Yipping At The Dragon’s Feet

There has, since Sarah announced the shape Sad Puppies 5 will take, been a minor flurry of squawking from the Intertubes (overwhelming my regular diet of cute cat pictures too, damn it) to the effect that I did Sad Puppies 4 all wrong and that what Sarah is doing isn’t Sad Puppies at all and she should change the name or go all attacky or something.

This, of course, on top of She Who Must Not Be Named claiming Sarah was “tedious” (hell no. I’ve seen Sarah half asleep and ill and she was anything but tedious. Of course, it’s possible She Who Must Not Be Named But Has Mucho Influence In The Publisher Named For a Mountaintop (okay, I may be overdoing the ironic capitalization here) simply doesn’t get anything Sarah says so she just figures it’s got to be boring because if it was interesting she’d totally understand it. Or something. She couldn’t possibly be trying to other and dismiss a fellow female and an award winning author. She’s a light-maker: she wouldn’t do that.

:sharp twanging sound followed by a spray of scattered metal bits:

Oops. There goes another sarcasmometer. I really should stop going off on these little tangents.

Anyhow. The point I’m aiming for today is the idea that because Sarah isn’t aiming Sad Puppies in the direction of the Hugo Awards the name ought to be changed because Sad Puppies is all about the Hugos.

It’s not. The Sad Puppies name comes from Larry Correia’s timeless observation that crappy message fiction makes puppies sad, and of course sad puppies is one of those things that’s obviously inherently double-plus ungood, what with puppies being supposed to be eternally cheerful peppy bundles of hyperactive slobber, waggy tails, and probably yipping.

Note that it’s not message fiction in general that makes puppies sad, just crappy message fiction. Really good message fiction is fine (and usually gets to be really good by wrapping the message in a damn good plot with damn good characters and all that other fictiony stuff the literatsi like to sneer at).

This of course means that anything Sarah does aimed at celebrating really good fiction is by definition a valid Sad Puppies campaign. It can’t help but be relevant to the Sad Puppies theme (political hacks may wish to take note, if they have demeaned themselves so far as to read a heretical blog that’s mostly about writing genre fiction: the way you stay relevant in a changing world is to have a set of – preferably admirable and achievable – broad principles which you apply to more specific goals based on what is more urgent at any given time. Unfortunately this advice may prove to constitute a hostile work environment for political hacks, none of whom have shown any evidence of possessing any principles beyond “stay in power”).

Of course, there’s a non-zero chance this little tempest in a teacup (or possibly a B-cup) is inspired by something other than sincere concern for the state of the genre. After all, if Sad Puppies isn’t aiming at the Hugo awards, who can stand as the scapegoat du jour?

Pff. What am I thinking? The answer is already out there and taking nominations.

That’s right, nominations are now open for the 2017 Dragon Awards. All their categories are taking nominations for works published/released between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. They’re encouraging early nomination, but since there’s still six months of releases before the window closes I personally won’t be nominating until rather closer to the July 24 nomination cutoff.

As always, when dealing with anything related to a Campaign to End Puppy-Related Sadness, read, watch, play, then nominate the works you think are absolutely the best of the year’s offerings.


  1. Wow, that’s kinda awesome that they already have nominations open for the next Dragon Awards. It’ll be tough, I reckon. I mean, there’s a new Dresden book and a new MHI book coming out next year if I’m not mistaken, plus the whole Ringo MHI Memoirs, and Sarah’s books, and there was a new Matthew Reilly book … yeah. Damn. This won’t be easy.

    As for Sad Puppies’ lists, I’m honestly rather torn. I’d like a reading list that filters out the grey goo, but I am unsure if that gels with the ‘everyone can recommend’. Still, it’s amusing to me that the ASPs are whinging and wailing and trying to dictate what they want to happen with Sad Puppies, by complaining about the way things are decided by people other than the ASPs.

        1. ‘Cause your betters told you to??? Cause message fiction is da bomb. Because the sex scenes in Fifth Season had me hoping they had magical cures for vaginal and bladder infections?

          1. 5thS has sex scenes? EW! The mind recoils at the thought of what warped freakazoid perturbation* NK would come up with for such a scene.

            OM fricking G. I’m famous (also infamous in some circles) for balking at the cover blurb of that thing.

            My brain is now thanking former me for my prescience.

            *perturbation used here in place of something else. Searchable text, you know.

              1. Double plus ew. And this wins a Hugo.

                Meanwhile the retards keep using the word “quality” in the same sentence with 5thS. Insert Princess Bride quote here.

                1. “This isn’t the ‘quality’ you’re looking for…”

                  Like “attitude”, “quality” seems to have become a polarized word nowadays. All attitudes are bad, all quality is good.

    1. I think it indicates that the Dragons are very aware of their customer base– geeks!

      It’s hard to remember to nominate the book that you Really Really Loved six months ago– but if they get it in folks’ head to go “Hey, I read this great new scifi/fantasy thing– I’ll go to the Dragon Awards page to share it!” then not only will you get the cream of the crop, but folks will be going there all year long.

      1. Problem is, their current rules work against that. Specifically, their rule that “Once you have submitted a nomination for a category you cannot change it.” That rule encourages you to wait until the end of the eligibility period (June 30th, 2017) and then nominate before the July 24, 2017 deadline. If you nominate something awesome right now, then an even more awesome book comes out in May 2017, you won’t be able to change your previous nomination.

        Since their target audience (geeks) tend to be people who are good at playing games with very complicated rules, and finding ways to exploit those rules*, most of the target audience will figure out that the optimum solution is to wait until the end of June to nominate. So you’d better have a good memory, or a note-taking program you trust.

        The Dragon awards committee could fix this problem by allowing you to revise your nominations. When you submit a new slate of nominations by email, you get a response saying (for example) “In the Best Young Adult Novel category, you previously nominated The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher. You have now changed your nomination for this category to Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia. If this was not what you intended, you can change it back by submitting a new ballot, listing The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher in the Best Young Adult Novel category and leaving all other categories blank; leaving a category blank means that you do not wish to change your previous nominations in that category.”

        As it stands, though, their rules encourage people to wait until the last month to nominate entries, just in case something even more awesome comes out after you’ve already locked in your vote.

        * Behold Pun-Pun, the Mighty Level 6 Kobold! He has infinite scores in every stat, can cast any spell in the game anytime he wants, and cannot be harmed by any form of damage. And he’s built entirely according to the D&D rules! (Pre-errata, at least: an erratum changes a rule that the Pun-Pun build relied on to get started).

        (Incidentally, this is why the Hugo committee’s attempt at rule-changes will fail if enough Rabid Puppies decide to play: they’re going up against geeks. Geeks who play D&D eat rule systems for breakfast. The Sad Puppies just want to nominate fun things and wouldn’t coordinate effectively, so the Hugo rule changes would be somewhat effective at preventing the Sad Puppies from dominating the nominations — but against a coordinated Rabid Puppies effort? Yeah, EPH is gonna be broken six ways from Sunday.)

        1. Ah, but we are also prone to not gaming the rules unless pissed off– and keeping folks from changing their nominations makes it of value, and prevents late-stage vote grubbing.

  2. I nominated Lamplighter’s most recent Rachel Griffin book, but I’ve got a pretty large backlog in my reading stack.

    1. The Rachel Grifin stuff by Jagi Lamplighter is very good. So is the Moth & Cobweb stuff by her husband John C. Wright. And, I suppose they’d both go into YA? Has there every been a husband/wife team competing for the same award on the same ballot?

      Right now, I’d be slightly inclined to give the nod to Jagi – by that third book, I was pretty hooked, even though the whole wizarding school genre/set up is not my cup of tea (I’m an old guy). However, John’s 3rd Moth & Cobweb volume is due out soon, and he’s left us with a tremendous cliff-hanger (natch) at the end of book 2, so – hard to say. How does Gil get out of this one? Hilarious pooka-dog, mermaid cousin and divine interventions can be pretty entertaining.

  3. Wow, given the known future releases (MHI, a new Maxwell novel from Peter Grant, et cetera) plus whatever indies and smaller press releases are coming, there should be a fantastic field for both the Dragons and SP5. Now all we need is time to read (and watch/listen)!

      1. The HP Lovecraft Historical Society has been producing a lot of stories in the style of the old radio dramas, and on Halloween Razorfist released a re-creation of one of those old Shadow radio shows.

        1. XD Not what I meant; rather: I was wondering if there was such a category in the list.

          In which case, would audiobooks count? (Probably not, since radio dramas are something else entirely.)

          Personally, I think these would be a valid addition, and with the age of podcasts and audiobooks, a perfect addition to new / revamped entertainment media.

  4. I’d certainly like to float a recommendation for E. Reagan Wright’s Shitlord: the Triggering for Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectable Card / Role-Playing Game.

    Not only is it hilarious, it’s a really solid OSR retroclone with very easy to use and well presented mechanical content.

    1. Nobody’s stopping you. You can even go and put it in the nomination form right now if you like.

  5. There is so MUCH to read!! I have used the nominations for Hugo as a reading list (just once) and I found it to be a useful exercise. But to be honest? I haven’t been nominated for a Hugo. And therefore I no longer can afford to expose my tender feelings to their uncaring perusal.
    Now if they changed their minds, I’d be good with that.

  6. Honestly – and I hope I’m not ticking anyone off here – why worry about what others think? First, there are those who’s going to oppose whatever is done, and second, there’s always the 181st Chairborne who think they can do better but oddly never do. Neither are worth bothering with.

    1. Oh, I’m not worrying. I’m amused that people are feeling the need to reinterpret things to fit their own biases even though the attempt just makes things worse for them.

  7. I’m with you Kate darlin girl.
    Sad Puppies 1-3 set out to and very definitely accomplished the purpose to demonstrate that the once famous Hugo Awards had been hijacked by a small cadre of literary poofdas who were ignoring popular F&SF and passing the award back and forth between themselves and those who kissed up to their progressive narrative.
    Having done that most eloquently and been shown the correctness of our assumptions at the 2015 Worldcon with the Noah Ward and wooden A-hole debacle of an award ceremony the work of Sad Puppies was complete as regards the Hugos.
    SP4 was IMHO an effort to simply open the field back up to popular input, which those gaming the Hugo system soundly trounced yet again. So, it’s most appropriate to let the thieving bastards have their fun, just so long as they can no longer make the claim that it is still a popular award for best of the year. It’s their chew toy now, and dead to anyone interested in quality SF&F. Long live the Dragon.

    1. I don’t feel like going back to my original announcement post and checking, but I seem to recall saying something to the effect that if it turns out that the literatsi picks continue to win, so be it.

      Absent a concrete standard of proof (and with something as subjective as this, nothing’s concrete. You set your own terms of victory) the only person who can decide whether something succeeded is the person doing it.

      You want to weep and wail and gnash your teeth about how I did things or how Sarah is doing things? Start your own campaign and have fun.

  8. Kate said: “…minor flurry of squawking from the Intertubes … to the effect that I did Sad Puppies 4 all wrong and that what Sarah is doing isn’t Sad Puppies at all…”

    Yeah, like those idiots know anything. Seriously, SP4, you done good. Exactly the right thing, done exactly the right way. Anybody says different, they are a boob or an opposition concern-troll. F- ’em.

    This year, Sarah also is taking the right path, in my not-so-humble opinion. Having exposed the raging lunacy of the WorldCon CHORFS, should we pay them our money to watch them dance the rage fandango again? Probably unwise. Without -our- money they will be broke. That’s a good thing for them to be.

    Besides, they won’t do anything new and interesting, it’ll be the same crap they did the last four times. It was fun to watch, but now I’ve seen it.

    Time to -really- put the boots to them. Let their asinine picks stand next to the Sad Puppies Slate, and allow the world to judge.

    1. SEE! He said Sad Puppies Slate! Proof! PROOF! All the Puppies are in lockstep mindless conformity! It’s a white Mormon male conspiracy!

      1. Well, since Sarah isn’t pointing at the Hugos, she’s allowed to use the word “slate”.

        Me, I still think it’s an abuse of a perfectly respectable roofing material.

        1. I didn’t think I *needed* the tag, but is the hysteria in some quarters really this overblown?

          1. If anything we’re understating it.

            Honestly, I think with some of them, you mention anything canine and their pants fall off or catch fire.

            (And yes, I caught the sarcasm. I just chose to play it straight)

        2. I maintain my call that SP5 should call it a slate just to be annoying. Being annoying for its own sake is a highly rewarding strategy. ~:D

          It doesn’t have to be made of actual slate, but on reflection that would be cool.

    2. Considering I walked around World Con carrying my Sad Puppies tote bag
      AND walked into the Hugo Awards wearing my Sad Puppies Tee Shirt, I feel that “I” have EARNED the right to say Kate did a FANTASTIC job and anyone who is being picky? Answer this question. Where were YOU when it was time to stand up and be counted because I may have just overlooked you but I don’t recall seeing you.

      1. How did that go? Did Vonda McIntyre run up and threaten you with her cane? Anybody spit on the carpet? Get your foot run over by a mobility scooter?

        Inquiring minds want to know if the CHORFs have any guts in person, or only behind a keyboard.

        1. Come on, you know the answer to that!
          I’m sure the poor dears needed therapy to overcome their PTSD after encountering a puppy in meatspace.

          1. Truthfully I’ve only ever been to ComicCons and the like, where people are properly behaved. I’ve never -ever- seen an SJW “in the wild” so to speak, they just don’t crop up around here.

            Which is just another reason I live here. ~:)

            I have heard they get braver when they assemble in numbers, hence my interest.

  9. Some people wanted to nominate Beyond the Mist for Sad Puppies 4, but it was released in the first week of this year, so a few days too late. It was too short (at 54,000 words) to be eligible for the Dragons, Since Sad Puppies 5 is now based on the Dragons, it looks like it misses out again. Did I miss something or just luck out on the timing?

  10. …claiming Sarah was “tedious”…

    In this case you don’t need a Humpty Dumpty to explain their definition. Tedious it is part and parcel of not knowing when you have been well and properly put in your place and staying there.

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