It has been quite some time since I have felt the need to rip apart someone else’s blog post. Well, except when it comes to politics. Usually, I can step away from a blog I don’t agree with, telling myself that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. However, yesterday my attention was directed to a blog that was so filled with half-truths, inaccuracies and more that it left me no choice but to respond. The source material will be in italics, my comments will follow.

What Happened To The Sad Puppies? In 2015 the Sad Puppies were a presence in SF and in culture in general.  In 2016 the Sad Puppies became almost a nonentity.  All through the year it was the Rabids that drove the show and that hurt both the Sad Puppies And possibly the future of Sf in the long term.

Wow, I guess the OP forgot about the years leading up to 2015, years when Larry Correia led the SPs and had the other side foaming at the mouth. Years when the SPs were much more in your face than they were in 2015 under Brad Torgersen, who happens to be one of the nicest guys around. He forgot that, while Brad did engage with the other side, he did so only after he — and his family — were attacked. The OP also seems to have forgotten that Vox Day and his Rabid Puppies made their appearance in 2015, hijacking much of the movement and muddying the waters for so many who weren’t intimately familiar with what the SPs were after, leading people to think the two groups were basically the same. The OP also forgot that, no matter how hard Brad and others tried to make it clear SPs had nothing to do with RPs, it didn’t work. But, I guess if he mentioned that, it wouldn’t fit his narrative that Kate somehow failed.

Also, how in the hell did Kate and SP 2016 possibly hurt the future of SF in the long term? The Hugos are a non-starter for most fans of the genre. You walk into any bookstore or library and ask readers of the genre, or of any genre, if they could name a Hugo winner (or even a nominee) and the vast majority will be unable to. Those who can will probably tell you that they run from books that have won the award because those stories quit being entertaining years ago.

I think that the problem is that Kate Paulk, when she took over leadership didn’t understand what she was getting herself into. I think that she thought that if she had a more moderate approach that the kind of beating around that the Sad Puppies got in 2015 would be moderated.  I’m not sure what led her to believe that, but there was.

Ah, here we go. The “I think” or “I believe” excuse so many bloggers and journalists — and I use that term loosely — use to avoid having to actually do their homework. Did the OP actually go to Kate to ask her if his “beliefs” were right? Nope. He did not. I guaran-damn-tee you that he not only didn’t talk to Kate but that he didn’t talk to any of the rest of us who know what her thought process was. I know because I am one of those who were involved in the discussions about who would take over the leadership of SPs last year and what tact should be taken. Kate knew quite well what she was getting into and she knew — and discussed with the rest of us — the approach she would take.

Then there was the launch of the Sad Puppies site, the nominations and then, nothing.  For months no reviews, no blog entries, nothing. It’s not as if she was off line either.  Yet for months she left the stage empty except for the Puppy Kickers and Vox.   I’m not sure why but it may be that she was hoping to avoid conflict.  Or she just got busy and could not give Sad Puppies the attention it deserved.  Yet there weren’t even any blog posts on either the Sad Puppies blog or the Mad Genius Club.

First of all, SP has never been a 24/7, 365 day a year obligation. Second, there were posts on MGC. Third, I guess the OP thinks being online is the only way to get the message out. He seems to ignore the fact that Kate went to cons. She used face-to-face conversations to discuss with those who had been sitting on the fence, even those who opposed SPs in the past to get the message across. She showed that we weren’t all frothing at the mouth as we had been depicted. But that, too, doesn’t fit the OP’s narrative. Whether it is because he ignored her posts about what she was doing — as well as the guest post and comments by some of those she spoke with — I don’t know.

Here’s something else OP seems to ignore. The Sad Puppies movement was aimed initially at pointing out the bias in nominating and awarding the Hugo Awards. That takes place over a small portion of the calendar year. Kate announced Sad Puppies 4 officially on May 19, 216. However, a quick search of the MGC archives using only one key term and not the various short hands we have come to use for Sad Puppies, finds at least 2 more posts by Kate about Sad Puppies. But OP says she didn’t blog about them. Sigh.

So, in the interest of accuracy, I went to Brad’s site and looked to see when he announced SP3. His intorductory post is Jan 7, 2015. Kate announced SP4 September 2015. That would be some months sooner, in the grand scheme of things, than Brad.

OP then spends time, after saying Kate didn’t give us reviews, etc., quoting others who take issue with her reviews of the Hugo nominees. Kate did more than most who were telling people who to vote for. She read everything in the Hugo packet and gave her honest opinions. But that obviously isn’t enough, especially since OP quotes notoriously anti-puppy sites to back his stance.

Essentially as result of inactivity the Puppies left the field to Vox and “Raptor Butt invasion.”  Which was funny for a while, but after a while you realize that it’s puppy butt that’s being invaded.

OMFG. I don’t know whether to beat my head against the wall or the OP’s. That statement is not that much removed from that of the other side telling SPs they had to denounce Vox or it proved we were all cut from the same cloth. One thing those of us closely involved with the Sad Puppy movement learned in 2015 is that there is nothing anyone can do to rein in Vox. We would have had Raptor Butt no matter what. Vox will do what he wants, when he wants and he doesn’t give a flying fuck who he bumps against in the process.

The problem is that if there any desire to keep the Hugo Awards as anything other than a pissing contest between the vilest people in SF, we Puppies failed miserably.  The Rapids dominated the noms and the Kickers “No Awarded” every thing in sight, again. Both sides followed by crowing victory, when in fact everybody lost.

See, here is the biggest problem with OP’s post. He thinks that Sad Puppies is about saving the Hugos. It isn’t. I’m not sure it ever was. It was about showing how the Awards have been manipulated and ruled over by a very small group of Fans, folks who don’t want the unwashed masses joining in their little club. The Hugos were effectively dead, at least to most fans, long before Larry started Sad Puppies. It is in its death throes now. Don’t believe it? Look at the rules changes that are being proposed and those that have been passed. Fans with a capital “F” want to to make sure they continue to control the awards. Most real fans aren’t going to pay the price of even an associate membership just to vote. Why should they when they can buy a number of books for the same price?

I don’t know about you, but I would rather buy 8 – 10 e-books than spend money to be able to vote one time for an award where the inner circle thinks I’m not worthy of taking part.

The fact is that when you are in the culture wars you can never let up and you never, ever say you are sorry.  I think that Kates more modest approach and attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable only fed the beast.  The failure to create any buzz or even respond just made things worse.  The biggest issue to me is that, for months, Kate never asked for any help, any blog posts, nothing.  She embarked on no politicking and can’t find any evidence of any activity other than setting up a safe space at Worldcon for the yet again no awarded nominees.  For her approach, in the end the Sad Puppies got nothing tangible, no respect, no handshake and no attempts to meet the Puppies half way. The fact is that in the end as little as I like to say this, it turns out that Vox and the Rabids were right.

Ah, there it is. He drank the kool-ade. Because he couldn’t find something, he assumed it wasn’t there. Again, he ignored the cons Kate went to and all the folks he talked with. He ignored the fact that she did exactly as she said she would and that many folks applauded her for it, people who never would have supported SPs otherwise. Why did they support us? Because we were the face of reason in a sea of insanity. But that doesn’t fit the narrative. Sigh, nothing any of us say will change his mind — as is obvious by his comment that it didn’t gain respect, handshakes, etc., and yet a simple search of comments here on MGC and in social media will show the opposite. But, I guess if you aren’t screaming it from the rooftops, it never happened.

At least the war was not only reliant on the efforts of the Puppies, either Sad or Rabid.  Somebody took the Puppy Kickers advice to heart and with DragonCon, came up with awards that returned the emphasis to fans and readers rather than a small clique of people dependent on the fading traditional publishing and the poor stuff that they had been putting up for awards.

Here’s why I started laughing. OP has spent pages telling us how the Puppies failed under Kate to take the Hugos and save them. Now, all of a sudden, he has fled from the Hugos and is applauding the Dragon Awards. Note how he loves that the Dragons took the awards directly to the fans and away form a “small clique of people”. Yes, he added the descriptor they were dependent on trad publishing, etc., but let’s be honest. Sad Puppies is also a relatively small clique, at least when you look at the greater picture of how many people love the genre.

As far as this goes, the Hugos are dead, The Puppies didn’t kill them, they were dead when Larry started the Puppies. The Hugos were dead because nobody cared anymore.  The Hugos died because the small clique that had expense accounts from their employers and could go to WorldCon after WorldCon nominated the kind of stuff that pulled further and further away from what the readers really wanted.  That is death to an award that is supposed to represent the opinions of the readers.  Unfortunately all the WorldCon types wanted was an echo chamber and little hood ornaments on their shelves to appease their egos.

So, if the Hugos are dead, why has the OP spent so much time condemning Kate? I’m confused.

Maybe if Kate had actually been more proactive things might have been different.

Oh, I get it now. He must think Kate is a necromancer. I guess she had some arcane power to revive an award he said was dead even before Larry started the Sad Puppy movement. Wow! I never knew Kate had that sort of power. Apparently, she could have saved the Hugos in one year when a best selling author and the Powder Blue Care Bear with a Flame Thrower couldn’t in 3 years.

If only she had asked for more help if she thought she needed it, if even to just keep up a weekly Sad Puppies blog post.  I’m sure that there were those of us who would have been willing to do more.  In the end though, I doubt that any minds would have been changed.  So let Vox continue his games, that is if he hasn’t found bigger targets to play with.  In any case, like so much that the progressives have taken over, the Hugos and what was the science fiction establishment are dying. The plain fact is that what they had to sell, nobody wanted to buy.  They should have read their Heinlein and tried to understand what he was talking about when he said, :”We are writing for Joe’s beer money and Joe likes his beer. It’s our obligation to give him at least as much fun from our books as he’d  get from a six pack.”

Ah, here we are again with the vague assumptions and passive-aggressive condemnations. I ask again, if the Hugos were already dead and a best selling author could not save them in 2 years of battling with the powers that be, what was Kate supposed to do in a single year? Why weren’t these criticisms leveled against Larry or Brad for not saving the Hugos?

The puppy kickers have forgotten, in the corporate, commoditized, NYC bubble that they live in, that simple fact.  Science fiction fails when it tries to be something it’s not.  Much of the old pulp stuff is available online for free and before sneering at what the Puppies were talking about, the kickers should read the stuff that already has met the “six pack test.” The fact is that there’s a lot of competition for that beer money and if Joe doesn’t like what you are plumping out at eight bucks a pop, Joe is putting his money some place else.  That’s the essence of the Puppy message and that’s what the Puppies need to  keep repeating.  We need to do better, much better next time.

This one paragraph is something I can agree with, mostly. Yes, the other side should read and figure out why we love those old stories. There is an entertainment factor they have forgotten about, just as they have forgotten that the Hugos were meant to be a fan award. Instead, they want it to be a literary award. They have worked for years to make it one. That is what is killing the award.

Whether the OP wants to admit it or not, the Sad Puppies movement has won. It brought attention to a number of authors who never would have made the Hugo nominee list. SP4 was particularly good about it by opening the process up and letting people post their recommendations to the list — something that went on for months before Hugo nominations opened.

Ask yourself this. What is more important: reclaiming an award that means nothing to most fans of the genre or expanding the awareness of the genre and authors within it to those fans and to bring in new fans in the process?


It is so very easy to sit back and criticize someone when you haven’t walked in their shoes. Kate announced from the beginning what she was going to do. She was going to have an open and transparent process where people recommended works they felt should be nominated for the Hugos. She collected those recommendations on the website and then collated them and presented those with the most recommendations for everyone’s consideration. She used social media to promote SP4 and she took the hits, and there were many, from the other side. She spent her own money to go to cons and make the case for SP4 in person.

No one who has been involved behind the scenes with Sad Puppies thought it would be a quick skirmish. Far from it. The question has always been, can the Hugos be saved with a sub-question of “should they?”. I’m not sure they can be saved, whether we think they should be or not. As long as a small group of Fans think they are better than the fans who put money into the pockets of authors and artists, as long as they refuse to admit indie published works can be as good — or better — than traditionally published works, and as long as they refuse to admit that the Hugos were meant to be a fan award, they will continue to disenfranchise most fans of the genre.

Sad Puppies 1 – 3 beautifully pointed out, and proved, the pettiness in Fandom. Sad Puppies 4 continued what Brad started with Sad Puppies 3, the ourtreach to those fans who didn’t understand what was going on. Fans who had been drawn in by the outrageous rhetoric from the other side started looking closer at Sad Puppies when Brad and his family were attacked. They started listening closer when Kate engaged only when she was forced to. So explain how, when Kate reached out and made connections with people how had never before considered backing the Sad Puppies, she failed in her job?

There is more to this battle than whipping out your dick and proving it is bigger than the other guy’s. Kate understood that. We should be thanking her for taking on the job instead of condemning her because she didn’t do “the job” the way someone else wanted her to.

Before anyone starts throwing stones at this post, be sure you aim them at me. I’m springing this on my fellow MGCers at the same time I spring it on you.

65 thoughts on “Really?

  1. the SP campaigns got me involved in Hugo voting, (in support in case you ask) and I will say that I was disappointed with how things went this year.

    When the leaders of the SP say that they are not going to be voting the SP recommendations, it really guts the process. The SP are not supposed to be “Hugo Primaries”, they are supposed to be a recommendation list.

    From watching it, it looks like this year Kate tried to appease the anti-puppies by not making any actual recommendations and barely expressing her opinions (especially before the nominations)

    That’s not what we (the SP voters) were looking for. We weren’t looking for a slate to vote on in lock-step, but we were looking for real recommendations of things that we could be expected to like. Not a uncurated tally of Internet votes.

    I posted a year ago that Kate should make recommendations for more than 5 items per category, and that the website should randomize them each time they are viewed to address the claims that it was a slate.

    But that still would have been a set of recommendations that she felt would appeal to the tastes of the SP. Instead she provided no taste/judgement at all in the list.

    1. Kate did NOT wish to constrict the “recommends” to “appeal to sad puppies.” And she said what we’ve always said “read and decide.” You wanted a “slate” go to the rabbids or to Locus, or any of the other people who give you rigid slates you vote on without reading.

    2. Rapid Puppies adequately addressed what you now claim to desire. There was sorting for taste. Look how pretty much no one endorsed my trolling suggestions for categories with very few nominations. If people had actually voted for it, we could have gotten some in very bad taste events nominated for 1940s related works.

    3. My first question is where any leader of SP said they wouldn’t vote SP recommendations. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but I don’t recall it. Besides, there is a difference between recommendations and slate. That is something the other side still doesn’t understand. A book I might enjoy and recommend might not strike you the same way. Just because I recommend it should not mean you have to vote for it.

      As for Kate trying to appease the other side, nope. She did basically the same thing Brad did, just a little bit more in the open. She let people post their suggestions to the SP blogsite. That way, anyone and everyone who wanted to check it out could. It was part of the transparency she wanted and we all agreed with.

      Funny that you say it isn’t what puppies wanted, especially when you consider that most of the recommendations came from those who have supported the puppies from the beginning. Why should it have been a curated list? Conversely, in a way, it was just that — why? Because it was recommended by people who believed the books they suggested met the SP “target”.

      Your last two paragraphs continue to suggest that Kate should have made the decision about what books to recommend. The fallacy with that approach is you left it to only one person to decide what should be nominated. Part of the whole SP movement was to show that there are more people interested in the genre, and who want different sorts of books nominated, than those who comprise Fandom (as opposed to fandom). Had she done that, she would have played directly into the opposition’s hands and would have proven it was a slate — because the books had been chosen by only one person.

      1. To be fair, I did state openly that what I nominated and later voted wouldn’t necessarily match what was on the list, because the list was intended to be the crowd-sourced view of what should be nominated or win, and my perspective is a little odd.

        Of course, that’s not quite the same thing.

        1. The problem is that a list of suggestions from random people on the Internet, with no idea of who they are or what their tastes are is not a ‘sad puppies’ list, it’s a ‘sad puppies, + rabid puppies, + SJW + ????” list that can trivially be gamed.

          Kate would have been foolish to say that she would vote/nominate to match the list, because she didn’t have any control of what was on the list

          SP2 and SP3 were very attractive in that they did involve a person’s taste, and I found that it largely matched mine, so items on the list that I hadn’t read became must-read items.

          When it’s just a list from the Internet, that drops away. and it becomes less valuable than the other lists that are out there.

          The Rabid puppies don’t march what I am looking for, because they are picking things specifically to be offensive, not because they are good reads.

          There’s no way to have a ‘completely open’ voting process because there is no way to define who is a SP and have only them vote.

          Having a completely open suggestion list is a great idea. But just tallying votes and calling the results the “Sad Puppies recommendations” is not. The SP leaders should read the suggestions and make their recommendations.

          1. You’re missing the fundamental point that the SP “leaders” aren’t rulers in the way you seem to want. They’re more administrators and sort-of “shepherds” trying to get everyone talking and thinking about the same thing, the SF works they think best and most deserving of recognition. But they’re certainly not trying to dictate what those works are. That’s what got the Hugo cognoscenti in trouble in the first place.

            1. No, I am not looking for the leaders to be dictators saying “you must vote for this”

              I AM however, looking for the leaders to provide judgment.

              if the mood struck them, the file770 folks or the RP could come over here and override all the SP suggestions, and make the resulting SP list say anything they wanted.

              If I go looking for the “SP recommendation list”, I want a list of things that appeal to SP, or at least that appeal to the SP leaders. I don’t want to find a list of things that appeal to the anti-puppies who decided to game the list.

              The only value in having a “recommended” list is the taste of whoever makes the list. If the taste is applied by the SP leaders, then I have a way of evaluating the probability that I’ll like the stuff and it’s useful. If the taste is applied by $random-internet person, then I have no reason to trust the resulting recommendation and spend my money.

              No one person can possibly read all the books released in a year. so having an absolutely open suggestion list is a very good thing.

              I just don’t like that being the end of it.

              Last year Kate posted her opinions of the nominees, and that was valuable, but the SP list without such commentary was far less valuable.

              I just want there to be taste applied to the suggestion list other than “more $self-selected-random-people voted for this”

              1. We get it, you want to be led. As to the value of a recommended list, yes, it’s the taste of whoever makes the list. But that “whoever” isn’t the SP leader, it’s all of us who contribute to the list. If you’re afraid that such a list might be co-opted by those who have it in for the SPs, then you don’t really know much about the SP leaders you seem otherwise to be imbuing with some super-taste-powers. It would (and will) be fairly easy to recognize efforts to subvert the process, and the SP adherents would be quick to point out those efforts and to counteract them. But being told what to do by our “leaders?” You really don’t get it if you think that would be a winning tactic.

              2. The problem with one person saying this is the list of “recommendations” and not giving at least consideration to what others have said is that it then falls right into the hands of the other side. They will claim, as they did with Brad and to a lesser extent Kate, that it is a slate. Then there is the fact that no one with Sad Puppies is trying to be exclusive when it comes to saying what is or is not good. I know a number of supporters of Sad Puppies who liked the Ancillary books. I detested them. It is a matter of personal taste. We trust our readers to actually look at the blurbs for the books recommended and even look at the samples before buying or borrowing them.

                And I am going to take it one step further. Sure, having a curated list with comments on every book would be great. But where is one person, or even several people, going to find the time to do that as well as do their regular job and have time for the family. Who is going to pay for them to read all the books that might actually be “worthy”? That is why having people recommend and then compiling a list of most recommended books helps.

                Look, it comes down to this. Kate did a great job. If you think it could be done better — and the “you” here is anyone — then start your own movement/list/whatever you want to call it. No one is stopping you.

                1. One method which has made the NESFA recommended list more valuable to me (and, I believe, to others), but which does not involve significant extra work for the list maintainer is that, along with the recommendations, the list contains the names of the people recommending each specific work. And, while initially, that’s only of limited value, over the years it becomes much more valuable. You have people who have been recommending works on this list for more than two decades. And, by looking over the things they have recommended, and your personal reactions to those works, then you become better able to decide how valuable a given recommendation is *to you*. It might be that you find you tend to enjoy the works a given person has recommended in the past, so you’re more likely to try reading the work than if it’s been recommended by someone who has a history of recommending works you don’t like.

                  It means you have both a count of recommendations, and a good start on figuring out the value of those. It takes time to refine that value — a new recommender doesn’t have a history for you to determine how close to that person’s taste yours falls — but I know that my taste is much closer to some people than others (and have decades of samples to base that opinion on), so I know which recommendations I value the most.

                  It is still some extra work — the maintainer needs to keep not only a count, but a list of names — but it adds a lot of useful information. And note that, while the NESFA list uses real names, there’s no such requirement to gain significant benefits, so long as the individual recommenders are consistent in what name they use.

                  1. I agree completely. Finding reviewers and recommenders with track records of liking the things you like and not liking the things you don’t is an extremely useful thing. And if said reviewers come to be generally known as being able to reliably drive sales for works they like, they’ll probably be proactively approached by authors to review their books.

  2. It hardly mattered what Kate did. As long as it wasn’t abject surrender, the Usual Suspects were going to claim SP4 was a monstrous evil and libel its supporters.

    1. Yep, as they did. I think Kate did a remarkable job because she won over a number of supporters who looked at how the two sides were conducting themselves and realized where the attacks and lies were coming from — and it wasn’t coming from SP4.

  3. But, but, but political ad hominem!

    One explanation for why one might ignore prior Sad Puppies to focus on criticizing the most recent is misogyny. Another is as a transparent pretense to even-handedness. A third might be the appearance of weakness.

    That last might be mitigated by finding a spokesman to forthrightly claim that all opposition to Dear Mister Trump, and hence to our historic first illegal alien First Lady, is driven by nativism, and nativists are subhuman worse than scum.

    This human decency stuff about not wanting to exacerbate political stresses represents the worst of retrograde counter-puppyist thought.

    1. actually, that site has said good things about the SP in the past and was very upset about the wooden assholes from last year.

      complaining about how the SP were run this year doesn’t mean that the person is opposed to the prior years, or opposed to the SP at all. Just that he (and I) feel that the effectiveness was significantly lower this year.

  4. I would like the point that I was involved in most of it while it happened and was keeping a record of most of it. Also when I say “I believe” or “I think” I am expressing an opinion. As for asking Kate about anything, have you forgotten that I had been kicked out of the Diner as a result of a shunning attack that was far out of reason, compassion, justice or mercy. A shunning attack that you were a part of, Amanda. I doubt that Kate would want to talk to me under nay circumstances. But I suppose you can ban me here too, if it makes you happy.

    1. John, you were not involved in the behind the scenes discussions. So don’t try to say you were. As for asking Kate for her input before you wrote your post, there is such a thing as email. You are making Kate out to be a much more vindictive person than she could ever be — and you are the one who violated Diner rules. I will not discuss that issue further because, as you well know, what happens in the Diner is supposed to stay in the Diner.

      Also, I note yet again that you have not addressed the fact that you spent most of your post saying Kate failed and she should have done this and that — and then you said the Hugos were dead long before she headed up SP4. Did you attack Larry and Brad when they failed to resurrect your beloved Hugos? Or did you attack this time only because it was Kate and you obviously have a problem with her?

    2. Translation: I would like to promote the impression that I’m an insider vice a hanger on.

      No, you weren’t even close to involved. Had you been, you could have emailed Kate directly, and asked for a few comments for your blog post. You do have her email address, right?

      Instead, you once again try to paint yourself as a victim, while pointedly ignoring that it was your violation of the rules that got you the boot, and using your alleged victimhood as an excuse for an unwarranted attack on Kate and refusing to do your research to back up your claims.

      How transparent.

    3. John, you were following the public face while it happened. You weren’t involved in the private discussions where I thrashed out with a handful of trusted friends just how I wanted to approach the campaign and why.

      You’re welcome to disagree with what I did, but please don’t try to imply you were a privileged insider. People who know otherwise will assume you’re lying when you’re more likely being a little less careful with your wording than you could be.

      More to the point, I’m seriously disappointed that you think I’m so petty as to ignore you or worse over what from my perspective was you having a really, really bad day, being apparently unable to accept anything except complete agreement or praise as a result of said really really bad day, and completely misinterpreting helpful advice as an attack.

      The matter of the private group is more a case of you discussing a discussion topic (any discussion topic) from a private forum in a venue that wasn’t that forum. That action is a no-excuses banning offence in every private forum I belong to.

      It seems like you’re having another really bad day – that or you have issues with people disagreeing with your interpretation of events.

      I will say that I chose my timing deliberately, and I chose my method and objectives equally deliberately. I was not out to “win” the Hugo Awards back from the Evil SJWs. I wanted more people to realize that yes, if they so chose, they could participate. That goal was met.

      I wanted to build a recommendation list that was not in any way “mine” and had a wide variety of interesting works on it. That goal was met.

      I wanted to present Sad Puppies as primarily fellow fans who just happened to have different ideas about what constituted great science fiction and fantasy. That goal was met. I’ve gained several friends from that, and gained the respect of the people who saw that I wasn’t simply trolling for recognition: I did the hard work of attending the WorldCon and the WSFS Annual General Meeting, speaking there and showing respect for the proceedings. Showing, in short, that I might not have agreed with the majority views in a number of cases but I respected the people there as people.

      The heated rhetoric of the last few years has allowed that simple method of reconciliation (and, not incidentally, sabotaging extremism) to be lost. I tried to reclaim it a little by walking the walk.

      I freely admit to being the world’s worst publicist. The net marketing ability of the world will increase when I die. That said, I tried. I accepted the help offered with thanks. I listened to the advice I was given, and if it fitted with my goals for the campaign and seemed like it would be helpful, I used it. I appreciated all of that and still do.

      Please be more careful with your wording so people don’t get the idea that you’re just another person looking for reasons to rip into something you aren’t prepared to work on yourself, because right now – no matter what you actually meant – you’re in grave danger of convincing people of exactly that.

      1. Kate, I’m sorry that people think that people think I was an insider when I said that I was there for most of it. I meant that I was keeping a record about what people did. I understand what you were trying to do and why. The problem was that I knew then and now that just getting along was not going to work. I have been watching those people for too long. Trust me regardless of how I felt about the Diner issue, I went to a large effor to make sure that what I was talking about was more or less correct. Then I sat on the post to see if things changed. I looked at pages of stuff on 770, which took hours of going through the crap that’s there. I looked for, and linked ot just about every news story I could. Most vile of all I went and looked at Vox’s page. sometimes to fight extremism and everywhere you looked extremism was prevailing you have to demonstrate that you hare prepared to give as good as you get. There is probably no better and moderate person than Brad. Yet right from the start he as hit with the vilest stuff imaginable from the Puppy Kickers. Look if you needed help with a publicist I could have helped, not myself, but real experts and the right personality types. I’m terrible at that sort of stuff, but I’m a lot better than I was and I have friends who live that sort of stuff. To certain extent I’m a little annoyed that I was not more forward about putting myself forward. I don’t think that I was the only one. The fact is that the field was left to the extremes because it was essentially surrendered.
        As for willingness to work forward, I want things to improve and I’m willing to make some effort. Otherwise why, do the post at all? The problem is that sometimes you have, even if you don’t like it very much to address issues to resolve them. Attending WorldCon was great, and attending the business was important. Still the Kicker got their EPH for all the good it’s going to do them.
        Kate I know that you’ve been going to Lunacons for years. You’ve seen the Kickers close up and ugly back before the Puppies were even a gleam in Larry’s eye. Those are NOT nice people and I’ve never seen them, in over two decades of Lunacons ever see them be moderate in anything. I haven’t.

      2. In many ways, I’d say that Kate was successful with SP4.

        She made it visibly clear that there weren’t generic “Puppies”, but two groups, one of which, the Sad Puppies, were very much a group of people within fandom whose goal was to try to promote works that they liked, and do so in ways totally within the spirit of historic fandom. So it’s clear that the Sad Puppies list is another recommendation list, just like the Locus list, or the NESFA list, or any one of the many recommendation lists, and that the people responsible for that list are clearly acting as part of the community.

        And her voice was clearly expressed on significant matters at the Business Meeting, and received with the same respect as that of any other member. The Business Meeting voted for some things that she (and I, and last year’s Hugo Administrator, and many others) thought were unwise — but did so after her opinion was clearly stated, and listened to, even if it was not sufficient to carry the room. But she, as a clearly Sad Puppy identified person, was treated with respect by the meeting, and not as an outsider trying to destroy the Hugos.

        And, when she said, “Showing, in short, that I might not have agreed with the majority views in a number of cases but I respected the people there as people.” — I hope it was clear that the opinion was reciprocated. She (and, though her, the Sad Puppies in general) gained the respect of many members of the community who had previously viewed all “Puppies” as a group out to destroy something the community valued.

        I clearly disagree with the majority of the Business Meeting about changes like EPH (or EPH+, or any of the other motions to try to “fix” the Hugo nominations rules). I intend to continue to try to reverse those decisions, as they demonstrate (as I expect them to) that they were unwise solutions to perceived problems. So Kate (and I, and others) failed to stop those changes this time — but there will be more chances later.

        And Kate was able, by example, to show the value of the Sad Puppy community, and I commend her for that. She didn’t accomplish all she hoped for — but she accomplished a lot.

        1. Thank you, sir, for so eloquently saying what so many of us feel. Kudos to Kate for a very good job, a job most folks would have run from.

        2. Thank you, Ben. It’s something of a shame I won’t be able to keep doing that for the next few years, finances being what they are.

  5. In leiu of a c4c…

    Computer Graphics pioneer Ron Thornton, founder of Foundation Imaging and mentor to a whole bunch of artists in the VFX industry, passed away last night.

  6. Can’t say I agreed completely with how Kate approached SP4. But, as my parents dinned into me, and I have dinned into my own kids – if you don’t like how something is being done, DO IT YOUR OWN FRICKING SELF! (Not that my parents or I expressed it quite that way, I don’t think, well, maybe on occasion…) Wanting something done, letting someone else do it, and then kibitzing because they didn’t do it YOUR way, is what causes many problems in this world. (You can have it done YOUR way if you are PAYING that person to do it, of course – obviously doesn’t apply here.)

    The OP was perfectly able to come up with his method to build a recommendations list, put it out on social media, and politic for it. As was Vox, as were any of us (I didn’t, and didn’t add to the recommendations last year; financial considerations kept me from buying more than one or two of the eligible works).

    Kate did that work, HER way, and it was not a simple or easy task . With results as I pretty much expected; no real effect on the Hugos.

    What is ignored is that there was a real effect on the field – as you noted, many who paid absolutely no attention to the Hugos (and didn’t even know what they were) took a look at the offerings on this year’s list, and found out that SFF is NOT dead. For which effect, as someone trying to get into the field, I am extremely grateful to all of the Sad Puppy leaders.

    1. My parents taught me the same thing. I think Kate did a great job at forwarding the greater goal of the SPs — to remind folks that the genre isn’t dead, despite what so many in trad publishing would have us believe.

    2. Building a freaking awesome list of stuff to read from the year’s publications was one of the goals I had from the start, and I’m pleased with what emerged.

      I was also taught that it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness, and that if you don’t try you’re guaranteed to fail. I tried. I did what I could to re-engage the people who’d quietly slid away from the genre for years and to demonstrate that it’s possible to disagree with the prevailing opinion without being a dick about it.

  7. Perhaps someone should volunteer to launch this coming year’s effort. Renaming it “Cute Kittens” would have the amusing feature that anyone who disliked it is against cute kittens.

      1. This is good to hear. I’ll be awaiting the news with baited breath. **What kind of bait remains to be seen – I have to check the bait bucket 😉 **

  8. I think Kate did fine. She set up a transparent process as promised, she followed it through, she did exactly what she said she was going to do. It worked out well, and she is to be congratulated.

    Sad Puppies was never about winning a Hugo, we all knew that would never be allowed. Seven No Awards in two years, remember? The point was made, again, that the WorldCon bunch are self-obsessed Lefties who used the Hugo Award as a political statement to reward their friends and punish their enemies.

    One need only see the antics of the Helsinki crowd this year to know that, their new Rules of Conduct are so Soviet as to be a caricature. You can get kicked out of WorldCon 2017 for saying “Hey, how’s it going?” or wearing a Sad Puppy t-shirt, by my reading of it.

    That’s a big honking victory for Sad Puppies. We showed up, they freaked out, four years in a row. That’s all this was about.

    As to the Vile 666 crowd and Big G, they’re a pack of SJWs. Looking to them for advice is like stabbing yourself with a fork.

    Goal for SP5, make the WorldCon muppets deny votes, eject paid-up members for “voting wrong”, and make them return the money for those memberships. That would be sweet. Another sweep for Noah Ward would be dandy as well.

    1. //I think Kate did fine. She set up a transparent process as promised, she followed it through, she did exactly what she said she was going to do. It worked out well, and she is to be congratulated.//

      I agree with you there. People here all know my opinion about the basic premise of the Sad Puppies etc BUT Kate Paulk did exactly what she said she would do and what other notable supporters of Sad Puppies said *should* be done and did it in a way that was undoubtedly open and transparent.

      1. Of course she did. I would say that your opinion regarding SP was demonstrated to be incorrect, again, by the reception to Kate’s efforts.

        The joke is that, as Confutus said above, she could have saved herself a ton of work and presented a fully curated list. The reception would have been identical.

        1. Except that the joke came into existence by being told. Now it is clearly proven that self-styled capital-F Fandom will attack all who oppose their politics with the same abusive ad hominems, no matter what those opponents say or do.

          (My own opinion would probably get me roasted as a heretic by all three sides – capital-F Fans, Sad Puppies, and the poachers-turned-gamekeepers known as Rabids. I hold that the Hugos are worse than useless; that they are not worth saving; and that they are not even worth attacking, except as an exercise in getting the Fans to waste their forces defending a point of no strategic value. The Dragon Awards accomplished more than all four years of Puppy campaigns. Even so, the only awards that really matter are the Benjamins.)

          1. Just a thought. I wonder if the Dragons would have existed at all if the Sad Puppies hadn’t challenged the Hugos to prove they were what they claimed to be. Would Dragoncon have realized that the vacuum was there to be filled if nothing had been said?

            1. It’s possible that they wouldn’t have. On the other hand, instead of trying to gatecrash the Hugos (and thereby proving that there actually was a gate, and it was shut), the people originally involved in SP1 might have put the same effort into starting a new award themselves, and they might easily have talked to the Dragoncon folks to get a suitable pool of voters. We could have had the Dragons three years earlier.

              1. And it could have been (more likely in my opinion) dead on arrival because, before Sad Puppies proved otherwise, ‘there’s already awards for that.’

                1. That never stopped all sorts of other people from starting their own awards, including SFWA.

                  In any case, it would take considerable chutzpah for the SP organizers to claim the Dragon Awards as their own doing.

                  1. Unless Ringo is both the secret master of Puppies and behind the Dragon Awards.

                    Did reptoid-moles fake Jim Baen’s death? Do crab-sheep-dragons cause cancer? Have I stayed up too late?

                    Tune in tomorrow for another amazing discovery!

            2. I would be shocked if the Hugo Wars had *no* influence on the creation of the Dragons.

            3. I think it would’ve existed. Dragoncon, from what I read, was 30 years old at that point and may well have been wanting their own awards.

              I do like how they approached nomination and voting as it became very much a direct vote-> admin communication. This may or may not have been influenced by the shennanigans done by the Hugos in SP 2 and 3, and speculation to the effect is mere speculation.

              Regardless of the actual reasons why, the Hugo-fans already deride the Dragons as a “Puppy-run” awards, and the general impression I get from the Dragoncon people is ‘that has nothing to do with us, we want as many people as possible to nominate and vote.’ Heck, it’s stupid to even make the claim that the Dragons are ‘a Puppy’ award, since they Dragoncon->Dragon Awards organizers were surprised Larry wasn’t promoting the Dragon Awards. He says outright in his blog that he originally wasn’t doing so because he is aware of the mud that would be slung on them if he did, even if he really wanted to, and their response was more or less that they didn’t care about the mud, because they wanted more and more people 1) aware and 2) participating.

              Remember, as it is proven by the aftermath of the Trump elections and the wake of the Dragon Awards, via the actions of the screaming ASPs and paid-for riots – the truth doesn’t fucking matter to the idiots. Narrative uber alles!

              1. My sources are a little different, mostly what I’ve gathered from some folks I know who work Dragoncon (if it was directors/private only I wouldn’t have heard. So… Salt). As far as I can tell, Dragoncon wasn’t even interested in a literary award until things exploded and the vacuum in the field was revealed.

                I don’t think it was anything to do with Puppies beyond a very simple ‘oh, there’s room here for something enough to make it worth our efforts to stretch our thin resources thinner.’ (Resources in this case being personnel.)

                I simply find Mr. Simon’s assertion that there was a likelihood that Dragoncon would have listened to Larry or, really, anyone on the matter if he’d approached them at Sad Puppies 1 time frame a little presumptuous. These things do not spring up fully formed and successful by themselves.
                I think the Dragon would eventually have happened, but I, personally, think it would have taken several more years.

          2. “The Dragon Awards accomplished more than all four years of Puppy campaigns.”

            Awards don’t really “accomplish” anything Tom, they acknowledge the opinion of a group of fans. The problem comes when an award claims to represent -me- as part of a group, but doesn’t.

            The Hugos have been coasting a long time now on the prestige built up since the 1950’s, but they’ve long since abandoned the idea of being a fan award. All you need to do is look at what fans buy vs. what gets nominated and awarded. It’s an insider award, and the insiders are all of a particular political stripe. Its a common enough thing, all manner of literary and arts awards have been taken over by SJWs. As were the publishers, for that matter.

            That’s why its worth showing up to vote in the Hugos. Sad Puppies is not an -attack- of any sort. It is fans, showing up to vote. Just the fact of us showing up has the WorldCon regulars in a paroxysm, spewing vitriol for four years straight.

            Will the Hugo survive? Personally, I think it will, as long as anybody exists who likes SF/F. I’m sure the friggin’ SJWs will continue try their best to burn it down, as they’ve been doing all along. But as WorldCon the organization rapidly becomes a moribund shuffleboard club for bitter old commies, maybe somebody else can offer a Hugo Gernsback Award for Science Fiction. I’m sure somebody will step up soon enough.

            1. Awards don’t really “accomplish” anything Tom,

              You needn’t lecture me about that. I said right in front of your nose that the only awards that really matter are the Benjamins.

              Now, on the one hand you say this:

              The Hugos have been coasting a long time now on the prestige built up since the 1950’s, but they’ve long since abandoned the idea of being a fan award.

              Then you say:

              Sad Puppies is not an -attack- of any sort. It is fans, showing up to vote.

              Sorry, fans showing up to vote for what is not a fan award is an attack. In this case, it was an attack upon the liars who claimed the Hugo was a fan award when it was actually no such thing.

              Will the Hugo survive? Personally, I think it will, as long as anybody exists who likes SF/F.

              I am positive that it won’t. Science fiction is a relatively new form of literature, and is already showing its age rather badly in some respects. Fantasy has been around at least since the invention of writing. It survived for 5,000 years or more before anybody thought of giving awards for it, and I see no reason why it should not go merrily on long after our particular culture is replaced by one that sees no point in giving out awards for books.

              Will the Hugo last my time, or yours? I doubt it, though I’m not fading any bets on that proposition. The fact that it traded for so many years on being a fan award, when it was actually decided by politically connected insiders, leaves it in a bad way when the lie is exposed. The Emperor is painfully naked; and since his new clothes happened to include his crown, there is no good reason why anybody should even regard him as an Emperor any longer.

        2. A small correction here: the reception from a particular group of people (the self-styled protectors of capital-F Fandom) wouldn’t have changed. The people I wanted to reach wouldn’t have been as willing to believe that yes, a heck of a lot of us want the exact same thing: fiction in our genre that we enjoy.

          1. Agreed, Kate. Your method makes more friends than my “toss in a hand grenade” approach. I’m a bit… cranky. ~:D

            Winning people over is done by going to the business meeting and not breathing fire on them all. You managed something I’d be constitutionally incapable of doing. Bravo!

  9. As someone at WorldCon this summer but not on the radar as anyone of note, I can say that Kate’s approach did bring a respectability to the Puppy Cause, and gained it the ear of more people who were uncomfortable with the other side, though they didn’t necessarily know why. Excellent analysis!

  10. Kate, from all appearances you did a fine job. Alas that I discovered writing and have little time to read, so I do not get much benefit from your list of things that I would like to read if I had the time. George

    1. Of course they are. I doubt any of us are surprised by that. Of course, I don’t know whether to present you with a medal or an order for psychiatric evaluation for continuing to go there. VBEG

  11. I followed a link here, and would like to offer some ramblings from “the other side”, sort of. I’ve been active in fandom since 1973, attending Worldcons and voting on Hugos (some years but not others in both cases) since 1974. I’ve read every book Robert Heinlein has ever had published, and count him as my biggest literary influence growing up. (Though while I liked the books of both Asimov and Clarke, the other authors who meant the most to me in my youth were Theodore Sturgeon and Madeleine L’Engle.) I think nominating or voting for a work for primarily political reasons is the wrong approach, no matter what your politics are.

    And I simply disagree with puppies of all kinds on the question of which current works are most Hugo-worthy.

    Kate, if you’re reading this, I think you did an excellent job running the SP effort this year. My biggest objection to the 2015 SP list was that a list of exactly five items in each category, no matter your intent, has the practical effect of being a slate, and warps the nomination process. By going to a longer recommendations list, you eliminated that objection. You also ran a process that was more transparent and open, and I applaud that. Until I read this post and comments, I didn’t know about your at-con efforts, and I’m sorry I never had the chance to talk to you myself. I bet it would have been a great discussion.

    Back to talking to everyone . . .

    The problem for me is that as a Hugo voter I did read, or try to read, all the nominees on the 2015 and 2016 final ballots. And I just didn’t care for most of the nominees that came from the two sets of Puppy nominators. I thought they ranged from pretty good down to awful, with nothing striking me as outstanding. (Granted, my memory is that the truly wretched stuff was all, or almost all, from the Rabid side.)

    This year, I gave my first-place vote in Novel to “The Fifth Season”. I didn’t do it because of Jemisen’s race, gender, or politics. I did it because I consider it the best 2015 novel I’ve read, with excellent worldbuilding, characterization, plotting, and prose quality. To be clear, yes, I found it entertaining, and for me, the literary merits make it more entertaining, not less. If you want to talk about voting with your wallet, I’ve purchased the sequel, “The Obelisk Gate”, and it’s sitting high in my to-be-read pile. Other people have every right to not like what I like, and I love exchanging views on what did and didn’t work. But please don’t tell me that I only voted for something because of my politics, when I know that’s not the case.

    I try to not make any assumptions about the motives of people I’ve never met. I hope those who disagree with me will take the same approach, and not impute motives to me. There’s been plenty of bad behavior on all sides of this ongoing controversy, and I no longer care who did what, and I especially don’t care who did it first. I’d love to focus on the fiction, on the merits of the works we love, and I hope we’ll reach a point where that’s possible, even when our tastes are wildly different.

    1. Mark,

      Thank you. I would also love to focus on the fiction and on the merits of the works we love. I think perhaps the biggest tragedy of the last ten years or so is the way it’s become increasingly difficult to just enjoy things (anything, really) without politics coming into it (and no, I don’t really care at this point who started it. I just want it to stop. Used to be you didn’t talk politics or religion unless you wanted an argument, now it’s almost impossible to keep politics out.)

      Madeleine L’Engle is awesome, isn’t she? She was one of the authors who brought me into fandom (although Doctor Who novelizations were probably the biggest hook – it started with “I want more like that” and expanded into anything with a rocket sticker at the local library).

      I went into Sad Puppies 4 working on the assumption that most of the people voting and nominating were genuine about it. The behind the scenes politicking that I’ve seen happening in some places to make certain works more likely to be nominated, that I didn’t like.

      I’ll be going into more detail about Sad Puppies 4 in tomorrow’s post, but I really wanted to see people who love the genre talking about the works they think are wonderful and why, not about who follows which political stance and how evil they are for it.

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