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Puppies at Christmas

It's Christmas Eve. Time for my ritual screening of my favorite adaptations of A CHRISTMAS CAROL... the Reginald Owen version, the Alastair Sim version, the George C. Scott version, and... best of all... BLACKADDER'S CHRISTMAS CAROL, with Rowan Atkinson. Time for eggnog. Time for wrapping prezzies. Time for peace on earth, and good will toward men... and women... and aliens... and elves... and even puppies. So in the spirit of the season, I am going to say something nice about the Sad Puppies.

Last year's Puppygate was an ugly affair. I am not going to rehash it here. My views are all on record, my original blog posts still up for anyone who wants to go back and read them. The last thing I want... the last thing anyone who truly loves science fiction, fantasy, and fandom would want... would be to have to go through the whole thing again in 2016. Whatever your view of how the Hugo Awards turned out at Sasquan, I think we can all agree that we would like MidAmericon II's awards to be more joyful, less rancorous, less controversial.

And maybe... just maybe... we'll get our wish. Call me naive. Call me an innocent. Call me too trusting by half, too nice a guy to see how things really are... but, really, I am starting to have some hope. All over the internet, people are already talking about the Hugo Awards, making recommendations, discussing the work... the WORK, the things we love, the stuff that unites us instead of the stuff that divides us. I've been trying to do my part, here on my Not A Blog, and will continue to do so. Over at FILE 770, similar discussions are taking place. And on many other websites, blogs, and bulletin boards as well... including Sad Puppies 4.

Yes, the Sad Puppies are doing it again. ((No big secret, that was announced even before worldcon)). Discussions of possible nominations in all Hugo categories can be found on their SP4 site here: http://sadpuppies4.org/sp4-recommendations-pages-and-faq/ Go check it out. You can even join in. So far as I can tell, you don't need to be a Puppy to recommend.

As of a few minutes ago, there were 159 'thoughts' in the Best Novel section, which suggests a healthy level of participation. And, I am pleased to say, almost all of what follows seems to be honest and enthusiastic discussion of the work. I am seeing very little name-calling compared to what we saw in Sad Puppies 3, a dearth of references to CHORFS and ASPs and Puppy-kickers and that perennial favorite, SJWs. I am not seeing any "nominate this, it will make their heads explode" posts that we saw so often last year.

Instead, people are recommending books. A very wide range of books. Sure, new works by familiar Puppy favorites like Larry Correia, Mike Williamson, and John C. Wright are being recommended (no surprise there)... but so are works by Neal Stephenson, James S.A. Corey, Naomi Novik, Victor Milan, Terry Pratchett, S.M. Stirling, Ian Tregillis, Ernie Cline, Elizabeth Bear, Gene Wolfe, Michael Moorcock, Orson Scott Card, Greg Bear, Kate Elliott, and many others... including the latest Marko Kloos, and... wonder of wonder... novels from N.K. Jemisin and Anne Leckie!

There are some really good names on that list. Some really good books. (And many I have not read yet, but will look up now). And there's an amazing range of literary styles, subgenres, and... yes... political and religious views. And all this is to the good.

(Similar discussions are taking place on Sad Puppies 4 for the other categories, though Best Novel has the most participation).

For decades now, LOCUS and NESFA and other fan groups have produced reading lists at year's end, long lists generated by recommendations from their editors/ members/ etc. If at the end of this process, Sad Puppies 4 puts forth a similar list, one that has room for BOTH Larry Correia and Anne Leckie, I don't think anyone could possibly object. I won't, certainly. A list like that would not be a slate, and the whole "slate voting" thing will become moot.

And that would be great. That would mean no Puppygate II. That would mean a spirited literary debate about writers and books without the acrimony and the name-calling. From that debate a truly democratic and diverse ballot could emerge, one that represents all tastes. That would mean no 'No Awards' at Big MAC II, and the Hugo ceremony could once again become a joyous celebration of the best and brightest in our field.

In my post-worldcon blog post last August 31 (( http://grrm.livejournal.com/440444.html )) I expressed the hope that the ugliness of 2015 could be left behind, that Fandom and Puppydom could coexist in peace. That's still my hope. And right now I am feeling a little more hopeful than I was in August. People are talking books, not trading epithets...

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good read.


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Dec. 25th, 2015 01:20 am (UTC)
Merry Christmas
The Winter is Here martin I love your job in your books (all not only Song of Ice and Fire...Greetings for you and your wife

~Isaac L.L Henry~ "THE Unknow writer

Uma D
Dec. 25th, 2015 01:58 am (UTC)
Merry Christmas
Hope...will get TWOW in new year. Thank you so much for the wonderful ASOIF series.
Dec. 25th, 2015 02:10 am (UTC)
Merry Christmas and Thanks!

And a warm Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones (both real and imaginary) as well!

I'd also like to say "Thanks, George!" not only for your wonderful work on ASOIAF, which has given me countless hours of thrills and pleasure, but also for all the things you share with us here on your "Not a Blog." I truly enjoy reading about your thoughts on current happenings, your love of football, your recommendations on books, your past (when you're being nostalgic), your obvious love for the Jean Cocteau, and everything else. It's just a great pleasure to share those with you. So thanks for everything, George!

Here's wishing you love and laughter and the best of everything in the New Year. May it be a wonderful year for us all!

Slàinte mhath!
Dec. 25th, 2015 02:56 am (UTC)
Messy Christmas
Wishing you and yours a very messy Christmas!
Dec. 25th, 2015 03:32 am (UTC)
Thank You
For all the wonderful stories you've shared with the world I want to say thank you. I have never read anything so in depth and imaginative as what you've written.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

P.S. my boyfriend and I have boycotted GOT midseason 5 so we are no longer spoiled and wont be spoiled for TWOW. Nothing compares to reading your stories. (Especially when certain people mess them up!)

Edited at 2015-12-25 03:44 am (UTC)
Dec. 25th, 2015 05:50 am (UTC)
I went over and looked. My current favorite Uprooted is getting a lot of love. And many many decent books are being recommended. If the puppies play like this I'm perfectly willing to take the seriously and would vote alongside on the choices where I agree with them.

Let's hope for the best in 2016.
Dec. 25th, 2015 07:27 am (UTC)
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Ziv Wities
Dec. 25th, 2015 09:02 am (UTC)
Posting on Puppies at Christmastime? You like to live dangerously :)

But I really like what you're saying here. SP4 looks to me like it can self-select for people who want to share and read recommendations, which is an entirely different nature than previous SPs, that self-selected for "stick it to the SJWs" rabble-rousing.

SP4 looks like it's taking several serious, significant steps away from what made SP3 so harmful. The focus on community recommendations; the choice to expand the list to 10 or more per category; the stress on "cast your nomination ballot for one of popular works on The List – provided you’ve read it and agree that it’s worth an award."

Obviously, it remains to be seen how things will pan out. I suspect we'll still see a fair share of rabble-rousing, and there's still so much acrimony all round from last year.

But I wouldn't miss the opportunity to bridge differences, and acknowledge good work and constructive actions when I see them. The changes in SP4 are much appreciated, at least by this humble one.
kieran sterling
Dec. 25th, 2015 09:47 am (UTC)
merry christmas and a happy (and peaceful) new year!
Blackadder's Christmas Carol... exquisite taste, sir! Thats my favorite version. As much as I like Bean, Blackadder was Rowan's best work to me.

I'm hoping you get a peaceful and enjoyable Hugo Awards process this year.
Dec. 25th, 2015 10:54 am (UTC)
Indeed the current discussion of Best Novel nominees is perfectly sensible and generous-spirited, and if the Sad Puppies come up with a long list of novels (at least a dozen, please, so it doesn't look like a slate) that might be worth your consideration for nominating based on that discussion then I entirely support what they're doing.
Arthur Merinovich
Dec. 25th, 2015 12:55 pm (UTC)
Yay, love the Puppies posts.
Gregory Hullender
Dec. 25th, 2015 01:16 pm (UTC)
Short Fiction
Merry Christmas to you too! Still hoping to see you make a pitch for people to read and nominate short fiction. :-)
Kate Paulk
Dec. 25th, 2015 04:51 pm (UTC)
As one of the Sad Puppies 4 organizers I'd like to point out that anyone from here who wants to add to the list in any category is welcome. Initial comments go to the moderation queue, which I check at least once a day. Anything that's not obvious spam gets approved.

My goal from the start has been a healthier Hugo award, with many more fans reading, discussing, and participating in the Hugo process.

I'm also running a series of category highlight posts each Thursday on MadGeniusClub.com - so far I've covered Best Fan Artist and Best Fan Writer. I'm starting with the less well-known categories since nominations and votes in those categories tend to be lowest.
Dec. 26th, 2015 07:27 am (UTC)
I think all this is to the good. Fans reading, discussing, and participating in Hugo process is what I want as well.

On the other hand, you will face challenges to keep the discussion at its present high level. See the comment below by a certain Tim McDonald. He does say he is not a Sad Puppy... one must assume he is a Rabid... but he's outspoken in his desire to destroy the Hugos.

It would seem as though Mr. McDonald and those he speaks for are the common enemies of everyone who loves SF, fandom, and cons, and wants that healthier Hugo award you speak of.

I hope to have plenty of discussion and recommendations here as well. The process I began with my posts on the two drama categories and graphic novel will continue, when I have the time.
Dec. 25th, 2015 05:34 pm (UTC)
As long as it really is a *long* list, sure. Fifty entries in every category. Random order. (Preferably re-ordered every time the page is displayed but I don't know how hard that is to do)

*That* wouldn't provide an unfair advantage.

Of course, a group that wants an unfair advantage would balk at this requirement. But hey, maybe the Puppies aren't seeking an unfair advantage. This year. That would indeed be a change worthy of the Christmas season!
Thomas Evans
Dec. 25th, 2015 06:27 pm (UTC)
This is encouraging to see. I too hope we can have a more reasonable and enjoyable year for the Hugo's. There have been some really strong eligible works this year for Best Novel, my favourites probably being N.K Jemisin's The Fifth Season (Really, this novel was brilliant, I cannot praise it enough); Ian Tregillis' The Mechanical; Zen Cho's Sorceror to he Crown and Robin Hobb's Fool's Assassin. But I completely agree that seeing such a range of possible nominations from the Puppies is an encouraging sign, and I am cautiously optimistic for the Hugo's 2016.
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