Left, right. Right, left?

Last week Guillaume Jay posted this. I said I’d like to discuss it this week
R,b and V is One of the funniest sf book i ever read, maybe the funniest. I read it as a baen Free ebook iirc 10+ years ago, and it put you and eric flint on my list of watched authors.
I have no memories that it was unpc.
On the other hand, i’m french, and a leftist, so quite a sjw by nature.
(To speak frankly, SP has shown me a
side of you which i’m not very comfortable with…)
(Sorry for spelling, cell typing in a second language is hard)

Hmm. Interesting. And it is all about perceptions, which is what I want to write about. There has been a constant effort by Puppy-Kickers to paint this as being some kind of right wing excuse to play their favorite trump cards ‘misogynist’, ‘racist’ and ‘homophobe’. Because if they can play those cards anything else is irrelevant.

Certainly – as far as I am concerned anyway – it has nothing to do with any of those.

Let’s just clarify why I support the Sad Puppies. I have said all this before. Many times.

Firstly: SF and Fantasy sales are down. This is just one of many years. Year after year sales in our genre are falling (at least with Traditional Publisher sales). Remember I started looking at this some years back, before Indy really took off.

Secondly: This has hugely affected the workers, the producers in this field – the writers – ability to make a living (and here). These are the reasons I got involved at a writers site – because I take a long view, and I care about my peers and my genre. We may do a crap job, but at least we’re doing something. Many of the Puppy-Kickers, with thousands of times our resources – GRRM springs to mind… are not. Their sole contribution is to complain about what we do.

Thirdly: I understand fully that a growing healthy industry – even if much of that growth is in books I would never read — keeps writers writing, and readers reading sf and fantasy. If you like sf or fantasy it is in your personal interest to see as many readers as possible get to read and enjoy what they want to read, even if you personally hate the books they read. If the industry is well served and healthy it will have books available in roughly demographically representative proportions (obviously one corrects for language, and ability to read). To put it in vehicle terms: You may love a big Dually truck… or a Toyota Prius (both small segments of the market). The market, supply and price of your chosen vehicle does not rest on its own. It depends on the whole motor industry. If all that is available is either of the above vehicles – pretty soon that will cost far more than anyone but a millionaire can afford. Only the most shortsighted, idiotic and self-centered fool could pretend that confining the market to the Prius would be clever –even if you personally adore Priuses. The only person keen on this is the guy sitting with a lot of Priuses to sell. It is pure self-interest, short term thinking (remember that).

Fourthly: some years back John Ringo said ‘The Hugos are biased against the right wing’ or words to that effect. I rolled my eyes at his idiocy and ran the stats to show how wrong he was. The idiot was me, I was wrong. This situation has only got worse.   As the Hugos are SUPPOSED TO BE a fan award for the most popular novel — and the stats show that nomination is heavily skewed to the tastes of around 6% of the audience – a fringe group excluding the tastes and interests of the vast majority of the demographic, there is a problem. That problem feeds directly into points 1,2,3.

Fifthly: A closer look at the nominated works and the numbers of nominations required showed that it was a very small group, repeating the same names over and over – Mike Glyer as the most extreme example, and that they had required as little as 30-40 nomination votes – less than the staff-vote at a large publisher (which, insanely, is permitted – in a ‘FAN’ award.) The same names that, oddly, dominated the Nebula. Yes. This is very odd indeed, as firstly, the Nebula is an award voted on by writers in theory for quality (not popularity), and secondly, one in which a well recorded and documented corrupt process call ‘log-rolling’ was occurring.

Which led me to what I hoped to see from the Sad Puppies process.

a) More demographic spread (even if I don’t like or agree with the views of that spread it must also occur. See point 3.). I have no interest in seeing specific individuals win. I’d rather not be nominated or win myself. That would not help the situation in any way.

b) More new entrants.

c) More popular entrants (because an award’s ability to promote new authors rests on its recognition, which rests on its popularity). They should be popular OUTSIDE the narrow demographic section that has dominated for years to draw those readers in. That in turn should improve things for writers, and the field in general.

d) And more participation, to dilute the plainly dishonest effect of large publishers and in-cliques (who mostly are grace-and-favor clients of large publishers, with financial ties.).

So:
Let me start with a little parable. You can substitute in colors and insults of your choice.
Once upon a time, in an alternate universe, there were two black employers. They both had some white employees. The first was reputed to call them ‘Honkeys’ and was not worried about insulting them. The second would never do that. She was always careful to call them People of No Color, and was terribly sensitive about PoNC rights and safe spaces. The first paid quite well, promoted and fired on merit, and the working conditions were way above the industry standard. The second screwed her workers – financially at least, paying way less than a living wage, and provided appalling and exploitative work conditions. And no, it wasn’t merit that got you promoted or fired. It was kissing the boss’s butt or failing to do that. You might, not inaccurately, claim she used her PoNC lip-service to recruit people she treated abominably, who would work for her rival otherwise.

Now: which of the two was better for the worker to work for? Which of the two was the better human being? If you’re going to take this on a SJW basis: Which of the two companies should you be buying from on an ethical basis – assuming the products actually cost the same? (In practice the products from the first employer are better. She keeps and promotes better people.) Which of the two was actually delivering more so-called ‘social justice’?

If you were gullible and took a superficial look you might actually say the second employer – who has a lot in common with most of the Traditional Publishing establishment, or indeed, the Puppy-Kickers. If you actually look at deeds, and not lip-service, you would, despite disliking the attitude of the first employer, be forced to admit that for the workers they were an infinitely better choice. The first employer had nothing much to gain by calling its white employees ‘Honkeys’. The second employer had everything to gain by pointing it out (even if wasn’t true) and perpetuating the belief that employer was a discriminatory racist. In fact – short of actually improving employee conditions to match or better the first employer (which would cost her money) – badmouthing the competition was essential to the second employer’s business. Follow the money. If someone has something to gain, financially, by their behavior… be suspicious.

Now let’s look at ‘left’ and ‘right’. It does get very confusing.

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, it was quite simple, especially as far as workers were concerned. The left supposedly sought for a better deal for the workers, the weak and the poor. The right supposedly sought for a better deal for business, and if they thought about the poor, the workers and the weak at all, it was that trickle-down would lift them. There were more aspects to both sides, both of which have merits in different ways, of course. To name a couple that pertain directly to this debate: The right for example was conservative and wished to maintain the status quo, to keep things as they were. The left wanted to change the status quo. The right wanted censorship to stop new ideas. The left, free speech.

That does seem to have changed quite a lot, to where the left seems more interested in welfare recipients than workers, and the right championing smaller (down to sole operator) business. Of course both side love large corporates, and seem more interested in power, than actually doing anything, but that’s politics. ‘Liberal’ and ‘conservative’ are always contextual. At one time the universal right to bear arms was liberal, for example. It shifts – but let’s work with the old definition and this context.

So: let’s look at the Sad Puppies, and MGC in particular. According to Irene Gallo (who, may we point out is an employee of Tor Books, and I believe the editor of Tor.com. Not exactly a disinterested party, with no financial skin in the game) we’re all extreme right wingers.

Therefore… Sad Puppies is on the side of business then. A business like the publishing house Tor.

Er. No. That’s Irene. Let’s just take a moment to point out that the companies at the center of this Puppy-Kicking pay at best 17.5% of gross to the workers for e-books, and possibly less as their contracts are 25% of net – and from the Movie industry we know net can mysteriously be such that the workers get screwed. Baen pay 20% of gross Correction that’s 25% of gross (not net dirty tricks and cheating the workers), Castilia pays 50%, Amazon pays 70% (less your costs – but you control those).

MGC – which has been solidly behind the Sad Puppies – has provided hundreds of articles on ways for writers to get the best deal, earn most and succeed best. All of us have verifiable records of helping other writers – and not on the basis of ideology or where they publish. It’s a pretty well an uncontestable fact that we have worked for the workers (the writers), the weak (new writers with no support, money or contacts), who are certainly poor as often as not. We don’t care, or discriminate. All of us have been poor. On the other hand the puppy kicker sites – File 770, Making Light etc. have they ever done anything for the weak, the workers, and the poor of our industry? They’ve come out in support of the business of publishing, supported Irene Gallo, actively discriminated against authors… but when it comes to getting better working conditions, better contracts, better pay for authors… no, they’re silent.

So: who is ‘right wing’ by its actual deeds? Not by loud and empty talk, but by doing things that they can personally do?
Confusing, isn’t it?

Let’s look at the status quo. After all, that’s what the right wing do. They’re conservative. That must be the Sad Puppies. Trying to conserve the status quo. Keep the same people getting Hugos!

Er. No. That’s the Puppy Kickers. The same names, the same narrow, incestuous ‘in’ group. The status quo is very much the business supported –and financially intertwined – Puppy Kickers and certain Traditional Publishers. The ones that pay worst and treat their workers – the writers — worst.

The Sad Puppies wanted to get different people. And the process they used was not particularly different to union organizing – allying the weak to stand up against the business owners who de facto controlled it.

So: Who is ‘right wing’ and conservative in this context?

What about censorship and free speech?
Surely the Sad Puppies are trying to silence the voices of women, PoC, Homosexuals etc.? They want to de-platform them, silence them, isolate them. They want sf to go back to manly men doing manly things (according to the ignorant-of-what-we-write Kevin Standlee, whose job it is to be neutral – except there are no rules for Puppy-Kickers. Rules are for little people, like the Sad Puppies).

Er. No. There have been many attempts by the Puppy-Kickers at silencing, and de-platforming, isolating, as well as a concerted effort at smearing the Sad Puppies in major media with a farrago of lies about being Neo-Nazis racists, etc – which took contacts and influence – which can only really come from the wealthy, powerful traditional publishers. You know, the people who have a financial interest in the status quo. Follow the money.

The Sad Puppies on the other hand have pointedly and repeatedly said they do not want anyone silenced. They want more popular fiction, to draw a wider range and larger numbers of people into SF/Fantasy and they want it not ideologically limited to any ONE sector of politics (that limits the number of readers for a start). Their deeds matched their talk – not all their suggested nominees came from any one faction of politics. The opposite is true of the puppy kickers. Try to step back and take my point: I don’t want any one faction being currently able to shut the other voices out, even if it is ‘my’ faction. It’s making it roughly demographically representative that is my goal. Tomorrow might be the other side in control, and I would rather not be silenced and rather the genre was healthy selling to as many people as possible.

Over and over the leadership of the Puppy-Kickers have tried to make this about anything but the real issues – which are the four I listed as my reasons for participation.

So:
It’s not about left and right or Social Justice (although actually MCG is demonstrably able to show it actually does far more in real terms than all the puppy-kickers put together. Most of them are very like those ‘charities’ collecting for the poor in Africa. Of every Dollar, 99 cents goes to them for ‘administration’, one cent to the politician in Africa (the problem, really), and nothing for the poor). It’s about dealing with a real long-term problem which takes long term thinking and thinking beyond narrow little turfs. Yes, many of the puppy supporters are – outside of this issue — conservative or moderate. Their viewpoints color the way they see and speak of things. Their reasons for supporting it may well be different from mine. But they are supporting the workers — writers, and the long term future of sf – which you cannot say about the Puppy-Kickers.

Inevitably, when you get a Puppy-Kicker this far in the debate, they say “Yes but…” and then quibble endlessly about irrelevant trivia and do nothing. Camestros is the typical example of this, or say “Yes but…” and then enumerate the ways in which the Sad Puppies are doing it wrong.

Trivia are trivia. They change nothing, and I’m not interested.

And if you think we’re doing it wrong… Don’t tell me how we must do it better. YOU do it better. Change that demographic to a broadly representative one, grow sf so authors can make a living. By all means work on getting under-represented people in – be they women or Native Americans… just find ones who aren’t ALSO part of the vastly over-represented (and repetitively nominated). Show me measurable results that I can put numbers to, and I’m happy for you to do it. Delighted in fact. I can spend the time writing books.

Or ‘Get out of the new road if you can’t lend a hand.’

Now, because I am a working writer, and because this how I earn my living.

The picture is a link.

This is the next book I have coming out. The hero of the book is a Straitsman – an Aboriginal of the Bass Strait Islands. We’re farmers and fishermen here, hardworking folk without whom there’d be no food on your table. The core of the story is about that, about what he is and where he belongs, and his choice to do what some humans have always chosen to do, to put their future, everything they have, on the line to do what they believe needs doing. I’ve spent my life going on mountain rescue or to sea with people like that. It makes no exception for creed or color or anything else. It is the finest side of humanity.

It’s also a fast moving adventure story, because that is what I write.

241 Comments

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241 responses to “Left, right. Right, left?

  1. According to the linked page, sales of all types of adult fiction are down, BUT — *classics* are the least affected. This should probably serve as a broad hint about what readers actually wish to read.

    • Bingo

      The pond for SF/F books is terribly small right now, and, as you note, the trad pub part of that is gradually shrinking. But that may not (does not at all IMHO) mean that the actual demand is shrinking merely that, similar to Detroit in the 1970s, the product bing pushed isn’t actually meeting the demands of the potential consumer.

      In the IT world, investors (and those pitching to them) frequently talk about the total addressable market for a product and things like that. The total addressable market can be a sippery concept because it tends to obscure the differences between what is theoretically possible (everyone in the world buys your product) and the practical (everyone who has certain needs/interests buys your product) but for SF/F books the popularity of movies such as Star Wars suggests that there is a very large potential market to be addressed. What if everyone who watched the latest star wars movie bought an SF book. Right there you are looking at tens of millions of sales. How many actual SF/F books have been bought by the watchers of Star Wars? I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that something like 90% of the watchers haven’t bought a single SF/F book in the last year and probably a majority have never bought one ever.

      So the real challenge for SF/F publishing in general ought to be to get every single movie goer who watched Star Wars (and/or the Martian or all the other excellent recent SFnal movies) to buy at least one SF/F novel.

      I don’t see any sign that anyone in the publishing business is thinking that big and neither are the various groups and associations of SF lovers.

      • That is what I call a wonderful ambition, inspiring. And not implausible.

      • TRX

        > The pond for SF/F books is terribly small right now

        If you’re lucky enough to live in a place that still has one of those “bookstore” things within reasonable driving distance, you’ll probably notice the shelves are full of the same old junk they were the last time you went there. The wire racks that used to be at every gas station and convenience store are mostly gone, as are the magazine/book racks at grocery and department stores. Looked at the selection at Wal-Mart lately? Pretty much the same as last year, ten years ago, or fifteen years ago.

        The traditional publishers’ business model is “sell to book stores.” Which are rapidly becoming extinct. Not everyone has an Amazon account and a Kindle, which is the other main distribution system.

        Some publishers – Ace, as a prime example – used to sell direct. Dealing with icky nasty customers directly seems to be totally out of the question. And, really, why doesn’t the SFWA have a storefront? Isn’t helping their members sell their stuff what the SFWA is *for*?

        It doesn’t matter what you’re selling if you can’t get it to the customer.

        • From most of what I have seen and heard, SFWA and lots of these orgs are for those who sell to publishers (Hence why publishers seem to have inordinate power). Selling on your own makes you one of those less important, vain self pubbers.

        • Sara the Red

          Heck, in some of my paperbacks dating back to the 80s/early-mid 90s, there are *still* order forms in the back. Now, it never occurred to me back then to have ordered books in such a manner–why would I, when there were bookstores, and also I was a kid/teenager and at that point didn’t have the wherewithal to buy stuff via mail (and anyway, my parents–also huge bookworms–were more than happy to buy me almost as many books as I wanted). But it wasn’t *that* long ago, really.

          Not sure when they disappeared, actually. Possibly about the time that I stopped buying quite so many books because I couldn’t find anything good to read…

          • Eleanor

            I’ve actually used those forms. I lived overseas in the mideast (years ago growing up) and there were no bookstores to browse AT. Those forms were literally the only way I knew about some books. Very helpful, even with the outrageous overseas duty. God bless my parents who were generous about keeping a book devouring daughter in new books.

      • You’d think someone would finagle, cajole, sweet-talk, beg, what have you (within the limits of state and local laws) to get permission to set up a sale-type table in the movie-plex lobby with cover mockups and other sales stuff (and perhaps even a few book copies), and a sign saying “If you liked [sci-fi film], you might try [books].” You have QR codes for people to scan and save for future reference, you have info from Ye Local Bookstore as well as the ‘Zon and other e-tailers . . .

        You know, if even I, the Queen of Lousy Marketing, can come up with this stuff, why are Tor, DAW, et al not trying it in NYC or LA, for example? Oh, yeah, it’s new, its aimed at sales to the unwashed masses, and it requires paying something to the theaters and to the movie makers. Short-term costs, vs. long-term visibility and sales. “NeeeEEEEEvermind.”

      • Or every comic con goer. They could start at NY Comic Con, right in their own back yard.

        • That’s pretty much what I thought when I saw Baen hosting an award and stuff at GenCon. It was a stand-up-and-cheer moment for marketing and science fiction, to take the books to a target-rich environment.

          • Uncle Lar

            At just how many cons does Toni Weisskopf do her Baen Road Show presentation. Used to be an hour, of late expanded to a two full hour slideshow of cover art accompanied by running patter and commentary. And a large box of Baen’s latest which she distributes to the audience as prizes for any number of reasons. Bless her, current and former service folk always get first pick.
            Then there are posters, flyers, and book marks, all with Baen logos or cover art, but always promoting the brand.
            But of course that’s all preaching to the choir.
            Perhaps someone should video tape one of those and put it up on YouTube, mention the Baen free library while they’re at it. Might could generate some interest and expand the market. Just a thought.

            • The reason I was so happy when she went to GenCon, as opposed to other cons, is that it is specifically a gaming convention, not a SF/F con. While there’s a lot of overlap in the crowd (hence, the success of Halo & Warhammer 40K tie-in fiction), unlike a literary con it’s not a market that’s already saturated with SF/F readers.

              (Come to think of it, that probably applies to Dragon*Con, too, with the heavy anime & movie buff contingencies there – but I recall quite a few publishers advertising at the one I went to. The last Gencon I attended, though, seemed terra incognita for publishing staff outside the art department.)

              • snelson134

                Dragon*Con has always had book tracks; it’s big enough that a lot of people don’t see them. Maybe talk to the movie / TV / Game tracks about a crossover panel and vice versa?

        • We’re doing that. Libraries, that is. Loads of books at Emerald City Comic Con.

      • Sara the Red

        The ongoing snobbishness of the ‘literary’ sf/f crowd towards tie-ins also does not help.

        And while the quality of some tie-in properties can be questionable, it doesn’t change the fact that people still buy a lot of Star Wars/Star Trek/Warhammer/. It’s official fanfiction, for crying out loud.

        Frankly, I’m surprised Marvel hasn’t expanded their movie universe with books (other than the comic books). I would pay cash money for a well-written book about the adventures of Agent Coulson, or other fun MCU characters. I don’t buy a lot of the comics–the continuity snarls and frequent forays into uber-political-correctness irk me, and anyway I still miss Crossgen’s comics–but novels? I’d buy those.

        • Randy P.

          Marvel did that back in the 90s. There were X-Men and Spider-Man books all over. Not sure why they haven’t done any since. They’d most likely sell better than their comics do nowadays.

    • The interesting thing is also the non-fiction categories that are up. These should act as pointers for fiction. Self-help? Good fiction IS that. Mighty hard to find too. Biography? Good fiction is real people….

    • I would be cautious of that assumption. The classics are also often forced into the hands of people regularly thru school. Literature is a form of entertainment whether pulp or high lit and it will be affected by other cheap forms of entertainment (see any article here on pricing for how price per hour scales out). Non fiction is crowded by sources online and elsewhere as well.

  2. As usual you are being very polite about the kickers. A less polite individual might speculate about the desire of certain humans to be the large fish in the small pond rather than just an average sized fish in a ocean. And the desires of others to be the arbiters of taste, the gatekeepers and so on.

    If you like the idea of being able to influence others then the idea that hoi polloi should be allowed to come in and choose their own lesser trashy messageless works over the wonderful idealogically sound ones you think should be what everyone reads is blasphemy. In fact it sounds remarkably like what various religious bigots down the ages have attempted to enforce.

    • I always try to be as polite as possible. Think of it as trying to practice what you preach ;-/ Also think of it as a former NCO who grew up around commercial fishermen, and spent some years working with fishwives, trying not to frighten the horses.

      There is a huge amount of apres moi le deluge in publishing as well as a fear of bigger ponds.

      I also think you have it in one. For them it is the one true religion, and the final hour of redemption is surely at hand, when the likes of us will at best be re-educated, so no need to be subtle or pleasant about it.

      • Thanks for the outstanding post, Dave! Your parable is the most concise, focused explanation of SP I’ve yet read.

        Your points re: politics are especially salient.

        Writing on another subject a while back, Mike Flynn explained how people fall into three general categories based on how they respond to change.

        Innovators love novelty and are ready to embrace change on the strength of a good argument.

        Conservatives are more skeptical, relenting only in the face of incontrovertible data.

        Inhibitors oppose change on principle and cannot be convinced otherwise by any means.

        Keep in mind that these categories aren’t meant to denote political allegiances. Remember also that no category has any intrinsic moral character. A healthy system will always have a few inhibitors because logic and data can be wrong.

        That said, it’s clear that concerted efforts to keep authors from earning a living are diabolically inspired. So to rephrase your earlier question slightly, which side are the inhibitors?

        • aacid14

          I’d purport that there is a fourth category above the innovators. There is a group that will try something just for the change. The argument can be nothing but it’s different.

  3. kentuckydan

    It’s too bad we cannot get data on the used book Sales. You point out that a lot of recent Award winning books would be better used plowed into the ground to inspire turnips than read,
    So since the advent of the internet it is MUCH easier to buy used books I wonder if new readers are not delving into previous Sci Fi literature?

    • It’s an area a properly conducted survey – or haha co-operation from Amazon would be wonderful.

    • TRX

      We still have a couple of local used book stores. One is only 20 miles away.

      You’re not going to see much less than 10 years old on the shelves there. They don’t rack anything older, other than some “collector” 60-cent paperbacks marked up to $10.

      Other than an occasional collection they acquire for pennies, what’s on the used shelves is pretty much what the new book stores were selling five or ten years ago. The same old schlock.

      • sabrinachase

        “the same old schlock” could also be a consequence of the higher vapor pressure of the good stuff, too 😀 The bad stuff is still there because it doesn’t sell.

        • Sara the Red

          I expect this is one reason why about 60-70% of most used bookstore’s stock is made up of super-crappy bodice rippers…

          • TRX

            I’ve asked the proprietors of various used book stores about that. Their responses all boiled down to, “that’s what our customers buy.”

            Interestingly, there might be only a handful of Westerns, but they command a super-premium price.

      • scottsaxbury

        Our single remaining secondhand bookstore has started taking older SF novels again, regardless of minor cover damage, because they actually sell. Picked up three Resnick and five Leinster novels there last week, and seven Brian Stableford ones from the 70’s the month before. They still refuse to take the newer ones if they already have them in stock, though (except the writers they know will sell like Pratchett, Butcher, Adams or Correia.) Apparently their employee managed to convince the owner that if it worked for mystery and history, it would work for SF too. Which it did.

        • Sara the Red

          The used bookstores in my area would get MUCH more of my money if they carried a better selection of used hardcovers in sf/f. I’ve several beloved authors (including more recent ones like Butcher) that I’m trying to get all the stuff I previously bought in paperback in hardcover. But for some bizarre reason, the publisher isn’t continuing to issue many of the earlier hardbacks, and they’re insanely expensive/difficult to find…

          (I kid you not: a hardback copy of Summer Knight is up in the $200 range on Amazon. I cannot help but wonder what the hell the publisher is thinking, letting those go out of print…)

          • I know. I’ve seen that one, and said “nope! Sticking with paperback there, even if it messes up my pretty bookshelf, until sanity grabs back the reins.”

      • TRX

        > less than 10 years old

        Erm. I meant MORE than ten years old. They like new shiny books with high cover prices.

  4. snowcrash

    RE: Sales. You’ve linked to the 2014 figures. For 2015 from the same site(google The Hot and Cold Book Categories of 2015 ), while Fantasy continues to be down 12%, Science Fiction is actually up 44%. In fact, looking at the rest of Publishers Weekly’s articles on 2015 performance, it was overall a pretty great year for books and brick and mortar shops.

    The actual performance may be higher, as (IIRC) Bookscan does terribly when measuring electronic sales. I always have this gut feeling that SFF is doing much better with ebooks, as I figure that we’re more likely to be early adopters when it comes to technology. (Gut feeling only – porn/ erotica is always very tech-savvy, and likely does better).

    • Bookscan has been appallingly inaccurate – various authors report anything between 2/3 and 1/4. I honestly don’t know if it is getting better or worse, but it can mean a few books selling well in the key stores have a disproportionate effect. The data sucks but it is all we have :-(. Please remember I took this position years back, and have watched this for years. SF has shrunk for so long, that it’s total share is so small it could shift easily. (44% could partially be the ‘The Martian’ selling through brick and mortar to clients that don’t buy as most of us regular sf buyers do online.) I sincerely hope that e-books are really taking up the slack – some of my trad peers are privately reporting high figures. The worrying thing there is the Trad trend to set high e-book prices – to protect their paper market. This hurts authors – who have absolutely no control over this in Trad publishing. It doesn’t stop us being blamed. Speaking off the back of my head -but IIRC sf is less than 1/3 of fantasy. Judging by the layoffs in publishing it ain’t all roses.

      But my point remains – we need to grow the audience, and keep it growing. We need to nurture and grow writers. If you spent more time kicking publishers about how they treat authors, and how they price their e-books it would help.

      • TRX

        > This hurts authors

        Tradpub doesn’t *care* about authors. They’re ass-deep in authors and agents trying to sell them stuff. Authors in general rate somewhere between junk mail and that stuff in the vending machine with mold on it. Authors are not part of their business model, other than occasional promotional use.

        If the publishing industry quit paying authors entirely, I doubt it would slow down the flood of manuscripts very much. Too many people would go for “being a real published author!” in exchange for a pat on the head and a dozen author copies.

        • emily61

          What is their “core business” if not authors?

          • Their core business is selling books, but they are seen as a luxury good and can abuse the authors because they have power. That is one thing that surprised me last weekend. Had an author slamming Amazon because they take part of your fee and then pushing trad pub.

            • You’d think that their core business would be selling books, right?

              Nope. Because eBooks are books, and as Dave pointed out, the Big 5 are actively trying to kill the digital market.

              The big NY publishers are actually in the lumber business. Paper distribution to brick and mortar book stores is the one aspect of the industry that they control. Hence why they see Amazon as such a threat even though it accounts for most of their sales.

              • aacid14

                That is right. I was referring explicitly to the imprimatur of having a physical book on a shelf that let you call yourself an author that the trads can chase.

          • Preaching the good word and seeing dissenters shot at dawn?

        • Reality Observer

          Precisely. The “HuffPo” model of publishing. I think it is likely at some point – and will put out about the same quality of writing.

          Which is fine with me. Nobody should be kept out of the “marketplace of ideas” – but sellers must realize that some ideas just won’t be purchased with cold, hard cash.

  5. Camestros is the typical example of this, or say “Yes but…” and then enumerate the ways in which the Sad Puppies are doing it wrong.

    Trivia are trivia. They change nothing, and I’m not interested.

    Yes, but…well you know what I’m going to say anyway:)
    You wrote a good piece about brands last year in which you said “The thing, of course with a brand is that has value in itself. And that value needs to be nurtured, looked after and guarded if it’s going to keep being worth having, let alone grow.”

    All the best.

  6. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    They claim that they are “Speaking Truth To Power” while “Attacking People Less Powerful Than Them”. 😦

  7. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    One thing to remember is that the puppy kickers do NOT want change. Even when the ship is sinking, they don’t think theirs any need to do anything, not bring new people in, make things better for content producers, get more content printed. In fact, as was proved last year, the puppy kickers will torpedo their own ship and tell you that it was necessary and a good thing. And Vox Day, of course.

  8. Their was (note tense) a music & video & book store in town that shut down after a merger. And this was well before streaming. They made changes from the original that had been working and tried to sell higher-end items in a lower-end market. Result: failure. The area could support a music/video/book store, but would NOT support a *bad* music/video/book store.

    Much like that, Amazon is NOT “killing” traditional publishing. Traditional publishing is committing suicide and trying to place the blame elsewhere. It’s as if they’re smoking 3 packs a day and have been for years, but that one chest X-ray for TB *must* be the cause of the lung cancer.

    • TRX

      That’s what I’ve been saying for years. Amazon isn’t killing off the brick and mortar stores, it’s what’s moving in to fill the vacuum after they cut their own throats.

      FWIW, the auto parts industry seems to be going the same way. Helloo? If you have to order a part and I have to wait two or three days *and* pay the freight, I can do that from the comfort of my chair instead of driving across town to your store; once to pay in advance, again to pick up my order.

      • Last August I went to a B&N to get a specific book (that I had checked online to see that they carried) and I got a “We can order that for you.” But I live well away (I was on vacation at the time) and it would cost extra to get home shipment. The next morning I ordered the book from Amazon. The lesson though is: Why waste my time with B&N? I *used* to love just wandering through B&N and stumbling upon this or that book. That’s how I found Cooking for Geeks, for instance. Last time I visited there weren’t enough _books_ for me to really do that.

    • Sara the Red

      Hah, yes. The volume of books I purchased from brick-and-mortar stores had slowed to a trickle well before Amazon arrived on the scene.

      And you know what converted me to a die-hard Amazon customer, waaaay back in 1999-2000? The fact that they would comb the stocks of used bookstores to find that out-of-print book I wanted. It was the precursor to the current Amazon marketplace model, and I loved it. I could find that book that I’d loved in grade school, but couldn’t find anywhere! I didn’t have to slog through endless shelves of crappy romance novels and diet books and self-help books at the used bookstore in the faint (very faint) hope of finding the specific out-of-print book I wanted. (I have found a specific out-of-print I wanted at a used bookstore…precisely twice. In my entire life.)

      And they only got better. Sure, I may not always be able to find the obscure book I want at the price I can afford–but the fact is that, 99% of the time, I *can* at least find the book easily, from the comfort of my own home. And most of the time, I can find a price I like as well.

      And now, of course, there’s a renaissance of good books, available and affordable on my kindle…(including some of those obscure, hard-to-find ones I gave up on long ago finding a copy)

      • snelson134

        Sara, in 2001, my wife and I made our Amazon wish list our wedding registry…. 😎

        We wanted more books, and had friends and relatives all over the country, so,,,,,

    • I suspect the collapse of brick-and-mortar stores had more to do with the collapse of the distribution network than anything else, Once upon a time there were IIRC 600+ book distributors – a nightmare for publishers and indeed bookstores convenience BUT a very very good thing for readers. Those little distributors knew their local area, lived there, drove around there, knew what the people there read… and made their margin by supplying the right books to the right outlet for the right target audience. With consolidation it became WAY less hassle for the publishers and even the book-stores, but they lost the local knowledge, and assumed everything NYC liked… back-of-nowherville, Flyover Country (who read more per capita than NY – and there are a lot of little places like it) would like. They don’t of course. But it led to horror stories like 90% conservative areas getting bookstores full of Barak Obama’s memoirs, and so on.

      • B. Durbin

        I worked at Borders back in the day, so I had friends who got to see large stages of the downfall from the inside. Borders killed itself, primarily through getting in CEOs who treated books as a commodity rather than a taste, but also through other means. For example, my general manager was a promotions genius and scheduled some incredible author guests (like Dave Pelter of A Child Called It, who is actually a very funny individual.) He encouraged employees to do the same, which is how we ended up with a gaming day once or twice a week (with the side result of expanding not only our games section but our F&SF section), my creation of a character called Pumpkin Spice (who sold seasonal coffee—don’t knock it, it really worked), and an anomalous sales spike for a particular author (Christopher Moore) which resulted in a nice little brunch with the man himself, plus signed copies of his new book.

        And… the PTB didn’t like this. They cracked down on non-standard signage; they restricted our ability to schedule guests. I left about this time, but I’m told that they eventually frustrated the GM to the point where he left to go work with the local Chamber of Commerce. And that was before the travesty of “Push Books” (“this is the book we’re pushing this week, and god forbid you hate it; push it anyway.”) The last decade of the store was all about centralization and foregoing the expertise that had made the store work.

  9. I read through the article you linked to that tries to establish bias against conservatives in the awards: https://madgeniusclub.com/2014/08/25/a-very-surprised-looking-sperm-whale-and-a-bowl-of-petunias/

    I didn’t see any links to information on how you decided on the political affiliation of the different nominees, though. Your result is consistent with bias in the awards, BUT, it’s also consistent with your own scoring of authors being biased far to the right of the actual distribution among SFF fans. As presented, I see no way to distinguish between them.

    The conservative/liberal distribution among SFF fans is likely to be different from that of the general population. Naively, one would expect SFF fans to be much more liberal than the general population simply because conservatives, by definition, don’t like change. You’d expect the same to be true of SFF writers.

    That would be sufficient to explain the historical results with no need for a conspiracy.

    • Robin Munn

      … conservatives, by definition, don’t like change.

      … Um. There’s so much wrong with that statement that I don’t know where to start. I’ll just ask how many of your friends are conservatives, and whether they fit that “don’t like change” label you’ve just thrown around.

      Oh, and one other thing. That definition of “conservative” as meaning “those who are trying to preserve the status quo” has about zero relevance any longer to the American political spectrum. Let’s just take one example. Which side of American politics would like to see Roe v. Wade (a Supreme Court decision from 40+ years ago) overturned: the conservatives, or the liberals? Which side wants the status quo preserved regarding abortion: the conservatives, or the liberals?

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Well, strictly speaking, those who to preserve the status quo of not having an active civil war, and who do so intelligently, are conservative.

      • I grew up in the deep South. Most of my relatives are conservatives. They disapproved of me reading science fiction for a variety of reasons. Not all conservatives will oppose SF, of course, but big chunks of them will. Here are a few examples:

        1) The person who thinks the world was made in 7 days and doesn’t trust scientists is unlikely to become an SF writer or fan.

        2) The person who things witches and elves are of the devil isn’t likely to get into fantasy.

        3) The libertarian who opposes big government projects is apt to have some problems with space exploration.

        4) The person who thinks other countries are bad is going to have real problems with other planets. The one who hates the US being in the UN isn’t going to like the Earth joining the Federation.

        5) Someone who seeks monetary success is less likely to become (and stay) a writer. Writers are a group (SFF or not) seem to be much less conservative than the US average.

        It’s also worth pointing out that the type of change you listed as being something conservatives would approve of would amount to a change BACK. If your view of the idea future is 1955, it makes sense you’d be less likely to go into SFF.

        Now none of these is an absolute, but, taken together, I think they severely deplete the conservative side of the distribution. I would expect that there would be many fewer very conservative SFF authors and, by the same token, many fewer very conservative SFF fans. They exist, but they’re not very common, and that’s sufficient to explain the lack of awards.

        • I also grew up in the Deep South… and I still live here. *grin* So let me help fill in a bit on Southern-ness, conservatives, and suchlike.

          I know some very religious folk who also read SF. And fantasy. And urban fantasy with erotica roots that would turn the nuns who taught me to speak proper English all sorts of incensed. Folk who “believe the world was created in just seven days” aren’t the whole or even the majority of religious folk, religious Southerners, devout Catholic Southerners, but maybe perhaps on the Pentecostals. *squints* Maaaybe. Religious faith does not destroy one’s ability to tell, or enjoy a good story. One of the best tellers of tall tales, in a Manly Wade Wellman style, that I know of happens to be a Methodist preacher.

          For your libertarian point two, may I introduce you to John Ringo’s “Live Free or Die” series? It’s darn good SF. It may or may not be libertarian… but as you’ll read, getting us into space is less a large gov’t program, and more SpaceX on mega-steroids. It is, and I don’t say this lightly, awesome. Well worth a read.

          For the person who thinks other countries are bad… Well, that could make some pretty darned interesting storytelling, now couldn’t it? Take your standard “bad” country- make it like, oh, say, Stalinist Russia… Brings to mind several classic sf plots, unless I’m badly mistaken. It may or may not have been their intent, but Jerry Pournelle, David Drake, and Keith Laumer definitely had that flavor. Not that the actual land masses were inherently evil or any such nonsense (that’s more a fantasy trope). But that *cultures* could be bad, evil even? Oh yes. And point of fact, I couldn’t say what any of those three writers’ personal politics are- nor do I care one whit. They write damn good stories, and I am pleased to read them. I am, if I’ve not mentioned it yet, a sort of conservative.

          Seeking monetary success? Yeah, pull the other one. There are actually few people I have met personally that truly seek *poverty.* On the other hand, there’s folks like D-List author Larry Correia- but he’s an outlier, isn’t he? A rather large, physically imposing outlier, but perhaps he is one after all. Might I mention his number one, top advice to aspiring young authors (or old ones, come to think)? “Get Paid.” It’s a powerful motivator, keeping the internet humming along and the cat bowl full.

          People are not wholly their politics. Conservatives have stories in them, good ones, too. So do liberals. So do crazy Anarchists, even. Lots of wholly fictitious things have been written about Marxism/Communism/Socialism, with a straight face, too.

          Speculative fiction is the domain of folks who do just that. We speculate, we dream, we look up at the night sky with both wonder and awe, wishing for the day we can be *out there,* pursuing our fortunes among the stars. Spec-fic is escapist, as a huge portion of humanity is, judging by what draws those entertainment dollars.

          What Dave’s after here, and he’s wrote a post or two about it before, is making the pool of readers bigger. I know folk who “didn’t read,” until they watched the new Star Wars film and got caught up in the novels and devoured those until they ran out, and then went to Dune, then Honor Harrington, then from there… Getting those potential readers in front of something they’ll like is a *good* thing. It doesn’t have to be Ayn Rand, in fact, it probably shouldn’t be unless you know that’s something they will absolutely love. Broad appeal is the goal.

          Broad appeal is getting tons of new readers, not because you are bashing X viewpoint in favor of Y… or talking exclusively about Y and how splendiferously amazing it is. It’s things like the Lord of The Rings, which has devotees from all over the political spectrum, even into octarine. Sci-fi really *is* a big tent. If your imagination is unequal to the task of imagining what conservative readers and authors might actually be like, well, that’s okay. I would ask, though, that folks keep an open mind, is all.

          Apologies about the length. My wit is still unequal to the task of brevity, it seems. *chuckle*

          • You don’t address the point, though. It isn’t that ALL conservatives will avoid SFF (as readers but especially as authors); it’s that most of them will. All you’ve done is list a set of exceptions. That proves nothing.

            • Wrong. They avoid it because they’re tired of being preached at and insulted by lefty authors published by lefty publishers. Back when publishers didn’t set out to offend half of the reading public by pushing their own brand of politics, we didn’t have this problem.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              No, you are pointing at a few conservatives and claiming most conservatives are this way.

              But of course, if your “favorite” SF loves to bash conservatives, few people enjoy being bashed so they’d avoid your “favorite” SF.

            • *shakes head* The point is that SFF isn’t an On/Off switch with *most* conservatives in the Off position.

              Most conservatives aren’t any of the things you listed exclusively enough to exclude them from reading, enjoying, and writing SFF.

              If you cannot imagine or understand that, if you are sufficiently convinced of your own position that you cannot speculate on others… are you not then also conservative in this matter? That is, resistant to change?

            • John R. Ellis

              “Most of them will”….BALONEY.

              Conservatives avoid SF and Fantasy that use them in a cheap and lazy manner as the got-to villains.

              The Evil Christian Who Is Evil Because They Are Christian Therefore Innately Evil, Stupid Bigots.

              The Successful Businessman Who Is Evil Because They Are Successful Therefore Obviously Corrupt.

              The Evil Republican Who Is Evil Because Evil Evil EVIL!

              But show them something like, say, The Dresden Files, where some of the lead character’s best friends disagree with him on religion, politics and business -but- can still be decent, cool people who are also sometimes heroes? You can get readers and fans for life.

            • Draven

              The problem is… ‘most conservatives’ don’t avoid SF. Look at the success of any decent SF movie is the last few years, especially ones with story-over-grey-goo-message going on. They just avoid the giant pile of steaming turds that is current ‘award-winning’ SF books and the stuff getting ‘push’ from the liberal publishers.

        • None of what you listed above are the traits that mean ‘conservative’ in American Politics.
          I realize that is what you, a liberal think, but it’s not correct.
          Now, with the market shrinking and all, I don’t know what percentage of it is people of the conservative party, but in the 70’s the mass majority of SF&F Readers were conservatives.
          Of course there are a lot of people called ‘conservatives’ today who do not fit the classical political mold of conservatives in America, at least in my opinion, but I think it’s safe to say that the reason there are less conservatives reading or writing in SF these days isn’t because of the rather ridiculous stuff you put up above.

          No, it’s because you’re insulting conservatives constantly with your ridiculous claims and assumptions and the conservatives have taken their money to other markets. I don’t read to be insulted, I read for enjoyment.

          So, you drive off a large group of people by treating them like crap in your stories and then claim that ‘they don’t read’. Sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy there, isn’t it?

          • Patrick Chester

            None of what you listed above are the traits that mean ‘conservative’ in American Politics.

            I realize that is what you, a liberal think, but it’s not correct.

            Funny, isn’t it… how Greg’s little list matches every stereotype progressives have towards the icky awful people they deem conservative? *cue ominous thunder and music*

            • Actually it’s based on what I see my relatives and high-school friends posting on Facebook. And from reading the links they post there. Not to mention listening to the Republican candidates for president.

              Jagi Lamplighter (John C. Wright’s wife) has a post on her blog just today: “An interview with author Frank Luke, who gives one of the best arguments for why it is not immoral for Christians to read and write fantasy I’ve ever seen.” The mere fact that she thinks this is worth talking about speaks volumes.

              http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/2016/03/16/6198/

              So, no, it’s not just a stereotype and it’s not just what I think; it’s the face conservatives show to the world. Again, there are certainly conservatives who don’t fit that description, but is it even as much as 30%?

              • Bjorn Hasseler

                Yep, it’s more than 30%. There are whole roleplaying groups of us.

                • Draven

                  many of whom are in the military… ijs. I had a play group for a bit, and i have friends whose games were interrupted by someone getting TDY overseas (note this is before net connections were common)

              • Patrick Chester

                “See! I found examples that match my stereotype so it’s NOT stereotyping!”

                *facepalm*

                ster·e·o·type
                [ˈsterēəˌtīp]
                NOUN

                a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing:
                “the stereotype of the woman as the carer” · [more]
                synonyms: standard/conventional image · received idea · cliché ·

                So, yes. You are stereotyping. Even if you find examples that match your prejudices.

                Feel free to pretend otherwise if it makes you feel better.

                • Except I never said they were ALL like that. Only that some are, and that those who are won’t be likely to read or write SF.

                  You guys have tried to deny that ANYONE like that exists. That’s clearly false.

                  • Bjorn Hasseler

                    “Again, there are certainly conservatives who don’t fit that description, but is it even as much as 30%?”

                    You’re arguing that the majority fit the stereotype,

              • Greg, I am not American, and my experience of your country is limited to a couple of short visits, and interactions with American readers and fans, so I am in no position to comment on the accuracy of your statement. I have, because I don’t live there, and I believe firmly in trying to understand my customers, gone out of my way to talk with and interact with Americans (I did work with and was good friends with 3 for years – all Ichthyologist so yes, all bright and all nuts 😉 one left, one right and one moderately right. It was interesting how in a foreign but friendly place they were still far more alike than different, and got on well and were friends). I have fans across the spectrum – yes, even one or two hard communists, and a fellow who thinks white humans a seperate species. The bulk are what I would describe as moderate – yes may have strong positions on certain conservative issues. Now, I am the first to admit this is a very select subset, but one interesting thing that keeps coming up are these two statements – ‘I don’t normally read sf/fantasy but a friend said I had to read… And you’re not like the rest of it.’ (at which point I point them at other authors I think they might like). And ‘I used to read a lot of sf, but I gave up/drifted away from it and then someone got me onto the Baen Free library’. Larry and Peter both have mentioned similar things – which says to me that if this is representative (or even if it is a small percentage of a large number) that this is a huge market, a lot of money to support publishing that’s being ignored. Gallup puts moderates and conservatives at roughly 76 of the population. Is ignoring that much of the possible market to curry favor with the rest a good thing? One doesn’t have to stop catering for 24% but just not to exclusion of the rest. SF is not a necessity that you can sell as ‘take it or leave it.’ You have understand and oblige your customers, and reach out to them.
                Numbers are my game and I’d like to know where you get your 30% from? You have worked out that that implies that even if you’re correct (given 38% self ID conservative as to 24% liberal) – 30% of 38% means 47% of the size of the liberal market – not insignificant.

        • As Erskine Caldwell demonstrated, you can grow up in the South and never really know those outside of your circle. A common problem, really, and here the hazard is the assumption of knowing their motivations and how they think.

          Here, in describing what you think makes Southern conservatives tick and the fiction we like, you have fallen into the same trap as Caldwell. Fantasy, for example, has an attraction that starts in the tales that begin Once upon a time. I used a couple of references from Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy when I taught an adult Sunday School class because of familiarity with his work. My introduction to C.S. Lewis was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe given to kids in chapter book form in Sunday School. Such is the Southern conservative take on fantasy.

          The rest of your assumptions are about as valid, from the widespread support of the space program to fans of Star Trek, later Star Wars, and other science fiction. We read Heinlein, Asimov, Sturgeon and Bradbury, and nobody seemed to freak. The principle factor in the making of an SF seems to be an interest in technology and the sciences and introduced to SF at a particular age. That hold regardless of other aspects of background.

          So here is the low down. Here is what conservatives want in SF and F, regardless of region. It’s the same thing liberals want.

          Ready for it?

          Are you sure?

          Here it is:

          A danged good yarn,

          That’s it. That’s all we want. That’s why we read Pratchett and Flint and Freer and anyone else that can give us a rip-roaring good story. We want to be entertained for a while.

          We don’t want to be lectured. We don’t want to read story after story where what we value and love is reviled. We don’t want stories that are labeled “good” because they tick off a laundry list of “must-haves.”

          We want to be entertained. If we have something to think about afterwards, that’s a bonus. And those who can tell a rip-roaring good story often do give us something to think about, because the Pratchetts and Flints and Freers are that good.

          How many Hugos did Pratchett win? How many has Flint? How many has Freer? How many have other writers of good SF and F, writers who fans enjoy and know they can turn to for a good read, writers who are never mentioned for a Hugo.

          There is a disconnect here. A huge one.

          The reaction when fans say “You know, it would be good if the nomination process is opened up and all fans get a chance to vote” is most illuminating. And, for this Southerner who remembers some of the Civil Rights Era, all too familiar.

          • Yup. This. The fact that there are *no* hints of anything other than “the narrative” is telling.

          • “We don’t want to be lectured. We don’t want to read story after story where what we value and love is reviled. We don’t want stories that are labeled “good” because they tick off a laundry list of “must-haves.”

            We want to be entertained. If we have something to think about afterwards, that’s a bonus. And those who can tell a rip-roaring good story often do give us something to think about, because the Pratchetts and Flints and Freers are that good.”

            This, absolutely. No, I don’t want to be constantly kicked in the teeth about my own values, or lack of same in the eyes of the politically-correct. I don’t want to be lectured, demeaned or mis-represented with malice, as Hyocine, or whatever his name ism seems to favor as a form of doing civil and well-reasoned discourse. I just want to read fascinating, engaging and well-written books that tell a ripping good yarn. I actually don’t give a tinker’s d*mn about the politics of the author responsible for them, As I hope that readers of my own books should’t give a d*mn about mine.

        • Bjorn Hasseler

          Believes in seven-day creation – that’s me. Reads sci-fi. Yup. Writes sci-fi. Yup. Used _Lord of the Rings_ and the Elven tengwar to help teach the square of stops and Grimm’s Law in seminary Greek class. Yep.

          Most of my friends are conservative. I can’t think of anyone I know who doesn’t support the space program.

          I’m afraid you’re generalizing from a small group to all conservatives. We conservatives get yelled at when people think we do that.

          • Robin Munn

            Used _Lord of the Rings_ and the Elven tengwar to help teach the square of stops and Grimm’s Law in seminary Greek class.

            Ooooooh, nice. Do you have your notes anywhere you can link to? I’d love to see that.

            • Bjorn Hasseler

              I don’t have notes beyond “remember to cover this, this, and this.” We used _Basics of Biblical Greek_ by William D. Mounce. There’s a chapter with the square of stops – how consonants change when you add sigma. it’s hard to visual it at first in Greek because the alphabet isn’t in any more of a logical order than the English alphabet is. But with the tengwar you can see what happens with plosives, velars, etc. And with Grimm’s Law, you can demonstrate how something like father to vater is just moving one or two slots on the tengwar chart.

        • Civilis

          3) The libertarian who opposes big government projects is apt to have some problems with space exploration.

          4) The person who thinks other countries are bad is going to have real problems with other planets. The one who hates the US being in the UN isn’t going to like the Earth joining the Federation.

          And the committed pacifist isn’t going to read Starship Troopers, and the Progressive Socialist isn’t going to read anything where the government is the villain or where a member of a minority group is presented in a negative light, and the environmentalist isn’t going to read anything where technology and progress makes people’s lives better.

          It’s okay not to like Science Fiction. If it’s not your thing, don’t read it.

          A bigger problem is those that would kick others out of Science Fiction, by saying “you don’t belong here”. We’ve seen organized campaigns against authors such as H.P. Lovecraft, Robert Heinlein, and Orson Scott Card, and they haven’t been from people that don’t read Science Fiction.

          Lots of people have flaws; we’re human, after all. If you want to play hardball by making those flaws an issue, you have to expect that your opponents get to do the same thing. People that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

    • “Naively, one would expect SFF fans to be much more liberal than the general population simply because conservatives, by definition, don’t like change. You’d expect the same to be true of SFF writers. ”

      I’m glad you qualified that with Naively because anyone who paid attention would know that SF writers and fans come in every stripe and color known to man. Only a naive person would think we were more slanted to one end of the spectrum than the other. 😉

      • Historically in traditional publishing the right produced some very great sf/fantasy authors – Tolkien, Gene Wolfe, Tim Powers to name a few of my favorites. So what has changed? The answer presumably – as the right per se has if anything become more tolerant and broader, is Traditional Publishing has become more politicised – which has gradually cost them more and more sales. And, in truth, if people don’t read it – they won’t write it. By making the audience smaller and narrower, the publishers are slowly making Greg’s dream more true. Of course, they are destroying their own business in the process – but as we saw at Worldcon last year – they’re happy to burn their own village to save it.

    • The conservative/liberal distribution among SFF fans is likely to be different from that of the general population. Naively, one would expect SFF fans to be much more liberal than the general population simply because conservatives, by definition, don’t like change. You’d expect the same to be true of SFF writers.

      Well you’d expect that if the labels chosen were accurate descriptions of the people so labelled. It isn’t, and I suspect you know that.

      These days the label “liberal” and it’s related label “progressive” do not describe accurately at all. Liberals today are not the liberals of the 19th century when the label was first applied and when liberal meant being in favour of such radical concepts as free trade. Progressive likewise describes people who only see one direction for progress, towards increasing state control of everything.

      Conservative, for various reasons, now means anyone who is not “liberal” or “progressive” which is a broad church. This is partly because in the UK at least Conservative is the name of a political party. One headed a few decades ago by a certain M Thatcher. You can’t describe her and her followers as disliking change with a straight face. They revolutionized the UK. Likewise in the US “conservaive” is a label applied to people like Newt Gingrich and the Tea Party, all of whom want radical change to the status quo.

      • Bravo. And particularly in sf/fantasy where they are in power – ‘Liberal’ is very, very conservative – they accept no changes, want complete control. Day by day they become a narrower church, more doctrinaire, less tolerant. Funny how this changes with being in power.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Suppose a leftwing stereotype of the right gets the GOP nomination, and wins the general. Suppose the staff of Vox, NPR, the NY Times, NSBC and all those other wastes turn up dead. Suppose the official explanation is ‘cartel hits’.

      In such a situation, the argument that the root cause is ‘unnecessary risk taking caused by the innate criminality of the Democrat’ is as statistically and otherwise as plausible as your ‘rightwingers just do not read sci fi’.

    • Civilis

      The conservative/liberal distribution among SFF fans is likely to be different from that of the general population. Naively, one would expect SFF fans to be much more liberal than the general population simply because conservatives, by definition, don’t like change. You’d expect the same to be true of SFF writers.

      One would certainly expect the demographics of SFF readers to be different than the general population. That certain groups were under-represented (women and minorities, for example) was enough to start a massive campaign by the left to force a superficial identity-group diversity on SFF, but that’s not what you’re talking about.

      SFF has always been about a diversity of ideas and ways of thinking. Works that are skeptical and pessimistic about the future are just as much science fiction as those with an optimistic and wide-eyed nature. One could even argue which political tradition in American politics produces which sort of work. Enforcing a narrow ideological conformity will end up killing Science Fiction, especially if doing it in the name of superficial diversity.

  10. hyrosen

    This article http://electricliterature.com/when-popular-fiction-isnt-popular-genre-literary-and-the-myths-of-popularity/ provides an interesting discussion of literary and popular fiction, and how they are not in fact different. Puppies are referenced.

    So. Obviously, a major puppy concern is that too few conservative works win awards. The non-conspiratorial interpretation is that the voters prefer the works they vote for over the works they don’t vote for, and there are not enough voters who prefer overtly conservative works. A way to deal with this is to get more conservative voters, and that’s what the puppies believe they did. But what the puppies, organized by a man known for his thoroughgoing repulsiveness, actually did was to nominate one author multiple times who is known for writing against gay marriage (and speaking personally, whose last book was so turgid that it was one of very few books that I could not finish). Then they proceeded with name-calling (SJW and the like) in a way that could not possibly convince anyone not already on their side, and served only to attract the voters that defeated them.

    Next, the puppies have not offered any evidence that there are majorities clamoring for more conservative SF. They say that SF sales are shrinking, but that is not proof that giving awards to conservative writers will turn things around. Proof would be demonstration that some other genre turned around its sales by doing this. I’m not aware of any such proof. Indeed, the referenced article shows nothing like that is true.

    Third, Freer asserts that I should want to give awards to books I dislike because those books will subsidize the books I like. That’s an amazingly strange concept, a bizarre variant of trickle-down economics. If the books I don’t like are already so popular that their sales support the whole industry, why do I need to give them awards? The referenced article explains; the puppies believe that these works *ought* to be popular, if only this and that and the other.

    Fourth, Freer is concerned with writers making a living. I sympathize, but as a reader it is not my job to look after the careers of writers. And as a conservative, Freer should be pleased that the market is giving writers feedback as to whether their work is finding and appealing to readers. I read and vote for books that appear on my store shelves that I like. The Hugo awards are voted on by fans, and those are also mostly readers, not writers. I have enjoyed most of the novel Hugo winners this century. I don’t find them similar to each other or didactic on matters of “PC”. I don’t feel surprise that any of them won.

    So I conclude that the conservative fiction that puppies prefer is not popular with the majority of the readers who vote for awards in the field, and rather than accept that, the puppies choose to believe in conspiracies, and when they are told so, they lash out in vituperation.

    • Matthew

      Who said anything about “conservative fiction”? The thrust has always been *fun* fiction, more story than preaching, though it seems more and more that leftists cannot produce such.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Shakes Head And Walks Away.

    • Civilis

      So I conclude that the conservative fiction that puppies prefer is not popular with the majority of the readers who vote for awards in the field, and rather than accept that, the puppies choose to believe in conspiracies, and when they are told so, they lash out in vituperation.

      It’s the incredible moving goalposts! The set of ‘readers of Science Fiction’ and the set of ‘Science Fiction readers that vote for awards’. How do we know? The most popular books aren’t even being nominated for awards. For someone interested in promoting Science Fiction, bringing in more readers to nominate books (which is, after all, potentially a very persuasive recommendation) should be uncontroversially a good thing, even if those books are ‘popular’ and not ‘literary’.

      Further to this, the entire argument justifying the takeover of Science Fiction by the left has been justified in the name of not being represented. A few of the persistent commenters here can go on with pages and pages of quotes along the lines of ‘there aren’t enough women / minorities / members of groups that tend to be progressive (or at least, anti-conservative), so we need to make an active effort to bring them in to science fiction, especially the awards’ and the fact that this imbalance existed was proof that the evil patriarchy was keeping these groups from Science Fiction.

      Also. it really helps in debate if you learn to understand your opponent’s arguments, even if you disagree with them. Batting at strawmen may be a good source of stress relief, but it doesn’t persuade anyone. As a place to start, it’s not obvious that “too few conservative works win awards”, considering the broad ideological spectrum of works nominated by the Sad Puppies. It’s obvious that the concern is that a narrow clique (big publisher, politically correct, literary, and insider) wins just all the book awards.

      • It didn’t help that the SP3 fiction nominees last year were so bad that it almost seemed like an attempt to spoil the awards. If those really were the best conservative fiction, then it made perfect sense why they weren’t getting awards. Some were so poorly written they seemed to have come straight out of a critique group. Others were fragments of larger tales and not readable on their own. One or two were merely mediocre.

        If you want to make the argument that good fiction by conservative authors is being overlooked, then for God’s sake, nominate stuff that really IS fun to read.

        • Civilis

          Did you actually read what you responded to? There’s nothing there about being conservative. The SP3 recommendations consisted of overlooked authors across a wide ideological spectrum.

          As for the quality of the Sad Puppies nominees, two points:

          One, if the works that are winning the Hugos are objectively so much better, why are they selling so few copies when compared to popular works? There is obviously something going wrong, perhaps in the publishers or marketers, or perhaps the winning works just aren’t that good to most people.

          Second, how did “If you were a Dinosaur, my love” get nominated for a Hugo and win a Nebula award?

          • Matthew

            And let’s not forget The Water That Falls From Nowhere.

            A highly conventional and pedestrian coming out story, that was somehow the best SF short story of the year? Really?

          • In the fiction categories, the Puppies nominated really, really bad works in SP3. Anyone who actually read them knows this. Even some puppy supporters have admitted this. This, more than anything, undermines the Puppies’ claim to be nominating FUN works. They nominated trash. Painful-to-read crap. Politics-independent crap (equally painful for liberals and conservatives alike) but still crap. And they managed to sweep the ballots in most categories so voters had to choose between crap and No Award.

            That is why people are angry with the Puppies. It has nothing to do with any of the other things you keep imagining.

            • Civilis

              In the fiction categories, the Puppies nominated really, really bad works in SP3.” is right up there with “Nobody I know voted for Nixon.” Why does Jim Butcher sell so many books if his works are really, really bad? He’s a popular author; he must be doing something right if his books are really, really bad and he still sells so many of them. (Admittedly, I’m not a fan of his, but I understand why his books are popular enough).

              We have three groups of people: the Hugo voters (minus the Puppies), the Sad Puppies, and the general Science Fiction fans as measured by book sales. Two of those seem to agree on what they like. Is it more likely that those both are somehow wrong, or that the third group is the real outlier? (As for popularity, note that the Dramatic Presentation Hugos, for example, tend to match up very closely with what was popular, so there’s very little disagreement between the three groups, and it’s not considered a failure).

            • Greg – please read this – quoted from the post above, and think about it and absorb it.
              “And if you think we’re doing it wrong… Don’t tell me how we must do it better. YOU do it better. Change that demographic to a broadly representative one, grow sf so authors can make a living. By all means work on getting under-represented people in – be they women or Native Americans… just find ones who aren’t ALSO part of the vastly over-represented (and repetitively nominated). Show me measurable results that I can put numbers to, and I’m happy for you to do it.”

              You don’t like the books and stories the Sad Puppies chose? Stop your endless whinging and criticizing and DO BETTER.
              Don’t post here again unless you have that ‘better’ list to post with it.
              Goodbye Greg. We’ll never see you again, because you can’t DO. You can only whine about other people not doing it well enough to please you.

              • Okay, I’ll accept that challenge. 🙂 How’s this?

                After Sasquan,, my husband and I created a free website called Rocket Stack Rank to help people find good SFF short fiction. http://www.rocketstackrank.com/p/2016-hugo.html

                The goal was to help people nominate for the Hugos but also just to help them find things they might like to read for pleasure at any time.

                Toward that end, I personally read and reviewed about 600 stories from different magazines and anthologies, and I used a rating system that rewarded fun stories, penalized message fiction, and was neutral on diversity. We also cross-referenced scores from other reviewers and from the big “best of” anthologies, so no one needed to depend on my personal ratings. We sorted the resulting lists several different ways.

                On top of that, we included detailed instructions on getting back issues for the print magazines in digital form (something that’s not obvious on their web sites).

                We even did objective reviews of this year’s Rabid Puppy picks, and we’ll do the same for the Sad Puppy picks, provided they come out soon enough. http://www.rocketstackrank.com/2016/03/2015-torcom-puppies-ratings.html

                A person who genuinely wants to nominate short fiction based on quality of the stories–regardless of that person’s politics–ought to be able to start at the top, work down one our lists, and find good things to read. Someone doing this on an ongoing basis should be able to check the new list we produce on the 15th of every month and pick current stories to read.

                Between the two of us, we have put in well over a thousand hours of work reading, writing, and programming, yet the site is free of charge, free of ads, and free of solicitations for donations. It is our gift to fandom, to encourage more people to read short science fiction and fantasy.

                • Fair enough. Well done. If you succeed in changing the demographic to be more representative, I’ll be delighted. Of course if you’re merely choosing to read from a narrow section (there is enough) at least we’ll get the best of those.

                  • I’m reading everything original that’s published in eleven different publications plus I expect to read a dozen anthologies. But have a look at the site. It’s the least you can do after telling me I’m someone who can’t do anything. 🙂

            • Alex

              No, Greg. You are just wrong. If you read back on File 770, Making Light or any of the anti-Puppy websites, you’ll see reams and reams of racist, sexist, ad-hominem attacks on Puppy leaders and the Puppies in general that had absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the stories nominated. If you’re not appalled at the comments there, ranging from childish through sneering and on to full-fledged hateful – then you’re as hypocritical as they are. There are several blogs that encouraged readers to vote No Award without even reading the material (Deirdre Moen comes to mind).

              I think the Puppies were as surprised as anyone when they swept the ballots. The fact that it took that small of a change in numbers to effect a sweep just reinforces how small the Hugo nominative/voting pool was. Was Worldcon welcoming to the new folks? Assterisks say no. Booing and mockery at the ceremony? Are you good with that?

              None of this is new information. Saying the quality of the stories “is why people are angry with the Puppies” is just…naive. Or perhaps you’re like hyrosen, over here telling people what they mean instead of listening to what they actually say. Who knows? Take a look at how the ‘anti-Puppies’ talk – the things they say, the actions they endorse or are complicit in. Is that the way you run your life? Are those the people you want to be associated with?

      • hyrosen

        http://www.jasonsanford.com/blog/2015/4/yes-people-do-read-the-novels-up-for-the-hugo-and-nebula-awards

        Except for Skin Game, the puppy novel nominations were not more popular than the non-puppy novel nominations. In 2009, Neil Gaiman’s _The Graveyard Book_ won the Hugo for best novel and also spent 61 weeks in the top 10 of the NY Times bestseller list. Michael Chabon won the best-novel Hugo for _The Yiddish Policeman’s Union_ in 2008. This book was on the NY Times bestseller list for 6 weeks, and is unabashedly literary. So popular books do get nominated and win, and literary books that win can also be popular.

        The notion that science fiction has been taken over by a leftist conspiracy is a puppy fantasy. But even if it were true, the notion that you could undo that by starting a culture war within science fiction, creating slates to dominate the categories, and having the most vile spokesman nominate works published by his own house written by a virulently homophobic writer should have seemed like an obviously bad idea.

        • Civilis

          It’s interesting that your analysis for Best Novel stops in 2009. Tell me about the 2010-2012 nominees; aside from GRRM, which of those works has had any major public success? Look over the Best Novel winner’s list; the only one with any real impact (and not just a NYT Best Seller list mention) since 2000 was Harry Potter, which is surely a popular and not a literary winner; given the new audience for YA SFF works created by Rowling’s series, it’s probably the most worthy work in decades. Meanwhile, looking over the list from the 1960’s we see: Starship Troopers, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Man in the High Castle, Dune, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress… even with a 50% hit/miss rate, those are still impressive works even today.

          It’s also interesting that you need to put in an exception for Skin Game; since even you admit it’s more popular than any of the other works, why has Butcher not had any recognition from the awards before this?

          The notion that science fiction has been taken over by a leftist conspiracy is a puppy fantasy. But even if it were true, the notion that you could undo that by starting a culture war within science fiction, creating slates to dominate the categories, and having the most vile spokesman nominate works published by his own house written by a virulently homophobic writer should have seemed like an obviously bad idea.

          Why does the debatable vileness of our spokesman matter? Are you really willing to allow us to wade back in with all the vileness from your side? And which side started the culture war? Your side started it with all the calls to elevate race and sex over quality when evaluating works, all based on a theory that the disparity was due to the entrenched patriarchal ‘old boys club’ mentality. Now that you’ve used that ladder to climb up, you degrade our pointing to the ‘old boys club’ insider clique you’ve created by dismissing it as a conspiracy theory.

    • Alex

      Hyrosen, why do you post here? You clearly don’t read anything with a desire to understand anyone else’s point of view. You only skim enough to find a hook to repeat your demonstrably wrong version of SP history. If no one responds to you, don’t delude yourself. You haven’t “won”, you haven’t changed any minds or made any irrefutable points. Readers here are just tired of your determined ignorance and don’t want to waste any more time on you. Why don’t you head on back to Vile, declare victory and stay there? No one here will know or care.

    • The Other Sean

      And once again, another member of the evil Puppy-Kicking clique willing and with malice conflates the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies. That’s about what I expect out of people who’d kick puppies.

      • hyrosen

        Why would you expect people at large to distinguish between the People’s Front of Judea and the Judean People’s Front? We voted against the works that were nominated. If you feel that we voted against Rabid Puppies, but you are a member of Sad Puppies, and those two things are very different, then feel happy; you can believe that we did not vote against you.

        • hyrosen, try reading this again.

          a) More demographic spread (even if I don’t like or agree with the views of that spread it must also occur. See point 3.). I have no interest in seeing specific individuals win. I’d rather not be nominated or win myself. That would not help the situation in any way.

          b) More new entrants.

          c) More popular entrants (because an award’s ability to promote new authors rests on its recognition, which rests on its popularity). They should be popular OUTSIDE the narrow demographic section that has dominated for years to draw those readers in. That in turn should improve things for writers, and the field in general.

          d) And more participation, to dilute the plainly dishonest effect of large publishers and in-cliques (who mostly are grace-and-favor clients of large publishers, with financial ties.).

          That is not “more conservative books.” Try again, and rethink your assumptions when not based off faulty information.

          • hyrosen

            You are demanding a lot from an award that is given to one book once per year, and that is beyond obscure except to people who are already reading in the field.

            I generally don’t read mysteries (except for Laurie R. King’s Sherlock Holmes pastiches). I know that there is an Edgar Award for mysteries, but I couldn’t tell you for the life of me who the winners are, how broad a range of people win, or in fact anything at all beyond the bare fact that it exists. I don’t see why an SF award is any different.

            The 2015 Hugo best-novel nominees, puppy and not, were all published by Tor, owned by Holtzbrinck, or by Orbit, owned by Hachette. If the puppies were trying to dilute away from large publishers, they clearly failed.

            _Ancillary Justice_ is Ann Leckie’s first novel. Does that not count as a new entrant?

            • Matthew

              New entrant? Yes.

              Decent read and good enough to be award worthy?

            • (Dryly) We’re working on a lot of areas. You remind me of a man who has decided to wear a blindfold all his life who touches the hairs on the end of an elephant’s tail… and says “A mouse!”

    • John R. Ellis

      “We want people to win awards based on telling good, fun stories.”

      “What’s that? You want awards to be given based on political beliefs? You evil, stupid Puppies!”

      “Um, no. We want everyone to have a chance to tell their stories, not a select fe-”

      “You want everyone to be conservative! Because someone else said that’s what you ACTUALLY mean. Therefore you MUST be lying, you liar!” 😛

      • Hyrosen appears the perfect example of the walking contradiction that is the modern ‘liberal’. That is to say: As un-liberal – to the classic meaning of the word ‘liberal’, as is possible. He’s intolerant of other interests or points of view, appeasing him and his tiny narrow little clique must trump anything else – even if that clique is demographically speaking, a minor market unable to provide a living for writers and is throttling his own interests. He condemns things he knows nothing of and hasn’t read. He Looks at the evidence to the contrary and says ‘No I won’t believe my lying eyes, my narrow little clique gods said that the puppies are this, I will believe that, no matter what anyone says or shows me.’ He tells us he ‘left-wing’ and then displays contempt for workers, says that authors making a living are not his concern – but he’s absolutely hard on supporting the people who exploit them.

        • hyrosen

          If you would like to establish a National Writing Corps and have the government pay a stipend to writers to produce works, I would have no objection. Failing that, each writer is a small business, and like any small business, has to understand the market, what sells and what doesn’t, how to get people’s attention, and how to get the best deals. If they cannot make a living writing SF, then they need to write something else or find a different line of work. What is it that I’m supposed to do except to read things that I like, and if voting, vote for things that I like? I can vote for one best novel a year. Even if I am concerned for writers as a whole, how is my one vote going to benefit anyone but the one writer I vote for?

          I haven’t condemned things I haven’t read. I’ve condemned the process by which a virulent homophobe was nominated by his vile publisher five times; I imagine the intersection of virulent homophobes and SF readers is a narrower clique than the most insider cabal of SFWA members.

          • Ah yes. Modern Progressive. “establish a National Writing Corps and have the government pay a stipend to writers to produce works, I would have no objection.” Government. Which ‘we progressives’ will control. It’s been such a success…
            Firstly – that’s been tried by the Communists. It was the most dismal failure – although you might look into getting the books. I’m absolutely certain you’d love them.
            Secondly, I’m getting a little tired of you not reading and inventing your own distorted version of what you’d like us to have said so you can yell abuse. I don’t care what you’d have no objection to us doing. I don’t care what you’d object to us doing. Don’t tell us- we’re not interested in your opinion, and it is of no worth to anyone except you. If you don’t like it, YOU go and do better. Except you can’t. You’re incapable of construction. Prove me wrong, but don’t tell me I’m wrong. Show me.

            Independent authors are small businessmen. Contracted authors are closer to indentured labor, with legal and financial constraints making them employees unable to work for anyone else (yes really. It’s illegal, would not survive legal challenge, but it is common in many contracts)- but without a minimum wage, holidays or health insurance. In the most egrararious abuse your darlings actually take ownership of their universes too. They can only write another story in that setting – or with those characters IF they do so for that publisher, at a wage the publisher determines.

            And yes, I get that you have a hate for John Wright. So? I don’t like the personal politics of China Meiville. I feel there are hundreds of millions dead, maimed, impoverished and living blighted lives as a result of his chosen ideology. I do not want him denied publication, or a chance at the Hugo awards. Nor do attack his fans because they like his books. That’s tolerance. Tolerance means allowing those with whom you disagree – possibly with every word – the same opportunities and access as those you love.
            In the marketplace of ideas – if your writer heroes are less appealling than John Wright’s… that’s the choice of the reader.

          • Draven

            Larry Correia just bought a tank. Your argument is invalid.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          He showed up at AccordingToHoyt and ended his last post with the standard Leftish Slur that “Conservatives want a Theocracy”.

          Of course, like too many “Liberals” he apparently thinks all Conservatives are Conservative Christians (who of course want a Theocracy).

          IMO “he” is not worth talking to.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            I think he has also not refuted the impression he gives of white supremacism.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              As in conclusively answering the question of whether he is a white supremacist or not.

              • Joe in PNG

                He’s a typical statist, and one that believes that stomping on your face with his left boot makes it all okay.

      • hyrosen

        You’re the one who’s not listening. The Hugo winners for best novel in this century are all good and interesting books to read. I’m not sure what “fun” means when evaluating books which are not primarily comedic, but an in-joke pastiche of Star Trek certainly fits. So does a nominee featuring steampunk and zombies.

        Your problem is that outside of the puppy echo chamber, no one understands what you’re talking about. You make all sorts of claims of conspiracies and cabals and lack of fun and PC, but none of that can be seen in the actual nominees and winners, at least for novel (which is really the only written category that matters to more than a few dozen people, because if anything is dying, it’s short fiction).

        Then you nominate a virulent homophobe, published by an all-around slime, five times. It’s not my religion, but Matthew says “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” What did you think was going to happen?

        • Matthew

          Anyone know which virulent homophobe he’s talking about? I mean, there’s always Venereal Disease over in Italy, but I don’t recall him getting 5 noms.

          • He’s talking about John C. Wright, who is a “virulent homophobe” for having the opinion of homosexual marriage that our president had in 2008, and the opinion of homosexuality that the Catholic Church has had for 2,000 years.
            But, then again, he thinks we’re “bitter revanchists.” Never mind his conflation of the Sad and Rabid Puppies.

            • Christopher M. Chupik

              But they have to constantly conflate the two Puppy movements. How else are they supposed to smear us?

              BTW, if you guys can’t tell the difference between Sads and Rabids after VD’s attacks on Sarah and his nomination of space raptor porn, there’s really not much hope for you.

            • hyrosen

              Given that 2000 years of Catholic opinion resulted in my grandmother’s family of eight siblings being reduced to two, and a grandfather and uncle dying in a Russian labor camp after having fled Poland, you’ll forgive me if I don’t find that a compelling argument.

              The movement that presents itself as conservative in the US is the party of forced birth, the party of anti-intellectualism and anti-science, the party that wants to force religion into schools and courts and statehouses, the party that wants to celebrate the traitorous flag by which the Union was torn apart in the name of preserving slavery. They are only too happy to hide behind the useful idiot libertarians so that they can attack their common enemies in the name of freedom and small government and low taxes without being too blatant about showing their true ugliness. Which, most charitably, is what rabid puppies did with and to sad puppies.

              Again, if you’re trying to convince people that you’re in a movement that aims to broaden a literary genre, and the outcome is five nominations for someone who represents the 2000-year-old Catholic opinion on homosexuality, you have failed. Utterly. But if you also believe that you do not own the ultimate nominations because they were made by a different group, you should not be upset that people were cheering when these nominees lost to No Award.

              • *raises eyebrow* We’re not trying to convince you, Hyrosen. You have evidently already made up your mind. Attempts to engage have failed upon the armor of your blind certainty. It’s not the unconvincable we’re looking to sway.

                Looking at the facts, as we do, we find SP has nominated regardless of sex, skin color, sexual orientation, politics, or handicap. Can our opponents say the same? No, not with any truth. SP has championed books solely on ONE criterion:

                Is it a good story?

                All attempts to obfuscate this are meaningless noise.

              • Christopher M. Chupik

                The only person blatant about showing their true ugliness here is you.

              • You’re blaming Catholics for Nazis, and pulling the Holocaust card. My condolences for your loss, my excoriations for your historical cluelessness.

                As to your second paragraph, the movement that presents itself as liberal in the US is the party of dehumanization, the party that wants to force religion out of the public square, the party that celebrates sympathizers with the Holodomor. They are only too happy to hid behind the useful idiot liberals so they can attack their common enemies in the name of equality and government care and largesse while hiding their true ugliness. Which, charitably, is what you and yours have done.

                If you’re trying to convince people that you’re inclusive, denying Toni Weisskopf the best editor award was the worst thing you could have done. But, then again, you don’t play by the rules you want other people to play by. Which is standard human behavior, I don’t hold it against you.

                • Joe in PNG

                  And he’s blaming the Catholic Church for Soviet labor camps- kids, this is what historical ignorance looks likes.

                • hyrosen

                  Toni Weisskopf published this essay, http://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/03/10/the-problem-of-engagement-a-guest-post-by-toni-weisskopf/ , declaring herself a fighter on the puppy-thinking side. She got voted down along with everything else the puppies slated.

                  I don’t know why you think any of us puppy-kickers are trying to convince people we’re inclusive. We just want the Hugo nominees to be good, interesting, and fun SF, and when we see people with political axes to grind trying to take them over, we vote them down.

                  • Draven

                    But hyrosen.. they aren’t usually ‘good’, or ‘fun’, they are usually ‘hits all the PC checkboxes’. That’s *our* point

                    • snowcrash

                      Hugo Best Novel Nominees, 2011 – 2014 (winners in bold):

                      Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
                      ■Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace / Orbit UK)
                      ■Parasite, Mira Grant (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
                      ■The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books / Orbit UK)
                      ■Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia (Baen Books)
                      Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas, John Scalzi (Tor)
                      ■Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
                      ■2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
                      ■Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW)
                      ■Blackout, Mira Grant (Orbit)
                      Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
                      ■Embassytown, China Miéville (Macmillan / Del Rey)
                      ■Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey (Orbit)
                      ■Deadline, Mira Grant (Orbit)
                      ■A Dance With Dragons, George R. R. Martin (Bantam Spectra)
                      Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)
                      ■Feed, Mira Grant (Orbit)
                      ■Cryoburn, Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
                      ■The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
                      ■The Dervish House, Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)

                      I’ve read 14 of these. Of those, I’d class 12 of them as “fun”. Those are pretty good figures I think. How’s your figures for the above?

                      But then, perhaps I’m one of those poor Wrongfans having Wrongfun?

                    • Snowcrash -tastes vary. I do not – as you do, assume that what I find enjoyable is everyone’s cup of tea. The test of widespread popularity is actually simple: – are sales numbers going up, are authors earning more money? I am afraid the answer in broad terms is ‘no’.

                      There is a lot of wishful thinking going on. But among my author friends and acquaintances – and they cross the sociopolitical spectrum, and yes, include some of the people on your list, slowly the realization is dawning: we’re in trouble. People are starting to admit books have been lost in a publisher for five years for example. That trouble comes back to traditional publishing. Indy is hard for some very talented writers. I still hold out the hope that at least some traditional publishers (and I particularly mean those who cater for the left wing writers, some of whom are my friends and very talented people) start to come right, offer better deal for authors, and remain in business. But denying there is a problem, saying it is all sunshine and roses and nothing grumpy Dave Freer being a misery, actually isn’t helping.

                    • hyrosen

                      The Graveyard Book, The City & the City, The Windup Girl, Blackout – these aren’t good or fun, they just hit PC checkboxes? Do you really wonder why the puppy slates got voted down? You can be as crazy as you like in your own echo chamber, but sorry, normal people also get to vote, and fortunately you were outnumbered.

                    • hyrosen – You’ve now commented more than 10 times the average commentator – and not much of it useful or sense. So you can join the other hyper-prolific commentators with a ten lines of 5 post (which ever is first) limit from this comment.

                    • snowcrash

                      @Dave – “… I do not – as you do, assume that what I find enjoyable is everyone’s cup of tea.”

                      Sorry for the confusion, but I was not saying that. In fact, I agree with you regarding the subjectivity of tastes. My post was in response to Draven’s overly broad assumption that the Hugo nominees have usually been not “good/ fun”, and are engaged in what they refer to as ‘hits all the PC checkboxes’. As someone who has found a good number of those books both fun and good, I just wanted to point out that I exist, and that perhaps I’m not alone.

                      Popularity deosn’t really come to it – just that people like what they like. Thinking that these “others” are doing it because of some box checking exercise just creates the impression that Drayven may think that people who don’t share their tastes are fake readers.

                      FWiW, I think – and hope! – that things may not be as bad as you think. 2015 has been spectacular, with an embarassment of riches of quality SFF on the big and small screen. Along with this (due to this?) SF book sales up substantially (even excluding The Martian) with even traditional publishing appearing to have a bit of a boom phase.

                    • I don’t think you’re alone in your tastes, nor do I think your tastes should not be served (in fact that is the opposite of my entire thesis). My point is rather that Draven or others are not alone their tastes either. They’re also quite numerous, on the basis of the successful sales of authors I suspect you wouldn’t like. Pardon my jumping to conclusions, but I think it would be fair to say you’re probably one end of the reader continuum. For a healthy industry… if one end likes most of the nominations… then you should reach the conclusion there is a problem 🙂 Many years ago when we came out with a book and got a 3.5 star average and I was upset, Eric Flint (who is often wiser than I am) said ‘look at the individual ratings – no-one thinks it is mediocre – they either love it or hate it’. To be reasonable, to be reaching everyone in the possible audience – you should hate roughly half the books. I am sure that would mean the opposite end would hate roughly half the noms too.

                      I sincerely hope you’re right. One of the things that has worried me for some time is that classically novel sales were economic counter-cyclicals (they sold well when times were bad and other things sold badly – and sold less well when things were good. Beer, camping equipment, veggie seeds are all typical counter-cyclicals.) Books moved into the same bracket as clothing and white-goods – sold better when there was more money spare. The reason is easy enough – a book is cheap, and comforting, and can be re-used for that. (So my assumption is perception is that perception of one of those has changed) Given that I believe the world to be in an economically fragile position… I worried that writers – who even more fragile than most, would be forced out. I am relatively safe, but this is not true of many others.

                    • Christopher M. Chupik

                      snowcrash: I’ve noticed this misconception among the File 770 regulars and I’m taking an opportunity to correct it. We don’t call *you* “wrongfans”. It’s something we call ourselves.

                    • snowcrash

                      @Chupik

                      I’ve noticed this misconception among the File 770 regulars and I’m taking an opportunity to correct it. We don’t call *you* “wrongfans”. It’s something we call ourselves.

                      Ah. Why do you call yourselves that?

                      Now consider what @Dravens statement is implying, if not outright saying, about the works that I’ve listed.

                      I do not consider the two answers to be significantly different from each other. YMMV, HTH, HAND.

                    • Matthew

                      Because we were being portrayed as horrible people for liking different books/authors and possibly wanting them to win awards, and as being Not Fans despite having hundreds of SF books on our shelves, having bought and read them over a span of decades. Essentially we were perpetrating wrongthink, effectively having fun wrong.

                      The jump from there to proudly proclaiming “We’re Wrongfans having Wrongfun” was pretty quick.

                    • (chuckle) It’s a joke, Snowcrash. Self-depreciation, laughing at the ridiculous. We’re wrongfans having wrongfun – a play on Orwell, and the result of one the sententious bores – I forget which, Gerrold or Martin or possibly even Davidson, having hysterics about how WRONG were and how NOT REAL FANS we were. Didn’t get the sekrit decoder ring, or the password to the treehouse because we failed some purity test, which got moved every time it turned out that yes, some of us were as much part of fandom for as long as any of them had been. It was the Puppy-kicker equivalent of Calvin-ball. It’s like the evil league of evil (which has among its members some of the softest hearts and kindest people in sf. At least three of them are outright marshmallows) which unbelievably some of Puppy Kickers took seriously ‘They call themselves evil, they should be put down,’ (cue: chin-wobble, and demand for a safe space, and shrieks of eeeeek, with a chorus of trump cards and sepulchural voice saying ‘Vooooox Daaaay’). It’s a lighthearted play on the ludicrous. Most of the SP wrongfans on the wrong side of the holy Saint Hugo and his sacred relic are to a dispassionate outsider as ‘different’ from the blessed ‘True Fans’ as one anchovy is from another.

                    • Christopher M. Chupik

                      @snowcrash: Probably because folks on your side treat us like “interlopers”, “invaders” and “an outside force” (their words).

                  • Bibliotheca Servare

                    Just curious: do you hear the things you type in your head as you type them? Do they sound less staggeringly stupid in there? I mean, blaming Catholicism for Stalin/Russian labor camps and the Holocaust was an impressive display of ignorance, but I have to say, the “forced birth” bit, coupled to the Confederate flag bit (apparently, opposing the whitewashing of history is a conservative thing?) was what really sold it. Forced birth! Ha! The scary thing is, you actually don’t grasp how insane and monstrous an “argument” that is. Conservatives don’t support “forced birth”. Conservatives (and libertarians…sometimes 😛 ) believe that human life is precious, that just because a person can’t speak or survive without support doesn’t make them less human or their life less precious, and that it is unjust to punish an innocent party/child for the crime of one of its parents, especially when the parent in question’s (and the actual guilty party’s) punishment would not be death. Not “forced birth”. Just “life is precious, even if the way that life was created is/was unspeakably ugly…and all humans are created equal, with an equal right not to be forcibly extinguished”. *sad smile* God bless.

                    • hyrosen

                      A fetus is not a person, and it is up to the pregnant woman to decide whether she wants to have it become one. The forced birth movement opposes not only abortion, but also birth control, sex education, and vaccines against human papillomavirus.

                      Flying the traitor’s flag over statehouses is a celebration of slavery and a nod to the bitter revanchists who still cannot countenance black equality.

                      Germans of the Nazi era were Christian. The “religion of love” didn’t prevent them from murdering millions of people. And while nowhere near as evil, being the “people of the book” isn’t holding Israel back from its occupation. Which is to say opinions about morality stemming from religion have no extra worth, and if John C. Wright’s opinions match 2000 years of Catholic thought, then Catholics have been wrong for 2000 years and Wright for as long as he has agreed with them.

                    • Bjorn Hasseler

                      And there’s the bait & switch: “Germans of the Nazi era were Christian.” You want us to conclude that Nazis were Christians. They weren’t.

                    • Hyrosen, that was your ten lines in one comment. You’ve used up all your comment ration, and everyone’s patience. Any further comments on this post will be deleted.

                    • Robin Munn

                      Dave, as I asked below, could you make an exception for one reply to my comment? I challenged him to justify something unjustifiable that he said, and I really want to see what his reply will be.

                    • Robin Munn

                      A fetus is not a person.

                      … And there we have it, folks. Classic de-humanization to justify murder.

                      What, precisely, is the difference between a fetus and a human being worthy of rights? It’s certainly not DNA — a fetus has his/her own DNA, not that of his/her mother — so the “the fetus is just part of the mother’s body and she has the right to control her own body” argument fails at the starting line. And a fetus has a complete set of human DNA, so it, too, is an organism that belongs to the human species. Biologically, there is no difference between a fetus and an adult human except time, and the fact that the fetus cannot yet feed itself until it has grown for a few more months.

                      So what’s the difference? Is it the fact that the former is entirely dependent on the life-support system of his/her mother’s womb? If so, does that justify ending the lives of elderly people who are also entirely dependent on life-support systems in the hospital? Down that road lie horrors.

                      Or is the difference that the fetus is the mother’s property, and she can do as she likes with him/her? Down that road lie horrors as well.

                      Or is the difference that the fetus doesn’t yet look like a human being? If so, does that justify killing the deformed? Down that road lie horrors beyond measure.

                      Or is the difference that the fetus is weak and unable to defend itself? Does this justify killing other weak, defenseless people? Down that road lie even more horrors than down the other roads.

                      Or is the difference that you have declared the fetus not to be human, though you cannot cite a good reason for it? If you would assert this, do you have the first clue what a monster you are declaring yourself to be?

                      Dave, if Mr. Rosen has already exceeded his comment limit by the time he gets around to answering this one, I ask that you make an exception for his reply. I really want to see how he can justify treating fetuses as not being human. It certainly isn’t on the basis of DNA, nor for any other scientific reason. So, Mr. Rosen, on what grounds do you justify de-humanizing a human being simply because they are at the fetal stage of development?

                      Your answer will be telling; your silence, even more so.

                    • Bibliotheca Servare

                      @robin: is it okay if I send you virtual/Internet hugs for that comment? You put it perfectly, when I was too tired to articulate it all. Thank you! 🙂

                    • hyrosen

                      (Risking the ban hammer…) Robin, the reason why a fetus is not a person is that it has not yet developed human intelligence. Similarly, once human intelligence has been destroyed, as in the case of Terri Schiavo, the body is no longer a person either.

                    • Matthew

                      Nor has an infant, especially a preemie.

                      Shall mothers be allowed to kill their 2 day old infant who was born 3 weeks early?

                      If humanity is conditional on someone else’s judgement, then we have problems.

                      Oh, and define “human intelligence”, please. How far in the mental disability spectrum do we go before being able to kill the obvious untermensch without it being considered murder?

                    • Aaaand now the neo-Nazi shows his true colors. Mr. Wright the Virulent would never kill a Down’s syndrome or mentally-handicapped child. Mr. Rosen here joins with his pal Goering in wanting to be sure he can eliminate the unfit.

                    • If you’d bothered to read down-thread, hyrosen, you’d know Robin Munn specifically asked Dave Freer to let you have your say, however long you wanted.
                      And if that’s the best answer you can give, I really do not recommend trying to use argumentum ad Holocaustum.

                    • hyrosen

                      You can read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infanticide for descriptions on how societies have regarded the permissibilty of killing children. The question about whether a mother should be allowed to kill a two-day old infant has been answered differently in various times and places.

                      A blastocyst does not have a brain, so forbidding a woman from terminating a pregnancy at this stage involves religious beliefs, or the desire to punish. As pregnancy advances and the fetus develops, there is more reason to regard it as human enough to deserve protection. Evolution and development being what they are, there can be no bright line at which this happens. The abortion fights are over where the line should be drawn, and it’s abundantly clear that the sides are going to be at loggerheads forever.

                      People with extreme mental deficits are in our society grandfathered in as fully human and deserving of appertaining rights. We do that because they look human, and there are few enough that it does not cause an undue burden on society as a whole to do so. (It does often cause massive burdens to their families.) However, it is common for babies who are born with extremely severe disabilities to be allowed to die with only palliative care being given instead of full-scale medical intervention, although for obvious reasons the doctors and families involved tend to do this quietly. And it is also common for people who have reached a stage where it is believed that they will never again be conscious to be given only palliative care until they die.

                    • All of this sounds an awful lot like “they were inconvenient, so we removed them.”

                      Yes, caring for someone who cannot tell you their needs, their pains, or demonstrate their “intelligence” is difficult. Inconvenient. I am alive today because of a terrible inconvenience, wherein my grandparents were told my mother would not live a week, or if she did, would be effectively brain dead. Mind, this did not occur quite as the doctors promised, fortunately for me and my grandparents’ usual Southern mule-headedness when told something they worked and planned for and desired was not to be.

                      As Robin said earlier, down this road lie horrors. Killing for no other reason than simple convenience is immoral. We treat the dead with respect, and they show no form of intelligence I’ve yet observed. Should we treat early life any less?

                    • hyrosen

                      comment removed. Over comment limit. Dave

                    • So if you become inconvenient it is perfectly acceptable to end you? Inconvenient by what criteria? And by what right is it YOURS or anyone else’s to decide that for another person? By your argument, the thief breaking into your house and shooting you for interrupting him is perfectly justified. After all you are quite inconvenient to him. This is what we mean by ‘this road lies horrors.’

                    • Hyrosen you have absolutely no respect for concessions or reasonable behavior. No further comments from you. This week or next week.

                    • Y’know, I rather like what Tom Kratman had to say about the morality of you and yours. It’s based purely on aesthetics, with principles taking a distant second. (Of course, we can argue about *his* morality, or lack thereof, but that doesn’t take away from his point.)

                  • Well, thank you for finally admitting that your rhetoric about how the puppies are “exclusive” is a smokescreen for “they have opinions we don’t like.” It’s very much appreciated.
                    Thank you for also admitting that the reason you voted down Toni Weisskopf had nothing to do with her editorial quality, and everything to do with her opinions. It’s also very much appreciated.
                    Thank you for proving that there’s only one totalitarian talking here right now.
                    It’s you.

                    • I remember that essay by Toni. It was a “we are all fans, there should be no war between us” type of peacemaking gesture. That it should be taken as a declaration of fighting for the Puppies is quite telling.

                    • But, you see, Toni offered as a hypothesis the notion that (to use her example) people who don’t read Heinlein aren’t real fans of SF/F. You and I, having actually read her essay, may falsely believe that she rejected that hypothesis, but a highly-regarded genre personality vilified her as if she’d actually advocated this position, thus refuting the evidence of our lying eyes.

              • Christopher M. Chupik

                Plenty of Catholics were killed in the Holocaust. Please read some history and get back to us.

                • And of course absolutely none of the people fighting the Nazis were Catholic ;-/

                  • Joe in PNG

                    Funny. Most of what I’ve seen regarding the Nazi party’s view of religion is that they wanted to remove the “weak”, Jewish derived, love focused Christian religions with their own “Aryan” mix of social Darwinism and pseudo-Pagan mythology.

                    But let us move over to officially Atheistic countries like the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, or Pol Pot’s Cambodia. Despite being both Atheistic AND Leftist, all of those countries managed to slaughter hundreds of millions in a few short decades. And before you start into the standard Left/Socialist “No True Scotsman” spiel about how Stalin wasn’t Reeeelllly a Socialist or Leftist, kid, no, just no. The Western Left defended, supported, praised, followed, coddled, and just loved, loved, loved!! Joseph Stalin and what he was doing. That blood ain’t coming off your hands so easily.

                    • Kate Paulk

                      Not to mention – on the forced birth front – the Communist government of Romania and its mandate of at least five children per woman. I remember the coverage of the state of the country after Ceaucescu was eliminated. That is the end-point of the policies our charming twolly-wolly proclaims. The communists in Romania started by offering free contraceptives.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                What An Idiot!!!

                • Pat of the price of liberty and freedom of speech is that we let idiots speak. We disagree with them but put up with them. You want censorship go to a Puppy-Kicker site. Of course that is usually confined to idiots.

              • I did not know that Catholics ran Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union! See, you learn something new every day!

                In your history, Hyrosen, who was the first man on the Moon?

              • Reality Observer

                Can’t figure out whether you think Hitler was Catholic, or Stalin, or both…

                Amusing it would be – if it were not also quite terrifying.

                • snelson134

                  Actually neither one was any stripe of Christian…. which hasn’t stopped the Left from claiming they were.

              • Matthew

                Wait – Russia and Poland were Catholic? Might want to read some history there, bub.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Poland is Catholic. Russia is Russian Orthodox. Of course, the Soviets attempted to suppress the Russian Orthodox Church.

                  Mind you, I seem to remember that the Russian Orthodox Church (like the Greek Orthodox) had a different attitude toward “secular control” of the Church than did the Roman Catholic Church.

                  If I’m wrong, I’m sure that Orthodox Christians will correct me. 😉

                  • Matthew

                    I know one Russian has told me on multiple occasions that the Russian Orthodox Church functioned more as a gov’t dept than an independent organization.

                    • Kate Paulk

                      If it wanted to exist it pretty much had to. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox churches don’t have a single leader who is independent of the politics in their land.

              • So let me rephrase. You’re arguing about the Catholic moral position on homosexuality by revealing you have Jewish ancestry. Meanwhile, the Jewish moral position on homosexuality was pretty much exactly the same for the same length of time, and was based on the same quotes from the same books.

                So should I conclude that you have something against your Jewish ancestors? Or is one position magically better or worse than the other, depending on the religion holding it?

                • Mr. Rosen’s permission to comment was only restored for the other thread; also to answer your question risks arguing (rather than discussing) religion, but I’ll do my cautious best: The variant of Judaism he affiliates with does in fact disagree with the morality of this aspect of the Law; see Wikipedia on the subject.

    • snowcrash

      That’s a hella interesting article. Together with Publisher Weekly’s Inside 2015’s Category Bestsellers, it paints a fascinating picture of the genre market in particular, and the overall book market.

      It’s unsurprising that adaptations boost their source materials sales – The Martian’s million plus (and EL James’s *2.2* million!) sales is a clear indicator. SciFi sales were up by almost 2 million books in 2015, and I suspect that this year, barring any other sort of breakout hits (maybe/ hopefully The Expanse? Any other big adaptations out this year?), we’ll see a levelling off. I wonder how much, on the fantasy side, of the downward trend is attributable to GRRM not releasing an aSoI&F book.

      Though I must say I am incredibly surprised that the on the 2015 category bestsellers that doesn’t have an adaptation or a planned one is frickin’ Station Eleven! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great book, but it’s not an abvious candidate – it’s as “literary’ as all heck.

      • It’s fairly long past so I can’t be arsed to fisk it but trust me on this the man does not understand statistics – or publishing. Lots of wishful thinking though.

    • Randy Wilde

      organized by a man known for his thoroughgoing repulsiveness

      Correia? Really?

    • Patrick Chester

      So. Obviously, a major puppy concern is that too few conservative works win awards.

      *snipped after the first lie*

  11. BobtheRegisterredFool

    On the other hand, i’m french, and a leftist, so quite a sjw by nature.

    Since when is French culture lynch mobs, and a bloody endless churn of political infighting?

    I guess that is what The Terror was.

    Would explain why some in the EU bureaucracy seem to think that French culture needs to be extinguished for the good of mankind.

    Grins, Ducks, and Runs Away!

  12. Airboy

    Baen seems to have been quite successful finding a publishing niche in SF that was underserved.

    Baen also came up with the “free library” idea of providing free crack (books) to crack (book) addicts. That also seems to have worked out well.

    Since I can’t buy used books due to allergies, and I keep having to replace paperbacks), I have rebought some titles 3 times in my 50 years on this earth. Baen revolutionized ebook publishing. Now I buy ebooks to replace paperbacks I can no longer read. Baen has even put back into print some books I could no longer read in paperback.

    Mr. Freer – the success of Baen is an answer to some of your complaints about the publishing industry. Baen found an underserved market. Baen has published a huge number of titles in a short number of years. Baen is financially successful. I have 100s of Baen books in hardback, ebook, and audio book.

    The success of Baen shows there is not a closed market and there is opportunity to make a profit in underserved niches.

    Hugos. Hugos. Hugos. An “fan” award with almost nobody making nominations. In many categories, the nominees and nominators are so few that you essentially had (prior to the puppies) a closed market. Until last year I was unaware of how weird the Hugo voting process was. I just knew that most recent Hugo novels and short stories were dull literary fiction to my tastes.

    But getting money in the private market is the most sincere form of praise. Honestly, why get so hung up about Hugos? Let your money (profit) dry your tears.

    The SF market is rational. Baen is the proof. Be happy!

    • Airboy, I agree, and Baen have been the single most forward looking of the Traditional Publishers, and the one I rate ‘most likely to survive’ (some of the others are on life-support.)

      I guess the Hugos (which are pretty unimportant to me) are the equivalent of trying to get your hopeless cousin to stop pissing his life away against the wall. You remember him when he was a nice guy full of potential and fun to be with. You hope if you give him a chance he’ll give up the grog and straighten his life out. It’s not likely, and most likely he’ll steal your money and go on down his chosen road… but you still have to try. Not forever or with every shred of your being, but because he once was a decent guy.

    • First rule of markets: The market is rational. The merchants are not.

  13. Robin, sure. 4 lines should be enough?

    • Robin Munn

      I’d ask for as many lines as he feels necessary to justify his position, for that one comment. It seems only fair; I wrote quite a number of lines myself, and I don’t want him to claim that he needed more space to reply than he was allowed.

      • As it is important to you, and I respect you as an individual, one comment, no limits.

        • Robin Munn

          Thank you. You are a scholar and a gentl– no, wait, I’m trying to compliment you, not insult you. You are a scholar and someone who works for his living. 😉

          • This. Most of the puppy kickers don’t. I’ve never seen such a collection of pulling, mewling trust fund babies and academic ivory tower pensioners trying to speak for the working man and woman, AGAINST the working man and woman.
            Ah, well, that’s why the academic Marxists invented “false consciousness” : so they can lecture us on what we “really think” and never listen to a word we say.
            I think I liked feudal aristocracy’s methods better. They just threatened to cut off our heads and required us to bow and scrape, but didn’t put words in our mouth.
            Ah, well, those academic marxists made a mistake. They taught me. This has provided me with a life time’s ability to laugh in their faces and hold up my middle fingers.
            A political philosophy so stupid that to know it is to roll laughing on the floor. And for this 100 million have been killed.

            • Sarah – That’s largely why they have so much time to spend on us. It’s rather like the ?PJ O’Rourke thing about the huge loud unruly left wing protests… but the right wing one is one quiet married couple and their two neatly dressed kids… because the rest of the people who are upset about the issue are at work (there are actually more of the latter, but someone has to work). It’s why they take over companies and organizations and academia and publishing. Not because they’re brighter than anyone else – but they are the ones with the time and interest in playing internal politics. Meanwhile the ordinary folk get on with doing the actual work well – which often includes the work these guys should be doing – and having lives… and suddenly find jackass whose sole contribution is to play politics is the boss. A boss who can’t do the job, and won’t let you do it, and hires a bunch of their cronies to do squat too. And ever so slowly the company or organization hard work build up is eroded and destroyed.

              • this. They remind me of the aliens from independence day “they’re like locusts. They destroy and move on.”

              • snelson134

                Dave, that’s why the Tea Party so badly freaked out both the Left AND the GOPe. Here were literally millions of people across the country who were coming out to protests in the middle of the working day despite having real jobs.

              • Bibliotheca Servare

                This. As strongly as I might disagree and dislike many of VD’s beliefs/positions on certain issues, one area he has consistently been dead-on (afaict) about is so-called “SJW entryism.” It’s a term that refers to the scenario you describe: hard working people build a company, or a community of some sort, and after it’s well established, useless, lazy, self-absorbed twits use their copious free time to ooze their way in and accrue power far out of proportion to the value of their (nonexistent) contributions to the company/project/community, then use that power to mutilate and destroy the project in question through diligent application of Human Resources assets, the introduction of a CoC, etc. SJW entryism. Honestly, who *doesn’t* hate those kinds of people?

  14. Matthew

    Davefreer:
    “Hyrosen you have absolutely no respect for concessions or reasonable behavior. No further comments from you. This week or next week.”

    While he’s aggravating to have around, he serves as such a good example of what many of us here find objectionable that he may be useful to allow to speak him mind.

    .They want us to shut up. I say we hand them a bullhorn and step back.

    • Matthew, this is true, but I have to work. And they have so much free time they overwhelm the entire discussion – not with relevancy, but just more verbage.

      • That’s fair, but here we outnumber them.
        Besides, he was going full Calhoun, and it was pleasing to watch.

        • Bibliotheca Servare

          Should I google “full Calhoun” or will I regret doing so? Heh. That question aside, it *is* always fun to watch people like Hyrosen simultaneously melt down and reveal the horrific truth behind their beliefs. It’s disturbing, yet nonetheless always enlightening to observe as they unveil the depths of insanity, depravity, and inhumanity to which they (and their souls) have sunk.

  15. For those of you who get e-mail updates – I have put a correction in:
    Baen Books it turns out pay not 20% of gross, but 25% having upped their rates across the board about a year ago. That’s more or less 7.5% more than most of the rest – which is a big deal. I apologize.

    • Robin Munn

      And if I was a newbie author with a book to publish, and Baen was interested in it, I would actually consider going to them — because they have a well-respected brand that actually means something. There are many readers (I’m one of them) who will buy an unknown author published by Baen, because we see the Baen mark as a guarantee of a certain level of quality. So if I was a newbie author, I’d feel that “paying” Baen 45% of my gross sales (25% vs. the 70% I’d get from Amazon) would be worth it for the instant fanbase I’d get from the deal: in the long run, it would get me more readers who’d buy all my future books, and name recognition and word-of-mouth marketing from those readers.

      ANY other publisher? Nope, I’d go indie first, as they couldn’t offer me the same “instant fanbase” deal that Baen could.

  16. richardmcenroe

    Not sure I want to encourage the PuppyKickers to reach out to anybody. All we’d be doing is throwing more young authors into the same old school corporate meatgrinder that exploited embittered and burned out the last generation of authors and audience.