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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.


Jun. 13th, 2015 07:06 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows

>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.

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? :(
Jun. 15th, 2015 09:28 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
*Stands up and applauds*
Jun. 15th, 2015 10:09 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
Damn, I hope I never get you mad at me. Especially if I'm in the wrong....
Jun. 15th, 2015 12:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
George, since somebody suggested you were saying Sad Puppies is worse than child molestation, I decided to do what has often not been done in this debate: I wanted to come see for myself if what they say you said, was what you actually said.

(reading . . . )

If I parse your meaning, you're saying the *argument* is more contentious, and I agree with you 100%. It is. I don't think any argument in the lore of Worldcon has ever been this bad. But then, never in the lore of Worldcon has the status quo ever been questioned this loudly, nor with this much grass-roots support.

Of course it's going to be contentious. I never expected defenders of the status quo to thank anybody. Their thanks was never desired, nor required. In a democracy, the other side gets to vote too. Not just the people who think the way things are now, are the way they always ought to be.
Jun. 15th, 2015 04:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
What I saying is that you and your Puppies have dealt a terrible wound to a community that was very special to many of us.

You've hurt people, and you go on hurting people, and you don't seem to care... about the Hugos, about worldcon, about fandom, about any of it.
Jun. 16th, 2015 01:29 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
This, Brad. This. I wanted to believe it was about the fiction, but it became so clear it wasn't ever about that. That's why I withdrew and why I realize more and more each day what a good decision it was to do so.

If our friendship ever meant anything to you, please, try listening to what George is saying. He pretty much encapsulates my feelings about this in his responses to you here. :(
Jun. 16th, 2015 03:27 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
George, that's the same word David Gerrold used: hurt. I am a military man. I guess my definition of "hurt" is wildly different from yours. If the "community" is indeed wounded, I suspect it's a self-inflicted wound. None of this would have come about if the "community" had not spent the past three decades quietly performing sniff tests about who is and is not the "correct" kind of fan, the "correct" kind of artist, the "correct" kind of author, etc. Likewise, if the Hugo was not the self-labeled "most prestigious award in science fiction" but merely "the Worldcon award," I am not sure Sad Puppies would have come about.

To repeat what I've said before in other spaces: your "community" has engaged in cognitive dissonance. It wants to pretend to be "inclusive" while operating exclusively. It pretends to be "diverse" while actively fostering (some might say, enforcing?) a monoculture.

I came of age reading Larry Niven's anecdotes about Worldcon, and what a wonderful place it was. I am afraid the actual Worldcon hasn't lived up to Larry's description. Mostly because of the exclusivity and monoculturalism I just mentioned.

And no, just because you never noticed, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Jun. 16th, 2015 04:30 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
You know, Brad, I think these exchanges of ours have come full circle. You keep repeating the same tired claims you started with, claims that, as far as I am concerned, have been thoroughly discredited and disproved. By me, and many other people.

Worldcon has been, and is, a wonderful place. The Hugo has been, and remains, the most prestigious award in science fiction... though I will concede that if some (note: some) of the Puppy nominees win this year, that prestige will be severely damaged.

The "sniff test" is all in your mind. As for the awards going to the "correct" kind of artist and writer... yes, sure, so long as "correct" means "excellent." It was not, and never has been, an award for longevity or mediocrity... or even for popularity, as measured by sales figures. It is an award for LITERARY EXCELLENCE. Period. Conservative writers, like Niven, have won plenty of Hugos. Mediocre writers win fewer. Bad writers win none.

But why I am bothering? I have explained all this before, as patiently as I could. I have cited all the facts, traced the history. It seems plain that neither logic nor facts will budge you. You have your story and you're sticking to it.

OK. But don't tell me the wounds were "self-inflicted," please. You sound like the grade school bully who grabs a kid's arm and makes him whack himself in the face with it, all the time saying, "Hey, why are you hitting yourself? Hey, stop punching yourself."
Sean O'Hara
Jun. 16th, 2015 04:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
Brad, I'm a Brat. My dad spent twenty years in the Army. I grew up surrounded by soldiers. I probably spent more time on base before I was five than you have in your entire life. You are the only "military man" I've ever met who thinks it's seemly to whine about how you were denied an award. If I'd ever copped an attitude like you're doing because I didn't win first prize in a science fair or whatever, my father would've walloped me. The same is true for every kid I knew growing up.

If I ever got into a political discussion with my dad in the car while he was in uniform, and we stopped somewhere, the conversation halted the moment we opened the door and did not resume until we got back in. He never discussed anything political in public while representing himself as a soldier.

Every time you bring up your service in defense of such a pathetic cause, every time you talk politics while representing yourself as a solider, I feel that you are insulting my father and everyone who served with him.

If you think what you're doing is such a noble cause, stand up for it on your own. Don't bring your service into it.

Thank you.
Joe Vasicek
Jun. 16th, 2015 09:15 am (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
It takes two to tango, Mr. Martin. If the Hugo 2015 controversy is as nasty and divisive as you say, it is because both sides have crossed the line of basic decency. Fighting the Sad Puppies to a bloody pulp will not bring either side back from the brink.
Jun. 16th, 2015 04:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Which way the venom flows
Yes, the debate is getting nastier and nastier, on both sides.

I have been doing what I can here to try and keep things civil and find some common ground with the Sads, at least -- I have nothing but contempt for the Rabids -- but it is becoming apparent that this is a losing cause.

I am back to where I started, with Yeats. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold... the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passion and intensity.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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