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Wars, Woes, Work

Life is impossibly busy right now. I am wrestling with the Son of Kong (that is, working on THE WINDS OF WINTER), trying to wrap up a final round of edits and revisions on the twenty-third Wild Cards book (HIGH STAKES), developing three new series concepts for HBO and Cinemax, hiring writers and directors for three short low-budget films I am hoping to produce based on some classic SF short stories (more on that in the months to come), making my way through the Hugo Packet to prepare to vote, looking forward to opening JURASSIC WORLD at the Cocteay and to hosting a ten-author special event for the release of Steve Stirling's new "Emberverse" anthology, THE CHANGE. In a week's time, we'll be flying off to Europe for long-planned appearances in Germany (Hamburg) and Sweden (Stockholm), en route to Archipelacon on the island of Aland, where I am to be the Guest of Honor...

In the midst of all this, wars old and new continue to rage all around me.

I had rather hoped that the Puppy Wars would have died down by now. Naive of me. Far from it, things keep getting worse. All the grisly details of this ongoing nastiness can be seen at FILE 770 over at http://file770.com/. ((Mike Glyer deserves the 2016 Best Fanzine Hugo for his even-handed and thorough coverage of Puppygate, linking to virtually everything posted on the subject anywhere on the internet)).

I want to single out the postings of Eric Flint. The latest, at http://www.ericflint.net/index.php/2015/06/09/a-response-to-brad-torgersen/ , is a devastating point-by-point deconstruction and refutation of the latest round of Puppystuff from Brad Torgersen. Flint says what I would have said, if I had the time or the energy, but he says it better than I ever could. ((I will be nominating him for a Hugo too. For Best Fan Writer)). His earlier posts on Puppygate are all worth reading too. He is a voice of reason in a sea of venom.

I will add one point. The emptiness of the Puppy arguments is indicated clearly by how much time they seem to spend in coming up with new insulting terms for those who oppose them. The facts are against them, logic is against them, history is against them, so they go for sneers and mocking names. First it was SJWs. Then CHORFs. The latest is "Puppy-kickers." Next week, no doubt, they will have something else. Reading all the blogs and comments that Glyer links to from FILE 770 has convinced me that anyone who starts throwing these terms around can pretty much be discounted; you will find no sense in what they say, only sneers and talking points.

Meanwhile, other wars are breaking out on other fronts, centered around the last few episodes of GAME OF THRONES. It is not my intention to get involved in those, nor to allow them to take over my blog and website, so please stop emailing me about them, or posting off-topic comments here on my Not A Blog. Wage those battles on Westeros, or Tower of the Hand, or Boiled Leather, or Winter Is Coming, or Watchers on the Walls. Anyplace that isn't here, actually.

Yes, I know that THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER named me "the third most powerful writer in Hollywood" last December. You would be surprised at how little that means. I cannot control what anyone else says or does, or make them stop saying or doing it, be it on the fannish or professional fronts. What I can control is what happens in my books, so I am going to return to that chapter I've been writing on THE WINDS OF WINTER now, thank you very much.

Comments

bradrtorgersen
Jun. 13th, 2015 05:07 am (UTC)
Which way the venom flows
George,

Which of the Puppies are clueless? Is it me? The readers? Somebody else? From which way does the venom flow? There's a lady over at TOR who's in a lot of hot water right now, because she regurgitated venom she'd absorbed (or been spoon-fed) by folks on your "side" of this thing. Her chief mistake was in assuming that she knew who she was calling names, when she did not.

And now the customers are remarkably unhappy with her.

I've said it before: I don't mind people who criticize Sad Puppies 3 for either mode, or method. If you can criticize the method, without impugning the integrity of the man, all well and good. That's a conversation worth having.

Problem is, some opponents of Sad Puppies 3 have been impugning the man (singularly, collectively) from the get-go, and the invective has been of a type and kind so outlandish, so below the belt, so filled with promises both dire and dreadful, that I've struggled to understand why people who claim to tread the high frontiers of the world's most imaginative form of literature, can be frightened into nasty hysterics by the fact that a democratic process was exercised democratically.

Eric Flint's a friend of mine, and I trust him on most things. But he's not immune from getting it wrong. I think his criticism has been better then most, because he's tried to be fair-minded. But he's also gotten a few things out of whack.

CHORF came about because the SMOFs who are supporting Sad Puppies didn't want to be lumped in with the hysterical crowd calling Sad Puppies a lot of terrible stuff.

Puppy-kicker was suggested to me by a female member of the Sad Puppies 3 slate who was tired of seeing anti-Puppy ad hominem attacks. So, I adopted Puppy-kicker as a means of referring to people who are in it for the sake of personal vendetta, or who can't seem to stop themselves from being nasty churls at a personal level, against everything and everyone Puppy-related.

CHORF and Puppy-kicker may seem offensive to some, but they are attempts to refine the conversation while not letting the bad-spirited, badly-behaving actors off the hook.

And to be blunt about it, George, some of the folks on "your" side have been very, very bad-spirited, and made it their personal business to be fantastically terrible to not just myself, not just Larry Correia, but to all of Puppydom. And as Tom Doherty discovered, Puppydom also includes respected colleagues and authors with decades of investment in this field. As well as a heap-load of readers. You know, those people who pay us money for the crazy shit we make up and pull out of our heads?

I'd love to see things dialed down, but the bulk of the dialing has to come from your "side" and to be honest, I am not really sure the fans (aka: customers!) who've been tarred with the anti-Puppy brush, are feeling terribly pleased at the moment. This was never a top-down effort, it was always grass-roots. Larry, myself, Sad Puppies, we gave faces and a name to a sentiment that's been there for many years. Among the readership. Among people who were tired of being treated like they were second-class citizens, either because of their Fandom pedigrees, or because of their Fandom tastes and interests, or because they were professionals deemed to be "cut-rate" in the back-room conversations amongst other pros.

That kind of thing leaves bruises to the bone, George. And whether you like it or not, it's some of the people on your side eagerly doing the bruising.

Edited at 2015-06-13 05:17 am (UTC)
grrm
Jun. 13th, 2015 07:00 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
REPLY TO BRAD T, PART ONE

>Which of the Puppies are clueless? Is it me? The readers? >Somebody else? From which way does the venom flow? There's a >lady over at TOR who's in a lot of hot water right now, because >she regurgitated venom she'd absorbed (or been spoon-fed) by >folks on your "side" of this thing. Her chief mistake was in >assuming that she knew who she was calling names, when she did >not.

I have spoken out against name-calling from the first, Brad. It is the Puppies and their supporters who started it, and who keep dialing it up. I will concede that you yourself have been mostly civil, but read the comments in your own blog, or Correia's, or even on FILE 770, and it is all venom and epithets.

>And now the customers are remarkably unhappy with her.

The vast majority of customers have no idea about any of this. The "unhappiness" here is a campaign orchestrated by the odious Mr. Beale, and once again you Sad Puppies have lined up behind the Rabids. Early in this debate, I heard a lot of stuff from your side about careers being threatened and your opponents saying "you will never work in this town again" and similar crap. Not one instance of that was ever substantiated. But now we are seeing a deliberate internet campaign to cost someone their career -- and it is coming from VD, with the full howling support of Puppies of all stripes.

No one on "my side" ever threatened anyone's livelihood or career. Your side is doing just that. In public.

>I've said it before: I don't mind people who criticize Sad >Puppies 3 for either mode, or method. If you can criticize the >method, without impugning the integrity of the man, all well and >good. That's a conversation worth having.

Agreed... in general. But what happens when the opponent then demonstrates that they have no integrity? That they are more interested in causing harm than finding common ground? Numerous people who are, if not Puppies, at least Puppy supporters, have been very vocal in saying they joined this fight to "stick it to the SJWs" or "watch them scream" or "destroy the Hugos." How does one discuss the issues with such people?

bradrtorgersen
Jun. 15th, 2015 01:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
George,

Do you concede that there are readers and fans in this world who don't give a damn what Beale says or does, but they *do* give a damn when an employee at the publisher whose products they buy, calls them "neo-nazis" or "racist, sexists, misogynists."

Yes, or no.

Do you also concede that there is a huge difference between "I am sorry my words hurt you" and "My words were wrong, I should not have said them, and I apologize for being wrong"?

Yes or no.

Also, because you did not see a thing (Puppy careers being threatened) this does not automatically mean that thing never happened?

Yes, or no.
Re: Which way the venom flows - grrm - Jun. 16th, 2015 05:13 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - Joe Vasicek - Jun. 16th, 2015 09:06 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - Mark Ping - Jun. 16th, 2015 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - lagopus_muta - Jun. 16th, 2015 06:39 am (UTC) - Expand
Anders Scholl
Jun. 15th, 2015 04:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
I will concede that you yourself have been mostly civil

An enormously generous concession, and one that in my opinion really isn't deserved. Torgersen might refrain from saying especially nasty things about individuals, but his commentary is packed full of outrageous nonsense directed at an amorphous mass of perceived enemies. I tend to think that this brand of incivility is far more destructive than unkind personal attacks, particularly coming from a leader of the more 'reasonable' puppy-faction.
bradrtorgersen
Jun. 16th, 2015 03:31 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
George, you still have not unscreened my three questions.

But I will add: are the photos (at this TOR author's blog) the work of people being "orchestrated" by Beale? From across the country and across the globe? Yes, or no.

http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/2015/06/15/i-am-not-a-robot-i-am-a-free-fan/
Re: Which way the venom flows - grrm - Jun. 16th, 2015 04:33 am (UTC) - Expand
grrm
Jun. 13th, 2015 07:01 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
REPLY TO BRAD T, PART TWO

>Problem is, some opponents of Sad Puppies 3 have been impugning >the man (singularly, collectively) from the get-go, and the >invective has been of a type and kind so outlandish, so below >the belt, so filled with promises both dire and dreadful, that >I've struggled to understand why people who claim to tread the >high frontiers of the world's most imaginative form of >literature, can be frightened into nasty hysterics by the fact >that a democratic process was exercised democratically.

This is exactly the sort of hysterical hyperbole and overblown, combative rhetoric that Eric Flint has rightly excoriated. I am sorry, but I have seen way more invective coming from the Puppies than from the fans.

And while the Hugo nomination process is indeed democratic, your slate-making was not. The facts refute that. You called for suggestions, but you did not slate the works that got the most. You picked the Sad Puppy slate yourself, including some that no one recommended. And VD, of course, picked all the Rabid choices by himself. Neither process was remotely democratic.

grrm
Jun. 13th, 2015 07:02 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
REPLY TO BRAD T, PART THREE

>Eric Flint's a friend of mine, and I trust him on most things. >But he's not immune from getting it wrong. I think his criticism >has been better then most, because he's tried to be fair-minded. >But he's also gotten a few things out of whack.

I disagree, obviously. I think Flint is dead on, and you have gotten LOTS of things out of whack.

>CHORF came about because the SMOFs who are supporting Sad >Puppies didn't want to be lumped in with the hysterical crowd >calling Sad Puppies a lot of terrible stuff.

So you have said before. Do you really think that excuses anything? What you are saying here translates as, "Some of the fans who work tirelessly behind the scenes to put on worldcon and other conventions objected to us attacking them, so I invented a new derogatory epithet so I could continue my attacks."

>Puppy-kicker was suggested to me by a female member of the Sad >Puppies 3 slate who was tired of seeing anti-Puppy ad hominem >attacks. So, I adopted Puppy-kicker as a means of referring to >people who are in it for the sake of personal vendetta, or who >can't seem to stop themselves from being nasty churls at a >personal level, against everything and everyone Puppy-related.

Again, this excuses nothing. "My latest offensive epithet was suggested a female member of the slate who was tired...," etc. What does it matter that she was female? And she was tired of ad hominem attacks? Yeah, so am I. So are lots of people. On both sides, I am sure.

Yet even as you accuse the other side of being "nasty churls," you engage in ad hominem attacks yourself IN THE SAME SENTENCE. Nasty churls? Really? Really? I know you are not Vox Day, but you have read the stuff he writes, I must assume. You have presumably read the comments James May is putting up... well, everywhere. How about John C. Wright? Have you read his blog? And you and this unnamed female who coined "Puppy-Kicker" have the gall to complain about nasty churls on the fannish side?

Look around the kennel, Brad. You want to see some nasty churls? They are all around you, wearing Puppy collars and baying for fannish blood.

If you really want more civility, how about deleting some of the uglier posts from your blog. That would be a start. You guys keep throwing gasoline on the fire, then bitching about how high the flames are going.


grrm
Jun. 13th, 2015 07:05 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
REPLY TO BRAD T, PART FOUR

>CHORF and Puppy-kicker may seem offensive to some, but they are >attempts to refine the conversation while not letting the >bad-spirited, badly-behaving actors off the hook.

CHORF and Puppy-kicker don't "seem offensive to some," they ARE offensive, and deliberately so. That's why you guys made them up, to offend and insult, not to "refine the conversation."

And the bad-spirited, badly-behaving actors are mostly Puppies and Puppy supporters. Okay, not all of them. Maybe three-quarters or more, at least.

>And to be blunt about it, George, some of the folks on "your" >side have been very, very bad-spirited, and made it their >personal business to be fantastically terrible to not just >myself, not just Larry Correia, but to all of Puppydom.

So you assert. Whatever terrible things these unnamed people have been doing, they are doing in secret, I guess, since I have not seen any evidence of such... beyond intemperate words, which all sides are guilty by now. On the other hand, the terrible things the Puppies are doing are all right out there on the internet, for all the world to see.

>And as Tom Doherty discovered, Puppydom also includes respected >colleagues and authors with decades of investment in this field. >As well as a heap-load of readers. You know, those people who >pay us money for the crazy shit we make up and pull out of our >heads?

You know, one thing I have learned about internet wars is that the mobs are seldom really as big as they appear. I wonder about this "heap-load" of readers. How big a heap? How many?

When all is said and done, I think more readers will be rallying to the defense of Tor against the Puppy attacks than are presently attacking the company and calling for boycotts. Time will tell, I guess. I would like to think that honor and common decency will prevail in the end.

>I'd love to see things dialed down, but the bulk of the dialing >has to come from your "side" and to be honest, I am not really >sure the fans (aka: customers!) who've been tarred with the >anti-Puppy brush, are feeling terribly pleased at the moment.

The fans are not the ones calling for boycotts, howling for apologies, trying to cost people their jobs. Those are Puppies. We are not the ones who screwed up the Hugo ballot. We are not the ones who come up with a fresh epithet every week.

If you really HONESTLY want to dial things down, how about you start by banishing those ugly terms "CHORF" and "Puppy-kicker" from your own blog and your own posts.

>This was never a top-down effort, it was always grass-roots. >Larry, myself, Sad Puppies, we gave faces and a name to a >sentiment that's been there for many years. Among the >readership. Among people who were tired of being treated like >they were second-class citizens, either because of their Fandom >pedigrees, or because of their Fandom tastes and interests, or >because they were professionals deemed to be "cut-rate" in the >back-room conversations amongst other pros.

Except, as I have pointed out repeatedly during our previous exchanges, none of that actually happened. You and Larry were both welcomed into the SF field with open arms and nominated for major awards. No, you did not win... but Eric Flint has dealt with that very thoroughly in his latest. No one is entitled to an award. You were nominated for a Hugo, a Nebula, and a Campbell in the same year... and from that, you take the lesson that you were being treated as a "second class citizen" and deemed to be "cut rate." C'mon, Brad. Really.


grrm
Jun. 13th, 2015 07:06 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
REPLY TO BRAD T, PART FIVE

>That kind of thing leaves bruises to the bone, George. And >whether you like it or not, it's some of the people on your side >eagerly doing the bruising.

By now, everyone has bruises. And I fear we will all have more by the time this is done. Did you really think fandom was going to lie back and thank you for gaming the Hugo awards and pissing on fifty years of tradition?

A writer of my acquaintance, older and wiser than myself, has told me that this is worst fight he has ever seen, the nastiest and most divisive war in the long history of our field. Worse than the Exclusion Act. Worse than the Cosmic Circle crap. Worse than the Breendoggle, than the Old Wave/ New Wave struggle, than the competing Vietnam War ads. The wounds will take a long time healing... if indeed they ever heal.

And in large part you are responsible for that, Brad.

Congratulations.
vandor
Jun. 13th, 2015 02:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
I think i heard a microphone drop to the ground after that congratulations
Tyler Bigdreamer Mathews
Jun. 14th, 2015 04:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
Why can't we all just rip some bong and get along? :(
Re: Which way the venom flows - nwhyte - Jun. 15th, 2015 09:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - nelc - Jun. 15th, 2015 10:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - bradrtorgersen - Jun. 15th, 2015 12:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - grrm - Jun. 15th, 2015 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - anniembellet - Jun. 16th, 2015 01:29 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - bradrtorgersen - Jun. 16th, 2015 03:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - grrm - Jun. 16th, 2015 04:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - Sean O'Hara - Jun. 16th, 2015 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - Joe Vasicek - Jun. 16th, 2015 09:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - grrm - Jun. 16th, 2015 04:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
fridgepunk
Jun. 15th, 2015 01:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
Which of the Puppies are clueless?


Well there's Wright who doesn't seem entirely conscious of his own words most of the time, there's Kratman whose entire contribution to anything seems to be shouting "FIGHT ME IRL!" in any forum where he's not yet banned for trying to escalate everything into a physical fight, there's the weird collection of puppy commentators who think that the hugos are an industry award, don't seem to realise that a book published by Tor was on the slate they voted for, don't understand there's a difference between the nomination part of the hugo awards and the awards proper, don't understand how non-first-past-the-post voting systems work, etc...

Should they be considered clueless just because of their lack of a clue about anything they're talking about? Probably, if words are to have any meaning.

Is it me?


Oh of course not you Brad! Never YOU, you can't be clueless because, according to the way you tell it, you never said anything. Instead there is always someone else speaking while your lips move, a woman came up with "chorf", someone else came up with the slate, and it was the other slate that did anything anyway, everyone else was mean but you! Poor innocent Brad Torgersen; The Carcer of Fandom, Doer of Nothing.

The readers?


What readers are you talking about? The mythical ones who felt that Kevin J Anderson was one of the best writers this year? Sure, let's call them clueless, but let's also call them day-glo pink unicorn jugglers while we're at it, let's get creative. It's not like the qualities possessed by fictional entities matters.

Edited at 2015-06-15 04:31 pm (UTC)
sethg_prime
Jun. 15th, 2015 03:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
OK, here’s a question for you which is entirely about “the method” and not at all about “the man”.

Please substantiate your original claim that (pre-Puppies) the Hugos have been dominated by left-wing social-justice-oriented message-fic. Nick Mamatas, about two months ago, challenged the Puppies to name

a. one work of fiction
b. that won a Hugo Award
c. while foregrounding a left message to the extent that the story was ruined or misshaped
d. per set of winners since 1995.

Can you meet this challenge? If not, do you believe that Mamatas has set an unfair standard in his challenge?
Sean O'Hara
Jun. 15th, 2015 03:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
If you can criticize the method, without impugning the integrity of the man, all well and good. That's a conversation worth having.

Problem is, some opponents of Sad Puppies 3 have been impugning the man (singularly, collectively) from the get-go,


When you and Correia appeared on the Adventures in SF Publishing podcast in March, Larry described N.K. Jemisin as, "somebody who is hurling racist slurs for years," which you agreed with.

Why doesn't Jemisin's integrity deserve the same treatment as yours? Is it because she's a liberal? Not a "man"? Some other reason? Or are you guys (excuse me for impugning your glorious integrity) a couple of hypocrites who like to come out swinging but can't stand it when your opponents fight back?
Re: Which way the venom flows - grrm - Jun. 15th, 2015 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - Alternate Snowcrash - Jun. 15th, 2015 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - lenora_rose - Jun. 15th, 2015 06:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - lagopus_muta - Jun. 15th, 2015 06:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Which way the venom flows - grrm - Jun. 15th, 2015 09:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
ursulav
Jun. 15th, 2015 11:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
Mr. Torgersen, I don't think you know me. Up until this Puppy thing, I didn't know you.

I've got a Hugo, as it happens. I won it in 2012, for Best Graphic Story. I've been a little afraid to talk about this now, because of some of your friends, but perhaps it's time that I say something.

Can you understand why being told that our much cherished awards were an affirmative action movement, and we weren’t REALLY creating anything worthwhile, might not have inclined some of us kindly toward you?

From my point of view, "Torgersen" went from a name on the Campbell ballot to a dude who had just insulted something I poured a decade of my life into. And then various other people on the Sad Puppy leadership began talking about Glittery Hoo-has, and...wow. Way to reduce a project that I sweated blood over, a project that I was very proud of, to a vagina joke.

Way to diminish something I worked damn hard on, to reduce it down to "Oh, well, 700+ pages for years of your life, that doesn't matter, the only reason anybody could possibly be impressed with your stuff is because you're a GIRL."

Do you understand why that would upset me a little?

Can you at least reach across the aisle to understand why I might think you weren't a very nice guy after that? When I'd never said anything about you at all, and you started off by attacking something I was very proud of?

Why maybe I wouldn't be very happy at the Sad Puppies, when the beginning of your campaign was to insult me, and people like me, by implying we hadn't earned the thing that we were proud of?

I'd never spoken a word to you, and you insulted my work out of the blue. That's why I'm upset.

I suppose you probably won't read this. But at least I'll have said it, and that's probably worth something.

Edited at 2015-06-16 12:26 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows - dirkdada - Jun. 16th, 2015 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand

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