Final(ish) Notes on Hugos and Puppies, 2015 Edition

(Warning: Hugo neepery, possibly the last of the season. Avoid if you don’t care.)

It’s late, and I’m experiencing a bit of insomnia, so, hello, now that I’m home, here are some disjointed thoughts about the Hugo results and the post-award freakout about them that the Puppies appear to be having at the moment.

1. What did the 2015 Hugos teach us? Well, basically that slates are the fucking kiss of death, Hugo-wise. If you create them, it kills your credibility with the voters; if you’re on them, it kills your chances of winning — indeed, it kills your chances of winding up above “No Award,” unless you happen to be a movie that grossed $775 million worldwide. The moral of the story really is: Slates! Not even once!

Have the various Puppies learned this very simple and obvious lesson? Apparently not, since the response from those quarters appears to be “We just didn’t slate hard enough! We’ll be back next year and we’ll slate even harder!” Which, well, you know. Bless their hearts.

The Puppies’ problem is that, inasmuch as everyone now knows being on a slate is a hard and fast ride south of the “No Award” line, it will be very difficult for them to find anyone who is genuinely award-caliber who would want to be on their future slates. My understanding is the Sad Puppies, at least, plan to solve this problem by not actually alerting their future sub-No Award victims that they’re going to be on the slate before the slate is announced. Given what we know of the results of slating at this point, if they go ahead and follow through on this plan, it’ll be a monumental asshole move on their part.

2. The Puppies continue to appear genuinely flummoxed that the Hugo voters rejected everything and everyone they slated (except Guardians of the Galaxy, which as previously noted they can hardly take credit for), arguing on one memorable occasion that if The Three Body Problem, the eventual best novel Hugo winner, had been on the slates, it would have finished below “No Award,” thus proving the bankruptcy of voting for “No Award” in the first place.

This is a bit like saying that if the person who didn’t get on the bus you then proceeded to drive off a cliff were on the bus, they would probably be dead now — it’s trivially true, but misses the point that you drove the bus off the cliff. The Puppies knew that slating was anathema to the large mass of Hugo voters — they had a dry run the year before, proffering a limited slate with Sad Puppies 2, and saw their nominees largely finish in fifth place or below “No Award” — but they did it anyway and now want to be shocked, shocked that their antics predictably resulted in their nominees doing very poorly indeed.

The going line in those quarters at the moment is that the blanket “No Award” just proves the Hugo Awards are corrupt. Well, no, that’s stupid. What the blanket “No Award” judgment shows is that the large mass of Hugo voters don’t like people trying to game the system for their own reasons that are largely independent of actual quality of work. In the Sad Puppy case the reasons were to vent anger and frustration at having not been given awards before, and for Brad Torgersen to try to boost his own profile as a tastemaker by nominating his pals (with a few human shields thrown in). In the Rabid Puppy case it was because Vox Day is an asshole who likes being an asshole to other people. And in both cases there was a thin candy shell of “Fuck the SJWs” surrounding the whole affair.

The shorter version of the above: You can’t game the system and then complain that people counteracting your gaming of the system goes to show the system is gamed. Or you can, but no one is obliged to take you seriously when you do.

3. And did the Puppy nominees deserve better than to be consistently slated below “No Award”? Surely some of them did, in my opinion. I myself put several slated nominees above “No Award” because, consistent with my stated philosophy on these things, I thought they were deserving nominees and I didn’t want to penalize them simply because they were (largely) being used as unwilling pawns by jerks. But as I’ve also said elsewhere, voting against all the slated nominees was a perfectly valid action, if you believe slating is in itself inherently inimical to the Hugo awarding process. It turns out a lot of people decided that was a thing they needed to do.

And yes, that sucked for a number of nominees who got put on the slates either unawares or not fully briefed on the heavily-politicized aspects of the slate (not to mention the fact that they would also in many cases be unwittingly associated with the bigoted shitheel who used the Sad Puppy slate like a parasitic wasp uses the hollowed-out husk of a tarantula). They deserved better than to be used, and I hope many of them realize that their ranking below “No Award” was not a reflection on them personally, but was instead a referendum on the mechanism of slating for the award. Many of them deserved to be Hugo nominees for their work, and I suspect they will be again, although hopefully not on a slate.

(But then there were the ones who didn’t deserve to be Hugo nominees, in my opinion, and/or the ones who were just assholes regarding the awards, the people voting for them and the entire process. With regard to these folks, fuck ’em. I didn’t have a problem in the slightest ranking them below “No Award,” and I won’t have a problem doing it again, should they ever slime their way back onto the ballot.)

4. With the exception of Vox Day and a few of his pals, who were just straight-up assholes, I feel a small bit of pity for the Puppies. I don’t think they actually knew what they wanted out of this whole mess, and I still don’t think they know. Yes, they can vomit up astounding amounts of wounded verbiage about SJWs and conspiracies and blue collar cracking good tales with their nuggety nugget-ness or whatever. But their love-hate act with the Hugos and everyone one else voting on them was just incoherent. It didn’t help that pretty much every argument they offered for their slating action was shoddily-constructed and easily disprovable, based largely on conspiracy thinking or assertions that could have their feet kicked out from under them by a trip to Wikipedia. Which didn’t keep them from offering them over and over. Epistemic closure was not the Puppies’ friend.

In the end, the meat of the Sad Puppy argument was “Brad wants to nominate his friends so let’s fix that and we do mean fix,” and the meat of the Rabid Puppy argument was “Ha ha ha fuck you and also buy Castalia House product oh God I’m still a failure in life aren’t I.” These arguments were painfully obvious, and not easily swept aside by the interrelated Puppy camps’ poor arguments or resentment-laden rhetoric. This is why, aside from the fundamental problems with slating, which were considerable, very few people outside the Puppy camps were persuaded by them.

5. And also, you know. The Puppies acted like jerks the whole way through, which is another, uh, questionable tactic. Look: even if the Puppies weren’t largely slating friends and/or work from their own publishing houses, and then trying to justify those choices by creating a conspiracy of liberals arrayed against them, the fact that largely every bit of rhetoric coming out of their quarters could best be described as “high screech attack” was not going to make them friends with the general Hugo voting electorate, and isn’t making them friends in the aftermath, either.

What’s the deal? Vox Day is a grasping sociopath, in my opinion, so that’s that. But the rest of them? It’s been suggested that in the case of Brad Torgersen, at least, this is an intentional career move, being unpleasant to “liberals” (which in this case seems to mean anyone outside the Puppy camp) to help lock in a conservative audience. And, I guess, maybe? But I know a lot of conservatives — no, really — and as a class they have no higher percentage of jerk among them than does any other political stripe. Catering to the conservative jerk audience seems like aiming fairly low. And in any event, I don’t see the Puppy phenomenon as really being about conservatism so much as being about other things, with conservatism (or reactionary nonsense) thrown on top to mask and/or justify the actions.

But other people were jerks to the Puppies! you might say. Well yes, many people were. But those people were not attempting to argue for the validity of slating or of specific nominees to a vast number of voters. Leaving aside the schoolyard logic of “they were mean too,” it’s not actually smart, when you are trying to convince people to take your slate and nominees seriously, to shit all over them and the awards they care about, for months on end. They should try not doing that. That’s, like, basic marketing.

6. That said, I think it’s too late to change the Puppy brand. This was the third year of the campaign and the second year that it incorporated Vox Day, bigot — and the year that Vox Day actually ended up controlling the Puppy brand and using it for his own goals, much to the unconvincing, backtracking “he’s not with us” surprise of the Sads. Now when the general population thinks of “Puppies” in the context of the Hugos, sad or rabid, they’re thinking of bigoted self-promoters pushing questionable work. Is that fair? It’s totally fair to some of the Puppies, not to others, and far less fair to the people who might be put on the slates in future years without their knowledge or against their will.

And again: Who on Earth at this point would choose to be on a Hugo slate? Either people who crave a nomination by any means necessary, which is tantamount to admitting one cannot get on the ballot any other way, or people who want to get on the slate only to block other people from being on the slate. In other words: The talentless and the assholes. Anyone who wants an actual shot at the award will do their damnedest to stay off a slate — any slate, but especially a Puppy slate, which now has a certain whiff of anger, resentment and most of all failure about it.

7. Will the primary Puppies suffer for their participation in slating? In terms of selling books, I suspect not. The vast majority of book readers neither know nor care about the inside pool of the Hugo Awards and apparently contrary to some beliefs, no author has sole claim over their readers. The overlap in readership between me and Larry Correia, for example, is probably not trivial, and it would be silly for either of us to claim those readers as “ours” exclusively, or to expect them to know or care about any of this. Likewise the very silly attempt to paint Baen and Tor as opposing camps, which again most readers don’t know about and wouldn’t care about even if they did (also, the recent attempt by the Puppies to claim Dragon*Con as their home turf seems, well, ambitious). Will Brad and Larry lose readers who might otherwise have given them a shot? Sure. And so will I, and as will a few other writers too. We’ll also gain some readers. Overall it’ll be wash.

Reputations among fandom? Well, it’s pretty clear that the fandom that votes for Hugos, at least, is not pleased with the Puppies. But in this matter the Puppies are correct: The Worldcon-attending fans are only a small slice of fandom in general. There is lots of fandom, and audience, to go around. Contrary to some heightened rhetoric out there, it seems very unlikely that anyone’s being run out of town on a rail, no matter how much being run out of town might fulfill their persecution complex.

8. So what happens next year with the Hugos? Well, the Puppies have already declared that they will be back, so there’s that. The difference between next year and this last one, however, is the nearly 6,000 people who voted for the Hugos, only a small minority of which are Puppy-affiliated. If next year’s Worldcon folks are doing their job, they’ll attempt to make sure a sizable portion of this year’s voters will nominate next year as well, in all categories. The more people who nominate, the less successful slating by anyone will be, including the Puppies. And I expect people are motivated to nominate next year in any event.

So, while I expect slating, I don’t expect slates to dominate categories like they did this year. I suspect we’ll see a couple of nominations in each category being slate nominations, with the rest hitting the ballot by normal means. I likewise expect that slated nominees will continue to be punished, although possibly not to the extent of this year. I imagine at least one of the “anti-slating” proposals will be enacted for 2017, which should cut down on this specific nonsense, but don’t kid yourself that it will reduce gaming the system entirely. I expect the Puppies will continue to grump about how awful everyone else is to them, because they like feeling, evidence to the contrary, that they are being persecuted for something (aside from being jerks, that is).

Which is not to say people should relax about this. Hell, no. If you have a the ability, then nominate, damn you. In every category.

9. On a personal note, it’s been observed that if the Puppy slate nominees had not been around, my novel Lock In would have made the Hugo ballot this year. People have been curious if I feel like I was cheated out of a rightful spot in the limelight.

In a word: No. For one thing, I’m not sure you can say that if there was no Puppy campaign that all the categories would have sussed out exactly as they would if you simply eliminate the Puppy nominees. Also, I think it’s possible that some Puppy nominees could have gotten onto the ballot on their own steam — in the novel category Chuck Gannon has been nominated for a Nebula two times running, so I think he could have had a decent chance at the Hugo. Likewise Annie Bellet and Kary English I think might have made splashes under their own power (as examples). So I don’t see it as a given I would have been on the final ballot, regardless.

For another thing, dudes, I already have a Best Novel Hugo. One of the nice things about having one of those is that it takes the pressure off, you know? I mean, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t mind getting some more Hugo nominations, and it’s always nice to take home the hardware. But if I never win another Hugo in my life I am fine. I have three, including the one (fairly or unfairly) considered “the big one.” I’m good.

Note my sanguine feelings about not making the ballot are not necessarily shared by others who finished under the cutoff, who might feel that otherwise they’d have been nominees. But for myself, meh.

10. As a final note, while I am opposed to slating, and I think the whining and self-justification and more than occasional spite that foamed out of the Puppy camp was and is childish and silly, I am 100% behind the idea that people who believe that the type of science fiction or fantasy they love is not represented at the Hugos, should participate in and vote for the awards. They should do it like everyone else does, which is to say, by voting their own choices, not the choices of someone else who has constructed a slate of nominees for reasons.

If every Puppy did that rather than voted a slate, you’d not hear a peep out of me. Their ballots would reflect their own individual tastes, which might not be mine (although you never know!), but you know what? That’s fine. Honestly, it is.

Ditch the slate, vote your taste. Really, it’s just that simple.

172 Comments on “Final(ish) Notes on Hugos and Puppies, 2015 Edition”

  1. Mallet’s out, etc. Please be polite to each other and keep the dumping on individual Puppies to a minimum.

    Also, I’m going to bed now but am leaving the comments on, so if some troll comes by and takes a squat while I’m sleeping, don’t respond and leave it be. I’ll clean it up when I wake up.

  2. So I skimmed larry Correia’s blog after doing a google on brad Torgersen, and true to my nature became confused. Was he a puppy, or off on his own?? (I was seeking additional PoV on the whole Hugo furball)

  3. Zhor2395: Larry Correia was the ‘First Puppy’ a couple years ago, when the entirety of puppydom was ‘Hey, let’s all vote Larry for the Hugo, sincerely Larry.’ He was also last year’s ‘lead puppy’, but passed this year’s torch to Brad Torgerson; perhaps he figured that after two years (or fourteen, in dog-years) he now qualified as a full grown dog, and should put puppyish things behind him. (No mention was made during the transition of his dog, Checkers.)

  4. Being in the UK the Hugos are not something I worry about. I did pick up a copy of 3 Body Problem as having gone to school with more than a few Chinese, I was looking forward to a non western influence and wondering if it would be like Dune for promoting otherworldliness. I was very disappointed as despite the efforts of the editor I felt I needed a Chinese History Qualification for the post 1945 period. I gave up not a third of the way in.

    In all the time I spent with my Chinese colleagues (years) the cultural revolution was never once mentioned. I wonder what would have happened were China replaced with a alien counterpart and the historical depth reduced. Which is a shame for those who are familiar with the appropriate Chinese History.

    3 Body Problem winning Best Novel does make me question the relevance of the Hugo award. Best Translation sure but Best 2015 novel? There were lots more that could have been chosen.
    Which is my way of saying that 2015 has damaged the ‘Hugo’ brand. I didn’t care before but now I know its meaningless and will probably avoid books stamped Hugo until recommended by somebody else.

    You Yanks can be very strange at times so I’m going off to eat a cucumber sandwich while cleaning my hat and drying my umbrella to await an appointment with a lawyer about the new Inheritance implications. Apparently you can’t now leave all your money to charity.

  5. What did they want, Scalzi? To be important – which they’re not if they’re part of the Puppies of either stripe. They’re just disgustingly sleazy pathetic losers, like the Right Wingers they are, who are whining like Widdle Babies at being on the Wrong Fucking Side of History. They Deserve Every Contemptuously Dismissive Thing That Has Ever Happened, or Will Ever Happen, To Every Last One Bigoted One of Them.

    If this comment deserves a Malleting – It won’t be the first time, and I least I got the bile I feel at their Whinily Entitled SWM Behavior out of my system for now.


  6. The outside perspective on this one, as a person who works with non-fandom journalists a bit, is that more people outside the fandom community are being made aware that there are Hugos, that there is actually a professional structure around F&SF, like SFWA, that they can contact for stories, that Worldcons are a phenom, and so on. Which is nice with MSM types.

    I’ve blown a few folks’ minds, particularly people who I shouldn’t have had to in odd corners of the games industry, where they didn’t freaking know about the more organized aspects of F&SF fandom or various writerly award things, LOCUS, HUGOs, whatever. Silos. Tribes. I am surrounded by geeky little tribes….

  7. Oh, and the number of times this has been compared to Gamergate is annoying. Sigh

  8. When Scalzi wakes up he is SO going to have to play the “Do whack…ahhh… doo whack whack” song… either on the mallet or the Uke… or both at the same time!

  9. Persecution complexes and conspiracy theories are great at motivating roughly 20% of almost any given group (and hey, that’s where the SP/RP numbers shook out to) to be loud and abusive. And unsurprisingly, loud and abusive types will provoke public anger from large numbers of the rest of the group.

    That inevitable anger at deplorable behavior (slates, in this case) will be seen by the 20% as proof of the conspiracy.

  10. True Believers of different political persuasions very often know that the reason their policies failed is because they “didn’t do it hard enough”.

  11. Huh. As a non-fan who reads a lot of speculative fiction. Here are my closing thoughts:
    1) Are all these people (and to be fair and balanced, those people) stuck in sci-fi’s golden age (12-years-old)? “Sad Puppies,” “Rabid Puppies,” “Social Justice Warriors,” really? To quote my wife in a different situation, “What are you, middle-schoolers?”
    2) I tried reading Anne Bellet via a few free pieces she has as loss leaders on Amazon. I was sorry to see her caught up in this as a bystander. She seems like a good writer, but while I enjoyed the short pieces, I’d probably not go out of my way to seek her out. Mileage varies so. OTOH, competent short writers are rare, so maybe.
    3) Marko Kloos is an interesting writer and I was sorry to see him caught up in this as a bystander. I read him before this whole kerfluffle and probably will again. So many books, so little time.
    4) The only use I make of the Hugos, Nebulas, etc. each year is to use the nominations list as a potential reading list to see what I might have missed. So, damn you, Puppies, damn you. You’ve spoiled my lazy routine. I shall now be forced to pay attention.
    5) This whole, multi-year slating thing is probably less interesting than the recent reports of lepton anomalies during meson decay in the LHC. It’s just more accessible and easier to comment on.

    Jack Tingle

  12. First, i do have to wonder how any group can name themselves “Sad Puppies,” let alone “Rabid Puppies,” and expect to be taken seriously. Especially as writers who are supposed to, as a matter of craft, have a knack for that sort of thing. I first heard of them through one of your posts and I honestly thought you were calling them that asa means of nerfing their message!
    They also seem to have fully embraced the school of logic that will, I think, ultimately be the death knell of many of these RW movements, including Neocons and Teapartiers:
    The answer to Slates not working is “More Slates!”
    The answer to rampant shootings is “More guns!”
    The answer to government shortfalls is “More tax cuts!”
    All while claiming victory despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It requires a staggering amount of cognitive dissonance to maintain that (a) you won exactly as planned and (b) even more of the same will fix things next year!
    And, again, these are writers we are talking about who should know, professionally, how to keep their stories internally consistent.

  13. I think anyone who has ever reviewed the Hugo process has thought “you could yourself buy a Hugo.” Just get yourself about 2500 memberships, using false names and email addresses. A big logistical challenge, to be sure, but likely do-able. It would cost upwards of $100,000, based on a woefully inadequate 10 seconds of thought. I’m sure the Whatever-ites will correct me on this.

    But then you realize that the award would actually mean nothing. It would just be an artifact, devoid of achievement. It would be no different than buying an actual Hugo from a real Hugo winner.

    But a sociopath (no empathy, no conscience, but a profound sense of entitlement) wouldn’t care. And a cheap sociopath would ask his buddies/followers to do it for him, by telling them for whom to vote.

    Dress that up in some self righteous nonsense about how the bad people are conspiring against the upright citizens of the community; call it a revolution against the evil elements of oppression of the right-thinking; and you’ve got yourself a drone army willing to buy you a Hugo.

    In the wake of some people actually trying this experiment (but unable to recruit enough drones), I’m glad it didn’t work, and that the Hugo Awards still mean something.

  14. Being a slate nominee is like cheating at solitaire. Still I’ll say one thing for the Puppies, at least they aren’t as obnoxious at it as the Browncoats when block voting for anything that everything Whedonistic is eligible for.

  15. You do know that the Sads and the Rabids are going to nominate you next year, don’t you, John? Yep. That’ll show you.

  16. I just don’t get them, I mean sure, I can look at what they tried to do and what actually happened and it’s obvious why it didn’t work, why couldn’t they?

    And this whole little fiasco has made MY decision to join the WSFS that much easier, and read more, it’s a two for one!

  17. I too voted “No Award” in nearly every category dominated by the Puppy slate. I did attempt to read most of the entries and found one or two of them a good read. I was feeling pretty good about myself and my voting ‘coup’ until I read Modesitt’s recent blog post on the “NO” Vote, particularly this paragraph:

    ‘As a side note, though, I’d have to ask all those male authors who were “no awarded” because of gender perceptions, many of them inaccurate, how it feels to be marginalized the way women and minorities have been for years. I’d also like to ask all the “new traditionalists” who drummed up the overwhelming “no award” votes how it feels to be just like the old-style chauvinists who marginalize on the basis of color and gender, because they just marginalized a number of good writers and editors on the basis of who nominated them, rather than on the basis of how good they were, although I have to admit that a number of the “puppy” nominees weren’t close to the best.’

    — The “NO” Vote,

    Then I didn’t quite feel as good about my behaviour as before.

  18. “…plan to solve this problem by not actually alerting their future sub-No Award victims that they’re going to be on the slate before the slate is announced. ”

    Why does the slate have to be announced rather than kept between the conspirators?
    Why can’t they have multiple slates, with only one for public consumption and the other for “insider” use?

  19. @ dirk bruere
    – They don’t have to announce the slate, but unless they have an e-mail list ready like VD has, that cuts into their recruiting. Even for VD, the number of guest who might give his nominees a spot is probably larger than than the gain from secret slates.
    – You assume they can keep the slates secret. Far from a given.
    – Multiple slates weaken their power. They can afford that only in categories were a fraction of their strength is sufficient.
    – Crucially, without public slates there is nothing to talk about outside “we have a secret secret and we won’t tell”

    Most importantly, they can’t fix the voting. A hidden slate will no doubt lead to fewer rejection via No Award on principle, but if they slate crap it still won’t win. If they nominate good stuff, there’s not really a problem.

  20. I did vote for a couple of ‘Puppies’ on the basis of quality, and only deliberately ‘return-slated’ the novella category so as far as actual voting is concerned, I feel quite content. And beyond that , I have only two comments:

    i) A useful definition of insanity is to repeat the same behaviour and expect a different outcome. So if a further slate is proposed by the same people next year, we’ll know they are insane, and

    ii) I am amused by the fact that ‘Vox Day’ consistently overlooks the meaning of the first half of the saying from which he draws his ‘handle’: vox populi. Well, the people have indeed spoken!

  21. I am mostly just sad about this year. I have been a SF reader for 40 or so years but have never attended a convention. Last year I became aware that due to the kindness of publishers and ebook technology I could actually fairly easily get most of the Hugo-nominated works and have time to read them all and participate in the process by purchasing the sustaining membership. I was looking forward to doing that this year – but after reading about the controversy decided to take a pass. I am hoping things get back to something closer to normal in a year or two.

  22. Too bad there can’t be a “Best Shitheel” award this coming year. Quite a few Puppies would have a shot . . .

  23. Like Jack Tingle, I have long used the Hugo Awards as a way of discovering works I may have missed. The actual winners of the awards are less interesting to me than the list of nominees, which I mine for reading material. Without fully thinking out the consequences, I would love to see the number of nominees doubled, because it would (a) expose me to more recommended reading, and (b) presumably make slating less effective.

  24. My sister (my major sounding board) claims that I read more SF than anyone she knows. This includes a family that reads the genre, including Dad who started reading pulps back in the ’30’s..
    Despite that,and despite that I’ve been a supporting WorldCon member since about 2006 and still I never felt qualified to nominate anyone because there is just so much stuff out there and so little time in the day. I wasn’t even going to get a membership this year until the whole puppy kerfuffle broke out and that’s what changed my mind.
    I do read a lot and I will nominate this year. My tastes are, well my tastes. I did read the works nominated this year and I felt most if not all of the (slated) stories were weak. I AM a part of fandom and I Was pissed off at the whole concept of a slate and that’s why I got involved again. You make time for stuff that’s important to you. ‘nough said.

  25. dirk -because that would diminish the number of votes they get?

    I voted based on a straight “no slating” ticket. If an award categories was comprised of all puppy nominations, I voted No Award and left the rest of the slots blank.
    If a category was mixed, I made my selections from among the non-slate nominees (depending on category making up to 3 selections) and then No Award.

    I made my choices based on my reading of the works and, in at least one category, also included my knowledge of the body of work additionally.

    I voted No Award in DP:LF as well – knowing full well that the award would most likely go to GotG (which I would have voted for if not on a slate and wanted to see win) – again, because I believe that every attempt at gaming the awards should be met with No Award.

    I’ll do the same again next year, with apologies to anyone who is nominated on a slate without their permission. If that happens and the unwilling nominees make it known that it was done without their permission (and hope that they will ask to be removed) I will consider myself to have permission to include them in my choices as legitimate nominees.

  26. Modesitt’s “because they just marginalized a number of good writers and editors on the basis of who nominated them, rather than on the basis of how good they were” statement is clearly a heartfelt opinion but I think it’s using some loaded word/perspective and making a borderline offensive comparison.

    Nobody “marginalized” nominees by deliberately rejecting their worth. These folks weren’t permanently tainted or excluded because of some intrinsic attribute, as they would have been if folks were rejecting them on their gender or race. Hugo voters who no-awarded the slate en tot never considered these nominees beyond “are you here on false pretenses?”

    That’s not a rejection based on WHO nominated them, it’s a rejection of HOW they were nominated. To claim the first is to buy into the Puppy narrative which insists there’s an ideological bent to Hugo noms and voters in the first place, an assertion that just isn’t borne out by facts and Hugo history. Comparing rejection of the nomination as valid to discriminating against someone based on their gender is kind of gross.

    You can decide you’re going to ignore how someone got in the door and judge on merit alone, as our generous host here did on his ballot. But caring about the process and whether a candidate is only on the ballot because of (at least partially) uninformed lock-step ballot-stuffing? That’s perfectly reasonable too, and not at all analogous to discriminating against someone based on their gender or color of their skin.

  27. Two things:
    Movement conservatives will happily go broke supporting “one of theirs”. Since the majority of readers pay no attention and many non-MCs will buy their books anyway I think there is a net win for a couple of guys. It has worked in other areas of entertainment.

    I half expect a puppy group to push a slate hard next year that contains nothing but work that deserves awards and are the exact products they whine about winning awards, like Scalzi’z stuff. Their goal being to get “no award” votes for honest candidates and claiming this shows how easy it is to game the Hugos.

  28. I have observed this year’s awards, and assuming they aim to try again next year, it becomes immediately clear I need to start writing No Award, an epic scifantasy where social justice warriors stride the landscape with the blades of equality beset by rabid but ineffective puppies trying to prevent them from…..I dunno, helping people.

    It will be the most winningest novel in Hugo history.

  29. Thanks for that perspective. You are correct on the HOW they were nominated. I agree and feel better about my voting process. I failed to nominate this year due to work project overload. But I will nominate for next year based on my reading selections not ever a slate. I plan to attend and have volunteered for next year’s World Con since it’s in my home town. Looking forward to it

  30. Slates are unethical and wrong. It doesn’t matter if slates are proposed by puppies, by John Scalzi, by the ghost of Hugo Gernsback. I did No Award most slate candidates, and will continue to do so in future.
    Slates stole away the value of my nominations and I will not forgive that.

  31. John, your thoughts in this post pretty much mirror my own. I read the packet before voting, and voted based on what I read as opposed to who nominated whom. One or two SP nominees received my vote, but many categories received a “No Award” vote above all the nominees. I loved the Hugo Award ceremony and I thought the two Emcees did a great job. (Not so much the pre-award ceremony. It seemed ill-conceived to have spent four days working hard to avoid the controversy, only to spend an hour focusing on it just before the ceremony.) I will be nominating for next year’s Awards, based on quality as I perceive it. Until then, I believe this will be my last comment on the 2015 Hugo Awards.

  32. I can understand why you’d like this post to be your final bit of Hugo neepery, but I have to say there is one final topic upon which I’d be very curious to learn your thoughts.

    You mention that you expect “at least one of the anti-slating proposals” will indeed make it into the rules for 2017 and presumably beyond. That implies that there are multiple ideas under consideration. Do you have an opinion on their potential value (or lack thereof), and if so, would you consider writing a post discussing your opinions?

    I purchased my attending membership to MidAmericon last fall. I’ve never attended one of the business meetings at any of the other WorldCons I’ve attended because I always assumed that those were reserved for the folks who actually run the thing. But I’ve gotten the impression this year that they are open to just plain members as well, even if they’re not writers, editors or SMOFs. If that is indeed the case, and if one is not required to give the Sekrit Kode Werd to participate, then I’d be very eager indeed to attend the business meeting in Kansas City next August. And in preparation, my hope is that some of the folks whose opinions I respect might share their perspectives about the various options under consideration. You are certainly one of them. GRRM is another. And there are others.

    So if you can stand to revisit the topic, or at least a closely related topic, just one more time, could I respectfully suggest a review and discussion of the different anti-slating proposals under consideration?

  33. Justin, if you *do* write a novel with the title “No Award,” be advised the working title for the film adaptation will likely be “Security Device Enclosed.”

  34. ahhhh, the old “Double Down on Stupid” strategy. I’m afraid I have to agree with you, John, that it’s the likeliest forecast for next year. And I can’t say “becuz they’re PUPPIES.”

    More like, “becuz they’re HUMAN!”

    The amount of “Double Down on Stupid (DDS)” strategy going around was what first convinced me that the “destroy public education as a long-term strategy for devolution back to the Dark Ages” thing was a) a thing, and b) working. In business, in politics, in media, in religion- not to mention just about everywhere those things intersect, DDS is alive and well and gaining strength.

    I’m not at all sure what kind of irrationality it takes to:

    1. Develop a short-sighted, narcissistic strategy with purely selfish goals
    2. Find fellow-travelers who can see how YOUR purely selfish goals could conceivable benefit them
    3. Form a caucus for the purpose of pushing your strategy
    4. Apply all varieties of excess, illogic, rhetorical inconsistency and vituperation in advancing your strategy
    5. Fail miserably; and
    6. Decide that the reason for your failure lay entirely in Step Four and was related to NOT DOING IT HARD ENOUGH

    But whatever kind of irrationality that is, it surrounds us and appear, like the Force, to bind us.

  35. I’m not as confident about the nominations next year. Some categories like Best Novel might pull through with decent lists, but others have big handicaps. Short story will be split dozens of different ways, Novella and Novelette are less common formats, and many people won’t know where to start with the more arcane industry categories. The power of a slate there is not just that it concentrates a vote but that it gives people who otherwise wouldn’t know what to do a list of names to vote for.

    I expect there will still be categories with 4/5 slate nominees, and this may persist even after the voting system reforms for the less travelled categories.

    Plus, there’ll be more puppy voters too, after the recruitment this year for the final award vote. The proportions might not be so different.

  36. Then I didn’t quite feel as good about my behaviour as before

    That’s not what happened (i.e., people weren’t excluded for reasons of race or gender) so you’re fine.

    Movement conservatives will happily go broke supporting “one of theirs”.

    Kirk Cameron’s latest movie box office begs to disagree.

  37. Colonel Snuggledorf says:
    August 29, 2015 at 11:00 am

    I purchased my attending membership to MidAmericon last fall. I’ve never attended one of the business meetings at any of the other WorldCons I’ve attended because I always assumed that those were reserved for the folks who actually run the thing.

    I assume that this is because you’ve never acutually read anything about them, such as what the conventions put on their web sites or progress reports, right?

    But I’ve gotten the impression this year that they are open to just plain members as well, even if they’re not writers, editors or SMOFs.

    That is correct. For an overview of the process, read the documentation about this year’s WSFS Business Meeting on the 2015 Worldcon web site, and in particular note: “Every attending member of [the current Worldcon] can attend the Business Meeting, propose changes, debate those changes, and vote on them.”

    WSFS doesn’t have a Board of Directors. There’s no Sekrit Kabal running it. The governance structure is more like a New England Town Meeting: the rules are made by a meeting of every attending member who shows up to debate and vote on proposals. The rules are in public. The whole process is open. Video of the meetings is posted to YouTube, all eleven hours of it and 33 separate segments. (See the link above for a link to the YouTube playlist.) This year, we had most of the video online before each day’s meeting ended, and in no case more than a few hours after each day’s meeting.

    If that is indeed the case, and if one is not required to give the Sekrit Kode Werd to participate, then I’d be very eager indeed to attend the business meeting in Kansas City next August.

    If you are an attending member of next year’s Worldcon, you can attend, participate, and vote at the 2016 WSFS Business Meeting. There will be more information about doing so as we get closer to the convention, published in the convention’s progress reports and on their web site.

    The 2015 WSFS Business Meeting (which I chaired) passed a number of changes to the WSFS Constitution (which includes the Hugo Award rules). Changes must be approved by two consecutive WSFS Business Meetings. This means that anything that passed in 2015 in Spokane must be ratified in 2016 in Kansas City before they take effect, first affecting the 2017 Hugo Awards administered by Worldcon 75 in Helsinki. A list of the changes that got first passage in Spokane will be in the minutes of this year’s meeting, which is in preparation, and will be on the 2016 Worldcon web site once it has been certified by this year’s Business Meeting staff. This will not happen tomorrow, but it will eventually be published.

    The WSFS governance process is open to every member who shows up. This year around 300 members took part. You can, too.

  38. I have aspirations and stories to tell. This whole business just makes me sad about writing in the way that I felt, as a 5th year senior in college who looked around himself and thought: I despise the university, I loathe thinking of a future with these bitterly disappointed yet somehow still self-important “academics”, and can’t imagine this as my future. A quarter century of manual labor–and mediocre poetry–between then and now. I’m not discouraged about writing, the way I was about academia, but it still makes me sad.

  39. JunkChuck:

    Well, the thing is, you don’t have to think of it at all if you don’t want to, and still be a writer and participate in fandom, etc. This Hugo thing is a kerfuffle where the attendance was optional.


    “Plus, there’ll be more puppy voters too”

    Eh. The assumption that all the Puppies will be back as slate voters is one I’m not entirely sure I agree with. I do think a certain number have washed their hands of it after this year’s debacle, either because they realize now slates can’t win or because they were persuaded that slating won’t honor their favorite writers, so they choose nominate the old fashioned way. Which would be fine.

  40. One of the strangest thing to me about the aftermath of this is that some of the pro-Puppies are still saying that their slates were no different that the promotional announcements other authors and groups had made in the past.

    That just blows my mind completely, that they don’t see the difference.

    Also it seems to me that clearly most Hugo voters took the “we reject the entire idea of a slate, period” tack in their voting.

  41. BTW, the best comment I’ve heard from a Puppy was something on the Sasquan page on FB, where someone named Nathan was all sniffy about SJWs the morning after the Hugos were handed out and was saying “all you creatons” had better watch out because “we’ll be back next year.” (FWIW, the grammar and legibility of his message went down considerably after Nathan called us ‘creatons’–yeah, apparently, you *can* go downhill from there.)

  42. In the spirit of bringing people together… I saw a blog post on Eric Flint’s site that said John is writing a story set in one of John Ringo’s universes for an anthology. Did I read that correctly? If so any chance of an Old Man’s War anthology with John Ringo contributing to it?

  43. I just had a random thought about a very effective way to fight slates which is (unfortunately) not available to most of us. If you’re eligible for a nomination, and find yourself on a slate, you have a number of options (probably including some I haven’t thought of):
    1) You can accept being on a slate – this might get you nominated, but it almost certainly won’t get you a Hugo.
    2) You can reject being on a slate by asking to be taken off and making a big fuss if you aren’t. This is probably your best chance of getting a Hugo if you have the misfortune to be tangled up in a slate.
    3) You can accept being on the slate, and wait for nominations to close, at which point you can inform the Hugo administrators that you reject the nomination. You won’t get a Hugo, but you will get a spot on the ballot for someone who wasn’t on the slate. If you feel you’re in a position where you’re able to reject a Hugo, this seems like the most effective way to fight slates.

    I’m not a creator so this is an academic discussion for me, but I’m curious what people think.

  44. “…the recent attempt by the Puppies to claim Dragon*Con as their home turf seems, well, ambitious…”

    Speaking as a longtime DragonCon (the re-org lost the asterisk, which is just so much delicious irony) attendee and staffer of several years (though I am *not* speaking here in any way representative of Con management or otherwise, this is just me being me)….HAHAHAHAHAHAHA NO. We, both as fans and staff, enjoy as much of a troll-free*, anti-harassment event as possible.

    There have been rumors circulating that Puppies and #GGers are going to attempt to make their … presence and agenda… felt at the convention this year. I expect that to be about as well-received as their slating tactics, should it happen, and possibly even *less*-well-received. I do NOT want to have to deal with their belligerent antics, whether I’m working at the time or not.

    * if one were to come in troll cosplay, that’s something entirely different, and there are costume contests to be entered, should one choose to do so!

  45. I think it’s a pretty weird thing to see guys like Torgersen et al act surprised by Vox Day’s pernicious influence. “Oh, we brought this terrible reactionary bigot onto our team, and now he’s using the platform and the opportunity to just advance his personal causes of bigotry and white supremacy! We had no idea he was going to do this!” Especially when Torgersen is going around comparing himself to Churchill and Vox to Stalin.

    So, sure, for the sake of argument let’s say that there might be a good reason to make common cause with Josef Stalin when your adversary is anyone but Actual Hitler, even then, didn’t the alliance with Stalin end up with the USSR controlling half of Europe? Brad! You made this metaphor up! You cannot be surprised by your own metaphor!

    “I knew that this was like making an alliance with Stalin; I just didn’t expect everything to happen the same way that the real historical alliance with Stalin did.”

  46. kastandlee, thank you for the additional information.

    No, I do not spend a great deal of time on the internet, and no, I don’t usually go browsing around on a convention website ahead of time, and no, when I’m reading over the program material, I generally skip over stuff that doesn’t catch my eye and focus on the programming that interests me. Given the incredibly rich and densely packed offerings at most WorldCons, that means that something labeled “Business Meeting” does not tend to catch my eye. I spend the other 360 days of the year suffering through those things, and the last thing in the world I want to do at a convention is to go to yet another business meeting. Which is why I asked about it.

    One thing that folks occasionally forget is that there are all different levels of fandom. There are the people who are so totally immersed in everything F/SF that all this stuff is second nature to them, and all the details and nuances are blindingly obvious. Then there are the people who read and enjoy F/SF as one of many genres, but who don’t immerse themselves in it, who may not spend all their time on the internet, and who do occasionally have questions about certain aspects of the F/SF world. Condescension in answering those questions does not incline the asker to continue to pursue the topic, or to continue to explore the genre.

    I am still interested in learning Mr. Scalzi’s point of view (and the points of view of others) on the various anti-slating proposals, if that opportunity should arise.

  47. I don’t think a group as small as the Puppies is going to be able to “claim” a convention of tens of thousands of people. Especially one as diverse as DragonCon.

    Incidentally, DragonCon dropped the asterisk when they legally reorganized to shed themselves of Ed Kramer’s lingering involvement.

  48. My big fear for the Hugos is that the only way to keep them from being overwhelmed by future puppy slates is the response of on-Puppy slates. I’m kinda in the GRRM camp of not knowing whether or not the Hugos are broken beyond repair by this.

  49. @Colonel Snuggledorf: For what it’s worth, I highly recommend attending the business meeting if you can. Sasquan was my first Worldcon (actually my first con since I was a kid) and I went to the business meeting 3 out of 4 days. Kevin Standlee runs a tight ship with a good sense of humor and I found it to be a welcoming crowd. The people I sat with typically had been attending for years but they were uniformly supportive of anyone who wanted to show up and really engage with the process.

    Having said all that, I’m a process nerd, so I can’t guarantee that it’s for everyone. Still, I plan to be at the business meeting for every Worldcon I go to in the future.

    As for the nominating proposals, there are two. The first is 4 and 6, which changes the nominating process to give everyone 4 nominating votes to fill 6 finalist slots. It’s nice because it’s easy to understand, but it can still be partially gamed by a slate (e.g., this year the SPs would have gotten 4 out of 6 on the ballot, instead of sweeping categories). The other proposal is E Pluribus Hugo, which is a bit more complicated but promises to be much more effective in fighting slate voting. I’d recommend reading the description at Making Light for more info (

  50. Unfortunately, I think there’s a good chance the Pups will control the ballots next year. The key point is that it seems constant that nominations have a very long tail, such that being on 10-15% of the nomination ballots gets you into the top five. This was even shown on the Pups side by Torgersen’s call for suggestions pre-slate (of course, he pretty much ignored them, but a very large number of things were suggested, but nothing had more than 3-5 people suggesting it). So for every Pup that lockstep votes a slate, you need between 6 and 10 non-Pups to nominate to counteract them (assuming these new nominators have the same general distribution of likes as the existing ones).

    As seen, this doesn’t work when it comes to the actual vote, as the Pups were crushed by 2 and 3-1 margins…but that’s nowhere near a big enough margin to stop them from dominating the nominations. And all Sasquan members get to nominate next year at no additional charge to them.

    It’s also the case that most non-Pups have seemed to be ethical with nominations, feeling they can’t nominate if they’re not familiar enough with the category or only have 1-2 items in a category they feel are Hugo-worthy from what they’ve read. The latter is actually wrong; the core idea of nominating is, in each category you can nominate up to five things you think are Hugo-worthy. If you have five or less, list them all, even if it’s just one. If you have more than five, you’ll have to individually rank them and put only your top five down. But the nomination phase is the discovery process; if enough people agree with your one nomination as to it being Hugo-worthy, it’ll make the ballot. If they don’t, it doesn’t. What you’re doing at this point isn’t so much saying “This should win the Hugo” but “I consider this to be worthy of winning. Do enough of you agree with that such that it gets the chance?”

  51. (Slightly ninja’d by Jim S, but I’ve started so I’ll finish…)

    @Colonel Snuggledorf

    The two amendments passed this year, and requiring ratification next year to come into effect for 2017, are “4 and 6” and “E. Pluribas Hugo” (EPH). They were passed at a Business Meeting open to all attending members, which was videoed and made available on YouTube. You can see them as originally submitted on the Sasquan New Business page

    Both are aimed at the current issue that by hitting 20-30% of the voters a slate can lock up 100% of the nominations.

    The easier one to explain is “4 and 6” which modifies the current “Nominate 5 and get a list of 5” to “Nominate 4 and get a list of 6”. The basic theory seems to be that a slate therefore can’t get more than 4 out of 6, but a common criticism is that a disciplined slate can split its efforts into two halves and still achieve a clean sweep.

    EPH is a bit more involved, but its actual effects are actually quite simple: you still nominate 5 and get a list of 5, and between those two points a voting system has mitigated the effect of any slates so that they don’t get much more power than their numbers imply. It doesn’t disenfranchise slates, it just prevents them gaming the system. The system is more complicated than the present one, but as the nominations are already done on a computer the only requirement is to change the software, and several people have already written programs for testing purposes. It was developed at Making Light with input from various very clever people, including security specialist Bruce Schneier. A roundup and Q&A is available on Making Light is here

    I’ll not go into the EPH details for fear of misrepresenting them, but I would say that it’s sufficiently clear to work through for yourself if you want to, and personally I have and am convinced, and a lot of people have started independently testing it with both real-world and mocked-up data and have yet to find a flaw.

  52. @Tom Galloway: That’s a really good point about nominating what you know, even if you don’t have 5 nominees for a category. I’ve been thinking about that myself and I’m not going to let my lack of breadth stop me from nominating good stuff next year. I’m also going to start actively reading short fiction so that I actually have some possibilities in the shorter categories.

  53. I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of people who might plausibly be endorsed by hypothetical anti-puppy slates would, in fact, go to a great deal of effort to repudiate such endorsements. I certainly would. For this reason, I don’t see “counter-slates” as a thing that will actually happen.

  54. How much does this rather poorly conceived and executed effort to take control of the Hugo “commons” map to the somewhat paranoid orientation of the part of the US population that finds Trump’s retrograde “take umerica back” ideas to a be a viable political movement that they can get behind? It seem that they both share a belief that any crack in the facade of white male dominance is the end of the revealed natural order, and that they’d rather burn the whole thing down than allow anyone they see as “other” even a slight bit of good. Seems inane to me, but I strive to understand the world as it is and can’t quite comprehend the anger for the loss of some golden age that never really existed. Go figure.

  55. The Puppies already tried not notifying some people they were going to be represented on their slate. That happened to Juliette Wade, and to me, as well, this year. We both asked off right away, and Brad took us off. So we became Puppy-free early on.

  56. “Contrary to some heightened rhetoric out there, it seems very unlikely that anyone’s being run out of town on a rail”

    Technically, it was a boxcar.

  57. And if you really think the Hugos are skewed politically and want to award books that have other political leanings… why not strike a few medals with young dogs on ’em and start your own damn award? It might not be as prestigious *now*, but if you do well it’ll probably grow in prestige pretty quick.

  58. Yeah. Unfortunately 2 Chapter 5s will be back again next year, as assholes got to ass, so basically 2016 will be a write-off, as well, in the smaller categories. Hopefully most of the SPs will wander off.

    After that, EPH is a kind-of solution, it depends on how organizable 2 Chapter 5’s minions are – he could still take most of the slots in the smaller categories, it basically comes down to how many noms he needs in each one – if it is only 100, he can jam 3 on, if more, it reduces the number.

    Although this year was a shame, I had no issue no awarding the utter crap that was rammed onto the ballot. If they actually put forward anything vaguely Hugo worthy, that will make life much more difficult.

    It did make me a fan of GRRM though – not his fiction, but him as a person – I think the Alfies were awesome, it’s clear he has a long fan history, a deep love of fan traditions and passion for the genre.

  59. This was the first year I paid any attention to the Hugo awards and that was only because a friend mentioned to me that one of my favorite author got nominated. So my outsider’s take on this: what a mess. It’s sad to see that lots of folks couldn’t look beyond how nominees made the ballot to decide whether they were worthy of being there or not. Seeing Toni Weisskopf and Sheila Gilbert both get passed by the ‘No Award’ vote just looks like an embarrassment to me. Yes, there were works on the final ballot that appear to have been undeserving, but punishing folks who didn’t ask to be on a slate seems like an overreaction.

    Also, I get that this is the internet and both stupidity and jerkiness will out, but neither side looks terribly dignified after all of the name calling and other childish behavior. I think Eric Flint covered this pretty well on his blog:

    One small positive note from this mess is that it convinced me to educate myself about a whole host of authors with whom I had previously been unfamiliar. Not all of their styles worked for me, but I did come away with another (roughly) half dozen authors to follow going forward.

  60. I went to Spokane because it was in Spokane — close to me, that is, not because I was breathless with desire to visit Spokane — and was mostly unaware of the whole Puppies thing until I got there. I hadn’t been to a Worldcon since at least 1993, if not before, so I wasn’t up on things. (I’ve been busy, sorry.)

    That said, *my* goal this year is to read a whole lot of science fiction and make sure to nominate the ones I think are best. And I hope a lot of the other people who became members this year do the same.

  61. @David – unfortunately, Kirk Cameron’s Hate&Jesus movies do quite well, even if normal people (i.e., not Far Right Evangelicals) don’t even know they exist. Loathsome as I find them, they are hugely profitable by reaching audiences Mainstream Media and Hollywood refuse to acknowledge – just like Tyler Perry’s filmed morality plays and comedies starring People of Color do. (There’s even a fair amount of crossover between those audiences.)

    If you ever see DVDs/Blu-Rays at Target or Walmart with names like God’s Not Dead, Do You Believe?, War Room, or the Holy Ghost series, you’ve come across the Christian Film Industry.

  62. Colonel Snuggledorf:

    The other thing to note is that you (or any attending member) can go to part of the business meeting and skip the rest: go only one day, or walk in partway, or leave if you look at the agenda and see nothing that interests you, or after the one item that looks interesting has been voted on.

    So it’s possible to vote on a proposal to change how the Hugo nominations work, or whether there should be a separate award for YA fiction, but skip the reports from previous Worldcons, or the election of people to the Mark Protection Committee.

    The closest thing to an unwritten rule for business meeting attendance is that it helps to be a morning person: I once went to the business meeting because I was up and fed, and there was nothing else I wanted to do in that time slot. If you’re up until 4 a.m. Thursday filking or talking about comics, you might not be awake for any program item that starts at 10 a.m. Friday.

  63. Jack Tingle says: “Are all these people (and to be fair and balanced, those people) stuck in sci-fi’s golden age (12-years-old)? “Sad Puppies,” “Rabid Puppies,” “Social Justice Warriors,” really? To quote my wife in a different situation, “What are you, middle-schoolers?””

    It’s not clear whether you’re aware of it, but the “Social Justice Warrior” thing was invented and initially spread by people who *oppose* those whom they think of as SJWs, as a way of mocking them. Some people now self-identify as SJWs partly as tongue-in-cheek humor and partly as a way of pointing out that fighting for social justice is a *good* thing, but the term originally came form the same place that “Sad Puppies” and “Rabid Puppies” came from.

  64. Neepery, according to Eric S. Raymond’s New Hacker’s Dictionary, comes from neep-neep which was a 70s Cal Tech slang for a computer geek. (Same Eric S. Raymond who was nominated for a Hugo this year?)

  65. I strongly suspect that the Rabidest Puppy’s plan at this point is:
    1) Run a full slate of nominations next year.
    2) Fill most of it with folks from SP4 and his publishing house
    3) Add one or two token folks on it that he hates but are likely to make it on the ballot anyway, possibly including Our Gracious Host
    5) Point to the tokens as proof that _he_ is Fair and Balanced
    5) Ignore the tokens’ protests that they want nothing to do with his slate

    From his perspective, he then wins in any outcome:
    1) If the tokens withdraw, he has removed them from the ballot, in which case he wins
    2) If the tokens don’t withdraw, they may get No Awarded, in which case he wins
    3) If the tokens don’t get No Awarded, he can point to how only conservatives get No Awarded, in which case he wins.

    (The fact that all #3 really means is that the Hugo voters won’t punish folks who vehemently protested their presence on the slate is completely beyond him. He has decided what the voters’ actions mean, and if they don’t go the way he wants, they’re hypocrites in his book.)

  66. I didn’t realize John Ringo had a zombie universe. I like some of his military sci-fi. I need to check it out. I like zombie books.

    @jack Lint: Eric Raymond is more known for technical work than SF. I think he just wrote 1 SF story ever. If you go to his site, its all about technical stuff. He isn’t a Sad Puppy at all. His book on the history of unix is well respected. There is a lot of good technical info on his site. If any of you have interest in tech stuff, Eric Raymond’s site is very good. None of it is SF though.

    Next year will probably be Harriet Rigney’s last year to get a Hugo. The Wheel of Time Encyclopedia is out in a couple of months. I think that makes her eligible for Best Editor. Its one book, but if its good, its edited from the entire Wheel of Time notes. So its a huge effort. The book should also be considered for best related work.

    I hope the puppies don’t crowd her out or try to use her as a ‘shield’ either. In case anyone thinks I am crazy… I am not calling for nominating something that is NOT out yet. I am going to read it myself first. I’m not that much of a WoT nut case.

  67. “Best Translation sure but Best 2015 novel?” — by gregory

    I am reminded of an old joke: Someone was asked who was the best woman novelist in the English language. The reply? Constance Garnett. Who translated many of Tolstoy’s works.

    (Yes, it’s a bit sexist. So were the times. Easy with the chronocentrism, eh?)

  68. What gets me is that I’ve seen a Sad Puppy compare Torgerson’s slate to the NESFA “suggested nominations” list or your own “suggested nominations” thread. I’ve seen all three, and there’s really no comparison. The NESFA list consists of 10-20+ suggestions in almost every category. Your thread probably ran to that many suggestions, as well, although I don’t think I ever saw a post that compiled all of them. Torgerson’s slate? No more than 5 suggestions in any category, and no effort to modify it based on suggestions in the comment thread–not even when somebody suggested the Heinlein biography, which you’d think the Sad Puppies would have been drooling over.

  69. “(N)ot even when somebody suggested the Heinlein biography, which you’d think the Sad Puppies would have been drooling over.”

    The Church of Bob has many mansions. Some of whom fire mortars at each other.

  70. This is just sad. I know others have said as much. I was aware of the Hugos at a fairly young age (way back when all the YA books fit on a three-foot shelf at the public library) so I turned to a lot of genre fiction, mysteries & sci fi…. Point is, science fiction can be a great gateway to more reading; at the very least a way to get *something* across to people who wouldn’t otherwise read a thing – and that’s a hugely desirable goal. The Hugos, (of course along with many other awards) can be regarded as sort of a service.
    They are all well and good for people who read a lot, but I’m thinking of people who read few enough books that a little extra guidance makes a difference – people who don’t know or care whatever MIchiko Kakutani or whoever has to say, can be drawn in by a button that says “Award Winner!” and a Hugo Award should be an indicator of a solid book. It’s not always going to be perfect but sometimes it’s the most reliable information that a potential reader might encounter.
    Awards should be…more. At this point the award I most trust is the Booker – which *could* be awarded to a sci fi novel. But…. “It’s not the same.”
    Thanks for detailing all of this; I hadn’t been aware of the details of the whole affair. It’s a shame, all it does is take away.

  71. As I said last year with Sad Puppies 2, I really had no problem with them organizing a slate and still don’t. And I had no problem with that slate being organized for (admittedly vague and ever changing) political reasons, or for them going out and organizing votes to push the slate. It was all within the rules and while that kind of operation was considered impolite in the fannish circles, it is part of democratic elections. (As is No Award for that matter.)

    What I did have a problem with back then was the unethical, sleazy behavior of drafting authors, editors and artists as nominees for the grand political movement of the slate without their consent and without even notifying them that it had been done. It caused a tremendous amount of pain and was roundly denounced by people in the industry of both conservative and liberal political persuasions.

    So for Sad Puppies 3 this year, Torgersen swore that all the slate choices would be at least notified and maybe even asked. And instead, they did the same thing with numerous nominees, a number of whom found out that they were on the slate only when they got the Hugo nomination or when the slate was announced publicly. To make things worse, the puppies invited the GamerGaters and their camp followers to come help make up the votes, thus putting at risk non-puppy-slate authors, puppy-slated drafted authors who pulled out because they didn’t want to be a part of it, and some of the authors who stayed on the slate or were forced to stay on the slate and who then might be considered not sufficiently ideologically pure enough for the rabids pouring in the door. It wasn’t only unethical and irresponsible; it was vicious.

    It’s one thing if somebody wants to join your protest army and wave a puppy flag. It’s another thing altogether to decide they’ll be your standard bearer against their will, strap the flag to their back and wait for them to find out it’s there, usually when critics are coming at them over the hill.

    So if the Puppies are claiming that they are going to get nominees for the slate in future by hiding it from the nominees they choose, what exactly does that say about their movement, other than it’s morally bankrupt, aggressively nasty, and really doesn’t have very much support? It’s basically forcing themselves on a bunch of people who don’t want to have anything to do with them and want them away from their careers.

    Have your slate for as long as the rules let you, but if that slate is not 100% voluntary and on board with the slate goals? It’s not a slate. It’s not a recommendation list. It’s just an attack on people you claim to be helping. This seems to me to be the more important point than whether the Hugos get gamed or not, and has a lot of importance to people’s careers. And I think the Hugo committee is going to have to come up with some sort of deadline escape hatch arrangement so that people who got drafted into nominations don’t get stuck just because ballots went to the printer, or whatever it was.

  72. Dear CEC ( & Mossjon),

    Don Whiteside explained this very well. To describe anti-slate voting as an overreaction or childish is, to put it bluntly, in itself an overreaction. And a misunderstanding as well. Voters broadly fell into two camps. One of them was typified by John’s position–– that despite deploring slate nominating, he was going to judge the works on their merits. You could describe that as the “content takes primacy” camp. I fell into the other camp–– that slate nominating is a sufficiently bad perversion of the goals of the Hugos that it needed to be stamped out. In other words “process takes primacy.” You get to decide which camp you’re in; both are legitimate and realistic positions. The “Who” vs. the “How.”

    (In truth, I thought my position would be in the stark minority––I’m usually in a radical fringe. What the voting results made clear is that the Process Camp was in the overwhelming majority.)

    I can respect you being in the other camp, but don’t disrespect me. To borrow John’s metaphor, there may been innocent people on the bus, but I didn’t put them there and direct it over the edge of the cliff. And, you know what? When it comes to editors, there will be future years. The editorial Hugo is very strongly reputation-based; it’s not much about what one has accomplished in the past year. if Toni and Sheila are deserving of Hugos, they’ll be back (Unless Toni keeps damaging her reputation, because folks really don’t like a sore loser. That’s the time to grit your teeth and put on your oh so gracious face, because in the long run it’s a winning strategy. As the saying goes, you don’t have to be sincere so long as you can fake it.)

    As an aside, I can’t help but note that along with very fuzzy thinking, Modesitt appears to not have a clue what the phrase “gaming the system” means. And, yes, it’s immature of me to take glee in that. But I do. You can hold me accountable for that one.


    Dear Tom,

    I don’t agree with your analysis of future prospects. Relative to the total number of nominators, I think the puppies will be slightly weaker next year. That’s because monkey-wrenches are very hard to sustain (and make no mistake, this was a monkey-wrench). Aside from a small core of True Believers (which the statistical analysis puts at around 150-200, with an equal number of mere followers), it’s hard from most revolutionaries to keep up the effort. People get bored and tired. The monkey-wrench succeeded in trashing the ballot, but then it ran into the brick wall of the State. Those severalfold-to-one votes for No Award are pretty much insurmountable. For a monkey-wrench movement, it becomes a problem of, “But, where do we go from here?” It’s not sufficient to keep beating your head on the same brick wall; folks get tired of that real fast. It’s very unclear what the next achievable goal could be for the puppies could be, beyond what they already did (I’m not talking about tactics, I’m talking about what they could actually accomplish).

    Even if they manage to monkey-wrench the ballot for a second year and even if no proposals pass the business meeting (I’m not at all convinced any should), unless they can show an advancement in their goals, the puppies will suffer a substantial falloff in the third year and be pretty well nonexistent by the fourth. That’s the history of real-world politik, which has a fair amount of experience with this kind of thing. Revolutionary Barbie says “Smashing the State is HARD!”

    But then, politics––it is always a crapshoot!

    Regarding the nominating process being bollixed up in the future, I think that’s going to require a far more sophisticated statistical analysis. But my totally wild ass guess, what I took away from looking at the released tallies was that, unlike the final vote, there was not a marked break in numbers between the works nominated (by the puppies) and the ones that weren’t. It was your usual gradual decline. In most of the categories, there were not big differences between the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh positions. That makes it very sensitive to boundary conditions, and given that there always is a falloff, it argues that the number of “legitimate” nominators needed to counteract the puppies is considerably smaller than you estimate, because they will be weighted towards the more popular nominees.

    More and more, I’m falling into Bruce Schneier’s position. Don’t screw with things unnecessarily. This is going to burn itself out.

    pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery
    — Digital Restorations

  73. I checked in on Baen’s Bar to see what the commentary there was like. Some of them are upset that the other side (i.e., here) doesn’t make a clear distinction between Sad and Rabid Pups. They want to disavow Ted Beale as, “Not our kind of people.” They also point out that a list, slate, recommendation, etc. is just that, a list. The fact that theirs was more effective than other’s makes them happy. The fact that it was ineffective due to a bloc vote reaction to Rabid attitudes they didn’t endorse makes them angry. So, complicated & still less interesting than lepton anomalies.

    Jack Tingle

  74. Jack Tingle: Some of them are upset that the other side (i.e., here) doesn’t make a clear distinction between Sad and Rabid Pups. They want to disavow Ted Beale as, “Not our kind of people.”

    Except that numerous Puppies have made a huge deal of pointing out that Larry and Brad worked very hard at negotiating with VD to get him to “not burn the Hugos down”. Apart from the fact that one wonders how effective Larry and Brad are as negotiators given the resulting Rabid Puppies slate, this demonstrates that Brad’s claims that there was no collusion between him and VD prior to the announcement of the slates as a lie.

    So if Sad Puppies wish to be upset that they are being considered part-and-parcel one of VD’s minions by a lot of non-Puppies, they should take their complaints to their “illustrious” leader Brad — he IS the one who put them in that position.

  75. Considering that nominations can be so low (I’m certainly guilty of hardly nominating), and in hopes of a space to hear fans talk about what they love, I’m trying to get a “Hugo Recommendation Season” going. Still figuring out details, but probably starting in October, having a week dedicated to each category encouraging people to post blogs, Facebook, whatevers about what works they loved in each category.

    Just starting to get the details together here: But if nothing else, *I* want to hear people tell me why certain stories/editors/artists/zines/etc. are great and deserve nominations.

  76. I would very much like people (including L.E. Modesitt, who, bless his heart, doesn’t seem to have been willing to take the time to educate himself on what really went on this year) to stop assuming that the approximately 2500 people who voted “No Award” across the board to Puppy entries all did so as a “No to Slates” response.

    A significant number of those 2500 — perhaps even a majority; we’ll never know — voted, like me, based on quality (or lack thereof). It’s just that the quality wasn’t there, and the end result of “Voting Based On Quality” was indistinguishable from “Voting No to Slates”.

    I read the Puppy entries. I was ready to vote above “No Award” those entries which measured up to what I considered to be “Hugo quality nominee”. A few entries were decent but unremarkable (interestingly, those were the entries by their chosen “human shields”). The rest of the entries were mediocre to execrable quality.

    Even though I did not do so, I do believe that putting all Puppy slate entries below “No Award” was a valid choice. What the Puppies did was wrong and utterly violated the spirit of the Hugos and 60 years of voters nominating in good faith.

    But I also saw blog posts and comments by many people who, like me, were willing to give slated Puppy entries a chance but had to go with No Award in the end. No one knows how many of those 2500 fell into that category — but I would guess that it was close to half that number, and perhaps even the majority of them.

  77. On the subject of not differentiating between the Sad and Rabid Puppies: You know, as I’ve said earlier, Larry and Brad were happy to have Beale as a party pal; they invited him in, planned with him and Larry put him on the Sad Puppy 2 ballot. There was no difference until he became inconvenient to him by, oh, hijacking their branding and their slating. And also, there was the fact that while the Sad Puppies liked to say that they weren’t with Beale, Beale went out of his way to make sure everyone knew he was with them.

    Which is to say that Beale played them and used them and they really didn’t know how to deal with him. This underscores the Sad Puppies’ lack of tactics or strategy; they let their movement get stolen right out from under them by a self-aggrandizing bigot, who then proceeded to trash their brand. It wasn’t especially smart of them, but then there’s not much of the entire Puppy campaign that was handled intelligently. And again, at the end of the day, Beale was there because they invited him in. If Larry and Brand and the rest couldn’t grasp how toxic he was, that’s on them. It’s not like they weren’t warned. But in this as in many other things, the Sad Puppy were, in a word, naive.


    I do think as a practical matter there was a lot of overlap between “no slates” and “the Puppy nominees just weren’t good” voters, and some evidence for that was the fact that in the editor categories, the votes were much closer than in the fiction categories.

  78. Steve Davidson said:

    “I’ll do the same again next year, with apologies to anyone who is nominated on a slate without their permission. If that happens and the unwilling nominees make it known that it was done without their permission (and hope that they will ask to be removed) I will consider myself to have permission to include them in my choices as legitimate nominees.”

    Steve I spent a lot of time tweaking pups on their home turf. They consider themselves gamers and they approach things like gamers. So if they want to just wreak things, telling them a fixed strategy just helps. They will just slate things you like and then at the last minute “no award” them themselves… as well as with you. They consider keeping things off the ballot a great victory.

    So… if they took five of the Nebula winners and slotted them, you wouldn’t no award them, right? What if they slotted two Nebula winners and 3 puppy nutters?

    Nah… Deirdre Saoirse Moen gave us the puppy free ballot last time to help make things easy. If they camouflage the ballot I suspect she and others will be able to parse it.

    Remember – there won’t be a precedent set. As this should be the last year that slates make much difference what with EPH.

  79. John Scalzi said:

    “On the subject of not differentiating between the Sad and Rabid Puppies: You know, as I’ve said earlier, Larry and Brad were happy to have Beale as a party pal; they invited him in, planned with him and Larry put him on the Sad Puppy 2 ballot. There was no difference until he became inconvenient to him by, oh, hijacking their branding and their slating. ”

    I am on Larry’s site often. I think Larry may be niche marketing to tea party types and I am pretty sure Vox is. If you read Larry’s forum it is a cross between “Free Republic” and “Storm Front”. Effectively that is the market he is trying to gain, so really… not much difference between the pups. That’s my opinion trying to make something rational out of something that otherwise makes no sense at all.

    This is an election year, so he really ought to be able to stir them up now. For example, he put up a whole blog on why Ted Cruz will be the Republican Candidate and the Republicans should win. Pure tea consumption.

  80. The element that concerns me is the way the voting was dominated by Inverse-Puppy voting.

    I agree that the whole problem with this process is slates. But when a work is the only non-slate contender, or even one of two non-slate contenders, then it’s still hard to take their win seriously.

    Too many people voted Inverse-Puppy, to the point where ‘Not Puppy’ ended up being a defacto second slate.

    This needs to be addressed at the nominations level, not the voting level, so hopefully that’s what happens.

  81. The Sad Puppies were perfectly willing to nominate Teddy Beale as best short story writer last year in Sad Puppies 2 as “one of them.” (And he actually got to consent to the nomination, unlike others.) Then he decided to splinter this year, bring in the GamerGaters to run up the vote, and made himself thus the focus of the media attention. He separated himself from them; they didn’t separate from him.

    More to the point, almost the entire Sad Puppy slate this year was identical to the Rabid Puppy slate, and all the leaders of the Sad Puppies were perfectly clear that Beale was involved in the nominating committee of the Sad Puppy slate (the Evil League of Evil.) If they don’t want to associate with him, why did they pick the same nominees he did and why was he involved in the Sad Puppy slate this year?

    The Sad Puppy nominees that did get on the ballot this year did so only because they were also Rabid Puppy nominees as well. It was the Rabid Puppies who got out the vote (with aid of GamerGaters.) The Sad Puppies did nothing except tag along, so of course they got lumped in with the radicals whose campaign they helped launch and then largely copied and went along with. If it weren’t for Beale, very few if any of the Sad Puppy nominees would have made it on to the final ballot (just as very few got nominated last year with Sad Puppy 2.) The right to sit in that Hugo auditorium as nominees? They got that from Beale’s efforts.

    If they want to be considered as separate, they have to change the name of the movement from Sad Puppy to something else. Or make Beale change the name of his group — wouldn’t that be interesting? Oh, and actually nominate different authors than Beale is doing and get out the vote for those authors. If they want to be separate, they have to break off with Beale completely and rebrand. But that means that they lose whatever slate voters Beale manages to hang on to from the gameboys and elsewhere (if any) for Rabid Puppy 2. And they’ll be facing a much bigger, motivated pool of non-puppy nominating voters than this year. So they are stuck letting Beale lead them and the media treating them as one group — unless they stick up for their own convictions (whatever the hey they are,) and really divide their groups.

    As for the editors from Baen and DAW, they both were nominated in 2013 without any puppy help, and again in 2014 with very likely little help from the puppies. Even their nominations this year were probably more from them being the head of Baen and a major editor at DAW respectively rather than from puppy power. So they’ll both very likely receive future nominations in the same way that Marvel movies will receive future nominations, and claiming they were horribly treated just because they didn’t win against other equally qualified editors is padding the lily more than a bit.

  82. Dear Pache,

    Ummm, that makes no sense whatsoever. Voting against all slate candidates because one opposes the tactics of slates is not, by any stretch of logic, a “defactor second slate.”

    In fact, that phrase doesn’t even parse into anything meaningful.


    Dear John and JJ,

    I didn’t mean to start an argument about whether the “Process Camp” outnumbered the “Content Camp.” Because (a) it doesn’t really matter and (b) I didn’t save a copy of the stats to do the analysis with and (c) too lazy to care [g].

    My impression from reading and spot-analyzing the numbers at the con (where, I’m sure, my cognitive faculties were entirely top-notch after four days of partying) was the PC outnumbered CC.

    But… I could be wrong. The horror, the horror.

    Let’s just declare it a tie. We can each say that there were “a substantial number of voters, possibly even a majority who were {PC/CC}” and we’ll both be right enough.

    We shall be magnanimous with each other in our stirring victory, he said smugly. I’m going back to my carrots.

    ever yours,

    Social Justice Gamma Rabbit (with the button to prove it)

  83. I suspect chezkazrak is correct about the rabid’s plans for next year. I suspect the plan is slate anyone politically opposite of them, forcing them to make the choice to be on the ballot or not and making voters choose between no awarding everything on a slate or being lauded as hypocritical. So if John Scalzi is nominated by them as part of a slate and he doesn’t decline the nomination, they can declare victory. If he wins a Hugo they declare that “sjw’s will do anything to protect their own” and declare another victory. And if no award wins again, they declare that it is ruined.

    Mind you I don’t particularly think they are right, especially if they end up spite nominating a better slate of stories next year, but my gut says the rabids at least won’t back away.

  84. I’m not sure most Hugo voters can be slotted into Ctein’s two neat categories (though I think his categories help us understand the ends of the spectrum). I think the voters were just generally angry about the whole affair, and I suspect that a whole lot of them tried to judge the works fairly, but raised their standards at least for the puppy works, and possibly for all the nominees (out of a lingering sense of fairness).

    In other words, where in a normal year they might have said, “meh, this isn’t actually terrible, so I’ll rank it above No Award, but low on my list,” this year they were more likely to say, “if this doesn’t totally blow me away, I’m going to rank it below No Award.” I suspect this because I suspect it’s what I would have done had I been voting this year (including that lingering bit of fairness part).

    And for those who think there’s something wrong with that, I have two things to say: first of all, tit for tat has been shown to be an amazingly successful strategy for the iterated prisoners’ dilemma.[1] So, from a game-theoretical standpoint, this was not necessarily a bad thing. And second, if you don’t want people to react angrily, don’t be a dick!

    Thank yew :)


  85. ctein: I didn’t mean to start an argument about whether the “Process Camp” outnumbered the “Content Camp.” Because (a) it doesn’t really matter and (b) I didn’t save a copy of the stats to do the analysis with and (c) too lazy to care [g].

    My impression from reading and spot-analyzing the numbers at the con (where, I’m sure, my cognitive faculties were entirely top-notch after four days of partying) was the PC outnumbered CC.

    See, that the thing. Though it appeared that there were around 1000 who put at least 1 Puppy entry above No Award, because the end result of the Process voters, and the Content voters who put all Puppy entries below No Award, was the same, no amount of analysis of the vote counts will reveal how many there were of each. Despite this, a hell of a lot of people posting and commenting on the Internet have been assuming that all 2,500 of them were Process voters.

    My comments were not directed to you or Scalzi, but just to people in general, pointing out that this is a widely-held assumption which is not at all substantiatable. I appreciate your reasoned response.

    Enjoy your carrots! I’m having mine cooked al dente, with butter and garlic.

  86. With regard to the Puppies slating non-Puppy works next year, I certainly don’t expect human shields to withdraw themselves if nominated, and I also don’t expect them to denounce the slate they were put on — though if they feel brave enough to endure the onslaught of Puppy hate mail and Internet abuse they will undoubtably receive by doing either / both of those things, I will thoroughly applaud them.

    I will read and vote accordingly (for values of “read” which include “ceasing after x number of pages when it becomes apparent the work is not worthy”), and I am quite sure that the vast majority of SFF fans is also perfectly capable of judging for themselves whether a slated work has any business being on the final Hugo ballot.

    VD assumes all fans of SFF are as mindless and sheep-like as fans of VD. He is very, very mistaken.

  87. @braak: “You cannot be surprised by your own metaphor!”

    And yet, he is! I think you need to swap “should” for “can”. I LOL at your comment, however. Mr. 2 Chapter 5’s (™ NtRChris S.) certainly went all Iron Curtain.

    Teddy made Bwad his bitch, to continue the canine analogy, and so besides being surprised by his own metaphor, he’s awash with cognitive dissonance about not admitting this. How Brad could make common cause for ANY reason whatsoever with someone who thinks Brad’s wife isn’t a full human being (because of her melanin) boggles me. If someone considered my husband like that, I’d have nothing to do with them no matter HOW BAD I wanted awards and attention. If my husband did that, I would be looking for a good divorce lawyer soonest.

    But then, dogs often come back lovingly, fawningly to masters who abuse them.

    Most of the people I talked to actually gave the Pup nominations a shot. They read or tried reading them. And they finished below “No Award” strictly on grounds of bad plotting, bad sentence structure, not having a beginning/middle/end, or just not being that special. I thought “Totaled” was serviceable, but to me that isn’t Hugo worthy. And since No Award has always been an option, people took it. It’s perfectly legal, as the Pups are wont to whine about their slates.

    And yes, even if you only can think of one thing to nominate in one category, NOMINATE. Send in your ballot — it’s only a email. If you’re not sure of the Novella/Novelette/Short Story thing, write it down anyway. The administrators will put in into the right category for you as long as you give it a good shot. (I mean, don’t be nominating a GRRM tome in Short Story).

    If you don’t read much, tell us your favorite TV show episode or your favorite movie. Even if your ballot consists only of “the movie with the dinosaurs vs. Star Lord”, it’s worthy. The administrators are also good at figuring out what you meant if you can’t get the exact title, author, producer, etc. so if you put down for Best Novel “Scalzi’s latest book”, TEoAT will get a vote. If you’re nominating something more obscure, it’s best if you get the title, author, and magazine/website correct, though.

    You could not pay me enough to go to the Mark Protection part of the Business Meetings, but I show up when there’s a proposal of interest. I know a lot of people who lost sleep to make the ones about EPH and 4/6 proposals, and they plan to do it again next year. Worldcon is a direct democracy — you shows up, you stands up, there’s the vote.

  88. As a fan of science fiction who isn’t from the USA, what irritated and still irritates me most about the whole SP/RP mess is this: it assumes the rest of the world is even vaguely interested in the cultural squabbles of the USA. One of the things I’m enjoying about these later years is there is the effort to make the “world” in “World Science Fiction Society” mean “all of the globe” rather than “just the continental United States” (as per your baseball World Series[1]).

    The Puppies (in all their incarnations) appear to have missed this. They appear to have forgotten there is a world outside the continental USA, and the people living there generally aren’t interested in the minutiae of US politics or the US culture wars, or any of a number of issues which seem vitally important to US-based conservatives. It’s not so much we unanimously support the SJWs[2][3], but rather we’re not particularly interested in the issues the Puppies cuddle to their breasts. If we have to pick sides in the whole thing (we’d really rather not), we’re more likely to be on the side of the people who don’t give a hoot what we think so long as we’re not rude about it than the side of the people who are insisting we have to be thinking in lock-step with them.

    I know of a few Australians who got involved primarily because they were irritated at the way the US culture wars were being dragged into things. I know of people from outside the USA who reviewed the works and pointed out the ways in which those works were positioned around the US culture wars, and thus really weren’t speaking to non-US audiences in the least. Let’s put it bluntly guys, from a sales position, there are a lot more people on the planet who aren’t US-based conservative white males than the number who are. The USA may be the biggest science fiction market. It isn’t the only one.

    [1] Yes, I know the name there came from the newspaper which originally sponsored the contest. Not everyone inside or outside the USA does, though. Which means this globally named series of games which only involves teams from the USA makes everyone else chuckle and say “only in America”.
    [2] Incidentally, can I point out to the Puppy types that this whole business of trying to shame people for attempting to be polite and civil human beings (that is, attempting to treat other humans as though they were just as human as we are, even if they aren’t white, male, able-bodied, Christian, neurotypical or cissexual/heterosexual) strikes me as the most phenomenal “own goal” in history?
    [3] Especially since a lot of Social Justice types tend to be very US-centric in their views as well (do let me explain all the ways the primary race debate in Australia is NOT centred about the importation of workers to the USA for chattel slavery…).

  89. Also, in response to John’s original claim that this slates are the kiss of death: I don’t think that’s quite right. I think gaming the system is the kiss of death! The puppies tried to game the system with a simple slate this year, and the voters got angry, and rejected the slate. If they try to game the slate next year, somehow, people will get angry and vote in whatever way they think will punish the puppies most for trying to game the system again.

    So, if the puppies were to put John on their slate, I suspect that most people will recognize this for an attempt to game the system, and will go ahead and vote for John simply to piss off the puppies. And the puppies can shout all they want about how this proves the evil SJWs were secretly controlling things–the voters will know the truth, and won’t be quiet about it.

  90. Dear JJ,

    Ah, I had no idea people were assuming that. How silly. A cursory examination of the numbers disproves the notion that either camp swamped the results. Even in a party-fatigued state, that was obvious.

    To me, anyway.

    But then, you know how good we rabbits are with numbers.**

    pax / carroted Ctein

    ((**What, you thought “multiplying like rabbits” referred to something else???))

  91. @ctein

    ‘Defacto’, more properly ‘de facto’, meaning “in practical reality, despite not being officially established”.

    When you skim through & compare Deirdre’s Puppy-Free voters guide to the winners list, it’s an exact match for every category except the Dramatic Presentations.

    Unintentionally or otherwise, the Inverse-Puppy list became its own de facto voting slate – which consistently beat the “No Award” voter group, who themselves beat the Sad/Rabid Puppy voters.

    I have no doubt that a substantial number of people voted without reference to any slate, based purely on their opinion of merit. Unfortunately the results seem to suggest that enough people were swayed by slate voting – albeit generally against – that the slates were the major determinant of “success”.

    I really don’t think that the take-home message can be “slates don’t work”… although “slates don’t work as intended” might be a reasonable conclusion ;)

  92. Xtifr said “So, if the puppies were to put John on their slate, I suspect that most people will recognize this for an attempt to game the system, and will go ahead and vote for John simply to piss off the puppies. And the puppies can shout all they want about how this proves the evil SJWs were secretly controlling things–the voters will know the truth, and won’t be quiet about it.”

    Agree. I think that is the exact point. The pups get piss in the punch bowl for one more year. Who cares how they try to justify it? Fans should just behave rationally to whatever the VD Pups decide to do.

  93. the Inverse-Puppy list became its own de facto voting slate
    Um, first you can’t have a slate in IRV. You can have a slate in the nominations, because the nominations are a particular type of voting wherein a tiny minority can ‘swamp’ out a majority. (It’s a known flaw with that type of electoral system).

    But the actual VOTES for the award are majority IRV, which means the only way to win is to have 50.1% of the vote. You can’t ‘slate’ that. You need an actual majority. So 200 people, at the nomination stage, can control the nominations even though 1500 people might make nominations,. ,But at the voting stage, you must get 50.1%. So “slate” at that point is meaningless.

    The SP/RP’s success was pretty conclusive proof that their initial reasoning was false. (If there had been a secret slate, the two slates would have collided.). I suspect some of them were quite surprised at their success, but I don’t recall any of them questioning their original assumptions when they got far more success than they possibly could have if their underlying beliefs were correct.

  94. Morat:

    Agree with your summary of nominations. That’s the key failure point that needs to be addressed imo – one nomination per person would be the simple solution, but as long as they come up with something.

    Half agree & half disagree regarding IRV systems. They’re basically “Least Unpopular Wins” contests (my home country actually uses that system). Yes, you do need >50% to win – but it doesn’t stop how-to-vote cards being relevant. If people are actively downgrading a faction’s slate/how-to-vote, e.g. putting them under No Award, then that can end up having a greater influence than trying to stack positive votes.

    Let me explain where I’m coming from.

    I’m from the great unwashed portion of scifi fans. I rarely read work that’s come out this year. I’m only aware of this discussion because a friend referred me to it, and I’ve never commented on this field.

    A Hugo win or nomination on a book’s credits is a sign that the work should be at least moderately decent, even if I haven’t heard of the author. Corrupting the nomination process or having works win because voters voted in opposition to 60-80% of the candidates taints the whole value of the Hugos to myself & my uninformed compatriots.

    All of which is a win for the Rabid Puppy faction.

    If they already regard the Hugos as irredeemably tainted by liberal bleeding hearts, then why should they care if they destroy the award’s credibility? It’d be like the left-wing of American politics having the opportunity to discredit the Tea Party’s nomination process – there simply is no downside for them. Getting 60-80% of the candidates sidelined is a win to that mentality. Even their “human shields” got voted out by association, which is arguably an even bigger win for the Rabid Puppies.

    Having the organisers get some coherence back into the nomination process is the big challenge & should solve the majority of the problems. But having a field of Not-Puppy based winners is not something to take comfort in, imo. This whole affair is a taint.

  95. Perhaps, like me, you’ve had an internal dialogue resembling this:

    ME: Self, I consistently enjoy John Scalzi’s work and value his opinion, but… self?

    MYSELF: Yes, me?

    ME: Self, what the hell is a Hugo? And John isn’t referring to dogs when he capitalizes Puppies, is he?

    MYSELF: *shrug*

    If so, then like me (and myself), you may find this article illuminating:

  96. Read chaoshorizon’s analysis of the 2015 Hugo voting.

    There was a hard core, nuke anything 2,500 votes nominated by the “wrong people” nominating the ‘wrong way” following the existing rules. This is based on the “no award” of the two editors – including Mike Resnik. Arguments that the 2,500 hard core votes were “about quality” is not supported by the data.

    Most of the commenters here and at File 770 don’t attempt to comprehend the actual arguments made by the Sad Puppies. Likewise, most of the Sad Puppies don’t attempt to understand the arguments here, at File 770, or other similar sources.

    Jim Baen probably brought more readers to SF than anyone else in the last 20 years. He founded an entire, highly profitable publishing house. He was an absolute pioneer in ebooks. Baen is still doing amazing work with ebooks and hooking new people into the genre. Yet did he ever win a Hugo – nope.

    File 770/Scalzi commenters talk about how Teri will get a nomination in the future. They also point out that Teri got nominations before. But Teri only got an editor nomination due to Sad Puppy 1.

    Now many of you are angry at Modesitt for not being utterly lockstep with the truefan crowd. Wow!

    Only 2 people who are hard core WorldCon fans have earned my respect through this. Eric Flint who has written some even-handed analyses. George RR Martin who expressed his dismay and disappointment at the awards ceremony, cheers, jeering, etc… Mr. Martin also tried to reach out to Teri, Mike and others who were treated very badly.

    I respect Mr. Scalzi’s voting behavior. Read the nominees and vote what you think merits an award. I also respect Mr. Scalzi’s acknowledgement that Sad/Rabid are not the same.

    I have pointed out factual information about George RR Martin’s positive behavior at WorldCon, corrected some insular falsehoods about Martin and the WorldCon awards debacle to the Puppy websites. Nobody contradicted the observations after I pointed out Martin’s actual words. Doubt if similar ability to adjust views to actual facts are possible here or at File 770.

    I doubt that Teri will ever receive a Hugo for editing because I think the truefen at WorldCon are ignorant jerks. Most ideologues are ignorant jerks who listen to only to their own side. I’ve thought the Hugos were broken for best Novel in the last decade or so. I read SF for entertainment – not for something that is boring message fiction. Eric Flint at least recognizes the marginalization of the Hugos from the general SF reading public.

    I’m checking out of this discussion until nominations are due for the 2016 Hugos. I did not nominate this year, but I will nominate going forward if I read something I like. If past voting behavior holds true – that will be one of a handful making actual nominations.

  97. Pache:

    That’s not really how it works. The books and short fiction, etc., and various editors and artists and the Campbell get their nominations largely because their works have been widely talked about in fandom, especially the portion of fandom deeply involved in conventions, as good stuff. Because people can make multiple ranked nomination choices, the people who get nominations are actually getting a voting majority even if it’s spread out.

    So Leckie’s first novel, being enormously talked about and selling well, got nominated for multiple awards, for instance. It’s not at all unusual for those nominated for Hugos to also get nominated for other major SFF awards, both vote and juried committee awards. The novel nominees are almost always bestselling or category bestselling (lower level bestselling but lead titles in the market,) — they are very well known authors. The short fiction nominees aren’t necessarily, though well known novel writers who write short fiction often get nominated, but they usually come from prominent and/or popular publication sources in the magazine/anthology market, and they’ve been the stories that got talked about all year by those fans who pay any attention to that market.

    So it’s not a slate. It’s not organized. But the most discussed works among the most dedicated and involved fans, and on the bigger stuff, among larger groups of fans who know what WorldCon is, tend to get the nominations. So the non-puppy works that got nominated were legitimate and were what the nominators actually thought was good rather than simply a game. There was a real contest in the best novel group — and even Butcher was in there for a lot of people. The Puppies wanted to put forth that the most involved fans were too liberal, intent on pushing a cultural agenda over actual quality, popularity and joie de vivre in SFF, and ran themselves as an organized cabal. But that’s not how the voting works at either stage. The Hugos is basically a popularity contest and the Puppies tried to shove a bunch of stuff on the ballot that not even they were really interested in. The GamerGaters just voted what they were told, which gamed the nominations.

    But next year, the nominations are still not going to be a slate, but there should be a lot more nominating votes and they will again pool around those works that have been the most talked about as most interesting so spread is less of an issue. Which means that unless the Puppies bring in an awful lot of people to nominate in lockstep, they will have less ability to knock out works people are legitimately interested in.

    Which they know, which is why they are talking about drafting liberal authors to make what they think is a point and will screw with the authors’ careers — because that’s what they try to do even with conservative nominees. The point is to cause disruption because they think disruption equals power (and sometimes financial gain from that power,) and showing power in the society is much more important than the awards or actually accomplishing anything, as you note. But if they nominate an author whose work is already getting much talked about, that’s mainly going to get lost in the noise.

    Authors will be on watch and get alerted next year. So if the Puppies put them on the slate, they’ll demand to get taken off of the slate long before the nominations are tallied. If the Puppies refuse to take them off the slate, there will be a lot of consequences to that and a lot of variety of actions that are likely to be taken, including possibly legal ones. This will make many Puppies happy, as again they think disruption equals power and influence, but it will also make their strategy ineffective, because when a bunch of authors and artists insisted that they be removed from the slate the last two years, it made them look bad and not influential. Which they also know, which is partly why Beale stocked his slate with his own publishing house’s stuff, and why the Sad Puppies tried to distance themselves from Beale.

    So it’s going to be a little different next year. There’s not going to be a real slate because the puppies are abandoning actual slates and just going for full disruption — that is, the ones who still stick around. And there’s not going to be a counter-slate, just the usual pool of works that have attracted interest, all of which will likely get more nominated votes than in times past. The Puppies can dance around that whatever happens, whatever decisions anyone makes, that proves that they are disruptive and powerful. But it’s kind of like having a bunch of kids run through a picnic and turn over a punch bowl. There’s still going to be a picnic.

  98. I’m mostly happy with this result. I mean its a shame that the puppys got this far to begin with, but now that they did this is the best case scenario.

    Of course Day is declaring victory because that’s what he does. He has only two settings “hatfully smug” and “off.”

    I just hope that they don’t get as far next year.

  99. @sooz I don’t think Vox Day made up his name from “Vox Populi” I think it’s a thinly disguised “Vox Dei” (voice of god).

  100. @Fox Dray the complete phrase is “voc populi, vox dei” (the voice of the people is the voice of god). It’s a quotation from Alcuin of York.

  101. Puppies and Gamergaters? I think that I just found something different to do next weekend – although I enjoy DragonCon, all of that messiness spoils the fun.

  102. @ianrennie … Huh. And in the full context, Alcuin seems to be decrying such a concept:

    “Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.”

    ‘And do not listen to those who keep saying, ‘The voice of the people is the voice of God.’ because the tumult of the crowd is always close to madness.’


  103. “slates are the fucking kiss of death, Hugo-wise.”

    You seem to be jumping to a general conclusion from very specific evidence. Puppies slates, yes, but that by no means demonstrates that a slate formed for different reasons (e.g. Hard SF vs fantasy, literary vs. pulp, etc.) would necessarily evoke the same reaction. It didn’t sound to me like voters hated slates so much as they hated the Puppies.

  104. Elliotte:

    No, it was slating, too. I pretty much guarantee you that slating is a thing people hate. The puppies didn’t help themselves by being jerks, to be sure. But any slating by any group would have been met with disapproval.

  105. I avoided all the Hugo neepery until after it was over and this was a good sum up of my own feelings on the matter. Thank you! :)

  106. I admit that Nelson Muntz has been my Patronus for the last week or so. And I’m not even a voting member of anything.

    Here’s the thing: I like “classic” sf/fantasy. I enjoyed Conan and LotR and so forth, and still do. I’m not a giant fan of experimental whatever or Updikean navel-gazing blah blah blah, as any of my college creative writing teachers or indeed classmates can verify. My reading list contains a lot of Butcher and King, and I think Harold Bloom is a pretentious dickwad who should sit and spin for about a decade.

    That’s not what this is about.

    If Correia and Torgerson and so on had just said “Hey, here’s a list of action-oriented SF that we think deserves a read,” that would have been *great*. I probably would have picked it up, because see above. They were the ones who dragged in politics, social justice, and VD. And, aptly, there’s a saying about how, when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

    When your most prominent arguments come off as, basically, a bunch of pouty babies getting their stained white briefs in a twist because “straight white nominally Christian dude” isn’t the default setting, or because the Hugo audience doesn’t react as well to blatantly fetishizing guns and Ayn Rand*, no, I don’t feel that I should try to understand their arguments. I don’t feel that I should try to understand Drunk Subway Guy and his Thoughts on Jesus, either, and I feel equally guilty about both.

    I feel bad for the people who got used by the slate, and I hope they get honestly nominated next year, but blaming the folks voting No Award for that is like blaming Batman for whatsherface getting killed in The Dark Knight. (A friend who did attend the Hugos, and used the same philosophy as Scalzi, said that editors were particularly tough because, unless they included a packet of their work, it’s really hard for outsiders to have any idea of quality. According to her, Teri didn’t include such a packet.)

    Far as Flint goes: guy seems nice and all, and I’ve liked a lot of what he does, but the guy also writes supposedly-modern teenagers who neither know nor can figure out the existence of handjobs, so…not exactly infalliable source of Rightness there, any more than the rest of us. ;P

    And now, I shall stop ranting and make pancakes.

    * And that’s the thing: it’s not that these guys object to “message fiction.” They object to *their* message fiction not being a hit.

  107. Catering to the conservative jerk audience seems like aiming fairly low.

    Counterpoint: Donald Trump

  108. Airboy:

    Editor is the lowest information category in the Hugos. Puppies use it as a chew toy, as though the “quality” of Resnick’s or Weiskopf’s should have been patently obvious to the average Hugo voter. In Weisskopf’s case, not only did she not provide voters with any examples of her work from 2014, I can’t personally recall anyone pointing to any titles she’s ever edited (since some view the category as one based on long-term reputation, not a specific body of work in a specific year).

    Pups are pointing to Weisskopf garnering more 1st place votes than any winner in the last five year. But this year’s statistics show at a glance that comparisons are not really instructive due to unusual circumstances. Pretty much every winner (including Noah) this year received more 1st place votes than the last 5. The editor categories have been the lowest voted-on pro categories for the last 5; not so this year.

    Besides, none of this is evidence of anything not already known and expected by anyone paying attention. It was well known, since the nominees were announced, that a significant number of WSFS members intended to vote, as mentioned above, process over content. The only sorta-surprise (to the pups, anyway) was that these voters turned out to be the silent majority Brad and Larry thought they’d been courting the last few years. And yet, here the puppies are, still trying to appeal to, I can only assume, some other silent majority.

    (I think they’re also still trying to play the emotional blackmail card promoting content above all, even their own ethical misconduct. This has been a favorite tactic of Brad’s the last few months, and is the basis of most of Teddy’s master plan, including his recent “book”. I won’t speak for WSFS members, but I for one don’t lose sleep over having my moral and ethical consistency (badly) impugned by morally bankrupt, ethically bereft shitheels.)

    Jim Baen certainly was a major figure, and I’ll forgive you the bit of hyperbole in your description. Of course, Tom Doherty has never won a Hugo, either. And the reason for this: there hasn’t been a Hugo award for publisher since 1969.

    As far as Weisskopf’s Hugo prospects moving forward: firstly, past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Second, Weisskopf has done nothing to help her own cause in this regard, suggesting she doesn’t care. She’s also gone out of her way to at least insinuate that she’s specifically interested in work that WSFS voters don’t like. Given how bad a judge of WSFS tastes history has shown her to be, it’s hard to not to read these statements deliberate slights. Given a surfeit of choices, and a dearth of useful data, how anxious are you, airboy, to reward someone who actively dislikes you. I’m sure Larry would just love to claim sole credit for getting Weisskopf on the ballot, but I’m not nearly so confident. Especially when one considers just how close she came to winning after the far more egregious SP2. (How quickly they forget: Weisskopf had the most 1st place votes, but IRV can be a harsh mistress, and demands down-ballot support from its winners.) So, if Toni Weisskopf never wins a Hugo, it likely won’t be because WSFS members are “ignorant jerks”. It’ll be because Weisskopf herself genuinely appears not to want the thing. And unlike Larry and Brad’s hollow protestation, I actually believe Toni Weisskopf.

  109. “The only sorta-surprise (to the pups, anyway) was that these voters turned out to be the silent majority Brad and Larry thought they’d been courting the last few years. And yet, here the puppies are, still trying to appeal to, I can only assume, some other silent majority.”

    Their majority is even more silent and thus clearly, even more of a majority. QED.

    Though we shouldn’t forget that it was the rabid, not sad, puppies that were the dominant force this year, and probably will be next year too. They aren’t going to give up because their objective is to cause trouble and attract attention to Ted Beale, both of which they managed. Looking forward to ‘SJWs Always Lie’ on the Related Work ballot for 2016.

  110. demonstrablyfalse said:

    “Though we shouldn’t forget that it was the rabid, not sad, puppies that were the dominant force this year, and probably will be next year too.”

    They are pretty much the same people. I read Larry’s blog and you can’t tell them apart.

    So right now I am engaged in a conversation that goes like this:

    Pup: “Scalzi doesn’t sell. Nobody buys that crap. Soon they will just be a small number of Chorfs giving awards to each other”.

    Response: “Here are Scalzi’s numbers for Lock In. These are pre paperback. Lock In ranked second in the Goodreads Choice Awards behind “The Martian”. Please tell me what you nominated that did as well in terms of market or fan support.”

    Pup: “Well Heinlin sold more hard cover books.”.

    It’s just nutty. And the nutty is spread across all pup breeds.

  111. Something I just cannot wrap my head around:

    Say VD puts a work by someone he hates on his Rabid Puppies slate for 2016. The hated author does not withdraw the work from Hugo consideration. It makes the final ballot. The Hugo voters decline to be fooled by VD’s tactic and vote (or not) for the work strictly according to its merits. And in the end, a work by someone VD hates wins the Hugo.

    Of course, VD will crow and say this shows what a Xanatos master he is. I wanted to manipulate you fools into awarding SF’s highest honor to my enemy, and you did it! Dance, puppets, dance! And so on.

    Is anyone going to be fooled by this? The only practical result I can see is some of VD’s fans thinking it over and reconsidering some of their life choices.

  112. To the lefties tying this to all conservatives: Dude, I support Scott Walker for president. Stop playing lefty vs. righty you are doing what these clowns want. I dont see it as left vs right. I see it as a bunch of cry babies who are acting like whiny liberals vs. people who like to read SF and Fantasy.

    If I see these idiots at a Tea Party rally, I will have an uncontrollable urge to hand out wedgies and water board them in toilets. They need to grow up.

    I am looking forward to the John Ringo anthology that Scalzi is in. I wonder if people are going to call Ringo a traitor or something for that. I don’t see what is wrong with me liking both John Ringo and John Scalzi’s writing? I know alot of lefties hate on Ringo due to politics, but I don’t see why people can’t like both of them.

  113. Isabel C. said:
    “* And that’s the thing: it’s not that these guys object to “message fiction.” They object to *their* message fiction not being a hit.”

    Yep. This is just the Tea Party come to SF/F much like they have to school boards with the text book wars. In this case is all about their message and really has nothing to do with good SF/F.

  114. I think it’s more likely Day promotes authors he likes, but which he knows have a constituency in mainstream fandom too. The 3BP sequel is an obvious one (missing that was a big, costly blunder for him this year), we might also see one of China Mieville’s short stories from his new collection.

  115. Kat Goodwin said: “So it’s going to be a little different next year. There’s not going to be a real slate because the puppies are abandoning actual slates and just going for full disruption — that is, the ones who still stick around. And there’s not going to be a counter-slate, just the usual pool of works that have attracted interest, all of which will likely get more nominated votes than in times past. The Puppies can dance around that whatever happens, whatever decisions anyone makes, that proves that they are disruptive and powerful. But it’s kind of like having a bunch of kids run through a picnic and turn over a punch bowl. There’s still going to be a picnic.”

    Your post may be my favorite post. It is hopeful. I was concerned they would build on their base and that since only 15% of a population voting a slate can control the nominations, they would dominate the ballot. Your post gives me hope that won’t happen.

    In truth, if there is good stuff for the Campbell, Long Dramatic and Best Novel, that’s enough. No Award for last resort enforcement will be fine. “The puppies can dance around whatever happens” as you say. But it should be their last dance. After this year their power to disrupt will dissipate with the voting reforms and they will eventually just go away.

  116. The Sasquan site has a PowerPoint explanation of the E Pluribus Hugo proposal that, IMO, does a very good job of showing how that proposal would minimize slate impact. You can find it here: . (The file also opens and runs in LibreOffice, if you don’t use Microsoft Office.)

    If Kansas City had won the bid for any other year, I would have bought an attending membership the day after the announcement. But I’d committed two weeks of vacation time and a good chunk of money to a different convention back in 2013 when they won _their_ bid; even with KC being only three hours drive away, I can’t justify two major cons in the same year. Pity, because now I’d really like to show up for the business meeting and vote for EPH.

    (Does anyone know if Theo Pratt’s magnum opus qualifies in the “Related Work” category?)

  117. Airboy,

    You wrote, “I’ve thought the Hugos were broken for best Novel in the last decade or so.”

    All right. In what way are they broken? Please be specific about the mechanism. Thank you.

  118. What I don’t see mentioned often enough in these discussions is that not only are the Hugos fan awards, but also they are fan awards that are presented by a specific con and are deeply rooted in that con’s history and traditions. The Hugos may not express the tastes of the masses who buy SFF, and they may not even express the tastes of people who consider themselves fans of SFF. But why should they? That’s not what the Hugos are or ever have been.

    I have never been to a Worldcon and only once to a small comic-related con, so my exposure to con culture is limited to what I pick up from hearing about and reading about other people’s experiences. But even I, having read and listened to other people’s experiences, can grasp the idea that the Hugos are part of Worldcon and the award ceremony is the climax of each year’s con but by no means the sole focus of the con. I see and hear that the con experience, in all its multifaceted glory, especially the experience of being a fan among fen surround and enrich the part of the culture that is the Hugo nominations and awards. Or am I just making this up out of wishful thinking?

    All I had to do was read GRRM’s blog posts about Loser Parties past and present and his own experiences at Worldcon over the years to catch a buzz off the fun and camaraderie and nerdy zaniness of it all, for those who participate fully in the whole culture, not just the acquiring of shiny rockets. Anybody can join in the culture, but nobody is going to instantly or automatically become part of any existing culture. If that’s what Larry C. hoped for back when he attended a Worldcon, did or did not have a great time (he reported at the time that he did, but later he seemed to attach his bitterness over all things Hugo/Worldcon to a conversation or two in which he was treated with disdain), and didn’t win a Hugo, his expectations were probably unrealistic. He could have had an enjoyable time anyway, had he entered into the spirit of the gathering, keeping in mind his new guy status. And if had he taken the time, over the next few years, to become a part of it the way any new person in a culture has to do, the way countless people have done at cons and continue to do, including GRRM and Our Gracious Host, who participate as fans and not just as potential award-winners and Big Names in the Biz. When Larry C. and his Puppy buddies have expressed so much scorn for the culture that originated and maintains the Hugos, it’s no wonder the Puppies have been soundly voted down–especially when their chosen method of participation is to deliberately game the system. That’s not something that was every likely to endear them to the committed members of the culture from which they wanted awards. As Scalzi said above, “it’s not actually smart, when you are trying to convince people to take your slate and nominees seriously, to shit all over them and the awards they care about, for months on end. They should try not doing that. That’s, like, basic marketing.”

    I’m wondering not only why they thought that was a good tactic, but also where were the Puppies at the Worldcon business meetings, where changes to the system are proposed and discussed? If they could organize enough to set up a slate, couldn’t they organize enough to get people out of bed in time for those meetings–if indeed they made it a point to attend the con in the first place, which I’d think they would if they cared about the Hugos and were concerned about the current situation? Where were the Puppies in getting Worldcon panels organized to discuss their concerns about the direction of the field and the underrepresentation on the ballot of certain types of work? Where were the Puppies going to Worldcon and engaging in conversations with other fans, not just about their areas of concern but about the kinds of things that bond fans to one another, which would then make it easier to talk to their fan friends about their areas of concern? Where were the Puppies when the cons needed volunteers? Where were the Puppies organizing after-parties and setting up their own awards to poke fun at the Hugos, which they could have done much the way GRRM set up the Alfies this year? That was a response to this year’s situation that was fully in keeping with the culture and spirit of Worldcon, as far as I could tell. An approach more like that over the past few years would have done much more toward getting the Puppies’ concerns taken seriously than the ham-handed tactic of setting up slates and the incredibly poor judgment in getting Beale involved. All those things would have been ways of participating fully and wholeheartedly in the culture they want recognition from–being fans among fen instead of fans setting themselves apart and gaming the system because they apparently can’t fathom that standing outside and throwing rocks is not a way to get welcomed and embraced. Manipulation is a poor substitute for participation, especially when you’ve got a strong culture to which a lot of people are strongly loyal.

    If the people who complain about cliques and vote fixing are talking about a small subset of Worldcon members (which is, of course, a shifting population, not a fixed one), they have yet to produce a shred of evidence. If they mean that Worldcon itself is a clique that is fixing the awards, that shows a deep, deep misunderstanding of what the Hugos are, and those complainers need not be taken seriously.

  119. Oh, but, HELSINKI, isn’t that great? And having a Euro worldcon in the near-future is surely going to disrupt the puppies hopes looking forward (tragically not so much next year, blech).

    I was so happy to see TBP win, is this the first work-in-translation to win? It’s certainly the first I’ve seem come up as a nominee (for best novel that is) in all the (few) years I’ve been keeping up. Far too many American-written novels win for my non-American tastes (an especial problem for those published in English in *England* sometimes months or years (if ever) before they are in the US, and importing physical books costs money and importing ebooks is nigh unto impossible, blasted region locking!)

  120. Nice post BW. Exactly right.

    I think the puppies are dupes. They are politically motivated more than anything else and Pup Pack leaders use this Faux controversy to create buzz for themselves to a target audience. And it works.

    I have pups arguing that Scalzi isn’t Heinlein not understanding the Torgersen really isn’t Heinlein and Correia really really isn’t Heinlein. They just get fed this pablum and scoop it up like it is some great cause.

    Very odd.

  121. Yes, some gamers like knowing what strategy their (actual or perceived) opponents will use.

    What they actually know is what some of their opponents are saying, now, that they will do in response to a specific move by the Puppies. This isn’t a game in that sense, and even if it was, there wouldn’t be a rule that says “If Vicki ever says she will no-award all slate nominees, she and all her friends and relations have to actually do it.” In fact, the games would look silly to complain, in Kansas City next year, “but you non-puppies all said you’d vote against anything that was on a slate, it’s not fair that PNH came out ahead of No Award!” It’s right up there with complaining that a poker player raised even though they knew that better cards than they did.

    If you want a perfect-information game, try checkers.

  122. @BW: there was at least one puppy in attendance at the business meeting. He tried to get the chairman to stop someone speaking on a proposal because of slander, the chairman ruled that the generalization about the puppies was not slander because the speaker did not target any specific individual, and he later tried to shut down the business meeting for the convention before the two anti-slate amendments were scheduled to be voted upon, the chairman ruled his request to adjourn sine die out of order. I saw him on Sunday at the con suite wearing a Baen Minions t-shirt, and he tried to get into a political argument with a group of 20-somethings who were sitting on the floor talking about something when he overheard what someone said and angrily objected to it. The person who said it refused to get into an argument with him, and he left.

    I’m sure there were more puppies in attendance, but I think most of the other people against the two anti-slate proposals basically believe that the slates are an aberration that will go away without amending the WSFS constitution.

    I voted a few puppy candidates above no award, so I’d find it quite amusing if Beale and Paulk were to include a few good SJW candidates next year just to prevent them from winning Hugos, and they won anyway.

  123. So you know what bugs me?

    Brad is over at his place licking his wounds and talking about his great effort. So I told him. The pups went to war with people without the pups having a cause. There was nothing to fight over. And he used this war to foster a niche market for himself. And to do that he had to saddle up with Vox Day who thinks/says horrible things about people he should care about. And what was the outcome. Well the obvious but if you look at sales rankings at Amazon, “The Martian” sits at #11. Without Brad stuffing the ballot with his friends and Vox’s friends, Andy Weir would probably have won the Campbell and who is more deserving?

    Certainly it wasn’t Larry Correia who started this whole mess when he couldn’t.

    What a shame.

  124. With “The Martian” being made into a major motion picture, with MATT DAMON no less, there should be enough buzz to get Andy Weir a Campbell nomination this year. He is still eligible. So whether it’s the Pups or everyone else or both, it would be both possible and really nice to see Andy’s name on the ballot.

    As far as gaming strategy goes, I think that it is too early to have one. VD is going to be chortling over his 12 dimensional chess/4GW plots and trying to mess with our heads. My suggestion is that we ignore everything except nominating stuff we like, then see what the final ballots look like. Then do what our host suggested everyone do this year: read it all and vote accordingly. Dreck goes below No Award, go stuff goes above.

    And if VD claims victory, so what? He’ll do that no matter what happens because, VD.

    This year’s result should be crystal clear that the fans are going to punish bad faith.

  125. Alexandra Erin just wrote a series of tweets starting with the question “What are the odds that any given person would not find ONE PUPPY PICK worthy of a Hugo?” and the answer “pretty dang high, if the Puppies deliberately blocked everything that person thought was the best of the year!” and going on to discuss her reasoning. I won’t quote the whole series of tweets, but they’re very much worth reading, IMO:

    Depending on when you’re reading this comment, you might have to scroll down a goodly amount to get to them. Salient tweet: “But when you game the system to produce a shortlist ballot that doesn’t resemble the electorate’s tastes… guess what happens?”

    BTW, the Kindle version of “The Martian” is on sale for $1.99 right now. I just snagged a copy, which let me get the Audible version for only $2.99.

  126. Well of course it’s hopeful. The Puppies had about as much chance of doing anything serious to the Hugos as a snail does of stopping a jet plane with a blockade.

    Again, the Hugos are about SHORT fiction, so it’s the stories appearing in magazines and anthologies that are actually the center and the most talked about ones among readers of magazines and anthologies, the folks who nominate them. The Best Novel Award is more of a lure to attract voters and, excuse me but I can’t do italics so I’m all capping this: THE BEST NOVEL CATEGORY IS ALWAYS FILLED AGAIN WITH BESTSELLERS AND CATEGORY BESTSELLER/LEAD TITLES — POPULAR TITLES. Leckie and Addison were lead title category bestsellers. The Three Body was an international sensation. Station Eleven and Vandermeer’s Southern Reach, etc., who might have been on the ballot are international bestsellers. These are not obscure titles in the Best Novel category and THEY NEVER ARE. Which George Martin and countless others pointed out to the Puppies, which they ignored because accuracy is not the issue. Making a coherent argument is not the goal. Shouting persecution and causing disruption is. But that doesn’t do anything to the institution of the Hugos and WorldCon.

    And again, Weisskopf and Gilbert were nominated two years ago without puppy help and then again with little puppy help. They didn’t win, which is not that unusual because often editors don’t win. But they’ll probably be up again and they may. They don’t need the Puppies and the Puppies did not cost them a victory. And a lot of really good editors in major houses haven’t gotten their chance to get nominated at all, much less three times. A lot of the non-U.S. editors are simply shut out.

    When the Hugos started, there was no Editor Award and then in the seventies, there was only one Editor Award and it went to the magazine editors mostly. Ben Bova kept winning for Analog. James Baen — the guy supposedly ignored — was nominated seven times for editing Galaxy Magazine and then he started his own publishing company, and so wasn’t picked over magazine editors. Gardner Dozois, editing Asimov’s, knocked Analog off the perch and won from 1988-1993 and then again from 1995-2001 and then again from 2003-2004. It was a small group of names that people knew. In 2007, they finally split it into two awards and gave the book editors their own award. Jim Baen was nominated that year for Long Form, but again, he was a publisher at that point. So again, Puppies such as Airboy ignore the actual history of the awards.

    Mike Resnick I think may have a record for Hugo nominations and has won four of them. Some of his behavior the last couple of years hasn’t really painted him as a supportive editor of authors out there now, and frankly again, there are a lot of good short form editors who haven’t had a decent shot at the award. (The majority of editors, authors, etc. whether popular, acclaimed or usually both don’t get nominations.) It’s probably also a good thing that he lost this year, as winning thanks to the Puppies would tarnish his impressive legacy reputation.

    And the short fiction they got nominated? It doesn’t sound like the Puppies are complaining about how good those works were and why they deserved to win, just the editors who are big public figures. In fact, nobody in Puppy camp has ever taken Mamatas up on his challenge to simply talk about why they liked the stories and wanted Hugos for them. I doubt that they particularly do. But if they wanted to, they could. Because everybody has some of their favorites lose — I wanted Goblin Emperor to get Best Novel.

    They bring up Heinlein like he’s a cult leader, but pretend he was an airhead. They don’t bring up his Stranger in a Strange Land or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress as works that “could never be nominated now” because everybody knows these are considered literary works, message fiction with thorny themes, books that are annually studied in universities and high schools. They bring up Starship Troopers instead. But Starship Troopers is a dark, very political novel with lots of messages (and also sometimes studied in academia.) Which is why it was much talked about and won a Hugo in 1960, and why Haldeman wrote an answering book back to it, The Forever War, which also won the Hugo. The Left Hand of Darkness, The Man in High Castle, A Canticle for Leibowitz, etc. — literary works all that were much talked about for their ideas, and so were nominated for and won the Hugo Best Novel Award. They were also category bestsellers just like Leckie and Addison. The Hugo Award for Best Novel was never filled with tits and ass pulp (not that tits and ass pulp can’t ever be artistic,) and it’s one award out of the bunch. It doesn’t need more popular authors in it because it’s always had them.

    Yes, Hugo Awards used to help attract some sales. But that was before the wholesale market collapsed in the 1990’s, which affected how magazines and books were sold. No titles, Hugo awards or not, were moving in the big wholesale blocks of mass market paperback after that collapse. It had nothing to do with the Hugo Awards themselves. Which again the Puppies know and was de-bunked the first week of Sad Puppies 3. But in exchange, we have a much larger, more diffuse and international marketplace that is drawing in lots of new readers.

    Some of the Puppies and Puppy authors are not going to disappear, nor do they have to. They are part of fandom and they are changing their social views a lot more than they’re willing to acknowledge. The scramble to get away from Beale’s views is a prime example of that. The Hugos will be fine. Which is I suppose why some of them are sad.

  127. What bugged me was Torgersen blogging after the Hugos where awarded how the SJW’s where punishing a woman, just because she was on the slate, and how terrible it was that the SJW tactic robbed her of a Hugo, with her being a woman and all, this allegedly exposed SJW’s as bigots.

    Besides being whiny, it really makes you think what goes on in his head. Does he really believe that “SJW’s” want to award purely because of diversity? That was his allegation which brought on the puppies – then when the vote showed that people did not vote on a person just because they are female, that was somehow a failing?

    I guess a lot of people tried to argue the point with him, but he changed all opposing comments to a standard one ione response, so we will never know.

  128. I was one of the No Award voters this year. I don’t think I’d be opposed to any slate this coming year, provided they didn’t try to take every single spot in every category with their nominees, including having one author with 3 or 4 spots in one individual category. If they want to get together and support one or two nominations for each category, I’m fine with that. I even voted for some of the Sad Puppy people on 2014’s ballot. Just don’t be a jerk about it and try to block anyone out that doesn’t follow your political ideology.

  129. @sorenkongstad: I suspect his argument was along the lines of “feminists can’t oppose female candidates because Sisterhood!” or “A movement can’t be sexist if women are in it!”

    To which I have a two-word reply.

    No, the other two words: Phyllis Schafly.

  130. @isabelcooper:

    I see your Phyllis Schafly and raise you Sarah Palin.

    Until John McCain pulled that stunt, I actually liked the guy. The sheer cynicism of that move took my breath away.

  131. I wouldn’t expect much from Brad Torgersen in the way of a consistent and coherent argument, much less acknowledgment of anything that doesn’t fit his narrative of victimhood. A day or so before the results were announced, he posted on his blog an entry about the Hugos titled “A democracy is only as good as its numbers” in which he said: “it doesn’t necessarily matter who wins or loses a Hugo award this year, as much as it matters that participation keeps increasing.” He went on to say, “This year there were a record number of memberships, and a record number of ballots cast. This is very, very good. A democracy (any democracy) is only as worthwhile as those who keep their end up by actively participating. Past Hugo voting has tended to be remarkably anemic. Sad Puppies has changed this significantly — for two years running. If the participation (beyond 2015) declines, the Hugos are diminished. If participation grows, the Hugos mean more. That’s the real bottom line (in my book) and it goes way beyond which ‘side’ can construct victory narratives.”

    Sounds good, eh? Almost as if he meant it, as though he was willing to claim some credit for the newly energized voting and let the results speak for themselves. But what happened when participation increased, voters were energized, and the largest ever number of voters soundly rejected the slate? Did he say, “It didn’t go the way we hoped, but we feel good that the Puppies helped to increase participation, and the voters have spoken”? No, he went back to complaining about the unfairness of it all (because Australian rules, or something). His decision to chastise those record large numbers of decidedly non-anemic voters because two women didn’t win doesn’t look good on him, IMO, when you consider how many women would likely have been on the ballot if not for the Sads and Rabids. It’s interesting to look at Tobias Bucknell’s alternate Hugo ballot and notice how many more than two women were affected by the Puppies’ actions:

    Has Brad ever acknowledged the effects of the slates on those women? Maybe he has. I can’t say I read his blog very often. If he has, I would be glad to be pointed to the blog post or interview quote in which he makes such an acknowledgment. I don’t want to think ill of the man for not being a mensch about that if he has, in fact, been a mensch about that.

  132. Scalzi, I am not certain about your statement that this will be a wash in terms of readers. There are certain Puppy-associated authors whose books may have interested me who never will again. There are far more good SF/fantasy novels out there than I will ever have time to read, and I have always made an effort to select against buying books by horrible people. The Puppies have, somewhat conveniently, provided me a short list of known horrible people; I will use it use it when considering whether to look into an author who is new to me henceforth. I have a suspicion that others will do the same, and those decisions will impact what we recommend to our less fandom-associated friends.

  133. @ Kat Goodwin: “Mike Resnick I think may have a record for Hugo nominations and has won four of them. Some of his behavior the last couple of years hasn’t really painted him as a supportive editor of authors out there now, ”

    Well, whatever impression strangers may have, speaking as someone who knows him well and talks to him often, it is a genuine mission with him to acquire new writers as an editor, something he’s proud of doing, and something he sets goals for doing in his capacity as editor of Galaxy’s Edge or editor of this-or-that anthology. He’s well-known for his generosity to young writers and his active efforts to bring new writers into the field. A few years ago, when a writer I helped out (quite a bit) turned out to be a person of bad character who really screwed me over, and I was very upset, the first thing my dad said to me was, “But you must not let this bad experience stop you from helping other new writers.” It is a creed for him.

  134. Backing Laura up here, I’m not sure I see where Mike Resnick hasn’t been a supporter of new authors. The SFWA kerfuffle which I suspect is being hinted at here is sort of a sidebar to his editing (and as much my fault as anyone else’s, since if I had read that particular article more carefully — as I said I would — I would have asked him to make changes to part of it, which I’m very sure he would have).

  135. @ BW — I think you’ve made excellent points there about the nature of the Hugos, the fannish/WorldCon community, and the Puppies. And this seems to dovetail with what John said in point no. 4, which is that the Puppies didn’t really seem to know what they wanted, and their message was all over the place. Nor were their actions well designed to achieve goals along the lines of winning Hugos, getting Hugos for their nominees, gaining respect, getting “a place at the table,” refocusing the Hugos on the kind of works they prefer, etc.

    I assumed there would be angry dissection of the results after the Hugo results were announced, but I’ve been puzzled by how =surprised= the Puppies are by the results. I thought it seemed to be widespread knowledge before WorldCon started that Puppies were estimated to be no more than 25% of the voters and possibly as little as 10%, and that 2 “No Awards” (Novella and Related Work) were dead certs (based on reaction to reading the works on the ballot), 3-4 “No Awards” were quite possible, and 5-6 “No Awards” were not out of the question. Whether one agrees with those results or not, in the weeks leading up to WorldCon, it was not mysterious or hidden information that these were probable/possible results. So the SURPRISE of the Puppies strikes me as odd.

  136. Laura Resnick:

    “So the SURPRISE of the Puppies strikes me as odd.”

    Epistemic closure, basically. They didn’t entertain thoughts outside of their own little group, and no one within their group realistically entertained the final result as a reasonable scenario until, it appears the very end. So of course they feel as if they were robbed.

  137. Not being a WorldCon (or any con) goer myself, I figure on just floating this balloon out on the interwebz and see if it lands anywhere before next summer.

    How about nominating the Puppies for a 2016 Hugo in the [new] category of “Best Fandom Performance Art”?
    Methinks that might be the perfect expression of gratitude to them.

    (Y’all, before responding; this is my version of Scalzi-style speech.)

  138. I quit worrying about the Hugos after the Puppies split into factions based on who was anti-SJW enough. Once your group institutes a purity test, all that is left to do is wait for the Berserkers to start cleaning out the refuse.

    “We just didn’t slate hard enough! We’ll be back next year and we’ll slate even harder!”

    Speaking as a geology-type, if you slate really hard, you turn into schist.

  139. @Kat Goodwin
    Toni was part of Sad Puppies 1 in 2013 and got the 5th nomination slot by 5 votes over Anne Groell that year. I think it is unlikely that she would have been nominated in any of the past 3 years without the Puppies.

    Mr. Scalzi had an interesting point above which was to say the Sad Puppy position was chaotic and lacked a point. A lot of random acronyms (“CHORF”, “SJW”, ect…) for making loud debates with no real substance. The main thing I took away from it was although they were not able to articulate a reason, there seemed to be a real discontent with the Hugo’s. Based on this I decided to look at the history of the category the Puppies actually made some decent recommendations in (excluding Vox Day) and that would be Long Form Editor. In the 5 years preceding the Puppy campaigns these are the top 5 candidates for each year (note: I am using the top 5 voted candidates, regardless if they declined or not. This is being done to show Worldcon Fandom’s true preference.):

    88 Lou Anders (24.24%)
    67 Betsy Wollheim (18.46%)
    59 Liz Gorinsky (16.25%) (TOR)
    44 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (12.12%) (TOR)
    43 Anne Lesley Groell (11.85%)

    96 Lou Anders (32%)
    56 Liz Gorinsky (18.67%) (TOR)
    44 David G. Hartwell (14.67%) [DECLINED] (TOR)
    31 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (10.33%) [DECLINED] (TOR)
    24 Ginjer Buchanan (8%)

    99 Lou Anders (34.3%)
    61 Juliet Ulman (21.1%)
    54 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (18.7%) (TOR)
    47 David G. Hartwell (16.3%) [DECLINE] (TOR)
    42 Liz Gorinsky (14.5%) (TOR)

    Lou Anders 92
    David G. Hartwell 87 (TOR)
    Patrick Nielsen Hayden 76 (TOR)
    Ginjer Buchanan 34
    Beth Meacham 34 (TOR)

    70 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (TOR)
    67 David G. Hartwell (TOR)
    51 Lou Anders
    25 Ginjer Buchanan
    18 Beth Meacham (TOR)

    Of the possible 25 spots Worldcon Fandom voted in TOR Editors to 14 of those slots. Only 8 different people received any of the top 5 spots over 5 years. It was self-identified as a problem by some of the Editors. David Hartwell has decided to permanently decline all nominations and Patrick Nielsen Hayden declined a nomination in 2011 to allow new blood into the category. Despite these self-corrections, if you remove the slate voting from this category in 2015 you get the following:

    96 Liz Gorinsky 13.5% (TOR)
    69 Beth Meacham 9.7% (TOR)
    65 Patrick Nielsen Hayden 9.1% (TOR)
    35 Lee Harris 4.9%
    31 Anne Perry 4.3%

    TOR is still taking 60% of the spots. I don’t have any grand theories as to why this is happening but I am as sure that this isn’t a grand “SJW” Cabal as I am that TOR does not have 60% of all the award worthy editors every year.

  140. Mike Resnick has an excellent rep as an author (I like a lot of his stuff,) and as far as I know a good one as an editor. Which again is one reason I think it’s good that he lost with others while being on the Puppy Slate this year because if he’d won as the Puppy nominee, that would not be a nice note in his very strong legacy and reputation, as it wouldn’t be considered legitimate by many but instead engineered by block voting of gameboys.

    But you have to accept the reality that Mike Resnick’s behavior regarding the Bulletin situation — not just the article but his responses to the concerns about it — and his signing of a rambling petition that declared women shouldn’t have civil rights among other things in regards to the editorship of the Bulletin, means that a number of younger and especially women authors are not necessarily going to regard him as a good and supportive editor for them in the current market. And that’s unfortunate, but they are entitled to make their own decisions about that, and this may have affected the Hugo voting besides the Puppy nomination. It may also have been that some people thought the work in the magazine wasn’t that good this last year and so that his editorship didn’t deserve a Hugo.

    In other words, it wasn’t necessarily just about his being a Puppy nominee (although who knows, maybe it was, but a lot of people seem to have different reasons for voting as they did.) Nor did losing the Hugo horribly damage his career, with numerous nominations and four wins already under his belt. So the wailing about how voting No Award was terribly unfair to Mike Resnick is a bit much, as it is about Weiskopff and Gilbert. But because all three are very legitimate, established and well respected professionals in the field, those are who some of the Puppies seem to be most parading as victims of the evil SJW’s.

    I don’t think really anyone regards Mike Resnick as a Puppy and as supporting any of their various claimed goals (except perhaps that it’s nice to have a lot of people participating which I think everyone agrees is good, except some of the Puppies wailing now that this happened.) That he lost in the year of the block voting strategy tirade will not preclude him from having a chance of being nominated again, anymore than it precludes Weiskopff, Gilbert, Butcher, etc., because they all produce good stuff that people like. Being nominated by the Puppies does not mean that you’re part of their movement, obviously, as a lot of their nominees were drafted without their consent.

    The next Sad Puppy campaign seems determined to make a “reading list” instead of a slate, of the most “popular” works that people suggest to them, (because they like to pretend that bestsellers aren’t bestsellers and don’t apparently know how to use Amazon rankings and the like.) They’ve retreated to a participation boost goal, which is certainly preferable to their previous blow the Hugos up goals. Of course, the organizer of the reading list still is referring to socially liberal authors as power-hungry little Hitlers, (that would be you JS,) but it’s a start. As for the Rabid Puppies, that’s going to be theater and how effective they can be on the actual voting will depend on how many of the GamerGaters they can retain now that the media no longer finds that alliance novel enough for much news. Given the bigger participation at both stages, I don’t think they’ll be that effective.

    And again, authors are way more alerted to various tactics this year. Elizabeth Bear has said: “If I learn that I have been included on a slate, I will ask to be removed, and I will bring as much force to bear on that issue as I legally can.” That may apply to the Sad Puppies’ recommended “reading list” as well. The drafting of authors is the most unethical thing about the whole mess and authors of all stripes are going to react against it.

  141. Someone Random: I’d encourage you to do that kind of analysis of some of the fan categories over the years. It’s really just a form of voter laziness, but it’s also totally justifiable. Very very few people can keep up with all the fanac out there in any given year – the interwebs has probably made this worse, not better – so they nominate the same familiar names year after year. Similarly, very very few people know how to fairly assess the work of a long form editor.

  142. Someone Random:

    Sorry, I cross-posted.

    Toni was part of Sad Puppies 1 in 2013 and got the 5th nomination slot by 5 votes over Anne Groell that year. I think it is unlikely that she would have been nominated in any of the past 3 years without the Puppies.

    That’s interesting. But in 2013, nobody was much paying attention to Correia, so she had a perfectly good shot at the award and still is not precluded from being nominated in the future, or one of the editors at Baen as well, including Flint. While I understand there’s been some conflicts, the Long Form award is about people feeling that the editors worked on and put out good books and a lot of folks in fandom like a lot of the works that Baen puts out, despite the Puppies’ claims to the contrary.

    Again, as recounted above, the Editor Award was always insular for forty years, going to the magazine editors primarily for nominations and Gardner’s incredible run as winner. When the awards split into Long and Short form, they continued to be insular. This is partly because fans don’t know who most of these editors are and in the case of Long Form, which editors worked on which books. Authors who may be voting may have worked with some folk and not others.

    So new blood is good, but I don’t think the Puppies were particularly looking for new blood. Book editors in publishing change jobs frequently — unless they are SFF editors. SFF editors seem to stay and stick, a lot of them, for years, so while I certainly think the relatively new award can be more opened up, it’s still going to be a small pool. The magazines/anthologies could go a lot wider, though.

  143. Yes, Mike Resnick did a couple not-good things last year. But he has been endlessly supportive to giving new authors a chance, encouraging them to an astounding amount. He’s a personable chap as well and I’ve always enjoyed chatting with him. Plus he raised Laura, the honest-to-gosh SJW and they’re still on fine terms. He’s lost about 10 times more Hugos than he’s won, so I too am glad he didn’t win this year. He doesn’t have to worry about washing Puppy poo off his shiny rocket. The next one he wins, it’ll be an honest win on merit.

    @docrocketscience: “Is this just Puppy math you do to make yourself feel better?” Not that the Puppies seem to have much grasp of math, which seems odd for guys who claim to be upholding Real Hard SF Like St. Bob Useta Write.

    In those stories, the heroes had definite, clear goals, and coherent plans as how to reach them. Pups don’t have that either. Is it “get more participation” or “destroy the awards” or “get awards for me and my friends” or “stick it to the SJWs”? All and none of the above, depending on the hour. And when the plans of the manly square-jawed engineer heroes failed, they didn’t claim “I never said that! That wasn’t what I was trying to do! La la la!” Nope, the Manly Men modified their approach and did something different. Not double-down on the failure. And they didn’t whine. They sucked it up, regrouped, refocused, and went on. No whining. (Of course, those heroes never would have called themselves Puppies of any sort. Children are puppies.)

    Those stories also had a beginning, middle, and end and a plot that rocketed (heh) along, which many of this year’s Pup nominees didn’t.

    But epistemic closure 1) prohibits admitting you did anything wrong 2) is ultimately all about the feels, which we have amply seen this past week.

  144. Foz Meadows has a really good post on what may have motivated a lot of the sincere* Puppies. It explains a lot of their more tortured whining:

    *”Sincere” in the same sense that the people who said that GamerGate was about ethics in games journalism and actually *meant* it were sincere; they may have believed their motives were pure, but that doesn’t make them any less culpable for what the movement that they hitched their wagon to did.

  145. Telling people that they “didn’t actually like” the stuff that they’ve been voting for lately (incl. Brad and Larry’s nominations) is a dick move, though.

    I mean, I think 50 Shades of Gray is crap that should never have been written, but I don’t go around telling people they didn’t really like it. I may think less of their taste in prose, I may think less of them in general — but I don’t say they didn’t enjoy reading it.

  146. My view of this is as a kind of outsider – not a Worldcon member, but I read a lot of SFF. I’m also a politics junkie, and man oh man do I recognize what happened here. If the issue really was that some folks thought a particular style wasn’t getting enough recognition, the clear answer was to promote good examples of that work and encourage people to nominate and vote. But that isn’t what happened. There was a ton of bad faith from the pups, with a metric fuckton of projection backing it up (one common thing you see with people who act in bad faith is that they assume others do it and this justifies their approach. Even if there is no evidence of bad faith by others. It’s a rationalization thing).

    The result was about as good as could be reasonably hoped for, given the slate-dominated nominations. This will likely go on, and I hope it will slowly cease to be a thing (slating, that is), we must always remember there is no peak wingnut.

    On a personal level, this hasn’t been all bad because the discussions here and File770 often involve books I haven’t read. I got The Martian from the library yesterday (somehow, despite reading a fair amount of SFF, I had missed it). I finished it last night. That was a lot of fun, and I really hope the movie is good. The casting looks pretty good, the trailer looks good…

    I also read The Three Body Problem b/c of discussions about the Hugos. My impression of it mirrors my impression of The End of All Things: it starts really strong and then falls off considerably. I liked The Goblin Emperor better. But hey, I didn’t vote, so whatever!

  147. Meadows’ article was lovely, but like a lot of folks and poor Mr. Martin, she is working from a build a bridge across the miscommunication angle. We don’t have a miscommunication going and we don’t have divided groups of fans who need to make peace. We have a small group of variously motivated folk doing conspiracy theorist posturing. Which is why the rationales given kept changing every week. And some of those folks went and got a bunch of other conspiracists from other areas to come vote.

    In the aftermath of the final Hugos, they have a lot of new conspiracy theories, some built on the old. Large numbers of the puppies declared that they were going to vote No Award across the board as a protest vote or something, and presumably did so. That seems to have been forgotten for a narrative that 3,000 evil SJWs mindlessly voted No Award in lock-step, rather than any of the puppies contributing to those tallies. So when they’re whining about how Weisskopf and others got hit with the No Award votes unfairly, nobody seems to be paying much attention that many of their own votes were No Award and contributed to the negative votes.

    But what the Sad — Don’t Claim We’re With Beale — Puppies are going to have to deal with is that nearly none of the “puppy” nominees were Sad Puppy nominees. They were Rabid Puppy nominees that the Rabid Puppies got on the ballot and the Sad Puppies just strung along with. Where the Sad Puppies differed from the Rabid Puppies, they mostly didn’t get their nominees on the ballot. Where the Rabid Puppies differed from the Sad Puppies (mainly Beale’s publishing house candidates,) the Rabid Puppies got a lot of them on the ballot without much in the way of Sad Puppy help. (Largely due to outside votes both Puppy camps welcomed in but which sided with the Rabid Puppies’ views/slate.)

    So other than helping the Rabid Puppies out with some useful votes (including No Award votes in the final maybe,) and helping the Rabid Puppies get press and online exposure, the Sad Puppies this year didn’t really do anything. (Well, and Antonelli tried to illegally swat David Gerrold and get him killed by cops in a raid on WorldCon, but I don’t know whether Antonelli identifies as a Sad or Rabid Puppy.)

    So next year, it will be interesting to see what exactly the Sad Puppies attempt to do. If they do separate from the Rabid Puppies — which many of them express insistence on doing — then they become simply a group of people whining about the Hugos as is always done with awards by all, or they have to go find a new crop of voters, since they clearly didn’t have enough to leverage over the Rabid Puppies or the non-puppies. And whatever authors and artists they try to champion next year, Beale can just copy, since the Rabid Puppies mostly don’t care who gets on the ballot, only the credit that they put them there as part of a grand counter-measure plan. And they are also dealing with the reality that about 90% of SFF authors want nothing to do with any puppies whatsoever.

    Which is why presumably Sad Puppies 4 says they are just trying to make a suggestion list of the most popular to boost voter turnout, rather than try to combat SJW vote conspiracies or whatever it is this week. They lost at the nomination stage to the Rabid Puppies, they were ignored in the final voting. By helping the Rabid Puppies, however, they did boost voter turnout for the year (though the Hugos were in no way in peril before that if you look at actual historical numbers.) And they might do it again next year, but the voters they are likely to attract by that are in the majority not going to agree with them about much.

    But who knows? Maybe we’ll get a bright, shiny new conspiracy theory next year. Especially as they’ve already given Scalzi a glittery robe of official High Priest conspiracy leader.

  148. But who knows? Maybe we’ll get a bright, shiny new conspiracy theory next year. Especially as they’ve already given Scalzi a glittery robe of official High Priest conspiracy leader.

    Is there some sort of Scalzi Cultist newsletter or something? ‘Cause I kind of like being a Sub-Novice Third Class.

    Oh, and I have some great ideas for the next secret cult meeting–can’t wait to propose them for the next round of conspiring! The password’s still the same, right?


    More seriously, I think that RSHD’s an idiot and an asshole who’s basically become Public Enemy Number One to 99% of all nerdkind, and the Sad Puppies are marginally less obnoxious assholes who still willingly associated with him, likely knowing about his epic asininity.

    So their names are mud in at the very least my local sci-fi club. Not in the sense that we won’t read anything they write, but in the sense that we all think they’re assholes.

    Hail Scalzi! The Conspiracy ™ shall live on!

  149. I suspect that one reason that Tor editors are getting so many of the nominations is that Tor puts the editor’s name in their books. If I was thinking of nominating in that category, my logic would include “a lot of that job is acquisitions*. What books did I really like last year? Who was the acquiring editor?”

    Suppose four of my favorite books are from Tor and three are from Baen.* I might ind two that were edited by PNH, two by other named Tor editors, and three by I-have-no-idea-who. That in turns is going to be three nominations for Tor editors, and maybe one for Toni Weisskopf, if I decide that she’s the public face of Baen and probably the person who decided Baen should publish that book. (Even if an author mentions, somewhere, that Jim Minz bought their book, how many readers are going to see and remember that?)

    Now subtract the nominators who have seen/heard Baen’s “we don’t edit” and decided that if Baen doesn’t edit books, nobody there is actually an editor, so none of them can be the best editor.

    *The rest are older or non-genre, or both.

  150. Baen doesn’t edit? That seems unlikely.

    In any case, shhh, don’t bring logic into it. You are ruining the imaginary Tor-Baen war.

    The editor award, long form, is kind of inside baseball. The authors and industry people who vote know the editors and their reps — it’s a very small world really. Tor is bigger than Baen with more editors, and more international a publisher than Baen, so a lot of folk who don’t really know much about the people themselves do recognize the Tor name and that books they like, as you say, come from Tor and so they go from that. Certainly there’s a lot of room for shake ups in the award — there are other editors at big imprints, small press editors, U.K. editors, etc. The award is newer than other awards, so that’s likely to come. But editors don’t really campaign for it.

    But it’s never going to be an award that gets a lot of the voters because people don’t care about publishers and editors in picking their novels. Which is why saying that Tor editors organize a conspiracy of editors at rival houses (hey, they’re pals but not that much pals,) people who don’t know them, etc. to completely liberalize the entire SFF publishing industry through a set of awards that mostly go to magazine authors they don’t work with and that this somehow destroys Baen Books, part of which Tor supports more or less through Doherty, is just weird.

    And again, a lot of the Puppies planned to vote No Award, so the surprise at the results and the suppositions they are making about it are also kind of weird.

  151. I would respond with 2 questions:

    1. Does it reflect reality that 3 out of 5 award worthy editors every year are all working at Tor?
    No. Many other publishers and editors put out good content every year.

    2. Does it create an optics problem or an opportunity for misconceptions when this award leans so heavily to one publisher?
    Yes. This can easily be misinterpreted by folks and can create the appearance of certain biases, example: The fictional “Tor/Baen war”.

    1. Create a rule to limit nominations to a maximum of 2 per publisher.
    2. Change the award to “Best Publisher” as many feel it is a proxy for that already.
    3. Ask publishers to better publicize the work of their editor, similar to what Tor does.
    4. Ask Worldcon Fandom to put more thought into this category.

    Just some thoughts.

  152. The awards aren’t supposed to “reflect reality.” They reflect what the attendees of WorldCon who bother to nominate and vote want to do, which is fully their choice. And again, the history of this award, from when it was one award for both books and magazines for thirty years and then the more recent two awards is that one person tends to dominate it for quite awhile, partly on publisher/magazine name recognition. Again, Gardner Dozois won the single Editor Award like sixteen times for editing Asimov’s, nearly all in a row. Is that a reflection of reality in editing? It’s a reflection of the lazy way that people vote.

    So it really doesn’t have anything to do with Tor itself as a publisher, but with how the award tends to get voted on. I’m sure that the Puppy narrative is that the Tor editors cozied up to all the attendees to lobby for next year’s nomination or something, but again, 1) the editors really don’t lobby for it; and 2) if they were going to do that, the logical thing would be to pick one Tor editor per year to solely lobby for, rather than divide the small vote up among themselves. So that idea only works if you believe the Tor editors are scheming masterminds and utterly incompetent at the same time. (Which I suppose some of the Puppies do, but that’s hardly reality based either.) The reality is that while editors from Tor may get nominated, they won’t always win.

    And the other thing is, the editors of both magazines and publishers are very well aware of the over celebration of them from lazy voting and so most of them have pulled themselves out of contention, either totally or at least for particular years so others can get a shot. Patrick Nielsen-Hayden did so. But making a ban on how often editors can be nominated is interfering with the choice of the voters, and the case where if an editor did really interest work that year, but voters in the know couldn’t nominate them leads to a much more engineered form of unfairness.

    As for asking publishers to better publicize their editors in hopes of getting a Hugo nomination, that’s unlikely to have any effect. Because getting the Hugo Award for Editor has no real financial or otherwise value for them. It’s a nice thing for the editor, but again, they don’t care that much, and they know readers don’t care at all out in the market. More to the point, it’s considered gauche and gaming the system to lobby for the award.

    Which is why the Puppies accused Tor of lobbying for it by putting editors’ names in their books. But Tor had other, far more important reasons to do that, mainly that their editors help maintain website community feeling that they’ve found helps them in online marketing, and so putting the editors’ names in the books helps if the readers go online to foster that community we have good books and check out stuff. Other publishers may replicate that, but it’s not going to be for a Hugo Award. And again, most of the attendees of WorldCon who vote and nominate are very involved in conventions and fandom and know all the editors — they don’t really need to have the names in the books.

    There are people who want to get rid of the Editor Awards, but that seems kind of hard on the magazines. But the Society members (WorldCon attendees, see rules,) have created new awards and retired other ones over the course of its history.

  153. reflect reality

    You lost me with that one. What does it even mean? Do the Oscars reflect reality? The Tonys? Any awards system?

  154. Will Brad and Larry lose readers who might otherwise have given them a shot?

    For sure. I for one will never buy anything of theirs, in any way that will make them a cent. Used, perhaps, just to see if any of the whining was justified.

  155. LurkerType said:

    How Brad could make common cause for ANY reason whatsoever with someone who thinks Brad’s wife isn’t a full human being (because of her melanin) boggles me.

    From what I know of the Disease, he already would think that, because ovaries, right?

  156. znepj, etc:

    We’re beginning to wander into uncomfortable territory with regard to speculating how Brad thinks of his own wife, so let’s pull back on those reins, please.

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