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April 6, 2015

Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances
Posted by Patrick at 10:09 AM *

(1) Black Gate reviewer Matthew David Surridge made the difficult decision to decline a Hugo nomination for Best Fan Writer, when he discovered that he’d been the beneficiary of promotion by both of the puppy slates, and realized how out of sympathy he was with their goals. He wrote a very thoughtful post about it which everybody should read—long but rewarding. Props to a guy who’s done a very hard thing.

(2) Longtime WSFS toiler Kevin Standlee has a post sorting out all our misconceptions about how No Award works, and how to use it effectively when you vote. I was wrong! (Along with a lot of the rest of you.) Read Kevin’s post and get set straight.

Comments on Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances:
#1 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 10:40 AM:

I read Mr. Surridge's piece yesterday. It was as insightful and witty (and long) as I would have expected from him.

I also appreciate Kevin Standlee's continuing efforts to educate and explicate, whether in his own space, here, or elsewhere. I know that even for a chronic procedure maven this can't be much fun.

Both these guys are mensches, and that's a good thing to see right now.

#2 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 10:56 AM:

Matthew is a friend of mine, and it's really good to see him doing the right but difficult thing.

#3 ::: Laurence Brothers ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:41 AM:

Yeah I can't honestly blame anyone who feels they wrote a worthy story or other work on the slate and hasn't rejected the nomination; but I applaud Surridge for rejecting his. I'd like to think I'd do the same.

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:54 AM:

This is a difficult decision to make, and I applaud it.

#5 ::: Peace Is My Middle Name ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 12:09 PM:

Poor guy. What a storm to be dragged into.

He took it with extraordinary grace.

#6 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 12:15 PM:

Whilst the Sturridge piece is nice, I can detect in the comments the future shape of propaganda from SP'ers. That is, when, as seems likely, quite a few 'no award' are declared, then it'll be a conspiracy by all the liberals/ lefties/ SF haters. I do wonder about the opinions of people who don't post online though.
VD is also setting himself up as a statesman, nauseatingly so if you know about his past.

#7 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 12:32 PM:

Remember that the Puppies, like everyone, are responsible for their own actions and choices. They may excuse their actions as being mirrors of others' behavior (we only did slates because eligibility posts! you said a bad thing so we'll say a worse one!), but it's bullshit.

They're acting in the way that they are because they have a goal that they want to achieve, so much that they don't care about the means they use, or the company they keep in doing it.

It's also an attempt to control our behavior, using one of the favorite tools of the abuser. Classic "bitch made me do it" reasoning. But ask yourself this: is there really anything that I, you, or everyone here on Making Light, could do that would genuinely cause them not to try to take over the Hugos? Will people who are happy to bring the Reavers in somehow refrain if we only find the right form of words, the right careful path through the swamp?

I doubt it.

We must do what we do, as honorably as possible, for the reasons we espouse. Where there is damage, we should seek to minimize it if we can. Where there are victims, we should sympathize with them, comfort them, care about them.

If other people use that as an excuse to be horrible, that's on them.

#8 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 12:49 PM:

It's their third try. I think that's our answer to your questions: they don't care, they'd do it no matter what happened. And they haven't learned anything except 'try harder' from losing last year.

#9 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 12:49 PM:

Well said, Abi.

Laurie Mann posted on facebook that neither John C. Wright nor Theo Beale have Sasquan memberships of any sort. I am not sure what to make of that.

#10 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 01:07 PM:

I am really impressed by him. I like to think, under similar conditions, that I wouldn't have tried to justify that no, really, I deserved it, but would have gritted my teeth and declined.

And it would have been hard, but he has my enormous respect for doing it.

#11 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 02:35 PM:

It's got to be awfully hard to give up a chance at something you want, and which you feel you deserve, just because the irresponsible actions of others have tainted the way you might get it.

But "win clean, or not at all" is a sound position to take, and Matthew Surridge deserves nothing but applause for taking it.

#12 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 02:48 PM:

Well, that there nomination-resignation, that's written in 2015. And it's fan writing, isn't it?

Just saying.

#13 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 03:21 PM:

That's an interesting thought.

#14 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 03:27 PM:

Surridge has specifically requested not to be nominated as a fanwriter.

I already asked how he would feel about a nomination under related work, because it looks like a very related work to me. And its thoroughness and intelligence put it in the top drawer for me.

But it's probably too soon to get into that.

#15 ::: Russell Letson ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 03:28 PM:

Before Devin @12 posted, I was thinking that there ought to be a Special Award for Most Carefully Thought Out Analysis of a Related Set of Issues of Significance to the Field, but, yeah, maybe just next year's Fan Writing Hugo. Seriously, Surridge has produced the most exhaustive (I'll forgo the almost obligatory joke) set of analyses and reflections on reader response and cultural divisions in the SF subculture that I can recall seeing. I'm sure that there are academic papers covering many of the same issues, but none written from inside the field and with a visceral sense of what it means to be a fan and a serious reader.

#16 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 04:08 PM:

It occurred to me, reading Surridge's essay, that if the Puppies' actual concern was about being excluded, they could have done a hard push for a few works they liked. This is *not* the same thing as trying to take over the whole ballot.

#17 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 04:49 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @16: I thought they'd tried that with SP1 and 2, and it hadn't produced results they liked.

#18 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 05:53 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @16: Commenting on another thread at Black Gate, VD is open about intending to ruin the Hugos if his preferred candidates don't win the award.

I'll add that the poster, John O'Neill, seems like a decent sort.

#19 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Playing Atropos ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 05:54 PM:

Dear people, I'm going to bed, and there's no one else on watch. I'm closing these threads for the moment.

#20 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 08:49 PM:


#21 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 08:56 PM:

albatross @ 607: "I wonder how it would feel turned the other way--lots of conservative fans planning to bloc-vote-down various works nominated for Hugos based on their involvement in some movement to nominate more feminist authors, say."

This is an important question, I think. But it's hardly a hypothetical: Sad Puppies is a bunch of conservative fans working as a bloc to defeat various Hugo-nominated works because of their (perceived) involvement in a movement to make the Hugos and fandom in general a more inclusive space. Outside of the Hugo itself, this movement—let's call them, oh I don't know, social justice warriors--has made itself felt in Racefail, SFWA politics (both kicking out Vox Day and Rabe's resignation), and the rise and fall of Requires Hate. Another aspect of the movement is an increasing awareness of the missing stairs and missing harassment policies of convention fandom.

This is what Torgerson, Correia, and Day (and the GGers, tangentially) have been reacting against. Thanks to the work of social justice-oriented fans, there have been small, but measurable, changes in what kind of behavior and what kind of ideas are considered acceptable in fandom, changes that have increased inclusivity and narrowed the bounds of privilege. This is happening in sff fandom at the same time that similar movements are happening in comic fandom and gaming fandom. The door to fandom has been creaking open slowly over the past several years, and they are freaking out.

(It's been a little weird, honestly, how this hasn't really been addressed so far in this conversation.)

So how is this attempt to shift the discourse and composition of fandom different from the Puppies' (other, obviously, than being a shift in the direction I myself prefer)? One difference is in the scope of the ask. Feminist/anti-racist/queer fans are asking why can't there be any faces on the panel, on the award stage, that look like them. It's a minimal ask. SPs are asking why shouldn't all the faces on stage look like them—a maximal ask. One is asking for a seat at the table; the other is asking for the table. One of those is capable of co-existence; the other is not.*

Another difference is in the means: fans critiquing fandom from the left are trying to persuasive and inclusive, rather than coercive and exclusive. They draw attention to problems with con harassment, or imbalanced gender and racial representation in awards, and ask: does this reflect who we think we are? Who we want to be? If we can attribute the rise in women and minorities among the Hugo nominees to social justice work, then it's been successful by persuading people one by one to re-examine their biases and re-appraise their voting patterns. The Puppies, on the other hand, are trying to accomplish their goals by uniting those who already agree and forcing their preferences on everyone else, rather than trying to change minds.

The social justice movement against which the Puppy reactionaries are reacting is different in that it is asking for inclusion, through means of persuasion. The Puppies, on the other hand, are asking for absolute exclusion, through the means of coercion. To circle back to the OP: the Puppies are employing the doctrine that the means are justified by the ends; whereas social justice warriors are employing just the reverse.

* This is the most weak-tea version of the structural oppression argument, but that, I fear, might be too political.

#22 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 09:02 PM:

Patrick, you should not point to Kevin's advice as authoritative. It is incorrect. I have a comment on Kevin's LJ explaining why, but most people don't read those.

Kevin ignores something he knows well, that most voters don't read every work, and so often don't put the full slate on their voting ballot. In that case, you must never rank works below No Award even though he tells you it's OK. If you don't rank a work you didn't read, but you do rank an unworthy work below No Award, then if the race comes down to the Unworthy and the Unread, you could be responsible for handing the award to the Unworthy work! Don't do it. Either be sure you rank all nominees, including ones you did not read (which creates issues of its own) or don't rank anything below No Award.

He mostly tells you to do that, but then says it's still OK to rank below Noah.

#23 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 09:13 PM:

I read his post as saying that you can rank stuff below Noa Waard, but only if you actually have a preference about them. He made it clear that ranking any nominee, even below Noa Waard, puts it in contention for that rocket.

#24 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 09:19 PM:

Wow. Oops! Meant to post #21 to "Both more and less than political," but had the wrong tab active. Can a mod fix that please?

#25 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 09:24 PM:

He does say "don't want ANY" of the others to win, but it's quite unclear. People are confused about this, and since I think the majority of voters do not file complete ballots ranking all works, it is a poor explanation. A good explanation will say, "As satisfying as it may be to show your displeasure with unworthy works by ranking them below No Award, the best course is to rank No Award and leave them off, unless you are ranking all works, including ones you have no opinion on."

Our instinct when we didn't read a work is to leave it off; it's the right instinct. But you must understand that means you rank it below everything else, including No Award and works you deeply hated. Which is not what most people would actually want. I think most people would say, "Hey, I didn't read that book so I don't know where to put it, but if the fans love it, I don't see why it shouldn't win."

If that's how you feel, then it gets tricky the moment you rank No Award or anything below it. Forget the crap you want to put below it -- simply ranking No Award and leaving a work off is a statement you would rather see no award than have the work you didn't read win. (It's unlikely to make a difference, though.) It's much more likely that it could make a difference between a work that some people hate and some people are rabid fans of, when it's in competition with a work you didn't read that still has its fans. There you could make the difference to give the work you hated a Hugo. Really.

Which is all way too much explanation, so to keep it simple, "If you find works unworthy, leave them off the ballot and rank No Award somewhere. Do not rank anything lower than No Award unless you have ranked all candidates."

#26 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 09:25 PM:

heresiarch @ 21

Another difference is in the means: fans critiquing fandom from the left are trying to persuasive and inclusive, rather than coercive and exclusive.

I do not see this. There has been in my view a sustained and substantial effort by the Left to exclude certain people, and certain points of view.

#27 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 09:27 PM:

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

#28 ::: Danny Sichel ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 09:48 PM:

Incidentally, some might find this to be bitterly amusing. (found via James Nicoll, not sure who's actually running it)

#29 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 09:56 PM:

Brad @25: I was considering posting the same thing. I agree that Kevin's take is (unintentionally, I'm sure) misleading - probably he's so thoroughly internalized the rules that he can't understand how they could be misunderstood.

Another way to put it (as I understand it, anyway): Everything you don't rank is treated as being in an N-way tie for last place. There is no way to express an N-way tie for any other position. Therefore, if you vote A / B / NA / C, that is the same as voting A / B / NA / C / (D|E). "No Award is just like any other candidate" is consistent with this, because a vote A / B / C is indeed the same as A / B / C / (D|E|NA). But A / B / NA / C does not mean either A / B / (D|E) / NA / C or A / B / NA / (D|E) / C.

I think it fairly likely that my vote for Best Novel this year, for instance, will be Goblin Emperor / Ancillary Sword / No Award / Skin Game. This is because the Dresden Files books are reasonably well written even if they are profoundly not to my taste, so if something from the puppy slates has to win, better it should be that one than either of the other two.

#30 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 09:56 PM:

I do not see this. There has been in my view a sustained and substantial effort by the Left to exclude certain people, and certain points of view.

Speaking only for myself, it goes like this:

A white, conservative male believes that black people are inferior. He has been taught this from childhood, does not believe that initial social conditions (poverty, prejudice, etc.) affect outcomes, and he has been taught reasons (accurate or otherwise) why this is so. This white, conservative person, let's call him Bill, comes to a convention. Does he:

A.) Treat everyone politely and pleasantly, regardless of their race or gender, talk to the people he meets about science fiction, philosophy, current events, etc., in a restrained and pleasant fashion, and either avoid (or use really good social skills) where he is aware that his views might be hurtful to those around him?

B.) Rant about how social justice warriors are taking over the field, refuse to shake the hand of a black woman he is introduced to, and refer to black science fiction writers as subhuman savages who are unworthy of an award.

If Bill's behavior falls under "A" I'm happy to have him attend. If it falls under "B" I'd rather he stay home.

Note that in my mind, this kind of selection process should be practised on both the left and right - a left-leaning jerk is very bit as annoying as a right-leaning jerk. As I noted on one of the other threads, there are two kinds of people in this scenario; those who feel that their beliefs entitle them to be a jerk, and those who do not feel that their beliefs entitle them to be a jerk.

#31 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 10:16 PM:

Adding to #30:

Ted is a white male writer and high school math teacher who considers himself to be a centrist and is, in a fuzzy never-thought-about-it-much way, on board with the notion that everyone is created equal and everyone deserves a seat at the table. Ted is a good friend of the drama teacher at his school, who happens to be Black, and so he imagines he's as good a choice as anyone else for the "writing PoC" panel at the local con. However, after the panels are announced, someone writes a vitriolic online essay observing that the "writing PoC" panel should have more than one actual person of color on it, and so the programming head very politely asks Ted if he wouldn't mind being on the "remedial math for SF authors" panel instead.

Does Ted lose his shit?

#32 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 10:16 PM:

SamChevre @26, like what, specifically?

As several people have pointed out, it is literally impossible to have a space that is inclusive towards all people and all points of view, because some points of view are exclusive towards some people.

What this means in practice is that you get groups with formal policies about what sorts of stuff gets you excluded, and groups with a policy of letting in everyone and allowing the most obnoxious drive some people out. The latter groups often claim to be all-inclusive, because they don’t have any sort of formal process or policy excluding people, but the nature of the group makes them de facto exclusive in some ways.

#33 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 10:25 PM:

Does Ted lose his shit?

Zack, you win the internet for today!

#34 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 10:26 PM:

SamChevre, #26: There has been in my view a sustained and substantial effort by the Left to exclude certain people, and certain points of view.

This statement sounds to me remarkably like the Avengelical Christians saying that they are being excluded, silenced, and persecuted by not being allowed to practice discrimination against gays, non-Christians, and minorities.

#35 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 10:31 PM:

Avengelical Christians

This is not my blog, but IMHO prejudicial terms for Christians are not any more appropriate than prejudicial terms for any other group.

#36 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 10:36 PM:

I prefer 'fundagelical' myself, but I understand why some people use 'avengelical': the people who are labeled as such seem to enjoy harassing those they think might be getting undeserved privileges. (Example: the current governor of Maine on TANF recipients.)

#37 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 10:51 PM:

Ales, #35: FTR, terms like "Avengelical", "fundagelical", and "Christianist" are specifically used to signify that those who employ them are not tarring all Christians with the same brush. That we are very well aware that there are plenty of Christians out there who do appear to have read their Bibles and understood what Jesus Christ was saying. The distinction between love-based and hate-based Christianity is very clear to me, and I don't want the former being grouped in with the latter any more than you do.

#38 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:08 PM:

SamChevre @26: Who did it, where did it happen, and what methods did they use?

Facts or it didn't happen.

#39 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:12 PM:

Well, he's right in this sense: I've been trying to exclude people who think I should die, or be locked in prison, or live under constant threat. I'm not going to apologize for that, and anyone who thinks I should can bite my fggt ass.

#40 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:13 PM:

The distinction between love-based and hate-based Christianity is very clear to me...

And to me as well. However, we don't have any evidence beyond a single sentence about SamChevre's ideas in that regard. If we were sure that he's a hateful human being, I would have no trouble pointing it out, but we only have a couple data points and while they are somewhat suspicious they are not diagnostic.

We're all really pissed off, and I think it's entirely appropriate to hit the major Sad Puppies and those who are opportunistically surfing the Sad Puppies wave towards the Hugos as hard as possible, but we also need to limit the collateral damage.

#41 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:13 PM:

Who display such opinions in how they treat me online and in conventions, I should say.

#42 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:19 PM:

Alex R. @35:

Avengelical Christians

This is not my blog, but IMHO prejudicial terms for Christians are not any more appropriate than prejudicial terms for any other group.

You're right, it's not your blog, and the 75% of Making Light's front-page posters who are active Christians don't have a problem with that term.

Do you always get this shirty over trivialities? How do you survive?

#43 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:20 PM:

Generally speaking, people who are biased against one group for something that group has no control over, will have similar biases against other groups. It's almost-but-not-quite a package deal. As a number of people here belong to one or more of the groups on the receiving end of those biases, it's worth considering those biases as something that, when expressed, we should not have to tolerate.

#44 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:31 PM:

Alex R. @35:

I'm Catholic -- and I call'em Avengelicals. We know these folk exist, and depending on what they've done that makes the news, I either roll my eyes or sigh.

#45 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:33 PM:

Alex, I'm sorry, that was way too much smackdown. I'm overtired and maybe just a tiny bit irritable.

#46 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:38 PM:

I cannot speak to how this operates in a fandom context, not having sufficient experience, but in my experience watching social justice discourse on Tumblr there is a sustained and substantial effort by SJ folk to exclude certain people and expression of certain points of view. Whether or not this is a bad thing depends on the community's priorities.

There is a common justification for said exclusion, which Xopher illustrates in #39/#41: nobody should be required to quietly put up with or accept someone who wishes them harm based on something they are, and some large number of considered-harmless things they choose. I find this pretty hard to argue against.

There exist beliefs which are both 1) able to exist in someone who treats everyone reasonably and kindly and 2) associated with beliefs that are Considered Harmful. People who hold these beliefs may feel unwelcome at the same time as they are (unintentionally or not) making people affected by said considered-harmful and related beliefs feel unsafe. I think that's a lot of what SamChevre may be referencing, and is (IMO) part of a larger conversation that should be had in a less heated moment, or in another setting entirely.

A given community needs to decide what to filter on when it is considering who it most wants to feel welcome. Do they (we) want the opinion-holders or the opinion targets to feel particularly included?

In the case of the Hugos, and Worldcon, and so on, I personally would like to filter on "enjoys science fiction, and is polite and respectful toward others," thereby excluding the people who are incapable of hiding any unpleasant or strife-causing beliefs they might hold about the inherent nature of members of other categories of person. But on both sides there are those who will not be comfortable or feel safe around people who believe X, or who appear to be Y, or who like Z.

So where do we draw the lines? I don't know. I do generally think we should make the targets of unpleasant prejudice feel welcome and the sowers of unpleasant prejudice feel unwelcome. In any more detail, it starts feeling complicated.

#47 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:40 PM:

As a number of people here belong to one or more of the groups on the receiving end of those biases, it's worth considering those biases as something that, when expressed, we should not have to tolerate.

Agreed, but we should also avoid the use of prejudicial constructions.

I happen to be the very Liberal father of a Gay child, and the whole Sad Puppies thing really pisses me off, because I want her to live in exactly the opposite world as what the Sad Puppies would produce if they were in charge.

As a result of this, I'm voting in the Hugos for the very first time with the direct intention of clobbering some people right off the ballot. But if I rail against jerkdom while practising it myself... who am I?

#48 ::: D. Eppstein ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:45 PM:

Zack 29: If you want to express an N-way tie for positions other than last, you can get pretty close to the same effect by flipping a coin to choose a random permutation for the tied items. But if you think they're good enough to care about ranking them higher than last, why aren't you just reading them and formulating a proper opinion about them rather than punting?

#49 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:48 PM:

Alex, I'm sorry, that was way too much smackdown. I'm overtired and maybe just a tiny bit irritable.

No prob. You're bearing much more of the burden of Sad Puppy issues than 99% of us, and you've also had to moderate the worst of the replies, so I just let it go.

IMHO, Sam's wording is somewhat suspicious, and we're all pretty pissed off, but I'm reluctant to clobber him without proof. (And I will happily support clobbering him if he provides proof.)

Meanwhile you should feel free to close this place down early, eat some comfort food and read a beloved book. The crisis will still be here tomorrow morning.

#50 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:53 PM:

Alex, #40: Your first paragraph is 2 separate arguments, and I'll address them individually.

1) AFAIK, SamChevre is not a hate-based Christian, and if what I said read to anyone that I was accusing him of this, I apologize.

2) You have only one sentence. I have several years of online back-and-forth with SamChevre, and IMO he has a significant blind spot about several different varieties of privilege. The similarity that I caught between his statement and what the Avengelicals say is well-articulated by heresiarch @21, although in a different context.

#51 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 11:58 PM:

I have several years of online back-and-forth with SamChevre, and IMO he has a significant blind spot about several different varieties of privilege.

If you've been conversing with him for several years, then by all means continue to engage him as you believe would be successful.

#52 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 12:06 AM:

Good night, all. I'm taking Alex's advice. Comments will be closed until Abi reopens them.

#53 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 09:25 AM:

This kind of thing is why some of us have stopped engaging with Sam, and this. He has a long history of half-stating a lot of really vile things in a fairly smooth way. If it seems worth someone else's while, cool - the benefits of the division of labor are very real. But a bunch of folks have reason to feel they've given it enough of a go already.

#54 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 09:44 AM:

Avram @ 32, Teresa @ 38

It looks like comments are open.

Can I just say "see estelendur @ 46"? If that's not satisfactory, I'll respond at more length--but that's a good description of the dynamic as I see it, and I agree as well that this almost certainly isn't the time to rehash any of the incidents mentioned in heresiarch's original.

#55 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 09:47 AM:

SamChevre, you are distressing and scandalizing your fellow Fluorospherians. Right now I can't tell how much that matters to you.

#56 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 10:01 AM:

I don't think that there can be any question that in many of the debates which have occurred over the past several years regarding inclusion and other issues within fandom there have sometimes been some voices which have in fact been, um, overly combative on the left side of the argument. I have, for example, seen some arguments couched in unfortunate phrasing that Laura J. Mixon had no business putting together her post regarding RH (which is now up for a Hugo nomination from non-Puppies sources) because of her ethnicity.

But the broader point is that that is in most ways irrelevant. Any "side" (regardless of how multi-sided a discussion may be) will have some unfortunate supporters. That does not mean that "the Left" as a body is excluding people.

What strikes me in this context is that the various Puppies' supporters take the rhetoric of what might be called the left edge of fandom -- most of which, I will note, is not impolite or confrontational, but is expressive of concerns genuinely grounded in the experience of exclusion and systematic effects supporting it -- and identify it not with a group towards the left of fandom critiquing the centre, but with the centre itself (it's the centre which finds its choices reflected in the Hugos, for good or ill).

(They also have the rather bizarre view that Scalzi is on the far left rather than being a somewhat leftish centrist, many of whose views are those of classic liberalism -- his position on SP3, of reading all the works and evaluating them regardless of source, is an example of that sort of view.)

#57 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 10:05 AM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 55

I'm completely unsure what sort of answer would help.

Here's the thing: I think Xopher @ 39 is expressing a perfectly reasonable sentiment. I think that women should be able to attend a con without being groped.

And I think that making those things realities in the world involves excluding people (see here, or here). I don't think exclusion is necessarily a bad thing. I also think that saying what Xopher said, vs what heresiarch said, is important.

#58 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 10:23 AM:

SamChevre @57,

What part of heresiarch's post @21 don't you agree with?

#59 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 11:29 AM:

I must admit to being inherently distrustful of any statement about the activities of "the Left", as if "the Left" is a single monolithic entity, perhaps beaming our opinions into our cranial implants from its subterranean lair in North Korea....

"The Left" is no more a homogeneous grouping than "the Right".... It would be an easy, and lazy thing, to say that "the Right" has put up a slate of Hugo award candidates, but that's not so: a tiny, tiny subset of "the Right" has done that - and even that subset is readily divisible into two groups - and each of those groups contains a diversity of views, from political true-believers to those with no discernible political viewpoint at all (motivated only by self-interest, say, or the desire to destroy).

The whole issue of the slate, a number of us have said, is that we don't want people to have their opinions fed to them (whether by Vox Day, or the subterranean mind control machine): we want a fair hearing for as many voices as possible, and a free and informed choice between them.

Note, please, "as many voices as possible". If you have one voice saying "everybody else is wrong, you must listen to me and to me alone", you can't give them what they want - it's just not, well, logically possible. You can't include the people who want to disinclude everybody else.

And if that looks like oppression from the point of view of the would-be-dictatorial minority... well, I'm inclined to say, "sorry, but them's the breaks."

(Aside: as a boring old Church of England member, I rather like that term "Avengelical". I hadn't heard it before. I don't think I'll go around using it, though, because it might seem a bit ungracious.)

#60 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 03:11 PM:

This report in the tech section of mainstream NZ media is surprisingly comprehensive, covering SP and RP.

Sci-fi Hugo Awards hijacked by anti-diversity campaign
A prestigious science fiction award has become the latest online battleground between progressive fans and an old guard looking to defend what they see as the core of their passion.
The eagerly awaited ballot for the Hugo Awards was released on Saturday, and was widely met online with head scratching and bemusement from fans who didn't recognise many of the listed names.
In a revelation reminiscent of aspects of the ongoing GamerGate phenomenon, it turns out the result had been strongly influenced by co-ordinated politcal campaigns.

#61 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 05:54 PM:

My observations/comments as a bit of a bystander (since I never read enough recent stuff to Hugo-vote):

First, I do use "fundagelical", but I do so as a shorthand for the complex of tenets/etc. that fundamentalists and evangelicals hold in common. I at least use it as a neutral term; "avengelical" is just a slur.

Second: my contact with the sad/rabid puppies is only glancing, but every time I rub up against their statements they strike me as wildly delusional at best. Maybe if all you ever read was Arthur C. Clarke could you think that old SF was apolitical, but otherwise.... Unfortunately what VD1 writes (not so much in content but in "reasoning") is quite consistent with the rightist Catholics I know as far as its immunity to reality.

but Third: I'm having a lot of trouble with the talk of exclusion and inclusion. The tactics of the S/R puppies I don't see so much as excluding per se as they are reactive to an unwarranted sense of exclusion2, and therefore they are only exclusive of others' works as a side effect of there being a limited number of winners. That said, it's not terribly difficult to come across "inclusivity" which is expressed in acts of social exclusion. It can be for good or ill3 but it is inevitably there.

and finally Fourth: I'm coming down to the conclusion that the only way to "fix" the Hugos this year (pun, perhaps, intended) is to vote straight "no award" across the lot. Things are too tainted, and it seems to me to be unfair to those whom the puppies have seized upon to penalize them for being liked by the wrong sort of people.

1 It pleases me to refer to him as an STD.

2 That is to say, to the degree the works they favor are "excluded" they deserve it because people don't like those works.

3 ... and it's obvious that in the case of puppies they are going to have to pushed out of the Hugo-nominating community to some large extent.

#62 ::: jenphalian ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 06:02 PM:

Difficult to keep up on the firehose of comments, though I've read lots in a lot of places. One of the things I've seen folks talking about is how $40 can be a lot of money or a trivial amount of money. One of my strongest beliefs in all this is that more fans nominating/voting is very good, and disseminating information about how to do it is doubleplus so. To combine these things, is anyone talking about whether there's a way to have a fan-run fund to help people who want to vote but can't afford it?

Is it even possible to have such a fund that doesn't seem to be "buying" votes? There are a lot of long-running traditions of funds to help fans get to cons they couldn't otherwise afford, and it seems to me like this could fit in with that, though it would need really transparent administration.

#63 ::: Nicklas ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 06:25 PM:

C. Wingate @61

The reavers have alluded that there will be at a slate next year too no matter what, so that would lead to carpet bombing the awards and to hell with the innocent caught in it for at least two and possibly more years. That seems a bit... depressing no? And I doubt they'd get the point even from that.

#64 ::: Greg M. ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 10:06 PM:

Long-time lurker de-lurking (feel like there should be a spinning 50s-style newspaper headline for that: THE LURKER DE-LURKS!)

First up, for those who want to register for a supporting membership at the Hugos so as to vote, the link is here:

I'm posting it because I just registered two nights ago, and I had trouble finding the registration link when I went to the site, and a lot of readers may want to use it.

This'll be my first year voting in the Hugos, and I'm in pretty firm agreement about all slate categories/nominees getting "No Award..." with the possible exception of Andromeda Spaceways, which might deserve equal consideration with the non-slate nominees, given that they did were not asked about being on the slate and have made their disapproval clear (not to mention they published the amazing Rachel Swirsky, whose awesome story seems to be a bizarre flashpoint among Rabid Puppiers.)

#65 ::: Greg M. (old email address) ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 10:13 PM:

Side note: Let's say you'd been posting on a website for so long that many of your comments were linked to a now-defunct yahoo address, and your "view all by" on your gmail looks embarrassingly small compared with the defunct yahoo one, because yahoo is terrible, let's just admit it; is there a way to merge the two email addresses?


#66 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 10:18 PM:

Greg M: What you've just done (posting with one email address, then immediately posting with the other and marking that they're linked) is the standarge method of doing this. It's generally done in the Open Threads, but I can see how you might not have noticed the current one being very active.

#67 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 11:00 PM:

We're shutting down for the night; see you in the morning.

#68 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 04:54 PM:

Are we there yet?

#69 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 05:02 PM:

We'll get there when we get there.

#70 ::: Peace Is My Middle Name ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 05:07 PM:

This one was at the very end of the thread and may have gotten missed:

#1003 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 04:33 PM:

Teresa @989 Actually I should have said that this is the sort of three-quarters thought through plan that VD favours. If (as he claims) he wins if his slate wins, if he wins if it's No Award all over, if he wins if it's a scattered and confused result, if he wins if his favoured nominees are shut out and only non-slate works/people win...

...then he wins whatever happens... everyone else can do whatever they want. He declares victory down every possible route. There is no need to worry about him winning, because everything is him "winning". We can choose our own paths without reference to if he will win or not. He has freed us all to vote (or not) our conscience, because the final result does not effect his position.


I agree.

VD has been publicly gloating over how whatever happens he wins.

He has pretty much said that there is exactly no chance of compromising with, mollifying, or making peace with him.

Which means that he is irrelevant to anyone else's actions as he will act exactly the same regardless.

Which means that no decision about what to do need take any of his actions or reactions into account.

Which means we are, as Neil observes, free to vote (or not) our consciences.

#71 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 05:14 PM:

Yep. VD has declared himself an invariant factor; an obstacle whatever happens.

(Now the gnomes have finally made it clear I should move I'll be sitting in the corner with my beer)

#72 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 05:17 PM:

It's true that VD has declared himself an invariant factor. But it's also true that once someone has done the unthinkable, it becomes thinkable, and therefore our response needs to discourage others from trying something similar.

#73 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 05:19 PM:

Neil W @71:

It's not necessarily the case the VD is an invariant factor; he's just declaring he's got plans for all endgames. His actual actions (and how painful those actions are to the Hugos) may be different under different circumstances.

#74 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 05:22 PM:

Belated applause for Cat's lyrics @848 in the previous thread (2015 Hugos thread).

#75 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 05:59 PM:

If VD1 wants to gloat about how he wins in any case,2 the point is for the Hugos' functioning/rep to win. If the outcome satisfies us (for some reasonable definition of "us") I personally don't care about his gloating.

1 It is so very tempting to start referring to him as The Disease

2 ...which I don't think is true in fact, as opposed to in posturing

#76 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 07:36 PM:

Glenn Hauman commented (@1001 on the previous thread) that VD is claiming "The Sad Puppy nominees are objectively superior as rated by Amazon." Ironic, isn't it, that Amazon just filed suit against a bunch of positive-reviews-for-hire websites. From Reuters:

The defendants include Jay Gentile, a California man who allegedly runs, as well as unnamed operators of, and, according to the complaint.
Amazon said the defendants have caused reviews to be posted on its website intermittently, through a "slow drip" designed to evade its detection systems, at a typical cost of $19 to $22 per review.

#77 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 07:58 PM:

I'm way behind on the thread that got moved over to this one... nonetheless...

At the risk of being Sethed *

In the preceding archive I mentioned what someone else called range something or other.

There are differences among "I am not informed enough about this to vote on it," "I am indifferent to this," "I hate this witha white hot passion," and "I dislike this."

Good Reads [grr, whatever happened to verbals, as in "good reading" ??!!...] and Amazon ratings don't have negative scoring allowed, and there is no normalization on the distribution--statistical analyses involve applying various types of weightings--that's what rms - root mean square -- calculations matter.,

* (as opposed to being Breitbarted--yes, I do have a sense of humor, but it's mostly one based on wordplay or irony, not slapstick or social humor based on stuff which I tend to be clueless about (there are people in the SF/F community who socially are more clueless than I am, they include at least two people with Askhenzi ancestry whose first names are David, at the very same convention, I told each of the same think in reaction to Socially Clue-deficient actions each of them had individually (not the same actions) said/done, "David, you're a nerd!" But then, again, if looking for the socially ept, look elsewhere than at me!)

#78 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 08:58 PM:

Buddha @73:

It's also true that saying "I have plans for all eventualities" is easier than actually making plans (let alone good ones) for all eventualities. (Technically, deciding now that if XYZ happens he will spend Worldcon weekend getting drunk, and if something else happens he will get a beagle, would count as a plan. Not a particularly good or very likely plan, but a plan, and the beagle part probably wouldn't even involve losing his hat.)

Also, making plans is easier than carrying them out. Many people's plans have fallen through because there were no tickets available at the right time (all sold out, or flights canceled because of weather, or that band was never planning to play Seattle on this tour...).

#79 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 10:07 PM:

Bruce @ ::952: Lest Darkness Fall, as a counterfactual, is as much SF any counterfactual. (Most SF readers I know would include even the ones without out-of-time tech innovations, like Turtledove's Armada temporarily winning, as well as the many tech-based such as Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen. And for another form of hot telegraphy, see Pavane.) I was speaking of a potential story about the people who became superstars in the later 1800s because they could put data through a thin wire faster than anyone else. wrt mill stories: look up Sunrise to Sunset for starters.

#80 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 10:22 PM:

Looking Backward?

#81 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 12:05 AM:

I don't like the way this has been developing. I've been keeping up with blog posts from Torgersen and Correia, in particular the latter's lengthy response to George R. R. Martin.

If they keep carrying on in as persuasive and winsome a fashion as they have been, by August I fear they'll have won over most of the fan community and they'll be greeted as liberators at Sasquan.

#82 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 12:08 AM:

Well, look what just turned up:

Tell Me What You Think Of Me

Give them enough rope...

#83 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 12:52 AM:

That stuff needs to be publicized so it will reach fans who might think this isn't important or that it will blow over.

#84 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 12:58 AM:

You know, I've been thinking, and doing some research on the internet, and certain things have come to light of which I was previously unaware, things I'd prefer to ignore, but I'm no chicken, and, well, it gives me no joy to say this but Vox Day is right and things have gone too far.

#85 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 12:59 AM:

OK, I've worked up a color-code chart to help keep things sorted out, and an interesting thing shows up: with the exception of a Game of Thrones episode and a fanzine, everything that's only on VD's slate is either himself or something he published. It's one thing to have a slate: getting all your buddies to vote specifically for you is way unethical.

#86 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 01:00 AM:

I'm beginning to fear someone may be injured by these morons before this ends. They've committed assault (AIUI) will it progress to battery?

#87 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 04:21 AM:

Buddha Buck @73 - Well, to be fair I was taking him seriously as a supervillain:

Evil Mastermind: Ha ha! I have won! I am ruler of the Earth! There is nothing you can do to stop me!

Hero: No, no you're right. [Turns to leave]

EM: Wait, where are you going?

Hero: Well, you've beaten me so I thought I'd retire, spend some time with friends and family, catch up on my reading, volunteer down at the church, that kind of thing.

EM: No!

(In the epilogue, Evil Mastermind is planning to take his revenge, but is too busy trying to make peace in the Ukraine, reduce pollution in China and build a two mile high statue of himself with a death laser on top)

#88 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 04:49 AM:

Andrew M @958: How are stories published at not "sold"? You do know that pays its contributors?

#89 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 06:44 AM:

David Goldfarb @88
I initially made the same error in understanding that you did. However, for purposes of a voter proving that they purchased a work (in order to be permitted to vote for it), stories on (and various other sites) are not 'sold' to the reader.

#90 ::: Bryant ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 10:26 AM:

This is an alarmist comment; please grain of salt as appropriate.

Last year, Sasquan won the Worldcon with 645 votes. Larry Correia got 332 votes for Best Novel in the first round of voting. I suspect that, in the event of a Sad Puppy Worldcon bid, voters would converge on a single bid rather than splitting between Sasquan and Helsinki (say), but we're not an order of magnitude of voters away from a Sad Puppy majority.

You'd see this coming from a mile away; nonetheless this year's slate effects should also have been obvious and I don't think anyone thought about it a ton. (I am not concerned about a secret plot to write in a Sad Puppy bid at the moment; no evidence of non-public organizational ability.)


#91 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 11:03 AM:

They think that they can get away with it. They also don't care about anyone outside their group.

#92 ::: Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 11:04 AM:

@90: Research tells me that Worldcon selection uses preference voting, which reduces the risks.

Are write-in votes allowed?

#93 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 11:23 AM:

Stewart @ 92: Are write-in votes allowed?

Pretty sure I can answer that: write-in votes for site selection? No. Sites have to have bid committees campaigning to win the WorldCon, before they are placed on the ballot. A write-in would have to be for a last-minute bid organized in the time between the site-selection ballot was announced and the voting closed . . . and I honestly don't think that that's physically possible anyway. It's a lot of work to organize a WorldCon bid, and takes quite a bit of money, effort, and time just to get to the point of being considered for the ballot. I can't see any group being organized enough to do it at the last minute and be taken seriously.

#94 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 11:46 AM:

A WorldCon bid has to have provisional site and hotel agreements in order to get on the ballot. Conference management is not as simple as saying "let's put on a show", though it should be (and usually is) invisible.

Any number of people writing in a hoax bid will not affect the outcome.

#95 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 12:44 PM:

Bryant @ 90: the low vote counts for site selection are a recent phenomenon; the ~2004 election had IIRC 2000 ballots, and 1995 had ~2500. If the Puppies came up with an overt bid I would hope to see a lot of that number would come back.

Note also that that the Puppies would have to show up in a lot of places and answer a lot of questions to get any votes outside of their core group, and the questions would expose them. (Might not even need active questions; committees today are expected to show their members' CVs, which would expose inexperience.) What would be really interesting is whether they could get facilities; AFAIK the business world is ignoring VD, Torgersen, etc. as irrelevant, but they've left a turd trail a mile wide for people to read off the net.

However, beth meacham @ 94 is incorrect. 4.6.4 says that a write-in must file site papers "by the close of voting" in order to be eligible; in theory this could allow a stealth bid to evade questioning. They'd still have to win a preference ballot, which would take at least 2x the number of people they summoned this year and each would have to spend twice the money (for memberships in the current \and/ voted-on Worldcons).
      ISTM that 4.6.4 is especially weak because voting closes no earlier than 6pm Friday local time, which means that a sock puppy could present fraudulent papers that wouldn't be caught until 60+ hours after close of voting (because most facility marketing people keep business hours); the collective knowledge of SMOFdom might be able to catch this, but I don't see how they would be able to do anything under the rules. (IIRC, a bid was ruled off the ballot for 1989 due to facility trouble, but that was well ahead and I suspect the person who did this was acting ultra vires -- the rules don't give any one person the ability to rule on the validity of the facility papers; 4.6.1(2) requires "adequate" evidence, but who would rule on that?) Perhaps it should be changed to the start of on-site balloting, or at least to "24 hours before the close of business at the proposed site"?

Numbers above refer to, in case anybody's having trouble finding the rules.

I hope Kevin is still following this; I've been drifting for a while and was never a rules lawyer, so the above should not be assumed to be the full story.

#96 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 12:46 PM:

A possible (and I emphasize possible) solution to the bloc-nomination problem struck me this morning.

Problem 1: Under the current WSFS Constitution, an organized minority voting bloc can fill all available nomination slots.
Problem 2: A substantial minority of the WSFS membership feels shut out of the normal nomination process and believes that their preferred works can only be nominated through use of voting blocs. (Whether they are actually shut out is not relevant to whether they feel shut out.)
Problem 3: When an organized minority voting bloc fills all available nomination slots, the majority of the WSFS membership feels shut out of the nomination process.

Possible solution: MidAmeriCon2 has the right under WSFS Constitution sections 3.2.7 and 3.2.8 to relocate works "into a more appropriate category if it feels it is necessary", provided that the story (3.2.7) or dramatic presentation (3.2.8) is within a given tolerance of the new category boundary. MidAmeriCon2 also has the right under section 3.3.17 to create a special category "under exceptional circumstances only". Presuming that the presence of overt bloc voting qualifies as an exceptional circumstance, MidAmeriCon2 could announce that they will exercise their 3.3.17 right and create the "Best Bloc Nominee" special category (BBN). The BBN category definition would be something along the lines of "Any work, otherwise eligible under sections 3.3.1 through 3.3.4 (for stories) or sections 3.3.7 through 3.3.8 (for dramatic presentations), which in the judgement of the Worldcon Committee was primarily nominated by a minority voting bloc."

If next year doesn't see any bloc-nomination shenanigans, BBN gets No Award under section 3.6 and life goes on - just another year without a special category Hugo. If there are bloc-nomination shenanigans, the MidAmeriCon2 Hugo admins move the bloc nominees into BBN. Folks who are adamantly opposed to bloc votes of any kind can vote No Award to the BBN; folks who nominated the BBN nominees get to vote for their favorites; everybody else votes or not as usual based on their personal criteria, and one of the bloc nominees possibly gets a shiny rocket. It's at least a partial win for the minority bloc nominators; they get stuff on the final ballot, and the winner gets a genuine Hugo award. It is also a win for the majority of WSFS; the stuff that would have made the ballot absent the bloc-nominations does in fact make it on the ballot.

Going forward, and assuming bloc-nomination shenanigans next year, there's enough time after the nominations are announced (including the BBN reassignments) for a formal proposal to the MidAmeriCon2 Business Meeting, institutionalizing the BBN category and empowering Worldcon Committees to reassign bloc-nominees to BBN. Assuming such a rule is eventually enshrined in the WSFS Constitution, bloc-nominating can still happen, and the bloc votes still get counted, but they don't damage the rest of the ballot. Meanwhile, the 2017 Worldcon Committee can, if they feel it necessary, use the same rules to handle any bloc-nomination shenanigans for their Hugos.

While this proposal doesn't do anything about this year's Hugos, it's a possible fix for the next couple of years, with the huge advantage of not requiring immediate changes to the WSFS Constitution.

Thoughts? Brickbats? Poetry?

#97 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 01:03 PM:

That stuff needs to be publicized so it will reach fans who might think this isn't important or that it will blow over.

I've got a bunch of URLs and a load of screenshots, which I'm attempting to turn into some kind of document that can be sent to people or easily posted to a website. If anyone has run into something that looks useful, either in the form of a URL or a screenshot you took, you can write to my throw-away email account which is cthulhu dot worshipper at

If you send a a screen shot, please give it some context.

#98 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 01:18 PM:

Errolwi@89: Thank you, yes, that is what I meant.

Brad Templeton in other thread (since Bruce has asked that discussion of juries be removed from it): I didn't mean to imply that a juried award wouldn't be a Hugo. Clearly, as WSFS owns the mark, if they called it a Hugo that is what it would be. But from a reputational point of view, I don't think WSFS could get away with making the Hugo a juried award, since it has been strongly publicised as a people's award (even if a lot of people don't seem to have noticed); it might be able to institute a new juried award which has in some ways a similar function.

C. Wingate@85: Do you mean only stuff which reached the ballot? Because VD did propose a few things, not by himself, which didn't.

But I do think the Game of Thrones episode raises a major issue. It would presumably have been nominated anyway; it would have had a good chance of winning, if recent precedents hold up. Given that it is only Day, not Torgersen, who suggested it, I think it is entirely possible that it is there as a spoiler, in the hope that its being on the list will stop people voting for it. In which case, if we put it below 'No Award', are we doing what VD wants?

#99 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 02:04 PM:

Edmund, #96: Provisionally, I like that idea. It does have the disadvantage of pitting works of all lengths against each other (because you don't want an entire parallel set of Hugos!), and that means either a lot of slots or a bunch of stuff not on the ballot at all. And it has the disadvantage of forcing the administrators to rule on what's a bloc ballot and what isn't, which may kill it. But it's an elegant solution, if it can be made to work.

Andrew, #98: If we worry about what the bad guy wants, we give him control of us. We need to focus on what we want to see happen, and the best and fairest way to accomplish it, without reference to the people who are trying to screw things up.

#100 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 02:09 PM:

Edmund Schweppe @96: I think a sticking point is "in the judgment of the Worldcon Committee". One very strong thread in these discussions is that the rules should refer as much as possible to things with an objective definition, and avoid having the administrators make judgments. In the interests of transparency. The Hugo administrators get enough flack about things as it is, without requiring them to make that kind of judgment.

#101 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 02:12 PM:

Is the current Hugo committee allowed to release the nominations and vote counts for them now, or only after the final balloting is done? (Not the identities of the voters, just the counts, or maybe even the sets of nominees on each nomination form?)

That would do two things - tell us what got crowded off the ballot (rank-ordered), and tell us how many puppy votes there were (either in great detail, or approximately from the vote counts.)

#102 ::: Bryant ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 02:18 PM:

Chip @95: thanks, I should have checked back further! That makes me more relaxed.

beth @94: a bid has to file "adequate evidence of an agreement with its proposed site’s facilities, such as a conditional contract or a letter of agreement." The spirit of the rule is obvious, and I agree that it's pretty complex to fulfill that requirement. However, there is no definition of adequate facilities, so the letter of the rule is abusable.

In general, on the idea of taking this hypothetical bid seriously, I'd just point out that most of us didn't take the Sad Puppy slate seriously even after last year. It is possible that our mental filters are poorly calibrated for this particular class of problem.

#103 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 02:31 PM:

Let's say that if they aren't planning for at least a couple of thousand people - and you can bet that most of those who have been on committees have a good idea of what's available - they can be called not a serious bid. (I'm not sure what the absolute minimum is that would be considered adequate, but I'd say that at least three thousand attendees should be expected.) Facilities that can handle large conventions also tend to need early arrangements. That's why there are so few US locations that bid.

#104 ::: Bryant ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 03:07 PM:

PJ @103: Under what rule? I don't see a "serious bid" clause in the WSFS Constitution. I also don't see a minimum attendance clause.

#105 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 04:03 PM:

Andrew M @98 - we could wear holes in our brains trying to second-guess what Beale actually wants, and in the end, I don't think it's worth bothering. Better just to do whatever seems the right thing, as if he didn't exist.

I had an odd thought about the SP's poster boys, which I thought about putting in a comment here, but it expanded into a very, very long thing (mostly about my own reading habits), so I dusted off my old LiveJournal account and stuck it in there instead. In the unlikely event that anyone's interested, it's here: On the curious invisibility of Larry Correia.

(My old LJ has actually been quite busy recently, but the activity isn't generally visible. A friend wanted to read some fanfics I'd written, and likes LJ, so I stuck them on that. But I hold to the traditional dictum regarding fanfic... do it in private, and wash your hands afterwards....)

#106 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 04:16 PM:

It isn't a rule, it's experience with conventions. Look at Worldcon attendance figures, and think about what you'd need in facilities for that number of people.

#107 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 04:22 PM:

I think I';m going to have to look into those megapacks. Not having a Kindle will be a difficulty, though. (Tale of Genji - I have, or had, an abridged translation of it. And some of those other off-the-SP-track books are not unfamiliar to me.)

#108 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 04:22 PM:

Steve Wright: But if he didn't exist, surely the right thing to do would be to read (at least a bit of) each nominee, put it below 'No Award' if it is rubbish, and otherwise give it a ranking. People are recommending 'No Award' all down the line because they feel that to do otherwise would be to let him win. This may be true; the problem is that to do that may also be to let him win, not just in that he can say 'Ha ha ha! You all voted No Award! Your system is clearly broken!' but also in that he can stop John Scalzi getting a Hugo by putting him on a slate (and may already be doing that to GoT). I don't know what to do about this, but I don't think No Award is problem-free.

#109 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 05:48 PM:

Andrew M #108:

I was going to respond but Matthew Foster has summarised my thoughts.

#110 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 05:49 PM:

Andrew M.: as someone else said, VD has "declared himself an invariant", and wins no matter what we do. If one of his nominees wins, he wins. If "No Award" wins, he's broken the Hugos and he wins. If someone other than his nominees wins, it's clearly down to left-wing conspiracies and the moral victory is his, so he wins.

He always wins. Nothing we can do about that. So, my strategy is going to be to read as much as I can of the nominees (and if you read that link in my last, you'll see that I have a very high tolerance for literary pain) and vote them accordingly... bearing in mind that the fix was in, and that anything on the slate might be beaten by something that was unfairly kept off. If something that didn't get a chance is better than a slate nominee, I'd feel justified in saying the slate nominee doesn't deserve to be there, and gets voted below "No Award" in consequence. (I expect this to be an easy decision to reach in some categories, and a much harder one in others.)

#111 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 06:18 PM:

Andrew M, #108: Bear in mind that the Sad Puppies have been using "If you vote 'No Award', we win!" as a way to try to manipulate voters into treating the ballot as if it were legitimate.

That sort of transparent bullsh*t manipulation didn't work on me when I was 6 years old, and it doesn't work on me now.

#112 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 06:46 PM:


There's no specific minimum attendance/size in the rules. By custom, however, a Worldcon bid will tell anyone who asks what their facilities are. The bid party may be mostly giving out food and drink and telling you how wonderful the proposed location is, but if I ask them "What hotels are you planning to use?" or "tell me about the convention center," they do.

If one bid has letters of agreement with hotels that have room for 4,442 guests, and another has a letter of agreement with a 50-room motel and the bid chair's uncle's promise that they can use his barn, the voters will be able to tell the difference.

A nontrivial number of people appear to have nominated the Sad Puppies slate because they took it at face value. Those same people aren't going to vote for "Worldcon at my uncle's house, maximum capacity 97!"

#113 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 07:14 PM:

CHip @95 Thanks. I didn't know about the "file by close of voting" loophole.

#114 ::: Will McLean ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 08:08 PM:

I am inclined to vote everything on the ballots above or below No Award on the merits, except for those that I can prove knew about the block voting ballots and approved of them. They will be so far below no award that they won't be on my ballot at all. By my current count, that's Kratman, Vox Day and Wright, although VD would have earned his position on the merits in any case

#115 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 08:10 PM:

Matthew Foster's post worries me; I don't spend a lot of time watching the pro blogosphere, so I don't know how many are promoting the hold-your-noses-and-it-will-blow-over position that Matthew ascribes to GRRM, Kowal, and others. The thought of a Hugo going to any part of the slate deeply disturbs me. (The thought of even trying to read the material doesn't make me happy either.) What do people think the sense-of-those-with-many-readers is?

#116 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 08:12 PM:

re 98: When I did my original chart I didn't have time to compare it against the original list. Now that I have, it comes down to this:

(1) The Sad Slate was mostly unimportant. There is only one case (in Fan Writer) where they managed to displace a Rabid candidate, and only one other (Semipro Zine) where they got their unique candidates on. This one also lost a Sad/Rabid candidate (OSC's Intergalactic Medicine Show, which I suspect was disqualified).

(2) It seems that there were only five awards where normal voters prevailed enough to force their candidates on the final ballot: Novel, Long and Short Form Dramatic Presentation, Pro Artist, and Fan Writer. In the first case sheer volume was enough to put the two choices in, I have to guess, and in Long Drama (a) the puppies mostly voted for things that were going to be nominated anyway, and (b) the other two were again choices which sheer numbers could make prevail. I suspect roughly the same thing happened in short drama. In Fan Writer I see widespread agreement that Mixon's one post was going to get her on. Pro Artist is an interesting case because it's possible that this is one case where a lack of Sad support cost a Rabid nominee a position.

(3) Every other award category was controlled by the Rabid slate. The only cases where non-slate nominees got on was where there weren't enough Rabid candidates to fill all positions.

(4) In Novel one of the failed slate noms was by Correia; another was by Torgersen. Both were on the Rabid Slate (presumably BT at least did not have the nerve to nominate himself, unlike VD).

(5) The only difference between the two editor slates was VD, who did have the gall to nominate himself.

If other people would like to see the chart I can make provisions to publish it.

#117 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 08:25 PM:

@105 The problem that I see with your analysis -- and forgive me if I overlooked something -- is that you don't read urban fantasy. Correia doesn't write science fiction; he writes urban fantasy. If you were reading Seanan McGuire and Mercy Thompson and Charlaine Harris, Amazon would probably tell you to pick up Monster Hunter Nation, too.

#118 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 08:30 PM:

C. Wingate @ 116: Re: your point 4: Correia says his book's absence wasn't a loss, per se; he declined his nomination. Which has led me to wonder which other book made it because of that; if it was Addison or Leckie, then he inadvertently did the rest of us even more of a favour.

#119 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 08:44 PM:

Sarah @ 117: If you were reading Seanan McGuire and Mercy Thompson and Charlaine Harris, Amazon would probably tell you to pick up Monster Hunter Nation, too.

I do, and it doesn't. Then again, I have come to believe that Amazon's recommendations are really pretty random and essentially meaningless, anyway . . .

#120 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 08:45 PM:

Sarah @117 - well, I do read urban fantasy, but there's not much of it on the Kindle (and a lot of the hard copies came from bookshop browsing, not Amazon.)

I don't think my analysis can even pretend to be scientific, but I still don't see how Correia, Torgersen, Wright and so on could fail to show up on the recs list... unless they weren't nearly so widespread in popularity as they think they are. (My list is, for example, packed with self-published milSF, of notably variable quality... but the slate guy with the self-pubbed milSF novel isn't among them.)

#121 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 08:49 PM:

Mary Frances @119, I know what you mean... back in the early days of Amazon, I bought a CD of Sibelius orchestral work off them, and promptly got a recommendation for a charming ditty by Alice Cooper entitled Raped and Freezin'. I actually emailed them to ask What The Hell. Their pattern matching has improved, since, though.

#122 ::: Pete M ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 08:58 PM:

Nancy #16. Re: the Hard push for works they liked. Wasn't that last year? When they got a couple of nominated works? I think one problem is that the works they picked weren't particularly plausible or likely to appeal.

Of the Sad Puppy nominees I've read so far, the only one that struck me as being a plausible Hugo winner is Kratman's "Big Boys Don't Cry." Which, whatever one thinks of Kratman, really is quite good. But last year they picked some real turkeys.

One irony of this whole mess. I don't think that Day or Larry Correia writes faintly Hugo-worthy work, though Correia manages competent page-turners. But Torgerson did have an actual Hugo (and Nebula) nomination before this blew up. I really liked The Chaplain's War, and it could conceivably have been nominated for a Hugo. Even if it hadn't been, he does have the potential to write Hugo-level material, so he could possibly have been in the running in the future. But he has so poisoned the well that I doubt he will ever win, regardless of the quality of what he writes.

I also want to thank Teresa for recommending The Three Body Problem. She is right: it's exactly the sort of book the Sad Puppies say they want. It's got science, mystery, way cool speculation --even anti-communism!

It was one of those stay-up-till-three AM reads, so I blame you for being a bit groggy today. But it was well worth it. I really am sad it will never have the chance it should have had to win the Hugo Award.

It's a book that reminds me of why I love science fiction. It may well be the best SF novel I've read in the last decade.

Can you tell I liked it? I have pre-ordered the sequel, and if it's half as good as book 1, I will nominate it for a Best Novel Hugo.

#123 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 09:05 PM:

Steve Wright @ #105, Correia's absence is, um, odd puzzling, if he's all of that and a bag of chips, as the Puppies would have you believe. I have all of Weber's Honor Harrington series and many of the Honorverse books as well, and I have yet to see Correia's name among Amazon's recommendations. I get David Drake's and John Hemry's books and lots of others, but no Correia.

After this brouhaha (I like the word as well) I'm unlikely to seek his work out, I can tell you that.

#124 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 09:27 PM:

re 118: I had forgotten his refusal. If you go by the sales numbers it's likely that he did free up a space.

#125 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 09:37 PM:

RE: Sales Numbers

Monster Hunter #1 International: 54,000 copies
Monster Hunter #5 Nemesis: 6,100 copies

Old Man's War #1: 122,000 copies
The Ghost Brigades #2: 100,000 copies
Redshirts: 32,000 copies
Lock In (hardcover): 10,100 copies

If there were any credence to their claim that they're just nominating what's most popular with ALL SF fans and not just the tiny band of SJWs, the Sad Puppies would be falling all over themselves to nominate John Scalzi's books.

Clearly, the "most popular" justification is just rhetoric.

#126 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 09:39 PM:

Like science fiction itself decades ago, I don't think these authors are actually all that popular, hence the Amazon results, but the people who love them really love them.

<snark>Meantime, I keep wondering: since being a social justice warrior is reprehensible in the SPs eyes, are they therefore social injustice warriors?</snark>

#127 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 09:41 PM:

* Note that the totals above are Bookscan totals and thus do not reflect e-book sales. I do not see any reason to believe that either author's e-book sales would be other than proportional.

#128 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 09:44 PM:

Respectable sales, but not as big as they want us to think.

#129 ::: May Tree ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 09:53 PM:

In regard to #125: When I first heard about the the Puppy slates this year, my first thought was "Oh, this is about selling more workmanlike but uninspiring SFF books to the conservative market. There's no bad publicity as long as they spell your name right, and the American Conservative crowd can be counted on to toss copious sums of money at people who are 'on the Right side' regardless of the merit of their work product. Look at how much business Left Behind did just by rewriting Revelations -- very badly!" And those numbers you posted made me think even more that this is likely.

But I seem to be the only one who thinks that the ideology/SJW cabal angle is just a ridiculously thin lie designed to act as a smokescreen for a guaranteed sales numbers/cash grab, much as the "ethics in game journalism" crapola was a thin cover story for a cyberbulling mob.

Why do people give so much credence to the ideology angle in this mess? Real conservative political activists could care less about science fiction book awards, or videogames. This is more about selling a ton of merch to Our Team, in my opinion. That's why it makes so little sense. It's dogwhistling for donations.

#130 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 10:25 PM:

re 129: Well, that's why I refer to VD as "the Koch brothers of SF". He couldn't pull it off in Novel (and my theory is that Butcher and Correia were specifically on the slate to ensure they got something on the ballot), but basically the Rabid slate is about pushing VD himself. For all his ideological crankishness it comes off as being about using the other cranks to his personal benefit.

#131 ::: DanAudy ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 10:28 PM:

May @129

Not sure if you are interested at all but I thought I would plug one of my favouritest sites ever, Slacktivist, which has spent the last ten years doing detailed commentary, deconstruction, and analysis on the Left Behind series and has a wonderful commentariat full of humour and insight that elevates the level of the place to be my go to site on the net.

#132 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 10:34 PM:

The more I read about this the more I think it wise not to put any of the stuff on the FJC/IFC slate on my final ballot.

I'll read and vote for the stories that got their nominations under their own power, rank them, and then put No Award. Where the Sock Puppets have taken an entire category, I see no point in wasting my time reading them.

I intend to make a list of the names -- just so I make sure I never read anything by them. I know it's petty...and maybe I'll change my mind ten years from now.

#133 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 12:08 AM:

I thought I'd seen you there. Outside of the persistent trolls, it's a good place.

#134 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 12:26 AM:

CHip@115: "...I don't know how many are promoting the hold-your-noses-and-it-will-blow-over position that Matthew ascribes to GRRM, Kowal, and others."

I think Foster has overstated it. He writes: "George R.R. Martin ..., John Scalzi, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Brad Torgersen all agree the thing is to vote as normal, instead of, for instance, of voting No Award."

Well -- holding their noses, voting, and ranking anything non-Hugo-worthy below No Award. Not "instead of No Award". And then GRRM stressed the importance of getting fans to nominate next year.

That's not not-a-plan. It is, in one sense, writing off the 2014 Hugos as a loss. A No-Award-without-reading ballot is in a *different* sense writing off the 2014 Hugos as a loss. I'm not sure I can get het up over the difference, though it would probably be called an epic fannish feud in any normal year.

#135 ::: tigtog ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 01:01 AM:

P J Evans #107:

I think I';m going to have to look into those megapacks. Not having a Kindle will be a difficulty, though.

You don't have to buy another device - you can get a Kindle app for your laptop/tablet/desktop/phone depending on what you like using best, and read Kindle purchases using that.

#136 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 01:57 AM:

They have ePubs - that should be enough. I know my reader can handle those.

#137 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 04:30 AM:

May Tree, #129: Now that sparked a truly nasty thought. Given the amounts of money that hate-filled people seem to be willing to throw at right-wing cause celèbres, might part of the goal be to have their "persecution" go viral, put up a GoFundMe, and start raking it in?

#138 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 05:48 AM:

P J Evans - to me, those megapacks work sort of like buying a job lot at an auction. You're likely to find something you like, and you may find some real gems... you will also find some stories that aren't fit to line the bottom of a budgie's cage, but, well, that's life.

#139 ::: May Tree ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 09:58 AM:

131: Thanks for the link Dan! That looks like it's going to be a source of fun. I love snark about egregiously bad art.

137: Would a GoFundMe even be necessary? Just go to Amazon, put in "Correia" and/or "Torgerson" and/or "Day/Beale" (ugh, assuming your browser didn't just up and quit in protest at that last one) and order one of each thing that shows up. No GoFundMe necessary!

A desire for a sales boost would explain why Correia and Torgerson appear to be so mortally offended to have "only" been nominated for, respectively, a Campbell and a Campbell and a Hugo and not getting the nod for these awards -- "Campbell/Hugo nominee" isn't something that a publisher will usually splash across your book that can garner it significant extra sales oomph, as an actual win would be.

Most SFF authors and aspiring SFF authors are very happy just to get nominated, particularly the first time. They don't declare jihads because they didn't WIN the very first time they were up for an award. And yet Correia and Torgerson did exactly that. Think how many speculative fiction authors never get a nomination for a major award, or only get it after paying their dues for half a decade or more. And yet somehow a nom without a win is evidence of the operation of an "SJW cabal"? How does THAT make sense? But think of all the free publicity these guys have gotten by this move, particularly once they started claiming they were unfairly tarnished as racist and sexist by the Librul Mainstream Media. That's a motivator that makes more concrete sense for a move like this than Correia's complaining that people were rude to him at WorldCon because he insisted on talking politics instead of SFF at room parties.

#140 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 10:51 AM:

#125 JJ

The On-Sale Calendar: June 2014

June 1

Born of Fury by Sherrilyn Kenyon (St. Martin’s Press, $25.99; ISBN 978-1-250-04296-5). 150,000 copies.


Note that Born of Fury which I would expect has spaceships in it, since that series generally does, did not get on the Hugo ballot, despite the hardcover count....

One of the previous books in the series was an NYT hardcover bestseller back in 2009 or so, and she hs multiple urban fantasy/paranomral romance NYT #1 bestsellers.

#141 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 12:05 PM:

I've gotten a few individual books that were rated well, and found that I couldn't deal with them. Unpleasant characters, unpleasantly written.

#142 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 12:25 PM:

Given the amounts of money that hate-filled people seem to be willing to throw at right-wing cause celèbres, might part of the goal be to have their "persecution" go viral, put up a GoFundMe, and start raking it in?

I do think Sad Puppies III is all about money in one way or another. The GoFundMe might be part of it, but I think the real money (in Sad/Rabid Puppy fantasies) comes when Castalia House wins multiple Hugos, at which point we'll see advertising copy like "Award-Winning Castalia House" or "...won multiple awards their first year in business." And five years from now, when all this has blown over, newbie writers might sign on with Castalia so they can be edited by "Hugo Award Winning Editor Theodore Beale."

Personally, I think the Sad Puppies are delusional about what a Hugo win will mean for them personally or for Castalia House, but IMHO their thinking goes:

Take Over The Award

It's may also be worth reading Larry Correia's reply to George R. R. Martin where he talks about the abusive treatment he suffered when nominated for an award some years back. I don't trust him to tell the truth, he doesn't present any cites, and I suspect he's exaggerating whatever happened, but I suspect that much can be learned about the Sad Puppies understanding of reality by reading between the lines. I would definitely suggest putting on your hip boots before wading in - it's deep and smelly in there.

Meanwhile, remember the five keywords to handling sad puppies: MOCK, SHAME, SHUN, SPAY, NEUTER!

#143 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 12:45 PM:

@120 That's interesting -- so why isn't Amazon recommending any urban fantasy to you? Or did I just miss it?

#144 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 01:19 PM:

C Wingate @116:

It seems possible that Laura J. Mixon got on the Best Fan Writer ballot because Matthew David Surridge declined his nomination. Perhaps without that decline, the puppy slate(s) would have completely swept that category as well.

#145 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 01:30 PM:

Sarah @144 - I picked up the Kindle just now, and once I'd scrolled past, errr, all the Wildside Megapacks I've not yet bought, the recommendations list started including writers like Charles de Lint, Tanya Huff, Paul Cornell - with books that are at least arguably urban fantasy. (Like most sub-genres - like most categories of writing, in fact - urban fantasy is a bit fuzzy round the edges. Does Neil Gaiman count? Or Kim Newman's "Dracula" books? Both of those turn up a lot.)

#146 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 01:39 PM:

Steve Wright @145 -- some Neil Gaiman counts as "urban fantasy" under almost any definitions; other stories don't. And I'd certainly class Newman's Dracula books there. But different people use different definitions -- would you classify Thorne Smith as "urban fantasy"? (I'd be more likely to classify his books as "urbane fantasy", but I'm prone to punning.)

#147 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 02:00 PM:

Would The Ocean At The End of the Lane count as Suburban Fantasy?

#148 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 02:01 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 146: It's an interesting question. Can you "classify" a book as a sub-category that didn't exist when the book was written? At least, not consciously? I suspect that Thorne Smith thought he was writing "ghost stories," even when there were no actually ghosts in the book . . .

And "urbane fantasy" sounds like a wonderful new sub-sub-category, to me! Who else might we put into it?

#149 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 02:04 PM:

Fragano Legister @ 147: I always wanted to write a Suburban Fantasy! One with wide lawns, tract housing, and range rovers . . . and elves! Or something like that.

#150 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 02:04 PM:

Alex R. #142 - Correia wrote a blog post after going to the Con where he's all nice about people and says he wants to go back.

Of course now he's edited it to add something saying that he wrote it then because he still thought he could get in with the in crowd and wanted to play nice with people, only of course he was spurned and nothing worked etc etc woe is him.

There's also someone at the bottom of that post of Nicholls that claims they do believe Correia and claims that fandom has become nasty in the last few years, even to such a leftie person as them.
Which begs the question what sort of fandom are they meeting? The people and places I know who are connected to fandom and SF are all fine (yes, even the right winger whose work I crit) and you do wonder where they are going to get that experience. Of course the problem is that one persons "Meh whatever" situation is another persons "You all hate me so I'm leaving" situation.

Certainly you've got to wonder how honest Correia can be with himself when he turns round and says that his old blog post is 180 degrees from what he actually thought. It isn't good for you to have two faces.

#151 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 02:08 PM:

Would Max Beerbohm's "Enoch Soames" be urbane fantasy, or pre-post-modern time-travel?

#152 ::: Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 02:31 PM:

@150: Colum Paget was one of the targets of RequiresHate and her coterie.

#153 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 02:38 PM:

Stewart #152 - well that explains that then. I can't think of any way of persuading them that there is more to fandom than their own experience.
Or do some of the SP supporters have an accurate idea that there are some people not made to feel welcome? I say no, but there's an entire world of US'ian fandom which I know little about save from reading on here and one or two other places.

#154 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 02:46 PM:

re 144: Dang, I forgot that one too. However in that case there's also the possibility (and I think likelihood given how the Sad Pups fared elsewhere) that Surridge would have displaced the SP-only nominee Dave Freer.

#155 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 03:18 PM:

#149 Mary [Mary Frances? I cn;t tell if there is a double first name, or fist and last name there there...]

Esther Friesner wrote some suburban contemporary fantasy novels.

There are many more books published in a year than anyone can read, or even hope to keep track of.

I was/am ware of the existence of a writer named Larry Correia. I have even taken books off store shelves by him, looked in them--and decided, "Nope, not interested." And wean that's my reaction to someone's writing, I put their work either below No Award of leave it off the ballot entirely, unless there's something I -really- want buried even deeper....

As for occupation, religious affiliation, etc., until/unless they manifest them to me as something vile in the writing and/or the person's behavior in public getting in other people's faces and being dogmatically obnoxious generically (e.g., the late Leo Frankowksi's pernicious misogyny manifested consistently both in print and in person), they tends to to not be litmus tests or roadblocks or barriers.

When someone is consistently preaching their religion unconsentingly on other people, or is unamusingly/unentertainingly beating the reader over the head with the author's Beliefs, such tings are bars for me.

Different people of course have different respsoneses to the same people and swritings, including how amusing/unamusing and how entertaining/offputtig they/their works are.

E.g., most of the SF/F published from Christian publishers, I find of the nature of one or more of preachy, tedious, and/or inacccessible to me as regards "there isn't anything in this which appears to me as worth trees dying for it." On the other hand, there's big market for it, so obviously there are people the genre is cogent to.

#156 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 03:25 PM:

Mary Frances: I suspect that Thorne Smith thought he was writing "ghost stories," even when there were no actually ghosts in the book . . .

According to H. Allen Smith, who interviewed him, the first came when he looked out on his front yard which was massively overgrown. A dog was making its way across and all he could see was the tail. He started thinking about dogs without tails, and tails without dogs, and that's when "Topper" appeared.

According to Smith, his publisher had to edit out 20% of each manuscript to avoid obscenity charges, which certainly would help explain the strange tone of "Topper Takes a Trip." Unfortunately, I've never heard of a collection of his papers so this could be checked out.

#157 ::: Greg M. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 03:49 PM:

INTRO: So, I checked out the blog of a certain former newspaper columnist (eesh). And he referenced, but did not link to, a Making Light thread in 2005, which makes for fun/horrifying reading. (Apparently, women can't write hard SF because they "can't hack the physics.") It kinda reminds me of the scene from THE INCREDIBLES, but if Mr. Incredible (and Mrs. Incredible) actually took the time to patiently explain to Buddy Pine, politely but clearly, why he was wrong, and Buddy just kept getting madder and madder...

Something that dude said stuck out at me, though. "this isn't my career. It's an enjoyable hobby, but it would make for a pretty stupid career."

Which ties into what I see as the root of the problem, which is that most the people who gamed the system (the Rabid Puppy voters, and some non-zero number of Sad Puppy voters) don't actually care about sci-fi. They're in this out of hate and rage. They're not talking about what they love in sci-fi because they don't love sci-fi.

What if, to nominate for the Hugos, things were exactly the same--$40 supporting membership--except you had to write a 500-1000 word essay on why you loved sci-fi? (Or some such open-ended fannish question, to be announced on first day of the nominating period?) And the only requirement for such an essay was that it be your own original work?

I am volunteering to be one of the estimated five people who'll be needed for this. Five people, each doing an estimated one day's work. There were, what, 2,100 Hugo ballots? I can easily read 400 one-two page essays in a day, and would happily donate a day to Worldcon. Hell, I'll donate a weekend and read 800. All we're looking for is to make sure the essay is completely original. Clear plagiarism gets you disqualified. Plagiarism is easy to spot. (Ask me about catching the poet who plagiarized Angels in America sometimes, in the days when I worked at Barnes & Noble.)

See, sci-fi fans--we write, blog, talk about this stuff all the time. Writing a 500-word essay on how awesome sci-fi is? It would be nothing. It would be FUN.

To an authoritarian looking to just screw stuff up, however, who cares a lot about hating everything, but not a lot about loving sci-fi, writing a one-page essay, on your own… it’s certainly harder than plopping down $40 and voting for a lockstep ballot. Ask an authoritarian to write an open-ended essay (but stay on-topic) and some of them may go a little nuts. They'll scream about "ideology," but of course, there's no ideology, all it has to be is your own original work, and about what you love. (Do authoritarians have trouble with those things? Perhaps.)

The only disqualifiers would be: plagiarism, off-topic (e.g. nothing to do with SF&F; only talks about things they dislike), nonsense words, significantly fewer than 500 words.

This calls their bluff in a way that doesn't damage either fan bases or the Hugos. Christ, you want 1000 words on Watchmen, or Neverwhere, or my own Quixotic quest to write sci-fi comedic theatre? Give me 15 minutes. (Today's URL goes to a trailer for DREAMS FROM A DEAD CITY, a sci-fi experimental play I co-wrote.) Any fan of sci-fi can write about why they love sci-fi. (Note, that it is important the question be a positive one; they're good at screaming about things they don't like, or at least Rachel Swirsky's story.) What sci-fi fan could possibly have a problem with writing a page about why they love sci-fi?

This change would require 5 people who don't mind reading to each volunteer a day of their time; it would require nominators to bang out a fun essay over 15-20 mins that wouldn't have to be polished at all. Love tends to be stronger than hate in the end, no?

#158 ::: Greg M. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 03:50 PM:

The words "MAIN PROPOSAL: " should come at the beginning of pp4. I PROOFREAD EVERYTHING!

#159 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 04:03 PM:

As far as essays like that go:
I had to take a writing test as part of the graduation requirements in college. Part of the test included writing an essay on a topic which was handed to you during the test. I was given 'Why I believe [fill in blank]'. So I wrote on why I believe that reading science fiction is good for you.
I passed the test.

#160 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 04:08 PM:

Greg M. @ 158: I am volunteering to be one of the estimated five people who'll be needed for this.

As someone who has been reading essays for a living (including holistically, which is basically the process you describe) for a long, long time now, I think you seriously underestimate the amount of work that reading 2000+ original essays would be. Mind you, I don't think your idea would work for all sorts of other reasons, but even figuring 50 essays an hour (which, good luck), checking only for originality and topic-content, you're talking several days worth of work . . . and to do this every year? Before processing the ballots? How many years are people going to be able/willing to write different essays on the same subject?

#161 ::: Greg M. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 04:16 PM:

Mary Frances @160: Yeah, my numbers were probably overly optimistic. I was thinking back to my essay-grading days as a reader for a testing company (ACT) in which the essays were longer, and boring, and needed a grade--I could hit 100 on an 8-hour day. (but I'm also assuming one could just skim, not read). The question could change--would *have* to change--year to year.

So change that to 10 volunteers, a weekend apiece.

This rests on my assumption that some number of the RPs would not all be motivated enough to each write a one-page essay, and that some of them have no love for SF.

Do you think the other non-workable elements could be adjusted, or is this just dead in the water?

#162 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 04:34 PM:

Greg M. @ 161: Personally, I think it's dead in the water, Greg. Let's face it, the plagiarism check alone would eat up most of a weekend, even if you use a service like . . . and I don't see how you could require that of people (never mind the expense; such services don't come cheap). And that's really just for professional plagiarism, so to speak. What if one person writes the essay and ten or twelve people submit it, with only minor changes? Can you guarantee that the same reader will get all ten or twelve? (How?) Since they'll all be writing on a fairly generic subject, how could you be sure they aren't just sharing similar experiences? (I've had students hand in essays that looked awfully similar just because the students had studied together. It does happen.)

ACT and other standardized tests have the advantage of being just that: standardized. (And usually proctored to prevent cheating, which this couldn't be.) You not only have the same questions, you have the same format--but for a WorldCon essay, there would be people out there who would be submitting on paper, online, typed, written in pencil on the backs of grocery bags . . . well. Okay, maybe that last is an exaggeration, but still. The standardized tests cost so much to take in part because the materials, the administration, and the assessment are expensive and time-consuming; I honestly don't see how WorldCon could manage something like that. You've put your money where your mouth is by volunteering--but how many years do you think people would be willing to volunteer and then keep volunteering? That's probably the biggest block, in my opinion, or one of them: WorldCons have enough trouble getting sufficient dedicated volunteers to do all the work needed, year after year (after year, after year . . . ). Anything that adds to that burden is going to have to be carefully thought out, no matter what it is.

#163 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 04:50 PM:

Mary Frances #149: A suburban fantasy should have gnomes that come to life.

#164 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 05:03 PM:

Fragano: Absolutely! And ride those silly concrete geese that people dress up for holidays!

Paula Lieberman @ 155: I loved those books by Friesner--and yes, it's "Mary Frances" as a first name, thank you.

#165 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 05:13 PM:

I've often thought I'd like to see a system like Greg's suggestion brought in for voting in general elections.... I agree, I'm afraid, that it's impractical (even in something as comparatively small as the Hugo nominations), but oh my word, it is a pleasing fantasy!

#166 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 05:31 PM:

James Branch Cabell, and Max Bramah's Kai Lung stories, are also urbane fantasy in my book, by the way. There was a fair amount of it in Lin Carter's Ballantine Adult Fantasy series. LUD IN THE MIST is close, but not quite right for that category (though wonderful in its own right).

Maybe it was something about the 1930s.

#167 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 06:08 PM:

Stoneflight by Georgess McHargue is definitely urban and definitely fantasy. Not urbane, though.

#168 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 06:29 PM:

And just when you think they couldn't sink any lower: the wife of one of Torgersen's friends has been spending the last week going around to people's anti-Sad-Puppy threads on Facebook and leaving pro-Sad-Puppy piles of poo -- posing as a woman of color.

I'm just... I can't even get my head around the idea that someone would think that this is an okay thing to do.

#169 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 06:35 PM:

Mary Frances, #149: Someone whose name I can't recall right now is writing a series of "soccer mom demon hunter" books, which I would think at least merit consideration as suburban fantasy.

Greg, #157: This is an excellent example of what I call the "in an ideal world" suggestion. Hint: do not generalize from your own personal experience to a universal.

#170 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 06:37 PM:

C. Wingate: Stone Flight is a wonderful book. I read it when it first came out, and it shook me to my core. But you're right--urban and fantasy, not urbane.

Kai Lung, now, Tom Whitmore . . . definitely urbane!

#171 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 06:40 PM:

Alex @ 142: Personally, I'd be a bit surprised if the Sad Puppies were in it for the money. My guess is that they're in it for respect. Specifically, a cargo cult version of respect: they wanted to be writers because they thought that ordinary fans respected writers, and then, when they became pros and still didn't get the level of adoration they thought being pros entitled them to, looked at the authors who did get that kind of respect, saw them getting Hugo nominations and wins, and said, Aha! If I'm nominated for a Hugo, then fans will love me!

Of course, that version of causality is nuts: writers win Hugos because fans admire their work, not the other way around. But I don't think logical thinking is their strong suit.

#172 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 06:44 PM:

Anyone who thinks that compromise is possible with that lot, or that they're not really interested in anything but getting their own way. needs to rethink that position. (I think they're pushing 'nuke from orbit' status.)

#173 ::: Jim Parish ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 06:45 PM:

Lee, #169: The author is Julie Kenner; the series starts with Carpe Demon.

#174 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 07:27 PM:

JJ @168:

That would be someone using the appellation "lamp lighter" would it?

#175 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 07:55 PM:

Steven desJardins @ #171
My guess is that they're in it for respect. Specifically, a cargo cult version of respect: they wanted to be writers because they thought that ordinary fans respected writers, and then, when they became pros and still didn't get the level of adoration they thought being pros entitled them to, looked at the authors who did get that kind of respect, saw them getting Hugo nominations and wins, and said, Aha! If I'm nominated for a Hugo, then fans will love me!

I think an earlier thread on this site described just that mindset with a fable about the "Punch Bowl Czar."

#176 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 08:07 PM:

JJ @ 168

Brad Torgersen's wife *is* a woman of color. At least, he says so, and he put up a picture of them together with their daughter, and I see no reason to doubt him; that's the kind of lie he couldn't make fly for long.

So perhaps she is going around saying so; she has a perfect right to do that. I don't agree that must mean he isn't prejudiced (the mere fact that you find one member of a given group admirable enough to marry doesn't mean you aren't prejudiced against other members of that group--"I can't be sexist--I *married* a woman!" doesn't make much sense, after all.) But I can see why she would, and I wouldn't call it "sinking low."

#177 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 08:28 PM:

JJ didn't say "Torgersen's wife", but "the wife of one of Torgersen's friends". It would be nice to have more details so we can be sure that something bad is going on, but I'm willing to give JJ the benefit of the doubt.

#178 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 08:40 PM:

(In passing) Bruce E. Durocher II@156: apparently there's a Thorne Smith archive at U Penn that includes manuscripts; Joseph Leo Blotner, a fairly famous literary historian, wrote a biographical dissertation about Smith back in 1951.

#179 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 08:44 PM:

John C. Wright's wife is L. Jagi Lamplighter.

#180 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 08:52 PM:

Speaking of Smiths, H. Allen included Thorne's short story "Birthday Present" in his Desert Island Decameron. I'm not sure if Thorne S. wrote many shorts. It can be found at Forgotten Futures, with the caveat that the writer (is? was? might be?) covered by US copyright. FF isn't US-based.

The paperback of Desert Island Decameron is abridged, but the story's in that version as well. I just checked.

#181 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 09:06 PM:

I read the same Correia's reply to GRRM that Alex R. linked to. It amounts to: people were mean to him at Worldcon, which proves that right-wing authors can't get awards. Giving him the benefit of the doubt on the first part, I'm sorry he had a bad experience. But the second part of his complaint does not follow. Right-wing writers have been nominated and won. Just not Correia, Torgerson, and their coterie. In my opinion, the outliers on the slates are window dressing. The whole operation is just an effort to buy Hugos for John C. Wright and Vox Day. I don't feel any moral compunction against voting the other nominees above No Award if I think they deserve it. (This includes that they have to be better than unnominated works that I am aware of.)

#182 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 09:06 PM:

“Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” by John C. Wright first published in December 2013, so may not be eligible? The Internet Archive captures of the page is fascinating: it was available for almost all of 2014 but the page has since been unpublished. Doesn't smell right to me.

#183 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 09:08 PM:

And is L. Jagi Lamplighter the person referred to in JJ's post? That's the missing link here. I did go and find some photos of LJL, and based on them I agree she has no business calling herself a woman of color.

#184 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 09:14 PM:

Jim Parish @ 173: And Kindle is currently offering the first five books of the series (which I remembered vaguely but had long since lost track of) for $.99! That's total, not apiece--looks like some good summer turn-your-brain-off-and-relax reading. Thanks!

#185 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 09:20 PM:

David Goldfarb @ #183: YMMV, but deciding who has the right to call themselves a PoC is not a hill I'd want to die on.

#186 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 09:21 PM:

Make that "deciding based on appearance, etc."

#187 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 09:22 PM:

And maybe it is Torgerson's wife, trying to speak up but still trying to protect her own privacy? I've no idea how internet savvy she is, but I know I am sometimes uncomfortable posting on hostile FB pages, at least if I don't know the poster personally. Besides, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Torgerson does have a friend whose wife is a woman of color . . . so maybe we'd better not condemn anyone until we have a few more facts?

Sorry. Don't mean to step on anyone's toes, here, but a rush to judgement (of any sort) has always made me uncomfortable.

#188 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 09:24 PM:

Personally, I'd be a bit surprised if the Sad Puppies were in it for the money. My guess is that they're in it for respect.

I think Torgersen and Correia are in it for the respect. I think Vox Day has a different agenda.

And for Torgersen and Correia we're talking about the conservative version of respect; I am a badass. Fear me. Even they can't be delusional enough to think that they're liked at this point.

I also couldn't help but notice that this dispute has made both and, which means that as shitstorms go, we're now up to Category 3 and rising.

#189 ::: Tsotate ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 09:28 PM:

@183 I'd hesitate to make that judgement based solely on appearance. Look at Jay Smooth, for example, who is a black man for whom being black is an important part of his identity (and brand). He just happens to have lighter skin than 90%+ of my caucasian friends.

#190 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 09:36 PM:

The person to whom I'm referring is not Lamplighter, and it's not Torgersen's wife.

As far as I know, Lamplighter has not presented herself as anything other than who (and what) she is. Though she clearly doesn't realize that the effusive "Gosh, we're so thrilled and overwhelmed! Thanks for all your support!" posts she's been throwing out everywhere -- to a group of people who've just had something about which they care very much stomped into the mud -- are being received just about as well as handing them a bag full of warm vomit.

Or maybe she does realize, and she's just enjoying gloating so much that she's too clueless to realize that after you hand people a sh*t sandwich, proceeding to grind their noses into said sandwich is really not a wise idea.

And no, it's not Torgersen's wife, either. I can't imagine why she permits herself to be used in the way that she has been -- but I suspect that she spends no time on the Internet and has absolutely no idea what he gets up to here, or how he's been using her.

The person to whom I'm referring is clearly not the brightest crayon in the box. At the time the Hugo slate was announced, she uploaded the photo of a woman of color to her Facebook profile (curse those date/time stamps!) -- but she's using her real profile, with her real name, her husband's name, and her real employer. And the LinkedIn profile matching that name and employer is of a completely-different-looking, pretty obviously caucasian woman whose hometown is Salt Lake City, Utah. Her husband is Facebook Friends with Torgersen and Correia. And the connections go even further than that.

And it turns out the photo she's using on Facebook is of a Somali-born Dutch author and politician. Because, of course, all those people look alike -- who would possibly notice it's not her own photo?

And yes, screencaps have been taken.

#191 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 09:37 PM:

Ellen Kushner writes fantasy that is both urban and urbane, and no less fantastic for all that it is lacking in magic until The Fall of the Kings. Neat trick, that.

#192 ::: Will McLean ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 10:03 PM:


It seems that Wright wrote two versions of "Yes, Virginia..." The second was apparently longer, and published later.

#193 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 10:05 PM:

JJ @190

Oh, jolly -- my fibro has been acting up, so I don't trust my memory for stuff that's gone by on Facebook. Here, I can just scroll up the messages and refresh my memory.

Whatever, she sounds like a real piece of work.

#194 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 10:12 PM:

JJ @ 190: Oh, my word. Well, that certainly makes this seem a lot less like a rush to judgement! (Especially the bit about the Somali-born woman's photograph.) Thanks for the context, JJ.

#195 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 10:17 PM:

Will McLean #192:

So the question of eligibility comes down to whether the revision is substantial enough.

#196 ::: Will McLean ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 10:47 PM:


Exactly so. Feel free to contact the Hugo Administrators if you think they are unaware. I gather they rarely overrule the nominators, but this year is unusual.

#197 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 12:46 AM:

#190 JJ
Oh, she's practicing identity fraud?Interesting..

#157 Greg

Not everyone is a facily writer/essayist Some people who love to read/watch/disucss SF/F, don't write about it, partciularly not hundreds of wors of essays.

#198 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 04:12 AM:

On Suburban Fantasy, I did drive by a restaurant called "Fey" this afternoon. Doesn't appear to be run by elves or serve cooked elf, though, it's Szechuan.

#199 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 05:49 AM: by the king of Spanish fairies, the Fey Rey?

#200 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 06:27 AM:

Bill Stewart #198: As I commented on the OP, I just read Maxine Hong Kingston's shamanic memoir, The Warrior Woman, which indicates that her forebears surely would have eaten elves. (And probably scared the spikes off the Celtic warriors ;-) )

I had not realized that all those "weirdnesses and wrigglies" I glimpsed in the Chinatown restaurants and stores when I was growing up, weren't just "memories of desperation", nor even "medical esoterica". As Kingston describes it, there was very much a tradition of "eating the monsters", to defeat them and gain their power.

#201 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 08:21 AM:

Re Suburban Fantasy, Puzzlebox's wonderful song Urban Legends was written in 1997, and it gave me a wonderment-in-the-ordinary when I first heard it.

Sample of lyrics (because poetry is always on topic on ML):

Well I make my home where the street light glows pink
And I'll bet that's where you make yours
Where the grass and the trees count on sprinklers to drink
And there's not too much room between doors

And the wee folk aren't seen much around here it's true
But the fact is they've always been shy
And they can be found if you know what to do
And just where to look low and high


The tree spirits live within every backyard
And make mischief stopping up drains
And sing with the wind like the finest of bards
To join the drumbeat of the rain

The leprechaun, with his affection for gold
Has done best of all, so it seems
He figures out numbers for what's bought and sold
And tells the V.P.'s in their dreams.

#203 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 12:34 PM:

Alex R @142 - I don't think it's as simple as

1. Stir up Controversy
2. Sell books
3. Profit

I do think that, like many authors in the internet age, they may not be seeking to bolster their personal "brand" at every turn, but they will take advantage of this kind of thing to self-promote.

(As an example, our friend Scalzi says that Whatever isn't there to sell books, and he writes about things that interest him rather than things that will gain him attention. I believe him. But he's also posted about things like getting traffic by writing a "big" post, about managing an on line community etc. all things that help to increase his presence as personality, pundit and author.)

#204 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 12:52 PM:

John #202 - GRRM has written so much that I can't recall many details, but I think he agrees with the Making Light commentariat on all significant points, and is schooling Correia on the history of SF, even if the latter doesn't pay any attention.

#205 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 01:04 PM:

Shrug -- at this point, I've decided my strategy. I honor GRRM for his diplomacy, but it doesn't lessen the disgust I feel at the Infectious Vicious Canines and their stalking horse, the Forlorn Juvenile Canines.

I gave them the benefit of the doubt last year, and tried to read the extruded word product they produced. Not to my taste, therefore a waste of my time. This year, screw it -- I already know this is not the type of story I enjoy. If I can't (or won't) read it -- it won't show up on my ballot at all.

There are going to be categories where "No Award" is the only thing that will appear. If that increases their anger, so be it.

#206 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 01:13 PM:

guthrie @204: I have read every word of GRRM's original posts and much of the commentary--haven't commented myself, because my old LJ account is completely dead and I didn't want to start a new one. But I don't think he agrees completely with ML; I'd say that he's worried about incivility on both sides, he's seriously concerned that now that the slate-genie is out of the bottle it won't go back in again, and he is adamantly, utterly opposed both to slates and to a great many of the "voting rule" changes that people have been debating (especially anything that qualifies as "weighted ballots"). He's also opposed to voting "No Award" without reading the nominees.

I believe he sees himself as "in the center," with ML on one side and the SPs on the other, more or less. (Not necessarily left and right; more "traditional fandom" vs. . . . whatever the Sad Puppies are.) If he leans in any direction, I'd say it's definitely towards traditional fandom and hence Making Light--but it does seem to me to be a well-thought-out and fairly moderate position. (And he's been snarked at by both sides/all sides, as it happens, though more from the SP/RP side, I think--though it's difficult to be sure).

#207 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 01:50 PM:

At present my voting strategy is "no award only" in the categories which have only Rabid nominees, and to mostly vote the rest on merit. I appreciate GRRM's arguments but they hinge on actually being able to read all the stuff and assess all the nominees. I'm willing to do that where I have options and where I can manage the comparisons, but when it comes down to VD essentially nominating himself over and over, I'm not going to let lack of familiarity stop me from rejecting him and all his works.

#208 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 02:39 PM:

I may have misled you about GRRM, C. Wingate--he's only vehemently against voting "No Award" when it means voting for it all across the ballot (including, I gather, those categories that didn't really have any Puppy nominees). I hadn't actually seen that proposed by many people, but I can believe that it's out there. He's also not saying you have to read every word of every nominee--based on his own voting process, I think he's saying "I think you should do what you usually do, as best you can; here's what I do, and intend to do this year." (He also says he uses No Award a lot, most years, but apparently he does at least try to read most nominees.) (And, from elsewhere in his posts, he really, really doesn't like VD, either, and finds his and John C. Wright's multiple presences on the ballot deeply annoying.)

You probably already know all this, I suspect--knowing you--but I didn't want to risk putting words in GRRM's mouth, so I thought I'd better clarify.

#209 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 02:59 PM:

For easy reference: "Here is where I will probably piss off everybody on the anti-slate of this mess."

I personally would have said "making their case for them" rather than "proving their point".

#210 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 03:04 PM:

John A., #202: I notice that GRRM is making one of the classic errors -- advising people not to take Action X because "that's what they want". I have two specific disagreements about this.

1) The SPs have already made it clear that, no matter what happens this year, they will consider it a victory. Either some or all of their slate win Hugos, and THEY WIN!, or people vote No Award across the board, and THEY WIN!, or everything on their slate finishes below No Award, and THEY WIN! (That third option is the one GRRM seems to be arguing hardest against, because he says it would prove everything the SPs have been saying about us.) So no matter what we do, it will not make any difference in the SPs' response. They will still say THEY WON!

2) It is always a mistake to allow the opinions of people who hate you to influence your choices, unless your physical safety is in question. To put this in a less-fraught context, if you refuse to do something because it's what your dysfunctional, controlling parents would have wanted you to do -- when you are long since out on your own -- they are still just as much in control of you as if you had to do it because they wanted you to and could enforce it.

Make your own decision about how to vote on the final ballot. Make it according to your own conscience, for your own reasons, not because of how the SPs might or might not react. Don't give them that power over you.

#211 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 03:11 PM:

Lee @ 210: My opinion is that Ribbentr--pardon me!--the Rabid Puppies made a winning move against their enemies and their allies alike and the rest of this round is damage mitigation.

There's another round and I applaud all non-evil guys thinking ahead to it.

Voting one's conscience is always a good idea.

#212 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 03:15 PM:

Arkansawyer @ 202: The Beatles' producer, George R. R. "Rock'n'Roll" Martin Was that intended to be funny?

#213 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 03:20 PM:

CHip @ 212: "Intended", yes. It's probably been said before. In fact, I've been using it to troll* my music friends on Facebook. It's been very successful there. This is a tough audience.

*for values of "troll" that mean "put on, I hope harmlessly"

#214 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 03:21 PM:

Arkansawyer @ 209: I find that post disturbing, starting with how it grossly misrepresents what's been going on here; everything in voting threads has focused on making the process less gamable, not on excluding people or blocs.

#215 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 03:29 PM:

CHip @ 214: I think it's a useful view from someone knowledgeable, long involved in fandom, with whom the folks here are in considerable agreement, about how we look from the outside.

#216 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 04:45 PM:

re 210: While he does discuss "they would claim that as a win" I think the determining factors in his rejection of the "'no award' for puppies-only categories" option are that (a) he can spend the time to read the stuff and assess it against a representative sample of what failed to be nominated, and that (b) (I infer) he's pretty confident that a read-through of the puppies-only nominees is going to identify them as inferior work. I can see his argument for "merit above all", especially if the puppies were to lose on pure merit, but it's not a strategy that works for me as a voter. I simply don't read enough short fiction in the field these days to make that kind of judgement, and given the certainty of ballot-box-packing by the Rabies I'm unwilling to run the risk of letting VD have his way. It also seems to me that he is to some extent making the distinction between their spin on the outcome and how sane people see it as plausible or not. I share his uneasiness about changing the rules to dilute slate voting, because it can be spun as a fix. Targetting VD directly is, I think, less problematic because the unethical character of his campaign is manifest; the fact that it's allowed is immaterial for someone trying to claim the moral high ground. If people voted strictly on merit (keeping in mind that, the issue raised, people are probably more open to "no award" than usual) and VD's slate lost, I'm sure he would spin it as due to bias, but outsides would, I think, be disinclined to take his sour grapes seriously.

#217 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 04:46 PM:

CHip @212 I may be wrong, but I believe that GRRM has said that he started using his middle initials while a journalism student to differentiate himself from Beatles Producer George Martin*.

* Now Sir George Martin

#218 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 04:57 PM:

Another possible approach: What Do You Do To Rabid Puppies?

#219 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 05:14 PM:

One thing Martin also says, elsewhere (can't remember which post it is--one of the early ones, I think), is that he, personally, has always had difficulty with categories that assess the person rather than a specific work. So . . . Best Editor? Got a feeling Martin doesn't have much problem with voting VD below "No Award" on that one.

I don't necessarily agree with Martin on "No Award," mind you. I haven't voted for the Hugos often enough for "do what you usually do" to be all that useful advice to me anyway, or read widely enough in the field (a good point, C. Wingate). But I do think that he's trying to react fairly, and not be forced into any action by the slate-makers. He also seems to believe that, in the end, there are no good choices--just "less bad" ones, maybe?

#220 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 07:10 PM:

Neil W @ #217: * Now Sir George Martin

His coat of arms has beetles on it.

#221 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 07:17 PM:

Sarah @220 Also a House Martin.

#222 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 07:51 PM:

What do you do to rabid puppies


Giving bad Amazon reviews falls under the heading of "NEUTER."

#223 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 08:19 PM:

Lee @99:

It does have the disadvantage of pitting works of all lengths against each other (because you don't want an entire parallel set of Hugos!), and that means either a lot of slots or a bunch of stuff not on the ballot at all.
I actually see that as a feature, not a bug. Hopefully, dumping all the bloc-nominated works into a single category will act as a deterrent to future blocs. (Also, 3.3.17 only allows a Worldcon Committee to create one special category.)

David Goldfarb @100:

One very strong thread in these discussions is that the rules should refer as much as possible to things with an objective definition, and avoid having the administrators make judgments. In the interests of transparency.
I agree completely. On the other hand, I don't have a good, transparent, objective way to detect bloc voting, so I can't put it in my proposal. On the gripping hand, though, there's a whole bunch of smart voting nerds in the next thread over; I think I'll give them a shout ...

#224 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 08:25 PM:

I think GRRM is trying to maintain civility and stay open to input from Correia etc. despite strong provocation not to. He was giving his experiences as a published small fry (term invented by other people much much later)at Worldcons--being an unknown, not getting on panels for a number of years , etc., putting that out as dues paying and it taking time for someone to get known and accepted in.

There are some sarcastic response paragraphs toward the end of his responding paragraph by paragraph to Larry Correia's comments. Maintaining/trying to maintain a neutral tone when someone is attacking institutions you've spent decades as an involved member in and are deeply invested personally and professionally for more than 45 years, is not an easy thing to do.

As regards what I'm going to do on my ballot, I don;t expect taht if I try to read the Wright nominees, I'll have any more appreciation than I do for everything else I tried to read by him--I bounced off.

I read The Goblin Emperor the other day, it's exquisite. (By the way, who edited it?) Last year the first Ancillary book, though,, I tried reading and got stuck.... I expect the same might happen with its sequel.

Several but not all of editors who are on the final ballot, are people I've put on my nominating ball ots...

Perhaps there should be an ex officio Kool Kats consolation designation to the candidates tht got denied final ballot nominee status due to the slates and their voters.

#225 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 09:07 PM:

#224, Paula Lieberman: "Perhaps there should be an ex officio Kool Kats consolation designation to the candidates tht got denied final ballot nominee status due to the slates and their voters."

Someone's already thinking along those lines.

#226 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 10:00 PM:

Paula @ 224: I read The Goblin Emperor the other day, it's exquisite. (By the way, who edited it?)

James Frenkel, apparently. (Give that man a raise!)

Exquisite is exactly the word for it - she has an exquisite control of narrative voice and authorial tone. One thing (of many) that blew me away about this book is how utterly different the writing is from the fantasy books she's published as Sarah Monette. I would never have guessed them to be by the same writer if I hadn't known. In my opinion its spot on the nominee list is more than earned, and if it gets a Hugo, that will stand as a fitting rebuke to both slates.

#227 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 10:08 PM:

Clifton, #226: "Exquisite" is indeed the word. Sometimes a book gives me a very strong impression of another sort of object. Much of C.S. Friedman's hard SF inevitably reminds me of a tapestry -- many threads all interwoven into a whole which would be incomplete were even one of them missing.

The Goblin Emperor is a Fabergé egg.

#228 ::: jnfr ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 11:04 PM:

Well, it's my personal way of thinking, but I'm not going to give out deliberately negative Amazon reviews for books I haven't read, just because I don't like their authors. That's destructive of my own personal integrity, and I don't want to go there.

#229 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 11:13 PM:

jnfr: The post that Alex R. linked to specifically says "If you've read the works [emphasis mine], you should add your own review."

I don't usually bother leaving any Amazon reviews, and I can't imagine leaving a negative one for any reason--just not worth it. Still, I can see how giving their honest opinion of a work on the SP slate that they have read and bounced off of might be tempting to people . . .

#230 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 11:15 PM:

If they're going to be citing reviews at the Large South American River to justify their slate, we should be able to post honest reviews of their work.

#231 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 11:16 PM:

Oops--the link is by Glenn Hauman at #218; Alex R. just responded to it, I think. Sorry!

#232 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 11:47 PM:

Comments will be shutting down at midnight. We'll be back tomorrow morning.

#233 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 11:58 PM:

Mary Frances, P J Evans: Eeesh, Amazon reviews and forums. Talk about a thoroughly compromised system. An appalling number of writers have come to believe that "self-promotion" excuses anything.

#234 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 01:15 PM:

This just in:

Sasquan Replaces Two Ineligible Nominees on Hugo Ballot

Wright's "Yes, Virginia" was indeed first published online during 2013. Apparently it was removed from that site sometime between December 26, 2014 and February 18, 2015. For some reason.

"The Day The World Turned Upside Down" by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014) is the replacement contender.

The other removed nominee was Jon Eno, who did not produce any qualifying work in 2014 to be eligible for the Pro Artist ballot. Kirk DouPonce takes his place.

#235 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 01:35 PM:

"Yes, Virginia" is a horrible story. I mean, at least it's grammatical, but the content... I know nothing about the (Olde) Heuvelt story, but I very much doubt it could be less worthy.

I see Eno was also a slatee; you'd think that the Puppies would have been more careful about who they nominated. Then again, these are the folks who managed to miss the second volume of a bio of their patron saint.

#236 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 02:05 PM:

re 229: I don't know about leaving negatives of books, but I find negative reviews for objects quite helpful as long as they give some detail. And I notice on one of the Canid entries (forgetting which one at the moment) that there is a long string of negative reviews which all say "ugh! This is nothing but a movie script!"

#237 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 03:52 PM:

Clifton @226:
James Frenkel, apparently. (Give that man a raise!)

Note that Jim Frenkel is no longer associated with Tor Books.

If you want further details, I'd suggest researching them off-site; I hope it's obvious that this isn't a topic we're going to pursue on Making Light.

But The Goblin Emperor is definitely my favorite book from 2014, and more. It goes on my annual-reread pile alongside China Mountain Zhang (to which it bears no material resemblance).

#238 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 04:10 PM:

I've noticed what looks to me like evil overload (oops, I meant to write "overlord" but I think I'll let the typo stand!) style self-congratulatory gloating at e.g.

The level of vitriol and smug smarm is jaw-dropping to me.

I wonder is someone is going to report Brad Toregesen for rabies up his chain of command? If he were an officer he could be charged with Conduct Unbecoming for the likes of Nielsen-Haydens, your fellow travelers, and media goombahs . . . I MOCK YOU! I MOCK YOUR ASININE INCESTUOUS CLUSTERFUCKED LITTLE CULTURE OF DOCTRINAIRE PROGRESSOSEXUAL MEDIOCRITY MASKED AS SUPERIORITY! You are all dolts. You are moral and physical cowards. You are without ethics, without scruples, and if you weren’t so patently pathetic, I’d say you might be dangerous.

Fuck you. Fuck you all. The forces of the progressive pink and poofy Xerxes were met at the Hugo Hot Gates, and repelled by a few brave dudes and dudettes with the stones to stand up to your bullshit.

He's not a private citizen if he is a warrant officer, he's subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and is a representative of the U Government--and as such, his words/actions are not commensurate with holding any sort of responsible government position.

That they are not apparently starting up Puppycon to celebrate who and what they want extolled, and not setting up Puppycon specific awards, smacks of massive hypocrisy. Teenagers have started up conventions and run them, why won't the Puppies? Why don;t they go off and create their own convention and awards for it, lots of other groups have ... Comic Cons came out of SF/F conventions, so have lots of other conventions--Costume Con, World Fantasy Convention, Anime conventions, etc. I suspect that Yaoicon would massively squick the Puppies, and perhaps Authors AFter Dark.

There are tons of conventions and tons of awards, why, there are even awards for SF/F given out by romance conventions and romance readers and RT Magazine! But apparently the Puppies have no such constructive ideology to create something new to celebrate and promote what they like, instead their ideas of promotion and publicity and persuasion, are attacking existing institutions, hijacking existing awards, pissing off the people in them,claiming that the existing awards are illegitimate because the results don't match Puppy ideology, and threatening the existing awards with a scorched earth policy for annihilation.

Torgesen's exended public temper tantrum and incivility and obnoxiousness are not the sorts of thing that a Warrant Officer of the USA who's expected to show mature judgment should be exhibiting. It calls into question his reliability and trustworthiness and responses under any sort of other stress....

WHile it might look like obnoxiousness on my part, there really is that big question.... I'm sitting within 25 miles of where homemade bombs went off two years ago, murdering and maiming, and the perpetrators later murdered an MIT cop in cold blood, and had a shootout with the FBI,SWAT teams, the Watertown police, etc., ending with one of them dead, and the other convicted this month of a long list of crimes, several of them capital. Mr Tsarnaev is going to be locked up in a maximum federal security prison for the rest of his miserable life, whether or not the jury decides to have him executed.

No, I am NOT accusing Brad Torgesen of being a homicidal maniac and murderer or intending to murder anyone. However:

The Boston Marathon finish line was -crawling- with FBI agents, state cops, Boston police, SWAT teams, BATF agents, etc, Had even ONE person, seeing the Tsarnaev brothers putting down their turned-out-to-be-bomb-containing packagse and being ignored saying "you dropped something" had the thought to yell for law enforcement about "suspicious object!" Clear the area!" the outcome would have been VERY different.

Mr Torgesen is NOT acting in a way compatible with being a responsible noncommissioned officer of the US military, and it calls into question, again, whether he is of sound judgment to serve in his position in the uS military...

#239 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 05:46 PM:

I found this little gem on DailyKos -- Marcus Bales, wherever you are this is good!

Ballade of Sad Puppies

Who knows within what hidden garret
Vox Day scribes his sexist rant,
or why Correia tries to parrot
his vicious views with careless cant,
or Torgerson begins to prate
of how their work has been ignored
providing cover for their slate
behind his merited award;
they’re powered by their privileged fear.
Oh, where are the pros of yesteryear?

Who gives an SJW account
of why his nominees should win
by arguing there's some amount
of worthiness that gets them in
instead of that their writing's good?
Who claims that helping other folk
around the writing neighborhood
deserves a win – that’s just a joke
deserving nothing but a jeer:
Oh where is the prose of yesteryear?

And what of other nominees
whose attitudes do not align
with this reactionary sleaze?
It stains them if they don't decline
to stand there on that slippery slope,
since they implicitly compete
as cover for the scam in hope
that legal acts that seem a cheat
will not torpedo each career --
Oh where are the pros of yesteryear?

Fans! It's not good politics
to vote for views, not writing, here --
vote 'No Award', not for the fix
that fakes the prose of yesteryear.

by marcusbales on Mon Apr 13, 2015 at 03:35:29 AM EDT

#240 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 06:11 PM:

The word I could not come up with when writing #238 above was "fitness" as it "fit/fitness for duty."

#241 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 06:43 PM:

Re negative reviews: I'm far more likely to post a positive one. But I have given a few negatives, which I tend to phrase in terms of "these are the things I disliked about it" and be as objective as possible, trying not to generalize out from a personal opinion to a universal. (That's on Amazon; on my own blog, I allow myself more latitude in my choice of language.)

The most negative one I've ever posted was for a CD that I'd bought because it sounded (from the song titles) like a collection of fairy-tale filk with a modern slant. It turned out that over half the songs included fairly vivid descriptions of physical or emotional abuse; they made me uncomfortable enough that I didn't want to think about an abuse survivor encountering them unwarned.

#242 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 08:00 AM:

I made this post, then didn't post it, then saw the most recent comment on voting methods, so here is a version of it:

I don't want to derail the voting methods threads, but this question is becoming ripe:

At what point do we agree that no acceptable voting method is inherently slate-proof or immune to strategic voting and instead focus on changing the electorate?

I was going back over the Hugo winners and nominees from recent years, noting what I'd read, and thinking that, by my standards, they've been deserving.

So for me the Hugos weren't broken till this year.

They do need more resilience against focused attacks, and increasing the size of the electorate--not just the eligibles, but the nominators and voters--is the best defense.

My guess is that the most fruitful and least changy (sic) method of doing so would be to increase the number of already eligible voters who actually nominate and vote.

I'm convinced that the Hugos belong to Worldcon and have made my plans to attend in 2016, so that's one small victory for whoever wants to claim it.

#243 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 10:17 AM:

Paula at # 238 & #240--
But is he still full time, active duty military?

#244 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 11:42 AM:

John A. Arkansawyer @ 242:

One problem with slates--the biggest--is that by design they amplify the voting power of the people who surrender their votes to them. It's true that one can weaken the effect of a slate by increasing the size of the voting pool, but only if the increase does not proportionately increase the number of slate voters.

If 5% of SF fans are Rabid enough to follow the Puppies straight down to hell, then any voting system has to be able to withstand 5% of the voters following a slate. And if the Puppies are broadly successful at recruiting outside of sf fandom, then counter-slate measures become even more important.

#245 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 12:25 PM:

Connie Willis weighs in: Why I Won’t Be A Presenter At The Hugo Awards This Year

Seems to speak straight to the heart of "They'll say they won, regardless, so disregard them and act according to your conscience."

#246 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 01:52 PM:

#243 fidelio

"He is gearing up for a deployment, he could just be thinking in Warrant Officer."

Torgesen's mentioned it himself online in several places that he is headed for a deployment in the Middle East.

#247 ::: Lady Kay ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 02:41 PM:

Hold on, I would expect an author to tell their editor about a nomination ahead of the embargo release date. That editor may have to do something, make review copies available, check on the author's schedule for a reporter to pick up on the publicity surrounding the nomination--or there may be a separate person who handles that publicity that needs to know. Maybe some of this effort is handled by the writer's agent? I don't know exactly how the work is divided up, but there is work to be done to allow that nomination to make extra sales.

Same thing for Castalia House. Once you realize how many of the nominations went to one publishing house, it's not such a surprise that that publishing house could figure out most of the nominations.

So, I really am not convinced that who knew what when is a great line to follow, particularly when it gets into the relationships authors have with their editors and publishing houses.

#248 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 03:12 PM:

abi @ 237: But The Goblin Emperor is definitely my favorite book from 2014, and more. It goes on my annual-reread pile alongside China Mountain Zhang (to which it bears no material resemblance).

Naturally, this makes me consider the ways in which TGE and CMZ are similar. The point that immediately springs to mind is that both books exhibit a great deal of sympathy for people attempting to create positive futures for themselves, and the people they care about, within systems much larger than themselves. And that sympathy continues even when people make mistakes, or don't go about it with complete determination, or get distracted by other matters, because both books have that level of empathy that says we are all human and we can't always do our best.

(Goblin or elf or both instead of 'human' in one case, I suppose. But the sense stands.)

And now I want to go reread China Mountain Zhang.

#249 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 04:51 PM:

Fade Manley @ 248: "both books have that level of empathy that says we are all human and we can't always do our best."

As should we all.

Whether I'm reading it for the Hugos or not, you made me want to read The Goblin Emperor.

And that brings me to what I personally want from a Hugo winner: Blow my mind or break my heart.

#250 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 05:01 PM:

When I need to read something three or four times the first week I have it - it's a keeper.

Also, 'The Goblin Emperor' clearly has a lot of backstory that we only get glimpses of. There's an entire world out there: take the order that's in charge of a lighthouse [/bemused].

#251 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 05:05 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @249:
Blow my mind or break my heart.

Option A for The Goblin Emperor, though sometimes I love Maia so much that it feels like Option B too.

#252 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 05:26 PM:

P J Evans, #250: I basically haven't stopped reading it since picking it up. I have other partially-finished books lying around, but I keep going back to this one. (And now, of course, I'm reading it for Cassie's discussion group on Compuserve.) I think I must have read it a dozen times by now. I bought it as an e-book (in addition to the hardcover) so that I would have it to read on my upcoming flight; and then, since they offered the audiobook version in connection with the e-book, I bought that as well because dammit, I want to find out exactly how some of those names are pronounced! I've written one fanfic for it, and am working on a partial glossary (since there was not one included).

It's been a long, long time since I went head-over-heels for a book as thoroughly as I have this one.

#253 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 11:52 PM:

Okay, it's nice and quiet in here. I'm leaving this thread open overnight. If Bad Things happen as a result, just sit back and watch.

#254 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2015, 12:19 AM:

I have seen The Goblin Emperor referred to, rather tongue-in-cheek, as "empathypunk". And it is that, really, much more than it is steampunk, for all that it has plot-important zeppelins and clockwork.

There are books that stand out for me because of their settings, or their characters, or their visuals, or their plots, or their dialogue, or their prose. And TGE does very well in many of those areas, by all means! But when I think about it, I think about the way it made me feel. It's a bit hard to describe, honestly. (And it doesn't work for every reader.) It's not just that I care about the characters, but I care about whether they care for other people, and how, and what they're going to do about it, and what they're going to learn from trying to think about what other people want and need and feel, and how they ought to respond to that.

#255 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2015, 12:30 AM:

There are times when The Goblin Emperor reminds me of Pratchett at his best. Maia, I think, has many commonalities with Tiffany Aching, Mightily Oats, Mau and Daphne, and others of their ilk; they all work hard to become, and remain, good people who do good for others and for their communities.

At the same time, the Pratchett analogy doesn't get at the vivid intricacies of Maia's world. Lee's Fabergé egg metaphor is perfectly apropos: an elegant, deceptively simple jeweled box with a tiny sparkling city inside of it.

#256 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2015, 01:00 AM:

A winter egg for the Winter Emperor.

#257 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2015, 10:20 AM:

I don't disagree with any of the above description of The Goblin Emperor; it's going in my #1 slot for the Hugo, and would have even if this were a normal year with a normal ballot.

However. Describing it as a 'Faberge egg' (which isn't wrong!) could make it sound to the uninitiated like the kind of precious, intricately worded language-gem* that I find unreadable. I'm very, very glad that I didn't see that description before reading TGE, or I might not have picked it up in the first place. I'd hate to see someone make that mistake!

I had initially passed over The Goblin Emperor because Monette's previous work was not to my taste. I picked it up (from the library) after seeing it praised highly by several people whose judgement I respect. I liked it quite a bit, recommended it to several people, but didn't expect to want to re-read it. A few months later, I found myself seeking it out again. I liked it even better the second time. I have now read it a third time and bought the ebook. This discussion is making me want to read it again very soon. Good book.

*I removed 'overworked' as too pejorative about a matter of taste

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