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Once More, Into the Kennels

Brad Torgersen has added a post to his blog: "Sad Puppies: We Are Not Rabid Puppies."

Larry Correia has also spoken up on MONSTER HUNTER NATION: "I Am Not Vox Day."

I commend them both for making the distinction so loudly and clearly. And I accept what they say. The Sad Puppies are not Rabid Puppies. Larry Correia is not Vox Day. I regret anything I might have done or said that blurred the line, or created a false impression that all Puppies were the same. (Admittedly, having 'Puppies' in the name of both slates does foster confusion). I am glad you set that straight.

But now... sorry, sorry... I have a few more thoughts that have occured to me about Puppygate. Questions, really.

I think we are all pretty clear on where the Rabid Puppy slate came from: Vox Day made it up. He listed a lot of books and movies and editors and writers he liked, told his followers to vote for them, and they did. Pretty cut and dried. And that's the last I will say about the Rabids.

I am a little more unclear on the process that created the Sad Puppy slate. Brad, if I recall correctly (and do correct me if I am wrong), you said that you solicited nominations and suggestions from the readers of your blog. Presumably Mr. Correia did the same on MONSTER HUNTER NATION. Maybe other blogs were involved. Sarah Hoyt? I don't know. In any case, you asked for suggestions, and you received a lot of them. And from those, you produced the Sad Puppy slate.

My question, though... how did you go about the winnowing? Presumably more than five books/ stories/ editors were suggested for each category. Yet you did not throw them all onto a long Recommended Reading list, as happens, say, with LOCUS or NESFA. Presumably some of your fans and readers did not see their own favorites reflected on the final list. So how was the slate selected? Were the books and stories you listed those that got the most votes? In other words, was your process a sort of "primary election," to select candidates for the general? Alternatively, did you pick and choose, putting on some suggestions, discarding others? Did you do that by yourself? Was it you and Larry Correia? You and Larry and some other people of like minds?

In your last blog post, your wrote:

"The objectives of Sad Puppies 3 have been simple and consistent:

● Use the democratic selection system of the Hugo awards.
● No “quiet” logrolling. Make it transparent.
● Boost authors, editors, and works — regardless of political persuasion.
● Bring recognition to people who’ve been long overlooked.
● Get some good promotion for new folks coming up in the field.
● Have fun!

I will take you at your word that these were the aims of the Sad Puppies, as opposed to those of the Rabid Puppies, which seem to be more simply, "Destroy the Hugos, outrage the liberals, and plunge all fandom into war."

I'll give you the fourth and fifth on your list. You did bring recognition to people who had long been overlooked (whether it was a good sort of recognition is another question, but you certainly got their names out there), and you did generate lots of promotion for some newer folks, most notably the Campbell nominees, and, well, the two young writers who have withdrawn.

I would quibble about your third stated aim. Yes, you did include some women and some minority writers and some writers with different political views on your Sad Puppy slate, but... oh, hell, look, I will grant you that one too, for the sake of argument. My interest is elsewhere.

And for aim number six -- have fun -- boy, howdy. Are we having fun yet? I'm not. Are you?

Moving on, though, I would like to focus on the first and second aims.

Number one, you wanted to use the democratic selection method of the Hugo Awards. And we're all in favor of democracy, of course. Except... was your own selection procedure democractic? The stories and novels on your slate, were those the ones that were selected most often, the ones that got the most nominations? If you tell me they were, fine... then you had a primary. But if you tell me that you (or you and Mr. Correia, or you and he and some other Sad Puppies) made judgment calls of your own from amongst the books and stories put forward by your readers... why, that would not be democratic at all. That would be, well, a clique operating behind closed doors. Maybe even a one-man clique, if it was just you.

So tell me, if you would: how did you get from lots of suggestions down to four or five per category? What were your criteria, and who made the final choices??

Which brings me to your second stated aim. "No quiet logrolling. Make it transparent."

The Hugo Awards have been transparent for decades. Not always, admittedly -- final vote totals and nominations were not generally released in the 60s and 70s, and there were always rumors of funny stuff going on behind closed doors. I credit Charles Brown and LOCUS with breaking that down, by making a point of demanding the hard numbers year after year, until the concoms finally began to do so. This year, as for many years now, after all the rockets have been handed out, as the fans begin to leave the auditorium in Spokane, they will be handed sheets with a complete voting breakdown of every category. Sometimes the complete list of nominating totals are included as well; if not, those turn up slightly later. Nominations not just for the books and stories that made the ballot, but for all those that did not. Everyone will be able to see how much they won by, how much they lost by. Hard numbers. Transparency.

(I find these endlessly fascinating myself. Every year, I find myself poring over the numbers at the Hugo Losers party, when I really should be drinking and flirting. What can I say? I can't help myself).

I am sure I would be equally intrigued by your own "primary" numbers. You favor transparency. Would you be willing to show us your own "primary" results? How many people made suggestions? How many books were nominated? How many votes did each of them get? Were any passed over for the slate, and if so, why? Hard numbers, same as the Hugos. Just so, you know, fandom -- and your own Puppies -- can know for certain that no "quiet log-rolling" went on.

One last question. You say you want inclusion. You say you want democracy. And you have already announced Sad Puppies 4, aimed at the 2016 Hugo Awards at Big Mac II. I understand that Kate Paulk of MAD GENIUS CLUB will be running things next year. I presume the mechanism will be the same -- a call for suggestions, which will then somehow be winnowed down to a slate. (If that's wrong, do correct me, I want to have the facts).

So maybe my last question is for Kate Paulk rather than you or Mr. Correia. I don't know. But it's a simple question. When you open up Sad Puppies 4 for nominations...

Can I nominate?

I read a lot of books and stories. I have editors and fan writers and artists I think are shamefully overlooked, same as you. I am a fan too. Can I nominate my own favorites, and be assured that they will be given equal weight to Larry Correia's nominations, and Brad's, and John C. Wright's, and all the other Puppies?

We want democracy. We want transparency. We don't want log-rolling. General elections need to be honest, but primary elections should be honest too. And you guys do NOT believe in any sort of political litmus tests, I know, you've said as much a hundred times... so I know you will welcome my own suggestions for Sad Puppies 4, right? Oh, and PNH and TNH, and N.K. Jemisin, and Connie Willis, and David Gerrold, and John Scalzi, and all my friends in the Brotherhood Without Banners... we all love science fiction, we all love puppies...

Can we play too?


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Apr. 18th, 2015 03:37 am (UTC)
What was the Sad Puppies process?
"Snow! Snow! Hugo! CORN!"

I'm just rubbernecking this drama, but my instinct is that fans of fantasy / sci-fi will continue to congregate, convene, applaud and reward their favorite works. Maybe the "Camelot" days of the Hugos are fading and the loci of attention will be more diffused among several parlors, but the craft seems healthy and the fans seem engaged... and unless the "Furious Puppies" actually succeed in "destroying" the Hugos (which doesn't seem likely, these reactionary movements seem to top out at a certain point) then life, art and business should continue to be splendid. I hope you're enjoying all this analysis for the most part, George, and not letting it aggravate you.

Oh, and thanks for all the thought-provocking adventures about society and rulership. Inspiring work.

Edited at 2015-04-18 03:39 am (UTC)
Brendan Coffey
Apr. 18th, 2015 03:58 am (UTC)
How the worm turns...
Hah! A definite touch, and I'd love to see their response. I predict a lot of hemming and hawing and sideways talk that will sum up to, "But you're the evil, monolithic Lib'ral conspiracy we're fighting in the first place! *fuming* Fine, It's an open process, nominate who you'd like. But we don't have to listen."

Whether any such nominations make the slate is another matter entirely. Either The Puppies would have to formalize their slate creation process, opening themselves up to the same organized campaign tactics they've introduced to the Hugos, Or admit their slate is their slate, and any suggestions are just that. Which one would hope would bring down the air of self-righteousness a bit, but I think that unlikely.

Apr. 18th, 2015 04:02 am (UTC)
If the answer is « no »...
Mr Martin, you know what that means....

Puppies Without Banners!!!
Apr. 18th, 2015 04:29 am (UTC)
I don't think there's an obligation for putting together a rec list to be democratic, though if a readership of a blog repeatedly mention the same works there would be some rough approximation thereto. The democracy turns up later in the Hugo voting process.

I think the sad puppies are people with whom rapprochement is possible of an agree to disagree sort on what sort of books you like but you can agree that the Hugo process should not be broken in this way again. They like the books more than the politics.

The rabid puppies however seem more than happy to break Everything because no one should have nice things. The politics is what matters to them not books.
Michael Mischnick
Apr. 20th, 2015 02:51 pm (UTC)
I guess I would agree with you if the SPs didn't vote in lockstep as a bloc. When that happens, it moves beyond being a "rec list" and becomes a concerted effort to use "democracy" to your advantage.

And no, "the democracy" doesn't "turn up later in the Hugo voting process" if the SP nominating block excludes who would have won in a "true" democracy.
Re: Hmmm... - shiv5468 - Apr. 21st, 2015 06:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hmmm... - grrm - Apr. 21st, 2015 05:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hmmm... - shiv5468 - Apr. 21st, 2015 06:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hmmm... - grrm - Apr. 22nd, 2015 12:12 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 18th, 2015 04:37 am (UTC)
Brad Torgersen had a call for suggestions in January which did result in a number of suggested works put forward in the comments. The largish number of suggestions were narrowed down to what became the official "Sad Puppies 3" slate. The exact method used was never made transparent. The open call did not include any mention of a number of works* that made the finalised SP3 slate, and that intrigues me.

*They include the Marko Kloos, the Annie Bellet, and Matthew David Surridge to name three.

Edited at 2015-04-18 06:44 am (UTC)
Frank Probst
Apr. 18th, 2015 04:59 am (UTC)
Torgensen and Correia
Torgensen and Correia are almost irrelevant at this point. The Hugos are dominated almost completely by the Rabid Puppy slate. I think it's fairly clear that Torgensen and Correia were trying to get their picks on the Hugo ballot (and oftentimes their slate didn't have 5 picks, so there was "room" for other authors to get on the ballot). I think it's fair to ask them--as you're doing here--how they came up with their choices, and how they'll do it in the future. But their efforts were obviously highjacked by Vox Day. I'm fairly sure Torgensen and Correia knew what Vox Day was doing, but I don't think they expected him to have been as successful as he was, and they ended up getting caught up in the ensuing shitstorm. I fully expect Vox Day to highjack Sad Puppies 4, too, so while I'm curious as to how the SP4 slate will be decided, I don't really think it matters.
Apr. 18th, 2015 06:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Torgensen and Correia
Yup. Their intentions may have been mainly pure, but they really opened Pandora's box.
Re: Torgensen and Correia - reziac - Apr. 19th, 2015 03:45 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Torgensen and Correia - calif_troweller - Apr. 18th, 2015 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 18th, 2015 05:13 am (UTC)
"Bring recognition to people who’ve been long overlooked."
"Get some good promotion for new folks coming up in the field."

I thought the purpose of the Sad Puppies was to make the Hugo Awards blind. The quality of the work, editor, magazine, etc is all that should be considered but this goes against that. Sure, they sound like nice things to do but is it really different then what the people they are fighting are doing?

I agree it would be fair to include everyone in the next Sad Puppies slate. I think they'll only concede to that request if everyone agrees to nominate according to their no litmus test rules. Will everyone agree to that? Isn't that what this whole fight is about? I presume their will be a certain amount of distrust.

Either way, if everyone participates in the Sad Puppies slate does that mean controversy over?

Edited at 2015-04-18 07:12 am (UTC)
Apr. 18th, 2015 08:00 pm (UTC)
>I think they'll only concede to that request if everyone agrees to nominate according to their no litmus test rules. Will everyone agree to that?

How exactly would that work? It's nominations, after all. If GRRM or somebody else doesn't nominate Vox Day, is it because they're applying a litmus test? Or maybe they just didn't read it. Or didn't like it enough to nominate it compared to everything else they read.

If enough people don't nominate somebody, is someone going to stand up and say "the reason these people aren't getting nominated is because somebody's applying a litmus test!" And then will we need some Sad Fleas who ride on the back of the Sad Puppies to influence THEIR nominations (and littler bugs inside them, and so ad infinitum)

I don't think it's a matter of distrust, it's a matter of it fundamentally being impossible to prove one way or the other.
Apr. 18th, 2015 05:29 am (UTC)

The answers to those questions will be very interesting if they are honest and even more interesting if they are not. The results should certainly clear up much of the confusion and even perhaps alleviate some misconceptions - on both sides.

I am all for giving them the chance to answer, without prejudging the outcomes. Perhaps those who post in this thread can refrain from making any predictions of the answers. Try and leave our biases at the door and avoid trying to predict the answers and their validity and just see what happens? It could be enlightening and vitriol beforehand seems pointless and bolsters already entrenched positions.
Apr. 18th, 2015 05:32 am (UTC)
George, this is great. You have made my night. Hee hee hee...

"Can we play too?"
Apr. 18th, 2015 06:03 am (UTC)
This entire incident might end up being good for the Hugo's after all.
If everyone can move past arguing about the politics of the books, and can have a large discussion of a wide variety of authors and works then I don't see how that could be a bad thing. Right now the nominees of the past seem to be just the books that the blogs review, and the all seem to review the same exact books.

The way I see it at the moment is that the Hugo process up until now has been kind of like the NIT, but it might have the potential to become March Madness, if and only if the focus can remain on the work. A lot of teams in the NCCA during the tournament won't win and everyone knows it, but the games are still fun to watch, and sometimes a small school like UW-Green Bay makes a run out of no where. We could have a process similar to that where books and authors are talked about long before voting begins, and even if they don't make the ballot at least fans will be exposed to authors and books that they may not have been exposed to. That definitely sounds a lot better to me that potentially having a 2-party system that could also happen.

I hope that is what your post is alluding to.
Apr. 18th, 2015 06:24 am (UTC)
Nominating names instead of titles
Your friends should get awards just because they are your friends? Where are the titles of the works you want to see on the ballot? For example, what did David Gerrold write that you want him to get a nomination for?

I think you just painted yourself into a corner.
Apr. 18th, 2015 06:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Nominating names instead of titles
I think you need to learn to read.

No one said anything about nominating David Gerrold for a Hugo.

I asked if David Gerrold could nominate works for Sad Puppies 4. Along with all the other names I mentioned, and hundreds more I did not mention.

If the Sad Puppies are meant to represent all of fandom, then all of fandom should be able to take part.
Re: Nominating names instead of titles - jordan179 - Apr. 18th, 2015 08:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Nominating names instead of titles - steventinel - Apr. 20th, 2015 09:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Nominating names instead of titles - grrm - Apr. 20th, 2015 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Nominating names instead of titles - abrantes - Apr. 21st, 2015 12:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Nominating names instead of titles - grrm - Apr. 21st, 2015 06:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Nominating names instead of titles - steventinel - Apr. 21st, 2015 05:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Nominating names instead of titles - grrm - Apr. 21st, 2015 06:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 18th, 2015 06:43 am (UTC)
Now that is an idea!
I'd also have several nominations! There really is so much being overlooked these days!:)

By the way, I'm sure you saw but in case you didn't, there were some numbers posted with the final Sasquan Ballot (http://file770.com/?p=21930&cpage=1)
Together with knowing which stories came in as a replacement it gives you a rough idea about the sad and rabid numbers. The rabids must have indeed outnumbered the sad puppies at least in the categories were fewer people vote.
Apr. 18th, 2015 06:50 am (UTC)
SP selection process
So far the Sp selection process has been different each year.

SP1 Larry's books

SP2 things Larry liked (and several others in the SP camp put up their own lists)

SP3 Brad asked others for suggestions, then contacted (most of) the authors to be sure they know what sort of abuse they were going to get and didn't object (the abuse ended up being a lot worse than expected)

for SP4 the selection process is going to be up to Kate Paulk who is planning to spearhead it.

i really do think that if you sent her suggestions, they would receive equal weight to other suggestions. Who knows how many suggestions she will make for each slot, if she will push it as a ;slate' or have multiple suggestion lists from different authors, or what.

personally, I don't expect SP4 to kick off until well after the Hugos are announced this year, and what happens there is likely to affect the tone of SP4 significantly.

SP3 was announced early in January, so Kate may wait until then, or she may start publicizing it earlier as she is looking for books to suggest.

not all the Baen Barflies are SP folks, but there is a fair bit of overlap between the communities, and the biggest thing is the constant hunt for new good things to read. These are the folks who constantly harass Toni for e-ARC releases and then buy them at $15 each and read them in <12 hours from their release. Larry commented at a book signing that his latest release had earned out his advance just from the e-ARC sales. While I don't generally buy the e-ARC releases, I did download the May 4 releases yesterday from the montly bundle and have already read two of them

so, please, suggest away!!
Apr. 18th, 2015 08:09 pm (UTC)
Re: SP selection process
"i really do think that if you sent her suggestions, they would receive equal weight to other suggestions."

Why should anyone assume good faith by future Puppies organizers and make suggestions to them? We've heard frequent accusations of bad faith about past Hugo voters coming from Correia and the other Puppies. Even though he never substantiated these allegations, and in fact admitted on his blog he had zero evidence, people spread the claim far and wide.

So as one of those Hugo voters since 2008, I find it pretty odd to be asked to trust the Puppies to act in good faith when they had so much distrust for us. I trust thousands of voters participating in the Hugo process to select nominations. I don't trust random people assembling slates.
Re: SP selection process - davidlang - Apr. 18th, 2015 09:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: SP selection process - liscarey - Apr. 19th, 2015 03:32 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: SP selection process - davidlang - Apr. 19th, 2015 08:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: SP selection process - grrm - Apr. 19th, 2015 06:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: SP selection process - reziac - Apr. 19th, 2015 03:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: SP selection process - davidlang - Apr. 19th, 2015 08:50 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: SP selection process - perimyndith - Apr. 19th, 2015 05:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 18th, 2015 07:16 am (UTC)
George, you have been very diplomatic in this whole drama fueled saga.
I understand that you as a pillar of fantasy authors everywhere, had no choice to be any other way. You could not very well be like, "Trolololol I am GRRM and more famous than you chumps. I am a cool kid, you losers are not. My loyal fans; attack them! Or no books will be finished! ;)" (though to be fair, this would have saved you from writing a lot of words)

But I commend you for your efforts and I read every single word in regards to how you have responded. When drama is usually flung my way? I usually ignore it completely or troll (with some honorable limits) and have a good laugh.

I can learn a lot from you. In regards to being a new author myself, when it comes to handling this type of drama or any drama of the writing world. I am also probably in the minority here, in regards to being a fan of yours personally as a human being, but not any of your books. I admit they are amazing and crafted by a master, but the flavor just is not right for me.
Mike Glyer
Apr. 18th, 2015 08:14 am (UTC)
Release of Hugo statistics
The Hugo Award voting statistics were required to be a released after George Flynn and I got the rule added to the WSFS Constitution in 1978.

After that not only Charles N. Brown and Locus, but Andrew Porter and Science Fiction Chronicle, and even Mike Glyer and File 770 were able to report these figures.
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