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Where's the Beef?

Now we get to the crux of the matter.

So... what is behind Puppygate? What is it the Sad Puppies want? They have been doing this for three years now, three separate campaigns, with a fourth threatened... and presumably a fifth, a sixth, and a seventh if this goes on. That's a lot of effort, a lot of hours, a lot of commitment. To what end? What's their grievance?

I've read Brad Torgensen's statements on this point, and I've read Correia's MONSTER HUNTER NATION, and I've read hundreds of comments from their supporters. As with any large group, there is a wide range of opinion. Some of the Puppies are relatively moderate and reasonable. Others, I fear, are beyond the pale, raging and ranting about SJWs and cliques and secret conspiracies.

Digesting all of this, and trying to filter out the rabid extremists who seem mostly just to want to hurt liberals and feminists and gays, the essence of the Puppy complaint seems to be that the Hugo Awards have been taken over by the left, by their "Social Justice Warriors," and these "CHORFs" (another offensive made-up term, like SJWs) have rigged the awards somehow so that only members of their own leftish "clique" or those writer who are willing to "kiss their ass" win, while other books and stories are ignored or excluded, and other writers are "blacklisted."

Breaking down the complaints further, this purported exclusion seems to take several different forms, which vary according to which Puppy is speaking:
(1) some say the exclusion is political in nature, that conservative and libertarian writers are being unfairly shut out,
(2) others charge religious discrimination, insisting the Christian writers and "writers of Faith" are the ones being excluded,
(3) there's a racial component in some comments (not from the Puppy leaders, but from their followers), wherein we are told that "straight white men" are the victims here,
(4) and finally, there's the literary argument, wherein we are told that the ballots are full of bad boring crappy stories that no one really likes, placed there in some nefarious manner by the secret SJW cliques, whereas good old-fashioned SF and fantasy, the stuff the readers really love, is shut out and ignored.

Do I have the essence of it, Puppies and Puppylovers? I am leaving out any of the charges? Is this the source of all the anger, of this "revolt," of this determination to "take back SF?"

Because if it is... well, someone has sold you a bill of goods.

Let's look at the facts, shall we? I accept and acknowledge that some of the Puppies may feel excluded, disrespected, shunned... but feelings and facts are two different things.

Number (3) is the easiest to disprove. Straight white men are being excluded. Really? Really? C'mon, guys. Go look at the last five, ten years of Hugo ballots. Count how many men were nominated. Count how many women. Now count the black writers and the Asian writers and the foreign-language writers. Yes, yes, things are changing. We have a lot more women and minorities being nominated than we did in 1957, say, or even 1987... but the ballots are still way more white and way more male than not. Look, I am hardly going to be in favor of excluding straight white men, being one myself (and no, I am not a fan of Tempest Bradford's challenge). I am in favor of diversity, of inclusion, of bringing writers from many different backgrounds and cultures into the field. I don't want straight white writers excluded from the ballot... I just don't think they need to have ALL of it. I mean, we're SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY FANS, we love to read about aliens and vampires and elves, are we really going to freak out about Asians and Native Americans?

Let's put that one aside, and look at the other three allegations. Are the Hugos biased against conservative writers, religious writers, or writers of the "good old stuff," military SF, planetary adventures, space opera, sword & sorcery, hard science, and the like?

The Puppies say yes. I say no. The facts agree with me.

This chart is couple of years old, and therefore outdated a bit, but it still provides a very valuable overview of the history of the awards, who has won them, who has been nominated. So here are the records, albeit a few years out of date:

http://www.sfadb.com/Hugo_Awards_Tallies

(Before we get into the listings, let me repeat once again my contention that IT IS AN HONOR TO BE NOMINATED. Sure, it's a bigger honor to win. But being on the shortlist is nothing to sneeze at, and I say that as the co-founder of the Hugo Losers Club).

What do we see on that list? Well, for a start, it is much easier to rack up lots and lots of nominations in the categories where one votes for a person rather than a work (Best Artist, Best Editor, Best Fan Writer). British humorist Dave Langford leads everyone with 55 nominations and 29 wins. Mike Glyer of FILE 770 is close behind with 52 nominations but only 9 wins. Then comes the late Charles N. Brown, editor and publisher of LOCUS, and Tor/ Signet/ Timescape/ Berkley editor David G. Hartwell, and Mike Resnick, and then Stan Schmidt, editor of ANALOG.

Some of these perennial nominees are liberal politically, I suspect, but none of those could be said to push a political agenda, or wear their politics on their sleeves. No SJWs here. On the other hand, Stan Schmidt edited ANALOG for longer than John W. Campbell did, and during all those decades it was the most conservative magazine in the field, the hard science mag, the choice of engineers everywhere, where the flag of Campbellian SF flew high. Now it is true, Stan never won, not until the year he retired. But he was nominated thirty-five times. Is that your definition of exclusion? Resnick... a very prolific writer, and by this list, the guy with the most nominations ever for fiction, rather than fanac or editing. Resnick, as I am sure the Puppies know, was at the center of the SFWA BULLETIN flap and lost the column that he and Barry Malzberg had written for decades... which hardly makes him a poster boy for the left. David Hartwell... well, Dave works for Tor, which some of the more extreme Puppies may count against him, but he's also worked for many other publishers, and he's edited many many writers from both right and left. I seem to recall it was Hartwell who first discovered John Wright, this year's six-time Puppy favorite nominee.

So far I see moderates, conservatives, Campbellians, and the apolitical. I see no SJWs.

How about total number of WINS? Well, once again you've got Langford, the fannish humorist and wit, publisher of ANSIBLE, at 29, tied with Charlie Brown of LOCUS. Charlie was champion of a more ambitious, literary style of SF, but he loved the classic old stuff too. A Vance fan, a Heinlein fan. Gardner Dozois and Michael Whelan each had 15 when this list came out. Gargy's an editor, a very important and influential editor, and yes, he's a liberal... but once again, he also loves a good story. He's edited space opera anthologies (THE GOOD OLD STUFF and THE GOOD NEW STUFF) and with me, OLD MARS and OLD VENUS, retro-SF that PLANET STORIES would have loved. Whelan's an artist. A brilliant one. And next down... CONNIE WILLIS. It says here she's won 11 times, but I think she's won a few more since. Connie's a woman, yes, and she's liberal politically (though far from radical). She's also religious. She has been singing in her Church choir for decades, she attends church regularly. Of course, she's Episcopalian, so I am not sure that "counts" for some of the Puppies, who only seem to grant that a writer is religious if he or she shares their own religion.

Going further down the all-time list... there's Richard E. Geis (politically hard right, sexually and socially left) with 34 nominations, Robert Silverberg (conservative) with 28. Further down, past some fans and artists, there's liberal old me with 19 nominations (15 losses and 4 wins when this list was drawn up), tied with conservative Larry Niven.

One huge name not on the list: Robert A. Heinlein. Heinlein did not rack up a lot of noms, since most of his short work was done before the Hugos were created. But he won Best Novel (the Big One) FOUR TIMES, a record that stands to this day (Lois McMaster Bujold tied him, but no one has yet exceeded him). RAH is not easy to characterize politically... he started out as a New Deal Democrat, even ran for office on the EPIC ticket, later became Republican and conservative on many issues... but socially was extremely progressive in his youth, and retained many liberal and libertarian opinions on sexuality and religious matter right up to his death in 1988.

If you're looking for SJWs on this list, well... there's Harlan Ellison and Ursula K. Le Guin. Harlan was certainly a firebrand, and Ursula was the field's most eloquent and respected feminist for decades. They are also two of the greatest talents that SF has ever produced. Both SFWA Grandmasters, both firmly ensconsced in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, beloved of generations of readers. It would be hard to argue that either was created by a "clique."

Oh, oh, okay, I can hear the Sad Puppies barking out their objections. "We never said the Hugo Awards were ALWAYS dominated by a leftist clique," they are barking. "We only said that the SJWs took them over recently, and ruined them. That's when all the good books and all the writers we like got excluded."

Okay, fine. Fair enough. Let's narrow our focus, then, and look only at the recent past, at the ballots that somehow triggered Puppygate. No rhetoric, just facts.

We know about this year's ballot, the Sasquan ballot. Puppies puppies everywhere, thanks to Sad Puppies 3 and the Rabid Puppies. Last year, the Loncon ballot... well, that was the year of Sad Puppies 2, and that campaign, if not quite the sweep, did put Vox Day and Larry Correia and several other Puppy faves on the shortlist, so we'll pass over that one too. To see how powerful the liberal SJW cliques truly were, we need to go back to a time before Correia and Day and their followers rose up to smite them.

Let's look at 2012. LoneStarCon 3, San Antonio, in that notoriously liberal state of Texas. 1343 nominating ballots were received. 1848 final ballots chose the winners.

The Big One, Best Novel, went to John Scalzi for REDSHIRTS. He won out over 2312 by Kim Stanly Robinson, THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON by Saladin Ahmed, BLACKOUT by Mira Grant, and CAPTAIN'S VORPATIL'S ALLIANCE by Lois McMaster Bujold. Three men, three women. Two white men, one Arab-American. Do the Puppies object to these nominees? Is this the clique slate? Hard to see why. One Tor book, one from DAW, one from Baen, two from Orbit; no publisher had a stranglehold here, certainly. Scalzi -- look, I know Scalzi is liberal, and I know that the Puppies seem to hate him, though I can't for the life of me understand why -- but whatever you think of the writer's politics, REDSHIRTS is a light, fun, amusing SF adventure, an affectionate riff off of STAR TREK, Ghu help us. And the other nominees... only the Robinson could even remotely be considered "literary SF" of the sort the Puppies seems to hate. Saladin's book was sword & sorcery, a rollicking swashbuckler in the tradition of Robert E. Howard, Harold Lamb, and the Thousand and One Nights. Bujold, well, you could call her Miles Vorkosigan series space opera, or maybe military SF, but her novels are never less than entertaining, good reads all. The Mira Grant is a zombie novel. Zombies, guys.

Now, do I think these were the best five novels of 2012? Actually, no. As best I recall, I only nominated one of them... along with a couple of books that did not make the ballot. (You can find out which ones if you look back on my Not A Blog for that year's recs). But it's a pretty typical ballot, worse than some, better than others, with ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE of any kind of "social justice" agenda or conspiracy.

Let's look further down the LoneStarCon ballot. Novella: won by "The Emperor's Soul," by Brandon Sanderson, a pretty traditional story by an epic fantasist who also happens to be Mormon. (Where is that religious bigotry? Did the SJWs miss him?) One of the other nominees was by Aliette de Bodard, who many Puppies seem to count as one of the despised SJWs, but if the secret cabal was working for her, they fucked it up, because she lost. The other nominees were Nancy Kress, Jay Lake, and (again) Mira Grant. So far maybe we have some evidence of a Mira Grant clique, but none of a Social Justice clique.

Go to Novelette. Won by "The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi," by Pat Cadigan. A brilliant story from a long time fan who had never won a Hugo before, and hadn't even been nominated for decades. The most popular win of the evening; the crowd in the hall went wild cheering. Pat won over two stories by Seanan McGuire (also known as Mira Grant), one by Catherynne Valente, and one by Thomsas Olde Heuvelt. Was it this shortlist that provoked the Puppies? Four women and only one man there, is that the issue? A surfeit of McGuire/ Grant, maybe? Or were there some brilliant conservative novelettes that year that were overlooked? I honestly do not know.

Short Story only had three nominees. Ken Liu won over Aliette de Bodard and Kij Johnson. The SJWs are really letting down the side, that's twice they left de Bodard lose. (I hope I remembered to give her a Hugo Loser ribbon, she certainly earned it). No other short story had 5% of the nominating ballots, which is why the list was too small. When there are no slates, that happens: everyone has their own favorites, votes scatter.

Further down the ballot, Brandon Sanderson won again for Best Related Work, together with a bunch of friends. SAGA won Graphic Story, damn good comic, damn good choice. That radical leftist film THE AVENGERS won Long Form Drama, and something called GAME OF THRONES won Short Form. And for editor -- hey, Stanley Schmidt finally won for ANALOG... but oh, dear, Patrick Nielsen Hayden won for Long Form Editor. Now we see the power of the SJWs: they won, oh, wow, ONE whole Hugo at LoneStarCon.

That's just one year, though. Let's turn the clock back further, to Chicon 7 in Chicago, and the nominees for the best work of 2011.

The Big One went to Jo Walton and AMONG OTHERS. My own nominee, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, finished last. In between you had EMBASSYTOWN by China Mieville (who is a vocal and passionate leftist, yes, but also a helluva powerful writer), LEVIATHAN WAKES by James S.A. Corey (a rousing space opera that any fan of the Good Old Stuff should love, soon to be a major TV series from the SyFy Channel), and DEADLINE by Mira Grant. Another zombie story, I seem to recall, same world as her other Best Novel nominees. Kij Johnson, Charlie Jane Anders, and Ken Liu won the Short Fiction Awards. Is there something about them or their stories that the Puppies object to? What could it be? Their literary style? Or...

Actually, looking at the other nominees, maybe THIS is the ballot that provoked the Proto-Puppies to sadness. Mira Grant has another nominee in novella. Mary Robinette Kowal was also up there, and MRK seems widely hated by the right for her work as SFWA Vice President ( a thankless job that I did onece). Ken Liu won for Short Story but lost for novella. Catherynne Valente had a losing novella. And Short Story, seven hells, look at that ballot: beside Liu there is E. Lily Yu, the despised John Scalzi, Nancy Fulda , and... oh, look, Mike Resnick, however did the liberal cabal ever let HIM sneak in?

Novelette is pretty interesting too. Charlie Jane Anders won out over Paul Cornell, the affable Brit, Geoff Ryman, the affable Canadian, Rachel Swirsky (author, a few years later, of that dinosaur story that has all the Puppy Panties in a twist), and... "Ray of Light," by Brad R. Torgersen, from ANALOG.

Condolences, Brad. You are a Hugo Loser. But hey, congratulations. You are a Hugo Loser. It's an exclusive club. We get together annually, clank our beers together, and chant, "It's an honor just to be nominated" in unison. Were you at the con? Did I give you a ribbon? If not, I'll be sure you get one, should we ever met. Wear it proudly. The rest of us do. If that list I linked to is right, I've lost fifteen. When you lose, the fannish tradition is to congratulate the winner and shake their hand, then go to our Hugo Loser Party to get drunk and bitter. When I lose, my friends all tell me I've been robbed. Makes me feel better. Even when I know it isn't true.

Looking further down the Chicon ballot, we come to the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Not a Hugo. E. Lily Yu was the winner. She finished ahead of Karen Lord, Stina Leicht, Mur Lafferty, and... ah... Brad R. Torgersen again. Sorry, Brad. Two losses in one night, that's hard to take. But it's an honor too. Very few writers have ever been nominated for a Campbell and a Hugo in the same year. Actually, you may be the first. Being a Campbell Award loser does not officially qualify one for the Hugo Losers Club, but we usually let them in anyway. FWIW, I lost the very first Campbell Award, in 1973 at Torcon II. I was a nominee, but never really a contender, to tell the truth. Jerry Pournelle won that first Campbell, defeating George Alec Effinger so narrowly that the con gave him a special runner-up plaque, the first and last time that was ever done. I was way back behind both, so no plaques for me. But I did lose two Hugos in a single night once, in 1976 in Kansas City, Big Mac. Lost one to Larry Niven, and one to Roger Zelazny. The next night, Gardner Dozois and I founded the Hugo Losers Club, and held the first Hugo Losers Party in my room.

Onward and backward, though. Let's go back to Renovation. Reno, Nevada, 2011. Best work of 2010. Connie Willis wins the Big One for BLACKOUT/ ALL CLEAR. The other nominees were Mira Grant (for FEED, the first of her zombie cycle, I believe), Lois McMaster Bujold, N.K. Jemison with THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS, and THE DERVISH HOUSE by the amazing Ian McDonald.

I know what Vox Day thinks of Jemison, since I read his poisonous screed. (He is a Rabid Puppy, I know, not a Sad one, and I would hope most SPs would disavow his bile, regardless of their literary preferences or political affiliations). Vox attacked the GOH speech she gave at an Australian convention... but since the Sad Puppies here have stated often that they only care about the work, not the race or the views of the writer, surely there could not have been any objections to THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS... or the Bujold, or the McDonald.

The novella award went to Ted Chiang... a writer of literary SF, we may agree, but one of the most powerful to enter our field in many years. There's a reason Chiang wins every time he is nominated for a award. He's bloody good. Novelette, though... that went to Alan Steele for "The Emperor of Mars," a classic retro-SF story that he actually wrote for OLD MARS, the anthology Gardner and I were putting together. When we were unable to place the project, however, Alan sold the story to ASIMOV'S, and it brought him home a rocket. Classic old style SF in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

I will skip over the rest of Reno... except for the John W. Campbell Award. The fans chose Lev Grossman as the Best New Writer, over Lauren Beukes, Saladin Ahmed, Dan Wells... and Larry Correia. This, it seems to me, was BEFORE he started his first Puppies campaign. Dan Wells was also a Sad Puppy at one time... though this year he asked not to be part of the slate.

I have read Correia's blog, and I know he says that he was treated very badly at the Reno worldcon, attacked for his views, denounced as a racist and homophobe. I was at Reno myself, but I don't recall meeting him, so I don't know the details of any of that. It shocks me to hear it, because the fandom I know has always been warm and welcoming to people of all political views. We are there to party and flirt and celebrate SF, after all. I regret any personal attacks or abuse that Correia may have suffered.

I will say, though, that there is no dishonor in losing to a writer as gifted as Lev Grossman, and many many terrific writers have lost the Campbell Award over the decades, starting with me. And it is an INCREDIBLE honor just to be nominated. Think about it. We have hundreds of new writers entering our field every year, all of them dreaming of careers, all of them fighting for recognition, trying to build their brand... and a few, maybe, lusting for rockets. Out of all those people, the fans nominated FIVE (sometimes six) for the Campbell.

There were no Sad Puppies when Larry Correia was nominated for the Campbell, when Brad Torgersen was nominated for the Campbell, when Torgersen was nominated for his first Hugo. (Subsequent noms, yes, may have resulted from Puppy campaigns). That was the traditional Hugo electorate putting you on the ballot... you, and a lot of other conservative writers, religious writers, white male writers, and purveyors of space opera, military SF, and Good Old Stuff.

There was never any need for Sad Puppies to "take back" the Hugos. The feminists, minorities, literary cliques, and Social Justice Warriors never took them in the first place. That's a myth, as the actual facts I have cited here prove conclusively.

Comments

( 269 comments )
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Will Gardner
Apr. 10th, 2015 04:12 am (UTC)
Thank you
A serious education on the history of the awards, and a factual argument to an emotional fit.

whipt1
Apr. 10th, 2015 04:17 am (UTC)
Thank you
You post and Matthew Surridge have summarized a great deal of history and facts about the Hugo awards that were being ignored for ego-driven divisive rhetoric. Sadly I think too many people online choose to only use the net to bolster their own opinions rather than challenge them, but the ridiculous claims against the Hugo Awards compared to the reality of the situation.

I hope if anything that even those who knee jerk disagree with you might take the time to look further into the history of the award and come to their own conclusions rather than parrot something they heard.

Personally I find it depressing to see this oddly spiteful cutting off the nose to spite the face mentality over the awards when we should be celebrating how the voices within it have grown and how there are so many amazing authors out there now contributing and expanding the field.

I hope your wisdom will fall on ears willing to listen and believe there are far more people who are excited and want to build upon the foundations of the genre than there are those who would try and selfishly diminish the accomplishments of others for imagined slights.

Sadly those who are the most negative and reductive are often the loudest voices. Thank you for continuing to be a positive force in the industry, and never doubt the impact of how that positivity is an inspiration to others.
Matthew Leo
Apr. 10th, 2015 04:27 am (UTC)
"You are not special"
A few years ago a local English teacher (David McCullough Jr. -- son of the famous historian) made national news when he told the graduating class of Wellesley High School "You are not special (http://theswellesleyreport.com/2012/06/wellesley-high-grads-told-youre-not-special/)." Here is the relevant section of his speech:

... [We Americans] have of late, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement. We have come to see them as the point — and we’re happy to compromise standards, or ignore reality, if we suspect that’s the quickest way, or only way, to have something to put on the mantelpiece, something to pose with, crow about, something with which to leverage ourselves into a better spot on the social totem pole. No longer is it how you play the game, no longer is it even whether you win or lose, or learn or grow, or enjoy yourself doing it… Now it’s “So what does this get me?” As a consequence, we cheapen worthy endeavors, and building a Guatemalan medical clinic becomes more about the application to Bowdoin than the well-being of Guatemalans.


The Sad Puppies have missed this point in a spectacularly obtuse way. It is true that the Hugo process is not a fair one; in fact it's mathematically impossible (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow%27s_impossibility_theorem) for a 3+ way election ranking to be entirely fair. But even though the process is inherently somewhat arbitrary, being nominated is an honor, because it signifies hard won respect that cuts across divisions in fandom. Being engineered onto an exclusive slate by a small subgroup of fans defeats that purpose. Even if the intent is to correct past injustices the one thing that it will not represent is that kind of widely-held respect.

In a way those who win are the most shabbily served by this. It's normal for some fans to feel that awards may not have been the best possible choice, but the 2015 winners will have to endure the indignity of fans adding a mental asterisk whenever the 2015 winners come up.
getty_1
Apr. 10th, 2015 04:31 am (UTC)
On the Term "SJW"
Howdy! I really admired your response to this whole debacle. I don't typically respond to blog posts, but I feel I have a salient point.

On the term SJW: it is a very interesting thing, in that it is used by both camps. I have been called it as an insult. I also identify with it, and I have numerous friends who identify with it as well. I can see why you haven't heard much about those who consider themselves SJWs; we are mostly on places like tumblr and twitter, and for the most part pretty young (I am sixteen, which isn't an unusually young age for self-identified SJWs, though there are many I know in their twenties).

Edited at 2015-04-10 04:40 am (UTC)
ashkestral
Apr. 10th, 2015 04:36 am (UTC)
Very nice post!

If you want to see if there is systematic bias against a group you first:
-Identify the group
-See what percentage of the population that group represents
-See how that population is represented

Which is of course what you are doing here. I really applaud you taking the time to do this. But not surprised since I know Worldcon/the Hugos are important to you.

It's interesting to me that there is a group claiming there is systematic bias against their group, but they refuse to follow step 1 - identify who the group is.
luke_jaywalker
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:35 pm (UTC)
That measures equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity.
thetreesofmay
Apr. 10th, 2015 04:46 am (UTC)
Isn't there a chance this is just a money grab by the Puppies?
George, I loved your analysis of the Hugo voting patterns, but like others here I wonder if your effort actually has any chance to reach the Puppies. When I heard about the expansion of the Sad Puppies slate from the last two years, my immediate reaction was "Oh, it's a money grab by Correia/Torgerson/Day/et alii." The panic-stricken American far right wing (the ones I think of as the rabid right, which connects nicely with the Rabid Puppies) is very prone to tossing large sums of cash at whoever appears to be fighting for "their team", no matter how thin the pretext.

Look at the nearly a million dollars that was thrown at that Indianapolis pizzeria just because they said they wouldn't cater their pizzas at a gay wedding. Isn't the promotion of Puppygate, at its heart, about Larry Correia's grudge because no one agreed with his conservative BS at WorldCon, and the wish of the Puppies to sell large numbers of books to American conservatives, the vast majority of which will never read said books but who will shell out for them to support "their team" against "the other guys"? If the Puppies manage to take out the Hugos for a few years for kicks and giggles along the way, so much the better for them (to Hell with those Hugo voters for not recognizing their brilliance!) but to me it looks like the main point is just to sell some workmanlike but unexceptional SF&F to people who wouldn't normally buy it.

I mean, Correia's the guy who claims he's more deserving of a Hugo than Ann Leckie because he sells more books. Doesn't it seem clear that selling books is what's at the root of all this, not any genuine belief in "SJW cabals" controlling the Awards? The "SJW cabal" stuff seems to be to be just a smokescreen, a tissue-paper thin cover story to hide the real motivations here, a dog-whistle to prove that the Puppies are on the The "Right" Side so that they will be embraced and supported by conservatives who otherwise wouldn't look twice at their work product.

Is it just me who thinks this?
langkard
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:36 am (UTC)
Re: Isn't there a chance this is just a money grab by the Puppies?
I think it might be important to separate the two groups when it comes to things like this. I see a very real difference between an otherwise honest misconception on the part of the Sad Puppy leaders as to whether or not a secret clique is steering the nominations and the much more serious and disturbing aims of the Rabid Puppies.

Since GRRM has not yet posted his thoughts on the RP people, including Vox Day/Ted Beale and the Gamersgate connection, we should probably keep the discussion to Sad Puppies and their goals.

In that regard, I really think that the Sad Puppies genuinely feel put upon. After reading Larry Corriea's response to GRRM's first post on this subject, it seems clear that past events, real or not, made an indelible impression upon Mr. Corriea and then others simply jumped on the bandwagon and the whole thing became an insular exercise in mutually reinforcing beliefs. I do not believe that greed is at issue, at least not with the Sad Puppies. The RP leader on the other hand is a different subject entirely.



Edited at 2015-04-10 05:44 am (UTC)
jamisonpridgen
Apr. 10th, 2015 04:47 am (UTC)
I think this is problematic ; Leckie article from june 2014.
I was talking with one of the other commentators here I recognized from twitter, we disagreed on GamerGate and we disagree again on SPs - but he's cool. He said that Leckie was one of his favorite authors, so I googled her to figure out what she wrote. (probably should have known that)

I still don't know anything about her book or anything, I'm sure it was great. But I don't know how you can see an article like this being published 2 months before the voting for the Hugos happen and still claim that the Sad Puppies have no valid cause to be upset. 5 pages of straight campaigning for her, no wonder she won. Bonus that scalzi's name and face is plastered all over it too. C'mahn brah, that can't be normal - and certainly not every nominee has backing that wields that type of influence.

http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2014/06/is_ann_leckie_the_next_big_thing_in_science_fiction.php

Maybe it's legal, but that doesn't make it good or right.

langkard
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:23 am (UTC)
GRRM can post fact after fact and it simply will not matter
A large part of the problem is that the Puppy groups really feel that they are targeted because of their beliefs. It doesn't matter whether or not that feeling is accurate. Those on the Right have been telling themselves for several decades now that a Leftist conspiracy is ruining their beloved (and non-existent) old-fashioned apple pie and fireworks paradise. They have told each other that they are victims so often that reality is no longer a factor. Once it becomes a meme on the Right and is kicked around the political internet echo chamber, the supposed victims become convinced of the truth of their victim-hood. At that point, no amount of argument, fact or reasoning is going to change their minds. The "facts" as those on the Puppy side see things have been established to their satisfaction. Pointing out anything contrary to their views will simply result in the tired old tradition of finger-in-ear-insertion while loudly reciting from Fountainhead.
grrm
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:29 am (UTC)
Re: GRRM can post fact after fact and it simply will not matter
An interesting theory, but until the Koch Brothers give Vox Day a million dollars, I am inclined to be skeptical.
yagathai
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:44 am (UTC)
You know, I was at Reno Worldcon and I attended Larry's kaffeeklatsch and a couple of his panels. Of course I can't say what he's talking about didn't happen, but what I can say is that what I saw was a whole of fans really super into listening to Larry speak, and a whole lot of abject hero worship. His fans are serious about being fans, boy howdy.

Did some people disagree with him at a panel? Absolutely. Did he seem especially thin-skinned when they did so? Well, that could just be my memory playing tricks on me, and I hate to be uncharitable. But any kind of disagreement with his (extremely) outspoken political and personal views paled in comparison to the numerous fanboys lavishing fulsome praise with puckered lips. Which is not to imply that he did or didn't deserve it -- either way, it happened.

That's just my memory, and of course I wasn't following him around 24/7. For all I know a group of really mean girls cornered him in the elevator every time I wasn't around and said hateful things about his face, his writing and his dog.

But I didn't see it.

Edited at 2015-04-10 06:02 am (UTC)
desert_dragon42
Apr. 10th, 2015 01:49 pm (UTC)
http://www.donotlink.com/eis2

His original con report from 2011. I guess he is just now remembering all those meanies he encountered there.
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moretha1941
Apr. 10th, 2015 06:45 am (UTC)
What is the beef, indeed!
I've been reading sf and fantasy since I was a kid. Am now 74 years old and still can't get enough of it. Mr Martin, I read a lot of your books and The Song For Lya about a year and a half ago. It keeps popping into my mind, the story as well as the concept. The point I am trying to make is that a good story does that to you, makes you think, and as such grow a little. I fail to uderstand what all this bitching is about. Besides being a fan of your books, as well as of almost all of the writers you mentioned who have won Hugos or Nebulas, or whatever, it has never been a reason for me to buy their books. They were and are just darn good writers, and their stories and concepts appealed to me. Their race, color, sexuality, or political leanings makes no difference to me or I bet, to the majority of fans. I've been reading sf and fantasy for 60 plus years, and I know what I like to read, and no amount of bitching between two camps will change my mind. To be quite honest to a real bookworm (as my father use to call me), it's a bit offensive. Most of these things come to pass, when someone with a low self-esteem starts a pity party. For heavens sake, why don't they grow up. Not everything is about them!


.


Edited at 2015-04-10 08:02 am (UTC)
fjm
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:04 am (UTC)
Thank you! Great breakdown. (And can I claim my Hugo losers' ribbon next time I see you? I've lost at least four times).
grrm
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:35 pm (UTC)
I guess. Who is this?
vandor
Apr. 10th, 2015 12:18 pm (UTC)
Sad Puppies response
I really hope to someday on a reread of Winds of Winter discover a hidden reference to the Sad Puppies. What a perfect example of what is going wrong with our Republic on a much different scale.
kalimac
Apr. 10th, 2015 01:38 pm (UTC)
I regret I don't remember who said this, but I believe it was Vox Day who cited Redshirts as the clinching proof of his thesis that the quality of the Hugos has gone down the tube. He considered this so obvious that he didn't explain what was so bad about it. I suspect it's because he considered it fluff and not serious SF, and that Scalzi is a SJW with a large clique (drawn from the readers of his blog).

I'd respond that "fluff" (if one chooses to define these works as that) has been winning Hugos for decades, and that personal popularity of authors has been a factor just as long.
grrm
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:36 pm (UTC)
Vox Day hates Scalzi, so I would take any of his comments about REDSHIRTS with a grain of salt.
robotech_master
Apr. 10th, 2015 03:11 pm (UTC)
Pattern-matching gone haywire
I can kind of see how, from their point of view, it might look like the Hugos are being controlled by a small coterie of liberal fans. It's not so much that there's any control, but that the sorts of people who get along together at WorldCon are people from a particular political end of the spectrum and they just tend to share similar tastes the way people with similar modes of thought do. There's not any actual "collusion" so much as there is a general preference for THIS kind of story and disdain for THAT kind. Because of that, there's a much narrower range of nomination and voting results, and so to someone on the other side, it looks almost like someone's hand-picking the results.

It's pattern-matching gone crazy, the same cognitive bias in human reasoning that accounts for both seeing shapes in clouds and hatching haywire conspiracy theories. The results look the way the puppies imagine they might if there WERE someone in control, therefore, there must BE someone in control.

So where you or I might think the rational response would be simply to get a wider range of people involved in voting and let it shake out naturally, they instead assume that they need to come up with a slate to counter the machinations of the people secretly controlling things from behind the scenes. Even though there aren't any, apart from a natural tendency of like-minded people to like the same sorts of things.

As the old saying goes, they're assuming malice instead of...well, not "incompetence" exactly, but at the least, coincidence. And responding maliciously in turn. Which leads the long-time Worldcon members to get their hackles up and be malicious right back. People on both sides are either unintentionally or willfully misunderstanding each other, accusing each other of "lying" when it's more likely they might simply be responding honestly (as they see it) to a misapprehension. It's just that those misapprehensions seem so far out of left field (or, I suppose, right field, depending on one's political leanings) to the other side that they can't possibly believe the other side is serious.

I don't have a lot of sympathy for the Puppies—if I did, that would have shriveled up the moment they brought those life-destroying GamerGate a-holes into things—but I'm willing to believe they're not just doing it to be nasty, but rather because they do sincerely believe they've been maliciously slighted by the "other side" and this is the only way they can "strike back." They're wrong, but it certainly looks reasonable from their side of things.

It kind of reminds me of Buddy/"Incrediboy"/Syndrome from The Incredibles. Buddy did have a legitimate grievance against Mr. Incredible for the way the hero treated him when he just wanted to help, as a boy—but he went way overboard in his response, growing up to become a supervillain to take revenge.

Edited at 2015-04-10 03:12 pm (UTC)
gonzo21
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:37 pm (UTC)
I like your words here a lot.

Likewise my sympathy for the Puppies evaporated over the Gamergate involvement. To be honest if they want me to give them any time at all, they need to loudly and repeatedly distance themselves from the Gamergaters.

There's a lot of interesting psychology going on, isn't there. And belief shaping reality. They do definitely seem to have assumed malice where there was none, and in that assumption, they've generated a lot of very real malice.
(no subject) - grrm - Apr. 10th, 2015 11:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gonzo21 - Apr. 10th, 2015 11:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
naomikritzer
Apr. 10th, 2015 03:38 pm (UTC)
I read through a bunch of Correia's old blog posts this week, trying to trace how the Sad Puppy thing evolved. The pre-sad-puppy year was 2012, about six months after he didn't win the Campbell, when he posted here:

Queue plaintive sad background music:

Hello. I'm Larry Correia, and I need your help. You too can tell stuffy literati types to go screw themselves.

Only you can make a real difference in the life of a pulp novelist. Every day, over a thousand writers of explody, action-adventure, gun-nut, monster-killin', novels are maligned on the internet by stuffy literati critics for not being "real" novelists who write ham-fisted, navel gazing, message-fic about starving polar bears or some crap.

How can you make a difference? By nominating Larry Correia's Hard Magic for the Hugo award for best novel.


So, a couple of thoughts on this. To make my perspective clear: I'm also a writer, published, never nominated for the Hugo or the Nebula. (I did win an Asimov's Reader's Choice award last year, which was awesome.) I do the annual "here's what I wrote last year if you're nominating for anything and are trying to remember what you read by me" post but I always feel uncomfortable about it. Back when I was a teenager, I read Orson Scott Card's book on writing SF/F -- I found it incredibly useful, actually, and still recommend it regularly. Anyway, Card tells you really emphatically not to do this -- awards are nice if they come your way, but campaigning will backfire.

So, my thoughts.

1. He's clearly trying to strike a tongue-in-cheek, "I'm not begging, I'm just joking around!" tone while still being frankly pretty shameless.

2. He seems really convinced that he will never win a Hugo, which ... so, one thing I've noticed is that most of the Hugo nominations go to people who have been writing for a good long while. Name recognition is often a slow-build kind of thing. If you've hit a certain level, people are more likely to seek out your stories/books and remember them long enough to nominate you. Correia seems to expect to have this instantly. And not having instant name recognition = A CONSPIRACY TO KEEP HIM DOWN.

3. Aside from that, it's really basically just an "award nomination awareness, here's what I had published last year" post with some kidding-on-the-square (Al Franken's term for when you're joking, but not really) begging. He also recommends people in other categories but it's solidly in the "everyone does this, and it's fine" category -- I loved this, my friends are awesome, nominate my fantastic editor, etc.

In 2013 he upped the ante in terms of the quantity and volume of begging (that's when he brought sad puppies into it; also sad-looking children). But it was still basically a campaign to get himself a Hugo. And in 2014 was SP2 with a slate that actually did get him onto the ballot (along with Wright and VD.)

So. Okay.

I will cheerfully admit that (much like Correia!) I totally think I'm an awesome writer who deserves to win awards. Most of us feel that way, don't we? (If you're a writer with a realistic self-image, how do you even keep going?) Pretty much every year, reading stuff in the categories where I could have been nominated but was not, I find myself thinking, how did THIS get nominated and I didn't? I kind of think that's normal writer-ego stuff.

The thing that's really weird to me is that Correia went from there to, "there's some sort of feminist-literati conspiracy to keep people like me off the ballot" instead of the usual response, which is to complain to your friends privately about the crappy story that got nominated while yours got overlooked (again).

I guess my point is -- his feelings (I was robbed! no one appreciates my genius!) are so universal, and are so understandable to me, and his actions are so completely not. I know so many writers who've never been up for one a Hugo, none of whom have ever considered trying to organize a cabal to take over the awards. Possibly because none of the rest of us felt entitled to the award in the first place.
naomikritzer
Apr. 10th, 2015 03:39 pm (UTC)
I read through a bunch of Correia's old blog posts this week, trying to trace how the Sad Puppy thing evolved. The pre-sad-puppy year was 2012, about six months after he didn't win the Campbell, when he posted:

Queue plaintive sad background music:

Hello. I'm Larry Correia, and I need your help. You too can tell stuffy literati types to go screw themselves.

Only you can make a real difference in the life of a pulp novelist. Every day, over a thousand writers of explody, action-adventure, gun-nut, monster-killin', novels are maligned on the internet by stuffy literati critics for not being "real" novelists who write ham-fisted, navel gazing, message-fic about starving polar bears or some crap.

How can you make a difference? By nominating Larry Correia's Hard Magic for the Hugo award for best novel.


So, a couple of thoughts on this. To make my perspective clear: I'm also a writer, published, never nominated for the Hugo or the Nebula. (I did win an Asimov's Reader's Choice award last year, which was awesome.) I do the annual "here's what I wrote last year if you're nominating for anything and are trying to remember what you read by me" post but I always feel uncomfortable about it. Back when I was a teenager, I read Orson Scott Card's book on writing SF/F -- I found it incredibly useful, actually, and still recommend it regularly. Anyway, Card tells you really emphatically not to do this -- awards are nice if they come your way, but campaigning will backfire.

So, my thoughts.

1. He's clearly trying to strike a tongue-in-cheek, "I'm not begging, I'm just joking around!" tone while still being frankly pretty shameless.

2. He seems really convinced that he will never win a Hugo, which ... so, one thing I've noticed is that most of the Hugo nominations go to people who have been writing for a good long while. Name recognition is often a slow-build kind of thing. If you've hit a certain level, people are more likely to seek out your stories/books and remember them long enough to nominate you. Correia seems to expect to have this instantly. And not having instant name recognition = A CONSPIRACY TO KEEP HIM DOWN.

3. Aside from that, it's really basically just an "award nomination awareness, here's what I had published last year" post with some kidding-on-the-square (Al Franken's term for when you're joking, but not really) begging. He also recommends people in other categories but it's solidly in the "everyone does this, and it's fine" category -- I loved this, my friends are awesome, nominate my fantastic editor, etc.

In 2013 he upped the ante in terms of the quantity and volume of begging (that's when he brought sad puppies into it; also sad-looking children). But it was still basically a campaign to get himself a Hugo. And in 2014 was SP2 with a slate that actually did get him onto the ballot (along with Wright and VD.)

So. Okay.

I will cheerfully admit that (much like Correia!) I totally think I'm an awesome writer who deserves to win awards. Most of us feel that way, don't we? (If you're a writer with a realistic self-image, how do you even keep going?) Pretty much every year, reading stuff in the categories where I could have been nominated but was not, I find myself thinking, how did THIS get nominated and I didn't? I kind of think that's normal writer-ego stuff.

The thing that's really weird to me is that Correia went from there to, "there's some sort of feminist-literati conspiracy to keep people like me off the ballot" instead of the usual response, which is to complain to your friends privately about the crappy story that got nominated while yours got overlooked (again).

I guess my point is -- his feelings (I was robbed! no one appreciates my genius!) are so universal, and are so understandable to me, and his actions are so completely not. I know so many writers who've never been up for one a Hugo, none of whom have ever considered trying to organize a cabal to take over the awards. Possibly because none of the rest of us felt entitled to the award in the first place.
dnexon
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:15 pm (UTC)
strategy
I don't doubt that Correia sincerely believes that there's a group of powerful people trying to keep him down, but this is an obvious and predictable strategy: map your grievances onto those of a preexisting movement -- conservative culture warriors -- in order to leverage their resources -- in this case, people willing to put out $40 to 'stick it to liberal cultural elites' -- for your ends. It worked.
(no subject) - Matt Stedman - Apr. 10th, 2015 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
egibbs
Apr. 10th, 2015 06:58 pm (UTC)
The Biggest Takeaway...
...a novel about ZOMBIES has been nominated for a Hugo? Well I best get readin', then!

And that's the story about how I got a great book recommendation from George R.R. Martin.

grrm
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:19 pm (UTC)
Re: The Biggest Takeaway...
Actually, I think that three of Mira Grant's zombie books have been nominated for a Hugo.

WALKING DEAD hasn't been, however. Which is a shame.
bradrtorgersen
Apr. 10th, 2015 08:37 pm (UTC)
Taste, politics, and blind spots
George,

I was quite thrilled to be the rare triple nominee, in 2012: Hugo, Nebula, Campbell. Not many have managed that. Unfortunately, that was also the year one major agent and at least two major editors admitted to me that neither the Hugo, nor the Campbell, nor the Nebula will help me with earning or negotiating a book deal with a traditional SF/F publisher. These are not (I was told) indicators of sales. They were fun bits of PR, but being a nominee or a winner did not cause books (with HUGO or NEBULA sparkly on the covers) to move faster, nor did being a Hugo or Nebula nominee or winner predict I would sell better-than-average.

That's when I started taking a closer look at how all of this has worked, both historically, and in the present.

If I could identify a single grievance that drives me emotionally to put my neck into the guillotine of Fandom public opinion, it's the blind spots. Not just politics and taste, but a combination of the two, which tends to leave a lot of people (and works) I admire, out in the cold.

Case in point. L.E. Modesitt, Jr. is one of the hardest working and reliable authors TOR has had in print over the last 20 years. Almost nothing of his is ever not on the shelves, somewhere. In fact, in some Barnes & Noble stores, Lee is a shelf unto himself. But I don't think Lee has ever had a single Hugo nomination. I've checked that, and unless someone can point me to a source, I think this is accurate.

Now, I have had many people say, "Good actors go whole careers never even getting an Oscar nomination," which I suppose is a kind of argument. Sure. But shouldn't an edifice of accomplishment and the building of a significant fan base count for something? Lee's good. Maybe there are taste arguments to the contrary, but I think Lee's up there with Vinge and Kim Stanley Robinson.

But Lee has not been on the radar with the Hugos, for reasons I can't fathom. The only way to fix something like this (from a purely fan perspective) is to rally on Lee's behalf. Get organized. Try to line up people who agree, or at least sympathetic, and push to a) get Lee on a final ballot, then b) close escrow for a potential win.

Maybe if there were a new Hugo category called "Lifetime Professional Achievement" and we started give one, or two, or even three of those a year to men like Modesitt, Kevin J. Anderson, etc., I'd not be a partisan.

Of course, Kev brings up the other thing: why are tie-in writers discriminated against? Why is writing tie-ins a sin? I have never, ever understood this attitude on the part of Worldcon. Some of the best SF/F I've ever read, has been tie-in work by the likes of A.C. Crispin and Diane Duane. But because this is tie-in stuff, it will never, ever have a chance with a Hugo slate -- barring a fan push like I described above.

These are the blind spots. I am not sure how to defeat a blind spot and make sure some good (great, even?) writers get their due. At least in the form of nominations. I can't force a win. But at least these men and women will have been present and counted, on the marble wall of the field called HUGO NOMINEES PAST AND PRESENT.

Because, frankly, once Scalzi won for his book REDSHIRTS, it was obvious *everything* should be on the table; for potential consideration, when contemplating nominations.
grrm
Apr. 10th, 2015 11:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Taste, politics, and blind spots
Look, we all have favorites, books and stories and writers we like. Some get recognized, some do not. And tastes differ.

I want the Hugo Awards to go to GREAT work. Work worthy to stand besides LORD OF LIGHT and THE DEMOLISHED MAN and THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS. There are lots of writers who have spent decades in the field and published dozens, even hundreds, of books, without ever rising above the level of mediocrity. You don't get a Hugo for longevity or number of books published.

Now, obviously, you admire the work of Kevin J. Anderson and Lee Modesitt and think they are writing Hugo-calibre stuff. Others may not... not because of "prejudice" or "campaigning," but because they are not taken by the work. Myself, I am far more outraged that Gene Wolfe has never won a Hugo, that Howard Waldrop has never won one, that Chad Oliver and Algis Budrys lived and died without winning one. Jack Vance won a couple, but if it were up to me, he'd have won twenty.

Point simply being, we all have favorites who get overlooked.

As for tie-ins, we will have to disagree. I don't think tie-ins SHOULD win Hugos. They are work-for-hire gigs, and they are lesser work. Part of the writer's art, especially in SF and fantasy, is worldbuilding. And character is the soul of all fiction. A tie-in writer has his world and characters handed to him. He tells a story, but he is not creating, not in the same way as a writer who starts from a blank sheet of paper.

Amd boy, you guys really hate REDSHIRTS. I don't understand that. It's just the kind of fun adventure story that I thought the Puppies wanted more of. Are you judging the work, or the author? Is it Scalzi's writing you hate, or his politics?
Re: Taste, politics, and blind spots - Tim McDonald - Apr. 11th, 2015 01:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Taste, politics, and blind spots - grrm - Apr. 11th, 2015 05:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Taste, politics, and blind spots - ksavagexxx - Apr. 11th, 2015 08:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Taste, politics, and blind spots - irilyth - Apr. 10th, 2015 11:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Taste, politics, and blind spots - ksavagexxx - Apr. 11th, 2015 02:06 am (UTC) - Expand
fr1dgeraider
Apr. 10th, 2015 08:47 pm (UTC)
A distinction that needs to be made
There's a distinction between claiming that there are talented writers that don't get many (or any) nominations, and claiming they are for political or religious reasons.

Terry Pratchett is considered by many to be one of the greats, but he never won a Hugo. He's an atheist and a liberal, where's the bias for him?

Some of puppies picks are from talented writers but there are some pretty solid reasons as to why they typically weren't considered. I love Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, but best novel is really hard to win and fast paced thrillers don't have great odds, especially when they require you to read 14 books beforehand. (As for why his early work didn't win, he simply wasn't good enough yet to warrant consideration.)
grrm
Apr. 10th, 2015 11:18 pm (UTC)
Re: A distinction that needs to be made
Please stop with the Terry Pratchett shit, guys.

Terry DECLINED his Hugo nomination. He did not need, or especially want, a Hugo.
mme_weremouse
Apr. 10th, 2015 09:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this, GRRM.
I have friends on both sides of this one, and I've been saddened by the rhetoric, too, as at least a few posters have said before me. One friend walked away from me because I congratulated another friend, Jason Cordova, who was nominated by the Sad Puppies in the John W. Campbell Award category, for his nomination...anyway, I don't completely understand what is going on here. (And I definitely do not like or support "Rabid Puppies," for the record. That my friend was nominated also by them -- he had no control over that whatsoever.)

But I do thank you for your measured, reasonable and rational response, complete with a long baseline about the Hugo Awards and who's gotten what award in the past. A little context is a good thing, here, and I think at least some of us have gotten away from that.

There are a few good things that have come out of this, mind. A novel from 47North got on the ballot by Marko Kloos...I thought that would take ten years to happen. A few indie and small press authors were nominated in the "best fan writer" category in Amanda Green and Cedar Sanderson, while Dave Freer -- a long-time industry pro -- was also nominated in that category. I'm happy with Sheila Gilbert's nomination and Annie Bellet's, and see no issues whatsoever with Toni Weisskopf's and Jim Minz's nominations either.

There are authors I would've nominated if I had the chance, mind. (I'm not going to WorldCon so do not have a vote.) I would've nominated Emily St. John Mandel's STATION ELEVEN and Katharine Eliska Kimbriel's SPIRAL PATH (the last an excellent YA novel that hasn't gotten its due because it came out via the Book View Cafe author consortium rather than a major publisher). Those were the two best novels published in 2014, and I will stand by my assessment until the end of time.

At any rate, I also dislike the term "Social Justice Warriors" (though some have co-opted it to take the negativity out, as they must), and dislike "CHORFS" as well even though I do like Brad Torgerson and his work. I prefer to think of it as "traditionalists" versus "upstarts." But whatever way you think of it, this is just sad, and it's already caused me to lose one long-term friend because my other friend, Jason, got nominated partly due to the auspices of "Rabid Puppies" -- something he neither expected nor probably wanted.

-- Barb Caffrey
jamesbean996
Apr. 11th, 2015 12:27 am (UTC)
What a thoughtful and carefully presented article! It's a shame that cooler heads cannot always prevail.

Reading al the comments, and following this fight a bit, it seems pretty obvious what is going on. Those outraged about slights done to them, their religious or conservative brethren seem to be living in an echo chamber.

For example, one person here pointed out "One of the greatest achievements in space history was derailed by the shirt a scientist wore." I VAGUELY remembered something about that. Being a long time religious follower of every single mission of my lifetime, and devouring all the data they produce, I thought maybe I'd missed something, and had to go looking.

Yes, one of the scientists on the Rosetta team wore a Hawaiian style shirt that probably was ill advised for the public event. Where my Hawaiian shirts are all loud and proud, they have flowers on them, this shirt was just "hot chicks." And, some women do NOT approve of "hot chicks." And I get it.

The women outraged are part of that same echo chamber. Seeing everything in terms of the worst possible viewpoint. But, their point is valid, certainly.

And, the author here who noted it was valid in pointing out it was a distraction. But, derailed the mission? No... most of the mainstream media never covered the "shirt-gate." Or, if they mentioned it, it was an aside. But, if you're in that bubble... then all you hear is how evil women attacked science because of a shirt. OR, the other bubble, how a misogynistic man made science even less accessible to women with his tasteless shirt.

Neither of those echo chambers really cares about the science involved. Both are looking solely for the political point.

Orson Scott Card was mentioned. What wasn't really mentioned, though, was the real reason for any backlash (which was minor) for his stated opinions regarding homosexuality. Many in that community liked his books partly because some of them appeared to be sensitive to aspects of the homosexual experience. The sexual confusion and complications in some of his stories mirror the experience of many LGBT young people. So, when an author who might have believed to be sensitive comes out and says hurtful things, it produces more of a reaction, than when Pat Robertson blames gays for the latest Hurricane.

As it stands, I didn't see that hurting his bottom line at all.

We live in a time when one group that has all rights and privileges claims they are under attack when another group merely requests the same rights.

Let's say that again, a different way.

You have 100 jelly beans. You're entitled to 100 jelly beans. They're yours.

I have been denied jelly beans my whole life, but someone finally passes a law that says "Everyone should get 100 jelly beans" So, I have been given my jelly beans.

Now, you are outraged, and feel you are being attacked. The very value and virtue of jelly beans is at stake!

I ask you... who is the one oppressing? Who is the one being hostile? Who is the threat to peace? The one WITH 100 jelly beans, unwilling to allow anyone else to have their own jelly beans? Or, the one without jelly beans, asking for the right to have his own jelly beans?

The Bible? I know the book. It doesn't say anything the current crop of Conservatives claim it does. What it DOES say is "Insofar as you do unto these, the LEAST of my brethren, you do unto me." That pretty much sums up that aspect. Live and let live. Leave the gays alone, and they won't have to be "militant" by merely asking for equal rights.

Oh, and I, too, am a fan of swashbuckling science fiction. But, was TOTALLY unaware that had been attacked and was missing. Certainly we know GRRM buckles some swash now and then (and quite a few boobs and wangs, too ;-). As do many, MANY of the authors proudly displaying their Hugo losers ribbons, or actually hoisting the award (not invited to the losers shindig, of course).

Maybe one day we'll all come out of our echo chambers, blink at the harsh light of reality, and begin to realize we're all pretty cool, and fun, and get over ourselves?

Or not... Yeah... probably not.
TheRedViper
Apr. 11th, 2015 08:09 am (UTC)
The Numbers Game
Even if liberals did win more often, so what?

Undisputable facts: (1) Most artists are liberal. (2) Creative writing is an art. (3) Thus, liberals will win more writing awards than conservatives. It's mathematics.

If we were talking about awards for "best police officer," the numbers would probably be reversed.
riley37
Apr. 11th, 2015 09:04 am (UTC)
Worldcon Privilege Inventory
Mr. Martin, on one hand, it's nice to see your relatively reasonable discussion, clearly driven more by love of what's good (including good writing) that by a desire to see one's enemies suffer.

On another hand, you have a blind spot which I find *baffling*. GoT is about many things; one of them, is reality looking radically different from different perspectives, and the value of seeing what is there rather than what one would prefer to see. You write that theme so well. Isn't it a personal value?

"I have read Correia's blog, and ... It shocks me to hear it, because the fandom I know has always been warm and welcoming to people of all political views. We are there to party and flirt and celebrate SF, after all. I regret any personal attacks or abuse that Correia may have suffered."

This reminds me of other passages by "insiders" baffled at how an "outsider" had a different experience. Yes, the Ivy League WASP had a GREAT time at Mr. Gatsby's party, and is BAFFLED at how the lady from Jaipur had a less pleasant experience. She's a scholar; when has a scholar ever been treated less than respectfully at Mr. Gatsby's parties?

When she's a woman from Jaipur, that's when. Which has nothing to do with her scholarship, and everything to do with whether she's welcome.

When has an author-and-fan ever been treated less well than you get treated, at Worldcon?

When he's a big guy with a loud voice, who sells guns, that's when. Which has nothing to do with his love of SF and his ability to add a few novels to the genre, and everything to do with whether he's welcome.

There's a social track in which one eventually gets introduced to the Nielsen Haydens and accepted as an honorary, provisional trufan... and does that track affect how one's stories are read, how seriously they're considered for nomination? You tell me, Mr. Martin, under the three eyes of Raven.

Corriera's blog strikes me as the writing of a man with integrity, willing to fight when need arises. Vox Day and John Wright drip venom *for the sake of venom*. But when people leave the room at the mere sight of Corriera, *because of rumors*, rather than engage him directly, well, then he either stands alone or he stands with the likes of Torgersen, Wright and Day, not so?

I wish that you, Scalzi, Corriera and Torgersen could have a reasonable conversation, because I think the four of you would stick to facts. You aren't accusing Torgersen of white supremacy (his wife is black), but people are, people on your "side" of Puppygate. (Pick your counter-example from the other side; you have all too many horrible options.) If the truth-over-truthiness people on both sides of the middle could talk, without the bloodthirsty masses screaming from behind them, then something useful might emerge. But as it is, you stand in the shadow of the people who send pre-emptive hate-tweets to Jonathan Ross, and Corriera stands in the shadow of the Gamergaters who instigate SWAT raids hoping for tragedy.

And then, when the four of you hashed out some rough-draft proposals for reform, then the Neilsen Haydens would say that your proposals didn't matter, because they didn't come from the true fans. Not so?

I'm a self-identified Social Justice Warrior. I see some social justice on the Sad Puppy side of the story. (Not on the Rabid Puppy side. Willingness to share the Puppy name might be the Sad Puppy's fatal mistake.)
Colum Paget
Apr. 11th, 2015 02:58 pm (UTC)
# I had seen RH's blog, once or twice, but once I saw what it was, I did not go
# back there. It was enough to know it was a cesspool without jumping into it
# on a regular basis.

Yah, I understand that. But her reign shows that something's been going on. Between her and her legions of followers, and other angry voices in SF, a lot of people have experienced being attacked and silenced. If you say the wrong things, and you never know what the wrong thing will be, things can go very badly for you. A story I wrote got critiqued by an RH follower once, and they laid out an impressive narrative to prove I was a racist. I spoke to them and pointed out two lines that disproved their argument. They accepted they were wrong, but I was left thinking "What if I'd cut out those two lines? They didn't really carry weight." Well, then I'd have been burned online as a racist and god-knows-what-else.

I think a lot more people than we realize have had just this experience. It's hard to know what to do about it, because there's a culture of entitlement that says it's okay to 'call people out' in the strongest terms for things you percieve they're saying. I see you complaining about the use of the term 'social justice warrior', but a lot of people on the SP side of things have been deluged with attacks denouncing them as racist, misogynistic, and homophobic, and they're now mad as hell about it (some of them, unfortunately, seem to have gone litterally a little mad, which I can relate to, RH drove me a little mad).

I've been talking to the SP crowd over on Mr Corriea's blog, and when people say it's 'like gamergate' they're not too far wrong, (I don't think the SP's would mind me saying that) it's a big mass of people angry about lots of different things, all milling around together. They're saying "actually it's about broadening the Hugo nominations" but it's not really true, it's about much more than that. It's about a community that's declared it's going to create a safe, inclusive space for all, which has achieved the exact opposite, given what we discovered about requires_hate, no-one was safe. Some of these people have, for me, very objectional views. Some of them don't. Somewhere in there there's going to be some idiot dumb enough to start sending rape or death threats to people. But some people in the left-leaning SF crowd have, for me, very objectionable views, and we have to admit that, with requires_hate, the left also has a troll that's prepared to issue calls for rape and murder. People I've met in fandom are somehow able to denounce the anonymous threats of gamergate, and judge the entire gamer community on the basis of those, while at the same time approving of requires_hate (you can tell me these people are unrepresentitive, and it may be true, but they're who I've met) and we need to stop doing that. The SP crowd have come to believe that there's a kindof conspiracy to drive them out of SF, and given the things that I've personally experienced, I totally understand why they feel that way. When you've got Charles Stross calling you a 'dinosaur' that needs to be 'cleaned out of the genre', you're going to get a little paranoid. Unfortunately, some of them now have a big long list of names of people they can't stand, and whom they think are pretty much fascists, and there's loads of names on that list of people I know. Quite how everyone manuevers out of the situation, especially given that there's going to be people who wont want to, I don't know.
sandial
Apr. 12th, 2015 09:50 am (UTC)
Bravo!
Brilliant job, George, well done!

I'd thought about doing something like this for my very hot and busy Facebook page, but I didn't have the patience. Just as well, since you did it better than I could have anyway.

Aside from your total demolition of SP claims of egregious SJW domination of the Hugos, two facts stood out.

1) Brad Torgerson lost both novelette and the Campbell the same night at Chicon in 2012.

2) Larry Correia lost the Campbell at Reno in 2011.

You don't say it here but I will. The SP campaign has nothing to do with restoring the primacy of "good ole skiffy," which is doing just fine, thanks, as your analysis shows. Rather, the timing and circumstances strongly suggest it was actually triggered by the bitterness Brad and Larry felt about losing. This mess isn't about reforming elitist taste-making, it's about wrecking the awards in revenge for the big dogs' disappointments.

As I've said all week over on FB, these guys are nothing more than smart, politically clever, sore losers.
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