DO WE REALLY HAVE TO KEEP FEEDING STUPID AND HIS COUSIN IGNORAMUS?

Wired magazine just ran an article on the recently-concluded Hugo awards, voted on at Sasquan, the world science fiction convention held in Spokane, Washington over the past weekend. There is much in the article that I have no objection to, but it does not begin well.

Here is a passage from early in the article:

“Though voted upon by fans, this year’s Hugo Awards were no mere popularity contest. After the Puppies released their slates in February, recommending finalists in 15 of the Hugos’ 16 categories (plus the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer), the balloting had become a referendum on the future of the genre. Would sci-fi focus, as it has for much of its history, largely on brave white male engineers with ray guns fighting either a) hideous aliens or b) hideous governments who don’t want them to mine asteroids in space? Or would it continue its embrace of a broader sci-fi: stories about non-traditionally gendered explorers and post-singularity, post-ethnic characters who are sometimes not men and often even have feelings?”

As a description of the Sad Puppies and the sort of fiction they prefer, this sentence manages the singular feat of being simultaneously dishonest and laughable:

Would sci-fi focus, as it has for much of its history, largely on brave white male engineers with ray guns fighting either a) hideous aliens or b) hideous governments who don’t want them to mine asteroids in space?

I suppose it’s possible that one of the Sad Puppies or the authors they tend to like has at one time or another written a story whose central protagonist is a white male engineer with a ray gun, but I’ve never seen it. Is it really too much to ask people who take it upon themselves to criticize the Sad Puppies to FUCKING READ what they actually write? Instead of doing what the Puppies themselves are all too often guilty of, which is to ascribe content to a story based on whether they like or dislike the author’s politics.

So, if an author known to be a leftie of some kind should write a novel in which the central characters are two young women—not even that; teenage girls—who are both super-warriors in a desperate struggle against a zombie apocalypse and includes a very moving and positive portrayal of a gay couple to boot, then obviously the SJW author was beating the poor downtrodden audience over the head with his (or more likely, her) CHORF message.

Except… the novel I just depicted is John Ringo’s Under a Graveyard Sky, the first volume in his popular Black Tide Rising series. And if there is any modern author who more-or-less anchors the right wing in science fiction, it’s John Ringo. Ringo was not himself a participant in the Sad Puppy business, but he’s been quite sympathetic toward them.

So, likewise, if an author known to be a leftie of some kind should write a YA novel in which the hero is a teenager from the Cape Coloured population of South Africa, obviously we are being beaten over the head with the dreaded Diversity Syndrome so beloved of SJWs and CHORFs the world over.

Except… the novel I just depicted is Dave Freer’s Cuttlefish, and Freer has been one of the Sad Puppies’ most vociferous supporters. Indeed, they nominated his blog for Best Fan Writer. (It lost to “No Award.”)

So, likewise, if an author known to be a leftie should write a massive, sprawling military SF series whose central protagonist is a mixed-race female and features in addition two women of African descent as major characters—one a ruling monarch and the other an immensely capable military leader—clearly we are in the presence of the detested SJW/CHORF disease that is steadily undermining the genre.

Except… what I just described was David Weber’s immensely popular Honor Harrington series. And while Weber is not himself a participant in the Sad Puppy affair and has to the best of my knowledge expressed no opinion on the subject, he is politically conservative and is highly admired by every Sad Puppy I know.

So, likewise, if an author known to be a leftie of some kind should distort the stalwart military SF sub-genre with a novel whose central character deals as much with religious issues as military ones, we can only grimace in anticipation of a dreary tale devoted more to Message than Manly Mayhem.

Except… the novel in question is Brad Torgersen’s The Chaplain’s War. Yeah, that’s right—the Brad Torgersen.

You want me to go on? Trust me, I can. At great length. Another prominent Sad Puppy is Sarah Hoyt. I defy anyone with a single honest bone in their body—just one; even a pinkie bone—to read her collection of short stories Crawling Between Heaven and Earth and tell the world afterward that her only interests are writing stories that feature white male engineers with ray guns.

Please notice that the stereotypes cut both ways. Just as the depiction of the Sad Puppies by all too many of their opponents combine slander and ignorance, the denunciations leveled by the Sad Puppies against those they revel in calling “SJWs” can most charitably be called hypocritical. Throughout, they protest angrily that their own writings are being grossly caricatured—which is often true—but then they turn right around and level the same caricatures against their opponents.

For example, I would like one of the Sad Puppies to please explain to me why Kameron Hurley’s Hugo-award winning essay “We Have Always Fought” is a grotesque example of SJW political correctness run amok, especially in the unrealistic way it depicts the capabilities of women in combat. And yet those very same Puppies have no problem with at all with John Ringo’s depiction of the two central characters in the Black Tide Rising series, the teenage sisters Sophia and Faith Smith, displaying martial prowess that would have any legendary Amazon gaping in awed disbelief.

Why aren’t they denouncing Ringo for distorting his story in the interests of political correctness? Being blunt about it, Ringo’s depiction of the sisters—especially thirteen-year-old Faith—is more extravagant than anything Hurley says in her essay. I think his character of Faith is quite implausible, actually—and this is coming from a hard-bitten old socialist who gave a female warrior in his first novel Mother of Demons the name Ludmilla in honor of the legendary Soviet sniper in World War II, Ludmilla Pavlichenko. (If you’re not familiar with her, here’s the Wikipedia entry:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyudmila_Pavlichenko

This whole ruckus has been characterized since the very beginning by a truly grotesque distortion of each side of the debate by the other side. Watching it—participating in it—I’ve often felt like Alice in Wonderland. Half the time, my reaction to any given statement is: What the fuck are you talking about?

So. Let me establish some Basic Facts:

Fact One. There is no grandiose, over-arching SJW conspiracy to deny right-thinking conservative authors their just due when it comes to awards. It does not exist. It has never existed. It is nothing but the fevered dreams which afflict some puppies in their sleep.

It is preposterous—there is no other word for it—to claim that there is some sort of systematic bias against conservatives in F&SF in the same year (2015) that the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America bestowed the title of Grand Master on Larry Niven and the liberal literary magazine the New Yorker ran a very laudatory article on the author Gene Wolfe.

Fact Two. There is no reflexive reactionary movement to drag F&SF kicking and screaming back into the Dark Ages when all protagonists had to be white and male (and preferably either engineers or military chaps). The very same people who piss and moan about diversity-for-the-sake-of-it litter their own novels with exactly the same kind of diversity they deplore when their opponents do it.

Yeah, I know they’ll deny it. “The story always comes first!” But the fact is that there is no compelling plot function to Ringo’s inclusion of the gay couple in Under a Graveyard Sky. So why did he put them in the novel? The answer is that, like any good writer—and whatever my (many) political disagreements with John, he’s a damn good writer—he tries to embed his stories into the world he created for them. The world of Black Tide Rising is the modern world, and his novels reflect that—as they should.

And I defy anyone with a single honest bone in their body—just one; even a pinkie bone—to read his depiction of that gay couple and tell the world afterward that he’s a homophobe. Which is not to say, mind you, that John and I would agree on any number of issues that come up around the question of LGBT rights. But that’s a separate matter.

There are real disagreements and divisions lying at the heart of the Recent Unpleasantness. But I wish to hell people would dump the stupid stereotypes so we could get on with a serious discussion and debate.

Fact Three. Yes, there is a problem with the Hugo awards, but that problem can be depicted in purely objective terms without requiring anyone to impute any malign motives to anyone else. In a nutshell, the awards have been slowly drifting away from the opinions and tastes of the mass audience, to the point where there is today almost a complete separation between the two. This stands in sharp contrast to the situation several decades ago, when the two overlapped to a great extent. For any number of reasons, this poses problems for the awards themselves. The Hugos are becoming increasingly self-referential, by which I mean they affect and influence no one except the people who participate directly in the process.

That said, however, as I spent a lot of time in my first essay analyzing—see “Some comments on the Hugos and other SF awards”—the causes of the problem are complex and mostly objective in nature. There is no easy fix to the problem. There is certainly no quick fix. Most of all, there is no one to blame—and trying to find culprits and thwart the rascals does nothing except make the problem worse.

As time passes, this whole wrangle reminds me more and more of my two grandchildren squabbling in the back seat of my car.

She called me a dirty name!
    He did it first!
    She did it worse than I did!
    Did not!
    Did too!

So, I will end this first essay of what I expect will wind up being several post-Hugo essays with the traditional words of grandfatherly wisdom:
CUT IT OUT.

About Eric Flint

Author and Editor
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251 Responses to DO WE REALLY HAVE TO KEEP FEEDING STUPID AND HIS COUSIN IGNORAMUS?

  1. Gary C says:

    Eric – I have been following (and appreciating) your Hugo posts for awhile, but rarely have tried to jump in to the discussion because these comment threads almost immediately devolve into people bickering and sniping at each other and that doesn’t interest me. However, I have seen you make the assertion several times, including in this post, that the Hugo awards are divorced from popular tastes, and have been for some time, and that this is a problem for the awards themselves. I would like to see a clearer explanation of this as well as convincing argument supporting it. In just the last five years (not including bestsellers by puppy-slated candidates), you have Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire), Lois McMaster Bujold, Kim Stanley Robinson, John Scalzi, James S.A. Corey, China Mieville, George RR Martin, Connie Willis, Paolo Bacigalupi and Catherynne M Valente who are all NYT bestselling authors (if you go back a little further, you find Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow, Susanna Clarke, JK Rowling, among others). In addition, authors like Ann Leckie, Charles Stross, Cherie Priest, Robert Charles Wilson and Robert J. Sawyer sell a fair amount of books as well, if not quite at the level as those previously mentioned. And yes, there are also authors like Jo Walton and Ian Mcdonald who are relatively obscure and known only to a hardcore group of passionate fans. Recent Hugos have seen a mix of books that achieved mainstream success, books that are just popular within the wide spectrum of fandom, and books that are hailed only by a small corner of fandom. But wasn’t this always the case? In the past, haven’t we seen Michael Swanwick up against Card, Bujold and McCaffrey? Gene Wolfe going toe to toe with Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein? Tom Reamy, anyone? As I understand it, Dune was a commercial failure upon it’s release, and only in the years following its Hugo victory did it become such a widely read and much beloved classic. If voters at the time had decided to ignore it in favor of a more popular novel, would they have gotten it right? Artistic quality may be of primary concern to the majority of Hugo voters, but that hardly means their choices are never in line with popular taste, any more than it means they always should be. Taking this year as an example, if you look at the nominating stats, Andy Weir’s The Martian (easily the bestselling SF novel last year) got 141 votes – and I can pretty much guarantee that if it had been eligible, as most voters likely were aware it wasn’t, it probably would have towered over the puppy candidates at the top of the ballot. Neil Gaiman is one of the bestselling authors in the world, and the only reason his last novel wasn’t shortlisted for the Hugo was because he declined the nomination. Looking at the entire history of the Hugos, your assertion that they have wildly diverged from popular taste in recent years does not convince me.

    • I think Gary makes a great point, which I’m hoping Eric will address.

      To add a bit to what Gary said: From Ozy:

      average amazon rank of the novels that would have been nominated if not for Sad Puppies: #23,027

      average amazon rank of the sad puppies novel slate: #239,702

      I don’t agree that the Hugo Awards’ legitimacy is dependent on Hugo voters nominating and give awards to popular books. But for those who think it is important, it’s hard to argue that the Puppies are helping. (I’m not saying that Eric would say they were.)

      • Eric Flint says:

        Those Amazon rankings you’re citing don’t prove anything. Trying to use Amazon rankings to determine anything about sales is a fool’s game. Trust me — I tried for years, carefully recording and analyzing my results, until I finally realized I was wasting my time.

        The rankings do have _some_ significance, but only when you get into the stratosphere, so to speak. If a book gets into the top few hundred, especially the top 100, then it’s definitely selling very well. But the difference between a ranking of 20,000 and a ranking of 200,000 is meaningless. It’s the difference between one sale a day and two or three. Big deal.

        Lots of factors are involved. For instance, how recently was the book published? Anybody with any experience in publishing knows that, on average, 80% of the sales of a book take place within the first three months after it gets published. There are exceptions, to be sure — my own 1632 being one of them. But not many.

        So if you want to use Amazon rankings to compare average Puppy sales versus average Hugo award winner sales, you can’t just average the rankings. You’d have to also factor in, at a minimum, the average length of time since all the books came out. And even that won’t do you any good because you don’t know the method Amazon is using to rank sales in the first place. It’s not simple units sold nor money collected. They have their own “secret formula” — and they keep it secret, too. I once tried to find out from them and they told me to take a hike.

        Then, they manipulate the formula for their own purposes. Once Amazon came out with the Kindle, they started drastically weighting the sales rankings in favor of electronic publishing, to the point where they got ridiculous. That’s when I quit tracking the rankings. It was obvious they were weighting their rankings to get people to buy more Kindles.

        I’ll be posting another essay today or tomorrow — it depends on how fast my webmaster can get around to it — that addresses at length and in detail the issue of whether or not it’s true that there’s been a divergence over the past thirty years between popularity and awards. I recommend that people wait until they read that before saying anything further on the subject.

  2. Richard H says:

    Just a procedural note… I found it more than a little confusing that, while this is clearly written by Mr. Flint, it is posted under someone else’s name, presumably that of his webmaster.

  3. Erwin says:

    Assuming that at least one prospiracy exists, and that the prescription involves drowning the prospirators with a mass of people, I see two issues.
    (1) There are probably 2 at least prospiracies. The first involves the popular/literary divide. The literary types seem to be in ascendence and many of their picks irk me. This is a problem, because the net effect of selecting only stuff I don’t want to read is that I ignore the Hugo awards nowadays.

    I hope, and believe, that if more people get involved with the Hugos, that particular bias will weaken. The thing is that most readers aren’t primarily literary, as one can see from sales totals. Similarly, if worthy suggestions like the Saga award and some lifetime achievement awards are adopted, that’d broaden the applicability of the Hugos to stuff people actually read.

    (2) The liberal prospiracy is probably an emergent property of the genre. I’d guess, owing to the crazy/motivation association, it may affect nominations more than awards. I suspect that SF&F trends liberal, which would tend to select for a liberal prospiracy. Conservative: a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes…not an ideal fit for SF&F. So, assuming that one mobilized conservative SF&F readers…you’d simply end up, assuming similar motivation levels between groups, mobilizing larger numbers of liberal readers. And yes, it sucks having the wrong politics in a group. And no, it won’t be fair. That’s life. And yes, you’ll catch a lot of flak from crazies. Imagine being an avowed communist at an accounting convention. [Kind of like being the Berkeley Republican student rep – If I remember correctly, the other reps eventually passed some sort of decree restricting his ability to speak…]

    Now, personally, I don’t mind this. I suspect that, given enough motivation, conservative SF&F readers will accomplish (1) while trying to do (2). In some ways, this is even healthy – as it shows there are a fair number of people who are passionate about the genre.

    OTOH, I’m really curious about the vulnerability in the proposed voting rules.

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  6. Walter Daniels says:

    Eric, I _mostly_ agree with what you are saying, but (you knew that was coming) it ignores certain points. Lecke’s “Ancillary series” is a good example. I can read, and disagree with whether or not something is “good.” Some, like Stanislaw Lem, whom I find unreadable. He writes well, but it’s “turgid, c–p,” IMO. OTOH, there is Lecke, “writes” with the “skill” of a chainsaw carver, trying to use a dremel tool, to recreate Michelangelo’s David. Not _quite_ Fanfic, but pretty close. I’m an “addicted reader” and I had to _force_ myself to read more than 20% of Ancillary Justice (double what I read of Ancillary Sword), and 30% of Goblin Emperor. (Note: AS won an award last year, IIRC, as did “If you were a Dinosaur My Love.”) Like far too many “recent Hugo’s” they won because a “small clique,” who also happen to be “Liberal Progressive” politically, pushed them.
    The “fact” that you are an atheistic communist, who “avoids their circles,” is why they don’t laud you. I believe that you’d poke Queen Mary Sized holes in their plans for other people, which is why they wouldn’t like you. Plus, you are smarter than they are.

    • David Damerell says:

      We don’t laud him? The sort of oaf who says “SJW” would say it of me, and I’m pretty sure I have every book by, or edited by, Eric Flint that I’ve seen for sale. (The state of US imports here is such that that is not a complete set). I broke my jaw a while back and had a couple of days in hospital; the first thing I asked for was my copy of _An Oblique Approach_, which I’m getting to C.S. Forester levels of rereading on. I would have nominated his stuff for Hugos before if there was any chance of me reading it while it is still eligible.

      Individuals’ opinions on books are not a great help – there may even be people who like John C. Wright’s ham-handed Catholic allegory.

      However, it may be pertinent that Ancillary Justice, a debut novel, had been picked up for release in translation in 15 languages before it did its clean sweep of the awards; as far as I can see, Correira – with an extensive back catalogue which could be picked up if he turned out to be popular – sometimes manages French and German. It’s pretty clear which author the publishers, who are in the business of selling books, think has more widespread appeal.

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  9. Cyrus says:

    “I suppose it’s possible that one of the Sad Puppies or the authors they tend to like has at one time or another written a story whose central protagonist is a white male engineer with a ray gun, but I’ve never seen it. Is it really too much to ask people who take it upon themselves to criticize the Sad Puppies to FUCKING READ what they actually write?”

    I actually have read a story about a white male engineer with a ray gun as the hero, apparently written entirely earnestly and uncritically. You didn’t specifically ask about the “hideous alien” part, but he does indeed fight a Martian. To top it off, I don’t have a copy in front of me but if I remember correctly it is ridiculously retrograde in both racist and sexist ways – he’s fighting the alien because the alien abducted his girlfriend. It doesn’t have the line “Where da white human women at?”, but it might as well. You may think I’m cherry-picking; who cares if one such novel exists, among all the millions of works of science fiction out there, right? However, the work I’m thinking of is Ralph 124C 41+, by Hugo Gernsback. He was rather influential. I believe they’ve named an award after him or something.

    Forgive the sarcasm, but seriously, there actually is a subset of speculative fiction that’s focused on technological innovation and hostile to social change, and there actually are people who prefer that kind of SF. I don’t think it’s slander to describe the Sad/Rabid Puppies’ position as preferring Gernsbackian SF. I realize that they would describe it as just preferring good works, but that’s using a definition of “good” that’s not shared by most other genres or literature in general. I think that subset of SF is marginalized by both critics (and Sad/Rabid Puppies would agree with me about that) and the market, and personally I think that’s good.

    (Yes, I’m aware that Gernsback is not fondly remembered for his work as a writer nor Ralph as a work of literature, but the point is, there’s actually a very good and very relevant example of the kind of thing Eric Flint mocked. And while I’m at it I’m aware that there are more dimensions to sci-fi than technology on the one hand and social change on the other, but that’s not the point either. To the extent that I have a point, it’s that the “both sides are equally bad mentality” is inaccurate and unhelpful.)

    • Tim McDonald says:

      I do know a great book about a white male union leader with a really advanced weapon killing a bunch of murdering, raping aliens, if you expand the definition of alien to include things other than BEMs. Seems it sold a bunch too….of course it was never considered for a Hugo, though it is one of the best alt-history novels I ever read.

  10. David Damerell says:

    I’ve wondered about this before. While the general race and sex blindness of most mil-sf is a great deal better than what came before (anyone remember Susan Calvin cradling the defective robot as the only baby a woman like her could ever love?), I tend to feel it’s a bit of a false dawn.

    The Queen of Manticore is black, but what difference would it make to the story if she was white? As far as I remember (and I gave up after _At All Costs_) the race of a typical Honorverse character has about as much story impact as their shoe size.

    We do a little better with gender actually mattering, but it doesn’t take long before we find the Planet of the Misogynists isn’t so bad really (of course, they have honourable upstanding military officers and no liberals, so they can’t be so bad) and before we know where we are they all think Honor is Space Jesus with six Victoria Crosses, as if Major Taylor had gone from being a champion track cyclist while black in 1899 (remarkable as that is) to President of the USA.

    Of course, it’s easier if you’re writing contemporary characters, but it matters to the story that Melissa Mailey is a woman, or that Dr Nichols grew up in the ghetto. If Le Guin’s characters aren’t all the same colour, that affects their interactions. Otherwise, they might as well be sorted by whether their navels are innies or outies.

    (As an addendum, while I have _no reason whatsoever_ to suppose he is, I am deeply unconvinced by the argument that Torgersen can’t be a racist because he married someone black. One could conclude on the same basis that Beale is not a sexist because he married a woman, or that men who marry “docile” Asian mail-order brides are not racists.)

    • John Cowan says:

      The final words of “Lenny” are “the only kind of baby she could ever have or love”. She herself, Susan Calvin, a unique individual, not a prototype for all female geeks everywhere.

      The color of Genly Ai probably doesn’t affect the story much, but the various colors of the Earthsea people do.

      • David Damerell says:

        I don’t think even Asimov thought Calvin might be a prototype for all geek women everywhere. She is, however, the only very significant woman character in the Robot stories at all, and maybe, just maybe, she could not want _any_ kind of baby?

        I think I’m straying off the point. I guess, I don’t think the non-rabid Puppies are remotely prone to conscious sexism, and whatever I think of some of the politics of “liberals bad” military SF, the ubiquitous acceptance that women can do the same jobs is clearly a Good Thing.

        However, one has only to count names on the slate to realise that, since writing SFF is no longer such a complete sausage-fest, something slightly odd seems to be up with their nominations “purely on merit” – especially in the “big four” fiction categories where women’s 2 picks out of 17 compares reasonably with 2 picks for “men writing for the tiny publisher Beale runs” (or, indeed, 2 picks for “men writing for Baen, who by coincidence publish Torgersen”) until one remembers that women are, er, half of humanity.

        (Dear comment moderator, if you feel this has been done ad nauseam, reject by all means.)

    • Silva says:

      “the race of a typical Honorverse character has about as much story impact as their shoe size.”

      Which is how things should be. If you *want* it to “matter” that someone’s white and someone else’s black (as opposed to the current world where it matters for various reasons contrary at least to my interest), you want treating people differently with basis on race to be … entirely correct. In fact there is one field where it’s known to actually be: medicine, since visibly different phenotype/known ancestry does predict different propensities to diseases. Why’d you want it to be correct to treat people differently with basis on race (as opposed to culture, that should be decoupled from race/ancestry) in any other context?

      • David Damerell says:

        I’m not quite sure how you came to suppose I want it to be so!

        The universe is descended from our current one, and has many of its imperfections: sexism, religious fanaticism, corruption, greed, all the rest… but curiously everyone forgot about racism.

        In the light of that the decision to make some characters black is not so great an achievement on the part of the author, since it amounts to changing some adjectives.

        It’s like the difference between books where some characters are women and, well, some of the dodgier Heinlein where all the characters might as well be men but some of them have breasts.

        • Books first, food later. says:

          I can’t even…are you really… …
          … … No. Just…no. The ideal world is one where a person’s skin color is as or less important than their ability or inability to sing in terms of classification and treatment. In other words, it’s “changing a couple adjectives”. David Weber’s Honorverse takes place in the distant future. A future where that reality has come to pass, and “racism” as we know it, as MLK Jr knew it, no longer exists (nor does sexism, except on Grayson and it’s fiercest enemy planet). And If you think that’s a *flaw* in the series? Well, you are a person I am glad to know I’ll never have to share a meal or carry on a conversation with. Other than that, I’ve got nothing more to say to you.

          • David Damerell says:

            Yes, I think it’s a flaw, because I prefer plausibility to whether or not the fictional universe would be nice to live in. In the real universe it would be excellent if racism were a thing of the past, but the people in the Honorverse aren’t real.

            Every other vice of modern humanity is present (in particular, I disagree that sexism is confined to Grayson and Masada), so it certainly stretches my suspension of disbelief when one appears to have been entirely eliminated.

            I think you’re reading something that I simply am not writing. One might equally say that in an ideal world we wouldn’t fight so many wars – but that doesn’t mean that the Honorverse books would be improved if armed conflict was a thing of the past.

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  12. Books first, food later. says:

    Mr Flint, I just reread this post, and wanted to mention something: John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising series does contain two (yes, unrealistically so, it may be said) strong female protagonists. But it doesn’t portray men as evil, or whites as the minions of all that is wrong with the world. And, most importantly? It’s a damn fine story. Sad Puppies never had a problem with books that had insanely competent, strong, etc “minorities” in them. It/we had, and have, a problem with stories and books that (in our opinions, obviously) sacrifice story for…making a point. By all means, make a point with your book. But if the story you’re telling sucks, why the hell should you get a Hugo for it? That’s our view. Yes, story quality is a subjective issue. But explain to me why *our* subjective opinion on what’s “Hugo worthy” is somehow unacceptable. Why do Sarah and Kate get turned into white men, while Mary Robinette Kowal and K Tempest Bradford or N.K. Jemisin (for example) get to stay female and (in the latter two cases) black? Why is pasty-white MRKowal an “oppressed woman” while decidedly Portuguese Sarah Hoyt is a white male oppressor? Because she machinguns herself at the knees? With respect, pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

    God Bless. :-)

    • David Damerell says:

      That gets said a lot. Non-Puppies roll their eyes at it because the stated mission of nominating fine stories seems rather at odds with the amount of ham-handed Catholic allegory (“boring message fiction”, in fact) that ended up on the slates.

      • Books first, food later. says:

        *Vox’s* slate. Vox’s slate had “ham-handed Catholic allegory” in many categories. I know you don’t think there’s a difference, right? Yes, and the reason Sad Puppies even had suggestions in the categories dominated by Rabid picks is…? Right, misdirection! Brad actually telepathically told the “ELoE” (can’t get over how hilarious and frightening Mz. Deirdre Saorse Moen et. al’s belief in that acronym being anything more than a joke is) and their various and politically diverse (not a joke) fans to (in ninja-mode) follow the Rabid slate in any place it conflicted with Brad’s own suggestions. Of course! It’s so obvious now! #ridiculous-amount-of-sarcasm

  13. Science fiction fandom is a hobby. We are all fen. We should try being nice to each other.

  14. For those interested in the ongoing whatever, Sarah Hoyt (MadGeniusClub.com) has just announced that she will be organizing Sad Puppies 5.

  15. Your mileage may vary. My web interface decided to spontaneously post the above before I was done typing.

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