And be a Dog

What a long, strange trip it’s been.

I don’t remember Sad Puppies 1.  I’m not saying I wasn’t aware of it, or didn’t follow it.  I’m saying that I was then so ill that I could barely remember my name from week to week.

Sad Puppies 2 I somehow — and d*mned if I remember how — got pulled into discussions about.  But again note the “I was very, very ill.”  I was so unaware for instance of Larry’s attempts to get one of my stories on the ballot, that I didn’t even tell my readers about it.

Because one of the problems with the hypothyroidism is that I wasn’t aware of being sick, it was just a never-end of colds and illnesses, so I would briefly focus, then go under.  My recollections might not match anyone else’s because of that.

However, from my recollection, Larry Correia was the miracle kid.  For years in the field we’d known awards were biased and how to write/act to get one.  Yes, there were ways to game them, including kissing all the right *sses.  But even while in the political closet there were lines I could not cross without disintegrating or being unable to look at myself on the mirror.

Also, frankly, I’m not a joiner, much less a brown-noser.  In fact in any circumstances that required brown-nosing, I tended to go the other way.  I find that, in general, people who require brown-nosing are despicable and I don’t want to associate with them.  I’d rather say with Richard III “I am myself alone.”

Also, the Hugo was not an object, or I could have captured one of the “least voted” categories by enjoining my fans to buy supporting memberships and get me a Hugo.

The problem is that my days of buying anything that said “Hugo” on the cover had ended before I entered college, and my last attempt at reading Hugo collections (I bought three… early nineties?) ended walled, because it felt like reading the assignments for my degree again: pointless, boring and definitely not SF/F unless you stretched the definition to the point of meaning nothing.  They read in fact like a lot of George Luis Borges impersonators without the deep thought or the genius.

But other people took the Hugo deadly seriously.  People who’d never seen the sausage made, including many people on the right, referred to the Hugos as “the awards for excellence in science fiction.”

Oh, the real fans didn’t give it much attention or credit (and by real fans I mean people who REALLY read SF/F preferentially, not people who are using SF/F for social signaling, much less those who came to SF/F in the spirit of missionaries bringing their gospel to our field and trying to make us wear pants, or be literary, or whatever the tight-lipped scolds are obsessing on right now.  I have some vague idea the new hotness, beyond “literary” is “Must write while having a vagina” or various other marks of victimhood. I find this no more offensive, but funnier than their past obsessions.)

I was used to living with this: with the idea that what people outside something considered as being a mark of quality was in fact something people inside rolled their eyes at.  You get the same thing starting in elementary school (not in my day, no, but in my kids’) where the “gifted classes” are not for gifted children, but for those in the “high normal” whom the teachers’ like.  (Not sour grapes.  We had to have both children tested early on, for different reasons, and they were both put in gifted classes, which really didn’t do any good, since they’re more “classes for teachers’ pets.”  Which is why we ended up with an individual learning plan and giving the school a lot of headaches in an effort to keep the boys from being bored.)  It goes on like that, through most professional organizations, and that’s before you bring in politics, either national or office.  And frankly, human is social so there’s a lot of politics of all kinds.

The problem with what happened to the Hugos is that it was objectively bad for the field.  Because having a Hugo allowed books entry to places that rarely carry SF, like supermarkets.  And then people who aren’t into the field will pick one up, casually, and decide it’s atrocious and run screaming.  Which means they’re not going to pick up a science fiction again.  And thus, our readership/printruns/and more importantly the field we love, shrinks.

To make things worse, because our field is small and not in itself overly lucrative, publishing houses were attuning what they bought and what they pushed to what won the Hugos.  (Yes, all except Baen, of course.)

Well, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Thank Heavens for Larry Correia!

He wasn’t one of the traditional track into sf/f people, and he’s also a good ten years younger than most people are when they break in.  And he hadn’t spent his time beating his head on the door and learning the rules before breaking in.  Instead he self-published, then published with Baen, then went massive.  (Yes, I know, he was always massive, but I mean metaphorically.)

So he wasn’t going to put up with the situation, and he set out to prove the Hugos were rigged by a small cabal and totally irrelevant to the taste of most fans (if not actually antithetical.)

I don’t remember the first at all, but I know for the second he tried to nominate things of at least as good a quality as what had won, but from people the cabal in power hated.  (Which is why I should have known he was trying to push me into nomination, but again, I was very ill.)

I volunteered to take the third one, because I like stirring hornets nests.

And just as I volunteered, I was diagnosed with (thank heavens, still completely encapsulated) uterine cancer.  This was quite literally a bombshell from nowhere.  I’d gone in and had a biopsy and my doctor (heaven knows why) told me there was nothing to worry about, apparently because they wanted me not to be scared during the holidays.  So we went ahead and rented a house to move into, so we could have work done on our house, so we could sell it (something we’d been planning for three years, that is after younger son was out of high school)  In the middle of the move, I got a phone call telling me they were booking surgery asap.  At which point I called Brad and dropped the whole mess in his lap.   The alternative was Kate, who had just started a new job, and would probably not be able to do much.

Brad is younger than us.  Brad is also a pure halo knight, who thought that maybe he could save science fiction.  To that end, he got nominations from readers of his blog, culled the top ones, and we ended up with an awesome field, and also one that no one should be able to object to, considering it included all sexes and colors, and also two of the most popular writers in the field today, and an editor who has worked with some of the most enduring bestsellers.

I knew it had gone South fast when people were being hounded till they dropped out.  I was sure of it when we were being called racist/sexist/homophobic.  I crawled out of bed the week after surgery to point out that Brad was doing this for me, that the idea was to have a Latin woman lead it, until disease intervened.

Brad, in my opinion, made two mistakes — but hindsight is 20/20 — both of which came from being way too nice.  One of them was to ask people’s permission to nominate them.  The second was to not record every interview (and tell people he was doing so) and put them up on his blog as soon as he was done.  These allowed for the three hour interview, in which Brad talked about how much he loved the field and how it was unfair to have the award belong to a narrow clique, and then the gotcha question in which the interviewer asked something like “So, you think it would be difficult for a white man who is to the right of center to win the award” and he would say “Well, given the current obsession with victimhood, it wouldn’t be easy” and he’d be quoted as saying that white right wing writers were not allowed to win, or something like.  I had to yell at mutual friends to point out “that was a quote out of context from a three hour interview” because reputable publications were playing these games.  With science fiction.  With Brad.

It all ended not just in the wooden assholes at the ceremony, but in supposedly impartial publications all bringing out the same story, at the same time, about how a movement started by a Latin male, and involving at least three females, one of them Latina, was about “keeping women and minorities out of science fiction and fantasy.”  They had zero evidence for this, but they needed none.  As I’ve been observing recently, the left’s default position for “opposes us” is to scream that whoever opposes them is discomfited by the “progress” of women and people of color.  Even if the people they’re screaming at are women and people of color.  (And let’s talk progress sometime, shall we?  Convincing people they’re victims, making them scared, and vote-farming them is only progress if you’re a stone cold racist.)

And then I was going to take leadership.  I was.  Only the move had turned into move from hell, which included a landlord wanting us out two months before we intended to leave (though we were on a month by month lease) and us having to find a place that would take four cats and four bedrooms with a month’s notice.  Thank heavens one of you stepped forward, or we’d have been warehousing everything and living in a hotel.  (We were waiting for a short sale to complete.)

So Kate stepped up.

Look, we are individualists, so each person gets to decide how to do this.  Which is why saying “if Sad Puppies had been run like–” is nonsense.  Each leader of the sad puppies leads this in the direction of what they’re trying to do or prove.

Larry tried to prove the game was rigged, Brad tried to rehabilitate the awards to, again, mean the best in SF, and Kate tried to give the puppy kickers no excuses.  This included having an OPEN SOURCE recommend list.  Having more than the number of slots in the nomination.  AND reading the nominees herself, and saying how SHE would vote, making sure everyone knew it wasn’t a “Slate.”  (BTW “slate” just means recommended for a vote.  It doesn’t mean a list for rigid vote.  How the heck the left thought we’d enforce that is beyond me.  It makes me wonder too if they enforce it on that side, and how.  Is it a matter of one people voting several registrations, to make sure?  And if you don’t hand over your ballot, you’re out of the club?  I’m not saying that’s what they do, but if they don’t, how do they think we COULD enforce voting?  Inquiring minds want to know.)

And this brings us to Sad Puppies Five and me.  This year, the creek not rising, I shall be leading the Sad Puppies effort.

The problem is, I think Larry had the best point: he wanted to prove it was rigged.  This, even with Kate and Brad’s much more appeasing and definitely more hopeful approaches, has been proven abundantly.

Also, there is a new player in town, the Dragon Awards (which might or might not have come to exist without the Kabuki of the Wooden Assholes, and how mad it made people) which promises to be more prestigious and give the field a new face.

I assumed John Carlton was talking about me when he said one of the organizers said she wouldn’t nominate or something of the kind.  I did intend to nominate (no. Really, but this was right in the middle of forced-move-two and I was still suffering from “at nine pm, I find myself in bed without even putting the computer to sleep” surgery recovery, so as it turns out, I didn’t nominate.)  What I didn’t DO was buy another supporting membership to vote again.  I saw what they did with the money we gave them in 2015 and, honestly, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.  It wasn’t the Noah Award of books they PUBLICLY refused to read, no.  It was the kabuki skits before and the self congratulatory smirks, and their assumption they’d saved the awards from racistsexisthomophobe, which meant they never bothered to read any of the works, or any of the blog posts on our side, either.  I was not going to give them any more money.

I am still not going to give them any money.

But Sarah, you’ll say, how can you lead Sad Puppies 5, when you’re not going to nominate and vote on the Hugos.

Well, as much as I hate to say this, the Hugos as the award Heinlein won, are dead.  There is nothing that can be done.  I’m not a necromancer.  In that sense the Sad Puppies won.  We proved the game is rigged, and we can walk away.

Only not.

We’re still in the middle of a culture war.  And one of the things the — for lack of a better term — other side has is bully pulpits.  Now most of them are in the old paper media, and they’re not really read by fans of the field.  BUT still, they have magazines that publish recommended lists, and interviews with authors, and turn the spotlight on work they think should be read.

We have nothing like that.  Yeah, yeah, Otherwhere Gazette, which might or might not be revived some day (depending on health and a million other things) but even if it is, will have to climb up into …. people’s awareness.

And if we’re going to do that, we might as well tie it to the Sad Puppies effort, because hey, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

This year the Sad Puppies (5) will host a page, on which you can make recommendations, and which will, every month, give you a collated list of the 5 works with the most votes, in each subcategory (if we have that many, of course) and if/what awards they’re eligible for.  The list will also include mystery, where a lot of the indie are quite good and by and large unnoticed.

Before the nominating dates for major awards, I’ll put a notice on the page, and a list of the however many (5 or 10) most recommended books for your consideration.

However, the awards are NOT the point anymore.  Frankly in the hyper-distributed world of indie publishing, they might never be the point again.

The point is to give science fiction and fantasy that escapes the bounds of what traditional publishers encourage — which is often not what the public at large will even read — and to promote the health and popularity of our genre.

Watch this space for the URL of the page (it needs some programming done.)  More coming by early next year.

178 thoughts on “And be a Dog

  1. If the SP list is just going to be a raw Internet vote, it becomes worthless and it doesn’t need any leaders (at least prior to the nominations)

    search for mcboatface and you get a good number of stories showing the problems with this approach.

    Generating a list that even the leaders aren’t going to vote for is meaningless.

    1. Perhaps with people like you. With the majority of the sort who showed up for Sad Puppies 4? There was no Booky McBookface. Most took things serious enough that the trolling answers did not score high.

      Insert BS counterargument involving internet polls and the Trump victory.

      1. Well, I suspect that Ancillary Mercy was a form of this.

        But do you really think that the RP of the file770 folks (to list both extremes) would hesitate to poison the well if they thought that it would actually change anything?

        I’m glad it didn’t happen last year, but I think it’s more a matter of the SP campaign not mattering much rather than restraint on the part of the extremists.

        I already have my membership for this year (and so can nominate in 2018 as well)

        1. And no one in the real SF fandom (those of us long-time readers who can’t be bothered with your silly conventions) cares.

    2. I’m happy to let you pay them for the privilege of having your vote count for nothing, David. They’ll take your money, spit in your face and laugh.

      Besides, what would it “mean” if Sad Puppies won a Hugo? Just that we managed to get a lot of people to PAY THEM MONEY, pretty much.

      I think something much more important is at play here, and Kate Paulk said it yesterday. She went to the meetings, she behaved like a normal person instead of a wild beast (like me, ferinstance) and in so doing she won the support of timid and unsure people who had been propagandized into swallowing the CHORF Manifesto.

      They -saw- her acting counter to the propaganda. They haven’t been liking the CHORFs, but they’ve been quiet. Because who wants a CHORF up in your face, right? It’s a con, its supposed to be fun, not work.

      But now, the quietly timid can -see- the bad behavior and derangement of the numerically small CHORF crowd.

      Thus, I think Sarah’s approach has merit. There’s no point in scooping all the nominations again and making them vote for Noah. They’re going to see our list, they’re going to compare it to the CHORF bullshit, and they are going to chose.

      Plus we starve them. I could enjoy watching them go bankrupt. Popcorn time for that show.

      1. so according to you there should not be a SP campaign at all because it only encourages people to care about the hugos. That’s fine, but if that’s the case, don’t bother arguing with people about how the SP campaign should be run

        I actually paid for 2017 at the same time I paid for 2016, on the expectation that we would be continuing to fight for the recognition of good books.

        1. Putting words in my mouth is not a good idea, Mr. Lang. Go back and re-read what I said, then apply your no-doubt considerable powers of reading comprehension.

          I have to put up with people pretending to misunderstand plain English elsewhere, but I don’t think I should have to stand still for it here.

          1. Sheesh. Yes – perhaps David should consider a career as a professional critic… I hear the Grauniad still has an opening.

            At least since Brad took over, the purpose of Sad Puppies has really not been to “win a Hugo” – it has become to “win the audience.”

            With that purpose in mind, and if I am interpreting Sarah correctly (possibly not, I have failed abysmally in the past) the tactic boils down to “Bad publicity by bad people = good free publicity getting to the people that we want to reach.” Call it the “Trump tactic.”

    3. I would propose that there’s a second reason to have this list. Sarah didn’t say you *can’t* become a member of WorldCon, and nominate and vote. She just said that she can’t bring herself to do it, and recommends against doing it in general.

      However, if one is inclined to participate in WorldCon nonetheless, I see no reason why they can’t use this list as a guide for their own nominations and votings.

        1. I went to World Con for the first time this year, I came into this by accident spring of 2015. found out that a lot of my favorite authors were Sad Puppies and found a bunch of new ones I like here, Got real ticked off at the things happening and written, Voted in 2015. Voted and attended in 2016. Yes I showed up with my Sad Puppies tote bag (I saw one other one). AND I walked into the Hugo Hall wearing my Sad Puppies tee shirt and gave Kate the high sign when she entered so she would not feel so much alone, Meeting her and other Puppies was a delight, That said I have no intention of returning, Dragon Con sounds a tad busy to me 70K? But I may try to attend someday. I have decided to replace the smug stuck up snobs at World Con with Liberty Con and will attend that next year for the first time and am looking forward to meeting a lot of authors I like there,

  2. “Also, frankly, I’m not a joiner, much less a brown-noser. In fact in any circumstances that required brown-nosing, I tended to go the other way. I find that, in general, people who require brown-nosing are despicable and I don’t want to associate with them.”

    Double-plus HELL YEAH!

    “I saw what they did with the money we gave them in 2015 and, honestly, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”

    I was not looking forward to donating $100 CDN to the wooden assholes this year. They don’t deserve the money, it would be like donating to -spread- malaria in Africa.

    I’m happy to let the Rabid Puppies donate their money to beat the dead horse some more. I’ll get a brand new bag of popcorn for that.

    All in all Sarah, I like this plan. Official Phantom Seal of Approval. ~:)

    1. You know what would be interesting? Once the Sad Puppies website winner’s list is compiled (each year if it becomes a thing), the winners ought to be put together into a bundle and made available to the public as the “2017 SP Winners” or some such. It would be fun to see if the bundle got more downloads/reads/however-you-want-to-measure than the Hugos for that year.

      1. I like that idea! Also its a no-brainer to win, given the unreadable crap they always nominate. Isn’t Correia outselling Jemsin by a “holy crap!”-to-one ratio?

        1. That suggests an After Action Report presenting the two winner lists with sales numbers (where available) listed alongside.

          Not that sales are an accurate barometer of literary quality, but they do represent reader favorites, which is what Hugo previously purported being, the only fan vote that actually matters being the wallet vote..

          1. “Not that sales are an accurate barometer of literary quality,…”

            You know, I must respectfully disagree. Sales really are a barometer of quality. Those dumb Twilight books? People like those things. That author got something massively right. Other things wrong, but not in a way that made most people throw the book out the window of a moving train.

            Compare and contrast with Nora’s award winning nightmare. I read Twilight right to the end. It was silly, but that didn’t really matter. I read the cover blurb for Nora’s Nightmare and decided it would pollute my mind with horror.

            There are other barometers to consider of course, and that is why we have awards instead of a best seller list. Leftist @ss-kissing is not a good metric though, hence Sad Puppies.

            1. You neglected the modifier “literary.”

              Had you asserted that the lower the sales, the higher the literary quality I might have had to concede the argument.

                1. +2 for the distinction between literary and quality.
                  An award named after the editor of pulp fiction. Pulp in the sense it was all probably low quality acid treated paper and has rotted from the shelves. I don’t think the terms ‘literary’ and ‘quality’ really meant anything to Hugo Gernsback. Sadly, apparently neither did paying authors for their work, so there is that connection to TOR and the other Ancient Five.

      2. That’s a good idea. If I were among the chosen few I’d be like — cool, free publicity!

        Someone would have to manage it for sharing out royalties, but that’s about the only drawback, and surely we have someone with an accountant’s brain here somewhere…

  3. Awesome, my tbr list is huge ( heh) because of the comments on posts here and on other blogs. I rarely read award winning, but award my Benjamin award to books recommend by this group? Heck yeah! Now I just need a time expander.

  4. Ultimately, the only vote that matters is the multitude of No Awards cast by the public by not buying the trash currently being shoved in their faces under the Hugo banner.
    But, as you say, bully pulpits, insider networks, and backroom deals that proved quite soundly at the last two Worldcons that efforts to resuscitate the historical traditional Hugos would be met with orchestrated opposition no grass roots group could hope to compete against.
    Sadly, you are correct. The Hugos as we knew them died a number of years ago. May they rest in peace. I hold out great hope for the Dragon Awards as they grow and develop.
    But one thing we can and must do is point out the well and proven fact that the Hugos can no longer claim to be a concensus of popular choice of the best SF&F of the year. It has been taken over by PC literary snobs for their own ends and while they are welcome to have it as such they damn well cannot claim a status they absolutely no longer deserve.

    1. “The Hugos as we knew them died a number of years ago.” You guys crack me up. Did you forget that a few years ago you were disqualifying the Hugos because there weren’t enough people voting for them? But now that that there are 400% as many voters as there were in 2009, the “Hugos as we knew them” have died”? When Asimov said “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of petty minds” he didn’t mean you should abandon consistency altogether.

      1. What difference does it make how many people vote, when Stalinists like you are counting them and making the whole process as obscure as possible?

        It’s almost as laughable as claiming that Hildebeeste won the popular vote when that margin is coming only from jurisdictions your party has stopped all measures to prevent fraud like this or make sure no real investigation takes place.

        The only substantive difference is that your fraud of an award isn’t worth a civil war over.

      2. Which will soon die off again – is actually in the process of dying, if I am reading the Helsinki numbers right. Regressives are fickle, they’ll soon lose interest in this tiny little backwater, and put their money into some other idiotic “cause.”

        Which will be regrettable – the more screaming and bigotry you express, the more sane people we get looking at the alternatives. Thank you, Mike Glyer and Vile 666, for making those sane people aware that there are alternatives to your insipid and hateful dreck.

        1. Helsinki numbers are kinda bound to be lower, because Helsinki is Far Away. But generally I agree that Hugo voting numbers grew because normal fans joined and tried to improve things, before getting kicked in the teeth. People get bored easily with maltreatment, not to mention a lack of appreciation of their money and effort.

          1. It ought be easy to get a sense of the effect, as most Puppy voters have purchased non-attending memberships. If you are not attending Helsinki might as well be Tokyo, Sevastopol, or Kansas City. Do they publish the different membership types?

            Of course, if you are not voting in the Hugo it is unlikely you would spend money on the kind of crappy books that are in the voting package. A hundred stories I don’t want to read are expensive even if given away.

      3. Still having troubles with that whole reading comprehension thing, Mike?

        First, not all hear speak with a single voice; all sock puppets are evicted when detected. That other people have expressed an opinion e.g., folks “were disqualifying the Hugos because there weren’t enough people voting for them” does not bind all other participants here to be forever bound to that view, nor even Uncle Lar (had he previously expressed such a view) to hold it in perpetuity. For example, had I said in 2008 that “Hillary Clinton wasn’t the worst possible candidate for president” I would not be bound to continue in that view in 2016.

        Second, it is entirely possible to argue that even if the voters had increased by 1000% there would yet be too few to be representative of fandom as a whole. To take an extreme example, had 100 people voted in the “best novel” category in 2012 and 1,000 people voted in that category in 2016 there would remain a sound argument that the sample was not representative of fandom at large. I presume all can agree that the technical term for a novel which only 1,000 people buy is “Out of Print”?

        Third, the two positions as articulated are not inherently contradictory. From context it is clear that “The Hugos as we knew them” refers to the awards for books such as (to pick a year) 1960’s nominees:

        Starship Troopers (alt: Starship Soldier) by Robert A. Heinlein [F&SF Oct,Nov 1959; Putnam, 1959]
        Dorsai! (alt: The Genetic General) by Gordon R. Dickson [Astounding May,Jun,Jul 1959]
        The Pirates of Ersatz (alt: The Pirates of Zan) by Murray Leinster [Astounding Feb,Mar,Apr 1959]
        That Sweet Little Old Lady (alt: Brain Twister) by Mark Phillips (aka: Randall Garrett and Laurence M. Janifer) [Astounding Sep,Oct 1959]
        The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. [Dell, 1959]

        There is no way that anybody can dispute the merits of these nominees, nor the long-standing significance to the field of those authors. The same applies to any other year for the first two decades of the awards. It does not apply to the majority of nominees from the last decade or so, most of which books will be forgotten within a couple years. None will be hotly debated nor have “rebuttals” written fifty years from now, unlike several books in the 1960 list.

        The Hugos as presently constituted neither confer nor represent prestige no matter how many votes they receive, thus your counterargument is invalid. Heinlein, Dickson, Vonnegut, even Leinster embellish the Hugos by their association, not the other way ’round. Liu, Leckie, Anderson nor even Butcher will likely be read in a decade or two.

        This is true no matter how many people voted in 1960 nor in 2015.

        1. As we found out to our surprise and either glee or horror, the opinion polls this election cycle were crap on a plate. But that’s what you get when you sample a small atypical population of folks. Skewed and not terribly reliable results.
          And that is what the Hugos have become. An opinion poll taken from a skewed data set. There is not and never has been a more reliable gauge of the popularity of a product than its value on the open market.
          As I’ve said elsewhere, Hugo winners and nominees no longer have mass appeal and far too often never earn out their advance. There is no greater condemnation that such a simple reporting of the market reaction to a failed product.
          Thus the Hugos are dead, long live the Dragons.

      4. BTW, Mike; I hardly think “we guys” merit the credit for your being cracked-up. Ample evidence is available for that having happened well before MGC ever existed.

        Further, Asimov didn’t “say” that; he was quoting an other, far more significant author.* I am surprised you did not know that.

        *A thorough Google search ought reveal who that quoted author was.

        1. Ralph Waldo Emerson, not Asimov. Frequently quoted, even more frequently mis-quoted and/or misunderstood.

      5. The Hugo Awards were once considered the Acme of Science Fiction and Fantasy. That is the idea of them. The fans were to chose the best every year and celebrate it.

        That stopped happening sometime in the 1980’s by my reckoning, and for the last twenty years without doubt it has an SJWs only party.

        Now that there are “400% as many voters as there were in 2009,” the rules have been changed to negate the votes of those new members. They voted wrong, they voted stupidly, they voted for trash according to the wails of outrage. Noah won big.

        So the Hugos stand revealed as not a fan award at all. They are an award handed down by a political action committee. That’s fine, now that the lying about it has finally stopped.

        But the Fan Award Hugos are dead. You shut the lid on the casket yourselves in 2015, and nailed it down this year. Looking forward to the cremation in 2017.

        Incidentally, since you are combing these comments, I very much enjoyed watching you DemocRats get your asses kicked on November the 8th, and the collective freak-out and threat display from you toothless puffer fish is a thing of beauty.

        I hope they take away your cane in Finland, for health and safety.

        1. The Hugos once represented a big chunk of “organized fandom.” Who were only a tiny fraction of actual SF readers.

          Yes, the Hugos are bigger now. But they’ve become so irrelevant that they’re just a rounding error to the bigger organizations.

          1. Let’s be honest – “organized fandom” was, in the early days (before my birth in 1960) a much bigger percentage of the actual SF readers. Because that was a very tiny pool indeed. Barely a pond.

            And most of those early “organized fans” – as well as the “unorganized fans” – WERE in the “progressive” camp. (Remember RAH? Who campaigned vigorously for Sinclair as Governor of California? Whose first novel, albeit unpublished, was truly a paen to “progressive” thinking – guaranteed income, psychological adjustment, rule of the intelligentsia, etc.?) Progress is what we are supposed to be about.

            The field of SF grew, and some authors grew (RAH among them). The “organized fans” were left behind in their world of “progressivism” – that they refused, and still refuse, to recognize as a pretty facade over a grim and regressive totalitarian ideology. Is it any wonder that they are so bitter? So petty? So disconnected from any real world that they cannot even see their own hypocrisy?

            Like Sarah, all I can do is point and laugh – but I have a smidgen yet of pity for their mentally impoverished lives. They are already seeing their temporary (it is always temporary) ascendancy waning, as they throw the crockery against the wall in blind tantrums of rage against the fall of their own personal night. They pulled out the matches to light their house on fire two years ago – this last year they applied the flame to the kindling. I do have that bit of pity for them, but it is not sufficient for me to let them into my house when they are shivering in the cold light of a winter dawn.

            Pardon the length – I probably should have blogged that rant from my own soapbox. I really do need to give the poor thing some attention…

            1. The sff field was ideologically heterogenous before 1980. And if anything, it was anti-progressive before 1940. Authors from that time are either denounced or memory holed in progressive commentary. The idea that a golden age ensued only when progressives took the reins is pure narrative.

        2. “and for the last twenty years without doubt it has an SJWs only party”

          I mostly agree, but there are some exceptions. The 2000 Best Novel field was pretty strong, for instance. That’s the last pre-Puppy year I remember where there were multiple nominees that were plausibly Hugo-worthy. After that it was at most one, and sometimes none.

          1. The 2001 awarding of the “best novel” to JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire* does not so much represent an SJW bias as it does a pathetic attempt to retain relevance.

            *Arguably not even the best children’s fantasy book published in 2000.

            1. No, I said the 2000 Hugo Awards (which would have been for books published in 1999-ish).

              The nominees were:

              Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky
              Bujold’s A Civil Campaign
              Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon
              Bear’s Darwin’s Radio
              Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

              That was a pretty strong field, IMO. I thought Cryptonomicon should have won, myself, but wasn’t too unhappy that ADitS got it instead.

              1. I wasn’t disputing the quality of the nominees in the year cited, merely pointing out that when they later awarded the prize for a novel clearly not SJW-preference it went to a mediocre but popular book.

      6. But now that that there are 400% as many voters as there were in 2009, the “Hugos as we knew them” have died”?

        I notice you don’t mention how much higher the number of folks who bought memberships just to be able to vote was, and neatly dance around the edge of mentioning that it took people physically walking around the convention lying and nagging people to vote to get those higher numbers.

        So when we play by the rules, and give y’all money, you put a thumb on the scales anyway.

        Great idea….enjoy the ruins.

        1. I certainly hope the Helsinki concom isn’t basing its budget on the presumption that all those Puppy supporting memberships will be there, ’cause that ain’t going to happen.

          No, on second thought, I do</i< hope they're doing that. They've already reached the "revolution eating its own" stage, what with kangaroo-courting Dave Weingart. A nice fat deficit would be extra butter on the popcorn.

          The Puppies made their point rather conclusively. No reason to belabor it.
          "How dare you suggest that we're secretly rigging the vote to keep you from winning! Just for that, we're going to openly rig the vote to keep you from winning!”


          Tangentially related: I hear that Mr. Wooden Asshole has been kicked off Facebook. Apparently the election precipitated an attack of screeching irrational rage too serious for even FB to ignore.

          Of course, his booting is somehow an example of how There is No Free Speech in Trump’s AmeriKKKa. Or something. I didn’t bother looking at the details.

        2. “I notice you don’t mention how much higher the number of folks who bought memberships just to be able to vote was,”

          Mr. Glyer’s memory for detail is nothing if not convenient.

      7. Mike, they died when over half the nominations no longer earned out their advance. Once upon a time Hugo nominee was worth a huge boost in sales, these days not so much. Of course it’s those uneducated knuckle dragging buffoons in flyover country who fail to spend their hard earned money on products that simply have no appeal for them.

        1. They still sell abroad. Which means the market in Portugal is now officially dead. Neither I (understandably) nor (shockingly) Larry Correia nor (even more shockingly) Ringo or Weber have space on the shelves in Portugal, but ALL THE FRICKING AWARD WINNERS DO and the section has shrunk from a section to half a shelf. This is not good.

  5. I am so glad to read about the monthly recommendation list. I’ve been wondering how to suggest this for months. I always wonder where to find good ideas for quality SF.

  6. Don’t worry about ‘the award Heinlein won’. It never existed. I have long maintained that Heinlein didn’t win the Hugo; the Hugos won Heinlein. The people running Worldcon, the Secret Masters of Capital-F Fandom, were uniformly Leftist even then, except for one or two odd-duck libertarians, and Heinlein was never part of their clique. But the field was small enough, and the top names were obvious enough, that the award would never have gained any traction if Heinlein hadn’t won it at least once.

    This is also why the Academy gave Charlie Chaplin a lifetime achievement Oscar just before he died. They’d have lost all credibility if he had died without one. Being known as ‘the award that thought it was too good for Chaplin’, or ‘the award that cocked a snook at Heinlein’, would not have been good for business. But giving an award to a comedian in one case, and a vocal anticommunist in the other, was primarily window-dressing to preserve the illusion of inclusiveness.

    1. I certainly cannot confirm or deny whether this is true (I haven’t been paying attention to the Hugos all that much), but if what you say is true, it would explain why Terry Pratchett was *almost* awarded a Hugo in or around 2005.

      It was almost, but not quite, awarded, because Pratchett declined it, saying it should go to someone else, someone who could use a boost to their career.

      I have the impression that it was a subtle hint, saying “Hey guys, I’ve been here all along, and have been very popular for most of this time, and you’re *just* noticing me? C’mon, you could do better than that!”

      1. Pterry was nominated twice, and declined once for reasons clearly stated:

        ‘When they told me I just thought: I can’t handle this, not after all this time, and asked to be let off. That meant I enjoyed the con hugely instead of being a bag of nerves with a blood pressure of 200/95, and when the fateful verdict was given on Sunday night I was eating sushi two miles away. Best worldcon ever!’

        Also, the Hugo equivalent of a Lifetime Achievement award was the Worldcon Guest of Honour designation, which Pratchett was in 2004 (and as an aside, Heinlein was 3 times, or what I like to call the “OMG are you still working?” designation 🙂 )

    2. Likewise Kubrick and Hitchcock (and Scorsese, before 2006).

      Another poster mentioned the “Benjamin Awards” for books — it works for movies too. It’s fun to go look at the actual Best Director winners for the years those gentlemen were nominated, and note how few of those winners are still watched today. There are some exceptions (e.g., My Fair Lady) but in general the winners haven’t aged well. I expect people will still be watching Hitchcock, Kubrick, and Scorsese hundreds of years from now.

  7. This is a test post to confirm MGC knows my name, prior amazingly witty and insightful comment apparently having been caught in the WP lint trap.

      1. This is a test comment to confirm that I am seeing wallabies. I am seeing wallabies, aren’t I? (Please do NOT confirm, if I am not actually seeing wallabies – the one shrink I could ever stand retired a long time ago…)

        1. It is with considerable sadness I am forced to advise you that you are not “seeing wallabies.” First, it is merely a picture, an iconic presentation of a wallaby. Second, even if I often seem to be beside myself there is but a single wallaby depicted, thus you are not “seeing wallabies” but rather you are seeing a picture of a wallaby, a very singular wallaby at that.

          1. I usually have ATH and MGC up side by side – so I am seeing wallabies in the plural, sir.

            I suppose that you are correct, however, in that the map is not the territory, nor is the wallaby picture an actual wallaby.

            1. Sorry, but no matter how many iterations of the same picture are in your view, you still see only one wallaby. I remain The Lone Wallaby even in lieu of a faithful Amerindian Companion.

          1. No, Mike: he had one for the left, one for the right, and one for the gripping hand; one is thrown, two remain. Gotta keep track!

            1. How speciesist of him to assume I was human! Check your anthropomorphic privilege, Mr. Glyer!

              1. Might one inquire as to your species, or perhaps species reference of preference as such things seem to go nowadays?

                As to myself, before anyone asks (or demands nobody asks), I claim a few things…

                Identifying as Mythological – Though I can deal with Imaginary and Fictional, some other terms are.. sometimes rather less flattering.
                Bovine – Moo. Duh.
                Ox – Ox being an educated bovine (even if in most cases it’s not much more than knowing one’s gee from one’s haw.) And people understand ox slow.
                Bull – Though I will use “Ox” as bull is often interpreted to be senselessly dangerous while ox is interpreted as “beneficial/useful, mostly harmless.”
                Minotaur – Technically wrong, but I know what I look like and if people want a short-hand description, no sense in arguing, usually. And there are times a nice secluded labyrinth seems appealing – also technically wrong for the term, but it applies all the same. And I’d want some amenities. Electrical and water service, internet connection, a proper food supply (NOT “human sacrifices”). A few other things, but the description is already lengthy.

                I can deal with “monster” and “beast”[1] but those are more “things friends who know when it’s appropriate/not inappropriate” can use.

                [1] Is there any guy who would object to ‘beast’ when preceded by ‘sexy’ or the like? Not that I expect to ever hear that one myself.

      1. Nyah – I’ve seen Chupik’s gauntlets. They’re connected by an elastic string running up his sleeve, across his back and down the opposite sleeve. When he throws a gauntlet it snaps right back.

      2. BTW, Mike — I still await your enlightenment as to why you think Chupik’s comment relevant to me or anything I have said?

        Clearly his intent was to compliment Sarah for having “thrown the gauntlet” in the face of the Hugo’s rapists “defenders” and while I have played along with your game to see if your intention would be revealed, I begin to perceive this is merely another instance of the type of “inventive” interpretive reading we’ve learned to expect from you and regulars at your site.

        Sorry about the long sentence. I know how tired your lips get reading such things (to borrow a phrase from Jimmy Breslin.)

          1. IIRC white supremacist troll wasn’t been dis-proven to my satisfaction. Did you know that duffelblog says that the military absentee ballots would have delivered the election to Clinton, except that they were delivered late.

            1. Of course the military would have supported the SecState who boldly acted to defend Americans in Benghazi.

              So, tell me: which party has a history of denying military ballots and which has the responsibility of seeing those ballots are delivered to our Armed Forces in a timely manner?

              1. (For those who don’t know: Duffelblog is like the Onion, but for the military, and more consistently funny. In case someone didn’t catch Res’ straight-man humor, there.)

                    1. “Man” in this usage is referential to a traditional role in comedic teams and does not specify a gender identity. As a conservative wallaby I have no need to claim a gender or species assignment to so generic a usage.

                      Microaggressions are what Thor visited upon Útgarða-Loki (in his guise as Skrýmir) and I emulate his indifference.

                1. So I’ve been (suitably subtly) advised.

                  Sigh – I cannot keep up with every Parody/Faux News Site; sorting out the real news from the self-satire at the Washington Post, NY Times, and the rest of the MSM is sufficiently taxing as is.

  8. I’m not sure if there’s an easy way to do this, but sometimes I think there’s a flaw in awards when they are limited to only “this year”. Sometimes you get a year where all the qualifying works are fantastic, followed a year where qualifying works are all awful. It would be nice if an awful year can borrow a work or two from the year where everything is good.

    I’m not sure if there’s an easy way to fix this for an awards system, but I think it would be useful two maintain two lists: one for Hugo qualifiers, and another (likely longer) list of good works in the last three years or so.

    While it would be good to be able to reach back to the origins of SF&F, I think such lists are less necessary because (1) it’s nice to read contemporary authors who are writing new things, and as much as I like Heinlein, if he starts writing again, I’m going to want to make sure my food and ammor supplies are well-stocked, and (2) these names are fairly easy to find, if you search them out — after all, they’ve been around for many years, and so they’ve had time for their names to sink into our field’s consciousness. If one of the purposes of awards is to increase awareness of good works, then it’s a good idea to give publicity works that may have been overlooked a year before…

      1. But the good ones will be winning the Benjamin awards for years.

        Indeed. It’s always fun to observe that the latest SJW bilge is getting its ass kicked by 60 year old Heinlein novels.

  9. Sarah’s going to be tapping the Worldcon fish tank this year. Yay!

    Here, you can use my chipping hammer. It works real good on glass…

  10. I like the idea of using the SP’s notoriety to push good stuff, whether or not enough people nominate any of them for an award. We need to continue to show readers that a lot of SF is still fun.

  11. Glad to have a statement/restatement of purpose for Sad Puppies.

    Vox has always been quite clear on the purpose of the Rabids (burn it down, salting the earth if he’s feeling kind); the Hugo cheerleaders have been equally clear (change? we don’t need no stinkin’ change!).

    I’d suggest posting a brief statement of purpose at the top of the SP5
    page as a refresher for people as we move forward so we’re all on the same (metaphorical) page.

    1. Por que? (For why?)
      They* won’t read it – the caring, loving, tolerant crew that loves anyone who agrees with their groupthink will just skim until offending, and then start with the “Intolerant, Racist, Sexist, Homophobic CisGendered White Male!” accusations that are their tried and true tactic.

      1. They already are. The Vile666 pack is in full cry, if Glyer stuck his nose in. No doubt the usual suspects are nit-picking and poo-smearing their way to an imagined victory.

        That’s the reason to do it. We keep showing up, they keep freaking out. Normal people watch them freak out and say to themselves “What a pack of lunatics.”

        Hugo Award is a do-not-buy warning for many fans now, we should extend that knowledge to the general public. Its a civic duty, really.

    2. Quite simply, those are her middle fingers.

      More effectively murderous nutbars than these have failed to intimidate her, so she will of course fight. Pointless or not.

      1. If I encounter something that intimidates Sarah Hoyt, I’m making a hasty retreat to get some extra firepower…

  12. I think this is my first prolonged exposure to Mike Glyer. Is he always this smug and disingenuous.

  13. From Glyer at Vile: “Only she can’t walk away. She believes these Sad Puppies campaigns are the only thing that makes anyone pay attention to writers on her end of the spectrum.”

    1. *snerk*

      Sometimes I wonder if these guys are aware most of the readers of scifi are geeks… and there are few things that get geeks going like “that’s not right.”

      There’s someone claiming they’re sharing The Best Of SciFi, and they’re wrong.

      Of course Sarah and the rest are going to keep arguing about it. What next, someone trying to find a Deeper Motivation in “Star Trek Vs Star Wars”?

    2. “We’re still in the middle of a culture war.  And one of the things the — for lack of a better term — other side has is bully pulpits.  Now most of them are in the old paper media, and they’re not really read by fans of the field.  BUT still, they have magazines that publish recommended lists, and interviews with authors, and turn the spotlight on work they think should be read.
      “We have nothing like that.  Yeah, yeah, Otherwhere Gazette, which might or might not be revived some day (depending on health and a million other things) but even if it is, will have to climb up into …. people’s awareness.
      And if we’re going to do that, we might as well tie it to the Sad Puppies effort, because hey, there is no such thing as bad publicity.”

      Yeah, that’s how it read to me.

      1. Gee, Mike, once again you demonstrate poor reading comprehension capabilities.

        Not much of a writer, either, as your comments have been largely content free.

      2. Yeah, that’s how it read to me.

        I… I… (Looks at dog – Do you understand this? – dog looks blank).

        Dude, if you’re NOT trolling with that line, then you need help. Join the Patriarchy, man, so you can use some logic.

    3. Someone above criticized Glyer’s reading comprehension. I believe there’s a simpler explanation: He’s deliberately lying.

  14. > slate

    SJW slate: “Yes, O [master | mistress | undefined gender | not sure] I will vote per your instructions, as I have no will of my own.”

    Puppy slate: “F=IW. Oh look, a squirrel!”

  15. A large crowd-sourced recommendation list of areas I enjoy reading is always a good thing. I got a couple of useful recommendations from the last Sad Puppies.

    But I’m not seeing any reason to tie this directly to the Hugos. For the type of books that I enjoy (action, adventure, military SF, etc…..) the Hugos don’t do much. Too little action and too much message fiction. After several passes it seems clear that the Hugo voter base is big enough that there will not be significant change in what wins.

    Example – Aeronaut’s Windlass was one of my favorite books of 2015. It got a Hugo nomination but finished well behind the two top vote getters . On the bright side, it was not no-awarded. That seems to be about as good as anything I’m seriously interested in reading will ever come up on the Hugo list. Uprooted was good, but not great (IMHO).

  16. Let us not forget the real victory of the Sad Puppies phenomenon: It drew together a community of SFF’s disaffected and allowed us to discover one another online. I had read Sarah, but before SP3 broke I had never heard (astonishingly) of Larry Correia, nor Brad, nor Kate, nor John C. Wright, nor Peter Grant, nor a whole long list of other people whom I’ve been devouring since February of last year. In supporting it I lost a number of friends (whom for the most part I haven’t missed) and gained a great many more. It’s worth continuing for that reason alone, even if the awards themselves are toast.
    It also proved to me that indie publishing actually works.
    Look at all the slobbering hatred visited upon us as free publicity. File 770 is an interesting and useful site. Even the commenters provide a valuable service: They make an enormous racket and keep us in the public eye, at no cost to ourselves. I used to run a significant publishing company and I know what that sort of PR costs. Taking it personally is silly.
    So I’m with Sarah. Let’s do it all again, with gusto!

    1. Yes, it seems we now have three canine factions: Sad Puppies, Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies and the “Hugo Defenders” (such as Mike Glyer and his File minions) taking the role of the Dog In The Manger.

      1. Except that the Puppies (being the indie faction, and skilled at do-it-yourself) are building their own manger, now that the original manger is empty but for some wood chips and dog hair.

      1. Might be worth it just to see what type of horseshit they make up to deny it. Mischief is important.

  17. I’ll note that Sad Puppies 1 was hardly a thing, just Larry making a few humorous blog posts. Sad Puppies 2 was when he got noticed and the idjits came out of the woodwork.

    1. All of it was Larry making a few humorous blog posts. That’s what makes the whole thing so sweet. It isn’t like there’s this Vast Conspiracy with meetings and dues and secret handshakes.

      All it took to freak the likes of Glyer out was a few blog posts and people like us voting. Larry was mostly screwing around, that’s all it took to rip the sheets off the Hugo clique and get them acting like cornered rats.

      1. I hate to call it “streisanding” (my preferred term is “adverse attention) but that’s basically what they did: took what was originally a bit of sly satire from one man and turned it into a new and growing branch of SFF fandom.

      2. Shhhh! Don’t joke about the handshakes! The Seventh-Degree Puppy Masters get very upset when you do that!

  18. “they have magazines that publish recommended lists, and interviews with authors, and turn the spotlight on work they think should be read.

    We have nothing like that.”

    We HAD nothing like that. The Puppy of the Month Book Club went live the day after the 2016 Hugo Award ceremony specifically to help fill that gap. We’re adding more signal to the noise by looking in-depth at titles that specifically appeal to Puppies of either stripe. This month it’s Schuyler Hernstrom and it’ll be John C. Wright in December.

    The two gents who stepped up to help contribute – Nathan Housley and The Frisky Pagan – are producing some of the best lit-crit available on either side of the culture war.

    Check it out sometime, you won’t be disappointed:

    1. See, while people fought to differentiate themselves, they weren’t talking about making science fiction better! Every blog post spent disavowing Vox Day was words that could’ve been spent evangelizing an excellent story.

  19. Abut 40% of the way down my analysis of the 2016 Hugo Nominations voting, I concluded that SP4 really did function as a recommendations list, not a slate, and that participation was about the same as the year before (~100 people). So you did what you said you would, and you didn’t lose people in the process. Let me offer my belated congratulations.

    As a result, you really did distinguish yourselves from the Rabid Puppies (something I hadn’t been prepared to believe you really wanted to do), and this was not because all the Sad Puppies turned Rabid rather than support an effort run by women (something I’d speculated on in the past). Please accept my apologies for selling you short.

    1. Be advised there were many supporters, such as I, of the Sad Puppies contingent who disdained voting. Both on the grounds that a fair process would require reading of all entries, something for which I had neither time nor inclination and because I haven’t paid attention to the Hugos since 1975 or before.

      I applauded the efforts of the Sad Puppies and deplored the slander of the Manger Dogs, but there is nothing that will make me inclined to pick up a story because it has “won” a Hugo. Knowing the “population” of the Sad Puppy blogs, I strongly believe myself amongst a majority of viewers.

  20. I think that the best thing that the Sad Puppies can do is, rather than fight the Sad Puppies vs. Worldcon/Chorfs/SJWs fight, talk about good fiction, talk about why it’s good, and talk about why you should be reading that instead of what the mainstream in big name publications are putting out.

    The case needs to be made for fiction. If you can make a strong case for the stories, you can eschew the culture war narrative while fighting the culture war from a stronger position.

    While the open slate from last year addressed many of the issues and accusations leveled at SP3, it also resulted in a list that no one seemed particularly enthusiastic about. The biggest difference between SP4 and RP2, from my perspective, was not that one had 10 per category and the other had 5 but that Vox actually made a case for the items on his list as to why he thought they should chosen for the award. On the other hand, SP4 felt like “well, a couple people came over from File770 and nominated these things, and we promised an open list, so that’s why they’re on the list.” Unless you can make the case and make the case strongly for what is on the list, there hardly seems to be a point in having a list.

    I’d like to give a big shout-out to the Puppy of the Month blog ( what they are doing is finding, reading, reviewing and making the case for stories.

      1. It’s close, but I’m talking nitty-gritty, nuts and bolts “this is why we are championing this story”, which is something I did not see much of last year. I mean, I get why, with some of the picks last year, that there wasn’t a lot of “yeah, this is so totally awesome and you definitely need to read it!” coming from the official SP4 blog. I’m really hoping that will change this time around.

        1. I’m casting a wide net instead. Look, my reading tastes are at least as eclectic as Kate’s. Yeah, I’ll try to recommend some books, but I’m not going to read everything recommended. And we’re not closing recommendations (my guess is since it’s not Hugo oriented most of the PK’s will lose interest) to a small group. I’m going to cull a recommend list. Followers can review if they wish and we’ll link reviews on the site.

            1. Reviews are an amazing thing. We can link to reviews from both sides and readers will figure out their way.
              For years the local movie reviewer was a reliable indicator for what I would like. If he hated it, I’d love it.
              Of course, then he up and died and I haven’t read his replacement…

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