I swore to myself—again—that I was I was going to stay away from this ruckus after my first two essays (one long, one short) but some of the posts put up on my web site have worn down that resolve.
A friend of mine once said “ignorance can be fixed; stupid is forever.” I suspect he’s right, but I will sally forth once again in the hopes that some of these seemingly-stupid statements and arguments are really just the product of ignorance.
Let me start with this statement, from a recent poster named James May (and don’t complain, dammit; once you post on MY web site, you’re fair game):
“The social justice warrior argument is not specious but right on point. When you have SF authors writing posts about white privilege and others saying straight out they won’t review white men then that represents a sea-change, and a very new one, only 3 years old or so. That sort of thing is not occasional but obsessive and daily and it is not the usual right vs. left, although it is often couched in those terms. That is why people make the mistake of stretching this conflict years and even decades back rather than the months back it deserves.”
I have two points to make about this, one of which is:
Who the hell are you talking about outside of your right-wing echo chamber where idiot acronyms like “SJW” mean something?
But I’ll get back to that. My first point—picture me spluttering my coffee all over the place when I read it—has to do with this statement:
“When you have SF authors writing posts about white privilege… that represents a sea-change… This is why people make the mistake of stretching this conflict years and even decades back rather than months it deserves.”
Excuse me? SF authors have been writing about racism—AKA “white privilege”—for decades. And they came very late to the party. Eighty-eight years before the first Hugo award was handed out, a lowly be-damned politician had this to say on the subject of white privilege:
“It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
The politician’s name was Abraham Lincoln and he said the above in the course of his second inaugural address as PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
But according to James May, outraged as he is by “social justice warriors”—once known as the entire Union army led by a fellow named Ulysses S. Grant—this is all the product of a very recent ruckus caused by whoever his contemporary “social justice warriors” consist of.
The truth is this, as uncomfortable as it may be for some people to hear it: Science fiction can claim credit for a lot of things, but one thing it cannot claim credit for is its track record on issues of racism and sexism. Our genre, at least until very recent times, has been in the rearguard, not the vanguard, of the fight for social justice.
For decades it was all but impossible to get science fiction publishers to put people of color on the covers of science fiction novels. I can remember sitting in Andre Norton’s living room a few years before she died listening to her excoriate SF publishers for their cowardice on the subject.
For decades women were either entirely absent from SF stories or, if they did appear, usually appeared as one-dimensional characters. And for a number of SF authors—I will name names, and we can start with Keith Laumer—a female character was doing well if she achieved one-dimensionality. The women in his stories generally amounted to nothing more than walking and occasionally talking pin-up girls. (And if you’re wondering as to my expertise on the subject, I’m the one who edited Baen Books’ multi-volume reissue of the writings of Keith Laumer.)
Nor does SF’s none-too-glorious track record when it comes to social justice begin and end with issues of race and gender. There’s a reason the hero of my first published novel, Mother of Demons, is a Jew. It’s because when I was a teenager I was disturbed—well, no, I was actually pretty damn pissed—that there seemed to be no Jews in the worlds of the future depicted in science fiction.
“What?” I can remember demanding to myself. “Did Hitler somehow win World War II after all?” And I made a solemn vow in the way that fourteen-year-old boys will that if I ever wrote a science fiction novel I would damn well make my hero a Jew. Truth be told, I didn’t really expect I’d ever make good on the promise. But I didn’t forget it, and when the time came—rather to my surprise—I did.
I am a gentile, by the way. You don’t have to be a Jew yourself to be displeased by science fiction’s tacit accommodation to anti-Semitism even in the years after the Holocaust.
And puh-leese don’t anyone bother putting up outraged posts pointing to exceptions to the rule.
Yes, I know there were exceptions to the rule. There are always exceptions to any rule. But that doesn’t change the rule itself—and there’s a reason the word is “rule.”
Let me quote from Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language:
Rule (n): a principle or regulation governing conduct, action, procedure, arrangement, etc.
Rule (v): to exercise dominating power or influence; predominate.
So spare me your whining about the exceptions. They didn’t RULE. The rule was that, until shamefully recently, the track record of science fiction when it came to social justice stank to high heaven. A genre that claimed to be in advance of society was actually trailing far behind, on issues of race, gender, or anything that involved “social justice.”
All right, enough on that. Now I want to get to my next point, which is this:
I am sick and tired of listening to people whine about “social justice warriors”—or “SJWs,” as they usually call them. I am sick and tired of them for two reasons.
First of all, I am a social justice warrior. Not an “SJW,” not a figment of the fevered imaginations of right-wingers, but the real deal. As a teenager, I was active in the civil rights movement; as a young man, in the anti-Vietnam war movement. By the time I was in my early twenties I was a socialist—which I am to this day—and I spent the next quarter of a century as a full-time political activist in one or another socialist organization. Among my other accomplishments—or damn fool tilting at windmills, take your pick—I ran for city council in Birmingham, Alabama in 1979 on the Socialist Workers Party ticket. (No, I didn’t win. But I did get 800 votes, which I thought was pretty damn good given the key words Birmingham, Alabama and 1979.)
During that time I devoted most of my energy to political struggles in the industrial trade unions, and I did so all over the country: in Los Angeles, California—and not La-La-Land but the docks in San Pedro, steel mills in the City of Commerce and teamster halls in several places; Detroit, Michigan, where I worked in GM’s forge in Hamtramck; Morgantown, WV; Birmingham, Alabama; Cleveland, Ohio, and eventually in Chicago, where I live to this day. At one time or another, I have been a longshoreman, a truck driver, a steelworker, an autoworker, an oil refinery worker, a meatpacker, a machinist and even for a few months a genu-ine glass blower.
I fought corporate bosses at all times and on some occasions, union bosses—including some fairly hair-raising experiences dealing with goons from the national leadership of the Teamsters union, during the early 70s when I was a participant in the fight for democracy in that union.
I fought for a just distribution of wealth and—more importantly—a reorganization of the way wealth is produced in the first place. I fought for civil rights and women’s rights, and the first rally I ever attended supporting the nascent movement for gay and lesbian rights was held in a black church in Detroit, Michigan back in 1977. And, throughout, I fought against the imperialist tendencies of the American political establishment in foreign affairs.
If you don’t like it, screw you. I don’t care what you think.
Listening to you anti-SJW types whine about your persecution just makes me laugh.
Persecution? Because you didn’t get nominated for a Hugo award?
Boy, are you a bunch of pikers. I have had three murder attempts made on me because of my political beliefs and activities. I can’t remember any longer how many times I’ve been threatened with murder. I have been badly beaten by a mob of KKK-organized right-wing thugs in broad daylight on a public street and the man I was with was crippled for life. (That happened just outside of Birmingham, Alabama in June of 1979. Did the police ever investigate? Be serious. Of course not.)
I have been physically assaulted because of my political beliefs on perhaps a dozen occasions. Being fair about it, while most of those assaults were carried out by right-wingers, some of them—perhaps a third—were carried out by Stalinists (usually Maoists of one variety or another). I have no idea how many times I’ve been threatened with physical assault. I lost track decades ago.
I have been arrested by the police on several occasions, usually for exercising my First Amendment rights. No charges were ever filed, mind you, since they were so bogus no prosecutor would have taken them up. But this is a typical form of police harassment. They can legally hold you in jail for 24 hours without pressing charges, and if you don’t want to miss a day’s work you have to post bail—and if you don’t just happen to have several thousand dollars handy you have to pay a bail bondsman a percentage which you’ll never get back.
Since I was in my early twenties I’ve known that most careers were closed to me because of my political beliefs and activity. Those include any career in the military, any career in government above the level of a postal clerk, any managerial career in any major corporation—the list goes on and on.
But you know what? I never once pissed and moaned and groaned about it. I took it for granted because I knew from the outset that if you set yourself in really sharp opposition to the powers-that-be—I’m talking about the real Powers-That-Be, not bullshit “social justice warriors”—you are bound to pay a price for it. That’s been true in every society back to the Stone Age. I know it—and every real fighter for social justice knows it.
So shut up. Listening to you right-wingers piss and moan about being victimized because you don’t get nominated for Hugo awards is tiresome. You are the biggest wusses who ever walked the face of the earth.
Point two. There’s a reason you never actually name these fearsome “SJWs” you constantly carp about. That’s because if you did, you’d immediately become a laughingstock.
Here’s the truth. Yes, there are people in the world who are insufferably holier-than-thou when it comes to right conduct and righteous thinking. Yes, there are people in the world who will shriek at anyone whom they believe to have engaged in any sort of transgression of proper social norms—and they invariably have the longest and most tender toes in the world. It seems no one can help but step on them, no matter what you say or do.
To which the proper response is simple. You ignore themand go on your way. And you can do this because outside of a few departments in some universities they don’t amount to a hill of beans. They may make a lot of noise—if you insist on staying in their vicinity, at least—but they have no power worth worrying about.
That’s why whenever I get into an argument with one of you anti-SJW types, I always say:
NAME NAMES, goddamit. Either name names or shut up.
And…you never name names. Not because you can’t, but because if you did it would immediately be obvious that these fearsome and ferocious and tyrannical Social Justice Warriors are actually a small bunch of noisy twits who have no real influence over anybody or anything.
You want to know why Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen and many other authors they like don’t get nominated for Hugo awards or win them? It’s as simple as it gets, and it’s the same reason I never get nominated and Mercedes Lackey never gets nominated and Michael Stackpole never gets nominated. It’s because the subjects that interest us and the way we write about them aren’t either the subjects or the style of writing that most of the people who vote for Hugos either like or think is worthy of getting a Hugo award.
Period. There’s nothing more to be said.
Those people have every right to their opinion—just as I have the right to shrug my shoulders and get about my business because, push comes to shove, I don’t care what they think. Or at least, I don’t care enough to change what I write about and how I write.
I will close with a third point, tangentially related to the first two, which is this:
While I think the Sad Puppies began this exercise in hyper-ventilation with their screeching about “SJWs”, they are not the only ones who have been guilty of it.
It is now time for me to state a truth which, while it may surprise or disturb or distress or just plain annoy some people, still needs to be said:
What is at stake here is not the fate of western civilization—or even the fate of science fiction. The forces of Mordor are not lining up to conquer Middle-earth and we do not face the prospect of eternal rule by Sauron.
It’s a fricking brawl over an award that the vast majority of the human race has never heard of and could care less about.
I know Brad Torgersen. He’s not only a friend of mine, he’s one of the people who helps me maintain this web site—and his last contribution a few days ago was to clean up and improve the formatting of an essay I wrote which, among other things, criticized him.
As the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler, he is…
Well, sadly lacking in the necessary qualities. Just for starters, his wife Annie is not only African-American but about as far removed as it gets from shy and demure and she’d skin him alive if he made any moves in that direction. Whenever the three of us get together to argue politics, she’s way more likely to be on my side than his.
I don’t really know Larry Correia. I’ve met him only once, at an SF convention, in the course of which we had a political argument that lasted for perhaps an hour. Gee, what a shocker: conservative libertarian Mormon disagrees with commie atheist. Stop the presses!
For the record, however, our dispute was friendly and cordial and he struck me as a pretty nice guy. I have been told as much by a number of people who know him far better than I do whose opinions I generally trust.
So he also seems like a pretty unlikely candidate for the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler.
Then there’s Theodore Beale, aka “Vox Day.” Now we come to a far more suitable candidate, Great-Dictator-Reborn-wise. He shares Hitler’s general attitudes on race, certainly, although I don’t know where he stands on the subject of Jews. And he’s even to the right of Hitler on the subject of women. Far to the right, in fact. Hitler thought women should stick to their proper roles in child-rearing, managing households and church activity—“Kinder, K?che, Kirche”—but he wasn’t actually opposed to women learning how to read and write and he didn’t support honor killings.
But there are two great differences between Beale and Hitler that make it impossible for Beale to play that role either.
To start with, whatever his other depravities, Hitler wasn’t a petty chiseler. Whereas Beale is nothing but a petty chiseler. He chisels when it comes to his opinions, always trying to play peekaboo and slime around defending what he obviously believes. And he’s trying to win Hugo awards by petty chiseling.
But it’s his other characteristic that really disqualifies him for the role of Great Villain in this morality play.
In a nutshell—and completely unlike Adolf Hitler—Theodore Beale is a fucking clown with delusions of grandeur. This is a man—say better, pipsqueak—who rails to the heavens about the decline—nay, the imminent doom!—of western civilization due to the savageries of sub-human races and (most of all) the pernicious—nay, Satan-inspired!—willfulness of uppity women, and likes to portray himself as the reincarnation of the feared Crusaders of yore, all the way down to wielding a flaming sword.
And… the best thing he can figure out to do with his time, money and energy is to hijack a few Hugo awards. That’ll show the sub-human-loving treacherous bitches!
The world trembles and shakes, just like it does in the imagination of a mouse whenever that mouse imagines itself to be an elephant. Except no mouse who ever lived was this stupid.
On the flip side of the equation, I also know John Scalzi. I first met him online a few years ago, as another participant in a group organized by Charlie Stross to combat the tendencies of most publishers at the time to follow the lead of the music industry—specifically, the Pied Piper known as Digital Rights Management (DRM)—when it came to so-called “piracy.” Cory Doctorow was another member of the group.
Ironically, in light of their later stereotyping by some people in “the Baen crowd,” all of the participants in that group were admirers of Baen Books’ policy on electronic publishing. As was…
(roll of drums)’
Patrick Nielsen Hayden, the Tor editor who seems to serve the anti-SJW crowd as Chief Dastardly Villain Number One, except when John Scalzi does. I’ve only met Patrick once, at a Tor party at a convention (don’t remember which one, but it was probably one of the World Fantasy cons), and what he wanted to talk about was his support for Baen’s policy. “The only publisher who really knows what they’re doing when it comes to electronic publishing,” was the way he put it.
I can’t say I’m exactly friends with John Scalzi, since we’ve only met a few times and then briefly. But we’re certainly on friendly terms and I have to say that the depiction of him by the anti-SJWers is every bit as laughable as the depiction of Brad Torgersen or Larry Correia as the second coming of Attila the Hun.
Lessee… a middle-aged white guy who writes military SF about old white guys and riffs on Star Trek is… a social justice warrior literary author.
Gee, who knew?
By the way, many readers have told me that—as is true with me—they assumed that Scalzi was a right-winger because—as is true with me—he likes to write military SF. Some of them—as is true with me—even manage to read several novels by him without being disabused of the notion. Proving once again that the novel someone reads is not necessarily the same novel the author wrote.
The point I’m trying to get at here is that everyone in this ruckus needs to be careful lest you fall into Theodore Beale’s rabbit hole and start having delusions about both friends and enemies.
I think one side in this dispute is wrong—that’s the side championed by Brad and Larry. I think that, not because I think the Hugo awards don’t have a lot of problems—I do, and I explained those at length in my first essay—but because their analysis of the problem is so wrong as to be downright wrong-headed. But I don’t think they pose a mortal threat to social justice, western civilization, science fiction or even the Hugo awards themselves.
Why did they launch this brawl and keep pursuing it? Well, I’ve always been a devotee of Napoleon’s dictum: “Never ascribe to malevolence what can be adequately explained by incompetence.” I don’t think there was anything involved except that, driven by the modern American right’s culture of victimization—they are always being persecuted; there’s a war on white men, a war on Christmas (no, worse! a war on Christians themselves!), blah blah blah—they jumped to the conclusion that the reason authors they like weren’t getting Hugo awards or even nominations was because of a Great Leftwing Conspiracy against the righteous led by unnamed Social Justice Warriors—presumably being shuttled around the country in their nefarious plots in black helicopters—and off they went.
If they’d simply said: “We think the Hugos have gotten too skewed against popular authors in favor of literary authors,” there’d have still been a pretty ferocious argument but it never would have reached this level of vituperation.
But simply stating a problem wasn’t good enough for them. No, following the standard modern right-wing playbook, SOMEBODY MUST BE TO BLAME.
Enter… the wicked SJWs! (Whoever the hell they are. They’re to blame, dammit.)
I think the same mindset explains Larry Correia’s otherwise incomprehensible initial championing of Vox Day. I don’t think Larry thought much about it, frankly, or took the time to find out who “Vox Day” really was. I think he just figured if liberals don’t like him, he must be okay, following the same rightwing trope that led American right-wingers to initially champion Phil Robertson and Cliven Bundy until they were shocked to discover that they were actually vicious racists.
(Gee, who knew? Answer: anybody with a half a brain not blinded by right-wing victimization culture.)
Then—as predictably as the sunrise—the Sad Puppies’ campaign of blame and character assassination triggered off a response that often got just as savage as their own campaign. Sometimes, in fact, exceeded it in savagery. I think the other side in the dispute—insofar as it consists of one “side” at all—is mostly right on the substance of the dispute but is sometimes way off base in the way they characterize their opponents. Characterizing either Brad Torgersen or Larry Correia as a racist, a misogynist or a homophobe—as a number of their opponents have done—is just slimy and disgusting.
(Yes, I know about Brad’s recent stupid and mildly-homophobic wisecrack about Scalzi, which John responded to perfectly. Sorry, folks, that constitutes residual prejudice, not “homophobia.” Get a grip. Just as every nitwit who shrieks on a web site somewhere about the omnipresence of male chauvinism is not a fearsome Social Justice Warrior, every middle-aged white guy who makes a stupid remark about who is and who isn’t gay is not the Waffen SS.)
To put it more briefly—not my strong suit, I admit; why do you think I write novels?—I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and stop hyper-ventilating.
I’m not attending the Worldcon this year. That’s not due to this controversy, it was a decision I made more than a year ago when I looked at my travel schedule for 2015. There was no particular reason for me to attend, it’s an expensive proposition—in time even more than in money—so I’m not.
And I never buy a supporting membership just to vote on the Hugos. Why would I? I’ve never cast a vote on the Hugos, even when I’ve attended the convention itself. Why? First, because I don’t care very much (if at all) who wins. Second, because I’ve rarely read more than one or two of even the nominated novels much less the short fiction so I would feel dishonest casting a vote for “the best” story when I haven’t read most of them.
Nonetheless, I will provide my advice for those who are planning to vote and are not sure how to handle this controversy. My advice is simple: vote the same way you would for any year’s Hugo award. It doesn’t matter who got Story X, Y or Z on the ballot. That has always, being blunt about it, involved a lot of sausage-making behind the scenes. Wherever they came from, these are this year’s nominees. So vote for whichever story you like—or cast a vote for “no award” if you don’t like any of them enough.
I will close by providing links to two essays that I strongly recommend to anyone who has been interested enough in what I have to say to read this far. The first is by Samuel R. Delaney, one of the great figures in our genre, on the issue of racism and science fiction—a subject about which he not only knows far more than people who screech about “SJWs” but has actually thought deeply and very intelligently about, which they have not.
The second is by Michael Stackpole and expresses many of them things I’ve tried to express and often better than I have.
First off, I used to really like Keith Laumer’s writing. It was not good dating advice. The women in it were mostly aspirations, not exactly characters. It was written for teenage boys in a previous era. He did it well.
Back in those days science fiction was particularly marketed for teenage boys. It was not allowed to have any sex. Then later the publishers allowed the area to expand at the margins. We got both pornography and realer women characters. It somewhat merged with the romance genre, and more women started reading and writing it. I like that too.
Now we’re getting a lot of controversy I don’t like. You point out that the worst cases on your side are twits who should be ignored. I try to ignore them but they have a tendency to overrun blogs I like. We’ll be discussing something interesting, and then all of a sudden somebody gets accused of having the wrong attitude and the whole conversation gets swamped with accusations and justifications about attitude. It’s annoying. I can go find another blog and it’s likely to happen there too.
And there were a couple of big controversies about SFWA. I can ignore SFWA just fine, but I was curious about it, and interested in what was right. SFWA is supposedly helping writes and particularly new writers, which sounds like a good thing except that maybe the proportion of writers to readers is getting too big. Too many people who hope to be professionals, too few of them who can make it, too much heartbreak. But it looked like the controversy was about too wide a range of opinions allowed. Respected older writers who grew up in the old days got heavily criticized for not keeping up with the only acceptable attitudes. There was a picture of a chain mail bikini. Young writers with trigger issues would not feel safe in an organization where such thoughts were allowed. They must be stopped. And those twits won, it looked like they won everything they asked for.
Sometimes they get interesting people thrown off blogs I like. I’m not sure it works to just ignore them. It looks to me like they make no difference whatsoever that *matters* in the real world, but every couple of months they annoy me a whole lot.
Similarly with the Sad Puppies etc. They annoy me too. I’d prefer to completely ignore them just exactly like I’d want to ignore their opposite numbers, but it doesn’t seem to work out that way.
It’s like a breeder reactor. Telling people to ignore it is like extending the damper rods. The more people ignore it the quicker it fizzles. But once it goes critical, ignoring it doesn’t work any longer.
The twits on both sides get to feel important when they can get into a great big battle that people can’t ignore. The more people who join sides the more important they feel. Even if the other side is bigger and stronger, that helps them feel it more intensely. I don’t think they’re in it to win, I think they’re in it to see how big a fury they can build up.
Meanwhile anybody who wants to actually accomplish something, has to contend with them from both sides.
Oh well. I’ve read a couple of your books and liked them. It seemed like they were driven by the economics. You had an economy, and new technology, and people had to make changes to get it all to work together, and the personalities were secondary and mostly kind of simple. I liked it. It isn’t the only thing I like, but you’re very good at doing that one.
Or, to use a phrase once popular on the ‘net, back before the endless September, “Don’t feed the Trolls.” ‘Cause that’s all these people are, “by their actions shall ye know them.”
You forgot that sci fi went from dangerous visions to safe spaces.
“If you where an easily triggered special snowflake my love” The hugo award winning tale of a thin skinned leftist dashing from one safe space to the next.
This appears to be getting to you. Shame, really.
Thereâ€™s another change in modern SF. One I havenâ€™t seen mentioned elsewhere.
The 1950s was a conservative time. Return Rosie the Riveter to the kitchen where she belongs! Stand against the Commies! Bring back Victorian values! Love HUAC or leave America! It was a world where â€œDo you read that crazy Science Fiction stuff?â€ could be a puzzled but honest question.
Today we live in a Science Fiction world. Man has walked on the moon. Satellites map our planet. Orbiting telescopes search the heavens. Discovering extrasolar planets is commonplace. Global communication is readily available. The old fashioned among us carry Star Trek communicators. Modern smart phones talk to satellites and have more functions than a tricorder. We donâ€™t have a computer the size of the moon, plotting to conquer the world. We have computers by the dozens. In our pockets, our cars, our homes, our jobs. Factories full of robots assemble our stuff. Science Fiction and Fantasy is big businessâ€”especially on screen. Reviewers may mention the genera, just as they identify a romantic comedy. But That Crazy Science Fiction Stuff has been domesticated. The very fact that so many more people read SF show this. That orders of magnitude more watch SF & F clinches it.
Old SF said â€œWe love our geek ghetto.â€ That gives one relationship to the world.
New SF has engulfed the world. That gives a different relationshipâ€”to a different world.
The difference is hard to describe to someone who grew up immersed in social media. â€œWhat ghetto? What walls? The information superhighway takes me everywhere!â€ Itâ€™s still a real difference.
What does this mean for the Hugos and the Nebulas? I donâ€™t know. Iâ€™ve been trying to wrap my mind around the SF-ication of the world for years. I donâ€™t know.
But it means something. And it means something big.
When the SF Ghetto becomes the SE Ecumene, thatâ€™s a game changer.
Is there political factionalization in writing?
I am reminded of something that happened a few years ago, roughly 1970. There was a petition signed by SF&F prominent writers for/against the War in Vietnam. It finally appeared in period SF magazines. My vague recollection was that it was set up so the opinions split into matched columns, but this event was a few years ago, so I may misremember. In any event, I was sitting in the MITSFS library reading this thing, and remarked to several of the SMOFs in attendance that the columns were split by style of writing. The fantasy writers were almost all in one column; the writers of hard science fiction were mostly all in the other column. I was politely ridiculed, so I read down the lists, and the other side — this was a polite group of people — agreed that I was largely correct. Of course, there were a few people hard to characterize, e.g., Poul Anderson. However, no statistical analysis was needed, because the division was not quite but pretty much perfect. Readers will note that I did not tell you which group of people was in which column, nor does it matter.
I shall confess I rarely have time to read any more. I discovered writing. I have thus missed most of the works being argued about. (8^((
Here are the pro- and anti-Vietnam-War statements. I don’t think your generalization really holds up: I note R.A. Lafferty and Thomas Burnett Swan on the pro side, and Isaac Asimov and Chip Delany (then known as an SF writer) on the anti side.
Hey Eric, this is yet another excellent post on the subject.
I just got back from a week in Belfast, which was a little unnerving because everybody seemed so normal and friendly, and yet for decades these same friendly people were blowing each other up. Or at least, some of theme were, anyway. They still have the walls and the barbed wire in place, right next to the Starbucks and the public art.
In my experience, when people start making up labels for their opponents, it’s always a sign that they are shifting into dangerous territory. It’s the first step in dehumanizing. And it’s also a lazy way to try to argue a point. Build up a straw army to fight against, toss around a few buzzwords that you know will fire up a mob (“SJW” etc.), and always pretend that the people they are attacking are stupid, evil caricatures instead of individuals.
Hugo nominated Skiffy and Fanty podcaster Cecily Kane: “The straight white dude perspective is basically the Dunning-Kruger effect apex of all civilization.”
John W. Campbell nominee two years running Requires Hate: “Beetori Sritruslow @talkinghive 9h9 hours ago It’s like white men literally don’t understand how anything works.”
SFF Convention Guest of Honor and Game Developer Brianna Wu: “Women seeking equality on one side. Vicious sexists on the other. White, cishet men with all the power, smiling as they decide what’s fair”
SFF author and blogger Amal El-Mohtar: “White people talking about how inclusive fandom used to be when there were fewer brown people & queers to make them uncomfortable.”
2016 WorldCon Guest of Honor Teresa Nielsen-Hayden: “I was being unfair to all the perfectly reasonable straight white guys out there.”
Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Award-winning SFF author Ken Liu: “‘authentic’ seems often to mean ‘what white people would approve'”
WisCon organizer and blogger K. Tempest Bradford: “You know, whiteness is a hell of a drug. It really is.”
SFF author Sunny Moraine on diversity: “If your writing is full of white men, itâ€™s shitty writing.”
SF blogger, Readercon panelist Natalie Luhrs: “Man, so great seeing all these white dudes talking about how fucking awesome they are for standing up to G—-Gate.”
WisCon SF Convention organizer and panelist Jaymee Goh: “Seems lately every week is white stupidity week. And they complain about a month in a year!”
Reviewer at Lightspeed Magazine and writer Sunil Patel: “Curious: how many of you refuse to watch/read something if it’s about Yet Another Straight White Man?”
Reply from SFWA member and Nebula nominee Kate Elliott: “Same is true of books. I’m increasingly less likely to pick up a book if it is another straight white dude story.”
Second reply from another SFF fan: “I’m taking a yearlong break from books by men, full stop, and dramatically scaling back on stories about them.”
Last reply from SFWA member and review editor of SFF at Publisher’s Weekly Rose Fox: “Alas, my job doesn’t let me refuse.”
If other people walk off a cliff, should you do it too?
hmm … do you have anything to add to the conversation at all James? Basically all you ever do is report the *mean* things people say about you. Kinda tedious and makes me think less of your side that you can’t see your *own* faults.
Eric challenged the other side to name names, and James has. I don’ t know anything about most of these people, so the next thing to do is to investigate if they are what Eric predicted they are, people that don’t amount to a hill of beans as far as real power is concerned. I don’t mean the power to make individuals’ lives miserable, everyone has that power.
I read that list and it doesn’t seem too shocking: equal proportions “Holy shit, you guys,” and “I’m tired of reading the same old things. I’d like to see something new and different.”
I’ve seen a lot of “holy shit, you guys” discussions in communities I’m a part of, and, generally, the people saying it are right.
Funny how it’s only “holy shit you guys” with one person and group defamation, racism, sex-hatred and genderphobia with another.
If you have quotes to match no one is stopping you from presenting them. I have looked and they’re not there – not today, and not over 6 decades of SFF dating from 1912. The idea all arguments end in a tie is daffy. Courtrooms don’t reflect any world like that. Present a case if you have it.
My already high opinion of Eric Flint just went up a few notches.
My first reaction to James May’s quotes was ‘this was from theOnion, wasn’t it?” The quotations are just so bizarre. Mind you, I did not claim that there are not equally bizarre quotes from other perspectives.
I am making that claim. In terms of sheer numbers of people – where they are placed institutionally in SFF, and ideological cohesiveness – there is virtually no opposite number to those quotes. In fact when it comes to promoting fiction, I have not seen one Tweet where someone is saying “Buy this! They’re white – they’re men! – they’re straight!” I have 500 quotes the other way. Saying that’s because of a demographic majority doesn’t cut it. A demography is not an ideology. CNN news may be white but they don’t report on how many whites won Olympic medals or good places for whites to visit in Europe or have white dating sites. The Root and The Grio does that. In SFF Strange Horizons and its familiars fill that role, have their own identity lists of editors and authors and awards. But the so-called straight white man awards are for all comers. We are being sold a con game by people who are nothing more than naked supremacists. They huddle and segregate and claim it’s from noble reasons. Too many straight white men anywhere – a convention panel, a Table of Contents – and the knives about misogyny, homophobia, racism, exclusion, and marginalization come out. Mr. Flint points out he’s stood up for Jews and others. Well… can he not stand up for himself when the time comes without being accused of overweening feelings of persecution? Can I not? The KKK doesn’t persecute me and I feel the same way about them as I do this feminist cult. It’s hate speech – it’s wrong. End of story.
Very nice article/blog post and an interesting discussion. An observation: as soon as anyone starts using labels instead of names, we are headed down the road to demagoguery, where propaganda determines the truth (and the “truthy-ness”) of data as it becomes information. (Information I define as “data with a context”. E.g. “10 degrees C” is data; information is whether that is hot or cold.) I do think that some people have behave badly in this conflict; some of them may have transgressed laws in addition to the conventions of social discourse. I don’t think that most have done so, but the invocation of tribal identity leads to the internal justification of many acts that would not be justifiable otherwise. I tend to agree (or am willing to politely disagree) with those I see as rational actors, and disagree with the trolls and bomb-throwers. That may well be because I am no longer young. I was once more “active” for the causes I then believed in; that is the freedom of those who have not yet taken on responsibilities and duties, and whose self-identity has not yet matured to the point that they can be separate from their herd without trauma.
As for the works in question; I’m working on reading them. Most so far have not moved me. But I often feel the same lack of engagement when reading works that were shortlisted for the Booker, or the Pulitzer, or some other prize of distinction. As far as that goes, I often wonder about the selection for the Oscars and other “entertainment” awards.
My tastes (I like to think) are my own. For examples, as a general rule, I prefer Elizabeth Moon to GRR Martin, Heinlein to Asimov, Elizabeth Scott to Neil Gaiman, Samuel Delaney to Diana Paxon, Charles DeLint to China MiÃ©ville, Mary Gentle to Guy Gavriel Kay, John Ringo to Spider Robinson, and so on. That is most definitely not to say that the other authors are in any way lesser, or that I do not enjoy their work; I have spent many hours lost in they worlds they created, and I thank all of them for their art.
And now, at least for the moment, I shall stop, as I have lost the thread, but want to post what I have written before it becomes completely overtaken by events.
Actually someone at Bar.Baen.com, http://bar.baen.com/index.php?t=msg&th=114679&goto=1145983&#msg_1145983 has posted a long list of articles from the perspective of someone on the other side from the people you quote. Most of the quotes — you must follow the links — are quite tame by comparison with most of these.
It would be meritorious to repost your hard work to Baen’s Bar on the same thread, but knowing the Bar there would be massive complaints ‘no one could possibly have written that’ if the quotes did not have links to the original places.
Mind you, I have never heard of many of the people you quote, but that was also true on the other side. Some time ago I discovered writing, so these days I read very little.
I just wanted to post a little excerpt, and a link (if that’s acceptable?) to a post written by Dave Freer, that I found interesting and thought might be a useful addition to this discourse. The excerpt is mostly for the edification of Mz. Lackey and her ilk. Mr. Freer said it more succinctly than I could:
“Itâ€™s been very revealing during the various bursts of rage at the Sad Puppies by traditionally published authors and their publishers. Weâ€™re getting to see that dislike, that disdain, that â€˜second (or possibly far lower) class citizen, should not be allowed to vote, arenâ€™t â€˜Real Fansâ€™, should be put in a dog-pound (weâ€™re not human, and there is no need to treat us as such, apparently. Now I do understand that as far as this monkey is concerned, but most of the pups, their supporters and friends are as human as their detractors.) You get editors like Betsy Wolheim at DAW telling us filthy hoi polloi â€œas an editor, it makes me angry to see a writer as important as GRRM having to spend his valuable time informing ignorant people about the history of worldcon and the history of the Hugos.â€ Thanks Betsy. A good spin attempt to blame us for GRRMâ€™s decisions. Heâ€™s adult, he can decide what he wants to do. We pig-ignorant revolting peasants canâ€™t actually MAKE him do anything. He wasnâ€™t going to write any more if Bush was re-elected IIRC. The tide of BS from this has overflowed my gum boots.
I said I needed to change my socks.”
The rest is, assuming links are allowed, here:
Thanks for reading! Also GrantH, nicely put. I may not know your stance, but I can appreciate a classy, civil statement on a tender topic whether I agree with the [opinions of the] source of the statement or no. ;)
You make some excellent points. I still tend to agree with the Puppies’ premise that a lot of the crappy stuff that has won awards lately, did so for politically-correct reasons. You do make a lot of sense, though, about the degree of hyperventilation on both sides.
The advice you give in your penultimate paragraph is absolutely spot on. I finished “Ancillary Sword” a couple weeks ago (been reading a freebie that I scored at the Baen Roadshow at Ravencon, since then). I just started “Ancillary Justice” for the backstory. Library didn’t have a copy of “Justice” available when I reserved the first.
I do, in fact, plan to read the entire package (plus check Butcher’s nominee out from the library), before voting. I’ll vote for what I like best. I’m probably NOT going to vote for “Wisdom From My Internet”, because I know for a fact that Mike published it as a joke, then was pleasantly surprised at the royalties.
With regard to Ann Leckie’s stuff — lots of complexity and intricate world-building, a tad short on action, and a bit long on emo. And, I wouldn’t live in the same galaxy as the Radchaai, on a bet.
Although I disagree with some of your conclusions I do want to say thank you for your defense of Brad Torgerson. although I don’t know him very well at all, I have observed him to be upright and decent in his dealings with the Puppies brouhaha, he has really stood out above the brawl.
James May, thanks for that list of quotes, I knew I wasn’t imagining all of that.
Lastly, thanks for all of the books Mr Flint, you have given me hours of enjoyable escape from my life as a “downtrodden member of the proletariat”, and I really appreciate that.
Mr. Flint, I think you are not too far off-base with your assertion regarding the right-wing whining. However, I think you might be overlooking the equally irritating (to me, at least) left-wing whining.
I like to say I was raised by wolves, but I was, in fact, raised by Democrats and Socialists. Real Socialists, as I suspect you are, not the current bugbear railed against by the right-wing talking heads. I myself never identified as Socialist, but I did make my way from Democrat to Moderate Democrat to Disillusioned Democrat and now to essentially libertarian. My uncle and mother both identify as Socialist, but I can’t help but think they only do so because they haven’t lived under a Socialist regime. I’m guessing you haven’t either. Neither have I, but I don’t have to have lived under Fascism or Colonialism or Totalitarianism to learn why I wouldn’t want to. There are two ways to motivate people: carrot and stick. Socialism and Communism don’t have any carrots, so they end up being all stick. One need only look at the forced labor camps in the various Socialist regimes to figure that out.
I’m an atheist, but I must be a self-hating atheist because I no longer identify myself as such. I’ve since started answering such questions with “non-religious”. Why? Because atheists have turned into dicks. Seriously they are as annoying as any Jehovah’s Witness. How soon until they are pedaling around on bicycles spreading the “good word”?
Unlike you, I am more sympathetic to Brad and the Sad Puppies. However, this spat is just another facet of the rampant culture wars. People like to cast this as left versus right, but that doesn’t appeal to a person such as myself, who holds some views that are “lefty” and some that are “righty”. Usually I feel like I have wandered into a poo flinging fight. I’m more concerned with the other axis, state power vs individual liberty. Policies from the left and the right trod upon my civil liberties every day.
Just looked at the pic of the winners of the 2013 Hugo’s. OH MY GOD THE DIVERSITY!
white guy white guy white guy white gal white gal white guy white gal white gal white gal…..
Hm. Sorry, I honestly didn’t read the entirety of Mr. Flint’s post because, well, I just didn’t and lets leave it at that. However, one of the same themes I picked up from what I did read was along the lines of the Atlantic’s thing of trying to push back and take away diversity. Now, maybe I’m wrong about Mr. Flint , and if so, Okay, I’m wrong. But that same litany has been run over and over and over, it’s a new gamergate (Immediate tarring ala Phil Donahue) that sad puppies be wrong!
This, despite a wider array of “diversity” in writers than can be found in that marvelously white photo of the 2013 Hugos.
Here’s the thing…I side with the Sad Puppies because I want actual FUN, INTERESTING, THOUGHT PROVOKING, OUT THERE STORIES ABOUT FUTURE TECH AND SCI FI in my Sci-Fi. I don’t give two tinkers damn, a rat’s ass, three shakes of a dog’s leg, or any other useful term, as to what the color, the religion, the race, the sexual preference of the writer or the hero is.
I bought a book in the discount bin at a dollar general, it was supposed to be a sword and sorcery epic. What it read like was the adolescent fantasies of a barely out of his teens gay man wanting sex with a fourteen year old god and the loving approval of his father. And it was boring as fuck. If you wanna write message fiction, it had damn well better be INTERESTING fiction that tells a story to keep the reader engaged, and not leave them thinking “that’s two hours I’ll never get back again!”
And that, not the twisting that those opposed to the Sad Puppies have said, Is what they have been about from the start.
If you aren’t interesting, you don’t sell. If you don’t sell, you DON”T GET PAID!
Yes, Sci Fi has had message cloaked in story before, like black and white on star trek. But it made the message part of a fun story. FUN STORY! Message Fic barely dressed enough to be fan fic wannbee stuff does not cut the mustard with people like me that demand quality in the works they spend their money on.
I read “if you were a dinosaur” or whatever the hell that was titled..for free on the internet, cause I damn sure wouldn’t have paid real money for that. I’ve read stuff a hundred times better on places like Legion World, which is loaded with fan written stories about their favorite characters fitting into their particular predilections. Good stands out. Trying to make people like drivel and castigating them because they don’t as being racist, homophobic, misogynistic, etc…. is total flaming monkey poo!
I don’t know if I unequivocally agree with everything you’ve written here (I rarely unequivocally agree with everything *anyone* has written, to be fair) but I do have to say I’m leaning towards complete agreement, and if not, I certainly appreciated your input, and style. It was a refreshing, nonjudgmental, condescension-free statement of your stance, and I liked it.
So far as I can tell, summing this entire mess up:
– One group of Hugo voters believes — openly — that there are too many white male authors getting awards and that therefore they should have less consideration than non-white/male authors in order to promote diversity. It is alleged that they have been rigging the votes by conducting whisper-campaigns for and against various authors on this basis.
– One group of Hugo voters believes that this is an exclusionary mentality unfit for SF/F awards. It is alleged they have been rigging the votes by conducting open and public promotions of various authors whom they believe are cut from Hugo cloth.
– Neither group is actually “rigging” anything, as both have operated within the rules of the Hugo awards systems.
So it boils down to this: either the Hugos are a prestigious award worthy of defending against exclusionary practices and insider-campaigning, or they are not.
– If they are not, then there is no point in complaining about the Sad or Rabid Puppies.
– If they are, then one must concur that both the Puppies and their detractors have a point. Both are complaining about how campaigns, for or against authors and their works, are conducted.
All else is thunder and fury, signifying nothing.
Nicely. Freaking. Put.
I’ll stop with the periods now because I’m giving myself a headache lol. I mean it though, nice summation. ;)
Is somebody deleting posts here? My last post is missing.
I’m getting sick and tired of this “Brad Torgersen can’t be evil, his wife is black” crap coming from people like you. I know you think you’re being the voice of reason here, but reducing a person of color down to a prop whose purpose is to illustrate the character of a white guy (in this case, Brad) is demeaning and ridiculous, not to mention racist and sexist.
She isn’t even involved in this mess, and only gets invoked as some kind of pawn on both sides of the argument.
Cut it the hell out. Stop using an uninvolved person to prop up your points and make Brad look better. She is a human being and you need to treat her as such, not as a rhetorical tool.
Way to inaccurately paraphrase Mr Flint’s position on the matter! (Assuming it is he you are responding to) Brava! Encore! Etc. Brads wife is most assuredly not a “prop” as Mr Flint explicitly emphasized. Since when is saying that if a man’s wife found out said man held some vile belief she’d engage in behavior that could arguably be described as domestic abuse (it’s funny because it isn’t funny) merely using her as a rhetorical prop? (Translation: since when is saying Brad’s wife would kick his ass if she found out he was entertaining racist thoughts an example of using her as nothing but a prop?) Mr Flint deliberately emphasized Mrs. Torgersen’s agency and powerful influence in her marriage. He didn’t say “she’s black, so Brad can’t possibly be racist!” he said that she was a strong woman who was not afraid to speak her mind when she disagreed with her husband. The fact that she’s nonwhite was secondary. My (spiritually adopted) sister has adoptive grandparents that are black, with roots that go back to before the civil war, and she happens to be whiter than snow. Nonetheless I’ve seen her both verbally, and once physically, kick a man she was in a relationship with up and down the street like a soccer ball (not literally…she did smack the shit out of him though) when she heard him/them expressing blatantly racist opinions and beliefs. Black or white, a strong (possibly violent :P) woman is a strong woman. Neither of them (Mrs. Torgersen or my sis) is ever reducible to status as a “prop” to “prop up” someone else’s arguments. Mr Flint can defend himself without help, no question, but I can’t seem to help myself when it comes to comments like yours. Rhetorical “tool” indeed. Good day. ;)
Rosalind: how about you settle for, “Brad Torgersen was never evil in the first place” eh?
The accusations leveled at Brad Torgersen was that he was racist, as the rabbits just went down the normal disqualify checklist. Him being currently married to a black woman makes that unlikely. That said my pictures of Hispanic ex boy friends are proof that I am post judiced not prejudiced. Several years working in inner city hospitals never once did I meet a black as smart as Seen on TV
wtf? You never met an exceptionally educated black person?
However all the whites you know are just as smart and informed as George Clooney. Yep not sexist at all.
The following is general commentary, not directed at Eric Flint per se. But at the body of the thread and all the comments as a whole.
The thing about self-identifying progressives in 21st century America is that they don’t realize when they’ve won. Especially in the field of SF/F publishing. You cannot fight against The Man when you are The Man. In SF/F publishing, progressives make up the vast bulk of editors, authors, artists, and publishers. Oh, they will quibble about differences between them — in fine detail — but taken as a whole picture, the field of SF/F is a thoroughly progressive playhouse. Trying to explain to a progressive the existence of progressive prejudice (against conservatives, especially in a media entertainment arena) is like trying to explain to a trout that water is wet. The trout simply gapes at you goggle-eyed and exclaims, “But sir, that is the very nature of the universe!”
Someone up-thread pulled a quote from my blog, and I want to re-emphasize a portion of it.
Sad Puppies 3 was “open source” and demanded nothing, threatened nothing, nor did it badger anyone. I state again: we were open source, we demanded nothing, we threatened nothing, nor did we badger anyone.
The opponents of Sad Puppies 3 — some of whom I would be tempted to call puppy-kickers — have threatened, demanded, and badgered a great deal. This wasn’t a life-or-death bloodsport until the progressive guardians of the field decided that Sad Puppies 3 was justification for open war. They happily became (and in most instances, remain) puppy-kickers. And they are proud of themselves for it, too.
I guess inviting more people to the table is the most horrible thing in the SF/F world?
Because that’s what happened: Sad Puppies 3 invited more people to the table, not less. We wanted to make the tent bigger.
The puppy-kickers have busied themselves trying to find ways to evict people from the tent. For ideological infractions. For taste infractions. For insufficient “fan cred” as defined by the denizens of Worldcon — some of whom are obsessed with keeping Fandom a capital-f affair, for capital-f people only.
Sad Puppies 3 wanted to push back against blind spots, and get recognition for new and established authors alike.
The puppy-kickers used that as an excuse to scream “NO AWARD!”, while at the same time threatening careers, using lies and character assassination against myself and Larry Correia in particular, and to also try to cajole deserving people to withdraw from the ballot.
Remind me, again, who “loves” Science Fiction & Fantasy? Who pissed in the cornflakes, to borrow one user’s analogy?
Sad Puppies 3 never said the Hugo award should go to only the works or people we like, or to only the works or people who flatter our ideologies. We merely wanted a share of the pie for works and people who’d otherwise struggle to get that share.
The puppy-kickers have absolutely stated — over and over again — that the Hugo award should go to only the works and the people whom the puppy-kickers deem worthy — for all definitions of “worthy” which include, “Must almost always be left-leaning in ideology, and satisfy our stuffy criteria where taste is concerned.” Moreover, the puppy-kickers have stated that the “wrong” voters should be kept out of the process, and that the “wrong” fans are not welcome to participate.
Got it? The puppy-kickers have been screaming GO AWAY at the top of their digital lungs.
And yet the puppy-kickers pretend to claim the mantle of “inclusiveness”? How does that work? You’re “inclusive” by erecting walls, calling people names, and sticking your nose in the air?
I just got a warm fuzzy feeling after reading this. Also, “puppy kickers” made me cringe, then giggle a little. How apropos, we want to alleviate “puppy-related-sadness” and they want to send puppies “to the pound” (I quoth) because they are messy. Puppy kickers indeed. ;)
Sad Puppies 3 never said the Hugo award should go to only the works or people we like, or to only the works or people who flatter our ideologies. We merely wanted a share of the pie for works and people whoâ€™d otherwise struggle to get that share.
By that standard, then, didn’t you end up with a problem when your entire slate got all the nominations in several categories, thereby excluding all nominees except the ones you selected?
It’s called “voting”. I don’t give a damn if the allegation that ” no one has ever organized a ‘bloc’ vote like this before!! Oh mercy me, I think I’m sufferin from the vapors!” are true are not (they aren’t. they really, really aren’t. I’m not talking about SJWs, or anything recent. I’m saying, the Hugo’s exist. They are voted on, and people have ALWAYS organized to support their favorite book, political candidate, or any other thing subject to a vote, by persuading others that their candidate, book, etc is worthy of their vote. It’s not a theory, or a hypothesis, it’s the way the democratic process works. The puppy kickers are delightfully ignorant of this fact, it often seems, to my unending irritation.) either way, I am sick and tired of people (like Kevin Standlee, for example, though at least he’s been relatively civil in his criticisms) moaning and groaning about how “the puppies were too successful! It’s not faaaair!!! “It’s just plain RUDE!” etc. It is not up to the “puppies” (either one, but especially the “sad”) to prove they are innocent of the ‘crime’ of voting too similarly, thereby wickedly conspiring to elevate the books etc they voted for over more “deserving” or equally “deserving” books etc that garnered fewer votes, thereby somehow “pissing in everyone’s cornflakes” and acting like rude guests at a “potluck” (Standlee’s analogy). It’s up to the accusers to prove their accusations, even if this isn’t a court of law, which it isn’t. They can make all the unfounded, rude, distasteful, occasionaly disturbingly violence tinged (the “pound” or “put the puppies down”) accusations they like, and as long as it doesn’t rise to the level of slander and libel, or serious threats rather than spinelessly veiled allusions to executing innocent animals, they will face (rightfully, in a free society) no real consequences or repercussions for their odious dedication to unmannerly behavior and speech. As I said in parenthesis, that is only proper and just, as we live in a -mostly- free society, and thankfully our freedoms of speech have not yet been stripped from us in the name of making others feel “safe” from “triggering” forms of speech, or from “hate speech”. At least not outside college and university campuses, that is. (Look up “trigger warning” on google, and then append various school names to those two words. It’ll turn your stomach) Nonetheless, it is meaningless, and childish, for the puppy kickers to tout all these accusations (like that the “puppy” voters didn’t read before voting, or they didn’t look over “Locus” before deciding what they wanted to nominate, and posting their preferences on their blog pages, “intentionally” failing to add an extra name or two to the lists I’m each category in order to prevent a straight “party line” vote, etc etc etc) without presenting a shred of real substantive evidence. Larry failing to write what he felt was obvious (read before voting, don’t vote without reading) and posting it after he was told that if he didn’t use small words to explain such things to his readership he was obviously ‘cheating’ is not “substantive” meaningful evidence of any kind of impropriety. That claim is especially laughable when considered alongside the fact that Brad *did* put that in his post, very explicitly. (Not because he has less confidence in his readership’s intelligence than Larry, but because he is an unfailingly decent, upstanding gentleman, with all the OCD tendencies possessed by most of the very best officers in the military, and cannot leave one detail, however minor, unattended to…or that’s the impression -the OCD bit, not the upstanding etc. That’s based on evidence- I’ve gotten from reading his work, and blog posts, etc. Like I said, it makes one laugh, no? The only vaguely meaningful claim that the puppy kickers can make against Larry or Brad, or Sarah, or Kate, or Dave (I have trouble writing “Mr Freer”… I always get this image of him laughing at me in incredulous amusement), or any of the others that are and have been involved in the ” sad puppy” (the campaign to alleviate and prevent puppy-related sadness, more accurately) campaign is that they were too successful. Which is simultaneously really fricking funny, and, because I have an irritatingly thin skin, infuriating. Not only were the “rabid puppies” more successful than the “sad puppies” at nominating their “slate” which kind of blows the whole “why did they not suggest more or less than five in each category, if they aren’t evil misogynistic dogs that hate everyone who disagrees with them and need to be put down?” argument out of the water, but even if SP3 (“Sad Puppies” 3) had been as successful as it’s purported to have been, it would still be a hysterically laughable claim, because it demands the belief that success in an endeavor necessarily implies that one has “cheated” to succeed, especially if that success is undesirable to the person making this laughable accusation. It means that any success, no matter in what, is automatically subject to suspicion, because only cheaters can “win” so thoroughly. Or at least, it suggests that success is evidence of possible wrongdoing. Either of these suggestions is undeniably hilarity inducing and ridiculous, no? If you think otherwise, well, I guess I’m not trying to convince you, because you are already firmly entrenched. I’m talking to the folks who’ll look at that statement and decide “No, that’s too silly. There has to be more substance to the outrage than that!” and research for themselves. I am confident that they will discover that I am not exaggerating the embarrassingly silly lack of substance to the puppy kicker’s outrage, and will be persuaded that the “sad puppies” are not as wickedly ignorant, or stupidly rude, as the loud chorus of Trufans (not in quotes because it’s an actual term they use to refer to themselves) has been insisting they are. Wow…this ended up being a lot longer than I planned. Pardon any errors, as touchscreen keypads don’t play well with my fingers. Also pardon me for any offense I may have offered…this started out as a reply to you, then blossomed into a sort of rambling, rant-like essay on the subject. My sincere apologies. Be well. ;-)
Wow…that IS long. Ahem… That was supposed to be a smiley at the end. ;-) There. ‘Twas bugging me.
So if “No Award” wins, then “it’s called voting” too, right?
Yep! Asinine voting is still voting, I’m happy to say. Yes, I am aware “asinine” is just my opinion of that voting method. I’m okay with that. ;-P
Exactly poor puppies its only about justice in gamer reviews, whoops that’s Gamergate, its only because those uppity women have ALL the power in sf publishing,
Is it fun attacking straw people and straw arguments? I suppose it must be, because you certainly seem to enjoy it, or at least you are demonstrably willing to devote significant amoints of your time to manufacturing straw mockups of those that disagree with you, simply for the purpose of knocking those straw misrepresentations down. Or maybe you simply don’t realize [that] you aren’t actually criticizing real people, or real arguments, and you think you actually have a valid point…no, no one is that clueless…I hope.
PS: in case you were confuzzled, (confused) The Campaign to Prevent Puppy Related Sadness does not have any problem with women in publishing *in any capacity* as writers, editors, publishers, or anything else. In fact, many of the participants are female, and several of the “leaders” (such as exist) are women…in the publishing industry. Funny, that. ;-D Hence, straw arguments, and straw people were all you were “snarkily” mocking with your “withering” sarcasm.
I, on the other hand, just want “aces and eights.”
Why Awards are Becoming Impractical
Someone actually has to have read everything. Every one does not need to have read everything, but each work needs at least a few Hugo supporter readers. On the bright side, you can now distract both sides with a vigorous argument about a novel and author that no one else knows. On the other bright side, Hal Clement once remarked to me that he had retired, and now he really wanted to find an SF novel a day to read. Thanks to technology, it is now possible for that wish to be satisfied, even if Hal Clement must do his sampling from the next plane of existence.
So here is a list of novels (>100,000 words, arbitrary cutoff), excluding material with substantial adult content, published in the last month (4/24-5/23) via Smashwords. There appears to be a Bova novel in the middle. To reproduce this list for a year, you would need to multiply its length by about 12. Yes, a good review zine is needed. Having said that:
Price of Life by David CranePack Ahorra al Comprar 2 (NÂº 063): Atrae el dinero con la ley de la atracciÃ³n & El Misterio de los Creadores de Sombras by Nuevos Autores
The Madness Engine by Paul B. Spence
Pathspace by Matthew Kennedy
Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep by Affront Publishing
Wanted Rescuers by Terry Compton
…Saves Nine by Les Lynam
The New Earth Star by Fred Taikowski
Blue Plague: The Fall (Blue Plague Book 1) by Thomas A. Watson
Oracle’s Child: Anchorage Book 5 by Sandra C. Stixrude
Dreams from the Sky by Frank Valchiria
Seven of I: The Keeper of the Words by Valerie Ryan
The Breakers Series: Books 1-3 by Edward W. Robertson
Relapse by Edward W. Robertson
Captives by Edward W. Robertson
Cut Off by Edward W. Robertson
The Book of Lapism, Deluxe Edition by Phil Geusz
Reapers by Edward W. Robertson
Gamers and Gods III: ALEXANOR by Matthew Kennedy
To Save The Sun by Ben Bova & A.J. Austin
Void All the Way Down by Stephen Hunt
Sci-Fi Value Pack by Robert P. Hansen
The Colonies of Earth Collection by Philip R Benge
Skyeater (In A Universe Without Stars Book 1) by J Alex McCarthy
The Fifth House by Andy Goldman
Los rostros del pasado by Rodolfo MartÃnez & Felicidad MartÃnez
Genesis, Guardian of Gatling by Archer Swift
Trees For the Forest by Denise Siegel
Sasha: The ROE Chronicles Book 1 by Sean M. Campbell
Citadel: Omnibus by Kevin Tumlinson
Pride x Familiar ReVamp by Albert Ruckholdt
CyberGun by Matthew Zee-Miller
999 Years After Armageddon: The End of the Millennium by Ray Ruppert
Far From The Sea We Know by Frank M Sheldon
Book 8 – Time’s Curse by Marius A Smith
Book 7 – From the Depths of Time, Part Two by Marius A Smith
Book 6 – From the Depths of Time, Part One by Marius A Smith
Days of Iron (Book 1) by Russell Proctor
Gamers and Gods: AES by Matthew Kennedy
Wild Child, Books 1, 2 & 3 – The Trilogy by Mike Wells
Heart Behind The Mask by N. “Karmakat” Franzetti
Orion Rising by J L Pawley
Warday by Whitley Strieber
Empire Ascensions by Joshua Done
The Ishim Underground by Carrie Bailey
AntiHelix by John Guy Collick
Beyond the Gates by Catherine Wells
Two Worlds by Michael Adams
Iron Warrior by Jay Noel
The Valadin Codices – Volume 1 by Wayne Farrugia
No Time for Rules by Fleur / Lloyd Lind / Hopkins
Series: Tales of Lentari, Book 4 Â· Legends of Lentari.
Bakkian Chronicles Omnibus by Jeffrey M. Poole
LIFE (Citizens of Logan Pond Book 1) by Rebecca Belliston
Emissaries by Graham Storrs
Psych Investigation Episodes: Foxes by Kevin Weinberg
Wild Child, Book 3 – The Patriarch by Mike Wells
The Rising Trilogy Complete Box Set by Amy Miles
A Plea In The Darkness by Robert Holt
Allie’s War Season Four: Books 7-8 by JC Andrijeski
Time Travels to San Francisco by Lisa Mason
The Hunters Call (Patrick Pierce #2) by William Scott
and that is one month.
“Itâ€™s because the subjects that interest us and the way we write about them arenâ€™t either the subjects or the style of writing that most of the people who vote for Hugos either like or think is worthy of getting a Hugo award.”
This can’t be true, because if it were true, there would not have been poorly sourced articles in various major news media accusing the Puppies of being racists/misogynists/etc.
If it were true, the Hugo voters would simply have voted and that would have been the end of it. So that can’t be true.
come off the grass! Yes its all an EEEVIL plot to stop poorly written SciFi getting a particular award and nothing to do with hitching your way on to a very aggressive and lying vox day. Who surprise surprise stands to benefit from puppies “naievity”.
Heh: A progressive tries to explain to a bunch of conservatives and libertarians that a left-wing lock on publishing houses never hurt HIM and thinks it’s going to convince anyone but other progressives. That’s cute.
Mr. Flint’s accurate critique of Mr. Beale (“Vox Day”) as a fellow who “…chisels when it comes to his opinions, always trying to play peekaboo” is spot on. It takes time and effort to separate the wheat from the chaff and for some reason Mr. Beale doesn’t seem to give %$# about making it easier to show whether or not the folks who get the happy feelz saying horrible things about him are mistaken. I do not understand people who get off on conflict. I really don’t.
Even so: Since you don’t know the man (like Mr. Torgerson, Mr. Scalzi, or Mr. Correia) AT ALL, why are you so certain that the gossip and stories you’ve heard about complete with selected quotes accurately describe his character? I only know one person in this bro-ha-ha who actually knows the man, rather than the Internet Persona, and he seems to think Mr. Beale is fairly decent. You’ve read for yourself cut quotes and disingenuous writings about Torgerson that you know are false. Wicked false. A little skepticism would seem to be in order.
Nonetheless it galls me to have to defend Mr. Beale (as I had to stand up and announce to a bunch of librarians that “I have not read it, but it’s by O’Reilly, so of course it’s sucky conservative crap” is unprofessional, and despite my sharing your opinions about the man, that this book is, in fact, liberal pap.) but I have been spending more time than I want to at his blog (I refuse to mess about with twitter. Everyone is a twit there, even people I admire) and as far as I can tell, Mr. Beale IS NOT “opposed to women learning how to read and write” nor does he “support honor killings.” That one is pure bogus, but it does have a nice long ‘net gossip tail.
Beale does, however, appear to believe some very, very nutty things about the biology and anthropology of race, which, if he were a socialist would be horrible, because the State which runs our lives for us, would have to use that bogus “science” to organize who got what jobs, or teach or write, or make art. But then, Mr. Flint, you’re down with socialism: Does that mean that the associated terror, brainwashing, death, imprisonment, torture, lobotomies, rapes, forced sterilizations, the literal mountains of skulls created by socialist regimes, much of which is still happening (Google “Ladies in White”) because of folks who’ve taken your nutty beliefs and run with them, disqualify you for fair or decent treatment in the SF community?
I am grateful to Beale, as I am to you, because I love, love, the Hundred Year’s War alt history, just as I love Jerry Pournelle and John Wright’s work. And thanks to Castallia I get both, in spades. That’s what he’s “doing” (though I myself, don’t expect it to “save civilization,”) and I for one, am 100% behind anyone who wants to publish more great SF. Shoot, that’s what the sad puppies campaign is all about.
Save arguing about whose beliefs are more stupid for discussions over a drink or political rallies–not as the starting point for gatekeeping fandom and scifi.
I must say, that was fairly nicely put. Just…well said. ;-)
” Excuse me? SF authors have been writing about racismâ€”AKA â€œwhite privilegeâ€â€”for decades.”
This is exactly the parting of ways. “White privilege” is a new concept. It is not at all what used to be called “racism.” This is your problem. One is a racist if he believes in the superiority of one race or that any particular race should, by right, rule over others. One is guilty of white privilege for simply consuming oxygen in a body containing some quantity of European DNA. Sort of like original sin.
Back in the 80s the idea started going around that all whites were racist and only whites could be racist. That of course was so absurd that a new term of slander had to be invented. Thus we have “white privilege” of which all Caucasians are clearly guilty. Apparently, this form of original sin can never be fully expunged, but some forgiveness is available to those who grovel in an assumed guilt.
Lincoln and his armies were not fighting white privilege. To the extent they had any goal beyond the forcible preservation of the Union, they were fighting a clearly unjust and odious racist culture.
You strike me as beyond pathetic. Your attacks on Vox are as poorly-thought out as Scalzi’s. To read your sniveling little screed was painful, leading me to believe your actual writing isn’t any better. “Vox is Hitler!” for crying out loud, really?
It’s fortunate that people like Vox have moved beyond mere Conservatism which would no doubt bow before your BS and apologize, something you don’t deserve. Codreanu had the right idea about Occidentals who essentially performed the actions of traitors.
Just for the benefit of people who don’t know: you are citing the man whose adherents, when they got into power in Romania, hung Jewish corpses in Romanian butcher shops, and locked Jews in freight trains which wandered randomly around the countryside until the occupants were dead of suffocation and thirst. Even high-ranking Nazis fully aware of the Final Solution found their procedures horrifying in the extreme, and that’s saying quite a bit.
Oh, look, another junior history major!
Well, if you had any grasp of the facts you wouldn’t have embarrassed yourself. The story about the slaughterhouse was dismissed as a fabrication even by the COMMUNIST regime which took power after the war, due to lack of evidence and testimony from its own Jewish employees who said it never happened.
The Legion were in power from September 6 1940 to January 23rd 1941. During this time it is estimated that less than 125 Jews died during spontaneous riots. The participation in Hitler’s Final Solution only occurred AFTER the Legionary State was overthrown and Ion Antonescu solidified total control over the country. During this time, the Legionaries themselves were in a concentration camp, Buchenwald.
Next time, get your education from somewhere other than a cereal box.
“And I suspect that some of these sad and rabid folk will soon have to start writing under new pen names if they expect their work to survive the editorial sniff-test with most of todayâ€™s publishers.”
But of course, there’s no political gatekeeping or blacklisting going on. Perish the thought
Eric great satire piece! No way you could espouse being inclusive at the same time wishing ill upon your opponents. You are too logical for that!
There is no way you would state these publishers are going to stop publishing these writers when many are self published. You can’t be that lazy to even have googled them right?
There is no way….Yes turns out Eric can. Someone please proofread his blogs before he posts. Stop this man from being a buffoon.
Yet another insightful take, but it all comes down to what I’ve been saying since the beginning (to Brad, among others). I’ve yet to meet a writer I didn’t like, and I’ve met writers with political views all over the map. Arguing is great, healthy, and helpful. Calling names (and making up acronyms for those names) far less so. We are all still in the same industry, and those political points that cannot win the day in a respectful debate are probably more productively saved for contemplation and rumination through fictional conflict, rather than real.
Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank “2012 NJ CN 10517, [05-07-2012]” to fill out?