larry Coreia said, there is some feeling out there that Hugo’s have been come to be political.

    To quote the Ephors of Sparta: If.

  22. Rod: I’m missing what on that is the specific “damning indictment.” Please point to the point you’re making.

    For myself, I think that post is missing an important point regarding the difference between being nominated without notice and being put on a POTENTIALLY CAREER AFFECTING slate without notice.

  23. David Gustafson: I have it on good authority that the best bikini body contests on Vulcan are anything but dispassionate.

  24. Annalee:

    Yikes, didn’t even think about that. Sorry. Changed it.

    Bill Ruhsam:

    Yeah, it was that way last year at least in some categories.

    Mark S.:

    Larry Correia is indeed a talented writer. None of this is really about his talent as a writer.

  25. Somehow I feel that this is is the best description I’ve seen of the whole kerfuffle. Not sure exactly who’s the tractor and who’s the tree, however.

  26. Considering I didn’t realize that both Correia & Torgerson were LDS members until late last week, why do I wonder if their shadow agenda includes some sort of justice (in their eyes) for Orson Scott Card?

    That said, going on the working assumption that slates are probably going to be part of the landscape for the foreseeable future, reforms to blunt their influence are probably in order. Assorted write-ups (particularly Eric Flints’) have also confirmed for me that the awards structure should be brought more in line with publishing realities; at the very least a Hugo for Best Novel in a Continuing Series would probably be a good idea.

    Also, considering that whatever else you want to say about these guys they do seem to be functioning in an irony-free zone, they don’t seem to realize that even if there was a Hugo for Best Military SF, it could still have easily be won by a book they probably see as a SJW icon, that is to say “Ancillary Justice!”

  27. I *love* a good internet slapfight between talented authors. Or, as the case may be, a battle of wits against an unarmed man…

    [Be right back, gonna go make some popcorn.]

  28. We have known for years that a slate vote, done well, would be devastatingly effective. The way it was controlled was social. The last time it was tried was when L Ron was on the ballot, he came in dead last, IIRC. Appropriate enough, this was at the 1987 Worldcon, named “Conspiracy.” Who says there’s no justice in comedy…err…comedy in justice.

    But it truly is easy — because, in effect, every nominator gets five votes. They have to be for different things in a given category, but you still get five. So, let’s look at 2014. In Novel, there were 1595 nominations. That could have been as few as 319 people, if all nominated all five slots. In the smaller fiction, it’s far worse, there were 728 nominations for Novelette, that could have been just 145 actual people.

    Now, the real problem of slate voting: It is a very different pattern. Let’s say I have 145 people nominating normally, and 100 people nominating a slate. The slate voters are nominating 5 works out of a slate of 5, so each work gets 100 nominations. The regular nominators are nominating 5 works out of a slate of dozens of works. It is *very* unlikely that one work is going to get 100 nominations, unless that one work is truly widely read and exceptional. So, the 100 lockstep slate voter have a much higher influence than the 145 regular nominators. So, when you advocate more people nominating, you’re talking “orders of magnitude” more people nominating. I do not know if that’s possible or sustainable.

    If the social rule of “Don’t do that” can be reestablished, then rules changes can be avoided. But if it can’t, then we either have to accept slates, in which case, the only way to avoid one slate dominating is other slates, *vastly* more non-slate nominators, or change the nominations rules to reduce the effects of slates. It will almost certainly be impossible to make slates ineffective without such bad side effects as to make the idea unworkable, but we can make them less effective than they are now while still maintaining the core idea that the Hugos should have popular and open nominations.

    There are two classes of rules changes I’m willing to accept, but I don’t have the data to exactly firm them up into formal proposals. The first is broadly classified as X/Y, but I currently call 3/6, where the final ballot is increased to 6, but each nominator gets three works, instead of 5. This means a slate is limited to half the ballot, and if you want to sweep the ballot, you have to spilt your minions into two groups, which limits your effectiveness. 1/5 or 1/6 makes slates very difficult, but it also wrecks the ballot if a very popular work comes out, because almost everybody nominates that and the other slots are basically random noise. 2/6 has that problem to some extent as well, but really limit slates. 4/6 has very little of the Popular Work Wipeout problem, but is more vulnerable to slates. 6/6 is the current situation with one more slot on the ballot.

    The other is Mike Scott’s “Slate Detected” idea, where if is a slate pattern is detected in nominations, the ballot expands. This removes the big harm in slate voting, which is the works that would have been on the final ballot aren’t knocked off by the slate. There are real costs to this (the pre-Hugo reception and Hugo Loser’s party become more expensive) and the real key is getting the triggers written correct to detect a slate and expand. And until this years nomination numbers come out, we can’t really write the rules change. The advantage of his system is nobody is ever removed from a ballot — if a slate happens, the slated nominees make the final ballot, but the people who would have been removed *also* make the ballot. If written correctly, it’s an elegant idea, but the questions are “is it possible to write?” and “if so, what exactly are the trigger conditions we need to detect and how do we expand?”

    So, that idea is lovely in concept, but really difficult to execute, especially right now when we lack pretty much all the data we need.

    So, this year, I can’t really advocate that rule.

    It’s a hard problem — and I am certain there will be a lot of very bad ideas at this year’s WSFS business meeting. Thankfully, we have motions like “Postpone Indefinitely” to put many of them out of everyone’s misery quickly, and “Object to Consideration” for the truly offensive motions.

  29. Spleen status: vented.

    This could be a reference specimen for studying clueful ranting.

  30. I have to say that I think you are misreading Correia and Togersen a lot.

    I never though of it as a slate. It was recommendations. I treated it that way myself. I voted for the nominees I liked, and I didn’t vote for the ones I didn’t like.

    I also think that anyone voting No Award JUST BECAUSE a work was recommended by someone you don’t like is an asshole. And opening it up to destroy the Hugos next year.

    Leave Vox Day out of it. If someone No Awards one of my favorite authors this year, for POLITICAL reasons that have nothing to do with the work itself, then I will be highly motivated to do the same thing to some other author next year. Take my reaction and multiply it by however many others are like me, which is very probably a number large enough to “disrupt” the Hugos.

    If we all start down that road voting No Award for authors that we somehow decide represent the Bad Guys, then the Hugo will really be meaningless.

  31. This story is so classic, it’s practically a trope. Person doesn’t get what he wants, aligns himself with a dark power to get it, some bad stuff happens (predictably), person is horrified and regrets everything, but it’s too late.

    I guess “person doesn’t get what he wants, accepts this, and moves on” isn’t as interesting a narrative.

  32. “As it is, all we can do for him now is let him show us on the doll where Worldcon hurt him, and offer him soothing hugs until all his pain goes away.”

    Mr. Scalzi, I am a huge fan. Reading this comment saddens me. You are better man than someone who would say this.

    I am a survivor of child molestation. I don’t think it is ever okay to make such a glib remark.

  33. @zlynx:

    An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind. Engaging in that sort of infantile tit-for-tat will ruin the Hugos for sure.

  34. “If someone No Awards one of my favorite authors this year, for POLITICAL reasons that have nothing to do with the work itself, then I will be highly motivated to do the same thing to some other author next year.”

    Nuthin says grown-up like “he started it!”

  35. Another side effect of this whole kerfuffle: It’s sad to see people refusing their nominations because they felt that their nominations were suspect. BlackGate and Marko Kloos both deserve their nominations in their respective categories.

    Becca Stareyes:
    Correia and Torgersen’s desperate attempts to distance themselves from VD reminds me of the mafia in The Dark Knight when they realised what the Joker really was. It would have been funny had it not been so pathetic.

  36. Kudos to our host for focusing on the public statements and actions of specific people and avoiding the trap of generalizing about an ill-defined group of people with many different motivations. The group of people in some way involved with the puppies extends from extreme bigots to people who met Brad a few times and thought he was a nice guy. No one should ascribe to all of them the foul beliefs and hatred espoused by Theodore Beale and his ilk. I do believe that some slate voters really just wanted to see some stuff they liked on the ballot and didn’t think past that–their unethical actions should be examined and explained to them, with a history lesson on the Hugos thrown in (like the first novel to win a Hugo came from a master of the dark psychology of the antihero). But they shouldn’t be tarred for that as if they were the worst of the RPs.

    (Strangely, I find that the works the SP/RPs most like to hate include both my most favorite and least favorite. Personal taste is a strange thing.)

  37. “I have to say that I think you are misreading Correia and Togersen a lot.”

    Please elaborate.

  38. I think Hugos should go to books and stories that are not only fun to read once, but are actually worth reading twice.

  39. One of the things I’ve started to wonder about is whether Larry Correia and Brad Torgensen just started this whole mess because they just have no clue about the actual politicing skills needed to get nominated or win a Hugo? Because I do recognise their types from my days in local politics, the people who saw everything that happened outside of formal channels as a conspiracy and who kept trying to (ab)use the rules to get their way with no clue on how to build alliances or convince people otherwise.

    Combine that with the massive entitlement that makes you think being nominated for a Campbell isn’t a high enough honour and you got trouble.

  40. I feel sorry for all authors and creators this year. No matter what happens, they’re tainted. You win, it’s because you were a puppy, or it’s because the vote was a puppy backlash, or it’s because all the other quality works were knocked off by the puppies, or whatever.

  41. I keep hearing the voice of Michael Caine. “And in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn’t fully understand.”

    . . .

    “Some men just want to see the world burn.”

  42. smhill: I started a project many years ago of reading all the Hugo-winning novels. My ratio of books liked to disliked is right around 50%. I can acknowledge that some of the Best Novels were quality creations that pushed the envelope, I just didn’t care for some of them.

  43. Just for the record – there is currently only ONE ballot change proposal on the agenda – that’s the one I wrote (4/6) which increases the final nominees to six while reducing the nominating slots per person to four.

    Also a note – when the Hugo report says “1500 ballots submitted” that’s 1500 real persons sending in a ballot, not 300 ballots with five books on them.

  44. I’ve tried to be charitable on both sides of the issue, so I’ll try to do so here. I suspect many cases of what’s happening are similar to the lady in NYC who was stunned that Nixon could be elected, because, “Nobody I know voted for him.” We have two groups of folks, neither of whom realizes that the world is bigger than their circle of friends.

    Correia et al., have a point: I’ve had trouble really getting into new Sci-Fi and Fantasy recently because it’s often turning into a one-note song: much of the main-stream publishing world has become rather left-wing in its viewpoint, no matter how much folks would like to argue to the contrary. The “alternative viewpoints/multicultural/politically correct/enlightened/whatever-you-call-it” crowd have a point, in that part of the interest of Sci-Fi/Fantasy involves exploring the possibilities, and thus, there is a place, even a need, for that sort of writing. This doesn’t mean either “side” is wrong, but it does mean that both sides are arguing past each other. Neither is addressing the other’s positions, and both have plenty of friends urging them on with the “righteousness of their cause.”

    Mr. Scalzi, you’ve touched on several important points here. First, that escape reading should be about how fun a story is (part of why I like your books). Second, don’t invite bomb-throwers to parties, unless you like loud noises and repair bills. Third, you should know that you’re going to get the tar thrown at your friends all over you.

    However, your most important point is that about slates. Really? I can’t imagine why anyone would think slates are a good idea. Every book (or series) should stand or fall on its own merits. Merely nominating or voting for a book because you think the person(s) who wrote up a book list are smart/wise/cool/good-cooks/better-than-you/whatever is silly at best. If the point of the Hugos is to find good works of art, it behooves us to read the book (thus the books mailed out to the voters), then decide.

    Honestly, I have to agree with Mr. Correia on this point: the Hugos will send out a whole sack of books for $40. Where on earth are you going to get 10+ Sci-Fi books for $40? Whether you agree with him or not, spend the $40, get the books, vote (or don’t) as you see fit, and enjoy the chance to read brand new books at a discount. Hate what he’s doing? Buy a ballot and vote for what you love. So what if it overlaps with his “slate” in a couple of books. He claims to be returning the program to a ballot of the populace – so jump in and participate.

    Or don’t, but get the cheap books. Either way, it’s a win!

    Finally, a point: The Hugos are an award for good story-telling, in a wonderful future or other setting, or at least, that’s what it should be. If the whole thing has turned into a platform for one or another viewpoint, it’s wandered from its stated purpose, and needs revision or ending. If, however, it was always intended to be a platform for political or social evangelism, it should just advertise that outright, so that those of us who are uninterested in that for our amusements can find other outlets.

  45. So Larry and Brad latched on to barrel of toxic waste and have discovered that it didn’t give them super powers… it just made people want to stay away from them. Sad Puppies indeed.

    Sigh… Guys I have a solution for you. IF you really want a Hugo, how about writing stuff that people want to read instead of bathing in a barrel of skunk stink.

  46. There’s a reason why we put No Award on the ballot. There are lots of valid reasons to vote No Award. Remember that the award is always “Best X.” Not “Best X on the ballot,” but Best X.” So, why would you vote No Award?

    (To simplify — assume that anytime I say “work”, I mean “eligible work for that category”)

    1) You have seen a work that is better than any on the final ballot. Since the best work isn’t on the final ballot, No Award is the proper vote here. In fact, this was the original reason for the No Award proposal — it was realized that the issue with a popular nomination system is a superb but poorly distributed work may well fail to make the ballot through no fault of its own. If you feel that the works that are there are at least award worthy, feel free to then rank them after No Award. If you feel nothing on the ballot is award worthy, bullet vote No Award and be done.

    2) You feel there was an issue with the nomination process, and thus the award is invalid that year. Rank No Award #1, and done.

    3) You feel the category is dumb and should never be awarded. #1 No Award, done.

    4) You just want to watch the category burn. It’s your ballot! Do Whatever!

    5) Some of the works on the ballot are worthy, but others aren’t. So, you rank the ones that are, and then No Award. Your choice to keep ranking or not. Lots of technical neepery there, but I don’t bother. If you’re below No Award, to me, you’re not worth a number (except for case #1)

    The idea that the final ballot is sacrosanct and clearly represents the five best works of the year has never been true, and the repudiation of that idea is exactly why we put No Award on the ballot decades ago. It’s not new. It’s not used often — last was in Best Dramatic Presentation in 1977, but it’s been there, and it’s there because if the voters feel that the Best X isn’t on the ballot, or than nothing on the ballot is award worthy TO THEM, then they have a way of making that statement.

    What criteria do they use to judge if the the best X is on the ballot and if it is worthy? That is for that voter to know. I have my standards. They have theirs. You have yours. If you insist on demanding that I follow your standards, well, tell it to the NOPE.

    Why? Because it is their ballot to fill out, and their award to give. Not mine. Not yours. Not the authors.

    So, sir/ma’am, if you want to tell me why I, or anyone else, shouldn’t vote No Award? I’m not listening. It’s not your place to tell me, or anybody else. It’s my ballot. I’ll mallet if I want to.

  47. Re: “Larry Correia is indeed a talented writer…”

    John–

    I like all kinds of things–I have been Tuckerized by Ringo, for Christ’s sake. But I have bounced off of the Correia I have tried. His alternate history backgrounds… strike me as cardboard and unconvincing. His 1930s characters… come from no 1930s I know of.

    Is there something of his you would recommend to someone whose disbelief has–so far–not been suspended by anything Correia has written?

    Yours,

    Brad DeLong

  48. John Whitson:

    “Or don’t, but get the cheap books. Either way, it’s a win!”

    Ironically, the person who invented the modern version of the Reader Packet was me. Go me!

    NB, however: Participation in the Reader Packet was (and is) strictly voluntary on the part of the creators. People should buy memberships to vote, not get free stuff. The free stuff is, literally, a bonus.

    Brad Delong:

    The couple of Monster Hunter books I read I found to be perfectly entertaining. Not life changing, but surely good enough for an enjoyable, quick read. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

  49. Thank you for admitting that you said something inappropriate, and fixing it.

    It’s depressing how rare it is to do something like that.

  50. I saw Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” at Minneapolis’s Guthrie Theater a few nights ago, and it’s striking how similar the current spot Misters Correia and Togersen find themselves on — trying to figure out how to let go of the tiger they themselves let into the room — is to the situation the play’s Reverend Hale lands in. Add in an interpretation of the Hugo nominations as the “naming of names,” and the parallels become a mite spooky.

  51. Given the rate at which people are refusing their nominations and withdrawing from consideration, I fully expect that by Sasquan, there may be nobody left on the ballot BUT Puppies.

  52. Brad DeLong:

    I’m with you. I got a copy of the first book of his Monster Hunters series, based on an Amazon recommendation. I enjoy a bit of light-hearted fantasy-opera, and it sounded like a lot of other things that I’ve had fun with, like Butcher’s Dresden Files series.

    It was, to put it mildly, godawful. I kept reading, convinced that it *must* be a joke, that there must be a punchline coming, because no one could actually deliberately write something *that* bad. And then I got to the end. And it wasn’t a joke.

    It was bad on just about every level. The plot was sloppy. Calling the characters paper-thin stereotypes is generous. Even the word choices were atrocious.

    I have no idea if that book was typical of his writing. But I know that I’m not interested: after getting burned that badly by a purchase, I won’t ever spend my money on anything he wrote ever again.

  53. On the issue of the Reader Packet, I have to say that I dont know much, if it is, or not there, or what., but if this year includes that Wright stuff about “Transhuman and Subhuman”, you may very well be getting a negative value out of free stuff.

  54. (Damn: those earlier comments labelled “scientopia” shouldn’t be. I didn’t realize that I hadn’t updated my WordPress account. I left Scientopia more than a year ago. Please don’t assume that anyone at Scientopia.org has anything to do with anything that I said. All blame goes to me, Mark Chu-Carroll, and my blog goodmath/badmath.)

  55. @zlynx: I really mean this respectfully to you: can you give some quotes or specific instances in which our host is misreading BT and LC? I’ve read a couple of Brad Torgersen’s blog posts, but they are (to my mind) excessively long and I didn’t really see anything he said and did that doesn’t jibe w/JS’s reading of it.

    Also, I don’t know that you will be able to determine if I or anyone else votes, say, John C Wright below No Award because I think his work is not worthy rather than if it’s for some political point (or both). Sure, some people will say so on their blog or website, but I would guess there will be far more voters than blog posts, so you’ll be missing A LOT of data when you decide whether or not you need to salt the earth next year

  56. I’ve been advocating a “slate filter”; set up an algorithm that triggers if a certain number of ballots have a certain degree of similarities (say, more than 100 ballots that have a greater than casual degree of similarity, as determined through data mining previous years) and throws out those ballots. So everyone voting in lockstep instantly invalidates their own votes. It’d allow for recommendations (“all of these ballots have an entry in common” wouldn’t trigger it, or even “all of these ballots have an entry in common on every category”) but you could no longer sweep nominations in one or more categories.

    It does exactly what the Puppies claim they want it to do–prevents Seekrit Soshal Justiss Conspirasees from gaming the ballots behind closed doors. It also prevents what the Puppies actually did–gaming the ballots behind closed doors. :)

  57. For those of you who would like something like Monster Hunter,but with less neocon leaning and gun porn, may I recommend the Bureau 13 books by the late great Nick Polotta.

  58. After seeing all the stuff about LC being hurt because he didn’t get the Campbell and came in last, maybe if he’d talked about it to Brandon Sanderson who came in last in 2006 to Scalzi, he might have had a different take about it. Who knows, if Brandon had not gotten his Scalzi Award (which he still proudly displays with his other awards), he might have become Scalzi’s arch-enemy and led his own revolution. Instead, he took his defeat gracefully and even had fun with it and has gone on to be somewhat successful in the field and has picked up some rockets as well.

  59. I predict with a fair amount of confidence that next year’s Rabid Puppies slate will contain “enemy” names like Nielson Hayden, Scalzi, etc so that the authors the RPs hate will have to remove themselves from nomination or endure massive waves of trolls grunting “hypocrisy!”
    If slates aren’t dealt with at the voting rules layer, this could go on for awhile regardless of the intentions and desires of authors not to be involved.

  60. “I never though of it as a slate. It was recommendations. I treated it that way myself. ”

    It was a slate.

    It *called* itself a slate.

    And unlike a recommendation list, you’ll note that in no category were there *more* “recommendations” than there were slots on the final ballot. That’s an attempt to control the ballot.

  61. I’d call their claims bullshit, but real bullshit artists would cry slander.

    Here’s the thing…their preferred style and subgenre hasn’t lost any popularity in the market – they’re still being bough, published, and sold, and a brief trawl on DrivethruRPG shows no shortage of rocketpack and raygun games – but they’re hardly the largest selling piece of the marketplace pie. So they feel slighted that the umbrella organization of SF and fantasy writers and fans isn’t giving their work enough attention come awards time, even though their particular subgenre, while admittedly foundational, hasn’t held any currency in the field for nigh on 60 years? To state it is to express its absurdity.

    But the icing on that particular pie is this:
    http://lfs.org/awards.shtml

    Isn’t the fannish way to simply fuck off and start your own awards and/or convention? I mean, seriously? Three years LC has had to kvetch about his precious little snowflake feelings (editorial aside: can we stop referring to them as puppies, and instead use ‘precious little snowflakes’? They would understand that term better) and come up with his own awards program, either to run concurrently at Worldcon, or at some other friendly con. Normally I’m not one to question anybody’s fan cred, but out of whining and trying to game the elections, or going off and creating your own awards (call it the golden gernsback, and have it be a statue of a digest sized magazine, all dog eared and worn. You’re welcome.) , well one of those paths seems definitely more worthy of fandom than the other.

    And speaking of the LFS, how come the Sekrit SJW Masters haven’t been able to discredit them or shut them down? it can’t be just because they’re fond of guns. After all, they control the entire SFWA.

  62. You know, I usually assume that I come to every bit of fiction behind the times, and that I won’t have anything useful to contribute to nominations/voting of up-to-date, current-to-the-year fiction, but I recently revisited some of the stuff I read last year and realized it WAS published last year, fresh off the press, some really damn brilliant stuff, and none of it got a fair crack at this because of politicking. Gah. GAH.

  63. The graffiti analogy is good, because:

    1. If you don’t clean up graffiti, it typically spreads.
    2. Cleaning up graffiti is hard work.
    3. It is easier, when you see graffiti defacing something nice, to say, “Oh, what a shame. I loved that once, but now it’s defaced, so I guess we’d better abandon it” than to break out the scrub brushes and solvent and to organize the community to help clean it up.”
    4. Initially, when you clean up graffiti, it’s not unusual for the vandals to consider it a nice clean slate for their next attack.
    5. But if you consistently clean up graffiti attacks, after a while the vandals discover that almost nobody ever sees their works of destruction, and eventually they will give up and go away because they stop getting any egoboo out of defacing things.

    (Picks up the old rags, buys some heavy duty scrub brushes, puts on coveralls, and looks for the can of solvent stored in the garage. Looks like it’s going to be a long summer.)

  64. Lee Whiteside:

    I’ve been delighted with the success Brandon has had; it’s nice when members of your Campbell class do well. Also on the ballot this year (under her own steam, not on a slate): Katherine Addison/Sarah Monette, who is also in my Campbell class.

    Shwan McIlhenny:

    This is why I noted that if one finds me on a slate, it will not be with my consent.

  65. This topic depresses the hell out of me for a few reasons:

    Using ‘SJW’ or Social Justice Warrior as a pejorative or treating it like it is a Bad Thing makes me sad. When i hear the term ‘Social Justice Warrior,’ i think of nuns feeding the poor and quakers campaigning to stop a war or end slavery. Making social justice a Bad Thing is appalling.

    The recent ‘trend’ (and it’s barely that) of left-leaning winners and nominees is a good thing and to make it otherwise is ridiculous. A greater representation of groups other than SWMs is going to be reflected in voting, as it allows more people to buy into reading science fiction. Honestly looking at the recent winners and nominees i’ve read, they do not stand out as being more liberal than some of the allegedly ‘manly man’ writers as Heinlein.

    So basically, this just supports John’s supposition that this is all about people attempting to subvert an award, an honor for selfish reasons.

    I don’t care if the principals behind the Sad Puppy Slate (and yeah, it IS a slate) claim to have principles. The evidence points to something different. What it points at saddens me because it represents a diversion from the Hugos being a reliable way for me to find quality fiction.

  66. @zlynx:

    I understand wanting to feel unbiased in the matter I suppose, but you can’t claim it’s not a slate. Firstly it is explicitly called a slate on Torgersen’s blog on a post titled “SAD PUPPIES 3: the 2015 Hugo slate” so I think that’s pretty damning. Secondly he hardly tried to push anybody actually READ any of the works on the slate.

    Voting No Award does not make anyone an asshole in this situation. You’re just wrong on that. These works were not “recommended” as you say, they were ballot stuffed in. Realistically I think you are the one misreading Correia and Torgersen.

  67. Mr Scalzi said:
    “The couple of Monster Hunter books I read I found to be perfectly entertaining. Not life changing, but surely good enough for an enjoyable, quick read. Your mileage, as they say, may vary. ”

    I’ll have to concur. Not life-changing, but fun. There’s a fair bit of suspension of disbelief involved, but then again, in many stories you get that.

    Also, thank you for inventing the Modern Reader Packet, Mr. Scalzi. That’s just awesome! All the more reason to be impressed. And, yes. the free ($40) stuff is a bonus, but I’m shallow. If it encourages me to read and think, and vote, then here’s to the “free” stuff!

    If it encourages more people to participate, then I’m all for it!

  68. At this point, I think Worldcon needs to look past what the puppies have done and toward a long term solution to the djinni the puppies have merely let out of the bottle. Now that the Hugos have been shown to be “hackable” in this way, what’s to stop any random wannabe cult guru from directing his tiny band of followers to buy a membership and nominate some fictionalized manifesto he’s written to bring attention to his wacked-out cause. There are ways to dampen the effect of bloc voting, perhaps by disqualifying votes when a certain percentage of ballots feature a certain number of identical nominees in a certain number of categories or some such thing. But honestly, coming up with a directive that excludes votes or limits the way people are allowed to vote is dangerous territory, regardless of the malicious or self-serving motives of those who engage in such tactics. Long-listing works for the nomination ballet is another option, but questions of who is responsible for such listings and what or wasn’t included will probably create more needless conflicts than it resolves. Those should at most be the nuclear options, and all efforts should be made to avoid such if possible.
    I think it starts with changing the definitions of what makes a work or person eligible for a Hugo. Sixty some odd years ago, independent/self-publishers were a minority, as gaining access to funding and resources were difficult to maneuver. Getting people to notice your independent/self-published work was harder, even if you could drum up the necessary resources. This is no longer the case. Literally anyone can now publish and promote a work (at little or no cost) that is eligible for a Hugo. This needs to change. A change in definitions would also help works that are self-published one year and escape the notice of voters, which are then professionally published in a later year to great success and acclaim (like Andy Weir’s “The Martian”, which would have easily been a best novel contender if eligible this year).
    No matter what changes are made, the puppies – rabid and sad alike – will claim victory. Minimizing the amount of meddling such changes would bring would at least make it easier for sensible people to ignore their BS.
    In the meantime, as many have noted, the number of people who attend Worldcon and are able vote on the Hugos is exponentially larger than the number of people who actually vote on the Hugos. Convincing more of them to participate now is the best way to keep unruly puppies from peeing on the carpet.

  69. The claim — by John Whitsun, I think it was? — that SFF these days is all or even heavily Leftist also strikes me as false. At least, when I go into a bookstore, I see a great deal of MilSF, including Weber, Correia and even Torgersen. I do see *other* SFF books, but these books are hardly in the majority.

  70. If getting a big pile of books for $40 is your main concern then I suggest keeping an eye on humblebundle.com. you can generally get a great big stack of stuff for $15, less if you don’t want the lot.

  71. he reason I have been advocating voting No Award before any slate, even when people they assure me are good and worthy and decent are on it is exactly that the fact itself to put together a slate (even IF it had been decided as a primary, which it turns out it wasn’t, it was basically what Brad liked) deprived about 90% of the voters of the right to see their nomination count, and an unknown number of people of their chance to be nominated for Hugo, which is a prize in itself.

    I do not advocate voting No Award because I want to upset the big meanie right-wingers. I do it because a ballot achieved through block voting is fundamentally unfair, regardless of the worth of the people on it.

  72. Point about this whole thing that I’m not sure has been made, re: “Now Bad! Back Then Good!” – t’was ever thus, no? I mean, “Dune” is a paean to the triumph of an islamofascist jihad, isn’t it? If your reading is stupidly reductive enough, anyway… Even the Hallowed Heilein gave us “Stranger In A Strange Land”, which had enough alternative sexuality in it to give Delany a run for his money. And then there’s Delany himself, and LeGuin… There’s a thread of “classic” *and* award-winning skiffy that leads directly to the really, really good stuff these folks are trying to demonize. The implication that this is a “new” thing, a deviation from a pre-existing norm, is just flat-out false. I think in a way that is somewhat more fundamental than the point GRRM made on his blog.

    The Hugos have always been a little less comfortable than the Nebulas about projecting certain social trends forward, but they have never been all about E.E. “Doc” Smith-style adventuring, like these folks like to imply.

  73. “…deprived about 90% of the voters of the right to see their nomination count, and an unknown number of people of their chance to be nominated for Hugo.”

    Yes, this. I spent a great deal of time reading for the Hugos, and carefully filling out my ballot. That care and time was stolen from me; my nomination was stolen from me.

  74. I don’t see why the MilSF people are upset, I mean, a MilSF book took the Hugo *last* year after all…

  75. Now that the various Puppies have pulled back the curtain, I guess I might as well confess that I am, in fact, the High Priestess of the Glittery Hoo-Haa Social Justice League. I even had my girly bits bedazzled upon my ordination. I therefore state unequivocally that there is a Cabal—though apparently not at all Sekrit—whose sole aim is to Win All the Hugos Eva!

    Unfortunately, we are not a very effective Cabal. For example, Mr Scalzi has never been nominated by a Hoo-Haatty, and the only book approved by the Cabal is Lock In. All others are wrong and bad and have libertarian-boy cooties. We are certain that no member of the Cabal has purchased, nominated, or voted for any Scalzi prose (other than Lock In), ever in the history of ever, due to the tracking chips installed in our clitorides.

    In point of fact, the only reason that Cabal Hoo-Haatties are even allowed to visit Whatever is to monitor the progress of our sooper sekrit double-agent in discrediting all things Scalzi-related. (Except the cats. And the females.) There seems to be a problem with Operation Sad Puppy, however, in that the stompier and more foamy our SP agents become, the more attention Scalzi-work receives!

    Par exemple: Redshirts?! That win was obviously the work of triple-agents within the Operation. The Sekrit Social Justice Warrior Cabal rightly shuns the highly realistic hard science and conservative politics of Star Trek. (Also, the uniform tunics cover our separatist feminist rainbow unicorn pasties.) Had the Cabal not been sabotaged from within, the novel would obviously never have been published, much less nominated for the all-powerful Hugo award, which is well known to cause immortality and raise the recipient to the status of Alpha Overlord.
    Our mole-hunt is already in progress and we expect to have the culprit in hand and properly, er, “debriefed” before the 2015 Hugo vote.

    Now you know that we are here, but you don’t know who we are. [Mwahaha!!!] (Unless you happen to catch one of us momentarily pants-less, in which case the bedazzled pubes are a dead giveaway. But that could only happen at the apex of the new moon in our Sekrit Sparkle Spa of Social Justice and Bottomless Mimosas where we get Amazon Warrior Facials and eat Cookies of the Free Radical Matriarchy, now available gluten-free.) Feel the depthless power of the Social Justice Warriors to withhold ear scritches and biscuits! Et cetera…

    On a more serious note, I just find the various Puppies very sad. Not only is the meeping for an award that their shenanigans would make meaningless pathetic should one of them win, but it’s highlighted the insecurities and self-loathing of the parties involved. I find it very telling that they call each other evil, wrong, sad, rabid, et cetera, as if it’s ironic and funny, while the (weirdly psychosexual—leather bondage corsets, really?) fantasy constructs they compose as the Other (Social Justice Warriors, progressives, etc.) are labeled with words that are generally considered commendations.

    It’s very Freudian, and it makes me feel a weird sense of compassion–they seem so emotionally stunted, unable to move on to a more joyous adulthood. I’m reminded of goth teenagers out behind the bleachers, smoking weed and complaining that everyone is against them because REASONS, when in fact, everyone else is too busy worrying about their own shit to even notice the goths.

    (Personally, I was a mega-geek of the “smart, awkward, and mute” variety, so the goths were way too cool for me.)

    Anyway, it’s all very sad, but I’m still not planning to give out any pity Hugos or vote Noah Ward, unread. I’ll read everything, as usual, and vote my taste.

  76. ::I can sympathize some with supporters of the SP campaign up to this point – clearly there are some sincere feelings in the movement::

    Funny how those “sincere feelings” so often cover up Really Awful Attitudes and Actions, isn’t it? I have “sincere feelings”, too – some of which, especially regarding Far Right SF/Gaming Fans and Creators like the ones mentioned in this post and Scalzi’s posts about GamerGaters, would definitely get me Malleted here (probably with the strong recommendation that I seek Anger Management counseling thrown in for good measure!). Just because somebody Sincerely Feels Strongly about something doesn’t entitle them to some kind of reward – or even to having their ravings given any credence.

    I could list several SF/Fantasy authors who have never won a Hugo – one of them I’m married to, Tamora Pierce; another is a close friend of ours, Bruce Coville; and yet another is another close friend, William H. Keith, Jr. (I’m sure you have your own lists of friends and favorite writers.) Does that mean we should pitch a fit and stuff the Hugo Ballot Box? Or should we just accept that there are a lot of good writers out there who are unlikely to win a major genre award, even though they are all consistently turning out good work that people like to read?

  77. After watching (and grumbling) about this nonsense, I finally decided to voice my disgust in the most constructive manner possible. I signed up for a supporting membership and will be voting for the Hugo this year. My first time, ever. Won’t be my last, either.

  78. I agree that people shouldn’t worry about what Day considers a win or not, he considers everything a win regardless as you mentioned.

    In reality he, and anyone who dislikes authors who they feel write Sci-Fi/Fantasy for the wrong reasons and that it’s up to them to get the genre back, are just pissing into the winds of change and are confused why their faces keep getting wet.

    I hope no rules are changed. Instead I hope it backfires, makes people more aware of those who’d rather be destructive than to build the community, and encourage more to take part.

    I wish them luck with VD. I’ve heard VD once you get it is notoriously difficult to get rid of, pops up frequently and aggressively, and can negatively impact future relationships once they discover VD was in your past.

  79. Anyone else worried that now that he has access to a publishing house, VD’s next crusade will be to pack the SFWA with “his” authors? I realize they’d have have to pay a membership fee and have no idea of the numbers he’d actually need to pull it off, but… If he hates the Hugos this much, I can only imagine the fevered fantasies that must play out in his snake-filled mind when it comes to damaging the organization he was actually thrown out of.

  80. daniel b. @1:47PM – I’ve heard that concern as well. It makes me think of Scar from The Lion King, or Jaffar from Alladin. And if a masterplan sounds like it’s being concocted by a Disney villain, then it may be time to reconsider one’s life choices.

  81. Anyone else worried that now that he has access to a publishing house, VD’s next crusade will be to pack the SFWA with “his” authors?

    Looks to me that this has already happened.

  82. For what it’s worth, I bought a supporting membership for the first time this year. I plan to vote for the works I like and next year I plan to nominate the works I like. Puppygate inspired me to get off my ass and vote. I hope it has done the same for other fans and that maybe some good can come of all of this.

  83. The thing is that if Correia and Torgerson had just framed the whole argument in a “what is speculative fiction?” manner and simply said things like “we want to see more good old fashioned spaceship and ray-gun stories get nominated and hopefully win” then I could not only respect that position, I would tend to agree as those are the kinds of stories I prefer to read, and more importantly re-read.

    Instead they chose to wallow in politics and conspiracy theories and ally with the truly loathsome Vox Day and whatever legitimacy their desires may have had at first (beyond Correia having a hissy cow about not winning the Campbell) went flying right out the window.

    “Message fiction” may not be my preferred type of SF&F but I do read a fair amount of it and I know that the people that they classify as SJWs are in fact very talented authors who have every right to be nominated and the last thing any of the are is some sort of “affirmative action” candidate.

  84. Heinlein wrote some good, solid, conservative MilSF in his time.

    And then he went and peopled most of those stories with folks of wildly different ethnicities, genders, and (when permitted by the mores) sexual proclivities.

    To cite a single example, one of the most strong advocates of personal freedom and personal responsibility in his stories is Col. Colin Campbell . . . a dark-skinned, mixed-race man who is comfortable with same-sex encounters without feeling like it affects his masculinity in any way, treats ladies with respect, and is solicitous to those in need (while also expecting them to work at picking themselves back up).

    Vox Day just doesn’t stack up by comparison.

  85. I’m fairly down with most of this post, except for this one call to action in it:

    …it’s a conversation to have. Specifically, it’s a conversation to have at the WSFS business meeting…

    A business meeting is a terrible place to have a conversation. A terrible place to have a discussion. When you’re trying to figure out what you want, or what might be collectively agreeable, a business meeting is a really bad format for that. Robert’s Rules are good at providing an unambiguous framework for making a decision amongst a defined, finite set of things: “Should we do X or not,” “Should we do X or Y or Z”, that kind of thing. If you’re trying to figure out what X or Y or Z are, or what you want them to be, or exactly what wordsmithing might be mutually agreeable, doing that in a business meeting is a slow and often painful way to get it done.

    Business meetings are good for things, but “I dunno, what do YOU think we should do?” is noooot one of them.

    I say this as someone who’s not involved with WorldCon (other than having gone last year as a fluke), but as someone who *is* in the surrounding fandom, and has attended/run a bunch of fannish business meetings there.

  86. zlynx: “I have to say that I think you are misreading Correia and Togersen a lot. I never thought of it as a slate. It was recommendations. I treated it that way myself. I voted for the nominees I liked, and I didn’t vote for the ones I didn’t like. I also think that anyone voting No Award JUST BECAUSE a work was recommended by someone you don’t like is an asshole. And opening it up to destroy the Hugos next year. Leave Vox Day out of it…”

    Brad Torgerson: “SAD PUPPIES 3: the 2015 Hugo slate”

    Can I lament the decline in professionalism in the quality of the trolls you attract, Mr. Scalzi? Wasn’t there a day when the Troll Licensing Board would have sent zlynx back for remedial trolling practice before allowing him to put on pants and go out-of-doors?

    Brad DeLong

  87. I want to say something really profound instead of bitter, but I’m all bitter and disgusted by the Hugos this year.

    Can’t we all just get along and write more? Especially the writing more, that would be spiffy. (The “write more” is not directed at you, Mr. Scalzi. You write lots, it’s fabulous. Hey, maybe if these other authors wrote more… nah, what am I saying…)

  88. Arthur Chenin: What’s funny to me is–a good ol’ spaceship and ray gun story did win. Last year. And the year before that was Redshirts, which was not just a spaceship and ray gun story, but a work that very much existed in conversation with one of Hollywood’s best-known spaceship and ray gun stories. The year before that, Scalzi got onto the ballot for an April Fools joke. Then there’s the argument over “Chicks Dig Time Lords,” like we’re meant to believe two dudes talking about the publishing industry is more “fun” than a bunch of women talking about Doctor Who.

    So for all the grumbling about how “fun” gets snubbed, it comes off sounding like the only way these folks will acknowledge that fun is happening is if they’re the only ones getting to have it.

  89. @vmink — It makes me think of Scar from The Lion King, or Jaffar from Alladin.

    In his MIND, I’m sure he’s Scar-like (or maybe he thinks of himself as Gaston, all alpha-male, leading a bunch of villagers with torches) but… in ACTUALITY he comes across like one of the “Lion King” hyenas. With Gilbert Gottfried’s “Iago” voice. Living in his own little “Song of the South”.

  90. Annalee: You point is totally valid. I’m just saying if that was the way they had chosen to frame the argument then I would be more sympathetic to them. But they didn’t and I’m not. :)

  91. This year is my first Worldcon. Likely my only Worldcon as an attending member. It really bums me out that the Hugos for this year are being stomped on so thoroughly. The puppies will say that this is the same as any other year, but I’m exactly the type of person they think is “controlling” things, i.e. a woman who believes in equality. I hope the convention itself is without the vitriol and character assassinations I have seen with the Hugo nominations (on both sides of the aisle, though predominately on the Sad/Mad/Bad puppies side). Needless to say, I’m seriously bummed about all of this.

  92. Chad said: “After watching (and grumbling) about this nonsense, I finally decided to voice my disgust in the most constructive manner possible. I signed up for a supporting membership and will be voting for the Hugo this year. My first time, ever. Won’t be my last, either.”

    Excellent! My plan is working!

    Seriously: good! Chad, if we can get several thousand more to do the same, this will all come out in the wash. It won’t matter how many Correias, Torgersons (or, for that matter, Campbells, Delany’s, LeGuins, or Whitsons [threw that one in]) have armies of followers, we’ll have enough rampant participation that it’ll all sort itself out in the wash!

    We always hear about, “Your vote counts!” Well, in this voter pool, your vote does count, and it’ll make a huge difference. Then, all the shouting in the world (no matter whose “side” is doing the shouting) won’t change the outcome, and we’ll have the problem solved.

  93. The best analogy for the relationship between Messrs. Torgersen and Correia, and Teddy (and I wish I could find it again to give credit) is that Larry and Brad summoned up a demon, and are now surprised that they can neither control nor banish it. Now they’re trying to play dumb, which does little more than make them look dumb.

    And also mendacious, because the did a piss poor job, at best, at distancing themselves. Did they think no one would notice all the Castalia House nods? Maybe they were just that anxious to nominate John Wright, whom I can only assume didn’t publish anything with any other publisher in 2014. Ditto Tom Kratman (a quintessential Internet Tough Guy if ever there was one) and Ken Burnside (who could stand to be a tad less mercenary in his interactions).

    Also, filed under “things that are making me aghrhghrhghrh!!”: Larry complaining about how mean “people” are being to him; and Brad actually coming up with an acronym to describe people he finds “reactionary” and “holier-than-thou”. DUDES!?!? Have you met you??

  94. 1) I really enjoy your continuing use of the word “beclown” in this context.

    2) I think you actually give them a little too much credit. Vox Day, festering stain that he is, is not as as I can see, a con artist. He may be capable of being personable when he wishes, but his statements are hardly secret. He has not pretended to be anything but what he is. He hasn’t turned on Correia or Torgersen or betrayed them, or done anything but continue to be *exactly what they signed up for*.That the association is now harming their reputations isn’t the result of a trick Vox Day played on them, it’s simply what happens when you knowingly, deliberately and repeatedly endorse a man who thinks its okay to shoot schoolgirls in the face and that attacking women with acid is acceptable if it keeps them out of public life — i.e people come to the conclusion that you too are FAIRLY COMFORTABLE with such views. They’ve received plenty of public pushback for the association before — quite enough to alert them to how it looked. They continued because it looked how it *was*. It’s only now that that pushback is coming from particularly influential white male writers and from the international press that they’re suddenly horrified and shocked. But nothing has happened except that their actions have gained wider attention. This doesn’t say “naivety” to me, it says that they ARE broadly on board with the majority of Day’s views — and thought that anyone whose view they deemed important would be too.

    You might be naive if you buy a trained attack dog and believe it will never attack people. If you buy a trained attack dog *in order to attack people* but believe no one worth bothering with will object to your setting it on people, naivety isn’t really the problem.

  95. zlynx: “I never though of it as a slate. It was recommendations.”

    Your denial of an obvious truth is quite humorous.

    “I also think that anyone voting No Award JUST BECAUSE a work was recommended by someone you don’t like is an asshole.”

    Oh, sure, out of the 85 slots on the Hugo ballot, a total of 61 came from Sad Puppies 3 and Rabid Puppies. But now that you’ve completely gamed the system and hijacked the ballot, we MUST vote for one of your works, or else the Puppies will say You Made This Political(tm)!

    Sure, sure. that seems totally reasonable.

    Politics, of course, is what other people do, right? You and the puppies are not being political AT ALL, right?

    “And opening it up to destroy the Hugos next year.”

    And again, the puppies jamming the ballot with 61 of the 85 slots, that wasn’t destroying anything, right? They weren’t being “political”, right? Political is what everyone else does, right?

  96. I like the idea of the 4/6 ballot and an algorithm to expand the candidates in the event of like minded voting that has the effect of being exclusionary.

    I also like the idea of more people joining the voting pool. Mr. Frog and I were discussing how $40 US is a real barrier for a lot of SF/F readers. We would like to participate in a scholarship fund. Supporting and attending members could donate something like $10 US (voluntarily, on top of their membership costs) to fund scholarships for those who cannot afford the $40 US supporting membership. Maybe the scholarships could be awarded by librarians, who are likely to know folks who are enjoying SF/F via their local libraries. I’m not sure who to approach with this notion though.

  97. Mr. Scalzi,

    While I consider myself a fan, and am also a proud bleeding heart liberal who agrees with your positions on virtually every social issue, I feel you are doing a disservice to your audience with your approach to this particular issue.

    I don’t know either Mr. Correia or Mr. Torgersen. I have never read a single word of their fiction. The only thing I’ve ever read from either have been on their blogs, and that only recently. But even with the little I’ve read, I feel fairly confident in stating that when you say that this all started because one individual (Mr. Correia) was “super-pissed” about not winning an award back in the day, you are demonstrably wrong. I mean, I think he was pissed, but not because he personally didn’t win an award, and not for the reasons you snarkily claim.

    I accept, – again, based on everything I’ve read – that this “Sad Puppies” movement began out of a genuine feeling of resentment that the Science Fiction Community – and Hugo Awards specifically – was biased against conservative writers. Not simply writers of conservative fiction, but politically conservative writers. That is, these writers were being shunned, not based on the quality or content of their writing, but based on their personal politics.

    Now, key point here, I have no idea if this belief is actually true. I haven’t read nearly enough to have formed an opinion on that. But I absolutely CAN see signs of this. Perhaps the clearest/cleanest example is that of Orsen Scott Card, whose works I loved as a youth, and who won all kinds of awards, and had constant nominations for awards when no one had any idea of his politics. That all ended more than a decade ago, and I feel fairly confident that the man will never be nominated for another Hugo or Nebula. Did he suddenly became that much poorer of a writer? Or was it because people became more aware of his politics (possibly because he himself became more outspoken about them, I don’t know). Today people form lynch mobs to protest any project he is even tangentially involved in. I don’t question people’s right do do such things, i only point it out as it relates to this perceived bias against conservatives. I think the backlash against John C. Wright is similar. Once viewed as a very promising up-and-comer, then quickly shunned once his (admittedly lamentable) views towards homosexuals (and others?) became well known.

    So, given this perceived bias, what I’ve seen from Mr. Correia and Mr. Torgerson has seemed not at all unreasonable to me. A movement to “take back the Hugos”, or at least to “make the Hugos more representative of the entire field of writers, including conservatives” is not the whack job you make it out as. It played within the rules. Never did I see anywhere either Mr Correia or Mr. Torgerson suggest that their readers should blindly vote for these nominations without having read them and judged for themselves. Only that people should try to broaden their horizons, and maybe read some books by people whose politics you don’t agree with, because it turns out they can still write good fiction.

    Yeah, the association with Vox Day is bad. Here’s where good liberals like you and me may never be able to fully understand how other men and women of conscience would ever have anything to do with him. But I guess I don’t get the conservative mindset period. Seems like they agree with him on enough stuff that they can give the stuff they don’t agree with him on a pass in terms of personal communications. And, again, their larger point is that the politics of the person shouldn’t matter when it comes to judging the work itself.

    Anyway, this is long, but my point is that I think this bias against conservatives is legitimate – certainly they are being sincere when they claim they perceived a bias – and you (and a lot of others) are just hand waving it away without addressing the larger point.

  98. Re “Ancillary Justice”‘s win last year, you know the obvious response, right?

    “But I can’t tell which ones are the men, so it totes doesn’t count!”

  99. Cher Monsieur Scalzi,

    The reasons you removed the “doll” bit are the reasons I’ve been enjoying your work for years. It might even seem that compassion, empathy, and a willingness to accept honest criticism should be part of any good writer’s toolkit. In short; completely respect your reasons for having removed the offending bits.
    That said, I read that as trivializing M. Correia’s pain and mental suffering when placed along side the very real damage inflicted by physical and sexual abuse. The image I conjured up was that of Correia’s wee timorous quaking beastie alongside a huge and stolid elephant. I certainly didn’t read it as dismissing the pain felt by survivors of abuse, but I understand your decision – and really, your work, your rules.

  100. Docrocketscience: That is essentially what Correia actually said in this response to GRRM’s comments on just that subject. I’m paraphrasing but Correia’s argument was that since Anne Leckie was explicitly playing with gender then Ancillary Justice is a message novel and perfect example of SJWs controlling the processs.

  101. “Did he [Orson Scott Card] suddenly became that much poorer of a writer?”

    Arguably, yes he did. Certainly, I’ve found his recent works (pretty much everything since and including Xenocide, which is not exactly recent, and especially his recent return to the Ender-verse) to be much weaker than his earlier writing.

    And it’s not like his politics were a secret in the 1980s either.

  102. “[Vox Day is] the sort of person for whom any scenario will be seen as a victory condition…”

    Ah, but in this affair he’s specified one particular victory condition: that if No Award wins a category, he’ll see to it that it continues to win in subsequent years.

    Now, the only way I can imagine him pulling this off is by getting out the Vox fan/MRA/PUA/Goobergate vote, in enough numbers that the voting tips his way. I’m sure he has enough money to buy plenty of supporting membership if it comes to that.

    But by that point, he will not only have alienated the old-school fans, but also any Sad Puppy supporters who don’t want to see the Hugoes wrecked. And I’m certain there are more of them than there are of the first group. Certainly more who will be interested enough to keep voting, year after year.

    So, when 2016, 2017, etc. roll around and No Award does not actually win in the same exact categories as in 2015, people need to remind their friends about Vox’s threat. Let it put some tarnish on the legend some folks seem to have created of Vox Day, the Terrifying Implacable Chessmaster Who’s Always 100 Moves Ahead of the Other Guy.

    About all he’ll be able to counter with is something like “My goal was to make you gamma rabbits squeal and piss your pants, and I did it! I win again!”. And I’m sure his supporters will dutifully say, “Spot on, Vox.” But I don’t think anyone else will buy it.

  103. It seems pretty clear that Brad and Larry did not anticipate that blowing up the Hugo’s would produce this amount of attention.

  104. Sometimes I think the best way to think of Vox Day is like the security guard said in THE AVENGERS.

    “Well the, son, you’ve got a condition.”

  105. I’ve become convinced that, for Torgersen, this entire thing has been a cynical career move coupled with an unbelievably over inflated sense of self importance. From an interview a few days ago:

    “So, if the progressives feel a duty to keep out-tribe people from participating, I feel a duty to put a hand to their faces and say, “No, you don’t get to decide who is and is not a fan, or who is and is not worthy.”

    I do think that he didn’t quite realize that he wouldn’t be able to continue his passive aggressive sea lion-ing though.

  106. Zlynx:
    >> Leave Vox Day out of it.>>

    Since Vox Day’s slate was even more successful than the Sad Puppies slate, I don’t think it makes any sense to leave him out of it.

    Discussing the Sad Puppies slate as if it won the day and we have to figure out whether that’s good, bad or something else, and how to grapple with it, doesn’t seem to make much sense to me. Nothing on the Sad Puppies slate that was not also on the Rabid Puppies slate made the ballot. Multiple works on the RP slate that were not on the SP slate made the ballot.

    This isn’t a case of the Sad Puppies overwhelming the Hugo nominations and Vox Day coming along for the ride. This is a case of the Rabid Puppies overwhelming the Hugo nominations and the Sad Puppies having helped by making up a slate VD took and added to.

    If the SP and RP slates were completely different, is anyone is real doubt as to which one would have dominated?

    bkd69:
    >>Normally I’m not one to question anybody’s fan cred, but out of whining and trying to game the elections, or going off and creating your own awards (call it the golden gernsback, and have it be a statue of a digest sized magazine, all dog eared and worn. You’re welcome.) , well one of those paths seems definitely more worthy of fandom than the other.>>

    The Bat Durston?

  107. I have to laugh when I think how the Puppies’ slates have pretty much demolished their initial claims that the Hugos were being dominated by slates. “There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes slate-stacking, so we’re going to do our own to combat it!”, or words to that effect. So, they did two slates, and were horrendously successful at getting their designated Puppies on the the ballot, at a level that surprised even them. And now everyone looks at their result and goes “Oh, so that’s how you do a slate, and that’s what it looks like when there are slates”.

    Which should convince anyone with even a few neurons that are still communicating with each other that there wasn’t any behind-the-scenes slates, as the Puppies had claimed.

    Thanks, Puppies, for doing the experiment to determine the existence of slates. No need to repeat the experiment – the answer was unequivocal.

  108. Leave Vox Day out of it.

    Yeah, no, the trouble is, it was his slate that won all the nominations.

  109. DavidK44: Yep. Right on target. I said it elsewhere on GRRM’s blog that I’m hoping that the Puppies will be happy with the intellectual defeat at their own hands and leave the slate voting alone next year. Please oh please.

  110. “Vox […] threatening to No Award entire categories [by promising he will never permit there to be a Hugo awarded again in any category in which the SJWs dare to not give the award to a Puppy slate nominee]” is what you meant to say, obviously, so I’ve helpfully edited your comment for accuracy.

  111. If the Hugos have really been dominated by leftist material that prized message over story since the mid-1990s (Brad’s timeline), it should be very simple for members of the Puppy Party to name

    a. one work of fiction
    b. that won a Hugo Award
    c. while foregrounding a left message to the extent that the story was ruined or misshaped
    d. per set of winners since 1995.

    That’s all. Just a list of twenty books or stories—a single winner per year. Even though a single winner per year wouldn’t prove domination, I’m happy to make it easy for the Puppies.

    Any Puppy Partisan want to start naming some names?

  112. Anyone else worried that now that he has access to a publishing house, VD’s next crusade will be to pack the SFWA with “his” authors?

    Not really. As far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier, so long as they don’t start doing the same things that got VD kicked out. And if they do, well, there is a precedent now.

  113. So what if it overlaps with his “slate” in a couple of books. He claims to be returning the program to a ballot of the populace – so jump in and participate.

    Um…it overlapped with his slate by about 95 percent.

  114. I accept, – again, based on everything I’ve read – that this “Sad Puppies” movement began out of a genuine feeling of resentment that the Science Fiction Community – and Hugo Awards specifically – was biased against conservative writers. Not simply writers of conservative fiction, but politically conservative writers.

    If the science fiction community is biased against conservative authors, why did its members nominate Correia for a Campbell in 2011? Or nominate Torgersen for a Campbell and a Hugo the next year? Why was Resnick nominated? Why did Sanderson, Wells, and Tayler get nominations? All of these nominations preceded the very first Sad Puppy campaign by only a year or two. Why is the Prometheus Award – honoring explicitly libertarian science fiction – handed out at WorldCon every year if the WorldCon community is so very hostile to writers of a conservative bent?

  115. nickmamatas: “Any Puppy Partisan want to start naming some names?”

    I think I know what novel number one on the Sad Puppy hit list is.

    It is a novel with lots of hardware and a square-jawed big-shouldered hero on the cover, in Torgersen’s words, “a book with a painting of a person wearing a mechanized suit of armor! Holding a rifle! War story ahoy!” But: “Nope, wait. It’s actually about gay and transgender issues.”

    The book was published by Baen Books in 1986. It was called “Ethan of Athos”. It was written by Lois McMaster Bujold.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ethanathoscover.jpg

    Brad DeLong

  116. Based on my interactions with him, it’s fair to say that Vox aka Thomas Beale acts like a sociopath. Maybe that’s a given around here.

    What might not be so obvious is that you can’t appeal to the better nature of a sociopath. There’s isn’t one. To stop him from gaming the Hugos, you either set up clear voting rules that have teeth or make sure that the math behind the voting process is impossible to game.

    Vox respects nothing but his own perception of reality. You cannot have a conversation with sociopathy. All the sociopath is doing is calculating – do you support them, or are you a barrier to destroy?

  117. Srike58: “Considering I didn’t realize that both Correia & Torgerson were LDS members until late last week, why do I wonder if their shadow agenda includes some sort of justice (in their eyes) for Orson Scott Card?”

    Yes, sectarian slander makes everything soooo much better.

  118. Mathew: ” I think this bias against conservatives is legitimate …. you …are just hand waving it away without addressing the larger point.”

    No, its not legitimate. As many people have pointed out MilSF is doing quite well and wins awards. Redshirts is a fun story, not a “message” story and it won the Hugo. Those counter examples address the point and disprove it entirely.

    The “bias against conservativism” is, at most, the notion that some people don’t like gun porn and Ayn Rand objectivism and Monologues about ideas long proven wrong like Laissez Faire Capitalism in their stories. Just like some puppies had a stroke over a story like “If you were a dinosaur, my love” being about someone who was put in a coma by five men calling the victim ” a fag, a towel-head, a shemale, a sissy, a spic, every epithet they could think of”.

    These bigots can’t stand stories where the hero is a minority, or where bigotry is shown for what it is.

    Fine. That’s their choice. But its also my choice to hate stories where the good guys are white, straight, men, and the bad guys are people of color or gay. That’s my choice.

    the problem here, and every single “pseudo defender” of the sad puppies makes this exact same mistake, is that the Puppies are having a violent reaction against what they call “message stories” and have created a slate they claim “fixes” that problem, which is to say everyone but the puppies has politics.

    No. If they get to hate stories about people attacked by bigots without them being political, then I get to hate bigotted stories without being political.

    Where the Puppies DO become political is in creating a slate and lobbying people to vote for the slate. And in response to the slate pushing, people are pushing back with the intention of voting no award, not to the stories conservative leanings, but to the Puppies Political moves pushing a slate.

    The ONLY way the Puppies can be defended is if they get to dislike “liberal” stories about diversity without being political, but liberals can only dislike “conservative” stories for political (and therefore “bad”) reasons. The “bias against conservatives” only works with that bad logic.

    If liberals get to like liberal stories and puppies get to like right wing stories and everyone gets to have their own personal preferences of story worldview without it being “bad”, then there is no “bias against conservatives”.

    On the other hand, if there is “bias against conservatives”, then why aren’t the Puppies labeled as “biased against diversity”? Or “biased against liberals”? Why is it that everyone who defends the puppies makes the same false premise that the puppies aren’t political, but anyone against them IS political?

    So, no, no one is handwaving it away. The accusation starts off with a fallacy from the beginning, a unproven premise that is preloaded with a bias towards the desired conclusion.

    So, STOP trying to say no one addressed it. It’s been addressed many times. It’s as much as a fallacy as a “have you stopped beating your wife?” scenario, which is to say its completely illegitimate and preloaded with prejudice.

  119. John–

    Decisions can and should be made at the business meeting, but it will be quite long enough without everyone, or even most people, walking into the room and expecting to have the necessary conversation from scratch.

    That’s not just because we’ve already started talking about it: it’s because there are hundreds if not thousands of people who want to have their say, most of whom don’t want to spend the entire Worldcon talking about this. Motions are written ahead of time, and usually (if not always) after discussion among at least a few people. (It’s even possible that there are other things on the agenda.)

    zlynx—

    It is much too late to leave Beale out of it: he has very deliberately inserted himself into the process and the discussion. He has in fact said “vote for this slate as a way of attacking X, Y, and Z” people. I’m one of those X, Y, and Z people, and it’s hard not to take it personally when someone accepts being on a slate run by someone who thinks that the world would be a better place if women didn’t have the vote.

    This among other things means that I am never going to vote for anything Beale does: he doesn’t want my vote. (In the case of the Hugos, it probably doesn’t rise to the level of self-defense, and I’m unlikely ever to be in a position to vote against him for dog-catcher or a seat on the school board.) Note that I don’t assume that everyone on that slate shares Beale’s anti-woman and anti-feminist positions. I do however know that last year the Sad Puppies said they were putting Beale on their ballot to upset people like me. It will take more than “we have separate slates this year” to convince me that the organizers disagree with him.

  120. I’m not as optimistic as you that the slate problem will be self-correcting.

    First and foremost, we’ve seen here that nomination slates are quite effective at getting large numbers of nominees onto the ballot. You don’t even need to get the majority of people to nominate from your slate; as long as everyone else’s nomination votes are split 100 different ways (because there’s a lot of good work out there and everyone has their own tastes), you can pretty much get your whole slate on the ballot with a strong minority of the votes. From the statistics at http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/2015-hugo-awards/, it appears that the number of slate voters was somewhere in the 200-300 range, out of 2,122 total ballots submitted.

    A few of the people nominated on these slates have thought better of it and had their names withdrawn from consideration, but most have not. Perhaps if “No Award” sweeps the all-Puppy categories there will be fewer people willing to appear on a slate next year. All they need is five willing participants per category though. This seems like a pretty low bar. I take Vox Day at his word when he says there will be a slate next year, and I have to believe it will garner a couple hundred nomination votes from his followers, just as it did this year.

    What do we do to combat this? It seems the best chance for next year (when the current rules will remain in effect) would be for someone to put forward an alternate slate to outvote Sad Puppies Episode IV: A New Hope (or whatever they end up calling it). A bunch of people voting for their own favorites independently of each other is unlikely to outvote a slate, especially in the short fiction and other less popular categories.

    I don’t see this as a great outcome; we’ll still be stuck with a final ballot full of options selected by a handful of people, with anyone nominating works out of their own preferences being effectively disenfranchised. Worse than that, with competing slates we’ll likely see a “Nader effect” in the Hugo nomination process, where *failing* to nominate from one slate or the other is effectively the same as nominating whichever slate you like the least.

    Some rule changes will clearly be needed to make the Hugos viable for the long term. I’m not sure what would work the best, but I’m a fan of simply limiting nominating ballots to one work per category, instead of the current five. The downside of this is that legitimate voters would have to pick their one favorite, and hope their second/third/fourth favorite works get enough love from the other voters to also make the ballot. The upside is that it’s a fairly simple rule to understand, simple to implement, and it has mathematics on its side. A group like the Sad Puppies could pretty easily get one or maybe two works per category on the final ballot, but a clean sweep would be effectively impossible unless they grow their membership to be much larger than the 10-20% of nominating ballots they submitted this year.

    I’m happy to concede one ballot slot to any sufficiently motivated and organized group of fans, so long as those of us who simply pick our favorites are able to be well represented. Let’s get a diverse group of works on the final ballot and let the ranked-choice voting work its magic in the final round.

    —————————

    As an aside, I’m so happy to see “The Three-Body Problem” got promoted to the Best Novel list. I only nominated two or three things this year, and that was one of them.

  121. That’s all. Just a list of twenty books or stories—a single winner per year. Even though a single winner per year wouldn’t prove domination, I’m happy to make it easy for the Puppies.

    Any Puppy Partisan want to start naming some names?

    Is there a point to this exercise? Some Puppy will list off 20 works, you will (correctly) respond that [insert from 1-20 works here] don’t have ruined stories, and they will respond that yes, they do. Repeat ad limine Malletorum (no, that’s not really Latin, sorry).

  122. Apparently I misread the Hugo site — I’d been under the impression that the cutoff for a voting membership was past. From what I’m seeing here, it’s not.

    I may never make it to a WorldCon. But as soon as my landlord gets off his rear and deposits my rent check already (he’s only had it 20 days now), I’m getting a supporting membership.

  123. Agree with Dave re: LDS, Card and the puppies – I don’t suspect there’s anything there and I am not comfortable with suggesting there is just because they belong to the same church. Let’s take this part of the conversation, please.

  124. This story is so classic, it’s practically a trope. Person doesn’t get what he wants, aligns himself with a dark power to get it, some bad stuff happens (predictably), person is horrified and regrets everything, but it’s too late.

    YES, THAT IS GENERALLY THE WAY IT WORKS. IT’S NOT AS IF IT ISN’T IN THE HANDBOOK AND ALL. SECTION 662c: “YOU ARE LIKELY TO BE EATEN AND/OR DRIVEN INSANE ON MEETING YOUR ELDER SPONSOR“.

    I mean, “Dune” is a paean to the triumph of an islamofascist jihad, isn’t it?

    No, not really: an entire thread of the Dune series (books 2,3,4) is that once you’ve un-bottled genocidal jihad, it’s almost impossible to stop it ruining your civilization. Thus Paul becomes the Blind Man from the Desert, leading to the Golden Path required to sort it out (with it’s own totalitarian problems) and all.

    So, true answer: not unless you’re missing the important parts. It’s in fact a fairly obvious critique of the entire concept (and a dire warning that was
    ignored. April 18th, Der Spielgel).

    @the thread: the amount of noise this has all created has been somewhat large; you never know, in the longer term, this could lead to a boost in Hugo numbers, processes and general SF goodness. As a “strategic” consideration, looking towards publishers non-US writers becoming more included might lead to a wider spread where cultural baggage (of an American type) would become less weighty. It’s a thought, and fandom would be enriched by wider conceptual thinking.

    I’d say that unabashed joy will only fuel the feedback loop, however – dance, dance under the stars and all that.

    WE WATCH FOR OTHER TASTY TREATS.

  125. I don’t know if Castalia house is a qualified market by SFWA standards.

    John, did you see they(he?) now has a deal in place to republish all of Jerrry Pournelle’s There Will Be War series, along with a new entry?

  126. 1) Has anyone taken Correia aside and explained to him that the reason he lost the Campbell award is simply because he was up against Lev Grossman?

    2) I’m getting a little tired (in the larger conversation, not too much in this specific thread) of people granting Voldemort-like power and influence to Beale. (For example, asserting that Correia and Torgersen are afraid to cut ties with him because he will turn his Terrible Wrath upon them.) Does anyone believe he’s actually capable of, e.g., ruining anyone’s career?

  127. Not really. As far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier, so long as they don’t start doing the same things that got VD kicked out. And if they do, well, there is a precedent now.

    I don’t think the more the merrier worked so well re: worldcon memberships. And they wouldn’t have to do a thing but join… lay low… and vote. Though, even if they don’t have enough numbers to influence the awards, just filling the place with dozens of agenda-driven followers (all of whom got duly paid the minimum qualifying rate for contributing to some Castilla House anthologies) would probably stroke VD’s wounded ego enough to let him claim payback with interest for being ejected. I hope John’s correct that his little house doesn’t qualify. I seem to recall he has some experience in SFWA matters. :)

  128. “Is there a point to this exercise? Some Puppy will list off 20 works, you will (correctly) respond that [insert from 1-20 works here] don’t have ruined stories, and they will respond that yes, they do.”

    Hmm, I’m not necessarily a fan of the stuff that has won a Hugo. And I’ve asked around in a few places on the Internet and so far I haven’t had any Puppy come forward with a list of twenty. What I have been offered are complaints about some non-fiction (very silly to complain about the message of an essay or book of essays!) or about a short story that lost the Hugo.

    So far, I guess, the point of the exercise is to find out if Puppies even know what they’re complaining about.

  129. For the first time in my life I have become a supporting member, because I am a very unhappy fan when I see all this stupid drama. (Also, I didn’t know it was so easy to become a supporting member and will be attending WorldCon next year. Because I can.) I’m very unhappy with puppies and slates and people who won’t own up to their actions, and so I’m morphing from a quiet lover of the genre to an active participant. I think maybe this is happening to a lot of people. Or at least I hope so.

  130. @rochrist: Here are the requirements for SFWA-qualifying markets. It takes more than publishing one author–he’d have to publish ten, in the same year, at pro rates, with a circulation of at least 1000. And he’d have to do it without taking any money from anyone he’s publishing.

    If someone’s trying to pack the SFWA, they’re better off finding already-published writers who agree with them. Buying an unpublished writer a membership is expensive.

  131. 1) RP was the slate that pushed the nominations through this year, not SP, looking at the final ballot.

    2) From last years’ nomination slush pile, it seems the RPs only like message fiction they agree with – can anyone argue with a straight face that “sad elf is sad (and also turgidly dense, not to mention appallingly badly written)” or “alien cut off mechanical supporting devise, saved by selfless sacrifice, finds humanity under guidance of chaplain” were not message fiction?

    3) I’ll read the effluvia on the RP/SP slate, but if it sinks to the level of crap that seeped out last year, I will be using No Award liberally again.

    4) Some people have written that they don’t nominate as they don’t feel that they read enough. I use a yes/no test to the question “Is this Hugo worthy?” as the test – if it is I nominate. I figure the final ballot (usually) will include the better novels of the year. Although I have read a bunch of Hugo novels that I didn’t think should have won (cough Blackout/All Clear, for example)

    5) I voted both the dino thing and Wakula Springs below No Award last year, as I thought they weren’t genre enough, YMMV.

    6) LC’s books are entertaining in a take your brain out way, but definitely not Hugo calibre.

    7) VD/TB (two diseases for the price of one!) is impossible to shake, although Tom Krautman seems to be making a late run for the second most obnoxious person nominated/

    8) Congratulations on making the SP4 slate, John! I’m sure there will be some mustache-twirling from VD “thinking” he is so clever when he does that.

  132. I am sorry John, but I have to vehemently disagree with the idea that Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen are surprised by anything Vox Day has done. Everyone wants to separate them from Day as complicit because of hurt feelings but not actually as evil.

    Sorry, but I get to see evil way too often as a social worker to fall for that. For every horrible evil person I have seen damage real people; there is a group of people that seem normal on the outside but believe exactly the same on the inside. For every person who beats up and starves their kids; there are a couple hundred who really see nothing wrong with it until “it is taken too far”.

    Ask anyone of a persecuted minority group. Sure the out and out violent racists or right wingers are scary. However, it is even more scary when the nice neighbor down the block says that the belief isn’t actually that bad and that the evil ones “just go overboard”. At least with the crazy out in public people you know where you stand. The hidden haters are hard to see, and can totally make you feel like everyone is out to get you.

    Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen had to know who Vox Day was and what he stood for. Heck, I do and I am a nobody. They chose to become allies with someone who proclaims his hatred from every website available. I would be willing to bet that they also have beliefs very close to his. They just don’t “go overboard”.

    P.S. I signed up for the voting membership because there are some good writers on the list. I am just so sorry about all of the great books that came out that lost their only chance because of this.

  133. ” Today people form lynch mobs to protest any project he is even tangentially involved in.”

    I just wanted to note here that the point at which someone uses the term “lynch mob” for any kind of *non-violent* protest (however mean, or unfair, or ignorant that non-violent protest might be) is the point where I stop even trying to take their argument seriously. It’s one of my mental corollaries to Godwin’s Law, and I suspect I’m not the only one who employs it.

    (But I’m open to listening when folks realize they’ve just made a bone-headed metaphor choice, take it back, and start over. Many us do that from time to time. It’s harder for a blog commenter who can’t edit comments to fix than it is for a blog owner who can edit original posts, but a suitable followup comment can sometimes get things back on track.)

  134. I’ve become convinced that, for Torgersen, this entire thing has been a cynical career move coupled with an unbelievably over inflated sense of self importance.

    Rochrist: For further evidence of his ego, you should see Torgersen’s later-deleted blog post “The Science Fiction Civil War,” in which he portrays himself and Correia as Civil War generals for the south.

    Excerpt:

    “The silhouette of Larry Correia stands on a lonely knoll, his beard jutting proudly like Robert E. Lee’s — or is it Ulysses S. Grant’s? …

    “I knew the moment I took up the flag for Sad Puppies 3, that I was sacrificing forever any chance of ever being a Hugo award winner. There would be no forgiveness. Not from the traditionalists who jealously guard their trophy and consider all complaints against it to be heresy. But I was resolved. …

    “What’s left for a man now is to do what his heart, and God, tell him is right.”

    The whole thing can be found in Google’s cache and I’ve posted it on my blog.

  135. Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen had to know who Vox Day was and what he stood for.

    Yep. Correia was on Twitter yesterday proclaiming, “I think #GamerGate has been awesome.” Let’s not get carried away thinking that he’s innocently blundered into some personal associations that make him look bad. He’s seeking them out.

  136. @Aaron: If the science fiction community is biased against conservative authors, why did its members nominate Correia for a Campbell in 2011? Or nominate Torgersen for a Campbell and a Hugo the next year? Why was Resnick nominated? Why did Sanderson, Wells, and Tayler get nominations? All of these nominations preceded the very first Sad Puppy campaign by only a year or two. Why is the Prometheus Award – honoring explicitly libertarian science fiction – handed out at WorldCon every year if the WorldCon community is so very hostile to writers of a conservative bent?

    Well, if you believe Mr. Correia (and I’m just going on what they write), his politics were not known pre-nomination. And it was specifically when people started to look him up to find out who he was, and subsequently noted his political leanings, that the hate started. And he finished last in the voting, and was generally shunned. Maybe he’s lying about all that? I don’t know. Mr. Torgersen may have a similar story. I know I’ve read several blogs from other conservative writers who have similar stories. I’m not sure what your point is about the fact someone felt the need to create a specifically Libertarian award. I think that supports the point more than it contradicts it.

    @Greg: No, its not legitimate. As many people have pointed out MilSF is doing quite well and wins awards. Redshirts is a fun story, not a “message” story and it won the Hugo. Those counter examples address the point and disprove it entirely.

    Say what? What part of “conservative writers” being the ones who are getting discriminated against did you miss? It’s not “military SF.” It’s certainly not anything written by Mr. Scalzi (seriously?). How you think this disproves the point is boggling my mind.

    The “bias against conservativism” is, at most, the notion that some people don’t like gun porn and Ayn Rand objectivism and Monologues about ideas long proven wrong like Laissez Faire Capitalism in their stories….These bigots can’t stand stories where the hero is a minority, or where bigotry is shown for what it is.
    And this, incidentally, is hand waving. You are blowing off even the suggestion of bias by creating a ridiculous straw-man argument that no one actually believes or is suggesting. Yes, point me to the places where Mr. Correia or Mr. Torgersen remark on how much they hate stories with minority protagonists. I rather suspect that never happened, but you’re so worked up in your righteous indignation that you feel justified in making these broad sweeping generalizations with absolutely no support. And i suspect most of our liberal friends are going to be happy to solemnly nod their heads and agree with you. But that doesn’t make it so.

    (yes, Vox Day is a racist. I’m not talking about him. And even *he* never actually said what you said above)

    On the other hand, if there is “bias against conservatives”, then why aren’t the Puppies labeled as “biased against diversity”? Or “biased against liberals”? Why is it that everyone who defends the puppies makes the same false premise that the puppies aren’t political, but anyone against them IS political?
    I’ll reiterate here I haven’t read the books which the Sad Puppies nominated, so I can’t speak to how “diverse” they are. Have you? I do know that one of the initial accusations lobbed against them – which was that they created a slate of nominees that consisted of only straight white males – an accusation which was repeated several times, was not true. I also never said they weren’t political.

  137. Nick: “So far, I guess, the point of the exercise is to find out if Puppies even know what they’re complaining about.”

    I think it’s pretty consistent that the Puppies make vague reference to the many and varied wrongs done to them, but will hem, haw, and change the subject when specifics are asked for. From what I gather, Larry Correia has mentioned all manner of terrible things that were done to him by people at Worldcons who didn’t like his politics. But those stories are always vague, no dialogue is given, no names are given, nothing specific is ever given to pin it down to an actual objective incident. Instead, he says “they were mean to me” and we’re forced to either take him at his word, or if we don’t we have nothing to point to that disproves him.

    Given that they’re not going to give any specifics, I think the point of asking for specifics is to tie the request for specifics to one of their actually-leveled, but vague, accusations of wrong doing. So, quote any vague accusation they make, and ask for specifics. Repeat. Not because they’ll fill in the specifics, but to point out that all their accusations are bluster.

  138. Rogers Cadenhead: Just read the Correia blog that you preserved on yours. Wow. That is some serious wackadoodle stuff, and I think it says much more about Mr Correia than he realized. I come from a scarily long line of Confederate romanticists, and anytime a person starts fantasizing about the “wearing of the gray,” I start edging away. Real quick. Thanks for preserving that for posterity.

  139. Mathew: “Yes, point me to the places where Mr. Correia or Mr. Torgersen remark on how much they hate stories with minority protagonists. … yes, Vox Day is a racist. I’m not talking about him.:”

    Game the system much, do you?

    You’re cute.

  140. @John Mark I just wanted to note here that the point at which someone uses the term “lynch mob” for any kind of *non-violent* protest (however mean, or unfair, or ignorant that non-violent protest might be) is the point where I stop even trying to take their argument seriously. It’s one of my mental corollaries to Godwin’s Law, and I suspect I’m not the only one who employs it.

    Well, I apologize if the metaphor offended. It was, indeed, just a metaphor. One I didn’t think there was controversy about, but maybe I’m just ignorant there. I hope you can see what I meant.

  141. What an excellent post.

    Since at least one side of this argument seems utterly disinterested in dealing in reality, here is my own personal crackpot conspiracy theory: this is all a massive plot by WorldCon to drum up membership! Scalzi is a lizard person in cahoots with Obama, The Wold Bank, and the shadow masters of WorldCon! Vox Day is a tragic misunderstood Avatar of Justice, standing alone against the tides of political correctness.

  142. Well, if you believe Mr. Correia (and I’m just going on what they write), his politics were not known pre-nomination.

    Because it wasn’t evident from all the gun porn?

  143. I’m with those who are saddened by all this.

    I’m saddened for the nominees who weren’t on any slate, for whom this should have been a special, exciting time, for whom it’s being tarnished by the bitterness of bigots.

    I’m saddened for the nominees who were on the SP/RP slate without their knowledge or consent (I know of at least one, editor Sheila Gilbert, and I’m sure there are others) or who, once they heard they were on it, kept quiet out of real fear of retaliation from SP/RP/GG (I know of at least one of those as well, who I won’t name as that would kinda defeat the purpose).

    I’m saddened for my husband, who had been planning his design and submission for the Hugo base ever since Spokane was first announced; who is from Spokane, and has loved SF and followed the Hugos since childhood. We were all unbelievably excited around here when his design was chosen. He’s been out in the garage scoring and welding metal for hours at a time, painstakingly making dozens of Hugo bases, which might well go unawarded. And, sad as that is, I’d still prefer that to Vox Day or John C. Wright taking home one of my husband’s works of art.

    So it’s kinda personal for me, as it is for every innocent bystander on the ballot, and for everyone whose honest choices were shouted down by slate voting. I hope you’re right, John & others, that the graffiti can get scrubbed off & kept off.

  144. Castalia House isn’t a qualified market just yet, but it won’t be all that long. A few more years, maybe 3 or 4 tops.

  145. Matthew C:
    Just to address the theory that it all started with Correia being pissed at not winning, here’s a brief timeline:

    August 2011: he does not win the Campbell.
    February 2012: he posts a blog literally asking his followers to help him get a Hugo (complete with picture of Sad Larry).
    2013: The Puppening begins.

  146. Re: Correia’s goals.

    One thing that’s cracking me up is the dialog between Correia and GRRM. On his blog, GRRM wrote a lot about the Hugos in general, the particular situation, and then a very long post analyzing the “conspiracy” of who was nominated in what demographic. Correia wrote a couple thousand words of rebuttal, including a lot of quotes and point-by-point and the like, and DID NOT MENTION the actual award analysis post!

    The one place someone could say “see, here, this proves our broad points about fandom” doesn’t have a single “your conclusion here is wrong” or “you failed to consider this” or anything of the sort.

    It really undermines the entire action when Correia can’t show this to be anything more than some personal dislike of certain groups of people. (one major such group being people who still haven’t seen the light to join his fanclub.)

    I think the Puppies’ only evidence of a conspiracy is that they showed conspiracies would be possible by their own actions. At least their arguments make a bit of sense to me now.

  147. You need to read about three chapters (or less) of MHI to determine Correia’s politics (the first chapter is a paean to concealed carry at work) — I read it before any of the Sad Puppy stuff erupted back a few years ago. Verdict was as other people have said above: mindless plot-driven fiction with flat characters and somewhat clunky prose, but readable enough if you’re in the right mood. But the politics was really obvious, really early.

  148. I’m no social justice warrior. I have trolled John from the right many times…. (John can confirm this). Larry is an asshole on steroids and his hangers on are just doing this for publicity. Larry has crossed over into crazy land. You see his posts? He called conservatives ‘his people’. Fuck him. I’m not one of his people. He seems to think he is Moses going ‘Scalzi let my people go’. He expects to raise his arms at worldcon and have the crowd part so his people can make it to the Hugo banquet.

    Teddy Beale should be banned from file770 and so so should his racist followers. There are like 2-3 of them. The rest are the Larry Holy Warriors just being assholes. Leave them alone, but ban the racists. If they want to be separated from Teddy Beale this shouldn’t bother them. An asshole can be dealt with a racist is got to go. I would dox Beale’s followers. Stuff they post will likely get them fired from most businesses in the US. I wouldn’t do that to the puppies. Being a jackass isn’t the same thing as being a racist and their employers won’t care either.

    Stop calling the 3 stooges racists and mysogonists. Call them assholes. Call them babies. Go into their twitter feeds and send them love messages. Look they are mad because they are not feeling the love. Send them I Love You messages. Tell them they are the man. Ask them if you can hug it out. Tell them they look good, have you lost weight? Tell them they are the most awesomenist writers ever. Annoy the shit out of them with positive reinforcement. Do it at cons. If your in a room and one of these knuckleheads are on a panel, raise your hand and go ‘I just want to say, I LOVE YOU MAN!’. Remake the Ray Bradbury song and really show them how much they are loved…

    Give them gifts. Give them some flowers. Got an extra bag of doritos offer it up. Let them have your chair. Show your respect. Hell if you really want to mock them prostrate your self before the Grand Pubbah and ask if you can create a church dedicated in his honor.

    Just call them babies. You could also sing the old Dennis Leary song ‘Asshole’ to them when they come in the room. Its time to just laugh at these idiots.

  149. My entire reaction to this whole flap is that, with multitudes of others, I have been a lazy fan, who has not engaged with the Hugo nominations and voting. As a result of my failings, and those of people like me, these pisspot nutcases were able to game the system and grab the ballot. If this is the case, then the rules don’t need to be changed, I just have to make a point of putting my mouth where my money is and nominating and voting next year. Enough of leaving it to other people.
    This year I will deal with the compromised ballot. I will hold my nose and read the packet, voting based on that reading. My strong suspicion is that this may well include voting no award in some categories, maybe even many categories. But I won’t let these vandals break the process.
    The best case argument for Sad Puppies attempted hijacking of the awards would be that their efforts showcase works that I, in my ignorance, would otherwise have missed, and which I will really like when I give them a fair trial, that when I read all the Oldtime Religion, opps, Fiction, I will realize what I’ve been missing, and prefer it to the stuff I’ve been buying and reading.
    We shall see.

  150. Here’s something I’ve yet to get: what’s the deal with Theodore Beale’s nom de crime and why do people other than Theodore Beale actually use it? I mean, I get the idea that it pleases Theodore Beale to be referred to as “Vox Day”. And I decline to please racist misogynist sacks of shit if I can help it.

  151. Anyone who hasn’t read The Three-Body Problem needs to do so immediately. I just finished it; it is AMAZING. And since VD is now pushing the book over on his alpha dog hangout, I think it might have a real chance at taking the rocket. That would be a nice thick silver lining.

  152. Correia and Torgerson: more puppets than puppies, eh?

    Beale is obviously a sociopath. Clever, intelligent, and beyond reasoning with. I am glad he can’t actually attend Worldcon.

    Also, I’m quite insulted that I never knew about this secret cabal. After all, I’m deep into smofdom, a member of several fannish groups, and have been for decades. I would proudly wear the epithet SJW. And yet, I’m utterly ignorant of this cabal, despite having attended and worked on a number of previous Worldcons at staff of committee level. Yes, occasionally friends band together to get a deserving friend on the ballot, usually in a fan category (where the bar is low), or an author may successfully stump for their eligible work on their website. But as has been often pointed out, nobody has ever tried to fill all the slots in even one category, never mind several.

    I’m also insulted that the puppies would revile me; I’m just about the only person I know who didn’t really care for _Ancillary Justice_. To be honest, I didn’t vote for _Redshirts_ first on my ballot either (I liked _2313_ better). I do wish _Lock In_ had been on this year’s ballot, though, as I thought it was excellent. And I even said so on the instrument of Secret Cabalism, NESFA’s Hugo Recommended List. A list which, apparently, has less influence than Vox Day.

    I sincerely believe the Hugos will survive this abberation. Or that angry hacker fans will ban together and hit Day with a DDOS.

  153. Prediction: The Three-Body Problem will win the Hugo and VD will announce to all and sundry that his minions are the ones who put it over the top. Victory!

  154. Guess, I hereby take back every snarky thing I’ve secretly thought about you because of your trolling posts on Whatever. Gotta love you for that post right up there.

  155. Meh. I will be pleased when you move on from this whole topic, Sir Scalzi. The Hugos will survive this “slate” business of which you opine and they will carry on. Reading you bashing other writers (sic) for what they do or say is not interesting reading. Boring, actually. On to other more interesting topics, please sir. Like, among the current Hugo nominees who do you think merits your vote as best in each genre. Now that would be interesting reading.

  156. I am also inclined to think this mess could wind up self-correcting.

    The Puppies already splintered into two factions this year and might splinter into more hereafter, for all we know. Also, the slates of future Puppy campaigns might not be in such lockstep in future as they were this year.

    I also agree that more and more people will decline to be on slates after this year.

    I suspect the Sad Puppy ability to attract supporters and generate attention depends rather heavily on Larry Correia, who has far-and-away the highest profile of the Sad clique, being willing to spend this much hands-on time and energy on it every year—and who knows whether he will?

    I think the rest of sf/f will be much more engaged n the nominations process next year (and any year in which group nominating campaigns or Puppy slates are launched), making the ballot harder to game in future.

    And I completely agree with your assessment of Vox Day. And I see that he has said clearly on File 770 that he’s doing all this because some people were mean to him on a blog 10 years ago. This seems completely in keeping with everything one has seen of his behavior to date and comes as no surprise. Rather than revising Hugo rules in reaction to his antics, I propose we resolve the Rabid problem by encouraging a bunch of mystery or romance writers to be mean to Vox Day, thus diverting his attention away from sf/f and the Hugos and giving our genre a break from this tiresome troll.

  157. I’d forgotten that Terry Pratchett once won a Libertarian award. That still seems very strange to me, especially given Sir Terry’s noted admiration of Charles Dickens. (My personal definition of a Libertarian is “a person who hasn’t read enough Dickens”.)

    TRiG.

  158. There is conversation about this going on in many places. If you have a interest in modifying the nomination process to prevent a recurrence there is a long discussion on Making Light http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/ “On voting systems: a guest post from Bruce Schneier”

    There is not as yet a formal proposal for it but my personal preference for a modification is a system called Reweighted Approval Voting. In that system nominations are tallied the highest total is put on the nominee list and then every ballot containing that nominee has it’s voting power cut in half. The nomination ballots are tallied again the next highest is added to the final nominee list and the process is repeated.

    This rapidly cuts the power of a slate but allows two or three works that everybody is voting for to rise above the random noise.

  159. “I propose we resolve the Rabid problem by encouraging a bunch of mystery or romance writers to be mean to Vox Day…”

    Maybe we could get some GamerGaters to be mean to him. It’d be like Matter & AntiMatter. Think of the SPLOSIIONS!

  160. Well, if you believe Mr. Correia (and I’m just going on what they write), his politics were not known pre-nomination. And it was specifically when people started to look him up to find out who he was, and subsequently noted his political leanings, that the hate started.

    His politics were pretty apparent, as they were all over his then-active blog.

    And he finished last in the voting, and was generally shunned.

    He says he was shunned. Given that he has a known tendency to be hyperbolic in his claims and doesn’t seem to feel a particular need to ensure accuracy, I’m inclined to take his nameless, vague claims with a little bit of salt.

    Maybe he’s lying about all that? I don’t know. Mr. Torgersen may have a similar story. I know I’ve read several blogs from other conservative writers who have similar stories.

    Torgersen wore his military uniform to the Hugo ceremony in 2011 and was, by Correia’s account, side-by-side with him through most of the convention. He was nominated in 2012 for both a Hugo and a Campbell. And it doesn’t matter one way or another if anyone “shunned” them. The fact remains that they were nominated for Hugo and Campbell awards. So were a number of other Sad Puppy authors, and prior to being placed on the Sad Puppy slate: Mike Resnick, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, Eric James Stone, and so on. The idea that conservative authors are being given no recognition by the WorldCon voters is simply not in accord with the facts.

    I’m not sure what your point is about the fact someone felt the need to create a specifically Libertarian award. I think that supports the point more than it contradicts it.

    If WorldCon is so very hostile to conservative authors, why did the Libertarian Futurist Society select it as the venue for handing out its award? An award that, I might note has been in existence since 1979, back when Heinlein, Niven, and Wolfe were routinely receiving Hugo awards. If you think it supports your point, why are there Tiptree Awards? Is WorldCon hostile to LGBT writing?

  161. I think the chances that Castalia House will ever be a qualifying market for SFWA are slim to none.

  162. I’d forgotten that VD had attached himself limpet-like to Three Body Problem – I’m sure he will declare Victory!!11!!! if it wins and Victory!!11!11 if it loses, keeping up his tradition of victory under all circumstances…

    I actually nominated 3BP, myself. Got to get my votes to those godless Commies.

    (I have no idea if Cixin Liu is godless, or a commie, FWIW).

  163. “The enemy of my enemy is my enemy’s enemy. No more. No less.” – Howard Tayler

    I’ll leave applying that maxim to his own situation as an exercise for Mr. Torgersen, who should have known better.

  164. @MRAL, 4:44: And since VD is now pushing [Three-Body Problem] over on his alpha dog hangout…
    Meh. It wasn’t on his slate. Other stuff he preferred over it didn’t make the finalists. He’s got no legitimacy of any sort to claim “victory” or “undue influence” or whatever if TBP wins. Not that he won’t claim it anyway, of course (per the above, Beale has set a stance where every result is “victory”) — just noting for the record.

    @Gary, 5:02: Move on from old slates! Create a new slate! (paraphrase mine)
    I’m guessing you’re likely to be disappointed.

  165. The thing that baffles me is their picks. They have popular populist nominations like Jim Butcher and KJA, who I’m sure are baffled right now. But then they go and put shit like Kratman’s Big Boys Don’t Cry up. Who the fuck read Big Boys Don’t Cry? Who the fuck thinks Larry Correia’s page turners are Hugo worthy? If they want to spotlight conservative authors there are a million superior authors who identify as conservative that they can put up. Hell, they barely nominated any Graphic novels despite the fact that Bill Willingham is a raging neocon and fairly acclaimed with his work on Fables.

    I mean, Castalia House, Vox Day’s baby, had a shipload of nominations on the Rabid Puppy slate and more than a few on the Sad one. Who the hell is naive enough to think Day isn’t using this opportunity to pimp his own company’s work and play nepotist with some of the few people fully willing to hold hands with him. And Correia is along for the ride because “Good character judgement? Who needs that shit?”

  166. (I have no idea if Cixin Liu is godless, or a commie, FWIW).

    It’s highly probable that he shares (at least on the surface) the normative belief systems of his state, as he’s employed by it and continues to thrive under it:

    A graduate of the North China Institute of Water Power and Hydroelectric Engineering, he inadvertently presents a rather traditional career path for Chinese science fiction writers, continuing to work as a senior engineer for the China Power Investment Corporation, at the Niangziguan power plant…

    Chinese critics have identified Liu as a “neo-Classicist”, returning to concerns similar to the Anglophone Golden Age of SF, but also to the didactic processes of mid- to late-twentieth-century Chinese sf, which valorized both the pursuit of science itself and the Scientists who pursued it.

    Valid source

    Rationalist – Materialist – Marxist. He could, of course, secretly worship Dragons but that’s his personal business. It’s also a topic that has considerably more worth in non-doxxing than an author in America, so I’d suspect his friends wouldn’t comment either.

  167. [strike]Marxist[/strike]

    Parochial of me, but certainly of a nominally communist way of thinking.

  168. f the Hugos have really been dominated by leftist material that prized message over story since the mid-1990s

    This does remind me of the Prometheus Award for Libertarian Science Fiction, which has been won by (IIRC) Charlie Stross twice and Ken MacLeod three times, so a number of us have taken to calling the the Prometheus Award for Scottish Socialist Science Fiction.

    As to the threat of “forever No Award”, the solution there is to raise the price of supporting memberships and lower the price of attending memberships. Either that will fix the No Award problem or we’ll get the Cheaper Worldcon that we’ve always wanted, so really, is there a downside?

    Given the rate at which people are refusing their nominations and withdrawing from consideration, I fully expect that by Sasquan, there may be nobody left on the ballot BUT Puppies.

    It has been [1] day since our last loss of nominated work accident. Hugo safely!

    The official statement of Sasquan as of a couple of days ago is “The Ballot Is At The Printers” and withdrawals will no longer be accepted. I’m not exactly sure how you can say that with a straight face, but it’s certainly true that the printed ballot will have your work on it even if you withdraw at this point. Apparently, we have had one withdrawal after this declaration, “Black Gate” in Best Fanzine. It is unknown if it will just be ignored by the committee, removed from the online ballot, or announced as withdrawn but left on the online ballot since it’ll be on the paper ballot (which, as mentioned, is as the printer.)

    And, if you count that last withdrawl, we are on Version 4 of the Final Hugo Ballot. You may boggle now. I certainly am. This is the first time we’ve had post-annoucement withdrawals, so we don’t have precedent to fall back upon, and Sasqaun had an issue with paper nomination ballots (note how few there were…) so they are being *very* careful to get the final paper ballots out on time.

  169. As KOTOR tells us, the beast weapon in war is to make your enemy into your ally.

    And I think that we really do have a lot in common with Larry Correia.

    Larry Correia is angry in part because people unfairly stereotype him. Well, we’re better than that. I say we show him some “Got stereotyped by people unfairly” solidarity.

    Please join me in welcoming Larry Correia into the society of people who have been unfairly stereotyped. It’s rare that Straight White Men so publicly announce their entry into our ranks, and I think this is a good thing that he is.

    I think he can really help spread awareness of how toxic and damaging sterotypes are. He is one of us, and we should welcome him as such.

    My Open Letter to Larry Correia:

    goo.gl/4X8miQ

  170. “And he finished last in the voting, and was generally shunned. ”

    Let’s assume for a moment that people actually did “shun” him at the con. That would mean that the voting members thought his work was good enough to be nominated for an award, but the people who attended the con weren’t fond of him personally. How does this translate into the award being biased against conservatives? If anything it would seem to argue the opposite—the Hugo voters will vote for a good story regardless of what they think about the author.

    (I’m ignoring the fact that he finished last because logically someone always does. It’s not relevant to this argument unless he can show a clear pattern that the most conservative person nominated always finishes last in the final voting.)

  171. If they want to spotlight conservative authors there are a million superior authors who identify as conservative that they can put up. Hell, they barely nominated any Graphic novels despite the fact that Bill Willingham is a raging neocon and fairly acclaimed with his work on Fables.

    Seriously. Just supports my not-very-serious hypothesis that this isn’t about lack of conservatives in SF awards; it’s just naked graft to get the troika’s friends to win.

  172. I urge you all to write Larry something to show solidarity at #WelcomeLarryCorreia . Share your own stories of being stereotyped unfairly. Let him know that he is not alone. We stand with him.

  173. dh: “Castalia House isn’t a qualified market just yet, but it won’t be all that long. A few more years, maybe 3 or 4 tops.”

    Are you by any chance the same dh who was on http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight last week?

    If so, then here you are, in Abi Sutherland’s words: “no longer pretending to be an electioneering geek, newly returned from Nigeria and only vaguely acquainted with the strange and esoteric world of science fiction…”

    Brad DeLong

  174. I wish that you had provided a link to “reasons not to vote No Award on a Puppy slate” as well as providing a link to “good reasons to vote No Award on a Puppy slate.” If you’re looking for a place to link to, you might consider George R.R. Martin’s well-considered reasoning on the subject, here: http://grrm.livejournal.com/418643.html

  175. One of the reasons the Pups feel unjustly persecuted and excluded is that they don’t realise how far from the mainstream they are. I mean, I know I am on one side of the Gaussian distribution of political opinion; I have no illusion that most of the world shares my views. And even so, I am frequently taken in by the cognitive bias we all share that since I Am Right then Most People Think As I Do.

    But I can overcome this and realise that statistically, I am a deep red godless commie from most people’s point of view. And that’s ok, I can get along fine with people who will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

    I don’t think the Pups realise this. They really think that most people OBVIOUSLY agree with them. They start explaining their reasonable stance about how homosexuals choose to be such because they have deliberately embraced Satan, or that women are clearly intellectually inferior, and suddenly people’s smiles become fixed and they find excuses to be somewhere else. This puzzles and surprises them greatly; and instead of doing what reasonable people do, that is, stop talking about things that clearly freak out the company they are in (as I would not, for example, discuss BDSM with my aunts at the Christmas dinner), they imagine that they have somehow happened among a secret society of maoist-leninist-troszkist-masonic Jewish illuminati, and that there MUST be out there a vast majority of right-thinking people that agree with them, and only need to be called to the fight. The idea that they really truly are a minuscule minority is obviously too difficult to contemplate.

    And yeah, it might well be that they are shunned because of their views: because these are views that are not “conservative”, they are for the vast majority of people repulsive and outrageous.

  176. I’ve been reading both Scalzi’s posts and George R.R. Martin’s posts about the Hugo flap (among the many posts on other sites). And, John, you seem to be more optimistic than Martin about saving the Hugos. I hope you are right, though they will never be the same. Both of you have spent time in the trenches of fandom and have paid your dues as writers. And I think both of your respective views and strategies in dealing with the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies are valid. But I have noticed one common thread, separating Vox Day (Theodore Bealle) from Correia and Torgersen. Early on I said at best the Sad Puppies were misguided but VD was on the warpath. By separating them from Vox I hope it is possible to heal the rift between C & T and the rest of fandom (this fight feels like a microcosm of what we are seeing in mainstream politics).

    Lastly, Mr Scalzi, you hit the nail on the head with concerning Vox Day (Theodore Beale). He’ll declare victory no matter what. VD is like a monkey in that old expression: “If he can’t screw it up, he craps on it.”

  177. The person called VD who proports to be Beale was on File770 today explaining that the whole thing was justified revenge because someone was rude about him on a blog (or possibly a girl was rude to him at a party, is Morning Light a blog?) ten years ago.
    This makes reasonable sense that a sociopath would think that way. What’s surprising is that he has acolytes who also want to destroy the prize that they never wanted to win just to get revenge.

  178. I, too, am sad for the writers, artists, and fans caught up in this mess though no fault of their own. This level of scorched-earth politicking from the rabid and sad puppies is as distasteful in SF as it is in Washington. That said, I am pleased that the results of this controversy seems to be that more people are purchasing voting memberships! The best way to fight a determined, destructive minority is to increase participation of thoughtful, rational people. I am also pleased that I have won one of the memberships that Mary Robinette Kowal has arranged. I plan to read all the authors in the Membership Reader’s package (and what a great idea, John Scalzi–thank you!) and voting accordingly. I may even seek out any that are not included (but I will not be purchasing any from Day’s publishing house).

  179. With respect to Correia finishing last in 2011 – actually, he didn’t. No Award finished last, and by a wide margin. In other words, the vast majority of people who voted thought Correia deserved recognition – they just thought the other four nominees deserved it more. I like the man’s writing, but he could not have handled the situation worse.

  180. @Matthew C.: The reason “lynching” metaphors rub some people the wrong way is that lynching was a) incredibly brutal and murderous systematic oppression through violence, and b) virtually always directed by white people against black people. Hearing someone use it as a metaphor for a non-violent disagreement directed against white people feels like it minimizes the word and overdramatizes the situation at the same time.

    Think of it like you stubbing your toe while walking around the block and comparing it to the Bataan Death March. :)

  181. And also on Correia: I admit, I did not read his nominated book last year, and did not place it in the ballot (and didn’t put no award in either). This was not because he was a Mormon (I had no idea, I’m British, we assume everyone’s agnostic) or because he owned a gun store (kind of weird by our standards, but again, no idea, wouldn’t have occurred to me to check) but because it was volume three of a series and, dear God, I thought I should read at least 10% of the Wheel of Freaking Time before making a judgement about that. And I failed there, I only managed 1.5%.

  182. If I might float a suggestion: how easy would it be to just add in a write-in entry for each category, so that the voters might have the option to ignore the obviously-a-slate nominees and vote for their true favorite story, one that might have been nominated if not for the slate? Yes, this would open up another can of worms, but would also give the voters a chance to vote for truly deserving works that were bypassed by the skewed nomination process? Just a thoght. Thanks, Mr. Scalzi.

  183. enuminous:

    “how easy would it be to just add in a write-in entry for each category”

    You’d have to change the rules. That would take two years (at least). So not easy at all.

    Nickpheas:

    You’re probably thinking of Making Light. I suspect I know which comment thread he’s thinking of, too. If it’s the same one he swam in with a bunch of ridiculous assertions and fell into the buzzsaw of People Who Actually Knew What They Were Talking About and it didn’t go well for him. I remember at one point I was told to stop beating on him, to which I replied “But there’s still CANDY in him!”

    Short version: He’s been a jerk for a long time now.

  184. I find the whole state of affairs rather sad, as if my comforting illusions have been burst. I grew up in a book-poor rural area and was introduced to sf/f by the summer bookmobile librarian, who offered me an Asimov novel, my first grown-up book ever, and have read in the genre ever since. I used to seek out the Hugo and Nebula winners until my kid was born and I didn’t have the time, but years later I only pick books suggested by friends or by a few blogs I follow (thus the Big Idea columns are a Big Deal for me and I read about half of those books).

    The sad thing is that once you introduce parties into a voting system they never go away as nobody is willing to unilaterally disarm first. So the net effect here seems to be that sf/f is now explicitly politicized, probably for a long time. For nearly 50 years I’ve been reading sf/f without regard to the political affiliation of the author at all. My criteria has always been that it be a good story with characters that engage, ideas that makes me think, and writing that doesn’t suck.

    But now, discovering the political affiliation of so many of the authors I’ve read, I’m likely to reconsider their books, unfortunately. The issue is that some beliefs will leave a taste one cannot get rid of. I’d loved and enjoyed most of Card’s novels, but a friend pointed me at some homophobic rhetoric on Card’s blog a number of years ago and I’ve never been able to remove the taste of naked bigotry from my mouth. No matter what he does, every time I see his name the first thought is of those screeds and of those I knew who died from HIV and were shunned as pariahs, or who were attacked and beaten for being too out. Sorry, my values inform my politics and I’m just not going to give my time, attention or money to people who seem to be working to undermine my values, so I will likely now look for explicitly Not-Puppies writing. Sad, but life is short and I don’t feel a need to read people who have reactionary views I abhor, if they want me to listen, they need to figure out how to talk to me.

  185. The purpose of Sad Puppies, if I recall aright (and I do) was to get Correia’s fans to join Worldcon and vote for stuff they liked, and then sit back and enjoy the SJW fireworks.

    Total effort involved was a few blog posts. SJWs have not disappointed. Three years now, all anybody had to do was join WorldCon and vote and y’all went into a frenzy.

    This year, I joined in the fun. About 1/2000th of the pain you are experiencing is due to -me-.

    You are very welcome.

    What I love about this entire affair is that all I have to do is show up and express a preference, and all of you gatekeeper/block captain types go full-on whack. “The End Of The Hugos!”, forsooth.

    Yeah, its the end of the Hugos because I showed up and voted for some good stories? Little ol’ me did that? Wowser! That’s what I call a Victory Condition.

    Its like being the guy chosen to push the button that blows up a gigantic smoke stack on Discovery Channel. Its a gift I should thank y’all for.

    I’m going to push that button again next year. And every year after. Because this is fun!

    Unless the movers and shakers at WorldCon burn it down, of course. Spoiled children are know to do that kind of thing.

  186. Matthew C.: “I think this bias against conservatives is legitimate”

    Prove it.

    “you …are just hand waving it away”

    Prove it without handwaving the data. Prove there is systemic bias against conservative writers in the industry as a whole, that exists on a large enough scale that the only explanation is anti-conservative-bias.

    “Perhaps the clearest/cleanest example is that of Orsen Scott Card,”

    There is bias against Card not because he is a conservative, but because he is a massive, flaming bigot. To quote you back to yourself: Say what? What part of “conservative writers” being the ones who are getting discriminated against did you miss?

    Indeed, sir, what part of “conservative” did you miss?

    So, given this perceived bias, what I’ve seen from Mr. Correia and Mr. Torgerson has seemed not at all unreasonable to me.

    Only because your single anecdotal example is a flaming homophobic BIGOT and you transpose this to be entirely equivalent to, and totally indistinguishable from, a “conservative”.

    So, again, sir, prove your premise. Prove there is a bias against conservatives. Don’t just handwave it away. Don’t just start with unproven premises and then use logical fallacies to arrive at the conclusion you want with a wave of your hand. Prove it.

    the association with Vox Day is bad. Here’s where good liberals like you and me may never be able to fully understand how other men and women of conscience would ever have anything to do with him. But I guess I don’t get the conservative mindset period.

    Yeah, I’m not even convinced you’re a “good liberal”. Because, again, you refuse to acknowledge bigotry as behavior worthy of shunning.

    And he finished last in the voting, and was generally shunned.

    And this, incidentally, is hand waving. Define “shunned” in terms of any sort of objective, systemic measurable behavior. Don’t just handwave away the fact that you merely assumed it true with no proof. PROVE IT.

    I know I’ve read several blogs from other conservative writers who have similar stories.

    Similar in what way? lacking any specifics? Lacking names? Dates? locations? What was said by whom when? Because that’s what Larry’s stories all read like. Ever read a police report where a cop had to shoot someone and later see a video of that shooting? Do you understand how people can portray themselves as the white knights, as all opposition as evil, in complete and direct contrast to objective evidence?

    Larry has, at best, filed a police report citing that someone maliciously resisted his authority. There’s no video. When pushed for specifics, he says he can’t remember any, just trust him. His original blog post about the con was that it was good and he’d go back. Only later did these vague and unsourced “stories” of shunning start to crop up.

    That casts a lot of doubt on his stories. And yet, you simply accept them with a wave of your hand. Interesting I think.

    Maybe he’s lying about all that? I don’t know.

    See? that right there? That’s were YOU should be exercising some caution in the accusations you repeat. That should be raising some red flags along the lines of “hey, wait a second, did I just assume this is all true with a handwave and then demand someone disprove it? That’s just bad logic, man. Your bad logic.

    I’m not sure what your point is about the fact someone felt the need to create a specifically Libertarian award. I think that supports the point more than it contradicts it.

    Again, your logic fu is weak. The explanation is rather simple. Good stories aren’t of a particular political stripe. But if you care about one particular political view and want an award to reward the best story of that political stripe, then invent an award for it. It’s not like Libertarian stories are going to win best novel every year. If you want a libertarian story to get some kind of award every year, you’re best off having a libertarian-specific award.

    I haven’t read the books which the Sad Puppies nominated, so I can’t speak to how “diverse” they are. Have you?

    I just read “Storm Front” (Dresden Files book 1) by Jim Butcher because it is the first book in that series. It’s horribly undiversified. The main character is a magically powered private eye who is presented as benignly sexist, harking back to some non existent “good ol’ days”. Most of the characters he has any substantial interactions with are women who either say nothing about his sexism or enjoy it. No one ever challenges his sexism for what it is. So, yeah, not diverse. Bigotted actually. On top of that, the writing is pretty flat, the plot was entirely predictable (the bad guy was supposed to be a mystery, but I figured it out a third of the way in. Halfway through I knew one character would be the “cavalry” who would ride in and save the protagonist. the prose is flat. And much of the “mystery” was merely withheld information, i.e. the author didn’t give the reader enough information to even have a hope to connect the dots and figure out the bad guy’s plan. And so on.) So, it’s got some sexism in it, but yet without that, the writing is still below mediocre. Maybe Butcher’s “skin game” is better, but “Storm Front” turned me off from his writing.

    On the other hand, I don’t know why the Puppies nominated “Skin Game”, but if its like “Dresden Files”, it wasn’t the story that got nominated, it was the sexism. that’s the only thing about Dresden Files novel that stands out.

  187. Rogers Cadenhead quotes Torgensen: “What’s left for a man now is to do what his heart, and God, tell him is right.”

    I… don’t think I’m going to bother God about that, I’m sure God has more important things to worry about. There are so many sparrows to watch the falls of.

    …but wait, I’m not a man! No problem then. I can do whatever I wish, right?

    (I’d thought it was too late to buy supporting memberships after the nominations closed; luckily I was mistaken. A commenter on this blog brought up the Law of Unintended Consequences when Our Esteemed Host made his first brief post about it, and I had $40 which agreed with that wholeheartedly.)

    TRiG: Well, I don’t know how libertarian the Prometheus Award is in the sense you think, but any TrueLibertarians (TM) would probably read the bit in… Night Watch I think… about weapon control being like Hogswatchday for criminals and go “YAY!” Also, I met Sir Pratchett once, and from what I remember of our conversation he was of the opinion that people should not be protected too much against their own stupidity. He was big on personal responsibility. So I can see what they can latch on to. (Night Watch is also big on personal responsibility, as in “You do the job in front of you, or people die,” so I can definitely see why it would be honored with a small-l libertarian award.)

    But Sir Pratchett also had a nuanced understanding of what personal responsibility can or cannot cover in a person’s (or a society’s) fortunes and circumstances; as you pointed out he admired Dickens. I think any of the ultralibertarian crowd who idolizes him would have had skip most of the rest of the Discworld books, and in particular close their eyes and stop their ears and go “LALALALAAAA” throughout most of the Watch books, The Truth and Going Postal.

    (Especially the end of Going Postal. That scene with Vetinari when the bet is settled… not to spoil anything… should give a TrueLibertarian apoplexy.)

  188. thephantom182:

    “About 1/2000th of the pain you are experiencing is due to -me-.”

    Eh. Not feeling the pain, sorry. But nice of you to try to come here and be an asshole about it.

    Now as it happens, I think it’s perfectly fine to get more of Mr. Correia’s fans at the Worldcon. It’s an open door, come on in. The issue here isn’t encouraging people to become part of Worldcon and the community. The issue here (one of them, anyway) is Correia/Torgersen/Day not actually appearing to trust that their fans will support them without explicit and direct instruction, and asking people to vote specifically to annoy others (rather than, say, voting for the works they genuinely love). If I were a fan of an author and they did that, I would question why I would want to be their fan (also, I would be less likely to nominate them generally).

  189. I’m taking this whole Puppy thing very hard. The why is easy: even though I’m not on either of the slates (the DAMNABLE slates!), I’m still getting asked, over and over, “So, are you a Rabid Puppy or a Sad Puppy?” and even worse “How close are you to Vox Day?” And not just by fans, but by people at work and around Cinequest and friends of my family who know exactly two things about the Hugos – the Puppies and that I won one once.

    Will this kill the Hugos? If Doxxy Voxxy wins one, and there are lots of his supporters who are buying memberships, then I’ll argue it certainly could. There is such a thing as Guilt by Association, and it sucks, but it’s also real. If he wins one, then forever The Hugos are associated with Vox Day, and I get the feeling that “How close are you to Vox Day?” question will keep coming my way.

  190. “Vox Day” is a pun on Theo’s name, afaik.”

    So Theo has told us. And told us, and told us, and told us. (He’s so proud of his wit.)

    I’m in favor of changing his Internet moniker to Teddy. Who’s with me?

  191. This is one of the first bits of writing in this whole mess that has made me feel something other than despondent. In part, it might be because I’ve been getting sleep. But in even larger part, it’s ‘cuz you write so hopefully. Then again, your fiction builds a world that is a lighter shade of pale, too.

  192. Here’s the thing about slates, all else aside.

    Slates win. Slates vs. unorganised candidates always win. That’s why there are always political parties unless they’re banned, and then there are still parties, they just aren’t called that.

    And the only reason we haven’t descended into organised buying/slate hell with the Hugo Award before now is because a Hugo award has never been worth the expenditure it takes to buy it. The return on investment just isn’t there.

    What enabled this to work was to turn it into a political spite-fest. As soon as you have resentment – or, more correctly, ressentiment – involved, all bets are off. All costs are worthwhile, because you’ve got to stick it to those bastards, and that’s all that matters.

    That’s why this worked. And the thing about invoking ressentiment is that by not caring anymore about return-vs.-investment, you gain durability. And that’s what’s going on here, with the Puppies – particularly the more Rabid variety, but not just. (See also: a Red Queen’s race.)

    All this means that this won’t go away on its own. There will need to be rules changes to dampen the effects of slate voting, because once a group is in this mindset, all that matters is whether it works, regardless of how little the goal (Hugo Award) matters anymore – all that stops being important. And this year, it worked.

  193. @Greg
    Yeah, “Stormfront” (the Dresden Files book 1) is a bit dire, but he got better as the series evolved. General sense is that Jim Butcher combines Christian, Norse, “Pagan” and god knows what other assortment of folk tales and myths(*) into a mostly coherent universe. Some of the stories are a slog, but the later ones are to me entertaining.

    Not sure whether I’d say “Skin Game” is Hugo-worthy, but it’s worth a read.

    (*) Vampires, elves, sasquatch…

  194. Argh! Missed the word “beliefs”
    Should have read …combines Christian, Norse, “Pagan” beliefs and god knows what other…
    My apologies.

  195. @delagar *shrug* Someone asked. I see nothing to be gained by mocking people’s names when their behavior is so much more deserving of mockery.

  196. Greg, Butcher’s writing made a quantum leap between book 3 and book 4. The first 3 were all written (IIUC) while he was studying writing. Book 4 shows what he learned. And then the books just get better and better, with a nice plot thread that is building through the books to a resolution yet to come.

    I have no idea what Butcher’s politics are, but he writes some darn entertaining books. His Furies of Calderon series is fantastic, if you enjoy fantasy.

    I generally don’t judge a book by the author’s politics, but do find it hard to look past Card’s homophobia.

    I’m saddened that this years awards will have a virtual asterisk by them and that some of the deserving winners will be tainted by the association with the Puppies.

    I think the instigators of the S/R Puppies movements pretty much define “sore loser”. “Oh, yeah!? Well I never wanted your stupid award anyway!” Apparently it’s not enough to be 1 of 5 or 6 people chosen out of a field of hundreds (maybe thousands) to be nominated. It’s a strange all-or-nothing mentality that is alien to me.

  197. The easiest solution to the current problem is to keep the ballot the same size, but allow each person to nominate only two works per category.
    Several people are proposing a solution of putting more works on the final ballot. That helps the nominating problem, but makes the underlying problem worse, since the more works are on the final ballot, the more likely people are to not read them, but instead make their votes from some list “vote for these”.

  198. A slight aside. Last week I read William H. Patterson Jr.’s second half of his massive Robert A Heinlein biography. That would be the Heinlein whose writing Puppies invoke as good old-fashioned no-message space opera, and I hit this passage right when the SP/RP stuff was flooding the Internet.

    In one letter to Theodore Sturgeon in 1962, quoted at length in the book, Heinlein describes two types of SF critics he dislikes: those who condemn him for not following their specific ideology and the other type who demand that science fiction must be “for amusement only — like pin ball machines.

    “He will permit any speculation at all — as long as it is about gadgets only and doesn’t touch people.He doesn’t care what mayhem you commit on physics, astronomy, or chemistry with your gadgets… but the people must be the same plain old wonderful jerks that live in his Home Town. Give him a good ole adventure story any time, with lots of Gee-Whiz in it and space ships blasting off and maybe the Good Guys (in white space ships) chasing the Bad Guys (in black space ships) but, brother, don’t you say anything about the Methodist Church, or the Flag, or incest, or homosexuality, or teleology, or theology, or the sacredness of marriage, or anything philosophical! Because you are just an entertainer, see? That sort of Heavy Thinking is reserved for C. P. Snow or Graham Greene. You are a pulp writer, Bud, and you will always be a pulp writer even though your trivia is now bound in boards and sells for just as much as Grace Metalious’ stories… and you are not permitted to have Heavy Thoughts. Space Ships and Heavy Thinking do not mix — so shut up and sit down!

    “The rule is: Science Fiction by its nature must be trivial.

    “This of course rules out… a large fraction of my work — and all my future work, I think.”

    And I laughed and laughed and laughed… The book also includes detailed instances where Heinlein disagreed and fought with Campbell over politics and race. Heinlein became a science fiction grandmaster during the Campbellian era, but he was not the writer the Puppies seem to think he is.

  199. As usual, John, I enjoyed your comments and feel that they’re cutting to the heart of the issue.

    I just can’t believe that there’s any conspiracy to be found, the basis of the whole Puppyist concept. There are probably just as many conservative SF writers as there are liberal ones. (I’m reminded of something published in the early 70s in… uh… F&SF that were statements by various and sundry authors in favor of or against the Vietnam War as their predilections lay. It was, IIRC, about the same number on both sides, with maybe a slight edge against the war–but not enough to be deeply significant.) GRRM talked about this in one of his blog essays on this subject, pointing out how one’s politics don’t seem to be getting in the way of people getting published.

    I also enjoyed Brad T’s complaint that you couldn’t tell what a book was going to be like when you looked at the front of it. It might look like it’d be a ripping yarn about space marines and whatnot, but you’d then discover on reading it that it was something entirely different and it wasn’t what he’d expected. (And waaaaaaaah!) As several people have observed, Brad seems to have forgotten about judging books by their covers.

    Apart from the fact that this is causing no end of extra work for the Sasquan ConComm and that it’s caused two writers who inadvertently were caught up in this to withdraw their names–very classily, yes, but I don’t think they deserved getting shafted out of the possibility of winning a Hugo because they got backed by Puppies–I am personally annoyed because this feels like vandals have sullied something that I value. Hugos are an excellent way of saying “Well done!” to people who have demonstrated superior writing and storytelling abilities, something that I as a Worldcon attendee have a chance to take part in. And this year’s Hugos have definitely been spoiled on many levels. I’d want to say to anyone I voted for that I was voting because I thought they were the best and neither because I believed in a slate nor was I voting against it.

    The Internet itself ran on a gentleman’s agreement not to send out ads or gross commercial email until the infamous Green Card Spam incident of 1994, when Canter & Siegel sent the first commercial Usenet spam and the Internet lost its innocence. We now have all the email sales spam and similar garbage we’re used to. Unlike the Internet, I think the Hugos can and will recover and return to a reasonable state of innocence, but it will take a little while and a concerted effort to mop up the mess, after which things will be better. But right now, I’m just really annoyed at the people who started this whole unnecessary thing and I rather feel that they should be sneered at for their bad behavior.

  200. Dr. Science: “I’ve put up a post arguing that Vox Day exploited the Sad Puppies for personal gain, and that Castalia House should be striken from the Hugos for “ballot-stuffing for profit.”

    As reprehensible as this behavior is, it isn’t against WSFS’s rules. The Hugo Administrators bend over backwards to fairly and impartially administer the rules. It’s a very transparent process.

    They are not going to remove Castalia House entries from the ballot for “ballot stuffing for profit” because there are no rules against “ballot stuffing for profit”. Indeed, I’ve seen no evidence for “ballot stuffing”. It appears each ballot was cast by one natural person. Even if Beale paid for every one of those memberships, which I doubt, as long as a different natural person voted each ballot it is completely within the rules.

    I paid for my wife’s membership. It’s entirely possible I’ll pay for someone else’s membership between now and July. Is that ballot stuffing? We will each vote once.

    If we, the members of WSFS, don’t like this, we can change the rules. Indeed, there are two extensive threads over on Making Light discussing various nominating process changes that might be proposed. I am struck by how much the commenters on those threads are concerned that *everyone’s* voice be heard as much as possible.

    Note that the same rules in play this year will be in play next year (with a few possible trivial changes that do not affect nominations). Any change voted on this year must be ratified next year and will not be in place until 2017.

  201. @Gary C

    There are ways to dampen the effect of bloc voting, perhaps by disqualifying votes when a certain percentage of ballots feature a certain number of identical nominees in a certain number of categories or some such thing. But honestly, coming up with a directive that excludes votes or limits the way people are allowed to vote is dangerous territory, regardless of the malicious or self-serving motives of those who engage in such tactics.

    I don’t understand the difference between slates and recommendation lists. For me the Hugos are just a stamp on some of the books I happen to have enjoyed reading over the years (though I recognize they’re significant to many readers and writers alike). But I am fascinated by the mechanics of polling systems. It seems to me that any method, designed to block a bloc-voting state (to borrow Charlie Stross’s elegant turn of phrase) depends functionally on trying to vet the motives of the voters.

    While a statistical limit is perhaps the most objective way to do this, it has the side effect that it will also block anyone else who trips it for any other reason. The height of the limit (number of correlations) may be inversely proportional to the odds that someone voting for works they like will align with a bloc’s actual list of nominees. On the other hand, assuming the bloc’s electorate nominated those works as what they thought were the best examples within the narrow scope of works by authors that fit their agenda which, in combination, could fill the categories – and strategically they ought to in order to maximize their odds of winning – then the independently motivated voters most likely to accidentally trip a limit set to block a bloc will be those with similar tastes. In short, you can’t really deploy a statistical limit to block a bloc without also limiting how much anyone of similar tastes can vote for those personal preferences. This might be an acceptable collateral impact, but I don’t see how it can be avoided if a statistical limit is deployed.

    If this were a poll I cared about and voted in, I’d be mightily vexed by any such limit, even if the immediate goal was to block a bloc whose votes I found repugnant, because I would recognize that it could come back to bite me in the posterior if circumstances ever put me in a position where the limit could be used to throw out votes with which I agreed. Regarding the Hugos, I would consider it an interesting experiment to see attempted since I can’t conceive of ever having a vested interest in the outcome, but I also recognize that it won’t be so abstract to those for whom the Hugos hold significance, and I don’t wish to convey callousness to their passion.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzqZPXXMHmw&start=57

    @Greg

    The only way to prove a bias against conservatives (as opposed to biases against specific behavior such as the bigotry cited), would of course be to show that conservatives simply do not win Hugos.

    I’m no expert on the subject, but George R.R. Martin appears to pretty much blast that claim right out of the water.

    http://grrm.livejournal.com/418285.html

    And, as John notes, he got nominated (or won, can’t recall which he said) back when the online world thought his political inclinations leaned American conservative.

  202. I wish I could be in Spokane this summer because I think it is important for the fans of science fiction and fantasy to support the Hugos while they are under this mad dog attack. But mostly so that I could take the long list of nominees that I understand is passed out on the last day and make my way to the nearest independent bookstore and built my TBR stack based on the names that appear on it.

    Until then, it will be filled with past Hugo winners.

  203. “The purpose of Sad Puppies, if I recall aright (and I do) was to get Correia’s fans to join Worldcon and vote for stuff they liked, and then sit back and enjoy the SJW fireworks. ”

    In other words, to annoy other people and laugh at them when they were annoyed.

    Such a noble goal you folks have. Screw up something meaningful to a lot of people in the community you claim to belong to, so that you can laugh at the annoyance of a few.

  204. @John: Thanks. And I agree, Spin is an excellent fun hard SF novel in the grand old tradition of a cosmic ideas and puzzles while also being highly original, IMHO. Didn’t know it’d won a Hugo. Cool.

  205. @Gulliver Really? You don’t understand the impact a slate has on a limited voting population? With a slate of 5 nominations in a catagory, a couple of hundred people can block nominations from ~1600 people entirely, because they’re all voting the same things, whereas everyone else is voting from the vast landscape of SF published last year. It ought to be self-evident that it works, since they dominated a ballot utterly, and none of John’s recommended lists (or anyone else’s) have done anything remotely similar.

  206. Maybe the people complaining about shunning and not winning awards are having problems because they are perceived as assholes and cheating jerks and not because they are politically conservative. I know that’s how I now perceive all the puppies and their supporters. You only have to look at the comments on Markos Kloos blog (withdrawal entry) to see some fine examples of how puppy supporters act. And phantom182 provides a new example right here.

  207. @C.A. Bridges: Excellent citation of Heinlein’s letter. I’ve seen a few people wondering what Heinlein (in particular) would’ve thought of this mess, and I think you’ve done a good job of answering that question.

  208. Pardon my ignorance but wouldn’t the right thing to do be to disqualify anyone’s vote that is in slate form and disqualify the works of the people publicly proposing the slate ? They tried to game the system, got caught trying to cheat, they deserve to be disqualified.
    Alas I suspect this isn’t possible which just shows how vulnerable to manipulation and cheating the Hugos are. Perhaps their death isn’t something to be mourned but something to be told as a cautionary tale to any new contests and contestants. I personally prefer to see a new legitimate award than to see 2-3 years of bogus awards being given to cheaters.

  209. The Internet itself ran on a gentleman’s agreement not to send out ads or gross commercial email until the infamous Green Card Spam incident of 1994, when Canter & Siegel sent the first commercial Usenet spam and the Internet lost its innocence.

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    — first spam,
    1 May 1978

  210. @John Hedtke: I don’t understand how anyone could be dismayed at stories with overt messages and still venerate Heinlein. It’s not like he was subtle…

    I recommend the books. Patterson went through his papers, talked to his contemporaries and his wife before she died and produced what seems like a week-by-week calendar of his life. As a fan, I was fascinated to see that many of the things that bothered me about some of his work bothered HIM, often because he had to edit to please someone or, in the case of one of his weakest works because he was too ill to trim it down and Virginia refused to let anyone else touch it. But it also touches on his politics and it ain’t anything like what the Puppies seem to think it is. Libertarian, yes, for a given value of libertarian at the time. For a strong military defense, flatly against conscription, for any combination of genders that wanted to get married, against racial or or sexual or gender discrimination… he had strong beliefs that didn’t quite fit any of the labels. And while he didn’t take the Hugos too seriously (although he was honored to receive his) I can’t imagine he would have looked kindly on anyone trying to game a gentleman’s agreement.

  211. Whenever I read people complaining about snubs or not being nominated / winning (Correia!), I remember this great quote from Bill Condon about Dreamgirl’s so-called ‘snub’ for Best Picture…
    “You are not entitled,” Mr. Condon said of the Oscar,…. “It’s a gift. That sense that you deserve it is wacky.”

  212. @rochrist

    You don’t understand the impact a slate has on a limited voting population? With a slate of 5 nominations in a catagory, a couple of hundred people can block nominations from ~1600 people entirely, because they’re all voting the same things, whereas everyone else is voting from the vast landscape of SF published last year. It ought to be self-evident that it works, since they dominated a ballot utterly, and none of John’s recommended lists (or anyone else’s) have done anything remotely similar.

    Sorry for being unclear. I didn’t want to ask dumb questions to which Hugo voters already presumably know the answer. But what I meant is that I don’t know if the polling system simply lets you vote for the slate as a whole entity, or whether voting a slate is like “voting the straight ticket” in politics where voters just go down and tick off each nomination that is also on the slate they’re favoring.

    Obviously the whole slate option, if indeed that’s the way it works, could be eliminated, but it wouldn’t necessarily stop lock-step bloc voting for a list of recommendations, which would have the same practical effect of dominating the list of nominations. As I said, this may be bad enough that it’s worth it to the Members to try to block it with limits, but those limits will apply to everyone for any reason. Sometimes there’s no perfect solution. The question is whether, in the evaluation of the Members, the benefits outweigh the costs.

  213. Can’t think why, but I keep hearing some guy with a British accent saying, “And in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn’t fully understand.”

  214. My view on the Sad Puppies is that they come across as a Roundworld version of the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night from Guards! Guards!

    https://hereticfish.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/non-fictional-musings-about-the-hugos/

    Like the Elucidated Brethren, they hitched their star to…well, dragon seems rather too noble and grand for the likes of VD, but a person that had their own Let-It-Burn agenda. And now they are Even Sadder Puppies because they just wanted what they felt was due to them and they can’t figure out why everyone is so pissed. (Or they know why everyone is so pissed but don’t want to admit it was a bad idea in the first place.)

  215. dagobert2nd: “Maybe the people complaining about shunning and not winning awards are having problems because they are perceived as assholes and cheating jerks and not because they are politically conservative.”

    No, no, I still prefer the Evil Marxist Conspiracy theory. It’s just so much more colorful.

  216. I sit here and look at my bookshelves, at least 50 linear feet long.I’ve got a couple shelves of weber, a couple more of heinlein, a bunch of ringo, w.e.b. griffin, s.m.stirling, Lois McMaster Bujold, asimov, and Ann McCaffery. To list the ones that take up at least one shelf. Got about 30 linear feet more in the back room.

    My first exposure to SF was Heinlein in 1960, so I have been doing this a long time.

    WRT to authors and their politics; unless THEY make it explicit, Heinlein always said one COULD NOT draw any conclusions about his politics from his works. He always made HIS POLITICS explicit in real life, not his books. This is the man who wrote ‘Starship Troopers’, ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’, and ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’. I defy anyone to draw any conclusions from those except that the man believed in the dignity of human beings and in maximum personal freedom.

    This whole thing is yet another backlash against “them”, the “not us” who are taking over, well, whatever the aggrieved privileged class has previously had all to themselves.

    I wouldn’t care one bit about these narcissistic whiners, except that it demonstrates how the far right wing has hijacked the real world. Where Scott Walker can hijack an entire progressive state by a well funded campaign in an off year where 22% of eligible voters actually voted, and so his victory with 11% of the voting population allows him to claim a mandate to destroy the legacy of Bob LaFollette.

    Maybe now we will pay attention to what is going on around us?

  217. Gulliver: “But what I meant is that I don’t know if the polling system simply lets you vote for the slate as a whole entity, or whether voting a slate is like “voting the straight ticket” in politics where voters just go down and tick off each nomination that is also on the slate they’re favoring.”

    Every member gets a nominating ballot with five blank spaces in each category. You can fill them in however you wish. WSFS encourages you to please at least TRY to make sure your entries are eligible in their categories.

    What has happened for many years up to now, is that lots and lots of people have put up “This is what I did this year that’s eligible, and here are the categories in which they are eligible.” And lots and lots of people have in various ways stated “This is cool stuff I liked.” OR “This is cool stuff a lot of the readers of this site have liked.”

    What no one has done until this year, is to put together a list of no more than five “recommendations” in each category and encouraged folks to vote for those alone.

    So the rest of us are nominating all over the map. The Puppies, all 200-300 of them, nominated only in that tiny spot. So their concentrated nominations overwhelmed the scattershot nominations of the rest of us who were following the spirit as well as the letter of the rules.

    If they’d put up a list of cool MiLFic or rollicking fun rockets and shoot-em-up and said, “Here’s a big list of stuff we like.” No one would have cared.

  218. John,
    Yes, it’s the “But… there’s still more candy inside him!” thread on Making Light from 2005. You actually tried to defend his Nebula jury duty for a while until he showed himself to be indefensible.

  219. Come to think of it, nominating Vox Day for anything with the word science in the title is pretty laughable considering just how bad his grasp of science used to be (he does not strike me as someone willing to admit his mistakes and learn from them so I would be surprised if that basic ignorance has changed).

    Dude was like a piñata for those in the “Evolution is pretty self-evident” crowd.

  220. The Hugo process is clearly broken, but not because of what the sad puppies did or because of what they complained about. It is broken because Andy Weir can’t be on the ballot. The Martian was my favorite sci go novel of last year.

  221. I don’t think the more the merrier worked so well re: worldcon memberships.

    I would say the jury’s still out on that one. Looking at the blowback they’ve gotten, and thinking about Scalzi’s take (who WOULD want to be on a slate after this?!), I’m more optimistic than you, it would seem. :)

  222. @ULTRAGOTHA

    I see. Thanks for clarifying it for me. Yes, I can see where that would be some monumental asshattery. It will be interesting to see what happens with the rules and how any changes play out. Personally, if it were my fight, I’d probably support enabling write-ins (eligibility permitting). While write-ins don’t really work in major polls, in a small poll like the Hugos it could free voters from the nominations dominated by the bloc voters. Other options I can think of include statistical limits (as others have proposed), forming an opposing bloc, or throwing out eligible works on some non-statistical qualitative basis…each of which seem increasingly unpalatable.

    One question: People keep talking about Sad Puppies 3. Did they do this the last two years and, if so, did it work?

  223. “I urge you all to write Larry something to show solidarity at #WelcomeLarryCorreia . Share your own stories of being stereotyped unfairly. Let him know that he is not alone. We stand with him.”

    I’ll assume good faith here. Do you think that he will appreciate my tales of woe being a super smart woman working in the technology departments of a trucking company? Of never having a female in my chain of command in a 30 year career? Of being the only woman in the room for almost 30 years? Of sitting in personnel meetings making promotion decisions and listening to the men making crude sex jokes about every female presented for promotion? And don’t even get me started on the ‘geek’ stereotype in a company where most of the management started out as truck drivers.

    Think he’d appreciate those stories and stand in solidarity with me?

    My ‘woman’s intuition’ tells me, probably not.

  224. An ex post posto thought: For write-ins to work against nominees, voters trying to break the bloc would need to have some sort of consensus on who or what to write in, a shadow ballot if you will, which would itself be a kind of bloc, so I suppose that’s really another kind of forming an opposing bloc. Plus it could conceivably detract from the prestige of just being nominated if that were no longer a necessary precondition to winning.

  225. It is broken because Andy Weir can’t be on the ballot.

    For a novel originally published in 2012? Yes, not on the ballot.

  226. You know, @Greg, the attitude you’re displaying right now is exactly why it’s impossible to discuss these issues rationally.

    Prove it

    What am I supposed to prove? You want me to “prove” there’s a bias (at least when it comes to Hugo Awards) against conservative writers? I don’t know if there is or there isn’t. I know a lot of conservative writers (and fans) seem to think so.

    Prove it without handwaving the data. Prove there is systemic bias against conservative writers in the industry as a whole, that exists on a large enough scale that the only explanation is anti-conservative-bias.

    See, this is the problem. They say (they being the conservative writers) there is a bias. They relate their individual stories. And there are a lot of them. I’m just reading them. And I’m accepting them because…why wouldn’t I? They’re people. This is how they feel. You disagree. You insist there is no bias.

    Basically, what you’re saying is, if they haven’t won awards it’s because they didn’t deserve them.

    They get riled up. You say “prove it.” But exactly how would you suggest they do that? Every individual story you dismiss as an anecdote. I guess you want them to poll the entire Hugo voting body, and ask if someone voted for or against (person X) because of their politics – and then trust that people are going to respond to that question honestly?

    How are you going to prove this anyway? You certainly can prove, I believe, that certain individuals are shunned because of their politics.

    There is bias against Card not because he is a conservative, but because he is a massive, flaming bigot. To quote you back to yourself: Say what? What part of “conservative writers” being the ones who are getting discriminated against did you miss?

    Indeed, sir, what part of “conservative” did you miss?

    So, you’re not “anti conservative” – just “anti-things conservatives believe”. Is that correct? I don’t hold with OSC at all. But, and you have to realize this however much you may not want to accept it, a whole lot of people do. A whole lot of very religious people whose Bible tells them Homosexuality is a sin. That is totally conservative. Sure, it’s not the only thing conservatives believe, and some conservatives don’t, in fact, have any issues with gay people, but that’s what got people down on OSC. You’re kind of making my point here. I just used his name because he seemed one of the most prominent and recent examples of a writer being shunned due to his politics vs. his writing.

    Only because your single anecdotal example is a flaming homophobic BIGOT and you transpose this to be entirely equivalent to, and totally indistinguishable from, a “conservative”.

    I suspect you know this is a rhetorical trick you’re using here, so I’m not going to bother to comment on it further.

    So, again, sir, prove your premise. Prove there is a bias against conservatives. Don’t just handwave it away. Don’t just start with unproven premises and then use logical fallacies to arrive at the conclusion you want with a wave of your hand. Prove it.

    Lord, this isn’t my argument. It’s theirs (like I said multiple times.) I guess my sin here is believing them to be sincere (as opposed you yourself, who believes…what? That they are lying because they’re mad they’re not good enough to win Hugo awards on merit? Or it’s all to drum up publicity and increase their book sales? I don’t know.)

    Yeah, I’m not even convinced you’re a “good liberal”. Because, again, you refuse to acknowledge bigotry as behavior worthy of shunning.

    Oh, now I’m not a good enough liberal for you? Do I have to “prove” this too? And re-read what I said. Because it’s not what you seem to think it was. You’re still proving the point.

    And this, incidentally, is hand waving. Define “shunned” in terms of any sort of objective, systemic measurable behavior. Don’t just handwave away the fact that you merely assumed it true with no proof. PROVE IT.

    You and I have a different definition of what “hand-waving” means. I already said – repeatedly – that I’m taking them at their word. I can only go by what I’ve read. But it’s sad you seem to be making their point so well for them. I’ve personally got no dog in this fight.

    See? that right there? That’s were YOU should be exercising some caution in the accusations you repeat. That should be raising some red flags along the lines of “hey, wait a second, did I just assume this is all true with a handwave and then demand someone disprove it? That’s just bad logic, man. Your bad logic.

    You are coming into this with the mindset that LC (and I guess every conservative author who says similar things) is just lying. You are demanding of them (not me, dude) that they “prove” they’ve been discriminated against. Good luck with that. You’re just fanning the flames there.

    All I’ve said is I can see their side, and their primary complaint both looks like it could be legitimate and seems to be one that few are willing to address head on. Except to shout “Prove it” at them. Which is super not helpful.

    The Jim Butcher book is actually the only thing on the slate I’ve read. (well, now I guess I’ve read Three Body Problem too). I enjoyed it. I never would have thought it something that would have been up for an award though.

  227. How are you going to prove this anyway?

    It’s just a suggestion, but one could certainly actually do some research and see who is getting nominated and who is winning. You know, actually figure things out empirically. Choose a methodology and use it. I know this isn’t as satisfying as “He said/he said/she said/he said/she said” and feeling everyone’s sincerity, but it has the advantage of actually revealing something about what’s happening.

  228. @Matthew C.

    I don’t hold with OSC at all. But, and you have to realize this however much you may not want to accept it, a whole lot of people do. A whole lot of very religious people whose Bible tells them Homosexuality is a sin. That is totally conservative.

    And yet, not all conservatives who believe that feel compelled to do the things Card has done. There’s a rather bright line between telling someone they’ll burn in Hell (which doesn’t exist anyway) and helping to finance and influence an organization which, among other things, tries to convince very real governments to execute certain people.

    And that is all I’m saying on that digression because I hear the drone of a Mallet zeroing in. You may have the final word.

  229. “They relate their individual stories. And there are a lot of them.”

    How are you defining “a lot”? A lot compared to what? “A lot” as a subset of what?

    ” I already said – repeatedly – that I’m taking them at their word.”

    Why? I don’t mean that in an ugly way, I genuinely want to know because I think it would help me to understand where you’re coming from? Do you feel that the fact that they said it in some way obliges you to believe it? If so, do you mean that you believe them for the sake of argument or that you actually believe that their assessment of the situation is true. If the latter, which of their arguments convinced you?

  230. @JBWeld: “Vox Day” is a play on the Latin phrase Vox Dei, “Voice of God”. It has nothing to do with his real name, as far as I can tell, though Theodore comes from ancient Greek Theodoros, “gift of God”.

    Speaking of Latin, I found a post made during last year’s puppy debacle where the writer evaluated Day’s use of Latin in his Hugo nominated novelette. Spoiler: his Latin is terrible. Even the title of the novelette contains a mistake: http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2279830.html

  231. Gulliver:

    “I hear the drone of a Mallet zeroing in.”

    Indeed. Let’s move away from a discussion of OSC, please, who himself is not on the ballot (even if his magazine is).

  232. Matthew C. For god’s sake, Mike Resnick has -36- nominations. There’s your proof right there.

  233. When I attended my only WorldCon (SF in 1993) we were given a CD containing the nominated works (at least Best Novel – I don’t recall if it contained other categories), so I’ve always assumed that was a thing. Was it a one-off until you got it going again?

    Anyway, I did buy a supporting this year due to the controversy.

  234. @Vixyish – Super late to the party here, but I’m so sorry your husband’s hard work is getting overshadowed.

    If it helps, at least the bases go on permanent display, and people at worldcons will be going “Oh, wow! Look at that one! What year was that?” for years to come, long after the drama has faded into the usual run of grumpy institutional memory.

  235. Betty Widerski:

    Indeed it was a one-off, which is why I am careful to say I invented the current iteration of the reader’s packet, not the original.

  236. Solarbird:

    Slates win. Slates vs. unorganised candidates always win. …

    And the only reason we haven’t descended into organised buying/slate hell with the Hugo Award before now is because a Hugo award has never been worth the expenditure it takes to buy it. The return on investment just isn’t there.

    What enabled this to work was to turn it into a political spite-fest. As soon as you have resentment – or, more correctly, ressentiment – involved, all bets are off. All costs are worthwhile, because you’ve got to stick it to those bastards, and that’s all that matters.

    This. I am not convinced this will self correct. Yes, some of the pups will get swatted with a newspaper for this and may correct, but this is primarily driven by bigotry, not profit. If ever the hugos were politicized, THIS IS IT.

    This reminds me of the cost/payoff of airline security waaaaaaaay back when, back when the cost/benefit did not include suicide bomber as an option. Because back then the thought was as long as you were on the same plane as your luggage, you wouldn’t blow the plane up because you wouldn’t blow YOURSELF up. Now we’ve got suicide terrorists that change the matrix. Because its no longer about *crime* being *profitable*, but about people willing to pay any cost, including dying and killing thousands of innocents, for their politics.

    The puppies aren’t trying to make money off the hugos. They’re not calculating the cost of $40 fees versus some amortized payoff in additional sales due to winning the hugo. They are driven by the same hate that drives people to ignore the cost/benefit of something and switch over to “vengeance mode”. This is about inflicting damage, inflicting pain, that’s the payoff and the cost to them is irrelevant. This is burning the crops and salting the earth strategy.

    I don’t even believe that VD is in it for the money, even if a bunch of his publishing company’s works are on the slate. It’s not about money. It’s a big FUCK YOU to those damn dirty hippies who threw him out of SFWA. It’s payback.

    And the people he conned into voting his slate? They’re all bigoted true believers who think the crime of gamergate was a bunch of wimmen ruining the male-only culture. So, they’re in it for the payback as well. And they get to feel like they’re actually effective, that they had an impact. The payoff for trolling is to assuage the feeling of powerlessness by getting someone, anyone to get pissed at them.

    thephantom proudly stated that About 1/2000th of the pain you are experiencing is due to -me-., specifically because he is a loser in every other aspect of his life and this lets him “dominate” and therefore “win” at something. The cost is irrelevant when the payoff is priceless to the person doing it.

    Authors may be less inclined to be associated wtih slates in the future if there is significant backlash to the slate, because it will hurt the goals of authors to win awards.

    But the bigot/losers won’t evaporate by next year. They have to blame their loser status on someone, because it certainly can’t be their own fault for how their lives have turned out so shitty. So, it must be someone elses fault, and they want to make those someone elses pay.

  237. Greg:

    “It’s a big FUCK YOU to those damn dirty hippies who threw him out of SFWA. ”

    Which would show his aim is poor because the Hugos have nothing to do with SFWA.

    In any event, as I noted, this is a fixable problem but it requires people to understand it’s a multi-year commitment. Either they will make that commitment or they won’t.

  238. @Greg I disagree, at least with Torgersen. I think it’s ALL about the money for him. This has increased his profile immensely. Sure, he’ll lose some sales, but I expect he figures he’ll pick up more than he loses, and he’s become a major player on the scene. \

    With VD, yeah. That guy is just plain nuts.

  239. rochrist:

    Nick Mamatas has been tracking Torgersen’s book sales since the slates came out; doesn’t seem to be doing him a whole lot of good.

  240. I followed a link (from Jeet Heer) that lead to comments on VDs site (blech!). They were talking about putting their *enemies* on next year’s slate, so they would either have to decline the nomination or look like hypocrites.

    How do you counter that? can’t see VD taking someone off the slate just for the asking.

  241. @Matthew C:

    Prove it using math. Categorize writers in a left-right continuum. Figure out which of each of those authors had eligible works in a each year from, say, 1990 to the present in the various categories. See who got noms. See who won. DO. THE. WORK. I get that its easier to complain that proof would be hard, but if you want to prove this, you can. There is a LOT of data available on past Hugo nominations and voting, so you can do the work and figure things out vs just taking assertions at face value.

    With Google Docs and the like you can even share the raw data, outline your assumptions (maybe 1990 isn’t where you want to start…) and see if there is, in fact, systemic bias.

    Also, really, whose fault is it if some authors never get enough votes to nominate much less win? Aside from the fact that (as Eric Flint points out), even giants of the field like Andre Norton get passed over, it’s not like the bar is that high. If an ideological group can’t be bothered to vote for works that they genuinely like isn’t that on them not the people who did get off their ass and vote?

  242. I’m not downloading this year’s Hugo packet. I’m not willing to let them pretend they got a “sale.”
    If you want to read the few non slate nominees, buy them. But given the damage done, the vote is clear. Other than Graphic Novel and Fan Artist?

    No. Award.

  243. I would guess that Torgersen’s and Correia’s numbers would pretty much be a wash – some people will pick them up but just as many will drop them. I’ve seen several posts by people who used to read Correia but for whom his behaviour in this matter has poisoned the well.

    I think that VD & Co. will be disappointed if they try a reverse psychology slate. To begin with, the motivation will be obvious; secondly, people will be paying a lot of attention and as soon as they put up such a slate you can expect the demands to be taken off by those in question will be deafening.

  244. i just need to say this thing. this probably isn’t the *best* place for it [there are over 250 comments above me!] but i don’t really frequent other places *TO* say it.

    i know FOR A FACT that some of those nods? didn’t ask to be ‘slated’.
    because i did *ALL* the damned editing for it. it’s Mike Williamson’s ‘Wisdom From My Internet’, it’s all satire and humor, he told me that it was nominated — then found it [AFTER] that it was on the damned slate.

    now, IN THEORY, i don’t necessarily have a problem with slates — i think it’s LAZY, and if you’re going to be casting someone else’s vote, why bother? — but, BUT! it’s allowed.
    but OH DEAR GODS, i am *NOW ASSOCIATED WITH BLOODY VOX DAY*!!!!!!!!!
    i am *EVERYTHING HE HATES*, in one package! i am female, non-white, educated, pagan, liberal, divorced, ‘living in sin’ with another non-white person of a different flavor of non-whiteness, i’m pro-choice and -birth-control and have had an abortion*.
    the *ONLY* thing about me he wouldn’t hate is the fact that *I* am straight — and i’m LITERALLY the only person in my family under the age of 60 who *IS* straight. and i love them [and their partners. singular or plural, depending on the sister, cousin, or niece. is it wrong to be thankful that my nephew seems to be asexual, just so i don’t have to buy even *MORE* presents at Giftmas?**]

    as for Mike — he’s military and he is mostly anti-gun control.
    HE IS A DAMNED SOCIAL LIBERAL [fiscal, no. but social? oh yeah. sometimes he says he’s a libertarian, but…] Vox Day wouldn’t hate him AS MUCH as he’d hate me, but Mike isn’t on his short list of ‘people Vox Day would actually approve of’, ya know?

    *Please don’t anyone give me any grief. it’s no one’s business.

    **This is a joke. not about the nephew, the not wanting to buy more presents. i adore buying presents for people. it’s usually books :D

  245. I almost hesitate to post this, but…

    I think the ultimate act of well-poisoning by the Rabid Sads would not be to nominate their enemies, but to set up a slate of five godawful nominees in each category and urge their slavering hordes to vote for those, on the theory that nothing makes a mockery of an award like giving it to something wildly undeserving. And I’m not sure that there’s anything that can be done to route around this damage in the next couple of years.

    My only bit of optimism is that I expect a lot more nominees next year from people riled up from this year’s fracas, and that should dilute the slate’s effect through sheer volume.

  246. How about a rule change banning Theodore Beale and any of his imprints from being Hugo elligible and leave it at that. If the Sad Puppies want to be separated from Teddy then separate them. I know its never been done before. However, he just wants publicity. His fans can spend all the money they want, then just ignore the nominations and don’t mention them. He just wants publicity.

    Its absolutely targeted. Larry and Brad are just being assholes, but Teddy is not issuing threats (that he can’t backup from Switzerland) so just get rid of him. He is primarily doing this for publicity.

  247. I’ve never gone to a Worldcon (too pricey, nobody to go with); never bought an attending membership, because I knew I couldn’t vote for things I hadn’t read. But this year! Oh, this year, it is on. I am going to read until my eyes bleed and then I’m going to vote for the works I feel merit my vote. And vote NO AWARD as many times as I feel THAT’S merited.

    Dig it: “Welcome to Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, to be held in Spokane, Washington (USA) on August 19-23, 2015. You are now a member of the World Science Fiction Society.”

    Damn skippy I am. Also? To whom it may concern: I identify as lowercase-l libertarian (social liberal/financial conservative), but that doesn’t mean I plan to rush right out and vote for a slate because zomg CONSERVATIVES NEED UR VOTE!!11!! If your work is so weak and pitiful that you need the combined weight of slate-voters to put you over the top may I suggest that a Hugo ought not be in your future to begin with.

  248. “it was the sexism. that’s the only thing about Dresden Files novel that stands out.”

    Oof, no. Judging the Dresden Files by book 1 is like judging Buffy by the early episode I Robot, You Jane. I don’t know if any of the single Dresden File books are Hugo worthy, but as a series it evolves and has character progression and payoffs for long-term readers and is overall just a rollicking good time with some real conflict thrown in. Harry’s sexism is a purposeful character flaw, one that has real, long-term consequences for the characters and isn’t in there because Butcher endorses sexist feelings.

    It’s not the book I’d vote for in the Best Novel category, but it’s a damn good series – much better than the previously nominated Wheel of Time I’d argue.

  249. @Matthew C.: So let me ask you something. Let’s assume you’re right, and Brad’s right, and Larry’s right, and Teddy’s right, and there is a horrible, horrible bias and insularity in the sci-fi community that makes it difficult for them to express their conservative views openly without fear of it affecting their friendships and their bottom line.

    The question is, and forgive me if I don’t phrase this exactly right…so fucking what? I mean, that’s no different from holding any other political belief in any other business community where it isn’t common. Political beliefs are not protected characteristics in the same way skin color, gender and religion are. People can choose not to patronize your freelance writing business because they don’t like your politics, your attitude, your body odor or really just for no reason at all. As long as it doesn’t involve protected characteristics, which are set down in federal law very specifically for that exact reason, you have no right to complain.

    If publicly espousing a particular set of political beliefs is genuinely important to you, you will hold to the courage of your convictions regardless of consequences. I’ve gotten into some dust-ups in my workplaces, and I’ve held my tongue in others. I’ve never been under any illusions that I have a “right” not just to hold my beliefs, not just to express them, not just to express them directly and aggressively to people who disagree with them, not just to continue to then be hired and rehired by those same people, but to actively expect them to reward me with the highest honors in my field despite it. Because that’s not really a very sensible expectation.

    Brad and Larry don’t have any actual right to expect people to want to hang out with them or laud them and praise them or even hire them. No author does. If they don’t like that, well…maybe try working in another field? Nobody’s guaranteed the right to a living as an author.

  250. On the topic of slates and manipulation… this has always been a risk with the Hugos, hasn’t it? You have a voting system that doesn’t break slates or other organized voting, you have a fairly small number of nominators and voters and you cannot realistically enforce a rule that the nominator or voter has to have read the work for which they’re voting. This system has always relied on people honestly nominating and voting for works that they like. Individual discrepancies such as a person who nominates a work they’ve not read because they like the author are noise. Highly popular authors (which used to mean those with high name recognition and now tends to favor authors with large social media influence), have an advantage because they will be familiar and it’s likely that more people will have read them than a more obscure author.

    That is, the Hugos have always had issues and it’s problematic to use the “best of” moniker for a loose popular vote, but they’re a good guide to some of the best works in a category in a given year. I suspect that the novel category needs to be redefined (40k words is a low bar these days) and might need more than 5 slots since there’s so much work being published… but that’s a nit.

  251. i have put down my $40 and I hope that a readers packet will be made available so I can read as many of the nominated works and vote.
    However, I will find myself in a bit of a bind. It may be that one or more of the nominated works is good enough to win in which case do I vote accordingly or do I vote “No Award” under the assumption that the slate prevented better works from being nominated and potentially winning.
    I have voted for the Hugo’s in the past but never nominated. My task for next year is to read and nominate and hope that individual merit will trump political paranoia.

  252. I remember at one point I was told to stop beating on him, to which I replied “But there’s still CANDY in him!”

    Ouch. It really hurts when I must laugh, but I cannot do so aloud, because I’d wake up the household.

    You owe me, Scalzi. I don’t know what, but you owe meeeee, this hurts so. (Pizza without pineapple? Kittypic?)

  253. John you said (i.e., the non-existent social justice warrior conspiracy designed to keep fun stories and/or conservative writers from the Hugo ballot)”

    Then why did Larry nominate Annie Bellet? She is not conservative. Looks like you have a logic flaw that disrupts your whole premise. And what is wrong with a well written fun story.

  254. @Ursula Vernon: Thank you. I have indeed been thinking about the display of all the bases at future Worldcons, and that thought does help. No matter what happens, he will have designed a Hugo base, and nothing can ever take that away.

  255. I’ve been following this in other places (notably David Gerrold’s Facebook feed) while Mr. Scalzi has been hanging upside down on the bottom of the world. I’ll repost here a comment I made over on FB — I don’t see a big difference between SP and RP. Both tried to hijack the nominations. I’m not convinced there were hugely distinct differences in motivation, either. That said, I think the problem will self-correct as I believe those associated with the nomination slates will be unsuccessful this year and all future years.

  256. John Scalzi said: “The issue here (one of them, anyway) is Correia/Torgersen/Day not actually appearing to trust that their fans will support them without explicit and direct instruction, and asking people to vote specifically to annoy others (rather than, say, voting for the works they genuinely love).”

    Yeah, because a grown man like myself needs explicit and direct instructions to do -anything- right? Couldn’t figure out who and what to vote for myself, right? Not possible I’d feel the need to do some pushback against things I’ve found objectionable on my own, right?

    Naw, that could -never- happen. Its all down to Torgersen and Correia, not to forget the odious Vox Day. Right?

    Well, no. Not so much. Like a lot of people, I watched from the sidelines as the Hugos got turned into the SJW LitFic awards over the last thirty years or so. Watched as they went from the acme of good to the acme of “avoid at all costs”.

    Got kinda tired of it. So now I vote for some things I actually bought… and behold the exploding heads going off all over the place. I’m a racist/bigot/homophobe (or maybe just another asshole, right?) because I bought Monster Hunter Nemesis.

    Tell you what, I’m one of your readers too. I even read Stross the rabid atheist from time to time, although this last Laundry story of his was a bit boring.

    Good thing I don’t let the personal qualities of an author get in the way of enjoying a good story.

    Your lot should try it. Be a novelty for ’em.

  257. Brad Handley:

    “Then why did Larry nominate Annie Bellet?”

    You’d have to ask him. However, him nominating the story is neither here nor there with regard to his belief in the (non-existent) SJW conspiracy. Which is to say I agree there’s a logic flaw here, but I’m not the one offering it.

    The Phantom:

    “Yeah, because a grown man like myself needs explicit and direct instructions to do -anything- right?”

    I can’t speak to your personal need for explicit and direct instruction in all aspects of your life, Phantom. But if you voted a Hugo slate at the direction/suggestion of someone else, then it would appear at least that you want explicit and direct instruction. Which, if so, is your karma.

    On the other hand, if you voted for what you personally liked, without reference to a slate, then good for you. That’s the point, and I salute you, even if you and I might not vote for the same things (although, who knows, there might indeed be overlap).

    Shame Correia/Torgersen/Day couldn’t encourage their fans to vote in such a manner without making a childish culture war about it; in my opinion it seems to suggest they think the only way to get their fans to vote would be to suggest doing so would hurt and annoy other people. As you seem to be taking motivation and pleasure in the idea, maybe they’re right. But if they are it doesn’t say very good things about any of you.

    Can barely keep my eyes open. Closing comments for the night. See you all in the morning.

    Update: Wow, slept in late! Comments back on.

  258. Larry Correia seems to think along the lines described by Mel Brooks: “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”

  259. Mathew:
    I think this bias against conservatives is legitimate

    Based on what exactly?

    They relate their individual stories. And there are a lot of them. I’m just reading them. And I’m accepting them because…why wouldn’t I?

    “because why not!” Q.E.D.

    I have no idea if this belief is actually true. I haven’t read nearly enough to have formed an opinion on that.

    So, you don’t know enough to really know if conservatives are being shunned, but they say so and therefore you believe them, because hey, why not?

    And then you assert their claims are “legitimate” based on this combination of ignorance and blind faith? LEGITIMATE? That was your choice of word. LEGITIMATE. You assert they’re legitimate because YOU DON’T KNOW BUT HEY, WHY NOT? ????

    You know, @Greg, the attitude you’re displaying right now is exactly why it’s impossible to discuss these issues rationally.

    Define “rationally”.

    Seriously. I’m just fascinated by the idea of someone who professes to not know enough about something, but who listens to one side and decides they’re “legitimate”, because, HEY WHY THE HELL NOT! And then has the gall to lecture me on making it “impossible to discuss these things rationally”????

    By all means, what do you mean by “rationally”????

    Voodoo dolls and pig entrails? Your “gut”? Are you a “decider” by chance?

    I guess my sin here is believing them to be sincere

    your sin here is admitting that you don’t actually know enough about the situation to reach a solid conclusion, and yet you latch onto one side and BELIEVE THEM FOR NO PARTICULAR REASON BECAUSE WHY NOT, while being completely skeptical and dismissive of the other side, for no particular reason.

    They say they were shunned for being conservative. I say they were not. You believe them. And you have no compelling evidence to choose to believe them. You assert their claims are LEGITIMATE with no solid grounding. And when pushed on it, you say, hey, I’m just repeating what they said.

    Well, stop repeating and start THINKING.

    You and I have a different definition of what “hand-waving” means. I already said – repeatedly – that I’m taking them at their word.

    Yes, that’s handwaving. that isn’t proof, that isn’t premise+argument+conclusion. that’s a dodge. And you took it. that is the very essence of handwaving. You did it.

    I can only go by what I’ve read.

    but when you read THEM, you believe their complaints are LEGITIMATE (your word, remember?) while at the same time you admit that you don’t know enough of the situation to actually reach a well grounded conclusion. Meanwhile, you read US, and you consistently DISBELIEVE everything said over here.

    We can all only go by what we read. but you assigned arbitrary weights to the texts based on NOTHING and you admitted as much.

    You are demanding of them (not me, dude) that they “prove” they’ve been discriminated against. Good luck with that.

    Yes, that would be tricky, because the actual numbers prove them wrong.

    You want to discuss things rationally, then yeah, evidence, logic, etc. So far, you’ve done none of that. So, don’t lecture me about how hard it is to discuss things rationally with me when all you’ve done is make uninformed arbitrary choices about who to believe believe completely and who to distrust completely, based on little more than, HEY! WHY NOT? SURE!.

  260. All your “crazy” facts and evidence are pointless. Remember, when discussing religion/politics/”sincerely held beliefs”, appeals to fact and logic only cause the opposing side to dig in deeper. Appeals to emotion and empathy are much more likely to have an impact.

  261. I’ve been to one WorldCon (LonCon, last year) and I hope I’ll be able to go to the 2017 and 2019 ones. In fact, I got a supporting membership for Sasquan primarily to be able to vote for Helsinki in 2017, and I’ll get a full or supporting membership 2017, depending on where it is, so I can vote for Dublin 2019.

    From this, it may be deduced that I’m European.

    And while there are fans on this side of the Atlantic who are reactionary, and look back at some imagined Golden Age when SF was about virile white men fighting aliens or future-nazis, I can’t help but think that the puppy wars are effectively an insular US-culture civil war.

    So I’ll keep telling my SF/F-appreciating friends in Europe to get supporting memberships, to help the World Science Fiction Society be more World, and less American, proportionately.

    By the way, what are the non-puppies called? Happy kittens?

  262. That old Making Light thread is a classic. Does a lot to support your theory that every condition is a win condition for Mr. Beale. It helps, I think, that his goalposts are apparently mounted on casters for ease of movement.

  263. I think this bias against conservatives is legitimate

    I think, like Greg, you will need to support this with more than assertions for me to take you seriously.

    Otherwise, you’re just an easy target for bon mots.

  264. @Scalzi: this whole thing has a rather juvenile revenge-of-the-nerds flavor about it. The cool kids think they’re so special, and they’re gonna try and have their stupid prom without inviting us, so we’re going to ruin it for them AND THEN THEY’LL BE SORRY!!!!! I don’t know Correia or his writing at all (beyond wondering if he’s ten years old, since he thinks ‘vagina’ is a devastating and hilarious insult), but it would be quite in keeping with Brad’s regular feelingsrants that he posted here when reality didn’t quite match up with his fantasies of how the story arc should go.

    @Brooke: total tangent here, and not picking on the Dresden Files per se, but personally I cringe when someone tells me “yes, books 1/2/whatever in the series aren’t great but it you stick with it, it gets MUCH better”. Reading a shitty book or two shouldn’t be the homework one must put in before getting to the decent reading. I’ll personally tolerate that in 19th century novels, but if it’s not MOBY DICK then no, I’m not gonna spend hours of my time and my money on crap because no, it totally gets better after a few books. Admittedly, I will make an exception for series where the books are not necessarily sequels, or it’s entirely possible to skip one or several and have an enjoyable read, like the Discworld books. But if I can’t meaningfully skip Crap Prime World in order to get to the books in the Crappening Cycle that are actually decent, well, life’s too short, you know?

    @The Phantom: If the recent “SJW Hugo” winners are avoid-at-all-costs, then why are you bragging about being a reader of an author (Scalzi) who is a recent Hugo winner, and thus, by your lights, should be skipped as his works are clearly dreadful message fiction? And who the SPs you are defending have tagged as a prime SJW and enemy of all that is good in SFF? (Also, debate tip: sneering about ‘your lot’ rather gives away the game when you’re claiming that you don’t care about teams or personalities and only about good stories. When pretending to be the Rational Man Above The Fray, catty swipes detract unless they’re extremely clever and, of course, subtle.)

  265. thephantom: Couldn’t figure out who and what to vote for myself, right? … Its all down to Torgersen and Correia, not to forget the odious Vox Day. Right?

    A quick look at your blog (http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.com/2015/04/authors-dont-even-make-minimum-wage.html) shows you doing nothing but parroting the charges by VD, so, yeah, apparently not. Why are authors paid so little? You explain by reproducing VD’s sermon:

    the “professional organizations” of various literary genres have been taken over by raving Leftists. The one that simply LEAPS to mind is of course the SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. As well, over the last 30 years the awards given for Science Fiction and Fantasy such as the Nebula Awards, the Hugo Awards etc. have uniformly rewarded dreadful message fiction over good stories that have succeeded in the marketplace.

    And you repeat the exact same sermon against racial diversification: (http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.com/2015/04/indie-music-too-white.html)

    Nuh uh. And y’all are a racist for even thinking this might be racist. Because… well I’m not sure why, but RAAAAACIST!!!!!! Also, nerds are racists. Because anybody who applies Rationalism to anything is RAAAAACIST!!!!! Why, you ask? Asking “why?” is RAAAAACIST!!!!!!!! The Phantom RAAAAACIST!!!!!

    the phantom is racist. You said it, not me.

    When the hugos got the slate from VD, you’re post (http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.com/2015/04/hugo-award-nominees-posted.html) was again, more of the same from VD:

    Read it and weep, bitchez:

    But who did you vote for? Well, you actually confess right here:

    and I voted for people whose books are in my library, or whose works I have read and liked, or whom I have at least heard of. Meaning mostly the Sad Puppies Slate,

    In short?

    I voted … mostly the Sad Puppies Slate

    So, no, you didn’t figure out what to vote for yourself. You’re a meat puppet for the slate. Congratulations on your new found “freedom”.

    Why did you vote or those things? For the exact same reason VD asked you to vote for those things: pure politics. To “stick it” to the left. Nothing to do with the works themselves. Pure politics.

    Result, the rending of the clothes, the tearing of the hair, the wailing and cursing of The Left.

    From Feb 2015, you have a post complaining about a group trying to get people to stop using “gay” and “retarded” as slurs. You’re response? Bigotry that would make your leader VD proud.

    The whole thing is so lame I feel retarded for having even read about it.

    So, good on you, phantom, you’re a bigot doing exactly what master bigot VD wants you to do. Yay you!

  266. Actually, I believe that a number of conservatives probably have been made to feel unwelcome in some fandom circles. I have friends who report this, who are generally good and honest and decent people, and I know that tempers get high when politics come up and liberals (of which I am most adamantly one!) have plenty of strident assholes among them. (I might feel we have fewer per capita, but then I would, wouldn’t I?)

    And that sucks. Good and nice and decent people who can get along well in groups should not be made to feel unwelcome because of what box they tick in the voting booth.

    (Has Torgersen et al been oppressed? Dunno. I tend to believe people when they say they have, because I would wish to be believed in turn. On t’other hand, I wouldn’t believ VD’s claims to oppression if there was video footage of a Scalzi hitting him in the junk repeatedly with a copy of “The Fountainhead.” The Puppies are rapidly putting themselves in this category, I grant you, but that doesn’t mean they made their original grief up out of whole cloth, either.)

    What said good and nice and decent people DON’T then do is decide to burn down fandom in retaliation against everyone who feels different just because a couple of people were asshats to them.

    I actually feel quite a pang for all those people who do feel that fandom has moved away from them, but who also don’t feel that Puppies in any way represent them, and who are undoubtedly being tarred with broad brushes right now. I suspect most of them are keeping their heads down because it’d be too damn exhausting to do otherwise. You’d get it on both sides if you tried.

    I don’t know that there’s a solution. I suspect twenty years ago, we could have this exact conversation with the politics flipped. Maybe the pendulum always swings. Maybe we need some kind of SF two-state solution. Maybe people will always be people and there’s no fixing it. I got nothin’.

  267. I want to thank the volunteers an con runners of Sasquan. Running a con is hard work, a WorldCon even more so. And to have all of this piled on top? I bought a supporting membership for the first time ever, and have been very impressed with this group. So, thank you, Sasquan volunteers.

  268. “Correia…thinks ‘vagina’ is a devastating and hilarious insult”

    Interesting. I’ve noticed the GamerGate crowd thinks this too.

  269. Ganked many years ago: “They know the truth but cannot get recognition; those in power conspire to suppress them; anyone who disagrees is deluded or lying. If you argue against them, you’re shouting them down (which proves their point); if you dismiss them as crackpots, you’re resorting to name-calling for lack of a better argument (ditto.) If you’re educated on the subject, you’re part of the conspiracy, which explains why you disagree. The more effort you expend on them, the more they are supported, because you’re demonstrating how hard the conspiracy is working to cover up the truth.” — Andrew Plotkin

  270. Over on his own blog, Doctor Who psychochronographer and practicing Blakean chaote Philip Sandifer’s two most recent posts are both relevant:

    His current front page post, “Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons: An Analysis of Theodore Beale and his Supporters”, lays it all out, lacking only a link to the Making Light post that quoted the tweet in which the Puppies actively solicit the Gators as allies:

    http://www.philipsandifer.com/2015/04/guided-by-beauty-of-their-weapons.html

    Just bumped off the front page, but linked from that essay, is “The Letters and the Law, The Meaning and the Cause” — an analysis of Super Mario World that begins the Super Nintendo Project, which he has repeatedly announced (most recently in the above-linked post with a Leonard Cohen lyric for a title) as a magickal ritual intended to destroy Gamergate:

    http://www.philipsandifer.com/2015/04/the-letters-and-law-meaning-and-cause.html

    I heartily recommend them as I would anything else he’s written.

  271. Actually, I believe that a number of conservatives probably have been made to feel unwelcome in some fandom circles.

    I would be surprised if this weren’t true. Just by the nature of fandom, you can fill in “conservatives” with any political stripe and correctly note that in ‘some fandom circles’ there are people who are going to feel pushed out or unwelcome.

    But, as you say, that’s the pretense here, not the reality. If the SP were rallying around an excellent conservative author and saying “hey, you should read this person regardless of whether you agree with their personal views on fluoridation”, or complaining about an incident where John Scalzi peed on an Ayn Rand cosplayer and got away with it at a con, that would be one thing; but that’s not what they’re doing here. BT, in particular, has made no secret of his hurt fee-fees that some people don’t like him and think he’s an asshole online or at cons, and has gathered himself a Tantrum Squad.

  272. “honestly, after this year, would anyone want to be on a slate, much less a Puppy slate? Who wants that sort of asterisk on their Hugo?”

    Anyone else getting flashbacks to that scene in “Starship Troopers” where Jonny Rico is discussing the nature of “value” in his History and Moral Philosophy class and the professor gives him an award for “First Place” in a foot race? Jonny angrily rips it off and declares that he placed fifth, and the professor says, “Exactly! You don’t value an award you didn’t earn! And that, class, is why 20th century civilization failed!” &etc.

    Anybody? Just me? Okay.

  273. @mythago

    personally I cringe when someone tells me “yes, books 1/2/whatever in the series aren’t great but it you stick with it, it gets MUCH better”.

    Specifically for the Dresden Files, I’d say that “about book #4” is when the quality massively starts to increase. It’s probably good to have read one of #1 to #3, but you can pretty much skip all of them. I don’t know if that makes you any more likely to read them. I’d say that up until recently, I really enjoyed the later books and it’s a relatively rich fictional world, 15 volumes in.

  274. All this over “shunned conservatives”, “wrongfans™”, “great stories over (blech!) message fic.” It’s all smoke and mirrors. All this was added after The .50 caliber Turd (Larry Correia) didn’t get the award when he thought he should have. I’m glad Mr. Scalzi is openly calling him out on it and I’m not the only one that sees this for the pathetic petulant temper tantrum dressed up as a cause that it really is.

  275. There is a conspiracy. It is exclusionary. It’s a good thing.

    Whether you call it consensual reality, or community standards, or contesting culture, or conspiracy, it’s all the same. People get together, and they talk, and they (more or less) agree ‘this is who we are, if you believe that instead of this, you’re one of them and not one of us.’

    SFF readers should be well aware that we are building the world, and that if we want tomorrow to be better than today we have to make good choices in building it. If we want a world in which women are not harassed at cons, we have to stop the harassment of women at cons. We have to talk about harassment, and about what’s acceptable, and standards, and enforcement. In other words, we have to conspire.

    When Thcalzi (as Igor calls him) calls Mjallet to administer some loving correction, he’s building the world that he (and I) want to live in. When you hear a bell and know that a troll has just lost its vowels, that’s the conspiracy in action, building a better world.

    Discriminating between good and bad, and between good and evil, and between acceptable and unacceptable, is what communities do. That’s what makes them communities.

    I’ve never been to a con in a half century of reading SFF, but I’ve read ‘the way the future was’ and ‘bimbos of the death sun’ and even the Niven/Pournelle(?) book about the astronauts rescued by the fan group, and I’ve always liked the idea of a fan community. I’ve liked it because it has always seemed to be a bunch of people trying to build a world that I think would be better than the one we have.

    I do not like conservatives in the US. I have watched them from Nixon’s war on drugs to GWB’s war on terrorism, and in my opinion they are trying to build a world that’s worse than the one we have. I don’t want to support the effort to build a worse world, so I won’t shop at Hobby Lobby and I won’t buy books by an author who uses his money to oppose gay marriage.

    Conservatism, for the last few decades, has abandoned the pretense that we’re all in this together and that through rational discourse we can work together towards shared goals. Now, it’s all about saying “if I can’t have it all my way I’ll obstruct everything, if we can’t play my way I’ll knock over the board.”

    That’s what the puppies are doing, and I see nothing wrong with standing together and conspiring against them to build a better world. I say they have acted and are continuing to act reprehensibly, and until they learn to play well with others they have no place in the world I’m trying to build.

    Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up in the world where DeLong has a goatee and Krugman is clean shaven, and fandom is filled with people acting badly. But I very much hope not.

  276. IMO, other than a few introductions to long-running characters, the only thing you’ll miss by starting the Dresden books at #4 is the party in book 3 where A Lot Of Significant Foreshadowing Happens (Capital Letters Entirely Justified). Apart from that, they’re easily dispensible

  277. I would be surprised if this weren’t true. Just by the nature of fandom, you can fill in “conservatives” with any political stripe and correctly note that in ‘some fandom circles’ there are people who are going to feel pushed out or unwelcome.

    I’d say that this is a natural occurrence when any group gets large enough; the shared characteristics are no longer enough to bind the entire group together, and the number of individuals kinda guarantee that the group will stratify into subgroups.

    When SF gets large enough so that there are significant numbers of minorities, and when variant viewpoints are not rejected out of hand by the group as a whole, I think it’s natural for emotions like the Puppies’ to arise.

    They would have done better to stick to persuasion; it takes longer, but you don’t, by definition, ruffle feathers if you persuade others to your cause. I think they subconsciously think they can’t persuade others of the correctness of their cause.

  278. @mythago: On the Dresden Files, I believe Butcher himself now recommends that you start with book three or four, and (if you’re interested) go back to read the first few after that. As someone who has read the entire series thus far (except, ironically, Skin Game), I can attest that there’s nothing in the first few that’s crucial to your understanding or enjoyment. There will be the occasional reference in some other books–“hey, remember that time when we…”–that you won’t get, but Butcher does a remarkably good job of summing up what you need to know. Think of it like missing an episode or two of a TV show: the “Last Time on X” bits will give you the important details.

    That said, I personally enjoyed the first few books in the series. They weren’t the best things I’d ever read, but they were far from the worst too. However, as noted, the series does really see a notable improvement as it progresses.

    All of which, to circle back to the topic at hand, puts me in a difficult position in my Hugo voting. I registered to vote for the Hugos this year specifically in response to the Puppy Slate, planning to put No Award before everything on the slate in the literary categories. (I’m excepting the Dramatic Presentation categories, especially Long Form, since I suspect the nominees would have been more or less identical without the slate.)

    But I’m torn on the subject of Skin Game. The problem is, I genuinely like Butcher and the Dresden novels. Do I think they’re the best thing in SF/F right now? No, not really. But they are good, and while I can’t yet comment on Skin Game specifically, I wouldn’t call his work undeserving of a Hugo.

    I haven’t decided yet whether or not I’ll put Skin Game above or below No Award. Maybe when I actually read it, it’ll turn out to be a low point in the series and it’ll make my choice easy. Maybe Butcher will publicly say something one way or another on the matter that will solidify my opinion–I’ve been sad and disappointed that there hasn’t been any statement yet from his camp. I don’t know yet. It’s difficult.

  279. Dammit, it’s my fault and I can’t hide away from it any more!

    It’s my fault because … well … because I didn’t nominate anything! WILLFULLY didn’t nominate anything.

    I read a lot of SF last year, and a lot that I thought was worthy of a Hugo. And I got the emails reminding me about nominations, and I even clicked the link that took me to the nominations page, and I looked at the page and made the conscious decision to let others make the nominations and then I would choose from someone else’s nominations as to what I thought should win. Dammit! And now look what’s happened!

  280. I’ve read all of the Dresden Files books, and they are good beach reads. Formulaic in the extreme (Dresden gets in over his head, Dresden meets a girl, Dresden is almost killed, Deus ex Magica happens, Dresden loses the girl, Dresden beats all the things) but fun. I don’t think any individual book rates a Hugo, but it is a strong argument for “best series” or something. Certainly proof that if you keep writing the same book over and over again for a couple decades you get good at it.

  281. Even if they were not associated with Beale, even if their stated purpose was not a vaguely incoherent mess of temper and politics, even if their very purpose was not to violate a social agreement and introduce politics and parties into the voting for the Hugos, I still would not respect Messrs Correia and Torgerson.

    This is because they have chosen to associate themselves, their slate, and thus the idea of quality science fiction with Tom “Space Marine” Kratman. Have any of you ever cared to peruse any of Kratman’s excuses for novels?

    I hope not, the fewer people exposed to his dreck, the better.

    In any case, I have. His work is some of the worst prose I’ve ever been exposed to, his plots are universally unbelievable, his characters are so shallow it would be an insult to flat characters to be compared to them, and for all that the incoherent idea of Torgerson’s suggests he sees the SP slate as a way of ferreting out “good ol’ adventure stories” free of politics or messages (letting alone the inherent idiocy of that idea), Kratman’s works are chock-full to the brim of his personal terrible views and politics.

    The work they put on their slates? A Bolo-ripoff fanfic so terrible that Baen wouldn’t publish it (and they’ve published all of his incredible excuses for literature so far). Since turds of a feather float together, it’s not terribly surprising that Beale would have chosen to place it on his slate even if it hadn’t been published by his vanity press; Torgerson choosing to place it on his slate and people who ostensibly supported either slate based on the idea of overlooked quality fiction choosing to vote for it suggests that absolutely NONE of them actually bothered to read the dreck in question or check what they had signed themselves up for.

    Which really says everything about slates and slate-makers, when you get right down to it.

  282. i am *EVERYTHING HE HATES*, in one package! i am female, non-white, educated, pagan, liberal, divorced, ‘living in sin’ with another non-white person of a different flavor of non-whiteness, i’m pro-choice and -birth-control and have had an abortion*.

    I THINK YOU’LL BE FINE, THIS CROWD IS FAIRLY DIVERSE. FAIR WARNING, SOME OF US HAVE MORE APPENDAGES THAN YOU’LL BE USED TO.

    TRY MY PAMPHLET, IT WAS WRITTEN BY ONE OF MY WICCAN FOLLOWERS AND EVEN I CANNOT UNDERSTAND MOST OF THE JARGON. I LIKE THE BIT ABOUT STARS AND PLANETS THOUGH.

    However, this poster has an interesting viewpoint.

    Cutting through the TENTACLES, there’s an interesting point here (made on another blog by someone random): the ‘right’ in USA culture is having a hard time of it – the TV media (Fox et al) constantly lie to them, the fundamentalist Christians are rapidly mutating into strange Dominionist and Apocalyptic entities, the more sensible long-form stuff (New Republic?) is rapidly being bitten by the hard economics that has hit all printed word media (and their own ideological melt downs due to having to get funded). It’s also obvious that power players of all types (from Koch’s to Soros to Wall St to Hillary) play their own games and don’t seem to care about their concerns or country and have employed the OverTon window so far right it’s currently sitting in the Ukraine.

    Her/his/ve point was simple: they know they’re being lied to, they’re not stupid enough to think that power in America doesn’t function 95% under the surface and apart from “conspiracy theories” (in itself a term that has largely jumped past the shark, bounced off the moon, intercepted the NSA and CIA black site knowledge and now sits glowing like a radioactive meteor in the back woods next to about $5 billion in cocaine dumped by an unmarked plane) there’s not much to hold onto. What they do lack is the perhaps more sociologically enhanced networking capabilities that more modern sets have.

    In short – in this realm, they can go either of two ways: start weeding through the stuff that’s simply offensive / trolling (VD) and start engaging with any semblance of rationality you can as equals (past the fog of war and distrust) or they can rapidly enclave into obscurity and frustration. Looking at the lists, some are very painful to read, but at least they’re still writing, itself a measure that communication is still possible.

    This entire saga might also be a learning process for them.

    Feel free to counter this, but remember…

    I HAVE A THICK SKIN BUT DO NOT MISTAKE ME FOR A PUPPY.

    Rather than revising Hugo rules in reaction to his antics, I propose we resolve the Rabid problem by encouraging a bunch of mystery or romance writers to be mean to Vox Day,

    NYARLATHOTEP SAYS HELLO: RECENTLY IT CAME ACROSS “SLASH FLIC” AND HAS BEEN GIGGLING MANIACALLY EVER SINCE. I DO NOT PRETEND TO UNDERSTAND.

  283. @Orjan:

    “I can’t help but think that the puppy wars are effectively an insular US-culture civil war. ”

    Great. Now the Europeans are laughing at us. My fellow Americans: get your sh*t together.

  284. Great. Now the Europeans are laughing at us.

    I sorta assumed they’ve ALWAYS been laughing at us. Certainly no lack of material….

  285. As an European, I’d not be so quick with that. Even if true, our right wing look at whatever happens in the US with an eye to import the same bullshit. Even the issues that are non-issues here, they try hard to make it so.

  286. John: Nick Mamatas has been tracking Torgersen’s book sales since the slates came out; doesn’t seem to be doing him a whole lot of good.

    OTOH, a lot of people, including myself, announced on Marko Kloos’s blog that they were buying his books when he withdrew his name from nomination. And you know what? They’re pretty damn good. Blazed through the first one in a day and a half and immediately ordered the second one.

    Don’t know if that’ll be a significant sales boost, but it ain’t nothin’.

  287. Great. Now the Europeans are laughing at us. My fellow Americans: get your sh*t together.

    Please pay no attention to the snickering coming from the North.

  288. I propose we resolve the Rabid problem by encouraging a bunch of mystery or romance writers to be mean to Vox Day, thus diverting his attention away from sf/f and the Hugos and giving our genre a break from this tiresome troll.

    Well, I called him a ” particularly vile little man” here .

    Hope that helps.

  289. Ursula said: “Actually, I believe that a number of conservatives probably have been made to feel unwelcome in some fandom circles.”

    This may be the case, but the key point is that “conservatism” isn’t something that is an indelible part of you like your gender or the color of your skin. It isn’t even a religion (although perhaps some conservatives have begun treating it as such, the term “religion” has a clear and specific definition in the eyes of the law). It’s just something you think and say, and nobody is making them go into a circle of liberal people and start talking politics. Most people have a few friends they don’t talk politics with because it’s how they stay friends; for these guys to assume that they not only can talk politics with people that they disagree with strongly, but can also call them names and be rude and belligerent and will suffer no social consequences for their behavior is foolish.

    The Puppies are basically tricking people into making a category error; they’re using the colloquial versions of “minority” and “discriminate”, and hoping people will confuse them with the specific, legal versions of “minority” and “discriminate”. Just because there are fewer conservatives than liberals doesn’t make them a “minority”; that’s a term enshrined in law for specific groups of people who are members of an ethnic group or gender, or those who hold closely-held beliefs that are enshrined in the Constitution as being protected. Likewise, “discriminate” doesn’t simply mean “treat differently”; it’s got a clearly-defined legal meaning. So when Brad Torgesen says, “They’re discriminating against me because I’m a minority,” he’s basically complaining that people don’t like him because of his behavior and hoping you’ll imagine that they’re committing a federal crime. :)

  290. Austin: http://www.philipsandifer.com/2015/04/guided-by-beauty-of-their-weapons.html

    Holy crap. I just skimmed the first chunk, but my god man it appears to be an encyclopedia of the entire puppy movement, replete with their horridness. The sheer size of the thing blows my mind.

    mythago: I cringe when someone tells me “yes, books 1/2/whatever in the series aren’t great but it you stick with it, it gets MUCH better”.

    I’ve fallen for that before. No thanks.

    My question is simple: by the most recent books in the series, is Mr. Dresden a practicing sexist? He is in book one, which would be fine were he to suffer real and deserved consequences to being a sexist. But he doesn’t. In the first book, Dresden and the female cop he works with (cant remember her name) have turned the one visible aspect of his sexism into a game. They race to doors to see who will open the door for whom. That is juvenile, The kind of person who would write that is mentally on par with someone who would think girls like having their pigtails stuck in inkwells. tee hee. It’s MORONIC.

    And yes, I have no interest in continuing the Dresden Files series if it presents sexism as “come on, you know you like it” and she actually does like it. No thanks. I don’t care how much his writing improves, if this shtick is still going on, then I’ve no interest in wasting my time reading it, and would feel zero remorse voting against it on the hugo. It’s the equivalent of a Mary Sue level writing mistake. I imagine what a strong female character would do in that sitaution, and it doesn’t end well for Mr Dresden.

  291. I don’t think SF&F fandom has an issue with being inclusive of conservative writers. It does have an issue with being inclusive of jerks.

    I think that the Sad/Rabid Puppies feel excluded because they excluded themselves. The door is open but when they come through it they start pointing out all the people they don’t think should be there. That person is gay, they must leave before I can feel welcome. That person is a woman and she must submit to me before I can feel welcome. Etc.

    Fandom doesn’t exclude people because of *who* they are or the type of SF&F they enjoy reading. But if you show up and start acting like other people don’t belong in the same room as you? Yeah, then you’re showing that it’s you who doesn’t belong and you won’t be greeted in a friendly manner and are likely not going to have very many pleasant interactions while you’re there.

    Speech and actions have consequences. If you want to be part of a group that values diversity and sees value in having many voices telling many different stories, then you should expect some pushback from that group if you rail against the prevalence of female characters or characters of color or stories that question the status quo or stories that challenge you to look past your biases (we ALL have biases).

    Or, more bluntly, if you try to join that group just for the purpose of yukking their yum, well, good luck with that, but you won’t make any friends.

  292. @MatthewC: I own a lot of Orson Scott Card, much of which I purchased after learning his political leanings. But without a doubt the quality of his writing has plummeted. He just keeps plowing the same ground when it just isn’t that fertile. In more recent years, I have chosen not to purchase any of his books new, because of his activism. I choose not to put my dollars in his pocket. But honestly, he is not the brilliant light he was when he began, and I say that without regard to his political leanings. I don’t think anything he’s written in years is Hugo-worthy.

  293. Oh, and the Ender’s Game movie totally deserved to tank on its merits. It was so disappointing. It completely lacked the depth of the novel.

  294. I should drop by more frequently, not that it isn’t always entertaining, but it’s kind of a pleasure to see that the SF community hasn’t changed much since I first got involved. I was sort of surprised when I went off to college and got swept up in Dungeons and Dragons and what later seems to have been called LARPing (not to mention conventions and other fun stuff). I had a sheltered childhood, and wasn’t really socially ept, and found to my delight that there were many of us. I thought then, and see now, that in many ways the SF community is a lot like a 2nd-grade classroom. You’ve got the nice kids, the jerks, the spoiled, fussy ones, and the troublemakers (to label just a few), and few of us had a lot of what could be called “maturity”. There’s always a lot of overlap, as well, and some of us are more agreeable than others. I’m more of a carrot than an onion, myself, but it takes all kinds. Still, no soup is improved when some jimsonweed fruits jump in. Like better folks before me, I got stirred up by all this hoo-ha enough to sign on just now and get voting privileges. I’m prejudiced about the selection this year (I fully expect most of them, like much modern SF, to be crap – nothing worthwhile has been written since Wells stopped getting published, in my opinion!), but I’ll give them all a fair read before I vote No. As usual, the posts and comments here are light-years* better than anything I could do, and I enjoy the hell out of them. I may even finally get around to reading some of Scalzi’s books. I hear they’re not as bad as most of the stuff that passes for SF these days.

  295. @mythago – I’m kind of with you on the ‘but the next books get better’, however I find the “I tried the first book this person wrote, didn’t like it, will never try another” line of reasoning to be just as flawed. My solution, if I hear that early books are weak but later ones are better is simple – I try one of the later ones. I did this with the Dresden Files, starting with Book 4 (Summer Knight) since that was the earliest book my library had and, well, if book 4 still isn’t on track, there’s a real issue. I happened to like it and read the rest. Doing this didn’t really hurt things at all.

    Writing someone off because the first thing they ever wrote wasn’t that good risks missing some good authors who simply took a bit to find their skill level. Butcher’s one. Pratchett is another – the first couple Discworld books are weaker than the later ones but I’d not want to miss all of Discworld simply because of that.

  296. I get extremely uncomfortable when anyone talks about using some “impartial” logarithm to blithely discard any ballots which we GUESS show signs of a slate influence. If I paid my money to vote and nominated an eligible work, I’d be mad as hell if anyone excluded my vote because they didn’t like the looks of my selections. If someone claims their ballot resembled a slate because that’s just the way their tastes run, you really have no defense against that. Keep in mind also that while many of us can agree that bloc voting is a pernicious influence, at this time there’s no precedent for questioning the reason why anyone cast a nominating vote, as long as both the voter and the nominated work were eligible.

    Limiting nominators to one choice in each category has its problems as well. Does everyone decide to go with whoever they assume the most popular candidate will be as a defense against bloc voting? Or do they assume everyone else will go the popular route and nominate their own most idiosyncratic choice because they’re the only shot it has? Either way, a bloc can still get at least one candidate on the ballot, and a large enough bloc simply has to organize into five mini-blocs each voting for one candidate to push an entire slate through.

    I don’t think Larry can have it both ways; if he’s going to keep claiming there’s a bias against conservative SF and that writers live in fear of becoming unpublishable if they let their political leanings be known, maybe he shouldn’t keep trumping himself as a “NYT best-selling author.”

  297. @Noblehunter: I take it you’re not in Toronto.

    @rick gregory: I made that mistake with Lois Bujold. I disliked an early piece she had in Analog and ignored her work until about two years ago. Then on a whim I picked up one of the Chalion books from the library and loved it. I have since read most of her back catalog.

  298. @Bill Rusham

    Like you, I feel very sorry for all the nominees this year. Out of desperation to reap something positive from this, I’ve sent in my Supporting Membership for Sasquan, so I can read everyone still on the list, and I’m purchasing work by everyone who was nominated, but has since declined. I plan to read as much of it as possible, make up my own mind about the relative quality, and vote accordingly, placing “No Award” where I think the de-nominated work belongs.

  299. Toronto should ignore the snickering, too. Though they might feel surrounded, ’cause it’s not just coming from the north.

  300. I am not a conventiongoing SF reader, but I’ve always valued the Hugos as a pretty good guide to new novels and writers worth checking out. I am saddened by the nonsense going on this year because it makes the awards less valuable for people like me who appreciate them as a heuristic, and especially people like me who don’t read enough SF blogs, etc. to know what’s going on with this year’s awards.

    I also have to say, as someone who once aspired to writing science fiction before veering off into academia, that Larry C’s experience of being invited to a convention, having a well-attended reading, and being nominated and recognized as one of a half-dozen promising new writers in the field of science fiction sounds like a pretty damn good experience. I’m sorry all Larry C could take away from that was bitterness.

  301. Richard, I know a bunch of folks over in the comments of Making Light are discussing ways to run nominations that both make it harder for slates to work AND do so without a human being deciding ‘nope, this is a slate’. There are proposals and variations, but most of them boil down to making it less likely that if works A, B, C are all nominated by the same people that they make it on the ballot, than if they have their overlapping groups of supporters (namely, that while some ballots are A-B-C, that’s only a tiny fraction of A nominations, B nominations and C nominations). Basically a way to pick out broad support versus deep support.

    One of the silver linings (beyond the excellent fan writings) is that folks are discussion how to take the social norms of the Hugos (What does it mean? Who should win and why?) and best turn them into ‘how do we run the Hugos’.

  302. @Richard Brandt: I do take your point, which is why any algorithm should err on the side of caution, but you can make a reasonably safe assumption that 200 identical ballots were not simply coincidence. :) It’s figuring out where to set that bar that’s the issue, and that’s the point where healthy and reasonable discussion can and should (and almost certainly will) happen.

  303. Some thoughts:

    1) As others have said, until now I’ve been a reader of SF/F along with plenty of mysteries, romance, and horror fiction. I have not felt that I read deeply or broadly enough in SF/F (and certainly not timely enough, given my ginormous backlog) to even try to have a say in the awards process, and have preferred to take the awards as guidance on the best in the field from those who know better.

    Well, no more. This year I bought a supporting membership and will be voting. And I plan to do my best to keep up with the field and participate in the nominations process next year.

    2) I’m willing to entertain the idea that those who participated in the Sad/Rabid Puppies, especially those who just nominated the slate in general because they like the sort of SF/F promoted by those slates, are not acolytes of VD (I really like that nickname, it fits!) and don’t agree with his views. I’m even willing to give Correia and Torgerson the benefit of the doubt. But here’s the thing: I (and a lot of other people) know who VD is and his noxious views. I don’t know much about the other authors (I listened to the first Monster Hunters book as an audiobook) and nothing at all about the other voters.

    However, if you identify as a SP/RP supporter, I unfortunately have to assume that you like/support/agree with VD at least to some extent, or don’t mind being associated with someone that noxious. I’m gonna be giving you the side eye for sure, unless and until I get to know you enough to differentiate you from him. Who you associate with says something about you as well, like it or not.

    3) Why does the whole diversity/multi-culti thing have to be a CONSPIRACY? Is it just possible that there are lots and lots of readers out there who are NOT straight white males and who rejoice in seeing people more like them reflected in their fiction? I do like plenty of “hard” SF, space opera, mil SF etc. But all that and nothing else is boooooring. I also tend to steer clear of the fantasy/SF that gets “too weird” for me. It’s probably a failing on my part, because I have heard that Delaney, LeGuin, Lem, etc. are good and certainly highly thought of critically, even beyond the SF/F community. But I prefer books that make me turn the pages and find out what happens next. I like Scalzi’s books because they have that quality, not because his characters happen to tilt liberal and he plays with race/gender assumptions on occasion. I didn’t much care for the one Correia book I tried, not because of all the gun love, but because the gun love got in the way of the story. I don’t need to know the make, model and caliber of every weapon, I just need to know that they go boom and the bad guy is stopped or not. Beyond that, the book was just a bog standard urban fantasy with our current day world facing down paranormal forces, and those books are EVERYWHERE, which means I can read the same type of story written more skillfully and by authors whose particular tics don’t irritate me as much. So Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison and others get my urban fantasy readership.

    At the end of the day, the market is there to make money, not mainly to promote particular world views or political thoughts. And as the audience for the genre has expanded, there has come to be money in diversity. A bunch of people kicking and screaming that they only get a percentage of the market love these days instead of ALL of it isn’t going to change anything, in gaming or in SF/F. No one wants the stories these folks like to go away entirely or be banned. They just vote with their dollars for the stuff they would rather read, and the reading preferences turn up in votes for awards. No conspiracy necessary.

    4) Now that I am an Official Hugo Voter ™, I’d still very much like someone who has done this before to explain what happens now that I’ve signed on. When does this fabled packet appear, and what is in it? IOW what of the nominees do I need to seek out on my own while I await the packet, and how much time is there usually between the packet and the voting? I feel like I could get started on the reading in the meantime, but want to spend my limited budget on stuff that won’t be in the packet so I don’t duplicate efforts. Anyone have any guidance on this? I’m sure the other brand new Hugo voting participants are curious too. I have checked out the official Hugo site but still have these questions.

  304. @greg Dresden gets worse. The treatment of Molly is abominable. As someone who read all of the books through “Ghost Whatever, Dresden’s dead ok?” I can tell you not to waste your time.

  305. Wow. Thank you for the link to Philip Sandifer’s blog. I’m going to be spending a while reading his work, for sure!

  306. I just read Annie Bellet’s story “Goodnight Stars”, which has been made available on line. Really really liked it, and it got a little dusty in the room toward the end. It’s too bad (but understandable) that she felt that she needed to withdraw it. I like her writing and look forward to reading more of it, and hope she gets an untarnished nomination someday soon.

  307. MY HUGO PROPOSAL:

    A signature line / digital signature shall be added to the nomination ballot that says: By submitting this ballot, I give my word that I have read the fiction and non-fiction works, viewed the visual and dramatic art, visited the websites, listened to the fancasts, and otherwise personally chosen as the best of this year, the nominees I am offering for consideration.

    ——

    That is a terrible kludge of a sentence, and doesn’t handle editors at all, but I’m sure that can be improved.

    There is no enforcement language, because enforcement isn’t possible. Honour system only. But it completely stops people of good faith banding together to vote on a slate of works that only one of them has read. Because that’s the main problem, right? If the SP really had all read the works etc, then would the nominations be quite so offensive?

  308. @Colleen:The packet happens at some point between now and the end of voting. Note that the contents of the packet are up to the discretion of the publishers–it isn’t guaranteed. From the Sasquan site:
    Over the last several years, Worldcons have provided a bonus to all supporting and attending members of a downloadable packet containing the works nominated in many of the written and art categories. Sasquan will be continuing in this tradition, but would like to remind members that inclusion of nominated works, in full or excerpt, is solely at the discretion of the publishers. We will make every attempt to create as full a packet as possible and hope that the packet continues to be a useful tool for creating an informed electorate.

    On the Sasquan site is also mentioned:
    The Hugo voting ballot will be available to members of Sasquan online and by mail later in April.

    As you have joined Sasquan, at some point they will send you your Hugo voting ID, pin code and a link to the online voting site. You can vote and keep changing your vote until voting closes later in the summer.

  309. @ Ursula Vernon: “On t’other hand, I wouldn’t believe VD’s claims to oppression if there was video footage of a Scalzi hitting him in the junk repeatedly with a copy of “The Fountainhead.””

    Messy coffee moment at this end.

    (And speaking from experience, now that you have posted that, be prepared for about a year of La Beale publicly claiming you have threatened him with violence…. An experience which, come to think of it, proves your point.)

  310. My suggestion for the future: Ignore it completely. Nominate as usual, vote as usual by reading the selected works, show up and applaud at WorldCon. Everything will go back to normal within 2-3 years. Do not engage.

    Number 2 rule of the internet: do not feed the trolls.

  311. Reblogged this on The Monster's Ink and commented:
    From Scalzi’s post:
    “Also, can we please now stop pretending that this whole Puppy nonsense began for any other reason than that once upon a time, Larry Correia thought he was going to win an award and was super pissed he didn’t, and decided that the reason he didn’t had to be a terrible, awful conspiracy against people just like him (a conservative! Writing “fun” fiction!), as opposed to, oh, the voters deciding they just plain liked something and someone else better? Can we stop pretending that a fellow who practically begs people to nominate his work three years running, hiding the begging behind an oh-so-thin veil of “let’s stick it to the SJWs!” doesn’t desperately crave the external validation that he thinks the award will bring? Can we stop pretending that this is anything other than a grown up child stomping his feet, screaming look at me, look at me, loooook at meeeeee? Because, come on, folks. We’re well past the point of genteel here. Let’s call it for what it is.”

    Oh, dear. Y’all may be too polite and compassionate to point and laugh, but I’m not.

  312. Happyturtle: Along similar lines, I’d like to see this added to the WSFS Constitution as a potential 3.7.4:

    The Hugo nominations ballot must include this text: “Members should not vote for nominations by copying any slate of nominees suggested by others, but instead should make their own individual choices for what they believe are the best works.”

    This would take away the argument that slate voting is within the rules and directly discourage the practice.

    For Worldcon members who favor “do nothing” as an option, I would ask that they consider at least putting some language in the Constitution that indicates our strong disapproval of bloc voting.

  313. Colleen: Why does the whole diversity/multi-culti thing have to be a CONSPIRACY?

    To a libertarian, anything that pressures a bigot to stop being a bigot is some sort of conspiracy, because ANY form of collective action is inherently evil. Unless libertarians are doing it, in which case its always self defense.

    that the world is moving away from allowing bigotry to continue, to the libertarian/bigot, is nothing but proof that the elitists has wrested control of something. Individuals can’t POSSIBLY voluntarily support diversity (and deny the bigots’ genius), so it must be something more sinister.

    VD is incapable of even entertaining the possibility that his ginormous intellect could possibly be wrong. Therefore, the fact that so many people are pulling away from his position can only be because those people are being duped by some dark force, not because, you know, he’s WRONG.

    happyturtle: it completely stops people of good faith banding together to vote on a slate of works that only one of them has read. Because that’s the main problem, right?

    No, the puppies did NOT act in good faith. Having some sort of “oath” would do nothing to stop these people because they’ve already demonstrated a complete and total willingness to lie, lie, lie, and when caught in a lie, their willingness to attempt to delete the evidence.

    The rules need a new mechanism to diffuse the power of slates. VD will do this again next year and the rules can’t be changed by then. Which means we’re looking at potentially one more year where many if not all of the categories get swamped with slate votes and the only response is another year of “No Award”.

    Whatever mechanism is figured out, folks should assume that VD will continue this grudge for the rest of his life, doing everything in his power to ruin the hugos because they refuse to recognize his genius.

    Ursula Vernon: “On t’other hand, I wouldn’t believe VD’s claims to oppression if there was video footage of a Scalzi hitting him in the junk repeatedly with a copy of “The Fountainhead.””

    I let this slide the first time, but Laura pointing it out reminded me of the importance of being able to laugh at these twits so, so worthy of being mocked. So, yeah, that was a good chuckle.

  314. @greg, @JBWeld
    I agree. If anything, the situation with Molly ups the squick factor by quite a bit. Skin Game is where I had to stop reading. Not to mention that Thomas’s metaphor for his white court vampire nature comes off a bit……well, when your species is basically ‘vampires who for the most part ignore consent to use lust and drain life energy’, talking about how hard it is for you to NOT do that can come across a bit triggery to people who have heard similar arguments in a much less fictional setting. I’m a DV survivor, and I worked in a legal office that handled a lot of DV cases, and I just couldn’t keep reading the Dresden Files. There was stuff treated flippantly that shouldn’t’ve, and Harry’s misogyny is presented as a mostly benign character flaw – he still doesn’t suffer consequences for it. Not to mention some egregiously terrible gay jokes that fell flat in context.

    I’ve heard Butcher is a very nice guy in person, and I sure hope he doesn’t espouse Harry’s beliefs re: women in real life, but presenting Harry suffering no real consequences from such beliefs does add to the perception that stuff like that is ok, and it isn’t. And his treatment of nonwhite people in the books…..let’s not go into that. Let’s really not go into that.

  315. @ Usrula Vernon: “What said good and nice and decent people DON’T then do is decide to burn down fandom in retaliation against everyone who feels different just because a couple of people were asshats to them.”

    Besides decent people, you know who else doesn’t decide to burn down fandom in retaliation, etc.? Professionals. Apart from this whole Puppy mess being so unprofessional, I’m completely bemused by what Sad Puppy ringleaders were trying to achieve as professionals with this thing. Any goal a professional writer might have seems to be in conflict with Puppying, rather than enhanced by it.

    They’re not getting more writing time (and they have mentioned having less of it lately), being more productive, or getting more work into the market as a result of Puppying.

    They will not get a Hugo as a result of this and, indeed, their activities by now seem to guarantee they will NEVER be able to add “Hugo Award Winning Author” to their book covers and bios.

    And “enhanced profile” or “increased sales” is an unconvincing assertion IMO. If anyone in the wider world of book-buying sf/f readers has heard of them as a result of the Puppy campaign, it seems most likely to be via media covering this story—which mostly portrays them as buffoons. Meanwhile, within the much smaller world of actively engaged sf/f fandom and prodom following this matter closely, their Puppy campaign certainly seems to have created more new detractors for them than new fans.

    I can’t see a single professional goal that the Sad Puppy campaign pursues, supports, furthers, or enhances for the Sad ones. Quite apart from the fact that I have so far seen them float so many different rationalizations for Puppying that I am not at all convinced that even -they- know what they want out of this.

    (Whereas at least the -point- of this thing is quite clear with Rabid ringleader VD: He wants to piss people off. Period. Even his rationalization is clear: It’s all because some people were mean to him once on some blog 10 years ago…. Look, I didn’t say it made SENSE, just that it was clear.)

  316. Colleen @1:38
    “4) Now that I am an Official Hugo Voter ™, I’d still very much like someone who has done this before to explain what happens now that I’ve signed on. When does this fabled packet appear, and what is in it? IOW what of the nominees do I need to seek out on my own while I await the packet, and how much time is there usually between the packet and the voting? I feel like I could get started on the reading in the meantime, but want to spend my limited budget on stuff that won’t be in the packet so I don’t duplicate efforts. Anyone have any guidance on this? I’m sure the other brand new Hugo voting participants are curious too. I have checked out the official Hugo site but still have these questions.”

    We don’t know yet when the Hugo Packet will appear. I suspect it will be a bit later than the last few years due to the ballot being fixed so late. Hopefully before the middle of May? Maybe by the end of April? I’m guessing here. The Packet is entirely dependent on the generosity of the rights holders in giving us the gift of their works.

    What will be in it is whatever the rights holders allow, which in the past have been all or most of the Novel nominees, most of the short fiction nominees, packets of writing by the fan writers, bloggers and zines, samples and links to web sites or other places to view the art, examples of works by the Campbell writers, etc.

    If I had to give an educated guess about the novels, it would be that The Dark Between the Stars, The Goblin Emperor and The Three Body Problem would be in the packet since Tor books typically does that; and that Ancillary Sword would have excerpts in the packet (possibly with the e-version going on sale via normal retailers). At least that’s what Orbit did last year. I have no guess on Skin Game. It says it’s published by Roc in the US and I have no idea what they have done in the past.

    If you google for the works in question, outside of the novels, you will probably find the bulk of the short fiction out there for free on the Internet already. You can start reading for free right now. You can google for web sites of the artists to see examples of their works.

    The Dramatic Presentations are usually not in the packet. I recommend your library or Netflix/Hulu/Amazon/etc.

    Voting will probably close in late July. Sasquan hasn’t announced dates yet.

  317. Jason: Maybe Butcher will publicly say something one way or another on the matter that will solidify my opinion–I’ve been sad and disappointed that there hasn’t been any statement yet from his camp. I don’t know yet. It’s difficult.

    For what it’s worth, Correia claims he asked Butcher’s permission before putting him on the slate.

    I say “for what it’s worth” because he’s apparently been claiming he got everyone’s permission in advance, and we’ve heard from authors on the slate that they didn’t know a thing about it until well after the fact. But at this point I’m finding it difficult not to think less of Butcher for agreeing to participate in that slate, since he hasn’t said or done anything to suggest he had a problem with it. Which is a shame, because I used to like some of his work in spite of the casual sexism. If he’s an active participant in this mess, that makes me wonder how casual his sexism really is after all.

    If nothing else, agreeing to participate in this slate is saying “I’m okay benefitting from sexism and racism. I’m okay letting people with a political agenda use me to shut out people of color and women.*”

    Which is, incidentally, my problem with the suggestion that I should read the works and ‘rate them on their merit,’ as if they got onto the ballot because of merit and not because of virulent racism and misogyny.

    *Before anyone points out that there were a few white women on the slate: I went and did some counting. Excluding the dramatic presentation and fan categories (for time purposes), white men account for ~73% of the names on the slate, compared to ~55% of names on the 2014 ballot and ~50% of the 2013 ballot. My numbers may be off a little since I was relying on google to identify men of color I didn’t already recognize, which is why I don’t have separate breakdowns for race and gender. But even if I misidentified a couple people, the discrepancy is obvious.

  318. @Greg But speaking for myself (and I suspect plenty of other casual SF/F readers who are not normally heavily invested in either culture wars of greater society or frenetic wrestling for the very soul of SF/F) I could not care less about getting bigots to be less bigoty. Bigots gonna bigot.

    I, and a lot of readers like me, just buy books that reflect the world as I see it, or want to see it, or am interested in reading about. And we talk up the books we like, and buy more stuff by that author, and vote for the stuff we like when awards come around.

    I don’t want to silence any of these people, not even VD. I’m just not that interested in what they have to say and don’t vote for it with my money and attention. I have tried a VD story (the one that got nominated last year) and a John C. Wright novella and as I said, I’ve listened to the first Monster Hunter book by Correia on audio. My reactions range from “Ugh” to “Meh”. But hey, if that’s what others want to read, have at it, hoss.

    Why is it not possible in their world that the market contains lots of reader/customers like me? And that we’ve been there all along, and are happy that the market is now realizing that we are there and are giving us the kinds of stories we like?

    What if it isn’t a conspiracy, and there are just more customers in the free market for books that feature a wider range of characters, situations, and world views than those contained in the Sad/Rabid Puppyverse?

    But with the ability to self-publish and distribute these days, all sorts of types of SF/F and every other genre and subgenre can all co-exist and cater to their audiences. We are large, we contain multitudes. Or is that the problem, in the end?

    @Laura Resnick: excellent point re productivity. I imagine at some point Torgerson and Correia will come to a cost/benefit analysis and reach the same conclusions. After all, their own readers will only put up with so much activism before they start muttering “Shut up and write another book!”.

    BTW does anyone know what VD’s day job is that he has so much money to throw into memberships for supporters, running a publishing house, and preparing to spend the next X years ruining the Hugos? I can’t imagine any of those activities putting much food on the table.

  319. @Greg Even Jim Butcher will tell you to skip the first 3 books and only double back if you like them. And I think you’re being a bit harsh, there are many well realized powerful women in the Dresden files–but I can see how Harry’s hard boiled nior detective bit falls flat in the first book. Heck, it’s a character flaw that he has to take on, with consequences, in later books (with better writing).

    I would not say, having read all of the Dresden Files and Codex Aleria, that he’s a banner man for the RPs. I think you’ve allowed your association of him with the VPs to color your experience–he doesn’t deserve to be there–though I haven’t see him comment on the whole issue either.

  320. @Greg: All of them are acting in bad faith? Every single person who sent in a nomination is cackling and thinking ‘Haha! Now I’ll destroy those pesky Hugos once and for all! Where is my mustache wax?’ I have a hard time believing it. Everyone is the hero of their own story, and everyone who participated did so for reasons that seemed good to them.

    If each of ‘us’ could sit down with each of ‘them’ (I say, hating the us/them divide) — okay, let me start over. If each SF/F fan could sit down with another SF/F fan without the rest of the internet watching and jeering and hunting for contradictions, then I imagine we’d find that we’d have a lot to talk about, and that the other person is still a human person. You know? Even if we disagree about a lot.

  321. JBWeld: “Dresden gets worse. The treatment of Molly is abominable”

    Geekhyena: “the situation with Molly ups the squick factor by quite a bit. “

    Well, can’t say I’m not surprised. Thanks for saving me the pain you endured.

    presenting Harry suffering no real consequences from such beliefs does add to the perception that stuff like that is ok

    At some point I had a hard time reading because the phrase “Buffy stakes Dresden, the end” kept jumping into my brain. But yeah, “sexism that even the women characters like”, seemed quite off.

  322. @Annalee: With regard to whether or not he was informed, I can envision a scenario in which he was contacted, but the pitch went something like this: “Hey, we’re trying to put together a list of recommendations for Hugo voting of works that have usually been overlooked for awards. Is it okay if we add you?” To which, of course, most authors (who weren’t familiar with the source) would reply, “Yes, please do!” This is especially plausible when you consider that Urban Fantasy fans have long felt that that sub-genre is regularly snubbed at the Hugos.

    So yes, I think it’s certainly possible that Butcher consented to being included without knowing the scope of the thing he’d signed onto. However, the longer the radio silence, the more it begins to look like tacit approval. It’s possible Butcher’s agent and/or publicist (if he has one) are advising him to lay low and not make any statement one way or another, but I feel that in this game saying nothing could speak volumes.

    (Also, those are some really interesting–and potentially revealing–statistics! I suspect there will be more people charting that sort of breakdown, especially once the long lists are released. I’ll be very interested to see if it tracks.)

  323. The mods on Butcher’s forum have implied that he’s remaining silent as a matter of policy. It would not be charitable to infer any meaning in his silence other than a lack of desire to comment.

  324. @Soon Lee Wow! That is great, the link is very much appreciated (and bookmarked)!

  325. @Happyturtle: Nobody’s saying that all of them submitted a ballot in bad faith; it’s just that if there’s anything we’ve learned from this, it’s that a relatively small number of people acting in bad faith can utterly wreck a process that has, up until now, functioned pretty much on the honor system (which the Hugos have). Adding something that makes a tacit understanding explicit, without adding any means of enforcement, doesn’t change the fact that a small group of people are acting in bad faith to game the system. We agree with you that most people are reading the books, making their own decisions honestly, and can be trusted…it’s the other ones that have become the problem.

    @Noblehunter: It’s Butcher’s decision if he doesn’t want to comment, but if I were him I would. When you remain silent, you allow other people to write your narrative for you. And since both sides are, for different reasons, writing the same narrative–“Jim Butcher agrees with the Puppies’ philosophy”–then that’s going to become the story unless he says otherwise.

  326. This may lose me at least some facebook friends.
    .
    I have known Brad Torgersen for a few years, having met at a Writers of the Future Awards Ceremony.
    .
    I liked him then, I liked his fiction then.

    .
    I like him now, I like his fiction now.
    .
    I hate the Hugo mess, and have said so.
    .
    I am not going to this year’s Worldcon, though I almost always do go (since the late 1970s anyway).
    .
    I am sacrificing a tax-deductible business trip that probably would have helped me with sales and marketing.
    .
    I am not overgeneralizing, and saying that everyone should separate an adult from their work.
    .
    In this case, I hold to friendship and admiration for good fiction, and hold my nose, as I do with, say, antisemitism in T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.
    .
    I have made some tactical and strategic errors myself, and am one of only about 4 people ever expelled from SFWA. I am glad that the creepazoid “Vox Day” was expelled.
    .
    But, as we say on Facebook, “it’s complicated.”
    .
    Auden had written: “Time will pardon Paul Claude], pardons him for writing well.“
    .

  327. Richard Brandt: That’s exactly why (like gamergate) this is BS and their statements don’t match up with reality. “Ohhh, us conservative sci-fi authors are being kept down! By the way, I’m a NYT’s Bestselling Author.”

    That’s why I was pleased when George RR Martin went through Hugo lists and broke down while these claims are obviously false. These people translate a diverse slate as being biased against them because not every author is them.

    Also, didn’t someone say earlier that Larry Correia lost the award he thought was his to Lev Grossman? If so, I’m not sure why he’s so upset. I’ve read several things from both authors, and Grossman’s writing puts Correia’s to shame.

  328. Wow, that piece by Philip Sandifer is really tremendous.

    I also got a kick out of his detailed comparison between If You Were a Dinosaur My Love (a truly lovely story) and one of this year’s SP/RP short story nominations, Turncoat by Steve Rzasa (from Castalia House naturally):

    My eight torpedoes are engulfed by the swarm of counter-fire missiles. The Yellowjackets explode in bursts of tightly focused x-rays, highlighted in my scans as hundreds of slender purple lines. My torpedoes buck and weave as they take evasive maneuvers. Their secondary warheads, compact ovoid shapes nestled inside their tubular bodies, shatter and expel molybdenum shrapnel at hypervelocities. Tens of thousands of glittering metal shards spray out in silver clouds against the void of space.

    Imma just gonna leave that there for everyone to admire. Possibly later, on some dark and stormy night.

  329. @John Seavey True. However, disinterested parties should reject that narrative due to lack of evidence.

  330. @Annalee @Jason @Noblehunter

    I have heard that Butcher actually addressed the puppy slate openly at one of his panels at Eastercon. I was not there, so I can’t confirm. Is there anyone reading here who was actually there?

  331. @Colleen:

    You’re most welcome. It has become somewhat a tradition in recent years for the publishers of the shorter (less than novel length) stories to make them available online for free. Not all works become available this way, but as a reader I appreciate & am grateful to those that do. It’s a lovely & generous gesture.

  332. Jason: yes, that could be–though if you click through to the comment, Correia says:

    Jim knows about SP. We’re friends. I asked him about it in advance before putting him on the slate.
    Which says a lot about our opposition that it is necessary to ask the authors if they’d be willing to be on the slate first because of the danger of SJW attacks.

    Which implies rather strongly that Butcher agreed to participate with full knowledge of what he was agreeing to. That said, Correia is known to weasel around with implications, so folks should use their own judgement when evaluating the worth of his word.

    Noblehunter: you’re assuming that lack of desire to comment is not, in itself, something about which someone can be fairly judged. He’s a mega best-seller; comfortably within the class of writers who can freely adopt such controversial opinions as “sexism and racism are wrong” without any significant impact on their careers. The fact that he’s choosing instead to benefit from a racist and misogynistic hate campaign without comment says nothing good about him.

  333. @Noblehunter: “The mods on Butcher’s forum have implied that he’s remaining silent as a matter of policy. It would not be charitable to infer any meaning in his silence other than a lack of desire to comment.”

    Not charitable, perhaps, but I think there are (or might be) some things we can logically infer. The way I see it, there are two reasons he might not want to comment:

    1. He actually does agree with the Puppies and their beliefs, OR
    2. He doesn’t want to potentially offend Puppy voters before they’ve cast their ballots.

    If it’s 1, then he doesn’t want to offend… well, everyone else. If it’s 2, then he’s essentially saying (by his silence) that he doesn’t care how he wins, as long as he wins. If it takes scum to get him there, then that’s the way it is and the ends justify the means.

    Maybe I’m wrong and there’s some third scenario. But saying “I’m not going to comment one way or the other” means, to me, “I know I’m going to piss some people off no matter what I say, and winning the award is more important to me than doing what’s right.” Ironically, that’s just the sort of moral situation he seems to delight in putting Harry Dresden into.

    As much as I’d like to be charitable, I don’t feel like I can be. Maybe Butcher has stepped into something he doesn’t know how to handle (I strongly suspect this is the case). Maybe he feels like he’s standing in the middle of a landmine, and any step he takes is going to blow him up. But what he fails to realize is that he’s standing there holding a bomb, and that fuse is getting awfully short…

  334. Teddy has been a lot like Beetlejuice, hasn’t he? He just took over the whole operation — became the main media focus, had his pals help with Sad Puppies 2, drove away less intense conservative writers from the whole thing, got his slate rather than theirs flooding the awards this year, with his small press offerings instead of Baen Books (who were never excluded from the Hugos anyway. But this year, thanks to the puppy efforts and fallout, Tor is actually dominating Best Novel.) He went and ingratiated himself further with the right wing tabloid folk who are running the game rippers now, to throw easy meat their way to shore up the votes, and with them hanging about, is going around threatening people like he’s a mob boss.

    And then he went and turned Scalzi into the head evil. When I heard that stuff, I was like, why are the puppies on Scalzi who has nothing to do with the Hugos and is in Australia at the moment. I must say, I’m impressed that you engineered a leftist cabal in 1995, Scalzi, when you weren’t even on the scene (not to mention are politically a centrist, to my exasperation.) And Mr. Grossman, then, must also be an evil plotting SJW wizard too, I suppose. Instead of what he was — a straight white man with a bestselling fantasy series who was widely known for his non-fiction journalism on the national scene. I don’t even know if he’s a liberal.

    But regardless, the Hugos aren’t destroyed, only bruised. This is nothing compared to the fights that used to happen in the sixties. And WorldCon will go on, like Celine Dion, so the Hugos will. I sincerely doubt that the game rippers are going to stick around for that long. There’s not enough there for them that’s their kind of fun, just paying money and voting, and it’s not directed enough at attacking women specifically. And the media has little interest in books — if they hadn’t brought in the game rippers, they’d have gotten little coverage — and the media won’t be interested next year, now that the novelty of a non-existent “civil war” in books too has worn off. And there’s no money in it for the right wing sites (unlike the game rippers,) so they’ll lose interest. Indeed, they’ve already moved on to comics and media exhibits. We’ll just have to hope for a swatting free process for the authors going through the awards.

    So it all depends on whether Teddy can hold together his coalition for the next several years to pay out the money and vote at his direction. Given that the others are inching away from him and a number of nominees they grabbed for their slate were dropping off the ballot or slate because of him, I don’t know that this will occur. What the slate showed was that more people who are getting voting memberships need to nominate vote as well, not just vote for the awards, so that will probably happen. And it wouldn’t hurt to have more convention attendees actually vote for the Hugo awards as well. And Teddy seems to have a lot on the fire elsewhere, trying to up his profile in right wing circles everywhere. This battle has nothing to do with books or short stories and everything to do with trying to be seen in the media as successfully “taking over” things for right wing ideology.

    The Hugos are a small if respected part of the SFF field. The awards do several simple things: bring some attention to writers and magazines for their short fiction, and to artists and fan writers; award the most buzzed about novel of the year with the Best Novel award, and the most buzzed about newer novel with the Campbell; and then throw a few awards at tv/film/comics to keep more fans interested.

    It’s actually a pretty decent field for Best Novel, even if not all the buzzy books got on. It’s probably going to be a run between Liu and Addison, as they are the two most buzzed about novels on the ballot. As for the short fiction, well, what happened is because people voting and nominating mostly don’t care about short fiction and so stuck it out for passing vultures. So now maybe they will care more. There is some good stuff in there; do your best however you vote.

    And I really have to object to the SJW cabal being supposedly led by straight white men, and a white woman or two, none of whom are even proper Muslim communists. They should have their conspiracy theory done properly, if it’s going to be about SJW’s. Especially if they want to keep the game rippers around.

  335. @John Seavey:

    This may be the case, but the key point is that “conservatism” isn’t something that is an indelible part of you like your gender or the color of your skin. It isn’t even a religion (although perhaps some conservatives have begun treating it as such, the term “religion” has a clear and specific definition in the eyes of the law). It’s just something you think and say, and nobody is making them go into a circle of liberal people and start talking politics. Most people have a few friends they don’t talk politics with because it’s how they stay friends; for these guys to assume that they not only can talk politics with people that they disagree with strongly, but can also call them names and be rude and belligerent and will suffer no social consequences for their behavior is foolish.

    I think Ursula’s point (and one I share) is that even if conservatives don’t go into fandom to talk politics, a lot of the rest of fandom is already talking politics, liberal politics, all around them. And often that includes a bunch of fairly negative broad-brush comments about conservatives.

    So even if they remain stealthed, even if they don’t say anything about their politics, they can still feel unwelcome and uncomfortable. Their choices are to self-identify (at which point the whole situation gets awkward, even with the kindest and least threatening interlocutors), sit there while they’re being generalized about right in front of their faces, or…leave.

  336. @Annalee,

    Do you think Jim Butcher has an obligation to talk about it? I would be happier (much!) if he distanced himself from them, but it doesn’t seem to me that he has an obligation to speak–especially if he’s in the middle. There are a number of conservative series writers who haven’t got awards–Weber, Ringo (off the top of my head), etc–that he feels may point to something, but at the same time not buy into the rest of the ideas. (Eric Flint shows that the Hugos fundamentally don’t match the market now, missing things like serial novels and mega-novels, and it probably overweights short fiction.)

    John Ringo has said that he will never accept a Hugo because Jim Baen never got one for editing. Considering Jim’s catalog of work (as I understand it) and including Weber and Bujold, I do find myself sympathetic to the question: Why didn’t Jim Baen get one?

  337. Butcher did tweet about the awards. It was fairly opaque but seemed to imply sympathy with the SP position.

    People keep proclaiming their stance on everything, acting like politicians, and then get all shocked when things become politicized.

  338. I missed the cut off last night, but here’s clips of VD and LC working with a journalist from Briebart (The people who brought us James O’Keef and the fake Shirley Sherrod scandal) to get gamergate to help the SP/RP slates

    https://twitter.com/sinboy/status/589798898325188608

    https://twitter.com/sinboy/status/589799282313719809

    https://twitter.com/sinboy/status/589799675600965632

    This should put an end to the nonsense that Vox’s RP is working off on it’s own, that LC didn’t want VD joining in, or that it wasn’t the SP’s direct intent to get gamergate on board.

    All of these tweets were pretty easy to find. Finally, since GG got involved, I’ve seen serial creeps like Mike Cernovich bugging people Mary Robinette Kowal.

    Mary is one of the nicest people there is. By bringing gamergate into play, it was pretty much a sure thing that the typical gaters were going to get up to what they typically do – harassing women. So great job, LC and friends, I’m sure you’re really proud.

    I mean that. I fully expect that you’re enjoying the results of people like Cernovich creeping on people.

  339. Michael A. Schneider @ 12:00: In terms of books about fan communities, may I add to your list Spider Robinson’s “Lifehouse”, which is some fast-paced time travel fun. (Also, one thing I found interesting about it is that the six main characters comprise three couples in committed long-term relationships, which seems to be a rarity in SF. Jo Walton brought that up in her piece on Brust’s “Jhereg” and since then it’s been popping out at me.)

    (And the Niven/Pournelle book was “Fallen Angels”.)

  340. Interesting that some readers have thought that Harry Dresden’s sexism hasn’t resulted in any serious consequences; I’ve always thought that even in the earlier books, his sexism resulted in harm to him and his friends/loved ones and he had to do some serious reconsidering and adjustments of his views in response to that harm. The universe and its characters are all rather dynamic; they changed and grew over time. The main character was never presented as someone who was perfect, he very clearly screws up all the time. I don’t think Butcher intends to endorse Harry’s flaws any more than the writers of the show Dexter endorse serial killing or lying.

    On the definitely-tangential aside about life being too short to read series where the first books aren’t so good…I can’t say I agree with that approach. It’s really clear in both book and television series that sometimes it takes a little bit of time for things to gel, for the writers to find their voices. Going back to my earlier comparison, I’d be SO sad for someone to miss out on Buffy just because much of season 1 is so corny. I’ve had friends tell me to not miss out on the whole of Parks & Rec after I was unimpressed by the first few episodes. Swinging this back around more on-topic, this reality definitely supports a “best book in an ongoing series” type of Hugo category.

  341. I don’t know if he said anything at Eastercon.

    Annalee, Jason, it was implied that Butcher doesn’t want to deal with the reaction to whatever he says. I think that’s different from a deisre to not offend or protect his chances at winning (one hopes he can evaluate his own work enough to realize his chances are poor at best). As our host well knows, commenting on controversial topics requires a certain investment of time and energy. Butcher apparently does not feel making a statement is worth that investment.

    Like Yuri, I’d really prefer Butcher to make a statement showing he disagrees, but I don’t think it’s fair that silence be presumed to mean agreement. At least, not agreement with anything more extreme than face-value goal of the SP (less exclusion in the Hugos).

  342. @Abi: I understand what you’re saying, but it’s a pretty common thing in mixed social circles to simply say, “Hey, everyone, let’s not talk politics right now.” People tend to honor that request because we’ve all been in situations where there’s that one person in the room at a fairly light-hearted social gathering who can’t keep politics out of it and can’t disagree politely. We all have friends, too, whose politics we don’t necessarily agree with but who we still like. If they absolutely under no circumstances can avoid getting involved in political conversations and can’t find ways to disagree politely, then the problem is possibly not their politics but their personalities. (Which is, I know, shocking given how politely and charmingly Brad and Larry have behaved through this whole debacle, but it must be suggested.)

    @Noblehunter: I agree, and I’ll merely point to what our host said better about not impugning the motives of people on the slate when they’re not talking, rather than try to rephrase it in my own words…I’m just saying that silence probably isn’t his friend here.

  343. 1. Can we **please stop** calling him VOX DAY? That ludicrous internet face adds a bit of icon flavor. His name is Theodore Beale. Let’s just called him that, or Teddy Beale. ANYthing but by the persona that he so craves to be. Names give power (we’ve all read those magic books, right?), and the more we call this yahoo by his “power” name, the stronger he becomes. Deny him the cult of personality. God, he looks like such a bad 90s movie Neo-Nazi.

    2. I think going “anti-slate” or “list of recommendations” is a poor tactic. There shouldn’t be any negative Nancys out there yelling at an editor, publisher, writer, blogger, etc. who posts “This is my list of who I believe wrote/edited/etc the best X Work of 20xx and how I will vote. Your mileage may vary. Consider adding a few to YOUR nominating list if you like them, too.” Even “This is my nominating ballot, front to back all excellent people. Do yourself a favor, read/watch them and then vote!” If you have favorites, works and people you champion, then by golly you shouldn’t be punished for derided for pushing them. Campaigning isn’t evil, people. Theodore Beale, for his part, and Brad & Larry for theirs, simply rounded up some internet homeless, gave them a hot meal and brought them to the polling station. Find ways to defang this sort of practice…

    3. …which reminds me of one of the earlier comments on rule changes: only allow X votes per nominating ballot per category. I’d go so far as to say only 2 per person. I’m sure there’s a statistician out there who can run the numbers on how many slate voters there would need to be to combine to get all of Blogger X’s slate listed in each category – and I’m sure it’s a fairly steep mountain to climb. It’s breaks the back of the slate, but doesn’t discourage people from posting their nominating ballots in advance. This also forces (ideally) people to think: “Huh, I only get two chances for best novel? Well, I know Theodore Beale likes these six, and I was going to vote for four of those and my favorite two not on the list…so I guess I’ll just vote for my two.”

    4. Another out-there “rule change” for nominating (and this one would require a little bit of tech know-how on the WorldCon side): for the writing cateogories (incl. scripts for short and long-form features), have them all loaded up into a super computer that spits out random questions based on textual analysis for every piece of writing you nominate, with a timer attached. If you actually read the work, and you’re not just voting it thru as part of a slate, the idea is that you LOVE and KNOW that work and could answer trivia. The Nominat-o-matic Bot asks a question per selection that you need to anwer in the time allotted, or you *cannot vote for it.* A bit extreme, but that would probably have kept the vast majority of R/S Puppy votes from counting.

  344. rochrist: “My eight torpedoes are engulfed by the swarm of counter-fire missiles”

    Yeah, the only appeal to that I saw there is the appeal to power. Look at all the weapons I have. I am not weak at all. I am STRONG! Not weak at all!

    That’s when I get the closest I can get to feeling pity for these sorry, pathetic, lost souls, stuck in their powerless lives, weaklings living out of their parent’s basement, rendered so powerless that the stories they’re drawn to give them unlimited power!

    And then I remember they’re taking a giant shit on the hugos, and the feeling of pity goes away like that.

    Noblehunter: “It would not be charitable to infer any meaning in his silence other than a lack of desire to comment.”

    It isn’t charitable of him to remain silent, either. In fact, I see no possible interpretation other than self-survival at best and selfishness at worst. At which point, I feel no compulsion to be charitable to a man being entirely uncharitable.

  345. Re: Dresden Files

    I can imagine a 14 book series is an Investment. i’d be shocked if Skin Game was not better done than Storm Front, given that if you write novels long enough, hopefully you get better at it. But I can also look at it with concern of ‘there are lots of things I want to read, so maybe I’m not going to invest in a long ongoing series unless it’s good enough to hook me’. Especially since Butcher’s work seems to have more of an arc than, say, Lois Bujold.

    (I do like it when authors have multiple entry points: in some ways, that’s why I’m a fan of the multiple-short-series that authors like Tamora Pierce or Mercedes Lackey do. That’s one of the perils of the long series arc: how do you get folks in when they don’t want to read your backlist? Or communicate which books are good/bad to be entry points. And I recall Dresden books getting more and more arc-y as it built up its mythology.)

    I read Ghost Story and decided I was happy with Harry Dresden’s story ending at Changes, the previous novel, TBH. Given the hints folks have been dropping in-thread, I have a feeling I would not have appreciated the direction Butcher chose.

  346. Just think–if it wasn’t for the fabulous internet, 98% of us wouldn’t know anything about this attempt to stir shit at the Hugos unless we happened to read it in a fanzine or Locus or something months later.
    Oh for the old days when these people had to pass out poorly printed pamphlets on a street-corner in a sketchy neighborhood.

  347. @Greg:

    He could be being selfish about his writing time. GRRM, TB, LC, and David Gerrold have all spent a lot of time and words on this.

  348. Yuri: I don’t think he has an obligation. I do think that when a person accepts a nomination that he got because a friend of his ginned up a misogynistic hate campaign, it’s fair to judge that person for doing so.

    I understand that nominees who didn’t know they were on that slate until after they’d accepted the nomination were put in a difficult position, and I’m sorry Correia did that to them. But it doesn’t sound like Butcher was put in that position.

  349. I think that ultimately the Hugos kerfuffle is Just Another Front in the culture war, brought to us by people for whom everything has to be about their personal politics and any disagreement with same is an attack on their identity.

    I blame Rupert Murdoch, personally, for making this behavior mainstream and acceptable.

  350. “I think that the Sad/Rabid Puppies feel excluded because they excluded themselves. The door is open but when they come through it they start pointing out all the people they don’t think should be there. That person is gay, they must leave before I can feel welcome. That person is a woman and she must submit to me before I can feel welcome. Etc.”

    Oh, so much this. Beautifully stated.

  351. Yuri: He could be being selfish about his writing time.

    Butcher has two axis to operate on. The first is verbosity. The second is accept/decline the nomination. they are orthogonal axis.

    He has chosen to accept the nomination but remain silent. He could just as easily decline the nomination and choose to remain equally silent as a matter of policy (because he’s too busy writing ya know).

    I see nothing charitable about it. I see nothing but a calculated maneuver by Butcher to maximize his chances of getting the Hugo by any means necessary. If he speaks out, he risks alienating the Puppies or everyone else, and losing the hugo. If he accepts the nomination and remains silent, he automatically gets the puppy slate vote, and he is more likely to get some non-puppy votes from people being “charitable” about his silence.

    Butcher just happens to be in the best position to win the hugo because he’s too busy writing? No, I don’t believe it for a second. Butcher’s is a slate book.

  352. Greg @ 3:25 pm:

    Well, can’t say I’m not surprised. Thanks for saving me the pain you endured.

    A little overnegation there?

  353. RE the Hugo packets, I don’t wait to see what books will be in there or whether they WHOLE book will be provided. Last year and this, every nominated novel was readily available at my local library–in most cases, as an ebook. I’m a slow reader, so I prefer to get started on the novels as soon as the ballot is announced.

  354. Regarding VD’s garbled Latin in “Opera Vita Aeterna”, I actually think a lot of it is an idiosyncratic fusion of Latin and Italian. I know that’s the case with “Vox Day”, which obviously means “Voice of God”, but also roughly translates to “Theo’s voice” in Italian.

    Or something. I can’t really be assed to go looking, but the name is kind of clever, I guess. VD isn’t stupid; he’s just a fucking weirdo.

  355. @Kat Goodwin
    But regardless, the Hugos aren’t destroyed, only bruised. This is nothing compared to the fights that used to happen in the sixties. And WorldCon will go on, like Celine Dion, so the Hugos will.

    I don’t know if it’s weird of me, but this is the kind of comment that gives me hope; if the Hugos have survived bullshit before, they’re likely to survive it again.

    But now I’m really curious what fights happened in the sixties?

  356. I know nothing about Jim Butcher’s politics or even if he has any, but from Stross’s report as shared by @Orjan, it seems like Butcher’s just detached. For people as passionately engaged as everyone seems to be in this subject, that may seem as if he’s gone to the Dark Side. But it sounds like he doesn’t even get why people are upset and doesn’t really care to.

  357. Bummer. I’ve been using the Hugo winners and nominees to fill out my reading list.

  358. rochrist: frankly maddeningly vague enough to be read either way. Certainly the Pups have been at least feigning surprise that others might consider a political response to their politicking.

  359. “VD isn’t stupid; he’s just a fucking weirdo.”

    I agree he’s not stupid. But I also think he’s not as smart as he thinks he is.

    He’s one of those kids — and having been a professor now for nigh on mumble mumble years I’ve known a heap of them — who got used to being the smartest kid in the room when he was young. And he just never got over that.

    If he’d gotten lucky enough to encounter some world-class minds in his late youth /early adulthood, there might have been some hope for him. Probably too late now.

  360. >> By the way, what are the non-puppies called?>>

    Hitler!

    >> I voted for people whose books are in my library, or whose works I have read and liked, or whom I have at least heard of.>>

    Voting “best” for something you’ve merely heard of is not exactly support for the idea that you’re making up your own mind.

    >>That said, I personally enjoyed the first few books in the series. They weren’t the best things I’d ever read, but they were far from the worst too. However, as noted, the series does really see a notable improvement as it progresses.>>

    Re: THE DRESDEN FILES.

    I felt much the same. I tried the books because my wife liked the TV show, and liked the first ones enough to keep going, and thought they got considerably better as they went along, as Butcher got more practice as a writer.

    Unfortunately, I think they’ve kind of dug themselves into a rut recently, where ever since the confrontation in Mexico or South America or wherever that was, it’s been a recurring cycle of Harry leaping out of the frying pan into the fire, only to discover that it’s really another, bigger, more dangerous frying pan with bigger more dangerous threats. And none of the threats get resolved, they just get put aside from the next bigger more dangerous thing. So the upshot is that for me, at least, I find them entertaining reads but I’m starting to suspect that it’s frying pans all the way down, and the stuff I as reader want to see resolved will just be sidestepped. This has dimmed my enthusiasm for the books, but they’re still well-written, engaging reads.

    I just wouldn’t pick them, in general, as Hugo caliber, nor did I think SKIN GAME was a standout. They’re perfectly decent genre books with snappy writing and fun action. I would simply hope for more than that from a Hugo nominee.

    So I wouldn’t have trouble voting No Award for SKIN GAME, not because it stinks — it doesn’t — but because “it doesn’t stink” isn’t the same thing as Hugo-worthy. Ideally, a Hugo would go to an A+ work. Maybe to an A or A- in weaker years. But not to a solid B.

    And a solid B isn’t a bad grade. It’s respectable. It just doesn’t get a gold star, too.

    >>But it completely stops people of good faith banding together to>>

    I don’t think “people of good faith” are the problem. Note that, whatever kind of faith you want to impute to the Sads, the Rabid Slate was the one that prevailed. Nothing on the Sad slate that was not on the Rabid Slate made the ballot.

    Thus, if you’re looking for solutions, you should be looking more to the Rabids as the distorting element, not the Sads. And in that case, “good faith” doesn’t seem to have anything to do with it.

    >> Can we **please stop** calling him VOX DAY? That ludicrous internet face adds a bit of icon flavor. His name is Theodore Beale. Let’s just called him that, or Teddy Beale. >>

    I’ve always been of the opinion that you call people what they choose to be called. Even if you don’t like them. I would draw the line if someone wanted to be called, say, “Glorious Master” (I might call them Glory, Glor, or GM or something), but I think people get to choose their own names.

    And calling someone “Teddy” because you suspect they won’t like it…that’s the sort of thing the other guys do. I think there’s enough substance to disagree over without going out of one’s way to be annoying, even if you think the guy deserves it.

  361. MRAL @ 5:22 pm: Actually, the pun is in Latin and Greek–no Italian involved. The Greek word for god is “theos” (allowing for the change in alphabets, as I don’t speak or read Greek) while the Italian word is “Dio.” And yes, it’s clever, but the “Vox Day/Vox Dei” echo of the pun is still kind of pretentious, in my opinion (especially since he titles his blog “Vox Populi,” calling attention to that echo).

    If “Opera Vita Aeterna” is a fusion between Italian and Latin, it’s a peculiar one, and I do read both Italian and Latin. (Not saying it isn’t. Just saying–peculiar, to the extent that I’m not sure what the purpose of it is.)

  362. I’ve read and enjoyed the entire Dresden series. Is it problematic at times? Yeah, but it’s also enjoyable (to me anyway).

    When I submitted my nominations this year, I included Skin Game on the ballot. Did I think it was the best thing I’d read and should win the Hugo? No, but I thought it was good enough to be mentioned. I figured that I’d probably end up voting for Ancillary Sword if there wasn’t anything on the final ballot that I hadn’t read yet.

    I was super disappointed to find out, after the nominations were announced, that Skin Game was on the Puppies’ slate. I’d been vaguely aware of them before (and vaguely disapproving), but they were a minority and I evaluated them on their own merits. Looking at my notes from last year, I mostly disliked their stuff, but I did put Torgersen’s novella at #1, despite not agreeing with the viewpoint.

    If the Puppies had stuck to their previous years’ tactics, I probably would’ve done the same thing–evaluated the works on their merits and let the best win. I don’t think I can do that this year. The Puppies and the writers who align with them need to understand just how big of a foul this is and the only way I can think to really drive that home is to put them all below No Award.

    Crazy, huh? Putting a work below No Award that I nominated myself? Honestly, though, I don’t see how I can in good conscience vote for Skin Game knowing that doing so emboldens the Puppies to continue their vandalism. If an author wants to be considered by me? Don’t participate in the slate.