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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later.Support Elizabeth on Patreon.

212 Comments

  1. manofstealblog
    April 21, 2015 @ 8:32 pm

    This is article either a labor of love or savage respect.

    Vox livin rent free in ur head dude.

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  2. encyclops
    April 21, 2015 @ 8:56 pm

    Are they close, though?

    Reply

  3. Yog Sothoth
    April 21, 2015 @ 10:02 pm

    ''No Award'' everything, start the rules change process this year, counter-slate them next year, and then proceed with business as usual in 2017. Problem solved.

    Reply

  4. Yog Sothoth
    April 21, 2015 @ 10:23 pm

    I would say that there must be some connection between being a bad writer and a deeply unpleasant person, but I always liked Harlan Ellison's stuff. ::shrug::

    Reply

  5. Yog Sothoth
    April 21, 2015 @ 10:25 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply

  6. Yog Sothoth
    April 21, 2015 @ 10:29 pm

    This is the main reason I think the ''If you change the rules to block Sad Puppies/ Rabid Puppies then you are doing exactly what they want!" is so deeply misguided. No, they want to win Hugos (all of them do). Stopping them from shitting on a great award by gaming the system comes before imaginary moral stands that amount to strategic surrenders..

    Reply

  7. buzzardist
    April 21, 2015 @ 10:58 pm

    How does this remotely solve the problem? The accusation by Torgerson, Correia, and Day is that cliques of voters have been gaming the Hugos for years, ensuring that select people in the "in-group" show up on the ballot and win. Day would be just as happy, if not happier, with No Award this year as he would with any of his slate winning an award as doing so would essentially prove his point. Changing the rules to ensure that certain fans of whom you don't approve can't participate in future awards? That would be the ultimate Vox victory, proving that the sci fi left is so partisan that they will rewrite the rules rather than let anyone else have a turn at the awards, and it would ruin the Hugos permanently.

    Vox Day stayed mostly as a passive participant in the Sad Puppies campaigns in the past, until people started attacking him last year, blaming him for organizing something he didn't organize, and then for exulting in defeating him when, as he stated from the start, he fully expected to lose. His Rabid Puppies campaign is his response, saying, "Hey, when I actually organize to game the system, I actually game it, not just put one or two nominations on the ballot." "No Award" will encourage Vox to come back strong again next year to "No Award" a nomination pool of the people his ideological foes like. Changing the award rules from then on will send a loud message of "You're not welcome here," which will only boost support for Vox's accusations. You'll be adding to the problem, not solving it.

    Reply

  8. Yog Sothoth
    April 21, 2015 @ 11:06 pm

    I don't care if Vox Day feels vindicated or, for that matter, what he experiences at all in his own subjective world. What I DO care about is his group no longer being able to hijack the nomination process for attention and cheap promotion of political hackery.

    Reply

  9. buzzardist
    April 21, 2015 @ 11:42 pm

    Well, O.K., but what would be a better process? Requiring everyone to purchase a full convention attendance membership? Then you're just turning the nomination war into a money battle. Whose side has the deeper pockets to buy more con memberships?

    You could limit voting, I suppose, to people physically in attendance at the con, but that could just as easily be hijacked. Also, the nominations still have to happen in advance of the con, so there has to be some way to do that without having voters physically present.

    I'm at a loss for how exactly one could reconfigure the rules to guarantee that certain people are no longer able to participate short of explicitly blacklisting people.

    Either of the above options, too, would also exclude a lot of people who genuinely want to vote for their favorite sci fi from participating.

    So what else would you do? Ban any public campaigning for the awards? Ban slates? How does one go about doing that? Prior to Sad Puppies, there were dozens of identical or nearly identical nominations submitted to the Hugos ever year. Plenty of people admit that this kind of thing went on. Sad Puppies made what had been a poorly kept secret public, and then Rabid Puppies escalated the practice. But how you go about legislating that people can't say, "Here's who I'm voting for, and I think you should, too," is beyond me. If WorldCon did try to ban slates, what would it do? Disqualify any work or author that appeared on a slate ballot? Well, gee, whom do you think Vox Day would turn around and nominate on a slate then?

    You don't want the nomination process hijacked again. Great. But I think you overestimate the ability of a con to establish rules immune to hijackery. What you propose will just give Vox Day more ammunition. I have no way of predicting what Vox will do, but my bet is that the best way to get him to go away quickly is to let a few of the more deserving items on the Puppies slates win. At that point, they lose the ability to say that the game is rigged against them, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were less disruptive campaigns in the future.

    But, hey, if you want to burn the awards down this year, next year, and possible in the years after that. Vox has already handed you the match. Personally, I think it would be a shame to torch the awards, but you and Vox both seem to think otherwise on this point.

    Reply

  10. Yog Sothoth
    April 21, 2015 @ 11:49 pm

    Dozens of people better equipped at engineering voting systems are already discussing how to change things. I have more faith in their ability to fix things than I have fear of this Vox Day (who you are trying to pretend not to be a fan and partisan of so that you seem unbiased) being able to continually game the system.

    Reply

  11. Daru
    April 22, 2015 @ 12:02 am

    Thanks for a brilliant article Phil, still finishing reading it but wanted to give you my support here. Great piece of work!

    Reply

  12. Yog Sothoth
    April 22, 2015 @ 12:07 am

    Isn't it unfortunate that his (self-selected) pseudonymous initials also stand for Venereal Disease?

    Reply

  13. Daru
    April 22, 2015 @ 12:20 am

    "A moment of silence for all the talented people, some of whom I know, who have been hurt by Mr. Beale's actions."

    Hear, hear. Lovely words thanks you. One thing I believe that people such as Beale appear to forget is the results of their actions and the effect that real consideration and regard for others can have. I think that the simplest and most powerful thing we can do for one another is to have some thought and positive regard – that's what I take away from all of this anyway. Thanks acrbeatle.

    Reply

  14. volund
    April 22, 2015 @ 12:35 am

    Thank you. I'm very glad to have been directed to this post; it's helped me to focus and crystallize my own thoughts on the Puppies debacle.

    The year's a third over. It's not too early to start thinking about who I'd like to nominate for the Hugos … including in he Best Fan Writer category.

    Reply

  15. Josh04
    April 22, 2015 @ 12:39 am

    saw this comment on twitter as well, and both times the phrase "rent free" jumped out.

    "rent free"?

    i mean, 'living in your head' is a reasonable metaphor. but "rent free"? what kind of imagination do you have to have that you can't spell out a metaphor without clarifying the economic context

    like people might otherwise think he was paying rent for such an occupation, and would thus be appropriately subservient to his mind-landlord.

    Reply

  16. Kate LBT
    April 22, 2015 @ 1:12 am

    Vox Day isn't even a libertarian, he's a neoreactionary. He's one of those people who have decided that the techno-utopianism of libertarianism is great, but that whole pesky freedom thing (at least outside of the class of intelligentsia to which he aspires but fails to actually achieve, ending up coming off as verbose, whiny and self-worshipping) is just too much, and we should just all go back to the Divine Right of Kings. Which is great, as long as you're one of the Kings.

    Reply

  17. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 22, 2015 @ 3:11 am

    Sorry to everyone for the degree to which the comments section degenerated while I was asleep last night. I've tidied it back up to our usual standard, and will be actively moderating today.

    To anyone who may have followed a link from Beale's blog today and is inclined to weigh in, please note that this blog does maintain a "no platform the fascists" policy, and that I am generally aware of your playbook for Internet arguments, so basically, unless you give me a very good reason not to, your comment will be live for entire minutes before I delete it and get ever closer to earning enough SJW points for my free Redshirts toaster.

    Reply

  18. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 22, 2015 @ 3:14 am

    As for the reasonable and pleasantly non-fascist majority of my commenters, many of whose comments just disappeared along with the derp, please don't feed the trolls.

    Reply

  19. SochghajwI'
    April 22, 2015 @ 3:36 am

    "It is not just that he is a frothing fascist, but that he believes that the best possible thing he can do with his magical genetic access to Divine Truth is to try to disrupt the Hugo Awards. "

    I do like this. I brings to mind Uri Geller, who, if his claims are to be believed, is able to affect the molecular structure of metal objects at a distance… and who uses this awesome power to ruin cutlery.

    Reply

  20. buzzardist
    April 22, 2015 @ 3:51 am

    If they want to win Hugos, then why is Vox gladly encouraging his opponents to go the "No Award" route? He's much more keen to expose the absurd extremes to which people will go to reject him than he is to win an award. People like Scalzi and Jemisin took pokes at him, and so he keeps poking back. He likes to watch his foes squeal, and he's created a situation this year in which the traditionally liberal sci fi community will squeal no matter what happens. It's all a win for him. Blow up the awards you cherish with a straight "No Award" protest? Vox wins. Give his slate some wins? Vox wins.

    The question is what happens next year and the year after. My hunch is that a "No Award" revolt against Vox this year will ensure he returns next year, too. A few awards tossed to the more deserving people on the Puppies slate would probably do more than anything to disarm the Puppies effort moving forward.

    And, one has to admit, there are deserving nominees on Vox's slate. Black Gate has belatedly asked to withdraw, as have some others, but a site like that really does deserve some recognition for the quality fan work that it puts out.

    Reply

  21. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 22, 2015 @ 3:53 am

    I'd point out that I accused Beale of wanting to disrupt the Hugos, not of wanting to win them.

    Torgersen seems to want to win them, for what it's worth.

    Reply

  22. Stacia
    April 22, 2015 @ 3:56 am

    It's worth pointing out that Little Mister "Scientifically Literate" is using the wrong term for Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens Denisova/Denisova hominins and doesn't even realize it.

    Neither do his followers, who are very probably just people looking for someone to follow; specifically, someone to follow who denigrates other human beings on a regular basis. He also gives them something to do — in this case, game the Hugo nomination system — which gives them a false sense of accomplishment.

    It's sort of fascinating as far as nutty cult-like behavior goes.

    Reply

  23. buzzardist
    April 22, 2015 @ 3:57 am

    You can put your hope in that, but short of blacklisting specific people and works, virtually any system can be gamed by someone who knows the rules. And Vox is the kind of obsessive game player who knows how to rules lawyer a thing to death if he wants to. We'll have to wait and see what specific proposal gets put forward, but count me as a skeptic.

    Regardless, from a public relations standpoint, any such proposal will be a coup for all of the Puppies. Torgerson and Correia set out to recognize some people who, because the awards work the way that they do, don't receive any recognition, or, if that failed, to expose how badly the left will fight to keep that recognition from anyone who is not of the right ideological views. Changing the rules to push them out only validates their contention from the very start.

    Reply

  24. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 22, 2015 @ 4:03 am

    Reducing this to a PR war concedes far too many premises to Theodore Beale.

    Reply

  25. Dan
    April 22, 2015 @ 4:10 am

    "A few awards tossed towards the more deserving people" would make it utterly worthless as an awards ceremony though.

    Reply

  26. buzzardist
    April 22, 2015 @ 4:16 am

    I was sad, Philip, to see that you deleted some of my comments. I appreciate what you've written here. You've put a lot together. Some of it is very insightful. Some I definitely disagree with.

    But I am really interested in how you define science fiction and how you see various works fitting into that generic classification. I thought there were some good comments developing in the thread behind the first comment I posted, particularly from Scurra, if I recall, who suggested that a lot of this is just a definitional pissing match. Many people in sci fi have move to much more expansive categories that, it seems, could include "Dinosaur, My Love." Other purists are rejecting that.

    The question is, if the Hugos are an award for "science fiction," what does that mean in an era where people seem willing to bend all categories and definitions out of shape. "Sci fi" can't just mean "the stuff that I like." If fans are going to award the best sci fi, then "sci fi" has to have some generic features. You mentioned initially that it has to do with imagining the future. Yog wanted to expand this to anything speculative, without really explaining what "speculative" means.

    I look at a story like "Dinosaur, My Love," and I don't see anything recognizably sci fi or speculative. There is no imagined world in any tangible sense. There is just a sad woman locked in this world. (And, I'd argue, a pretty unreformed Victorian woman desiring both violent beast and gentle prince in her lover, and yet she is pathetically stuck with this comatose body.) Is a daydream enough to count as speculative fiction? I could see putting the story up for a romance award, but science fiction? I'm having trouble fitting it into the category.

    And if the Hugos do devolve to a "what I and enough other people like" award, then what's to stop a legion of fans rushing, nominating Fifty Shades of Gray, and voting it the winner by a landslide? Genres are made to be reworked, mixed, and reshaped. That's what artists do, but just voting something a sci fi work doesn't necessarily make it one.

    And that's why I asked for a clarification on how you're treating that category. Yog was quick to pounce with insults, which I think ruined the tone of the thread, but it's a genuine and, I hope, important question that I had in response to your essay. I'd like to hear people's thoughts about what makes sci fi sci fi and how particular works, whether they be "Dinosaur, My Love," "Game of Thrones," "Wheel of Time," or anything else fits within the Hugo award category.

    Reply

  27. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 22, 2015 @ 4:18 am

    I talk about a lot of these issues with Jack Graham and Andrew Hickey in this podcast: http://shabogangraffiti.blogspot.com/2015/04/emergency-anti-fascist-shabcast-3-hugo.html

    Reply

  28. Doctor Science
    April 22, 2015 @ 4:26 am

    buzzardist:

    The point I'm trying to make is that, from a business POV, nothing can dissuade Vox from doing it again next year, because it's working so well financially this year. He may have started just wanting to make people upset, but he's now making money doing it, which is an incentive that can easily override any other consideration.

    Reply

  29. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 22, 2015 @ 4:30 am

    It might mean that too (if you think that random Greek/Latin swaps are in some sense "meaning"), but it also blatantly means "voice of god."

    Reply

  30. John Wright
    April 22, 2015 @ 4:36 am

    "if you got John C. Wright drunk at the bar, you could get him to admit that he thinks transhumanism and black people are ugly for the same reason."

    Actually, I am a teetotaler, and I always tell the truth, and, unlike yourself, sir, I am not a racist. An honest man often hears himself accused of his accuser's flaws.

    As for the claim that I am attacking Ursula K LeGuin when, in fact, I am praising her with fulsome praise is beyond absurd.

    Next time you would like to misinterpret or misunderstand something I have said, please ask me a question before inventing your nonsense, and quote me: even an English major can adhere to this minimal level of courtesy and honesty.

    Reply

  31. David Ainsworth
    April 22, 2015 @ 4:42 am

    Torgersen's claim above isn't in any way responsive to the critique. Even granting that several works found their way to nomination through "affirmative action," and even granting the even more questionable assumption that affirmative action isn't merely a correction of inherent bias, there's a clear distinction in both degree and kind between placing one or two works on a list of nominees and entirely dictating the list. It's like "correcting" an inherent conservative slant in modern American politics by only allowing liberal candidates on the ballot.

    Reply

  32. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 22, 2015 @ 4:49 am

    But I don't want to talk to you, because you're a raving fascist loony.

    Reply

  33. Chris
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:00 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply

  34. Chris
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:00 am

    "unlike yourself, sir, I am not a racist. An honest man often hears himself accused of his accuser's flaws."

    This is a hilarious comment, because it can easily be read as meaning the exact opposite of what the writer intended.

    Reply

  35. kateorman
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:07 am

    (This is Kate Orman; Blogger absolutely refuses to let me log in.) Several essays online have helped me better understand the Puppies' assault on the Hugos. The above, and Maureen O'Danu's blog posting on Puppy psychology, are the two which have given me the deepest insights. As the mess on the carpet has inspired me to vote this year and next, I plan to nominate this thought-provoking, enlightening, hilarious, defiant, and frankly magnificently posting. (I'll also be nominating Recursive Occlusion, which is brilliant – proper review soon!).

    Reply

  36. David Ainsworth
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:13 am

    "unlike yourself, sir, I am not a racist. An honest man often hears himself accused of his accuser's flaws."

    It's "I know you are, but what am I," only wearing a tuxedo!

    Replying to a lengthy analysis of oneself and one's associates establishing fascist beliefs, the desire to disenfranchise women, an obsession with racial purity and deep-seated hypocrisy by saying, "No, you're racist, and you misread me on LeGuin," pretty much gives the game away.

    Reply

  37. brightglance
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:13 am

    Mr. Torgersen,
    I'm just replying as an ordinary person who thought Ancillary Justice was deserving of a Hugo and probably would have voted for it. (I didn't have a vote – I was considering registering last year as a supporting member of Loncon but I thought it would only serve to rub it in that I couldn't really afford the time or money to go.) I say probably because I haven't read beyond a sample of Warbound – it seemed like very well done urban fantasy and probably would have been in the middle of my ballot.
    But I loved Ancillary Justice – the idea of multiply located consciousness of one individual, then reduced to the inside of one much more limited body. The gradual dawning of the extent of tyranny, and the determination to spike one part of its plans (even by one whose very origins stem from the tyranny). The scale and scope of the background and its history.
    The pronoun thing was a nifty trick which pointed up (a) one difference in the imperial society to other tyrannous empires of the past (b) but even more so the strangeness in the thinking of Breq who couldn't reliably spot gender differences, a thing that the humans clearly could.
    I liked it as much as some of Iain Banks or C.J. Cherryh and I bought Ancillary Sword as soon as it came out in ebook.

    Reply

  38. Kit Power
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:19 am

    FUN FACT: If you can get a teetotaler to drink, they generally get very drunk, very fast. Just throwing that out there.

    Reply

  39. buzzardist
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:28 am

    I would be curious to know exactly how much Vox's publishing company is actually selling from the Hugos. Nominated works are being released for free. It is some extra advertising, and I'm sure sales have ticked up a little slightly. But for the small volumes of ebooks that the company normally moves, I highly doubt Vox or anyone else is getting rich. My impression is that Vox didn't start that publishing house primarily to make money.

    Reply

  40. arcbeatle
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:32 am

    Thank you very much. The silliest part is that I am holding back their names for fear Beale will cause them even MORE grief for being unhappy with his false prophet machinations.

    Its a sorry state where creators are forced to hide to prevent themselves from becoming a ball in a game they didn't chose to be a part of, and whose rules are arbitrary and rigged.

    I really want a positive move forward from here. I really do. I am sadly expecting another fuss up next year though.

    Reply

  41. Copperheaded
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:34 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    Reply

  42. Copperheaded
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:39 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    Reply

  43. SpaceSquid
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:48 am

    I dunno, I don't think it can be Olympic standard when it's so horribly common. It's a central building block of any number of stances of the uglier elements of the Right. The same mechanism that fuels the Rabid Puppies fuels proponents of torture and those who insist Islam has declared war on the West and must be fought: "Barbarians do X; to beat barbarians the civilised peoples must do X".

    Phil's focus on the "Stabbed in the back" narrative is instructive here, because it allows the fascists and the fascist-adjacent to insist when they stab people "from the front" it's fine, because they're only doing it because being stabbed in the back is so awful. That in both cases someone is being stabbed is conveniently ignored, because what they want to focus on is the direction of the act. They've turned what we see as scalar quantities into vectors.

    Which is ironic, because when people like me point out the difference between the oppressed badmouthing their oppressors and the oppressors badmouthing the oppressed, we're accused of doing exactly the same thing, making us the real racists, or whatever.

    It's hypocrisy all the way down.

    Reply

  44. Ciaran
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:55 am

    I think your two part definition of fascism is interesting and useful, but is missing an essential ingredient; the element of nation. In fact, this must precede the betrayal and restoration. First, we must have the concept of a people, a nation of those people, and the governance of that nation, for it is this nation that has been betrayed, and that the hero must restore. So if one uses "fascism", even in analogy, one must have an analogy to the nation state.

    I think one could make the case that the Rabid Puppies constitute an analogous nation, replacing bonds of ethny, geography with interest and ideology. Beale can be their king, Wright their archbishop. And the Hugos can be their Poland.

    But your other examples of "facism" fall flat. Take this for example:

    "It’s a classically fascist myth, just like Gamergate (gaming used to be great, then the feminist SJWs took over the gaming press, and now Gamergate will liberate it) or Men’s Rights Activists (of which Beale is one). "

    Where is the hero of Gamergate? Has some charismatic leader changed his name to "Gamergate"? How about the MRA? Your analogy fails because you have confused a movement with an individual. "Gamergate" can not liberate it, because there is no such person.

    Both the Gamergate and the MRA are a decentralized populist movement of a group of individuals who share some overlapping grievances. Given a sense of unity, and a strong leader, these could become fascist in nature. But they are not there yet. They may be actual breeding grounds for certain forms of antisocial behavior, but the they are no more than potential breeding grounds for fascism.

    Reply

  45. macpuffins
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:56 am

    I thought I had a semi-coherent grasp on the issues. Turns out I was grossly mistaken. This is now saved for my offline consumption because it is going to take me days of analysis to get through the breadth of information you have so lucidly presented. Many issues you have taken and brought to fulsome the appropriate arguments to debunk the debacle's creators. And I love it. Thank you.

    One thing I will say is that the initial argument that science fiction isn't about exploring outside the cultural and sociological boundaries is absolute bunk, as you have most eloquently, and rightly, stated. Some of the best science fiction I have read has been exactly that – taking the reader on a journey to an other-when, other-where, other-who, or other-why perspective and causing grey matter to have to work to incorporate new thought, reconcile new to old, or justify the dumping of the new thoughts in deference to the old. Some of the best stuff has come via covers that so totally did not predict the content or themes as well as covers that didn't offer more than minor predictive elements. Some of my most beloved reading in the genre has been challenging personally, emotionally, intellectually, etc., and I cherish that and, dare say, need it for my own personal growth within my humanity.
    A human who is not evolving or growing in some aspect of self is stagnant. A genre that isn't is dead. Science fiction and fantasy are very much alive. And even books I don't like (personal preference issues) are good in challenging someone else. And that diversity is vital.

    Reply

  46. buzzardist
    April 22, 2015 @ 6:10 am

    Thanks for the link. Pardon if I don't have a couple hours to spend listening to the full thing. But you all do get into some interesting discussion of the genre just before the hour mark. Sci fi as a genre, like with all generic identifications, is almost impossible to define. One can pick out qualities and features–a pastoral hearkens to a golden world, a classical romance (not the sappy love sort) involves movement and often separation of people, etc. Genres are often those "you know it when you see it" types of things. Definitions become impossibly complex and contradictory, but most people generally agree that a particular work does or does not generally fit the classification.

    Except when people stop agreeing, which is what's brought us to the current state of the Hugos.

    You all go around and around in the podcast with different sub-genres of sci fi–the action adventure, the Menippean satire and other cultural satire, novels of ideas, normal fiction with sci fi window dressing, and so on. My sense is that Vox very much does like that classical action adventure type of story and stories that engage in big ideas about society and humanity. These are the kinds of stories that used to be the bread-and-butter of the sci fi world. In many cases, these kinds of stories remain highly popular.

    But the Hugos in the last 20 years or so have undergone a pretty significant shift, almost entirely pushing that classical sci fi out the door. What's replaced it has been a mix of regular fiction with sci fi as window dressing (and recently with that window dressing growing exceedingly thin, in some cases, such as with "Dinosaur, My Love") and a lot of awards given on the basis of who one's publisher is (Tor has been very good at running whisper campaigns and organizing blocs of votes, albeit at a much smaller scale than Vox has done) or what one's political or social identity is. And now we're seeing layer upon layer of reactionary shouting as each side lays claim to the Hugos.

    You can call the Hugos outdated in trying to identify "sci fi" because genres are so scattered and mixed now anyway, but that still doesn't square with most people's intuitions. They hear "sci fi," and a certain image is conjured in their minds. Artists can try to push on what that image is to reshape it over time by supplying iconic works that remix genres, but, ultimately, if an award for sci fi is going to be given, somebody has to define something to designate generally what's eligible and what's not.

    Reply

  47. Stan
    April 22, 2015 @ 6:15 am

    And this comment says it all: it is your identity, which we give you, that makes you illegitimate. We define you as such, so it is true by virtue of a First Principle: tautology. And we have defined ourselves as superior, both intellectually and morally, so if you disagree, then you cannot be as superior as are we. The category we designate for ourselves – messianic elites, is for champions of the perpetual Victimhood Class which we also designate and maintain. But that Class is trivial, because our actual position is to destroy all non-congruent thought, anywhere that it might be found.

    It is not just our own superiority that prevents us from thinking about and/or discussing objectively anything you say or think; it is our definition of your Class (Oppressors) as too odious to even consider. It is a moral conclusion, based on what we want, and requires no justification. Thus, it is clearly immoral to entertain thoughts outside of the approved thinking which we not only endorse, but absolutely require.

    You claim to have facts which contradict our narrative. That cannot be true, because our narrative is tautologially impeccable, just as are we. So there is not reason even to look at contrary facts. Our only necessary involvement is to silence them, and you.

    Capiche?

    Reply

  48. buzzardist
    April 22, 2015 @ 6:15 am

    To continue, you all get into what contemporary sci fi has turned into a bit earlier in the podcast when you start talking about the diversity of past nominees. Contrary to what a lot of people have claimed, there is quite a lot of diversity in terms of gender and race on the Puppies slates. The difference, I think, is that the Puppies seem much less interested in awarding prizes for being a certain race or identity, which is what a lot of the Hugo and Nebula trumpeters over the past decade or so have been crowing about. The posturing over the sweep of the Nebulas this past year by women is a good example because it seemed like a lot of people were cheering diversity for diversity's sake instead of actually talking about the quality of the literature. Maybe some of that stuff was good; maybe it wasn't. I haven't read enough of it to pass judgment. But some of the exultant reactions I saw on Twitter and elsewhere left me wondering if fiction-qua-fiction had been lost as a reason for giving prizes.

    The Puppies, instead, want to shift the awards to recognize two or three specific sub-genres of sci fi. If you look at a lot of the Puppies' complaints, including Vox's, they really don't give two cents about who is what identity. The con-participating crowd skews a certain way, which means that a lot of popular, well-written sci fi fails to get recognition, which is true. Torgerson and Correia wanted to get some recognition for the kinds of sci fi that they like, which is a perfectly reasonable fan action. But the reaction to last year's Sad Puppies set the table for this year's debacle. The shrieking, hollering, blaming, and everything else put blood in the water. Had there not been such a nasty, concerted effort to put Torgerson and Correia back in their place, and had people not tried to blame Vox for the Puppies campaign that others ran, I highly suspect that this year's Rabid Puppies never would have materialized. But when anybody on the left postures, Vox looks for any way possible to poke them in the eye. And that's what we're now seeing play out.

    I agree with what you said elsewhere–Torgerson probably does want to win an award here or there for some people he likes, but Vox really doesn't care. What he sees is that the Hugos matter to people like Hayden, Scalzi, Jemisin, and the rest of that in-crowd. He sees that they matter to you, too. Because the awards matter to certain people, messing with the awards is an all-too-easy way to, as I said, poke them in the eye. And, I'll wager, as long as people on the political left keep shrieking about the Hugos, Nebulas, and other awards, all those people will be handing him easy opportunities to keep poking.

    Reply

  49. jane
    April 22, 2015 @ 6:19 am

    Beale and Torgie sitting in a tree
    Kay Eye Es Es Why En Gee!
    First comes love, then comes marriage
    then comes

    Reply

  50. Joel
    April 22, 2015 @ 6:31 am

    This entire post and comment section demonstrates the salience of Orwell's essay about politics and language and how the rampant abuse of the term "fascist" has rendered the term meaningless. The same can, now, be said for many other terms, "racism" being an excellent example.

    Within 20 years, if not sooner, the standard response from anyone who is non-left is going to be that "racism" is meaningless gibberish. You had your fun while it was available – in short order, it won't be available anymore.

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  51. John
    April 22, 2015 @ 6:34 am

    Here's Robert Paxton's definition of fascism, which is probably about as close to a consensus definition as you'll get:

    A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

    Most scholars of fascism, from what I can remember, don't consider Franco's regime to be a pure fascist regime – it was a right wing authoritarian regime that incorporated fascist elements (the Falange) into itself. I believe the early part of Antonescu's regime in Romania, before he purged the Iron Guard, and the Vichy regime in France, at least in its later years, are viewed similarly. Fascist movements are much more common than fascist regimes – I think the only pure fascist regime besides Germany and Italy is the very short-lived Hungarian Arrow Cross regime of 1944-45. Which is not to say that other right wing authoritarian movements don't have some of the characteristics of fascism.

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  52. John
    April 22, 2015 @ 6:43 am

    Shorter John Wright: "You know nothing of my work."

    Reply

  53. Adam Riggio
    April 22, 2015 @ 6:44 am

    Honestly, John, leaving all political differences between us aside, if the tone and style of your comments on internet threads are so pompous and overblown, then I can only wonder what your more formal prose sounds like. It doesn't really make me want to read your stuff on aesthetic merits alone, and I've read some pretty damn pretentious books.

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  54. John Seavey
    April 22, 2015 @ 6:59 am

    I think Wright considers it "cowardly" because they didn't tell you at the beginning that Korra was lesbian; they let you think she was a straight person and get emotionally attached to her, then sprung it on you that she was one of Teh Gays! (The horror.) It was an attack because John C. Wright has deeply internalized his homophobia and views a disagreement with that viewpoint as an attack on his sense of self. Hence, "cowardly attack". God, I'm getting too good at understanding how these people try to think.

    @Yog Sothoth: Harlan Ellison may be a deeply unpleasant person to many, but I'll always remember him doing goldfish impressions for my five-year-old. 🙂

    Reply

  55. Rogers Cadenhead
    April 22, 2015 @ 7:03 am

    Doesn't seem weird to me. Mia Farrow today has little cultural relevance, so the line refers to the period when she did.

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  56. Adam Riggio
    April 22, 2015 @ 7:19 am

    Thank you for pointing me to O'Danu's post, which I'm reading right now. It's quite enlightening. I also found Jeet Heer's article on the subject at The New Republic rather insightful.

    And thank you, as well, Kate, for writing such wonderful books over the years.

    Reply

  57. John Seavey
    April 22, 2015 @ 7:20 am

    The thing is, buzzardist, the Sad and Rabid Puppies will declare victory no matter what. No Award wins? "See? See? Our views are being oppressed!" They win? "See? See? The fans secretly sympathize with us!" The rules get changed? "See? See? They had to change the rules to stop us winning!" The rules don't get changed? "See? See? We told you that there was nothing wrong with our tactic!" Couner-slate? "See? See? We told you THEY were doing it too!" No counter-slate? "See? See? We told you THEY were doing it so secretly that you couldn't even spot it!"

    Everything vindicates their point of view in their point of view, because they're delusional nutbags who have thrown up eleventy-million contradictory justifications for their actions. Worrying about how they might feel about it is like worrying about how the Republicans are going to react to the choice of Democratic candidate. There ain't nobody they're going to like, so fuckit.

    For myself, I'm repeatedly advocating a rule where a large number of sufficiently similar ballots are automatically thrown out as invalid. Large enough and similar enough not to be achievable by chance, small enough that you could no longer gin up a slate of GamerGaters to tilt the nominations your way.

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  58. Spoilers Below
    April 22, 2015 @ 7:33 am

    "Peter Parker, as created by Steve Ditko, grew up in the 1950s. He called women "gals" and Russians "commies", wore a waistcoat on informal occasions and thought "I bet you're still wearing a Vote for Dewey badge" was a clever topical reference. Yet many of us seem to be able to accept that the young man who remembers the Beatles and lost friends in the Vietnam war is the "same person" as the young man who was a teenager when the World Trade Center was destroyed; but somehow think that if his hair or his skin is the wrong colour he is just not Spider-Man.

    "In 1963, Peter Parker's Aunt May was already a Very Old Lady, prone to have heart-attacks at the drop of a pin — in her 70s, or even older. A New York lady who was born in the 1890s is very likely to have been an immigrant. I think everyone now agrees that Peter Parker was — like Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and the guy who wrote the words — a second generation immigrant, say of Austrian or Czech Jewish heritage. This is why Peter Parker is rejected by his peer group, and bullied by Flash Thompson. He's a foreigner; an outsider.

    "It follows that movies which represent him as an all-American white kid are just as false as the ones where he plays with a microscope rather than a computer. If you want to set Spider-Man in the 21st century and remain remotely faithful to the original, you'd have to make him the kid of some refugees who came to America in the 1990s; non-religious himself, but greatly influenced by Uncle Ben's Somali Muslim or Punjabi Sikh heritage.

    "(I'm serious, by the way.)"
    –Andrew Rilstone, making roughly the same point the same month, oddly enough, as Kamala Khan's first appearance in an issue of Captain Marvel.
    http://www.andrewrilstone.com/2013/08/hello-i-must-be-going-2.html

    Lovely essay, Phil.

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  59. John Seavey
    April 22, 2015 @ 7:34 am

    I'll be honest, buzzardist: When I hear someone say, "Well, I haven't read any of the science-fiction involved, but it seems like it won awards because it was by a woman", I run do not walk the other way. The reason people don't talk about whether something was good after it won an award is usually because that talk was done before it won the award; at this point, that conversation is over and people start talking about trends for the industry. Jumping to the conclusion that the fiction must be mediocre and awarded as affirmative action is usually kind of a blind spot–I mean, in previous years, did you wonder if white guys were only awarded a Hugo because they were white and male?

    I also think that way too much attention has been paid to 'Dinosaur', which was nominated in one category one year and didn't win. When you look at the overall winners in all the categories for the past five years, you see plenty of "recognizable" sci-fi stories, from novels like 'Redshirts' to movies like 'Gravity' and 'Inception' to graphic novels like 'Girl Genius'. That's kind of the problem with the underlying rationale behind the Puppies' campaign–it simply isn't there when you look at the awards for the past five years.

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  60. lydy
    April 22, 2015 @ 7:37 am

    There's a toaster? Why was I not informed? I need that toaster!

    Reply

  61. Zach
    April 22, 2015 @ 7:41 am

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised that someone with a PhD in English is unable to read. I am, of course, not surprised that a PhD in English can produce so much text with so little truth.

    You have misunderstood Torgersen. His point is not that SF/F must contain barbarians and spaceships. His point is that it ought not be a lame after-school special. This point is not hard to grasp.

    You have libeled Theodore Beale. I have no wish or need to defend him, but I merely point out that his preferred political system is direct democracy, including women's suffrage.

    You have libeled John C. Wright in calling him a racist when no evidence exists. Your evidence is "well, once he used the word "subhuman", so he's a racist."

    In fact, most of your article is this: "This author I don't like probably thinks this way, so he's this sort of bad person."

    Incredible stupidity expressed over a long blog post is still stupidity. It's fortunate that after leaving this comment your relevance to my life will cease.

    I will go on reading books based on the quality of their content and not the skin color of the author or characters, or their particular sexual proclivities.

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  62. John
    April 22, 2015 @ 7:48 am

    Beyond the question of whether Beale is a libertarian or not, I am deeply unconvinced that "libertarians are as anti-fascist as one can get." Certainly there's a certain paranoid flavor of American libertarianism that has a great deal in common with fascism.

    Reply

  63. Anna Feruglio Dal Dan
    April 22, 2015 @ 7:49 am

    You know, some of his acolyte are or were, God help us, serving in the military. Including the guy who vigorously defends the practical and moral use of torture (no, I am not surprise. But sad, yes). No matter how awful their output, it's probably best if they continue to write instead of serve.

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  64. Anna Feruglio Dal Dan
    April 22, 2015 @ 7:57 am

    Libertarians are pretty close to fascists as makes no difference, take it from somebody whose parents generation tasted the ACTUAL fascist regime. Contempt for organised labour: check. Contempt for the common man: check. Idealisation of muscular virility: check. Worship of technology understood as foundation of capitalist enterprise: check. Contempt for provisions of social welfare, substituted by, if anything, individual charity: check. Hell, even the covers of Ayn Rand's books are bedecked in the kind of art deco aesthetic that is, in Italy, called "arte del ventennio". I know, the University I studied in was a particularly fine example.

    And yes, of course every fascist believe they are brave, individual, heroically singular anti-conformists. As they said in The Life Of Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't need to follow me. You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals!
    Crowd: [in unison] Yes! We're all individuals!
    Brian: You're all different!
    Crowd: [in unison] Yes, we are all different!

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  65. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 22, 2015 @ 8:05 am

    I can't decide whether to delete or frame this.

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  66. Theonlyspiral
    April 22, 2015 @ 8:16 am

    You clearly frame this. It's brilliant satire.

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  67. encyclops
    April 22, 2015 @ 8:17 am

    This is fucking great.

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  68. Kit
    April 22, 2015 @ 8:20 am

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  69. John Seavey
    April 22, 2015 @ 8:22 am

    You may need to keep it, it'll be evidence when you're sued for libel. I'm sure this guy is a lawyer–you can tell from his keen grasp of the legal issues involved. No doubt he'll be representing Beale, Torgesen and Wright in the trial, and with an air-tight case like this, how can they lose?

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  70. vanderleun
    April 22, 2015 @ 8:24 am

    Hey you two, get a room and siphon each other's discharge instead of guzzling it here in public. Thanks.

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  71. Doctor Science
    April 22, 2015 @ 8:28 am

    Obviously I don't know the details, so I'm just guessing. But going from "very few people have heard of me" to "everyone in the field has heard of me" is a huge marketing plus, one that most new e-publishers would kill for.

    A few days ago, Castalia announced a deal with Jerry Pournelle to reprint his "There Will Be War" anthologies. That's probably been in the works for a while, but it sure looks like the RP's success has given it a boost.

    The thing about capitalism is that it doesn't take a lot of money to dominate one's behavior. I agree, Day probably didn't start Castalia to make money — but once it does make any money, he'll keep doing what he's doing.

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  72. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 22, 2015 @ 8:33 am

    Certainly that's my general M.O. (Back my Patreon. Baaaaaack my Paaaaaatreoooooon.)

    Reply

  73. Greg Machlin
    April 22, 2015 @ 8:40 am

    buzzardist: 1) Aside from "If You Were a Dinosaur," which is seriously problematic for you guys to bring up at this point, because it's almost like Orwell's two minutes of hate w/ that story, what specific Hugo nominees in the past ten years do you think should have been declared ineligible? The Sad Puppies tie themselves in knots not getting into specifics (something Philip mentions in his essay), but it's the specifics that are so important here. I want a list, a full-on list of things nominated for Hugos that should not have been. This didn't come about because of an honest debate about the definition of sci-fi (and, implied, fantasy). It came about because two people thought they deserved to win Hugos and constructed a massive conspiracy to explain why they didn't win, as opposed to saying, "Hey, maybe I was just 'There Will Be Blood' to this year's 'No Country For Old Men' (best recent example of two very deserving nominees.)

    Again, specifics.

    2) "(Tor has been very good at running whisper campaigns and organizing blocs of votes, albeit at a much smaller scale than Vox has done)"–EVIDENCE? Seriously. Evidence. Citations. Somewhere. Anywhere. And what is a "whisper campaign"? I can't help but think that you guys knew gaming the Hugos was wrong, so you're after-the-fact trying to justify "well, -they- did it first!"

    Something Philip also mentions in his excellent essay.

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  74. Kit Power
    April 22, 2015 @ 8:43 am

    I'd vote for framing it. 🙂

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  75. Chris Andersen
    April 22, 2015 @ 8:57 am

    I'm not.

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  76. buzzardist
    April 22, 2015 @ 8:59 am

    John, that's nonsense. Don't pretend to quote me by putting words in quotes, assigning them to me, and then make up your own quote. I never said that I'd not read any of the works involved. I said that I hadn't read enough of them to feel like I could be a responsible voter.

    More importantly, I'm not referring to the particular quality of the works at all, as I plainly stated, but to the crowing of various and sundry parties on Twitter, blogs, and elsewhere after last year's Hugos and after the Nebulas. When the people who supported those winners were proudly saying that they supported them because they were female authors, it creates a very strong impression that…well…they supported them because they are women, not entirely because of what they wrote.

    You're right that plenty of recognizable sci fi has been on the ballots. I've not read "Girl Genius," but the others you mention all bored me. Films and TV probably deserve separate discussion because, well, nothing that isn't that big and mainstream ever seems to show up on the Hugo nominations in those categories anyway, which means virtually everything fits conventional expectations. The categories for writing shape up quite differently. Even a novel like "Redshirts" has been part of the complaint–there's nothing much original or exciting about a highly derivative work. It's not excellent writing. It's just Scalzi marshalling people through his blog and Twitter to support him, plus Tor throwing its weight behind the effort. The evidence is quite plain if one looks at voting patterns that Tor has used a voting bloc effectively to nominate works and propel them to wins.

    No, no single entity has completely controlled the nomination list in the past, and nobody is claiming that. But plenty of respectable people admit that a lot of whisper campaigning and small-time bloc voting went on. Nobody has suggested that one group was keeping out all the classic sci fi. Instead, it's been several small cliques who each have enough support to put one person on the ballot who've been dominating for the past decade, making it very hard for anyone else to break into the nomination spotlight unless they organize their own, bigger clique. Which is what Torgerson and Correia did. And then the old cliques threw a fit last year that even just one or two people per category not of their choosing landed on the ballot. Last year's backlash against the Puppies, more than anything, seems to be what's motivating this year's drama.

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  77. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 22, 2015 @ 9:00 am

    Buzzardist, would you be so kind as to take a 24 hour break from the comments section here? Thanks very much.

    Reply

  78. Scurra
    April 22, 2015 @ 9:01 am

    The Puppies, instead, want to shift the awards to recognize two or three specific sub-genres of sci fi.
    And that's just fine – can't they set up some awards themselves? And, unlike with the Hugos, they would have the luxury of defining exactly what it is that they would like to see nominated and/or winning – right up to the point when they discover how impossible it is to police even their own definition. (Which harks back to my own point about how this is a classic definitional argument, as everything always is.)
    The biggest strength and the biggest weakness of the Hugos is precisely that lack of definition. Which is why we are where we are.

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  79. yamamanama
    April 22, 2015 @ 9:29 am

    Of course, we are talking about Vox Day here, who once accused me of libel because I quoted him.

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  80. David Gerard
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:09 am

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  81. timber-munki
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:12 am

    Obviously that's because he's in the pay of Big Cutlery (Or swords, shovels & pitchforks to their friends). I thought everyone knew about that.

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  82. Cantus
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:14 am

    You have not addressed any of what Zach has said. Don't you think that's an important thing to do?

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  83. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:20 am

    Not really?

    Reply

  84. Todd Austin Hunt
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:24 am

    Tremendous essay. And wow: "You are the emperor of a tiny patch of shit . . ."

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  85. Nyq Only
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:27 am

    "Sorry to everyone for the degree to which the comments section degenerated while I was asleep last night. I've tidied it back up to our usual standard, and will be actively moderating today."

    Well everybody came to the freaky comment party, so that was kind of fun.

    At risk of laying out more troll kibble, things I meant to say but the comments were moving to quick and I was working:
    1. On VD being a 'libertarian'. I think that notion works more as an attack on libertarianism than a defence of VD.
    2. On libertarianism being somehow the opposite of facsism. Nah, ideology doesn't work that way. Fascism is a whole bunch of interrelated stuff. The rightwing analysis that marks fascism as utterly different or even leftwing rest purely on trying to classify all ideology on one factor: the relationship between central government and the economy whilst ignoring all the other things that an ideology may (or may not) encompass. If anybody is really having any trouble seeing how most ideologies are just a few steps away from each other just consider border line cases like General Pinochet's regime – not strictly fascist but very fascist like and yet a posterboy for monetarism and government disengagement from the economy.
    3. On Sad Puppies somehow being a movement that promotes diversity. Sorry but no. Even if a given Sad Puppy things that is what they are doing, a strategy that would shift the Hugos from individual voting (with various kinds of self promotion and lobbying) to a battle between competing slates would make it HARDER for new voices without patronage to get nominated. To get nominated you'd need to get picked by one of the more powerful slates and that would mean that a very small number of slef appointed gatekeepers would control the Hugos. Block voting for slates would make the problems the nicer Sad Puppies claim to be fighting worse.
    4. On that. Puppies of all stripes need to see that there are two distinct issues: Block voting for slates is an appalling idea for the Hugos REGARDLESS of your politics (at least for most mainstream politics – Lenin might approve). The fact that block voting in this case is being exploited by a socially reactionary agenda is also appalling. People are pssed off a both things and both things make 'no award' a good plan but the first more than the second IMHO (i.e. there are lost of ways of protesting neo-fascism but if the SP's don't want the Hugos to become dominated by SJW slates they should be actively campagining for No Award this year. Jeez do you think leftists of all people don't know how to organise a caucus?)
    5. But the SP slate was really diverse this year. Huh? The diversity of previous years Hugo winners is being cited by SP leaders as almost axiomatic proof of affirmative action. Previous SP slates were less diverse – if we apply Puppy logic that means the more diverse SP slate this year is proof of a social-justice-warrior conspiracy. If the SP case was a sci-fi novel then it would be so riddled with plot holes that the plot-holes themselves would start coalescing to form a mega-plothole which would suck in all logic.
    6. On that – conservatives complaining that elites get to control stuff and more lowly people find it hard to make headway against entrenched privilege? Um. You do get that you are supposed to be conservatives right?

    Thanks again Phil for a brilliant post.

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  86. Nyq Only
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:32 am

    Apologies for the numerous typos. As I am incapable of error, the typos must have been put there by John Scalzi and a social-justice clique. It is the only explanation!

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  87. Nyq Only
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:39 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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  88. Anna Feruglio Dal Dan
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:40 am

    I have gotten to the point where my outrage has gone over some threshold and has turned into entertainment. The convolute, tortured, pompous, self-important prose with which these writers who have self-appointed themselves Hugo-worthy express themselves and curious concepts like Ancillary Justice not being MilSf, or not REALLY MilSF, or not REALLY being liked by a lot of people, or arguing in al seriousness about the relative proportion of a fraction of the DNA that would differentiate two fraternal twins as if it was key, or wanting to punch Terry Pratchett for being, as far as I can make out, too much of a decent human being – well, at this point, it is starting to be funny. I know – I feel guilty. It's not funny! No! Not at all! (Keeps resolutely straight face. Indeed. Totally. Not even a small chortle)

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  89. just passing through
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:43 am

    Hi Phillip. I'm new here. I want to hug you for that perfect, pretentiousness-puncturing response to Mr. Wright. (And for this line, which I am still laughing over: "It is a process during which one is afforded many opportunities to stop and say 'wait a moment, I seem to be allying with Josef Stalin, maybe I should reconsider my life choices.'")

    Now, relatedly, and since its possible Mr. Wright is still hanging around, I just need to get something off my chest.

    I'd never heard of you before this affair, but when you showed up on a news blog I do frequent (because you seem to be desperately ego-Googling yourself and commenting on every possible post that mentions you), my first thought was, "What a verbose blowhard. This guy writes for a living?"

    Someone on a thread noted that you had written a post that was allegedly about a writer I do know and revere, Terry Pratchett. Curious, I visited the page for "The Watchtowers of Atlantis Tremble."

    So here I am, reading a post with a premise I find morally repugnant — that people should be forced to die in agony because of religious beliefs that are not their own — supposedly about one of my favorite authors, who recently passed away. Total outrage fuel. I should have been on a hate-reading high. And instead I found my eyes glazing over. I was bored. So. Very. Bored.

    John C. Wright, you write like a teen at a Renaissance festival. You are overwrought, overly dramatic, and above all dull.

    I mean, holy God, man: "Hippocrates would not dare have offended the gods by betraying what he had sworn. He would not work harm who had vowed by gods of sea and underworld and sky firstly to do no harm, and poured red wine into the winedark seas to solemnize the oath …"

    My eyes may never roll back into their proper position. If this is how purple your nonfiction prose is, I am awed at the idea of your fiction.

    TL;DR: I do not think the reason you've never won a Hugo is precisely what you think it is.

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  90. Josh04
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:45 am

    :O

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  91. Anna Feruglio Dal Dan
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:46 am

    "4. On that. Puppies of all stripes need to see that there are two distinct issues: Block voting for slates is an appalling idea for the Hugos REGARDLESS of your politics (at least for most mainstream politics – Lenin might approve). The fact that block voting in this case is being exploited by a socially reactionary agenda is also appalling. People are pssed off a both things and both things make 'no award' a good plan but the first more than the second IMHO"

    Absolutely this. It's the point I am trying to make when people tell me "But XY is really leftist and good and supportive of LBGT issues/people!"

    To which I say, good for them, but the problem with block voting is not if the slate puts good or bad people on the ballot, it's that it stops anybody else getting on. Even the best nominee is a nominee that somebody else chose above and instead of the cat herd of fans.

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  92. Nyq Only
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:57 am

    Exactly – also when critics of 'no award' (beyond puppies) call it the 'nuclear option'. Seriously? I don't know how many people here have ever been fully active in leftwing political parties (e.g, the British Labour Party) but if you have then you know the capacity of a bunch of motivated true leftists to run slates, caucuses and block voting for tiny gain is beyond compare.
    The nuclear option is the left actually running slates, block votes, factions on the Hugos. Part of the reaction against SP is people on the left NOT wanting to unleash our scary powers of scary factionalism on a set of nice books we like to read in our down time from failing to take-over the world (again).
    There are factional wars between left and right which the left are doomed to lose: wars involving who can spend the most money for example; wars with actual guns being another example. Culture wars? Voting faction wars? This is stuff I was trained on at pre-school.

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  93. just passing through
    April 22, 2015 @ 11:05 am

    Hi Mr. Torgersen,

    I'm going to provide my two cents as someone who's not part of the fan community, nor particularly interested in the Hugos. The extent of my involvement is that I read science fiction, among other things, and when I'd see that one of my few beloved authors had won a prize, I'd feel good for them.

    So allow me, for the moment, to give you an outsider's perspective.

    What it looks like to me is that in a a field where thousands of writers would love to achieve some level of success, let alone live off their work, you and your comrades are supremely unhappy that no one gives you any cookies.

    And in response, you have basically licked all the cookies and overturned the table at the bake sale and now you're hurt — deeply, truly hurt — that people are upset and no one wants to have a reasoned dialogue with you.

    Why are all these people being so mean to you and your friends just because you did your level best to wreck something they cared about? Why can't they see that it's all about how you didn't get your cookies? How unfair that was, your lack of cookie-age? Can't they see you just wanted the cookies distributed fairly? You had to destroy this bake-sale to save it! (And God, you're getting dragged off to the gulag because people won't give you your cookies? Really?)

    Outsider's perspective: You and yours are almost unbelievably petulant, whiny and entitled. If you want cookies so badly, go make your own, and give them to each other.

    I have yet to hear a single decent argument of why you shouldn't have come up with your own award. I could see your outburst if the Hugos actually affected sales, but apparently they do not. And at that point, I throw up my hands and shake my head and just write you all off as children yelling "gimmee."

    Reply

  94. Thrutch Grenadine
    April 22, 2015 @ 11:11 am

    Just a note FSTDT has frequently highlighted the nauseous aesthetic of T Beale.
    Fundies Say The Darndest Things.

    Reply

  95. benny whitehead
    April 22, 2015 @ 11:19 am

    So, just to recap, some tory wingnuts have decided to fuck up the voting in the premier science fiction awards, thereby rendering them with the credibility level henceforth of the Eurovision Song Contest. Well done nutnecks. This Pete Beale lad seems like a particularly unsavoury and bonkers lad.

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  96. AKH
    April 22, 2015 @ 11:39 am

    If you were the Voice of God, Dear Sir, I would probably not hear you. Not because you aren't loud enough, for that you surely are, but because I don't prescribe to gods. I doubt them, and their frantic followers, because I cannot see the sense in them. And perhaps that is my own error, as I expect you would tell me. If I could hear you.

    And if I could hear you, I would categorize you as a Small God, in the style of Sainted Terry. For although I do not prescribe to gods, I can understand and use their language. For surely you do have believers, waiting upon your call, their brown shirts so patiently pressed and ready. They are so happy to be included. They keep their invitations lovingly pressed, between the pages of a book, seldom read but heavy enough for the purpose. Their belief creates you, and fills you with a purpose.

    And if you were filled with purpose, I expect you would come for me. Perhaps not first, for my credentials put me far down the list of Errors, but I expect you would come for me in time. I expect you would wrap me in a burka of modest pumps and midday pearls with supper ready on the table at six o'clock sharp. I expect that you would judge my by my worthiness, both mother and fuck, and assign me to my precise place.

    And if I were assigned my place in your world, I'm afraid I would probably laugh. I would not laugh to make you smaller, or myself larger, but because like gods it makes no sense. And because that place is far too small for me, like Cinderella's silly shoe. My feet, like my mother's and sisters' and daughter's, are unbound as our thoughts. We don't do it to make you smaller. We don't do it for you at all.

    And if I did nothing for you at all, and you did nothing for me, I would hope we could still both laugh and neither be made small. I would show you how to be bigger from the inside, like a man and not a small, silly god. I would bind up those bleeding wounds you so fiercely pretend aren't there, for I am a mother by my own choice and it is what we do. I would hope, but sadly not expect the most from you.

    And if I expected the most from you, Dear Sir?

    (With thanks and/or apologies to Rachel Swirsky and Laura Numeroff)

    Reply

  97. timber-munki
    April 22, 2015 @ 11:45 am

    Having read some of his quotes there, as a none theist I have to say Jesus Wept. It's like a slow-motion car crash that I can't help but look at, and the fact that the page count goes to 10! On the plus side I found out that Magic:The Gathering appears to be adding a trans character, which is nice (I can't stand the game but if it's something that annoys the charmless Mr Beale It's one of lifes little victories).

    Even avoiding the details of his joyless repulsive views he really doesn't get that brevity is the soul of wit.

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  98. Steven Clubb
    April 22, 2015 @ 12:09 pm

    Nyq Only: "I don't know how many people here have ever been fully active in leftwing political parties (e.g, the British Labour Party) but if you have then you know the capacity of a bunch of motivated true leftists to run slates, caucuses and block voting for tiny gain is beyond compare."

    One of the things I got from Heinlein is a respect for people who are sneaky and win… and if I thought the Puppies had the numbers to take control of the Hugos, I'd have a grudging respect for them.

    But I just don't see it happening, because, yes, all it takes is about 200 votes to sweep the Hugos (and they couldn't keep Doctor Who off the list), so unless they pick up a whole bunch of Culture Warriors in the fallout (reportedly 1,500 new members), then the most likely result is they will effectively shut themselves out for the foreseeable future as the Left rallies their superior numbers… really, all it would take is to mimic the SP3 and have a straw poll leading up to a slate ballot.

    The defense I hear from the Puppies is that the reaction last year justified their behavior this year… as if the Hugos don't have a history of punishing people who too actively campaign for a Hugo.

    The Left can "follow the rules" just as easily as the Right.

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  99. John Seavey
    April 22, 2015 @ 12:26 pm

    buzzardist said: "Don't pretend to quote me by putting words in quotes, assigning them to me, and then make up your own quote. I never said that I'd not read any of the works involved. I said that I hadn't read enough of them to feel like I could be a responsible voter."

    But you have no problem complaining that the people who had read enough of them to be a responsible voter didn't do their job because you heard that too many of them were women. That's slicing the sausage a little fine for my tastes, but you're the one who has to defend it…

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  100. Kelly Sedinger
    April 22, 2015 @ 12:44 pm

    I don't know that John C. Wright is a racist. I do know that he is a lunatic homophobe who has predicted that within 50 years, homosexuality will again be classified as a mental illness. Homophobia and racism are often found together in the same mind, but I'm not delving into the cesspool that is Mr. Wright's mind to find out.

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  101. bblackmoor
    April 22, 2015 @ 1:39 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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  102. yamamanama
    April 22, 2015 @ 2:15 pm

    I don't know if John himself is a racist but the fact that he associates with Vox Day says a lot.

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  103. Kelly Sedinger
    April 22, 2015 @ 3:07 pm

    Well, his visceral hatred of All Things Muslim may well contain racist-like substance, so there's that.

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  104. Lyle Hopwood
    April 22, 2015 @ 4:06 pm

    Great article. Really tied it all together. And I will check out Janelle Monae as well…

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  105. kateorman
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:02 pm

    Ta Adam! I hope to get some more books published soon rather than later, though obviously now I'll have to abandon my plan to use the pen name "Hugo Nebula".

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  106. unnoun
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:18 pm

    I would find the concept of not being equally Homo sapiens sapiens with Mr. Beale somewhat comforting if I didn't know and wasn't unfortunately familiar with the sickening sense in which he meant it.

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  107. unnoun
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:22 pm

    And I kinda always get pissed off by bigoted asshats that dare to use the term "science" to justify their warped ideology.

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  108. Michael5MacKay
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:31 pm

    I need a brillo pad

    Reply

  109. kadymae
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:35 pm

    This essay is glorious in every way, and it's one of my new happy places because it lives in so much hope.

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  110. Roy Batty
    April 22, 2015 @ 6:16 pm

    I loved the article and have saved the link to send to confused friends. And I completely agree with you on Ms. Marvel and what makes it work but I have an honest question as a MASSIVE Spider-Man fan,

    What Spider-Man stories are you reading set primarily in Brooklyn? Or even one where he lives near Brooklyn. Chelsea is the closest he came!

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  111. Kallmunz
    April 22, 2015 @ 7:49 pm

    That's right, delete comments that question you or link to the response because you don't want to give a platform to "fascists." But you'll notice that Day has problem giving you a platform, in fact he encourages it. Unlike you he doesn't have to run and hide from defending his opinions. But after reading your silly nonsense, I don't blame you for being so afraid.

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  112. mister slim
    April 22, 2015 @ 9:17 pm

    It is amusing to remember RAH wrote a novella about a bunch of wannabe theocrats taking over the government. Notably, they were the villains.

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  113. Daru
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:19 pm

    Yeah, for sure. Your thought makes me fascinated about what the shape of a 'fascist creation myth' would be.

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  114. Daru
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:23 pm

    No problem arcbeatle, always enjoy your comments. Good idea on keeping the names private, I really understand in the current climate. As you say we need some positivity to move forwards with.

    I have meant to buy and read your Doctor Who poetry book (occasional money issues), but it is on my priority list to buy.

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  115. Daru
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:24 pm

    I need a decompression chamber.

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  116. Daru
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:31 pm

    I'm backing and I'd say it's definitely worth it!

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  117. Daru
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:39 pm

    Great to hear you here Kate and I echo Adam and I too really enjoy your work and certainly would devour more. I'll look up the article you suggest, sounds interesting.

    I really love the idea of nominating this essay for the Hugo's next year and yes, I'd go for Recursive Occlusion too.

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  118. Daru
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:42 pm

    Brilliant!

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  119. Daru
    April 22, 2015 @ 10:50 pm

    "a strategy that would shift the Hugos from individual voting (with various kinds of self promotion and lobbying) to a battle between competing slates would make it HARDER for new voices without patronage to get nominated."

    Absolutely, good thoughts. What's needed is room for more diversity, not just in themes and approaches, but for there to be space for the smaller voices and works to be noticed. I wonder how many fascinating works got utterly sidelined this year due to the two slates? Thanks Nyq.

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  120. Scurra
    April 23, 2015 @ 2:01 am

    Hmmm. Having read a few pages of that, I'm now increasingly convinced that "Theodore Beale" must be a constructed character solely designed to undermine those who post in support of "him" when the truth is finally revealed. That's the only possible explanation, surely?

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  121. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 23, 2015 @ 2:59 am

    No, no. You misunderstand. It's not a matter of fear – look at the comments from people like John C Wright and Zach that I've let stand, and at the full-throated mockery they've received. There's nothing to fear there – this is an incredibly unpleasant comment section to be a fascist in, frankly, even without my moderation.

    I delete most of those comments because, frankly, this is a business. A point I suspect Beale understands. Except that instead of my brand being based on attracting the support of Internet Tough Guys via vicious trolling of women and minorities, it's based (in part) on the fact that I have a thoughtful and civil comments section that defies the usual advice not to read the comments.

    And frankly, people like you endanger that, so I delete most of your comments.

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  122. aimai
    April 23, 2015 @ 5:26 am

    Too funny to bump into you,Brad, in this tiny world we call the internet–and with reference to LMB one of my favorite writers of all time. Good point. But w/r/t Torgerson et al Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens.

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  123. aimai
    April 23, 2015 @ 5:36 am

    It absolutely is important to keep names private. I read a very thought provoking essay on this subject yesterday by a private citizen and her comment thread was swarmed with hostile Beale supporters who simultaneously told her they were gentlemen,civil, humane, etc…and almost striaght up pledged that Beale and his "ilk" would destroy her all all SJW's like her. If it weren't for the absurdity of their self regard it would have been scary. Because they clearly have nothing better to do with their time than, like Gamergaters and 4channers, dox, stalk, and harrass.

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  124. aimai
    April 23, 2015 @ 5:44 am

    This whole "rent free in your head thing" has a long tradition in pop psych/ann lander's style advice writing. While it has a kind of validity in some interpersonal relationship issues–that is: you may want to rethink the amount of time you give to stewing over someone else or someone's behavior it has absolutely no relevance to a political or literary critique of someone who is active in your world. Its like telling the biographer of a famous person, while they are writing their book, that they are "wasting their time" or "overthinking" their subject. And its quite dissmissive, as well, of the reality of this essay: Vox Day is a political actor and what he is doing has real world implications. Writing about it, discussing it, inveighing against it aren't some kind of pointless, morbid, form of obsession they are also political acts. To me the comment

    Vox livin rent free in ur head dude.

    Reminds me of how women are routinely told to ignore men who catcall or bully them–it turns a valid response (anger, critique, lawsuit) into some kind of rhetorical triumph for the bully. Its true that Vox enjoys being talked about and hated. To him its the goal of his actions, the only form of pleasure he can get. But that doesn't mean that we don't have to counter what he's doing with speech about it, and action too.

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  125. aimai
    April 23, 2015 @ 6:11 am

    I really salute you, Mr. Sandifer, for the clear line you've drawn with VD and Wright and their supporters. They want the privilige of entering into the discussion because they see it as a negotiation that they can win. First they start the rhetorical war, they think, then they force people to talk to them about their ideas, then they defend their ideas on the now cleared platform, and then they create space for new followers to be attracted to those ideas or at any derail the discussion. In addition, you can engage in your favorite passtime (at least its one of Vox Day's, can't say for Wright) of attacking, humiliating, insulting women, non whites, etc…

    So applause for your refusal to let them enter your comment thread on anything but your terms. Like Jon Stewart refusing to "be funny" on Crossfire you are refusing to be their monkey and dealing with their crappy arguments as they should be dealt with: summarily.

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  126. Unknown
    April 23, 2015 @ 6:13 am

    Considering that double-entry accounting is 700 years old how are Europeans intelligent for not making it mandatory in the schools for the last 50 years? Wouldn't people who knew accounting notice the depreciation of durable consumer goods.

    But now we have Global Warming due to lots of unnecessary manufacturing and economists given Nobel Prizes by Europeans can't tell us the depreciation of automobiles for every year since the Moon landing.

    Literary SF has mostly gotten dumb since the 70s but attracts more readers because movie and TV SF have gotten better visuals. See House of Quark in Deep Space 9 for SF Accounting. LOL

    Reply

  127. Kevin Lorneki
    April 23, 2015 @ 7:57 am

    "Hi. SP nominee here."

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences in advance for your upcoming loss to Noah Ward.

    I'll not waste my time with the rest of your reply – the comment about people being "harass[ed] off the ballot" makes it clear that you're not arguing in good faith.

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  128. Nyq Only
    April 23, 2015 @ 10:15 am

    The comment party is still running I see 🙂

    Some more general thoughts while I'm here.

    1. To see what is unethical about the S/R Puppy action it is worth considering what a Social-Justice peace-offer would entail :). Let us imagine for a moment that the supposed cliques of leftists see the fearsome might of the puppies and decided to give in and offer terms. What is it that people on the left could do that would appease the Puppies?
    A core complaint is the existence of leftist cliques manipulating things – but no direct evidence is given of the manipulation only the supposed consequences. John Scalzi couldn't say 'I'lll stop running a secret clique' because firstly he says he isn't running one and secondly the Puppies would have no way of telling that he had actually stopped. The nebulousness of the covert logrolling claim makes it impossible to demonstrate that it has stopped.
    So the only thing that could appease the puppies is if the stuff they don't like doesn't get nominated or win. It is the net results that they object to and which they regard as evidence of the covert crimes against them. So how could a leftist appease them? Only by either not voting at all or not voting for stuff that we think the Puppies won't like.
    Consider that option for a moment.
    Intentionally or not the only way even the Sad Puppies can achieve their goals and FEEL like they have achieved their goals is if people on the left silence their own views and their own opinions and essentially withdraw from sci-fi fandom. If I'm wrong then I'm happy for a puppy to explain what less extreme result would satisfy them.
    Given that – it becomes clear that whatever the puppies intentions might be, and regardless of what a given puppies own politics might be, the puppy campaign is one of extreme political and cultural censorship.
    It is also clear that there isn't much in the way of a deescalation option for those of us on the left. There isn't an option that allows us to take on board puppy concerns and maybe shake hands and have a big sci-fi fandom hug and move on.

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  129. encyclops
    April 23, 2015 @ 10:20 am

    …I'm not ENTIRELY sure how I feel about parts 1 and 3-5, in which I think he made some fascinating arguments but drew different conclusions from them (contradicting himself at least once along the way), but they were all at least highly entertaining.

    For example (not that anyone asked my opinion), he eventually concludes not that we ought to be fine reimagining Spider-Man as an ostracized kid of color, but that we ought to go ahead and invent new superheroes of color and make that fundamental to their identities. To which I say, why not do both?

    The value of reimagining existing superheroes as different genders or ethnicities is that there's an established brand name propelling them. You get to recontextualize things you know alongside new takes on the character. I think that's powerful and worthwhile. I think making Thor a woman is slightly odd (especially given that there are really cool Norse goddesses I'd like to see in action — but there's that brand name issue again), but not unwelcome, and there are few other superheroes I can think of who wouldn't easily withstand substitution and retelling. For all that we fetishize their origin stories, almost none of them fail to become even more interesting if we change some part of their identity and then explore the consequences of that.

    tl;dr I probably won't bother seeing another Spider-Man movie until it's about Miles Morales. Until then, how can any of them possibly surprise anyone?

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  130. Nyq Only
    April 23, 2015 @ 10:41 am

    1. There isn't a an armistice option for the left in the light of the puppy campaign (sad or rabid) [see above]. But what about everyone else? Fandom reflects society – as well as people overtly on the left there are people more of the centre, there are people who (rightly or wrongly) see themselves as apolitical. Also there are people who may subscribe to leftwing or socially progressive views but who demarcate those views from their other interests (i.e. they see sci-fi as being an apolitical domain) or regard it as a minor priority.
      Can these people living in the neutral zone seek peace with the puppy Klingons? [I guess the left are Romulans in that analogy – suggestions welcome. A Vulcan/Romulan alliance? I think the puppies think of us as Romulan – puritanical, oppresive, bad haircuts, cloaking devices, secret plots. Or Borg? Or is would a Cybermen v Dalek metaphor be better?]

      What should a neutral person vote for that will make the puppies deescalate?
      Should a neutral NOT vote/nominate women or 'minorities'? The puppies will deny this and be outraged! Our slate is diverse! – they will say!
      Should they not vote for stuff that has social themes in it? What if the book is really good? No, no, the puppies say that people should vote for what entertains people and we should IGNORE the politics/issues. But if we ignore the gender issues of, say, Ancillary Justice then what is left to object to? A book with spaceships on the cover and spaceships inside. A classic space empire. Space zombies. Guns. Fights. Spaceship fights. A revenge plot. The hero (a former badass spaceship AI in a zombie body) fighting an evil empire. The politics of Ancillary Justice not only could fit neatly with a Tea Party narrative (highly centralized government is bad! Find a gun and stop it!) but you could almost turn it into a puppy allegory (the Radch emperor is the evil Scalzi like social justice king) [OK none of this works for the sequel but still…]
      Joking aside a neutral simply wouldn't know what to do if they wanted to appease the puppies. There is no right way to act – anything could be cited as evidence that the secret SJW clique was still operating.
      Intentionally or not this is a classic symptom of bullying behavior – the victim of bullies is often left in this kind of destabilized state with no way of knowing what will set the bully off. The only least option to try and hide and avoid attention.

      Not only can the left not surrender (i.e. there isn't even a surrender option to consider hypothetically) the neutrals/center can't surrender either – the only option open that could reasonably meet the puppies aims is to let them run everything. Of course that wouldn't satisfy them as they would win a barren wasteland of dead fandom and an award that no one would take seriously anymore.

      As per last post – all typos, poor grammar and spelling have been added by a secreeet clique out to discredit me.

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  131. Nyq Only
    April 23, 2015 @ 10:48 am

    I agree (unsurprisingly). Ay debate on rule changes should not be about appeasing or neutralizing puppies but rather on improving the Hugos all round both in terms of diversity and size of participation.

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  132. Nick Posecznick
    April 23, 2015 @ 11:51 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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  133. Nick Posecznick
    April 23, 2015 @ 11:51 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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  134. Daru
    April 23, 2015 @ 1:23 pm

    Nyq Only: "Ay debate on rule changes should not be about appeasing or neutralizing puppies but rather on improving the Hugos all round both in terms of diversity and size of participation."

    Absolutely agree, it would be wonderful to have so much more participation possible.

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  135. Daru
    April 23, 2015 @ 1:58 pm

    This is pure gold.

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  136. Brandon Pilcher
    April 23, 2015 @ 2:00 pm

    Honestly, the root sentiment of this Sad Puppies thing sounds like a political mirror of the #OscarsSoWhite kerfuffle. Thankfully no one in that earlier crowd resorted to comparable underhanded tactics to disrupt the Oscars (as far as I know), but in both cases you have people upset that an "official" artistic evaluation agency isn't endorsing their pet social agenda. I guess it goes to show that awards ceremonies can't please everyone and that their effective prestige is widely exaggerated.

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  137. Daru
    April 23, 2015 @ 2:00 pm

    Just read it, or listened to it in my head (and the song will never be the same again) and what a great piece of work!

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  138. Daru
    April 23, 2015 @ 2:07 pm

    "I have a thoughtful and civil comments section that defies the usual advice not to read the comments."

    Hi Phil – Well done! I personally feel very grateful and lucky being a part of this moment and this time when a stand is being made and to be a part of this commenting community. I feel truly grateful for the stand you have taken and feel doubly inspired by the whole essay and discussion taking place here.

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  139. Daru
    April 23, 2015 @ 2:09 pm

    "What is it that people on the left could do that would appease the Puppies? "

    I don't think we can appease, it does not appear to be what they want.

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  140. Daru
    April 23, 2015 @ 2:15 pm

    "Not only can the left not surrender (i.e. there isn't even a surrender option to consider hypothetically) the neutrals/center can't surrender either – the only option open that could reasonably meet the puppies aims is to let them run everything. Of course that wouldn't satisfy them as they would win a barren wasteland of dead fandom and an award that no one would take seriously anymore."

    Some how I think though, that they would possibly be deeply happy running though an apocalyptic wasteland killing off the zombie remains of dead fandom robots with souped up tech-weapons…

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  141. Mercedes
    April 23, 2015 @ 3:00 pm

    Well done. standing ovation. Worth every word.

    I find it heavily ironic that the Sad and Rabid Puppies chose "Puppies" as their moniker. Puppies are not housebroken and not useful members of society. They piss and shit on everything, and destroy anything they get hold of. They are shocked and amazed when others take exception to this behavior, and some of them are so damn dumb they piss and shit in their own beds.

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  142. buzzardist
    April 23, 2015 @ 5:10 pm

    There you go again, John, trying to assign to me a point of view that I never expressed. I never complained that other people hadn't read enough to be responsible voters or that they didn't do their job. Stop fabricating falsehoods.

    My personal feeling is that I don't want to participate in awards voting if I haven't read all the works on the ballot. For the Hugos, I can see a case for behaving otherwise–it's a fan vote, and if fans want to vote based on the one work they've read, without looking at others, that's their prerogative. A Nebula? Given the smaller voting pool and that the voters are professional authors, I'd hope that they'd read a bit more widely, but how they vote is still their own business. I simply stated the standard I hold myself to when I'm on an award jury.

    What I said in criticism is that people were crowing on social media and blogs about how they'd supported certain authors because they were women. Their statements often said nothing about the quality of the works, just that the authors were women. That's a problem.

    If you want to reject my points of view, fine. But inventing things I didn't say and trying to lampoon me for those isn't going to work.

    And, Philip, I'm not quite sure why you wanted me to take 24 hours off. Since I left my first couple comments here, both of which responded substantially either to your original post or to someone else's comment, I've been subject to insults and people substituting straw men for what I actually said. People who want to leap into invective rather than have level discussions are easy enough to deal with. I've remained civil throughout. But if you want to put the ban bin on me because others are heaping abuse, fine. Your blog, your rules. I'm done.

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  143. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 23, 2015 @ 5:26 pm

    You said "The posturing over the sweep of the Nebulas this past year by women is a good example because it seemed like a lot of people were cheering diversity for diversity's sake instead of actually talking about the quality of the literature. Maybe some of that stuff was good; maybe it wasn't. I haven't read enough of it to pass judgment. But some of the exultant reactions I saw on Twitter and elsewhere left me wondering if fiction-qua-fiction had been lost as a reason for giving prizes."

    I think that "you have no problem complaining that the people who had read enough of them to be a responsible voter didn't do their job because you heard that too many of them were women" is a reasonable, if snarky summary of that statement.

    So, yeah. Your "straw man" complaints aren't really cutting the mustard, and I think you're using rhetorical techniques that are generally associated with some specific methods of trolling that I'm well-acquainted with.

    Such as the faux outrage I'm sure is about to arrive in full.

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  144. Brad R. Torgersen
    April 23, 2015 @ 7:13 pm

    Passing through,

    Yes, that's exactly why I recused myself at the very beginning, and why Larry recused himself too; even though he technically made the final ballot. Because we desperately wanted a thing with no cash (nor much professional, at this point) value. We took ourselves out of the running. You . . . probably should have looked that up, before you spouted off.

    Don't let the door hit you in the brain on the way out.

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  145. Brad R. Torgersen
    April 23, 2015 @ 7:21 pm

    Sandifer,

    The more desperately you try to shove the "alliance" narrative up my nose, the more I pat your clumsy attempt aside, and scoff at it. If Vox did not exist, you would invent some other reason to hate Sad Puppies, and myself by extension. If Sad Puppies did not exist, you would still hate Vox. Because Vox would be doing what he is doing anyway, and he never asks permission, and he never gives a damn.

    So, what you fail to realize is, Larry and I are the nice guys.

    We'll actually still talk to you, even though you shit on us without asking questions first.

    Well, I will talk to you at least.

    You may not like Sad Puppies, and that's fine.

    You may not like it when someone points out the obvious, either; that politics and monkeying with the Hugo were both going on long, long before Sad Puppies existed. It's just that, for once, the "other" half of the political equation, stood up.

    And suddenly it's the catastrophe of the century.

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  146. Nyq Only
    April 23, 2015 @ 10:46 pm

    "Some how I think though, that they would possibly be deeply happy running though an apocalyptic wasteland"

    I'm getting more of a Mad Max vibe…maybe Tina Turner singing
    'We don't need another Hugo'

    🙂 no, no, don't all laugh at once.

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  147. Daru
    April 23, 2015 @ 10:52 pm

    Yes, yes, yes!

    Reply

  148. Nyq Only
    April 23, 2015 @ 11:19 pm

    I was reading you blog Mr. Torgersen and you say, in your defence:
    'I’ve said it before: there is the massive, astoundingly huge “circle” that is the totality of fandom…and there is the much, much smaller, more insular, and in many cases, out of touch world of Fandom…which proves its love for the field by having a spectacular meltdown when the “wrong” people speak up"

    Now I really don't get it.
    The Hugo process is a straight vote. If you are right about this massive bulwark of sympathetic fans then you never needed Sad Puppies – you just needed all these fans to nominate and vote for whatever they liked. There is nothing, nothing the "CHORFS" could do about it. If you have the numbers you'd win without a slate.

    Yet oddly that wasn't your strategy. Instead you ran a strategy that relied on a much smaller number of voters nominating a narrow set of titles in unison. Even then the strategy only 'succeeded' with a combination of votes from another slate.
    The best you could hope for from that approach was more slate voting – i.e. your plan seems to be to legitimize overt slate voting. Slate voting would make life EASIER for your 'CHORF's and at the same time make it harder for this supposed large fanbase to get involved.

    Sorry, but that simply doesn't add up.

    Reply

  149. Nyq Only
    April 23, 2015 @ 11:26 pm

    "And suddenly it's the catastrophe of the century."

    Well people on both sides keep calling a culture war. Lots of regulars here are lefty Whovians with a thing for WIlliam Blake – so seasoned culture warriors on the whole. However surely you see that any battle has a battle field and you seem to have nominated the Hugo awards as the battle field – do you see how the non-culture warriors whose farmland is that battle field may regard your choice of location as something of a catastrophe.

    Nobody wants to be Belgium.

    Reply

  150. Daru
    April 23, 2015 @ 11:44 pm

    In response to Brad, I'll let Blake speak:

    He who binds to himself a joy
    Does the winged life destroy;
    But he who kisses the joy as it flies
    Lives in eternity’s sun rise.

    Or as Monáe says – “all the birds and the bees dancing with the freaks in the trees.”

    Reply

  151. Daru
    April 23, 2015 @ 11:58 pm

    As the party is still going on, I had some more thoughts to share too.

    I was reading yesterday 'The Art of Doctor Who", a DWM special edition mag. In the article Astounding Stories (nice call back) by Alistair McGown on the early Dalekmania influenced books in the early 60's, I came across this brilliant little paragraph that tied brilliantly into the title of this essay:

    "Departing Skaro to wage war against humans throughout the galaxy, the Dalek's arsenal glittered in the deep blue of space. Resisting them were clean-cut, square-jawed heroes of the space age, dressed in multi-coloured jumpsuits toting ray guns and flying gleaming spaceships that looked as if they'd been constructed from cast iron on the docksides of Glasgow or Tyneside. It was a vision of the future that harked back to the arena of war, almost fetishising the engineering of conflict, while looking forward to a burgeoning space age of impossible technologies."

    I think the phrase "fetishising the engineering of conflict" strikes me as a brilliant link to your essay title Phil and describes for me nicely what the Puppies stories aim to do. It struck me also that the kind of stories being advocated by the slates, the kind of golden age sci-fi is backwards looking despite trying to wrap itself in shiny techno-armour and conning us with glamour. Really the bottom line seems to be 'war is fun'. I think at its heart sci-fi is speculative and explorative and we need not a narrowing down of ideas that 'hark back to the arenas of war', but a continuing expansion – leaning room as Janelle Monáe says for “all the birds and the bees dancing with the freaks in the trees.”

    Reply

  152. Nyq Only
    April 24, 2015 @ 12:04 am

    "n response to Brad, I'll let Blake speak:"

    If we love Sad Puppies we should let them free?
    Sweet.
    I still don't get why he feels this large fanbase needs to be told how to vote by Brad. Is it that 'elite' thing he keeps talking about?

    I still don't get that. I know why a Lennon-spec wearing Guardian reading Lancashire leftist like myself is against elites but I don't get why self declared conservatives are against elites? What has converted all these Sad Puppies to egalitarianism? Have they caught lefty-cooties from reading too many recent Hugo nominees?

    Reply

  153. Daru
    April 24, 2015 @ 12:05 am

    Phil: "So Beale believes himself (“a Native American with considerable Mexican heritage”) to be among those with the superior genetic sequences (which include his y chromosome along with his racial heritage) that allow him to be a representative of true civilization; that make him the perfect Vox Day. "

    On Beale's site at the end of his post announcing the Rabid Puppies I found the following stunning quote where he attempts to use his lineage to direct people on how to vote. I'll let the quote speak for itself:

    "I would, of course be remiss if I failed to point out that as one of the very few Native Americans active in science fiction and fantasy, it would be horrifically racist against the First Peoples in general and Native Americans in particular to fail to gift-wrap me awards in all categories for which I am eligible. Because diversity. Thank you."

    Wow, just wow.

    And on looking at the essay you linked to Phil entitled “Why Women’s Rights are Wrong,” where he denounces women’s suffrage on the Watchdog News Daily (WND) website, I found a fairly odd supporter of the site's recommendation:

    "My only problem with WND

    Though my achievements in martial arts and my 30-year career in movies and television provided me with the popularity and I suppose the prestige to initiate many of my humanitarian efforts, WorldNetDaily has provided me (as well as many other columnists) with an exclusive stage from which to speak to all types of national and international matters.

    My only problem with WND is that I didn’t find out about it sooner.
    Sincerely,
    Chuck Norris"

    Reply

  154. Nyq Only
    April 24, 2015 @ 12:12 am

    I think you maybe right there Daru. I think what I'd really like to see is the Alpha-Puppies to actually try and articulate what it is they really want to read. I'm astonished about how difficult they seem to be finding it to describe what it is they like in positive terms.
    I don't like militarism but I can imagine a book whose premise is an almost 19th century view of the glory of war COULD actually be an entertaining (if problematic) book) I think it could even be a great book if written by a talented writer.

    But a crappy book about how war is great will certainly be a crappy book.

    Reply

  155. Daru
    April 24, 2015 @ 12:20 am

    Yes, I just have not heard a positive description of what kind of book they would enjoy, as their responses seem only to have been couched in the negative so far, rather than from the position of what would be pleasure – thus the Blake quote above about 'binding joy'.

    The image I have in my head representing the Puppies slates so far is that of the invunche from Alan Moore's Swamp Thing – a distorted creature running towards, forwards to a future but with its head twisted backwards so that it can only see the past.

    Reply

  156. Daru
    April 24, 2015 @ 12:22 am

    And let science fiction fly.

    Reply

  157. Nyq Only
    April 24, 2015 @ 12:22 am

    "Wow, just wow."

    🙂 well there you go – Beale himself, by not winning sh*t without trying to stuff the ballot box, demonstrates the Hugo awards aren't based on positive discrimination.
    It ain't who you are it is what you write.
    I think that is what is eating them up inside.

    Reply

  158. Nyq Only
    April 24, 2015 @ 12:27 am

    That thing still gives me nightmares. I never found ST or Hellblazer actually – scary except that thing.

    Reply

  159. M. Bouffant
    April 24, 2015 @ 12:27 am

    Sounds to me as if Mr. Wright just wanted a "Trigger Warning".

    Reply

  160. Daru
    April 24, 2015 @ 12:33 am

    Yes me too, it's one of the scariest concepts in a comic book that I have seen. I was even still disturbed by it in the recent Constantine TV show.

    I will admit to being disturbed also by some of the reading I've been doing on the various puppy blogs, including their comments sections. Made me shiver.

    Reply

  161. Daru
    April 24, 2015 @ 12:36 am

    "It ain't who you are it is what you write.
    I think that is what is eating them up inside."

    For sure, I think so too.

    Reply

  162. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 24, 2015 @ 2:17 am

    On one level, Brad, you're right – I would have found other reasons to condemn your movement. Indeed, I found three substantial reasons, utterly unrelated to Beale, which I articulated at length.

    1) You want to be able to judge books by their covers.
    2) You want science fiction to regress to the 1980s at best.
    3) You have terrible taste.

    But on one level you couldn't be more wrong, for a very simple reason: if it weren't for Theodore Beale, you'd never have swept the nominations in the first place, and you know it.

    Reply

  163. Laurie Mann
    April 24, 2015 @ 4:14 am

    Generally, an excellent analysis. Much as avoiding some swearing/name-calling is a good idea, I don't blame you when when you couldn't help yourself.

    I don't believe the Hugos are ruined, merely vandalized.

    I think the truly funniest part of this year's bruhaha will be how the "Best of the Year" books won't include most Hugo-nominated stories since they weren't close to being "Best of the Year." And then what will the puppies do? Publish "Best of the Year" according to Castalia House?

    Reply

  164. David Ainsworth
    April 24, 2015 @ 4:54 am

    If the thing that gets you upset in an angry take-down of people claiming that racial inferiority is scientific fact and that women ought to be stripped of basic human rights on account of their gender is the definition of the word "fascism," you may be focused a little too narrowly.

    Reply

  165. David Ainsworth
    April 24, 2015 @ 5:25 am

    Other "pet social agendas" include: free speech, democracy, emancipation, the right to divorce, property rights, civil liberty, the right to privacy, and a host of other things.

    Emancipation of slaves meant granting basic human rights to them, but from the slaveowner perspective, it meant government seizure of their property. Rating these two harms as equivalent (enslavement versus loss of property) seems to require considerably more justification than mere assertion.

    Equating the Oscars to the Hugos certainly requires more than mere assertion, much less equating one "undisruptive" group to another, disruptive one.

    Reply

  166. PavePusher
    April 24, 2015 @ 12:03 pm

    Reply

  167. PavePusher
    April 24, 2015 @ 12:10 pm

    "Torgersen seems to want to win them, for what it's worth."

    Which is why he withdrew himself from being nominated, of course.

    Wait, what?!?!

    Reply

  168. storiteller
    April 24, 2015 @ 6:34 pm

    I think it's the most difficult because their most hated authors write the books they claim to want to have more of. Old Man's War sounds like it would be just the thing, but that's by John Scalzi, so we certainly can't have that!

    Reply

  169. kateorman
    April 25, 2015 @ 12:09 am

    In an attempt to avoid work I'm reading up on the Nazis' confiscation of, and exhibition of, "Degenerate Art". Although there are large and obvious differences, it seems this is not the first time extremists have been worrying that conspirators are corrupting art.

    Also, "large quantities" of liquid mercury have been found beneath a pyramid in Teotihuacan. Just thought you should know:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/24/liquid-mercury-mexican-pyramid-teotihuacan

    Reply

  170. Richard Gadsden
    April 25, 2015 @ 3:55 am

    Also, if you take "Theodore" from cod-Greek to cod-Latin

    Reply

  171. Richard Gadsden
    April 25, 2015 @ 3:59 am

    Also, if you go from cod-Greek to cod-Latin, "Theodore" gets you "Vox Day".

    Reply

  172. Sam
    April 25, 2015 @ 7:20 am

    The only legitimate aesthetics are those approved by The Ministry of Culture, amirite?

    Reply

  173. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 25, 2015 @ 7:33 am

    I have a dreadful feeling you think you're being clever somehow.

    Reply

  174. Nyq Only
    April 25, 2015 @ 10:31 am

    Speaking of Culture, I hadn't realized that Iain (M) Banks had only ever got 1 Hugo nomination. Clearly this demonstrates that a terrible anti-leftist clique is manipulating the Hugos 🙂

    Reply

  175. neroden@gmail
    April 26, 2015 @ 1:16 am

    I've been spending decades working out what the key issues are to prevent that sort of reactionary takeover. The key points are not to let the reactionaries win control of the social dialogue, and not to let them retain/regain control of all the money, and not to let them control the military power. The factories matter too, but they don't have a chance at controlling those without both the money and the military.

    Reply

  176. neroden@gmail
    April 26, 2015 @ 1:30 am

    The slate-voting problem originates from a defective election system. The problem is called the "representative committee" problem in the literature.

    There are several election systems designed specifically to prevent this problem, called "proportional representation" systems. The key feature is that if 20% of the voters vote for the slate, the slate will get 20% of the nominees (rounded up or down to a whole number).

    Every country which has established democracy since 1945 uses proportional representation for its parliament for obvious reasons. It's basically a defect to not have proportional representation; it becomes way too easy for slates to take over, and then it degenerates into either one or two "political parties".

    So fix the rules for voting on Hugo nominees. Single Transferrable Vote and Reweighted Approval Voting and Reweighted Range Voting are three examples of proportional representation systems.

    Reply

  177. neroden@gmail
    April 26, 2015 @ 1:39 am

    " Ban slates? How does one go about doing that?"

    Proportional representation prevents slates which are backed by small groups from taking over the entire nominees list.

    Look at it this way: with voting, you can't usually distinguish 10% of the voters voting for a slate from 10% with honest opinions which happen to be the same. (Unless all the votes are from the same address or something.) And democratically, it's appropriate for 10% of the voters supporting the same candidates to be able to get 10% of the slots on the nominee list….

    …at which point they have their share and should get no more slots. Proportional representation means they get 10%, no more.

    Reply

  178. Greg
    April 27, 2015 @ 8:03 am

    Libertarians are the "useful idiots" of fascism.

    Reply

  179. Greg
    April 27, 2015 @ 8:28 am

    "We will carry on, and we will identify and praise brilliant works of science fiction, and the stuff we like will endure in history while the stuff you like is forgotten. "

    This quote from the blog author is so typical of an attitude I encounter each and every day, especially in fandoms.

    In its generic form, it is: "You're old! You're washed up/tired/the past/outdated/unneeded/unwanted! The world belongs to US now! Go away and die so we can enjoy it without you stinking up the place!"

    Someone please tell me, as I am sincerely curious: I am a European-descended, heterosexual male who believes in traditional Christian values. Why should I even bother trying to write ANYthing for public consumption? Even if I check every tickbox on the "diversity" and "progressive" checklist in its content, I will be downlisted because WHO AND WHAT I AM is considered "overrepresented" and devalued. At best, I will be sent to the conservative/white/male/hetero writer ghetto with all the other "undesirables".

    So why should I bother? Where is MY part of "diversity"?

    Reply

  180. encyclops
    April 27, 2015 @ 9:43 am

    So why should I bother?

    Well, primarily because I think your assumptions are mistaken. Here are a few of the ones I think you can be happy to be wrong about:

    1. "The stuff we like will endure in history while the stuff you like is forgotten." Just because people say this doesn't mean it will really happen.

    2. "Stuff we like" != the stuff you (Greg) like. You haven't described what you like. It's not clear it's really that different.

    3. "Stuff we like" can't be written by and appreciated from straight white Christian dudes. Take Paul Cornell, for example.

    4. "I will be downlisted because [of] WHO AND WHAT I AM." Apart from the minority of people who actually follow through with pledges like only reading "diverse" writers, I doubt this will actually happen to you.

    5. "I will be sent to the conservative/white/male/hetero writer ghetto." There is no such place, either in figurative or literal space.

    If your books and stories are good, you have as much chance as anyone of having them bought and read. If they're mediocre but appeal to a niche audience — say, the audience that's only into military space opera, or the audience that's only into dinosaur/human romance — you'll probably still sell books, and why not? Regardless of what you think you're seeing in "fandoms," somebody out there likes what you like.

    It hurts to feel like you're being marginalized. Believe us — we know. But we also know our people are out there, regardless of what the loud voices seem to be saying, and if you're a "European-descended, heterosexual male who believes in traditional Christian values," trust me, dude, your people are still out there in force.

    Reply

  181. Greg
    April 27, 2015 @ 3:40 pm

    I have heard several people, most prominently Teresa Nielson Hayes, propose just such a ghetto when they suggest that Correia and Torgeson (sp?) start up new awards and stay away from the Hugos.

    Thank you, btw, for expressing your opinion in a respectful and honest manner.

    Reply

  182. encyclops
    April 27, 2015 @ 7:27 pm

    Several people can propose anything they like. 🙂

    And if you are a writer, and you write in a respectful and honest manner yourself, I think you'll always find an audience. It's okay if it doesn't include everybody. It never will.

    Reply

  183. josephbt
    April 28, 2015 @ 7:48 am

    Holy long article, Batman! Nevertheless, great read. Thanks.

    Reply

  184. drakvl
    April 30, 2015 @ 6:50 pm

    I'm still in the middle of reading your article, but when I reached the bit about "Parliament of Beasts and Birds," I swore that it sounded a lot like a cartoon I once heard of. And lo, we have: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_on_Earth_%28film%29

    Reply

  185. Wm Keith
    May 1, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

    Don't judge a crook by his lover.

    Reply

  186. kristinking.org
    May 3, 2015 @ 4:38 am

    Hi – I went to the Southern Poverty Law Center & searched Christian dominionism. So here's one more little tidbit, just in case you haven't seen it before:

    "In short, Dominionist theology believes that Christians are called to take "dominion" over every aspect of our culture and use them to create God's kingdom on Earth in order to bring about the return of Jesus Christ. And their method for gaining "dominion" is through something called the "Seven Mountains Mandate," which seeks to place Christians at the top of seven distinct spheres that shape our culture: (1) Business; (2) Government; (3) Media; (4) Arts and Entertainment; (5) Education; (6) Family; and (7) Religion." – from: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/dominionism-and-religious-right-merger-complete

    Apparently scifi is part of the Arts&Entertainment mountain.

    Reply

  187. Daru
    May 3, 2015 @ 11:51 pm

    This is one of the best pieces of news I have read this month!

    Reply

  188. William Reichard
    May 7, 2015 @ 4:43 pm

    Sir, if the sane should need to make their case in a court, I nominate you to be our Clarence Darrow. A hugely impressive piece of writing. Thank you for it.

    Reply

  189. Richard Acres
    May 10, 2015 @ 12:36 am

    "Hi John. We don't treat commenters that way on my blog, just so you know."

    Was gatchamandave an exception to this rule?"

    Reply

  190. Richard Acres
    May 10, 2015 @ 12:40 am

    "Hi John. We don't treat commenters that way on my blog, just so you know."
    Was gatchamandave an exception to this rule, Dr Sandifer?

    Reply

  191. Richard Acres
    May 10, 2015 @ 12:43 am

    "Hi John. We don't treat commenters that way on my blog, just so you know."
    Was gatchamandave an exception to this rule Dr Sandifer? I think that you were very impolite on that occasion.

    Reply

  192. BerserkRL
    May 11, 2015 @ 10:42 pm

    Ayn Rand’s heroes – the great and worthy men who deserve their freedom – are archetypal fascist heroes, because they rise up over the pettiness of their society and become great leaders

    Well, that describes exactly one Rand story, Atlas Shrugged. It's the only one in which her heroes become leaders. The heroes of The Fountainhead and Think Twice don't lead anybody. The hero of Anthem makes plans to lead people but the story ends before it happens. The heroes of We the Living and Night of January16th all end up destroyed. The point of Ideal is that nobody actually follows the hero. Et cetera.

    Reply

  193. BerserkRL
    May 11, 2015 @ 11:09 pm

    What's Wright's deal anyway? I read his Phoenix trilogy and liked it, thought it was engaging and clever. I had lots of ideological problems with it, to be sure; but I have ideological problems with everything. But I wouldn't have guessed from reading it that he believes this sort of shit.

    Reply

  194. BerserkRL
    May 11, 2015 @ 11:20 pm

    Contempt for organised labour: check. Contempt for the common man: check. Idealisation of muscular virility: check.

    I think you've been reading a rather one-sided diet of libertarianism. Fish on the other side.

    Reply

  195. BerserkRL
    May 11, 2015 @ 11:28 pm

    And even in Atlas Shrugged, the climax of the story is the hero's refusal (despite torture) to be a leader in the ordinary political sense. Instead he's a leader in the Socratic/Kierkegaardian sense of luring individuals away from the crowd.

    Reply

  196. puertorricanpunk
    May 19, 2015 @ 6:23 pm

    Apologies for jumping in so very, very late, but I only stumbled upon this controversy quite recently. Disclaimers aside, this post is extremely well written, and I commend you for the thought and effort that clearly went into its writing. That said, are you aware that the section where you review comics pretty much proves Brad Torgersen's point?

    The most egregious example is your review of Saga: all I know after reading your description of it is that it has been nominated for a Hugo the past 2 years (and won in 2013), that it is interested in diversity, and that it has a non-white female lead.

    The review of Rat Queens at least lets informs us of the setting (DnD medieval fantasy), which is more than can be said of the Saga review, before once again focusing on the work's focus on feminism and diversity.

    In contrast to these two, the description for Sex Criminals is kind enough to mention the comic's premise, which, if silly, does make it sound like an appropriate one to explore the themes of sex and sexual hangups without getting preachy. Contrary to the prior two, this review succeeded in making me curious about the comic.

    Similarly, what made me curious about the Miss Marvel comic isn't the fact that the main character is a Pakistani-American millennial female geek from Jersey City, but rather, it's how each of these labels impacts the premise of the story.

    You have to admit that, if when one is asked to describe what makes a story memorable, the answer lies in the race, gender, or similar characteristic(s) of the main character(s), it does somewhat suggest that either the reviewer is giving more relevance to those criteria than the more traditional ones (premise, plot, theme, setting, mood, quality of writing, etc), or that the work in question is not particularly memorable in the traditional sense, and is only memorable as a result of these criteria.

    Which brings us back to Heinlein: he wrote message fiction, but when asked what makes his books memorable, is that the first thing that comes to mind? Or are the other qualities of his work what make it memorable? Yes, Stranger in a Strange Land is about sexual freedom and prejudice, but if I was asked to describe it, I would probably follow Wikipedia's example, and mention first that it's a story about a human raised by Martians, before getting into all that.

    Reply

  197. encyclops
    May 20, 2015 @ 7:16 am

    I think you have to look at that section as focusing on the elements in contention — in this case, the diversity of characters, perspectives, and approaches — rather than as presenting comprehensive, in-depth reviews of the comics in question and treating all aspects of them.

    You do at least know that Saga is "a sci-fi/fantasy epic," and as a Saga reader (and perhaps bigger fan of it, judging by what Philip has said about it recently) I can tell you it's extremely difficult to summarize. He could probably have mentioned that it's about war and tyranny, about the effects of both on the lives and hearts of individuals swept up in it, but you won't really know what you're dealing with until you see it. As for Ms. Marvel, I think that's really the key: if it's well-written (and it is, though my interest in superhero comics is on the wane), the main character's identity does impact the premise of the story.

    I don't think anyone who's looking for what you describe as "traditional" criteria would be disappointed with any of these four books. In none of them does the "race, gender, or similar characteristic(s) of the main character(s)" constitute the only reason the books are interesting. But they are noteworthy in an atmosphere where people are positing that you can either have a story that ignores the effects of race, gender, etc. on character and circumstance and is a terribly exciting adventure, or you can have a story that takes those things into account and is (as a result?) terribly boring.

    I haven't read much Heinlein, but I did make it all the way through Stranger in a Strange Land and quite honestly, I'd forgotten that the main character was raised by Martians. The sexual freedom and prejudice stuff was what stuck with me. I'd be amazed if Heinlein hadn't intended it that way; surely "human raised by Martians" is the way into those themes, not an end in itself.

    Reply

  198. Andrew Parker
    June 12, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

    My names are Andrew Parker… ALS has been ongoing in my family for long..I lost both parents to
    ALS and it is so much pain have not been able to get over. As we all know medically,there is
    no solution or cure for ALS and the cost for Medication is very expensive..Someone introduced me
    to a Herbal man email:(droyekpenherbalhome@gmail.com)(Native Medical Practitioner)in oxford.. I showed
    the man all my Tests and Results and i told him have already diagnosed with ALS and have spent thousands of dollars
    on medication..I said i will like to try him cos someone introduced me to him..He asked me
    sorts of questions and i answered him correctly..To cut the story short,He gave me some medicinal
    soaps and some herbs(have forgot the name he called them) and he thought me how am gonna use them
    all..At first i was skeptical but i just gave it a try..I was on his Medication for 2 weeks and i used all the soaps and herbs according to his prescription.. that he will finish the rest
    himself..and i called him 3 days after, i arrived and i told him what is the next thing..he said,he has
    been expecting my call.. he told me to visit my doctor for another test..Honestly speaking,i never
    believe all he was saying until after the test when my doctor mention the statement that am, also negative
    and the doctor started asking me how do i get cure….Am telling this story to every one of you encase
    you also having same problem you can contact him on his via
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    Reply

  199. Branden Miller
    August 13, 2015 @ 11:03 am

    Looks like a straight up example of the power and weakness of democracy and the direct vote.

    Reply

  200. theo j.
    August 28, 2015 @ 7:27 pm

    I'm astonished, admiring, and close to exhausted after reading your extraordinary (and impeccably well-crafted, well-reasoned) dissection of the Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy imbroglio. More importantly, you've lucidly profiled the minds behind this whole ugly business. I find your work entirely credible, and judge it to be of no small importance in understanding how this mess was brought about, and for what purposes. On behalf of friends who worked on SASQUAN and on the Hugo Awards themselves, and who have had to brave being in the line of fire owing purely to their volunteerism, I thank you.

    Reply

  201. Richards Stone
    December 4, 2015 @ 9:40 pm

    The Illuminati is a defunct secret society formed by a fervent Academic, Adam Weishaupt in Balvaria, 1776. The cult as its name suggests, was a group of intellectuals who came together to instill discipline in themselves, infiltrate government agencies, and create a new world order. However, the original illuminati was disbanded by the government of Bulgaria, when all secret societies were banned, though even before then, strong internal problems were already leading the illuminati cult to termination. That was the 18th century Illuminati. The 21st and 20th centuries also have an illuminati sect which in words you are more likely to understand, is supposed to sign you up , pull you into their chain of command, give you enlightenment, and then, power, as you’ll be playing sinewy roles in the government. This article tries to bring to light, facts about the modern illuminati, and also helps the reader to join, and utilize the opportunities availed by the sect, which are enlightenment, enrichment, and empowerment.
    The illuminati make people rich, famous and astoundingly powerful. The illuminati, which means enlightenment, purges your mind of all vestiges of ignorance, backwardness and naivety. It brings you out of the delusions and illusions which you’ve been subjected to by your numerous religious escapades, and when you are relieved of these non-propitious encumbrances, success becomes inevitable. Knowing that many of us do not understand the illuminati as it is, I’ll go ahead to expound on this wonderful phenomenon and am hoping that by the time you get to the last paragraph of this article, you would be on your way to becoming “illuminated”. It would do the reader good to note that the Illuminati of the 18th century is not the same with the modern illuminati. The former was a cult, while the latter is a consciousness. IF YOU WANT TO BE OUR MEMBER YOU CAN CONTACT US WITH THIS EMAIL: oyeyetemple@gmail.com or call +2348115531558

    Reply

  202. mamuka
    May 20, 2016 @ 12:40 pm

    Reply

  203. David De Valera
    September 24, 2016 @ 9:43 pm

    Jesus, as a man of color, would not be sitting at the pyramid’s capstone where the white, upgraded intelligence beings like Vox, look down on the squalid half-savages beneath them. How, as a Christian, does he accept a savior that has a rung on the merit-pyramid somewhere equivalent with that of Hispanics? Unless, Vox believes in the Jesus portrayed on Holy Cards, the ones where a Jesus with blond hair and blue eyes looks more like a Viking Lord than a Middle Eastern man?

    No wonder he calls himself the Voice of God, rather than Servant of God, for he is the New Messiah, the software upgraded 2.0 version. This Messiah release has been improved with genetic DLC–no longer does Christ give himself for all people, but now, His sacrifice is only for the Homo Sapiens that got the cross-breeding genetic upgrades. Or, is the original Christ superseded entirely and on the “Day” of the Vox-Lord, it shall be Vox who separates the genetic wheat from the tainted chaff? Perhaps, that is what he believes he is doing now, purifying degenerate art, and the Hugo Awards are his Normandy, and once this beachhead is secured, he will move on to Economic and Political concerns?

    He believes that educated females have caused economic decline. And his solution is what? To deport them from every job place back to the Golden Age of Betty Crocker Domesticity? For Vox, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, aka, the new Father Deity–STEM–indicates these conclusions to be true, thus the actions of acid splashing assassins and the throat cutting Taliban can be seen as logical, protective actions, ensuring lasting marriages and the ultimate well being of little girls? Vox has been educated well beyond his intelligence.

    If this man is the voice of god, then god has already saved what is worth saving, and we are in hell.

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