Redshirts as a Social Justice Cabal Hugo Pick

Posting this Twitter rant here for posterity. This is Hugo neepery, but not of the usual sort I’ve been neeping about recently.

192 Comments on “Redshirts as a Social Justice Cabal Hugo Pick”

  1. I think I’d dispute one point there:

    The people who get called SJWs *by actual progressive activists* do indeed have a long history of being especially horrible to people who are more vulnerable, which tends to imply a lot of active hostility to LGBT folks, PoC, women, and so on. Which means that, while they may not “crave straight white male leadership”, the tendency to declare other people to be good but not perfect, therefore totally irredeemably horrible, could well result in them rejecting those people but not rejecting you.

    There’s a distinction we don’t really have a term for here, which is the difference between “actually sort of progressive, gets called an SJW by vox day” and “psycho nutjob who tells people to kill themselves, gets called an SJW by trans rights activists”.

  2. Huh. I thought it won because it got the most votes. Silly me.

    The SP and their fellow travelers keep overlooking one thing. If their fans got off the collective asses, bought a supporting membership in the Worldcons and voted they would get some noms and wins. So… either they don’t have all that many fans, they have fans but those fans are too cheap or lazy to buy memberships and vote or they have fans but those fans also read non-SP SFF and like it better.

  3. Allow me to rebut this with the standard Puppy counter-argument, “BUT SCALZI!”

    I’ve actually been using it for pretty much everything in my daily life. You’d be amazed at how well it works. “You forgot to take the garbage out.” “BUT SCALZI!” “Oh, of course. How could I not have seen that?” And so on.

  4. Oh, I don’t know about that, Harry. I’m perfectly willing to slam the Malleus Maleficarum even though I’ve never read it or other such manuals of persecution that are filled with hate and lies .(There’s another one I have in mind, but I don’t want to infringe on Godwin’s Law.)

  5. Glenn Glazer @7:20: I actually bought and read a copy of the book you’re refusing to name, because “But what about [that book]” had been the response to my statement that “the most dangerous book is an unread one,” once too often–and yep, it’s dangerous, all right, but I’m glad I forced my way through it anyway. (I’ve also read the Malleus Maleficarum, but that was for Scholarly Reasons and I didn’t read it straight through, so I don’t think it counts.)

    For the record, count me as someone else who believes that Red Shirts absolutely deserved its nomination and, yes, win. To each his own, and all that, but I love that book.

  6. I’m gonna need a citation from the author in question for the proposition that “SJW” authors like yourself think the most important thing in a story is advancing social justice. He repeats it because he finds it hard to believe. Well he shoukd, as no one believes that.

  7. Mary @7:27: See! You’ve verified for me that I don’t need to read it. ;)

    BTW, to be clear, I’m responding only to the comment about not reading things. One simply cannot read everything and so some pre-filtering must take place. To me, Redshirts deserved to win for exactly the reason that Rick @7:12 mentioned.

  8. I want to thank John Seavey for giving me the “universal excuse.” I will use that.

  9. By coincidence, back in the halcyon days of Dec/Jan before I ever knew the Puppies intended to be Sad again–and, really, REALLY said, and indeed Rabid!–in 2015, I happened to read REDSHIRTS.

    And one of the things that puzzled me most, early on, about Puppy rhetoric was this notion that REDSHIRTS (or, if I may say so, any of your fiction which I’ve read–3 books and several short stories) represent a “SJW” mentality, or qualifies as “message” fiction, or attempt to shove “leftist” views on the readers. (The other two books were OMW and AGENT TO THE STARS (which is much my favorite of the three).)

    I had just read the book–and I could state with certainty that it was not “message” fiction and contained no sociopolitical platform or positioning. In fact, it seemed to me that it was precisely the sort of read the Puppies were proclaiming they wanted to “rescue,” good old-fashioned fun space-opera sf with spaceships and adventure and start voyaging and stuff. Okay, yeah, it was satire, which really doesn’t seem to be the Puppies’ thing (and, of course, at least one barking Puppy is famously incapable of recognizing or understanding satire)… but surely that’s a minor and excusable variation on the rigid formula they preach as acceptable for sf? (Or not. Given their hatred of the book, I guess not.) It was also a hardcover NYT bestseller, which I thought covered the bases of, you know, books with “commercial appeal” and “mass audience” which they kept advocating.

    I could understand someone saying, “Yes, it fit all those parameters, but I didn’t like it.” Taste is very individual, after all. What I’ve found baffling all along is Puppies’ insisting iREDSHIRTS does not fit those parameters.

    Then again, Puppy rhetoric focuses so much on seething, nearly-obsessive hatred of you, John, that in my more exasperated moments, I blame YOU for this mess, believing that if you had never been born, then Puppies would not be lifting their legs on the Hugos now. (Yes, I know, this is unfair and also untrue. That I think it once in a while is merely a reflection of how many very tiresome times I have seen various Puppies target you YOU =YOU= YOU!!! as the object of the vitriol and resentment that gives them their raison d’etre.)

    Anyhow, yeah. Classifying REDSHIRTS as SJW message fiction makes as much sense to me, a person who’s actually read it, as classifying Nancy Drew as gender-subversive or classifying STAR WARS as promoting Marxism.

  10. I should have read the comments first. John Seavey has summed it up much more pithily than I did:

    ‘Allow me to rebut this with the standard Puppy counter-argument, “BUT SCALZI!”’

  11. I actually read both ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ and ‘Mein Kampf’ when I was a teenager. But somehow my career as a witch hunter and world dictator never quite got off the ground…

  12. I was surprised that Redshirts won, as I did not think it was one of Scalzi’s better books.

    Mind you, I am completely flummoxed to have missed the SJW bandwagon (my orders to vote for Redshirts must have got lost in the mail).

  13. >> BTW, to be clear, I’m responding only to the comment about not reading things. One simply cannot read everything and so some pre-filtering must take place.>>

    Sure, but the comments wasn’t that you should read them, it was that you shouldn’t slam them without having read them.

    I haven’t read MEIN KAMPF, so I can’t judge whether it’s badly written or not. I don’t expect I’m ever going to read it, so if a discussion of its literary quality comes up, I won’t venture an opinion.

    I’ve read enough of TWILIGHT to say the prose was bad and I didn’t want to read any more. Can’t really judge the plot. Same for THE DA VINCI CODE.

  14. Wow, they’re really playing whack-a-mole, aren’t they? Nothing says taking a principled stand like continually moving the target.

    As for “Redshirts,” the tweet numbered 3 says it for me. It’s a quick read if you want it to be (took me less than a day the first time through), but there’s a lot more underneath the surface if you want to spend time swimming around there. On the second time through, I examined and admired the skill involved and the way the layers of the story were so translucent that the reader doesn’t have to pay attention to any of them that doesn’t interest her or him, yet the effect they produce when layered together is what makes the overall story so strong (and that examination was also very enjoyable, so double the fun). I too think it deserved those awards, and I don’t see any reason why JS shouldn’t enjoy to the fullest having won them. There’s no shame in writing a good book and getting recognition for it. Isn’t that what certain of the puppy leaders aspire to be able to do? Maybe when they become big dogs, they can do that, but sheesh, grow the fuck up over there.

  15. Glenn Glazer @7:33: Oh, it was perfectly clear what/who you were responding to, and I don’t disagree–life, as you say, is too short. Besides, I wouldn’t push anyway to read [that book] for any reason! It was just something I felt I needed to do (partly because, though an awful lot of people throw the name of [that book] or its author around in political or historical arguments, most of them haven’t read it), and your comment triggered the memory. For what it’s worth–and allowing for the possibility of problems with translation, since I don’t read German–one of the main things I took away from the experience was: the author must have been one HELL of a charismatic human being in person, because he couldn’t write his way out of a paper sack.

    And yup, Rick @ 7:12 nailed it.

  16. Just want to say that I used Redshirts as our class novel for my elective class, Science Fiction & Fantasy. I loved it, and so did most of my students.

  17. Laura Resnick, John Seavey:

    I do find the fixation on me weird, and I really do think it comes down to the fact that I would be the perfect flag-bearer for the sort of person who identifies as a Puppy, if for the inconvenient fact of my personal politics. And also because Beale really has a thing for me, which is straight-up pure envy, as far as I can tell.

  18. Huh. So what’s all this about a “skeleton cabal”? I mean, if the invertebrates want awards, they need to start writing better.
    Oh, nevermind, I must still have that browser plugin installed.

  19. That’s what *I’ve* been saying!

    Hope they don’t figure out it was part of the conspiracy to make it look like less of a conspiracy. .. :P

  20. I prefer a “KHAAAN!” style yell, “SCAAAALZI!” rather than “BUT SCALZI!”, when I’m blaming John for the fact that I forgot to put the bins out.

  21. Vulcan logic does not apply to humans, John. You’re burning precious neurons trying to reason with the unreasonable.

    To this point, I’ve got pretty catholic tastes in SF/F (including books by you, Ringo, Bujold, Saberhagen, Pratchett, Butcher, Austin Grossman, Varley, Brust, Doc Smith, L. Neil Smith, Niven/Pournelle, Heinlein and David Eddings within arm’s reach right now) and I’m sick of this whole Puppies thing.

    Yeah, the Hugos reflect a particular mindset. But to me, that’s a function of them being the province of SF/F convention culture, which is a subset of SF/F fandom. The Puppies argue that the Hugos don’t reflect the views of “all science fiction fans,” to which I respond, “Duh, because not all science fiction fans are con attendees, but con attendees largely pick the Hugos.”

    Real, fan-run cons have almost always selected for people comfortable with inclusion and acceptance and I think that shows up in the Hugo voting. For so many people for so long, cons were among the very few places where they could truly be themselves. Con attendees who are as vocally judgmental as the Puppies seem to be don’t tend to be warmly welcomed or enjoy themselves enough to return the next year.

    That’s not to say there isn’t a diversity of opinions at conventions. Hell, I remember meeting John Ringo at a convention in Detroit, talking long-rifle shooting with him and getting a sneak look at one of his There Will Be Dragons books in ARC format. But con culture does tend toward at least a general consensus on social issues, and I think that shows up in the Hugos without the need for any sort of nefarious scheming by a vast filk-singing SJW conspiracy.

  22. aiede:

    “You’re burning precious neurons trying to reason with the unreasonable.”

    Oh, I’m not under the impression this will sway anyone who believes in the existence of an SJW conspiracy. It’s written to show others the silliness of the underlying premise.

  23. @Mary Frances: It is oft-quoted and very probably true that the original title of “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle) was something like “My 4-and-a-Half Year Struggle against Corruption, Stupidity, and Bigotry,” proving that EVERYONE benefits from an editor. :)

    But it’s true: Hitler was kind of a bad writer–the douchebaggery kind of shows in what he’s saying on the page–but as a speaker he was without par. I understand that he had dozens of canned speeches that he had memorized and would spend hours practicing the delivery and cadence of, so he could just whip out some speech of 10 minutes to 2 hours at the drop of a hat and it’d sound brilliant, smooth, and polished (which it was) and at the same time seem completely off-the-cuff. It was ~great~ stagemanship.

    You can tell some of this listening to bits of his speeches. Even though you don’t speak German, you’ll catch the beautiful measured flow of what he was saying. I speak fair German and there’s an elegance to the phrasing and presentation as well. None of which should counter the idea that Hitler was, of course, a complete nutbag and dickhead, but his speaking abilities–largely because of the amount of time and energy he invested in them–were fascinating and incredible.

  24. @John Seavey I think that “BUT SCALZI!” pairs very nicely with “THANKS OBAMA!”, & is probably interchangeable for many people.

  25. John S, I don’t understand why you should worry about ney-sayers. At least you shouldn’t feel you have to defend yourself. You wright good. ;>)

  26. Given the politics involved I think the cry is actually “BENGSCALZIIII!!!!!”

    I can see it on a particular news network now.

    A certain writer told me just today that in 2 years he’ll outsell you John and in 5 GRRM…. It can’t be envy he’s ‘that’ successful.

  27. I’m surprised that the Pupa dislike Redshirts; it seems precisely the sort of space-shippy adventure story about which Torgersen is so nostalgic.

  28. I haven’t understood the “SJW Cabal” thing, vis a vis Scalzi, any time it’s come up. Lock In (which I thought was better than Redshirts), though we don’t have the vote totals, was not in the top 4 nominees this year – even though it fits the SJW Cabal narrative better than the other Scalzi novels. Scalzi also hasn’t won any of his three nominations for OMW books, and utterly failed to get Ghost Brigades, Fuzzy Nation, or The Human Division on the ballot at all. He won best fan writer once, but never again. His short story nom lost. None of his other short stories went anywhere, even after he specifically asked people to consider nomination the substories of The Human Division.

    Scalzi, I hereby accuse you of being a really terrible SJW Cabal leader. You’ve done atrociously bad at getting your own works awarded a Hugo, and haven’t gotten a single Nebula – even when you were the president of SFWA!

    In fact, most of the accused SJW Cabal leaders seem to miss actually getting awards left and right. I’m not sure that I can believe in any such conspiracy with such poor results. Even if the leaders were just Bujold and McGuire I’d be hesitant.

  29. The traditional “BUT SCALZI!” theory I hear concerning Redshirts goes something like this:

    1. Premise: Redshirts is not a Hugo-quality novel.
    2. Despite this, Redshirts won a Hugo for Best Novel.
    3. Scalzi is vocal in his promotion of progressive causes and values.
    4. This makes Scalzi a Social Justice Warrior.
    5. Everybody Knows there’s a Seekrit SJW Cabal that decides what gets on the Hugo ballot.
    6. Therefore, Scalzi must be promoting progressive causes to curry favor with said Cabal. See also Jim C. Hines.
    7. The Cabal approved of Scalzi’s personal politics, and saw fit to reward him with a Hugo.
    8. Since Redshirts was his eligible work that year, that’s what got the award.

    There is no claim that Redshirts itself is SJW-ish, only that it got picked because the author is, and I have no better way to say this, especially in this context, Politically Correct.

    It’s pure rubbish, of course, but that’s what I keep hearing.

  30. They changed people’s genders for the Redshirts TV show? BLASPHEMY!!!

    *incoherent over-the-top hammy rant*

    Alright, now that that’s over with…

    To be fair, it’s a good sign that a show like “Chronicles of the Intrepid” is no longer acceptable due to lack of diversity. Although as a book purist (I prefer my movie adaptations scrupulously accurate, thank you very much!), I’m going to grumble a little.

    Mr. Scalzi, can you leak any details about when the show is projected to be broadcast, or who’s been cast? And I do hope that you still have creative control over it.

  31. PresN:

    “haven’t gotten a single Nebula – even when you were the president of SFWA!”

    Heh. In fact, I was nominated for a Nebula for Best Novel when I was president of SFWA — for Redshirts, as it happens — but I declined the nomination because I was president of SFWA, and taking the nomination, while totally legal, did not strike me as particularly ethical. Strange how things can be legal but not ethical!

    So, yeah, I’m a terrible SJW cabal leader.


    Yeah, but I addressed that in point 8; I was, at best, the third most SJW-y nominee on the slate. Considering how liberal Kim Stanley Robinson is known to be, possibly even fourth! And considering that Lois Bujold is a woman, possibly even fifth! As you say: Rubbish.

  32. “I admit that I never finished the work in question. I mean; I have nothing against reading play scripts, I just expect them to be formatted as such.” Tuomas said.

    “Of course I cannot judge the merits of the whole work, but unfortunately the lack of proper formatting just makes it very painful to read, and finish.” Tuomas said.

    “Thus I do understand why someone might feel that it did not deserve a Hugo. Or even if it does, then I suppose so does almost anything else.” Tuomas said.

    It could

  33. @ John: I agree that envy plays a big role. It’s self-evident in the various rants I’ve read from several Puppies. And envy is also much like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die, so having that monkey on their backs is its own punishment.

    I also thought it unsurprising (though pathetic) that VD/TB recently cited the 2005 “Making Light” blog argument (which went on for several days and many, many thousands of words; I read it a year or two ago) as his “reason” for his Rabid campaign. You thoroughly wiped the floor with him in that debate–and I don’t believe he will abandon his obsession with you until/unless he feels humiliated to an equal or greater extent again by someone else on whom he can refocus his obsession.

    (Which is emphatically not intended as a “you brought this on yourself” observation. It was clear in reading the whole thing that he entered that discussion looking for a fight, intentionally goaded and energetically escalated, and kept clinging to that strategy long after making a fool of himself.)

  34. The weird thing is that the first work of yours I came across of yours was Old Man’s War, and hadn’t really looked you up on the internetz or anything, so I was thinking you were a kind of Heinlein-wannabe, hearkening back to the Old Tyme school of sci fi–and Red Shirts sort of solidified that impression for me. Imagine my surprise at discovering your secret identity as a fellow member of the Social Justice League of the Galaxy.

  35. Beale really has a thing for me

    I guess he just likes the way you look in a regency gown.

  36. But you are Scalzi, the Dread and Terrible, Leader of the Rabbit People. Each and every evil can be laid down to your fiendish manipulation!

  37. Laura Resnick:

    “It was clear in reading the whole thing that he entered that discussion looking for a fight, intentionally goaded and energetically escalated, and kept clinging to that strategy long after making a fool of himself.”

    This continues to be his modus operandi.

  38. The contrast is even greater when you look at the books that were up against Redshirts for the nomination, which are also far more diverse, both by author and matter: those by Jemisin, Bear, Kiernan, at least.

  39. The Stanford Savoyards (Gilbert & Sullivan troupe in, yes, Palo Alto, California) have done a several very popular SF-genre adaptations of G&S operettas, including an HMS Pinafore set relocated to the world of ST:TNG and a Pirates of Penzance reimagined as Browncoats vs. the Alliance.

    With that in mind, I’m thinking their next production ought to be an updating of Ruddigore as Puppigore, where the magic word with desperate, hidden meaning isn’t ‘Basingstoke’ but rather ‘Scalzi’.

    Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd disguised as Robin Oakapple, a Young Farmer (comic baritone) can be transformed to Sir Theolonious Peele disguised as Vogon Dapple, a Young Finnish Publisher.

    Mad Margaret neatly maps onto Hypercaffeinated Sarah Hoyt[1], and so on. It’s a natural.

    Rick Moen

    [1] Name borrowed mainly in service of prosody. I’m a big fan of Sarah’s.

  40. They were warned, these puppies. I told them. Behind that facade of Old Tyme Sci Fi lies a terrible Social Justice Wabbit. I warned you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you knew it all, didn’t you? Oh, it’s just a harmless little bunny for social justice, isn’t it? Well, it’s always the same. I always tell them–

  41. Instead of “But Scalzi” we use the Narrative from Redshirts. When we mess up or things start going haywire, we say that it’s not our fault, it’s the Narrative that someone is writing. Which is actually part of the depth of the novel — it looks at how we process experience.

    Redshirts has a lot of social satiric commentary and emotional messaging, but it’s not social justice messaging. It’s about what part fate and free will play in our lives and our identities and about healing, and lastly about the various wild and serious things that go into making all kinds of art and storytelling. It’s a fun, rip-roaring comic multi-dimensional adventure with spaceships and aliens. It’s also like an onion, like most good satires — it has layers.

    On that first part of the argument — that Redshirts wasn’t Hugo worthy. The puppies claim is that literary and deep is bad and rip-roaring comic adventure with spaceships and aliens is good. So why then is Redshirts not “Hugo worthy”? Because Scalzi wrote the adventure, seems to be the only reason, since quality of prose the puppies feel should not be a consideration at all for worthiness.

    Also, if the argument is that Scalzi curried favor with the cabal to get the votes for the Hugo, rather than led the cabal, who in fact leads the cabal? Now I’m confused. I thought it was the Haydens, Scalzi, David Gerrold and George Martin now. The Haydens don’t need to be curried, as Scalzi makes them money. Have you been currying favor with Gerrold and George Martin?

  42. @revbobmib

    That matches what I’ve seen as well. But why, oh, why, don’t they ever ask themselves why Scalzi the Mighty SJW didn’t write a book with SJW politics? Why is he sneaking around writing space adventure/comedy with no political message? Is it part of some even deeper conspiracy?

  43. Kat Goodwin:

    “Have you been currying favor with Gerrold and George Martin?”

    Well, George did once invite me to his wedding reception. But given how Martin’s wedding receptions go, this is not necessarily a positive…

  44. Although I recognize that Redshirts isn’t a SJW sort of book, I’m not sure how it would invalidate its win had it been the case that people voted for it because it represented their political ideals. I’m sure it got a chunk of votes because people like Star Trek, and consequently a riff on it, but *that* reason that isn’t merely judging the book on its literary merits isn’t regarded as a horrible strike against the Hugos.

  45. Such is the power of the Social Justice Warrior Cabal that even straight white males have to curry favor with the Cabal in order to win a Hugo.

  46. I am now convinced the whole sorry mess can be explained by Beale “having a thing for you.” It was that picture where you damaged your hip in the pose off, the way you wore that dress and sandals . . . Damn you, Scalzi: your allure has destroyed the Hugos!

  47. Laura: re Pups & Irony. It is certainly ironic that their Great God Heinlein actually was quite good at that sort of thing too – but perhaps the SPs didn’t get his irony either.

    (Which would mean that, because they have no irony receptors, they really should have made our host a Great God too. Perhaps all this shouty stuff is their version of prayer?)

    By the way, for more irony points, here in Holland SP stands for Socialistische Partij, which I’m sure I don’t need to translate. It’s our most left wing party. I’m sure the Pups love to share initials with their Dutch brothers under the skin…)

  48. jedikalos, everyone knows that RSHD has a horrible, twisted version of a man-crush on OGH. RSHD’s just a terrible, terrible person, and he’s incapable of having any emotion without twisting it into a perverse, hateful version of itself.

  49. Well – yeah. So – duh. I love your books but to me the are “retro” – Redshirts was retro in that way (i speak as one who watched TOS in its original broadcast and still have the cereal bowl to prove it). But also as a female person frequently had to read/see those books/series while imagining myself in an alt-gender role. Back in the day it was what it was.

    Redshirts reads to me as satirical but not SJW unless any transgression from uber-male warrior is SJW (which I guess it is now).

  50. @Floored The whole thing is new to me. Gotta pity these puppy-folk ultimately, I suppose: the worst punishment I could think of would be to BE them and see the world that way. So many good things to enjoy and celebrate, and they can’t even see it.

  51. It makes perfect sense that they think Redshirts is an SJW Tome.

    Remember that Redshirts is premised on a Star Trek TV ripoff show. And Star Trek is, of course,a whole passel of SJW-ism wrapped up in transporters and phasers. But they can’t bring themselves to criticize Star Trek, possibly because they were kids when they saw it and still look at it with the critical faculties of a 10-year-old, possibly because they’re just in massive denial. So there’s some displacement going on.

    Also, of course, because they enjoy fiction that crams their dim worldview into prose, and so assume everyone else does likewise.

  52. JFC, what a bunch of pants-wetters the puppies are… in that incontinent aspect, their name is well chosen.

  53. “Redshirts” has plenty of SJW political thinking: It’s all relative, the situation may affect what people believe or do, the way things look change when you shift perspective, there is no immutable and absolute foundation because the Narrative can change anything. That’s not exactly comfortable for the type of conservatives who are prone to thinking there is a single true answer or a single right path and loathe the concept of situational ethics.

  54. SCALZI!!!

    It’s them “zi” endings, I tell ya. They’re driving people mad. Maybe they’re non-Euclidean. ‘Thu, any comment?

    “When you’re wrong, double down” seems to be the philosophy of a certain political stripe. It involves a lot of goalpost moving. And a whole boatload of truthiness. It’d be funny if it weren’t so tiresome.

    John’s just their Two Minutes’ Hate object.

  55. Considering how much of the SP wars is a spinoff of the Scalzi-VD feud … and that Scalzi-VD feud began with Scalzi defending VD over on the Making Light blog in 2005 … I find the SP inability to understand Red Shirts totally unsurprising.

  56. Re: “Feud” with VD:

    I kind of get exasperated with it being regarded as a feud. What it is, is Beale obsessing about me and maneuvering that obsession into my path so I have to deal with it. Which I would submit is less a feud, and more dealing with something akin to a persistent stalker.

  57. Dear I Have No Mouth and No Ice Cream,

    I’d just like you to know that I am incredibly amused by your nym.

    yours, etc.


  58. I think I can see what the Puppy contingent have against Redshirts, actually, that they don’t have against your other novels.
    They feel tricked.
    It starts out as an adventure story — a comedy one, yes, but they can cope with that — but then it becomes *modernist*, or at least acknowledges the existence of modernism and postmodernism. There are multiple layers of reality. There’s no objective truth there, and it feels to them like the writer is *deliberately tricking them*.
    Acknowledging fictionality within a text feels, to a certain kind of mindset (the same kind that feel, for example, that set theory is Satanic because it allows for different levels of infinity ( see )) like implying that *their* reality might not be totally real. It feels, in short, like an existential challenge. There is right, and there is wrong. There is Us, and there is Them. There is a single reality, with a single God behind it. If the God of the novel is playing tricks on the characters and readers, might the God of reality be? And could it be they who are the fools?
    Oh, I can definitely see why they’d hate Redshirts. It’s the same reason I think it’s your best book by quite some way…

  59. @Scalzi: Understood. I was about to argue that I wasn’t being strictly literal with my use of “feud,” but then realized that was the sort of VD argument that started things off on Making Light back in 2005. So I simply stand corrected. ^^

    @MickyFinn: Thanks.

  60. @Andrew Hickey: And that I could sort of understand, if not sympathize with–I feel like the title and description of Redshirts provide more than adequate warning, and I liked it, but I knew what was up going in, and I myself spent the last two or three DT books all DAMMIT STEPHEN KING WHAT THE HELL ARE THESE SHENANIGANS.

    But that really comes down to “this is not my thing and I dislike investing three hundred pages before finding that out*,” rather than justifying the level of vitriol and ridiculousness the SPs have going on.

    *Which, again: sympathetic. I feel the same about all the seventies Fantasy But Oh Wait It’s Actually Aliens Slash Future Tech novels. (Except maybe Elfquest, because it’s still fantasy, the elves are just Mystic Space Elves.)

  61. It’s true, it’s not a feud.

    Personally, I’m sad John has to spend so much time on it. His choice obviously, but it’s got to suck mightily to have someone so obsessed with you.

    On other hand, it’s clearly not hurting Jon’s career arc, given a TV show for goodness sake.

  62. Is anyone really surprised at the lack of logic? After all, getting nominated for an award absolutely is not proof that the deck is not stacked against you…

  63. Josh

    I think it’s complete nonsense to suggest that this has anything to do with John’s choices. He is the target of an obsessive stalker who believes, amongst other things, that the Taliban had the right idea in murdering girls who wanted to go to school, that acid thrown into girls’s faces in pursuit of the same goal is also a great idea, and that any woman presuming to actually vote in an election should also be punished, in order to deprive all women of the right to vote.

    John has a wife and a daughter who vote and go to school; he would loathe Beale’s ideas irrespective of that but he cannot overlook the fact that some of the hatred directed against him might be transferred to physical attacks on the women he loves.

    You might just as well argue that all targets of obsessive stalkers are choosing to be targets instead of simply ignoring it. That’s nonsense.

  64. I just wish they could come to a consistent Scalzi-view. On one hand only 5 of us (using different names) read your blog and yet with a wave of your littlest finger (and pimpage) you bend the Hugo awards voting to your will.

  65. @Jack – consistency is for grown ups, Puppies are toddlers.

    Apparently Vox Ozymandias has super-sekrit plans for building something on the smoking remains of the Hugos, but us unwashed peasants aren’t privy to his super-genius strategic thinking…

    It’s on his to do list after becoming Emperor of all Fandumb and revolutionizing the gaming and publishing industry, between doing the laundry and popping to the shops to get some milk.

  66. I just wish they could come to a consistent Scalzi-view. On one hand only 5 of us (using different names) read your blog and yet with a wave of your littlest finger (and pimpage) you bend the Hugo awards voting to your will.

    It’s because most of the coordination takes place in our Seekrit SJW Cabal. You want to join? We have genderfluid feminist bisexual kittens. They are very adorable.

    We also have pi. And pie. But mostly pi. Because in addition to being a Seekrit SJW Cabal, we’re dorks.

    To join the Seekrit SJW Cabal, you must (a) have read at least one book by Brandon Sanderson and one book by OGH Scalzi, (b) openly proclaimed the supremacy of OGH over everything (with some praise for Sanderson because god damn Mistborn was cool), and (c) learned to recite the following chant:

    Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Scalzi O’hio wgah’nagl fhtagn! ia! ia! Scalzi fhtagn!

    After you meet these criteria, we’ll let you into the clubhouse, where we sit around drinking tea and eating cupcakes with these adorable little teacups. We have Victorian costumes, these lovely little wafers, a jolly good library, some pie, and of course the kittens. I’m bringing the pie this week, but Xopher and Greg are making the cupcakes. Kat Goodwin should be picking up some Earl Grey today as well. If Lurkertype makes it, we should have a jolly good chat about Star Trek as well*.

    There are, of course, no other obligations**. We occasionally hold spellcasting sessions to use our unholy SJW powers*** to bend the Hugos to Our Dread Lord Scalzi’s will, but not often. Scalzi fhtagn, sibling!

    *Yes, I intentionally called out 5 people, including myself, as members of the fictitious cabal.

    **Besides being a decent person and not liking RSHD or his craven lickspittles.

    ***They involve the webcomic Schlock Mercenary and a copious amount of Harry Potter spells. Votious forium Redshirtsiumus!

  67. This is especially hilarious to me because the day after Redshirts won the Hugo, I saw an older fan claiming on a Tor editor’s Facbook page that “The only reason Scalzi won is because he appeals to drunken frat-boys, which are his audience.”

    I had no idea so many drunken frat boys were Hugo voters!

  68. Maybe you’ve covered this recently John, and I just missed it, but what’s the current status of the Redshirts TV series? Has it progressed to filming (or whatever they call it these days)? Is there a date set for the FX premiere?

  69. I can’t be bothered to go check for to see whether the SPs were among them, but I seem to recall people complaining, when Redshirts won the Hugo, that it wasn’t worthy because it was lightweight. Now the problem is that it’s too literary and postmodern and pushing a message. Some people might not have enjoyed it, and some might have enjoyed it as snack food but no more. That’s fair. (My brothers both thought it was okay but lightweight; I disagreed. We’re all still friends.) I don’t enjoy everything Scalzi writes either. But the bitching backl then never seemed really to be about the book, nor does it now. We all know that Scalzi himself is the target, for reasons ranging from a mentally ill person’s obsession to envy to dislike of the way Scalzi headed the SFWA during his tenure to his ego rubbing them the wrong way. There’s no real need to argue details. It’s personal for them, and if one of their salvos fails, they’ll keep launching them. The SJW thing is just another instance of them shooting their load, so to speak. The fun thing is that their attacks acknowledge, implicitly or explicitly, that Scalzi has power; in other words, they’re acknowledging him as an “alpha” in their world view, and I’m not Buddhist enough to forgo the schadenfreude I find in that.

  70. The only thing I have to say is: Oh, John Ringo, No.

    I read the article you’re referring to, and the only thing I can say is that it’s spectacular work. I’ve rarely seen someone get so many things wrong in so few words.

    And it wasn’t very few words.

  71. So it seems John Ringo has specifically addressed The Redshirts Question, back on the 28th. The Facebook post has since been made private, but File 770 has linked to a screencap of it. There’s not much new there, at least in this respect, but the link is useful as evidence that yes, this really is an active theory.

    Ringo’s analysis pretty much follows what I outlined earlier (“Scalzi did what the SJWs wanted and was rewarded for it”), and it begins about ten paragraphs into the piece. Tellingly, he says right up front that he didn’t read Redshirts, yet he confidently labels it “a fairly banal Star Trek fan-fic” that only got published because Scalzi’s big enough that (like Ringo) he could get a grocery list published. He further claims Scalzi was “uncouth” for succumbing to the temptation to do something so easy, and that he should be ashamed of getting a Hugo for such low-quality work.

    Which he hasn’t read, yet still feels competent to judge. But, hey: “This is nothing against John, he’s a pretty decent author and Old Man’s War was pretty good.” So there’s that, anyway.

  72. MVS: OGH is Our Glorious Host, the Dark and Mighty Scalzi*. He writes some really good books and looks quite fetching in a dress**.

    *Long may he reign.

    **With his ever so delicately feminine chest hair and stubble, no less.

  73. JS, I am pretty sure at one point you said you were going to just ignore Beale? At what point does the ignoring him part actually start?

  74. @dh he did ignore him for quite awhile. We raised a fair amount for charity if I recall correctly during that time period. SP/RP came along and discussing him is back for a short time.

    I’m sure we will end up raising money for charity again after the Hugo’s.

  75. “And also because Beale really has a thing for me …”

    It’s weird that he doesn’t even try to hide it.

    He declared on File 770 yesterday, “I am far more popular than John Scalzi, and one day I will probably be more popular than George Martin.”

  76. He declared on File 770 yesterday, “I am far more popular than John Scalzi, and one day I will probably be more popular than George Martin.”

    He even put a specific timetable on it: He declared that he will outsell OGH within 3 years, and outsell GRRM within 5. As cartoon villains go, he’s not even in the realm of remotely believable at this point.

  77. Greg:

    Neepery is now a very common word online. If you Google “define neepery” a number of online dictionaries and blogs define it.

  78. Aaron, he doesn’t need people to believe it, just to talk about it–and him. I strongly doubt he believes it himself. He loves saying outrageous things and watching people react. Shit-stirring is his delight, probably the only thing he’s actually good at. This RP thing has been his most successful stirring yet, and he’s reveling in it.

  79. Once upon a time, VD was a young lad who wanted to grow up and win the Hugo

    But the Hugos had to sit VD down and tell him his writing just wasn’t that great.

    This made VD very angry

    VD decided that it wasn’t his fault, it was the fault of his heroes.

    VD rounded up an army of minions, but honestly, they’re not the brightest bulbs in the patch, and they have a tendency to celebrate victory a little too early:

    VD also found some folks who are one step up from an unthinking robot:

    and others who can only parrot his talking points:

    VD’s plan is to render the Hugos meaningless:

    He and his mindless minions managed to do some damage and wipe out entire catgories on the Hugo ballot this year:

    But seeing all this, the supers have been awakened and plan to respond to this evil (as soon as they can find their supersuit):

    They’re getting the word out and organizing and letting people know what VD is up to so people can stop him.

    This pushback has upset VD and he’s already threatened that if his evil plan is stopped, he will prevent all future generations from ever winning a Hugo ever again!

    But for all his grandstanding and all his rambling on and on about how powerful he is, VD didn’t see one simple statement would be his downfall.

    No slates, darling.

    And VD is about to be done in by his own meglomania:

  80. dh, et al:

    I think it’s fine to be discussing Beale in the context of the Hugos; whatever I think of him, he certainly did a job on them this year. Discussing the Hugos this year without mentioning his involvement on the shape of the final ballot would be an incomplete discussion.


    These are cute but at this point are beginning to be a little repetitive.

  81. Thanks Floored. So RP is Rabid Puppies, right? How do the RP differ from the Sad Puppies? Finally, VD is the acronym for the leader of the RP and not Victorian Dress? (I think a Glossary & Play Bill may be needed… for instance who is John Ringo?)

  82. JS, yeah, agree, it’s impossible to talk about Hugos without SP/RP and the owners of it. But how does that figure into the past? Redshirts was 2013.

    It’s not one of those “I can’t quit you things”, I would imagine.

  83. John Ringo, oh good grief.

    I enjoyed the first few volumes of his Posleen series but I stopped reading him when Ghost got published. (A story he said was a form of literary masturbation for him.)

  84. Sad Puppies is Larry Correia whining that he didn’t get a Hugo and going from there. Rabid Puppies is RSHD being RSHD all over the Hugos, which is why we can’t have nice things.

    VD is the acronym of RSHD’s real name. He is an appallingly terrible person, as well as profoundly, overpoweringly stupid.

  85. Ell: Neepery is now a very common word online.

    Yet another pop culture reference I missed. Ah well.

  86. So RP is Rabid Puppies, right? How do the RP differ from the Sad Puppies? Finally, VD is the acronym for the leader of the RP and not Victorian Dress? (I think a Glossary & Play Bill may be needed… for instance who is John Ringo?)

    The Sad Puppies were headed up this year by Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia. They put together a slate made up of mostly mediocre fiction in an effort to pack their nominees on the Hugo ballot.

    The Rabid Puppies are the creation of Theodore Beale, abbreviated here as VD due to his oft used pseudonym. His slate mostly mirrored the Sad Puppy slate with the addition of some pretty terrible fiction. This slate essentially “primaried” the Sad Puppy slate from the right, getting several of its nominees on the ballot in place of the Sad Puppies preferred choices.

    John Ringo is an author who is mostly known for some pretty sexist military science fiction. He is also extremely right-wing, and has inserted time travelers from the future into some of his books for the primary purpose of having them explain to the central character that one conservative policy or another was exactly right. Google search “Oh Johnny Ringo no!” for one of the best reviews of one of his creepy books.

  87. To be accurate VD (initials) for pen name of TD (initials) for real name of RSHD (nickname) all simple information to be found through googling or reading past posts on topic of Hugo’s. Google is again your friend to difference between SP 1-3 (sad puppies) run by LC & BT and RP (rabid puppies) run by VD.

    Welcome to the world of initials/nicknames so we don’t have to keep spelling out (and sometimes misspelling) names.

  88. AaronPound4: The Rabid Puppies are the creation of Theodore Beale, abbreviated here as VD due to his oft used pseudonym.

    … AND his approximate effect and social desirability…

  89. @MVS:

    John Ringo might be considered the stereotypical Baen author: politically conservative, prone to conflating moderate liberals with “SJW” boogeymen, prolific about starting series (but not so much about finishing them), big on shooty-bang milSF. Known primarily for the “Legacy of the Aldenata” series (aka “the Posleen books” – A Hymn Before Battle and sequels) and the “Paladin of Shadows” series (aka “OH JOHN RINGO NO” – Ghost and sequels).

    A Hymn Before Battle is available in the Baen Free Library, if you’re so inclined. Ghost is not, probably because of the ultraviolence and sex. I’ve read most of his work, but even his friends have said the latest PoS book is… well, that the initials fit. In the grand Baen tradition, it’s a collaboration with a new author (translation: Ringo writes the outline, new author writes the book, Ringo reviews/edits before publication), and my understanding is that the deadline prevented a proper edit pass. To be explicit, I haven’t read that volume and am recounting what mutual* friends have told me.

    * We live in the same city and are part of the same con community, so yes, we have mutual friends.

  90. [Damn – should have run this in with the last comment. Apologies to OGH]

    Aaron: He declared on File 770 yesterday, “I am far more popular than John Scalzi, and one day I will probably be more popular than George Martin.”

    Notably, he bases this on blog-hits. Think about that for a moment – he’s not comparing sales of books, reviews or praise – his sole criteria for “popular” is the number of people looking at his blog. The huge, gaping flaw in this argument is, of course, that people ALSO gape at bloody car wrecks and videos of sebaceous cysts being popped…

  91. My greatest irritation – underscored by your post — is that the Puppies are cataloging everyone by the political ideology of the author, as opposed to the quality of the author’s work. Am I not allowed to like “The Handmaid’s Tale” as much as “Ender’s Game,” merely because the political philosophy of each respective author outside the context of their works could not be more unalike? Whoever said that appreciation of Heinlein and his prose belonged to the Puppies, or that “A Mote in God’s Eye” by Niven/Pournelle (authors Torgersen admits he likes) would not engender as much enthusiasm among so-called SJWs as does a work like “Redshirts”? In fact, setting aside the author’s known political viewpoints as set forth in external writings, if you were to read “Stranger in a Strange Land,” would you even expect that it was written by the same man who at nearly the same time also penned “Starship Troopers”? And I would love to try hear how the Puppies would try and pigeonhole the work of Philip K. Dick — something I doubt Dick himself would have ever cared to attempt.

    Works of literature certainly employ literary, allegorical and metaphorical themes and devices that can (and frequently do) emulate the personal political and social philosophies of their authors. Sometimes, as in works like “The Martian Chronicles” and “1984,” that is one factor that actually extends their power and historical context. But authors should also trust the reading public to make their own judgments about the merits of the works from the entertainment and emotional impact they offer — not the philosophical attitude of the writer himself or herself. After all, whatever the 1950s political philosophy of Ray Bradbury as seen in works like “The Martian Chronicles” and “Farenheit 451,” we wouldn’t still be reading them in classrooms and creating a whole new generation of SF/F fans 50 years on from the works’ publication, if the words and imagery as written in those books were not astounding in their own right…

  92. He declared on File 770 yesterday, “I am far more popular than John Scalzi, and one day I will probably be more popular than George Martin.”

    This surprised me. I didn’t think Teddy had much interest in selling books, frankly. He seemed more intent on getting in further with the Breibart crowd and political equivalents in Europe. If this really is just all about book sales or award envy, than that makes it even sadder. Fiction book sales is a very tiny, sleepy part of the world’s markets.

    Scalzi is a bestseller and he’s poised to be a bigger seller due to dramatic adaptations. But he’s hardly the biggest name out there, nor even anywhere near the biggest blogger, so why the focus on out-selling him? Why not out-selling Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Kelley Armstrong?

    Even if miraculously Teddy out-sold Scalzi and Martin with whatever he’s planning to write, it wouldn’t matter a whit to either of their careers, as fiction authors don’t directly compete. In fact, it would help them as it brings in more readers, some of whom will read Martin and Scalzi, and more watchers to their t.v. shows as well. The fiction market grows symbiotically on success — you get more slots with more bestsellers, not less. Which is why most YA authors light little thank you candles to J.K. Rowling. (Good luck out-selling that evil liberal author.)

    They really do not understand the fiction market at all. If they completely destroy the Hugos (which they can’t do, but let’s pretend,) what exactly do they think is going to happen to the fiction industry or even just the SFF field? Nothing would happen. They tried to heist the Hugo awards for nothing. They brought in game ripper folks who bring in folks who threaten people’s lives for nothing.

    So I have to think that at least some of them have plans to try and leverage this thing in politics to get them somewhere on the right wing ladder. Otherwise the entire operation makes not even a kernel of sense.

  93. I always thought OGH stood for Our Gracious Host, myself.

    (Reading all these threads with much enjoyment. Just don’t have much to say.)

  94. Oh, so it was about blog views. That makes more sense again then — it’s political leverage about something that neither Scalzi or Martin care about either and that has nothing to do with the Hugos or books. In the words of the great Gilda Radner: “Never mind.”

  95. Thanks to all for acronymic and personae dramaticus clarification! Whilst I could Google and chart this info it is easier to simply ask… keeping in mind that the detailed (and quite colorful) explanations will also be read by other unenlightened and/or confused souls. So, bottom line, are the Hugo Awards shot-to-crap, or as OGH posits, it’s a case of bad graffiti and with plenty of elbow work, all will eventually be well? PS. @Jerome, who is KSR?

  96. Greg:
    I think that the VD as Syndrome comparison you just made is probably the best and most accurate fictional comparison you’ve made. The sense of entitlement, the anger, the pretentious name, hell he Evan betrays his allys when there no longer useful to him

  97. I should note that John Ringo and I get on tolerably well as humans; please factor that in with regard to descriptions of him here. I do suspect it was ill-advised of him to opine on the book without having read it. I may need to send him a copy.

  98. Scalzi: a little repetitive.

    Aye, Cap.

    revbob: “OH JOHN RINGO NO”


    Oh, man, I didn’t need to know that.

  99. I spend a lot of time on tumblr, native habitat of SJWs — I’m told I’m really more of a Social Justice Druid, myself.

    For me, Redshirts was a pitifully inadequate, even timorous take on an issue we spend a lot of time discussing on tumblr. The reality in the TV & movie industry is that characters who aren’t SWMs are disproportionately redshirted, or fridged, or otherwise killed off for the sake of the SWM leads’ manpain and “personal growth”.

    Most of the redshirts in Redshirts are SWMs, so the text completely avoids noticing how many classes of people, watching a show like this one, have to armor ourselves against identifying with the people who look like us — because the people who look like us are going to be killed, or raped, or otherwise end badly.

    I’m really glad to hear that the TV series may be including more non-SWM redshirts, but I wonder if that means they’re going to engage with issues of representation, with how it feels when having a certain identity means you’re bound to die “for the sake of the story”.

  100. VD has also said he wants to buy Tor, apparently. So. Yeah.

    My major fear with VD is that, even if he’s not as effective as HE thinks, he might still be more effective than WE think. He’s a clown, but the Clown was also the Violater.

    As for Ringo, sounds like he’s another I wouldn’t care to follow. I read the Wikipedia page which has an overall description of Paladin of Shadows… it sounds a lot like the dude who joined a roleplay chatroom I used to be part of, who played a modern military operative who (after getting stranded by some sort of wormhole) supposedly starts arming and training a group of elves…. nobody liked him.

  101. MVS, it’s too soon to say whether the Hugos are shot to crap–too soon by several months if not a few years. You can find varying prognostications on the blogs of George R.R. Martin, Eric Flint, and others. Rather than relying on what would necessarily be potted versions of Martin, Flint, et al. if you wait for someone to offer them here, there is much to be gained by reading these people’s views in full, in their own venues, where there are comments that may also provide food for thought.

  102. “5. It is, in fact probably the least racially/sexually diverse book I’ve written BECAUSE the characters were supposed to reflect a BAD show.”

    If the SJW message is ‘diverse = good’, then a book that hammers the point ‘this is a BAD show and note the LACK OF DIVERSITY’… is the exact same message.

    It’s perfectly fine to say that you do believe that good and bad can be measured, in some or in whole, by the diversity metric. But it seems silly to pretend that the message is absent.

  103. @MVS

    KSR = Kim Stanley Robinson. His novel “2312” was on the 2013 Hugo ballot that “Red Shirts” won. He is an excellent, excellent writer and storyteller.

    So I figured if we were looking to gin up some outrage about who should or should not have won, I’d give that a shot. :)

  104. Zeb, thanks.

    MVS: So, bottom line, are the Hugo Awards shot-to-crap

    I’m hoping folks vote non-slate works then no award, with no slated works on their ballot at all. I think there are… 9? categories that are (A) all slate works or (B) 1 nonslate work and slate works for everything else.

    Next year, the hope is more people get involved in nominating works so as to outnumber the effect of another puppy slate. THe problem is 100 people voting exactly the same thing can outvote 1000 people voting essentially random works. So, we’d need to see a lot more people putting in nominations next year so the puppies don’t swamp out the ballot again.

    This mismatch in voting power is also why I think people should NOT vote for any slate work at all, not even below no award. Because it only rewards the bad behavior.

    Hopefully, there is a proposal to change the rules this year to reduce the power of slate voting so they may be able to get works onto the ballot but at least they won’t be able to fill every slot of a category. The thing about rule changes is it takes 2 worldcon votes to approve the change before it can take effect.

    So that’s why next year needs more people nominating to keep the pups from filling the ballots, otherwise we could end up with another year where several categories get “no award”.

    So, dont vote for any slate works this year, vote for a rule change to reduce the power of slate voting, get as many poeple as possible to nominate works next year to counterweight the puppy slate power, don’t vote for any slate works next year, and vote again for the rule change, making it official. Which then means that by 2017, hopefully the pups will be defanged.

  105. Alexander:

    “a book that hammers the point”

    Ah, but it doesn’t hammer that point; it’s not drawn attention to in the book at any time. It simply is, as part of the intentional design of the show in the book. People pick it up or don’t. Strangely enough, not every point needs to be hammered.

    Nor, as it happens, do I agree that it conveys the “exact same message.” It doesn’t, in not in the least because because people can (and have) criticized the lack of diversity even if they understand the authorial intent behind it. See previous comments in this very thread as examples of that.

  106. Greg, a bit of etymology catch-up. “Neep” as used here comes from science fiction fandom of a while back. Eric S. Raymond correctly traces its routes in his old Hacker’s Jargon File, so nearly as I know, though I met “neepery”/”neeping” the style of conversation much more than “neep” applied to a person:

    [onomatopoeic, widely spread through SF fandom but reported to have originated at Caltech in the 1970s] One who is fascinated by computers. Less specific than hacker, as it need not imply more skill than is required to boot games on a PC. The derived noun `neeping’ applies specifically to the long conversations about computers that tend to develop in the corners at most SF-convention parties (the term `neepery’ is also in wide use). Fandom has a related proverb to the effect that “Hacking is a conversational black hole!”.

    It spread from there.

  107. @MVS:

    Easy one first – KSR is Kim Stanley Robinson, whose 2312 was another nominee for the Hugo that Redshirts won.

    As for whether the Hugos are shot… I think they do need a rules change to make slates of any kind irrelevant, and the one I favor is the dynamic reweighting algorithm for nomination ballots. (Very brief: If one of your Best Novel nominees makes the ballot, the rest of your nominees in that category carry a lower weight, like 1/2 or 1/3. If a second name on your list gets in, the weight drops even further, to 1/4 or 1/5. And so on, each category considered separately.) I’ve seen three or four reweighting templates, but the most likely candidate is probably the “1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16” simply for ease of explanation.

    If slates can be defanged that way, so that it’s obviously a neutral system that affects all ideologies equally, I think that’ll scrub off a good deal of the tarnish. The alleged SJW Cabal would be just as powerless as the Puppies and any future slate attempts. The trouble is, such a rule takes two years to implement, so 2016 will still be handled under the old/existing rules.

    I do not think “do nothing and hope the Puppies wander off” is a viable strategy, though.

  108. I took my 1st stab at Hugo voting yesterday based on what I’ve read and how I’m voting on slate items. I’m in the process of reading The Three-Body Part Problem. I still have stuff to read so I’ll be updating my ballot regularly.

    It will be years before we know if the puppies destroyed the Hugos. What we can do to save them is vote this year if you have a supporting or attending membership. Next year nominate & vote. Rinse & repeat.

    I approve of rule changes to prevent slates from winning in the future as long as they are designed to prevent slates and not aimed to prevent “wrong people/fans” from voting. But as I have never attended a Worldcon and don’t see my health changing to permit me to do so I’ll be leaving it to those who can and do attend to make changes as they feel are appropriate.

  109. When the paranormal romance slate takes over, I’m sure the Puppies will regret their actions…

  110. “If one of your Best Novel nominees makes the ballot, the rest of your nominees in that category carry a lower weight …”

    That sounds promising, but I wonder if it will make people fear choosing a book that is widely regarded as a likely Hugo nomination. For instance, if there’s a year with a novel riding a hype tsunami like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, people who include it on their ballots are probably cutting their next choice’s chances in half.

  111. I don’t think we need to wait for the paranormal romance slate to see the sad puppies weeping; they are now irrevocably associated with a guy who regards the Taliban as an excellent role model for ‘saving’ western civilisation.

    I very much doubt that anyone other than the entirely lunatic fringe sees that as a good idea…

  112. revbobmib, in his April 29, 2015 at 8:33 pm post nailed the Puppy argument against Redshirts.

    Basically, “Redshirts sucks but Scalzi is well-liked by the cabal b/c he’s a paid up member (because he’s liberal on the internet), so they voted for him.”

    The key weaknesses here are: 1) there is no cabal; and 2) there were authors who check off more “SJW” stuff than Scalzi on the ballot but they didn’t win.

    It’s bizzare. I mean, I talk to lots of liberals who read scifi and a very popular opinion amongst such people (which is also mine) is that Redshirts had a great premise and the firsty 1/2 to 2/3 of it rocked but then it weakened significantly, so the overall impression was good but really not great. I didn’t read the other nominees and therefore can’t say whether one of them “should” have won instead. But I can understand someone advancing the argument that Redshirts wasn’t great and something else should’ve won. That’s fine, and surely you can make that argument every damn year that the Hugos have existed (or at least most of ’em). Taste is subjective and all that.

    But nooo-oh. That doesn’t let guys like LC and BT wallow in victimhood.

  113. RSHD is going to be more popular than George Martin? Well, he WAS the “Fifth Beatle”, and just those songs alone, never mind his other composing and producing work had a great influence on music the past several decades and got him a knighthood. So that’s a tough barrier to climb in these days of mp3 and downloads; even Pharrell probably doesn’t aspire to that. I don’t think he has a blog though.

    Heck, I voted for 2312 the year “Redshirts” won, and OGH hasn’t thrown me out of his sekrit cabal.

    @Greg: if that was the last one Scalzi’s gonna let you do, it was the absolutely perfect one to go out with. No slates, darling!

    @Floored: I shall completely outwit you with my TOS mad skillz. And animated. pours a nice white tea.

    @Jack Lint: Probably the only way they’ll stop trying to pull this slate crap. Even doing the sensible thing and voting for only non-slate, and then No Award, and not mentioning them won’t. But let the ballot be flooded with tough girls in the city choosing between their vampire and werewolf boyfriends; THAT might shut them up. Heck, Seanan McGuire got one of her urban fantasies on the ballot a few years ago, maybe there could be more of that. (I hastily note that Seanan’s have plot and literary merit and no teenage werewolves and are safe to read for lovers of quality.) As well as the possibility of an All-Nora, All The Time ballot.

    And finally, I was always of the opinion that Redshirts won for the same reason About Others and Galaxy Quest won. It was about the stuff we love, and we like that. People like what they like. Not much of a conspiracy. Sorry to be so dull about it.

  114. […] Redshirts had a great premise and the firsty 1/2 to 2/3 of it rocked but then it weakened significantly, so the overall impression was good but really not great. I didn’t read the other nominees and therefore can’t say whether one of them “should” have won instead.

    Thing is, as has been noted, in the final rounds, the Hugo vote tallying method tends to reward the books that nobody disliked over the books that some people loved. Normally the result of this is to reduce the effect of vote-splitting: one book that was liked by 30% of the people and hated by the other 70% will not win against four otherwise interchangeable books that each normally get less than 20% on the first pass. But it also means that particularly divisive books are disfavoured.

    THe problem is 100 people voting exactly the same thing can outvote 1000 people voting essentially random works.

    Unfortunately very true. However, that same issue is effectively reversed on the final ballots. By getting all their own books on the final ballots, they have made it a lot easier to vote against them with no distractions.

  115. I agree that “stalker” is an accurate description of VD. It’s clear whenever comments about Scalzi (which still seems to be very, very often) that he follows John’s career and activities with excruciatingly focused daily attention, thinks about John constantly, can’t stop talking about him, compares himself to John, envies John, wants to be noticed by John (you don’t regularly and deliberately make yourself as big of a nuisance about someone as VD does about John without desperately wanting that person to notice and acknowledge you), etc. IOW, its clear that John’s existence assumes a disturbingly unbalanced ENORMITY in the mental life of this… total stranger who has absolutely no relationship with him.

    This has carried over into real-world activities, too, such as running for SFWA president. I had never heard of VD before that, had no idea who he was, was unaware of his antics on Scalzi’s blog. (I had, by then, briefly been the target of hundreds of reply-posts here from VD and his followers; but since my visits to this blog are sporadic, I didn’t know about any of that until months after it happened, and the SFWA election was the first time I ever saw VD in “action.”) Without knowing anything about him, my first impression of VD, based on his own commentaries, was that he was obsessed with John Scalzi, for whatever reason, and was running for SFWA pres because John was SFWA pres, rather than because he had any interest in SFWA. And all of VD’s subsequent statements and antics in the SFWA campaign kept reconfirming that that entire endeavor was based on his obsession with John.

    Similarly, VD has stated (more than once) that he doesn’t care at ALL about the Hugos… and if you’re wondering, well, then, why go to the trouble of gaming the Hugo ballot, engaging daily online now about it, and threatening to dominate future Hugo ballots and awards, etc., etc. The answer VD has given is that this is all about a 2005 blog discussion on Making Light–the one I mentioned above where he and John debated, and VD barely rose to the level of “posturing fool.” That appears to be the origin of his obsession with John–and he has cited that specific blog discussion as his reason, 10 years later, for gaming the Hugos and threatening the future of the Hugos–an award where Scalzi’s name is usually somewhere on the ballot in recent years.

    So, yeah, I’d say VD is a classic a stalker.

    So far, all of his antics for years have been nothing more than annoying, and there’s no indication that he is a physical, fiscal, or practical danger to anyone. But I think it’s unwise to be sanguine about a stalker, since the nature of the behavior is inherently unstable–and this also happens to be a stalker with many followers who are enthusiastic, anonymous, and unknown. Probably this will never go beyond lots of noise and bloviating and various irritating antics that consume other people’s time, as his SFWA and Hugo antics have done. but, unfortunately, I don’t think that can ever be a -certainty- as long as he remains obsessed and continues acting out.

  116. @lurkertype they are already talking and blogging about how much we’d hate it if UF/PNR was to win by misunderstanding comments made on previous posts here on Scalzi’s blog, Making Light, and elsewhere. Stuff can be found on file770. Sorry it was too painful reading the 1st time for me to go looking and providing exact links. I believe it was yesterday or the day before roundup but I could be wrong and it might be an earlier roundup.

    Me I thought – why hasn’t it occurred to me to nominate my favorite UF stuff before? And yeah Seanan’s October Daye UF has been on the ballot at least once. Her editor is on the ballot this year (thanks to SP slate but didn’t know anything about it according to several of her authors).

  117. So I have to think that at least some of them have plans to try and leverage this thing in politics to get them somewhere on the right wing ladder. Otherwise the entire operation makes not even a kernel of sense.

    See, something like this might explain his sales fantasy as well. He’s angling to get on the Wingnut Welfare train, and those people sell a /ton/ of books, mostly to rightwing organizations who buy them and then give them out.It’ll be interesting to see if it can be worked with fiction.

  118. lurkertype: Ahhhh, but I know DS9 and TNG like the back of my hand! Mwahahahahaaaa!!!!

    On vampires and werewolves: How about a bisexual African-American petite soldier vampire woman and an asexual geeky Latina werewolf genderfluid individual having best-buddies adventures around the world? Sounds infinitely better than Twilight.

  119. Wow, just read Ringo’s take on Redshirts. If it isn’t, it /ought/ to be horrendously embarrassing to him to have gotten so much wrong while proudly boasting about how he didn’t READ THE BOOK.

  120. @ Tasha–corect, Sheila Gilbert of DAW (Seanan McGuire’s) editor was never contacted about being on any slates and didn’t know about any of this until after the ballot was released and the shit hit the fan noisily enough for her to hear about it (from her authors, I assume, since she doesn’t know any of the Saddies or Rabids).

    It appears that apart from VD’s own pals, no one was asked if they wanted to be on the Rabid slate, and most people on it didn’t even know it existed until after the ballot was announced and the shit hit the fan.

    Some people were asked to be on the Sad slate, others not. I tend to think anyone who was indeed asked and agreed to it probably thought they were being asked, “Is it okay if I endorse your work for a Hugo?” and did NOT think they were being asked anything remotely like, “Can we turn you into a ping-pong ball in our orchestrated group campaign to dominate the Hugo ballot, which effort we’ll justify with a combination of confused political rhetoric and unprofessional insults about past Hugo winners, nominees, and voters, in an endeavor that will soon become conflated with Vox Day?”

    As uncomfortable and unpleasant as this has been for all nominees who are not themselves Puppies, I think it’s got to be even MORE so for anyone who agreed to be endorsed, because that might create a feeling in some of them that, despite not having known exactly what the Puppies were planning, saying “yes” committed them to this mess, and it would be hypocritical or whatever to withdraw once the whole thing got sticky and stinky.

    Apart from any nominee who is a Puppy, I feel bad for the nominees and think people shuld just support whatever decisions they make or have made about this, because they’ve been placed in an awful position through no fault of their own.

    I also think whether-or-not the Saddies did or did not contact people and get their permission is pretty much beside the point. Because if YOUR endorsement for someone else’s work is likely to cause them so much embarrassment or discomfort that you know/believe you SHOULD ask them first if it’s okay to tell people you loved their work and are nominating it for a Hugo…. for chrissake, what does that tell you about how you’re running your life!?

    I don’t think the question the Saddies address should be, “Did we contact every single person on our slate?” Who cares? I think the question they ought to examine is, “How can we become people whose endorsement isn’t so fraught with potential embarrassment that we should ask first in private if it’s okay?”

    Because for most of us, go figure, saying in public that we like something so much we’re nominating it for a Hugo does NOT require advance clearance, because our endorsement doesn’t cause problems for the person or work we admire. Doesn’t that seem Worth Thinking About if you’re spending as much time as the Puppies are answering questions about whether you GOT PERMISSION to endorse people you recommended for an award?

    (That said, I also think that after this year, the only people willing to be on a slate will be (1) Puppies, (2) people who have no idea what happened this year (which leaves out a big percentage of sf/f writers), and (3) people remarkably lacking in judgement–because what career-focused writers actively WANTS to be part of a mess like this?)

  121. @Laura Resnick:

    Judging from comments made by Correia and Torgersen, they prefer to believe that the issue is lefties are all vicious, mindless haters rather than they themselves are a potential embarrassment to associate with.

    It’s not so much, “do you mind hanging with us” so much as “do you mind if we potentially put you in the firing line” as far as they’re concerned.

  122. @ Jonathan Side: Well, yes. There is certainly a sense in which my previous comment was in no way a practical reflection of what’s actually going on.

  123. It’s a tough situation as voters if you want to make a point “slates aren’t acceptable” you may hurt innocent bystanders. The editors may be in a position where making any statement, even privately, beyond “I wasn’t aware” could get them fired. You can’t say much more privately because people have a way of accidentally sharing things/just one person and before you know it what you’ve said is all over the net. I just don’t know what their employment situation is like.

    Big name authors like Butcher I have less sympathy for. I’d expect an announcement one way or the other would have him lose some readers and pick up some new ones. I can’t see it effect current contracts.

    From what it looks like so far that’s how it’s worked for the people who’ve withdrawn after the ballot was announced. They’ve lost some readers & gained some. For the leaders it doesn’t seem to be affecting their sales one way or the other yet. One never knows what will hurt or help your book sales in the long run.

    It’s not an easy year. Not for most Hugo voters. Lots of soul searching in addition to reading.

  124. VD?

    Used to be something you didn’t want to talk about, but hoped the doctor had something to make it go away.


  125. Jack Lint said: “When the paranormal romance slate takes over, I’m sure the Puppies will regret their actions…”

    Ironically, I’ve actually seen the Puppies use this as an argument for their point of view: They’re out there saying, “See? See? The SJWs think that the paranormal romance books taking over would be a bad thing! They just want the books that fit their narrow definition of ‘sci-fi’ to win!” (I think every Puppy utterance begins with, “See? See?” Probably spoken in Daffy Duck’s voice.)

    But the point they miss is, I actually am fine with good paranormal romance winning. I love Mary Janice Davidson, I have a blast reading paranormal romance, and as long as the writing is of high quality, I’m A-OK with it. Heck, most paranormal romance tends to be sex-positive and frequently presents non-vanilla/monogamous/married-person fun times as a good thing, which I approve of.

    No, the point people are making is that if you think something like ‘Ancillary Justice’ blows your tiny, narrow little channel of a mind, wait until something like ‘Undead and Unwed’ wins. You’ll really lose it then. :)

  126. @ Tasha: No editor would lose their job for turning down a Hugo nomination or withdrawing from the ballot. Editors get laid off much more often than they get fired, and they get fired for actual on-the-job problems, usually pretty serious ones (or, for example, for sexual harassment complaints that could get their companies sued). Not for declining a genre-award nomination.

    (Speaking as someone who has dealy with publishers for over 25 years, it is REMARKABLE how incredibly incompetent, unprofessional, unreliable, unpleasant, dysfunctional, and frequently-absent a publishing-house employee can be, particularly in the sf/f genre, without losing their job. But I digress.)

    What’s being done to the Hugos this year is so convoluted, adolescent, and unprofessional, I would think someone like an Ace/Roc editor on the Long Form ballot or a mega-selling novelist on the Best Novel ballot probably don’t know much more than there’s some sort of controversy in sf/f over the Hugos this year and their name was on some white supremacist voting slate this year… To which they’d probably think, “Huh??” and also, “Well, there’s ALWAYS some bizarre feud or controversy going on in sf/f, isn’t there?” And then they’d get back to work and not think about it anymore.

  127. Jenora: By getting all their own books on the final ballots, they have made it a lot easier to vote against them with no distractions.

    yeah, it’s just a bummer that they wiped out complete categories. It wouldn’t be so bad if actually good works got in the categories next to badly written slate works so at least there would be some good stuff to vote for.

    Laura: The answer VD has given is that this is all about a 2005 blog discussion on Making Light–the one I mentioned above where he and John debated, and VD barely rose to the level of “posturing fool.” That appears to be the origin of his obsession with John–and he has cited that specific blog discussion as his reason, 10 years later,

    your first mention of the 2005 discussion was what got me thinking about Syndrome’s ten year obsession with Mr. Incredible. He wanted to be Mr. Incredible, but when that didn’t work out, he turned into a stalker-level psychopath righting the imagined wrongs done to him oh so long ago.

  128. All this talk of currying favour is giving me a craving for Indian food. I could really go for some delicious curried favours, with roti & maybe some pappadums on the side.

  129. Hee! I was gonna say: boy *howdy* will VD and Wright like exactly nothing I’ve ever written. And, for that matter, nothing I tend to read.

  130. @Laura Resnick He’s been doing that most everyday, earnestly explaining how John -really- doesn’t sell very many books, he’s all about marketing, everything he does is a marketing spiel, oh, and he doesn’t sell many books, and Tor buys him his spot on the NYT bestseller list, and besides, he doesn’t sell very many books, oh, hey, he probably buys them all himself since he’s rich from not selling very many books.

    Or something like that.

  131. Heh, I love how MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead and Unwed starts at a restaurant (Khan’s Mongolian Barbecue) that my con friends and I usually visit when we’re at cons on the 494 strip. It’s good to know that I’d be safe from feral vampires.

  132. Laura:
    Sorry, wasn’t trying to say you were wrong, you’re not. Just that the Puppies, or at least the leaders, lack the self awareness to even consider they might be Part Of The Problem. Kinda like Pepe Le Pew.

    Indeed. I would love to write message fiction in which the message is ‘fuck those guys’.

    One VD quote I saw was that “Scalzi was never as popular as he wanted everyone to believe”. Regular hustler, that Scalzi.

  133. I don’t think that someone who believes violence against women is a public good is not non-dangerous. Teddy is a violent person by his own declarations. Correia seemed very confused that old acquaintances were contacting his wife to make sure she was physically okay. But the reason they did was because he was working with Teddy who claims things like that husbands should totally rape their wives.

    Even apart from Teddy’s urging people to commit violent acts, is that he brought in the game rippers. And with the game rippers do come people who are physically dangerous. Bringing in the game rippers endangered the lives of authors and artists. It did so not only of those who weren’t on puppy slates, but those put on the slates who then withdrew or expressed discomfort. So again, that they didn’t ask permission to put them on the slates was indeed a very big deal. It wasn’t just making them ping pong balls in a political fight. It was threatening their and their families’ lives and taking away their control of their own careers.

    And if they do it again, they threaten those lives again. You don’t want to have to remove yourself from the slate and be at risk of your life. You want to never be on the slate in the first place — unless you agree with these people ideologically and want to participate in endangering others.

    And the leaders of the puppies embraced this and welcomed the game rippers in, knowing full well what that meant. They decided that the issues they had, whatever slights they felt occurred in their careers, was worth risking the lives of those who have never done anything to them. They wanted people to be scared. They wanted to make women authors think about quitting the business altogether. They wanted to create a climate of violence. And they did that. Teddy was the easiest tool for starting that. And then Teddy brought in people who live for this stuff.

    All this talk about the future of the Hugos — I just don’t want somebody to die. I’m hoping there’s no bomb threat at the Hugos ceremony. The senseless arguments, they are funny. But the threat behind them is not and is very, very real. These things aren’t going to destroy the Hugos or the industry, obviously. They aren’t even going to make a dent.

    But the physical dangers to individuals are quite real. They reflect the larger threats going on in our society as people risk their necks to create social change. The more the needle moves towards better equality, the more the physical threats, and this situation in the “geek” industries is one example of that.

  134. Given the propensity for certain people to enjoy taking quotes out of context, I expect before too long we’ll see you being quoted as:

    Redshirts is, in fact a genuinely TERRIBLE example of a book

    — John Scalzi (@scalzi) April 29, 2015

  135. Bruce: thanks for explaining “neep”. I like to think I’m fairly up to date with my tech. I’ve got the best computer that vacuum tubes can build, but I guess I’ve fallen behind on the lingo a bit.

    And a general thanks to folks who complimented my Syndrome post and the others. Glad we could find some humor out of this.

  136. @Tasha, et al.: The Pups are even dumber than we thought if they think we’d be upset about UF/PNR winning awards. Sure, they’d have a cow (because girly stuff), but most of us would think it’s Pretty Keen. Heck, I’m already thinking next year of nominating at least one of Seanan’s (what with her many series, all good — she’s the only author I’ll read zombies for), maybe an Isabel Cooper or Laura Resnick* (no pressure, girlfriends), and the completely feasible All-Nora Roberts ballot.

    I say, let us go forth and nominate those polyamorous omnisexual shapeshifters.** The average quality can’t be any worse than the crap that did make it on the ballot this year, and there are plenty of good ones out there.

    @Floored: I will put on my Jadzia Dax costume and still smoke you.

    * I mean, if ever someone had an inherited Divine Right to Hugos, it’d be her.
    ** Three words in a row that spell check doesn’t know. Not very SJW of it.

  137. @rcade:

    It’s weird that he doesn’t even try to hide it.

    In all fairness, my wife Deirdre had just trolled Theo most evilly with her analysis of a comparison of ‘influence’ of various Web sites (using worldwide Alexa rank), creating for the purpose a unit of influence called the milliScalzi. (Deirdre is a Bad Person[tm].) Theo was responding (Sunday, April 26) to Deirdre rather than to John. His counterargument was to compare USA-only Alexa figures. (Because there’s no world in Worldcon, apparently.)

    Rick Moen

  138. Dear Lurker,

    “…I will put on my Jadzia Dax costume and still smoke you….”

    Ooooh, scary women are soooo HOT!

    (said in creeeeeepy voice)

    pax / Ctein

  139. @rcade, way up above, writes regarding proposals for weighted voting in the Hugo nominations:

    That sounds promising, but I wonder if it will make people fear choosing a book that is widely regarded as a likely Hugo nomination. For instance, if there’s a year with a novel riding a hype tsunami like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, people who include it on their ballots are probably cutting their next choice’s chances in half.

    Any election with more than two candidates is vulnerable to strategic voting (being dishonest about your preferences in order to manipulate the process); this is a consequence of Arrow’s Dictator Theorem. However, first-past-the-post, the system currently used in Hugo nominations, is especially vulnerable to such hijinks. And if I understand correctly from reading the threads on Making Light, the weighted-voting proposal they are bruiting about is more resistant to strategic voting than most other contenders, because in order to pull it off, you would need reliable information about how everyone outside your faction is voting and then run some computationally difficult simulations to see what strategy is most likely to swing the outcome. (Think of Vizzini in The Princess Bride trying to figure out which cup is poisoned.)

  140. @lurkertype: Hah, I’ll wear my Worf costume, with the imitation genuine imitation bat’leth! Can’t compete with that!

    @Quoth: I refuse to bet against that.

  141. “The Pups are even dumber than we thought if they think we’d be upset about UF/PNR winning awards. Sure, they’d have a cow (because girly stuff), but most of us would think it’s Pretty Keen.”

    No they wouldn’t. There has already been talk (more humorous than objective, at this point) that if No Award sweeps, then next year the finalists should include African-American romance novels, Nora Roberts, a Farsi-to-English dictionary, a telephone book, etc. etc.

    If you think that a paranormal romance is worthy of the award, by all means vote for it. But if your intent is ‘here is a list of nominations that will make sad puppies even sadder and rabid puppies even rabidder, haha!’… then I guarantee you are wasting your time taking this approach.

  142. No they wouldn’t. There has already been talk (more humorous than objective, at this point) that if No Award sweeps, then next year the finalists should include African-American romance novels, Nora Roberts, a Farsi-to-English dictionary, a telephone book, etc. etc.

    I’ve noted elsewhere that this is pretty much just going full supervillain here, using a threat to destroy things if you can’t have them. It’s also a classic belief that the people you’re fighting against are ‘weak’ and will cave to your demands rather than see what they love destroyed. The idea that the people on the other side love their principles more than the items being held for ransom and thus will stand even firmer when threatened that way seems entirely alien to that mindset.

    I wasn’t surprised at Beale doing this. (He’s already set it up so that he can claim victory no matter what happens, seemingly not understanding that this then frees everybody else from having to care how he will react.) I am a little less happy if others are going this way as well.

  143. Yep, I’ll cop to trolling. I don’t make a hobby of it. And, as has been pointed out, Alexa rank isn’t everything. (I used to have to make decisions about importance of bug fixes based on Alexa rank, though, so I’d argue it’s pretty important.)

  144. I think there’s a big misunderstanding here.

    We’re thinking “Hey, maybe we DO need more diversity. Nominations outside of the usual thing.” Which is, after all, the Pups’ stated ambition. Shake up that status quo. Widen the thoughts of what’s eligible.

    This includes urban fantasy (it’s got fantasy right there in the title, even if there’s no dragons and orcs), YA SFF, science fiction that doesn’t come from the usual suspects in publishing, and if a little romance sneaks in, well hey — that’s a part of life (It hasn’t hurt Bujold’s sales and awards).

    The fact that it would piss off the Yaps is just the cherry on the sundae. Sundaes are awesomely delightful without those. It’d be a nice bonus, but not the whole aim. Just a side effect.

    Pretending you’re going to nominate dictionaries and Twilight clones and those books involving one werebear woman being gangbanged by the entire range of supernatural creatures and also dinosaurs and tentacle monsters* is just trolling the Yips. Looks like they fell for it, not recognizing sarcasm and satire AGAIN. It’s a joke, boys.

    Expanding minds is the cool thing about SFF, and expanding the reach of the Hugos is one way to do that.

    *Don’t click blind links that people send you as a joke. It will take more brain bleach than even Amazon sells. shudder

  145. This includes urban fantasy (it’s got fantasy right there in the title, even if there’s no dragons and orcs)

    Urban/contemporary fantasy has tons of dragons, orcs, elves, fae, gods, swordspeople and bladed weapons, etc. Jim Butcher has all of that, for instance. Urban fantasy is often nominated for the Hugo short fiction awards — it’s a lot easier to write a short story set in the contemporary world than a made-up alternate one. It’s nominated less for the Hugo novel awards, but it’s actually often seen as a higher quality of writing/story than the big secondary world epics. A number of authors have been told that their chances of getting a Nebula, Hugo, British Fantasy or World Fantasy Award go down if they write secondary world epics rather than contemporary or historical fantasy. That’s one of those types of statements that is not backed up by facts, but it is true that contemporary fantasy has as much of a shot as anything else. Neil Gaiman has not been shut out. And horror, which is also involved, is very often part of contemporary fantasy.

    But contemporary fantasy fans have dealt with a large number of books since the 1980’s, which scatters the vote. The books are usually suspense, with series that have each book dealing with a particular case, kind of like a television series. Consequently, that may be of less interest to voters than one-off science fiction stories or battle epics that can be somewhat self-contained. And it may be that a lot of contemporary fantasy fans just aren’t interested in the Hugo Novel and Campbell awards. If you look at the World Fantasy awards, it’s a lot more scattered as to types. Quite often contemporary fantasy is up for the Stoker or the Edgar.

    Paranormal romance is not at all limited to contemporary fantasy. They are claimed as pairs because publishing has institutionalized sexism and sexed up the covers of female written/hero contemporary fantasy and sometimes marketed it to romance readers, and because contemporary fantasy, horror, YA (which includes a fair amount of young romance,) and paranormal romance all had a growth surge around the same time — the early oughts.

    Some of the romance writers are actually writing contemporary fantasy, not paranormal romance. The paranormal romance are usually thrillers with plenty of violent action. And then there is also SF romance. In general, paranormal romance does outsell most types of fantasy and certainly science fiction on a regular basis, and they’ve got some good writers. A lot of them also tend to be liberals with social justice themes. It would be interesting to see how the puppies would actually react to them on a ballot.

  146. KatG: I know all that, though am pretty sure the “anti-SJW!” types conflate all those kinds of books into the same genre of Unworthy Girly Stuff.* Probably because of the marketing and terrible, terrible cover art.

    In any case, a lot of women read/write it**, there are a lot of women and PoC lead characters, and they don’t always have hetero sex. So it’s Icky and Not Worthy. It’s sometimes literary, which they’re allergic to; when it’s pulpy, it’s in the Wrong Way.

    I guess what I meant to say is “they’re fantasy even if and when there are no dragons and orcs”.

    Interesting about the different thinking of different awarding groups.

    *Except Jim Butcher, because he’s a straight guy and so is Dresden.

    ** Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series is UF with all the magic and magical critters and swords you could ever need, and while there are romantic relationships, the books are NOT “romance novels”. Those seelie and unseelie critters aren’t cuddly, and wow is there a lot of blood. But Seanan’s a feminist, so she doesn’t count either.

  147. I know you don’t write in my genre, but because I remember you from misc.writing, I’ve been following your blog (I was known as The Chocolate Lady there). Now about these tweets – damn, now I want to read this book!

  148. Lurkertype:

    Na, they hate McGuire. Tough luck. Feed (written as Mira Grant,) was quite good and a rip crackling zombie adventure novel.

    Funny thing is, in the late eighties-early nineties, authors and readers liking to browse through things, dragons were very popular. The art departments stuck them all over the covers. And so people complained about so many dragon novels (the same way they do over vampires or zombies, etc., because the fact that other people read stuff you are not interested in is apparently a crime against nature.) And it was of course blamed on women readers (the same women readers who apparently did not exist back then according to folks now, except back then they were seen as a surge of supposed newcomers also who were responsible for one destruction or another.) The women readers clearly overly liked dragons more than men because reasons. And now we have the puppies complaining about a lack of barbarians fighting dragons. It’s the circle of life. :)

  149. @KatG: So the Manly Men have decided to like dragons, which formerly was entirely the province of women. So today’s Manly Men are therefore willingly girly-er from those of 25 years ago. Do I have that right? ;)

    I personally think there are too damn many badly-written zombies; however the Feed universe take on them was different enough to be interesting. It wasn’t all Manly Men in Mad Max/Walking Dead wastelands full of nothing but gun porn and harems. I mean, they had the internet and running water and representative government and everything.

  150. Good grief, the SJW pick on that ballot was 2312. It had unquestionable leftist ideology, a genuine heroine, and I still remember it when I see a news story about the Mercury probe that ran out of fuel.

  151. @KatG: So the Manly Men have decided to like dragons, which formerly was entirely the province of women. So today’s Manly Men are therefore willingly girly-er from those of 25 years ago. Do I have that right? ;)

    Not entirely their province, no. But the popularity of it at the time, that was often laid at the feet of the female fans being really into dragons. As the 1990’s progressed, elves got more popular in big battle epics of clashing civilizations and questing chosen ones. In the early 1980’s, contemporary fantasy, especially anything cyberpunkish, portal/multiple dimension fantasy, fantasy horror and comic fantasy were all very popular. There’s always more than one thing and many things are perennials. They tend to cycle through things, which is why when something is popular with some big hits, like vampires, that does not mean that those books will wipe out all other kinds of fantasy or wipe out SF, etc. And women readers and authors are continually blamed for whatever decline or death in the field they think is going on because they bring in their girl cooties and then the right kind of fiction seems to them bto be shut out, whatever that is at the time.

    Basically, the puppies’ refrain that a certain kind of story is ruining SFF and shutting out the right kind of authors is one made every year in the SFFH field for one target or another. It’s never factual. It’s emotional.

  152. “those books involving one werebear woman being gangbanged by the entire range of supernatural creatures and also dinosaurs and tentacle monsters”

    What book is this?? I need to know! For, uh, research purposes.

  153. @Colleen: I may have exaggerated or conflated two or three subgenres of Amazon self-pubbed erotica. Dear Lord, I HOPE so. But you can find all of those critters gettin’ it awn with the laydeez. Or the menz. Shifters everywhere. Oh, and Bigfoot, who apparently isn’t just large in the feet. Like I said, I’m not clicking blind links again.

    Try combos of those words, and, uh… good luck?

    @4jkb4ia: Well, yeah. Plenty of SJW content in 2312. The people who lived in the dark section was boring, but that might have been a deliberate choice; living in groups that are cut off from outside input is bad. Or possibly needed more editing. But there was all kinds of socialism and strong women and even a romance. Just the first page, with the description of the moving city on Mercury, gosh. I even put up with the dumb DRM that the publisher saddled it with in the Hugo packet and voted it number one.

    And then of course the other people on the ballot were two women (one of whom is outspokenly feminist) and a dude with an Arabic name writing a fantasy full of nothing but Arab/Muslim-inspired people.

    ALL of the books were more SJW than Redshirts. The SJW was roundly defeated by a SWM writing a book that had nothing but SWM.

    @KatG: The Saddos have always been at war with Feminasia.

  154. Frankly, Lurkertype, I’m beginning to suspect that you wrote it; we seem to be into ‘the lady doth protest too much’ territory.

    Your secret is, of course, safe with me…

  155. Colleen,
    If you really want the rabbit hole, try this blog. You have to go back a ways to find them, but he has plenty more like this listed. Frankly, I think he’s trying to commit suicide by

  156. I’ve just spent most of a bleary night getting through, my guess, a bit less than half of the relevant Making Light posts on all this.
    My poor husband gave up and went into campus to work today, since I kept reading him out choice bits and ruining his ability to concentrate on setting an Old Irish exam.
    At this rate, he may not be able to work at home again for weeks, if not months.
    It’s going to just keep going.

    I keep trying to find bedrock, the irreducible elements of it all. What I come down to are these:

    First, yes, it is terrible. These fools will have ruined the Hugos this year, and quite likely the next as well, and there is no undoing the damage. If VD really wants to claim that as a “win,” he’s welcome to it. I think the number of people who will look at the results and see it that way might easily fit in a phone booth, and so there is no need to worry about him celebrating his “victory.” Thus, whatever action people decide to take need not be concerned with what the various canines will claim: dogs will bark, but you don’t need to listen to noise.

    Secondly, and importantly, all the rationalizing of the creation of the slates is ultimately just distraction from the central issue: that slate voting stifles choice and denies all fans an equal voice. The only thing that can be done at this point is to render slates openly and publicly ineffective in 2015 and 2016. In the long run, some one or few tweaks to the voting system will level the field again, but in the meanwhile we have to deal with the system as it is.

    Thirdly, the problems raised by slate voting cannot the dealt with by Worldcon, because, as has been pointed out, slates are not currently illegal, merely unethical. Nothing can redeem this year’s ballot, or next year’s. We will have to deal with two voting cycles that are deeply compromised. How that should best be done is the subject of much hot debate, mostly concerning at what point Noah Ward should step in.

    My own belief is that all the slate-only categories should go to Mr. Ward this year. I do not believe that any nomination resulting from a rigged process can be a legitimate candidate, and this distinction is independent of the quality of the work. If someone cuts in front of a long line in a queue, does it matter whether or not they are a nice person? Similarly, it doesn’t matter if the pooches inserted their friend or mine, since neither of them got there on their own merits. It doesn’t matter whether it is good or meh, since other good works were unfairly excluded from the competition. I don’t think any slate nominations should be voted for, even if that work is something I would normally support – no exceptions. Yes, it truly sucks, and remember to thank the pooches.

    At least it is only this year that there will there be the issue of innocent bystanders placed on slates. This should not be an issue in the future, since I think it is safe to assume that as soon as the 2016 slates appear, everyone on them will instantly receive hundreds of emails from interested observers. Next year anyone on a slate will be either fully invested in the concept, or will have had ample time to publicly disown the process.

    I’m still on the fence about mixed categories. If three candidates in a given category arrived on the ballot without the slate’s assistance, is it valid to elect one of them, considering that two other possible nominations were stifled by the slate? Is their award really truly valid at that point? What if there is only one non-slate choice? My preference would be to trust voters to award quality appropriately, but it is a terrible situation all the same. And I suspect it may remain applicable next year as well. I confess that I really want some people to be able to take shiny things home with them.

    Finally, another important concern is that apparently voting membership is exploding (+2000 in this week alone, apparently). There is no way of knowing for sure who all these people are, but I am enough of an optimist to think that a lot of them may be people like me – sf readers who don’t normally get involved, but cannot tolerate what has been done. I’m seeing a lot of posts all over saying essentially that.

    After all, somebody’s been buying all the sci fi stuff the pooches don’t like. The presses stay in business; the authors make money; no matter what the three stooges think, it hasn’t all been done with smoke and mirrors. There are real people buying this stuff. I myself am a Real Person. I buy as much of it as I can, because I love it and i makes me happy. And, god knows, I don’t do it to impress anyone or to suffer excruciating boredom for reasons of ideological purity. And now, suddenly that makes me a Social Justice WARRIOR! WOOT!! Can I get armor with that!!! And all for just buying the stuff I like. I’ve never voted for a Hugo, and I don’t usually go to cons (though my daughter and her wife do). I’m one of those invisible people who just reads the occasional blog, and buys some books, and generally enjoys it all. Now these clowns have come in and pissed all over the stuff I like and it makes me… MAAAD!!!! I don’t get free SJW armor? Fine. Well then, I’ll settle for a ballot.Think of the rousing of the Ents, if you will. Things may be getting very interesting.

    Could all this be enough to swamp the slate? Again, there is no way of knowing. In any case, the slate voters have to remember to vote on the ballot. Will the head pooches be providing their minions with a voting guide as well, or are they on their own now? Some few of them may even be genuinely confused and misled earnest types who will receive their packets and have to cope with what they have wrought. In any case, the Hugo ballot may not be as favorable to the pooches as was the nomination process. The slate now offers multiple candidates vying for a single slot, where there is precious little vote scatter possible for non-slate voters. It won’t be a pretty year for Hugos. There is a lot of gratuitous pain involved, and a lot of purely ugly behavior to get past, and it will be a long time healing. But I have a feeling the canine core may be in for a bit of a rocky ride.

  157. You know, for whatever it’s worth, I didn’t even particularly like “Red Shirts” and I’m not sure whether it “deserved” a Hugo, whatever that even means, but this is exactly what I’ve thought every time I’ve seen it brought up on their side; it’s a pretty terrible example of a SJW novel because it’s not “about” any of the things they’re complaining about. It’s tightly written, it’s a quick read, and it was a whole big popular thing in sci-fi that year. By their arguments, it actually *is* deserving of the Hugo.

  158. Someone sent me this link and I thought it was most appropriate put in here, as it rather astonished me on Torgersen:

    Excerpt here:

    On the other side of the increasingly illusory divide, we have Brad Torgersen. In what looks like a Facebook conversation, he appears to have dropped the central contention of the Puppy campaign. That is, he’s no longer maintaining that there was an organized effort by “SJWs” to nominate works and authors for “PC cred” reasons or to reward members of a clique and that the Sad Puppies were conceived to make sure that the nominees and winners really deserved them.

    Nope. Now it’s just a matter of taste. You can read the comments in full at, where I read them, but I’ll excerpt the most significant lines here:

    “Gents, thing is, there is *no* objective standard. None. Pretense to the contrary, [it] is just that: pretense. […] Year after year, a great swath of SF/F’s audience watches as the Hugos parade off to works which leave that swath cold. […] Again, no objective standard. Just taste. If people with taste similar to yours can vote in sufficient numbers, then your taste prevails. If those with a different taste can vote in sufficient numbers, your taste does not prevail.”

    I kind of doubt at this point that Torgersen is either honest enough nor self-aware enough to be consciously admitting that the Puppies were founded on a pretense, that the lines that have been used to rally up a small army of small-minded followers were essentially lies, but there you have it. Just as I’ve been saying all along, just as many others have been saying: different people like different things for different reasons.

    No need to imagine a clique or conspiracy or cabal or collusion or whatever scary c-word you want to slap on it this time. It’s just differing tastes.

    So after all the nattering about the evil SJ cabal striking back-room deals that are destroying both the Hugos and all publishers except Baen with non-meritorious message-heavy fiction, they’re back-tracking on all of it. Meanwhile, the message that liberals, gays, etc. are threatening and conniving and ruining all got repeated over and over so that most of their minions still think that’s what Sad Puppies was about. And they shook everybody up, just like they wanted. And now it’s, what, a crusade? It’s not a crusade. We’re just being unfairly persecuted for having different tastes. So I guess Redshirts wasn’t a SJ cabal pick, as now there’s magically no SJ cabal. Got to laugh at it or weep.

  159. …but…but…it was such a lovely SJW Cabal! We had cookies! And tea! And Regency dress and Mary Robinette Kowal books and OGH’s baconcats and monocles! WE HAD MONOCLES!

    *weeps uncontrollably*

    I loved the SJW cabal! All my best friends in the whole world were there! Why, oh why, do those nasty Sad Puppies have to undo it? Why did they destroy our lovely little tea club? WHY, O DARK AND MIGHTY CTHULHU? WHY?????

    Seriously, though, it’s really predictable that they’re backing down now. All these big He-Men share one important trait: On the inside, they’re cowards. They talk the talk, but when they get called out on it or catch too much scrutiny, they don’t have the gonads to prove it.

  160. It’s not backing down so much as shifting the parameters of the discussion and claiming that in the past they said no such thing. Or that they were joking with the cabal language. Torgersen would make an excellent conservative politician on that front.

  161. @ Kat Goodwin: Ah. Moving the goalposts. That’s a classic creationist debating tactic, I should’ve recognized it.

    Still cowardly.

  162. Vaguely On Topic:
    In service of my $40 I watched “Captain America: The WInter Soldier” last night. “Brad Torgersen endorsed” does mean something for that movie in that he viewed the portrayal of the military as not condescending. By the end of the first hour, I had thought that for the kind of story the SPs want to tell the visual storytelling is perfect. By this morning, I had thought that part of being able to enjoy this movie is knowing what a Marvel movie is apt to be. This could reduce the whole SP phenomenon to claiming that in the sense of knowing what you are getting, print SF should be more like the SF that is being consumed in mass market movies and video games, or as Gardner Dozois said “the level of complexity of a Star Trek episode”.

    Spoiler alert
    For those who have even vaguely been following USA Freedom Act even Ted Cruz cannot come out for mass surveillance the way it has been practiced.

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