Being Cassandra


Always to see the future, never to be believed…

Or doom and disaster for fun and profit.

Science fiction needs cataclysm, war and destruction. Terrible odds, insane risks, foolish idealism… Not in the genre per se, but the writers need it in their books. We do seem to be getting that back-to-front.

Yes I know: I’m the genre’s Cassandra. Always foreseeing nonsense no-one believes. Well, no one important anyway. Magrathea would go out of business if anyone important listened. And that’s never going to happen…

Pure nonsense. Like the silly idea that e-books would damage paper sales and that traditional publishers would try to defend the paper sales at the expense of e-books by overpricing e-books beyond their perceived value. That it would cost them market share and the traditional publishing industry would shrink. That they’d try lawfare, restrictive contracts rather competitive royalty payments. That they’d stay in New York City, despite having no reader-driven reason to do so. None of that’s been true.

Yep, just as ridiculous as my forecasts that Puppy-Kickers would burn down their Hugo-village to save it, that they would do exactly what Vox Day wanted them to do. That this would have serious consequences… the Dragon Awards are purely a figment of my imagination. I don’t know why they’re so cross at something they said would never happen, that we should do, and would be irrelevant if we did. Could it be a lack of control after all the work they’ve put in? The rage being expressed by the puppy kickers at this imaginary consequence reminds me strongly of the rage of Mike Glyer on being called on his selective quoting. I suspect he thought it was such a neat manipulation trick he’d never be caught. He could always claim ‘the link was there’. And they all do follow it, of course. You know, based on the number visits to MGC referenced to File 770, if they all did it would put their viewership in the tens… So are all the comments by sock-puppets? The Dragon Award comment I’ve found funniest so far was the sulk from Kevin Standlee – you know the guy whose job it is to be neutral and to convey the perception of fairness, who spends his spare time puppy kicking and telling us what a good friend PNH and Tor are. He was very upset by the very idea that Worldcon was not considered representative and large enough to give a good reflection of popularity. Yes. That’s why 17 votes got someone onto the Campbell ballot. Why 20 nomination votes were enough in some fan awards…

And my next crazy idea that threats to the income and livelihood of various Puppies was as dumb as you get, and would backfire tragically were it lead to the retaliation… which inevitably things like this do – and is exceptionally dumb when you have 90% of your trad authors from a 24% extreme of the population – relying on selling to the other 76% of the population. It’s going to be interesting… the penny hasn’t dropped in puppy-kicker and so called SJW areas. David Gerrold was saying that our careers would be be damaged, editors fight shy of us etc. etc, and we would get no invites to cons. Because most of pups were outside the cliques these ‘very important to Puppy-Kicker areas of a ‘career’ (which seems entirely based on industry connections with the ‘right people’,  not readers) were never very relevant to the Sad Puppies. “You mean people who don’t buy my books, don’t read me, won’t buy my books and won’t read me?” “You mean cons that wouldn’t invite me won’t invite me?”

But what will happen when the 76% of readers stop supporting them?

Ah well. This is an election year. My prediction is that the Puppy Kickers will double down and become more extreme, rather than ditching their extremists and trying to reach toward the center, despite causing further division being the worst financial decision they could make. They’re still worried about what their clique thinks or could do, rather than the wider world.

I’m still pushing for further economic tightening and more competition for fewer dollars, and more worried, unhappy people looking for cheap, uplifting escapism.

But don’t worry. All the important people know I’m wrong.

So let’s talk about some the other disaster – the kind we write about, for fun and profit. Ghoulish, innit?

So WHY does it work?

Why do readers buy this sort of watched train-wreck… or asteroid impact or mass-murder?

It’s a complicated question, because all readers are not alike. I’m still betting (but this is Cassandra here) that for most of readers it’s the resolution, no the train-smash. It’s the Breaking of Northwall not Margaret Atwood and the tragic end. Yes, people gawk in horror at car (or train) wrecks. But you know what? There is a rule of inverse proximity here. Just as I have a New Zealand friend who loves writing and reading about the disasters and breakdown and violence of Africa… I’ve been there. I don’t.

If I’m right and things get tougher in the next few years (my own take is being elected in the next few years, barring brilliant leadership (to be wished for, but unlikely – such people are very rare, such governments rarer) a black swan event, or war, winning power will be disastrous for your party, but that’s just Cassandra), stories that do not build up will fail to find an audience (because disaster will be too proximal) in people who want to believe it possible. To whom ‘tough times’ are no stranger. And they will want the resolution to, let’s say, fulfil some wishes in terms of revenge. What do you think they might wish for?

I’m off to England in a few hours’ time so I am not sure I’ll be replying at all. For the first time in 17 years I’ve made no attempt to combine this with work, I’m just going to see my older son and daughter-in-law. Make of that what you will.


  1. And of course we’re sitting here filled with hatred and rage at our failure. Pass me the beer and another slab of that t-rex bbq please.

    1. “another slab of that t-rex bbq please.”

      Now I’m wondering which style would work best for dinosaur: Texax, Kansas City, Memphis, or Carolina?

      I’m thinking KC, since it’s the main one that features chicken, and we all know that dinosaur tastes like chicken, right?

      1. Just saying “Carolina” is insufficient for BBQ sauce. Do you mean the mustard sauce popular in South Carolina (aka the best BBQ sauce known to God or man) or the vinegar sauce they use Eastern North Carolina (aka vile stuff I don’t know how anyone eats, even if I do live in Eastern NC now)?

        1. I like the vinegar sauce. And the mustard too.

          After those, the usual molasses-based sauces just don’t measure up.

          1. Speaking as a North Carolinian (one actually born in the state, even though I grew up in South Carolina), I know many people who do take exception to my statement. Or, at least, they strongly disagree with it. However, those are all eastern North Carolinians. Most people from western North Carolina understand my position.

  2. There are some 35 different SF awards:
    The notion that one more award, in its first year, is going to shake things up dramatically, is beyond silly. If the Dragon awards do succeed, I predict the same disaster for the puppies as they experience with the Hugos, as they discover that fandom at large likes the same things. (But wait – the 76% is on its way, they’re just behind the Mahdi, the Messiah, and the Second Coming!)

    So far, the Dragon awards seem to require nothing but a name and a working e-mail address for registration. Once 4chan or reddit notices, the winner in all categories will be Kim Jong Un.

    The puppies love to talk about how the puppy-kickers “burned down the Hugos”. But the puppies didn’t invent No Award, the Hugo voters did that as part of the rules they elected. No Award exists for people to choose when they believe no nominee deserves a Hugo, a system that worked exactly as it was supposed to last year. You could tell by the cheers from the audience.

    1. You are very quick to get on here and yell “IT DOESN’T MATTER!!!!” Mr. Hyrosen. One might suspect you of being a partisan.

      The Ass-terisks were all anybody needed to see at Worldcon last year to know that y’all had chosen to burn the village down in order to save it. The rest is just window dressing. The cheering for Noah was icing on the cake.

      1. He is, and also another one of those thin skinned New Yorkers who can’t stand being called out on their attempts to force their white supremacist New York values on the rest of the country.

        1. I lived in NY for a while. Some of the best people I know, I met in NY.

          Also some of the biggest assholes it’s ever been my misfortune to come across inflicted themselves upon me in New York. After being there a while, I concluded that NYC has the highest concentrations of assholes-per-square-yard of any city in North America.

          Mr. Hyrosen seems representative of the second category. Won’t shut up, won’t give an inch, never makes a lick of sense and facts bounce off like tennis balls off a bridge abutment. Typical NYC Leftoid.

          Thankfully they’re a lot less vocal in person, but you don’t turn your back on them unless you’ve got the plates in your vest.

          1. NYC has a fairly high person-per-square-yard concentration; unfortunately you’re more likely to notice someone who is acting as a sphincter.

            1. That is one of the downsides to concentrations of humans – the obnoxious ones are more visible and tend to ruin the day more easily. *thinks of THAT kid and her parents in Little Italy the last time I was in NYC*

              1. One of the things my grandad taught me that I will for all of my days be thankful for:

                “If you’re havin’ a bad day make damn sure it *stops* with you.”

                It makes dealing with people easier. Especially when you’re not all that good with dealing with folks to start with!

      2. Well, he has to make sure we mere peasants believe “IT DOESN’T MATTER!!!” so we’ll give up and let his clique run things.

    2. “The notion that one more award, in its first year, is going to shake things up dramatically, is beyond silly.”

      Yep, just a minor award that will have no impact whatsoever. Pay no attention to those 70,000 attendees behind the curtain!

      1. While I am excited to see what win these Dragon Awards the number of people that might vote in them are not that relevant to prestige the award might carry.

        Its rare that big people choice awards end up having more prestige then their smaller counterparts. Particularly when those counterparts have history to them.

        Its why even despite the drama over the last few years that the Hugos still have more prestige than say the goodreads user choice awards. If it was just a numbers gain that would be the biggest award in fiction. If it was a zero sum numbers game the Dragon Awards should just cut the novel sections from their Award now because 70k is not even half of what the goodreads awards pulled in last year.

        Personally I think it is more than a bit naive to think that the Dragon Awards are going to eclipse the Hugos just because they will have more people vote on them this year. Maybe in 10 years after the Dragon Awards prove that they can nominate and Award some good stuff and all runs smoothly they might start to have an impact of the Hugos reputations. But this year not so much.

        1. Dragon Con has such a reputation that their award will make a lot of sales, the first year. With quality winners, they’ll be off to a fast start. And given their attendance, and name recognition, they should get a pot load of good stuff nominated. I’m looking forward to it.

        2. >Its rare that big people choice awards end up having more prestige then their smaller counterparts.

          The Hugo is a “people’s choice award”. The Nebula is the one that’s more analogous to an Oscar, Nobel, or Turing.

          Also: to hell with “prestige”. Having your book announced as an award winner to 70,000 rabid fans is going to have financial effects that far outweigh any “prestige” (or lack thereof) that may accrue.

    3. Kim Jong Un is an advocate of science related fictions in our current age. Does your belief that he is not suitable stem from your deeply seated racial antipathy for Koreans? 🙂

      Mr. Rosen, please tell us more about how wealthy, influential, successful and powerful you are. Supposing you are not simply mentally ill, and in an environment that does not address your needs: The more you whine, the more we realize how much effect the economic uncertainty is having on you. That same economic uncertainty that you and yours helped inflict on the rest of America.

      Tell me Mr. Rosen, how does it feel that the boot may be on the other foot.

      1. Oh my. Rosen tried the standard prog “I’m wealthier than you” claim?


        1. Not in this thread, he didn’t.

          I can’t say I remember what he claimed in other threads, but in this thread, all he claimed was “The Sad Puppies’ taste is only shared by the Sad Puppies, and the Dragon award results are going to be similar to the Hugos”*. I admit I also skimmed over Mr. Rosen’s comment, as you did — but go back and re-read it. If he did make such a claim, it wasn’t in the comment that Bob is replying to.

          * Because the people like me, who didn’t like where the Hugos were going but didn’t want to reward WorldCon to the tune of $40, can’t possibly exist. But that’s a different issue.

          1. They are not getting my $40 this year, I can tell you. After that 2015 award ceremony? Not a f-ing chance bro. Y’all can whistle for it. Attending WorldCon is right up there on my “I’d sooner have a root canal” list. At least the dentist gives you nitrous, at WorldCon you have to bring your own.

            I did my damage in the nominating round, I don’t care a flip what the ‘voters of WorldCon’ decide needs to be No Awarded this year. Next year, if they’ve f-ed with the voting rules I won’t pay to be ignored. If they haven’t maybe I’ll have a go.

          2. That and slandering the Puppies to a great extent and using that slander to whip up a mob to mass-vote “No Award” is somehow a good thing.

          3. And WorldCon will go back to genteel decline, just as the CHORFs and Torlings want it.

            Seriously, even with the influx of cash, it was small and sad and ticky-tacky compared to just 10 years ago. But I think the slide was gradual enough that people don’t really notice. And I’m not comparing it to, say, Dragoncon or ECC, but smaller general SF&F events like OryCon.

            1. And WorldCon will go back to genteel decline, just as the CHORFs and Torlings want it.

              Decline, yes. Genteel?

              Genteel: adjective: polite, refined, or respectable, often in an affected or ostentatious way.

              Nope, I think that fails out of the gate, hitting only “affected.”

        2. Mr. Rosen’s position in these circles is always essentially the same. His circles are better than ours. In this thread he asserts that his connections are simply that good at picking winners.

          I am much reminded of another legally adult male that New York has bred.

    4. If fandom at large likes the same things, why is it that I never have any trouble whatsoever finding Hugo winners at my local library, if the library has them at all?
      You’d think I’d have to put in a book request at least once.

      1. Because public libraries buy award winners. It’s a way for the book selectors to provide materials that genre fans are likely to enjoy without having much liking for, or more than general knowledge of, the genre itself.

        It’s why the connections, the insider-status and system-gaming is so important to Torlings and the legacy publishers. It’s how *I* knew that something was up, having GAFIAted from the wider fandom after my yard ape was born.

        I’d seen the N.K. Jemsin book (I still can’t remember its name) pushed in multiple review venues and across different library blogs. Each time I picked it up (I think by the third time I recognized the cover: Oh. It’s THAT book) I’d start to read it and realize…. the plot is a hot mess, the characters are “diverse” cardboard cutouts… the “edge” isn’t something like Courtship Rite or Grass or The Fall of Metachronopolis something truly structurally weird or inventive, but just some S3xx0rs that was old with wossname, Anita & the werewolf-vampire threesomes. But I heard of it a gazillion times.

        Mr. Correia’s Monster Hunter books? Never heard of ’em. Not a mention, not a starred review, not a peep.


        1. Searching the catalog of the New York Public Library at, I find 11 hits for Larry Correia tagged as book/text and 9 such for N. K. Jemisin.

        2. I phrased that poorly. My local library stocks the award winners and MHI.
          However, I’ve had to put MHI on hold before. If I wanted to read the award winners, there’d be no trouble.

          1. My local library quit using the Hugos and Nebulas as purchase indicators over a decade ago, when circulation of the winning novels failed to justify the purchases. Now they mostly just buy by demand for authors.

      1. Aw, darn. I enjoy watching trolls get shredded. Although I can’t complain too much–Hyrosen had long since failed to be an entertaining troll, and was merely tedious and repetitive.

        We need a better class of troll here, dammit.

      2. Hey, Mr. Freer. Just so’s you know, he’s back under the name Hyman Rosen.
        That having been said, I recommend letting him stay. He’s a great advertisement for us.

        1. Sorry, I’ve got various autologins set up. Sometimes I log in to WordPress directly, sometimes through facebook and sometimes through google. I think if you ban all three, I’ll be gone for good.

          1. If you were a mentch, the notification of banning would suffice without technical measures; but of course if you were anything like a decent human being you wouldn’t need to be banned.

            (In case someone is being charitable and thinks this might have been a goodbye message I’m responding to: a nice feature of the script I adapted to create ATH-MGC-Comments is that it can list comments and authors in chronological order. I can see at a glance that Hyman commented again twice after this comment, fifteen & seventeen minutes later.)

            1. Well, it’s not enough for him to think of us as lesser beings he has to keep coming here to make sure we know it. *eyeroll*

            2. Hey, you’re a fellow alum! I got a bachelors in electrical engineering from the Cooper Union in 1982. (I saw your FB repost about Professor Kondopirakis passing.)

                1. I know what you mean. Meir Kahane and I both graduated from BTA (i.e., Yeshiva University High School for Boys of Brooklyn).

      3. “Hyrosen – as a last service to the MGC – you’re banned for life.”


        Damn, Dave, if you lived in Texarkana, I’d buy you a drink just for that.

    5. Well, you could tell something from the cheers of the audience, that’s for sure. Nothing good.

    6. Oh really? Toni Weisskoph deserved to be No Awarded? Really? Say that again, and louder.

      The cheers and hoots and stomps when she was no awarded proved that some people really enjoy hating.

      But we knew that, too.

      1. She appeared on the puppy slate, which was enough for some. Her “The Problem of Engagement” post put her squarely on the side of the puppies for those who might have given her the benefit of the doubt but did research. She didn’t provide anything for the Hugo packet. She worked for Baen, perceived as a puppy kennel.

        Even so, I think, or hope, that people were cheering for No Award as a sign that the slates and puppies had been defeated, not specifically against Toni Weisskopf. (I do hope they were cheering specifically against the virulently homophobic John C. Wright.)

        1. She appeared on the puppy slate, which was enough for some. Her “The Problem of Engagement” post put her squarely on the side of the puppies for those who might have given her the benefit of the doubt but did research. She didn’t provide anything for the Hugo packet. She worked for Baen, perceived as a puppy kennel.

          GASP. You think there might have been … politics involved in the No Award votes?

          Say it ain’t so, Joe!

        2. She provided Baen’s Big Book of Monsters. And you are still totally misrepresenting Toni’s “we’re all fans, we should all get along together” post.

          1. But we shouldn’t! Not to the Kickers. There’s an US and a THEM, and you don’t want to be one of THEM, do you? THEY need to be drummed out of the fandom, and certainly not given any awards.

            1. Here’s something interesting: when I mentioned at the (small, I think independent) bookstore here in the mall that I’d love to buy Brandon Sanderson’s latest but won’t support Tor because of Gallo, the lady knew *exactly* what i meant and was sympathetic to that view.


            “So the question arises—why bother to engage these people at all? They are not of us. They do not share our values, they do not share our culture.”

            “But are the popular awards worth fighting for? I’m not sure our side has ever really tried, though there are indications that previous attempts to rally readers of non-in-group books were thwarted in ways that were against the rules of the game.”

            “And yet, I can’t help but think that at some point, you have to fight or you will have lost the war. The fight itself is worth it, if only because honorable competition and conflict leads to creativity, without which we, science fiction, as a unique phenomenon, die.”

            This is pure puppy cant. I seemed to have missed the “get along together” part. She declares that she wants a war. Well, she got one, and she lost it.

            1. I seemed to have missed the “get along together” part.

              “But is it necessary to engage those of differing political persuasions to get this method? I feel the answer is probably yes. You don’t get a conversation with only one opinion, you get a speech, lecture or soliloquy. All of which can be interesting, but not useful in the context of creating science fiction. But a conversation requires two way communication. If the person on the other side is not willing to a) listen and b) contribute to the greater whole, there is no point to the exercise.”

              Yes, you did miss it. Deliberately.

        3. [Toni’s] “The Problem of Engagement” post put her squarely on the side of the puppies for those who might have given her the benefit of the doubt but did research.

          By research, I can only assume you mean “TL;DR; I’ll just accept Scalzi’s mendacious summary”. But you’ve long since proven that actual reading for comprehension is beyond you; no wonder your yeshiva education didn’t take.

          1. I credit its not taking to Isaac Asimov. I was a huge fan, and read every bit of his non-fiction I could find. It helped me realize that science is the way to understand the universe.

              1. I’ve been ignoring him but I couldn’t help thinking “The Cat/Monkey Away So The Rat/Troll Will Play”. 👿

                1. More like when your out camping solo, and you get a tick in the spot between your shoulder blades you can’t quite reach.

          1. I suspect Wright wrote an essay about the dog and Joe couldn’t comprehend it.

            Seriously, it’s more Joe seizing upon Wright’s views as an excuse to hate him whilst pretending to be virtuous. Virtue signaling as its called.

            I.e.,”Look at this Wright person, he’s a MONSTER and I am nobly railing against that MONSTER like the pure and just person I am!” ….etc., etc.


            “Chastity is right: sexual perversion is wrong. Homosexuality is a sexual perversion, ergo wrong.”

            So, yeah, virulent homophobe. But more to the point, when the puppies set out to save science fiction, to bring ignored readers back to the fold, to award the Hugos to good, old-fashioned, fun reads, their poster child, with six minus one nominations, was him. How could anyone think that this could possibly work?

            1. One short story, and one book of essays equals 2. (I’m sitting here looking at last year’s Sad Puppies slate.) Not 6-1 or whatever infantile math you’re trying to throw at us.

              1. Virulent homophobe John C. Wright was nominated three times for novella, once for novelette but disqualified, once for short story, and once for related work. That’s six minus one.

                I understand that you would like the sad puppies to be distinguished from the rabid puppies. In that case, please believe that when we puppy kickers voted for No Award, we were voting against the rabid puppy slate, and therefore you should not feel bad. (Or only one-third as bad, when it comes to virulent homophobe John C. Wright.)

                1. “In that case, please believe that when we puppy kickers voted for No Award, we were voting against the rabid puppy slate, and therefore you should not feel bad.”

                  Please believe that when we starved Ukraine, we were only going after those nasty kulaks.

                  Please believe that when we decided to starve all the Slavs, we were only going after those dirty communists.

                  Please believe that when we shot every Polish officer in our power, we were only trying to kill those nasty enemies of the people.

                  You really don’t understand history’s scripts, do you?

                  Furthermore, I also find it interesting that you reserve your ire for John C. Wright, a man who so far as I know has done no one any harm whatsoever with his views (besides, I suppose, giving leftists and occasionally rightists badfeels), whereas you will cheerfully align with the Nielsen-Haydens, who are generally acknowledged even by people outside the Puppies as grasping, power-hungry jerks who will cheerfully ruin the lives of people who get in their way.

                  Says a lot, in my opinion, and none of it good.

            2. And, I will repeat. John C. Wright is also against heterosexual fornication and adultery, considers these also to be perversion, and I have yet to see you accuse him of being an adulterophobe. In this, he follows Orthodox Judaism and ancient Christianity–in fact, the Christian mainline, up to the 1980s or so.
              What he is is malphobic, if he can be said to be “phobic” at all.
              Wishing doesn’t make it so.

              1. I don’t care what his reasons are, or what his other issues might be. I call him a virulent homophobe because he’s a virulent homophobe. I think a virulent homophobe is an incredibly poor choice of person to nominate for six minus one Hugo awards, if the goal of the nominations is to bring back disengaged readers to good, fun, old-fashioned science-fiction.

                1. So “I believe all sex outside of wedlock is sinful” = virulent homophobe because all gay sex is by definition outside of traditional wedlock.


                  Hey, any cites on actual gay people he’s spoken ill of for their orientations?

                    1. Give his definition of “sexual perversion”, please.

                      ((slowly, as to a child))

                      Think of it like kashrut. A pig is not treif because it’s a pig. Nothing makes it more or less unclean than a shark or dog, It’s just that it’s not a split hooved ruminant. In the same way, the issue here isn’t that “teh ghey” is evil in and of itself, it’s that it’s not on the approved list of sexual relation types.

                    2. ‘Give his definition of “sexual perversion”, please.’

                      Once you’re at the point where you have to explain that the words you use don’t make you a virulent homophobe because the words that make you sound like a virulent homophobe mean something else than what everyone understands them to mean, everyone understands that you’re a virulent homophobe who is trying to pretend that you’re not.

                      “Think of it like kashrut”

                      I do. It’s another outmoded Bronze Age belief, its adherents make themselves miserable and seek to spread their misery to others, and it’s used as a tool of cultural conformity and social signaling.

                    3. Ah, much is made clear now: you’re not an idealist, just a wannabe rebel with daddy issues re G-d who can’t be bothered to engage a brain when the subject comes up.

                      As to how Jews who keep kosher try to spread the misery – you really don’t know many Orthodox Jews or much about Judaism, do you, despite being one? We don’t make ourselves miserable, nor do we seek to spread, and we don’t demand anyone else follow our customs. How does one spread misery without, you know, actually pushing it on people?

                      To paraphrase one of the best authors out there:

                      ((sits back with a hand-dusting gesture, and adds, by no means under my breath, ‘Twit’)).

                    4. “How does one spread misery without, you know, actually pushing it on people?”

                      Enforcing social conformity by the implicit threat that failure to conform will mean that you are not trusted enough for people to eat at your house.

                      Enforcing social conformity by denying kashrut certification on non-food bases, such as the Glatt Yacht incident (kosher food certification denied to a cruise ship because it offered dancing).

                      Declaring formerly kosher vegetables(!) as suspect – broccoli, raspberries, asparagus.

                      As with the vegetables, increasing certification requirements raise the cost to kosher consumers, who are already severely stressed by the cost of sending their children to private schools.

        4. Let’s complete that sentence:

          Her “The Problem of Engagement” post put her squarely on the side of the puppies for those who might have given her the benefit of the doubt but did research *and were also illiterate and thus unable to read for comprehension*.

          An essay talking about how fandom has had issues in the past and excluding fans is wrong being seen as a partisan piece just shows the stupidity of the ASPs. A question for everyone SP related here, aside from myself: Has anyone ever tried to claim that the various people who have repeatedly defamed us and logrolled awards aren’t SF/F fans?

          1. Yes.

            I can think of several such arguments.
            1. a) PK don’t seem very bright b) implied: how much do they get of out Sci Fi anyway? c) Could they be more attached to the social dynamic then to the material?
            2. James May/Fail Burton’s traditional rant about Sci Fi having been taken over by a bigoted cult dedicated to mainstreaming hatred.
            3. In response to claims that SF is inherently leftwing, *Thhhhhhbt*.
            4. A certain flavor of the left has turned their face from God, and is ridden by demons. Beauty is hateful to them.
            5. “Swirsky’s item is SF? Bull.” As an aside, I am a dissenter, and hold that Swirsky can be read as a coherent sci fi story, if and only if it is read as a defense of racism as a positive force in society.
            6. It isn’t personal, it is business for them. Few here believe that Mr. Rosen would care to talk to us if not for his employer, and the employer of his friends.

  3. “… more worried, unhappy people looking for cheap, uplifting escapism.”

    Yup. That’s why my daughter and I started the Luna City series … (Which isn’t science fiction, despite the name) … just gentle escapism and comedy to a small town in Texas full of eccentric or at least amusing characters. In hard times, readers will want to get away from dispiriting reality for awhile. During the Great Depression, movie-goers loved Shirley Temple and musicals with flashy costumes and happy endings. Same principle.

    (Have a safe journey!)

  4. Judging by how well Larry, Brad, Sarah, etc. are doing, I don’t think that we need to worry about has-beens like David Gerrold warning us that we’ve “damaged our careers” by association with Sad Puppies. The emperor has no clothes and the gatekeepers have no teeth.

      1. Yeah, and they weren’t that great when all’s said and done. I recall reading the blub and passing on the Chtorr many a time. Seriously, an alien species is decimating the already decimated Earth and -politics- gets in the way? Give it a rest.

        1. Admittedly we know it would happen irl (think EPA & skimmers in deepwater horizon) but I’m guessing not the way it is in book

          1. Did he ever finish the Chtorr series? I heard that he intended at least one more, but I lost interest somewhere along the way.

        2. As I recall the first book, it was slogging through the alternate didactic chapters to get to the story chapters that made it not worth the effort to continue reading. It’s been a while.

      2. I’m sure it’s pure coincidence, but anyone else notice how nearly every one of Gerrold’s books is a riff on an earlier Heinlein story?
        Tribbles is flat cats.
        Folded Himself is All You Zombies.
        I could go on, but meh.

    1. I hope Sarah Hoyt is doing well with her online sales. My neighborhood Barnes & Noble has none of her books at all (in 20 bookcases of SF).

      1. The last B&N I bothered trying to get any books at also lacked them. Result: I no longer waste my time at B&N. I can order off Amazon and be done without wasting the motorfuel.

  5. Dave Freer said: “Could it be a lack of control after all the work they’ve put in?”

    The consistent rage and hate on display at some “fan” sites is identical to that which I see displayed at places like and Moveon, etc. They react like trained beagles to the hunt-master’s horn. (Sorry beagle fans, but the baying and the fruitless scrabbling for traction are very similar.)

    Mr. Glyer is mentioned above. I will refrain from going after him, as his site provides a service. I do not disagree with Dave’s assessment, be it noted, and I’m less that impressed with Mr. Glyer’s trawling of other people’s comment sections. But overall, Glyer’s snide insinuations are ignorable and in fact stand as a prime example of what I object to in SF/F these days. It’s not the slap upside the head with the wet flounder that gets you, you can see that coming. No, it’s the vague, permeating odor of fish, and everything you touch is just a tiny bit damp. Pick up a random TOR book at the store, and that faint fishy smell is there. Leftism smells like fish.

    Leaving Mr. Glyer aside, some of his commentariat exemplify the pernicious Leftist influence in full cry, getting back the the fox hunt. These are people so excited by the idea of a ‘knuckle dragging Christian Conservative/Nazi’ that -anybody- stepping the least bit off the Path of Lefty Righteousness is automatically fair game.

    Latest example from yesterday, “Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear’s developer Beamdog has stated that they will be altering the dialogue of transgender character Mizhena in a future update, along with removing a reference to GamerGate”.

    That’s the whole story right there, pretty much. Some idiot stuck a gratuitous trans-character NPC in a game and made anti-GamerGate comments. And gee, the developer was “so surprised!” when they got a bunch of bad press over it.

    That business is the fish smell we are all supposed to pretend isn’t there. As I said at The Vile, this is like the barista spitting in your coffee right before they hand it to you, and then being all “surprised” when you object.

    This was immediately translated as The Phantom saying “trans people are spit!” I’m surprised they didn’t sprain something, jumping to that conclusion. As it happens my actual opinion of trans people differs from that. IMHO the whole Gender thing is just the latest fad of San Francisco Leftists, who have run out of mileage on the gay thing and need something even more outre to tout. There’s men kissing on network TV in prime time, that particular mine is all worked out. Nobody on the Left gives two shits about trans-people, except as an opportunity to beat me up if I dare object.

    In truth, the whole trans-gender thing seems to be a very dangerous mental disorder, leading to suicide in an alarming number of cases. Double digit percentages, its safer to be a crack addict than be trans. (The read-until-offended crowd can stop here.) The example I had the other day of the trans-woman who decided “she” identified as a dragon is one case that springs to mind. Again, I caution googlers that you do -not- want to see those pictures. The dude looks like Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, except with bad facial tattoos and his f-ing ears and nose cut off. Like, cut off and fed to the beagles kind of cut off. With a beard. One assumes he went off the hormones, they were probably kicking his ass. Because stuff like that has side effects they don’t tell you about in video games.l

    So my opinion is that I do not want to live in a nation where tattoo artists and plastic surgeons are allowed to mutilate mentally ill men like that and get away Scott free. Also, I am not a psychologist, but I do know that the treatment for people under the delusion that they are Napoleon generally does not include treating them like the Emperor of France. I’m just saying, as a general rule you don’t see that.

    All of the above balled up and stuffed in a sack, the end result is that when I see a shelf full of books and they all bear some mark of popular “social justice” issues, it pisses me off. Be it gratuitous genderosity, global warming, Man’s Inhumanity To Man/ Lord of the fucking Flies remakes, gun control, anti-war post-apocalypse dystopia, Frankenstein (oh ghod I’m so sick of Frankenstein), C. Stross-ish raging atheism, or what have you: the fish stink is overwhelming and I walk out of the store. In a bad temper.

    Most important part, I walk out empty handed, having spent zero money on books. Whereas the Vilers are all happy and think everything is just great. They don’t spend any money either of course, they sit in the cafe and get coffee stains on the books as they freeload their way through the day. You’ve seen them at it. The fat hippie with the grey beard and the Worker hat, licking his fingers as he pages through something, leaving crumbs and coffee rings on the other five he’s got on the table. Yeah, that guy.

    The problem for SF/F and literature in general, is there’s a hell of a lot more like me out there than there are like the Vilers. They represent a tiny, tiny market. Their influence on the genre is out of all proportion to their numbers, the reasons for that seems to be very much as Dave says above. For the most part we never say anything, we just curse under our breath as we walk out, empty handed, again.

    This is not a model of a growth industry. So if your book gets written to satisfy the Vilers and their fellow travelers, while it might get published by TOR it won’t be very well received by the likes of me. Meaning the majority of buyers. We don’t want warmed-over Leftist propaganda that was old school in the 1930s. We want to read something fun and new, where the characters are not scum who need to be shot and the society they live in is not Hell. Couldn’t we have some guys and gals who beat the evil by not being dicks, just for a change?

    My two cents worth.

    Have fun on your trip, Mr. Freer sir. ~:)

    1. I need to nitpick there. One character in Baldur’s Gate is most certainly trans, and well written into the story. I speak of course of Edwin/Edwina post-Nether Scrolls quest.Even when changed back, he obviously wanted to change, thus xir ending:

      Edwin gained great renown in his travels with ((CHARNAME)), and in the years following their association he would exploit that infamy. In time he achieved enough influence to subjugate even the Red Wizards themselves, becoming the greatest leader they had known in recent memory. Very recent memory, it turns out, as he was deposed scant days later. Such is the brief nature of conquerors in Thay, practically lining up for their turn in power. His only notable appearance following this embarrassment was in battle with Elminster of Shadowdale himself, a short affair that saw the end of Edwin’s existence in the Realms. Edwina, however, tends bar in a Waterdeep tavern. She is a bitter, bitter woman.

      1. Edwin is so freaking hilarious. I usually play pretty good-aligned characters, but Edwin is worth having around JUST for his asides on everything. (Especially if you get the mod that expands him greatly. Granted, it can change that hilarious ending, but still…)

        And teasing Edwin whilst he is Edwina is great fun.

      2. I think it’s less the inclusion of a gratuitous trans character and more the preachy lippy bullshit that came with it that had people dropping flaming email on their heads. Nobody reacts to trans characters these days. Bruce Jenner has a whole fricking TV show, the outrage ship has long since sailed. Now we are all on the Good Ship Ennui.

        I was more interested in the frantic reaction of the vile minions. Like I lit a match in a dynamite factory.

        Also note the whole thing is “Oh ghod, somebody… COMPLAINED!!!! Oh, the humanity!” Wow, man the barricades, somebody sent a frickin’ email.

        This is what passes for an outrage in anti-GamerGate land.

        1. Kind of like the hair-tearing and screeching occurring right now because a group of pediatricians stood up and said that, in their medical opinion, pressuring a child or teen to embrace trans-sexuality, take dangerous, puberty-inhibiting drugs, or even have surgery, or anything similar without the benefit of both counseling and age–is child abuse.

          And so, naturally, they have been labeled a ‘hate group masquerading as pediatricians.’

          1. Oh yeah. Like pediatricians don’t know what’s going to happen when you pump a pre-teen full of hormones. The answer is “nothing good.” So they say that, and then get slandered by people who really don’t give a flying crap about kids, trans people or anything other than partisan politics.

            Best of all, -I- am an asshole for mentioning the physical downside to the thing. And the suicide rate, holy crap!

            If a guy wants to pretend to be a girl, I really couldn’t possibly care less. Go to it. Be all the girly you can be. Or the reverse. It’s cool.

            If he wants to get medical professionals to surgically alter his body permanently, then those professionals BETTER damn well make sure he’s not going to wake up one day a few years later and kill himself in remorse. At the moment, that last important bit is getting done very badly, if at all. Being trans is more dangerous than skydiving. That means as a society we’re doing it wrong, you ask me.

    2. Baldur’s Gate I and II were my favorite video games ever. I guess I should avoid the Beamdog remake and try and track down the independent modding community.

      1. Actually, the independent modding community has also happily embraced the enhanced editions, and provides mods for both versions. (And Enhanced Edition of BG1 solves the issues of importing the BG2 interface/engine. Although I cannot, right at this moment, tell you whether or not I’ve made the time to mod the EE Baldurs Gates. I can’t remember…) I was unaware until this comment string that a new expansion had been released for BG:EE, though…If it screws up my mods, I shan’t be downloading it.

        I recommend Spellhold Studio and The Gibberlings Three for the absolute best mods out there. Some of them are must-haves, like the banter/flirtpack expansions, which greatly increase the interactions between your NPC party members (including any number of the modder-created companions) and some of the quest tweaks that restore/enhance the original games’ questlines. (The Kidnapping of Boo in BG2 is one of my personal favorites–it’s hilarious.) I personally love the BiG World Project, which aims to make installing most of the mods out there somewhat less hair-tearing. (It’s still a pretty lengthy and involved process, but that’s partly down to the sheer number of mods out there.) They also offer mods for the Icewind Dale games (my favorite is one that gives you the chance to recruit NPCs instead of having an all-player created party, and thus more of a BG like experience with banter and whatnot), Neverwinter Nights 2, and (I think) Dragon Age.

        1. I’ve been having fun with the mod that lets you combine Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, so you can finish one game and go straight to the other. I followed the instructions at,

          The threads include a link to some useful mods, like the one to make the fonts bigger for people using modern monitors.

          Note that the link is not for the Enhanced Edition (Beamdog?) which I still have not tried out.

          This reminds me, I have some Mind Flayers who need killing 🙂

      2. I just started Siege of Dragonspear. They’ve done a complete hatchet job on the appearance of the control interface, and the gameplay is sluggish as hell.

        I have no idea what they did – all they needed to do was take the game engine and add content, which is something the modding community has been doing fairly seamlessly for years (including a total conversion to a Dragonlance campaign), but they managed to screw it up somehow. Unless there’s a setting for “classic look” that I’m missing?.

    3. No, it’s the vague, permeating odor of fish, and everything you touch is just a tiny bit damp. Pick up a random TOR book at the store, and that faint fishy smell is there. Leftism smells like fish.

      There’s also a consistent Tor Slog in the middle. It’s a recurring problem with YA adventure fic (and structurally hard to avoid in these books because of the expectations of the erm, reader sophistication) but it does make me wonder about the Tor editorial staff.

      Their older writers are usually free of it, but the new stuff? Even really neat stories like Goblin Emperor have it (although you have to have a high tolerance for reading teenage boys who are really middle-aged middle-class white women).

  6. Recall Three Mile Island and the switch, the indicator lamp, and the valve? This feels similar. The kickers think they’ve affected the valve by flipping the switch, since the little light lit up. But little light only shows the position of the switch, not that of the valve. Now, if someone were to check the lines with a meter or something…

    1. I love this group. “Winterborn” is one of my all time favorites, with “Sophia” and “Windbringer” a very close second.

      1. I’ve seen them live four times. Unfortunately, they cant be bothered to do US tours anymore.

            1. Sooo…where *can* they be bothered to do a tour, in that case? I mean…if they have to drive there…Canada? No…right? But that leaves flying to Europe or somewhere else that can’t be driven to. I’m confused. *scratches head*

              1. yes, they fly to Europe with gear, but won’t drive around the states except Dragoncon.

  7. David:
    Many of the new Dragon award categories are in the areas where Baen has been quite successful – Military SF; Alt-History and the like. These are the sorts of books largely ignored by the Hugos. The “true-fen” as a group never realized the link between Baen/Puppies/Gamers. Baen and major Baen authors have been at DragonCon and GenCon for decades. Lots of their fans there.

    Try not to be embittered by all of this. There are a lot of market segments for books. Profitability is the ultimate determinant of a market segment success or failure. If you can make a legal living off of it, then the market is viable.

    Whether or not the Hugos change, if the Dragon Awards become important, or anything else – what people spend their money on in entertainment is the ultimate arbitrator of “success.”

    I got your latest book in the latest Baen Monthly bundle. Hopefully I’ll eventually get the opportunity to read it. So many books (and ebooks) and so little time.

    1. In fact, the Dragon Awards (at least for plain-old-words writing) don’t overlap with the Hugos at all; the Hugos have one award for best novel, and the Dragon Awards have subcategory novel awards but no overall best novel award. I can’t but think that this is deliberate.

    2. The 2008 Hugo-winning novel was The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, a work of alternate history. In 2010, Boneshaker was a nominee. Also alternate history. And, of course, the multiply-nominated and awarded Imperial Radch series is military SF.

  8. “So let’s talk about some the other disaster – the kind we write about, for fun and profit. Ghoulish, innit?”

    I’ll bite, but I’m in a ghoulish mood anyway. 🙂

    Anyone know of any really good online reference sites for EMP effects?

    (Okay, I’ll admit it: I bit on the disaster part because I’m bored with Puppy Kickers right now, but I also am looking for a variety of good EMP reference sites for research purposes.)

      1. Like any first issue, it’s got a fair amount of setup, and Coates seems to have an alright, if obviously unfamiliar, grasp on working within a visual medium (which was my main concern previously – was apprehensive that we’d see a lot of “wall of texts”)

        But he certaily seems to get the setting (ie that Wakandans tend to be hidebound *arseholes*) and his writing of the protagonis and the antagonist(s?) are intriguing. The gold standard of Black Panther for me was Christopher Priest’s run on it, and while I don’t think anyone will ever match it, Coates is of to a solid start.

        1. Well, that’s promising, anyway. 😃

          Mr. Rosen was far more interested in giving a checklist than looking at the story.

          He still doesn’t understand the Puppies at all.

          1. The point is that a writer whom I’m sure the puppies regard as a social-justice warrior (since he argues that America owes black people reparations), who includes a theme that I expect the puppies regard as a check-off item (African lesbian couple), has managed to sell a very large number of issues of his comic book.

            This runs counter to the puppy theory that such writers and themes are insular and fail to sell to a large audience who read in-genre.

            1. You really don’t get it, do you, Mr. Rosen? This isn’t just a front put on for arguing sale, you really don’t get it. No matter how many times or in how many ways we tell you that the story is more important than virtue-signaling, than counting off checkmarks, you assume we mean that we want a different set of checkmarks marked off.

            2. ((sigh))

              Do try and read for comprehension, for a change. The puppy objection was not to social justice, nor to authors being idiots in Real Life, nor to black/gay/trans/whatever characters in books. The objection (and we’ve been making this crystal clear for what, over 3 years now?) is that such elements were commonly being used instead of actually writing a fun story with good plot and engaging characters. The issue isn’t anti-social justice or whatever, the issue is that social justice is being preachily used as a substitute for good writing.

              If a Trans-Black Power Activist wants to write a book featuring three lesbians and a disabled Thai dude fighting corporate greed, go for it. Just don’t make it boring and build the world so that it’s believable, and we’re likely to read it.

              1. To be fair to the man, I have contended that certain groups are underrepresented, and that I found that obnoxious and would prefer that it were otherwise.
                However, that opinion is also more in reaction to the “Include ‘identity group favored by the left’ because they’re underrepresented” than any serious beef on my part. (For example, I’m a big fan of John Ringo. I’m also a socially conservative Protestant. Do the math.)

      1. Still, for comparison, that’s 10x the amount that a fantastically super best-selling debut novel sells.

        It also seems to be a lot higher than other comic book sales figures, so something seems off. The top monthly comics seem to sell around 150K copies. We’ll see what the numbers look like on issue #2 to see how many of those sales are actual comics fans.

        1. That’s sad. Even a few years ago, the top monthly comics sold 500,000+, up to a million copies a month. Hopefully Marvel learned that their reboot wasn’t such a great idea.

          Also, i don’t see any 300k legit number for sales for it anywhere.

          Keep in mind that the new Guardians of the Galaxy comic that came out right after the movie, sold 880k copies its first issue…. then dropped down to much less. Its part speculation, which I thought SJWs were against.

                  1. We have a publisher announcing that “this new comic sold 300K copies”, when top monthly sales figures show the top monthly comic sales normally are 150K.

                    My first thought was that there was a difference between the monthly figures (which seem to be compiled from distributors) and the publisher’s figures in terms of what counted as a sale. Research suggests this may be wrong, though we’ll see in May.

                    Doing research, I found Star Wars #1 listed as the top comic of 2015. It’s listed as selling 985,000 copies on the monthly records. Interestingly, issue #2 sold 162,000 and issue #3 sold 161,000. That makes 300K copies a very good (in the top 10 for 2015) but not record sales figure, but it also suggests that the number will drop off sharply for issue #2. We’ll see what sort of drop-off Black Panther has, though we likely won’t know until June or July.

        2. ((shrug))

          Maybe the writing is good? Just because the writer is an ass and is hitting checklists doesn’t mean that the plots/characters are bad.

          Not a comic guy, so couldn’t tell you.

      1. Yup. Issue one is for cheap virtue signalling.

        Issue 12….

        Although to be fair, if you have the wrong politics or hit the diversity ceiling, you can get cancelled even if issue 12 is still doing moderately well.

      2. Sarah Hoyt said he used a lot of different accounts to post from when he commented at her place, thus dodging tracking and the ban hammer.

        1. That’s weird…

          I’ve been posting things on the net for a good 25 years now, pissing people off on both sides of pretty much any argument you could think of, and I never had to resort to multiple accounts and/or fake accounts. I can’t remember ever being banned, anywhere.

          Sure, I’ve been multiple-down-voted on sites by determined SJWs who were incensed that someone disagreed with them, but most of the time, the posts recover those points when the non-insane people show up.

          1. The multiple-accounts thing is that when you go to comment, you are offered choices of a direct WordPress login, or through facebook, or sometimes through google, combined with various browsers remembering settings and logging in automatically. It’s easy to log in in different ways at different times and from different devices.

            According to Sarah Hoyt, though, you can always recognize me by the Communist apparatchik smirk in my photo.

            1. And your arguing style. All we’d have to do to figure it was you would be to mention SP, and then you’d rant about John C. Wright’s “virulent homophobia.”

  9. Now, one thing I haven’t heard much about is what the genesis of the Dragon awards is. I know the kickers were all saying we should self-segregate outside of their sandbox and make our own award, and other people talked about DragonCon being larger than Worldcon and more representative of Fandom in general, but AFAIK, nobody Puppy-related had anything to do with starting this award. And clearly it’s been in the works for a while.

    1. I understand Ringo has ties to DragonCon. He also gave a LeMancha? award for tilting at windmills to I think Larry. At one point he was in line for Running Sad puppies.

      1. Hearing about DragonCon makes me sad. I haven’t been to it for a few years because we got tired of dealing with the long lines and the crush of people and the difficulty of getting hotel rooms, but for a while I was going with my family every year. I still remember my one-year-old son’s epic diaper change in a Hyatt bathroom, and his combined awe and trepidation when looking at cosplayers. We recorded his growth by taking a picture of him every year standing in the arch near the SunTrust bank. I was there for the Nalathni Dragon giveaway. And Sub-Genius devivals. And late-night shows closed down by the Atlanta police department. Voltaire. Lips down on Dixie. The LifeSouth blood drive. And so much more. Good times…

  10. Breaking of Northwall? It’s been years since I last read that.

    {* wanders off looking for an ebook source for the Pelbar Cycle. Except for the last book in the series. *}

    1. They’re available for Kindle these days… for too much money – not to ignite a debate about *that* or anything, hahaha.

    1. He has been and he knows it. He is utilizing a glitch in the system right now that continues to allow him to comment on this post via email — and bypasses the block we have put in place. We are researching how to stop him.

      What amazes me is that he continues to comment even though 1) he knows he is banned. Apparently, he has no issues with playing in someone else’s “yard”, even when permission has been revoked. Ignore him and we will do whatever it takes to clean up the mess.

      1. And he doesn’t realize that by manipulating a glitch in the system to allow himself to post he is, technically, accessing a site from which he has been barred. And yes, there are laws involved….

  11. You are using a glitch in the system to post to a blog that you have been banned from. I tried saying it nicely, now I’ll say it bluntly… that counts, in the eyes of the appropriate federal statues, as hacking. Maybe you should look it up. True, its just misdemeanor-level, but no matter what tech companies think, federal law still overrides user agreements.

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