There Hugo Again

This was going to be more about the craft of writing than about the politics of writing, but then I heard that two of this year’s Hugo nominees have withdrawn. Neither explicitly cited bullying, but when you read between the lines (words like “controversy” in light of the shitstorm and lies are rather telling), it’s not hard to figure out what happened.

To be absolutely clear, I do not blame those who have withdrawn for their decision. How could I? I’ve been the target of the same kind of small-minded, petty viciousness we’ve seen from Making Light and various others in the last two weeks. I’ve seen the barely-veiled threats and “you’ll never work in this town again” remarks. I know how demoralizing they can be, especially when they come from people you respect and who you thought were friends.

It’s hell.

Not everyone can withstand that kind of assault. That’s why these specimens do it. And why the people spreading lies about the nominees and about the Sad Puppy campaign (and the Rabid Puppy campaign) have no one to blame but themselves no matter how loudly they scream otherwise.

Now, let’s look at what they’ve done. They’ve successfully driven out a woman and an immigrant, making it perfectly clear that their screams of “diversity” are nothing more than misdirection. The loudest voices screaming the evils of the Puppies are elderly or middle-aged, well-off people most of whom have never needed to do a day’s physical labor in their entire life. They are privileged people shrieking like harpies about “diversity” and “privilege” because they’re afraid if they don’t make it look like something’s wrong they’ll have to actually work.

Before the bleating chorus of “But VOX DAY!” rises, frankly I don’t care. The strawman effigy being worshiped by those cries is a monster of evil (and its real name seems to be VoxDayLarryCorreiaBradTorgersonTomKratmanBushHitlerMcHorrible, but that’s too much of a mouthful so it gets shortened to simply “Vox”). Any resemblance to the actual Vox Day (or Larry Correia, or Brad Torgerson – or anyone else for that matter) is purely coincidental and should not be taken for reality.

The Hugo Awards are supposed to be about excellence in craft. There’s no rule out there in the wide, wide universe that says supremely skilled craftsmen must be nice people. In my experience they tend to be rather focused since it takes a lot of work to get to that level of skill. They also tend not to be the world’s greatest networkers for much the same reason (although, as always, there are a lot of exceptions).

Claiming that being nominated because people who agree with Vox Day or Larry Correia or Brad Torgerson, or any other person you care to mention voted for their works is some kind of horrible taint is beyond the pale. The more of that kind of totalitarian secret police tactic that’s used, the more I want to stand up and shout, “I am Vox Day.” Or “I am Larry Correia.” Or… you get the point.

Because we are all Vox Day. Or Larry Correia. Or Brad Torgerson. Or anyone else who dares to disagree with the opinions of the would-be power-brokers. If we are not, then Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, Freedom is Slavery, and two plus two equals five.

To paraphrase, voting on the Hugo nomination and award ballots ought to be about the content of the work, not the color of its creator. We are not children who blindly vote our best friends for everything and badmouth everyone else, nor are we petty dictators who seek to engineer the downfall of anyone who slights us however unintentionally.

Remember this. Read the nominated works and vote for those you consider best. Vote No Award only if you believe there are no works worthy of the award in the category.


  1. Those last two paragraphs in particular, Kate, are exactly what I believe. Though I haven’t identified with the Sad Puppies movement — and still feel at one remove from some of it — I definitely agree that people should be _reading_ their slate and voting accordingly. Not just threatening to vote “No Award” or worse, tarring everyone and their brother/sister with the same brush. Anything else is a waste of time, and against what the Hugo Award should stand for.

    I don’t even know what to say about the people who’ve treated you ill, Kate. I know that’s wrong. I am disgusted by it. (I, myself, have run into someone who defriended me because of my moderate stance with regards to the Sad Puppies. I didn’t toe the party line hard enough, I guess — not that I’ve ever toed _any_ party line _anywhere_.) I thought we were better than this as writers, editors, and SF&F readers, most particularly in the 21st Century.

    However, what seems to be going on is akin to mob behavior (or, if you’d rather, herb behavior). It’s mob psychology run amok, and I dislike it intensely. Very few of the people on the “anti-puppy” side are even trying to take a step back and consider the larger picture.

    Ultimately, who wins and who loses an award is not a major deal. What *is* the major deal is when you sacrifice your principles or stay silent because you’re afraid of being blacklisted.

    I thought long and hard about this, Kate. I’ve decided that if someone wants to blacklist me because I’m a moderate on this issue but agree completely with the SPs that people should actually *read* the slate of nominees and decide before making up their minds, well…I guess they can go ahead and blacklist me if they truly desire to do so. I don’t need to associate with anyone as narrow-minded as all that.

    And as far as what I think about my own long-term friend defriending me over this nonsense? I hope eventually things may calm down with this friend. But if they don’t, I have to follow the dictates of my conscience.

    1. Oops…I meant *herd* behavior. (I’m not sure what “herb behavior” would be. Medicinal ones, assuredly?)

      And one, final thought — I felt terrible that the two authors withdrew their nominations. I felt both were excellent writers; I felt they were both worthy nominees.

      I do understand why they did it. I agree with you that they were treated very shabbily and that’s almost assuredly why they did this…because no one deserves this level of vitriol merely because he or she is a nominee for the Hugo Awards.

        1. It sounds to me like the same old ‘pot eats souls’ type of story that I design so much of. Not all of these have enough foundation to build something beyond boring message fic. Frankly, even I don’t want to make such all that high a portion of my results.

      1. The SJW attitude was “How dare you be nominated without our permission?” The sad thing was that the nominees caved in to this absurd argument (or, possibly, the mere vitriol with which it was stated).

    2. Very few of the people on the “anti-puppy” side are even trying to take a step back and consider the larger picture.

      Can the puppy kickers consider anything more than what they’re told? Consider the nature of the attacks: On the authors and not their writing.

      Here’s a mental image to a good home – I lack the time to draw it and the skill to do it justice: A certain puppy kicker as Cruella de Vil with her henchmen, surrounded by hoards of growling, angry, puppies, as she waves her cigarette holder and says “Get them!”

      1. I’ve been trying to come up with SP things to draw for days! Thank you!

        (All my art stuff is at home, but that just means later…)

        1. Here’s a couple of more looking for a good home:
          What’s-her-name, formally associated with Tor, clutches the Hugo and says “Mine!”

          Two Worldcon attendees eyes a Hugo shaped like the Tor logo spaceship, and one says to the other, “They decided it make it official.”


          1. I’m particularly in love with the second one–I’m gonna see if I can manage all three tonight. 😀 *brandishes stylus*

    3. I thought we were better than this as writers, editors, and SF&F readers, most particularly in the 21st Century.

      People haven’t changed much, if at all, ever since they became people. They are much the same in the 21st, 19th, and 5th century as well as 1500 and 15000 BC. Just now we tweet instead of shout at each other in the muck of the village square. It’s basically the same. See 1841’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay for the classical work on the subject. We are not better because of the age we live in. We can be better because of what we choose to do and the principles by which we choose to act upon.

      I remember seeing a TV movie about Skokie Illinois. Nazi’s wanted to march and have a political rally in a town where 1 in 6 Jewish residents was a Holocaust survivor. It was intended to be a deliberate affront to public sensibilities. It went to the Supreme Court as a 1st amendment, free speech issue.

      I was a child then and thought of course you don’t let Nazi’s march in you town. You shoot Nazi’s. That what we did in World War II and it still seems like a good idea.

      But when I grew up, I eventually recognized that you either have freedom of speech or you do not. You tolerate things you don’t like, or you do not. It is an absolute, binary, either or state.

      There are lots of people that are terrible human beings that have been awarded recognition in any number of fields. Marion Zimmer Bradley and Samuel Delany sympathize with child molesters. Harlan Ellison sexually harassed women. If you can put your emotional reaction to that aside, do they deserve their award or not? Not just science fiction. Hitler and Stalin were Time magazine’s Man of the Year. Yasser Arafat won the Nobel Peace prize. Can you put your emotions aside to say if they deserve their award or not? Maybe they don’t. Maybe you shouldn’t put aside your emotions and should you put aside your principles instead? Or looked at another way, which principles should you put aside.

      Regardless, to whoever is doing it, stop black listing and harassing people, read the books and vote for what you like.

      1. I saw you post a similar version of this elsewhere, so I’ll post a similar reply. Your point stands, but I thought you should know this:

        As of last year, Moira Greyland (adopted daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen) revealed that she and her brothers had all been sexually and physically abused by Marion Zimmer Bradley; the problem in the family was not just Breen.

        In the aftermath, the much-mentioned, seldom-seen 1970’s Breendoggle publication was scanned and put online. It revealed that Breen’s behavior had been known to a fair number of prominent fans without anyone ever calling the police. It also revealed in retrospect that Bradley’s eldest son was clearly showing signs of having been abused by Breen, among many other local fannish kids, male and female, young and toddler.

          1. Because it was the Sixties and Seventies, and Breen was charming and a good liar and controller. Also, only somebody who was a meanie would be disturbed by what was going on, and it would be cruel to put someone like Breen into a prison or a mental ward. And we’re smart people, we’re sure we can totally handle it. And….

            It was very disturbing reading, because a lot of those involved were respected people, and some only passed away a few years back. I didn’t link it before, but here it is in transcribed format.

            Before Bradley remarried or lived in California, she got arrested for distributing and writing various kinds of porn. Her novel The Catch Trap was apparently one of these (and I understand it’s got some disturbing themes even for porn), but folks say now there were worse.

            However, since at one point the prestigious Scott Meredith Literary Agency was involved in getting tons of sf writers to author porn novels under various pseudonyms, fans probably overlooked this.

          2. For much the same reasons as the police weren’t involved in Church – associated pedophilia cases: a mix of cover-up and then-relevant theories of the causes and effects of the pathological behavior involved. The exact mix varied from person to person – and suburbanbanshee is absolutely right to note the time period.

            The science and our culture has changed a great deal since then. It’s not appropriate to expect the people of that time to have looked at the situation in the same way we do today.

      2. Yes, yes, and yes. And yes to the power of infinity.
        Unfortunately a lot of people will stay with their “group” rather than follow their own principles.

      3. I definitely agree with you about principles. They matter. And yes, people have indulged in mob psychology/mob behavior since the beginning of time. But we are more aware of it now.

        I’m for freedom of speech, even when I disagree with the speaker (or speakers). I do remember the march in Skokie. It was highly controversial. But even when I was young and I saw tapes of that event, I understood what was at stake with regards to freedom of speech.

        I can disagree, even dislike, the speaker. And it doesn’t mean I’m going to agree with what he or she says. But I must let that person speak his/her mind, or I am not being true to the principle of freedom of speech.

        1. But if you don’t restrict n things to authentic ns, you are enabling appropriation, and thus are racist.

  2. I was saddened and disappointed to see Marko (I haven’t read Annie’s work yet) withdraw from his nomination. I really enjoyed his first two books, and thought they brought something to the table that I hadn’t seen before.

    But I do understand why they did it. Most people can not stand up to the bullying of the Kommisars and the whispered lies of the Stasi.

    From Wikipedia: The Stasi perfected the technique of psychological harassment of perceived enemies … the methods of overt persecution that had been employed up to that time, such as arrest and torture, were too crude and obvious. It was realised that psychological harassment was far less likely to be recognised for what it was, so its victims, and their supporters, were less likely to be provoked into active resistance …
    Tactics employed … involved the disruption of the victim’s private or family life. This often included psychological attacks, such as … a form of gaslighting, … smear campaigns including sending falsified compromising photos or documents to the victim’s family, denunciation, provocation, psychological warfare, psychological subversion, … mysterious phone calls or unnecessary deliveries, … Many thought that they were losing their minds, and mental breakdowns and suicide could result.

    I submit that the people who do these sorts of things (over a literary award with no obvious monetary benefit!) are not honorable opponents, but have fallen into the temptation of evil.

          1. That story was too gripping for me to finish. I felt right there. It made me worry about my safety. Been a long, long time since a story did that to me. It deserves a Hugo!!

    1. Yes indeed. These tactics come straight out of the secret police playbooks and are being followed to the letter.

      I suspect some wouldn’t mind having access to the electrodes and “advanced interrogation techniques”, given their behavior.

      1. Don’t forget the guy, can’t remember who, thought that China was the best country in the world.

        1. Funny how none of them ever GO to these places they admire so much and live there.

  3. Agreed, Kate, and Barb. I disagree with some of the things Vox writes. However, I’ve learned about storytelling by reading some of his work, and he seems to be an excellent editor. I disagree with Eric Flint’s economic philosophy, but I admire what he’s done with the 163- world and other things he’s written and co-written. With two exceptions, one of whom is answering to the Great Editor already*, I don’t care what an author believes or does in his/her/its real-world life. Do the books and stories catch me, entertain me, and sometimes make me think? If so, then I’ll send money.

    *An author who acts in ways that harm other people – not writes opinions, but acts – gets dropped from my reading list.

    1. Exactly. The way some people are carrying on, I’m starting to wonder if they’d get rid of their pets if Vox Day thought said pets were cute.

      1. You should suggest it to him.

        I am sure it would be a source of much lulz on his site

    2. Same here, TX Red. I believe in story first, then and only then inclusivity. (I write gay, bi, and TG characters, too. But only if it makes sense for the story. Otherwise, why do it? And their sexuality is not the focus, unless it’s a romance and that’s needed for the plot.)

      I always read a wide variety of authors, non-fic and fic alike. I want to challenge my assumptions. If they are unchallenged, how can I know I’m making an actual choice to believe (or behave) a certain way?

  4. I am sad to see that two authors who wrote books that I have very much enjoyed withdraw from the Hugos. Regardless of their actual reasons, those who have been using bullying tactics will take this as a sign that their tactics are working and will double down on all the other authors they don’t like.

    I don’t think there’s much that can be done to avoid this for SP3, but can something be done in SP4? The only thing I can think of is to get so many different SFF fan communities involved that the bullies will either (a) dilute their efforts by slandering these many different communities that their efforts are ineffectual, or (b) continue to focus specifically on SP, allowing the other communities to nominate a slate/list of favorites in peace.

    1. I have Plans. That’s all I’ll say on that front for the moment. Oh, apart from the obligatory evil laughter, of course.

      1. Say, it’s been three weeks now since you announced that you’d be taking point on SP4.
        The only anti-SP position that I’ve seen with even a fractional point to it was the notion that it’s better form to have a list of more than five entries per category, so it doesn’t look like you’re trying to lock up a slate.
        Of course SP isn’t about slate voting (I had several SP entries on my ballot but also many non-SP: from everything I’ve heard, that makes me typical) — but it makes me curious: has anyone bothered to try asking you politely to prepare a slate of, say, 10 nominees per category?

        1. Comments to this effect have been made. I’m noting them and will make a decision after the awards for this year are announced.

          1. Are you going to have a set period for discussion/input before making the call on that/on other things, or should one note flashes of brilliance as they come to us?

            (I don’t think that anyone would be under the misapprehension that any group run by a person called The Impaler was an actual *democracy*, but I have heard it said that some successful bandit queens kept the peace by allowing periodic shouting sessions before breaking open the beer.)

            1. There will be public input, yes. The final form of the public input has yet to be finalized – and won’t involve impalement unless the demand is sufficient to justify the expenditure for stakes.

          2. It’s a form of belling the cat. If you have more than a full slate, the SP voters will be diluted, given them a chance to compete. Sort of Concern Trolling you into making the slate weaker.

            Note that SP3 only had 5 in 4 out of 16 categories (and only two of the majors), but they still act as if it had been a clean sweep. Hell, we’re down to 3 nominees in Best Novel, but they’re still not happy.

            1. Their terror now is that Sad Puppies nominees will win. If this happens, then the next time round, no one the SP nominate will actually withdraw — withdrawing is based on the assumption that all one could win by being on the slate would be harassment from the SJW. The SJW are willing to see the Hugos fail one year to prevent this from happening.

              The problem is that this can be repeated next year, and, past a certain point, if they stop awarding Hugos, the awards die.

              The SJW can “solve” this by changing the voting rules so as to exclude all outside votes, but when they do this, the Hugos are no longer the “science fiction” awards, but rather the “little clique of SJW” awards. Their loss of relevance to fandom as a whole would accelerate.

              And the smarter SJW’s know this, which is why George R. R. Martin tried to talk Larry Correia out of it.

              The problem with their Brilliant Plan is that Vox Day has even more supporters — heck, he runs a science fiction and fantasy PUBLISHING HOUSE, Castalia House. And since the SFWA already broke their own rules by expelling Vox,he has absolutely nothing to gain by bending over backward to appease them — they’ve already done their worst to him.

              With the Hugos pretty much previously in thrall to Tor, Castalia has everything to gain and nothing to lose by creating a situation in which the SJW let them go or break them. For that matter, rationally speaking, Baen has no reason not to sacrifice its own interests to keep the Hugos going either, especially given the unprofessional contempt prominent SF SJW’s have shown for the house and its editors.

              In my opinion, the Puppies should call the bluff of the SJW’s. If the Hugos are broken, it’s more of a loss to Tor than it is to Castalia or Baen — the markets of the two latter houses don’t depend on the Hugos at all.

  5. Ya know, I can prove that being an asshole didn’t used to disqual you from the Hugos… Ladies and Gents I give you Harlen Ellison. Now I never met the man personally, but my wife had to deal with him on several occasions as part of Con comm at various cons in Boston and the greater N.O. area. To hear her (a very nice woman, who usually thinks better of people than I do, I’m an asshole) tell it, Harlen deserves every not nice thing I.A. or RAH ever said about him. Yet as I recall, the man has a couple rockets…

        1. I nearly said this above, but it used to be like that in other areas of life, too. Cole Porter’s personal life was not admirable, for example. Ty Cobb was an out-and-out racist. Yet both were widely admired, Porter for being an excellent songwriter and composer, and Cobb for being one of the best baseball players the world has ever seen.

          I believe there are very good people out there who have tremendous flaws. It’s what makes us human. Even Mother Teresa said she had moments of depression and outright despair, and she believed despair to be a sin…and Father Damien (also known as “the leper Priest”) also had moments in his life that were not up to his otherwise saintly life. (And these people truly did live saintly lives, if anyone did. But they knew they were still human and had flaws. That is partly why they could relate to others. It’s also what makes them interesting.)

          Getting back to the topic at hand — the Hugo should be for excellence. And only that. Anything else is unworthy of consideration.

          1. Some time in the late 60s or early 70s it became the in thing to “prove” that there were no Heroes. This is the same time all the “antihero” movies came out. It became the in thing, in order to prove how “with it” you were to find ways to tear down anyone that someone had put on a pedestal (this is the sort of thing I was alluding to in “destroy the Myth, destroy the culture” . Suddenly if someone had done something note worthy well, lets start digging there’s got to be a skeleton somewhere, and then we can show that s/he isn’t someone to idolize after all. I’m against that concept. Yes Ty Cobb was a right bastard. Yes Eisenhower probably was doing his secretary on the desk in England during the war. Yes, G.W. owned slaves, Yes T.J not only owned them he was probably screwing one. SO FUCKING WHAT? unless you’re at least the man they were, PISS OFF. (not you Barb, the twits that like Lilliputians are trying to drag the giants down and prove that they’re every bit as big)

            1. Yes, I understand. 🙂 I agree with you. I think it’s wrong to insist that great people have no flaws. Every single last one of us has flaws…some minimize them more than others, that’s all.

            2. Though they will make heroes out of monsters, like Ho Chi Minh, Mao Tse Tung, and Fidel Castro. I’m just waiting for them to start openly admiring Adolf Hitler.

                1. Not this generation, but among the next? Particularly as they become more and more anti-Semitic, and identify more and more with Muslim Terrorists, who already revere Hitler? Remember, the last members of the Greatest and Silent Generations are dying; by 2025 or 2040, they will be one with Woodrow Wilson and Lenin.

  6. This kind of lies and bullying behaviour is exactly why Gamergate has persisted and is now in its 9th month, with no real sign of it letting up yet.

    The cries and calling out, the media manipulation, the collusion, the techniques used – all the same as this furore with the Hugos.

    Having been bullied in the workplace in the past (to the point of having a complete breakdown), I’m heartily sick of these people.

    And as we watch, the chasm becomes wider.

    1. Yes, indeed. And yet, who was it claimed Sad Puppies was being bankrolled (or something) by Gamergate? Not Sad Puppies, that’s for sure. If Gamergate had been on this, there would have been 20,000 nomination ballots, not 2,000.

      1. There would have been indeed – but like GG, SP has become the leftist bogeyman and threat de jour. I think Cool Hand Luke said it best – some people you just can’t reach.

  7. I’ve been tracking the comments on this at Brad Torgerson’s place, and it’s been … fascinating. Fascinating in the way of contemplating a horrific wreck at the side of the highway, that is: there’s been a constant stream of anti-SP shriekers driving through, demanding that Brad and other Sad Puppiers denounce Vox Day for whatever, and thereby earn absolution for themselves. Brad and the regulars are rejecting those demands with vigor and long logical discourses on why they won’t. I can very well see that people not as bull-headedly stubborn would cave in, just so they wouldn’t be yelled at (metaphorically speaking) any more.

    1. Pretty much, poor sods.

      That kind of treatment can be devastating to someone who’s not prepared for it or who expects to be treated decently.

      Not that Vox packing up shop would change a thing. If he didn’t exist, they’d have invented him because they need an enemy for the ritual 2 minute hate.

  8. What I’m mostly noticing is the arrogant, unspoken and unsupported assumption that the Sad Puppies / Rabid Puppies are “destroying” the Hugos — simply by nominating and voting for different people than Scalzi and the Hayden’s want. Where’d Scalzi and the Haydens get the idea that they owned the Hugos in the first place?

      1. And having so few voters that they owned a reliable enough clique to guarantee those votes.

        How dare we rabble spoil their party.

  9. Maybe I’m just too much of a redneck, but I while I sympathize with those who put their job on the line to take a stand (been there, done that), when it crosses over into bullying, something disconnects. If these people weren’t your enemies, they wouldn’t be bullying you, so why try to please them? Nor is submitting to a bully the end of it. Once they discover you can be intimidated, they will make further demands. Paying the Danegeld never works.

    What’s so sad is that these bullies don’t have the pull they did twenty years ago. The days they can shut you out of publishing are over. At the most they can shut you out of their overpriced, rapidly contracting, sphere of influence. They are no longer relevant. The best way to deal with them is to laugh and ignore them. That annoys them more than anything else.

    1. Pretty much, yes. I’ve been enjoying the nonsense – I might be Kate the Impaler, but why exert myself when the bullies are impaling themselves on their own nonsense?

  10. Okay, what the heck does “c4c” mean?

    It’s been pointed out that henceforth all VD has to do to ensure someone from a dissenting camp is off the ballot is… nominate them. And then they must withdraw, lest they be driven from their village with sticks and cries of “Unclean! Unclean!!”

    That, and What Brad Said, are why I’m thoroughly irritated that these two nominees felt obligated to withdraw, even tho I tend to agree that this year’s awards will always be seen as tainted, at least by people aware of the controversy. (The rest of the world, not so much.)

    Pete has a good point, that perhaps the best way to dilute this behavior past the point of effectiveness is to get so many competing groups involved that 1) there are too many targets to focus on any single target (thus somewhat protecting nominees from such wraths), and 2) their natural overlap will tend to bring the cream to the top despite any one faction’s carkflinging.

      1. It would be pretty easy for me to tailor the original to better fit MGC, with some suggestions from the main writers.

        1. I think it would be very nice for the regulars on either site who have a schtick to be identified in the FAQ BBQ, after yesterday where Mr. Wright didn’t quite grasp what David, Internet Troll was up to.

    1. Ultimately, I want to see orders of magnitude more ballots cast. A small, dedicated clique can control the outcome when there are maybe a couple of hundred nominations in total for a category. When there are tens of thousands, it’s well nigh impossible unless you’re VERY organized and VERY dedicated – which most of the screamers aren’t.

      1. Quite frankly, if there were 20,000 people voting, it is exceedingly unlikely Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies would place more than one or two people on the ballot – if that. This would be awesome, because it means that we’d have gone from one dictatorial log-rolling clique to three camps to… a democracy. Perish the thought!

  11. You, ma’am, are a badass. I wish there were more people out there like that.

    The Sad Puppies (both 2 & 3) campaign have opened my eyes to vastly more enjoyable books than the Hugo has in years. Because of that I’ve been buying the works by the authors recommended on the Puppies slates (even the Rabid ones). Though I hold no animus to the authors who withdrew, I’m certainly less interested in buying their work now, whereas yours just climbed to the top.

    1. Thank you. There are a lot of good works out there, and the ones by the authors who withdrew are among them.

      Please don’t penalize them because they weren’t able to deal with the vicious bullying of others. Penalize the bullies.

  12. Reblogged this on Things I Discuss With My Cats and commented:
    I am so disappointed that Annie Bellet made the choice to try to withdraw from the nominations. She is an excellent author and I enjoy reading her. I know her politics don’t match mine. I don’t care. her talent deserves recognition.
    This kind of bullying and condemnation by association is ridiculous and something that real Christians as well have faced for millennia. That it is coming from the supposedly tolerant and inclusive side is all the more ironic.

    1. I’ve long observed that when someone’s telling me how tolerant and inclusive they are, you’d better not disagree with anything they opine on. That ‘tolerance’ vanishes, to be replaced with a frothing anger and an urgent desire for your destruction.

      It’s rather like someone self-labeling as ‘honest’. That’s something that others might call you, but if you’re going around telling everyone how honest you are, it’s a fairly good bet that you’re not.

      1. I also enjoy listening to someone pontificate about how they just want to start a conversation, but as soon as you start to make a point they don’t agree with, the conversation stops and you become the epitome of all that is evil.
        Greg Gutfeld keeps defining it as “We think they’re wrong, they think we’re evil.”

        1. It’s less common to ask for a conversation these days and more common to be told outright that you’re supposed to sit down, stop talking, and listen.

            1. Oh yeah, I remember that from the early ’90s. “It’s a Black thing. You wouldn’t understand.”

              1. Indeed so. Hell, if we can imagine what it’s like to be a betentacled Great Old One, of COURSE we can imagine being from another culture.

        2. More and more I am concluding that they are evil. I just hope it does not get to the point of concluding that they are an imminent threat.

    2. Thank you. These are people who seem to think that if they SAY they’re tolerant and inclusive, anything they do is acceptable.
      Sooner or later that type gets spanked by reality. Spanking them earlier does them a kindness if they have the brains to learn from it.

      1. There are more people out there like me, Kate, who are speaking up now. We aren’t SPs, no. But we know fairness and equitable behavior.

        That has to matter. That more people like me are starting to say, “This makes no sense. Where is the logic?” And so forth and so on.

        What I’ve observed is this: Every SP (and even the RPs, who I mostly hold no truck with at all) I’ve dealt with has been *very* civil to me. No one has been uncivil at all. (They haven’t always agreed with me, but I expected that.)

        Whereas on the other side, I’ve been called some bad names by people who should’ve known better. I’ve been unfriended, told I’m stupid, that if I’m willing to back my friend(s) who’ve been nominated via the unusual method (comparatively speaking) of the Sad Puppies, that I must be a terrible person (insert epithet of your choice here).

        (Mind, a very few, like Mary Robinette Kowal and GRRM, are taking a more moderate stance. My guess is that most moderate authors are still sitting the fence, because they don’t know _what_ to say.)

        Which side is the one doing more harm, then? (Surely it’s not the Puppies.)

          1. Yes, it seems coherent to me.

            However, I might quibble on one point.

            I’ve as much as argued that your support for freedom of speech and equal protection under the law is an intranational form of colonialism and imperialism.

            If you find such labels offensive, and if I am a Sad Puppy, a Sad Puppy may have been rude to you.

            1. I don’t find your viewpoint offensive, Bob. I figure we’re both stating our minds and can be rational, reasonable adults while disagreeing peacefully.

              I’m not sure how you arrived at your point of view, however. Would you be willing to clarify this?

              1. To be as clear and serious as possible, I think that appropriation, authenticity, and certain concepts in multiculturalism are racist in the older sense of the word.

                I recently realized that these new innovations in attacking the modern understanding of racism could be easily used to justify a white supremacist apartheid state.

                Take policing. This has its origins in France, then the English took it and adapted it for their own purposes. Our police are derived from the English version. Was it appropriation for the English to borrow from the French? Are the French police forbidden from applying Peel’s rules because that is someone else’s cultural heritage? Are we Americans restricted to law enforcement along the lines that were practiced in 1795? Which legal protections does someone who identifies as French and lives in the US get from their cultural heritage? Does it matter how authentic a Frenchman they are?

                Me, you, and a bunch of other people here seem to be of the ‘Does not matter, do not bring blood into it’ school of thought. It amuses me to argue that this, not racist in the old definition, is racist under the new meaning.

                So at best, I was attempting to tease you for concepts you hadn’t brought to the table. I guess at worst I was boring and obnoxious.

  13. Amen to everything you said.

    There are those who have criticized Larry and Brad for creating a slate in the first place, contending that doing so injected politics into a situation where it didn’t exist. That sounds reasonable, except that the Worldcon group had ceased to be a representative sample of fandom and was skewed heavily to one side of the political spectrum. Those who were benefitting most from the praise and (diminishing) prestige of the skewed awards started screaming bloody murder over their gored ox, grabbed a fig leaf or two to cover their naked snobbery, and picked a witch (or two or three) to blame for it and hunt down with a mob.

    I don’t blame those who withdrew because they felt the atmosphere has become too political for the merit of the work to be judged fairly (among other reasons). I can respect that decision. I have less respect for those who blame them for cowardice because they don’t want to be on the front lines of an ugly political fight.

    1. Yes indeed – the smaller the stakes, the louder the screams, I think.

      I’m not blaming anyone for not being able to deal with that. It’s a big world and there are a lot of different people with different strengths in it.

      I blame the bullies who are trying to use the guilt-by-association thing. They started the smearing, they started throwing fecal matter, and they started bullying. Let them reap the consequences.

      1. “Yes indeed – the smaller the stakes, the louder the screams…”

        An impaler would know that.

  14. If it was about excellence in craft they wouldn’t be nominating {insert strawman here}. Brilliant argument, that.

    Of course, it should also apply to Marion Zimmer Bradley (child abuser), Samuel Delaney (NAMBLA member) and numerous others, if true. Since those two (among others) have never been considered unworthy of nomination your argument is equally void of any substance.

    Or possibly… just MAYBE… you’re enjoying the hate session too much.

    1. So you’re calling Delaney a liar for confirming his involvement with NAMBLA? It took all of thirty seconds with google to find the confirmation.

      There are an awful lot of people who disagree with you about Vox’s ability and Kratman’s writing ability. They can write at least as well as Delaney, and arguably better.

      1. Nice way to change the subject, Andrew. You know you’re not allowed to harass Vox online, and he does follow this site and post here.

        1. Ooh, and WP’s threading comes crashing down with the deletion. Maybe the posts should be blanked instead and replaced with [Deleted Post] or something, except that leaves the name intact….

      2. What’s more, Delaney wasn’t really all that good at world-building or plot; he’d paper it over with a general air of decadence, but a lot of what went on in his stories made very little sense.

  15. Ummmm….wait. I missed something.
    I really don’t know about Vox, because to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never read anything by him, neither fiction, non-fiction, not commentary. I have seen a couple of his replies to posts on Larry’s blogs, but that’s it.
    But with respect to Kratman, I simply can’t let the insinuation that the man can’t demonstrate excellence in craft go by unchallenged. He presents well thought out & organized scenarios, His characters have depth, and his ability to tell stories is excellent and straightforward. I don’t see how that can fail a standard of excellence in craft.

    1. Decent chance that either they’ve never actually read Kratman, they are only literate at a very basic level, or that they lack the basic knowledge of history that makes him accessible. Someone who has no grasp of history beyond the lastest version of MacOS simply cannot get all the levels that Kratman writes on.

      In other words, either the sort of person who thinks Drake’s Books of the Elements are an endorsement of slavery, or the sort of person who might insist sight unseen that Drake was a terrible writer.

    2. That would be the first time I’ve heard the Pacific Ocean described as a puddle.

    1. It’s looking that way. There’s just one thing missing from the standard social disease ranting.

  16. So, it’s apparently been confirmed that 3BP is replacing Lines of Departure. Given certain claims made at Making Light about how they ‘knew’ SP displaced 3BP off the ballot anybody want to bet that the vote variance between the SJW slate is less than 10, possibly less than 5 this year? Cause at this point it’s not merely knowledge of the fact that they’re the only clique with the push to make noms besides SP but that they know exact or near exact vote totals for each novel before the noms go through. Either that or the Hugo Admin IS leaking info which would be ugly indeed.

    1. Given that the Hugo committee has shown no signs of any ethical violations, I’d guess the SJW faction keeps track of their own.

      1. I’m inclined to think there’s a leak. The Haten’s knew before the announcement about the SP victories. If they had leaked vote tallies, they’d know who was in 6th and 7th.

  17. I find it interesting that while talking about “reading between the lines” you seem to conveniently leave out what the authors said, very plainly.

    “This is my choice alone, and I am making it without pressure from any side in the current Hugo debate. Please respect it as such.” – Marko Kloos

    “I want to make it clear I am not doing this lightly. I am not doing it because I
    am ashamed. I am not doing it because I was pressured by anyone either way or on any “side,” though many friends have made cogent arguments for both keeping my nomination and sticking it out, as well as for retracting it and letting things proceed without me in the middle.” – Annie Bellet

    1. Lord Vetinari in a meeting: “what people said was what they wanted him to hear. He paid a lot of attention to the spaces outside the words, though. That’s where the things were that they hoped he didn’t know and didn’t want him to find out.” — Terry Pratchett, Jingo

        1. No, I think they were being careful. I know what they are going through, I’m there with them. In an effort to keep in ‘good graces’ they are being careful with their phrasing. But it’s not hard to see the kinds of pressures they are enduring.

          1. *shrugs* Well, you are in their situation, so I’ll walk away from this, but I think it’s telling that both of them specifically mention their reasons for walking away, and specifically deny outside pressure.

            Best of luck to you.

            1. Standard meaningless boilerplate for not running afoul of The Industry.

              “Those are some acceptable sales we’ve recorded you as having, it would be a shame if anything were to happen to them.”

              There is reason to think that major publishing companies:
              A) Illegally collude
              B) Do not practice honest and transparent book keeping
              C) Hire fake media coverage
              D) Cheerfully blacklist authors

              Which is to say, perhaps you think Duranty didn’t cover Djugashivli’s murders because they were not newsworthy, or of interest to any literate man.

      1. I was quite sure you would do the right thing. George is an advocate of doing the reading and voting as the reading dictates. There is a wealth of good material available in the field.

    1. Begs the question as to why he didn’t nominate this year, or in years past.

      If it takes a Sad Puppies campaign to get GRRM motivated to vote, doesn;t speak well of the rest of the “fans”…

  18. Two things I don’t understand.

    (1) Why do we have to have “preliminaries” as sad puppies. Why don’t we just rally to get more people to vote. The winners of any “puppy” Hugo, will get a puppy asterisk. Some will be proud of this. My sense is most will be conflicted I expect. Many will resent having to defend their puppy Hugo.

    We should thank the puppies for getting more people to vote on Hugos. But can we stop the slating? Let’s up the voters to 4000 next year without slates, without asterisks. Let’s find other ways to motivate readers to suggest books they feel they are best.

    And 2: I disagree with the “I am Vox Day.” Charlie Hebdo comments in strong terms on societal issues. Some will take offense, based on interpretation.
    That is something different to singling people out and outright harassing them.

    His work may be fine. Heck, I don’t know anything of his books other than that his blurbs are not the most appealing things I have read. It’s not on my next things to read pile but if enough people think he should get the award based on the quality of his writing, then give it to him by all means. His conduct (identifal to left wing extremist requires hate) is something different altogether though and the opposite of any example I aim to set to my kids. I am not Vox Day.

    1. Here’s the ONLY way it makes sense: put it into historical context. Nobody was doing ANYTHING about Hugo problems until Larry Correia and the Sad Puppy campaign. In retrospect, it would have been better to give the three different endeavors totally different names, since their purposes were dissimilar. But that’s hindsight.

    2. With respect to your second point: how is his conduct identical to requires hate? With evidence, please, since you’re the one making the assertion.

      Second, the history behind “I am X” is a whole lot longer than Charlie Hebdo, and comes to the same point: taking action against a person on the basis of their opinions being different from or against yours is absolutely wrong. Would you have preferred me to say “First they came….?” The principle doesn’t change.

      1. Thanks Kate & Pat for taking the time to reply. Overall I think my first point is where something good can be built for the future. rallying people to vote, not slating. On point two, I’m not expecting anymore than agreeing to disagree, but I’d like to be surprised. 🙂

        I’d say everything is easy in hindsight. Larry Correia might not have expected this would become this big and just expected to get a few books on the final lists. With the knowledge of today – don’t we want to run differently – all of us? motivate people to vote without slating?


        GRRM ran an excellent piece on Requires Hate (based on Laura Mixon’s work) and compared it to Vox Day. has a summary of statements by Vox Day. To give an example: Calling someone fat frog while campaigning? Things like that can chase someone for the rest of their lives and damage reputations.

        As to the “I am X”, to me it comes down to
        (1) Everyone is entitled to have their own opinion and should be able to voice that. History shows that arguments based on excluding others are not commendable, and do more damage than they do good.

        You might say “First they came…”. I’ll say: even if Vox Day or anyone else for that matter writes the best work in the past two centuries, that is no excuse for his behavior and no excuse for hurting others.

        “It is absurd to imagine that there is absolutely no link between race and intelligence” – is a statement based on putting a whole group based on in this case their race in a certain corner. Hello McCarthyism. Before we go to – “but are you not doing the same now to him?” I will bring up my second point.

        (2) You say: taking action against a person on the basis of their opinions being different from or against yours is absolutely wrong. However, every country has limitations on the freedom of speech. Have these been crossed? I am no lawyer. But I think it is worth having a look. We can argue whether those limitations are justified. Personally, some of these I agree with, some of these I have more trouble with. There are some cases I find hard to argue against.

        In the US according to wikipedia the limitations are:

        “Restrictions that are based on people’s reactions to words include both instances of a complete exception, and cases of diminished protection. Speech that involves incitement, false statements of fact, obscenity, child pornography, threats, and speech owned by others are all completely exempt from First Amendment protections. Commercial advertising receives diminished, but not eliminated, protection.

        Some of these obviously do not apply to Vox.
        But let me take the false statement of facts as an example.
        Vox statements on rape could be used as reasoning to defend sexual violence. I have not seen any backup. “First, there is no such thing as marital rape. Once consent is formally given in public ceremony, it cannot be revoked… If a woman believes in the concept of marital rape, absolutely do not marry her!”

        Threats/Incite Violence – On violence vs. women: ““a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability.” It can be both interpreted as a threat and to incite violence.

        Again, I am no lawyer and I don’t know where his statements would fit in the court of law: but I’d be interested to get a lawyer’s perspective.

        1. Does the phrase “Quoting out of context” mean anything to you?

          Because your authoritative source that thinks Vox endorses throwing acid in the face of women has lied to you. That statement was, in context, he stating why that makes sense TO A HYPOTHETICAL MUSLIM MAN.

          That’s the equivalent of quoting a politician from a speech saying “My opponent thinks that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote.” and cutting off the first four words.

          Good thing you’re not a lawyer, you could be disbarred.

          1. Dr. Mauser,

            For the record: apologies for misquoting as I clearly read through the source data too quickly. That does not dimiss the other points though – which is only a few examples to choose from.Can the rightwing Laura J Mixon please stand up?

            1. Probably the best defense, if you will, of Vox is Vox himself, whom most of his detractors refuse to consult. (Of course, sometimes his uncompromising nature is his own worst enemy). Another example would be someone saying he considers all blacks uncivilized savages after he called Nora Jemison a “Half-savage”, which of course not only is a great example of “Whispering down the line” but also a coverup of all the nasty crap Jemison had been raining down on Vox to provoke him.

              Vox is not entirely to my tastes (that uncompromising nature thing). I do look at his page occasionally, and he does have a way of cutting through the bullshit. And I highly laud his work in defanging noted internet stalker Andrew (Insert one of a hundred different handles) Marsdon.

              The thing is, the right doesn’t need a Laura Mixon because we on the right don’t give Vox a pass simply because of his minority status, as the left did to Requires Hate. The truth is laid right out there for everyone to see.

              1. Well, not sure i agree there is no need for a new Laura Mixon. What that would do is have a good reference work which is properly checked and cut, to your point, the misquoting from reality. and have a good reference source. I don’t think anything is there beyond

                Look I think the guy’s views on rape are dangerous. I’ll not call him a racist either to be honest, although he does go on very dangerous (and to me pointless) grounds
                What’s the point of saying on average two groups are not the same? whether it’s dutch vs. chinese in length or blue eyed vs. green eyed in intelligence? A lot of that is influenced by nurture (diet, education, etc) not nature. (The dutch, I can tell as a dutchman, drink a lot of milk which does increase their length and is well documented).
                Even if there are differences, so what? Where do we want to go with proving that by nature some people are different? breeding programs for people to be raised for the jobs they are most fit for? Hello Brave New World. It’s dangerous ground at any rate since it is so easily misinterpreted by racists and the like. Why argue the point?

                1. By now, most people should realize that Vox likes to tweak people. He finds their buttons and liberally applies the sledgehammer. if he’s writing to provoke, taking up a theoretically extremist position, and people take him literally, well, they deserve what they get.

    3. The only people wanting to put asterisks on this year’s results are the same people who campaigned to No Award SP2, and declared victory when they managed to shut them out. (And also patted themselves on the back for their great strides in Diversity, by giving one trophy to an Asian.) They only want an Asterisk because THEY didn’t get to decide who was on the ballot and who wins.

      1. Read the author’s comments. It is simply not true, nominees do feel compromised. I am not advocating a nuclear option. I want novels who deserve winning to win. Let’s rally people to vote. Let authorities suggest what books they think are best. But let’s not rally people to make up people’s mind based on what the average Sad Puppy contributor suggests. It creates the opposite of diversity. And it does put asterisks behind what should be a great achivement

        1. Nominees feel compromised because the people who want to pin asterisks on them said they should. All of the “backlash” came from these people. If you don’t see the ugliness that comes from people trying to enforce social conformity, it’s because you’re already a conformist.

          1. I’ll agree to disagree here.
            * Fact 1: the nominees list is largely made up of sad puppy slate. It is nearly certain that all SP3 nominations looked very similar because of these “preliminaries”. Other nominations were surely more diverse.

            * Fact 2: running preliminaries on the scale of sad puppies was never practiced before. Yes, some fan communities (say Dr.Who) were very well organized. but it does not come close to this scale.

            * Fact 3: No rules were broken, But I do not blame others for stating the obvious: had everyone who nominated suggested their favorite books without consulting slates the list would have looked different. It would have still contained a number of puppy nominees, but also a few other books. In other words, the current list is not a true representation of all of fandom who nominated. Conformism? Ugliness? to be honest i can imagine why some people feel cheated. Do the current lists still contain the best works of the year according to all the voters in fandom? Maybe. but we will never know. Hence the asterisk.

            Which brings me back to my original point. Well done on motivating people to nominate in the puppies context. but to get a fair representation of all fans, slating is not the way to go.

            If that makes me a conformist in your view well so be it. Obviously I will kindly reject the tag and wholehartedly disagree. I’d say it’s perfecty reasonable.

            1. It is nearly certain that all SP3 nominations looked very similar because of these “preliminaries”. Other nominations were surely more diverse.

              In what way are the SP3 nominations “very similar,” and in what way would other nominations “surely” be more “diverse?”

              Do the current lists still contain the best works of the year according to all the voters in fandom? Maybe. but we will never know. Hence the asterisk.

              We will know as much as we did in any previous year — by who wins. That’s how “voting” works.

              Well done on motivating people to nominate in the puppies context. but to get a fair representation of all fans, slating is not the way to go.

              It seems to be working, to the point where I wager that some SP3 nominees may win, and by the time SP4 rolls around, the main contest may move to the SP4 nominations.

              You claim that the Tor Clique’s slate is more diverse and better represents fandom. If so why, pray tell, are Scalzi and the Haydens worried? Won’t fandom vote in larger numbers for those who represent them?

              If not, perhaps your assumptions are somewhere flawed.

              1. Look.
                * Puppy nominators mainly nominate from the puppy list. They have by far selected from a small number of works listed on the puppy slates. If no slates had existed, their nominations would have been more diverse. This is a very safe assumption.
                * Non-Puppy nominators may have picked works suggested by their favorite authors. But they were not pre-aligned to the extent the puppies were.
                * If the same people had voted without looking at the puppy slates – different works would have come out on top to some extent. Some of the puppy nominees would not be there and some other works would be there.
                * I do not claim that the Tor Clique’s slate is more diverse at all. I have not even mentioned Tor. All I claim is that the combined list of puppy and non-puppy nominations would have been more diverse as we would have a combination of both camps.
                * Without slating, I would think there would be less anger on the lists. I cannot talk for Scalzi or Hayden as to why they are worried. I have not even read their posts to be honest. But as I outlined above, I can imagine why people feel cheated even if no rules were broken.

                * Now maybe you argue that non-puppy nominees would still have won in some categories if non-puppy books would be listed. I would call that fair and normal. If none had won you might argue you might have felt cheated and it being a conspiracy by Tor or whoever. Not sure but we will never know.
                Maybe this year forces people to read works that would normally not be on their radar. Maybe that is a good thing in hindsight. If enough people don’t go nuclear maybe it will be. But there will still be the asterisk.

                So even if this turns out for the better, and by all means i hope it does, I would say: point proven. Eyes opened, other type of works acknowledged. Now can we break up the camps, stop the slating and just vote for the best books again?

                1. Maybe this year forces people to read works that would normally not be on their radar. Maybe that is a good thing in hindsight. If enough people don’t go nuclear maybe it will be. But there will still be the asterisk.

                  You seem to imagine that this is going to be the last year in which anyone other than your own little clique is going to vote. How, exactly, do you imagine that your prior control is going to be restored? And why will the winners — if they are supported by Sad Puppies — somehow less legitimate than those supported by the Tor Clique. You no more own fandom than do the Sad Puppies — and they have more supporters.

                  Now can we break up the camps, stop the slating and just vote for the best books again?

                  Your side has made this impossible by trying to wreck the careers of those who Dared to Disagree With Them. Keep it up, and the Puppies may wind up becoming equally nasty.

                  And they have the numbers.

                  1. I am picking sides here? Not sure what made you think that? I am part of no clique that I know of. My side? My clique? what’s with the name calling? I don’t want control. By anyone. I will read some of these nominated work and hope they are good. I don’t have time to read them all unfortunately, but that is no different than other years. I am sure some I will like better than others. I don’t care if you’re a democrat or a republican, whether you own a gunstore or a lesbian sexclub. I don’t care who your editor is. I care about good writing.

                    I hope everyone that voted this year keeps voting next year. I am no fan of slating. It will enforce the choice to whoever runs the biggest
                    If a puppy nominee wins (and since I am not advocating no vote I don’t hope no awards wins. everybody loses with that award), than all the better. I think I have made my point on the asterisk. It’s based on math. Not personal preferences. And I think we (you, me, everyone) can avoid the asterisk in the future. Keep pushing people to vote. keep suggesting favorite works. Just don’t slate them.

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