A Wally for me!

roydon - dive boat

A picture of a good day, just because I am feeling cheerful and it’s not London, but Flinders Island on a good day. This is our dive boat, and the model for the dive boat in Changeling’s Island.

And what happens after the war….

Because there always is after the war.

This post will be all over the place, and quite possibly fairly silly. Yes, I know, that is SO unusual for me. It’s almost as if I said there was gambling in Rick’s Casino.

I’ve been, shall we say, a little tense. My wife had her follow-up colonoscopy a few hours ago (some of you may know that she had bowel cancer a while back, picked up (Thank God for the Australian screening system) early and treated.) Of course one never knows how successful or final this is, so there are regular follow-ups. A colonoscopy involves prep, and trust me that’s pretty terrible. The waiting is not much fun either.

We have an all clear for now, so I am relieved even more effectively than the prep would do. Filled with a great lightness, and reminder of knowing how it felt the first time, and sympathy and understanding all over again for those who have to deal with a bad result.

Why I brought this up is that… well, authors are human. Not all the same, not all likable, not all decent. But as human as the next man or woman, paying bills, making a career, farting in the bath. Well, I will grant you can make an exception for me. A lowly simian I, a thing of rags and tatters… but I do imitations. I can fool people that I’m human at about thirty paces and for as much thirty seconds so long as they’re upwind.

Which brings me around to ‘what happens after the war.’ (Don’t ask me, “Where is Wally” you’ve got to look for yourself.) An author I am acquainted with posted words to this sort of effect: “I can’t wait for the elections to be over and life to go back to normal.”

Now, the author in question had just posted an ‘All Trump supporters are complete morons’ type facebook post. She had deleted posts and unfriended a dozen people and had a complete melt-down over a pro-gun individual of her own political faction. Most of those who follow her… are her readers. Those of similar mindset had cheered and gleefully joined in the pile-ons.

In a few months, whoever wins or loses… it will be over. Please, my point is not to discuss who you or I think will win or lose. It’s that there will be winners and losers, and what happens after that.

I know, that’s the dreaded long-term thinking thing again. If you think you find it hard, what about me? We monkeys seldom think beyond this banana – but it is actually the center of writing. Writing is always a window into before, and after… or at least it is if you’re doing it right (right defined as people want to buy and read your work, not right as in Dave, or Wally (no this is not Wally), or IgNora think I am doing it right.) Short-time preferences are for fools and monkeys, certainly not for writers.

So: take the author above. The war she so wanted to end is over. Let’s imagine she (or her side) ‘won’. Happily ever after, and her life goes back to normal, right?

Well, no. Firstly, just from her point of view, she may have gained some readers who loved her overt stance. There are thousands of openly left wing editors and authors on facebook, and very few of the opposite, and relatively few centrists or those who keep their views to themselves. So: lots of competition, thin pickings, but she may have gained a few. Given that we know the proportions of Americans that self-identify as ‘liberal’ (26%) and the proportion of publishing professionals that donate to the Democrats (At least 99.4%) – that means she pleased her editor, if she noticed (but it’s not unusual)… and lost readers who were once happy to find and follow her from the other 74%.

And here is the thing: in real life, unless you’re really smart about it, losers are sore losers. And they don’t just go away. If they can hurt the victors, they will. If they can strike back and try again, they will. Avoiding that pendulum – WW1 and the treaty of Versailles…. And then WW2 (and the Marshall Plan, designed to avoid a backswing) is hard. Jerry Pournelle had a final scene in one of his stories that I read long ago that has stuck with me long after most of the story has blurred. I paraphrase and obviously emphasize what I found important: The mercenaries have effected a brutal but effective suppression of an uprising. The president thanks them profusely for winning. And the commander says brutally and bitterly that they have not won. The military can’t win. It can only buy time for politics. (and in my opinion, economics). You could in my opinion extend that to Law or even politics. You’re usually fighting for time for people for people to come to terms, adjust… or fail and set up the next conflict. It’s that or total genocide.

The point here is that it is not fast, not easy, and that a ‘win’ does not make the other side disappear or suddenly love you. You might say the SJW or CHORFs or puppy-kickers have ‘won’ every time. And every time they’ve ended up far worse off than before. Because they have had to fight harder, they’ve fought nastier and with more collateral damage each time. They forgot that their foes were human, (cycling back to my start) people with partners, people with illnesses, people with children. More importantly they decided that anyone who was not 110% for them… was against them. They could slander them, attack their reputations, families, livelihood. Anything, as long as they ‘won’. Language like ‘morons, Nazis, put them down, worthless, bad writers, bad actors’ were commonplace. And somehow, ‘miraculously’, they got their chosen tokens their awards, shut out anyone else, and wrote their new Versailles treaty.

Only the ‘defeated’ wouldn’t sign. Would not buy into it at all. There is not even Weimar, trying to abide. And the ‘reparations’ they need to repair the costs of that war, the recognition, the social kudos, and the sales – especially the sales… well, they have the same problem the author who was desperately wanting the election over.

They have a problem of no levers left. They did their worst, and failed to destroy the hard core of their foes, and ended up generating thousands more who didn’t used to hate their guts.  But they do now. Another Pyrrhic ‘victory’ won.

The gulf between the sides widened, And there is almost no-one left on the non-left wing side of the equation who doesn’t put WorldCon and Hugo’s Admins firmly in the camp of the foes, cooking the books, helping the puppy kickers, acting as SJW enforcers. I know there are some folk among them who desperately wanted no part in the fight, to bridge the gap. But they failed to grasp the nettle and show aggressively that they were neutral and trustable. They never understood the teacher’s kid syndrome: When Dave Truesdale possibly steps over the line and the SJW’s squall – you cut slack because you don’t want to be seen as siding with ‘your kid’ and acting as their enforcer. When Mary Three-Names breaks the rules (open-and-shut case, broken) you don’t give her token pat on the wrist because she’s a SJW Darling and therefore ‘your kid’. If you want to be seen as neutral by people who think you’re on the other side… Mary is out on her ear and Dave gets a pat on the wrist. That piece of Con Admin stupidity is barely topped by Dave McCarty’s handing voters data to ‘researchers’ straight out of a Tor Books site.

The 74% have mostly written WorldCon off. Barring major change, It’ll drift into being a WisCon with a few older people going for nostalgia. The Hugo brand is on life-support and will probably soon have a very limited value to a shrinking set of PC virtue-signallers. I know this may not have dawned on the core of 26% but we’ve passed the peak PC. Not that long ago – 10 years – it intimidated everyone, and had no apparent substantive opposition. In the circles they don’t move in… that is no longer true. It is massively and increasingly openly unpopular, and the media are as usual are way behind the curve. In 15 years’ time it’ll be dead except in tiny corners.

So – how does all of this loop into writing, or indeed into preventing another war? Well, as I said: a book is a brief window into a whole world – it inevitably has its roots in the last ‘war’ (whether that is a family fight or the last actual war on a planet, a story does not spring from nowhere. In your set-up you need that, and you need it quickly. Secondly if you’re setting up to write an all out war… you have two choices as an author. Either you destroy your foes completely, neatly finishing the book, or they will recur, stronger and nastier. A few – very talented – authors have actually handled winning the peace well. Frank Herbert used the concept of bravura. Diana Wynne Jones wrote about the losers in the war between Strangia and Ingary (Castle in the Air). If the foe cannot be destroyed, well, it’s a long term thinking task, and basically requires bridging the gap and the victors (not the losers) paying a price and accommodating the losers – making them happy enough, having levers enough, to avoid another war.

So where is Wally?

Well he’s been Haydn (and Haydn’s been dead for years) but here is his last movement. A wally – which is Australian for an incompetent idiot who can’t manage to do anything right – a wally is the sort of guy that, if you put him in a brothel with ten thousand dollars, would not only fail to get himself laid but would have every hooker in the place queuing up at the nearest nunnery to sign up, and would go to the bathroom, wipe his butt, put the money in the toilet and put the used toilet paper in his pocket. In this case our Wally comes from The Guardian, well known as ‘The Grauniad’ (because its spelling and grammar are… legendary) writer Damian Walter. Doing his best to be a little puppy kicker, and hurt careers of writers as best as possible, for political gain – just as I referred to above. Unfortunately for him… and fortunately for us, he’s a wally…

So I’m very proud to be given a Wally. It’s not quite the imprimatur of brilliance of a ‘Clamps’, but there seems to be a bit more money in a Wally. And I’m in grand – indeed awe-inspiring company. Now that I have my own Wally, I look forward to buying my own mountain.

You see Damian is the archetype wally. If he hates you – most folk will love you. If he predicts you will fail – you may buy your own mountain. If he says your prose is awful – he writes for The Grauniad – a financial disaster with a readership going down faster than drawers in the brothel wally would fail in. Oh he’s also a failed writer, who got a grant to write a novel I believe – and still failed. Oh, and he never met a fact he couldn’t get backward.

my comments in Bold

For the last few years, the Hugo awards for science fiction have been campaigned against by a group of writers and fans calling themselves the Sad Puppies – mostly male, very white, and overwhelmingly conservative.

You mean like the ‘mostly male’ very white officially Latina Sarah Hoyt? Or Amanda Green, or Kate Paulk – who headed Sad Puppies this year. Ah Wally.

Unhappy with sci-fi’s growing diversity, the Puppies have deliberately block-voted for certain titles to get them nominated for Hugos at the expense of a wider field.

Which is naturally why, when you count the numbers and actually don’t have Wally’s gender (explains his luck in the brothel) and skin color confusion they were MORE ‘diverse’ and they encouraged voters to both read and to vote for what they wished to. We can give you hundreds of links. Wally’s problem was that they weren’t M&Ms – different colors on the outside but all exactly the same inside.

They say it is their goal to “poke the establishment in the eye” by nominating “unabashed pulp action that isn’t heavy-handed message fic”.

Really? I thought I said it was because I was concerned at the drop in sf sales (well documented) meant that the direction was selling badly and that was threatening authors (including his darlings) ability to make a living and write. Some might turn to Patreon but surely the measure of popular (and therefore successful) is selling enough to live on. But yes, heavy handed message fic doesn’t sell well. Look at Kameron Hurley’s figures. She’s published them.

I say it is to sponsor awful writers.

“Sponsor” – you mean like Nora Jemisin getting herself funded by Patreon? No, Wally. We actually SELL books for a living. I know you failed at that, as do most of your darlings, but it is possible. And – based on his track record if Wally thinks we’re awful… I am SO proud to be one of his ‘awful’.

The Puppies have two criteria for what they deem excellence: does it turn a buck?

Well, Wally accidentally got one thing right. The most honest measure of popularity is that people are prepared to pay for your work. That you’re not so useless that you have bleg or get grants or ‘teach’ writing. Yep. Lots of paying readers suggest popular to me. And the Hugo’s in theory were not ‘excellence’ but ‘popular’.

And has the author dared to say anything, ever, that they disagree with?

Yes, well as they lean libertarian they kinda expect you to be contrary… oh wait. Dumb Wally is confused again. No, PC-doctrinaire books are your left wing specialty. You know: the kind that don’t sell, that you rate as ‘excellent’.

This, paired with their conspiracy theories about some big sci-fi publishers, means that they tend to champion mostly self-published authors. Nothing about quality – though you don’t need an in-depth knowledge of sci-fi to understand that a short story called Space Raptor Butt Invasion (yes, really) has not arrived on the Hugo lists because of its calibre.

Actually it was voted in to mock the crap that SJW’s were putting up. But that’s too hard for Wally.

Oh yes, Wally, I get my conspiracy theories from that well known Cooky-looky journal of the paranormal – Publisher’s Weekly. And the US employment stats. That’s why I believe weird stuff like that your excellence is selling like pork chops in Mecca – and the Traditional publishers are cutting their mostly female staff. Oh and Independent Authors are making more money than them. And of course if Wally ACTUALLY knew how to fact check, he’d find out to his shock that no… Jim Butcher isn’t self-published. Neither am I. Or Larry, or Brad or Sarah… I’m moving that way because I like the money.

With this year’s Hugo awards coming on Saturday night in the US, I thought I’d read some of the authors championed by the Puppies. (Don’t ever say I don’t do anything for you.)

Oh no Wally, I would never say you’d never done anything for us. Being slated by you is worth a lot of sales. Please, dear God, don’t praise me, Wally. Anyway- as best anyone can work out you read one paragraph of mine, and less than one chapter of Larry Correia. That’s not a huge sacrifice for most people, but I do appreciate it must have been the hardest thing a Wally like you ever did.

If you find meaning in straight-to-video Dolph Lundgren films, then Larry Correia’s novels will be your kind of read. Correia, accountant-turned-author-turned-Sad-Puppies-creator, kicked off his Monster Hunter series with Monster Hunter International, about an accountant whose boss turns into a monster. So he shoots him. In fact, much of the Monster Hunter series relies rather heavily on people the hero doesn’t like turning into monsters … so he can shoot them.

I am envious. I’d love to be compared to Dolph Lundgren. The idea that a super bright guy, and a commercial success – who is apparently really nice bloke is an undesirable comparison… well… Wally. And as for shooting, as the bullets had no effect on werewolves… shows Wally once again got things got things completely backwards. But never mind, Wally. I’m sure your reading comprehension is good enough for your ‘excellence’.

Sadly, Correia’s books are not quite awful enough to be good. They’re just mediocre. That’s fine – Dolph Lundgren movies are also often mediocre, but plenty of people like them. But did Lundgren’s Masters of the Universe deserve to take the 1987 Oscar over Oliver Stone’s Platoon? I don’t think so – and in that same way, Correia’s novels in no way merit consideration for the Hugos (thankfully, he only made the 2014 longlist).

A measure of popularity or Wally defined ‘excellence’? The Hugos were supposed to be a measure of fan popularity Wally.

Dave Freer’s Changeling Island, shortlisted for this year’s inaugural Dragon awards, is all about story

Actually, Wally, if you’d read more than the first paragraph… you might have figured out that this particular book, which is YA and targeted at 12-14 year old boys, is by almost any accounting ‘message’ fiction. Admittedly, you’d hate that message, and I tried very hard to keep it from being heavy handed. But then to get through to Wally you need a sledge-hammer. It was intended to be a story about which I knew a great deal of the background, as Fisheries Scientist and a diver to keep the action fast moving. I was writing a book for one of the most neglected, belittled and undervalued sectors of the population: the rural boy. In this case an Aboriginal boy who, first and foremost, is just a boy. He finds his roots in his ancestral home and traditional way of life – hunting and fishing, living off the land, learning responsibility, and the love of his heritage. Awful, Wally, just awful. The picture is a link – you can look inside and read a little more than Damian.

– which is fortunate, because sentences as thoroughly mangled and amateurish as Freer’s won’t be winning any prizes (at least I hope not).

Oh I hope this is as good Wally’s other predictions. I’m proud just to be there. But if you’d like to spoil his day you can go and vote for Larry Correia in Fantasy and me in YA. Wally would have to change his underwear if either of us won. He be pretty miserable if it eclipsed the Hugos too

Open with a strong start, they say; now read Changeling Island’s opening:

It had been the most terrifying, miserable day of Tim Ryan’s whole miserable life. He’d just done it to show Hailey. Because … because she said he was too scared. He was. Every time he tried anything it always went wrong. Horribly wrong. And he wasn’t a thief. Well, he didn’t want to be. It was one of the few thing things his dad ever really got angry with him about. And then he’d only been a little five-year-old kid helping himself to a chocolate bar in a store. But Hailey … she said … and he’d do anything to get her.”

In fairness … to Freer … pick any passage, from. Any Puppy author like Brad Torgersen or Sarah Hoyt and you will find … sentences … as mangled as these.

Well, I am in great company then! And John Wright a little later, too. Wally, I must explain this to you: why you’re such a failure and have sold almost nothing ever and I – at last count and not considering myself a success was closing on half a million sales – the purpose of English in a novel is to communicate successfully. To set the scene, to adequately foreshadow the previous ‘wars’ and get the reader rapidly into the mental space of the protagonist is hard. This is the viewpoint of a badly upset, slightly immature 14 year old. Sentence fragments are how he is thinking. It’s more logical and clear than Wally thought, so no wonder you were confused. The book was bought by an editor from a traditional publisher. The editor used to be an academic, teaching English Lit. I believe. It was copy edited by a retired English Prof, who sent me a lovely letter about it, Wally, asking if she could edit any others I wrote. Oddly, she never mentioned sentence fragments.

I’ve run out of time, to say nothing about nausea tablets – so I’ll leave Wally getting confused by John Wright out. As Wally found my writing aimed at a minimum 12 year old too hard, you understand why he’d wipe himself with 100 dollar notes and stick toilet paper in his pocket, when dealing with Wright.

I’ll leave with a last precious Wallyism from Damian Walter.

But the Sad Puppies don’t want any of their books to end up on bestseller lists or TV screens.

Oh. Dearie dearie me! If only I’d known I didn’t want that. I need a time machine. Larry probably needs two. Wally, you prat. I’ve been on several bestseller lists. I’ve even had that option offered. And yes, I still hope for more.

It’s the same frustrating paradigm that British MP Michael Gove hit upon when he said that people were sick of experts, or what Donald Trump plays upon when he rails against “professional politicians”. We’re seeing the Dunning-Kruger effect played out on a mass scale, and the Sad Puppies are just a speck in that wider problem.

A classic example of Wally. The diagnostic for Dunning-Kruger is that the Wally always claims everyone else is bad and thick and… oh a hack. And he is, of course, brilliant. The evidence – when you look at exam results, or actual measurable success, the Dunning-Kruger syndrome Wally comes last. He hasn’t sold any books. He is a failure. He doesn’t grasp the use of sentence fragments.

Now:You’ve read Damian Walter’s high opinion of his own genius. His results: well, he’s a total failure who can’t sell anything. Here is my bio. And I have sold around half a million books. I don’t think that’s particularly good.

112 thoughts on “A Wally for me!

  1. *round of slow and deliberate applause, followed by happy sigh*
    It’s been such a long time since I read a good-old-fashioned full-frontal Fisking like that.
    Please, sir – may we have another?

  2. Perhaps selling a half million books ain’t particularly good… so you should write more. I know there’s folks still asking me if you’ve got a sequel to TOM yet (I currently have the one distracted by Cuttlefish and her brother by Changeling’s Island. Adorable my godkids may be, but they go through books like, well, most of us Odds).

    1. I’m trying to bear down on it. I’ve been distracted by getting myself too tense for a week or so. I don’t worry much about myself – but Barbs or kids… Good for you on giving them those reads!

  3. In regards to his commentary on your book, Mr. Freer, I find it odd, although not unsurprising, that Mr. Walter is incapable of finding literary technique in a book aimed at pleasing the mass market, rather than pleasing the literati.
    Which, as you mentioned, says more about him than you.
    (Never mind the fact that, so far, the only person Owen Z. Pitt has disliked before they turned into a monster was the boss he threw out of a window.)

    1. Or that the character Owen really disliked in MHI (Grant) survived, and is the subject of Sarah’s fan fic.

        1. Sarah is getting paid for a MHI novel but she is also posting a non-canonic story.

          IIRC Grant isn’t a major character in the MHI novel but is the Main Character in her non-canonic story.

    2. I would not find it odd nor unsurprising if Damien proved incapable of finding his own buttocks with both hands.

    3. I think Owen (And others) has befriended more monsters than he has shot…if you exclude wights and zombies since brainless.

  4. I seem to remember Pournelle’s character also telling the Politician “Don’t fuck up or those deaths will be meaningless” (or words to that affect). 😉

    1. I think you’ve got it. Falkenberg, to the new president of Hadley. I forget the title. Might have been “The Mercenary.” Alternatively, “West of Honor.”

      1. Quoted from The Mercenary”

        Falkenberg looked at him grimly, then pointed to the bodies below. “Damn you, don’t say that!” he shouted. His voice was almost shrill. “I haven’t saved anything. All a soldier can do is buy time. I haven’t saved Hadley. You have to do that. God help you if you don’t.”

        End Quote

        1. As with TXRed that ending has stuck with me ever since I read it. It has also made me otherwise dislike other SF books that seem to end with a triumphant military victory and no hint as to how the resulting peace turns out.

        1. Or our own Civil War.

          This is one of the many ways Mr. Bush’s rhetorical ineptitude failed us all (He wasn’t even capable enough to delegate).

          If he’d called it The Reconstruction, maybe those poor Iraqis would’ve had a chance.

  5. Monkey,

    Couple of quick things.

    One: half a million is half a million more than I’ve sold (okay, I don’t write fiction… nevertheless!). Congratulations. Also, more Bolg, please?

    Two, and mainly: Dunning-Krueger has, of course, immediately become the intellectual’s insult of choice, and is being used to put down anything which the poster disagrees with. Generalizing from this: the downside of the speed-of-light propagation of useful concepts on the ‘net is that said concepts will immediately be stolen and mutated (active verb form) by the Red Queen and all like her on all sides of a discussion.

    Red Queen semantics are the reason (IMO) that actual discourse is dying/has died, in all unmoderated fora, and survives in moderated ones only to the extent that the mods are willing to put the ban-hammer to all violators without regard to the side they’re on. I’m not optimistic, because I see few cases where the mods (being human, and all) can fully dissociate their professional judgement from their philosophic orientation. There’s some research which supports the universality of this, sorry to say.

    –Phil, Insufficient Sun Bear (with thanks to Brown Kitty for the new moniker)

  6. Damien: “The icky awful people I hate suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect!”
    Me: *…stuck trying to decide between pointing out projection or modifying Inigo Montoya’s comment about people not understanding words. Decisions, decisions.*

      1. Well, especial kudos for going with a classic Juan Rico Race Reveal – I didn’t figure he was an Aborigine lad until the very end; I figured he was a very troubled boy with a troubled life, who needed his gramma’s tough love and a place to be him.

  7. The difference between the Hugos and the Dragons was that I was able to nominate works for all the categories of the latter without much difficulty (checking date of publication was the trickiest bit) whereas I had a horrible time finding anything I wanted to nominate in the shorter fiction categories of Hugo.

    Unsurprisingly when it came to voting the same applied. I had in fact read more than one entry in every book category (and in the Alt-Hist category I think I’d read all of them). The Hugos OTOH were a struggle if one was to vote intelligently and not mindlessly following a slate.

    I’m sure I’m very far from alone in this. I expect this will mean that the Dragons will get many many more votes than the Hugos did this year and that they’ll get more and more in the years to come. Meanwhile the Hugos will likely decay back to their mid 2000s levels of irrelevance where it took about 100 votes to get a nomination and a block of a few hundred to ensure victory

    1. I’m betting on the Hugos dropping to 20-30 votes to get onto the ballot, especially in minor categories. It’s also got a serious brand image issue. It’s dangerously close to becoming a variant of the lambda – An award that sells very well to its inner circle and is frankly the kiss of death out of that circle. It’s very dependent on the current and near future crop of Novel Hugos. Jemisin will polarize and loudly capitalize. She is possibly one of worst ‘labels’ to attach to the brand, because her appeal-group is very narrow, and IMO, likely to go down quite fast with the socio-political changes we’re facing.

  8. I suspect attending membership at WorldCon next year to be drastically lower, it’s Helsinki and Europeans don’t do cons the way we do. Given the fallout from this year supporting memberships will likely drop as well.
    I hear San Jose won the 2018 site, and who in their right mind would choose to set foot in the People’s Republic of California? I’m sure they’ll have a Hugo Award with all the oh so literary right thinking people in attendance, but by that time will anyone outside their small minded incestuous group even care?
    They won, they proved that they can still vote no award over deserving works by authors they detest. I’m sure that makes them feel empowered and special, but were I to offer any advice I’d have to say don’t give up your day jobs.

    1. Uncle Lar, the problem that WorldCon faces is that it’s really a series of seperate cons, attached a by loose bunch of regular organizers, and even those organizers have a couple of factions. Right now the SJW faction seems ascendant, and when you add that SJW infested local con group – you MACII. Helsinki and San Jose are unlikely to be any better. No one is really taking a long term or dispassionate view, and frankly, by the time the SJW (who are usually great at politics and terrible at organization or actually doing) get turfed, I suspect they could well be too late. The WorldCons have been shrinking (relative to population) and aging while others grew.

      1. I’m afraid you lost me with the “MACII” acronym. You… make a con into insignificance? You march against Carthage in itself?

        1. I thought of the Koenig Monster mecha from Macross Frontier (called the Mac II in Robotech, IIRC) but I doubt that’s what it means.

  9. I have to say, it is not just the other side that suffers from these problems. There was a Big Name Author who wrote a very condescending, very smug article a few days ago on Facebook, explaining why he was smarter than other similarly opinioned people on his side. Several people I know mentioned in a closed group on Facebook that they were tired of the condescension and that Big Name Author had lost them as readers. There has been a lot of fragmenting of our community in the last few months due to these issues. There is a large well of hard feelings, probably on both side, but I cannot speak for the same side as Big Name Author and company, since I don’t agree with them. I honestly wonder if the right-side of the political and literary divide is going to be able to survive. Folks aren’t necessarily saying anything, but they have long memories, and they are particularly upset that they are being attacked by people who should be erstwhile allies. It is a bad situation, and I think it is going to get worse. And the real kicker is that there appears to be nothing we can do about it.


    1. May I say a “What the actual fuck?” on “I honestly wonder if the right-side of the political and literary divide is going to be able to survive” — how do you compute?
      Most of us haven’t staked our careers on getting on with gatekeepers, and most readers don’t give a good goddamn about what you put on facebook (or a blog.) Most people just want books, and those sell indie for the right side of the divide because we’re a rare commodity. (Also because most of us don’t put that much politics into our writing. Message, sure, things like “Stand by your friends” and “be honest” but not politics.)
      You’re doing that thing where “centrists” say “both sides are just as bad” because that sounds all collected and over it all.
      What you’re failing to do is look at the underlying factors of the situation. Yeah, sure, some right wingers piss people off, but let’s talk about some of my friends that I’ve heard people say they’d never read them again because of this or that or other thing they said/did on social media: to mention two, I think MadMike and Larry Correia are STILL laughing all the way to the bank. I think 90% of the people who say “I’ll never read you again” have never read you and would never read you and are certainly not power readers.
      Don’t cry for me, left side of the divide. For me or for my friends. We don’t want control. We just want to make a living. And we’re doing all right.

      1. Funny thing. Best I can tell from my knothole the right, I assume that means Sad Puppy contingent, just wants the powers that be to honor their oft shouted claims of inclusivity. At the same time those in opposition have used slander and ad hominem attacks against the reputations and livelihoods of those they disagree with. I find any sort of centrist position to be highly problematical given those extremes.

    2. The right-side will do well enough in Indie if nowhere else. The left-side, on the other hand, had better hope their publishers’ parent companies don’t clean house and start expecting them to be profit centers.

    3. Okay, I’m faint but pursuing here. Of course both sides will alienate readers. But do you grasp the maths? The left (not the center or the right) make up 26% of the readers, but 99.4% (at least) of the Traditional publishing industry staff. By-in-large they allow those biases to control their buying – so traditional publishing is around 9 to 1 (at least) left wing. Being outspoken left wing helps (and may be essential) with most traditionally published authors. So: on facebook 90% of strongly worded political posts from authors are… left wing. 100% of political posts by publishing staff are left wing. Got that so far? Right, the traditional publishing industry has by PW figures been on a one way sales slide for years -at least 20. This has accellerated hugely with indie sales e-books which have been tracked by Hugh Howie’s Data Guy. Actual COPIES sold traditional publishing IIRC now is under 50%, and still falling. As there are no ideological gatekeepers, no one has been keeping the center and right out, and, certainly in some areas they sell very well. Baen, who sell books from across the spectrum have taken on staff and increased the number of books they sell per month.

      So: those 9 out of 10 left wing authors have 26% that agree with them. They are outspoken anyways. Being loud about it does not bring them many extra from the 26% – which they have to share among a large crowd. Think of it as cake. They had a whole cake to feed 10. Everyone got 1/10 or 10% of the cake – except that the left would not let the 1 right winger have any from the about 1/4 (26%) that was theirs. So they got his share, split between them, plus 10% each (10.25%), and he got about 7.5% Now they split ideologically. Left will only buy left, and right and center, only right and center. 9 of them must now make do with 26% -so their share drops to around 3.5% of the cake each. The other one who had 7.5%… now has 76%.

      How will he survive?

  10. So now it’s come down to incivility to mental defectives? Good, give ’em a bash for me…Wally deserves it.

    1. ‘Stupid’ is the new black for the left. The left can be as bigoted as it like about ‘stupid’. Only their stupid merely means ‘not agreeing 110% with us’- because anyone one smart doesn’t think for themselves, see.

  11. Dave, when you compare Damien’s actual credits (isfdb.org) with his cute little Guardian bio (self-written, I am sure) then look at how much he rants and raves against those of us who work for a living . . . it quickly becomes obvious that what we’re dealing with is a good old-fashioned jock-sniffer. The guy who hangs around the teams, the players, the locker room, and who desperately wants to be part of the scene, but doesn’t have the skills to compete.

    Also, I agree with Pam completely. The left wing really, really has to hope that trad pub’s belt doesn’t keep tightening.

    In the immortal words of Dan Aykrod’s character from the original Ghostbusters: “You’ve never worked in the private sector; I have! They expect results!”

    1. Now you almost make me feel sorry for Damien, considering we can all sympathize with not being able to reach the heights of a field we love.

      I almost feel sorry for him. Then I remember who you’re talking about.

      But I also have to consider the people and the organizations that gave him a platform and encouragement and some degree of praise for choosing the route of attacking others to hide his own shortcomings.

    2. Must be particularly cutting to know that what little praise he gets in the sub-set of his field is more than offset by the scorn from outside.

    3. Someone who spends his time critiquing the work of others while producing none of of his own clearly has nothing useful to say. Even worse when he actually accepted other people’s money to produce said work. The idea that somebody who actually works for a living had some of their salary taken and then allocated to this waste of oxygen is pathetic.

      1. He’s a bit like an eunuch, strutting around before the door to the harem, loudly telling everyone how it properly ought to be done … 😉

    4. You sell your soul (figuratively speaking) for a platform to spew malice on those you envy, only to find your malice has become increasingly ineffectual. That sounds like the textbook example of a devil’s deal.

    5. Brad said: “The left wing really, really has to hope that trad pub’s belt doesn’t keep tightening.” You’re telling me! And if it doesn’t tighten… I can’t see how it will survive.

  12. Good on you for wading through the Grauniad screed. I started and gave up. I’ve got a book for work I need to read that is s-l-o-o-w going because I am arguing with the author on average once a page (and this is not my specialty!!), and the WIP has decided to dump a large plot chunk on me the day before my other job really kicks into gear. I can’t afford to lose (more) brain cells.

  13. I haven’t read Damien’s actual article, I refuse to give The Grauniad any clicks. But if his screed is specifically saying that the Sad Puppies got Space Raptor on the short list one of us is mightily confused because I can’t find it on this list https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3xQY43MM8pKR3JSLUdrcGpGek0/view . That seems like a Rabid Puppies nom.

    I’m about to listen to the con-panel that Truesdale got booted for. But, if he didn’t actually physically assault someone I don’t see how they can boot him in good conscience after having all the fecal matter flying around last year’s con with no sanctions. I’ve already written off Tor and it’s affiliates. I’m perfectly willing to write off Worldcon as well.

    1. Telling the difference between two separate groups is beyond Damien’s mental capacity.

      1. In the comments to the article he claims the Sads/Rabids are the same people using two different names to appear to double the numbers.

          1. of course not, because to Damien’s poor little deluded head there cant possible be that many…

            1. You know Draven – I think you have got to the heart of it. They have this delusion that people who do not think like them are a very tiny minority, who yell loud (partly this is projection, I suspect, because it is just what they do). The truth is the inverse. A tiny number think just like them. They yelled, performed and lawyered and politiced to the point where few people would disagree with them, because… it just wasn’t worth it. They took the silence, and only their voices as meaning everyone agrees with us, There were very very few (and let’s face it, often pretty oddball) who didn’t get silenced.

              That also gradually started the silenced thinking they were alone, that there were few of them. But what has happened over the last few years – partly because of the internet, is that that has turned into a few drops, then a trickle, and now quite a good stream cutting into that dam of silence.

              They -the damians of left, believe their own hype. They don’t personally know anyone who isn’t either silenced or out-right left. And that’s what they believe: they’re huge and the foe is miniscule and unable to hurt them. If they believed otherwise – they’d mostly shut up.

        1. As with a lot of Leftist, he’s a People, and those who disagree with him are Not People.

        2. It’d be silly to insist that there is no overlap, but I’m pretty sure that taking out the people who are both would reduce the number by 1/10th at most. Probably considerably less than that.

    2. I used an Archive file – so no clicks for the Graun. Yes, he doesn’t differentiate. I doubt he knows. He’s a left wing rag journalist. They never research anything.

    3. I did listen to the audio Truesdale put up. I heard nothing, not a solitary thing, that would warrant expulsion. Clarke’s little verbal explosion seemed more out of line than anything I heard Truesdale say.

  14. “The idea that a super bright guy, and a commercial success – who is apparently really nice bloke…”

    Also very handsome, according to many females of my acquaintance. Everything Damien is not, in other words.

    “That piece of Con Admin stupidity is barely topped by Dave McCarty’s handing voters data to ‘researchers’ straight out of a Tor Books site.”

    Did you ever hear anything back from the Human Subjects people at Harvard on that? I’ve seen nothing further about their attempt to have their research published, though perhaps I missed it.

    1. I’d also be interested in what Harvard had to say. If they follow what is supposedly in their protocol, there could be a fecalmatterstorm a-coming.

  15. I’ve actually not read Monster Hunter… I started one in the middle of the series and got pulled in hard and decided to stop before I couldn’t because I probably ought to start at the beginning and not the middle. I couldn’t say a blessed thing about the prose involved.

    I have, however, read the Grimnoir series and also listened to it on audiobook. This also, as “Warbound”, was the series that Larry was nominated for the Hugo. It’s EASY not to notice Correia’s prose simply because it’s brilliant. It’s neither flowery nor contrived nor blunt nor utilitarian. His prose changes “voice” with the POV character with subtlety and mastery that any of us could merely hope ever to figure out that we were even *supposed* to try to do. It’s efficient. It’s elegant.

    His *prose* deserves a Hugo.

    His plotting, character development, depth… the pure creativity involved in winding all the threads together… the skill with which he pulls the reader from one outlandish situation to another more dire and more extreme *without ever dropping you*…

    His *story* deserves a Hugo.

    And if I think about this too much I’ll give up my own aspirations as a clear lost cause because who could actually be that good?… Or maybe I should go see if I can find something by “Wally” to read, so I feel more capable in comparison. It’s always encouraging to think, “Hey, even *I* can do better than that!

    1. Okay… I must be unsophisticated but I tend to think of things like Faye taking out an Imperium aerial battleship in about 4 minutes. 😉

      1. That’s flyover Biblethumper Dolph Lundgren fan thinking.
        Real authors would have Faye spending most of the book contemplating her vajayjay and stuff.

        1. I’m sure she contemplates it at some point. Offscreen, most likely – since no one else would care.

          1. Sorry, but the way Faye is, I’d see her saying “Yeah. I got one. But I can kill you with my brain. So NYAH!”

      2. Patrick, I’m not normal. But it’s one thing for readers to get off the ride at the end all breathless with their heart pounding and quite another for people who *claim* to have a literary clue to be entirely clueless about the skill and mechanics involved in seemlessly changing their writing voice between POV characters in 3rd person.

        My kids use the term “salty” these days. Someone who claims to have a clue about *writing* claiming that Larry doesn’t write master level prose because he read the the first page of an author’s first self-published book makes me *salty*.

        Some things are *objectively* true. There’s no matter of opinion. Opinion is… I *liked* this story or I didn’t *like* this story because it’s My Thing or Not My Thing. The old “the quality of the writing (or movie, etc.) is inversely related to the number of explosions” thing is funny… unless you actually believe it. And there are plenty of people who do believe it because it affirms their special value.

        Salty… yeah, it makes me salty.

            1. When I hear “salty” (besides types of food), I think “salty” language. (IE foul language).

            1. As I said: Old. Can’t keep up with the slang the whippersnappers keep making up. 😀

                1. I’m reminded of that image of Steve Buscemi trying to pretend to be a fellow kid, though I haven’t seen the show or movie he does that in.
                  “How do you do, fellow kids?”

                  I suspect I’d look something like that. Maybe I can embarrass my nephew by doing that some point before he graduates. 😀

  16. Dave’s prose is elegant, flexible, and complex.

    I’m usually having too much fun to notice what Sarah’s done or not, which simply means she’s done it well.

    1. Dave’s prose is studied and learned, and he’s not very good at it (or he thinks himself inadequate.). I’m a scientist by nature: I ran my writing through every writing tool and read as much as I could and researched and took notes, back when I started. I wasn’t just bad, I was terrible. My readability index was horrendous – Year 12 +9 post-grad. In other words: confusing, badly written. I had to learn to write accessibly. I will never match those to whom it is natural, but I work at it all the time.

      1. I said nothing at all about your prose being *natural*. 😉

        But you know, it’s particularly encouraging to know that authors who are particularly good at something had to *work* at it. It gives the rest of us hope.

      2. I stumbled across Tristam Shandy and was, like, OMG!, that’s how I write! My unofficial work goal is to use every punctuation mark in every email. It doesn’t make for a readable novel. Maybe it’s time for a new goal: Only use periods. (See what I did there? I can’t help myself; it’s a habit, now.)

      3. I wouldn’t say that ‘natural’ is all that some claim it to be. I find your stories entertaining (#1 requirement) and readable (#2 requirement). Whether writing such stories comes naturally or you have to work at it is irrelevant. This is one of those areas where the ends definitely justifies the means, because I couldn’t care less (as a reader) if you struggled mightily with each word or comma so long as the finished product is good.

  17. After looking closely at Damien’s arguments and the examples he chose to support them, I have to conclude this isn’t a matter of stupidity – no one could possibly be that stupid or that dense. He’s deliberately and maliciously lying. No doubt of that. But the lies are so easy to disprove. In some cases no research is needed at all, as the opening of Changeling Island, obviously a stylistic choice.

    But I have to wonder: what’s Damien thinking?

    I just can’t fathom some people, but that doesn’t make them deep.

    1. Bob – there is no doubt at all about the ‘deliberate and malicious lie aspect — this is part of salting the enemies fields and poisoning their wells – standard puppy-kicker modus operandi. Attack our livelihoods, smear our characters etc. All 100% justifiable in an ideological war – to them (we come back to the whole puppies are not humans). I don’t (having read some of his other attempts at writing) rate Damian as either competent or intelligent – well connected I suspect. But then, he doesn’t have to be, just as he doesn’t have to do any research. His chosen audience wouldn’t question him if he said we ate live babies and dragged homosexuals behind trucks after church. Like the file 770 crowd they’re there to join in the hate-fest, not to think. Glyer selectively quotes to deceive endlessly – and his entire crew have a pile on… but if 10 readers come here to actually follow the link and read the context… that’s twice as many as usual. Damian’s audience all think they’re smart, smarter than us. Just don’t test them, or worse, math. They’re pack followers enjoying a sneer and totally uncritical about it – because they don’t want to doubt.

      1. Because they think it’s a good hate to join in on. We’re so evil and icky in their eyes so they think we deserve whatever lie, insult, etc. they fling at us.

        Meanwhile Palpatine has stopped cackling and is like: “Woah, you need to tone down on the hate.”

      2. The worst insult I can think of giving to someone is to tell them “You are a liar, and the truth is not in you.” (Which comes from the Bible, in 1 John 2:4). Which is what I have had to conclude about both Damian Walter and Mike Glyer — and I have recently had to add Camestros to that list as well, having finally seen first-hand what he writes when he’s not trying to hide his opinion of the Puppy movement.

        1. Robin – that is them. They are liars, everything they say has a core of dishonesty to it. Some of them at least know full well that they’re doing something foul. But it’s always ‘for a good cause’. When you look hard at their ‘good cause’ that too almost always turns out to be a lie.

    2. He’s thinking people will believe his claims without examining them. That’s true for some, but not all.

        1. Do you mean his own faction or is he presuming those icky “others” are completely uniform?

          1. I mean his own faction, though he seems to presume that the ‘others’ out there are also monolithic and someone’s sycophants and dupes.

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