Vox Day's Next Move

(37 comments)

An image from Vox Day's forthcoming SJWs
Always Lie
, depicting him as Grant Morrison atop
a throne surrounded by his friends and a frankly
alarming number of subliminal penises.
Vox Day (who we'll be spending a bit of time on this week; look for my review of his forthcoming SJWs Always Lie on Thursday) is making much of the question of what he's going to do next. Including a private conference with his readers to serve as a "strategy meeting" for next year.

This is, like almost everything to emerge from the Day Bunker, largely bravado. Day's tactics, which are really little more than what you'd get if you handed a fifteen-year-old on 4chan a copy of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, are in fact eminently predictable. So here's your 2016 Hugo Awards preview.

First, the thing to realize is that Day's tactics are shaped by one massive and fundamental constraint: there's not actually a huge pool of people who want to follow a racist, misogynistic fascist lunatic. He boasts 440 "vile faceless minions," his self-effacing term for the mob that has actively signed up to follow his orders. That's consistent with the data from the Hugos this year, which suggested around 500 Rabid Puppy voters. More interestingly, the proportion of Rabid Puppy supporters in nominations and voting is about the same. In other words, it really doesn't look like Day can wield more than 10-20% of the total voting pool, assuming that anti-fascist fandom (both moderate and hardline) holds their nerve and keeps up the fight.

Second, the thing to realize is that we don't actually have to do that for all that long. Nomination reform passed at Sasquan. Another year spent cleaning dogshit off our yard is only going to make ratification of it next year easier. Which means that as of 2017, the effect of slates is going to be heavily, heavily muted. Day will have an easy time getting one or two works on the ballot, and a nearly impossible time controlling the entirety of it. At that point, the Hugo Awards will go back to something more or less like business as usual, only with, I suspect, a long-term suspicion of overtly conservative SF/F born from the memory of what utter cockmongers conservative SF/F fandom has been in the past.

Which means that 2016 is going to be the year Vox Day tries to burn it to the ground so that he can declare victory and walk away, conveniently exiting the fight as the "winner" right before the rule changes to blunt his flaming sword go into place.

Given this, I think we can safely assume that the Rabid Puppy slate in 2016 is going to consist of five nominees in every category, to try to maximize the number of categories with no non-Puppy nominees. I suspect he's also going to pointedly include nominees that exist to dare the left to vote against them. Frankly, given his past praise of him, if he doesn't put something from Miéville's Three Moments of an Explosion up in short story, he's a moron. It wouldn't surprise me to make his slate next year too, as an attempt to force me into some position where he can declare me a hypocrite. (Of course, given that Day's tactics in this regard consist of "declare what the rules for someone else's behavior are, then call them a hypocrite for not following the rules he made up," this is not exactly a challenge for him.)

I then expect that, come the actual voting, he'll advocate No Award in all categories, hoping to add his 10-20% of the voting pool to the anti-fascist bloc so that he can take credit for "burning the awards down," a term that, notably, only the Puppies have ever applied to the act of preferring No Award to outcomes that legitimize fascism.

He'll probably also credit this post as inspiring him, not that he hasn't already thought of all of this already. Or now he won't, because I said that. It's all very Inception with him.

Anyway, these tactics are decidedly obnoxious, but hinge on a key lie at the heart of everything Vox Day does, namely that being a dick is some sort of game of fucking four-dimensional chess, and, more to the point, that anybody but him is playing.

The reality is that we're all playing Calvinball, and our only actual investment in the Hugo Awards is that we think they've done a pretty good job of recommending good stuff to read, and that they're fun. We'll play by whatever rules let us have fun and recommend good books without endorsing fascism, and we will continue not to give a flying fuck whether Vox Day declares victory or calls us hypocrites, because we recognize that he's going to do that anyway.

So what should we do?

First and foremost, we should be loud during the nomination process. I don't think we should organize slates, partially because there's enough of an anti-slate faction in fandom that it would be self-defeating, and partially because I think we'd do a poor job of coalescing around a single slate. But I think we should talk about nominations. Certainly I'll be doing that here, both in terms of my own nominating ballot and in terms of posts by others about their ballots.

But this needs to not just be me. Scalzi, Stross, Martin, and the other big names who lent their voices to the anti-Puppy campaign this year need to help us from the start next year and make their nomination ballots public. There's a lot of casual fans who are eligible to nominate, but a lot of us haven't read five novelettes from 2015 of Hugo quality, and some high profile recommendations of stuff to look at are going to be helpful. This shouldn't be slates, again - it should be dialogue. A big, loud, public conversation among the 80% of fandom who just said "hell no" to Vox Day about what we love, conducted early enough to help get it on the ballot.

That, hopefully, will give us the easiest counter to whatever Day proposes for next year, namely a Hugo ballot that isn't so awful that we want to No Award five major categories.

And if Day manages to clog the ballot with dogshit again? Well, we'll see. If he goes the route of including good, progressive stuff just to dare us to vote against it, I may well vote for it. Frankly, I don't think there's a world where China Miéville winning his first Hugo can be spun as a victory for fascism. If he just puts John C. Wright up five times in every category, well, we'll have the awards back in 2017 anyway, and I have no qualms about another Year of the Asterisk in the history of SF/F.

Either way, though, you know what Vox Day's next move is going to be?

Losing again.

Comments

Pôl Jackson 2 years, 1 month ago

Hope to get some good Hugo-worthy recommendations here in the coming months! Short stories and novelettes are usually completely off my radar. Hoping to correct that.

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Eric Rosenfield 2 years, 1 month ago

I've referred to Vox Day as the living embodiment of human evil before. It seems he has fully embraced this identity now, which is interesting.

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iWill 2 years, 1 month ago

Well, if you're after short story recommendations, I've actually got one coming out myself this week!
Shameless self-promotion aside, I look forward to reading more recommendations for sci-fi fiction here and around the web; I'm always on the lookout for good books, and shorter stuff is perfect for my general schedule right now. To kick things off: there's quite a good story in the latest issue of Interzone called 'Silencer- Head Like A Hole Remix' by E Catherine Tobler which I can recommend. It's a hellish psychedelic nightmare about gun violence, and it's very powerful stuff.
So there we are. First recommendation for next year's Hugos. I look forward to hearing other people's over the coming months.

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Philip Sandifer 2 years, 1 month ago

I've already got a couple penciled in for the categories I historically pay the most attention to (which are not the prose ones).

My Graphic Story ballot is dead certain to include Crossed +100, WicDiv, and Bitch Planet, with the other two slots up for grabs. (I'd like to have at least something digital; maybe Questionable Content. And I'm going to take a conscious look at some work by people of color.)

Dramatic Presentation, Long Form is going to have Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Ex Machina, and Mad Max: Fury Road on it.

Short form's still in the air, obviously, with Doctor Who not having aired yet.

And I reckon I'll put myself up for Best Related Work. :)

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Nathaniel Lovin 2 years, 1 month ago

http://hugonoms2015.wikia.com/wiki/Hugo_Nominees_2016 is fantastic for recommendations (although the novel category is huge and the others need work).

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Reuben 2 years, 1 month ago

"Frankly, I don't think there's a world where China Miéville winning his first Hugo can be spun as a victory for fascism."

It's probably the same world where Marxists are the REAL fascists.

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iWill 2 years, 1 month ago

Not seen/read nearly any of those- I'd definitely agree with 'Strange and Norrell', and I'd be very surprised if there isn't at least one Hugo-worthy Doctor Who episode this year.

I'm sure at least one Game of Thrones episode will make it, my money's on 'Hardhome', and maybe True Detective? Not watched a lot of TV this year.

For 'related work', I think 'Companion Piece' from Mad Norwegian is probably pretty good, not read it yet myself.

Anyway, with that in mind, I'm off to read some book called 'Recursive Occlusion'. Maybe it's Hugo material. Who knows, eh? Who knows?

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Neo Tuxedo 2 years, 1 month ago

One of Vox Day's friends looks, to me, a lot like Tim Kreider's friend Boyd, though I doubt it's actually he; Boyd can be vile, but not in the ELE way.

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Neo Tuxedo 2 years, 1 month ago

Actually, if Miéville picks up a rocket in Kansas City, it'll be his second Hugo win, unless we're not counting The City & the City (because it shared Best Novel with The Windup Girl? because we think it's technically slipstream like "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love"? because we think Gordon R. Dickson's "Delusion World" was a better take on the central concept or conceit?).

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Doctor Memory 2 years, 1 month ago

Either way, though, you know what Vox Day's next move is going to be?

Continue to spend relatively small amounts of his inherited fortune in order to prop up his Christian micropublishing hobby?

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Philip Sandifer 2 years, 1 month ago

Did he win? I must have misparsed the line in the "Awards" section of his Wikipedia article, which was what the research for that bit of the post consisted of.

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Philip Sandifer 2 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, I'll probably have Hardholme on my ballot. Flawed as GoT was this year, that would be a Hugo contender in any year.

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Scurra 2 years, 1 month ago

My concern is that even broad discussions about nominations will be immediately pounced upon by the Puppies as being "slates" - after all, they had no shame in labelling John Scalzi's annual thread as being the original Hugo slate despite that barely coming close to even a suggested list, let alone an edict from on high.

But despite that, I expect there to be, if not necessarily more actual lists of things, then definitely more awareness of those lists that exist. Which will probably be a good thing.

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Philip Sandifer 2 years, 1 month ago

I think just about the only thing we can do to guarantee Vox Day's victory is to start giving a flying fuck what he says on any level other than what it means for beating him.

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Scurra 2 years, 1 month ago

And that's an excellent point, well made.

(In passing, I really look forward to nominating at least a couple of things from Eruditorum Press next year. Is that lock-step enough for you? {joke})

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Sean Dillon 2 years, 1 month ago

Well, looks like I'm gonna have to spend the next year campaigning for Week of Sardonyx to be nominated for longform.

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The Dapper Anarchist 2 years, 1 month ago

If you want some good digital graphic work, have you been reading Strong Female Protagonist? Also sadly Templar AZ (Which I treat as the distant prequel to Transmetroplitan) hasn't updated this year...

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kateorman 2 years, 1 month ago

Jon was on a business call while I read this, which meant I had to guffaw silently (especially at the four-dimensional chess / Calvinball bit) and nearly suffocated.

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Jeff Heikkinen 2 years, 1 month ago

No matter what you do Day will find a way to declare that it somehow supports his claims, no matter how badly he needs to twist logic into a pretzel or how many of his own prior statements he has to ignore to do it. There's zero point in taking that into consideration. It's like playing chess with a pigeon, it doesn't matter what you do, the stupid thing is just going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway.

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mengu 2 years, 1 month ago

A significant number of things now make more sense.

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Eric Gimlin 2 years, 1 month ago

If we're going with Superheroes = SF, surely Unbeatable Squirrel Girl will need to go on my list this year. But I'm at least somewhat inclined to not want to go that route. (I still haven't gotten around to reading Ms. Marvel *hangs head in shame*, but I have the impression that the only major SF element was the Superheroes element in general.) Wicdiv is definitely on my ballot, really not sure what else to include yet.

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Doctor Memory 2 years, 1 month ago

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Beale_(entrepreneur)

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Doctor Memory 2 years, 1 month ago

(I wouldn't say that knowing Rob Beale's story gives me sympathy for Ted per se, but it certainly provides an interesting shading to the story to realize 1. how utterly fucking vile his dad was, and 2. that even sons of vile parents are probably not helped by seeing them dragged off to jail no matter how well-deserved.)

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ScarvesandCelery 2 years, 1 month ago

Yes to this - though arguably nominating individual episodes for short form would work better for Steven Universe?

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Richard Gadsden 2 years, 1 month ago

I will nominate Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana for Dramatic Presentation Long Form, simply because it made me cry, and I don't care if I'm the only nomination it gets.

Mad Max for sure. Neither of the Marvel films this year, which leaves some slots open. Need to watch Ex Machina and JS&MN, and there's going to be a new Star Wars and The Martian later this year for consideration.

Neither Doctor Who nor Agent Carter have aired yet, so who knows for BDP short - but Hardhome deserves a nomination (and I didn't nominate AC last year because I didn't think it was genre enough). Need to get caught up on Orphan Black.

For Related Work, the sheer stark beauty of the math behind E Pluribus Hugo gets a nomination in my book. I didn't think there was an original voting system still to be invented, but they proved me wrong, and did so with a work of art.

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Daibhid C 2 years ago

our only actual investment in the Hugo Awards is that we think they've done a pretty good job of recommending good stuff to read, and that they're fun.

This, always this. Whenever anyone shows signs of taking the Hugos, as the Hugos, seriously, I remind myself that the one time Terry Pratchett was nominated he requested the book be withdrawn from consideration because he was trying to enjoy the convention, thanks. Which strikes me as an admirably healthy attitude.

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Daibhid C 2 years ago

It says a lot about how well QC does what it does that for a second I wondered if a comic which is currently mostly about underground robot fighting really counted as sf.

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Sean Dillon 2 years ago

True, but then you'd have to decide which ones. Rose's Scabbard, The Return/Jail Break, Sworn to the Sword, Alone Together, On the Run, Full Disclosure... I just feel that run of five episodes was the best of the bunch. (although if I had to pick one, I'd go with Rose's Scabbard)

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Matt Marshall 2 years ago

Wow, that's an impossible question really isn't it? I'd probably agree with you that Rose's Scabbard is the strongest individual episode that also works well as a standalone (as given how good the others are, they work a lot better with the buildup). Though if two-parters count as short form (do they?) there could be a very strong case for The Return/Jailbreak as in my book it's pretty much perfect (and of course has that Garnet bit that everyone loves)

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ScarvesandCelery 2 years ago

I'd go with "The Return/ Jailbreak" in terms of what I think would do best in an awards ceremony, although I am incredibly fond of "Alone Together", that's marvellous. Also "Lion 3: Straight to video", but I think that's slightly outside the cut off point for nominations :/ That said, if I was going for a long form nomination, "Week of Sardonyx" does seem like the best choice - it's the most cohesive of the "Stevenbombs"

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Matt Marshall 2 years ago

Lion 3 just got Emmy nominated, it's had its time in the sun!

Week of Sardonyx as longform? Hrm. I dunno, I mean I really liked the first half, but felt the second half wasn't as strong and 'Friendship' didn't quite stick the landing (I did like that that Garnet quite explicitly DIDN'T outright forgive Pearl though). Maybe if they'd actually caught Peridot at the end it would feel more like a cohesive whole rather than more episodic, though I can see why they wouldn't have wanted it to end like that (as you'd then have two focuses on the ending)

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Kit Power 2 years ago

And with that, Jeff, I rather think you win the internet for today. Bravo.

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ScarvesandCelery 2 years ago

It has? Super. "You are going to be a human being" makes me tear up every time. It deserves the recognition.
I thought it worked better as a whole than other Stevenbombs because every episode contributes to the ongoing arc, but I agree it has a few too many weak points (well, weaker, nothing bad) to quite work as an awards nomination, IMO. It's why I'd pick "The Return/ Jailbreak" (or any individual episode suggested above, they're all great) instead.

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Sean Dillon 2 years ago

I'm don't think the point of the Week of Sardonyx was to catch Peridot, so much as the relationship between the gems (with a focus on Pearl and Garnet). I mean, we were shown early on in the final episode that Pearl was desperately trying to find Peridot to make all of this go away and everyone else was aware that this wasn't why Garnet was furious with her. That's why the climax of the episode was the return of Sardonyx and not Peridot's escape. I think they have more stories to tell with Peridot before we get the "and then she gets captured" bit.

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Matt Marshall 2 years ago

Well I meant more in that it would make it more of a cohesive unit rather than five episodes of a serialised television show. But you're right, the point was that catching Peridot was the /least/ important thing going on that week. I keep going back and forth on whether they should have caught her or not.

Sometimes I hope that they never do ;)

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Sean Dillon 2 years ago

I mean, on one hand we have the great comedic interpretation of Peridot as Zim, but largely successful (yet still as manic, especially when things don't go her way). On the other hand the nature of the narrative collapse within Steven Universe is one of the personal relationships being broken by forces from without (such as in The Return/Jailbreak) and within (such as the aforementioned Week of Sardonyx and Full Disclosure). Thus, considering both which of those stories was the season finale and the title of a future episode, it is most likely that they will not catch Peridot. Rather, she will catch them. And all hell will break loose in the process.

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Justin Cawthorne 2 years ago

I look forward to Vox Day enduring continued success where he had sought failure. I look forward to record numbers of people participating in the voting process, and resolutely failing to stand aside as the Hugo Awards obligingly 'burn to the ground'. I look forward to a renewed focus on diversity in science fiction and a heightened effort among the community to seek out stories that are written by authors who are not white, male heterosexuals, and also to look for those voices to be represented in the stories they read. I look forward to all of this happening both in spite of and because of Vox Day and his minions stamping their feet and standing bewildered as the masses turn their back on him and his minions and look forward to a better future instead of trying to reclaim a fictitious past.

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