TRYING TO KEEP LITERARY AWARDS FROM FAVORING LITERARY CRITERIA IS AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY. GET OVER IT.

Having come up with that nifty albeit long-winded title, I’m tempted to just write “see above” and take a nap. Mission accomplished…

Sadly, some people need to be convinced that “inevitable” means “not evitable.”

You don’t think there’s such a word as “evitable”? Tch. Of course there is! If there weren’t, how could anything be in-evitable? “Evitable” derives from the Latin evitare (“to avoid). It’s an adjective that means capable of being avoided; avoidable. In essence, what the Sad Puppies are arguing is that if people follow their lead, the tendency of the Hugo Awards to be slanted in favor of what are generally called “literary” qualities can be avoided.

No, sorry, it can’t. You have as much chance of eliminating the tendency of a literary award to be tilted in favor of literary factors as you have of doing any of the following:

Getting a fashion competition to award first place to blue jeans and a sweatshirt. But they’re so comfortable! And people wear them all the time—including those God damned probably-a-bunch-of-pinkos (PABOPs) when they’re not putting on a public show.

Getting a dog show to award “best dog of show” to an unpedigreed mutt. But he’s such a good dog! Friendly, great with kids, never growls at anybody except people trying to break into the house and then—hooweeeeee!—watch the bastards run for their lives. And they gave the award to that—that—look at the damn thing! Its skull is narrower than a high-heeled shoe! God damn pointy-headed effete asinine retards (PHEARs).

Getting a gourmet cooking competition to award first place to a dish consisting of a cheeseburger and fries. But almost everybody eats cheeseburgers and fries! Try setting up a chain of escargots-and-tofu restaurants and see how fast you go bankrupt! This is pure snobbery, what it is. God damn highbrow elitist stuffed shirt icky abominable nabobs (HESSIANs).

Shall I go on? And on… and on…

What the Sad Puppies can’t seem to grasp is that any sort of award contest is automatically going to be biased in favor of whatever qualities those people who pay attention to the award—which always involves some effort and some expense—are prone to considering important. Getting infuriated because the tastes and preferences of that relatively small and self-selected pool of voters don’t match those of the population as a whole is just silly.

Of course they don’t match.

Most people who eat food—that’s everybody who isn’t dead or on a feeding tube—don’t eat expensive gourmet food except on occasion. But everybody who attends a gourmet tasting does so only in order to eat gourmet food.

The same is true with wine tasting, flower arranging, art shows—you name it, and if it involves a relatively small and self-selected portion of the populations of all people who drink wine or like flowers or look at art from time to time, their tastes and preferences will diverge at least to a degree from those of the mass audience. If that weren’t true, then the entire population (of people who drink wine or like flowers or look at art from time to time) would be participating also.

But they don’t. Most people who like flowers don’t attend flower shows. Most people who drink wine don’t attend wine tasting events. Most people who enjoy art from time to time don’t habituate art galleries and only go to museums on occasion.

That’s the way it is. Complaining about it is as pointless as complaining about the tides or the 23½ degree inclination of the Earth’s axis with respect to the plane of its orbit.

Of the roughly five million people in the United States who regularly read fantasy and science fiction, only a tiny percentage—considerably less than one percent—will ever attend a Worldcon or take out a supporting membership in order to vote on the Hugo awards. In fact, the majority of people who do attend Worldcons don’t vote on the Hugos.

It is both time-consuming and expensive to attend a Worldcon, especially if you don’t live in the city where it’s being held. And even if you just want to vote for the Hugos you have to pony up $40, which is not a trivial amount of money for most people.

What that means is that the people who do vote on the Hugos have a real interest in doing so. Whereas the great majority of F&SF readers simply don’t care if their favorite authors do or don’t get awards. Why should they care? Their reading choices are not determined by the awards in the first place.

Let me give a personal example from outside the field of fantasy and science fiction. In addition to F&SF, I also read mysteries from time to time. Among my favorite authors are Robert Parker, Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard.

The mystery genre, like fantasy and science fiction, has its own set of prestigious awards. The mystery genre has a ton of awards, in fact, way more than F&SF does. Among them are:

  •           The Edgar Awards
  •           The Crime Writer Association (CWA) Dagger Awards
  •           The Nero Award
  •           The Shamus Awards
  •           The Anthony Awards
  •           The Macavity Awards
  •           The Agatha Awards
  •           The Hammett Prize

Which of the above awards, if any, have been won by Robert Parker, Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard?

I don’t know. I don’t have a clue. I have not the foggiest idea.

Because I don’t care. It doesn’t matter whether any of these three authors has won any awards. If I discovered that none of them had won any awards that would not change my opinion of them one eeny-teeny-weeny itsy-bitsy little tiny bit. What do I care what some people somewhere else have decided is or isn’t good mystery fiction?

That is how the vast majority of people who read fantasy and science fiction feel about our own genre’s awards. They simply don’t care.

Do. Not. Care.

          Pay. No. Attention.

          Couldn’t. Care. Less.

So why should an author who sells well enough to make a living at it care whether his or her particular audience is one that pays much (if any) attention to the Hugo awards? Maybe they do, but more likely they don’t.

I think the reason some people get befuddled by this is because they suffer from one of two misconceptions. Or both, often enough.

The first misconception is that the voters who choose the Hugo award winners are in some sense a representative sample of the F&SF readership as a whole. To put it another way, some people seem to think that the (relatively very small) Hugo voting population is an accurate reflection of the reading tastes and opinions of the F&SF audience as a whole. But that’s not true.

More precisely, it’s only partially true. To some degree, of course, there is certainly an overlap. Very rarely if ever is a Hugo award, at least for the most popular category of “Best Novel,” handed out to a novel that almost no one except for Worldcon attendees has heard of. But it remains true that the preferences of Hugo-voters overlap with or are representative of those of the mass audience only to a degree.

That should be obvious to anyone. The two most popular fantasy series over the past two decades have been Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, completed by Brandon Sanderson, and George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Jordan never won a Hugo and neither did Sanderson, for his work on that series. (He did win a Hugo for an unrelated novella.) George R. R. Martin has won a Hugo four times, but those were all given for his short fiction and mostly predate his big fantasy series. Various volumes in the Song of Ice and Fire did get nominated for the Hugo, but none of them won.

On the science fiction side of our field, probably the most popular purely-SF series of the past two decades has been David Weber’s Honor Harrington series. Weber has never won a Hugo. In fact, he’s never been nominated for one. This, despite the fact that there are two annual SF conventions devoted specifically to the Harrington series, which between them draw close to a thousand attendees. If a significant percentage of those people also attended Worldcon, Weber would be winning Hugo awards regularly. But there’s just not much overlap between the two groups of readers.

So it goes. That disconnect existed even in  the “good old days”—remember that Andre Norton, Hal Clement, Richard Matheson, Fred Saberhagen, James H. Schmitz and A. E. Van Vogt never won a Hugo award—and it’s gotten considerably more pronounced in the modern era.

The second misconception is perhaps even worse, because it tends to be shared by the people who do vote on the Hugos. That’s the notion that, while Hugo voters may not be representative of the mass audience, they do represent the opinions of the “elite” of the F&SF audience. To put it another way, theirs is the “best” opinion.

Uh, well, no. It isn’t. Or more precisely, it’s only an “elite” opinion in certain rather narrow ways.

It is true, overall, that people who attend Worldcons and vote on Hugos regularly have a better and more in-depth knowledge of the F&SF genre than any equivalently-sized group of people who gather anywhere in the world to discuss the matter and register their opinions. But in what sense does this also represent a better gauge of literature as a whole? (Or call it “story-telling” if the term “literature” makes you uncomfortable.)

Simply put, it doesn’t. In some ways, it’s even a handicap. Fans of F&SF who are devoted enough to undertake the time and expense of attending Worldcons are often—not all, not even most, but it’s still true of plenty of them—a tad on the obsessive side. They read a ton of F&SF and… not much else.

This was driven home to me a few years ago when I got into an argument with some F&SF fans online on the subject of what does or does not constitute a good gauge of the quality of an author’s work. I advanced the—to me, anyway—blindingly obvious criterion that the only thing that really mattered in the long run was which authors were still being read half a century or a century after their work was published. And I also made the point that popularity was usually a better indicator of whose work was going to survive than awards were.

Not a perfect gauge, certainly—the phenomenon of flash-in-the-pan literary success goes back for centuries. To name one example, in her heyday the writer known as “Ouida” (the pen name for the British novelist Maria Louise Ramé, who died in 1908) was extremely popular. So popular, in fact, that Puccini began working on an opera based on one of her stories. Eventually, he lost interest but the opera was finished by Mascagni.

Today, she is barely remembered at all. Only a few of her books are still in print, and those mostly in electronic or used paper editions. Nevertheless, popularity is not meaningless—especially when it maintains itself over time.

My critics were outraged by my opinion and one of them took it upon himself to prove me wrong by posting online the Publisher’s Weekly list of the most popular books of the year 1950.

Triumphantly, he pointed out that he’d only heard of one of the ten authors. The others, he said, had sunk into obscurity.

Here’s the list:

  • The Cardinal, by Henry Morton Robinson
  • Joy Street, by Frances Parkinson Keyes
  • Across the River and into the Trees, by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Wall, by John Hersey
  • Star Money, by Kathleen Winsor
  • The Parasites, by Daphne du Maurier
  • Floodtide, by Frank Yerby
  • Jubilee Trail, by Gwen Bristow
  • The Adventurer, by Mika Waltari
  • The Disenchanted, by Budd Schulberg

I’d say I was astonished, but I wasn’t astonished at all. His attitude was what I expected. A lot of F&SF fans are oblivious to the Big Wide World of literature. He’d “never heard” of John Hersey, Daphne du Maurier, Budd Schulberg…

Gah. I’d heard of most of them. The only three who weren’t familiar to me were Robinson, Winsor and Bristow. Which is not surprising—I looked them up—because all of them had only one or two well-known books and they’d long since faded away by the time I started reading widely in the mid-1960s and thereafter. I’d read something by five of them—Hemingway, Hersey, Du Maurier, Yerby and Schulberg, and although I’d never read Waltari I had seen a movie based on one of his books. (The Egyptian, starring Jean Simmons, Victor Mature and Peter Ustinov.)

Before anyone puts up an outraged post to the effect that lots of F&SF fans are widely read, spare yourself the effort. I know that. But plenty of them aren’t—and they inevitably have an influence on the collective opinion of fandom as it is registered in Hugo award voting.

Years ago, early in my career as an author, a very well-established and popular author said to me: “The best way for a writer to starve to death is to listen to what the fans tell you.” The comment wasn’t a sneer at fans, mind you. The author liked fans and attended plenty of conventions. She was simply making the point that the tastes and opinions of SF fandom do not track those of the mass audience all that well.

Nor are they necessarily better. Never lose sight of that when you assess what Hugo awards do and do not represent. What they are is simply the recorded opinions of F&SF’s assembled fandom—that portion of it which attends a Worldcon or buys a supporting membership—at any given time.

To win a Hugo, or even to be nominated, is certainly an honor for an author in our field. But that’s all it is—an honor. It’s not a gauge of anything objective, it does not necessarily reflect anything beyond the opinion of that (relatively tiny) slice of the mass audience for fantasy and science fiction, and it certainly does not determine anything about the worth of an author’s work. The only thing that will make that determination, in the long run, is whether an author’s work survives over time.

The Hugo voters, in their wisdom or lack thereof, decided that Christopher Anvil, Hal Clement, L. Sprague de Camp, Richard Matheson, Andre Norton, Fred Saberhagen, James H. Schmitz, A.E. Van Vogt and Jack Williamson were not very noteworthy. Of those nine authors, five of them are now in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and two out of the other four—Anvil and Schmitz—have had their complete works reissued in modern editions. (Full disclosure: Okay, fine, I’m the one who edited those reissues—but they sold pretty damn well for reissue volumes.)

Quite clearly, the Hugo voters were… ah, mistaken. (That sounds more dignified than “full of crap.”) Those are not the only times that Hugo voters have been…. ah, mistaken. They certainly won’t be the last, either. In this, the Hugos are like all awards. You win some, you lose some, so to speak.

What I’ve never been able to understand about the Sad Puppies—and still don’t, after all the wrangling—is why they care in the first place. Nothing in their stance makes any sense to me at all.

To begin with, they have nothing but contempt for Hugo voters, as they have expressed repeatedly. In Brad Torgensen’s own words, “the field of SF/F is a thoroughly progressive playhouse”—and that’s the main beef he and Larry Correia and their supporters have with what they view as the F&SF establishment. That being the case, I have no idea why they care what Hugo voters think in the first place.

The presumption I’m left with, since there seems to be no other explanation, is that somewhere in the darkest and most insecure recesses of their psyches, the Sad Puppies have this gnawing feeling that the Hugos really do confer some sort of worth or dignity upon their work, even though they insist the Hugo voters are a pack of progressive scoundrels. (And they really are scoundrels, too. “Puppy-kickers,” no less.)

I am a “progressive”—on the far left side of that label, to boot—and I do not have any animus against Hugo voters. And yet I don’t look to them to provide me with any sort of affirmation for the value or lack thereof of my work as an author. They have their opinion, to which they are absolutely entitled—and I have mine.

Guess which one of those two opinions really matters to me? Unlike the Sad Puppies, I am simply not ego-challenged. I understand full well that people who vote on literary awards will, taken as a whole if not each and every one, tend to look on the issues involved differently than I will. That is true by definition. If I did agree with them, I wouldn’t be writing the kind of stories I write in the first place. I’d be trying to write stories that line up closer with the attitudes of Hugo voters.

How would I do that? How the hell should I know? Which word in I don’t care what Hugo voters think causes people—especially the Sad Puppies, who really do seem to care—the most trouble?

In the nature of things, for instance, fans who vote on awards for science fiction and fantasy works will tend to place an emphasis on originality and innovation, whether of style, narrative structure, or content. (Not all of them, of course. But enough will to affect the voting.) But those are things I just don’t care much about.

With a few exceptions, none of my stories is particularly innovative. My focus—not surprisingly, given my history as a political activist and historian—is on the content of the stories, especially what you might call the social ethics and virtues depicted and promoted. (I try my best not to be preachy about it, but I do have a viewpoint and it is reflected in my stories.) Those are the things I care about, and care about passionately.

My first novel, Mother of Demons, is an adventure story in the course of which my own (very positive, indeed heroic) view of how one should look upon human history is explicated. But the plot itself—humans crash-land and are marooned on a planet inhabited by intelligent aliens at a lower stage of technical and social development—is not innovative at all.

The Belisarius series, which I co-authored with David Drake, is a combination of time travel, alternate history and military SF. I dare say it’s a dandy story, but the underlying point is an examination of what it means to be “human” in the first place. Is “humanity” ultimately defined by genetics or it is, in the end, defined by deeds? Is the human race shaped by its heritage alone, or does it shape itself in the course of time? David and I came down firmly on the anti-genetic-determination side of that debate.

But there’s nothing especially “innovative” about the story. It does not advance the frontiers of F&SF (so to speak) one little bit. It uses well-established and existing tropes, it does not explore new ones. That’s because what I care about is the story itself, not how it’s told or what it develops that is new and different. Trying to do that, in fact, would probably just have weakened the story.

The same is true for the work I’m best known for. The 1632 series began with my novel 1632, whose central theme—yeah, sure, there’s plenty of action and no fewer than four romances, but there is a point to the damn book—is the critical importance of democracy and egalitarianism to the emergence of any sort of just society. The series that sprang from it continues to explore those themes in various ways.

I could go on, but that’s enough. My point is that what concerns me has very little to do with what are usually considered “literary” qualities. And what is true of me is true of any number of authors. The subjects that interest us the most and that we feel strongly about telling stories around are often not the issues that are of most interest to people who vote on the Hugos or other awards.

So be it. There are no hard feelings on my part. Why should there be?

In the end, the demand of the Sad Puppies is self-defeating. What they want, essentially, is for a literary award to stop being a literary award and become a “good story as we define it” award.

Sorry, but that’s not going to happen. The only way it could happen would be for the attendees at Worldcons—or at least a whole lot of supporting members—to be comprised of Sad Puppy fans and enthusiasts. The problem is that the sort of people who are most inclined to enjoy Sad Puppyish stories are the ones who are not very inclined at all to spend the time and effort to attend a Worldcon. Whereas the sort of people who are inclined to attend Worldcons and vote on Hugos are the sort of people who really do care about literary issues.

Remember what I said about the Honor Harrington fans? Every year, close to a thousand of them spend the time and money to attend a convention devoted entirely to Weber’s popular series. If those same people poured into the Worldcons and voted as a bloc, they’d run the Hugos year after year after year.

But they’re not going to, because they don’t care that much—insofar as any of them care at all.

 

One final point. The Sad Puppies seem to feel there’s something deeply unfair about the fact that literary awards are tilted in favor of literary criteria. But I don’t. My feeling is this: the tilt is not only inevitable, it is also justified. The fact that I am focused almost entirely on story-telling in my own writing does not mean I am oblivious to the fact that literature has many sides to it—and in the final analysis, F&SF is not a “genre.” It is a branch of literature.

Innovation is important, whether or not I’m personally inclined in that direction. Narrative experimentation is worthwhile, whether or not I usually avoid it. The same is true for all aspects of literary fiction.

I said the following, in my first essay on this subject:

To put it another way, every successful author has to master two skills which, although related, are still quite distinct: they have to be good story-tellers; and they have to be good writers.

          Of those two skills, being a terrific story-teller but a journeyman writer will win you a mass audience, and is likely to keep it. On the flip side, being a journeyman story-teller but a terrific wordsmith will win you critical plaudits but won’t usually get you much in the way of an audience.

I’m an author whose principal—indeed, almost exclusive—interest is in story-telling, not literary technique. And I’m good at it. What this means is that I get awarded at least twice a year when my royalty payments arrive. In the end, I think there’s something a little mean-spirited—or a little piggy, let’s say—about authors who sell well but envy other authors the awards they receive and covet the awards for themselves.

I mean, for Pete’s sake, what’s wrong with authors who may not sell that well getting an award from time to time? How is this doing me any harm at all? Or any of the Sad Puppies, for all their constant griping and grousing?

To me, it seems a reasonable and fair way to even things out a little. And the operative term is a little, trust me. If you could resurrect the shades of Andre Norton and the other great-but-unawarded authors of our history and ask them “would you trade your long years of being able to write full-time for a bunch of shiny rockets on a shelf?” I can guarantee what their answer would be, one and all.

Are you crazy? We were writers and we got to do what we wanted to do, for years—for decades, most of us. We wrote. And wrote, and wrote, and wrote. That’s enough. That’s more than enough.

 

All right, I’m done. This will be my past essay on the subject of the Hugo controversy, although I may respond to something that comes up from time to time. I’ve got a novel to finish.

I will be attending Worldcon this year, by the way. I hadn’t planned to, but given the way I got drawn into this fracas I eventually decided I ought to show up. Having given everyone else my opinion—at length—on what they ought to do, it seemed incumbent on me to put my money where my mouth was. (Figuratively speaking.)

(for the other posts on the Hugo controversy, visit the Hugo Controversy category.)

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252 Responses to TRYING TO KEEP LITERARY AWARDS FROM FAVORING LITERARY CRITERIA IS AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY. GET OVER IT.

  1. PH Lee says:

    I think you might be protesting a bit too much over the utter lack of literary content in your books. I’m thinking, particularly, about Mother of Demons. Humans stranded on an alien world, sure. But situating the aliens in the Bronze Age and giving them realistic-for-Bronze-Age political structures, that’s pretty great, and pretty unusual (how many SF novels limit aliens to 1 government / speices?) Plus, the way that different breeding strategies produce different societies, the dependence of the humans on alien milk, there’s a lot there to appreciate from a literary perspective.

    I mean, I’m not saying “this is a literary masterpiece and you were robbed of the Hugo.” But I generally like pretty high concept, stylistically developed, literary fiction, and I found a lot to like in your books regardless.

    • I was thinking the same thing. I thought there was a lot of innovative stuff in Mother of Demons. I’d never seen slug/snail-like aliens before. I’d never seen eating aliens’ digestive juices proposed as a solution to indigestible alien foods before. (Although, in retrospect, it seems like an obvious solution and I’m suprised it isn’t a more widespread idea.)
      If I had to guess at what makes Mother of Demons not “literary” scifi, I’d say it’s the focus on building new (political, social) systems and how they function. A lot of the stories that come to mind for me as examples of scifi with “literary” merit are about the very beginning of questioning or changing something about society. They focus on the excitement or strangeness of watching your assumptions come apart, or having your very first introduction to a new idea, and don’t go into the details of how the New Shiny Thing actually works because that would spoil the sense of wonder.
      So I wouldn’t say that Mother of Demons and the 1632 series aren’t innovative, but that they’re focused on questions that aren’t the usual scifi issues.
      Which brings us back to the big refrain of this whole Puppy issue, namely, people like different things, they want to read and write different things, these things are mostly just different from each other and not objectively better or worse.

  2. gahrie says:

    What the Sad Puppies can’t seem to grasp is that any sort of award contest is automatically going to be biased in favor of whatever qualities those people who pay attention to the award—which always involves some effort and some expense—are prone to considering important. Getting infuriated because the tastes and preferences of that relatively small and self-selected pool of voters don’t match those of the population as a whole is just silly.

    So what is wrong with encouraging more people to pay attention to the award, to enlarge the “relatively small and self-selected pool of voters” so that they might better match the population as a whole?

    That is what truly has the SJWers furious, the thought that they might become as inconsequential in Hugo voting as they are in real life.

    • Cat says:

      No dude, you’ve got it upside down.

      The non-Puppies never had a problem with the Puppies encouraging people to vote on the Hugos. Encouraging conservatives but not liberals to vote in the Hugos? Kind of whiffy, but still not the problem. Whipping up culture war resentments and calling nonPuppies names for not being Puppies? Meanspirited, small and petty but still not the real problem.

      The problem was the SLATE(s). The problem was always the SLATE(s). The rest of it wouldn’t have mattered if you’d nominated honestly, reading what appealed to you independent of a slate, like the rest of us did, and each separately choosing your individual favorites without recourse to a slate, like the rest of us did.

      That’s what made the people who played fair furious.

      • Watt Tyler says:

        The LOCUS finalist list isn’t a SLATE? Where’s the outcry over it? Heh.

        SLATE is just the stalking-horse bloody banner being waved to attack the Puppies for doing exactly what they were told to do — get involved and encourage others to get involved. So they did, and now those who told them that are having conniptions, even in some circles convulsions, over their directions being successfully followed.

        The Hugos are a fan’s choice award, not a “literary” award. They always have been, regardless of the drift towards the literati taking over the institutions. They are awards nominated by fans, voted on by fans, and (ideally, if not so much of late) celebrated by fans. OH NOEZ! The Wrong Kind of Fans showed up to nominate and vote this year! Why, this threatens to sap and impurify all of our precious genre bodily fluids!

        Well, no, it doesn’t. More people paid attention this year. More people became aware that THEY could participate, that the only bar to that was their own willingness to become a WorldCon member and state their opinions and make their nominations and cast their votes. It’s a sad commentary on the institution itself that this was apparently one of the best-kept secrets of SF/F, and that more people becoming aware and joining what is supposed to be an open and welcoming institution has raised such an outcry from the entrenched elites of same. It’s a sad commentary that the response it to try and make the process less democratic, less transparent, and more exclusionary. to vilify and attack those who want to become part of it and have their voices heard.

  3. gahrie says:

    I am truly puzzled by a Progressive defending the efforts of a self appointed elite to control an institution.

    • James says:

      Hugo voters aren’t self-appointed; they’re self-selected. There’s a big difference.

      Worldcon is essentially a group of people who got, and get, together to celebrate SFF. After a while, they decided to hand out awards to what they considered the best works in the field. The self-selection consisted, and continues to consist, in deciding to spend the time and money (and attention) to become a member of Worldcon. Self-selection of this sort is a natural and inevitable social process. Self-appointment, on the other hand, implies some sort of barriers to membership.

      • James says:

        Oh, and Worldcon members don’t control the institution; they are the institution. That’s an even bigger difference.

      • gahrie says:

        You don’t think the SJWers are right now trying to devise a way to exclude the Sad and Rabid Puppies next year?

        • James says:

          The proposals out there are designed to reduce the disproportionate impact of slates, regardless of ideology or source. Under any of them, a Sad Puppy’s vote and a Happy Kitten’s vote would have the same weight.

    • The only institution that the Worldcon “elite” controls is the one that they, themselves, have created.

      Nobody is obliged to treat a Hugo-winning story as if it is objectively the best story of the year, just like nobody is obliged to honor the reigning Miss America as if she is objectively the most beautiful woman in America.

  4. Thomas Monaghan says:

    BS Eric. There is already a quote literary award system called the Nebulas. Voted by the SFWA members who voted “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” as the best short story for 2014 and it isn’t even a SF/F story. Per Brian Aldiss, in his book Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction, claimed that the Hugo Award was a barometer of reader popularity, rather than artistic merit; he contrasted it with the panel-selected Nebula Award, which provided “more literary judgment”, though he did note that the winners of the two awards often overlapped. Along with the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award is also considered one of the premier awards in science fiction, with Laura Miller of Salon.com terming it “science fiction’s most prestigious award”.

    • Cobbler says:

      I never realized that literariness was a zero sum game. Now I get it.

      There is only so much literary to go around. The Nebulas have hogged the lot. So SFF only has room for one literary award.

      The poor Hugos can’t be literary until the Nebulas release their stranglehold. Until that happens, the Hugos must be the Cheap Trash awards.

    • Mike says:

      Did you see that thing that flew right over your head? It was Eric’s point.

      The Hugos belong to Worldcon. The Nebulas belong to SFWA. Either group can do whatever they want to with their own awards. If the Worldcon voters are interested in awarding literary merit, they can do so regardless of what the SFWA does or doesn’t do.

      • Cobbler says:

        Sigh. I was sure my response had too much absurdist snark to be taken literally.

        Does anybody really think that literariness is a zero sum game? What? There are only Seventy-Nine Troy Ounces of Literaryness for the whole SFF genera? The more literarryness Nebula has, the less literarryness Hugo can have?

        I mean, does anybody think that except for Thomas Monaghan?

  5. Kurt Busiek says:

    >> The Hugo voters, in their wisdom or lack thereof, decided that Christopher Anvil, Hal Clement, L. Sprague de Camp, Richard Matheson, Andre Norton, Fred Saberhagen, James H. Schmitz, A.E. Van Vogt and Jack Williamson were not very noteworthy.>>

    Not quite. They decided, apparently, that whenever each of those writers had something qualified for a Hugo available, something else was better that year, in that category.

    For instance, my second-favorite James H. Schmitz novel, THE WITCHES OF KARRES, was nominated for a Hugo but lost to Heinlein’s THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS. My favorite, A TALE OF TWO CLOCKS, wasn’t nominated, which means all the nominees that year got more nominating votes, but not necessarily that it didn’t miss the ballot by a narrow margin.

    >> Quite clearly, the Hugo voters were… ah, mistaken.>>

    Possibly. But it’s also possible that these guys just had the misfortune of having their works going up against other talented works, and if they’d won, we’d be griping today about how some other stuff that didn’t win didn’t get its props.

    The Hugos, like any comparable award, isn’t a list of everything that’s noteworthy, but just (in the voters’ judgment) the top of the pile for that year. And every year there’s a new pile. And if you’re unlucky enough to be working while Heinlein’s at the top of his game, or while Connie Willis is at the top of hers, you may end up rockets even if your work could have won you a Hugo in a different year.

    That pile is never infallible, and I doubt anyone agrees with it all, even the years it comes out. But not getting an award doesn’t mean an author isn’t notable. Merely that someone else was thought more notable, at least at the time.

  6. rick bennett says:

    Damn you love to hear yourself talk, Flint.

  7. Cat says:

    Well put, Eric.

    I really enjoy your Boundary books, by the way. Our library is moving to a bigger building and actually accepting donations for the shelves–I bought them Boundary, Threshold and Portal, since those popped to mind when I was listing my favorite “oh you’ve got to have this and I’ll spend my own money to buy you a copy” SF.

  8. John Cowan says:

    Per Wikipedia:

    Parker won two Edgars (and was nominated for a third), a Maltese Falcon (a Japanese award), an Edgar Grand Master, and a Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement award.

    Hiaasen got a Dagger nomination, a bunch of French awards, and some non-mystery-specific awards.

    Leonard won a Grand Master Edgar too.

    • Bruce says:

      According to Halberstam’s The Reckoning, Ford the IV or whatever grew up eating hamburgers made of top sirloin. If I had a meat grinder I’d try it, once anyway. Or with Kobe beef. Good SF tends to resemble a burger with really good ingredients- Ringworld, or more recently Shipstar and The Goliath Stone– a 2015 Hugo without those two on the ballot is indelibly Marked with the Asterisk of Irrelevance. Riding the Red Horse is the only thing on the Hugo ballot this year that belongs there, what with Lind, Eric Raymond, and the Hot Equations. One is better than nothing, and nothing on the Hugos for the last ten years is what we’ve got used to.

  9. Kazriko says:

    Personally, I think that the controversy might do worldcon a whole lot of good. Especially if it brings more attention and attendance to the Hugo awards and to worldcon. I’d love to see fans from every sub-genre joining in to promote their favorite authors. Take worldcon out of the graying niche that it currently is and start grabbing a wider swath of the entire audience that currently attends things like Comic cons instead because CC’s are better representative of the science fiction that they enjoy.

    • Violet says:

      WorldCon isn’t about science fiction, in the general sense, and it hasn’t been for sometime now. Perhaps it never was but people don’t realize this because at one time the written word was the only real medium for SFF. WorldCon is about science fiction literature. And the more that science fiction in general and big conventions like CC, or DragonCon (especially when that one moved to Labor Day weekend) become more common and popular, the more WorldCon fans dug and insisted it was all about the books.

      I agree that certain sub-genres get snubbed, and there are gems in them that are never explored. But WorldCon’s focus is on literature. And that is not a bad thing, since it is getting harder and harder to find a SFF con that focuses on books.

  10. Cat: one of the bummers about getting to see the industry from the inside, is you get to hear all the stories from the pros, about how other pros don’t necessarily “play fair” with either the Hugos or the Nebulas. Which is why doing Sad Puppies in the open was essential. Nobody could mistake what was going on. They might not like it, but there would be no accusations of under-the-table maneuvering. And it was hearing about the under-the-table maneuvering, from various sources, that ultimately got me off the fence. Because under-the-table maneuvering depends on the general credulity of those who follow the awards: our collective belief that the scales don’t have any thumbs on them.

    I thought, “How is an honest person going to stand a chance, if there are variously sneaky forms of manipulation being employed, from year to year?”

    Now, Eric’s advice would probably be, “Don’t give a damn, just shut up and go write stories and don’t make such a stupid fuss, kid!”

    But then, Eric also provided us with a lengthy list of venerable authors who — for one reason or another — evaded the Hugo voters’ focus. Because I have a lot of heroes and friends and mentors in this field, my general sense of propriety says, “Don’t let more decades pass, without trying to alter the ‘business as usual’ equation.” Again, I knew some people wouldn’t like it. But then, nobody ever likes it when the cage gets rattled; nor when the system is called into question. Especially not those for whom the system seems to be working perfectly well.

    Now, the safe bet is that the rules will be changed, supporting memberships will no longer be allowed to vote on the Hugos, and Worldcon will effectively end “outside” influence over the award.

    My personal preference — ha ha, lord knows certain people will scoff at that mattering — is that Worldcon’s overall attendance simply increases until it’s averaging 20,000 to 30,000 members total; both supporting and attending. No manipulation could survive those numbers, and the award might actually reflect a broader spectrum of SF/F books, stories, movies, etc., than it has in recent years. Perhaps we could even avoid seeing a Drake or a Weber (or a Flint, for that matter) fall through the cracks? Because as much as the Hugo is supposed to be about quality and excellence, it’s also a touchstone: we were here, we came to this place, and were counted.

    I’d like to see some folks counted.

    • CPaca says:

      Which is why doing Sad Puppies in the open was essential.

      You know, Brad, you keep claiming that the Sad Puppy slate was chosen openly and democratically. And yet people have noted out loud, many, many times, that only 25% at most of the slate that you chose came from the open and democratic thread you had at your blog, and that a rather large proportion of those chosen seem to be people you know personally, have been involved in promoting, or have worked with.

      And, of course, Larry Correia has stated on his journal that the Slate was something decided upon by a small clique of writers in private – thought to be you, he, John Wright, Sarah Hoyt, and VD.

      So you’ll pardon us if we assume that your claim to “democracy” is about as believable as that of the elections which kept putting the Communist Party into power in the Soviet Union.

      • Mike says:

        That’s OK. If Brad says it enough times, it becomes retroactively true.

      • Bibliotheca Servare says:

        Where in this comment did Brad use the word “democracy” pray tell? Oh! He didn’t? He was obviously referring to the fact that “sad puppies” was a public campaign/in no way covert effort? And you missed that point completely, in favor of indulging your fetish for conspiracy theories? I see… *scoots away* Incidentally? Brad, Kate, Sarah, Dave, David, Cedar, Amanda, John, Peter, and company have responded to that bullshit “it wasn’t a democratic process!!11!!” claim til they were blue in the face. The blog post is still there, and google, or even a cursory scan of madgeniusclubDOTcom would lead you to it. Bunches of folks made suggestions. Brad decided which, if any, of those suggestions he agreed with, and he made his own choices. Open and democratic does not mean there was a primary, followed by the main campaign, and, at last, the “slate” with the most votes won out. That’s *your* (and snowcrashes, and…) feverish interpretation of Brad’s words. What his words actually expressed was “everybody who knew about “sad puppies” was given a chance to voice their opinion. I did not promise that I’d vote the way they suggested, and it was my intention to post what I actually voted for. I told them that if they thought my ballot was interesting they should read the works on it, and maybe consider voting for the ones they liked. They were free to vote differently from me. It’s called free will.” In many fewer words. But keep parroting that balderdash. As Mike says (about Brad), if you, and others, say it enough, maybe it’ll actually become the truth! ;-)

        • CPaca says:

          Where in this comment did Brad use the word “democracy” pray tell?

          Where in my comment did I say he said “democratically” in that particular comment?

          He’s said it elsewhere multiple times – and run away from answering questions about it multiple times. Rubbing his nose in his inability to answer it is a really great way of showing how pitiful the SP part of the SP/RP actually is.

        • CPaca says:

          Where in this comment did Brad use the word “democracy” pray tell? Oh! He didn’t? He was obviously referring to the fact that “sad puppies” was a public campaign/in no way covert effort?

          https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/musings-not-sorted/

          “Especially when the shake-up was conducted 100% in the open, democratically, using a democratic process. ”

          I hate to break it to you, but “everybody send in suggestions, and then a small group of cronies will choose friends and mates of Brad” isn’t “a democratic process”.

          • Bibliotheca Servare says:

            Wow…do your ears hurt? I mean, the sonic boom from my point flying over your head at…oh, about Mach 2 or so…must’ve been terribly loud! My sympathies. Good luck on your quest to develop reading comprehension! The first step to finding a solution is acknowledging the existence of the problem! Ciao! ;-)

            • Watt Tyler says:

              Bibliotecha, you will never get the entrenched tribal berserkers to ever admit that it is completely legitimate and within the rules for people to do exactly what they were told to do if they wanted to affect the system, namely, pay your money, get involved, and nominate what you like.

              I’ll repeat, it speaks very poorly of WorldCon as an institution that so very few fans even knew they COULD get involved and nominate and vote just by joining.

              • Bibliotheca Servare says:

                Entrenched tribal berserkers…oh that is such a delightfully accurate summation of the nature and intellectual capacity of many of these neolithic, puritanical, flagrantly dishonest -or frighteningly self-deceiving- spectacularly bigoted individuals that I may just have to use it elsewhere, if you don’t mind. The pith is strong in this one. :-P
                In addition to enjoying your comment, I also agree with it, for the most part. The only quibble I might have is that, if the *goal* was a continually shrinking, ever more insular, isolationistic group running a con that purported to represent the “world” science fiction fan community, then the average scifi fan’s ignorance of their ability to participate in the Hugo process reflects excellently on worldcon inasmuch as relates to their ability to accomplish their goals, however arcane and freakish they (in this hypothetical scenario) might be. Yes, that was a bit convoluted. Suffice to say, I agree with you, but I’m also a nerd with a fondness for overly detailed, long winded japes. They work better spoken than written, I suspect. God bless! ;-)

    • Gabriel F. says:

      Now, the safe bet is that the rules will be changed, supporting memberships will no longer be allowed to vote on the Hugos, and Worldcon will effectively end “outside” influence over the award.

      That’s not even on the table. I’m willing to bet you’re aware of that.

      The rules changes that are being proposed are to limit the power of slates, not to narrow membership and votes. Again, you know that perfectly well, but it plays better for the outraged masses if you pretend otherwise.

    • “Which is why doing Sad Puppies in the open was essential.”

      You’re lying, Brad. Sad Puppies 3 wasn’t created in the open. You took public suggestions on a blog, then ignored a lot of those suggestions and decided on your slate in a private process.

      Larry Correia said the slate was created following private discussions with a group of authors that has included you, him, Theodore Beale, Sarah Hoyt and John C. Wright. What emerged from those discussions was a slate of nominees packed with your friends, writing colleagues and others of your personal acquaintance.

      • viktor says:

        Yes it was created in the open. Anyone could have offered suggestions. Even GRRM. As I pointed out to him on his blog.

        I’m guessing you are referring to the same google doc that everyone else does like it’s Gospel. It’s not Gospel. Some guy did a doc. Ok.

        Open: I knew about it. Anyone paying attention should have known about it. Especially after SP1+2.

        Democratic: vote!

        If it wasn’t as perfect as you’d liked it to have been, tough.
        If it didn’t hit your definitions of open and democratic, tough. I’m satisfied. You’re not. Again, tough.

        Tell Kate Paulk about your reservations about how SP3 wasn’t as perfect as you’d have liked it to have been. She’s doing SP4.

        • How gullible are you? What Brad did doesn’t fit any definition of open or democratic.

        • snowcrash says:

          You’re saying that the Hugo nominations were democratic, as people voted in them. But Brad has nothing to do with the Hugo nomination as a process. What people are asking is about how the SP3 slate was created, which *was* something that Brad had control over ,and in fact was responsible for.

          How can it be open when Brad himself has said that he received some of the suggestions from non-public sources, but doesn’t reveal how many, or what they voted for (which, BtW, the Hugo’s Awards do in an anonymised fashion)?

          Source: http://www.jimchines.com/2015/06/puppies-in-their-own-words/

          How can it be democratic when, as per Larry Correia back in February, (“here is what the Evil League of Evil authors came up with in discussion”., and it was “put together by the ELoE being all strategic like”) the whole thing was vetted by the group that calls it self (humourously) the Evil League of Evil (who, in addition to Brad and Larry, also include Sarah Hoyt & Vox Day)?

          Source: http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/02/02/sad-puppies-3-the-slatening/

          What criteria did this group (cabal! :) ) use? Nobody else knows, and for a process that Brad has described as being “open and democratic from start to finish” as well as “thoroughly transparent”, it’s kinda lacking in all those qualities.

        • Mike says:

          Sure, anyone could have offered suggestions. But the actual slate was drawn up in a smoke-filled room by a small group of insiders. That’s Democratic — in the same sense as Tammany Hall or the Chicago Machine.

          • Bibliotheca Servare says:

            Are you calling Brad’s head a smoke-filled room? I didn’t even know he smoked! Or is it your opinion that, after assembling your theoretical ballot, going to your friends and asking what they think…is equivalent to the corruption in Chicago politics? Or is it equivalent because Brad then decided to post that ballot for others to see? Why am I trying to get through to you? *head hits wall* gaaaah!….

            • Cat says:

              Well, yes, actually. When Brad and a small group of friends decide the slate that hundreds of Puppies are going to vote for, that does resemble corruption in politics. I wouldn’t have put it that strongly myself, but now you bring it up…

        • Eric Flint says:

          You have a weird definition of “democracy.” According to you, the fact that people were allowed — even encouraged — to submit suggestions makes it democratic.

          Uh, well, no. What makes something “democratic” is not the suggestion stage of the game. For Pete’s sake, Attila the Hun, Hitler and Stalin allowed suggestions to be made. It’s the decision stage that’s critical. Who DECIDED which stories did or did not get on the SP3 slate? Who were the pool of voters, how were they defined, and when was the vote taken?

          So far as I can tell, it was Brad Torgersen who made the decision, either on his own or in consultation with a small group of trusted advisers who were selected by no one except himself.

          You can call such a process by a lot of names, but “open” is stretching it into a pretzel and “democratic” is downright laughable.

          • Thomas Monaghan says:

            So Brian Aldiss, in his book Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction didn’t know what he was talking about? The Golden Globes and the the Oscars are two different awards for the same movies. One by the “quote” experts and one by the people. I don’t go around trying to vote for the Nebula that’s the “quote” experts award. SFWA! Hugos’ can be voted upon by anybody willing to spend their money.
            I notice nobody has defended the Nebula for “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” or it’s Hugo nomination. It’s not even SF/F.

            • James says:

              The attempt to set up Nebulas vs Hugos as “experts” vs “people” is a false dichotomy: both are awards voted on by a set of people who are members of a group. Neither is, per se, the “experts’ award”. It’s easier to get into the WSFS than the SFWA, but the shapes are basically isomorphic. If anything is a people’s award, it’s the Locus awards, for which no membership is required (though Locus subscribers votes are weighted more heavily).

              There is no necessary division into the two extremes of “people” and “experts”, and there’s no good reason to view authors as necessarily experts in evaluating other authors’ work: that’s a critical, not creative skill, and history is full of good authors who were not good critics. Authors will typically be more aware of certain craft-related elements than non-authors, but that’s about as far as it goes, and even that will vary widely. To boot, as Eric has pointed out, the normal Hugo voting base does tend to be relatively “expert” in other ways, compared to the general population.

              (Similarly, I keep running into the canard that the Hugos are purely a popularity contest, not a recognition of “best”. Even for an open popular vote, if the vote is for the “best” work then it reflects the voters’ views of what was best, not of some other criterion. If the Hugos opened another category for “most effective escape reading”, the voters would evaluate candidates differently than they do when the vote for a “best” work.

              Finally, with regard to “If you were a Dinosaur, My Love”, neither award has a definition of what constitutes SFF, leaving it up to the voters (very wisely, too, as the history of the genre is filled with flamewars over boundary fights). It appeared in a genre magazine, the nominators in both cases considered it to qualify, and the Nebula voters considered it to be the best story in the category — which is also reasonable, as it is a very finely crafted and tightly-written story. (About 2/3 of the voters voted for it in the Hugo vote, as opposed to 395 votes for No Award, so it had reasonable, though not, obviously, overwhelming support there as well.)

            • Michael says:

              Neither the Golden Globes (voted on by foreign critics) nor the Academy Awards (voted on by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) is selected by “the people”, so if Aldiss said that in a non-fiction piece, he was wrong.

            • David Damerell says:

              I suspect that’s because whenever someone starts banging on “If you were a dinosaur” as proof that the whole process is irretrievably broken, the rest of us roll our eyes and switch off.

              I didn’t like it much; I stuck it below No Award on the Hugo ballot. But I’m willing to entertain the hypothesis that it got a Nebula and a Hugo nomination because other people did like it, rather than that some vast conspiracy wishes to award prizes to short stories somewhat lacking in genre content.

              It’s hardly the only thing that’s been nominated for a Hugo that I think’s a stinker (and I’m not counting the slate-nominated stinkers, either) – but so what?

          • Bibliotheca Servare says:

            …I thought it was silly when the…lovely, erudite folks…were dissecting Brad’s comment in order to declare “aha! He’s a liar and a bad, bad man!” I mean…seriously, are we going to nitpick Brad’s misuse of the precise and legal definition of “democratic” in order to call him a liar? Maybe I’m an idiot, but it seems like an awfully silly, “unscrupulous” way of conducting a debate. Brad asked for suggestions for works to vote for. He made his own choices. He asked Larry, and maybe Dave, or Sarah, for their opinion of his *personal* selections for *his own* ballot. He then voted that ballot. He then posted selfsame ballot as a part of a campaign to get his, -and a whole bunch of other authors of various genders and ethnicities’- fans involved in the Hugo process. A movement he, as a fan, was excited to head. His ballot was both an example, and a list of suggestions. He emphasized that the persons reading his (and Larry’s) blog posts needed to read the things on his ballot -if they were even interested- before voting regarding them. His ballot was not mimicked in the nomination results. Some of his favorites (folks and books he voted for) *did* get on the official Hugo ballot, but most of those (the successful ones) were replicated by Theodore Beale’s slate (here, the term may, in my opinion, be applied without causing me fits of laughter combined with occasional brief moments of incensed indignation interrupting the laughter) and therefore the influence Brad’s posting of his ballot had on their success is difficult to gauge. What brad did *not* do is post a slate. This isn’t nitpicking, it’s a deconstruction of the entire basis (according to commenters on this very page) of the outrage and loathing that is being thrown at the long list of wonderful people and authors who dared to stand behind Brad in his fit of fannish idealism, a fit that resulted in the movement known as “Sad Puppies 3.” I will not convince you, Mr. Flint, that Brad’s ballot was not the same as a slate. Neither will I convince the many commenters her who despise Brad, Larry, Sarah, Amanda, Kate, Cedar, Dave, Peter, Mike, (etc) and all -or at least a massive number of- their fans for that very same ballot/”slate.” However, sometimes a point is worth expressing just for the purpose of ensuring it is expressed. I interject, not because I feel I may convince you you are mistaken, but to provide a voice expressing that there *is* another perspective, and it doesn’t just amount to nonsensical, enraged, “misogynistic,” “racist,” “homophobic,” ranting of “you’re wrong, and you suck!!1!” or similar sentiments. Reasonable, decent, intelligent, tolerant human beings are also to be found on the side of “Sad Puppies.” Really! “It’s twue, it’s *twue*!” (Blazing Saddles…never mind…) But yes, it is true. Just as not all the opponents of “Sad Puppies” are intolerant, pseudointellectual, reading-comprehension-challenged morons, so too is the other side not solely comprised of jerks and arseholes with pudding for brains. In fact, I’d wager *most* of us have functioning prefrontal cortices and frontal lobes, lol. Just because we think differently doesn’t make us stupid. It just means our worldviews, personalities and ways of perceiving the information our brain processes are different. Two intelligent people can disagree strenuously, and still both be intelligent individuals. I, personally disagreed with several of Brad’s choices, and I voted differently. I didn’t start thinking he was a moron -or a liar for not putting my suggestions into his own personal ballot- because I disagreed with him. The world kept turning, as you’ve said. I admire you sir, and am an avid fan of your work. I also love the work of many of the authors I listed before, and I find many admirable qualities in them. Anyway, I should end this. God bless, Dio ti benedica, buona fortuna, etc. ;-)

    • Tracy says:

      I for one would like to thank Brad for his tireless efforts this year. Were it not for him, I would never have managed to read a couple dozen pages of “The Dark Between the Stars” before throwing it down in disgust. Were it not for his selfless actions, I would never have read “Saving Science Fiction From Strong Women”, part of John C. Wright’s now-Hugo-nominated “Transhuman and Subhuman”. So many sexist screeds go unchampioned in SFF, and I’d like to thank Brad for making sure that I had the opportunity—nay, the privilege—to read this particular sexist screed.

      Were it not for Brad’s efforts, a relatively mediocre installation of the Dresden Files would never have made it onto the ballot. (After all, there was no way in hell the Dresden fans were going to try and get this on the ballot. Too many of them were underwhelmed by it.) Nor would a collection of tweets that had nothing to do with SFF. (Now tell me, is that fair? That a Tor-led cabal would want to keep a collection of tweets that had nothing to do with SFF off the Hugo ballot? Thank God we had Brad this year, stepping forward to ensure that this eminently award-worthy work was not overlooked.)

      I’d also like to thank Brad for bringing to my attention the numerous instances of backroom dealing that were occurring in the Worldcon voting pre-Puppies. I mean, he hasn’t actually TOLD me of even a single instance of such, of course, but I’ll totally take his word for it that they totally exist.

      Thank you, Brad. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. For too long have friends and business associates of Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia been kept off the ballot by sneaky forms of manipulation that are so powerful, and so secret, that nobody has ever been able to substantiate even a single instance of it ever happening. That is some POWERFUL behind-the-scenes control, and thank goodness Brad Torgersen was willing to step forward and say “Enough! THIS time, I shall ensure that the Hugo ballot contains works only by my and Larry’s friends and business associates!” And finally, the first proper Hugo ballot in years was produced: consisting of works whose merits derive, not from the quality of their writing, but from the fact that their author is somehow associated with Brad or Larry. As it should be.

      (And of course, works by Castalia House. I for one am insulted on Brad’s behalf that anyone could think there was collusion between the Sad and Rabid Puppies. Sure their logos are two variations of the same design, created by the same artist. Sure their slates are overwhelmingly the same, with some slots left open by the Sads that just so happened to be filled on the Rabid slate by works published by the Rabid leader. Sure, Larry Correia claimed that the same group of which Vox Day was a member was also responsible for creating the Sad Puppies slate. None of this is evidence. None of this comes close to the overwhelming proof of prior Hugo cabals that Brad shows us—namely, that he claims someone totally told him there were cabals. Now THAT is proof.

      And obviously there’s nothing AT ALL offensive about Brad Torgersen, who has shown nothing but contempt for Worldcon, lecturing others on what Worldcon should be. Nothing ignorant, arrogant, or selfish about that AT ALL

      • snowcrash says:

        I always enjoy a piece of well delivered snark (Eric Flint’s comments on Wright’s prose keep me warm at night), and truly I regret that I cannot like/ upvote this.
        Regardless, kudos!

      • *slow clap* Thank you, Ma’am.

        You know, it’s quite telling that whenever Brad is asked serious questions about his slate-making process, or is asked to produce evidence of the “secret cabal,” (and I’ve seen this several times now on File 770) he promptly disappears.

        This does not help his credibility, to say the least.

        • CPaca says:

          I’ve seen him try the “I’ve already addressed this several times and I don’t intend to address it again” gambit, but it was way too soon for anyone to buy it.

          But keep waiting – it’s going to be his standard reply later.

      • Bibliotheca Servare says:

        With the amount of fecal matter that just came pouring out of your moth, you must have desperately needed a quantity of mouthwash whose fluid volume rivaled that of Lake Michigan! Brava! Encore! I am most impressed.

        PS: Skin Game…mediocre?! I mean there’s verbal diarrhea, and there’s outright insane heresy! This was both! But then, you are the authority on what is, and is not, quality lit’rature, right govnah? Oh…no. You aren’t.

        PS: “redheadedfemme”? Google is your friend. Also basic research aside from trolling the sites of the various anti-” pup”s with all the accompanying verrah verrah accurate informashun… (Sarcasm) It was his ballot. Not a “slate”. A ballot. Brad’s. He asked for opinions openly on his blog, then made his own decision. And he asked Larry, and maybe Dave (freer), or Sarah, or Kate, their opinions on his ballot. He then published the aforementioned ballot, despite his not having voted a full “five” in all the categories. In posting it, he reminded anyone who was thinking about voting identically that they needed to read the works first, and form their own opinions. Shortly after, he (and Larry, et al) came under fire for fielding a “slate” with five candidates in several categories. Evidently, he needed to either tack on another nomination suggestion to each category with five, or he needed to delete one and make it four. Following *that* nonsense, Theodore Beale decided the time was ripe for his swipe at the “WSFS” and Tor in particular. He hired the same artist Larry had used, and asked him for a similar banner. He then posted a slate (an actual slate) with five suggestions in each category. Consequently, Brad’s “failure” to have five+ suggestions in each category became “proof” in the minds of the paranoid and mild to severely delusional, that Brad and Beale had “colluded” and so on. This despite the fact that rabid puppies was far more successful than “sad puppies 3” and, as such, displaced several “sad puppy” nominees. “Lrn 2 logic” I’ve heard (read) it put on the internet before. Also “logic: occasionally a useful tool” Yes, I know you don’t see what logic has to do with this. I’m okay with that. I’ve already spelled out way more than I intended, when I should’ve been sleeping because I have to be at the hospital first thing this morning…ciao! Be well! ;-)

        • Brad has been contrasting the “open”ness of his slate with the “cabal” that allegedly has been manipulating the process in the past. If in fact the slate is only “open” in the sense that every Worldcon member was free to decide for himself or herself whether to follow Brad’s recommendations… well, the same thing is true of whatever the “cabal” has been recommending, so what does Brad have to boast about here?

          Calling the Puppies process “open” is, at best, a vacuous marketing claim. It’s like taking a box of pure granulated sugar and labelling it “fat-free and gluten-free”.

        • Matthew B. says:

          So the list of proposed nominees in the Torgersen post titled “SAD PUPPIES 3: the 2015 Hugo slate” is not a slate. Gotcha.

          • Mike says:

            It’s funny to watch B.S. retcon what happened. The Sad Puppies slate is no longer a “slate”. I guess because they didn’t pick five spots in every category?

      • Mike says:

        I would never have managed to read a couple dozen pages of “The Dark Between the Stars” before throwing it down in disgust.

        I have to say, that I found The Dark Between the Stars to be OK, but not exactly an inspire choice.

        A whole two dozen? Disgust? I can help but wonder if you were looking to be disgusted before you started page 1.

        The Dresden enthusiasts I’ve heard from consider Skin Game a relatively suitable volume to be singled out.

        It seems to me that in general there seems to be some bias being applied to works based on what side is it perceived to be attached to.

        Hence Vox Day continues his relentless contention that John Scalzi has no talent whatever, when it strikes me as better than the one Vox piece I’ve read. Some of the reviews of Totalled strike me as having a similar problem.

    • Going To Maine says:

      My personal preference — ha ha, lord knows certain people will scoff at that mattering — is that Worldcon’s overall attendance simply increases until it’s averaging 20,000 to 30,000 members total; both supporting and attending

      But how does a slate promote this agenda? This remains unclear.

      I thought, “How is an honest person going to stand a chance, if there are variously sneaky forms of manipulation being employed, from year to year?”

      You’ve repeatedly said that you have examples of manipulations – you’ve even mentioned having personal knowledge of “a dozen” campaigns for Hugos. I know that you believe this to be the case for Chicks Dig Time Lords and Redshirts, and presumably for Ancillary Justice and “The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere”. Please produce the evidence of these campaigns. It would immensely strengthen your case. Unsubstantiated accusations, frankly, only make you appear to be a liar.If you don’t care about what Worldcon thinks of you, then you should have no problem exposing them as the backstabbers you claim they are.

      Please. Please give us your evidence, since you seem to consider it to be substantial.

    • Max says:

      Is this the closest Brad has come to acknowledging that the determining factor in his selections were his ties to the authors of the works in question? I think it is!

    • Mike says:

      Brad, you and Larry and Vox and Sarah and the rest of the “Evil League Of Evil” had every right to get together a propose a slate, which you did. But it’s just outright lying for you to keep calling the process “open and democratic”.

    • Wow. Brad is going to single-handedly make sure no one ever has to do without a Hugo again just because a better book was on the ballot that year. (Presumably by making sure no superior books ever get on a Hugo ballot.) God bless you, citizen!

      Eric’s entire point went over Brad’s head, just like any discussion of revising Hugo rules this year.

    • Meredith says:

      Could you elaborate on what you mean by “touchstone”?

    • Todd says:

      “My personal preference — ha ha, lord knows certain people will scoff at that mattering — is that Worldcon’s overall attendance simply increases until it’s averaging 20,000 to 30,000 members total; both supporting and attending. ”

      Brad:
      As a member of numerous Worldcon committees up through Sasquan (and Chair of one), please let me know what year and site you will be bidding for, and I’ll be happy to send you the payment for a presupporting membership, since I would love to see such a convention occur. The last Australia Worldcon came about because a fan made an unguarded statement in a room party at a previous Worldcon, so we should be able to take your statement as an intention to begin the bidding process. Recent Worldcons up until Loncon and Sasquan had been averaging 4,000 to 6,000 members, depending on whether you count bodies on site over the length of the convention or distinct individuals. The budgets for each of those conventions were easily in excess of $750,000 (US). This with being situated in “second-class” cities and making use of numerous surrounding hotels as well as convention facilities. The sizes of those committees ran to the hundreds. All this is just background, so you’ll know what you need when you start your search for a facility that can hold three times as many attendees as in the past (being generous with the split of supporting vs. attending) and a committee that can handle that many attendees (yes, not everything scales proportionately, but you will need more badges, program books, food for the con suite, hotel rooms, etc., etc., and a facility big enough to hold a con that size will probably also require union labor). Since all of the Worldcon committees are composed of volunteers who put their time and money into the convention for the purpose of making an enjoyable experience for the attendees, and spend two years or more doing so, you probably won’t have much spare time to write, but you’ll get the Worldcon you say you want. If you’re not willing to put forth the effort, then either accept the Worldcons the rest of us are spending our time and effort to make happen, or stop complaining. Change doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

      • Mike says:

        Todd, did Brad give you the impression that he thought you could wave a wand and make 20,000 people show up.

        I’m not sure that a 20,000 person Worldcon would still be the con that I love, or would it be a thing with lots of celebrity appearances and long lines for paid autographs and big panels moderated by a big name writer demanding the all questions from the gigantic audience be simple interrogatives.

        • Mike says:

          Ooops, I see that Brad meant supporting and attending to be included in that 20,000. In that case, he has had a role in this. Sasquan has an enormous proportion of supporting members. Maybe most of them joined in just to express his displeasure with him, but I think more participants in the process is a good thing either way.

          • Todd says:

            Mike:

            I don’t know what Brad meant by his comment, other than that supporting _and_ attending members would be in the numbers he threw out, as you note. As has been noted before numerous times, no one is complaining about more people participating in the process (even the Sasquan committee, who does have to deal with all of the handling issues for all of these new memberships), as long as every one gets an equal vote in the process. It’s when the Puppies use a flaw in the system to make everyone else’s vote meaningless that we get upset. That’s why there are now proposals to fix the problem but not, as Jared notes, at the expense of excluding anyone from voting. If Brad wants to see all these new people counted as well, then he shouldn’t object to a change that results in a greater probability that everyone’s vote is counted, on a equal basis.

    • Happyturtle says:

      Oh wow, supporting memberships will no longer be able to vote on the Hugo?

      From Sasquan.org:

      B.1 – CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

      B.1.1 – Short Title: 4 and 6

      Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution to reduce the number of nominations each member can
      make in each category, to increase the number of finalists appearing on the final ballot…

      Hmm… nothing about banning supporting memberships. Let’s check the next proposal.

      B.1.2 – Short Title: The Five Percent Solution

      Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution to eliminate the requirement that finalists must appear on at least 5% of ballots in a category…

      Okay… makes sense… should help some of the smaller categories…

      B.1.3 – Short Title: Best Saga

      Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution to change the written fiction Hugo Award categories by creating a Best Saga award …

      About bloody time for this one…

      Anything about memberships? Still nothing?

      B.2 – RESOLUTIONS

      B.2.1 – Short Title: I Remember the Future

      Moved, to extend the Hugo eligibility for the movie I Remember the Future due to extremely limited distribution, as provided for in Section 3.4.3 of the WSFS Constitution….

      B.2.2 Short Title: Hugo Eligibility Extension for Predestination

      Moved, to extend for one year the eligibility of the movie Predestination, based on limited availability, as authorized by Section 3.4.3 of the WSFS Constitution.

      So… of every New Business Proposal, exactly ZERO have anything to do with memberships.

      None.

      NO ONE is trying to remove voting rights from supporting memberships, Mr Torgersen.

      • Jared says:

        As Deputy Presiding Officer of the Business Meeting at Sasquan (and Presiding Officer of the one that will occur at MAC2) I have some background on the proposal process, which, for the record isn’t closed. The fact is that no such proposal to limit the rights of supporting members has been floated to date.

        There are proposals, those listed above and others, to change categories, amend the nomination and voting process, and do others, but nothing regarding supporting memberships has passed before my eyes.

        • David Lang says:

          Such a proposal may not have been floated ‘officially’, but a lot of the anti-puppies have talked about doing so. Even GRRM had to yell at them for undermining his statements that nobody was trying to keep the puppy voters out because they were working so hard on figuring out ways to keep the puppy voters out.

          As far as the ‘x nominations for y slots’ proposal goes, that is such a weak effort that I think it’s worthless. Even before I heard it was being proposed, I was saying that next year (for SP4) Kate should list more works than there are slots for, and the web page should be setup so that every time it’s loaded, the works in each category show up in a different order.

          A side effect of this is that if anyone is actually ‘voting the slate’ as the puppies are being accused of, this will spread their votes across all the works, and while it would take a few more votes, a ‘slate’ could still fill all the slots.

          If you have 4 nominations for 5 slots (which I understand is the current proposal) and it currently takes 100 nominations to get on the final ballot, then 120 people voting would get all 5 suggestions on the ballot for a ‘slate’ of 5 with the ‘4 noms for 5 slots’ rule.

          • Bibliotheca Servare says:

            Lol. I bet Kate loved that. I know I do… Oh boy, having a “slate” carry the freshly antislateified Hugos? That thought is so filled with delicious poetic irony that I think I need to start a diet and exercise plan to work off the empty calories from ingesting it… Regardless of my stance on slates (when did campaigning become cheating? The most successful campaign wins the presidency every year, and no one calls that a “flaw in the system”…okay, some do, but *most* consider that opinion to be a very silly one… What makes the Hugo different? I’ll tell you: “Cuz *reasons*” is what makes the Hugo different. -not talking about scale. Don’t anyone start jabbering about the difference in number of participants. I can’t handle much more laughter right now.- That’s it.) As I was saying, regardless of my stance on slates, the idea of a slate succeeding in a year that has had supposed “anti-slate” protections put on it…is just hilarious. The schadenfreude alone…oh my… *sighs dreamily*

    • Which Hugo Awards, over the past twenty years, were awarded because of “variously sneaky forms of manipulation” rather than merit? And why do you believe that those awards were given on account of manipulation, rather than an electorate whose taste differs from yours?

      Names, dates, and evidence, please. Not just innuendo.

      • RAH says:

        Harlan Ellison said the same . It happens. There is zero need to prove a case. This is not a legal case. The solution was to create interest in voting new authors . If voters agreed with the Brad’s choices that was their choice . NO ONE was forced to vote the same.

        The nominations was done within the rules . This whining about slates is ridiculous. The nominations are done .Vote for your choices. But all the juvenile angst over slates seems like sour grapes because the “barbarians” got their choices nominated.

        • I’m not asking for evidence that could convict someone in court. I’m just asking for… well…

          Imagine that you’re a newspaper reporter, and someone comes to you and says, “Hey, I just heard that politicians in the state legislature are taking bribes!” And you say “Really? Which politicians? Who’s paying them off?” And your source says “Well, you know, lots of people. So I hear.” And then your source wanders off. Are you going to turn that tip into a page-one news story, or even a page-fifteen news story?

          • RAH says:

            IF you are a reporter then get sources or find out from other sources. However you are not a reporter . If you would like there has been rumors and indications that people have decided together to place nominations and votes for a certain nominee.

            If you want to research it yourself, you are welcome to , otherwise no one has any obligation to do that for you or present their evidence

          • David Lang says:

            Jerry Pournelle, Harlan Ellison, and even GRRM have said that there have been ‘hidden’ slates and campaigns for years.

    • Cat says:

      1) You seem to have taken the “I was robbed; I should have gotten a nomination/won” that people will sometime say in the heat of disappointment without the necessary grain of salt.

      2) Doing Sad Puppies in the open? So WHO CHOSE THE SLATE, Brad? When you tell us that, we’ll believe it was “open.”

      Who Chose The Slate
      TTO “I Saw The Light”

      Fans in their hundreds Hugos would brew
      This year it seems that’s no longer true
      One or two people got to nominate
      They chose the Hugos by choosing the slate.

      Who chose the slate? who chose the slate?
      Whose job was it to curate?
      If it was honest, why hesitate?
      Come on, Brad, who chose the slate?

      Was it Correia? Was it John Wright?
      Was it Vox Day in the dark of the night?
      Who told the Puppies what to nominate?
      Come on, Brad, who chose the slate?

      Who chose the slate? who chose the slate?
      Whose job was it to curate?
      If it was honest, why hesitate?
      Come on, Brad, who chose the slate?

      And yes, we do believe you have a lot of friends and mentors in this field; we can’t help but notice that you put them on the slate and pushed works that you yourself admit were worthier off the Hugo ballot. Works like Three Body Problem, and the second volume of the Heinlein bio–works didn’t have the good fortune to be authored by a personal friend or mentor of yours (or your slate-committee’s–who were they again?) that the fans would have put on the ballot for you if you had only let them.

      I’m calling *your* system into question. I’m calling SLATE nominating into question. Because it transparently doesn’t work that well. I get it that you don’t like me rattling your cage, and personal responsibility is apparently not your strong point, but I’ll keep speaking the truth to you for as long as I can speak.

      I’m guessing supporting memberships won’t be discontinued–though if they are, that will be entirely your fault, for introducing slate(s), and I will blame you and your fellow Puppies for slating, making it so I can’t nominate and vote on the Hugos any more. Come to think of it, the personal difference for me in not being able to nominate at all and being able to nominate but having it count for nothing because of slate(s) is nil anyway.

      But my hope is that E. Pluribus Hugo will be adopted, so that nonPuppies can still get a few nominees on the ballot, and the Puppy nominees will still be present, but only at a background noise level rather than sweeping the ballot entirely. Because not being able to nominate at all is not what the rest of us deserve.

      As for attendance at WorldCon climbing–it’s held in a different place every time, which is the only way to have a *World*Con, and the organization has to be set up anew every time, and under those circumstances it’s not going to get all that big. Furthermore, if anyone can wave their hand and increase attendance, you have as much ability as anybody else, why don’t you go do that instead of slating?

      • RAH says:

        I for one have no interest in who came up with the nominations . Voters could make their own . NO ONE was Forced. The excessive focus on Brad who magically got his choices nominated is silly.
        Make you own choice Stop asking other people to justify their choices.

        • Cat says:

          Of course patsies are free to nominate a slate chosen for them by somebody else when they don’t even know who chose it. Absolutely. And free to advertise to the world that they have done so, if they think that’s a good idea.

          “Make your own choice.” Yes, exactly. That’s all I ask. People should read what appeals to them without resorting to slates to know what to read. And chose their own favorites without resorting to slates to know what to nominate.

          • David Lang says:

            so you are saying that the locus list should be eliminated because it gives people recommendations on what to read.

            book reviews should be eliminated because they give people recommendations on what to read.

            (I don’t expect that you actually agree with either statement, but you imply them from your statements)

            at what point do recommendations become bad? All along Brad was telling people to read the works and vote for what they liked. The range of votes show that this was not a case of people blindly voting the slates. The “book bombs” sold a lot of copies of the works before the nominations closed, giving lots of people visibility to them.

            you obviously dislike the result of all that, but exactly which actions are wrong? and why? (and if you say “making a slate”, define the difference between “slate” and “list of recommendations”, if Brad had used the different term, would you accept the same result?)

          • RAH says:

            Slate / Recommended lists. Lots of the lists were out there I see lots of Hugo ballots now with someone choices. Why do people do that? Are they trying to influence voters to vote the same way. Vanity?

            However calling people patsies because they follow a favored author;s recommendations is a bit harsh. Do we say that about people that follow other lists? I have not seen that except for SP3 and RP1.

            Now maybe the minions over on RP1 did follow blindly. Their choices certainly carried the nomination ballot. But is was still those voter choices. It still sounds like whining about slates/lists.

            As Eric would say Get over it. You have a chance now to vote your choice.

        • rochrist says:

          So everyone made their totally free choices based on what they’ve read this year, and they all magically concluded that John C Wright deserved 6 nominations.

          Right.

    • Danny Sichel says:

      it was hearing about the under-the-table maneuvering, from various sources, that ultimately got me off the fence. Because under-the-table maneuvering depends on the general credulity of those who follow the awards: our collective belief that the scales don’t have any thumbs on them.

      You know what would really help us believe you, Mr Torgersen? Telling us what this actual ‘under-the-table maneuvering’ was. Not just saying “trust me, it exists”. You’re a professional fabulist. You’re someone who’s been nominated for a major award for your skill in lying. Do you expect us to take your word for it when you say that “THE GAME IS RIGGED”, simply because you say it is? After all, everyone claims themselves to be honest, right?

      I thought, “How is an honest person going to stand a chance, if there are variously sneaky forms of manipulation being employed, from year to year?”

      … case in point.

      • RAH says:

        There is zero evidence that he has lied So calling him a fabulist is just BS. That is another instance of calling people names and ad hominem attacks It really does not matter. The nominations are OVER!!! Make you own choices rather than whining about Brad perceived grievances.

        Honestly Brad should never have tried to explain how they have been treated. That always comes off as whining. Whether it is true or not.

        However the threats that they will never win a Hugo was made by Davis Gerrolds himself. I read that on his facebook. Very unprofessional since he is to give the awards.

        If that was his reaction and other agree with him as they did in comments on File 770 then I can understand Larry assertion that by the behavior people have shown their bias.

    • Petra says:

      The Two Puppies

      SamJW: “Hey stinker! Vox! Don’t go getting too far ahead!”
      Brad: “Why do you do that?”
      SamJW: “What?”
      Brad: “Call him names? Run him down all the time.”
      SamJW: “Because. Because that’s what he is, Mister Brad. There’s naught left in him but lies and deceit. It’s the Hugo he wants. It’s all he cares about.”
      Brad: “You have no idea what it did to him. What is still doing to him. I want to help him Sam.”
      SamJW: “Why?”
      Brad: “Because I have to believe he can come back.”
      SamJW: “You cannot save him, Mister Brad.”
      Brad (angrily): “What do you know about it? Nothing!”
      Brad: “I’m sorry Sam. I don’t know why I said that.”
      SamJW: “I do. It’s the Hugo. You can’t take your eyes off it. I’ve seen you. You’re not eating. You barely sleep. It’s taking a hold of you Mister Brad. You have to fight it.”
      Brad: “I know what I must to do Sam. The quest was entrusted to me. It’s my task! Mine! My own!”
      SamJW: “Can’t you hear yourself? Don’t you know who you sound like?”

    • TK Davis says:

      Brad, the problem with your entire premise is your contention that the Sad Puppy slate is empirically better than the recent contenders for the Hugo award. You have said over and over that the winners are being chosen for message instead of for quality/enjoyability. As someone who reads SF/F and who votes for the Hugos (while being a complete industry outsider and just a fan of the genres) I disagree. I disagree entirely.

      And you do not get to tell me that my opinion isn’t just as valid as yours. It’s the wonderful part of reading – it’s personal and subjective and messy and there are no absolutes.

      You are being petty and childish and your tactics (while valid) are dishonorable.

      • RAH says:

        Then vote for your choices. Did you vote on the nominations? If not you have no complaint since it was already other people choices.
        This focus on how is old. The choices were made, It is done and over. Now make your own choice and vote your own taste. I will.

        • TK Davis says:

          It’s all about the how, RAH. Refusing to even acknowledge that is disingenuous.

          • RAH says:

            No. How is immaterial and irrelevant. Now is about voting the nominations. Either make a choice or vote no award. I will make my choices. based on those nominations.

  11. Pingback: Plan K-9 From Outer Space 6/16 | File 770

  12. Going To Maine says:

    Very well written!

  13. Mike Spehar says:

    Damn it. Damn it. Damn it.

    I knew I shouldn’t have read this very last word on the Hugos. But I did, damn it, and I found myself disagreeing with these two observations:

    “You have as much chance of eliminating the tendency of a literary award to be tilted in favor of literary factors as you have of doing any of the following….” and

    ” One final point. The Sad Puppies seem to feel there’s something deeply unfair about the fact that literary awards are tilted in favor of literary criteria.”

    There is something quite strawmanish about these statements. While I have seen Sad Puppies rue awarding boring stories – it is in their rallying cry – I haven’t seen any of their leaders claim that literary awards should not have (or be tilted toward) literary criteria. I thought their main point was that literary merit was not an exclusive property of progressive writers. I don’t think I’m wrong about that.

    And I have just confirmed my decision to not attend any SFF conventions this summer. I don’t need the hassle and my ailing Mom needs me more, anyway.

    • Going To Maine says:

      I thought their main point was that literary merit was not an exclusive property of progressive writers. I don’t think I’m wrong about that.

      I disagree. SP1 and SP2 were both, going by Larry Correia, about trolling the lterary establishment. That is, those pups wanted to prove that the Hugos had a left slant by getting people on the political right nominated. (I would disagree that that was what they demonstrated, but that proof was the intent)

      SP3 has been said to be about a lot of things, including:
      * expanding the Worldcon tent to include more fans
      * striking back against a perceived bias against overly-preachy message fiction
      * getting awards to authors who would otherwise be overlooked

      No one, as far as I know, has alleged that conservative writers can’t have literary merit. For goodness’ sake, George RR Martin gave a pretty thorough review of conservative folks who both have and haven’t gotten Hugos in the past, and everyone sings the praises of Gene Wolfe (though Torgersen would argue that Wolfe is a solitary exception). To allege that politics kills literary talent would be silly. Folks *have* argued that particular conservative writers, like John C Wright, lack literary merit, but that’s niggling over specific authors and not the general case.

      • Mike Spehar says:

        It is an important part of polite discourse to not dismiss one’s opponents as totally lacking in principle or reasoning, else we might as well bring the knives out and have at it. When one side feels it has been dissed, and continues to be treated dismissively, it has little incentive for reconciliation.

        When it happens to both sides, we again learn what drove the Hatfields and McCoys. Then, the question of who started it no longer matters. The situation must be defused by the constant effort of peacemakers on both sides. Assuming “they” are all unthinking trolls doesn’t get the job done.

    • Eric Flint says:

      Mike, while it’s true that the main thrust of the Sad Puppies’ criticism of the works usually nominated (and winning) Hugo awards is that they are politically biased to the left, they have also on a number of occasions criticized the awards for being biased toward what they often call “snobbery.” In context, I don’t know any other way to interpret that than as a sneer at what most people would characterize as “literary” qualities.

      Here are some examples:

      “[D]espite providing hours of explosion filled enjoyment to their readers, most pulp novelists will never be recognized by critics, and in fact, they will be abused by the literati elite. Much like Michael Vick, literary critics hate pulp novelists and make them fight in vicious underground novelist fighting arenas. I actually did pretty good, until Dan Wells made a shiv from a sharpened spoon and got me in the kidney.”

      Stated by Larry Correia on January 16, 2013.
      http://monsterhunternation.com/2013/01/16/how-to-get-correia-nominated-for-a-hugo-part-2-a-very-special-message/

      “[I]f Monster Hunter Legion were to become a Hugo finalist, elitist literary snobs around the world would have a complete come apart that something which was unabashed pulp, had an actual plot, had characters who actually did stuff, and wasn’t heavy handed message fiction dared tread into their sacred halls.”

      Stated by Larry Correia on January 23, 2013.
      http://monsterhunternation.com/2013/01/23/how-to-get-correia-nominated-for-a-hugo-part-3-wont-somebody-please-think-of-the-children/

      “[Y]ou can support awesome books winning fancy Hugo awards and drive the literati insane! … No more boring, pretentious literati-wannabe dreck! … Vote for Warbound!”

      Stated by Larry Correia on January 10, 2014
      http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/10/challenge-coin-update-free-books-lots-of-stuff/

      “The ugly truth is that the most prestigious award in sci-fi/fantasy is basically just a popularity contest, where the people who are popular with a tiny little group of WorldCon voters get nominated and thousands of other works are ignored. Books that tickle them are declared good and anybody who publically deviates from groupthink is bad. Over time this lame ass award process has become increasingly snooty and pretentious…”

      Stated by Larry Correia on January 14, 2014
      http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/14/sad-puppies-2-the-illustrated-edition/

      “In other words, while the big consumer world is at the theater gobbling up the latest Avengers movie, “fandom” is giving “science fiction’s most prestigious award” to stories and books that bore the crap out of the people at the theater: books and stories long on “literary” elements (for all definitions of “literary” that entail: what college hairshirts are fawning over this decade) while being entirely too short on the very elements that made Science Fiction and Fantasy exciting and fun in the first place!

      “[T]he voting body of ‘fandom’ have tended to go in the opposite direction: niche, academic, overtly to the Left in ideology and flavor, and ultimately lacking what might best be called visceral, gut-level, swashbuckling fun …”

      Stated by Brad Torgersen on January 16, 2015
      https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/why-sad-puppies-3-is-going-to-destroy-science-fiction/

      By the way, as a number of people have already pointed, this was a particularly infelicitous [apologies for using a five-syllable literati word but what can you expect I’m a leftie snob] wisecrack by Torgersen given that the Hugo for best movie [officially called “Dramatic Presentation: Long Form”] WAS given that year to THE AVENGERS.

      I could dredge up more quotes like this, Mike, but after a while it’s a waste of my time. The Sad Puppies have repeatedly made it clear that they consider “literary” — they usually use terms like “snobbery” or “literati” or “snooty and pretentious” but that’s what they’re talking about about — fiction to be the province of the left, whereas right-wing fiction tends to be — to use their terms — “visceral, gut-level, swashbuckling” etc etc.

      Never mind that the stuff I write is hardly “literary” and Steven Brust writes about assassins and…

      Not to mention that the SF author the New Yorker magazine singled out for praise due to his literary talents was the quite conservative Gene Wolfe.

      Facts, pfui. Why let that get in the way of a good ignorant rant?

      • Mike says:

        Steven Brust really is kind of “literary”, IMO. In some (but not all) of his books, the craftsmanship of the writing and the literary techniques he uses are front and center, at least as important as the plot and characters. He’s going for tone, for mood, for “voice”. In short, he’s going for style points.

        You can sit down and talk about how a book like Dragon is structured and written, and how it differs from one like Issola. Dragon is very non-linear in timespan, while Issola is pretty much a straight tale in real time. But Issola has this fascinating construct where Vlad keeps being isolated with different sets of characters, and covers the same philosophical ground but gets to different places depending on who he is conversing with. And that is mirrored by the fact that he keeps getting imprisoned in the same room, but it appears to be different each time around.

        You simply can’t have the same type of conversations about, for example, Cauldron Of Ghosts. I have re-read Cauldron of Ghosts several times. It’s a good story. But it’s not “literary”.

      • Mike Spehar says:

        “Show me the man and I will find the crime.”

        Eric, I don’t disagree with you that many stupid things have been written by various Sad Puppies, even by some who should surely know better. I also agree with Lavrenti that guilt can sometimes be a matter of perception. Give me enough time and I’ll find solid evidence that you are a devoted capitalist and closet monarchist.

        Even as a confirmed tool of imperialism and fan of exploding starships, I have found myself taking small dogs to task for their decided lack of charitable solicitude (back at you). I may even feel compelled to disagree with you, again. I feel I owe the wobbly center nothing less.

        Cheers, mate.

      • Books first, food later. says:

        I feel I must point out that, saying “all literary snobs (if literary snob=closely adhering to the latest “progressive” “safe-space”-creating, tolerance-espousing-intolerance-inducing morons that have demonstrated an impressive ability to shout louder than their size -as a section of the populace as a whole- would indicate should be humanly possible) are leftist” (whether true or not, and no, it isn’t entirely true…it just looks that way sometimes because of that same ability to shout) is *not* the same as saying “all leftist authors write entertainment-void, swashbuckling-free, staggeringly message-heavy ‘literary’ fiction.” No? I mean, it seems obvious to me. All rectangles are squares, but not all squares are rectangles.

  14. Way back in the halcyon days of winter when I thought this Puppy silliness would be a minor blip lasting only a few weeks (instead of, as it has become, a noisy, toxic, steadily spreading mess that will clearly continue emitting its stench well beyond Aug 22nd), Brad Torgersen cited on his Facebook wall a short list of randomly named writers who’ve never been nominated for a Hugo. For whatever reason, I was one of the writers he named.

    So I pointed out that if getting a Hugo were among my career goals, then there are a number of very obvious things I would do differently; and the fact that I do NOT do those things makes it very unsurprising (even self-explanatory, I’d say) that I’ve never been nominated for a Hugo.

    For EXAMPLE, I’d write science fiction. (Go FIGURE.) Although the Hugos do recognize fantasy, they are more of an sf and speculative fiction award, and–apart from top sellers (which I am not)– it’s rare that a straight-genre commercial fantasy novel, which is what I write, gets on the ballot. I’d also write short fiction on spec and submit it to magazines, which tend to get more awards attention than (the reams and reams of) anthologies released into the market each year. (67 of my 68 published short stories have been written on commission and were published only in anthologies; because my career focus is on novels, I don’t write short fiction on spec.) I’d also shift my work substantially out of humor and into “serious” fiction (my current fantasy novel series is comedy, and probably 3/4 of my short stories are light or comedic). Comedy can get nominations and win awards, but “serious” fiction much more frequently gets awards attention.

    Those are just a few examples of things I’d do differently if I wanted a Hugo. But getting a Hugo isn’t my career focus. Selling a lot of novels and expanding the audience for my books (with a view to increasing my sales and thus my income) is my career focus. My related career focus is to make good money writing the kind of story I like to write and read–which is what I’m doing. That the kind of thing I like to write doesn’t happen to be the kind of thing that gets awards attention doesn’t matter to me. If it mattered to me, I’d start making changes in what I choose to write, so that I’d have a much better shot than I do at getting Hugo attention.

    Mind you, I’d be very honored to be nominated for a Hugo. Unlike many of the Puppies whom I’ve seen declaring that the Hugos mean nothing to them or are bullshit or whatever, I have a lot of respect for the Hugos and I appreciate their history and the resonance they have in our genre. I just don’t focus my career choices on getting a Hugo; and because of that, I don’t fume (or even think) about not getting nominated. Similarly, if I really wanted to build an audience of primarily male readers age 14-22, I’d also make other choices in my work than I’m making.

    However…. having made my point (less verbosely) on Brad Torgersen’s FB wall…. the Puppies there declared that my comments merely PROVED that the Hugos were rigged or unfair or whatever… and though I tried once or twice more, it was clear that speaking reason and sense to Puppies was a complete waste of time, and I was annoyed that I had bothered trying.

    I don’t know what the Puppies want, either. Nothing in their behavior or statements ever makes any sense. And I am by now skeptical that there’s actually anything that would satisfy the–well, anything within their potential grasp, anyhow. As we have seen, you can certainly campaign your way onto a Hugo ballot; and perhaps you can even campaign successfully enough to get the award. But you can’t force people to respect, admire, or agree with you.

    • Bibliotheca Servare says:

      We are essentially having a tailgate party…at worldcon. That’s the best way to put it. We have totally different worldviews than you (hence why you can’t comprehend our motivations etc) and we decided that it would be fun to bring our party to the Hugo’s. And there’s all kindsa weirdos in our club. We’ve got Mormons *giggle* we’ve got wiccans, gays, republicans, democrats *shudder…lol*, shitloads of libertarians, black people, brown people, so-white-you-fear-for-their-health people, men, women, “other”, yellow people, possibly a purpleish mauve person, oh…it’s a looong list. And we all like hanging out together and having all kinds of conversations, with the language and “harmful speech” *chokes* filters decidedly off. Some of these convos are deep, intellectual diversions. Some are airily philosophical. Some are blatantly juvenile and sophomoric. Some are decidedly serious and focused. And some defy explanation or description. But we aren’t “unscrupulous” as Mr. Flint once said. We’re just weird. Also, a good-sized chunk of us is heartily addicted to gunpowder weaponry and other tools of destruction. I happen to be a dedicated gardener, cook, philosopher, amateur editor, and bibliophile, among other things. I voted in the Hugo’s because I learned I could and I was very excited. No grand conspiracy theory. Just a fan learning how to participate. And most of the “sad puppies” are like me in that regard. But yes, we are also like a family, and it pisses us off when folks like you malign a family-member’s character, not to mention our own. Now, I’m going to try to get some sleep. God bless.
      :-)

      • Your comment does not appear to relate to a single thing I’ve said.

        • Going To Maine says:

          Helpfully, the one useful fact BS provides is to claim to have such a completely different worldview that dialogue is impossible. Which, at this point, seems to be true.

        • RAH says:

          Actually I think his point was to humorously mock your inability to understand the Puppies point of view.

          However I want to address your own writing. I never understood why humorous works were not nominated . I really enjoy them and If your work is fantasy and humorous I have to check it out.

          • Jane_Dark says:

            RAH: I never understood why humorous works were not nominated . I really enjoy them and If your work is fantasy and humorous I have to check it out.

            RAH, humorous works have been nominated, and indeed, won. Most recently, Scalzi’s Redshirts, and in the past, Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog (novel) and “Even the Queen” (short story).

            • RAH says:

              Thanks for the response. I will have to check out Connie Willis’s work. Having read Scazi’s blog I am not sure I would like his snark. I do have to check out Ms Resnick. Her titles on File 770 have been gold.
              Thanks again

              • Jane_Dark says:

                You’re most welcome. Redshirts isn’t what I’d call snarky (though Scalzi’s blog often is), though it wasn’t really my taste (though I understand why other people liked it.) I’m not sure what I ranked first that year, because I didn’t like Mira Grant’s Blackout anywhere near as well as I liked Feed, which was first in the trilogy — though if the Best Saga Award had existed then, it would have been an easy top vote.

                I’ve liked Willis’s stuff tremendously since I discovered her in jr. high, though, so I certainly recommend her.

            • RAH says:

              Ok Jane I bought The Winds of Marble Arch since I hate to spend over 3 dollars on new author. I will let you know how I liked it Thanks for the recommendation

          • Bibliotheca Servare says:

            What you said. Talk about hitting your head against a brick frickin’ wall… It’s like talking to irritatingly loquacious, and not unintelligent, rocks…whose disdain for all non-rocks is astonishingly toxic. I was only addressing her repeated emphasizing of her “inability” to understand the “puppies” motives and attempts to “speak reason and sense” to folks of whom she declares “nothing in their behavior or statements ever makes any sense.” That has nothing at all to do with the things she said in her comment…oh wait. Shoot…it’s like we’re different species. Dave Freer is right. The divide is getting ominously wide. Stark, angry, violence-fanned divisions, in any society, never end in happiness and light. God help us if this is what we’re going to keep hurtling toward. I want to step off this bullet train to horror, personally. Interesting times indeed. Damn it. *depressed sigh*

        • rochrist says:

          There’s a surprise.

      • Gina says:

        But yes, we are also like a family, and it pisses us off when folks like you malign a family-member’s character, not to mention our own.

        Surely you must understand that the larger family of WorldCon members feel the same way, and have been experiencing the same sense of having the WorldCon family maligned by the ongoing Puppy rhetoric. It is all quite ridiculous, and we are tired of it.

        • Gina says:

          The first sentence of my above post was a quote from BS’s post. i meant to end the italics before the second paragraph, which is my own response, and the only one I’ll be making.

    • James May says:

      It’s your comments which don’t make sense. You’re one of the foot soldiers which helped create support for and give credibility to redneck dehumanization theories like “white privilege” because someone ran out of Jim Crow and needed a zero calorie substitute to keep the car rolling.

      That in turn created an atmosphere for other massive feminist stupidities like “rape culture.” Where’s the SFF in all that hokum? There’s a lot of Jim Crow in “Wakulla Springs” but predictably no SFF. Same for Hild and dino justice. That’s not just “genre-bending” but destroying the genre. Buck Rogers in the 21st century makes little sense. Neither does the Huffington Post in the 25th century.

      You helped create SP – why complain now?

      What would satisfy SP is simple: stop supporting that junk – actual SFF stories will follow rather than the intersectional Hugo sweep of last year’s overly messaged sleeping pills towards a more just and better world cis white dudes have retarded since the Tigris and Euphrates.

      When you have flamboyant gay guys like Milo Yiannopolous and “misogynist” Latina porn stars like Mercedes Carrera bitterly opposing you and jock ex-punters and Anita (Wertham) Sarkeesian’s fem comics code on your side it’s time to stop pretending you came from underground comix and realize you are now the target of underground comix. Even the actual and mysteriously still alive R. Crumb shifted to a reactionary conservative when he donated a cartoon to Charlie Hebdo in the wake of the assassinations of cartoonists. S. Clay Wilson, who dared to make the most filthy comix about Catholics in the late ’60s, turns 74 in July.

      And what white privilege expert said Charlie Hebdo was about “racism” when it had squat to do with it? There’s your new “truth to power” from what would’ve been Ronald Reagan in 1970. In our Brave New World, actual underground comix are conservative and actual redneck conservatives are “progressives” who mimic Victorian fashion statements by writing rules about “Partial nudity, the aggressive display of cleavage and the navel, and shorts/skirts higher than 4″ above the knee are not allowed” for modern comic conventions.

      My connecting these dots probably doesn’t make any sense to you either. That’s rather the point, isn’t it?

      • Have you been bitten by a green mamba or something? You genuinely appear to be raving.

        • Going To Maine says:

          Eric Flint’s last post about May remains as true as ever, except that now the impossibility of dialogue is being openly acknowledged.

        • James May says:

          Was that an attempt at debate? Didn’t Orwell once tell Lord Mountbatten he threw like a girl?

        • James May says:

          One of the things SF genre does which lite romance does not is shift perspectives slightly and then throw them back at you so they are seen more clearly. Sometimes people call that “Spock’s Eyes.”

          I’m not surprised you think your own progressive culture appears as raving when put in context. It also puts you in the uncomfortable position of having to defend inflammatory remarks you completely made up out of your head as what… not raving? Your nonsensical comments are still on Scalzi’s site Miss Resnick. Don’t lecture me about reality.

        • RAH says:

          I understand Mays point but he rambles so it is hard for people to gather his argument.

      • Going To Maine says:

        What would satisfy SP is simple: stop supporting that junk – actual SFF stories will follow rather than the intersectional Hugo sweep of last year’s overly messaged sleeping pills towards a more just and better world cis white dudes have retarded since the Tigris and Euphrates.

        Truly, a slate of Hugo nominees will get fiction authors to change their minds about what they’re currently writing and start producing more of what you consider “actual SFF stories”. Not, you know, the mass-market success that Eric Flint has suggested truly matters.

        My connecting these dots probably doesn’t make any sense to you either. That’s rather the point, isn’t it?

        You are literally not connecting any dots. You are stating things in a rather inflammatory manner. If you want to connect dots you have to state a precise thesis and then explain how those dots advance your thesis. The terror you feel of the modern world is palpable, but your manifesto remains indistinct. (But then, we’ve squabbled about this before.)

        • James May says:

          I can’t encapsulate this movement 2012-5 in every comment but I can ask you why you are so keen to comment on issues you obviously know nothing about. Throwing your lack of knowledge straight over to me having night terrors over something or other doesn’t make much sense.

          • Going To Maine says:

            I can’t encapsulate this movement 2012-5 in every comment but I can ask you why you are so keen to comment on issues you obviously know nothing about.

            Oh, I’m not asking you to encapsulate it in every comment. I’m asking you to encapsulate it in any comment. Eric Flint has pretty ably demonstrated your inability to do so. Since you’ve written some books in the past, I’d suggest that you add another to your bibliography that lays out your arguments and your extensive source material in a detailed manner. It would make for fascinating reading, especially if you substantiate your points.

  15. Ray says:

    while I agree with a lot of what you say, you keep making the same category mistake about the awards.
    Take Andre Norton, for example. I’ve never read her books (wrong generation) but by all accounts she was a hugely important writer for a lot of people. Prolific, and reliably good – but perhaps never great. A solid B+ writer that you’d be happy to find on the shelves of your local library or in the few dozen paperbacks available in your local shop, but not one that will shock or surprise you.
    So why didn’t Andre Norton get a Hugo? Because there is no Hugo equivalent of the Lifetime Achievement award, no Grandmaster Hugo to be voted on by Worldcon members. For Andre Norton to win a Hugo, she would have had to write a book that people thought was better than any other book that year. Was Witch World better than The Man in the High Castle? Was The Year of the Unicorn better than The Wanderer? Was Moon of Three Rings better than Dune? The voters didn’t think so.
    Maybe there should be a ‘body of work’ award, but there isn’t. That’s why Norton never won a Hugo.

    • Ray says:

      Sorry, mistake there (I told you this was from before my time)
      Witch World wasn’t up against The Man in the High Castle. It was nominated for a Hugo the following year. And lost to Way Station. Other losing nominees – Heinlein for Glory Road, Vonnegut for Cat’s Cradle, and Herbert for what looks like the first half of Dune.
      So quite a few people thought it was the best book of the year. But more people thought there was another, better book. And there is no Hugo for ‘writing a lot of quite good books’.

  16. Catherine says:

    Thank you for a very sensible perspective. While the Puppies situation has obviously become political, I still see complaints about sf that blends into literary fiction, and the desire to see “cracking good yarns” and the like rewarded — and it’s clear from looking at Correia’s original proclamations, that this was his original intent.

    While in the literary world of Pulitzers, National Book Awards, Man Bookers and the like, the awards are juried, and therefore not an exact analogy to the Hugos — or the Nebulas — there’s no question that literary awards are, well, literary. James Patterson, for example, gives a lot of people a lot of pleasure, and yet I’ve never heard that he is muttering about how unjust it is that he’s never been up for a major award. In sf, the producers of “ripping good yarns” will see their popularity result in sales, like Patterson does, but why do they necessarily believe they *deserve* awards? I do understand that the Hugos, because of the voting process, are seen as a popularity contest, but since Worldcon attendees are a self-selecting group, why isn’t this the equivalent of a (very large) award jury?

    What’s delighted me in the midst of all this is seeing this year’s Nebula going to Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation, which is published by Farrar Straus Giroux, the most literary of all the large mainstream New York publishers, and is certainly quite literary in its form. VanderMeer has done something interesting, from both the plot and the writing perspectives, and nobody’s shouting about that. It’s an amazing book, justifiably celebrated . . . and it didn’t make the Hugo ballot, either.

    • BikerDad says:

      In sf, the producers of “ripping good yarns” will see their popularity result in sales, like Patterson does, but why do they necessarily believe they *deserve* awards?

      I’m not certain that they do. What they seem to believe, and I tend to agree with the Puppies on this, is that too many books in the last decade+ have gotten awards that do not deserve them. Now, part of the problem is simply one of diminishing returns, which I’ll revisit in a moment. The other part is awards being given on the basis of, to riff off some terminology that’s become common, “right think” by “rightfolk”, although some will consider that I’ve micro-aggressed against them by characterizing them as “rightfolk” rather than “People of Proper Think”, what with “rightfolk” having that Indicator of Evil, “right”, within it. Most here though should know the arguments, and have already made of their minds regarding that aspect, and little to nothing I can say will move anybody off the chunk of terra firma upon which they’ve planted their flag.

      The matter of diminishing returns though, that’s something of which I’ve seen little discussion. It is a problem that truly bedevils academia, yet to a lesser extent it hurts most literary awards.

      New. Original. Edgy. These are almost invariably explicit or implicit criteria for awards. Nobody gets a doctorate for researching how the successful attack on the Regia Marina in 1940 gave the Japanese Imperial Headquarters the confidence that they could take down the US Pacific Fleet at anchor, but if one can cook up an argument that Pearl Harbor was the result of Roosevelt’s subconscious pushback against perceptions that he was “unmanly” because of being in a wheelchair, so he decided to pick on the slanty eyed lesser peoples from Japan, resulting in their righteous retribution against oppressive white male meddling in Asia, well, roll out the diploma.

      The same thing happens in science fiction. All of the big themes have been done, and done, and done. Increasingly small themes are mined for “originality”, and so often it’s not even original, but ignorance makes it seem so. (Forever War, anyone?) This thirst for originality, and “edgy” is by definition considered original, even when something isn’t truly edgy or original, is part of what’s been pushing so much of fiction (regardless of genre or media) into what was once the fringes. Gor was essentially fringe, yet if published today a smart marketer would herald it as a synthesis between Game of Thrones and 50 Shades of Grey.

      What we don’t see is awards for truly superb work that isn’t “edgy”, or “pushing the boundaries” or any such stuff. Just really well done storytelling. Whether or not we’ve heard the story before.

      • Stevie says:

        BikerDad

        Do you have an example in mind when you refer to ‘really well-done story telling’?

        For that matter, do you have examples in mind when you refer to ‘too many books in the last decade+ have gotten awards that do not deserve them’?

        If it helps, I live in London, England; from my perspective it looks like the puppies are dragging US politics into Worldcon, apparently oblivious to the fact that the world has more than one country in it, and that our politics are not your politics.

        I don’t understand why many of the Puppies apparently don’t even realise that vast amounts of time and energy are needed to actually get a Worldcon up and running, much less that the people organising it and running it are doing it without getting paid.

        It’s not surprising that the people who give that time and energy and work would like the Puppies to get their tanks of our lawn; I’m pretty sure you would feel the same if someone just waltzed into your home, demanding the fruits of your labour whilst insulting you in the process.

        The Hugos are part and parcel of Worldcon; there is nothing to stop the Puppies organising their own conventions and awarding whatever they choose whenever they choose. Other than the fact that the Puppies are completely clueless when it comes to organising conventions, that is, but that can easily be rectified if, as the Puppies claim, there are thousands of fans committed to the cause.

        I recognise, of course, that it’s very easy to complain; doing it yourself is a great deal harder. So far I’ve seen no one volunteering to do any of the work; instead there’s a lot of insults aimed at the volunteers who have and continue to do the work….

        • David Lang says:

          none of the puppies are trying to eliminate Woldcon, we are paying members of Worldcon after all.

          You say the puppies are dragging US politics into Worldon, we see it as the politics were already there, we’re now protesting the assumption that “all right thinking people must agree with them” and pointing out that there is a (we think) large group of fans who don’t, but are still valid fans.

          By the way, the Worldcon Organizers have not said anything anti-puppy that I’ve seen. The Guest of Honor this year has been vocal, and many others have. But the Worldcon Organizers have been very professional and just enforced the rules and continued their work (which should be easier with the influx of puppy related supporting memberships)

          • Stevie says:

            David Lang

            You may see your US politics when you look at SF, but I don’t. What I see are people completely ignoring the fact that Worldcon is Worldcon, not UScon, and dragging your domestic political squabbles into an event which is the celebration of fandom worldwide. You are hanging on the coat tails of all the people who put vast amounts of time, energy and hard work, without payment, into creating Worldcon each year.

            Have you ever worked for free to create and run a convention? Any convention? You seem not to realise that each Worldcon is a one off event, held in a city which wins the right to hold Worldcon that year. It only exists because people are prepared to spend years of hard work. You say you are not trying to eliminate Worldcon; you may believe that, and I do not dispute your sincerity but it’s utter nonsense. The practical effect of your actions, if you are successful, is that it will become UScon because you have insisted on dragging your politics into it.

            Last year’s Worldcon was held in London, England, where I live. The people attending were mostly British, and mostly ignorant of your culture wars, for the very obvious reason that they are completely irrelevant to us; I appreciate that many puppies have difficulties in grasping the fact that we neither know nor care, but we don’t. We care about great books and great cons; the puppies failed to win Hugos at Loncon because we didn’t think their books were great. And as a result of that honest vote, in a country which has nothing to do with the US, the puppies decided to flood the ballot box with garbage. They couldn’t win in a fair fight, they couldn’t deal with an honest vote, so they decided to cheat instead.

            It’s hardly surprising that the rest of the world outside the U.S. has noticed this; we are not stupid and we get even more pissed off when the puppies lie about their cheating. And the puppies have lied, very obviously, because the sort of people who will stuff the ballot boxes because they lost in an honest fight are not going to worry about a few lies here and there. Nor are they going to worry about threatening to burn the Hugos to the ground if they don’t get their way, as we have seen.

            If you want respect you have to earn it; that fact seems to have escaped most of the puppies. Making yet more threats simply proves that they are thugs; you have chosen to support them. You are perfectly free to do so, of course, just as I am free to say that I will not stand with those whose reaction to losing an honest fight is to cheat.

  17. RAH says:

    Eric. Your basic point is leave the Hugos alone as long as the author is making money and getting sold.
    I disagree. The Hugos are controlled from your elite group, the WorldCom attendees. That is basically true up to this point. However the option of supporting members to vote from a distance does allow a broader group of voters.

    Basically you have called for Brad and Larry not to upset the apple cart. Because they can sell without being a Hugo nominee.

    The Hugos are a battle in a little pond but is it part of a larger struggle called the Culture Wars. In video games the struggle is persuade, shame the game developers to make less games that use the tropes that Anita Sarkisan so ably described.

    The problem is the players love the tropes and that is one reason they sold so well. So when she aptly identified the tropes and denigrated them, that offended a lot of players.

    Players demograhics are mostly males 14-35 and they are attracted to lovely women and save the damsel and shoot the enemy.

    However if developers start eliminating the tropes that will less appeal to their audience and less buyers will play the games.

    In Sf I read from a Tor blog many years ago about how the characters should not be binary sexes. UHMM, No. I am a particle gender and am not interested in in novels that do not have binary genders. So that advice to authors would reduce the novels I would read. In other words lose the buyers.

    The SJW have been pushing a idea to persuade, and shame writers to using different tropes and to broaden the genders. Many writers have been persuaded and it has been done awkwardly. I liked a particular writer, yet she decided to go publish her first book and it is about a male gay couple. That does not interest me so I would not buy that. She is new writer and persuaded that is the market she should write for. Shame. But the effort to persuade new writers is effective and it lessens the amount of fiction that I would like to read.

    So this effort to push back against the elite is good to broaden the Hugo audience and voter base. This year I am voting and plan to continue. This is really targeted at the writers to write a or not write particular types of fiction.

    Hugos also count toward the money a writer can get for the next work. Ms Hurley’s Hugo gained her another $13000 in advance money I read. So that is an economic award based on her getting a Hugo.

    • Kate says:

      Quoting you, ” I liked a particular writer, yet she decided to go publish her first book and it is about a male gay couple. That does not interest me so I would not buy that.”

      You do understand that’s just you and not the wide world of readers, right? Some people read writers they like because they like their writing.

      The true pressure in publishing is writing a book that readers will buy. If readers buy books with homosexuals in them (and they do), then writers will feel free to build those characters. You may think it’s hurting their sales, but you don’t have proof, just an anecdote about how you personally couldn’t read about a homosexual relationship. (Although I admit I’m a bit curious if Loras and Renly made you refuse to read Game of Thrones, eh, it’s none of my business.)

      I don’t think “shame” accrues to a writer because they didn’t write what you wanted to read. It happens. I wish more of Mr. Flint’s 1632 novels took place with the characters in Italy, but they don’t. I somehow get by and enjoy the novels just the same. My opinion doesn’t seem to be hurting the series any.

      • RAH says:

        It was not shameful to her writing a gay romance. It was a shame because I like her writing and her first book is not what I will buy. I am hetero and just not interested in gay romance. If it was an adventure and the focus was on the adventure and not the romance then I would have bought it. If a gay character is compelling that is different . For example Mercedes Lackey’s Vanyel character was great and I really enjoyed those books . His sexuality was part of the difficulties he encountered and made his character compelling. The story was about him and his adventures not just his gayness . It was also a early popular work that had a main character that was gay. A gay friend was very impressed. That was when I realized how important is for people to have fictional characters they could personally identify with.

        A reader has to like the characters and be invested . The writer has to make the characters likable yet not omnipotent. I actually read a Vox Day story and the problem was that his character was devolving to be evil and was not likable. I had nothing vested so I stopped reading. The writer may have an interest in how a nice boy becomes evil, but that is not interesting to me.

        So I am fine with characters that are unusual, but if many of them have nothing in common with the 80-90 of the population then their market is small.
        I fell in love with love with a dragon character that David Freer wrote , so the physical appearance is not important. Like Miles Vorkosigan I fell in love with. It is the personality that I have to like.

        Yes, I clearly stated that it was my opinion. I know that not all people like the same. However that does not make my opinion invalid.

        • Johnny says:

          I’m married and so I am not interested in any stories with premarital sex, or, really, blooming romance in general. If any stories has the hint of a subplot with two characters who are not already welded at the hip, I throw it away with disgust. I totally understand.

        • Kate Fall says:

          Okay, I misunderstood how you used the word shame. You meant it more like “It’s a shame, I was looking forward to something different.” I apologize for misconstruing it.

          I’m a bit lost, though, in your reasoning that the author was forced to write about a romance. “She is new writer and persuaded that is the market she should write for.” Did she tell you she was persuaded? What makes you think so?

          • RAH says:

            Good point. So no, she never said. But it has been a strong fashion n fanfic circles where she started .She went from non slash to slash. so I assumed and yes that may make me an ass. I have tried to ask authors why they write somethings and they get very huffy. I guess it is too impertinent. Maybe they think it is being critical. So maybe aome authors can answer that.

            Yes it was it is a shame because I am not interested and would have liked to support her first work.

    • JohnMcC says:

      How does attending a science fiction convention make you a member of an elite? I have attended many such (though not Worldcon) and never thought of myself as being of the elite as a result. It is a very open elite where all you need do is pay your money, and presto! you are now one of the elite. As to your Culture Wars aside, are you saying that only a small group of people are allowed to join the Worldcon attendees, based on their cultural convictions?
      As for your snide remarks about SJWs, are you saying that justice is a bad thing in a social situation? Or perhaps you believe that we live in a perfect world where there is no injustice based on race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality, and saying that there is, and that this is wrong is a bad thing?
      Finally there is no compulsion in the style or content of what authors write, otherwise the science fiction field would be very boring, and not sell many copies, which is anathema to the publishing houses, which worship at the altar of the almighty dollar. (The major publishing houses are owned by large corporations, and not many of them are known as being liberal hotbeds)

      • RAH says:

        Being a SJW is not a slur. I would think that most would be proud of that term They are warriors fighting for that view. I may disagree with their view but that dos not make them less.

        The Culture Wars are more than SJW . For instance the Islamists like to kill people that draw pictures of their prophet. They are trying to impose by fear that artist not do that. Even in medieval times artist had depictions of Mohammed.

        Culture Wars of the campuses are targeting men for their normal desire to have sex with women. Yet the man is guilty of rape if he has sex with a drunk female Yet the woman is not guilty of rape when she has sex with a drunk man.

        Another example of culture wars is Laura Kipnis being brought up on IX charges because she wrote an article saying the professors are terrified of the SJW being offended and killing the jobs.

        So do I think SJW have gone overboard ? Yes I do. Do I think Ms Gall was wrong to call people who are sympathetic and those authors that are SP3 racist, sexists and Misogynists wrong and overboard? Yes I do.

        The goals of equity is great The tactics are terrible. Plus it does appear to not equal, but a bias or slanted board now.

        • Johnny says:

          “Culture Wars of the campuses are targeting men for their normal desire to have sex with women. Yet the man is guilty of rape if he has sex with a drunk female Yet the woman is not guilty of rape when she has sex with a drunk man.”

          You’re making stuff up. I’m guessing you haven’t been on a campus in decades and this just sort of sounds like what the young’uns are up to nowadays.

          • Mike says:

            Anyone commits rape if they take advantage of someone who can’t say no. That means kids, unconscious people, drugged people, or (more controversially) people who feel coerced whether or not weapons and/or physical force are used. That goes for men or women.

            It’s not complicated. If it’s not voluntary, it’s rape.

            • Books first, food later. says:

              Two words: Implied Consent. Utter those words on almost any western (hemisphere) college or university, and, following that utterance, fail to criticize the concept as inevitably leading to rape, if not descriptive of a sex act that, despite consent, was actually rape because consent must be made with one’s voice or else it’s rape…and you’ll get to see insanity in action. Especially if you utter those two words outside of a (cannot *believe* these exist) “first amendment zone/space” and there are people you don’t know within earshot. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so fricking sick. And the implication of your statement, that a woman who has sex with a blackout-drunk man would be equally pursued with (because it’s the job of universities to enforce the penal code…according to multiple bureaucrats’ delusional interpretations of Title IX at least) (in the U.S) charges of rape and violation of the “code of conduct” deserving of punishment via expulsion… I mean…are you really that (1) naive, and (2) unversed in current events? Damn… (cue the self-righteous castigating by imbeciles who believe male and female rapists [including statutory rapists] are always treated equally by society, university “ethics panels” -farcical parodies of the *actual* court system- and the legal system, and, if they aren’t, it’s Just and Right because “male privilege”) (seriously. I brought popcorn)

              • Mike says:

                This probably isn’t the best place for a discussion of the legal and moral questions regarding rape, but I stand by what I wrote, including that the law and the morality apply equally no matter which sexes are involved.

                Until humans have perfected mind reading, “implied” anything is subject to misunderstanding and/or intentional abuse. What’s so hard about just asking for verbal consent, especially if it’s a new partner?

            • Johnny says:

              Not complicated at all. Most universities have a seminar to explain what constitutes positive consent. Implied consent is a disaster at campuses because you have a bunch of drunk, idiotic 18 year olds who are guaranteed to hear an implication of consent when she’s right there. There was a study done showing that the majority of on-campus rapes are viewed as consensual by the perpetrator. That’s why there’s such a focus on getting positive consent.

              Books’ analogy of a woman taking advantage of a blackout-drunk guy has one giant, glaring problem: erections. A dude who is unconscious or blackout drunk is incapable of vaginal sex. A woman is only incapable of consent.

              If you feel like you aren’t going to get laid with positive consent instead of just implied, then maybe you didn’t need to get laid that one time. It’s college; there’s already 5 girls for every 4 guys. To be vulgar, if you aren’t getting pussy the problem is with you, not with the ladies or with the method of consent.

              • Books first, food later. says:

                Because you know my gender and sex…how? Magic? And you know I’ve had sex, how? You know I don’t intend to wait til I’m married…how?

                I didn’t think so. Aside from that, I’m just going to quote you, comment on the quote, and remove myself from this line of discussion until further notice.

                “A dude who is unconcious or blackout drunk is incapable of vaginal sex.”


                There is so much distilled bullshit in this sentence, I’m just going to leave it there, so others, years in the future, can gaze upon it and be awed by it’s magnificence.

                Really, if you believe that sentence is accurate: (1) I have some swampland in Siberia to sell you, and (2), I’m not comfortable engaging in a duel of wits with an unarmed opponent, so I’ll be leaving you to your silliness. Buh bye.

              • Johnny says:

                Apparently we have differing definitions of “blackout drunk”. I’m thinking to you it’s something slightly past tipsy. It is not. As a dude, if you’re blackout drunk, you’re incapable of sex.

                I don’t see where any of my comments pertain to your gender, sex, or sex choices. I’m pointing out how rape is an issue on campuses, how positive consent is a good thing to teach to students, and how it’s a hell of a lot tougher to heterosexually rape an unconscious dude because dudes need erections to have sex.

                If you think unconscious dudes are capable of sex, especially guys passed out from the effects of alcohol, you are perhaps 15.

              • Mike says:

                Johnny, a male doesn’t need to be able to have an erection in order to be raped.

              • Johnny says:

                He does in order to have vaginal sex, which is what I posted originally…

              • Books first, food later. says:

                Because blackout drunk means unconscious. Hmm, I thought blackout drunk was a level of drunkenness of such intensity that one can perform various actions, wake up the next day, and have no memory of what happened. Also known as “blackout” periods. Some drugs have similar effects, as do some neurological disorders. Getting drunk enough to cause an episode of anterograde amnesia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anterograde_amnesia ) (click the link. educate yourself.) is not the same as getting so drunk that blood will not flow to your genitals. If you think it’s impossible to get unspeakably (or even just rapidly, but not severely) drunk, have sex with someone, and not remember the next day, perhaps *you* are a barely post pubescent teenager, Johnny. Also, I was unaware that all males have identical physiologies, and respond identically to copious (or rapidly imbibed) amounts of alcohol. Thank you for edumacating me on that. (word choice deliberate) There are so many ways to cause a male to be unable to offer valid consent due to diminished neurological capacity, while retaining the ability to have an erection, that it isn’t even a valid or worthwhile discussion to have. A person who says that a mentally incapacitated male cannot have an erection, and as such, cannot be raped (other than anally) is a person utterly disconnected from reality. I shall leave you to your ignorant misunderstandings of basic human biology. Farewell.

              • Books first, food later. says:

                OK…my reply to you is still in moderation. To sum up its points… Look up anterograde amnesia. Then kick yourself for not bothering to do so before. Honestly…basic biology, Johnny. I’d think a Kratman fan would know better. ;-P

                PS: this is just a little more politely worded than the original…okay a *lot* more politely worded. It was late, and I was grumpy. Also impatient. My apologies.

    • Petra says:

      “Players demograhics are mostly males 14-35 and they are attracted to lovely women and save the damsel and shoot the enemy.
      However if developers start eliminating the tropes that will less appeal to their audience and less buyers will play the games. ”

      That is not, however, the demographic for readers of SF/F and a meaningless statistic for this purpose. As long as people are sucessfully writing books you like, why are you trying to make people stop writing books I like?

      • RAH says:

        Actually the demographic of males 14-35 used to be the demographic on SF readers from the 1940′ onward. Now they play games and that may be the reason sales have dropped. Books and games both compete for the entertainment money and time.

        The comparison was that the main complaint against Anita was she was seen as arguing against the use of tropes. Actually I found her video funny and accurate. But the players felt it was a device to convince developers to change the games that they like so much.

        As to SF&F I think the reading public is pretty much 14- 85 and 50/50 split on gender. I have no problem with writer writing books you like . I hope they do. I just do not want writers to think that they have to pander to new fashions if they do not want to.

        I did read Sanderson story and I have to say it was not gripping or entertaining. So I have to read Ancillary next to see how that reads.

        The complaint the stories may not be the best I can not tell since I have not read all the 21014 SF &F out there.

        However the byproduct of this attention is that I have found a lot of writers that I did not know and good fiction.

        • Mike says:

          What makes you think “sales have dropped” for SF? Compared to what?

          I’ve never seen so much SF so widely read and watched. Game Of Thrones. Star Wars. Harry Potter. Star Trek. Comic book movies everywhere. SF video games.

          • Bibliotheca Servare says:

            I believe S/He meant *books*. The market for written SciFi has shrunk…a massive amount, in my understanding. It is also my understanding (and I may be wrong, I freely admit) that people read less in general these days, and that even fewer people read SciFi, statistically. (Pardon the redundancy) No, I’m not going to spout numbers or vomit up links. Ask Dave Freer over at madgeniusclub.com. He’s the expert. I’m just a commenter with a fan’s, and bibliophile’s, perception of the issue. I wonder if more people are reading ebooks, thereby causing an uptick in the number of folks who read regularly…that would be exciting *and* fascinating… *wanders off, muttering to self*
            Be well! ;-)

    • Mike says:

      The Hugos are controlled by the Worldcon attendees because IT’S THEIR AWARD. Worldcon invented the Hugos. Worldcon set the rules on the Hugos. Worldcon votes on the Hugos. Worldcon owns the Hugos.

      No one can give out Hugos except Worldcon, just like no one can give out Oscars except the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

      I happen to think some of the wrong people are being kept out of the Baseball Hall Of Fame. But guess what? It’s not my award so I don’t get to change it. (I can complain about it all I like, though.)

      As for games, I have spent an incredible number of hours in 2015 playing Kerbal Space Program. In fact, I’ve barely touched any of my other games in months. So much for how gamers all want the same old tropes….

      • Books first, food later. says:

        Ahem…technically? The TRUST “owns” the Hugos. Ask Kevin Standlee. (whom, despite his, in my opinion, unfair characterization of “Sad Puppies 3” voters in general, I happen to believe is a pretty decent dude) He’s posted about it in the past few months on his livejournal. I’d link, but I can’t be buggered.

    • Violet says:

      You do realize that the current “gay male romance” market is basically the heterosexual women’s answer to “lesbian” porn. There is nothing PC or SJW about straight women writing “gay” romance. In fact, it is actually a bit exploitative and problematic. If she was persuaded to go into that field it is all about the dollar bills.

    • Calbeck says:

      ” The problem is the players love the tropes and that is one reason they sold so well. So when she aptly identified the tropes and denigrated them, that offended a lot of players. Players demograhics are mostly males 14-35 and they are attracted to lovely women and save the damsel and shoot the enemy.”

      Nothing you just cited here is accurate according to any source — EXCEPT Anita Sarkeesian. Who, incidentally, cites herself as a source from time to time in various of her “critical” works. Numerous critiques of her critiques have been performed.

      What you have in Sarkeesian is someone who is proselytizing an article of faith… one which happens to match your worldview. Where other people see a scam artist, you see a courageous defender battling against the unwashed hordes.

      “In video games the struggle is persuade, shame the game developers to make less games that use the tropes that Anita Sarkisan so ably described.”

      As a number of games developers have stated in recent months — including non-GamerGate neutrals — there’s no such thing, because Sarkeesian’s tropes routinely trip over themselves. She has an insult (which she calls a “trope”) for each and every possible representation of a female character. If you satisfy one, you violate another. Her arguments simply fall apart under examination.

      There is not even one example of a female SF/F character in fiction which does not fall afoul of her “trope” list. Not even the cast of “Pride of Chanur” would survive comparison. You don’t seem to realize that the same finger she’s pointing at Gamers also happens to be pointed in the same direction as SF/F Fandom.

      In point of fact, Sarkeesian once made the mistake of putting together a pitch video for what she considered to be a great idea for a role-playing game — in which her female protagonist proceeds to match most of her own “tropes”.

      • Calbeck says:

        By the by, for anyone who wants to see both a male and female gamer respond thoughtfully to “Women vs. Tropes” — a full year-and-a-half before #GamerGate — try this:

        https://youtu.be/0bokY7PxNS0

        Then check out the comments. This stuff could be pulled directly from people currently opposed to #GamerGate as a “hate group”:

        “Sexualized females in video games often represent the male fantasy of what a beautiful women look like. What women actually think makes them look beautiful or powerful is not congruent with the way that males think a beautiful and powerful women is. Just as a woman’s idea of a perfect man is not the same as a man’s idea of a perfect man.”

        “The problem with so called ‘egalitarianism’ (a misnomer if I’ve ever heard one) is almost everyone who espouses this BS just wants every other group to conform to the straight white male standards of culture and social structure. You want equality for the PEOPLE as long as the default PERSON is a straight white male and this is something all other humans should strive to be like.”

        If this sounds like you, you might want to step back and rethink what you’re assuming in these discussions.

  18. Nate says:

    “What I’ve never been able to understand about the Sad Puppies—and still don’t, after all the wrangling—is why they care in the first place. Nothing in their stance makes any sense to me at all.”

    Then I have to wonder if you’ve paid attention to anything Larry said last year or the year before.

    This all started because Larry looked at the hugos and said, “meh.. little club giving out a little award”. When he said that he was told loudly and repeatedly that he was wrong and that the Hugo was Everyone’s Award. It was THE BIGGEST AWARD and it was all about all of fandom.

    So Larry said, “no that’s not true. in fact if a real right-winger got nominated you guys would throw a fit about it.” No they said… That would never happen.

    And Sad Puppies 1 was born. Not much happened with the first try. The second try got some right wingers on the ballot… and ***BOOM*** fits were thrown.

    Point Proven.

    And that’s why Larry didn’t do Sad Puppies 3. He had already made his point. Or that is… The people now making up the anti-puppy crowd made it for him.

    • Aaron says:

      Point Proven.

      Not even close.

      If a conservative got on the ballot would cause fits, how did Torgersen get nominated in 2012? How did Mike Resnick? Or Brandon Sanderson? That’s just 2012. How did Resnick and Malzberg get nominated in 2011. How did Sanderson get nominated that year as well? Or Eric James Stone? Where were the fits over their nominations?

      On on and on, back through the years. The reason Correia’s claim was dismissed is because it was demonstrably not true, and still is. Conflating the reaction to the whiny and self-interested culture war campaigns of SP1, SP2, and SP3 with “conservatives on the Hugo ballot cause fits” just shows your lack of knowledge concerning the history of the Hugo awards, and the reasons why the SPs are regarded the way they are.

      • RAH says:

        Nah It was if “Evil ” Larry would win. Plus when he was nominated the name calling was done then by many. If Fandom was Ok with Larry’s nomination why then the name calling?

      • Calbeck says:

        “If a conservative got on the ballot would cause fits”

        It happened. It’s not a theoretical. Treating it as one, in order to continue to build an argument upon it, collapses the argument into nonsense.

  19. David Selig says:

    Minor nitpick – actually one of the volumes of the most popular fantasy series of the last two decades (and all time) won a Hugo – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire won in 2001.

  20. Jeff Ehlers says:

    Here’s a thought. If the Sad Puppies – and whoever came up with that name, anyway, it makes me think of those silly pictures with dogs making puppy-dog eyes rather than anything serious – want to have an award that is more representative of sci-fi/fantasy as a whole, why not simply make their own new award and come up with some other means besides a convention to get votes on it?

    That would make more sense to me than their current method, which, frankly, comes across as fundamentally self-defeating. I mean, they can play party-crashers all they want (as in, come in and try to take over the party), but it isn’t going to make people take them as seriously as they want to be taken. In fact, it’s going to work counter to what they claim to want.

    To be honest, this is looking all-too-much like a literary version of Bleeding Kansas, complete with bringing in lots of like-minded voters to attempt to manipulate the results. All that does is make people change things to prevent such heavy-handed actions in the future; it certainly doesn’t change anything else.

    • David Lang says:

      Jeff, the actual title is something like “the campaign to relieve puppy related sadness, because when works that aren’t fun to read win awards, it makes puppies sad”

      and yes, the logo is puppies making sad eyes. It’s intended to be funny and poke fun at people who take things too seriously (and to poke fun at the “think of the children” meme that’s used to try and railroad a lot of bad changes though the opposition”

      but since that’s far too long to say, it gets shortened to ‘sad puppies’

      • Jeff Ehlers says:

        I’m tempted tempted to make a snarky flyer about how wordy campaign titles like that make kitties yawn, with a yawning cat picture, and follow up with some kind of line like “think of the kitties!”

        • Books first, food later. says:

          Okay *that* made me chuckle. I bet Larry and Brad (et al) would chuckle too. Nice one. That long-arsed title has driven me nuts too, personally. What’s been funny is the people (like Mercedes Lackey) who fail to research the thing they are acidly criticizing and maligning thoroughly enough to realize that commenting on how “puppy” is an apropos title because puppies are messy, immature and generally only good for sending to the pound. (an opinion I find repulsive, personally, but then I can’t imagine how shitty a world without dogs would be, so I’m biased) I mean…talk about immature…basic research is beyond you? *That’s* immature. (not you. you weren’t using the “title” -that isn’t actually a title- as a very silly weapon. you were just commenting on something you found silly. research not needed) Sun Tzu, countless years ago, was smart enough to recognize that it’s intelligent to “know thine enemy”…a bunch of “modern” not “antiquated,” or “old-fashioned” geniuses can’t recognize the same concept? Or is it that they value their words so little that they are comfortable wasting them on ridiculous arguments and criticisms whose only value is as a form of entertainment? Either way, immature is a fair word. But, back on point, thank you for making me chuckle. That was awesome. “Think of the kittens”…ha! (not sarcasm…if anyone was wondering)

  21. Noblehunter says:

    What I’ve never seen articulated is why Skin Game (and presumably the Anderson book) deserves a Hugo instead of Weber’s Like A Mighty Army or Bear’s Steles of the Sky or Lynch’s Republic of Thieves or any of the other dozens (hundreds?) of perfectly cromulent books published last year. What sets the works on the slate above everything else that was published? This is an award for the Best, after all, and there can be only one.

    I mean, I can tell you exactly why I think The Goblin Emperor deserves to be recognized above all others. I can probably come up with arguments for why Ancilliary Sword or The Three Body Problem is the best novel from last year. But I have no idea what makes Skin Game special enough to rise above the still elite pool of books-that-sell-enough-to-keep-their-authors-employed-full-time. I’d find it really interesting if someone constructed an argument not only about why Skin Game is good enough for a Hugo, but specifically as to why it is *better* than all the other possible nominees.

    • RAH says:

      Actually no one has to explain why a work is nominated after the fact or before voting unless they are trying to influence your vote.

      So read the work. If you do not think it is the best of this years nominations vote for another work.

      This justification game is getting tired. We all have different likes and tastes. Personally I think Bujold should have won over Scalzi , but that is my opinion.

      It is a shame that Andre Norton never won a Hugo. I started reading her stuff when I was a kid and as a descriptive writer I think she was the best. But in my opinion Moon is Harsh Mistress was far better and it won that year. So the best won that year.

      The point is in the last 5-10 years the best of SF &F has not won but a lot of works I am totally unfamiliar and that seemed strange. I have read SF &F for 45 years and knew a lot of the best stuff. Not now.

      Are my tastes out of fashion? That may be the problem but maybe the fashion is just a flash in the pan. Only time will tell.

      • Noblehunter says:

        No one *has* to explain why, but since the puppies are making the argument that certain authors/works are being unfairly excluded, it’d be more convincing if they had a solid argument about why the ones they picked should be included. So far their argument is “because we said so,” which is true and clearly meets the necessary and sufficient conditions for being on the shortlist but I want to know why they said so.

        Maybe I’m being too literary/academic about it, but I like to think that people have specific reasons for selecting a work as the best rather than just “I liked it a lot” or “it was the nicest book this year.” As I said, I can articulate why The Goblin Emperor should win despite the fact that I haven’t read all the nominees yet, let alone more than a fraction of a percent of all the eligible works from last year. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask the puppies to do likewise since they’re trying to change the paradigm of the Hugo Awards.

        • RAH says:

          It is really none of our business why a voter chooses a work over another. You do not need convincing . All you have to do is read Skin Game. If you like it better or whatever metric you use, then choose it. If not choose another nominated work.

          It really not up to Larry or Brad or Sarah or Kate to convince what to vote for. That is your responsibility.

          The justification game is too old and tired to continue month after month. The nominations are final , now it is time to vote your own choice.

          • Noblehunter says:

            If it’s none of our business, then why do the puppies have their knickers in a twist? Isn’t it one of their key arguments that Hugo Awards are being given out for the wrong reasons? That other people are choosing certain works over others for political reasons?

            Not to mention the repeated claims that they, as individuals, nominated these works out of a genuine and considered belief that they represent the best works published last year. Again, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask them to explain how they came to that belief.

            • David Lang says:

              you just won’t accept “I liked it” as an answer.

              As for why something else wasn’t nominated instead, the reasons are some variation of

              “I didn’t think of that one”
              “I hadn’t read that one”
              “I liked that one less than what I did nominate”

              but who are you to question my vote? what makes you better able to judge what I should like than me?

              People on the puppies side were told that we didn’t count, that we were such a small minority that we don’t matter, that if there were really other people like us, they would vote and things we liked would be on the ballot, and that the fact that things we liked weren’t on the ballot was our fault for not voting for them. But when we vote and get other people to vote, now we are doing something wrong and have to justify our vote.

              My money to Worldcon is just as good as your money to Woldcon.

              • Jane_Dark says:

                When were you told that you “were such a small minority that [you] don’t matter?” Citation, please.

              • Noblehunter says:

                Because “I liked it” doesn’t tell me anything. It doesn’t help me understand what the puppies believe are sufficient reasons for something to win a Hugo (beyond getting enough votes which is boring and tautalogical). It’s claimed that it’s good storytelling but, as far as I’m concerned, that’s the minimum standard, not the award winner.

                You don’t need to justify your vote. Nothing in the rules that says otherwise. I was just hoping for more insight.

                The thing is, I think that a work needs an edge to get on the ballot; something that elevates it above the rest of the 10% that isn’t crap. There needs to be a hook that causes people to single it out for attention in a terribly crowded market. Support for books without that edge is traditionally too diffuse to make it on the ballot.

                I was hoping someone who agreed could identify something like that in Skin Game. If they can’t (which is frustratingly obscured by won’t), then I’m going to be skeptical of the claim that they all independently decided Skin Game was among the year’s best.

              • David Lang says:

                @Jane_Dark
                > When were you told that you “were such a small minority that [you] don’t matter?” Citation, please.

                too many times to bother keeping track of.

                Go and look at all those people saying that the puppies are such a tiny number of fans that it doesn’t matter what we nominate, none of it will win because we really are such a small group and out of step with fandom

                all those who complain how we ‘hijacked’ the nomination process are complaining because they view us as being such a tiny group, and the fact that we got people on the ballot is proof in and of itself that we cheated because such a small group should not be able to get anything on the ballot

                go back and look at the reaction to the SP1 and SP2 campaigns, especially the crowing after nothing we voted for won about how we shouldn’t have won, and this puts us in our place by showing how small a group we really are.

                For that matter, I’ll bet I could go to file770 and look in the comment thread from yesterday’s roundup and find a bunch of folks saying that the puppies are just a tiny group.

                I know that it’s fashionable for folks on the left to believe that every sane adult agrees with their point of view, it’s only those rednecks/homophobes/etc/etc/etc out there who disagree with you, and they are a tiny minority of people. But the last several election cycles in the US have shown that the left/right ratio is actually fairly close to 50/50

            • RAH says:

              Yes, it is unreasonable to ask anyone why they liked a particular work or not. That is their opinion . They do not need to justify it to you. You have to make up your own opinion.You read the nominations and come up with your own choice. Don’t keep asking other people to justify theirs . No one has to justify their choice. Not you or me.
              If you don’t like any nominated work you can vote No award. Your choice.

              • Cobbler says:

                Yes, it is unreasonable to ask anyone why they liked a particular work or not. That is their opinion . They do not need to justify it to you. You have to make up your own opinion. You read the nominations and come up with your own choice. Don’t keep asking other people to justify theirs. No one has to justify their choice. Not you or me.

                RAH,

                If you have no part in the Puppy mess, you are right. Your literary opinions are your business. I have no right to demand them. On the other hand…

                Have you ever been to a SF convention? I can’t remember a day at a con that didn’t contain, “Let me tell you about this great book I read…” or “I hated that thing. It wants to be a Tolkien rip-off. But Tolkien knew grammar.” I can’t quite see why anyone’s opinions about stories should be Top Secret. What fun is that?

                If you are an active Puppy, it’s a different story. The Puppies have imposed an unwelcome change on the Worldcon. The change is about storytelling and literary values. That is the claimed motivation. What kind of story deserves awards? The Puppies claim the Puppies get it right. Cracking good tales! Pedestrian language! Move along from plot to battle to…um…plot to battle. (Or something. I don’t know what Puppies want.) The Puppies claim the Puppy Kickers don’t get it. Those snooty stories! Where nothing happens! Full of girl cooties! (Or something. I don’t know what Puppies don’t want.) All those wrong books getting the wrong awards. All those right writers denied the right awards. All of it, all deliberate. They’ve manipulated the Hugos for years. It’s all done in secret by…um…The Illuminate? The Priory of Sion? The Better Business Bureau? (Or something. I don’t know what Puppies believe.) It was a horrible crisis. The old system was bad and unfair and perverted. Lives were on the line! (Or something. I don’t know what motivates Puppies.) The Puppies were forced—simply forced—to hijack the Hugos.

                This isn’t a football argument among the old gang at the beer joint. The Puppies involved others in their actions. Not least, everyone putting on Worldcon. The Puppies have raised a huge ruckus. Flame wars proliferate. Calmer heads speak in vain. If the Puppies wanted a group cuddle, they went after it in the wrong way. Better they shouldn’t have piddled on the carpet. It’s stinking up the Worldcon. Fen have noticed. Fen are angry. Fen take sides. Brother against brother. Family against family. Two kennels, both alike in dignity….Sorry. I got carried away.

                The Puppies have hijacked a major SF institution. They insult those who object to or question their actions. The Puppies original complaint was—purportedly—about storytelling. Puppies pushed to give Hugos to the “good” stories. The Puppies pushed to deny Hugos to the “bad” stories. It is too late for Puppies to stand on their dignity. That boat has sailed. These are now public issues.

                The Puppies should explain why the chosen books are on their slate. Why is this book better than the book it displaced? The difference was worth making this mess. The Puppies owe detailed explanations to everyone involved. “Why do you like that work” is more than a reasonable question. It is a necessary question. “I don’t have to answer your questions,” just won’t do. You don’t punch a man in the face and refuse to explain why. Nor, when he hits back, can you cry foul.

                As for the stories and unsupported claims? Like, “The fen were mean to me.” Or, “Gerrold said I’d never win an award.” Or, “The Knights Templar keep fixing the Hugo nominations.” Or whatever claim the Puppies make next….I offer a few questions:

                What?
                Why?
                When?
                How?
                Where?
                Who?

            • RAH says:

              Puppies have their knickers in a twist because as soon as the announcement of the nominations there was a slew of articles. The Entertainment article that called Brad and Larry “sexist, racist, homophobic,” That was libel and had to be retracted.. How did these publications get that idea ? It was almost word for word what Irene Gallo said.

              Funny how a bunch of publications all said the same idea. Do you think they were fed that?

            • Reality Observer says:

              As opposed to “vote for this work because it is by a transgender Black lesbian?”

              Or are you hoping for something like “vote for this work because it is by a Christian White male?”

              FYI, there were explanations of why the works were on the “slate.” Now, a few people are trying to turn to examining reasons (real ones, not checkboxes for “diversity”) for why they think certain nominations should win. That is, in the time they have between responding to attacks calling them “racist, homophobic neo-Nazis,” “male White Mormon extremists,” “Voxbots (or Torgbots),” etc., etc., and ad-etc.-nauseam.

              • Noblehunter says:

                I was hoping for something like this story is innovative in ‘x’ way or that the theme reveals something interesting about the current state of SFF. Something so it looks less like “because Brad suggested it.”

                And I’ve never seen anyone, except puppies, recommending a work for the Hugo because of who the author is.

              • David Lang says:

                For the SPs, “it was a good story” trumps “it was innovative in ‘x’ way”

                That doesn’t mean that we are against things being innovative, (or having a message in them, etc), but rather that if those things distract too much from “it’s a good story”, they are negatives, not positives.

          • Gina says:

            I thought the point of WorldCon was to get together and talk about the books we love, and why we love them. Not to shrug and say, “I liked it, ‘nuf said.”

            • RAH says:

              Not this year. So many have been criticized because the books they liked got nominated so going into details is just asking for trouble.

              As to Noblehunter. I really could not say. I have not read his other choices so I could not say Skin is better or worse. I am trying to read this year nominations so I can make my choice. Not someone else’s choice.

              • Books first, food later. says:

                Good on you. High five for being sensible! *high fives* (not sarcasm…there needs to be a sarcasm font, if only to cut down on misunderstandings…)

    • Darmad says:

      As far as the Hugos are concerned, Skin Game is on the short list and the other books you mentioned aren’t because it received more nominations than they did. Period. The Hugos are a popularity contest voted on by people interested enough to pay to vote. I believe that’s a big part of Eric’s point. The short lists, and the winners, only represent “best” from the perspective of the most popular to the individuals who paid to vote. The Worldcon organizers and attendees may like to believe they are giving awards to “The Best SFF of the Year”, but as Eric said it is really a very small minority of the readership.

      This has been true for as long as the Hugos have existed. From the earliest years there have been stories and books that won that in retrospect were far from what most readers would say was the best for that year.

      For information, I am in the 99.99% of the reading population that does not attend nor pay to vote for the Hugos. And I don’t buy or read based on the short list or winners. I will admit that I will browse based on the list, but after 30+ years of reading SFF, I know quite well there’s a lot more out there.

      If you are looking for someone to convince you that Skin Game is a better book, I’m not going to go there. I enjoyed it more than either Like a Mighty Army or Steles of the Sky, but I’m not about to say that makes it a better book. And I’m not a ready of Lynch, so I can’t compare there (I’ve tried his books previously, and just don’t enjoy his writing). To each their own.

      • Books first, food later. says:

        Nicely put. I don’t even really disagree with you at all, actually. I’m just more contrarian by nature than you probably are, I suspect. You speak good sense, and of course they ignore you. I’m shocked. ;-)

  22. John Cowan says:

    Is there actual evidence, as opposed to first person accounts, of whether winning awards does or does not increase sales and/or advances? Because if there is, that immediately puts a whole new interpretation on the question of who gets them.

    • RAH says:

      I can not confirm this but apparently Kameron Hurley said she got $ 13 K more in advance after she won a Hugo. It would be nice to get facts but that has to come from the authors and they may not want to give that data out. I am sure the publishers want it confidential . They would not want to start a bidding game.

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  24. Mike (one of at least two) says:

    Brad Torgersen says:

    My personal preference — ha ha, lord knows certain people will scoff at that mattering — is that Worldcon’s overall attendance simply increases until it’s averaging 20,000 to 30,000 members total; both supporting and attending.

    Brad, sometimes I think you regard Worldcon as being synonymous with the Hugo ceremony. Keep in mind that it’s a multi-day convention, of which just one night is the Hugo ceremony. Not even half the attending members vote in the Hugos. It’s a not a big-media oriented convention where all of the events are performances by famous people who are shepherded through crowds by handlers. It’s interesting who you bump into in the elevator.

    Consider attending. I think you and Larry are a bit too willing to see the members as alien life forms. To be honest, some of them are, but think of it as a first contact scenario.

    • David Lang says:

      Larry has attended in the past, and many people made it clear to him that his type wasn’t wanted.

      I don’t know if Brad has attended in the past, but he won’t this year because he’s on active deployment fighting ISIS.

      • Mike says:

        The whole “Larry C. goes to the convention and gets his feelings hurt” story is just sad. In a pathetic and whiny passive-aggressive kind of way, I mean.

        • RAH says:

          I agree it is whiny. But you asked why they won’t attend. If it was hostile environment I can’t blame him. Though I am sure the Barflies were decent.
          Mike, see the attacks made against Brad and if you think that is tolerant and inclusive. If so your definitions are different from mine. Gerrold said they were unwelcome and would never win an award.

          • Mike says:

            Gerrold doesn’t get to decide if Brad will win an award, actually. Which I’m sure he knows. So was that really a threat, or was it just a prediction? Brad himself has said that he expects he’ll never win a Hugo, but I doubt anybody thinks he is threatening himself.

            It is said that “living well is the best revenge”. I think that’s what Eric has been talking about when he keeps going on about how he writes for the readers and the money, and not for the awards. But I guess Larry didn’t see it that way.

            • RAH says:

              True enough. But I bet Gerrold was hoping many of his fans will support him is making sure that Larry and Brad will never get a Hugo.
              Personally I thought as GOH that statement was very unprofessional.He has a position in giving the awards so he should not have made public statement, no matter his peronal opinions.

      • Mike (one of at least two) says:

        True, I had forgotten about the deployment.

        I wish I better understood what the hell happened with Larry. But he found refuge with the Barflies, and I trust no one was spitting on the Barflies.

        • David Lang says:

          I doubt it, I think they would spit back :-)

          I did find it interesting that GRRM didn’t understand the reference to the barflies when he read that. He thought it was just the drunks at the bar.

          • Mike says:

            For what it’s worth, I bet way, way more people know who GRRM is than know about the Baen Barflies.

            • David Lang says:

              I don’t disagree with that, but since GRRM was boasting about how much he participates in fandom, the fact that he wasn’t aware of that (as I understand it, fairly substantial) chunk of fandom was surprising. It shows his lack of awareness in an area that he is claiming mastery of.

              • Books first, food later. says:

                Pretty much. Or at least his closed-minded perception of it. Either way I was surprised he was so uninformed.

              • Watt Tyler says:

                Aquarium fish don’t notice the tank until someone starts tapping on the glass.

      • “Larry has attended in the past, and many people made it clear to him that his type wasn’t wanted.”

        According to him.

        I have my doubts that things went down the way he now claims, since he’s using the Reno Worldcon as a bloody shirt.

        One thing he says is that he was mistreated on a panel. But when he was asked to identify the panel where this occurred, he said he didn’t remember and added that he gave as good as he got.

        • Books first, food later. says:

          Really? “according to him”? “that feller was roughed-up by a bunch of thugs” “according to *him*…jerk’s probably lying” I mean…*duh* it’s “according to him.” Who else are we supposed to ask for an account of his own, personal experience? A person can appear to be fine, and actually be planning to kill themselves. A person can look happy, and actually be carrying a terrible burden. If they open up about their feelings, the response “according to you” is *not* an acceptable one. Sure, this is orders of magnitude less serious, but the response is no less bullshit. And bullshit belongs on the ground, not in our mouths. Just FYI.

  25. Reality Observer says:

    Actually, I am fine with the Hugo being a literary award.

    So long as they stop the false advertising, that is.

    Call it the “best literary SF/F works of the year, as voted by literary readers.”

    Then I will simply treat a Hugo Award winner the same as I do a Nebula Award winner. A pretty good recommendation that I not waste my money or time on it.

    Note to those calling the Nebulas the “literary” award. Perhaps so, if “literary” now means checking the boxes for the officially acceptable message – and absolutely no boxes for anything contrary. (A majority of the “literary” works of the past don’t measure up to that “criteria,” by the way.)

    Before their descent into the swamp they are these days, the Nebula was more of a “craft” award. Did you have a point? Is it a real point, an honest one that is relevant to your readers? Did you present that point using excellent writing skills that encouraged the reader to actually read and think? Sorry, but the little homosexual revenge fantasy didn’t measure up to at least two of those criteria – and neither did any of the other winners. (Eric’s work does, for the most part – but will never be up for a Nebula as it works today.)

    • Johnny says:

      That’s stupid, though. It isn’t “as voted by literary readers”. It’s “as voted by anyone who chooses to come to worldcon and pay for it.” It’s exactly what it says on the tin.

      • Books first, food later. says:

        unless they use recommendations as a guide of what to read, and that list of recommendations is, without attention to the definition, called a “slate” by its creator, and happens to include the same number of recs as there are slots, excepting a few categories. Then they are “slate-voters” (even if they didn’t vote in line with the alleged “slate”) and, as such, are unscrupulous, evil, cheating arseholes, and their votes are tainted and worthy of scorn. Or something like that. “slates r badzorz” and all that. Those “fans” may have their votes counted, but, if the world was just, their votes would be thrown out like so much trash.

        • Johnny says:

          You’re missing the forest for the trees. It’s an award given out by a couple thousand people with the disposable income and time to go to a nerd party. Can it be improved? Yeah. Calling slate voters “unscrupulous, evil, cheating arseholes” is ridiculous. The only people who get this upset with awards are children.

          • Books first, food later. says:

            It was a joke, Johnny. I was quoting Mr. Flint (“unscrupulous schemers”), many, many commenters on this blog and others (“cheaters” “assholes” -I prefer the term ‘arseholes’…it makes me giggle- “Nazis [or ‘not inaccurately’ describable as ‘Nazis’]” and many, many more, similar, comments) and blog posts by others, some of whom have brought their special brand of childish hatemongering into the comments of this very blog. It is ridiculous. That was my point. Only ridiculous people would spew this much vitriol over something so utterly insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But people aren’t rational. That’s why war exists. A rational army would run away. But human beings have a uniquely human ability to “rationalize” utterly irrational behaviors. Sometimes this results in *wonderful* things, like jumping down onto the tracks of a subway to save a person who has fallen; other times, and they are too frequent, it results in horror. Free will, sentience, and immense emotive ability are terrifyingly powerful things. We humans are fond of wasting those powers. I fear it may be part of what makes us human. The waste, I mean. Animals don’t fight over stupid, meaningless nonsense; that’s a uniquely human failing/gift. I say gift, because passion, when not misdirected, is never a failing. Animals can love, even love passionately. They cannot be passionate just for the sake of it. We can. And we make ourselves look like morons more often than not, because of it. But I still wouldn’t trade the ability to feel passionate, regardless of the direction of the passion, for anything; looking stupid and silly is a low price to pay. I still don’t like the hate over such a meaningless thing. It means something to me, yes. But even were I an organizer, I’d be ashamed to see myself behaving as many, most, of the “anti-slate” people have been behaving. It’s a plastic rocket, folks. Stop insinuating that other people are bad, or have pissed on the floor, because they influenced its nominees by obeying the rules in a way you find unfair. Obeying the rules is not cheating. That’s why you write new rules. You don’t piss on the folks that made you aware of the “flaws” in those rules in the first place. (Assuming it *is* a flaw, not a feature…an unfounded assumption in my opinion) Even if you dislike, even hate, the way they alerted you to that “flaw” you don’t behave that way. And if anyone brings up Performance Enhancing Drugs, I will smack them one. Because that is a thread derailing discussion if ever there was one. So, if you’re inclined to make that (valid or no) analogy, this is a preemptive notice to shut your trap. Not kidding. Moving on…well, that’s actually more or less my point. I was joking, and this whole ruckus is a bunch of silly nonsense. And if reading that pissed you off, yeah, I’m talking to you. Hi there. Bye there.

            (Sorry about the length, Johnny, I started rambling and couldn’t stop. My bad.)

    • Mike says:

      That completely ignores e-book sales. In fact, Eric just said that, for the first time ever, he made more royalty money from the electronic version of one of his novels than from the paper version.

    • Mike says:

      A one-year change is meaningless as a trend. But even so, that showed PRINT versions of adult SF books going down 7%, compared to all of fiction which dropped by 8%. In other words, SF actually increased it’s share of adult print fiction.

      • RAH says:

        You may be right it is a trend. Google search came up came up with 2009 , 2011 and the PW artcle. The PW had SF down 7 %.

        You are right these are print and not ebooks. IF ebooks are up then good.
        It maybe a reflection of an industry delivery change

    • Looking at that list, juvenile fiction is overrunning adult fiction, and juvenile SF is doing extremely well indeed.

  26. Richard Rogers says:

    Good post. Made me decide I needed to read one of your books. Went to Amazon, and found 1632 up for free on Kindle. Glad I made the detour from David Gerrold’s FB.

    Honest, I’ll buy’em all if the first one hooks me…. ;)

    • Reality Observer says:

      Good! You should be hooked (although I warn you, it has become an expensive habit for me…).

      I say this as a Sad Puppy supporter – and someone whose politics are the diametric opposite. Eric Flint is a darn good writer, who writes darn good books, and has brought a whole bunch of other darn good writers into the field.

      • RAH says:

        Yes , Eric does write good books. After reading some nomination his are better in my opinion. Maybe I should be more active in the nominations process.

      • Richard H says:

        As one of those effete college-educated liberals so maligned by the sad puppies, I recommended 1632 to some of my friends. The first one to pick it up commented that he found it refreshing to read something that was patriotic without being cloyingly reactionary in the way it has been poisoned in political discourse these days. (I want to be patriotic and leftist at the same time, but it’s really hard to do so, when things that I think are horrible ideas have so successfully appropriated patriotic language.)

        Also, they’re just great stories.

        • Books first, food later. says:

          We have college educated liberals. Effete? You’d have to ask them. What we don’t have is people who, to quote Bill Maher, “can’t take a joke.” We already graduated from the class in learning how to take a joke, for the most part. We have little time for those who failed that same class. Liberal or conservative.

  27. Colum Paget says:

    # No, sorry, it cant. You have as much chance of eliminating the tendency of a literary
    # award to be tilted in favor of literary factors as you have of

    Who decides what’s “literary”? I don’t mind there being literary awards, but a lot of people make out that ‘literary quality’ is some kind of natural dimension: it’s not, it’s simply the opinion of the dominant elite. The middle-class decide what’s literary, with the result that ‘literary’ awards tend to be skewed to their interests and concerns. I think dividing work into “literary” and “cheap trash”, as someone does in the comments (though possibly ironically) tends to be an exercise in cultural imperialism, with the middle-class declaring that the stuff they like is ‘better quality’.

    # And even if you just want to vote for the Hugos you have to pony up $40, which is
    # not a trivial amount of money for most people. What that means is that the people
    # who do vote on the Hugos have a real interest in doing so.

    Uh, no, this means that people with larger disposable incomes have more presence at cons, and more say in the vote. I’m pretty surprised to hear this argument coming from an old-skool socialist?! I like markets and the use of price signals, myself, but I’m always aware that, unless everyone starts out with the same amont of credit units, which they never do, that a market system will preferentially hand power to certain elites.

    Any literary awards represent the mindset of the dominant group in the field (there’s always a dominant group in the field because… well, there has to be, someone always winds up with a bit more control than everyone else). There’s always other groups with other standards of quality challenging those awards. That’s what’s going on with the Sad Puppies right now.

    Personally, I think perhaps we need more awards instead of fighting over a few awards. The hugos and nebulas don’t really represent anything. The SF community, at least the British SF community that I’ve encountered, aren’t representitive of the British population, nor of the readership of SF. They’re representitive of a very middle-class, rather old, very leftist, group. Where are all the other people? Well, my suspicion is that they’ve been driven out, but then that’s shaped by my experiences with requires_hate, it could be that my experience isn’t representitive, many have told me so, but it’s the experience I had. But anyways, if the group isn’t representitive, then their awards can’t be either.

    I’ve suggested to the puppies that they go and form a fandom of their own. They took that suggestion pretty negatively, but I think it’s the best idea. Fandom is too full of bigotted people who cannot get on with others of a different mindset. It cannot hold together. So long as there’s people prepared to say alarming things about gay people, or others who attack straight-white-males like me for anything we say, it cannot be a place that welcomes everyone, and it would be better to schism into subgroups with their own cons and awards. If things go on as they are, then sooner or later, someone is going to get hurt.

    I think we need to have more major awards to reflect different ideas of what constitutes “literary quality”.

    • Cobbler says:

      I think dividing work into “literary” and “cheap trash”, as someone does in the comments (though possibly ironically) tends to be an exercise in cultural imperialism, with the middle-class declaring that the stuff they like is ‘better quality’.

      Cheap trash? Not so much irony as a reductio ad absurdum. I never expected anybody to think I meant it.

      What you see as cultural imperialism, I see as culture at work. Fashion has always followed those high in status. That goes deep into our tribal history. I read about the transmission of culture from tribal leaders, to tribal followers, to lower status inland tribes, in Margaret Mead. (I think she was discussing tribal New Guinea, but that was decades ago.) Self decoration is one of the earmarks of humanity. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

      Humanity has been picking nuts and hunting game for a long, long time. Deep in our foraging past, one tribe would beat up another tribe. The leaders of the victorious tribe set the fashion in both tribes. Calling that “cultural imperialism” is wildly anachronistic. Empires are the children of agriculture and cities.

      Any literary awards represent the mindset of the dominant group in the field (there’s always a dominant group in the field because… well, there has to be, someone always winds up with a bit more control than everyone else). There’s always other groups with other standards of quality challenging those awards. That’s what’s going on with the Sad Puppies right now.

      You may see a conflict of taste. I see a turf war. “Look at the nice clubhouse those mofos have! They don’t deserve it. We deserve it. We’re going to take it. From now on the Hugos will run according to our rules. If those old farts don’t like it, they can start their own slate. If they don’t want slates, it sucks to be them.”

      I’m still waiting to hear: “Nice little Worldcon you have here. It would be a shame if anything…bad…happened to it.”

      I favor rewriting the voting rules to eliminate slates. That may be unpleasant. But it’s better than paying the Danelaw.

      • Cobbler says:

        Oops. I meant the transmission of “fashion” from tribe to tribe, not “culture.”

      • Books first, food later. says:

        Dane “guild” you mean? So we are a bunch of murdering, thieving, enslaving rapists, now, are we? Or was that just a ludicrously inaccurate analogy? (You don’t need to answer.) The sad puppies are just joining in the fun. We don’t want to burn, or intend to burn, anything down. Nor have we threatened such a thing. Even if I grant you your accusation of slate voting, despite the failure of the aforementioned slate, your point is still…absent. Modify the rules. But don’t blame it on us. If you don’t like the way the rules are written, cool. If you’d rather not change them, just get more people involved. Or change them. Either way, just try not to piss Kate Paulk off. She can be scary. It’s like fireworks. Fun at a distance. Scary up close. Let me know if you decide to set off that rocket. I’ll be in Antarctica. With a satellite internet connection so I can watch and chortle in safety.

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  29. Johnny says:

    The more I read about this, the more I’m reminded of TJ Miller’s acceptance speech for Silicon Valley.

    “I would say that awards are for children. Because children need a tangible representation of their achievement. And as adults, you have to settle for the respect and admiration of your peers.”

    The people who seem to care the most – on both sides – seem to be the most childish.

    • John Cowan says:

      ALl very well, but there are awards whose economic value is clearly measurable, like the Oscars. The average Best Picture winner grosses about $18M extra, and a Best Actor award boosts the movie gross by about $6M and the winner’s pay for the next movie by about 20%. (Net income for Hollywood movies is meaningless, typically zero or less even for huge blockbusters thanks to accounting chicanery.) Even a mere nomination is worth quite a bit during the months between announcement and award.

      In particular, The King’s Speech, a rather cerebral and “literary” movie, definitely not a “rattling good yarn”, grossed $138M during its year of Oscar eligibility (which was already $100M more than expected, a testament to the power of good filmmaking and word of mouth). After winning Best Picture, the final gross (including worldwide box office plus DVDs) was $460M. That award was definitely not just for kids.

      • Johnny says:

        Except the Oscar is an award given by the peers of the actors, much unlike the Hugo. You present interesting data, but you can’t normalize for movies not respected by peers but nominated anyway because it’s the peers doing the nominations in the first place. In other words, how can you tell that a movie that is capable of getting Oscar nominated doesn’t just do better due to its superior quality anyway?

  30. Calbeck says:

    “TRYING TO KEEP LITERARY AWARDS FROM FAVORING LITERARY CRITERIA IS AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY. GET OVER IT.”

    I’m glad you agree with the Sad Pups on this one, Mr. Flint. Let works be judged on merit alone.

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  32. Eric. I have to disagree with you here. Maybe I’m biased because I *write* SF&F (albeit unfinished), but I used to choose books based on the Hugo and Nebula Award nominations. As I use the Golden Dagger Awards to choose crime novels or the Booker Prize to scout out literary fiction.

    I bought a supporting membership for the first time this year after reading about the Sad/Rabid Puppy furore, have been reading the nominees for fun and have been following some blogs. In some ways, it’s been great fun. I’ve discovered Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files for the first time.

    In other ways, it’s been a disappointment because the nominated short fiction is abysmal. Not just this year either, but previous years too – before the Sad/Rabid Puppies. It’s tarnished my view of the Hugos and I’m not sure I’d use them to choose books again…

    My (negative) opinions on the short fiction nominees here: http://www.futureslesstravelled.com/?p=129

    • I’ll add that I don’t only read SF&F. In fact, I feel a bit of a fraud writing SF because I don’t attend cons, don’t do fandom and mostly read crime… It’s almost like I’m not writing where I read.

  33. Erwin says:

    There is, however, a grain of truth to the sp complaints. I actually care a bit about the Hugo’s because I used to use them to identify books to buy. Recently, the Hugo fan preferences have shifted enough that the awards aren’t useful to me anymore…

    And, even though the awards will always tilt literary, upon disclosure that the Hugo packet typically contains more than 40 USD of books, it is reasonable to assume that supporting memberships would become very interesting to anyone who would normally read more than 40 USD of nominations. So, it appears practical to permanently broaden the base of Hugo voters – which will tend to reduce divergence between the Hugo base and sf&f readers. I know this motivated me to buy a membership, even if I didn’t plan to vote.

  34. Cobbler says:

    I posted this in response to a specific post by RAH. I thought it would show up at the bottom of that string of responses. It showed up in the middle, disrupting the flow of conversation. I’m reposting here.

    Yes, it is unreasonable to ask anyone why they liked a particular work or not. That is their opinion . They do not need to justify it to you. You have to make up your own opinion. You read the nominations and come up with your own choice. Don’t keep asking other people to justify theirs. No one has to justify their choice. Not you or me.

    RAH,

    If you have no part in the Puppy mess, you are right. Your literary opinions are your business. I have no right to demand them. On the other hand…

    Have you ever been to a SF convention? I can’t remember a day at a con that didn’t contain, “Let me tell you about this great book I read…” or “I hated that thing. It wants to be a Tolkien rip-off. But Tolkien knew grammar.” I can’t quite see why anyone’s opinions about stories should be Top Secret. What fun is that?

    If you are an active Puppy, it’s a different story. The Puppies have imposed an unwelcome change on the Worldcon. The change is about storytelling and literary values. That is the claimed motivation. What kind of story deserves awards? The Puppies claim the Puppies get it right. Cracking good tales! Pedestrian language! Move along from plot to battle to…um…plot to battle. (Or something. I don’t know what Puppies want.) The Puppies claim the Puppy Kickers don’t get it. Those snooty stories! Where nothing happens! Full of girl cooties! (Or something. I don’t know what Puppies don’t want.) All those wrong books getting the wrong awards. All those right writers denied the right awards. All of it, all deliberate. They’ve manipulated the Hugos for years. It’s all done in secret by…um…The Illuminate? The Priory of Sion? The Better Business Bureau? (Or something. I don’t know what Puppies believe.) It was a horrible crisis. The old system was bad and unfair and perverted. Lives were on the line! (Or something. I don’t know what motivates Puppies.) The Puppies were forced—simply forced—to hijack the Hugos.

    This isn’t a football argument among the old gang at the beer joint. The Puppies involved others in their actions. Not least, everyone putting on Worldcon. The Puppies have raised a huge ruckus. Flame wars proliferate. Calmer heads speak in vain. If the Puppies wanted a group cuddle, they went after it in the wrong way. Better they shouldn’t have piddled on the carpet. It’s stinking up the Worldcon. Fen have noticed. Fen are angry. Fen take sides. Brother against brother. Family against family. Two kennels, both alike in dignity….Sorry. I got carried away.

    The Puppies have hijacked a major SF institution. They insult those who object to or question their actions. The Puppies original complaint was—purportedly—about storytelling. Puppies pushed to give Hugos to the “good” stories. The Puppies pushed to deny Hugos to the “bad” stories. It is too late for Puppies to stand on their dignity. That boat has sailed. These are now public issues.

    The Puppies should explain why the chosen books are on their slate. Why is this book better than the book it displaced? The difference was worth making this mess. The Puppies owe detailed explanations to everyone involved. “Why do you like that work” is more than a reasonable question. It is a necessary question. “I don’t have to answer your questions,” just won’t do. You don’t punch a man in the face and refuse to explain why. Nor, when he hits back, can you cry foul.

    As for the stories and unsupported claims? Like, “The fen were mean to me.” Or, “Gerrold said I’d never win an award.” Or, “The Knights Templar keep fixing the Hugo nominations.” Or whatever claim the Puppies make next….I offer a few questions:

    What?
    Why?
    When?
    How?
    Where?
    Who?

    • Books first, food later. says:

      Punch in the face? Really? Thanks for the laugh, and goodbye, Cobbler. As irritating and hyperbolic as ever. No one has to justify their choices of reading material. Or their selections of works to nominate. No one was punched in the face. Being punched in the face hurts a lot more than not getting who you want nominated for a Hugo. Hey, assuming your point is fair, and not as ludicrous, laughable, and hilarity inducing as it is…explain why you “punched [me] in the face” with “redshirts” please. Explain “If you were a dinosaur…” while you’re at it, because an award going to a book I hate is a punch in the face regardless of what award it is, right? Explain “The day the world…” (should continue: turned into a terrible short story) and why you (presumably, just as you presume that I voted the puppy slate because I identify with the group) nominated it. Actually, forget it. No explanation would satisfy me, just as no explanation would satisfy you. As John Ringo would say, were he in a silly mood: Grapp off. (“Claws That Catch”)

  35. Calbeck says:

    Since there’s been so much commentary about #GamerGate (and how #SadPuppies are tehevilbadz for associating with them in any way), here is an interesting bit of reading.

    http://archive.is/9KGyX

    That is Randi Harper, the person who created the “Good Games Autoblocker” program which blacklists persons for harassment on Twitter (such notables having included Richard Dawkins, for example, who by all accounts EXCEPT ggautoblocker has never harassed anyone on Twitter).

    She is having a discussion with “xmj”, who is kind of a big name amongst those who have heard of the FreeBSD open-source software project. In this discussion, “xmj” has simply said he does not agree that a FreeBSD convention needs “safe spaces” — and Randi is exploding at him.

    At one point, he notes that she has had followers harass friends of his, which he outs as #GamerGate members only because she accuses HIM of being GG. Her Autoblocker, you see, originally rose to prominence because she targeted everyone she could identify as being a member of #GamerGate for blacklisting… then also extended that to anyone following more than one or two of those accounts, on the assumption THEY were also #GamerGate. That’s how Dawkins, KFC, and a Regional Director for the anti-GG Independent Games Developers Association wound up on the list.

    Randi’s problem is simple: she doesn’t like to be disagreed with. Here she is cursing at him, trying to belittle his experiences, and making things up wholesale in order to claim the prize of Being The Bigger Victim — and he isn’t having any:

    I stood on Maidan Square the day the revolution happened, when police beat the shit out of protestants.

    have you ever stood up in front of a room of developers and broken into tears while you talked about the terrible shit that was happening?… go. fuck. yourself.

    All of this? Is because “xmj” posted a single tweet disagreeing with Randi about the value of a Code of Conduct.

    @xmj> You’ve done everything you claim the other side does. Including calling me names, make me look bad in public, try to have me change my behavior according to what you expect me to do.

    And yet, so many people rely on Randi Harper to determine who is, and isn’t harassing people on teh Intarwebs. Go figure.

    • Mike says:

      So? People voluntarily censor their own input all the time. I know people who won’t read or watch any news except FOX. Personally I won’t watch any TV news at all, and rely on newspapers mainly. On usenet people had killfiles (“plonk”), on most web forums people can “hide” posters that annoy them, and in the real world you just don’t interact with people if you hate their guts or think they are boring or whatever.

      Until this day I had never heard of Randi Harper, but Richard Dawkins is one of the more influential people in the world. So who cares about her little blacklist?

  36. G'kar Jr. says:

    “Maaan, I hate that 23½ degree inclination of the Earth’s axis with respect to the plane of its orbit!”

    Say that out loud as if you really mean it. It’s hilarious. Also: HESSIANs. Totally LMAO over here.

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  39. Watt Tyler says:

    George R. R. Martin has won a Hugo four times, but those were all given for his short fiction and mostly predate his big fantasy series.

    One of those four Hugos was for Blood of the Dragon, which was a novella extract from his big fantasy series.

  40. Pingback: A DISCUSSION WITH JOHN SCALZI ABOUT THE PROPOSED “SAGA” AWARD | The official home page of author Eric Flint

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